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Hi guys,

I am writing this article as more of a warning rather than a plea for help. As some of you may have seen, I had some discus recently imported from overseas. I came home last week to discover one dead on the floor and shrugged it off (not happily) as an unfortunate fluke.

The next day I returned home at approximately 5pm to notice one of my other discus wedged behind the filter intake. My suspicion was immediately aroused as this particular discus was known to hide behind one of my pots and venture out generally only for food.

At approximately 9pm that same night, I was watching TV and was interrupted by huge crashing and splashing sound. I immediately rushed to my tanks to find the discus that had previously wedged itself behind the filter intake rushing around the tank, bumping into everything and trying to jump out of the water. I was in complete shock and went into Dr mode and immediately checked all my water parameters to find absolutely nothing wrong. N.B No new plants or fish had been introduced for at least 4 weeks.

After checking my water parameters and finding nothing wrong, I thought it best to wait until first thing the next morning to get some advice from a local discus expert / friend. Before I had a chance to even wake up I was awoken by a friend coincidently sleeping on a couch near the fish. He was banging frantically on my door saying ‘not good not good!’. I immediately rushed out to find that same discus on the floor, thankfully still alive. I managed to get him back in the tank without an issue and he didn’t seem to be too stressed. N.B I had lids tightly secured except for one small section which was being covered with a light. The fish had to have jumped so hard as to knock the light out of place and out of the tank.

I rushed down to the LFS where a friend works and as I suspected, he suggested an immediate treatment for external parasites. The treatment of choice was Cupramine. I arrived home at approximately 12pm and dosed the entire tank immediately. Several hours later the fish was dead. The cupramine treatment was continued to ensure no spread of the expected external parasites.

As mentioned, this happened approximately one week ago. Yesterday afternoon I once again heard splashing and banging in my tank and once again rushed to the tank to find yet another discus doing the same thing. I was determined to not let this fish die as it has recently shown signs of pairing off with the dominant male.

I sat at my computer for hours last night trying to find any related article with no success. Until I eventually came across this link: http://www.myfishtank.net/forum/discus- ... iscus.html

I rushed once again down to the LFS and sat with the owner (who actually shut the shop for me) for nearly an hour trying to work out what exactly it could be that is affecting this fish. We deduced that it must be an internal parasite, but we were unsure as to the behaviour the fish were displaying and why it was happening to only one fish at a time. We then concluded that it must be some sort of internal parasite that is targeting the brain of the host fish and moving on once the fish is dead.

I got home and straight away moved the discus into a quarantine tank and dosed the tank with Praziquantel. I had a feeling this would not be strong enough and due to the information given in the above article, I was not about to risk it. This morning I went down the local vet and had an appointment with an exotic vet specialising in fish and birds. I mentioned my course of action, and even she was stumped. She advised that the best thing to do would be to dose the tank with metronidazole.

I am now eagerly awaiting the results…

I hope this information helps anyone else that finds themselves in this situation. To my knowledge, it apparently only effects discus, and is very uncommon. I will update as much as possible to hopefully be able to suggest a cure to this thing.

Cheers,

Chris

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Wow Chris, quite an ordeal for all concerned - sorry for your loss.

Are you aware of the actual name for this internal parasite?

(apologies if it was the linked thread and I didn't see it)

I note that one poster had experience with this in tetra....sounds insidious at any rate.

Between your lfs and your vet, sounds like you have excellent support.

Here's hoping for a full recovery.

Keep us posted ont eh effectiveness of treatment and thanks for the heads up

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Hi Serenity,

My vet threw quite a lot of words around about what it might have been, but considering it was 8.30am and im a uni student, I could only take in so much :( lol

But I didnt get an exact name on the parasite, as she wasnt 100% sure on what it was.

She did however mention that she would be contacting several of her colleagues and would get back to me if they had any other ideas.

At any rate, I highly recommend Kessel Rd Vet, the vet was extremely helpful and extremely polite.

Thanks for the support,

Chris

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Never underestimate how dumb discus can be.

While cleaning a 6ft tank the other night one came out of the woodwork and speared itself head first into the gravel ... and stayed there with just a tail sticking out.

After a bit I thought, he's not coming out again so I pulled his tail till his head came out and he dashed off back to his woodwork as good as gold. Lucky for him the gravel was deep and soft little pebbles.

You should consider lowering your water level so the discus do not thump the glass top and give themselves severe concussions.

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9 Hours after original post

16 Hours after Metronidazole treatment

54 Hours after first signs of spasms

I truly believed that the fish had no hope when I posted my last comment. As mentioned its condition was rapidly declining to a point that it was barely breathing and floating on its side.

It first started to seem to regain its balance, however still stayed towards one top corner of the tank and remained unsteady. I just had another look at the tank and she has returned to her original hiding spot behind a log, at the bottom of the tank, breathing fine and stable. I hope this improvement continues however I will continue to update.

Rex, as mentioned in chat, I did dose with prazi but I'm am yet to dose with Big L as I have the tank currently dosed with metro. Fingers crossed it seems as though metro has helped out. I am interested to see her condition tomorrow morning and will keep updating as the day progresses.

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Hi guys, sorry for the late reply, ive been swamped with uni work.

Good news, the fish is still alive. Its condition is gradually getting better. I did a 50% water change yesterday and retreated with Metronidozole.

Chris, apart from dechlorinator do you add anything else to the water? Doesn't sound like an internal parasite, possibly an external one. Have you ever tried potassium permanganate?

Hi oz, besides using seachem prime as my dechlorinator, I add neutral regulator and a bit of acid buffer. nothing else.

I treated initially with cuprimine for external parasites, have not as of yes tried potassium permanganate.

The flip outs are still happening, but they are few and far between and the episodes last only a few seconds rather than the initial 20 seconds or so.

Cheers,

Chris

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You need to keep cupramine in the water for 14 days for it to be effective.

You probably don't need to add anything to Bris water atm for discus, just regular water changes (watching the KH). The less you put in the water the better. As rex mentioned, in this case, increasing your water changes will help a lot, especially if you are keeping them in a tank with substrate etc.

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Cheers Oz,

I do 30% daily water changes, not sure if I should crank it up to 50% for a week? thoughts?

My tap water is coming out at 7.7, so i generally try to bring it down to 7 with a bit of neutral regulator / age the water for 24 hours.

The vet did have a thorough look at the fish and seems to be sure it wasnt external parasites.

Regardless, the fish is still skittering around the tank at intervals, but as mentioned theyre getting less frequent and lasting not as long.

Cheers for the comments so far guys,

Chris

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too expensive and i dont believe anything can say that "put this in and your ph will be....." and work without adding undesirable stuff to the water at the same time, thats not really how water works.

maybe the buffers etc are the prob maybe.... if i aint wanting to breed my discus they swim in straight tap and thats it, whether it sit at 6 ph or 8 ph....... 7.7 aint bad

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Did the vet do a scrape and then put the glass slide under a microscope? I'd definately ditch everything apart from the prime. Can you test your tap water for KH, ammonia and nitrites? 30% daily is plenty. What's your water temp? Do you preheat the water before water changes? What type of filtration do you use and what size tank?

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