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Related Articles: Marine Ich: Fighting The War On Two Fronts, Cryptocaryon, Marine Parasitic Disease, Quarantine, Quarantine of Marine Fishes


Bobbing for ich... important, interesting methods for avoiding, treating external parasitic (mostly) complaints of marine fishes  - 01/12/2006 Hello, <Hi there> Could you help clear something up.  Will a freshwater bath on a marine fish destroy some of the encysted parasites of ich or velvet? <Often so, yes... this is posted... on WWM...>   I get conflicting information on this.  At the store I work at, we do keep copper in the water for parasite control in our marine section. <Very common practice in the trade> So when the parasite drops off and the swarmers bust out they will shrivel up and die. <That is the hope> But if I could give the fish some relief from the load of parasites it currently has on it, I would like to do that. <You are wise here... my urgings for prophylactic dips in the industry... from collectors forward, have been emphatic and constant going on three decades... Please see WWM re "Guerilla Acclimation"...> Giving the fish a pH adjusted temperature adjusted freshwater bath when it obviously has something, that sounds like good advice. <We are confluent in this opinion> We know a freshwater bath will kill or reduce a lot of other pathogens that could be hitching a ride on the fish, from flukes to Brooklynellosis.  But besides killing all the other stuff that might be in the gills on a fish that's showing spots, Will it actually help to reduce the load of marine ich or velvet? <Oh yes. Done correctly, they are virtually eliminated, excluded with such practice> Or am I only giving a bath to kill whatever else might be on the animal and waiting until the encysted parasites drop off? <If your systems are "specific pathogen free", you will not have such pathogens to reinfect/fest them...> | I had the idea that the freshwater bath might take off some of the fishes slime coat and expose the parasite to the killing freshwater.  Or is that not the case? <Yes... with most fish species, in good initial health, such exposure results in more slime production temporarily> In a related idea of giving a saltwater bath to a fresh water fish.   Sometimes I will see a fish arrive covered so heavily with ich (freshwater) that I go 'man, that's horrible'.  I don't think the animal will survive to where those encysted parasites drop off to be killed by the medication that's in the water.  So how about a salt bath. <Can be utilized with good result with many types/groups of fishes... not all. One must be attentive (there while doing this, closely observing), using aeration... removing the fishes if/when show too much stress> I've read a few authors suggesting a 1% or 3% bath, in that it would take off the fishes slime coat exposing the parasites from their slime coat fortress to be immediately destroyed, and it encourages the fish regenerate a new slime coat more aggressively. <Yes, ideally> The bulk of the question affects how I handle a fish that I see is 'covered'   Can I do something now to help it get some of those nasties off it and medicate.  Or are my hands tied and I medicate, wait, and hope it survives until they fall off. <Can do much... the best, most logical place is in transition, during handling, placement on arrival... during acclimation... next, by way of quarantine procedures... Of consequence, careful species and individual selection/sources, and appropriate, stable environmental, nutritional inputs> In a semi-related note I was browsing through the posts on marine velvet and a reply from a person Anthony from a post called "Oodinium".  He mentioned a preference of formalin over copper, in that copper would not penetrate deeply into the flesh to kill the parasite.  I thought that even the powerful formalin would still run into that same problem.  The parasite is protected by its slime coat fortress, that no medication could penetrate into it. <Mmm, well... metal and formalin containing material does produce such irritation that much of the slime coat of fish hosts is sloughed off, with not-too-deeply embedded parasite fauna going with it...>   You just wait until it falls off divides and kills the free swimming state. <Mmm, better to remove the stages from the host, kill them in the process if possible, and poison them in off-host stages as well. Bob Fenner> Thank you for time, Jonathan

Ich Outbreak... real trouble, lack of knowledge, use of WWM  10/21/05 Hi, My tank had an ich outbreak beginning last week.  Before the outbreak I had good water quality.  No ammonia.  No nitrates.  pH was 8.2.  I raised the water temperature to 83 degrees.  I lowered the salt to 1.025. <... this is near natural seawater strength/concentration...> I medicated the tank with a reef safe treatment called "kick-ich" <Worthless> and have also been feeding them some garlic treated foods. <Not of real therapeutic value> My Sailfin tang looked terrible, and the other fish seemed to be doing ok with it. All of them were still eating and were active.  When I came home today my tomato clown and Copperband butterfly were refusing to eat. <... trouble> The clown looked really bad so I have him a fresh water bath. Both the Copperband and the clown fish died a few hours later. <Not surprising> My other fish (Humu Humu, Foxface, Sailfin tang) all are looking a bit better. <Wait till the next "ich cycle"... it's coming>   What can I do to help my remaining fish?  Should I give them all a dunk in fresh water? <Not of use>    Is there a better medicine I should be using? <You're joking right?> These were the first fish we have lost...  The clown was our very first fish.  To mitigate the chances of any future outbreaks are there any other considerations I can I do?  I currently have a protein skimmer, a traditional hanging filter, and a 45 gallon refugium. Would a UV or an O-zone sterilizer be worth while? <... please read on WWM re>   A reverse osmosis unit?  Could this have been prevented?   <Most likely yes... through careful acclimation and quarantine...> Any bonehead mistake I may have made to cause this outbreak? <None that I haven't made... regrettably... over and over...> Thanks! <Please... please take the time to search, read what is posted on WWM... for ich/Cryptocaryoniasis here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm by ScottF, the piece by myself and the linked files at top... you can search re the medications listed... till you understand what you're doing... can/do formulate a workable plan (and soon!)... the need for knowledge and action here is critical. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich Outbreak 10/22/05 I lowered the salt to 1.025. <... this is near natural seawater strength/concentration...> Oops.. I meant to say I lowered the salt from 1.025 to 1.015 <<I see>> > <Please... please take the time to search, read what is posted on WWM... for ich/Cryptocaryoniasis here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm > < Thanks for the article. I've already started the process. My yellow tang is looking pretty rough, but the other guys are looking ok. <<Good luck, life to you. BobF>>

Emperor Angel and FW dips for crypt  9/8/05 Dear  Bob,      Thanks so much for all of your wonderful advice over the past couple of months.  I have a 180g FO tank that had crypt introduced into it after I added an emperor angel, yes I used a QT 4 weeks but unfortunately still had the problem.      I have had a problem ping ponging with crypt since.  I have had no fish die. <A testament to your active, good care...> I have 3 ich magnet tangs in a 55g QT ( large Naso, powder blue, purple tang ) they are doing surprisingly well though they are being treated with copper. Cupramine used to the letter of instructions.  Powder blue initially got HLLE which is now much better since feeding with Gracilaria for a week.  These guys will eventually be cured. <I admire your resolve>      As for the other guys in the display ( Emperor 6", Majestic 5" , Foxface 5" 2 clown fish aggression amongst angels has not been a problem)  they are all eating and doing fine.  I initially treated the display with hyposalinity to a SG of 1.009 for 6 weeks which predictably failed to achieve a cure.  Aggressive water changes, good diet etc have kept the fish alive but tank is infested.  I now see the Emperor is getting some white discoloration at the distal end of his right pectoral fin. Probably crypt, <... or the result of hyposalinity, treatment, stress...> but I have seen this type of thing go away never to return on other fish many times.  I am in the process of preparing a QT's of 55 gallons as well as 29 gallons.  Yes That makes 3 QT's in all. Two 55gallon and one 29 gallon. QT 55 g 1 Cupramine Treated 1 Naso, 1 powder blue, 1 purple tolerating well Aggression amongst the tangs has not been a problem <Crowding has its benefits at times> Planned QT 2 55 G Plan to add Majestic, Foxface, damsel  3 clowns ( these guys appear disease free )      Plan on using copper added SLOWLY, testing twice daily Planned QT 3 29 g plan on treating emperor alone I have well cycled large BioWheel filters that I am planning to use on the new QT's ( used in curing live rock ) I have read at wet web media that FW dips and daily water changes for and FW dips for 8 days can effect a cure for crypt. <Some, sometimes>   Is it likely that treating the emperor in the 29 G in this fashion will achieve a cure ? <Not the route I would take> The 180 gallon will lie fallow for 6-8 weeks. I will introduce and aquascape 150 lbs of beautifully cured LR as well as cleaner shrimp to make a new home for the fish that survive. <Good> I will most likely reintroduce 3-5 large fish and 3-4 small fish ( hopefully the angels, the Naso, clowns ) Do you think that this is a reasonable plan of action ? Thanks Jimmy <I would "risk" the use of copper (likely chelated... maybe the Cupramine product) on the Angel/s... Bob Fenner>

Re: Emperor Angel and FW dips for crypt  9/9/05 Bob,    Thanks for the feedback.  I am going to QT the angels and start Cupramine at a very low dose and move up to the recommended level.  This AM both of these fish look great in the Display no visible signs of disease ( but that is why they call it crypt which is Greek for hidden )   but I know there is still crypt in the tank. <Yes and yes>   I will fatten them up a bit until things are right for the QT.   As an aside.  What a difference a two foot wide tank makes on reducing stress !!! <Ahhh! Perhaps asking folks to consider how hard it is on them to make a turn in their car in a too-narrow street...>   I think that when I put fish in QT their biggest stress seems to be the decreased tank width (  front to back ) of the tank until they re-adjust their swimming pattern when they turn in the water.        My experience with my hobby this summer has taught me that there are times to act and there are times to wait.   <My friend~! You are gaining/unfolding to enlightenment> Taking action, though important, at the right time can be detrimental when it is time to sit fast.  Aggressive tank maintenance and excellent water conditions go a long way to allow for the fish's immune system to work.  Constantly assessing if treatment is worse than disease is imperative.  Treating in a timely manner when the disease is worse than the treatment can save fish.  Treatment when the treatment is worse that the disease kills fish.  Excellent fish husbandry oftentimes buys us some time to make this critical decision. <Ahhhh> Thanks Jimmy <Thank you... for the "Tao of fish keeping" insights. BobF>

Ich Issue  9/1/05 I've been reading through your site for months now and have gathered some valuable information. Now I have a problem and I Know you'll give me a straight answer. I have a 125 gallon tank with a porcupine puffer, a blue regal tang, a zebra moray eel, and a butterfly. When I was first starting the tank I had 14 damsels (all of which the puffer has now eaten) and I noticed that one would scratch against the rocks occasionally. I didn't know about diseases so I didn't think much about it. Then once every 2 or 3 weeks I would add a new fish. Last week I noticed some salt spots on the Tang and after some research I figured it was Ich. After consulting my LFS they gave me some Rid-Ich and Melafix. <Not good...> I don't have a hospital tank big enough for everyone so I had to put the medicine in the display tank. <Worse...> I gave them the first dose Monday and they seemed to be doing fine. I gave the second dose Tuesday and they were ok until later in the night the butterfly began breathing heavily and one of his eyes is cloudy. I tested my water and it came out perfect, but I did a 25% water change anyway. When I got up this morning the Regal was laying on her side and breathing heavily. I gave her a freshwater dip and that seemed to really help, but the water is very cloudy still and I'm afraid I'm going to lose everybody. Please help, as I have grown very attached to these guys in the few months I've had them. James Wade <... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and the linked files above... until you understand what you're doing, can formulate a plan to save your livestock, prevent further troubles. Bob Fenner> Re: Ich-Be-Gone! Dear Bob: Thanks for your quick and careful response. <You are welcome> If the gobies and clowns are going to possibly reintroduce the ich after all, I will have to treat them somehow as well. Cleaner goby, Purple Firefish and ocellaris clowns can be treated for ich how? <Mmm, best by avoidance... prevention through lack of exposure, optimized, stable environment, measures to limit stress... Next by foods/feeding of vitamins, HUFA enriched materials... Use of purposeful biological cleaners... More of a "balance" than a notion/certainty of no/yes are there parasites present... put another way, this is a matter of degrees of infectiousness, pathogenicity> FAQ's said someone did it at lower concentrations for longer (.10mg/l ionized copper sulfate for 21 days rather than 14). Is this effective?  <Not generally... most all treatments with copper are at their most, only effectiveness/efficacy at a two week maximum... beyond this, there is no therapeutic benefit... just more poisoning, weakening of fish/hosts... All this at elevated temperature, lowered spg for an optimized treatment interval (two weeks maximum)> Is there another product?  <Not as far as I'm aware> Or does the pH adjusted, FW dip with Meth. blue do it. <These can/do help> Will the shrimp and crabs be a carrier as well and will I have to dip them somehow? Doesn't Kent make an invert dip? What do you suggest. <Just letting the system go "fallow", w/o hosts is recommended... No need, benefit to dip other life> And as far as advice for the industry, I would say before any dealer sells any display tank, they should sell the 30 gallon hospital setup (or 2) and reduced rates and sell the display tank only when the hosp. tank passes the cycle test. <Agreed... and on the collector, shippers end of the supply chain, if only these folks would administer an enroute (to the holding facility) pH-adjusted freshwater dip to most fishes, the hobby would be much, much bigger, better. I can only guesstimate at how many people leave our interest prematurely due to losses... Many. Bob Fenner> Thanks for sharing knowledge;) Sincerely, John  <Oh, and for a lack of help, answers, availability of useful, practical information... Hopefully you, I, the internet can nudge this curve back a bit>

Saltwater Ich I was just reading through a mail-order catalog and saw four supposedly reef safe ich treatments. Probiotic Marine Formula, No-Ich Marine, Immune Plus, and Marine-Max. All are supposed to be copper and chemical free <... sigh... what pray tell is not a chemical, energy or space/vacuum in this universe?> and safe for reef tanks. <... how can/could a treatment somehow single out harmful, and exclude "useful" life processes/micro-organisms?>  Have you had any experience with any of these products? Do they work? If so, do you recommend one above the others?  <I know of such products... some friends, associates claim they work... have no substantial, consistent, conclusive evidence that they do "cure ich" and are "reef safe".> I have a powder blue Tang that has had ich for over two months. He eats well and seems fine otherwise, but especially in the morning when the lights go on he is covered with ich. I have two cleaner shrimp and a cleaner wrasse. They seem to keep my yellow tang in ich free, but the blue tang will only tolerate short periods of "cleaning" even though he is covered with ich. Some mornings he is so infested that he swims in the current of the main pump outlet and then swims erratically around the tank like he is going insane. I feel sorry for him, but despite my best efforts, I can't catch him to treat him in a hospital tank. He is in a 150 gal reef tank and I would lose too much to tear down the tank. <"Lose too much"? Livestock? Time? This species is very "ich-prone"... Perhaps you can post your question to BB's, Chatforums (ours: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/) and query a number of people who have actual hands-on experience with the non-copper ich-remedies for their input. Good luck my friend. Bob Fenner>

Ich in Reef Bob, What is your opinion on fish with light cases of ich that are maintained in a reef tank. I have heard that in tanks with live rock the fish can cure itself. I have a Midas blenny (you may have recalled my first letter with the Magnum) that will have no spots on him for a few days, and the next day he will have around 12. This has been going on for about a month. He eats like a pig and does not "scratch". What do you think I should do? Thanks, Avery << Definitely try the biological cleaner route... to tip the balance in the host/fish's favor. Do you have any Lysmata shrimp? Room for a couple of Cleaner Gobies (Gobiosoma)... I'd add either/both of these. Bob Fenner>

Ich :( Hi Bob! Seems like I am pestering you an awful lot lately :) My latest problem is ich. When I got home last night, I noticed that my Powder Blue Tang had it pretty badly. I have never had the problem before, or else I probably would have diagnosed it quicker :( Anyway, I moved the Powder Blue to my 20 gallon hospital tank (where my yellow tang is already residing, due to black spot) and went and bought CopperSafe and a copper test kit. After I had dosed the hospital tank I went back and studied my reef tank to see if any other fish had it. Well, the tangs were mostly hiding, which they have been doing quite a bit lately… (duh, I guess now I know that's the first symptom). Anyway, to the point - my Kole tang has it pretty badly so I moved him too. Also and my Purple Tang has just a teeny bit, but I left him in the reef hoping maybe the cleaner shrimp would help. This morning the Powder Blue was dead, but the Yellow and Kole seemed ok.  <Arggghhhh, I'm with you> My main tank is a 55 gallon reef with 50 lbs live rock, 2 anemones, mushrooms, daisy polyps, button polyps, 6 inch snowflake eel, pacific cleaner shrimp, red brittle star, flame scallop, decorator crab, turbo snails, blue leg hermit crabs, 2 damsels, 3 Chromis, and a tomato clown (besides the tangs). My filtration is a large protein skimmer and an undergravel filter with two powerheads. My hospital tank is a twenty gallon tank with nothing but a large over-the-back BioWheel/mechanical filter unit, heater, and airstone. Amm/Nitrite/Nitrate 0, Alk 3.5, Calcium 300, salinity 1.022. Whew! All, that said, here are my questions: Should I move my Purple tang to the hospital tank? Is my hospital tank going to be big enough for these three fish? Is water quality going to be a huge issue in that little tank? Will my other fish probably get ich too? Will the ich die off by itself in the main tank, and how long until it's safe for the tangs to go back into the main tank?  <Yes, do move ALL the fishes... and leave the tank fallow... for... maybe two months... If you can, move the fishes from treatment (should take two weeks...) to another system... and be religious about not mixing ANY gear, water from the ich-entrenched system... to it. Speed up the passing of the Cryptocaryon by elevating the temperature (to about 82, 84 if your non-fish livestock will take it)> Thank you in advance for answering my questions. I cannot express to you how great it is to have access to someone who gives consistent advice. Out LFS is really neat and they have their own huge, beautiful reef tank, and a great selection, but their advice is often lacking and they contradict themselves. Very frustrating!!  <Glad to be here... and not appear too self-contradictory! Bob Fenner>

Solving the dreaded ich problem I am fairly new at the saltwater fish hobby, learning day by day. I released a fish in my main tank not realizing it had ich. Now the majority of the fish in my tank have it. I've taken the infected fish out to medicate and when I put them back in the main tank a week later they have it again. I was told to take my inverts out and drop the salinity level down to 1.015 that this would kill the parasite. It's been three days, I haven't noticed any change. Is this going to work? Any advise would be appreciated, Jeff Johnson << If anything is in abundance in our interest/hobby, it is opinions on how to treat disease... No, simply lowering the specific gravity of your system will not kill the ich... Please take a look at the materials stored on my site: Home Page , for not only some concrete ideas on how to proceed, but the logic behind them. I would continue with the reduced spg, raise the system temperature (to about 82F to speed up the life cycle of the protozoan parasite) and utilize a copper-based medication (with a test kit... daily) for two weeks... and keep your live rock, invertebrates separated for about two months to allow the resting stages of the ich/Cryptocaryon to go fallow.... and avail yourself of purposeful cleaner organisms like Lysmata Shrimp. Bob Fenner>>

Even the pro's get ich... Bob, I have a 220 coral reef tank with about 54 fish ( 40 are Chromis ). All of the sudden they have all broken out with ICK. We were using Kick Ick but it seems to only have stopped it from getting slightly worse. <I understand... not a cure, for sure... Hopefully you are availing yourself of the standard approaches in environmental manipulation (temp. elevation, lowered spg)... and appropriate cleaner organisms> What is the medication in that product ? I think it starts with an M. I have some of that same medication and I am planning on mixing it in some frozen food and then re-freezing it. hopefully direct ingestion will help <Capsicum, pepper sauce... a gimmick...joke... not a funny one.> it will be hard to catch the fish so I am going to drop the salinity to 1.016 or 1.018. I have had great luck by doing this in fish-only systems but I am not sure how it will affect the 30 some soft and hard corals. Any other thoughts ? Jim, Aquarium Design <Do this lowering slowly, no more than a thousandth per day... and all should be fine... and do add Lysmata Shrimp, Gobiosoma gobies. In the long haul you may well have to treat the system copper-wise. Bob Fenner>

Ich Dear Bob, Once again I need to borrow your brain for a moment if you don't mind.  <Not too much, or long... only have a bit left> As the never ending saga of my SW aquarium continues, the Ich is now back. I had major ich problems in the past and I took every recommendation you offered to rid my tank of this nightmare but low and behold it's back.  <Arggghhhh> I did notice brief appearances of the parasite on my Hippo Tang in the past few months but they would usually subside in a day or two. I'd like to contribute that to the new addition of a UV sterilizer. What ever the reason, the bug would usually disappear from the tang within 48 hours. <Yes... > I believe most recent outbreak resulted from a large temperature fluctuation when my canister filter ceased. The poor tang was literally infested with the parasite (eyes, fins, gills). It has improved over the past week but it is still very evident that the parasite is still active. The tang is eating but it also scratching a lot. I have several invertebrates in the tank so my treatment regimen is limited. I do have a QT tank but I'm contemplating if this is necessary because I have a feeling the parasite may subside if I leave it alone. Furthermore, my QT tank can not hold all my fish so even if I did remove the tang there would still be hosts for the ich to live on. I was once told that parasites that won't go away should try to be controlled/minimized at best. <Yes, a good attitude, approach...> I would really appreciate you advice on this matter. Is it a stretch to say at this degree of infestation that the ich will subside if the tang is left untreated? Or, is it worth the chase and catch of the tang for QT. <Do you have biological cleaners in this system? I would add them post haste... A general listing is to be found... on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com... get Lysmata shrimp and Gobiosoma at least... and quick!> Bob thank you so much for all your advice. Chris <You're welcome my friend. Life to you. Bob Fenner>

Re: Suspect Cryptocaryon in main system... Hi Bob, Thanks for answering. I have read all the articles at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasitf.htm and parasites and anywhere else I found referencing fallow. Wow! you sure have patience with all of us!!!! I went nuts just reading all of it. <Imagine writing it.> A last question (well I hope anyway!) Here is my plan: 1) Lower sg to 1.017 range in main tank while raising temp to 82 over the next week. Keeping everyone, maroon clown, hawk, and 6 line wrasse, with inverts, in tank. (Please advise here...) <Okay so far.> 2) Keeping tang and angel (with a damsel that was their to cycle) in hospital tank. <Mmmm, I would move the other fishes into the hospital tank... they are no doubt helping harbor low populations of parasites... that will retain pathogenicity/infectiveness consequently> I have seen no signs in main tank of problems, but I know they are there. I planned to do above until I see signs in main tank of ich. If I do I will pull all to hospital tank. <I would make the move preemptively> My course above is slow at reaction because I fear the 10 gal tank will be over taxed if I move all.  <Go get a twenty...> I do not want to kill them from environmental problems. Even know I am testing daily. I think ammonia is nearing zero and nitrite is falling, currently at .5 <Let it fall to zero. Feed not at all or very sparingly> Thanks Again, Dale Be chatting, Bob Fenner.>

Ich without host Hello, Two more questions. How long will ich survive in a tank without a host? Will it completely die off or will it lay dormant? Thanks, Scott <Scott... Ich never really dies off completely... we cannot sterilize a fish or even the aquarium system without killing everything. Our goal is to dramatically reduce the numbers of pathogens while maintaining good aquarium husbandry to improve fishes resistance/immunity. Towards that end, an empty tank for four weeks is considered safe and effective. Best regards, Anthony>

Ick Bob, Need just a refresher on ick. Hope you can help. I have a 180. well established about 15 fish mostly angels (they have been together for over a year) 2 anemones. PH little low 7.8 salinity 21 temp 79.3 some have ick some do not. doing a water change and lowering salinity a little. been feeding garlic. calcium little low dKH as well trying to get all of them up to par. I have a UV as well. ick pop up about a week ago. also 100 pounds of live rock, crabs, hermit crabs, cleaner wrasse. any new ideas that might help just short of removing all fish and waiting 30-45 days? <My first course of action would be to improve overall water quality. IMO/IME, parasites are always present. They merely wait for some sort of trigger (poor water quality, temperature fluctuations, stress, physical damage, etc.) to reproduce to plague like proportions and endanger your fish. Get your ph up above 8.2, your calcium above 350, your alkalinity above 12 dKH, and lower your salinity and see if that does not bring about a remedy. If not, archive the site for various treatment options. -Steven Pro>

Ick? Bob,  <Anthony Calfo in your service> I have a 55 gal. saltwater with a few mushrooms and polyps. My powder brown surgeon and my pacific blue tang are showing definite signs of ick, but they are eating great, swimming fine, and other than the fact they have many spots, everything is normal. I have turned the heat up, it is 82 and lowered the salinity to.21.... I am doing this gradually. Symptoms began yesterday, It seems to have no effect. I have 2 cleaner wrasses who pick at them constantly, but to no avail. Any suggestions ? Marie Belanger  <indeed... best bet will be a short stay (2-4 weeks) in a quarantine tank medicated with Formalin or a Formalin combo medication (like Quick Cure). Freshwater dips are also very helpful in concert with medication... do research the articles and archives on this web site for protocol on accomplishing these things. Please do act fast on this ... it is easy to cure but kills quickly too. Make sure all new fish are quarantined too before adding them to a tank... this will save money and lives. Kind regards, Anthony>

Naso with ICH Bob, I'm confused and concerned. We just got this Naso tang a week ago and a few days ago he developed white spot. We set up a hospital tank. We have 5 damsels and 3 hermits in our display tank and 16 lb of live rock. The white spot is there in the morning and drops off over the course of the day. It's very minimal and he's eating heartily. We plan to take out the Naso and a damsel (if we can catch him--the others look great) since he has become less active over the past day. A little damsel looks a little weak so we figured we'd bring him out too. 1.if we treat him with Cupramine, we could devastate his gut. Will he recover? We have the Seachem test kit (it's over a year old--the LFS did not have a fresh test--will it still work)? <Yes... if you have to go the copper route... see below> 2.We don't have biological filtration in this tank (26 gallon). Can we really keep him in there for more than a week (as the Cupramine suggests--2 weeks)? How do we prevent an ammonia spike? Water changes? <Yes, by testing, changing nitrifying media from a clean source... and water changes...> 3.I've heard discussions about chelated vs. ionic Cu. We bought Cupramine because the LFS we got him from said they used it in their tanks (we figured it worked before). Then the said they did they only used it in hospital tanks. The therapeutic window is pretty slim--.5 to .8 ppm. Can we kill this guy very easily with this stuff??? Could you suggest brands if we should not use this stuff? <Yes... all fishes to a small degree can be killed by too much free copper, cupric ion...> Thanks, Allyson <Now, what I would do... the environmental manipulation mentioned on the Marine Parasitic Disease sections of the www.WetWebMedia.com site, the use of vitamins mentioned there, AND the addition of a Cleaner Shrimp of the genus Lysmata... do these things NOW and don't use the Cupramine or other medication. Bob Fenner>

Tales of ongoing Crypt <<Greetings, JasonC here...>> I have had an ongoing ich problem in my marine aquarium. I have read numerous articles on treatment, and your website e-mails on the subject. I have isolated my surviving fish in a separate treatment tank and will treat with Cupramine or Coppersafe for 2 weeks. I intend to keep them isolated for additional weeks. I realize the display tank is infected and intend to let it go fallow for at least a month. Would six weeks be better?  <<Six weeks would be better, yes.>>  Is that enough to get rid of the ich in the display tank?  <<Tough question... it should be, but one can never be 100% certain. Without a doubt it will reduce the number of parasites to a manageable level. If the fish return in good health, then they should be able to do just fine.>> I eagerly await your answer, and Thanks. W. Tripp <<Cheers, J -- >>

Ich/Fresh water Dips Hi Bob/Steven, Thanks for your valued advise, it's very much appreciated. I have another question for you. I have been reading your Diseases section at WWM concerning Ich and F/W dips. The situation: I have a 30gal quarantine tank that is currently housing a Bi-color Angel and Regal Tang. The Regal Tang is showing signs of what looks like ICH (salt like grains on both sides of it's body). I bought both fish just a day ago. When I bought him he looked fine. I followed the acclimation procedures as outlined by FFExpress. This morning I noticed the Ich on the Tang. Is using Kordon Rid - Ich + okay for the Bicolor Angel? <The active ingredient in that product is Malachite Green and Formalin. I am pretty sure the Malachite Green is bad for Centropyges.> He doesn't show any sign of Ich, but, as he is new and in the same q-tank as the regal tang I'm thinking he needs Rid - Ich as a precautionary step. What do you think? <I would begin with daily water changes first. A 25% daily water change on a QT tank can effect a cure for Cryptocaryon if done everyday for two weeks.> I plan on performing the usual other steps as well; water change, raise the temp slightly, lower salinity to upper teens and a 5 min f/w dip. <I like the dips, too, but try the daily changes first and then escalate the treatments if no response is seen.> But please let me know if you think the Rid Ich + is okay for the Dwarf Angel? Thanks, Steve Segura of San Jose, CA <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Reoccurring ich Anthony, Thanks for your quick response. <always welcome> I think you may have a good point about the temperature. The few times I've checked it, it seems stable, even at night. However, it could very well be dropping a few degrees on colder nights (this problem did start in December). I always assumed that was OK because I've never seen it below 78-80.  <yes... a common problem. We all tend to check at the same time each day in our routine and even when not, rarely think to check first thing AM or in the middle of the night. Many Europeans use two heaters as standard but most American aquarists have not developed that habit> That could be my problem. It will also be interesting to see if the ich outbreaks coincide with nights that are a little cooler and there might be a little more of a temperature drop. I'll definitely keep a closer eye on it. <very good> As I mentioned, my tank tends to be on the high side during the day (82-84). I'm usually trying to keep it down a little to that 78-80 level. I even have my heater turned off (probably a mistake).  <indeed a mistake my friend... since they are thermostatic, they cannot contribute heat when other catalysts raise temperature. They stop at the preset. However, evening and nighttime when said catalysts are not in play (like lights or daytime ambient temps), the tank temperature drops with the heater off> I'm also guilty of not heating my water for topping off and water changes. Again, I assumed it was OK because my temperature is a little on the high side. <even when the tank temp is too high, a sudden drop is always bad... very often inspires Ich outbreaks. All good and bad things should happen slowly in aquaria> I'll try heating my water changes and keep a closer eye on the temperature to see if it is fluctuating on cooler nights. My only other question is it OK if my temperature is stabilized at 82-84? <absolutely! I would rather see a consistently high temperature rather than a fluctuating one that is only good half the time and runs like a roller coaster for the rest <wink>> I'll let you know how it goes and thanks again for your help. <very welcome...best regards, Anthony>

Fallow Tank Hi Bob, Anthony, and Steve: <Anthony Calfo in your service> Thank you for providing such a great site. By the way, Anthony, I was glancing through a friend's copy of your book- WOW- I'm going to have to order my own copy- really a great resource! <thank you very kindly... pass the word along <wink>!> Anyways-here's my situation. After battling a pretty serious Cryptocaryon situation in my 150 gal FOWL tank (which is/was/will be in transition to a more full-blown reef system), I have opted to remove my fish population and treat them in my new "hospital/quarantine" tank, and let the main system go fallow for about 2 months. (By the way, I will NEVER, EVER go without a quarantine system again...its just not fair to the animals, and it was very tedious and traumatic removing all my fish from the established system). <very wise and agreed my friend... those of us that have learned the hard way are true converts and preach loud to the daring/ignorant (as in uninformed) folks that haven't learned to appreciate it yet> My questions are as follows: First, are the inverts that are remaining in my main system during this period potential "vectors" for future outbreaks of the parasite (I have a few serpent stars and a banded coral shrimp)? <nope> Second, should I perform my regular maintenance on the main system (I do two small H20 changes per week) during this time? <definitely... in fact, the more siphoning of the bottom you do, the thinner the population of larval cysts/tomites> Finally, is it possible or advisable to add additional soft corals during this time period?  <absolutely... you could even make the argument (weak as it is) that as feeders on plankton which includes parasites they will reduce the numbers of "Ich" in the tank> If I were to add some new corals during this period, would I be advised to wait a few weeks before doing this? <anytime you please> Or should I wait until I add the fish again in a couple of months (by the way, I assume that two to two and half months would be an acceptable length of time for the tank to go fallow?)? <more than enough...one month is typical. And remember that the fish or tank will never be sterile... just reduced in pathogen count that healthy fish can resist them> Thanks in advance for your help. Hope you had a very Happy Easter. <yes, thank you kindly and the same to you and yours. Anthony> Regards, Scott F.

Re: In Lieu of a Quarantine Tank... Hi again, Thanks for the advice on my disappearing goby. I wonder if I might ask your opinion on two other matters. <Shoot> An outbreak of both white and black "ich" in my tank from a new, infected fish required a freshwater bath for three of my finned friends. I captured them with a transparent plastic "fish-catcher" of my own devising, which is much less stressful than a net (and a quicker catch!) and transported each in turn to a 10-gallon tank of freshwater, pH and temperature adjusted to match the main tank, for a five minute dip. It worked like a charm. Very little stress and total destruction of the parasites, which will hopefully be suppressed from here by my UV filter. <Hmmm, on the fish....not in the environment. The UV will kill some but not all.> My tank being nearly stocked, I don't want to allocate the resources for a quarantine tank, but I'm wondering if a freshwater bath for my remaining new arrivals (only three fish) might not be a bad alternative, as long as the water's pH and temp were adjusted to match that of the transport bags. Do you think this is a good idea, or would the added stress do more harm than good? The fish in question are fairly hardy: Valentini Toby, Picasso (Huma) Trigger, and something in the Watchman Goby family (Banded, Orange Diamond, or Pink & Blue Spot)--a replacement for the dearly departed, which I'll attempt to purchase in a larger size (fingers crossed). <I don't think you will save anything skimping on a QT. In the long run it is a very bad plan....akin to Russian Roulette. Spend a few dollars on a QT, purchase *eating* fish, especially the Goby, and quarantine them before introducing them to your display. QT is not the same as treatment, which you may find necessary while quarantining, which is the purpose of this whole exercise.> My next question is specific to something you wrote about UV filters in general. You mention observing that fish who live in a UV-filtered environment might tend to become immune-depressed over time. Would you, therefore, recommend using these filters only as a stop-gap measure or not at all? Might they also be useful during the first couple of weeks when new fish are added to the aquarium, to prevent water-borne spread of infectious parasites? <UV's can be useful for spot treatments, outbreaks and new introductions. I don't use one at all but I follow a strict QT regime. The conscientious Aquarist prevents disease with proper quarantine, he doesn't resort to short cuts and then treat the resulting disease.> I value your website and advice tremendously, as I have only been at this hobby for several months now and have learned much from reading your words. Appreciatively, Thomas <Go slow Thomas, take your time and add fish slowly after a proper quarantine. Trying to push things along by skipping steps will cause you and your fish heartache, sooner or later. Craig>

Marine Ich and Treatment?, Tang With Ich Hello Bob, <Scott F. here tonight> I have a fairly new 100 gallons FOWLR tank with only 1 yellow tang. Few days ago, I noticed there were some small white spots (like salt grains) on the fins but quickly disappeared after a few hours. I did lot of reading on this web site and these steps were what I did so far: - Dipped the fish in FW with Methylene Blue for 5 min.s - Then moved it to a hospital tank (20 gallons). - Raised tank temperature 1 degree/day. - Lowered the Spg 0.001/day. - Do water change everyday (2 gallons) since hospital tank is not yet established. - Let the main tank goes fallow for about 1 1/2 month. <Good protocol, quickly/decisively executed> Here're my questions: 1) How high the temperature should I keep in the hospital tank?  <I'd recommend a consistent 78-80 degrees> What about the Specific Gravity? <Personally, I'd go with regular tank s.g.-but aggressive treatment can entail lowering s.g. to around 1.015> 2) Should I treat the yellow tang with any kind of chemical such as copper, formalin... or just altering the water like what I did is enough and observe the fish for a while? <I'd do the latter, at least at first. Prolonged exposure to copper could damage the fish's digestive system microfauna> 3) For the main tank, should I raise the temperature and lower the Specific Gravity as well? <I'd leave it alone>  Should I still do water change even without fish hosts? <Yup- follow regular maintenance procedures-siphoning substrate may even (arguably) lower the parasite count in the main tank> Thank you in advance for your help. <You're doing great-just be patient and keep learning/observing>  Regards, Dung Ngo

Angelfish With Ich Dear Bob, <Scott F. here tonight> I purchased a 3.5" juvenile Queen Angelfish about a week ago.  He has developed what appears to be Marine Ich after a few days of being harassed by a slightly larger tank mate; a Yellow Tang.  The main tank is a 75-gallon reef aquarium stocked with 1-Yellow Tang, 2-Ocellaris Clownfish, 1-Orchid Dottyback, 3- Damsels live-rock and a number of invertebrates. <I don't mean to nitpick at a time like this- but do plan on moving him to larger quarters at some time in the near future. This beautiful fish will get huge, and will require a very large (200 plus gallons) tank to live out anything approaching its natural life span. Just something to consider, okay?> I set up a small hospital tank (6 gallon) four days ago and have him quarantined. <Good move to have a hospital tank at the ready. In the future, however, do quarantine all new purchases a minimum of 3 weeks before introducing them into the main tank. it's a very useful and simple process that can prevent a lot of grief for you and your animals> Three days ago we gave him a two-minute fresh water dip followed by a one-hour formalin bath at a concentration of 1-tsp/five gallons of salt water.  The Queen Angel was then placed in the hospital tank treated with SeaCure" Copper at 0.15 mg/l and we have been monitoring Copper levels with the Fast Test, test kit.  I have elevated the hospital tank temperature to 83º F and have maintained a specific gravity of 1.0235. <Glad that you took fast action to treat him!> It appears to the eye that all signs of the disease are gone. However, I would like to get your recommendation on the duration of treatment and/or isolation.  As I mentioned this is a rather small hospital tank and I would prefer to get him into the main tank as soon as it is safe to do so.  So far the main tank has not shown signs of an outbreak. <Please note that the ich parasite enters a free swimming stage and will seem to disappear after just a few days, often before re-appearing on your fish again. I believe that you should run a full 3 week treatment on the fish. If you are concerned about keeping him in copper for that period of time, regular water changes will reduce the level gradually. However, I'd follow the manufacturer's instructions for the brand of medication that you're using. Be diligent about water changes and maintaining the proper therapeutic copper level during the treatment period. With patience and time, he should be just fine. That's the good news. The bad news is that the ich is probably in your main tank. If it were me, I'd remove all of the fishes to a quarantine tank (with or without copper, depending upon whether or not they're showing signs of the infection. Let the main tank run "fallow" (without fishes) for a month or so. Continue normal maintenance routines (water changes, etc.) during this time. This fallow period will deprive the parasite population of hosts, which will result in the death of most of them and a huge decrease in the parasite population in your system. Not a fun process, but truly a necessary one, IMO, if you're going to achieve a disease-free tank in the future. It's not 100% effective, but it does increase your odds tremendously. Avoiding having to do something like this is the #1 reason while we drum into everyone's heads that quarantine of new fishes before they are placed in the main tank is so Important.> Thanks in advance for your assistance and I too would like to add my thanks for the great content you authored in The Conscientious Marine Aquarist.  Best regards, Jeff Detweiler <I'll certainly pass the "props' on to Bob, Jeff! And I know that you'll be successful at beating the ich! Keep reading, learning, and showing patience! You're doing fine, so hang in there, okay?>

That Pesky Ich!> Bob and Anyone Else Involved: <Scott F. Involved here...> I placed my clown trigger in a qt tank for approx. one month, afterwards he made the big leap into my 90 gal. FOWLR.  <Awesome protocol!> His tankmates are guinea fowl puffer, Picasso trigger. All have been fine for approx. 2 months. Recently I added a emperor angel after quarantining for only two weeks. <Uh-Oh..> It was in friends tank for 6 months. I checked all their fish and no sign of any ich or parasites. It has been in the main tank for approx. 3 weeks now. I noticed the other day the clown appears to have ich or some disease that looks like someone dumped light white powder over parts of his body.  <Sounds like ich to me> All fish have been eating fine. My parameters are all fine. I recently took water to my LFS and he agreed. <It still sounds like ich!> My qt have become a refuge for snails, crabs, and live rock.  <A quick aside on the QT tank: You really need to leave it bare (no substrate, rocks, snails, nothing. Just some PVC sections or other inert materials. Reason is twofold: 1)These items won't absorb any meds that you may have to dose. 2)They could become havens for parasites and other bad stuff. A QT tank need not be permanent. Just clean it out, break it down and set it up again when you need it. Ok- off of my soap box!> How should I treat the clown? I am afraid of doing a fresh water dip. Do I have alternatives? What meds do you recommend?  <I am a firm believer in copper sulphate, do seed in a (bare) quarantine tank, with the level monitored by testing to assure proper therapeutic level.> I have one other small tank that is empty. Hang on filters, and air stones as well. I am making some new water as we speak to combine with either the main tank or the qt tank water after I hear from you. <I'd use water from the main tank, unless your new water is identical to the tank water. Just less stressful to the fish at a time they don't need more stress.> Thank you again for your assistance on this. I really do not want to lose any fish. Have lost some in past when I did not act accordingly and quick enough. Regards, Arthur Mendelsohn <Arthur, your quick action will save your fish! That is the good news. The bad news is that ich is in your main system, and needs to be eliminated as much as possible. The best way to accomplish this is, unfortunately, as unpleasant as it is effective. Remove all of your fishes to appropriate hospital tank(s) for at least a month. let the main system go "fallow" without fish for this period of time. This process interferes with the life cycle of the parasite which causes ich. In the absence of hosts, many of the parasites will die, and their population will be tremendously reduced, at least to a level that healthy fish can resist. Although 100% elimination is almost impossible, this is the best way, short of breaking down the tank and starting over. It sucks, it's no fun-but it really works. And I know that you will NEVER abbreviate the quarantine period again, right? Good luck! You'll win!! Scott F.> 

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