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FAQs on Marine Ich, Cryptocaryoniasis 13

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

Related FAQs: Best Crypt FAQs, Crypt FAQs 1, Crypt FAQs 2, Crypt FAQs 3, Crypt FAQs 4, Crypt FAQs 5, Crypt FAQs 6, Crypt FAQs 7, Crypt FAQs 8, Crypt FAQs 9, Crypt FAQs 10, Crypt FAQs 11, Crypt FAQs 12, Crypt FAQs 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,

- Recovering from Ich - Dear Crew at WetWebMedia, I'm very sorry for typing my message in capital letters. I did not know that it meant shouting.  <No worries - all your friends will appreciate it.> Please accept my apologies. I honestly had no clue. <Again, no worries.> I hope that you can still help me with my new found hobby. I think your web site is incredible! <Glad you find it useful.> I have a 29 gallon saltwater tank. I set it up as told by my local fish store. My tank has been thru the cycle. I have live sand and rock. I started with 3 small (false) clown fish. After the cycle was complete I added a yellow & a blue tang. The next day the clowns had what looked like ich. Of course, I panicked. Went to my local fish store. I was recommended to use copper. I did. It didn't seem to work. Eventually all my fish died, last clown died today. <Sorry to hear of your loss.> All I have left is the live sand & rock, 4 hermit crabs and an emerald crab. At this point I don't think the sand or rock are live. Please help! Should I re-start again? <I think for the most part you will have to. If you don't already have some, get a large container of activated carbon and a bag and run that either directly in the tank or in your filtration system - swap it out every week. I'd do that for a month before I felt it was wise to try fish again - you might want to get some new live rock to re-seed the old stuff.> When I re-add fish how does the quarantine work? <You need a separate tank/system - doesn't have to be as large as the one you have now - have a lot of water made up in advance and then put the new/incoming into quarantine. Keep them under observation there for a couple of weeks, no more than a month unless you're having a lot of trouble with it. Change water as often as needed to stop build up of ammonia.> Also I was thinking of doing live sand and rock and just having a small lionfish and perhaps a maroon clown. Can the two be mixed? <Yes.> Is it safe to keep salinity at 19 or 20 all the time, to help prevent parasitic infections? <I wouldn't keep the salinity below 1.020 for any length of time - perhaps during quarantine, that might help a little, but would be a source of stress. Personally, I keep all my tanks at 1.025.> Thank You in advance! <Cheers, J -- >

Copper or Hypo? I have a debate. I have my Tusk, Assasi trigger and Black cap Gramma in my hospital tank for a week now. These are new additions. I have seen only 1 or 2 spots on the tusk over the last 6 days.  My Trigger is from the Red Sea. My debate is; I have read along the forums that a tusk did not survive hypo, and also that the Red Sea fish don't like hypo too much. So do I treat with Cupramine or hypo?<I would go with copper, these are pretty tough fish> I personally would like copper better because I think is a more for sure way of eliminating ich.<agreed> But can my fish handle it.<they should> I really want to do the best as I just lost about $800 on fish to ich and these were not cheap either.<agreed, I would treat with a brand called Copper Power... it is less toxic than most other copper remedies and I have "never" (knock on wood) lost any fish when treating them for parasites with this medication, good luck, IanB> My main tank has been fish-less for 6 weeks now.

Alternative Therapies For Ich (1/27/04)    Greetings WWM Crew! <To You as Well. Steve Allen here.>    I seem to have gotten into an Ich mess despite my best attempts at quarantine.  Here is my current situation - I have a 150 fish only system housing 5 fish - a damsel, a striped puffer and a longhorn cowfish from another tank in my house, a yellow tang and a juvenile queen angel, both recent purchases.  The tang entered near the end of cycling, the angel shortly there after, followed last week by the three others.  Nitrites and Ammonia are zero, Nitrate just barely registers.    I've never seen Ich in my old tank, and I guess I wrongly assumed that I was okay... and of course failed to quarantine the last 3 fish. <Live and learn.> Yesterday I noticed a couple white spots on the fins of the puffer and cowfish, and they sure look like Ich. <You are almost certainly right.> I'm now in the situation of having 5 large-ish fish to house and treat. with only a 15 gallon hospital / QT tank (my secondary QT is also my water mixing trash can). I definitely can't house 5 separately, and I think the stability of the big tank is best for the fish. <Big Rubbermaid tubs with biofiltration, circulation & heat work well.>    I travel quite a bit for work, and don't have anyone I trust to do daily water changes, etc - my girlfriend has learned to feed correctly, but that's about it. <Understood.>    I know you're against treating in the main tank, but I guess I'm looking for some alternatives.  I like the idea of hyposalinity, but I've found a lot of conflicting information on the subject.  <Many opinions out there.> I've already started to lower the salinity <Do you have inverts?--could be dangerous to them>, and I'm now running the UV sterilizer 24 hours a day. <May kill the free-swimming organisms if flow rate correct. The theory then is that if few are able to get to your fish, most eventually die for lack of a host.> I'm also tempted to try copper.  <Resist this with all your strength. This will be nothing but trouble and disaster. Will kill your biofilter and inverts. May kill your cowfish and thus wipe out your tank. Will ruin your sand and rock, causing them to leach toxic copper forever. Should only be used in QT.> What exactly are the detrimental effects of doing these in my main system? <As above.> Am I just wasting time, or is there viable "if-you-have-to-do-it" alternative? <The QT/fallow method is the only proven way.> I'd love to run fallow for weeks, but I just don't think my fish would make it. <I understand your predicament. I can tell you that I had a few spots of ich on two fish in my tank last July. I was very careful about water quality and ran UV for several weeks. I have not seen a spot of ich on any fish since. A word of warning: ich will "disappear" after a few days and then may come back a hundred fold a couple of weeks later when the next, bigger generation is ready to leave the substrate and infest fish. It may then be too late to save your fish. That's the risk you take if you do not immediately treat aggressively. You have to weigh the factors and decide what's best for your situation. There was a good article by Scott Michael in Aquarium USA 2004. You should be able to find this at Petco or PetSmart. Advanced Aquarist Online is running a good series of articles right now too. Unfortunately, this month's is only number 3 of 5. Check here: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/jan2004/toc.htm> Many Thanks, Dave <Hope this helps.>

Attacking Cryptocaryon With A Fallow Tank I have just started to run my tank fallow to rid a crypto outbreak. I have 10 fish and have not lost any yet; the freshwater dip and QT seem to have relieved them so they can start to recover. <Glad to hear that!> I am planning to do hyposalinity (only) treatment for them in QT. I have a refractometer and will lower the salinity slowly. But I was reading something on this site actually that scared me. Here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm  it says,  "In actual fact cysts of Cryptocaryon can stay viable for a few to several months, hence ultraviolet sterilization, use of biological cleaners, allowing systems to go fallow... only decreases the number and virulence of these parasites. Once in a system, the system itself is infested and the only practical means of control becomes providing an optimized and stable environment."  So does that mean that even if I allow my tank to go fallow for 6 weeks and I quarantine anything new going into it, there could still be some Cryptocaryon irritans in my tank and it might lead to another infestation? <Well, yes...No treatment is 100% successful every time. By running the tank fallow, you are depriving the causative "parasites" their hosts (your fishes), which will result in the majority of them being eliminated. A few will survive, but the thought process here is that the parasite count will be so low that otherwise healthy fishes should be able to resist the "advances" of any remaining parasites. Short of "nuking" the tank with copper (a no-non!) or completely breaking it down and sterilizing it, there is no sure-fire way to eliminate every possible remaining parasite. However, the fallow process is so successful that I recommend it without hesitation> Along the same lines, this protocol would mean you would need to QT coral upon arrival, but wouldn't the amount of time needed to guarantee no ich cyst on coral be detrimental to the coral w/o proper lighting.  Thanks, -Ryan <Well, Ryan, it actually would not. In fact, since you are keeping corals or other animals in a smaller tank for quarantine, even lower-level lighting will suffice for a while. Also, you can compensate for the lower lighting by feeding them more! See this link for more on the process: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quarinverts.htm Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Everyone Out! (Ich Treatment) Dear WWM, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I think my trigger might have ich, but I don't know how he got it. I've had my tank for about 8 months now. I bought the aquarium used and it came with a large lionfish, a Niger Trigger and a Snowflake Eel. Everyone made the move except the trigger. The man I bought the aquarium from said the trigger came down with ich from time to time, but that he had just treated him recently in the main tank, which at the time had no live rock or inverts. <Well, you know how we feel about treating in the display, right? LOL> About two weeks after the Niger trigger died, I bought a Picasso Trigger that I had always wanted. I didn't q/t him because at the time I didn't know how important it was. <I'll bet that you do now- huh??> Everything went fine for the next 7 months, and I thought I had luckily avoided having ich, but then today I noticed the trigger had 4 white spots on his fins and about 2 or 3 on his body and he was scratching his sides on the live rock. He is still eating and begging for food all the time, but every once in awhile he goes to scratch his side. <Sounds very much like ich to me. The fact that he is eating is a good thing...These are pretty tough fishes, and can be readily cured with standard treatment techniques> The lionfish and eel are not showing any signs of anything and they are still eating too. About a week back I made a trip to the store and bought some fresh oysters and clams for the fish, and I thought this might have caused it but I scraped out the meat and froze it for four days before I fed it to them. I thought this would have killed any parasites, but I'm not sure. I also thought that ich didn't affect anything except fish. <Essentially true..> I also never feed any live fish. Is there any other  disease this might be or has the ich just stayed dormant in the tank for this long. I have heard some people say that all tanks have ich, but I don't know if I believe that. <I personally do, although there may not be any scientific basis for this assumption.> I have also heard that poor water quality could cause ich, but I believe my water is just fine. Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 25 pH 8.08-8.18 S.G 1.025 Temp-always stable at 78. I also change 20-40% water weekly. <I don't think that "poor water quality" can cause ich- but it can create stress which can compromise a fish's immunity to potential illnesses...> I have read over what you guys recommend for treatment, but my lionfish is so big that a simple q/t just wouldn't do. I would have to purchase at least a 55 gallon aquarium to put them in. <How about a large plastic trash can or trough? A lot less expensive than an aquarium, and it can do just as good a job in a pinch. You really do want to treat the trigger, and at least observe the other fish in a separate facility, just to be safe. Then you can let the display run "fallow" for a month or so to deprive any parasites still present the hosts (your fishes!) that they need to complete their life cycle!> Right now they are in a 75-gallon and I think that is too small. <It is! A bigger tank is in the near future, I hope?> I'm still trying to save up for the 210-gallon that I want for them. <Good!> The other problem is that I couldn't treat them in the main tank even if I wanted to (which I don't) because I have about 80 pounds of live rock between the main tank and the sump. I am worried things will get worse if I don't do something now, so I'm just writing to see if you have any advice for me. I will go out and buy a large q/t tank if I have too, I just hope it will not be to stressful on them. Thanks, Nick <Well, Nick, disassembling the rocks structure and removing the fishes basically, ahem- sucks, but I think that this is the most conservative and potentially successful course that you can take. It can be a stressful process, but the alternative can be an endless cycle of disease in the tank until your fishes eventually succumb to the disease or other secondary infections. Better safe then sorry. Everyone out! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Giving Ich The Kick! Dear Mr. Fenner, <Actually, Scott F. in today> I have two 5" Semilarvatus Butterflyfishes in my 30 gallon quarantine tank at the moment that are currently overcoming a case of Ick that they broke out with a few days ago from something I may have done to trigger it. Until this point, I have not had to treat any of my 7 fish thus far since starting both my 200 gallon main tank and 30 gallon Q-Tank 10 months ago which are: 4" Coral Beauty 3" Flame Angel 5" Majestic Angel 5" Christmas Wrasse Royal Gramma Lawnmower Blenny Azure Damsel I bought these Semilarvatus from a reputable source 2 weeks ago in pristine condition. 1 week after putting the 2 fish in the Q-tank, I noticed a white growth on the very tip of the dorsal fin on one of them. Closely watching this for a few days, it was apparent that the small whitish pillowcase looking growth was getting larger. I believed this to be Lymphocystis from reading FAQ's and seeing pic's on your site. In some of those letters the advice given was to actually pick the it off when it becomes large enough which sometimes kicks the fish's immune system in gear to help with getting rid of the growth. I filled a 5 gal. Instant Ocean bucket with water from the Q-Tank with an airstone and heater to keep the temp. & pH stable. I added a half teaspoon of Melafix for antibacterial purposes in the bucket then put both fish in. About 2 hrs. after placing them in the bucket I netted the one with the growth, and with a pair of tweezers, I quickly but carefully removed all but a trace of it without damage to the dorsal fin and placed him back in the bucket without much fuss from the fish. The reason I put both fish in the bucket was the uncertainty of what this mystery growth actually was, and I just wanted to try to ensure the other one didn't come down with the same thing. <An aggressive approach, but I suppose worth the try on such an expensive fish> I left them to dip for another 3 hrs. and kept a close eye on them during this process to watch for signs of stress. Well, the next morning the spot where the growth was looked much better, BUT they both had a few white spots developing on them. <Possibly triggered by the stress of the process.> Not being one to panic, I fed them and went off to work figuring this was the result of being a bit stressed from the dip process and they would most likely be able to shake the few spots they had since they were otherwise healthy and happy and eating like gluttons. By the time I arrived home that night, they were covered in white spots! O.k., now I knew it was time to do something about it and do it quickly. I went to a LFS that carries Cupramine since I had read good things about it's efficiency and being relatively safe in treatment of saltwater Ick. I pulled all my snails out, removed the carbon from my Emperor 400 filter, then put the 3 pc.s. of live rock I had in with them in a 5 gal. bucket with water siphoned out of my quarantine tank and started an airstone and heater in with the rock. I did this to avoid having the rock absorb copper from the water and prevent a proper dosage. <A good assumption> And, since there is an outbreak of Ick in the Q-Tank tank, wouldn't the larva and or cysts of the parasite be on the rock and possibly give my main tank an increased population of them if I were to transfer the pieces? <Yes, but do think about the QT process and technique for a bit. A quarantine tank need not be a permanent feature. You simply set it up as needed, and break it down and sterilize it when done. In almost every case, you will not use or need a substrate in a quarantine tank. Certain fishes (like Leopard Wrasses and maybe Mandarins) would benefit from some live sand, but you can just pull in some from the display if needed. Otherwise- bare and sterile is the best way. Just some inert items, like PVC, for cover. Sorry to digress, but I think that this is a little correction that you need to make to your procedures that will benefit your animals in the future...> Just didn't want to take the chance. O.k. now that the tank was cleared out, and I had done a 25% water change, I added the Cupramine per the suggested  amount on the bottle which is 1ml per 10.5 gallons of water. The next morning they had noticeably less spots on their bodies. However, the water was somewhat cloudy and their appetites were not the same ( which I attributed to the effects of treating the water ). <Quite possibly...> I waited 48 hrs. and repeated the 2nd dosage as suggested. The directions go on to say to maintain treatment for 14 days, but the fish store said to just dose the two times as I mentioned. <Follow the manufacturer's advice to the letter when using this or any other medication...No "freelancing" here!> Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I would imagine without my mechanical filtration in place I will need to do daily water changes or every other day, and if so, how am I to make certain the amount of Cupramine to add back that I would be taking out by doing the water changes? <You should do regular water changes, and you should be testing the water for copper whenever you use this medication. A copper test kit will tell you 1) If you are maintaining a proper therapeutic dose, and 2) If you are overdosing this potentially toxic substance. Always use a test kit when treating with copper!> I did leave the bio-wheels in place as the information says that the medication won't disrupt the biological filtration. Hope this was o.k. <Usually is> My main concern now is they are not really eating like before. Instead, they just pick a little at the food I have been feeding them which is Ocean Nutrition: Angel Formula, Formula 2, Pygmy Angel Formula, & Life Line Frozen Mysis shrimp soaked in Selcon. <Well, copper can have some negative (at least short term) effects on some fishes, particularly pygmy angels and tangs. Again, I implore you to purchase a copper test kit to be safe about it...As long as they are eating, things should be okay> One more question, how long should I keep them in quarantine after the treatment is finished and they show no signs of Ick? <I like to leave newly cured fishes in the treatment tank for at least a week or so after the course of treatment (as specified by the manufacturer of the medication) is complete and the fish appear to be healthy> I do not have a protein skimmer on my Q-Tank as I do on my main tank and I suspect that water quality may have played a role in the original spot to begin with. Now I am second guessing myself that maybe I should have just placed them early in the main tank and the better water quality of the 200 gal. would have helped cure the growth possibly avoiding the Ick outbreak. <I would do what you did- keep them in QT longer.> My instincts though, tell me to keep them in quarantine until they appear to have this licked. <Yep...Right on!> I want to do this right and get these guys back on the road to a full recovery. <You already have! Just stay the course, make regular water changes, test for copper and re-dose as needed to keep the concentration where recommended by the manufacturer, and you should be fine> Thank you in advance for your advice and patience on this rather lengthy letter. Regards, Joel <No problem, Joel! You're on the right track, and your instincts are good! Keep up the good work, and everything should be fine! Regards, Scott F>

- Ich on Flame Angel - Hello Crew, I really appreciate you looking at this for me! I brought home a 3" flame angel last week.  It looked great in the store, but as is often the case developed ich spots a couple of days after I brought it home.  I have looked through the Centropyge FAQs, but am a little confused. Should I dose with copper, should I Fw dip?  Opinions seem to be mixed about this regarding this genus. <As long as the fish is in quarantine, I would dip first, Formalin later if things don't seem to be on the mend. These fish are sensitive to copper so a weaker-than-normal dose is what's in order, or Formalin will work against ich. Do not medicate the main tank.> He is currently in a 20H bare bottom QT. <Excellent.> I have been treating with RidIch, which is a Formalin/malachite green mixture for the past 3 days. <Then after 14 days, should be ich-free.> I have been able to bring quite a few specimens back with this stuff. However, this fish seems to be getting more spots everyday. <Do check the water quality - likely need to be swapping out about half that tank every other day to keep the water quality in check. You'll need to add your medication after the water changes to keep the therapeutic level of the Formalin in an effective range.> I am feeding him mysis soaked in Selcon and a little garlic. <Ahh... good on the Selcon, I've about lost my faith in garlic to do anything but load up the skimmer.> He is eating pretty well.  I also have some Nori in the tank for him.  He nibbles on this from time to time.  What is the best coarse of action for this situation? <You are on the right path.> Any advice is very much appreciated. Thanks, Jeff <Cheers, J -- >

- Dealing With Ich - I would like some information and/or advice on treatment of Marine fish White Spot disease. We have a 200 gal. reef aquarium with several inverts. Shrimp, clams, feather duster, finger leather, frogspawn etc.. We had an out break of Marine Ich, from a new addition (Blue Tang) that has since died due to a bacterial infection as a result of the Ich. Now all of our other fish have the  symptoms. I have read that you can treat the disease by increasing the temp. and decreasing the salinity of the aquarium to kill the parasites by Osmosis Shock, without having to put the infected fishes under any additional stress by having to remove them from the tank. <Well... in your case with the invertebrates, this really isn't a viable option - the hyposalinity required to kill the Cryptocaryon will also kill your invertebrates.> What is the threshold for temp and salinity, that the inverts will tolerate? <No less than 1.020.> I have heard a temp of 85-90 and a salinity of 1.014- 1.017 for a period of 2-4 weeks will speed up the life cycle of the parasites and kill them. <A temp that high for that long will likely kill your fish too. Much better to remove all fish to quarantine tanks and let your tank run fallow, without fish hosts.> Do you have any advice or specific temp-salinity values that we should follow, or what do you recommend short of removing the inverts or fishes from the tank. <Likely at this point, removing the fish is your only option - have never had any success [personally] treating these issues 'in-tank'. At the very least you might consider catching the fish and giving them a pH-adjusted, freshwater dip, but do think the high temperatures and low salinity required to beat this parasite will cost you your invertebrates. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/treatmen.htm > Thank you,  Itchy Fishes <Cheers, J -- >

There is ich about 1/15/03 Hi Crew, You are all an invaluable source and I appreciate all your help. <Hi Kurt.  Adam replying today.  That's what were here for!> Here is my problem. I have a 210 gallon FOWLR with 175 lbs of live rock and the following animals 1 Maculosus Angel tank bred (3-4") 1 Yellow Tang (3") 4 Clownfish Amphiprion ocellaris tank bred (1-1.5 ") 1 Starcki damsel (3") 2 Neon Gobies 2 Serpent stars 2 Emerald crabs 2 Blood Red Shrimp 4 Urchins 2 Cleaner Shrimp around a dozen Hermit Crabs 20 assorted snails While doing this stock, I did not know or use proper quarantine, will never do that again.  After doing a lot of reading on your site, I went and purchased a 10 Gallon QT and currently have in it for a 3 week quarantine Coral Beauty Blennies Salarias fasciatus x2 Yellow-Tailed Blue Tang <I generally would advise against quarantining fish together for a couple of reasons.  First, it can somewhat defeat the purpose if one of the fish is carrying a disease, second, quarantine tanks are usually small with minimal biological filtration which could be overwhelmed by the presence of several fish.> I'm sure you know what's coming next.  The  Yellow Tang started show spots, then the Angel and now 2 of the Clowns. Here is my plan of attack, what do you think. I am purchasing a 30-40 gallon aquarium after work today for a hospital tank. My plan is to move all the fish to it after a Methylene Blue freshwater dip and treating with copper for the prescribed time period. <I would skip the copper.  Do your dip and while in quarantine, lower the specific gravity by a few points a day to 1.012-1.014 and hold there for two weeks.  After the two weeks, raise it again by a couple of points a day back to normal.> Now part 2 of this is where my question lies.  I want to totally rid my system of this parasite. My 2 options as I see it are: 1. Leave the inverts in the tank, run it fallow with elevated temp (82 or so) and decreased SPG for a period of 6 weeks to 2 months.   <If by SPG you mean specific gravity, this is not a good idea.  The inverts will not tolerate this.  Leaving the tank fish free for six weeks alone should be enough, particularly if you raise the temp (up to 85 is totally safe and will speed up the life cycles of the parasites even more.)> Or 2.Remove the inverts to the ten gallon, move the new fish from the 10 gallon  to the 30-40 gallon for a treatment with my other fish. Since I used water from my main tank for the quarantine, these fish will likely become infected anyway, right? <Maybe.  I would run the same reduced salinity on that tank (Do not mix the healthy fish with the sick ones unless they all become sick)> Drain my large tanks and fill it with tap water to run for a 24-48 hour period. After filling, leaving my rock in the tank for an hour or so before removing it to a garbage car full of new salt mix with a power head. would the freshwater bath kill the parasites on the rock? Also would the rock still be good, if I later added some Bio-Spira Marine and some additional rock once I put it back in? <Yikes!!!  This is a really bad idea.  It would kill way too much of the life on your rock, and really isn't necessary.  If you have the patience to hold the fish in quarantine/hospital for six weeks (which is the length of a definitive treatment anyway), all of the parasites will have died from lack of hosts.> If you are in agreement , should I also replace my live sand? Do you think the #2 option would rid my tank completely?  The temptation is the fallow period, but I want to be 100% sure if possible. What do you think? Thank you for your time Kind regards <Leaving the tank empty and at 85 degrees for the duration of the treatment of the fish will allow all of the parasites to die.  A FW/Methylene blue dip and hyposalinity treatment is probably the best course.  Best of luck!  Adam>

Ick Follow-Up <Ryan on your follow-up> I have raised the temp. to 82 and I am lowering the SG. I was wondering how low to go with the SG. with the shrimp, brittle starfish, crabs and mushrooms. I have several fish in a 125 tank with ick and trying to catch them is difficult with 200 lbs of live rock and 160 pounds of live sand. I have 1 cleaner shrimp. Besides how low with the SG. I was also wondering how long I should keep the SG. and Temp. before I return it to normal? Thank You Curt <Curt, please read the following document.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm I know it's hard to catch the fish, but simply lowering the SG and Raising temp will only delay their death.  Copper treatment is the only way to kill this infection. Ryan> Get Religion, Get Quarantine! >Hey again, >>Hey for the first time. >I call my 220g a live rock tank because for a year now that's all it's been.  I've managed to kill many fish with ick, including an emperor angel, regal tang, raccoon butterfly, red sea raccoon, Pearlscale, flame angel, Flamehawk, tusk, you get the picture. >>Yeah, you don't seem to believe in quarantine, eh? >Well this time, the third time I let my tank go fallow I want to get it right. >>Then get religion, get quarantine. >I've tried copper before in q-tine before for two weeks.. >>Two weeks only?  And.. why copper a fish that isn't sick?  Have you tried hyposalinity?  Freshwater dipping before placing into q/t?  Formalin?  Another source of fish? >..followed all advice on here and 45 days later after reintroduction I had ick again. >>Uhh.. not *you*, the fish, right? >This time I'm trying hyposalinity. And this time I'm doing whatever it takes to beat this. >>I do hope you have a good refractometer.  You can't do proper hyposalinity and hope measure very accurately the low levels of salinity required (1.007 - 1.010). >Right now all I have left is (are) 5 Chromis and a Flamehawk in q-tine with salinity at 1.009. >>I do hope this is accurate. >I'm going to wait 30-45 days and then slowly raise the salinity and every other possible parameter to match my main tank and then reintroduce fish. >>But.. how long has the tank truly been fallow?  It really must be a minimum of 6 straight weeks (8 are much better), and I'm not sure, by what you've written, that you've gone this minimum time.   >Now my question is: should I no longer have ick to battle with, at least with these fish? >>Not if you're only going the 30 days, this is insufficient.  I strongly recommend going two full months. >And now I'm so bent on never reintroducing the parasite, I want to either use a mandatory application of copper or hyposalinity every time I q-tine new fish. Is this feasible? >>Yes, hyposalinity is standard for many well-seasoned fishkeepers.  Copper can get tricky, but it is also used in aquarium shops where hyposalinity wouldn't be such a good thing (taking fish directly from a hypo situation to full seawater salinity).  Include as a standard protocol in your regiment a freshwater dip (excepting particular fishes) with Methylene blue (enough to turn the water a medium to dark blue).  Minimum of 7 - 10 minutes. >I'm just really determined to actually enjoy more than live rock? >>Are you?  I might be.. except for the fact that, if you get uncured rock and manage to preserve a great deal of the original life on it, live rock can often be infinitely more fascinating than an old, stinky fish.  (j/k) >Ok one more thing. >>Ok. >From what I get copper should only be used for only two weeks. >>Roughly, yes, but also no.  It also depends on the levels you keep it at, as well as what fish you're coppering.  This is where a substance like Formalin comes in. >And ick can sometimes remerge to free swimming form up to 28 days later, right? >>LONGER!  This stuff has some serious shelf-life, mate.  (As you're beginning to surmise, yeah?) >Well wouldn't hyposalinity be the treatment of choice because it can be utilized longer and have a greater chance of killing the late bloomers? >>Yes, and no.  There are reports (coming from Hawai'i) that there are some subspecies of C. irritans that are quite adaptable to changing salinity.  However, from what *I* understand, it's supposed to be rather rare that we get these in our home systems. >And shouldn't all fish be put back in the main system from a q-tine containing copper at the end of the two weeks, because it negates the chance of an infestation that wasn't visible in q-tine? >>No, and no.  Here's the part of the deal that someone didn't tell you; once the fish are ich-free, you MUST begin q/t ALL OVER AGAIN.  That is to say that once they are parasite free, the 30 day counter starts over, from the beginning, from scratch.  Get them through 30 days CLEAN, and you are golden.   >I know you're supposed to wait 45 days, but if you use hypo for 30 then raise salinity back and use copper for the remaining 14 days in q-tine, wouldn't that be the only way to be surely eradicated? >>Not necessarily.  Why would it take you 14 full days to get the fish back to full salinity?  This should take a week at MOST.  Search TerryB (on reefs.org) and Terry Bartelme, as well as Steven Pro on Google (general Google, not our search bar alone) - see what they've written on treating ich.  Then, just make SURE you've got the fish going through that 30 days clean before you do anything else, and remember to f/w dip before putting into q/t and BACK into the display.  Marina

Skipping a Couple Weeks of Q/T Can Get You This (ICH!) >Hi guys I hope that you can solve this dilemma I am having. >>I'll give her a go. >I have a reef tank that has been set up for a while now, going on a couple of years.  About two months ago I put in a juvenile Emperor angel, I had fish in the tank prior to his introduction, but mainly tangs, damsels etc. >>Ok. >The emperor was quarantined for a couple of weeks, showed no signs of disease, and was eating like a pig, so I introduced him to the reef.   >>Two weeks is only half a proper quarantine.  30 days minimum is usual protocol. >He is not tearing anything apart which is surprising and has proven to seem pretty reef friendly at least as a juvenile. >>Just watch the LPS corals, mostly. >Then about a month later he showed up with small ich spots on his back fin.  Only on his back fin though.   >>Hhmm.. all is not well. >I started the garlic feeding to try and get rid of it, but to no avail.   >>Of course not, garlic shouldn't be touted as a "cure" for ich.  It *is* a mild antibiotic, and has shown some promise for dealing with internal parasites, and much anecdotal evidence points to its efficacy to stimulate feeding, but it is hardly a cure for ich. >I also tried a freshwater bath regimen, but also to no avail.   >>You can't dip the fish then put it back in the infected tank.  Know that with any vertebrate hosts, your tank can now be considered "infected".  This fish will now need to spend at least 30 days in a hospital tank, I'd use hyposalinity first (1.010 - 1.007.. you'll likely need a refractometer to determine this low salinity accurately), rather than immediately medicating with copper or Formalin, with f/w dipping both prior to introduction the hospital, and prior to reintroduction to display ONCE it's been determined that he is ENTIRELY ich free.. Which is a bit of a moot point unless you remove all other fish and fallow the tank for 6 - 8 weeks. >The fish still acts fine, and I have had this guy for well over two months and he is still eating and acting fine.  Is there any other suggestions you can give me to help solve the problem? None of the other fish are displaying any symptoms of the ich, and since this is a reef tank, I cannot treat the Emperor in the tank itself. >>Even if it weren't a reef I couldn't, in good conscience, advise you to treat the display.  Another suggestion is to get several neon gobies.  They often act as cleaners, though for a juvie you want to find them on the smaller side.  Otherwise, it's back to the hospital for him.  Please, search our FAQs for even more information on ich and treatment, too. >I tested the water, hoping it might be a sign of poor water quality, but my water is impeccable, with many hard corals thriving. >>We REALLY like to know what was tested, with what kit, kit age/storage, and exact readings. >Should I put him back in the hospital tank again and maybe try a copper treatment?  Any help would be helpful.  Jonathan Feelemyer >>Please see above.  If hypo doesn't work, then copper or Formalin would the next step.  Marina

Skipping a Couple Weeks of Q/T Can Get You This (ICH!) - II >I cannot feasibly take all my fish out of my reef and put them in a hospital.   >>Understood. >I can put the emperor back into the hospital and treat it there, I have heard bad things about this species and ich interaction so I don't really wanna use copper, would rather treat the fish with natural means such as freshwater dips.   >>Dips alone will NOT do it, my friend.  Please reread my previous post regarding hypo, and it also mentions Formalin.  We have much information on site regarding both treatments. >Additionally, no other fish are showing any signs, not even one spot, now that of course does not mean they are not infected, but since they have been established for so long, I am not really going to remove them all as a preventative.   >>Not exactly a "preventative", know that this is the ONLY means of ensuring complete and total eradication of the parasite now present. >Now I have heard that garlic has ways of making the skin of the fish taste a certain way so as to not attract ich, but in reality, I know this is not a cure all.   >>At *best* it's a preventative.  The question of affecting the "flavor" of the skin/slime coat has little more than hypothesis to back it up. >I have a cleaner wrasse in the tank, and he kinda picks sometimes but mainly leaves the emperor alone so far as I have seen. >>Oh my.. A cleaner wrasse..?  Please see our site regarding long term viability/survival of cleaners in such systems.   >The tests, alkalinity was 8-11, NO3 about 20 NO2 0ppm NH3 0ppm pH 8.3.  Calcium OK Iodine Ok Feeding: soaked garlic food with Zoe Marine Vitamins and Nori Seaweed, Angel formula soaked in Garlic Xtreme. >>The test results and feeding regimen look very good, and as suggested before, garlic *seems* to show some efficacy regarding stimulation of feeding.  Feed offered appears to be quite healthy for the fish.  It seems the best you can do is separate this animal into its own hospital, starting under hypo.  Use this time to feed the bejesus out of the fish, get/keep him FAT.  Hopefully, between your feeding regimen, the hypo, and some time by himself, he'll get through it without requiring additional medication, yes?  If such is the case, and AFTER he's cleared up you get him through 30 days of q/t CLEAN, then it's time to try him again in the display.  Keeping my fingers crossed - Marina

Methylene Blue, Ich Blues Thank you for all your help. I used the Methylene blue/FW dip for 10m yesterday on 3 fishes that have a few spots of ich on them. Should these spots come off during the dip or are they just there but dead (hopefully). Jessa <You are correct in that the appearance of the dots may not indicate actual parasite presence, but I would dip these fishes again... And, I do not encourage folks to treat ich/whitespot disease with dips or Methylene Blue per se... Depending on what species of fishes these are, I would utilize a malachite green solution or possibly a metal salt. Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: Toxicity of Malachite Green and Methylene Blue That's the issue.  I have read a lot on it on your site and others.  There seem to be a lot of diverse opinions and preferences.  Here's some of what I've come across: Treatments outside tank: - Freshwater dips:  8.2 pH, 1.010-1.012 SG - Copper QT - Use malachite green/Formalin dips - Don't use malachite green/Formalin dips - Use Methylene blue because it's effective - Don't use Methylene blue because it's not effective Treatments in tank: - Metronidazole powder in food and tank - Use garlic oil in food - Don't use garlic oil in food - There is no "reef safe" ich treatment - Raise water temp to 82 degrees (max) to accelerate ich lifecycle - Raise water temp to 83 degrees - Low salinity (1.017) - Fallow tank for 1 month - Fallow tank for no less than 6-8 weeks - Eliminate substrate and vacuum tank bed and perform frequent water changes - Use biological cleaners--cleaner shrimp and gobies (I have a cleaner goby) You can understand my confusion.  One person's strongly recommended solution is scoffed at by another. <As treatments... I would not use Metronidazole/Flagyl, garlic as an actual treatment, low salinity alone... but the other items are factual/useful. Most chemical treatments of use involve malachite, or copper, or copper and Formalin... the copper treatments with the use of a test kit. I do agree with you re the disparity of opinions, reports of "success", even the sale of "blarney" products for ich remedies. I would review the backgrounds of the people who are listing their input... and make up your own mind. Bob Fenner>

Re: Toxicity of Malachite Green and Methylene Blue The opinions were all from the WWM FAQ Crew.  One thing I've learned in all hobbies I've been involved with is that experts usually disagree with each other. I'm going to go with putting the fish in a QT tank and use copper.  I'm going to raise the show tank to 82 degrees, lower salinity to 1.018 and let it go fallow for a month.  I have anemones, live rock, polyps/mushrooms and starfish that I need to consider, so I don't know if I can do anything else to that tank except vacuuming the substrate. <Sounds good to me (this is about what I would do). Bob Fenner>

& Does it work to eliminate ich from new incoming fishes? <Can help, but absolutely speaking, no. Other more toxic treatments can do this (Formalin/formaldehyde) in dips/baths... and quarantine of incoming stocks for a good two weeks can all but prevent transmission to main/display tanks. Bob Fenner>

Re: Toxicity of Malachite Green and Methylene Blue Other than staining fish and silicone, what effect will Malachite Green and/or Methylene Blue have on nitrifying bacteria, live rock, live sand, polyps, anemones, starfish, shrimp and fish in a marine tank? <Am out visiting in Hawai'i and away from my ref. works (Nelson Herwig and Edward Noga principally as authors, sources) but will make the general statements that Methylene Blue has low to very low toxicity either on nitrifying bacteria, micro- or macro-invertebrates... but that Malachite Green will at therapeutic dosage malaffect all. Bob Fenner>

Re: Toxicity of Malachite Green and Methylene Blue So adding Methylene Blue to a fish/reef tank to kill ich should produce no significant negative side effects other than creating a blue mess requiring massive water changes? <It is very unlikely that Methylene Blue (by itself) will "kill ich" in a system> I don't have the luxury of a QT to treat the fish and leave the main tank fallow. <Need more information on your circumstances... You would do well to read over the articles and FAQs (on freshwater or marine "ich" depending on what you have here) posted on www.WetWebMedia.com To repeat, you NEED more knowledge, and you NEED to get it and act quickly if you have this protozoan infestation... can be deadly, can't be treated with Methylene Blue. STUDY. Bob Fenner> Re: Toxicity of Malachite Green and Methylene Blue More information:  55 gallon reef tank.  70# live rock.  3 anemones, 1 each of juvenile emperor angel, coral beauty, Dottyback, Percula clown, rabbit fish, live sand, undergravel and powerfilter (will be moving to a new,  larger tank with a DSB refugium and no undergravel filter) good lighting. <I see> The rabbitfish, emperor angel and coral beauty have ich (can't net them without pulling all of the rock). <Read where you've been sent. If you need to remove the rock, contents to net out these fishes, do so> I do have a 39 gallon freshwater tank that could be converted to salt so I can move the fish to it and treat with copper. That would leave the rest of the tank free to treat with methyl blue, 82-84 degree heat and low salinity.  I would also be free to let it go fallow for a month.  What are the odds of eliminating the ich with this method and maximizing the survivability of the biological? <I am obviously NOT making known what needs to be... DO NOT use Methylene Blue to treat ich... it is NOT efficacious/effective by itself. PLEASE read on WWM re this disease, approaches to its control, eradication. Bob Fenner>

Re: Toxicity of Malachite Green and Methylene Blue Strange, but when I looked this morning my cleaner goby was going to town on my fish.  Maybe I should waft for a few days and see if he can get the ich under control.  I also have another goby on order.  If they can be made to compete for cleaning duties, things could get back to normal fairly quickly.  I have a 180 gallon tank in the works that I could transfer everything to once the ich situation works itself out. <Maybe. Parasite detente is something to shoot for. Bob Fenner>

Whitespot 12/30/03 Hello everybody <Hi Viken!> I have a 275gallon FO tank with skimmer, a UV and bioball filter system. The fish are long nose butterfly, flame angel, yellow tang, and nebulosa, they are in the aquarium since 9 months. <Sounds like a nice set up.  As you know, all of your fish are particularly susceptible to white spot.> Recent test of water quality all OK. A weak ago I bought two Heniochus butterflies and I DON'T have a quarantine tank I now my mistake, so I put the butterflies in and I had to travel the same day I came back after two days and the white spots were on the Heniochus. <Many of us have made this inexcusable mistake, and many of us will repeat it.  It usually takes a painful lesson like this one to finally get us to start using quarantine.> What shall I do does this mean that all my fish will be infected. <I would remove the Heniochus ASAP, give them a proper freshwater dip and place them in quarantine.  I would do the same with any other fish that are or become infected.  Over a few days, reduce the salinity of the quarantine tank to 1.012 and hold it there for about a two weeks.  Slowly return the salinity to normal over about another week or so.  Do read up on the quarantine and disease treatment sections here at WWM.> Please help Regards Viken <Best of luck!  Adam>

- Stop Chasing that Fish Around... - Please help... I'm in desperate need of your assistance.  The tang has ick and I can't get it out of the tank ,around and around we go.  I have a reef system and do water changes per your advise. What do I do?  I feel that I'm causing more stress to fish chasing him around than the ick. <You're quite right about that.> Got any ideas? <Yeah, but you may not like it. I think you need to drain the tank - not completely, but enough to remove one of the degrees of freedom your fish is accustomed to. I've had to do this myself, and it's not exactly fun but sometimes there just aren't many other options. Get hold of a 1" flexible hose or drain line and a couple of garbage cans - I had to use three... drain down the tank to a couple of inches, net the fish into a bucket and refill the tank. Treat the fish after the tank has been refilled. Make sure you get the one inch hose so that you can empty the tank quickly; it will be over before you know it.> Valerie <Cheers, J -- >

Ich Here, Ich There, Ich Everywhere? (12/19/2003) Hello my saviors, <How about "humble servants" instead?> I am new to Marine aquarium keeping, but am a fairly experienced fresh water hobbyist. I brought home a Coral Beauty angel yesterday and noticed he had a twitch and several white spots.  The shop's tank was too algae covered for me to be able to notice this in the store. <bad store, find another> Today they said to me that ich is in all tanks <not>, but only affects fish when they are stressed out and have weakened immune systems. <Yes, they are more susceptible then, but healthy fish get ich too, just like healthy kids get strep throat.> They have told me to return the fish for 3 days of treatment <insufficient!--more like 3 weeks> and then to reintroduce him to my tank. <Please, no!> Talk about stressing out a fish!!! <amen to that> Questions: 1. Is ich in all tanks. <No. It is true that many tanks may have a little ich in them, but with proper quarantine and good husbandry, an ich-free tank is possible. Start to learn here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm> 2. I have snails, coral banded shrimp. Hermits, and 60 pounds of live rock.  Can I use that new garlic, pepper type non-chemical treatment? <generally useless therapy; if it kills ich, it probably kills inverts, if it doesn't kill inverts, it probably doesn't kill ich.> Can I use 1/2 a normal Copper treatment. <never, never, never ever put copper into your display tank. Even a tiny amount can be deadly to inverts. If you need to use copper, do so only in a quarantine tank. More learning here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm> 3. Am I doomed to buy another tank and let this one lie fallow for a month. <Do you already have other fish in the tank? Personally, I would (politely) demand that the LFS buy the Angel back from you at full price. Then, I would never set foot in there again. They clearly are not interested in making you a successful marine aquarist. They just want your money. Apparently, they can't even take care of their own tanks if they are coated with algae and their fish are infested with ich. My LFS doesn't have a speck of algae in his tanks and every fish I bought from him and nary a spot of ich. One did have Lymphocystis.> Please deliver me from my ignorance. <Spend the weekend reading WWM and you will be much more knowledgeable.> <BTW, if you have other fish in the tank, you need to keep a good eye on them. If any show signs of ich, you ought to remove all of them to QT & treat. In any case, I would not add any fish to the tank for four to six weeks to hopefully allow all the ich parasites to die for want of a host.> Jeffrey Roger <Steve Allen>

Re: Is it ick or not? Thanks so much for your assistance!  All quarantined fish are doing fine, and I plan on adding them separately to my display tank in about one week. My questions are: 1) If I dip them in freshwater, should I acclimate them to the main tank first, then dip? <I do not see the need to fresh water dip them since they have been in qt. If you must acclimate them to the new tank the water then fresh water dip them then place them into the main tank. Again I do not think you need to do this.> Or just dip and add them to the main tank? 2) My Flame angel only eats brine (fresh or frozen).  I have tried blood worms, flake, Spirulina, mixed seaweed, and frozen food that is specifically for Angels.  The angel will eat very small amounts of the blood worms and frozen Angel food, but not like the brine.  Should I be concerned that he only eats brine? <try feeding some mysis shrimp they are bigger than brine and fish love them. I would not worry, I am sure he is picking algae off of the rocks as well.> Thanks so much for your help! <Welcome MikeH>

Around and Around the Ich-Go-Round (12/15/2003) well I guess since some of my past information is lost ill update you. <Steve Allen here, hoping to help> I  have 220g FOWLR (220lbs of live rock) and I've had multiple ick problems in my tank, its been set up about a year. the fish I've had problems with have been a regal tang <Ich magnet> and a red sea raccoon butterfly. I've learned since being a beginner of this hobby about proper q-tine and not using Greenex etc. <good> ever since my first problem I've went all out and bought every item I thought .might increase my chances of beating ick and decreasing stress: ph pen, extra heaters, larger skimmer etc. but I still haven't had any fish in my tank. <nice, useful tools, but not ich cures.> always have to take them out let the tank go fallow for 45 days and the last time I treated with copper <I hope not the tank, bur rather the fish in a QT?>. and I always use proper husbandry and follow the information from books and your website. but once again I'm stuck and about ready to give up. <Don't lose heart just yet, you've obviously invested a lot of feeling and money in this.> this last time I thought I had beaten the problem, I had waited the allowed time, used CopperSafe, and not seen any signs of disease in a month, but a couple days after I put my fish back I saw the parasite again on the tang. <They always seem to be first> I quickly removed him but realize the damage is done and my system is reinfected. but the problem this time is I'm not confident in how to treat them, plus after I put them back in I went and bought a flame hawk and a harlequin tusk the dealer had been patiently holding for me for a month. plus I have a flame angel, and they are all in q-tine. but now that my original fish are sick I have no place, room or money to put them. <you are certainly in a tough position> so my thought is now to break down my system and take out all live rock and invertebrates and place them in a bin so I can treat the main tank with hyposalinity. is this a bad idea? the reason for this is so I can totally get rid of all parasites, observe my fish, and not have as much clutter. not to mention the added stress of moving them back and forth again. I would also take out some sand, I could use this later to reintroduce "live sand" and I would be able to remove most of the cysts. I have a wet/dry on my system that should be my biological filter and a skimmer I'm assuming wont work during hypo. this is all I'm left with, is it ok? <This is truly a drastic step. If your are going to the trouble of taking down the tank, I'd consider sterilizing the sand and the tank. and setting it up again with new saltwater. Re-cycle the tank. Consider using Bio-Spira Marine or Fritz-Zyme #9 to accelerate. It should ten be free of ich. You could treat your affected fish in the QT with hyposalinity, elevated temp, and perhaps copper or Formalin. After 4 weeks or so with no evidence of infection, they should be clear. Meanwhile, you can keep the other, new fish in a separate QT as below.> <There could be other options short of this. Scott W. Michael is a fan of UV sterilizers for ich. Run properly--size for tank, correct flow rate--it can kill the free-living infectious form. There is a lot of disagreement on this issue. I think that you would benefit from multiple opinions here. I suggest you post your problem on the 911 forum on WetWebFotos right away.> another question is my harlequin tusk hasn't ate in the two weeks I've had him, what should I try? I've left clams and mussels in there and tried squid, brine, and mysis but I still haven't seen him eat in q-tine. could it be the copper? <Are you measuring the copper level? Tuskfish have been known to be sensitive to height copper levels, including going blind? Does he seem to see? It would be nice to have him in something without copper. IS there something else you could use? A simple Rubbermaid container with a heater and a sponge filter will do.> thanks, Brandon <sorry to hear of your woes. I hope you can beat this.>

- What to Do About A Little Ich - Hey crew, happy holidays. I have a question regarding making my main tank fallow. I have a Kole tang that has contracted ich. If I were to treat it I would like to transfer all of the tanks inhabitants to a 40 gallon breeder, treat fish there, and let the main (90G)remain fallow for 4-5 weeks. The fish that currently reside in the tank are: 1 Kole Tang 5" 1 Yellow tank 3" 3 green Chromis 1 Coral beauty 1 Ocellaris clown My concern is that this is too many fish to cram into a 40 gallon breeder for 5 weeks. <It will be a strain on someone in that group.> The alternative is to ride out this outbreak. All fish, including the Kole, eat like pigs and seem healthy otherwise. <I wouldn't wait forever, and might even try to catch the tang and give it a pH-adjusted, freshwater dip.> I change 10% of my water (IO and tap water) per week and the benefits were noticed immediately. I do not use additives aside from B Ionic for my Montipora sp. and all corals, coralline algae, and many "surprise" live rock hitchhikers are growing like weeds. Kudos to the 10% regime! Personally I would rather let nature run its course for a week and see what happens but I am afraid of the alternative (fish dying from ich). <Ich is rarely 'that' virulent... you and the tang have a couple of opportunities to ditch it. You must keep a careful eye on things and be ready to act. Also look for potential sources of stress and try to eliminate them. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm > Thanks for your time. Regards, Steve Z <Cheers, J -- >

Outbreak! Bob, <Scott F. in tonight> I have a 75 gal. tank with live sand and rock. I had ich a year ago when I changed to a bigger tank. I had no problems until now. Two weeks ago I got a fish that seemed clean...I had been watching him for a while and the owner said he had him for a week or more. <Uh- Oh...I'm sure you'll quarantine all new arrivals in the future!> Everything was ok until last night when I noticed my hippo tang had ich.. Some of the other fish have a few spots. My bigger problem is that a I ordered by some fish by mail a week ago ,that are to be delivered tomorrow (-blue green Chromis and a cleaner shrimp). It is too late to stop the order. <Sounds like we have a bit of a problem here> I don't have a hospital tank, but I have a tank I could use if needed but the water would be new and the tank wouldn't have gone through the cycle. <Well, you could use water from the display tank. Unfortunately, you do have ich in your display, so you may very will be exposing the new fishes to ich. I don't normally recommend prophylactically treating new fish, but you may want to put them all in the extra tank, along with the hippo, and engage in a round of treatment medication, using copper sulphate or a based-based product. This is an unconventional approach, but the current situation and lack of a ready quarantine tank dictates a radical strategy, IMO> My ammonia would spike right away and my fish aren't the real hardy kind. I hate to even catch my hippo tang because he stresses out easily......I have had him for two years. Can I use Greenex in my tank, I hear both good and bad about it. <I would not use any medication in the display tank, and I would not use Greenex. As you mention, it has a pretty spotty reputation, so I'd avoid it.> I also have a fire red shrimp that could help with the ich. How fast can you lower salinity? <You can lowest specific gravity over a period of days, but most inverts (including the shrimp) will not make it through this process. Unfortunate as it seems, I'd recommend removing all the fishes from the display for possible treatment in a separate tank> Do you just add Ro water that has been ph balanced? <That would do the trick> Thanks for your input, Cheryl <Best of luck to you, Cheryl. Regards, Scott F>

- Ich Advice - I hate to continue my series of emails to you guys but it looks like I might. I once again might be battling ich in my main system. It's a 220 FOWLR. And I have followed every detail on your site and book about battling it. I've had my tank a year and initially got ich with my first fish and after having most of my fish die, except the regal tang and Sailfin tang, I allowed my tank to go fallow for 45 days. Then I restocked my only two surviving fish. They fought and you guys advised me to remove one and said it likely caused the ich. And I also guessed that I hadn't assimilated them properly. So I started over. I bought a pH pen, learned about freshwater and methyl blue dips, copper, bought a 30g q-tine tank extra filters, more heaters etc. basically everything that I thought might lower stress. This time I took out my only two left: the regal tang and red sea butterfly and freshwater dipped them for ten minutes. Placed them in the q-tine tank with copper and never once saw the ich again, they also were never apparently stressed and ate very well. I removed the copper after two weeks and watched very carefully for any signs of disease. So 45 days later after having slowly matched temp. And pH I gave the two fish a dip the same way as before, I watched carefully for any stress and decided to remove them after 10 min.s, I wanted to be sure I never brought back the parasite. Well as soon as the got in they seemed happy, no rapid breathing, no strange coloration, etc. starting eating with in an hour. But needless to say the very next day there was a couple of white tiny spots on the tang. I thought it was impossible. But to be safe I removed the tang and gave it another carefully matched freshwater dip, this time for 15 min.s, and once again returned him back and he seemed happy and very non stressed, starting eating again immediately. But there is still a couple white spots and one new one. is it possible for ich to still be around? <In fact, yes. It's not all that easy to have a 100% parasite-free tank. Keeping your fish parasite free is a balancing act between avoiding stress as you've done, excellent nutrition, and the individual. Some fish just react to stress like this, the move back to the main tank would be stressful no matter what. Some fish will break out in white spots for a day or two but then be fine after that. I knew a person with a tang that would do this after every water change, but was really fine. Lived like that for many, many years.> Doesn't it have a embed in the fish for a couple days before it becomes visible, and if so could it have survived two freshwater dips of 10+ min.s? And if it is ich what do I do now? <If the fish is otherwise unaffected - eating well, interacting well... let it ride for a while. Keep any eye out to make certain things don't turn in the wrong direction.> Thanks Brandon <Cheers, J -- >

- Ich Advice, Continued Some More - You said to make a decision about removing the tang? <You said you were either going to keep it or pull it. Then you asked me what you should do, I said make a decision meaning keep it or pull it. I can't help you much beyond that... I can't make the decision for you.> Well all I know is that he is very susceptible to ich. <Agreed.> Right now in my 220g he is the only one that has it so I realize he could be the carrier and make the ich population higher which would eventually affect my other fish (raccoon butterfly and Chromis). <Have you read any of the links I've sent along in my replies? There are many more factors that indicate to me that this fish might not be a carrier and could just have bouts of ich from time to time. Excellent nutrition and a stress-free environment would go a long way to keeping the rest of the fish in your tank disease free.> Right now they are fine, I'm just worried I have already added ich to the tank so it's not even worth removing him. But lets say I did, is it likely that the ich in a couple weeks or so would infect my other fish? <My friend, anything is possible.> I'm not sure if you have my previous replies but I have a harlequin tusk, flame hawk, and a flame angel in q-tine. <Yes... I've been the same person replying to you each time, I do recall these fish.> And I would kill myself if I added those fish in a couple weeks and they died from this, that's a lot of money. I guess basically what I'm asking is, since I've heard ich is always present in some form and what we should do is not allow its population to jump in numbers by not putting in stressed or susceptible fish, so does this mean if I removed the ich magnet tang, give the aquarium a couple weeks and if I see no signs of ich could I confidently stock the previously mentioned fish and not worry? <It can go either way, and there's no way to accurately predict. All you can do is try.> I plan on only stocking hardy fish, and it appears that the tang is the weakness I should remove. And do you think a red sea raccoon or flame angel could tolerate and fight off low levels of this parasite? <Given good initial heath of the individual and an excellent diet, I'd think so.> I've heard flame hawks and tusks were hardy enough. <They both are.> I'm sorry for rambling but it's killing me like the fish. <Somehow I doubt it's gotten quite to that point.> Thanks Brandon <Cheers, J -- >

- More on Ich - Thanks again, but the update here is the butterfly seemed to have a couple spots on him last night, and I've just about concluded that the parasite was in my q-tine not my main tank, the reason for this is I had the tank fallow for 45 days and the parasite was visible within a day or two of introduction. Is this a fair assumption? <I can't tell any more... I don't have any of your correspondence saved, but I thought you had been treating with something toxic in quarantine, as you had a known parasitic problem. If you've just been putting fish in quarantine, not treating them and then putting them back in the tank then yes... you've got problems.> And I think it would be safe to say now that I need to, for, the third time remove the fish and probably use another method of eradication, like hypo. <Actually, I think you need to evaluate yourself, your place on this planet, and consider carefully what your next step will be... could be you are in a Groundhog Day type of loop and need to come to a personal realization that will break you out of this cycle.> Well I'm off to spend more money for supplies thanks for all the help. <Break the cycle.> Brandon <Cheers, J -- >

- Ich Advice, Continued - Thanks so much for the reply, I feel a little better now. I was just about to take the regal tang out for good. I'm sure you understand how frustrating this can be. <Yes.> I've been dedicated to the hobby now for about a year and have only had fish in my tank for a couple weeks total and I thought for sure this time I had figured everything out. <Life is rarely this way.> I'm a biology major going through finals, I spend all my extra money on this tank and it can be really frustrating.  Like today the tang has more spots, closer to ten or fifteen now. And I love that fish but if makes it where I can't ever keep anything else I want to get rid of him. So what can I do? <Make a decision.> I feed him an assortment of veggie flakes about 5-6 times a day in small portions, plus I have Nori always in there and he gets meaty foods when I feed the butterfly. My temperature is very stable as is the pH. Do you think everything will turn out fine? <In the long run, probably. You might just have to deal with this fish... or not.> And how long will it be before I can be sure? <A couple of weeks.> Should I keep trying the dips or is that making stress worse? <I'd skip the dips for a little while.> Plus I have a flame angel and a harlequin tusk and Hawkfish in separate q-tine tanks and I don't want to add them too early. Any advice is worth a million. Thanks. <Cheers, J -- >

- Ich and Quarantine Protocol - I removed a scribbled boxfish from the tank and have been treating for ich with copper for 1 week. The tank has a mystery wrasse, blue spot Jawfish, Sailfin Leaffish, and a cleaner shrimp (30 gal). I noticed a couple white marks on the tail of the wrasse. I thought the remainder of the inhabitants would not carry ich. <There are few fish that don't carry or get infected by ich/Cryptocaryon. Some fish are more resistant than others.> Will it go away on its own with these fish being the only ones in it, or will I have to treat them all? <I would keep things under observation, be prepared to treat if symptoms indicate greater problems.> Also, every time I treat a Qtank with copper, the tank cycles over again. Is there something I am doing wrong? <No, that's normal - the copper kills the bacteria that make up your biological filter. Need to offset with regular, large water changes - perhaps 25-50% a day to every other day.> All the parameters were fine before the treatment (20gal). Thanks for the help, Darren <Cheers, J -- >

- Length of Fallow Tank Stage, More Questions - Hi again, Sorry to bug you again, but I have been obsessing about my fish.  I would feel horrible if I lost another fish due to my lack of knowledge.  As you may remember, I had left my tank fallow for 2 months and then added a fish after a 10 day quarantine.  I gave him a freshwater dip before putting him in the quarantine tank, but he responded poorly to the dip and I put him in the tank after 10 seconds. The Yellow Angel is now in the display tank for 2 weeks but is still battling with the parasites. He (or she) is still eating healthy (formula two with garlic) and he even seems to be developing 2 blue stripes on his lower rear fin.  However, I am still concerned with him because he has developed a 2 cm white cyst about 5 cm above his eye in addition to several much smaller cysts on the edges of the fins. <What you describe seems to me to be a response to overall water quality, and not necessarily a parasite.> I was planning on catching him and putting him back in the quarantine tank and treating him with copper again. <Hmm... you really should be avoiding copper with angels if you can, or at the very least lower doses.> How long should I leave the tank fallow this time? (one month or two) <I'm not convinced your tank has a parasitic problem.> This is my plan, please advise. I plan on removing the fish for 2 more months and leaving the tank fallow again. This is my tank in a nutshell.  90 gal 48" W x 24"H x 12" deep.  It is built into a wall in my basement; no natural light. I have just set up my metal halide light 400w. I also have a std. 40 watt fluo. light 4 ft w/ one blue actinic light. I leave the fluo. lights on 14 hrs and the metal halide on for 4 - 5 hours. The invertebrates in my tank are doing very well. 3 emerald crabs, 1 medium Red leg Hermit crab, 5 very small blue leg hermits, 2 large turbo snails, 2 small Astrea snails in filter intake cups, one peppermint shrimp, one large long tentacle anemone  which has grown and changed color since the addition of the metal halide last week (it is Atlantic long tentacle anemone, the guy at the LFS said that clowns sometimes will use these, they didn't), and there are also a dozen glass anemones which the peppermint shrimp does not appear to be eating, and 10 lbs live rock. <Could also be the source of the marks on your angelfish.> The crabs ate one of my large fan worms which was very unhealthy to begin with, and they seemed to have developed a taste for fan worm because they stripped all of the 20 or so tiny fan worms from my live rock.  Not one of these remain, and they previously had seemed to be multiplying in my tank. <Crabs will do that.> My tank is over a year old and has gone through the brown algae, green algae, red algae, the green hair  algae, and the red slime algae stages.  The invertebrates do a good job with the algae except I have been getting a hard brown algae on my glass that is extremely difficult to scrape off. (any suggestions) <Scrape more often.> I have begun adding calcium supplements weekly.  My crabs seemed to appreciate this and have since all molted. I would like to add a quick growing hard and soft coral that are very hardy to begin with. Any suggestions? <Nail down one thing at a time. Adding corals at this juncture will only complicate your husbandry.> After 2 months I was thinking of adding a pair of tank raised Tomato Clowns (large one and a small one) hoping they might breed, and an Anemone that they might actually use possibly a bubble tip. <Mmm... well, for starters, any attempts at breeding will need it's own separate tank if you plan on keeping any of the fry. But again, let me try to convince you to wait until this tank is stable. You seem to be going back and forth between quarantining your fish and fallowing your tank, and I think you need to have several problem-free months before you consider any thing beyond what you have now.> Is it a bad idea to have additional fish in the tank with the pair of clowns? I only have the one 2" Yellow angel currently.  Do you know of anyone having luck breeding dwarf angels? <Yes, but not in home aquaria and not yet a massive commercial success - the offspring are slightly more expensive compared to wild caught.> Do I need to get rid of the glass anemones before investing in any corals? <Yes.> They have stung the large anemone, but I was able to separate them. Or are Corals and anemones a bad mix altogether? <That as well - an unwise mix.> I was told that I would need to supplement the water with additional minerals (strontium) and filter feeder food.  Is this necessary? <Only if you have things that eat it... I didn't see any filter feeders on your list.> What would you recommend? <Only put supplements into the tank that you NEED. How does one know this? Observation and testing. By your own admittance, the crabs have eaten all the feather dusters, so you probably don't need the filter-feeder-food. Strontium, Calcium, Iodine - all these should be tested for before you go about putting in supplements according to the directions on the bottle. The tests will give you a much better idea of where things stand.> Any advise would be appreciated. Thanks, Mark <Cheers, J -- >

Time To Attack! (Fighting Ich) After three days in the QT the ich seemed to disappear from my powder brown tang (Acanthurus japonicus).  Another three days have gone by and the ich has not been visible to the eye. Can I do nothing for now and just wait and see if the ich returns in the next two weeks or so, or should I immediately begin a course of treatment? <I would consider a course of treatment. What you are seeing is the parasites (sic) dropping off of the fish and entering a free swimming phase, after which they attach to substrate, only to re-emerge later and infect the fish again. Now is a good time to medicate the tank. When the parasites are in a free-swimming stage, they are most vulnerable to attack!> Right now he seems very alert and he is swimming at the current coming from the powerhead, like he's taking a shower. Is his swimming into the current from the powerhead a sign that he is still bothered by parasites not visible to the eye? <Quite possibly. This is a good observation/interpretation on your part...I'd keep up good water quality and oxygenation in the tank, and consider a treatment course here...With decisive action, you will see this fish make a complete recovery in a relatively short time! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Ich & Kerosene Heaters - Hi. Two questions, if you have the time. I have recently set up a new salt water tank, going great, except for some ich.  I got a cleaner shrimp and he seems to be keeping it under control. I want to try this before I catch all the fish and return them to the QT, and let the system go fallow. Is this ok? <In the interim, sure... but there's really no guarantee that the cleaner shrimp will actually keep things under control. In the long run you very well may end up fallowing the tank.> I really do not want to resort to chemicals if I don't have to. <I don't blame you, but this may be what's necessary if the fish go back to quarantine.> I have not done any fresh water dips as of yet.  I am not sure how to raise the pH to 8.3. <Baking soda.> My fresh water pH adjuster can only get it to 8.0 and then not for long.  Beside I have no idea what the chemicals that raise the PH will do to the fish.  Only two fish have a couple of spots on them and they keep going over to the shrimp. He is not eating all the white spots but spends a lot of time on the gills. Neat to watch. They are not breathing rapidly or acting strange such as darting, scratching, or hiding, they eat well.  I am not sure what made the ich appear. <Hmm... under the worst-case-scenario, the parasites have dropped off to breed in your sand bed. They'll be back.> I have no temp fluctuations as I use two heaters it is always 78F day or night even if the basement gets cool. Ph 8.3, alk high (I know get a better test for that), ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0, calcium?, LFS is having trouble getting this test kit for some reason.   I did quarantine each fish for 4 weeks, and let the tank cycle for 6 weeks with 45 lbs of live rock, before I added my first inverts and corals.  Anyway I read your ich pages.  I am a little confused, some say let the system go fallow, and others recommend what I am doing. <Personally, I think cleaner shrimp can get overwhelmed, not be able to get everything and the problem blows out into epidemic proportions. Do keep an eye on things and keep that quarantine tank ready to go.> Lots of opinions about it though. <It will always be thus.> The big question though is this.  I heat my basement (this were I keep the tank) with a kerosene heater, as it is much cheaper than running my electric baseboard heaters. Is there a danger in this, and if there is, what is it, and what should I look out for? <Egads, there is most certainly a danger of primarily carbon monoxide which can kill you. It has no odor and can build up in an enclosed space like a basement. If I'm not mistaken, kerosene heaters aren't meant to be used in enclosed spaces. There are other toxic byproducts of combustion that should be worried about, but those will only make you sick - CO will kill you. So yeah... there are issues with using this in your basement not just for your fish but for you as well.> Is there a test kit I should be using? <There are electronic CO detectors, I would plug in at least one of these.> I cannot afford to upgrade my whole house heat as that will run into the thousands of dollars, last quote I got was 8 grand and some change. <Then get some big heaters for your tank.> Thank you very much in advance Craig B. P.S.  Is there a web site where I can download a log book designed for salt water tanks? To use with Word. <I've not seen any products like this, but I'll refer you to Aquarium Journals who makes a log book for keeping track of such stuff. http://www.aquariumjournals.com Cheers, J -- >

Is it ick or not? I am new to marine aquariums, and my system has been going strong for 4 months.  So I have not needed your services in several months, and your web site is fantastic as always.  However I am a little confused, and I need a little help.  I moved my hippo tang from my Q/T to my M/T after 3 weeks of quarantine and almost immediately had white spots, but they disappeared the next day, so I did nothing.  One week later I bought a Flame Angel and put it into my Q/T, and just today I noticed a few spots after 3 days.  I also notice a few white spots on the Hippo in my main tank.  All fish are eating well, and do not show signs of rapid breathing or stress. Is this ick? <yes it is. hippo (regal) tangs are ick magnets. they will get it from time to time and usually goes away in a week or so on it's own if the aquarium water is good) if you would notice this for more than a week or it keeps getting worse you may have to qt again> Should I put the Angel 2-3 inches and the Hippo 2-3 inches together in my Q/T and Treat? <wait a couple of days and see if it gets worse (do you have a cleaner shrimp or neon goby. If not purchase one will help keep parasites off of your fish> If yes, what treatment should I use since Angels do not do well with copper? <you can slowly (over a couple of days) drop the salinity to 1.015-1.017 this will help rid of parasites also feeding garlic supplement with there food will also help. use CopperSafe as a last resort. UV sterilizers are also very helpful of ridding parasites in an aquarium> I have a 15lb piece of live rock in the Q/T, can I move it to the M/T? <see how they look in a couple of days like I said CopperSafe is a last resort and if you use follow directions and test your water> My M/T is a 65 gal Fowler with a 2 inch clown and a 3 inch yellow tang, and my Q/T is only 15 gal.  What can I do with the tang and clown? <disruption of the main tank will only cause you and you fish stress only disrupt if needed Mike H> Your assistance is greatly appreciated!

Ich Tricks Hello! I saw plenty of stuff on the site about ich but nothing to answer my specific question.  I have 2 20 long tanks tied into a 20 gallon sump. The fish (4 small clowns) in one tank have been in there for a month.  I just added a tang (about 6 inches) to the other tank on Saturday. That night the one clown showed some spots. <Did you quarantine the Tang before it was added? Do perform quarantine in the future...It can save a lot of potential problems down the line> This morning one of the others is showing spots. 2 are still clear, for now.  The tang isn't showing any signs and all are eating.  I do have one cleaner shrimp in each tank and I put some RxP in the sump.  Should I take the tanks off of the sump and put separate filtration on them? <Well, I'm not a big advocate of medicating a display tank, or a sump connected to the display, for that matter. However, if disease has manifested in any of the fish, I'd remove them all for observation/treatment with an effective medication, in a separate treatment tank.> Since the tang isn't showing signs, I was wondering if this would potentially prevent him from being affected. I figured I could drop the salinity on the clown tank to rid it of ich.  Any help is appreciated. Thanks! <Well, reducing the salinity is one possible treatment course (remove the shrimp, BTW), but again- I'd perform this in a dedicated "hospital" tank. Once the Ich parasite is in the tank, it's IN the tank, so you need to address this by leaving the main system fallow, without fishes, for at least a month. This will cause the parasite population to crash for lack of hosts, and will provide your (cured) fishes a better chance at long-term health when they return...I'd err on the side of caution. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Thanks for the reply. (Boxfish, ich concerns) Thanks for the quick reply- spent all day reading on the WWM site.   EXCELLENT resource, we are lucky to have you.  Saturday- moved the fish to the LFS.  Separated the YP Box (he is in his own tank at the LFS), the SF tang and 2 Clowns are in another tank, and the Auriga and L. Blenny are in another.  The thing is, the LFS here in town have 1200 gallon system that circulates amongst the entire store-  If the boxfish dies will this contaminate the entire store?<possibly if he is not taken out of the aquarium ASAP>  Not only that- there is no way to up the temp and lower the salinity for an individual tank- they are all linked.  They seemed unconcerned when I pointed out this detail.  They are unable to diagnose specifically (though they seem to think ICH because of the small spots on the Percula), but were quick to asses Copper treatment for the tang and clownfish (moderate copper for the Auriga and the blenny).  but after reading all day I am kind of freaked out-  These are not quarantine tanks and they have gravel bottoms, so I'm pretty much assured that the copper will be absorbed by the gravel and it will be filtered through (no constant copper) because of the water system set up (so totally ineffective?). <not necessarily> The LFS also said to treat there 3-5 days and back to our tank.  I (now) know 4-6 week minimum to run the course of the parasite- (at home while awaiting fish we can) lower the salinity to 1.021 (says bob) 1.018 (says Steven pro) and raise the temp. (no higher than 84f) since we have 2 cleaner shrimp (already) and 2 emerald crabs and 20 lbs LR (no copper here thank you!!) we are sort of stuck unless we move everyone to the LFS or get 3/4 QT.<agreed> But I am  still concerned for our fish at the LFS.<I would be also>  I know now (add another to the list) that I should have had a Quarantine tank all set up and ready to go and I think I need to go back and pick up my fish- like right now.<agreed>  Should I have two QT? One set up for the box fish (and blenny? he is scale-less right?<yeah this sounds like a good idea> maybe they should be separate if the box fish doesn't make it) and one for the tang, Auriga?<yea>  (Is the butterfly more sensitive?) <probably so> I would like to set up the QT and treat the Tang, Clowns, Butterfly with Copper. (right?)<yes>   Then does everyone stay in the QT for 4-6 weeks?<yup> I love my fish- I will be very sad if they die (I already feel incredibly guilty- why aren't there laws pet stores selling SWF without a license of some sort???<I honestly cannot answer that one> we bought the tank with fish already from people who were moving and have had to learn everything the hard way- and the LFS has pretty much told us ALL THE WRONG THINGS).<most of them normally do, there are some exceptions but normally they tell you false info to make the quick sale>  So how many QT? <2 of them would be an excellent idea> Should I move them again from the LFS to home?<this may stress them out again, I would wait a while and see if they progress at the LFS, because you are probably going to stress the crap out of them shipping them back and forth, etc>  I called the LFS today- and the owner said they looked fine (moron) and I don't trust them to treat our fish... what do you recommend?<well you pretty much have to trust them right now, because again you don't want to stress them out more than they already are> Thanks for the website- you are all excellent to have this website and answer all of these questions... Thanks again.<your welcome my friend, just wait and see how the fish look at the LFS-with your own eyes might I add!! lol. If they start to look worse I would setup my own QT aquarium and treat the fish there. Hopefully your LFS at least knows the basics of marine fish keeping and treating of parasitic infections/ich. IanB> -Erin

Counterattacking Ich! Hi, I have a major situation here! It seems that my main 75 gallon reef aquarium has got problems with ich. It has tons of live rock, fish, and corals in it. I have already caught them once and put them in quarantine. They were there for about 2 weeks, and then I put them back in the main tank. Then the diseases re-appeared again possibly worse than before. It was literally impossible to catch them the first time, and I do not want to do that again. I had to take 3/4 of the rock out, and then put it all back in. There appears to be some black-spot too. I have tried Kick-Ich, and decided that it is junk. I have also heard from forums that a product called Ich Attack works well. What do you think? Thanks, Adam <Well, Adam- the reason that the ich came back is that the parasites are still in your display tank. The key is to attack them by understanding their life cycle. The causative parasites need to have a host (i.e. fishes) to help complete their life cycle, or most will die. By removing all of the fishes to a separate tank for at least a month, you will be depriving them of their host fishes. It absolutely sucks removing the fishes from the display, but it is best to treat them in a separate "hospital" tank.  So-called "reef safe" medications are of questionable value, in my opinion...I find it hard to believe that a medication can attack only the ciliated protozoan that causes ich, but ignore physiologically similar (and harmless/beneficial) organisms that reside in your tank...Better to use time-tested medications or techniques in that hospital tank, and letting the parasites in the tank die off for lack of hosts...Do it right and you and your fishes will be much happier in the long run! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

What's That Say?  Ammonia Readings During Ich Treatment >Hi WWM Crew, >>Hello. >I have just moved all the fish from my 135 G FOWLR into a 55 G QT for Ich treatment. I didn't properly QT my last purchase (Blue Tang). I am now treating 10 fish instead of one (including a Centropyge angel and another tang) and we will have a great display of rock in water in the living room for the next 6 weeks or so, so I won't be making that mistake again. >>However, you're making a big mistake putting all those fish into a 55 gallon tank. >The QT has a DIY wet/dry filter, an additional powerhead for circulation and a little crushed marble to buffer the pH. The Blue Tang has been in QT for a week now, treating with Formalin/malachite green and lowered SG to no avail. >>Formalin should be working. >I've been monitoring the other fish in the main tank for signs of Ich (hoping not to find any) and sure enough there they are - so I moved everyone into the QT today and started treatment with Cupramine. >>Water changes to remove Formalin?  Carbon..? >Tonight I tested the tank with the following results: SG - 1.016 >>My friend, if you're thinking that qualifies as "hyposaline", I am obliged to tell you it is NOT.  It must be down to at least 1.010, and can go as low as 1.007. >pH - 8.3 KH - 9 Nitrate - 10 ppm Nitrite - undetectable Ammonium - 0.5 ppm (if I understand correctly this yields approx 0.05-0.08 ppm of ammonia at pH 8.3?) >>Rather, yes.  This is both a problem and to be expected what with all those fish you just dumped in there.  Expect greater stress with this method. >Seeing the ammonium reading I decided to move one of the Eheim 2015 (containing ceramic noodles and Dupla mini bio-balls) canisters from the main tank to the QT to help with the biological filtration (there is another 2015, skimmer and powerhead still running on the main tank). >>This may prove futile.  Water changes are what is in order, and adding copper to the newly mixed water to proper dosing level is the means by which you maintain proper levels.  I must admit, most folks go this route by the other way, that is to say that they copper first, then use Formalin.  The Formalin really should be working. >I have 2 questions. >>Shoot. >1. Could the copper treatment have given a false reading on ammonium or is it a result of adding so many fish all at once? >>Second option is correct, first not at all.  Copper CAN kill your nitrifying bacteria, though. >2. In 2 weeks I plan to remove the copper via chemical filtrant (PolyFilter or the like) - will this remove the copper well enough for me to use the Eheim on the main tank again? >>I wouldn't without MUCH testing and MUCH rinsing of media. >I'm guessing the mini bio-balls will be ok, but I'm worried about the ceramic noodles. I'm also guessing that the copper may partially or completely kill off the nitrifying bacteria in the canister filter so I will need to re-establish it after treatment. >>AHA!  You're a rather good guesser.  ;) >Thanks, John >>There you have it, John.  Also, if you've got substrata in the q/t, or anything porous (like them thar noodles), the ich protozoa can attach itself rather well.  I suggest removal.  Marina

- Fighting Fish Disease and Bad Advice - Hello, Well, it's 4:30 AM and I just finished doing the fastest 50% water change in history in a desperate attempt to save my fish.  My husband and I woke up to this really loud noise at 4 and my 2 remaining fish (a coral beauty & copper band butterfly) were going ballistic.  They are spinning in front forward cartwheels and then occasional short burst that shoot them thought the water (loudly enough to wake us up).  They were perfectly fine when I went to bed, well, except for the coral beauty maybe a little, who was acting "sad" as I like to call it.  He loves to swim in and out of things and I had not had a chance to pick up some PVC pipe yet for him to swim through.  He acted this way when I first bought him and then I arranged the coral and LR to give him caves and places to swim in and around and he just loved it.  They are both in a 20 gal treatment tank with the 2nd dose of copper which I added 48 hours after the first dose as the bottle recommended.  I followed the instructions on the bottle and I tested the copper levels to be sure before adding the 2nd dose.  The test kit came with a control test which I also did to be sure, and the kit tested low (about half) the control came to .25 and it said it should read .5.  I checked for expiration dates on the kit when I bought it and aren't any.  It's a Seachem, Multitest for copper - the only copper test they had and the last box.  When I tested my tank for copper before adding the 2nd dose - it read well below .25.  I decided I would be safe adding the 2nd dose and that I would take a water sample the next day to have the LFS try testing to see what kind of reading they would show.  So, when I woke up to the fish going nuts, the only thing I could think of was to reduce the copper level ASAP.  I ran tests on everything else the night before and everything was fine - zero's where there should be ph 8.2, temp 80 etc.- fish were eating - everything was great.   Here's what happened that started this on slot of death and acrobatic fish (soon to be dead).  I purchased 2 fish over a month ago - a Heniochus butterfly and an electric blue damsel.  Before leaving the store, I mistakenly (as I look back) asked for guidance in what the owner of the LFS used to battle ick.  He introduced me to this elixir Kick-Ich, and he led me to believe I could use it and not have to quarantine. <Bad advise.>(Which I would have done and should have done). He told me to just add it in before I released the fish and that's it.  After battling ick twice before and loosing a lot of fish - this sounded like a great product - and it was safe for inverts (I have 2 cleaner shrimp).  I had not heard of this Kick-ich before and I had done a lot of internet searching during my last ich battle on what to use as an alternative to copper.  Also, I would think the owner of an all marine shop would know a thing or two.  So, I introduced the fish into my main tank and 2 weeks later spots started to appear on my new Heniochus butterfly.  So I proceeded to start a cycle of this Kick-sh*t (as I like to refer to it). <Hmm... good one, is truly what the stuff is.> The spots were gone the next day and I was really impressed. <Yeah... I could write for hours about 'toxic effect' which can be induced by many things, but as you observe... ich/white spots can and do come back.> A few spots came back in about 2-3 days, but after adding a dose of this Kick-ick they disappeared.  The spots would not stay away however, so back to the store for another bottle of this 30 dollar Kick-ick as the instructions recommended to repeat the cycle. <Didn't realize it was so costly... what a racket.> So after the 3rd week I started searching on the net about this Kick-Ick and it truly is crap - well actually it's like putting the ick in a slow motion and a bit of a pause. <The 'active' ingredient is pepper, I don't recall which one, but is not really at all effective at killing Cryptocaryon, much to the dismay of all who use it.> After reading about the unfavorable opinions on this stuff I decided to try the copper route.  Due to circumstances like work and family commitments, I couldn't get what I needed immediately so there were 3-4 days that went by without adding in this Kick-ick and the disease took over very quickly.  The Heniochus became covered with spots.  My copper band and coral beauty were just starting to show signs of spots.  (They are the 2 toughest fish who were the sole survivors of 2 bouts of ick before).  I wanted to make sure I did things right to the T.  I copied and pasted your web page on ick treatment into my palm and went to another LFS and purchased what you recommended and followed through.  All the fish were carefully transferred to the hospital tank after a Methylene blue, fresh water dip.  The Heniochus and damsel were too far gone already, but I decided to still try - they died overnight. <Sorry to hear of your loss.> My little clown "Nemo" as we called him, was not as bad, but he survived only the first day and a half. <Yeah, these fish are sensitive to copper.> Now my last 2 fish, who have no spots are spinning and spinning. Is this copper test kit not a good product? <Hard to say - there are two prevalent forms of copper treatment: chelated and non-chelated and you need different tests for each.> I used Seachem Cupramine Buffered Active Copper - the only copper treatment the store had. <I'm afraid I don't recall which this is - chelated or non.> I also used Methylene Blue in the fresh water dip.  Should I have only used the copper at 50% level from what the bottle recommended? <I would have, mostly because angels are sensitive to copper and sometimes it's often hard to predict how a dose will take - better to start off below the threshold and work up to it if the livestock responds favorably.> The fish seemed fine with just the first dose. I would greatly appreciate any advise so I can use it in the future - when I am actually allowed to buy fish again - my husband is pretty unimpressed with the whole thing - especially how much it's cost me this last while (the 4 AM wake up want too good either). <Well... you might want to start by finding a different fish store - the advise you've gotten so far has been poor and may be indicative of the overall health of the livestock they offer. Please do read this article for some additional background: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm > Thanks so much.
<Cheers, J - >

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