While many discus hobbyists rely at least partially on RO or DI water for their aquariums, in some areas the municipal water supply has a relatively
low pH, making it excellent for discus right out of the tap, with only a water conditioner needed for chlorine and/or chloramine removal.
I finally purchased fresh garlic heads from
the supermarket and began what I hoped
would be the right move. I divided the cloves
and removed the onion-like skin from each
clove to extract a juice, or at least a puree.
With a lemon squeezer, I was able to press
out a small amount of garlic puree out of
each. This was added to the discus food—two
parts food, and one part puree. As an added
experiment, I fed some of the fish with
two parts puree, one part formula food.
The discus accepted the extra garlic puree
without any hesitation.
For the control of the parasites, I knew I
had to continue with the fresh garlic—so what
if the hatchery took on the fragrance of an
Italian restaurant! I was prepared to feed the
two-part formula, one-part garlic puree for a
period of four weeks, monitoring any progress
with the help of my microscope. At the end of
the second week, I could see that the parasites
were probably saying sayonara to the discus.
During the treatment with the fresh garlic
puree, the fish were being fed nothing but
the formula-puree diet, and—because they
were not full-grown fish—they were fed two
(sometimes three) times each day. At the time
I purchased the discus they were a little thin,
but with the formulated food plus the garlic
puree, I could easily see them gaining both
weight and size. At that time, I could see that
their breathing rate was rapidly returning to
the normal 60 to 70 breaths per minute.
By the end of the third week, and with the
fish accepting the puree nicely, the parasite
count was near zero. I decided then to
continue the program for two more weeks,
and by the end of the fourth week the
breathing rate of all the fish was back to
normal. I saw no more parasites in the discus
or in any of their feces.
It was greatly satisfying to cure the fish
using only fresh garlic and no medication.
Of course, without the use of a microscope,
I wouldn’t have been able to track the
progress being made by my feedings. I
feel that it’s necessary to elaborate on
the importance of this equipment, as it
has always amazed me that so few discus
hobbyists I know have one. With the aid of
a microscope, it’s very easy to determine if
the fish have internal or external parasites.
They’re generally very durable, and you’ll
rarely have to purchase a new one—they
don’t wear out, and unless they’re dropped,
an older microscope is just as useful as a
new one. Used microscopes can be found
in many pawn shops, but you can also
find them offered at a reasonable price
by schools from time to time when they
upgrade to more expensive units.
The eyepiece on the microscope has a
magnification level of 10x and the lenses are
40x, which makes the total magnification
400x. If you are dining in a party of four
at a four-star restaurant and it’s your