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FAQs on Freshwater Fish Parasite Diseases: Treatments  Related Articles: Freshwater Fish Diseases, Freshwater DiseasesFW Disease Troubleshooting, Ich/White Spot Disease, Choose Your Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options by Neale Monks, Formalin/Formaldehyde, Malachite Green,

Related FAQs: FW Fish Parasitic Disease 1, & FAQs on: Diagnosis/Identification of Parasites, Internal Parasites, Freshwater Protozoan Parasite Diseases, Diagnosing/Identifying FW Protozoan Diseases, ( Ich/White Spot Disease, Freshwater Velvet, Sporozoan Parasites, Whirling DiseaseHexamita/Octomita in Freshwater Systems,) Worm Diseases, Cichlid Disease, African Cichlid Disease, Aquarium Maintenance, FW Infectious DiseaseFreshwater MedicationsAfrican Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid DiseaseBetta Disease1

 

Re: More Re: Parasite problems (Bob F., comments would be welcome here)<<RMF>>   4/15/10
Hi Neale
<Joe,>
I hope you don't mind another chapter in this saga. I have not been able to get in touch with the vet yet - he's back on the 19th. However, my 14 days of running salt in the system are almost up, and I am wondering what to do, because on the negative side my Echinodorus have taken a bit of a hit, and the micro-Rasboras are pretty much sticking to the surface of the tank, but on the positive side, the Bolivian Ram is much better (although I finally saw one of the 'flatworms' on its flank just yesterday) and is almost his/her old self, while even the worst affected tetras definitely have less of the parasites on them.
<Good. Plants I wouldn't worry about; they'll recover, and if they don't, they're easy enough to replace.>
On some individuals, they even appear to have migrated off the bodies and onto the ends of the fins. Is this significant (might it be the redoubt of the parasite, now that the fish's body defences are kicking in?)?
<I don't know; will ask Bob.><<Mmm, don't know>>
The tank is in need of a water-change. Should I 'hold the line' and do a small water-change, adding salt to the replacement water, at the same 2g/L?
<If the fish are otherwise healthy, then this salinity isn't doing any harm, and maybe worth continuing with.>
Or has the salt done whatever it is going to do, and can I do a large water-change, to come to the rescue of my plants?
<Echinodorus actually tolerate slightly brackish water well, so this reaction may merely be "shock" and not fatal to the plants.>
What do you think is the best option here? The salt is obviously having a positive effect against the parasite (either directly or indirectly).
Should I even consider raising the salt level to 3g/L (I think I read somewhere that this dose can be effective against Trematodes - but I can't find the source) as one final push?
<Perhaps, but act with great care; at just under 10% normal seawater salinity you *are* putting appreciable stress on primary freshwater fish such as Cyprinids.>
What I do not want is a situation where I eventually lower the salt level and the parasite springs back.
<Agreed; but with luck the cycle will be broken, meaning the parasites can't breed, so once they die, that's that.>
As ever your input would be greatly appreciated in helping me make this choice.
Many thanks
Yours
Joe
<Do let us know what the vet says. I suspect the recommendation will be to use some sort of organophosphate insecticide. Cheers, Neale.><<If Joe believes these to be Trematodes, I'd treat the system with an Anthelminthic like Praziquantel. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/planariafaqs.htm
and the linked FAQs files above. RMF>>

Question re: anti-parasitic medicated fish food for Platys   2/24/08 Hello Crew, I have spent hours reading the FAQ's and your responses (my favourite being the one with the lady and her boyfriend having issues with breeding and Don spitting out his coffee) and have found them entertaining and informative. Now I have a question, which I hope you will answer. I have a 35 gallon tank, which has been in operation for about 3 years, so is well-cycled. I do regular water changes and periodically test the levels of nitrates, ph, and ammonia. All seem to be consistently within acceptable ranges. This tank is planted with a large number of artificial (plastic) plants, as well as live plants. There is 1 to 2" of gravel, 3 ornamental logs for hiding places, an undergravel filter, an outside 3 stage power filter, and a bubble bar. 6 weeks ago, my son helped me by bringing over his gravel vacuum and vacuuming the gravel in this tank. This resulted in a 50% water change. The livestock in this tank includes one elderly Pleco, whom I inherited with the tank, about 7 inches in length, 2 pearl Danios, 3 blacklight tetras, one of which is very large (platy sized), 2 Glowlight tetras, and my favourites, 2 adult male platys, and currently only 1 adult female platy. There have been no new introductions of fish for the past year, although there are about 15 juvenile platys of ages varying from 2 to 5 months. I feed twice a day, with premium flake food and supplement with blanched romaine lettuce which seems to go over very well with the platys, old and young. This past week, I lost an adult female Mickey Mouse Platy. She was one of the original introductions, so I was sorry to lose her. Her history includes being placed in a nursery net within the main tank, when I was quite sure she was about to give birth. She had the gravid spot, and I could see the dark eyes of the babies. She was very unhappy in the nursery net, so after 4 days with no results, I released her into the main tank. That was probably a year ago, and while she never lost the gravid spot, the dark eyes disappeared and there never were any babies. The one male platy who is always 'on the make' seemed to know she was of no use to him, and would chase her away. For several weeks before her demise, she did have what I have seen described on your site as 'whitish stringy poop'. Up until 2 days before she went, she was still eating, and swimming normally. During those last 2 days, she was hiding, and not coming out to eat. Today I noticed this 'whitish stringy poop' from the second, less aggressive adult male Sunset Platy. My question is, should I be concerned about a parasitic infection, and should I start feeding the anti-parasitic medicated fish food? Is it safe for the juvenile platys and the rest of the fish? Should I abstain from feeding the blanched romaine lettuce while feeding the medicated food? I do realize my current ratio of 2 adult male platys to 1 adult female is not ideal, but the 2nd male is not particularly amorous, although by their colouring, I do believe some of the juveniles are his descendants. I also have a 2nd tank, populated with a school of Cardinal Tetras, and one small, skittish Pleco. My intention is to move some of the juvenile platys to this tank as they mature. Thank you, for having such an informative site, and for your anticipated response to my long-winded email. Aprilwine <Anti-parasite food is usually safe for juvenile fish. In this instance I wouldn't bother unless I saw any other fish producing abnormal faeces. Do also switch to high-fibre foods for a while -- algae, daphnia, brine shrimps, tinned peas, etc. Won't do the other fish any harm. Anyway, this'll help clear out the insides. But if you do see other fish with odd faeces and/or signs of emaciation, then by all means switch to something anti-parasitic. While constipation is rather more common in livebearers, parasitic infections do happen, and are worth bearing in mind when fish start looking off-colour. Camallanus worms are probably the most commonly found intestinal parasites in livebearing fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Question re: anti-parasitic medicated fish food for Platys 03/04/2008 Thanks Neale, I have been feeding supplementary peas (frozen, slightly cooked, skinned) and they seem to go over very well. The adult Sunset Platy seems to be back to normal, and all seem to be doing fine. I appreciate your advice. <Greetings. It's good to hear everything is working fine! Platies certainly benefit from a "green" diet, and I think you'll find that over the long term you'll have Platies that are more active and have brighter colours than would be otherwise. Thanks for letting me know the good news; it's rare we hear that our little "patients" have got better! Cheers, Neale.>

Question re: anti-parasitic medicated fish food for Platys   2/24/08 Hello Crew, I have spent hours reading the FAQ's and your responses (my favourite being the one with the lady and her boyfriend having issues with breeding and Don spitting out his coffee) and have found them entertaining and informative. Now I have a question, which I hope you will answer. I have a 35 gallon tank, which has been in operation for about 3 years, so is well-cycled. I do regular water changes and periodically test the levels of nitrates, ph, and ammonia. All seem to be consistently within acceptable ranges. This tank is planted with a large number of artificial (plastic) plants, as well as live plants. There is 1 to 2" of gravel, 3 ornamental logs for hiding places, an undergravel filter, an outside 3 stage power filter, and a bubble bar. 6 weeks ago, my son helped me by bringing over his gravel vacuum and vacuuming the gravel in this tank. This resulted in a 50% water change. The livestock in this tank includes one elderly Pleco, whom I inherited with the tank, about 7 inches in length, 2 pearl Danios, 3 blacklight tetras, one of which is very large (platy sized), 2 Glowlight tetras, and my favourites, 2 adult male platys, and currently only 1 adult female platy. There have been no new introductions of fish for the past year, although there are about 15 juvenile platys of ages varying from 2 to 5 months. I feed twice a day, with premium flake food and supplement with blanched romaine lettuce which seems to go over very well with the platys, old and young. This past week, I lost an adult female Mickey Mouse Platy. She was one of the original introductions, so I was sorry to lose her. Her history includes being placed in a nursery net within the main tank, when I was quite sure she was about to give birth. She had the gravid spot, and I could see the dark eyes of the babies. She was very unhappy in the nursery net, so after 4 days with no results, I released her into the main tank. That was probably a year ago, and while she never lost the gravid spot, the dark eyes disappeared and there never were any babies. The one male platy who is always 'on the make' seemed to know she was of no use to him, and would chase her away. For several weeks before her demise, she did have what I have seen described on your site as 'whitish stringy poop'. Up until 2 days before she went, she was still eating, and swimming normally. During those last 2 days, she was hiding, and not coming out to eat. Today I noticed this 'whitish stringy poop' from the second, less aggressive adult male Sunset Platy. My question is, should I be concerned about a parasitic infection, and should I start feeding the anti-parasitic medicated fish food? Is it safe for the juvenile platys and the rest of the fish? Should I abstain from feeding the blanched romaine lettuce while feeding the medicated food? I do realize my current ratio of 2 adult male platys to 1 adult female is not ideal, but the 2nd male is not particularly amorous, although by their colouring, I do believe some of the juveniles are his descendants. I also have a 2nd tank, populated with a school of Cardinal Tetras, and one small, skittish Pleco. My intention is to move some of the juvenile platys to this tank as they mature. Thank you, for having such an informative site, and for your anticipated response to my long-winded email. Aprilwine <Anti-parasite food is usually safe for juvenile fish. In this instance I wouldn't bother unless I saw any other fish producing abnormal faeces. Do also switch to high-fibre foods for a while -- algae, daphnia, brine shrimps, tinned peas, etc. Won't do the other fish any harm. Anyway, this'll help clear out the insides. But if you do see other fish with odd faeces and/or signs of emaciation, then by all means switch to something anti-parasitic. While constipation is rather more common in livebearers, parasitic infections do happen, and are worth bearing in mind when fish start looking off-colour. Camallanus worms are probably the most commonly found intestinal parasites in livebearing fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: pH and Bio Wheel filter (parasites are gone)   3/8/07 Hello Bob: Here is Anna, again :--) Before I start another topic, let me give you a brief update on my fish health condition. On Feb. 24th I moved my fishy crew (tetras, sword, and butterfly - Pleco) to a hospital tank. As recommended I let the 10-gallon home tank go "fallow." With partial daily water changes & bottom vacuuming + some Maracyn 2 (for 5 days)  + excellent food + vitamins I was able to bring all hospitalized fish to stability.  The hospital tank reads stable parameters - ammonia = 0, nitrate = 0, pH = 6.8. Visibly fish looks better, eats well and swims all over the place. None has any white patches, or heavy breathing, or white spots. <Good> In between, I also bought Emperor 280 Bio-Wheel filter (as discussed last time) and installed it on the home tank (along with an "old" filter). For the 1st week the parameters in the home tank mirrored the ones in the hospital tank (amm.=0, Nitr.. = 0, pH=6.8). Few days ago I added additional carbon to the media container in Bio-Wheel filter. The water got unnaturally crispy, clean,  and transparent. <Good carbon will do this> Yesterday,  I checked the water condition in the display tank and noticed that pH jumped to the 7.6. I assume, however, that this number could actually increase further (the water as per API pH kit is very dark blue),  because 7.6 is the highest indicator on the API pH kit test. Today I checked my tap water - pH read 6.8. Then, I checked my hospital tank, pH read 6.8. I did ca. 30% water change in the display tank and measured pH an  hour later - I got 7.6 and really dark blue color in a test tube. I went through other people's responses on your fantastic web site - but could not find anybody who complained about empty display tank pH problems ;--) Luckily for me, ammonia and parasite problems are gone... for now ;--) Do you think that Emperor's carbon activity could distort the pH level in my 10-gallon display tank? <Yes... can... by removing compounds that hold the pH down... alkalinity/acidity... buffering works in both directions... "It's" just that most all are familiar only with "reductive" situations... with pH dropping...> I was thinking of turning off that filter to see if that raises an issue. is that a good idea? <Mmm, not really... I would leave all going... trade out only an ounce or two of carbon on a regular basis... maybe once a month or so> I plan to move my fish back to the "home" tank in about a month, but I am afraid that after months of struggles with ammonia and hard work on parasites and keeping my precious fish healthy and alive I could lose all of them due to the pH shock.... <Mmm, not likely... do test the water in a month or so... use some from the main tank for water changes in the treatment one...> Would you be able to give me hint(s) on what and why happened? Should I "feed" the display tank? <I would maybe "give it a pinch" of food every week or so...> Should I continue doing partial (weekly) water changes there? <Yes... with the "new water" for the treatment tank coming from the old one... once you think communicable problems have lapsed> Should I take out the carbon? <I would not. I'd leave it in> I hope I do not ask too many questions :--) <Me too> Indeed, keeping my fish save become my personal crusade :--) <Ah, good> Thanks for any insights, Bob. <Welcome> And thanks for that great web site - thanks to information you posted I learned a lot and was able to overcome many "first-tank" owner problems... Anna <Outstanding. Excelsior! (Onward and upward). BobF>

Re: Internal parasites (again), FW   3/11/07 Hello crew, <John> Surely you are sick of hearing from me by now.  I wrote to you some time ago about a guppy that had an internal parasite problem.  I had treated the aquarium with an anti-parasitic medication, but things went horribly wrong.  I suspect an ingredient in the tablets had wreaked havoc on my tank and killed many of my Corydoras and other fish. <Easily done unfortunately... Some "med." ingredients are outright toxic, many will forestall or kill off nitrification... indirectly stressing to killing livestock> The problem eventually resolved but only after I had transferred the fish from the treated tank into another untreated tank.  I had thought the problem gone, but yesterday I mysteriously lost a cherry barb from the tank that had housed all the fish at one time.  Today, while cleaning this tank, I observed that some of the other cherry barbs had what appeared to be worms extending from their anal area.  So it looks like the problems are just beginning.  I do not know if this is Camallanus or another type of parasite.  They look like red threads (in some cases they are white) extending 3-4 mm outside the fish.  I am not sure how to treat. <I am... I would administer Praziquantel (relatively safe, and very effective) for now... and in a week or so, "Fluke-Tabs" (in case this is actually, or additionally a crustacean parasite, e.g. Anchorworm... These should do it>   I have a UV sterilizing unit, but I understand this will be ineffective. <Correct>   Thus, the question, is: do I treat with Levamisole HCL or Praziquantel? <The latter is my choice here as an anthelminthic/vermifuge>   I believe Praziquantel is ineffective against Camallanus, <Mmm, generally is efficacious> but unfortunately I cannot identify the parasite so I am not sure what approach to take.  Any suggestions would be welcome. <The use of an inexpensive (I have a QX-3 on my desk... simple to use... can be plugged into a USB port...) microscope with one of the fishs should it perish...> The other problem is that to obtain either "pure" Levamisole (as last time the tablets were a disaster) or Prazi, I have to mail order from the US as it is not possible to find these medications in Switzerland. <Ohh... yes... Perhaps... yes, am advocating this... a friend can buy and ship this cross-border. I understand the intent and spirit of such laws... but there is more harm from internal combustion/gasoline use... For others...just don't self-administer such compounds.> I am also concerned about the length of time it will take for me to locate a company willing to ship to Europe and the shipping time itself.  A preliminary search has revealed that not many companies are willing to ship these items to Europe. <The Net...> Thanks in advance for any help.  I can't believe I'm writing yet again.  Ug. <Sorry to hear/read of your trials... Can be fixed... Bob Fenner>

The Right Medication For the Right Parasite  11/12/06 OK.  In a previous email you recommended Clout and Rid-ich for scratching/flashing fish (no spots).  I have Coppersafe already at home, will this be effective?  I don't want to buy another med when I already have one.  Is this one ok?  I have Aquarisol also, which is more effective? Thanks again < When you ask for a recommendation for a particular problem I always recommend what has worked best for me for a similar problem. These other medications may work, it is just that I have not tried them. I would recommend that you try the Coppersafe at the recommended dosage. If that does not work then do a 50% water change run carbon in the filter to remove any medication and then try the Aquarisol. Medicate as per the directions on the bottle. If that doesn't work then do a 50% water change, replace the carbon in the filter. The problem with these copper medications is the dosage needed to kill the parasite is very toxic to the fish too. These parasites are probably protozoans and may also respond to high temps around 82+ F. The trouble is that Lake Malawian cichlids sometimes get stressed out and start to bloat up at these high temps, especially the wild ones.-Chuck>

Re: Jungle Medicated Goldfish Food   5/28/06 Hello, Tom. <<Greetings, Alfredo.>> I have given the Jungle Antiparasite food to Mimi and Lucy for three days now but their feces remain the same (transparent, long segments that seem to be filled with air). Is it strange that they don't show an improvement?   <<Not really. Note that the directions call for three days on the medicated food followed by four days of regular food. This regimen is to be repeated over a four-week period according to the manufacturer. In my case, my Angelfish both showed an improvement after about one week. In fact, it wasn't until they were both on "regular" food that their feces started to return to normal. It's still early yet, Alfredo. >> Mimi has been having trouble with swimming into deeper levels of the tank again today. She is mostly staying near the top and seems to be making an effort balancing herself. Last time this happened she got better with Epsom salts, so I have given her a half a table spoon( plus another tablespoon that has been in the tank for 3 days now). Is this the right thing to do with her? Should I be giving them the Jungle antibacterial medicated food instead? <<The Epsom salts will help with constipation/gas but won't treat the infection. My concern here is that in cleaning out their systems, as it were, we're also purging them of the medication. I'd give the medicine some more time to do its job.>> As always, I appreciate your kindness and look forward to your reply. Thanks, Alfredo <<Hang in there, my friend. Tom>>

Treating Parasites with Scaleless fishes 7/10/03 I just recently e-mailed you guys (and gals) about the feeding of a freshwater moray eel (I found this in fact, it is Gymnothorax tile).  Now, I have another problem.  My tank came down with ICH.  But, I don't want my moray to die or have a reaction to the medication I use, so which of the following would be better for me to use: QUICK Cure, Ingredients: 25% Formaldehyde, 75% Malachite Green or Maracide (ingredients: Tisaninomethane, Dibromohydroxymercurifluorescein, Aniline green)?  Or something else that I don't have? <Neither are wholly safe for this eel... it would be best to separate the eel from other fishes with a hospital tank and treat accordingly> On your website, you said that organic dyes were poisonous to morays, so is Malachite Green an organic dye?  What about Aniline green?  Is that an organic dye too? <yes to both> Thanx So much for your help, Adam <use straight Formalin in a bare-bottomed tank if you must treat the eel. Best regards, Anthony>

Disinfecting/getting rid of parasites or any other unwanted micro-organism in/on, being carried by snails w/o killing it Dear Robert, Let me just preface this email by saying, "What was originally only suppose to be a single fish in a bowl of h2o has evolved into a lesson in bio and environmental chemistry and lengthy searches on the Internet!" <Same as it ever was...> Here is my problem; I thought it would be cool to, "create a varied" ten gal. tank. for the kids! My tank includes 1 red cap goldfish, 2 fancy goldfish, and 1 black bubble eyed moor/Aufish. (whatever) 1 aquatic frog, A Chinese algae eater, 2 live plants and YES 2 snails hopefully NOT the prolific kind! 1 is very light "orangish" color and the other is a basic brownish tan color. Not that it matters, that's not the issue. I now have fish lice. The red cap is the one I noticed w/the affliction, but as I already know everything MUST be treated. <Actually... not the snails or frog. Would remove these while treating the goldfish, tank> I will treat my 10 gal w/1 tab Clout minus the frog, snails, and plants. My plants I will soak in KMnO4( I got it from the chem. lab on campus) It's hard to get just the right amt. <Agreed... you'd be better off using Alum (aluminum sulfate)... if you do use the potassium permanganate as a dip/bath, make this a "light purple" solution... and only leave the plants in for about a minute> it's in granule form plus I'm dealing w/city tap h2o that is chlorinated. So, what is light pink anyway when KMnO4 is purple? Question; How or what do I use on my frog and snails to ensure every thing is de-contaminated! I will be keeping the frog and snails separate from my tank, fish & plants after the clout treatment. Until, I can figure-out what treatment to do w/ the frog and snails. Thanks Lori P.S.  What is your thought on a complete water change after treatment? Overkill?! <Not a problem if the water has been treated, stored for a while> FYI; I have a heater for the tank if that matters in this case. Oh, I can't catch anything SERIOUS from my tank. CAN I?! <Likely not. Bob Fenner>

Re: uv sterilizer in FW tank I am intrigued by this question: <Interesting... that the UV alone improved water quality this much, and "zapped" the free-swarming stages of the parasites... what about the resting stages in the main system?> What do you mean by "resting stages in the main system?"  I would imagine if the parasite can remain dormant then this may be happening.  But if this is what you mean, then who cares?  As long as the fish don't get stressed. <Mmm, the two organisms you mention, Ichthyophthirius and Amyloodinium have alternating "active" (seeking as in moving about in the water column, and feeding on host fishes) and "inactive" as in developmental, encapsulated (attached to substrate...) phases. The only time an Ultraviolet Sterilizer can kill these parasites is during their "free-swimming" stages... and you're right re parasites are dormant, capable of re-emerging to infest your fishes at later times... Hence, UV's are not really able to "cure" infestations of ich, velvet, but can aid in their treatment (by killing free-swimming forms)... And stress can/does exist as an abiding factor in favor of the parasites. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdis3setsfactors.htm re the three sets of factors that determine health/disease. And possibly the UV FAQs here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/UVFAQs.htm Bob Fenner> Thanks!

Re: uv sterilizer in FW tank Ok, yeah I got that.  Clearly, the UV is helping control the free-swimmers. as long as water stays good, hopefully dormant ones will stay dormant.  And if they swim, I'm hoping UV will help control. But I too am surprised by the success! <Me too, on both counts. Bob Fenner>  

Re: fish now has fungus or something, how do I treat? Hello Bob, It's me again. I stopped treating with medications, turned up the heat to a little over 80 <Should be about 85 F.> and added a little salt. Not too much because I have Corys and otos. Everyone I talked to told me not to worry and just leave the tank alone. Well, Now the Corys are scratching on the bottom sand. Not a lot, just once in a while. My Gourami and tiger barbs seem fine but today I noticed that one of the Rosies that had been rubbing now has a little white junk around the edge of one eye. Fungus I assume. I am obviously new to the hobby so I looked up the symptoms in my Barron's fish health book and saw that it might be too late. Here's what I decided to do: with some difficulty, I netted the fish and gave him a salt water bath at 2 tsp salt to 2 cups water and then put him in my quarantine tank. He just about croaked in the dip so I made it a quick 1 or 2 minutes and it took him 5 minutes to swim normally again. I don't know how to medicate now. I have Melafix which healed my Gouramis fins nicely in 7 days. I also have Rid Ich (formalin and malachite green), Aquarisol and Ick Guard II for scaleless fish (37% formalin, Victoria green, Nitromersol and acriflavine). Are any of these right? <The Aquarisol is useful here... but do add aeration (the formalin makes it hard for the fishes to breathe), and be testing for ammonia and nitrite as this material will kill off nitrifying ("good") microbes along with the bad> And should I treat the main tank too? <A good idea> I do a water change once a week so I don't know what I am doing wrong. I have 13 small fish (including 2 otos) and a Gourami in a 29 gallon with a power filter and aeration. The pH has been a little high (7.8) and the temperature might fluctuate a few degrees but never below 78. Maybe overcrowding is the problem. I have been trying to figure this out for weeks now, can you please help me solve this? I am worried about the Adolfoi Corys--they cost me some $$ ya know? <Wouldn't it be great to make time move backward (and forward while we're wishing), then you could have quarantined all your incoming livestock, likely have avoided these disease issues. Best to keep studying, stay a given course of treatment at this point. Bob Fenner>



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