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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all!

I am new to this forum and would be grateful for any advice.

I have a single albino ahli cichlid in a 65 gallon tank that has been cycled for about 3-4 months. I bought Jack from a fish store about 7-8 months ago, and apparently he had been there by himself for about 5 months.
He is about five inches long and he has a substrate of eco complete with several caves and bubble rocks/waterfalls. I have an Ammonia Alert patch that lets me know his free/toxic ammonia levels, which has consistently been in the safe range since the tank cycled... although here and there I have noticed his nitrates start to creep up to 20 or 30 ppm. I do 40-50% water changes every week (but this slightly varies from every 1/2 week to 1.5 weeks depending on what's going on). Last month, I added five moss balls to help with the nitrates.

Jack is often fairly social and will wiggle for his food. At the same time he is adorably moody and definitely lets you know when he is unhappy with something you are adding or doing to his tank. For the past few months, he has been moody at times, will stop eating and his stomach has gotten sunken in. Later, he had small red spots/sores around his eyes/face and tiny indentions in his head. I have been treating him with API General Cure (bath treatment in his main tank), two rounds total, then a few weeks off. I then switched to only using Metro in his food. I then continued dosing his food with metro, then bathing the tank with general cure at the same time. I stopped this about two weeks ago, when he stopped eating again. I think this may be his third bout with parasites (seems like Hexamita). He seems to totally improve for weeks, but currently, he stopped eating again for the last week. For the past 4 days, I have been bathing his tank with pure metroplex every 48 hours. He seems to be getting more social and is currently showing interest in food.

My question is this:
1. Should I QT Jack in a tiny 10 gallon tank (all I have available) while I strip the substrate? (granted he will likely temporarily freak out over this... BUT I have found that I can cycle a tank in 24 hours with Biospira and I have new eco complete substrate ready to go.)

Or

2.Should I do as my husband suggests, and add small amounts of new substrate little by little and keep siphoning the gravel?
I just keep thinking that these pests will never go away and its time for Plan B, but I don't want to do anything too extreme, all things considered, as it took me forever to cycle the tank in the first place.

Water parameters are

Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrates: 10/15 ppm

Ph: 7.8
Temp: 79F

KH: 5
GH: 10

I use all Seachem products to condition the water and maintain the tank... Prime, Pristine. And AmGuard and Stressguard as needed.
[[[ok, what did I forget, people]]]

Thank you very much for any help - Jack is so special and important to our family.
 

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If you think he had/has bloat then the parasites are internal and not in the substrate. Not sure about Hex...I usually hear about it in connection with cichlids other than Africans.

Do you think the parasites are in the substrate and this is why you want to change it?

Why do you need Pristine and AmGuard and Stressguard?

Is he alone in the tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi! Thanks for your response.

Yes, he is alone. I read somewhere that the parasites will be expelled then lay eggs in the substrate.. plus I realized that I have ALOT of substrate (3/4 inches deep) for them to hide in.

I figured it had to be Hexamita bc he responded really well to both GC and metroplex, and he doesn't have the signs of worms, etc. Really, he was eating for the longest time and acting normal except for his sunken belly. After that seemed to go away and as I was giving him a break before the second round of GC, I noticed secondary symptoms of small indent like marks on his head and he also seemed to have the red lateral line- then red sores (like hole in the head) so I thought that kinda confirmed it, right? It took me the longest time to have the courage to dose his tank. I just really want to get rid of them.

I haven't used AmGuard in a while but I did use the Stressguard when he had the red sores. I've used Pristine here and there with water changes, but only Prime consistently. Recently I bought some Cichlid Trace and have been adding that to his tank every other water change.
 

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I would stop all the additives other then Prime. Hope other members will chime in on the Hex, I have no experience with it.

Different parasites have different life cycles...you need to know which you have before you can know if removing the substrate will have any impact.
 
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