FAQs on Discus Infectious Disease
FAQs on Discus Disease:
Discus Disease 1,
Discus Disease 2,
Discus Disease 3,
FAQs on Discus Disease by Category:
Discus = Wow! by Alesia Benedict,
Plants and Discus: What They Need To
Thrive By Alesia
Benedict, Discus Divas, Glitz,
Glam and Lots of Demands by Alesia Benedict,
Dwarf South American Cichlids,
Cichlid Fishes in General,
Related FAQs: Discus 1,
Cichlids of the World,
Discus fin rot! 6/8/10
One of my discus has what I think is fin rot just above what would be
his forehead. Part of the fin looks like it is deteriorating and has
something white on it (definitely not ich). I've quarantined him in
a ten gallon tank. I've never
had a fish with fin rot, but I don't know how else to describe what
I'm seeing, nor do I know how to treat. I've got eight discus
total. The other seven seem fine. The sick one first got my attention
because he wasn't eating.
<Hello Pat. Without a photo it's difficult to diagnose this.
Possibilities include Finrot, Mouth Fungus and Hexamita. Finrot
typically begins on the fins as bloody swellings that eventually decay
into the raggedy fins we associate with the disease. Mouth Fungus --
actually a bacterial infection also called Columnaris -- is more common
around the mouth, as you'd expect.
Distinguishing it from Finrot isn't easy, but Mouth Fungus tends to
look fibrous, hence the analogy with Fungus. Hexamita is a parasitic
infection that may or may not be responsible for Hole-in-the-Head
disease. Discus, like all cichlids, are prone to both straightforward
Hexamita infections and Hole-in-the-Head, the latter appearing as white
pits in the head that suppurate over time, releasing dead white goo.
Does this help any? Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Discus fin rot!
I don't see anything around his mouth. I also don't see any
holes anywhere (head or body). When I described the location as being
above his "forehead", I was attempting to describe the
location of the affected "fins". The affected fins are the
ones that form what sort of look like "spikes" or
"fingers". Having said that, the affected area is
approximately in the middle of this "spike" area.
<Finrot should look very distinctive. The fin membrane decays from
the outside edge inwards, so the profile of the fin becomes ragged.
Usually, the fin rays stick out beyond the receding fin membrane. You
usually see red or at least orange/white specks on the fins where blood
vessels have become congested, especially near the base of the
Now, this morning, I got out my flashlight so that I could get a real
good look at him, and to look for the red swelling you described. I no
longer see any white "fungus" looking stuff at the base of
the fins. The fins look a lot better although a little like part of
them has "melted away" ?
<Fin membranes and eventually fin rays can, will fall away as the
infection progresses. Given good water quality, a healthy diet, and if
necessary medication, fins heal back very quickly.>
The fish seems to have improved in appearance. Is this possible.
He's still not eating and I think one of the other seven isn't
eating as well.
<Stress, including social stress through bullying, can make fish
vulnerable to secondary infections. Finrot often follows on from
aggression, though that's uncommon among Discus. But with that
said, Discus can be bullies
sometimes, so keep an eye out for it.>
I had Hexamita in a couple of these guys on the 15th of last month. Do
you think it might be a recurrence?
<Doesn't sound directly related. Hexamita typically manifests
itself though white, stringy faeces, loss of overall condition, and in
some cases the appearance of "weeping" pits on the
Thank you for your help and patience with me
Discus fin rot 11/11/09
First I must thank you for your helpful site.
<Glad you enjoy.>
However, I am still facing a problem.
My discus in my 33 gallon tank are currently suffering from fin
<Do review water quality first and foremost, and also think about
any sources of physical damage, such as fin nipping, fighting, or
careless handling by the fishkeeper. These are almost always the root
The tank is a 33 gallon with 3 discus, the largest with a diameter of 5
inches, and a Raphael catfish.
<This tank could easily be overstocked, depending on the size of the
fish and how much food you're adding.>
It is a planted tank, ph 7, nitrate 40 (it never seems to change even
after water changes) and I do 2-3 20% water changes a week.
I also recently added a CO2 thing in October.
<This shouldn't in itself cause Finrot, but rapid changes in pH
can be stressful, so check this. Do also remember than biological
filtration works best at pH 7.5; as pH drops, biological filtration
works less well, and below pH 6, it stops working altogether. So if the
pH drops too far below 7, you can easily have spikes of nitrite and
I have tried using Pimafix and nothing has happened.
<Largely useless tea-tree oil remedy. Do use a proper medication,
e.g., eSHa 2000, Maracyn, etc.>
Earlier, like September I saw their fins starting to get a bit ragged,
but now they are starting to miss chunks of their fins. I am very
worried because they never got fin rot, even before in their old
of 20 gallon. What could be the cause of the loss of their fins?
Thank you, Victor
Discus Caught in a Web 9/23/05
Hi. I have recently acquired a pair of red Marlboro Discus. One of them
is having a spiders' web like thing attached to its skin at the
upper side of one of its gills. It is also distinct that it is facing
difficulty in breathing. Please help me urgently. I would appreciate if
you can email me. Thanks & regards M. Misbah < Difficult to
figure out. If it is a worm like extension then it could be treated
with Fluke-tabs or Clout. These would also treat the fish for gill
flukes that would account for the fish's rapid breathing. If it is
a mucus secreted by the discus to fight off a bacterial infection then
it could be real trouble. First do a 30% water change , vacuum the
gravel and clean the filter. These hybrid discus come down with all
kinds of strange diseases that continue to baffle some of the worlds
greatest discus experts. If possible slowly lower the pH while changing
the water. Use distilled water in a 5 gallon bucket and use a buffer to
bring the pH down to 6.5. Acidic water tends to inhibit bacterial
growth. Make sure the water temp is at least 80 to 82 F. Increase the
aeration because water has a low oxygen carrying capacity at higher
temps. Now that the tanks conditions have been optimized we can try and
treat the problem. Hopefully in a hospital tank I would recommend a
heavy duty antibiotic like Nitrofurazone.-Chuck>
Discus pH shock/Columnaris Bob, I have a
75-gallon tank, containing nine 2" to 5" discus, several
pairs of various Amazonian dwarf cichlids, a few Cory cats, a 7"
diameter Guyana stingray (humerosa), and several other small dither
fishes. All were doing well together, besides the stingray occasionally
eating one of the smaller fishes, until I recently ordered online four
(of the nine) young 2" to 3" discus, which quickly developed
Columnaris. I do at least a 25% water change twice a week. I use
a Fluval 304 and an AquaClear 500 for filtration. I have about 15
plants (mostly swords and Anubias), which I supplement with a small CO2
system. I must have taken my previously good, stable water conditions
for granted, for a day after adding the new discus I tested my pH: it
was about 5 (the test didn't go any lower). The ammonia and
nitrites remained at zero, while the nitrates hovered around .12 mg/L.
The first night using 7.4 pH tap water, conditioned of course for
chlorine and whatnot, I managed to raise the pH up to 6. The next day
the older, larger discus also developed Columnaris; I've heard it
can be quite contagious to other tankmates, or perhaps they developed
it on their own as a result of pH shock. I believe that my original
mistake was not correctly measuring the proper amount of discus buffer
(to lower pH), which sent my normal 6.5 pH plummeting. For the first
five days I treated the tank with tetracycline/hydrochloride, but the
fish showed little recovery and one of the new ones died (a red spot
green). I don't think they liked sitting in the dark all day and
night long, due to tetracycline being photo sensitive, so after three
treatments-I believe it was 200 mg (1 pill) for every 5 gallons (I
added about 13-15 pills every 1.5 to 2 days) I switched to using
erythromycin, particularly Maracyn. They are all eating frozen
bloodworms, which I provide them a feast twice a day (the stingray is a
bottomless pit that I refer to as a vacuum cleaner). After two
days of treatment using erythromycin three of the discus seem much
better, and I know they appreciate the light. The rest still look
pretty ragged. My pH is back at a stable 6.5, and I've added more
Epsom salt than I normally use and also aeration to aid in their
respiration. I'm wondering how long Columnaris typically
lasts, and when I can expect my discus to fully recover. I also am
curious about the 5-day treatment Maracyn recommends, particularly
whether I should do partial water changes between daily treatments.
Surprisingly the stingray could care less about the medicated water and
is his same mischievous self. The other fish also appear unaffected. .
. . I'd like to know your opinion of my set-up and my predicament.
I hope I provided enough information. < You first mistake was
in not quarantining your new discus. If they had been placed in a small
clean aquarium the medicating would have cheaper and more effective.
The erythromycin is a good choice for this disease, but the water
changes help your fish recover. In about a week you fish should be
better. Watch out for ammonia spikes because the medication may affect
the good bacteria that breaks down the fish waste into less toxic
nitrites and nitrates.-Chuck>
Re: Discus pH shock/Columnaris Thanks, Chuck. One
more thing: After treating my tank with tetracycline for 5 days and
erythromycin for another 8 days two of my eight remaining discus that
had already seemed on the road to full recovery are now resting at the
bottom of the tank. Their colors have darkened only slightly, and they
don't appear to have anything new wrong with them. Are there
complications for extended use of erythromycin? I've removed the
medication, but they've now stopped eating (they were eating during
the medication). Also I've been adding salt at a rate of about 1
tablespoon per 5 gallons, maybe even a little more, which I heard may
aid in their recovery. This has gone on for a couple months. Could the
salt be the reason why the discus are behaving strangely?
Something's up, my pH is 6.8, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate .6
mg/L. I don't know what the hardness is. I have some plants in the
tank as well, which seem fine. Do the fish simply need to rest for a
couple days? I've had discus refuse food for weeks and then act
normal like nothing ever happened. Any ideas? (Tank specs: 8 discus, 1
stingray, 6 Irian Jaya red rainbowfish, several bottom feeders, 100
lbs. of sand, 2 96-watt power compacts, 15 plants, CO2 yeast thingy [not cylinder], no aeration, except current
from AquaClear 500 and Fluval 304). Adam Michels < Nothing
brings discus back faster than water changes. I would do water changes
as often as I could with soft acidic water. Offer a variety of foods
and clean the filter often. They should be back at it in no