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OT: Meds, Disease, Water

Posted By: LeadFoot <leadfoot@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Tuesday, 27 January 2004, at 6:58 p.m.

You may recall that I mentioned I have a friend who is a Koi dealer and importer. To date, his most expensive Koi sold for more than US$20,000! Not to get off the subject, but this Koi lasted less than 24 hours after the sale. You see, it was purchased by a Japanese afficianado, who had the Koi delivered to Koi show. Something went wrong in the setup of the tank (suspicion is someone added a wrong chemical), and the Koi bled out, right in front of the guy who bought him!

Anyway, I just got off the phone with the main caregiver of my friend's fish farm. His take on meds is as follows:

In my particular situation with fish damaged by meds, he believes it was NOT the Clout, but rather the QuickCure. He says that any formalin that they have on hand (gallons, upon gallons for their 8 acre operation) is thrown away if it's more than a year old, and formalin alone lasts longer than formalin/malachite green mixes (Quick Cure, Rid-Ich, etc.). He has personally witnessed old formalin burn fish after application. He also said that their suppliers will not even ship formalin in the winter, because they can't guarantee temperature conditions when shipping! Obviously, formalin is very sensitive stuff. He went on to say that if any storgae area for Formalin they have on hand hits 40 degrees F, the Formalin is tossed immediately. He added that Malachite Green is similar, but that it's also light sensitive, so there is definitely a shelf life for meds containing either of these ingredients.

As far as white fungus is concerned, he says that small amounts of it should not be treated, because it acts similar to a human scab over a wound. I am currently observing that very theory. I have a tiger barb who's had open ulcers for several weeks, if not more. Everytime I saw it getting better, I would treat for the fungus that was growing in the sores, and then the sore would get worse. I recently decided this fish wasn't going to get any better, and afew days ago decided not to bother with fungucides anymore. Lo and behold, most of the fungus has fallen off the fish's head, and there is only one out of 5 holes left, and it has only fungus in that one hole, that is also becoming less! And, I didn't even tell this guy about it, until after he shared his theory.

We also talked about ICH and flukes, and you don't even want to KNOW what he said about flukes. OK, I'll tell you. :-) he said that there are dozens of varieties, and they have 12 different meds they use to specifically target only 30-40% of the flukes they encounter! Can you say, Flukes Suck!?

That means that the stuff we aquarium hobbyists use to target flukes is either going to be ineffective (wrong med for wrong fluke), or are an all encompassing poison that WILL definitely be a risk to our fish and us! Yikes!

So, it's no wonder I'm having such a problem. Maybe it is flukes after all. He says the only way to know what's going on is to look at a scraping of a fish's slime coat under a microscope. But, before I do all that, according to this guy, I try to get all meds out of the tanks with water changes, then see how the fish are after week or two. They need to get back to normal, if possible, or at least get them stable before going any further.

He also says that fish SHOULD flash occasionally, it's like scratching, but excessive flashing is something to watch, and not necessarily treat right away, which is what I did. He also said that given that I probably don't have a good microscope on hand, and that it's tough to get scrapings of tropical aquarium fish, that I did the right thing trying different meds and watching closely. He says he's pretty sure that what went wrong was not so much the different meds but that the QuickCure was bad.

Funny thing is that the last time I tried the QuickCure for a real battle against ICH many months ago, I found it to be ineffective. So, after he mentioned it, I looked up when I got my QuickCure, and it was over two years ago!

Aha! His recommended course of action is to water change to remove meds; let fish stabilize; observe them carefully for a time after that; then if I actually conditions turn south, call him back for what he would do.

Water: He says I might also want to look at my alkalinity and pH to see how close they are in balance. He says the closer the better. Not knowing much about the balancing act, I think I'll at least research that. Anyone, by chance, know what he's talking about?

Incidentally, this guy was also previously an avid aquarist, and had many tanks with a variety of freshwater tropicals, and although he also had something to do with PetsMart and Petco, I'm not going to hold that against him! :-)

Just thought some of you would be interested.