DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE VELVET

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Hi all, maybe you've been following my sad odyssey, maybe not.
Marine velvet is an extremely insiduous killer that has dispatched fish within hours, from no signs to death.
I have lost an Eibli angel, and now my flame angel, both initially exhibited "flicking" signs, which complicated the issue as many thought it was Ich.
Luckily, my Vets did write me out a prescription for Avloclor and I got 40 tablets (double dose in case).
As I'm going to use the 10 day-no filtration method, I'll need to dose a tablet a day with the 25% water changes to ward off ammonia build up.
This is going to be after a freshwater dip, lord help me.
Get equipment ready in advance, I've been advised that due to Trump thinking the tablets warded off Covid, they're currently more difficult to come by (apparently you need to plan a trip to Honduras).
I bought 40, and they cost me a wopping £38, plus the 'script and consultation from the vet (that got me the tablets on the same day) another £36
Way more than the value of remaining fish, but defo worth it. If I can help it, No more fish will die on my watch.
MAKE NO MISTAKE. You do not have time to get the equipment after the signs, it'll be too late by then.
Be prepared in advance.

ajm83

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Reply #1

Well done getting the chloroquin,  good luck 👍🏻
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semiroundel

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Reply #2

Another tip: Try and catch the fish while they're still eating. I've got a trap setup in DT to try and catch the coral beauty, but he's dead shy of the net and currently not eating.
The ocellaris are eating but not going into trap at the moment.
The red light trick didn't work, I think the red on my V2 Illumenaire isn't deep enough, it's quite visible in the DT, and of course, there was no sneaking up on the fish

semiroundel

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Reply #3

UPDATE:
 After the unfortunate demise of my flame angel, I decided to take action and stayed up tonight until I caught the coral beauty.
It was so weak and riddled with velvet it would not have made it a few hours more (now clearly visible like salt grains on its body), that when it ventured out to the front of the tank, it wasn't really strong enough to evade capture. I know that the ocellaris will go into the trap as they have already ventured inside.
I gave the CB a 4 1/4 minute freshwater bath, something I was scared to do as it has been noted that if a fish is very poorly, it might be too much for them to put up with.
Luckily the CB survived that and I then transferred it to the HT where I had about 55litres salt water with the Avloclor tablets already dissolved.
Now the CB was swimming around, still under stress, but looking better than in the DT.
Unfortunately, in the day that I'd set up the HT, somehow the ph had dropped to 6.4 and the NH3 up to .499ppm, I found this out after I had put the fish in there, dunno how that happened because there's no biological load there.
Anyhow, I dosed with Prime to detoxify and am about to do a 25% water change, which I'll do very slowly as the ph is likely to go up.
Keep your fingers crossed for me (and the CB) as I really want to save this beautiful fish.

ajm83

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Reply #4

Well done catching him.  What a nightmare.

The ph surely can't be 6.4 unless something else is wrong...what's the alk measure at?

Last Edit: Nov 1, 2020 4:41:39 pm by ajm83
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semiroundel

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Reply #5

@ajm83
What an absolute nightmare. I diddn't realise but the seneye had lost its back, and therefore the slide had fallen out. As the inside back of the seneye is black and the back (that fell off) is also black, and the front is white, I didn't notice, so I assumed that the readings were ok.
I eventually found the back ( and the reason it had popped off-it wasn't a tight fit, and I've had to cable tie it on), annoyingly it doesn't update unless you restart the app or take it out of the water (I transferred it to a freshwater bucket and nothing changed on the display).
Anyway, because I assumed that the water had high ammonia, I dosed prime and did the 25% water change, now I find that the ph is still low (7.98) and ammonia at 0.008.
The freshwater dip, then the subsequent insertion into the HT eventually killed off the CB.
 I did read on Humblefish' sticky regarding the treatment, that if the fish is very poorly, the FD could be the end of it.
Alas, that seems to be the case.

ajm83

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Reply #6

Oh man what a nightmare. 
7.98 is fine for a qt,  anything down to 7.7 really is not a problem.

If it really was velvet it's likely you would have lost it anyway, so definitely don't beat yourself up for doing your best to save it.

Are you going to quarantine the clowns and leave the tank fallow to ensure it's clean?

Re. the seneye,  there's an icon you can press in the app to refresh it, otherwise it's every 15 mins or so
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semiroundel

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Reply #7

Oh man what a nightmare. 
7.98 is fine for a qt,  anything down to 7.7 really is not a problem.

If it really was velvet it's likely you would have lost it anyway, so definitely don't beat yourself up for doing your best to save it.

Are you going to quarantine the clowns and leave the tank fallow to ensure it's clean?

Re. the seneye,  there's an icon you can press in the app to refresh it, otherwise it's every 15 mins or so
8.02 now and 0.001 ppm NH3 the seneye was not refreshing and I guess because the slide had some muck on it, it only seems to change if there's water moving around it, but yes, it's now updating. One of the clowns is a little affected, so he'll get a FWD, then they'll both go into the avloclor treated HT  for 10 days then into quarantine tank for a month or fallow period. I will be putting some black mollies in the QT to make sure the fish are ok.
DT will remain fallow for 72 days. I take it fallow only includes fish not being there- I have 2 cleaner shrimp, do they have to be removed, nessarius/hermits?

semiroundel

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Reply #8

I FOUND THIS RESOURCE on R2R, I think it was written before the advent of using Chloroquine phosphate :
Marine Velvet (Amyloodinium ocellatum)

If our marine fishes pray to a god, then their devil is Marine Velvet.


Marine Velvet (Amyloodinium ocellatum) is very different from Marine Ich . What they do have in common is their cost to the fish farm and aquaculture industries!

Unfortunately, their true differences don't prevent them from being confused with one another. It started out by both of them being referred to as the same disease: White Spot. The reader will note that I never refer to either diseases as White Spot, and other than this one paragraph, will never see me writing it.

Another form of confusion was that the classification of this disease was changed. Marine Velvet (MV) was once scientifically called Oodinium. And of course, if that wasn't enough, the aquarist generally doesn't understand that MV is actually a marine one celled alga, a dinoflagellate, and is the member of the same group of organisms that cause the red tides (but not the same). This is in contrast to the fact that Marine Ich is a ciliated protozoan. But what the heck! Spots are spots, right? NOT!

MV doesn't give much of a chance for diagnosis before it kills. No time to cure the fish. A tankful of marine fishes can perish in a matter of 24 to 48 hours. This disease is the one aquarists should not allow into their aquarium and is the best disease reason, above all others, to practice a quarantine system.

Part of the problem is the proper diagnosis. MV is not as apparent as MI. It is hard to see. By the time is shows up on the aquarist's fish, it is often too late to save that fish, but it may be in time to save other fishes in the aquarium. Daily fish inspection is the best defense. Any fish breathing fast, flashing or with a substantial change in behavior (lethargic when usually active, for instance) is suspect of having this infection.

There aren't as many myths and rumors revolving around MV as there are for MI. Like mentioned above, MV kills so fast that few hobbyists can make the wrong decision
because the fish are dead! Still, there are some facts every aquarists should know:


Life and Visuals:

1. The parasite has several stages in its life cycle. A cyst (cyst-1) releases up to 250 free-swimming dinospores (usually 64) that try to find a fish. The dinospore attaches to the fish mucous layer and sends filaments (roots) into the fish to draw nutrients from the fish. When engorged the filaments are withdrawn and the dinospore forms a kind of cyst (cyst-2) on the fish where it internally divides and multiplies. This cyst-2 comes off the fish or hangs on and becomes cyst-1. The cycle continues.

2. The only time a human can be made aware of the sure infection is from two common features (other than 'normal' symptoms noted below). They are the 'sheen' and the 'spots.' For another means of identification, see 14. below. As mentioned above, by the time these two things are seen, the fish is usually too far gone to save.

3. An infected fish can appear to have a certain sheen to its surface. Quite often the sheen is colored to the appearance of gold. This is the origin of the name "velvet." This sheen has a velvet appearance.

4. An infected fish can appear to have very tiny specs on its body. The white specs are likened to the size of a grain of powdered sugar. The fish has an appearance of being powder sugar coated. This is very hard to see, depending on the color of the fish.

5. Dinospores that have just attached themselves are not visible to the human eye. The sharp human eye can see the cyst-1 or cyst-2 stages when they are developed enough AND with proper contrast. This organism is an obligate parasite. It cannot live and cycle without a fish host.

6. Cycle can be completed within 6 days. 12 days are nearer normal. But some of those cysts have been found to hang around for up to 5 weeks before releasing the up to 250 dinospores. Like MI cycle and stage times, times given are averages and ranges. It is best to treat the timing like that of Marine Ich and go with a 60-day base for a 100% success rate for treatment and fish handling.

7. MV is not the same as MI (see top of post). The organisms actually have very little in common.

8. MV is more sensitive to temperature. The cycle time can be decreased by an increase in temperature. But. . .to do so means the fish will die faster. If there is any merit to altering the temperature, it would be to lower the temperature to slow down the spread of the disease.

9. Parasite usually targets the fish�s gills. So much so that this is the main reason that by the time the aquarist sees the specs or sheen, the fish is too heavily infected. The gill tissue has more water passing by so there is an increase in chance the free-swimming parasite will get to the gill. Also, for MV the gill tissue is more easily attached to, and nutrients gathered from, than on the body mucous coating. This is one reason why fast breathing (over 80 swallows in one minute) is one of the first symptoms of possible infection.

10. The parasite sticks to the mucous layer and thus is more on the surface of the fish than under the fish's skin like in MI. Still the mucous layer can afford the MV some protection from the water environment.

11. Parasite is transmitted in water (free-swimming and cyst stages), or by falling off of an infected fish (even one that seems healthy because of 9.). This means that water OR fish from an infected aquarium can carry the disease to another aquarium.

12. The parasite can infect bony fishes, elasmobranchs, and teleosts including eels, sharks, and rays. Even a freshwater fish moved to a brackish water (like mollies) can be infected, harbor or carry the parasite. Invertebrates, snails, crabs, corals, plants, etc. are not affected/infected by MV, but their water can carry them. These parasites can live, infect and reproduce in water from 3ppt to 45ppt in salinity! This is why hyposalinity is not a means to kill this parasite (see 2. below).

13. There is no such thing as a dormant stage for MV. The parasite can�t wait around for another host. It MUST go through its cycle, or die. It doesn't 'wait' for better times. It was recorded that a cyst can exist for up to 5 weeks before releasing its free-swimming dinospores. This is rare but possible.

14. A simple means of quick identification is to put the fish in a freshwater dip (without methylene blue) for up to 20 minutes. Remove the fish and closely inspect the FW dip water sediment. The small cysts (cyst-1) are just visible to the eye if you have enough contrast (black or dark background). But don't be fooled. It is still best to be viewed under magnification (microscope) for proper identification.

15. MV can live and reproduce in temperatures as low as 60F and as high as 86F. This is a slightly narrower range than MI. Still, temperature is not a means to kill it. Raising the temperature would speed up the disease's life cycle but that would just kill the fish all that much sooner.



Treatments:

1. Copper treatment - Follow medication recommendations. Can be effective in 2 to 4 weeks of treatment. After treatment, remove all copper and observe fish for 4 more weeks.

2. Hyposalinity - Doesn't work.

3. Transfer method - Too slow -- OR -- disease spreads too fast.

4. Only the above copper cure works 100% of the time. Other chemicals will kill the MI parasite, but only in special conditions (not good for the fish) or in lab experiments (not using marine fish). Some chemicals will only kill some of the organisms, letting the others escape death to go on to multiply and infect.

5. Formalin has been known to free the fish of the parasites, but the parasites are still alive and can re-infect. Formalin baths have been used, but since the fish has to be in water not infected with the parasite, this treatment isn't feasible.

6. Treatment must be done in a hospital tank or quarantine tank. The copper treatment would kill invertebrates, live rock, and other non-fish marine life. Substrates and carbonates interfere with a copper treatment.

7. No known �reef-safe� remedies work consistently. It�s easy for any manufacturer to have an independent study done on the effectiveness of a �reef-safe� remedy but they don�t because. . .

8. Cleaner wrasses are not known to pick these parasites off of fish. Their gut reveals no parasites. Cleaner shrimp may pick many of these off of the fish, but an infected fish can't be totally cleaned and is usually doomed. These are not effective controls or preventative measures.

9. Like MI, the display aquarium, if infected has to be treated. Let aquarium go fishless (without any water additions, contamination from infected tanks, live rock additions, etc.) for at least 8 weeks and the tank will be free of MV. This 'fallow period' has over a 99.99% chance of success.


Defense and Immunity:

1. The fish�s mucous coating can provide some protection from the parasite. But there is little in the way of immunity or defense. This in part is the reason why so many fish die in the captive environment.

2. When water temperature drops, mucous coating is often reduced or lost in marine fishes, that is why sometimes MV becomes visible on the body of the fish after a sudden drop in temperature. This meant, however, that the disease was present and living in the aquarium, infecting fish without the aquarist having been aware of it.

3. No fish, no matter how good its defense is, can stop being infected. A healthy fish will and can be equally infected as a sick or stressed fish. What happens is the aquarists sees one or more fish with the disease and assumes because none are seen on the other fish in the aquarium that they are 'disease free.' NOT. Aquarists can't always see the parasites. All fish in an infected tank require treatment.

4. A weak, stressed, or sick fish will die sooner than a healthy fish, but is no more likely to get infected than the healthy fish.

5. Vaccination seems to work, but not affordable or likely available to the hobby for many more decades. The vaccine materials are hard to make, expensive, and slow to produce.


Subjective and Non-Subjective Observations, Claims, and Common Myths

1. Tangs seem more susceptible. True. Their mucous coatings are reduced in thickness and composition. They swim up to 25 miles a day in the ocean in search for food so maybe Mother Nature provided them with this as a means of 'escape.' On the other hand, it has been found that fishes with a very thick mucous coating have some resistance to MV infection. Remember, the disease is stuck on the mucous coating and sends roots into the fish to feed off of it. Evidence and studies show that a thick coating gives some protection.

2. It goes away on its own. Untrue. Only visible at one stage IF it is on the body or fin of the fish. It�s the life cycle. If it was once seen, then it hasn't gone away -- it's just not visible to the aquarist.

3. Aquariums always have MV. Untrue. MV can be kept out of an aquarium. Just quarantine all fish and don�t let non-quarantined livestock get into the aquarium. After keeping thousands of marine fishes, my home aquariums have been free of MV since 1970.

4. Fish always have MV. Untrue. In the wild they often show up to 3% infected (or more). It's not that common in the wild, fortunately, so the wild-caught fishes usually don't have it. In the captive aquarium environment the parasite can 'bloom' and overcome the fishes very quickly. In capture and transportation the fish can share the disease but since few had it to begin with, this is usually not an issue.

5. Just feed the fish well and/or feed it garlic and it will be okay. Untrue. I compare this approach to this one: "Granny has pneumonia. Let's keep her home rather than take her to the hospital. We'll feed her well with chicken soup and vitamins -- and lots of garlic."
Nutrition, foods, garlic, vitamins don't cure an infected fish. An infected fish is sick and is being tortured by the itching and discomfort. It can't live long with this disease. Don't let this happen to the fish. Cure it!!


6. A new cure has been discovered. Unlikely. If the aquarist thinks they have found a new cure, then have it researched and independently tested. It's easy and cheap. If it is as good as the copper treatment then the professional veterinarians, private and public aquariums, fish farms, and I will use it. The aquarist needs to keep the perspective of how devastating this parasite is not to just the hobby but to the whole fish farming industry. Any new way of 100% treatment will make headlines!


7. UV and/or Ozone kills MV. Ozone doesn't kill all parasites that pass through the unit, nor does the water treated with ozone kill the parasites. UV only kills the parasites that pass through the unit. Not all MV parasites will pass through the unit, so the UV will not rid an aquarium of MV. A UV can help prevent a 'bloom' of the parasites however, and thus help in its control. UV is not a cure nor a preventative measure for MV.


8. My fish are immune to MV. NOT. The fish immune response can't stop the parasite from sticking to the mucous. Once stuck, the 'roots' that burrow into the fish don't seem to be affected by the immune response. Much work is still being done on this aspect, and it seems there can be some vaccines which will help the fish stop the parasite.

9. Fish in the wild have MV, then let them have it in the aquarium. Not a very responsible approach. In the wild, few fish have this disease. The ones that do can die, but most 'get away' from the parasite by 'traveling' away from the cysts that fall off. In the captive environment the fish can't get away from the reproducing disease. The captive life favors the parasite.



[h=2]Bio - Lee (a.k.a. leebca)[/h] I'll begin the introduction of myself by first asking that all hobbyists, who look to the Internet for advice, recommendations, and help with ornamental marine fishes, to KNOW who it is you're getting information from. You really need to look into the background and qualifications of the person who is posting their suggestions to you. ANYONE can present themselves as an 'expert' to you on the Internet. It is your responsibility to ask the poster their qualifications and credentials to give advice to you, in this hobby. Let me give you an example:

Let's say you have a plumbing problem in the place you live and you yourself have to take care of. Who would you rely upon for help and advice?
1) a random handyman you came across in an ad;
2) a friend that has done some plumbing, but with limited experience and some success;
3) a person who sells plumbing supplies and depends upon sales for a living; or
4) a licensed plumber, having a certificate, with decades of experience in the field?

Your LFS is 3). What if I added that each of the above will provide help and advice for FREE? You might listen to what 1) thru 3) has to say, but why would anyone weigh the advice and recommendations of 1) thru 3) above that of a person of 4) qualifications? To be clear, I am not suggesting you MUST follow the recommendations of 4), but just consider the value of such from the qualifications of who provides it. Not always perfect, but successful to be sure.

In ornamental marine fish husbandry, I am 4). Better than me is a professional veterinarian that specializes in ornamental marine fish. This person's advice won't be free, of course, and they are far and few in between.

I have a degree in Microbiology and Chemistry from OSU. I've been in the hobby for more than 43 years.

TIME LINE
1960 My first freshwater aquarium;
1968 My first saltwater aquarium;
1969 to 1973 Ohio State Univ.
1973 to 1982 Working in Microbiological fields
1981 Began to prepare and formulate marine fish foods
1982 to current Working in metals fields - traveling around the world

NOTEWORTHY FACTS RELATING TO MARINE FISH KEEPING

In the early 1970's I conducted experiments and studies on Marine Ich (Cryptocaryon irritans) and ornamental fish diseases, the use of garlic, the use of antibiotics, the use of dips, acclimation procedures, and fish nutrition.

----------------
After the Horge Cortes-Jorge Jr. article, Garlic versus 'Marine Ich': Diallyl thiosulfinate activity against Cryptocaryon irritans infestations of marine fish of 2000, from 2005 to 2008 inclusive I conducted some additional garlic juice tests. Fresh garlic juice might prove to be more useful.

I used a 6-sectioned 70 gallon tank, using only the middle 4 sections. One fish in each section. All fishes of one species of Damsel. Garlic juice was of two brands off the LFS shelf except when I made my own. Juice was added to homemade food the fish were exclusively fed. Commercially prepared foods were soaked in it. All fish were healthy at first. Microscopically they seemed to be disease/parasite free and without health issues. They were then infected with Marine Ich and the experiment began when they all displayed. A ‘set’ is with each of the 4 sections contains one-fish each, test running/stopping in 3 months.

2 sets (8) fish were tested, feeding garlic to half the fish at each feeding. 2 fish lived past 3 months; one on garlic, one not on garlic.

2 sets (8) fish were tested, all fish were fed garlic. 1 fish lived past 3 months.

1 set (4) fish were not fed any garlic. 1 fish lived past 3 months

2 sets (8) fish were tested, feeding fresh garlic juice to half the fish at each feeding. 1 fish lived past 3 months.

1 set (4) fish were tested, fresh garlic juice added to water at 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons. No fish lived past 3 months.

Living fishes were microscopically tested and found to be infected with the Marine Ich parasite.

1 set (4) fish were tested, no garlic juice. Given treatment with Cupramine. all 4 fish were alive at the 3 month mark. All fish tested microscopically to be free of the Marine Ich parasite.

I cannot detect any improvement or advantage to using fresh garlic juice to help marine fish fend off Marine Ich.
------------------

I specialize in FOWLR system and FO systems. I have handled about 1700+ marine fishes and have learned a lot about their maladies and remedies through experience, biopsy/post mortem exams, dissection, operations under anesthesia, care, and continued education.

I have degrees in Microbiology and Chemistry from OSU as previously stated. While at college, I was a partner of an LFS in Columbus, OH in the early '70's, imported fishes from The Philippines, and helped begin the net-catching practices (trying to reduce and abolish cyanide collections) there.

I often attend conventions and hobby activities around the world, including InterZoo in Germany. I have visited aquariums/LFSs in more than 20 countries and know collectors, exporters and importers of marine life.

I have attended five courses (one of them twice) on ornamental fish husbandry and have certificates of those attendance and accomplishements. I continue my personal education in this area through adult education courses at Universities on the subject of marine fish husbandry.

I lecture for no compensation (other than a free dinner perhaps) around the country and do not earn any money from the hobby in any way.

I try to share my knowledge and experience with others to help their fishkeeping practices and the curing of ill marine fishes. I do not publish for renumeration, but will write long posts and informational posts on the Internet. The posts you find as 'stickies' in Forums on RL are the culmination of my decades of knowledge and experience that I freely share with new and advanced hobbyists.

I don't make any money nor accept any money from the hobby in any way, including speaking engagements, articles, posts, books, etc. I don't have any (financial or business) interest in any equipment, system, food, medication, or product used, sold, or made for the hobby. I have on some occasions accepted a meal as compensation for my lecturing/presentations, but no more than this.

I keep current with technical fish husbandry journals for professionals, as well as hobby periodicals. I subscribe to more than 11 of them, covering fish nutrition, propagation, disease, international water health, etc. Just to be clear, I'm not 'talking' about hobby magazines, I'm talking technical publications on research projects, studies, etc., reviewed by peers and published.

My Internet name is leebca. My name is Lee Birch. (I go by my middle name -- my first name is William).


ajm83

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Reply #9

DT will remain fallow for 72 days. I take it fallow only includes fish not being there- I have 2 cleaner shrimp, do they have to be removed, nessarius/hermits?

The parasites cannot live on inverts so they will not be able to complete their life cycle. 👍🏻
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Reply #10

I feel your pain  :(

CP has worked brilliantly for me (after losing all my fish twice to Ich or velvet - who knows). Since then EVERYTHING gets quarantined. All fish have been prophylactically treated in CP, freshwater with anti-bactial treatment dipped, and dewormer dipped. All inverts (coral, shrimps, crabs, snails, anemones) go 12 weeks in a fallow tank too - treated for flatworms, etc. if required).

4 years later, and no ich/velvet or anything else.
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ajm83

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Reply #11

Hi @semiroundel  , how are the clowns getting on in your QT?
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Reply #12

You'll laugh, but I had a little 200 watt heater in there set at 25 degrees, when u checked the temp last night it was at 30!!!
I've gradually reduced it to 25 now by setting the heater at 23.
But they're doing famously, thanks for asking.
I did find a website doing aclovor tablets for 11.99, but they're out of stock at the moment, and as I'm doing 25% water changes daily, I have to dose a tablet daily, so I'm getting through them.
This is day 4, and around day 10 they'll go in the QT with a couple of black sailfin mollies as canaries

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Reply #13

Had a heater go mad on me before too. Invested in 3 temperature controllers after that. One for each QT (1 for fish, 1 for everything else) and one for the main tank.
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semiroundel

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Reply #14

Interesting, do they control regular heaters?

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