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Fish illness, co-morbid infections, my fish need your help!

Discussion in 'Fish for Planted Tanks' started by ShadowMac, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    My fish issues as of late do not signal, to me, a water quality issue, but rather an infectious process of two types. A parasitic infection alongside some internal bacterial infections. I apologize for not having pictures of everything. I will describe the signs and symptoms. I will start with the parasitic infestation.

    It began with one electric blue ram (EBR) and has since spread to primarily my cardinal tetras. It does not seem to have infected the other rams, however more sites have appeared on the originally infected fish. It appears to be a small white worm like parasite in the outer layer of tissue. It affects primarily areas near and on the fins of the cardinal tetras. It is located along the lateral line of the EBR and between the pectoral fin and gill. There are no behavior changes observed with this infestation. I have also seen it infect the eyes on the cardinal tetras, causing the ocular space to swell with fluid. My combat measures thus far have included manual removal with small forceps for examination, quarantine, and treatment with malachite green. Probably not the best choice however I did not have anything else available at the time. I do have a picture of this one:

    [​IMG]

    The worm like parasite is smaller on the cardinals and not attached as much to the body as it is the fins.

    Here is the description of the suspected bacterial infection. Over the last 2 weeks I have begun to notice a change in 2 fish, one a porkchop rasbora the other a cardinal tetra. There has been discoloration along the lateral line primarily in the belly area of the rasbora and the caudal end of the tetra. The discoloration appears to be suggestive of internal hemorrhaging. Yesterday it seems the discoloration has opened into a sore on the rasbora, which is quite large for the size of the fish. Interestingly the fish is swimming normally and not hiding or breathing in distress. It has eaten normally, however is not schooling as well. No behavior changes in the tetra. My initial reaction is to euthanize the infected fish and observe the others. However just today I noticed discoloration, or rather, a loss of coloration in spots on the EBR's. I do not know if this is due to initial parasitic infection or underlying bacterial. I know i have both problems. I can try to get pictures of these, however I do not know if the quality will be good enough to aid in diagnosis.

    I have erythromycin and AP's general parasite cure ready to go. Can I dose both of these meds at the same time? I believe they will be safe for my shrimp, but if not let me know and I will setup a hospital tank. Instead of saving the severely infected fish I believe it best to euthanize them to stop their contamination of water and other fish. I also have packets of flubendazole, which I have used in the past against some hydra in a shrimp tank. This was effective and safe for the shrimp in the low dosages I used.

    Help is GREATLY appreciated. If you need more info or further details please let me know and I will provide whatever I can. Thank you!
     
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    No EM at This Time

    Hi Shawn,

    The first sounds like a worm, a parasite,
    :( trying AP’s Parasite stuff is a good first try, actually it may also help in the second case,the malachite green wasn’t such a bad guess and given you had it on hand.:)

    The second, do you notice some pitting back of or by the eye socket?
    :confused:

    I suspect it is Head and lateral line erosion, usually referred to as hole-in-the-head disease.
    • It usually isn’t fatal…
      • In non-Cichlids

    I do not think anyone knows for sure, but I treat it as a protozoan. I think it is (should you have access to a microscope) a flagellated protozoan, Hexamita, a close relative of Giardia.

    More in a bit…

    As a precaution, stop any activated charcoal, Purigen or Chemi-Pure (chemical) filtration.

    Do you have Potassium permanganate or hand?
    :cool:

    Biollante
     
  3. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    Hi bio,

    I'm familiar with Giardia...not from "personal" experience thankfully. Would the protozoan cause an open wound or ulcer? Hemorrhaging and necrosis is what it appeared to be to me. I will look for the pitting, but i have not noticed anything unusual about the eyes. Only when the worm latched onto that tissue did there become an issue, which looked like edema.

    I will remove the purigen. I do have KMnO4 on hand. I'm trying to remember if I used that in the quarantine tank...I don't think I did. I think I meant to and never did. Probably could have been prevented with that...

    I do not have access to a microscope, no friends in the university bio dept. Maybe a past professor or two who may remember me if I really needed it. I could call in a favor at the hospital, but don't know about that one either, medical labs are so "protocol-ish".

    Would it be best to send the infected fish to their maker? If you needed some type of picture of the wounds or parasite what magnification would you suggest?
     
  4. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Worth a Shot

    Hi Shawn,

    Don’t worry about the microscope.

    I have already received a correction,
    :eek: I am told only old guys:p would call it Hexamita, it is now known as Spironucleus, likely, vortens.:)

    It is also possible the “second” description is really just another manifestation of the “first,” seemingly conclusive parasitic worm infection.
    • Either way the treatment is going to be similar.

    As long as the critters do not seem in great distress I think it is worth a shot saving them.
    :)

    I recommend proceeding with API’s General Cure; I am assuming that is what you meant.

    The “pits” around the eye socket are actually lesions and are good indicators of head and lateral line erosion.

    Are these fish recently acquired?
    :confused:

    Biollante
     
  5. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I have had these fish for 6 months. The rasboras longer, over a year. This worm has popped up a time or two before this, I thought I had zapped it with the malachite green when I broke down the tank and had the fish in quarantine for 4 weeks. All the old plants received a KMnO4 bath before being placed into the new setup, even the ones I wasn't sure would handle it well like some mosses. Maybe just slowed it down or killed all free floating protozoans stopping new infections.

    I'm wondering if they were CO2 stressed while I tried to tune the CO2 allowing it to pop up again from some fish it was dormant within. It has infected the same fish twice. it even carries a bit of a scar from where I excised it. I suspect this one fish is the source as both times it showed signs of infestation prior to other fish.

    Yes, API general cure is the the medication I meant. I will medicate the tank tomorrow and observe.
     
  6. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    Treatment Update

    I dosed API's General Cure according to the directions. For the record, if anyone uses this in the future I suggest covering your nose and mouth with a mask. The fine powder gets in the air and gave me a headache I also felt a bit dizzy.

    I still see evidence of infection on the fish. I'm assuming it may take some time for the internal damage marked by the discoloration to heal, however some of the worm like parasite is still noticeable on the dorsal fin of one cardinal tetra. I was unable to find the ram this morning to view it before leaving for work, but as of yesterday there was still the parasite in the same location. I assumed they would die and fall off...maybe if they are under some tissue layers they may take some time to heal? Or is this a sign the treatment was not totally effective.

    I lost the fish with the open sore last night. He honestly lasted much longer than I expected with the gaping wound.

    Next step?
     
  7. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Stress Whatever Source Can Bring These Things On

    Hi Shawn,

    The fish you lost last night, did you look at the wound, perhaps cut it open? Cut the fish open and look at the innards?
    :confused:


    1. I would proceed with a large water change; run your activated charcoal overnight.
    2. When you have 6 or 8 hours,
      1. Remove the activated carbon and add aeration to the tank.
      2. Add 2-[SUP]mg[/SUP]/[SUB]l[/SUB] KMnO[SUB]4[/SUB].
        1. Note the time.
      3. Any time the water goes murky brown or yellow, in less than 4-hours dose another 2-[SUP]mg[/SUP]/[SUB]l[/SUB] KMnO[SUB]4[/SUB].
        1. Note time.
        2. Note added KMnO[SUB]4[/SUB].
      4. Repeat “c” until the water remains “pink” for 4-hours.

    You can also try a of 6-[SUP]mg[/SUP]/[SUB]l[/SUB] KMnO[SUB]4[/SUB] bath for 5-10-minutes for any apparently infected finfish.
    :)

    Biollante
     
  8. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I will dose the KMnO4 this weekend, saturday most likely. After or before a water change?

    It will be difficult to weigh milligrams. Any measured equivalents by volume? My scale goes to tenths. When I dosed flubendazole once by mg's I divided a tenth into tenths then tenths again...would this "fudging" of the measurement be a close enough approximation?
     
  9. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Grams, 0.1 Grams Good Enough

    Hi Shawn,

    Do the water change the day (or evening) before the PP treatment.

    The easiest way to get parts of a gram is to make up a solution.

    I like 1% solutions since each milliliter equals

    Just realized I used [SUP]mg[/SUP]/[SUB]l[/SUB] above, to be clear [SUP]mg[/SUP]/[SUB]l[/SUB] = ppm.


    1. Proceed with a large water change; run your activated charcoal overnight.
    2. The next day when you have 6 or 8 hours,
      1. Remove the activated carbon and add aeration to the tank.
      2. Add 2-ppm KMnO[SUB]4[/SUB].
        1. Note the time.
      3. Any time the water goes murky brown or yellow, in less than 4-hours dose another 2-ppm KMnO[SUB]4[/SUB].
      4. Note time.
      5. Note added KMnO[SUB]4[/SUB].
      6. Repeat “c” until the water remains “pink” for 4-hours.

    You can also try a of 6-ppm KMnO[SUB]4[/SUB] bath for 5-10-minutes for any apparently infected finfish.

    My PP recipe:
    I like 1% solutions since each milliliter of solution is 0.01-grams (10-mg) KMnO[SUB]4[/SUB].

    • 10-grams KMnO[SUB]4[/SUB] into 990-mililiters of distilled water.
      • In real life, I mix 10-g into 900-ml and “top-off” to 1-L.
      • Weighing is the most accurate way to measure water, but close is good enough.
    • Diluting 1-ml of the 1% solution with 9-ml of distilled water yields a solution that each milliliter is 0.001-grams (1-mg) KMnO[SUB]4[/SUB].
    • Tug found a wonderful site run by the “Koi and Water Garden Society of Central New York” that has a PP Calculator.
    • If you think you have a parasite problem 2.0-ppm is a good number for the tank.
    • For general maintenance 0.75-1.5-ppm KMnO[SUB]4[/SUB] is a good starting range.

    Biollante
     
  10. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    thanks bio, water change today..PP dose tomorrow

    definitely a parasite issue...I have now been able to see small worm like creatures on the rams where the discoloration first appeared. They are quite a bit smaller than the reference picture above, but I believe them to be the same.
     
  11. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Got Cats?

    Hi Shawn,

    I think what you are describing are Nematodes, roundworm, cutting one of your fish open shortly after they death will tell you conclusively, trust me, there will be no doubt if it is.
    :eek:
    • Nematodia, roundworm are recognized zoonotic.
      • Do not start any siphons by mouth.
      • Small children and cats are a particular danger (both ways) (if you have cats I recommend deworming).

    If they are small worms, hard to see best guess is something like one of the Capillaria (pretty common parasitic nematode) or oxyuridia, pinworms.

    These will probably require two sets of treatments 10 days apart.
    :)

    I am pretty sure one of the main ingredients in API General Cure is Mebendazole, an organophosphate, a de-wormer, I cannot remember if the other is an insecticide, I’ll have to look that up. Should be effective, you can also soak food in a solution of API General Cure.

    If you can get some Praziquantel, often prescribed as “Droncit,” I think.

    Praziquantel at 2-ppm, water change before and again 3 or 4-hours after treatment or even the next day Praziquantel is quite mild, very easy on the fish.
    (From personal experience I can tell you Praziquantel can be hard to get into solution directly with water, but is highly soluble in alcohol, so a little Vodka does the trick.)

    Biollante
     
  12. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Opps, Memory Just Isn't With Me

    Hi Shawn,

    Found my reference, I was wrong about the API General Cure, it does not contain Mebendazole.

    It is about 80% table salt, 10% Metronidazole (an antibiotic), 5% Praziquantel and 5% silica amorphous.

    Therefore, I do not think it will be very effective against Nematodes.

    Sorry about the misinformation, I should never do these things from memory.
    :eek:

    Biollante
     
  13. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    And I think it's for a good reason. As the only fish that Mebendazole doesn't seem to kill is koi.
    But its relative (gold fish) is wiped out.
    http://www.koivet.com/a_supaverm_closantel_mebendazole_flukes_koi.html

    It nearly wiped out my Cory cats too.
     
  14. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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  15. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    how about the flubendazole I have on hand? it is a dog dewormer. Difficult to get into solution as well, but has been proven safe with shrimp, so I assume it would be safe with fish as well.

    Too late for the mouth siphons....

    No cats or children..a wife and a small dog...neither get into the tank.
     
  16. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    I used Flubendazole once with my angelfish. As it is sold as dewormer for Discus and found to be safe
    with catfishes. The angel went back to heaven weeks later. But I don't think it was because of the medicine.
    My guess is it's safe for fish.

    However the article I posted above mentioned dewormers worked with intestinal worms,
    not effective with worms under skin or in the muscle.
     
  17. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Closantel, Perhaps Is the Cause?

    Hi Nipat, Shawn, All,

    I have used Mebendazole without serious incident as with any of these an organophosphate, de-wormer products, it is harsh and must be used with care.

    I do prefer Praziquantel, though at a higher rate then I think you can safely get with API General Cure.

    I suspect the problem is with Closantel that appears to be a very harsh and much broader spectrum anti-parasitic. The makeup of Supaverm is after all targeted for sheep in a one-dip-cures-all treatment, eggs, cysts and all.

    I will have to do some research, I am just not accepting Mebendazole, properly used on its own caused the problems, though my experience is not comprehensive, this flies in the face of my personal experience.

    Biollante
     
  18. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Flubendazole, A Good Place to Start... Well Continue...

    Hi Shawn, All,

    Since you have Flubendazole it is a good place to start after the PP treatment a large water change and start the course.

    Flubendazole is nice since it is also effective against various protozoans, just in case.

    Flubendazole is a bit harsh so medicate precisely, big water change as in as much as you can after 8-days, if you believe these are nematodes (you do) dose again 2 days later (10-days after the first dose).

    It may sound icky, but any more fish die, you need to cut them open, I think the link Nipat provided (IFAS is an excellent resource) shows a picture, if you take a picture and post it (or pm me) we will know what will be effective. Especially if you search along the intestine and find little “hook” marks we will know if you need an antibiotic.

    While on the subject, Flubendazole is not an antibiotic or anti-fungal, and as with many anti parasitic drugs, it increases the chance of bacterial or fungal infections.

    Biollante
     
  19. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    icky!? haha! I'm not squeamish. I have a candidate at the moment. One cardinal is going through the same progression as the rasbora. A white sore is developing in the location of the original discoloration and I expect it to open...if and when it does I plan to euthanize the fish and dissect. My tools will be crude, but I will do what I can. I'm about to start the PP.
     
  20. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    just to be sure I have this right...

    I use 2 ml of the 1 L KMnO4 solution that contains 10 g KMnO4 and add that to the tank. Correct? monitor for a color change over the course of the next 4 hours.

    EDIT: I added that and it had to be way too little, as I started to suspect...it did not change the color long and dissipated til I could not see it. Should I really be adding 181 ml of the solution since my tank is approximately 181 liters?
     
    #20 ShadowMac, Apr 1, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2012
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