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

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Grand Forks, ND
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    Fish illness, co-morbid infections, my fish need your help!

    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:



    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. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Smile 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?


    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?


    Biollante
    The first sign we don't know what we are doing is an obsession with numbers. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Disclaimer: I am not trying to make you mad, it is just what I am, an evil plant monster, 'nuf said.

    • I believe the information I am giving is sound, I am not a veterinarian, professional chemist or particularly bright and certainly not a "Guru.".
    • I assume you are of legal age, competent and it is legal for you to acquire, possess and use any materials or perform any action in your in your jurisdiction.
    • When in doubt "don't."

  3. #3
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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. #4
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    Smile Worth a Shot

    Hi Shawn,

    Don’t worry about the microscope.

    I have already received a correction,
    I am told only old guys 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?


    Biollante
    The first sign we don't know what we are doing is an obsession with numbers. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Disclaimer: I am not trying to make you mad, it is just what I am, an evil plant monster, 'nuf said.

    • I believe the information I am giving is sound, I am not a veterinarian, professional chemist or particularly bright and certainly not a "Guru.".
    • I assume you are of legal age, competent and it is legal for you to acquire, possess and use any materials or perform any action in your in your jurisdiction.
    • When in doubt "don't."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Grand Forks, ND
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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. #6
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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. #7
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    Unhappy 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?



    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-mg/l KMnO4.
        1. Note the time.

      3. Any time the water goes murky brown or yellow, in less than 4-hours dose another 2-mg/l KMnO4.
        1. Note time.
        2. Note added KMnO4.

      4. Repeat “c” until the water remains “pink” for 4-hours.


    You can also try a of 6-mg/l KMnO4 bath for 5-10-minutes for any apparently infected finfish.


    Biollante
    The first sign we don't know what we are doing is an obsession with numbers. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Disclaimer: I am not trying to make you mad, it is just what I am, an evil plant monster, 'nuf said.

    • I believe the information I am giving is sound, I am not a veterinarian, professional chemist or particularly bright and certainly not a "Guru.".
    • I assume you are of legal age, competent and it is legal for you to acquire, possess and use any materials or perform any action in your in your jurisdiction.
    • When in doubt "don't."

  8. #8
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    Mar 2010
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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. #9
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    Smile Grams, 0.1 Grams Good Enough

    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowMac View Post
    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?
    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 mg/l above, to be clear mg/l = 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 KMnO4.
        1. Note the time.

      3. Any time the water goes murky brown or yellow, in less than 4-hours dose another 2-ppm KMnO4.
      4. Note time.
      5. Note added KMnO4.
      6. Repeat “c” until the water remains “pink” for 4-hours.


    You can also try a of 6-ppm KMnO4 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) KMnO4.

    • 10-grams KMnO4 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) KMnO4.
    • 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 KMnO4 is a good starting range.


    Biollante
    The first sign we don't know what we are doing is an obsession with numbers. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Disclaimer: I am not trying to make you mad, it is just what I am, an evil plant monster, 'nuf said.

    • I believe the information I am giving is sound, I am not a veterinarian, professional chemist or particularly bright and certainly not a "Guru.".
    • I assume you are of legal age, competent and it is legal for you to acquire, possess and use any materials or perform any action in your in your jurisdiction.
    • When in doubt "don't."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Grand Forks, ND
    Posts
    971
    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.

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