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Thread: Giving up hope

  1. #1
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    Default Giving up hope

    Hi all,

    This is my first post here so apologies if I'm asking the same question again. I've been trawling the internet for months but I've been unable to cure my most beautiful discus and I'm just about to give up hope.

    Around 6 months ago, the 'boss' of the tank (and part of a breeding pair) started to lose colour. At first, I blamed my husbandry and upped the water changes, got the nitrates right down and did regular testing. All parameters have remained the same: Ammonia and Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10, PH 6.8, temp 30 degrees. It is an ex-community tank so I have some random tetras left over and a few plecos. Planted. Sand substrate.

    Then the white/clear poop started, so I immediately treated for Hex. I'm in the UK so no metro here unfortunately, but I have tried the two types of treatment we do have: Waterlife Octazin and ESHA Labs Hexmita treatment, but to no avail. As this started 6 months ago, I have treated 4 times since then as all the symptoms suggest Hex. The only difference is that the discus is still eating and appears to be constantly hungry, so I tried Prazi for tapeworm. Two treatments later, and nothing. Now, as my last resort, I've just tried Levamisole for Capillaria. All my discus have now clamped their fins, not eating, slowly swishing their tails and looking generally miserable. I left it for 24 hours, did a 50% water change and used carbon to filter out the rest of the treatment. Now I've just seen a load more stringy clear mucus from the original diseased discus. Who is now, after 6 months, extremely emaciated and very dark.

    My questions are: Does the presence of more mucus poo mean treatment has failed? Or is this a good sign? Also, how long does it take for the fish to come round and start feeding/acting normal again? And, if the treatment has failed, does anyone have anymore suggestions, or is it time to let nature take it's course? :-(

    Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by Spacecloud; 02-05-2022 at 04:31 PM.

  2. #2
    Administrator jeep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Giving up hope

    Welcome to Simply!

    Can you show us a photo of the fish?

    It sounds like you've done a lot to cure it. I suggest you locate a microscope and examine the feces to see if you can find out exactly what you're dealing with. I've seen some people using fairly inexpensive microscopes that attach to your cell phone and provide excellent magnification. Capillaria can be tricky to deal with but it often make the fish lose appetite. Hex can do the same thing. Tapeworms will bake the fish lose color and weight but it can act like it's starving, just as you describe. Did you use pure prazi or prazi pro?Prazi pro is a fairly weak concentration so you can double the dose. Pure prazi is not water soluble and must be dissolved in vodka or acetone. If it's tapeworms you'll see results fairly quickly.

    In the short term, I suggest to turn the heat up to 93f - 34c and add 2-3 tablespoons regular salt per 10 gallons for 10-14 days. Replace the salt removed during water changes. If it's hex you're dealing with, the heat can be as effective as metro in many cases. If successful, may not see positive results for another 10 days after treatment...

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Giving up hope

    Just realised there's a questionnaire:

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

    Darkening of colour, emaciation, stringy white or clear poop. Still eating.
    Changed from gravel to sand substrate. I think the tank did a mini cycle.

    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).

    See above.


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

    Octozin (dimetridazole)
    Esha Hexmita (Copper sulphate Ethacridine lactate Acriflavine Methylene blue)
    Esha GDEX (Praziquantel)
    Esha NDX (Levamisole)

    There is no access to Metronidazole in the UK :-(


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

    240 litre. 4 discus, 2 cardinal tetras, 1 bristlenose pleco and 2 clown plecs, 1 khuli loach. It's an ex community tank over 10 years old. Started keeping discus 3 years ago, just letting the tetras and loach live out their days with them.


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

    10% every other day. 50% once a week


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

    Over 10 years. Was gravel but changed to sand substrate, large anubius plant still surviving from the community days.


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

    No, just dechlorinator. PH remains around 6.8. I have a lot of bog wood.


    8. What type/brand water conditioner do you use? Do you add it to the tank or aging barrel? How much do you use?

    Tetra bio-active plus OR Stress Coat


    9. Parameters and water source;

    Ammonia and Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10, PH 6.8, temp 30 degrees c
    Tap water. But discus were fine for 3 years and breeding.


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

    No


    11. 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.

    Frozen beef/turkey heart, black and white worms, discus flake, tetra discus prima

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Giving up hope

    Thank you. Just worried about the plecos when turning heat up. I guess that's the problem with having other fish as well!
    Just looked up PraziPro but it doesn't look like that's available in the UK either. I've used Esha GDEX which appears to the the UK alternative. Would tapeworms cause clear mucus poop?
    Many thanks.

  5. #5
    Administrator jeep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Giving up hope

    I'm really not sure, but there could be a secondary infection. Capillaria will produce a mucus type feces, hex will produce white stringy feces and round worms will produce a yellowish mucus feces.

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    Default Re: Giving up hope

    Someone from the UK said Esha is pretty weak stuff. He recommends Octozin by waterlife or Octocil by Manaus for hex.

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    Default Re: Giving up hope

    Manaus Aquarium Octocil in the U.K.

    The combination of active ingredients is stabilized by a special process and thus optimally reaches the fish in the treated water. Octocil effectively removes intestinal flagellates and flagellates in the blood from your fish through the systemic action of the drug. Cichlids, especially discus fish and angelfish, can be massively attacked in the intestines by flagellates such as Cryptobia, Hexamita, Spironucleus and Trichomonas. Intestinal flagellates are parasites and remove nutrients from the intestines of the host animal (fish) and consequently lead to inflammatory processes and changes in the fish intestine.
    https://www.aquasnack.co.uk/product/...arium-octocil/
    Grasshopper
    Francis

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    Default Re: Giving up hope

    I've been thinking roundworms or tapeworms. I've talked with a couple other people, including Francis, and I believe your discus may have roundworms, although it's hard to tell without a microscope.

    I would make sure it is rested between meds for a week - 10 days and treat again with levamisole. Levamisole is not a single treatment and the dosing should not be done in a planted tank. It does not kill the worm, it paralyzes the worm and it's then live worms and their eggs are expelled and then can be reingested. I would treat with epsom salts during treatment to help expel the gut. It can be an endless cycle.

    1. Place the fish in a hospital tank.
    2. Treat with levamisole as a 24 hour bath. Keep lights off. After 24 hours, scrub every surface of the tank and do a 50% water change.
    3. Let the fish rest for a week and repeat #2.
    4. Let the fish rest for a week and repeat #2.

    This is a total of a 3 week process...

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Giving up hope

    Quote Originally Posted by seanyuki View Post
    Manaus Aquarium Octocil in the U.K.

    The combination of active ingredients is stabilized by a special process and thus optimally reaches the fish in the treated water. Octocil effectively removes intestinal flagellates and flagellates in the blood from your fish through the systemic action of the drug. Cichlids, especially discus fish and angelfish, can be massively attacked in the intestines by flagellates such as Cryptobia, Hexamita, Spironucleus and Trichomonas. Intestinal flagellates are parasites and remove nutrients from the intestines of the host animal (fish) and consequently lead to inflammatory processes and changes in the fish intestine.
    https://www.aquasnack.co.uk/product/...arium-octocil/
    Thank you, I'll look this treatment up.

    Someone from the UK said Esha is pretty weak stuff. He recommends Octozin by waterlife or Octocil by Manaus for hex
    I agree, Octozin was my first choice before Esha. I've had Hex in the tank before and Octozin sorted it with just one treatment, which is why I'm pretty sure it's not Hex I'm dealing with this time.

    I've been thinking roundworms or tapeworms. I've talked with a couple other people, including Francis, and I believe your discus may have roundworms, although it's hard to tell without a microscope.
    I agree with roundworms. I'm thinking 'Capillaria' as it would explain the mucus poop. It is clear mucus now, I've had some out the tank to try to see whether it is some sort of worm but it is just jelly like mucus. A microscope would be very useful right now!

    Today is day 2 after the 24 hour treatment and the 'healthy' discus are pretty much back to normal. The sick discus is in the corner of the tank looking pretty lifeless, although he did come to the front briefly when food arrived, so I'm thinking it's a good sign he's at least interested. I actually hope it is roundworms now as at least I know I've administered the right treatment, just hope I didn't wait too late.
    Thanks for the advice, I'll keep going with the treatments.

    - Just noticed you mentioned not to dose in a planted tank. Do you know why this is? Unfortunately, I don't have a hospital tank so it's already been done in the main tank.
    Last edited by Spacecloud; 02-06-2022 at 03:46 PM. Reason: Add extra

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Giving up hope

    - Just noticed you mentioned not to dose in a planted tank. Do you know why this is? Unfortunately, I don't have a hospital tank so it's already been done in the main tank.
    Because you are not treating with a med that kills the worms, they are paralyzed. In a tank with substrate, the live worms and their eggs will fall to the bottom and live in the substrate. Discus are active bottom feeders and will ingest the worms or their eggs and continue the cycle...

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    Default Re: Giving up hope

    Ah OK. Keeping Discus really is a learning curve. On hindsight I wish I'd gone for a bare bottom, minimally planted tank like most people seem to have. Maybe, if I can get these back to full health, I will consider changing it.

    The sick discus fed again today, which is a good sign. But now I've noticed he has hole in the head. It's never ending! The negative side of me is wondering if this really is a horrific, un-treatable case of Hexmita after all. But the positive side of me is hoping it's just a stress response to roundworms and if treatment is successful, I can try Octozin again.

    Ahhhh, this is so stressful!
    Last edited by Spacecloud; 02-07-2022 at 04:02 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Giving up hope

    In case anyone reads this, I've found out the problem with my aquarium was a faulty PH reader. I tested the PH separately and it came up as 7.8! Bought a new reader and got the same result. Poor discus! The PH in my old, established tank, was naturally low at 6.8. I've since found out these PH readers that stick to the glass have a limited life and it must've been stuck on an old reading. Since changing tanks, the PH has risen and now I'm in the process of bringing it down chemically, and the fish are looking much better.
    I completed the Levimisole treatment as well, as I'd already started so I'm hopeful, once the PH has dropped (slow process), a treatment of Octozin will clear up any remaining illness. Fingers crossed!
    Lesson learned, always do fresh PH tests 😵

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Giving up hope

    Interesting, not sure the pH is the problem. Many hybrid discus are brought up in much more alkaline water than wild discus. My pH from the tap is 7.8 and it’s no problem. Large pH swings with water changes can be problematic though.

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