Figure 8 - Scratching decor (Ich or Parasites treatment)

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Figure 8 - Scratching decor (Ich or Parasites treatment)

Postby bobesku on Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:07 am

Hi, greetings from Romania (Europe). I`m having some problems with my new pal, Puffini. He`s an 1 inch tetraodon biocellatus (figure 8 puffer) and he's scratching on the decor and on glass more than normal. Every now and then this thing happens, but not all the time. I have experience with other fish and I`m pretty sure this is not normal, either parasites or Ich.

Let me respond to the standard questions first:

1. Ph 8, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0.025, Nitrates below 10 and SG 1.005 ( I know nitrates are a bit high, but this tank is freshly cycled with used filter medium from my cichlids tank, and live bacteria from Prodibio - european stuff - same like your BioSpyra). Now, the tank is ending its mini-cycle, but values are tested daily and I`m using reputable (JBL and Sera brands, again European stuff) drop tests for all these values.

2. Tank size is 21" long with 13" wide and 14" tall. aprox 18 gallon. Species only tank with JUST the puffer. Fine sand substrate, couple of rocks and cured (boiled, water baths several days) driftwood/branches.

3. Feeding: frozen blood worms, frozen mussles, frozen cyclops, frozen whole shrimp, live snails (my own breeding tank, snails are here for more than 2 months, no new comers, disease free). Sometimes he gets couple of NLS Cichlid Formula granules and vitamins in his frozen food. I feed him 2 times a day, lightly, his belly just a bit round. His belly does not get sunken between feedings, but gets flat. WC schedule: 40% at every 3-4 days with prepared water using marine salt at appropiate temperature and SG. Now, I am using a floating hydrometer, and I hope the values are not that inaccurate compared to a refractometer.

4. Nothing changed drastically, just water from water change, but I feel his scratching has increased.

5. Aquarium has less than 20 days. Cycled with used filter medium (ceramics) from my 1 year established cichlid tank and using a BioSpira equivalent that really works here in Europe, although quite expensive.


Now, back to my problems. I do not see any Ich-like signs on his skin, but he's scratching, and the gills are a bit more opened (color normal) and the breath rate is increased.

My question is: should I start a treatment with heat and salt for Ich and check for improvements, or start with Parasites treatment? I do not like the idea of adding chemicals to his tank and I would prefer to start an Ich treatment with raised temperature, but considering that high temps would increase his metabolism should I be worried about parasites, in case I`m wrong and there are parasites.

Or it may be the effect of the 0.025 NO2 (Nitrite) but this values is considered to be quite low and not that toxic to a fish...

Besides this scratching, he`s quite okay, greeting at the glass, following me with the look and eating normal.

Thanks for your help,
Bobby

PS His tank looks like that -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUMXpcxUI7U Well that was filmed 2 weeks ago, I have added another cured driftwood like that and increased his so-called hiding places, but he`s always at the glass when I`m around begging for food. :D
Last edited by bobesku on Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Figure 8 - Scratching decor (Ich or Parasites treatment)

Postby Pufferpunk on Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:47 am

Nitrate <10 is not high for a BW tank, it's perfect! You have plenty of salt for treatment, I'd just raise the temp to 84F.
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

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Re: Figure 8 - Scratching decor (Ich or Parasites treatment)

Postby bobesku on Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:44 pm

Hi PP, thanks for your quick reply!

Sorry for confusion, just wanted to say nitrites earlier, but I`m pretty sure the values are ok, and it's just the fish in trouble.

I just want to be sure of one thing, before starting the treatment. If I treat for Ich with high temp, and let`s say my so-called diagnosis is wrong and Puffini has parasites. Would this cause further stress to him, maybe the parasites could affect him more because of his increased metabolism from high water temp?

LE Just made another set of tests: Ph 8, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0.025-0.03 (increased maybe just a bit, hard to say precisely with these color test kits!), Nitrates close to 10, KH (Carbonate hardness) 10, GH (General hardness) 9. Salinity is 1.005.
Puffini is looking at me right now, and seems okay. I have changed 30% of the water after these tests, and prepare to make a final decision - Ich or parasites.
As far as I can see he is not scratching that often, but has a few bursts when it happens, and it seems he is scratching his gills. Forgot to mention, the water temperature! :D Well it`s 79 degrees, Fahrenheit.
Could it be that nitrite is affecting him? I must admit I`m used to hardy lil fellows like my Malawian cichlids.

LE2 You people say 84 degrees Fahrenheit for this treatment, this is almost 29 degrees Celsius. When I`ve had Ich (usually from new comers, happened to me once in my african cichlid tank) I got the temp up as high as 30-31 degrees Celsius, which is about 88 Fahrenheit, for the first 2 days then got down to say 85 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 weeks, all these measured with a glass termometer that sits near the bottom to measure the coolest temp. What I wanted to point out is that you might have a softer strain of Ich, here if you do not get to 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), it may survive :shock:
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Re: Figure 8 - Scratching decor (Ich or Parasites treatment)

Postby bertie 83 on Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:24 pm

You should not be showing nitrite though. I would do a waterchange. What does your tap water test at?
It's amazing how easy maintenance is. If done regularly and thoroughly
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Re: Figure 8 - Scratching decor (Ich or Parasites treatment)

Postby bobesku on Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:21 pm

I made 2 water changes today, I think it`s enough :D Will do another one tomorrow (it's nighttime here and I want to keep an eye on the puff).

I know that in an established tank, the nitrite is the lowest color in the color charts of my drop tests, but as I`ve said, the tank has been cycled quickly but still the so called cycle is in its ending phase. I think the bacteria that converts nitrite to nitrate is moving slower than on FW tanks. All this time I have measured daily and the nitrites never got past 0.05, and that happened in the first 3 days and I did 50% water changes daily. Then never got past 0.03. The used media and the added bacteria really helped. I think in a week it should be okay. So yeah, I`m in a middle of a mini-cycle! But monitored closely as I have the opportunity to sit near my tanks all day, as I`m doing my job, remotely :D Lucky me, lucky Mr Puffini.

The tap water is quite good here, our city is not using chloramine for a start. There are lots of people here that never use a water conditioner like Prime, and still have happy healthy fish. No detectable ammonia, or nitrites! Nitrates, are really low, below 2ppm. There are some drop tests that do not detect the nitrates from the tap, must be those drop tests used in planted tanks with high accuracy on the low scale. The ph is 7.3-7.5, the KH is 8 and GH 7.
Now, in my case, I use 2 filters inline mechanical and carbon to purify the water before it gets in the container where I do the salt mixing for the puff. But on my other tanks I put the water directly in the tank, after passing these filters, and no issues. See them at 1:26 when I change water in my african tank here -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0ATihTihX0 Carbon is changed at every 4 months, although the producers say it is safe for 6 months or 10000 liters.

So, I think I will search a local brand that is used for Parasites as well, something that should contain Praziquantel and Metro.
Tomorrow I will start to increase the temp and see how it goes.

Anything else I should be aware of? I`m really new into puffers. And I really-really like Puffini! :)
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Re: Figure 8 - Scratching decor (Ich or Parasites treatment)

Postby Pufferpunk on Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:58 pm

IDK how your LFS could test nitrite that low. What test kit are they using? You really need to purchase your own. ;)
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Re: Figure 8 - Scratching decor (Ich or Parasites treatment)

Postby bobesku on Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:05 am

Hi PP, I have not heard of any LFS doing water tests here. We are on our own.
As I have said, I have my own test kits, drop tests. The 0.03 NO2 value is my own estimate.
See the pics below, it's just between 0.025 and 0.05 :)

Image

Image

The drop test is made by JBL, german company ;)

Now, you got me started :D So here it is - my "candy store". These are my supplies of tests, medications and stuff, inside my african chiclid tank cabinet (right side); cause on other side I have a bigger canister monster! 8) These cichlids do not go light on filtering capacity, big poopers, big fish and very active.

Image

Also, Mr Puffini is greeting everyone on this forum. He promised that would do his best to fully recover! :lol:
Image

Image

Image

Now the only thing left is for me to appologise for the image quality, my phone is not that good at taking pictures.

LE I have started the heat treatment, and the temp has been raised in about 6 hours to 82 degrees, still needs to get to 86. Puffini is okay, scratching sometimes, but active, eating.
I have not found yet something similar to Jungle Tabs and I`m still searching. Just in case.
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Re: Figure 8 - Scratching decor (Ich or Parasites treatment)

Postby bobesku on Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:52 pm

Hi, just a quick update. The heat treatment improved Mr. Puffini`s condition - no more scratching. Now, I`m still continuing with this treatment for another week to make sure the Ich is more than dead. My friend is always at the glass, begging for food, and very active. :)

Thanks for your advice and for the fact that you are the greatest resource for these wonderful fish.

Happy puffkeeping to everyone! :D
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Re: Figure 8 - Scratching decor (Ich or Parasites treatment)

Postby Flutter on Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:01 pm

That's great news :) It's best to continue treatment for 2 weeks or so after the last spot has disappeared. It's primarily a gill parasite so just because we can't see it doesn't mean the fish doesn't still have a heavy infestation.
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Re: Figure 8 - Scratching decor (Ich or Parasites treatment)

Postby bobesku on Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:16 pm

No worries, I will continue with it to make a full 2 weeks.
I believe it was a gill-only manifestation, because I didn`t see any visible spots on my puff, even with the flashlight.

I`m glad that my puff is okay with this treatment. I was worried that he might have issues with the heat (and oxigen), but I have doubled my spraybar and increased surface movement and even though the temp was set at 30 degrees Celsius, there were absolutely no signs of stress.

I `ve got scared tonight cause I wanted to see him before his light went off and the puff was not around. I found him after a minute or so, he was sleeping like a puppy dog with his tail curled - soooo cute. :D

Mr. Puffini says "Good night" to everybody, or "Good morning", if that is the case :lol: Cheers.
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Re: Figure 8 - Scratching decor (Ich or Parasites treatment)

Postby bobesku on Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:10 pm

Mr Puffini has recoverd some time ago. He had internal parasites, therefore the heat treatment continued 2 more weeks then lowered just a bit the temp and I have treated him with Metro and Praziquantel in frozen food for 2 weeks, then another 4 doses at 3 days interval just to make sure!
He's healthy and says Hi to everybody! :) Enjoy the clip!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTLQAdgW59E
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Re: Figure 8 - Scratching decor (Ich or Parasites treatment)

Postby bertie 83 on Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:27 am

Lets hope he stays well for you now. Good job fella
It's amazing how easy maintenance is. If done regularly and thoroughly
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Re: Figure 8 - Scratching decor (Ich or Parasites treatment)

Postby kcartwright856 on Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:00 am

Thank you for taking such good care of that cutie! You are an awesome puffer parent!

In other news, I really like the decorating that you did in his tank! If you can get them in Romania, you can most likely tie some java fern to that driftwood in the tank and have a bit of green in there! They are said to do well in low salinity.
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Re: Figure 8 - Scratching decor (Ich or Parasites treatment)

Postby scpion on Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:12 am

Hi. everything should be fine now I guess! just wanted to add not to use a glass Thermometer in a puffer tank just in case u are using one. they will break the darn thing.
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Re: Figure 8 - Scratching decor (Ich or Parasites treatment)

Postby bobesku on Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:34 am

Hi, thanks for your kind words. The puff is doing alright, he`s quite a beggar.

I was thinking about adding some plants and I know a couple that may live in brackish, but still considering this. At the moment I like the bare aquascape, with just rocks and wood. Maybe adding a Wysteria or Java fern, but I`ve become paranoid about adding foreign stuff in my tanks, and I should quarantine these plants for a couple of weeks. Thinking...

Also, regarding the glass heater. It was just temporary, in fact I have taken it out. Helped a lot during heat treatment and the fact that we still had low temperatures, but now, with the spring approaching I think that a 50 Watts plastic heater will do its job - it`s already there hidden by those rocks at the back. Still, I cant help saying that I think it`s very unlikely that my little puff could break such a huge and solid glass heater! At least not at this size :)

Happy puffkeeping to everyone!
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