Update with good news, and maybe some bad news

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chefkeith
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Update with good news, and maybe some bad news

Post by chefkeith » Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:18 pm

Good news: I finally bought some new fish. It's been about 8 years since I made a fish purchase. I got 8 Kuhli Loaches from Petsmart for $2 each. I have them in a quarantine tank that I had about a dozen Ramshorn snails in. The fish looked perfectly healthy when I got them home, but being that I believe in prevention, and that I don't trust that any store bought fish are parasite free, I immediately started a prophetical treatment for the most common parasites. I did a salt drip for 48 hours until the TDS reached 2500 PPM. I've been feeding them an anti-parasite fenbenzonal flake food also. I'm about 6 days into the treatments and there's been no signs of parasites or illness so far. The fish are eating twice per day and have been very active thus far.

Now for the maybe bad news. My snails were getting beat up in that q-tank, so last night I moved them to a fry/shrimp/snail refugium that's connected to my main tanks. I woke up in the middle of the night in a near panic, realizing that I unwittingly cross contaminated my main tanks by moving those snails. Now I'm praying that those snails and the little bit of water that got transferred from the q tank didn't have any deadly pathogens. I'm really kicking myself because for 8 long years I was being overly cautious/paranoid about not buying anymore new fish, and then I make a stupid mistake like this.

I was planning on quarantining these new fish for at least 3 months before moving them to my main tanks. Now I'm not sure how I'll proceed. I may want to do a prophylactic treatment on my main tanks. I haven't decided yet. I do know this, I would be quite devastated if I lost nearly all my fish again, like I did about 8 years prior to this. I don't want to go through that again. Before I lost about 30 clown loaches. Now, I got about 40 and many of them have grown to a pretty decent size, at least 5"+ inches. I got about half of them since they were babies, about 1/2" long. Amazing Grace, who I've had 10 years, is the only clown that survived the last ich outbreak I had over 8 years ago. She is very special to me and I can't let her go through that again either. I do have some time before I make a decision. I may give it a few days or a few weeks because it would probably take awhile for any disease to fester or spread. I might not see it anyway if the disease remains sub-clinical. Any advise is welcome, especially from those that quarantine new fish and have large tanks.

There is some more good news. I just realized that I have a small fail-safe built into my refugium and main tanks. The water in the refugium filters out and goes through UV sterilizer before it's redistributed to the main tanks where all the clown loaches are. The only other way for any nasties to get to the main tanks is by snails and bristlenose pleco's in refugium, which are free to move to the other tanks through a small water bridge.

and more good news. My old website with the water change wizard, salt dosage calculator, and levamisole dosage calculator is back up. http://www.geocities.ws/chefkeithallen/index.html. I'll need update my signature.

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DainBramage1991
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Re: Update with good news, and maybe some bad news

Post by DainBramage1991 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:57 pm

In your shoes, I would wait it out. Your UV sterilizer will do a good job of preventing most pathogens from spreading in your main tank, if they even made it there in the first place.
If you see any signs of ich in the q-tank, by all means consider treating the main tank as well. However, treating the main tank as a preventative may just cause your fish unnecessary stress.

This is just my opinion, not to be confused with actual expert advice. :)

NancyD
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Re: Update with good news, and maybe some bad news

Post by NancyD » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:22 am

Oh, crap, Keith,I've done similar "not quite QT" without ill effects, but be ready. Snails can be a host for nasty stuff...but you've had yours for quite a while. I'd wait a few weeks before medicating, the UV will catch a lot of s*#t, a good, hopefully safe, barrier, Good luck to your Grace, she's IS amazing as I recall.
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Loachloach
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Re: Update with good news, and maybe some bad news

Post by Loachloach » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:04 am

If the snails carried something that uses them as an intermediate host, chances are it died if the snails had no fish friends in the tank for quite a while. Most fish diseases are caused by stress of some kind. An aquarium no matter what you do, is full of pathogens. Fish immune system deals with it very well.
I know many people treat new fish just in case but its very stressful to them and like any medication, it may cause long term damage. And then again theres so many fish diseases, resistant to so many meds that you might as well be stressing the khulis unnecessary.The best approach is to quarantine for 3 months and then move one of your own fish in with them to see if they carry something that has no symptoms but is infectious to other healthy fish.

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chefkeith
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Re: Update with good news, and maybe some bad news

Post by chefkeith » Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:44 pm

Thanks for the advice all. So far, my fish are doing fine.

"An aquarium no matter what you do, is full of pathogens. Fish immune system deals with it very well."
I'm most worried about 1 pathogen in particular, and that's ich. Ich is a non-native pathogen to my fish tanks, that my fish aren't immune to. Ich is deadly enough to kill every fish in my tank, which is why it's important to me to have preventative measures, like quarantining new fish and conducting prophylactic treatments for the most common parasites.

Death is far more stressful to a fish than my preventative treatment is. My treatment of choice for quarantining new fish is a prolonged salt bath with a salinity of about 0.25% or 2500 PPM. Freshwater fish actually have a 0.8% or 8,000 PPM sodium chloride content in their blood. When salt is added, it actually removes some of osmoregulation stress from the fish, so the fish can use more energy warding off disease and infections. Science and research is our friend.

About Ich:
http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/ichthyophthirius

About Salt usage:
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/VM/VM00700.pdf
http://www.ca.uky.edu/wkrec/SALTTRANS.htm
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I've put together a detailed plan/procedure the last few days for how I'm going to deal with the possible cross contamination of ich.

Danger Level Low.
Stage 0: Suspect ich. Keep watchful eye out for symptoms, such as flashing, clamped fins, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Change bulb in UV sterilizer. Double water change drip rate from 1 gallon per hour to 2 gph. Increase aeration in all tanks. Drop water level about 1 inch to increase surface agitation from filter outlets. Begin Preventative Heat Ich Treatment. Increase water temperature each day by 2F degrees, until water temperature is 86F. Discontinue Preventative Ich Heat Treatment after 10 days, if no ich symptoms exist. If successful, reduce water temperature by 2F degrees per day.

Danger Level Moderate.
Stage 1: Fish are flashing and showing symptoms of ich. Discontinue drip water changes. Continue Heat Treatment. Begin Medicinal Salt Treatment at full strength, which is about 2 teaspoons salt per gallon of water. Drip salt solution for 72 hours period until TDS is raised to about 3000 PPM. Continue both heat and salt treatments for 10 days after ich symptoms disappear.

Danger Level High.
Stage 2: One or a few Ich spots are visible. Initiate Code Red. Set-up 85 gallon quarantine tank. Quarantine Gracie and her BFFs in separate tank from others. Give them preferential VIP (Very Important Pfish) treatment. Continue salt and heat treatments. Remove tank decorations/driftwood. Reduce feeding of fish for duration of ich treatment. Do not use nets to capture fish, it may damage their slime coat, and promote infections. Use PVC pipe trap instead.

Danger Level Severe.
Stage 3: Ich has become widespread. Lots of ich spots. Continue salt and heat treatments. Remove water-bridges. Isolate tanks. Separate fish by species.

Danger Level Critical.
Stage 4 : Infection has become life threatening. Some fish are gasping for air at surface. Fish need more oxygen! Discontinue Heat Treatment and lower water temperature by 2F degrees per day, until 78F degrees. Continue salt treatment. Turn 125g to critical care hospital tank. Remove sand from 125g tank. Lower water level in 125 gallon tank to just a few inches. Keep water well aerated. Daily 100% water changes in that 125 tank, while keeping salinity level steady. Do not feed fish until they recover. Continue salt treatment until 14 days after last visible ich spot/symptom.

Danger Level Most Extreme.
Stage 5: Several fish deaths. Do not panic. Do not flush dead fish down toilet. Freeze them in Ziploc bags. Bury them in backyard in Spring when snow melts. Continue salt treatment until rest of fish are fully recovered and for 14 days after ich spot/symptom.
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So I'll be following everyone's advice here about not medicating my main tanks for now. I'll combine that advice with some advice of my own. I think the heat treatment, along with UV Filtration, and increased water changes, should take care of anything harmful, particularly ich parasites, that may have cross contaminated my main tanks.

Loachloach
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Re: Update with good news, and maybe some bad news

Post by Loachloach » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:16 pm

I think you are stressing over nothing. You obviously have had bad experience with ich.
Fortunately I have never dealt with it and I've put fish unquarantined many times for the simple reason that I believe stress is more important. Travelling from a long distance to reach the fish shop, kept in unappropriate tanks there, being netted several times, another trip to new owner, dips and medications are highly stressful too, especially salt on loaches, then moving from one tank to another again, etc.. Poor fish will have no peace for months.
My clown loaches didn't bring ich to my healthy tank too. I personally concentrate on proper acclimation methods which I think is criucal and minimal stress when introducing fish. Maybe I was very lucky...
But it's good having a plan ready in case the worst happens. Thankfully, there is a lot of information on ich and how to treat it. The most horrible diseases are those caused by enviromental stress of some kind. You never know what it is. So in an attempt to prevent just one disease, don't make them succeptible to another you aren't so aware off.

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chefkeith
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Re: Update with good news, and maybe some bad news

Post by chefkeith » Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:42 am

The alert meter is a little higher Today, but according to some people I might just be "stressing over nothing". Anyway, I just had my 1st mystery death since the cross contamination. An old large Boesmani Rainbowfish has died. It had some kind of gill ailment (perhaps ich) and was obviously struggling to breath and get oxygen the night before it passed. I'll still wait for more evidence before I do a full strength ich treatment. The loaches haven't shown any ich symptoms at all, so this could be just a natural occurring death from an older fish. So I'm sticking to the the plan that I outlined, but I'll be removing some loach caves now so that I can keep a closer eye on them.

Water temp is currently 83F, and will be raised it to 85F within the next 24 hours. Hopefully no more deaths.

Ardillakilla
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Re: Update with good news, and maybe some bad news

Post by Ardillakilla » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:25 pm

I found that oxygen concentrators are quite useful when a fish is experiencing respiratory distress. There isn't a lot of dissolved oxygen in water so an O2 concentrator dramatically increases levels. Some fish farms use them too.

I had a ~10-year old loach that had some kind of bacterial infection of the gills, stopped eating, and was breathing at a ridiculously high rate. A few antibiotic injections, forced feedings, the increased O2 levels, and she was fine a weeks later.

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chefkeith
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Re: Update with good news, and maybe some bad news

Post by chefkeith » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:02 pm

Ardillakilla- that's very interesting about o2 concentrators. I've seen that some fish farms have used them to help incubate eggs. I'm curious, how did you go about injecting antibiotics and force feeding the loach?

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chefkeith
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Re: Update with good news, and maybe some bad news

Post by chefkeith » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:37 pm

The main tanks' water temp is at 86F now. I've noticed some scraping against rocks with 2 clowns (Gracie being one of them) that's a bit worrisome, but not a major concern yet. Also my runt of the litter has a somewhat frayed dorsal fin that I'll need to keep an eye on. I'll probably need to quarantine that fish later on if it doesn't heal on it's own. Fish are a bit more energetic than usual. A lot more schooling, shadowing, and going back and forth through the water bridges. Whether that's a good sign or bad, I don't know yet.

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chefkeith
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Re: Update with good news, and maybe some bad news

Post by chefkeith » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:59 pm

Bad news. Ich 100% confirmed. I didn't want to believe it til I've seen it, but i've clearly seen a few ich spots. I'll start the ich salt treatment immediately. I can't believe my bad luck. I just hope I've caught it on time before there are massive loses.

Ardillakilla
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Re: Update with good news, and maybe some bad news

Post by Ardillakilla » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:33 pm

chefkeith wrote:Ardillakilla- that's very interesting about o2 concentrators. I've seen that some fish farms have used them to help incubate eggs. I'm curious, how did you go about injecting antibiotics and force feeding the loach?
I remember reading a few studies where O2 concentrators increased the ammonia tolerance of fish. I think they're helpful whenever gill function may be impaired (ich, ammonia, bacterial gill disease, etc.).

As for the injections and tube feeding, I took the fish to the UC Davis veterinary hospital. The injections were given intraperitoneally, I believe, and under anesthesia. The fish was tube fed while it was under as it was losing weight. This is all stuff that could be done by an intrepid hobbyist, much like koi owners who inject their fish themselves, but since I live pretty close to UC Davis it's easier to just have them do it.

Have you considered quinine or other anti-malarial drugs for ich? They're easier on fish than the traditional treatments and I believe they do work on the life stages actively feeding on the fish. In other words, it's not limited to the free-swimming forms.

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chefkeith
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Re: Update with good news, and maybe some bad news

Post by chefkeith » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:15 pm

Ardillakilla wrote: Have you considered quinine or other anti-malarial drugs for ich? They're easier on fish than the traditional treatments and I believe they do work on the life stages actively feeding on the fish. In other words, it's not limited to the free-swimming forms.
Thanks for the suggestion. I haven't used quinine before and not sure where I can buy it locally. I'll look for it this afternoon before I go buy more canning salt. I done some quick research on it and it sounds like the latest and greatest thing for treating ich.

Ardillakilla
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Re: Update with good news, and maybe some bad news

Post by Ardillakilla » Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:01 pm

It's popular with marine hobbyists so there's a chance your local reef stores might have it under one name or another.

I bought quinine sulfate from here:

http://www.fishyfarmacy.com/products4.html#Q

But one of their staff had a triple-bypass recently so I'm not sure how rapidly they're fulfilling orders these days.

Chloroquine phosphate is another option but it's even harder to find. I'm only aware of a wholesale source that sells in bulk:

http://www.fishchemical.com/FULL-PRODUC ... .Item.html

Edit: I see someone is re-selling chloroquine on eBay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/321079928828?hlp=false&var=

Edit #2: it seems that you can now buy it as "Fish Quine Forte" from Ebay, Amazon, etc.:

http://www.amazon.com/Quine-Forte-Chlor ... B009TAPPUM

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chefkeith
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Re: Update with good news, and maybe some bad news

Post by chefkeith » Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:11 pm

I got the quinine sulfate. My LFS owner was kind enough to sell me some from his private stock. I should have enough to treat 800 gallons or my main tanks twice.

I didn't get very far in with the salt treatment, just enough to drip raise the salinity by 250 ppm in 14 hours. So I quit the salt treatment and am doing a small water change now. Then I'll start the quinine treatment.

Thanks for the info and links.

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