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CThompson

Wasting and I (a possible cure?)

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I first got a fish with wasting about three years ago. It was a male Cyprichromis leptosoma "Malasa", and the previous owner said - "He's a good male, he's not hard on the girls.". It was only after some months that I realised that this fish had wasting, and had infected my other fish.

For years I have struggled on with the issue, and though I have plenty of healthy active fish, and produce many young, this issue has stayed in there hanging on to plague my fish and I.

It is my understanding that there is no one in the world who can look at a fish and say "that fish has wasting, treat it with 'such and such' and you will get rid of the problem". It has become my belief that there are a number of different things that can cause this problem, and I think that depending on what is causing the wasting, and possibly how far down the fish is on the road to wasting will determine how to treat the fish, and if the fish can be treated at all. Others are free to dispute these comments, as they are my opinion only, and it would be interesting to have some feedback to these thoughts.

It affects different species differently, and can even have different affects on the same species but different localities (for example Cyprichromis species). It can even have a greater impact on the same locality but different sex (females seem to be hit harder) and even impact differently on wether the fish is mature or a young fish (can't get your young fish to an adult size?). It can hit and kill within weeks, or may take months, but the end result is the same.

I have treated with all sorts of medication from Sterizin to Furan II to UV sterilisation (18 watt bulb rated at doing 20,000 lph, run at 2200 lph). I have gone down the route of euthanasia for any fish showing the first stages of any symptoms, but always, another would show signs of wasting, to the point I would have killed the entire school of Cyprichromis if I had continued down that road. At the end of the day, I no longer have Malasa or Mpmbwe, so the result was the same.

I have notice that Cyprichromis species are particularly susceptible, but I have also seen Altolamprologus calvis and Yellows and Cobalts for example with what looked to be wasting. I am sure a lot of people's fish will have it and they will have no idea that they do.

It can be a hard thing to pick, as the consequences of the disease has different impacts. The most common and obvious first sign is when a fish takes in food, only to spit, and race to the next bit of food, and to spit that out and race off to the next piece. If one doesn't look close enough, it looks like you have a ravenously healthy fish, it is only on a closer inspection that you may notice in fact the fish is not ingesting anything.

I have also seen a change in behaviour, in that a fish may become less active, and may become more....docile("He's a good male, he's not hard on the girls."). A loss of colour may also present. A combination of food spitting, less active and colour loss is a sure sign.

I have even seen in some extreme cases, body deformities, where when viewed from above the fish's body has been forced into an "S" shape, or when viewed from the side another fish I saw was a banana shape.

In short, it kills, can be hard to diagnose, and can take weeks or months to become fully obvious. It is also hard to get rid of.

I was speaking to a vet and was intending to bring an infected yellow in for a necropsy to see if I could get a professional to tell me EXACTLY what I could treat my other fish with. I was informed that when she has done necropsies on her own fish that she has never been able to identify anything. In the ensuring conversation, we discussed all the things that could be done to treat them, and one by one I learned that I had done it all.

It was later turning this conversation over in my mind, I thought to myself, if a fish appears not to be eating, taking food in, only to spit it out, and this fish can last for weeks/months, then perhaps there is something that it is in fact being ingested, before, during or after a feeding for them to last as long as they can sometimes do. In the past I have used medications that were applied either to the water, or added to the fish's food. When I have added it to the food I would only mix up enough to do a feeding or two, and would only use one medication at a time. So I thought to myself what I needed to do was to mix up a large batch of medicated food, with several medications, and feed that exclusively for as long as the mix lasts.

I make my own frozen food, with prawns, fish, peas, spinach and so on, so I thawed out a part, and preceded to mix in Worm Rid tablets, Reptile Worm Rid (liquid), both of which have active ingredients of praziquantel and fenbendazole. I also used Seachem's KanaPlex, three medicines I happened to still have around. I made separate batches for each medicine. The batches I mixed up were enough to last two whole weeks of 2-3 feedings per day, and that was about two months ago.

I got rid of any fish that looked too far gone before I started with this food, but some fish during the treatment spat the food out, but now, two months later I have not got a fish that is spitting.

So though it is still early days, I am really starting to hope I may have fixed my problem.

Craig

Treatment

Worm rid - 1/2 tablet per teaspoon of food

Reptile Worm Rid - no directions but keep in mind if it tastes too strong the fish may not eat it.

Seachem's KanaPlex - 1 measure per tablespoon

Edited by CThompson

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A fascinating read Craig!

Please keep us posted on the progress of your fish. There's a lot of people who would be glad to know of a way to cure this horrible disease.

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Well i hope it works out for you..

So far i have lost all but my two male malasa, and about 12 kitumbas to this, also have lost a beuscheri that was in with the kitumbas, I have also tried sooo many things to fix em up... yes it does strike the fems worse, and anything less than 6cm,

Good luck with it we need it

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Very interesting stuff. I hope this is the solution some of use have been searching for.

Thanks heaps for your story.

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Hi Criag,

Sorry to hear about your problems.

Recent fish meeting in Perth discussed parasite infetions of fish. One of our local fish pathologists attended who has done some scientific work in this area. It appears that there are some intestinal parasites that are particularly difficult to eradicate even with "appropriate" medication. Some of the cichlid species seem prone to this. Can not remember the exact names, long and scientific as you would expect. Usually diagnosable on autopsy, but you would require a fish pathologist to ID the parasite. Tends to cause significant swelling of the stomach wall with heavy infestation, so you would expect feeding problems and weight loss.

The difficulty is that so many conditions, both environmental and infective, result in the same type of symptoms. With out pathology you can never be sure what you are dealing with. In case you weren't aware, the fish need to be alive when you take them to the pathologist. Parasites leave dead fish extremely quickly and the diagnosis will often be missed.

Good Luck

Brett

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Good read, this is an issue i have come across a few times and am interested in finding out how to treat or prevent it. I hope it all works out. I will likely add this to our FAQ discussion on wasting.

Anthony

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I've noticed that wasting disease affects haps more easily than mbuna.

I've been treating the wasting in my mother in laws grow out tank for the past 3 weeks and have found a noticeable improvement of her fish after treating with 3 courses of Waterlife's Octozin tablets. I crush the tablets using a mortar and pestel then mix it with some AOA pellets prior to adding to the tank.

Prior to treatment there would be one or two casualties a week - since treatment - none so far, the fish look healthier, more energetic and appear to be gaining weight. There colours are brighter as well.

I'll try and post up a photo of them later this week.

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I have lost 5 leptosoma kitumba to wasting and just recently i started to treat the tank with garlic. Just grap a couple of cloves and mince them then throw them in a stocking and dangle in the water for a few weeks.

The 5-6cm fish that had crook backs are now straight and they are now eating again.

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All my fish are still showing no signs of wasting. A couple of cobalts I'm still not happy with, but they are breeding, so maybe they are skinny from holding.

In case you weren't aware, the fish need to be alive when you take them to the pathologist.

Thanks Brett I was aware, when you take a fish to a pathologist alive in these circumstances, it is called a necropsy

Craig

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I have lost 5 leptosoma kitumba to wasting and just recently i started to treat the tank with garlic. Just grap a couple of cloves and mince them then throw them in a stocking and dangle in the water for a few weeks.

The 5-6cm fish that had crook backs are now straight and they are now eating again.

You had leptosoma come back after they had bent backs thumbup.gifthumbup.gif

WOW hug.gif

Did you change the garlic at all through the time it was in the tank? Did the garlic go off?

Craig

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yep they came back from bent backs, looked like bananas.

I change the garlic once a week, and when i change the garlic i do a 60-70% water change.

It works great but makes your tank smell like crap!

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That is very interesting information...can you please specify the volume of the tank with respect to the amount of garlic used?

Andrea smile.gif

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I had actually used Garlic Guard as an additive to the food mix I explained above. I wonder now if it had more of an impact on the problem, than the reason it was added to make the food taste better to the fish, and to encourage them to eat more.

Two cloves to how many litres of water?

Craig

Edited by CThompson

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The tank is 4x2x20" holding around 350 liters give or take. I use 1 clove of garlic, normally one of the bigger ones which is equal to around 1 heaped tea spoon of garlic once crushed.

I first found the infomation from a USA site that talked about making garlic flake to treat internal parasites.

So far it has worked a treat with 3 showing symptoms now cured including one that as stated before had a bent back and was well and truely infected (not eating, swimming in a dogey manner, bent back ect.)

I do 60% water changes once a week and treat the tank with prime and buffer with 2 heaped table spoons of seachem tang buffer, 1 table spoon of rock salt and 1 table spoon of epsom salts.

I always gravel vac and clean the internal powerhead when doing a water change.

Other tank mates include white calvus, comps, black calvus and peppermint bristlenose.

I have lost 2 comps around 3 months ago but now all good.

Hope that helps

Nick

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So you just crush garlic and feed it to the fish? and that will cure internal parasites

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So you just crush garlic and feed it to the fish? and that will cure internal parasites

i know people use it in their home made food or frozen food to help the fish's immune system but i think nick just hangs it in his tank!

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I use garlic in my home made frozen food, and it has well known disease impacting properties. I have never considered hanging a bag from the side of the tank - maybe it’s Vampires that are causing this wasting? confused.gif

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this garlic recipe is really interesting,,i really have to try it out,,,,,i have a baby discus that is wasting away!!,,,

scarry vampire stuff!!!!

when putting the garlic in the water,should u peel the skin off the garlic?

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this garlic recipe is really interesting,,i really have to try it out,,,,,i have a baby discus that is wasting away!!,,,

scarry vampire stuff!!!!

when putting the garlic in the water,should u peel the skin off the garlic?

Just grap a couple of cloves and mince them then throw them in a stocking and dangle in the water for a few weeks.

I think that you should skin if first.

I would also remove carbon and purigen.

I have put three (1000 litres tank)cloves (little bit you break off), sliced then (opps - skinned them then sliced them), put them in a bag, and then in the tank in front of water flow. My garage smells like a restaurant!

I will try crushing it as Nick recommends with my next dose.

Craig

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I think you can buy a garlic tablet from the health food shops its had the smell taken out. thumb.gif It might be better than raw garlic or you can get the one Seachem makes that does the same thing. dntknw.gif

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I think you can buy a garlic tablet from the health food shops its had the smell taken out.  thumb.gif  It might be better than raw garlic or you can get the one Seachem makes that does the same thing.  dntknw.gif

I would stick with the real thing. Who knows what it may be (if it works) that makes it successful. Any processing may take out a essential ingredient. I can live with the smell.

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To those that may be interested, here is an update of the above suggested treatment for wasting;

All my yellows are full bodied and show NO signs of wasting. My cobalts that were also affected also show good body size, and are breeding. These two species were the main two I had an issue with particularly the yellows.

Unfortunately I have one or two (out of 15 or so) Maingano, which were okay before, are skinner than healthy fish should be.

I prepared another batch of medicated food on the weekend, and will begin dosing soon.

I tried using the garlic method suggested above, but noted no difference other than a smelly garage while I was doing it.

Craig

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Ive never heard of just putting garlic in the tank before but feeding them garlic in a food mix like craig is doing has been done by a few people before and some fish have showed signs of improvement. Peacocks seem pretty susceptable too it aswell, ive never had the problem in any of my mbuna. Interestingly though ive only ever had female peacocks do it. dntknw.gif Ive never tried it but i hear the reptile wormer works pretty well. Good luck craig Cheers Andy

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