FAQs on Freshwater Protozoan Parasite Disease
Related Articles: Freshwater Fish Diseases, Freshwater Diseases, FW Disease Troubleshooting, Ich/White Spot Disease, Choose Your
Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options
by Neale Monks, Formalin/Formaldehyde,
Related FAQs: Freshwater
Protozoan Parasite Diseases, Diagnosing/Identifying FW Protozoan
Diseases, FW Fish Parasitic
Disease 1, & FAQs on: Diagnosis/Identification of Parasites,
Internal Parasites, FW Parasite Treatments, Freshwater Protozoan Parasite Diseases,
Diagnosing/Identifying FW Protozoan
Diseases, ( Ich/White Spot Disease,
Freshwater Velvet, Sporozoan Parasites, Whirling Disease, & Cichlid Disease, African Cichlid Disease, Aquarium
Maintenance, FW Infectious
Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid
Disease, Betta Disease
Considered by many to some as
the/a causative organism for the neuromast destruction called
"Head and Lateral Line Disease" in fishes. Often one
cause for "stringy white feces"... Most often treated
with/through foods laced with protozoacides (e.g.
Kribensis and Camallanus 3/21/18
Both of my tanks, a 55 gallon and a 40 gallon are currently being treated for
Camallanus with Levamisole after I had a couple of suddenly ill and now dead
<Levamisole is a good choice here: relatively safe, and should not, in itself,
cause stress or harm to your fish, assuming it's used as directed.>
I noticed my Kribensis in the 40 with typical red bristle-looking worms
protruding from her vent.
<Sounds like Camallanus!>
So far, both tanks are doing fine, but this particular Kribensis has made a 180.
She’s social now, eats voraciously and doesn’t hide between the filter and tank
I thought she was just an antisocial fish. However, without exaggerating, she
has had a 2-3 inch, maybe longer, poo coming out of her for the last 4 days.
<Quite normal when de-worming. Sometimes the gut becomes irritated, whether by
the worms or the medication, and produces a lot of mucous. Such mucous will form
off-white to clear strings that contain little faecal material, hence the lack
of colour. If this persists for too long, say a week, you might think about
Hexamita infection, which is extremely common in cichlids, and also causes
white, stringy faeces (largely for the same reason, irritation of the bowel by
the parasites). In this case, Metronidazole is the treatment.>
I have seen nothing that looks like a warm, just regular poo. And it’s not the
same poo, but generally, if you look at her, it’s there. Occasionally she darts
quickly and it finally breaks free. After treatment, her very pale body
developed some color, but apparently any plumpness she had is gone. Is this
continuous bowel movement normal after a dosing?
Was she just severely constipated?
<Could certainly be a factor, yes. If the cichlid is otherwise behaving
normally, nice colours, feeding well, socialising, and displaying no unusual
sores or pits on the lateral line or head (which often happens with Hexamita
infections) then all should be well. Finish the treatment as/when instructed, do
a decent water change, 25-50%, and see how things go!>
Thank you for any information!!
<You're welcome. Neale.>
Kribensis and Camallanus 3/21/18
<Oh, and by way of a timely post scriptum, Bob has just published a piece of
mine on identifying and treating 'worm' parasites that might well be useful:
Re: Kribensis and Camallanus 3/27/18
I inquired a few days ago re: Kribensis with Camallanus worms treated with
Levamisole. The Krib had done a total about face after dosing, much more
energetic, eating voraciously, suddenly social etc.
<Good to hear.>
However, there was the issue of her continuous, long, and ever-present poop.
Neale suggested that if this continued for a week, then possibly need to treat
<Yes; ideally alongside an antibiotic such as Nitrofurazone that offers the best
"one-two" punch against a range of common ciliates and bacterial pathogens.>
Well, she's still winning the world record here with the long, seemingly
continuous poops. Going on 2 weeks now.
<Do also try Epsom salt (helps with constipation) and high-fibre foods (cooked
peas if she'll take them; brine shrimps and daphnia if she won't).
These are both harmless to the healthy fish, so feel free to treat in the tank,
alongside the Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone.>
She even fasted as couple of days, and still... So, I plan on finishing the
Levamisole treatment this week, and then start with Metroplex and Focus
(Flagyl/Metronidazole as medicated food). Does this sound like a plan?
She is still quite pale and skinny, but still behaving much much better than
before the treatment for Camallanus.
Thanks for any advice in advance...and your help over the years has been like
solid ground for me when things get shaky!
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Hexamita ( hole in the head ). Trtmt. w/
Metronidazole/Flagyl FW 2/6/14
hi, hoping you can help me. I have a 180 Lt tropical tank with a large
variety of fish silver sharks, Plecs, bristle nose, elephant nose, ghost
knife fish, flying fox’s, angles, and clown loach’s two of my four clown
loaches have Hexamita and have gone of eating. I have had a veterinarian
give me a scrip of 400 mg Metronidazole to treat Hexamita at a dose rate
of 11 tablets day one, day two 50% water change, day three 11 more 400
mg tablets, treatment via water disbursement. After reading your blogs
and many others I am now confused as to what dose rate I should use as I
feel 22, 400 mg tablets in three days is going to be a major over
dose. Could you please help me with a dose and treatment rate, I have
been unable to remove clown loaches to a quarantine tank as it is
currently occupied with new stock and do not want to risk putting them
at risk, regards Andy
<In looking up in Noga's 2d edition, I see a similar protocol
ascribed to Langdon (1992a): 25 mg/l (95 mg/gallon... every other day
for three days... IF you have 180l... this would come out to
4,500 mg... close to 11 pills. Though some other writers (myself
included) call for other SOPs (usually 25 mg/gallon...), and advise one
treatment orally over long immersion; I don't think you'll overdose
these fishes going the suggested route. DO have the change out water on
hand just in case. Bob Fenner>
Bonsai FH recovering from Hexamita (?) – 07/27/12
Dear Lifesavers at WWM,
I have a Bonsai red flame Flowerhorn (?) (exactly like
who is trying to recover from a severe case of Hexamita or perhaps a
Swimbladder disorder or bloat (I am not sure).
My problem is a little involving, and you may think it is useless to do
anything at this point, but I request you to please bear with me. I have
few specific questions in the end.
Though my Flowerhorn (FH) went through very rough times in the last 6-8
months, I am mentioning the events only in the last couple of months.
She started to develop a grotesque bloat and went upside down floating
at the top of the tank, and a significant part of her belly was outside
She also had something coming out of the anus (the prolapsed colon, or
perhaps the swimbladder).
Initially, I tried feeding her with Metronidazole soaked blanched peas,
and Epsom salt in the water (20g/20G), but that was not enough. So,
after a couple of weeks, I removed the carbon from both the filters and
started dosing the tank water with 500mL Metronidazole (ivy) solution in
<Into the water? Of very little use>
I absolutely had no hope for her, and everywhere I asked for
opinion/help, I was asked to euthanize her. I just could not do so,
because every single time I looked at her, she tried to swim and come
down in the water and showed immense energy. So I decided to continue
with the medications and see what happens. I am only hoping that I am
not torturing her with the medications.
With this regime, her bloating subsided and she came under the water
(still in upside position and with prolapsed colon). In hope of further
improving her condition, I added Nitrofurantoin (150mg/20G) last week.
Her prolapsed colon (or perhaps swimbladder) disappeared within a single
day, but there was still a little bit of swelling just near the anus.
Also, she turned sideways from upside down. I was unsure of the reason
for turning sideways, so I removed all the Nitrofurantoin from the tank
(cleaned the canister filter, did 50% water changes 4-5 times). I did
not have much hope for her *till today when I saw her trying extremely
hard to swim straight and she could manage to do that for a very short
time*. I saw her straight (glimpse of) after many months! Thank god!
She mostly sits sideways in one corner trying to rest on the filter
inlet pipe, and occasionally swims in the horizontal (disc like)
I still don't know what is going to happen, but I think she has better
chances if I can find answers to the following questions. I will really
appreciate if you can help me here -
1. Diet: What should I feed her? She has been literally on blanched peas
for the last 2-3 months.
<A high quality pelleted food: Spectrum or Hikari>
I used to feed her Hikari Cichlid Excel, but in recent past she turned
upside down whenever she ate that. I gave her few pieces of garlic
soaked blanched prawn a few days ago, which she liked. Can I continue
<Not indefinitely, no. See WWM re Thiaminase>
On your website, I read that Vitamin C is good for Cichlids recovering
from diseases. Should I buy some Vitamin C capsules and put in the
water? How much?
<Best to buy a prep. made for ornamental aquatics, e.g. Selcon...>
I tried feeding Oranges (blanched), but she just does not want to touch
them. Any other source of Vitamin C for fish? Few months ago, I tried
adding Vitamin B-Complex capsule, and she developed a bloat.
2. Should I add Metronidazole in the food again?
<I would not, no. Trouble to expose fishes more than once>
3 I have reduced the Metronidazole concentration to 200mL in 20G with
about 5-10gms Epsom salt. I plan to slowly withdraw the addition of
Metronidazole over the next week. Given that she is getting better,
should I still try to add Nitrofurantoin again? How about Epsom salt?
<... w/o knowing what the actual cause of troubles are, ameliorative
remedies are hard to recommend. I wouldn't be adding anything>
4. What is the right pH for this species (
<Not a species; but a hybrid, cross. Low to mid 7s... same as hardness,
alkalinity (GH, KH)>
I saw an extensive article on your site to maintain pH, which I am going
to follow. What exactly is the name of this species? I see names like
short body/albino/bonsai FH. Out of curiosity, is this really a FH or a
5. Few days ago, when she tried swimming she went in circles. I checked
online, and I don't think it is whirling disease (her colors are intact,
and she is at least 1.5+ years old). Are there any other symptoms for
this disease that I can check for?
<... see WWM w/ the name>
6. Sometimes, I see her curved on one side. I am pretty sure it is not
TB, or broken spine. I believe that it is due to the swelling on one
side that she goes bent towards the other side. Are there any specific
reasons for this?
<Can be or not>
Here are some of the details about my setup:
Tank size: 45G (is filled only half to 20G, because she is upside down)
Filter: 1300LPH external canister filter, and an internal 1000LPH (I
keep the internal filter off most of the time, because it creates a
heavy current that my fish does not like).
Temperature: 29 degrees Celsius with lots of aeration.
I am changing 30-40% water every alternate day for the last 3 months, so
I am hoping the water parameters (except pH) are good and thus not
mentioning here. She is the only fish in the aquarium, and is about 4
inches in diameter.
Thank you for your time and patience.
God bless you!
<Please (re) read all that is archived on WWM re Flowerhorns:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bonsai FH recovering from Hexamita (?) 7/27/12
Thanks a bunch for dealing with my rather vague questions. I am not sure
what she is suffering from, and I don't have a vet around, so there is
no way to figure it out.
<Mmm, yes there is... sampling, microscopic examination, reference
But from my limited understanding through online research, I feel it is
Hexamita. Although, I am not sure if it causes the fish to go upside
down and then sideways.
Yes, I've read most of the articles on Flowerhorn on WWM. I searched
"Flowerhorn" on WWM, and read all the articles on the first two pages of
the results. And from Neale's article, I realized that it is best to
used Metronidazole + Nitrofuran for a cichlid when you are unsure of the
problem. And which is why I asked you if it is okay to add
Nitrofurantoin in the water.
<... is likely not to be of any positive use here>
Anyway, I will continue with Metronidazole (ivy) in water for another
week, because that is how she has improved. I will start on Hikari
pellet food (Hikari Cichlid excel or gold) again and hope for the best.
I don't get Spectrum in my country, but I will try to see if some shop
I will also start working on maintaining the pH (that is one thing I am
not doing currently).
Thank you again.
Re: Bonsai FH recovering from Hexamita (?) 7/27/12
So you mean I can take the water and/or stool samples to a diagnostic
center (for humans) and get it tested for fish bacteria? Can you please
tell me the tests (or point me to a location that lists some tests) that
I should get done? Usually, when I get my blood tests done, the doctor
specifically writes what to check for. E.g. sugar level or something
<No; I would not do this. Not likely to provide you w/ useful
Thanks for the great suggestion. I don't know why it never occurred to
<There are a few stock reference works on fish disease. Can you borrow a
copy (first or second ed.) of Ed Noga "Fish Disease, Diagnosis &
Treatment" possibly? Bob Fenner>
Re: Bonsai FH recovering from Hexamita (?) 7/27/12
Thanks! This is what I needed. Just purchased the online version of the
<Didn't know this was possible. I hope it was much cheaper. Thank you
for this info. >
Although, I am not sure if I will be able to make any head or tails out
of it (never studied biology after class X). If I am stuck at something,
I may bother you again.
<Never a bother. BobF>
Hexamita/Octomita/Dempseys -- 08/25/10
First, I wanted to say what a great and educational website you guys
have. I tried to read all I could about Metronidazole and Hexamita on
your website because I did not want to repost any old threads. So if
this is a repost then I want to apologize ahead of time. I recently
bought some fish online and it was shipped to me. They all seem strong
got in but I think they brought some parasites with them. My 125 gallon
tank have been up and running for about 6 months. Water parameters are:
pH: 7.8, Ammonia: 0, Nitrite: 0. The aquarium is heavily planted, but
my fish is more important than the plants. I am religious about doing
weekly water change. I overkill on filtration. I have a Fluval FX5,
Fluval 305, and a Aquaclear 110 for this aquarium. I recently noticed
that my fish were scratching so I just put some salt in the tank as a
Well, today I notice 2 of my EBJD <electric blue Jack Dempsey...>
are not eating and one has a gray spot on his head. They are both
pooping out stringy poop. So I did some research and expect they have
I have bought some Metronidazole to treat the fish but I have some
questions about the dosage and usage. First, should I remove all the
salt and wait a week so I can give the fish time to recuperate from the
Is Metronidazole safe with salt?
I am afraid that if I wait a week that the fish would be to far gone to
be rescue. I am going to treat the whole aquarium since Hexamita is so
contagious and plus my 2 EBJD aren't eating. How long should I use
Metronidazole in the aquarium water?
<One dose... with good percentage water changing a week
I mean until the symptoms are gone or for a certain amount of days. Is
the treatment every other day or everyday and is it
with a 25% water change or is it with a 50% water change?
<One treatment should do it>
If and when my 2 EBJD start eating again should I try to add
Metronidazole to their food or will that be too much since it is in
their water already?
<I might add it, but just once>
I definitely do not want to overdose my fish but I really want to
eradicate this parasite.
Thanks in advance and have a wonderful day.
<Welcome and you as well! Bob Fenner>
Re: Metronidazole -- 08/26/10
- I just wanted to say thank you for getting back to me so fast. I just
have two more quick question. I am using the Seachem brand.
According to them I should use 125mg for every 10 gallons. Do you think
that is a good dosage or should I go stronger? I have read that I
should do 250mg per 10 gallons.
<Can... Blasiola and Gratzek, 1992, suggest doing this daily for
three times... Langdon (1992a) suggests even more (95 mg/gal.) added
every other day for three treatments>
I also heard that Metronidazole is not very water soluble. What is the
best way to mix it into water?
<Whip it into an aliquot; add this>
Should I heat the water up and mix the medicine, than let it cool and
put it in the aquarium?
<No need to heat>
Again, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and have a wonderful
sick discus, help !!!!!!!!
Sick Discus 3/8/10
I have a sick discus and I'm pretty sure he has Hexamita he has
white stringy feces and is not eating one fish make that two fish have
already died the pet store gave me some Metro. But I'm not sure how
to properly administer this ??? the website where I found you says soak
food in 1 percent metro 1 percent of what ??? how much metro is that
??? a teaspoon tablespoon in terms of quantity I don't know ????
and what do I put some Metro in a cup and throw fish cube in it and
just let it soak in the fridge??? I also read 250mg of Metro directly
into the water per every 10 to 20 gallons ???? I'm greatly confused
I don't anymore fish to die please help !!!!!! Thanks, Freddie
< If your discus is eating , then getting the medication into the
food is the best treatment. Check the ingredients for the medicated
foods at the fish store. If they don't have it then you can buy it
online at Drsfostersmith.com. You can also buy the medication to add to
the water directly. In the meantime I would recommend a 50% water
change, clean the filters and vacuum the gravel. Organic matter seams
to interfere with medications.-Chuck>
Golden Severum with red stripe and
Hi and thank you;
I wrote in about 3 weeks ago. I have a 7 inch Golden Severum and he is
the only fish in the tank. He started out with a round bump/lesion in
his head about a month ago, vertical swimming, some stringy poop and he
<Sounds like an Hexamita infection; usually related to water
quality, especially nitrate, but may also be triggered by inappropriate
diet and possibly other factors like insufficient oxygen concentration.
Severums are herbivores, they're probably pretty sensitive to the
wrong diet, i.e., vitamin deficiency. This seems to be the case with
marine herbivores like Tangs and Angels, at least.>
Since then I have been doing consistent water changes and gave him 2
Ampicillin treatments 3 weeks ago for the open sore. This sore healed
completely and there are no others. I felt like he might of run hard
rock when startled. I did a parasite clear treatment for the stringy
poop and because he was startled.
<Generic parasite treatments generally have little/no impact on the
mucous-rich faeces. Hexamita infections are complex; the parasites in
the gut irritate the lining of the gut, resulting in lots of mucous,
where you get the stringy faeces. When the parasites migrate around the
body, they can infect the lateral line pores on the head, and this is
where the hole-in-the-head starts. A part of this problem is that the
allow bacteria to infect the pores, so much of what you see as the
"holes" is more bacterial than the Hexamita directly, hence
antibiotics may reduce the symptoms. But if the Hexamita infection
isn't also dealt with, there's nothing to stop a reoccurrence
of the symptoms later on.>
I have been feeding him a variety of foods; mostly mysis shrimp with
peas, spinach. For a week I included Metronidazole and used a turkey
baster to get this to his mouth. I also treated the tank with
Metronidazole 3 times, with 1 day in between, with some water changes.
He still has a red stripe from his tail down part of his spine and a
small area under his tail, some red streaking in his tail, he hides in
a corner for a lot of the day with his head hanging down, but does swim
back and forth gently at times.
<The red streaking is likely another secondary bacterial
At night I have seen him vertical. About 3 days ago I started treating
with Kanaplex from Sea Chem and stopped the Metronidazole. His swimming
is definitely improved and he resists the food with medication, but
always eats some. I have also had the carbon filters out most of this
time. There is definitely still something persisting. I thought about
combining the two medications. Someone told me he might have developed
an intolerance to the Metronidazole and to use something like ParaGuard
from Sea Chem in place.
<Hmm... no... Metronidazole is really the only thing that kills
Do you know what the read stripe and red streak indicate?
What do you feel would be the best treatment?
<Would use both Metronidazole and a suitable anti-Finrot medication,
ideally an antibiotic.>
How long should I keep the carbon filters out?
<For as long as you're medicating.>
Is there any better foods to ad? Your help is very appreciated;
Sick Uaru (Hexamita, diet, environment)
3/1/09 I have been keeping fish for a few years and have
a Uaru in a 80 gallon tank. He developed what i believed to be fin rot
about 2 months ago which i treated and he healed. He then developed
holes in his head with mucus coming out i had seen hole in the head
before and his faeces was not white and stringy he only had at first
one small one. he had no appetite loss or did he isolate himself. I
spoke to a trusted fish shop person who recommended Pimafix, and to
keep an eye on it in case he got worse. well the next day he had puss
filled holes on his head around his eyes and also on the line down his
body that looks like a sewed line (sorry cant think of another way to
describe it). In this case i decide to treat him with esHa Hexamita. i
have now been treating him as per the instructions for at least a month
and he has seemed to improve then as soon as i gave the tank a rest
after the three days he acquired more holes. He can be very awkward
with the Sailfin Plec that i have and when i first had him he got
injured by being spiked which caused a swelling and loss of half of his
top lip which would ooze white stuff. two day ago he had a swollen
cheek and now he has 4-5 holes down the side of this cheek where i am
not sure if the cheek is oozing or it is still as a result of the hole
in the head he has one hole on his nose on one side all holes have gone
on the side with the swollen cheek he has one that is an original hole
and a linear ooze on the line on his side as i described before. he has
had 5 treatments with breaks and water changes he is eating some days
he isolates in his house other days he is fine. I have put some
aquarium salts in and now as there seemed to be and improvement but the
holes are back. I have heard now that i cant retreat with the Hexamita
as it cant mix with the salt Is this true? and i am so upset that i may
lose him if i water change can i treat him and can i put more in than
it says or put treatment in until it goes, or for four or five days. I
need HELP!! Please? Water quality has been tested There are two gold
Severums 2 alliminium catfish and a Firemouth in the same tank
MonicaMonica <Hello Monica. Before anything else, my gut feeling
here is we're looking at chronic water quality problems. Let me
explain. While 80 gallons sounds a lot on paper, the fish you have are
both big (the Aluminium Catfish, Chrysichthys longipinnis) and
super-sensitive to water quality, including nitrates (the cichlids,
particularly the Uaru). I'm also concerned that you're not
tackling the problem head-on. There's no need to use "aquarium
salt" in a freshwater tank, and any retailer that recommends
either salt or Pimafix as the solutions to your problems isn't
doing you a good service. The problem is almost certainly lack of
space, lack of water changes, and/or lack of filtration. So let's
review. Aluminium Catfish can get to 70 cm (over 25 inches) in the
wild. Two of them by themselves would need a much bigger tank than you
have, something upwards of 800 litres (175 Imp. gallons). On top of
that, you'd need a colossal amount of filtration, not less than 6-8
times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. On the flip side,
Uaru amphiacanthoides is a cichlid species at least as sensitive to
water quality as Discus, so keeping such a fish in a cramped tank with
poor water quality is going to make its life difficult. Putting aside
water chemistry issues for the moment, in terms of water quality you
need zero ammonia, zero nitrite, and a nitrate level of less than 20
mg/l. It's also a partially herbivorous cichlid, and unless
it's diet is rich in green foods, it suffers from vitamin
deficiencies rather easily, and these make fish more vulnerable to
Hexamita. And I'm sure you're dealing with some type of
Hexamita infection here. The reliable cure for this is Metronidazole
250 mg per 38 litres (8 Imp. gallons/10 US gallons). In the UK, you can
get this only from a vet. Whilst I'm aware of the eSHa alternative,
I've not used it, so can't comment on its efficacy. I'll
also make the point that unless you fix the environment and diet, all
the treatment in the world won't help. Cheers, Neale.>
Hexamita, help!-- 10/5/08
i have a 100 gallon (US) tank with 4 juvenile jewel cichlids, 4
juvenile tiger Oscars and 2 Plecos. i have two internal power filters,
filtering approximately 500 gallons an hour, as well as a thermostat
heating system maintaining temperature at a constant 25 Celsius. I
noticed a pair of my Oscars getting lazy and just kind of leaning by
themselves up against the corner of the tank. I noticed their poop had
turned a greyish white and researched that a primary cause of that
would be internal parasites.
<Can be; does rather vary with the parasite!>
Unfortunately in India, where i reside, we don't have the full
barrage of fish medication available so i took a metronidazole tablet
meant to be taken thrice a day by a human adult powdered it and let it
loose in the tank in the hope it would treat the fish. Any suggestions
<Should work, assuming the concentration is appropriate (7 mg/l
according to Andrews, Exell and Carrington (1988), potentially several
times, repeating every other day, with a 25% water change in between).
Do also see here:
Ulcers on angelfish, FW 8/12/08 The issue
in question is currently isolated to my 29 gallon tank. The tank is
about 19 months old and decorated with driftwood and a few live plants
including Corkscrew Val's, Ludwigia, Anubias, and Amazon Swords.
Despite the presence of plants it is by no means a "planted"
tank. The lights are controlled by a digital timer. Filtration is
provided by an Eheim Ecco 2232 loaded with coarse and fine filter pads
as well as Substrat Pro Bio Media. The water is also passed through
Current's 8 watt Gamma UV filter fitted with a Mini Jet 606 pump.
The water parameters are consistently 0, 0, and 20 ppm for ammonia,
nitrite, and nitrate respectively. Inhabitants include 3 angelfish
(Pterophyllum scalare) and two Keyhole cichlids. They are feed a
variety of quality foods including flake, pellet, and freeze dried
worms. <All sounds dandy.> The infected fish is the most recent
addition, the third angelfish. This fish was first quarantined for two
weeks with no signs of disease. It had been in the 29 gallon tank for
about four weeks before the symptoms were first observed. It may be
important to point out that this fish is not being bullied, and has
always been able to eat it fair share. All other fish have not thus far
and have never displayed any symptoms of disease. As far as I'm
concerned they have always been in excellent health. <OK.> The
first observations of symptoms on this fish were white patches randomly
covering the body. These observations were made after a two night
vacation. Some were on the right caudal peduncle, one at the base of
the caudal fin, another at the tip of an anal fin spine, one spot on
the each side's gill cover, and the last just above his mouth. I
immediately treated with API Fungus Cure. At the end of the recommended
treatment period most white patches were clearing so I continued
treatment with Pimafix. At this point I noticed that the white patches
left holes or ulcers on each gill cover and the spot just above the
mouth. These ulcers are not bleeding or leaking anything, and are not
remarkable other than just being present. After this I also added
Melafix to prevent possible secondary infection, and to utilize any
healing effects that the added Aloe may provide. I also started feeding
the only medicated food I had which contains sodium sulfathiazole and
Nitrofurazone. <There's really two things that spring to mind:
Finrot (or something similar) or Hexamita. Now, Finrot is almost always
associated with water quality, but in this instance that doesn't
seem likely. Your tank sounds well maintained, though I'd argue a
trifle overstocked for five cichlids of moderate size. But your nitrate
level is low and the ammonia/nitrite levels are zero, so that's
probably not an issue. Physical damage is the other common cause of
Finrot, whether through transportation (careless netting especially) or
fighting. Angelfish *are* territorial, and I've not seen many trios
work in small tanks. On the whole Angelfish work either as singletons,
mated pairs, or groups of 6+. Three specimens is a funny number,
because you could easily have a pair who resent the newcomer. Angelfish
are impossible to sex outside of spawning (and even then they make
mistakes themselves!) so this one is difficult to confirm either way.
But I would definitely observe their social behaviour. Things like fin
flicking and chasing are typical signs of aggression. Angelfish
sometimes even make audible croaks when they're being threatening.
Next up, Hexamita, a protozoan probably latent in many cichlids but
only problematic if conditions deteriorate in some way. Because this is
a slow-acting disease, the fish could have developed sickness at the
retailer, and only now are the problems manifesting themselves
regardless of how well you're caring for them. Hexamita does at
least two different things. Firstly it messes up the digestive tract,
leading to the classic white stringy faeces, or it causes pits to
appear on the face and body (the symptoms known as "Hole in the
Head"). Treatment of Hexamita is difficult, but Metronidazole
added daily at 250 mg per 10 US gallons for at least 3 days is the
standard therapy. Medicated foods work even better if the fish is
eating. Now, I have to admit neither Finrot nor Hexamita seems to fit
100% the symptoms you describe; photos would help.> Does it seem
like I really have this under control? <Difficult without
confirmation of the sickness.> Can I do anything further to heal
these open ulcers and how long can I expect this to heal? <You
should certainly be treating for Finrot/Fungus if only to prevent
secondary infections. In the US Maracyn seems to be the drug of choice
for this; in Europe I recommend eSHa 2000. Pimafix/Melafix are largely
useless and at best unreliable.> Lastly, what am I dealing with
here? <Not sure.> I feel Hole in the Head disease just
doesn't seem to fit here. <Agreed, but certainly worth
considering.> Certainly pictures I've seen don't seem to
match, whereas HITH seems to form pits these are open wounds or ulcers.
<One possible alternative is "Discus Plague", a nebulous
collection of symptoms with no obvious cause and no agreed treatment.
It sometimes affects Angels, particularly commercially bred ones rather
than wild-caught ones. I don't think is is likely, but I'm
putting it out there for your consideration and research.> Thank you
for your time. <Cheers, Neale.>
High Mortality Rate, FW, poss.
Hexamita/Octomita 7/1/06 My daughter has had her
Eclipse 12 aquarium for a little over a year. We have a high death
rate. <Not good> In 13 months we have had about 18 out of 25 fish
die. We test our water regularly at the local fish store and
it always test at normal levels. <Mmm, you might want to invest in
some simple test gear for your own, at-home use. Many important
parameters can/do change in just the short trip to the store... And
these tests, testing can be a useful element of education, sharing as
well> Deaths include about 6-9 platies, 3 dwarf gouramis, 2 albino
catfish, 1 skirt tetra and 2 rasboras. <A broad mix of tolerant
species...> Our original skirt tetra is alive after 1
year and 3 of the 5 rasboras we bought are still alive after 6
months. Many of the fish wasted away. Also some mainly the
gouramis had a hair-like excrement. <... trouble. This could well be
indicative of a persistent protozoan parasite
(Octomita/Hexamita...)> We finally treated for internal
parasites. We bought our first 2 fish from one of those
large chains and believe it might have brought a parasite with it.
<Given what you present here, I concur> We did two treatments ( 2
doses each I think) a week or two apart. <With what
medication?> Two fish died after that. We did not add any
fish for at least 2 month after that. When we did add 3
guppies and 1 dwarf Gourami, the male guppy died after 2
days. The Gourami died after we added 3 more guppies 2 days
later. I realize we added fish to quickly, but we were given
the second batch. I am wondering if these last two deaths
are likely due to stress or are there other things we should try.
<Possibly> The male bloated before dying, the Gourami
just died. I am getting really frustrated and my daughter is
getting very discouraged. Can you give me some suggestions
on how to reduce the death rate. <A few things, yes. For
one, if this problem is Hexamitiasis and unless it was eradicated
through treatment... it's still there (a very common cause of
continuing high losses from and through fish stores). I would treat
your system with Metronidazole/Flagyl to be sure. Please see WWM re
this anti-protozoal, its careful use, and Hexamita... and particularly
here re Gouramis: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GouramiDisFAQs.htm
and the next FAQ file linked above. Bob Fenner>
Discus with Hexamita? - 02/02/2004 Please help...I don't
want to lose me discus fish. I have been treating with rid-ich for 5
days now. The ich is almost gone, but the fish have developed cloudy
eyes, a whitish clear coating on their bodies and ragged fins.
<This sounds perhaps like "skin slime disease" - caused by
protozoan parasites, likely Hexamita, or possibly Ichthyobodo (Costia),
Childonella, Trichodina.... All should respond favorably to
Metronidazole administered in food. Metronidazole can be found made by
Aquatronics (Hex-a-Mit, green or blue box) and by Seachem (simply
Metronidazole).> I have a 55 gallon aquarium. Temp is at 86 degrees.
Nitrates, nitrites and ammonia are ok. Ph is at 7. I've been doing
a 20 - 25% water change daily, and I added 8 tablespoons of aquarium
salt to the water. Please let me know what else I should do.... <A
good start - and may in and of itself effect improvement or cure. I
would still treat with Metronidazole in food.> Thank you sooooo
much, Anna <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>