For our full, in depth four page internet page Aquarium/Pond Medications page, please click on the picture below:
AQUARIUM MEDICATIONS; Part 1
Including Separate pages for:
Antibiotics/Antimicrobials, Chemical & Parasite Treatments, & Organic Treatments


Aquarium Information
-A great source for current aquarium information that is updated regularly as new research become available.

Oregon Grape, Berberine for Aquarium Fish Treatment

 

OVERVIEW:

Oregon Grape Root Plant for Aquarium Fish MedicationBerberine is a plant based alkaloid that has been used medicinally for a long time in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.
The Berberine alkaloid is present many plants including: Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal), Coptis chinensis (Coptis or goldenthread), Berberis vulgaris (barberry), Berberis aristata (tree turmeric), and most notably Berberis aquifolium (Oregon grape).

The berberine alkaloid is generally found in the roots, rhizomes, and stem bark of the plants.
Berberine extracts and extractions via boiling of dissolved chemicals in the plant roots have demonstrated significant antimicrobial activity against a variety of organisms including bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoans, helminths, and chlamydia.

Currently, the predominant clinical uses of berberine in human use includes bacterial (especially of the gut) diarrhea, intestinal parasite infections, and ocular trachoma infections.
Oregon grape root has synergistic antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and bile-stimulating properties as well.

The picture above shows an Oregon Grape Root Plant along with the rhizomous roots with their brilliant yellow pigment in the inner bark shown in the inset.



AQUARIUM USE IMPLICATIONS:

Aquarium or pond use of Oregon Grape Root is still in its infancy as of writing this article, however based on human use, and how this this product works, there is clearly a lot of promise as both a treatment of its own and as a back up to other treatment in wide ranging problems from Columnaris to internal parasites of fish.

Oregon Grape Root has potential to aid in antibiotic effectiveness in treatment of difficult to treat diseases such as Columnaris as it contains a specific multi drug resistance pump inhibitor (MDR Inhibitor).

Resistant bacteria work by utilizing a pumping mechanism in its cell that when antibiotics enter that cell the pump immediately pumps out the antibiotics so it can have no effect on the MRSA cell. Oregon Grape Root works by blocking the bacteria's ability to pump out antibiotics.
Quoted Reference: [1]

Here is a list of Potential Treatments using Powdered Oregon Grape Root:
  • Eye infections
  • External wounds
  • Mouth infections
  • Inflammation
  • Intestinal Parasites
  • Digestive issues, including Dropsy

Use; Solaray Oregon Grape Root CapsulesDo NOT use tinctures, rather powdered forms that are generally available in capsule form, although concentration can vary greatly (I recommend Solaray brand from Nutraceutical, but I have not tried evert brand either).

Current and experimental use is opening a 400 mg Oregon Grape Root Capsule into 10 gallons of water along with the antibiotics such as Nitrofurazone and Kanamycin. This can be added to the aquarium or a fish bath that also employs Methylene Blue and possibly other antibiotics (20-30 minutes in a fish bath).
Use in conjunction with other medications is suggested in most moderate to serious infections or internal worm infestations.

References:

Organic Aquarium Medications; Oregon Grape Root

Aquarium, Fish Parasites, Worms; Treatment of Internal Nematodes

Oregon Grape; Wild Medicines

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12919112

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10767672

I personally have had the best results from the Solaray brand of Grape Root capsules, likely do to purity of the powdered grape root in the capsules

Product Resource:
Solaray Oregon Grape Root

Suggested other aquarium information resources & products:

Aquarium Medications, Use of replacement UV Bulbs for disease prevention
Replacement Aquarium/Pond UV Bulbs

Replacement of your UV Sterilizer's UV Bulb/Lamp every six months with a true level 1 capable bulb is a MUST for optimum disease prevention and aid in Redox balance.

Aquarium Medications, do not purchase at Amazon
Purchasing Aquarium & Pond Equipment via Amazon


Aquarium Medications, beware of aquarium forums for information
Aquarium Forums for Information such as LED Lighting, UV, Filters, more


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Aquarium Copper Facts and Use

 

Revised:2/18/14



Overview:
Copper has long time been used for treatment of aquarium algae, fish parasites, and snail eradication. This includes external treatment of freshwater and marine Ich, Oodinium, and fungus. It is has been said on popular aquatic sites, that people are attracted to using Copper as a treatment in the display tank, because it does not discolor the tank, but with using Copper, caution and some understanding does needs to be involved. Improper use can cause harm to the tank. Water chemistry and other environmental factors will determine dosing details of the Copper treatment.

The Copper used for treatments can stay in a tank for close to a month. If there are any live rocks or ornaments in the tank, the Copper will be absorbed into the material and slowly lech it's way back out. There are only certain ways to remove the Copper from the water, which is one reason to use caution. This is something I will go into later in this post.

A certain level of Copper concentration is required for an effective treatment, and is different depending on tank needs. These therapeutic levels can become toxic to other fish species and invertebrates in the tank. This is another reason why caution needs to be used with this treatment. Chronic use of Copper will affect fish health. Higher levels can damage fish gills and other body tissues. It has also been shown that there is a decrease in fish immunity, with chronic use (Yanong2, 2013).

The use of Copper in low pH can become even more toxic, so much more caution needs to be used. Not only is copper more toxic in acidic water, but the acidic water itself can be a problem. In fact, when the pH is below 6.4, the helpful, nitrifying bacteria in your aquarium begin to stop functioning.



Here are some caution Copper levels to be aware of:
  • Dangerous level of copper for shrimps is 0.03 mg per litre.
  • Dangerous level of copper for algae and bacteria is 0.08 mg per litre.
  • Dangerous level of copper for some fish, snails and plants is 0.10 mg per litre.
(aquariumwiki,2014)

Copper will need to be maintained at least at 0.12-0.18 mg/L and for a therapeutic level and for no less than 14 days(Blasiola,2000,p.146).

Here are some therapeutic levels that will help:
  • .15-.20 ppm for Oodinium/Brooklynella (most freshwater applications)
  • .20-.25 ppm for Crytocaryon

A note for marine tanks, the amount of copper you will need to add for treatment, will be high initially, but then will need to be brought down over subsequent days. Copper will be absorbed into corals and substrate, to the point no more Copper is absorbed. This needs to be taken into account when attempting to maintain a therapeutic level.

This is mainly important for treatment of display tanks, but is not something to worry about for bare hospital tanks.

Note: Copper basically kills parasites by poisoning them more than the fish, so never over dose!

Always have a copper test-kit on hand!

Do not use with snails and invertebrates. Do not use in reef aquariums and note; when used as an algaecide, the copper is absorbed by the algae then released when it dies.

Basic Copper:
Copper is a heavy mental that can be found naturally in many forms. The form of Copper that is typically used in aquarium set-ups Copper Sulfate, or properly known as Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate. The reason this form of Copper is used, is when it is placed in water it dissolves and attaches to the most water molecules. During this process, Copper Sulfate splits into Copper (Cu2+) separately and Sulfate, along with water. It is strictly the Copper (Cu2+) that is measured and used to combat a number of issues within the tank. Like stated before, maintaining proper levels of Copper Sulfate can be difficult because of other components in the tank, such as Carbonates, which are part of Dolomite, which when dissolved can become complex and remove the Copper. Also, other living organisms can bind to the element, which effects levels.

There is also Chelated Copper, which is a compound added to Copper Sulfate. These agents help keep Copper in a solution by forming a ring structured Copper. These complexes become stable in a different form and more of a complex form of treatment. For the most part, most aquarium keepers use Copper Sulfate rather than Chelated Copper, because of the strength and the difference in effort to remove the treatment from the tank. The use of Chelated Copper is advised only in hospital tanks.

Because Copper can be difficult to dose, after figuring out the amount needed for your tank and needs, start the dosing amount at half the amount! This is best done by mixing the Copper Sulfate with some distilled water. In marine tanks, add half of the mixed solution to the sump and the other half to the tank, so to miss all of the "hot spots" in the tank. Make sure not to add high amounts of Copper to the sump as it can damage the biofilter by killing beneficial bacteria. After the Copper has been in the water cycle long enough and has equally distributed, then measure the Copper levels. Add more Copper, allow it to mix and re-measure until the concentration levels are met.

Often, due to binding (adsorption) of Copper to components of the system, more Copper than the amount calculated initially will be needed to reach the appropriate concentration. Copper measurements should be taken twice a day, with more copper added if necessary. As discussed previously, treatment may last 3–4 weeks or more, depending upon the target organism and specific situation.

Treatment:
Treat based on what solution you are using, but try to bring your Copper level to .15 -.20 ppm for Oodinium/Brooklynella (and most freshwater applications) and .20- .25 ppm for Crytocaryon. Please revisit the therapeutic levels I stated above. Generally, it is easier to maintain these levels, while not having to do repeat testing and follow-up dosing, while using Chelated Copper, but please remember the use of a hospital tank. When treating a tank, make sure all materials and filtration component (ie. carbon) are removed. If necessary, high organic bioloads or detritus should be removed. Baseline water parameters should be check prior to treatment. This includes, ammonia, nitrite, pH, temperature, alkalinity, and salinity. Gradually dose to the therapeutic level over a 2-3 day span. This allows time for the fish to increase internal and physiological mechanisms to protect their bodies against the toxicity.

Contraindications:
  • Wait 2-4 hours to add after use of any water Redox reducing water conditioners. This will include SeaChem Prime, Kordon Novaqua, Kordon Amquel, Jungle Start Right, API Stress Coat, etc.
  • Use in aquarium systems that have an established healthy bio filter.
  • Do not mix with Sulfa based treatments/medications.

Removal:
High quality active Carbon will do the trick for removing Copper. You can place a separate filtration unit containing fresh, activated charcoal at the rate of 170 grams per 57 liters of water (about 0.375 lbs per 15 gallons) on a system to remove Copper. Once all the water has cycled through the carbon, test for free copper concentration. If Chelated Copper has been used, water changes will be necessary. Dolomite may also be used, if it is removed afterward. If tests continue to show a high free Copper concentration, a complete water change may still be required to remove copper from the water. Copper levels should be monitored throughout this process and for several weeks afterward, in case Copper that was previously bound to substrate or complexed in solution, is released as free copper.

WHERE TO PURCHASE:

References:


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Praziquantel as an Aquarium Fish Treatment for Worms, etc.

 


Praziquantel is an anthelmintic (an-thel-MIN-tik) or anti-worm medication.

It aids in preventing worms and treating infections caused by the worm.
Praziquantel treats schistosoma (infection of worm that lives in the bloodstream), liver flukes (infection of worm that lives in or near the liver), and gill fluke (infection of worms that live on the gills).
It also treats skin flukes, flat worm, tape worms, and turbellarians (sub-division of flat worm).
Praziquantel does NOT treat pinworms or roundworms.

Fish Gill Fluke attached to gill filament
The picture to the left displays a magnified Gill Fluke. The inset shows a a lessor magnification attached to a gill filament.


Praziquantel works by causing major spasms to the worm causing them to be paralyzed.
The worm is then destroyed in the intestine of the host or is passed through the body of the host through their stool.
Praziquantel can be used in humans, cats, dogs, fish, and others.

The advantage of Praziquantel is that it's harmless to all species including fish and is not toxic to plants. It also has no negative impact on aquarium filters, while clearing the worms fast and fully, even with fry.



Treatment:

For fish use, in tank treatment is the best.
The medication is absorbed directly from the treated water into the fish.

Typically, one treatment is all that is needed to cure the infection. The traditional suggestion for fluke infestation is repeating a single treatment in four or five days after the first treatment is given to kill emerging larvae which may have survived.

There are no known side effects of Praziquatel, but there have been studies to show it can become toxic in high volumes, which are somewhere around 40x to 50x greater than recommended dosing.
For more information see:
http://www.fws.gov/fisheries/aadap/PDF/WAS07%20Drug%20Session/1630%20hr%20A%20Mitchell%2027feb07.pdf

Further recommended use of this medication for fish requires any carbon to be removed from the tank and UV sterilizers to be disconnected from electrical power (turned off).
This is due to both of these striping the medication out of the tank, making it useless. The medication can also be administered by soaking the fishes food (10-15 mins) in the Praziquatel and then feeding to affected fish.

For more information on food delivery of medications, please see:
Aquarium Medications

Sources of Praziquatel:

For further information on flukes and worms, please see this excellent article:
Aquarium Answers Parasites Article

To step up to a higher level of Aquarium/Pond Fish Care, I highly suggest reading this article that provides factual information about the use of UVC Sterilization to prevent fish disease, not only directly but more importantly by improving fish immune response by also improving water parameters such as Redox Balance:


References:


Suggested other aquarium products:

For PREMIUM Replacement UV Bulbs that are the best low pressure high efficiency bulbs, not the 7-14% poor efficiency bulbs sold on eBay or Amazon for prices lower than it costs to make the better low pressure UV Bulbs:
High Efficiency UV Bulbs

For premium USDA food grade certified aquarium silicone sealant:
Premium Aquarium Silicone
Most silicones are not USDA certified, thus you are placing your fish in an environment that may be less safe if you use these lesser silicones sold at most hardware and even pet stores.

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Tetracycline; for Fish in Aquarium or Pond

 

Tetracycline Hydrochloride for Aquarium FishTetracycline Hydrochloride is derived obtained from Streptomyces aureofaciens (and other antibiotics of natural origin) or occasionally synthetically from oxytetracycline.

All antibiotics derived from streptomycetes are generally Gram-positive, although Tetracycline Hydrochloride and other antibiotics derived from streptomycetes can have some gram negative activity as well. Also, Tetracycline Hydrochloride is generally more effective for aerobic bacteria
Because it is primarily gram positive, it is generally a poor choice for Columnaris (Flexibacter). Another related antibiotic is Minocyline which can be effective (but still not a first choice for Columnaris though) and it is often confused with Tetracycline Hydrochloride.
Please Reference: Columnaris in Aquarium Fish



Tetracycline MoleculeWhen absorbed, Tetracycline is widely distributed to the organs and tissues of fish. It is eliminated unchanged primarily via the Kidneys and may accumulate with repeated dosing in fish with impaired renal function such as with many cases of Dropsy (which generally makes Tetracycline a poor choice for Dropsy).

Tetracycline Hydrochloride mode of action is as a protein synthesis inhibitor via an aminoacyl-tRNA binding mechanism to the 30S subunit. Mode of resistance is the loss of cell wall permeability. Tetracycline is best used in the treatment of bacterial infections that are gram-positive and SOME gram-negative infections in fish and interferes with the production of proteins that the bacteria need to multiply and divide (bacteriostatic). However many bacterial pathogens have developed resistance to Tetracycline Hydrochloride.

Common uses for Tetracycline Hydrochloride in fish include (generally gram positive causes of these symptoms);

*Streptococcus
*Fin and tail rot (split, ragged and deteriorating fin and/or tail)
*Popeye (protruding eyes, may be cloudy or hazy)
*Gill disease (swollen, discolored gills, gasping for air and a decrease in activity)
*Some secondary infections after treatment of other infections or parasites.
Reference: Gram Positive Streptococcus in Fish

Warnings:

I do not recommend the use of Tetracycline Hydrochloride for bleeding or ulcers in fish as Tetracycline has been shown to cause anemia in fish (and also humans to a lesser degree, which is the last thing you want to do with a bleeding fish.

Tetracycline can lower red blood cell count, because of this I would not use with injured fish. Tetracycline becomes dangerous past its expiration date. While most prescription drugs lose potency after their expiration dates, tetracycline can become toxic over time.

Side effects include: neutropenia (a condition of an abnormally low number of white blood cells), producing a “brown foam” on the surface of the aquarium especially for marine aquariums, and potential destruction of nitrifying bacteria.
s well, Tetracycline Hydrochloride is easily absorbed where calcium is present in larger quantities, which often renders this antibiotic useless in saltwater and high GH (hard water) freshwater aquariums.

The combined use of Tetracycline AND Erythromycin should be avoided (the side effects of these two antibiotics combined will generally negate any benefits obtained when used in combination).

Summary:

Tetracycline Hydrochloride can be a useful antibiotic, especially when others fail, however Tetracycline is more useful in warm blooded animals (humans and Veterinary) than in fish.

USAGE:

Directions from API Tetracycline; 250- 500 mg per 20 gallons of water. Every 48 hours (24 hours for severe issues) with a 25% water change before each treatment. This product will not work in water with a ph above 7.5- NOT FOR MARINE USE! (also not effective in freshwater aquariums with a pH above 7.6)

PRODUCTS CONTAINING TETRACYCLINE:

*API Tetracycline, for purchase
Recommended source to purchase based on extensive aquarium and pond professional experience dating back to 1978.

REFERENCES:

*http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/AquariumMedication2.html

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streptomyces
*http://ratguide.com/meds/antimicrobial_agents/tetracycline_hydrochloride.php



Further Suggestions:
Prevention of disease is important, please maintain your water chemistry including KH, GH, pH, Ammonia, Nitrites, and even Redox, as all these parameters play a role in disease prevention.

The use of a UV Sterilizer maintained by changing the UV Bulbs every six months can be helpful in prevention (including Redox).
Product Reference Links:
*For UV Sterilizers:
http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/UVSterilizers.html
*For premium high out put UV Replacement Bulbs:
http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/UVCReplacementLamp.html

Suggested other aquarium information resources & products:

For Aquarium Disease Prevention:
*Aquarium Disease Prevention

*For UV Sterilization, Facts & Information:
Aquarium & Pond UV Sterilization; Sterilizer Use

*Aquarium Lighting
The most up to date and researched article on the subject of aquarium light use for fresh or saltwater aquariums.

*TMC Premium Reverse Osmosis Water Systems for Aquariums

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