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Gram Negative Vs Gram Positive


emilydelong

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My fish all seemed to have something wrong with them so I bought some Maracyn. Jacqueline had a red, fuzzy scale which the medicine has healed but one of the orandas my mom bought me a few weeks ago doesn't seem to have gotten better (he seems to have either flukes or fin rot). Will Maracyn fix that or should I buy Maracyn 2? For my old fish Belle I used Maracyn 2 which cleared it up.

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Erythromycin (Maracyn) treats many gram positive bacteria and sometimes a few gram neg. It will treat a few of the approx 5 strains of bacteria that cause columnaris for example.

Minocycline (Maracyn 2) treats many gram neg bacteria. The gram neg bacteria are much more common in (even a well kept) tank.

It can be hit and miss choosing. Basically remember this. If it is the right medication you WILL see progress/improvement within 2 or 3 days.

As for your new fish- flukes will not be killed with either Maracyn. Finrot is a symptom of many different diseases (inc. flukes) and often caused by stress. Prazi/salt might be better for him.

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Hi - sorry to barge in here (and I hope your fish get better, Converse) but I have a question about something that was said and figured maybe others do as well. Trinket, you had said if it is the right medication you WILL see progress/improvement within 2 or 3 days. What if you don't see improvement (or even see worsening of symptoms) within this 2-3 day time frame? Should you continue the entire treatment (for example all 5 days with the maracyns) or is it better to stop and try something else (adding carbon and doing water changes to get rid of the old med as necessary)? I know mardel says to do the entire course but think this has more to do with wanting to avoid the risk of resistant bacteria cropping up if you do not continue the meds and they are working. What if they aren't? Woud it make sense to try somehting else since it is often-times so hard to pick the right med initially? Thanks!

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Not barging in at all but *warning: In order to explain properly, this may be long.. :D

If the fish doesn't seem any better, should we finish the medication course?

If you are using antibiotic medicine YES you certainly should.

Other kinds of medicines, it depends. But probably not. Bottom sitting can be a normal reaction to some meds. Especially malachite green, and the quinolene type antibiotics can have the fish bottom sitting/lethargic. However it can also indicate- if coupled with symptoms getting worse- that the medication chosen is not right. Look at the other symptoms - are those red spots healing/getting paler/fewer..are the fins looking even a little less angry. Has the fishes appetite been affected? Observation of progress has an important part in determining accuracy of meds.

Bacteria fall into 2 very general groups gram neg and gram pos. These are based on the response of the bacteria to staining. Gram positive bacteria stain blue- negative stain pink. They stain differently because each group has a different outer cell structure -(there is also a third group but it is rare)....according to which main group the bacteria fall into, the medications appropriacy can be narrowed down. But only narrowed down.

Despite what it says on the labels (treats for finrot, pop-eye,ulcers etc - have you noticed they all say the same?) antibiotics are very selective about what they can treat. Each genera of bacteria contains several strands making it even more complex. This is why in the fish-for-food industry bacteria are isolated and an antibiotic sensitivity test is carried out to determine which one is effective. In this way, only one medication is ever needed, reducing resistance and antibiotic after effects- many of which, because they weaken the fish can also be dangerous. A very weak fish to start may be pushed over the edge very quickly with the wrong meds.

Most of us are not able to do these kind of tests and are left with doing our own research on symptoms and discussing with others what has worked with them on those same symptoms and looking at all the histology and individual tank set up that are behind the disease.

Then there are application issues. Are the water params okay? Does this medication work in my pH (a good question because the quinolene antibiotics do best in low pH and copper type meds are quite lethal in soft water etc)- what temperature does this medication work best at? Have I applied the medication properly at the correct dose? Have I reduced light -important for Maracyn 2 and oxidising type meds like PP to work for example.....Are all stressors removed? All these details definitely affect the outcome. So it isn't only choosing the correct medication but also applying it properly.

With antibiotics too, the percentage is important. Most commercial antibiotic med dosage is based on the average aquarium fish size which can be rather small. For larger fish you may need to increase dosage. That juggling is a tricky one. Too much and you will damage the fishes kidneys (one of the causes of kidney bloat/float in aquarium fish is previous overdosing of antibiotics) and too little and bacteria themselves develop antibodies!!! to the antibiotic! We have in effect vaccinated the bacteria :o . The med will not work the next time we need it.

Luckily - with the help of a good picture of the set up and symptoms, we can narrow the field farther because there are frequent offender bacteria and very clear modes of attck from some bacteria types. The pseudo and aero monas bacteria are the most prolific in aquariums and over half the time these are the bacteria, (gram neg) that are responsible for disease.

So, I'm sorry this wasn't short but the question of whether we should stop the meds if the fish is not better is a little complex. Ruling out all the ways in which it is possible for the application of those meds to have gone awry .......and then looking at progress of symptoms/behavior and only then..asking if this is in fact the right medication .. we have to make a decision. Antibiotics will work within 3 days if they are correctly prescribed- yes. That is how they were designed. To cover the fish for the 5 day period when the fish is developing new antibodies. Other meds- may take longer or shorter but I think should be stopped if you see worsening of symptoms or behavior.

One more thing: antibiotics only serve to cover that time gap mentioned between when the fish begins to manufacture its own antibodies and up to the time it has produced those antibodies (which in fish is about 5 days) so back to back courses of meds are not really advocated because they can surpress the fishes natural immunity for too long a time. Remember the meds stay in the fish for quite some time after treatment is complete and original immunity strength plays a huge part in how effective meds will be.

Medication can create miracle recoveries but also has a down side. Just be cautious and try and diagnose as best you possibly can before adding meds and then, don't stop vigilence with water care and application restarints/conditions and watch very closely for progress or not :)

I hope that helps but if anything is confusing please let me know!

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W :D W

Your answer is very thorough and had given me a lot to think about. And I never knew that maracyn2 treatment needed to done in the dark! I have used it many times with normal tank lights on (but usually along with medigold or metromed at the same time so I don't really know if it worked or not!)

I guess it is best to start a new thread when the problems crop up and we can discuss specifics then. I know I have had many questions/doubts when I started a treatment that did not appear to work and I couldn't help but think - I should have done something else instead! It is so easy to second guess yourself . . .

Thanks again for the info :heart !

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Thanks ,both, and you are welcome :heart . You just brought up another point sea, that I forgot and it should be added. Antibiotic medications should not really be crossed/mixed. If the antibiotics are compatible there will be a medication out there that has already combined them for you into one medicine.

Metromeds and medigold for example both contain a few antibiotics and drugs that have been chosen and balanced to work in one treatment. The same goes for combining Maracyn and Maracyn2. These 2 antibiotic medicines can be used safely together. So unless recommended, antibiotics should not be dosed at the same time- and always check if salt can be run alongside. If in doubt don't mix anything!

When you treated with Maracyn 2 with the light on, you de-activated the oxidising effect and it would not have been effective. It's a very common thing to do. You can attribute your goldies recovery to the medicated food. Personally, I would never use medicated food with both Maracyns. The cocktail of antibiotics is very large and this can cancel out the effectiveness of all. It may have been a good thing that the Mar 2 was not working, because the antibiotic food + possibly the Maracyn should have been enough.

Finally (? :) ) we have to remember how to keep antibiotics and other meds. Read the pack or check online. Some times medications must NOT be kept in the fridge, sometimes they MUST be. Temperature affects different antibiotics differently. And always chuck old antibiotic meds. They most likely wont work after they have been opened a certain time. Maracyn 2 for example is extremely toxic to the kidneys after the expiry date or after being opened for a long time. Medigold and Metromeds (depending on storage way) can also be simply ineffective if used more than 6 months after opening.

Prazi and salt (a good all round combo for treating most invisible parasites) are perhaps the safest and easiest meds. They are also the most gentle on the fish. Unfortunately they wont treat many bacterial things -although if caught early enough salt will.

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