Home | About Us | Contact Us


Koi Forum - Koi-Bito Magazine straight from Japan
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: Copper Treatments

  1. #1
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
    Posts
    11,128

    Copper Treatments

    In replying to a post in another thread begun by Mr. Tick, I said "do not use Cupramine" in the course of my response. I see the question of using Cupramine has come up in another thread. So, I thought it useful to begin a new thread on copper treatments in general where folks' thoughts can be gathered.

    I will first disclose my biases.... Copper has been shown to be highly damaging to the immune systems of koi at very low levels. So, I do not think copper should ever be used on koi. Period. But, copper has been a treatment used with fish for a long time, so it does get discussed in the literature, and is at least mentioned even in the various koi health books. As with most things, if used correctly it can be used beneficially. The devil is in the details.

    There are several forms of copper that have been used for parasite control in the aquarium hobby, primarily in saltwater fish-only aquaria. Copper sulfate is an old stand-by. But, copper is also poisonous to fish. The difference between an effective dose of copper sulfate for killing parasites and a dose lethal to fish does not give a lot of leeway. The effectiveness of the copper is much dependent on the alkalinity of the water. At an alkalinity of 250, the copper forms insoluble salts that precipitate out of solution. At an alkalinity of 50ppm or less, copper sulfate is considered too dangerous to use. To determine a safe and effective dose of copper sulfate, one has to have a precise measure of total alkalinity. The total alkalinity is then divided by 100 to obtain the ppm of copper sulfate that can be safely used. The ppm number is then multiplied times 14.9mg per gallon to arrive at the dosage. We do not find copper sulfate being used in the koi hobby for several reasons. First, it is a pain to deal with. Second, few hobbyists have truly accurate measures of their pond gallonage. Third, koi are more sensitive to copper than many fish. The relatively narrow difference between a tolerable dose and a lethal dose does not give a huge safety margin. Fourth, copper will kill algae and cause oxygen loss in the water, requiring attention to oxygen levels (like with MG/F treatments). Fifth, it is typically recommended that treatment doses be maintained for 14 days or longer, which means that daily testing of copper levels must be performed and additional copper sulfate added if precipitates, etc result in a lowering of copper levels, and alkalinity has to be constantly measured. We have all heard of ponds where alkalinity drops by 50% or more over the course of a week due to biological filtration consuming alkalinity in the nitrification process. So, what was safe and effective when added to the pond can become lethal as alkalinity shifts. The constant testing is a hassle, which means it will skipped along the way... which always seems to be the day alkalinity shifts and the fish die.

    Cupramine is a different copper formulation, intended to have a wider safety margin. The treatment dosage in saltwater is for 0.5ppm with the lethal exposure being 0.8ppm.... not a very wide margin in my opinion, but all things are relative, I guess. In freshwater, the treatment dosage is halved to 0.25ppm. The manufacturer recommends regular testing during treatment and discloses that some of the copper will precipitate out of the water, but 're-dissolve' upon the addition of extra product to maintain copper levels. That is, if the concentration drops and extra Cupramine is added to restore the treatment concentration, there may be a greater increase than intended due to precipitated copper re-entering the water. It is a much safer product than ol' copper sulfate, but still has its issues. It is also recommended that special copper removal products be used to eliminate copper from the water after treatment. This can take a long time depending on the level of precipitates captured in the algal turf, etc.

    With any form of copper, the question arises: Why use it at all? Well, it really is not used, except in the fish-only marine aquaria hobby. There is no reason to use it in freshwater because most of the parasites it is effective in treating can also be treated by using salt... plain, cheap salt. It gets used in fish-only marine aquaria because the parasites involved cannot be treated by increasing salinity. So, why go to the expense, perform so much work and take risks using a copper-based treatment? ...IMO, there is no good reason. Save money. Work less. Be safer.
    Last edited by MikeM; 12-07-2011 at 04:56 AM. Reason: typo

  2. #2
    Tosai Mr. Tick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Kingston, Kitsap County, WA
    Posts
    16

    Cupramine

    MikeM, thank you for your thread on the use of copper treatments and their risk to koi. If I do treat my koi for gill flukes, I will use Praziquantel instead. I read that it's much safer than copper, but it's also more expensive. But safety first.

  3. #3
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
    Posts
    11,128
    I use Prazi, but have found that when flukes are present there is usually one or more other parasites as well... costia, chillodonella, etc. Prazi can be used with ProForm C (and other malachite green/formalin formulations), and seem to have a synergistic effect making both more effective. It amounts to the abhorred 'shotgun treatment', but works. A problem with Prazi is that it does not kill eggs. A 10-day treatment period is needed, and even then some eggs may hatch after water changes have been performed, resulting in re-infestation a few weeks later. So, sometimes two treatments are required, which really does become expensive.

    If flukes are present without other parasites, Supaverm is much used and less expensive. It must be dosed properly or problems can arise, and cannot be used with goldfish. If a second treatment is needed, the expense is not so great.

    What may be the best fluke treatment is not approved for distribution in the U.S. It is flubendazole and is available in the UK (sold under the brand FlukeM). It sometimes is available in the U.S. through mom & pop shops who manage to get it. (Available in the Discus hobby through various Discus crazies.) The cost is not much different than Prazi, but it seems to kill the eggs. Some report a single treatment fully eradicates flukes with no re-appearance whatsoever. It is easier to use than Prazi, dissolving readily in hot water (boiling hot is recommended). But, the flubendazole powder comes in different strengths and the dosage will vary according to the strength of the powder. There appears to be a great deal of leeway, but in the Discus hobby, where it has been used for a decade or so, overdosing has resulted in burning off slime coat, dead fish, etc., not unlike the descriptions in reports of koi overdosed with Supaverm.

    The perfect fluke treatment does not exist, but that is true of all parasite treatments.
    Last edited by MikeM; 12-09-2011 at 10:25 AM. Reason: typo

  4. #4
    Daihonmei
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    7,642
    Freshwater species 'work' very differently from saltwater species- physiologically speaking. The effect on parasites in chemotherapy is the same- in otherwords, it kills them. But unfortunately it has a very negative effect on frshwater fish ( compared to salt water fish). This is because one species keeps OUT water and the other species must drink water in their surroundings!
    Since all chemotherapy involves dose - meaning the trick in treating is to use enough to poison or kill the tiny creature ( bug) but not enought to kill the large creature ( fish), we must consider how sensitive the fish is as well as how effective a compound is in killing a parasite. Two sides of the same coin.
    When it comes to goldfish and carp and also tropical species like tetras, we know that they are ultra sensitive to copper. If you add in the issues of water hardness/softness and the variable that causes, you come up with one general rule-- do not use copper when treating goldfish and koi for parasites- there are a number of safer, more effective compounds available. keep the free copper and even the bound copper for marine species only and then, only when treating in a bare tank with no invertebrates or sensitive species present. A word to the wise is sufficient. JR

  5. #5
    Nisai N2koi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    tulsa
    Posts
    82
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    I use Prazi, but have found that when flukes are present there is usually one or more other parasites as well... costia, chillodonella, etc. Prazi can be used with ProForm C (and other malachite green/formalin formulations), and seem to have a synergistic effect making both more effective. It amounts to the abhorred 'shotgun treatment', but works. A problem with Prazi is that it does not kill eggs. A 10-day treatment period is needed, and even then some eggs may hatch after water changes have been performed, resulting in re-infestation a few weeks later. So, sometimes two treatments are required, which really does become expensive.

    If flukes are present without other parasites, Supaverm is much used and less expensive. It must be dosed properly or problems can arise, and cannot be used with goldfish. If a second treatment is needed, the expense is not so great.

    What may be the best fluke treatment is not approved for distribution in the U.S. It is flubendazole and is available in the UK (sold under the brand FlukeM). It sometimes is available in the U.S. through mom & pop shops who manage to get it. (Available in the Discus hobby through various Discus crazies.) The cost is not much different than Prazi, but it seems to kill the eggs. Some report a single treatment fully eradicates flukes with no re-appearance whatsoever. It is easier to use than Prazi, dissolving readily in hot water (boiling hot is recommended). But, the flubendazole powder comes in different strengths and the dosage will vary according to the strength of the powder. There appears to be a great deal of leeway, but in the Discus hobby, where it has been used for a decade or so, overdosing has resulted in burning off slime coat, dead fish, etc., not unlike the descriptions in reports of koi overdosed with Supaverm.

    The perfect fluke treatment does not exist, but that is true of all parasite treatments.
    Very good info thanks for posting.


    Kyle

  6. #6
    Tosai Mr. Tick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Kingston, Kitsap County, WA
    Posts
    16

    Prazi

    @Mike. Another informative thread. Thank you.

    Rex K.

  7. #7
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
    Posts
    11,128
    Hey, JR. The combo of koi and marine got you to post. Miss not having your insights. Maybe I should start a thread on using kalkwasser in the koi pond? Best.

  8. #8
    Daihonmei
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    7,642
    Hi Mike, long time no talk! Been so busy just no time to come to my favorite places to visit with friends. I keep waiting for things to settle down but no end in sight! How I long for my old routine!
    I was talking to an old friend in the UK recently and we both expressed our surprise that even with the 24X7, 365 nature of the internet, basic koi information is being lost to the newest generation entering the hobby. There are many reasons why Internet education leaves much to be desired. But on the omni-present level, we are beginning to see education and pure information being used as lost leaders for the dealer community and for the ' big box' fish companies. Just a simple glance at their ' show koi' makes one realize how much the beginner's eye is up against!
    In the area of parasite knowledge there is the Big Picture understanding and there is the “just tell me what to do" mentality. Not everyone has to be an expert on all things koi of course. But to run a koi pond and keep koi happy and healthy a certain apprenticeship is required.
    I firmly believe that beyond personal education and Intra-judge socializing, koi judges need to become more active in this regard. Traditionally in ZNA, koi judges have been THE educators - full stop.
    So since everything old is new again, the koi judges of the world need to adapt to an internet world and not live strictly within the old structure of education. More directly, koi judges need to shift from lecturer at shows only-- to advisors that council and aid the apprenticeship of beginners and those trying to get 'eye's open' as to the culture, tried and true techniques and secrets of koi keeping.
    As an advisor to chapters and show exhibitors, a koi judge takes on the responsibility to bring along the knowledge base of their 'customers'. The reward is not dollars of course, but the physic reward of knowing they are strengthening the core of the hobby.
    Sorry to get what might appear to be so off track (my ‘rambles’ are legendary! ) but the topic of copper in ponds is a symptom of how far we are drifting from the koi culture treasure trove.


    Happy Holidays Mike, JR

  9. #9
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
    Posts
    11,128
    Bumped up for Niceguy333.

  10. #10
    Daihonmei
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    7,642
    Good idea Mike. In addition lets introduce one more concept-- copper in saltwater aquariums works differently than copper in outdoor ponds. And in MUD ponds- differently again in terms of concentration.

    In addition, saltwaterfish is MORE than a fish just happening to live in salt water-- IT is designed to live in saltwater which makes it like an animal living in a desert. They must 'drink' freshwater or die. Frehwater fish are the opposite and as a result are 'cycling' environmental water contantly with a weak flow of urine coming out constantly. They are in a dynamic challenge of trying to retain their 'salt'.
    So the presence of a toxin like copper is very different in its effect on freshwater than saltwater fishes.
    In truth, I'd suspect that a mud pond would take most cooper out of a system making it less harmful possibly? But copper KILLS all inverts in its path based only on dose. And that could wreak a mud pond ( especially a wild field pond that most Americans think is the same as a mud pond).

    In this day and age where were have tried and true compounds specific to all the parasitic species we normally encounter, it makes no sense to look for other compounds that are known to problematic with species like goldfish and koi. IMHO. JR

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 16
    Last Post: 10-14-2013, 03:15 PM
  2. Must haves in your MEDICINE Cabinet for Koi treatments
    By semi skilled keeper in forum Main Forum
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 08-14-2013, 07:52 AM
  3. Combo'd Spring parasite treatments . . .
    By KoiCop in forum Main Forum
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 02-03-2010, 11:51 PM
  4. Blanketweed treatments
    By estanque_koi in forum Best of Bito
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 04-06-2009, 12:54 PM
  5. Blanketweed treatments
    By estanque_koi in forum Main Forum
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 12-29-2004, 12:35 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Articles - Sitemap - FAQs and Rules

KB Footer Graphic
Straight from Japan... For the serious hobbyist!
All content and images copyright of: Koi-bito.com