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  • The Medicine Cabinet

    Given the crisis Brutuscz has shared, I think it is useful to think about the basic medicine cabinet that should be on hand for the parasites most likely to infect koi. There are many things one could be prepared to fight, but I think it best to start with the basics. People will have different views. Here are my preferences for what I believe are the 5 most common parasites:

    Flukes: Prazi, Supaverm or Fluke Tabs. (In that order of preference)

    Costia: Pro-Form C (or other formalin/malachite green formulation)

    Chilodonella: Salt 0.5% or Pro-Form C (or other F & MG formulation)

    Ich: Salt 0.5% for 3 weeks (2 weeks if you are a wimp); or Pro-Form C (or other F & MG formulation).

    Trichodina: ????? Is there anything other than potassium permanganate that can really work any more? [In posts on another board some many months ago, JR staked out a pretty strong position in favor of PP for trichodina, as the reliably effective treatment. I refuse to use PP for anything. I guess I've got an irrational blind spot there! Fortunately, have not had trichodina.]

    I would prefer to use salt over Pro-Form C whenever salt would be effective because malachite green is known to be a carcinogen and formalin is a very harsh chemical. Salt seems to still work on Chilodonella and definitely works on Ich, but from what I read it is not as effective on costia as was said in the past. Salt at 0.5% is perfectly fine for koi, but will kill a lot of water plants. Most pond algae will be set back some, but will recover quickly, unlike when treated with PP.

    O.K., everyone, I'm sure I'll get debate over such a terse and simplistic list. So, jump on in with your thoughts on the basics everyone should have on hand.
  • #2

    Mike you forgot the advil and a bottle of Brandy for us air breathers during the proccess


    Joe
    It's a living creature (chit happens)

    Comment

    • #3

      Mike, Doc J. suggests salt to 0.6 for trich for 2 or 3 days (that's a HEAVY salt dose!) Nick St. Erne says formalin or F/MG for trich. Proform-C (being a lighter dose) may or may not work, but is certainly worth the try.


      Lee

      Comment

      • #4

        Originally posted by MikeM



        Trichodina: ????? Is there anything other than potassium permanganate that can really work any more? [In posts on another board some many months ago, JR staked out a pretty strong position in favor of PP for trichodina, as the reliably effective treatment. I refuse to use PP for anything. I guess I've got an irrational blind spot there! Fortunately, have not had trichodina.]



        O.K., everyone, I'm sure I'll get debate over such a terse and simplistic list. So, jump on in with your thoughts on the basics everyone should have on hand.

        Mike, I agree with JR... I noticed last year a salt resist trichondina.. Malacite green/fromalin worked a little bit but came back strong..

        PP worked the best out of those.

        ( these were on Japanese koi) Most things that come from Japan are pretty much salt tolerant now. Best to jsut knock it out first time...


        Joe
        It's a living creature (chit happens)

        Comment

        • #5

          Is it JR or Steve Childers that does that 200 ppm dip for 2.5 minutes (exactly!)? Now THERE'S a PP protocol that puts fear in my heart! It's used when bringing in new fish, or bringing fish back from a show, before they're put in Q for (what should now be) observation.

          I have just never been able to determine: when dipping a fish, it clears the fish of its parasites. However, the parasites remain in the pond. OTOH, the parasites are ALWAYS in the pond; they just don't afflict the fish unless they achieve a certain concentration, or unless the fish is stressed. So, if a fish is dipped, is it safe to return it to the pond, or should the pond be treated too? If the parasitic outbreak is the result of a dirty pond and the pond is cleaned, is it safe return the fish afterwards?

          ????
          Lee B.

          Comment

          • #6

            Lee's here's my mentality on the subject. While dipping a suspected fish, you clear out the problem without unnecesarrily treating the koi pond and filters.

            (keep in mind that up to 10% of your pond walls work as biofilters.)



            I'm not much of a fan of treating fish if they don't need it. If you have a problem in the main pond then you have to treat. But coming back from a show etc, that's what they make Q tanks for.

            As ponds are built and rebuild hopefully the pond has plumbing where you can redirect the pond water away from the filters till things like PP runs it's course and will not kill but set back only a bit. I usually wait 2 hrs and keep water and air running in the filters.
            Dick Benbow

            Comment

            • #7

              Originally posted by Lee B
              Is it JR or Steve Childers that does that 200 ppm dip for 2.5 minutes (exactly!)? Now THERE'S a PP protocol that puts fear in my heart! It's used when bringing in new fish, or bringing fish back from a show, before they're put in Q for (what should now be) observation.

              I have just never been able to determine: when dipping a fish, it clears the fish of its parasites. However, the parasites remain in the pond. OTOH, the parasites are ALWAYS in the pond; they just don't afflict the fish unless they achieve a certain concentration, or unless the fish is stressed. So, if a fish is dipped, is it safe to return it to the pond, or should the pond be treated too? If the parasitic outbreak is the result of a dirty pond and the pond is cleaned, is it safe return the fish afterwards?

              ????
              Lee B.

              The way I look at it is... Depends on the other fish.. If one koi has it bad then that koi is sick... But if others are ok then they are built up resistance or the immune system is strong vice versa..

              2.5 minutes.. Hmmm. I keep mine about 30 seconds longer on the dot. So far my theory works for me. I dont use it all the time but its the go to guy for some things.

              JMHO but also I am the type of guy who beleives in my system so I will let a bruise cruise next thing ya know its gone...


              Joe
              It's a living creature (chit happens)

              Comment

              • #8

                Joe, I've seen *amazing* things heal themselves with only "good water" to take credit for the cure! I'm more inclined to let boo-boo's heal themselves (or try to) than I am to let parasitic problems seek a "cure". But that's in MY pond. If I'm asked to attend someone else's fish, then I treat - aggressively.

                But this is interesting: so, if one fish in the pond is reacting to parasitic problems - but is the only one that seems to have achieved "critical mass" while the other fish appear to be OK - then treating the singular fish is OK (like with a dip)?

                Lee B.

                Comment

                • #9

                  Originally posted by Lee B
                  If I'm asked to attend someone else's fish, then I treat - aggressively.

                  But this is interesting: so, if one fish in the pond is reacting to parasitic problems - but is the only one that seems to have achieved "critical mass" while the other fish appear to be OK - then treating the singular fish is OK (like with a dip)?

                  Lee B.
                  everyone has their way of treating.. Dipping is not aggressive???

                  I think you have to ask yourself.. Are you treating a sick pond or a sick fish?

                  If the pond is sick filtration and mulm etc (breeding grounds for parasite condos)

                  Then I would treat the whole pond.

                  If a fish is showing signs of illness .. of course scrape and scope and treat accordingly even if its treating the whole pond.

                  Like always the koi condition pretty much tells you the how things are going...

                  Just my way of looking at things..



                  Joe
                  It's a living creature (chit happens)

                  Comment

                  • #10

                    The regulars on this board clearly share a "treat only if essential" philosophy.

                    Lee & Joe: Trichodina may be best eradicated with PP, but I think using PP is just a little short of being as much a harm to the system as Trich is to the fish. I think I would try a Formalin & MG treatment, followed by water changes after about 48 hours and then salt at 0.6%. If that did not give the fish the upper hand, I guess I'd have to break down and use PP. I'm glad I only have to think about it in theory!

                    Salt is usually recommended at a dosage of 0.3%. Does anyone know where that recommendation came from? I suspect it originated in the watergarden hobby as the maximum amount of salt that could be used before too many plants were harmed permanently. From a koi perspective, I think it better to think of the maximum amount of salt before there is harm to the fish and biofilter. There seem to be occasionally disagreements as to how much salt koi can take for a period of 2-3 weeks. I think 0.6% is generally viewed as safe, but approaching the limit. I ease back a bit to 0.5%, although I have used 0.6% for 2 weeks, followed by 0.5% for another week without any problem, except adverse impact on some algae.

                    It is generally recommended that salt be added incrementally so as not to shock the biofilter. This is another recommendation that I am not so sure about. One aspect of using salt is to shock the parasite. Incrementalism would allow parasites to adjust as much as nitrifiers, wouldn't it? With mature filters in warm climates ( and perhaps late in the season in cool climates?), I do not think shock to the nitrifiers is as much of a concern as is indicated in books/articles written from a cold climate perspective. A biofilter that has not experienced winter for a year or three is going to have a depth of biofilm that I think it can absorb the shock. I have treated for Ich using salt at 0.5% when water temps were a "cold for Florida" 65-68F, with the salt added over the course of a couple of hours. I observed no adverse effects on the fish and no nitrite or ammonia detected. The relatively quick increase in salinity would do more to harm the target parasites than an incremental approach, I think. If the biofilters were not mature or if in a cool climate where biofilters have to re-establish themselves every year, then I think shock to nitrifiers is a serious concern.

                    Lurkers may be interested in the salt treatment given by some breeders to fish coming out of their mud ponds or being prepared for shipment. The fish are placed one by one in extremely saline water, saltier than seawater, for just a very brief time ... literally like 10 seconds. The breeder can sense when the salt is causing the fish too much stress and he then lifts it out of the dip and places it in normal water. It is intended to shock the parasites off the fish, and it works pretty well. It is quick, cheap and safe ... in experienced hands. The same treatment used by the inexperienced could kill the fish. When we use medications we should always remember that they are poisons. As much harm can be done as good. Even salt can be a killer.
                    Last edited by MikeM; 07-18-2005, 04:01 PM. Reason: Correct typo

                    Comment

                    • #11

                      I think Mike has returned the thread to it's core.

                      I'm not as scared as Mike re: PP. I think it is more useful; it can be used effectively against costia or chilo, for instance. I also combine PP and salt where I wouldn't combine MG+F and salt. This is likely my slightly irrational approach.

                      I otherwise tend the same as Mike. I'm hesitant to treat at all but when I treat I want to treat well. Salt will go in at .1% every 12 hours. PP can be dosed daily through the filters at 1.5ppm. Both assume fairly robust biofilters.

                      Salt at .3% - .4% should be reduced with regular water changes; 20-30% per week. Salt at .6% is sometimes a good thing but I worry a little about leaving that in for an extended period of time.

                      Other things in the bag; topical treatments. I keep a mix of Neocide-3 on hand and use it in spray form as a last coating after cleaning wounds. I also like to have some kind of top coat on hand -- Debride ointment followed by a something else sticks for a little while but not longer than 24 hours in my experience. Q-tips, makeup sponges, etc., round out the topical applicators.

                      Obviously (or not) a microscope is core. I've used a variety of substances to knock fish out and am now using clove oil since I've run out of MS-222. I've heard of people losing fish to clove oil and did have a close call with one fish (took 30 minutes to bring her back) tho'. But I'm also thinking it is less stress for me and less for the fish for the fish to be unconcious during treatment, and that's without shots.

                      I think a show bowl is excellent for anesthetic bath. Nothing else really works as well as a show bowl. Good nets are also a requirement. I will bring my own net and bowl on many field calls. My microscope bag fits nicely in the bowl and the net fits right on top when detached from the pole. I don't like bringing my own sock nets; those are reserved for doing topical treatments on my own fish. And, yes, I have a sock net that holds water and one that does not. The one that holds water is excellent for transferring fish (show or otherwise) when water comes with, but this is not something I want when transferring to/from an anesthetic bath.

                      Comment

                      • #12

                        [QUOTE=MikeM]The regulars on this board clearly share a "treat only if essential" philosophy.

                        Lee & Joe: Trichodina may be best eradicated with PP, but I think using PP is just a little short of being as much a harm to the system as Trich is to the fish. I think I would try a Formalin & MG treatment, followed by water changes after about 48 hours and then salt at 0.6%. If that did not give the fish the upper hand, I guess I'd have to break down and use PP. I'm glad I only have to think about it in theory! QUOTE]


                        MikeM, I would not put it in my system as well. But to use as a dip in a tub I would not hesitate to use it. MG/F woudl be my first choice to dump inn my pond if needed. But also I would be looking around in my filter to try to find where the parasite hotels are..... (Mulm)
                        It's a living creature (chit happens)

                        Comment

                        • #13

                          Roger: Roddy has done much to encourage the use of potassium permanganate as a shortcut for avoiding water changes and to compensate for undersizing filtration in relation to the fish load in a pond. I do not choose that approach for myself, not because I have a fear of PP, but because of the indiscriminate destruction PP causes.

                          PP is a highly effective oxidizer, meaning that all organics are affected. These include the beneficial biofilm, the algae, the mucous coat on the koi and all the microbes, good and bad, inhabiting the pond. I prefer to rely on water exchange to eliminate the organics dissolved in the water, and efficient filtration that will remove undesirable organics from the system, thereby eliminating or reducing the habitat for the undesirable microbes.

                          I understand that used with care the damage PP does to the biofilm will not be so great as to interfere with nitrification. And, used with care, the oxidation of the slime coat and gill filaments will not be so great as to expose the fish to immediate danger. Over time, the risks increase, both as a factor of chance, and because the repeated exposure of gills and tissues to oxidation has compounding effects. I have never seen a pond exposed to regular PP treatments that had a flourishing growth of green algae. That is instructive, I think. The algae community is very important to the conditioning of the water as part of the complete pond biota.

                          I called my avoidance of PP "irrational" because I realize that there are times and circumstances where indiscriminate oxidation is the rational solution to a problem, such as Trichodina resistant to both salt and formalin treatments. And, the idea of using PP as a dip with new fish has merits and does not involve repeated exposures. Nonetheless, I would still try every other alternative until I had no other choice before using PP. I do not own any PP and have not had any in over 40 years. So, I think I am about as far at the opposite extreme from Roddy as one can get. You have probably observed the long debates between Roddy and JR over PP use. I consider JR's views on PP to be too moderate, although often somewhat immoderately stated.

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