Uronema

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Humblefish

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Uronema marinum


What You Need To Know:

* These are the red sores most often seen on chromis damsels; however it can afflict any fish.
* Treatment of choice is a 45 minute formalin bath (e.g. Quick Cure), followed by transfer into a new/sterile QT.
* Once in QT, it is very important to do followup treatment to ensure all of the parasites have been eliminated. This can be accomplished by dosing and food soaking metronidazole (e.g. Seachem Metroplex) for 10-14 days.
* There is no fallow period for Uronema. Once a tank has Uronema, it must be assumed that the disease can survive in there almost indefinitely.



Additional Information

Uronema marinum is a ciliate parasite with a direct life cycle: It lives, feeds and reproduces directly on the fish (no encysted stage). However, there always exists the possibility that parasites can drop off into the water column and infect other fish. Having no encysted stage makes this pathogen easier to eliminate, but do not underestimate how fast killing Uronema can be. Especially with chromis damsels.

Two additional caveats to know about Uronema:

1. A fish infected with Uronema should also be fed food soaked with metronidazole because the disease can spread internally. Seachem Focus can be used to bind the medication to the food.

2. Uronema is a “free living” parasite which does not require a fish host. It can subsist off bacteria, dead tissue and (mainly) detritus. So, going fallow will not eradicate it. Most fish seem protected from it via their natural immune system; but for some reason, chromis and some other fish are not always afforded this protection. This is one pathogen you never want in your display tank. Probably the best way to manage its presence is to maintain a very clean aquarium with minimal detritus and avoid chromis damsels. This should keep the number of parasites low because you are eliminating the pathogen’s two main food sources.

Treatment OptionsA formalin or Ruby Reef Rally bath are the two best options for providing relief to an infected specimen:

Formalin (45 min bath): https://humble.fish/formalin/

Rally (90 min bath): https://humble.fish/acriflavine/

Post bath, transfer the fish into a clean/sterile QT to prevent reinfection. Then dose Chloroquine Phosphate once (60 mg/gal) or metronidazole every 48 hours for 10-14 days thereafter. This is to ensure all of the parasites have been eradicated. Remember to also food soak metronidazole during the QT period in order to eliminate the internal parasites as well.

A 5 minute freshwater dip may provide temporary relief if you are unable to locate any of the aforementioned medications right away. It is a wise course of action to always transfer the fish into a new/sterile QT following each freshwater dip to prevent reinfection.

*** UPDATE:

If a fish is showing active signs (red sores) of Uronema, DO NOT use formalin or H2O2 on that fish. Both chemicals will burn the sores, and ultimately do more harm than good. (Formalin and H2O2 are still appropriate for fish you suspect may be carriers of Uronema, but not yet showing red sores.) If a fish is showing active signs (red sores) of Uronema, you have two options:
  1. Euthanasia: How to euthanize a fish
  2. 5 min freshwater dip + dose Metronidazole (Flagyl) every 48 hours for 14 days in a QT.
To be honest, option #2 only has a slight chance of working because usually by the time you see the red sores on the fish it's too little, too late. :( I personally just euthanize the fish to prevent the disease from spreading.
 
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Humblefish

Dr. Fish
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Navarre, FL
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*** UPDATE:

If a fish is showing active signs (red sores) of Uronema, DO NOT use formalin or H2O2 on that fish. Both chemicals will burn the sores, and ultimately do more harm than good. (Formalin and H2O2 are still appropriate for fish you suspect may be carriers of Uronema, but not yet showing red sores.) If a fish is showing active signs (red sores) of Uronema, you have two options:
  1. Euthanasia: How to euthanize a fish
  2. 5 min freshwater dip + dose Metronidazole (Flagyl) every 48 hours for 14 days in a QT.
To be honest, option #2 only has a slight chance of working because usually by the time you see the red sores on the fish it's too little, too late. :( I personally just euthanize the fish to prevent the disease from spreading.
 

MrWheelock

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Humble,
If one has Uronema in the display, how does one get rid of it?
Secondly if one has corals in the same display is there a way to rid them of the free living parasite or are they lost as well?
 
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Humblefish

Dr. Fish
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Navarre, FL
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Humble,
If one has Uronema in the display, how does one get rid of it?
Secondly if one has corals in the same display is there a way to rid them of the free living parasite or are they lost as well?

Your only hope of eliminating Uronema in a DT with corals would be H2O2: 1 ml per 10 gallons every 12 hours for 30 days

**Edit: The above dosage is for 3% hydrogen peroxide.
 

dvp95

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Quick question. I bought a batch of chromis that looks to have uronema. 4 died with similar spots, 7 left. All 7 look healthy without eating problems or spots for the past week. I also have a Kole tang and Powder brown tang in the same QT. Everyone looks fine. My plan is to treat with metroplex for 14 days in the water and feeding to get rid of things before I prophylactically treat for ich/etc, and leaving them in the QT for 76 days.

1. Do I feed them using your formula every meal, or just once a day? Sometimes I feed twice a day, sometimes once depending on work. Sometimes that second meal is flakes. Is it necessary for all meals to have it and is it for the full 14 days (or longer)?
2. After the 14 days, I will do a larger water change and observe them/start ich treatment. Is my equipment still good or does it need to be sterilized? I assume the equipment is ok since uronema should be gone?
3. Is epsom salt necessary? I can steal my wifes foot soaking stuff if so
 

Humblefish

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Navarre, FL
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1. Do I feed them using your formula every meal, or just once a day? Sometimes I feed twice a day, sometimes once depending on work. Sometimes that second meal is flakes. Is it necessary for all meals to have it and is it for the full 14 days (or longer)?

Just one "medicated meal" per day for at least 14 days.

2. After the 14 days, I will do a larger water change and observe them/start ich treatment. Is my equipment still good or does it need to be sterilized? I assume the equipment is ok since uronema should be gone?

Metro works on uronema by disrupting the DNA which prevents the parasites from reproducing. So, after 14 days of dosing metro all brook & uronema should be gone from the QT. Equipment and all.

3. Is epsom salt necessary? I can steal my wifes foot soaking stuff if so

No, its optional for treating internal pathogens.
 

dbq5anlxj

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I learned alot when go through all your post. Thanks so much for share this. One question Is Foucs a must when feed medicate food? I do have genral cure in hand but can't find any Foucs in Canada. I do it just want to QT my fish. (5 anthias in qt tank with genral cure in the water) and when deworm dumping the meds in water and feed soaked food must at the same time?
 

Humblefish

Dr. Fish
Thread starter
Location
Navarre, FL
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One question Is Foucs a must when feed medicate food? I do have genral cure in hand but can't find any Foucs in Canada. I do it just want to QT my fish. (5 anthias in qt tank with genral cure in the water) and when deworm dumping the meds in water and feed soaked food must at the same time?

There are other options for binding medication to food. Agar and unflavored gelatin can also be used. In fact, this source provides a good recipe for using unflavored gelatin: https://www.hikariusa.com/articles/medicatedfeed.html
 

reefpatrique

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You emphasized that H2O2 was the only "hope" of getting rid of uronema in a DT with corals. Is this the same with a FOWLR with the fish removed to HT?
 

Humblefish

Dr. Fish
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Navarre, FL
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You emphasized that H2O2 was the only "hope" of getting rid of uronema in a DT with corals. Is this the same with a FOWLR with the fish removed to HT?

Since writing that we've discovered that metronidazole is actually well tolerated by most corals. So IMO, dosing metro @ 12.5mg/gal (in a reef) or 25mg/gal (in a FOWLR) is probably the best strategy for ridding a DT of Uronema. However, I would dose every 48 hours for at least 10 days to have the best chance of 100% eradication.

This is not to say that dosing H2O2 doesn't also work... it's just that metronidazole has a more proven track record of eliminating Uronema in fish.
 
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