How to Treat Livebearer Disease

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How to treat the Livebearer disease

Livebearer disease is a catch-all term used to describe many disorders that commonly affect livebearers (or fish that bear live young). The shimmies and wasting diseases, as well as body fungus, are just a few of the many ailments that can be found. First, diagnose and treat your fish for the specific type of livebearer illness.

Why Are So Many Diseases Called “Livebearer Disease”?

Livebearers are frequently raised in hard water or brackish environments (see this article for more details), and when they get brought into our fully freshwater aquariums, their bodies start to crash, their immune systems become compromised, and it’s easier for pathogens to attack. People often buy stressed-out livebearers, which can spread the next illness to all their fish tanks. This outbreak often gets labeled generically as “livebearer disease” because we hobbyists are not adept at identifying fish illnesses. There are many fish diseases, but the most common ones that your livebearer will have is fin rot, internal parasites, fungus or some other commonplace condition. We recommend that you quarantine all fish entering your home and feed them high-quality food to improve their health. You also need preventive medications, such as vaccinating puppies.

Due to the many health issues new livebearers often face, we consult with ichthyologists. We extensively tested a variety of fish medications to determine which ones are the most effective in treating bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections. Based on our research, we narrowed down the search to three broad-spectrum medications – Mardel Maracyn, Aquarium Solutions Ich-X, and Fritz ParaCleanse. Over the years, our fish store has seen thousands of fish. Every fish is treated with this trio. This article will show you how to prevent illness in your fish by using these medications at home.

Quarantine drugs in a trio

Shimmies, Shimmying or Molly Disease

Shimmying is a symptom often seen in mollies and other livebearers where the fish rocks its body from side to side in a snake-like slithering motion. Shimmies can be caused either by:

– Low temperatures where the fish may be “shivering” to get warmer – Low pH where the fish’s skin is burning from the acidic water – Low mineral levels where the fish’s kidneys and other organs start shutting down

This is the most serious problem, as most farm-raised bees are raised in either hard or brackish water environments. Therefore, the conventional wisdom for the past 30 to 40 years has been to add salt to treat shimmying in livebearers and African cichlids. “Livebearer salt” not only contains sodium chloride salt (e.g., regular table salt and aquarium salt), but also a mixture of calcium, magnesium, electrolytes, and other minerals that are essential for healthy biological functions. However, one of the main reasons why we don’t always recommend salt is because it can harm plants and snails at higher concentrations.

Mollies are prone to shimmying if they were originally raised in brackish (partly freshwater and partly saltwater) environments.

If your livebearer is shimmying, provide the optimal living conditions with higher pH levels from 7.0 to 8.0, warmer temperatures between 76deg and 80degF, and increased mineral content. Minerals can easily be added to soft water by adding Wonder Shell, crushed coral and Seachem Equilibrium. If your tap water is extremely hard, simply doing more frequent, partial water changes may be enough to bring additional minerals into the aquarium. Keep in mind that your fish may have been stored for a considerable time in freshwater with no minerals at the wholesaler or fish shop. It may not be possible for the fish to be saved if it was already damaged and wasn’t treated promptly enough.

Wasting Disease or Skinny Disease

An example of wasting disease is this: You buy 20 fish, and after a month five of them are very thin while the others look fine. Five of the five fish you bought eventually pass away. Then, a few months later, five more fish start to become thinner and begin to die. This type of livebearer disease is usually caused by internal parasites, such as tapeworms or camallanus red worms. Parasites can cause organ damage and weight loss by stealing nutrients from the fish’s body.

Tapeworms can infest fish’s digestive systems and cause blockages. Stringy poo and weight loss are some of the symptoms. However, it can be difficult to diagnose the disease without looking at the feces with a microscope. We recommend every fish receive a preventative ParaCleanse treatment. This includes an antiparasitic drug called Metronidazole as well as a dewormer called Praziquantel. To ensure that any newly hatched eggs are eliminated, repeat the first treatment two to three weeks later.

Tapeworms may be hard to identify without a microscope.

If ParaCleanse does not stop the wasting disease, you may need to try another kind of dewormer. Fritz Expel-P is very effective for treating roundworms, camallanus red worms, hookworms, and even planaria in your aquarium. Most internal parasites are not visible to the naked eye. However, camallanus and hookworms can easily be identified visually. Medications like Expel-P that contain the active ingredient of levamisole or flubendazole work by paralyzing the adult worms so that they can be expelled by the fish and removed using an aquarium siphon. After two to three weeks, re-dose your tank with the dewormer in order to eliminate any remaining parasites.

Worms are particularly easy to spread because their eggs are passed through fish waste and livebearers are excellent scavengers that tend to consume infected feces. While worms also affect other species like angelfish, they usually don’t kill them because the parasites are so tiny in comparison to the large cichlids. The worms that infect a guppy or small livebearer are smaller and can cause serious health problems.

How to Prevent Livebearer Disease

Preventing illness is the key to fish health. If you are looking for new livebearers, these guidelines will help:

1. Provide the proper water parameters with a pH of 7.0 or higher and lots of minerals in the aquarium. Use crushed coral, Wonder Shell, or Equilibrium to help boost your mineral levels if needed. 2. For a few weeks, place all new fish into a quarantine tank to monitor for signs of illness. This will help prevent any outbreaks from spreading to your tank. You can prevent them from contracting the most common diseases by treating them with the trio. 3. While the fish are in quarantine, provide a low-stress environment to help them recover from their travels and rebuild their immune systems. You should keep them away from aggressive tank mates and give them lots of good food.

If you are unsure if your fish have livebearer disease but they display different symptoms, we have detailed information to help you.