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Author Topic: Parasites!!  (Read 777 times)
cheri_alexander
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Parasites!!
« on: February 22, 2012, 10:20:40 PM »

Both tanks are 55 gallons, one with four fish, one with five. The tank with 4 has been established 1 year+, the other is new but has an established filter and didn't noticably cycle at all. Twice a week changes of 60%. Tank one, four fish 0ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrites 20 ppm nitrate. Tank two, five fish 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, trace nitrate

Two weeks ago I purchased a new ryukin, I kept him isolated for five days before putting him in my oldest tank with four others. He was picked on, I placed him in the newer tank and left him there, eventually dividing the tank so as to keep him safe. Then I noticed a nitrite spike in the old tank, when this cleared up the fish developed milky skin and generally looked poor. I began treating with a .3% salt solution and daily water changes (replacing salt and beneficial bacteria at each change) and then yesterday the fish in my newer 55 began bottom sitting and looking very unhappy, I changed the water despite normal parameters and tonight they too have a parasite! This one looks more like ich. I salted this tank too. I removed the ryukin because he doesn't have any sign of parasite (odd) and he is in isolation. I am shocked at this turn of events, my fish almost never get sick and now I may lose 10 fish! I live in constant fear that it will somehow jump to my main tank. What else can I do? I loathe the idea of treating the tanks with Rid-Ich. Would they benefit from oral Metronidazole? The package says for internal parasites... Can this be transfered on my skin?
At what point do I consider this a "resistant parasite" and increase the salt?
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Skwishee
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Re: Parasites!!
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2012, 05:08:00 AM »

According to this (Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.)
A slime coat change is caused by external parasites, not internal ones.

Perhaps it's possible that both have ich?
Also if a parasite is resistant to salt, I'm not sure increasing it would help, if the parasite is immune? Perhaps if they don't respond to the salt treatment after a few days or a week, you could change tactic and try something else?
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nabi
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Re: Parasites!!
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2012, 06:48:12 AM »

The ryukin is likely to have ich also , even if he doesn't show it yet, if he was in the tank that has ich. He could be just a little more resistant to the parasites. You will have to treat all the fish in the tank if you see any of the fish in it has ich.

New fish should ideally be quarantined for at least a month. This allows time for most diseases to develop so that they can be spotted and treated without danger to your established tanks and fish.

Metronidazole is sometime used  to successfully treat marine ich , but i'm not sure how effective it is against freshwater ich. The proven methods are raising the temperature and adding salt or using medications containing Malachite Green, Formalin or Copper  like Quick Cure or Rid Ich.


I've used temperature alone successfully in the past to get rid of ich, so if you combine salt and temperature, this should be very effective.  Ich is pretty easy to get rid of if you catch it early enough before the fish are severely weakened. Ich is a parasite that can only be transferred through physical contact, so don't transfer any water, plants , equipment, fish, etc... from an infected tank  to your main tank.


Just keep treating the new tank you think has ich with .3% salt (or 3 teaspoons per gallon) solution like you are doing . Increment the salt solution at 1 tsp per gallon every 12 hours until the concentration is at .3%   . Slowly increase the temperature to 80 degrees F to speed up the parasite's life cycle. You should continue the treatment for a minimum of 10 days.  Keep an eye on your water parameters to make  sure Ammonia and Nitrite stay at 0 .  If you find the ich are a little more resistant, you can try to slowly increase the temperature to about 82 degrees F while monitoring the fish for signs of stress, like staying at the surface and gulping for air. If they come to the surface gulping for air, just drop the temperature back a little.  Increase aeration and  surface agitation if possible to help increase oxygen level in the water to aid the fish with their temporarily impaired gill functions. The salt/heat or medication can be very stressful for the fish and the weakest fish could die, but  ich will kill all the fish without treament.


Your old  55 gallon tank that have fish with the milky skin could have experienced a pH crash, which can cause fish to produce excess mucus that will show up as slimy milky skin, so i would check the pH there. If the pH comes out fine, check to see if the fish are scratching against objects in the tank or have other symptoms like swollen gills or problem breathing etc. that could be indicative of a parasitic/bacterial infection.
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scrivens345
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Re: Parasites!!
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2012, 08:21:19 AM »

In all probability , you didn't introduce a parasite with the Ryukin. Parasites and harmful bacteria abound in the aquarium, but a fish with a decent immune system and good quality water can resist. The nitrite spike would have lowered your fishes' immunity. So, please don't think that it's your fault.

Personally, I dislike salt treatment on freshwater species. I should use a propriety anti-parasitic medicine.

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cheri_alexander
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Re: Parasites!!
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2012, 07:53:54 PM »

Thanks guys for the response.
How long should I wait for the heat and salt to work before resorting to Rid-Ich (or something similar)? Should I wait the whole ten days? Will I see improvment soon? I don't want them to be too weakened...I placed the heaters in the tanks Thursday morning so almost two days at 80 degrees. The fish that obviously have ich seem ok, they eat readily and swim most the time, rarely bottom sitting. In the "milky skin tank" the ph is fine, my tap water's ph is always 7.6, it never changes but I test anyway. They are not scratching, the eat and swim a bit but also bottom-sit quite a lot. Could they just being feeling ill from the nitrite spike? Their skin looks better today but they are very unhappy. The ryukin over in isolation now has the white specks but appears a great deal more affected by it, he has a heater and salt too.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2012, 07:57:00 PM by cheri_alexander » Logged
nabi
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Re: Parasites!!
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2012, 02:35:54 AM »

It seems like your fish are responding well to the salt/heat treatment since they are still actively swimming and eating. I would only resort to the medications in severe cases where the fish are heavily infested with ich or not responding to the salt/heat treatment, since some of these medications can be very toxic to humans, fish, and plants.

How to tell if the treatment is working:

1:) Fish are actively swimming and eating with erect fins.  No clamped fins or labored breating (or at least this should be improving day by day).  Should see decrease frequency of fish flashing (scratching against objects in the tank) to try and remove the parasites. Fish usually will only eat if they feeling well , so this is a good sign.

2:) The number of white spots (trophont) should be slowly decreasing day by day until they are completely gone. You should keep the treatment going for 6 days  after the last white spot is seen on  the last fish to ensure all the ich parasites are killed (it takes several days for ich to complete a life cycle at 80 degrees F and it can only be harmed during the free swimming stage), which help to ensure you will not have a recurrence of ich.


If you have live plants , the salt and high temperature could harm them so you can move them out of the tank and sterilize them with diluted solution of potassium permanganate ( Use a solution of half tablespoon in on gallon of water and soak for 15 minutes). Rinse the plants well in clean water after the 15 minute soak in the the chemical. This should kill all the ich parasites on the plant and other harmful organisms as well.

Remember to increase the surface water agitation to increase the dissovled oxygen level in the water to help the fish recover. You should also consider daily vacumming of the gravel and water changes(at least for the first few days) , which will speed up the elimation of ich from the tank.  Once you think ich has cleared up, you can slow down with the water changes since it can be a real hassle.


As far as the tank with the milky skin, if the pH is fine, try and see if the symptoms matches parasitic infections by Costia, Trichodina , Chilodonella (of the 3 , Chilodonella is the most likely). Fluke could also be a possible cause.  Usually you need a microscope to know which parasite it is for sure, but you can make a best educated guess. You can go with a medication in this case if you think it more effective.

[image]


Check out these links to see if the symtoms matches the fish with the milky skin:

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cheri_alexander
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Re: Parasites!!
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2012, 09:03:21 AM »

Thank you Nabi! Thanks to your detailed response I am quite sure all the fish are on the mend. Chilodonela sounds like a possibility in the milky skin tank. Today though, their skin appears normal and they are much more active. In the other tank the spots of ich have mostly disappeared from their bodies but they are very concentrated on the fins, they too are much more active. I do believe I'll lose the ryukin though as he has not moved from the bottom of the tank.
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cheri_alexander
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Re: Parasites!!
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2012, 05:53:41 PM »

One more question. I just realized (in a moment of horror) that I have been using the Aqueon water changer on all five tanks! This is just non-porus plactic vacuum and tubing. It is my routine to do the large main tank first and the sick tanks last, then the tubing is left dry for 24 hours. Can these parasites survive outside of the water? The ranchus and orandas in the main tank are the picture of health and their water quality is checked daily so I'm seriously hoping that they wont come down with anything even if I did expose them.
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nabi
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Re: Parasites!!
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2012, 05:20:38 PM »

I wouldn't worry too much about it since the chances of transfering ich that way is very slim. The treatment would have killed the parasites present in the infected tank. Ich and most of the  harmful micro organisms cannot survice being dried out. If you have multiple tanks, you can use separate nets or let the net dry out between uses to be on the safe side. Fish nets and the aqueon water changer can be soaked in a weak diluted solution of chlorine bleach to kill off any harmful stuff like bacteria or ich, then rinse them well with clean water. You can also soak them in another bucket of water containing a  conditioner like Prime (Prime will neutralize any remaining chlorine bleach). Let the equipment air dry afterwards. The aqueon water changer can be flushed with clean tap water before reusing it to refill the tank.

Another solution is to get another cheap manual siphoning tube that you can use with buckets for some emergency water changes if you get another disease outbreak, so you don't have to worry about cross contamination.
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cheri_alexander
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Re: Parasites!!
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2012, 05:52:58 PM »

Thanks again nabi. The ich has all but disappeared (I'll keep up the treatment for 7 more days) and everything is back to normal in the milky skin tank. The ryukin though did not respond to treatment and appears to be hemorrhaging under the skin and gills, he does not move from the bottom of the isolation tank. I think I will euthanize him today.
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