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Need some medication help with T. natans

This is a discussion on Need some medication help with T. natans within the Gymnophiona: Caecilians forums, part of the Other Amphibians category; Well the good news is my male T. natas that I've had for almost 4 years is doing very well ...

Gymnophiona: Caecilians For the discussion of Caecilians (also known as "Eels").

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Old 28th November 2011   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need some medication help with T. natans

Well the good news is my male T. natas that I've had for almost 4 years is doing very well and is healthy and fat. Had a turkey feast last night. Today unfortunately I lost a fish in this tank. The cause of its death is calamus worms which is a pretty nasty internal parasite. It was an angelfish that I bought with two others from a local breeder so I'm kinda disappointed about this. I've already removed the other two fish from the tank and began their treatment to see if they pass any worms. Now my delema is there are still around 20 fish in the tank along with the adult male caecilian. My treatment of choice for this parasite is levamisole hydrochloride. Treatment is exactly 0.1 to 0.2 grams per 10 gallons, left for 24 hours then a complete water change/cleaning. Repeated 2 weeks later. Now this medication is harmless on all the fish, plants, and snails. What I can't determine is if its okay for the ceacilian. Being an amphibian I don't think he is a viable host for these parasite. Basically I'm trying to determine if its safe to leave him in the tank or I can move him to a large plastic storage bin while I'm treat the tank. He won't like being moved but I doubt he will be overly stressed by it.



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Old 29th November 2011   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need some medication help with T. natans

Sorry the proper name is camallanus worms. Some one did give me advice about treating so much thanks for that if it needs to be done. I'm interested though if these are even possible parasites for amphibians as a entire class. Unfortunately my amphibian knowledge starts and ends with my caecilian for the most part. Camallanus is the genus of worm. I can find very little info on the web relating anything to amphibians. So I'm going to be hopeful that he can't get this species that was in my fish. I may do a fecal screening since I have free use of the microscopes at school. I'd rather not treat him at all if he doesn't need it.

These were the ones I got out of the fish.
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Old 29th November 2011   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need some medication help with T. natans

The fish parasite known as Camallanus worms are part of a larger parasitic nematode genus, Camallanidae. There are other species of Camallanus which parasitze reptiles and amphibians too. But most parasites are strictly evolved for one group. It's unlikely that these fish nematodes will parastize your T. natans, but I would err on the side of caution and isolate him while you rid the tank of the parasites. They may not be able to infect your caecilian, but they can cause other health problems if they attempt to. Swimmer's Itch is a perfect example of this. The schistoma parasite that causes it normally infects waterfowl. But they are attracted to the warm flesh of anything, including us. Once we exit the water, our skin starts to dry and the parasite desperately tries to escape the dry air by burrowing into our skin. It is promptly killed by our body chemistry and immune system, but leaves us with an infuriating dermatitis.

Isolating your caecilian until your tank and fish are clear is probably the best idea. Do regular fecal checks and monitor it's health to see if there's any sign of problems. This may take time, so you have to be patient. When you are certain the tank and fish are free from the parasite, then you can return the caecilian to the habitat once you are sure it's also not having issues. You'll probably have to be very careful as not to reintroduce the nematode into the tank.

I'm not a parasitologist and most of this is stuff I've learned on my own, so don't consider me an expert. It's better to be safe than sorry with these things. Parasites of all kinds are extremely well evolved and durable, so never underestimate these amazing but infuriating critters.



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Old 3rd December 2011   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need some medication help with T. natans

Many thanks for the info. I moved the caecilian to a bin tonight and began treatment on all my aquariums just to be on the safe side. While I would gladly leave the caecilian on his own for the month or longer it takes me to make sure these things are eradicated, I don't have anything very fit to house him in that long. So after consideration I've determined every weekend I will move him to the bin and treat the tanks with levamisole. Once the treatment is up and the tanks are clean (well as much as they can be) I will move him back.

Typical treatment is 24-48 hours long and the med I use is just about the best one you can get against these worms. It paralyzes any adult worms and allows the fish to pass them out. Its very effective at removing the adult worms. Then you do as close to a 100% water change as you can, cleaning the tank/filter as much as possible to remove any paralyzed worms. Then repeat every week or two till your confident their gone.

It will take at least 6 weeks, probably more before I feel sure there gone. From what I have read they seem to use an intermediate crustacean host. While I have no shrimp in this particular tank, I'm well aware there are likely thousands of microscopic crustaceans in there. I'm still debating how to tackle this issue. So far the best idea I've come up with is to probably treat the tank with copper sulfate along with the levamisole. Copper sulfate is normally an external parasite medication for fish, but I'm mainly hoping to take advantage of one of its side effects and thats its pretty high toxicity to invertebrates. It will kill shrimp pretty easy and I'm hoping it does the same to a lot of the copepods and what not. This first week just using the dewormer and seeing how that goes before I start mixing meds. I'm not sure if the dewormer I have effects the larval stages of camallanus. Below a video I took of the worms under the scope earlier this week. The adults I had were very much paralyzed after being treated, however the young inside the females were definitely not. I didn't think to test if this is because they were protected from the med or if they were simply just not susceptible at that life stage =/. I left that dead fish and the worms with one of the professors who was gonna see if they would survive for the zoology labs the next day.



I use to quarantine all my new fish. The first time I got this parasite years ago it made it though quarantine. So for at least a year after that I dewormed all new fish regardless while they were in quarantine. Found better, healthier sources through local breeders/hobbyist and as a result got lazier. Once I get this cleared up I'll go back to quarantining and deworming everything regardless.

This is the tank in question.
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My caecilian asleep.
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This is the setup I'm using to hold him for now. He seems pretty pissed about it lol.
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