It’s 3:15 AM, Thursday, May 3rd, I really should be in bed, but I know folks are wanting updates
Monday, April 30th, 2012
By Monday, it seemed that nothing was progressing, and towards the evening, the slightly more “bold” Lightning Maroon personality had returned. I did a 5 gallon water change and once again dosed the tank with both Maracyn and Maracyn II, both the marine / saltwater formulations.
It is interesting to note that I had a loss by this point – an Acropora frag that had been browned out for months, and had a little bit of cyanobacteria growing on it, well, that coral kicked the bucket during this treatment. IRONICALLY, it almost appears as if the Pink Birdsnest and Sour Apple Birdsnest are showing more intense coloration than ever…could be the water changes, could be something in the medication…hard to say at the moment. But I really want to hit home the efficacy of these two anti-bacterial products and their very apparent relative safety in reef tanks. Hobbyists are always scrambling for reef-safe medications, and in this case, I think you have very safe anti-bacterial agents to treat suspected bacterial infections in a reef tank. IF you must.
Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
Officially a crazy day in the Pederson household. By this point I was probably telling those who inquired privately that I was slowly gaining optimism that my course of treatment had been effective. Overall, I barely looked at the tank though other than to treat it.
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012.
Another day of simply being very busy and stretched thin…our first summer-like day in Duluth had me spending most of my freetime in the afternoon trying to do some much needed outdoor work in the wind of opportunity that presented itself. Plus I’ve been busy with my work on the Banggai Rescue project. I did take a quick peak at the Lightning Maroon and dare I say it, it does appear that the infected areas of the maxillary are possibly even healing? It could quite well turn out that the fish may not lose the maxillary as I had feared, and quite possibly, it may not even be scarred when it’s all said and done?
Before I knew it, 2:00 AM had already arrived and I had neglected to treat the Lightning Maroon. So I did a 5 gallon water change, and treated the tank. According to the manufacturer’s recommended treatment regimes, I’ve gone one extra day with the Maracyn and have completed the Maracyn II treatment course as well, albeit slightly late there at the by about 12 hours!
So what’s next?
The biggest question at the moment is whether I continue to treat with the antibiotics. Instructions on the packaging say to treat for 5 days even if symptoms disappear. But what if maybe they haven’t? Do I keep going? I may make some calls, ask around, or just by myself personal comfort time by going yet one more day. Afterall, there are diseases in humans that we have to treat with 30-day long antibiotic courses – I absolutely do not want to stop prematurely.
I obviously owe you all pictures. That will be on my to-do list for tomorrow when I wake up.
The long-term question is how do I prevent this from recurring. The concern is that while I perhaps got lucky and made the right decisions this first time around, if it comes back, it may be harder to treat (due to built up resistance). Obviously these fish already receive the most attention in the house most days, and are always the first to receive care and maintenance. And yet I still had a problem with a bacterial infection.
Most of the time, we think of bacterial infections as being caused by poor water quality. But the reality there is that I maintain close to sps-level water parameters, have a good skimmer, etc. So what could be going on here?
One of the things that had occurred to me is my use of very low-level vodka dosing. We know that carbon-dosing elevates bacterial populations and in doing so, helps “bind up” our nitrates in the actual bacterial mass. But could the carbon-dosing also cause elevated levels of pathogenic bacteria, and have indirectly caused this to happen? Obviously I’ve stopped vodka dosing during the entire treatment because I don’t have any effective skimmer at the moment (treatment with these antibiotics causes the skimmer to go truly haywire..I’m just letting it all spill back into the tank). My vodka dosing was at extremly low levels (1 drop per day) but still, maybe that was too much.
Of course, the above is entirely conjecture, just a hypothesis at best. The other possible things to look at IS the introduction of the tile. I have legitimate concerns that the Lightning Maroon perhaps damaged its mouth when trying to evict the tile from its territory. If in fact the tile was indirectly related, I am hoping that its ongoing presence has simply become accepted, and thus, will no longer cause violent objections to its presence in their territory.
And then there’s another thing we must consider. As with all wild caught fish, we have no clue how old they are. In the case of a Clownfish, I recall reading scientific documentation of a wild-caught Percula being 32 years of age. Most probably live far less, but still, if you live your life as a male, and your female lives a long time too, well, you stay small and live a long time. It is quite possible that our Lighting Maroon could be 5, 10, 20 years old already. There is, quite sadly, the possibility that the Lighting Maroon *could* already be old, and thus, could be slowly starting to slide downhill. Let’s hope it never comes to that, yet it is inevitable that sooner or later, the Lightning Maroon IS going to die. Realistically, odds are more likely that the Lightning Maroon was perhaps on the younger side of things, but then again, you don’t really know. When she does finally pass on, I’ve already committed to contributing her to scientific research.
So that’s where things stand. Please keep sending the well-wishes, as I am not going to make George W. Bush’s mistake and declare “mission accomplished” just yet.