Variatus Platies Gill parasites...whirling disease?

0morrokh
  • #1
This is gonna be a long post so bear with me.

A while ago-maybe a month ago-I got some variatus "Platys" at Petsmart. Normally I avoid buying fish at Petsmart/co like the plague but I couldn't resist them...they are gorgeous yellow and red "sunsets" and look like nearly pure variatus, not maculatus hybrids and were actually decently healthy (drool).

A couple fish in the tank were flashing, typical symptom of gill flukes, but I had bought several Platys the month before who turned out to have gill parasites and treating them was very straightforward (salt baths and a dose of Parasite Clear in q tank for the one with the worst infection), so I figured it wouldn't be a problem.

Sure enough a few days later they started flashing. I put in a Tbsp of salt per 5 gal and Parasite Clear. It's supposed to be a 2-dose treatment but they were still flashing occasionally, so I did a second round of 2 doses. Didn't work, strangely. I am positive about my diagnosis though--gills aren't red, when they flash they specifically scrape their gills, and are sometimes sulky/have clamped fins but still lively and eat well.

I should have started giving them salt baths immediately but I have been extremely busy (it's finals week at school) and I kept putting it off till today. Of course, the infection has gotten worse. I feel bad for not giving them a bath sooner...

Anyway, today I did a water change, maybe 30-40%, before giving them the salt bath. They all seemed "normal" while I was doing the wc. Then when I was catching the male he suddenly completely lost control of his swimming, spinning in circles and flipping upside down. Obviously whirling disease.:'(

To be honest I haven't payed as close attention to my fish this week as normal cause I've been so busy. I just would give them a quick feeding in the morning and evening. However, I never noticed anything really wrong with the male. The females are currently perfectly fine aside from the gill flukes.

Tank info: 10gals, about 76 F, I've mostly kept up w/ the weekly wc's, has 2 Tbsp of salt, a sponge filter, I've been feeding only Omega One tropical flakes (haven't gotten the veggie flakes yet) and also dropped in a bit of alge wafer once or twice......that's all the info I can think of

I don't have another q tank but I could float a container inside the q tank for the male. I was thinking of treating him with kanamycin sulfate which I've heard could be effective for the disease but then I've also heard it's generally untreatable.....

That is my last time ever buying a fish at Petsmart. Last time I bought a couple of Gups there and they came down with tuberculosis (I lost a whole tank of livebearers).

Any ideas, advice, etc would be appreciated....
 
COBettaCouple
  • #2
Unfortunately, that's about the only thing I can think of to try is kanamyacin and hope they respond. I would treat the tank I think. The females may already have it and attacking it with the meds could be more effective, or they may not have it and be stressed by the heavy meds so it's really a judgement call based on observations and your gut feeling on what would be best for them.
 
0morrokh
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
I'm not sure...kanamycin is just so strong I hate treating fish who potentially aren't sick with it...but I don't want the females to get sick if I don't treat....

I'm sure the male's a gonner. :'( He can't keep his balance at all and constantly is nearly standing on his nose, even flips over once in a while. I give him at most another day or two to live. Poor little guy. I really hate losing him, he's by far the nicest livebearer I've ever owned.

The females are both acting sick but are without any specific symptoms of anything (that I have seen...haven't watched them much though as I've been studying for finals). I decided to dose the whole q tank with kanamycin. I have no clue if it'll do anything or not but I just hope it'll prevent the females from contracting the disease. I am not sure whether or not they are still infected with gill flukes. Anyone know if the kanamycin will kill flukes, in case they still are?

I wish I had some clove oil, I'd put my poor male out of his misery. I really don't want him to die in the q tank though, since then the disease will spread very quickly to the other fish. I might end up putting him in a container and floating it in the q tank. Not sure what else I can do...
 
COBettaCouple
  • #4
I think you're doing the best that can be done for them. I'm not sure that the kanamyacin would directly affect flukes, but I could be wrong there.
 
0morrokh
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
The male's still alive...honestly he looks perfectly fine besides being a bit thin. He seems better than yesterday in that he can stay straight when he's still. But I don't want to get my hope up that he'll make it...from what I've read about the disease it's incurable once symptoms show up.

I don't think kanamycin affects flukes either, I was just asking just in case.

The male's still alive. He's losing weight slowly, but maybe it's because I haven't fed him in a couple days....I figured he'd die sooner and didn't want him to eat a bunch and then jack up the ammonia level in the small container he's in. But since he's still holding on, I gave him a couple small pieces of flake...I'll see if he actually eats them. I've read that whirling disease usually kills the fish very quickly, so I wonder if maybe the kanamycin has actually slowed or stopped the progression of the disease? Now I just wonder if he could actually recover, or if the damage is permanent....

The females are acting sicker today, with clamped fins a lot of the time and sometimes sitting on the bottom, but still no symptoms of any diseases. I haven't seen them flashing for quite a few days now and they swim fine. (Occasionally one of them will swim up to the male's container like they're checking on him...poor girls, I wonder if they know he's sick.) I wonder if it's just the kanamycin that's making them drowsy...(I hope so...)
 
COBettaCouple
  • #6
it's definitely possible that they're feeling a drowsiness effect from the meds. even triple sulfa can have that effect sometimes.
 
0morrokh
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
it's definitely possible that they're feeling a drowsiness effect from the meds. even triple sulfa can have that effect sometimes.

Well, on that note I've even seen weaker meds like Fungus Clear have a similar affect...the symptoms will be going away but the fish act even sicker cause they don't want to move around. So, hopefully my females will be alright.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #8
True, that's why I like things like Rid-Fungus. Meds are definitely hard on the fish, even when needed.
 
0morrokh
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Well, the male's still alive. I have to say I'm impressed with kanamycin...everything I've read about whirling disease says the fish is dead really soon after developing symptoms. Of course, I also keep reading things something like "whirling disease can kill X% of the population of fish and those that do survive will have permanent spinal damage".......I'm starting to wonder whether it's even worth living for him, if the disease leaves permanent damage. It's hard to judge whether or not his swimming is improving while he's in the floating container.....

Females still alive and somewhat well too. They look pretty unhappy but I can't tell if it's the meds or a disease. I caught one flashing the other day so apparently they've still got parasites. Hopefully a few more salt baths will take care of those.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #10
that kanamyacin is stuff and I hope the females clear out the parasites soon. I'm not sure what to say on the male other than he's already defying the odds, maybe he won't have spinal damage either.
 
0morrokh
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
I guess I'm not sure what the spinal damage meant....idk if it means a spinal deformity or spinal nervous damage. If it's just a deformity then I guess better that than dead, but if it leaves permanent damage to the nervous system then he won't recover his swimming ability. Guess I'd better do more research.

I can't believe they're all still alive. The male's still eating too, although I haven't been feeding him much. I wonder when it'll be safe to put him back with the females? I'm not clear either if whirling disease isn't curable as in you can't kill the parasites, or if you can kill the parasites but the symptoms remain.

Umm ok this is great. I noticed that every time I search 'whirling disease' I get reports on game and fish hatcheries, not generally tropical fish. This pretty much sums up what I've been rather slowly realizing... "The notorious coldwater myxosporidian, Myxobolus cerebralis, that causes the "whirling disease" of salmon and trout hatchery fingerlings survives freezing and drying and may persist in coldwater streams for 20-30 years. But it doesn't affect any tropical fishes."

So, that's great. I diagnose my fish, treat him sucessfully, and then find out a week later my diagnosis can't be right. But there've been reports of "whirling disease" in tropical fish, so there's gotta be something that causes similar symptoms in tropicals. I've never heard of any other disease that causes whirling. It's not like a swim bladder issue--he can stay on the top or the bottom or wherever. It's just if he swims fast he completely loses his balance and starts flipping around.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #12
Whirling disease does occur in Tropical Fish. Often the source of the parasites is food, particularly tubifex worms.
 
0morrokh
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Whirling disease does occur in Tropical Fish. Often the source of the parasites is food, particularly tubifex worms.

Is it the same species of parasite though? I've read in more than one place that it only affects salmonid fish and it can only survive in cold water.
Now that you mention it though I'm sure I've heard reports of feeding tubifex and then having fish come down with whirling disease. And I know that the species that causes whirling disease in wild salmon and other fish infect tubifex as part of their life cycle. Which would point to the same species of parasite.
Grrr...I hate conflicting info
 
COBettaCouple
  • #14
from what I read, the parasites can go dormant and survive for years to then infect aquarium fish via food. It's mostly why we're not even going to try tubifex worms with that chance and so many other food options anyway.
 
0morrokh
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Can they be killed with bleach?
 
COBettaCouple
  • #16
I think bleach would kill them, but would make any food unusable or kill any fish infected with it. how are you meaning to use the bleach?

Can they be killed with bleach?
 
0morrokh
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
I meant to disinfect the q tank.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #18
yea, I believe a 1 to 10 or 15 ratio of bleach to warm water does the trick. Then rinsing it out well with hot water (we usually put it in a tub and fill it up using the shower head) and drying it several times to clear out any bleach residue. Then when you're ready to use it, Prime should take care of any minute traces of bleach left to ensure a safe, disinfected tank.
 
0morrokh
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
Yup I've bleached tanks before, I was just wondering cause I occasionally hear of a disease that can't be killed by bleach.

By the way everyone's still alive. I can't believe it. One of the female's still acting pretty sick though. Do you think it's safe to put the male back out with the females? I mean, I can't leave him floating in a container forever. I can't really tell if he's improved or not since he can't swim much in the container.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #20
I probably would since at this point, i'd view the tank as being sick and treat them all the same.
 
0morrokh
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
Good point. The parasite takes a while to multiply to the point where they show symptoms, so they all must have been exposed to it at the store. I think I'll let him out today.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #22
I hope that you'll be able to successfully treat the tank. It would be quite an accomplishment and a happy thing to see them recover.
 
0morrokh
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
Thanks.

Do you know if it's possible for tuberculosis to affect the swim bladder? (I'll explain why later, have to go to school now.)
 
COBettaCouple
  • #24
I believe it does, but I'm not 100% sure. We only have had 1 case of fish TB and the Betta just came home with us because I didn't want him to die shoved in the back of the betta cups at Deathco, but it was too late to help him any :'( so I've only had limited experience with fish TB.

Thanks.

Do you know if it's possible for tuberculosis to affect the swim bladder? (I'll explain why later, have to go to school now.)
 
0morrokh
  • Thread Starter
  • #25
I believe it does, but I'm not 100% sure. We only have had 1 case of fish TB and the Betta just came home with us because I didn't want him to die shoved in the back of the betta cups at Deathco, but it was too late to help him any :'( so I've only had limited experience with fish TB.

Darn it I was really hoping you'd say no. The male is pretty thin (which I figured was because of whirling disease) but now one of the females is losing weight. I've lost several gups and platys to tb and the female looks suspiciously similar to how they did. So maybe the male doesn't have whirling disease at all? Could tb cause the same whirling symptom? It didn't in any of the other fish I lost to tb but I know the disease varies a lot.

I checked on her again and I'm not so sure. She's skinny but not quite "wasting". It's a bit hard to get a good view of them sometimes since I have them in a plastic container. Do you know if gill flukes can cause fish to lose weight?

Okay so I just saw the smaller female (the one who's sicker and losing weight) flashing really bad. I guess I should medicate for parasites again but I'm not sure what to try now...do you know of any really strong anti-parasite meds?

My male's looking really bad. He's terribly skinny, his sides are sunken in and his spine sticks up. I got a good look at him while giving them a salt path today (for the flukes) and he looks like he has a tiny hole right behind his head. It's really strange, not sure what it is....

Ok here's my attempt at a picture of him (a top view).
 
COBettaCouple
  • #26
Hmm.. sounds like more than 1 thing may be going on in there. Do these disease symptoms help ID what you're seeing? For Parasites, we find the Parasite clear tabs to work pretty well but you probably need a stronger med like:
  • Gyrodadctylus dactylogyus or Gill Flukes - Symptoms: Fish will consistently flash and rub as the infestation becomes more advanced, the fish will become lethargic
  • Hexamita or Hole in the Head disease - Common in all fish, but these protozoans are particularly deadly to cichlids. They infect the digestive tract and are associated with head and lateral line erosion. Symptoms: Fish will exhibit a marked decrease in vitality, darkened colors, lack of appetite, and slimy whitish-to-clear faeces.
  • Tuberculosis - The bacteria that cause fish TB is known as Mycobacteria marinum. Fish TB is not very contagious, and, as a result, if symptoms are noticed early it will not have an effect on the other fish in the aquarium. Symptoms include the following: loss of appetite, fish remains in seclusion and out of site, rapid breathing (respiration), eyes appear to be cloudy or "popping out," fish lies on its side near bottom of aquarium, stomach of fish appears to be sunken, white blotches on exterior, degraded and frayed fins.
 
0morrokh
  • Thread Starter
  • #27
Thanks for the info. I'm thinking my original diagnosis (gill flukes and whirling disease in the male) is correct. They just aren't acting like they have tb--the male is skinny enough that if it was tb it would be pretty advanced by now, so he wouldn't be eating and would probably have a curved spine. But all of them are still eating and no spine deformities. The hole at the top of the male's head did not look at all like an ulcer from a disease like HTH, it was more like someone someone stuck a tiny needle into him and left a tiny hole. But maybe it was just an odd black spot, the lighting in my room isn't great so maybe I wasn't seeing it clearly. What I can't figure out is why the male and smaller female are losing so much weight. It's what is making me suspect tb even though they aren't showing any other symptoms...that and I got them at the same place I got my guppies who had tb. (won't be getting fish there again! > )

Clout's a good idea, I'll see if I can get some today. Already tried parasite clear, didn't help much.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #28
Good luck with the Clout, I hope it will help them out.
 
0morrokh
  • Thread Starter
  • #29
Ok I just changed my mind again. The male is in horrible condition and showing pretty strong tb symptoms. He's suddenly developed finrot (which he didn't have yesterday), and tb can cause finrot sometimes (I've both read and observed it once or twice). He's also sort of hanging at the top of the water with his back arched (makes it look like his tail is heavy)--I've seen that pose in fish dying of tb too many times. And he's even thinner, the bottom of his belly is completely flat. I have never heard whirling disease associated with rapid weight loss, or finrot, so I guess I'll have to assume the whirling was caused by the tb infecting the swim bladder.

I can't believe I have to go through this again...I hate watching fish die of tb...and that male variatus is probably the nicest fish I own currently, so much for my breeding plans. :'( Poor guy, I hate watching him suffer, but I don't know if I can get clove oil anywhere...:'( Although I guess one good thing did come of this, and that's that I know that tb responds to kanamycin but can't be cured once symptoms start. He got a lot better during medicating, but after I removed the kanamycin he went downhill pretty fast. Now I just hope I can save my larger female who hasn't developed any tb symptoms yet.

Grrr I'm having such a bad day...just looked at my grades and I currently have a B- in gym. Just because I suck at volleyball! > I hate my school, they make you have 4 gym credits to graduate! What a waste of my time, I could be taking another language or something, but no I have to take volleyball & basketball class (the two sports I suck at) and it's gonna bring down my GPA. I mean come on I get straight A's in honors science, math, english etc but they force me to take stupid gym classes so I get a bad grade! >> (sorry just venting, I'm really frustrated with my life right now...)
 
COBettaCouple
  • #30
school has a tendancy to do that. College is so much better than high school.

I'm sorry to hear that your male is doing so bad and wish there was a cure or med that could help him. Clove oil can probably be found at drugstores like CVS or at some health food shops. You might call any LFS's to see if they carry the "Euthanase" product that drfosterandsmith.com sells.
 
0morrokh
  • Thread Starter
  • #31
Thanks...I'll live, just had to get that out of my system. Can't wait for college though.


Well I'm not sure again...looking at the male he seems to have a weird almost deformed head shape, which looks more like the type of deformity whirling disease causes... Not that it really matters whether it's whirling disease or tb since neither is curable...

Anyway I'll see what I can get for them today in the way of meds and clove oil (I've never seen euthanase anywhere but then I've never looked for it).

I ended up getting Maracide--it was the only thing the store had other than Parasite Clear (which I already tried). I'm not sure whether or not it'll kill flukes, but I decided to give it a try since it's all I have. I doubt I can get Clout anywhere but it's possible I could get something copper-based at another store if the Maracide doesn't help.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #32
You got the Maracide and not the Maracide Concentrate, right? Malachite Green and Chitosan are the active ingredients in that, so you'll want to watch out for getting it on anything you don't want dyed and limit your skin contact
with it.
 
0morrokh
  • Thread Starter
  • #33
Yeah regular Maracide (what is the Concentrate anyway? never heard of it). Man that malachite green is strong stuff...the fish seem to dislike it even more than the kanamycin! Hopefully it'll kill those little fluke buggers though....>
 
COBettaCouple
  • #34
The concentrate is like a super Maracide so you use MUCH less of it when treating with it. It's ingredients are different and the treatment plan simpler than regular Maracide. I need to do more research and find out how the Malachite Green and Chitosan in Maracide compare to Purified water, Aniline green, and Tris (hydroxymethyl) aminomethane in Maracide Concentrate.

Have you seen any changes since you started maracide treatments?
Yeah regular Maracide (what is the Concentrate anyway? never heard of it). Man that malachite green is strong stuff...the fish seem to dislike it even more than the kanamycin! Hopefully it'll kill those little fluke buggers though....>
 
0morrokh
  • Thread Starter
  • #35
Well, I'm not sure. The Maracide made the fish super doped up, so they're mostly just sitting on the bottom...so I have no way to tell if they've still got parasites or not (since they won't get up and flash). I think the male is finally dying today though. :'( He's ridiculously thin (must be tb after all) and starting to lose control-as in he can't sit on the bottom because he just starts drifting and floating all over. Poor guy, I really wish I had some clove oil so he didn't have to suffer. :'(

Well they're all still alive but looking horrible, especially the male (who can barely stay upright) and the smaller female who is totally clamped up. I saw the male flash yesterday and the small female flash just a few minutes ago. This is very frustrating. Last dose of Maracide is tomorrow, not sure what I'll try next...maybe something copper-based?
 
COBettaCouple
  • #36
I thought about Binox:

but I'm not sure if it would help and it's fairly strong.

is probably a better one to try.
 
0morrokh
  • Thread Starter
  • #37
good suggestions but I don't think I've ever seen either at any store...there's not enough time to order it online. I'm thinking maybe Coppersafe (if I can get it somewhere) unless I can find Clout somewhere.

Ok I'm really not sure what to think. I can't believe it but today the male is acting almost good as new, swimming around (no sign of whirling) and pooping (so he's eating well)...but he looks absolutely horrible. He's so thin I don't know how he can be alive and his spine is becomming deformed and his tail is getting pretty bad finrot, plus he still flashes on occasion. The smaller female is starting to get a sunken belly and acting really sick, shimmying in place with her fins clamped, although she hasn't given up on swimming around or eating. The larger female however had decided to sit right underneath the filter and not move...I thought she was dead! I'm so worried since she's been the healthiest one this whole time. I ended up sticking a net in the tank and she immediately swam out of her hiding place looking perfectly healthy...maybe she was just napping??

Anyway I think I need to hit them with a strong antibiotic (for finrot and whatever the heck is causing them to waste away) plus another dose of anti-parasite. The Maracide seems to have worked a bit but it says not to mix it with other meds. Do you know of any parasite meds that could be mixed with an antibiotic?

Oh I just remembered something! I still have anti-bacterial food as well as jel tek ampicillin from back when Dorado was sick... Just gave them some, haven't eaten any yet...
 
COBettaCouple
  • #38
yea, talk about confusing. At this point, your guess is as good as mine, but I don't think there's anything to lose by trying parasite meds with antibiotics.
 
0morrokh
  • Thread Starter
  • #39
But is it safe to combine meds? Cause I know Maracide specifically says not to combine with other meds, don't know about other anti-parasite meds.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #40
I'm sorry, I misread your post. I'm not really sure of a safe combination. If there looks like no other way, perhaps parasite clear and a different antibiotic would be ok together but I've never treated both conditions at once. My best guess would be Fu-Ba Fix and Parasite Clear tablets.
 

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