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Shrimpmaster

How to fight this single celled parasite?

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Shrimpmaster

My biggest frustration in this hobby is when a well selected colony stats dying one by one. You can't stop it. You find one or two dead a day and the rest is slowing down. Sometimes a lucky few will survive, but else the whole tank is empty within weeks or a month tops.

For long I have no idea what the cause was. It came back once a year sometimes almost struck down my whole collection. Last time I was determent to find the cause and a treatment. I believe I succeeded with the first goal, but not the second one.

I studied (like an amateur) the sick shrimp for hours with a microscope. I could not find anything in the dead shrimp (later I found out why). So I start to look at the living shrimp. I discovered what I believe a single-celled organism. It's clearly visible within the antennas of the shrimp. While comparing a lot and reading about it's behavior I'm quite convinced I'm dealing with: Chilodonella.

I've made a lot of video's, but one will explained it right away: 

I also found out why I could not spot them at first in a dead shrimp. This is because the internal fluid flow in living shrimp. They are still in dead shrimp too, but they move quite slowly. So only when I knew what they look like, I was able to spot them in dead shrimp later too.

The treatment

So how do I kill these bastards? I did some research and came up with a lot of treatments to fight them. For weeks, I tried them all:

  • Raise temp to 31c - Bad option, shimp look very sad in a corner, cancelled the treatment after 2 days
  • Salt in tank. I tried 0.2, 0.4 and even 0.6% salt. No effect. Even for more then a week, still the parasite was alive
  • Salt bath, even up to 1.5% for 40 minutes! The shrimp seem to handle it. The parasites seems to be affected by it, but no cure since the parasites were still in the tank.
  • Step up a little: PP. Dosing multiple times a day for almost a week. No effect. 
  • Chloramine-T. Also tried different dosing, multiple days. No effect.
  • Well, why not drop a bom on them? Used a medicine (not suitable for shrimp the package say!) based on Malachite Green and Formalin. Dosed first 50% as prescribed. Then 100% for 7 days in a row. Guess what, the parasites don't gave a single f*ck...

I'm out of options now. Using higher doses will kill my shrimp at once. Only 5 of the shrimp are left (of the tank that was infected and that I used the above treatment on). I feel sorry for them to trow all this mess on them. Although it does not look it affects them, it can't be healthy. The only thing is that if I did not used all this, they were dead already anyway.
For comparison: the other infected tank with 200+ PRL in it is already gone for over a month. I only added some salt in this tank to gave them some comfort and save energy with there osmosis regulation system in the hope that they could fight them on their own.

So now I'm stuck. It seems like I got the cause, but there is no way I can save them from it...

Anyone with a bright idea or experience with these monsters, feel free to give me some advice.

Maybe I'm treating them all wrong. Since it's an internal parasite, maybe I should treat them with something in the shrimp food. But I have no idea what I could use that would nog harm the shrimp, but only the parasites.

Edited by Shrimpmaster
some typo

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Zoidburg

I've never heard of parasites in their antenna. I know of the ones on their heads, but I've not heard of those ones causing death.

 

If you can get the products... Fenbendazole. This one is a dog dewormer, and in the fish would, it is called "No Planaria" or "Planaria Zerio".

 

Next option, Garlic. I don't know what the best way is to give this, or feed it, but there is a product called "Garlic Guard", and there are some foods that contain Garlic.

 

Other than that, I haven't the slightest idea.

 

It doesn't appear as if this parasite can be seen by the eye?

 

I hope you are able to find a cure.

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bluestarfish

Reading around on it says that it can lie dormant for a very long time, and it tolerates high and low temperatures pretty well. Salt Baths seem to have mixed results (better results in fish with higher tolerances, because you can use more salt), and the others like malachite green, potassium permanganate may need to be at fish tolerable strength to work? It definitely sounds like a real scourge.

 

If I were in your shoes I'd probably not restock the tank, keep taking care of whoever is left in it until they have lived out their life, and try to determine how the parasite got into your tank. Then once everything has passed on I'd tear the whole tank down and sterilize it thoroughly.

 

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Shrimpmaster
55 minutes ago, Zoidburg said:

I've never heard of parasites in their antenna. I know of the ones on their heads, but I've not heard of those ones causing death.

They 'attack' the gills according to information of fish/koi keepers. But they antenna is the perfect part to spot parasites with microscope. Since they are transparent. Also in the legs I can find them. The parasite is very small, impossible to see with the naked eye.

Thank you for your tips. I will look into these products.

 

@bluestarfish Thank you. indeed they seem to be bullet proof, also creating spores that can even tolerate much more. You are right about the restock and sterillization. But I'm so hard trying to find a solution and still have a little hope left.

 

Also I believe this parasite could be the reason of a lot of other people having trouble with their shrimp. Since it's a very clear patterns of 1 or 2 shrimp that die a day, most of the time in the morning. Dead shrimp are eaten by others, spreading the parasite? They attack the gills, this makes it also plausible why most shrimp found dead in the morning when the oxygen level is at it lowest point. Also it seems to peak above 25c, which is the ideal temperature of this parasite. It's easy to find out if you have a microscope...

Edited by Shrimpmaster
add some more info
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Mr. F
They 'attack' the gills according to information of fish/koi keepers. But they antenna is the perfect part to spot parasites with microscope. Since they are transparent. Also in the legs I can find them. The parasite is very small, impossible to see with the naked eye.
Thank you for your tips. I will look into these products.
 
@bluestarfish Thank you. indeed they seem to be bullet proof, also creating spores that can even tolerate much more. You are right about the restock and sterillization. But I'm so hard trying to find a solution and still have a little hope left.
 
Also I believe this parasite could be the reason of a lot of other people having trouble with their shrimp. Since it's a very clear patterns of 1 or 2 shrimp that die a day, most of the time in the morning. Dead shrimp are eaten by others, spreading the parasite? They attack the gills, this makes it also plausible why most shrimp found dead in the morning when the oxygen level is at it lowest point. Also it seems to peak above 25c, which is the ideal temperature of this parasite. It's easy to find out if you have a microscope...

Sorry for your trouble, but it's very interesting that it follows the pattern of death seen by many shrimp keepers. I hope you find a cure for it. Good luck!

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jayc

The usual treatments for Chinodonella are all external.

Maybe you need to find a parasitic treatment for internal dosage.

You could try soaking food in No Planaria, or  Internal Parasite Clear or maybe Tetra Parasite Guard. And half also dose the tank, slowly increasing dosage without exceeding recommendations.

 

Of course, this is only if the parasite has been identified correctly, and is not some bacteria. Though, it looks too big to be a bacteria, even under microscope.

 

Edited by jayc

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inkevnito

How common is this?

I have had 1-2 shrimps die a day over a period of two weeks already.
Water parameters have stayed the same, temperature also.

Nothing new was added prior to these deaths.
No aerosols or sprays were used.

Not sure if it was molting problems, but deaths are happening too rapidly.

 

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jayc
26 minutes ago, inkevnito said:

How common is this?

Unless we have a microscope, we will never know. As it's not visible to the naked eye.

Edited by jayc
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Shrimpmaster

 

24 minutes ago, jayc said:

Unless we have a microscope, we will never know. As it's not visible to the naked eye.

I agree. For me it was like: 'this must be it!' but we can't be sure at all unless determent with a microscope. So when I have more information and elaborated my observations, I want to check with other people. Like when someone got the same trouble, then go to them with my microscope en observe some sick shrimp. Only when I find more people with this parasite, then it could be a clue. I agree there are a thousand more disease that have the same symptoms like this.

If you have a microscope yourself, this is how I do it: I catch a slow shrimp and put in on the glass plate. I make sure there is very little water on the plate, just enough to make sure the antennas are not dry. I don't use a cover plate. Too much water makes the shrimp able to move. Then I observe the antenna's from top till the base of the head. Most of the time, closer to the head you will see more parasites. I observe no more then a few minutes and then release the shrimp back into the tank.

Thank you all for your input, it got me thinking. Indeed I'm treating them with external approach. Since I hoped that this also came into the shrimp body. But it's much smarter to find something that they will eat and is absorbed into the shrimp body. Something that will harm the parasites and not the shrimp. I will start to focus on this.

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inkevnito
45 minutes ago, jayc said:

Unless we have a microscope, we will never know. As it's not visible to the naked eye.

SCARY. My mate has a microscope, might have to borrow.

How do you go with analyzing them whilst alive? 
Put one on a tray and sacrifice its life for the rest? :(

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Shrimpmaster
16 minutes ago, inkevnito said:

SCARY. My mate has a microscope, might have to borrow.

How do you go with analyzing them whilst alive? 
Put one on a tray and sacrifice its life for the rest? :(

No see the post above. I do a catch and release. In fact, I've examine some shrimp for over 10 times. If not more than a few minutes, they will not be affected by it. When they die however, it's probably of the parasite.

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jayc

@Shrimpmaster,

have you viewed a known healthy shrimp under the microscope to compare?

Just to be sure those things floating around are not "normal" in healthy shrimp.

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Shrimpmaster
3 minutes ago, jayc said:

@Shrimpmaster,

have you viewed a known healthy shrimp under the microscope to compare?

Just to be sure those things floating around are not "normal" in healthy shrimp.

Good point. Indeed I did, although not as much as the sick shrimp. But the few I did from healthy tanks, I could not find a single parasite like this one. The antenna's and legs were clear.
I did not record one of these. Might be interesting to compare, will make a video of a healthy one some time. Also I have more videos of shrimp after different treatments, will make a compilation of this when I got time for it.

Edited by Shrimpmaster

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fishmosy

If the parasite is internal, then you have to treat it with an internal treatment. In this case, the host (your sick shrimp) actually provides a layer of protection against any external treatments (heat, salt, chemicals) - the result is that the treatment stresses the shrimp but doesn't kill the parasite. Assuming anthelmintics (the chemicals that kill intestinal parasites aka worms) will kill the parasite, you need to get them into the shrimp. Best way is to soak their food in the medicine then feed it to the shrimp. Unfortunately sick shrimp often wont feed, so it might be best to remove any shrimp that are displaying symptoms and feed the rest of the shrimp with the medicated food. Not feeding the shrimp between feeds of the medicated food will ensure they get hungry enough to eat the food even if the medicine makes it taste weird. 

External parasites are much easier to deal with because they are directly exposed to whatever you put in the water. Hence even a little bit of salt is enough to kill them whilst the shrimp can deal with the salt and survive. 

Good luck with trying to figure this out. Unfortunately even if the organisms you've identified are the causative agent for the deaths, they may be very difficult to eradicate. Think Malaria - caused by a small protozoan that is very difficult to treat because many of the chemicals that are nasty enough to kill the malaria also kill or damage the host (people). Please keep us updated with regards to how you progress. 

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jayc

@Shrimpmaster, since we are possibly dealing with flagellates, there are several medicinal options you could try. <edit> -I use the term flagellates loosely. It's more likely this organism is some form of protozoa.

Can you get Metronidazole ?

Metronidazole as prolonged bath of 0.5g / 100 liters for 3 days or

as fodder adding 0.5g to 100g food for 5 days can possibly yield success.The advantage of metronidazole is that it also acts simultaneously against anaerobic bacteria.

 

Also 'JBL Spirohexol Plus 250' or 'Sera med Professional Flagellol' are two over the shelf products that can be trialled. These are marketed for fish, but they deal with similar parasites.

I'd try it myself in the name of science, but I neither have the infected shrimps or the JBL and Sera products.

 

Do you have any updates?

Edited by jayc

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albash

Would an UV sterilsation unit works? 

How about natural food? I feed my shrimp with ginger. They dont eat it straight but same concept with indian almond leaves that they eat the algae.

All he best for trying solution mate

 

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Kaylenna
1 hour ago, albash said:

Would an UV sterilsation unit works? 

How about natural food? I feed my shrimp with ginger. They dont eat it straight but same concept with indian almond leaves that they eat the algae.

A UV sterilizer may reduce or remove completely some simple bad (and good) critters in the water column... but you'd still be left with the ones in the shrimp.  It could help with reducing spread if it's a water-borne thing.

It is very unlikely that things like ginger and other "natural remedies" would do much for you affected shrimp once they've got it.  If it works as claimed, it MAY possibly help keep the healthy shrimp healthier?  I'd certainly not count on it.

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Shrimpmaster

Thanks a lot for the answers!

So fare I'm down to 2 shrimp. I rebuild the tank and found the substrate very cloged (not sure if this is the right term). Also I found some shrimp in a healty tank that did have some of these parasites inside too.

It gives me a lot to think about. Maybe these parasites won't kill the shrimp unless they are weak. From stress of bad water params. Also the heat is over now. So warm weather (optimal condition for the parasite) + weakened shrimp = dead shrimp. Something like that. So what I also did in all the other tanks is put more effort in feeding. More variety, more constant feeding and make sure they keep eating. It looks like the are accelerating. More food makes them more hungry it seems. Maybe because their growth speed increased.

Ok that was just a side path.  

I still want to crush these parasites. I did a double dose of Malachite Green and Formalin and it seems to give them some relief for a couple of days. But still they are not gone.

Thanks for bringing op the metronidazole @jayc 
I think I can find some of it here. When I got it I will closely observe the shrimp under the microscope to see if this matter has effect. 

The story will continue...

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Shrimpmaster

Ok. I... was... wrong... 😞

 

Since I've changed the substrate, the remaining 2 shrimps still live. And they are healthy.... and one is male and one is female... and has eggs now.... 😨

So it looks like I was very wrong. I put the male under my microscope again and did find a few of the floating parasites, but this seems not be lethal. So maybe I was just looking in the wrong direction. 

Learned a lot. Maybe killed a lot of my shrimp by assuming this was the cause while it could be the bottom after all. Hard lesson, but will remember this forever. 

Still there is a small chance that the parasites are lethal when they can explode in warm weather (it's winter now around here). If so, the there will be trouble next summer. But for now, I feel I was just heading the wrong way too long.

But thanks for the help guys! Just want to let you know.

 

 

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Zoidburg

You aren't the only one suffering from mysterious deaths.


I'm in the process of re-cycling a tank. Everyone has been telling me that it's the water, the wood, the lack of stability in the tank, too many large water changes, the substrate or the tank itself. (among some other reasons) The tank has never had fish in it, I was having deaths even while using RO water, had deaths even with stable parameters, it's the same type of wood that is being used in the other tanks, there were a max of 4 large water changes done within 7 months, I have the same substrate from the same bag in another tank and I *know* it's not the water. Three tanks that all get the same water regardless of what water I'm using (remineralized tap, remineralized RO, or a mix of hard and soft tap). Only having problems in one tank.

 

I ended up moving all the shrimp to a temporary tank with "pure" tap water (no RO or remineralizers) treated with Fluval Aqua+ Plus, Mosura ShiZhen Power, Mosura Old Sea Mud Powder and Ebi-Ken Sosei. It has driftwood that has been used in other tanks, indian almond leaves and alder cones in it, all of which have been boiled. Coming up to 3 weeks in the holding tank and have had zero deaths. Previously, it was up to 1-3 deaths a week.


The tank I'm re-cycling (ammonia, nitrites and nitrates) just recently finished going through the ammonia cycle, so I hope to add the shrimp back into the tank soon. Still not entirely sure what has been causing the deaths...

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terrilee1109

You get a deformed called panacur I think it's for horses I have used it for a while now and I haven't had any issues


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

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Shrimpmaster

Yes it's frustrating. For me this parasite was like: that must be it!! And that probably had nothing to do with it was kinda bummer.

I changed my params to a little harder water and also do smaller water changes. I believe this is indeed important, specially with small tanks. Because with big water change, they are forced to molt. And somehow they die after that. Not sure why, but probably because of the premature molt. 

Great to read that the temp tank is working out! Hope the new tank will work for you. If I were you, I would do a big water change a few days before you are putting them back in (when cycle is all done and such) and then won't touch it for at least a month.

 

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Zoidburg

I can't use the tap that's currently in the larger tank merely because the water is too soft. Have to do a water change regardless using harder tap water. I've been mixing soft tap (our own tap water) with a relatives hard tap water. At minimum, it's 1 part hard tap to 2 parts soft tap, or a little more than that...


Certainly doesn't help when my SO also thinks it's a water issue (something that's "in" the water causing a problem), not realizing that our water is too soft (i.e. not enough minerals!) and he was previously keeping species that generally prefer harder water in the soft tap... and he's the "fish guru" in the relationship! LOL

 

Anyway, I have a thread started in the Neocaridina davidi forum about the tank issues, which I need to update....

 

I'm glad that you were at least able to figure out the cause and correct it! Also envious of that microscope! 😉 Although, I would want one for a somewhat different reason, and I'm not sure what chemicals I would require in order to use it properly, nor how readily available they would be to the general public.

I hope your two remaining shrimp in that tank thrive, as well as their offspring! ☺️

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ageofaquariums

Microscope attachments for smart phones are very cheap these days, although above x65 they are tricky to keep stable. Still makes it very easy to get and share pictures/video.

something like this is usually under $5 delivered

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/60X-Zoom-Phone-Camera-Optical-LED-UV-Light-Clip-Magnifier-Microscope-Micro-Lens-/142045088389?var=&hash=item21128c0a85:m:mlUvEehZtUOwknkAMmZxSbw

x60 is not really going to help with bacteria...... which is a shame as I would be leaning towards a flexibacter of some type after reading through this thread.

https://microbewiki.kenyon.edu/index.php/Flexibacter

Many of the larger critters crawling over crustys are beneficial or at the worst commensal. EG the flatworm temnocephalans found on our native crays.

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Zoidburg

Although I am interested in the phone camera magnifiers, I'm interested in a microscope for it's ability to see/detect bacteria and fungi! But I would want to use it for a completely different species, I just don't know enough to be able to differentiate the different types of bacteria or fungi that may be present... I do know what budding yeast looks like!

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