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Old 10-21-2008, 02:33 AM   #1
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emaciated sluggish discus and stringy white poo

a few days ago i started noticing one of my surviving discus started acting a bit sluggish. he normally has a vorcious appetite and eats anything and everything i feed the inhabitants of that tank, but now he's really fussy and appears to be emaciated. he doesn't touch the flake food, and he eats only a few bits and pieces of the frozen food. of what he does eat, usually, he takes the stuff into his mouth and spits it out.

i noticed his poo tends to be white and stringy. initially, i got freaked out because i thought he was hemoraging his colon or something.

and of course, when the poo detaches, the other fish think it's food and try to eat it, which is starting to alarm me even more. obviously, i don't want an outbreak in the tank.

the ph is about 7.2-.75
temp is 82-84F
ammonia is 0
nitrites are pretty much 0 too

the fish does get picked on, but not too often - usually when he comes too close to the other discus or angelfish.

what sort of infection, if any is it? how do i treat it, and should i start treating the entire lot considering they were chewing that stringy white poo.

i'll try and get some pictures of what it looks like. if i were to describe it. it sorta looks like a white version of frozen blood worms.

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Old 10-21-2008, 12:03 PM   #2
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I know exactly what your problem is. Your discus have internal flagellates. I actually just got done treating my tank last week but I may have to cull the discus that I was treating the tank for initially.

What size is the tank? You are going to want to treat the entire tank for this. You should raise the temperature to 92 degrees. You are also going to want to buy "metronidazole" powder. You can obtain this online if you google it or you may be able to go ask a vet to order you some. You are going to want to have a concentration of 400mg/gallon so if you have a 100g tank (such as I did) you are going to want to add 4 grams of the metronidazole into the tank. You can safely dose this 3 times per day (every 8 hours). After the first day you need to do a 50% water change and make sure that the water you add is at 92 degrees or slightly higher. YOU SHOULD DO A 50% WATER CHANGE BEFORE YOU DOSE THE TANK EACH DAY. You will need to dose for at least 5 days and keep the temperature elevated for a week before you slowly lower it again to about 86-87 (That's where I keep mine normally).

Also, you should make up some medicated food. To do this simply take a brine shrimp net and add enough frozen bloodworms until the net is about 3/4 full. Run this under hot water until the food is thawed. You can use a regular net but there is more loss, trust me I tried and it doesn't work well. With a brine shrimp net I had no loss at all. You will need about 3 of these added to a plastic containter. Drain off any excess water that you can so that the food is pretty moist, not wet. Add 2 grams of metronidazole to the food and mix together. Place the food in a smaller zipable baggie so that it is relatively thin and spread throughout the bag. Try to make it look like the 1 lb. flats of frozen bloodworms that you buy but much thinner (it freezes faster and breaks more easily when it's thin). Feed this food to your fish for the 5 day period while you treat the tank as well. The meds are more effective when eaten with food and a combo is even better. You can continue using this food for 10 days or so until you swithch them back to regular stuff. Do this and your fish will survive!
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Old 10-21-2008, 04:30 PM   #3
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nice advice. what's the bloodworm/metronidazole mix ratio? you mention 2grams of metronidazole, but to how much bloodworm weight? is this stuff gonna blitz my biological filter?
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Old 10-21-2008, 04:59 PM   #4
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It should not hurt your biofilter at all. As for the metronidazole ("metro") add 2 grams to the amount of food that I described roughly. If there are different size brine shrimp nets, I'd guess that it would be about 2 oz. of bloodworms, maybe less. The key here is to get the meds into the fish and you don't need to be extremely accurate in your measurements. For a better reference, if it helps, put 2 grams of metro in with an amount of bloodworms that would be equivalent to the size of a deck of playing cards if you made the mound of worms into a rectangular mound. HTH and good luck.
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Old 10-23-2008, 03:33 PM   #5
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here's an interesting one; i got some metro+ by hikari as my metronidazole source. on the package it says call 'em to get dosing instructions. i called, and apparently you need to dissolve it in really pure high proof grain alcohol. something like everclear is what the person recommended. what's the problem here? everclear is illegal in california last i checked. since i'm not an alcohol expert, can someone suggest something else? what's a really pure and high proof grain alcohol?
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Old 10-23-2008, 04:15 PM   #6
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Hooray for bad laws It doesn't seem like a good idea to dissolve the medicine in poison before adding it to the tank though. Why would you do that?
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Old 10-23-2008, 04:37 PM   #7
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Hooray for bad laws It doesn't seem like a good idea to dissolve the medicine in poison before adding it to the tank though. Why would you do that?
this medication doesn't dissolve in water. naturally, you have the alcohol evaporate before you feed them.

here are the directions from the PDF hikari sent me:

Quote:
Dry Medicated Feed: Start with 4 ounces (= ľ lb, 113.4 g) of dry flake, granular or pelleted feed. Place the dry feed in a suitable clean and dry container with a tight- fitting lid. A wide-mouth jelly jar will work quite well. Next, measure out 1 tablespoonful of Metro+™. Mix the dry feed and medication thoroughly by gently stirring or by closing the container and vigorously shaking it. Next, add exactly 1 fl.oz. (~30 mL) of 190į (190-proof) grain alcohol to the container while gently mixing. Next, close the container and shake it vigorously to insure that the feed and medication are intimately mixed. Examine the mixture1 to make sure it has been well mixed and all ingredients have been wetted by the alcohol. Finally, open the container and allow the alcohol to evaporate completely (this may take 24 hours or more). Heating the container by placing it in a container of hot water will accelerate the drying process. Do not allow water to splash into the mixture. Do not microwave the wet mixture! Store the dry medicated feed in this container. To insure its freshness between uses it is best to refrig- erate the container, but always allow the container to warm to room temperature before opening to prevent moisture from condensing on the feed mixture. Discard any medicated feed mixture that acquires a mould growth. 1 CAUTION: Do not perform this procedure around an open flame or other source of ignition; alcohol fumes are highly explosive.
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Old 10-23-2008, 06:38 PM   #8
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If you got metronidazole it will dissolve in tap water. I just did this many times and it works extremely well and fast. I simply ran the tap water until it was hot. Then I got a small container and filled it with water. Next I added metro to it and stirred. I used tablets and they usually dissolved with stirring in 2-3 mins or less. Metro plus may be different though.
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Old 10-24-2008, 03:57 PM   #9
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I guess I didn't understand the alcohol was for the food, after I read the post about dosing the medication in the water.

It's unlikely that there's anything special about grain alcohol as opposed to isopropanol. They are chemically similar and should have all the properties you need. It should dissolve the medication just about as efficiently, and will evaporate slightly faster. Best of all, you can get a 99% pure solution at any drug store (usually called isopropyl or rubbing alcohol). It won't leave any residue, which is the main thing you would be concerned about.
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Old 10-24-2008, 11:56 PM   #10
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isopropanol vs ethanol. hmm... i've never heard about the two being used interchangeably.

i'll read up on it.

just curious, do fish recover by themselves? the discus is a bit more active.
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Old 10-25-2008, 12:30 AM   #11
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Fish can recover by themselves but most of the time the fish will get sick again shortly so it's best to treat the tank and it's occupants. Not only that, but the sick fish will most likely be stunted as it won't be growing during this time as it won't be eating much if at all. This leads to poor shape and you will get large eyed discus with small football shaped bodies which are undesireable in discus.

Woodgrain alcohol is methanol, and it's similar to isopropanol. Similar in that I wouldn't use either of them in my discus' food. Methanol and isopropanol are also similar in that they can cause blindness in people, the same reason I wouldn't use it in my fish food. Ethanol is the alcohol found in alcoholic beverages and is commonly called grain alcohol.
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Old 10-25-2008, 08:21 AM   #12
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I doubt you'll find anything written on it. It's not something I had heard of either, it just makes sense because of the chemical similarity and low cost of isopropanol (should be about $1 a pint). Most likely nobody ever tried it before since it's known to be much more poisonous than ethanol, but you're evaporating it anyway so it doesn't matter.

Fish can recover by themselves. If they never did, all the fish diseases would have died out along with the fish they infected long ago. Given good water quality and a minimum of other stress factors, if the fish wasn't too sick then it could certainly improve. A stomach parasite is less likely than a bacterial infection to be completely eliminated by the host's immune system though, since it's less exposed to immune responses by not being present in the bloodstream. I would still use the treatment if I were you.
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Old 10-25-2008, 08:48 AM   #13
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Fish can recover by themselves. If they never did, all the fish diseases would have died out along with the fish they infected long ago.
That's not a true statement. What about tapeworms? They leave the host as soon as the host is too weak to support them and they search for a healthy fish to infect. After the new host becomes too weak they move on to the next host and so on. Nearly all of the time the unhealthy fish will die from being too weak and they won't eat or they will die from predation. Also, many bacteria aren't specific to JUST fish and they can infect many different species so if all of the fish died they'd find other hosts.
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Old 10-25-2008, 04:41 PM   #14
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any ideas on how ethanol would affect fish? 190 proof is everclear territory. i really don't know where to get such high proof grain alcohol in california.

i'm just gonna try mixing the stuff with the bloodworms. hopefully, once the medication is in the system, the discus's digestive process will metabolize the medication.

i'm really wary about adding 95% pure ethanol to fish food even if it does evaporate. people i've seen rarely tollerate a single shot of everclear. i have no idea what'll happen to a fish if there's even a trace amount of this stuff in the food.
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Old 10-25-2008, 08:46 PM   #15
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It's definitely poisonous, but if you heat it to boiling there won't be any left. It boils around 170 F so if you put the container in a water bath until the water just begins to form bubbles at the bottom you can be sure there's no alcohol left.

I agree with you though. I would definitely try getting it into the food with just water first.
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Old 10-26-2008, 12:44 AM   #16
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Just wondering why you are still wasting time and haven't medicated yet? You should medicate as soon as you know something like this is wrong to give the fish the best possible chance of survival. I told you that you can dissolve it directly into the water but for some reason you haven't done this yet. Quite wasting time and go treat your tank! Once it's in the tank THEN you can worry about how you can get it into the food. Until then, run the course of metro+ in your tank at 400mg/10gallons and bump that temp up to 92 if it will go that high. Metro is more effective at that temp.
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Old 10-26-2008, 05:35 AM   #17
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alright done. i took a small amount of metro+ and mixed it with some thawed-out frozen food. visibly, it seemed to mix. i'm sure there's truth to hikari's instructons though.

i also put the metro+ into the water. i'll have to get another bottle of the stuff in 3 days. hopefully, i'll see improvement by then.
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Old 10-26-2008, 07:26 AM   #18
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A single discus in a tank with other species is under extreme stress. Discus are shoaling species and need the company other discus to shoal with. This is especially true if the fish is a juvenile. Even a healthy discus will succumb to a variety of illnesses if kept too long at temps under 84 degrees.

It's always a good idea for a discus keeper to have a hospital tank and a seeded sponge filter ready for medicating. It saves on the expense of medicating, plus you're going to have to change alot of water daily. The real issue here is the heat. I've been successful treating discus with just 5 or 6 days at 92 degrees. If you've caught it early enough, the heat alone will cure the fish, and the metro (without the heat), will not work on a discus.
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Old 02-14-2009, 05:30 PM   #19
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metro medication info

I noticed this thread and I have an experience to share regarding metro added to spectrum pellets using Hikari's instructions:

I followed Hikari's instructions and allowed the pellets to air dry for about 30 hours (placed the container in hot, but not boiling water, for about 1 hour to help the evaporation). I fed the pellets to my fish and they eagerly ate them as usual. I was targeting a juvenile emperor angel with hole in the head disease. I noticed about 10 minutes later that my 12 inch long Naso tang was laying on the bottom of the tank with gills moving about 1 time per 4 seconds. I quickly got him out for fear of the other fish picking on him (this is a fish only tank and some are a little mean and fairly large-600 gallon tank).

Put him in a quarantine tank and he recovered within 30 minutes and seems fine now. The other fish, all of which are smaller than the Naso, showed no such signs or symptom or acted funny in any way. Point is, just be very wary about this as I guess that species is especially susceptible to the everclear (I thought it was completely evaporated but I guess not-pellets were completely dry). I have since been adding the metro to life line frozen cubes and other somewhat wet food. Only been treating for 2 days now, so we will see.

I can't catch the emperor because he is too fast and otherwise acting normal, and removing 650 lbs of live rock to get him out would be tough in a 600 gallon tank. And it is a little hard to treat the water with metro when dealing with 600 gallons. So I pretty much have to add it to food. I know it was the everclear because the Naso has not shown any untoward signs when eating the medicated frozen cubes.

I do think it is interesting how you can mix this stuff directly in your tank water, but Hikari doesn't give any recommendation to mix it with some volume of water and then mixing that water with your food to "medicate" the food. If it will "disolve" in your tank water as a direct additive, it should disolve in some smaller volume of water when using a smaller amount of the drug. And then you can soak your food in that mixture.

Just thought I would let everyone know about that experience so no one else went through that. I love my Naso. He is perfect in color and everything.

Steve
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