BAD NEWS - Velvet Strain Survives 1.75 PPM Copper!

4FordFamily

Tang, Angel, & Wrasse Addict
View Badges
Joined
Feb 26, 2015
Messages
18,930
Reaction score
40,233
Location
Carmel, Indiana
Breaking News: We believe we have discovered at least one strain of velvet that survives 1.75 PPM copper, we recommend increasing to 2.0PPM to eradicate it.

@HotRocks and I have quarantined hundreds of fish over the past year and we've unfortunately learned a lot of hard lessons we can pass to all of you. The previously "accepted" and studied therapeutic level of copper for eradicating ich + velvet was 1.5 PPM. We suggested 1.75 PPM to account for human error and a cushion.

On TWO separate occasions, we've had velvet make it through copper. The first time, some QT's had CP (Chloroquine Phosphate) and the others Copper. When these were combined to a 125 G observation tank post-treatment, velvet can roaring in within 3-4 days very badly.

The first time we blamed CP (we found that the bags used in the filter media contained poly, so it was likely that the CP levels were reduced by the poly pad found in the HOB filters -- we had cut out and removed all carbon). This was still an important thing to know/learn (as common sense as it sounds).

This time we used ONLY copper, and combined only one large batch of fish from copper in to another sterile tank, and the same thing happened. So it may have been this strain surviving copper the first time as well. But for certain, from this last batch, it can survive copper levels around 1.75PPM.

Methodology: completely sterile tanks, bleached in-between use, zero cross-contamination, 10 feet or more away from one another, copper levels measured with the Hanna Copper Checker. 14 days in 1.75PPM, then transfer to another sterile quarantine. 14 days should be MORE than enough for the life cycle of velvet, which is pretty short.

Anyone with failed quarantine to velvet that did not add anything wet to the tank, cross-contaminate, or is as anal about ensuring everything is done by the book as @HotRocks is, this is the likely reason for the failure.

I've updated the "my quarantine process" thread first post, changing to 2.0 PPM copper, as well as the Hanna Checker thread. We will slowly be changing all suggestions to 2.0 PPM.

We are of course discussing chelated copper products such as Copper Power (our primary recommendation due to it being far more consistent and reliable than CopperSafe). Ionic copper such as Cupramine and Cuprion have a therapeutic range of .5 - .6 -- previously .45 - .55 but we are comfortable increasing it in light of this new discovery.

What Has Caused This?

Well, if it is true and not human error or some misunderstanding about velvet, I suspect that LFS and the distribution system maintaining sub-therapeutic copper levels is probably the most likely reason. Like any organism, velvet adapts. The more we subject fish to sub-therapeutic levels of medication, the more likely these organisms are to “evolve” or adapt. I understand why LFS and distributors do this; it keeps fish alive and keeps fish prices low. Unfortunately, there are lasting impacts.

What Do We Do?

1) Treat your fish with therapeutic copper (those that can handle it, which is the vast majority) or CP. In reality, fish are kept in copper before they arrive, acclimating them to a QT with copper right from the beginning isn't going to be as hard on them as you'd think since they've been in copper for some time since collection, theoretically. We've done it hundreds of times with good success. Chloroquine Phosphate can be used on fish such as sharks, rays, some puffers, etc. that do not typically handle copper well.

2) Use accurate copper testing methods like the Hanna Checker. Each failed treatment where velvet or ich failed to be eradicated gives the parasite more resilience to the "medication". Color kits are near impossible to be accurate with, and with such a risk of reinfection you need to be certain of the level of copper in the tank.

Avoid copper in the DT for the same reason unless absolutely the only option. This because it is much harder to maintain constant therapeutic copper levels due to absorption with substrate and rocks in anything but a sterile hospital/quarantine tank.


Footnote: This has NOT been proved scientifically, only anecdotally. We didn't perform scrapes and confirm anything in a lab. It happens so quick we have to act quick to save fish, and it's too late for many by the time we discover it. It is possible that another course of action would fix the issue such as extending the length of copper another week. Someone else will have to fund/perform any scientific research. It was without a doubt, not ich or brook. Disregard at your own risk.

#reefsquad
 
Last edited:

ngoodermuth

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 4, 2011
Messages
5,234
Reaction score
12,199
Location
York, PA
I’ve not had ich or velvet survive .5 cupramine, but I can tell you with certainty that it was affecting fish at .4... symptoms were reduced, but still present.

Thanks for the PSA!
 

MnFish1

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 28, 2016
Messages
6,716
Reaction score
7,492
Breaking News: We have discovered at least one strain of velvet that survives 1.75 PPM copper, we recommend increasing to 2.0PPM to eradicate it.

@HotRocks and I have quarantined hundreds of fish over the past year and we've unfortunately learned a lot of hard lessons we can pass to all of you. The previously "accepted" and studied therapeutic level of copper for eradicating ich + velvet was 1.5 PPM. We suggested 1.75 PPM to account for human error and a cushion.

On TWO separate occasions, we've had velvet make it through copper. The first time, some QT's had CP and the others Copper. When these were combined to a 125 G observation tank post-treatment, velvet can roaring in within 3-4 days very badly.

The first time we blamed CP (we found that the bags used in the filter media contained poly, so it was likely that the CP levels were reduced by the poly pad found in the HOB filters -- we had cut out and removed all carbon). This was still an important thing to know/learn (as common sense as it sounds).

This time we used ONLY copper, and combined only one large batch of fish from copper in to another sterile tank, and the same thing happened. So it may have been this strain surviving copper the first time as well. But for certain, from this last batch, it can survive copper levels around 1.75PPM.

Methodology: completely sterile tanks, bleached in-between use, zero cross-contamination, 10 feet or more away from one another, copper levels measured with the Hanna Copper Checker. 14 days in 1.75PPM, then transfer to another sterile quarantine. 14 days should be MORE than enough for the life cycle of velvet, which is pretty short.

Anyone with failed quarantine to velvet that did not add anything wet to the tank, cross-contaminate, or is as anal about ensuring everything is done by the book as @HotRocks is, this is the likely reason for the failure.

I've updated the "my quarantine process" thread first post, changing to 2.0 PPM copper, as well as the Hanna Checker thread. We will slowly be changing all suggestions to 2.0 PPM.

We are of course discussing chelated copper products such as Copper Power (our primary recommendation due to it being far more consistent and reliable than CopperSafe). Ionic copper such as Cupramine and Cuprion have a therapeutic range of .5-.6 -- previously .45-.55 but I'm comfortable increasing it in light of our new discovery.

What Caused This?

LFS and the distribution system maintaining sub-therapeutic copper levels is probably the most likely reason. Like any organism, velvet adapts. The more we subject fish to sub-therapeutic levels of medication, the more likely these things are to happen. I understand why LFS and distributors do this; it keeps fish alive and keeps fish prices low. Unfortunately, there are lasting impacts.

What Do We Do?

1) Treat your fish with therapeutic copper (those that can handle it, which is the vast majority) or CP. In reality, fish are kept in copper before they arrive, acclimating them to a QT with copper right from the beginning isn't going to be as hard on them as you'd think since they've been in copper for some time since collection, theoretically. We've done it literally hundreds of time with good success. Chloroquine Phosphate can be used on fish such as sharks, rays, some puffers, etc. that traditionally don't handle copper well.

2) Use accurate copper testing methods like the Hanna Checker. Each failed treatment where velvet or ich failed to be eradicated gives the parasite more resilience to the "medication". Color kits are near impossible to be accurate with, and with such a risk of reinfection you need to be certain of the level of copper in the tank


Footnote: This has NOT been proved scientifically, only anecdotally. I didn't perform scrapes and confirm anything in a lab. It happens so quick we have to act quick to save fish, and it's too late for many by the time we discover it. Someone else will have to fund/perform any scientific research, but I assure you it's out there. I've seen it with my own two eyes twice. It was without a doubt, not ich or brook. Disregard at your own risk.

#reefsquad
This might explain the problem the other guy was having (I can't find the thread) - but he was saying he had copper levels of >2 - and still had (I think CI - but maybe velvet). Question - is the dose of 2 chosen because going higher would be higher risk - or is there some other reason - for example not to use 2.25. 1.75 to 2.00 doesnt seem like a huge change to me - especially when you consider the margin of error of (some) of the test kits. For example the Hannah checker has an accuracy of -/+.05 PPM 5%. SO that means 1.75 might really be 1.8 - and 2 might really be 1.95.

Thanks for all your hard work on this.
 

Crabs McJones

Mayor of R2R
View Badges
Joined
Jul 24, 2017
Messages
19,905
Reaction score
84,577
Location
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Ugh, my 30 day copper treatment is up this Sunday. Should I extend it and increase copper?
 
OP
4FordFamily

4FordFamily

Tang, Angel, & Wrasse Addict
View Badges
Joined
Feb 26, 2015
Messages
18,930
Reaction score
40,233
Location
Carmel, Indiana
Ugh, my 30 day copper treatment is up this Sunday. Should I extend it and increase copper?
The odds of you having this strain could be pretty low, it’s difficult to say. I’d remove copper upon completion and observe. You’ll know fast if velvet wasn’t eradicated.
 

Crabs McJones

Mayor of R2R
View Badges
Joined
Jul 24, 2017
Messages
19,905
Reaction score
84,577
Location
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
The odds of you having this strain could be pretty low, it’s difficult to say. I’d remove copper upon completion and observe. You’ll know fast if velvet wasn’t eradicated.
Was this resistant strain noticed after a 14 day copper period and then sterilized tank transfer or after 30 day copper treatment or both?
 
OP
4FordFamily

4FordFamily

Tang, Angel, & Wrasse Addict
View Badges
Joined
Feb 26, 2015
Messages
18,930
Reaction score
40,233
Location
Carmel, Indiana
This might explain the problem the other guy was having (I can't find the thread) - but he was saying he had copper levels of >2 - and still had (I think CI - but maybe velvet). Question - is the dose of 2 chosen because going higher would be higher risk - or is there some other reason - for example not to use 2.25. 1.75 to 2.00 doesnt seem like a huge change to me - especially when you consider the margin of error of (some) of the test kits. For example the Hannah checker has an accuracy of -/+.05 PPM 5%. SO that means 1.75 might really be 1.8 - and 2 might really be 1.95.

Thanks for all your hard work on this.
It is, to some degree, arbitrary. 2.0-2.2 worked after the reinvention to clear velvet. I’d be shocked to death if 2.0 did not do the trick, the 2.2 was due to me being lazy and miscalculating. It was between 2.0-2.2.

Also, I think anything above 2.5 starts to harm more fish. For instance, with some wrasse 2.0 is probably the upper limit. For many other fish, 2.0-2.5 shouldn’t be an issue I used 2.5 for years before the Hanna checker.

We will test 2.0 further and if it turns out that it is not sufficient we will again adjust.

@Humblefish was astonished with our findings, didn’t believe us at first. He said he doesn’t know of any “confirmed” cases of velvet surviving post 1.5 PPM treatment levels.

This could also explain why velvet is becoming as common or more common than ich, perhaps it seems more adaptable in addition to being far more deadly.

Another side note — in BOTH instances, bad bacterial blooms transpired forcing us to move them to another tank anyway. This seems to happen in 20-25% of our large batches of quarantine fish. It may be related, perhaps not.
 

Crabs McJones

Mayor of R2R
View Badges
Joined
Jul 24, 2017
Messages
19,905
Reaction score
84,577
Location
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Cultivated Reef

MnFish1

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 28, 2016
Messages
6,716
Reaction score
7,492
It is, to some degree, arbitrary. 2.0-2.2 worked after the reinvention to clear velvet. I’d be shocked to death if 2.0 did not do the trick, the 2.2 was due to me being lazy and miscalculating. It was between 2.0-2.2.

Also, I think anything above 2.5 starts to harm more fish. For instance, with some wrasse 2.0 is probably the upper limit. For many other fish, 2.0-2.5 shouldn’t be an issue I used 2.5 for years before the Hanna checker.

We will test 2.0 further and if it turns out that it is not sufficient we will again adjust.

@Humblefish was astonished with our findings, didn’t believe us at first. He said he doesn’t know of any “confirmed” cases of velvet surviving post 1.5 PPM treatment levels.

This could also explain why velvet is becoming as common or more common than ich, perhaps it seems more adaptable in addition to being far more deadly.

Another side note — in BOTH instances, bad bacterial blooms transpired forcing us to move them to another tank anyway. This seems to happen in 20-25% of our large batches of quarantine fish. It may be related, perhaps not.
Well - its true - the faster the 'life cycle' the more likely resistance is to occur.
 

HotRocks

Fish Fanatic!
View Badges
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
7,689
Reaction score
577,890,294
Location
Westfield, Indiana
Why have you quarantined hundreds of fish? Are you selling them post-quarantine so others don't have to go through all this?
Not really. No. I help some local hobbyists out. I am very devoted to treatment and diagnosis of fish disease. Have no problem helping out people within driving distance. I am not and will not be in the business of selling QTd fish. I am already self employed and it's unrelated to the hobby.
 

HotRocks

Fish Fanatic!
View Badges
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
7,689
Reaction score
577,890,294
Location
Westfield, Indiana
@4FordFamily would Formalin be the better treatment option for Velvet? Say with a follow up treatment of copper.
Formalin is a viable option. More harsh than copper. Copper is still the best treatment option IMO. We just need to increase the level we are treating at based on this recent chain of events.
 
OP
4FordFamily

4FordFamily

Tang, Angel, & Wrasse Addict
View Badges
Joined
Feb 26, 2015
Messages
18,930
Reaction score
40,233
Location
Carmel, Indiana
Why have you quarantined hundreds of fish? Are you selling them post-quarantine so others don't have to go through all this?
Stocking a 500 gallon tank, and two 180 gallons between us. Also, with all of this "learning" on our end, we have learned hard lessons. The benefit is that we have a lot of experience, the detriment is that these have been unfathomably expensive "research projects".

Was this resistant strain noticed after a 14 day copper period and then sterilized tank transfer or after 30 day copper treatment or both?
After 14 day. Velvet has a 48 hour life cycle, as best we know. So in the case of velvet I wouldn't think the timeline all that important - but we are repeatedly learning. That timeline is more for ich (crypt).

@4FordFamily would Formalin be the better treatment option for Velvet? Say with a follow up treatment of copper.
No, it's pretty harsh, even on humans. It has a use on our shelves, but I'd generally avoid it but for extreme needs.

Formalin is a viable option. More harsh than copper. Copper is still the best treatment option IMO. We just need to increase the level we are treating at based on this recent chain of events.
This exactly.
 
Last edited:
Top Shelf Aquatics

MnFish1

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 28, 2016
Messages
6,716
Reaction score
7,492
FYi - I did a literature search for "copper-resistant" "amyloodinium". There was one reference found to a poster done in 2011 by the University of FL -despite reading multiple articles reviewing amyloodinium - none mentioned copper resistance. Apparently many fish also tolerate much higher copper levels than 2 ppm. (many other do not). BTW - when I say 'tolerate' - they are talking about the death rate from the treatment alone at 96 hours. Some fish higher than 7 ppm.

Also interesting - in one study where they treated with 1 ppm, 2 ppm and 3 ppm - the mortality after treatment was still 50% - which they did not ascribe to treatment - but rather weakened condition of the fish.
 

AcanthurusRex

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 18, 2016
Messages
242
Reaction score
195
Location
Dallas
This strain might be isolated to a specific wholesaler. Since there is no feedback to the wild strains, responsible wholesalers could possibly eliminate/mitigate the distribution of this strain.
 

DarkSky

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 23, 2017
Messages
702
Reaction score
779
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Do you think a full 30 day 1.75ppm copper treatment would be effective at killing the resistant strain? I've been QTing for 30 days with copper to be 100% certain nothing makes it into my system, with a two week observation period after copper. I fortunately had any issues with velvet yet.
 

Gareth elliott

Read, Tinker, Fail, Learn
View Badges
Joined
May 7, 2017
Messages
3,839
Reaction score
4,093
Location
NJ
Easier to copy and paste so if read already in the other thread disregard [emoji23]

Food for thought, given the current view of dinoflagellate evolution is that they were protists that engulfed bacteria and added their dna to themselves, theoretically how they gained photosynthesis. Could a modern day velvet organism also gain copper tolerance through heterotrophic channels of Cu-utilizing proteins, like HAH1. Given the reproduction rates, and the positive reinforcement to this particular adaptation in a copper quarantine, would the hobby be able to unknowingly create said strain.
 
OP
4FordFamily

4FordFamily

Tang, Angel, & Wrasse Addict
View Badges
Joined
Feb 26, 2015
Messages
18,930
Reaction score
40,233
Location
Carmel, Indiana
This strain might be isolated to a specific wholesaler. Since there is no feedback to the wild strains, responsible wholesalers could possibly eliminate/mitigate the distribution of this strain.
We've ordered from three different wholesalers for both batches, and I venture to guess they supply about 75% of marine fish. I don't want to name any names, but we haven't isolated it to anywhere. You could be right, however.

Do you think a full 30 day 1.75ppm copper treatment would be effective at killing the resistant strain? I've been QTing for 30 days with copper to be 100% certain nothing makes it into my system, with a two week observation period after copper. I fortunately had any issues with velvet yet.
It shouldn't matter, velvet's life cycle is 48 hours. So if it makes it through 14 days, it survived several life cycles, it seems reasonable that 30 days would not be an issue. The 14 days is only acceptable if you transfer to a completely sterile quarantine post-treatment. If you're keeping in a single QT for the duration, 30 days is required. This is more for ich than velvet, however.

Easier to copy and paste so if read already in the other thread disregard [emoji23]

Food for thought, given the current view of dinoflagellate evolution is that they were protists that engulfed bacteria and added their dna to themselves, theoretically how they gained photosynthesis. Could a modern day velvet organism also gain copper tolerance through heterotrophic channels of Cu-utilizing proteins, like HAH1. Given the reproduction rates, and the positive reinforcement to this particular adaptation in a copper quarantine, would the hobby be able to unknowingly create said strain.
This is a good point, it's certainly possible, perhaps even likely. I'm not as proficient with this subject matter as I am others, I'd love to hear other's thoughts on this topic.
 

Do you want to win a GHL ProfiLux 4 Controller Ultimate set?

  • Yes I need a controller

    Votes: 102 54.5%
  • Yes I would like to try this controller

    Votes: 59 31.6%
  • No I'm not going to be an early bird partner member

    Votes: 26 13.9%

Online statistics

Members online
688
Guests online
2,152
Total visitors
2,840
Build a Better Aquarium at Marine Depot
Live Fish Food Combo Packs - AlgaeBarn.com
Top