Usnea Lichen- Usnic Acid Treatment
Usnea is a lichen common to the temperate forests of the Pacific Northwest of the USA.
I have found it effective for bacterial (gram negative, but primarily positive), fungal and even parasites such ich.
A natural antibiotic it has proven effective against gram positive bacteria and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (making Usnea a great alternative to Isoniazid).
Scientists believe that usnic acid works by disrupting cellular metabolism, either by preventing the formation of ATP which is the cells' energy source or by the stopping the action of oxidative phosphorylization.
Usnea may also be a better choice than the drug metronidazole (as per human studies) for parasites and anaerobic bacterial treatments in aquariums.
Usnea shows promise for gill infections due to the Mucilage (gluey substance produced by most plants and some microorganisms) contained in the Usnea which has been shown to have healing properties in areas of respiration.
Usnea also shows promise as a safe albeit mild Cryptocaryon (saltwater ich) treatment for Marine Aquariums.
It has similar anti-parasite properties to metronidazole and pepper for marine cryptocaryon. (Usnea actually has a peppery taste when brewed).
Test tube studies have suggested an anti-cancer and an anti-viral activity for usnic acid. This may also make Usnea useful for the hard to treat aquatic viral disease; Lymphocystis (which is usually not fatal in otherwise healthy fish).
Compromised fish with LymphocystisSymptoms of Lymphocystis:
* Whitish patches or irregular growths on the fish most commonly on the tail and fins. These start as white pin-prick like growths on their fins or epidermis. In the early stages Lymphocystis is often mistaken for Ich (Ichthyophthirius multifiliis). It soon clumps together to form a cauliflower-like growth on the skin, mouth, fins, and occasional gills
* These eventually become quite large and give rise to the name Cauliflower Disease.
As noted: unless the fish is already very "compromised", Lymphocystis is not a fish disease that kills. Generally a healthy fish will over come the infection just as humans over come the common cold.
Usnea baths along with AAP Wonder Shells & StressGuard are your best treatments (along with maintaining optimum water conditions and regular water changes).
The use of true level one UV Sterilization often prevents this malady and should be used anyway by any serious aquarium keeper.
Reference: Aquarium UV Sterilization
More about Lymphocystis: University of FLorida; Lymphocystis Disease in Fish
Back to Usnea, this remedy is still in the testing phase, but early results when used in a "Fish Bath" are promising.
The Usnea Lichen is proving to be the most effective natural remedy early in my testing.
This lichen is boiled like a tea then added to a fish bath or occasionally directly to the aquarium.
The only dangers that have been established (in human studies) are in rare cases liver damage, which would make this a poor choice for dropsy.
Also use caution in Marine Treatment with sensitive invertebrates such as hard coral and cephalopods.
DOSAGE: None established yet. I boil one small sprig in 6 oz. of water.
Use 1 tablespoon per 6 oz. of this preparation for a 1 quart bath. Or add this 6 oz of "tea" to every 10-20 gallons of water every day until cure is effective plus an additional 2 days.
For my full article about Usnea, please visit this link:
USNEA; Using usnic acid as a fish remedy
If interested in some Usnea, you can purchase (.2 oz, enough for 200 gallons of treatment for $2.69)