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Treatment of ichthyophthiriosis in aquarium fish: the best medicines

Ichthyophthyriosis is considered the most common disease affecting the inhabitants of aquariums. Any novice amateur fish aquarium sooner or later will face this disease, manifested in the form of small bumps on the body of pets. The disease only at first glance seems harmless.

If time does not begin treatment of ichthyophthyriosis in the general aquarium, then all its inhabitants will die.

The main symptom of ichthyophthiriosis is small bumps on the skin or white pustules. Outwardly, these rashes are very similar to semolina, only much smaller.

Actually, because of this similarity, the disease is often called “semolina”.

The causative agent of ichthyophthiriosis is the equilal infusorium ichthyophthirius multifiliis, belonging to the class Ciliata. It has a round or oval body, at the front end of which there is an orifice surrounded by cilia.

The latter also pass by lines over the entire surface of the body and provide movement of the infusoria.

The parasite multiplies by dividing outside the victim’s body. Immediately after maturation, trophonts tear up pustules in the epithelium of the fish and go outside. In the aquarium, they sink to the bottom, where they are attached to any suitable objects: stones, sand, gravel, algae.

There they form a cyst within which the division process takes place.

Ichthyophthirius multifiliis is considered to be extremely prolific. When dividing a single trophont, 2,000 subsidiary ciliates may appear. They destroy the shell of the cysts and fall into the water, where they begin to move with the help of cilia in search of the host.

If within a few days the young parasite does not find a victim, it dies.

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Got into the fish cells are localized in the upper layer of the epithelium and gills, where they begin to grow rapidly. Having reached maturity, they leave the victim and the cycle begins anew.

The following parameters influence the development of ciliates:

  • The parasite develops normally only at a temperature of 25 ° C.
  • With a decrease in temperature indicators, an increase in the timing of the formation of cysts, the timing of the introduction of vagrants.
  • Insufficient lighting prolongs the life of young cells.
  • Increasing the water temperature to 32 ° C causes death within 5 hours.

Fish that have had ichthyophthyriosis acquire immunity. It is not absolute, but relative.

That is, when re-infection is high the likelihood that the aquarium pet will survive.

Ichthyophthyriosis can affect all aquarium fish without exception. The age of pets does not matter.

The intensity of the spread of the disease is higher in overcrowded aquariums.

The parasite enters a closed ecosystem in 3 ways:

  • From the pond where it is found. This ciliate is widespread in nature. The pathogen enters the aquarium with algae, soil and even water transplanted if they are not pre-disinfected.
  • From another aquarium when moving fish, shellfish and plants. Also, the parasite can get from one aquarium to another with inventory.
  • Together with live food.

The disease can occur at any time of the year. However, most often the peak of outbreaks of infection occurs in spring and summer.

This is the time of reproduction in causative agents of ichthyophthiriosis in natural waters.

On average, a disease lasts no more than 14 days and most often, if left untreated, leads to a massive death of the inhabitants of the aquarium. Infected fry die already on the 8th day.

Virus-bearing guppies and girardinus are subject to less of this pathology.

After the parasite is fixed in the gill lobes and upper epithelial layer fish have the following symptoms:

  • The fish becomes restless.
  • She actively rubs against the soil and algae.
  • The fishes begin to cluster around air bubbles emanating from the aeration system.
  • When trophonts are formed, small white tubercles are visible on the surface of the body and fins of the pet.
  • If the lesion is multiple, then splitting of the fins may occur.
  • The fish begins to actively rise to the surface and swallow air.

At the final stage of the disease, the affected aquarium inhabitants stop eating and reacting to external stimuli. Possible damage to the cornea of ​​the eyes, leading to blindness.

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Leaving the body of the carrier, the parasite breaks the capillaries, which provokes the formation of blood clots. The latter cause a violation of gas exchange in the body of fish.

Against the background of intoxication by the parasite’s vital products, this leads to the death of the pet.

An accurate diagnosis is made after studying the clinical manifestations of pathology and laboratory tests. An individual is considered to be sick if at least one parasite is found that causes ichthyophthyriosis in fish.

Effective therapy is impossible without understanding some of the characteristics of the parasite, These include:

  • The parasite, hitting the body of the carrier, hides under the outer layer of skin. Therefore, most drugs for ichthyophthyriosis in solutions are able to cope with pathogens that have already gone into the external environment.
  • Increasing the concentration of drugs can destroy the fish themselves.
  • I. multifiliis reacts sharply to changes in water temperature.
  • Before the appearance of the first symptoms of the disease after the introduction of the parasite it takes several days.

Understanding these features, each aquarist can combine several treatment methods at once to ensure the destruction of the parasite and save life to the maximum possible number of pets.

The easiest and most affordable way to get rid of the “decoy” – salting and heating water. When the temperature rises, the lifetimes of the “strollers” are greatly reduced, and when a certain salinity of water is reached, they die at all.

Unfortunately, this method is not always effective. The reason is tropical ichthyophthirius. For them, elevated water temperatures are the norm.

In addition, they often live in ponds with salt water. Practicing salting and heating, you can kill the inhabitants of the aquarium, but the parasites will remain intact.

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Another interesting way is to clean the aquarium. It is about the transfer of sick fish into a tank where there is no aeration or it is minimal. At the bottom of the tank should be large salt crystals.

Trophonts after leaving the body of the victim fall to the bottom and die there. This method is effective only if the owner will change the water in tanks at least 2 times a day.

This will remove the surviving parasites.

It is possible to treat ichthyophthiriosis in fish with the help of special medicines. Combination drugs are considered the most effective. But do not trust them without thinking.

The fact is that some fish may have an increased sensitivity to the individual components of the preparation. And in the instructions from the manufacturer about this, as a rule, is not mentioned.

If the drug is used for the first time, the treatment course should begin with reduced doses. Experienced aquarists recommend to begin to take 2/3 of the main dose and watch the fish after applying the medicine.

If all is well, then after 12 hours you will be able to deposit leftovers.

Before using special preparations, it is recommended to transplant sick fish into a separate container. The following drugs are considered the most effective:

  • Solution malachite green. He quickly relieves fish from parasites.
  • The main purple K (chlorohydrite). This dye also gives very good results in the treatment of aquarium inhabitants.
  • Omnisan and Mykopur. The combination of these drugs can cope with tropical ichthyophthiriosis. To enhance the effect, you can add prophylactic Sera Ectopur.
  • Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. The drug is available in capsules and solution. Experts recommend to stop the choice on the second form of release, because it includes a wound-healing agent. This medicine is very effective in treating advanced forms of ichthyosis at home.

The first 2 medicines are allowed to be used only in the form of short-term therapeutic baths. Adding them to the general aquarium is prohibited.

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The most inexpensive treatment is sold in ordinary pharmacies. This is a drug against delagil malaria.

It is recommended to use for the treatment of fish that do not tolerate malachite green. It is safe both for pets and for the aquarium’s biosystem as a whole.

When using it, the following dosage should be observed: 1 tablet per 30 liters of water. It is advisable to shade the aquarium while using the medicine.

Light destroys the components of the drug. If you mix delagil with other means of ichthyosis, taken in lower concentrations, the strength of the therapeutic effect can be significantly increased.

Another popular remedy is Furacilin. He also copes with ciliates, but he also treats the biosystem sparingly. When using it, a quarter of the total volume of water in the aquarium should be replaced daily.

The drug should be added every 2 days, 1 tablet per 40 liters of water.

In severe cases, you can resort to Bicillin-5. The antibiotic is very strong, so before using it you need to consult with a veterinarian about safe dosages.

Many aquarists believe that there is no need to disinfect an aquarium after ichthyosis treatment: it is enough to leave it without inhabitants for a couple of weeks and there will be no trace of contamination. It is advisable at this time to clear the water from the drugs using carbon filters.

To speed up the life cycle i. multifiliis can further raise the water temperature to 29 degrees. Infusoria remaining in cysts will quickly come out and die. Snails can also not be removed from the aquarium.

They are not afraid of the parasite.

To prevent new outbreaks of the disease, you need to follow some safety measures. First of all, for the new inhabitants of the aquarium need to arrange a quarantine.

This applies not only fish but also plants.

It is not enough just to inspect the new residents immediately after the acquisition. It is not always possible to notice white bumps on the bodies of the fish.

The parasite at this moment can be on a pet in a sleeping state. After placing on a new place, the infusoria is activated.

All new tenants must first be placed in a quarantine tank and monitored for several days. If during this time nothing happens to them, then they can be relocated to a permanent place of residence.

Each aquarium needs its own tools. If you use the same siphon for different aquariums, then there is a high probability of infection of all when a flash occurs in one of them.

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