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Repeat Parasite Outbreak


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Ammonia Level - 0

Nitrite Level - 0

Nitrate level - 10

Ph Level, (If possible,KH and GH and chloramines) - PH 8

Ph Level out of the Tap - 7.4

Tank size (How many Gals) and How long has it been running? 20 UK gallons running for 6 months

What is the name and size of the filter/s - 2 Italian branded filters, canister filters, combined turnover of 820 LPH

How often do you change the water and how much - once a week, 40%

How many fish in the tank and their size - 2 Fancies(Frizzy- Fantail, Nero- Black Moor) both about 3 inches, 2 Apple Snails

What kind of water additives or conditioners? Acqua Plus water conditioner

Any medications added to the tank? Anti Internal parasites med

Add any new fish to the tank? No

What do you feed your fish? Home made gel food, flakes, gf crisps, peas, sinking pellets

Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt" - Maybe a whiteness on the top of Frizzy's head, not cotton/fungus like, very hard to see clearly. It's been there a while.

Any unusual behavior like staying

at the bottom, not eating, ect..? Scratching, flashing, darting, yawning, scale loss.

I think I have been battling with parasites since I got my fish 6 months ago.

It feels like it's been a constant case of symptoms....salting....fine for a while...symptoms.....and so on.

It seems as though at each "outbreak" I am simply killing off enough of them to stop the symptoms being displayed but I'm never actually killing them off completely.

I wish I had access to a microscope but I don't. I don't know what I'm dealing with here. It seems to be Frizzy that always displays the most obvious symptoms with Nero being a lot slower to display them. In the past it's been flashing, yawning, scratching, aggression and I've taken out the snails and salted to 0.3%. Everything remains fine for a while and then it starts up again.

This time is the worst I've seen so far. The poor creature is demented. He is darting around so fast and crazily and scratching so much that his scales are falling off. It's very upsetting to see him. My water is always in pristine condition and tested weekly so I don't know why these parasites keep multiplying and attacking.

This time I went out and bought meds because I've tried the salt route and I want to try something stronger. If only I could see what they are. I went to the LFS and found some meds with some English writing on them...hurray! The thing is they had both a bottle to treat internal and external parasites....I bought both so that when I got home I could ask you guys for your opinion.

I have dosed with the External Parasite bottle because it mentioned parasites that I have read about here so I guessed them to be the most common type eg Trichodinasis, Chilodoniasis.

So that's where I'm at now. Day one of the Anti External Parasites med. I don't know if I'm using the right treatment....should I be using the internal parasite med? I know it's impossible to tell without a look under a microscope.

I'm very worried about Frizzy. Nero is yawning but he's not displaying the frantic disburbing behaviour that Frizzy is.

How can I zap these things once and for all?

Any suggestions guys? Help!

Thanks for reading such a long post. X

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I am so sorry you are going thru some troubles w/your fish. Unfortunately, I can't help you in the meds dept, as I am in the States. Hopefully someone else can come along and advise you.

However, the fishy's behavior is making me lean towards parasites as you have already mentioned. If it is indeed chilo, a few of us here have found that some strains of chilo can be very very difficult to eradicate.

That being said, our current treatment protocol involves raising the salinity very very slowly to .8%. I would suggest raising it in .1% intervals every 24 hours. Once you reach the .8% salt level, you can leave it there for about 2 weeks. Then you just as slowly reduce the salt level.

I would suggest doing this in your main tank. It is possible if this is indeed chilo, your tank is infested as well as your other fish. Even though only one fish is exhibiting symptoms, the other fish may be able to handle the chilo in a better manner.

If you choose to go this route, you need to be very cautious of the tank temp as well as your fishy's behavior during the increase in salinity. The tank temp should be about 78F (sorry - not sure what that is in C). Also, watch for any signs of pop eye. Some fish, especially mine, really can't handle high levels of salt all that well, especially in cooler waters.

You would have to remove the snails during this process.

I hope this made sense. Let me know what you think.......

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While Chico has made some great suggestions. I have a couple fo my own, as well as some more questions:

Firstly, most microscopic parasites aren't actually true parasites. Trichodina, chilodonella, epistylus, tetrahymena and several others are known as facultative parasites. This means that while they enjoy parasitising fish tissues, they do not need a fish for survival. So, they can live and reproduce in a tank without even having fish present. They subsist on bacterias and diatoms and the like.

Secondly, being that applesnails have a rudimentary digestive tract and produce copious amounts of slime, your not likely to get rid of the parasites, for good, until you remove the apple snails from your fish's environment (permanantly). In short, even though your snails are not adversely affected by the parasites, they can and will harbor parasites and re-infect a treated tank if they are re-introduced to the tank.

Your snails are now considered permanent carriers of the parasite simply because you cannot treat snails as you would a fish In fact, ANYTHING that has been in a parasite infected tank is considered to be a "carrier". Carriers should be kept alone in their own tank, with their own maintenence equipment (syphons, buckets algae scrubbers, EVERYTHING). None of the snails tank stuff should be used next to or in the fish's tank, EVER. In fact, it would be a very good idea to NEVER clean or maintain the snails tank in the same day that you mess with the fishes tank. If you do, do the snails tank AFTER you do the fishes tank. One more thought on the snails and them being carriers; most freshwater tropical fish are relatively resiliant to facultative parasites. So, you could always keep a couple tropicals in with the snails (just to make the tank more appealing, that is. ;)

As for figuring out, or narrowing down, the possible nasties your fish may have, there is a protocol you could follow. Firstly, search and search and search, locally, online or wherever for any of the drug names below:







In combinations: Caniquantel Plus, Drontal, Drontal Plus.

here's a link for more synonyms: http://www.chemindustry.com/apps/chemicals?m=s&t=55268-74-1

Anyway, if you haven't already done so, treating with Praziquantel will reveal if flukes are the culprit or not. If the prazi doesnt seem to help at all, then you are most definitely seeing either chilo, tetra, trichodina or possibly costia. For each of those, Malachite Green/Formalin combos OR potassium permangante baths work well.

Anyway, could you tell me the name of the medications you bought? How about ingredients in them? Do they change the water color any?

Post back soon.


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Thank you both for your responses.

Apologies if my replies seem slow in coming but we are on a huge time zone difference (I'm in Italy).

I really appreciate your input and will aways reply as soon as I can.

Chico, thanks for your treatment plan. If I hadn't already added the medicine I would have implemented it. I still may do it when the course of meds is complete if you guys think I should.

Paul, your snail theory makes perfect sense to me. Even though I read lots of times that snails couldn't carry any nasties, I just knew deep down that the two were connected. Everytime I treated the tank (with the snails out) things would be ok for a period of time. The snails went back in after every treatment was complete (they were kept in temporary dwellings with a heater). Then after a few weeks the problems started up again. You're right, this cannot simply be a coincidence.

I am going to have to go shopping for a 10 gal for the snails so. (My bf will be thrilled, we are having a 100 gallon delivered on Sat...wait till I tell him we've to buy another 10 gal!!! :)

Well it has to be done.

So for the new 100 gal I need to purchase a whole new set...syphons, buckets etc...)

Is it possible to disinfect these items....or it's probably not worth the risk.

And so to the meds....the crazy Italian meds!! Thankfully these ones have some English on them so at least I can understand how to dose the water and what they are for!

The brand I'm using is Maresca Acqua. Their website is www.marescaesca.com but I've checked it out and it tells nothing about the meds.

The one I'm using is D607 Anti External Parasite Ectocure. It's a bright lime colour but doesn't colour the water...it's too diluted.

It says it's a product of China and is imported by them. Very helpfully there isn't an ingredient mentioned...great!!

This is what it says it treats......



Anchor Worm

Fish Mite

Gill Fluke

Skin Flat Worm




This is what I have treated the tank with. I added 8ml yesterday, amd 4ml today (as per instructions), tomorrow I have to add another 4ml. What do I do then...small water changes and add some carbon? (To clear it out I mean.....does it all have to come out after 3 days?)

As I said in my last post, I bought a bottle for Internal Parasites too, made by the same crowd.

It says it treats the following:



Filarial Worm

Thread Worm


Thorny Headed Worm

(I don't know if these are all the correct spelling, or just badly translated to English from Italian!)

This is a 6 day treatment and the one I'm using (External Para) is a three day treatment.

I don't know what colour this one is because I haven't opened the bottle. Do you want me to?

Should I treat with this med after I finish with the External Parasite med?

Paul, I will start searching for the meds you mentioned. It's difficult to find an online store that ships to here but maybe a UK one might.....let the search commence!

If I have left anything out, please let me know.

Thanks ever so much again for your help.

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A few hours later.....update.

I just want to add to the above post so that you have all information you may need to understand my problem.

Last month I added a new Apple Snail. Attached to her was a little "pest" snail (Physa Acuta). Foolishly I dropped him into the tank with the guys and the Apple Snails. I presumed he was dead as I never saw him again. During this month I have salted up to 0.3% for the above problem so I definitely thought he was well dead.

Well.....10 mins ago...I saw him. He was climbing up the filter trying to get out. Obviously the meds are poisoning him and he needed to escape. I couldn't believe it...after a full month there he was. I took him out. Two minutes later, yup, you guessed it....another one trying to get out. The little monster has multiplied. I've found three of them all in the past ten minutes. I have never seen them before. They must all be trying to get out of the poisoned water. The three of them have been crushed, courtesey of my bf. So there are probably loads of the little creatures spreading more horrible parasites onto my lovley fish. I will kill any of them I find....grrrr!!

Do you think this may have added to the problem? I don't know how many there might be.....they are TINY.

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ANYTHING that has been in an infected tank can spread disease to a new tank. ANYTHING. ;)

Being that you have applesnails in the tank, the little snails cant do much more than the big ones have/can. Manual removal of the snails as you find them is the best course of action at this point. If any survive through the treatments that you administer to the fish, then you can treat them accordingly. Just just get the fish through treatment first.

If you can, please try and get the Praziquantel meds first and foremost. Praziquantel and Droncit are the most widely used synonyms for the compound your needing.

Have you any local veterinarians nearby? If so, veterinarians usually have praziquantel of some sort, onhand, for the treatment of internal parasites in cats and dogs. Depending on the drug laws in Italy these days, you might even be able to purchase the drug wiothout a prescription. This should be your first place to search.

The whole idea to this is to eliminate flukes as a possibility, first and foremost. Because flukes are nearly impossible to kill off without Praziquantel or a very labor intensive treatment regime, they should be the first target to shoot for. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a neverending viscious circle of treatment, improvement and relapse.....

With a kill list as reported by the meds you have, I can only assume that you have some form of organophosphate based medication. While these work well, they aren't exactly the best course of action. However, in most countries abroad, its the best stuff available on the open market. Here in America, we are VERY extremely lucky to have an impressive list of medications available to us. Including Prazi.

All in all, you now have a much better idea of how to solve your problem. Since the meds seem to have done you well in the past, once you treat them without returning the snails to the tank, your parasites may be destroyed.

Try to locate some Prazi............


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I found some Droncit tablets (Prazi) at the local animal chemist.

I'm not going to do a thing until I get your green light because I'm not sure what's right.

I got my Dr. Johnson & Rick Hess book today (yay) in the post and it talks about treating with Droncit tablets.

Can you clarify things for me?

The book says 34mg of Droncit per 10 gallons.

I have 20 gallon tank so that would mean I need 68mg.

These Droncit tabs are 50mg each. So I would need one and less than a half?

Can you help me with the procedure Paul?

What do I do.....crush the tablets and just add the powder to the tank?

Is this a one off treatment?

How long does it stay in?

Should I wait until I have all the other meds out? I need to start doing small water changes to get that stuff out now.

I got 6 50mg tablets of Droncit for $25 (20 Euro).

They are acting a lot less stressed which is good but obviously it doesn't mean that the problem is over. It won't damge them doing this even if they don't have flukes...will it?!

I'll await your advice Paul. Thank you for your time and patience.

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I forgot to ask this in the above post but do you recommend a salt bath before I dose with the Droncit?

They're 2 quite small fish, about 3 inches each, but they've both had a salt bath before for 3 mins and tolerated it perfecly well.

Also the temp in the tank is 73F, does this need to go up?

I'm in trouble if it does because the only heater I have is in with the snails and my bf will explode if I tell him I've to get more stuff!!

Is Potassium Permanganate stong enough to kill flukes if I use it to disinfect the heater?

Why do I know you are going to say no!!

I know I'm not allowed to mix anything. I'm just clutching at straws!!

Boy is this 100 gallon (coming Sat) going take an age to cycle now that I can't use anything to seed it.

Even with no fish for weeks in a fishless cycle can I still not use any filter material from Infected Tank? Would the flukes not die?

Again...clutching at straws....Paul said NO already....can't you listen!!?

Edited by kila
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I forgot to ask this in the above post but do you recommend a salt bath before I dose with the Droncit? Nah, dont worry about the salt dip right now. The first couple doses are going to be the deciding factor as to wether this is flukes or not. If it IS flukes, you'll see relief within a matter of a few hours to a day. Besides, salt dips work better for ciliates.

Also the temp in the tank is 73F, does this need to go up? Nope. Prazi and the treatment of flukes isnt very temerature dependant in an indoors situation.  

Is Potassium Permanganate stong enough to kill flukes if I use it to disinfect the heater? Absolutely. Especially if a super concentrated bath is used. The bath should be at least an hour long. Byut, thats a moot point since you dont need the heater at this point. 

Even with no fish for weeks in a fishless cycle can I still not use any filter material from Infected Tank?  Would the flukes not die? Yes, flukes would surely die off within a matter of a few weeks without a host to live on. If flukes are the culprit here, youll know by this weekend. But, the droncit will destroy them good. You'll then be able to transfer ALL of your stuff from the small tank to the big one. That is, IF this is not a multiple infestation of flukes AND someother nasty. Its a real possibility. :unsure:  


Good job on locating the Droncit!

Dosing Droncit is as per Ricks Book. One and a half tablets will work nicely. You cannot realistically overdose Prazi/Droncit so dont worry about it. Thats good that you have enough tablets to treat your goldfish a full round. I suggest adding a full dose, skip two days and then another full dose, skip two days and so on til your tablets are gone. That is, IF the treatment seems to be working by this weekend.

Crush the tablets into a fine powder and mix it in some tankwater that has been drawn into an old waterjug or something similar (it needs to close tightly. then, shake it til you get cramps in your side. Once your at the point of cramping, shake it some more. :lol::rofl For real though, it does not like to mix with water, so youll need to agitate the living heck out of it. ;)

Again, youll know if its working by this weekend. When you got o add the second dose, you should already notice that the flashing has subsided. Keep us updated! :D

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I'm happy to report that things are looking good today.

They both seem a lot calmer and less agitated. Just lots of yawns.

Do you think it would be ok to salt to 0.3% while treating with Droncit or would that be too much for them. I just want to eliminate any other potential nasties that might be lurking on them.

If not, I'll do it when the round of Droncit treatments are complete.

There are no water changes between Droncit treatments right?

Treat every two days with no water changes inbetween?

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Treat every 3 days. No waterchanges needed.

Day one, treat.

day two, nothing.

Day three, nothing.

Day four, treat.

Repeat till you have used up your droncit. ;)

So, were you seeing flashing and scratching before you added the droncit and now there is none (except yawning)?


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Things are looking a lot better.

No more scratching or flashing. Still a bit of yawning though.

Looks like you hit the nail on the head for me Paul with your diagnosis.

I will continue treatment until the Drincit is used up.

A HUGE thank you to you, you have been wonderful.

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Awesome! :D

I'm glad that it seems to only be flukes! I must say, if it weren't, you'd have a much tougher time eliminating the problem. Let's just keep our fingers crossed that it is ONLY flukes....... ;)

Keep us updated! :)

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I'm keeping fingers and toes crossed.

I ordered a reasonable (and probably not great) microscope last week so I will examine some samples and see what I see!

I have all of your fantastic links to use for comparison.

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Oh, I've got a LOT more links than what I even have posted around here. :exactly;)

I'd be happy to help you with identifying anything you find. PM me or ask away in the parasites and look-a-likes thread. Either way. When scoping, have a pen and pad handy so you can sketch whatever it is your seeing. A digicam works well for taking pics. You just need a tripod you can set-up next to the table with the scope ;)


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