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Old 10-17-2006, 03:05 PM   #1
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parasites or paranoia? (rather long)

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.
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Old 10-17-2006, 05:19 PM   #2
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Hmm...long post! But, interesting points. I am surprised by the amount of medicating you did under those circumstances, and some of it was copper-based: I'm not entirely convinced that this is all particularly easy on fish that are scaleless like your clown loaches.

The one thing you've also not mentioned is diet: what were you feeding your clowns, and your Africans (and what specific species of cichlid were they?). Sometimes dietary problems can be linked with perceived parasite problems and so the wrong solution is used
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Old 10-18-2006, 02:30 AM   #3
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yes, sorry i felt i needed to tell the whole story to explain the situation. all of the cichlids are peacocks (OB, albino eureka, ngara, red shoulder). as for diet goes, i always used a varied diet for all my fish. omega one flakes, NLS pellets for cichlids, freeze dried bloodworms, algae wafers, shrimp pellets, zuchinni, tubifex worms

the medicated food i made was mostly the NLS pellets with some algae wafers in the mix. i've been wanting to expand my fish's overall diet even more recently but haven't had the cash to that much.

is my diet a good enough variety?
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Old 10-18-2006, 03:42 PM   #4
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Personally I don't think all stringy poo is always parasites especially in new fish that most likely are gorging themselves on food that is probably different from what they got in the LFS. Also fish grow at different rates so you can buy 2-3 of the same species and have one that ends up looking skinny or like its not growing like the others and that doesn't necessarily mean there's a problem.

I think as long as your fish are eating, active, and showing good coloration they're most likely fine. I wouldn't medicate unless I knew for sure what I was treating because that can often do more harm than good. If the fish are eating and active let 'em be.
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Old 10-18-2006, 06:51 PM   #5
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No, full stories are good SeymourFresh, don't worry (just a lot of reading on my eyes!)

The diet sounds good to me: NLS is what I've just been recommended by people in the cichlid area of the forum for my saulosis; the only thing I'm not sure about is the freeze dried bloodworm but really you'd have the opposite effect of 'skinnyness' with that over time (I've read high protein diets, specifically bloodworm, cause Malawi Bloat) but you've not described anything like that happening so I wouldn't worry. Diet sounds ok to me. The only thing I'd add is some extra fresh veggies (peas especially but also apple, lettuce, spinach etc). Mine seem to love all this stuff so much I've made my own frozen cubes of blended stuff!

I agree with talloulou (great name btw, are you a fan of Paul Simon?!) about the medicating though: sometimes fish just get stringy poop now and then and it clears after a couple of days. As long as diet is varied and your cichlids especially are showing good colouration (again, a sign of health in cichlids which is pretty nice to have an in-your-face indicator like that!) then I think you're ok.

There may be other symptoms of parasite problems too that could be worth looking in to. I will go read up on this since I know little about it
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Old 10-18-2006, 07:21 PM   #6
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I do like Paul Simon but I never heard a song about a Talloulou! Talloulou's what I wanted to name my daughter but my husband nixed that idea so I adopted it as my internet name instead.
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Old 10-18-2006, 07:32 PM   #7
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Aahhh, it just reminded me of some of the lyrics in Homeless, on the Graceland album Would have been a nice name, you're right!
Anyway, sorry to thread hijack!
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-------------------------------------------------------
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Old 10-19-2006, 04:19 PM   #8
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hmm ok. all i've basically read about internal parasites is that usually the fish act and look normal and show little stress. that is why i was so concerned

but hopefully i just wrongfully diagnosed my fish and nothing's actually wrong. then i have truly learned a lesson from this :-/
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