The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged Mardel

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.

 

I promised photos, and I took them.  I ended up not doing any subsequent antibiotic treatments, so I basically ran one day longer with the Maracyn SW than called for, and Maracyn II went the full course.  I didn’t have a very cooperative photograph subject, but these photos of the Lightning Maroon were take on Thurdsay, May 3rd, 2012.

Lightning Maroon Clownfish

Lightning Maroon Clownfish

You can see the difference in the right upper maxilary…certainly scarred at this point, but not the raging infection.  And the appetite returned.  Plus, on Friday, the Lightning Maroon saw fit to go on a rampage of the sandbed, moving Goniopora and other corals around that had been left alone for months.

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.

 

So as it stands, the Morse Code Maroon Clown, the largest one that was shipped, got Maracyn SW last night after a 50% water change.  That seems to have had no affect.  So tonight, lacking guidance and having a bit of desperation based on the ever-declining health of this fish, I doubled down and added in Maracyn II SW.  Mardel’s medications often suggest using combinations, but as it turns out, reading the details, there is never a discussion of using these two particular medications together.  I’m running out of options on this fish, and it appears the fish is running out of time.

The second largest PNG Maroon shipped has shown signs of a mild Brooklynella infection.  I hit the tank housing him with Formalin on Wed. night, and now again Friday night.  The nice thing is that after the first treatment, his appetite returned.

The remaining 3, all the smallest, have shown no symptoms of disease.  They all feed well and behave normally.  The same goes for the smaller PNG Saddlebacks that I was also shipped this time around.  I believe these observations lend further anecdotal evidence to the notion that if you’re going to buy wild caught clownfish, smaller, younger fish tend to suffer less in transit and prove more resilient.  And frankly, wanting smaller clowns is probably a better way to go when talking about wild caught fish.  Afterall, the juvenile clownfish harvested from the reef is not a large breeder, producing the future generations.  So when it comes to sustainability, it makes sense to pursue juveniles for a myriad of reasons.

The Lightning Maroon, the star of our show, remains awesome as always.

Yes, I did an emergency big water change, over half the tank’s running volumes.  Took out 10 gallons.  Why?

Well…turns out when I set up this stand of tanks, I set it up in front of a closet in the rental’s basement.  Didn’t think anything of blocking the closet…we’re not using it.  Well..turns out our main water shutoff is in that closet.  So when the plumber showed up today to fix some plumbing issues in the rental house, guess what he needed to turn off ;)

So..drain drain drain drain drain drain drain.  Slowly move the 2 tanks on the stand across the concrete floor just enough to open the closet and narrowly reach in to turn off the valve.  Then fill fill fill fill fill.  But I DIDN’T think to save any of the water I was draining.

I had water mixing up already for a regular full strength water change, but I used that to quickly add some water to the top QT tank which was running with only an inch or so.  Testing out Joe Lichtenbert’s observation that fish can handle rapid salinity changes in BOTH directions.

I got another bucket mixing at full strength, and decided I would use water from an existing tank to refill the Maroon’s QT tank.  So….5 gallons out of the SPS tank, mixed with 5 gallons of dechlorinated tap water and in it went.  Honestly, the fish seemed to like it, and it was the clearest I’ve seen this QT tank in a while now.  I don’t know where the salinity is, but I suspect it’s up a little bit more now, maybe 1.012 or 1.013.  I’ll have to check it later.  When I tested it last night, it was around 1.011, and I added maybe a half gallon of distilled water to bring it back to 1.010-ish.

The interesting part, and why I say the fish seemed to like the water change, is that the female seemed to perk up rather quickly and started snapping at bits of food in the water as it swirled around.  At least that’s what I think  I was seeing.  I can say with certainty that the fin rot has not progressed since last night.  Her appetite remains iffy, and she does seem at times to be blind.

Since I drained probably 2/3 of the water, I felt obligated to hit the tank with a fresh pouch of Maracyn SW.    So now I’m back on a morning dosing routine, which is not really where I wanted to be.  (It’s easier to feed all day, do a water change in the evening, and then dose after the water change.  Now, if I do a water change in the evening, I’m diluting overnight).

Anyway, that’s the 411 for this morning!

Back on the warpath

2 comments

Well, water change, dosage of Fish Protector and Kent’s Vitamin C.  Removal of GAC already.  Turned off the BULB on the UV but not the flow – not sure if I can run UV while using Maracyn SW.  Dosed with Maracyn SW.  The only products carried by my local Petco are “Lifeguard” and “Maroxy”.  Maracyn has been solid against this exact malady in the past when applied quickly (have seen this exactly same Fin Rot like this rampage through my Dragonette broodstock a few years back..it wasn’t pretty).  I should also mention that Maracyn SW is noted as a valid treatment for fin rot.  Anyone know the MARDEL company website?  I want to email them some questions but I can’t even seem to find a good solid contact for them.

Let’s hope this at least stalls things.  I am contemplating sequestering the Lightning Maroon back behind an eggcrate wall again – Dustin Dorton from ORA asked me about that as well this evening.  And once again, thinking about removing the Lightning Maroon from this tank…he remains a typical healthy Maroon Clown.  There is legitimate concern that leaving him in with her could cause more harm than good.  Of course, I don’t like my options for alternate homes, and there is also the concern that removing him from her would cause him to become a her

It’s funny how this all has taken precedence over any concerns about the known ongoing low-level issues with Cryptocaryon (ICH).  I’m still debating whether I should push back down to 1.010 or even 1.009 as Joe Lichtenbert has suggested.  I should point out that the better sources on Hyposalinity treatments do agree that the difference between 1.009 and even 1.010 might make the difference between successful treatment or not.  Of course, you’re riding a fine line at 1.009 where fish death is a real possiblity (if you’re refractometer is even only slightly off).

Shocked…

No comments

…that the female Maroon is still alive this morning.  I genuinely thought she was a goner.  I could say that there is growing consensus that at this point separating the female PNG Maroon from the Lightning Maroon is a good idea.  However, this notion flies in the face of “keep things stable, avoid stress” etc.  I’ve been making preparations.

The Brine Shrimp I had hatching failed yesterday (some did hatch out, but mostly it ended up being a bacteria soup, which means that bottle of decapped is no longer “good” and it’s time to order a new one…has been here at least a year, so no fault of Dan’s).  I mentioned it to the group of Advisers.  Kent Vitamin C and Live Adult Brine Shrimp arrived from Mark Martin @ Blue Zoo Aquatics this morning – thanks for the quick shipment Mark!  I’ll get that adult brine set up in a bucket and start feeding it with Rotifer Grow Plus (from Reed Mariculture / Reef Nutrition).  Vitamin C will get dosed as the level prescribed on the bottle.  Mark made a very good point about Vitamin C.  I normally use Reef Plus for vitamins, and I had suggested that I knew I could easily and safely double the dosage of that.  Mark’s point – when you get sick,  you don’t up the dosage of all your vitamins, just the Vitamin C.  Very very true, and thus, Vitamin C on hand for direct singular dosing.

Edit - I did dose Vitamin C, 8 drops into the 20 gallon tank.  The rate is 20 drops into 50 gallons daily.  There have also been concerns about secondary infections.   Christine Williams is a proponent of Kanamycin, but I am a fan of Erythromycin in the form of Mardel’s Maracyn SW.  It has worked on a myriad of occasions.  I tried it on the other QT system in conjunction with the Formalin and it stopped the bacterial problems I had once I started dosing.  Maracyn SW is also high in B-Vitamins that stimulate appetite.  I keep Maracyn SW on hand at all times.  And I’ve never killed a fish dosing Maracyn SW.  So, the 20 long got hit with Maracyn this morning as well.

Lightning Maroon was perky this morning.  Darn female…I want them BOTH perky.

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