Discus Diseases and their Treatment Methodspearls7_discus
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, etc.
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 afterward.
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.
- Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate) – for gastrointestinal bloating or before treatment of internal parasites. We usually use 1 Tablespoon/10 gallon. Works within 24 hrs. We repeat treatment for two more days if no results. Fish will start eating like mad after treatment.
- Quick Cure (Formalin, Malachite green) or 37% Formalin alone– or any common medication with same chemicals. Just follow directions from bottle. We use them to treat external protozoan parasites, gill flukes, Costia, and Trichondina.
- Methylene Blue – Use for fungal infections and ick. Also add to breeding fish to prevent fungal infection on discus eggs.
- Praziquantel- Excellent medication for flukes and internal parasites (capillaria,etc). We have more success with this med and less side effects than Flubendazole, Piperazine or Albenazole. We pretreat with Epsom salt first to clean the GI tracts of fish. Praziquantel is not very water soluble. Therefore, we use a blender to dissolve them with water. Other hobbyists have used acetone to dissolve praziquantel. Dosage is 10 mg/gallon. One dose is effective for seven days. No water change is done during this time. Usually a second treatment is needed after seven days to prevent reinfection by dormant cysts/eggs.
- Metronidazole – Used for protozoan internal parasites (i.e.Cryptobia,Hexamita,etc.) Also excellent antibiotic for gram negative bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract infections. With metronidazole, we mix them in small amounts of water. Then we soak them in dry foods (i.e. Tetra Colorbits, Hikari discus, etc.) Wait ten minutes until drug has soak into food before feeding. Again, we pretreat with Epsom salt 24 hrs before metronidazole 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).