Livebearer Disease or something else? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-28-2011, 07:20 AM Thread Starter
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Livebearer Disease or something else?

I've lately lost a few Platies and Endlers, while my other other supposedly more sensitive fish have been fine. The livebearers had been fine for quite a while, until I added some new Endlers from a chain store, and then they started dropping off one by one starting with two of the Platies. There have been no real external signs, they each just started acting listless and faded away over the course of a day or two.

I read about Livebearer's Disease, and heard differing views on it being caused by internal parasites, a lack of electrolytes in soft water, and bacterial infections. Thus recommended treatment varied from raising hardness, to adding Start Right, to giving medicated fish food. Or it could of course be something else other than that supposed disease of course, but it's nevertheless only affecting the livebearers.

My tank uses pressurized CO2 so the Ph does vary, but my other water conditions seem fine and hard, so far as I can tell and so far as my crap test strips measure it.

Should I try the medicated fish food? Or just leave it alone and hope the rest will be okay?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-28-2011, 01:54 PM
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Your Livebearers

Good morning Mxx...

I've raised livebearers for years and have always added a teaspoon of standard aquarium salt to every five gallons of my water change water. Aquarium salt added to the tank water has a number of benefits especially for livebearers.

B

"Fear not my child, just change the tank water."
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-28-2011, 08:24 PM
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"Livebearer's Disease" seems like a catch-all category for when the true cause is unknown.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mxx View Post
I've lately lost a few Platies and Endlers, while my other other supposedly more sensitive fish have been fine. The livebearers had been fine for quite a while, until I added some new Endlers from a chain store, and then they started dropping off one by one starting with two of the Platies. There have been no real external signs, they each just started acting listless and faded away over the course of a day or two.
Sounds like what I went through. I lost dozens of guppies and a few platies over months, in the same manner with no external diagnosable symptoms; while other, more sensitive fish were unaffected.

Eventually the disease progressed far enough in some particularly hardy individuals, that Callamanus worms appeared protruding from them. It was a incredibly resistant parasite, with too long a gestation to be reliably detected in standard quarantine. Fenbenazole medicated foods stunned but did not kill it. Only a huge dose of Levamisole in the water finally cleared my tanks.

I now use an extended quarantine, during which I hit fish with two kinds of medicated food (anti-bacterial and -protozoan), ick medication (effective against many other external afflictions besides ick), and Levamisole. I hate to do so, but I don't ever want to deal with such a pandemic at large in my tanks again.

Just a personal experience. There is no guarantee this is what's happening for you.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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Not sure that my other fish would like the salt, or that it would help the situation.

Egads, if it's parasites though! Reading into that it seems that Levamisole doesn't have particular side-effects for anything, and can work alone but treatment should be repeated after 12 days.

Jungle Anti-parasite fish food contains Levamisole - 0.4%, Praziquantel - 0.5%, and Metronidazole -1% as active ingredients, but many report their fish won't touch it, and my nerite snails are not likely to either.

This article has a good write-up about treating internal parasite though - http://www.zebrapleco.com/articles/4...anus_worms.php

So the serious question is whether I should medicate proactively now...

I found soluble Levamisole here, named Prohibit, and at $18.75 that will give me enough powder to treat 128 sheep...
http://www.americanlivestock.com/pc-...ch-powder.aspx (However I also heard it is no longer available as such, but it appears to be here as well listed as Vermisol - http://www.jedds.com/Detail.bok?cate...hpath=11083943
It seems the recommended dosage is 1/4 packet per gallon of water to make the medicated solution, and then use a tsp per 15 gallons of tank water from the medicated solution. (That also means that one pack will be about 3000 times as much medicine as I'll need).

Does anyone have any extra Levamisole though?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 03:13 AM
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I consider the definitive resource on Callamanus to be this:

http://www.inkmkr.com/Fish/CamallanusTreatment/

If you can verify they exist, the decision is made for you. Look at the picture of them on a finger. Now imagine 1/32" to 1/8" of the tips of one or two sticking out, fiber thin. It can be mistaken for poop unless you look closely. Giveaways are the red color, if it's still present hours later (although they can retract and extend), and they slowly curl and straighten on their own, independent of water movement.

Otherwise, the decision whether to treat proactively is up to you. The recommended (and in my case, necessary) dosage of Levamisole as described at that website is close to the speculated LD50 of fish, as extrapolated from other animals. No one knows the true LD50 for fish. I've never had any problems, but remain attentive to possible side effects to livestock or biofilter. In a severe infestation, some fish die because they're unable to pass the dead worms; this is unfortunately normal.

I used Vermisol. My fish wouldn't touch the Jungle product at all. AngelsPlus fenbendazole medicated food was consumed greedily, but too weak a dose to kill the worms. Making your own fenbendazole medicated food from Panacur-D is another option, but I shied away from it due to the vague instructions ("make a milky solution and soak the food in it").
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 04:09 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I haven't been able to verify the presence of pests for sure, but I've nevertheless decided the best course is a to medicate with Levamisole. So I've now ordered my pigeon medicine and will see whether any signs are present once I've added the medicine.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 04:27 AM
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I don't know about this drug at all, but I do know that some antiparasitic drugs like flubendazole and fenbendazole can be fatal to nerite snails in particular, even in relatively small quantities. Might be worth relocating them during the treatment if possible, assuming they aren't being targeted.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 10:34 AM Thread Starter
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I'd read mixed opinions on the intertubes on whether snails are hosts for such parasites as well. It's a bit inconclusive to me. http://www.applesnail.net/forum3/vie...=20229&start=0 I guess

And there seem to be mixed opinions as well on whether snails are okay with Levamisole. Most people report they were just fine, but a few people did also report losing snails, though many of those had treated with products containing fenbendazole as well. They don't mention what dosage of Levamisole they'd used either. I'd rather play it safe and treat the snails as well, but will be careful about measuring the dosage.

Levamisole isn't easy to find, and certainly not locally. Apparently it's sometimes used to cut cocaine, so if I could just find an unethical local coke dealer then that'd be helpful, right?...

The treatment routine seems to vary a bit as well. Some suggest a 24 hour treatment, and some suggest 3 days. And a repeat treatment is recommended after anywhere from ten days to three weeks. A massive water change is recommended as well, presumably to remove the dead worms containing eggs, but unless I was to break down my planted tank completely then I'm still not going to be able to ensure I'd get everything very clean.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 12:35 PM
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You've been doing your research well.

I can say that at 5 grams of Levamisole per 100G, it did not affect red ramshorn or pond snails. I don't have apple or other large snails, so I can't report specifically on them.

Fenbendazole is virtually insoluble in water, and only dissolves well in strong solvents; people attempting to use it in powdered form by pre-dissolving it in things like acetone explains many disasters. Flubendazole is a snail killer by nature, and some have used it specifically for that task.

No, Levamisole isn't easy to find. It's hardly manufactured anymore, and apparently there was a period when it wasn't manufactured at all. My local veterinary pharmacy didn't even know what it was. Keep yours in the fridge to extend its life.

I recommend the dosage and intervals (5g per 100G for 3 days, retreat at three weeks) as currently described on the website I linked. As for the water change and vacuuming, I just did my best without tearing apart my tank; which to be honest wasn't very good at all, but it worked anyway. There are copies of older instructions from that website floating around with a less aggressive protocol that cleared most but not all of the worms.
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