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Chilodonella help please


Wen73

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Hi Alex, I managed to get some slides today (from a toy store with a $12 plastic microscope) and I have a positive ID - the parasite in question is chilodonella.

Formalin/malachite green seems to be the treatment of choice from my net searches.

Do you have any suggestions as to whether I should do a continual bath or a shorter dip?

Any other suggestions for treatment?

Thanks again for your help

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I'm glad you were able to make a definitive diagnosis. That really helps. :)

It also turns out that the salt dip was especially helpful with the chilo, and the salt dip is one of the recommended treatments for it. Given Lisa's long struggle with this even with very high salt concentrations, we may have no choice but to go with the malachite green/formalin

From my book, it says to treat at 0.25ppm malachite green in 125ppm formalin for 2-6 hours, depending on intensity of oxygenation.

What do you think?

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HI Alex, I only have them combined - 0.32 mg/ml malachite green and 37 mg/ml formaldehyde. I'll try and do the maths. I have been using 5ml/20 litres of aquarium water, but it's hard to know how long the formalin stays active before it gets bound by organics in the water. Obviously even at this rate as a continuous bath for 3 days, I have not eradicated the suckers. Do you think a short term bath is better than continual immersion?

Should I do a salt dip again at some point or is that too harsh combined with the formalin.

Urgh, this has been a miserable experience. I think I'll be too scared to ever get new fish again. It's been so stressful. I can't even be sure my main tank is clear.

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I'm sorry, I wish I could say that this is an easy one to beat, but it's not. Nevertheless, don't lose heart. We are going to try our darndest to beat it. :)

Let's not do any more salt dips, because between that and the formalin/malachite green, it will wipe out the gills.

This is what I would like for you to try...

Use 4 ml of the solution for every liter, and make a bath. I think you will need to do 5-10L at a time, while providing her with aeration in the container. Let's aim for 2 hours in the bath, although if you see distress, remove after 30 minutes. At this dilution, it's 148ppm formalin, and 0.13ppm malachite green, so it has about half the amount of malachite green suggested, but I think we should be OK.

I do think that short term baths are better, because I think it can be less traumatic on the gills.

We may need to repeat this bath in 2-3 days, but I'd like to do some more scrapings before that.

I also wanted to state this, although I think you and I are on the same page in regard to this. The formalin/malachite green are quite harsh on gills, but we don't really have much of a choice here. :(

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Thanks Alex, That agrees with my husband's maths. I have actually moved her to the big aquarium today to try and ease her stress levels while she goes through this. I will prepare the solution in the small tank that she was in and give her the bath in that tonight, while watching her closely.

I realise this could finish her off, but it is her only chance at survival so we just have to press ahead.

I'm wondering if I need to dip the fish in my main tank as well. They seem ok, although a bit quiet in the evenings but it was pretty silent with my poor oranda until quite advanced. I'm thinking maybe I should dip them while they still seem well. Something to think about anyway.

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Well, my proposal is to take care of her first today if possible. Then, we can consider the rest of the fish.

I'm actually thinking that we might check them by scope, and then do prolonged treatments in the tanks to eliminate any sort of potential malingerer.

Thank you for understanding that sometimes we don't have a choice with some certain treatments, because they are the only chances for the fish to survive. :)

Having said that, I have a ridiculous amount of optimism that this will turn out very well!

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That's nice of you to say Alex. I really hope she pulls through. I am hoping her size is an advantage in this, and that she came to me originally in good condition.

She has been swimming around in the big tank looking quite good. I know I have contaminated a new tank but I really wanted to see her swimming in a decent amount of space at least once, and take some video and pictures, just in case.

I am currently getting things ready for the dip which I will do tonight under close supervision.

I'm starting to think about my other fish but certainly won't do anything hastily. That tank has been treated with an ick strength dose of formalin/malchite green for 6 days and been salted to 0.5% for 10. It should keep for a few days while we think about things.

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So I'm afraid I wussed out and tried something else. A koi site suggested bathing the fish in a double dose of FMG for 2 hours, then adding water to bring the volume back to the long term bath dose. So I did that today. She's holding steady but certainly not cured. Still has lots of grey slime. So anyway, she handled the double dose for 2 hours without distress so I'm giving her a break overnight and tomorrow morning will try the stronger dip. I've found a few sources that suggest an hour as the length of time to go for so that is what I will aim for if she seems to be doing ok.

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Well, she looked better after the double strength dip for two hours followed by a day in regular strength, then back out to recover for 12 hours. So the next day (yesterday) I did a stronger dip - I went 4 times the strength, which is still a bit under the 125 ppm. She made it about 45 minutes then started to look a bit distressed so I took her out. I don't think I could go any stronger from an oxygenation point of view either - I had 3 air pumps running and I feel it was only just enough.

So she made it through that and I put her back in clean water. I did notice there was some bleeding between her scales on her belly. Is that tissue damage from the formalin (where her slime coat is less thick) do you think?

She is looking heaps better and swimming around vigorously again. The question now is, is the parasite eliminated? I will do another scrape but a negative result is still not certain as I only found 2 parasites last time and even then that was only after I sucked up some slime coat that had dropped off in the water and put that on a slide. I didn't find any in the actual scrape I did.

I have noticed she still has some of the thick grey slime coat on her sides. Do you think that will resolve with time or is it a sign that there are still parasites there?

I have given her a break today - it's now 24 hours after her last dip. Do I dip her again tomorrow? What strength do you think?

I was also thinking I need to sterilise the tank she is in. Alex, do you know much about what happens when the parasite encysts? Is the cyst vulnerable to anything?

I was thinking that while I do what I anticipate will be her last dip I should put some very strong formalin in her main tank to sterilise that and kill any parasites that might be in the water - then drain it and refill before putting her back in.

Any thoughts appreciated and thanks again!

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I'm so glad she is doing much better! :nana

- the bleeding is likely from areas with many Chilodonella. In fact, in advanced disease, ulcers form.

- bleach should take care of the cysts, but I have to check for proper concentration.

- I would do another scrape and check. That's the surest way, although even that won't be 100%.

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So I ended up doing another two dips at 4x the dose. She lasted 33 minutes for one and 45 minutes for the next one. Before we did the last dip we took her out and put her in clean water, then put a 4X dose of formalin in her tank and left it for two hours to hopefully kill any parasites that might be in the tank itself. Put in fresh water then put her back after her last dip. She is active and swimming and not bottom sitting at all - but I guess only time will tell if the parasite is completely eradicated. I'll be watching her closely over the coming weeks.

I think the other fish in my main tank are still not free of the chilo - they look good in the morning but really lethargic by the afternoon. I'm not sure how to tackle this - that tank was treated with a 25 ppm regular dose of formalin for 9 days straight and salted to 5g/litre and it has not eradicated it (unless it encysted in the tank and now they have been reinfected, which is also possible). I tried a dip for the one fish (ranchu) at double strength and at 40 minutes he abruptly stopped swimming and had to be rescued. So I'm not really sure how to proceed.

Wish me luck - I still think there is a good chance I will lose all my fish to this :( It has been a long and very stressful saga.

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Wen73,

Do you know anyone trustworthy whom you could ask for some media? Alternately, the other choice is to do a fish-in cycle.

I am thinking you may want to disinfect the entire set up with bleach, and dip the others as well in the same strength. The only difference is that you should do an escalating treatment, with the first dip at 30 minutes and the next at 60. If there is a need for more, I think you will know.

I'm glad that the fish most affected seems to be doing much better! :)

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Hi Alex, There's a chance I might be able to get a bit from goldfish peeps on a local forum. Even enough to seed the media and make the cycling process quicker. It's very warm here so the bacteria breed up fast.

I think I'll give it one more go before I crack down the whole tank. I would really struggle to do a fish - in cycle. It takes me about 2 hours to do a large water change on the tank and I just wouldn't have the time atm (I work long hours, as well as weekends and shift work, plus have 3 kids at home, so not a lot of time in the evenings).

The other consideration is I have a large and much beloved pearscale, but I think she is dropsying and on her way out. I've thought for months that her scales are sticking out more and the last 6 weeks or so her wen has grown enormously and unevenly and looks full of fluid to me. (This predates the parasite saga) Behaviour wise she seems completely normal. I had treated her with metro at the end of last year, but I think it might just be her time. Anyway, the point of that is I want to stress her as little as possible and make her last days, if they are her last days, as pleasant as possible, and not subject her to ammonia spikes etc.

The worst affected fish, my big oranda, has been in her own tank for a long time and is still on her own in her bigger digs. She is still looking good - I'm always sneaking up on the tank to catch her unawares and make sure she isn't bottom sitting. So far so good but it will take many weeks before I'm sure whether this is beaten. She still has some patches of thickened grey mucous on her sides. DO you think this will take some time to resolve? Or would it be gone if all the chilo was eradicated?

I'm not really sure.

Anyway, thanks again!

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Hello,

I absolutely understand, and agree! :hug

It's possible that there is some chilo left at the sites with thickened coat. You can scrape and take a look! :)

Good luck, and I hope all of this will come to a perfect ending rather quickly! :)

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