This is most likely not the case. Flashing is the first sign of ich, because the parasite first attacks fish in the gills where we cannot see it, and they flash to dislodge it. After that, you will begin to see spots. The life cycle takes a good week, so two weeks of heat (with or without salt) is advisable. Surface respiration is a very different thing.i went the the fish store and showed the guy the videos and he recommended ich x so i got that but i don’t know if i should use it? should i? my fish don’t show any signs of ich but they are at the surface breathing fast. he thinks it’s in the early stage.
Please, do not follow the advice of the store, and please do not use Ich X or any other chemical concoction. They are not safe. Several members here with considerable experience have said raising the temperature will kill the ich, and if it is really stubborn (this does sometimes happen, one or two manage to get through the heat) then salt is safer.
1. There might be something else in the water, now we know it is a well. A simple conditioner would be advisable, because they detoxify heavy metals and that could be relevant. Not saying it is, just it certainly could be. API's Tap Water Conditioner is the best there is given your circumstances. And on this, what is the GH (general hardness) of your water? And the pH? Colin mentioned previously that these rift lake cichlids must have hard water and a basic (above 7) pH. If either the GH or pH is not up there, it too weakens the fish.just got the water tested and everything was perfect. no ammonia and got everything else tested. nitrate, nitrate, and everything else. it’s all good. and no chlorine. so why are they like this? i’m completely out of ideas of what to do.
2. The former "medication" likely affected the fish and this can be permanent. Every substance you add to the water gets inside the fish, into their bloodstream and internal organs. This can cause stress at the least (which further causes ich) but it may go beyond that.
I know it is a temptation when you see something clearly amiss to want to add something to treat whatever it is. This is a reaction you must train yourself to ignore. When there is a real issue, it has to be properly identified and then the appropriate treatment can be considered, if such is necessary. Guessing like the store is doing and adding different chemicals will not help, believe me.