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Help! 2 New sick mandarins
Sorry about the file size! I linked to YouTube instead..full screen will make it
easier to see..
Dear WWM crew,
First of all, thank you for building such an incredible site with such a wealth
of reliable information! I would be lost without you! I believe the new pair of
mandarin dragonets I just got in 2 days ago (in QT) are infected with Costia
(Ichthyobodo) and I can't seem to get rid of it!
<What have you tried thus far?>
I looked at the shipping bag water under a microscope and found lots of
I attached a video I took of them if you don't mind confirming that this is in
<From the shape, movement; likely so: Here's a better vid:
Unfortunately, I did not dip the mandarins before putting them in QT- I was
nervous about the high ammonia levels of the
shipping water (0.50 ppm)
<At times MUCH higher>
and wanted to transfer them quickly.
<For browsers, see my Acclimation protocols on WWM. Once ammonia is diluted out
of shipping water and fish/es, not a big deal to dip if they're otherwise in
After I discovered the parasites a couple hours later, I took them out of QT to
give them both a dilute formalin/Methylene blue dip for 30 minutes and they both
seemed like happy fish the whole time. The next day I fed them baby brine shrimp
and they both ate. I repeated the dip, but took them out after 20 minutes
because they appeared stressed like they were looking for a way out of the dip
<Typical behavior; had it been freshwater, formalin containing or seawater>
Today I fed them baby brine again and decided to leave them alone, however now
the female looks extra slimy and is breathing heavy.
<Mandarins are naturally very slimy>
I took a look at the tank water under the microscope and the parasites are in
the tank too. I don't think another dip would help at this point. Should I treat
the whole tank now??
<Yes I would>
What course of action do you think I should take???
<A quinine compound... see WWM Re. Bob Fenner>
parameters look fine- 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, pH 8.2, temp 78F. I greatly
appreciate your help!
Re: Help! 2 New sick mandarins, Ichthyobodo and Tea Tree Oil
Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly! I just wanted to give you
an update, and perhaps offer a theory? I was able to order Crypto-pro
(Chloroquine phosphate) which came in two days later. Unfortunately, one of the
mandarins didn't make it that long. I began treatment on the surviving mandarin
as soon as the medication came in with a single dose at 15mg/l, although by that
time his breathing was already labored. He lived for 4 more days, and a
post-mortem skin scrape showed he was heavily infected with Ichthyobodo.
So since at that point I had the medication on hand, I figured I'd try again and
ordered 2 more mandarins, figuring I could cure any infection if I treated it
early. When they arrived I found the parasite in the bag water, again, this time
both were breathing heavy from day 1. I immediately dosed CP at 15mg/l, but one
of the mandarins died just 2 days later, the other was excessively slimy,
breathing heavy, and did not appear to be improving. So I put some carbon in the
filter and did a 25% water change to remove the medication. Then as I was
combing the internet for ideas on what to do, I read that mandarins are
sensitive to medications (like copper) and can cause them to produce so much
slime that their gills become congested and they suffocate. I also know that tea
tree oil is used on people to dry out wounds like cuts/scrapes/blisters/acne
(take a good whiff and it'll clear your sinuses too!), is found in Melafix and
is considered safe to use on most fish. Now, I know how you feel "natural"
treatments like this are pretty much useless, and I completely agree with you,
but I may have actually found a use for it!!! I thought if I could dry up some
of the mucus to decongest her gills and help her breathe, then maybe her immune
system will be able to fight off the parasite?? So I grabbed some 100% tea tree
oil from the pharmacy and put 2 drops in the tank (10 gal) while she was
sleeping. By morning she had shed some of the mucus and was able to breathe
normal again! She still wasn't eating so I did this for 4 more days, and now she
is very active, healthy, and eating like a pig! I finally have a happy mandarin!
I'm sure the tea tree oil didn't directly kill the parasite or anything, but
maybe it at least helped
her breathe? What do you think??
<Got me.... as all anecdotal accounts go; it's impossible to sort out
cause/effect w/ one trial and multiple factors>
I'd love to know your thoughts on this
Thank you for all your help!
<Thank you for your report. Bob Fenner>