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FAQs about Shark, Ray Parasitic Disease

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Sharks/Rays & Crypt

Flukes, Crustaceans, internal worms...

Sharks and Rays in Aquariums
Gaining an understanding of how to keep these fishes in captive saltwater systems   

New Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Chrysurus angel sick... Actually sharks, med.s    8/8/07 Hello Mr Fenner I have a very simple question to ask you and could not find a direct answer on your site. Can Metronidazole be used with leopard sharks? <Yes> I have a bad case of ich and hexamita and am currently using quinine sulfate which seems to be working well (ant thoughts?) <I would use the Quinine drug first... the Flagyl later if all did not appear cleared up> Would you combine these 2 drugs? <Serially, not simultaneously. BobF> thank you Kelly tank 400 gallon 60 gallon sump filled with crushed coral g4x skimmer ammonia 0-10 nitrite 0 nitrate 5-10 ph buffered at every water change to 8.3 salinity 1.024 temp 76 Kelly Craven
Re: chrysurus angel sick. Flagyl, Shark Dis. f's  8/10/07
Hello again Bob, I added the Metronidazole to the tank as directed by fish farmacy and noticed that my leopard sharks aren't eating....very unusual, they usually devour everything.....any thoughts. <The Metronidazole could be affecting them in/directly... making the fish anosmotic in terms of their sense of smell...> I just did a 25% water change before I added meds. Tank is 400 gallons, and tested within parameters. I have since moved them to quarantine tank in garage 200 gallon and haven't treated it with anything, still not eating. thank you Kelly <Shouldn't starve (to death) during the treatment interval... I would not be overly concerned here. BobF>

Saltwater ich treatment with fish and sharks I have a tank with a 2 foot shark and 20 fish.  I am trying to find a way to treat for an outbreak of saltwater ich. Perhaps Bob Fenner or someone else at Wet Web Media can tell me if, by removing and coppering the fish in an aquarium and leaving the shark in this system which has a significant outbreak of saltwater ich (Cryptocaryon), will the parasite die for lack of a fish host or will the presence of the shark act as a host to sustain the outbreak of parasites.  I already know that I can't copper the main system.  What period of time is recommended without any fish present if the shark remains in this system before the parasites have completed their life cycle (assuming this method will work).  Any treatment remedies would be greatly appreciated. <I responded to another "shark with ich" person just this AM. Perhaps you will benefit from this correspondence:
Ick on my shark - How to treat
First, thank you for taking the time to help us hobbyist.  The wealth of information you guys share is amazing. My situation: I have a 110 gal FOWLR (and fine grain sand) DAS tank/filter/skimmer housing a 4" dogface puffer, 5" antennata lionfish, and a 7" banded cat shark (I know this tank is too small to keep the shark for long, <Do monitor nitrogenous waste content as well (ammonia...) as the Dutch Aquarium Systems filters are puny, inconstant> plans for the near future include a custom 12' 350-400 gallon tank built into my living room wall). My last addition to the tank was a 4" porkfish. My problem: Everything went fine for about 2 months then all of the sudden Ick broke out (the day before I left town for a week I noticed it). When I returned the porkfish was very sick and died a couple days later. My puffer is also ill now. He has taken to swimming directly in front of a powerhead - I guess it is kind of like being rubbed without being scratched by the rock - really a neat behavior but I would rather have never witnessed it. My shark is showing a handful of Ick spots. The lion is fine. I have lowered the SG to just under 1.018 which has helped but not cured the problem. <It won't> It seems like they are not getting worse but they are not getting better.  I assume a lot of the parasites are dying due to the SG but the stronger ones are living to attach to a host.   <A good way to put this> Instead of a massive infection killing my puffer I am afraid of the cumulative impact they are having on his gills.  If I don't get this treated I am going to have a puffer with emphysema.  All parameters (pH, nitrite, nitrate, ammonia....) are good. Whether I move the fish to a treatment "tank" or treat in the main tank - what medication can I use? I am afraid CopperSafe will kill my shark. I have Paragon II but I do not know enough about it to use it just yet. What can I do?  Should I go lower on the SG, around 1.015? Thanks <You might have success with a combination of elevated temperature (to the mid 80's F.) and the administration of Quinine Hydrochloride solution... sold still... and used as an anti-protozoal with some fishes. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-27,GGLD:en&q=quinine+hydrochloride+fish+disease&spell=1 This is a treatment I have used with success with juvenile sharks... many years ago... as a consultant to public aquariums. Bob Fenner>

Praziquantel dosing for sharks - 3/11/05 What Would The Average Dose For a 2 ft. shark be?  <The treatment is based on weight. It is important to note that Droncit (Praziquantel) is usually very difficult to come by and usually will need a veterinarian to prescribe. In light of that these are the recommended treatments for when you can get your hands on some. For oral treatments the recommendation is nine milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight once a day for seven days. The recommended treatment for external trematodes is a saltwater bath mixture of 10 milligrams per liter for a three hour bath every third day for three treatments. As an alternative, 20 milligrams per liter for 90 minutes every third day of three treatments is not usually prescribed but can administered. Praziquantel is difficult to dissolve. Using 95% ETOH will help ( 1 g to 10ml ETOH), or it can be pressed through a stocking or other fine mesh net. Adding slowly to the water while stirring may help avoid coagulation. Hope this will help. Good luck. ~Paul> 

White spot in shark tank  9/30/05 Hi, I hope you can help me as I am running out of idea's, the problem is white spot / Oodinium in my marine tank. <Mmm, stop! Generally white spot is considered Crypt(ocaryon), not (Amyl)Oodinium...> The tank is a 260 gallon set up with a sump filter, uv and large skimmer, this tank has been running for over a year now and is set up as a shark tank with little live rock. <Where are the spaces between your sentences? Why do you think I/we have time to correct your grammar?> I have a large epaulette shark which is fine,1 x lunar wrasse,1 x bursa trigger and 1 x black trigger, I do have a quarantine tank which is used for any new fish before they go to the main tank, the problem seems to be in the main tank because every fish that is added to the new tank after coming from quarantine seam's to start with white spot, <The main system is infested...> the lunar is the only fish apart from the shark that seam's to be clean. My bursa at the moment is covered and my black has a couple of spot's, due to the size of the tank once any fish are in there I can not get them out alive, the tank has just been treated with Kent marine RxP <Worthless> which seemed ok but I have now lost 1 x red sea banner and a large six bar angle which a lovely fish, can you help me with any idea's on how I can get the main tank clear of this problem as I do not want to lose any more fish. <Time to send you... where you should have gone/been already... to the archived materials on/that are WWM... read... re parasitic systems, these two parasites mentioned here... medications> I have been told today that there could be a chance that my epaulette could have the white spot on it but because it doe's not effect them its just passing it on to any fish in the tank, could this be true <Yes... but, it is obvious that your system "has" the ich/velvet... the fishes have become symptom-less there from long exposure... However, with declining water quality, a loss of nutrition, resistance... they can/will succumb> if yes how could I get it cleared as I can not use any copper treatment on the shark. Thank you for your help Jason. <Keep reading... and learn to/use your spelling and grammar checkers... You don't want to appear/be ignorant, and I don't want to waste my time correcting you. Bob Fenner>

Bamboo shark with Crypt - 8/26/04 Hi, I have a problem, my banded bamboo shark has ick, <Sharks usually are not affected by Cryptocaryon.  How does this person know that it is Cryptocaryon? Need more information.> I have looked at many article about dealing with ick, I have used these methods on others saltwater and fresh water fish but I'm not sure that medication will be safe for a shark.  From all that I found the only medication that might be okay is quick cure from aquarium products, because it doesn't contain copper. <You definitely do not want to use any meds that contain Copper with sharks>  Do you think it would be safe to try this medication? <Again, sharks are not usually affected by crypt as far as I know. Before using this medication increase water changes and either send pictures or a better description of what you are seeing for shark behavior and infection sites would be very helpful.> If not, do you know any way that could get rid of my problem? <See above comments. Also note how long the shark has been suffering with this issue. ~Paul> Thank you, Alexandre Boudreau

Biological Control for External Shark Parasites Mr. Fenner,    First I wanted to thank you and the crew for the help you give and to give you the credit for what all of you do for our hobby.  I have just recently caught two smooth dogfish (Mustelus canis) that are to be added to my shark pool.  Presently they are in a smaller (450 gallon) quarantine tub and I have noticed that, as is the case with sharks in colder weather, both have parasitic copepods attached to their dorsal fins. <Yes, common> I have the Scott Michaels' book and can remove them manually, but will a cleaner wrasse also serve the same purpose? <Can be tried... were you thinking of juvenile Bodianus? Other species? Tropical obligate cleaners can be tried... but physical removal of adults is recommended over either course of action... and if necessary a formalin "wash" (bath/dip) to eradicate intermediates. Am sure you're aware that organophosphates and copper compounds are contraindicated.> I want to avoid as much handling as I can but would appreciate your advice and experience.  Just FYI the sharks will be going into an 18000 gallon shark pool that already houses a few other sharks and has been running for over four years.  Again thank you for your help and dedication. Matt Hall <Bob Fenner>
Follow Up to External Shark Parasites, advice to others re juvenile sharks
Mr. Fenner,   I just wanted to drop a note and thank you again for the advice.  I manually removed the copepods and treated with a formalin bath to prevent secondary infections.  Both animals seem to be doing fine thus far and are showing strong appetites. <Outstanding.>    I have one comment to make about a question that was answered on today's list.  Someone had written to ask about their yellow tang and a bamboo shark that just recently hatched.  I noticed that the person was feeding the shark freshwater feeders, white clouds and rosy reds.  The crew did give some good advice but failed to point out the inappropriate diet being fed.  I would suggest either silversides or squid strips.  I would also recommend to other potential shark egg buyers that it is not always an easy task to get juvenile sharks feeding if they do not have much prior experience.  I only point this out to help others who might consider purchasing unhatched sharks.  Thank you. <I do agree and thank you, Bob Fenner> Matt Hall

Sharks and Rays in Aquariums
Gaining an understanding of how to keep these fishes in captive saltwater systems   

New Print and eBook on Amazon

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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