Category Archives: Parasites

Epistylis

Epistylis in Koi and Pond Fish Ponds

Epistylis is a relatively uncommon parasite of Koi, goldfish and pond fish. Indeed, it is so uncommon, that I do not have any good graphics of it. What you would see clinically is a tuft of whitish fluff coming out from under a scale, or from some other wound on the Koi, goldfish and pond fish. It gives the impression of a fungal infection but looks radically different under the microscope. Usually, fish with Epistylis are rather hale, considering they are parasitized. Epistylis does not occur in tanks or environments which are clean, and which have a low organic load. You would normally expect to find Epistylis in unfiltered ponds and lakes on common pond fish. I have not recovered Epistylis from any of the finer, aquarium raised Koi, goldfish and pond fish. I have cleared the few cases I have seen in ponds with massive water changes, removal of the organic load in the system, and the application of 0.3% saline.

The organism is clinically relevant because many people treat these cases as if they were funguses; eventually killing the fish with useless treatments and arriving at the conclusion that fungus is hard to cure. Indeed, they were treating Epistylis with anti fungal remedies and not addressing the true cause of the Epistylis infection = Filth!

The condition of Epistylis is prevalent, but not very common in the typically cleaner environments encountered with Koi, goldfish and pond fish keepers.

Epistylis in Koi and Pond Fish Ponds

control of epistylis

What Is In API’s Super Ick Cure?

API is a little bit vague about their API Super Ick Cure product, and rightfully so.

The FDA is very concerned about copper-containing Malachite Green ending up in the tissues of food fish. And they’ve set about stamping out Malachite Green in as many products as they can.

super ick cure
Super Ick Cure is a malachite green stain that effectively taints the epidermis to kill swarmers as they re-enter.

API labels their Super Ick Cure product as “benzaldehyde green” which puts its “Malachite green” identity under the radar, at least for now.

Here are the different “aliases” for Malachite Green: “Aniline Green; Benzal Green; Benzaldehyde Green; China Green; C.I. Basic Green 4; C.I. 42000; Diamond Green B; Diamond Green Bx; Diamond Green P Extra; Fast Green; Light Green N; New Victoria Green Extra I; New Victoria Green Extra II; New Victoria Green Extra O; Solid Green O; Victoria Green B; Victoria Green WB ”

So when you see any of the above, you’re looking at Malachite Green. And that’s FINE. (Reference)

What else is in Super Ick Cure?

Well there’s PVP – which is the active ingredient in Stress Coat, it’s a biofilm that protects and coats the epidermis. I am sure they’ve doped it out to allow the Malachite Green to stain the epidermis chemically and make it toxic to the Ich Swarmers, but ALSO perhaps to coat the skin physically and make it harder for the swarmers to re-encyst en masse. Don’t know. Don’t care. It works.

There are many other references to the presence of Methylene Blue and a Furan antibiotic in the medicine. They’re NOT on the label. I doubt that these compounds are in the Super Ick Cure, and if they are, API is commiting a crime putting those things in the bottle but NOT on the label. And I SERIOUSLY doubt API would stoop to that.

Nope.

“Benzaldehyde Green” is the reduction of Malachite Green in the presence of an aldehyde to Malachite Green Chloride. (Reference)

So, essentially, Super Ick Cure’s just Malachite Green without saying so but there’s a clever twist in play.

When the Malachite Green Chloride goes into the fish, it’s complexed in the tissues and STAYS there (for a while). It’s “leucomalachite green” in the tissues and remains toxic to the Ich organisms when they re-enter the tissues to ‘encyst’.

So while the malachite green is killing the swarmers in the water, it’s also staining the fish, residing in the epidermis, and killing the swarmers as they encyst in the tissues. Super Ick Cure’s essentially breaking the life cycle, HARD, in midstroke.

The thing is, you have to get a high enough amount of Super Ick Cure into the water to STAIN the fishes’ epidermal cell layer WITHOUT killing everything.

And when I say ‘killing everything’ I mean snails and shrimp. I’ve seen vendors saying that Super Ick Cure won’t kill shrimp and harms snails.

If done right, it SHOULD kill snails. and if it doesn’t then HOPEFULLY you’ve done enough to kill Ich without somehow killing off your Trapdoors. Formalin Malachite Green will kill almost all your snails. Not all of them.

I HONESTLY would NOT believe ANY vendor who swore it wouldn’t kill shrimp until you (or someone you trust) has tested it on shrimp. And I haven’t.

Why does the Super Ick Cure manufacturer make such a big deal about the temperature?

Ich moves through its lifecycle MUCH faster when living in warm water. When the organisms are encysted in the skin and in the packet on the bottom of the tank, it’s VERY hard for anything to kill them. Malachite Green has its best chance of killing the Ich when it:

  1. Is vulnerable coming UP from the packets on the bottom as swarmers
  2. Is vulnerable as it re-enters the fish once the fish is stained with leucomalachite green.

At higher temperatures, the Ich will pop off the fish and drop to the bottom, multiply and swarm FASTER and therefore CLEAR FASTER. And since the Malachite Green is in the tissues for a limited time, manufacturers and researchers had to synchronize the life cycle to the amount of time they could keep the fish stained.

When you buy Super Ick Cure with this link, I get 0.02 cents towards my retirement fund. LOL

Doc Johnson

What’s in Ick Guard by Tetra?

Well that’s Malachite Green (Victoria Green) and Acriflavine. Benzaldehyde Green And PvpBenzaldehyde Green ChemistryBenzaldehyde Green And PvpSo it’s got a little more power against a wider range of ciliates. Tetra’s Ick Guard (Buy) should have some impact on Lymphocystis virus megalocytes as well.

.

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AEROMONAS KOI ULCER PICTURES WITH STEP BY STEP HEALING

AEROMONAS KOI ULCER PICTURES WITH STEP BY STEP HEALING

Bonnie Hale
Code and Graphics edited Dr. Erik Johnson

Day one: The Koi had 5 large ulcers, 2 one side of the tail and the other 2 were on the opposite side of the tail. In addition there were 9 small ulcers that were approximately 1/4″across on the other side of the tail. The 5th ulcer completely took out the pectoral fin. Fluke tabs (Now we use Prazi) and salt to .3 was added the first day. I really did not think this fish would live through the night. I expected that he would pine cone at any time.

AEROMONAS KOI ULCER PICTURES WITH STEP BY STEP HEALING
AEROMONAS KOI ULCER PICTURES WITH STEP BY STEP HEALING

 

Day 3: The ulcer that took out the pectoral fin and socket is now visible. There is now slight healing tanking place in all of the ulcers.

AEROMONAS KOI ULCER PICTURES WITH STEP BY STEP HEALING

Day8: The koi is making good progress. All flukes are now dead. Salt is at 0.3%

AEROMONAS KOI ULCER PICTURES WITH STEP BY STEP HEALING

Day12: These are pictures of 6 of 9 smaller ulcers. The koi is making good progress now.

AEROMONAS KOI ULCER PICTURES WITH STEP BY STEP HEALING
AEROMONAS KOI ULCER PICTURES WITH STEP BY STEP HEALING

Day 12: The koi is improving greatly now and appears that the antibiotic regime is working.

AEROMONAS KOI ULCER PICTURES WITH STEP BY STEP HEALING
AEROMONAS KOI ULCER PICTURES WITH STEP BY STEP HEALING

 

Day 21: Progress was still being made and recorded on the 21st day. This was the last picture I had taken. Unfortunately, the koi died on the 31stday. All of the 9 smaller ulcers had completely healed. The 5 large ones were approximately 80 percent healed. Autopsy did not reveal anything remarkable.

AEROMONAS KOI ULCER PICTURES WITH STEP BY STEP HEALING

AEROMONAS KOI ULCER PICTURES WITH STEP BY STEP HEALING

Stunting of Discus While Attacking Hexamita

Sadly, stunting can be permanent if it goes on long enough. I got a question about Hexamita, and a medicine that kept crushing his filtration beneficials. By the time he ‘beat’ the Hexamita, his Discus fish had been held back by poor water quality and he wonders if the Discus will resume growth.

It has everything to do with:

  1. Age they got stunted
  2. How long they were stunted?
  3. How much space they have
  4. What they’re fed.
Stunting of Discus While Attacking Hexamita
Stunting of Discus While Attacking Hexamita

If the Discus were VERY young, stunting has a greater impact because holding a fish back during it’s most rapid growth phase is the most devastating.

If they’re held back a year, it’s almost impossible to restore growth at any “typical” rate.

If they’re turned out into a LARGE facility, like a lake or pond, MOST species of fish get a “shot of the wild” and may start growing again. But it would seem, from experience, that the higher levels of dissolved organics and background pollution will keep a stunted Discus from fluorishing.

Stunting of Discus While Treating Hexamita

Feed the best nutrition you can afford and consider water replacement all the time.

Name
Darren B
My Question Is About
I’m Asking About Tropicals and Tanks
So, What’s Your Question? Comment?
I have discus and I had a ammonia spike which I didn’t notice quickly and have developed hexamita. I have treated with a UK brand med “waterlife octozin ” which works great but without realizing my HMA filter needed changing and kept making my filtration crash and I kept blaming the med. This kept setting me back to square one. (Note from Doc: If you have other tanks, you can replace those beneficials FAST) I am on the verge of fixing this issue which has gone on for 3 month but my question is, will the fish be permanently stunted from that as none have grown through the whole process. Thanks Darren

Stunting of Discus While Treating Hexamita

 

A Betta Face Covered In Flukes

A Betta Face Covered In Flukes

Treatment of choice: Praziquantel.

There are several products that have that. (PraziPro) It’s safe and fast.

Yes, indeed, this looks like Ich but note that the spots aren’t “everywhere” and a microscope cinches the diagnosis.

If you were ‘shotgunning’ in the absence of live plants, you’d check the water, especially the pH

Then you’d shotgun Prazi and Salt That would clear Ich and Flukes for the win!

Doc Johnson drjohnson.com

A Betta Face Covered In Flukes
A Betta Face Covered In Flukes

A Betta Face Covered In Flukes

Fish Lice, or Argulus – Branchiurian Parasites

Fish Lice, or Argulus

Different names for the same parasite. This is a crustacean / copepod parasite, meaning it’s a lot like a little crab. Little? Yeah, it’s about 1/4 inch or less, in diameter and they are EXTREMELY agile. I plan to upload a movie with these, so you can see it. (See below)

Argulus aka Fish Lice

Where present, this parasite is commonly seen in the Fall of the year. Folks call me and say “My fish has a freckle.”

Hmmmm A freckle? Well that happens sometimes, it’s called Shimi, and hard water causes it.

The next day, they call back. “Remember that freckle? Well it moved to someplace else on the fish! ”

So, moving freckles…..usually that’s Argulus!

Argulus fish lice copepod symptoms and treatment
Argulus fish lice copepod symptoms and treatment

Argulus is introduced on fish, or in water containing immature, freeswimming forms of the parasite. The parasites go through several sheds, or molts of their skin until they’re ‘adult’ versions that look like these images and you can see them with the un-aided eye.

Argulus has two “suction cups” on it, to help it hold onto the fish. Then when it’s in position, it drives a hollow feeding needle into the fish and drinks blood and plasma. It damages the skin and opens it up to infections. It’s very stressful.

It’s treated with serial applications of a VERY safe medicine called a “gyrase chitin synthesis inhibitor” which are harmless to beneficial bacteria in the system, and to the fish. There are several on the market as listed below.

Treatment one from Microbe-Lift (Click)

Treatment two from Hikari (Click)

Both of the above are very very similar. They’re very safe.

Anchor Worm and Fish Lice (Argulus) Video

Symptoms and Treatment of Costia – Ichthyobodo necatrix

The significance of Costia

Life was simple for a fish vet in the early nineties. Japanese fish were too expensive for the average hobbyist and their beautiful wiles had not been fully discovered. The usual pond-call involved a poor filtration system, high ammonia levels, a sagging pH and a case of “garden variety” Trichodina on some hardy domestic fish.

One would simply recommend a treatment of salt coupled with an upgrade to the filtration type and flow. A week later, all the fish are recovered. Doctor Johnson is a hero.

Now, partly because my exposure is more widespread and Japanese fish are so much more prevalent, the fish veterinarian sees much more challenging things.

Salt resistance has arisen in the following parasites:

Flukes – 20% of cases are completely resistant to salt treatments at any level. Most cases are cleared at zero-point-nine-percent but less than thirty percent still clear off at the old zero-point- three-percent standby level.

Trichodina – 20% of Trichodina cases do not clear at even zero-point-six-percent. There are rare cases where trichodina does not clear even at zero-point-nine-percent which is also stressful to the fish. Formalin or potassium permanganate are recommended.

Chilodonella and Ich have never been recorded as being salt resistant in the least bit.

Costia has shown some resistance and it is part of the reason for this article.

Some outbreaks of Costia have been known to be salt resistant for at least two years. I saw my first case of salt resistant Costia in late 1996 on some Japanese imports straight from Los Angeles California. The Costia resisted zero-point-nine-percent stiff salt solutions and finally required Formalin for clearance, which works extremely well.

Costia is responsible for a lot of the recent fish mortalities we’ve seen after Japanese style shows.
There are several reasons for this, which I wanted to discuss here.

  1. Costia resists drying. Empty tanks, nets, even dried nets and hoses, can transmit infective Costia from one group of fish to another. Folks are not very cautious about nets and bowls. A retail facility that does not rinse or disinfect their nets and bowls between tanks is capable of infecting every fish they sell, whether they originate in infected tanks or not.
  2. Costia is not always evenly distributed among fish populations or even upon an individual fish. What I am conveying is that you may have a collection of fish in which only a small percentage of fish will have Costia. Numerous biopsies of some healthy looking fish are negative while the affected fish swarm with Costia. An immune capability is suspected among those fish that do not show morbidity under Costial attack. Secondly, the Costia may exist in small “patches” on skin and gill and be missed in routine scrapes. It is imperative that whenever you’re biopsying a fish, you biopsy general locations such as between the gill covers and the pectoral fins. But that you also biopsy any red or white patches upon the fish.
  3. Costia is easily missed under routine microscopy. There is an important reason why. For a definitive diagnosis, a microscope should be able to perform a competent 200X scanning power. 400X is sometimes important to diagnose Costia when numbers of organisms are low. Many of the new Chinese microscopes are labeled with 40X optics and 10X oculars but despite the listed caliber, are nevertheless poor at imaging at that power. So you often see nothing.
  4. Leaving the iris diaphragm open on your microscope defeats the necessary contrast to diagnose Costia. You should use the lowest power light and the smallest aperture on your iris diaphragm. For more on this, refer to the book or the web page for a diagram of these important microscope parts.
Symptoms and Treatment of Costia - Ichthyobodo necatrix
Symptoms and Treatment of Costia – Ichthyobodo necatrix

It has unfolded in several scenarios that after shows, participants begin to lose fish, sometimes with ferocious rapidity. The hobbyist does a few biopsies and does not find an organism. Rumors of a virus begin to spread. Finally, a competent biopsy is taken and viewed under a powerful microscope and the Costia is discovered. Unfortunately, it is often too late for a bunch of fish, when the proper biopsy and microscopy is done.

Symptoms and Treatment of Costia – Ichthyobodo necatrix

Recently, a good friend of mine had some fish that were beginning to isolate. The fish developed reddish lesions on the skin, and face. Some white slime was attendant at these lesions. Biopsies were taken and nothing was found. I asked if he’d biopsied the specific lesions themselves, and indeed he had not, because he felt it might further traumatize damaged tissues. This was a logical concern, to be sure, but as I stated before. Costia can exist focally, in small patches that can be missed unless they are deliberately scraped.

Formalin is the best treatment for salt resistant Costia.

The general idea of this Formalin treatment is to apply fifty PPM Formalin (two milliliters(equivalent to cc) per ten gallons) to a tank with the filter bypassed. Increase circulation with a floom or with a spraybar. Run this level of Formalin for two hours and then execute a forty to fifty percent water change, with de-chlorinator. Repeat the treatment in 72 hours. Do this Formalin treatment for a total of three treatments and you can rid your system of Costia and Flukes.

You can also use 1cc per ten gallons with the filter bypassed for the first 2 to 4 hours of the application, without water change but you should watch your Ammonia and Nitrite levels. Nitrification will be upset by the Formalin impact on beneficial bacteria.

There is an important, auxiliary treatment for Costia which I have found to be very effective at slowing down the infection. I have been using topical hydrogen peroxide 3% USP applied directly to the patches. Here’s how that works:

When you see a fish, or a group of fish with patches of red, or white – perhaps even raised scales, you would be advised to to biopsies of the fish between the gill covers underneath, down the pectoral fin and tail, and finally taking biopsies from the patches themselves. If you can confirm Costia, you simply apply a cotton ball or gauze pad soaked in hydrogen peroxide 3% USP to the patchy areas. They foam madly. Nod and smile, with satisfaction that you just dropped the hammer on a bazillion Costial organisms and are allowing early healing of their infested area to occur.

This has been particularly effective in some of the Ranchu goldfish that I keep, where facial or body scarring might be highly undesirable. These fish are able to handle high levels of salt with aplomb, so I usually endeavor to treat the focal lesions with peroxide. Then I salt the system to zero-point-six-percent to-zero-point-nine-percent.

There are several important follow-up points to this article.

During and after your treatment of Costia with salt at zero-point-three-percent, it is imperative that you serially biopsy your specimens to make sure the numbers of Costial organisms are decreasing or are absent. If you’re still seeing Costial organisms after 72 hours in zero-point-three-percent salt, some level of resistance can be assumed. At that point you should either increase the salt concentration to zero-point-six-percent to-zero-point-nine-percent or consider Formalin. You should not use Formalin at fifty PPM with the higher levels of salt. I have used zero-point-three-percent salt and left it in during Formalin treatments. This has caused no problems in cooler water with high circulatory rates. I caution you that stiff (zero-point-nine-percent) salt solutions coupled with Formalin might create an oxygen availability/transfer problem. All oxygen tension problems become more acute under conditions of warm water, e.g. water over eighty DGF

A theory exists that Costia may exist in the fishes’ cloaca, using these sequestered surfaces as it might use any other extension of the surface of the fish. In the cloaca, the organisms may be protected from short-term treatments like Formalin, and this ability to inhabit the cloaca is proposed as one of the possible causes of unexplained recurrence of the disease. Currently, the time has not been available to biopsy the cloacas of infected fish nor to attempt or ascertain the safety of clearance of said pathogens by swabbing the vestibule with peroxide.

Do not let your fish out from under your effective treatment until all biopsies are negative for at least three days.

KEY POINTS OF THIS ARTICLE

  1. Costia may be salt resistant
  2. Costia may be focal, not general in distribution and so it is often missed on biopsy.
  3. One should biopsy “patches” and lesions, not just healthy tissues.
  4. Salt and Formalin are mainstays to treatment.
  5. Peroxide (three percent USP) swabs may speed healing at the lesions.
  6. Biopsies are IMPERATIVE during treatment to establish sensitivity to the chosen treatment and clearance
  7. A very good microscope and competent technique are mandatory for the diagnosis of Costia as it is easily missed.

Thank you for your time.

Doc Johnson

The following is a thorough discussion of Costia and other parasites and their treatments

Ich White Spot Ichthyophthirius Disease Symptoms and Treatment

Freshwater Ich – Ichthyophthirius multifilis – is a killer of very small fish, and can cause “redskin” disease in the winter regardless of fish size.

Freshwater Ich

Written by Dr Erik Johnson

Ich White Spot Ichthyophthirius Disease Symptoms and Treatment
Ich White Spot Ichthyophthirius Disease Symptoms and Treatment

Look closely at gill tissue under the microscope to be sure to exclude this pathogen, because it does not usually cause the typical “white spot” syndrome as in other fish. Therefore, it’s often an overlooked diagnosis. Clears easily with salt (0.3%) but sometimes takes four to five days because the epidermal phase (explained in the book) is safe from treatment

If I had to guess, I would guess that every singe hobbyist in the whole world WILL encounter Ich at some time. Usually the meeting occurs early on, as a beginner, before water quality parameters such as Ammonia, Nitrites and ‘The Cycle’ become more familiar, and ‘Quarantine’ is just a high ideal observed by a few pathetic perfectionists.

New treatment for Ich replaces Clout
New treatment for Ich replaces Clout

I’ll be talking about Clout as a treatment but in 2019 they removed that from the market. Now, THIS is a decent substitute.

What is ‘Ich’?

Freshwater Ich (Ichthyophthirius multifilis) is a ciliated protozoan that encysts under the epidermis of the fish; and, in its encysted condition, causes small white spots all over the fishes body and fins. In some cases, Ich spots may be present, but will not be visible. You may still see them under the scope, or you may see them exclusively on the gills. This is how infected fish may get into a tank without being detected, even if quarantined for a period of time.

Ich White Spot Ichthyophthirius Disease Symptoms and Treatment
Ich White Spot Ichthyophthirius Disease Symptoms and Treatment

Asymptomatic carriers can sustain a population of Ich in a tank or pond for an indefinite period. Sometimes an owner will purchase a new fish who, being immunologically naive to Ich, will contract the condition immediately upon introduction to an ‘endemic’ (already infected but asymptomatic) group of fish. If a fish contracts Ich, and survives without treatment, they have shown strong immunity to re-infection, indicating that the potential for a vaccine exists, and is being worked on at University of Georgia and other institutions. It would have astonishing impac on the Catfish industry if it could be achieved.

Ich rapidly kills smaller tropicals and goldfish, while often sparing the larger varieties (fish such as Oscars and Koi). Damage to the gills is the primary way it kills, but damage to the skin with secondary bacterial infection may also figure prominently.

Ich White Spot Ichthyophthirius Disease Symptoms and Treatment
Ich White Spot Ichthyophthirius Disease Symptoms and Treatment

Its life cycle is roughly 2-5 days, but can be longer (5+ weeks!) if the water is cool, much shorter if the water is warmer. There is the old rumor that warm water eradicates it. This is substantially true when temperatures exceed 85 degrees, however; there are strains coming out of Florida and detailed by researchers at University of Florida that can survive and thrive up to NINETY degrees or more! Recall that many of our bread and butter species of tropicals come from Florida, and so may harbor this heat tolerant strain.

The parasite has a phase that encysts in the epidermis of the fish as previously stated (called a theront). It matures under the skin and finally drops off, falling to the bottom (becoming a trophont) to divide into numerous (hundreds) of tiny swarmers (tomites) that actively seek out a host on which to encyst and renew the cycle of infection. Because an important phase of its life cycle occurs on the bottom of the aquarium, it is for this reason that you can help limit infections with water changes made by siphoning the gravel, removing those dividing Ich packets.

Ich White Spot Ichthyophthirius Disease Symptoms and TreatmentInterestingly, some research at Oklahoma has revealed a strain of Ich that does not have to leave the fish and whose Ich packet (trophozoite) remains under the epidermis (safe from medications) and the tomites swarm out under the epidermis. The lesions look much like Carp Pox lesions, being large, flattened, and waxy looking. This parasite is harder to clear because it is the free swimming tomite that we can kill with medicaments.

Prevention is attended at the wholesale level by the maintenance of a 0.3% salt solution which crenates (kills) the emerging tomites. We do not recommend that you as a hobbyist maintain this salt level all the time because live plants can be killed by this, and all species of fish are NOT universally tolerant of this. Still, many have found that salt is a very effective annihilator of Ich infections if normal precautions are observed.
There are numerous reasons to reach for salt, first, for Ich.

1) It does not harm the majority of fish species.
2) It does not push sick fish ‘over the edge.’
3) It eliminates, QUICKLY, most of the serious pathogens of tropicals.
4) It does not get bound out of the system by organics or sunlight.
5) It does not pose a health risk to humans contacting it.
6) It is CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP.
7) It WON’T harm your filter if administered in divided doses.

To recap my points, here’s the nuts and bolts of Salting Ich..

1. Remove valued live plants.
2. Raise temperature to 80 degrees, tops.
3. Increase aeration!
4. Add one teaspoon of salt per gallon.
5. Twelve hours later, add another one teaspoon of salt per gallon.
6. Twelve hours later, add another one teaspoon of salt per gallon.
7. Within 48-60 hours of the second salt dose at 80 degrees, the Ich will be gone.
8. Leave salt in the water for another 3-5 days unless you’re worried about your live plants.
9. Remove salt via partial waterchanges. (30-40% at a time if desired).

Ich White Spot Ichthyophthirius Disease Symptoms and Treatment

Hexamita – Protozoan Infection in Fish

At one time, I might have denied that Hexamita could be a serious dermatological pathogen of Koi, goldfish and pond fish. Recently, I have seen cases of severe skin and fin erosion that defied explanation until the Hexamita organisms were detected in abundance on the surface of the fish.

Flagellated protozoan infections: Hexamita

hexamita erodes skin and fins, and may eat into the skin of the face.
hexamita erodes skin and fins, and may eat into the skin of the face.

While their presence could have been incidental, it is persuasive that just a pair of treatments using Metronidazole in the water at 500 mg [five hundred milligrams] per ten gallons of water resulted in complete recovery of the fish.

It is curious to note that the fish recovered completely from the Hexamita attack, but in the process they demonstrated to most profound example of the melanophore migration that I have ever seen. For more on the melanophore migration, please see the ‘Symptoms’ section and refer to ‘color changes’.

Hexamita is a tiny, flagellated protozoan parasite which was at one time associated with “Hole in the Head” lesions in the mighty Cichlids and Discus of tropical fish fame. Later research suggested that “Hole in the Head” was a multi-factorial condition, which involved inadequate nutrition, inadequate lighting, and poor water quality. Hexamita was downplayed in terms of its aggressiveness. With the advent of a few of these cases, I am filled with a new respect for Hexamita as a serious threat to Koi, goldfish and pond fish health.

hexamita erodes skin and fins, and may eat into the skin of the face.
hexamita erodes skin and fins, and may eat into the skin of the face.

The clinical appearance of Hexamita’s attack is principally related to a general lethargy of the fish, followed by significant erosion of the fins and skin. The body may become entirely milky and the slime may come off in strands. The fins begin to look as though the tissue between the rays is being eaten away.

The video version of Hexamita – Protozoan Infection in Fish

Microbe-Lift BSDT Replacing Clout for Parasites

Clout (parasites treatment) was pulled off the market some time in 2018 late, you could still find bottles in early 2019 on some shelves. I’d consider it “dead” now.

I had to dope out new shotguns for parasites. And there are three.

Microbe-Lift BSDT Replacing Clout for Parasites

CyroPro or Microbe-Lift Anchor Worm treatment for Argulus / Anchor Worm parasites. These are insect growth regulators (gyrases) that work terrifically.

For Flukes, PraziPro.

microbe-lift BSDT for parasites
microbe-lift BSDT for parasites

For everything else, and with a very similar spectrum to Clout against parasites –  There’s Microbe Lift BSDT –  stands for Broad Spectrum Disease Treatment. It’s a Formalin Malachite mix that’s strong AF and works well. I’ve used it recently against Ich and Flukes with good success.

Keep treated water under 78 DF with water changes or constant trickle methods.

Change 30%-40% of water before beginning so the tank or pond is cooler, and the water is “cleaner”

Apply 1ml per 10 gallons of water once a day x 4-5 days.

Ich – White Spot (Ick parasites) will actually look WORSE during the second and third day and then by day 4-5 the white spots will be gone.

Everything (parasites life cycle) is SLOWER and the course of treatment is lengthened in water under 70 DF. That looks like daily application x 3 days in a row, then every other day for two more treatments. If you’re lucky, you can biopsy some fish to make sure all the parasites are gone.

During treatment, if you’re running sponge filters, or Bead filters, if there’s a way to safely bypass or shut down those filters, please do so for the first two hours of the treatment.

Microbe-Lift BSDT Replacing Clout for Parasites

Formalin-Malachite has crappy ‘residence time’ in the system meaning that within a couple hours it’s already being leached out by degassing, and organics-binding. That’s a “good thing” for beneficial filter bacteria.

As well as the finding that according to University of Georgia, the beneficial impact on microscopic parasites (killing them) is “done” in two hours and exposure past that point is frivolous.

Too bad there’s not a simple switch to ‘turn off’ the treatment at the 2 hour mark until the next day.

You may end up doing water changes between treatments to maintain water quality but at my office and home, I use constant replacement of water so it’s never a problem.

Microbe Lift BSDT is not terribly expensive. NOTE: It stains like a m___erf__ker.

Salt Against Parasites

Dr Johnson’s Fish Disease Arsenal, 2019

For Flukes = PraziPro Praziquantel:
For Almost Everything = BSDT Formalin Malachite:
For Anchor Worm & Fish Lice = Microbe-lift Fish Lice and Anchor Worm
Salt = 25 lbs Non Iodized Pure Salt: