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Discus Diseases                                          

There are some many ways to prevent and treat discus diseases.  The following are just what 
works for us.
  We usually try to keep things simple.
The only prevention we use are garlic in beef heart mix for internal parasites (hexamita, etc.Discus are 
very easily infected with parasites (wasting away and white feces.)  Prevention is key with internal
 parasites.   Other things are just to keep the water condition in stable range, feeding varieties of foods,
All new fish that we get are quarantine for at least 3 weeks and monitored for diseases. 
To sterilize equipments (i.e. tanks, nets, etc), we use regular household bleach.  Rinse thoroughly 
First, we will increase the water temperature to 86-88 F.  Also, a higher ratio water change is done 
before treatment.  The following are the medications that we use.  These methods may not be the
 best, but it works for us.
  1. Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate) -  for gastrointestinal bloating or before treatment of 
  2. internal parasites.  We usually use 1 Tablespoon/10 gallon.   Works within 24 hrs.  We repeat
  3.  treatment for two more days if no results.  Fish will start eating like mad after treatment.
  4. Quick Cure (Formalin, Malachite green) or 37% Formalin alone- or any common 
  5. medication with same chemicals.  Just follow directions from bottle.  We use them to 
  6. treat external protozoan parasites, gill flukes, Costia, and Trichondina.
  7. Methylene Blue - Use for fungal infections and ick.  Also add to breeding fish to 
  8. prevent f
  9. ungal infection on discus eggs.
  10. Praziquantel- Excellent medication for flukes and internal parasites (capillaria,etc).  
  11. We have more success with this med and less side effects than Flubendazole, 
  12. Piperazine or 
  13. Albenazole.  We pretreat with Epsom salt first to clean the GI tracts of fish. 
  14.  Praziquantel is not very water soluble.  Therefore, we use a blender to dissolve 
  15. them with water.  Other hobbyists have used acetone to dissolve praziquantel.  
  16. Dosage is 10 mg/gallon.  One dose is effective for seven days.  No water change is
  17.  done during this time.  Usually a second treatment is needed after seven days to
  18.  prevent reinfection by dormant cysts/eggs.
  19. Metronidazole - Used for protozoan internal parasites (i.e.Cryptobia,Hexamita,etc.) 
  20. Also excellent antibiotic for gram negative bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract infections.
  21.   With metronidazole,  we mix them in small amounts of water.  Then we soak them in
  22. dry foods (i.e. Tetra Colorbits, Hikari discus, etc.)  Wait ten minutes until drug has soak 
  23. into food before feeding.  Again, we pretreat with Epsom salt 24 hrs before metronidazole
  24.  treatment.  We find that this pretreatment step with Epsom salt has a synergistic effect.
Other disease that we have no success with treatments are swim bladder type of diseases. 
 We are lucky in that discus plague has not been a problem (knock on wood).


Common Flowerhorn Diseases and Treatment
Caring for your Flower Horn is not just about feeding it, it’s also about watching for
 potentially serious health conditions. Below are some of the problems your 
Flower horn might experience.
White Spot Disease
Cause and Symptoms
  • The cause of this condition is Ichthyophithirius multifilis (ICH ) , a 
  • ciliated protozoan .
  • Bad water quality can increase the likelihood that your fish will be 
  • victim to this parasite.
  • Low water temperatures (< 25°C) are ideal breeding grounds for ICH.
  • The most common way Flower horns get ICH is when they are fed live or
  •  frozen food that has already been contaminated with the parasite.
  • The most prominent symptom of this condition are the pure white 
  • spots that
  •  will appear all over your fish. You may also notice the fins are 
  • clumped together,
  •  and they act a bit more lethargic than usual. Moreover, 
  • it’s common for them to
  •  lose interest in food when ICH infects.
The parasites resides under the skin of the fish, hence it is not affected by water
 treatment or direct treatment applied to the fish . Break the breeding cycle of 
Ich by washing the tank thoroughly to remove the cysts of the parasite. 
Keep in mind that this is a highly contagious condition, so your entire 
aquarium must be treated.
To cure white spots:
  • Place Kordon Ich inhibitor in your tank.
  • Add aquarium salt at 3g/l of water every 3 days together 
  • with the medication.
  • After 3rd day, tank must be washed thoroughly to 
  • eliminate the causative agent.
  • Add Kordon Malachite Green treatment to your tank.
Preventive measures:
  • Add Kordon Prevent Ich Fish Disease Inhibitor and 
  • Preventative to your tank.
  • Quarantine new fish for three to four weeks.
  • Avoid cross-tank contamination.
Hole-In-The-Head Disease
Cause and Symptoms
  • The cause of this condition is Hexamita Protozoa ,
  •  parasitic organisms that are highly contagious.
  • These parasites thrive with poor water quality management.
  • If your fish has this condition, you will notice the appearance of 
  • small pits and pimples mainly on the fish’s head. These pits will
  •  simply grow and form bigger pits.
  • The pits are white in color, and sometimes mucous are visible 
  • around them.
  • In addition to losing weight, becoming lethargic, and losing their 
  • appetites, the fish will produce white, stringy feces.
  • Add Dimetrydazole (5mg/l) or Metronidazole (7mg/l).
  • Repeat treatment once every 3 days.
  • Do a 20%-30% water change.
  • It is sometimes necessary to inject Metronidazole, but injections 
  • near the affected area should be attempt only by qualified personnel.
Preventive measures :
  • Change your water regularly.
  • Quarantine new fish for three to four weeks.
  • Avoid cross-tank contamination.
Mouth, body and tail fungus
Causes & Symptoms
  • This condition is caused by Saproglenia and other related bacteria.
  • Bad water quality only causes these kinds of bacteria to thrive.
  • Sudden changes in the water condition can also cause this condition in your fish.
  • If your fish has this condition, you will notice cotton like tufts at the 
  • mouth, body, fin and tail.
  • You may also notice your fish losing weight.
  • Add Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Aquarium Salt to your tank.
  • Adding Jungle Labs Fungus Eliminator will also help.
  • Be sure to treat the whole tank, but quarantine the most seriously ill fish.
Preventive measures :
  • Change your water regularly.
  • Quarantine new fish for three to four weeks.
  • Avoid cross-tank contamination.
Causes & Symptoms
  • This condition is caused by a bacterial infection.
  • Poor water quality, overcrowding, and stress can make your
  •  fish more susceptible to this condition.
  • If your fish is affected, he may appear bloated and stop eating
· Do not add aquarium salt to your tank.
· Use a commercially prepared treatment available at your local pet shop.
Preventive measures :
  • Change your water regularly.
  • Quarantine new fish for three to four weeks to avoid the
  •  introduction of new, dangerous bacteria.
  • Avoid cross-tank contamination.
Fin & Tail Rot Disease
Causes & Symptoms
  • This condition is caused by Pseudomonas and other related bacteria.
  • Poor water quality causes these bacteria to thrive in your tank.
  • If your fish is affected, the fin and tail appeared eaten 
  • away and white edged. You may even notice the fin 
  • or tail beginning to literally dissolve.
  • The color of the fish may dull, and the fins may clump together.
  • This bacteria is highly contagious.
  • Treat the whole tank, but quarantine and treat the heavily infected fish.
  • Tetracycline should be added.
Preventive measures :
  • Change your water regularly.
  • Quarantine new fish for three to four weeks.
  • Avoid cross-tank contamination.
Air Bladder Disease
Causes & Symptoms
  • This condition is caused by a number of things, but the 
  • most likely problems are a virus or a bacterial infection.
  • If your fish has this condition, you may notice they 
  • have trouble swimming correctly, or they tend to swim upside down.
  • Because it can be hard to determine the cause of this problem,
  •  it can also be difficult to treat it, but in general, an antibiotic
  •  agent should take care of the problem.
Preventive measures :
  • Change your water regularly.
  • Quarantine new fish for three to four weeks.
  • Avoid cross-tank contamination.
Velvet Disease
Causes & Symptoms
  • This condition is caused by a fungus living in your tank.
  • Poor water quality causes this fungus to thrive in your tank.
  • If your fish is affected, he may stop swimming, and he may begin to look ill.
· Add Copper Sulfate (Blue Crystal) to your tank. 
Be sure to use the ratio of 
1 g Copper Sulfate and 0.25g Citric Acid to 1 litre of distilled water. 
Dosage instructions: 12.5 ml to 10 litres of aquarium water for 10 days. 
Administer half of this on days three, five and seven.
Preventive measures :
  • Change your water regularly.
  • Quarantine new fish for three to four weeks.
  • Avoid cross-tank contamination.

  • Other medications

    Other medications. This is by no means a pharmacopoeia, and remember that I'm not a vet. The web's best list of fish medications is at Dr Erik Johnson's KoiVet. Don't overlook his "Medicine cabinet recommendations."

    The start of knowing what you are doing, even though you're an amateur hobbyist, is to look beyond the medication's tradename and packaging, to inspect its actual ingredients. I strongly resist putting any medication -- or "conditioner" or "tonic" -- into my aquaria, unless I have a list of ingredients. Perhaps I'm missing a useful product here or there by being so persnickety, but claims of efficacy  when combined with mysterious ingredients connote "snake oil" to me. And I look into what those ingredients are, and you should, too. The starting point of any search is to google that long chemical name (with its parentheses)

    Three general rules about medicating fishes can save endless woes
     1.Never mix medications.
    2. Don't use outdated medications. Shelf lives vary. Some preparations (especially dry ones) are quite stable. Throw out those old formalin-based remedies at the back of the cabinet, if you can't remember when you bought them.
    3. Don't overdose. Calculate your water volume, allowing for substrate and rocks, etc.

    Some medications.

    Levamisole. Levamisole hydrochloride, marketed as Ergamisole, is proven effective in boosting the efficiency of drugs combatting colon cancer, so it's not easy to obtain, unless you're in a rural setting and can pick it up in its alternate guise as a sheep de-wormer. A 1978 study suggested that Levamisole paralyses worms, which let go their hold and soon perish. Levamisole has been the most-recommended antihelminthic for eliminating Camallanus, but Praziquantel is effective and gentle.

    Shari Sanford's excellent faq and guide on Levamisole hydrochloride tablets successfully treating worm-induced wasting sickness in Clown Loaches is archived at Loaches on Line. A well-known aquarium company markets a capsule that contains an unspecified level of Levamisole; it also has salt. Some experienced aquarists feel that there is not enough Levamisole in the commercial product for it to be effective. My former information, that if the pH is above 7.0, the drug is rendered ineffective, seems to have  been a common misconception, according to Shari Sanford's informants . Her article has useful directions about dosing.  Though the drug has absolutely no effect on the biological filter, carbon or polyfilters will remove it from the water.

    Methylene Blue is an organic dye, not effectively anti-parasitic, but most commonly used to keep fish eggs from fungusing. It will also stain infertile eggs, which helps you to pick them out and remove them with an eye dropper. Once the eggs hatch, though, do a water change, because many fishkeepers report that methylene blue is more toxic to fry than to the eggs. Though methylene blue is not as toxic as malachite green, unlike malachite green it will devastate the biological filtration, so be sure to remove the foam sleeve from the sponge filter, or lift the biowheel from your external filter (stashing them temporarily in dechlorinated water) if you use methylene blue.

    Kordon discusses methylene blue at their website.

    Mebendazole and similar drugs, such as thiabendazole and flubendazole, have been the drugs of choice for treating intestinal nematodes, such as Camallanus. The drugs have a very short half-life once in solution: half an hour. So don't make up a solution in advance. The drugs work on the cellular level, preventing the nematode's formation of microtubules.

    Metronidazole is active only against protozoa, especially against anaerobes, including (in humans) some anaerobic bacteria. Since it's effective against flagellates it may be effective against external flagellate parasites, like Ichthyobodo ("Costia") andPiscinoodinium. Seachem produces AquaZole, a metronidazole-based formula, and Fishy Farmacy offers metronidazole in pure crystalline form. Larry Grenier. at the Discus Resource Page, is convinced that Metronidazole is ineffective at temperatures below 90oF.

    Organophosphates. These are very toxic stuff, and you won't use them lightly. The pH of the water affects the stability and toxicity of organophosphates. As with malachite green (and copper sulfate) organophosphates are even more toxic and effective when the pH is under 7.0. Their use is against multicellular external parasites, like monogenetic flukes and leeches, parasitic copepods and fishlice (Lernaea ). Don't use organophosphates against single-celled parasites, such as Ich and Oodinium. Organophosphates are highly toxic to mollusks (snails) and crustacea (copepods), but don't tell unwary friends that they are a "cure" for snails and worms and unidentified "nasty critters."

    Kordon makes a trichlorfon organophosphate powder called "Trifon," which is more often used in ponds, where the margin of error is broader than in the limits of your tank. Before you make any moves, better check the Kordon site.

    Fluke Tabs contain organophosphates. The active ingredient is methyl-5-benzol-benzimidazole-2-carbamate dimethyl(2,2,2-trichlor-1-hydroxyethyl) phosphonate, translatable as Mebendazole (a de-wormer) and Trichlorfon (an insecticide). Fluke Tabs are well established to be effective against trematodes (flukes), but further clinical use of Fluke Tabs, to successfully treat for Capillaria nematodes, was described in the Zebrafish Science Monitor, vol 3 no 4: it's a good description of a careful and scientific medication regime. There are further good suggestions about using Fluke Tabs from Angelswest Fish Hatchery, who warn that the effectiveness of Fluke Tabs can vary. They suggest that you begin at 50% recommended doses, watching for severe stress and be prepared to do a 50% water change.

    Praziquantel. Veterinaries have been able to prescribe praziquantel as "Droncit" for some time. Now it is directly available through the Internet. Praziquantel has supplanted toxic organophosphates if you are treating for skin and gill flukes (trematodes). Read Dr. Erik Johnson's article "Praziquantel for Flukes". The recommended dose in the "Introduction to fish parasites" document at the U. of Florida Extension IFAS website is 2-10 ppm (mg/L) for 1 to 3 hours, in a hospital tank. But Dr Johnson finds Praziquantel so low in toxicity that you won't need to follow up with a water change, and I'd want to eliminate resistant Gyrodactylus eggs from the aquarium as they hatch; Prazi doesn't eliminate the eggs. Praziquantel won't harm the biofilter bacteria.

    Praziquantel resists dissolving, though you shake it vigorously with aquarium water in a closed jar for as long as you can, before pouring it into the filter outlet. I haven't ever used a half-shot of vodka to dissolve it;  the white powder will eventually dissolve. If fish eat some, it won't harm them; Praziquantel is readily absorbed from the intestines, and also readily excreted, as this 1987 articledetermined.. Repeat doses at three- to seven-day intervals, to eliminate eggs won't be building up toxic levels in the fish.

    Dissolved organics will interfere with the medication, so a partial water change and some surface cleaning of the substrate will make the dose more effective.

    Bio-encapsulation. Since the early '90s, the technique of bio-encapsulation has been used to enrich brine shrimp with essential fatty acids that are ordinarily missing in Artemia. This technique can be extended to get drugs into the intestines of fishes. Like all saltwater organisms, brine shrimp must take in quantities of water to maintain osmotic balance. (In freshwater, the osmotic situation is reversed, and freshwater fishes drink little.) So, medication for Hexamita or for Camallanus nematodes is put into the brine, and after two hours or more, when the first brine shrimp begin to die, they are rinsed off and fed to fishes. This great technique was written up in an article by Dr Beverly A. Dixon in F.A.M.A., June 1998.