White Spot Revealed!!

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by Dewald@Dorry, 20 Oct 2009.

  1. Dewald@Dorry

    Dewald@Dorry

    Joined:
    20 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    1,204
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Johannesburg (Alberton)
    I’ve been requested to write a section on white spot. This is such a common disease but yet so many theories and rumors on the treatment thereof and how this parasite actually get a hold of your system.

    Well, I recently lost many fish to this disease :(:( and after doing intense research I think it is only decent to share my knowledge and help out any newbies and even experienced reefers out there.

    I don’t see myself as an expert in this field so please feel free to share your views with your own experiences, but will try to set the record straight to the best of my researched knowledge and experience.

    I’m going to explain this as simple as I possibly can, so please excuse me if I don’t use the proper scientific names etc.

    Firstly let’s get the basics under the belt. White Spot is otherwise known as Cryptocaryon irritans. I will keep on referring to this as WS (White Spot) just because it’s so commonly known as this.

    WS is parasites that attack fish under stress (Lower Immunity than normal) that has been shipped or placed from one home to another or water parameters that are causing the fish to stress. Fish under stress has lower immunity and are usually attacked by WS and other sicknesses when in this state.

    Let’s clear up the biggest myth!!;)

    I have heard many reefers say that: WS is always present in one’s system. THIS IS NOT TRUE! Let’s say for example you have cycled your new system and are now ready to start stocking fish. Before the fish are added the system is indeed WS free. White spot are introduced to the system when fish are added that have not been quarantined or treated properly. Meaning that when you go to a LFS to buy fish they might have been treated for WS and quarantined for a couple of days, but they are in fact not WS free. In most cases the fish are so lightly infected that this cannot be picked up with the naked eye. Especially when the WS attached themselves to the gills of the fish. It is thus always safe to say that fish are always infected with WS if not quarantined or treated to kill all parasites present on the fish.

    That is why after adding new fish to a system they pick up WS as their immune system (Stress) takes a bit of a knock and the WS over powers the fish (host). In some cases the WS spot goes away via the fish’s natural immunity but you have to remember that the fish’s immunity does not kill the WS parasite completely. So when your water quality goes down or something happens that affects the fish’s immune system, the WS re-appear. I have heard many reefers say that their fish gets WS for one day after they perform water changes and then disappears, which means that the water temperature (Just to pick one) could have been different and caused the fish to stress and thus the WS to re-appear.

    In my research journey I read of many ways to treat white spot and have listed all the methods below:

    1.Copper
    2.Formalin
    3.Copper and Formalin
    4.Hyposalanity
    5.Daily Water Changes
    6.Natural Immunity
    7.Fresh water Dips
    8.Quinine Based Drugs
    9.5-Nitroimidazoles
    10.U.V. Sterilization
    11.Ozone
    12.Biological Controls
    13.Medicated Foods
    14.Garlic
    15.Ginger
    16.Pepper-Based Medications
    17.MelaFix
    18.Mystery Solutions

    After much investigation I will only share with you the safest and cheapest way to make sure that all your current and future fish are indeed WS free. So by treating the existing and future fish to be added to your system, you WILL have a White Spot FREE marine tank.:thumbup::thumbup:

    My conclusion is as follow:

    Some of the option are more deadly to the fish than the actual benefit of trying to kill the white spot, some options are just myths, while some options are safe and very easy ways to treat white spot.

    The option to NEVER consider is to try and leave the fish in your DT and hope that its own immune system will fight the white spot and heal itself. Like I’ve mentioned the WS does not die altogether and in 90% to 80% of cases the newly introduced fish will die. Especially with Blue Regals and hippo tangs as they are the most susceptible to white spot of all fish where sharks and rays are the least susceptible.

    The best safest option is to quarantine your fish for at least 3 weeks before adding them to your display tank. This can be a simple 2 foot tank with one air stone and sponge filter and heater. There should be no gravel, with PVC pipe for hiding places as it is believed that white spot parasites needs gravel or any rough material to breed. Without the presence of this it will not have any breeding ground thus killing the white spot when dropping of the host to breed and lay eggs in the sand.

    While in quarantine the Hyposalanity option as above must be used where the salinity of the water is dropped to 1.009. The white spot parasites cannot survive in these conditions and die. It is critical that the fish remain in the quarantine tank for at least 3 weeks to make sure all parasites have died and to ensure that the fish's immune system is strong and that the fish is eating well.

    This quarantine tank can then be packed up and placed in your garage until the next fish arrive!!.

    It is this simple. Just remember to treat the existing fish in your system as well. This will rid your system of any WS still in the gravel as they need a host to survive. And without a host they will die within the 3 weeks that your fish are being quarantined! Thus giving you a WS free tank!!!!:thumbup::thumbup::yeahdude::yeahdude:
     
    Last edited: 21 Oct 2009
    lanzo and RiaanP like this.
  2. AdS Guest




    to hide all adverts.
  3. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

    Joined:
    11 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    23,142
    Likes Received:
    1,228
    Location:
    Centurion
    I had WS a while back in my smaller setup. Normally more visible in the morning on the Skunk Clowns and in the afternoon the WS were gone. Only to be back the next day. The cleaner shrimps cleaned them during the day. Then both cleaner shrimps died, and within the next week both Skunk Clowns and my Orchid Gramma Purple went the same way.

    I only had 2 Blue Yellowtail damsels and 1 Golden head Goby left. I left the tank with only them in there for 3 months, before I added something else. Never had WS thereafter.

    Conclusion, time is the thing.
     
  4. lanzo

    lanzo Sponsor

    Joined:
    10 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    9,396
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    Centurion
    nice thread tiger...this will help all of us.:thumbup:
     
  5. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

    Joined:
    7 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    8,384
    Likes Received:
    286
    Location:
    Joe's Mountain
    very good info there and a lot of effort put in. Well done. I do not know where you got your references from but a look in this direction may enlighten further.

    Look at the books by Dr Gerald Bassleer. Here are a few links that cover the subject. some include bathwater fish but the principle is similar.

    Books+Computer Software on Fish Diseases

    http://www.ornamental-fish-int.org/data-area/new-products-showcase

    http://www.neaq.org/conservation_and_research/projects/publications_and_presentations/pdf/39__.pdf
    Now if one reads the "certificate" seminar/articles and the statement that WS remains in a tank is a myth. Then we will never have WS ever. Or will we.
    I ask a few questions that niggle me.
    1) How does one know that a fish is WS free, even after quarantine?
    2) How does one know that a fish has WS and not some other disease?
    It would also be interesting to see a diagram of WS life cycle supporting the statement that WS needs a host to survive.
     
  6. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

    Joined:
    11 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    23,142
    Likes Received:
    1,228
    Location:
    Centurion
    durleo likes this.
  7. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

    Joined:
    7 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    8,384
    Likes Received:
    286
    Location:
    Joe's Mountain
    :) fast hay
     
  8. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

    Joined:
    11 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    23,142
    Likes Received:
    1,228
    Location:
    Centurion
    Just a question, Do I understand it correct?

    If you have an outbreak of WS, and you remove all your fish, it looks like the WS in the tank would totally died out in 6 weeks. The WS needs a host to survive or complete its life cycle. No hosts, and you got a WS free tank.


    Your livestock, if they are in a quarantine tank with no substrate, and you suck the bottom clean every day, then the WS should all die in this tank as well. And in 6 weeks all the livestock should be WS free.

    Is it correct?

    Does invertebrates carry WS? or could they stay behind in the infected display tank. Without any problems?
     
  9. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

    Joined:
    7 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    8,384
    Likes Received:
    286
    Location:
    Joe's Mountain
    Good questions.

     
  10. Achilles

    Achilles

    Joined:
    22 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    1,050
    Likes Received:
    100
    Location:
    Cape town
    actually it is incorrect it is not possible to siphon out all the whitespot if there is no gravel unless you had a microscope and could see them all, you just have to hope that the low salinity does kill them after 8 weeks as the cysts can attach to almost any object even a piece of seaweed a pump etc etc and yes invertebrates could carry the cyst but they are not hosts but if cyst attached to them after it fell of the fish then yes it would make the invertebrate or coral a "vector" to reinfect your fish with white spot

    Also there are many varieties of white spot some live in Tropical sea water some in temperate sea water and even a brackish variety which is fairly resistant to hypo
    Also Hypo allows a nasty pathogen called uronema to sometimes kill fish so you need to watch out for that
     
  11. Dewald@Dorry

    Dewald@Dorry Thread Starter

    Joined:
    20 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    1,204
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Johannesburg (Alberton)
    Thanks for all the good feedback guys!!

    Thought I paste some of the best pieces from articles that I’ve researched. Please note that the below pieces is not my articles. (Don’t want to take credit for someone else’s work!)

    I hope this will answer some questions already posed!

    Host Susceptibility:

    Cryptocaryon irritans has demonstrated a very low level of host specificity, meaning it will infect just about any teleost fish in a tropical marine environment. Cartilaginous fishes (sharks and rays) appear resistant, but everything else is susceptible to infection (Colorni & Burgess, 1997). It has even been proven to infect various species of freshwater fish that were acclimated to saltwater, as well as temperate marine fish that were kept at the upper limit of their thermal range (Yoshinaga & Dickerson, 1994; Burgess & Matthews, 1995).

    Even though they are all possible hosts, experience has shown that there are definitely certain fish groups with higher and lower degrees of susceptibility. At one end of the spectrum are the eels that have shown a general resistance to Cryptocaryon irritans. On the opposite side are the surgeonfishes, with the Blue Regal/Hippo Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) the "crowned king of Ich." I have dealt with literally hundreds of these fish, and I could probably count on one hand the number of Blue Regal Tangs that appeared to be completely free of infection. I would also place the cowfish, boxfish, and pufferfish fairly high on the susceptibility list. Generally, everything else falls somewhere in the middle

    Prevention!

    The best course of treatment is prevention. All new fish should be quarantined for at least one full month. This helps ensure that the fish are healthy, but it also gives them time to get over any shipping trauma, to get used to a new diet, and to put on weight after withstanding often insubstantial feedings at retailers, wholesalers, and collecting stations. Best of all, this will occur in a competition-free environment.

    I have found the best quarantine/hospital tanks to be bare bottomed (no crushed coral or sand) and decorated with inert, nonporous, and "easy-to-clean-and-sanitize" items. Short sections of various diameter PVC pipe work very well for shelter. Live rock does not meet these criteria and therefore I do not recommended its use. It is best to not use any calcareous materials as they will absorb and interfere with some medications.

    There is also another possible benefit to using all of these smooth, artificial materials in your quarantine tank. In studying outbreaks of Cryptocaryon irritans in Brown Spotted Grouper (Epinephelus tauvina) at an aquaculture station, Rasheed (1989) found that fish kept in concrete vessels routinely fell victim to Ich while those kept at the same facility with identical care, but in fiberglass containers suffered absolutely no infestations. She theorized that the cyst stage of the parasite found the smooth sides of the fiberglass tanks inhospitable. While not proven, it is very interesting and definitely something to keep in mind. At the very least, this type of setup is extremely easy to clean and disinfect if necessary.

    I prefer to filter the tank with sponge filters. I usually have one running but tucked away in the sump of my display tank. This way, I can keep the quarantine tank empty and packed away in the garage when it is not needed. Some people may be concerned about the sponge filter acting as a so-called "nitrate factory", but the amount of nitrate produced from a comparatively small sponge filter should be negligible. When I do need to use the quarantine tank, I merely drain some water out of the display tank into the quarantine tank, add the sponge filter and a heater (I generally target 80°- 82°F to speed up the life cycle of any parasites), and it is ready. You may also want to include a powerhead into the quarantine setup for fish that require brisk water movement. The entire setup process should take less than an hour and save the electricity and space of maintaining the quarantine tank continuously. Also, keeping the quarantine tank empty spares the temptation of turning it into a full-blown reef or fish tank!

    If you do not have a sump on your display tank, a hang-on type filter, such as those with "bio-wheels," work well. Keep the bio-wheel running on the display tank and move it to the quarantine tank when needed. The only precaution is to remove the activated carbon filter cartridge when using any medications.
    It is my strong preference and my general recommendation to never add any medications to a display tank. In my experience, it is always better to remove all the affected fish to a separate quarantine/hospital tank for treatment. This ensures that none of the display tank's other inhabitants such as corals, bacteria, worms, amphipods, copepods, or mysid shrimp are affected. Also, if you keep the fish in quarantine for one month without infection, you can be sure that any Ich parasites and their eggs have hatched and died without a host. Note that Cryptocaryon irritans requires a fish host. They cannot complete their life cycle with the rock, sand, or any invertebrates.

    Some people draw a distinction between quarantine tanks and hospital tanks, with hospital tanks being designed like I have described above, and quarantine tanks much more like displays lacking other fish. I don't draw this distinction and choose to quarantine all my fish using the means described above. The theory is that fish kept in a more natural setting will be under less stress, and therefore more likely to resist disease. In the event a fish does come down with a disease, it is transferred to a bare-bottom tank for treatment. While this may have some merit, I cannot be bothered running two tanks just for temporarily holding fish.

    Pro’s and con’s of Hyposalinity (The Best and Safest option!):

    Low salinity has been demonstrated to be an effective treatment against Cryptocaryon irritans (Noga, 2000). A salt level of 16 ppt or approximately 1.009-1.010 specific gravity at 78-80*F for 14 days was reported to kill the parasite. I have never experienced problems when placing fish into a hyposalinity treatment, but have routinely witnessed fish showing obvious signs of distress when brought back to normal salinity levels too quickly. For that reason, I try to limit the specific gravity increase 0.001-0.002 points per day.

    One of the alleged benefits of this treatment is the resulting conservation of energy for the affected fish. Reef fish have to constantly drink saltwater and excrete the salt to maintain the proper osmotic balance. Lowering the salinity of the surrounding environment eases this energy demand on the sick fish, thereby allowing them to expend more energy towards fighting the infection (Kollman, 1998 and Bartelme, 2001). On the contrary, keeping fish in low salinity means that they don't "flush" their kidneys sufficiently. After long-term exposure, this can cause kidney failure and kill the fish (Shimek, pers. comm..)
    The drawbacks to this treatment are the same as for many of the treatment options discussed above. Invertebrates and certain fish will not be able to tolerate it, so you should not apply a hyposalinity treatment in a display tank. Sharks and rays are two fish groups that do not tolerate this procedure. I would also not recommend this approach in the presence of live rock or live sand. The hyposalinity treatment will likely kill the worms, crustaceans, mollusks, and other life in and on the substrate, causing a severe drop in overall water quality.

    I have another word of caution when using this treatment. I would strongly suggest the use of a refractometer or perhaps a salinity monitor. Swing arm style box hydrometers are notoriously inaccurate. The glass, floating style hydrometers are better, but easily broken. An accurate measure of the salinity could mean the difference between being inside the effective treatment range or being too high and ineffective or too low and jeopardizing your fish.

    Even given its few drawbacks, hyposalinity is a great method of curing infected fish of ich in a proper hospital tank. Of the treatment options discussed this far, in my opinion, it is by far the safest. While none of these options is appropriate for use in a display tank, and all have their drawbacks, weighing the pros and cons of each leads me to recommend hyposalinity above the others.
     
  12. clinton stanford

    clinton stanford

    Joined:
    11 Mar 2009
    Posts:
    2,210
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    East London
    nice thread tiger:) nice info.thanks.
     
  13. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

    Joined:
    11 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    23,142
    Likes Received:
    1,228
    Location:
    Centurion
    My question is answered.

    So this, even if it happens means that it is not a problem at all.
    The cyst can sit on anything. But if it hatch and there are no hosts around, it dies. No problem.
     
  14. Dewald@Dorry

    Dewald@Dorry Thread Starter

    Joined:
    20 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    1,204
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Johannesburg (Alberton)
    Glad to help!!
     
  15. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

    Joined:
    14 Dec 2008
    Posts:
    16,769
    Likes Received:
    582
    Location:
    Sandton
    great article, but some more info

    There is no such thing as a dormant stage for MI. The parasite can’t wait around for another host. It MUST go through its cycle. Dr. Burgess recorded that in the cyst stage, he found the longest existing cyst to last for 60 days before releasing the free-swimming parasites. This is rare but possible.

    INTERESTING FIND: If no new MI is introduce into an infected aquarium, the MI already there continues to cycle through multiple generations until about 10 to 11 months when the MI has ‘worn itself out’ and becomes less infective. A tank can be free of an MI infestation if it is never exposed to new MI parasites for over 11 months.


    the best way to keep it at bay is have healthy stress free fish and let the immune system protect them, while keeping the fish in QT will prevent it spreading to the DT, putting the fish in the DT after QT is still stressful so strive to have perfect params when adding fish to once again minimise stress.

    UV sterlizers DONT KILL whitespot UNLESS they are in the water column and flow thru it, UV does help a bit, but it also kills indiscrimenantly.

    A fish that survives an attack may develop proteins in the mucous coating that will help fend off the parasite (this is a type of immune response). An immune fish will not get infected. Unfortunately. . .An immune fish doesn’t remain immune. Separated from the disease for months, the once immune fish can become MI infected.
     
  16. LuckyFish

    LuckyFish MASA Contributor

    Joined:
    23 Nov 2009
    Posts:
    2,531
    Likes Received:
    103
    Location:
    Cape Town
    Very nice article. Thanks for sharing facts and your opinion/experiences.

    Marine Ich can be introduced to the DT with anything you add. Liverock, corals, algae, etc.
    It would be interesting to know, which LFS quarantines the newly imported fish and which LFS not. I don´t know any LFS in CT, who does quarantine newly imported fish.
    There where the problem starts. Imported fish gets introduced to the LFS system, infects other fish (maybe not if they are healthy). At least the parasite is in the system, waiting for the weaker host. I know, space in the hobby is very limited, but everybody should have a 60cm tank as quarantene tank somewhere. Maybe there is space in the garage or the scullery.
    I have learnt my lesson with Marine Ich. I lost within a few days 450 fish (250 regular ocellaris and 200 albinos). Hyposalinity was not possible, because the fishes where just through the metamorphosis and not weant at this stage. Besides that, I did not have a QT and never experienced Marine Ich. I am in the hobby since 1995 and never had a problem with MI in Germany.
    After I moved all my livestock into my new breeding room, I set up a cube in my livingroom. I introduced my pair of orange skunks, one Goldie and five albinos.
    The MI broke out. I thought, it came and it will go. It always does. It goes to multiply and to come back as an army of parasites. All the fish in the cube had a few white spots on their fins. Nothing major, but one morning, they were covered with white spots. One Albino dead, four were on their way. The skunks and the goldie are bigger and they had again only a few white spots. I bought quickly a QT and put the infected fish in the QT with the same water parameter then the cube.
    Within 12 hours, I dropped the salinity to 1.009. And saved their lives. After six weeks, I put them back into the cube.
    My advice, based on my experience with MI.
    Normal looking, but infected fish has to go on hyposalinity, if MI is visible for a few days. Slowly decreasing from 1.024 to 1.009 within 48 hours.
    Dying fish has to swim in 1.009 within a few hours. The only way to keep them alive.
    I did not syhon the QT at all during hypo. It is a waste of time and the parasite is going to hell in anyway.
    :hang:
     
  17. al'stank

    al'stank

    Joined:
    12 Jan 2009
    Posts:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Johannesburg
    Can someone help me diagnose what could be wrong with my fish? My emperor looks like his velvet coat has been brushed and is losing his velvetness. His fins look like they have small white spots and one looks a bit scraggly. My sailfin looks lighter in colour and also has little specs on his fins too.
    Is it WS / Fin rot or something else. There are no proniunced spots on their scales though. Thx
     
  18. Dewald@Dorry

    Dewald@Dorry Thread Starter

    Joined:
    20 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    1,204
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Johannesburg (Alberton)
    Hi al'stank, to be quite honost it is very difficult to determine the exact disease without actually seeing the fish myself. From what you are describing it does not sound like white spot, but then I didn't see the fish. Could you probably post a close up pic of one of the fish?? Also try and google "Indentifying different fish desease".

    Sorry I can not be of more help.. .
     
  19. Dewald@Dorry

    Dewald@Dorry Thread Starter

    Joined:
    20 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    1,204
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Johannesburg (Alberton)
    Also from what you describing is what happens to fish that has been exposed to chlorinated water. They loose their colour and closyness and the end of their fins starts fading away.
     
  20. Warr7207

    Warr7207

    Joined:
    28 Dec 2007
    Posts:
    12,781
    Likes Received:
    31
    Location:
    JHB
    Check out these threads might help iD:

    Common Fish Diseases - Fish

    Physical Symptoms of Fish Disease - Fish

    :: applebox :: zAQUARIA :: Fish Diseases ;; marine fish, aquariums, fish, protein skimer, biological filtration, fish dieseas, webmaster, web design

    Saltwater Aquarium Fish Diseases & Health Issues
     
Recent Posts

Loading...
Similar Threads - White Spot Revealed Forum Date
white spot treatment that works Quarantine Tanks, sick fish, QT corals 13 Aug 2016
Urgent help needed cream angel white spot Urgent Help Needed 8 Aug 2016
My Regal Tang has white spots Quarantine Tanks, sick fish, QT corals 23 Jul 2016
Regal tang whitespots Quarantine Tanks, sick fish, QT corals 9 Jul 2016
Ich / White spot Quarantine Tanks, sick fish, QT corals 16 Jun 2016
Little White Spots on Back Overflow General Discussions and Advice 4 Apr 2016
White Spots New Members 2 Nov 2015