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  1. #1
    Hi, I'm New Here!
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    Feb 2008
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    Internal Discus Parasite/Bacterial infection - what to treat with first

    Hi guys,
    My tank is located in Vanuatu. I have a 8x2.5x2.5ft planted tank, with sump (altogether about 1400L). Almost 100% of the fish were added at the same time, about 4 months ago. Importing the fish from Australia was a long and arduous process which took about 18 months of paperwork to organise. Not to mention great expense. Which makes it all the worse that my discus are slowly wasting away and dying with no external signs!

    Tank specifics:
    Mixed community tank heavily planted, injected with Co2 and fertilized with diy ferts to AI spec. Community includes discus, glass cats, cardinals, guppies, mollies and platties, corys, kuhli loaches, some local shrimp although I never see them. Ph around 7.5 GH and Kh both around 5. To achieve this I mix bore water and rainwater 50/50. I change 50% of the water weekly. Substrate is mineralized garden soil topped with sand.

    Discus illness specifics:
    I have kept discus successfully before. In Perth I had a 8x2x2 with a group of 16 discus which I kept with minimal issues from 2005-2009. These current discus were supplied by Bay fish in Queensland. When they arrived I was amazed at the quality of the discus - compared with my previous ones they were much friendlier, eating beef heart recipe from my hands on the first day, and swimming right up against the front glass without hiding when people approached the tank. Over a period of months, several of the discus became withdrawn, not wanting to feed with the others and hiding out in the upper extremities of the tank. Based on previous experiences, along with the fact that only the discus were affected (all other tank inhabitants are thriving, breeding, feeding heavily etc) I put it down to some community behavior and aggression. Over the months I have lost nearly a third of the original 25 5cm discus I received. The losses are accelerating, with two dying in the last week. I am today removing all the discus from the main tank into a 50 gallon 3ft tank for treatment.

    Syptoms:
    The affected discus are lethargic, not feeding and losing colour (although not turning black). They aren't rapid breathing, showing any visible white spot, fungus, fin rot or anything else I can identify externally.

    Here in Vanuatu, there is no LFS - so access to aquarium specific meds is limited. I have access to Sykes Big L (Levamisole), Aristopet Praziqantel tablets with Pyrantel and Oxantel (dog worming tabs), Metronidazole in a liquid form and a small amount of Nitrofurazone powder. I am planning to hit with the pyrantel tabs first, dosing the whole tank, then the levamisole a week later, then the metro and the nitrofurazone as a last resort if they haven't improved with the first steps... Can anyone suggest any changes to this plan?

    Would you consider the Oxantel and Pyrantel in the Prazi tablets safe to add into the aquarium? The tablets constitution is as follows: 100mg Praziqunatel, 1084mg Oxantel Embonate and 286mg of Pyrantel Embonate.
    Last edited by KrisR; Thu Nov 24, 2016 at 09:32 PM.

  2. #2
    Hi, I'm New Here!
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    Feb 2008
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    Melville, WA
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    Ok so quick update - I took the morning off work to catch the discus out from the display tank to the hospital tank. I have managed to get everyone out and into the 180L hospital tank. I made the decision to treat with metronidazole first. I have just now crushed up 10 400mg tablets to give the recommended 250mg/10L dose. (I measured the height of the water and based on volume its only got 160L of water in there)

    The hospital tank is set at 29-30 degrees, with an aquaclear hob filter, and using water from the display so as not to upset them with new water chemistry. I have covered the tank with styrofoam box lids and blacked out the sides with a towel. I'm assuming that since I have seen in other posts that the active time for the metronidazole is about 6-8 hours, I can take off the blackout curtain in the morning?

    This whole episode has had me absolutely devestated and feeling helpless for a long time, watching them die and not knowing how to help the situation. I barely slept last night knowing that one of the fish I had just caught and put in the hospital was probably going to be dead in the morning... which was the case unfortunately.

    How soon do you think the chronically affected fish will show signs of improvement if the treatment is successful? Are we talking tomorrow, or in a weeks time?

  3. #3
    Wrigglers
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    S.E Melbourne VIC
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    233
    welcome to the forum Kris ,i am very sorry to hear what is happening to your discus and i have felt the helplessness that you feel when they are dying and you don't know why ,let me start by saying that you are correct by choosing metro treatment in tablet form ( i have reservation in liquid form ) ,i have just started a thread in the disease section under heading of possible causes of discus fatality , i would read it , the main points are ;
    . increase the temp t0 35 c within 48 hours
    . 250 mg/10 liter metro for 12 days
    . i would add metro just before going to bed and switch off the light ,
    . no need to grind the tablet just add it to water it get dissolved in an hour.
    . 30% water change before medication with aged water
    . feed them small quantity of Australian FDBW ,put your tablets small glass of water and add the FDBW to it and 20 min later pour it in tank
    . you need an EHEIM heater to get you to 35 c
    it will take 4 -5 days to see improvement in the fish and you might loose a fish which has gone too far but soon you will get them to eat and they will turn around .
    start the heat treatment and have have good night sleep ,keep us informed .
    sayid

  4. #4
    Wrigglers
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    S.E Melbourne VIC
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    233
    please send some photos both display and hospital tank.

  5. #5
    Wrigglers
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    S.E Melbourne VIC
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    233
    Two other points i forgot to mention
    .put a couple of air stone so there is plenty of oxygen as at 35 c you need a lot of it.
    . Add one TBS of epsom salt per 40 l of water to clear their intestine preferably before metro on day one of the treatment (only once ) .
    . takenotice of the colour of their poo.
    good luck

  6. #6
    Hi, I'm New Here!
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    Feb 2008
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    Hi Sayid,
    Thanks for the additional advice. Re the epsom salts - I have some here but I've already done the first treatment, and due to administer the second dose shortly - should I do it today or forget about it? Am I supposed to change the water to remove the epsom salts at some point? Or just continue with the 30% changes as per the flagyl treatment? Also in your post you specified 12 days of metro dosing - do you mean 6 doses over those 12 days?

    Unfortunately I lost another one the morning after the first dose of flagyl. I am increasing temp slowly (1 degree every 6 hours) so as not to freak them out.

    The hospital tank - pretty utilitarian and ugly. I have added an airstone since taking this photo:


    The display:


    Some of the discus when they first arrived:



  7. #7
    Wrigglers
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    S.E Melbourne VIC
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    hi kris; i had no idea you had sand in your hospital tank ,in order for the medication to be effective you need to put the discus in another tank then,
    .take all the sand /gravel ,plant or any decor out of the hospital tank .
    . clean all the glass inside with a sponge so you have a clean tank nice and empty.
    . place your heater and a cycled sponge connected to an air pump in the tank.
    . place a thermometer in the tank. place air stone or two .
    that is it there should be nothing else in a hospital tank ,now put your water from your tank in it your hospital tank then put the discus in the h/ tank then increase the temp gradually to 35 c .
    . put the epsom salt in the tank. after 12 to 24 hours you should see lots of poo ,take notice if there are lots of white /clear poo .
    . vac the poo and w/c 30% and first course of metro , if you do this about 9 pm you don't need to cover the tank with a towel.
    . next day have a rest .
    . the day after about 9 pm vac the poo w/c 30% and second dose of metro .
    you continue and as you said rightly 6 dosage over 12 days ,
    we have to start again because metro is not effective in planted tank.
    I think i saw your plans for your house and your aquarium in another forum about 2 years ago and it was very impressive .
    good luck
    sayid
    .

  8. #8
    Hi, I'm New Here!
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    Feb 2008
    Location
    Melville, WA
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    Thanks again Sayid - I will follow your instructions. I have another tank in an adjacent room which is bare and empty, easy enough to fill it and transfer everyone across tomorrow. I don't have an air driven sponge filter though, only hobs and internal powerhead pumps, and no way to get one in the next two weeks. One question which has been on my mind - asssuming the treatment is successful and I get them healthy and hungry again, how do I prevent it happening again? Do you think they arrived already carrying the infection or contracted it from other inhabitants of the display? In that case are they just going to contract the infection again once I return them to the display tank?

  9. #9
    Wrigglers
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    Aug 2014
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    S.E Melbourne VIC
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    i don't know what you mean by hobs.
    what kind of filter do you have for that empty tank , you need some kind of media that has live good bacteria in it .

  10. #10
    Wrigglers
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    S.E Melbourne VIC
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    i think you should take one step at a time ,the first thing we should do is to try and save some of these discus ,i think your fish have got HEX ,that has happened most probably by keeping them in a planted tank with sand /gravel and not doing enough w/c i.e high nitrate level but we will deal with that later ,at this moment we need to get a a cycled filtering system to naturalized the waste that discus will produce .

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