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A ques­tion about par­a­sites and humic acid…

  • An_​Outlier
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5 years 3 months ago #4833 by An_​Outlier
Hello.

I’m new here, obvi­ously; I’ve been lurk­ing here on and off, but I have decided to make an account.

I have a par­a­site prob­lem right now in a 10 gal­lon tank hous­ing two P. anjun­ga­nen­sis and a small shoal of Boraras uroph­thal­moides (pri­mar­ily as “dither fish”). Every­one has been healthy and tank para­me­ters are up to par, but on Sun­day (last week­end) I noticed that one of the boraras had some tiny lesions/​cysts on its body. I exam­ined the other fish, and while the “Paros” seem to be fine, I had to iso­late five of the boraras because they either had obvi­ous sim­i­lar cysts/​lesions or looked like they were devel­op­ing them.

It took a cou­ple of days to iso­late all of them because the last two were very hard to cap­ture (the tank has a very com­plex hard­scape with tan­gles of moss, java fern, and cer­atopteris, plus float­ing plants), but now all are iso­lated in a “hos­pi­tal tank” and I am treat­ing them with a formalin/​malachite med­ica­tion at a reduced strength.

I am not quite cer­tain what these cyst-​like lesions are being caused by, but I am cer­tain that it is a pro­to­zoan par­a­site, because every­thing about the cysts/​lesions matches. Fur­ther­more, one of the boraras died, and prior to its death I removed it from the hos­pi­tal tank (it was the “runt” of the shoal and it had a heavy load of encysted par­a­sites rel­a­tive to the size of the fish) and took a skin scrap­ing to put under the micro­scope. Sure enough, I saw swarms of tiny organ­isms escap­ing from cysts and mov­ing about the slide in loose aggre­ga­tions.

I sus­pect that this prob­lem arose from one of two sources/​events:

1) I live in Ore­gon, near Port­land, and we had a heat wave sweep through over the last two weeks; tem­per­a­tures soared to near 100 deg. F, so I unplugged the heaters on all of my tanks to keep from over­heat­ing the fish. The heat wave then sub­sided, and after it appeared to have gone I plugged the heaters back in, but the water still cooled to roughly 7172 deg. F for a short time. If the par­a­sites were already in the water, this may have reduced the immune activ­ity in the fish just enough for them become infected.

2) I recently (about a week ago) pur­chased some Cer­atopteris pterid­ioides plants from a new aquar­ium shop that opened up very close to my house. The shop is run by a highly rep­utable fel­low who has been active here for quite some time, and there were no fish in the tank with the plants, so I thought noth­ing of quar­an­tine. Given the cur­rent time­line, it seems pos­si­ble (unfor­tun­tately) that I acquired the par­a­sites from these plants.

In either case, I have no guar­an­tee that the tank (cur­rent occu­pants are now three boraras and the two Paros) is parasite-​free. I recently pur­chased a bot­tle of peat extract from a gar­den shop in the hopes of using it to help keep the water con­di­tions I need going, and I decided to refresh my mem­ory about humic acids here:

www​.skep​ti​calaquar​ist​.com/​h​u​m​i​c​-​a​c​i​d​s

This arti­cle men­tions the fol­low­ing in the third para­graph:

“humins affect the cycling and bioavail­abil­ity of chem­i­cal ele­ments; they repress many bac­te­r­ial pop­u­la­tions and affect the zoo­plank­ton: acidic black­wa­ters rich in humic acids have char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally low pop­u­la­tions of bac­te­ria and a depau­per­ate zoo­plank­ton.“

Since com­mon pro­to­zoan fish par­a­sites have a free-​swimming stage that needs to attach to a host (plus another stage that rests on the sub­strate or other solid sur­faces), and one could con­sider the free-​swimming stage zoo­plank­ton (and nei­ther the substrate-​bound stage or the free-​swimming stage are pro­tected by host tis­sues), could these be sus­cep­ti­ble to a reduced pH brought about by addi­tional humic acids?

I could eas­ily bring the pH of the tank down to less than 6.0 over the course of a day or two. I have been extremely busy lately, so I have not been able to closely reg­u­late the water para­me­ters, and the pH is slighly above 6.0 and I do not have as high a tannin/​humic acid con­cen­tra­tion as I would like. The fish would obvi­ously pre­fer this, but it may be a cre­ative way for me to make life dif­fi­cult for any other par­a­sites that may be attached to fish unde­tected or hid­ing else­where.

I decided to ask this ques­tion here because this board is full of peo­ple who have to play around with humic acids by def­i­n­i­tion, and I was won­der­ing if any­one knows if they can inhibit pro­to­zoan par­a­site activ­ity in a tank with fish that pre­fer black­wa­ter con­di­tions anyway.

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5 years 3 months ago 5 years 3 months ago #4834 by Deepin peat
Hello and wel­come,

Just a first quick help.

1. Please do not use peat extract from gar­den shop unless you make sure it does not con­tain any additi­nal fer­til­iz­ers or other sub­stances. It is very likely it will not help you adjust the pH, I would assume that com­mer­cial peat extract would be buffered so that it is not too acidic. That of course means it would be use­less for bring­ing the pH down.

2. Humic sub­stances will not harm the par­a­sites, but if you use the right humic sub­stances, they will of course help the fish, lower the stress and help heal the skin. The lack of zoo­plank­ton in black acidic water is mostly caused by the lack of bac­te­ria in the first place. In case you will be forced to treat the fish, avoid using med­ica­tion that con­tains mala­chite green in acidic water. The tox­i­c­ity goes over the roof. I would try to use qui­nine based treat­ment. Also if you use some­thing that would truly con­tain humic and ful­vic acids or their salts, keep in mind that these humic sub­stances really influ­ence bioavail­abil­ity of many sub­stances and for exam­ple pes­ti­cides admin­is­trated with addi­tion of lig­no­hu­mate have the same effects with much lower doses. The same may apply for the treat­ment. I would like to help more but my Paro expe­ri­ence is not exten­sive enough + even thought I have pretty exten­sive expe­ri­ence with other black water species I never had to treat any of them for exter­nal par­a­sites. Most of my other species are extremely sus­cep­ti­ble to com­monly used treat­ments and I just have to be very care­ful to not get in such sit­u­a­tions. Also “humic sub­stances” are super com­plex topic and we know very lit­tle about them, besides their pos­i­tive effect on plants and ani­mals. I think Peter and Bernd will be able to give you more prac­ti­cal advice with regards to pos­si­ble treat­ment.

3. In case you want to have other fish with Paros, go for some really black water Boraras species, uropthal­moides are not the case and you keep both fish in bor­der­line con­di­tions. One more advice if you do not mind. Never trust any fish or plants no mat­ter how famous and known is the breader. As it is with humans, some pop­u­la­tions are highly sus­cep­ti­ble to cer­tain viruses, bac­te­ria and par­a­sites, some are not or not nearly to the same extent. The fact that you have not seen fish in the tanks does not mean that they were not in there short time before and these do not have to be fish, for exam­ple snails are car­ri­ers of many dis­eases trans­mitable to fish. Quar­an­tine every­thing always.

In fact, every­thing we know is only some kind of approx­i­ma­tion, because we know that we do not know all the laws as yet. There­fore, things must be learned only to be unlearned again or, more likely, to be corrected.Richard P. Feyn­man
Last edit: 5 years 3 months ago by Deepin peat.

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5 years 3 months ago #4839 by Bernd Bus­sler
Replied by Bernd Bus­sler on topic A ques­tion about par­a­sites and humic acid…
Yes I agree with you, snails can trans­mit dis­eases, liv­ing in black water hardly snails and other micro-​organisms have it too hard. I have not yet lost no Paros by par­a­sites, rather byre­act­ing and injuries while catch­ing out even though I sev­eral times a week, my own food which also include native fish catch in dif­fer­ent waters. Paros are in good care really tough and more likely to die of old age as from dis­eases. :)

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5 years 3 months ago 5 years 3 months ago #4845 by helene
I also keep small boraras in some of my parotanks, — mostly boraras mac­u­la­tus, — and I had in one instance a ter­ri­ble out­break of some­thing which maybe resem­bles what you describe. The boraras was infected with lots of small cysts, — I actu­ally thought it was ‘ick’, — and I remem­ber it came after a change in tem­per­a­ture as well.
It was a small tank, — in fact I had one paro in it and 3 boraras. I didnt med­icate at all, mostly because I had no idea how to treat tiny fish like boraras, — I have not a lot of faith in med­ica­tion for so tiny fishes, and I was wor­ried about affect­ing the paro with med­ica­tion.
So I didnt treat, — and I did loose the boraras, — but the paro was totally unaf­fected even the out­break was very bad. The paro sur­vived and lived long after and it didnt affect any other tanks later.
It was not of course ideal not to treat, but this is the only time I have had any expe­ri­ence of this kind involv­ing both paros and boraras. Nor­mally I do not see this kind of sick­ness with any of the species.
The paros can get odinium, this hap­pens now and again, — but other sick­nesses, — it seems very rare.
Last edit: 5 years 3 months ago by helene.

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5 years 3 months ago #4846 by Bernd Bus­sler
Replied by Bernd Bus­sler on topic A ques­tion about par­a­sites and humic acid…
Now I see it like Helene, my Paros have no co-​inhabitants and I have where I usu­ally Paros seen in the 20 years no major Kankeiten unless they have become really old, then they get some­times ascites bulging eyes, or cur­va­ture of the spine, but in Age we will get the one or the other dis­ease in Paros, it is the same. Oth­er­wise, they really are not sen­si­tive and are more tol­er­ant even in water val­ues, unless you want to breed, then you need one or the other kind of a lit­tle more attention.

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5 years 2 months ago #4929 by An_​Outlier
Replied by An_​Outlier on topic A ques­tion about par­a­sites and humic acid…

helene wrote: I also keep small boraras in some of my parotanks, — mostly boraras mac­u­la­tus, — and I had in one instance a ter­ri­ble out­break of some­thing which maybe resem­bles what you describe. The boraras was infected with lots of small cysts, — I actu­ally thought it was ‘ick’, — and I remem­ber it came after a change in tem­per­a­ture as well.
It was a small tank, — in fact I had one paro in it and 3 boraras. I didnt med­icate at all, mostly because I had no idea how to treat tiny fish like boraras, — I have not a lot of faith in med­ica­tion for so tiny fishes, and I was wor­ried about affect­ing the paro with med­ica­tion.
So I didnt treat, — and I did loose the boraras, — but the paro was totally unaf­fected even the out­break was very bad. The paro sur­vived and lived long after and it didnt affect any other tanks later.
It was not of course ideal not to treat, but this is the only time I have had any expe­ri­ence of this kind involv­ing both paros and boraras. Nor­mally I do not see this kind of sick­ness with any of the species.
The paros can get odinium, this hap­pens now and again, — but other sick­nesses, — it seems very rare.


How inter­est­ing.

I went on a long hik­ing trip not long after mak­ing this thread, which is why I have not replied until now.

I sep­a­rated all of the infected B. uropthal­moides and treated them with the typ­i­cal (at least in the US) formalin/​malachite green solu­tion so often used against pro­to­zoan par­a­sites. All of them made a com­plete recov­ery by the time I left for my hik­ing trip, and when I returned, there was still no sign what­so­ever of the cysts; they were also put into a tank already hous­ing a few Oryzias fry, and none of the fry became infected either.

I wish my micro­scope was the kind with a cam­era, but it is not, and it is also very old (man­u­fac­tured in 194648). Even with some of the upgrades I have given it, it can­not com­pete with a newer scope. The organ­isms I viewed under the micro­scope were very sim­i­lar to “ich” in appear­ance, and did not have the golden-​brown color asso­ci­ated with dinofla­gel­lates. The cysts on the fish were also much smaller than those of ich; so small that at first I thought that I was see­ing a pis­ci­noo­d­inium (“vel­vet”) infec­tion.

The Paros were not infected, although they did not take kindly to the dis­tur­bances caused by my attempts to cap­ture the boraras. I have moved the rest of the B. uropthal­moides into a dif­fer­ent tank, and I am mov­ing my B brigit­tae into that tank instead. I also bought some more keta­pang leaves before I left and added them to the tank to help restore the cor­rect water con­di­tions.

So far, every­one seems fine. Also, no wor­ries Deepin Peat: I’m fairly new to black­wa­ter fish still (com­pared to the rest of you), so I appre­ci­ate the extra information.

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