Sunday, 1 August 2021

SPOTTED FISH OR HOW TO CURE FISH POX

10 May 2021

Fish pox (Ichthyophthiriasis) is caused by a parasite (cestode) that settles on the skin and gills of infected fish. The parasite can be seen with the naked eye. This disease is very common, often seen in aquarium fish. Fortunately, it can be cured relatively easily, provided you intervene quickly.

FISH DISEASE

In order to successfully cure fish of this disease, it would be necessary to learn how the developmental cycle of the parasite that is responsible for fish pox. This knowledge will help to act at the right time, so there is a great chance to win against the pest.

DEVELOPMENTAL CYCLE:

The parasite feeds on fish cells, grows and reaches a diameter of about 0.5 - 1 mm. (whitish dots on the skin of infected fish). For treatment to be effective, it must be taken no later than the 3rd day after the rash appears. Later, the parasite transformed into a developmental cyst leaves the fish and attaches itself to aquarium plants, aquarium glass, or drops to the tank bottom or floats on the water. The parasite in the cyst stage is resistant to medication.

Inside the cyst progeny parasites called floaters multiply, which drop it and look for another host. The attack can last from 10 hours to 3 days. If the floater does not find a new victim during this time, it sinks to the bottom and dies. In this stage, the parasite (floaters) is most susceptible to chemotherapeutics.

SMALLPOX - TEMPERATURE TREATMENT

Examples:
- Temperature: 25*C, the developmental cycle lasts 6 days - 5 days the parasite persists in the fish, after which from 0.5 to 1 day it appears as a floater;
- Temperature: 30*C, the development cycle is stopped, but the parasites DO NOT DIE!
- temperature: 32-34*C, the parasite dies very quickly, it takes a few hours (some strains can survive)

PREVENTION:
It is believed that the germs of the parasite are still in our tanks, but only those fish that are immunocompromised become infected. Therefore it is advisable to constantly care for good conditions in the aquarium and to quarantine new fish, plants or snails - see the article "Quarantine".

The principle "Prevention is better than cure" is worth adhering to. Factors that affect the immunity of the fish should be avoided. Even the best treatment may be ineffective if the fish continue to live in an unfavorable environment.

FACTORS CONDUCIVE TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE DISEASE:

- rapid drops in temperature
- fluctuations in water ph
- insufficient oxygen in the water
- stress due to transport
- stress due to the higher number of males
- excessive concentration of fish
- bad food
- poor sanitation in the aquarium
- use of live food

how to treat fishpox?

FISH POX - SYMPTOMS

First stage (before the rash)

  • fish swim with folded fins, rub against decorations, do not eat
  • they do not swim much, they are shy and apathetic
  • they stay near the heater and under the stream of water. They also have accelerated breathing, that's why they are under the water surface

The second (final) stage

  • on the skin of fish white dots of 0,2-1 mm size are visible to the naked eye. There are very many of them.

Here it is worth to notice, that not all dots on fish's body must mean smallpox. Single dots (usually on fin tips, tail or on the snout of the fish) can mean the presence of e.g. sporocarps, but very numerous, powder-like dots (invisible as smallpox) can mean oodinosis.

SMALLPOX - TREATMENT WITH SALT

Pour the water, without substrate or plants, into a separate tank. The water must be well aerated and filtered. Do not feed the fish. Leave the tank where the sick fish stayed without fish for about 10 days, without aeration, but filter. Treat all fish, even those that don't have visible spots.

Treatment temperature:

Treatment tank - water with a temperature of 28-29 deg C and preferably 33 deg C

General tank - water temperature 33-35 C. Crustacean plants may not survive this temperature. Non-iodized table salt (1 spoon/10 l of water) or methyl blue (according to the manufacturer's instructions) can be added to the water.

FISH POX - TREATMENT IN THE GENERAL AQUARIUM

1 method treatment should last about 2-3 weeks, we administer drugs according to manufacturer's recommendations, temperature: 28-29*C
2 method (fish and plants may not survive): raise the temperature to 32-33*C, add aquarium salt 1g/1L water, the parasite dies in a few hours.

After treatment, replace 50% of the aquarium water. If you used salt for treatment, change 20% of the water every day for a few days.

FISH POX - HOW TO TREAT?

  • FMC ZOOLEK, CMF (MFC) TROPICAL: consist of malachite green, methylene blue and formalin - common smallpox treatments.
  • Costapur sera: mainly consists of malachite green
  • Ichthyosan TROPICAL: consists predominantly of malachite green
  • Methylene blue ZOOLEK
  • table salt (noniodized!)


PARASITE STRAINS RESISTANT TO TREATMENT:
(when the treatment has failed)

Treatment in a separate tank:

  • 1 DAY: we give a 10-15% higher dose of the preparation than recommended by the manufacturer, we keep the temperature at 33*C for at least 10 hours, we aerate the water very strongly!
  • 2 DAY: we lower the temperature to 27-28C
  • 3 DAY: change 50-70% of the water and add 50% of the drug dose
  • 4 DAY: repeat steps from day 1
  • 5 DAY: break
  • 6 DAY: repeat actions from day 3
  • 7 DAY: break
  • 8 DAY: repeat steps of Day 1
  • 9 DAY: break
  • 10 - 15 DAYS: daily 20% water change with fresh water
  • 16 DAY: water is filtered through activated carbon, UV lamp can be used, temperature 28-29*C for next 7 days
  • 23 DAY: move fish to general aquarium