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Discus Treatment for Internal Parasites

by Rahim Mohamed 06 Jun 2024

Treating Discus fish for internal parasites requires careful attention and specific steps to ensure the best chances of recovery. Here's a comprehensive guide to treat internal parasites in Discus fish, with a survival rate of about 75%.

Steps for Treatment

1. Maintain a Clean Environment

  • Setup: Use a bare-bottom tank with a mature and functioning biofilter. Provide a few hiding places such as a large piece of driftwood or oversized PVC fittings.
  • Cover: Ensure a good glass cover to retain heat.

2. Regulate Temperature

  • Optimal Temperature: Maintain water temperatures at 88°F (31-32°C).

3. Perform Daily Water Changes

  • Water Changes: Conduct daily 10% water changes using a Python to vacuum the floor. Continue this for 20-30 days.

4. Offer Appropriate Food

  • Feeding: Offer live black worms once a day or place freeze-dried black worms pressed on the glass.

5. Introduce Dither Fish

  • Dither Fish: Add hardy, small, non-intimidating dither fish to encourage the Discus to start feeding by stimulating their feeding instincts.

6. Salt Treatment

  • Salt: Add one level teaspoon of salt per five gallons of water. This assists in osmotic function but is not for parasite eradication, serving more as a tonic.

7. Administer Anti-Parasitic Medications

  • Medications: Use products containing Metronidazole and/or Praziquantel. Fritz makes a formula with a 30%/70% mix.
    • Feeding Medications: If the fish start eating, you can mix Metronidazole into beef heart, as it is highly effective when ingested.

8. Begin Antibiotic Therapy

  • Antibiotics: Use Kanamycin as it is less damaging to the biofilter compared to Erythromycin.
    • Food Preparation: Prepare beef heart mixed with Kanamycin for ten days. Use a scent bait like Garlic Guard to mask the bitter taste. Feed this as cubes twice a day.
    • Alternative: You can also use Kanaplex by Seachem.
    • Injection: If the fish is large enough, you may inject antibiotics directly.

9. Manage Combined Treatments

  • Sequential Treatment: If both medications need to be administered in the water column, avoid giving them simultaneously to prevent overloading the fish's kidney, especially in fasting fish.
    • Separate Therapies: Administer one routine first, followed by the other, ensuring the fish remains in isolation for at least 30 days. The total treatment duration, including daily water changes at 88°F, is 20 days (10 days per routine).

10. Reintroduce Companions

  • Post-Treatment: After treatments, once the fish show interest in food, introduce a Discus companion.
    • Behavioral Stimulation: The presence of a companion can stimulate territorial and social behaviors, encouraging the sick fish to eat and become active.
    • Normalization: Gradually lower the temperature to 82°F and then return both fish to the main display tank.

Conclusion

Treating Discus fish for internal parasites requires diligent care, precise temperature control, and appropriate use of medications. Following this treatment protocol can significantly improve the chances of recovery and help restore the health and vibrancy of your Discus fish.

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