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FAQs on Marine Ich, Cryptocaryoniasis 15

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 13, Crypt FAQs 14, 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,

Blond Naso Tang & Raccoon Butterfly NEEDS HELP! Actually, need useful, pertinent knowledge NOW! Thanks for providing such a great library to aquarists and I am a newbie to this hobby. <Welcome> I have setup a saltwater tank for 3 months.  40 G tank, 20 lbs live rocks, 40 pounds of live sand, 304 filtration system, 200W heater, a 300 level powerhead and a spinning 360 rotation outflow jet. (should I connect the air tube to the powerhead to release air stone?) <Likely not... too many bubbles can be more than annoying> Readings:  0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 10 nitrate, temperature 82 and gravity 1.019 (I adjust it because I believe my tank has a ick infestation), pH 7.8 (I have problem to adjust it any higher.... Does I pour liquid calcium into my tank to pump it up slowly?) <Mmm, no... better to adjust your pre-made, stored change water to be a bit higher in pH...> Livestock: 1 Pepper shrimp (1 inch), 1 algae eating crab (3 inch), 10 snails 1 8-line wrasses (3 inch) 1 Maroon Clown (2 inch) and 1 Ocellaris Clownfish (1.25 inch) and they swim, eat and sleep together happily.  1 orange spotted Goby (3.5 inch) 1 baby Raccoon Butterfly (2 inch) 1 Pajama Cardinalfish (2 inch) 1 Blond Naso Tang (6 inch) <... this tank... a forty gallon... three or four feet long... is too small for a Butterflyfish, or Naso tang...> 1) All fishes are eating well except my butterfly, he/she is really a picky one that only sampling Mysis shrimp and brine shrimp with Garlic Guard on it. He/She keeps shaking and always stops besides the Goby and ask for help but I don't believe the Goby is a cleaner type. He has some white spot on its fins and body (coming on and off). At least he is willing to take food with his own preference! What should I do? A freshwater dip (with Methylene Blue?) or quarantine it? <Maybe... but really has to be placed in a larger system... will not survive in the forty> 2) Second is my Blond Naso Tang, I bought her for a week already and I put her to the main display 2 days ago. She is really a hot eating machine and she accepts all frozen meaty foods and Marine Green 40 but she doesn't willing to take any seaweed algae. I put the seaweed in a clip and hang it on the glass but she just ignore it totally.... is she healthy in long run? Yesterday, she starts to have black and white spots all over her body and fins. I took a 1 minute freshwater bath for her and it doesn't help much. She seems healthy and not being stressed (colour always stay at light grey). I start to a drops of Marine Zoe to the frozen food and helps she can win the battle. <This fish needs to be moved to larger quarters also... ASAP...> 3) Should I introduce a cleaner shrimp to the tank?  <Perhaps... but you'll still have to get a larger system, or return, move some of the fishes> The peppermint shrimp keeps hiding and I rarely seen it come out from the cave or should I get a cleaner wrasses and hope it can cure 2 of my beloved fishes? <No> Honestly I don't want any other fish since this tank is crowded already and the new cleaner fish might get infected by ick also .... <...> I have a QT but there is a yellow tang inside (2.5 inch) since he keeps chasing the butterfly. I am planning to raise this bully one in QT from now on (10G tank with 5 pounds live sand and 6 pounds live rocks)..... Or do you think I should put the yellow tang to the display tank and put the butterfly and Naso to the QT for medication? Thanks for your help..... <Please... stop... buying livestock, drygoods... other than books let's say... and read. You need to understand your ich/Crypt situation, solve the overcrowding, mis-stocking... situation you've caused. Realize the importance of environment, environmental interplay in parasitic (and other) disease etiologies... Please read on WWM re Ich/Cryptocaryon, systems for Naso Tangs, Butterflyfishes... Either get a much larger (six foot) system or return the tang... now... Read re limiting parasite infestation, dips/baths... Bob Fenner> 

Sticking It To Ich! (Ich Treatment) Dear Bob, <Actually, Scott F. in tonight> I have had a Lemonpeel Angel in my quarantine tank for 5 weeks now but I am scared to death to put her in my display tank.  At this time, my QT tank levels are Ammonia 0, Nitrate 20ppm, Nitrite was <.3 but it is starting to go slightly higher after I started lowering the salinity ( will talk about this further down), Ph 8.0 in AM and 8.1 by PM, Calcium 380, KH  17 drops (all tests done by Tetra test kits). <Well, I hope that the trend on nitrite is down...> My QT tank consists of two Marineland 125 BioWheel filters and a hiding place for her to go to.  Before I bought her, I cycled my quarantine tank with 2 green Chromis for 2 months. <An unorthodox way to cycle a quarantine tank, but if it did the job...My preferred method is to keep biomedia in the display tank's sump at all times, so you have fully "colonized" (by beneficial bacteria) filter media ready to go whenever you need it. Then, you simply fill the QT with water from the display, and you're ready to go.> When levels looked good, I did a 20% water change on the 10 gallon QT and off I trotted to buy my Lemonpeel.  After 1 week in the QT tank my levels started to go goofy.  I started doing 3 gallon water changes a day to keep ammonia level etc. in check.  Well with all the water changes and goofy levels, I think she got ick. <Bummer. But, the saving grace is that this happened in the quarantine tank where you can easily treat> When you look at her you only see white spots on her side fins and some on her tail.  She would also swim through the water shaking her head like she had something rattling around in it and when she scratched she would scratch around her gills and eyes.  Well, I figured the first thing I needed to do was get my water quality under control so I did a water change and added some bacteria enriched live sand.  My water levels stabilized but her itching continued. <Good on the water quality issue, sorry to hear about the disease situation.> Next, I did a fresh water dip.  She lasted about 45 seconds and then tipped on her side. <A very common response for Centropyge angelfish. They don't always take well to this process.> I took her out right away and returned her to the QT tank.  Things seemed to look good for a few days, then she started to scratch again with a vengeance. <Not surprising, because freshwater dips generally will not "cure" parasitic diseases. They can assist when using other treatments, however> When I called the pet store, they said to dip her again and put in two cleaner shrimp. <A good thought- but not always effective. There's nothing wrong with trying "biological" cleaners first, as long as you are prepared for further, more aggressive action as needed.> Well the cleaner shrimp drove her crazy and she would not let them clean her.  So, I removed the cleaner shrimp and put them in my main tank.   I next started to lower the salinity and have brought it down to 1.015 and it has been at this level for 3 days. Also, since I started lowering the salinity my nitrites are going a little funky again. <Not sure of the correlation here, may be coincidental...> With the Tetra test kits a <.3 and bright yellow color is good but I am know getting a dull yellow with a slight orange.   I also increased the temp from 76 degrees to 77/78 degrees.  She is not scratching  as much only periodically but she still has spots on her side fins and tail.  Also, I failed to mention before I started to lower the salinity I treated her for septicemia with Kanacyn for ten days. <Ahh...that might explain your nitrite reading. Perhaps the nitrifying bacteria population was negatively impacted by this medication.> She recovered from the septicemia but still has the white spots and occasionally scratches and twitches.  She eats great she loves Ocean Nutrition one and will pick at Ocean Nutrition 2, Prime reef, and Angel formula.  She loves romaine lettuce and spinach but I can't seem to get her to eat dried algae. <The fact that she is eating is a very good sign. As I say ad nauseum, "A fish that eats is a fish that lives"> My concerns is where do I go from here.  I have read many of the articles that have been written but are just more confused.  Call me mixed up and stupid. <No you're not...> I have talked to the pet store people and they said I have done everything and am being to cautious and should give her a dip and put her in the main tank. <That's absolutely insane advice...Unbelievably irresponsible> Call me cautious but I would rather be this, then have ich or any other disease enter my main tank. <Absolutely. And you'll be better off for it in the long run.> My tank has been up and running for a year and with all the challenges, I have had it has been ich free. Oh, I use only RODI water and do not heat my water or treat it with anything before I add it to my tanks when I make up for evaporation.  I know this has been talked about in some of your articles. < Yep!> Questions Do you think she could still harbor ich or flukes or something? <Absolutely. If she is still displaying some discomfort, it's very likely that she's still sick> How long do I keep her at a low salinity? <I'm not a big fan of this technique, but periods of several weeks would be okay, unless the fish is displaying discomfort> Do I need to remove the sand bottom if I have to continue to treat her?  My original setup was a bare bottom etc. <I've never liked substrate of any kind in the quarantine tank, as it can effectively "absorb" medications. On the other hand, if you have a significant sand bed that has been there for several weeks, it may have developed such a population of nitrifying bacteria that it could cause severe problems if you remove it. If you go the medication route (and I believe that you should at this point), you'll just need to monitor the concentration carefully to assure that you're maintaining a proper therapeutic dose> Could not heating my refill water be causing some problems? <Well, environmental fluctuations are a source of stress. But if you're talking a bout a degree or so, and other conditions are in line- probably not too big a deal, IMO. Definitely something that you'd want to avoid, if possible.> Do I start the water changes again to get the nitrite levels on line? It seems that every time I do water changes I mess things up.  I do prepare my water change water to all the appropriate levels. <I think that I'd hold off on the water changes at this point, and allow the tank to cycle. A calculated risk, but one worth taking, I think> I just want some type of strategic step-by-step procedure.  I have talked to so many people and they keep giving me so many different answers I want to scream.  I wrote you 3 weeks ago but did not get a response.  My message must have not gotten through. <Really? Sorry to hear that. We are generally pretty good about answering all messages...> I know you are very busy but I would appreciate as quick of a response as possible.  I have been working blind because I am sick of talking to the pet store people.  Thank you for any help you can give me. Sincerely Brenda      <Well, Brenda, there are many competent pet store employees, it's just that you haven't met too many yet! Seriously, I'm a big fan of medical intervention for ich. I generally use copper sulphate, administered in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. However, Centropyge angels generally do not take well to copper. A better choice might be to use a Formalin-based medication. Again, follow manufacturer's instructions to the letter when using any medication. Hang in there, act decisively, and think positive! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Ich Woes (8/4/04) Six months ago I upgraded my Marine tank to 85 gal. I had 2 clowns  and a Majestic Angel. Everyone was doing great until I purchased a powder blue tang. <Ich city. Did you not quarantine for 4 weeks first?> Within weeks the entire tank was infected with ich. I tried fresh water dips to no avail. Although the fish appeared a little better after the dip, by the next day they were covered with parasites again. (Why dip when the tank is infested with ich?) <Which is why I favor removal to QT to treat there.>  I even tried freshwater dip on my angel and put him in my old (26Gal) tank knowing that tank was parasite free but the dip DID NOT kill the parasites and guess what... the 26 gal tank now is infested with the disease. This tanks only other resident, my little cowfish, died a week later) My question, how do I rid my tanks of this problem? <6-8 weeks of no fish. All of the answers you seek are in the ich articles and FAQs. Take the time to read them and you will be well-rewarded. You may also want to read Steven Pro's excellent ich articles that start here: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.htm> There are no fish left. I raised the temp to 84 and lowered the salinity to l.012. Will I destroy my biological filter leaving it this way? <No, but inverts may be at risk.>  How long should I wait before reintroducing fish to my tank? <Minimum six weeks, eight even better. For 4 of those weeks, your first new fish can be in quarantine.> Any advice is greatly appreciated! <BTW, powder blues and majestics are both rather difficult to keep and grow too big for your tank. Consider more appropriate fish.> Thanks, Carol <Hope this helps, Steve Allen> Ich Strikes Again! Now my Asfur Angel, Raccoon Butterfly and Cowfish have what appears to be ich. <Sorry to hear that. Time for confident moves.> I  adjusted the PH with Reef Buffer and the Ammonia with Prime yesterday. <Was ammonia a problem?> The levels then were fine.   I started treatment of the ich with Kick-Ich (5-nitroimidazoles) and antibiotics (Hexamita and Kanacyn) and again dosed early today. <I'm not a fan of the first product, and I'm not sure why you'd want to use an antibiotic against ich, which is a parasitic disease. It can help with secondary infections> There was no improvement, so I again tested the water and now the ammonia is high (about 2.0) The Ph is ok. Sensing impending disaster tonight (soon to be dead fish). I finally put in some Sea Cure (copper) 1 drop per gallon even though there's a very small shrimp in there and some live rock. <Yikes! Please don't do that. And, by all means, avoid treating in the display tank. Control and monitoring of the copper concentration is much too difficult in the display.> The  fish are worth about $250 and I'm concerned about the fluctuating level of ammonia and whether I should have put in copper after already dosing with Kick-Ich. <Well, I would not dose medication on top of medication, particularly in the display tank. Copper is effective for treating many fishes, but I would be careful about the Cowfish. The ammonia level is of great concern, and dosing antibiotics is not helpful to biological filtration, so don't do that again, okay?> Will I wake up to dead fish tomorrow?   Is there anything I can do now but wait?   Please let me know.   The two aquarium shops that I trust have told me to use copper and antibiotics.   Thanks so much-MB <Well, MB- a this stage of the game, I'd avoid adding any more medications to the display tank. Be sure to remove the fishes to a separate tank for treatment. As far as the ammonia level is concerned, you'll need to give the system time to re-establish biological filtration. I suppose that you could help "kick start" things by adding one of those "bacteria in a bottle" products. Water changes may help, but they can also be a bit disruptive, given the circumstances that you're in. Hang in there, don't panic, and react confidently. Read up on the WWM FAQs regarding the treatment of parasitic illnesses. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Ich Strikes Again...And Again! Shortly after setting up my tank my fish got ICH. I went to the Local Fish Store (LFS) and asked the guy there. I purchased a 22$ bottle of what was suppose to be reef safe Ich Killer (Kick Ick). Turned out to be a 22$ bottle of water basically. <I'm not a big fan of the stuff, but some people swear by it...> In following the instructions on the bottle, my fish only got worse and I ended up loosing them all except for two. I then discovered your site and asked you guys questions. I took the remaining two fish out and put them in a hospital tank and treated with copper, hyposalinity, and a higher temp for 5 weeks. During this 5 weeks my display tank went fallow. I added the two fish back in without signs of ICH for a good while. <Good work!> I found two fish that I really loved at the LFS (Purple Tang and a Flame Angel). I went every other day to look at these two fish for two + weeks. I purchased the fish and got them home and put them in my QT tank (Yes you taught me to QT my fish too). <Excellent!> They stayed in QT for 4 weeks without any signs of ICH what so ever and no signs of ICH in the main tank either. Note: I did NOT add any new live rock or corals to the main tank since it went fallow. I took the fish out of QT, fresh water dipped them, and added them to the main tank. Two days later my Purple Tang has spots of ICH. I removed all rocks, removed the water, and changed the substrate completely. I added the water, the rocks, and put the fish (Purple Tang) in the Hospital tank. Went through all this and found the next day my Flame Angel had a couple spots. My two Chromis are fine. What did I do wrong (besides not taking all the fish out and putting them in the hospital tank) and how can I prevent this in the future? <Well, your procedures sound quite good, actually. Unfortunately, some fish are simply more susceptible to ich than others, However, the only thing I probably would have done differently is to remove all of the fishes from the display. I know it sounds like a pain, but my thought is that the fish that remain in a tank where ich was present are potential carriers of the disease...> Well this morning my flame angel and my two Chromis are fine without spots and I treated my Purple with copper in the hospital tank. <Glad to hear that!> I have been posting things about this on my reef club's board and I am getting everything from Ich is always present and you can't get rid of it, just prevent it. <Well, there is much controversy on that topic. I am slowly starting to embrace that theory. Like any disease, ich is opportunistic, and will attack fish that are stressed or otherwise in a lowered state of resistance. Yes, quarantine and excellent water quality (i.e.; a low stress environment) are definite aids to preventing this illness> I feed my fish a lot of garlic and vitamin soaked foods and they are all eating and healthy otherwise. They also talk about getting a UV Sterilizer, should I? <I don't run one, myself, but I have friends who swear by 'em> What are the benefits to using a UV Sterilizer and what are the down falls? <Benefits are another means to combat parasites on a full time basis. Down falls are another chunk of change to plunk down, and the cost and maintenance (minimal, though) of operating one.> Will this help with my ICH issue? <It may help prevent future outbreaks> Did you see anything that I did wrong in the above text? What could I have done better and how can I stop this or put it at bay at least? <Honestly, other than using the "reef safe" product initially, I see little wrong with your practices. Perhaps a 6 week fallow period would have been a bit better, but other than that- sounds fine. Just continue doing what you're doing!> Sorry for the long e-mail but all help needed!!!!! Thanks, JB <Stay the course, JB- you're doing fine! Regards, Scott F.>

Treating Ich (7/22/04) hi folks, <Steve Allen tonight> My flame seems to be infected by some ich-y parasites. <How long have you had it? Did you quarantine it for a month before adding it to your tank?> White spots on tail (mostly), fins and some on body. <Cryptocaryon, aka ich> She lives in a 70 gal tank with only 3 other small Clownfishes (no corals yet). I've used formalin and Methylene blue but it didn't seem to make it go away completely. <Unwise to add such meds to your main tank. They kill your biofilter and invertebrates.> I tried a freshwater dip (3mins) last night and it seemed to have removed most of it. This is the second time I'm doing this since it never really seem to completely remove the parasite/fungus (whichever). <Parasites, but it doesn't get all of them, and they're in the tank too.> What else can I do? <The most effective and safe option is to remove to a quarantine tank and treat there.> It is a pain to try to net the Flame since I have tons of live rock. <Understood. Been there, done that.> I have to almost remove all the rocks before I can catch her. <Yes, I had to remove 200 lbs once.> Can I try few continuous freshwater dips the next time I net him? <Some people do daily dips, but why keep netting him and putting him back? Keep him out. Read about QT in the ich/parasite articles/FAQs. Also, you may want to read Steven Pro's excellent ich articles starting here: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.htm> I thinking of dipping for 3mins, back to saltwater for 2-3mins, then back to freshwater again. Will that hurt the fish or even work to get rid of the parasites? <Too shocking and no reason to expect this method to be effective.> Thanks in advance for your time. <Read the recommended articles & FAQs and you will know what to do.>

Flame Angel and Regal Tang Ich follow up 7/23/04 Hi,  I accidentally lowered the salinity too much when I did a water change on the 35 gal. quarantine tank, discovered the fish in shock, changed them to another tank using the water from my main tank (which was filtered and heated etc the same as their water) spent half of the night trying to keep them alive.  The tang was the one with the original problem and wasn't as big or strong as the angel.  I thought both were going to die but the flame is swimming normally now and eating, lost the tang.  Feel awful but glad the flame is okay. <Glad to hear that your Flame angel made it!  Congrats.> I'm not sure of the technical name but I was told the egg of what was to become the tang was collected in the wild (Hawaii) but born in captivity.  It seemed as close as we could get to captive raised. <The term you are looking for "captive reared", meaning they were raised in captivity from wild collected larvae.  "Captive bred" means the parents actually spawned in captivity.  "Captive raised" is confusing, but is generally used interchangeably with "captive bred".> Anyway, that's our half/ sad tale, hope the flame stays as well as she is now.  Sincere thanks for trying to help us. I'm still upset at my stupid blunder. Guess I have to look at the bigger picture and remain very grateful.  M. DeNeff <Do be diligent in the future, but don't be too hard on yourself now.  We all make mistakes.... it is learning and improving from them that separates the conscientious from not so.  Also, it is likely that if the fresh water exposure was fatal to the tang, it was probably not going to survive anyway.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Ichy Porcupine Puffer <Hi, MikeD here> I purchased a 3.5" porcupine puffer about 5 weeks ago.  I named him Gizmo<LOL! That's a very popular porcupine name!> and placed him into a 20 gallon tank that had been set up with a considerable amount of live rock and a Fluval 304 cartridge filter.  The tank was set up about a month before introducing him to the tank.  I already had some hermit crabs in there, and believed the tank to be stable.  Approximately 4 days after introducing Gizmo to the tank, I had a considerable ammonia spike which prompted me to move him over to my 30 gallon tank which had been fully cycled<Not surprising. The meaty foods required and the bad foods many people buy from LFS will frequently cause the system to overload>.  Gizmo stayed in that tank for approximately two days when I noticed the telltale signs of Ich on his skin and fins<Yep. Porcupines are quite delicate in regards to ich>.  Not wanting to expose the other fish, I moved Gizmo back into the 20 gallon tank after doing a 50% water change and verifying that the ammonia was sufficiently low (almost 0)<OUCH! Almost is still enough to break down the fish and weaken it for further attacks>.  I went to the LFS and they gave me a bottle of medication.  Before medicating I decided to investigate the treatment on the web.  After reading some horror stories regarding puffer susceptibility to Ich treatment toxicity, I hesitated to use the treatment.  Ultimately I opted to begin freshwater dips instead.<To me, freshwater dips are too hazardous for puffers>  I prepared the bath with deionized water, buffered the water to achieve an pH of 8.3, and then raised the temperature to match the tank's.  I performed a freshwater dip for 10 minutes with no apparent ill effects to the fish, and continued to do dips once every 24 hours for the next week.  All signs of Ich disappeared from Gizmo, and I thought that I had it licked.  Unfortunately, my freshwater dips were postponed for 3 days because I had to travel for business.  During that time my girlfriend did the feeding for me, and she reported no visible signs of Ich while I was gone.  She did say, however, that Gizmo didn't want to eat on one occasion, which was strange for him.  The evening that I returned from my trip, I arrived home to find Gizmo covered with more white spots!  I immediately resumed the freshwater bath routine, initially doing it once every 12 hours, and later only once every 24 hours.  This routine once again resulted in the elimination of Ich spots.<Ich has a cycle where the spots disappear, then reappear in about 3-4 days>  I kept up the freshwater baths for another 10 days after seeing the last signs of Ich on Gizmo.  All was going well until yesterday when I came home from work to find Gizmo covered with spots again!  When I left for work that morning, he had almost no visible signs of anything that resembled a spot.  I gave him another freshwater dip, and this morning the spots were still there.  I gave him another freshwater dip today, yet the spots still remain.  Additionally, he didn't want to eat very much today, and I fear that he is getting weak.<Very likely>  I don't know what to do at this point.  I don't want to give him chemicals, as I'm afraid that it might kill him.<The ich and stress is already killing him>  I'm also worried that he is excessively stressed from the daily freshwater dips.  He actually puffed up twice while in the freshwater dip two days ago<very bad, only worse if they puff up with air while being dipped. I'm surprised that he hasn't>, and he bit at the bucket wall.  He now also swims frantically for his life at any time that I put anything into the tank.<That's just absolute terror>  My contingency plan has been to set up a 30 gallon tank and artificially cycle it with ammonia so that I can use it to put Gizmo in after the freshwater dips leave him spot free.  Unfortunately, Gizmo needs to go into it NOW, and the tank is not yet stable enough.  Please help!  What should I do to keep Gizmo from dying?  I'm already so attached to the little guy, and I don't want anything bad to happen to him. <OK, with puffers, being scaleless fish, they are very sensitive to copper, but they do handle the formalin treatments, particularly if used half strength, which is what I suggest. The brand name of the formalin treatment available in this area is "Quick Cure" and needs to be used in a separate hospital tank. Don't be surprised if he makes several trips back and forth but he will eventually settle in and toughen up once you quit the dips. Use caution in what you feed him as too small of foods (brine shrimp, poor quality or unrinsed Mysis, etc. will cause a spike very quickly. If you switch to frozen shrimp from the Seafood section of your supermarket as a primary food you should find him easier to care for> Lou    

A Battle Plan For Ich! Good afternoon (or not so good for me and my fish) <Uh- Oh! Scott F. with you today I arrived home yesterday to find 10 white "salt like" spots on my 6" Powder Blue Tang. My heart skipped a beat for every spot that I saw. After getting over the initial panic attack, I closely monitored my other fish and saw 2 more spots on my 4" Kole Tang. The spots seem "embedded" on the power blue; almost part of his skin. My unprofessional diagnosis is marine ICH and decided to not go down without a fight. <Sounds like your diagnosis might be right!> I am relatively new to the hobby (about 18 months) crossing over from fresh water. My attack plan is as follows: 1) I have already isolated the two tangs and started the copper treatment (10G QT aquarium) <Good...But do monitor copper concentration daily...Some tangs do not do well with copper exposure> 2) I plan on setting up the following: A) Live Rock QT - 25G Rubbermaid tub with a venturi power head - relocate all live rock from display tank <Personally, I don't see a reason to do this. If the display tank is left "fallow", without fishes, you'll essentially accomplish the same thing that you're trying to do by removing the rock: Depriving potential parasites of their hosts- your fishes>   B) Fish QT 1 - 25G Rubbermaid tub with a venturi power head - relocate clowns, yellow tang, cardinals, gobies and   Gramma - treat with copper C) Fish QT 2 - 25G Rubbermaid tub with a venturi power head - relocate powder blue tang, Kole tang, Chromis and anthias - treat with copper <Fine procedures> 3) I plan on first dipping each fish in Methylene blue (fresh water) before going to the QT tubs <I have always done this prior to ich treatment or quarantine, but I'm starting to wonder about the real effectiveness of FW dips for ich, in light of recent research..> 4) I will leave the inverts in the display tank and siphon the sand bed every week for the duration of the QT <Nothing wrong with that, but if your thinking of getting most of the potential "cysts" out of the system, it might be more work than it's worth. Just follow your regular maintenance schedule during the "fallow" period> 5) I plan to add another 30lbs - 40lbs of CaribSea live sand at the end of treatment before moving fish and live rock 6) I expect to have the fish in QT for 3 weeks Is this plan feasible and would it be OK to use Rubbermaid tubs to house the fish during QT? <Absolutely. They make fine emergency treatment facilities for fish> Your advice is highly appreciated. BACKGROUND: Equipment: - 90G tank (reef ready side overflow) - ETSS 30G sump - ETSS reef devil skimmer - Knop S-IV calcium reactor - Artica 1/5HP chiller - Iwaki MD40RLXT return pump - SEN 700 (feeding chiller and CA reactor) - Catalina 1800 (feeding skimmer) - PFO hood (2x 250W 20,000K Radium and 2x 110W VHO Actinic White) - Tunze Turbelle Stream 6060 (inside tank opposite sump return) - Kent Marine Hi-S RO/DI system Maintenance and parameters: - pH 8.4 day & 8.3 night (Milwaukee pH monitor calibrated every 2 weeks) - Specific gravity 1.023 (Refractometer) - Ammonia 0ppm (FasTesT) - Nitrites 0ppm (FasTest) - Nitrates 10ppm (FasTest) - Calcium 400ppm (Salifert) - Alkalinity 9.6 dKH (Salifert) - 5% water changes weekly (instant ocean salt) - 1tsp Kent Marine trace elements weekly - 1tsp Kent iodine twice weekly - 1/2tsp Kent magnesium weekly - Kalkwasser (ESV or Kent) top offs daily as needed (drip method) - ESV calcium chloride when needed to maintain ~400ppm - Photo-period (VHO's 12pm - 12am, MH 1pm - 11pm) Live Sand & Rock: - 125lbs live rock - 60lbs live sand (CaribSea) Live Stock: - 2x Ocellaris Clownfish (12 months in tank) - 5x Blue Green Reef Chromis (12 months) - 2x Bartlett's Anthias (6 months) - 2x Banggai Cardinalfish (10 months) - 1x Royal Gramma Basslet (1 month) - 1x Engineer Goby (7 months) - 1x Diamond Watchman Goby (7 months) - 1x Powder Blue Tang (12 months) - 1x Kole Yellow Eye Tang (1 month) - 1x Yellow Tang (6 months) - 2x Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp (1 month) - 1x Blue Maxima Clam (1 month) - 1x Sand Sifting Sea Star (8 months) - 1x Serpent Sea Star (8 months) - 1x Fancy Banded Serpent Star (8 months) - about 10 Mexican Turbo Snails (12 months) - about 50 Blue Hermit Crabs (12 months) - 1x Bubble Tip Anemone (9 months) - 1x Yellow Fiji Leather Coral (6 months) - Colony Polyp Coral (6 months) - Green Striped Mushroom Coral - Red Mushroom Coral - Yellow Colony Polyp Coral (6 months) - Starburst Polyp Coral (6 months) - Torch Coral (4 months) - Hammer Coral (1 month) - 6x Assorted SPS corals (1 month) Feeding: (mixed twice daily, skipped 1 a week) - Dry Spirulina - Dry Brown Algae - Dry Formula Two Pellets - Frozen Cyclop-Eeze - Frozen Brine Shrimp - Frozen Krill - Frozen Silver Sides - Frozen Formula Two - Frozen Prime Reef - Live Brine (treat once a month) <I really appreciate your detailed description of your system and practices (which sound great, with the exception of the use of iodine, magnesium, and "trace elements"- If you are doing frequent water changes, do you really need to add these compounds? If testing indicates that you do, then I'll stand corrected, but I have a hunch that they are not needed. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Ich's Back (7/19/04) Hi, <Hello.> Steve Allen helped me once before with my son's Wish tank. <Ah yes, I remember. back with you this time, too.> 125 double bow front acrylic, tank.  It's been up since last November and letting it go fallow for one month (to rid it of ich) didn't work but letting it go fallow for two months did. <Good.>  We were also able to save two of the three clowns infected with ich. We almost gave up but his encouragement helped us keep trying. We do have two engineer gobies in the main tank with the clowns and a lawnmower blenny.  They are all fine. (we did quarantine them before putting them in). <Smart.>   Our problem now is that the blue regal tang (young) is in the quarantine tank (so thankful we listened to all of the quarantine tank advice!) with a flame angel. <Attention QT-doubters! Another testimonial to it's value! Here's someone who has saved themselves immense hassle and grief by strict adherence to this principle!> The regal has white spots, I think ich and is rubbing on rock. <Tangs are highly susceptible.> Both fish are eating well and moving well.  The tang developed one spot that looked like a small cotton ball near his nose on the fourth day we had him.  We didn't think it was ich because he behaves so normally, ate so well and the pin-point grain-like ich wasn't there. We kept watching for changes and thinking if it was ich, we would notice a quick change.  For two weeks nothing changed. <Sounds like Lymphocystis ("fish warts," if you will) or fungus.> Now it has been two weeks and three days and as I just explained he is looking worse and trying to rub. <Small white spots + scratching = ich (most of the time). I used copper sulfate (Mardel) before but I have read your website and have reservations about the flame being copper sensitive. <Can be.> I can't see spots on her but my son thinks he can. <Kids have better eyes than most adults ;)> How should I treat them?  They really seem to like being near each other. I also have read so many conflicting opinions about hyposalinity treatment. <I think most failures are due to not going "hypo" enough. You really need to take it down to 1.010-1.011 range by about .001 per day, leave it there for a while and then slowly raise again and them wait a couple of weeks to be sure it worked.> I also read something about the formalin perhaps being cancer causing, if true don't want to use that. <I understand your personal sensitivity on this issue. Formalin is indeed dangerous and carcinogenic, but using products intended for aquariums and following label instructions strictly should be safe for you/family/fishes. Still, many do not feel this is the best treatment.> I also read it would be good to keep the lights off, but didn't find the explanation why?  <I suspect that is to reduce stress on the fish, because it would have no affect on the parasites.> Thanks so much for your help, we keep trying to add colorful fish safely to the main aquarium ... it is indeed frustrating and don't want to hurt any fish. Thanks again! Meb <With proper patience, I would favor hyposalinity combined with increased temperature. Read Steven Pro's 5-part series of articles on ich for great info: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.htm PS We have a flowerpot coral that doesn't extend quite like it used to, it fell once and I think a small circle of it was damaged.  Any ideas?  (sub compact lighting) <Flowerpots, aka Goniopora have a very poor record of aquarium survival. It will almost certainly die and there may not be much you can do about it. Been there, done that; I agree with Anthony that they should be left in the sea. Search WWM for "flowerpot" and "Goniopora" to learn more about possible ways to save it.> We're still rookies so please excuse any dumb questions.  We're trying so hard and getting frantic about the tang and angel. <If anybody can succeed here, you can, given your history of patience and caring. Good luck & keep us posted.>

Another Tank With Ich (7/20/04) Hi, <Hi. Steve Allen here.> I have a 10 gallon marine tank and it is all cycled. The base is crushed coral and there is no live rock. For filtration, I have a 20 gallon bio-wheel. I have a blue-yellow tailed damsel and a pajama cardinal. Both fish are doing good, however over the last couple of weeks they have developed ich. I used Maracyn CopperSafe and removed the carbon. The ich still persisted, so I dipped both. A few days later it re-appeared, so I dipped them again today. I can't get rid of this stuff. Please help. <The answer is here for the taking: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm Start there and read the FAQs. I have no additional wisdom to add to those posts.>

Treating Ich In A BIG Tank! Thank you for the help you have provided me in the past. <We're glad to be of service! Scott F. here today> I do have a quick question.  I have a 700 gallon tank, primarily fish, with some live rock and mushrooms.  Anyway, water parameter all check out properly, and things were going well until about 6 weeks ago, when I noticed several fish with the salt like spots.  I know your opinion on treating the fish in a QT, but with my size and number of fish, it becomes a little difficult, so I treated with Kick-Ich.  Seemed to work OK, did two treatment periods (26 days).  When done, there were still a couple whitish areas, didn't really look like salt grains, on their tail fins (no scratching noticed at all with any of the fish).  So I cleaned the tank and watched.  Over the next few days, a few more spots slowly developed on tail fins, so someone suggest marine RXP.  Waste of time. <Grr... The joys of trying to attack ich in the display! Well, your circumstances are a bit different than most people, so I guess I understand your desire to proceed in this manner> Spots got worse over course of treatment.  Finally, I went out and picked up Nox-Ich.  Years ago, last time I had similar problem, malachite green worked, so I decided to try (I did pull my main mushroom rocks out of the tank, however the sporadic ones still in the tank don't seem effected at all by the treatment).  Next morning everything was gone on all the fish.  Yesterday I put the 3rd treatment in, and there are still no signs of anything on the fish. My question is, can the problem really be cured in just 3 days of treatment? <I have my doubts. You need to think about the life cycle of the causative protozoan, and use a treatment that either attacks the organism at all phases of its life cycle, or which provides a means to disrupt its life cycle> Is it possible this wouldn't have been ich, but maybe just some type of fungus? <Well, the symptoms of these two maladies are distinctly different. Do read up on the FAQs for more information on making proper diagnosis on them> Would you recommend doing anything else, or just let this final treatment dissipate, and then clean the tank and see what happens. Any thought you have would be appreciated.  Thank you. <Well, I guess at this phase, I'd do what your proposing. Exposing the fishes to another round of medication may be more stressful for the fish than it is helpful. Observe the fish for a while to see if the treatment has succeeded, then decide on your next course of action from there. With a little luck, maybe you licked it. Do, however, remain vigilant and ready to act again if the need arises. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Treating Fish In "The Hot Zone" (Ich Diagnosis/Treatment) Dear WetWebMedia crew, <Scott F. with you tonight> I have a healthy hospital tank that has a resident damsel and Percula clown. <Permanent residents? In the "hospital tank"? Do rethink this, okay? A quarantine tank or "hospital tank" is a feature that you simply setup as you need it, and break down when you're done with it> I just introduced a Royal Gramma and Scooter Blenny that I had purchased form a pet store (lesson learned!). I kept the lights off for about two hours during the whole introduction process, and when I turned the lights on, under the bright light, I could see that the Royal Gramma has a few specks of ich! <Yikes!> I quickly set up an 5 gallon emergency tank and transferred the new fish out of the hospital tank to the new on there for the night. <Good procedure, I guess. But I really urge you to re-think what the "hospital tank" is for. If it's supposed to be a "way station" before placing fish in the display, then it is a quarantine tank, which should be set up on a temporary basis, and broken down when you're done. The tank should be bare, so that you could treat potential diseases in there.> I may return them to the pet store in the morning but if I can treat them with minimal hassle Id like to give them a fighting chance. <You owe them that much> So my first question is, will those two hours in the little hospital tank put the other two resident healthy fish at risk? (I'm attached to the clown fish and would hate to loose him). <Well, I think that you have to assume that the tank is "hot", and that your previously healthy fish may have been exposed to illness. It does NOT mean that they are sick, or even that they will get sick, but you need to operate on the assumption that they may be exposed. Do not run off in a frenzy and dump medication in the tank. DO observe the fish carefully over the net few days for possible signs of illness, and treat only if symptoms manifest themselves> I will follow the advice on the web and try to locate a cleaner goby for the hospital tank for the future, but how long dose it take for a new fish mildly infested with ich to spread it? <Really depends on how long the fish has had the illness. Days, perhaps> Second, since the emergency tank has no live rock, should I opt for a copper treatment or just return the fish? <I'd use an effective medication in the treatment tank, per manufacturer's recommendations> My sister uses a product called Sano that she swears by, but I cant find it on the web. Have you heard of it, is it any good, and who makes it, is it copper based? <Yes I have. I don't recall the manufacturer, but it is supposed to be an "all natural" treatment. I'm really not sure of its composition or effectiveness. I do know that Formalin and Copper are medications with a long track record of effectiveness> Thanks for your time...I really appreciate it, Michelle <My pleasure, Michelle. Just act carefully, yet decisively when the need to treat arises. Do re-read our FAQs on quarantine tanks, and adjust your procedures accordingly. You're on the right track...just make some minor adjustments to your procedures. Regards, Scott F.>

Treating Fish In The "Hot Zone" (Ich Diagnosis/Treatment) Pt. 2 Dear Scott F. Thanks for your speedy response...I appreciate it. <Glad to be of service!> The Royal Gramma died anyways, and since the Scooter Blenny looked ok, I put him back in the quasi-hospital tank (since he'd already been in there I didn't think I would do any additional harm and he looks ich free). I was scrutinizing the fish tonight and maybe I'm paranoid but there appears to be one single ich spot on the Percula Clown. Ill look again tomorrow. If it is, 1)should I try a freshwater dip prior to using medicine? 2)Should I add a cleaner shrimp or goby? 3)Should I remove the three pieces of live rock and carbon filter an hit the tank with a copper-based treatment an skip the freshwater dip? 4) Should I just lower the salinity for a few days since its in such a pioneer stage? <To be honest, I'd wait a couple of days to see if further spots manifest themselves. If it is just one spot, and the fish doesn't seem to be in distress, I'd just observe for a while. Maybe the fish can "shake it off" without intervention on your part. If things begin to decline, then I'd go into a copper or formalin-based treatment. Freshwater dips are somewhat helpful, but they do induce a bit of stress for the fish. If you're a bit nervous about that, then just go right into the medication, carefully following manufacturer's instructions for dosage and duration.> I am nervous about being too aggressive, but want these guys to make it. <With your continued good care and compassion, they will!> I know where I went wrong with setting up a hospital tank. My Percula had been nearly killed by the Maroon and I hoped to save him and made an emergency tank...a little 5 gallon one. He recovered somehow and had been there for about 6 months despite the small size and unstable water conditions. I'm not sure how he stayed so healthy. One day I felt guilty and moved him to a bigger 12 gallon tank and decorated it all up and thought, "Heck. I'll add a few inexpensive buddies for him. I thought it could double as  a little observation tank other fish too, if I ever purchased additional fish for my show tank. I didn't really think I would become a hospital tank of the bat, but I guess it is now, and I will have to set a true hospital tank when this is all over. Sigh. <Yep- a good idea. Your intentions were really good, it's just that it's a lot easier to simply set up a true quarantine tank as you need it. Lots of stuff on the WWM site regarding this process> Thanks a million! Michelle <My pleasure, Michelle. Continued good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Ich Treatment Procedure Hi Crew, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I have a quick question regarding Marine Ich treatment. Here's the background. I have a 135 G FOWLR with approx 100 pound of live rock. Inhabitants are: 5 Chromis Viridis 1 Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus - 3 in) 1 Unicorn Tang (5 in) - the retailer had it marked as Unicorn when I purchased it, but I'm pretty sure it's a juvenile Naso vlamingi - Yes I know this is a really bad choice for a tank as small as mine and I have already arrange with the LFS to trade it in when it gets a bit bigger, which is a shame really as it is a great fish. 1 Blue Face Angel (Pomacanthus (Euxiphipops) xanthometopon - Juvenile 2.5 in) - I've had this little guy about 5 months, he was about 1.5 in when I got him and he is eating well 1 Bicolour Angel (Centropyge Bicolour - 3 in) 1 Melanopus Clown (Amphiprion Melanopus - 2 in) The tank has been set up for approximately 10 months and I had a problem with Marine Ich in December 2003, which a treated with Copper in a 55 G QT and let the main tank run fallow for 4 weeks. <Good procedure> Since then the Blue Tang has had recurrent mild cases (between 5 and 10 spots total) every month or two, this usually clears and as none of the other fish show symptoms I figured it was reasonably under control. Last week I noticed the Blue Tang showing symptoms and after a closer look notices the Naso and the Blue Face Angel also had a couple of spots. All other fish appear to be ok. <Grr...those darned tangs! Ich magnets, for sure!> Fortunately my QT was still set up and cycled from the last introduction, so I moved the Blue Tang, Naso and Blue Face Angel into QT and started treatment with Copper. My question is, would it be effective to only treat the fish that show symptoms with copper (2 weeks as recommended), then move the other inhabitants to QT once the copper is removed and allow the main tank to run fallow for a further 5 or 6 weeks - assuming the other fish continue to show no signs of infection. <I concur with this idea. It is not fun to get everyone out, but I think that your idea is a sound one> The reason for this is that I would like to avoid treating the other fish with copper if it is not completely necessary (particularly the Centropyge) <I wholeheartedly agree!> and that it is pretty hard to establish/maintain biological filtration in QT with copper present (i.e. minimum bioload while I'm using the copper). Thanks, John <I think that you're on the right track here, John. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

To Treat Or Not To Treat? (Ich Treatment?) Hi Scott, <Hello again!>   Sorry to bother you again on my ICH situation. It is frustrating because I do not know whether to treat for ICH or not. <A tough call...> I have a continuation of my last email. The first clownfish I had that showed white spots on his one fin died after a few days with my hyposalinity and raising the temperature approach. <Hard to say if it was the "disease", or the stress of the "treatment"...> I removed him immediately and now my second clownfish is seemingly fine. <Good to hear> He once showed one white speck but that disappeared after a freshwater dip in Methylene blue. He is alive and well and showing no visible signs of ICH, no spots anywhere on his body or fins, he is swimming normally, no scratching, no hiding etc. The ammonia count was a bit high so I did a 100% water change today with water from my 6 month old display tank. <Good call> The problem with this fish number two is that he just won't eat. It's been 3-4 days now and I've tried Spirulina flakes, freeze dried bloodworms, bio-pure brine shrimp and Cyclop-Eeze zooplankton. He aggressively swims up to the food but doesn't ever eat it. I do not know whether to treat him for ICH because he seems healthy in every way except the non-eating part. I just do not know what to do at this point ! I don't want to start copper treatment if he doesn't have ICH, but I'm afraid he will be more susceptible to ich or dying if he won't eat. <Well, not eating is not a good thing, but I think it would be worse to subject the fish to the stress of a copper sulphate treatment if it isn't necessary> I'm frustrated and concerned. If the first fish died from ICH a week into my QT and my second fish is still living a week beyond. If there was ICH in the tank wouldn't white spots be appearing all over him by now ?? Any help would be appreciated. Signed, totally stumped!! <Quite possible, although some fishes show very few spots, while others are just covered! If it were me, I'd keep the fish in the QT and keep trying to get him to eat. I'd use some liquid vitamins, such as VitaChem, added directly into the water, to help provide some supplemental nutrition (fish do drink, and he might take on some nourishment in this way) until he starts eating. I would avoid the copper or other medications at this point unless very obvious symptoms manifest themselves. Perhaps there is no infection at all...Could be a myriad of possibilities. Sometimes, just good observation, nutritious food (when the fish eats, that is!), and clean water conditions can help you "turn the corner" with a fish that seems out of sorts. Be patient, don't give up, and stay with this guy. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Treating Ich With A Big Crowd! Thank you so much for all the work you put into your website!  The information is outstanding. <Glad to hear that it's been of use to you! Scott F. here tonight!> I had one or two questions that I could not find the answer to:  I have a fish only system with 70 lbs of live rock in a 125 gallon aquarium.  Everything was perfect until yesterday when I experienced my first ich outbreak. <A yucky right of passage!> I took out the LR and starfish and put them in a separate bucket.  I am decreasing the salinity. I started using Formalin, and I am doing intermittent freshwater dips once a day. <Good choice in treatment. I don't like treating in the display, though, if it can be avoided> No casualties yet!  If I am using my main tank as my treatment tank, should I take out the crushed coral gravel and thoroughly clean/sterilize it to help disrupt the life cycle? <Well, it would be better to run the display tank without fishes for a month or so to help accomplish this.> Should I thoroughly clean the Cascade canister filters?  Should I buy a treatment tank and put all my fish in there for a month? <That's my preferred method. Not fun- but I think it's the best bet!> I am somewhat concerned about doing this because of the number of fish I have: Lunare wrasse, yellow tang, regal tang, Naso tang, blue tang, clown trigger (very small), three clown fish, and two damsels.  I would really appreciate any help you can give me!!! Jason Knight Phoenix, AZ <Wow! Quite a bunch! I suppose that you could use a couple of large Rubbermaid containers to accomplish this, if required. I guess that, since you've started treating in the display, you could follow through and finish the treatment course there. I don't know if it will be as successful as the "fallow" method. Sand, rocks, etc. can often "bind up" medications, making it tough to maintain a proper therapeutic dosage. I suppose that you could run Poly Filter and/or activated carbon in the system when you are done treating, to help remove any lingering medication. Again, I'd do it the tedious way and get everyone out for treatment. It's a royal pain, but it is easier to control the medication, IMO. Either way- follow through on the treatment, observe carefully, and hang in there! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Ich Emergency! Hi gang! Quick reply + Additional Q's (wouldja believe), please reply quickly, I have steps to take! <Sure...Scott F. here with the follow-up> I'm going back & re-reading the Kick-Ich emails, & I think I may have been over-generalizing some of the WWM Crew responses. I think I may have confused some of the finer details. While I don't believe this stuff is pepper-sauce, I think I may have been confusing some capsicum/capsaicin references = "bad ich remedies" = Kick-Ich. In any case, guess what? <Umm....> It ain't workin'! (wouldja believe again!) Nopers. My Ocellaris is still showing spots, not going away at all, 6 days into treatment. No improvement whatsoever. Am I being impatient? Maybe. BUT, can I afford to take the chance? I'd rather not. SO.... <Well, I don't use the stuff, but I know that you'd see some results with copper sulphate after this period of time> Woohoo! The hospital tank is hospitable again! 0 Am, 0 Nitrites, 10 Nitrates. I don't know if the one of you that responds to me will remember one of my past emails, but I had a hospital tank that was doing its own cycling & the nitrites were off the scale. Now, before I get into my treatment question, let me ask this 1st: One piece of advice that I was given was to keep a sponge filter in place in the main tank to be placed into the isolation tank in case of sudden notice, in order to have adequate level of Nitrosomonas (sp?) & Nitrobacter available for the isolation tank--BUT... Another article I read here in regards to Ich treatment said to keep all gear completely separate from said infested tank & isolation tank. Hence, conundrum. Advice? <Ah...to clarify: Once you use the sponge in the treatment tank, get a new one to go back to work in the display tank. You certainly don't want to replace the sponge into the display after it's been used in a hospital tank...at least not without sterilizing it first> Anyway, to the treatment questions. 4 small fish to be transferred from 72G main tank to 10G QT. 2 Green Chromis, 1 Ocellaris, & 1 Checkered Goby (who has been bully some toward infested fish lately). I have setup a partition in the QT (FW breeder style) to keep the goby at bay, & a low output powerhead to make sure there's sufficient circulation through the partition. Copper questions: My LFS was cautious about applying copper to clowns, regarding them as overly sensitive. I haven't found anything to that effect on your site, to the contrary, articles regarding copper + clowns as pretty ordinary circumstances. Have you ever heard of any sensitivity like this? <Not with Clownfish, to be honest> When adding copper & lowering SG, is there a preferred sequence? My thoughts are that after having caught all 4 of these little devils, they're going to be pretty stressed. After a day or so to calm down in their new (tiny) digs, which condition would you approach 1st, lowering the SG or adding copper? <I just use the copper in full-strength saltwater. To be quite honest, I cannot see the advantage of using a lower specific gravity when using a powerful medication like copper sulphate> How long should copper treatment continue, & how long until the SG should be brought back up again? <I' follow the manufacturer's recommendations concerning duration and concentration- follow 'em to the letter!> What about using carbon in the little Penguin+biowheel I have here, will this interfere with the copper? <I'd pull the copper during the treatment period. If you are worried about water quality, do frequent water changes, but be sure to test and adjust copper concentration, so that it maintains a proper therapeutic dose> In the main tank, I have a Cleaner shrimp (L. amboinensis), as well as small sand sifter star, a small(? 7-8" tip-to-tip) spiny brittle star, several Astraea/turbo snails, hermits, hitchhiker tulip anemone + unidentified tiny Nudibranch (who seems to be making a living at the moment, 1-2cm), feather dusters, copepods, etc. How low of a SG + raised temperature do you think I should go? How should I feed the tank? <Just use some finely chopped frozen foods, just as if the fish were present...but in smaller amounts> Assuming all 4 fish make it through ok, they still will have an extended stay in the QT, depending on how long I let the tank go fallow for. I'm planning on 4-6 wks to start. How long can they stay in such cramped conditions & stay healthy? <Water changes and careful feeding...> Guys, I have to proceed in some manner. I am bracing to go diving after some fish. Please respond soon! Ichily, Pete Cushnie <Okay, Peter- just follow some of the guidelines that I gave you, read the medication manufacturer's directions carefully, and hang in there! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Ich Rears Its Ugly Head Again! Hello Scott, <Hi there!> Thanks for your reply. I left the fish alone for a couple of days without treatment and then two days after the Poma's spots had cleared up I noticed that there were some new ones present on its pectoral fins. I did a fair bit of research on the medication I planned to use and got in contact with the manufacturers who said that it would be best to add the product directly to the main tank as this is what it is intended for and said it was save for all invertebrates. <I cringe at when I hear that about any "medication". I am no chemist, but I just don't understand how a medication can effectively treat a parasitic disease like ich, targeting only the causative protozoa, yet causing no harm to physiologically analogous beneficial creatures. Then again, I'm no scientist...If it works for you and has not caused collateral damage (at least not visible, short-term collateral damage), then who am I to say not to use the stuff...Just that you'll never hear me recommending treating in the display with ANY medication!> I have dosed the tank four times and now I have to wait two days, do a water change and then treat again if the spots come back. On the first day of treatment the spots on the Poma disappeared but I continued to medicate the tank for 4 days as per the instructions. The Poma is now free of spots but has a growth on one of its fins where there was a whitespot, I think it's small infection, do I have to do anything for this? <I'd keep an eye on it, and take action only if required. You don't want to keep subjecting the fish to meds. And- if you are going to end up treating the fish for fungal infection, PLEASE do not treat it in the display.> The clowns, shrimp, hermit crabs and other inverts in the tank do not appear to be affected by the Vertaid and are still crawling around as usual. I went back to the shop where I bought the angel from and had a look at the other Pomas in there and they were absolutely covered in whitespot. Is this species especially susceptible to this disease, as they were the only fish in the whole shop that were affected (even the tangs which shared the same tank were clear)? <Not any more than any other fish, but I sure as heck would not purchase one of the tangs that was in that tank! As with all fishes, handling and post-collection care/transhipping, acclimation at the shop, etc. all contribute to the overall health of a fish on arrival at the LFS. If a fish is stressed, and the Cryptocaryon protozoan is there, it's a safe bet that the fish will contract the illness. This is yet another reason why I sound like a broken record when I implore hobbyists to quarantine all new arrivals before you place them into your display tank- every time- without exceptions- no matter what the dealer says or does to the fish proper to selling them. It is simply a procedure that you should perform, just lie regular water changes...Ohh-Uhh- don't get me started on THAT one! Well, you get the idea!> The Poma frequently attempts to get the boxing shrimp  to clean it but none of them will oblige, I was going to buy a proper cleaner shrimp but got told today that they cost around $60 each! <Yikes! You could buy a dedicated small aquarium setup to use as a treatment facility for that price!> I was considering a cleaner wrasse but I read on your site that they are not hardy and I agree that they really belong on the reef. <Right on!> Do you have any other suggestions for suitable cleaners? What about banded-coral shrimp? <Neon gobies are one of the few "cleaners" that I have personally seen actively engaging in this activity. They always seem to be a bit more expensive than we'd like to pay for a 1 inch long fish, though!> My Poma looks very happy and has a huge appetite, after it has eaten all the food it can see it then cruises around looking for the shrimp and then robs them of any food they have picked up so hopefully this is a good sign that he will be ok. <As I am too fond of saying- a fish that eats is a fish that lives!> Once again thank you for all your help, it is greatly appreciated. Yours Sincerely, Adam Harbeck <Your welcome! Keep fighting the good fight, Adam! Regards, Scott F.> Ich And The Fallow Tank Hey WWM Crew....... <Hi there! Scott F. at your service!> I recently had an out brake of ICH, I think. It looked like every description that I found. Well I lost a few fish in trying to treat it and then took my two remaining fish out and put them in the hospital tank to let my tank go fallow for a month or so. My two fish are doing great and haven't had a single sign of it at all. <Excellent! Glad to hear that this technique worked for you...It works for me and many other hobbyists!> I did notice (been two weeks fallow) that these very tiny white snowflake looking things are all over my glass. You can't really see them unless you get close and look but they are there. Kind of looks like what was on the fish that died. Is this the ich? <Hard to say. It is a possibility, as the protozoans create a cyst that attaches to substrate during part its life cycle. I suppose that the cysts are just visible> Will this go away after it dies? I tried to take a picture but it would not show up but it is there about the size of the tip of a pencil. <If the Cryptocaryon protozoa cannot find a host after emerging from the cyst, they will perish, hence the success of the fallow tank technique> Any ideas? Thanks, JB <Could be the cysts, could be some other minute life form...I'd keep an eye on things for a while, and let that tank run fallow for a while longer. Be patient! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Taking The Battle To Ich Hello Crew, <Hi! Scott F. your Crew member tonight> You're providing a terrific service. I would have spent thousands of $$$ on books (or gone through a bunch of fish) for the info you provide. <Glad that we can be of service!> After I saw what looked like Ich on my True Perc, I read the FAQs and gave him a 3-minute FW dip (sans Methylene blue). His behavior has changed a little. He seems calmer. Is this normal? Could he just be recovering from the stress of the dip (and capture), or could he just be feeling relaxed? What's "normal"? <Well, I'd like to think that the 'dip took him to his special place, making him feel all groovy- but it sounds like he's simply recovering from the dip process. There is a certain amount of osmotic shock associated with this process, and this could simply be a result of the ordeal. > Physically, it looks like most of the white spots are gone, but a few are still on his side (could be something else because it's near what appears to be a scratch). Is this normal? <Yes, it is, in my opinion. Although FW dips are a great adjunct to treatments for Marine Ich, they are not in and of themselves, a successful form of treatment. I am a big proponent of more aggressive medications, such as copper sulphate or formalin-based products, administered in a separate tank, per manufacturer's instructions concerning dosage and duration> I've already set up a hospital tank with antibiotics, but wanted to try the simplest approach first. <Understood. If you are dealing with Ich, and not the "scratch" as your primary problem, then antibiotics will be of little use. You'd need to use one of the aforementioned medications for best results. If al you are worried about is the scratch, then I'd simply maintain great water conditions for the fish, and observe carefully to make sure that he's on the road to recovery.> One more thing. Can you recommend a good technique for catching him? It took me 30 minutes chasing him around his anemone (trying carefully to avoid touching it) in my 40 gallon tank before I was able to land him. Thank you so much. You provide an excellent service! Brook <Well, Brook- there are no perfect methods for catching fish with absolute success. I like to wait until the lights are out for a while before I make the attempt. Then, you could use a large net to "corral" the fish gently into a plastic specimen container for capture. That works well for me. Hope all works out for you! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Omnipresent crypt? hi guys, well maybe you can explain something to me. I'm confused. I'm under impression that ick is always present in a marine tank. so what happens is a fish gets stressed, for whatever reason, and losses his slime which allows for the ick to attach.  is this right, the whole story? <Mmm, no. There are Cryptocaryon-free systems... and there are systems that do have latent, low-pathogenic loads of this and other protozoan parasites. Often there are environmental influences that trigger, pre-dispose more full-scale infestations and possible related mortalities... as well as nutritional inputs, genetic...> so I'm thinking why don't I just keep my salinity at 1.016. I mean besides keeping everything else in order. <Mmm, well, low spg is in turn stressful... though many stores, wholesalers purposely keep their water less than natural seawater strength, this is not encouraged for the vast majority of permanent displays> is there a way to help fish keep their slime, besides not stressing them out. <None that I'm aware of> I do not understand separating fish from the main tank when ick is constantly present.  it seems just as stressful on the fish. I know ick is a never ending battle. oh well, forward march. <The logic of removing fishes from an infested system embodies being able to treat them while not destroying the biological filter and other micro- and macro- non-fish life in the main display, yet encouraging the death of fish-host parasites in their absence... and allowing the parasitized fishes to be treated separately in an environment that is hostile to non-fish life. Bob Fenner>

Ich and Other Questions (6/17/04) Thank you for the response below <you are welcome> but I have a few more questions: 1. I am treating the quarantine tank with copper to cure the ich on the cowfish. He's been in there almost two weeks and the scooter dragon shows no signs of ich. I'm willing to be patient but how long do you think I should leave it before reintroducing the cowfish? <I'd keep the cowfish out for a total of eight weeks to maximize the odds that the ich will not return when he is re-introduced. I know that my fellow crewmates don't generally recommend UV sterilizers, but you might want to read what Scott Michael had to say about them in the 2004 edition of Aquarium Fish USA, which you should be able to find at Petco or PetSmart. I used one as a supplement to help rid my tank of ich, and I am convinced that it helped.> 2. On a separate issue, I've read several times on your website that filters such as BioWheels make too much nitrates and overwhelms the anaerobic bacteria, so using live rock as filtration is a better approach (I've got a BioWheel btw). I must be missing something - isn't nitrate created by bacteria from nitrites which come from ammonia, and since ammonia comes from waste in the tank isn't the amount of nitrate production only dependent on things like stocking and feeding levels? In other words, how could a BioWheel make more nitrate than live rock with the same level of nitrite and ammonia? <Good question. The problem stems from the fact that the Bio-Wheel (or Bio-Balls, etc) does not take things to the next step, which is the anaerobic conversion of nitrate to nitrogen gas that then exits the system. If you have enough deep sand and live rock, the nitrates from the Bio-Wheel should get processed there, but if you have that much LS & LR, you don't need the Bio-Wheel. I should like to point out that the whole concept of LR as a filter has been called into question. Read here: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-05/rs/feature/index.htm The nitrates are really only an issue in tanks with inverts. Many still recommend Bio-Balls or Bio-Wheels in high-nutrient load FOWLR predator tanks. Of course, nitrates can reach levels harmful to fishes too, so routine water changes are essential in this scenario.> 3. If I was going to switch from the BioWheel to live rock how would I do it? Do I need to do it slowly to enable the aerobic and anaerobic bacteria to build up? Do I need to use a DSB in conjunction with live rock? <Not necessarily, but very helpful. One would proceed to slowly add enough rock until the Bio-Wheel can be safely removed. Much info on this already posted on WWM, mostly with regards to Bio-Balls. Search the FAQs. Also, consider buying a copy of Bob & Anthony's "Reef Invertebrates" There is 100 pages on LR, DSB, refugiums, algae. An excellent resource.> 4. Finally, apart from the looks aspect, if growing macro algae is a good thing because it uses up nutrients why isn't it ok to let micro algae grow? As in, if I let my tank go fallow because of ich what is the harm in letting algae grow on the glass if I still do other maintenance? <None really. Some algaes can have toxic effects (like crashing Caulerpa), but hair algae is not harmful, unless it grows to such excess that it crowds out other desirables such as coralline algae, and corals of other sessile invertebrates. The big problem is that if you let it go too long, it will be hard to get it back under control.> Thanks, Matt <Hope this helps, Steve Allen.>

Go Fallow? (Ich Treatment) Hello to all at WWM: <Scott F. here today> I just finished hyposalinity therapy on my fish only system, which was successful. <Glad to hear that!> However, this was the second time I had to do this in a year. Even though my water parameters were okay, I think I may have been overstocked and subsequently had a stressful impact on the fish. <Good observation on your part> I have had most of my fish for three years and guess what, they grow. I am going to reduce my stocking density going forward. Anyway, I was thinking of going one step further by taking to rest of the fish out of my main system and keep it fallow for a month, just a precaution. I was wondering if you would agree (though this may be a little extreme) or would you leave the tank as is since I have beaten the Cryptocaryon (this time). As always, thanks for all your advice, Gene <Well, Gene, I have always been a staunch advocate of the "fallow tank technique". Hyposalinity may be successful on occasion, but I have found over the years that running the tank fallow is what has worked best for me. It essentially disrupts the life cycle of the Cryptocaryon protozoa, depriving them of their hosts. Although no technique is 100% successful every time, I have had near perfect results with this technique. It certainly is not the most fun thing to do (removing all of the fish), but I don't think it's a bad idea. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

The High Cost of "Reef Safe" Medication Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. in tonight> I have a new 55 gallon tank with 46 pounds of live Fiji & Tonga rock. I've had to tank running for 2 weeks with damsels and a trigger. My trigger got ich and my local fish shop gave me Organicure and said this product was SAFE for live rock and crabs (as I have both). <Grr...I cringe when I hear that term...No medication is really "reef safe"...Regardless of what medication you choose to use, make it a rule to NEVER treat in the display tank!> Well, the following morning I awake and 10 crabs are dead (1 survived) and all of my feather dusters are all gone/dead. The colors on my rocks are also looking faded and white.  I spoke with my fish shop and they told me OrganiCure is safe and shouldn't of killed my rock and crabs so they are unwilling to help me out at all. ARE they incorrect or being dishonest??? <I don't think that they are being dishonest, but I am almost certain that they are incorrect. Just don't medicate in the display tank! period.> How can this product be sold as "safe for inverts" when it really isn't??? <That's the $40,000,000 question. I don't know why products are marketed this way, and I'm not sure why they are so aggressively sold as a "reef safe" treatment. It's a bad practice that can result in a disaster, as you now know> In order to ever have feather dusters, snails, crabs, starfish, etc do I basically have to trash my tank and start again??? I'm just devastated by the amount of money I spent on live rock just 2 weeks ago to now have to trash it :( <I don't think that you'd have to trash it. What I'd do is execute a series of large water changes, and use some good chemical filtration media, such as Poly Filter (which excels at removing medications and other impurities from tank water) and activated carbon on a continuous basis. After a month or two of this, chances are good that you'll have gotten out the majority of the medication. Some will dissipate on its own, too. You can never be 100% certain, so do check with hardy, inexpensive inverts, like snails or hermits, before adding more delicate animals. I hate to have you "experiment" with these inverts, but that's really gonna be your best guide. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Puffer & Butterfly Bob, <I believe Bob is still recuperating from IMAC, Mac here at your service> First want to say that both your book (CMA) and the website are excellent. <Aren't they though!> I am new to the hobby... about 1 Year.  I started off rough and learned of all the perils of not being well informed before beginning. However, both your book and website have been an enormous help. <Thank you> Now down to the details of my question.  I have a 55 gal FOWLR, 60lbs of LR.  I run the Emperor 30 BioWheel and a small whisper... also added the Aqua C Remora Skimmer (HOB) based on the FAQs from your site about 6 mos. ago.  I have 3 damsels, a percula clown and a Hawaiian Yellow Tang (based on the learning from your book), and a choc. chip starfish and to this point all are well and happy.  Water quality is finally good with nitrates at a about 20ppm. <Little high on the nitrates, probably from the BioWheel, you might want to consider more frequent and smaller water changes.  Just a thought.>  Finishing the basement and have plans for a 90 gal in the wall with upgrades to both Skimming and Filtration with the desire to start a Reef at some point when I'm more informed.  <NICE!> Probably just a FOWLR for a while.  I have also set up a 20 gal. QT based on your recommendations and safely added the tang and clown through it to the 55 gal. display. <BRAVO> More to my question.  I recently purchased a Long Nose Butterfly and a Dog Face Puffer.  The plan was to introduce the BF and keep the Puffer in the 20 and use the 55 for QT in the future once the 90 was up and running.  However!  I received the BF two weeks before the puffer.  I moved the BF at the time I received the Puffer (BF doing nicely for 2 weeks in QT) to the 55 but despite efforts the BF came down with Ich and I immediately gave him another FW bath and moved him back to the QT.  The BF was harassed by the damsels and probably more fish than I really needed in the 55.  But the BF is doing fine now and the Ich seems to be disappearing. <Good>  However, I am concerned about my 55, even though right now everyone seems fine. <Rightly so, If the butterfly had ich in there the ich is still there.> Do you have suggestions for the 55?  I'm not sure I'm ready to remove all the fish (don't know where to put them) and let the 55 go fallow.  The 90 will not be ready for several more weeks.  The puffer really never seemed to be doing well from the beginning.  Eyes are cloudy and does not eat much. <Not a good sign.>  And, given that I added the BF with Ich back to the QT along with the Puffer... probably did not make the situation much better.  Have changed water 2x already with thorough vacuuming. <Are you testing? Is there high ammonia levels, that's a lot of fish for a small quarantine tank.> But the Puffer still does not eat well and appears to be a bit sluggish.  Again the BF is eating and doing better but my concerns center on the Puffer.  What can I do for him?  Does not appear to have Ich at this point... but I fear he will.  I would like to get him to eat better.  I feed all fish a variety of Bloodworms, Krill, Pellets, Flakes, and packaged seaweeds.  But the Puffer appears to have no interest in any of it.  <You might try tiny pieces of shrimp or clam, uncooked.> Would very much like your advice and grateful to have someone to ask this of.   <Tim, I think you need to check your levels in the quarantine tank.  You also might want to consider using Hyposalinity as described on WWM in detail since you have a fish only tank.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/martrthyposalfaqs.htm.  Various people swear by this but it will kill any invertebrates, anemones or corals in your tank. Since you have a fish only tank, it should work well for your system.  It is possible that the puffer has ich as well and you don't see it on him.  Good luck and if I can help you any more please let me know, Mac>    Sincerely, Tim

Taking A Chance (Ich Treatment Quandary) My main tank is infected with ICH. I have transferred all 4 fish to two 10 gallon q-tanks since three days ago. <Good start!> The main tank is to be deprived of fish for one month.  The temp has been raised to 84 and the sp. grav. lowered to 1.014 for the interim. <Okay> The dilemma is: For water changes into my Q tank, I don't want to use the water from the main tank because the ICH is in there.  So, is it preferable to use reverse osmosis water for all my water changes or is regular tap water OK? <Well, you can look at it two ways: First, if you are using tank water, it's probably of little consequence if you are medicating the QT. For example, if you're using copper, just keep the copper at an effective therapeutic level when you change water. On the other hand, if you're using RO or tap water to prepare your saltwater for the QT tank, that's okay, too.> I have been taking care of the q-tank/hospital tanks (temp 81, sp.grav. 1.017, pH 8.3) for 3 days now with 20% to 50% water changes per day in order to keep the ammonia level in my two q-tanks less than 0.25. <Perhaps you might want to also supplement with some "bacteria in a bottle" to help jump start things in this system> It gets expensive to buy 4 gallons to 10 gallons of reverse osmosis water everyday. <No doubt!> Please tell me tap is okay. <It is okay for this purpose, as long as it is properly pretreated (i.e.; dechlorinated and buffered, etc. as necessary before adding salt mix). Not to worry> One 10 gallon q-tank has a juvenile 4" Porcupine Puffer and a 1.5" clown  fish.  These fish are getting FW dips daily.  The other q-tank has a 4" Yellow tang and a small 1" blue damsel (is not aggressive, amazingly).  These fish are getting a low dose of Copper treatment (about 40% the advice of the instructions) and the tang is getting FW dips daily. <Well, I'm not a big fan of deviating from manufacturer's instructions when using copper, but I suppose it's acceptable given that tangs are somewhat sensitive to copper in the long-term. It may not be as effective as a full-strength dose, however. If you are in this situation again, perhaps you could try a formalin based product instead> I hope I can use tap water.  Please tell me that is okay. <As above> My other dilemma.   In four days, I will be leaving to vacation for three days total.  Short trip.  There is no one knowledgeable to take care of my q-tanks.  So, would it be OK to put my four fish back into the main tank (with temp and s.g adjusted to 80 and 1.017) just for the three days (the main tank is an 80 gallon more stable environment)?  Then, return the fish to the q-tanks when I get back? <It's like turning back the clock to start all over, but I suppose it's better than leaving them unattended in an unstable situation. As long as you realize that you'll have to start over, I suppose it's okay. Keep in mind that you'll have to acclimate the fish to the lower specific gravity> I realize that I would need to start the q-tank time table over and the fish may get further infected with ICH (but from a weakened ICH, yes?).  What do you think?   I fear that if I leave them in the q-tanks with no water changes for three days, that I will be returning home to four dead fishes.  Ammonia level would probably spike to toxic levels.  Please advise. I cannot cancel my trip. Thank you, Irene <Given the circumstances, Irene- I'd do what you're planning to do here. I guess it's a chance worth taking. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Taking The War To Ich Well guys, <Scott F. your guy tonight> Our power failed and my sixty gallon tank dropped to 78. This morning, some of my fish have ich. I have, about four days ago, started another tank that has not cycled. My question: Can I drop the salinity to 1.010 without killing my shrimp, hermit crabs and feather dusters? <This type of "hyposalinity" treatment is not good for inverts. They will not do well at all under this type of treatment> Can I move the inverts to the uncycled tank? I'm at a loss as to what to do. Thanks. Jennifer <Well, Jennifer. You could "seed" the treatment tank with either a sponge filter placed in the display for a few days (and the tank filled with water from the display tank), or you could use one of the commercially available "instant bacteria" products to seed the sponge filter. In my opinion, the best way to treat any parasitic disease is to move all of the fishes to a separate tank for observation and/or treatment with a good quality medication. Meanwhile, let the display tank run fallow, without fishes, for about a month. You can leave the inverts in the display during this process. That's the way I'd do it. You can read a lot more about these treatment techniques here on the WetWebMedia site. Regards, Scott F.>

Eradicating Ich Hi, <Hey there! Scott F. here today!> I have tried everything I know to try within the reef - cleaner shrimp, kick-ich, kick-ich while feeding Seachem Metronidazole. My Hippo tang still gets ich!  None of the other fish are affected, but I'm tired of watching him hit against the rocks. <yep- it can be frustrating!> We are changing tanks anyway - so I want to get rid of this stuff altogether - once and for all!  I plan to move the live rocks, inverts and coral to the new tank and leave it fishless for 8weeks.  During that time, I will treat the fish. <Very good strategy> I still have some questions: - Is eight weeks fishless long enough to be absolutely sure this stuff is all gone? <Well, you can never be 100% certain of any treatment, but I'd be willing to bet that 8 weeks without hosts would be more than enough to eliminate the protozoan population to the point where an otherwise healthy fish could resist infection> -  Would it be less stressful if I treat them in the tank they are in after everything else is removed (I could lower water level and use powerhead for movement)? <Less stressful in that you won't have to set up another tank and net out the fish. Your call on that one> -  Do I need to treat all of them the same way/strength (Yellow Tang, Algae Blenny and 2 Chromis have never shown signs of ich)? <Personally, I would not "treat" the fish that are not showing signs of the infection. I'd simply isolate and observe them carefully. Sometimes, exposing an otherwise healthy fish to the rigors of medication is worse than having a disease> -  I have a cleaner goby in my quarantine tank with live rock and a few corals because he constantly fell through the overflow (so I figured he could keep the quarantine tank cycled and would be happy).  He has never shown signs of ich at all.  Does he need to be medicated and separated from the live rock before he can live in the quarantine (I don't want to quarantine future additions or corals for nothing)? <Well, these fishes generally ship "clean", so I would not be as concerned. However, the possibility exists that if a sick fish is introduced-the goby may become a "carrier". Best to get him out when you're satisfied that he's healthy. Also, I would not run a quarantine tank on a full-time basis. Just set up and break down as needed.> -  Later, I plan to get a Mandarinfish pair.  If I understood, you recommended quarantining them with live rock and sand with plenty of pods.  My Neon Goby quarantine is set up for that now (if the neon doesn't need to be medicated).  Should the Mandarins be medicated for a short time prior to entering the quarantine?  If not, does absolutely no signs of ich in 8 weeks mean a fish is not a host? <Ahh- okay. This type of setup would be good for Mandarins. As far as medication is concerned: Nope- I would not medicate unless a fish is showing signs of illness. No sign of disease in 8 weeks would give me a lot of confidence in concluding that the fish is disease free!> Thanks once again for your patience!!! <My pleasure!> I made a mistake by adding the Hippo without quarantine to avoid stress.  Now I want to make sure I do this right!!! Doug <Rock on, Doug! You're off to a great start here! Regards, Scott F>

Ich Recurrence (6/6/04) Hi <Hello. Steve Allen with you tonight.> I followed your advice to get rid of ich in my tank and put the fish (a long horned cowfish and a scooter dragonette) in quarantine for six weeks. <<Mmm, no mention of actual treatment. RMF>>  I put them back in four days ago and noticed today that the cow has just a few spots of ich. <definitely frustrating> I've put the cow back in quarantine and I have a few questions: 1. How important is it to catch the scooter and put him in quarantine? I've read that this type of fish is quite ich resistant as it has a fair bit of a slime coat whereas I know the cow is an ich magnet. <You may just want to keep a close eye on the scooter for now.> 2. do you have any suggestions on how to catch the scooter without pulling down the tank. <really tough to do> 3. how long should I leave the cowfish and/or the scooter in quarantine now? <I would treat with more than just quarantine. Did you do something more than this last time. Hyposalinity (1.010) or medication. Read the series of articles that starts here: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.htm > Thanks, Matt <Hope this helps.>

Treating Sick Fish In The Display Tank Is A Better Way? Hey guys, <Scott F here today> Bob and Tony have some great books and you have a great website and I agree 100% that a QT tank is essential to having a successful reef tank, but the advice you give about needing a QT tank for a fish-only-tank (FOT) is ridiculous. <Really? Ask the next aquarist that you meet from The Shedd Aquarium, Waikiki Aquarium, The National Aquarium, etc. if they feel that it's "ridiculous" to quarantine fishes in their fish only systems...I think that they will tell you otherwise. Quarantine is a standard procedure at all public aquariums, and should be part of every hobbyist's set of procedures. In my humble opinion, it's just something that you do, like changing water, etc. All part of the "price" of this hobby.> If you have a FOT and it suffers an ick outbreak YOU TREAT THE WHOLE SYSTEM! Why, because all the fish have ick and the tank has ick.  I read on your website a guy with a 90 gallon tank with 6 fish and you told him to pull all the fish which were probably big in QT tanks and let the entire 90-gallon system go fallow. <That was probably me. I still believe in that technique. Is it hard- yes! Is it disruptive? Sure! But it works. The "easy" way is NOT always the best way!> This advice borders on criminally insane!   <Frankly, your point of view on this matter borders on criminally ignorant.> I can see this poor guy who probably works a 40+ hour week, has a wife and kids and now spending precious time and money running around setting up multiple QT tanks all over his house (he would probably need at least 2-20 gallon tanks) and siphoning them daily, etc.. for the next month for no logical reason. <Gee...I'm no different than anyone else: I work a 40 plus hour week, have a "significant other", two dogs, a mortgage payment, assist on WWM, and I still treat my sick fishes in this manner. Being "busy" is no excuse for not giving our animals the best possible care, as I am sure you are aware. The fish didn't choose us...We chose them. This is where I am coming from. Of course, I believe in quarantine of all new arrivals prior to placing them in my tanks, which I suppose is also a waste of time by your standards. I mean, it might entail buying an extra heater, extra tank, and another couple of minutes a day. Yep- just throw your new fish right in the tank, it's quicker, right? And don't bother feeding them, because there must be enough natural food in the tank to sustain them, and if you feed, you might have to change water once in a while...C'mon. Think about it for a bit.> By using your advice, he stands a much higher chance of losing the fish! All he needed to do was treat his FOT with Copper and after 30 days start doing heavier water changes to remove the Copper. <Hmm... what if you are treating fishes such as Centropyge angels, some tangs, and other species sensitive to copper? Do you just net them out and leave everyone else in the display while you "nuke" it with copper or Formalin? Oh, wait, that takes too much time, right? Another major concern I have with this "treat in the display" philosophy is that it encourages hobbyists to look to so-called "reef safe remedies" and other approaches of questionable value.> You argue that the copper ruins the gravel, dead rock, live rock (for a FOT) and decorations by absorbing the Copper. <Yes, it can...But by the same token, it is much more difficult to maintain a proper therapeutic copper level in a tank filled with rock and sand. And, as you know, it is very important to maintain a proper level of copper to assure an effective treatment.> I agree, ahhhhh, SO WHAT!  Just don't ever use any of it in a reef tank anytime in the near future or better yet ever. <And no one EVER switches over to reef tanks, right? Why develop these habits when you won't be able to use them in a reef or invert system...?> My mother says keep it simple stupid and in this case you are making this "hobby" very difficult for a lot of people with advice like this. < I agree with keeping things simple. And, you are certainly entitled to your opinion on this, but I respectfully disagree. Steps such as "fallowing" a tank and quarantine ARE easier. And, quite frankly- no one ever said that the husbandry of animals captured from the most stable environment on earth and subjected to a variety of hardships from the reef to your store is easy. The hobby requires effort, observation, and research. When we render advice on WWM, it is from our experience; what works for us. You often see us state things like "..This is what I would do" or "...In my opinion.." All advice should be taken with  a grain of salt. What we are trying to do at WWM is provide hobbyists with objective (well, usually!) advice that helps them to develop conscientious husbandry techniques. That's our mission, and I will continue to render the best advice that I can based on my experience- what I know will work for the largest number of people. To give our readers anything less would be an insult, and a profound disservice to the hobby and animals that we all love. Sorry, I really do love your website, but this was just horrible advice.  I feel bad for this poor guy. Nathan <Nathan, I don't like to get into sparring matches with our readers, and I apologize in advance if I am being disrespectful! However, you need to be a bit more open-minded here. I'm sure that you are a talented and compassionate hobbyist, and it's a good thing that you state your views here. I simply think that you are not looking at the big picture here, and need to look at things from a different perspective. I wish you continued success in your hobby endeavors. Regards, Scott F.>

The Wisdom of Hospital Tanks (5/31/04) Hey Steve, <Good Morning>   Thanks for you reply, but you people seem to give some VERY bad advice on treating Ick in a Fish-Only-Tank (FOT)! <Bad advice is advice that is dangerous or is guaranteed to fail. Difficult advice, yes. Effective on the experience of many long-time SW fishkeepers, also yes. Bad, I beg to differ.>Why would you not put Coppersafe in a FOT??? <Because it may destabilize/kill the biofilter, because in may kill useful inverts such as amphipods. There really is no such thing as a FOT. There is other animal life, perhaps unseen, in there that may be worth preserving.> I was reading a posting of a guy who had 4 fish with ick in a 90 gallon FOT and he was advised to go buy and set up several QT tanks to treat them when all he needed to do was treat the whole tank! <There is disagreement on this, Our advice is only one opinion. Anyone dealing with a problem like this should seek out multiple opinions and decide which makes sense to them. In my profession, we call this "getting a second (or more) opinion.> My LFS owner says it is stupid to have a QT tank for a FOT. <Too bad he has to resort to insults to justify his opinion.> He says you only need a QT tank for a reef tank because you can't treat it directly with Coppersafe when you can a FOT. If you have a FOT and a fish gets ick you just treat the whole tank! <This is not without risk.> He says Coppersafe will not hurt the other fish <as long as they are not copper-sensitive fish> and chances are they all have ick and the entire tanks has ick so treat the whole damn thing. I hear your argument of contaminating the fake corals, dead rock (or non-reef live rock) and gravel, but as long as you never use it in a reef tank in the future what is the problem! <Never say never. I paid over $500 for the live rock in my FOWLR--I want to be able to still use it if I convert to a reef.>   I am going to send another posting on this subject and I hope you post it <we post everything that is not patently offensive> because I hate seeing bad <in your opinion> advice like this being given out. <This method works.> I can only imagine this poor guy who probably works a 40+ hour week and has a wife and kids spending all this time and money setting up all these QT tanks <A Rubbermaid tub costs $5, a cheap heater about $15 and an adequate filter $20 tops. I've paid more than twice this total cost for a single fish.> for a FOT, how idiotic! <BTW, I work 50+ hours per week, have a wife and four kids, and take 24/7 calls one week out of every five. I have enlisted the assistance of my family with the aquarium. A couple of the kids are quite interested. I would not have embarked on this if I was the only one in the family who enjoys it.>   Also, I did not say my LFS owner said it was "impossible" to overdose with Coppersafe, he said it was "hard" to overdose with it if you follow the directions, therefore, he said I did not need a Copper test kit <The test kit is also useful to make cure the level in the water is high enough to be effective, not just to be sure it is not toxic.> (By the way, my LFS owner maintains thousands of gallons of tanks in Greenville, SC including a 1,600 gallon system and over 3,000 gallons for the Greenville Hospital System so I think he knows a little about fish keeping!) <No doubt, but his calling our crew stupid says a lot about him too. I have never told a patient that another doctor who treated them was stupid or gave "stupid" advice, even when I thought they were. I avoid this because I was not privy to all of the information that led to the choice of that course of treatment. I merely make the case for why I feel a different course of action is warranted.> FYI, My Yellow Tang made a complete recovery using Coppersafe within two weeks in my QT/FOT and that was several months ago and he is doing fine so I am a fan of Mardel, Coppersafe, but I will check out Cupramine. <Glad to hear your Tang did well. I never impugned the quality of the product. You asked me if it was the best available and I simply stated that there is no proof either way and pointed out that Cupramine is also a well-regarded product.> I see it in the Dr. Fosters catalog and it sounds good and I like Seachem (they make Matrix!). <I too have been quite satisfied with Seachem products, and they enjoy and excellent reputation. Good luck with your tank. I hope all works out well. Steve Allen> Nathan

Ich treatment: Is Ruby Reef Hydroplex safe (5/29/04) Is Ruby Reef Hydroplex safe to use on a Porcupine Puffer? < I am not familiar with that medication/treatment ....sorry. I did do a bit of research for you and came up with no helpful information. The contents are not listed and there is no mention of contraindications for certain fish species. I would suggest either contacting the manufacturer or instead using one of the other known ich remedies like a pH & temp adjusted fresh water dip for 7 to 8 min and up to 30 if the fish is comfortable and tolerating the dip. Any signs of distress the fish needs to be removed immediately. Never leave the fish un attended. In addition hyposalinity, lowering the main tank to a specific gravity of 1.010 for 4 to 6 weeks. Some believe that lacing food with garlic preparations is helpful. Its effectiveness is controversial but certainly is not harmful.> He has ich and needs some medicated fresh water dips.  How often and for how long should I do this? < there is information on freshwater dips and hyposalinity here http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.htm http://www.petsforum.com/personal/trevor-jones/hyposalinity.html http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm ..... He is living in the main tank by himself right now.   My clown is in a hospital tank with CopperSafe.  Is this okay for the clown?  <Never mix medications unless the manufacturer instructions tell you differently. I did a 50% water change to my 80 gallon main tank. < 80g will not be sufficient for you Puffer long term. You will need at least 100g or more> The temp is 80 and the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are zero. The specific gravity is 1.019. pH is 8.3. I have read your articles already for about one hour.  I got tired of looking for my answers. <Sorry > I hope you don't mind me asking you directly. <No problem at all> Please advise. < In addition biological cleaners are helpful ....cleaner shrimp (the best Lysmata amboinensis) and maybe a couple of cleaner gobies (Gobiosoma spp.) these will help remove the parasites, and make the fish livestock "feel" a lot better. Thank you! Irene. < Your most welcome, Leslie >

Clowns with Ich (5/29/04) Help! <I'll try. Steve Allen here.> I have 2 small (1-1.5 inch) ocellaris clowns in quarantine. <smart move> These are my first 2 fish and they've been in quarantine 9 days now. Ich appeared on both fish on day 7.  Now I'm so glad I quarantined <yup>, but am worried about them. Yesterday I purchased CFX parasite (copper/formalin) complex and started using it per the instructions. <follow carefully> This morning one of the fish seemed slightly lethargic, stayed at the bottom of the tank for a few minutes after lights were on, but was swimming around within 5 minutes.  The other seems fine.  I'm testing with the copper test kit by the same manufacturer & the level seems to be on target (0.15 ppm) although the test is a little hard to read. <many are>   I've since been told I should have gotten Cupramine, and have been advised to stop the CFX, run carbon to get rid of it, and use Cupramine instead. <By whom? Lots of opinions here. Both copper and formalin are effective ich meds with risks as well.> Unfortunately none of my local stores have the brand of test kit that is needed with the Cupramine and because of Memorial Day weekend it would take me at least 4-5 days to get hold of the test kit.   Is the CFX an effective treatment?  <I am not personally familiar with that brand, but the ingredients are known to be effective.> more importantly is it posing a danger to my fish if I'm using it as directed and monitoring levels carefully?  what level is toxic? <I do not see any reason for Cupramine to be safer other than that the addition of formalin presents its own unique risks.> any danger signs to look out for? <rapid breathing, lethargy and such.> Or should I stop all treatment till I can get set up to use Cupramine (probably not before Tues or Wed)?   Please help, I'm really attached to these little guys already and want to do right by them. <You might consider hyposalinity. Spend some time this weekend reading the series of articles that starts here: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.htm  Hope this helps.> Beth

Victory In The War On Ich! Hi Scott F, <Hi there!> Thanks HEAPS for all of your advice Re: White spot, I think we caught it in time, the dartfish showed signs of infection, but is now clear, and the tang only got a couple of spots, which have also cleared up, the clownies luckily never showed any symptoms. <Cool! I love happy endings!> We are currently treating with a buffered copper treatment recommended by a local fish shop, the fish are all very bright and feeding well, with no signs of spots or itching. We are leaving the display tank fallow for 6 weeks to ensure there is no ich left there, (and will probably invest in a couple of cleaner shrimp when the fish are reintroduced). <Good strategies for long-term health management> However, the tang is showing strange colourations, and I would like to know if this is normal. He is a juvenile orange bar tang, still yellow, but with the adult colouring faintly starting to show. When the tank is dark, he is showing as a dark grey around his head, This also appears when he goes into his cave, when the light is switched on, the colouration takes about 5-10 seconds to disappear and he returns to bright yellow. Is this some kind of reef fish darkness defense, we didn't notice it until the last few days, and I am hoping it isn't a side effect of the copper treatment, have you heard of this before? Is it normal? <This sounds perfectly normal. Many reef fishes undergo a day/night color transformation as a defensive mechanism during the dark hours. Yes, some "collateral damage" is occasionally caused by copper, but it is evident 24/7 if this is the case. I'm pretty convinced that you're simply seeing the day/night coloration patterns, and wouldn't lose to much sleep over it!> The other strange thing, is although the tang is really bright he is not overly aggressive, and gets on well with his tank mates, which I have also read is not normal for this species? Were we just lucky, and got a friendly fish? <Yep! Sounds like it! Fish, like people, have distinct "personalities", and it is not uncommon to find a fish from a traditionally aggressive species to be completely affable towards other fishes. On the other hand, it's also possible for an easy going fish to get more aggressive under the right circumstances!> Thanks a lot Elizabeth Montague-Brown <Glad to be of service, Elizabeth! Good work on the Ich! Regards, Scott F> 

-Ich in a tank w/ inverts- Hey guys, I am just wondering what can I do about ick in a tank that has fish and inverts and corals? I know certain chemicals kill inverts and corals, I just want to know what is safe before anything gets killed. I don't want to lose anything! Thank you guys for all your help previous and now! <Ahh, heard this one before! We've heard it so much that there's an entire FAQ dedicated to just this subject: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reefparasittksfaqs.htm  Enjoy, and don't forget to use the Google search feature on our homepage, I found this FAQ on it in about .8 seconds. -Kevin> thank you, jay 

8 Line Wrasse w/ Ich <Hello, Ryan with you> First of all, many thanks for the time and effort you put into this invaluable resource! I've spent several months browsing and feel as though I have only scratched the surface. <I feel the same, and I'm sure that I have read most of it!> Now the issue at hand: Marine Ich.  After (foolishly) allowing the fianc?to add an eight-line wrasse to the display tank. (a well-established 200 gallon, slowly-becoming-a-reef setup), those little white spots we all know and love began to appear on several fish. <Yikes> The fish have since been moved to a 29g hospital tank. (It took 10 days to finally get the last fish, an orchid Dottyback, out of the rock work!) Anyway, the fish have been in the hospital tank for about two weeks now. I've been slowly lowering the SG from 1.025 down to 1.016; on the way to 1.09. Copper has been kept at about .25ppm. (Hard to maintain a truly steady level with 20% daily water changes. A never ending battle against ammonia in the still-uncycled hospital tank). <Hospital tanks will never really "cycle.">  Here's the problem: All the fish have been "cured"...except for the wrasse...who keeps getting new spots! None of the other fish have been infected since starting the copper treatment. All seem quite healthy and are eating. I've given the wrasse a FW dip and his spots disappeared....only to be replaced by new ones the next morning. <Can you send a picture? It's possible that we're dealing with a different ailment than the one you're treating.> I would understand this problem if some of my other fish were being infected (especially the coral beauty...he really got lit up by the first wave of parasites). How far should I push the copper levels? <Only as far as the copper you're using states- No further. The directions will specify. Also, make sure that you are removing the water from the bottom of the tank- Where the cysts are when they drop off the fish> Also, the wrasse did his best impersonation of "I'm gonna DIE!" after the FW dip. laying on his side in the corner of the tank for several hours. Is this a defense reaction or did I nearly kill him? (This was my first time giving a dip). <Is there adequate hiding places for him in this tank? If yes, I would say you nearly stressed him to death. Parasites can be a tough battle for marine fish to win- Just stay with him. Good luck, I'm glad you will quarantine in the future and side-step this whole headache. Ryan> Thanks!  JJ 

Ich Strikes Again, and It's Tangs as Targets Again (5/14/04) Long time no talk (it's been a few years)... <Steve Allen helping out tonight while Bob and several crewmates are in Germany and the Red Sea area.> I recently (two weeks ago) picked up a powder blue tang and a yellow tang for my 95 RR FOWLR tank, to go with my Majestic & Lemonpeel Angels (Majestic is biggest fish at 3.5"), both Tangs are smaller. <For now, but it's going to get crowded in there. I think these Tangs may not get along in the long run.> No problems for the last two weeks until yesterday, the dreaded ich has appeared on my Powder Blue. <A notorious ich magnet and overall difficult fish to keep.> He had been in QT at the store for two weeks (copper added), I know I shoulda QT'd him myself, but now I've learned my lesson. :( (I feel like such a moron). <Just goes to show that you never can be sure.> Anyway, I've been reading up on your site and on ReefCentral, you get a lot of conflicting info, especially for the powder blue. <What? Uncertainty? Conflicting opinion in the aquarium hobby? Goes with the territory unfortunately, just like in the medical field.> My plan of action: 1) feed garlic soaked food (started last night), actually using "reef solution" <Unproven, but probably harmless.> 2) pull all live rock from the tank and place it in a secondary tank, replace with Large PVC pieces for cover 3) Use the Hyposalinity method (My new refractometer should be here tomorrow), my current salinity is around 1.019 <you really should maintain at NSW of 1.023-4 area long-term>, so could I go to 1.010? <Slowly. See WWM for details.> 4) wait 4-6 weeks and hopefully clear this mess up, then slowly raise salinity back to 1.019 over a period of a week. <1.019 is not a good salinity. It is not low enough to prevent ich, as you now know, and it is likely unhealthy for fish and other beneficial organisms that are meant to have a higher SG.> 5) replace live rock Thoughts? I'd rather not further stress the fish by pulling them all out and dipping them. <Well, why not leave the rock in the tank and move the fish to a hospital "tank" comprised of a large Rubbermaid container with a heater and a sponge filter? Then do your treatments in there. I'd leave the tank fishless for 8 weeks to be sure. If there's one ich parasite left in there, you can count in it finding that Powder Blue when you put him back. I'd suggest that you thoroughly read Steven Pro's mufti-part article on ich archived at www.reefkeeping.com> If I'm all wet, let me know :) <We all are in this hobby.> Chris Goldenstein <Hope this helps. Good luck. Steve Allen.> 

Ich Scare & Cyano Thanks Steve: <You're welcome> Well, after I wrote the original email, the next morning, the tang showed no real signs of ich. <I sure hope it stays that way.> It looked like some large grains of salt, probably 10-20 on his body. It's been a couple days and there are some very slight opaque patches on his pectorals (2-3 spots), but he really seems fine. I have my 45G set up as a QT with newly mixed salt, the BioBale for the BakPak has been in my main system all week getting seeded. All my fish look and act perfectly healthy, the PB tang is like a lightning bolt to food, I am amazed at how fast he is when the gravy train arrives, plus he is very fat, even more so than when I got him. too much Nori soaked in "reef solution" ;) So my plan now is to wait it out, in the case disaster strikes, I'll have the 45 ready. <Wise. Fingers crossed for you here.> PS - now if I can just get rid of what looks to be a new case of Cyano, it's mainly on the substrate and is very stringy, dark purple/blue color, it grows like mad!!!! <Irritating stuff. It's all about nutrient control. Plenty of info available for search on WWM. Good luck.> 

Do corals get ich? Hi there, <Michael here> I have a powder blue tang which has been infected with ick for about 6 days and recently my damsel has also been infected. <A very crypto-prone species; your tang> I do not have a hospital tank as I do not have the place to put it. I have noticed a pattern about this ich problem it disappears in the morning till afternoon and appears in the night on both my fishes as for the rest of my fishes there are not infected. Also will corals get infected with ich or are they immune to ick? Pls advise. <Corals are not susceptible to the parasite Cryptosporidium spp. For more information see our FAQs regarding Crypto treatment. M. Maddox> 

Ich and Other Woes (5/24/04) Hi Steve! <Hi!> Thanks for the advice. <My pleasure> Sorry for asking so many questions, but I have another more serious one. <shoot> I added another true percula clownfish after a week to the display tank for him to have a partner. The new one is a little bit smaller <Needs to be a fairly significant difference in size> true percula and is also 1 month quarantined at a separate tank since he was ich free. After a few minutes when I introduced the new one, I noticed that the old perc was not moving his right fin. I checked and there were no visible signs of injury, he was still eating and swimming, but no movement in his right fin. After 3 days, I noticed that there was bleeding in his right fin, and looked liked he got chomped by the new one. And worse, they were infected with ich. <Ouch> I placed them in hospital tank and started medication. I added Methylene blue to the water to treat the wound, added copper and slowly adjusting the salinity <needs to be down in the neighborhood of 1.010 to work> to remove the ich. I am doing daily water siphoning to remove the ich, and 25% water changes. Now, I noticed that the old one is struggling, not eating, deteriorating, staying in one place and sometimes struggling to get to the surface. He hasn't moved his right fin, and his wound looks like covered in white scales (I think one of the ich is feeding in his wound) <probably not the ich doing this>, and his whole right fin is starting to become white. The ich is starting to lessen. The new one is ok, he's feeding and I'm at a loss on how to take care of him and heal his wound, and what medications to give him. <Consider Melafix and a broad-spectrum antibiotic.> Thanks, Romel <Hope this helps.> 

Fighting The Ich Scourge I have a read many stories about ich and how to handle it in your extensive database but a couple of questions. Are there different strains of ich? Meaning some that will always multiply in your tank no matter what you do or go away by itself? <Well, ich is caused by a nasty little ciliated protozoan called Cryptocaryon irritans. I'm honestly not sure if there are various "strains" of this parasite, but I suppose that it is possible. The bottom line is that the disease is quite prevalent, problematic if left untreated, but relatively easy to cure if caught early enough. As far as the disease being present on a continuous basis in a tank; that's a question that is somewhat controversial. Being dependent upon a host, it is unlikely that there are numerous "dormant" parasites waiting to strike (another reason why the "fallow tank" technique that we advocate here works so well). However, new livestock is always a potential "vector" for new outbreaks, hence the need to quarantine.> I own a 150 gallon reef tank and my maroon clowns got ich and it eventually cleared up by itself without any treatment. Is this normal? (To be fair during that ich breakout I lost some purple tangs) <Well, it is unusual, but not unheard of. I have seen fishes appear to "shake off" mild cases of this illness, but it can reoccur continuously over time, given the right conditions (stressed fishes with lowered immunity). Again, the "fallow" technique is a great way to combat potential reoccurrences> I also own a 350 gallon reef tank and my Maculosus has ich but eats swims and eats like nothing happened. <Sometimes, very minor cases occur. However, prompt action is always recommended to prevent the disease from spreading> Thanks and I would be the first person to donate money to a fund for some smart folks to cure this terrible disease! Stephen Hammond <I'll be the second, Stephen! Regards, Scott F>

Fighting The Ich Scourge- Pt. 2 Thank you so much for your response and have read your "fallow" method article with great interest. <Your quite welcome. Glad that the article was of some interest to you> However, I live in a NYC apartment and my girlfriend would leave me if I got a 350 gallon quarantine aquarium to go along with my 350 gallon home aquarium! <Since when is having area to live that important? Sheesh! Seriously, I can understand...There are some possible alternatives, though. What I have done is to get a series of large Rubbermaid trash cans or similar large plastic containers, and distribute the population of the aquarium among them. Yes, you'll need a good sized sponge filter or submersible internal power filter, and a heater for each, but it can be done. It is certainly not a very attractive thing, but it works in a pinch. It's so important not to treat in the display tank.> Any treatment ideas? I know copper would destroy my live rock/sand. Appreciate your comments! <Well, once again, I have to stand firm on my admonition not to use medications in the display tank, copper, formalin, or otherwise. I'm afraid that removal to a separate treatment aquarium (or aquariums) is really the best way to tackle the problem. I cannot, in all good conscience, recommend the so-called "reef safe" ich "remedies" that are out there. Ditto for the use of garlic, which, in my personal opinion, is better as a preventative, if that. I truly hate the whole process of "fallowing" a tank- I really do- but it is honestly the only method that I have ever used with consistently good results. That's why I am such a firm believer in the "two front" method of ich treatment. I'm afraid that this is how I'd proceed...Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Ich Recurrence (4/30/04)  Hello! Thank you so much for developing this website. Your information is a priceless jewel for any hobbyist. <An honor for me to play a small part. Steve Allen with you tonight.>  I just got done with a four week quarantine for my new Hippo Tang. During the quarantine we had no problems. No parasites whatsoever. Although, last night, 3 days after I placed her in the display tank white spot had occurred all over her body. <Arrgh!>  She was still eating and very active, but I did notice her scratching a little. I took her out and put her back in quarantine and have started copper treatment. My question is do I quarantine the rest of my livestock? <The ich must be in your tank and the tang (AKA "Ich Magnet") picked it up. Best to remove all of the fish and leave the tank fish-free for 6 weeks. Read the Ich FAQs on WWM for details.>  I have 1 False Percula Clown, 1 Four Striped Damsel, 1 Scooter Blenny left in my 44 gallon display tank. Do I quarantine them now? <That would be the safest thing to do. With ich in the tank, the Tang will pick it up again. BTW, this tank is waaay to small for a Hippo Tang. It needs well over 100 gallons to grow into. If you can't get a tank that size with in a year, best to take the Tang back and choose a smaller fish.>  They aren't showing any signs of Ich so far. But I've heard before if one was infected than they all are. I only have a 10 gallon quarantine tank...would all of these be ok in the 10 gallon? <With frequent water changes.>  The Tang is still young...only 2 1/2 inches with tail at the most. I also have a cleaner shrimp and two Choc. Chip Starfish, but I know they aren't susceptible to white spot. It is kinda frustrating being as I quarantined and still had white spot. <With 4 weeks ich-free in QT, the ich must have already been in your tank.>  Is there any way to prevent this from happening again? <QT/fallow--read the FAQs.>  I did have a Ich breakout in Jan when I placed another Hippo Tang in the display without quarantine. Unfortunately she passed away but thanks to quarantine and copper treatment I was able to save my Percula Clown. I let the tank go fallow for 4 weeks during that treatment as well. <I prefer 6-8 weeks.>  I thank you again for your website and everything you do for me and my aquatic friends!! <Hope this helps.> Shawn Johnson

Perculas and Tangs and Algae Oh My!!! (4/29/04)  Howdy, <Steve Allen tonight.>  I thoroughly enjoy the variety of articles posted on your site and I was wondering if you might be willing or able to help me with a few problems in my marine tank. <I'll give it a go.>  My set-up is as follows ...  Since June '03  18 gallon glass tank  Prizm protein skimmer deluxe with carbon in media box <Is it making any skimmate--this skimmer does not have a very good rep.>  Whisper power filter for 10 gallon tank  Orbit USA 80W light fixture w/ moonlights  1 50W Rena Heater  13 lbs. of live rock  5 lbs. live sand  5 lbs. crushed aragonite coral  2 percula clowns  1 yellow tang <Waaay too big adult size. Will need an 80G soon. Will not be suitable for your tank for more than a couple of months.>  1 lawnmower blenny  1 true cleaner wrasse <These usually starve to death after a few weeks/months.>  1 coral banded shrimp  1 emerald crab  5 hermit crabs (small)  1 purple Atlantic urchin  2 tuxedo urchins  1 oyster shell covered with green/brown star polyps  1 large branching purple gorgonian  various button polyp and sponge frags  All fish and critters quarantined for 3+ weeks before  introduction  Temp 76?F  pH 8.3  Phos 0mg/L  NO3 2mg/L  NO2 0mg/L  10% water change weekly  Additives Tech CB two part every morning as directed  Feeding Tetra Marine Color Flakes  Nutrafin Max Marine pellets  Frozen brine shrimp cubes 1 to 2 per week  I recently noticed a few white spots on one of my clowns which I assumed to be ICH. I treated the clown to a 8 minute freshwater dip. (76?F pH 8.3) I have not noticed any improvement in the condition of the clown since this treatment after 24 hours. The spots have not spread but they are not going away either. Please help!!! <Read the FAQs on ich. The only effective treatment is to remove all of your fish to QT and treat there and keep the tank fish-free for 6-8 weeks.>  None of my other fish show any signs of disease as far as I am able to determine. <Temporary indeed in these cramped quarters.>  I also have a question concerning my yellow tang. At night, after the primary lights are off but while the actinic lights are still on, the tang seems to change coloration along the spine to a white horizontal stripe with a brown blotch the shape of a football. <Normal nocturnal colors.>  The tang seems to be happy and healthy except for the color change at night. (I have tried turning the primary lights back on to see if it is some sort of lighting illusion to no avail. The colors stay until the lights come on in the morning.)   One last question, sorry if I'm being pesky. I seem to have abundant algae growth in my tank even though the primary lights are only on for 10 hours. What can I do or add to reduce the growth of red and brown macroalgae and encourage coralline growth? <Remove some of the fish. You have too much life in this tank generating too many nutrients. At the very least you need to increase to 10% twice per week.>  I appreciate any help or advice you can give. Sincerely, Michael Mandziuk  <The key to success with a tiny tank like this is nutrient control and strictly limiting the number of fish. You should not have a Tang in this tank--the sooner it is gone, the quicker you will get your problems under control. It is too active and makes too much waste and it will eventually stunt and fail to thrive for want of free swimming space. I doubt you enjoy reading this, but it's the hard truth. If your cleaner wrasse dies, like 99% do, I'd replace it with something that stays small. Read the FAQs on ich and algae. The info you need is there. Hope this helps.>

Malachite Green For Ich (4/29/04)  Hi again ! <Steve Allen with you tonight.>  Sorry if I'm bombarding you with lots of questions, but your crew and this site is the only one I trust for marine related questions. <Thanks for the vote of confidence.>  Would like to ask if Malachite Green is really effective against Ich, and if it is at what stage does it kill the ich (is it in the free-swimming stage, reproduction stage at the substrate, or when attached to the host)? <I would not rely on this medication alone. Also, it can be dangerous if not used very carefully. Read here: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/skip/sp/feature/index.htm  and search the term on WWM for details. The reefkeeping.com reference is part 2 of an excellent 5-part series on ich.>  I have 2 false percs, and 1 black saddleback in my QT. The saddleback is new and replaced my Sebae which perished in the Ich war. The percs are better, their on the 2nd week going to 3rd, no trace of Ich, but I may be wrong. I've treated them with 1 week malachite green at 1.017 sg <Hyposalinity only works at much lower SG (1.010 range)>, and daily siphoning, and it seemed to work (no obvious grains on the fish, same with the saddleback), and they're now at the recovering and RnR stage. After a week of no symptoms I placed a small clay flowerpot <I prefer PVC fitting--more inert.> and I saw the 3 of them sleeping inside, which is good, and weird, to avoid them sleeping at the QT bottom and get reinfected. <Any ich on the bottom will find its way onto the fish even if they don't sleep at the bottom.> I'm waiting for the 6 weeks fallow period for the main tank, which is why I'm looking at stocking of corals.  I'm afraid of putting the fish in the main tank after 6 weeks. Though there are no longer obvious symptoms, I wouldn't want to start all over again. <A couple of extra weeks may help. Do read all 5 of Steven Pro's excellent articles.> Thanks for all you help. And patience! Romel <Your systematic and patient approach will yield success in the end.>  

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