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FAQs on Marine Ich, Cryptocaryoniasis & Cures Involving Chelated Copper 

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

Related FAQs: & FAQs on Copper: Science, Rationale/UseFree Copper/Cupric Ion Compounds (e.g. SeaCure), Making Your Own/DIY Copper Solutions, Measure/Testing, Utilization/Duration, Prophylactic Use, Toxic Situations/Troubleshooting, Copper Product FAQs, Copper Test FAQs, Copper Removal FAQs, Copper Removal 2, & Best Crypt FAQs, Crypt FAQs 1, Crypt FAQs 2, Crypt FAQs 3, Crypt FAQs 4, Crypt FAQs 5 Crypt FAQs 6, Crypt FAQs 7, Crypt FAQs 8, Crypt FAQs 9, Crypt FAQs 10, Crypt FAQs 11, Crypt FAQs 12, Crypt FAQs 13, Crypt FAQs 14, Crypt FAQs 15, Crypt FAQs 16, Crypt FAQs 17, Crypt FAQs 18, Crypt FAQs 19, Crypt FAQs 20, Crypt FAQs 21, Crypt FAQs 22, Crypt FAQs 23, Crypt FAQs 24, & FAQs on Crypt: Identification, Prevention, "Causes", Phony Cures That Don't Work, Cures That Do Work,  Products That Work By Name: Formalin Containing: (e.g. Quick Cure),  About: Hyposalinity & Ich, Treating for Crypt & Sensitive Fishes:  By Group: Sharks/Rays, Morays and other Eels, Mandarins/Blennies/Gobies, Wrasses, Angels and Butterflyfishes Tangs/Rabbitfishes, Puffers & Kin...  &  Parasitic Marine Tanks, Parasitic Reef Tanks, Marine Velvet Disease, Biological Cleaners, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease, Infectious Disease

Example Products:
Cupramine (SeaChem)
CopperSafe (Mardel)
Copper Power

Better than free copper due to staying in solution longer...

Can affect biological filtration/nitrification.,
Need to be tested for at least daily...  with a chelated copper test kit|
Treat for two weeks... monitor water quality...
NOT to be used in a main tank, in the presence of carbonates...

RE: Copper Power Dosing       7/11/16
Thank you for your prompt response. I did want to let you know I had spent time searching for Copper Power info on the site and read the instructions regarding email questions.
<And.... there wasn't specific input of use?!>
My searches would refer me to a page or pages and I would read the entire page/pages with many posts and it was difficult to find the actual info. Is there a way to highlight the "Copper Power" words on the page/pages to which the google search directs me?
<Ahh; there used to be... the last iteration of WWM: Must match the test kit to chelated... 2.5 ppm is about right... NEEDS to be checked at least daily, if not twice; and topped off to this conc. BobF>
RE: Copper Power Dosing       7/11/16

Thank you!
<Welcome Kurt. B>

Copper Power Dosing. Using WWM       7/10/16
I am currently dealing with an ich infestation in a 400 gallon marine fish only no live rock system I have had for 20 years. (UV and skimmer and chiller). This is the worst infection I have had. I used Copper Power which seems to have helped and initially the API Cu test kit read 2.5ppm and now about a week later it is around 1 ppm. I can find very little info about this product.
<... you would if you searched WWM. Do so>

Should I re-dose?
<Do so after reading; knowing what you're up to>
What level should be maintained?
<........ Try using WWM>
When is it safe to add new fish as I have lost a lot through this ordeal.
Thank you for your help,
<W. Bob Fenner>

Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine      6/9/16
I have a dilemma and would appreciate your great advice as always.
<What's up?>
Note that I have a permanent running and fully established 75 gallon QT/Hospital tank.
About 4 weeks ago I purchased a Purple Tang (maybe 5 inches in size).
<What did Gurley Halleck expound when seeing his first worm in "Dune"? "Egads, what a monster"! This is a big Zebrasoma to purchase, collect from the wild>

I purchased it from a reputable LFS. It was eating like a pig, was active, and showed no signs of illness. They stated that it had been in their possession for a few weeks.
<I see>
As I do all new fish arrivals, I put it into my QT/Hospital tank for close to two weeks.
<Mmm; no dip/bath enroute? I would do so... to "knock off" Protozoans, Trematodes... external issues>
It was fine, eating like a pig, no issues, no illness. Thus, I moved it to my 150 gallon DT. This tank has been disease free and all the readings are very good. I believe in "over-filtration", thus there's plenty of flow, a UV filter, oversized skimmer, oversized sump pump, refugium (with Macroalgae, red mangroves..), and about 100+ pounds of live rock...etc. I have high powered LED's on the tank. There's been no issues of aggression within the tank and the Purple Tang would be hypothetically considered the most aggressive type of fish in that tank and the currently largest fish
for that tank, excluding a well fed 10 inch Snowflake Eel that minds his own business and who's been a good citizen.
<Echidna spp. usually are>
Other inhabitants are a 3 inch Flame Angel, a 3 inch Koran Angel, a 4 inch Majestic Rabbitfish, and a 3 inch Sailfin Tang.
I knew that I was "rolling the dice" with the Sailfin Tang already being in there, but after a lot of reading and visiting with LFS' I was fairly confident it would work as I've previously introduced a Sailfin Tang into a different 150 gallon tank with an established Yellow Tang that has worked out well thus far and for over a year. IMO, from research and experience, it seems like the Sailfin Tang's are more likely to co-exist of the Zebra species if introduced at a different time.
<This is my and many others (recorded) experience as well>
After a little bit of posturing back and forth maybe for 2 days, the Purple Tang and the Sailfin Tang adjusted and accepted each other. I never witnessed any chasing or nipping, simply a bit of posturing, flaring up of the fins. The Purple Tang continues to eat well. However, within the last week the Purple Tang has developed Ich. None of the other fish display any signs of Ich.
<Common and not uncommon>

The Purple Tang continues to eat like a pig, swims all over the place, and seems very healthy, very happy, except for the Ich, always very eager to eat, getting excited when I approach the tank. I feed him and the tank a mix of mysis shrimp, brine/Spirulina, and algae sheets.
Since he developed Ich I've been adding Socol, VitaChem, and Metroplex mixed with Garlic into the food this tank eats. All of the fish eagerly eat at each feeding which is 3 to 4x a day. Usually I feed 2x a day, but I stepped up feedings to hopefully strengthen their immune systems.
Here's my dilemma, I could move the Purple Tang to my QT/Hospital tank, which seems like a no brainer, and for most any other fish I would do it ASAP, but this Purple Tang, despite its case of Ich is a very happy fish that's very active and eats like a pig. I am concerned about stressing it out, trying to catch it, then move it to a new tank. Might this put it
into a downward spiral?
<It could; yes>
I've always successfully used 1/2 the recommended dosage of Cupramine to treat Ich. Keeping the fish in QT for 4 weeks. I just ordered some Dr.G's Caviar that includes CP too that I intend to feed this 150 gallon DT with the Purple Tang. I've done some research on Purple Tang's and Cupramine and it appears that they might have more sensitivity than most other fish to Cupramine?
<Tangs and allies... and a few other fish families/groups too... You can search, read this on WWM, in books I've penned>
Thus, this too, makes me think I should continue to treat the DT with medicated food. However, am I doing the right thing? Would you move the Purple Tang to the QT? Thank you.
<I would NOT move the Tang... but leave in place, continue w/ the feeding treatments you're doing and have planned. Some archived input on the subject here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Fw: Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine       6/9/16

I forgot to mention that this 150 gallon DT with the Purple Tang is a reef tank, thus my use of treatment so far by medicated food.
<Ahh; please read here as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reefparasittksfaqs.htm
and the linked.... B>
Re: Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine      6/10/16

Thanks Bob. I very much appreciate your expertise. I really needed someone of your caliber of experience to review my dilemma and give their opinion.
<Glad to share, render it>
My gut has been to keep the Purple Tang in the DT considering it behaves very healthy, eats like a pig, seems really well adjusted, except for the Ich, but I've been torn, knowing that I have an established QT. Thanks again!
BTW, note that on my QT/Hospital tank, for all new arrivals, unless I am aware of any sensitivity to Cupramine, I dose the QT tank with 1/4 to 1/2 the recommended dosage of Cupramine for two weeks as my method to treat for any diseases before introducing them into the DT.
<Mmm; well; the standard spiel re treatments, moda am sure you're familiar w/; and Cu++ exposure period... does more harm than good beneath some threshold "physiological" dose... likely near/below 0.15 ppm you're poisoning the fish hosts more than accomplishing any positive effects>
This strategy has worked really well for me on new introductions thus far except for this Purple Tang. I have ParaGuard, PraziPro, and Ich Attack available in my arsenal to use too that I had tried in my earlier reef/fish
keeping days for new arrivals, however, from experience, I've had by far the most success with Cupramine at a reduced dosage thus I've stuck with it for new arrivals. Beyond this, my strategy for any new coral arrivals is to use ReefDip for 30 minutes.
<Ah, good. I've used and caused to purchase hundreds of carboys of Cupramine. Am a fan as well. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine      6/10/16

A worthy summation re Cu use in aquatics:

Cupramine in display tank and ammonia; rdg.        10/21/15
I'm currently fighting marine ich in my mixed reef tank. (400gal).
<No fun; have you read re the use of Quinines?>
I wanted to know if I removed all corals and inverts from DT and treated the DT with Cupramine, will that be fine?
<Fine? Not fine.... trouble when you go to reintroduce these from the copper leaching back out.... You should read, really
Or will the copper kill of all other organisms and cause an ammonia spike?
Most of my fish are tangs
Thank you in advance Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Smartphone.
<Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
Scroll down to Parasites, Protozoans, Cryptocaryon.... Bob Fenner>

Cupramine leeching     7/30/15
Hello almighty saltwater gods. I am not worthy. So I was thinking.....what kinds of materials and what nots can hold Cupramine in a tank and cause the testing level to appear not to rise and/or then possibly leech back into the water when conditions change?
<Oh; this list is long... am sure one could use the Net, but am so olde that I'd be looking in a CRC Manual for common molecules likely to form in a marine aquarium habitat. Is cupric chloride, copper carbonate have a higher solubility product constant?>
For example, small clay pots, while they make nice caves, are porous. And can bits of uneaten food soak the medicine up enough to cause a problem?
<Mmm; not as much as the seawater itself, or "fresher" carbonate substrate and rock.... fired clay pots are somewhat chemically inert>
I know to remove uneaten food but I was thinking about using a seaweed clip and in that case, the food would spend more time in the water than flakes or Mysis. My bicolor blenny, usually fat and happy, is eating little.
I am currently having what seems to be a bit of trouble getting my Cupramine level above 3ish. All of my parameters are good and I only have a pre seeded filter, heater, two little clay pots and an airs stone in a bare bottom 20 long. I am treated a bicolor blenny and a royal gramma. I have been slowly raising the Cupramine level over the last week and I want to be sure I am at a good therapeutic level so I'm not wasting my time and unnecessarily stressing my fish. Also, I don't want to prolong their Ich misery. It is/was a slight case to my eyes. I did not follow the directions, dosing wise, because I have read it is better to slowly raise the Cupramine level, especially for the sensitive blenny.
Since the white spots, of which there were only two on the blenny's top fin, and one on the gramma' head, are not the actual parasite themselves, is their absence after or during treatment even a fairly reliable sign that treatment is working? Shouldn't the spots disappearing mean nothing more than the human equivalent of a scab falling off?
<Mmm; these spots may be from irritation of some sort... mucus accumulating.... Even Trematodes (seeing them btw very commonly here in Curacao the last week diving>
I have read that Cupramine may kill Ich at levels as low as .25 but I don't want to take the chance of under treating,
<Ah yes; and deep-embedded parasites, ones on fishes w/ thick mucus; even some "Crypt ""races" can be resistant to copper exposure>
particularly since my bicolor has not been eating well. I think he should be ok eating only a little so long as I can complete the treatment in a reasonable amount of time, say three weeks total. I am using a SeaChem test. My ammonia is good and I have been doing 20% water changes every three days, matching the temp, ph, SG, and Cupramine level in the new water with that of the tank prior to adding.
<Should test and replace the copper every day>
Besides that, the tank was fully cycled prior to treatment. I will remove Cupramine after treatment and let my tank remain fallow for 72 days total.
Thanks again.
<I and you very likely appreciate the vagaries of copper use... Hence my swerving allegiance to Quinine compounds (and always prevention via dips/baths, careful livestock selection, optimized, stable environment, good nutrition....) over recent years. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cupramine leeching... plus copy f'/Trematodes         8/3/15

Thanks again. My question regarding the seaweed clip....what I should have said was...Will the seaweed absorb the Cupramine and then maybe leech back into the water?
<It will absorb and re-lease very little copper. Not a worry. Again; there is some cupric ion in all life.... it, the element is an essential, albeit "micro" nutrient>
But before I read your reply I began to realize that my babies probably don't have ich at all. I think you are right about this being a case of Trematodes. My blenny's two fin spots have never changed location, only changed a bit in shape. I think I assumed ich mostly because of the scratching both fish were doing before I hospitalized them.
<Ahh! Saw a BUNCH of Flukes on fishes last week in Curacao.... more on more species than I've ever encountered in the wild. Tellingly, much more prevalent on fishes resident in some "environmentally modified" (polluted) locations>
I don't ask questions I don't want the answer to...so I will, in the future, use a quinine compound with good aeration as you suggest.
But......since I have been putting them through two weeks of Cupramine already, I think I will continue the course at least another week as a preventative measure (unless, of course, you tell me to do otherwise). I think it would still be wise to leave my display tank fallow for 72 days since I can't be sure ich isn't there somewhere.
<Well; not to bum you out, and ignore your self-admonition above, but Crypt is to degrees most every where there are tropical marine fishes>
After the Cupramine treatment is over, I think I should remove the Cupramine and dose PraziPro?
<Sure; or could do now. The two compounds as "mix-able">
Does a freshwater bath fit into this equation at some point? I have a bicolor blenny and a royal gramma.
<Better a FW bath, pH adjusted w/ formalin and aeration... see WWM re such SOPs and their specific use in eradicating external Trematodes>
Interesting that you saw an increase in Trematodes in the wild as I don't believe I have ever dealt with this pest in the last 15 years of fish keeping.
<Mmm; very common on (imported) angels, butterflies, tangs..... sharks>
I've dealt with ich before, and the spots always visibly disappeared after a couple of days in copper. I think I blamed my poor little clay pots for rendering my Cupramine ineffective, but all along,
<I have used hundreds of gallons of this fine product in commercial settings. It does precipitate (disappear) by about half every day... interacting with natural and synthetic seawater... MUCH more so if carbonaceous substrate/s is/are present. HAS to be assessed (tested for) and "topped up" daily or more often>
I misdiagnosed my problem. The lesson is always the same.....quarantine.
Thanks for your wealth of information and patience.
<A pleasure to relate/share. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cupramine leeching        8/4/15

Thank you, thank you. Now I have a clear course of action.
<Ahh! Am always (most of the time really) querulous whether I/we provide sufficient direction, background to aid others in resolute action>
I will have to wait a day or two until I can be home all day to execute the plan and observe the results. I have definitely learned a lot from this, including a new appreciation for tank size and aggression.
My gramma was fine with the bicolor blenny in the 55 gallon tank, but in the 20 with few hiding spots....not so much. I had to get a tank divider
after a particularly scary lip lock between the two. Since I witnessed the gramma seek out and stalk the blenny, I have placed the blame upon him. I think I will be putting the blenny into the display tank a couple of days before the gramma. I know blennies can be aggressive too, but so far, not mine.
One more question......".crypt is to degrees most everywhere tropical fish are".....Are you saying that eradicating ich in my main system is unlikely even after 72 days fallow?
<Unfortunately; yes. Some residual, resident population is likely to remain... not to be (too) teleological, but "waiting" for environmental, nutritional, social.... strain/stress, weakened "immunity" of host fishes.... to manifest itself as infestation>
I've always known this a possibility, and now I am wondering if I should just put the two fish back into the main system after the dip.
<Is likely what I would do...>
Rather blenny, then gramma to follow. I don't think the hospital is a particularly great place for either one of them. But still, I am willing to keep them there for the full 72 if you think it beneficial.
<There is a "tipping point" where isolation and what it entails encompasses/overwhelms its benefits... as opposed to being placed, left in a more stable setting>
Side note....I was wondering, in your diving experience, which fish was the most unusual, rare, or surprising one you every encountered?
<Heeeeee! So many!! Likely a couple of great hammerheads I met up with at about 200 feet doing a bounce dive in the Red Sea (looking for some wrasses for a friend; Tanaka-san)>
Thank you, thank you. -Alyson
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cupramine leeching      8/8/15

Thanks again. So I did a freshwater dip with Methylene blue (as I was able to get this at the LFS). Formalin, I was only able to find online and I did order it, but wanted to get started asap. He jumped around quite a bit. I did get worried as I have read that trying to jump is a sign of distress, and I know blennies are generally sensitive, so he was probably in the solution maybe 5 minutes. I am hoping that the Cupramine for just under three weeks and the small amount of time with the meth blue worked on his Trematodes.
<... The freshwater may, but copper and Methylene Blue neither do really.
See WWM re Trematodes; their treatment with purposeful Anthelminthics>

I'm sure I will let you know!!!! He is back in his DT, peeking around live rocks. I want to make him fat and happy before I put his frenemy, the Royal gramma back in too.
The last email we discussed entrenched crypt populations, and the possible futility of fallow periods. I will observe these two fish, once they are both in the 55 together and consider a complete tank overhaul should I suspect undesirable critters lay waiting. I can do this because I have a spare 90 gallon laying empty about my home. I just don't care for its location as it is in a room we don't frequent as much as the 55. This is why I started up the 55 and not the 90. Too many rooms, too much cleaning, tanks and otherwise. Of course, I always knew having both tanks eventually running would be a matter of time, as this is quite the addiction.
Thank you, thank you. Alyson R
<W. B>
Re: Cupramine leeching... Poss. fluke on Blenny, trtmt.        9/9/15

Hello again. It has been about 6 weeks since we discussed my crypt-turned-flukes problem and all is (mostly) well in my little piece of the ocean. Here's the thing....my bicolor blenny, who seemed ok for the first 5 weeks after his Cupramine (misdiagnosis) then freshwater dip, is flashing a bit.
<Mmm; some flashing is natural>

Over the last week, I have been looking for signs of ich, and it appears to me that he may have a fluke issue again. He has an irregular, small spot on his dorsal fin, in the same place as last time. Maybe he never fully eradicated the original flukes, or they could be in my system. I am a bit reluctant to freshwater dip again, as he didn't like it last time, but I have the formalin you recommended and will likely do this. I have some conflicting info regarding dipping blennies. I have read that they should
not be dipped, and you recommended me to dip them in previous conversations.
<Though small (unless very small specimens), blennies, blennioid fishes are slimy (again; unless quite sick) and capable of withstanding dipping procedures. Better this than extended periods of isolation/quarantine and the stress and starvation there that all too often leads to their loss>

Of course, I could hospitalize and treat with PraziPro. Being human, I would prefer the shorter course of action...i.e......dipping. I do love this little guy, named Sam I Am, and don't want to lose him, especially to my impatience. I got him as a little guy, maybe less than an inch, and he is over three inches now, gorgeous coloring, delightfully peaceful benevolent dictator of my tank. By the way....returning him to my display from the hospital tank a couple of weeks before the Royal gramma totally established a serene pecking order, even better than before treatment! The two used to
tolerate each other, now they swim together. So.....to dip or not to dip?
<Up to you; I would... oh, and look to see if the "spot" releases, and gently pinch it off with your fingers if not>
Thanks for your enduring patience and advice. Alyson R.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Puffer and Cupramine          5/27/15
Hey Bob, I have a dog face puffer in a bare bottom QT for treating Ich. His eyes are a little bit cloudy but that's it for symptoms so far. My question is will 0.3 of Cupramine be enough to rid him of the parasite?
<Maybe... Tetraodontids, puffers in general don't "like" copper exposure.... often kills them w/ exposure... and Crypt can often "hide" buried deep enough in their copious mucus. Better to use Quinine compounds for Protozoan issues w/ these an many other fish groups... This is gone over on WWM
He's doing fine now on that dosage and I'm nervous to bring it up to full concentration. (0.5) Also should I keep him exposed for the full 14 days or less?
<Mmm; well... insufficient strength in equivalent of Cu++ concentration will not effect a cure period; only marginally poison fish hosts>
My other fish are in a separate QT with levels of about 0.4 and doing fine.
I just hope that's enough to kill the Ich.
<Should be>
Thanks as always,
<Need to test for [Cu] at least daily (twice if it were me/mine) and adjust (add more). Bob Fenner>
Re: Puffer and Cupramine          5/27/15

Ok, I will begin filtering out the copper with poly filters. Can I still dose CP after the filters stop turning blue?
I have a container of "Fish Quine" which is CP, but it expired in 2013...
I'll have to order a new batch. I just don't like the fact that the hobbyist cannot test for it like copper; plus there are so many different conflicting views on how to properly dose it. I followed the directions during my last outbreak and killed a pearl scale butterfly. How would you dose it if you had to.?
<As posted on.... WWM>

Ich theory.      4/3/15
Just an observation from my readings/experience.
I am currently treating my seahorses, and select small fish, with Cupramine. There are no inverts, rock, sand . (Essentially my dt, turned bare into a qt)
Cupramine says to treat 21 days, however i am going 28 to play it safe. I am thinking, since ich "falls" off a fish 2-7 days to encyst, would it not be advantageous to add a fish during this period, since the ich that will fall off, at most 7 days later, would be exposed to copper, and therefore be unable to reproduce.
So if I add a fish April 1, as long as the copper is in there until the 8th, in theory it should be ok.  

Quarantining copper sensitive fish; commercial        3/16/15
Hello Crew,
<Howsit Frank?>
I had a question about quarantining copper sensitive fish. I have a fairly small operation importing fish as a wholesaler and I run Cupramine in my quarantine tanks.
<Have used MANY gallons, car-boys of this product over the years>
I wanted to know what your suggestions were for fishes such as wrasses and butterfly fishes since they are more sensitive to copper.
<Mmm; is posted on WWM>
Would you suggest a freshwater dip and placing them in the main system?
<IF in apparently very good shape on arrival, yes... I definitely WOULD do the SOP acclimation for commerce archived>
Or putting them in a separate quarantine system using a different medication?
<Mmm; nah. Have seen around the world where some (smaller) Labrids, even Chaetodontids were placed in invert. systems (along w/ tube-mouthed fishes and Amphiprionines..., but if it were me/mine, I'd stick with the same dosage for all>
If so what would be a good overall medication to use for those fishes sensitive to copper if there is any.
<Also posted. CP. Bob Fenner>

mixing CopperSafe and Chloroquine phosphate      1/17/15
Hi.....I have a hippo tang and a Heniochus in my 55 gallon quarantine tank. I believe they have velvet. I currently have CopperSafe in the tank. they have been exposed to the CopperSafe for 10 days and I really don’t see any improvement. I would like to try Chloroquine phosphate. Can I add that with the CopperSafe already in the tank ?
<It can be. Do watch for the (see WWM re) usual adverse effects of CP exposure. Bob Fenner>
Re: mixing CopperSafe and Chloroquine phosphate      1/17/15

Thank you for the fast reply. Will let you know the results.
<Real good. BobF>

Copper Power... using WWM      10/19/14
Hi Crew. I have been looking into a product called Copper Power, by Endich Inc. I can't find any info on this med. I'm wondering what kind of test kit I would use with this? API maybe? This med also claims to be safer than others. Any truth to this? Please give me your thoughts on this product.
Thank you,
>Use the search tool on WWM... before writing us. Bob Fenner>
Copper Power     10/19/14

I did use the search tool before writing! I'm sorry that I didn't feel like
searching for hours
<... takes seconds to minutess to find what's archived re this product. I did it myself>
before finding an answer. Is it too much to ask your thoughts on the product, and what kit to use?
<Is a worthwhile product... that is, has its applications...>
Wouldn't have taken much more time to respond with a helpful answer, other than just referring me to search. Have a good night.
<And you. BobF>

Copper Alkano-amine Complex In Marine Tanks.    8/4/14
Hi Crew,
I was at a loss of why my fish were dying as it was sudden death (less than 24 hours) with no visible spots.
<Mmm; something environmental highly likely. IF you'll list the order in which they're dying, and their relative sizes, this information may yield insight/s>

The signs were very fast breathing with blotchy skin.
<... too little oxygen, and/or too much carbon dioxide? Some other source (common) of poisoning... PLEASE READ HERE:

the third tray: Toxic Water Conditions
for background: Could be abiological (e.g. metal), toxic tankmate/s, microbial....>
I am in a remote location and the only copper I have is described as Copper Alkano-amine complex.
<Is a class of "chelated" copper/cupric ion>
Is this effective in killing most single cell parasites, deadly to marine fish?
<Some are; some are not... some formulations made for swimming pools can work with ornamental aquatics. IF there's time, it's BEST to try a sample out on some less-valuable fishes>
The blotchy skin has gone but the fish (only survivor) is still breathing fast, I hope just an after effect of gill infestation.
<... maybe>
I am surprised he made it this far.
I have added a large amount of this but after a few hours it shows zero copper on an API test kit.
<... the test kit MUST be one FOR chelated solutions (i.e. NOT free copper; e.g. copper sulfate products)>
It will take me a few days to get Cupramine which I have had best results with.
<A very good product indeed. I have used many hundreds of gallons of this over the decades in the trade>
My question is should I keep adding this as I have already added 100's of drops until I get the required level of around 0.5 or wait until the Cupramine arrives?
<Can't and won't say without knowing exactly what it is that you're treating here. IT MIGHT WELL BE that you're just poisoning your fishes (further). Do you have a microscope and know how to use it? You should sample and examine... to determine that there's something worth treating with copper here; rather than just blindly pouring it in>
I have read there are many different types of ICH and perhaps this is a strain that the spots are no visible perhaps because it is a small parasite.
<I'd also strongly encourage your reading re the use of quinine compounds.
Broader application, and not as toxic when used appropriately>
I was amazed how quickly this came on as the day before there were no symptoms. I changed 80% of the water which did not help so I thought it must be an infection.
<Again; I really doubt it. The root issue here is environmental. READ
Kind regards,
<Bob Fenner>
e: Copper Alkanoamine Complex In Marine Tanks.     8/5/14
Hi Bob,
I was thinking about your point, but the link you gave does not work
<Have just checked: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
does work; mysteriously doubled below>
but looked up on your site http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm  then  http://wetwebmedia.com/toxictk1.htm  and read about iron poisoning from a rusting clamp.
<Can happen>
This was a fact I was aware of and had two supporting an LED so wrapped them in bubble wrap to prevent this however there is a chance due to different water flow/splash it leaked into the water. After the original crash I purchased four small Ocellaris Clowns and a small Clown Trigger, one died but the others were fine so I ordered an Emperor until the same thing happened the morning the Emperor was arriving by bus. I did an 80% water change leaving the Emperor in the bag (opened for oxygen) I am
surprised if this is the case and even wrapped them in black plastic as I thought of this when I completed the last water change as there was heavy rust on the bubble wrap.
<Aye ya... and a note. PolyFilter and copy cats will change to reddish rust color w/ Fe presence; and there are relatively simple colorimetric assays (test kits) for ferrous ion presence>
Two points if it was iron would in be so dramatic even after an 80% water change I added him, he died in less than 48 hours.
I had an anemone in the tank which was fine, the fish were far worse?
Surely iron kill the anemone first?
<Not necessarily; no. In fact, often iron is a rate limiting factor in Cnidarian growth>
Anyway I am thinking of getting a PolyFilter to test, if it turns red this will be the answer hopefully.
<Oh; yes>
Would a Polyfilter also remove the copper I added totally
and I would leave it in for a few months in case I get a copper release?
Does a Polyfilter remove several metals at once?
Thanks Bob hopefully next time my email will be on a happier note.
Kind regards,
<And you, BobF>
FW: Copper Alkanolamine Complex In Marine Tanks.     8/5/14

Hi Bob,
Depending on your answer in regards to the Anemone if it is rust leakage is the Polyfilter the best product to remove it.
<Yes... though other chemical filtrants will do so>
It is very difficult to get here and would take about ten days from overseas. Do you know CaribSea AmmoBuster this says it neutralises metals so I prefer the sound of a Polyfilter which absorbs them.
This will work to remove what is in solution at the time... but better to use the pad to remove ongoing>
Kind regards,

ICH.      7/18/14
Hi Guys,
Are there any new chemical based cures for Ich apart from CopperSafe for an fish/invert tank?
<Oh yes; quinine compounds... See WWM re. Bob Fenner>
Kind regards,

Hippo Tang w/ Ick or Brook?      5/4/14
Hi Bob,
I have been in this hobby for 8 years now, I have read and read and I always go back and re-read your site. It is a GREAT source of helpful information. Thank you. I have a 75 gallon set up with fish and coral, and
a 10 gallon hospital tank for quarantine. (the best thing I ever did). I bought a Hippo Tang and did a freshwater dip + a formalin dip and put them in the quarantine tank. After a few days the Hippo showed some white spots
on his top fin and I decided to lower the salinity. I know you say that this treatment doesn't always work, but I have always done it and it had worked wonderfully until now.
I am very detailed and followed the hyposalinity treatment faithfully for 8 weeks but the Hippo still kept 1 white spot on his side. So I figured this is why you don't like the hyposalinity. So I went back to your site and read for other treatments. I raised the salinity gradually and decided to use Cupramine. While I was in the process of raising the spg, he got more and more white spots so I started the Cupramine. I have used it for 2 weeks now and have not seen any improvement, rather I think it's getting a little worse.
<... Mmm, the spotting... may not be Crypt... Do you have a microscope? I'd be sampling, examining>

The white spots aren't like regular Ich, more like spots with whitish areas. Your site says the copper is the best cure for Ich, so I went back to read more. I found that sometimes Ich is confused with Brooklynella.
<Ah yes>
This is my question, should I continue with the Cupramine?
<I would not... IF copper isn't working w/in a week... it likely won't.
Better to try/use quinine compounds IF protozoan>
Or should I get rid of the copper and use Quick cure to treat the fish for Brooklynella?
<See above; WWM>
Thank you very much for your help.
Sincerely, Erika
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Marine Whitespot.    3/28/14
Hi Bob,
The dreaded marine Ich.
<Uh, no fun>
The reason I write is partially for your readers and also your view.
I woke up and my fish were very blotchy and they were not scratching but darting. I thought this might be due to too high SG as I had been topping up with seawater
<That I hope you were storing in the dark for a few weeks; or bleaching/dechlorinating... or, or... one of the SOPs archived on WWM for natural water use>

on a temporary basis until I could find a good pure fresh water supply, due to possibly not having what I deem a safe freshwater supply for delicate marine fish, including the bottled water we previously discussed. As when I added it before the tank crashes.
I decided to take the risk and drained off some water and added the bottled water. All the fish seemed fine for a few hours. Then the next day they were worse and terribly blotchy and darting.
So I decided nature is the best way and did an 80% water change with fresh tropical Indian ocean water. Again all seemed fine for a few hours....then the next morning they were worse than ever in this incident, 80% colour loss with blotches.
There were no blotches on the clowns or even more surprisingly the Regal Tang the so called Ich magnet so I was not sure if it was Ich or not. The Majestic, Blueface and Emperor looked at death's door. No spots except one possibly on the tang.
I decided to treat with Cupramine but was not sure. Anyway within about 2 hours they were 95% normal and today (next day) they are 100% normal, even the Emperor (Juv) has that lovely black/blue back. They even ate within 2 hours of putting Cupramine in the tank, I did not try when they were blotchy in case of more stress on them.
So I think it was Ich but can Copper really work that quickly?
<Yes; but often just "a cycle" of the Parasite/s are treated/eliminated from the fishes themselves... other life stages off fish; in the system... to reinfest them>
Any thoughts, clearly it was a copper sensitive pathogen. I don't think it was Velvet as the gill rate and disease progression was not that fast. I only ever had velvet once a very long time ago and sadly it wiped out my tank very quickly. I was working then so did not have so much time to observe the fish.
What I am presuming is that as these fish have had Whitespot before they were fighting it with more mucous production and the free swimmers could not get through the mucus and the copper literally virtually killed them on contact. Does anyone know how copper kills Ich?
Anyway for your readers Ich can probably cause blotches without any spots, making sure you have Cupramine available is a must in such circumstances.
Cupramine is the best copper I have used (I am not associated with SeaChem except as an end user)
<I have literally used hundreds of gallons of this product. It IS effective, and relatively safe, used properly>
Kind regards,
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Cupramine tx... READING      2/10/14
Ok so here's the situation... I had an Ich outbreak and didn't have another option other than to treat my display tank.  It's a FOWLER with niger trigger, coral beauty and dog face puffer.  I am using Cupramine and started the dose today. ( tank is 75 gallons)
The problem is that after following the dosing instructions to a T, I still couldn't get a reading at all!
<? Just put a drop of Cupramine in some water in the test chamber/tube and see if that will show a positive>
  Im using an API test for copper.  Im not sure if it's the test kit or the substrate/live rock that is throwing off my readings.
<... oh yes; they will absorb most all Cu, quickly>

  I just know that I do not want to overdose my tank so I'm holding off on putting anymore in the tank until I get advise from you all as I do not trust the LFS's..... please help...
<Help yourself. There are thousands of searchable queries re copper use archived on the site>
I mean, if in fact the coraline alga on the LR or the substrate are " absorbing " the Cupermine, then should I continue to dose until a reading appears in the water column?
<... You should read till you understand what you're doing, what your  options are. And soon. B>

Chelated Copper VS Free (Cu++)... matching test kits to products     1/4/14
I hope to resolve my copper confusion, seemingly the more I read through the archives and online the more created confusion.
I understand the most free copper fishes can tolerate is 0.30ppm, but how do I know how much free copper is in Seachem's chelated Cupramine?
<Need to use a "chelated copper test kit"... The instructions will provide you with a conversion factor. SeaChem makes one: search online re >
Their directions state after two days the final water concentration should be .5mg/L, this seems aggressive and dangerous for most fish?
<It is... I would NOT expose most fishes (and to be clear there are species, families that should have none) to more than 0.35 ppm free cupric ion or equivalent chelate>
<Bob Fenner>

Fish sensitivity to Cupramine    7/23/13
Hello WetWebMedia,
I have a 180 gallon FOWLR aquarium that has been running for about four years.  The tank is aggressively filtered and skimmed, and contains the following fish:  1 adult Maculosus angel, 1 sub-adult Annularis angel, 1 med Powder Blue tang, 1 large Bicolor angel, 1 flame Hawkfish, and 1 med
Stars and Stripes puffer.
<The two large angels and this puffer need more room than this>

I keep the specific gravity at 1.018 to help control parasite loads and give each new arrival a freshwater dip before placing them in the system.  For the last 18 months that strategy has worked beautifully.  I haven't had Ich in that time and have not added a fish in the last 6 months.  And then all of a sudden, there is what I could call a moderate amount of Ich in the tank, and the problem is getting worse on a daily basis.
<... the crowding and its ill effects...>

My fish are fed twice daily with foods that contain garlic compounds (Spectrum, garlic Nori, etc) and all are eating well.  I'm considering using Cupramine to treat the water.
<Won't work indefinitely here>

 I am concerned about the toxicity of copper for certain fish, especially the Bicolor angel and the Stars and Stripes puffer.
<And the Tang>
  With what I have written would you recommend that I remove my Chemi Pure from the filter and dose with the Cupramine?  Will the fish survive even a moderate level of say 0.15 ppm?
<This sub-therapeutic dose won't do any good and will serve to weaken the fishes through mild poisoning...
You might read re the one-time (through foods) use of a regimen of CP/Quinine... and/or the use of cleaners (that the Tetraodontid won't consume); but what you really need is a larger system... at least 300 gallons... and the mechanicals and improved water quality, psychological good it will bring>
Thanks for your help,
<Ah, welcome. Bob Fenner>

Please help with ICH protocol    6/18/12
 <Hey Sal>
I purchased a Dussumieri tang and it arrived via mail on Saturday. My blue line angel did not appreciate this and chased him around the tank. I moved the blue line to the sump and there is peace once more. I did not quarantine this fish. It now has ICH. I feel like a moron but there is no point in looking back. I will do everything I can to fix this situation and quarantine new individuals from now on.
 Tank inhabitants are as follows: live rock, live sand, 2 bimaculatus Anthias, 1 mappa puffer and 1 blue line angel. I have purchased Cupramine and test kits. I am unsure what to do here.
<... not put this in an established system w/ LR, LS>

 The tang looks fine other than the white spots. It is eating great and swimming around. There are no signs of symptoms on any other fish.
1. Do you think it would be ok to play a wait and see game and see if he gets better on his own?
<Yes. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittkfaq2.htm
and the linked files above>
I feel like tearing the tank apart would cause stress to everyone involved. Can this fish get better on his own with great water quality and food or, am I just endangering all the other fish by waiting a couple of days?
 <I would wait myself>
2. Would it be ok to treat just the tang in quarantine and monitor the other fish? Have they( and the system) been exposed to the infestation already and its too late?
 <Best to leave all as is for now>
3. Is the Cupramine safe to use with the mappa and blue line angel?
 <Mmm, marginally. IF puffers, angels are initially healthy, they can/will stand up to a chelated copper regimen>
Please help. I know I've made a mistake and will never do it again. I'll wait for instructions before proceeding.
<Doing my best bit. Bob Fenner>
Re: Please help with ICH protocol  6/19/12

Hey Bob-
Thanks for your quick reply. Just to let you know, the tang doesn't have a single spot on him today. I'm confused. I got him Saturday. He had no spots. Yesterday he had plenty of Ich on him. Today he has none.
<Likely just "cycled off"... you have a "one generation" incident... in the not too immortal words of a mesomorph ex Ca. gov.: "they'll be back">
Does that make sense? Could they have dropped off in one day? Is it a miracle? Should I lay off the drugs?
<Not a miracle, but I would still lay off... and hope. B>
Re: Please help with ICH protocol   6/20/12
Ok- I will hope. When can I expect the new batch of guests to arrive on the prized fish's hides?
<... two, three days, at low 80's F... See WWM, elsewhere re Cryptocaryon "life cycle". B>

Re: copper ( Cupramine) in FO tank ( main tank)    5/20/12
Hi there,
how are you?
Is been a while, i have stop using Copper in the main tank after a big lesson learn, result loss in fishes and money :(
I think i have remove most of the copper in tank tru using poly filter and changing of water. now i am able to keep star fish, doc prawn and other corals.
these days i quarantine my fishes.
I think most fishes do have marine itch from LPS,
<... Ich, from LFS>
 none of my fishes when i first buy are complete disease free, except for some fishes like dragonet or some hardly fishes like clown fishes. Can i know do stressing of my marine tank causes them to have marine itch?
<Yes; I think if I understand your query>
As mention since from the start up till now ,is been almost 6.5 months, i am still getting nitrate at level 40-70 ppm. At good time i am able to lower to 40ppm.
<Still too high>
i really have been reading hard and trying to reduce nitrate level in my tank. some long term method is introduce good algae , mangrove plants and volka treatment. i have choose Volka treatment and this is the 3rd week when i am dosing 2cc/ ml of pure volka into the tank. but the nitrate remain high. ( i start to doubt if the method really working, as i have read from reports and after reports that it do work to reduce nitrate to zero).
i am quite upset feel like giving up at times.
Currently my water parameter below:
Nitrate - 50ppm ( using API measuring kit)
Ammonia- 10 ppm ( using API measuring kit)
PH - 8.2
Copper - zero ( using API measuring kit)
S.G- 1.020
<Too low
. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spgscience.htm
My live stock in my 700litres of  tank ( 4ft x 2f x 2ft)
3 yellow tangs, 3 hippo blue tangs, one Sailfin tang, 1 niger trigger, 1 maroon/yellow clown, 1 true peculiar and starfish and hermit crab/ prawn and some corals.
I really hope to be experience in keeping those reading down as these are the basic to keep those living creature happy and long.
hear from you.
<Keep reading! Bob Fenner>

CopperSafe concentration?    5/20/12
Greetings Bob! (or other crew)
Once again, i find myself asking a question that i have been unable to find the answer to!
Currently I'm treating fish from my 90g DT in a 55g HT for Ich.  I just recently caught the last of them and put them in the new tank. (yellow and hippo tang, 3 Chromis, fire fish, blue damsel, and a Snowflake Eel.
<Mmm, true eels don't "like" copper exposure... I'd use quinine of some sort on/with all instead>
My question is: does testing Free copper differ from Chelated? 

i have a bottle of CopperSafe, and the directions read to add 5ml (1 tsp) per 4 gallons, but i wanted to be sure of my testing kit (API copper test for Free and Chelated) and with the proper 5ml to 4g the test came back at almost 1.0ppm is this too high?
<For chelate, no; you're breaking "the bond" w/ the (chelate) test kit...
showing "all" available copper; not just free>
 i currently have about 5 doses in the water, so roughly a little less than 1/2 the written dose.  The package of medication says nothing about a target ppm.
You expertise` would be greatly appreciated!
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cryptchelcucures.htm
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/crypteels.htm
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuinSciUseF.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Coppersafe, use, testing     4/28/14
Hello, fine job you guys and gals are doing for us out here with problems.
Long time service guy here that's run into a problem.
<Hey Jim>
I have "Coppersafe" that is several years old. Do you think this product can weaken with age?
<Mmm, well, years back, this product used to be very stable. The best way to "tell" is to test a drop or two in a given volume of water and test>
Reason for the question it that I've seem to have contacted "something" that resembles Ick. In several jobs, "different tanks" I see what looks like Ick but at the high dosage's of "Coppersafe" 2.0 it seems I can't get rid of the Ick.
<Might be Brooklynellosis, something else not susceptible to copper treatment>
I've always used Coppersafe because I've always read it's not as hard on fish as "Cupramine". I've always read that this product is hard on Butterfly's and Angles. I have these fish in most jobs.
<I've found both products to be about the same in terms of Cu++ toxicity; both better than copper sulfate (citrated or no) solutions>
Interesting note is that I see the Ick on Vlamingi's and Unicorn tangs and not much else.
<As you know, Surgeonfishes are more likely to contract than most other groups/families>
Are there parasites that can withstand "Coppersafe"?
<Oh yes... several>
On another subject, I've used crystal form "Start Right" as my dechlorinator. I've found it's not being made any longer.
<Ahh, that's a shame... one of my fave Jungle products>
I've thought of switching to "Nova Aqua Plus" so I purchase this by the gallon. It mentions it removes toxic metals. Will using this product during water changes have any effect on running copper in an aquarium?
<Yes; will/does remove. Again, can/do test per the above test for your CopperSafe>
Thanks for your reply, Jim Jesko
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Coppersafe     4/29/12

Thanks for writing back so soon Bob. Heard you speak at Macna several times. Always look forward to your talks. Will be sorry to miss you this year in Tx.
Been reading all day but didn't see any answers that pertain to my problem so I'll ask a few more questions if I may.
Your comments make sense finally that my incurable Ick is probably Brooklynellosis. Been dealing with this for almost a year.
Now just so you know I'm managing twenty three "marine fish only aquariums".
No corals, no inverts. Just fish.
I believe in freshwater dips and month long quarantine. But some how it failed and allowed this Brooklynellosis to get out and into three show tanks.
I can freshwater dip the fish on the job sites but that would be pretty difficult in some of the offices. Doesn't make sense to bring fish home for a quarantine period when it's in these show tanks with other livestock.
I feel I need to treat the show tanks and all the inhabitants just as if I had Ick and was treating with Coppersafe.
What would be the best route to take, Formalin 3 ?
<Mmm, too much work and too toxic... I'd try quinine/CP:
How about dosage rate, anything to offer there and for how long to treat the tanks?
Twenty five years servicing and quarantining livestock, first time I've run into this problem. So glad to have you to reach out to! Jim Jesko
<Glad to assist your efforts. BobF>

Copper question, misuse, removal   8/23/11
Hi guys, Mr. Fenner answered a previous question regarding my Bamboo Cat Shark in regards to an eye injury. Thank you again. Unfortunately I have run into another problem, it has been a learning experience to say the least. A LFS recommend I treat my 300 gallon FOWLR with Copper Safe for an Ich outbreak.
<... No>
I began treating about 2 months ago and had to significantly increase the dosage significantly, 5x the strength, to obtain a therapeutic level due to the large amounts of live rock and sand.
Poor idea in hindsight, but fortunately all the fish have made it through and have been Ich free for several months. (I now quarantine). About a week ago I introduced a Zebra eel and a Gray eel from a 100 gallon into the current 300 gallon. The eels have not started to eat yet and I have also noticed my Porcupine Puffer biting his food and than spitting it out. I have been performing large water changes and running Cuprisorb to take out as much copper as possible. The Seachem test detected 0 copper from the best I could tell. I am continuing to run Cuprisorb 24/7 however the lack of interest by the eels and strange behavior from my puffer fish combined with the excessive dosage of copper makes me wonder if I should dispose of the majority of live rock and sand that was present in the tank during the copper treatment.
<Mmmm. Not likely of help here>
I would ideally like to keep the rocks as I have invested over $1,000 with the rock, however, the happiness of my fish are a much greater priority.
Would you recommend discarding the live rock and sand?
<I do not>
Or continue to run Cuprisorb?
<And add a few pounds of good quality activated carbon to your filter flow path>
There is some Cyanobacteria growing on the live rock as well as several hermit crabs alive
<IF these were present during the treatment then there never was a metabolic dose of copper/cupric ion present... the Ich/Crypt is still resident; the fish/hosts just having and still fighting off via natural (and possibly some acquired) immunity>
and well, until the puffer fish locates them. I am not sure if this is an indication that the rock is no longer contaminated with significant amounts of copper. Thanks again. I have found a great deal of information on your site. Zach
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Cupramine and Quinine Sulfate  2/14/11
I have a 300g Saltwater DT (FO) that I have been treating with Cupramine for Marine Ich.
I have maintained the Cu at 0.5-0.7ppm for 2 months and still notice some Crypt on a few fish. I moved these fish to a separate 25g QT and treated with Crypto Pro... 5 days and the Ich is GONE!
<Ah good>
Now I would like to treat the 300g tank.
Q. Can I add the Crypto Pro (Quinine Sulfate) to the 300g that has the Cupramine already in it. (It would/will take a long time to rid the tank of Cu via water changes, and Cuprisorb).
<W/o fish in it? Yes>
The fish remaining in the tank are free of Ich but I want to make sure the Ich is gone before I get rid of Cu in it and move fish to the tank.
<They should be removed really, but worth the try>
I would plan to add the 1/4 tsp per 10g and change 25% water every three days with the Quinine Sulfate.
Any chemists around?
<Mmm, am an old H.S. teacher one>
Regal Angel
<http://bb.wetwebmedia.com/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=3509> &t=3509 
<Bob Fenner>

Cupramine question 9/28/10
Hey Crew,
Simple question : What duration of time is adequate for Cupramine therapy for the treatment of marine crypt?
<... usually a week or less... Read here:
I have a masked butterfly
<See WWM re: http://wetwebmedia.com/cryptasbfs.htm
that I had in QT that came down with marine crypt. Has been eating thawed Mysis shrimp/ brine shrimp / plankton in QT treated with Cupramine.
<... the food, treated with chelated copper?>
I have seen minimum of 14 days max of 28 days as "recommendations."
Treatment level is .4- .5 ppm using Salifert kit to test.
<Keep reading. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cupramine question   9/28/10

Thanks for the response...so you are joking that a week of Cupramine is adequate for treatment of marine crypt?
<Not joking Jimmy... longer than this is usually deadly for Chaetodontids... Butterflyfishes>
The link you provide states 14 days and others have recommended 28 days.
The QT is treated with Cupramine and not the food. Just trying to clarify Seachem's recommendation of 14 days of therapy and others recommend
21-28 days.
<Try it and see... In these times, I wouldn't expose BF's to Copper period... See WWM re the use of Quinine Compounds. B>

Japanese Dragon Eel and clown trigger.   9/14/10
<Hello Kellvin.>
My fish store is bringing in a Japanese Dragon Eel for me. 25-30cm.
Currently I have a show Clown Triggerfish 25cm and a Banded eel and some grouper. Can the dragon eel be kept together?
<Nothing I would recommend.>
Lastly, can dragon eel tolerate Seachem Cupramine?
<Although it might not die instantly, no moray eel should be brought into contact with copper containing products of any sort.>
Thank you with God Bless. Kellvin.
<Cheers, Marco.>

Cupramine as a preventative   9/1/10
Hey Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a question re: the treatment of marine velvet/ crypt with Cupramine.
<Well, you've come to the right place!! We're OVERSTOCKED on answers this week so we're going to give you more answers than you have questions>
I have read again and again in the posts that prophylactic treatment is not recommended unless there are signs of infestation/ disease.
That being said, I have had experiences in the past that when I bring in a new inhabitant to my system, even after QT for 4 weeks and all looking fine, introduce the fish in my 240G FOWLR only to see my fish down with crypt when a new fish is introduced.
My system has been closed to new inhabitants for quite some time, but I do have a QT running. My experience with Cupramine has been good, generally, with the major problems occurring after initial dosing.
<I'm not really sure that the phrase "My experience has been good" and the term "Major Problems" belong in the same sentence, James>
I recently added a couple of damsels to my system after they were prophylactically treated with Cupramine for 2 weeks and all is fine, now 3 mo.s later.
The QT is 75 gallons and still has copper ( .4 mg/ L ), my FOWLR is lightly stocked ( a few damsels, a Percula clown, Heniochus butterfly, Fiji Foxface ) and I want to bring an Emperor Angel into the system. I have had Emp Angels ( in the past one lived 7-8 years another 8 years ) in the past that I have acclimated in QT and both came down with crypt during the acclimation period.
<Fairly typical>
They were successfully treated with copper, but between the illness and the copper, and the nitrogen cycle disturbance with addition of copper, I was rocking and rolling for awhile.
<We've all been there>
Both had been wonderful inhabitants and outgrew my then smaller tank. So the dilemma : I have a well cycled QT with therapeutic Cupramine levels and good water conditions. Do I trust a 4 week QT and if all goes well introduce to the system. ( How often does this really happen without any prophylactic treatment anyway ? ) Or do I chance prophylaxis with Cupramine ? I really have no desire to go through an infestation of the display that would require 4-8 weeks of fallow plus treatment of the inhabitants in separate QT .
<OK James -- you asked for it, so here it comes>
<They say that those that fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it and to this day that makes me fear that they'll make me fight the Crimean War>
<Often though the problem is that we learn TOO MUCH from our past experiences - something worked before means it will work again. Maybe. Maybe not. Worse, when we each find something that works for us, we stick to it and it becomes our religion almost. I went through that same Rock & Roll that you did. In fact, most of us did. We could form a club complete with jackets and secret handshakes!>
<The problem with your prophylaxis is this: Cupramine is a stabilized form of copper, but it's still copper and copper is toxic to your fish. The theory behind copper is exactly the same theory behind Chemotherapy: it poisons and debilitates the whole body, but with a bit of luck it poisons the cancerous cells more and earlier. Copper is exactly the same thing: There is an exact level of the product that will kill the crypt without killing the fish … just making him horribly sick. Sound like fun? Moreover -- you're doing this to a fish that may not even HAVE the Crypt in the first place, just in case he does.>
<Which brings us to the fork in the road where science and art come together in a horrific crash that leaves us hip deep in opinion>
<[Editor's note: that is about the legal limit on mixed metaphors. Don't make me pull over]>
<In my opinion … also known technically as the "right" or "correct" opinion .. your Folwr tank already has Crypt, but what it has is a healthy system in which a few Crypt organisms survive but not enough to get a foothold and build up to lethal strength. This is how we explain a closed system with nothing new added that suddenly endures an Crypt outbreak after the heater fails and chills or burns the fish -- their debilitated state allows the Crypt to ramp up. Think like the common cold (rhinovirus) in humans: You don't CATCH IT from the weather being "cold" but when the weather is cold your defenses to a normal virus are weakened>
<Anyway … back to copper. If the new fish has Crypt, the copper will treat the crypt but it debilitates the fish in the process. Then, when you add that fish to the Flowr, you're adding a weakened fish to a system that (probably) has a bit of Crypt just looking for a victim - and thus starts the aforementioned rock & roll.>
<Now, I treat with copper, too. It's the nuclear option. But I only treat fish that are being demonstrably attacked by that evil bug. I treat the full course until I haven't seen a cyst for two weeks and then when I'm done, I add the fish to my main tank SIX WEEKS after that. Time for him to regain his strength.>
<Which brings us to MY opinion and religion. QT is Six weeks. Six weeks of PERFECT behavior and observation. Not 4 weeks, not 5 weeks, not "if he was sick he'd have exhibited symptoms by now" not even 5 weeks, 6 days and 3 hours. SIX weeks. One TINY little setback -- and I start the clock at zero again.>
<Now there are people that think I'm crazy.>
<[Editors note: Many people, in fact - and one of them is a licensed therapist!]>
<.. but my fowler gets new fish all the time and I haven't had an illness or death due to infection/infestation in 6 years>
<If you ask my opinion (and I think you did) I'd clean the QT tank and neutralize as much of any kinds of medications as possible, set it up as clean and sterile as possible, get your new fish … and then deal with the problems we actually encounter, not the ones our minds make up.>
<MY method … is to set up a sterile tank, change 3-5% of the water DAILY (remember, there is no nitrogen cycle in a new/sterile tank) and during the last two weeks of quarantine, I do a 15% water change once a week -- where I replace the water with water from my main Fowler tank, so that by the time intro day comes around the new fish has been in the "old" water for over a week already>
<If you want to read yet another opinion on treating Crypt, there are a pair of articles you can find on the net written by Steven Pro   (Google Steven Pro Ick ) that is as clear an instruction as I have found on the net. His suggestion, if I recall, is hyposalinity. It's effective as a treatment AND a prophylactic and has the added advantage of being safe.>
<I hope that helps. If not -- if you'd like a second or different opinion, please reply with the phrase "Not That Idiot Again" in the subject line and we'll see who we can find.>
Cupramine as a preventative 9/2/10
Darrell, very helpful...
<Thanks - it's better than being annoying>
But does a 3-5% water change daily without a nitrogen cycle keep ammonia, nitrite in check ?
<I hate being part of the crowd, but this is always a "your mileage may vary" sort of thing. It does FOR ME. In MY SETUP. So naturally that's what I can speak intelligently [sic] about. Many people better and more experienced than me keep a sponge filter cycling in their main sump to make an instant 'cycled' system in the QT tank when needed and they'll tell you why their system is better for them - and they'll be right>
<My experience, James - is that as soon as I start any sort of treatment of the inhabitants (Copper/Chloroquine/salt/plutonium or whatever) I have the nitrogen cycle so out of whack ….>
<Parenthetically … if something wrong is "out of whack" does that mean that something right is "in whack"? "Within Whack"? "Whacking along"?>
<…. That I can never count on it, so I don't even try.>
Whenever I have started a new tank this way I always seem to get ammonia spikes that reek havoc and have caused loss of livestock. I subsequently have resorted to using a tank with a well cycled filter, esp. with larger species like angels
<I've experienced that as well. If I have a larger load in the QT tank then I've had to do 15-20% daily. I'll say that starting with a cycled tank doesn't HURT you.>
The really, really frustrating part for all of us in this business is that you're right and I'm right and Bob Fenner and Neale and James and Steven Pro are ALL right -- and yet we're all doing things differently… so when you ask for advice it's like spending an hour with an accountant: You'll know vastly more than you did before and yet still not have a clue what to do next.>
<Bob Fenner, who knows vastly more than I do, has recommended Formalin in the past. If you haven't already, start here and read all the associated links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm >
I brought the fish below into my QT ( bare 75G , well cycled QT that was fallow for at least 3 mos. I kept the tank cycled through the addition of small amounts food. Within several days it developed these lesions, but kept eating etc. I treated with hyposalinity 1.009 to no avail.
<Didn't work for me, either - but others swear by it>
-- I added Chloroquine Phosphate at 20mg/ gallon to no avail. Is this marine crypt or a fungal infection ?
<That looks Cryptocaryon irritans to me. I personally would be breaking out the copper and the test kits and dosing/testing/water changing 7 times a day and wondering why I just didn't get a dog instead.>


Re: Cupramine as a preventative   9/6/2010
Thanks so much....many different ways to do the right thing here. That is what you call "demystifying" a process.
<I'd like to think that. The problem is that sometimes, when we seek an answer, we just want an answer, yanno? When I started and had my second Crypt outbreak, I'd just lost two beautiful Blue Tangs from the first go around. When I wrote in for help, what I hoped for was for someone to tell me WHAT TO DO … not regale me with what 16 other people did in 16 other situations on other days during other conditions.>
<It's like the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy asked directions on the Yellow Brick Road -- two answers is not always more useable than one answer. The line between demystifying the process and muddying the waters can be a fine one>
I broke out the copper too and we will see what happens. The things that all agree on are the following :
(1) Water changes are key, and you really can't do enough of this as long as water replaced has same parameters as the water going in and
<Agreed. In addition to helping to remove the cysts in the tomont stage of the Cryptocaryon, water changes remove waste products that are toxic to the sick fish at a time when every tiny advantage counts!>
<For maximum benefit, siphon the old water through a small tube, sweeping floor completely and then the sides as well. This increases the chances that you're sucking out the crypt tomonts.>
(2) Whatever it takes , keep the fish eating
From there it is what you believe in. All animals are different and some adapt better to captivity than others. I have seen the "peaceful" become aggressive and visa versa.
<Yes - and many animals have different tolerances. Copper of course, is not for everyone. Many fish would benefit from a slight drop in salinity, since it means they have to expend less energy excreting salt -- but that would mean keeping two different "mixes" available in the house (main tank plus QT tank) and that may have the effect of debilitating the KEEPER … who needs to be pretty much focused 24/7 on Copper testing and levels, so here we begin those trade-offs again>
Darrell, your answers have been honest and accurate and diverse, but very easy to understand. I cannot tell 'you how much this hobby benefits from your approach because it is practical.
<I appreciate your kind words, James>
After all when it comes down to it some fish regardless of species are better suited to captivity than others and that is what I call the genetics or the " temperament "'wild card in this hobby. I currently have a 240 G tank where a Heniochus butterfly and Foxface lo who after 6 years of being the bottom of the pecking order are trying to be dominant amongst a large tang and an " aggressive" large angel. WHO would even predict that, but that is the way it goes. Not what you read about but the way it goes, sometimes. So the answer is, regardless of what we know, the ANIMALS ARE ALWAYS RIGHT.
<Always right and, unfortunately, not able to tell us where it hurts>

Cupramine, use, effect on biofiltration     7/2/10
Hey Crew
<Hello Jimmy>
I have gotten conflicting reports on this issue: Will Cupramine have a detrimental effect on the nitrogen cycle of a tank.
<Yes, to an extent, depending on the concentration used>
I called Seachem and they say no, but they do say that the amine moiety <RMF corrected spelling>
<?what is this word?>
on the copper will cause false high readings from ammonia test kits.
<Try using a salicylate kit – one with a yellow/ green test strip. I find the API kit for this to be excellent>
I know that prophylactic copper treatments are not usually recommended if a fish is otherwise healthy.
<Agreed. Try Chloroquine phosphate http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quinmedfaqs.htm>
I have had a closed disease system for many years and am thinking of adding a fish to the system to replace a 13 year old Foxface that has moved on. It took much effort to get my system disease free when I started, and of course, I am going to quarantine. I plan on at least a 6 -8 week quarantine.
<Mmm, too long IMO. 2-3 weeks for fishes is usually adequate. 3 if using CP>
If no visible signs of disease are present is that an adequate indicator that I will not be introducing trouble into the system?
<Usually, yes. Although even when treating prophylactically there are no guarantees. If healthy, and introduced to a stress free and healthy system afterwards most problems are avoided>
Somewhat unrelated question: How often is it acceptable to siphon the gravel (i.e. gravel wash) in a marine tank that uses aragonite substrate? I usually do very small water changes ( 5 gal ) every other day on my 180G FOWLR with great success, takes all of 10 minutes and the system looks great for years. Amazing how this approach has yielded better results than a single 50g water change once a month.
<If you are using gravel, then regular siphoning is required. If using fine sand, then periodic siphoning is fine, and some people never siphon their sand at all! If you have problems with BGA on your sand then it needs to be siphoned off and usually through as well until the problem is resolved. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsubstr.htm >
<No worries>

Re: Cupramine   7/5/10
I restocked my fish pharmacy and bought some Chloroquine Phosphate. As a physician, I am lucky that I have access to just about any meds that I need for my hobby.
<This is lucky.. is it allowed??>
Though I rarely need to treat fish, I try to keep some meds on hand for this purpose. Costs a little bit of money, but well worth it IMO. I am a bit unclear if the Chloroquine phosphate is going to ding my nitrogen cycle.
<If used with a mature filter then you should be ok. I have found it difficult to establish a filter with the med present though, even while using the bottled bacteria products, so I assume that there must be some ‘knockback’ effect, although small. I recommend that your treatment tank is well cycled before treating>
I have read the posts and this is alluded to but I have not seen it fully addressed.
<Probably because it has not been>
Are you believer that hyposalinity (1.009) works for crypt?
<This is a method that ‘can’ work, but it is not the panacea that some like to think>
I know that the fish-keeping community is a bit divided on this issue. There are LFS around here that use it and say that their losses have decreased dramatically since.
<I can believe this, but what works for someone who is ‘going by the numbers’ is not necessarily the way to go for the hobbyist. Have you read on WWM re?>
I have used it in the past with mixed result, but some swear by it, and others swear at it if it does not work!
<This is because many people, including me, have seen first hand that it does not always work. It is a way of reducing numbers, prevalence, of parasites, but not necessarily eliminating them altogether. I think Goemans & Ichinotsubo recommend using Hypo with the Chloroquine. I have not tried this, but I would think that it is very effective. Noga recommends 10mg/L with only one dose, but monitored for 21 days and a re-dose if necessary. Perhaps you should look into purchasing his book ‘Fish Disease, Diagnosis, Treatment’. I re-dose with a water change (saltwater) once a week by the way.>
By the way, a "moiety" is a word frequently used in chemistry and means " to be a part of something." So the -amine moiety of Cupramine resembles ammonia and yields false positive tests with some test kits.
<Ahhh! Every day is a school day!>
Simon, you have been great!
<It’s a pleasure to be of help>
Amazing this hobby of fishkeeping, no matter how good we think we are, ALWAYS room for improvement, and very very rewarding when successful!
<Oh yes.. with so much that is not understood there is always something to learn>

Ich: Dosing main tank again. 2/3/2010
Hey Crew,
<Hi again Aaron.>
Well I'm back with more questions. Again, I have ich in my system.
<I remember. I seem to recall you were going to set up a FW Ray system as well.>
I am treating in my display with Cupramine.
<We've been over this before. Treating the main tank is a very bad idea unless you are treating with quinine. Copper is only going to kill the free swimming stages of the parasite.>
I know, not the best idea. I just don't have the ability to set up a big enough quarantine. I have taken all my rock out but I do still have substrate in the tank. I have been treating for about three weeks now and this darn ich is not going away. My substrate at first had absorbed some of the copper so it was a battle to keep the levels where they should be.
<Typical, which is why it is recommended to treat in a bare bottomed tank.>
For the last week to week and a half they measure within range. Could this be a resistant strain? Have my levels not been therapeutic long enough?
<If you are treating the main tank with copper, yes, it can take weeks http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm >
All of my fish are eating good and for the most part acting normal. Every other time I have used Cupramine it has cleared it up in no time.
<It cleared up on the fish, the parasite is still in your tank.>
Just don't get it? I was thinking possibly another parasite of some sort.
But wouldn't the Cupramine eradicate it as well? I have a few copper sensitive fish in the tank and don't want to expose them any more than I have to. Without the possibility of quarantine what would you guys say is my best attack method?
<Again, quinine....http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quinmedfaqs.htm >
Thank you again for your expert advice on this. Without a lfs in the area with a knowledgeable staff I have nowhere else to turn.

Re: Ich: Dosing main tank again. 2/4/2010
Thanks. Much appreciated. I will try the quinine.
Just so I understand. If I treat with quinine and never add anymore fish my ich dilemma should never come back?
<With good care of the tank, yes. To be clear, I said for all intents and purposes. NO tank is ich free. My tank has it, as does everyone else that has a SW tank. The trick is to keep the parasite levels down to a level
where it isn't an issue. With good water quality and good health, the fish do not get weakened\compromised immune systems, and thus do not catch ich>
I would be happy with that at this point. As my fish grow my tank will become way undersized anyways.
<So you will have nice happy, and unstressed fish.>
So I will order the quinine and in the meantime start pulling the copper out of my tank? Can I then start the quinine treatment as soon as the copper is removed?
<In your case, I would order the quinine, and stop dosing with copper. I would then do a large water change before dosing the quinine. After you have completed the quinine treatment, and done the large water changes
needed for that, I would run both carbon and Polyfilters in your tank for a few months to soak up the copper that will leech out of the substrate.>
Re: re: Ich: Dosing main tank again. 2/4/2010
<Hi Aaron.>
I guess that is the biggest debate among saltwater hobbyists. Some say it is possible to rid tank completely and others say it is not.
<I'm on the side of it isn't possible.>
I was thinking of only keeping my Stars and Stripes Puffer. He is getting quite large. With only him in the tank it should be pretty stress free and easier to keep parameters in check. Will a good uv sterilizer help the matter at all?
<I'm personally not a fan of them>
I know it only kills free swimming stage but that is better than nothing.
One last question. Have you heard of the Reaction four stage canister with 7 watt uv? If so, would this in your opinion be a waste of money?
<Never seen one, but found it on Google. Those look a lot like the Via-Aqua filters. I had one - for about 2 hours. I never actually ran water through it, it was that unimpressive.>
I was thinking of getting one but I would assume a uv and canister combo would not go well together as the flow rate would be too much for the uv to work

01/02/2010 Copper treatments, Cupramine actually – 02/02/10
Hi Crew,
<Hi Ross>
First, thank you for the diligent efforts all of you contribute to hobbyists and the aquarium world in general. I have been lurking on WWM and attempting to absorb information for about a year now. What a great site!
<It’s a marvelous thing indeed>
The display tank:
- 72gal bow set up on 10 Jan 2009. 2-3in aragonite substrate (danger zone eh?). 70lb live rock.
- pH = 8.3
- Ca = 420 mg/l
- NH3 = negl.
- NO3 = negl.
- NO2 = negl. (have tried several test kits and all of them only show trace amounts - is this normal?)
<No – this should be zero at all times>
- Alk = 5.6 dKH (working on this with SeaChem Reef Builder - probably worth another email re my questions on alkalinity - more reading first )
<Yes – not a difficult thing to maintain>
- T = 78-82F depending upon time of day
- S.G. = 1.024 (hydrometer)
<Would raise this a notch>
- Aqua C Remora skimmer
- Coralife 48" HQI/PC light
- 20x turns water flow total
- Fluval external canister filter with Chemi Pure
- weekly 10gal water change with RO water buffered with SeaChem Reef Buffer
<Good routine>
Inhabitants (prior to C. irritans):
<Oh dear, not another one..>
- Chromis viridis (7 @ <1in each)
- Zebrasoma flavescens (1 @ 2in each)
- Ctenochaetus strigosus (1 @ 4in)
- Pterapogon kauderni (1 @ 2.5in)
- Amphiprion ocellaris (2 @ 2in each)
- Centropyge bispinosus (1 @ 3in)
- T. maxima (about 4in and growing fast! - probably the source of the alkalinity problem )
- Stenopus hispidus (1ea)
- Lysmata debelius (1ea)
- Lysmata wurdemanni (1ea)
- Mithrax forceps (1ea - hitchhiker)
- various Zoanthids, Rhodactis, Caulastrea furcata, Euphyllia glabrescens, Seriatopora caliendrum
The system has been running and stable for over a year now. In fact, the pigmy angel was the first fish added (dumb rookie mistake, but it worked out). All of the drama began about 3 weeks ago with the addition of the yellow tang, and complacency on my part. QT has been a standard practice for me, but I skipped it on the tang.
You guessed it... Crypt!
So, mixed up new salt water and set up a 30gal hospital tank.
<Too small>
Pulled the spare filter media <inert I hope> that I keep in the canister on the display tank and got the Aquaclear running. Dosed Cupramine to trace levels and added an airstone.
<Ok, but with this product you will have to test twice daily as it tends to ‘disappear’ in the first week>
Brought the whole mess up to temp and tested the water . pH = 8.3, S.G. = 1.024, T = 78F, NH3 = 0,
<Good, but you will need a test kit with Salicylate (green & yellow test strips) as the reagent here, not Nessler's>
Cu = trace. This took about a day and half. Removed all fish from the DT and added them to the HT.
<Hmmm, IMO this QT tank is too small for all of these fishes>
Elevated Cu to .25 - .30 mg/l. This was 3 days ago. Daily testing of pH, NH3, Temp, and Cu.
<Yes, but twice daily for Cu as stated is required>
Now for the questions (thank you for tolerating the rambling above):
<No problem>
What mortality levels can I expect from C. irritans and treatment using Cupramine?
<Depends on the fish, but in your QT tank? High.>
I have already lost the pygmy angel
<Yes, very sensitive to copper treatment – commonly do not last longer than a few days> and 1 Chromis (the latter probably from the stress of moving - had to chase that guy down to get it out of the DT). I have read that Centropyge spp. are sensitive to Cu, but at these low levels?
<Yes they are>
Are my other fish going to kick the bucket on these levels of Cu? Is this concentration even therapeutic for C. irritans?
<Yes. 0.15ppm w/ Cupramine is the minimum level for Crypt>.
The Cupramine instructions indicate a target concentration of 0.5mg/l, but I have read on WWM that .25-.30 is probably more appropriate.
<0.25ppm is the level I used successfully, and the level I would go for>.
This raises a couple of issues in my mind. Does the "sequestration" of the Cu++ ions in the Cupramine product prevent accurate test readings?
<Arghhh!! I am no chemist, but when I tried to discover whether Cupramine was chelated or not (to decide which test kit to use) I came up against a whole load of confusion. Seachem state that it is NOT chelated, but my understanding kept telling me that it was.
<<It is. RMF>>
Either way, the product is notoriously difficult to test for with the several shades of blue being virtually indistinguishable from each other>.
I am using the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals test kit which claims to test for free and chelated Cu.
<A sensible choice for that reason but not the brand I would use here. Salifert was the one I found to work the best>.
According to API's MSDS the reagents are EDTA and sodium diethyldithiocarbamate. Don't even know where to start to find whether these are appropriate reagents for testing the Cupramine concentration, and I am reluctant to trust the generic information on a product web site, particularly in view of their profit motive.
<Mmmm, and Seachem's test kits for copper showed up as zero on every kit I tried. I returned them all, it was a waste of time>.
Finally, thanks again for the work that you all put in. Gratis even. Pro bono. It is appreciated.
<No problem Ross. If it were me I would forgo trying to understand the chemistry here (or ask Bob directly as he understands this stuff better) and plump for just over 0.25ppm on a Salifert test kit>.

Ich Competition -- 01/05/2010
Hey guys, I wanted to get your opinion real quick.
<Sure! JustinN here to provide!>
I have ich in my FOWLR display tank that only gets bad at night when the lights are off (when fish are on the sand bed sleeping).
When I turn the light on upon waking in the morning, they're covered in ich but during the day that only have a few spots...I assume the UV is helping with that.
<Likely to some extent, but only marginally.>
What do you think about removing the sand bed a little at a time?
<For what purpose? I would not.>
Seems the UV is taking care of most in the water so if I take out the sand bed and leave a bare bottom, will that help?
<No -- the ich do not live in the sand, nor the water column -- they are an obligate skin parasite, and require a fish-host to survive. As long as the fish are untreated, they will remain regardless of your maintenance routines.>
And as a second resort, how do you feel about treating with Cupramine in the display tank (since Cupramine is a softer/less harsh form of copper)?
I have no inverts and no corals.
<Regardless of having corals or inverts in the tank, treating with copper or Cupramine will still be a huge hit on your beneficial bacterial colonies... Chances of re-starting the Nitrogen cycle is very high if this is done. If you are diligent on treatment, and have no desire to move to add inverts or corals later, a treatment can be done in the display, but it is my personal opinion that treating a display should only be done as an absolute last resort.>
Thanks guys
<Glad to help. Good luck! -JustinN>

Ich, copper and DT    7/24/08
<Hi there>
I was wondering if you could offer some advice in regards to my ich problem. I have a 150gal FOWLR display tank and a 40gal QT. Unfortunately the fish I have are too many and too large to be able to treat in my QT. So after doing some research I came to the conclusion that the best course of action is to remove the LR from the DT, put it in a large container with salt water, heater and powerhead, remove all my inverts and place them in my separate fuge, then treat the DT and fish with copper.
<... a very poor idea>
What do you think? Would you advise this?
<No and no>
The DT would have only the fish and 1" live sand.
<... the copper won't stay in solution, and you'll be killing most all in the LS>
There would be no inverts or LR at all.
I plan to treat using Cupramine.
<A good product I'll warrant, but won't work here>
How long should I treat the tank?
<I wouldn't... you'll find that you are unable to "keep" a therapeutic dose of copper in such a setting... too quickly adsorbed...>
Would 3 weeks get rid of the ich on the fish and the DT? The live rock, I would leave in the separate container for 6 weeks and I would leave the fuge disconnected from the main sump also for 6 weeks.
Thank you for any help you can provide.
<Happy to banter with you... If you're set on trying a cure in the main set-up, I'd look into (and quickly) the use of Chloroquine phosphate... the search tool, on WWM, the Net... Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich, copper and DT   7/24/08
Thank you for the quick reply.
<Deemed necessary... as is this resp. here>
So the copper treatment would be ineffective because the copper would be absorbed by the live sand and keeping the correct concentration would be difficult?
Would I be able to keep the correct concentration if I test the copper level daily and add as necessary?
<No... have tried this... with many gallons of Cupramine... in commercial settings... over decades of time... You don't have to repeat my lack of success. Won't work>
Would hyposalinity work better in this case? Maybe keep the display tank and fish in hypo for 4 weeks.
<... sorry to state, I don't have time to re-write all of this... IS posted on WWM, in books, articles penned by me...>
I understand the live sand would die in both cases. But with hyposalinity, it would re-populate once the live rock is added back to the tank. Plus I would be able to return the inverts once the treatment is over. Something I can't do if using copper.
Thank you for the suggestion of using Chloroquine phosphate. I will research it on the net and WWM.
<I would... and quickly. BobF>

If I use a chelated copper treatment will it kill off or reduce my biological filter.  2/10/08
<Not if used properly. Cheers, Neale.>
<<Mmmm, actually... usually does in actual practice. I'd be ready, prepare for ameliorative action. RMF>>

Re: Ich, Hypo, Copper, Moray, Formalin, Steven Pro request - 1/24/08
Hi Bob,
I have purchased the second Salifert test and it shows exactly the same colours as the first, so I am confident that this test is reliable, just extremely difficult to read and not very accurate.
<I concur>
It is certainly not accurate enough for use with Cupramine as when I add an extra dose to the test the colour difference is negligible at best.
I will keep a close eye on the over the next week and if I think they are ok I'll stretch to Wednesday before I put them in. This is because I removed the media from the canisters on Tuesday, and I feel more confident that the copper level would have been maintained without the media there, so 8 days from Tuesday is Wednesday.
<Okay... do know though that even "simple" reaction with components of the water do precipitate the copper...>
I think I will have to go for a more accurate, and therefore expensive I suppose, method of testing this next time as you suggest.
Thank you for your advice, I did enjoy the worms on that coral!
Simon, England
<Cheers, BobF>

Canthigaster valentini with Crypt – 01/02/2008
I have a Valentini Puffer fish that has ich and has had it for about 2 weeks. He's doing fine, been eating well and looking healthy other than the white spots. I first tried soaking all his food in garlic and Zoë and then went about using some organic rid ich med (because it was more an organic deal and not a med). The tank he's in is a FOWLR tank and some of the live rock was more base rock then anything. I decided to use CopperSafe in the DT tank (don't kill me)
<I won’t, but just can tell you that quarantine tanks are much more efficient.>
and have a chelated copper test kit for API to watch closely. After looking all over the web, it seems that I should keep this particular brand copper at about 1.4-2ppm. I have kept it about 1.5 or so as I'm worried about using copper with this puffer as it is.
<Should be okay. This is a chelated product (those chelated molecules are heavier than ionic copper) that aside of copper consist of other chemicals. Therefore the necessary level is high compared to ionic copper recommendations. The good thing with chelated products is that they release the copper over time. However, substrate and rock will influence the copper efficiency, one reason why all copper products should only be used in quarantine tanks.>
I think that CopperSafe is the least toxic copper treatment out there. This morning he puffed up for the first time when no other fish was around or messing with him. I've heard that this is normal but that it might also be stress. What should be my next steps? Thanks.
<Monitor with your chelated copper test kit, keep the level, and also check your ammonia level daily. Read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and the linked FAQs to learn about the life cycle of the parasite. Keep the copper level for at least 7-10 days. After that time and if the spots disappear use activated carbon to remove the copper from the system. Change the carbon every 14 days. If the spots come back in a new cycle use a quarantine tank without rocks and substrate for treatment. Cheers und good luck, Marco.>

Re: Ick in a saltwater aquarium, Treatment 11/20/07
Hi, I just wanted to say thank you Chris for helping me with my ick problem.
I was looking in a pet store for a copper product and all I could fine was chelated copper sulfate, but it seems to be working, her ick is almost gone and I only put it in 2 days ago.
<Not really gone yet, just cycled off. The copper only treats the stage at which the parasites are free swimming looking for a new host, so you may see more signs of ich until it all cycles off and into the stage where the copper can effect it.>
Again I just wanted to say thank you, as you were the only one I talked to that actually knew what they were doing.
<Sometimes I get lucky.>
Thanks again

Copper treatment and Ammonia dilution; Galaxea problem – 07/16/07
Hi Crew, <Hi.>
I am treating my fish for ick with a product called CopperSafe <good>. My clown goby that looked real bad has cleared up and is eating, my spotted cardinal did not seem to have it, but he stopped eating, but now is eating and my royal Gramma had it, but did not seem too bad, but he died. I tested the water for ammonia and it is at least 1.
<Yikes, I hope you are treating your fish in a tank without live rock/sand and invertebrates. CopperSafe is a chelated copper product. While easier to handle than ionic copper, it is still best to monitor the chelated copper level with an adequate test kit.>
I am using a product called AmmoLock for ammonia and the fish seem ok. I am also making a 30% water change. Should I make more drastic water changes?
<Not a fan of this and similar products in that case. While it may not hurt, I’d rather rely on large water changes to keep the ammonia down and additionally remove free stages of the parasites. Be sure to measure ammonia at least daily and act accordingly.>
I got a Galaxea, see pictures (550 is current and 531 is as it was 2 weeks ago) and it is not doing well. It is in a 10 gallon with 65w pc. Does it need special feeding or more light?
<<Pix not saved. RMF>>
<Ensure the water quality is good at any time. Nitrates can be around 5, but temperature, salinity and pH should not change too much. Your lighting should be sufficient, but the small water volume might go through severe daily changes. Check that. Try feeding it just like other LPS corals. Give it some time. If its condition does not improve, it might do better in another tank. Beware this coral is quite aggressive and can sting animals almost one foot away. See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/oculinidae.htm and the linked FAQs.>
I cannot find much info about it. I got it as a package deal and had no choice. I also got a very large Fungia but gave it away. Should I do the same for the Galaxea?
<Welcome and good luck with your treatment. Marco.>

Ich! The high price of not deciding  4/18/07
<Hail and Hello!>
I have read exhaustively about ich and its treatment, but my situation has compelled me to seek your help.  It seems that the more I read, the more uncertain I become about how to treat.  I am aware that I need to remove all fish and let the tank lie fallow for 4-6 weeks, however, it's the method of treatment that is causing me grief.  
First the inhabitants:  Regal Tang, Coral Beauty Angel, Six Line Wrasse, Ocellaris Clown, Banggai Cardinal, Lyretail Anthias, Sailfin Tang, six Blue Green Chromis, and until I killed it, a Kole Tang.  These are all housed in a 180 gallon tank, with ideal water parameters.  I first noticed the ich a couple of weeks ago.  I read one of the FAQ's that mentioned that the microbubbles from a skimmer can sometimes attach to fish and give the appearance of ich, so I turned it off and it seemed to go away.  Well, I was wrong and discovered (by reading) that ich is cyclical and won't always show up.  Anyway, having only a six gallon quarantine, I scrambled to get a 20 gallon set up and used display tank water to fill it.
<Mmm, I would have used all new (pre-made, stored) water and dipped/bathed all the fishes enroute from the main tank to the treatment one>
I used a filter pad and some gravel in a mesh bag from the display for bio filtration.
<... you're contaminating the new system...>
I let this run for two days, which I would have preferred to be longer, but my Kole Tang was going downhill fast and beginning to have labored breathing.  I dosed my 20 gallon with half of the recommended amount of Coppersafe
<... has to be at sufficient dosage... by testing...>
and verified that all water parameters matched the main tank exactly, including the temperature.  I put the tang in and he was dead within two hours.  Perhaps it was too far gone and the stress of the move did him in, but when I pulled him out he was discolored with large brown spots.  Did I use too much copper?
<How much cupric ion was present?>
  My Regal seems to be next on the critical list.  It has cloudy eyes with a few white spots, looks very emaciated and has been less active.  It does eat a little, but its body appears to be somewhat wrinkled and distorted.
<Mmm... might not be Cryptocaryon...>
Needless to say, I'm very reluctant to put any other fish in the QT.
<... Not a quarantine tank (too late for that...), but a treatment system... All fishes need (must need) be treated... or you might consider defaulting to having/keeping your main tank as infested... seek some sort of balance here...>
I do have a copper test kit and will monitor the level closely,
but the issue is the disparate opinions regarding the treatment of the livestock in my tank.
<... You've got to decide, as in "nothing is decided until it's done" what your course of action is going to be... Do you see/realize the blame game you're playing here? Settle on the facts... not errant, disparate opinions... this is a matter of science, not hodge podge opinions... Perhaps a cursory review of Ed Noga's "Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment"... and soon...>
Copper seems to be the preferred method of treatment, but it's hard on tangs (as I discovered firsthand), dwarf angels and clowns.  I can't discern whether I should not use it for the angel and clown at all or just monitor carefully and hope for the best.  Again, I have two tanks and could treat with separate chemicals in each, but my experience thus far seems to be paralyzing my decision making ability.  
<... my friend... I have invested years of my life relating what works, what is fallacy re the topic of fish pathology... Read what is posted: http://wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm
and the linked files above>
My apologies if the answers to my questions lie somewhere in the hundreds of articles and postings, but I have tried to perform due diligence in my reading and still can't be sure of what to do.  I hope that you can help me out.
Lloyd H.
<Bob Fenner>

Treatment of Marine Ich- Which Option Is Best?  4/4/07
Dear Crew,
<Scott F. your Crew member tonight!>
I love the site, and I've learned a great deal from it. I think I've read all the articles and FAQ's on your site regarding ich, formalin, and copper, but I still have some questions. I purchased a Flame Dwarf Angel and a Banggai Cardinal a week ago and put them in a 15 gallon QT. Within a few days, the Flame Angel developed ich.
<Sorry to hear that- but it's great that you embraced a quarantine procedure! As bad as it sounds, it's better to have the fish come down with an illness in the quarantine tank than in your display system.>
I read on your site that flame angels are sensitive to both copper and formalin, but thought the formalin would be the better way to go.
<According to most people, it is. I personally have always used chelated copper remedies with good results in Centropyge Angelfishes. You MUST follow the manufacturer's recommendations for dosage and duration to the letter, and be sure to test the copper levels daily to assure that you are maintaining a correct therapeutic dose. Yes, Centropyge can be sensitive to copper, so I guess I cannot say that I "recommend" it for everyone. However, it has been, and will continue to be my remedy of choice for treatment of Cryptocaryon.>
I put my first dose of formalin in the QT Sunday, and by Monday night, the flame angel was dead (not a good day).
<Sorry to hear that. One of the reasons I like copper is that you can actually test for the concentration, to make sure that you're not overdosing. Nonetheless, many hobbyists use formalin-based products for their treatment of this illness with good results.>
With the Flame Angel gone, am I better switching to non-chelated copper with a copper test, or should I continue with the formalin? It sound like copper may be more effective.
<Well, you saw my thoughts! I'd stick it out with copper, myself, as outlined above.>
Also, I am curing live rock and inadvertently rinse off the live
rock in a bucket I had been using for water changes for the QT tank. Do I most likely have ich on my live rock now? And if so, do I need to leave it fallow in my curing tub for another 6 - 8 weeks like I would need to do for a display tank?
<A good thought on your part! I would definitely keep it in a separate holding container for the period that you mention. You just have to assume that the rock may be hosting a stage of the causative protozoa, and as such, it's too risky to place it in your display tank yet.>
Thanks for your help.
<Glad to be of service! Keep up with your excellent observations and intuitive thinking! It will serve you well in this hobby!>
P.S. I love CMA, but it is starting to get somewhat dated. Does Bob have any plans of coming out with a second edition? I know I would buy it! <<Thank you for this prompting... Have sent your note to James Lawrence/Microcosm... we never even got the "Reef" version of this work into print! Bob Fenner>>
Darren White
Downingtown, PA
<Well...whaddya think, Bob? Regards, Scott F.>

Re: Clown ok? Chelated copper... what it be  03/26/07
Photo attached as you requested.
<Thank you>
I've been surfing through your site, reading other posts. Found the link to posts with the correct way to treat fish. However, I still find the site to be a bit confusing.
<I as well... is a (well, for me) monumental task to organize, make this tool more useful/service-able as it unfolds... If you have input re how this resource might be next, better structured, please do speak up>
Or is it maybe products & cures that confuse me.
<This is assuredly another area of morass... But not due to you or I's lack of diligence... There is exceedingly little science to much of the products sold as "medications" in the ornamental aquatics field... Nowhere are folks made to prove the efficacy of their products, conduct trials for effectiveness. Much of what is sold is outright flim flam>
I found and printed your articles Would you please clarify a few things?
<Will gladly try>
1. Velvet and ich are treated by copper.
<Mmm, much more the latter, though, yes, both are treated by such>
I have CopperSafe. The dosage it says to put in the water raises copper levels to about 2.0 PPM.
<Yes... this is a chelated product... the active ingredient, the actual cupric ion (Cu++) is liganded/sequestered... temporarily "tied to" another molecule... enabling it to stay in solution longer... Akin to the "tiny time capsules" in some analgesics... to deliver said Copper/Cupric ion over a longer period of time than if the simple ion were applied... Not knowing you at all I am not able to proffer much of a relation... How about the "stabilizer", "conditioner" of swimming pools/spas? Tri-Isocyanuric acid? It serves operationally the same function as the chelation here... keeping chlorine in solution over a longer period of time to keep the water microbe and algal free... Does this make sense?>
However, it looks like the recommendation for saltwater is about 0.15 PPM (which is not in the CopperSafe directions).
<This is also correct, and equivalent... the first is the "total" copper if you will (as if all the chelation were removed) and the last is the minimum "free" copper (the cupric ion concentration). Understood?>
Clownfish do not tolerate copper well.
<Correct... as a matter of wanting to be complete... or more so in these statements, all fishes have a sliding range of toxic response to copper... as individuals... per their present health, other environmental factors... Okay?>
I only discovered this after dosing the Clown in the quarantine tank following the CopperSafe directions. That was yesterday (3/25) before lunch time. Copper levels were measuring at .25 PPM with my Aquarium Pharmaceuticals test kit. The clownfish wasn't eating and I assumed it was the higher copper levels. Did a partial (about 1-2 gal) water change. Re-measured today. Still registering around .25, so I did about a 50% change (4-5 gal). However, the test kit doesn't go below .25 PPM.
<... I would look into having/using another test kit here... One made to test for chelated copper... and test/maintain the sequestered strength at the 2.0 ppm mark (as well)... Wakarimas?>
How much copper should I be dosing the fish with exactly?
<Per the tests... chelated and/or free... Comprendes?>
Is there another product on the market that is designed specifically for saltwater fish and not so potent as Coppersafe?
<Mmm, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cryptchelcucures.htm
All the chelated brands are fine... I have used all...>
2. I picked up on the issue of substrate harboring the protozoans from ich or velvet. I had a small amount of substrate in the tank to help with bacteria. Removed this. Now there's bare bottom with a fine film of dust and broken down food particles. Will this still harbor the disease?
<Mmm, can, yes... the copper/cupric ion is really only able to kill the free-swimming stage/s... And the copper does aid in making the fish hosts slough off the attached phase/s... along with elevated temp.... to speed up the development... but siphoning out the bottom, even moving affected fishes is warranted>
The clownfish is swimming in circles looking at the bottom of the tank. Is this normal behavior in a glass bottom tank? He still is not eating.
<Is to be expected...>
3. For the whole 3 weeks that I had the clown in quarantine, he ate fine and showed no signs of disease. I was running the quarantine at low salinity, 1.012. I ONLY noticed the "dust and dots" on him when I pulled him from quarantine and started acclimating him to the display tank water, which is at 1.022. Is it possible that the film on the fish is from his slime coat reacting to the salinity change, rather than ich or velvet?
<Not likely, no... The appearance is almost 100% confirmed... However... the only way to be absolutely sure... Microscopic examination...>
I only see it on him now when I look at him up close, it is that fine of a texture. If this disease acts ad fast as I understand it does, shouldn't he be dead by now?
<Usually yes... the Copper may have reduced the virulence, population...>
It is at least 2 days total that the disease was manifesting itself on him.
He was 3 weeks in quarantine. Something doesn't make sense to me with the time frame. He was the only fish in quarantine, no others were introduced.
<... Perhaps the reservoir host, situation is in the main system>
4. I also found your information on doing a fresh water dip. Tried this on the clown yesterday and he did not tolerate this at all.
<Clowns, fishes that live in close association with invertebrates are frequently intolerant of the same sorts of exposures>
As soon as a I put him in the water he was moving about and trying to jump out. As soon as he floated on the bottom of the bucket, I scooped him out & put him back in the quarantine tank.
The spots have not grown on the clown and may have diminished a bit, but again the lighting in the quarantine isn't as bright as the display tank. I put different lights on it and can see better though.
My apologies for going on about this. It has been on my mind constantly since Saturday night and I've been reading as much as I can.
Any other suggestions you may have are appreciated. At this point, I know I have to treat the fish and run the quarantine tank. The only way I've gathered to do this is with copper and freshwater dips as needed. Do I have this correct?
<I would treat all fishes outside the main tank... allow it to run w/o fish hosts for at least a month... Do please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amylloodiniumart.htm
and consider seeking out the anti-malarial listed... If this is Velvet/Amyloodinium, this compound will be your best shot at an actual cure. Bob Fenner>

Copper  - 04/27/06
Dear Mr. Bob Fenner
Thanks a lot on the last reply. I need a bit more of your valuable help. Do you think that my tank’s beneficial bacteria will adapt to chelated copper and grow over time even though copper is still in the tank?
<Can to some extent, yes>
And also is chelated copper effective to treat a tank because some people say that ionic copper is better?
<Is actually only ionic copper that is much use here. The chelating/sequestering is valuable to keep a ready dosage in solution... put another way, the use of a chelate allows one to place a much larger, slowly-de-chelating concentration in place...>
Why? It’s pretty hard to find a good test kit for chelated copper. Do you know of any good brand that’ll do the job because Seachem test kit didn’t work at all?
<There are several... see/use the Net re>
From the day that I got my Bannerfish it only eats dried worms and the LFS said it’s not that nutritious. I heard that Vitamin C is really good for fish so is it alright if I dip dried worms in Vitamin C and feed it?
<Mmm, marine fishes drink appreciable amounts of their environment... and there are ancillary benefits of adding vitamins directly to the water... This is what I would do here>
Also I got a Vitamin C liquid from a Pharmacy and this certain brand is for little children. Its pure Vitamin C. Do you think it’ll be good for fish? Best regards.
<All Vitamin C molecules are identical, of use>
<Bob Fenner>

Copper Treatment  2/19/07
Dear Mr. Fenner/James
I purchased a 3” Auriga Butterfly from the LFS yesterday and it’s in my 20G QT now. I have dropped my Gravity to 1.015. Is this gravity suitable to treat the Auriga? The butterfly has not shown any ill effects up to now (tap on wood) but I have not fed him yet.
<Personally, I wouldn't go much below 1.018.>
I also want to treat this QT with chelated copper. This is the only type of copper available at the store. Do you think chelated copper is effective???
<Is effective but not easy to control.  The dosage rate is usually related to tank volume, and if this volume is misjudged, the treatment can be ineffective or dangerously high.
As for butterflies, they have a heightened sensitivity to copper, and long-term use can suppress their immune system making the fish more susceptible to other pathogens, kind of like throwing gas on the fire.  Anyway, I like to use non-chelated copper.  It generally has a half life of about 12 hours, so if the dose was slightly high, it would lower in a short time.  When using non-chelated, it is very important to monitor the level at least twice a day to insure an effective treatment level.  As for butterflies, I'd start with a half dose.  If it were me, I'd order non-chelated copper from your nearest
etailer and overnight it.  Shouldn't cost that much shipping-wise for a small item like that.>
My test kit says it measures Cu+2 what does this +2 mean? The range they have mentioned is 0.25 mg/l to 2.5 mg/l. What is the correct concentration I have to use to treat the QT fish???
<Bob, correct me if I'm wrong, but the Cu2+ is the chelated form. <<Mmm, no... there is another molecule tied/liganded to this. Copper sulfate (pentahydrate before dissolution in water... sometimes with addition of citric acid, other solubilizers... CuSO4, is a common formulation... this "breaks down" in basic (high pH) solutions... to yield the cupric ion (Cu++). RMF>> Cu+ would be the non-chelated which also forms a blue, blue/green coloration when mixed with a small amount of water.  So, based on your info, your test kit is measuring chelated copper. <<Mmm... well... chelated copper "breaks down" to be the same ionic copper (Cu++)... over time... per design... neither looks blue unless in high concentration. RMF>> As for dosing,  chelated would be 0.2ppm and ionic, 0.15-0.20 ppm. When using chelated, and treating by water volume, these levels will generally exceed 0.20ppm.>
One last thing, how many times during this 2-week period should I change water and what percentage should I change. FYI I use natural seawater so should I do it frequently?
<I wouldn't do this unless ammonia is detected.  You must also monitor this during treatment. Two-week period?  Treatment should last at least 21 days to ensure the kill of hatching (hatching doesn't sound right??)  cysts, as copper is ineffective to them until then.  Do use any chemical filtration during treatment, as it will absorb the copper from the water.>
Hope to hear from you guys soon and thanks in advance for any advice.
<You're welcome, James (Salty Dog)>
Take care,
Best regards,

Copper stuff from Bob Goeman's
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2005
Hi Bob
Thanks for copying me and "dated" might be a good way to put my thoughts on the use of chelated copper.  However, what bothers me the most about its use is that without a test kit specifically made to test for the ˜brand" chelated copper being used, the average hobbyist is at peril, or more precisely, his wet pets that are being treated are at peril.
<Yes... trouble enough getting folks to test for period>
I know the ionic or slightly complexed stuff is more of an effort in most treatment environments, but if done correctly, there are side benefits, such as it is much easier to remove from solution and will not introduce undesirable chelating agents such as EDTA.
However, if done correctly, chelated copper can be a better choice.  It's just the initial dosing in relation to water quantity and accurate testing that concerns me.
<We are in agreement on this concern as well>
Will update my thoughts on the subject when and where necessary in future letters to readers.
Bob Goemans
<Thank you my friend. Hope to see you about soon. Bob F>

Red Sea Fishes... crypt, copper use
Over the past two years I have successfully quarantined around 10 fish.  None of them came down with anything and they are all fine and dandy in my 400 gallon tank.  Then, I purchased a Green bird wrasse and lipstick tang from the Red Sea.
They came down with white spot so I used Cuprazin, a chelated copper treatment.  The white spot went away and came back 3 times. The 3rd time they were completely covered, started to go lopsided and died within 6 hours.
<Successive reproduction of the parasite, weakening of hosts... hyperinfection. Did you use a copper (chelated variety) test kit? You did not maintain a physiological dose of cupric ion>
  My 50 gallon quarantine tank was properly set up with filter material from my main sump.  So, ammonia was 0, nitrite 0, kH 10, ph 8.4.
Everything ok.  And they were eating and swimming well until 3rd hit of whitespot.  Nightmare.  So, 6 months later a Red Sea Asfur Angel catches my eye, so I buy him. Again he gets white spot minutes after going into quarantine,
<Mmm, you do understand your actual system has the Cryptocaryon? It will be there, ready to infest any/all, but mostly new fishes... until eradicated>
same pattern, 3 rd time he's covered and dies the same way after 6 hours.  I'm so upset.  Is the Cuprazin a rubbish product or is there something more deadly with the red sea whitespot?  After the 2nd hit he was so well so I presumed he was better.  This has really put me of buying anymore fish for a long time.
Kind Regards,
<James, you apparently have a generally thorough understanding of marine aquarium keeping, but an incomplete one re marine ich... Do yourself and giant favor and read over the archived materials on WWM re marine parasitic disease en toto, Cryptocaryon... and the use of copper compounds. Bob Fenner>

Copper Test, Cupramine
Hello Bob,
<Scott F. this morning>
I'm starting to treat my 20 gallons SW tank (1 yellow tang with ich) with Cupramine. I added 2 ml of medication per instruction. I'm using Salifert to test for copper level but it shows zero.
<Seachem indicates that an effective therapeutic dose of this product is 0.5ppm>
The tank does have aragonite substrate.
<The manufacturer advises that some copper may fall out of solution in tanks with rock/substrate. Always best to treat in a quarantine/hospital tank with no decor>
My question: Can I use this test kit to test for copper level when treating the tank with Cupramine? If not then would you please recommend me another brand? As always, thank you very much for your help. Dzung.
<I'd actually recommend the SeaChem test kit when using this product. Follow their instructions exactly, and you should be okay! Do consult with Seachem directly if you have other questions/concerns about this product. They are good people and are quite helpful. Good luck!>

Proper Copper? (Using Copper Sulphate Correctly>
Hi, hope you can rescue me again :-)
<Scott F. at the ready!>
First of all , I took your advice and bought a bare tank, transferred my fish to that tank. I've spend $60 buying all the pepper-based anti-parasite products - they all suck sh*t.
<Well said- a bit more colloquial than I might have said here- but accurate, nonetheless!>
I also dosed Mardel CopperSafe as prescribed at 5ml/4gallons.
<I like this product, myself>
Now, I have tons of questions, hope you can help me out :-) Thank you, as always.
<Ready to give it a shot!>
- First of all there seems to be no info on what will be concentration of copper after the recommended dosage... would you happen to know? My local aq. supplier does not carry copper kits :-
<That's a major handicap...I HIGHLY advise that you refrain from using copper without a test kit...If improperly dosed, the results can be fatal>
- Is the copper removed by skimming?
<Not to any significant degree>
- I've heard that ionic copper is better for Ich and Velvet (marine), is that true?
<I have not heard this...>
- How effective is CopperSafe against Brooklynella (Clownfish disease)?
<Not very, IMO. I'd recommend preparations containing Formalin/Malachite Green>
- I'm still not sure if my fish have Ich or Velvet... is there a simple way to distinguish the two?
<Well, "Velvet" (Amyloodinium) has distinctly different symptoms than Ich (Cryptocaryon). Fishes with Velvet will generally fail to feed, exhibit rapid respiration, cloudy-looking fins, and sort of "hang" in the tank, facing current. It's quite easy to distinguish the two...Velvet is far, far more lethal, and time is critical when executing treatment. Both are quite contagious>
- After adding the CopperSafe, when should I expect the white dots to disappear?
<Hard to say, but you'll usually see a radical difference within 48 hours. However, you need to keep copper in the water for about two weeks to really affect a cure>
- Finally, could you please tell me what is the right concentration of the copper so it would be effective in marine bare-bottom tank, against Crypt (Ich) and marine velvet? Everywhere I read is seems to say different... :-( Are there different concentrations for chelated copper and ionic one? Is ppm same as mg/L ?
<Well, Coppersafe is recommended at a concentration of 1.5ppm to 2.0ppm, and Cupramine is recommended at a dosage of 0.5ppm (1ml per 10 gallons). Follow manufacturer's instructions TO THE LETTER when using ANY copper product. Don't "guestimate" or "wing it"...accuracy and testing are vital. To answer your second question- a part per million is equal to a milligram per liter. Just like it sounds, a "part per million" is one part in a million parts of something. One milligram per liter is the same as one part per million when the reference volume is water...>
- How stable is the chelated copper sulfate? I mean after 4 weeks, will the concentration of the copper sulfate (chelated) still be the same as the first day (with skimmer)?
<Well, that's why you need to test constantly when using copper. After every water change, it may be necessary to replenish the copper to keep the level constant, and at the correct therapeutic level. These products are quite stable, if used as directed>
- And the last question... I've heard that formaldehyde/malachite green combo is very effective against Clownfish disease... if one would add this combo to a tank with chelated copper, will formaldehyde/malachite green in any way deactivate or convert chelated copper ?
<I do not know of any interactions between these two substances, but my thinking is that you don't want to mix different meds together. Since copper may not be as effective against Brooklynella as Formalin/Malachite Green, and can actually be damaging to some fish- why use it at all if it is not required>
Huge thanks as always, Luke
<A pleasure, Luke! Good luck in your efforts. Do make use of the many resources on WWM to get more information on these topics. Regards, Scott F>

He's Into Heavy Metal...(Copper Use)
I'm about to start a "Cupramine" Copper treatment. The directions call for a 14 day treatment. Is this the maximum fish should stay in a copper-treated tank?
<Well, I would avoid exposures much longer than 2 weeks, particularly with fishes such as tangs, which can suffer damage to their digestive fauna after long-term exposure>
Can I be absolutely sure the parasites will be gone in 14 days if I siphon the bottom of the tank often?
<Unfortunately, with ich, there are no 100% certainties...I'd say that with a combination of proper copper treatment and siphoning, the odds are certainly in your favor>
I was just wondering if I could dose longer because the display tank has to remain fishless for a month and a half anyway. Also the directions state to leave a concentration of 0.5 mg L. Is this the same as 0.5 ppm, which is the unit of measurement on my Salifert test kit. As always thanks for you help.  Angelo
<Angelo, I'd follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter when using copper (or any medication, for that matter)...Use the remaining "post-treatment" time to "fatten up" and condition the fishes before their re-introduction. If it's not necessary to continue the treatment after two weeks, I would not subject the fishes to additional stress...Hang in there! You're doing fine! Regards, Scott F>

The Conscientious Marine Aquarist... Copper/test kit use... SW livestk sel.  – 03/09/07
Mr. Fenner,
<Patrick... sorry this has taken a while to respond to... We have something artifactually wrong with our webmail server... and a bunch of incoming (mostly from Apple products) comes in "trayless"... which a few of us here can re-route (through their Apple products)... so's others can respond...>
   First off, my name is Patrick Myer and I have been keeping marine aquaria off and on since 1986.   I recently purchased and completed reading your book “The Conscientious Marine Aquarist” and I just wanted to be the latest to tell you what a fantastic work it is.   
While geared for the new aquarist to beginning reefer, I have taken a  great deal of tips from the book and wish that there was that kind of literature available when I started.   I have had to learn so much of my info thru trial and (lots of) error and could have definitely avoided many of them if I’d read your book first.  I also read your article a few months back in FAMA about Emperor Angels (Pomacanthus imperator) and enjoyed it as well.   I currently have a 4-5 inch specimen that I have a definite kinship with.  I’ve had her (I just decided to label it a she) for nearly a year now and she is doing  superb.  She sure does like to “investigate” things as though she were a toddler.  Again, many thanks for your book and your website.   
You are an absolute, top-notch asset to the hobby and this rock we live on.  It would be a pleasure to meet you one day.
<Thank you for your kind, encouraging words>
   I live in Virginia Beach , VA where I serve as a Lieutenant in the  Navy, and while there are some great folks here that do try in  earnest to do the right things, every system in this town is so infected with Cryptocaryon irritans that I have to copper treat everything.
I had a couple losses trying to dose copper effectively until I found a brand and test kit that matched and worked effectively.  I realized and read that there could be some problems with that, but boy did I find out how bad it can be.  I was using SeaCure with a Salifert test kit and the test kit said I had no detectable copper, but when my tang started having seizures, I bought a Red Sea test kit and it read 0.3 ppm!!  I would like to be able to find specimens that can QT and NOT have to always copper treat since it is not a benign drug (as you certainly know).
<Ah, yes>
Can you point me in the direction of some online places that sell good stuff where I might be able to have a chance at not medicating my specimens?
<My faves are the Marine Center and Dr.s Foster & Smith... they seem to have the better suppliers, staff, consistent treatment of livestock... No one can be perfect in the regard to preventing the passing of impaired livestock, but these outfits, as etailers come closest... And I would like to add there are some excellent retailers as well (e.g. AquaTouch in Phoenix), that also "do their duty" in providing adequate quarantine, careful purchasing...>
Any help would be greatly appreciated.  I really want to be a conscientious aquarist.
Patrick Myer
<Thank you for writing, sharing Patrick. Would you please send along the names... copper brand and test kit, that you found useful? Was it the AS SeaCure (copper sulfate) and Red Sea kit? Bob Fenner>

Copper Treatment  2/19/07
Dear Mr. Fenner/James
I purchased a 3” Auriga Butterfly from the LFS yesterday and it’s in my 20G QT now. I have dropped my Gravity to 1.015. Is this gravity suitable to treat the Auriga? The butterfly has not shown any ill effects up to now (tap on wood) but I have not fed him yet.
<Personally, I wouldn't go much below 1.018.>
I also want to treat this QT with chelated copper. This is the only type of copper available at the store. Do you think chelated copper is effective???
<Is effective but not easy to control.  The dosage rate is usually related to tank volume, and if this volume is misjudged, the treatment can be ineffective or dangerously high.
As for butterflies, they have a heightened sensitivity to copper, and long-term use can suppress their immune system making the fish more susceptible to other pathogens, kind of like throwing gas on the fire.  Anyway, I like to use non-chelated copper.  It generally has a half life of about 12 hours, so if the dose was slightly high, it would lower in a short time.  When using non-chelated, it is very important to monitor the level at least twice a day to insure an effective treatment level.  As for butterflies, I'd start with a half dose.  If it were me, I'd order non-chelated copper from your nearest
etailer and overnight it.  Shouldn't cost that much shipping-wise for a small item like that.>
My test kit says it measures Cu+2 what does this +2 mean? The range they have mentioned is 0.25 mg/l to 2.5 mg/l. What is the correct concentration I have to use to treat the QT fish???
<Bob, correct me if I'm wrong, but the Cu2+ is the chelated form. <<Mmm, no... there is another molecule tied/liganded to this. Copper sulfate (pentahydrate before dissolution in water... sometimes with addition of citric acid, other solubilizers... CuSO4, is a common formulation... this "breaks down" in basic (high pH) solutions... to yield the cupric ion (Cu++). RMF>> Cu+ would be the non-chelated which also forms a blue, blue/green coloration when mixed with a small amount of water.  So, based on your info, your test kit is measuring chelated copper. <<Mmm... well... chelated copper "breaks down" to be the same ionic copper (Cu++)... over time... per design... neither looks blue unless in high concentration. RMF>> As for dosing,  chelated would be 0.2ppm and ionic, 0.15-0.20 ppm. When using chelated, and treating by water volume, these levels will generally exceed 0.20ppm.>
One last thing, how many times during this 2-week period should I change water and what percentage should I change. FYI I use natural seawater so should I do it frequently?
<I wouldn't do this unless ammonia is detected.  You must also monitor this during treatment. Two-week period?  Treatment should last at least 21 days to ensure the kill of hatching (hatching doesn't sound right??)  cysts, as copper is ineffective to them until then.  Do use any chemical filtration during treatment, as it will absorb the copper from the water.>
Hope to hear from you guys soon and thanks in advance for any advice.
<You're welcome, James (Salty Dog)>
Take care,
Best regards,

Re-infestation of Marine Ich    5/24/06
Hello crew,
Your website has been invaluable to me, being a new marine aquarist.  I wish I had discovered it before experiencing a 100% fish loss due to Marine Ich about two months ago.  Shortly after the outbreak, all fish were removed from the display tank (110 gallon - fish, live rock and sand, and inverts with the goal of eventually adding corals once lighting and filtration is upgraded).  Unfortunately, I learned that we removed them much too late and they were inadequately treated (no fresh water / methylene blue dip), hence the loss.  The display tank was left fish-free for only six weeks.  I am now reading that three to four months would have been safer.
<Mmm, yes... though six weeks will "do it" for most circumstances>
  I'm afraid this is proving true, as two new fish that were added last week are now showing signs of Ich.
<Rats! You did quarantine these?>
We have a small 10 gallon QT set up, but that won't be large enough to house all of our fish (~55 inches total - 16 fish,
all peaceful / community).  I think I can quickly set up our empty 29 gallon using some of the biological filter media from the 10 gallon QT.  (That is currently housing a blue-velvet damsel to keep the system cycling.  He is moved to a refugium that hangs in the display tank when we use the 10 gallon QT for quarantining.)
My concern is that I have a large (5") algae blenny and a small diamond watchman goby that I'm afraid will not survive in either QT (neither one has / will have any algae growth, and of course, there will not be any sand substrate).  We lost our original blenny during the first Ich quarantine - but I think due to starvation rather than Ich.
<Very common>
  The goby eats when I feed, but he's very busy sand-sifting all day long. I'm not sure that he'll adjust to the QT with a glass bottom.
<If in good health to start with...>
If I take a chance and leave blenny and goby in the display tank with the invertebrates, and they survive for the three to four month time period without showing symptoms, can I assume that the Ich parasites are gone?
<Uh, no... Definitely not. All fish can act as "space" or reservoir hosts... all need to be removed>
I do have several cleaner shrimps (one skunk, three peppermints, one scarlet).  The skunk cleans the blenny often, but the goby is afraid of it.
If they do survive, and the rest of my gang survives living in the 29 gallon for three to four months, will it ever be safe to add them back to the display tank?
<... All need to be removed, treated>
Your expertise and advice is much appreciated.
With sincere thanks,
Laurie Ostrander
<Do take a re-read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm
and the many files linked above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Re-infestation of Marine Ich, Copper(Safe) use   6/1/06
Hi Bob and Crew,
Help!  I need your advice again!
It's been a week since our first correspondence and here's what's been done and is going on:
*  All fish caught, dipped and moved to 29 gallon hospital tank on May 24 (we were up until 1 a.m.!)
*  Scott's Fairy Wrasse didn't do too well, but survived (he had spots before dipping).  He seems to have recovered and is now eating and breathing very well.  He had a few spots left; those are now gone, so the parasite is now in its second stage?
<Possibly... you did treat this tank? With?>
*  Bristletooth Tomini Tang died the next afternoon (he had spots before dipping and was breathing with difficulty)
*  Goby jumped out of the tank three times; I was there to rescue him the first two times, but not the last time :^(  He died on May 29.
*  I'm using CopperSafe.  It states that copper test should show 1.5 - 2.0 ppm.  I've found that I need to add more than the dosage documented in the instructions to get up to this level.  I'm using SeaChem test kit.  
<Yes and good>
*  Water is disgustingly cloudy.  I did 1/3 water change two nights ago, with no improvement (and added the appropriate amount of copper and tested to be sure).  
(Tank is running with an AquaClear 70 (sans carbon) and two powerheads - water should be moving at around 700 gph.)
*  Blenny is doing OK.  Thankfully, he is eating Seaweed Selects.
*  Remaining fish are doing well (Banggai and Pajama Cardinalfish and Yellow Candy Hogfish)
<And... you are testing for ammonia, nitrite?>
Here's where I need some advice.  CopperSafe states to treat for 5 - 30 days.  Article says start reducing copper after 2 weeks.  I don't really understand the article, as I read that parasites take 5 - 28 days before swimming to find a host.  As the copper levels are reduced, will it still be an effective parasite killer?
<Mmm, no... needs to be kept at a therapeutic dosage/concentration for the duration of treatment>
I thought not, which is why it's important to keep the correct level of copper??
So, if these were your fish, would you treat full-strength for 30 days, or start reducing after 2 weeks?
<Keep at full-strength>
If reducing, would you reduce via water changes only, or by adding carbon back to the filter?
<Likely just time going by and water changes...>
Thank you.  I really appreciate your help.
Laurie O.
<Bob Fenner>

Re: Re-infestation of Marine Ich   5/25/06
Thank you Bob.
This is an interesting line in the article you highlighted for me:
"Once in a system, the system itself is infested and the only practical means of control becomes providing an optimized and stable environment."
<One point of view>
This sentence is both discouraging and hopeful.
With all the live rock (100 lbs.) and live sand (160 lbs.) in the system, I'm afraid that the parasites will be there forever.
However, I've already started the process of upgrading my filtration system, so I am hopeful that once I get this current set of fish treated and cured, that the environment in my display tank will be as close to ideal as it can get.
Again, thank you.
Laurie Ostrander
<Again, welcome. BobF>

Complications arising from treatment for Ich on a Acanthurus achilles   9/1/06
Hi Bob,
Firstly thank you so much for taking the time to read and reply.
About seven weeks ago I purchased an Achilles tang after years of wanting one I finally felt I had the system capable of supporting one.
He initially went into my refugium for a month and proceeded to do very well with no signs of ill health and eating voraciously, after being introduced into the display he showed a few spots for about 10 days before he worsened considerably.
I made the decision to remove him to Hypo at that point. I lowered him to what I thought was 1.009 however later discovered it to be 1.012 due to a faulty hydrometer. Whilst in hypo he degraded into the worst case of Ich I have ever seen. The fish was totally listless and unable to move effectively. I was concerned that I may have a strain resistant to Hypo so decided to administer a half dose of Cupramine.
Within three days all signs of Ich had abated, and with the specific gravity being maintained at 1.010 I decided to replace the carbon and remove the Cupramine. Now five days later the Ich has not returned, respiratory rate is normal.
My problem is the fish is still very listless, unable to control his orientation and is not eating.
<Not too surprising>
Could I have somehow poisoned him with Cupramine or would a massive Ich infection cause enough electrolyte imbalance to cause these ongoing symptoms?
<Perhaps a bit of both>
I am at a loss, I don't know whether to slowly raise the salinity once more in the hope that may help or whether to wait it out.
<I would raise the spg... a thousandth per day or so>
It has been about a week now since he last ate and I am concerned that he will become to weak to recover.
<Me too>
Thank you in advance for your reply
<Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Oh Dear, Now ICH?!?!?!  Defiantly Dipping with Methylene Blue - 10/17/05
Hey Bob, Travis, Steve, and everyone else!
<<Hello, Travis here.>>
Once again let me express how grateful I am for your help. It means a lot.  I seem to be a little unlucky so far in the Marine Tank experience.  My clown who has internal parasites has apparently now developed Ich.
<<You may need to stop internal parasite medication and do a large water change to attack the ich. Unfortunately your clown is not eating which makes this a harder situation. That will have to be a call you make on your own.>>
Great. Now, the real trouble, is that his mate back in the tank, has  Ich too!
<<Not good.>>
So, now,,, I can see the spots on his dorsal fin and around  his head. How far along am I now with Ich. Will my Chromis get it?
<<Ich is a nasty critter, but fish can fight it off if they are in good health. Many fish have ich, but they exist in a delicate balance with the parasite. Ich usually rears its head when something is stressing the fish.>>
I  have about 10 pounds of rock, is that contaminated now?
<<The short answer is no. Ich makes cysts and the cyst will be in your rock, but running the tank fallow will allow them to hatch and die.>>
I read  through your entire ICH section on WWM but cant seem to target it  exactly to this situation. I have a 29gal tank. My Chromis does not  show any signs of Ich but I think he might get it. I have inverts in  the tank so how do I make sure that the tank is rid of the parasite,  will letting it run fallow work?
<<To clear your display tank, you will need to let it run fallow for 6-8 weeks. Use that time to think about why QTing is extremely important.>>
What do I do with the infected  fish?
<<Infected (All) fish should be treated with a chelated copper solution. Cupramine would be my suggestion. I would also suggest raising the temp in the QT a few degrees (83-84 degrees, but add an airstone as this and the copper will remove oxygen) and lowering the salinity slowly(1.015). Do not go to true hyposalinity unless you have treated fish, in this manner, before as mixing hyposalinity and copper is a very delicate situation.>>
I take it I need to perform formalin dips now but I defiantly  will be dipping with Meth Blue from now on along with quarantine.
<<Use Cupramine for ich and formalin for brook. Dip when appropriate.>>
I  made the stupid mistake of thinking that because my fish was tank  raised he would be ok.
<<You have to remember what systems they were in between the breeder and your home display. Wholesale and fish store systems all house wild and captive bred fish. This means every fish is exposed to what the wild ones bring with them.>>
I hate being a novice.
<<We all start somewhere and many of us wish we could start over...>>
Any help is always appreciated.
Thanks! -Jon

Red Sea Fishes... crypt, copper use
Over the past two years I have successfully quarantined around 10 fish.  None of them came down with anything and they are all fine and dandy in my 400 gallon tank.  Then, I purchased a Green bird wrasse and lipstick tang from the Red Sea.
They came down with white spot so I used Cuprazin, a chelated copper treatment.  The white spot went away and came back 3 times. The 3rd time they were completely covered, started to go lopsided and died within 6 hours.
<Successive reproduction of the parasite, weakening of hosts... hyperinfection. Did you use a copper (chelated variety) test kit? You did not maintain a physiological dose of cupric ion>
  My 50 gallon quarantine tank was properly set up with filter material from my main sump.  So, ammonia was 0, nitrite 0, kH 10, ph 8.4.
Everything ok.  And they were eating and swimming well until 3rd hit of whitespot.  Nightmare.  So, 6 months later a Red Sea Asfur Angel catches my eye, so I buy him. Again he gets white spot minutes after going into quarantine,
<Mmm, you do understand your actual system has the Cryptocaryon? It will be there, ready to infest any/all, but mostly new fishes... until eradicated>
same pattern, 3 rd time he's covered and dies the same way after 6 hours.  I'm so upset.  Is the Cuprazin a rubbish product or is there something more deadly with the red sea whitespot?  After the 2nd hit he was so well so I presumed he was better.  This has really put me of buying anymore fish for a long time.
Kind Regards,
<James, you apparently have a generally thorough understanding of marine aquarium keeping, but an incomplete one re marine ich... Do yourself and giant favor and read over the archived materials on WWM re marine parasitic disease en toto, Cryptocaryon... and the use of copper compounds. Bob Fenner>

Help me Save my Coral Beauty
Hi guys...
Well I just bought a Coral Beauty Angel, he looked OK in the LFS but the next day after bringing him home he developed white patches on the fins and I am starting to see small white specs on him.
<Man, this is the year for parasitic troubles!>
Not many just a few. So, I read, read, and read some more on your site. This is what I have done. Good news, I put him directly in a QT tank. I have raised temperature to 80 and lower salinity for hyposalinity conditions. I have also ordered some Methylene Blue and CopperSafe.
<Good moves>
So, here are the questions. How many times do I perform the fresh water dip with Methylene Blue? Only once?
<Once (on the way into QT) is best>
Once a day? Leave him there for 3-5 minutes?
<About right...>
How do I know if this stresses the fish?
<Observation... that the fish isn't laying over "too much", breathing "too hard"...>
Also, won't putting him back into the affected water re-start the ich?
<Bingo, yes... the reason the dip/bath is best performed en route...>
Should I start the copper treatment as soon as he is returned to tank?
If he looks better I understand I need to stop the copper treatment through water changes.
<Actually, no... you need to keep a physiological dose of free/cupric ion present for the two week treatment period... you may well not see the "ich itself"...>
I then want to bring water to the same conditions as my main tank. I am worried that lowering the temperature will bring Ich back, is that possible?
<Not if it is not present...>
Please advise, I want to save this guy. So far, he still looks good, but not eating as well today. Poor thing has no algae to eat in the QT, hope this is OK. I have never done a fresh water dip before, I am probably more stressed than the fish!
<Likely... these baths are not of themselves that much strain on the fish... the netting is far worse... Bob Fenner><<Wish I would have emphasized that once the Cryptocaryon was off the hosts, it would not "magically" reappear like freshwater (Ichthyophthiriasis) ich. RMF>>

Re: Help me Save my Coral Beauty
Thanks Bob, really appreciate your help. Since catching this guy will be stressful...and I would have to put him back into the same QT, should I skip the dip and go for the copper only?
<Yes, I would. Thanks for the clarification>
(yes lessoned learned, will dip all new first FIRST) Copper hasn't arrived yet, I will start as soon as it does. Do I keep the water at hyposalinity during the copper, or can I bring it back to normal?
<Can leave low if the fishes being treated are not "too" stressed already... a balance my friend. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Help me Save my Coral Beauty, ich
Great, thanks Bob. I will slowly bring water conditions back up to normal. I don't want to fight monitoring copper and hyposalinity tank at the same time. My QT has live rock and substrate it in (thanks to LFS who suckered me into it). I will remove before starting copper treatment as I understand it makes an accurate reading difficult
<Actually will quickly absorb the copper>
(from the FAQs on your site !!) and will ease in removal of these nasty bugs !!
Thanks for the support. Ceri.
<You're welcome my friend. Steady on. Bob Fenner>

Coral Beauty/Copper - Follow-up
Hi guys...well I am sad to say my Coral Beauty has taken a turn for the worse. I started copper and now he looks TERRIBLE. Appears as if there are no white specs on him, but there is a large white fuzzy patch, that is growing, right next to his, well, butt. Nitrite and Ammonia levels have spiked through the roof. I did a 20% water change Fri, 50% water change yesterday, and 50% water change today and levels are still high. I have decided to stop the copper and just focus on getting the water to normal. I added PolyFilter... 
... and added a new filter cartridge in the Emperor 280. Question is, what happened to this poor fish? Does copper kill the bacterial function of the filter?
<Yes, especially at the .25 level I see below> 
I am desperate and just don't know what is wrong with him, or how to help. Please advise. The directions on the bottle are not clear, and the copper test kit always read over .25 of copper in the tank, even after water changes. 
<Copper is an effective method of killing diseases if used properly and with care. For angels, the copper level shouldn't exceed .15, .25 is dangerous. Are you using an ionic copper or chelated, or which brand/type are you using?>
Was the treatment done in quarantine in a rock/substrate free tank?  Also, since I was reading your site last night, I have a question for my main 65 gal tank. I have 75 lbs live rock, Fluval 404 with carbon and bio-material, Emperor 400 bio-wheel, and a Prism skimmer. Should remove the bio-filter material from the Fluval 404? Is this adding nitrates?
<I don't believe you have enough live rock to remove the bio material. Yes the rings can increase nitrate slightly.> 
Also the Fluval is adding tons of tiny bubbles in the tank, I was thinking of replacing it with a Eheim Wet/Dry canister filter. Is this a good choice? 
<There are better ways for less $. Even though the Prizm is rated for a tank your size, it is not that efficient to handle it. I use one myself on my 29 mini reef. Just great for that.> 
If it is, I should not use the bio- material for that as well since I have live rock - right?
< If it were me, I would seriously think about adding a hang-on refugium with a live sand base and add some Caulerpa. This will help control the nitrates and nuisance algae. You will need to buy a small PC fixture to place over the refugium. CPR is coming out with their hang-on that includes a built-in skimmer. This would add to the skimming efficiency of your system.>
Question 3 - sorry - full of uncertainty today. I will do a freshwater dip with Meth. Blue for each new fish from now on BUT - the directions say to leave the fish only in the dip 10 seconds. I have read that the fish should be there 3 to 5 MINUTES. Which one is correct? And to be safe, it is good to dip when moving from the QT to the main tank just as an extra precaution? What is the correct concentration of blue to use? 
<I'd follow info on the bottle.  Here is a link on disease prevention that has info on FW dipping. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm. James (Salty Dog)> 

Coral Beauty/Copper Follow-up, Doesn't Look Good..
Thanks for quick reply. Sorry to say, Coral Beauty basically dead. On it's side breathing very hard, I added water, and some of the bio-material from my main tank to QT tank, but afraid it is too late.  Yes the QT is rock and substrate free (well there is a teeny bit on the bottom since I removed existing substrate before treatment.) I used 7ml of CopperSafe for 10 gal tank, per directions. I feel terrible, I just killed this innocent fish. I really want to be sure this does not happen again. Directions said to leave in the copper filter, was that a good idea? 
<Ceri, usually when a fish gets that bad, copper will just finish it off. It' very important to treat right at the onset of the disease. If the directions say to leave the carbon in place, then that's what I'd do. Sorry. James (Salty Dog)> 

Re: Urgent!!!!! ich again
Hi Craig,
How are you? You're probably sick and tired of me bugging you with numerous questions.
<Hi Jun, I'm fine!  Nope, you can write anytime!>
My second purple tang has ich (sounds familiar?). I know tangs are ich magnet but can't help myself. I just love them. The purple tang was QT'd for 3 weeks before I introduce him in my main tank. 5 days later, he's got ich. I finally got him out last Tuesday night and into my hospital tank (20 gal). I added 2 ml of Cupramine (did not do FW dip because he is already covered with ich and I am afraid that he wont survive the dip) and 2 days later I added another 2 ml of Cupramine. I used a Salifert copper test and I got 0  copper reading. I called SeaChem and they told me that 4 ml of Cupramine will give a reading of .5 ppm (recommended therapeutic level). I ordered a SeaChem copper test from marine depot and got the test  today. Run the test right away (this time using SeaChem copper test) and the copper level/reading is still 0 ppm in my QT.
My question is should I dose my QT with 2 ml of Cupramine again. The tang's condition has significantly improved from Tuesday (1/14/03). He still has a few white spots left, maybe 4 or 5, on it's body and dorsal fin. He started eating again yesterday and appears to be in no distress. The product says that I have to keep the copper level at .5 ppm for 14 days for it to be effective. I'm afraid that the parasite is just dormant right now and that they may develop immunity to copper and infest my tang again in a few days. Please help. No carbon in my canister, using cycle and Amquel for ammonia spike (hospital tank not fully cycled).
Thanks again... Jun
<Administer the copper as shown needed by the test kit and maintain it at the level on the Cupramine label. The ick won't develop an immunity to copper.  I usually test once in the AM and once in the PM for proper copper level. Make sure you don't have anything that will react with the copper like LR or sand. Everything should be inert (plastic, glass, etc) Keep him in the copper for the two weeks, two weeks more W/O, and hold your tank fallow for as long as you can stand it. I would also start feeding him medicated food before you put him back in the main, so he will be eating it steadily at the time of stress and possible reinfestation.  Follow the label and feed it for two weeks. The remaining ick in your main will not have a viable host (that isn't medicated) so they will die. I did this and had a few spots after two months of QT! The medicated food did them in (all my fish love the stuff for some reason) and I haven't had so much as a minor spot in over a year. (knocking on wood as I type). I'm a big fan of copper and Metronidazole (Flagyl) for ick.  This should do the trick.  I just keep the food handy in case of minor outbreak. Good luck!  Craig>

Re: Urgent!!!!! ich again
No carbon in my canister, using cycle and Amquel for ammonia spike (hospital tank not fully cycled).
Thanks again...Jun
<One more thing Jun, read the Amquel label and make sure it doesn't sequester copper as well as ammonia and nitrates.
It may affect your copper levels. If so, use main tank water for changes making sure you keep copper at the recommended level.
Best of luck!  Craig>

Heavy (copper) metal
The Amquel level mentioned heavy metal not copper. Is copper consider a heavy metal? I hope this question is not too dumb.
<Not a dumb question at all!  If it can sequester heavy metals, it can sequester some or all of your copper. Try to stick to water changes to keep the wastes under control. You might run a filter on your main for a few weeks before your next introduction so you have a good bio-filter for your QT. Good luck!  Craig>

Yuck! It's Ich!
I have a 36 gallon saltwater tank that's been set up for about 2 months now. I have about 10 lb.s of live rock, Coral beauty, mandarin, yellow tail Damsel, maroon clown, orange percula clown, cleaner shrimp, emerald crab, red crab, Sebae anemone, two hermit crabs and some snails.
They all seemed to be doing great until one day I found the percula clown loaded with white ick. So I did a 20% water change and added cycle tank to the requirements for my tank and I also added some vitamins. All the levels are low. Salt level is 1.022, temp is 80 degrees.
<Good that you did a check of all tank parameters. Stability is very important in maintaining a healthy aquarium>
It seemed to do good for about one day. Then the ick came back, but this time the Coral Beauty, percula clown and the mandarin all have ick. I tried dip baths. That doesn't seem to be helping at all. Now I'm afraid I'm going to lose them all.
What should I do?  Please Help! Lori
<Ok, Lori- here's my advice: First, since the ich parasites are in the tank, all of the fishes are at risk. So, what you need to do is remove all of the fishes to a separate aquarium (10 gallons is fine) for treatment with an aquarium remedy containing copper sulphate, such as CopperSafe or Cupramine. Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding dosage and duration of treatment. See the wetwebmedia.com FAQs on ich for more information. DO NOT TREAT IN THE MAIN TANK! Meanwhile, the main tank needs to sit "fallow" without fishes, for at least one month. By not having any fishes to serve as hosts, the parasite population will "crash", resulting in a diminished population which most healthy fishes should be able to withstand. Conduct regular water changes and other maintenance in the aquarium, even though there will be no fishes in it during this time. Once your fishes are cured, you can return them to their aquarium. Remember, quarantine all new animal purchases for at least 3-4 weeks before placing them in your main tank. This will give you a chance to ascertain their health, get them eating, and intervene as necessary if diseases appear. And, of course, it will help keep disease out of your main tank. I predict that you will embrace this practice after going through this ich battle! It's not fun, but it does work! Don't be discouraged, be patient and see the treatment through! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Medication Question
Hi Bob! I have got an Ich problem in my 90 gallon FO tank despite 3 weeks of quarantine. I noticed it  in on the new Hippo tang I introduced about 3 weeks ago. At that time I had already purchased two butterfly fish who were occupying my 15 gallon quarantine tank. On my LFS advice I treated my main tank with CopperSafe to make sure that the disease does not spread to other healthy fish. The Ich on the tang cleared up within 3 days but it would continually scratch itself on the rocks. LFS advised Formalin treatment. I went through that and treated the tank alternate days for five days. The tang is still scratching every now and then! Water parameters are OK and other fish are comfortable too.  Since I need to keep the copper in the tank for at least 1 month (2 weeks have passed), can I use any other medication like Tetra's MarinOomed along with CopperSafe? If not, what are my options since the quarantine tank is already occupied with these butterfly fish who are finicky eaters. I fear I will have even more problem feeding them with the tang since it eats like a pig. Appreciate your advice.
Regards, Sandeep
<Hi Sandeep, I would not treat the main tank with anything more. Remove the Tang to the QT with the Butterflies or to another QT and treat with nothing but 0.25 ppm free copper, testing twice daily.  It is likely all these medications have affected your biofiltration and you should be testing your main display for ammonia, nitrites, etc. I would go to the quarantine section of WetWebMedia.com and stop listening to your LFS regarding treating ick. If you can only use one QT, then get some plastic plants and a few pieces of PVC pipe for the fish to hide out in. I wouldn't worry about the butterflies too much unless they really won't eat.
Your main tank will need to be fallow for at least a month. Be patient with the copper, your fish will stop flashing.  Best of luck!  Craig>

Ich, copper, and frustration
Dear Mr. Fenner,
I am an avid reader of your books and FAQS, and yet have never had the need to ask you a direct question, as most of the time I get a response from your previous answers.
<Am glad you find such records useful.>
Nevertheless right now I am having a problem with my 90 gallon fish only tank. For about 2 years I had it stocked only with a Naso Tang, a small jeweled eel, a leopard snake eel and a big eye Popeye (squirrel). I have a modified Seaclone and just two weeks ago bought a Sanders 50 ozonizer. Everything was going great until I decided to add a lovable but ich-magnet spotted puffer. I don't have a QT tank, but at least I dipped him before putting into my tank. Sure enough after a couple of days, ich started to appear on the puffer, and then the Naso showed some scratchy symptoms. I added Coppersafe as per the instructions, and removed all carbon, stopped skimming and ozonizng. Also, I have FW dipped all the fish 4 times in 6 days. All the fish seem to be doing better, except for the Naso who it seems to me doesn't handle the dips too well (always gets discolored and lethargic after them).
Today I noticed that the Naso had an apparently inflamed eye (copper poisoning?)
<Possibly... and/or (more likely) irritation from being netted for dipping>
and don't know if I should re-install the carbon and turn on the ozone and skimmer. 
<Leave the copper treatment for a good two weeks... the ich is in a collective resting stage... will come back if you truncate the period. Also, you don't mention lowering spg, elevating temperature as part of your treatment protocol... and I do hope/trust you are using test kits for free cupric ion... it's strange your eels aren't exhibiting odd behavior if you have therapeutic copper levels>
I do not see much ich on the fish, but I am afraid that the dips and copper might do the Naso in. I have been using copper for 5 days, but cannot test it as my copper test is for copper sulfate and does not seem to register the Coppersafe chelated type.
<Ahhh, there are chelated-copper type test kits>
Since I live in Costa Rica, there really isn't too many places from where to buy supplies and so I would have to order them on-line and the proper kit would not get in time.
<There are a couple of shops in San Jose you might check>
What do you suggest? Any help is greatly appreciated.
Kind regards, Harold Chamberlain
<Other than the above... of course quarantine of incoming livestock... Bob Fenner> 

Hey guys, I'm medicating a hospital bare bottom, no rock/sand, only PVC) tank with copper (Cupramine) and have it at the therapeutic level of 0.45 (it's asking for 0.5, but its fairly close and I believe copper is active at 0.15-0.20 in fighting ich). Anyhow, I know it only works on the free swimming stage, but is it normal after sticking a fish with spots (not quite fully infested) in there for 2 days, for the fish to actually get worse lots of white spots) on the 2nd/3rd day ? Is this just from already infected parasites in the fish just coming to the surface ?
<Yes, very likely. The "spots" are actually mucus and damage on the fish's dermis...>
I saw a fish in copper solution go from just a few spots to like covered (didn't make it) in 2 days. I thought it was my copper levels, but they were checked 3 times by 3 different sources myself and 2 stores) and they all checked in from 0.3 to 0.5, so I know the copper is in solution. If this is normal, then I'll just have to wait it out. Thanks, Jim
<Yes... lessons in "reality"... by the time "ich" (et al. dis-ease conditions) are "registered", there are still "events to go". In action, watch the timing, "Bob".>

Ich and Now Oodinium
Hi Steven/Bob,
I have a fish only with live rock,75G have been having problems with my first ich outbreak since I was a teenager. The trigger and Sailfin tang started with just plain ole ich. I started treating with kick ich, because I didn't want to harm the live rock. My Miniatus is very resistant, is still fairly healthy. The trigger has some ich and maybe slight Oodinium, still fairly healthy. Now the Tang has full blown Oodinium, I removed most of my live rock to another tank and started treating with Mardel CopperSafe chelated. The tang is in dire straights as of right now, but still eats and is totally coated in Oodinium, rapid breathing. I did freshwater dip him today to hopefully keep his gills somewhat clear so he doesn't suffocate, does this help with that?
<Yes, but will not effect a cure with the animal being replaced in the infested system.>
Or are the cysts protected in the gills too?
<Yes, please read through the marine parasitic disease sections posted on WetWebMedia.com>
Anyways I just wanted to say to readers out there forget the new treatments if you want to save your fish.
<Agreed... most are shameful shams... replete with misleading advertising/promotion>
Use copper if you have a fish only or fish only with live rock, remove the live rock to another tank. Or if you have a large enough quarantine tank, which I do not, especially for my 7 inch Miniatus, go that route. You may not be able to return the live rock back into the tank, if you do what I'm doing, but at least if you really have had your fish for years like I have and you love them you will give them a fighting chance before they pass their tolerance threshold. And coral skeletons replicas ain't so bad anyways for aquascaping for a fish only. I attribute my Sailfin Tang's Oodinium outbreak to my late decision of deciding to use copper. Because I was busy fiddling with less effective treatments, kick ich, rally, my Sailfin may die in a few days. Hopefully he will make it though. And why does everybody say copper harms biological filtration when the manufacturer directions for CopperSafe chelated explicitly says it does not effect biological filtration? 
<Generally not>
Are they lying or what? Will I ever be able to add live rock to this tank again? 
<Yes, assuredly. The residual and re-released copper can be safely removed via chemical filtrants>
It has no substrate by the way, just some Tufa left in there. Filtration is lifeguard fluidized, Fluval 204, AquaClear 500 and Berlin skimmer, plus 50lbs of live rock which is no longer in there. There is the Aquariums Systems copper remover product, which claims to remove chelated and free copper very efficiently with no leaching which I plan to use after treatment and PolyFilters, activated carbon and water changes. Will it be safe to add some live rock again after a few months?
PS Running my Berlin skimmer will not reduce the copper, right?
<Skimming does remove copper compounds>
Just checking. Other than the tougher groupers, triggers, damsels and some of the fish that are now being tank raised, I'm beginning to feel that not many other fish types should be available in this hobby anymore. I read through these posts about these fish suffering and dying over and over again. Personally I feel most of the fish that are offered out there are not good aquarium subjects and I feel bad that I heard almost 50% of fish shipped die from the shipping stress alone.
<This stated value is too high. Likely less than 10% is close>
I personally feel that in the future, I may work toward having certain species of saltwater fish in the trade banned from import with large fines involved. Moorish Idols, Regal angels, other angels, tons of misc. butterflies, mandarin fish, wild caught seahorses, orange spotted filefish, the list goes on and on. These sensitive species shouldn't be caught or sold anymore, except for maybe scientific reasons. Freshwater is a different story though, most species tend to be extremely resilient for the average educated hobbyist, but I'm sure a lot of species of them shouldn't be in the trade either. Thanks for listening and thanks for any info, Dennis
<Thank you for your valuable input. Sorry for the delay in response. Been out of the country for a while. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich/velvet and stuff like that.
Hi Bob,
I have some questions. Since I am treating my 55 g tank with CopperSafe (removed all inverts/corals to a 20g QT) would a water conditioner/detoxifier affect the copper? 
<Could, yes>
I had to use filtered water but not RO which I usually use, therefore I added some Tetra water conditioner to the water and mixed it with Instant Ocean salt. 
<No worries here.>
Then added some of it to the 55 g tank (tank was low after I moved most rock/inverts/corals). Then I added CopperSafe per the directions.
This morning the fish left in the tank yellow tang/blue damsel) are both ok (blue damsel is not scratching anymore). Did I reduce the effect of copper by doing that?
<Only way to tell... and there are a few other "things" that will/do remove the copper... is to test... at least once daily... and re-treat.> 
I just want to make sure no parasites are left behind planning to leave the copper in for 2 weeks).
<Is there something about reading that bothers you? I would read through reference works, at least the WWM site... instead of patch working your understanding of how to be an aquarist "after the fact" by asking questions about what you've done...> 
Btw, I've tried to get an opinion from another LFS on treating ich etc..
<Ahh, good>
and the owner (who was very friendly) said CopperSafe would not be removed from the system (I know by using Polyfilter/carbon it can be removed per WWM) and that is what I'm planning to do.
<"Would not be removed"... Umm, you/they can do a very simple experiment... add the product to a sample of water... test it over time... Magic! Where's it going?>
Also, my undulated trigger, after showing some discoloration in his body, his skin is now peeling off he's in another QT by himself now proved to be too aggressive anyway)).
The QT was coppered when I treated my yellow tang. Now the trigger's left eye is covered by what looks to be something like 'skin or white film' and he's very sluggish. Any ideas what happened here?
Thank you for the advice, you've been a great help in dealing with this mess. I will keep reading WWM when I have free time).
<Don't do anything w/o understanding what you're doing... Bob Fenner>

Question (Ich, follow-through)
Thanks so much for responding to my original email.
<You're welcome>
I am now completely stumped and don't know what to do. My Flame Angel was doing just great with no more signs of ich then 2 days ago the spots returned?? 
<Yes, as I stated in the last correspondence, this parasite's life cycle involves alternating stages off their fish hosts, reproducing in/on the substrate and re-seeking of hosts...>
Today Flame is in terrible condition and I am afraid he is not going to make it. I have no idea what to do at this point to help him.
Scooter and Fire fish look like they are fine.
<You were referred to sections of our site: www.WetWebMedia.com under "Marine Parasitic Disease"... if you had read there you would not be confused.>
I have continued to use the CopperSafe along with an antibiotic in my hospital tank. The water quality is fine as I have been checking it daily and doing water changes as needed to control the ammonia. I have been adding CopperSafe along with the water changes...
I don't understand how the ich could come back as long as the medication is in the tank. 
<I suspect that you don't have a physiological dose of free copper in the system... your test kit may be mismatched for this type of copper (are you using a chelated copper test kit?)... did you lower the spg of the water, elevate temperature?...>
I am at a total loss on what to do next and how I can help my fish. It is just breaking my heart to see him suffer. I have never seen it this bad like it is this morning. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Many Thanks, Christine
<Re-read the WWM site re ich, its treatment, and the many sections on copper use on the Marine Index. This parasite can be beat, and needs to be addressed NOW if you want to save your fish livestock. Bob Fenner>

Dear Bob,
Sorry to bother you again. I just asked for your advice yesterday and thanks for your quick response.
I have a 75 g tank which has been stable for a month after I set it up about over 2 months ago. I have 4 blue damsels (1 inch), 1 tomato clown (1.5 inches), 1 threadfin butterfly (2.5 inches), 1 purple tang (3 inches), 1 yellow tang (3 inches), and 1 Picasso trigger (2.5 inches).
All the fish have been eating normally. First the butterfly has a little white spot (1/8'') on its pectoral fin. It is not spreading and the size has been the same. However, the butterfly and the two tangs have been dashing and scrubbing against objects in the tank for a about a week for now. You told me to use biological cleaners but I have not been able to purchase any.
<Mmm, too late...>
Last night I noticed a little white cotton-like spot on the purple tang. So this morning I went to Petco to get a 10g hospital tank. I figured the whole system has been infected so I moved my live rock (about 20 lbs) to the 10g tank and prepare to treat the main tank with CopperSafe. Of course I did not move the infected water into this tank. When I removed the carbon from the external filter (Magnum 350), I found 4 or 5 little moving creatures (white little worms). There might be more. I then looked and tried to find them in the tank but there were none that I could detect. I did a 20% water change and added the copper. The fish have been doing ok so far. The only problem now is that the ammonia level goes up to 0.5 mg/L. Nitrite is still 0 and Nitrate is still around 10. I fed the tank with Bacter Plus and hope that it will bring the NH3 down.
My questions are:
- Is the NH3 up due to the facts that I removed the live rock, cleaned the external filter out (tried to kill all the worms), and disturbed the gravel bed (tried to remove the waste) ?
- It says that CopperSafe doesn't affect the biological filtration system. Is that true?
<Mmm, it can>
- Will I be able to manage the NH3 with Bacter Plus in the mean time ?
<Probably not. You should monitor this and nitrite, be prepared to execute water changes...>
- How long should I keep the copper in the tank before removing it by carbon ? 2 weeks ? 4 week ? or until the fish stop dashing and scrubbing ?
<Please read over the WWM site here...>
- Since the NH3 goes up, feeding the fish only once a day or even every other day is recommended ?
<As often as you consider prudent>
- It says that I should keep Cu level at 1.5 to 2 ppm but when I looked into the Cu lab test, the chart only goes up to 0.5 or something. How can
check for Cu level then?
<Please read over the WWM site... you need a chelated copper test kit...>
I feel so bad for the fish. When I first got into this hobby, I did not expect diseases were such a problem, I only thought the challenge was to
maintain quality of water. I hope my fish will survive and I do have faith.
Thanks for all your help again.
A new and anxious marine hobbyist (spelling?)
<You're doing fine... the expensive, arduous "lesson" of the value of quarantine is indeed "expensive". Bob Fenner>
Quang H.

Ich and other trials
Dear Bob
<Hope we're not breaking up>
Loved your book (Conscientious Marine Aquarist), but stupidity and poverty led me to ignore some of your suggestions.
<This happens>
I know, I know-- but I'm hoping you'll forgive me because I need some advice and I haven't met anyone with the knowledge that makes me trust their answers to somewhat detailed, and perhaps system specific, questions.
<No fight, no blame>
I have a nano-reef tank of eleven gallons. I have all soft corals, which are thriving. The tank is both "over skimmed" (the model I have is supposed to work for up to a 70 gallon tank-- I got it used and was told this was "fine"-- and I also run a very small carbon filter) and "over stocked"-- in addition to the corals (1 large finger-leather, 1 medium colt, two small polyps colonies), there are 4 blue-leg hermits, a peppermint shrimp, a cleaner shrimp, a fire shrimp, 2 bumblebee snails, 3 various "coralline" snails, 2 featherdusters, a calcareous tube worm sometimes called a Cocoworm, several small macroalgae colonies, plus 4 small fish: a greenbanded goby (Gobiosoma multifasciatum), a neon goby, a Banggai cardinal and a fairy wrasse (c. rubriventralis). I check my water for everything religiously and double check by having the local marine store test, too. The system has been up for about 5 months now. Most of my losses have been filter feeders that couldn't handle the clean water (I think)-- a few crabs, a crocea clam, along with a few incompatible corals that spewed each other out of existence (the winner of this little celebrity death match was the colt).
<Do you live in a closet? Would you like to?>
Things finally seemed stable, healthy and compatible, when the bloody fish came down with ich and I had no second tank. I bought one and set up a hospital/quarantine tank, where I'm treating the ich problem with Cupramine buffered active copper.
<What do you consider the net causes of your problems are?>
My questions fall into two areas: the implications of my over filtered water and the ich problem.
Right now I run both the skimmer and the filter 24/7. The water is extremely clean (there's an additional powerhead for circulation as well, so little detritus collects). 
<Cleanliness is not sterility>
Ammonia and nitrates are zero and even with all the tank's organisms (which I carelessly feed well with no repercussions thus far), nitrites have been slow to build up, generally staying around 15-20 ppm with the regular water changes. 
<Make that nitrates>
The tank has an open top and this requires almost constant water additions. Because the skimmer takes out trace elements (a problem of overskimming I couldn't miss), my replacement water is mixed with trace elements and in order to maintain a constant salinity, is usually mixed at about 1.015-1.018. I also feed my inverts several different liquid foods (a somewhat questionable mish-mash-- "Microvert", live phytoplankton, and what they seem to like best, the liquid run off from my Ocean Nutrition "Brine Shrimp Plus" fish food) almost constantly, since the skimmer takes that out, too. Finally, I add iodine to every top off. I add enough iodine for a 70 gallon aquarium (gee, the same as the skimmer capacity, surprise) and my levels are always well below max, though there is constantly some present. I also add calcium, but this seems to stay in the system better, esp. now that the only calcium hogs are the snails and Cocoworm (no more hard corals...). My general question is this: is there anything else I can expect to happen because of my over filtration? 
<More troubles>
If so, how do I compensate?
<Umm, a larger system>
Would you advise removing the carbon filter here? The skimmer provides the system's oxygen, so I'd rather leave that running, if possible. Also, will my adding water with trace elements compensate for the skimmer's effects?
<All compensating mechanisms... like scuba gear added for terrestrial organisms...>
I'd appreciate any advice here, and I realize I deserve outright mockery, but I love my little tank and want to make it run well.
<Then "respect" it for what it is... a very small system. Better to set it up, run it "sailboat" style rather than a motorboat with a throttle... with live rock, little skimming (like a Prizm) and scarce feeding...>
Now, the ich problem. The gobies are infested, the Banggai has never had any and the wrasse has just had a few dots here and there. The copper (now at .15 for the third day) didn't help until the dosage reached that level (the ich got worse in fact) and even still, seemed to have little effect on the gobies (who are utterly infested), so I began freshwater dips. I know they are already stressed, but the parasites are so numerous, I though the gobies would die otherwise. I've started dipping each 1 min at a time, 3 times a day. It seems to have killed off the majority of the parasites, though still a few remain, so I was planning on continuing the dips.
<The gobies will only become promptly reinfested with return to this system>
Meanwhile, I have kept the gobies in a plastic container with circulation holes, floating at the top of the hospital tank (the same 11 gallon model as the main one), because I was told that they would have a harder time with the parasite, since they stay on the bottom of the tank. All of this seems to be helping but I think the battle is far from over.
<You display both qualities of compassion and intelligence, AND obstinacy and arrogance simultaneously. Is this a pretense?>
My questions:
How long should I let the reef tank lie fallow? I'm willing to do it indefinitely and have planned on a month. Would longer help?
<Not much more than a month... given elevated temperature, lowered spg.>
Is the goby situation typical? Is there some chance that they can't be cured by the copper?
<Can be>
I'm told that the Cupramine will leave the system. Is this true? 
<Yes, but best to be removed "on purpose": http://www.wetwebmedia.com/curemovalfaqs.htm>
If it is, I was thinking of leaving the afflicted fish in there until after the copper levels had dropped in order to make sure the ich wouldn't make a come back (this could be done in less time than the other tank is to remain fallow in any case). Any other suggestions?
<To... carefully... consider... what it is you're about here>
Again, any help you can offer would be invaluable. I have spent hours pouring over the FAQs on your site and learn more from them than anywhere (your wonderful book is a excellent beginning, but the detailed information in these FAQs is unbeatable). The service you provide for us hapless (and careless) aquarists is really quite great. Derek
<Of all times, circumstances, do wish we could do something akin to the "Vulcan Mind Meld"... you are an invaluable chance to this interest/planet... Don't let this opportunity to learn, express yourself escape you. You can eradicate the ich problem on these gobies simply (copper, dipping, cleaner shrimp)... what will you do beyond? Bob Fenner>

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