How To Treat Internal Parasites Without Killing Plants?

Blk69

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Hello looking for some advice. After years of poor results keeping guppies, I finally think I located the problem. My guppies typically live about 6 to 9 months, get white string poop, become lethargic, stay at the top of the tank and die. Other species in my tank are unaffected. Few days ago watched a youtuber and he had guppies with the same problem and was identified as internal parasites, called it wasting disease.

So about 1 year ago, treated my planted tank with everything to get rid of the illness. After a copper dose of meds, lost 1/2 my plants. Darn sickness came back and lost a bunch of plants. Since then I have been living with it. I try not to get too attached to any particular guppy as sooner or later they will no longer be with us.

Tank parameters, 78 to 80 degs, 50% water change monthly. 75 gal tank, moderately planted (cut back on plants for the summer), 25 guppies, 2 cory cats and 1 ghost shrimp. Water is from my well high in iron. Dose with Excel and fert tabs.

Has anyone had a similar issues and if so were you able to cure it? Are their internal parasites that only affect guppies? What types of meds are out their that kill internal parasites but wont harm plants? I have both water column and substrate feeding plants. Any help greatly appreciated and my guppies give their thanks too.
 

FrostedFlakes

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Copper isn't really a treatment for internal parasites. Treatments you'd usually find for internal parasites are praziquantel, metronidazole, and other bacteria killing compounds. Copper is a really tough med on plants and fish, so that was likely the issue. If you're fish are still eating, one of the best approaches would be to medicate their food. Seachem metroplex (metronidazole) and seachem focus (nitrofuratioin, I believe) are both meds that are commonly used to medicate food.
 
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Blk69

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Fish are eating. Will the above kill parasites?
 

FrostedFlakes

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Yes the above kill internal parasites if that is what you believe the problem is. Metro and focus are usually paired together. If you want a water column med (not as effective) metronidazole and praziquantel should not do as much harm to plants. There is API general cure, prazipro, or metro and focus to the water
 

JenC

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I agree with the advice above and second the suggestion for API General Cure, which has praziquantel and metronidazole, for generic internal parasites.

However, if it's actually wasting disease/livebearer's disease then I believe the medicine of choice is levamisole.
 
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Blk69

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Is wasting disease and/or internal parasites something that you can cure/total remove from your tank?


Also the link for Levemisole took me to Agrilabs Prohibit Soluble Drench Powder, cattle dewormer. Is this the right stuff?
 

FrostedFlakes

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Most people when they use levemisole they use animal dewormers, so I believe that is correct. Yes, internal parasites are something that can be cured. All the medications I have listed above treat internal parasites. If you are sure it is wasting disease then those are the meds to use.
 
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Blk69

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Ok, am I understanding this correctly. If I medicate with food, the volume of water in my tank doesn't matter. I would reduce the water from 75 to say 40 to save on water based treatments, as food based I am ok leaving the 75 gals of water in my tank. Believe high volume of water in my tank is better for the fish, but maybe doesn't matter.

With API and/or Levamisole, assuming their is a max dosing time range as meds can be hard on fish internals. What is the medication rate for these two products and how often will it need repeated? Assuming more frequent water changes are required as building up chemicals in the water table.
 

FrostedFlakes

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I have never used levamisole before so I don't know the duration or if it should be ingested by fish, so I am unsure on that front. Hopefully someone can hop on this thread and give advice there. My guess is that because it's a dewormer, it won't be as broad a treatment for internal parasites, so it may not be the best choice. An API general cure treatment can run 2-3 weeks with medicated food. I generally treat until 3 days of no symptoms. If you are medicating food, no the water volume would not matter. General cure may be a good choice because metro + prazi can knockout worms as well as internal microbes. High volume of water is better because compounds won't build up as fast (nitrate, etc.)
 

JenC

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I have no experience with wasting/livebearer's disease other than what I've read here and there, and most of it was while I was researching levamisole to treat my new fish's camallanus worms. It treats several parasites/worms but not everything. Sometimes prazi/metro is better, like for flukes. It would be ideal to try to nail down the specific kind of parasite/disease if that's possible.

Here's a good link about levamisole and some info on what it does and doesn't treat:

Levamisole Hydrochloride — Loaches Online

Two other links I found helpful in case you decide to go with levamisole:

Treating Your water with Levamisole

Levamisole Dosage Calculator

Here's a recent thread about dying livebearers where General Cure and levamisole are discussed:

Stringy White Poo And Fish Deaths - Please Help

P.S. Neither praziquantel nor levamisole seems to have hurt my plants. I've not used metro.
 
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SherriX2

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I think 1 of my bettas have internal parasites. Treated with liquid PraziPro but no change.
I plan on trying the above advice about food & other meds BUT does anyone know if the meds are okay to use with snails? I’ve got tons of live plants and nerite snails
 
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