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Thread: Discus Slime Coat - Help diagnosing microscope video

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    Default Discus Slime Coat - Help diagnosing microscope video

    I'm filling out the questionnaire, to cover bases, but the meat of my inquiry is in my first reply. It's dealing with where I'm at today. I need help diagnosing what I'm seeing on the microscope.





    1. Please explain the problems with your fish. When did you notice the problems and did anything unusual happen that you think started them?


    http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showth...d-1yr-Aquarium <---Here's the full saga.

    Long story short, I switched out my substrate, then reintroduced my fish to the tank, thinking that my cannister filters were enough biofiltration that my tank would remain cycled. WRONG. My tank was cycling for 3 weeks straight, stressing out my fish. The only thing keeping it in check was fact that I did every other day 50% water changes. My fish were weak and stressed and I didn't know it. I added in new fish that had only been quarantined 12 days (more on that in the main thread, but there was a bullying issue in the quarantine tank. I should NOT have combined them. Foolish.) The whole tank crashed. 2-5ppm ammonia, and they all became gravely ill.



    2. Symptoms (i.e. turning dark, excess slime, not eating, clamped fins, flashing, darting, clamped gills, white/yellow/green poop, hiding, headstanding or tailstanding, white on tips of fins, rotting or fungus, blisters/white zits on fish, bloated, cloudy eyes, wounds).

    12 days ago: After the crash, the fish were gasping at the top of the tank. Huddled, dark if they could turn dark.
    They were mostly gasping at the top of the tank in clusters, tilting a bit. Or they would fall the substrate and lay there.
    Everyone got white patches of slime. No interest in eating, no normal swimming. I lost 3 fish in the first week.

    Today: Today all but two are eating and using the full water column. They are not dark. All but two have fins high. Two have clamped fins. (one of the two with clamped fins is eating, one of the non-eaters has high fins.) However, everyone has white slime issues.



    3. What medications/ treatments have you already tried and what were the results. Include dosage and duration of treatment.

    12 days ago I did a 7-day treatment of a combined Furan-2 and Kanaplex in the main tank. I used the recommended dosage for Furan-2, and double the bottled-instructions on Kanaplex. I replaced the meds every day after the massive water changes. For a time the fish seemed to be improving (on day 4 they looked okay) then they started looking worse. I ceased treatment on day 7 as I had already gone over the full course required, and focused instead on rebuilding my tank cycle and providing the cleanest water possible. The fish responded, and look very good except for the persistent slime issue.





    4. Tank size and ages, numbers and sizes of fish.

    165 gallons, 1 year old. However, lost cycle 4 weeks ago without realizing it.

    Originally 16 discus @ 5-7 inches. NOw 13 discus at 5-7 inches. All dither fish unaffected by illness. 12 corycats, 2 bristlenose pleco, 14 cardinal tetras, 12 nerite snails, 6 kuhli loach



    5. Water change regime (What percentage and how often).

    Prior to realization on crash, 50% M/W/F.

    After realizing I had a crash, 70% every 12-24 hours.

    Last day: 60% every 24 hours. The cycle has started, and ammonia isn't critical 24 hours later. (climbs from .25 to just under .5in that time, rather than climbing from .25 to 1.0 in 12 hours...)



    6. How long has tank been running? Is it bare bottom? If you have substrate, what type and how deep is it?


    It has been running for a year. It has 1/2 inch deep sand. 4 weeks ago I switched from 1.5 inch deep black carib sea gravel to 1/2 inch deep pool filter sand, destroying my cycle. I switched the substrate with no fish present, and reintroduced the fish after multiple 100% water changes 3 days later.


    7. Do you age your water? If you do for how long and what is the ph swing.


    I previously did not. However, with how many water changes I've had to do, I have begun to use two brute aging barrels with bubblers and heaters for 24 hours. The PH swing is negligible, from 7.2 to 7.0.




    8. Parameters and water source;

    Note: Water Parameters are important in diagnosing problems within a tank. If you don't own test kits for the following information, you can purchase them, test your parameters and post this info as soon as possible.



    - temp 82

    - ph 7.0

    - ammonia reading 0.25-0.50

    - nitrite reading 0

    - nitrate reading 10

    What type of water or combinations of water sources do you use? If it is an RO/tap/well water mix, please list percentages in the mix.


    - municipal water 100%



    9. Any new fish, plants or inverts added recently.


    Yes. 12 days ago I added 4 new discus which had only been quarantined for 12 days. They had been treated proactively with one course of prazipro and one course of levamisole for parasites. Adding them was foolish. I thought both tanks were healthy (my main tank was not cycled and I did not realize it...) and one of my fish in quarantine was being bullied nearly to death. I thought a larger school would fix the problem


    10. Please tell us what you feed your fish and how often. This can be critical information for solving the problem so be as specific as you can.

    I used to feed the discus 6 cubes of freeze dried blackworms every day, as well as an additional 3 cubes of Hans Frozen Beefheart on days when I'm going to do a water change. (So they get 6 cubes of blackworms every day, and 3 additional cubes of beefheart on M/W/F). I put in some discus flake, but they are never interested. However, the flake feeds the dither fish nicely.
    Last edited by undel; 12-01-2017 at 11:48 PM. Reason: Fixing Formatting. Also it seems i can't recycle attachments!

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    Default Re: Discus Slime Coat - Help diagnosing microscope video

    After finally getting a handle on the cycle, (it's still happening, but it's controlled now) My fish are doing much better. They have good color, most are interested in eating, and most hold their fins high. They are not hiding, they are swimming in the full water column.

    Two fish still breathe too heavily for my liking.
    Two fish have clamped fins, (one of which is one of the heavy breathers)
    Two fish won't eat (one of which is the clamped heavy breather, one of which breathes fin and has high fins)

    ALL of the fish are showing white slime coat issues in some way:

    IMG_0352.jpg
    IMG_0353.jpg
    IMG_0354.jpg
    IMG_0355.jpg
    IMG_0357.jpg
    IMG_0358.jpg


    I believe that everyone was weak and became gravely ill because of the high ammonia levels. This made them susceptible to EVERYTHING, especially the new flora brought in by the new fish. Now that the water quality is better, so is their behavior and immune systems. However, I believe something is affecting their slime coat and the gills of the two gaspers. It's already taken hold. However, the fish now seem able to fight, so I'd like to clear this up.

    I don't want to medicate blind again, so I purchased a microscope. This is what I'm seeing on the clamped-gasper fish's slime coat. I'm unsure if this is significant, or just what a slime coat looks like. I could not find any moving creatures of note:

    Video:
    https://youtu.be/niuaDkw3p2s

    Photo:
    snakeskin.jpg



    If we can figure out what this is and use the appropriate meds, great! If not, I'm content to continue with clean water if it seems possible that the fish can shake this off on their own. If the photos indicate that there's no chance of that happening, then I guess I gotta figure out what this is!
    Last edited by undel; 12-01-2017 at 11:49 PM.

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    Default Re: Discus Slime Coat - Help diagnosing microscope video

    I thought those tiny circling/spiralling dots were moving? Maybe I was looking too close.

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    Default Re: Discus Slime Coat - Help diagnosing microscope video

    If doesn't healed in next few days and bacteria spread out through out the body their scales starts to come off. And that would be your worst nightmare. If I were you, I would administer a quick PP dip and move them to QT immediately then 70% WC daily. Also make sure use aged water during QT process.

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    Default Re: Discus Slime Coat - Help diagnosing microscope video

    I'm seeing a lot of protozoa.

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    Default Re: Discus Slime Coat - Help diagnosing microscope video

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyla View Post
    I thought those tiny circling/spiralling dots were moving? Maybe I was looking too close.
    I'm going to be honest, I'm a bit at a loss as to how to read these slides. The video does have moving particles, but I couldn't get it zoomed in far enough with focus to see if those particles were just the water moving particles around as I adjusted the slide, or things that were independently moving. I felt as if they were moving in a "flow" but it's possible those were self-propelling little specs! Edit: Actually, the more that I look at the video, the more I think you're right. Those specs are critters!


    Quote Originally Posted by warblad79 View Post
    If doesn't healed in next few days and bacteria spread out through out the body their scales starts to come off. And that would be your worst nightmare. If I were you, I would administer a quick PP dip and move them to QT immediately then 70% WC daily. Also make sure use aged water during QT process.
    They've been going for 12 days so far. Their health has improved, though the slime on their sides has remained fairly consistent. Unfortunately, with 13 discus that need treatment, I have no "clean" water I can put them into after a dip that won't immediately turn foul under such a bioload, as I have no hospital tank large enough to accommodate the entire school. (I have one 29 gallon hospital tank, and one 72 gallon established planted tank, plus the 165 gallon main tank. The latter two are not sterile) Treatments that rely on a sterile environment afterword are going to be a dubious prospect for me. I need to somehow treat the main tank all at once. I could dip too, but I'm not certain it's a good idea if they go back into the main tank right away.


    Quote Originally Posted by DJW View Post
    I'm seeing a lot of protozoa.
    Kyla mentioned Chilodonella in my water quality thread. Are you familiar with looking at scrapes? Does line up with the protozoa you're seeing?

    I got this microscope, and I realize that aside from possibly velvet and columnaris (and only because I extensively googled those to some success), I don't really know what most infections will look like under a slide! Haha. :-/

    http://www.simplydiscus.com/library/...odonella.shtml This mentions that 86 degree water and salt in the aquarium can clean it up. It also mentions medications like malachite green (which should also take out a variety of other critters). I'd like to avoid meds if the heat route could be effective. Whatever will kill these little buggers and be least hard on the fish. If heat and salt will do the trick, I'm all for that. I've been keeping the heat at 82 just in case this was bacterial or fungal, as I didn't want to accelerate them.




    Thoughts on heat + salt vs heat + salt + rid ich plus (formalin + malachite green med).


    Thank you all for your help so far. I'm hoping I can save some of my little guys!
    Last edited by undel; 12-02-2017 at 04:25 AM.

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    Default Re: Discus Slime Coat - Help diagnosing microscope video

    If this is a scrape directly from the fish and not from slime that was loose in the tank, it looks likely the problem is one of the protozoan parasites. There shouldn't be that many. Old fashioned heat + salt sounds like a good idea. I would go higher than 86 degrees, more like 90F with an extra airstone. Keep an eye on them for secondary bacterial infection.

    (btw if you make another video please leave the focus knob alone..lol)

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    Default Re: Discus Slime Coat - Help diagnosing microscope video

    Quote Originally Posted by DJW View Post
    If this is a scrape directly from the fish and not from slime that was loose in the tank, it looks likely the problem is one of the protozoan parasites. There shouldn't be that many. Old fashioned heat + salt sounds like a good idea. I would go higher than 86 degrees, more like 90F with an extra airstone. Keep an eye on them for secondary bacterial infection.

    (btw if you make another video please leave the focus knob alone..lol)


    Yes, that's a scrape direct from the fish's slime coat. He was remarkably tolerant of the whole ordeal. Sorry about the focus. I wasn't sure what "level" was important to focus on, so I tried a variety hoping to catch SOMETHING that someone who had more experience would be able to find useful!


    I think 90 will be fine for the discus, but it may kill the other residents of the tank. Do you think 86 or 87 could do the trick? I believe everyone could tolerate those temps for 2 weeks and survive. 90 and I'm not so sure anymore. If 86 won't work, I could move the non-discus residents to the hospital tank and treat them with a half dose of a copper based med while the main tank cooks. (snails will likely not make it. :-/) Note: I want to prioritize the discus ahead of all the other fish. But if I can save everyone, I'd prefer to do that! The other fish are not showing symptoms of having any slime coat issues, but they could still carry critters.

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    Default Re: Discus Slime Coat - Help diagnosing microscope video

    Perhaps you could split the other fish into one of your smaller tanks and treat them there while u treat the discus in the main tank? That way you could modify their treatment. If this is protozoan, you will need to sterilize your equipment between treatments, which means running bleach+water mix through hoses and dunking nets etc in bleach+water mix.

    Once we increased our wc the protozoan infection seems to "get better" (like you are experiencing) because we were removing the zillions of freeswimmers and lessening the #s in the tank. My 2 friends did use salt dips, which seemed to benefit their discus afterwards. My friend had a teacher at the university ID chilodonella under a slide as his best guess. I successfully used clout, which was a very strong med, only after I tried PraziPro and CopperSafe which worked for a bit but it kept coming back. Midway through trying clout I realized it had been coming back because I was reinfecting my QT tank with the QT wc hose, and that my friends were doing the same thing in their tanks (by this time they had spread it to their main tanks from QT). Luckily I had a separate wc system for the QT at my place. We all bleached our hoses and finally eradicated it. It took 2 months to figure out it was a nasty little bug!!

    Whatever method you try, don't forget to bleach your equipment. I can't remember off the top f my head what the bleach + water mix ratio is, but it's def here on the forum somewhere. And after I bleached the equip I would dunk them in/ run water + safe powder thru them to neutralize any remaining bleach before I used them again cuz they never really had time to fully dry between uses.

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    Default Re: Discus Slime Coat - Help diagnosing microscope video

    If you want to use something stronger than heat/salt that doesn't involve the high temps, formalin plus malachite green is known to be effective against this kind of parasite, and would be my first choice. Quick Cure has those ingredients. It can set the biofilter back some but if you are able to do daily WCs thats ok. Paraguard is a weaker version of F&MG and is easy on the filter.

    If you take another scrape for the microscope, try pressing down a bit on the cover slip so there is less vertical space on the slide for the bugs to swim in and out of focus. Use a piece of paper towel to blot and draw off the excess water at the edge. Try to create a fairly tight space between the slide and cover slip.

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    Default Re: Discus Slime Coat - Help diagnosing microscope video

    Thank you both for your help. I'll keep you updated.

    I ended up moving the two gasping discus to the hospital tank @ 82 degrees, where they are being treated with a Formalin and Malachite Green med. They were the worst off, and so would have been the most susceptible to being taken over by secondary infections in high temperatures.

    In the main tank I've raised the temp to 87, added one tablespoon salt per 10 gallons, and have 4 bubblers going in addition to the bubbler I have behind my background. Tomorrow I'll start the lighter Paraguard medication in the main tank to help things along since I'm not hitting the full 90 degrees. My cycle is nearly back, so I don't want to use anything too strong in the main tank, but I also want to get this thing eradicated without cooking the cleanup crew and dither fish! Hopefully this compromise will accomplish both, rather than simply being a half measure and thus ineffective. =X

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    Default Re: Discus Slime Coat - Help diagnosing microscope video

    As an update, The 11 discus in the main tank are looking fantastic. High fins, eating, no more heavy breathing, and nearly all traces of slime coat issues are gone. I'm going to continue with the 60% daily water changes, heat, salt, and paraguard for another week to be sure. I'm tentatively hopeful that all of those discus are going to recover.

    The two worst-off gaspers (white pigeon and blue snakeskin) are in my hospital tank being treated with formalin and malachite green. One of them seems to be improving. Fins are high, slime coat is resolving. He does have cloudy eyes, so I believe a secondary infection is present, so I'm keeping hospital tank at 84 degrees to not accelerate it. My white pigeon in the hospital tank is not improving. Still big gasps, clamped fins, fin rot, and potentially slime coat issues (it's difficult to see on a white fish) So I'm feeling that the pigeon may not recover, but the snakeskin will.

    On a happy note, my main tank's mini cycle appears resolved. Ammonia and nitrites are at 0 again, even after 24 hours. I'm keeping up with aged water changes anyway, as the clean water will help the discus recover, and should reduce the amount of free-floating parasites. I think the seed from my established tank and the stability bottled bacteria I added aided the cycle, because all things considered, 2 weeks is really fast!
    Last edited by undel; 12-05-2017 at 09:39 PM.

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    Default Re: Discus Slime Coat - Help diagnosing microscope video

    Very glad to hear the majority of them are doing well! Fingers crossed for the ones in QT

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    Default Re: Discus Slime Coat - Help diagnosing microscope video

    I'm glad things are looking better. In the hospital tank, are you doing water changes? You can do WCs before each day's re-dose. That might help with the cloudy eyes, keeps the water cleaner.

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    Default Re: Discus Slime Coat - Help diagnosing microscope video

    I've been doing water changes on the downstairs tank. There's no cycle in it, so daily changes are a must!

    The guy with the cloudy eye actually had the cloudy eye present before he was moved to the downstairs tank. So it's been an issue ever since the crash. However, the reminder on the water changes got me thinking and yesterday I did a 100% change (rather than a 60) by moving both fish into a bucket. Paraguard had dosing instructions for doing a 1 hour dip. While I changed the water to that extreme degree and wiped down everything, I let my fish swim in a high concentration of paraguard.

    I don't know if it was timing, the dip, the 100% water change, or all of the above, but today my white pigeon's behavior has really improved. She used to gasp with both gills, now only her left one is open a bit further than I'd like. (it's improved from yesterday). The right gill is taking in water in a completely normal way. She still has fin rot, but her fins are all upright and spiky as ever! I'm tentatively hopeful that maybe I can save everyone who's still with us!
    Last edited by undel; 12-07-2017 at 04:32 AM.

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