Joined: 04 Jul 2004
|Posted: 2009.07.07(Tue)15:24 Post subject:
|Sorry for the delay, I got myself locked off the forum for a few days and Marcos had to help me sort it out.
White spots that seem to come and go could be several things, sometimes fish will get temporary white blotches or discolorations and this is not ALWAYS bad, but it CAN be an indicator of a disease or pathogen so something like that always gets my attention. If they are small spots which look like salt or tiny white pimples, than my main concern would be the deadly parasite called Cryptocaryon. If this is what you have, then you MUST take early action to break the life cycle of the pathogen and the death of all your fish. Please carefully read the info below from my archives, and let me know if you have questions...
MARINE ICH (Cryptocaryon irritans)
Many have tried various psuedo cures for these pathogens, with various results, usually it subsides for a while only to return with a vengeance worse than before; the parasites reproduce in a cycle of various free-swimming and encysted stages and forms; trophonts, tomonts, tomites, theronts, etc., dropping into the substrate and then re-emerging in higher numbers. This lengthy cycle can take several weeks and confuses a lot of hobbyists, who may think they have solved the problem with a little salinity change or garlic, but the tale of woe is long for this industry-wide problem, and you need copper or starvation to be sure... that's right garlic lovers I said copper. I realize there are others who have dealt with cryptocaryon in other ways---I am only telling you what worked for me, and saved my own specimens as well as those I maintained for others in the industry.
If you have marine ich in a fish only system and no quarantine tank, you can treat the main tank with copper medication for marine aquarium fish, just follow the directions and make a 20 percent water change in advance. It's better not to treat the main tank if possible, but if you have no q-tank it's better than watching your fish get eaten alive---and believe me---if left unchecked, the parasites will eventually KILL EVERY ONE OF THEM.
If you have live rock or any invertebrates it gets more tricky; the copper will kill the inverts. I want to repeat, you must NEVER add copper to a tank with inverts. You will need to move ALL the fish to a quarantine system and treat them with copper there for 3-4 weeks. Even the fish which appear healthy must be removed. Lowering the specific gravity (salinity) in the QT to 1.018 will help but not required. While you are doing this, the trophonts in the display tank will starve (3-4 weeks minimum, no fish). You can leave hermits, shrimp, stars etc. in the display, but you need a biofilter in the q-tank during treatment and monitor daily for ammonia, and make water changes as required. It is also important to test the QT daily for correct copper levels, a copper test kit is required for this and be sure to follow the directions on the label of the copper you are using to the letter. For systems with large fish, moving them all may be impractical, so you will need to plan accordingly and decide whether QT or treating the main fish display is a better COA. If you have too many fish for your QT, then you may need to enlist the help of your LFS, better ones will have a hospital tank running 24/7 and they may allow you to move a few fish in there if you are in a pinch (call and confirm before "showing up" with sick fish). Also, be advised some species (I. e. eels, puffers, moorish idols, etc.) are harmed by copper treatments so research your charges.
Properly administered freshwater dips have been used as a successful treatment of cryptocaryon for years with marine fish. The Colorni article from the 80's is well published, yet some aquatic-trade professionals still use the FW dips, not because they want to add additional stress to livestock, but because they have seen it to be helpful at fighting pathogens on thousands of fish. The osmotic shock kills some of the parasites but will usually not harm the fish. FW dips will kill more than just cryptocaryon too; including Amyloodinium and Turbellarian worms, flukes, etc. If you have a fish that is seriously covered in parasites and showing rapid breathing/distress, a freshwater dip may be a good idea and could be required to save its life. In theory, this treatment also helps prevent the spreading of parasites from one tank to another. Water should be the same pH (use a buffer if required) and temp as the aquarium water. It is important that you match temperature and pH, and also provide dissolved oxygen by adding an airstone to the dip container (please see the links below for details on correct procedure).
Adding Methylene Blue to the FW dip is a common practice and will help. A large dip net is used, and a second net is added to cover the fish and keep it from jumping out (very important). Dip time will vary, usually 3-5 minutes depending on the fish and how much stress it shows. Specimens need to be carefully monitored during the process, so turn off the television and do not leave them alone. If the fish appears a little uncomfortable in FW, this is normal, but if the fish shows obvious signs of panic or stress, return it to saltwater immediately. I have seen fish completely covered with ich (which I thought were going to die) respond very well to this; in some cases in less than 24 hours the fish appeared completely healed and showed no signs of parasites whatsoever. Please note; the FW treatments cannot be considered a complete "cure," as they will kill parasites on your fish, but do nothing to halt the thousands which are likely lurking in your infested aquarium! (that's where the starvation or copper come in). Keep in mind, only one cyst can divide into hundreds of additional parasites.
Dealing with ich can be daunting, but it can be defeated. Of course an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, please refer to my extensive writings on quarantine of all new arrivals.
More opinions for you here:
Keepin' marines happy for 25 years