Internal Parasites – Discus Worm, What are the Symptoms and How to treat it?

Symptoms of internal parasites in Discus: a) not eating b) not growing c) dull color

Why discus fish refuse to eat?
Healthy discus fish eat anything you give, when they are hungry. If they do not eat, there must be something wrong the fish and not the food. They have no appetite to eat because of internal parasites – WORM

Why discus fish eat but they do not grow?
All the nutrition intended for the discus is taken up by the worms. Discus free from worms will turn the food into nutrition for them to grow.

Color of discus fish look very dull
The color of the discus does not look attractive. Even when using natural enhancer, it does not show improvement as all the vitamins and nutrition is taken by the worms.

Discus should be treated for worms. We must de worm them once every month. Especially if they are fed live food, tubifex worm and bloodworm, as these do bring internal parasite to the discus. Treat them and get rid of worms every month. Your discus will eat, grow and they will look attractive.

Types of Internal Parasites
Hexamita, Roundworms, Capillaria, Threadworms Tape Worm, Metacercaria, Sanguinicola

For the treatment of flagellates (most common ailment of discus):
When you see white feces (white excrement) are present in the tank, and the fish will not eat then use:

  • Metronidazole B.P. Tablets – 200mg
  • Dosage: 2 tablets for 50 gallons water

Change water and repeat the treatment everyday for 5 days. When white feces disappeared and see black feces, internal parasites cleared.
Metronidazole B.P. Tablets Ð 200mg

Comments (40)

  • ayan shroff

    |

    my discuss fish is not eating for two weeks. and white feces come from fish. used metronidazole for last 10 days every day. but no result. change water 25% every days. and treat metronidazole but no effect.use salt too every day.what other medication i have to give.thanks for your help.

    ayan

    Reply

    • allan

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      What food are you feeding them with, Dry or live food?

      Reply

  • Michele

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    Hi, I have just done a 30% water change and noticed some thin, red, 1″ long worms in the water. I feed my Discus with dry, frozen bloodworm and beaf heart. Should I worry about these worms?

    Reply

    • allan

      |

      Reply:
      Put some rock salt
      Need not worry

      Reply

  • Michele

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    Many thanks Allan !

    Reply

  • ashok

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    HI,
    I am purely hobbyist, and my discus fish eggs hatched many number of times and i could see the wrigglers. But the fries are scattered everywhere in the bare bottom tank alongwith food debris, so it is dying before free swimming (after second day of hatching). Even I could see a small minute worms just like pin needle tip size (eating the wrigglers), what I have to do please tell me, I have very beautiful blood red malbaro and yellow sunrise laid nearly 10 times but dying. It is a breeding tank, 2x2x2ft, temp 30c, bare bottom, only air stone, no filter, feeding tetrabits/hicari discus fish bio gold, dry worms and goat heart and other rich foods like greens, walll nuts and many more.

    also please note, the water are clean but the bare bottom with scattered wriggles and fish debris difficult to do water changes. any tips and tricks will highly be appreciated.

    thanks
    ash

    Reply

    • allan

      |

      If your tank has worms then it is hard to succeed in breeding and caring for the fry. I suggest the first checklist is to maintain a clean tank. We use bare tank for breeding as it is easy to change water. We feed them before changing water daily so that uneaten food can be siphon out and does not decay, promote worms or bacteria that will harm the fry. Even though you will siphon some of the fries when changing water, it is still better that to have the whole tank infected and lose all of the fries.
      To make it easy for the fries to stay close their parents, you can reduce the water level, restricting the distance from top to bottom, so that the fries are not far away from swimming to their parents. Keep trying and you will succeed soon.

      Reply

  • amjad

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    i have two leopards 3 inch. now i feel like they are refuse to have the food i feed them beefg heart mix. and i dont have a idea to how to see the white face how should i treat them pls

    Reply

    • allan

      |

      not white face … if you see them shit white stuff then they have worms. normal shit is black …

      Reply

  • Harry

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    Hi i am Harry..mr Allan can u please help me..i am having breeding pair of discuss fish ..but the problem is that they lay eggs and hatch the fries too.but the fries dont comes on the body of the parents..i suppose this is having since last 7 times…one more thing i want to ask about the white shit stuff.my fishes are not eating anything and i can see all the white shit in the tank.i have treated them with metrogyl 400mg 2 tablets daily with 75% of water change since last 8 days but still nochange in them ..still not eating…

    Reply

    • allan

      |

      Fries not close to parents body
      Some strains with very clean body will have this problem. It will take the parents a few times to get it right.
      You can try to do the following:
      – if you are not using a breeding tank, use it the next time (big tank, too much space for fries to get lost)
      – lower the water level – same reason as above
      – it many times still cannot, try swapping with another male or female
      – use brine shrimp to give the fries alternate food source if they cannot get it from the parent’s body.

      Reply

  • FishLover

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    hai mr allan…love to see your website…i got a bit problem about my discus fish …i jus bought 1 pair discus fish…but i let them live with golden arowana…is that a big problem?? because the discus fish always hide behind the filter, seldom come out…when give them eat jus come out awhile…can say not so active…

    is that the fish cant mix live with arowana? or got other problem.

    thanks for helping me bro..thank u very much

    Reply

    • allan

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      You are right, arowana is best left on their own. If you still keep them together, you will find your discus fish in heaven.

      Reply

  • FishLover

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    Oh my god… Thank you very much Mr Allan… I will move them to new tank… Thanks a lot ya…

    Reply

  • Sammy

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    Hi Allan,

    If discus fish not eating for 2 weeks and they are pooping out white stringy stuff, (some are not strinky but like chunks and clear) If you use the Metro as treatment but they do not eat would their poop turn black?

    If Discus fish don’t eat and have no worms would they still poop out black or would it be clear since they have not eaten?

    Thank you!

    Reply

    • allan

      |

      If the medication is working, they will be looking for food to eat. If they still do not eat after more than 2 weeks, you will need to find out if there are other factors causing them not to eat, ie stress, sickness or water quality. Use different food to entice other than their usual food. Their poop will be black when they are free of worms.

      Reply

  • Gikki

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    Hi,
    I am having problem with one of my discus fish (female). My fish is not swimming upright as others are. Even though she is feeding sheis not releasing the feces as she used to. It is very limited. I am treating her with metro tab 400mg for d past 3 days with water change but no improvement. Please help I don’t want to lose this fish.

    Reply

    • allan

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      If she is not swimming upright, causes are:
      upside down, under the head, loss of balance – infected swim bladder or kidney inflammation
      bladder infection

      Reply

  • Zoe

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    Hi I have 3 discus in qt tank with internal Flagg should the tank be kept in darkness or not and I am treating with metro how long do you think before should see improvement thankyou in advance

    Reply

    • allan

      |

      Treatment for internal Parasites – Flagellates
      Dosage
      – 1gm Metronidazole to 100gm of prepared fish food (Tip: You can use fish pellet. Mix them with water until it becomes a dough, then add medication)

      Duration:
      – Day 1, 3 and 5
      – Prefer use bare fish tank

      To get the fish to eat on the first day of medication, starve them for a few days first.

      When you don’t see any short grayish stringy feces. Should not be more than a week.

      Reply

  • Carlos

    |

    Hi Allan,
    I have been reading all articles about Discus. I have to tell you that I find them extremely interesting and informative. The question I have is, when deworming Discus with “Metronidazole”, you mention to change water. Is it just a normal water change or is it a 100% water change. So far I have not found any white feces. A friend of mine says that he uses salt instead. Could you be so kind to enlighten me on the usage of metronidazole and salt? Thank you

    Reply

    • allan

      |

      Metronidazole is often fix with discus food and fed to the fish to treat internal parasites. After feeding, you can siphon away the uneaten food and replace the siphoned water with clean water – normal water change.
      Rock Salt or Epsom Salt is use to aid the discus clear its intestinal track. Helps indigestion and let them defecate. While feeding on the salt, the dissolved salt flowing into the mouth and going out through the gills, helps in cleaning the gills.

      Reply

      • Lenee

        |

        Hi,
        I’ve recently dosed one of my tanks with metronidazole powder into the tank for 8 days (then I ran out)… it seemed to improve my 2 discus that had stopped eating. I ordered more, but it hasn’t gotten here yet and one of the discus is hiding again… so was thinking of dosing it again when the metro gets here. Is the metro something that I can use every month in the water as a preventive and how would I do that?
        How do you use the epsom salt? How much per gallon and for how long? do you replace it with water changes?
        I also ordered some parinox and paricide-D for worming… will those be necessary or is the metro enough.
        And I also have PraziPro.
        Help! I don’t want these 2 to die. One of them that is out and about that has had it the longest seems a little interested in food, but his color is real dull and slightly dark. Does he need something else other than the metro?
        I feed frozen blood worms and frozen brine shrimp mostly. Sometimes I make a mixture of the two with some mysis shrimp and some garlic and some vitamins.
        Thank you!!
        Lenee

        Reply

  • sean

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    Hi Allan,

    I have got a custom tank built 10x3x3, so it is a very big tank arond 3000 litres including sump. Do you think it is good idea to do a planted discus tank. The things that i am worried about is , treating them for worms.
    how would i do it because there is so much water, is there food with medicine.

    Reply

    • allan

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      You should have a hospital tank. You can even use a bucket or any container that can fit according the number of discus you want to treat.
      Using your main tank to apply medication is not advisable as plants will die.

      Reply

  • William

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    Hi, Metronidazole is an antibiotic not an anthelmintic. It is unlikely to kill internal parasites. It will be useful in treating wound infections from where the worms teeth puncture the intestinal walls of the fish (to anchor themselves). [Why infected fish don’t eat due to pain]. Metro is toxic in high doses as it destroys the kidneys in fish. To kill internal parasites use Praziquantel, for a safer antibiotic, use Furan 2. Use Kusari as low cost option to treat the water in the tank and filter and kill any worm eggs or worm larvae. Treat monthly for maintenance. Google these names if unfamiliar with them. Tropical fish do not swallow a lot of tank water instead expelling it through the gills. Medicating their favourite food is your best option. small fish food flake or blood worms are ideal-soft food. take 150ml tank water, add 8 drops prazi, mix and soak food for 20 minutes. add to tank in small amounts where it can drift to sick fish. Repeat daily til faeces/shit is no longer white but a healthy muddy brown in colour. water temp for sick fish should be 28-30 Celsius, slightly increase oxygen. Discus do not have a high tolerance for salt. adding salt was an old school/natural way of curbing bacteria in the tank but will adversely affect your discus. Use Furan to kill bacteria, it treats the fish internally and externally and the water in one go. Good luck.

    Reply

    • Lenee

      |

      William…
      For soaking the food in Prazi… do you mean PraziPro? Is that ok to use?
      I have PraziPro… is that what would be used for a discus not eating with white/clear poop?
      How do you dose PraziPro?
      Thank you,
      Lenee

      Reply

      • William

        |

        Hi Lenee, sorry for delay, xmas hols. best to follow directions, prazi pro is at 1 teaspoon for 76 litres(20 gallons). Food soaking = to 150 mls tank water, add 6 drops of prazi paste and mix. add fav food (soft like bloodworms or flake). swirl to mix and stand for 5-10 mins. then add slowly to where fish is. (normally in back corner if sick).increase to 8 drops on second feed but dose strength can put fish off the food, trial it, go back to 6 drops if fish is happier on that dose. Note-tapeworm can build a tolerance for praziquantel. I had a bad case with 7 treatments back to back with treatments 3 and 4 at double dose-no effect. I switched to kusari pro wormer, first dose at recommended dose, second treatment at double dose. Large tapeworm came out dead on day 3 treatment 2, then added furan 2 to heal internal wounds. large blue diamond happy and well. No food soaking required with kusari, it hits the tank, fish and external filters at once. hope this helps.

        Reply

  • Carlos

    |

    Thank you guys for this great info. I will be googling these medicines to learn more about them. I have used Kusuri Wormer Plus, and reapeated four days later, and from now on it will be done once a month for prevention reasons. The fish faeces are dark brown, and have always been since I got them, but as I am fairly new Discus keeper, I just to wanted to know more about it. Thanks guys for your help. I have not been able to find an aqUatic shop that sells METRONIDAZOLE, in the UK.

    Reply

  • David

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    Mr. Allen. First time visitor to your site and I must say I am impressed. So impressed.I have a new blue diamond that is eating as aggressively as any discus I have had in over ten years but from time to time has whitish feces. Is there need to worry as long as the fish is eating normally or is this a problem in its very beginning stages. Thank you for your time in advance.

    Reply

    • allan

      |

      I suggest not to worry over it as long as it is eating normally… it has done well over ten years.

      Reply

  • Low ks

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    Use parzi gold to de-worm discus

    Reply

  • david

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    my discus started spitting out the food and hasn’t eaten for a week, its poo is long white and stringy and it looks like it can’t keep it’s balance well. It also has turned black and appears stressed out. I have tested the water and it’s all good and I have also treated it for internal parasites. Is there anything else I can do? Will my discus make it? I’m worried :(

    Reply

    • allan

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      not eating – try deworming them. common for discus sometimes not to eat for a week. but not prolonged periods.

      turning black – discus way of tell you something is not right. water contamination (chlorine, ammonia), PH change (water from municipal can have large variance on PH – 0.5 ph change can be the caused). other causes – being bullied, noisy environment, vibration or mating.

      Reply

  • Jared stroble

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    Had this discus for 3 weeks now and it will not eat. The only thing it would touch was live brine once or twice but isn’t interested anymore. How can I treat for internal parasites if it won’t eat anything?

    Reply

    • allan

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      u need to see if other factors causing them not to eat. make them comfortable and safe. use overhead light if possible. they feel safer because they cannot see outside the tank or you.
      try different food to coax them to eat. they will eat eventually. having worms doesnt mean that they will die of starvation, it only means they will be thinner or grow unevenly ie banana shape.
      only when they eat then you can mix medicine with food. just soak pellets in water make into paste and then mix medicine.

      Reply

  • Naveen Ratna

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    Hi Allan,

    I have 13 Discus fish and i have a problem sometime its eyes have white patch on it can you please help me as i already lost 1 size of almost 7 inh

    Reply

    • allan

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      White patch maybe cause by eye fungus.

      Reply

  • YsLim

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    May i know how to use the metronidazole for the treatment? My tank is 4 feet in size. I have to mix it with food to treat them or just stir it up with water?

    Reply

    • allan

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      mix with food the most effective, if they are still eating.

      Reply

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