How To Peroxide (H2O2) dosing for parasites in reef tank

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Hmm, that’s an interesting question. Uronema doesn’t have an encysted stage, but it does feed on detritus. Maybe don’t remove it but give it a really good vacuuming? I’m not sure, @Humblefish what are your thoughts?

I wouldn't say you necessarily need to remove it to improves chances of a successfully treatment. However, I would stir or vacuum it often just in case any Uronema parasites are down in the sand bed. Which they shouldn't be... They should be near the surface of the sand feeding on detritus.
Thank you both for the help. I’m pretty relieved that I don’t need to suction it out.

I do stir everything up really well during my water changes. When I do this I also use aa in tank diatom filter. Once every 2 weeks. But when I get my UV and doser maybe I will change to weekly water changes and sandbed stirring.
 

Sashaka

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I can think of @Sashaka and @SKKY off the top of my head - would either of you be willing to do an @AquaBiomics eDNA test to see if there is any parasite DNA currently present in your tanks?
Sorry I haven't been on much. I've had some bad luck with my health this year and because of Covid, the year has been murder on teachers as far as eating up the little free time we can steal after the normal school day is done.

I haven't read through the entire thread yet but I would be interested in doing the eDNA test on my tank. I have new fish and snails coming in on 4-28-21 for the 180 gal tank---from Dr. Fish's quarantined fish, one of fish sellers listed here in the fish seller's section of this site who treats as a prophylaxis measure to ensure the best chance of selling healthy fish to customers. I just don't have time to treat new fish myself this year. I added a couple of fish and some snails back in January from TSM Aquatics, another seller of quarantined fish listed here (awesome experience with that seller-btw). Those fish were and the new batch of fish coming in will be the only new items added to the tank since I stopped dosing H2O2 and setup the UV on the tank. I have not lost a fish to fish illness since dosing and setting up the UV. Unfortunately, my UV started leaking in December after I changed the bulb and no matter what my husband has done, we can't get it to stop leaking, so my UV has been off since December 2020. That puts quite a few variables into the mix, so I'm not sure how much help I can be to do the eDNA test, but maybe doing one now and then a comparison test later if any nasties are found in the tank and I need to start dosing again will foster some hypothesis and dialogue - which is always the preface to new understanding. After I get a new UV up and running (which will not be anytime too soon because of the cost of replacing my unit), doing another test could reveal additional information about dosing in conjunction with using UV - though I think that information has already been examined fairly well in the aquatic community of members who have dosed and used UVs to control or combat fish disease.
 

Jessican

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@Sashaka great to see you back, I’m sorry it’s been a rough year!

If you haven’t been running UV since December, and aren’t dosing peroxide, I think this is the perfect time for an eDNA test. We know for sure that your tank had velvet, so if there are no parasite traces found even after a while after stopping UV and dosing, I think that we can pretty definitively say that it cured your tank. And the microbiome test will be interesting, too, since your tank has had some time to recover in biodiversity.

Make sure you PM @AquaBiomics so that he can add you to the humble.fish coupon list for 20% off. I’m really looking forward to your results!
 
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So far in the third full dose of H2O2 treatment I have seen 95% spots gone of the Achilles and no other fish is showing any signs of low energy of even swimming in front of the MP40 flow. I just saw one of my cleaner shrimp stuck on the MP40 so not sure if it was due to the H2O2 treatment or did it just get sucked into the MP40. @Jessican @Humblefish will continue to keep you updated on this treatment and results periodically. Thank you once again for all the help and support.
 

Sashaka

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@Sashaka great to see you back, I’m sorry it’s been a rough year!

If you haven’t been running UV since December, and aren’t dosing peroxide, I think this is the perfect time for an eDNA test. We know for sure that your tank had velvet, so if there are no parasite traces found even after a while after stopping UV and dosing, I think that we can pretty definitively say that it cured your tank. And the microbiome test will be interesting, too, since your tank has had some time to recover in biodiversity.

Make sure you PM @AquaBiomics so that he can add you to the humble.fish coupon list for 20% off. I’m really looking forward to your results!
I'm pathetically honest, so I have to admit that while I have not lost fish to fish disease, and I did stop regimented dosing, I did dose a single dose of H2O2 in December and lost half my tank to human error, which is why I'm restocking my tank now.

It was Christmas morning and I was late to leave for my son's house to open Christmas presents with my granddaughters, who had already called me twice to see when I was coming. After feeding the fish, in a rush I decided that the hair algae that had grown in the tank due to my busy schedule this year needed to be addressed and I grabbed the H2O2 bottle I keep in my fridge and dosed the tank quickly before I left. In my hast, I grabbed the wrong bottle! I dosed with full strength 35% H2O2 instead of the diluted bottle of 3% without realizing it! Soooo Stupid of Me!

I didn't realize the problem until the next morning when I woke to feed the fish and found half my tank was dead! All angels, tangs (except the yellow eyed kole), a wrasse, and a foxface were lost. Most fish lost were between 6 - 8 inches in size - grown from small 1" to 2" fish: A Hippo tang, Majestic Angel, Emperor Angel, Flame Angel, Foxface, M. Ornatus wrasse, and a few others that I can't think of right now. My Moyeri wrasse and the Ornatus wrasse were the only wrasses that made it through the original high level dosing of H2O2, and I stupidly took one of them out with this impulsive kneejerk dosing. Ironically, the hair algae wasn't phased much after the Christmas morning dose, so it's clear a single dose (high or not) of H2O2 does not work on hair algae as well as prolonged small doses will-at least in my tank. The butterfly fish in the tank, which are supposed to be a more sensitive fish species than some other types of saltwater fish, all made it (a copperband, 2 banner, and a vagabond).

In any event, I was totally heartbroken and thought about giving up the tank until my life is less stressed and hectic, but I rallied after about a month of wallowing in self-pity and decided to restock-hence-the orders for new fish in January and this month.

The point is that with new fish and snails being introduced, the origination of any pathogen can't be certain and the micobiome test may likely show low levels because of the single, foolish (aka asinine) Christmas morning lethal level dosing.

Still, I'm curious about the test results for my tank, so I do plan on looking into doing the eDNA test, though the results may not be valid for the research suggested.
 
@Jessican does this look like appropriate dosing regimen?
If it is, I have a spreadsheet I created and could post it for others. All you need to do is change the number of gallons in tank, and it will calculate everything.
1619290813350.png
 

karisny

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Update after eDNA testing: Peroxide (H2O2) dosing for parasites in reef tank

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*** The information contained here is only EXPERIMENTAL at the moment. Use at your own risk!!! ***

Disclaimer: I am in no way advocating this as a replacement for prophylactic quarantine or treatment in a hospital tank for active outbreaks. I think the decision to try to manage an outbreak in the display vs going fallow and treating with medication is going to be a personal one. I personally don’t think treatment in a hospital tank is always practical, especially when you have a large tank with large and/or numerous fish.

Important! Continue to run carbon while dosing peroxide. It may break the peroxide down faster, but it is necessary to prevent the buildup of toxic byproducts of oxidation. August 2020 update: Combining UV with peroxide is an advanced oxidation process used in drinking water treatment - the UV makes the peroxide more effective by raising its oxidation potential (in one link that I unfortunately can no longer find on the EPA's website, they stated that UV + peroxide is actually a better oxidizer than ozone or bleach). A number of us here have seen better success after adding UV to the equation. If you have it, use it.

Recommended use: Temporarily treating a parasite outbreak in a display tank while a hospital tank is acquired/set up, and fish are captured and moved. This can take the initial panic out of the equation and buy precious time for the fish. We don’t know for sure if this could eventually eliminate a parasite on its own without causing harm to the rest of the inhabitants, so long-term use is risky. August 2020 update: I have not seen any negative effects on the tanks or its inhabitants from dosing 1mL/5gal of 3% H2O2 for an extended period of time (>6 months).

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Treating an active outbreak with H2O2 dosing

At the beginning of this year, I was faced with a disease outbreak in my Reefer 525 (~139g system). I believe it was velvet. I’ve dealt with this before in my smaller tanks, and despite treatment with copper or cholorquine phosphate, still lost 8 out of 14 fish (57%). This time around, though, I’m dealing with a much larger tank, with much larger fish (still 14 total), and rockwork that couldn’t be removed to facilitate catching the fish. So I decided to try something somewhat unconventional: treating the velvet outbreak in the display by dosing peroxide.

I fortunately caught the outbreak early – only one fish had spots when I started dosing, and wasn’t showing any of the other outward signs of the disease (flashing, hiding from light, loss of appetite, or swimming in the flow of a powerhead).
  • Starting dose: 1mL per 8 gallons (15mL) every 12 hours
  • Week 2: increased to 1mL per 8 gallons (15mL) every 8 hours
  • Week 4: increased to 1mL per 5 gallons (24mL) every 8 hours, and added overnight dosing (1mL every 15 minutes for 6 hours)
I did wind up increasing the dosing frequency after this to every 3 hours, then every 1.5 hours during the day to try to keep the peroxide concentration up. Unfortunately, this is when I started to see algae issues, and wound up with spreading hair algae, as well as diatom and dino outbreaks, despite my nutrients staying relatively high, so I won’t get into that dosing schedule. I backed it off, and ultimately settled on this dosage:
  • 1mL per 5 gallons (24mL) every 8 hours, just before lights on, midday, and just after lights off.
  • 2mL every 15 minutes for 6 hours overnight (for a total of 48mL, or 2x a normal daytime dose)
Note: I do think it’s important to start at the 1mL/8-10 gallon every 8-12 hours to give the tank time to adjust, and work up to the higher and more frequent dosing.

I recommend dosing for a minimum of 6 weeks when treating an active outbreak, because we think that this method targets the free swimmers, so you need to dose for at least as long as tomonts might be present and actively releasing them. After 6 weeks, you can stop dosing and watch for signs that you need to start back up again.

For reference, using 3% peroxide:
1mL/10gal (40L) = 0.75ppm
1mL/8gal (30L) = 0.9ppm
1mL/5gal (19L) = 1.59ppm
1mL/3gal (11L) = 2.73ppm
1mL/1gal (4L) = 7.5ppm

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Other thoughts/concerns:

- Is it 100% reef safe? I'd say no, but what is? There's always a trade-off somewhere. Although I only lost 3 out of 14 fish (21%) with this method, I did lose several inverts and a few corals, although most did survive unscathed (whether the losses were directly due to the peroxide or due to the toxic byproducts that built up when I wasn’t running carbon, I can’t say). August 2020 update: Since re-adding carbon, I haven't had any more mysterious invert or coral losses, despite continuing to dose peroxide. In fact, things are thriving - see the FTS at the bottom of the page. I'm chalking these losses up to not using carbon early in the dosing. September 2020 update: I've since determined that the coral losses occurred not because of the lack of carbon, but because I dosed fenbendazole that was mislabeled as praziquantel. This might also explain some of the invert losses (especially snails) as well.

Invert losses: All trochus, margarita, and turbo snails, 1 tropical abalone, 2 cleaner shrimp, 1 pincushion urchin, and 1 maxima clam (not dead yet, but not looking great, so I expect I'll likely lose it)​
Coral losses: Only softies/polyps (pipe organ coral, toadstool leather, finger leather, purple gorgonian, several kenya trees)​
Invert survivors: All nerite, cerith, and bumblebee snails, all money cowries, 1 tropical abalone, fighting conch, electric flame scallop, various hermit/pitho/strawberry/pom pom crabs, rock flower/BTA/mini carpet anemones, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 sexy shrimp 3 urchins (tuxedo, short spine, and Halloween), and 1 maxima clam. The BTAs actually continued to split like crazy while I was doing this – there were probably 12 in the tank when I started, and that number at least doubled.​
Coral survivors: SPS frags (pocillapora, millepora, digitata, bonsai acro, various montis, psammacora, potato chip, elephant skin), large monti cap, variety of LPS (frogspawns, hammers, torches, cristata, acans, favias, pearl bubble, leptastrea, gonis/alveoporas, moseleya, fungia plate, turbinara, duncans, lobos, galaxea, blastos, candy cane, pectinia), one zoa colony (it actually went from 2 polyps to 5), and several mushrooms​

- Did I have far better fish outcomes than I would have if I'd pulled everyone into treatment and gone fallow? I believe so. I've seen far greater losses when I've treated with CP or copper in a hospital tank. The fish continued to behave normally, and I didn't see any appetite suppression the entire time, besides that one anthias that I lost.

However, caveat to that…:

- Do I think the parasite is gone? No, but I do think it's well controlled. After two months, I installed a UV sterilizer and discontinued the peroxide dosing. I will continue to watch closely in the coming months to see if I need to start back up again. August 2020 update: I have successfully added a number of new fish as outlined below and have discontinued dosing (although I am still running UV), with no sign of the disease returning so far.

- Would I take this approach again? Absolutely. No quarantine or treatment regimen is going to be 100% effective 100% of the time, so if something pops up again despite my best efforts, I will choose this method over going fallow.

FTS at the beginning of treatment (January 2020):
View attachment 1712

FTS at the end of treatment (March 2020):
View attachment 1713

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Maintenance dosing / adding new fish using H2O2 baths and dosing

After a couple of months of H2O2 dosing and then no dosing for a month, I was comfortable starting to add new fish to my display. However, I can't say for sure that the parasites are gone vs. just controlled, so I wanted to make sure that I was protecting the new fish from anything still lurking in the tank.

My thought here is that if I start with reasonably clean fish, give them a 150ppm peroxide bath to knock off anything they might be carrying, and then add them to the DT where I dose peroxide for a minimum of a month, the fish will be protected from anything that might be lurking while they build up their own immunity.

Here's the method:
- New fish that I would consider reasonably clean to start with (such as Diver’s Den or Biota/ORA) gets a 150ppm bath for 30 min
- New fish goes into the display, with UV running 24/7
- For at least a month after, I dose peroxide at 1mL/5gal, 3x a day
- After the month is up, I’ll stop the peroxide but keep running the UV (I plan to eventually try turning off the UV as well and black molly testing, but I don’t know when yet)

Using this method, I’ve successfully added the following fish to my tanks:
- Rainford goby
- Swales Swissguard basslet
- Bluestreak cleaner wrasse
- Blue throat triggerfish
- Hooded fairy wrasse (this one didn’t get the initial bath because she was already QT’d)
- Bicolor foxface
- Orchid dottyback
- Banggai cardinal
- Melanurus wrasse
- Ocellaris clownfish

I’ve also successfully moved a yellow candy hogfish and a possum wrasse from a previously infected tank to a clean tank with only UV running (no dosing) with only a peroxide bath in between. I also haven't lost any of my existing fish while adding new fish. I spent probably two months total doing additional dosing while adding fish.

One thing I do want to point out - none of these fish are ich magnets, like tangs. To add those, I would suggest starting peroxide dosing for a couple weeks prior to adding them, to knock down the number of potential free swimmers, and then dose for a minimum of a month after adding. You probably don’t need to do the continuous overnight dosing if you don’t have an active outbreak, but just pay very close attention to behavior - you can always up the dosing if you see signs.

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Final thoughts

Despite the caveats and warnings above, I'm pretty confident in the effectiveness of the peroxide dosing for at least disease management, if not eradication. My tank is thriving, the fish are healthy, I've been able to add new fish, and I haven't lost anyone to disease since I started. The only thing left to do is to black molly test the DT once the current UV bulb dies (it's been running for 6 months now) and see if I hit for anything. At this point, I highly recommend this method to anyone who is either unable to use a QT tank, or getting burnt out on the cycle of disease outbreaks and treatments - sometimes even when you do everything right, things still go wrong.

Final FTS, eight months after this all started (August 2020):
View attachment 6224
ok im gong to change water 50 % then dose 1ml per 8 gallons tonight . i have 215 gallon w 90 gallon sump . sump holds 50 gallons i think and tank has about 60 pounds of rock guessing again . what number of gallons should i go w 200 ? and when do i change water and how do i test level of hydrogen peroxide in water at any given time . i have ich !!
 
Thanks @Sashaka
I’m sorry about everything you have been through. The last year has been horrible in so many ways, and I’m so ready for things to get back to normal.

The reason I am doing the H2O2 dosing is because my aquabiomics test came back with a hit for uronema. Now I understand that my crazy clown may have a reason to be acting crazy.
 

Jessican

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ok im gong to change water 50 % then dose 1ml per 8 gallons tonight . i have 215 gallon w 90 gallon sump . sump holds 50 gallons i think and tank has about 60 pounds of rock guessing again . what number of gallons should i go w 200 ? and when do i change water and how do i test level of hydrogen peroxide in water at any given time . i have ich !!
I replied to your PM with this info, but I’ll post it here too. :)

Yeah just give it your best guess as far as water volume, I’d probably just call it 200g even.

You don’t need to change anything about your normal water change schedule, I personally change 15g on my 140g system every three weeks. Peroxide breaks down into water, nothing that you need to try to remove.

It shouldn’t affect your bacteria at this level, we’re using very low dosage here. We saw problems once you get up to 1mL/1g, but you won’t be going that high in a reef tank (I wouldn’t go higher than 1mL/5g). You can dose something like Dr. Tim’s or MicroBacter7 if you want, though.

I don’t think it’s necessary to try to measure the concentration, but if you want to try, you could test these out: Industrial Test Systems Sensafe 481015 Peroxide Test Strip, Low Range, 50 Seconds Test Time, 0.05-4 ppm Range (Bottle of 50): Science Lab Water Purification System Accessories: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific
 

Pbh

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So far in the third full dose of H2O2 treatment I have seen 95% spots gone of the Achilles and no other fish is showing any signs of low energy of even swimming in front of the MP40 flow. I just saw one of my cleaner shrimp stuck on the MP40 so not sure if it was due to the H2O2 treatment or did it just get sucked into the MP40. @Jessican @Humblefish will continue to keep you updated on this treatment and results periodically. Thank you once again for all the help and support.
So it seems like in your case we have some evidence that peroxide dosing can help manage ich (whereas it seems like most/all other posts in this thread are about velvet). Does that seem right @Jessican @Humblefish
 

Jessican

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I’ve always thought that peroxide dosing can help with any of the big diseases, because it targets the free swimming stage. Ich might just require a longer dosing period because theoretically the tomonts take longer to wait out.

I think the reason we see more people trying this for velvet is because it’s so much more virulent than ich - for velvet, if you do nothing, it’s highly likely to wipe out your fish. Ich is more easily managed without having to dose peroxide. That said, I’m thrilled that @fellowreefer is trying this for ich - the more success stories we have, the better!
 

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So it seems like in your case we have some evidence that peroxide dosing can help manage ich (whereas it seems like most/all other posts in this thread are about velvet). Does that seem right @Jessican @Humblefish
It's possible, but as Jessica stated a longer dosing period would likely be required in most cases. Also, Crypto theronts are larger than Velvet dinospores so the size difference might afford them greater protection from chemical treatments. At least I think that is the reasoning behind why most hobbyist grade UVs are considered ineffective against Ich but will kill velvet:

Use of ultraviolet (UV) sterilization to kill theronts has been suggested, based on research involving Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (freshwater "ich"). The recommended UV dose for Ichthyophthirius theronts is 100,000 µWsec/cm2 (Hoffman 1974). However, UV doses required for Cryptocaryon irritans are anecdotal or extrapolated, and range from 280,000 µWsec/cm2 (industry numbers) to 800,000 µWsec/cm2 (Colorni and Burgess 1997).
Source: FA164/FA164: Cryptocaryon irritans Infections (Marine White Spot Disease) in Fish
 
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I’ve always thought that peroxide dosing can help with any of the big diseases, because it targets the free swimming stage. Ich might just require a longer dosing period because theoretically the tomonts take longer to wait out.

I think the reason we see more people trying this for velvet is because it’s so much more virulent than ich - for velvet, if you do nothing, it’s highly likely to wipe out your fish. Ich is more easily managed without having to dose peroxide. That said, I’m thrilled that @fellowreefer is trying this for ich - the more success stories we have, the better!
So today is the end of Day5 and I don’t see any spots on any of the fish and I don’t see any fish swimming in flow of the MP40 as the Achilles did start on day 1 and prior to H2O2 treatment. I have lost another cleaner shrimp as of this mor. I still running my UV at flow rate of 474 gph and it’s a Ultra Violet AQUA UV 57w on this system total water volume of approximately 220 to 225. I will be changing the Aquachar Carbon today to BRS ROX 0.8 activated carbon. No other changes so far. Will I need to dose this for six weeks as I am doing 1ml/5gal measurements per your recommendation @Jessican or do you think since it’s Ich I will need to dose longer then Six weeks as @Humblefish said to kill Ich it might take longer then velvet. Let me know and I will certainly keep everyone posted here on the progress of this treatment.
 
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I would dose for at minimum 6 weeks, then evaluate. If you still aren’t seeing any new signs of ich, stop dosing and just watch - if spots reappear, start again and go for longer.
I don’t have any corals in there but do you think adding corals to the tank will have any ill effects on it?? I can maybe start with the most easy ZOAs and see what they do and how they react to the H2O2 treatment. I won’t add any other until I see the reaction on the ZOAs. I have many other corals but I will wait for those to go in the tank or do you think it won’t have any effects on corals such as torches, hammers, Frogspawn, blasto, ACAN, SPS Monti and ACROs, ACANTHO, elegance and so on.
 

Jessican

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I don’t have any corals in there but do you think adding corals to the tank will have any ill effects on it?? I can maybe start with the most easy ZOAs and see what they do and how they react to the H2O2 treatment. I won’t add any other until I see the reaction on the ZOAs. I have many other corals but I will wait for those to go in the tank or do you think it won’t have any effects on corals such as torches, hammers, Frogspawn, blasto, ACAN, SPS Monti and ACROs, ACANTHO, elegance and so on.
I have all kinds in my tank, see my first post for the list and photos. My experience was that zoas and anemones react right when the dose goes in, but reopen. The softies I lost were due to fenbendazole, not peroxide. Overall, though, nothing seemed permanently negatively effected by the peroxide. The main thing with corals - or all livestock really - is not to overdose. 1mL/5g has been pretty safe in my experience.
 
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