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Pleco Treatment Thread


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  • Regular Member

Hi Everyone,

 

I wanted to start a treatment dialogue for those of us who keep Plecos with our Goldfish.  While 0.3% salt is a mild and effective parasite treatment for Goldfish, it doesn't seem to be ideal for Plecos.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a satisfactory alternative.  I am hoping we can put our heads together and solve this dilemma. 

 

I recently treated all of my tanks with 0.3% salt and double Prazi for two weeks because I felt like a parasite had slipped through quarantine at some point.  The Goldfish, of course, were fine with the salt as was the Betta.  The Plecos, however, were not.  One died during the treatment and the other two were clearly stressed and much less active.  I felt terrible for them.  About a week after the salt was removed, the two remaining Plecos recovered and became active again.  

 

So, as my results were only 67% successful, I am not comfortable doing (or recommending) this as a safe treatment for Plecos yet.  I also have to consider whether the double Prazi had an impact, but I doubt it did.  I have also looked all over the net (even joined a Pleco forum) and still haven't found a conclusive answer to what is the best parasite medicine for Plecos.  It seems like they are sensitive to everything, so we may have to settle for finding the least harmful treatment.  This brings us to the suggestion of using half doses of medicines (or salt).  I have some questions:

 

Is this a good idea?  

 

Does it really kill the parasites?  

 

Does it require a longer treatment period than the normal dose?

 

Does it promote pathogenic resistance to the medicine?

 

I have discussed this with the moderating team, but I would like to broaden our resources by including everyone.  Your thoughts would be helpful and appreciated :)

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  • Regular Member

Hi Jared,

 

I have my BN plecos in QT at the moment in my tropical tank.  All the tropical fish (neon tetras, guppy's, BN plecos)  were new at the same time and I thought I would QT them all together. 

 

There are two BN plecos and are around an inch each, one slightly bigger and wider than the other.  The smaller one is active day and night foraging.  The bigger one only comes out at night.  They are normal/standard/not fancy BN plecos.

 

They are being treated with salt at 0.3%, Blue Planet Fluke and Worm tablets and heat at 27 degrees Celsius. 

 

I bought the salt up very slowly from 0 to 0.3% over 72 hours, adding 0.025 every 6 hours, then did a 90% WC adding the 0.3% salt back and including prazi.   I have followed through completing three rounds of prazi (single dose) at this level salinity due to the ich.  I am waiting for 2 more days to be sure I am clear of the ich.

 

So far they are handling it ok, not great, but ok.  They did have some ich on them to begin with, but it appears to be gone now.  They seem that their breathing is laboured a little, but I have added an air stone to alleviate this, and I have not noticed them taking air at the top of the tank.  They do like to sit in the bubble column (its on the side of the tank so they can suck to the wall and access it if they want to).  I have noticed they haven't eaten as much algae as before, but they are still definitely eating. 

 

The only complication we might have using this as an example is that my tank may have been exposed to costia, and so far I have lost 4 guppies and 2 tetras in the last 48hours.  I don't know if this is the result of the salt, or the costia, or another illness.  As soon as possible I intend to reduce the amount of salt down to 0.1% again, after the 2 days for the ich has expired, and reduce the temperature back to 24 degrees, and continuing the prazi treatments out to the sixth round.  Hopefully by then with the help of the Kokos team we will have sorted out a treatment that will work for the costia, and I can treat my other QT tank and the tropical tank with the BN plecos. 

 

I don't know if this is of any help or not?  Please let me know if you want any further information.

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  • Helper

With scaleless fish I'm not sure I'd recommend anything but Malachite Green, truthfully. They just seem to respond badly to everything else. I have also used the API Fungus Cure (Acriflavin) liquid with my Ancistrus and it didn't seem to bother him.

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  • Regular Member

Years ago I used salt at 0.3% with 2 bristlenose, with no ill effect.  I'd use it again if I had to.  Just my 2 pennies.  :D

Edited by Acro
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  • Regular Member

Has anyone found any Paraguard in Australia?  I found a link on the seachem forum, and I lost it and cant find it now.... It said that at the time of the thread/question Paraguard could not be imported into Australia.  It looks like it is possibly a good option though if it does everything that it says it does. 

 

Does anyone know if Paraguard harms your beneficial bacteria?

 

If salt treatment in the tank is bad for plecos, would a salt dip or bath be bad?  Is it the long term salt the problem, or just the salt in general?

Edited by Ree
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  • Regular Member

I've shared this with you before, Jared, but in my experience the catfish I've treated with only prazi were fine. There was some uncertainty as to whether otocinclus--as delicate as they are--would handle it, but they seemed unshaken. I wasn't compelled (nor do I personally suggest it) to use salt given so many differing accounts from people, and it seems this uncertainty still continues.

The thing I feel people keeping multiple species together need to consider, is that they don't all respond to the same treatments equally. Sometimes it's best to separate and seek out applicable measures. Too often I've seen people complain on various websites (or overheard in a pet/fish store) that dosing X in their community tank cured their fish, but killed all their shrimp, or some other variation of this. If they'd taken the time to look at each individual species versus the afflicted one, this could have been avoided. I guess this philosophy verges on some loose interpretation of ethical holism: don't look at the individual, but the community.

Edited by dan in aus
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  • Regular Member

With scaleless fish I'm not sure I'd recommend anything but Malachite Green, truthfully. They just seem to respond badly to everything else. I have also used the API Fungus Cure (Acriflavin) liquid with my Ancistrus and it didn't seem to bother him.

This seems to be the most favored option online, which is why the Paraguard seems appealing.  I contacted Seachem a while back about how Paraguard affected Plecos and plants.  They advised starting with a 1/4 or 1/2 dose and observing for signs of stress before going up to the full dose.  They were a little sketchy about the plants saying basically that it should be okay but is not guaranteed for all species.  I also asked about it staining silicone to which they replied that it should not.  

 

If I went this route, I think I would pull the Plecos from the Goldfish tank, treat the Goldfish with 0.3% salt and treat the Plecos in a QT with the Paraguard.

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  • Regular Member

Jared, could the unknown parasite have caused the pleco death?

Yes, so that is the problem with answering the salt question.  However, I definitely noticed that the 0.3% salt significantly stressed all 3 Plecos, so it would not be my first choice for treatment again.

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  • Regular Member

I'm sorry for your loss of one of your Pleco's, Jared. :(

 

In my community tank I have Oto's and Albino Cory fish and I did not use salt for I've heard that it would be too hard for them.  I used Prazi but did not double dose it initially and they all did great with it.

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  • Regular Member

Great replies everyone...thank you!

 

To clarify, what we are looking for is the best medication for protozoan parasites such as Ich and Costia, not for flukes.  I think we can safely say that Prazi is fine for treating Plecos with flukes.  In addition, this is not necessarily something we want for general quarantine protocol, but for instances where a parasite is definitely present and needs to be treated.  

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  • Helper

Do you have any experience with Kordon (the herbal, not rid ich)? That's what has been recommended to me in an invert tank, which makes me think it is a solid candidate for catfish, too.

http://www.kordon.com/kordon/products/organic-herbal-preventatives-and-treatments-2/ich-attack-disease-treatment#compatabilities-toxicity!

Edited by Arctic Mama
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  • Regular Member

Do you have any experience with Kordon (the herbal, not rid ich)? That's what has been recommended to me in an invert tank, which makes me think it is a solid candidate for catfish, too.

http://www.kordon.com/kordon/products/organic-herbal-preventatives-and-treatments-2/ich-attack-disease-treatment#compatabilities-toxicity!

 

I've read mixed reviews on it's effectiveness.  But, it should definitely be discussed here :)

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  • Helper

That would be my only concern - efficacy. But in triaging from gentlest to harshest I'd probably try it before malachite green.

There is always the assessment, as I just made recently, of whether there is time for slow ramp up of treatment. In a very abrupt case or a very sick animal I'm more likely to take a shorter duration of a harsher treatment if it looks like they aren't strong enough or will last long enough to health without immediate eradication of the insult to their system. It seems counter intuitive, but I've lost more than one animal to weak treatment where I believe aggressive might have given them a chance. Their little bodies couldn't get on top of the ailment even with treatment, and it just weakened them further as they were fighting both the insult and the treatment effecfs unsuccessfully. Knocking back the issue quickly would have eliminated some of the stress and likely helped with a faster recovery.

But it is so, so hard to tell. Catfish are hardy and delicate all at once. In an appropriate environment with good nutrition they're practically indestructible, not unlike goldfish. But they seem to turn very quickly for the worst with any infection or parasite and treatment seems to frequently be the straw that breaks the camel's back. There's much talk on Planet Catfish about this issue and the difficulty of effectively treating cats before they succumb. What's worse is that I don't think I've even seen a treatment work well consistently. ANY of them. It is so individual and hits no miss compared to smaller tropical fish or even goldfish. The scaleless species always seem like a dice roll to try and help.

On another side note, do we have any data about the effectiveness of methylene blue baths for knocking back fungus or protozoans with the various catfish families? Perhaps what works on Loricariidae is less effective on Doradidae or other siluriforms?

Edited by Arctic Mama
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