when to medicate

when to medicate


By Jim E. Quarles

One of the biggest problems most hobbyist face when they are fairly new to keeping discus is the panic that occurs when their fish shows the slightest sign of disease or illness.

Most head for the aquarium shop or fish store to buy all kinds of chemicals and antibiotics. Then they rush home and make what I refer to as CHEMICAL SOUP, in their fish tank. And of course the guy in the pet store loads them with all kinds of packaged goodies to dump in on the hapless fish. This should not be a surprise, after all they are in the business to sell you stuff. Now I am not saying that all of those people are loading you with junk just to make money. But most don't know a guppy from a whale when it comes to discus fish. Some do, but they are few and far between.

All that is so uncalled for. The proper thing to do is take note of what you're actually seeing with your fish. if you feel you must take quick action, use rock salt at 2 tablespoons per ten gallons of water. Then observe the fish again for a short while. If you see Any sign of color changes in the fins or white fringes around the tail fin, you might at that point use two drops of Malachite green zinc free dye.

Once this is added, again observe the fish for at least 24 hours before making any changes, then change about half the water ever other day for a while and keep your eye on any changes in the fish's condition.


If your fish has a real disease it will show it self in symptoms in a couple of days, do not worry if the fish stops eating in the beginning. Fish can go quite a while without food with no lasting harm.


I will make the statement that more discus and other fish kept by hobbyist are killed by un-enlightened treatment then ever die from natural causes in the home tanks
Over these many years I have observed many hobbyist from beginner to advanced do foolish things at the first sign of a problem with their fish. I recently I even came to know one person who talks of "diseases" caused by ( liver ) problems in discus and tried to indicate antibiotics as a preventative measure. It reminds me of the old west and the SNAKE OIL salesmen that traveled the west selling magic potions made from secret Indian methods.!!

The best treatment is NO treatment at all, unless you are sure what the problem is, you can not just shot gun the fish with a chemical soup and expect anything but death to your charges.

If you think an antibiotic is called for, use it, but don't stop mid way through the treatment cycle, let it run at least 10 days.

It amazes me when I see all the people treating their fish for flukes, when they don't even own a microscope or a good lens to identify them on the fish's gills. It seems to me that most people just start tossing in chemical goodies to rid the fish of parasites they may not even have. And the same applies to the treatment for internal worms.

Different kinds of worms are as normal to all fish as the shoes you put on in the morning. But let just a tiny one show and boy it's soup time again. Fish live long normal lives infected with many different kinds of worms. While not appealing they cause little harm.

I ask you to use common sense with your fish. I don't think that in nature down in the Amazon when a fish gets slightly ill or sluggish, that the natives run down to the river and start mixing chemicals to make soup for the poor little fishes. No, water changes will do more in 98% of the cases than all the chemicals in your fish room, that and a little salt in the water from time to time.

Now so that I am not misunderstood, fish do get sick, they do develop diseases that require specialized treatment. But they never need the SHOT GUN EFFECT OF ANTIBIOTICS AND CHEMICALS. THEY NEED SPECIFIC TREATMENT BASED ON KNOWLEDGE NOT GUESS WORK, or at least a informed and educated guess.

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