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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all!

I have lost several fish lately to some kind of ailment. After lots of research, and observing the symptoms of the affected fish, I think the cause is some kind of parasite like digenetic flukes and/or a tapeworm or roundworm infestation. I have been treating individual fish in a quarantine tank (so far unsuccesfully)- but I would like to be able to treat all inhabitants of the tank as these are not good parasites to have around and may be transmittable to humans - aka me! So far only my guppies have been seriously affected - but my kuhli loaches have distended bellies and could also have intestinal parasites (but they could also just be overweight!)

So here is the El natural part of my question - Are there any medications for the above ailments that are safe for use in a DW el natural set up?

Thanks in advance for your advice!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Bart,

Thank you so much for sharing that information! I almost bought ParaGuard 3 days ago but decided to wait until I had gotten some APC advice. I will buy some and give it a try when this hits again. Although my LFS manager hasn't had experience with El Natural tanks he recommended paraguard as a medication that he uses for very delicate environments and fishes. He even uses it in his reef tanks with no negative side effects.

In the meantime I researched guppy diseases on a website geared toward breeders. Some of the symptoms also matched an external parasite called Gyrodactylus. They recommend a 50/50 hydrogen peroxide/water dip for 2 seconds, with a prompt return to their regular water, so I thought I'd try it. Here at APC there have been discussions on using H2O2 for algae control, so I knew that a bit of it coming in from the fish net would not have any dramatic effects on the whole tank. It also meant that I didn't need attempt to cram all my affected fish into my teeny q-tank (2 gallons). So I dipped all of my main tank and q-tank guppies last night. None of them seem to have had any dramatically adverse affects - except for being stunned looking - and are all now swimming and flirting like normal. My 3 q-tank guppies are still looking worse for wear - so I will keep treating them seperately. I can still see some scale abnormalities on some of the main tank guppies but hopefully that will go away in a day or so, post-dip.

I still haven't seen much of my chubby kuhli's - so I guess that means they are acting and feeling normal!? Having Kuhli's means that adding salt or big heat increases are not an option, so I have to save that for my teeny q-tank.

Thanks again for sharing your experiences! Updates to come!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hey there i did some research about primafix and melafix for use in my tank. It turns out that many loaches, especially kuhli's have bad reactions to them, so I won't be able to use them.

Also, I think I may also be dealing with an internal parasitic problem in some of my fishes (who have now been moved to a hospital tank) - so I'm not sure an antibiotic/antifungal will help them.

However, the Kordon ick attack sure sounds promising! That may help with any external parasites. I am still seeing some irregularities on some of my guppies' scales so I may give that a try.
Thanks for passing that on!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
I agree, growing plants is a cinch compared to all the difficulties that come with fish keeping! I have not added any new fish for about 6 months and did have a problem with what looked like MB. I just kept removing all fish that started to show symptoms over a couple of months and haven't had a fish death from this problem in probably 3 months. It's probably not gone but all the remaining fish seem to be resistant to the strain that is in my tank.

The only thing I have added was some sunset hygro from big al's that brought along some ramshorn snails with it. After they had a good chomp on my plants I decided to remove them. That's why I assumed that they had been the culprits and had brought in the disease.

I still can't decide what my fish are suffering from - but they seem to have perked up and all the hospital tank fish are still with us.

Here are ALL the symptoms I can see:

- A handful of the fish have what looks like 2-5 individual raised scales, randomly scattered on the body, that seem lighter in colour. I can only see it if the light is hitting the scales in a certain way. I have ruled out dropsy as the cause of this - no other dropsy symptoms are present. There are no cottony, velvety, or white spots. Just these few raised scales.

- 3 of the male fancy guppies have 2 or 3 black spots near their tails - but don't seem affected otherwise.

- 1 guppy had long stringy white poop, which is now gone. I had assumed it was a tapeworm.

- I lost 3 guppies who had these raised scales, were hiding, and had stopped eating. They didn't have the wasted look like MB infected fish do - it seemed to be a faster working problem.

- As far as I can tell only the guppies are being affected, so it may be species specific. When I see my kuhli's they look very healthy. But kuhli loaches are a secretive fish, and probably more so when they are not feeling well.

So the short story is that I have no idea what to treat for. According to my research my fish have about 4 different diseases that all seemed to hit at once. Sigh. So far they are all hanging in and acting normally. As mentioned above I'm feeding lots of the yummy stuff, like frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms and their favourite algae discs so that they all keep eating. My Kuhli's make it difficult to keep the temp too high for too long, and adding salt and some medications are also not an option. I also have a small apartment and only one 20 gallon tank and one 2 gallon hospital tank.

Any suggestions on a course of treatment? I'm at a loss...

Diana you are right - fish diseases are a such a drag!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm feeling the same way too - my interest in fish keeping has definitely dwindled with all these complications. I will try paraguard for the external parasites and cross my fingers. Hopefully over time I'll have inadvertently bred a disease resistant guppy and these problems will go away on their own. I guess you could say that I have a Darwinistic, or 'natural selection' breeding program going on in my tank. Interestingly my newer guppies seems to be less 'fancy' than their parents and are reverting to a stockier body shape and shorter fin length that is closer to a wild guppy. Nature is cool man!

Thanks everyone for sharing their advice and their woes!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hello again all,

I was searching the internet for info regarding medications for velvet that are El Natural safe and I was directed to my own post above! So here I am again. After dutifully trying to take care of my diseased guppy strain for years the last one finally died about 6 months ago. So I figured it was a good time to start fresh and I tore down the tank, rebuilt it, and it is now doing really well.

So, what about the velvet issue? Well, I foolishly got back into fish keeping despite 6 blissful months of keeping a plant and random snail only tank. Now I have velvet. Here are my inhabitants. 1 kuhli loach that is about 6 years old, 5 ruby tetras (new), a pair of killifish (new). I also purchased 2 additional kuhli's thinking my remaining kuhli might be lonely but they didn't do well in the transport and died within a couple days. So the male killi has what i thought was internal parasites but now I can see that it's velvet. Yesterday I dosed the tank with Jungle Parasite Clear tank buddies - which had worked well for me in a previous NPT. However, nobody seems to carry it anymore and I'm all out.

Since velvet is now in the whole tank and has a lifespan that can last up to 3 weeks I will need a medication that is safe for my tank inhabitants and can be dosed for a long period of time. I also own a UV filter but I know that it is often not safe to use in combination with many medications.

Any suggestions fellow Walstad / El Natural / NPT people?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hello again,

Well I didn't hear from anyone so I'm going to assume that nobody is available who has an answer at this time. So, I'll let you know what I decided to do and how it's going so far.

- I decided to go with Paraguard which is a blend of aldehydes, malachite green, and fish protective polymers. I'm told it's quite safe by my LFS manager.

- I'm a bit unhappy with this option as I'm not sure what 'fish protective polymers' are and I'm not thrilled about aldehydes - which likely includes formaldehyde.

- Day 3 - So far, so good. I'm monitoring the ammonia and nitrites daily. I think ammonia has climbed very slightly (hard to tell from the colour of the API liquid test) so I'll do a 1/4 water change later today.

- Plants seem fine, (nerite is in a different bowl during the treatment) no more fish losses and I think my male killie's fins seem less clamped although is still doing alot of shimmying and 'resting' on the bottom. All the other fish seem fine - but my kuhli is more active, which makes me a bit nervous actually....
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
apctjp - thanks for sharing that example - much appreciated. I'm hoping that we can learn from each other on this as there is not much info out there on the subject.

I too did not have ANY success with Paraguard. In fact while I was using it my male Killie got ich as well as velvet and all the other fish started flashing. As i mentioned in my previous post I was not too happy about the all the mystery ingredients in Paraguard either so here's what I'm doing now:

- I bought a BPA Free storage container and set up a hospital tank. It has an empty filter that is providing some bubbling and a heater ( set to 80 ). No light. The Killies, which seemed to be the most affected were moved here and were given a full dose of Bifuran+, which I'm told is pretty hard core stuff and I definitely DO NOT want that near my plants. I'll do 3 days of this and reassess on the 4th day. 3/4 water changes every day.
- The Ruby tetras and the Kuhli loach were moved to a 2.5 gallon that has a heater ( set to 75 ) and some frog bit and a tiger lily with just gravel (not soil). They were given a 1/4 dose of Bifuran+. Low light. I plant to do this for 5 days with 1/2 water changes every day.
- The main tank heat has been increased to 80 and I am dosing it with a full dose of Nox-ich, which only contains salt and Malachite Green, which in my experience is not as hard on a planted tank. So far the existing pond snails are totally fine and plants continue to thrive. I plan to continue this for 3 consecutive days then leave it empty for 8 consecutive days. My usual 14 hours of lighting will continue throughout this period.
- My nerite snail is in a 2 gallon unheated planted bowl that I already had going for the time being until I can be sure that the malachite green has been entirely degraded by my lighting.

- The female Killie seemed fine so I have moved her to the 1/4 does 2.5 gallon.
- The male Killie still looks pretty rough but the ich is not getting worse.

My main issue, I'm leaving in 9 days and this situation will be unmonitored for 6 days. Ack! I haven't decided what to do yet. My options are:
a. return everyone to the main tank after a big water change and hope for the best
b. keep the main tank empty and create a temporary side tank with the with BPA free tupperware. With fresh water, an air stone, plants, etc.

Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Also I had added a handful of frogbit from my main tank to the hospital tank that had been given a full dose of Bifuran+ in the hope that it might add some oxygen to the water. It has almost been completely killed in just 2 days. Definitely not a plant safe medication at full strength.

There is some frogbit in the 1/4 strength tank that is showing some browning on the leaves but still has not gone mushy. The tiger lily in this tank is fine so far.

This is a pic of the dying frogbit from the full strength hospital tank. These were the only pieces I photographed as the rest were basically just mush.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
OK the latest update.

All tank inhabitants survived their course of treatment and were returned to the main tank today. So far so good for all, except the male killie is still not bouncing back. Colour is better, no visible ich or velvet but is still very listless and crashing on the bottom or even laying on top of my floating frogbit (I tried to get a pic of this with no luck). I explained my predicament to my lfs manager and he has offered to take the killies back and put them into a q tank in the store and treat them there. I'm sad to see them go but I also don't want another fish death in my tank that could cause my levels to go haywire while I'm away and stress the other healthy fishes.

Meanwhile, my plants are growing quite a bit and seem to have no ill effects from the Nox-ich. I was expecting a slight spike in ammonia due to snail deaths caused by the Nox-ich but both the MTS and Pond snail populations seem unscathed. My only slight peeve is that it has dyed my aquarium sealant light turquoise - which will hopefully fade in time.

Here's hoping that my tank inhabitants are OK!
 
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