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Minimum effective concentrations of formalin and sodium percarbonate on the free-living stages of an Australian isolate of Ichthyophthirius multifiliis


Ichthyophthirius multifiliis Fouquet, 1876, a ciliate protozoan, is a common cosmopolitan parasite of freshwater teleosts and is a recurring problem during the summer months on Australian rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum, 1792) farms. Preventative strategies include increasing water flow and filtration, but when an infection is established, chemical intervention is often required. Formalin (FOR) has been traditionally used on Australian trout farms as a treatment for I. multifiliis. Treatment using sodium percarbonate (SPC) that releases hydrogen peroxide when dissolved is being implemented on a number of farms. To assess anecdotal reports of low efficacy we evaluated 1 h exposures of FOR and SPC at 12 °C and 17 °C in both hard and soft water against free-living stages of I. multifiliis. Each free-living stage were exposed to FOR and SPC in vitro; theronts were exposed to 8, 16, 32 or 64 mg/l SPC or FOR every 15 min, for a maximum of 6 h, and the number of live theronts at each time point was recorded. Prototomonts and tomocysts were exposed to 64, 128, 256 and 512 mg/l SPC and 16, 32, 64 and 128 mg/l FOR for 1 h, incubated, with the percentage viability and the number of theronts produced recorded. Theronts were more sensitive to treatment than tomonts, and prototomonts were more sensitive to treatment than tomocysts. FOR and SPC killed all theronts within 15 min at 64 mg/l at both temperatures. FOR was effective against all prototomonts at ≥64 mg/l at both temperatures and was effective against all tomocysts at 128 mg/l at 17 °C but did not achieve complete mortality in any doses tested at 12 °C. SPC was effective against prototomonts and tomocysts at 64 m/l at 17 °C but required ≥256 mg/l at 12 °C. These results can be used to aid development of specific treatment strategies for the management of I. multifiliis on Australian rainbow trout farms.

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We are grateful to the staff at Snobs Creek Hatchery in Snobs Creek, Victoria for providing and transporting rainbow to work with and to the Victorian Department of Primary Industries for support with the project and to the Victorian Trout Growers Association (VTGA). This work was supported by funds provided by the Australian Government Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (Project 211/255) and was done under approval from the Flinders University Animal Welfare Committee (Permit E376).

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Correspondence to James M. Forwood.

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Forwood, J.M., Harris, J.O., Landos, M. et al. Minimum effective concentrations of formalin and sodium percarbonate on the free-living stages of an Australian isolate of Ichthyophthirius multifiliis . Parasitol Res 113, 3251–3258 (2014).

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  • Australia
  • Ichthyophthirius multifiliis
  • Oncorhynchusmykiss
  • Formalin
  • Sodium percarbonate