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wkndracer 05-25-2011 07:27 PM

Comes up a bunch with folks wondering what to do. I was no different starting out.
Here's my bomb to date on what I do trying to protect my 14 current tanks.
(updating this post 12/17/2011. currently up to 24 flooded water boxes LMAO)
All reviewing this thread PLEASE READ and fully understand the following paragraph.

Disclaimer!!! I am a hobby breeder and keeper of water weeds and tropical fish. While I have played with fish tanks for >30yrs. I am NOT a vet or have I ever attended any medical training classes other than basic first aid and CPR training. I am not an educated chemist. Included in my QT thread is my opinion and my personal experiences. What's included also are the posted experiences of others in an effort to share. It needs to be stated and understood that what we include here is based on personal experiences and input mainly from breeder related websites.
Verify any information contained to your comfort level before following any advice included in this thread.
Ask questions!!! I am truly sorry that in trying to share information that I learned through hard lessons that somebody found out it wasn't enough. Ultimately Shawn found he was dealing with fish Mycobacterium. The thread makes a great read on a worst case scenario.

Entry quarantine (imo a real one)

Fish are first placed in a bare tank.
First day here nobody new gets fed and the tank remains dark. After 24hrs. I feed lightly and go from there.
3-10 days later (time in my schedule) they are placed in the established long term quarantine tank.
My long term entry tank is a 20g Tall placed far away from all my established systems.
The 20T quarantine is loaded with plants and cycled before the fish arrive. Once new fish are in house daily I check ammonia and nitrite to make sure the plants and the HOB filter are keeping up with the livestock load.
This is the first week adding fish and changing the bio loading on the tank.
After a week I'll first treat with flubendazole then move to the next plant safe parasite med. Without anything exciting after 45 days I can add them to my tanks.
It may be harder on me if things go south starting with a planted introduction/quarantine but the fish drop stress fast calming down really fast. They settle in so much faster with a furnished tank. Even though exposure to a planted quarantine may be adding things to the tanked environment of the newcomers thats where they end up here anyway,,, a planted tank.
The plants do help with the water quality too. Helping balance with the changing bio-load. All the plants are low light fast growers so if I have to break things down because I receive a truly nasty surprise with new fish all I lose is time because I reload with trimmings from the other tanks. I can't even imagine anymore doing an extended quarantine in a bare tank. Dealing daily with siphoning the waste and water changes. Not to mention species like pandas, otto's, abn or loaches that feel better with cover. They stay stressed the whole time in a bare tank.
PVC tubes aren't much better.
One somewhat disposable quarantine/introduction system and the patience to use it is the only way to protect all the hard work of a display tank.
(in my opinion)

UV sterilizers sized correctly to the flow rate for parasite kill are great for knocking out free swimming parasites. Not a cure all but it does reduce exposure and help with not spreading problems.

wkndracer 05-25-2011 07:35 PM

Hopefully adding all this up I get it here where it still makes sense to somebody.

Hardcore Quarantine FYI
With established long term quarantine I have added 25 panda's and 25 otto's in a single purchase. (Again this tank is pre-set and always fully cycled.) Using smaller tanks like 10g tanks I would suggest a sponge filter and bare bottom so you can keep them clean and use partial to 50% changes from your main tank daily or new water daily. 10g tanks can have the water quality go south very quickly.

Entry quarantine for me is about 45 days. Separate EVERYTHING for the QT.
Nets hoses etc. need to be treated/cleaned before touching your other tanks.

Have any sea salt? Rock salt for a water conditioner?
Tall Tupperware or extra bucket? Add salt to the water until the water column reaches saturation and no more salt will dissolve. Some salt lying on the bottom of the container that won't do anything but sit there in crystal form tells you you're at saturation. Drop tools into this bucket to soak a few minutes and very few things can survive rinse the tool and on to the next tank. I like H2O2 but the reaction can be in question with the organics breaking it down so fast. Salt doesn't evaporate only the water so this 'kill bucket' is good until you get tired of looking at it or it gets smelly. (pet store trick)
I use H2O2 for cleaning hoses by mixing 1qt H2O2 with 1g of RO water placing both ends of my siphon hose in the bucket with a power head shoved in one end. I cycle the peroxide solution through it overnight once a week on my longer main tank drain hose and use a separate shorter hose for the QT tank. Bleach is used by many but I stop at peroxide. HP is a strong enough oxidizer (imo).

Worked hard establishing my systems and like the fish I have.
I would not expose them to other acquired fish without a full quarantine including parasite and deworming treatments. Sick fish are very hard for a hobbyist to treat so I avoid the potential being very careful.

Some of my personal experiences posted to the web and my thoughts handling fish. (learning the hard way)

The treatment most miss all together is to WORM YOUR FISH! We treat our dogs, cats, pigs, horses, cows,,, the list is endless. But not our fish. Not anymore for this fish keeper.
I now start internally with all new fish and go from there.

1st flubendazole, 2nd levaisole hcl and metronidazole, most everything's covered for parasites.
Flubendazole and Levaisole hcl are water column dosed and help even when fish hunger strikes.
Flubendazole is a plant safe parasite treatment but has to be ordered online (to my knowledge). It covers a broad range of bugs too. (not all but a bunch) *** it also kills snails but is safe for shrimp by user reports including folks here on TPT.
Velvet and Ick are also covered by a flu treatment Doc sells as little or as much as you want.
Other sources are out there in the UK and maybe others via the web but I’ve ordered from ‘the Doc’.
Article links;

Bare tank treatments during quarantine if trouble is discovered.

External treatments include H2O2 and salt. (salt use is really rare for me)
Initial bacterial treatment (bare tank scaled fish only) if indicated is a 3% HP bath.
Standard over the counter 3% hydrogen peroxide mixed to 10mL per gallon.
Maximum Dosage Information Provided!!!!
1 U.S. Teaspoon = 4.92892159 milliliters
2 teaspoons of H2O2 per gallon is perfect!

2-3 hour soak then 50% WC, 24hrs. later another 25% WC and the treatment is complete.
This treatment is the dose used to kill algae and practically all bacteria and parasites, protozoan’s, etc.

3% topical hydrogen peroxide treatment in an established quarantine tank.

Treatment of 10mL per gallon is still the dose used. Established treatment at this dosage is to isolate the filter (shut it down) allow for circulation with a power head or air stone. 3-5 hour stand time (longer due to tank bacteria, gravel etc,) on the treatment then do a 50% water change followed by a 25% water change after 24 hours. The filter can be restarted after the 50% water change. Delicate plants can melt.

This is the highest dosing of HP recommended by fish breeders on my other favorite website. I've used this dosing level twice to good result and followed the water changing recommendation. Not a chemist or Vet this stuff is personal experience.

HP has strong oxidizing properties. The oxidizing capacity of hydrogen peroxide is so strong that it is considered a highly reactive oxygen. (Wikipedia)

H2O2 effects the slime coat and really weakened fish don't handle it well. Scaleless fish are burned bad enough not to survive. Cory, Loach and pleco’s have reacted badly to high level HP baths.

Back in 2009 I treated my Angels with H2O2 and antibiotic's both gram negative and positive. Thought it helped. Knocked back the external signs but left latent parasites internal to the fish that destroyed them from the inside out over time.

Salt dip:

I asked JP for his recipe as I don't use it much.
This bath is in a separate container with a close eye on the fish.
Many different methods, Ted just uses his brine shrimp solution (if that’s like mine it’s 1/2cup per gallon).

I prefer to start with 2Tsp per gallon and increase at 10-minute intervals until I get to 6Tsp per gallon total. That way they’ve been in the salt longer and my logic tells me that the parasite, etc. has been exposed longer. With Ted’s method, I would think fish would roll in a few minutes. With my method, they will generally roll within a few minutes @ 6Tsp per gallon – some roll at 4tsp/gal.

Pre-dissolve the salt and add slowly from side containers.
Set up your gallon container (bucket or whatever) with the first 2 tsp dissolved in it and have cups holding the remaining salt in solution.
Watch the fish the whole time.
When the fish heels over (rolls belly up, on its side in distress) net it and put it back in the tank.

*** This is angelfish treatment information. Scaleless fish such as loaches, Cory do not tolerate salt well at all and salt baths generally kill them.

Hopefully some of this will be useful to you or tucked away until it is.

wkndracer 05-25-2011 07:39 PM

Feeding options
If fish are fed medicated foods and as some folks state they won’t eat them well,, In a bare QT tank after 3-4 days any fish you have in there will eat cardboard. A fish being off its feed for two or three days is not an issue for concern. We’re not talking about a hunger strike here but preferred diet.

Medicated food is another way to worm a fish.

Metronidazole - Anti Protazoan Flake for internal parasites.

Feed Anti-Parasite Medicated Fish Food Active Ing.-> metronidazole 1.0%, praziquantel 0.5%, levamisole 0.4%

Anti-Bacteria Medicated Fish Food Active ing.-> sodium sulfathiazole 2.3% & nitrofurazone 0.13%. Feeding twice a day, 5 days of one, then 5 days of the other.

nonconductive 05-25-2011 08:05 PM

great info mike. QT is essential. if you dont think so, it will bite you in the rear one day.

wkndracer 05-25-2011 09:08 PM

Thanx D. Had the thought that stuffing all this mind numbing info in one thread with a clean title might make it easier to share. At least I'll know where I put it LOL.

This last post of information really caught my attention for IDK treatments. (IDK = I Don't Know)

This one is posted over on FishGeeks. Most of the time we tankers see symptoms not the real cause and don't treat correctly with the fish dying, money wasted, problems spreading. Toxic soups are almost as bad. This combination is as broad based as can be attacking a problem blind. Its well thought out and has great detail. (imo)

Treating Bacterial Infections with Maracyn/Maracyn 2

There are multiple symptoms that bacterial infections can cause. These include finrot, tailrot, mouth “fungus”, flex, septicemia, and sometimes, depending on the cause, popeye, dropsy, and swim bladder disease. First line of defense against infections is good water conditions. Most infections and other health problems are opportunistic; meaning they will most often show themselves only on already weakened fish. The best way to prevent this from happening is regular water changes and good water conditions. If a bacterial infection does show itself, most, but not all, of these are easily treatable with a combination of Maracyn and Maracyn 2. The reason for using both at the same time is that one will treat the current infection, while the other will prevent a secondary infection from setting in on the weakened fish while the first is being treated. Some strains are resistant to the maracyns and may require a different or stronger antibiotic. If there is no improvement after 1 course of the maracyns, a change to a different antibiotic is recommended. If there is improvement, but the infection is not gone, a second course of the maracyns is recommended.

Maracyn and Maracyn 2 both state on the box that they do not harm the bacterial filter. I have not had any problems with it harming a bacterial filter, nor have I heard anyone else say it wiped out their bacterial filter. However I do still recommend quarantine when using these meds, for 2 reasons. First, it will prevent the infection from spreading further to the rest of the fish, as well as allow the fish a low stress environment in which to recover. Second, I am hesitant to fully trust broad-spectrum antibiotics not to damage a bacterial colony. A qt tank can be as simple as a Rubbermaid tub with lid that has not had soap in it, with a heater and sponge filter.

To treat with the Maracyn combo, you first want to do a large water change to get ammonia/nitrite/nitrates as low as possible before starting treatment. Try to treat for the full 5 days with no water change. Do test water daily for ammonia/nitrite/nitrate. If you see results of ammonia greater than 0.25, nitrite greater than 1.0, or nitrate approaching 20, you will have to do a partial water change. In this case, simply redose the meds to the level they were at before the water change. For example, if you have done 3 days of treatment, with 1 tab each day to the water, you have added 3 tabs to a 10 gal. tank. If you do a 5 gal. water change, you would add 3 days x .5 tabs (5 gal. instead of 10), or 1 tabs to the replacement water. Then continue with your regular dosing schedule. After the 5 day treatment, do 2 large water changes, 50% each, 12 hours apart. This will remove most of the meds from the water, and give the fish a much-needed break from the meds. If the infection is gone, there is no need to retreat. Continue to watch the fish for a week in the qt tank to make sure there is no reoccurrence. If it is not gone, follow the recommendations in the first paragraph regarding resistant strains of bacteria.

Things to keep in mind when treating with the maracyns: First, it will cloud the water, maybe even make it quite murky. This is normal. Second, it will reduce the level of oxygen in the water. Therefore increased circulation in the tank is necessary to increase the oxygen level. This can be done either with a bubbler or by lowering the water level so there is more splash from the filter return. Third, these meds are sensitive to light. Keep the light off during treatment. Fourth, make sure to remove any carbon from the filter, as it will remove the meds from the water. Replace the carbon when treatment is complete for the same reason. Fifth, when treating for finrot/tailrot/mouth “fungus”/flex/columnaris: the same bacteria, flexibacter columnaris, cause all these diseases. This bacteria spreads faster in temps over 76. When treating for these infections, lower the temp below 76, but not much more than 2 degrees per day to avoid shock to the already ill fish.

Note to remember when treating for popeye, dropsy, or swim bladder disease. There are many different things that can cause these diseases; from poor water conditions being the most frequent offender, to constipation, parasites, genetics, and also bacterial infections. Antibiotics will only help if it is a bacterial cause. Therefore when treating for these diseases, it is imperative to find the cause in order to successfully treat these conditions. This is why these diseases so frequently cause mortality, because by the time you see the dropsy or swim bladder problems, there is often not enough time left to find the correct cause of the disease and treat it. There are supportive treatments that can help get the fish through until a cause can be found. These vary depending on the disease.
It is my hope that this will help you successfully treat your sick fish, and increase your understanding of bacterial infections in fish. Good luck, and happy fishkeeping!
Note: Published at FishGeeks with permission from the author.

The Dude 06-23-2011 02:00 AM

Awesome thread. I'm bumping this up for my personal use. I was advised to use Maricyn and Maricyn 2, but I don't have a QT tank. I'm going to get one tomorrow. I thought it was best to use use a bare tank?

audioaficionado 06-23-2011 05:48 AM

How about larger potted plants in an otherwise bare tank? Places for the fish to hide and easier to remove than substrate planted tank.

roadmaster 06-23-2011 09:30 AM

My quarantine tank is twenty gallon with Heater and borrowed sponge filter from established tank(s).No food or light for first 24 to 48 hours, no substrate,fake plant's (fish don't care).
Fish remain in quarantine for two to three weeks.
Medicate only for symptoms presented.
Have tried live plant's but some meds,salt treatment's, kill plant's which then foul the water.
Even a rubbermaid tub can be used for quarantine in a pinch.

audioaficionado 06-23-2011 01:22 PM

The clear Hefty storage tubs in Costco are pretty nice too.

ncharlie 06-29-2011 12:35 AM

How do you treat constipation in a FISH?

wkndracer 06-29-2011 02:50 PM


Originally Posted by ncharlie (Post 1431492)
How do you treat constipation in a FISH?

epsom salt

kamikazi 06-29-2011 03:10 PM


Originally Posted by ncharlie (Post 1431492)
How do you treat constipation in a FISH?

feed it mushed, shelled peas

nonconductive 06-29-2011 03:13 PM

epsom salt works better than peas IME

ncharlie 06-30-2011 12:23 PM

Regarding finding the cause of a fish illness .. .

How do you know?

Not you can't really do a blood test and cultures.

I have a otto succumbing to popeye. (I am about to pull him from the tank).

I did salt, water changes (water was fine) and doxycycline. I could not get Marasyn Plus (recommended) in time.

Alot of threads says you need to know the cause of the illness.

I am guessing folks just look at the fish and look for symptoms or signs, but there are no "tests"


wkndracer 07-10-2011 05:06 PM


Originally Posted by ncharlie (Post 1432919)
Regarding finding the cause of a fish illness .. .

How do you know?

Not you can't really do a blood test and cultures.

Alot of threads says you need to know the cause of the illness.

I am guessing folks just look at the fish and look for symptoms or signs, but there are no "tests"


Unfortunately most of the time treating sick fish is guesswork other than the simple stuff or external parasites/fungus. That's why entry quarantine is a must on an established system. Rarely do local vets even have the training. Use of a microscope and proper training is beyond most so broad spectrum treatment and guesswork for the only choice.

Entry quarantine, worming, good foods and proper tank care eliminate most disasters before they start. A few folks on the forums desire to know and have dedicated themselves through self training with trial and error to find the answers. I rely heavily on my breeder friends on TAFF II Carol and jpdevol among others. ReefkprZ here and MatsP on PlanetCatfish have also been helpful on occasion.

good luck with your fish

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