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FAQs on Freshwater Ich, White Spot Disease: Medications, Useful and Not

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

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

Many situations are mis-un-treated... don't be one of these.

Do know that there is no "one right way" to treat all types of systems, species...

Treat... with knowledge, careful observation, precognition of what you'll do... in case...

Re: More re: Help (RMF, thoughts on very weird water chemistry?), GF, Ich   1/1/11
Hello Crew
<RMF jumping in here as I deem your situation dire>
My 75 G with 4 5" telescope butterflies began to show the first sign of Ich and some yawning. (my city water had changed the GH from 53 to nearly 400 and I did not catch it right away.) My water has been very stable and very clean for many months and the fish have been thriving... until this happened. By coincidence, two of these fish were new and I had quarantined them for 3 weeks and saw no problems. I had just introduced them to the main tank when this snafu with the General Hardness happened.
When I discovered it, the GH had been close to 500 for 3 days. I did water changes until the GH was back in an acceptable range and following this, the Ich symptoms appeared.
<Mmm, okay... the general hardness stated is "not that bad" for goldfish... if not otherwise "challenged">
I raised the temp to 80 slowly (from 76)
<I also treat GF w/ elevated temp. for Ich (and some other conditions)... up to 85 F, with added aeration>
and added 1% aquarium salt.
<Mmm... Of dubious value to state this mildly.>
Everyone was happy and eating the next morning and I added salt up to 2%.
The fish almost immediately started to show oxygen distress... gulping frantically, and two of them piping desperately at the surface. One began to show swim bladder problems and one was doing a headstand in the corner.
By that evening, I had gotten the temp back down to 78 and done small water changes (very small)...not knowing what else to do when these symptoms were getting worse. I put heavy carbon in the filters.
<Okay...>
the next morning the fish were all piled on top of one another in one corner. They would swim out to eat, dorsals up, and then immediately pile in the corner again, motionless But now with very very slow breathing, very lethargic and now two of them showing some blood in their fins and beginning of fin rot.
<Understood, understandable>
I backtracked through all the steps I had taken, looking for a solution and discovered that my box of aquarium salt had a faint odor. It was half of a box that I had opened a few months previously and it had been stored in a big cabinet. In the farthest back corner of that cabinet, I found a partial box of Miracle Grow Plant Food and Fertilizer. I know that salt absorbs everything in the atmosphere, along with any chemicals in the air.
This is the salt that I used when I dosed the tank up to 2%.
I think I poisoned my wonderful fish.
<Mmm, maybe>
Luckily I had another cycled 75 G tank. I did a topical Bio Bandage/Neomycin treatment on the bad fins and I moved them all into this new clean tank. Water parameters all the same in both tanks.
PH 8.3
KH 130
GH 225
nitrite 0
ammonia 0
nitrate 5
They are still lethargic but breathing more normally and they all seem to be quite a bit more comfortable. Two are still doing some bottom sitting but their dorsals are up and they are eating.... and exploring the new tank a little bit. I plan to just keep pristine water and good food... but I am going to have to treat the Ich and fin problems here at some point.
Frankly I am afraid to do ANYTHING and would appreciate some advice in how to proceed with treatment.
<I would treat, full-strength with a Malachite Green based Ich remedy and return the temperature to something in the low 80's F>
Dumb question, but I am assuming the contaminated tank should be sterilized and recycled?
<A good idea, yes... Likely chlorine bleach... a SOP protocol is archived on WWM re>
It's a bummer because this is my oldest and most stable tank. It has awesome filter media. :{
Many thanks for your input on this mess I have created for my poor fish.
Happy New Year ! (At least my fish are still alive and have not dropsied !!!)
Amy
PS
My filters on the new tank are Filstar Rena XP4, Emperor 400, and a Fluval 400 submersible pump, stuffed with media.
<Will have to remove the chemical media during treatment of course. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: More re: Help (RMF, thoughts on very weird water chemistry?)   1/2/11
Everyone was happy and eating the next morning and I added salt up to 2%. The fish almost immediately started to show oxygen distress gulping frantically, and two of them piping desperately at the surface.
<<Am I reading this right, Amy? You raised the salinity to 2%? Let's be clear about how salinity works, and why I avoid using the percent scale when talking about salinity. Normal seawater has a salinity of 3.5%, in other words, 35 parts of salt per thousand parts of water. Among marine biologists -- like me! -- it's usual to simply call this a salinity of 35 grammes per litre. Very easy to understand that way: 35 grammes of marine aquarium salt mix per 1000 grammes of water, i.e., 1 litre of water, since 1000 grammes of water equals one litre of water. I know Americans sometimes get scared of the metric system, but for this sort of thing it is extremely simple. So anyway, if you're creating seawater for a fish tank, you add 35 grammes of marine salt mix to each litre of water. When treating freshwater fish, you normally want much lower salinities. The usual concentrations are around 2 grammes per litre, i.e., less than one-tenth normal seawater salt concentration. To each litre of water, add 2 grammes of marine salt mix. At this concentration you'd not cause your fish any stress at all. Now, let's look at 2% salt solution. That's 20 grammes of salt per litre, or about six-tenths the salinity of seawater. That will very quickly kill any freshwater fish not able to adapt to brackish or marine conditions. Goldfish will certainly be killed by such conditions. When using salt to treat freshwater fish, can I strongly urge you to use the grammes per litre approach, however much you might think the metric system is a socialist plot to bring down America? Do read, here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
If you have exposed your fish to strongly saline conditions like these, replace at least 75% of the water with plain freshwater immediately. Yes, doing massive water changes normally stresses fish, but 2% seawater will kill Goldfish within hours, so there isn't much latitude here. Cheers, Neale.>>
Re: More re: Help (RMF, thoughts on very weird water chemistry?)   1/2/11
Neale,
So sorry, I neglected my decimal point..... .2%.
<Ah, yes, makes a difference.>
Supposedly the recommended dose for using aquarium salt to treat Ich. (?)
<Salt can be used this way; 2 grammes/litre.>
Three teaspoons of salt per gallon. .1% added three times, 12 hours apart.
<How much salt is there in a teaspoon? Do you know? That's the problem.
Salt absorbs moisture from the air, so over time puffs up. Estimating salinity using teaspoons is extremely inaccurate. Enough to kill your fish?
Probably not. But certainly enough to cause problems with salinities that are too low to kill the Whitespot parasites.>
I shall take your advice about learning metric under advisement.
<Trust me, it's easier. One level cooking teaspoon of fresh marine salt mix should weight about 6 grammes. Use kitchen scales to check. If you have a bucket containing, say, 15 litres of water, then at 2 grammes per litre, all you do is add 30 grammes of salt. Couldn't be any easier. You don't need to "understand" anything -- merely know how big your bucket is in litres, and then weigh out the salt on kitchen scales.>
Though I have already clearly demonstrated how inept I apparently am with my own mathematical system. I'm afraid a foray into Metric territory would be even more disastrous for my fish and frustrating for you!
<Sometimes the easiest way to do something requires learning something new.>
But I will try to consider the merits of such.
<Cool.>
My fish are in the new tank safe, swimming in fresh water and handling the first dose of Ridich (malachite green) very well. Thanks so much once again for your quick advice.
Amy
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Water changes & green water after meds, 11/12/10
Why do my fish get ICH when I do water changes?
<They already have Ich, the stress from the water change just allows it to take a greater hold.>
I medicate with ICH Quick Cure,
after a few days, the spots go away and I have a few dead fish (don't know why) and greenish water.
<Probably because of the Quick Cure.>
Put the charcoal filter back in and fish look healthy no signs of stress. Does the green colored water hurt the fish.
<It is green from the malachite green in the Quick Cure. This is not really a medication to be messing around with, it can make you sick too.>
I don't see any algae bloom.
Victoria
<See here and related FAQs for more,
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm >
<Chris>

Fish Tolerance to Aquarium Salt   7/1/10
Hi,
I discovered today that I have an Ich outbreak in my 20 gallon tank which I attribute to the mollies that I just added. As I am going away for the weekend on Friday, I would like to use the heat/salt method to treat the
tank. I am worried, however, that some of my fish will not tolerate the salt. The tank is stocked with: 4 Mollies, 2 Platies, 3 Danios, and 1 Bristlenose Pleco. Is it ok to add salt to a tank with these fish or should I only raise the temperature and skip the salt? If the salt will work, how much would you recommend using? Also, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are all good. Thank you in advance for all of
your help.
-Alex
<At the low dose required -- 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per gallon -- salt will not cause any stress to your fish. Indeed, the key thing about salt is that it is LESS stressful to freshwater fish that the more widely used alternatives such as formalin. That's why you use salt when medicating sensitive fish like stingrays and Mormyrids. In fact I just finished using the salt/heat method to treat an aquarium of my own that contained soft water fish including Corydoras, a whiptail catfish, a cherry-fin loach and Celebes halfbeaks. One quick tip though: add the salt it batches. Count up how many teaspoons of salt you need, add to a jug of warm water, and then add that to the aquarium in 3-4 batches across an hour or two. Cheers, Neale.>

Ghost knife fish and White spot/ich?? 4/20/10
Hello, iv a young GKF around 3-4inchs in length, I've noticed that it has lots of tiny White dots along it's body, I suspect White spot..
<Is certainly possible if you recently added some new fish to the system.>
so far the rest of my fish aren't displaying signs and appear healthy
<For now.>
and happy.
<So far.>
My tank us 80litres and I have 2 pearl Gourami's, 5 Endler guppies, 2 Pygmy puffers and 2 bumblebee gobies, they have lived in harmony for many months with my previous GKF until he died several months ago.
<Black Ghosts can live 15 years, and should certainly live more than 10 years. This should be a warning sign. Do understand in no uncertain terms that your aquarium is a disaster waiting to happen. Puffers will nip the Guppies and Gouramis, the Gobies will eventually be Knifefish food, and the Knifefish will reach a length of up to 60 cm/2 feet given good conditions, though 45 cm/18 inches is more typical. Read.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bgkfaqs.htm
Among other things, you must understand that Apteronotus albifrons, the Black Ghost Knifefish, lives in well-oxygenated, relatively cool streams and shallow rivers. It needs excellent water quality, lots of space, a strong water current (which your Guppies and Gouramis will loathe) and a water temperature no higher than 25 C/77 F. In your aquarium, these Knifefish have a life expectancy of months, not years.>
The shop I bought my new GKF had an outbreak of whitespot allegedly weeks prior to me buying him, I'm afraid he has brought the disease with him.
<More than likely.>
The shop advised me to use methylene blue due to it's copper property and safeness for the GKF?
<The salt/heat method would be safer here.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bgkdis.htm>
I used about 2/3rds of the dosage as I was afraid it would make him I'll, his fin now is beginning to look ragged.
<Finrot likely here; again, the salt can help here, but fundamentally, it's a water quality issue, because poor conditions are allowing secondary infections to get into the wounds the mature Ick parasites leave in the skin.>
Iv increased the temp slowly to 30 degrees to help finish off the whitespot but I'm at a loss what to do next as I've now read the methylene blue us ineffective??
<Far too toxic to use with these fish.><<Really Neale? Are you sure you're not confusing this w/ Malachite Green? RMF>>
Any advice what I should do to save my little GKF would be appreciated??
<Read, learn, act thoughtfully. Praying to the Fish Gods wouldn't be out of line either.>
Yours hopefully
Lindsay
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Ghost knife fish and White spot/ich??
Bob,
Yes, you are correct, I was thinking of malachite green (or copper, or formalin, any one of which would be risky with Apteronotus spp.). So far as I know, methylene blue has limited value against whitespot/Ick anyway, so
shouldn't be used in this situation.
Cheers, Neale
"<Far too toxic to use with these fish.><<Really Neale? Are you sure you're not confusing this w/ Malachite Green? RMF>>
Any advice what I should do to save my little GKF would be appreciated??
<Read, learn, act thoughtfully. Praying to the Fish Gods wouldn't be out of line either.>
Yours hopefully
Lindsay
<Cheers, Neale.>"

Freshwater Ich, med. use    04/18/10
Hi, I have a 100 gallon freshwater tank with 2 juvenile blue Acaras, 3 juvenile Uarus and 2 Cory cats. This tank is 'blackwater' with Mopani driftwood and peat filtration. I run an Aqua Clear 300 and 500 (one on each end) and a hydro sponge filter in the middle. The water parameters are good (ammonia and nitrite being zero). I do bi weekly water changes of about 15 gallons each of aged water (not direct from the tap but in a storage bin with peat and a heater).
<Good>
This tank has been up and running for several months now with fish being in it for about 6 weeks. All of a sudden last week the dreaded Ich arrived.
I think it was a delayed reaction to shipping stress from the Uarus. I have been treating the tank for 7 days with Paraguard.
<Mmm, a good medication, but hard to maintain-sustain a therapeutic dose in such a setting...>
The temperature has always been at 82F (a little too warm for the Cory's possibly but the Uarus love it) The Acaras showed a little of the parasite but seem to be cleared up. The Cory's don't show any signs of the parasite. The Uarus have it the worst. Over the course of treatment, the parasite has covered them completely. They don't seem worse for wear however. They still eat aggressively, swim like normal, no increased respiration or clamped fins. My question to you is, will this particular treatment be effective or should I change up and do the salt method?
<Not salt, but I would elevate the temperature...>
If so, what is the salt method exactly? And when can I switch, apparently with Paraguard, it is 'gone' from the system within 24 hours. Thank you,
Edey
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: freshwater Ich, med. absorption  4/18/2010

Thanks for the quick response! Not sure what you mean about Paraguard being hard to maintain/sustain in this setting. Do you mean with the peat, the types of filters (there is not carbon) or the size of the tank?
<The peat extract, wood, "detritus"... See WWM re... where you were referred.>
Just want to make sure I using a good but safe treatment method.
Edey
<Understood. B>

Ich? Yes! Reading? NO!   4/19/10
Hi, these are the juvenile Uarus Bob F. wrote back to me about. I am sending three pictures in hopes that someone can confirm my diagnosis of Ich.
<Good gosh! It sure looks like a terrible case of Ich<thyophthiriasis>.>
I moved them into a hospital tank yesterday, bare bottom, temp 85F and continued treatment with Paraguard - Day 8 today
<Again... this treatment is doing no good here. IF it were, the spots would all be gone by now... The Paraguard (Glutaraldehyde) is being absorbed...
- keeping my fingers double crossed.
Thanks, Edey
<You need to move these fishes to a treatment tank... NOW! And/or raise the water temp to the upper 80's F. One last time, PLEASE read where you were referred to initially. BobF>

Re: Ich?  4/19/10
I did move them to a treatment tank yesterday. Bare bottom, temp 85F, sponge filter, no organic material at all. Just some PVC hides.
<Great! I would use another/different "Ich remedy", and still elevate the temp. a few degrees F. B>
Re: Ich?
Do you recommend salt at this point or not 'strong' enough?
<I don't suggest salt/s for Ich remedies...>
If so, can sea salt (for salt water aquariums) be used or just plain aquarium salt?
<... read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
and....>
Also, should I change some water to remove today's dosage of Paraguard?
<... read the label... I would>
Edey
<... Please start searching, reading... and not writing. Your fish/es will be dead if you delay. B>

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

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

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

Is Ick Medication Harmful To Aquatic Turtles? /RMF 12/09/09
Hello
<Good morrow Scott>
I have a 75 gallon tank that has an assortment of fish and 3 aquatic turtles.
<Mmm, in almost all cases it's a poor idea to mix these. Most turtles are fish eaters (given circumstances) and too "dirty" to keep in a system and keep clean enough to have fishes do okay as well>
I recently added some new fish to the tank and a few days later noticed they had ick. I removed them and put them in another tank to medicate them.
Only to have more fish in my big tank get ick also so I removed the turtles ( red eared slider and 2 florida red bellies) and medicated the whole the whole tank. So my question is is the Ick medication harmful to the turtles
and after I do a 40 % water change and add the carbon back in will it be safe to add the turtles back into the tank?
Thanks so much in advance
Scott
<As far as I'm aware, the few active ingredients that make up freshwater Ich medicines (Malachite Green, Methylene Blue, Salts, Copper and Silver compounds, Acriflavine...) are not toxic to turtles. Some may stain their
shells, but should not harm them health-wise. Bob Fenner>

Is Ick Medication Harmful To Aquatic Turtles? /Neale   12/09/09
Hello
<Hello Scott,>
I have a 75 gallon tank that has an assortment of fish and 3 aquatic turtles.
<Curious. Usually fish and turtles make poor companions for a variety of reasons, not least of all the fact turtles produce so much waste that only a massive filter (and equally massive water changes) stand any chance of
ensuring good water quality and stable water chemistry. If you're having problems keeping your fish healthy, do review this aspect.>
I recently added some new fish to the tank and a few days later noticed they had ick. I removed them and put them in another tank to medicate them. Only to have more fish in my big tank get ick also so I removed the turtles
( red eared slider and 2 florida red bellies) and medicated the whole the whole tank. So my question is is the Ick medication harmful to the turtles and after I do a 40 % water change and add the carbon back in will it be safe to add the turtles back into the tank?
<Potentially, yes, formalin and copper are both toxic to terrapins. A safer approach would be to use the salt/heat method, which will have minimal impact on your reptiles. You won't have to move the terrapins, and there's nothing to remove when you're done beyond regular water changes.>
Thanks so much in advance
Scott
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Is Ick Medication Harmful To Aquatic Turtles? 12/9/09
Hello Again
Thank you very much for your quick response. The only problem with the two answers I received is that they both say something different.
<Actually, they don't. Re-read mine... "<As far as I'm aware, the few active ingredients that make up freshwater
Ich medicines..." As far as I know, the amount of free copper in fish medicines is not therapeutically toxic to Chelonians... Perhaps Neale knows more/differently here>
One says that the copper in the ick medications is harmful to turtles and the other response says that it is not. So I am unsure where to go from here wondering if someone could help me out again thanks so much in advance
Also if it is of any help the Ick medication we are using is made by Kordon and is called Rid~Ick+
<The formaldehyde here could indeed be problematical. I would separate the turtles, actually permanently. BobF>
Scott

Re: Is Ick Medication Harmful To Aquatic Turtles? 12/9/09
Hi Scott, Bob,
<Hello Neale>
I just looked through my handy-dandy list of fish medication ingredients.
Copper is present in some but not all anti-ick medications, usually as copper sulphate or copper chloride. Copper is, across the board, toxic to animals, though as Bob correctly observes, the amount in medications usually isn't. There are exceptions though, with some fish and most invertebrates being acutely sensitive to copper. The scientific and veterinarian literature on reptiles essentially boils down to "we don't know" with regard to reptiles; there just haven't been sufficient studies on the toxicity of copper to reptiles to argue one way or another. Since copper isn't present in many ick medications, the safest approach is to avoid risking problems by not using a copper-containing therapy.
<Agreed>
As for formalin (often listed as formaldehyde) this is present in very many ick medications as well as various "tonic" and "cure-all" medications too.
Whether or not it is immediately toxic to turtles I don't know, but it is certainly toxic in the long term, as it is to other life forms including humans, and is best avoided. Those of us who've worked in labs for any length of time will be familiar with formalin, and one of its prime uses is as a preservative, precisely because it kills even the hardiest bacteria.
It's a known carcinogen. That said, it should be metabolised by filter bacteria very quickly, likely within a day or two, so simply removing the turtles while treating the fish should ensure their safety.
<Also in agreement>
(Bob may be able to confirm either way here, but my understanding is that copper is different. It can bind reversibly with carbonates and other minerals in things like limestone. This means that it doesn't get flushed out in a predictable way, and can leach back into the system over the long term. So far as I know, activated carbon does not absorb copper.)
<Most all, once it is precipitated, stays insoluble "under aquarium conditions">
You may well be safe using standard ick medication alongside turtles, but I'd adopt a precautionary approach. Since we don't know how toxic these medications are to reptiles, and brands formulated for fish aren't tested
for safety with reptiles, there's no reason to assume they'd be safe. You have to be very careful with how animals react to medications (or even foods) they aren't meant to be exposed to. The famous example is how flea powders safe for dogs are used on cats, and the cats are quickly poisoned by the Permethrin. Since you were keeping non-standard turtle species, the amount of data in the vet literature would be even less helpful, so we're operating from a position of almost total ignorance.
Hence my argument that you should avoid using these medications, and use salt/heat instead, which would be completely safe. Reptiles tend to be tolerant of even quite brackish water because their ability to excrete salt
is quite well developed, even among freshwater species.
Cheers, Neale
<Sound advice. Again, in the long/er term, I would not keep the fishes and turtles in the same system. BobF>

Ick Guard by Jungle Labs  10/22/09
Hi Crew,
<Hello Lynne,>
Do you know much about an Ick Treatment called Ick Guard by Jungle Laboratories in Texas. The ingredients on the bottle are sodium chloride, Victoria green and Acriflavine.
<Sodium chloride is of course just plain table salt. Victoria green is another name for malachite green. It's an organic dye, and relatively toxic, so tends to be dangerous around sensitive fish (Mormyrids, spiny eels, puffers, Knifefish, stingrays, some catfish and loaches, etc.).
Acriflavine is an antiseptic (as opposed to an antibiotic) and presumably helps reduce the risk of secondary infections.>
What are these chemicals and are they any good in treating Ick?
<Yes, this medication can be used to treat Ick/Whitespot, assuming you remove carbon from the filter (since carbon will adsorb organic chemicals).
But that said, it's a "harsh" medication, and not one you'd use without thinking about the types of fish in the system. If in doubt, the old salt/heat method works more safely.>
Lynne
<Cheers, Neale.>

Rid Ich+ Treatment  9/21/09
Gang:
<Just me at this hour in the AM.>
thanks for all the great work! I started treating two sword tails with Rid Ich + today (got them last week at a decent LFS, but I guess you can never know. I am using a bare-bottom 20g quarantine tank, 84 degrees water temperature, and am going with the full dose- 10ml/2 teaspoons after a 25% water change. I have one specific question: When I do my 25% water change tomorrow, do I a) add 2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) b) add 10ml?
<No, don't do a water change. You need to expose the fish to a continual bath, since you don't know precisely when the cysts will burst and the free-living stages will emerge. It's ONLY the free-living stages that salt or Ick medication can kill. Ick medication typically decays over time, if for no other reason than the biological filter breaks it up. To compensate for this, the manufacturers will have scaled the dose to allow for this margin of error, and often you need to add medication across several days.
So, to keep things simple, do a water change before adding medication or salt, and then add the medication or salt, and then leave it running for the full period of time as required. In the case of Ick medication that's typically a week or so, in the case of salt, usually a couple of weeks, in either case assuming tropical temperatures.>
Over the last 6 months, I have read just about every ich article/FAQ on your website, and while it seems that I saw the answer to that question at some point, I can't seem to find it now. Googling "Rid Ich dose" etc. did not help.
<Haven't used this particular medication, and where salt-tolerant fish were concerned, such as livebearers, I'd be using the heat/salt method instead anyway.>
Apologies for asking a most likely redundant question.
Thanks a lot!
John
<Cheers, Neale.>

qt question 3/5/09 If ich can remain hidden in the gills, should all fish be treated in a qt tank with copper for ich regardless of symptoms? <Yes. If one fish has Ick, it's almost certain all the others do. If we're talking about freshwater fish, then treat the entire tank; if a marine aquarium, remove all the fish to the quarantine tank, treat, and leave the reef tank "fallow" for a few weeks to wipe out any free living parasites in the water column. See WWM for details on both scenarios. Cheers, Neale.>

Tetras with Ich 09/17/07 Dear crew, <<Hello, Evan. Tom with you.>> I have a 10 gallon tank with 4 Glowlight tetras and 3 neon tetras (I had 5 Neons originally but 2 died soon after arriving home from the LFS). That raises a question; one of the dead Neons was completely colorless when I found it. Could the cause of death been NTD? <<Could be, Evan, but not very likely. Your other Neon Tetras would have almost certainly contracted NTD by now and I cant guarantee that the Glowlights wouldnt have been affected, as well.>> If so: how long before any of my other fish exhibit symptoms? Its been over 2 weeks and I havent noticed the fish acting sick. <<Theyd have shown signs by now, Evan.>> Sorry for the digression, back to my original question. <<No problem.>> My tank has 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites and less than 20 ppm Nitrates, temp 84F, pH 7.8. <<The pH levels are high for the Neons in particular, Evan. Not necessarily a problem but might account for some stress in these fish.>> 10 days ago I noticed the start of ich on a couple of the Glowlights and I started a treatment of Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Super Ick Cure (Benzaldehyde Green and Povidone/Colloid mixture). I have been treating at half dose but following Doug Thamms recommendations found here: http://fins.actwin.com/articles/disease/ick2.php. I have the temperature at 84F and have performed 2 full administrations (5 mL initial dose followed by 5mL more 48 hours later, followed by WC after another 48 hours, and repeat) and I am in the middle of the 3rd administration (10th day). I have done 50% WC in between each. The treatment appeared to be working as the Glowlights had lost all of their white spots. <<Glad to hear this. Nice description of your regimen, by the way.>> Yesterday evening I noticed one of my Neons with ich spots on its tailfin and body. Is it normal for the ich to re-emerge during treatment? <<Not necessarily normal but certainly possible. Difficult to determine the resistance the parasites may have to the medication particularly at partial dosages.>> Should I increase the dosage strength to 100% doses? <<I wouldnt do this unless the problem looks like its getting the better of you and the fish. As I alluded to earlier, your Neons prefer water thats soft/acidic. Their preferred pH levels top out at about 7.0 which means your water is much higher in pH than they really like. This alone can contribute to diminished resistance to infestations such as Ich. Since medications also lead to stress, the least effective dosage that you can treat at will be far better in the long run.>> Should I just continue my treatment until no spots are left? <<Yes.>> Should I change medication to something like Quick Cure with Malachite Green/Formaldehyde? <<Not unless the API medication just doesnt do the job for you. The Malachite Green is highly effective but isnt without problems of its own. Highly toxic and has been described as a potential carcinogen. Not a treatment protocol to take lightly.>> Besides the ich, the fish seem healthy, they are active and eat well. <<Very good signs, Evan.>> Thank you for your help. -Evan <<Happy to be of assistance to you. Good luck to you. Tom>>

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.>

Question re: FW Ich and salt   6/9/06 Hi Robert, I've been reading the Ich FAQs and articles on Wet Web Media and various other forums, and the recommendations are so varied out there about the usage of salt that I'm wondering if you can advise me about a particular question.  Here's the situation: Ich just showed up on one fish of a newly cycled 37 gallon tank (currently containing 4 swordtails and numerous plants). <Many plants are salt-intolerant... adding salt may stop or forestall cycling...>   After much debate, I decided to go with meds and added the recommended dose of Jungle Ich Clear.  The fish did not react well to this at all, <Not surprising...> and within 3 hours were not swimming and were gasping for air in the corner of the tank.  (I have an AquaClear 70, so more than adequate filtration/circulation for this size tank.) <Maybe... you may have killed off, or metabolically stopped necessary cycling microbes> I decided to bail on the meds and did a 50% water change, and added the charcoal back in my filter to get rid of the rest.  This worked and by morning they were swimming all over and looked happy again.  So now I'm trying the salt/heat method, which should be successful since this species is pretty tolerant of both.  I've gradually increased the temp up to 85/86 (sort of right on the mark between the two), and have gradually added Jungle aquarium salt to the point where it is at 1 Tbsp/5 gallons - fish seem vigorous, even the one with spots which have largely dropped off at this point. This is where my main question comes in - what is the amount of salt that truly should be added and maintained to destroy the parasite?   <Not always efficacious...> The advice I've seen out there ranges from 2 Tbsp/gallon (which seems awfully high) to 1 Tbsp/5 gallons which is where I am now. <Somewhere twixt these values, depending on livestock mostly> There are also a lot of arguments that measuring salt in Tablespoons is useless b/c the amount being added depends on the grain size of the salt (mine is about as fine as Kosher salt) and the only good way to measure it is with a hydrometer.  However, hydrometer readings are affected by heat, so that needs to be calibrated, and even the recommended hydrometer readings seem to be pretty varied.  I did buy a cheap one that starts at 0.000 and goes up in increments of 0.002, but that's probably not sensitive enough. <You are correct>   So what is your take on this?  Can you set the record straight? <Can... but is not a simple formulation. All waters have some "salt" (ionic combinations of metals and non-metals) present... and adding more can be tricky... And it's not obviously as simple as "salt", as there are a few "types" available... the best, some sort/mix of "sea salt" (i.e. not sodium chloride alone)... And there is a huge differential in tolerance/range to salt content and its rate of addition, reduction... some animals can put up with quick, large changes, others not...> I know salt levels can only be as high as your species of fish can tolerate, but there also must be a minimum level that will be effective against Ich. <Yes... and if put in slowly, this protozoan can/will adapt...> Also, if I can sneak in one more - as I said, my fish seem to be thriving at 85/86 degrees.  Should I go for 87 or even 88 for some extra insurance if they take it just fine? <I would, yes> One article I found (on The Skeptical Aquarist) mentioned that some heat-resistant strains of Ich have been detected out of Florida that can survive at 90.  Having a biology background it seems logical that if you only raise the heat to 85, and any of the organisms survive that, they can reproduce into a strain that is more heat tolerant, so the higher you can go the better. This is the same reason I don't want to mess with half-doses of meds. <You are wise here> Half doses may kill many of the parasites, but if any survive the lower dose they could reproduce and develop into a resistant strain - the same reason you should never take less dosage of an antibiotic or for a shorter time than a doctor prescribes - it could lead to nastier bugs. Sorry for the long post, but I'd love to get some clarity on this. Regards, Jason Arlington, VA <Now... finally my pitch/resolution here. I would treat this situation with a Malachite Green solution IF you can monitor its effect, and maintain the high/er temperature. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: ich: salt and heat question   6/22/06 Thanks Robert - appreciate it.  Below is the message I sent you a couple of weeks ago.  Also, as an update to what I wrote earlier - after 2 weeks, so far so good - all 4 fish seem to be prospering under current conditions (temp = 85/86 and salt = 1 tbsp/5 gal), and no physical signs of ich.  (I've also learned my lesson and set up a quarantine tank.) ORIGINAL MESSAGE: Hi Robert, I've been reading the Ich FAQs and articles on Wet Web Media and various other forums, and the recommendations are so varied out there about the usage of salt that I'm wondering if you can advise me about a particular question.  Here's the situation: Ich just showed up on one fish of a newly cycled 37 gallon tank (currently containing 4 swordtails and numerous plants).  After much debate, I decided to go with meds and added the recommended dose of Jungle Ich Clear.  The fish did not react well to this at all, and within 3 hours were not swimming and were gasping for air in the corner of the tank that has very little "current". <Yikes... this medicine is broadly label able as a "proteinaceous precipitant"... in effect it poisons the fishes to produce more body mucus... which can/does interfere with respiration...> (I have an AquaClear 70, so more than adequate filtration/circulation for this size tank.) I decided to bail on the meds and did a 50% water change, and added the charcoal back in my filter to get rid of the rest.   <You are/were wise here> This worked and by morning they were swimming all over and looked happy again.  So now I'm trying the salt/heat method, which should be successful since this species is pretty tolerant of both.  I've gradually increased the temp to 85/86 (sort of right on the mark between the two), and have gradually added Jungle aquarium salt to the point where it is at 1 Tbsp/5 gallons; I plan to keep this up for 21 days, which I understand should mathematically eliminate the chance of the parasite surviving given its lifecycle (if the conditions I've set are right). <Sounds good> This is where my main question comes in - what is the amount of salt that truly should be added and maintained to raise osmotic pressure high enough to destroy the parasite? <Mmm...> The advice I've seen out there ranges from 2 Tbsp/gallon (which seems awfully high) to 1 Tbsp/5 gallons which is where I am now.  There are also a lot of arguments that measuring salt in Tablespoons is useless b/c the effect on "salinity" depends on the grain size and type of salt (mine is about as fine as Kosher salt) <A good choice, though "marine aquarium synthetic salt/s" are better> and the only good way to measure it is with a hydrometer.  However, hydrometer readings are affected by heat, so that needs to be calibrated, and even the recommended hydrometer readings seem to be pretty varied.  I did buy a cheap one that starts at 0.000 and goes up in increments of 0.002, but that's probably not sensitive enough.  So what is your take on this?  Can you set the record straight?  I know salt levels can only be as high as your species of fish can tolerate, but there also must be a minimum level that has to be reached to be effective against Ich. <... a real answer would require some discussion re what salts are (combinations of metals and non-metals) and the fact that there is/are some salts in all source waters... and that sometimes the mixing/blending, addition of some salt/s can be toxic... The lower limit you're using should be fine for most all aquarium plants, and is fine for Xiphophorus exposure> Also, if I can sneak in one more - my fish seem to be thriving at 85/86 degrees.  Should I go for 87 or even 88 for some extra insurance if they take it just fine? <You could... but margins of safety grow small with increased temperature... less dissolved oxygen, higher metabolic rate...>   One article I found (on The Skeptical Aquarist) mentioned that some heat-resistant strains of Ich have been discovered out of Florida that can survive at 90. <Yes>   Having a biology background it seems logical that if you only raise the heat to 85, and any of the organisms survive that, they could possibly reproduce into a strain that is more heat tolerant so the higher you can go the better. <One way of stating...> This is the same reason I don't want to mess with half-doses of meds.  Half doses may kill many of the parasites, but if any survive the lower dose they could reproduce and develop into a resistant strain - the same reason you should never take less dosage of an antibiotic or for a shorter time than a doctor prescribes - it could lead to nastier bugs. <A mis-statement/understanding... These resistances are not developed so much as organisms with "what it takes" are selected, persevere...> Sorry for the long post, but I'd love to get some clarity on this. Regards, Jason Arlington, VA <Bob Fenner, San Diego, CA>

Troubles with Ich   7/7/06 Hi,  Larry here.   My son started a FW 20g planted tank with Cardinals, Blue Rams, Thread fins and a Clown and Kuhli loach.  Unfortunately the clown loach had ich. < Common problem with this fish.> We treated with Maracide which is basically Malachite green as directed on the bottle and the ich disappeared for a few days only to come back.  So we retreated 2 more times and the ich has returned.  We raised the temp to 82F and switched to Quick cure which is M. Green and formalin and have had no luck in effecting a cure.  The tank uses a Fluorite gravel.  Do you think the Fluorite is absorbing the malachite? < No but any organics would absorb this medication.> <<Could easily be. RMF>> The water does not stay blue green very long.  Our plants by the way have done very well through all this. We have now moved all the fish to a 29g QT tank that I normally use for my Marine fish.  We are now treating with Cupramine copper.  Now how long do we have to leave the 20g fallow before we can put our fish back into the tank? < At 82 F the ich parasites need a host. They will die in 7 days without a host fish.> I was also thinking about treating the 20g tank with Epsom salts as I have read in WWM FAQ's that this can be effective, what's your opinion on this? < Salt increases the slime coat on the fish and make it more difficult for the parasite to get established on the fish. You don't want to add too much because this will also increase the slime coat over the gills and prevent the fish from breathing properly.> We also have an African frog and some Japonica shrimp which have survived the Malachite and formalin much to my surprise.  It is my understanding that they do not act as hosts or reservoirs for ich.  Will they be ok if we treat the tank with Epsom salts and what dose do I use? < I think your problem is that you don't let the medication stay in the water long enough. If I had ich in my tank I would do the following. Raise the temp to 82 F. This makes it more difficult for the parasite to survive because at higher temps, water has less holding capacity for oxygen. Secondly I would do a 50% water change. This automatically removes 50% of the free swimming parasites. Third I would clean the filter and remove any carbon. Fourth I would vacuum the gravel to remove any organics and make any medication more effective. Then I would treat with Rid-Ich by Kordon. It is a combination of malachite green and formalin. Follow the directions on the package. I would add a teaspoon of rock salt per 5 gallons of aquarium water. The ich should be gone for good in a week. Now to prevent any further outbreaks I would get a quarantine tank. No fish goes into the main tank without a minimum two week quarantine period. Much easier and cheaper to medicate in the QT tank.-Chuck> What a frustrating mess,  I have a 120g FOWLR marine tank that I tore down because of battling ich for over a year thanks to a blue tang that I FW dipped and QT for 2 weeks.  Thanks for the advice and all the wealth of knowledge that the WWM crew supply. Larry, basking in the sun in Minnesota! <<... need to remove the shrimp, frog... and I'd raise the temp. to the mid to upper 80's F. RMF>>

Salt Treatment For Ich - 10/22/2006 Hi there. I have a few questions regarding the use of aquarium salt as treatment for Ich. My first question involves my husbands Goldfish tank. My husband has a 10 gallon tank containing 3 Fancy Tail Goldfish, 2 Royal Plecos, 1 Rubber Pleco and a yellow Apple Snail. I know the tank is overstocked, the 10 gallon was meant as only temporary quarters. The PH is 7.0, Ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0 and Nitrate is 20. Temperature is maintained at 76F. A much larger tank is on its way. My husband just purchased the 2 Royal Plecos approx. two days ago. Both appeared fine when he got them and he did not quarantine. I just did a 25% water change on the tank and happened to notice that both Royal Plecos are now lightly dusted with white spots. Dreaded Ich! None of the other fish are showing signs at present so I'm more than fairly certain that the Royals were already infected when they were introduced to the tank. I have successfully treated Ich, using a salt/heat combo, in two of my tanks (Severum/Channel Cat tank and a Livebearer tank) in the past and would like to use salt as my medication of choice. Can the Goldfish, Plecos and Snail all handle the level of salt and heat needed for treatment? I use normal Aquarium Salt. 2 Tablespoons per 5 gallons, raise the temperature to 80F and allow to remain for 10 days. Would this be okay for my husbands tank? I'm most worried about the safety with the snail. Would it be best to move him/her to a covered container (my quarantine tank is occupied so I can't place it there), like an old butter dish with holes poked in the lid, while the salt/heat treatment is happening in the main tank? <IMO salt is the way to go. But the snail gets thirty days in QT without fish, or salt. He can not be infected but he can carry it in and on his shell. A month without a fish host will starve out the parasite.> My second question involves my Angelfish community tank. I have a False Julii Leopard Cory Cat, 3 Peppered Cory Cats, 2 Panda Cory Cats and approx. 20 pea to nickel sized Angelfish in this tank. PH is 7.0, Ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0 and Nitrate is 25. Temperature is 78F. Yesterday, one of my husband's Goldfish uprooted a plastic plant in their tank so I removed it and placed it into my Angelfish tank. The plant was still wet when I placed it into the Angel tank. I'm afraid that I may have infected my tank via the plant. Is this possible? Nobody in the Angel tank has been acting ill. No flashing or other signs of Ich. Would I be wise to go ahead and use salt/heat in this tank as well? I have several rare varieties of Angels in this tank and don't wish to lose any. I've heard that Corys and Angels don't tolerate salt well but others have said they do fine. Which is true? Would my 2 Tablespoons per 5 gallon be safe and tolerable for both species? Is there a lower concentration I could use that would be just as effective against Ich? Should I wait and see if anyone develops Ich before adding salt to this tank or do you feel I'd do well to head it off before it hits by treating as I would if they were actively showing signs of infection? Thanks for your prompt help. Heather <You are correct to be worried. I would salt the tank now. I salted my Corys while they were in QT without a problem. But this does go against "common knowledge". Something I seem to do a lot. If they seem stressed do a small, salt free, water change to lower the concentration. Another method would be to use heat alone. But you would need to get the temp up to about 90 and add extra airstones. Don>

On the battle field with ICK! Dear WWM crew, I know you get a lot of questions about ick, <Too many! I do wish folks would utilize caution, good selection (yes, including dealers!), quarantine all incoming livestock... OK, off my soapbox>   so here is another one. I have a 33g FW aquarium the inhabitants are 5 guppies, 5 scissortail Rasboras, 4 platies and 3 swordtails. This morning I noticed that on of the swordtails had small white dots on her. Then looking closer I saw that almost all of my other fish have then too. I have had a few encounters with ick in my other tanks but this 33g is my biggest and I'm just not certain on what to do. The medications that I have are: Pimafix, Fungus Eliminator, Ick Guard, Maracyn, and Maracyn-Two. I would like to know if any of these would work or if you have any suggestions on other things. Please Help Me. I won't add any medication until I hear from you. Thank you very much: Wendy Laresser <Only the Ick Guard is of use here... do read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top) and elevate your temperature... Bob Fenner>

Persistent ich problem, not mixing medications Hello Robert, <Jamie> Sorry to bother with this most surely worn question, but my aquarium has an infestation that seems resistant to treatment (I know how it got there, and it won't happen again). <These can be... trying>   Based on all that I have read re: ich, this should have cleared, as there has been treatment in the water for a minimum of two lifecycles.  Current water conditions: 82F; pH 7.0, NH3 0.0; NO2 0.0; NO3 10-15 ppm.  Fish: 3 Head and Taillight Tetras, 3 Lemon Tetras; 5 Neon Tetras; 5 Zebra Danios; 3 Peppered Corys and 1 Spotted Cory.  Aquarium is artificially planted 45 gal. w/Penguin 300gph filter. On 1-27 I noticed one spot on a Neon.  I immediately replaced the filter cartridges with new with carbon removed and added QuickCure - 35 drops. Repeating this daily, on 1-31 I added 4 tbs. salt @ 1 tbs. per 10 gallons (I've read that Cory's don't like it but thought some would help). <Yes>   On 2-2 I increased temp. to 82F and added 50 drops of Aquarisol @ 12 drops per 10 gal. <Mmm, you switched from a formalin to a copper-based remedy... for?> Through all this seeming over-treatment, the spots continued to show in an obvious but not rampant manner.  On 2-8, one of my Peppered Corys was obviously becoming washed out in color (I assume due to salt and probably toxicity of the QuickCure). <Likely>   I also noticed that one of the Lemon Tetras had inflamed gills and was experiencing difficulty w/respiration.  I did a 50% water change and vacuumed the gravel. <... did you check for integrity of your biological filter? You're treating your fish in their main tank... not a separate system?>   Treatment with QuickCure resumed.  On 2-10 I noticed some tail rot on a Head and Taillight Tetra and performed another 50% water change.  I also discontinued use of the QuickCure and began treatment with Coppersafe to a tested 1.5-2.0 ppm copper concentration per instructions and also began daily treatment with TriSulfa - 4 tabs. @ 1/10 gal. for the secondary bacterial infection. <...? Not warranted> As of tonight, my fish are still glancing and flashing and there are still visible spots.  Have I not given all this time to work, or have I encountered a resistant strain of ich? <You've induced some problems here with the mixing of two quite toxic medicines... likely killed off your nitrogenous microbes...> I would like to raise the temp to 86F as well, but in my research the temp. range of my fish is well below that.  Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Jamie <I WOULD check for ammonia, nitrite... AND settle on just ONE of the medications (likely the CopperSafe), AND elevate temperature to the mid-80's F. Bob Fenner>

Paragon vs. Quick Cure Hi, folks! <Ted> I've a 60 gallon with 4 3 inch fancy goldfish and 3 weather loaches.  Recently, the goldfish developed a VERY nasty case of Ick overnight. The loaches scratch, but I don't see any spots on them.  <Can/could still be there... the spots are actually a reaction, not the ich itself... like slimy bumps from irritation> I had used Paragon on just the goldfish before for fish lice and it was a smashing success. However, I was told not to use Paragon this time for Ick because of the loaches. Even at half strength, it would harm the loaches. <Yes> Quick Cure appeared to be the most popular alternative. I've read the instructions and it is one drop per gallon. No problem. It will discolour the water, but colour will disappear in a few days. No problem. However, when I tried the Quick Cure, the water is tinted blue only for about an hour or two before the water is clear again....not a few days. What gives? <Ah, good observations... the compound that yields the color is "disappearing" (complexing with other material in the system)... and likely the more "active ingredient" (formalin)> I've taken out all carbon. Only filter left is an reverse-flow undergravel filter and a spray bar jetting out water through floss media and Biomax-type rings. There should be nothing that takes up the colour of the Quick Cure.  <Mmm, mulm, gravel, other "stuff" that makes up your water... even the livestock themselves will absorb...> Am I missing something here? Am I losing the Quick Cure before it can even do its job? <Bingo> There is absolutely no carbon. Just floss filter, Biomax-type rings and massive aeration. <Ahh, the biota on the rings also is absorbing...> I intend on following the instructions with a one drop per gallon DAILY regiment for a few days, but don't want to lose the medication before it actually does its job! As usual, thank you so much for your help! Ted <Ted, rather than going on with the present circumstances, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm  and the related file links above.... And switch treatments... elevate temperature, use a malachite based med... half strength... and test for ammonia... as your nitrifiers have and will take a beating... Bob Fenner...>

Re: Paragon vs. Quick Cure Thank you so much.  I did learn a few things. <Good> One issue I have noticed is that while it is widely recommended to do many water changes during treatment (I intend on keeping up with the Quick Cure, minus the Biomax ring that remains oddly white), there is no mention of whether the fresh water should be treated with the medication before adding to the tank to keep up the concentration. <Good point... all treatments (I DO wish there were ready assays for active ingredients to all) should be re-added per changes, time frames>   The way I see it, if I do a 25% water change every day or two, I'm diluting the medication.  Does this make sense?  Thanks! Ted <Does indeed... and at least a quarter re-application is therefore called for. Bob Fenner>

Ich... goldfish... blitzkrieg med.s... not studying... Ive scrolled through lots of your comments on questions.  You seem to be more knowledgeable than anyone at the fish store here in NYC. <Heeee!> I bought a new 48 gallon tank for two goldfish (one comet, one is a generic I dont know what it is called) w/an Eheim canister filter. The store installed it when I was out of town big help.  The less strong one (comet) developed ich, the other one has more or less fought it off.  They first recommended Coppersafe. <Mmm, better to use Malachite Green, rather than copper-based med.s on goldfish>   I followed the directions. They continued to have the spots, but were as active as always.  We left for eleven days and came back to one dying fish and the other lethargic. A person from the store came and serviced the tank and added Coppersafe.  The weaker fish just sprawled out.  I didnt think it would survive the night, but it did.  The store then recommended Rid Ick. <Is copper and Malachite...> I dont like using carcinogenic stuff, but .  I followed their instructions, which were to re-dose every two days (not enough according to the manufacturer). <... should be done daily>   After the first two doses, I stepped this up to every 36 hours, thinking they were too weak to take more.  Somehow or other, these fish are still alive.  Actually, it seems that the medication is the only thing keeping the stronger one down.   The weaker one hasnt eaten in at least a week, probably two, and mostly sits at the bottom listlessly.  The other one occasionally swims around and ate today.  I do not want to use any more Rid Ick.  The store recommended Aquarisol, which I bought. <Another copper salt solution...>   I have set up a QT (old two-gal tank, cant leave these 1 ½ yr olds there long) so that I can remove them and let the tomites in the display tank die.  I havent yet moved the fish. Frankly, I have no idea what to do, but this is taking a HUGE amount of time. Any thoughts??? <Yes... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the (many) linked FAQs, starting with the ones above... and Goldfish Disease... set upon one plan and adhere to it... I would add salt, one of these ich medications (if it were me/mine I would use just "Nox-Ich" or another just Malachite Green solution (like Kordon's)... monitor water quality... and the ich should be gone in a week. Bob Fenner> Thanks. Re: Ich  9/16/05 Thanks for the comments and for the direction to your ich treatment comments. <Welcome> Sorry to ask for more comment, but I have been getting so much conflicting advice including, just yesterday from the fish store, to slowly cool down the tank. <... no...>   According to your info., that wasn't such a great idea.  My problems with the Rid-Ich+ (or Nox Ich) is that the active ingredients are carcinogenic for me! <Much less so than putting gasoline in a car...> After a week of sticking my hand/arm in the water during water changes, etc., it occurs to me that I am not wild about doing that.  Also, I am not seeing any encouraging response at all from the weaker fish; it remains listless and rocks side-to-side a bit.  And just for good measure, I put in Aquarisol this morning for any lurking tomites.  Clearly, I've been all over the lot. <Yes... randomly, surprised you haven't hit a proverbial light post> My instinct is to try to get the weaker fish moving and eating again, then bomb the ich.  It may be too late, though.   What would you do at this point? <Read> One other question.  How do you know when they are "cured" (presumably returning to normal swimming around) and how quickly should all of the spots be gone? Thanks again. <Please don't write... read where you've been sent, the linked files beyond. Bob Fenner>

Ich and Popeye-Together Again  9/26/05 Hi~ I have a 12 gallon tank and I just recently noticed that most of my fish have little white spots on them and then one of my kissing fish has Pop Eye in both eyes. For the Ick I bought a bottle of Cure-Ick and for the Pop Eye I bought Maracyn-Two. My question is can I use both of these treatments at the same time or do I need to wait?? Thank you! <Usually not a good idea to mix meds unless they are from the same manufacturer and they clearly state they are safe together. Not sure about this combo, so lets err on the safe side. First thing to do is a large, 50%, water change. Siphon from the bottom using a gravel vac. Ich reproduces at the bottom of your tank. Popeye almost always starts with poor water quality. Especially a lot of organic matter. The water change will help both. I use salt for Ich. Not as harsh on the fish. But after the med of your choice is in place, raise the temperature to 82 to 84 degrees. Continue any treatment for at least three weeks after the last spot drops. Test the water and do water changes if you see any ammonia or nitrite. Add three level tablespoons (1 per 4 to 5 gallons) of Epsom salt if the Popeye is not helped by the water changes. Don>

Medication For Ich.  10/5/05 The pet shops here don't have that medicine (Rid-Ich). They suggested to buy tetracycline. What proportion will I use? < Tetracycline will not work on ich. Save your money and increase the water temp to 84 F and increase the aeration.> Is it ok if there will be other fishes in they same aquarium but it has a divider in between. Once again thanks < Dividers will not stop any medication if there is any water flow around it.-Chuck>

Loaches, Ich, Salt, and Copper - 11/08/2005 Hi Crew, <Hi Brian; Sabrina with you, today.> First let me give my thanks, Bob Fenner replied back in late June concerning our highly alkaline well and the use of SeaChem's "Acid Buffer" on incoming water to bring our FW tanks down from a pH around 8.2-8.4 to a much more reasonable 7.0-7.2. After a lot of experimentation, it seems about 1/4 tsp Acid Buffer added to water mixed at 2:1 - 3:1, RO/DI: well does the trick, when combined with occasional small water changes at 6:1 RO/DI: well with no Acid Buffer to give back some alkalinity and thin out the GH.  <Great.> Now on to my questions. I've got a 29 gallon tank setup with 7 red swordtails, 2 honey Gourami, and 8 checkerboard barbs. Water parameters consistently check fine - no ammonia, no nitrite, ~15mg/L nitrate. Two medium sized Amazon Sword plants, one medium tiger lotus grown from a bulb, and a small chunk of Java Fern reproduced from another tank. Water temperature is at 77 deg F, pH = 7.0.  One of the swordtails, male, has been steadily looking worse and worse over the last month and a half or so, with no other symptoms apparent on any of the other fish. Best description I can give of the swordtail is that he's lost a lot of his color on the bottom half of his body. His lateral line is very evident as a greenish line down the length of his body, and most of the damage seems to be at or below his lateral line. The lower area near his tail has also really washed out. With the lights out, the bottom half of the fish looks almost grey, with lights on it is more a faded red with some silverish looking parts. I'm fairly certain it is not ick or any other transmissible disease as none of the other fish look at all affected.  <Is possibly nerve damage.... from an injury, or developmental/genetic disease....> My only theory is that he has been spending way too much time hanging out by the tank's heater, which is placed horizontally instead of vertically to try to provide more efficient heat dispersion. I've added an airstone near the heater to try to discourage him from resting from near/on the heater.  <Even better, get a plastic guard to go around the heater, or wrap the heater in airline tubing with "gaps" between the coils of tubing if you are unable to find a guard for it - and couple this with the airstone.> For about 2 days in a row, about a week ago, he was doing a little flashing on the Amazon Sword leaves and the bottom, but that seems to have subsided. I have not added any treatments to the tank, other than my usual water change schedule which includes a trace (less than 1/2tsp for 3 gal) of salt, along with 0.1mL/gal of SeaChem's "Prime", and Acid Buffer for pH. New water is aerated and temperature matched for about four hours pre-each water change, haven't set up a system for longer term aging of water yet but can certainly do so.  <Your current maintenance sounds plenty adequate.> He still eats readily (flake food and dried Tubifex worms, which he devours), does not appear to be struggling for air or otherwise moving erratically. Even before he showed any of these symptoms, back when he was much smaller and being reared only with the three other fry from his batch, he looked a little different -- he has always had a tinge of green and a much more readily visible lateral line compared to the other swordtails from the batch. All the other swordtails that made it beyond fry stage have survived, with the exception of one female that died a few weeks ago, pregnant, that we deemed to be physically incapable of giving birth. Back when he was a small small fry (looking back over my notes) there was one point where I was afraid he was going to die, acting very lethargic and darty and not swimming straight at all. I added a large amount of "LiquiFry" food and after eating that he seemed to perk back up and seemed okay for several months.  <Quite possibly this is just genetic/developmental, then.> His feces I must admit have appeared nothing but white and stringy for the past month or so, haven't seen anything that looks comparable to that of the other fish in the tank receiving the same food.  <This is disconcerting.... I have to ask, are these Tubifex live? Please do be aware that live Tubifex (and even freeze-dried) can transfer parasites to your fish. If you must use live worms, please instead use Blackworms, which are much less hazardous (though there is still some degree of risk involved with them). Better still are bloodworms or other insect larvae.> This fish (along with the other swordtails in the tank) is the offspring of a pair of swordtails we had months ago -- the father was a fish I was always worried about once we bought him, as he had a very obvious green coloration to him (along with the very visible lateral line) that I at first attributed to illness, then to just genetic makeup giving more of a wild type coloration. <The green could indeed be just coloration - there are plenty of swordtails with prominent lateral striping and green coloration.> Is this a nutritional deficiency? Genetic problem? Velvet?  <I highly doubt velvet.> Is he just sleeping on the heater and baking the color out of him? Any thoughts would be appreciated. We've already mourned his loss a week or two ago when he just looked a little worse than before (that's when I started feeding the Tubifex worms again), but he keeps fighting back and does not look ready to give up the ghost just yet. My apologies for the length of the question, I've just been battering around so many different possible theories for so long and don't want to just leave the guy to waste away. I'm going to try to get some pictures of him, but it's tough to get one where the degradation is clearly visible. It may be what I need to do is add more hiding places (tank has only plants and a large rock), in case the fish are just feeling that the heater is a safe, hidden spot, and burning themselves thusly. Our blood parrot cichlid (in yet another tank) managed to burn herself pretty well a couple years by leaning on the heater, ended up covered in black spots before the problem was fixed with a higher tank temp.  <Please, please consider using guards or wrapping those heaters! They do present a danger to your fish.> Second question, hopefully easier. We bought two clown loaches (2") at the LFS on 5 Nov. After getting them home and placing in the 10g QT tank, it was fairly obvious that one of them had ich. After a lot of reading I decided the thing to do was to get the temperature up (was at 77 deg F, now at 82 deg F, aiming for 85 deg F) and start adding salt to the tank. The QT tank is planted (good sized Java Fern, Amazon Sword almost too big for the tank, plus some floating Wisteria), so I know the salt may not be good for the plants but I can handle plants dying much better than fish doing so. The next day (6 Nov), figuring that the QT tank was already exposed to ich and that the clowns would be happier with more than just two around, we went ahead and got three more that the LFS had from the same tank, also obviously exposed to ich. Maybe that was a stupid move, bringing more ich to the QT tank, but I wanted to try to reduce stress on the clowns by increasing their numbers.  <I must point out that it is almost invariably a bad idea to purchase fish with obvious symptoms of disease....> Also bought some Aquari-Sol (copper sulfate salts) at the same time, but have not dosed any into the tank yet.  <I wouldn't.> By this point, I figure I have added a little over 2 tbsp of salt to a tank with estimated 9 gallons of water, over a couple days.  <You'll need a LOT more than that. Please read this article: http://69.44.152.177/showquestion.php?faq=2&fldAuto=32 .> The loaches are eating well, they've nearly de-snailed the entire tank already. I know I need to find some longer term foods for them, and that they sure won't be living in the 10g any longer than they have to beat the ich. So, my treatment plan is this: Increase tank temperature to 85 deg F and keep it there. Increase salt levels in the tank to some number of teaspoons per gallon (wish I had a way to measure salinity down in the 1.00X ranges).  <A refractometer is really your best bet, here, followed by a hydrometer that measures low levels.... there are at least two brands readily available, of box- swing-arm type hydrometers that do read quite low levels. Just be aware that there is some significant degree of inaccuracy.> Removed carbon from the filter (Whisper 10), added an airstone on a pump for more oxygenation of the warmer water. Replaced the Purigen in the filter with fresh Purigen (~15mL), in hopes that the synthetic beads may be capable of removing some of the encysted or free swimming ich, <Mm, I wouldn't hold my breath on that.> I'm prepared to replace the Purigen every 48hrs or so if that's a valid theory, or just leave as is if not. If there is no obvious improvement in about three days from now, my plan would be to begin dosing the Aquari-Sol at about 50% of the label directions (12 drops per 10 gallons per label, I would add about 5 drops to the tank) and test copper levels frequently, combined with daily water changes to combat ammonia/nitrite buildup from loss of nitrifying bacteria.  <Try to avoid the copper if at all possible.... Salt and heat alone should affect a cure.> My hope is the plants may help with some of the excreted ammonia if the salt/copper/heat do not completely hose their metabolism. I've used SeaChem's "Flourish Excel" in the past in the tank to provide more available carbon to the plants, have stopped for now to deal with ich but can continue if increased plant respiration would be indicated. I'm even considering eyedroppering in a little bit of 22ppm colloidal silver.  <I wouldn't.> Is this a reasonable treatment plan? I've seen people say copper salts work great with loaches at low doses for ich, but I've seen just as many say not to ever use copper with loaches.  <I am more of the latter batch of folks - though have used copper in the past with success. I am much more a proponent of salt in this case.... Less harmful to the animals.> Are my salt levels within an order of magnitude of what could be expected to help?  <Not yet.> Is it pointless to try to treat with simply heat + salt, and instead I should be getting the minimal dose Aquari-Sol in there ASAP?  <Mm, as above, heat and salt WILL work, at the proper levels.... you'll get there, no worries!> I've purchased a copper test kit and verified no free copper in the tank at this time, so I should be capable of maintaining an appropriate level of copper if it comes to that. I really appreciate the time taken to read and consider these issues. -Brian Pardy <And thank you for your kind words. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Rid-Ich Affecting Catfish  11/7/05 The guy at the pet store told me it was ok to put Rid-Ich in the tank with my Raphael catfish. He started staying up at the top of the tank gasping for air. I took him out and put him in another tank. He is on the bottom breathing very hard. Looking swollen. I checked the water and others. Ok. I have a horrible feeling my baby is going to die before you get this. I wanted to know if it was to late for him or is there something I can buy to make him better.  Peetsi <Rid-Ich is a very good medication. Rid-Ich is an older form of a malachite green and formalin combination that was found to be very toxic to scaleless fish such as catfish and loaches. It is to be used at half the recommended dosage and says so on the bottle. A new formulation came out a couple of years ago called Rid-Ich+.  This is suppose to be a safer medication than its earlier formula. The clerk may have confused between the two different bottles, especially if both were on the shelf. They still look almost identical. You did the right thing by removing him from the tank. Place him in a net in a quiet corner of the tank with plenty of aeration and hope for the best. There is no antidote for you fish and it will try and purge the copper from its system over time.-Chuck> 

Ich troubles, and a lack of detail  11/20/05 A week ago I noticed our Oscars and tinfoil barbs were itching on rocks and had white spots on them. <Yikes> We started treating them with Rid Ich, but it made my largest Oscar mad and he started attacking the barbs. <Interesting> We tried to keep the barbs alive but they are all dead now. Our Oscars still have ich, their eyes are cloudy and the white Oscar has red streaks on his fins. They are barely eating anything. Should we stop giving them Rid Ich and give them Maracyn 2 instead? <... need much more information here... as in the history, make-up of this system, what your water quality tests show, what else you have done thus far... Maracyn (1 and 2) are antibiotics, Ichthyophthiriasis, caused by a protozoan... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above... and quick... I would be elevating water temperature, checking for ammonia, nitrite... Bob Fenner> 

Ick Medication Related Question  11/24/05 Hi: I hope you might be able to answer my question regarding the ick medication I am currently using. <Will try> I have a 50 gallon tank with two Black Moors  and one Fancy Goldfish. Two weeks ago one of my Black Moors developed ick. I put him in a separate 10 gallon tank <Mmm, need to treat all> and added Coppersafe medication by Mardel in it. <I would use Malachite Green on goldfish here> It has been two weeks now and he has developed even more tiny white dots all over his fins and body. He looks very stressed, sits on the bottom of the tank and does not eat at all. I do know that this medication takes up to 20 days to work <Mmm, no... not for this, other protozoan complaints> but I am afraid that my fish might die before it is actually treated. <Likely so> So, I was thinking of either adding an Ick Guard by Jungle Products or either adding salt to the aquarium. Should I change all of the water first or could I add the new medication given that the water Ph, Hardness, Alkalinity, Nitrite and Nitrate levels are within the normal ranges. Thank you so much for you answer, Iana <Please... take your time reading what we have archived on WWM re FW ich: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files at top... then on to Goldfish Disease... Bob Fenner>



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