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FAQs on Freshwater Ich, White Spot Disease: Remedies That Do Work

Related Articles: Freshwater DiseasesIch/White Spot Disease, Freshwater MedicationsFormalin/Formaldehyde, Malachite Green, FW Disease Troubleshooting,

Related FAQs: FW Ich 1, FW Ich 2, FW Ich 3, FW Ich 4, FW Ich 5, FW Ich 6, FW Ich 7, & FAQs on:  FW Ich Causes, Etiology, Diagnosis, Ich Remedies That Work, Phony Ich Remedies That Don't Work, Ich Remedy Sensitive Livestock, Ich Medicines, Ich Cases, & Aquarium MaintenanceChoose Your Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options by Neale Monks, Freshwater Infectious Disease, Freshwater Fish ParasitesAfrican Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid Disease

What does work: Elevated Temperature, vacuuming the bottom daily... usually Malachite at some determined strength/concentration, sometimes copper solutions, possibly (though dangerous) either with formalin (even more dangerous/toxic)<<Copper and/or Formalin should NEVER be put into an established system, only in a treatment tank>>, sometimes salt (seasalt is best) if this is tolerable to the macro-livestock

MUST remove carbon, other chemical filtrants

BEST treated in a bare hospital tank where you can control chemistry. Allowing the main system to run fallow, sans fishes

DO monitor ammonia, nitrite, nitrate...  Treatments often kill off bio-filtration

Brand name Maker Active Ingred.s (e.g. excluding water, salts...)
Aquarisol Aquarium Products Copper Sulfate
Coppersafe Mardel Labs Chelated Copper
IckAway Wardley Malachite Green
Ich Guard II Jungle labs Formalin 37% solution, Victoria green, Nitromersol, and Acriflavine
Maracide Mardel Labs Malachite Green & Chitosan
Nox-ich Was Weco Corp. Malachite Green
ParaGuard SeaChem aldehydes, malachite green, and fish protective polymers
Rid-Ich+ (plus) Kordon Malachite Green & Formalin/formaldehyde
For "Super Ich" virulent strain Quinacrine Hydrochloride
Super Ich Cure (liq.)* Aq. Pharmaceuticals Malachite Green Oxalate (*Dried is Nitrofurazone... not useful)

Whitespot    6/23/12
Hi Crew,
Been a long time since I posted last - hope you are all well.
I purchased a couple of Bronze Corys from my trusted LFS, and held them separate only for a day or so (never had any prob.s with previous fish from that shop!).
Alas one of the little guys has since presented signs of Whitespot since being added to my tank (my bad for being complacent!)
The tank has a weekly 20% water change, is quite well planted with two well established Amazon Swords, Anubias, Dwarf Lily, Cabomba, Elodea and Tape Grass.
I have 4-5 Kuhlii, 3 SAE, a M&F Pearl Gourami, 3 Thai Cat, 2 Zebra Danio, 1BN Plec, 3 Neons, 3 Rummies and the 2 new Corys.
I have read a few of your articles about Whitespot and the life cycle of the protozoan - Kind Thanks Neale for the Salt Use FW Art detail.
What I want to ascertain is - can I treat the white spot simply by elevating the water temp to 30deg as preferred by Bob? 
I have aquarium salt ready in case the other fish show some signs of Whitespot, but before I go down that road, shall the 2g/l have any impact on the loaches, cats and plants?
If you add the salt solution, do you simply leave the tank for the recommended 7-14 days without the weekly changes? Thereafter is it a complete water change, 50% change etc etc?
Tank volume is 170l, with Fluval filter plus additional box filter and air stone to enhance O2.
Grateful for any clarification.
Kind Thanks,
-Steve
<I'm guessing you're in the UK, in which case you might want to try a product called eSHa EXIT, which I've found safe with catfish and many other "delicate" species like Puffers. Failing that, the heat trick can work, and by all means try it out. If, after a week, the fish aren't looking clear of which spots, try adding salt. No, 2 g/l shouldn't harm catfish or loaches, but add it in stages, maybe a quarter of the salt solution you make up every hour. Cheers, Neale.>

Heat treatment for ich -- in Dallas, Question on Salt, Re: Neale's article   9/13/11
Neale,
How is Katia treating ya'll?
<Is a wee bit blowy, that's for sure.>
Read your article http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
It was extremely helpful.
<Real good.>
Needless to say, my sudden interest in ich is the result of an infestation, probably the from the new tetras introduced a week ago. When calculating the capacity of the tank, do you subtract for the ornaments, gravel, etc.?
<I don't normally do anything other than lop about 10% of the quoted aquarium capacity. So if the tank is 100 litres, I reckon there's only 90 litres water. Slight errors one way or the other won't do any harm.>
Thanks again,
Nancy
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ich . . . from Dallas 9/12/11

Neale,
A thought on heat treatment for ich. . . Is one factor in it being so effective that it raises the temperature through the tank, including gravel/sand, ornaments, etc.? It would seem to me that the heat would be
able to kill the ich even in places in the tank where the parasite could hide but with poorer circulation where medications would not be able to reach as effectively.
Nancy
<Sounds a sensible explanation, Nancy. Bob F. maintains that heat alone can work, but I recommend the use of salt as well for better results. That way, both heat and salinity are stressing the free-living stages of the Whitespot parasite. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ich . . . from Dallas 9/12/11
Neale,
<Nancy,>
I have used salt in the past with success. However, I am just stocking up this tank (how the tank got it in the first place). If I use salt, what is the schedule to get the salinity down in my tank to where I can safely
introduce new fish?
<Do weekly water changes as per usual, 25% at a time, and after 4-6 weeks you should be fine. Do remember to wait at least 4 weeks before adding any more fish to an aquarium. It'll take that long to let the filter recover
and for any signs of disease reoccurrence to make themselves apparent.>
Is there an article you want to refer me to that gives more information?
<Not aware of any!>
I have a freshwater 30 gal. tank with Black Skirt and Von Rio tetras, silver dollars, an angel and albino Corys.
Thanks,
Nancy
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ich . . . from Dallas 9/12/11

Neale,
Oh, and how will the salt impact my plants I just introduced?
Nancy
<Shouldn't affect them, if salinity kept low, 2 g/l. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Quick question re: dipping... FW Ich trtmt.    5/31/11
Neale - Thanks for your reply.
<You're welcome.>
I did use the heat/salt on the cardinals, but I caught it too late. I bought the rid-Ich+ well before I started reading at WetWebMedia, and I can vouch for the heat/salt method working better than the medication. Gotten through 2 cases of Ich with zero fish loss using the heat/salt. I do have a question about pH, though. I live in an area where all of our water comes off the mountains and is very hard with high pH. I use a mix of mostly distilled water with a bit of treated tap water when changing the water in my main tank and my quarantine tank. I tested my water a few weeks ago and found the KH was 4, the GH was 6 and the pH was 8.6.
<Although the pH isn't ideal, the general hardness and carbonate hardness are acceptable for South American fish generally. I am a bit confused why the pH is so high. Can you get the pH tested again with a different test kit or device? General hardness (degrees dH) generally doesn't affect pH, whereas carbonate hardness (degrees KH) does. Once the KH value dips below 5 degrees, you should find pH hovers around 7.5, and the lower the KH value, the more likely you'll be to see an acidic pH if there are acidic chemicals in the water, such as tannins. If all else fails, try a 75% RO/25% tap water blend to see if that's better, or else use 100% RO and add Amazon buffer salts as used for Discus keeping.>
In my main tank, I added DIY CO2 until I can afford a better CO2 system.
It's a 35 tall with 5 black Neons, 5 Neons, 2 SAE and several cherry shrimp. The pH dropped down to 7.4 and has held constant there, but I plan on changing the ratio of distilled water and treated tap water to bring the GH down a bit more and see if it doesn't bring the pH down even more. (On a side note, I would like to say that simply adding the DIY CO2 cleared up a stubborn case of black bush algae that was smothering my plants. I have been battling that for months, and adding the CO2 cleared it up in one week.)
<Yes, adding CO2 will do little/no good if the fast-growing plants aren't there to use it, and if you have strong lighting, then again, algae can pick up the slack before your plants get established. It's a tough balance to get right.>
Now that I've reset up my quarantine tank, it's getting the 4 KH, 6 GH and 8.6 pH numbers, too. I want to lower the pH, but don't have any plans to add CO2 to this tank. No plants. But I've read mixed reviews on peat moss.
<Would skip this.>
I don't care about the coloration in this tank. If the water goes tea colored, I'm fine with that.
<And your fish will be very happy. But at low carbonate hardness levels the acidity drop can be rapid and unpredictable. If you do want to do this, try something like Eheim Peat Granulate. Use a small amount at first, perhaps a tablespoon in a media bag in the filter, and leave for a month to see what happens. Check pH at least weekly. Adjust the amount of peat up or down as required.>
But I've read about people having issues with the pH remaining constant, and I'm afraid it still won't lower the pH enough.
<Would not use peat to control pH -- too difficult to predict. Better to use a standard pH buffer such as some brand of Discus buffer/Amazon salts, and then use the peat purely for cosmetic reasons, to tint the water.>
During water changes, I'm only using a half gallon of tap water as it is, and I don't really want to go all distilled, from what I've read.
<Indeed not, 100% RO water without any buffering salts would be dangerous if not lethal for your fish.>
How much will peat moss drop my pH? And what about my water hardness? Will it drop that too much if I'm starting at 6 GH already? And have you heard anything about the peat balls found here:
http://www.tynevalleyaquatics.co.uk/#/fishkeeping-products/4546755825
<Worth a shot, but again, approach with caution, and start off using a minimal quantity until you know what happens.>
Thanks again for all your help,
Celeste
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Ick; BobF's preference for heat treatment; possible immunity? (Was: Re: Brackish Setup)    2/22/11
Great, I can't wait to try the brackish tank, I will just get some silk
plants, you know I needed a reason to get another bigger tank, lol.
<Glad to hear you're so excited. Too many folks think going brackish means things gets hard. If you're keeping Mollies and other livebearers, it really doesn't. Even at very low salinities that Platies and Swordtails tolerate, you'll find Mollies and Guppies so much easier to keep.>
I am sorry, a few last questions. In the past few months, as I look at my fish on a daily basis, I had noticed my only swordtail with three opaque pimple looking things on its body, it never scratched. I looked at the
spots with my jewelry lens, and they look like that, opaque round pimples, you can tell they stick out from under the scales, like half in half out from beneath the scales. Thinking this was Ick, I moved the fish to
quarantine tank, did the salt heat treatment and all seems well. Now again, on a Cory I noticed the same, one spot. So here is my question, in this tank I have the loach and Cory cats, which don't like salt much.
<Indeed, but at the 2 gramme/litre concentration needed to medicate against Whitespot, Corydoras will be fine.>
I read that if I raise the temperature to 86 for ten days, this should stop the reproduction and kill the Ick, without using salt, if you don't agree, how much salt would be safe to use for these sensitive fish?
<Bob F. does sometimes recommend using heat alone to treat Ick. I have no experience of that, and always use heat plus salt. I'd suggest you review Bob's comments and act accordingly:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwichfaq4.htm
>
The spots never seem to get too bad, maybe because I notice it so quickly and take action, if this is not Ick, what other parasite shows as an opaque pimple. I also use a UV,
<Nice, but not really necessary.>
and 40% weekly water maintenance, maybe that helps kill them as well. I have Quinine Sulfate, which is suppose to be safe for loaches, if you think I should use that.
<Would always use salt/heat in preference.>
I guess I need to invest in a microscope to really tell what this is showing up on my fish.
<Much to be said in favour of that. Stores like Maplins, Radio Shack, etc. sell these neat USB microscopes that might be fun. Never used one, but the idea is pretty cool, and you'd be able to take a screenshot presumably you could send on to us.>
I have had the one loach die, and one swordtail, heavy breathing, then dead, however, neither of them had any visible spots. I know sometimes the Ick can be in the gills, and not seen. I also treated main tank with Prazi Pro, thinking maybe it was flukes, but then again the spots!!! Yes, I have the tank at the hardness you told me to make it so all the fish I have can be happy together. What is also weird is my original loach has never shown any spots of Ick, if this was in my tank, and they are so susceptible to Ick, why has this clown not gotten it?
<There is some evidence fish develop resistance to Whitespot/Ick, and that "outbreaks" are more about fish being stressed -- and therefore no longer immune. This is surely an explanation for situations where Whitespot appears out of nowhere months or years after the last fish was added to the tank.>
Thanks again, you are the best. Sincerely, Lu
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ick; BobF's preference for heat treatment; possible immunity?
(Was: Re: Brackish Setup) - 2/23/2011

Thanks again, you are correct, how can a brackish be more difficult, you just need keep salinity correct, how hard can that be,
<Not hard.>
and to me a benefit cause you don't have to worry about Ick as much, lol.
<Indeed! And livebearers tend to be much hardier, as do certain other fish, like Australian Rainbows and Bumblebee Gobies, given a little salt, even if they inhabit freshwater in the wild.>
Great reading, I think I want to try to do just the heat, see how that goes.
<Sure.>
I have a wet/dry sump, which I believe adds more oxygen to water,
<In theory, and drives off CO2.>
and I have extra airstones going, so hopefully the fish will fair well with the gradual increase in temp. Neal, I can't say enough how helpful you have been, how helpful the site is, without it I probably would have given up on the fish keeping hobby. Be well, and bless you for all the help you have given to many. Sincerely, Lu
<Glad to have helped. Good luck! Neale.>

Re: Ick   3/10/11

Hi Neale,
<Lu,>
I am truly sorry to bother you again on this Ick issue. I have treated my main 54 gallon with the temp and salt treatment.
<OK.>
Tomorrow will be the 14th day of this treatment, however, today I noticed one of my fish itch itself on the side of tank.
<I see.>
I guess I can assume that I still have Ick in the tank because all the water perimeters are fine, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrates below 40, Hardness good, PH good for species.
<Or else Velvet, which produces "flashing" behaviour but may not show any of the characteristic golden sheen that gives it its name, since the Velvet often attacks the gills in preference to the skin. Velvet is more salt tolerant, and thus less easily treated this way.>
No signs of Ick on body of fish, just the itching. My question is, keeping in mind I have a clown loach and Cory cats, can I continue the salt treatment another 14 days without harm to these fish that are not crazy about salt,
<Yes, absolutely safe, though the salt itself may well cause the fish to flash now and again.>
or do you recommend I try some harsher chemicals?
<Would not do this without good reason.>
The salt was put in as 2g per liter, as stated in directions, temp was kept the entire time above 80 degrees even had it up to 86 for a week. The salt was measured with a scale. Maybe I should add a bit more salt?
<Can do so, to 3 g/l safely with Clown loaches and Corydoras, but I'd actually tend towards dropping the salt to zero, waiting a couple of weeks, and seeing how things went. If needs be, then re-do, at 2 or 3 g/l. To some degree healthy fish can fight off both Whitespot and Velvet, so letting the tank settle back to normal for a while, and then observing the fish, can be a wise move in between treatments.>
I have Quinine Sulfate, and if need be I will find a product that is safer for the loach. Thanks for your help, have a pleasant day. Sincerely, Lu
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ick   3/14/11

Hi Neale,
That sounds like a plan. I shall put tank back to normal salt fee conditions, after another 10 days because I did find one visible spot on a Platy, one lone spot on her tail, and this is how it happens for me. I never see an infestation of spots, just one spot on one fish. Indeed, I really don't want to use any harsher chemicals. I have not lost anymore fish, so that is good. I hope you are well and have a groovy day. Thanks again Neale. Cheers Lu
<Good luck. I think you're doing the right thing, and to some degree it's worth holding off stressing all the fish just because one fish is exhibiting a single odd symptom. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ick   3/24/11

Hi Neale,
Yes, you are so smart. To date, the one fish still has a white spot on it's tail, and at the high temperature I was keeping the tank at, I imagine if it was Ick it would have dropped off by now. All fish show no signs of Ick, and no scratching, so I keep my fingers crossed all will be okay. The kicker is I always quarantine my new fish, and for double the duration that you should. However, these tiny parasites are easy to miss especially if you can't see them. Thanks as always for your prompt response to my questions. Cheers Lu
<Thanks for the kind words, Lu. Does sound as if this fish is otherwise fine, and even if this is some weird parasite, it's very unlikely to cause long-term harm to this or your other fish -- most parasites not being able to complete their life cycle under aquarium conditions, hence the particular focus on the ones that can, such as Ick. Cheers, Neale.>

Ich Treatment follow-up 2/13/11
Hi all,
<Hello,>
I had posted the beginning of January about getting Ich from some newly purchased Cardinal Tetras, and stupidly tossing one into my 29 gallon planted tank. Out of the 9 fish purchased, only one Cardinal Tetra lived from a 4 day treatment of Rid Ich; the Betta survived as well. The other fish all died within two days of purchase. Of course I did call the LFS and let them know the next morning that their fish had Ich, but of course they had found out right after I left with my fish.
<Oh dear.>
In the 29 gallon I raised the tank temperature to 86... that's actually as high as the thermostat would go on the heater. No other treatment was added to the tank, only raising the temperature. During the first 10 days only a few Cardinals showed a couple spots but I saw nothing on the other fish. Since there were still one or two spots visible after the first 10 days, I kept the heat up another 5 and after all spots were no longer visible for at least three days an additional 5 more days of 86 degree temp was left on since all the fish showed no signs of stress.
<Good. While I don't personally recommend the "heat on its own" approach to treating Whitespot, I know that Bob does, and it can sometimes work. When it works, it's less stressful than anything else.>
Last week I started bringing the temperature back down 2 degrees every three days. It's now at 80. None of the fish showed any signs of stress during the heat only treatment. My peppered Corys and White Cloud Minnows did better than I thought they would. I suffered no fish loss in that tank.
I had changed the fishes' diet switching to New Life Spectrum small fish formula pellets during this time and sometimes treating with garlic and VitaChem,
<Sounds good.>
and some chopped frozen Tubifex worms.
<I would skip these. Tubifex worms aren't the safest foods for a variety of reasons. They live in organic rich waters (read: sewage) and are commonly exposed to high heavy metal concentrations. They are known carriers of some notorious pathogens, and freezing doesn't kill all types of pathogens.
Bloodworms are much better and safer, but the best "treats" are either brine shrimp, daphnia (both excellent sources of indigestible fibre that prevents constipation) and tiny morsels of human food: shrimp, white fish fillet, hard boiled egg yolk, and cooked peas.>
The Cardinals definitely have gotten bigger, fatter and have much better coloring. And it also appears that the black beard algae that has been only "barely manageable" with tufts on various plants has died off during the high temperature treatment with only barely visible tufts on one or two leaves, The Ludwigia repens has suffered the most due to lack of CO2 injection, but I started the CO2 injection yesterday.
<Okay.>
Lessons learned, and discoveries made... but happy that the "heat only" treatment did work quite well and things are pretty much back to normal, and my fish look healthier than ever.
Thanks.
<All's well that ends well! Cheers, Neale.>

Ich And Heat Treatment - FW - Mixed Info   1/11/11
Hi all,
<Deb/Honey Bee>
After almost 5 years in the hobby I've had my first encounter with Ich. I set up a 12 gallon NanoCube in November and wanted to add a Beta fish and some Cardinal Tetras.
<Mmm, Bettas will eat small fishes>
So 6 weeks later last Saturday afternoon I picked up
nine tetras and a beautiful Beta.
I always QT any fish going to an established tank or my SW tanks, but for this addition I did not QT. The tetras were so tiny. One looked like it had air bubbles on it the way the light hit it. And then another, and another. So I grabbed a magnifying glass for a closer look and saw they were white spots not air bubbles. I keep a few critter cages for QT so I grabbed one of the 1 gallon plastic containers and set it up. Moved all the tetras to it and started treating with Rid-Ich+
<Mmm, harsh for Characids>
which has been in my fish med kit 4+ years. I raised the 12 gallon NanoCube temp,
<Good...>
and the Beta still looks great, no signs of any issues yet. As of this morning, 3 days later, all but one of the tetras have died.
The QT tank is maintained at 82
<I'd make this 85-6 F>
along with the Rid Ich treatment, and a daily 75% water change. The stupidest part was when I first added them to their new tank, one was picked on by the Beta so I grabbed him and tossed him into my 29 gallon planted. I never found the fish. If it died, my Amano shrimp would have certainly cleaned the waste leaving nothing behind.
<Happens>
Once I realized the tetras had Ich I started raising the temp in the 29 gallon as well. For all I've read there is a lot of mixed information at what temperature to raise the tank to, and for how long to keep the temperature raised. My fish stock in the 29 are Cardinal tetras (20), golden white cloud minnows (4),
<These don't like too warm water...>
Peppered Cory cats (5),
<Nor these unfortunately>
Otocinclus (2), ringed loaches (possibly Schistura beavini) (2), Kuhlii loaches (2) and Amano shrimp (5). I believe the most sensitive would be the Golden minnows, but I think the others will tolerate the higher temps okay for awhile.
<Likely so>
Several articles state the temp needs to be at least 86+ for 10 days (and I'm pretty sure these sites all quoted from the same article), and that at 89 the Ich cannot survive at all. Others say 82-83 degrees is fine for 3 - 5 days, and others 80 degrees will kill the Ich for a few days.
<See my numbers above... What I've used for decades... and written re for the same time frame>
Some say keep the temps up as long as two weeks. The 12 gallon with the beta is fluctuating from 82.7 to 83.8. The 29 gallon I just raised today to about 83-84, cut off CO2 and have the air stone running (which normally runs at night only). None of the fish in either of these tanks are showing any issues yet. So what's the best temperature and for how long to treat the tanks with heat? Thank you.
Debbie
<And there are other inputs I'd like you to read:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm
the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich And Heat Treatment - FW - Update 1/12/11

Hello,
<Deb>
Shortly after sending the email yesterday I noticed 4 of the Cardinal Tetras in the 29g had spots, and the Betta in the 12g had spots. The Betta was moved to a QT tank and is currently being treated. The now fishless 12g I'm trying to keep the heat up, but I think either the heaters have failed or have auto cutoffs as the tank temperature has been dropping from 85 last night to 82 and it is still slowly dropping, even though I have two heaters set at 88. Yesterday the tank did manage to get up to 89.8 for a few hours,
which may be the cause for the heaters failing. I believe keeping the tank empty for 2 weeks, however, should rid the tank of any parasites.
<Four weeks would/will be better>
But a new heater is definitely in order. The one lone surviving Cardinal tetra is quite active and eating and spot free. The Betta and Cardinal tetra are in separate QT tanks and will remain in QT for 2 weeks, possibly longer if the 12g needs to cycle again.
The 29g is at 86 degrees and in the process of systematically replacing all my heaters this year the new Stealth shatterproof is steadily holding that temperature. As of this morning only one tetra has a tiny spot on it, as opposed to the four yesterday, and all fish are acting quite normal. All the fish so far seem to be tolerating the raised temperature, and all have hearty appetites. Their food is now being enhanced with Vita Chem and Garlic Guard. I always use Stress Coat as the dechlorinator so a little extra is being added to their tank water to help with their slime coat.
<This mal-affects the medication/s. I'd pre-mix, store your water for a few days ahead of actual use>
I normally do 50% weekly water change, but I'm upping that to daily but of course not at 50%. A QT is set up in case I need to move the minnows and/or the Corys. The tank temperature will remain for another 9 days (10 total), with no CO2. I'll watch the plants and maybe start adding a liquid carbon source. If you would like I can send an update in 2 weeks for the benefit of others. Thank you again for your prompt reply to my first email.
Regards,
Deb
<And you, BobF>

dosing Ich in qt tank 12/5/10
hi,
just brought home some new fishes who are well settled into their qt tank for the moment. however it appears a couple of the cardinal tetras are sporting white specks on their fins, I cant imagine what this could be besides Ich :/ In this tank I have altogether 2 honey Gourami, 10 cardinal tetras and 2 "peppered" Corydoras (I'm not quite sure if they are the same as salt and pepper Cory; they look more grey and black, mottled, than white and black) The first thing I am trying is to raise the temperature, at room temp/with the light on in the QT it stays about 77 but for getting rid of Ich I understand 86 is ideal. However I'm not 100% sure the heater I have actually works :(
Now the question I have, I have 3 different options of actually treating this either if the heat doesn't work or in conjunction with the heat. I'm a long way from a store here so I have to use what I have on hand. I have salt- which I read the Corys won't tolerate well; a bottle of CopperSafe; and a bottle of Wardley's Ick away, which is 0.075 malachite green. I understand these are all toxic and tetras are a little picky in general and I'd only do a half dose anyway, but I was wondering which of the three would be the best tolerated by the combination of fish in there? I am hoping, since I couldn't find anything about honey Gourami and medicine sensitivity, that it means they are not sensitive. I know Corys and tetras can be. I'm really hoping to nip the Ich before it spreads/reinfests.
also I am certainly planning on daily water changes and there is no substrate other than a small handful of marbles on the bottom of the tank, which don't even cover the surface (easy vacuuming) thanks for any advice.
<Do skip the Ick medications, and instead use salt/heat to treat.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
Corydoras will handle the requisite low salinity -- about 2 g/litre -- just fine. Have done this many, many times and is FAR safer than copper or formalin. The idea Corydoras are "allergic" to salt is non-scientific and based on a total misunderstanding of how osmoregulation works. By contrast, copper and formalin are toxic to ALL fish, and while many species will tolerate short-term exposure, all are killed by misuse of these products.
Likewise, while all Corydoras (except C. sterbai) are best kept between 22-24 C/72-75 F, short-term exposure to 28-30 C/82-86 F will cause them no harm at all. All this holds true for your Tetras too. I will remind you that Cardinals require warmer water than Corydoras paleatus, so these are not an ideal combination, though farmed C. paleatus may be better at the required minimum 25 C/77 F than wild ones. Cheers, Neale.>

Ich, FW, salt  10/20/10
Hi
Could you possibly tell me how much salt to use per litre to treat Ich? I am raising the temperature slowly and have done a water change. My tank has Guppies, Mollies, Swordtails, Platies and a Bristlenose Pleco. I do not know if the Bristlenose is, Ancistrus triradiatus or Ancistrus sp. I live in the UK and never know whether people are talking about US or UK gallons so I would rather stick to litres!
Thanks so much.
Gemma
<Hello Gemma. When treating Ick, 2-3 grammes of non-iodised or aquarium salt per litre should do the trick. The precise method is outlined here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
The main thing is not to add the salt direct to the tank, but to a jug of warm tap water, and then pour that into the aquarium in stages across, say, an hour. You should also raise the temperature a bit, to 28-30 C. Your livebearers will tolerate much higher salinities than this, up to nine grammes per litre if needs be, and that can be useful for treating a variety of other diseases. Your catfish is not so salt tolerant though, but
2-3 grammes/litre will do no harm at all. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ich
Thanks ever so much.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Salt and heat treatment of Ich  7/9/10
In advance thanks for you help. I have read on the internet so many articles of use of heat and aquarium salt to kill ich.
<An old approach, but a good one. Just used it myself a couple of weeks ago!>
I am so confused. I started out with four platy, two swordtail and one clown loach, in a quarantine tank 14 gal, water perimeters great (quarantine tank is always available and cycled). After four days they were all flashing, and one swordtail and one platy had died,
<It's always important to understand that Ick itself isn't usually fatal, at least not during the first "bout" when you see a few dozen white spots on the fish. Each successive wave gets worse as there are more spots each time, so yes, eventually the parasites can kill the fish. But normally it's secondary infections that kill the fish because the Ick breaks the skin. On top of that, many times it's the medication that kills the fish. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it isn't the Ick itself that's fatal, but problems with environmental conditions that the Ick is merely a symptom of. Often aquarists with new fish tanks say their fish died from Ick. No, what really happened is the environment stressed and weakened their fish, and the Ick was merely the most obvious of several things going on at that point in time. So, when you have fish dying from Ick, you need to be open minded. How old is the tank? Is the filter mature and running properly? Is water chemistry appropriate to the species being kept? Are there reasons
the fish might be stressed? Is the diet being offered balanced? All sorts of things.>
so I decided to treat, in the course of three weeks and four days, I treated with Ich Attack for seven days, then quinine sulfate for five days, then quick cure for three days, finally no signs of flashing after that,
<Do understand that using multiple medications causes interactions you can't predict. Without exception, choose a medication, use it, finish the course, and then do a substantial water change, 50%, before starting anything else. Leave a couple of days gap between the last dose of the first medication and the first dose of something new. That way you can see if the fish are reacting normally. Any of the medications you used might be safe on its own, but in conjunction with others, who knows?>
so then four days later I put the clown loach into main 52 gal,
<This is too small for Clown Loaches, and do note Clown Loaches are schooling fish, and keeping less than three will cause stress.>
and one of the platys into my 29 gal . I then noticed the platy in 29 gal flashing the next day, so I put it back into the quarantine with the swordtail and platys that remained in quarantine, also all this time I never seen the ich on these fish at all, just the flashing and death of the two and assumed the ich was in the gills. So, now I am going to try the
heat and salt treatment in the quarantine tank.
<With Clown Loaches, the use of salt/heat is a no-brainer. Virtually everything else WILL stress them.>
After careful research I have raised the temperature to 80 degrees, it was already 78, and started to slowly add, three teaspoons of salt per gallon,
<OK.>
in the 14g quarantine tank with water quality good, no ammonia, no nitrites, etc. PH at 7.4. As I read, some say no salt cause it actually irritates the fish.
<At this dose the salt is harmless. Platies and Swordtails are highly salt tolerant, and so, to a certain degree, are Clown Loaches. The point is that you're not creating brackish water. A level teaspoon of salt is 6 grammes,
and there are 35 grammes of salt per litre of seawater, or about 200 grammes per US gallon. Obviously your three teaspoons, about 18 grammes, per US gallon is a trivially small amount of salt that won't unduly stress your fish. The thing is that people hear the word salt and get all scared because it sounds dangerous. So too are copper and formalin, far more so than salt, and yet inexperienced aquarists don't even think twice before pouring these highly toxic chemicals into their aquaria. While copper and formalin have their place, they must be approached with respect, and in many cases the use of salt is far less stressful to your fish.>
Do I want to irritate the fish, really? I understand they should stay at this salinity for up to seven days.
<If you can treat the Swordtails and the Platies separately, then keeping them in truly brackish water for a couple of weeks would dramatically improve things. SG 1.003 would be fine, that's about 6 grammes of salt per litre, or 0.83 oz per US gallon. Besides killing the parasites, brackish water reduces the risks from secondary infections. Clown Loaches would need to be handled more gingerly, and I'd keep the salinity as discussed earlier on.>
Everyone has a different opinion
<I'm surprised you've found this to be the case; the use of salt/heat is well-known among experienced hobbyists and has been for decades. Clown Loaches are notoriously sensitive to copper and other medications, and the
salt/heat method is almost the only one recommended so far as they're concerned.>
and I don't know whether to take salt out with water changes and use quick cure, or continue the salt treatment, please what is your opinion. So far, knock on wood the clown loach in my main 52 has no flashing or signs of
ich. Have a lovely day. Sincerely, Luanne
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Salt and heat treatment of Ich  7/10/10

Thanks you are marvelous!
<I am?>
Yes, I did treat each medication separately with the 50% water change after each treatment. Yes, the other medications are more dangerous, that is why I tried the supposedly natural Ich Attack first, and why I would prefer to use the salt/heat treatment in the future. Good to know I should give a few days between treatments. The salt issue has recently come under review and some now feel it is detrimental to the fish, in the long run.
<I have often written that weekly additions of salt to freshwater tanks is a bad idea. But that's not what we're talking about here. Salt isn't a poison; if affects osmoregulation. Used for a couple of weeks, at low doses, it does much less harm to freshwater fish than either copper or formalin. There's really no discussion on this.>
They even say with prolonged use, it can cause death, hence my confusion.
I wish I kept the university site so I could link it to you.
<I would certainly be interested in reading this. But rest assured that veterinarians writing about fish health widely recommend salt used the way I described.>
However, I do feel you are the most knowledgeable individual I have come across in all my research of fish keeping, so I will listen to you. I felt Loach would be okay until they were bigger.
<Oh, they grow slowly to be sure, but they're social from day 1!>
I plan on putting them into a tank appropriate for them. I just need a little time to work on my better half, as his eyes already roll cause I have three tanks going.
<Indeed.>
However, we all know women always get their way, eventually.
<Ah yes, as Aristophanes proposed in 'Lysistrata' some 2,500 years ago.>
Funny thing is the first Loach chases the new loach away from his private hide hole. However, I am aware they have to determine the alpha before they get along.
<Sort of, but they will settle down in time. It's better to add juveniles this being the case, since they're less hierarchical than adults.>
Indeed, I am always checking water conditions in each of my tanks, and all are cycled. I am aware of the PH, hardness, temp. etc. for each species, and strive to keep conditions perfect.
<Good. Clown Loaches don't like water as hard as Platies or Swordtails, and Clowns also prefer somewhat warmer water. To keep them together you're aiming for 25C/77F, hardness 10-15 degrees dH, pH 7.5. Cooler than that will stress the Clowns; warmer will stress the Platies and Swordtails.>
I have done so much research to have happy healthy fish. I advise all before getting fish to do a lot of reading. Thanks again so much. I have used your expertise many times, and would have pulled my hair out if it was not available to me. Have a lovely day. Lu
<Happy to help. Good luck and thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>

Any advice for leaving a fish with ich while on vacation  6/19/10
Hi- I'm really sorry to bother you again but yours is the most trustworthy site I've found and I need more advice. I have one goldfish alone in a filtered tank, 100L I think, and I do weekly water changes of about 20%.
I'm about to go on holiday tomorrow and I just spotted what I think might be the start of ich on his face- I've never had it before. I haven't introduced anything new to the tank and it's been set up about 6 months.
I'll do a water change (how big do you recommend?) and dash to the shop before I leave for whatever medication they have there (they don't have much so I'll take what they have and follow the directions). But I'll be gone 9 days... Is there anything I should do to stave off disaster while I'm away? Or just medicate and leave it?
Tests say ph is about 7 and nitrate is fine. Temperature is 22-23 centigrade (it's stable, I'm just not sure which thermometer is right).
There's no heater in there and I'm loathe to risk trying to learn to set one up while I'm going to be away :/
Any advice appreciated.
Jess
<Jess, your best bet here is to use a combination of heat and salt rather than medication. Most Ick medications need to be added on specific days across a period of a week. By contrast, with salt, you simply add the salt,
and wait for two weeks, and then do some water changes to flush the salt back out again. I'd up the temperature to 25 C, but it isn't critical. You don't need much salt, and either tonic salt or kosher cooking salt will do.
Add 2 to 3 level teaspoons of salt per gallon; I prefer to make up a brine with the appropriate amount of salt for the whole aquarium in a jug of warm water, and then pour that brine into the tank in stages across a few hours.
This gives the fish and filter bacteria a chance to adjust. No medication kills the cysts on the fish; all work by killing the free-living stages once the cysts burst. Salt does the same thing. Goldfish tolerate salt well, and salt also reduces somewhat the risks of secondary infections, which is very useful in a situation where you won't be around. Cheers,
Neale.>
Re: Any advice for leaving a fish with ich while on vacation
Fab! Can I just check- by cooking salt do you mean regular table salt?
<No. If you re-read the message you'll see I said *Kosher* cooking salt, which is different. Ordinary cooking salt contains chemicals used to keep the salt free-flowing, and some of these may be toxic to fish. Nutritional supplements are also added, typically iodine, and again, these may be toxic to fish. Kosher salt lacks these things. Naturally, if you can find some other type of cooking salt that lacks both iodine and anti-caking agents, then you could use that too. There are some brands of "sea salt" sold in grocery stores that lack these chemicals and could be used safely. But check the package. Kosher salt is worth mentioning though because it's widely sold in the US and invariably lacks iodine and anti-caking agents, making it easy for me to recommend reliably. If you can't find cooking salt lacking iodine and anti-caking agents, then you will need to go out and buy aquarium salt. Ask for the aquarium salt used in freshwater tanks, not saltwater tanks. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Any advice for leaving a fish with ich while on vacation 6/27/10
Ah, sorry- just to explain, kosher is also used as a slang word in the UK so I wasn't sure if it was a special type of salt I hadn't heard of or just an expression, hence the check. Thanks!
<Indeed, yes it is, and having watched too many episodes of Only Fools & Horses myself, I do tend to use the word 'kosher' in precisely this way, to mean something real and legitimate. But "kosher salt" is something quite
specific. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Clown Loach 3/19/10
Hi,
<Hi, Jan. Melinda with you here today.>
My husband introduced a new Clown Loach about three weeks ago, and things look like they were going good until it died a few days ago.
Not only did the new fish die but so did my catfish and one other Clown Loach. It appears that they had Ick.
<Ohh... is really best to QT new clown loaches... they tend to be more susceptible to ich than other fish, in my experience.>
My question is that my husbands Clown Loach that he has had for around 10 years is sick and we are afraid of losing him as well.
<Of course -- that would be awful.>
We have done the salt and water treatment with water changes and keeping the water temperature at a higher level.
<So, how much salt are you using? What temp is the water at? I tend to use the following treatment for ich: Day one: Add one tablespoon of salt per gallon of water. Day two: Add one teaspoon of salt per gallon of water. Day three: Add one teaspoon of salt per gallon of water. Then, let the tank sit, with the total amount of salt of three teaspoons per gallon, and temp around 83 degrees, for at least a week, even if you no longer see signs of ich. Then do a large water change. I don't do water changes within these ten or so days because to do so would remove the salt, and it really needs to stay in the tank in order to achieve the high level needed to kill the ich.>
Mr. Loach is still sick and just laying on his side and breathing heavily. Is their anything else we can do? He look
better yesterday but then again today he looks worse.
<Assuming water quality is good (Ammonia and Nitrite at zero, Nitrate below 20), and you're properly diagnosing the problem, the above is what I recommend. Often, folks just don't add enough salt, or wait long enough for it to work.>
HELP!!
<Please let me know if you have any other questions, or if this is something you've already tried with no results.>
Thanks Desperate
Jan
<You're welcome.
--Melinda>
Re Help! FW Ich resp. amendment 03/19/10

Hi Bob--
Earlier today I answered a question and provided my method for treating for ich. However, I mis-spoke and stated that one tablespoon of salt should be administered daily, for three days. I re-read the e-mail after you posted them on WWM and realized I said "tablespoon" when I meant "teaspoon!" I'd like to let the querier know; however, I have deleted that query from my folder. Can you either forward this to that person or send me their e-mail so that I can correct my statement to them? Thanks!
--Melinda
<Aye yi yi! Sorry I didn't catch this either... as you might guess, I really don't read through all... And... to save space and as part of my routine daily, I delete the original msg.s, including all's email addresses... So... I don't think the cumulative salt will hurt in this case... and I'll amend your post with this input. Okay? BobF>

Ick Problem/ Dilemma 12/23/09
I got home from work today to discover one of my platys has Ick. I'm going to visit my parents for Christmas and I leave tomorrow afternoon. I don't have another tank to put the platy in. Should I treat the tank for ich ASAP
and perform a water change right before I leave? (20 hours from now). My room mate was going to feed the fish while I was gone, but I don't think he's going to want/ be able to perform a water change. I will be gone for 10 days.
Thanks again WetWebMedia for the invaluable help.
Andrew
<Just treat using the salt/heat method.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm
This will cause no problems for your Platies, and the Ick parasite life cycle will be broken. If you're keeping Platies on their own or with other livebearers, then you can raise the specific gravity up to 1.003 (5-6 grammes/litre). Otherwise, aim for about half that dose. Raise the temperature to 25 degrees C, maybe slightly higher (Platies as you know should be kept cooler most of the time, 22-24 C being the ideal, much above that being stressful over the long term). Cheers, Neale.>
re: Ick Problem/ Dilemma

So performing a 50% water change with a good gravel vacuum before I go, treat with aquarium salt, and raise the temperature should be sufficient.
<Yes.>
And hope for the best over the next 10 days?
<Well, they will need some food. Feeding blocks are useless, but a couple of blanched lettuce leaves and a wedge of courgette should keep them going, Platies being herbivores. Weight these down with that lead strip used to
hold aquarium plants in place.>
I have 3 gouramis and a Pleco in the tank, will this change anything?
<Not really.>
Thanks again,
Andrew
<Cheers, Neale.>
re: Ick Problem/ Dilemma

With a 25 gallon aquarium with fish other than live bearers (gouramis), am I right in assuming I should add 25-30g of salt?
Thanks again,
Andrew
<In US gallons, you're aiming for 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per gallon. One level teaspoon is about 6 grammes, or 0.22 oz. Cheers, Neale.>

Help with Ich 10/4/09
Greetings!
<Good morrow>
I have a 30 gallon tall freshwater planted setup that has been up and running for four months. The tank was well planted in the beginning, stocked slowly and went through a "silent cycle," with no ammonia or nitrite readings ever being present, and eventually reaching a fairly solid 10 ppm nitrate level. pH tests at 7.0 and total alkalinity is 80 ppm. GH is hard at 150. The tank appears to have developed an ich problem in the last 24 hours.. The last fish I added to the tank was a Siamese algae eater three weeks ago, and while it appears completely healthy, I'm seeing what appear to be the classical signs of ich on a few of my rummy nose tetras. Everybody else has been in the tank for at least six weeks or more (the rummies have been there three months). My fish are as follows: two angels, two cories, three Otos, one turquoise rainbow, one redtail sword, one small yoyo loach, one twig catfish, six rummy nose tetras, one Siamese algae eater and one flower shrimp. I've noted that periodically the SAE will swim with the rummies and occasionally they seem to be a bit worried by him, although he doesn't appear to seriously go after them and I don't see him attacking anybody. Other times, they seem fine having him swimming among them.
My question is this. I don't have a quarantine tank, and at this point I have to assume the whole tank is infected anyway.
<Yes; agreed>
Not sure where it came from, but the rummies are dither fish so perhaps it's in their nature to be more easily stressed and perhaps a latent infection just came out when the SAE showed up in the tank.
<Likely so>
Given the catfish, cories and shrimp, what would be the safest method for treating my tank.
<Elevating temperature>
I note that salt and heat appear to be your favorite recommendation and it would be my preferred method, but I'm concerned about their impact on the Otos, the twig, the cories and the shrimp.
Will this be the safest possible method in my tank?
<I would not use much, perhaps any salt. Depending on your plant species you have more than the fishes listed>
I should also mention that at this point everyone is lively, swimming/schooling appropriately and eating well.
Any advice you can provide in this case would be very much appreciated.
<Raise the temp. to 85 F. or so, stat.>
I've spent hours going through your replies to others, but it's hard to weed out the answers that pertain to my particular array of fish so I hope you don't mind me rehashing a problem that you've addressed many times before.
Thanks,
Lisa
<Ahh, I won't refer you to WWM re FW white spot then. Hopefully catching the Ichthyophthirius soon, overdriving its metabolism will solve the parasitic issue here. Bob Fenner, who is going through a similar bout...>

Re: Help with Ich 10/4/09
I'm running a stock Eclipse II hood and also a basic Red Sea CO2 reactor. Should I put in an extra airstone or do you think the high circulation from the Eclipse pump will provide enough oxygen?
<Better to add the mechanical aeration>
I've got it set right now so it's actually about half an inch above the water line so a lot of surface agitation present at this point. Also, should I turn off my CO2 pump when I raise the heat?
<Mmm, I'd at least turn down to about half>
How about water changes?
<Greatly reduce till the ich is far gone... three weeks sans spots>
I have a planting substrate mixed with some gravel so don't vacuum because it makes a fierce mess of substrate in the water. I've been told to leave mulm to settle for the plants. Should I continue with bi-
weekly 25% changes or change more often?
<I'd hold off on to the maximum...>
Thanks so much for your quick
reply on my last post!
<Deemed prudent. BobF>

Re: Help with Ich, FW   10/5/09
Can my shrimp stay in the tank or do I need to remove?
<Mmm, they can stay... aren't "carriers">
If I put him in a tank with fish can he carry cysts with him and infect them?
<Anything wet can. BobF>

Re: Help with Ich  10/5/09
I went out and picked up a pump and a 1 1/2 inch oval disc air stone for extra oxygenation, which is now installed and running in the tank. I've put the temperature from 78 up to 82 degrees since this morning and will continue to raise it through the evening until I reach 85 degrees.
<Good>
I hope that's not too fast!
<Is not>
My shrimp absolutely
loves the new air stone! He's gripping a rock for all he's worth with his face and fans head on into the bubbles, clearly delighted with the new addition. I can't imagine how he's holding on!
<With pure joy>
So far nobody looks any the worse for wear as the day goes on and the rummies are still the only victims of the ich....still very active and schooling well so will keep my fingers crossed. I believe I have caught this very early on and with all your help hopefully will beat it. I'll keep posting to let you know how it's going or if I need anymore help. Once again, thanks so much for your prompt replies and all the great help you provide.
Lisa
<Welcome Lisa. BobF>

Re: Help with Ich 10/14/09
Hi Bob,
<Lisa>
As promised in my last post to you, I'm writing to update you on the progress of the ich.
<Thank you>
I increased the temperature gradually over a period of 36 hours from 76 to 85 degrees so as to be sure I wouldn't stress the fish. Of the rummy nose tetras who had the ich, only three were affected to any significant degree and based on pictures I have seen on the internet, I would say that I caught it quite early because mine were not too badly affected. Four days into the treatment, one of my angels also developed three spots on one fin. Still, across the course of the week I could see that none of the fish were getting any worse and they all continued to school well and eat with great enthusiasm. Also, no problems with any secondary infections.
<Ah, good>
Here we are now, eight days after reaching the maximum temperature of 85 degrees and the ich has almost completely cleared. Only one of the rummies still has a bit on one of its fins. Everybody else is completely clear. My expectation is that by the time it reaches the two week mark, I should be able to start gradually lowering the temperature of the tank back down to the previous 76 degrees, again doing this over a couple of days so as not to stress the fish.
<Yes... extend this time frame to three weeks if you further detect any presence of parasites>
Once again, thank you so much for all your helpful advice. It's good to know that this can be treated with heat alone, because having to add either aquarium salt or a chemical treatment would have definitely
resulted in the death of at least some of my fish and/or plants.
Thanks to you, I didn't lose anything from my tank!
Lisa
<Outstanding. Thank you again for your report. Bob Fenner>

Question about fish with ich! 3/24/09
Hello,
<Hi!>
I was wondering if you could perhaps help me with a problem I've been having with my freshwater fish community. I have a Pleco, four fancy male guppies, three black skirt tetras and four neon tetras. I noticed a case of ich a couple of days ago on my Pleco, then spotted it on two guppies.
I'm new to the fish world, and freaked!
<Don't be freaked; be well read. There's plenty of stuff on this site, as well as lots of books. You've made some common mistakes right here. Neons and Black Skirt tetras need to be in groups of 6+ or they behave in odd ways. Black Skirt tetras (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi) are notorious fin-nippers, and when kept in too-small a group, often become especially nasty towards things like Guppies, Bettas and Angelfish. Neons on the other hand are shy fish, and in groups that are too small they become stressed, usually just dying off, one at a time, for no obvious reason. Plecs (typically Pterygoplichthys species) grow rapidly (within 12-18 months) to a massive size; 30-45 cm (12-18 inches) being typical. Unless you have a huge tank, upwards of 55 gallons at least, you're creating a problem for yourself here as this fish will overload the filter and make it impossible to keep the fish healthy.>
Just a week or two before, I had purchased one of those 'Glofish' (I think its actually a zebra Danio) but didn't research about how they would do in the tank.
<Indeed, is a genetically modified Danio rerio.>
Sad to say, I now know that it will chase around my guppies and make everyone in the tank nervous.
<Completely predictable. Danios are schooling fish, and in groups of less than six often become bullies. Any shop that sold you ONE Danio was taking advantage of you.>
Two of my neon tetras died, leaving only the four behind, and two guppies died, leaving only the remaining four that I'm trying to save. I got rid of the Glofish, gave it to my sister, but noticed that under all that stress, my small community had high ammonia levels.
<Nothing to do with stress. Ammonia comes from fish waste, and unless this tank is large, you probably have too many fish. Or else, you added too many fish at once, without cycling the tank first. Or again, you could be under-filtering or overfeeding. Often, beginners do all these mistakes.>
So I did a total vacuum clean up and did a water change or two over the next few days. Then one day, I woke up and BOOM, there was the ich on my Pleco!
<Not boom at all. Predictable. Ick usually arrives with new fish. Because the parasite can't live apart from fish for more than a day or two, Ick rarely appears in well established tanks. But when people are starting out, buying new fish, infected fish come into the aquarium and spread the parasite. The best thing you can do is quarantine all livestock for a month before adding it to your aquarium. But if that isn't practical, e.g., you have just one tank, then add fish with at least a month between them. This will give you time to see if the fish you just bought are healthy, and if not, take remedial action.>
I purchased RidIch from PetSmart, and started using that for the past three days. Did a small, less than 25% water change this morning, but still haven't seen any results. Now, I just spotted a really bad case of damage to the tail fins on two of my fancy male guppies! I'm freaking out. I called a lady at PetSmart, and she told me not to add any other sort of meds. into the tank while I'm trying to cure the ich.
<In this situation I'd actually recommend treating the Ick with salt/heat, and the Fungus with an appropriate anti-fungus medication. This combination would be safe. Broadly, yes, the lady at the pet store is right; you shouldn't mix medications unless you know the combination is safe. Anyway, for the Ick, raise the temperature to 82-86 degrees F and add 2 to 3 teaspoons of aquarium salt (not marine salt mix) per gallon of water. The free-living Ick parasite cannot abide salt, and once the white cysts on the fish burst, the free-living stages that emerge will die. At the same time, treat for Fungus. Avoid nonsense like tea-tree oil preparations; while they sound good on paper, the plain fact is they're unreliable. Instead, look to medications that contain Acriflavine. This is an extremely effective anti-fungal medication. If you're unsure if you're dealing with Fungus, Finrot or Columnaris ("mouth fungus") you may decide to use medications that contain formalin and malachite green; these tend to work quite well on all three infections.>
She thought maybe, since the RidIch helps with fungus infections too, that the fin rot would go away with the RidIch.
<RidIch contains formalin and malachite green, and should work for both, but if it doesn't, be prepared to switch medications.>
Any help or suggestions you have would be much appreciated. I'm just a novice to all this, but I do my best by researching everything as much as possible.
Eagerly awaiting your reply.
<Please do review our page on good beginner's books. For a few bucks, you'll equip yourself with knowledge that will save a lot more money (and fish lives) in the long term.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bksfwbrneale.htm
>
Thanks,
~Crystal
<Glad to help. Neale.>

Re: Question about fish with ich! 3/24/09
Thank you so much for all your help Neale.
Should I continue with the RidIch, or do you think I should just go with the salt?
Thanks again,
~Crystal
<I'd use the Rid Ick now, and see what happens. If no improvement in terms of Ick and Fungal infection, then by all means consider an alternative approach. Cheers, Neale.> 

Re: Question about fish with ich! 3/24/09
Oh,
One last thing,
would Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Aquarium Salt from PetSmart be the right thing?
Regards,
~Crystal
<This is precisely the type of thing to use when treating Ick. But as mentioned, go with the Rid Ick you already have, remembering of course to remove carbon from the filter while medicating (carbon removes medication).
Cheers, Neale.>  

When to treat Ich?  11/05/08 Hello Neale, About 2 months ago I treated my 46 gallon tank with Rid Ich + for 8 days due to a minor ich issue on 2 of my neon tetras. I stopped the treatment after 4 days that I didn't see any white spot on any fish. 3 weeks after the treatment was over one of the Neons had 1 white spot and started hitting the plants. I didn't do anything and all the fish looked to be fine. Even that neon looked fine after few days. This week I noticed 1 small white spot on one of the rosy tetras. This fish also started getting rid of the spot by hitting the plants and again I didn't do any treatment. This fish is now spotless. None of the fish shows signs of ich now.  I understand that ich is a parasite living in pretty much all the aquariums and changes in temperature or other events may cause it to attack the fish. My question is, do I need to treat my tank again for Ich or I should wait until I see more signs, such as more white spots on 2 or more fishes? I have a great pair of Kribensis in a quarantine tank that I'd like to move to the main tank, but I don't want them to get Ich. I also want to avoid that the other fish in the main tank get a ich infestation. Thanks for your help, Giuseppe <Hello Giuseppe. You absolutely MUST use Whitespot/Ick medication precisely as instructed on the package. This may mean several doses across several days. You must also remove carbon from the filter (if used). It is VERY IMPORTANT you understand that the medication kills the free living parasite, not the white spots on the fish. So even if you don't see any white spots on your fish, the parasite can still be swimming around the tank. The idea Ick "lives" in tanks all the time is actually a misconception. There is no evidence at all that this is the case. In fact the free living parasites die within about a day or so, depending on the temperature, if they cannot find a host. So when Ick appears in an aquarium, it is usually introduced into the tank on a fish, on plants, or perhaps even with certain live foods. You can also carry Ick from one tank to another, for example on your hands or by sharing nets and buckets between tanks. Ick cannot survive drying out, so the mode of transfer has to be wet. In any event, treat your tank now, and make sure you complete the dose. Oddly enough not all brands of Ick medication work equally well against all outbreaks of Ick. There's some discussion here in the UK if the so-called "Super Whitespot" parasite is something else. It often takes two or three treatments before it is dealt with. That said, I find eSHa EXIT to be extremely reliable and highly recommend it. Alternatively, the salt/heat treatment should work well against any strain/species of Ick. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: When to treat Ich? 11/5/08 Neale, thanks for your prompt reply. I have few questions: - How long should I treat the tank with heat/salt? <2-3 teaspoons of tonic salt (not marine salt mix) per US gallon; raise the tank temperature to 82-86 F. By the way, one level teaspoon of salt is about 6 grams, but check.> - Could you point me to a web site describing the heat/salt treatment process? <Make up the salty solution, e.g., for a 20 gallon tank by stirring 20 x 2 teaspoons of salt into a jug of warm water. Dribble into the tank, ideally mixing with the outflow from the filter. Leave the tank running like this for at least one week, ideally two. After that time, do your normal 25%-50% weekly water changes, replacing the water with regular water without salt.> - I understand that some fish cannot tolerate salt. Fish in the tank are: neon tetra, Pristella maxillaris, rosy tetra, Otocinclus, Corydoras cat, Amano shrimps. Do you think any of these fish would have issues with such treatment? <They'll be fine. The actual salinity is very low (less than SG 1.002) and your fish will be okay for the short period. Amano shrimps and Pristella tetras by the way both occur in brackish conditions.> - If I go with heat/salt, should I also use Rid Ich + in parallel? <Nope; the point to using salt is that it is actually LESS stressful than using copper-based medications, hence being recommended for tanks with Shrimps, Snails, Stingrays, Loaches, Mormyrids, Knifefish, etc. By all means use copper-based medications if you have fish/invertebrates that are sensitive to copper, salt is the safer option.> Thanks again for your help, Giuseppe <Cheers, Neale.>

Ick/Whitespot  7/22/08 Hi Guys, I added five new baby neon tetra's to my tank recently - it seems the neon's have all developed Ick/Whitespot. I already had 6 Neon's 2 guppies and a Sailfin Molly - these all appear to be fine. <So far at least... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollies.htm Do review the needs of Mollies, and also be warned Neons may nip the fins of fancy male Guppies.> I have read your articles regarding ICK and just wanted to confirm your recommendation for best way to treat. <Promptly!> I was just going to buy meds and treat the tank with meds and regular water changes. However from reading through your site would you recommend increasing temperature and treating with Salt instead? <Makes no odds either way. I tend to use commercial medications such as eSHa EXIT (a brand I find works well even with sensitive species like puffers) because it's easier. But if you want to use salt/temperature, go ahead.> I have added salt before but never with the neon's only with mollies/guppies can my neon's tolerate salt? also my temp is at 80f already is it safe to increase the temp further? <Neons should tolerate the very low salt concentration required, particularly if you build up the salinity across a few days. As for raising the temperature, I wouldn't. Temperature is about speeding up the life cycle of the parasite; in itself it isn't a "treatment" as such. The idea is that the salt only kills the free living parasite, so the sooner that phase begins, the better.> Thanks in advance Scott <Cheers, Neale.> Sick fish, FW Ich, formalin poisoning  1/9/07 Hi crew, I have recently had an outbreak of ick in my aquarium and have started to treat it with formalin and malachite green, <Yikes... easily toxic... to both your livestock and beneficial microbe populations that perform critically important biological filtration> as well as frequent water changes and addition of some salt to the water. It seems though that after having added the medication the fish seem to be "drowsy" as they appear to be sleeping most of the day. <Good observation... poisoning> Some just lie down at the bottom of the tank, behind rocks and leaves, but there are also some that seem to prop themselves up against an ornament in the tank and sort of stand on their heads. Is this normal? <For being poisoned, yes> And also, not long after the ick started they seem to now also have fin rot now. <Secondary...> I assume this is because they are stressed and weakened by the ick. <And/or whatever the root cause was/were, and the medication...> Should I be treating for both illnesses, or will the fin rot heal itself as they get better? <You should be using other means period... NOT formalin... and elevated temperature> I've checked the water quality and the only thing that is slightly high is the nitrate level but it is still below 20 (only at about 5 or 10). I read that generally just adding salt and keeping the water quality good is what will help them recover the most from fin rot. I'm really worried about losing all of my fish since one has died already. Thank you for your help. Erika <Please read here, and soon: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above; particularly on Ich and Formalin use. Bob Fenner>

Thanks.. and Ich Treatment Question    4/25/06 Hi, <Danielle> First, thanks so much for providing this site with all of its information; I've learned a lot and certainly have become a better aquarist because of it. Second, does the following sound about right for an ich treatment?   After five months of waiting and cycling and more waiting, I finally stocked my 120 gal with seven juvenile (2"-3") discus last weekend. It's continuing inhabitants include ten cardinal tetras and five Corydoras. There are no live plants. Two days ago, I noticed that three discus had come down with ich. There were only 2-4 spots per fish, but they were definitely there. <Rats!> I started treating immediately: daily 25% water changes with gravel vacuuming followed by a daily 110 gal-size dose of Rid-Ich+ (produces a concentration of 15 ppm formalin and 0.05 ppm malachite green), <Yikes... dangerously toxic... but likely ineffective... absorbed quickly here... by the substrate, detritus, fish slime...> combined with a gradual temp increase. <I would raise this quickly (lower slowly after done)... to the mid to upper eighties F.> I made sure to remove the carbon from my filters; should I also remove the peat as well? <Oh yes... this, among other things will negate the addition of soluble chemical treatments> I have the tank lights off except for 2-3 hours each evening for feeding (after which I gravel-vac and treat the tank) and keep the tank covered to prevent light from degrading the medication. Is that enough light for the fish, even for the duration of a two-week treatment? <... not likely of any consequence> I currently have the temp up to 85 degrees F. - can I take it higher without harming the Corys? (They are C. trilineatus, C. axelrodi, and C. leucomelas.) <Can take the heat... and the ich can't> Or is it too high already? Yesterday spots appeared on two more discus, and today three of the tetras show spots. None of the visibly infected fish has more than six small spots, so I hope to catch this outbreak before it really takes hold. None of the fish appears to be unduly stressed and all were willing to take food this evening. Tank parameters are stable at:  (I am testing daily) NH3 - 0 ppm N03 - 0 ppm N02 - 0 ppm pH - 6.8 KH - 100 ppm GH - 50 ppm <Keep your eye on the ammonia... the formalin will kill off your nitrifiers in short order...> Am I doing the right thing? <... No... these animals should have been quarantined (easy to see, state in hindsight), and not treated in the main tank... and the active ingredients listed are too toxic... See WWM re> I plan to continue this treatment for two weeks, or longer if I observe spots after the seventh day. Any other advice? Thank you so much, Danielle Gilbert <... Where to start... At this juncture, I might try to just utilize the elevated temperature to effect a "cure"... For what you have invested, a microscopic examination of the fish slime might be revealing in terms of whether this is Ich/thyophthirius or not... Do quarantine all new livestock going forward, or be aware that relapse/s will likely re-occur. Bob Fenner> Re: Thanks.. and Ich Treatment Question    4/25/06 My apologies for this second email.... I wanted to clarify that a QT was not feasible. My roommate said one tank was okay - <Incorrect> I got the largest one practical - but he insists that one (especially that size) is plenty. :-) <... he's wrong. Not a matter of opinion, but simple fact. Again, please see WWM re this> Just in case you were wondering, (and again, thank you) Danielle <Was wondering. Thanks for the follow-up. Bob Fenner> Raising temperature to cure ich 10/27/05 Hi crew,  <Catherine here today!> An article that was referred to in one of your FAQs ( http://www.aquariumadvic/http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showquestion.php?faq=2&fldAuto=32) recommends raising water temperature to 86F to cure ich. Have you found this to be successful, or not?  <Raising the temperature to 86 makes the life cycle faster. Salt (either marine or Epsom) is intolerable to ich at certain stages. The combination has been successful for many people.> One of my Colisa has 3-4 spots on her fins that look like ich, and one of the platys has been "flashing" occasionally. This has been the case for a couple of days now, and it hasn't spread so far. My water parameters are all good.  <Ammonia=0, nitrite=0, nitrate<20?> I am already treating one of the threadfins in my QT tank for a swim bladder problem, w/ possible septicemia, so I probably need to treat the ich in the display tank, which is a 12g planted tank. Denizens of this tank are: Betta splendens, Colisa lalia, threadfin rainbow (Iriatherina), coral platys, and siamensis.  Is a sustained temp of 86-87 safe for all of these? If so, is it absolutely necessary to increase aeration?  <For a short time (several weeks) 86-87 is probably better than having ich. They should be okay. Aeration is necessary because higher temperature water holds less oxygen. You have a planted tank which will help, but you're stocking level is pretty high. Air stones are pretty cheap. I'd add one.> Since the tank is planted I think salt treatment is not appropriate, but what about Epsom salts-- Epsom is safe for plants but will it have any impact on ich?  <At low concentrations (i.e., those that are used to treat ich), most plants are okay. A few species might be unhappy.> Thanks, -Dave  <Anytime. Catherine> 

Re: Raising temperature to cure ich 10/27/05 Hi Catherine, NH3 and NO2 at 0, NO3 around 5. pH 7.0 and stable. Temp at 77-78.  <I want to be your fish... if I didn't have ich.> What concentration of Epsom salts should I use? Just on WWM I've seen recommendations ranging from 1 tsp/g to 1 TBSP/g! So, what's a good quantity for dealing with ich, and what's the maximum safe levels for fish?  <I believe all your fish should be fine up to 1 tablespoon per gallon. I'm inclined to advise higher concentrations because more salt is worse for ich. I'd add about a half teaspoon per gallon over several days. If the fish seem to be stressed or doing poorly, you can always back off. Your fish should be fine, but there is always a possibility that they are sensitive for some reason.> Which plant species don't tolerate Epsom salts that well?  < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/bracplants.htm  DO tolerate salt well. If you have some that aren't on the list, check out the plant section of WWM, they do a pretty good job of describing the needs of many plants. If you are concerned, you can always put the plant in a smaller container for about 6 weeks. By that point the ich will be gone and your salt treatment will be done.> Thanks again! -Dave  <Best of luck to you and your fish. If you check out the WWM chat forum (link is on the lower right part of the WWM homepage and may require scrolling), people will be happy to discuss their ich treatments. "Don fishy" treated a bunch of Plecs with salt and they did amazingly well. Catherine.> 

Re: Raising temperature to cure ich 10/27/05 Catherine,  What I meant to say was, "I've seen recommendations ranging from 1 tsp per 10 g to 1 TBSP per 10g! Not per 1g! <Oops. I just answered your last question without noticing this. Okay. What I meant to say is 1 TBSP per 5-10 gallons is petty good. I'd go with 1 TBSP per 5 gallons final salt concentration -- nasty to the ich. I think your fish will be fine. Like I meant to say, I'd add about 1/2 t. salt per 5 gallons of water over the next several days. Sorry for the confusion. Catherine> 

Combining Medications 10/18/05 Can I treat for a bacterial infection at the same time of treating for Ich or Velvet? I am currently treating with formalin and malachite green, can I mix the med used for a bacterial infection with these? < Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Remove any carbon. Raising the water temp to 82 F will take care of the ich so you can add an antibiotic for the bacterial infection.-Chuck> 

Yucky, Yucky Ich! I received a 27 gallon tank for Christmas, and have it set up and running. I have been told all along that my water checks out great, but have been having trouble with the fish coming down with ich. <Well, ich is a parasitic disease, and the most likely cause of ich is a fish bringing the parasite into the aquarium. Yes- good environmental conditions and water chemistry provide optimal conditions to keep the fishes healthy, but the primary cause, the parasites themselves, needs to be addressed.> I have treated the tank, and this last round has left me with three fish.  I'm not sure what to do now, whether to take the tank down and start over from scratch, or what exactly I should do.  Any suggestions would be most helpful.  I am also planning on changing where I buy fish from. Thanks... <Well, regardless of whether you have a freshwater or marine system, I do not recommend treating the main aquarium with medicines. Much better to remove the infected animals to a separate tank for treatment. Meanwhile, let the main system run "fallow", without fishes, for at least a month. This will allow the parasite population to diminish for lack of fish hosts. I'd execute this procedure today on your tank. Even if the remaining fishes are not currently displaying symptoms, get them out and let the tank run fallow...be sure to conduct all regular maintenance on the tank during the fallow period (water changes, etc.). For more on attacking this disease, see the wetwebmedia.com site and do a keyword search on ich using the Google search feature. With quick action and good observation (not to mention quarantine of all new fishes)-you'll lick this disease! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Success in treating freshwater parasite problem >Hi Marina: >>Good morning, Bill. Your treatment seems to have worked! The white angel is free of all outward signs of ick and the other fish are all fine. >>Excellent!  Very glad to hear it. >I bought a device that allows me to read salinity and it is at 3 ppt, and I am going to leave it there for a couple of more weeks just to be certain. >>A refractometer, perchance? >Can loaches and Bala cats tolerate the salinity treatment? Would a seawater dip work with an Oscar?  (My Oscars are fine, but just wondering for future possibilities.) >>Yes, they can tolerate this better than they can certain medications. >Boy, I love keeping fish! (Although I do feel a little odd when I eat sushi now - and should I catch me any salmon, trout, halibut or grayling, it's going to feel a little different than it used to, now that I have fish buddies.) >>Yes, some folks do find themselves in a similar quandary.  As of yet, I have no problem eating what I keep (raising animals for food does help in that area).  Very glad I could help!  Marina

Pleco with Ich It seems my Pleco has Ich.  I have been studying up but would like to act fast.  He is the only one in the tank and my QT doesn't have a heater yet. <Does the heater from the main tank fit in the QT?  If he is the only one in the main tank you can treat him here, but there is a chance you will kill off your beneficial bacteria which means more water changes.> I have read many things on meds <Me too, always very blurry, but the Reef Invertebrates book has a lot of pretty pictures.> but am very unsure on what is safe for him.  So at the moment I am raising the temp (slowly of course).  How high can I go with him and can I use freshwater salt? How much? Temp, at only 73 right now but slowly increasing. <You could go up to around 82 over a period of a few days, be sure to keep your water well aerated.  When you bring the temp back down drop it about 1/2degree per day until you reach around 76-78.> I really don't want to lose him.  No rubbing or hanging at the top yet, but he definitely has a couple of white spots on him.  Did an 8 gallon change already.  Please Help ASAP.  I am going to keep studying your website to see if I can find info on Plecs and ich.  Water conditions still the same, Ammonia 0.6, nitrite 0 and PH 7.5 <Check out this page http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/loricariids.htm "The too-common infestations of ich can be quickly resolved with malachite with or without formaldehyde preparations. Be wary of utilizing too much salt, metal (copper) or insecticide (DTHP, Masoten, Dylox, Neguvon) medications on these catfishes; they succumb to these treatments more readily than the apparent cause you're treating."  The ich meds will have the ingredients listed on the back of the bottle.  Best of Luck, Gage> Thank you very much A very worried Tracy

Plec with Ich, cont'd Hello Gage, <Actually, Sabrina here - Gage and I have discussed your issue, and he asked that I respond, so here I am!> I thought I would update you on my poor little Plec.  He isn't doing so well.   <Sorry to hear it!> The ich seems to be gone but his gill movement is very rapid.   <Could be from the salt, or the water quality, or a combination of them, as we've discussed at length in the forum, or even possibly a return of the ich. He has turned a caramel color.  I found out I had ammonia right out of my tap but I think it was a little too late.  He went through ammonia then nitrite problems.  Amquel seems to have fixed the water quality problems but I fear it may be too late.  Poor guy doesn't look very good.   <Sad, indeed.  Gage and I both have our fingers crossed for him.> He went through a Kanacyn treatment for red spots on his fins which have not gone away. <As I've mentioned in the forums, I think the very small size of your Plec, along with how heavily infested he was, along with the water quality issues you've been dealing with, made him very sensitive to the salt - I still very much think this is the problem with the blood streaked fins (a strong sign of something in the water that the fish can't tolerate). Right now I just have him in the dark (in case of velvet), salt 1.001 SG ready to go back up if ich appears, temp 86.   <Personally, I'd eliminate the salt.  This Plec has taken a beating - don't know for sure if the salt is affecting him, but I suspect so.> I am going to start lowering his temp today to 82.  I think I may just leave him and then euthanize him when he stops eating and moving about normally.  He is in such bad shape I am not sure I want to use meds. <Good to use caution, here, yes.  Do not consider euthanizing unless he stops eating - a fish that is eating isn't bad enough to want to die yet, in my opinion.> Otherwise, he is eating well and going about his day normally.   <*Definitely* a good sign.> He always comes over when I am checking on him.  He is much more personable than I would have ever thought.  He is a sweet little fish.   <Plecs can be very personable.  Some of the Loricariids are some of my very favorite fish.> I feel terrible to have put him through all this, but I didn't have a clue.   <You are learning, and have learned a lot - that is what's important in this.  You have done a lot and are still trying.  You and your Plec have been very strong through this - don't give up hope yet.> I trusted a pet store and that was wrong. <It is unfortunate how much bad information can be had through some pet stores, out of ignorance (and worse).> I now know a heck of a lot more, and through all this, found a really good fish store.   <Wonderful to hear!!> I figure after he passes I will let the tanks run for a month to kill any parasites, then look at getting some Danios.   <An *excellent* plan!> We still would like to have a common Plec but won't get one till the tank starts to grow algae.  That will also give us time to save for larger tanks. <Do please look into some of the other Plecs that stay smaller and eat meaty foods, like L-260 (just happens to be my absolute favorite).  Browse through some of the L-numbers in the "common name" section of the "Cat-eLog" at http://www.planetcatfish.com/catelog/com_index.htm and see if you find something that interests you.  I think there's a suitable Plec out there for just about anyone.> He is in the QT right now and we are working on getting the 33G water conditions perfected.  Still showing nitrites.  I am sure water changes with Amquel will fix that tank in time just like it did in the QT. <Yes.> Thank you very much.  Between you and the forum I have learned so much valuable information.  I think when it is time to get more fish, I will make less mistakes thanks to you guys.  Keep up the good work.  Tracy <Gage sends his regards, and we are both very glad to have been able to help.  Thank you for the kind words, and good luck with your little Plec!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Ich treatment? Aquarium salt? What to do next? (1/5/04) <Hi! Ananda here this afternoon...> Hi, I just added a treatment for ich parasite. I took out the carbon filter cartridge. I have the pump still running. <Sounds okay so far....> When can I put the filter back in? <That depends on what medication you are using. You might want to get a carbon-free cartridge for mechanical filtration.> Aquarium salt is that a one time add. I added some for my black mollies one teaspoon per gal. <That's not enough to affect the ich. To treat ich with salt, you want to get the concentration up to about 3ppm. The amount of salt you will need to get to that level can vary somewhat.> If not how often do I make the aquarium salt add and how much per gal? thank you.... <It depends on what fish you have in the aquarium. Most fish can tolerate the concentrations needed for the length of treatment, but many cannot tolerate those levels in the long term. Do look into information about treating freshwater ich with salt on the WetWebMedia site and in the forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk. --Ananda>

Coppersafe to fight ich Dear Sir, <<Hello. Gwen here.>> We have a large community of freshwater fish in a 60 gallon tank.  The fish are mostly live breeders (mollies, platys, guppies, swordtails) mixed in with a few Columbian catfish, Corys, Plecos, tetras and a few other little guys.  I would definitely not think that the tank was overcrowded.  However, we are having a real problem with parasites invading the tank and I have treated for Ich so many times that I fear it is just pointless.  Therefore, I felt trying something like CopperSafe just in case this is a velvet attack as opposed to Ich.  My question is, how often can you treat with the CopperSafe?  When can I do a water change?  If I do a 50 % water change (I'm also having crazy ammonia spikes on this less than one month old tank) will I need to retreat? Any ideas would be most appreciated. Kindest regards, Rev Shannon Symons <<If your fish are stressed, they will become sick. You need to find the cause of the stress, or the ich WILL keep coming back. Stress can come from many things, overstocking being one of them. In order to know if your tank is overcrowded, you need to test your water. Water testing is the MOST important part of keeping fish. You need to test your tank regularly for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. If you do not already own these test kits, I highly recommend buying them at your LFS. Ammonia is waste produced by the fish, and is changed nitrite by the biological bacteria, and then into nitrate, in a well-kept tank. Therefore, even though you should test all three, just to be sure there is no problem with your biological bacteria (good guys), you should be using the nitrate test kit to ascertain if your tank is overstocked. You should keep the nitrate level relatively low, say 20-60ppm for most community fish, and even lower for sensitive species, like neon tetras, etc. If you find that you cannot get your nitrate levels low enough by doing regular partial water changes, then you are overstocked! Overstocking leads to high levels, and your fish will definitely be stressed. Other stressors include pH changes, (do not change your pH while your fish are sick) and temperature fluctuations, please make sure the temp is stable! The heater should be good quality, and you should keep a thermometer on the tank so you can make sure the temp is exactly the same each day. When you do water changes, the incoming new water must be the exact same temp as the tank water (use the same thermometer). Temp stability is important, especially when you are fighting Ich. First, for the duration of your ich treatment, make sure your water is between 80-84 degrees F. If need be, you can raise the temp by a couple of degrees each day. Warm water speeds up the lifecycle of the parasite, giving you a better window of time to kill the free swimming parasites. Once they attach to the fish, they are hard to kill. Second, remove all carbon from your filter(s), and treat with a good ich medication, like Quick Cure or Super Ich Cure. Treat for the duration on the package, at half dose for tetras and catfish. If you still see the parasites on the fish after the treatment, you may continue for another day. When the treatment is done, do a water changes, and replace the carbon into the filter. If you really feel the need to use copper, use Cupramine instead. You will find it in the saltwater section of most fish stores. I would not use it at full dose with the fish you have. Copper is extremely toxic. Even one quarter dose should help without harming the fish, assuming this is a normal ich problem...it is also possible your Ich is a secondary infestation, caused by the stress of an internal parasite/bacterial infection. If the above steps do not help your fish, please write me again, as you may need an antibiotic to cure a primary infection. But try the above first, since antibiotics are expensive, will kill your biological filtration, and are a last resort. -Gwen>>

My guppies have ick I've been treating my tank for ich for 3 days now. It doesn't seem to be clearing up. I have 6 guppies and 2 babies (guppies also) . I'm using Cure-Ick. The ick doesn't look horrible. It is just sprinkled on. It is small little spots. all of my Syno-cats came down with the ick first but then started to develop a white film over their body. Which also covered their eyes. The medication I'm using says use for three days. It is a Malachite Green-formalin base. Should I try something else? < That is the right stuff.> Unfortunately where I live the only place that is slightly fish experts is Pet Smart. I'm really worried about losing the babies. They are still going strong but I've noticed that now they have a little bit of ick. they are only 4 days old. The Ph is around 7.4-7- < Make sure the water temp. is around 80 degrees. And do a 30% water change every other day. The parasite likes under the skin of the host for a couple of days and can only be killed when it is off the host and free swimming. Your catfish do not like the medication so make sure you follow the directions when it comes to treating catfish. Watch for ammonia spikes because the ich medication may affect the good bacteria that breaks down ammonia and nitrites.-Chuck>

Maracide? I have a little Honeycomb Tatia that seems to have Ich.  And I don't know what I'm doing!!  Please bear with me here... I have other fish, they're all fine.  I put her in a 2.5G hospital tank, removed the charcoal filter.  Tried aquarium salt treatment for a few days (a couple teaspoons a day).  After that, I was going to start partial water changes.  Well, I came home from work the third day and thought she was dead. So I started dumping out the water into the toilet. Come to find she was just sleeping.  Upside down.  On the bottom of the tank and not moving or appearing to breathe.  Not dead.  Just the stress she needed!  It's not that I don't love her, but she really did look dead. At this point, almost all the water's gone.  So I cleaned out the tank again real good and filled it with some aged water and got the temp back up to normal (about 82F).  Put her back in and tried the Maracide, since she was still covered in "salty granules" from the Ich.  I read that I should get the temp up really high so now it's at 88F.  And yes, I realize I'm probably dong EVERYTHING wrong, but I've read about 100 different versions of what to do. And I'm very confused because I've read that I should treat her from 3 days to a week.  And yet my Mardel Maracide bottle says NOTHING about duration.  It says it treats the fish, not the water.  Helpful.  Do I only use it once???  Do I use it every day until she looks better? And. How do I tell if it's working?  Will I be able to tell when the parasites become free swimming?  If it treats the fish and not the water, but Ich is impossible to kill when it's in the fish, then what's the point???  Should I be treating the water and not the fish? And to confound me further, I've read that Malachite is dangerous and I should only use 1/2 dosages of it.  I've also read that catfish are harder to treat (which would imply a fall does to me).   I've also read that while "Maracide" is pretty safe, "Malachite" is dangerously toxic.  The bottle of Maracide says that the ingredients are Malachite Green and Chitosan. Please help me.  I have read so many posts but I'm just more confused than ever.  These fish always astound me with how tough they are but it is a learning curve for me. < Some fish always seem more prone to ich than others. First keep the fish in the hospital tank. Keep the water temp at about 82 degrees F. Do not use a filter just an airstone. Do a 50% water change and add the dosage of rid-ich  by Kordon recommended on the bottle. Usually it will be 1/2 of the dosage for catfish than for other fish. At this temperature the ich parasite will metabolize quickly, leave the host fish in a few days. The minimum would be three days, at lower temps it may take up to a week for cool water fish like goldfish. Since you do have not filter in your tank you will need to siphon the water out of the tank to keep it clean every day. A third will work. Get the junk off the bottom too. Look closely at the main tank for signs of ich too.-Chuck>

Re: Maracide? Thank you.  I've been keeping an eye on the other tank.  Is it still okay to use Rid-Ich even though I've treated her with Maracide? <Since you already have the Maracide then continue with that treatment until the ich is cured. If it does not seem to work after a week then I would change medications. Do a water change use the rid-ich when you are suppose to treat with the Maracide. The rid-ich has formalin and malachite greed . These are suppose to be the best when used together.-Chuck> ~Bethel

Ich Problem I have a 20 gal. tank with 6 neon tetras, 4 guppies, and one Corydoras catfish. I have noticed that the fish are scratching against the gravel and decorations but there are no visible white spots. A few of the Neons do show signs of fin rot. What's happening? What medication should I use?  -Tommy <<Hello. First thing you need to do is check your water quality: take a sample to your LFS and have them test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. The first two should be zero, and nitrates should be low, between 20-40ppm. If any levels test higher, you may need to do more frequent partial water changes. Once your water has been tested, you can buy some Quick Cure or equivalent ich medication. The water changes SHOULD clear up the fin rot, and the Quick Cure should take care of any parasites (use this at half dosage with tetras). Always follow directions for medications very closely. -Gwen>>

Ick and new tank I have multiple problems occurring all at once. I have a 55 gallon FW tank stocked with a 6" Oscar, 7" Pacu, 5" Iridescent Shark, 4" Blue Jewel Cichlid, 3" Turquoise Cichlid, 2 -1.5" Convict Cichlids, and 2 Plecos 4" & 6".  All the fish were doing great in their old 39 gallon tank (the Oscar and Pacu being in there for well over a year) with no problems whatsoever.  3 days ago I moved them into the 55g when I went back to school.( I treated the water before release of fish). First:  There is an Ick problem in the tank.  The Blue Jewel and the shark being heavily afflicted.  The Oscar and Pacu have little spots on their eyes.   The rest of the fish are untouched.  Here's what I did: in the 55g tank added treatments of Jungle ick guard, following directions to the letter.   I also raised the water temperature to around 82.  There doesn't seem to be any change.  In fact the shark appears to be getting worse so I removed it from the tank.  Any recommendations that I haven't tried, I'm not to sure on what would be the safest alternative. < For ich I like to use a combination of malachite green and formalin. It takes awhile for any ich medication to work and as you have found out some fish are more susceptible than others. Keep the water temp high and do lots of water changes to reduce the parasite load and you should see so benefit in a least three days.> Second:  The Blue Jewel is acting very odd.  It floats in one spot most of the time with jerky movements.  It occasionally has a spasm of jerky swimming.  It also seems to be unable to attack when the convicts pester it. It will merely turn on its side to them.  Is this ick related or something else? < Could be the ich. You don't have to see spots to have the parasites attack.> Third:  The Plecos seem to have a hard time finding algae, being a new tank and all.  Is there something I can do for them? < I like to use guinea pig pellets to get them started. Fish need vitamin C and fresh guinea pig pellets are alfalfa with vitamin C added to them. Get them from a local pet shop and just drop a couple in and your Pleco will be out in no time. Commercially available algae wafers from the store are also accepted. too.> Fourth:  The Pacu is less active than it used to be.  I put some feeder fish in the tank and it doesn't even chase them where it used to keep swimming and  eating until it was full or the fish were gone.  Is this new tank syndrome? Traumatized from the trip to school? Or something else? Thanks for your time. <In the wild Pacus actually eat fruit that falls into the water. It may be sick or just tired of feeder fish . Try another type of food and see if things pick up.-Chuck> - Jason

Betta fin and tail discoloration Hi, we have a fish tank of 30L of water in our office place. We had 6 different species of community tank fishes including angelfishes, neon tetras, head standers and one Betta among others. About 13 days ago, a Friday, we left our fishes for the weekend, and when we returned on Monday we noticed they were infected with ich or white spots. Many of the little ones died over the weekend, and the others seemed very sick. Although our beta didn't showed any white spots on him, he acted as if he was fungus infected. So we began a fungus-white spot treatment, hoping to save at least a 10% (5) of the fishes. This weekend the last of the angel fishes died and the beta has good mobility and he is feeding well but we he has a strange discoloration in his fins and in the  bottom of his tail. We don't know what to do or and we hope you can help us...thank you very much! < Ich or white spot disease is deadly to smaller tetras. You should be using a Formalin-Malachite green type medication and raise the water temp to 80-82 degrees to treat the ich. The sick and dead fish have raised the ammonia levels in the tank and your Betta probably has a bacterial infection referred to as fin rot. Clean the filter and do a 30% water change. Treat the tank with Furanace or Maracyn to stop the fin rot. These medications may affect the good bacteria that breaks down the fish waste into nitrates so you need to do water changes more often until the bacteria bounce back after treatment.-Chuck>

Fish starting to look like a ghost (Ick) One out five of my fish has the gotten the case of the ick. I've tried Internet surfing trying to find some information on what to do. One step I have already done is taken 1/4 of the water out of the tank (8 gallon) and adding in fresh water w/ a capful of IckAway by Wardley. The rest I'm clueless. Some say stop the filter and some say don't? Should I quarantine the fish or not? Raise the temperature if so how? Change the filter or not?  The symptoms are of course furry spots and touch of scale damage. Still energetic but just covered w/ ick on some of the head and whiskers. I'm not sure of the type of fish, the best I can do is describe it as a miniature catfish that is highly energetic. If you can help I highly appreciate it. < Treating ich on catfish and loaches can be tricky. They usually don't like the typical medications on the market. Some fish are more prone to attacks of ich than others. I think I would recommend treating the entire tank at this point. I would recommend rid-ich plus by Kordon and follow the directions on the label. Remove the carbon and clean the filter and the medication will work much better. Raising the temperature will help but you will need to increase the aeration too. I think you will be ok if you follow the directions on the bottle.-Chuck>

Fungus(?) Emergency! Once again I come to you in need of help. I only wish that this time it were under better circumstances. We have a fully populated 29 gallon community tank. We just returned from running last-minute Halloween errands so I stopped to say hello to the fish. The majority of our fish are speckled with tiny white spots! They are small enough that at first glance I thought that they were air bubbles from the airstone. It looks as if someone splattered the fish with white paint. I'm not sure what it is, or what to do. If it's ich, it's unlike any ich that we have seen before. We immediately put some MelaFix into the tank. Please help us. We don't know what to do! < Most likely it is ich and needs to be treated. Check the heater and make sure it is working properly and is correctly adjusted. It should be around 80 degrees F. Use rid-ich by Kordon or another medication with a combination of formalin and malachite green. Watch for ammonia spikes because some medication may affect the good bacteria that break down the fish waste into less toxic substances.-Chuck> Thank you so much (again) - Ian

A Cycle of Questions Hi again and thanks for your response. I do have some further questions. I believe I must remove the live plants from the tank during  treatment? <Yep, Although some tough plants can handle the salt. Keep them in a fishless container for at least one month. Adding them back earlier could bring back the Ick>   Should I keep the temp up at 86 during the minimum 2 week treatment? <Yes, Ick can only be destroyed during one phase of it's three stage lifecycle. Higher temps speed up the lifecycle and kills it quicker. Do not raise the temp until the salt is in> During this minimum 2 week treatment, do I continue the daily water changes and replace the salt in the new water? <Continue testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Do water changes if you see any of the first two or when nitrates climb above 20ppm. Yes, you would have to replace the salt in any new water. Mix it in before adding it to the tank. Be careful to keep the same concentration. Doing 50% water changes makes it easy to figure out the dose. Remember, treat for two weeks AFTER the last spot drops. Very important!>   Being how I have a whisper power filter that has the filter and the sponge-thing, is there a way to remove the sponge thingy to a bucket or something therefore preserving the biological filter? <Not really. The bacteria will starve without an ammonia source (the fish). Keeping it with fish will spread the Ick> Or if I were to go out and buy a small QT tank, could I use the established filter or some water from the established tank in the new QT tank? or would that just be contaminating a new QT? My concern is that possibly killing my tank and  causing it to recycle. Would my existing fish (powder blue Gourami, 2 clown loaches) die in the recycle? YIKES! I am not aware that these are "hardy" fish. <The best way to do this would be a small, bare bottom QT. Fill it with water from the problem tank. Add the fish, but not the filter. A simple sponge filter, or even just a airstone will do. With all fish out of the main, turn up the temp to 86. Throw in a small frozen shrimp to feed the filter. A little fish food added daily will also work. Let it sit this way for 30 days while you treat the fish in QT. The parasite will starve out with no fish host. Test the QT daily and do water changes to correct spikes in ammonia or nitrite. If you are doing enough water changes to control ammonia and nitrite, there is no need for a filter. Just an airstone. Treatment will prevent the establishment of any bio filtration anyway>   Could I possibly use some sort of "dip" or "bath"? I guess what I am really saying is. I can probably afford to go and buy a small QT tank (with filter, heater, hood, and I could use my existing air pump for the new QT) but by doing so, (will probably get in the dog house with hubby) it would be starting out with new water? new cycle? same dangers?   (ammonia, nitrites).. help.. I'm so confused! <All you really need is the tank with a glass lid, heater and airstone. You do not need a lighted hood or a filter. A 50% water change in a 5 gallon tank is easy. Just siphon the water from the bottom to remove the Ick that is reproduction mode. A dip may (doubtful though, IMO) clear the fish, but not the tank>   If I were to go and buy a QT tank, what are your recommendations for this route? I understand that if I remove the fish from the main tank, that the ich will die because there will be no host. So I think that I can possibly save my main tank by getting a QT tank? <Correct, just add that ammonia source (shrimp).> Should I use the water from the main tank in the QT tank? And since I have to buy a filter for the QT tank, can I just put my  established filter in the new QT tank and put the new filter in the main tank? Or will this also cause a recycle in the main tank? Or can I maybe switch out the sponge thing? (i.e.: keep the sponge in the main tank, and add a new filter, and put the old filter from the main tank in the new QT tank?) If I were to use  new filter in the main tank, that contains the carbon, this would clear up the  meds from the main tank water right? A final thought here... I am getting some algae on the walls of the tank (due to the lack of an algae eater), would this  be enough "stuff" to keep the biological filter going if I put new filter assy. in the main tank and moved the established filter assy. to the new QT tank? <Only if it died and rotted> Ugh.. ok.. now I am getting a headache LOL... thanks for your help and support in this matter! Nancy   <Now my heads spinning with filter jumping all around. But I think I answered all above. Main point is that you can save yourself a lot of money, work and worry, along with lives, by using a QT before adding any living thing to your tank. Moving an established filter will move the Ick, and any new filter will need to do through a cycling period. So any way you do it, you're going through a recycling. Better in a small tank while letting the large go fallow. Don> Black ghost knife with ich Hi I have a Black ghost knife fish who is a new addition to my tank - though I have owned them in the past and have learned the * hard way* that these fish need a lot of individual care. <And don't "like" ich medications> through research and experience, there has been a great learning curve for me -  My tank is 29 gal with only 5 other fish who have been stable and healthy ( 2 are Discus and healthy). <This tank is way too small for even just the Knife... or one Discus> 2 days ago, I bought a 4 inch BGKF who has a great personality but the aquarium shop I got him is only 75% reliable  - has a fair number of unhealthy fish)- my tank has been quite healthy and I do 30% H2O changes every 2 wks w/ gravel vac. <I take it you did not quarantine this new addition>   Today, my BGK started to show a number of ich spots - I killed my last BGK with Rx in the main tank for another sick fish - <Very common> (ironically - the 1st discus I got had a good case of hole in head!) I bought this fish because I loved the personality of this fish... - I need to *save him* - what should I do? all readings on my tank are normal ; ph is 7.8, Soft H2O, lots of hiding places sterilizer always running. Peggy <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top) and: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/knifefishfaqs.htm I would use half doses of AquariSol, elevate temperature to the mid-80's F... And get a larger system for this life ASAPractical. Bob Fenner>



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