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Old 02/06/2019, 10:46 PM   #1
MattL
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Lingering Eye Problems with Yellow Pyramid Butterfly

History:

Two yellow pyramid butterflies were acquired approx. 8 weeks ago.

They were difficult to get eating, one taking almost two weeks, but I eventually succeeded and both were eating a variety of fresh marine preparations and algae, and were apparently healthily.

Upon purchase, they were placed directly into my quarantine system.

Quarantine System:
  • Size = 55 gal + 20 gal wet/dry filter sump (no carbon, just physical media). Total liquid volume about 60 gal.
  • Age = 7 years continuous operation (a lone clown often serves as a co-inhabitant to keep the tank cycled during long periods of not adding fish, and from my experience, to help get new fish to start eating and to prevent the stress of being alone)
  • Specific Gravity = 1.024 (measured by Apex Controller, cross-checked with handheld hydrometer and probe calibration solution. Variation negligible due to auto topoff.)
  • Temperature = 79 - 80F (maintained by Apex Controller)
  • Nitrate = 0 - 10mg-N/L (depending where I am in water change cycle)
  • Rock and Sand = None
  • Decoration = Just PVC pipe fittings.

Green algae growth is good, and I will often let it grow to help newly added fish deal with the stress of movement outside the aquarium.

Medications:

Fish were treated with cupramine as per the directions on the bottle (once fish were eating, and to achieve a copper concentration as listed. Copper checked by two test kits (API and Seachem? Can't remember... and the LFS as often as they'll let me)

My experience with pyramid butterflies is they always come in with flukes, so I also treated concurrently with Prazipro.

Copper dosage was being maintained at the time of illness onset.

Illness:

4 weeks after commencing copper, both pyramids succumbed rapidly to serious illness (loss of color, rapid breathing, loss of fin, red ulcers, cloudy eyes, mucous). This came on in less than 36 hours. They had previously been very active.

One was on his side, apparently dead, and the other not far behind. In fact, one was so motionless I went to retrieve the "body" with a net only to find the poor fish still alive.

Treatment:

I immediately began Furan course plus other palliative measures (extra aeration, subdued lighting, water changes, etc...). It took 5 days to get them back to health.

Symptoms of Butterfly 1:

This fish has recovered almost completely, eats normally, is active and engaging with the clownfish.

This fish has one clear and one cloudy eye that is slightly bulging. I could not get a great picture, as I believe the fish is not seeing out of the cloudy eye, so it keeps its good eye towards me. Fish also lost some scales, but fins mostly intact.

My first question is: Will this eye ever heal?

I had pop eye only once before, back around 2009. The fish lost that eye. This fish's eye is not bulging as bad as I previously experienced, but is still cloudy.

I have attached a picture of the first fish's cloudy eye (it was the best picture I could get)

Symptoms of Butterfly 2:

The second fish is in much worse shape. This was the one close to death. This fish has swelling not of the entire eye like I experience with pop eye once before, but akin to a cloudy donut around the eye. I did manage to get a picture (below). I believe this fish is not seeing. This fish never returned to eating, and hasn't been observed eating for 7 days now, since the likely onset of symptoms. The fish can maintain its position in the water column, but keeps a slight nose down orientation, perhaps due to loss of fin tissue?

My second question is: Will this second fish ever regain sight? Or is euthenasia recommended?

Matt


Attached Images
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File Type: jpg IMG_0884.jpg (24.4 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_0889.JPG (72.0 KB, 10 views)
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Matt L., Ph.D. Environmental Microbiology
Questions about nutrients, cycling, and bacteria in a reef tank?
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Current Tank Info: 210gal Display Tank, 125gal Sump, 75gal Refugium, 55gal Quarantine Tank, 120gal Frag Tank
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Old 02/07/2019, 12:03 AM   #2
HumbleFish
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That does look like a pretty serious bacterial infection. NFG is my go-to ABX (especially with butterflies): https://store.nationalfishpharm.com/...ofuracin-green

However, many times a bacterial infection is "secondary" to a preexisting parasitic or worm infestation. So, a few questions:

1. What copper level was maintained? (Should have been 0.5 mg/L for 4 weeks with Cupramine.)
2. Did you dose Prazipro a second time, 5-7 days after the first?
3. Were these fish ever treated with metronidazole for brook & uronema?


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Old 02/07/2019, 03:07 AM   #3
MattL
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Thank you very much for your reply. Because I add fish so rarely, and I've been lucky with health, I'm not as good with fish disease treatment as I'd like to be, which is maybe a good thing...? Anyhow, to answer your questions...
Quote:
Originally Posted by HumbleFish View Post
That does look like a pretty serious bacterial infection. NFG is my go-to ABX (especially with butterflies): https://store.nationalfishpharm.com/...ofuracin-green

However, many times a bacterial infection is "secondary" to a preexisting parasitic or worm infestation. So, a few questions:

1. What copper level was maintained? (Should have been 0.5 mg/L for 4 weeks with Cupramine.)
2. Did you dose Prazipro a second time, 5-7 days after the first?
3. Were these fish ever treated with metronidazole for brook & uronema?
1. Yes, 0.5mg/L for 4 weeks. They were just at the end of the 4 week period when this started.
2. Yes. My experience with these fish is they're full of parasites.
3. No, I wasn't aware of these medicines (will look them up). I had a brook outbreak long time ago, and it killed everything except an eel. These fish don't seem to have the full body white (although it is hard to tell, because they're mostly white)


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Current Tank Info: 210gal Display Tank, 125gal Sump, 75gal Refugium, 55gal Quarantine Tank, 120gal Frag Tank
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Old 02/07/2019, 07:13 AM   #4
Dmorty217
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I would get Nitrofuracin Green (NFG) and try to rule out if they have brook/urenoma. I would want to verify via FW dip or formalin bath if they have flukes or not. Don't formalin dip any fish with a open wound/sore though. Also epsom salt will help with eye issues sometimes but in this case I believe you have a secondary issue going on causing the problems


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Old 02/07/2019, 10:11 AM   #5
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^^ Agree; if you can't acquire NFG in a timely manner, then combining Kanaplex + Metroplex + Furan-2 would be my Plan B.


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Old 02/07/2019, 03:08 PM   #6
MattL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HumbleFish View Post
^^ Agree; if you can't acquire NFG in a timely manner, then combining Kanaplex + Metroplex + Furan-2 would be my Plan B.
Thank you for your excellent response. I had always used just Furan, but have purchased some NFG. It should be here in a few days.

My next question is whether NFG will have any adverse impact on a tank that could one day later be used for corals? These all seem to be organic antibiotics that I doubt persist in a reef environment over time, but I just want to ensure none of them are recalcitrant and difficult to scrub out of a system with carbon, etc.

I am considering separating the two fish, so I can feed the more afflicted one without the other present.

While I am strict about quarantine, I only have one true quarantine tank, and another isolated system I use for frags or (never at the same time) further acclimation after quarantine but before adding to the display tank (so to observe for any disease recurrence once out of quarantine).

This tank other has sand in it and a protein skimmer.

Other thank killing the bacteria in the sand, what impact would NFG have on a sand bed?

Matt


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Matt L., Ph.D. Environmental Microbiology
Questions about nutrients, cycling, and bacteria in a reef tank?
Member: Boston Reefer's Society, Manhattan Reefer's Society

Current Tank Info: 210gal Display Tank, 125gal Sump, 75gal Refugium, 55gal Quarantine Tank, 120gal Frag Tank
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Old 02/07/2019, 10:28 PM   #7
HumbleFish
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattL View Post
My next question is whether NFG will have any adverse impact on a tank that could one day later be used for corals? These all seem to be organic antibiotics that I doubt persist in a reef environment over time, but I just want to ensure none of them are recalcitrant and difficult to scrub out of a system with carbon, etc.

I am considering separating the two fish, so I can feed the more afflicted one without the other present.

While I am strict about quarantine, I only have one true quarantine tank, and another isolated system I use for frags or (never at the same time) further acclimation after quarantine but before adding to the display tank (so to observe for any disease recurrence once out of quarantine).

This tank other has sand in it and a protein skimmer.

Other thank killing the bacteria in the sand, what impact would NFG have on a sand bed?
The one problem I see is the methylene blue found in NFG. It stains everything blue, including the silicone seams. It's also harsh on nitrifying bacteria which is why I always dose it into an uncycled, bare bottom QT.


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Old 02/09/2019, 09:08 AM   #8
MattL
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Thanks for letting me know the methylene blue will stain silicone!

My quarantine tank is "cycled".

What do you do for ammonia oxidation if methylene blue is harsh on nitrifiers?


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Matt L., Ph.D. Environmental Microbiology
Questions about nutrients, cycling, and bacteria in a reef tank?
Member: Boston Reefer's Society, Manhattan Reefer's Society

Current Tank Info: 210gal Display Tank, 125gal Sump, 75gal Refugium, 55gal Quarantine Tank, 120gal Frag Tank
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Old 02/09/2019, 10:25 AM   #9
Dmorty217
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Water changes or a nitrifying bacteria product. I have use NFG many times and it doesn’t totally deplete the bacteria population. Or there is always Prime too or any other ammonia detoxifier


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Fish are not disposable commodities, but a worthwhile investment that can be maintained and enjoyed for many years, providing one is willing to take the time to understand their requirements and needs

Current Tank Info: 625g, 220g sump, RD3 230w, Vectra L1 on a closed loop, 3 MP60s, MP40. Several QTs
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Old 02/17/2019, 08:26 PM   #10
MattL
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I just wanted to give everyone an update on the butterfly fish.

I began a course of NFG + Cupramine + Prazipro, making sure to replace the Cupramine and Prazipro lost with each water change, and tested daily for nitrite and nitrate, and twice daily for ammonia.

I am happy to say Fish 1, the less afflicted fish, made a full recovery, and shows no sign of swelling or cloudiness in the affected eye. The fish's eyesight is good out of that eye (responds to motion, etc.).

Sadly, while Fish 2 certainly recovered, the damage to both eyes was extensive. There was no eye tissue left in either eye, and I did the humane thing and put the fish down, as it was completely blind and could not locate food.

I am stunned at the speed at which this disease progressed. But I am glad I found help here. While I have been doing the hobby for a long time, I haven't been adding fish in years, so I am glad I learned something new on this forum.;

I have completely changed my quarantine course to add NFG.

Matt


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Matt L., Ph.D. Environmental Microbiology
Questions about nutrients, cycling, and bacteria in a reef tank?
Member: Boston Reefer's Society, Manhattan Reefer's Society

Current Tank Info: 210gal Display Tank, 125gal Sump, 75gal Refugium, 55gal Quarantine Tank, 120gal Frag Tank
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Old 02/17/2019, 08:48 PM   #11
MattL
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And sorry, but I have one more question. At the conclusion of the NFG treatment course, should I remove it from the water by performing a large water change, use carbon, etc.? Or will it just degrade on its own?

Matt


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Matt L., Ph.D. Environmental Microbiology
Questions about nutrients, cycling, and bacteria in a reef tank?
Member: Boston Reefer's Society, Manhattan Reefer's Society

Current Tank Info: 210gal Display Tank, 125gal Sump, 75gal Refugium, 55gal Quarantine Tank, 120gal Frag Tank
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Old 02/17/2019, 09:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattL View Post
And sorry, but I have one more question. At the conclusion of the NFG treatment course, should I remove it from the water by performing a large water change, use carbon, etc.? Or will it just degrade on its own?

Matt
I would do a large water change + run carbon. Primarily to remove the blue discoloration to the water.


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