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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fish/156350-help-me-diagnose-disease-thats-killing.html

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.
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Details

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)
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fish/117216-how-long-new-fish-holding-tank.html

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/general-planted-tank-discussion/119268-completely-confused.html

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’.
http://www.inkmkr.com/Fish/ItemsForSale.html
Article links;
http://www.inkmkr.com/Fish/FlubendazoleTreatment.pdf
http://www.inkmkr.com/Fish/FlubendazoleArticle.pdf

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.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
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 ½ 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.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/f...ium-medications-their-active-ingredients.html
 

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

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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.
 

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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"

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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"

Thanks
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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I'm posting this here per wkndracer's request. This is my experience with treating camallanus worms in my 29 gallon tank.

Just wanted to share my experience recently with Camallanus worms, so that maybe my info will help some other people in the future.

Brief background. I have had a 29 gallon tank set up for 3 years now. Over the years I have never dealt with any parasites or really any sickness, that I know of. Within this last year, I finally got my tank planted and scaped to my satisfaction ( I need to do a journal on this thing). Also, I finally got it stocked with what I feel is a good mix of fish, some might say overstocked. lol The stock has changed a few times. Gave some fish to friends, moved some to another tank, some died of old age, and some died from a heater malfunction, but nothing to disease.... at least to my knowledge, nothing has died of a disease.

So to get the with the story. I have had my bristlenose pleco that I got from a member on here (toddnbecka for a year, my school of cardinal tetras for almost a year, some hatchet fish and bolivan rams for about 6 months and a marbled angelfish for a few months.

I noticed when I added the bolivian rams that one had something weird by it's vent, but thought maybe it was part of the fish. You'd have to see it to understand. Anyways, after several months I came to realize that it wasn't natural, and indeed was camallanus worms.

I had purchased some pancur with fenbendazole a while back and after consulting another member on here for dosing size, decided to try it out on the camallanus worms.

To prepare I did a large water change and removed my nerite snails to my 10 gallon tank. I had read that nerites would die from fenbendazole, so I took them out. I left in my amano shrimp. Next I took a water bottle and put in some tank water, and poured in the fenbedazole. I next mixed in some freezed dried bloodworms, flake, and an algae wafer. I let them soak in there for several hours.

After the food and fenbendazole had mixed together I poured it slowly into the tank. Every fish in there ate as usual. I left the lights out and tank undisturbed for 48 hours after they ate. After 48 hours I turned on the lights and inspected the tank. All fish were alive and well, along with my amano shrimp and mts, but the bolivian ram showing the camallanus worm was still there. I fed the fish and they ate as normal. Did a huge water change and observed for the next several days. All fish remained normal acting, but the worms never did pass.

So I decided to order some Levamisole. I dosed it directly in the tank on monday. Today, 48 hours later.... NO MORE WORMS!!! It's also worth mentioning the lights were left off the whole time as well, as I have read that levamisole is light sensitive. No ill effects on the plants from lack of light I might add.

I will follow up with a treatment again in 3 weeks, incase there were any eggs that hatched between now and then.

I have read on the net that some people had the opposite luck from me. They used levamisole and it didn't work, so they then used fenbedazole.

By the way, I purchased the levamisole from this site. http://www.inkmkr.com/Fish/ItemsForSale.html The guy was quick to respond and answer my questions and shipped the stuff out on the same day.

Also, I'd like to note that I truly believe a quarantine tank is a necessity. I've been lucky to not have had anything major happen and wipe out my fish. Buying a 10 gallon tank and a sponge filter with a pump or something similar for a quick setup quarantine tank is definitely something I think we should all invest in. I plan on doing so.

*And for the record. If anyone reading this just purchased plants from me, don't worry. I don't sell any plants from this tank. All the plants I have sold come from my shrimp tank and I don't share water jugs, siphons, or anything between the two tanks.
 

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Flubeandazole and dissolving it in water

For Flubendazole info, please read the second paragraph. Having fought the Camallanus worms, all I can say is ditto on the quarantine and prophylactic treatment for parasites. I used fenbendazole-dosed food for 5 days a week x 3 cycles and it worked after Levamisole did not. However, I ran my T5HOs the entire time I dosed Levamisole and that probably caused degradation of the medicine. One note - I think it's hard to actually overdose Levamisole, but I don't recommend experimenting too much!

Regarding Flubendazole - I had a Ph.D. in Bio/organic chemistry look over the molecular structure of Flubendazole. Based on the Flubendazole molecular structure, it doesn't dissolve in water (sort of). Qualitatively, not much/none appears to dissolve in water. However- while flubendazole does not appear to dissolve, small quantities do actually dissolve. This small amount of Flubendazole that dissolves is apparently enough to reach therapeutic levels in a tank. After some discussion regarding chemical kinetics (yeech), my colleague and I decided the best dosing method for a tank would probably be to add the Flubendazole powder or a slurry directly to a canister or HOB intake. That application traps the Flubendazole powder "grains" in the filter and helps dissolve them through the kinetic action of water continually flowing across the Flubendazole molecules.

Heat, alcohol, and Flubendazole - The manufacturers MSDS sheets on Flubendazole (that's Material Safety Data Sheets) indicate that Flubendazole is not soluble in water, but can be dissolved in MDSO and alcohol and by using heat.

MDSO- is a powerful solvent that should NEVER be used for this purpose. It will dissolve Flubendazole 100%, but if you get it on your skin, you will get an instant absorption of the dose, with potentially baaad results! It's also pointless to use DMSO or alcohol because as soon as you dump the MDSO mixture into the tank, the Flubendazole precipitates out of solution.

Alcohol - Like MDSO, the same thing happens when you dissolve in alcohol. It's safer for human skin contact, but once added to the tank, the Flubendazole will precipitate (come out of solution), that's what gives you the cloud effect as it's poured in. If the Flubendazole was truly dissolved you would not see any white cloud. Again, based on the chemical structure, we estimate a 30% solution of alcohol would be required (in the tank itself!) to keep the Flubendazole in solution. Talk about SWI (swimming while intoxicated :icon_wink ).

Heat - Heating Flubendazole to dissolve is probably not recommended. It may not hurt anything, but there is a part of the molecule that is heat-labile and will break off when heated, changing the molecule slightly. It may make the Flubendazole less effective or more effective, I don't know. Heating probably does make it dissolve more easily based on the molecular structure.

Long-term (very long term) storage of Flubendazole should take place at 0C to -80C based on manufacturers recommendations. Room temp should be fine for aquarists use, but make certain you keep the Flu powder dry and tightly sealed. It is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs water from the atmosphere and will get lumpy and nasty over time if left exposed.

Hope this chemistry information is useful to folks. I'm not saying anyone needs to change what they are doing. I just wish I had know this chemistry info before I spent two solid days trying to dissolve Flu in water on a magnetic stir plate! :icon_mad:

Note-there are variations of Flu produced that are modified to be more water soluble. Those "variations" of the molecule likely have different manufacturer or chemical names.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
DKRST thanks for the detailed information!
No argument with any part of it and glad to have the reference.

What I've had to work with has been web based information posted on various forums with the breeder sites being the primary source.

Materials and dosing data posted here in the thread are mainly from:
Charles Harrison, Ph.D
http://www.inkmkr.com/Fish/ItemsForSale.html

Dosing into my tanks when the canister or HOB method you mentioned above won't work I do make a soup of sorts. Getting the flu into solution and into the water column is the biggest challenge of applying the treatment.

I settled on a combination of heat and alcohol after contact with Dr. Harrison.
Dosed dry the first time it took days for it to stop floating in the tank on the waters surface.

Alcohol (vodka) is mixed into the measured dose in a glass container. Only enough to make a paste or slurry out of the flu powder around 1ml more or less, just enough to wet it. Heating a cup of water to boiling in the microwave I wait until the boil settles then add the water in on top of the slurry. Some foaming occurs during the mixing but the majority of the material mixes very well doing this. The liquid is milky in the mixing cup and the tank becomes milky / cloudy as mentioned above but the dilution created by the tanks total volume seems to allow the chemicals to be absorbed into solution and remain suspended by all the evidence following a treatment. My tanks are clear the following morning. Fish have recovered every time I've used the treatment with the exception of two long infested adults. Those fish died with a bloody discharge seeping from the vent. Assuming to much internal damage due to long term exposure to the parasites is my belief. Those losses happened during initial treatment of my tanks when first learning about Flubendazole.

Dr. Harrison includes the chemical chain of the Flubendazole he supplies on his website. I have no idea whether or not it varies from the one you tested.
I do know it has been an effective method of treatment.
 

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DKRST thanks for the detailed information!
No argument with any part of it and glad to have the reference

I do know it has been an effective method of treatment.
I'm using it from Doc myself, based on your recommendations. I have had no problems with it myself, I just got curious why I couldn't get it into solution when Doc clearly labels it as "water soluble". He's correct from a therapeutic dose standpoint, but it worried me when I had powder all along my tank waterline.
 
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