Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Pasfur 08-05-2008 12:30 PM

ich and the experienced fishkeeper
I have no questions, but I thought this might be helpful for anyone new to the marine hobby. I am experiencing a potential problem, so i thought i would let everyone live in my shoes until it is resolved. I will post daily updates and actions taken.

Sunday afternoon: A powerhead falls from the glass. The powerhead was connected to plastic tubing, which caused a spring effect. This spring action hit the live rock wall hard, causing part of my display to tumble. The corals were fine, but i had my hands in the tank for a good hour reassembling the aquarium. Interpret: STRESS ON LIVESTOCK.

Monday morning: I notice a single white spot on pec fin of my Coral Beauty Angel. Everything else is normal. I do nothing other than observe. As a precaution, i feed a garlic supplement prior to leaving for work.

Monday evening: The spot has grown larger. No other spots. All other livestock is normal. I give the equipment a good look over. All is good. I do nothing. I feed garlic again.

Tuesday morning: The spot is gone from the pec fin. Three smaller spots on the tips of the caudil fin. The spots resemble bubbles, almost clear in color. I do nothing. I feed garlic again.

Tuesday afternoon (now): All of the spots are gone. I notice the skimmer sponge output was knocked out of position by the live rock crash on Sunday. There are many very fine bubbles being introduced into my aquarium that I did not notice before. Perhaps these bubbles are what i was seeing on the Coral Beauty? I'm not sure. So, i do nothing. And i feed garlic.

More posts to come as the situation develops. My hope is to encourage new fishkeepers to be PATIENT when presented with what appears to be an EMERGENCY.

SKAustin 08-05-2008 01:38 PM

Excellent Idea Mark, If more people would document their issues (success or failure) in this manner, it would give others a good reference as to what works and what doesn't. I'd recommend anyone reading this to follow Mark's example here and start your own thread to document the progression of any problems you encounter.

Pasfur 08-05-2008 06:54 PM

Thanks Austin.

Tuesday evening: I used a magnifying glass to closely inspect all fish. I see no signs of white spots. However, i am do see a slight imperfection on the skin of the CB Angel, just behind the eye. I am probably being paranoid, but I am always overly cautious with marine systems. So, i feed garlic.

Pasfur 08-06-2008 06:47 AM

Wednesday morning: Ok, it is no longer a question of if. The Coral Beauty has a few separate individual spots, on the body and fins. Its behavior is normal. No scratching or twitching. The other fish are clear. I plan to allow the fish to fight off the parasite on its own, without treatment, unless the condition worsens. I personally believe that most treatments which can be utilized in a reef environment are going to cause more stress to the other fish than benefit to the Coral Beauty. So, i feed garlic.

Pasfur 08-06-2008 12:41 PM

Wednesday afternoon: Spots are gone. This is very odd. My blue light comes on daily at 7am, so perhaps the spots are showing up easier under the blue light only and are more difficult to see with the whites also on. In any case, the fish is behaving normally with no signs of scratching. Observation with a magnifying glass revels no spots.

Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, pH 8.4, alk 10dkh, Calcium 440ppm, salinity 1.024, temp 78F. Reading are perfect. I add buffer every Wednesday and Saturday evening, so 10 dkh is typical prior to addition. I am very happy that my Nitrate has remained at zero, which i attribute to the 4'' sand bed.

I normally run my UV for 12 hours per day. I am increasing the UV cycle to 19 hours, with quiet time in the evening for the benefit of television viewing hours. (water splash noise reduction)

I am also continuing to feed garlic enhanced pellets at every feeding, along with a daily staple feeding of the normal foods.

I believe this problem will pass naturally with no other help on my part. I have been kicking around some ideas on how to proceed if the infection gets worse, but I will not do anything without giving the fish considerable time to fight it off first.

I do not find it unusual that I am only seeing a few spots here and there. The life cycle of the parasite will cause this to happen, especially if the fish's natural immunity is fighting the infection. I am probably only seeing the adult size hosts, with smaller hosts being invisible without a microscope.

It is also possible that this is not Cryptocarion. (For example, a sneeze is not always a sinus infection.) Regardless of the exact parasite or viral infection, the best course of action is to keep high quality water conditions and feed foods to boost the natural immunity of the fish.

More to come as changes occur.

johnnynuke 08-06-2008 02:45 PM

Thanks for this thread Mark, it was very educational. I have one question that may seem foolish.
You mentioned feeding garlic. Is this garlic additive to the food to get the fish to eat, or is there a direct benefit for garlic in fighting off parasites?


Pasfur 08-06-2008 04:56 PM

Interesting question and a topic i enjoy. About 14 years ago a pharmasist here in Louisville KY, named Kelly Jedlecki(?), who happened to be dating a personal friend of mine, decided to experiment with adding a garlic supplement to the diet of her puffer fish. The results were very effective in eliminating parasitical outbreaks, although nobody really understood or currently understands why.

For the next several years the internet grew rapidly and the word spread across the hobby. Eventually manufacturers began to produce liquid garlic supplements that you can soak your flake food in prior to feeding. Many pellet formulas have garlic as an ingredient and advertise this on the packaging.

Everyone has their theory, but i suspect garlic somehow improves the immunity of the fish, and perhaps helps the fish produce a slime coat which is more effective at removing parasites. Regardless of how, all I know is that it works and is very effective in helping fight off outbreaks if detected early.

Pasfur 08-08-2008 06:45 AM

Friday morning: still free of spots. Still feeding garlic as part of every feeding.

I will not consider fish additions until after 90 days of being spot free, although I may add additional live rock or corals at any time.

Pasfur 08-10-2008 06:58 AM

Sunday morning: No signs of white spots. In fact, the fish look vibrant and there is no sign that any problem has occurred.

I have decided to skip my water change this weekend, to reduce stress on the fish. I want to "keep my hands out" of the tank for the next week or so. I think physical environmental changes are one of the most overlooked stress factors in the aquarium.

Pasfur 08-15-2008 06:04 AM

Thursday morning: I notice a few white spots again for the first time in days. I am not surprised by this fact, given that Cryptocarion tends to remain in the system for extended periods of time. All the fish otherwise appear healthy, so I continue to take no action of treatment. I also start back my daily garlic feeding, which curiously I had stopped doing on Monday.

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