Medications and Treating Sturgeons
There are many off the shelf treatments from various companies that can be used in garden ponds, that are deadly to sturgeon. Most are algaecides for the control of 'green water' or 'blanket weed' and some are for treating koi/carp parasites.
Read the label and if in doubt check with the manufacturer. Yes, they do have to tell you what is in it (Health and safety). If they are unable or unwilling to tell you what's in it then do not use the treatment.
Treatments to avoid with sturgeons
Sturgeons have few problems or diseases but are susceptible to some parasites. If in doubt over treatments seek advice before it is too late. If treating other pond fish move the sturgeon and other sensitive fish to a separate tank use a safe treatment on them. Leave at least two weeks after the final treatment before returning fish back to the main pond.
Treatments to avoid include:
- Copper sulphate, CuSo4.
- Organophosphates *
- Treatments containing Formalin / formaldehyde
- Potassium permanganate
- Any treatment that states not to be used with Golden Orfe (Leciscus sp.) or Rudd (Scardinius reythrophathalmus) is more than likely to kill sturgeon.
* These chemicals can be dangerous to humans and have been banned in the U.K.
Treatments to use with sturgeons
I have listed the treatments that I have found to work. If using koi cures reduce the dose by 30%, as koi are hardier. Always supply extra aeration when treating and reduce feed levels by half, this puts less strain on their oxygen requirements. Always use a microscope to identify parasites so you can use the appropriate treatment.
- Skin parasites: Check with microscope. A strong salt bath **
- White spot: Check with microscope.Malachite green. It does not need to be used with formalin.
- Costia (Ichthyobodo): Check with microscope. Milky white mucus. Salt (NaCl) see below
- Skin flukes (Gyrodactylus) and gill flukes (Dactylogyrus): Check with microscope. Praziquantel, Flubendazole, salt (NaCl) see below
- Fungus: Looks like cotton wool. Malachite green (the best) or Methyl blue.
- Fin rot or wounds: Acriflavin or Malachite green painted on.
- Bacterial gill disease: Chloramine-T @ 10gms per m3 (220 gallons)
I have had no problems with these treatments but you should check water conditions after treating as it may affect your biological filter. If in doubt check with your local vet and ask them to refer you to a fish specialist.
** Salt is the safest treatment as it involves the least stress and the best results.
1.5% = 15gm per litre or 2 1/4oz per gallon for 15-30 minutes will normally kill most parasites and remove gill mucus. Try this dose first!
3% = 30gms per litre or 4 1/2oz per gallon. Do not use this dose with Sterlets or other potamodromous (freshwater only) species.
Written by Terry White & Graham Quick