I'm a bit worried about some of my African cichlids, they are feeding and behaving normally but I've seen many of them "flashing" and am worried that they are suffering from a parasitic infection. I saw a list of questions designed to help diagnose these problems on the web somewhere so have made a list and answered them in the hope someone will recognise the symptoms and be able to help with a way forward:
- Size of tank - 100 UK gallon
- No new additions to the tank in the last few months
- Behaviour over last month - more or less normal, very eager to feed (as usual), flashing intermittently (various fish doing this)
- Are problems affecting all or some of the fish? - hard to say but I've seen most of them flashing at some point
- Have they been suddenly affected? - no, this has been going on for some months now
- Examination of respiratory rate, behaviour etc - respiration seems normal, there are no fish no hanging around the top of the tank etc., no obvious physical damage to the fish, although some have slightly concave stomachs despite feeding well
- Water parameters - Nitrite - 0.1mg/l, Nitrate - 20-30mg/l, Ph - 7.5, Gh - 240mg/l, Kh - 180mg/l. Generally do a 25-30% water change weekly, treating new water with Seachem Prime, bicarb and aquarium salt (approx 1 level teaspoon of each per 25l changed).
- The filters are cleaned every 8 -10 weeks alternately - I have one Eheim 2215 and one Professionelle II. I remove as much solid waste as possible when I do a water change.
- Any other symptoms - have noticed that one bright yellow mbuna has some tiny black dots, one near its dorsal fin, a couple on its belly, I never noticed these before
- Stock in the tank - there are about 3 alunocara, 4 catfish, 3 rusty plecos, about 10 ice blues and about the same yellow labs or hybrids
I know these symptoms are common to just about every ailment but having tested the water etc. I think it must be some sort of parasite. I inherited the tank a while back (maybe 3-4 months ago) and it was pretty filthy to say the least - I've been keeping it far better and the fishes health has improved as a result, but I think this may have persisted since then.
Any comments welcomed, I really want to get this sorted out as I hate seeing the fish flashing despite the fact they look otherwise healthy.