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FAQs on Marine Ich, Cryptocaryoniasis & Cures Involving Free (Cu ++) 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/UseChelated Coppers (e.g. Copper Power, ), 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 5Crypt 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 ButterflyfishesTangs/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: DIY/Homemade CuSO4 . 5H2O (Copper sulfate) Sea Cure (Aquarium Systems) Oodinaid (Aquasonic) Copper sulphate + Aminacrine

Notes: Can affect biological filtration/nitrification., Need to be tested for at least twice daily...  with a free copper test kit  (no lower than 0.15 nor higher than 0.30 ppm...). Treat for two weeks... monitor water quality... Copper kills invertebrates, algae, plants and in high  concentration or prolonged exposure, fishes

Copper dosing and citric acid.     11/17/16
Dear Bob,
<Howsit Branko?>
I was instructed to mix Copper Sulphate penta hydrate with citric acid and distilled water, 21 gram of CS, with 21 Grams of Citric acid, and to dose the system.
<Yes; an old/e formula... for citrated CuSO4... ten percent or so of Citric will do...>
System is about 4950 liters, after testing out in a 10L bucket we got a dose for reaching 0.15 ppm in the system.
<Good to test; at least a couple times per day... and add more as it  precipitates/drops out of solution. The Citric Acid helps some... to keep free copper about; but still does leave solution rapidly... more so depending on system "conditions"... Higher pH, various cations, the use of filtrants, presence of biota, "mulm", substrates....>
System was previously dosed with copper sulphate (mixed with water), 4 times over the course of 5 days, dosing was slow, 3 hours each, via drip method. After each dose, Salifert test kit shows 0 reading. So I decided to go with Mix with citric acid.
<Worth trying. Decades back, the above formulation is what we used at SIO/Vaughn Aquarium in San Diego... measuring out per volume of tanks (in graduated cylinders) and pouring in through the tops twice a day>
Right after next dose, reading was at between 0.1 and 0.25 (test cant show in between) so we felt its somewhere in range of 0.15-0.2 probably closer to 0.2.
We kept testing and redosed only once when test showed 0.1, we added 1fifth of initial dose. In next 3-4 days we had a lot problems with the fish, 6/8 yellow tangs, 1/4 lineatus, 2/11 purple tangs died, and 2 Picasso triggers got sick as well as Moorish idols. Lions, gobies, blennies butterflies and imperators are all fine.
<Mmm; yes. Another bold, general statement: some families, smaller sizes of specimens, already challenged (starved, weak...) fishes are more susceptible to copper poisoning (than others)>
We run strong 650w UV system as well, I've heard various "myths", from uv breaking the chelation and residue killing fish, overdose with ionic+chelated copper and various other scenarios.
<UV WILL hasten precipitation/loss of solubilized copper... AND coat your UV sleeves (quartz and Teflon like... can be soaked off w/ dilute acid solution)>
Today, I've read on WWM, that suggested mix is 38 grams of CS+ 10 grams of citric acid to 1 gallon of water. I'm wondering what would you say that killed my fish, since copper levels never tested for more than initial test showing 0.15-0.2ppm?
<Nah; not the Citric Acid... at the different concentrations. It itself is not very toxic, nor a very strong (kH) acid>
Since yesterday, I've changed 2x 50% of water and haven't dosed copper, hopefully dying will stop.
looking forward to your expert input.
Kind regards,
<Me too. I encourage you to review as much of WWM on the use of Copper compounds as you have time for. IF only fishes (in a/the systems) you're dealing with, it may well be better to use less/lower Cu levels AND lower specific gravity in combination. This last is what I'd do IF you're experiencing significant mortality. Bob Fenner>
Re: Copper dosing and citric acid.   11/18/16

<Big B>
Thanks a lot for the answer, at the time of dosing citric cu fish were already in QT for 7-10days, all were looking good and eating like pigs except for 3/5 Moorish, not a single dead during this period prior to dosing, your acclimation technique rocks!
<MUCH practice>
We keep SG at 1024/1025, pH is at about 8-8.1, no substrate, we run wet dry filter for the system. Each big fish has its own 40ish liter box and is not mixed with others so no aggression issues.
So basically conclusion is, even though test didn't show overdose concentration of CU it was too much for certain fish?
<Mmm; maybe>
You mentioned lower SG and lower Cu concentration, what levels should I aim for?
<Low... at the highest 1.018... perhaps 1.015... Cu at 0.20-0.25 max.>
If recommended dose is less than 0.15 what happens if I get Ich outbreak?
<Have to treat w/ something... See choices on WWM>
Run it higher and hoping for the best?
<I don't like hoping. B>

Re: Cupric ion soln's... comm. and DIY     2/1/14
Thank you Bob.  One more question I'm hoping you can answer for me.  I went to re-order the copper sulfate solution I've been using for the last 6+ months and the wholesaler is out of stock.  I currently have three bottles of what I think are all ionic copper.  I ordered two new bottles of solution from different manufactures.  Can you please let me know if these
other two brands are all ok to use?  For clarification I am getting confused by their labeling on the three different brands of what I thought were all the same thing... ionic copper.
<You can make yourself... easy to do... CuSO4 pentahydrate, citric acid and water...>

The first (currently been using for 6 months+) is called Salt Made Easy made in-house from a fish wholesaler (A&M Aquatics) that the label simply says is Copper Sulfate...Directions say...Prophylactic level: dosage 1 drop/gallon until concentration equals 0.1 mg/l.  Treatment level 0.2 mg/l...1 drop/gallon until concentration equals 0.2 mg/l. 
They are out of stock at the moment so I cannot order anymore but this is what I have been using currently in my fish only system with my UV and Ozone.
<... both these will rapidly remove Cu++>

The second bottle is Brightwell Aquatics Cuprion, Ionic Copper for Professional Use.  Ionic, non-chelated copper solution. Cuprion has been formulated to increase concentration of ionic copper by .20 ppm for each drop administered to 1 gallon of water.  Label says... Guaranteed Analysis:
Copper(min) 15,140pmm.  Ingredients...purified water, copper sulfate, stabilizing agents.
The third bottle is National Fish Pharmaceuticals professional grade Liquid Copper Sulfate (Sequestered).  Directions: 1 drop of Copper Sulfate/gallon.
  5 ml/100gallons.  Dose 1 time only =15ppm.  Run your copper levels between 15-20ppm.  Later on in labels says "do not use this product with UV sterilizers or ozone..."
<Yes; an honest statement>
And they list this link on their website...http://www.nationalfishpharm.com/Q&A...ut_copper.html   regarding the "sequestered" labeling.
Any help you could give me on clarifying which to use would be great.
Thanks as always,
<I'd use the sequestered... will stay in solution longer. Bob Fenner>

Re: re: Hawaiian supplier; plus Cu ++ use    1/22/14
Thank you Bob for your reply as always.
<Ahh yes; do remember Craig, "I was you"... a retailer, service co. operator... and have been several of the other players in our trade. I REALLY want to help; see you successful, fulfilled>
To answer, I currently do not have anyone to split a 10+ box order with so I guess I will continue to utilize the LA wholesalers.
<This really is better/best... Unless let's say you have a need for a whole bunch of organisms... perhaps a big install or two>
 I was hoping to duplicate the success I have had from my Florida divers and their Caribbean stock with a Hawaiian supplier as well.  It seems the fish I order direct from the divers are always healthier and in better physical condition then those whom have been through the wholesaler's system first.  On another note, I have had much success utilizing ionic copper sulfate in my fish only system to quell any disease outbreaks as you previously recommended to me.
<Ahh! Am re-reading Frank Herbert's "Dune" series (yes, again); and one comment that was made "The old ways are best"; another: "Times change"... Ionic copper is still the best route for most situations; GIVEN its careful use, measure... observation; of course>
 The fish all look much better than before and I have far less livestock losses than previously when only utilizing UV and ozone alone.  What is your recommended dosage for ionic copper sulfate in a retail fish holding system?
<... the same... 0.35 ppm free Cu++ at the high end; and I see you state the low below>
  I have been keeping it at 0.15 along with still using a commercial UV and ozone generator.
<These last two accelerate precipitation... do check the sleeves/sleeving on your UV, the "arc" generator on your )3 device for "plating" of the copper here... it may be easiest for you to periodically (month)
disassemble and do a simple low kH acid dip/wash to remove said residue>
  I test daily and add about 2ml of copper solution per day to my 1200g system.  I use a LaMotte Copper colorimeter that gives me a digital reading which I find much easier than test strips or vials and color readings.
<YES; a note to browsers; do NOT rely on test strips period for accurate, nor precise measures>
 I also keep the salinity at 1.015 as advised by another store owner I speak with who has been kind enough to mentor me along the way.  I was however thinking of raising the salinity slightly as many customers often complain about why our store's salinity is so low compared to their reef systems and the long acclimation they must do.  I do keep our invert and coral system at 1.026 but the fish system has been at 1.015 for the last 6 months or so.  In your retail days what worked best for you? 
<1.020 thereabouts...>
Always looking to improve...
Thank you as always for the excellent advise and guidance.
<Glad to read of, realize your state. Bob Fenner>

Ich Follow Up... copper use f' -- 06/11/07 Hi Crew and good morning. I have spent literally hours reading through the Ich FAQs and feel like I have a pretty good understanding of the disease but I have an unanswered question. My blue tang had ich (covered in trophonts) and shortly thereafter my yellow tang had 1 salt grain on his dorsal fin, 1 grain on his upper tail and one larger and somewhat fluffy cyst on the top of his fin. I moved everyone to my hospital tank last Saturday and started copper sulfate (Marine Enterprises ionized) treatment, and am letting my display go fallow (and learned the hard way to quarantine). <Good> Anyway, my blue tang is spotless and has been since the second day of treatment. <Likely just cycled off...> The spot on the yellow tang's dorsal fin is gone as is the fluffy tuft on the top of his tail, but the salt grain on the bottom of his tail is still there. <Not likely Crypt...> I know that the life cycle of Ich is a lot longer than 8 days, but I would have thought that the trophont would have disappeared by now (at least at that location). <Isn't a trophont... these are not visible to the naked eye> Could it be that it isn't a trophont at all but just a "spot"? <Many possibilities... pathogenic and not> Also, do you have any idea how long I can expect ionized copper to stay in solution? <A few to several hours> I test at least twice a day to maintain between .15 and .30 ppm and usually dose at night before I turn the lights off. However, t seems that by morning the copper is either almost nonexistent or not appearing in the test sample. I'm also having problems within the past 2 days with my Seachem copper test, with one test showing nothing but a second test run at the same time showing proper concentration. Thanks for your thoughts. Andy Bulgin <Good observations Andy... I would use a better chelated brand... and test kit. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich Follow Up -- 06/11/07
Dear Bob, <Andrew> Thank you much for the quick reply. Three quick follow-up questions, if you don't mind. First, what chelated copper brand do you recommend? CopperSafe? <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm Below the bright pink line...> I asked my LFS for "copper to cure marine ich" and was handed the ionized copper--the same LFS that sold me the tang in the first place, and I am slowly but surely (for a number of reasons) becoming very disappointed with them. <Happens... spent fourteen years on the floor in retail in our trade... mistakes are made...> The problem is, there are only about 4 "good" (and that's being generous) marine fish stores around-- <We have two in San Diego period> the best one is a small outfit (quarantines all their fish, has beautiful aquacultured live rock at really good prices, etc.) is truly great when they have stock in and available, which isn't always the case. Second--the fish have been treated for 9 days with ionized copper, and I've been very diligent about trying to maintain adequate levels (I'm sure some time passed when copper was below .15 ppm). Do you recommend that I keep up this treatment, or switch now to chelated copper for the rest of the treatment period? And, I have seen a lot of conflicting advice out there--what is the recommended treatment time (14 days?) <I would switch... and for this interval> Third, when I have completed the copper treatment and allow the guys to regain strength, do you recommend medicating/dipping (I have Rid Ich +, which is formalin/malachite green) my yellow tang to see if that addresses the small cyst to which I was referring? <You could try... I'd likely ignore it/this... there are vermifuges (Prazi...) and anti-protozoals (e.g. Metronidazole) that one can try concurrently or afterwards...> This spot is really tiny--looks like the same spots that covered by blue tang but like I said has remain unchanged for more than 10 days. Thanks again for all your help. Andy <Again... I'd try a biological cleaner... ignore... BobF>

Ick & Seachem <test kits for copper>, YTBTang comp.   4/14/07 Gentlemen: <Some> To make a long story short: <Okay> We have two blue tangs with Ick.   We placed them in a 10 gallon marine quarantine tank <Mmm... I wouldn't do this... Want to mention for posterity, browsers... just too stressful for some species (Surgeons in this case) to crowd conspecifics together in a small volume... Now, that being stated, placing many of such species crowded together in a much larger setting isn't as stressful...> and began treatment with a product called "Copper Power"  (1.25% copper sulfate) but the ick remained. <Insufficiently administered... Need to use WITH testing... a chelated copper test kit: Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cryptchelcucures.htm>   We decided that the problem is that they wanted 2.5 ppm and our test kits range (Aquarium Pharm) on the high end went from 2.0 to 4.0  -- no way to be accurate. <Ahh!>   So we bought Seachem Cupramine and the Seachem copper test kit (figuring that Seachem would accurately test Seachem) and moved them to ANOTHER 10 gallon quarantine tank. <Mmm, just one specimen of Paracanthurus per please> After putting the proper amount of Cupramine in, the Seachem test registered ZERO, so we tried what Seachem called the Reference test and it read zero as well.    We returned the kit and got another one that had a different lot number from the same dealer with EXACTLY the same results.  The dealer tried to use the test in his store and got zero as well.   He gave us a third test kit and it was dead too. <Bunk!>     I drove across town to another dealer and bought ANOTHER Seachem test kit.  Yet another different lot # and ZERO readings (even for it's own reference test). <I'd be writing the fine folks at SeaChem re this experience...> A third dealer told me he discontinued the Seachem test kits because of the same problems and the Seachem Company's seeming to just shrug their shoulders. Has anyone else experienced this same problem? <I have not, but do believe that considering your trials that this may be a bunch of either "old" reagent kits, or perhaps a bad "batch"... Again, please do contact the company re... They are "real" and very interested in the utility of their products, I assure you. Bob Fenner>

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 Ëbrand" 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. <Agreed> 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. Cheers Bob Goemans <Thank you my friend. Hope to see you about soon. Bob F>

Copper test kits  3/16/2007 I am confused by the following...... I have in the past always used Aquarium System copper <Is copper sulfate pentahydrate in aqueous soln. (water)... Non-chelated...> and test kit..... During treatment I maintain .15ppm level for 14 days...... <A bit on the low-side... you want this to be the absolute lowest concentration (and no more than 0.35 ppm free cupric ion...)> I recently purchased a Red Sea test kit  they claim to maintain .3 ppm for ten days based on there kit..... Any idea what the difference may be.... <The range of efficacy...> I have always thought levels above .20 ppm were toxic to fish.... Thanks for your help ! E-mail from Craig Smith    <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/copperus.htm The linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Copper Treatment  2/19/07 Dear Mr. Fenner/James <Akila> 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, Akila Crypt  10/24/06 I'm about at my wits end with this problem. <Can be extremely trying> I've read almost everything on the web (including your web site) and in books about the disease and its treatment and have followed some of the described treatments (copper, hyposalinity, fallow tank, etc) but it keeps coming back. <Not gone in the first place...> Below I'll describe what I've done and maybe you can spot something I've missed. <Okay> I should note that I religiously check and keep my water parameters within guidelines and as stable as possible. <And you're going to adopt strict quarantine practice> I also do at least one water change a week. Thanks in advance for your assistance By way of background: The first time I had Ich in my 120 gallon Reef tank was 4 months ago (hippo tang 1st, then a Purple tang, followed by a Foxface & a copper banded Butterfly.  On advise <advice> from my LFS, I tried a "Reef Safe" treatment <There are no such remedies that are effective. Period> which, after multiple tries, did nothing to cure or even alleviate the problem. During this iterative process, I installed a UV system in hopes of further aiding in the treatment - no luck there either. I then broke down the tank, removing all fish to my LFS & a hospital tank. After reading everything published on the Web and in 4 or 5 books, I elected to put copper (.15) <This concentration in ppm is on the lowest end of the range of efficacy> in the hospital tank (the LFS's tank had copper as well) <The majority of LFSs likely maintain some copper level in their fish holding systems> and then left only corals, shrimp & crab in the 120 tank for 35 days. Additionally, I did three 20 gallon water changes (more to get any residual of the "Reef Safe" medication out of the tank than any thought of removing any of the Ich parasites) <No need> After the 35 day fallow period, I began reintroducing fish into the tank at a controlled rate 3-5 a week (just from my hospital & the LFS tanks). <.... no quarantine?...> 2-3 weeks into this process Ich symptoms began reappearing, first on a Heniochus, next a  Foxface, then a goby and then a flame angel and two Gudgeon. At this point, my LFS Owner suggested that I "start over":  Get rid of my sand, rock & water (120 tank and sump). <Poor advice... not necessary or useful in the least here>   This I did, and again send several of the remaining fish to either my hospital tank or the LFS. I then bought new sand & rock and restarted my tank from scratch.  I put back the coral, shrimp, crab & anemone and left it fallow for 2 plus weeks. During that 2 week period, all of the fish at the LFS were in copper <I wouldn't "bet" on this...> and were looking pretty good as were the fish in hypo-salinity (1.018) in my hospital tank.  For the last 7-8 days in my hospital tank I put in copper (.15). Current Scenario: After that period (3 weeks+/-) I reintroduced the 7 fish from my hospital tank back into the restarted 120 gallon reef tank and left them for 7 days. Nobody showed any signs of Ich up to that point. Next I put a velvet wrasse and an Eiblii Angel from the LFS's copper tank in my Hospital tank (now a quarantine tank with no copper and normal salinity) <Yay!> and left them there for 4 days (4 days because they'd been in copper at the LFS for 10 days +/- prior to being moved to my tank).  After I moved them to the large tank at the end of the 4 days, I added no fish for 5 or 6 days I then added 4 tangs <What species? A 120 gallon volume isn't enough for a mix of most> (mine) from the LFS's copper tank back into my 120 gallon tank.  Two of the tangs (Purple and Chevron) had been in the LFS copper tank ever since the end of the first break-out (2+ months), the mimic had been in the LFS for 3 weeks in another tank with copper in it and the sailfin had been in the LFS, in copper, for 2 + weeks.  That was twelve days ago. Two days ago I noted 4 Ich spots on my Purple Tang and yesterday that was up to about 20 and there were 6 on my Foxface. The only suggestions, other than posting this plea was to make sure that I soak the fish's food in Garlic <Not generally efficacious...> (which I have always done - since day one of my having fish) and add Coral Vital <Worthless> (1 capful per 10 gallons) every day. Can anyone offer any advice on additional step I might take (other than give up on the hobby). Your thoughts and feedback will be greatly appreciated Regards Teri <Am out of the country on a very poor connection, but strongly encourage you to (re)peruse all the Articles and as much of the FAQs files on Cryptocaryon archived on WWM (see the indices, search tool)... I would NOT "trust" anyone but yourself to quarantine and treat your livestock... I WOULD have a higher titer of free cupric ion present at all times during treatment... as much as 0.35 ppm. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich  11/21/06 Bob: As you suggested, I have read the articles & FAQs found on "Wet Web Media", plus others and have just a few question/requests for clarification: 1.  You reference "letting the main tank go fallow" (without fish) and imply that the Ich protozoa can survive without a host from a month to a few months.  Is there an optimum time period to leave it fallow and what would be the time-frame that would assure that they've all perished? <About a month is nearing the proximate ideal... more and the livestock suffers... Lowering spg, raising temp. (Q10 factor) can/does impugn the host-less parasites chances of survival further> 2.  Freshwater, pH adjusted bath protocols with Methylene Blue:  How do I pH adjust freshwater? <... add sodium bicarbonate/baking soda... is best> My LFS doesn't have Methylene Blue - where would I be likely to find it? <The Net... etailers... listed on the Links Pages of WWM...> Also, I'm not clear as to what you mean by "system water".  Since it's a freshwater dip/bath, surely not water from one of the tanks? <Is the water from the tank/s... but not for the FW dip/bath use>   Sorry to be so obtuse. <No worries. Clarity is pleasurable> 3. You recommend a 2-3 week quarantine in "sterile" tank (w/PVC for hiding): I have a quarantine tank set up as a small version of my main tank (Sand & Rock).  Will this not work? <If the parasite/s are not transferred, this should work out fine> If it will, with qualifications, what would the qualifiers be (other than I realize that if a fish(es) show disease I'd have to remove them to a "Hospital Tank" and re-install rock and sand (after "sterilizing" the tank and it's components)? <Yes> It just seems to me that a "mini-reef" would be a lot more conducive to "hardening up" and overcoming the stress of capture, shipment, etc. <We are in agreement here> 4.  Quarantine time-frame:  In your articles I note that you recommend a 2-3 week time period and in others, I note in Scott Fellman's article a 21 day period and in others I've noted a month.  Your comments? <The longer, the surer... as stated, in consideration with the stress, damage that isolation in these circumstances generally accrues> 5.  In your article on Ich treatment, Copper, you recommend 7 - 10 days in a .10 - .15 ppm copper environment and in your advice to me below indicate as much as .35. <Mmm, a bit higher on the lower concentration in ppm... 0.15 at the lowest... Ideally 0.20 ppm. to no more than 0.35 ppm free cupric ion concentration> I elected something between .25 & .30 (given your advice on the impact of copper on my Tangs).  It's now been 2 weeks and I'm a bit unsure as to where to send them next.  Leave them in the "sterile" hospital tank (PVC only) with reduced copper (down eventually to 0.0 ppm) or put the few I have left in my quarantine tank (I have 3 fish in there now who've been there for 2+ weeks). I've still got 5+/- weeks left (depending on your advice above) to leave my main tank fallow so I can't put them in the main tank and it seems to me tank the sterileness of the hospital tank isn't too conducive to "happy" fish.  Your advice? <If you are assured the fishes in the Q tank are clean... I'd move them there> I thank you in advance for you advice. Best Regards Teri Hewson <Bob Fenner>

Ich treatment/ copper dilemma  8/25/06 Dear Crew at WWM, <Kim> Thanks for your help with my Ich problem. It is a lengthy story, but I will try to keep it simple. <Okay> I have a 5 ft , 9 month old reef tank with loads of live rock and thick shell grit/gravel base. Stock - various inverts, 1 Hippo Tang, 1 pair Ocellaris Clownfish, 1 pair Clark's Clownfish.  Very happy aquarium until Ich outbreak on my Tang (regretfully not dipped/quarantined - Lesson learnt.) <Ahh, yes> We had a 6 hour power outage 1 week prior to his outbreak, which I am assuming was the catalyst, as water parameters all fine.  My LFS recommended treating my whole tank with "Vertonex" (quinine and malachite green) for 4 days - <... I would NOT do this> said "I may loose a coral or two".  So I put my corals in a large crate with air stones and filter, and treated tank for 4 days, with no improvement of Ich - slightly worsened actually. <Sigh...>   Which is of no surprise, as I have since researched Ich and treatment, and have consequently lost faith in my LFS. After extensive review of your site and others, I set up a treatment tank, transferred all fish ( Clark's Clowns also now showing a few body spots), with an aim to copper treatment for 2 weeks (due to Tang) and fallow the main tank for 5 weeks. <Good> The only available copper treatment I could get (largish town, eastern coast Australia) was "Oodinaid" by Aquasonic (copper sulphate + Aminacrine), and an Aquasonic copper test kit.  I dosed the tank as per instructions, but was unable to test copper level as the kit was not working <Likely old reagents...> (very frustrated, live out of town, unable to make it back to shops before closing in order to change).  3 hours after treatment my Clark's male started swimming on his side, <Yikes... water changes...> around in circles, and ended up wedging himself between filter and tank in order to stay upright.  I assumed toxicity <Very likely so> ( water parameters normal, in particular 0 nitrites and ammonia) and as I only have the one treatment tank set-up, did a 50% water change and added carbon to the filter, with more water changes the following day. <Good>   To top things off the heater somehow became unplugged with a drop of water temp when I got home to 70 dF - I was devastated.  Any way, today, 2 days after circling, my Clark's clown has finally come out, and looks 100%, eating again etc.  My Hippo Tang seems a bit frazzled since the temp drop and is eating less (but can see no external signs of Ich). Finally, my dilemma!  I am assuming that my Clark's male has an increased sensitivity to copper although I cannot guarantee that the copper was not at toxic levels as I was unable to test (did keep some water to test later <Mmm, these tests have to be done in "real time" to be accurate> but it was confiscated by my 2 1/2  year old son, <Heeeee!> however it was the first treatment, following dosage to the "T". So what do you recommend treating my fish with?? <A chelated form of copper... this product was likely just copper sulfate pentahydrate...> I am thinking hyposalinity or the 50% water change technique prescribed at Reefkeeping.com. <Am not a fan...> My LFS sent my husband home to me today with more quinine to retreat for 7 days, being very skeptical about the water change option. I can't see quinine working this time if it didn't work last time, and I am cautious of exposing my Clark's clown to chemicals this soon. <Quinine compounds are actually quite safe... can be effective...> The good news is all my inverts are doing well in the main tank, so I assume (or am I hoping?!) the live rock etc was not damaged severely by the initial treatment. <Me too> I am extremely grateful for your time and advise. Thank you, Kim. <Do read on WWM re chelated copper and test kits for same... Hyposalinity may forestall further cycling of the parasite, but will not likely effect a cure of its own accord. Are there "mail-order" pet-fish businesses (etailers) in Australia? Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Tang with Ick Question 10/11/05  <<Stan, some of my/other input. Cheers, BobF>> Hello Crew:  <Hi Stan, James here today> I currently have a purple tang and a desjardini tang in my QT (20gal) <<RMF would NOT mix two tang species in QT>> which I plan on adding to my 150 gal reef system once they pass QT. They've been there for about a week and are both eating like little pigs and seem to be doing fine. I've been feeding them a variety of foods which includes Spectrum Thera-A Anti-Parasitic Formula, Julian Sprung's Seaveggies, Ocean Nutrition Marine Pellets Formula 2, Kent Marine Platinum Reef Herbivore Fish Food which are sometimes soaked in Vita Chem.  However, in the last couple of days, I've noticed some white spots on my purple tangs body and fins. Can't really see if the Desjardini has these same spots or not because the spots are not as contrasting as on the purple tang. I assume it's ick, or the beginning of it. So I looked here and read some articles that hyposalinity and/or a cleaner shrimp might do the trick without medications. So I added a shrimp a few days ago and then this weekend started researching how to do the hyposalinity treatment.  <<Not with the shrimp present. RMF>> Instead of finding out how, I found more articles claiming that hyposalinity was a waste of time and wouldn't work long term. So I guess my question is, how would one go about treating ick long term in QT? Isn't that what a QT tank is for? <<Not really what "quarantine is for"... a period to review, observe health, behavior, possibly treat there/then... but also for "rest". RMF>> I know everyone has different opinions, but what do most people do? Medicate? If so with what? Any help would be very much appreciated.  <Stan, if it were me, rather then stress the fish out with hyposalinity treatment, I would treat with copper. A copper test kit is a must along with daily testing to insure an effective and safe level is kept. Recommended dose to maintain is 0.015-0.020ppm. <<Dude! Of what? Free copper/cupric ion... PLEASE understand that there is a difference in reading/s with chelated copper and their corresponding kits. RMF>> I would treat for a minimum of 21 days @ 80 degree temperature. The ick cyst casings are unaffected by the copper so we have to wait till all hatch out where at this stage they can be effectively killed by the copper. The ich that is embedded in the skin of the fish also is pretty much unaffected by the copper. Only in the swimming stage, after hatching and when they have to find a host, is when they are most vulnerable to copper. James (Salty Dog)>
Tang with Ick Question ? - Follow-up 10/11/05
Thanks James (Salty Dog): OK. So a treatment with copper it is. Any recommendations as to what copper brand / type to use? Isn't there chelated or non chelated ?  <Yes, there are chelated/non chelated types. If it were me I'd go with Aquarium Systems Sea Cure Copper treatment along with their FasTest Copper Test Kit. Fortunately for me I've never had to treat a tank in 10+ years, but if the problem arose, the above would be my choice.> <<... three weeks... with an unchelated copper... on tangs? I would NOT do this... I'd go with two weeks, and a chelated make/model with accompanying at least daily tests. RMF>> And I assume that I need to move the cleaner shrimp to my main tank since he won't make it thru the copper treatments right ?  <Stan, all inverts must be removed. Google our WWM site on copper treatment for more info. James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Tang with Ick Question ? - Follow-up 10/13/05
Thanks for the quick replies James (Salty Dog), very much appreciated.  <You're welcome> But I'm a bit confused here and was hoping that you could maybe point me in the right direction.  Just as a reminder, I've left the replies back and forth as a memory refresher. After talking on Monday, I went out to my local pet stores looking for copper but could not find any, believe it or not they were all out. So I ordered it mail order that night. Well here's the confusing thing. On Tuesday, when I checked in on them and watched them for awhile to see how they were doing, etc. I noticed that my Desjardini tang was laying on its side and the cleaner shrimp was going to town on him. After taking a closer look, I saw that the purple tang no longer had white spots on him either (this is while the lights were on). Am I going nuts ?  <<James... respond to the question/s! Not going nuts... the "spots" are reactions... do cycle on/off... RMF>> Unfortunately, I noticed that my Desjardini tang had a two spots missing from the top/rear of his fin. I'm guessing Mr. purple is the reason. However, when I checked on them this morning (lights still off) the purple tang looks like it has some type of spots on it (not white), and its body was a bit discolored. The Desjardini on the other hand, seems like the spots that were missing on its fins are filling in already. So here is my dilemma. Do I treat the tangs with copper ?  <Stan, this treatment must last at least 21 days to be effective and are you using a test kit to insure safe and effective doses?>  Why do I see spots one day and not the next? Will treating them, if they don't have anything be a bad idea or more harmful then good ?  <You have gazillions of cysts laying on the bottom waiting to hatch and find a buddy. Continued treatment is necessary to kill all the hatchings.>  And do I keep pushing my luck in trying to keep two tangs in the same tank ? I'm sure the 20gal isn't ideal but I'm hoping that the extra space in the 150 will allow them to get along.  <The 150 should be fine, you have to accept the fact there will be occasional aggression. Its recommended that no two alike tangs be kept together.>  I know it's pushing it. Could go either way. They could get along, with the occasional "I'm boss" reminders, or they may destroy one another. <<This is something you NEVER want to see.  If the two tangs are also close in size, you are probably pushing it too far with their compatibility, this is not what could be considered "conscientious". MH>> Should I separate them in the QT tank ? Should I get rid of one of them and just go with one ?  <If the aggression gets up to the next level, then I'd probably trade one in. James (Salty Dog)> I know there's a lot of questions here, many of which are hard to answer, with no definite yes or no. But I'd really appreciate any input that you guys might have. Thanks in advance  <You're welcome. Do compatibility research in the future if you are considering buying two alike fish.> 

Cryptocaryon not responding to copper 8/3/05 Hi Bob? <Yes> Still battling mysterious spots on Naso Tang Finished copper treatment and crypt appears to be gone '3 weeks now". As you suggested I tried PraziPro and did get some improvement the Naso is in with a Hippo Tang 'Quarantine" for about 6 weeks total now, the Hippo developed some HLLE from copper I assume but is slowly recovering. <Ah, good> My thoughts are to move the hippo to the reef for better water quality to help with the HLLE and treat the Naso in quarantine again? <Mmm, actually... the spots may be something relatively untreatable... like subcutaneous worms of some sort... For all the balance of good/benefit, I would leave it in the main tank... perhaps add purposeful cleaner/s... Lysmata shrimp are very good with tangs> I have run two seven day treatments with PraziPro., the spots turn from white to a yellow color and some, about a third have dropped off. Can I increase the dose or try a dip possibly? <Not a good idea... one treatment will do about as much good as can> And is it safe in your opinion to put the Hippo in my reef, he has shown no signs since the crypt. Thank you so much for your assistance I believe I am making headway but this stuff is resilient to say the least. Please read below if you need a refresher Shaun <I would run both fishes through a pH adjusted freshwater dip (with aeration) enroute to returning them to your main system. Bob Fenner>

Staying The Course...(Ich Treatment) Hello Crew! <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> If you don't mind, I would like to update and ask a question.  I have positively ID'd my tang as having Cryptocaryon.  That was a few weeks ago.  I tried hyposalinity at 1.009 for approx. 2weeks, but found it to be ineffective.  Rather than continuing (FOWLR) I decided to bite the bullet and separated my fish into a QT tank.  I have been treating with Copper Sulfate at .25ppm.  After 1-2 days, all signs of ich disappeared.  It has been 11 days since I started the copper treatment.  I had been running the FOWLR tank at low salinity during this time (11 days at approx 85-86F) and slowly raising salinity back to normal (no fish in it).  I would like to ask your suggestion for returning my fish to the main tank-when is it safe-(I have read life cycle of Cryptocaryon is 10 days, but others say possible 30 days-is this possible) and whether it is safe to discontinue copper treatment in 2-3 days (as directions on package state).  Thank you very very much for all your help.   Jeff <Well, Jeff, you don't need to keep the copper concentration in the treatment tank any longer than the manufacturer recommends (usually around 14-21 days). I'd keep all of the fishes out of the main tank for a full month, or longer, as dormant Cryptocaryon parasites can strike when the fishes return...No sense rushing things here...Just follow through on the treatment, and keep the newly-cured fishes in the copper-free hospital tank for a couple of more weeks, and you'll be fine! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Feeding Copper to Fish (3/11/04) I've heard that you can take a batch of adult brine shrimp and add copper to their container, wait an hour, and drain the shrimp with a net and add directly to a reef and if the fish eat the brine shrimp, then the copper is going to clear the ich....is that true? <No way. Ich is an external, not an internal parasite. Additionally, the fish will poop/pee (forgive the pediatrician terms) copper into the water, thereby contaminating your tank. There is only one proven way to rid your tank of ich--the quarantine/fallow technique. Never put copper in any form into your system. Some people have managed to control ich with cleaners, ozone, UV, garlic, and such, but this is rare. You might want to read Scott W. Michael's article in Aquarium USA 2004, which you can find at any PetSmart or Petco. Perhaps some of the things in there will help you, but the fallow/quarantine method outlined on WWM is tried and true. Steve Allen>

The Two-Front Approach To Fighting Ich Hi Scott (if your are doing your thing tonight): <Ya got me!> Bonehead calling.  Need some help. <LOL...Hope to be of service!> Got a French angel a little over a week ago (goes by the name of batman according to the 3 yr. old). <Three-year-olds KNOW these things!:) > About 5".  Amazing fish.  Will already eat out of my hand. <Awesome!> Put him in QT, but it is was a 10 gallon tank, he looked fine, was eating like a wild man, but seemed very cramped (guess you know where this is going).  After a week popped him into the display.  Two days later, what looked like fungus on two fins.   <Uh-Oh...ya jumped the gun, huh...?> Next day, at night, what looked like little specks of sand doting his body.  Better in the a.m., bought Lysmata grabhami. <A good biological cleaner...not a bad start...> Batman went straight for it, got underneath a rock with it and begged for cleaning, but so far no luck.  Specks back again tonight (btw, can only see them on his bask body under the metal halides, to give you some sense of the size).   Read through all the black so guessing from that it's crypt.  Does crypt also manifest as a cottony looking white gunk on the fins? <No, it does not...You could be looking at a different illness....> Maybe I am misdiagnosing, or maybe he has two different maladies? <Possible....> I think I have actually read too many FAQs and articles (including your "two fronts" which I liked the best) on this subject so want to make sure my plan makes sense, and get any advice you can share. First, bought a bigger QT (50 gallon) so the fish(es) will be a little happier. <An excellent idea...> questions on course of action: 1) Batman is acting fine.  Eating like crazy, has not even attempted to scratch himself (and I have spent a lot of time watching him), eyes are clear, etc.  Should I give him another day or two and see if the shrimp will get his act together or go ahead now with full battle plan? <Well, it's always a good thing when a sick fish eats. As I like to say, "A fish that eats is a fish that lives!". If you are dealing with Cryptocaryon, it's a good idea to start treatment as soon as you make a positive diagnosis.> 2) All the other fish are acting fine.  Not a mark on them (though sounds like just a matter of time before everyone has it, if it is crypt). Was wondering if maybe I am catching it before it enters its free swimming stage (if he has it) and maybe nipping further infection in the bud, so maybe just start with a QT of the angel and see how the others do?  Or everybody out of the pool now? (yellow tang, two false percs, royal Gramma, purple Firefish, which will take total rock work dismantle job to get him out). <Gulp...I know- a royal pain in the rear! However, once this parasite gets in your tank, it's IN your tank...and can be really tough to eradicate. Even though the other fishes are not showing signs of the illness at this point- they have been exposed, and the potential exists that they will contract it...Better to err on the side of caution, and, at the very least, remove the fishes to a separate tank for observation-and treatment, if it becomes necessary...> 3) As far as treatment, my plan consists of filling the QT tank about half full to start, half tank water, have newly made, and add more buffered RO water to help dilute wastes and slowly bring down the specific gravity (currently .025).  I think I got this idea from something you wrote.  No lower than about .018, then 25% water changes every other day, assuming everything tests O.K.  Slowly raise temp from current 78 to about 82.  Putting in a powerhead with a sponge filter from the main tank.  This sound O.K.? <Sounds good....Hyposalinity treatment can be successful if performed carefully. I am not a huge fan of it, myself, but quite a few hobbyists use the technique. If you can treat successfully, without harsh medications, all the better...> Also, how long does it take for the sponge in my display to collect a good coating of denitrifying bacteria?  I just cleaned them yesterday with tap water.   <At least a few days...You may want to also "seed" the treatment tank with a commercial nitrifying bacteria preparation...> 4)  Fresh water dip, 5 minutes, nothing added (Meth blue has not arrived yet).  This is another area where I have read a number of different opinions on the site and wondering which way to go.  Anthony says just doing the FW dips and vacuuming out the bottom of the tank everyday to suck up cysts will get rid of the bug in a couple of weeks. <Anthony is 100% correct! This technique is a very viable treatment regimen. However, you need to be religious about the siphoning. It must be performed every day...In fact, 100% water changes may be the best way to go...That's why environmental consistency is very important...> Most everyone else seems to favor copper.  If I go for just the dipping/vacuuming,  how frequently should I do the dips?  Daily? If I see the spots reappear? Is 5 minutes (same temp, ph, etc.) long enough? <I'd do them daily for at least a week, and I'd go for 8-10 minutes, if the fish will tolerate it. Anything less than 5 minutes is not really beneficial...> Should I just go for the copper (the copper scares me a little, but if it's what will cure him faster/better will do it)? <I am a big fan of copper sulphate, but it must be administered in conjunction with regular water testing to assure the correct level of copper. Please be sure to follow the medication manufacturer's instructions to the letter regarding dosages, etc.. Alternatively, you could utilize a formalin-based product, with similar precautions taken, in terms of following the instructions!> 5)  Have read some fish are very sensitive to copper.  Bob's book says this particular Angel can take it. <It can, but do monitor, as outlined above...> What about Zebrasomas?  Sounded from what I read that it could give him some gastro trouble. <Exactly- the intestinal fauna that live in the tang could be damaged, creating great difficulty for the fish when digesting food...Copper treatment needs to be quick and precise with tangs. Long term exposure is a potential problem...> Assuming probably not a good idea for the Firefish either (scaleless)? I suppose if everyone has to go QT I could put the Firefish and yellow tang in the 10 gallon with no copper, although will still face the cramped quarters issue. <But better than leaving them in the display, IMO...> Sorry to run on for so long.  Of course my preference would be to wait it out a little and see if the shrimp, water changes, and any other course of action I can do in the display will tip the balance in my favor and avoid what I am sure must be a stressful ordeal (for me and him), but don't want to be dumb(er) about this either.   <I completely understand. I don't relish the idea of breaking down the tank to get the fish out, but, at the very least, you should treat the obviously sick angel. In the end, I strongly advise you to try the "two front" approach that I advocate, removing all of the fishes-sick or not- for observation and/or treatment (if necessary), and leaving the display tank "fallow" for at least a month...This may "crash" the parasite population, providing the fishes with a much better chance of resisting the disease when re-introduced...> Thanks for all your help and for all the incredible resources on WWM.  Truly a remarkable website.  Too bad I did not follow the great advice re 3-4 week QT period that has been drummed into my head over and over.  Another lesson learned the hard way. <Sometimes, that's the best way to learn a lesson! You're doing fine! We're glad to be here for you to lend an occasional hand...Learning the hard way is how most of us got our hobby experience!> Best regards, Jim <And best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F>

Copper usage Hi again Anthony. I understand the problems of coppering most display systems; as it happens, I have very little substrate, although a fair amount of rockwork; <Yes... all calcareous media is a problem: sand, rock, gravel, shells, coral skeletons, etc. More importantly, any substrate beyond a bare glass bottom is an invitation for larval parasites to fester and develop> I have always thought that, assuming the parasites (e.g. ich) are discovered on day one (i.e. as they are first attaching) a shot of copper maintained for a day or two would slow them down enough to keep them off at least some of the fish. Is this wasted effort? <yes, my friend. You are mistaken. Infections begin in the gills and soft tissues as much as two weeks before a single spot is observed on the exterior of the fish. And the life cycle of many is well under 24 hours for some... so your chances of catching them with copper are unrealistic> I am really not a big fan of any medication, and in my experience long-term copper ( even the 14 day treatments) too often result in a fish that never eats again, <agreed... it concentrates in their flesh. A precarious pickle... not enough is useless and too much kills all. I personally never use copper... ever. FW and Formalin baths for my fishes. No "biomagnification" here> particularly with smaller specimens and angels. <yes... angels are ultra copper sensitive, agreed> But I would appreciate your thoughts on this question: do you think ich, crypt, Ood and the like are always inevitably present, waiting for a trigger? <yes... no such thing as a sterile fish, dog or human> Or are there truly (possible) parasite-free systems? <impossible> This business of temperature change as a common trigger bugs me; I do a fair amount of collecting on vacations, mostly snorkeling in 4 to 10 feet of water, and the temp changes are considerable, especially near shore; then again, I can remember several years ago meeting a lot of Moorish idols who loved wonder bread; quite a difference a closed system makes. <many flaws to this theory here and real scientific data in closed systems exists (redundantly) to quantify the effects of temperature on rates of pathogenic incidence. We cannot possibly compare the ocean to a closed system when aquariums have so many parameters deficient compared to the large stable open ocean (which boosts fishes immunity). Oxygen saturation (HUGE difference here between home and ocean), DOC levels, etc. Furthermore... of the hundreds of species you see in the shallows, how many of them actually stay there during low tide, monsoon rains and hurricanes. And how many (most!) move down the reef nightly and as necessary. We could go on for quite a while here <G>>. Good question though. Thoughtful indeed> But I would love to have system where little accidents could happen without the revenge of the parasites. Do such exist?   <yep... huge understocked aquariums. An old story but tried and true> Thanks again, Steve. <kind regards, Anthony>

Re: Ich-What Else Jason <Hi.> Thanks as always for the fast reply.  I have been monitoring the copper levels which I try to keep at .015-.02.  Occasionally it dips to .01.  I have 10 fish which will be too crowded for a 10-20 gallon QT which is why I treated the main system.  Assuming that I can keep the level at .015 how long should treatment last? <If I recall it's about 14 days - two weeks or so.> Thanks again, Joe <Cheers, J -- >

Can you help with ich? Hope this the right address for Q&A!!! Hello, <Hi Vicki> I have recently discovered what appears to be ich in my 75 g tank (on a Sohal, porcupine, and Klunzinger Wrasse). I tried removing them to a 10 g. quarantine tank treated with Coppersafe (I followed instructions EXACTLY!). My fish were fine for about a day...then WHAM, they all started breathing rapidly, sitting at the bottom of the tank, and looking generally awful. My wrasse was on his last fin, when I decided to get them back into the main tank. All have regained their vigor, but also retained their ich. <A 10 gallon QT is a little tight for these guys, depending on their size....> What am I doing wrong?! I already tried Sea Cure Copper for ich on a dwarf angel--same results:(. Again, I was meticulous following those directions! My water tests fine for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate. I am afraid of copper now, and am feeding anti-parasite food/doing freshwater dips to keep the ich at bay. Have also added a UV sterilizer for future problems. I think I'm getting ich-obsessed. Please help me--I don't want to lose another fish! Vicki <Alright Vicki, you need the copper and more importantly, you need the test kit for the copper you have. PLEASE go to WetWebMedia.com to the copper FAQs http://www.wetwebmedia.com/coppertestfaqs.htm ands read the faq's about the types of tests and the copper they test for. Maintain the free cupric ion at 0.25 for two weeks and test daily. DON'T overdose!!!!! I bet you have too much copper. There are a ton of links and FAQs on copper at WetWebMedia. The tests can be had from most of the WetWeb commercial sponsors. Craig>

Copper/Disease Treatment I have another question. I recently removed all my fish from my main tank into (potential) treatment tanks. I did this because my blue tang had white spots and was scratching. My flame angel and coral beauty also had white spots. I had been attempting to treat with Kent Marine's exp (I know, I've read your opinions on this, but I was desperate until I got the tanks set-up and had time to remove them and live rock). The fish did well for several days, but then the flame wasn't eating. By the time I got them transferred the flame angel was in bad shape, and died shortly after. The other fish have now cleared up and don't have spots. They are in bare bottomed tanks, but I have not yet added copper as they seem to have improved. I assumed I was dealing with ick, but I'm now not quite sure. I was going to leave the fish in their current holding tanks for 4 weeks to allow the main tank to go fallow, but they definitely do not seem to like them, especially the yellow "Coris" wrasse who is constantly searching the bottom at night for a place to bury himself. Any suggestions as to my next course of action? Sorry for the length, and thank you ahead of time. Rich. <Yep, would treat w/copper as per WetWebMedia.com quarantine/copper info. Give the Wrasse some plastic pipe, some plastic plants and the like to hide in and feel comfortable. They don't have to be totally bare, just inert. I wouldn't trust that whatever it is is necessarily under control, although the freshwater might temporarily help and then have a population explosion. Could be velvet or ick. Treat both w/copper. Follow the WetWebMedia copper info. Craig> 

Ich <<Greetings...>> In my 240 gallon I noticed on my regal, and purple tang that they have ich. I always keep my copper at .15 in the tank,  <<constantly? This won't promote long-term good health in your fish. Copper is toxic.>>  and I'm surprised the fish got it.  <<Well... your decor and substrate would be absorbing some of this. I assume you are using a test kit to determine these values?>>  I boosted the copper up to .20 Now the fish in the tank are regal, purple, Sailfin, and yellow tang, blue ring angel, SFE, and chainlink eel, male blue jaw trigger, Niger trigger, blue line trigger, and a small queen trigger.  <<That is a lot of fish, even for a 240 - I hope your filtration is robust.>>  Do you have any tips to give me against ich?  <<Do you quarantine these fish before you put them in the main tank? That would be my suggestion.>>  Please help me. Also, I have been looking for a queen trigger for a year and finally found mine a month ago. Now I don't want to loose him, because he is so cool.  <<They are cool, but are well known for being quite hostile towards just about everything. Hope this choice works out for you.>>  If the ich does get worse, can I set up a smaller tank, do a Fw dip on the queen and move him to the smaller tang (by himself).  <<Should have done this from the start, you may find soon that you need lots of smaller tanks to take everyone out of the main tank and run it fallow for a while.>>  Is this a good idea or should I keep him in the big tank?  <<pH-adjusted freshwater dips and isolation in quarantine are a good plan, yes.>>  If the small tank idea works, what should be the minimum tank size for him for about a month.  <<Something large enough to move/turn around in - you didn't reveal the size of this fish. I like 20-long as an all-around good quarantine tank, if this will work for you.>>  Thanks! <<Cheers, J -- >>

White spots again Dear Bob, We have a Naso tang we got 4 weeks ago. Two weeks after purchase, he got white spots. The white spots went away with hyposalinity/hi temp treatment but some more came back 2 weeks later (now). We need some advice. <Okay> Temp is 84 and specific gravity is 1.019. The two large cleaner shrimps jump on him and appear to feed. Now one of the damsels looks like he has a spot on his fin and on his body. The tang spits out food treated with Selcon (he appears to hate it--any better tasting vitamins?).  <Not really> He's getting much thinner. He feeds but is feeding less. No other disturbing behaviors (i.e. heavy breathing, scratching) and he still is active. We first noted the spots on Friday and it's Monday. Last time the white spots looked a little bigger and when they fell off, he had grey spots (that's our guess because white spot became grey spot and then disappeared). Still, we weren't sure if we had a new disease or whether these dark spots were residuals but they went away.  <Cycled off, to reproduce... > My darkest fear is that we don't have Cryptocaryon but Amyloodinium which you say requires "early" treatment. Your book is the only one I could find that has at least a diagram that demonstrates the differential diagnostic pattern of spots. In the Amyloodinium, it looks like the spots in your diagram are more dense at the top (dorsal fin) of the fish. Ours are more dense at the bottom. Last time the spots looked bigger. I don't want to say that these look powdery but they look finer. <Yes... and the fish/es may have both...> Last time the spots were worse in the morning. I'm not sure if that's true now but they're gradually getting worse. I don't see the distinctive dark spots again. Now for the hospital tank issue. It's a 29 gallon and we put in an Emperor 280 filter with a Biowheel. Last time we put him in, 8 hours later there was a terrible ammonia spike and he was cowering in the corner with alerting spots. Surprise, hospital tanks need to cycle too (stupid). We were cocky when the white spot went away 2 weeks ago and just let it run and didn't track the hospital tank. The temp was VERY low and now, after a 5 gallon water change, ammonia is .1 and nitrite is .01. Can helpful bacteria grow in very cold water?  <Yes... though more slowly, and with lower metabolism> I don't want to leave him unattended in that tank but what are our choices?  <At this point, not many... to return the fish to the main tank, lower temperature (to allow weight gain) and lower still the spg (to about 1.015)...> I'm getting desperate. On your web site, you say that tangs need to be allowed to feed continuously. Given that algae won't grow in the copper treated tank, what are our options? How can we give him food when we're not there? Last time we tried to copper him, he still ate a lot. <As stated, I would return the Naso to the main tank, feed human-intended algae from a feeding clip (mounted near the surface)> People told me damsels are not very vulnerable to this.  <Not so... wide range of susceptibility, some very much so> Is the fact that one of them has it a bad sign that this disease is pernicious?  <Not necessarily> If we take all the fish out and put them in copper, will the live rock house the parasites? <Yes... for a period of time... your system has these parasites as well as the fish hosts...> Finally, we got Cupramine. Last time we added the specified amount to the specified amount of water and the measure on our kit was low. Is Cupramine (nonchelated copper) harder to get and keep at therapeutic levels or could it be that our kit is off? <Both... copper does not stay in solution in the alkaline environment of saltwater in any format...> This is very very painful. Thanks for being there. Allyson <Return the fish, lower the spg... and let's hope that the combination of the ich-impugned environment, use of cleaners (they may not make the transition to lowered spg) and vitamin feeding do effect a cure here. Bob Fenner>
Re: white spots again
Wow! What a prompt response. Thanks. Let me clarify. We have not yet put him in the hospital tank for fears of another ammonia spike. Can we just put him in there for the several hours that we are home and return him to his tank when we go to work in the morning? Or are the transitions more dangerous than the cure? We could consider it a prolonged "dip" to give him an edge on the fight. <Moving this fish is not a good idea... very stressful... I would leave in place> You suggested "human intended algae" on a clip. He's refused Nori in the past (great idea). Any specific brands? We have lots of green algae in the main tank which is why I'm reluctant to remove him. <No specific brands... the "Red" algae (like Porphyra species) though they look green when prepared, are best> Do you think he's eating less because of the heat??? Man, that's so simple. <Yes... and its metabolism is being accelerated by the same...> We can reduce the heat. How low a salinity do you think the shrimp and hermit crabs can tolerate (1.015)?  <More a matter of how quickly than how low... do trend down a half to a full thousandth maximum in any 24 hour period> Right now I just wish I had a bare tank I could copper. Everyone on the list server poo-poo'ed the idea that tangs and invertebrates were incompatible (I think Dakin said that)... <Very surprising... Nick knows better> This stuff is all consuming...Thanks again for being there. <Agreed, stick with your plan... you will be successful. Bob Fenner> Allyson
Re: white spots again
Bob, I stopped by our Japanese store. Found lots of "kombu" which is dried kelp (which he would not touch). <This is mainly a matter of familiarity... our tangs eat kombu... but not for a few days to weeks...> <No specific brands... the "Red" algae (like Porphyra species) though they look green when prepared, are best> Are there any warning signs to look for where we'll have to copper him?  <Yes, levels with test kits are useful, but the animals appearance and behavior are paramount... rapid breathing to labored, sulking in corners, the bottom, blanching with white large areas on its sides (Much like the animal looks in early morning with the lights off/on)... are signs that there is too much exposure.> How long should we wait? If he has trouble breathing, is it too late (he doesn't--yet). <Not necessarily> I lowered the temp to 82 and he is eating well again. <Yes. Bob Fenner> Allyson
Re: white spots again
Sorry, I might not have been clear. We're leaving the little guy in the main tank and feeding him as much as we can and slowly lowering the salinity. We love our invertebrates (hermits and cleaner shrimp) so we're watching them carefully. The Naso tang with white spot ate less today and I'm getting nervous. He's a fussy eater but I'll keep trying the kombu. Perhaps I can just leave it in the tank and hope he'll try it.  <Also try strips of Nori... soaked with a little Selcon, Zoecon, vitamin prep.> Our damsel with a little white spot looks like his fin is being eaten a bit. He's an aggressive fellow so out doubt it was from another fish. Do you think we should copper him or hope that the lowered salinity will take care of things. <Hard to judge from this end of the keyboard... would leave it/s/he be for now. Bob Fenner> Al

Ich again <I'm not so sure> Hi Bob, I don't know if you remember, but I wrote you a couple of weeks ago concerning my fears of getting ich again (I was the one with two tanks, a 30 and a 75 gallon which was devastated by ich).  <Yes, I remember> Any ways, as you recall I had coppered the tanks and have kept them coppered for about six weeks now. I was going to remove the copper and eventually add live rock, but now I have noticed that my purple tang has several white spots on him. <These may not be "ich"... more likely symptomology of the treatment... you could make a smear slide of the fish's body coating and look under a microscope. The "white dots" that people see with ich (both freshwater and marine) are likewise not the protozoans themselves by the mucus produced by their host in response to their presence...> I don't understand it! I have been diligent keeping the copper level at 0.15ppm often measuring copper levels twice a day. Could the parasite have developed resistance??  <Not to copper, no> Furthermore, I gave the tang a fresh water dip, but he started to go crazy after less then two minutes so I put him back in the tank. None of the parasites came off. Should I try to dip him again tomorrow?  <Not if it were mine. I'd place the fish with cleaners and leave it as such> He is really stressed out right now! To make matters worse I am expecting a fish in the mail tomorrow ( flame angel) and my quarantine tank is leaking like a sieve. What should I do?  <Place a bag in it as a temporary fix... maybe two bags thick, one inside the other... trash can types...> In five years with the 30 gallon I have never had a problem, but I've had nothing but problems with the 75 since I got it. I don't want to give up but its becoming a money pit if you know what I mean. If I could just get it stabilized it would be beautiful! Thanks again for your help. It is great to have someone like you to go to in these situations. Much appreciated!! Jeff <As stated, I would "take the risk" and replace the fishes, including the Purple Tang with cleaners... band-aid the leaking Q-tank, and place the Flame there. Good luck my friend. Bob Fenner>

Help crypto that will not go! I have a 120 gallon fish only marine tank with a wet dry system, protein skimmer, and U.V sterilizer. I have wrasses, angels, and tangs. Recently, I have had a Cryptocaryon outbreak after adding new fish, I have never had a problem before treating with copper. This time it has been a very stubborn case. My copper level has been at .25 for over 2 weeks, I have also lowered the salinity to 1.016 four days ago to try to help. The powder blue tang and the Personifer angel seems to be the most susceptible, the other fish just have a few spots every few days. The spots will go away then return a couple of days later (all of this during the treatment). What do you recommend to clear this thing up? I have been using reagent grade marine copper, are there other products or is this copper faulty? Please help, I am frustrated! Thanks, Durell Tharpe  <<You mention having a UV... you're not running this at the same time as the copper I hope? At this point, with the Cryptocaryon being entrenched in your system... I would continue to treat the fishes there... but with a more stable format (like Cupramine) of copper... with daily testing of free copper levels... You're sure you've had 0.25ppm all this time? Very strange... and the copper you're using is CuSO4 . 5H2O? (copper sulfate pentahydrate... probably)... did you citrate it? (acidify the solution with citric acid) or use other adjuncts? I don't think you've had a physiological dose in your system the last two weeks...Bob Fenner>>
Re: Help crypto that will not go!
The copper I am using states Copper Sulfate and citric acid in distilled water for the contents and I have been running the U.V sterilizer the whole time and checking the copper level daily. It reads .25 every time. I don't know what to do. I have used this copper before in controlling outbreaks and it always worked. Why should I not be running the U.V? And if Cupramine is a better option, how should I go about changing the treatment now? Thanks Again, Durell Tharpe  <<The UV will remove many formats of copper... but 0.25ppm is right in there... sort of surprising to me (and you I suppose) that the Cryptocaryon is not gone then... Please have someone check your copper levels against their kit... and your copper solution.... it isn't precipitating on the bottom of its storage container is it?... I would give the current copper a rest (maybe let it go a week, and then start up with another brand... like the Cupramine (it can be added on top... as long as the total free copper is not excessive. And elevate the system temperature to 83-84 F...Bob Fenner>>
Re: Help crypto that will not go!
Thanks for your advice. I did a water change, bought new copper and lowered the salinity more. I lowered it to 1.011. I was going to leave the salt level there for about a week, do you think this will be harmful or not? Is it truly helpful (as many collectors advise to do this)? What effects does this have on the fish and the parasites? Many thanks, Durell Tharpe <The lowered spg? The fishes adjust if they're in good shape to start with, the parasites "pop" due to inability to cope with change in osmotic pressure. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich Hi Mr. Fenner, I am writing you to ask another question. About 2 weeks ago my main tank came down with a case of Ich. Much to my dismay, I began treatments with copper to the main tank on 8/29 and began testing right away. I got a kill dose (20-30ppm) <Hey, move that decimal place over!> within 3 days and kept that dose up until the 11th (yesterday). It seemed all the Ich was gone and my fish had no signs of it anywhere except and occasional head scratch. Actually the Blueface Angel I have had small pits in his head shortly after the breakout which seemed to be healing nicely. So I put a poly-pad and some copper remover (ion-exchange media) in to begin removing it on 8/11. When I awoke this morning to inspect the fish I discovered the Ich had returned, that quickly! <Arggghhhh, next time, the whole two week regimen... you know. And do take a read through the site for input on these treatments... And lower your spg, raise temp... as detailed there: Home Page .> I am all out of tricks. I will begin copper treatments again this evening. But I don't want to treat with copper forever or even for another 2 weeks for that matter. I have lots of live rock on my tank, could this be a root cause.  <Yes, indirectly. The parasite could be "hiding out" in resting stages, and/or the material (living and not) that is the LR could be absorbing enough of the medicant there to render it ineffective... Do move the fishes, treat elsewhere... and let the tank go fallow (with the lowered spg (1.010, temp. about 85F.) for a month or two...> Could the ich be waiting in the rocks? Maybe I should remove it all and treat the hell out of the tank? If you could give me some direction I would really appreciate it. This disease is not suppose to be this hard to shake. Thanks Bob, you're the greatest!  <It, the parasite... can be a real trouble once it gets entrenched, hyperinfective... best to prevent... I know, you fully realize this... now. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Re: Cryptocaryoniasis On question 1, if the Cu is toxic, and can only be used for two weeks with fish, is that a certain cure, or only hopeful? <<More hopeful than absolutely certain... but in 99.9% of cases effective. Bob Fenner>>

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