Chilodonella is a significant parasite that poses a considerable risk to fish health. The mere presence of even a single parasite necessitates immediate intervention. This parasite is particularly perilous for two main reasons. Firstly, unlike many of its counterparts, Chilodonella can thrive across a broad temperature spectrum. Alarmingly, outbreaks often manifest at lower temperatures, a time when fish are least equipped to fend off such threats. Secondly, even though Chilodonella is relatively diminutive in size, it might be more hazardous than Ich. This is because, during its early stages, there are no overt indicators of its existence.
Regrettably, by the time it becomes evident that there’s an issue, the fish might have already sustained significant tissue damage. Similar to other parasites, there’s an added danger of subsequent infections, which can arise from wounds inflicted by the parasite’s feeding habits.
Identification: The symptoms of Chilodonella infestation mirror those of other parasitic infections. Affected fish may exhibit heavy and strained ‘breathing’, discernible by observing the movements of the operculum. Other signs include flashing and rubbing, a murky appearance on the skin due to an overproduction of mucus, reduced appetite, and general lethargy. In more advanced stages, which might be too late for effective treatment, fish tend to isolate themselves, often hovering near the water’s surface or by the water return. In some cases, they might display profound lethargy, spending extended periods lying at the bottom with their fins clamped.
Chilodonella can be readily identified in skin scrapes and gill biopsies, thanks to its distinctive slow, circular gliding movements. The parasite boasts a flattened, heart-shaped form with a notched end. Faintly visible bands of cilia can be seen on its ventral (bottom) surface in photomicrographs. Typically, they measure between 30 – 80 µm in length and 20 -60 µm in width, making them slightly smaller than the skin-residing Trichodina.
For every 100 ml of Chilodonella Treatment, you can treat up to 3,000 litres of water. Ensure that the biological filtration remains active. Prior to use, deactivate UV sterilisers and ozonisers, and remove both zeolite and carbon. This treatment contains a colour dye, so it’s advisable to avoid contact with clothing and furnishings. Dosage recommendation: 1 ml for every 30 litres of water. A full treatment course requires 4 separate applications. Administer the treatment on days 1, 2, and 3 to gradually increase its potency without overwhelming the already stressed fish. The final dose on day 6 acts as a preventative measure to reduce the likelihood of the parasite’s return. Refrain from using this treatment if rays, momyrids, shrimps, sturgeons or related species are present in the tank. Avoid using this in conjunction with other medications. If switching treatments, allow a minimum of 48 hours in between. This treatment is suitable for both tropical freshwater and coldwater aquariums. On days when medication isn’t administered, perform partial water changes. It’s essential to closely monitor your fish to ensure the parasite doesn’t return post-treatment. Regulating your water temperature is crucial for the complete eradication of the parasite. Some online forums might suggest increasing the water temperature to expedite the Ich life cycle. However, this could stress the fish, so ensure they belong to species that can withstand higher water temperatures before making any adjustments.
To prevent the introduction of parasites and diseases into your aquarium, quarantine all new additions, be it fish, invertebrates, or plants, in a separate tank using distinct equipment for a duration of four to six weeks. The quarantine period might be slightly shorter at elevated temperatures. Avoid altering your fish’s optimal temperature range to reduce the quarantine duration, as this could stress them, making them more vulnerable to diseases and parasites.
Any new plants that were previously housed with fish should also be quarantined. Isolating plants from fish and invertebrates for a minimum of two weeks will disrupt the parasite’s life cycle, as they need a fish host to survive. Without fish to feed on, the parasite will perish. During these two weeks, consider providing your plants with additional fertiliser, as transportation and handling can be detrimental to aquatic plants.
For the overall health and wellbeing of your fish, always maintain high water quality and provide a suitable diet. Adhere to a consistent maintenance routine. Regularly observe your fish, familiarising yourself with their typical behaviours and appetites to swiftly detect any anomalies. If you suspect any issues with your fish, consult an aquatic veterinarian promptly.
Please note, the image provided is for illustrative purposes only.