The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged Kanamycin

Popeye Update

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Just a quick update as I’ve simply not had time to take pictures, nor get the permissions I’ve asked for.  In a nutshell, once again, we *may* have adverted a crisis.  I’ve been consulting a fish vet for the past few days, and for lack of a better way of explaining it, there are lots of things a vet would want to do to a fish in this condition that aren’t practical.  Not practical in so much as the vet I’ve been talking with is 3 hours away, and can’t be here on site to see the fish even if I could afford to compensate the vet for the trip and time combined.  The other practical issue is one of risk and probabilities; netting a fish with an infected eye is never a good idea, and as I learned, a swab of the eye would likely yield no pathogens anyways as the causative agent is probably largely internal.  Plus, if there is an ongoing infection of the eye itself, I could easily see a swab somehow popping the eye and well, making matters worse.  In the end, it is my opinion that while consulting with a vet made for a very good sounding board and gave me some new things to consider, without the direct interaction, there was little if anything different the vet would’ve had me do.  Plus, considering I was seeing some improvements as we were consulting, it’s difficult for any doctor to suggest a change if what’s being done outwardly appears to be working.  I get that, 100%.  And on the topic of prevention – minimize stress, maximize good water quality. No surprise, I’ve been doing that for years.  So I think none of us have even a guess as to why this is happening, which means that every hypothesis we’ve put forth could be valid.

So yesterday (Tuesday) was the last dose in the 5 day course of Maracyn and Maracyn II, which I ran only weeks prior for the mouth rot.  I’ve been feeding the Dr. G’s food daily; I’ve made this judgement call to feed at twice the package’s recommendation based on several things, but perhaps most importantly that the Lightning Maroon isn’t an aggressive feeder (never really has been) and thus, it’s difficult to get this fish to eat as much as  you might think it should within a 1-minute time window (as prescribed by the food’s directions).  Still, it’s important to note that this food introduces both Metronidozole and Kanamycin to the mix, and it is again reef safe as far as I can tell.

The downside here is that the Lightning Maroon’s interest in food was diminished today, so getting a fish to eat the medicated food is obviously a problem.  The pair however, has been cleaning like crazy…for all I know the pair could wind up spawning (my female Percula often has a diminished appetite in the day or tow prior to a spawn).

The actual eye – much improved and it would seem that there isn’t any vision loss.  There is still some tissue bulging out around the eye however, which made me reluctant to stop the treatment with Erythromycin and Monocycline (active ingredients of Maracyn and Maracyn II).  I’m trusting the vet on this one.

Here’s the real worry, and sadly this does make some sense.  Mycobacteriosus.  Both the female Maroon I first had so many problems with, and then the Morse-Code Maroon, basically shared similar afflictions (pop eye and mouth rot respectively) that I have encountered in none of my other marine fish.  Yes, that’s it.  NEVER.  I cannot recall ever having popeye in another marine fish here, and certainly not mouth rot.  So why would 3 out of 6 PNG Maroons be the only fish in my entire household to ever wind up with these diseases?  Well, it’s much more understandable if we view this as a pathogen that they were all exposed to before they came to me.  We know that Mycobacterium can lay dormant in fish for a long time, which could also explain why the Lightning Maroon has gone this long without issues.  If it IS Mycobacterium behind the external and recurring symptoms I’m seeing, well, that could be *it* for the Lightning Maroon no matter what I do.  It’s a very harsh theory to even consider, and even more alarming given that the theory happens to explain a whole heck of a lot of the issues I’d had, let alone also possibly explaining why these problems are isolated to a small group of fish from one species from one location, where half of them have had semi-common symptoms.

For now, please just send all those positive vibes.  The tank got a 10 gallon water change today, and hopefully the Lightning Maroon remains on the road to recovery.  Let’s get several more good years with her if we can.

I believe I shot these Sunday AM.

 

It is now Monday AM, and honestly, things are improving.  The appetite of the Lightning Maroon remains strong, which I’ve used to ensure that it continues to feed on the Dr. G’s antibacterial formula.  I should preface this by saying that the Lightning Maroon has always been a timid feeder, so food generally has to flow right by its face / into its territory for it to feed.  So I’m definitely not following the Dr. G. feeding protocol (as much as they can eat in one minute, every other day).

In talking with the man behind Dr. G’s feeds, the feeds are set up to roughly deliver a “minimum effective dose”.  In the case of the anti-parasite Dr. G. formulation (which is laced with Chloroquin Posphate), you can quadruple the feeding regime (twice per day vs. once every other day) and have no ill-effects on the fish (although the Dr. doesn’t recommend that).  Knowing how most every antibiotic is normally delivered, it honestly doesn’t make sense to dose every-other day via feed, so I’m going to feed the food once per day to maintain antibiotic levels.  It’s worth mentioning that the active ingredients in the Dr. G formula are Kanamycin and Metronidozole.

All in all, this means that I have no less than 4 antibiotics running around.  I’ve been talking with two fish vets who I’ll refrain from naming for the time being.  One has of course, expressed concern over the “shotgun” approach, understandably so.  For me, I’m thinking that the repeat of the Maracyn & Maracyn II are probably of little efficacy, but they were what I had on hand to immediately address the problem.  Still, I am more likely to credit the Dr. G’s as the moment, if only because positive progress only started being made once it was introduced to the regime starting on Saturday evening.  Still, it could be the other medications.

The main goal here is twofold – #1. effectively cure this latest round of garbage.  #2. figure out WHY it’s happening soas to prevent it.  As of Monday AM, the eye looks better (less white stuff), so maybe we will get through this latest bout again.  But I’m fully wondering what the heck is causing the fish to break down repeatedly.  Mechanical damage? Food?

Or could we even be looking at an old-age, immuno-compromized fish?  Afterall, they DON’T live forever, they are NOT immortal.  Could it simply be that the Lightning Maroon is an older fish, nearing it’s time, and all my drastic measures are simply staving off the inevitable?  I hope not.

Despite all this, the male is cleaning the tile like crazy.

 

A Morse Code Update

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- …. .   — — .-. … .   -.-. — -.. .   — .- .-. — — -.   .. …   …. .- -. –. .. -. –.   .. -.   – …. . .-. . –..–   -… ..- -   – .- .-.. -.-   .- -… — ..- -   .- -. — – …. . .-.   .-.. . … … — -.   .. -.   .–. .- – .. . -. -.-. .   .- -. -..   ..-. .-. ..- … – .-. .- – .. — -.

OK, seriously though, the rest of the post will be in plain English ;)

I’ve discussed the problems facing the “Morse Code” Maroon with Christine Williams and Boomer.  Both often make a reference of Edward Noga.  As you know, I’ve been treating the Morse Code’s mouth rot with Kanamycin.  From Christine, the dosage of Kanamycin for fish is “50-100 mg/liter every 3 days for 3 treatments with a 50% WC before each”.

As you know, I’m using Kanamycin powder from National Fish Pharmacy (www.fishyfarmacy.com).  Both Christine and Boomer have suggested that the dosage on Kanamycin may be “low” compared to that recommended by Noga.  So I sat and “did the math”.

I’m using their consumer packaged Kanamycin, which is called “Kana Pro”.  From their website, the dosage is 1/4 teaspon per 20 gallons of water.  Treat every 24 hours with a 25% water change before each treatment.  Treat for 10 days.  For tuberculosis, use for up to 30 days.

The entire package of Kana Pro is 20 grams, and treats 640 gallons at their dosage rate.  Per their dosage, that works out to 1 gram (1000 mg) treating 32 gallons of water (121 Liters).  This works out to roughly 8.25 mg per L per day.  If I went to dosing every third day at that level, it amounts to roughly 25 mg per L.  This is basically half of Noga’s minimum dosage.  Of course, I simply also need to mention that other experts give dosages lower than Noga, i.e. more in the range of 20 mg/L to 50 mg/L according to the sources that Boomer cited, but Boomer was quick to add that often times, the dosage for a medication in saltwater can be as much as twice that in freshwater.  That could easily account for a disparity between Noga and the other references, specifically if Noga is talking marine and the others were talking fresh!

So far, at best I was only at the absolute bare minimum therapeutic level for Kanamycin based on the dosage.  But then things took another bizzare turn.  Boomer noticed it, credit where credit is due.  National Fish Pharmacy sells both Kana-Pro (hobbyist packaged product) and bulk Kanamycin Sulfate powder.  20 Grams of Kana Pro sells for $14.  25 grams of bulk Kanamycin Sulfate sells for $35.  The net result – Kana Pro sells for about 50% of what the bulk product sells for.  WHY?!  Even more curious, the package of Kana Pro says right on it “Pure kanamycin sulfate powder – no inert ingredients added”.

While I have not found the time to contact National Fish Pharmacy to ask about this very peculiar discrepency, it is certainly suggestive that the hobbyist-packaged Kana Pro cannot be the same thing as the Kanamycin Sulfate that our published experts are referring to when they talk about dosages.  At best, it may be that the bulk Kanamycin Sulfate is a higher GRADE and thus more expensive.  At worst, the Kana Pro could very well be a diluted form, perhaps mandated as such by the FDA for “home use” (this is purported to be a FDA-Approved product).  In the worse case scenario, could it be that the “Kana Pro” is diluted by 50% or more (would clearly justify costing half as much!)?  The real implication, when you follow it through, is that if Kana Pro is 50% or less of the active ingredient, then the labeled dosage might not be just “half” of Noga’s minimum dosage, but 25% or lower of the minimum suggested dosage by Noga.

And we wonder why medicating fish is a “complicated” issue!  Well, after 3 doses following the instructions, I had seen no results.  Once Christine, Boomer and I had these conversations, I took it upon myself to immediately DOUBLE the volume of dosage of Kana Pro I was using.  Based on all the information I had at hand, it seemed to be a safe and likely necessary step.

On Tuesday, I took another step – I swabbed the fish.  The plan was to send a sample to Christine for culturing / identification.  Obviously, if I we can figure out what exactly is going on, we have a better chance to treat it.  If nothing else, we may be able to put a real label on these photos and say “here’s a known case of X infecting a Maroon Clownfish”.  Of course, I missed the post office, so the package went out Wed and should arrive Friday.  Obviously, answers will not be immediate.

It is now Thursday night, and for the past 3 nights I’ve been using the doubled dose of Kana Pro.  The verdict? Let the pictures tell you:

It is pretty clear to me that Kanamycin, even at the doubled dosage, is having NO affect on this infection.  My plan now has been to abandon this (as I’ve used almost an entire package with no results now).  Around 8:00 PM I placed a large back of fresh carbon in the filter.  I’ll followup with a larger partial water change as well, and probably by midnight, I’ll be using a different medication.  Looking at what I have on hand, and what has more often succeeded than failed, it will probably be Maracyn SW (Erythromycin).  I believe I also have Maracyn Two SW (Monocycline) running around.  I believe I can even tag-team these two medications by using them together, hitting both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria respectively.  Given that Kanamycin treats gram-negative bacteria primarily, the use of Monocycline with Erythromycin may be unnecessary, but at this point, what’s a guy to do?

…is that life has a way of giving you a nice smack in the face, aka a “reality check”.  The old phrase “don’t count your [clownfish] before they hatch”  seems to apply here.

I alluded to it at the end of my last post.  Yes, the “Morse Code” Maroon is having issues…it showed signs almost immediately and 24 hours in I made the decision to move it into another empty tank and begin treatment.  Not having the benefit of a laboratory, nor the luxury of a vet, I was forced to make a rapid guess and hope I was right.  Time this weekend has been nonexistent (a visit to see my best friend who lives in DC, then a car was hit on the street, and a family member was put under and had surgery today, doing well thank you) but I’ve at least been staying on feeding and treatment regimes.  Here’s where the Morse Code Maroon went…

So what exactly is wrong with the Morse Code Maroon?  I’m not 100% sure, but I did notice what looked like “rawness” on the mouth when the fish was released.  The pictures from that evening don’t really show it.  24 hours in, the mouth had turned gray and was showing signs of erosion, and so, the fish was moved.  Here’s what I was looking at.

For the moment, I’ll just use the generic term “Mouth Rot”, which really describes only a symptom, something that could be caused by a myriad of possible vectors.  As I stated earlier, not having a lot of time to diagnose and collaborate on this one, I went with Kanamycin, which I had on hand from the “lost shipment” when I was trying to switch antibiotics on the original female PNG Maroon.  As an “shotgun approach” antibiotic, it was the recommendation of at least a couple of the project advisors earlier on.  I figured, why not?  Christine Williams and Boomer both definitely preferred it over my personal default, Erythromycin.  Seems that Kanamycin is not that easy to find, but this is the one I’m using, from FishyFarmacy.com.

Today, I have to say I’ve not seen any signs of improvement.  No, things appear to have gotten worse.  Let the pictures speak for themselves:

Add on stringy feces, decreased activity, and the possibility of Brooklynella showing up (can’t say yet) and this fish is arguably going downhill fast.  Tonight is the 4th of 5 scheduled doses of Kanamycin.  I’m going to do it, but if time permits over the next 24 hours I’m going to solicit for opinions and do the researching I can do.  Need to turn this fish around, FAST!  I have a feeling I’ll be switching medications tomorrow.

So, lacking anything else worthwhile that I could really do to help this fish along, I turned to the group of advisers. I had my own ideas, but when I approach this group of people, I’ve learned I may get better advice if I hold my own ideas back and simply come as a blank slate. Generally, what I’m looking for is one of two things. #1. Consensus among the adviser’s advice and/or #2. Confirmation of my own plans by seeing my own ideas show up independently from one or more of the advisers. Needless to say, the advisers often disagree, or offer their own twists on a general premise. Some say nothing unless inspired to action by something specific.

When it came time to bounce the latest twist off the advisers, Boomer was the only one who came back with straight up “here’s what I’d do”. It just so happens that on this one, Boomer happened to mention a lot of the same things I was already thinking.

In looking through my medication arsenal, I had a feeling that sooner or later, the Methylene Blue would be called upon. It is something I ordinarily keep on hand as it has MANY uses. Ironically, when I told Mark Martin to not worry, that I had a fully stocked medicine chest on hand, one of the first things that came up early on in this project was of course, Methylene Blue. And of course, it, along with Malachite Green, were nowhere to be found. My best guess is that when we moved from Chicago to Duluth, I must have tossed them out (probably not wanting to risk the leakage of MB and MG onto anything/everything we owned!).

Well, since realizing I didn’t have it, I picked it back up. Tonight, it got used. Lacking any other real antibiotic to throw at the eye infections on the female PNG Maroon, interim treatment with Methylene Blue seemed like something that at best, could not hurt. It may not HELP, but certainly would not hurt.

Given that the female is LOVING her RBTA, as well as the fact that MB would kill off the Caulerpa in the tank and likely any other algae grown, as well as some or all of the nitrifying bacteria, my decision was to apply MB as a dip. I honestly wanted a “longer” option, but Kordon’s dosage instructions were clear. If under “constant treatment”, dosing to 3 ppm MB is recommended. For a DIP however, the treatment is 50 ppm of MB for 10 SECONDS.

Honestly, 10 seconds seems like it’s too brief to really do anything, but lacking any other solid dosage alternatives (i.e. dose at X ppm for a 30 minute dip), I went with 50 ppm for 10 seconds.  In a nutshell, did the math to figure out how much Methylene Blue it’d take to get 50 ppm in 1 gallon of water (it turned out to be around 8.3 ml).  Measured out 1 gallon of water from the tank into a 5 gallon bucket.  Added the MB (did 8 ml).  Set aside another Quart of tank water for a RINSE to be used AFTER the dip.  Netted the fish off the RBTA and dipped it for 10 seconds (counted in my head).  Pulled the net out of the dip, and poured the rinse water over the fish (soas to keep MB from getting back into the tank) and returned the fish to the tank.

On the upside, this was a VERY quick procedure.  My understanding is that I can probably do this treatment twice daily.  Given that I may simply be UNABLE to get an alternative antibiotic tomorrow unless the Kanamycin shows up, I will probably do this dip again tomorrow.  If I do, I’ll take some pictures of the procedure.

Hoping to save her good eye…

So, after last night’s update, I went downstairs and gave the fish a closer look and that’s when I saw something I really didn’t like. The female’s right eye was distended and had a big black splotch on it. There was not a spot of Cryptocaryon on her, which was the “moment” I had been waiting for to move her from the 20 long into her 10 gallon “recuperation” tank with a Red Bubble Tip Anemone that I got from Jim Grassinger. So, I did an abbreviated quick drip acclimation and moved her in. I called it a night.

This morning, well, it’s been chaotic around here. We were supposed to close on a new home on Friday and move this weekend. The seller screwed things up, so closing on Friday didn’t happen. I’ve been working all weekend in the hopes that I could trade the weekend workdays for days off next week (overall, I work for a very understanding and easy going guy who “gets it”. I cannot tell you how lucky and appreciative I am for that). Well, today my wonderful inlaws came over and helped move most everything into 3 trucks and a 17′ UHaul. The fish will all get moved later this week.

I say all this, because it explains why I’ve not been paying closer attention to things. I.e. not noticing that the Kanamycin, which should’ve been here Thursday, was still not here by Saturday. I know the Maracyn SW had not been working for the female’s eye troubles, but I’ve been stuck without any good options to treat it with up here in Duluth. There are NO pet stores open on Sunday in the Duluth region that carry ANY medications. In fact, there’s really only one pet store in the area that does, and they didn’t have Kanamycin. Yes, there are potentially other medications I could try in the interim, so it is my fault for waiting for the Kanamycin to arrive and not having a plan B already in place.

Well, after ignoring my fish most of the day, I went down to check in on the female. It appears to me that her right eye has now ruptured. There’s no coming back from that…this fish will be blind in that eye if that eye even remains. This is a great disappointment, ESPECIALLY because circumstances out of my control have now prevented me from giving her a treatment that could have prevented this. I must admit it, I’m a snob when it comes to broodstock. I want them to be pristine. Not missing an eye.

Of course, really at this point all I can do is hope that the move to a different, well established tank, and the anemone, can help the fish fight off whatever infection has been setting in. If the Kanamycin shows up, I’ll be ready to dose it for sure, and maybe it’ll help. But, it may not. And this fish could end up losing the left eye too.

If the left eye goes, there’s really no use for the fish. We could talk about the ethical and moral merits of continuing to try to keep the fish going, but I’ll say it now, it’ll be time to discuss euthanasia options for this fish. A fish that’s totally blind will have an incredibly hard time living, let alone mating with anything. In the wild, this fish would’ve been dead weeks ago already.

She’s been a fighter. If she can pull through and keep the left eye good I’ll certainly keep her around. The loss of the right eye is admittedly a setback, a really disappointing blow. I did take some pictures for all of you to look at her in her new home this evening.

So, a bunch of clownfish porn this evening, because frankly, a blog is kinda boring if it’s just always text text text text text.

The female PNG Maroon is definitely doing better, yet still sick.  Still has cloudy eyes.  After I fed and shot video this evening, she got another water change with full strength saltwater, bringing the specific gravity up to 1.021 in the Hospital / QT Tank. As I’m still waiting on the Kanamycin (should show up tomorrow) I’ve opted to continue with the Erythromycin (Maracyn SW) as the cloudy eyes persist. I should say that the Fin Rot appears to have been fully treated and arrested with the treatments of Maracyn SW, and it’s interesting that the cloudy eyes developed during this second course of Maracyn SW.

The videos that follow are of some healthy clownfish eating.  Watch their behavior.  Watch how they turn, how they locate food.  Watch how far they’re willing to travel to get food and how far away it seems that they can identify food.  Compare these 3 videos of healthy clownfish to the last video, which is the PNG Maroon female.  What do you think?  Blind in the right eye?  I can’t speak about permanence, as it’s been documented that blindness can be temporary.  What I CAN say is that this fish seems much better over the last 48-72 hours at identifying food particles in the water column, which to me is suggestive that this fish was having vision problems before the cloudy eyes cropped up.

And finally, the PNG Maroon Female.

So, please post your comments – what do you think?

I know most folks are wanting to hear about the Lightning Maroon, but there isn’t much to say.  “He’s” clean, healthy, likes to eat pellet foods and doesn’t seem at all interested in the mysis and brine shrimp.  Not sure what’s up with that, but I’m chalking it up to him being ticked he’s in a breeder net.

The female PNG Maroon continues to be perplexing, but I think we’re getting a clearer picture.  I am now thoroughly convinced that she is currently blind in her right eye.  Remember early on, she had a slight case of “popeye” that went away.  And now, more recently, her right eye went cloudy first, and now both are, with the right being far more severe.  And all along, when the female was feeding, food would have to bounce off her face practically.

Well, when I fed brine and mysis (soaked in Reef Plus and Garlic Guard) today, she’s up, swimming in the water column, again picking off food.  But she only picks off food that is on her center to left field of vision.  And she turns left about 80-90% of the time as she swims through the tank.   This is very convincing behavior that at this point in time, she cannot see out of her right eye.

Of course, it’s concerning that she seems to perhaps be recovering some of her vision, yet her left eye is now cloudy too.  Assuming this is bacterial, Maracyn SW is not looking very effective against it.  However, I do have Kanamycin on the way, thanks to Christine William’s strong suggestion (echoed by several others).  So, I may continue to h0ld this fish in QT to treat it with Kanamycin to see if I can’t fix up whatever infection is now causing the cloudy eyes.

Oh, and the last thing I should mention is that she has another slight case of Crypotcaryon…just a few specks.  I should be able to get that taken care of when I move her, just need to do it at the right time.

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