alright here's the scoop. i put this in the general discussion category because it's about being skeptical as to whether your fish are sick or not, and i wanted to see if any of you have been in the same situation
for the past long while, it seems i have been dealing with internal parasites (or just symptoms of internal parasites) in my 55 gallon. i've been having the problem since about june. i would get some clown loaches, and after a little while, one of them seemed to really be skinny. he would eat normal and act normal, and i could never see it's poop to observe if it was stringy or not. i just fed him food medicated with discomed for a month and i treated the free floating parasites with CFX parasite terminater (which basically consists of copper and formaldehyde). i didn't think discomed worked so i switched to metronidazole-medicated food and the next week the fish was FAT.
a few months passed and i didn't have any problems. around august, i bought some african cichlids, and being as irresponsible as i am, i did not quarantine them and i just put them in my tank. one of them died within 2 days for unknown reasons. everything remained fine for a while, and then i got 3 more africans. i noticed within a few days that one of them had a sunken belly. then a few days later it looked like my original african that i bought started looking skinny. i would wait around in my basement for a long time after feeding them 3 times daily to see if they would poop, but none of them ever would.
i then treated my entire tank with a metronidazole bath, using a product called metro+ and i made more medicated food with it. i treated the tank for a week and fed medicated food for 2 weeks. after the first week, i began thinking about something: most of the time, my clown loaches will chase my cichlids away from the food and take all the food themselves practically, so my cichlids could not get as much food as the clowns no matter what.
i then decided to quarantine every fish i suspected had a problem, and then i took them to my work (aquaworld). i continued to feed the medicated food to them for one more week (making it 3 weeks total that i was feeding it to them). after that week, i noticed my red-tailed shark had some really stringy poo, so i decided to take the shark up there and QT him too. once quarantined, i just fed him regular food to see what happens. 3 days later (yesterday) he was quite a bit fatter. in 3 days he gained all that weight with no medicated food, and in the meantime all of my cichlids are fat again as well.
i ended up getting a UV
sterilizer for this tank and it's been in there for about a week and a half now, and i was assuming everything is fine until last night, when i saw some stringy poo floating around in my fish tank again.
so here's the whole dillema: all my fish seem fine, all the quarantined fish seemed to have gained their weight back rather rapidly, and all i wonder is: did i even have internal parasites in the first place??? is stringy poo nothing really to worry about if it just seems like maybe my fish just aren't getting enough to eat due to my loaches chasing all of my fish away from the food? am i just being a "fish hypochondriac"?
the reason i ask this is just because i have not really had any fish die besides one of my africans, but it didn't really have a sunken belly or anything wrong with it. this has been a long time i have been dealing with this problem (if i even have a problem) but the only thing i realize is that none of my fish have died from any internal parasite symptoms, so do i really have a problem? has this happened to any of you before, where you thought maybe something is wrong with your fish but they could just be completely fine? i'd like for some of you to share your experiences, maybe i can learn something from this.