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Cichlid Internal Parasite Symptoms and Treatment

Cichlid Internal Parasite Symptoms and Treatment

This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addtion, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

You really enjoy the cichlids in your home aquarium. They’re pretty and interesting fish that can be fun to care for.

Cichlids are hardy fish that won’t die easily. They can encounter various problems that will need attention, though.

For instance, it’s possible for cichlids to have issues with internal parasites. This can be a complicated and annoying problem for the fish.

Read on to learn about cichlid internal parasite treatment. This should help you to understand what you need to do for the sake of your fish.

What Are Internal Parasites?

Internal parasites can get inside of fish and infect certain parts of the body. There are a few protozoan parasites that are known to infect cichlids.

Hexamita parasites are well-known for causing hole in the head disease. Other types of parasites can cause issues such as ich.

These parasites thrive by living inside of your fish. They can cause the fish a lot of harm, too.

If you do nothing, it’s possible that internal parasites could kill your cichlids. You can help them to get better, but it’ll require you to treat the fish properly.

What Signs Should You Look Out For?

There are a number of different signs that will show you that your cichlids have internal parasites. Knowing what to look out for will allow you to take action as soon as possible.

Are your cichlids hiding more than usual? This could be a sign that something is amiss and they’re dealing with parasites.

Another thing to look out for is labored breathing. If your cichlids appear to be having a tough time breathing, that’s a potential sign of internal parasite issues.

Spitting out food is said to be a sign of parasites, too. Your fish might also stop having an appetite as things progress.

Bloating can be considered a sign of parasites. Sometimes you might notice bloating near the belly of the cichlids.

Is your fish producing white poop that is very stringy? This is a sure sign of some sort of parasite issue.

When you notice these signs, it’s best to take action fast. You can get the fish the treatment that they need so they can improve.

How Do Cichlids Get Parasites?

How do cichlids get parasites in the first place? Generally, parasites are introduced to the water in the tank when you add something new.

You might have put a new fish in the aquarium recently. If you didn’t quarantine the fish, it’s possible that this new fish was carrying parasites.

Even aquatic plants have the potential to carry things with them. This is why experts recommend quarantining both fish and live plants that you plan to add to a tank.

Quarantining fish for a few weeks might seem like overkill, but it truly is the best option. It protects the fish and makes it far less likely that you’ll expose them to danger.

Remember that fish can look healthy and still carry parasites. It isn’t always obvious at first glance that fish have something wrong with them.

You should also know that stressed fish are more likely to have issues with parasites. Fish will become stressed for various reasons.

If the water quality in the fish tank is poor, the fish might get stressed. This will cause them to develop compromised immune systems.

Even if cichlids are generally hardy fish, they will be prone to getting sick when they’re stressed. This is a good reason to watch out for your fish.

You must monitor the water parameters and keep the water clean. Doing this is one of the best ways to prevent issues such as internal parasites.

How Can Internal Parasites Be Treated?

Thankfully, it’s possible to treat internal parasites and get the cichlids in your tank healthy again. There are various medications that can work to get the job done.

You can treat the water with medication or you can give the fish food that has been treated with medication. The most common medicine that is used to treat parasites is an antibiotic known as metronidazole.

Medications such as this shouldn’t stress the fish and it’ll help them to get better. To get the best results, it’s recommended to place sick fish in a quarantine tank where they can be treated specifically.

If the entire tank is having issues with parasites, it’s fine to treat the main tank. You’re going to want to do daily water changes until you clear up the parasite issue as well.

Using aquarium salt might also be a useful trick. You can treat the water in the tank with aquarium salt to make it tougher for the parasites to live.

Combine this approach with raising the temperature of the water to the upper limit of what cichlids can tolerate. This should allow you to get rid of the parasites over time.

Understand that the issue isn’t likely to go away overnight. Keep treating the fish as instructed and continue to care for the fish to try to keep them strong.

During this time, you should be feeding the fish high-quality foods. Do what you can to keep the cichlids healthy and they should be able to get back to normal.

Final Thoughts

Internal parasites can be a very big problem for cichlids. It’s more likely that your fish will get sick if they’re stressed, though.

Try to keep your fish as healthy as possible to give them some protection. Feed them well and take care of the fish tank to the best of your ability.

If you monitor the water parameters and keep the fish tank clean, it’s less likely that the fish will have issues with internal parasites. It’s still possible that something could happen, though.

Adding new fish to the tank without quarantining them will sometimes introduce parasites to the water. This is something that you absolutely want to avoid.

It’s best to quarantine new fish in a separate tank for up to three weeks. Many enthusiasts recommend going so far as to quarantine aquatic plants in tanks that don’t contain any fish before adding them to the main tank.

Taking precautions like this will keep your fish safe. Since it’s not easy to tell if new fish are carrying parasites or not, you need to do your best to make good choices.

If your fish do wind up dealing with internal parasites, you can treat them with medication. They should be able to get better over time if you watch over them properly.