FAQs on Oscar Parasitic
Related Articles: Freshwater
Spot Disease, Freshwater
Medications, Oscars, Neotropical Cichlids,
Dwarf South American
Cichlids, Cichlid Fishes
Related FAQs: Oscar Disease 1, Oscar Disease 2, Oscar Disease 3, Oscar Disease 4, Oscar Disease 5, Oscar Disease 6, Oscar Disease 7, Oscar Disease 8, Oscar Disease 9, Oscar Disease 10, Oscar Disease 11,
FAQs on Oscar Disease by Category: Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Infectious, Genetic, Treatments, & Cichlid Disease 1,
Cichlid Disease 2,
Oscars 1, Oscars 2, Oscar
Identification, Oscar Selection, Oscar Compatibility,
Reproduction, Neotropical Cichlids 1,
Cichlids of the
Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility,
Oscars and Hexamita 1/31/17
Hello, i have had so much of a problem with Oscars and i hear they are
supposedly hearty fish.
<Sort of. While they're big, they're also notoriously sensitive to water
quality. This is true for most big cichlids. Virtually all problems with
Oscars come down to poor environment or poor diet. Often a combination
I used to have 2, 3 inch Oscars one was a black and red tiger Oscar and
the other is an albino.
<Used to have...? What happened to them...?>
I have/had them in a large hexagonal tank, when i got the tank i didn't
know how many gallons it was cause it was donated to me. So, i took
measurements of it and found out its a 20 gallon even though it looks
bigger than just 20 gallons.
<Regardless of appearances, 20 gallons is MUCH TOO SMALL even
for three inch long Oscars. Once they get past the "fry" stage,
Oscars are jumbo fish. I'd be looking at 55 gallons, minimum, for
juvenile Oscars; adults
should be provided with at least twice that.>
Last spring i got the Oscars to fill the tank and i love them very much
except a couple weeks after i got the Oscars the tiger Oscar (his name
was Julius Caesar) developed Hexamita on his left gill that just kept
going and going until it ate down his lateral line and completely
through his tail.
<Absolutely typical reaction to poor environment. Now,
the thing here is that while everyone focuses on ammonia and nitrite
(with an "i"), with cichlids, nitrate (with an "a") is the silent
killer. Cichlids are extremely sensitive to nitrate. Because Oscars are
big, greedy feeders the nitrate level in their tanks can go up very
quickly. Anything above 20 mg/l
is stressful, and anything above 40 mg/l will make them sick. A big tank
dilutes nitrate, while substantial weekly water changes removes
It infested his jaw so bad that when he died he didn't have a lower jaw
left, i felt so bad for that fish. When i went to my very informed fish
store owner who has had and sold fish for more than 20 years he
recommended to me that i use Metronidazole, it was MetroPlex by SeaChem.
a little bit in a bottle for 16 crappy dollars that didn't do anything
to help my poor Julius.
<Metronidazole is the correct medication. However, it will not do
anything if the environment is wrong. It's kind of like trying
to treat someone for burns without pulling him out of the fire.>
I treated that fish just about the entire time i had him. Up until about
two weeks before he died (this went on for 6 months) he had a healthy
appetite, had bright colors, wasn't swimming around erratically and
bumping into the tank out side of the regular symptom of Hexamita where
they will swim backwards or lay on their side and he would only use the
one effected gill sometimes.
Some days id wake up and look at him and he wouldn't use it at all and
then the next day he would be using it again. I did regular water
changes and gravel vacs i tried MelaFix and PimaFix both were completely
<In this situation, yes, useless.>
but i ended up using all of it anyway because it seemed to help with
their gill flapping a little bit , the store owner recommended to me
that i separate the fish because they would contaminate each other, and
i used the MetroPlex and Metronidazole treated food except none of it
made the one Oscar better. I didn't have the space to separate them so i
just kept them together instead of getting rid of the other one because
i figured treating them both would help keep the other from getting
infected also (i am too attached to these fish) but the albino Oscar
never showed any symptoms or
had any problems.
<Oscars are inbred now, and there is variation among strains, some being
tougher than others. Luck comes into play too, and being territorial,
non-sociable fish, dominant fish will stress other fish kept with them,
weakening their immune systems. So one fish getting sick while another
stays healthy isn't unusual.>
He wasn't getting the hex his fins were nice he is bright and active all
the time never had any Finrot or PopEye or constipation always has a
good appetite. Except now he has been alone in the hexagon tank since
2016 and its now January. I stopped the treatment of Julius two weeks
before he died because he stopped eating completely the medicine wasn't
helping and i didn't have the stomach to euthanize him myself, i cant
handle killing with my own hand.
The week he died i was sick home from school and i remember watching him
lay on the bottom and his gills just stopped flapping so i took him
outside a buried him with a little gravestone and a small tree.
However now the last day of January 2017 i noticed the albino Oscar has
similar Hexamita pits by his but hole on his side and some very small
holes on his head, they look different like somebody took a pencil and
poked holes clean through my Oscars head, they aren't sores they're
holes. He still has a good appetite. And looks/acts well, i removed the
common Pleco and all the tank decor a week ago because i though they
might be the source of my Oscars wounds, but the wounds haven't gotten
better only bigger.
<You should not be keeping Oscars and Plecs together, certainly not in
such a small tank. Plecs add substantially to water quality problems,
and in some cases they will scrape at the mucous from large cichlids,
causing physical damage and stressing the fish.>
Iv been doing small gravel vacs and water changes every couple of days.
Not a 30% change but just a jug that i had it take about 5% of the water
out and i just fill that with whatever i can get from the gravel every
day or two.i feed my Oscars what ever fish food i have, i don't have a
scheduled and marked calendar diet for them but they get a variety of
food that being frozen brine shrimp, baby brine shrimp, live brine
shrimp, krill, very little bloodworms, Hikari cichlid gold pellets,
metro soaked pellets, wax worms, crickets, and sometimes flake food, and
peas once in a while, I gave them
some cooked tilapia once too but it was a long time ago and im going out
today to get him some live black worms and some ghost shrimp. I use test
strips to test the water, ammonia and nitrites are always at 0 ph is 7,
the water that runs from my tap is hard water but it has no chlorine.
<The fundamentals of the way you're keeping this fish are right, but I
fear tank size is the killer here.>
The water is a little more alkaline than it is acidic, its was at 7.6
that last time i tested except i lost my job and have no more test
strips so i have no idea where its as of this very moment The nitrates
fluctuate a lot sometimes i find they are really high(which i then do a
larger water change) and sometimes i find they'll be really low.
<See above why this matters.>
To put it at an average id say about 25-30 ppm. I have a 40 gal filter
on it that has carbon filter pads in it (i would remove the carbon when
treating my Oscars) and a light, i live in a very warm room and between
the light and my room warmth with the sun by my window anytime i put my
fingers in the tank the water is comfortably warm.
<Oscars are tropical fish, and exposure to low temperatures is quickly
lethal. Anything below 22 C/72 F should be treated as dangerously low.>
I have an air stone that i rotate between my 5 gal my 10 gal my 2, 20
gals and a 75 gal that houses two very large jack Dempseys i have had
fish for 4 years now and all of my tanks are established through the
Please help the fish store owner got stumped and told me i should
euthanize Julius before he died and now my last Oscar is starting to get
sick and i don't know what to do cause iv started using the metro soaked
food and the sores on my albino are only getting bigger with every dose
just like Julius had and i don't want to lose my Oscar. He is the light
of my bedroom i fall asleep every night watching him swim.
<The 75 gallon tank is where the Oscars need to be!>
Could it be something wrong with the tank?
<Yes; it's too small.>
Is it possible Hexamita can be a genetic thing?
<Nope. Nitrate above 20 mg/l is a problem, and unless you're
doing daily water changes, it's unlikely you can keep nitrate that low
with one or two Oscar juveniles in a 20 gallon tank. Cheers,
re: Oscars and Hexamita 2/3/17
Thank you Neale for your advice.
Ill put the Oscar in with the jack Dempseys and see how they get along
<Wouldn't hold out much hope here. Adult JDs can/will pulverise juvenile
Oscars if they feel their territory is being encroached. Oscars are not
really "fighters" outside of breeding, whereas JDs can be extremely
territorial. Not always, but often. I'd be watching these fish very
carefully. I'd remove the JDs first, rearrange the tank so territories
broken up, add the Oscars, turn the lights out, leave it like that for
half an hour at least, then re-introduce the JDs. Standard operating
practise with territorial cichlids, really.>
and if they don't like each other ill get him a bigger tank
<Do suspect this is on the cards; I'd start looking now! Cheers, Neale.>
Strange Oscar Problem. 3/4/16
Hello, I have a Red Oscar in a 70 gallon aquarium, he recently developed
a weird skin condition that looks almost like he was rolled around in
salt. It doesn't look like any aquarium disease that I have ever
before. The strangest part is that his behaviors haven't changed much if
at all. He will still eat just as much and he is not lethargic at all,
especially when he is running away from his tank mate. Any help would be
<Whitespot/Ick or Velvet. Find a medication for these and treat
accordingly. Remember to remove carbon before using any medication.
FWIW, Whitespot/Ick tends to look like salt grains, Velvet more like
sugar, often with a golden sheen. Both usually follow on after adding a
new tankmate, which includes feeders (which you shouldn't be using, and
hope aren't, but it's worth mentioning just in case). Cheers, Neale.>
Sick Oscars, feeders...
We have two Oscars. One is a Tiger Oscar the other is an Albino
Tiger Oscar. They are both about 6 months old. We got them
at the same time, when they were about the size of a quarter each.
They have been absolutely fine and we love them. We have a 90
gallon tank and we keep it impeccably clean! Nitrates - 0,
<Do you mean nitrites? With an "I"? Nitrates, NO3... are, what?>
Ammonia - 0, PH good. We vacuum their poop out every weekend and I
check water quality daily with test strips. Last weekend we did
the normal gravel clean and poop vacuuming and adding of new fresh
We did remove two coral decorations, as they Oscars are getting larger
and they are skinning themselves on it while attempting to chase
<Aye yi, yi... VERY dangerous to feed such... these are assured vectors
of infectious and parasitic diseases. Read here:
Sunday night when I turned on the room light, the fish thrashed and
flipped and flopped and went crazy in the tank. They scrapped
themselves on the gravel and knocked large hunks out of their heads!
I went to the aquarium and looked at them and I thought they were
sleeping, because they have a dazed look. I shut off light and
left them alone. Next morning, they did the same thing! I
checked the quality of the water and it checked perfect, as always.
We went to work. Husband came home and noon to check on them and
said they seemed lethargic, so he gave them a few feeders
and put one of the coral formations back in the tank, thinking that they
missed it and were throwing a fit (???). Monday when we got home
from work, they seemed better, but hiding behind the coral formation.
I again checked the water and it was great. Temperature about 78
degrees. Last night in the middle of the night, it was dark in the
house, I turned on the room light and they did it again! Thrashed
around, splashed water all over, thrashed around like having
convulsions. I do not know what is wrong with them! I called
my local pet stores / aquarium store and investigated online. All
stories relate to problems with water. That is not an issue here.
Could it be the feeder fish?
We got a fresh batch on Sunday and the crazy symptoms started then.
The feeders seems very healthy.
<They are not. I am an old timey fish health/pathology speaker/presenter
at college workshops... and have used "feeders" for decades as stock
dissection specimens... they always have substantial pathogen loads>
Their water is checked constantly as well, with no nitrates and no
Any ideas what is going on?
<Yes; likely a few Protozoans, perhaps some alimentary worms, even some
secondary infectious agents... You should peruse WWM re Oscar
Diseases... they're all covered on the site... you'll have to treat for
each/all... and give up re-introducing disease causing agents via live
Could they be mating at 6 months old? I have decided to dump the
feeder fish out of an abundance of caution and withhold food
completely for a day or so and see if symptoms go away. I read
somewhere to try feeding them green peas.
What do you suggest? Please write back with any comments or
helpful suggestions. We are stumped.
Thanks so much!
<... start here:
the linked (category) FAQs above... Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Oscars
Thank you so much. My husband went home and noon to check on
Oscar and Edgar and they have stopped eating the feeder fish. He
gave dry pellets and Edgar ate, but Oscar is very finicky and spit it
out. I'll try other things tonight when I get home. THANK
YOU VERY MUCH!!!
<Welcome... but do read where you've been referred... BobF>
Re: Sick Oscars 11/20/12
Yes, I am checking that all out right now. Thanks again!
<Real good. B>
Sick Oscar - Internal Parasites?
I have 2 tiger Oscars living in a 125 gallon aquarium that I've had
since September. I set my aquarium up in July and I wanted a big enough
tank for two Oscars. One of the two Oscars has grown considerably since
I bought him and is doing really well. The other Oscar, however, looks
undersized, thin, and has not shown the rate of growth that his partner
has. The size difference between the two Oscars (I bought the smaller
one first about a week apart from his partner) is becoming very
I feed both Oscars high-quality food like frozen Hikari bloodworms,
frozen Hikari brine shrimp, Hikari bio gold pellets, algae disks,
shrimp, crickets, etc. I have never fed my Oscars anything like raw
meat or beef heart. I thought the smaller Oscar's growth may have
been inhibited by the water parameters. I used the API kit to test the
water but the water is stable with 0ppm for Ammonia and Nitrate. I do a
30% - 50% water change weekly and have tons of filtration: Fluval FX5,
Rena XP3, aqua clear 110, & Fluval 405.
I noticed my smaller Oscar wasn't well when he showed little growth
despite his appetite. White, stringy fecal matter hangs from him but he
swims around fine, does not sit at the bottom of the tank, and shows no
signs of stress. The smaller Oscar's partner has never had white
fecal matter and no other fish in the tank do either. I have not gotten
any new fish in almost three months and everyone else seems healthy. I
have a small group of clown loaches (7 of them) with the Oscars that
have grown quite a bit since I got them in July and are doing really
I went to the pet store about three weeks ago and the guy working there
said the smaller Oscar probably has internal parasites and recommended
treating with Melafix. I began dosing with Melafix in mid-January for a
week without changing the water (the instructions said not to), did not
dose for a week and changed the water, and dosed for a week again.
I've also tried tablets like the API general cure with no success,
the Jungle Parasite cure, and now I'm trying Seachem's Garlic
Guard and soaking the Oscar's food in it...with still no
Despite trying several different forms of treatment, white fecal matter
continues to hang from the smaller Oscar after he eats. I'm
extremely worried about my Oscar and was wondering if you have any
advice about how I can best treat him? I don't know what kind of
parasite he has but it seems to be affecting his growth and I want to
get rid of it before his condition worsens. I've tried finding
information on other websites and was thinking about trying
Seachem's "Paraguard" but I don't know if that would
be effective or not. If you know of a particular type of
medication/brand/flake food to try I'm willing to do that in order
to prevent other possible outbreaks. I've never had to deal with a
disease/infection this bad before and I don't know what else to
Also, could my smaller Oscar suffer any long-term effects from
He hasn't grown as much as he should and I don't want him to be
stunted for the rest of his life. Worse yet, I don't want his
internal organs to be compromised if he isn't able to grow.
I've been trying to feed my Oscar high protein sinking pellets
(Xtreme 'big fella' cichlid food) in hopes that he will start
to recover and grow. If he has a parasite, it's been extremely
difficult to get rid of and I want to help him before it's too
Any help and advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated.
<Hello Ariel. Treat with Metronidazole, available in aquarium shops
in the US or from a vet elsewhere. Follow the instructions, and
ideally, medicate food rather than adding to water (this second
approach is much less effective). The random medications you've
been using thus far don't have much/any effect on intestinal tract
parasites such as Hexamita, which is my guess with what's causing
your problems here. Oscars are notoriously plagued with Hexamita
parasites thanks to the intensive farming when produced and the
indifferent care they receive at most aquarium shops.
Non-zero nitrate levels will make things worse, so even if water
quality is otherwise good (0 ammonia and nitrite) do be sure to keep
nitrate levels below 20 mg/l. Cheers,
Oscars and some sort
of parasite infestation! (fish lice)? <<Not>>
Parasites On Oscars 3/17/10
I've been a long time reader of your website and usually
I've had enough information from previous articles or
questions and email answers from you guys and gals to solve any
problems that I've encountered on this journey
into the fish world I've taken. However, currently I've
run across something that I can't quite get a grasp of to fix
and would like your input.
I've had these 2 Oscars in a 75 gallon tank for the last 5
years and have normally been very active and playful and
decorative for a lack of better term. (Thank tank never keeps its
current layout very long they change it almost monthly it seems)
Lately though they've been a bit lazy and don't swim
around as much. They still have an appetite and are very
energetic when its feeding time though!
The problem is that they started rubbing on things and it got to
a point to where they would rub gouges in their scales on their
head and front areas.
One night I finally got a closer look at them and they have these
little specs all over them, and at first I thought it may just
have been some sort of dirt but as I looked closer I noticed the
dirt specs crawled around. So I looked around at your website and
searched around for pictures of the only thing I could guess it
was based on symptoms (fish lice) and couldn't see many
pictures that matched it. I read a few of your email answers
about fish lice in fresh water and have started a treatment of
clout tablets. Its only been 2 days and it says its a 4 day
treatment (one dose wait 48 hours re dose, wait 48 hours and do a
25% water change). I followed those instructions and my re dose
is later today and I thought that maybe the little bug things
(fish lice?) should be dying by now!
The parasites are less in number but still seem to be hanging on
the Oscars. The other concern is that I didn't think they may
be fish lice just because all the stories I read about them, was
them burrowing under the scales and these look more like little
spider things on top of the scales just randomly crawling around.
They're staying mostly towards the front of the fish there
are few if any past the gills of the fish and most are on the
I've attached a couple of pictures that I hope can help you
aid me in telling me what they are.
Here are my current tank stats if I manage to leave something out
please ask if you need it and I'll get it ASAP. I just ran
these tests 5 min ago. pH: between 7.4-7.8 Its probably higher
than you guys would like to see but its kind of the water card
that I've been dealt and the Oscars have lived in it for 5
years now with no problems thus far.
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: Between 0 and 5.0 ppm
Copper: 0 ppm
Phosphate: Between 2.0 and 5.0 ppm
I also am not sure if the phosphate level is normal or acceptable
because there's little reference to a normal level of
phosphate in a tank. The pictures look a little bit drastic
because of the massive amount of the parasites on the fish, but a
lot of them are just loosely on there as soon as I feed them or
come towards the tank any remotely fast movement shakes most of
them off. I had to sit there very patiently for 10 minutes to get
the fish to calm down enough to get these shots. The albino Oscar
always has more of the infestation on it than the tiger Oscar
does and I also don't know why that is.
Anyhow, sorry for the long email but I would greatly appreciate
If the clout treatment is the correct way to go then it's
already in progress and I suppose I'm just not patient enough
to wait for the results!
I worry about them though. Thanks, Patrick Stockton
< Sometimes the parasites bury into the fishes flesh. This
makes them harder to treat and it takes longer to kill them.
Follow the directions on the package and continue medicating as
directed. They could have come in with feeder goldfish. Elevating
the water temp to 80 F will hasten the lice's life cycle. If
this medication does not work then I have had good success with
Fluke-Tabs.-Chuck><<Looks more like Hexamita to RMF.
Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FWHLLECauses.htm
and the linked files above>>
More re: Oscars and some sort of parasite infestation! (fish
Feeding Mealworms to Oscars – 03/20/10
I do have a question though. I don't feed my Oscars any sort
of feeder fish and its been at least a year since the
introduction of any new fish into my tank so I was wondering
where the parasite might have come from? I feed
them meal worms from time to time as a treat, is it possible that
one of those could have brought the parasite to the tank?
Thanks again, Patrick
< Mealworms will not introduce parasites. They are fine to
feed your Oscars. Just not too often as they are very
Oscar anus "hole" problem 11/12/08
I have a 75 gallon tank with 2 Oscars,2 Dempsey's (which I',
rehoming), 2 clown loaches and a Pleco. I've have them all
for about 6 months. About 2 months ago I noticed 1 of the Oscars
started having this weird looking thing happening to his anus.. just
thought he was constipated. They are on a pretty good diet, they
eat hgh pellets, crickets, frozen brine shrimp, peas, blood worms and
some insects. My water has been checked and all was good. I do
25% weekly water changes and gravel vacs. I clean my filter. They have
bubbles. So I started to add Melafix to the water to see if that
would help his anus problem but it did not, it just continued to
enlarge to the point of a hole and you can see inside now. Its like
white tissue, redness, swelling and a hole.. he poops fine, except I
have noticed white slime on the poop. He shows no other signs of
illness. I went to my Aquarium shop and treated with parasite
tabs for I believe 5 days.. kind of looked a little better.. so I
stopped hoping it would completely heal up.. never did. Went back, now
they told me to try Rally. Did this for 6 days with almost no
improvement, no carbon and only 1 water change and vac, it spiked my
ammonia up to .50. Did a 85% water and vac yesterday and put my carbon
back in and now am trying Mardel Maracyn Plus. I now notice my
Dempsey has a white thing happening in his anus area also! Please
help! I have no idea what going on.. just want them to get better!!
<Hi Nelly. Without a photo, it's difficult to be 100% sure, but
I'm fairly sure this is an anal prolapse. This is where the rectum
becomes infected, expands, and pushes out of the vent. Provided the
fish is still feeding, the chances of recovery are good. You first need
to treat against the likely protozoan parasites in the gut. Use
Metronidazole for this, used as directed on the package, and always
remembering to remove carbon from the filter when medicating your fish.
The white, slimy feces by the way are commonly a sign of protozoan
infections: the gut reacts by producing more mucous.
Next up, review water quality. These infections are usually caused by
either poor diet or poor water quality. Since you seem to have a very
good diet for these fish, do review water quality. In particular, check
the nitrate level. From bitter experience I have found that cichlids
generally do poorly when the nitrate gets about 20 mg/l, even though
that is "safe" by freshwater fish standards. Your tank is
definitely on the busy side, and unless you're doing massive water
changes (50% weekly) and have a huge external canister filter (8-10
times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour), you probably
don't have the water quality you think you do. Cheers,
Re: Oscar anus "hole" problem (Astronotus; protozoan
I did attach a photo.. where can I get the Metronidazole? what
dose? And can you please recommend a good canister filter? I
would rather invest in one than risk their health and spend time and
money on all these chemicals! Thanks so very much for all your
<Hello Nelly. Here in England, Metronidazole is only available from
the vet. In the US I believe it is available as "Flagyl" but
I cannot comment beyond that. Call your local vet and ask for advice.
As for a canister filter, provided it delivers 8 times the volume of
the tank in turnover per hour, you'll be fine. So if you have a 55
gallon tank, choose a filter (or a pair of filters, added together)
that has a turnover rating of 55 x 8 = 440 gallons per hour. This
number will be on the pump part of the filter and on the packaging.
Eheim filters are generally considered the most reliable and
long-lasting, but the less expensive Fluval and Sera filters are very
good as well. With all this said, I'm wondering if your Oscar has
an abscess. Is the "wound" the anus? It isn't clear from
the photo, and looks like it might not be. If the anus (in between the
pelvic fins) is swollen and red, then yes, we're dealing with a
prolapse. But if the wound is someplace else, then this is a bacterial
infection, essentially an ulcer, and you'll need something like
Maracyn or Maracyn 2 to fix that.
Re: Oscar anus "hole" problem (Astronotus; protozoan
Hi, Thanks for the quick reply!
umm... The hole.. I'm not sure, I do know he poops from there. So I
assume its his anus??? It actually looks like around the open
white, red, swollen tissue, you can see his anus hole.(really graphic)
LOL.. Sorry. As far as the Flagyl, do I want tablets or is it
powder/liquid? I looked and seen both.. Again, Thanks sooo Much!
<Nelly, yes, the anus is the hole from which feces emerge.
Doesn't matter which sort of Flagyl you use, provided the dosage is
correct and it is added to the tank in the right way. I have no
experience with this drug, so would encourage you to read over the link
sent earlier, and if necessary, discuss with your vet. Cheers,
Re: Oscar anus "hole" problem (Astronotus; protozoan
parasites, prolapse), Metronidazole 11/14/08
I'm sorry to bother you again.
I have another question regarding combining some medications.
Metronidazole and a products made by Mardel called
"Copper-safe", it is for parasites but external ones. (I
believe). Also, I have been feeding them "Jungle-Anti-parasite
medicated food "for internal parasites. It says to feed 3 day a
week for 4 weeks. today is 3 day. Should I continue this or stop it to
use Metronidazole tablets They are called Fish Zole 250mg-
directions are 1 tab. per 10 gallons, I have a 75 gal. tank.
Can I combine all these together?
Thank you, Nelly
<Nelly, I do not know anything about Metronidazole from personal
experience. But in general, you should not combine medications unless
the manufacturer explicitly says it is safe to do so. Since your fish
has an internal infection, Copper Safe is not necessary. Anti-parasite
food is not necessary at this point either. Just use the Metronidazole
*precisely* as described on the package, remembering to remove carbon
from the filter. It is usually a good idea to add a bit of extra
aeration, if you can, while treating your fish. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Oscar anus "hole" problem (Astronotus; protozoan
parasites, prolapse) 11/14/08
OK Great! Thanks for all your help.. I didn't want to add more but
want to make sure they get well!
Again, Thanks so very much!!
<Happy to help! Cheers, Neale.>
Red Hairs coming out of my Oscar's anus, reading
I've read through your site (awesome by the way) and found similar
problems as my Oscar, but not exactly. I have a 3" tiger Oscar for
3 weeks now (first time owner), and he has developed a swollen anus
with little red hairs coming out of it. What is this?
What can I do about?
Should I be worried? Please help him!
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/nematodesfwf.htm
Needs to be treated with a Anthelminthic... Bob Fenner>
Trying to find a diagnosis. Oscar With Fish
Hello, I have a tiger Oscar that has been
self-mutilating himself. He rubs against things in the tank and has
opened his flesh at times. I did not see anything with my naked eye (at
first). Then, one day, I sat down by the tank and looked up. He swam
into the light and behold, there were microscopic white specks on his
head. Then, I looked closer and they actually were moving. They are so
very small, too small to compare them to anything. The only reason I
saw them, was because he is black and swam into very bright light. They
look like bugs crawling around over him. Now that I knew what to look
for, I noticed them on the glass of my tank. Lots of them. Only in the
light and very microscopic.
I have tried researching "parasites" and nothing seems to fit
the description. Fleas would be too big and flukes are described as
"worm-like" rather than "bug-like".
I couldn't stand to see my Oscar with open wounds and frayed fins
so I bought "parasite eliminator" to cure flukes, anchor
worm, and fleas, etc. I am about to give the 2nd dose.
They have not responded to treatment so far. They are still there and
there are plenty of them moving around unphased.
What can I try next if this doesn't work? I appreciate any
< Try Clout or Fluke-Tabs. The parasites probably came in with
some feeder fish.-Chuck>
BUGGY OSCAR - EEWWUH!
Hello! Your site has been a great
help to me on many occasions. This time, I have a really nasty problem
with my Oscar. First of all, I have a 55 gallon tank. I had two Oscars
for over a year until about a month ago. The albino Oscar attacked the
tiger seemingly overnight (my roommate heard splashing) and in the
morning, the poor tiger was ripped literally to shreds and barely
alive. I separated them and changed some of the water, but his wounds
were rapidly infected. Medication was no help, and he died shortly
after (total time: 3days).
The albino appeared to have some fuzzy infection on his forehead
afterward, but after changing nearly 100 percent of the water over the
next week and adding meds, it went away. This was over a month ago. Now
it's just the albino and an old Pleco in there.
Recently, the albino has been acting crazy. He's been swimming
frantically along the tank sides with his mouth open. He has been
scratching A LOT on the rocks as well. The other day I noticed that he
looked kind of, well...dirty...like he had actual dirt on his sides.
Upon closer inspection, I saw (YUCK!!!) the "dirt" was
actually bugs! Gross, clear little bugs. I could see them moving around
on my fish (many of them!!) and on the large rocks in the tank!! The
Pleco appears to be clean of them, but the albino seems miserable! He
lays on the bottom sometimes. I just realized that they were nasty bugs
yesterday. Unfortunately, there appear to be A LOT of these little
monsters. They look like little lice or something. Clear, but big
enough to see if you look closely. What can I do? Its a nasty
nightmare! Please help!
< Sounds like fish lice to me. Treat with Fluke
Tabs or Parasite clear. The medication works best in a clean tank. I
would recommend that you change 30% of the water, vacuum the gravel and
clean the filter before treating.-Chuck>
Oscar with Ich
Hi Chuck thanks for the information, I
have my heater on 78 and I have been feed him live feeder fish. it
looks like he might be getting Ich on his body so I'm treating it.
I left the carbon filter in and I was wondering if it might be soaking
up the med to fast and it is not helping Oscar. Should I take the
carbon filter out? How long should I leave it out? Thanks again,
< The malachite green will be removed from the water with carbon.
Remove the carbon from the filter while you clean it. Do a 30% water
change and vacuum the gravel to remove the organics. Raise the water
temp to 80 to 82 if possible. Treat with rid-Ich as per the directions
on the bottle for best results. After treatment you can then add a high
quality carbon to remove the medication. When the medication is gone I
would add Bio-Spira to the water to replenish the good bacteria that
may have been affected by the treatment.-Chuck>
I have a big problem with my Oscars, I have seven Oscars in my tank and
I think haves Hexamita
or Ichtyyosporidium (Phycomocetae family) aka HLLE.
I feed my fish with Tetra Cichlid Tablet, Chironomis worms, and Heart
I'm from Romania and here it's difficult to find medications
for my Oscars, I find on the chemist's shop for human,
<Am very familiar (unfortunately) with the disease/condition HLLE
and the anti-Protozoal Metronidazole (aka Flagyl generically here in
250mg (for Trichomonas virginals, Labia intestinal is, Entamoeba
hystolitica....) , and I used 250mg at 5
gallons water .
<Mmm, this is about twice the dosage I typically advise.>
two Oscars are young (5inch) and look fine, fish colours are normal,
colours of excrements are
normal brown-black, eating and are fine.
Five are very young , (2inch) and just one of them it's fine.
Four are very bad... not eating, not swimming and stay down on the
ground with difficulty to
breathe (mouth open all time) and the colours of excrements are white
or transparent sometimes rubbing
on sand or stones or shake the head on sand).
I have not idea if the Hexamita is the malady or other, or I made a
mistake with this Metronidazole.
<Perhaps an intestinal worm, other gut-fauna cause>
Fish are from 2 days in this conditions and one of them (very young)
it's dead right now.
Please give me a piece of advice in this problem, because it's very
hard for me to see my
Oscars in this situation. Thank you a lot.
(Forgive me , if my write it's not correct grammatical)
<Thank you for writing. You are perfectly understood here. Do you
have a college/university or a veterinarian nearby who will take a look
at the fecal/waste material of your Oscars? This should show/reveal the
nature of the cause of their illness. I do not suspect Hexamita here.
Upon examination, you may find that an Anthelminthic needs to be
applied. Possibly Piperazine or di-n-butyl tin oxide. At the very
least, do enquire of the veterinarian of the usefulness of Epsom salts
(magnesium sulfate) applied as a dip/bath. Please write back if this
message is incomplete, or not able to be understood. Bob
Re: Oscars, disease
... Thank you very much for your
advice... I will try to contact a veterinarian
because here I have a veterinarian university.
<Very good. Have them contact me as well if I may be of
Last night I lost another very young Oscar ... and I see in the moment
of death : fish are very agitated and swimming so fast, swimming in the
imaginary circle axis...and in the final , death with mouth open. first
fish dead have same mouth open).
I read on the net about that. and I find something called Myxosoma
cerebralis causing "whirling disease"... but I don't see
nothing about white or transparent fecal in this disease.
<Not necessarily related. Does sound like Myxosoma>
I'm scared right now, because I don't have any idea to rescue
my Oscars. I think I will try again
with the salt bath. Anyway Thank you again for your answer .
<Good luck, life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>
Oscar emergency (HLLE)
3-4 years ago I treated my Oscar
for what I thought was HITH. He developed some pretty bad holes and he
never completely looked the same after that but he was doing fine
otherwise so I assumed it was all over. About 2 weeks ago it looked to
me like it was coming back. There was one other Oscar in the tank who
looked okay. I took my water to the pet store and they tested it and
said everything was fine. I then started treating with Metronidazole
for the recommended course.
<Yes. This anti-Protozoal is the recommended material here>
My fish did not improve. I have been working very religiously on
keeping the water clean and testing it daily. About 2 days ago the
other Oscar who did not have any holes developed one hole on the center
of his head. It was somewhat deep looking and looked like a perfect
hole had been punched with a hole puncher. At this point both Oscars
started getting a little white fuzz on the holes. Last night the Oscar
with the just one hole had a bit of blood coming out of the hole. He
was not attacked. This morning he was dead.
<...! Sorry to read of the loss... and this is a very short period
of time for this course of events to have occurred>
I now have one Oscar who is 6-7 years old. He has not eaten in two
weeks. He has a little bit of white fuzz on some of his holes. One side
of his face nearly looks like a crater and if it gets much worse I will
be able to see through it into his mouth. He is breathing somewhat
heavy but not super bad. I don't know what to do at this point. The
water is testing okay. Do I just have to watch this one die too?
The tank is 80 gallons with a canister filter and an HOB filter. The
water is 82 degrees.
I don't know what else to do. Is this even HITH?
<Cannot tell from a description... and the term Hole in the Head is
a descriptive one... that is, it does not define a/the root cause of
the symptoms, just the symptoms themselves. How much Metronidazole are
you using, and how have you been applying it? Are you adding vitamins,
iodide to the animal's foods, the water? Bob Fenner>
Thank you for any help. Tami
Re: Oscar emergency
My Oscars both died the day after I sent you this.
<Very sorry to hear... Please do consider sterilizing (with the
careful use of bleach, as detailed here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnornart.htm)
the system before trying other fishes. Bob Fenner>
Re: Oscar emergency
Thank you but I did break down the tank and completely clean it. I used
diluted bleach on the recommendation of my pet store only on certain
parts. The tank is recycling now.
<Ah, good... and fast! Bob Fenner>
Parasites on Oscar-help needed
I recently- as in a week ago- purchased a huge Oscar. say,
the size of a good panfish.
anyways, he had some spots on him in the pet store; they looked like
scars, since he/she was kept in a ten gallon aquarium, I assumed it was
from hitting the glass.
I was SO wrong!!!
today (the 18th) a friend was looking at her and said "are these
parasites?" sure enough, she has little
parasites. they look like water fleas of some
sort. clear, many legged, tails. almost
microscopic. They stay next to their particular 'hole' in her
skin, and don't scrape off. Its scary, but I did try to
scrape one off of her with my fingers (and a big glove... she's a
I have a saltwater tank, and did try a very short saltwater
dip. I don't know if that will hurt her long term, so it
was either too short to do anything, or I didn't have high enough
So, can you think of anything? the other fish in the tank is
a violet goby (I know, supposed to be brackish) couple goldfish
(feeders and one big one) and guppies. THEY WERE ON
HER when I got her, I just didn't see
them. I'm looking for name and treatment of these
< You probably have fish lice. Clean the filters
and do a 30% water change. Treat with fluke tabs or parasite clear.
Follow the directions on the package regardless of which one you
Good evening. I am hoping you can help me. I have
a year old, 8", male tiger Oscar. His name is Morbo,
and I look forward to having him until he is old and
huge. Unfortunately, I made the classic Oscar
blunder. I bought him at the pet store when he was but
an inch long and did not realize that he would soon outgrow the
six gallon tank. When he was about four inches and
had been by himself in the tank for about three months, I got a twenty
gallon. Initially it had a 20 gallon TopFin power 20, which
I buy bio filtration cartridges for. Last weekend I
installed an under gravel filter. (15-20 gal Top
Fin) I use Marineland Labs Bio-Safe and Aquarium
Pharmaceuticals Inc. Stress Coat with Aloe (in measured doses) for
every water change. I change 25% of the water every week,
and vacuumed the gravel until I got the new undergravel
filtration. Only about 1/3 of an inch of large
gravel. I know the tank is a little small, and am
planning on upgrading to a 55 gallon when I move out of my cramped one
bedroom apartment. I do not know my water parameters yet,
but will be taking a water sample to the pet store in the
morning. (Thanks for the suggestion.) Assuming
that all the water parameters are normal, please give me all the info
you can on the following situation.
Last Friday I installed a new under gravel filter. I removed
Morbo from the tank during the process. It was a huge WET
ordeal, and he did not come out from behind his log for hours after it
was over. The day after, he had ICK! (I assume it
was stress.) Immediately gave Jungle Ick
Clear. Dosed three times, 25% water change with each
treatment, carbon out of filter but all running. Spots are
mostly gone, still a few light spots on one fin, but I would say, 99%
healed. One wound, from the net, aprox. 1/4 inch long,
shallow, left side, it got ick in it but has healed over
almost completely. Only a small scar, ick 99% gone. Really
just a light mark. Just today he has started two alarming
habits. He rubs against the gravel. Have noticed
one very small black spot on left side, but could just be new
coloration. (I observe VERY
closely.) Yesterday and today he has been really
lethargic, staying at bottom of tank. Has not been excited
about food, but still eats it all. ;o) I
feed Wardley cichlid pellets, and the occasional
feeder. ( I buy from a local cichlid specialty
shop, VERY clean, and keep them for two weeks before
feeding.) The feeders are only for after water changes, to
give him some initiative to come out from behind the
log. Have not given feeders since ick set in. His
left fin (clear of ick) has been twitching tonight. It is
off and on. Tail fin is shaking too. Breathing is
normal, gills look fine. No outward
signs. Checked all equipment for shorts, frayed wires, all
fine, heater too. No cracks. Water has become
slightly cloudy. Was crystal clear before starting
treatment. Haven't done anything else, don't want to
stress him out any more than I have to. What can I do?
< The Ich is not yet gone or it may be another ecto parasite
attacking the skin of your Oscar. Any way here is what is going down in
your tank. The undergravel filter is a waste of time. As soon as your
Oscar digs any type of hole then the undergravel filter plate will be
exposed and the water will go through the path of least resistance and
go directly through the filter plate and not through the gravel. The
gravel should be like beach sand or slightly larger. The beneficial
bacteria that break down the fish waste from ammonia to nitrite and
then to nitrate live on the outside of the gravel. Smaller sand has
more surface area then gravel per weight so for the same amount of
gravel you might get as much as ten times the surface area with the
same amount of sand. Your fish are not completely cured. Raise the
water temp. to 80 to 82 degrees and treat with a formalin malachite
green mixture like Kordon's rid-Ich for three days and you should
see the twitching stop. Keep in mind that every time you use a feed you
may be introducing a diseases into your tank.-Chuck>
-;- Nicole -;-