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Hatchery-reared fish and their eggs are commonly afflicted with saprolegniasis, a fungal disease that can cause significant losses in production. Fish culturists need safe and effective fungicides to minimize losses and meet production demands. The efficacy of hydrogen peroxide was evaluated for preventing or controlling mortality associated with saprolegniasis in channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus. Saprolegniasis was systematically induced in channel catfish so various therapies could be evaluated in a controlled laboratory environment. Both prophylactic and therapeutic hydrogen peroxide bath treatments of 50, 100, and 150 ??L/L for 1 h were administered every other day for seven total treatments. All untreated positive control fish died of saprolegniasis during the prophylactic and therapeutic tests. Hydrogen peroxide treatments of 150 ??L/L were harmful (relative to lower concentrations) to test fish and resulted in 73-95% mortality. Mortality was attributed to a combination of abrasion, temperature, chemical treatment, and disease stressors. Treatments of 100 ??L/L were less harmful (relatively) but also appeared to contribute to mortality (60-79%). These treatments, however, significantly reduced the incidence of mortality and infection compared with those observed for fish of the positive control or 150-??L/L treatment groups. Overall, treatments of 50 ??L/L were found to be the most safe and effective of those tested. Mortality with this concentration ranged from 16% in therapeutic tests to 41% in prophylactic tests. The statistical model employed estimated that the optimum treatment concentration for preventing or controlling mortality, reducing the incidence of infections, and enhancing the recovery of infected fish was 75 ??L H2O2/L.
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Efficacy of hydrogen peroxide for treating saprolegniasis in channel catfish