The number one question that always comes on the phone is, ‘Gabe, why are my fish laying down? I’ve used metronidazole, I’ve used praziquantel, everything on Earth, and my fish are not standing up. They swim a little and drop down. What I’ve tried to tell everybody that is it could be either the swim bladder is gone or that they’re constipated. Remember, if you’re constipated and you can’t go to the bathroom, you’re going to experience a lot of pain. Just like people go into the fetal position when they’re in pain, the discus lie down because they don’t want to move; swimming creates pain.When we treat that, the first treatment that we’re going to do is use Epsom salts. Epsom salts are available anywhere, any pharmacy. There’s a big difference between Epsom salt and regular salt; I realized that the salt is in the back, and everybody assumes that Epsom salt is aquarium salt. It is not. Regular table salt is sodium chloride, and Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate. If you sprinkle magnesium sulfate on top of your food, you’ll be sitting on the toilet for a week. So, there’s the difference between the two, and we want you to know the difference. When I say Epsom salt, I’m not referring to aquarium salt; I’m referring to magnesium sulfate Epsom salt, which you can probably get at any supermarket, any pharmacy. It’s very inexpensive, and Walmart might even have it.
Put a heaping tablespoon for every 40 gallons, and that’s your Ex-Lax for the fish. It makes the fish defecate, releasing whatever is blocking them internally. Epsom salt and magnesium sulfate will get them to release all that. Once they release all of that, you can control it with metronidazole to remove the internal infection that may have been caused by the food decomposing internally. It’s necessary that you try the right medication under the right conditions. In other words, I don’t want you to take oxytetracycline for a headache. I say that all the time; you’ve got to treat with the correct medications, consult the way to go.
After a month of treating with Epsom salt (and by the way, you put it in only once because salts don’t leave the water – the only way they leave the water is if you do a water change), if you were in the middle of a treatment and you do a 30% water change, you’ve got to replace that 30% of Epsom salt in your tank. After a month, if the fish hasn’t relieved itself, chances are it’s swim bladder, and if it’s a swim bladder issue, realistically, there is no cure for that. The fish will just live like that, similar to a person limping for the rest of their lives. They won’t be able to regulate themselves, and that’s why they’ll either fall or have their head facing down.
I’m hoping that you guys can gather some information from this video. There’s a video for you, my “fish laying down people.” I’m Gabe Posada of Jack Wattley Discus. It’s always a pleasure to be here for you.