FAQs on Freshwater Ich, White Spot Disease
Related Articles: Freshwater Diseases, Ich/White Spot Disease, Choose Your
Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options
by Neale Monks, Formalin/Formaldehyde,
Related FAQs: FW Ich 1,
FW Ich 2, FW
Ich 3, FW Ich 4, 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
Infectious Disease, Freshwater Fish Parasites,
African Cichlid Disease 1,
Re: Resistant Ich 4/11/10
Ich hasn't gotten any better. . . actually, it seems it's
gotten worse. .
<Make sure you're following the correct protocol. If you're
treating just Guppies (if I recall) then raising the salinity to 5
grammes salt per litre should wipe out Ick and Velvet without the least
problem. If you're using a medication of some sort, make sure
you're using it correctly, especially with regard to doses,
duration, and removal of carbon. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Resistant Ich
Yes, that is exactly what I did. The fish look and behave worse each
. . I really don't know what to do at this point.
<Are you sure you have Ick? Ick WILL be killed at 5 g/l salinity.
Make sure you're adding the right amount. But Finrot can look
similar in the sense of having white specks, and this is bacterial and
so won't be affected by salinity. Indeed, severe Ick cases will
allow Finrot to become established, and mostly when fish die from Ick,
it's actually a secondary infection that killed them. Melafix and
other tea-tree oil medications are fairly useless, so get out the
Roto-Rooter stuff. Here in England I happen to like eSHa 2000, but in
your country there may be other equivalent antibacterial and/or
antibiotic medications. Do check everything else in the aquarium is
good, especially water quality and water chemistry. Cheers,
Re: Resistant Ich
Ok. . . since we seem to be delving into what other things it could be
other than ich. . . here is a summary of what seems to happen.
<Hmm... not necessarily instead of Ick, but could easily be
These white specks, about 1mm seem to attach or "slide" off
the fish. When they do attach, it's usually only for a minute or
two. I can even visibly see ones that have slid off the fish drift off
into the upper areas of the water. No, they don't look like
"static" gas or oxygen bubbles on them.
Some can only be seen when the fish are facing me.
<No idea what these might be. Possibly crustacean parasites of some
Try doing seawater dips for 2-20 minutes, i.e., for as long as possible
before a fish rolls over or shows other signs of severe distress.
Seawater will usually [but not always] cause macroscopic freshwater
parasites to be "shocked" off before the host is
Other symptoms. . . reddened gills, gill coverings are shiny on some
fish and spotted (spots are black/dark green/reddish) on others. Scales
seem very slimy, sort of like the colour of thick layers of plastic or
as best as I can describe it. Eyes on some fish are completely black
(even the "ring" around the eye), normal on others. Females
tend to bottom sit for long periods until I go to the tank.
Occasionally, they're even static in the water, not really moving.
They still have an eager appetite. Males are almost always at the very
top of the waterline, mouth open just below the waterline. No, no
ragged fins or anything. Temp is at 84F. Couldn't tell you about
the water chemistry . . . I'm still waiting for the fish store I go
to get some more testing products. I'd guess the PH is
somewhat alkaline (rough guess), because of the shells and rocks in the
<Well, "rough guesses" don't necessarily help. Do get
the pH and hardness tested. Guppies are somewhat adaptable, but they do
need basic, hard water to thrive. The addition of marine salt mix takes
care of pH and hardness unless your water is very soft, but plain tonic
salt [what is called "aquarium salt"] has no impact on pH or
hardness since it's basically just sodium chloride. Cheers,
re: Resistant Ich 4/11/10
We use Anglian Water supply here in the UK, and we're in the hard
I just went to my tank again and one of the males is down on the
gravel, idle, breathing very rapidly, and looks like it has some sort
<I'd euthanise. See here for humans vs. inhumane methods:
Could it be internal parasites that's letting the fish be weak
against the ich and allowing it to continue?
<Unlikely but possible. The whole "internal parasites"
thing is usually raised when inexpert fishkeepers don't have a clue
why their fish is sick. It's used as a way to shift blame, I
suppose. The reality is that nine times out of ten fish get sick
because of external factors. Many wild fish have internal parasites and
these don't cause them the least harm. Indeed, you likely have a
few, too. But when environmental conditions are poor, one way or
another, internal and external parasites can cause problems. Anyway, to
say anything sensible I do need to see the fish. Fancy Guppies vary
wildly in quality, and yes, they are particularly prone to certain
internal parasites, notably Camallanus, though you would know about
these. There's also good lab-based evidence that fancy Guppies are
less resilient than wild or cross-breed types. So there's a bunch
of factors. All you can do is optimise the conditions for the species,
purchase the best quality stock, and maintain them within recommended
parameters for the species. Cheers, Neale.>
Treating Ick in a Community Tank
I'm hoping you can help. I am leaving for a 6-day trip in a few
days, and have a friend who is going to care for my fish. In
preparation for the trip, I cleaned my tank, filter, and did my weekly
25% water change.
I checked over each fish and they all look fine...except for one of my
swordtails. Her tail and fins have numerous white spots, which I can
only assume is Ick! The fins/tail are also ragged. There is no
flashing, and the fish is still eating well.
None of the other fish have any symptoms - no flashing, hiding, white
spots or ragged fins.
I have isolated the affected fish in a 5 gallon hospital tank
<All have to be treated... the system itself is infested>
and am treating the rot with Mela/Pimafix
<Worthless... see WWM re my opinion re this tea extract... If you
were sick w/ something that might well kill you, would you administer
- this is all that I have on hand tonight. I have nothing on hand for
the Ick tonight. I will also increase the temperature,
and will buy some salt in the morning.
Even though the main tank has no symptoms, do you suggest I treat it as
<I might, yes>
If so, I am concerned about the increased temp, salt (and potential
medicine if you recommend any) on my more sensitive fish. Here is what
Tetras (black phantom and red phantoms)
Various Cory cats (elegans, peppered, and a third kind I can't
<Oh... the Tetras, Otocinclus, and esp. the snail, do NOT
"like" ich medications>
My biggest concern is the effects of salt and high temp on the cories,
Farlowella and Oto cats (as well as the snails). And if I end up
needing medicine, is there one that is safe for all these species that
inhabit the main tank (I live in Canada and can't always locate the
brands used only in the U.S. or other countries).
Thank you so much for your time!
<I would just go with elevated temperature here... the mid 80 F.
range... raised immediately, and left there till after you come back;
then lowered slowly per here:
Ich. Sm., FW... 3/7/10
To whom it may concern,
I have recently in the last 3 weeks set up a 10 gallon tank.
<10 gallon tanks are very bad choices for beginners. Do read
Stocking them is difficult.>
I am a beginner at this, so I was just adding fish when I pleased. I
have 2 platys, 1 molly, and an algae eater at this point in time.
<None of these are viable in a 10 gallon tank. Moreover, Platies
need cooler water (around 24 C/75 F) than Mollies (around 28-30
Platies are true freshwater fish, whereas Mollies tend to do best given
slightly brackish conditions. Mollies are certainly much more sensitive
fish and don't tolerate ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate.
Your "algae eater" could be anything, but my guess is that
it's either Pterygoplichthys pardalis -- a species that gets to 45
cm/18 inches in a year or so -- or else Gyrinocheilus aymonieri -- a
species that gets almost as big, but is massively aggressive and causes
all sorts of problems.>
The 2 platys, are covered with ich, which I just discovered what it
was. I noticed spots on them within the last week but I don't
remember specifically how long its been. The molly has probably 4 total
now which before had none and I cannot really tell with the algae
eater. I started treatment today with Rid Ick +, I'm going to use
it everyday and change partial water everyday for I place the Rid Ick +
I also plan on purchasing plain Epsom salt tomorrow to help with
<How will that help?>
I am really paranoid now about the ich; my 2 platys just lay on the
bottom now under the coral on inside one of the decorations- I
don't know if I caught it too late or this is common of fish with
<Ick certainly will damage the gills, making it difficult for fish
to breathe. Non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels are also likely to
cause symptoms like these (and will kill them eventually).>
I just want them to survive so I can get them back to normal living
with the ich gone. Also, I don't know how I can quarantine new fish
when the time is right because I do not have another tank for this.
What can I do primarily to ensure I wont have another major outbreak
<The only way to stop Ick getting into a tank is to quarantine new
livestock. Otherwise, any time you buy new fish, you run the risk. Pure
and simple. The exception is a brackish water system, which would be
ideal for Mollies (but not the other two species) since Ick can't
live in brackish water. But a 10 gallon tank is far too small for
Please help me with anything and everything you know; I am very
concerned for these fish and their health and future fish and
preventing it from happening again.
<I'm glad you're concerned, but you also need to do some
reading. I fear you've simply set up the tank, added a bunch of
fish at once (without researching their needs) and hoped for the
Re Ich again. FW... 3/8/10
To whom it may concern, I emailed you the other today concerning
Since then my fish have passed unfortunately besides one; my black
molly still appears to be perfectly healthy with no visible spots.
Today is day 3 of treatment.
<Does take longer that this. Ick medication (or salt in the water)
only works when the Ick cysts burst, and the only way to speed this up
is to raise the water temperature, with 28-30 C being recommended for
I know the only time to kill ich is when it falls off the fish, to
reproduce again. I am wondering if a) I should completely remove the
molly and the water it is in and do a complete water change or b)
continue to treat the tank where the infestation occurred with the
molly still living in there?
<Treat the tank, with all fish in place.>
I am unsure how I will know if I have rid the molly from the initial
infestation and when I can place him back in the initial tank with
everything clean (gravel, plants decorations, water, tank).
<You won't be able to clean the tank thoroughly enough to remove
every Ick parasite. In any case, proper use of medication or salt will
kill all the free-living stages, so Ick won't be in the system any
more. This is why Ick reappears when you buy new fish and don't
quarantine them: it needs a way into an Ick-free aquarium.>
I know when getting new fish to quarantine now, but since the molly is
in the tank by himself getting treatment will he be safe in the coming
days to just completely start over and place him in there?--- ( I hope
this isn't too confusing, I know what I am thinking and want to ask
but do not know how to word it) On the other hand, I am wondering the
best way to clean the stuff that was inside the tank without soap or
chemicals ...just hot water and soaking?
Also, on the top suction cup of my heater for the pas two days, I'm
guessing its the ich? but salt like spots are behind it...would that be
the ich itself?
<The free living stages are invisible. You can't see them. They
can survive for hours on any wet object, like a net or bucket.>
If so could I use that as a reference if I leave the molly in the same
tank as he is now to judge when the ich may have become controlled and
treat a few days after I dont see those spots anymore?
<Don't really understand what you're asking here.>
I know this is a lot and my wording may have not been the best, so I
hope you understand what I am trying to ask/say.
I just want to get this molly safe so he doesn't contaminate when I
start fresh, and I am unsure how I go about knowing or when I will
<Ick gets into the tank with new fish. If you treat your aquarium
properly with medication or salt, you break the parasite's life
cycle, and it is eliminated *until* you add new, infected fish. For
what it's worth, if you keep Mollies in brackish water, Ick
won't happen, ever. Ick cannot live in brackish water.>
Thank you in advance for your help, Sarah
Ich - Need advice on treatment -- 03/05/10
Hello WWM Crew,
I first apologize for the long issue I am about to get into, but I know
that details help when someone else is looking for information. So here
I had a recent ich outbreak in my 55 gallon due to a PH hike. The host
(red spotted Severum), and two other fish (2 wild Rotties) showed a
spot or two.
I cranked the heat to 86 (this didn't affect the fish), added
aquarium salt to the tank, and used Super Ick Cure (API) for one
<Mmm, the temperature alone should have effected a cure here... Do
check your thermometer for accuracy, consider raising to 88 F>
I read that formalin was toxic so that is the only reason why I did not
use Quick Cure initially.
Some of my ID sharks had red bleeding fins and a grey slime on them
during this treatment so I used Maracyn and Maracyn for secondary
bacterial infection. After one week of this, I saw no improvement. So I
did a 30% water change, removed the medication via carbon and left the
tank alone for 2 days while monitoring the fish. Rapid improvement in
the sharks, the bleeding fins healed, the slime was going away and the
fish were back to normal. Except, the Rotties still had a spot or two
and the Severum had what looked like more spots, just less
My water parameters were still good, PH =7.4, Ammo=0, Nitrite = 0,
Nitrate = 5.0. I started medicating again but this time with Quick
Cure. I have used this before with success when I had to use with the
Anyway, after one treatment, the Rotties spots fell off but the Severum
still had Ick. I continued treating the 55 for another week with Quick
Cure and replaced aquarium salt when doing water changes. Then a did a
25% water change, added carbon to the tank and moved the Severum to a
10 gallon that I had running with an established BioWheel running on
it. Parameters were similar on both tanks so the move went well.
The fish in the 55 gallon recovered from the 2nd week of medication.
All slime disappeared off the sharks, their fins healed 100%, the
Rotties were not showing any spots, but I continued to check all fish
daily. Since the fish were not affected by the heater at 86, I left it
alone. I have (2) 350 Penguins with 4 BioWheels on this tank. Since I
had two other healthy tanks with BioWheels, I decided to keep all 4
BioWheels running on the tank during medication. Should I have removed
them? Despite this, my parameters remained at PH =7.4, Ammo=0, Nitrite
= 0, Nitrate = 5.0.
The Severum in the 10 was eating and lively but still had Ick, even
though I was still treating him with Quick Cure. The tank showed ammo
at .25 so I did a water change. I did some research on stubborn ich and
called National Fish Pharmaceuticals and bought quinine sulfate to
treat the ich.
Before the order came, nitrites in the 10 went to .25. The Severum
seemed fine though. While this is going on, in the 55 gallon, a found a
new Ick spot on one of Rotties.
<One spot? I wouldn't be so sure this is Ich>
When the medication arrived, I took the Severum out of the 10 gallon,
put him back in the 55 gallon with the others. I started medicating the
entire 55 gallon tank with the quinine sulfate (using 1/4 tsp per 10
gallon). NFP suggested I medicate once and leave in tank for 7 days
with no water changes.
It is now day 3 since I started the treatment and all the fish are
well, eating and lively. However, the Severum still has spots on his
tail and the spot on the Rotty has gotten bigger and more noticeable on
<These spots could just be mucus... not parasitic>
The temp has been lowered recently to 84 degrees and this was done
simply by moving my heater. The thermostat is actually set on the
heater to 84 degrees but would always register at 86 in the horizontal
position in the tank.
I am tempted to do a water change today, maybe 25%, and add a new dose
to the tank but am unsure as to how much would be appropriate.
<I would not re-dose either with Quinine or the Formalin-containing
I have read through your entire quinine sulfate section but every
situation is different. I would appreciate any suggestions you have for
<I'd just be patient for days, a week here... Re-raise the temp.
(to 88 F) if the more than the spots show evidence of parasitic
infestation. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich - Need advice on treatment -- 03/05/10
Thanks for the quick reply. I actually have 2 thermometers on my tanks,
one glass and one digital with a probe in the water.
I check them every morning to make sure they are within range. Both are
within 2 degrees of the heater. Regarding the spots, I thought about
whether this was actually ich because the temps stayed consistent for 2
weeks over 84 and my fish were no longer flashing. They were eating
well and looking good.
<There are some other possibilities indeed>
If it's mucus, does it look like ich spots?
What would this be called and can this be contagious to the other
<Depends on... what it is and cause/s>
Should I try after the 7 days to just return the tank back to normal,
leaving the temps high at 88? Should I treat the Severum separately for
the spots? Hopefully the 10 will have cycled completely by then.
<I would leave all as is for now>
I am already beating myself up for doing so much. The ich problems I
have had have always been controllable in my tanks in a short time. But
this time it caused my cichlids to violently scrape themselves on the
gravel so I thought the infestation was more serious than it actually
Thank you again for the advice. I plan to wait it out and I'll keep
<Thank you. BobF>
Rickettsial DNA found in ICH 2/18/10
I received this article from my Alma Mater and thought you might be
interested (if you were not already aware of the findings). Apparently
researchers found DNA of Rickettsial bacteria within freshwater Ich.
This might prove interesting in the future treatment of Ich. I've
enclosed a link to the press release from the Univ of Georgia College
of Veterinary Medicine if you are interested in reading more about
<Thanks for this. Very interesting. In the case of Ick, there have
been debates over the years about whether there is more than one
strain, including what some hobbyists call Super Whitespot, a strain
that seems resistant to the usual medications. I would hope that the
new treatments they are investigating will help treat all strains of
Ick. Incidentally, Rickettsia-type bacteria have caused problems with
fish in the past. Anyone who kept Blue-eyed Plecs (Panaque cochliodon)
during the 80s will remember how often these lovely catfish succumbed
to mystery wasting diseases. It turned out that Rickettsia-type
bacteria were causing the problem. Cheers, Neale.>
Ich, reading, rambling
I am not sure if there is ich in my aquarium. I believe I've seen a
few white spots here and there ( if so probably because of the stress
of the newcomer fish). Should I treat the tank either way?
<A hard choice to make... as "IF" your fishes aren't
infested, the treatment can be more deleterious than not treating. If
anything, I'd just go the elevated temperature route here>
The medicine is Jungle Ich Clear Tablets.
Also, my new black molly has a terrible crooked jaw!! this happened
I'd say half a week after I got the fish. Therefore, it didn't
come like that. What should I do with him.
<Just wait if it were me; some might euthanize>
( cannot get a fish specialist, only child:))
Thank you for your help
<Please learn to/use the search tool and indices on WWM. For here,
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
<? Please include prev. corr. I don't know what you're
referring to. B> 1/11/10
Dear Mr. Fenner,
I actually already do have my temperature up to 80 degrees for the same
reason. Should I put it any higher.
Thank you very very much for all of your help,
"Ich, reading, rambling
am not sure if there is ich in my aquarium. I believe I've seen a
few white spots here and there ( if so probably because of the stress
of the newcomer fish). Should I treat the tank either way?
A hard choice to make... as "IF" your fishes aren't
infested, the treatment can be more deleterious than not treating. If
anything, I'd just o the elevated temperature route here>
The medicine is Jungle Ich Clear Tablets.
Also, my new black molly has a terrible crooked jaw!! this happened
I'd ay half a week after I got the fish. Therefore, it didn't
come like that.
hat should I do with him.
Just wait if it were me; some might euthanize>
cannot get a fish specialist, only child:))
hank you for your help
Please learn to/use the search tool and indices on WWM. For here,
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>"
I actually already do have my temperature up to 80 degrees for the same
reason. Should I put it any higher.
<Yes, I would...>
Thank you very very much for all of your help,
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm
Learn to/use the search tool/indices before writing us.
Purchasing Fish, FW, Ich...
I went to buy some Congo tetras from my local LFS and they looked like
they had an extraordinary amount of slime coating on them.
I was convinced that a small diamond tetra in the same tank had
<May well be.>
The salesperson didn't think anything was wrong with them.
<Take that for what it is: a judgment on the quality of an item from
the person selling it.>
The next day the manager confirmed my suspicion that the tank contained
ich. He told me to check back the following weekend. Should I buy these
fish after they have been treated for ich?
Can ich be cured in just a week?
<In theory, yes. At tropical temperatures the parasite matures in
the host (the white spot) within 48 hours, and then it bursts, and the
free living stage has about 24 hours to find a new host. It's this
24 hour long free living stage against which Ick medications work (none
cure the parasites already in the fish). While I'd tend to wait
10-14 days before declaring a tank Ick-free, in theory at least, a
reliable medication should put an end to the parasite life cycle well
within that time.>
I heard that fish become less susceptible to this disease once they
have survived it.
<Have heard this, but read nothing scientific to back up the
If this is true, then would it be better to buy these particular fish
as they will be more immune to the disease.
<Wouldn't let this be a factor either way.>
Or is it better to seek another LFS with healthier stock?
<Even the best stores get Ick from time to time. If they treat them
quickly, and the stock is otherwise in good condition, I'd be happy
buying from such a store.>
Ich and the planted tank. 10/30/09
<Hello there Tom!>
This is a great website and I refer to it often. It is difficult,
though, to filter through all the stuff I'm not looking for to get
to the stuff I need.
So, I have an Ich question.
I set up a planted tank about two months ago, and since then have been
adding plants and fish to reach the well planted and still under
populated tank. I'm new at this hobby and am still trying to learn
the massive amounts of info needed to do this, and I make lots of
mistakes along the way. My tank is a 75 gal freshwater. I used Eco
System complete mixed with gravel for substrate.
I have very hard alkaline water. PH 8.0; KH about 200; GH 300; zero
nitrites; nitrates steady at <10; zero ammonia. The lighting is one
T-5 54 watt full spectrum bulb, one T-5 28 watt cool white household
bulb, and one T-12 deep ocean 18 watt 10,000KH with a high blue
I haven't tested for phosphates or iron, but I'm assuming the
be a little or a lot high because I have algae. Mostly green hair algae
on my driftwood (a large piece about 18 inches long and 22 inches
high), but also some stag horn and thread algae. I'm hoping this
will all eventually work itself out as the plants grow and the tank
settles down. In the meantime I have 5 Otos and an SAE to help out.
<So far so good>
For fish I have 8 Praecox Rainbows, 1 Boesemanni, 2 Golden Wonder
Killies, 2 Congo Tetras, 1 YoYo Loach, 1 Dwarf Gourami, and, believe it
or not, a German Ram who is doing very well in spite of the conditions
<Through generations of captive production, this species has become
much more "aquarium-hardy" than wild types>
All was going well until last week when I stressed them out 3 days in a
First day I added the Otos.
Next day I moved the Gourami over from my small tank which I am
shutting down. Finally, next day I did my weekly cleaning.
By that evening they were showing Ich spots. I decided my best course
of treatment, considering these fish and the plants, was to avoid
medication and treat with heat and salt. I have had the heat up to
<I'd raise it further... to 85 F.>
since then and have treated with aquarium salt at the rate of 1
tablespoon per 5 gallons.
<Mmm, there are types of plants that don't "like" salt
I also added Melafix twice at a ratio of 1 teaspoon per 10 gal. All the
fish are still doing well, color is good, active, eating well; in fact
the Dwarf rainbows are still mating. But the Ich spots continue to come
How long will it take for the Ich to be gone completely?
<May never... oh I see this below... The system, many if not most
are; may be infested. The spots on the fishes can be "cured"
however... By elevating the temperature>
Does it ever go completely? Also, info everywhere says to do daily
water changes when treating Ich and siphon out the gravel. I will do a
weekly cleaning again tomorrow, but doesn't that much cleaning
stress the fish out even more, thus starting the cycle all over
<Too much cleaning is problematical, yes>
How long should I wait before turning to medication, and which meds do
you recommend given the variety of fish and the plants?
<Again... mid 80's...>
Also, in the past when I have treated for Ich in my smaller tanks, I
have lost my biological filtration as a result of the meds.
I know this is a lot of questions but I have a couple more. Over the
last few days my rainbows seem to be pooping much more than is normal
I have cut back slightly on their food which is minimal to begin with
so I can't attribute it to overfeeding. Is this something that
occurs naturally with this kind of treatment?
<Mmm, don't know>
Also, I am under the impression that planted tanks need the mulm for
nutrients so when I do water changes should I not siphon the gravel,
and just suck out water?
<Some "surface" cleaning is fine>
Won't the tank eventually get pretty disgusting if I don't
siphon the gravel? And finally, Since this is a planted tank it needs
regular hands "in" work weekly. Is there a better way to trim
plants and clean up that won't stress my fish or am I going to
stress them every time I clean the tank?
<Some stress is good, actually necessary...>
I really appreciate all you folks do to help the budding hobbyist like
myself. I wait patiently for your response before I do any further
treatment. Thank you.
<The temp. will "do it". Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Help with Ich 10/4/09
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.
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.
Given the catfish, cories and shrimp, what would be the safest method
for treating my tank.
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
<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.
<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
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
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
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
<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
I hope that's not too fast!
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
<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.
<Welcome Lisa. BobF>
Re: Help with Ich 10/14/09
As promised in my last post to you, I'm writing to update you on
the progress of the ich.
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.
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
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!
<Outstanding. Thank you again for your report. Bob Fenner>
ICK, Betta, Bowl -- 09/03/09
I have a Betta named Buddy sitting on my desk for my students to enjoy.
I noticed he has some white spots on the ends of his fins and tail this
morning and I suspect it is ICK. Can I use Ick treatment in his bowl
would in a regular fish aquarium with other fish?
<Hello Lysa. First things first. You can't keep Bettas in bowls.
I know you don't want to hear this, but all you're doing is
showing kids the wrong thing. As a biology teacher in the past, I know
how anxious good teachers are to instill love for animals in their
students. But this isn't the way to do it. A Betta needs, at
minimum, a 5-gallon tank with a heater and a filter. Bowls simply
aren't big enough, and all that happens is the poor animals either
gets chilled or poisoned with its own waste. Some of the less reputable
pet stores will suggest otherwise -- even going so far as to say that
Bettas live in puddles! Think about that for a moment: why and how
would such a fish evolve? It's very likely your Betta actually has
Finrot, as this often begins as specks of dead white tissue at the ends
of the fins. It's caused by two things, a weak immune system (e.g.,
because the fish it too cold) and chronically poor water conditions
(which overwhelm the immune system and allow ambient bacteria to turn
from being harmless to becoming pathogenic. It's essentially
gangrene, and left untreated, kills. So what to do? First, set up a
tank with a heater and a filter. The heater should keep the water
around 28 C/82 F. A degree or two above or below won't matter, but
unless you live in Thailand, your room temperature just won't be
warm enough, hence the heater. Cold air especially harms Bettas (and
indeed all air-breathing fish) very quickly, leading to the fishy
equivalent of pneumonia. Next up, install a filter. Nothing too fancy
here: a simple air-powered box or sponge filter is ideal. Undergravel
filters are good, too. Filters with electric pumps tend to be a little
on the strong
side, causing these fish real problems. They're essentially
crippled by the crazy long fins we've bred into them, and can't
swim properly. Wild Bettas have much shorter fins. Now, using the test
kits you have -- you do have test kits, right? -- check the nitrite and
ammonia levels. Both should be at zero, all the time, no exceptions. If
they're not, then you're under-filtering or over feeding your
Betta. Do 25% water changes daily or at least every other day until the
filter is matured (this takes 4-6 weeks from new, but you should be
okay to do weekly water changes from about the end of the third week)
Once your fish has the right environment, you can treat for Finrot
using, for example, Maracyn. If you don't fix the environment,
using medications is like sticking your finger in a leaky dyke: pull
your finger out (stop medicating) and the leak will spring right back
(the fish will get sick again). I do wish pet stores would stop selling
bowls, but so long as there are people out there who buy them, I guess
that's too much to hope for. Set your students a real example: show
them that animals comes with responsibilities. But even better, use the
*aquarium* to demonstrate environmental science. For example, how
bacteria convert ammonia (which is toxic) into nitrate (which is safe,
and indeed used by plants as fertiliser). Fish tanks are a great way to
the inter-relatedness of microbes with the organisms we can see, and in
a miniature way, a reflection of how our own species depends so often
on microbes most of us ignore. Some even use aquaria to show how closed
systems work, including Planet Earth, with everything linked to
everything else, and problems for one leading to problems for others.
dojo loach eel and ich 6/18/2009
It's been yrs since I last emailed you guys for help & I am
happy to report I have spent my teens & early 20s researching &
gaining experience w/ my fish.
Sadly I made a beginners mistake by only QTing my new mollies for a
week & noticing a few small spots 2 days later that I assumed to be
<Do review the needs of Mollies:
Contrary to popular misconception, they aren't especially good
additions to freshwater tanks, and are invariably hardier and easier to
keep in brackish water conditions. Since the free-living stage of the
Ick parasite is not able to live in brackish water, Mollies under such
conditions aren't bothered by this disease.>
So I pulled the 2 with spots out & put them back in QT & dosed
them with quICK cure, set up my 20 gallon & pulled my fire eel
& dojo loach from the main tank & then treated my main tank
also. This was 2 days ago and the spots on the mollies in QT are gone
& no one else has shown any signs although I will continue
treatment for another 3 days.
<With Loaches and Fire Eels, it's perfectly viable to treat your
fish for Ick all at the same time, using the old salt/heat
My problem is that I am unsure what to do about the dojo & eel?
They have shown no signs of ich and the temp in the 20g is 81 which I
assumed would speed up the life cycle of ich & the fish would be
showing some signs so I could know whether or not to treat them?
<Since these fish were exposed to the Ick-ridden Mollies, they
should be treated accordingly. Make a brine solution in a jug
containing warm water into which you add 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per
US gallon of water in the aquarium. Once dissolved, pour into the
outflow of the filter so it quickly mixes. Leave at the high
temperature you have for about 2 weeks. This should kill any
free-living parasites. The salinity is actually very low, and won't
harm fish, plants or filter bacteria.>
There is so much conflicting information on ich & the life cycle,
how long it can survive & at what temps & I have spent
countless hours reading only leaving myself more confused! Should I
leave the dojo & eel alone & watch them, or should I treat them
with Coppersafe in the 20g then and them back to the main tank in a
week after the quICK cure has been filtered out? I have never lost a
fish to ich & I certainly don't want my fire eel to be my
<Spiny Eels and Loaches are both notoriously sensitive to some
medications, so where possible, use salt plus heat method instead of
copper- and formalin-based medications.>
I would like to get them in the main tank as soon as possible as I am
currently maintaining 7 tanks. I cant give you any specifics on water
quality as I do not test my water anymore. I do change 40-50% each week
as the main tank is heavily stocked (7 female Bettas, 4 platy, 8
mollies, 2 swordtails, 2 Bala sharks, 1 Gourami, & before this the
dojo loach & the eel 9" & fat as a garden hose!) a lot in
a 50g & I did test for the 1st few months, things were stable w/ my
water changes & I had no problems until this, which was caused by
the new fish.
<Quite the mix.>
I would just also I to state that I got the Balas, eel, dojo, Gourami,
and a 30g tank stuffed full of several other fish (2 black skirts
tetras, a serpae, a glow light tetra, 3 Kuhlis, 2 big unidentified
loaches, a killifish, 2 true SAE's, another Gourami, a beautiful
but fairly aggressive male electric yellow cichlid and 9 of his off
spring!) so you can see why some ended up in my main tank! Also I have
been trying unsuccessfully to find suitable homes for the Bala sharks
& the cichlids for nearly 2 months.
But the closet big city is Vegas & it is 90 miles away so I
don't know what to do! I myself would never had bought the Balas as
I know how big they get, however I have grown a bit fond of there
peacful nature & clicking sounds. (0: They are about 6 inches for
nose to tail. Anyways this was a long email but this is really the only
place I could look for help on what and not to do w/ the eel and dojo.
And PLEASE if you know anyone who wants some fish send them my way!
<Your best bet here is to join an online forum that includes members
from your country; most have "buy, sell and swap" sections,
through which members trade fish. The popular Tropical Fish Forums one
for example has sections of this type for both UK and US hobbyists.
Being a Brit myself, I really don't keep up to date with the fish
swapping scene in the US, I'm afraid!>
Thanks for the help, Jenny
Re: dojo loach eel and ich 6/18/09
thanks for the advice! I had originally started a salt, heat mix for
the dojo and the eel. I had 21 teaspoons in my 20g so far and then I
started feeling bad for my dojo as it was breathing rapidly so I took
half the salt
<The salt was unlikely to be the reason the loach was breathing
heavily; because Ick and Velvet parasites readily (perhaps
preferentially?) attack the gill filaments, it's often the case
that fish find it difficult to
breathe long before you see the tell-tale white cysts on the body of
Also, I do keep salt in my main aquarium, though not to the point of
brackish, 30 teaspoons in my 50 gallon.
<Unless you're keeping brackish water fish, there is absolutely
no point to adding salt to a freshwater aquarium on a permanent basis.
This is "old school" fishkeeping, where salt was used to
detoxify nitrite and nitrate, which were often at high levels in
aquaria through to the 1970s because of inadequate filtration and
infrequent water changes. Like activated carbon, salt is redundant in
freshwater aquaria run along modern principles: lots of filtration and
weekly water changes of 25-50%. On the other hand, if you insist on
keeping Mollies with freshwater fish, raising carbonate hardness and
ensuring a stable pH around 7.5 to 8.0 will significantly help things,
and because Mollies are so sensitive to nitrate, the use of small
amounts of sodium chloride might be useful. But to be honest, I
recommend against Mollies in community tanks; we get so many letters
about sick Mollies, it's beyond a joke!>
I have never had any deaths besides of fry being eaten, they really
have no chance with all the Bettas.
<I imagine your success with fish has more to do with good
fishkeeping than the use of salt!>
So anyways I will try the salt/heat combo again. Do I need to keep the
salt in the tank for a full 2 weeks?
<Yes; salt doesn't kill the Ick you see on the fish, but the
free-living "babies" that emerge when the Ick cysts burst.
Those cysts take a few days to a week to burst at tropical
temperatures, so it's usual to run the tank
with salt in it for two weeks to minimise the chances of [a] any cysts
not having burst; and [b] any free-living stages still being in the
Re: dojo loach eel and ich 6/27/09
I still unfortunately am having some problems here, whatever my fish
had must not have been ich.
About 3 days ago I returned everyone to the main tank and all seemed
well at first but last night I noticed my new black molly had the same
thing as before. It is like small clearish white patches. Definitely
not a fungus.
<Hmm... with Black Mollies this is quite common and usually means
something isn't right in terms of water chemistry. They secrete an
extra thick layer of mucous, and that becomes visible as greyish slime
on their bodies. It's not a disease as such, but a first sign of
stress; should you subsequently see unnatural swimming ("the
Shimmies") or actual signs of Finrot and Fungus, then you may need
to medicate. But at this stage, observe and in particular test the
water conditions. Mollies need fairly warm (around 26-28 C) water; a
high pH (around 7.5 to 8); lots of hardness (15+ degrees dH) and
preferably some salinity (SG 1.003-1.005 being ideal).>
It's almost like you can only see them at a certain angle. They are
only slightly raised and they appear to either fall off of resolve over
a period of about 24 hrs or so. I was thinking columnaris (sp?) but I
don't believe that drops off or resolves on its on?
Is it some other type of parasite?
<No, I don't think so.>
There is currently between 60-66 teaspoons of aquarium salt in the 50g
<Assuming each teaspoon is 6 grammes, that's 360 grammes in 190
litres, or 1.9 grammes per litre. At 26 C, the optimal salinity for
Mollies would be about 6.5 to 9 grammes per litre. So assuming
you're keeping your Mollies with brackish water or salt-tolerant
fish, you could up the salinity and expect them to get much healthier.
As I've written endlessly here at WWM and elsewhere, it's a
gamble keeping Mollies in anything other than brackish water because,
as you're seeing, they often don't do well in freshwater
I kept it up after the ich treatment just to be safe.
<Would stop treating once the instructions on your treatment says to
Don't keep medicating just for the sake of it!>
The temp is 77 F and no one else seems to be showing any symptoms
beside the black molly and one other new molly who I believe is
partially paralyzed (bought that way)
<Very likely "the Shimmies" if you mean fins alongside the
body, wobbling from side to side, and seemingly "treading
water" rather than swimming normally.>
but she eats/acts normally beside her swimming and occasional clamped
tail fin. Any ideas?
<Just the usual! Mollies aren't freshwater fish, and the salt
you're adding for treating Ick isn't the marine salt mix you
need for Mollies, and you aren't adding enough to ensure Molly
health. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: dojo loach eel and ich 6/27/2009
I definitely can't add more salt since I do have a loach in
However as soon as I can get rid of some of my cichlids, I plan on
moving my tank wards :). I do have an extra 20 gallon but I don't
think it is big enough for mollies personally, especially not for 9 of
<I would tend to agree.>
Maybe I can put my female Bettas in the 20 gallon (they are huge pigs
and definitely need to be separated from the main tank since my fire
eel eats blood worms daily) and put my mollies in the 30 gallon and put
everyone else in the 50 gallon. Well I really appreciate your help, I
will keep you posted on the fish. It does seem like some slime coat
<In the short term, stabilising pH, providing sufficient hardness,
and above all, ensuring low levels of nitrate as well as zero
ammonia/nitrite are the keys to success with Mollies. Wild Mollies
certainly do live in
freshwater, so they don't "need" salt as such. But the
reality is that unless the aquarium is warm, scrupulously clean, and
provided with very stable hard water chemistry, adding marine salt mix
tends to make keeping
them much easier. Do read here:
Thanks again, Jen
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: dojo loach eel and ich, not ich...
My ammonia and nitrites were at 0, my nitrates were high though at
<In itself not likely to cause problems in the short term, but in
freshwater at least, high levels of nitrate to seem to stress certain
fish, notably cichlids and Mollies, unduly.>
I did a 50% water change which I have been doing 2x a week since the
meds since they always seem to rattle the param.s of the tank. Luckily
the mollies issues seem to have resolved on their own and the one who
has the shimmy's is recovering as well.
<Yes, this is typically what happens, if caught early; no cure as
such, but improved environment does lead to a self-cure on the part of
I did find someone who is taking 9 of my 10 cichlids and someone else
who is coming for hopefully all of my tetras. I am going to move the
mollies to the 30 gallon and eventually when I can find a home for the
blue Gourami I will make the tank brackish although my mollies do fine
in freshwater I am curious to see if I notice a change in growth or
behavior with brackish water.
<It's not so much about something new happening, but that in
brackish water they tend to be less likely to get sick. In other words,
they're normal Mollies, more of the time. There are endless
arguments about whether Mollies truly need brackish water conditions --
they are largely freshwater fish in the wild -- but it does seem to be
a good way to keep them as pets.
And it needn't be a chore either: many plants tolerate slightly
brackish water well, as will a whole host of fish, including things
like Ticto Barbs, Horseface Loaches and Hoplosternum littorale catfish,
all good companions for Mollies and often assumed to be freshwater fish
despite naturally occurring in brackish water through parts of their
I do have a little killifish in there, I have read that they tolerate
salt so I may keep him in there.
<Indeed; most killifish not specifically adapted to very soft water
will often tolerate slightly brackish water well. As a group, there are
numerous killies that prefer brackish or even saltwater
I appreciate your help and the wonderful website. It is a wealth of
knowledge and I love learning and enjoying the fish keeping hobby. Take
Care WWM Crew!
Ich Advice, mollies, more -
I have been reading your site very diligently over the past two days as
we realized two of our black mollies have ich. The information you have
provided and the q/a section has been very helpful. I am sure every
tank, like every fish has a different story and set of issues :-)
<As does every individual>
In our tank we have 4- 2 yr old silver mollies (not even an
1ï¿½), 3 large red platies, 5 of their off spring and
then ~10 of their off spring (3 generations), also 2 pop belly mollies,
3 black mollies, two (heckle and
jeckle) yellow mollies, 3 baby swordtails, one beautiful
5ï¿½ rainbow shark
and ~15 more tiny babies of a mix (we thing black and yellow). Our tank
has been very ï¿½busyï¿½ as of late.
Anyways our tank heater failed a couple weeks ago and the water temp
spiked to almost 90 degrees (yikes). Now we have ich! Our water
chemistry is perfect! The Ph was a bit high but controlled that by
removing a piece of drift wood.
<Unusual... such material/s generally lower pH with their
From a treatment perspective we have done the following- removed the
carbon from the Whisper and canister filter, used Â½ of the
full dose of Para Guard from Seachem as only two of the black mollies
show spots and we don't want to kill the babies (I would rather
extend the treatment cycle than risk losing them). We have kept the
lights (compact florescent) off except for ~15 minutes to check for
spots daily, closed the curtains to eliminate more light, done ~50%
water changing using a gravel vac and have added the
recommended salt (done once so far). We are slowing raising the temp of
the tank from 74 to 84- should reach 84 by tomorrow night.
I am happy to say that the two fish that visibly had spots are looking
better, the babies and other fish do not look stressed although some
are spending more time near the top ï¿½ not sucking air
- how long do we continue this treatment?
<I'd treat at full dose, per the bottle recommendations>
- How often do we really need to do a water change/vacuum if our
chemistry is good (checking daily)?
<Not at all if so>
- Is there anything else we should be doing?
- Some say that we should stop feeding the fish during this process?
Rumor? I haven't read that on your site.
<I would continue to feed>
- Do we really need to keep the lights off (I miss watching the fish
Thank you very much for your time and input.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
ICH, FW 5/11/09
I have a ten gallon tank with mollies, guppies, platies, a loach, and
<A bad start already. Guppies are okay in 10 gallons, though males
will tend to be aggressive and certainly harass (read "gang
rape") the females unless you outnumber the males by 2-3 females
each. Platies need more space, around 15-20 gallons, and Mollies even
more. Not sure what "a" loach might be -- there are lots of
loaches, most of them gregarious and some of them very aggressive.
Shrimps are fine, but do be aware most medications will kill
I recently added a molly who I think brought ich with her.
<Quarantining new livestock prevents this.>
She is currently extremely pregnant. I want to use salt to treat the
tank, since that seems to be the treatment with the fewest
<Mollies are much better kept in brackish water, around SG 1.003, or
6 g marine salt mix per litre. I don't really know why people stick
them in freshwater aquaria because they get sick very often kept thus.
It's got to be something like 50% of the time. Virtually every book
says this, so I'm guessing you didn't read anything before
buying these fish. Please do be careful about shopping for fish -- they
aren't cut flowers, and each has its own needs.>
Will all the fish be safe with the addition of salt, and how should I
go about doing this?
<Salt is fine for all of these at the dose required, 2 to 3
teaspoons of salt per US gallon for at least 7 days with the
temperature raised to 82-86 F. Carbon will have no affect, though
I'd make the point carbon is largely useless in this type of
aquarium and wasting space better given over to biological filter
media. Don't buy a filter that demands certain "modules"
be used; they're a way for manufacturers to extract cash from you.
Always buy filters that let you add whatever media you want.>
(How much? How often? How long? Is carbon in the filter going to be a
problem? Any other important info?)
<While the Ick shouldn't be a long term problem, your aquarium
is a disaster waiting to happen. Please read here and act
Hi crew!! Happy late Easter. I hope you guys all had a great
Unfortunately for me, i have been having a rough one. I have a 40
gallon hexagon tank with 3 discus, 8 cardinals, and 4 Otos. I have
plastic plants and hiding spots for them. My temperature right now is
about 81-82 degrees Fahrenheit. However, one of my cardinal tetras has
ich. He is still very active and eating a lot. I am afraid it will
spread to my discus. I read your article and it said to raise it to 82
degrees. So since my tank is already 82 do i need to raise it any
<You can, to 86 F, though the Otocinclus may be severely stressed,
so watch them. Cardinals and Discus are warm-water fish adapted to
habitats of that type, but Otocinclus come from relatively cool,
fast-flowing llanos streams with lots of oxygen.>
Should i try any medications?
<I'd use salt/heat first.>
I don't have an extra tank to hospitalize my sick cardinal, so can
i just treat for the whole tank?
<You MUST treat the whole tank; if one fish is visibly infected,
likely all the others are as well, albeit not obviously, e.g., the
parasites are on their gills.
I also read about the salt. But, can my discus tolerate the salt?
<Not an issue at this salinity level.>
How much should i add, and how many times per day or week?
<2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per gallon. Add once, and either do no
water changes, or else replace old water with new water containing the
same amount of salt (so that the overall salinity stays the
I still do water changes weekly of about 50 percent and they all seem
healthy, except for the ich. Thanks for your help. Oh, and what is a
good medication you recommend?
<I rate eSHa EXIT very highly; it's old school, but seems to
work well even with delicate species like catfish and puffers. It's
a Dutch product, widely sold in the UK, but whether it's available
outside the EU I cannot say.>
Thanks so much for your help.
Re: ich!!! 4/15/09
Thanks for your quick reply. How long do i have to wait after i add the
salt to do water changes?
<As long as you want. You can change 50% of the water the next day
if you want, so long as the new water that goes in *also* has salt
added at the correct dose. Provided the overall salinity stays at 2 to
3 teaspoons of salt per gallon for the next two weeks, that's all
you need to do!>
Do i have to add some salt a little by little so they get used to the
salinity, or is it okay to add it all at once?
<All at once is fine. Seriously, this salinity is trivially low.
It's less than SG 1.001. You could drink this stuff.>
Thanks for your help once again.
Thanks so much!
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
A quick goldfish Ich question and thank goodness for QT!
Hi all you fantastic WetWeb crew,
I just have a couple of Ich questions; I have used the search tool but
I am a bit confused.
I have just purchased two new common goldfish to join a single one in a
fully cycled 190 ltr tank.
Fortunately I put them in a 60 ltr fully cycled quarantine tank when I
got them on Saturday. I am almost certain one of them has Ich. I am so
pleased I did this!
<Agreed, should make treatment easier, but since the Ick parasite is
highly mobile (e.g., on wet nets and hands) it is likely your other
fish are at risk, so observe carefully.>
I have been testing the water each day and have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites,
7 nitrates and the pH is 8.2.
I would really like to use a salt treatment to clear this up, rather
than medicate the tank as I feel that they have been stressed enough
from their move. However, I am not sure what dosage the salt should be
in. I can find dosages but I am not sure if the crew member answering
is using English gallons or US gallons.
<It's 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per US gallon.>
Could you tell me what the dosage is in English gallons (or
<One US gallon is 3.78 litres. If your bucket or aquarium is rated
in Imperial gallons, 12 US gallons are 10 Imperial gallons.>
I kind of assume that you add the salt over a period of time, not
straight away, if this is so what sort of time period do you use to get
the salinity up?
<Adding the salt straight away is fine; the salinity is very, very
I am under the impression that salt treatment may affect my biological
Am I right in thinking that you continue treatment two weeks after the
spots have fallen off?
<Correct; the salt doesn't kill the white spots on the fish:
only the free living parasites.>
Once the Ich has gone, and I move my fish, I was going to take out my
filter sponge and bioballs and place them in my external canister
filter (so I always have spare mature filter media in an emergency).
sterilise everything or just run the tank for 3 or 4 days without fish
in it to get rid of any Ich?
<It's a good idea to sterilise hospital tanks, provided you can
keep filter media alive someplace else. Of course, in the case of
serious illnesses you would sterilise the filter media as well, and
then re-cycle the hospital tank.>
My other little goldfish has had a bit of a white patch by her mouth
which we never noticed until she was in QT. This has almost cleared
right up but I guess the salt may help this little fish too.
<May help a little, but I'd observe, and if the white spot
isn't clearing up (it may simply be a bruise) I'd treat for
Finrot/Fungus; in the UK, I recommend eSHa 2000 as working on Finrot,
Fungus, and Columnaris equally well.>
I can't say how brilliant QT is - both the fish looked fine in the
tank at the LFS and also in the bag when we got home, but once in QT
you can really get a good look at them.
It was very, very tempting to put them in our main tank, and thanks to
your website, I'm so glad we didn't!
Many thanks in advance, Michelle
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Not so "Quik-Cure" (FW, Ich)
<Hello again, Kristi,>
As always, your site has invaluable info. but I'm not finding clear
enough directions to proceed. I was hoping to get some help.
I have a 20 gal FW (0 ammonia, 0-ites, 15-ates) w/ 1 dwarf Pleco, 10
glass fish (now 9, as one was found dead today), and a beautiful new
three-spot blue Gourami I adopted a week ago. I keep the tank at 80
degrees and filter w/ dual hang-on-back power filters (one a bio
wheel). Since adding the glass fish two months ago, I've been
fighting an ich outbreak (.no QT, unfortunately. Lesson learned). This
outbreak, however, is very resistant and doesn't seem to want to go
away. I used Quick-Cure as directed
(formalin / malachite green) w/ carbon removed, no cure (that has
worked for me in the past). Then I took suggestion from other website
to increase temp to 82 degrees, treat with Quick -Cure every 3-4 days
w/ 50% water changes in between, and end treatment after two weeks.
That was focused on killing ALL of the parasite in its free-swimming
and vulnerable state over time. To no avail. the ich is back AGAIN!
<Do try the salt/heat method (82-86F, 2 to 3 teaspoons of tonic salt
per gallon); should cause no problems for any of these fish.>
I've read more about use risk of formalin/malachite green curative
and decided to throw it away (since I'm the one w/ my arm in the
water doing the water changes). So here I am needing to ONCE AGAIN cure
ich and need specific direction. Increase temp again to 82 degrees?
Will salt addition help in the tank (I know glass fish are fine. but
Pleco or 3-spot?)?
<What I'd do.>
Salt water dips (although I know the ich is tank-wide)?
<Dips are pointless with Ick.>
Other safer products that would nip this resistant ich in the bud?
<Certainly. There's some discussion in the trade re: "Super
Whitespot", a variety of the Ick/Whitespot parasite that seems
more resistant to standard cures.
Personally, I've found eSHa EXIT works well, and a lot of retailers
use this potion too, but it's a European brand that may not be
available in the US. It contains Acridine, Malachite green, Methylene
violet and Methylene blue -- so any similar combination of drugs should
I've read up in the normal places on WWM and did search, but
I'm just so confused at this point and need some hand-holding.
On a related note, I just now found four little specks of this
salt-like grains now affixed to the inside of the glass. This is the
FIRST time I've ever seen this. They don't appear to be moving
and I know this can't be
ich (glass can't be host). but what is it?
<Could be algae or Nerite snail eggs (if you have them) or really
all sorts of things. I'd recommend scraping them off the front
glass. Not because they'd cause harm, but because big patches of
limey stuff can be really
difficult to shift and very unsightly.>
It isn't white powder, but very much like the ich grains that are
now on one of my glass fish. Thoughts? Treatment course?
Oh if only I can get all these issues settled and just glide w/ normal
water changes. The problem solving sure is getting old. I don't
want to give up this hobby, but I'm afraid I will on our next
relocation (we move
every 2-3 years) if I can't get into the "glide"
Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions!!!!!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Mollies with Columnaris and Ich --
I'm in a bit of a quandary. I purchased three mollies the day
before yesterday, and placed them in my cycled 10 gallon quarantine
tank (pH: 8.1, ammonia: 0, nitrites: 0, nitrates: 0 -- I had a bunch of
extra cuttings so
the tank is stuffed with live plants).
<Mollies don't do well in small tanks. They're very
sensitive to nitrate as well as ammonia/nitrite, and in small tanks it
is very difficult to keep them healthy for long. Minimum tank size for
small Mollies (Shortfin
mollies, black mollies, balloon mollies) is 20+ gallons, while large
Mollies (Sailfin mollies, liberty mollies) is over 30 gallons.>
Unfortunately yesterday I observed that one of the mollies had what we
used to call cotton mouth or mouth fungus.
<Very common with Mollies, especially when kept in freshwater
I understand, from researching your site, that this is likely
<Indeed. You will need a suitable antibiotic or antibacterial (as
opposed to a make-believe solution such as tea-tree oil or
Today I also observed two Ich spots (sure glad I quarantined). I was
going to go the salt + heat route, but I learned (also from researching
your site), that Columnaris grows faster with higher heat.
<Your options are limited here, but in this case, I'd raise the
salinity to deal with the Ick, and treat with an
antibiotic/antibacterial at the same time. Since Mollies are best kept
at SG 1.003, I'd recommend 6 grammes of marine salt mix per litre
of water. There's not much point trying to keep Mollies in a
freshwater aquarium because they rarely (seemingly, less than 50% of
the time) do well. You're also fighting with one hand behind your
back because the tank is so small, so a difficult job is being made
twice as hard.>
My questions are: Should I raise the heat, and how I can treat both the
Columnaris and Ich concurrently? Also, should I remove my plants?
<Plants will not be affected by antibiotics or antibacterials used
correctly, and a salinity of SG 1.003 is fine for hardy, salt-tolerant
Thanks very much for your help and your wonderful website.
Re: Mollies with Columnaris and Ich
Thanks very much for your help. The Mollies are currently in a ten
gallon tank because they are in quarantine (their permanent home will
be a 40-gallon heavily-planted breeder tank).
<Ah, that makes sense. A 40-gallon system will be perfect.>
The water parameters of that tank are:
Carbonate hardness: approximately 200 mg/L CaCO3
<That's 200/17.8 = 11.2 degrees KH. That's extremely high,
and while perfect for Mbuna or Central American livebearers, a lot of
other fish will find that a bit on the hard side for their tastes. Do
be aware when choosing fish and plants.>
Their tankmates will be Wrestling Halfbeaks, Scarlet Badis, White
Clouds, and Threadfin Rainbows.
<Halfbeaks will thrive, the others should tolerate, but may not show
optimal colours or longevity.>
I was hoping the Mollies would do well without salt because of the high
pH and hardness, and I wasn't sure (aside from the Halfbeaks)
whether the plants and other residents would appreciate the salt.
<Plants that tolerate hard water generally do well in slightly
brackish water too; species such as Vallisneria, Hygrophila, Java
ferns, hardy Crypts, etc. If you have plants that need soft water,
chances are they
aren't going to thrive a this level of carbonate hardness either,
so it's a moot point. As for the fish: Halfbeaks tolerate salt
well, but the others are truly freshwater fish.>
But I will add salt and remove some of the other residents and non-salt
tolerant plants if necessary.
<Would be my recommendation. Mollies deserve a tank of their own:
they're spectacular fish, and wonderful pets. But they are finicky
in freshwater systems. They need perfect water quality. You might
decide to medicate them in the quarantine tank, and when they're
healthy again, try them out in a plain freshwater tank. With luck,
you'll be okay. But if you find you're constantly having to
deal with Fungus and Finrot, remove the Minnows, Rainbows and Badis,
add a little salt, and maintain the system at SG 1.002-1.003.>
I've started to slowly raise the salinity of the quarantine tank,
and I'm off to the LFS to pick up the antibiotic and a hydrometer.
I believe we have Maracyn and Maracyn II available here (Canada), so I
A couple more questions, if you'll bear with me:
Which Maracyn product would be most effective against Columnaris?
<Maracyn rather than Maracyn 2 is usually used first. It contains
Erythromycin, which should work on Flexibacter columnaris.>
If the Mollies recover, when would it be safe to place them into my
main tank (so that Columnaris does not contaminate that tank).
<Columnaris, like Finrot, is a disease latent in all tanks, and the
bacteria involved is presumably harmless most of the time. It appears
not because a fish "caught" the disease, but because the fish
weakened, and its immune system overwhelmed. So provided the other fish
are healthy, you shouldn't worry about cross-contamination.>
Re: Mollies with Columnaris and Ich - Update
Thanks very much, Neale, for your advice. Just thought I would give you
an update on the Mollies. I used the salt + heat treatment for the ick,
and the ick has disappeared.
For the mouth rot, I couldn't find Maracyn at my LFS, so I used TC
capsules (tetracycline). The mouth rot hung around during the course of
the treatment (5 days), and then I had an ammonia spike (the packaging
on the TC capsules claims that they will not affect the biological
filter, but I suspect otherwise).
Unfortunately one of the Mollies died (oddly, it was the healthiest,
<Sorry to hear that; I wonder why?>
I subsequently performed 75% water changes for the next several days to
control the ammonia, used activated carbon to remove the tetracycline,
then added some nice filthy filter media from my other tank to
repopulate the nitrifying bacteria. Over the next several days, the
mouth rot on the remaining Mollies disappeared, but I'm not sure if
I can attribute it to the tetracycline or the water changes.
<It's a combination: the antibiotic kills off the bacteria, but
improved water quality allows the fish's immune system to repair
the damage and prevent re-infection>
Anyway, the remaining Mollies have recovered, and in a week or so, I
will remove them from quarantine and place them in my 40-gallon
Also, you were right, the salt did not seem to affect my plants
(Hygrophila polysperma, Hygrophila corymbosa, Rotala rotundifolia, Java
Moss, and Bacopa monnieri).
<Not sure about Rotala, but certainly the others are happy in
brackish water, let alone slightly salty/warm water of the sort used to
Thanks again for your help,
<Thanks for the update, Neale.>
Hi my name is Melisa some of my fish have white spots on fins and the
rest look fine I just put in a sucker fish in and know my mollies have
white spots on them what should I do. I have the mollies two rainbow
sharks, two cat fish. Can I still raise the tem on the fish tank and
add the salt. thank u for your help yours truly Melisa.
<Hello Melisa. You will need to treat for Ick, either using the
salt/heat method or else with a proprietary Ick medication. Used
correctly, neither should harm your other fish or the filter. Do note
that Mollies tend to be sickly in freshwater tanks.
Sucker fish, by which I assume you mean Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, is a
beast of a fish, and unless your tank is over 55 gallons in size, it
will eventually become so territorial it will likely terrorise your
other fish. It isn't a community fish. Cheers, Neale.>
Treating illness with central filtration
I work at a retail store with fresh water tanks, where all the tanks
share a large single sump filter.
I would like to know what the best way to treat ich and fungus in this
situation are, because quarantining is a not an option for me
<Since the free-living Ick parasite moves for 24 hours or more
through the water column, you can reliably assume all the other fish
have been exposed to the parasite.>
Currently I turn the filter off
and treat each tank with ich medication
<If you want, assuming all the livestock are
copper/formalin-tolerant; invertebrates and snails won't be, and
some fish, particularly loaches, puffers and some catfish are also
<Salt + heat can work.>
and Melafix for a while before turning the filter back on.
<You must leave the filter running. A dead filter will kill more
fish more quickly than Ick! The only precaution here is to remove
carbon prior to using medication.>
Would it be better to leave the filter on and add medication directly
to the sump?
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale>
Question about fish with ich! 3/24/09
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
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
<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
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.
<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?
<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
One last thing,
would Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Aquarium Salt from PetSmart be the right
<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
Hatchetfish with ich? - 02/08/09 OK...we bought
three silver hatchetfish 5 days ago, they've been in our quarantine
tank which only has a few cherry shrimp and snails in it. They seem
vigorous and as of this morning are still hearty eaters. But two days
ago I noticed a few white spots on the fins of one of the hatchetfish,
now he's got about 7-8 spots and one of the other fish has 2 spots.
They look like grains of salt and I'm pretty sure it's ich.
Glad they are in the quarantine tank. I've read your faqs about ich
and the consensus seems to be that the heat/salt combination is less
abrasive and works best, is that correct? Will my cherry shrimp and
snails be ok with the heat and salinity? I have read snails and shrimp
are not susceptible to ich, but they can carry it on them, correct?
What would be the best way to handle my ich problem given the
snails/shrimp are in the tank? Should I give them a salt dip and move
them? Leave them with the hatchetfish and do salt/heat? Or use
something like Ich-X or Rid-Ich? I am hesitant to use chemicals as they
seem very harsh? Thanks, Melissa <Hello Melissa. Hatchetfish are
very prone to Ick/Whitespot, which is why I recommend quarantining them
for at least two weeks before putting them into a community tank. As
you correctly suspect, copper-based medications that will treat the Ick
will also kill shrimps and snails, so can't be used. (This is, by
the way, why you don't add other livestock to a quarantine tank:
doing so defeats the whole object of the exercise.) But you are where
you are, so let's deal with things as they stand. Salt/heat
won't harm shrimps or snails. Snails and shrimps can indeed carry
the free living parasites on the water "stuck" to their
bodies if moved from one tank to another. The parasites can't live
on them shrimps or snails, so you can QT both by putting them in
another tank for a few weeks. This will break the life cycle as the
free living (= juvenile) parasites die if they cannot find a host
within a set period of time (around 24 hours, but depends on
temperature and other factors). Salt dips won't work: you MUST
expose fish, shrimps and snails to the salt/heat combo for the
requisite period of time. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hatchetfish with ich? 02/09/09 Hi Neale,
<Unfortunately "out"> Thanks for your reply.
Hatchetfish don't have any more (or less) spots and are still
eating well. <Ah, good> They are tolerating the salt dosed as
recommended but I am having trouble getting the temp about 82, I guess
I need a stronger heater because it's been turned up to max temp
and it doesn't get any hotter. <Ahh, perhaps another heater of
similar wattage in tandem> I took the shrimp and snails out and put
them in a old tank we had from a Betta long ago, it's only 2.5
gallons but has a heat/light they seem fine. <Good> Our local
fish specialty store said salt doesn't work, heat is fine but
recommended ParaGuard by SeaChem, they said it is less abrasive and
works well. I hate that I get different advice everywhere, I never know
what is best. Have you heard of it? <I have, and this is a good
product. However, the heat alone should effect a cure here> Or in
your opinion should we just stick with the heat/salt? <This last is
what I would do. Bob Fenner> Melissa
Ich, Meds, & Scaleless-- 1/20/09 Hello WWM, You
have been my trusty source for over two years, and I'm ashamed to
say I have read your 'related articles' and I'm thoroughly
confused about what to do with the unstoppable and dreaded Ich in my 50
g bowfront with 3 African brown knives, 1 black knife, 3 featherfins, 2
pim pictus, Hatchetfish, zebra Danio? They were perfectly fine, weekly
water changes, water tests all good - no deaths for 6 months, then I
bought my black knife and a pictus - yes, without quarantine because
they looked fine. 3 days ago, I did a 70% water change, vacuumed
gravel, raised the temp a couple degrees last few days to 83, heading
to 86, have used RidIchPlus+ every 12 hours and covered the tank for
complete darkness all to no avail. I'm going to add an airstone
because of the higher temp. But the problem is, it's worse. The ich
is now on the eyes of my African browns, I'm so afraid they
aren't going to make it. What else can I do? I saw your remarks
about aq. salt 1tbsp/10g and 1/2 strength malachite green -- all this
on top of what I'm doing? No article provides a holistic remedy
about all the interactions of these different treatments -- at what
point am I overdoing it and curing the disease but killing my fish?
What more should I be doing or what should I stop at this point? Should
I remove all the plastic plants and accessories and wash them in a
vinegar solution? I feared this would keep stressing them out....Help!
I can't think of anything else but to save my babies... Holistic
Answer Seeker <Hello. The "holistic" answer to healthy
fish is to optimise water quality and provide a healthy diet.
That's it. Nothing else. Usually when people have problems with
fish health it's either the water quality is poor or they offer
their fish an unhealthy diet, for example one containing feeder fish. I
mention these things because a 50 gallon tank is way too small for the
fish you have, a single Notopterus notopterus (Featherfin Knifefish)
will easily overwhelm that tank once it reaches its adult size of
around 60 cm (about 24 inches). Obviously the Danio and Hatchetfish
will end up as food, and while these Knifefish are predators in the
wild, allowing predatory fish to consume live fish in captivity is one
of the best ways to make them sick. (Both Danios and Hatchets should be
in schools, preferably in separate tanks, since Danios tend to
bully/kill Hatchetfish.) In any case, let's review the Ick problem.
The combination of salt and heat should kill the free-living parasites
once the cysts burst open. Do bear in mind that an open cyst is a
pathway for secondary infections, and one of the major problems with
severe Ick outbreaks is that things like Finrot can soon follow on.
Because Knifefish are more tolerant of salt than copper/formalin,
I'd definitely be using the salt and heat method to treat them.
Indeed, some Knifefish inhabit brackish water, and the Asian species
especially are pretty adaptable. Do not add any other medications to
the water during this phase. Very few medications interact well. Do a
couple of big (50% plus) water changes between the end of using one
treatment and the beginning of another, so that you can flush out any
residual medication. You can also filter with fresh carbon for the same
effect, but frankly water changes are good so why not do them anyway?
All else being equal, I'd expect otherwise healthy Knifefish to
recover from Ick without too much fuss. But this is contingent on
ammonia and nitrite being zero and the pH staying stable, in other
words, conditions in the tank being good. In the meantime, start saving
up for that 200 gallon tank: you're going to need it! Cheers,
Re: Ich, Meds, & Scaleless-- 1/20/09 Thanks
Neale for your response, because I may have a cough, but if I take all
40 cough meds available to me I may cure the problem but harm myself in
the process. <Hi Michelle, your analogy is a good one. All
medications are poisons: it's a question of dose.> That's
where I'm at with all the articles on here - you all endorse
Aquarisol, RidIch+ and some other meds at half strength with scaleless
and some other remedies here and there, but as for the whole package
approach at one time you say just stick to heat, salt, good food and
50% water changes <We each have different experiences, but broadly
speaking you'll find agreement on the basics; tea-tree oil
doesn't work, salt is useful for specific problems, not everything;
and copper-based medications are toxic to different fish at varying
levels.> I'm confused by some points in your response. 1.You say
I have a Featherfin Knifefish that can reach 2 feet, I don't - I
have Featherfin catfish which reach 10 in max., aka Synodontis
Eupterus. <Ah, that wasn't clear from your list. It seemed to be
a list of Knifefish. As you say, S. eupterus isn't so big. A nice
fish, by the way.> And I have the one inch zebra Danio, not the
giant ones so they have never bothered the Hatchetfish. <The Zebras
can be bullies! Not every time, and not in every tank. As you can
understand, I have to try and offer advice that works in the most
possible situations.> Brown and Black knives usually leave all alone
if they are fed twice a day as I've experienced and Bob Fenner
mentions in his articles. <Does vary on the tank and the tankmates.
If yours are happy, that's great. But ordinarily, I wouldn't
recommend people mix them, and certainly not in relatively modest
aquaria.> 2. So the complete approach is Heat, salt and water
changes are the answer? The heat is 85 and quite a challenge to
maintain with 50% water changes and isn't there a risk of gas
bubble disease or water hardness issues from the tap? <Salt/heat
should work fine. As for the water changes, provided you dechlorinate
the water, I can't see any problems with gas or hardness, assuming
the water isn't a problem for the fish ordinarily. You don't
have to keep the water at 30 C (85 F) by the way. All heat does is
speed up the life cycle, so instead of it taking a week for the cysts
to burst, it only takes a couple of days. So if you're more
comfortable keeping the fish at, say, 28 C (82 F) then by all means do
so, or even cooler if you prefer. It's the SALT not the HEAT that
kills the parasite.> How often should I be doing the water changes -
from the bottom or top? <Your normal water change cycle would be
fine, say, 25% per week.> After each one should I be replenishing
with aquarium salt at the rate of 1 Tablespoon per 10 gallons removed?
<Yes: any water removed should be replaced with salted water.
Evaporated water should be replaced with UNSALTED water, since
evaporation doesn't carry away the salt. Please do weigh out your
tablespoons, at least once, to check you're adding the right amount
of salt. A tablespoon should be three teaspoons, or about 3 x 6 = 18
grammes. That's about 0.65 ounces.> It falls to the bottom and
remains solid so does that run the risk of having too much in the
aquarium if I didn't vacuum it all? <Are we talking about salt
here? DO NOT add salt to the aquarium! Dissolve the salt in the bucket
of water first. While the danger of grains of salt sitting in the tank
isn't in itself a huge risk, if a fish is stupid enough to eat a
lump of salt, that would be fatal.> As for food I feed them Hikari
bloodworms in AM, and then pinch of flake food and 2 algae chips in
evening. <Sounds good.> And finally, I really should stop the
RidIch+? <Yes; salt/heat OR Ick medication. No need for both.> By
the way, Day 5, nothing is better; the ich is on their eyes. I'm
doing a 50% water change - I've been doing it every other day. Day
1 was 70%, then Day 3 was 30%, now I'll do a 50%. <Let me
clarify. How long have you been treating with salt/heat? The salt
won't work until the cysts burst. I'm also curious about
whether this really is Ick. There are some other things that can look
similar. Any chance of a photo? Other things might be Velvet or
physical trauma.> Thanks, M <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ich, Meds, & Scaleless-- 1/20/09 Neale,
<Hello,> I just took out all the plastic plants thinking that
maybe they have to be rinsed well of the food particles and what not
that accumulates over time. I carefully inspected them all - 1/2
don't seem infected. <We're talking about the plastic
plants? These won't be "infected" with anything, though
any wet object can carry Ick parasites from one tank to another (why
retailers sterilise their nets in between catching fish for customers).
By all means clean plastic plants, I'd recommend every month or so,
or whenever they look dirty. But in and of themselves, they should
really cause problems.> The two worst are the pictus catfish - in
fact, one has blood red spots on the tips of several fins. <Now this
sounds like Finrot.> They are both entirely covered with
salt-size-dots that I assume to be Ich (i.e. Just as if you salted a
fish for dinner.) <"Salt grains" accurately describes Ick,
I'll admit that. But because Ick (brought in with the new fish)
breaks the skin/mucous layer on a fish, it makes them vulnerable to
Finrot and Fungus, so you may have multiple issues to deal with. On the
plus side, there is no reason not to use a reputable Finrot medication
(e.g., Maracyn) alongside salt/heat treatment. Maracyn obviously works
in brackish and marine fish tanks, so a tiny bit of salt isn't
going to cause any problems.> Then my brown knives are coated in the
same tiny white dots and several eyes are going cloudy now too. So it
looks like it's bacterial as well? <I think we're dealing
with two issues at once.> I just scrubbed and rinsed my Whisper
filter. I put the two carbon filters back in. <Do please remember:
Carbon removes medications (other than salt) from the water. You cannot
treat fish while leaving carbon in the filter. Even I've made this
mistake, and wondered why my fish didn't heal. The reality is that
carbon is more trouble (and expense) than it's worth in most
freshwater tanks.> Every time I add water I try to make it the same
temperature, add a tiny drop of water conditioner to take out metals.
<Not sure what you mean by a "tiny" drop, but the dose on
the package per gallon, yes.> I added the dissolved salt water - API
aquarium salt, right? <This is fine. You don't want marine salt
mix because that would alter the pH and hardness. Tonic or aquarium
salt, such as that from API, should be fine.> I don't know what
else to do. Should I pull out the pictus, set up a hospital tank for
them separately because one of them was the one who started all this?
<No. I'd treat everyone together.> But I still have to treat
my main tank? My poor baby brown knife is hovering vertical in the
corner in distress that I safely had for years; I don't think she
has much longer. <Do please review the environment, just in case.
It's easy to assume water quality and pH are good because they
always have been, and in fact they're not any more. But assuming
they're good, I think the problem here is that we've got Ick
that prompted a Finrot outbreak, and because you've used carbon,
the Ick medication didn't work, so things kept getting worse. The
real damage Ick does is to the gills, making fish increasingly
"out of breath" and that's why they look so unhappy. The
good news is that they should recover, even from fairly bad cases,
given the right treatment.> Losing it, M <Good luck,
Re: Ich, Meds, & Scaleless-- 1/20/09 Neale, re
fin rot I have been reading about this bacteria and I am separating
them, but have I been making them sicker by adding salt? <The salt
dose I recommend is very low, and won't stress your fish unduly.
Even salinities as high as around 6 g/l (SG 1.003, about 0.8 oz per
gallon) aren't going to harm freshwater fish in the short term.
Indeed, elevated salinities may have some therapeutic value under some
<That's a good article, but the comment on salt is a bit
misguided. Salt has little/no impact on Finrot directly, though fish
that prefer saline conditions (for example Mollies) are more prone to
Finrot when salt isn't added to the water. The bacteria that cause
Finrot live in fresh, brackish and saltwater conditions, so obviously
salt itself isn't toxic to them. Now, while adding salt in the long
term (i.e., every week) isn't a good idea with freshwater fish, in
the short term (a few weeks of treatment) there is little evidence it
harms them, and by contrast much more evidence that the alternatives
(such as copper) are more immediately toxic. This is why
"delicate" fish such as Stingrays, Mormyrids, Knifefish and
Loaches are treated with the salt/heat method, not copper-based
standard issue Ick medications. Is salt poisonous to catfish? No more
so than to any other freshwater fish, and there are in fact MANY
catfish that live in brackish water habitats, and a surprising number
that live in the sea. It comes as a surprise to many people who repeat
this "salt is dangerous to catfish" idea that there are in
fact catfish that live on coral reefs!> "The use of aquarium
salt will benefit livebearing fish, but should be avoided in fish, such
as scaleless catfish, that are sensitive to salt" <Scales are
neither here nor there. Moray eels don't have scales, but they live
in the sea. Goldfish have scales, but live in freshwater. It's all
to do with how a fish is adapted to its environment, and nothing at all
to do with its skin! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ich, Meds, & Scaleless-- 1/20/09 Neale, To
answer your questions - I removed the carbon 5 days ago when I began
treating this - I know it removes medicines. <Cool.> I never put
it back in there until today when I removed all the plastic plants
because it stirred up so much debris that I needed to cycle it out to
clean the water along with my 50% water change. 1/2 my fish, not
plastic plants, look sick, the other half fine - that's why I
thought it a good idea to isolate the pictus in a hospital tank - so
now that we know we have comorbidity (multiple things going on here)
should I begin with the Maracyn? <I would.> m <Cheers,
Re: Ich, Meds, & Scaleless Neale, They are
dying now by the minute. The ich seems to have receded except with the
African brown knives. Bala showed no signs, even with the Ich, except
today a bloody top fin where it connects to him. My small African brown
knife died and internally at the tail and mouth it was blood colored.
My medium African brown knife is upside down. What's the most awful
new symptom is giant pieces of skin of the Featherfin catfish and brown
knives were just falling off in large grey pieces like something out of
a horror movie. I did the Day 2 dosage of Maracyn and Day 1 dosage for
Maracyn-Two. How did this happen? All from a sick pictus? I just
don't understand how my whole tank is dying and not responding to
anything - I change the water every 48 hours. The temp stays at 84.
What is going on that it only gets worse? Is it possible they have true
fungi and body fungi and internal and external body infections all at
the same time? My water is so clean, I put in an extra bubble wand,
removed the decor...I'm just so lost and tired of crying with each
death. It just feels so hopeless. M <Michelle, if the fish are
becoming bloody on the body and not just the fins, that tends to imply
a systemic bacterial infection, something akin to septicaemia. That is
very difficult to cure, which is why the accent when dealing with
bacterial infections is to recognise them early on (the Finrot stage)
or better yet, prevent them altogether. So in all honesty, I cannot
offer much hope with regard to the fish already at that point. Ick
doesn't so much "recede" as move from the whitespot cyst
phase to the free-living stage in the water. The fish that have lost
their cysts haven't been cured: it is essential to understand this.
The cysts have burst, and the parasites are now in the water. The salt
should kill those parasites, so your fish will not be re-infected, and
that's how the Ick cycle gets broken. Now, the burst cysts are
sites for secondary infections, so it is critical to keep an eye on
them for any signs of Finrot or Fungus. I am concerned that things have
spiraled out of control incredibly quickly here, which is why I
don't think Ick by itself is the issue. I can't stress this
point strongly enough: you must check the water quality and water
chemistry to see if there's anything else that might be causing
problems. If this was me, and I was losing a bunch of fish rapidly,
I'd be super-critical of aquarium conditions. I'd take the fish
out and put them in a bucket. I'd remove the filter, rinse the
media, and keep it running, connected to the bucket with the fish (easy
to do with canister filters just by moving the inlet and outlet hoses
to the bucket). I'd then strip down the aquarium, give everything a
good clean, especially the gravel, and re-fill will fresh,
dechlorinated water (with salt added in this case). Once that was done,
I'd acclimate the fish to the new aquarium water just as if
you'd bought them new. In other words, I'd remove some (10-15%)
water from the bucket, replace with water from the aquarium, and repeat
this 5 or 6 times over the next couple of hours. Then the fish would be
lifted out and put into the tank. The idea is to minimise contamination
of the new aquarium water with water from the bucket. Anyway, yes, this
is fairly extreme, but at least this way I'd be assured the fish
had optimal water quality without being exposed to rapid changes in pH,
hardness or temperature. Since the Ick life cycle has broken, you can
lower the water temperature to the normal 25 C/77 F. To answer your
question, can all this be caused by one new fish, the answer is quite
clearly "yes". The bigger question though is did the catfish
bring in a disease that caused this problem, or did the catfish merely
destabilise what was already a flawed aquarium. I mention that because
in my experience aquaria have a "carrying capacity", and one
fish can throw the whole thing off balance, until the livestock
"die back" to a stable level. It isn't easy to predict
this level, and "inch per gallon" rules are seriously
misleading. So as I say, be critical about how heavily stocked your
tank is, and think about whether filtration is adequate and if the
available carbonate hardness is adequate to maintain a stable pH. Sorry
I can't offer any easy fixes. Good luck, Neale.>
Questions about specific treatments for
Hi We have a large tank with blood fin
tetras, black widow tetra's, Gourami's, Pleco's Angel fish,
Mystery (Apple) snails , Kuhli loaches, and a platy. My question is
regarding which fish will not cope with treatment with Wardley's
Ick away. I hear that loaches will not cope with a full dose treatment.
so we will isolate the Kuhlis in another tank and half dose them, Their
is a concern with the Tetra's, The blood fin's and the Black
widow tetra's. Are they fine with a full dose treatment. Also the
snail's are they going to be affected. Are plants going to be
thank you for your time. also if any of the other fish are not ok with
the treatment please let me know.
My approach will be to remove Kuhli loaches.
Turn off the aquarium light (Treatment deteriorates in light), Raise
the temperature to 27 degrees Celsius (80.6f) (To speed up life cycle
of Ich (Ichthyophthirius multifilis).
Treat with appropriate dose for a week. Vacuum tank every couple of
Re dosing salt after vacuum (A couple handfuls for the 160 litre tank)
and cross fingers that the treatment clears up the infestation and
thank you for your time, I appreciate your effort..
mike and Nicola
<Copper- and formalin-based medications are lethal to snails and
shrimps. There are also some reports of certain medications being
stressful/toxic to loaches and catfish. So in this instance I'd
eschew standard Ick medications in favour of salt/heat treatment. See
Raise the temperature to 82-86 F. Add salt to a jug of warm water at a
dose of 2-3 teaspoons per gallon (12-18 grammes per 3.8 litres) of
water in your aquarium. Dribble slowly into the outflow from the filter
so it quickly stirs into the water. Leave for 1-2 weeks, and then lower
the thermostat and do your regular water changes to gradually lower the
salinity. This very low salinity is harmless to your fish and
invertebrates, but will kill the free living parasites (not the white
spots you can see!) breaking the cycle of re-infection. Cheers,
Ich! help!!! 10/14/08 Dear WWM crew...
<Hi,> i have a 55 gallon fully planted aquarium, which i have
been working on since January of last year. Up until 3 days ago,
everything was in order. I do a 10- 15 percent water change
religiously... (AT LEAST twice a week), i feed sparingly, and i have an
eheim canister filter that hasn't failed me yet. 3 days ago i
noticed that my lampeye killies were dying off, one or two a day. I had
a shoal of 9, but now only one is left. I also had a Prochilodus that
was with me from the very beginning, and he just kicked the can this
morning. <When more than one fish dies within a few days, and
especially if more than one species is affected, the FIRST thing you do
is grab your test kits and check the nitrite and the pH. Why? You want
to know [a] whether water quality remains good; and [b] whether the pH
is stable, and therefore whether water chemistry is stable.> I made
sure the filter was properly working, i did a 50 percent water change,
and then i noticed on my beautiful Congo tetras, small white spots all
over! Also, it looks as if their fins are starting to deteriorate!
<Almost certainly a reaction to poor conditions. The Whitespot tends
to come in with new livestock, and there's much debate about
whether it can lie "dormant" in tanks for any length of time.
So the question is what have you recently added to the tank? Do be
aware that nets can transfer Whitespot parasites, and they can even get
into tanks via plants, if those plants were in tanks with fish. On the
other hand, Finrot is an opportunistic infection that appears whenever
fish are stressed.> I have had these Congos for months, and their
finnage is finally stunning...to lose them now would kill me....I also
noticed white salt looking spots on almost all my other fish. My
threadfin rainbows are covered, and even my Endler guppies are fighting
white specks on their fins. I have researched online ich treatment, but
they all prescribe a medicine which might be potentially harmful to my
giant Amano shrimp, cherry shrimp, and clams... what can i do to save
my fish? and keep my inverts alive as well??? please help!
<You're in the classic "Morton's Fork" that
reef-keepers have to deal with. Formalin and especially copper-based
medications are lethal to shrimps and most other invertebrates. Your
best option is to raise the water temperature to around 28-30 C and add
salt (tonic salt is fine) so that the salinity is raised to the point
where the free-living theronts (which emerge from the cysts) are
killed. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm This
requires a dose of 2-3 teaspoons per gallon. Don't add the salt
directly: instead heat some water to about 40 degrees C, pour into a
jug, and then stir in the necessary amount of salt to make a brine.
Over a few hours, add this to the tank to gently raise the salinity,
taking care to keep stirring the jug or adding more warm water if any
salt comes out of solution. Leave the tank running at this elevated
salinity for 2-3 weeks, and then turn down the heater and do a series
of water changes across the next week or so to return things to normal.
This low level of salinity is harmless to fish and shrimps (and,
usually, plants), but will be enough to kill the Whitespot.> best.
peter <Cheers, Neale.>
Clown Pleco Skin Patchy-ness... medication poisoning,
Well, to start I have 9 Zebra Danio's, 10 Neon Tetra's, 6
Harlequins, 2 Cory's, a rather peaceful Siamese Fighter, and a
Clown Pleco. My tank was recently infected with the Whitespot disease
which killed off all 6 or my Bleeding Hearts, my other Clown Pleco, a
male and female Dwarf Gourami's (I still have 1 other female Dwarf
Gourami but I suspect she won't make it) and all 7 of my Emperor
Tetra's. (The Emperor's where the ones to bring it into the
tank.) We used Exit
for the Whitespot and the treatment worked on the rest that didn't
die but its started to come back on the Neon's and Siamese (who is
dubbed Jackie Chan ^_^).
We're treating the Ick again
<I would be reading on WWM re... at least elevating temp. to bolster
a cure here:
and the linked files above>
but my main problem at the moment is my Clown Pleco. He's chocolate
brown with kind-of yellow spots and stripes.. So far he hasn't been
affected at all by the Ick but I've noticed he's gotten some
lighter patches on his skin.
<Is affected... more by the eSHa product likely...>
They seem to be crescent shape and go down his back (though this is in
a regular pattern). He's also gone very quiet (whereas before he
was quite active) and isn't eating as much. He's barely moved
at all day.
<Being poisoned... have you measured any ammonia,
I did a water test and the results came back fine aside from the pH
which showed between 5-6.
<Dangerously low... likely not well buffered either... Do you know
much re alkalinity AND pH? Please see WWM re, and possibly at least mix
in some source water with appreciable hardness>
I don't know if there is something wrong with the Pleco but I'm
quite fond of him and am not keen on losing any more fish. ^_^;
<Then... I'd be reading... Stat>
Any help would be much appreciated.
<Read. Bob Fenner>
Re: Clown Pleco Skin Patchy-ness, Ich
Many thanks for your help, it is greatly appreciated. I read on your
site about raising the temperature to kill the Ick, and I've now
raised it to 80 F however I am concerned about raising the temperature
to the level required to kill off all stages of Ick as I know some of
the fish I have, such as the Danios, tend to prefer cooler
Would it be ok, bearing in mind the different species I have, to raise
<Yes... better by far than to suffer, perhaps perish from the ich
itself... or more medicine exposure. If they were mine, I'd go
ahead and raise the temperature to 83-84 F.. This is not too high for
Danios in the short term>
What temperature do you consider tolerable for the different fish in
<For all the species you list (below) in your original email, this
temporary elevation will be fine... Do take care in a couple weeks
however to lower it slowly... no more than a degree per day or
I've done another water change. And another water test. The results
came back as:
GH - 180
KH - 180
PH - 7.0
Nitrites CNO2 - 0
Nitrates - 20
<Mmm, the Nitrates are borderline high... going forward I would read
re such on WWM:
and the linked FAQs file above... and do what you can to reduce this
Also, in the past week I have done two 50% water changes (leaving a few
days between each change) and another 25% earlier today.
I checked the Clown Pleco and I couldn't spy any patches on him. I
hope this is an improvement. Though he is still quiet and not moving as
Thanks again for your help.
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.>
Help! Emergency!, Ich treatment, Water Changes 6/17/08 Hey!
<Hello> Um......I'm in a bit of a jam. My 20 gallon tank
which has quite a bit of fish in there has had two guppies develop ich
and I have already had to kill them. <Why? Need to slow way down
here.> Would a water change help? <Would help improve the
environmental conditions I bet.> If so, could you give me directions
how to do it? <All you seek is here
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm .> Is
there anything else that I could do? <Yes, see here
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm .> My dad Already
said no to treating in because he says the treatment turns the water a
dark blue and he says that its like you're actually poisoning them.
<I think he is talking about using Methylene Blue, which is very
safe but not very effective.> Please e-mail back! Also, I have
another 10 gallon tank for my newborn fry. Could I get ich in that too?
<Yes> Should I do a water change? <When in doubt do a water
change.> -Sarah <Chris>
Frustrated with Fish, FW Disease, Ich
5/14/08 I have a 55Gallon goldfish tank. It has been up and
running for a few months now. The numbers are as follows Ammonia = 0
Nitrites = 0 Nitrates = 60ppm this number is due to a problem with
source water, recently I switched to using spring water as recommended
by my LFS. This seems to have solved that problem. <Might want to
look into an RO/DI unit, could be cheaper in the long term depending on
what the spring water costs you.> I am now battling ich. I used
Maracide to treat the tank. <Malachite green, pretty toxic stuff.
There are less toxic means to fight this, see here
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm . > I treated the
tank exactly per the instructions. I also brought the temperature of
the tank up to 76F to try and speed up the life cycle of the parasite.
All but one of the goldfish died (there were four fancy in total). The
little black moor that is left is on his way out and the strange thing
about it is that the ich never actually left the bodies of the fish.
Over the course of treatment of seven days the ich never dropped off
the fish. The black moor has more ich on him now then when I started
treating. Is there anything that can be done for him? <Could try a
formalin bath, but be wary, formalin is also fairly toxic to people, so
may not be appropriate for a work environment. Don't want to get in
trouble for bringing a carcinogen into a doctor's office.> Also
I cannot let the tank go fallow because it is set up at a prominent
doctor's office and it also houses two ACF's, which by the way
are doing just Jim dandy. I need some help. I am getting frustrated and
losing fish and my boss is losing confidence in my ability to manage
the tank. Please help... <Can be frustrating.> Treat with an
alternative medication? (After a huge water change and running carbon
so as not to overdose the tank on meds.) <I would probably try to
avoid medications here since you can not QT these fish, most
medications will destroy your biofilter and lead to water quality
issues. I would try using salt first, "about 1 teaspoon per 5
gallons for two weeks."
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm .> Is
Maracide typically an effective solution? <Yes, but it leads to poor
water quality which can cause even more problems to the already
weakened fish.> How do I get the critters off of the fish so I can
kill them? <They pretty much have to cycle off themselves, most
treatments attack them in their more vulnerable free swimming
stage.> When might I ever be able to have fish again? <Without a
fish host their lifecycle is about 2 weeks. Best bet here is to QT any
new fish before placement in the tank to avoid these types of
problems.> Can I add fish while I medicate to ensure they do not
contract the disease? <I would not add anything to the tank while
treating. However if the tank is devoid of fish not treatment is
necessary, without fish hosts the tank will be ich free in about a
month.> What about the ACF's they handled the Maracide well but
I researched it and contacted Mardel to make sure it was safe, is an
alternative medication also going to sit well with them? <Amphibians
are going to be very sensitive to any chemical you put in the water, so
best bet here is to just let the tank run fishless for a month since
the Ich cannot host on the frogs.> I read that adding salt could be
effective but I also read that ACF's do not tolerate salt well?
<They do not generally do well with salt. My advice here is to let
the frogs run the tank for a month, then add new fish after a month
long QT to make sure they do not bring in any new diseases.> Oh and
finally, I forgot there is a little butterfly loach in there as well.
He seems to be fine although determining his health is tough because he
isn't very active. <If he remains in the tank, so will the
Ich.> Also I do know the benefits of a quarantine tank and I am
kicking myself but my options are limited because of the fact that I am
not able to make my own decisions about the tank. <For a display
tank like this a QT tank is almost mandatory, for the simple fact that
can't easily break down the tank and run it fallow. I think the
doctor would hopefully understand the old "ounce of
prevention" saying if you explain the benefits to him/her.>
African Cichlids scratching
5-1-08 Malawi Cichlids With Stubborn Itch Hi Chuck, We wrote to you back in January 2006 about an issue with
our fish scratching on rocks, gravel, etc. I've included the
e-mails below. Just wondering if we could ask for your advice one more
time! I'll give you an update... After your advice we treated for
Ich/ Protozoa infection on two separate occasions. The first dose
didn't stop them scratching so our local fish shop recommended a
second, prolonged treatment with a different brand (ie 2 treatments
back to back). That proved to be a disaster; it not only failed to stop
the scratching, but also killed many fish. We were left with a few P.
saulosi, P. acei and some Synodontis catfish. We spoke to many fish
shops and no one could help us or suggest any further treatments. One
said it could be the water conditioner or that it could just be natural
behaviour. Having lost so many fish we had given up on treating them
any further and just thought we'd see how things go. Over the past
2 years we've completely changed the rock, the sand, all water
conditioners/hardeners/etc., tried different foods, got a bigger
canister filter, put in some powerheads, added Seachem Purigen to the
filter (changed monthly) and maintained good water conditions
throughout. (Phew) All the fish seemed very healthy. They bred many
many times (to the point that there were far too many for the tank) and
even our Synodontis population tripled using the saulosi as hosts.
Everything was perfect...except they were STILL scratching! A week ago
we sold all the fish except the Synodontis and bought a colony of 5
large venustus (1 male 25cm, 4 females 20cm). Unfortunately I noticed
the male scratching last night. I can't see anything visually
wrong, no spots or anything. We checked the water conditions and got
the following: GH = 22 deg., KH = 10 deg., pH = 8, ammonia = 0,
nitrites = 0, nitrates < 5ppm (didn't register any on the test).
I'm absolutely stumped and very frustrated. It seems obvious that
it's a parasite... Do you have any ideas on what it could be? Is
there any way of testing the fish before trying to treat them? Any
natural remedies that won't kill the fish? Any non-parasite ideas?
Sorry about the long e-mail! Thanks in advance. Carl & Monica <
Ideally you take a sample of the protective slim from the skin of the
fish and look at it under a microscope. Look for parasites that may be
causing the irritation. If you tried the Rid-Ich, then I am surprised
that it didn't work. Generally new fish are stressed and they
produce lots of this protective slim. Sometimes they produce enough to
overcome the parasite and the organism becomes less of a problem. To
increase the slim you could add aquarium or rock salt. You don't
want to add too much because the slim will coat the gills and impede
respiration. Other natural remedies would be to increase the water temp
to the mid 80's F. Higher temps increase the metabolism of the
organism and they cannot keep this up. Think of it as giving your tank
a fever to fight a cold. I would start by adding a tablespoon of salt
per 5 gallons of water and raise the water temp to 83 F. If the fish
act too stressed then reduce the water temp until they feel more
comfortable. If the eyes are also cloudy then it could be bacterial.
Try Furanace, it works well on both bacteria and funguses. Minerals and
metals may also cause the irritations. You could set up a quarantine
tank and fill it with treated R/O or treated distilled water. That way
you are in control of the minerals/metals in the
water.-Chuck> Re: white specks 4/23/08 Hi Mike
and Crew, Thank you for the advice given so far. The tank inhabitants
are one male and three female Neolamprologus multifasciatus, chosen to
suit the small tank. My current water conditions are as follows;
Ammonia - .1ppm <Too much! Tanganyikans are notoriously sensitive to
nitrogenous waste, and even Nitrate causes problems, let alone Ammonia.
So, first up, review feeding and filtration. If these are basically
fine, then also check you don't have ammonia in your drinking
water. Sometimes as plain vanilla ammonia, sometimes as chloramine. In
either case, you'll need to take remedial action by adding the
appropriate conditioner to the water prior to use. All this said, if
there's traces of ammonia in the drinking water, any half-decent
filtration system should remove it quite quickly.> Nitrite- 0ppm
Nitrate- 0ppm-1ppm PH- 7.6 (not currently adding Alkaline Buffer as
I've been doing twice a week 50% water changes to keep the white
specks numbers down) <Hmm... not sure you *can* safely economise on
carbonate hardness in a Tanganyikan tank.> GH-179ppm (not currently
adding KH/PH Plus as I've been doing twice a week 50% water changes
to keep the white specks numbers down) KH-179ppm (as above) <Adding
a pH buffer is largely irrelevant if you're adding sufficient
carbonate hardness. DIY recipes for making Rift Valley water using
cheap grocery store chemicals cost pennies per gallon. A common Rift
Valley salt mix is as follows. Per 5 gallons/20 litres: 1 teaspoon
baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) 1 tablespoon Epsom salt (magnesium
sulfate) 1 teaspoon marine salt mix (sodium chloride + trace elements)
Or get a recipe from a Rift Valley cichlid book, and then act
accordingly. While I agree that commercial Rift Valley salts are
pricey, that doesn't mean you can economise while treating your
fish. Raising the carbonate hardness should automatically take care of
the pH without any further need to add chemicals.> In my attempts to
eradicate the organism I have tried an 18 day course of white spot
eliminator, which had very limited effect. I then let the tank sit for
two weeks before trying two courses of Parasite Eliminator, followed by
water changes as directed, again with very limited results. <Do
check you have removed carbon. One of the most common reasons
medication don't seem to work is that carbon was left in the
system.> As I learn more about the fish and fish keeping, I am
hesitant to add more medications, instead doing twice weekly water
changes to let the tank and fish recover from medications. I will try
to take photo for more info but the specks don't photograph to
well, as they are tiny. They could be compared to half a grain of sand
size, and seem to be able to change directions in the water as they
move against the current. <Sound like either Whitespot or Velvet;
many medications treat both. Whitespot looks like salt, Velvet is
smaller and looks like confectioners/icing sugar. Velvet also tends to
have a slight golden sheen, hence the name. Often Velvet attacks the
gills before anything else, so your fish "flash" against
objects in irritation before any white spots become visible. Because
Velvet attacks the gills early on, it is almost always associated with
rapid or laboured breathing relative to normal.> At present I have
not seen the white spots form on the fish like any of the pictures on
the net, admittedly they are small fish which makes it hard to see.
Thank you again for you time and assistance any advice is much
appreciated. Kind regards, Darren. <Hope this helps, Neale.>
Brown knife and ich, reading 4/17/08 A
few fish in my tank have ich I added a medication called quick cure
wondering if it will affect my brown knife fish? <Mmm, yes. The
active ingredients (copper sulfate and formalin if memory serves) will
likely kill any Apteronotid> I would like to cure the ich without
harming the Knife so what do you suggest? <That you read:
http://wetwebmedia.com/ see the Freshwater Subweb... re FW Knives,
their Health/Diseases, the articles on Ich, and the active ingredients
in Quick Cure. Likely simply elevating temp. will "do it"
here... as you will find by reading. Bob Fenner>
Ick, FW... Discus incl. -03/27/08 Hello, I
have discus and cardinal tetra in a 44 gallon tank. The tetras have the
ich white spots. As soon as I noticed them I raised the tank
temperature to 82-84 removed the carbon filter and treated with
Rid-Ich. After several days and treatments the ich was still on them. I
then did a 50% water change and began treating with super ich
treatment. The discus appeared to be stressed so after two days put
filter back in and did water change. Cardinals still have white spots
but not noticeable on Discus. What can I use to get rid of the Ich and
not harm or stress the discus? Any assistance you can give me would be
greatly appreciated. Susan <Hi Susan. There's really no magic to
Ick medications, and when they don't work, it's either because
the disease was misidentified (e.g., it's Velvet, not Ick) or else
the medication was used improperly (e.g., wrong concentration, without
removing carbon, etc.). So check these things; it's easy to make
mistakes. Next up, I'd recommend trying alternate brands of
medication. I've found some medications much less effective than
others in some instances. I'm not a huge fan of raising the
temperature when using copper/formalin medications IF the Ick problem
is being dealt with early on. The standard operating temperature for
Discus is around 28C/82F, and that should be ample warmth to speed the
Ick life cycle to under a week. Raising the temperature makes more
sense with coldwater/subtropical fish where the life cycle takes
longer. Because Ick damages the gill membranes, the combo of high
temperature (= low oxygen) coupled with the Ick damage can lead to
breathing problems for the fish. In any case, removing carbon
shouldn't be causing distress to your fish. If you have so much
organic material being dumped into the aquarium that the water turns
nasty within a few days, you have bigger problems than Ick! Seriously,
carbon plays no particularly useful role in freshwater aquaria so I
wouldn't bother with it. Do always check that "modules"
in filters don't have hidden carbon sachets. Carbon exists in the
hobby primarily as a way for manufacturers to extract cash from
consumers, and they love to build in carbon (costs pennies) into
filters to force inexperienced consumers to buy new carbon modules
every month. Almost every time I've experienced or been told about
Ick medication not working, it's been because there was carbon
somewhere in the system. Cheers, Neale.>
Ick, planted aquaria -03/17/08 Hello
Crew, Once Again I Need Some Advice. <Overdoing the capital letters,
I think!> In The Marine Hobby 20 Years, Newbie To FW Planted Tank.
My planted FW Tank Is Flourishing Beyond My expectations. <And
that's bad because...?> 5 Cardinal Tetras, 2 Pairs Fancy
Guppies. 6 mo old. I Noticed 2 of the cardinals Have Ich (White Spots)
How Can I effectively treat a live planted tank without any effect on
the plants? <Plain vanilla Ick medication should work fine. It was
true in the old days that some medications harmed plants, but nowadays
this isn't the case. Most modern formulations are fine; check the
box/bottle for any notices to the contrary.> I do have a Quarantine
tank, Can I simply remove them? does the Ich Parasite remain live in
the tank without fish? <Just as with Marine Ick, if you remove the
fish, the free-living parasites die after a week or two.> Does It
attach to plants? <Free-living parasites can of course be present in
the water on a plant, but the parasite cannot feed on the plant so will
die if it cannot find a fish host.> Do I need to treat Both the tank
and the fish? <Leave the fish 'in situ' and then treat the
tank.> Thanks Crew, Grateful To The Crew In NJ.. <Cheers,
Air Bubbles/ Ick / Help! -03/17/08 Hello,
<Ave,> First of all, I want to thank you so much for this
extensive website. It has proven multiple times to be an
extremely helpful asset. I am very sorry if you have previously
answered this question before. <If we've answered it,
we'll direct to the answer!> Okay, I am living in a very
small apartment. Though I had many small aquariums when I was
younger, I have not had any in a very long time. What I was
originally looking for was a very small desktop aquarium to put
on my desk (obviously [= ). The one I purchased was the one
recommended to me by the PetSmart personnel, a Top Fin Aquascene
1. It's a triangular-shaped aquarium with dimensions
10.125'L x 7'D x 9.875'H. <Triangular (and any
other funky shaped) aquaria are bad; they're a waste of
space, and hold less water than a rectangular shape would.
They're also difficult to stock, because surface area is
critical, and again, these have less than ideal surface area to
volume ratio. If space is truly at a premium, then weird shape
aquaria are the WORST choices you can make.> I am not quite
sure how many gallons it is. <Easy: find out how many buckets
of water it takes to fill. In any case, since it's A LOT
smaller than 1 cubic foot (12 x 12 x 12 inches, about 8 US
gallons) this comes under the heading "Too Small For
Fish". Perhaps keep shrimps, plants, snails. But not
fish.> To filter, it uses an under gravel filter with an air
stone. <OK.> I purchased the fish that the associate
recommended: 3 (2 females -- one looks quite pregnant and 1 male)
red/orange guppies with black tails and fins (she told me they
were guppies, but after some research, I think they are actually
platys) and 1 albino dwarf 'sucker' catfish. All fish are
between 1 and 2 inches. <Nope. None of these are acceptable
for this aquarium. None. Not at all. Never. No. Nix.> I set up
the new tank with aquarium rocks and 2 aquarium plants, and
within a short time (about an hour) added the fish. I asked the
associate if there is anything I needed to do, and she never
mentioned cycling the aquarium. I had no idea that aquariums
needed to be cycled until I read something about it last night on
your wonderful site. I feel so horrible for not realizing it
before I put the fish in -- I am really worried about my fish.
<I'm worried too. You need to read/review fishkeeping
before spending money.> At least two of my guppies/platys have
developed signs of Ich/Ick (little white cysts) and one of them
is doing something that vaguely represents 'humping' the
water (not rubbing). I am so sorry for my crude description, but
I have no idea how else to put it. My little Harvey (the male) is
the one who is showing the most little white cysts. He has been
off by himself underneath a plant -- for a few minutes I thought
he was dead. I am so worried that I did something to hurt them.
<Yes, you did do stuff wrong. Wrong tank, wrong volume of
water, wrong way of setting up.> When I started up the tank, I
put some API Stress Coat into the aquarium to treat the water. I
have fed them Tetra Color Tropical Flakes. Last night I put in
some QuICK Cure, and put 2 drops in today instead of 1 because I
am not seeing any improvement. <Please, unless you're a
vet/microbiologist with a minor in organic chemistry -- follow
the instructions on the package! Don't make stuff up as you
go along!> I have also noticed an incredible amount of bubbles
on the top of my aquarium. They look as though they are start
from the top of the filter, although the water level is over the
top of the filter. At first, I thought that the bubbles were
caused by the air stone being too close to the top of the water
because it had slid up, but I pushed it back down, and there has
been no improvement in the amount of bubbles. <Bubbles like
CO2 coming out of solution as the water temperature changes.
Quite common in small tanks.> Are the bubbles in any way
related to the ICH? <No.> I thought it might be connected
because the bubbles completely but temporarily dispersed when I
added in the Quick Cure. <Unrelated.> Or, and I don't
think that this is it, but are the bubbles in any way possibly
related to the light? There is a small light in the aquarium. I
read somewhere that guppies/platys desire a 70ish temperature,
(my room stays at about 71), and since the water was quite cold
and I do not have a thermometer, I have left the light on
constantly since last Wednesday-ish. (I purchased the tank on
Monday evening, and it is now Saturday). Is this bad for them?
<Tropical fish should be kept at a constant 25 C/77 F. I
don't care how you do that, but you DO HAVE TO DO THIS.
Unless you live in the tropics, then your house will be too cold
for them. They're called "tropical fish" for a
reason, and not as a marketing ploy!> I also noticed a small
white membrany-looking thing inside the tube connected to the air
stone (I have no other idea how to describe it.) <Perhaps
algae or fungus of some sort. Siphon out.> Just wanted to
double check that I AM supposed to leave that air filter on all
the time. I turned it off last night because I was having so many
bubbles that the lid was coming off the tank. <Yes, the air
pump must stay on all the time if it is driving the undergravel
filter (or any other filter).> Also, the two guppies/platies
that were actually moving around were both like mesmerized by the
top of the air filter (where the bubbles come out.) <They like
water current.> I turned the light and pump off last night,
and the bubbles are gone. I am afraid to turn them back on.
<As temperature goes down, the CO2 dissolves into the water.
I'm sure you remember your chemistry class at school about
the solubility of gases in water as it relates to
temperature.> Also, I think that the first day I overfed them,
because I would watch them eat, and when it looked as though they
had finished, I would add more. I couldn't believe how much
they had eaten. However, I think that some of the flakes had been
swept by the filter into the top of one of the plants, because I
noticed several flakes mixed in with the rocks at the bottom.
<All food should be gone within 1-2 minutes of feeding. And in
such an insanely unsuitable aquarium as this, feeding more than
once a day would be wrong.> Also, should I do a water change?
<50% weekly.> The water isn't even a week old.
<Quite right. Old water is bad water.> Please tell me what
to do! -- I will do anything for them! ]= <Buy a bigger tank.
This is not negotiable. This aquarium was a stupid purchase
frankly, and I'd sooner you'd asked for help before
spending the money. There's no way these fish will last long
in it. Take my advice: get something around the 20 gallons mark.
Yes, it might look big in the store, but trust me, you will be so
thankful afterwards. You can keep reasonable numbers of fish
(those Corydoras are schooling fish for example and unhappy kept
in groups of less than 6) and your aquarium will be about 1
million times easier to keep.> Thank you so much in advance
for your time and concern. <Not a problem.> Jessica
<Cheers, Neale.> Re: Air Bubbles/ Ick / Help! Oh,
and its a 1-gallon aquarium. <Too small for fish. Possibly
cherry shrimps and snails. But that's it. Cheers,
Re: Air Bubbles/ Ick / Help! -03/17/08 Thank
you for the quick reply. <Not a problem.> The thing is, we
are not allowed to have aquariums larger than 2.5 gallons. I
agree, it is a stupid rule. <Well there it is: if this is the
rule, then fishkeeping honestly isn't an option. I'm
saying this from years of option *and* from daily trying to help
people with these "micro tanks". But for less
experienced hobbyists unable to select the appropriate livestock
and monitor/control water quality, these small aquaria are death
traps for fish.> I asked a million questions of multiple sales
associates, so I am sorry if I was under the impression that I
had done my research. <Don't be too disheartened. We all
make mistakes.> I am trying my very best to take care of them.
<Good stuff!> Please let me know what I should do.
<Apropos to what? In a tank this small I'd not be keeping
fish at all. I'd perhaps go with a clump of Java moss, a few
nice little Cryptocorynes, some pretty stones and sand, and then
some Nerite snails and cherry shrimps. That would be relatively
stable and easy to look after. Also colourful and fun to watch.
But fish honestly need more space than 2.5 gallons, except
perhaps a single Betta (but talk about a boring life, being a
Betta stuck in a glass box that size!).> Thank you in advance.
<Cheers, Neale.> Thanks again for your input. I really do
appreciate it. [= <Cool. Good luck, Neale.>
Salt&heat or Meds for Ich? -- 03/10/08 Hi,
thanks in advance for all your help. I discovered just a few ich spots
on my platies, and the different kinds of treatments I read about sound
intimidating. I have aquarium salt on hand that I use regularly since
they are livebearers, but I hesitate to put my fish through the high
temperatures and lower oxygen. What would you suggest as safest for
platies? Salt&heat, or do I make a run to the pet store tomorrow?
If salt&heat, what's the recommended course of action (how
much, how long, and what temperature)? Thanks so much. You people are
awesome. ~Jen P.S. Specs of the tank, in case it helps: 20 gal
freshwater Species tank of 3 varieties of platies: total of 10 fish
between 1 and 2 inches each Regular dosage of 1 Tbsp aquarium salt per
5 gallons during water changes <Jen, to be honest I'd just use a
standard copper-based Ick medication. Platies are sufficiently hardy
that copper intolerance isn't really an issue. That said, you can
raise the salinity to SG 1.003 (6 g/l), perhaps even SG 1.005 (9 g/l)
with care, and the Platies should be fine and even without additional
heat the Ick will die off quite quickly. Raise the salinity across a
few days, leave it there for a couple of weeks, then bring it down
again. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: cichlid question Disease
Treatment Recommendations -- 03/07/08 Thanks for the info but
before I got the reply, I got desperate and called the local
petstore (which might I add that here in the mountains where I
live good pet stores are few and far between) and she told me to
use Jungle brand Ick Guard to treat for Ick. I told her that it
didn't look like Ick and she said that it was the advanced
stages of Ick, and insisted that I use the Jungle brand Fungus
treatment along with the Ick Guard. < Ich is a common parasite
but usually shows lots of white spots. The Formalin I recommended
also does a great job on ich.> So Tuesday, I did a 50% water
change... Wednesday I tested my water 10ppm nitrates, 0 ammonia,
0 nitrites and the pH was 7.6 I know this needs to come up but I
was afraid of putting too many chemicals in the tank. I treated
with the Jungle brand products and the fish still look bad, but
eating well today on Thursday morning but after reading your
reply today, I am afraid that I am wasting time. I have not had
any deaths yet, still have 6 fish... but one of the Jewel
cichlids has become anti-social and hangs out at the top of the
tank about 2 inches below water line. I have no idea if its a
male or female but I like to call "IT" a her because
she seems so petite and girly to me.. :) but anyway, she hangs
out at top just below water line and still eats but not with the
enthusiasm as her tank mates. She is the one looks the worst. She
is covered in black patches and is very dull in color now. After
treating with the Jungle products I plan to do another water
change tomorrow or this evening. So would it be ok to treat my
fish again with the products you suggested even after all the
chemicals I have already used? < When I make a recommendation
it is based on the info supplied by the writer and what has
worked for me the best in the past. Jungle products usually have
lots of salt in them. Salt increases the slime on the surface of
the fish and this could be some of the improvement you are
seeing. If you don't feel that the current treatment is doing
any good then do a 50% water change and treat as per my
suggestion.> I am sorry to sound like such a "noob"
but I really want to prove my husband wrong, he said that I need
to flush my fish and raise guppies. Not only is this a mission to
save my beautiful fish, it has become a mission to prove I CAN
survive fish other than goldfish and guppies. As for the rock
salt you suggested isn't just regular non-iodized salt? Like
table salt? Sodium chloride? < You can use rock salt or
Re: cichlid question Cichlids
With Ich Treatment 3/9/08 OK, so far so good! Fish are
still alive! They are looking much better with just the salt that
you recommended. I am having a hard time finding the Formalin,
pet store didn't have it. So, I treated with the Jungle
product for Ich. I have used the Jungle medication until is all
gone. I was wondering how often I should treat with the salt and
should I replace my carbon in filters when doing so. Color is
beginning to come back it appears on my Jewels, and their black
patches have faded almost completely away. Unfortunately for me,
the more petite Jewel has something going on with her eyes. They
don't appear to be bulging out really but more like growing
light fuzz or fur? She doesn't seem to be blind, both Jewels
still occasionally "scratch" the head/gill area of
their bodies as well. The only new symptom is the eye thing at
this point. < The white fuzz is a fungal infection.> My
tank tests are pH 8.4 , ammonia 0, nitrates are 10 ppm, nitrites
0. water temp is 78/79ish. I don't have any carbon in the
filters at the moment and have been relying on 50% water changes
about every 2-4 days during this sick time. Also, I have a
spotted cichlid, reminds me of a leopards spots, that has done
amazing through all of this. He has never lost any color or shown
signs of any sickness. I was wondering if I should purchase a
smaller tank just for him and stop medicating him if he
doesn't look or act sick. I know you all are so busy and I
hate to bother you with my fish problems since I am sure you get
tired of answering the same questions time and time again. I have
really tired to search the web for answers as well as your site.
It is just hard to read so much information and think well that
fits, oh no wait that one fits and so on. I am so unsure of what
I am doing at this point, I just find it more comforting to
actually discuss it with someone if possible. Thank you again for
your time. < Look for Rid-Ich at the local store. If you
cannot find it then look at DrsFosterSmith.com for either
Formalin or Rid-Ich from Kordon. The disease may have caused a
secondary bacterial infection. This can be treated with
Nitrofurazone. This medication is also somewhat successful
against fungal infections.-Chuck>
Ick problems with goldfish 3/5/08
Hello, I have a fantail goldfish that got Ich about a week ago and I
have been treating her with Maracide using the directions on the
bottle. She did not appear to get any better after the week the bottle
advised for treatment, so i bought a heater after reading a website
that suggested to do so and also got pure NaCl to create a .3% salt
solution in the tank. I have the heater set on about 81 degrees, and i
was wondering how long it will take for the Ich to all die, and
especially wondering if there is anything I am doing wrong? Thank you,
Lindsay <Lindsay, do make sure you have removed carbon from the
filter. A very common mistake people make is to leave carbon in the
filter, and this simply absorbs any medication before it does any good.
You don't really need carbon anyway, so you may as well leave it
out completely. Do also remember it takes a while to work: the
medication *doesn't* kill the visible parasites on the fish, but
the next generation parasites they produce once they leave the host. In
a coldwater tank this can take a good couple of weeks. Heating the
water speeds things up, and you should see results within 3-5 days. If
these aren't the issues here, get back in touch. Cheers,
why?... Ongoing re ich, Pim... 2/1/08 Hello Neale, I
am now on day three of the treatment for my pictus catfish. Both
white spots I saw on one of the pictus are gone - today as I was
looking at her I noticed that both of the pictus' tails are
slightly frayed. I know they weren't like this before. What
is causing this? They hardly ever fight, and they seem to always
be swimming together. Is this another infection? Thanks,
Neervana. <Frayed fins are normally a sign of Finrot and/or
Fungus. Whitespot/Ick can trigger these problems -- when the
cysts burst and the whitespot parasite swims out (to reproduce
and then infect more fish) it leaves behind a hole, and bacteria
can get into the hole and cause an infection. Alternatively, you
may have some problems with water quality, because Finrot and
Fungus are both related to water quality nine times out of ten.
In any case: check the nitrite, to make sure the aquarium is
healthy. When the Whitespot medication is done, do a 50% water
change, and then start a treatment for Finrot and Fungus. I
recommend eSHa 2000 because it treats both equally well, but you
can find alternative brands if you want to. Damaged fins are --
up to a point -- low priority complaints, so don't fret too
much. Yes, you must treat them, but they will heal nicely once
you have added the medication. In the wild fish damage their fins
all the time. It is really only in the bacteria-laden water in a
fish tank that fin damage becomes potentially lethal. Cheers,
Re: why? Doesn't Neale suggest a good FW tome?
2/1/08 Hi Neale, So now I'm on day 4 - which is the one
where I don't add any medication (Protozin). My tank is
starting to smell, and I really don't like it. Also, the
water is getting a bit dirty - when is the earliest day I can
change the water, day 6 or 7 perhaps? Also, I don't know
where to get eSHa 2000 from, my LFS don't have it. Thanks,
Neervana. <In four days after a water change, your aquarium
SHOULD NOT smell! If it smells, then you are doing one (or more)
of the following: - Feeding the fish too much, so that leftover
food is rotting. - Not removing uneaten food (see above). -
Keeping too many fish in too small a tank. - Not providing
adequate filtration for the sorts of fish being kept. Aquaria in
good condition DO NOT SMELL!!! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: why? 2/1/08 Hi Neale, Yes, I have not vacuumed my
gravel since the start of last week. Now what should I do? When I
went to the LFS the lady said that since my tank came with an
in-built filtration/oxygen system I don't need any other
equipment added to it. I only have two pictus catfish in my tank,
so I think it's ok for the meantime for them. So should I
vacuum the gravel then? But I thought this could dilute the
medicine? Thanks, Neervana. <Vacuuming the gravel is really
neither here nor there when it comes to water quality, unless you
are keeping very large, messy fish that produces lots of faeces.
For Pimelodus pictus, you should be able to go for several weeks
without needing to clean the gravel. The only way the gravel
would become filthy enough to smell would be if your were putting
in masses too much food. Which you're not, I hope. For two
Pimelodus pictus, half a cube of wet frozen bloodworms should be
adequate. If you're using dried food, then a pinch about the
size of your little finger's nail. I'm past remembering
what sort of tank we're talking about. How big is the
aquarium? On the filter, look at the pump, and less if it has a
gallons-per-hour (gph) or litres-per-hour (lph) rating -- it
should do. Also what temperature is the aquarium? Cheers,
Re: why? Pim., ich...
2/3/08 Hi Neale, The tank is 10 gallons (which I know is too
small for these fish, but I am currently saving for a bigger one
to move them into, which would be around two months' time)
then I would use the tank I already have as a quarantine tank.
<Hmm... a 10 gallon tank isn't really suitable for these
fish, even for a while. Do check the nitrite level, and I'm
guessing you'll find it isn't zero. This is a bad
thing.> I put the temperature up to 30 degrees - it used to be
26 before, but I raised the temperature to 30, because the lady
in the LFS told me to do that. <This is indeed correct *while*
treating for whitespot/ick. But once the whitespot is dealt with,
reduce the temperature to around 25. These are not fish that live
in very warm water. More heat = less oxygen, and that'll make
the fish less happy and the bacteria less efficient.> I also
noticed that it's only when I first added the Protozin that
there was a weird smell coming out from the tank and that it went
after a couple of hours. Every time I add the medicine the tank
smells. I also wanted to mention that when I raised the
temperature, I did it in one go - when I was reading some of the
messages people had put online they all advised each other on
raising it one degree a day - I didn't do that, I only did it
all at once because I didn't know. Could this be why it
smells? <No.> I have not done the water change yet, so do
you think I should wait until day 6? <If you can, wait. But if
the fish clearly look ill, then you have to do a water change of
50%.> My two pictuses are starting to look a bit sick as in
their fins are turning opaque a bit and do look a bit ragged.
<That's likely Finrot.> Also, when I feed them I feed
them about a little less then half a cube of blood worms, a
pellet each (tetra ones) and about half a pack of jellied
daphnia. I feed them a different thing each day like you said,
but perhaps it is too much for them. <Too much. Stop feeding
them completely while they are sick. Once they are healthy,
switch to feeding once every two days, and even then only a small
quantity of food. As I said earlier, about the same amount as
would fit on the fingernail on your little finger.> What do
you think I should do? Thanking you, Neervana. <Cheers,
Neale.> Hi Neale, I have a 200 gallon tank I could move them
into once they are healthy - but I have two Bala sharks already
in this tank who are perfectly healthy... <Don't mix sick
fish with healthy fish.> so I don't know if it's wise
to move them in now, as the Bala sharks might catch the white
spot? <Perfectly possible.> Anyway, should I do a water
change now? Thing is, I did a water change every week since I got
them, the did two water changes before I put the medicine in.
They really don't look well at all, so I should do the water
change now and then continue with the Protozin and feed them a
little every two days until they look healthy again? <Do the
water change, and don't feed the fish for the next few days
and see if the water clears up.> Thanks , Neervana.
<Cheers, Neale.> Hi Neale, I was wondering about something,
thought I would just ask you quickly. This tank was new and the
pictuses are the first two fish to live in it - so how did they
catch white spot? <Likely had it at the store. This is why we
quarantine fish, to keep diseases from getting into our home
aquaria.> I did read online that apparently it's bad to
mix the water that your fish comes in with the water in the tank,
as it may contain white spot, because some of the fish in a few
tanks in that fish shop are dead on the gravel. <Indeed, you
should put the new fish into a bucket with the water from the
bag. Then add a few cups of water from the fish tank over the
next 30 minutes. Then lift the fish out and put it into the tank.
Ideally, you're putting it into a quarantine tank. This
doesn't stop whitespot if the fish are already infected, but
it does reduce do something to help keep out the motile whitespot
parasites (which swim in the water looking for hosts). But the
tank these two fish were in did not seem like it had any
unhealthy fish. <Most aquarium stores have water that flows
between multiple tanks and one big filter. So even if one tank
seems devoid of sick fish, that doesn't guarantee anything.
The better stores will use UV to reduce the chances of diseases
moving about, but this isn't an 100% fix.> Do you know how
it could have happened? <Not exactly, but I can guess. The
fish had whitespot when you bought them. After a few days the
cysts matured and you saw the spots. In the meanwhile, a
combination of the whitespot itself damaging the skin together
with poor water quality/overcrowding has led to Finrot.> Also,
I did not vacuum the gravel today I just took a small bucket and
took water straight out of the tank, that does not matter does
it? <That's fine for a water change. Under normal
circumstances, the gravel doesn't need to be cleaned every
week. Once a month is fine, perhaps less if the tank has lots of
plants and is otherwise well maintained.> I mean I have just
ordered a gravel vacuum and waiting for it to come, that's
why I can't clean the gravel. <I don't use a gravel
cleaner anyway. Just a stick and a siphon. Stir gravel with the
stick, and use the siphon to suck away any dirt.> But I assume
that it's not important to vacuum the gravel if it hardly
shows any dirt on it? <Visible dirt doesn't directly harm
fish. Dirty tanks tend to be poorly maintained tanks, but in
itself silt is harmless. Check out the "wild" and
you'll see a lot of silt! Fish get harmed by the invisible
things -- nitrite, ammonia.> I mean mine does not look like
there is any mess on it. I am expecting to vacuum the gravel next
week. Should I continue with the Protozin just the same because I
did the water change, does that mean the concentration has been
diluted now? I am on the fourth day now, and you said I should
put the next dosage on day 6. Then water change on day 8. Proceed
with this? <Precisely; carry on as if you had NOT done a water
change.> Thanks and sorry for pestering you so much, but I
just want to be sure. Neervana <I suspect, my friend, that the
time has come to invest in a good aquarium book.
<<Hallelujah! RMF>> A lot of these questions
are fundamental to the hobby, and having a nice book with the
facts laid out fair and square will be very helpful. Visit your
local public library and test drive a few tropical fish books.
When you've found one you like, BUY IT! Trust me, compared to
anything else you will get in the hobby, a good aquarium book is
BY FAR the best use of your cash. Cheers, Neale.>
My new tank, poor FW mix of lvstk., ich
1/31/08 hi, Currently I have 55G tank which contains four 2inch
gold fish , six 2inch Koi carp , two 4inch Koi carp , six 2inch angels
and one 25cm Pleco. I know it's a small tank ,that's why I am
building a new 200G tank. <Very good.> I am thinking about buying
2 red bellied piranha. Is that a good idea?. <To mix with these
fish? Absolutely not. In addition, most of the common piranhas in the
trade, including Pygocentrus nattereri (the Red-bellied Piranha), are
essentially solitary fish in aquaria. Their social behaviour in the
wild is extremely complex and difficult to replicate in captivity.
Juveniles may school together, but adults only form schools under
certain conditions, and when mature the males are territorial and
ultimately guard nests and eggs. Unless kept in BIG aquaria where there
are AT LEAST SIX specimens, piranhas simply don't work in groups.
The dominant male systematically harasses and eventually kills the
other fish. The flip side to this is that single piranhas are nervous
and scared of their own shadows! They are very VERY boring pets.> Is
there any kind of fish that I can add with the piranha's?
<None.> Right now I have one more problem , one of my Koi carp is
scratching ,what should I do . <Likely Whitespot/Ick and should be
treated accordingly.> Is it necessary to remove live plants before
adding any medicine into the system?. <Not normally, no.> One of
my Koi carp has full red body with small white patches in the middle,
is that what u call white spot disease. <Sounds like it.> And
last I want u to suggest a suitable filter for my new 200G tank (please
mention the company name also) <The ideal filter will vary. If the
tank contains just fish and no plants (or maybe floating plants or
plants attached to wood) then an undergravel filter can work very well.
Use at least two powerheads to get a gravel bed this size working
properly. Alternatively, you can use one or more external canister
filters. These work better with tanks that contain plants. In either
case, the brand of filter doesn't matter much, though some brands,
notably Eheim, have a good reputation for reliability and value over
the long term. The main thing is turnover. For large fish like yours,
you want the powerheads or filter pumps to produce at least 6 times the
volume of the tank in turnover per hour. So in your case, the pumps
should add up to 6 x 200 = 1200 gallons per hour.> thanks a lot
Mathew <Cheers, Neale.>
Ich or designs??? FW, reading -- 1/26/08 Hi,
I need just one second of your time. <A bit more than this> I
have a jewel cichlid that is still under 3 inches and it has dots all
over his body. I am not sure if this is his design or if it is a
disease like ich. Can you please help me out. The spots are all over
the body even on the fin. If it is on the fin, does it means it is
definitely ich or velvet? Also, is it safe to use medication even if I
am not 100 percent sure if it is a disease? Thanks guys. ~Mikey <...
read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the
linked files above. Bob Fenner>
hi? Child? No info., en media res... FW Ich...
reading -- 1/26/08 Hello Again <... where is the prev.
corr.?> I was worried, so I look every where and I found out it
might be Ich and was wondering what's the bets way to be sure they
got it and to treat them for it. The Water Temp is 24'C and the ph
is 7. I would like To Know How much to feed them each day Because This
is my first Aquarium And I Have 2 Loaches And 1 Ghost Knife Fish. Thank
you Again Chris <... the loaches and Knife are "special
cases" where Ich is concerned. Please read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files
above, carefully... Bob Fenner>
Devastating Ich outbreak, 2 fish down, please
help. Goldfish 12/28/07 Hello there, <Ave!> Please
help, we've had a dreadful week. <Oh?> On Dec 21st our
beloved goldfish (Jasper the black moor, Oscar the comet, and Daphne
the Oranda) developed what we believe to be ich. Lots of tiny spots
that attract tiny oxygen bubbles, particularly around the gills and
under the chin, but also on the body. Dorsal fins went flaccid, and the
fish seemed itchy and weak. They continued to feed well, but otherwise
a very distressing turnaround for otherwise healthy, happy fish. No
obvious reason for the outbreak -water quality good, no new plants,
stock or live food in the last 6 weeks, no changes we can think of.
<Hmm... as you realise already, Ick tends to follow on from specific
things rather than coming out of the blue. But it may happen.> We
immediately did a water change (around 40%) and started treating with
Interpet Anti-Whitespot (formaldehyde and malachite green oxalate). As
our tank tends to be a bit on the warm side anyway (the built-in light
and filter warm the surface, but the fishies are happy with it), we
couldn't really raise the temperature much, but we turned on a
second pump for extra aeration (we are in the process of switching from
the old one to the new one as the motor is dying so have both in the
tank to get the cycling right) but neither of them are carbon or
zeolite, so no contraindication for the medication. <In terms of
conditions, all sounds good. I will admit though that I've not
found Interpet Anti-Whitespot completely effective in all situations. I
prefer to use eSHa EXIT, an alternative product widely sold in the UK
and Europe. For whatever reason, it seems to deal with the
"super" whitespot strain rather more effectively than
Interpet Anti-Whitespot. You may also be dealing with Velvet rather
than Ick/Whitespot. Here's the difference: Whitespot cysts look
like salt grains, but Velvet cysts are more like icing sugar. Velvet
also sometimes has a yellowy or golden sheen rather than plain white
and is almost always associated with heavy or rapid breathing. Interpet
Anti-Whitespot doesn't treat Velvet, but eSHa EXIT does, which is
another reason I prefer it. It is also cheaper!> In the early hours
of December 24th our little black moor died. It was a horrible death,
covered in spots (little bubbles you could see clearer with the lights
off), and total paralysis as his fins clamped. We were devastated, but
it seemed the other two were perking up. We redosed (I think we did a
25% water change at some point during this process to date, which may
have been a mistake, but we were responding to the fish looking
distressed, and getting so much conflicting advice looking online) and
waited. Throughout the day the other two improved, but just before bed
I thought I saw more spots on the comet's back. By Christmas
morning he was dead. <Hmm... does sound more like Velvet than Ick.
Because Velvet attacks the gills before anything else, by the time you
see any cysts on the body, fatal damage may have been done to the gills
already. Ick doesn't normally kill fish very quickly, so while it
certainly is fatal in the long term, you should have a safe zone of a
couple of weeks to spot and treat the disease reliably.> Daphne, our
remaining baby, has been up and down since. On Boxing Day she looked a
bit better, yesterday morning she had a massive reinfection, with lots
of the tiny spots/bubbles all over her face and gills. We again changed
water (50%) and redosed, and by evening the spots were gone, and she
looked much better, if slightly puffy and discoloured around the gills
and dorsal fin. This morning the puffiness on the gills looked like a
large blister, and in the last hour one has filled with blood. She was
having trouble swimming against the current of 2 pumps, so turned one
off so she can move more easily, but is swimming in circles close to
the surface and is not well at all. We're desperate to save her,
but don't know what to do. She's still feeding fine
(they've always had a varied diet, peas, frozen daphnia, pellets,
flakes, cucumber, p etc), but she's been doing long white stringy
poos for a couple of days (seem to have firmed up a bit today
actually). <May be unrelated; her diet sounds excellent.>
We're about to do start doing salt baths -we were going to start
this earlier, but what with the chemicals in the water we didn't
want to distress her more. We were thinking of doing a 100% water
change tomorrow and start again using a different medicine, as this
clearly hasn't been effective -what do you think? <Yes; for now,
assume it might be either Velvet or Ick, and use a medication that
treats both equally well. eSHa EXIT is one such brand, and there may be
others.> Other than the huge amounts of formaldehyde and malachite
in the water, the pH and nitrates have stayed constant, and no nitrate.
Not able to test ammonia till tonight as we picked up the wrong kit and
the shops have been closed, but with the water changes and everything
else being the same I'm not overly worried. <Medications
shouldn't harm to filter, so assuming you're keeping up with
water changes, all should be fine there.> Please help us save
Daphne, we really couldn't bear to lose her now. Many thanks for
your time on this, and happy holidays. Sara and Jonn (London, England)
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Devastating Ich outbreak, 2 fish down, please
help. 12/28/07 Hello Neale, thanks so much for the quick reply.
<No problems.> Will do some med shopping in the morning. We
considered that it might be something other than ick, but that was the
closest symptom match, and it looks more white spotty and velvety....
hard to say, but happy to go on to a treatment that will kill both.
<My thoughts exactly.> She seems to have responded well to the
salt bath (30mins at 0.3%) so was thinking of doing that again every 6
hours or so. What do you think? Also, our big concern right now is the
big blood blister that accounts for most of her right gill -can't
find many accounts of this. <Hmm... likely a secondary infection.
Salt water dips will certainly help. Goldfish have a high salt
tolerance and generally respond well to this sort of therapy. Having
said that, if the blister doesn't clear up, then do use a general
purpose Finrot/fungus medication. Again, I've found the eSHa
variety, eSHa 2000, to be cheap and effective against a wide variety of
infections.> Is this a sign of final throws of a infestation, or is
this the sort of thing that looks worse than it is (it looks dreadful)?
<When Ick or Velvet cysts "burst", they release free
living "spores" that eventually multiply up to form the next
generation of parasites. In breaking the skin, this bursting of the
cysts can allow secondary infections to develop because the integument
between the fish and the water is broken. In this instance, if the
blister isn't obviously clearing up, I'd break the habit of a
lifetime and use both eSHa 2000 and eSHa EXIT at the same time.
According to the manufacturer, they are safe to use together.
http://www.eshalabs.com/exit.htm Such a combo should fix just about
anything.> Thanks so much for the back-up on this, is so hard to
know if we're doing the right thing. xxx <Treat quickly, and be
careful to follow the instructions, and you should be fine. Cheers,
Ich not going away:(, FW... 12/25/07 Hello
bob, my 4 Neons just got ich and I have read your articles. I raised
the temperature to 84 degrees Fahrenheit, I added one teaspoon of salt
for every five gallons of water and I am currently using Mardel
CopperSafe medication. The ich just isn't going away. I think it is
getting a little better, but I want it to be completely gone because it
is going to be a gift for my cousin. Am I doing anything wrong? I
recently did a 50 percent water change and cleaned the gravel. Also,
for the Mardel CopperSafe medication, how often should I use it. It
says to treat for one month but I do not know how often I should use
it. Please give me some advice. Last, is there anything else I can do
to rid the ich? Is Mardel CopperSafe medication good? Thanks so much
for your help and your time. <A few thoughts. Firstly, do make 100%
sure you have removed carbon from the filter. Lots of people forget
about this. Personally, I consider carbon a waste of space in the
average freshwater community tank, but some people still use the stuff.
In any case, carbon removes medications from the water, so your fish
won't get better. I'd tend not to use salt/temperature in
situations where copper-based Ick medications are viable, as is the
case with Neon tetras. I'm not familiar with CopperSafe but I have
encountered situations where one brand of anti-Ick medication
didn't work, but a second brand did. So try switching to an
alternate brand. I happen to find the eSHa EXIT anti-Ick medication
highly effective and safe with even sensitive species, so if you're
in Europe or someplace where eSHa products are sold, that's worth
trying. Do also remember you can't do water changes while treating
the fish: the concentration of medication must remain constant
throughout the course. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: ich not going away:( 12/25/07 Hello again, The
Mardel CopperSafe medication says that it treats the water for one
month, so am I not suppose to do a water change for one whole month?
Please write back. Thanks again. <No, do regular weekly water
changes of 50% as per normal. There's no point treating the
whitespot if the fish end up dying from nitrate poisoning or acidosis.
Freshwater Ich and UV Sterilizer
12/25/07 Thank you so much for being here and available.
I've done many searches on your site over the past few months
an have learned an incredible amount. Now I have a problem and
would like advice. <Okeley dokely.> I have been back in the
hobby since last April, after some years away. This time I've
been very scientific, reading and studying and actually
understanding the why as well as the what. I currently have a 10
gallon non-CO2 planted tank (set up last May) and 10 gallon mixed
reef (set up last August), both very successful and I am setting
up a 46 gallon planted tank. The big tank is my problem.
<Hmm...?> OK, I took a chance and screwed it up. I cycled
the tank with mulm from my old tank, and the levels dropped very
quickly. I stocked it with fish from one, usually very good, LFS.
Cardinals, Corys, hatchet fish, pearl Gouramis, cherry barbs, 6
very expensive guppies from a breeder in California. I figured
I'd stock it very quickly and then stop, no more fish or
anything, and I'd be great. <Mulm doesn't really carry
a huge amount of filter bacteria: bacteria are mostly where
there's rapid water flow, because they're super-demanding
of oxygen. Gravel from a tank with an undergravel filter is
excellent, but otherwise old sponges from a mature aquarium are
best.> A couple of the hatchet fish developed ich after about
6 days in the tank. I noticed a spot last Wednesday, hoped
against hope it would be nothing. It spread to other fish. Last
Friday morning it was apparent I had a serious emergency. I have
no way to quarantine 30 fish. I'm going to be out of town the
first week of January. <Hatchets are very sensitive fish at
the best of times, and I'd not add them to an immature tank,
no matter how "cycled" I thought it was. In any case,
whitespot shouldn't be deadly in the very short term, and
adding suitable medication should at least slow things down, even
if you're able to do all the doses required to kill the
infection.> I had a major panic attack, did some research
on-line and started calling around town. One LFS "could
probably get me a UV sterilizer by next Thursday." The other
LFS had one they recommend in stock. (I've dealt with both
stores before, they're both pretty good.) After discussing
install options, I bought an inline UV sterilizer, a sump, and a
pressurized CO2 setup as well. I figured since he was coming out
anyway, we'd do everything I'd been thinking about. We
had it installed by 5pm last Friday. <UV filters don't
100% kill whitespot (or any other type of waterborne parasite).
They certainly help, but wouldn't be my first line of attack.
Elevating the temperature plus adding salt, or treating with
anti-Whitespot, would be better.> I bought some Ich treatment
that he recommended, just in case, but I really don't like
dumping chemicals in the tank if I don't have to. I was
hoping the sterilizer would handle it. <Nope.>
http://www.uskoi.com/ich-x.htm The hatchet fish started showing
multiple spots Saturday evening. The cardinals have some spots,
the Gouramis have some spots. Nobody was in great discomfort.
This morning (Monday) the (VERY expensive) guppies aren't
showing any spots that I can see but the girls are hanging out on
the top a lot more than they have been since the arrived last
week. :-( <Whitespot irritates the gills, and over time leads
to something akin to suffocation.> To recap - I bought the
hatchet fish a week ago Saturday. I saw my first speck Wed
afternoon. Friday afternoon the hatchet fish had several spots
and I had an obvious problem. We installed the UV filter Friday
by 5pm, and turned the flow down on the pump as low as we could
get it. There is flow but quite minimal. (Recommended to kill
parasites.) <Sounds an odd recommendation. Most UV filters
I've seen added to tanks use normal water flow from an
external filter or whatever. Is this a separate pump just for the
UV device?> I keep the tank temp set at 78F, I noticed this
morning that it's at 80F. Possibly because I keep the room
very warm. The CO2 is one during daylight hours. I do not believe
it is gassing the fish out, in fact I may turn it up a bit when
& if I solve the Ich problem. The plants are pearling nicely.
<There is a balance that needs to be struck between the CO2
the plants want and the stress high CO2 levels cause fish. But
that's unlikely the issue right now.> I did a 15 gallon
water change yesterday afternoon (Sunday). I am assuming the
spots that are showing up now are parasites that were already
attached on Friday. I am assuming that the UV filter is going to
drastically reduce the free-floating stage and I should start
seeing a reduction soon. I can do another water change this
afternoon, and probably another one tomorrow. I have to pack all
my water from town, my well is too salty for plants or fish.
<The feeding stages on the fish will need to mature and hatch
before the UV filter can do anything. Warm water speeds this
up.> But I'm worried. <huge sigh> I'm really
stressing out. :-( <Not much you can right now beyond treating
the tank. I'd not hold much store by UV alone at all, though
I'm open to correction here.> Am I on the right track
here, with the UV sterilizer? When should I start dumping
chemicals, or should I at all? What chemicals? I'm freaking
out this morning because the female guppies are looking a bit too
quiet. (The males are being typical guys. <g>) What type of
time-line should I expect with this blasted parasite? <The
life cycle of whitespot is 2-3 days at tropical temperatures, so
in theory you should see improvement quite quickly.> SueP
Re: Freshwater Ich and UV Sterilizer
12/25/07 Thanks! <You're welcome.> OK, I'll do
another water change this evening & add the meds. I
understand that salt will kill the plants? Should I turn the temp
up? <Salt at the doses required to treat Ick will not harm
your plants; nor will elevating the temperature.> The UV
sterilizer is in-line with the canister filter. Both are large
enough to handle the tank. The sterilizer suggests doing 2 tank
turnovers an hour for parasites. Higher flow will kill algae but
they want the water to spend time next to the light to kill
parasites. <Ah, that does make some sense. But my worry here
would be reducing the water flow through the canister filter.
Canister filters have HUGE oxygen demands, and slow water flow
switches the highly aerobic bio-filtration bacteria into a
dormant mode, which you obviously don't want. I'd
personally prefer better water quality with less effective UV
filtration than the other way around. UV is "icing on the
cake", but water quality is the essential
"meat-and-potatoes" of fishkeeping (if I can mix my
metaphors!). Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Freshwater Ich and UV Sterilizer
12/25/07 Update - I just dumped 4 tsps of Ich-X in the tank.
I'll do a water change tonight and treat again if things look
worse. <Hmm... don't do water changes while treating --
for hopefully obvious reasons, if you suddenly dilute the
concentration of medication, the medication will lose its
efficacy. So hold off water changes until your have completed the
ENTIRE course of medication, which may be multiple doses across
several days.> And I did add the filter media from the old
tank as well, when I started this one. We tested and the cycle
seems to have completed within a week. I hope the meds don't
mess it up now, but I'm more worried about the fish. <No,
modern fish medications are almost universally safe with filter
bacteria.> FWIW - the guppies look a bit better and the female
Gourami was offering to lay on her side and breed a few minutes
ago. <Very good. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Freshwater Ich and UV Sterilizer
12/25/07 The Ich medicine bottle suggests doing a 30% water
change just before every dose. I assume it's to remove as
many free-swimming parasites as possible. Realistically, I'm
not able to do the water changes that often. <Hmm...
regardless of the reason, always follow PRECISELY the
instructions on the packaging. Failure to do this can lead to a
variety of problems, including failure to adequately treat the
disease.> Today I had the water but it's taking forever
and ever for my heater to get it up to temp, so I just dumped the
meds in the tank and left the new water heating. I may use it
tomorrow, but esp. after hearing your opinion, I may let it go
another day or two dosing without water changes. <Provided you
use water conditioners, there's no harm in using a mix of hot
and cold water to get the warmish water you need.> I'll
turn the flow up on the canister filter when I change the water
and can tell how hard it's moving. <OK.> I still have a
few visible Ich spots but everybody seems comfortable and active.
Occasional flashing but not constant. <Good. Do remember the
medication stops re-infection, it has no effect on the current
(visible) generation of white spot parasites.> The female
Gourami has a ding on her side but I suspect she banged a scale
when she was being chased by the male. I'm watching it,
I'm feeling rather paranoid at the moment <wry g>, but
so doesn't look in distress and it doesn't look fuzzy or
anything. <Are these Dwarf Gouramis (Colisa lalia)? These are
very commonly infected with a viral disease that is untreatable
and highly infectious. An early symptom is small blisters on the
body. Infected fish should be painlessly destroyed and Dwarf
Gouramis never, ever added to the tank unless it is autoclaved.
I'm not kidding about this... as far as I'm concerned,
people shouldn't buy this species unless they got them from a
local breeder.> Thank you so much for your help! Hope you
had/have a really wonderful Christmas! <Thanks, Christmas was
swell. All the best, Neale.>
Re: Freshwater Ich and UV Sterilizer
12/26/07 No these are Pearl Gouramis. I didn't know that
about Dwarfs, what a shame. And I've been admiring them for
months, wanting to buy a pair. Guess I won't... :-( <Pearl
Gouramis are excellent fish; generally peaceful, long-lived (7+
years) and hardy. Dwarf Gouramis are a total waste of
time/money.> Did a 15 gallon water change at noon today and
added the third dose of meds. Everybody looks good, the hatchet
fish still have a few spots but the visible spots are definitely
clearing upon everybody else. <Sounds good.> One of the
guppies is having babies, I hope they make it to the thick
plants. Nobody in the tank looks particularly voracious, and
historically I've had more problems with overpopulation than
with babies surviving. But these are pretty special guppies, so
I'm hoping! :-) <Hatchet fish will eat them given the
chance, but as you have lots of plants, you might luck out. By
all means confine the babies to a floating breeding trap for a
few weeks if you want.> I turned the flow on the filter up and
the guppies are surfing the current. :-) <Ha! Sounds as if you
have everything in hand. Cheers, Neale.>
Ich, FW, Botia macracantha... no reading
12/12/07 Hi, I have a clown loach that recently got ich. <...
this is a social species. Should be kept in a shoal...> But I am not
entirely sure. He has like white air bubbles on his tail and on his
fin. <Mmmm, could you send along a pic?> Is this ick or not?
Also, is there a very accurate and easy way to tell if your fish is
healing from ick? Last, how much salt should I use and how often? I
have a fifty gallon freshwater tank. Thanks for all your help.
~concerned owner... Oh, and how do I feed frozen bloodworms to my
bottom feeders? Thanks once again <How is it you managed to skip
over our instructions for writing us w/o reviewing what is posted?
Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/clnlchfdg.htm and
the linked files above. There is just too much that is necessary,
related to your general questions to answer succinctly. What you need
to know en toto is posted. Go and read it. Bob Fenner>
I think our tank has Ich! -11/27/2007 Hi Crew-
<Emily> I think our 75 Gallon Freshwater tank has ich! I think 2
new sail fin tetras which we bought 1 week ago (which we did not
quarantine) brought it in. <Happens... more so during this time of
year when temperature changes chill newcomers in transit...> They
both have 2 or 3 little white bubbles on their fins and body. 1 Angel
fish also has 1 white bubble on its fin. Is this ich? <A bubble...
have you read much re FW ich? Looks more like salt grains> I am
quite a novice when it comes to fish. I'm still learning. I have
several different fish: 5 red eyed tetras, 2 sail fin tetras, 2 angel
fish, 1 spotted leaf fish, 1 Pleco, 1 Farlowella twig, 1 Black ghost
knife, and 1 temperamental fire eel. <Quite a mix> I don't
know what to treat the tank with because of our variety of fish.
<You are right to be cautious... likely temperature manipulation
alone is the route I would go here> I read through your articles
about ich but I was concerned that some of the treatments might harm
the eel or the ghost knife. <You are correct> (On top of this our
fire eel is still healing from pop eye- what bad luck we've had.)
We also have quite the assortment of live plants. Do I really have to
remove all of them from the tank to treat the ich? <IF you are to
treat the system with harsh chemicals (metals, dyes) yes> We also
don't have a good QT tank set up. Can we just treat the 75?
<Might be expedient... just the elevated temp.> What do you
recommend? We just got finished treating a really stubborn case of pop
eye too. <Mmm, very important... What, how did you treat? This alone
may be the source of the "bubbles"... NOT ich. Otherwise the
treatment may have weakened your stock to such a degree that they will
not easily suffer further manipulation> I am just SOO frustrated
with our new hobby. I hope you can help us. <Take y/our time here...
I/we need to know much more re your set-up, history... For now I would
nudge up your water temperature... to the low eighties F... this should
harm nothing... and may expedite the life cycle, removal of this
observed phenomenon's leaving... whether its parasitic or no>
Thanks so much, Emily <Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Ammonia test strip question - 11/20/07 Hi Crew,
<Leah,> I saw one white spot on the tail of one clown loach.
Unable to decide if it was ich, I decided to be proactive and treat
with Rid-Ich+. The spot was gone within 24 hours, and no other fish
developed any other spots, and no one seemed itchy or otherwise
uncomfortable. I began to wonder if the original spot had been ich at
all, but I intended to treat for a week to be safe. I removed my carbon
filter, did a daily 25% water change and used a half dose of Rid-Ich+,
although I later read conflicting reports online over whether half
doses are effective. <Depends. Sometimes half-doses work acceptably
well, without putting sensitive fish at risk. More often though, the
salt plus heat method works better and more safely for treating Ick on
Clown loaches, Mormyridae, etc.> I treated through day 5. Today was
supposed to be day 6 of treatment, but I noticed that my Mardel ammonia
test strip had gone from plain yellow (0.0 ammonia) to a kind of
off-yellow. It's hard to describe, and it does not match any of the
other colors on the test strip, which grow from pale green to dark
blue-green. It looks for all the world as if the Rid-Ich+ has slightly
stained the test strip. Is this likely? <Certainly possible. If the
nitrite level is zero, I'd assume that's the problem here. If
the nitrite isn't zero, then perhaps there's something else
going on.> How reliable are these strips, compared to other kinds of
tests? After 5 days of half doses of Rid-Ich+, do you think I've
harmed my good bacteria? <No.> This morning I did a 40% water
change with dechlorinated water, and no meds. I also replaced my carbon
filter. When I return home this afternoon, I will put in a new ammonia
test strip and see if it stays yellow. (I'm waiting until the
afternoon because I don't want any remaining meds to stain the new
one.) Do you think I should take any other actions? <Not really,
no.> I have an ammonia locking agent, and something called
stress-zyme that is supposed to help replace good bacteria. <You
shouldn't need either of these things in a stable aquarium. Traces
of ammonia in your tap water should be removed by any decent
dechlorinator, and the ammonia produced by your fish gets used by the
filter bacteria. Bacteria supplements are, in my opinion, more about
selling stuff to hobbyists that actually doing anything useful.>
Unfortunately I will be unable to observe the tank again until the
afternoon, but I can check my email and drop by the pet store on the
way home if you recommend buying a different test kit. Thank you very
much, <Hope this helps, Neale.>