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Rash of Bacterial Infections - Melafix Cautionary Statement.

Discussion in 'Emergency Care - 911.' started by RFcrabs, May 18, 2006.

  1. RFcrabs

    RFcrabs Guest

    Since the new year (January), there has been a significant increase in the number of crabs that emerge from molt with an infected patch of exo or they are rough and colorless, with cankerous scabbing appearing later, or a blackening of leg tips etc. I have been trying to source out why there would be such a significant increase of this typically rare occurance in captive populations.

    There have been 17 cases brought directly to my attention, and in reading several site forums, I have noted at least 9 more likely similar occurences. All crabs seem to have been bought roughly between Mid November 2005 through to March 2006. With some of the information I got from individual owners, I have been following up with pet stores to see if they "treat" crabs with a tetracyclene bath or if they have such a procedure. There are 8 States involved. 2 on the east coast (NY and PA) and most in the midwest. It appears that the supplier originates in TEXAS, but this has not been fully confirmed yet. Due to the laws about livestock importation, it is likely that the exposure to the bacteria is occurring from the distribution centre in the US. This could be because they do not adhere to proper care and handling procedures.

    This is not the only potential issue. It has also been confirmed that ECO Earth has begun to mix their bedding product with loam and peatmoss. These do not work well in a hot/humid environment! They break down quite quickly and create a bacteria which in all likelyhood contributes to weaken a crabs exo.

    Addendum MAY 22, 2006


    I need to correct some misinformation I shared. Through the internet I was directed to a 1-800 that I thought was ZOOMED since I was directed from their page. It was actually to the customer service department for one of their sales agencies (Dr.s Foster & Smith). This was completely my screw up. We had a member ask how this information was confirmed, so I retraced and re-called the same 1-800 # and learned my mistake (also got different info about ECO Earth) They did however provide me with Zoomed's number. Which I called and talked to a legitimate sales representative! Zoomed's packaging has changed to stamped shrinkwrap. I mentioned the lack of 100% CF labelling, and product inconsistencies (different color, texture) too. Zoomed will be checking with their supplier to confirm they are using the same process to prepare it for sale. I will share this information, as soon as I have this confirmation. Note, the manufacture process may be sacrosanct and I will only be able to get information that will confirm that the product is not affected by it! Zoomed maintains that their product is and has always been 100% coconut fiber. I mentioned it is important to our community that the product reflect this purity assurance! Hopefully they will change their product pages to reflect this!

    Now there has been some discussion about MELAFIX. Several members at various sites have touted it as a curative for bacterial infection. For hermit crabs, this product has been tried at various times with mixed reviews. I have talked to a marine biologist and a vet about use of this product. I am willing to trial use of it but it must be a controlled study! I am going to share the criteria about MELAFIX's use, because I am concerned over the fact that some people have been telling other people to use it, without the benefit of understanding exactly what the procedure should be and WHY!

    First off, Melafix by itself WILL NOT cure an infection. Melafix's main function is to increase permeability of cells so that an antibiotic agent can get to the the infection and kill it. There is a natural anti-fungal agent in tea tree oil, but it is not really strong enough to kill all types of bacteria. For this reason, it was suggested by the biologist (and vet), that pictures of the afflicted areas on the crab be taken, so that they have an opportunity to identify the type of bacteria. NOTE: that Melafix is NOT recommended for injuries where crabs are bleeding.

    Once the crab has been looked at, these professionals (who have volunteered to assist us) can recommend one of 2 different types of antibiotic ointment to employ in conjunction with the MELAFIX! One is a specifically targeting one, the other for general Staphococcol infections. It must be administered for a specified time frame, and there are isolation considerations to be made as well. If you all go off doing this without knowing the information specific to your crab, even if it WORKS there is no way to record and track what was done. This does not help build data for us to utilize in the future! These professionals do not want to outline a procedure for this treatment yet, as it is a trial, and to be set up as a CASE-BY-CASE scenario for the first few trials. Then they review what was actually done and progress from there. We are sabotaging this effort with our unlearned enthusiasm to cure our crabs! Please consider this!

    So, if you suspect that your crab has a bacterial infection, or if you hear from someone else who may not be a member of a forum, direct them to me! This is what I need:

    1. A photo of the crab in question
    2. History of where the crab was purchased and when
    3. Stats on tank conditions: temp, humidity, substrate, food, water, light, tank size, crab population

    E-mail them to me at sue[at]coenobita[dot]org. I will forward them to my vet, and then we can move from there. I will set up a forum (once I have approval from my consultants) to publish the results of the trials. This information can at that time be shared at other sites as well.

    Thank you all, I am grateful for all the caring people we have in our community!!!
  2. RFcrabs

    RFcrabs Guest

    I had originally done a search for Zoomed's Eco Earth on-line, I clicked on a link within the page of their substrates and got a 1-800 number to call, which I did, and spoke to a representative that I thought was for Zoomed.

    I redid this today, and discovered that the 1-800 # was for Dr.'s Foster& Smith, got a totally different customer service reply, and then I called Zoomed directly.

    This error is mine! A couple of good things have come out of this though. One, we know that they are using 100% coconut fiber, and they may rechange the packaging to reflect that (something that was already mentioned by F&S agent that there were 2 packaging labels, unfortunately I assumed because they were ZOOMED, but they only SELL Zoomed products); and two, they are going to further confirm with their commodity supplier that there have been no changes made to the packaging prepraration of the product that may have potentially increased the bacterial susceptability.

    They did change their labelling when they went from paper inserts to shrinkwrap, and may again at least indicate that their product is 100% coconut fiber on line in their product description...I will be following up with that after he makes his inquiries next week.

    I have now spoken with Colin (in Zoomed Product Sales). He assured me that their product is and has always been 100% coconut fiber. I mentioned the coloring differences from the old product to new, and he explained that as some processing quirk like getting different coconut fiber, chopping consistency (something outside of their control that the manufacturer does). He has agreed to follow up with an inquiry to their supplier! That will put this issue to rest completely...

    so I am adding an addendum to my bacterial post, to reflect this most current info!


    I did not add BED A BEAST to the original article because it is a product we do not recommend for use in crabitats. They did usually provide a itemized content listing on their packaging (especially the loose bagged form). I do not have a current labelling for that product, so I will have to research into that too.
  3. thedog829

    thedog829 Guest

    I just realized that that was the 10,000th post on HCA.
  4. so eco earth is still okay to use then?
  5. CrabbyChris22

    CrabbyChris22 Hi, I'm New Here!

    Dec 9, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Montgomery Village, MD
    This is interesting information Sue. I was reading through this thinking to myself, "I thought she posted somewhere else that it was Bed a Beast that had the ingredient and color change, not EE". I use EE (brick form) and I have not noticed a color change at all; it's still nice and dark and rich looking and smells the same. I HAVE however noticed that the packaging does not state 100% coconut fiber though. I hope what you find out is that it IS still 100% coco fiber and nothing has changed. Me and my crabbies are going to be pissed if it's changed because they really like it. Is Forest Bedding still 100% CF? Most places, at least Petco and another aquarium place I go to, sell them side by side. I'd like to stick with the EE though as the aquarium store sells a 3-pack for $9.99 so that's a great deal.

    Can't wait to hear the results.
  6. RFcrabs

    RFcrabs Guest

    I did not say specifically that it is OKAY! I was told by a rattled employee that it is 100% CF, and when I pointed out that it no longer said so, he gave me an explanation that my gut tells me is unreliable. My error was getting the information from a source outside of Zoomed and thinking it was Zoomed...I only had to say what he maintains...I would feel better at eliminating this once we have confirmation from their supplier that it is not processed differently and that they put on their product page that it is 100% CF! Even CF for planting purposes reports their product as 100% pure, a wise consumer is one that makes no assumptions when the packaging is aloof! Look at this product Vicki found for plants:

  7. interesting... I should check at some local garden shops and see if they have any coco fiber. In theory, if, on the label it says 100% organic coconut fiber, it should be safe for the crabs, right?
  8. RFcrabs

    RFcrabs Guest

    Yes as long as it is 100% coconut fibre
  9. maybe I'll have to make a few stops today...ah, I love being out of school! the only bad part is I haven't worked in a while and I can't work for another week!
  10. RFcrabs

    RFcrabs Guest

    I report that Zoomed has updated their product page to post a specific message to us about their Eco Earth. See link...

    Zoomed Substrates Page

    I have sent them a thank you, with a repeat request to know what specifically they list as contents (ie 100% coconut fiber), as I need more specific info with respect to my elimination of it. I am thinking they will do so, the next time they update their products....

    This was really wonderful of them to make this amendment for our benefit!

  11. vckums

    vckums Moderator

    Dec 20, 2005
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    Wooohoo!! Way to go chickie!!! Thank you for making them put a statement!!
  12. RFcrabs

    RFcrabs Guest

    notice though that they still don't say "pure" the contents may be additive free, but we are unsure explicitly what the contents are...heehee...probably safe enough, but I can't rule it out for my purposes...
  13. MAD

    MAD "PM Jason For Custom Title"

    Jan 26, 2006
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    Figures, its all TEXAS's fault. Hmph =P
  14. Kali_Ma

    Kali_Ma (Small Crab)

    Dec 17, 2004
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    Oakland, CA
    Hydroponics stores also sell coconut fiber, under various trade names.
  15. Cheyenne

    Cheyenne Guest

    I just had a crab have an infection too! wowo. I got him in Dec. But I live in MASS
  16. hermielove

    hermielove Guest

    do u guys think thats what my crabs died from before they were really lathargic :dontknow:
  17. hermit_94

    hermit_94 Guest

    javascript:void(0); Ok now I keep researching things about hermit crabs on the internet and I keep seeing things on isolation. Now I was wondering when are you supposed to isolate your hermit crab????
  18. 5kittens

    5kittens "Second Molt, A Success"

    Jun 30, 2008
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    They should be isolated when they have mites or bacterial infections. Also isolate them when you first bring them home from the pet store for several weeks to make sure that they don't have any contagious desiezes. I wouldn't isolate them during a molt unless other crabs dig them up ( don't you dig them up). Just take it case by case and don't hesitate to ask us for help with crabby emergencies.

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