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DKRST 05-21-2013 07:36 AM

Chilodonella treatment that's safe for inverts and plants?
I seem to have a Chilodonella (protozoan) problem in my 55 gallon angelfish tank. After some research and looking at pictures, it's the best fit for the visible signs and intermittent losses I've been having in the tank over the past year.

Treatments recommended include salt (can't use with my catfish), copper sulfate (prefer not to use if I can avoid it due to plecos and corys in the tank) and malachite green.

I'm leaning toward the malachite green since it seems to be plant safe.
Any opinions on treatment possibilities?

Sakura8 05-21-2013 11:22 AM

Hmm. From what I'm reading in my fish disease books, it looks like the recommended treatment for childonella and related parasites is formalin (formaldehyde). Next best choice is copper. As you already know, neither of those is suitable for plants and inverts. Regrettably, it seems like no treatment is safe for plants and inverts and most treatments are going too harsh for the cories and the plecos. It seems like your possible best solution would be a 1 minute salt dip (half a tsp per gallon) for the most sensitive species (ie, the cories and plecos) and either a formalin or copper dip for the other fish. Using dips/baths is probably the only way you'll be able to treat them all without losing the plants and inverts.

Make up the medication at the recommended dosage and then dip each fish in a net for 1 minute, up to 10 minutes if they show no signs of distress (being in a net notwithstanding). Repeat the baths at least once daily for two weeks. If you can, raise the temp in the tank to 86 F to speed up the life cycle of the parasites.

Alternatively, if you have a pair of hospital tanks, you could isolate the plecos, cories, and inverts in one and treat with the salt baths outside the tank and treat the other less sensitive fish with formalin or copper in the other tank as a round-the-clock immersion per package directions. While the fish are out of the tank, raise the heat in the tank to 86 F. Without hosts and because of the high heat, any remaining parasites in the tank should die off quite rapidly.

Whoops, sorry for the wordy post! But I hope this helps you. Good luck!

DKRST 05-21-2013 02:04 PM

Thanks for the reply. I don't really have another option to house the fish and I'm going to treat the entire tank since I want the tank "clean", or at least as biologically clean as you can get a fish tank. So, I don't think the dips are the anwer for me.
Based on my research, elevated temps don't help for this protozoan, but cause it to encyst - don't want that, makes it even tougher to treat!

I've had good luck using Coppersafe before, just hate how hard it is on the fish. Didn't seem to bother the plants too much when I used it a couple of years ago, but it trashed the biofilter. Snails, I can replace!

Still wondering if the malachite green is perhaps more mild on the plants than copper. Probably a toss-up and both are hard on catfish/plecos...

Sakura8 05-21-2013 07:06 PM

Okay, thanks for letting me know about the elevated temps; usually raising the temp is a good idea but definitely not in this case!

Seems like your best bets would be either the copper or the malachite. If you use the malachite, be aware it could stain all the silicone in your tank. If you use the copper, I would advise getting a copper test kit so you can make sure you've gotten all the copper out when you're finished treating. Recommended but not required. :)

DKRST 05-21-2013 08:31 PM

Thanks, I had a large container of Coppersafe on hand and treated two tanks this evening. I'll keep an eye on the fish & plants and assess before treating my other tanks.

I'll clear the copper via water changes and some CupriSorb once the treatment period is done.

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