killing BGA with livestock penicillin!!
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Old 06-24-2013, 03:20 PM   #1
GouramiGuy
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killing BGA with livestock penicillin!!


I recently bought a large bottle of penicillin from the local farm and feed store for my dog who had to get stitches. I have read threads about using expensive aquarium antibiotics to kill BGA but in 90 gallon tank it would cost me a fortune. So I kept seeing the penicillin sitting in the fridge and decided to give it a shot. I dosed 2ml day one, 0ml day two, 2ml day three, 0ml day four, and 2ml day five. The BGA is completely gone! This did not harm or stress any fish or hurt the filter. I wanted to share this with every because it is so much cheaper and one bottle could handle multiple tanks.
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:04 AM   #2
danucleus
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I recently bought a large bottle of penicillin from the local farm and feed store for my dog who had to get stitches. I have read threads about using expensive aquarium antibiotics to kill BGA but in 90 gallon tank it would cost me a fortune. So I kept seeing the penicillin sitting in the fridge and decided to give it a shot. I dosed 2ml day one, 0ml day two, 2ml day three, 0ml day four, and 2ml day five. The BGA is completely gone! This did not harm or stress any fish or hurt the filter. I wanted to share this with every because it is so much cheaper and one bottle could handle multiple tanks.
Congratulations on getting rid of the BGA. You probably already know this, but you likely killed off any other existing bacteria as well; including beneficial bacteria. I would be very careful about introducing new specimens into the tank; as it's now open season for any new bacteria to take over the tank and kill off your fish.

Please also consider not to flush your tank water down the toilet or drains for a while, now that you've used antibiotics in it; as that will leech into the environment. it's been well established that overuse of antibiotics in the livestock industry is already causing lots of damage to us and to wild life.
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:16 PM   #3
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Congratulations on getting rid of the BGA. You probably already know this, but you likely killed off any other existing bacteria as well; including beneficial bacteria. I would be very careful about introducing new specimens into the tank; as it's now open season for any new bacteria to take over the tank and kill off your fish.

Please also consider not to flush your tank water down the toilet or drains for a while, now that you've used antibiotics in it; as that will leech into the environment. it's been well established that overuse of antibiotics in the livestock industry is already causing lots of damage to us and to wild life.
flushing the water down the toilet/drains/into the sewage system will have almost zero effect on the environment, just take a minute to imagine how many thousands of liters those antibiotics are going to have to dilute into once they hit the sewers - and just a quick little side note the reason the use of antibacs in livestock (which as far as i know is now abolished in most country's/kept under regulation) is because it gets into the food chain - our food chain it doesn't really get into the environment because only humans eat livestock (generally). Nice discovery on getting rid of BGA. Their is a small chance you might not have killed all the beneficial bacteria certain antibiotics are only effective against certain species of bacteria, although it very likely did ,it may not have it would be interesting to see if you could test your water parameters and see if they stay stable (indicating some beneficial bacteria survived.)
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:34 PM   #4
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this may be wild thinking, but is there any chance bga could become resistant to penecillin if you keep treating your tank with it when it comes back.
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:18 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies! This product is intended for horses primarily. Maybe "livestock" was the wrong word to use. I live in the country so I often treat my dogs myself when they get scratched up by the thorn bushes and what not. Anyway, the tank has been completely stable, no signs of stress or ammonia spikes (which I was expecting!). Ammonia is 0 on the AP test. I have two canisters on the tank so one is turned off standing by just in case as well as an emergency/quarantine 10 gallon. I really don't worry about releasing a few ml of penecillin into the environment when I consider all of the antidepressants, pain killers, hormones, illegal drugs, etc released into the sewers daily. Not to mention the dairy nearby that has raised the nitrate level in my well water from 50ppm to 180ppm so people can put milk on thier cereal in the morning! I'm no expert but I do believe water hycinth is correct in saying that penicillin only affects certain bacteria (gram positive/negative). I do think the BGA will become resistant to the antiboitic if it isn't killed completely. Just like going to the doctor, you have to keep taking the antibiotic for a few days after you feel better to ensure the disease is truly gone. I hope someone else will give this a shot and share thier results. Maybe we can come up with a dosing guide. I would start with small amounts and work your way up to be safe.
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:43 AM   #6
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The reason antibiotics is of special concern is because overuse in the industry has caused many antibiotics to become useless and forcing us to try and develop more antibiotics. According to this article, pharmaceutical companies are even begin to consider not developing new ones because it's just not cost effective for them anymore; considering how short a time they have to sell a particular antibiotic before it becomes useless.

But you're probably right. A few ml every now and than probably won't have much impact. It's a systemic problem that should be solved at a larger scale for sure. (I did find this article suggesting that municipal treatment plants raise sewage temperature to 130F; which will neutralize the resistant coding within the bacteria.)

Maybe when a larger quantity needs to be disposed of you may heat it up or leave it at room temperature for a week or so.

BTW, while looking this up out of curiosity, I found out that penicillin is most effective against gram-positive bacteria while BGA is gram-negative. Maybe if you're interested, you can try a gram-negative antibiotics and see if it'd be more efficient.
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Old 06-28-2013, 07:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by danucleus View Post
Congratulations on getting rid of the BGA. You probably already know this, but you likely killed off any other existing bacteria as well; including beneficial bacteria. I would be very careful about introducing new specimens into the tank; as it's now open season for any new bacteria to take over the tank and kill off your fish.

Please also consider not to flush your tank water down the toilet or drains for a while, now that you've used antibiotics in it; as that will leech into the environment. it's been well established that overuse of antibiotics in the livestock industry is already causing lots of damage to us and to wild life.
So that is how they see things in Californiaaaa... righhtttt
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:00 AM   #8
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Bga can be effectively treated with erythromycin/penicillin, but its root cause is low flow, low o2, low planting, excess po4 and sio4.

GFO media and correction of deficiencies for future solution.
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:15 AM   #9
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Thanks for the info! I don't really know how this works but I do know the BGA was completely gone after 2-3 days of using the penicillin. I fought it for months using other methods. I tryed the peroxide method you commonly see on the forums and it almost ended in disaster (red gills, stress, big water changes) plus it didn't even put a dent in the BGA. I've tryed more KNO3, less light, excel, blackouts, you name it and nothing worked as well as the penicillin. I feel its a safe and effective way to kill off BGA when used carefully.
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:23 AM   #10
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Hello Xirxes, the only thing I can think of is low o2. I have a reef quality RO/DI system with TDS monitors in and out and I measure all my fertilizer with a gram scale. I have lots of large plants as well. I don't aerate the tank to avoid losing co2 but I may adjust the filter outlet above the water to add some o2.
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:36 AM   #11
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What is GFO?
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:52 AM   #12
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Granular ferric oxide, particularly effective at binding/removing excess PO4, and SIO4. Used similarly to carbon, active for 4-6 months.

It is a common misconception that O2 pushes out Co2. Surface disturbance will increase out gassing of Co2, but you can address this with a pressurized system.

Take a careful look at where the bga was growing. I would be willing to bet good money that it was only on flat, low flow areas with little disturbance where organic waste can sit, and light hits.

If we don't remove waste, something live will find its way into our tanks to remove it for us.
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:56 AM   #13
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Btw penicillin/erythromycin work because BGA and its kin are actually photosynthetic bacteria. These bacteria are killed by the drugs, but it is an important note that these drugs kill indiscriminately and should be removed from the water column as soon as possible after treatment (preferably 24-48 hours with large water change.)
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:27 PM   #14
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You would lose your money on that bet. I had BGA all over the tank. Mostly on the higher plant leaves, top front tank corners, and any bare spots on the substrate that receive a lot of light. I do 50% RO/DI water changes every weekend. I have an automated 20lb pressurized co2 system that uses a solenoid valve to precisely dose co2. I understand that BGA is a bacteria which is why I chose to use antibiotics. What I don't understand is that penicillin is said to target gram positive bacteria not gram negative bacteria (BGA). All I know is it works great for those stubborn BGA that you can't seem to get rid of by other means.
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Old 06-29-2013, 11:37 PM   #15
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BGA is actually a loose term for a large family of silimar acting/appearing bacterias that can be either gram negative or positive.

If you had the bGA everythwere, then you have/had a glut of PO4 in the tank.
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