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Ardis Preuss
New Member
Username: darby_j

Post Number: 1
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Monday, February 27, 2006 - 11:26 am:       

I have 4 tanks - 1 75 gal and 3 2.5 gal (betta tank, baby tank, quarantine tank). The 75 gal has been fully cycled with great chemistry for about 6 months. I do a 20 gal water change about every 4 days. I have become overstocked but this seems to keep the chemistry fine.

This tank has: 12 guppies (resulting in my overstocking), 7 zebra danios, 7 neons, 2 adult and 2 baby julii corys, and 2 orange algae eaters -- plus uncountable baby guppies in all stages.

About a month ago I noticed a few very pale pink, almost clear hair-thin worms (approx 1/4 - 3/8" long)when I vacuumed the big tank. Now there are multitudes of them in the 75 and two of the 2.5 gals. Also, about a few weeks before that I found very tiny, dark moving creatures in the bottom of the dump water. In the last few months all I have added are the algae eaters and 2 plants (yes, more than enough to bring bad things in).

My neons are starting to develop white patches where the color just seems to fade away (another post coming), but they act normally.

2 nights ago I noticed a red string coming from one adult female guppy. It is still there today and I read a bunch of messages here about worms, so I don't really need a rehash, just fine-tuning. I'm thinking of trying Jungle's Anti-Parasite food first, before putting them all through baths.

My questions are:
1) could the pale worms in the substrate be infecting my fish
2) how do I get rid of them (and the dark critters)
3) should I feed the anti-parasite food to all 4 of my tanks
4) can it hurt babies (one tank is just babies)
5) if I have to go to levamisole baths, can they hurt babies or my possibly-sick neons

(This is my first post to any forum anywhere, and if these are too many questions or too much info for one message please let me know. I am posting several other questions in other places, do I need to keep repeating all of my tank data, or refer them to this one...?)
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dan
Moderator
Username: dan

Post Number: 6595
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Monday, February 27, 2006 - 11:43 am:       

you've got nematodes. though there are three types of nematodes which can exist in an aquarium, (parasitic, scavengers and herbivores) the vast majority of nematodes in the aquarium are scavengers.

most nematodes are not a menace and can be introduced to the aquarium in egg or adult form. eggs can be present in almost anything that you add to your aquarium; feeders, live plants, driftwood etc. adult worms are more likely to be introduced by live plants and in the water accompanying your feeder fish.

you've got them because there's plenty of food in your gravel for them to eat. i.e, overfeeding. populations of nematodes can be reduced or elimated by reduced feedings and increased water changes coupled with gravel vacuuming.
you're never too old to have a happy childhood.
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Darby J
New Member
Username: darby_j

Post Number: 2
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 07:49 am:       

Wow, I was really impressed in how fast you responded. I'm assuming you mean both the pale pink worms and the creepy crawlies are the nematodes and not to be too worried about. I do have problems with feeding amounts so I will try to find another place to put that question.

My female guppy now has two worms sticking out, and so far keeps putting the food in her mouth and blowing it back out. She is hungry so I'm thinking she will eventually decide to eat it (fresh pieces that is).

I'm still wondering about feeding everyone the medicated food, including the babies. Even though she is the only one with them visible, all my tanks could be infested.
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dan
Moderator
Username: dan

Post Number: 6605
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 08:07 am:       

a red string coming from one adult female guppy

that's a different type of nematode ... the type that's parasitic on fish and needs to be dealt with.

Camallanus, an intestinal parasitic infection caused by a nematode (parasitic worm) which is found in wild fresh and salt water fishes throughout the world.

The disease is characterized by, among other things, the presence of tiny red thread structures protruding from the anus of the infected host fish. Close inspection of the victim shows a swollen and irritated vent area. The worms can actually protrude 1/3 to 1/2 inch from the anus of the infected fish. This is about one fourth to one third of the worm’s length. The worms are red from the victim’s blood in their gut.

As with most parasites, there are two main body functions of this worm, reproduction and nourishment. The attachment inside the fishes gut is by what appears to be a simple row of long hooks. Closer examination reveals a burr-like structure. Attachment to the intestinal wall causes considerable damage to the host’s intestines. The remainder of the body of the worm is dedicated to reproduction.

Microscopic larvae from this parasite are constantly being produced and sloughed into the water. A secondary host is necessary to carry on the life cycle. once established in the copepods found in most of our tanks, the nematode infection is easily transferred from hobbyist’s aquarium to aquarium with nets, feeding utensils, water change devices and simple aspiration of splashes and spray from one tank to another. This carries the infection rapidly around the hobbyists’ fish room in a matter of days.

The early signs of the parasite’s presence are typically unnoticed. The victims show a minor swelling of the belly and may go off their food. Usually the fish have no problems laying eggs until the infection has reached the stage of showing protrusion from the anus. In the end, the anus and reproductive organs of the fish become so irritated and inflamed that secondary infection sets in and the swelling causes enough hemorrhaging to cause the victim to bleed to death or it dies from internal bacterial infection.

In addition to this obvious outside appearance, the worm has been found in the body cavity of infected hosts. This may explain some of the mysterious deaths one sees in fishes which have been successfully treated for the nematode. The adult worm has died inside the body cavity and decayed inside the host fish.

treatment:

1. Add 1.5 milliliter per 7.5 liter of 7.5% Levacide (levamisole hydrochloride) to each tank to be treated. Mix the drug in a liter of water before pouring over the tank surface. If you obtain another strength of the drug (e.g. 1.5%, 3%) then just adjust dosage as required. For 1.5% add 1 ml in 1.5l of tank water.

2. After 24 hours perform 100% (as much as possible) water change whilst vacuuming the gravel. The water change is not required due to toxicity but to remove the possibility any offspring in the gravel.

3. No further treatments should be necessary.

you're never too old to have a happy childhood.
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Darby J
New Member
Username: darby_j

Post Number: 5
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 10:23 am:       

Dan, I really appreciate you helping me, and from reading all over this forum I know that you KNOW what you are talking about, and I know my own limitations with fish (I have had many failures). Plus, I am a happy, friendly sort of person so please understand I am totally not trying to be difficult; but I am rather resistant to the idea of the above treatment for the following reasons and I'm hoping you and I - and anyone else -can find a way around it, or you can reassure me about doing it.

1) My tank (through my own stupidity) is overcrowded and I'm afraid that I will never be able to cycle it again if I get rid of all the water. We are moving about a mile away as soon as our house sells and I have been trying to dream up ways of keeping most of the water as it is.

2) I've been reading here that this treatment is really stressful for the fish, and I can't help but think that adding all new uncycled water isn't going to help that. Plus it doesn't seem to be a guarantee to kill all the stages anyway.

I was hoping to try the food treatment first and use the levacide bath as a last resort.

Also (brainstorming) what if I take out all the gravel, bake it and leave it totally out of the tank for whatever time necessary (maybe until we move), vacuum the bottom and bleach the plastic plants and ornaments (put them back after dechlorination for the babies and hiders)and do daily 10-20% vacuumed water changes for awhile? Plus feed everyone the medicated food.

I do realize that your treatment would be much easier on me, faster, and most likely cheaper, but I need reassurance that it is better for my fish in the long run. I've never cycled with an abundance, much less over-abundance of fish before.
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Sully
Ancient Plus
Username: sully

Post Number: 8305
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 11:35 am:       

First, you won't get rid of the problem without meds.

Second, they are very difficult to eliminate with medicated food. it is simply a matter of concentration of the med internally. not enough gets into the fish using the meds.

Third, treatments like Parasite Clear, while containing some of the requisite meds, once again come up with the problem of getting the meds, in sufficient quantity/concentration. internally, to the problem.

Finally, i used levamisole, a lot, when breeding german/blue rams. they are a rather delicate fish. I never lost one to the treatment.

It gets down to the question of losing fish, guaranteed, to the parasites. Or, running a nominal risk of losing the weakest fish to the meds.
"I usually read the obituaries first. There is always the happy chance that one of them will make my day." -- Richard Ames
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dan
Moderator
Username: dan

Post Number: 6607
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 01:05 pm:       

get rid of all the water your biofilter is in the filter. a large scale water change will not affect that.

take out all the gravel, bake it and leave it totally out of the tank for whatever time necessary (maybe until we move), vacuum the bottom and bleach the plastic plants and ornaments (put them back after dechlorination for the babies and hiders)and do daily 10-20% vacuumed water changes for awhile? Plus feed everyone the medicated food.

the parasite is in the fish, as well as the various life stages in the gravel. the ONLY effective treatment i know of for Camallanus is that outlined above. as sully said, you just cannot get sufficient meds into the fish using food.
you're never too old to have a happy childhood.
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Darby J
New Member
Username: darby_j

Post Number: 7
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 07:19 pm:       

Ok, I am now feeling a quite a bit reassured by both of you. I was thinking it would be starting over basically from scratch with new filter media too (which was freaking me out honestly).

What about remaining offspring in the media and gravel?

Do you know what that translates to in gallons off the top of your head? If not, I can look it up or get the calculator out (chemistry was about 20 years ago so it may be good to dust off my brain).

Also, when I get done with the treatment, do you think it would be okay to give babies to the fs when they get big enough? I don't want to unintentionally spread worms if some manage to survive.
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dan
Moderator
Username: dan

Post Number: 6619
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - 06:39 am:       

the nematodes will not survive the treatment. neither in the gravel, in the filter media nor in lil' fishies.
you're never too old to have a happy childhood.
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darby_j
New Member
Username: darby_j

Post Number: 2
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Thursday, March 02, 2006 - 09:55 am:       

It took a lot of detective work to find levamisole in my area, but I found one feed store pretty far out that still sells it. What I ended up with were large sheep boluses. 1 1/4 x 7/16 x 5/16 inches, buttercup yellow - .184g each, nothing on the label with what the fillers were.

Looking at previous posts I found the dose to be between 500-800mg/10g. I settled on 600mg and bought 23 pills. Then, since I had to take my dog in for a shot anyway, I had my vet look up the pills in his book and double-check my math. He thought 23 of those monsters seemed a lot for the tank too - but most will be fillers anyway.

So, I have pounded them into powder, mixed half with water, and now I am in the process of gradually adding it to the tank. I'm hoping someone will read this soon and reaffirm that 600mg/10g is an okay dose, before I put all of it in. I know how much isn't mixed with water yet so I still have time to adjust if I have to.

If 600 really isn't enough, I can trek back to the feed store. I would rather wipe them all out in one shot. Wish I had overbought yesterday, but I was fixed on the math being right and didn't think of it until much later.
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dan
Moderator
Username: dan

Post Number: 6630
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Thursday, March 02, 2006 - 12:09 pm:       

go with what you've got and see if it works. c'mon back when you know one way or the other.
you're never too old to have a happy childhood.
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cindy
Ancient Plus
Username: cindy

Post Number: 9414
Registered: 05-2003
Posted on Friday, March 03, 2006 - 08:05 am:       

STOP!

Before you dump 23 crushed pills in, isn't that going to be over 4 grams of levamisole? As in 23 X .184g each?

A milligram is a thousandth of a gram, and by my calculations, you only need 3 pills @ .184 grams each to get .553 grams, or 552 mg. Even 4 pills would be over the amount you chose, it would be 736 mg.

Or was the .184g up above a typo, and should have been .184mg, which would mean you ony have 423 mg, not as much as you wanted, or is it the total mass of the pill, not the amount of active ingredient in each pill, as I assumed?

"The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve." --- Albert Schweitzer

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Kim
Advanced Member
Username: kimrin

Post Number: 2218
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Friday, March 03, 2006 - 09:02 am:       

Hi Darby
I have heard another method using the sheep boluses is to put them in a coffee filter and then put that in your power filter. I guess that avoids having the filler get in your tank.
I haven't used that method, just heard of it.

I used roughly 2.5grams of 100% levamisole powder when I treated my 75g. That's a little under the recommended dose which would have been 3.75 but it's all I had. It seemed to work, although because of the lower dose I'm a little concerned and would like to treat again.
In any case just thought I would let you know that my fish showed no stressful reaction to it and the eggs or wigglers that my pleco had in his cave survived the treatment just fine.
The one thing I did do was take my time adding it. I dissolved the powder in about half a gallon of water and added it in smaller doses over about 3 hours rather then dumping it all in at once.
My directions also were to leave the meds in for 3 days and then do a large water change. I ended up leaving it in there for more like 7 days because I came down very sick with the flu and couldn't do it. I'm not recommending leaving it in there that long but at least it didn't appear to harm anything.
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darby_j
New Member
Username: darby_j

Post Number: 4
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Friday, March 03, 2006 - 09:14 am:       

Hm, I'm thinking you missed that I have a 75 gal tank, which is easy to do since it was only mentioned once in the top. I found the 500-800mg/10 gal figures in different posts. I arbitrarily picked 600 since it was near the lower end, but not the lowest.

You are right about the math though, I put about 4.2g in the tank. (600mg/10gal x 70gal = 4200mg divided by 184mg/pill = 22.8 pills). I took out about 5 gal for gravel and "stuff". **I just found out there is no "divided by" sign on my keyboard, just the "/". Interesting.**

It is wonderful to have found a place where people will take the time to double-check what I'm doing. I've always muddled along by myself before, making tons of mistakes along the way.
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darby_j
New Member
Username: darby_j

Post Number: 5
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Friday, March 03, 2006 - 09:18 am:       

Kim, the above reply was for Cindy, you must have been posting at the same time I was, I just got interrupted for about 10 mins, so I didn't see yours.
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darby_j
New Member
Username: darby_j

Post Number: 6
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Friday, March 03, 2006 - 09:38 am:       

I took several hours to put the stuff in too.

Most of my fish seemed to be okay, but the two algae eaters (which I found out in a different message are nasty Chinese algae eaters and are going to be leaving my tank when this is over) who are normally timid and hiding, had been darting all over the tank like crazy, and seemed really stressed, but today they are calm again and look normal. Most of my adult guppies are hanging at the very top, except for two of them that have sank to the bottom and don't look very well. They are my two oldest males.

I won't know until I catch everyone to change the tank water, but it doesn't look like I have nearly as many babies - but the water is very yellow and cloudy and most of the babies are a transparent yellow anyway.

The two worms are no longer hanging out of my female but I don't know if they drew in or were expelled.

I have been wondering if I can leave the water in until tomorrow morning because my husband will be around to help with all of it, but I don't like the guppies having to hang around the top another day.

Suggestions?
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Kim
Advanced Member
Username: kimrin

Post Number: 2220
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Friday, March 03, 2006 - 10:50 am:       

C. Harrison suggests leaving it in for three days. He's a guy from Missouri who has worked on the camallanus/levamisole thing very extensively it appears. As to his credibility I couldn't say but I haven't heard anything negative about him.

As to the stress, I should have clarified that my fish who weren't symptomatic didn't appear stressed. The fish who had camallanus worms were stressed. I guess because they're already sick and then you put meds in and that just makes them feel worse. Plus who knows what's going on with those dying worms in their little bodies....Many times the fish who are sick to the point where you can actually see the worms are not going to make it, with or without treatment. You have to treat though, to save the other fish and get the nasty things out of your tank.
I guess since you used a larger dose then I did it's very probable you're seeing higher stress levels then I did. I don't recall a yellow cloudiness in the water though, perhaps that comes from the filler in the boluses?
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darby_j
New Member
Username: darby_j

Post Number: 8
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Friday, March 03, 2006 - 01:35 pm:       

(Kim - the yellow was from the pills, they were a deep canary yellow all the way through).

I'm starting a new thread called "levamisole disaster", because it is sort of going off of the worm topic.

I will give details but my fish are in deep distress now, me too.
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cindy
Ancient Plus
Username: cindy

Post Number: 9421
Registered: 05-2003
Posted on Friday, March 03, 2006 - 03:44 pm:       

I thought since you mentioned the dose per ten gallons, you had moved them to a ten gallon hospital tank. I'm sorry for butting in...

"The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve." --- Albert Schweitzer

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darby_j
Junior Member
Username: darby_j

Post Number: 11
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Friday, March 03, 2006 - 04:47 pm:       

Are you kidding Cindy? I'm thrilled that you cared enough to check it out!!

I'm deeply regretting putting anything in now that my fish are dying - probably the fillers in the pills. Another fine mess I've gotten myself into.
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