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Old 11-21-2006, 02:20 AM   #1
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Royal Gramma parasite on forehead?

Sorry... no picture - it just won't show up.

I'm stocking a new setup and have my 2nd fish in my QT tank now - a Royal Gramma. It has what appears to be maybe 6-12 little tiny tiny "bugs" on its "forehead"... the area on top of it's head between it's eyes. I can actually see them moving around. Hard to tell what color the "bugs" are with the purple color of the Gramma, but they're not white. It's not ich - I've seen that before. Any ideas? There's a bunch of background below that might make more sense of it. For a "low maintenance" fish, this Royal Gramma has been anything but...

After having the fish a week in the QT, I noticed an eye bulging, a lesion/spot/ulcer on the tail, and some white stringy stuff on the side of the fish near the bulging eye. The fish hadn't stopped eating, but seemed to be not as hungry as before. Water parameters were 0 ammonia/0 nitrite/less than 10 nitrate. Temp about 76-77, SG 1.024, pH 8.4. I assumed bacterial infection and treated with Maracyn and Maracyn-2 for 5 days as directed on the box.

After the 5 day antibiotic treatment, I did a 30% water change (10g QT) and added new activated carbon. Next day I did another 30% water change. The fish's eye is looking normal and the spot on the tail is gone. There is somewhat of a discoloration near where the tail joins the body, but I'm assuming that's just something that needs to heal up from the original infection and just needs time. (Maybe I'm wrong?)

So just when it seems like the fish is on the road to recovery, I forget to replug in the heater after that last 30% water change. I find the tank the next day at 68 degrees instead of it's normal 76 degrees. I plug back in the heater and after about 6 hours the tank is back to normal temp.

That's where I'm at now - fish seems like it's rid of the bacterial infection. It's eating well again, like before it was sick. But I noticed it was twitching somewhat (more than normal as these fish seem pretty jerky/twitchy to start with) and occasionally flashing against the PVC pipe or even the heater. Upon having a stare down with it tonight while I was observing it I noticed the little critters crawling around on it's forehead. I also noticed a bunch of little white things swimming around in the QT and on the glass. Suppose they're pods of some sort that must've hitchiked in on the fish, but found it odd that I hadn't noticed them before tonight when I noticed the bugs on the Gramma.

Water parameters right now are a trace of ammonia (less than 0.25ppm), 0 nitrites, and about 10ppm nitrates. Guessing the little burp of ammonia was from the antibiotics messing with the good bacteria, or the fish putting out more waste than normal, but either way I'm watching it like a hawk. PWC in store for Tuesday night for sure. I'm thinking the bacterial filtration wasn't nuked by the drugs since I am getting some nitrates in there. (Supposedly Maracyn/Maracyn-2 doesn't effect the nitrate conversion process?)

Anyway... sorry for the long thesis but I figured the more background I give, maybe it'd trigger an idea from someone.

I was about to do a freshwater dip tonight, but was afraid it'd push an already iffy immune system over the edge.

Any thoughts?
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Old 11-21-2006, 09:17 AM   #2
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Well, hmm. I don't know what type of parasite it could be (a pic would help but I realize how impossible that can be), perhaps some type of parasitic isopod. I'd treat the fish the same way it would be treated for ich. Your fish is till in QT right? So no chance of whatever it is infecting the main tank?
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:43 AM   #3
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Are they pear shaped? Can you describe them in as much detail?
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:52 AM   #4
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Fluff:

Yup. Still in QT. Nothing in there but a couple snails that I took out of my main tank a while back in fear that I'd overpopulated it.

This morning when I got another look at it, I'm starting to wonder if my eyes were playing tricks on me. Behind the eye that was originally bulged before I treated with the antibiotics - where the white stringy stuff was - the fish's scales look, well... kinda like your skin would after a blister occurs and is healing. It kind of looks "bubbly", like there's new scales underneath waiting for the old scales to be shed.

The patch of "bugs" on the gramma's forehead is kind of connected to that area of scales behind the eye, so maybe I'm just seeing tiny patches of the "bubbles" trying to flake off? When I looked this morning, the "movement" I was seeing was more like the bubbles (or bugs) expanding or contracting... making it look like something was moving.

Do fish "shed" injured scales after a wound heals? Would the fish flashing be it just trying to speed along the shedding - kind of like people itching a peeling sunburn?

**********

Roka:

They're too tiny to even know what shape they are. All I really see is a discoloration that is moving around on the forehead of the fish. Like I said as you were probably typing your question, I might just be seeing "loose skin" or something. And maybe the little white "fleas" I see crawling around on my glass have been there for a while, I just didn't notice it because of how green and cloudy the tank was during the Maracyn treatment.

I don't think they're isopods - I've seen photos of those and it seems like they pretty much stay in one spot. These things seems to be roaming the forehead (odd area) and staying only on that area. The rest of the fish looks just fine.
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Old 11-21-2006, 12:27 PM   #5
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Royal Gramma parasite on forehead?

Tetrahymena pyriformis like to hang out on weakened fish around infected areas, where there is plenty of bacteria to munch and reproduce. Generally with these ciliates, the fish will fold up their fins and rock, is he doing this?
How are they formed, like in pairs or a line? (bacteria possibly)
Are you soaking their food in garlic/selcon or zoe?
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Old 11-21-2006, 04:14 PM   #6
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Re: Royal Gramma parasite on forehead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by roka64
Tetrahymena pyriformis like to hang out on weakened fish around infected areas, where there is plenty of bacteria to munch and reproduce. Generally with these ciliates, the fish will fold up their fins and rock, is he doing this? How are they formed, like in pairs or a line? (bacteria possibly)
Nope. Fins not clamped, and swimming normal... for a royal gramma! I looked up the tetrahymena pyriformis you mentioned and see that they're only 50 micrometers long. That's only .001 inches long. These things are probably closer to .030 inch long or so... to my calibrated eye! Their formation is more or less random.


Quote:
Are you soaking their food in garlic/selcon or zoe?
I was going to start doing this tonight. I tried garlic/selcon earlier when he started slowing down on eating - before I did the antibiotics - and he seemed put off by it. I've been waiting for it to start eating normal again before I tried again, and it's been eating pretty good for a few days now.
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Old 11-21-2006, 05:15 PM   #7
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Ok, hmmm, watch adding too much garlic, I have read too much can confuse or overload their senses. I put 2 drops in my food, for my 55G....
As for the specific critters that are on your fish, I will have to keep looking...Anyone else that may have seen them, please chime in.
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Old 11-21-2006, 10:19 PM   #8
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This fish is NOT having good luck at my house! Just found out that a family came over to visit this afternoon and the 2 year old plunked several little fuzzy pom-poms into the tank. My wife fished them out after our 5 year old ratted out the little trouble maker. Not sure what kind of chemicals just got introduced, but a water change was in the plan for tonight anyway. The fish is now in hiding, and won't even come out to eat. I did manage to get a brief look at the forehead area and I'm going to call off my "parasite" diagnosis. It's looking more like the damaged area on the side of its head and I'm 99.9% sure it's just scales sloughing off.

I'll update as things progress - one way or another!
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Old 11-30-2006, 03:17 AM   #9
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Well... I guess either the pink fuzzy pom-poms thrown into the water or the heater being unplugged overnight was the final straw for "Princess." (My guess is the heater issue.) I came home Thanksgiving evening to find her on the bottom, on her side, barely even breathing. She didn't even try to avoid the net and didn't even flop once I got her out of the water. Poor fish just never had a chance it seems.

Princess's replacement... also named Princess (isn't my daughter creative with naming fish?!)... is now in quarantine and appears to be doing just fine. She's eating and is actually more personable than the first one as she doesn't go and cower under a rock each time you enter the room. Hopefully she'll have better luck than her predecessor.
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Old 11-30-2006, 08:44 AM   #10
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Sorry to hear about Princess. Good luck with the new addition.
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