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How to Cure Discus Fish Diseases

Return To: What to Feed Discus Fish

 Discus fish are beautiful, vividly colored fish that are a great addition to an aquarium. Keepers of discus fish are well aware that their water must be kept clean and at specific parameters for temperature, and pH levels. In addition to their sensitivity to their habitat, they are also delicate in nature, making them more susceptible to disease than hardier species of fish. There are a number of both internal and external discus fish diseases to be aware of if you are keeping discus fish. I will touch on the external diseases which are more devastating to all tropical fish keeping.

Fungal and Bacterial Infections

One of the most common discus fish diseases is a fungal infection. Fungal spores in your aquarium can attach to a break in the discus fish’s skin; breaks occur from minor injuries and parasites. You will be able to see the fungus on the skin of your discus, as it appears as a cottony substance at the break site on the skin. If not treated, the fungal infection can kill your discus. I find that antibiotics like Triple Sulpha or Tetracycline works best for these cottony patches of fungus and bacterial infections like fin rot.

Protozoan Disease also known as Discus Plague

Protozoan parasites are one of the deadliest discus fish diseases. The wounds caused to the skin by the parasite allow bacteria to enter. You are now dealing with multiple issues and drastic treatment is necessary. Symptoms begin with the discus fish rubbing against objects trying to scrap off the parasite. Once the parasite gets a foothold the discus fish will start to clamp their fins, turn dark and secrete excess slime tying to shed off the parasite. Other symptoms include huddling together, jerky swimming motions and not eating. If caught early treatment can cure the fish in 3 to 4 days, but if left untreated then a longer treatment period is needed to reach a cure or death of the discus fish, sometime 10 to 15 days, so it’s important to catch and treat early. Treatments which will cure this are Quick-Cure, Acriflavine and Clout for the parasites and Triple Sulpha and tetracycline for the bacterial infection. You can use any one of the anti- parasitics with any one of the anti-bacterial medications. Treat every day with 30% water changes until cured. Parasites which cause this disease include Oodinium, Chilodenella, Costia and Ich.

Body Ulcer Disease

Another of the most deadly discus fish diseases is body ulcer disease. This disease is caused by a protozoan, and it causes red open body sores on the side of the fish. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, weakness, a decrease in activity, and swollen gills. Ulcer disease spreads very quickly through an aquarium, and it is fatal if not immediately treated. I have fond the best treatment for this is a 20 minute 1/8 Teaspoon to 4 gallons water Potassium Permanganate dip followed up with Acriflavine and tetracycline in the tank after the dip.

Important note;

When medicating, lowing the PH will increase the potency of all medication which is helpful to cure the discus fish quickly.

Learn More; Treating Internal Discus Fish Disease