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FAQs on Marine Ich, Cryptocaryoniasis 1

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

Related FAQs: Best Crypt FAQs, 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, Crypt FAQs 25, Crypt FAQs 26, Crypt FAQs 27, Crypt 28, Crypt 29, Crypt 30, Crypt 31, Crypt 32, Crypt 33, Crypt 34, & FAQs on Crypt: Identification, Prevention, "Causes", Phony Cures That Don't Work, Cures That Do Work,  Products That Work By Name: Free Copper/Cupric Ion Compounds (e.g. SeaCure), Chelated Coppers (e.g. Copper Power, ), 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...  &  Marine Parasitic Disease, Parasitic Marine Tanks, Parasitic Reef Tanks, Marine Velvet Disease, Biological Cleaners, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease, Infectious Disease

Crypt can be transported via anything wet

And... Icky Follow-UP! Bob, In an e-mail last night I was told by the customer that the situation seems to have progressively decreased (whew!) <Good to hear> I do have Cleaner Shrimps in the tank but the 4 of them should be fired...they don't do much cleaning. (lol) <Do know of lazy Lysmata...> I am still going to drop the salinity...slowly. <Ah good> Thanks for the advice, Jim, Aquarium Design <Anytime my friend. Bob Fenner>

Getting Worried about Ich Bob, Hope you had a great holiday, mine was good until I noticed something in my tank last night that has me a little worried. <Hmm, good lead in for a mystery novel> Tank is a 125 gallon reef tank with about 120lbs of Manano live rock and about 2-3 inches of live sand, 175watt 10k MH along with 65watt Power Compacts. It has been up an running since September. Water conditions are in normal ranges (0,0,1), ph 8.3, sg 1.025, been wrestling with phosphate a little bit it has been about .5 to 1 ppm, temp is controlled via chiller and set to 78 degrees, silicates are minimal, all trace elements are line. Currently tank is dosed via a calcium reactor and I'm not adding any trace elements at this time.  <good, likely don't have to>  I generally perform a 10 gallon water change every couple of weeks, performed a 30 gallon change 1 week ago. All fill water is RO/DI water. (System is designed to give these guys the best chance at life as possible, want to keep the RIPs to a minimum!!!) <I understand, and applaud your efforts, forethought> Current inhabitants of this paradise are Chrysiptera cyanea (3), Captive bred percula (2), Zebrasoma flavescens (1), Heteractis Crispa or Malu (still having a tough time identifying this guy, he moved from just being attached in the substrate to attaching himself half way on the rock and burying the rest in the sand, has a bunch of long thin tentacles like crispa, but also a bunch of short stubby guys on the inside like malu any thoughts on what he may be?) <Likely a H. crispa ("Sebae") looking as it does from environmental effects> On to my problem. Notice that the Zebrasoma was presenting himself to the Chrysiptera last night and the Chrysiptera was picking at him. Took a closer look at the Zebrasoma and noticed he had a few white bumps on his body and a few white smudges on his fins. Could this be the dreaded Amyloodinium ocellatum or Cryptocaryon showing itself? The Zebrasoma has been in the display tank for about 4 weeks, he is eating fine (Spirulina flakes once a day, cleans off a clip of Nori everyday and is very plump and has excellent color). <Could be, or other dermal problem, perhaps reaction to just physical, chemical irritation... due to tank having been up for as long as it has... am inclined to think not a parasitic or infectious problem per se... would utilize a biological cleaner at this stage... A Lysmata Shrimp sp. or Gobiosoma goby...> I have quarantined all of my fish for 2 weeks prior to introduction into the display case, however, the only guy that got a freshwater dip with Meth Blue and quarantine before going in was the Zebrasoma. Don't ask me why the others didn't get dipped, I don't know!! From now on, all fish will get the dip before quarantine!!. <Yes> One of the Percs does appear to have one spot but having a difficult time determining if it is abnormal. All others look and behave normal at this time. <Are you starting to see spots before your eyes?> What would you suggest in the way of treating the Zebrasoma, should he be removed and dipped again and back to quarantine for 2 weeks? Should I drop the sg and raise the temp in the quarantine tank? <Would hold off on the environmental manipulation at this point... go with the cleaner(s)> If I were to treat the Zebrasoma in the display tank by adjusting the environment (sg down to 1.018 and temp up to 82) do I risk damaging the Heteractis? <Yes> I know I'm asking you to play fortune teller here but do you think I'm headed for having to take drastic measures in the display tank or am I at early stages where I can get this under control? <Balance... read over the "Disease/Three Sets of Factors piece on the www.wetwebmedia.com site... you will understand> Any suggestions as to the best way to treat this in addition to the FAQs I've looked at would be appreciated. Thanks, Jason <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Fish Ich Okay Bob, I've looked at the information and the closest match appears to be the dreaded Cryptocaryon irritans. White small spots have just now started to appear on my trigger too. I gather that my best option is to treat the whole tank with copper since it appears to have transferred to other fish. I have some copper and was told that the solution should be dosed at one drop per gallon. How often do I need to treat? Should I just leave the not too well established live rock in since it is probably contaminated too? Am I going to need to break down the whole tank? What kind of dipping might you suggest if I should move the fish to another tank? I don't want to lose these fish - they're good ones and all are still eating well. Help! Thanks, Patti Brown  <Read over the pieces on copper use, marine parasite diseases and all the FAQs files on our site:   Home Page ... you need a copper test kit, to augment environmental manipulation... and to do so NOW, with knowledge and intelligence. Bob Fenner>

Fish ich Okay, I'm going to try the copper on the tank. I am going to leave the live rock in - I didn't invest much money in it and I don't want to risk contaminating another tank. <Actually, do remove the rock and just let "moist dry" in a plastic trash can, fish boxes, coolers... for the duration (freshwater rinse before and after as it leaves/returns to/from the system)... as it will greatly interfere with the copper treatment (the biota and alkaline material that is the LR matrix will absorb the copper very quickly otherwise> When I add more live rock in the future, should I dip it before addition? <Not necessary or advisable... real parasite and infectious agents rarely enter systems this way... but pests do...> Methylene blue? The link to copper use at the website does not give any info, but I did read some of the FAQ's. When I treat, how often do I need to check the levels? <No to the Methylene Blue, the copper needs to be checked at least once daily> I have gathered that I need to keep levels up for two weeks, correct? <Yes> Will this work, or am I probably going to have to let the tank go fallow at some point? Should I also lower salinity too and raise temp? <Please read over the FAQ's on our site re the above. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help, Patti

Cryptocaryoniasis Bob, I would like to understand the science of the recommendation to lower the SG  in the refugium holding my live rock. If Cryptocaryoniasis is an obligate parasite, requires a fish host, and completes its life cycle in up to 34 days (at 83 deg f), and I avoid fish introduction for two months, what is the benefit of making the environment hostile to invertebrates? <Just a margin of safety... the "fallow field" approach to hyperinfected systems fails quite regularly... the daughter colonies of Cryptocaryon can "wait" for months sometimes...> Is the cyst form stable beyond that period? Does the SG impact that? I hate  to stress out all of the other invertebrates clinging to the rocks, if time will be just as effective. <Bingo. and Yes... time is/would be effective... but not in an absolute sense... Imagine LD50's or radioactive isotope half lives... 90 some percent of pathogenicity will likely be lost in a month... 95-98% in two... when to one hundred?> thanks, Sam  <Bob Fenner>

Cryptocaryoniasis Bob, We have traded several email back and forth regarding the problems that I  have been having. It is clear now that rather than having poisoned the new  arrivals with Cu, they have died from Cryptocaryoniasis. The quarantine tank  was filled with the water from the main tank (along with the parasites) Now the question is...how best to eradicate the Cryptocaryoniasis from the main tank. I have read all of the threads re: Cryptocaryoniasis on your web site. Unfortunately, my tufa rock is siliconed in place, making it impossible to remove and therefore, very difficult to net the fish. The live rock in both  the tank and refugium is loose, and could be removed to a quarantine tank. I  have no other invertebrates. Questions: 1) is the Cu actually toxic to Cryptocaryoniasis (sparing the need for breakdown and Clorox)? <Yes, assuredly... even the daughter, resting stages in its life cycle. However, bleach definitely is a biocide... and if you move the fishes, and really want to be assured... this takes less time than env. manipulation and hoping a month or two down the line (w/o fish hosts) that the Cryptocaryon has lost its virulence and/or has all gone away.> If so, could I remove the live rock, treat the system with Cu x 2 weeks, with the fish in place, and then ultimately return the live rock? <Yes, if all goes as planned... with the cupric ion kept at physiological dose levels... and the env. manip. referred to.> If so, how can I eradicate the Ick on the live rock (how much time?, ? medication) <A month or two, 1.010 spg, 85 F.> 2) are any medications more specific and effective than Cu? (Metronidazole, Chloraquine). Would they be less toxic to the tank? <These are not antibiotics, and no to them being effective or less toxic.> 3) would there be issues with Cu sequestration in the Tufa and crushed coral  that would inhibit transition to live rock and future invertebrates? <None that are practical> 4) Can the live rock survive in a 29 gallon without protein skimming? I can move the lighting from the refugium. <Yes, very likely most all the types, amounts of life> thanks, Sam  <Good luck my friend, 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>>

Re: Cryptocaryoniasis Bob, I have isolated the refugium from the main tank, transferred the live rock to the refugium, and started Cu in the main tank. I am lowering the SG and raising the temp. Is it necessary or desirable to lower the SG in the refugium, if I am willing to keep it isolated from any fish hosts for 2 months? I will raise the temp, but don't want to kill the invertebrates on the rock if not necessary. Thanks, Sam <<Yes, lower it down a thousandth or so per day to at least 1.018... perhaps lower, but no lower than the invertebrates show definite signs of stress...Bob Fenner>>

Ich Hi Bob, let me begin by saying I am honored to be able to communicate with the author of the book I consider my marine Bible. (That is my wheedling way of saying I enjoyed the hell out of your book and also to thank you for giving me free advice, it is worth so much in this hobby.)  <Glad to be here. Thank you for your kind, encouraging words.> I won't bore you with all the specs on my tank let me just begin by stating I was careless when purchasing a couple of Angels from a dealer that refused to use copper to treat his incoming fish. You can guess what new friend decided to join my fish tank? ICH! I have a lot of live rock and I began my copper treatments (SeaCure) as this seemed the only viable way to shake this parasite. I removed all my inverts except some hardy mushroom so as to be able to gauge how powerful copper is, and they of course shriveled up like sun-dried tomatoes.  <Yes.> I now have left three fish of great concern, a blue face angel (my best friend), a flame angel and an Anthias that are all healthier since the copper. My question is why is that when I turn my lights off and inspect in the morning the Ich appears again? <Cyclicity of the host/parasite relationship... really> And has my tank now changed so significantly that my dreams of a building a reef over time are crushed? Is my tank and rock tainted now? Could I have a virulent case of Ich? <No, not really, and less virulent/pathogenic than before... Do avail yourself of cleaning organisms to "pick up the slack" after not adding more fish for at least a month... Some Gobiosoma gobies, Lysmata or Stenopid Shrimps...>  I have made a mental decision to quit salt altogether if these fish go sour on me due to financials and failure.  <Not an atypical stance/attitude, and one that always brings a sense of foreboding of loneliness to/for me... Do let us pursue a happier path.> Let me just say that I spared no expense (I.E. hospital tank, filtration) when it came to equipment and set up and did not ignore the procedures you laid out in your book. Needless to say, I am beginning to become sour on the keeping of saltwater animals. I can't seem to shake ich and my little friends are dying before my very eyes and it is tough to watch that and your money go down the tubes. <Indeed. I feel your sorrow, and will help. Please take a long read through the parasitic disease, quarantine, medication, ich parts of the site: Home Page . Help is available my friend.> I can't fathom tearing down and starting again, there has got to be a better way. Sorry for the long wind here and random questions but I am losing sleep over this and it is supposed to be a simple fix. Thank you and you are doing wonders for this hobby I am still involved because of you and your writings!  P.S. Please let readers know it is bad to purchase fish from any dealers that do not treat their tanks with meds (preferably copper). We should at least be able to buy disease free specimens for the prices. It is truly incredible some of the idiots I meet in this hobby, and they give it a horrible reputation. Sorry for the rant, THX!  <Thank you for caring, and sharing. Be chatting, 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>

Ick! Hello Bob -  I know you have answered this question a million times. If you could please address my specific situation I would appreciate it. I have 110 gallon FO tank with 75lbs of live rock purchased from FFE, a wet dry and a Berlin protein skimmer. The tanks inhabitants consist of an Asfur Angel, Emperor Angel, Heniochus, Lookdown, Blue Yellow Tailed Tang, and an Australian Raccoon Butterfly. I had a horrible ick outbreak so I treated the tank with SeaCure copper (between .15 - .20 ppm). The next morning the fish seemed to be worse off than before putting the copper in the tank. I've also bumped the temperature up to 84 degrees and slowly lowered the specific gravity to 1.015. Why did the bout with ick get worse after putting copper in the tank and is the live rock no longer any good?  <So much going on with many organisms dying off that are/were your live rock... And the LR is still good... you can use it as base, or repopulate it with some new rock placed on top.> I do have a 29 gallon qt tank that the fish were in shortly before the outbreak. Obviously, I did something wrong. Can you offer some advise to this frustrated hobbyist? <Please read through everything posted on our site, including other peoples questions and input on the topics of quarantine, parasitic disease, ich, copper... in the Marine Index: Home Page. Bob Fenner>

ICH!! Good morning! First, I would like to say thanks for your help in the past and for maintaining such an excellent web site. It is by far the most informative and organized site I have ever seen. <Thank you> Now to the nitty gritty. I have a 90 gallon tank with a corner overflow, a wet/dry filter, protein skimmer, Chemi-pure carbon, 30 lbs of live rock (Fiji and Marshall island mix), 50lbs of tufa (not live) and 50 lbs of Florida base rock (not live). The later will hopefully become live. The miracle of life!! <Yes> I have an emperor angel, flame angel, domino damsel, yellow tail damsel, 3-green Chromis, algae blenny, six-lined wrasse, 2 brittle stars, 15 assorted snails (mostly Astrea), 10 blue-legged hermits and a blood shrimp (cleaner). I have a 40 gal tank (7 months old) that was a fish only tank that I used as a quarantine tank for the above list of fish but not the inverts. I added those directly to the 90 gal but not the shipping water. <Yikes... dips, baths... quarantine...> Most of the fish, I have had for more than 2 months with the exception of the six-lined and the Chromis'. I slowly moved the above fish from the 40 to the 90 over the last month. I dipped all fish in either a fresh/methyl-blue mix or salt/formalin mix before putting them in the main tank. All where doing well and seemed happy until two days ago when I noticed that Domino had some white spots on him. Last night he looked worse and then the flame and emperor started showing white spots (mainly on the fins). All where eating well with no signs of stress or distress. I immediately took action and removed all the rock and caught all the fish. I dipped them in a formalin dip for 45 minutes to 1 hour before placing them back into the 40 gal that fortunately only had one fish in it and 2-blue legs. Most of the parasites fell off the fish during the dip. I also treated the tank(40) with Organi-cure (formalin/copper mix) to hopefully kill anything that made it through the dip. <Yes, with the emphasis on "hopeful"> My water tests fine. NH3=0, NO2=0, NO3=<10ppm, pH=8.0, Alk=11dKH, Ca=380ppm. Water smells good and is very clear. I change or rinse my wet/dry pre filter every day or two. Empty the skimmer every other day (about 1/4 inch of a watery brown gunk). I feed formula 1, 2, angel, pigmy angel, Spirulina, brine +, VHP, tetra flake, live black worms and variety pack. At least three of the above twice daily. I did give them some live brine shrimp a week or two ago. I wonder if the ich came from them? I won't do that again!! <Not likely... instead a latent infection from the original livestock...> My questions are: What do I do now? I thought about lowering my specific gravity to 1.017 and raising the temp to 83-84 in the 90 gal tank for 4-6 weeks with no fish. Will this rid the main tank of the ich? Will this hurt my blood shrimp, live rock (has nice coralline and Marco algae growing), snails, hermits and brittle stars? <Probably be the route I would take as well.... should be okay with other life...though it will take a beating from these conditions> Why didn't the cleaner shrimp clean the fish? <Maybe overwhelmed...> Why did the ICH show up after the quarantine and dips prior to moving fish. Could the ICH have come from the live rock in cystic form or the inverts? <Once again, not likely... mainly from other fish hosts or contaminated water directly> Will I be plagued with ich for ever and have to eventually treat my main tank? <Hopefully (here's that term again) not... the Cleaner will "catch on" and ich will be eliminated from your systems (plural)> What's the best medication to use on the 40. Is Organi-cure any good or should I use Coppersafe etc. for two weeks. I have some poly filter that I can use to get ride of the Organi-cure. <the Coppersafe or other such, with a test kit> Should I use stress coat or tetra anti-bac/fungal flakes (has tetracycline hydrochloride in it). I also have Greenex, formalin and tetra anti-parasite flakes. Are any of these any good? Should I use the flakes and a medication at the same time? <Not the Greenex or formalin... the flakes and a copper-based med. can be used simultaneously> If you treat a tank with copper or other medications, does that mean you can never put any inverts in it unless you change all the rock and substrate? I have heard this from many fish stores. <No... the copper precipitates out completely over time, or can be almost instantly removed with activated carbon use> Boy I'm about out of breath!! Once again, thanks for your help and keep up the great work! Tom <Don't lose faith... better times a coming. Bob Fenner>

Reoccurrence of ick Bob, e-mailed you about 2 weeks ago about blue tang infecting my tank with ick, killing all but blue devil, coral banded shrimp and mushroom. I have a  55 gallon tank with approx. 65 lbs. of Fiji rock. When first coming down  with this problem, about I month ago, treated tank with RXP 3-4X. Upon your  suggestion I raised temp. to 82 degrees and lowered the salt level to  approx.1.014. After raising levels to proper temp. I did approx. a 10 - 12  gallon water change and added charcoal for a few days. I purchased fish on  4/7/00. I purchase a Sailfin tang, I-color angle and a featherduster.  Tonight 4/10/00 I notice white spots (ich) on the Sailfin tang. I pulled charcoal and treated tank with RXP. Help... What do I do to get rid of this problem?  <I have NO FAITH in the RXP and other pepper sauce products period... I would take the fish out, treat them elsewhere with a copper-based medication... Leave the tank without fish, with the elevated temp., lowered spg for a good two months... Replace the fish, add biological cleaners, and hope that this does it... and be absolutely religious about dipping/quarantining new fish livestock going forward> Is it in the live rock?  <Yes, to some extent, and your gravel is host to intermediate and resting stages as well...> Should I net the infected fish and discard? <No... won't solve the root problem...> Please help me solve this problem.. Thank you for your advise in advance and helping me in this matter. <You're welcome. For more information and commiseration, please read over the appropriate sections on the site: Home Page. Bob Fenner>

Thanks I wanted to write to thank you for some very sound (albeit drastic) advice. I've submitted a number of questions to your column and thought it only fair to take a moment to express my appreciation. Besides, it's kind of interesting what happened and I thought you might appreciate the feedback. I have five marine tanks, reef and fish only. Four of them have been trouble-free for long periods and help me keep my sanity in dealing with the fifth. The fifth tank, a 125 fish only has been plagued for close to a year with recurring ich. I tried everything and nothing worked. I have an 80 gallon quarantine tank and I moved all my fish (several times) there to treat them with copper. I've treated the main tank with copper (very carefully testing and maintaining therapeutic levels everyday), run it fallow for weeks on end. Every time, the ich returned when I put healthy fish back in the tank. A few months ago, I read one of your columns where you recommended draining the tank, replacing it with freshwater and basically, dipping the tank. It sounded drastic and I was hesitant to try it. I have a plenum in the tank and was unsure what effect the freshwater would have on the bacteria. But I had exhausted all other options so I gave it a shot with some modification. First, I lowered salinity to 1.014 over a two week period, leaving the fish and inverts in. (The ich was not very severe at the time and the cleaner shrimp were providing some relief to the fish). By the way, from what I've seen, having done this a few times, the salinity and temperature trick rarely eliminates ich; it seems to just set it back until it acclimates. <Agreed> To my surprise, all the inverts (including snails and cucumbers) handled the salinity fine. I then removed all livestock, moving the fish to the QT with copper and moving the inverts to a refugium on a reef tank. I then let the tank run fallow two weeks. Then I drained the tank to about 2 inches of water (enough to keep the plenum under water). Then I refilled with straight tap water (not dechlorinated).  After about 30 minutes, I removed all live rock to a saltwater holding tank and left the tank running with freshwater overnight. The next day, I drained it and filled with pre-mixed R/O saltwater, added a bottled bacteria colony and let everything run a few days. I slowly returned the live rock, checked all nutrient levels and the water was fine.  As for return of livestock, I started with a purple tang, figuring if there was any ich in the tank, the tang would show it right away. I've now returned about half the fish to the tank and it's been about ten days without a sign of any problem. I know this may all sound drastic and you may be saying "Of course there's no ich after all that," but after a year of fighting ich in this tank, I was pleasantly surprised that it worked so well. A few other notes: the impact on the plenum was undetectable. Within 2 or 3 days of the "dip" the plenum was bubbling as efficiently as ever and nitrates are still only at trace levels. Also, to my surprise, three small black and white Hawaiian hermit crabs lived through the whole process, even 60 degree chloraminated freshwater (which made me worry the parasites might have survived as well). Finally, having the tank so empty was a great cleaning opportunity. This tank hasn't looked so good in a long time. Thanks again. I hope this information proves helpful. >> <Thank you for the synopsis, and careful relating of your trials and triumph. It has helped (in future) many more folks and will save untold numbers of fishes. I thank you, Bob Fenner>

Ich Hi Bob, our coral beauty which is new to the tank about 2 weeks has what we believe to be ich. We tried catching it to do a fresh water dip but was afraid we were causing more stress not to mention everyone else in the tank. <Good thinking> We tried a wrasse who did a great job but died the same day we bought it <Typical> We are know trying the garlic method. I read about a medication called "stop parasite" which is made by CHEM MARIN that claims to effective on ich and safe for our inverts. What do you know of this treatment. <Pepper sauce? Not a fan (except in cooking)> We also thought of cleaner shrimp but they are spendy. We would put out the money though if it would work. Thank you Brenda <Now you're talking... if your fishes aren't too ich-infested at this point, do get one (or two if they'll fit) Lysmata amboinensis (or other species), and/or a couple of Gobiosoma gobies... as cleaners. 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 Eeeks! Tearing down the tank will work I'm sure but is there an alternative? The tank is too big to be torn down -- 500-gallons and it does contain lots of inverts. Will using a UV help? What about riding it out? Thanks for the response, Mark <<Worth a try... riding it out, employing a UV, increasing Redox, improving water quality  overall, and loading up with some/more biological cleaners... In the meanwhile... and for a few months following... NO more fish livestock additions... they will lack the "acquired immunity" of your present livestock... and you need to let the virulence of the Cryptocaryon lessen....Bob Fenner>>

Ongoing Ich My current reef tank is doing well except for the introduction of fish. Almost every new fish I put in the system either succumb to ich or suddenly disappear. The big ones such as tangs, angels, and butterflies got ich whereas the small damsels and chromis vanish within 24 hours even though they appear healthy the day before. All parameters check out perfectly and the inverts (corals, anemones, and shrimp) are prospering. I had a hippo tang that contracted ich 4 months ago. Could this still be in the water and if so, how do I get rid of it? <<Wow... well, there is/are some mischief maker(s) in your system... likely a Mantis Shrimp (order Stomatopoda), that you want to get rid of... by baiting it out near night time/lights out with some meaty chunk of food near the front corner... ready with a flashlight and net... or better, by conditioning the rogue fish eater with the same sort of meaty food (once again right after turning off the lights), then placing the same bait in a "live mouse trap" (aka Mantis Shrimp trap...)... get rid of this critter before buying any more small fishes/food for it. The entrenched ich problem... yes, it is IN YOUR SYSTEM... a few ways to approach this... If it were me, I'd take all the fishes out, treat them in a separate system... and freshwater dip (pH adjusted) on the way there and on the way back (in a month or two...)... The main tank, I'd dump out, fill with straight freshwater... for a day or two, refill then with lower the specific gravity (1.010) for a week, then raise it back to normal... raise the temperature to 84F. in an attempt to speed up, get rid of the ich parasites in various life stages in your system (Lower it back down before returning fish livestock)... and before returning your fish livestock... place some biological Cleaners to help ward off any residuals... give comfort to your fish livestock. Yes, this process is going to whip your live rock organisms... not totally though, and Yes, get rid of that Mantis Shrimp (or giant worm, Pistol Shrimps...) in addition to the work on ridding the ich...And, of course, henceforth, dip, quarantine all incoming fish livestock... to exclude these external parasite problems getting into your system in the first place. Bob Fenner, who encourages you to read to your satisfaction, the pieces on "dips/baths", "quarantine", "acclimation techniques", "Cryptocaryoniasis/ich", "shrimp", "treatment systems"... posted on the URL: www.wetwebmedia.com >

Quarantine & Main System Fallow I'm trying to think ahead a little here. Would it be wise to put all my fish in the quarantine tank and leave them there for 4 weeks?  <Need to think even further back... and not have these problems in the first place... as you now know all too well. Four weeks may not be long enough... I would also boost the temp. and lower the spg in the main system to hasten the parasites demise...> My motivation here is to deprive the parasite of a host. Additional fish are 5 Banggai Cardinals (one carrying eggs in his mouth), Strawberry Gramma (haven't seen him for a couple of days), and the six line wrasse (showing spots so he goes in). I think this is too much for my 20. I have pieces of decorative coral from my FO days in storage which I could put in the 20 for hiding spots. But am I better off not using them to maximize water volume? <A balance must be struck... I'd put a few pieces in for function.... not too many for lost-volume and remedy-absorption sakes...> Still trying to think in Dallas....and getting thirstier in the process! <I'm having and Adam's Winter Lager as I key...Bob Fenner>

I give Mr. Fenner, We have had more than one conversation about this, I've read everything I can get my hands on. Here is the scoop... I can't rid my reef of ich. First I took out all the fish, left it for 2 months. All the while a 25 watt UV going 24-7. All the fish were in other tanks, medicated, showed no sign of infection. I have 2 cleaner shrimp, one cleaner wrasse, one neon goby, 3 peppermint cleaners in the reef for "cleaning" purposes. Before the fish were introduced the gravity was lowered to 1.019, (and that did in two hard corals.) I vacuumed every two days for the last two weeks, about 2 to 4 gallons. Raising the salt level back to 1.025...I started back slow... three yellow tangs, then angel, about this time I saw a spot or two on the fish. I stopped adding, the spots left in a day or two. I waited a week... nothing, so I added a purple, hippo, Kole... two days later the Kole and hippo are a mess! All the fish are still eating like pigs, no ill health. EXCEPT they are covered with spots, I mean lots! HELP... any ideas? Should I start over? What about the rock, sand, coral etc.??? I give up, what do you suggest? I'm tired of the problem, it is the only tank I have problems keeping ich out. Thanks again, Steve <<Hmm, and you quarantined, dipped at least in freshwater (plus?) all the new fishes?... I might well "start over" or at least go back to square one, moving the mal-affected fishes through quarantine... to other systems... and leaving the tank fallow again for a couple of months... something in the equation is missing here... maybe some lax lack of discipline in keeping nets, specimen containers, maintenance gear separated from the "bad" system and "others".... Bob Fenner, who doesn't believe in giving up>>

Beginner problems Hi Bob, I really enjoy reading your responses to your column. I have probably learned more from the column than any of the books that I have read. Except yours of course, it is my second bible. Ok, now for the questions. 1. I have had an Ick problem in the past and I am extremely worried about it coming back, I have waited 30 days for new fish, fixed one of the others (lost 2) and installed a U.V sterilizer. What I would like to know is whether or not you can actually see the ick organisms in the water in any form (larvae etc...)  <No to seeing them... the tomites et al. forms or Cryptocaryon are a few microns across... the "white spots" folks can see on ich-infested fishes are the symptomatic results of the irritated fish/hosts skin... and much, much larger than the ich parasite causing the reaction> I have recently seen some very small white creatures swimming to the top of the tank. They swim in jerky actions but eventually make it to the top and get pushed around by the powerheads. Should I worry about these?  <I wouldn't... it's not "them"> 2. I believe that I have enough live rock in my 55 tank to make a biological filter (about 35 lbs total in the last 30-40 days), I also have an over the back, separate skimmer, and a U.V. The problem is that I disconnected my undergravel filter and a hobbyist said this could be deadly to the tank. Is it deadly? Should I clean under the plates, or leave it alone? Thank you, Ray Scheid <Hmm, deadly? Probably not... this is one, simple way to make a "previous undergravel set-up" into a "purposeful denitrator, plenum set-up"... Unless the tank, substrate was very filthy... I wouldn't change a thing... You can monitor aspects of nitrogen cycling, keep an eye on your livestock for overt signs of trouble... I doubt if there will be any.... Alternatively, you can check your measurements of nitrates with previous records... and you'll find them decreasing, decreased. Bob Fenner>

Ick, Lionfish and Triggers Bob, How susceptible to ick are the Lionfish and Trigger species? I have one of each (Volitans and Picasso) and it seems they are the last to contract anything, if they contract at all. Thanks, Tony <<The Volitans is about a five out of ten on susceptibility and Triggers about sevens... they can contract it, no doubt... but far less easily than tangs, butterflies...Bob Fenner>>

Ick I have a 55gal. tank, I have 40lbs of Fiji live rock, 2 small clowns, had a yellow tang, had 2 dominos. I saw the little spots 6 days ago, and the 3 fish died. My local store told me to do a water change, and I did. 3 days later they  died. I now see little spot on the clowns, what should I try? I have (2) 330 bio wheels, a cpr150 skimmer ,water temp 78. thanks for your help <<We need to backtrack a bit... do you dip or quarantine your livestock? The store suggested a water change? What for? At this point you need to remove your fishes, or your live rock and any invertebrates and algae to separate systems and treat the fishes with a copper based medication, using a test kit to assure the proper dosage... and manipulate their environment to their benefit: by lowering the specific gravity of the water to about 1.018 and raising the water's temperature to about 82 F. There is too much to tell you here to make your previous exposure to information make sense.... I would suggest you read over the Marine Disease, Medications/Treatment System, Copper Use, Quarantine, Dips/Baths, Acclimation articles and book sections stored at the URL: www.wetwebmedia.com and get back to me if you are unclear about how and why to proceed... Do this now. Time is of the essence. Bob Fenner>>

Help - ich Mr. Bob Fenner: I hope you don't mind getting I email with a fish question directly to you. I am getting conflicting information as my fish are getting worse. Tank: 200gallon w/ 63 gallon wet/dry with 10 gallons of bioballs UV 40watt with 400 gallons per hour flow (currently off due to medication) Berlin XL protein skimmer (currently off due to medication) Two Rio 3100 return pumps 8 VHO 4' bulbs Tank contains: Yellow tang, Achilles tang, Sailfin tang, 5 damsels, flame angel, 4 neon gobies, 2 cleaner shrimp, bicolor blenny, flame hawk, arrow crab, 10" brittle star and approx. 100 - 150 hermits and snails Approx. 80-100 lbs of live rock, 3 large sponges (3"+), associate coral from the live rock that is growing quickly. Tank was started at the end of November using natural filter seawater. After 2 weeks: All tests perfect until the 2 days ago when the ammon. hit 0.1 and then dropped, pH dropped to 7.8 and is currently 8.15 to 8.25. SG 1.025-1.026 Approx. one week ago, the Achilles tang showed a couple of white spots (approx. 5 hours after purchase). The tang was put in the main tank because the wholesaler (open to public on weekends), advised the stress would kill him in a 20 gallon hospital tank. (Never do that again). The spots disappeared later in the day. The next morning their were more. It cycled: morning and night - increasing number of white small spots, afternoon - very few. Then the flame angle and Sailfin tang got a couple. I was recommended to use Kick-ich (tm). I called Ruby Reef and spoke to Dr. Grillo who advised a modified treatment. Everything appeared good for the next couple of days. As of this morning, the Achilles tang has hundreds of spots. By 8:45am, you can only see a few but many marks from where the spots were. What is this and what do you recommend. I am not at my main computer that has a detailed testing and daily observation that I sent Dr. Grillo. I have a 20gallon tank that had a royal Gramma that was purchased that showed up with ich. It has been treated since 2/3/00 with 0.2 copper sulfate. Do you think this was enough? Should I remove the rest of the fish (purchase a second 20 gallon) and start copper treatment? (was afraid of the stress to the tangs and the new angle) I could email the detail information later, but looking for some advised in a hurry. Thank You, Robert Schnell <<Oh... this is almost certainly the causative organism of marine ich, Cryptocaryon irritans... and you have clearly detailed a common pattern of expression... consequent to your hapless introduction of the Acanthurus (Achilles)... And no, the medication in the main tank will not eradicate the parasites' intermediate/resting stages... Am sorry to bolster your suggestion, but yes to moving the fishes out, treating them in the hospital/quarantine tanks.... and letting your main tank "go fallow" for a good month (two would be better)... where I would risk "speeding up" the life stages of the ich by elevating temperature... to about 84F. and possibly lowering your specific gravity to 1.019 or so... Keep an eye on your invertebrates... they will "let you know" if you are going too fast, too far... a thousandth or so per day... And do just send any correspondence through the fine folks at FFExpress.com. I respond to all e-mails in order of reception irregardless of source, but feel better about posting back to them with interchanges that I feel/think worth sharing. Bob Fenner>>

Help - ich Thank you for your quick response. I will forward future correspondence through Flying Fish. I didn't want to get into a public forum to whether this product Kick-ich works or not. <Why not? If it does, great. If not... it should get negative press... if it worked fabulously, a big plug...> I have not been getting any straight answers either with my fish not doing well. I am enclosing below a letter that I sent Dr. Grillo of Ruby Reef (Kick-ich) which includes observations and treatments. His suggestions that I use Rally and kick-ich together because he does not sound like ich after he advised me to start using this medication a week ago. The only response so far was the fish is probably too far gone and he will get back to me. <What? Does this make sense? Did this person suggest you do a simple smear prep. and take a look through a simple microscope (about the cost of two fishes or corals...). Besides, the "standard" treatments for protozoan problems of marines really fall into only a few categories... What DID this Dr. think it WAS/IS?> The questions I have is what is the best way to continue. The Achilles Tang that had hundreds of spots early this morning (counted a small section with over 40 spots), later it showed only a few spots in the late morning and afternoon. Where the spots were, there are on the skin. At night, there are many very small white spots appearing. Most of the other fish have either no visible spots or a few spots. I received the Rally and additional Kick-ich. Should I use on the main tank or not. According to Dr. Grillo, I need to add it tonight. What is your recommendation or experience? <No experience with this/these products... and no listing of them in any Index Medicus, Poison Center reports.... what are the ingredients? I don't sell or endorse smoke or worse... I would have, and would go with a tested, experimentally proven method of treatment... as I've suggested in our last e-mail... a copper based medication in a separate system> My sick tank has the Royal Gramma in there with a 0.2 mg/L of chelated copper sulfate. I have a 55 gallon tank that finished cycling using the dead shrimp method a few weeks ago. When would you recommend I can take the Royal Gramma out to free up this hospital tank? In has been in there since 2/3/00. <Not necessarily... I would probably treat all the fishes together... in whatever tank(s) will fit them all... With the copper med. and lowered specific gravity, elevated temperature...My recorded procedures and references are located at the URL: www.wetwebmedia.com> I assume by your last message to start taking the fish out and treating with copper. I can pick up another 20 gallon tank for treatment. Any suggestions to putting the above fish in two twenty gallon tanks? I have had an ammonia problem with 2 damsels (too aggressive in 200 gallon) and one royal Gramma. I had to due a 25%+ water change every 3rd day to keep the ammonia under 0.2. The fluidized filter is definitely not doing its job (cycled for 6 weeks). Are there any chemicals that would remove ammonia until I can get some sponge filters working? Would you recommend a fresh water bath at this point? <Not really on both queries... best to test, do the water changes, re-administration of the copper> How long would you treat with Copper? I have been given times from 10 days to 40 days? <Two weeks should do it, and be a maximum... this stuff is toxic to the fishes as well as the parasites> You recommended to lower the SG of my main tank to 1.019. The tank includes coral and sponges. Is this OK? I have been informed to keep it around 1.025 to 1.026 / 35ppt normally as it is a reef tank. Was this advise good? <Yes, to slowly, a thousandth or a so a day... but not to the detriment of the invertebrates... if they begin to look poorly, I would raise the spg back a thousandth... the intent is to "pop", otherwise weaken the parasites present in the system... before returning any fish life> Thanks for your time. I didn't like asking all this questions at one time, but the misinformation that I am getting in the is field is costly and wasteful. Robert Schnell <There are many conflicting opinions about most all aspects of the marine aquarium interest... and many confluent, "both work" approaches... Part of the intelligent fun and frustration of the hobby. Bob Fenner>

Beginning Treatment Bob, Working on removing the fish from the 200gallon. After 3 hours, 3 caught, many to go. As per your response, I am lowering the SG by 0.001 a day and using a copper solution of 0.20 in a 20 gallon tank (pick up another tank over the weekend). I am looking for a copy of Fish Disease, Diagnosis...., so far nobody has it locally, I will try mail order next week. I attempted to look at FishNet. It is only available to CompuServe members. Question: While I leave my 200 gallon tank fishless, would this be a good time to add some additional cured live rock? Is there any treatment to be done to the live rock before it is placed in the main tank? Would you like me to attempt to resend the information on Kick-Ich sent to me by Dr. Grillo? Thanks for all the time in responding. Thank You, Bob Schnell <<Wait on the re-send... am getting a new motherboard tomorrow... and hopefully my "real" machine will be up and going... and will be able to decipher the "mime" memo. Not really much to do with re-curing some relatively cleaned up live rock... and this may well be a propitious time as you say. Do add some cleaners to the system ahead of returning the fishes... Lysmata shrimps, Gobiosoma gobies...Bob Fenner>>

Help - ich Thanks, working on your advise this minute. I am testing all three tanks and preparing to move the fish in the 20 gallon to the 55 gallon (new tank). I am printing your information from WetWebMedia as I type this. I could almost write a book on bad information and that is on the limited information that I have. On the question of normal SG, what would you recommend for a reef tank once this is over with? <Something near "normal" ocean density, 1.025 at 78F., a little higher for Red Sea biotopes> I checked the bottles: Rally: acriflavine, aminocridine, 0.245% w/v formalin Kick-Ich: 5-nitroimidazoles <Not too surprising... and am not surprised at the "variable usefulness" reports I have received regarding the one anti-ich product... Organic molecules in captivity "behave" differently depending on what else makes up the water... the imidazoles could be "lost" in these interactions.> The reason I didn't want to make public is because I have not finished the treatment. The fish are getting worse. One of my questions is if the medication as explained by me by Dr. Grillo: the medication kills the free-swimming tomites in the tank. Could the tomites have been before the treatment has started? <Could the tomites have been in the system water before the treatment? Yes, and on the fish/hosts and in various stages in the substrate...> I questioned it and have received only one answer after leaving an e-mail and phone message for him, which was to use Rally with the Kick-Ich and that "Over 100 spots!! Best you do something quickly. If it is ich or Amyloodinium (marine velvet), the gills will be compromised beyond repair in no time at such a high infection level. If other fish in your tank suddenly display such large numbers of spots, you have to consider that the problem might be the far more lethal velvet (RALLY will help). Watch closely for signs of reparatory distress. Keep me posted. I'll address your other email as I have opportunity." - No other response. If the life cycle has already started another cycle then the medication is not working. I didn't want to bad mouth a product that I have heard some very good results and some bad without all the information. If I didn't have concerns, I wouldn't be asking and following your advice. Thanks You, Robert Schnell <Hmm, don't feel I'm following all of this... there are a few standard works that directly or tangentially deal with "pet-fish" disease... You might do well to invest in a copy of Edward J. Noga, Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment... and take a note to John Farrell Kuhn's at/through CompuServe's FishNet... you will soon know who he is... if you are at all really interested in getting to the "real deal" about this ich problem and the products you're using... I wish you well, Bob Fenner>

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