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RE: [Killietalk] Treating Gill Disease/Velvet??-wasting?
I have done a great deal of work regarding fish wasting syndrome. I have
seen and treated the real thing and I have also done a lot of work with
Notho-Fade-Away. They are two distinctly different things!
I had real intestinal parasites in Discus. The fish had white translucent
stool. I treated by adding fresh garlic juice to the food and the fish that
were still eating recovered with 3 months of treatment as recommended by
With regard to my work with Nothos. All I had to do was introduce a
moderately strong current and high level of aeration and the fish stopped
eating. I can induce fade away in GUE in three days by putting them in a
strong current from a high drop recirculating water system. After the first
3 to 4 days their stomachs are collapsed and they look seriously wasted.
Within 2 weeks they will all starve themselves to death. I could also induce
it in female Nothos by removing hiding places and letting aggressive male
have at them in cramped quarters. No problem, it works a treat, pretty much
every time. By the way the male never gets sick even after the female is
long dead. I also induced fade-away by skipping water changes, this takes
more than one missed water change, but when the water gets funky enough many
Nothos stop eating. Females go first, males follow shortly thereafter.
I also cured the syndrome by eliminating the current/aeration providing the
fish with isolation or sufficient hiding places, adjusting the temperature
to the warmest optimal temperature, 78DF with Nothos, changing the water and
feeding very small foods like BBS or microworms. The recovery rate was not
necessarily 100%. In fact it depended on how far gone the fish was. But once
the affected fish are restored to health or die, and the original cause of
stress is mitigated the rest of the fish remain healthy and attain their
normal age, size and most will resume egg laying eventually.
In short, my experience indicates that stress is the major factor in Nothos
(and very likely other killies) fading away. Granted my work was done mainly
with Nothos and I can't back up the generalization with hard numbers. I have
a female Riv. Agilae in Fade-Away now. Too many males, insufficient space to
hide, missed water changes and very high temperatures over a an extended
period of time caused the condition. The males look great. My female Riv is
pretty wasted. She has been in isolation for over 2 weeks now. She is
swimming again stiffly and might recover.
I tried lots of different medications at first. They did not work. As a
matter of fact, when I first polled this list, mortality rate for fade-away
was expected to be 100%. The fact is that stress kills! We are used to
living in a world where the disease model is applied to every syndrome or
condition that affects everything. Everything needs to have a bacterial or
viral cause. Not so with fade away syndrome.
Whether there is a bacteria or something else going on between the onset of
the illness and death, I don't know. Under the concept that it is in just
about every fish tank, it doesn't seem to be 'preventable or treatable'. So
again not high on my list of concerns. I tried expensive heximite cures,
they did not work. Eliminating stress, *Large* water changes, and reducing
the amount of air and current has cured literally dozens if not well over
100 hundred fish from this condition over the past 3 years. I have
replicated it with RAC, GUE, Palmqvisti, and a few other assorted species,
not necessarily all Nothos. Although I must admit that I only noticed the
eating & spitting condition in Nothos when it came to killies. I believe
that the discus that were legitimately infested may have also done it for a
while, but it was pretty long ago and my memory is not as good as it once
was. Most other killies that are fading just don't bother with food at all.
Its worth noting that the LFS that I got my discus from was also losing lots
of fish to fading. I know exactly where the disease came from. With my test
Nothos, I hatched them myself and kept them in tanks where no illness ever
existed. They were either new tanks or tanks that were bleached out first.
The bacteria culture came from a tank where I have been keeping the same
species for several generations without any unexplained losses. Other fish
have been kept in the untreated aquariums since and the condition never
I will add one final disclaimer. There are no doubt cases of legitimate
intestinal parasites out there. If your fish have white translucent feces,
that's what you've got. Medication in appropriate doses is likely to do
little harm, so if you have it, you might as well use it. But I am in the
firm belief that most of the cases of wasting are due to stress. Medicate if
you must, but address the stress too. You have nothing to lose.
Gill disease and velvet are other matters, I use acriflavine.
I never found a good cure for glugea, but would try Flubendazole if I could
get my hands on some should I ever see this horrible condition again. I
would not wish this on anyone, ever!
From: killietalk-bounces at aka_org [mailto:killietalk-bounces at aka_org]On
Behalf Of Charles Harrison
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2003 4:52 PM
To: killifish discussion list
Subject: [Killietalk] Treating Gill Disease/Velvet??-wasting?
Hello group, I do have some real news on the subject and also more
info for the quiz on Monday:
I have an article for the JAKA going to the printer as I write. This
article deals with fishes which stop eating. (Wasting Disease) They
have an irritated gut. This irritation is caused by some intestinal
parasite, most likely Hexamita. There is generally an overgrowth of
this parasite due to some interruption in the fishes diet or routine.
Some kink of stress which has allowed the parasite to get the upper
hand has irritated the gut badly enough that the fish can no longer
swallow. They just pick up the food and then spit it out.
Flubendazole is adsorbed by the fish and does not have to be eaten so
it works as a treatment. A dose of 0.5 grams of 5% powder
Flubendazole in 5 gal of water relieves the fish by removing the
parasite from its gut.
Flubendazole also kills the Velvet causing agent. and yes Wright,
Barry's work also has been positive for treatment *Glugea* species.
That will probably be coming in a JAKA near you as well.
Treating the fishes in question with calmer water and dancing the
live food in front of it may work. The problem is the irritated gut
and inability to swallow. The protozoa are around and with the fish
in most tanks. Once the fish is overcome with some stress and stops
eating for some period of time the parasite can take over, it needs
to eat to. It's just so that the parasite can digest the fish. If the
flow of food is re-established it will flush the irritating protozoa
through the gut.
If the fish is showing strings of clear & stringy fecal matter it is
most likely due to intestinal parasites. But, if the fish has not
been eating . . . fecal matter is questionable.
Antibiotics are not generally recommended. There are few true
bacterial infections which can be successfully treated. Not to say
they can't they are usually much too severe and the afflicted seldom
survive. It is usually better to isolate the afflicted and hope the
bacteria doesn't spread.
Hexamita infections on the other hand can be cured effectively, and
in three days the fish are eating again.
> > He is fairly well convinced that this works. If you have tried
>> it, and it does not work, we would surely like to hear about it.
>> But if you are calling it "misinformation" because you know guys
>> that keep notho's in tanks with sponge filters, maybe it is you
>> who is providing the misinformation. Bottom line is, it's worth
>> a try, don't you think? I would try that before I started dumping
>> medications into the tank. And like I said, if it is an intestinal
>> parasite, then flubendazole would be my first choice of medication.
>> However, she did not say the Badis badis were getting sick. Ron
>Yes I have tried it. No it has no effect. I read the original
>and did not believe them then nor do I now. There is no scientific
>I can understand from my knowledge of fish physiology that this
>should or would
>work. Turning off the filter in my hands just increases the fouling of the
>water and hastens death or causes other problems. What people are calling
>"wasting" is almost positively internal parasites (Galuga [sp?]) and should
>treated as published with flubendazole, 200 mg / gal 5% solution.
Charles H. Harrison, Ph. D.
National Laser & Inkjet Cartridge Service
Recycling since 1987
1845 West Square Dr.
High Ridge, MO 63049
636 677-3813 fax
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