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FAQs on Marine Ich, Cryptocaryoniasis 2

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

Related FAQs: Best Crypt FAQs, Crypt FAQs 1, Crypt FAQs 3, Crypt FAQs 4, Crypt FAQs 5, Crypt FAQs 6, Crypt FAQs 7, Crypt FAQs 8, Crypt FAQs 9, Crypt FAQs 10, Crypt FAQs 11, Crypt FAQs 12, Crypt FAQs 13, Crypt FAQs 14, Crypt FAQs 15, Crypt FAQs 16, Crypt FAQs 17, Crypt FAQs 18, Crypt FAQs 19, Crypt FAQs 20, Crypt FAQs 21, Crypt FAQs 22, Crypt FAQs 23, Crypt FAQs 24, Crypt FAQs 25, Crypt FAQs 26, Crypt FAQs 27, Crypt 28, Crypt 29, Crypt 30, Crypt 31, Crypt 32, Crypt 33, Crypt 34, & FAQs on Crypt: Identification, Prevention, "Causes", Phony Cures That Don't Work, Cures That Do Work,  Products That Work By Name: Free Copper/Cupric Ion Compounds (e.g. SeaCure), Chelated Coppers (e.g. Copper Power, ), Formalin Containing: (e.g. Quick Cure),  About: Hyposalinity & Ich, Treating for Crypt & Sensitive Fishes:  By Group: Sharks/Rays, Morays and other Eels, Mandarins/Blennies/Gobies, Wrasses, Angels and ButterflyfishesTangs/Rabbitfishes, Puffers & Kin...  &  Marine Parasitic Disease, Parasitic Marine Tanks, Parasitic Reef Tanks, Marine Velvet Disease, Biological Cleaners, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease, Infectious Disease

Small fish hosts, same size parasites...

Ich:   Hello,<Hello Jason> I bought a  yellow-long nosed butterfly last Friday. She was really active and did not get  stressed out when she went into my tank. About 2 days after she was in my tank  she got Ich, and I believe she also has velvet because she has a bit of little  brown patches on her. I tried Rid-Ich+ it seemed to work. Then too because  I have 5 snails in my tank with a filefish I cant find medication to use in my  main tank. No, I do not have a hospital tank because I'm only 14 and my mom won't  let me. My pH is 8.2, no ammonia, no nitrites, and no nitrates. I have a Prizm  Pro Deluxe protein skimmer, and 2 AquaClear 300 powerfilters. I have also tried  a clove of garlic too that I heard also works for velvet it seem to work real good, but the next day it seem to look as if she has ich again. Could you please  tell me what medication to use with snails and a filefish, I don't have a  hospital tank please help me please!! <Jason, I would see if your dealer has a hospital tank and ask if you could bring the fish there for effective treatment.  There really is no effective treatment other than copper to cure ich. If your dealer can't assist you, I'm sure he would keep the snails for you and you will have to treat the filefish as well, and probably should since he is in the same tank. Jason, it sounds like you have just started in this hobby.  The butterfly is definitely not an easy keeper for newbies. Most butterflies do require pristine water quality and good diets to survive in captivity.  My advice to you is to stay away from butterflies till you gain more experience. They also like large tanks, at least 55 gallons minimum.  James (Salty Dog>         Sincerely, Jason

Ich-Be-Gone! Dear Bob: I wrote you in the beginning of September about adding a purple tang about a week after a mighty Sohal tang. On a feedback note, this went very well and they were fine with each other after a little sparring. Even though the purple tang came out of a 2 week quarantine showing no signs of ich at the LFS, it wasn't in my 110 more than 24 hrs before it showed signs of it. <Rats!> Probably stress induced after the harrowing capture, bagging fiasco at the LFS. The next day I took him out of the 110 and put him in a 10 Gallon hospital with ionized copper sulfate at .15mg/l for 18 days using a AquaClear 150 with the sponge and 3 bioballs from the 110s wet/dry. Two weeks after the removal of the Purple from the 110, the Sohal started showing spots. He went into a 30 Ga hospital (10 GA much too small and with the purple tang impossible) with .15mg/l ionized copper sulfate for 18 days with an Emperor 250 adding 5 bio balls from the 110. Two weeks after I took the Sohal out of the 110, the Banggai cardinal showed spots (and they're not easy to see on him either). So I put the purple tang (off the copper after 21 days) in the 30 and put the cardinal in the 10 with copper at .15 mg/l. After I removed the copper from the 30 with the Sohal and the Purple (who been kept separate with a plastic mesh screen) the Purple got it again (!) in the hospital tank (!) after 21 days of copper(!). <Arggghhhh> Soooo, those two tangs went on copper again for another 21 days. Now, about 6 weeks have passed with these fish in several tanks, on and off copper, and no signs of it in my 110 display tank (which has a couple of small ocellaris clowns, a cleaner goby and a purple Firefish as fish residents and who have not shown any sign of this plague and non-fish of 3 Lysmata cleaner shrimp, 3 thumbnail-size Dardanus megistos hermits (red with white spots and black hairs), a sally lightfoot and a porcelain crab (I figured lots of filter feeding crabs would help). The 110 SPG for this time period was 0.020 at 82?F and I have been feeding everybody Kent's Xtreme Garlic (basically garlic juice and not oil) a drop/feeding. I have had a Lifeguard 40 w UV sterilizer running 24/7 circulating from its own pump in the sump. <Okay> Now all the hospital fish were clean and showing no signs of ich for about a week or two. (I must also say, as an aside, that during those treatments, those two tanks (basically cycled the hospital tanks) and rode out very very high levels of Ammonia (really off the charts even with 30%/day water changes and dosing with Kent's Ammonia Detox, they tolerated low levels of Oxygen (unreadable to <5 mg/l) increased with multiple airstones and additional pumps for circulation, and high (>6.5 mg/l of Nitrite). The Sohal was unaffected (visibly at least) and the purple tang showed a little HLLE that went away after the water quality improved.) pH drops because of no sand to buffer (adjusted with Kent's super buffer) got it to 8.2 with dKH of about 18. <Quite a trial> Anyway, I put the Banggai back in the 110 for 1 week to test it for signs of ich. It didn't show any signs so at long last, I returned the purple tang to the 110 and guess what'"2 days later and ich spots. This is after a fresh water dip w/meth blue before returning to main tank. I have not lost any fish but now I'm pissed and here are my questions ... 1) I guess I'll have to remove the lace rock (no live rock yet) wash it in fresh water and let it sit outside (in Minnesota) for two weeks. The 100 lbs of live sand will need to be removed and tossed in the trash (I've read where a fresh water bath for two weeks is helpful but why take the chance). I'll then put the Sohal and the purple tang in the bare 110 with some PVC elbows, etc., and run ionized copper sulfate in it at least .15 mg/l for 21 days. I will need to put the 3 shrimp, the SLF, porcelain, hermit crabs in the 10 ga (with a little sand and maybe a 10 lb chunk of live rock). I will probably have to put the clowns and gobies in the 10 ga hosp tank too because the 30 still isn't cycled with that big (5") Sohal skanking it up. I've read that they (clowns/gobies) can't take copper so I'll have to get them out.  <Not as well> Can they have ich with no symptoms? <Mmm, yes> Will I just be getting it back in the 110 when I re-sand and rock the 110 and add these fish back?  <It is a possibility> I will FW dip everything before I put them back. Need sage advice about these possible vectors for ich back into the 110 after drastic measures. 2) Will the copper trash the good bacteria in the 9-month-old wet/dry (Amiracle Maxi Reef) so ammonia will get off the chart again with these two fish? <Maybe... only way to tell is to try> Should I run the Aquamedic T-1000 skimmer during the copper treatment? <If you can do w/o it, you should> The UV? (I read somewhere it is not a good idea). <Only some types of chelated copper are removed readily by UV> 3) Is there anything else I can do short of running fresh water and bleach through the system, killing EVERYthing (fish and crabs excluded in hospital tanks) and starting the cycling process again? <Hope, trust that the exercises you've engaged in have tilted the balance in favor of health/resistance in your/fishes favor, use cleaners, feed vitamins...> Lessons learned: 1) The Kent Xtreme Garlic product didn't help much with this ich problem. I know you don't think much of the garlic oil idea but I have tried it all (including Zoecon once/day) so I might give it a try as well. The tangs eat like hogs so getting it in them and not in the water is easy. <Agreed> 2) The UV didn't do much. Purple tang must have gotten it back from the 110. <Yes> 3) The purple tang may have the ich living in his skin happily until there is some stress and then it exits and makes the spots. When does the copper kill the bugs? <Only in the free-living stages... trophonts mainly protected... can be poisoned, sloughed off on hosts, but this takes higher cupric ion concentrations... risky> I read only in the swimming stage. So if it stays in the skin you'll have to treat the fish 5 times before it will be gone for good. <Two weeks at tropical temperature should do it> 4) I am glad I have a RO system in place for my orchids because I used much water in these hospital tanks and 100's of pounds of salt as well. Also many copper tests as well as Ammonia, Nitrite and all the rest Sincerely sorry about all the background info but I wanted you to know I have tried a few things and am getting sore, and sad that these beautiful fish are always in the basement. <Do realize all... and do wish that folks in the industry will read of your and similar experiences.... and stop these parasite problems in the supply cycle... ridiculously easy and inexpensive to do so... and done so by excellent companies like Quality Marine, Tropic Marine Centre...> Best regards, John ILG <Be chatting my weathered friend. Bob Fenner>

Time to battle ich Hi Bob, wrote a week ago about a two stage refugium. Seem to be going through a huge learning curve with this hobby and I am determined to learn 'enough' so my livestock can flourish. I referred to macro algae as invertebrates in my last note and realized this mistake right after I sent it. I have a biology degree from UCSD so I should know better. <We would both be, are not, surprised> The Achilles tang did have ich and I didn't quarantine him. I will never make this mistake again. I killed him during treatment with another mistake I never will repeat. In my 120 I have a porcupine puffer, full grown lion, big zebra moray, and 50 lbs rock. These fish don't seem to be showing parasites but I'm watching closely. I have read all related info on your site and I have a plan. First question, should I wait to begin treatment? <Mmm, yes> Put another way, do these parasites lose their reproductive vigor the longer I don't see them or is this even a factor? <Yes... a very "big", important factor... pathogenicity, degree of infectiveness is always a prime consideration... "the enemy is always at the door" my friend> Here is my plan of attack with the goal of completely ridding my system of parasites. Remove all rocks and place in a trash can with a powerhead, new water spg 1.01 and temp 85. I would love to save these rocks as they are fairly new. Should I place a light over this for corallines?  <If you have one/same yes> Will this kill all parasites in two weeks, four weeks? <Perhaps in four weeks... at least weaken them> Should I ditch the rocks?  <I wouldn't> Raise free copper to appropriate levels for two weeks in main tank using CopperSafe. Will also lower spg and raise temp. Should I remove the BioBale from my wet dry?  <Up to you... I would/have> It would be easy to remove my substrate at this point, should I do this?  <For what reasons?> Could I put it in the trash can and save it or throw it away?  <Can be saved> What about drying it out and reusing it. Will some of my nitrifiers survive CopperSafe or do I just rely on water changes to maintain water quality?  <The latter would be better> Water quality during treatment is my main concern. Are any of my fish particularly sensitive to copper? <What species? None of the three you list.> I would like to add a couple more fish and will quarantine but could ich hitch a ride in a new box of Fiji rock? <Unlikely> I never want to go through this again, took 45 minutes of stress to catch the Achilles. Your advice really has a nice tone to it. Not too preachy but gives the reader a sense of responsibility for their creatures, the natural environment, as well as the business in which we the consumers have the ultimate power. <You are correct, sensitive to my sentiment, intent... I am not here to preach, only relate what I might do in similar circumstances. My thoughts are with you. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Sean from Denver

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

Ill fish -- Define a "dip" please Hi Rob, I wrote about cycling a large volume of rock a couple months ago, and your suggestions helped. The tank-water stabilized (in my 55gal lighted with a 175W MH pendant, 25gal sump, large venturi skimmer), and I gradually added a bunch of invertebrates (snails, hermits, starfish, cleaner shrimp, yellow polyps and a piece of candy coral) and now I think I may have done something rash... I picked up a pair of Yellow Coral Gobies (about 1" long) from at a LFS that I don't usually frequent. They seemed fine in the store, and the owner claimed that they had been in stock for some time, so I took them home and put them into my new tank. They were fine for the first 24 hours, and then this morning (<36hrs after purchase) one has several poppy-seed sized white spots stuck to its body and the other has only two smaller ones. What could this be? Ick? Another parasite?  <Likely ich, could be another parasite> I acclimated them slowly in the store bag by gradually adding 3 cups of my tank's water over the course of an hour, and then I poured the water and fish into my net and transferred them directly to the tank. I've heard about "dipping" before introducing a specimen to a display tank, but nowhere have I found a clear set of directions on what that is, or a consistent method for doing it. <Posted on our site here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm> Could you please enlighten me about "dipping" and suggest a possible course of action with my new fish?  <Please read over the many articles and FAQs on "Marine Parasitic Disease", "Marine Parasitic Tanks..." posted on WWM, perhaps starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm> I'm thinking I may just take them back to the store and negotiate a return.  <No sense... Your system now has the disease... and this movement will/would likely kill these fish. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance, TJ

Re: Ill fish Thanks very much Bob. I had already begun reading the WWM disease pages when I wrote you -- I hadn't noticed many pictures of the various diseases that could aid in diagnosis. <Need to keep trying to make same...> I'm sorry there wasn't any good news to be had. I'm now planning on dipping these fish and setting up a quarantine tank in which to perform further prophylactic care. I have a follow up question: "Ich" is characterized as a disease of fish; does that mean that crustaceans and other invertebrates are immune, or even if they are, can they act as "carriers" of such disease? <Carriers, yes... even just water can move the non-trophont phases about... wet nets, specimen containers, hands...> I'm asking since I'm wondering if leaving a tank "fallow" pertains to all locomotive specimens or only to actual fish. <Pertinent to anything, everything "wet"... Bob Fenner> Thanks again, TJ

Very confused about ich Bob, Thank you for your time. I will jump straight to this. We have had numerous outbreaks of ich. We think we have it under control and then it comes back without even adding fish. We were going to add a UV Sterilizer, due to reading other FAQs - the curious point stands - we have 1 large snowflake eel, trigger, large lionfish, puffer and a wrasse in a 75 gal tank. Would adding cleaner fish be ideal for us.  <A bit risky... your current livestock might well consume all... but worth a try... other than optimizing the environment... improving nutrition... other avenues for tipping scales in your favor...> They are very aggressive fish and it appears that they would be eaten immediately. We assume this from training the lionfish to eat. It was tough because all the other fish would eat the goldfish the very second they went in the tank. Lionfish is eating krill and silversides now and he looks as if he is getting cloudy eye. I think due to water conditioning as we had one fish die over night and water went wacky for a while.  <Likely so> That problem is solved now. Back to ich... which never seems to go away. Does it really ever go away once you get it (introduced through live rock) and how do we get it to go away??  <Yes... or should I state: there are specific pathogen free systems... Ridding one or hosts is sometimes difficult> Should we just try one cleaner fish at a time in hopes they wouldn't be eaten? Main curiously is this - if we quarantine all the fish in another tank for two weeks and we put them back into their main tank and the fish appear not to have ich at that time, will they then infest our main tank again? <Yes. Two weeks is too short a period of time> Does this end???? We need much help..... and confidence. Thank you, once again. Kyle and Angie <Do read through the numerous FAQs on "Parasitic Disease"... and systems... on our site, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

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

Seeing ich... Bob, I'm a bit confused. I read your Marine Book Con. And checked out the wet web site. Anyhow the little white salted looking dots on the fish. Is that ick that were actually seeing? Or is the little white dots infected cavities that the parasites left after falling off? <The dots are mainly mucus thickenings caused by the Cryptocaryon parasites... not the protozoan itself> My LFS guy told me that ick is too small to see with the naked eye. And that the little white dots on the fish were not ick, but infected marks that they left after falling off. What is the real answer? Thanks again. <Agreed that they're not the ich itself... but marks from infestation AND left when they're gone off the fish to become other stages. Bob Fenner>

Ich Bob, I read all of the posts in the FAQ regards to ich. On your WetWebMedia sight. Anyhow it seems that almost all of the readers who encountered ich problems, didn't have a U.V sterilizer. They always say "I ordered a UV sterilizer and its on the way". Do you think that a UV sterilizer would of made a difference? <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marphysf.htm> With my tank. In my 240 gal. FO tank I have two 25 watt UVs, and I'm also injecting ozone into my skimmer. I never quarantine my fish, but give new comers 1 min. freshwater dips before I put them in. I've had some ich in the past, but it seems to be a very small case. A few dots on the fish. Also It also seems that the fish and ich have reached a stalemate. Where no side wins. Do you think this has to do with my UV sterilizer, and inj. ozone? <They likely do help quite a bit, as do your dip/baths, and the stability your larger system affords> Also I keep my salinity at 1.020. I read about the hyposalinity tech. On your sight. It seems that people practice low salinity 1.015- 1.017 for short period of time. How about 1.020 for LONG term? Will this also help control ich? <It may help, but many types of livestock are better off at near seawater conditions, including spg.> I don't want to stress out the liverock,, and button polyps in my tank. Thanks, Linstun Lee PS. last week I finished reading your book. It was great. I borrowed it from my buddy Carlos. A book that you personally signed for him at the Marine conference. Monterey CA . At the Embassy suites. Anyhow I hope you have a part 2 book coming out soon. <Ah, yes. I remember. And thank you. Bob Fenner>

Re: Big Mistake - Ich Hi Bob, Sad update. The tang died in the hospital tank and the neon goby is MIA. The goby never ever hid before, and was always out in the open, so I'm assuming he's passed on. It's amazing how attached you can become to your little friends in such a short period of time. <This is human... a valuable quality> My wife and I are truly sad. I also had a question for you. Since both fish are gone, I was going to let the tank go fallow for a month. Can I add some polyps, shrooms, and cleaner shrimp to liven the tank up while I wait?  <Yes, if the changes you intend in the fish-waiting meanwhile are not deemed too stressful> Should go ahead I raise the temp to 84F, and lower SG to 1.018 before adding the corals/invert or gradually after the new additions? Thanks. <After, and slowly. Bob Fenner>

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

Re: Another Ich Problem Hello again, Thank you very much for your quick response to my previous email. I have a few more questions for you, I hope you do not mind. I know you are a busy man, <Not so busy> so I will make it quick. I was wondering if you think the new 9watt double helix double pass UV sterilizer by Custom Sealife is a good addition to my tank to battle this ich?  <It would definitely help... improving water quality, killing water borne organisms. It won't cure the ich problem outright, but may tilt the balance of health/disease enough in your direction to make a difference> I added a cleaner wrasse and a second cleaner shrimp to my system today. The wrasse is working very hard on the tang already. The tang will lay on its side and become completely translucent when being cleaned. My cleaner shrimp seem to be a joke in this scenario unfortunately. They just stand side by side and make no attempt to help the tang. Do you believe changing the salinity and temp would affect my Acroporas, xenia, or clams?  <Yes, too much, too fast would be deleterious. But slow, reasonable changes should be okay. And you should be able to tell if you're going to far, too quick by your livestock's appearance> Any other ideas to help save this precious life would be appreciated. Thanks Again, Travis <My opinions, ideas, related facts are all posted on the WWM site... I would manipulate the physical environment, maybe add a UV sterilizer... OR separate the fish/non-fish and copper the former... and would have dipped/quarantined all incoming fish livestock... and would have the trade eradicate these problems before introducing new fish livestock... Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich Treatment I just purchased a 15 gallon tank to use as a Q-tank, not setup yet. I need to place my two cleaner shrimps in this tank, during the ich treatment. The spg level will be brought down to 1.017 or even as low as 1.010 and temp to 80 to 82 in the main tank. I have 1-purple tang, 1-naso tang, 1-emperor angel and 1-raccoon butterfly. The raccoon is of my concern, will he handle a spg level down to 1.010?  <Should... for at least the term of the treatment (a couple of weeks)> These fish are all in good condition, if it were not for this ich problem. Anyway, I thought maybe I could get by not using my tank water. I will transfer some live rock and water from the ich-tank, ASAP.  <New water can be used for changes there... but do pre-make and store it... Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm> One final question, will I need to dip the shrimp before I return them back to the display tank, after coming out of the Q-tank with ich water?  <No dipping necessary or desirable.> Sorry to confuse you as I am not a writer. <No confusion, "the medium is the message"... you are being perfectly clear. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich Treatment Mr. Fenner, Will cleaner shrimps do alright with a tank not cycled? <Hmm, not really... if there is any detectable nitrogenous anomaly (like ammonia) they will likely die> Don't want to use the display tank water, as it has Ich. I know that shrimps are not affected but just feel a little uncomfortable using my tank water for my new Q-tank. Thanks. <Don't know if I'm following you here... I would use some live rock, even water from the "ich-tank" if you have a new/quarantine tank you're having to place the shrimp in. Bob Fenner>

Ick.... Hi Bob, I have a few tangs in my tank (Purple, Yellow, Naso) also HAD a Hippo, Kole bought them too fast and they did not survive. <Ah, sorry to hear/read> The Naso was purchased at the same time as the Hippo... Last week.... However I was patient and she had been in the store for a few weeks before I brought it home. I don't understand why the Hippo died. He ate everything and did not have that pinched look. He was actually a little round. He swam with the other tangs and seemed fine. He lived only 3 days. One morning we found him laying in his rock (which he lays in to sleep) breathing really fast... a few hours later he was dead. <Hmm> Anyway my question is this. The Naso has developed ICK. (I think... she has tiny white dots on her eyes and one side of her body) She often invites the cleaner shrimp to clean her by stopping next to them. They do!! I have some nice pictures of the cleanings also. I will send them to you if you like. <Okay> Since my Reef appears very stable and the shrimp clean the fish AND the others are REALLY healthy... they eat soo well they are thick. I feed them frozen brine, Nori, and Spirulina and sometimes plankton. Should I take her out or just let the environment take care of her. <I would leave all in place for now... if this is/has become an entrenched parasite situation, you may be fortunate to strike a "balance" between the hosts (the fishes) and the protozoans here. If the number of spots/evidence of infestation becomes too much, the fishes start to show signs of weakening, you will have to move out the non-fish livestock and likely treat the main/display tank. Please read over our site starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm> Is it true that like the common cold ick is there to be caught by fish with low immune systems and that it is in our reef tanks anyway? <A bit different. More like "Having to be there"... let's say analogous to "getting ringworm"... you have to be around where the causative mechanism is... marine ich is not omnipresent. It is almost always introduced by infested host fishes. This IS the prima facie argument for dips/baths, quarantine... to exclude the introduction of parasites.> If not will the ick die off if all the hosts in the tank have high immune systems? <Hmm, actually yes. This approach is of use, and used with food, game fishes, even ornamentals in some countries, facilities... Not in the U.S. as far as I'm aware with pet-fish> ALSO, I am having trouble feeding Naso. I finally figured out how to get her to eat something. I used to soak the Nori in tank water for 15 to 30 minutes and add frozen brine to it and feed the mixture. She did not eat at all. Then I started feeding JUST Nori or just brine to see if she would eat one of them. She never touched the brine however she did bite on the Nori and then spit it out. To my knowledge she always spits it out. Finally I tried Spirulina flakes and she did not eat them .... But when I soaked them for 15 minutes she actually ate it and did not spit it out. So I have been nursing her with these. <Ah, congratulations! Your perseverance and experimentation are paying off. This specimen will very likely be accepting other foods soon> The other Tangs are pigs so I have to wait until they are not near to feed her. She still has that pinched look in her belly. I assume her immune system is low because of lack of food and hence the reason she has ick. <Not just foods/nutrition, but certainly a factor here> So my last question is ... What can I feed the Naso that does not cost a fortune? She picks all day at the deep red wine colored stuff/algae? on the LR. (have 173 lbs in 108 gallon tank) I don't see much of this red stuff left... she had been eating it slowly....So I would like to get her to eat something else. <Do a search shop at your local oriental food store or section of larger food store for human-intended algae. There are many types, some of which, when soaked to become soft will be accepted.> As usual your input would be greatly appreciated by BOTH of us :) Regards, Robert <Chat with you soon my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: White Spots Mr. Fenner, I have one question regarding tiny white spots on a couple of my fish. It's been almost two weeks that these white spots have been on my fish, they seem to disappear during the day and come back in the evening. I have been treating the tank for almost two weeks now for ich. The fish are eating well and are very active, but just can't figure out why it goes away during the day and comes back in the evening. Could this be something other than ich?  <Possibly, but probably is crypt... more stress during the day... so it "shows" then...> Thanks for your time and for being so helpful. <Have you tried "cleaners" yet? You should... Bob Fenner> Ron

Re: Update on my sick fish Yikes, I just read that too...that the Ich falls off...then comes back....please, please....every time I think I'm getting ahead....I'm not giving up yet though. If that happens. I guess I'll do the big move and take all of the fish out. How soon will new spots appear if they are going to come back? <A day or two, three> So I know without fish....go up to 82 degrees and SG down to 1.017 (for the inverts).....can I do that with the fish in there? <Yes. Good luck my friend. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Sara

Garlic and Ich Leng Sy overstates his claims or they are confusing. "Professional results etc "I think there's a bit of truth in that problem, but the <I really wish his ad starting with "Got Ich? This will help..." would change...> The darn thing is that it might be true. I don't know as a cure, but as a preventative. <Do agree with both probable prophylactic and curative potential> I have heard as a cure it is mixed. Some people seem to have luck with it and some don't. <You have to throw the bits very carefully, right at the ich parasites I guess> I have *never* had an ich outbreak in either tank (I am referring to the QT) . However, with one exception I have bought quarantined fish or quarantined them myself. And I have a Cleaner Shrimp. (I have had several fish that don't respond to the Cleaner's ads though.) <Hmm, you're smarter than the usual bear> But I wish someone would really do a controlled study on this. Before I started using garlic, I did a pretty big web search. The people who used it were happy with it, and claimed to have less ich. We might be the same ones using Vitamin C for colds? <What? Science in the pet-fish realm? Or the wing of a bat, eye of a newt. Bob Fenner> How often does this happen-- that someone never has ich in a tank? Maybe this is quite common, but I always have heard it's like the "common cold" of fish.

ICHY ICH Hi Bob, I wanted to start out by saying you are the man!! I really enjoy your web site, and I am looking forward to reading your first book. The question I am hoping you can help me with is as follows: I have a 50g freshwater and a 180g saltwater tank. Can Ich be transferred between these two different water types freshwater/saltwater? <No. Different organisms entirely... holociliate protozoans that don't live in each others realms...> If not, are there any diseases that are common to both water types?  <You are asking questions that have great import... Yes... there are some... Mycobacteria... others... Why do you ask?> I do not want to cross contaminate either one of my systems. Thanks for all of your help and contributions to this sometimes frustrating, but extremely rewarding hobby. <Ah! Not to worry my friend on the former... unlikely... and you are more than welcome on the latter. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Eric

White spots again Dear Bob, We have a Naso tang we got 4 weeks ago. Two weeks after purchase, he got white spots. The white spots went away with hyposalinity/hi temp treatment but some more came back 2 weeks later (now). We need some advice. <Okay> Temp is 84 and specific gravity is 1.019. The two large cleaner shrimps jump on him and appear to feed. Now one of the damsels looks like he has a spot on his fin and on his body. The tang spits out food treated with Selcon (he appears to hate it--any better tasting vitamins?).  <Not really> He's getting much thinner. He feeds but is feeding less. No other disturbing behaviors (i.e. heavy breathing, scratching) and he still is active. We first noted the spots on Friday and it's Monday. Last time the white spots looked a little bigger and when they fell off, he had grey spots (that's our guess because white spot became grey spot and then disappeared). Still, we weren't sure if we had a new disease or whether these dark spots were residuals but they went away.  <Cycled off, to reproduce... > My darkest fear is that we don't have Cryptocaryon but Amyloodinium which you say requires "early" treatment. Your book is the only one I could find that has at least a diagram that demonstrates the differential diagnostic pattern of spots. In the Amyloodinium, it looks like the spots in your diagram are more dense at the top (dorsal fin) of the fish. Ours are more dense at the bottom. Last time the spots looked bigger. I don't want to say that these look powdery but they look finer. <Yes... and the fish/es may have both...> Last time the spots were worse in the morning. I'm not sure if that's true now but they're gradually getting worse. I don't see the distinctive dark spots again. Now for the hospital tank issue. It's a 29 gallon and we put in an Emperor 280 filter with a Biowheel. Last time we put him in, 8 hours later there was a terrible ammonia spike and he was cowering in the corner with alerting spots. Surprise, hospital tanks need to cycle too (stupid). We were cocky when the white spot went away 2 weeks ago and just let it run and didn't track the hospital tank. The temp was VERY low and now, after a 5 gallon water change, ammonia is .1 and nitrite is .01. Can helpful bacteria grow in very cold water?  <Yes... though more slowly, and with lower metabolism> I don't want to leave him unattended in that tank but what are our choices?  <At this point, not many... to return the fish to the main tank, lower temperature (to allow weight gain) and lower still the spg (to about 1.015)...> I'm getting desperate. On your web site, you say that tangs need to be allowed to feed continuously. Given that algae won't grow in the copper treated tank, what are our options? How can we give him food when we're not there? Last time we tried to copper him, he still ate a lot. <As stated, I would return the Naso to the main tank, feed human-intended algae from a feeding clip (mounted near the surface)> People told me damsels are not very vulnerable to this.  <Not so... wide range of susceptibility, some very much so> Is the fact that one of them has it a bad sign that this disease is pernicious?  <Not necessarily> If we take all the fish out and put them in copper, will the live rock house the parasites? <Yes... for a period of time... your system has these parasites as well as the fish hosts...> Finally, we got Cupramine. Last time we added the specified amount to the specified amount of water and the measure on our kit was low. Is Cupramine (nonchelated copper) harder to get and keep at therapeutic levels or could it be that our kit is off? <Both... copper does not stay in solution in the alkaline environment of saltwater in any format...> This is very very painful. Thanks for being there. Allyson <Return the fish, lower the spg... and let's hope that the combination of the ich-impugned environment, use of cleaners (they may not make the transition to lowered spg) and vitamin feeding do effect a cure here. Bob Fenner>

Re: white spots again Wow! What a prompt response. Thanks. Let me clarify. We have not yet put him in the hospital tank for fears of another ammonia spike. Can we just put him in there for the several hours that we are home and return him to his tank when we go to work in the morning? Or are the transitions more dangerous than the cure? We could consider it a prolonged "dip" to give him an edge on the fight. <Moving this fish is not a good idea... very stressful... I would leave in place> You suggested "human intended algae" on a clip. He's refused Nori in the past (great idea). Any specific brands? We have lots of green algae in the main tank which is why I'm reluctant to remove him. <No specific brands... the "Red" algae (like Porphyra species) though they look green when prepared, are best> Do you think he's eating less because of the heat??? Man, that's so simple. <Yes... and its metabolism is being accelerated by the same...> We can reduce the heat. How low a salinity do you think the shrimp and hermit crabs can tolerate (1.015)?  <More a matter of how quickly than how low... do trend down a half to a full thousandth maximum in any 24 hour period> Right now I just wish I had a bare tank I could copper. Everyone on the list server poo-poo'ed the idea that tangs and invertebrates were incompatible (I think Dakin said that)... <Very surprising... Nick knows better> This stuff is all consuming...Thanks again for being there. <Agreed, stick with your plan... you will be successful. Bob Fenner> Allyson

Re: white spots again Bob, I stopped by our Japanese store. Found lots of "kombu" which is dried kelp (which he would not touch). <This is mainly a matter of familiarity... our tangs eat kombu... but not for a few days to weeks...> <No specific brands... the "Red" algae (like Porphyra species) though they look green when prepared, are best> Are there any warning signs to look for where we'll have to copper him?  <Yes, levels with test kits are useful, but the animals appearance and behavior are paramount... rapid breathing to labored, sulking in corners, the bottom, blanching with white large areas on its sides (Much like the animal looks in early morning with the lights off/on)... are signs that there is too much exposure.> How long should we wait? If he has trouble breathing, is it too late (he doesn't--yet). <Not necessarily> I lowered the temp to 82 and he is eating well again. <Yes. Bob Fenner> Allyson

Re: white spots again Sorry, I might not have been clear. We're leaving the little guy in the main tank and feeding him as much as we can and slowly lowering the salinity. We love our invertebrates (hermits and cleaner shrimp) so we're watching them carefully. The Naso tang with white spot ate less today and I'm getting nervous. He's a fussy eater but I'll keep trying the kombu. Perhaps I can just leave it in the tank and hope he'll try it.  <Also try strips of Nori... soaked with a little Selcon, Zoecon, vitamin prep.> Our damsel with a little white spot looks like his fin is being eaten a bit. He's an aggressive fellow so out doubt it was from another fish. Do you think we should copper him or hope that the lowered salinity will take care of things. <Hard to judge from this end of the keyboard... would leave it/s/he be for now. Bob Fenner> Al

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

Re: Yet Another Ich Question...! Thanks for your reply. I am happy (so far, with fingers crossed) to report that I never saw any symptoms of ich on any other residents of the tank and my tang is back to normal.  <Ah, good> I don't pretend to know why, but am happy that I found your site as there were a number of your suggestions I knew nothing about. I did note on your response that you reacted to the fact that I have a tang in the 12 gallon tank. He is very small (2.5 inches) and I have made a hiding area with rock that he goes into whenever he feels the need.  <Hmm...> He is very active, eats with gusto (while sick or not) and seems perfectly content. <As children, what do we know of the wider/larger world?> I don't want to be hurting or stressing an animal through ignorance, should I not have him in my tank?  <Decidedly not... you should, will likely have larger quarters for this and other aquatic life... soon.> I plan to buy a bigger tank later, but thought I would start small, with less expensive animals first, knowing it is tougher to work with a small tank than a large (chemicals, pH, etc.) one.  <Yes, assuredly> So far I have avoided disaster, but will happily give you all the credit!  <Your successes are all of your doing my friend> Again, thanks for the info., hope you have a great week! <Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Dave Diller

Re: whitespot Dear Robert, We got our first white spot on a tang. We introduced a Naso tang that the dealer said he had for 2 weeks (and they keep copper in their fish tanks) a week ago. We also newly introduced cured live rock. The spots are sparsely scattered and there are some white ones and a few dark spots. I assume the spots start white and then drop off leaving dark spots?  <Not... necessarily... and these markings may well not be indicative of much... parasitic...> He's also flicking his fins as if he has skin irritation and is a bit less energetic (he was eating voraciously last night and is still eating). I don't see any rapid breathing but he occasionally rubs against things. I'm reading your book (the disease chapter) and it looks like Cryptocaryon irritans and Amyloodinium (Oodinium) differ in the distribution of the spots. <Yes...> Can we treat for both of the white spot varieties at once (copper sulfate and formalin and malachite green)?  <Yes, you could... but the copper treatment will do for both... but...> Are there any other differentials we should consider? You say that treating with these medications can disrupt their systems. If we just move him to a hospital tank with low salinity? <Possibly.> I assume we need to put the fish in a hospital tank (I know we should have done that first but we figured the dealer's quarantine and copper treatment was enough). <Hmm, yes... but who could "count" on the other livestock that has been going, coming from the same system, netted by the same nets...?> Will this stuff definitely stay in the tank unless we strip everything down (heart wrenching!). <Maybe...> We have hermits and damsels. Are the damsels going to get this too ? <Possibly> So should we put EVERYONE in the quarantine tank (gulp...how big should we get one if we have a large Naso and 5 territorial little yellow tails?). Can our hermits carry the white spot? <Not really> Could the new live rock (cured) have introduced the white spot (or could they die from it)? How much time do we have before this gets out of control? A few hours? A day? How long do we need to treat this in the hospital tank? Thanks, Allyson <Much to go over... and sorry for the late response... have been away... Please do read over the FAQs et al. sections on "Marine Parasitic Disease" posted on the www.WetWebMedia.com site... at this point I would have lowered the spg., elevated temp. and added some cleaners... and not done much otherwise... not copper etc, or moving per se.... will try to get to/through e-mails for your updates. Bob Fenner> Allyson C. Rosen, Ph.D.

Re: confused-urgent ick problem Bob, Before we received your e-mail, we put the fish in a hospital tank. At that time, the white spots were now dark gray spots and he was beginning to breathe heavily (maybe when the white spot falls off, it leaves marks and we're worrying for nothing?). We ran out to get a better filter and it has been about 8 hours and the fish was nearly dead from an ammonia spike. This is horrifying. We did a quick water change (added a little extra dechlorinating-Prime) and the fish came back to life. He's even begging for food. I'm still shaking a bit, he looked so awful! <Yikes...> When you say "... changing nitrifying media from a clean source... " is that different from taking some gravel or some BioBale from the trickle filter?  <Not different... these are good examples of exactly what I'm referring to> How much do we need for a 25 gallon tank?  <Hard to judge... enough to keep the ammonium below 1ppm> We looked all over town and will get the cleaner shrimp tomorrow (but not put them in the copper-hospital tank, but will put them straight in the copper-free main tank). <Yes> It looks like this guy likes to eat and excrete a lot. I'm worried that these ammonia fluctuations will really weaken him and I'm not confident that our Seachem copper test kit is sensitive enough. Our reference test read at about half what it was supposed to. <Keep up on this... and you are right as to weakening...> Should we put him back? 3/4 of this water is from the original tank. <I would likely do so... YES> Al <Bob Fenner>

Re: confused-urgent ick problem Bob, We wimped out and put the fish back in the show tank from the hospital tank. He looks much better. The ammonia spike from the newly established hospital tank was pretty frightening (it only took only 8 HOURS in that 25 gallon tank!). We're keeping the tank going and hoping it will cycle just in case we need to use it again but, given there will be copper in it, how do you maintain a hospital tank? <Posted on the WWM site...> Given that a small tank's conditions fluctuate so badly, how can you put a new fish in there for a "rest"?  <Idea is to prepare, present, maintain a stable environment... in such systems...> The Cupramine instructions said leave the fish there for 2 weeks. We certainly could not keep ammonia stable! Then there's ANOTHER adjustment to the show tank? I tried to leave a damsel in it after the water change and he nearly died. We got a filter with a Biowheel for it, though. Someone on the rec.marine.aquaria.reef list server crew seemed to have a good experience with it. <Okay> We read your ick discussion and will get the cleaner shrimp, raise the temp, and lower salinity SLOWLY. Meanwhile, the little guy's spots look better (but he's breathing fast) and he's eating like crazy (spitting out the Selcon-soaked frozen food in favor of the flakes, though). We nearly gave this hobby up. What a mess. <Don't go...> Thanks for being there. Anything I missed from the discussion? <Don't think so... Bob Fenner> Allyson

Yet Another Ich Question...! Mr. Fenner, I have read all related questions prior to bothering you but had no luck with finding anything relating to my problem. I am new to "The Hobby" and introduced a hippo tang into my reef tank a couple of weeks ago (12 Gallon Eclipse). <A Paracanthurus in such a small system...> I DID dip him in a product called "HydroPlex". He developed the onset of Ich two days ago and I purchased and added a product called "No-Ich Marine" to the tank that same day. <Both non-effective products in my estimation...> I started doing some research and you can imagine my dismay when I found your web site and started reading all the horror stories regarding Ich. Do you know if the products I used are valuable as I am using them?  <Yes, do know, and no, they're not...> I have raised the temp, vacuumed the live gravel and rock, changed the water, purchased a cleaner shrimp, etc., etc. as I see you advise over and over again, but am hopeful that this "new" type of medication will prove more effective than older products. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer! <Ah, my new friend... I do wish I had some 'magic' or other-additional information to render... you now know about all I do re the common parasitic infestations of marine fishes... do continue with the environmental manipulation, use of cleaners, vitamin prep.s.... Bob Fenner, who would of course, encourage you to dip-bath, or quarantine all new livestock... not place the stated species in such a small system... I wish you well, life> 

Treat vs. Self healing Mr. Fenner, I have read through a good deal of your FAQ's on the subject of treating fish for Marine Ich, but I have a few questions that I could not find a fitting answer for. I would be very appreciative if you could offer some advice. <Okay> First, some background (sorry this is bound to be so long!). My wife and I currently have a 175 gal reef tank w/ about 120 lbs of live rock (about two months in the tank), 100 lbs of crushed coral, 30 turbo snails, 30 hermit crabs, two cleaner shrimp, one carpenter wrasse, two royal grammas, and a branching frogspawn coral. We have a protein skimmer running in the sump and some basic filtration media in the water's drain path. We are relatively new to saltwater, but experienced in freshwater tanks. <I get the picture> Two of our first three fish added to the reef tank were a yellow tang and a regal tang, both of which died of ich within three days of their introduction into the tank. VERY quick progression from visible symptoms to death. <Yikes... a very hyperinfective infestation> The carpenter's wrasse was added at the same time, but he seemed to be ok for the first week. However, we added five royal grammas to the tank about a week after the tangs died, three of which have since died, also apparently of ich. Again, I barely noticed they were showing symptoms before they died. The remaining two grammas showed signs of ich also, and went into hiding for a few days. At this point, our carpenter wrasse also developed a very bad case of ich, and looked like he would die as well. We felt like terrible parents to these lovely creatures! We have constantly checked our levels throughout this experience, and they have always remained excellent. <Yowzah...> It was at this point that I started combing the net for information and found the WetWebMedia FAQ's. I then realized that we should have quarantined ALL these fish before placing them in the display tank. We will from now on religiously adhere to this practice. We have since set up a 10 gal quarantine tank and got the levels where they should be. In the meantime, we started dropping the specific gravity and raising the temperature in the main tank, both gradually over about 4 days. <Ahh, good> The wrasse bounced back from his deathbed and has improved greatly. He still has a few white spots, but his breathing seems to be more regular, and his behavior is almost normal again. The two remaining grammas reappeared again, and are looking slightly better, but are still showing spots (more like a "dusting" of white flecks), and doing a lot of rubbing as well. Their breathing seems to be a bit rapid still, but perhaps improving. They are all eating well. The specific gravity has been at 1.017 and the temperature about 81 for about three days now. <Okay> My main question is, should we, at this point, remove these fish to the quarantine tank and treat them with copper, or should we let them continue to try to recover on their own in the main tank? Which would be more beneficial/less traumatic for them? <Good questions... if it were me/mine, I would leave them all where they are... trying to catch them would be a real chore... and add a couple of Gobiosoma gobies to your system for added cleaning activity, as well as to make the infested fishes feel better> Also, if we did remove them from the main tank, how long should we leave the main tank at 1.017 and 81 degrees to kill the remaining ich? Would your answer be different if we left the fish in the main tank during this period? <Not much... but I would continue to raise the temperature to about 84 F. in addition to adding the Gobiosoma> Will our coral suffer as a result of the prolonged reduced sg? <Yes, they would> I have read that you suggest leaving a reef tank without fish for about a month after a major breakout of ich. However, if we remove the fish from the main tank, and purchase and implement an appropriately sized UV sterilizer, could we return the fish to the tank quicker?  <Hmm, yes, to some degree there would be an incremental greater likelihood of all getting or staying "better"...> We're in this for the long haul, so the investment would be worth it to us if it offered long term significant benefits. <I agree with your stated philosophy> We anxiously await your response! You're a great guy for offering help to folks like us...Andy and Christine <Glad to be of help. Bob Fenner, up visiting in Monterey, giving pitches at the Western Marine Conference.>

Umm, Got ich? I have a problem with my saltwater tank. I notice my fish has little white spot on their body. I believe its parasite are ich. I have some polyps and mushroom and live rocks in my tank. can I still use a U.V. sterilizer or should I buy some parasite eater for the fishes? <Hmm, please read through the "Marine Ich", "Copper Use", "Marine Parasitic Disease" sections of our site: www.WetWebMedia.com... You should start environmental manipulation and at least adding biological cleaners ASAP/NOW! if not moving the fishes, or the non-fishes to another system quickly... Bob Fenner>

Marine Ich & 2 dead fish! Bob, Once again, thank you for you help earlier this week in regards to a question I had about a yellow tang in a 75 gal with cloudy eyes. You had mentioned to try Selcon, and I did order some and received it this morning. Unfortunately it was too late, and I was unable to get the tang out and to a quarantine tank the last 2 days. I just couldn't get hold of him with all the LR in the tank.  <Arghhh. Wish you would have removed the rock...> Anyway, yesterday the lawnmower blenny was found dead in the morning and today the tang was laying on a piece of rock breathing rapidly. He appeared to have ich in the form of white spots on his body and the cloudy eyes. I immediately prepared a bucket of freshwater the same temp. as the tank and added a chlorine/chloramine remover and baking soda to raise the ph. I got the tang and put him in, he immediately did a couple of loops in the bucket then launched about 2 feet in the air, landing on the carpet. I quickly got him back in the bucket and he immediately laid on his side and stopped breathing. I then put him in a large net and let the net back into the main tank just to see if he would return to life. After about 10 minutes he did start breathing again, but an hour later stopped for good. Do you think the Selcon earlier and or the dip would have helped?  <Earlier? Hmm, the Selcon would have helped anytime... but the sooner the better> I imagine it would have! My question is what to do now, as the other livestock (3 damsels and 2 small maroon clowns plus clean up crew and cleaner shrimp and bubble tip anemone) appear fine. <Only time can/will tell...> I will probably soak their food 1-2 times a week in the Selcon. Do you think I also should add it directly to the tank as the bottle suggests?  <Yes> I would think the amount introduced with the food soakings would be enough. I also have an ozonizer that runs entrained into my skimmer. I will also change the carbon in my canister filter this weekend (It's about 2 weeks old). What else should I do to prevent further outbreaks (besides quarantine for new livestock) and how long should I wait to add any more livestock?  <The environmental manipulation detailed in various places re "Disease..." sections on www.WetWebMedia.com would help, cleaners... as you mention below... Wait a good month or two...> (My water quality is good across the board) I am planning on ordering several (4-6) neon cleaner gobies from FFExpress and a second cleaner shrimp. Any thoughts on this?  <Just two Gobiosoma is fine> Should I do this now to prevent future outbreaks on the livestock I have now, or wait several weeks? <Do it now> As I side note I have a question about the Bubbletip and the one maroon that lives in it. The anemone is in a location where I cannot reach him to provide him with food. He also is somewhat shaded from the light. (my lighting is moderate so he's not hiding from strong lights) However whenever I feed the fish, whether it's flake or frozen shrimp, the clown will 3-4 times get a mouthful of food and go to the anemone and spit the food into the center of the anemone. It's quite fascinating to watch! I am therefore assuming that the clown should take care of the anemone and I should not fret too much about not being able to feed him. Would you agree? <Yes, don't try to move this anemone... it will do so if/when it desires.> Thank you again for your continuing help! Kris, PA <Bob Fenner>

Help....my first case of ick! Dear Bob: I was observing my tank last night just as the front of the tank lights had gone out. Because the back of the tank lights were still on (and sort of shining through the fish) lo and behold my flame angel looked like she had white spots all over her tail. Upon closer observation so did her body. Next I inspected my royal Gramma and she has a few of those awful spots too! With both sets of lights on the spots were undetectable....I guess the only good thing is that I noticed before they started showing symptoms, or the other inhabitants show the same spots. Am I correct that the flame and my Sailfin blenny would not fair well with a copper treatment? <Hmm, sorry to read of your plight... actually there is no "zero sum" effect of using copper on any fish species... in all cases both the disease agents and hosts are harmed... hopefully the former ahead of the latter in terms of degree...> The other fish are as follows: cardinal, and tank bred clown, royal Gramma. I'm thinking of dismantling my tank (rockwork) today to catch the fish as I can't treat the main tank (nor would I want to) as I have all that live rock, 2 cleaner shrimp and various soft corals, anemones and a live critter sandbed. I have a 10 gallon hospital tank with my daughter's royal Gramma in it (with copper) right now. It has ick too! I also have a 10 gallon tank that is home to a cinnamon clown. Would it be okay to put my cardinal and clown in the hospital tank with my daughter's royal Gramma and my royal Gramma, blenny and flame in with the cinnamon clown and use a hyposalinity treatment?  <Yes, though this is a bit crowded... but IF as you state the fishes don't show much sign of distress as yet, may I suggest you try treating the ones in the main tank first? Not with copper but the addition (to their food and water) of the vitamin prep. called Selcon, and the addition of another cleaner organism (a Gobiosoma sp. Goby)... If this doesn't effect a cure of sorts in a few days or your fishes continue to disimprove, you will be compelled to move and treat them as you describe.> Things would be cramped I know, but do I have any other way out of this? I would then turn the temp up a bit 80 to 82 on the main tank with just the corals and cleaner shrimp etc, and let it go fishless for 4 to 6 weeks......any comments or suggestions would be much appreciated....I did go to the Wet Web Media archives last night and read up on what you had to say to some other pool souls in my shoes. <Yes, and thank you for how you've put this...> If I understood right (it was so late) in summary, you said sometimes just lowering the SG to 1.017 or 1.018 and raising the temp to 82 (plus purchasing cleaner shrimp and a cleaner goby or two) sometimes turns the tide in the fishes favor if the infestation is not too bad. What's too bad?  <Too much stress on the fish hosts... a hyperinfective state (not necessarily indicated by so many spots...) where they display belabored breathing, are on the bottom or listless at the top, in the corners... expiring...> My royal Gramma has 5 or so spots and the flame has 15 or so. No one else shows any signs yet. You said it's a safe SG level for most inverts. Can my corals and anemones take SG this low?  <Yes... the most "touchy" and best to keep an eye on in the case of spg manipulation organisms (that you list) are your Shrimp... only move the spg up/down a thousandth per day to prevent shocking them osmotic-wise> Will the ick lay dormant in the rock or sandbed only to return after I reintroduce my fish a month or two later?  <Possibly yes... unless you were to go to extreme degrees at this point... letting the tank go fallow for many months w/o fish... or using a biocide (like bleach... DON'T do this!) to make it sterile to (re)start with... Not to be too didactic here, I would try the two proscribed courses of action: 1) Selcon and Gobiosoma with env. manipulation... and failing this 2) the removal, copper treatment, letting the main tank go fallow protocol... in this order (1, then 2 if 1 fails)> You made some reference that it may still be there.....and that vacuuming the sand bed would be in order....I'm totally confused right now.... Thanks in advance....I really value your input here:) SJ <I will help you... and hope to be less confusing. Bob Fenner>

I hope you can help! Hello Bob! I bought your book, the Conscientious Marine Aquarist, the other day and LOVE it! Unfortunately, I bought it too late and am now faced with a problem. It looks like my 75 gallon tank has ich. My tank inhabitants include 2 blue damsels, 2 green Chromis, 2 percula clowns, a yellow tang, a purple tang, 4 angels: flame, coral beauty, juvenile imperator and juvenile Koran, a Heniochus butterfly, a Pacific cleaner wrasse (how I hung my head in shame after reading what you wrote in your book about these fellows), 4 shrimp: 2 green Hawaiian, a camel and a cleaner shrimp, a Mithrax crab, a horseshoe crab, and a snowflake moray eel.  <My gosh, what a bunch of livestock... are you going to be getting larger quarters for all these marine Angels?> We tried to quarantine our 4 newest arrivals (purple tang, Koran, imperator, & butterfly) but the sponge filters we had running in the sump of the 75 for a few days did not have time to colonize enough bacteria to prevent a near toxic ammonia spike within 24 hours of adding the fish to the q. tanks, so in a panic we acclimated and added our newest arrivals to the 75. Sure enough, within a few days, we had spots (well, not my husband and me, but the fish).  <I'd keep an eye on him... the stress may be affecting him adversely...> This has been going on for nearly 4 weeks now. We bought the cleaner shrimp and Pacific cleaner wrasse for biological help and purchased a 15 watt inline UV sterilizer which is running at 150 g.p.h., plus have been giving the fish 20 minute freshwater with Quick Cure dips several times a week. Additionally, over the course of several days we dropped the specific gravity of the tank to 1.015 and maintained it that low for about 30 hours, and then slowly raised it back up to 1.022. We've observed spots appear, enlarge, disappear, and reappear over the course of the last 4 weeks, and decided to start a 55 gallon quarantine tank as a last resort (yes, I know, this should have been our first defense, not our last resort). <Ah, yes... woulda, coulda, shoulda... a common situation in/with our species and their endeavors...> So, today we went to a LFS in search of a copper test and ended up getting talked into buying a container of a product called Kick-Ich by Ruby Reef, whose active ingredient is 5-nitroimidazoles. My husband and I were at a complete impasse -- he wanted to treat the tank and I wanted to quarantine the fish and treat them with copper, but he was still shaken by the ammonia spike in our other attempt to quarantine and very, very leery of attempting that again. I ordered a CPR Bak-Pak 2 to run the 55 q tank but it won't arrive until 4 days from now (if UPS actually delivers on time) and even then there won't be any biological filtration occurring. Plus, with 4 angels, we didn't want to stress them with new saltwater. The LFS told us that they use Kick-Ich to treat their tanks, and the guy who sold it to us told us that when he worked for an aquarium maintenance company over the course of 5 years they used that product in their clients' high $$$ reef tanks. Frankly, I am afraid to add anything to the tank and would like your opinion as to the effectiveness of this product and any potential for harm to the tank inhabitants.  <Have my misgivings here... though a dear friend and fellow old-timer in the trade, Pablo Tepoot of New Life this and that... does say this product works... have heard, related many mixed accounts... definitely, environmental manipulation helps, copper compounds work... and would lower your spg to 1.017... a couple of thousandths per day, to help here... and keep looking for copper and matched test kit (as related in copper and ich/Cryptocaryon sections/FAQs posted on www.WetWebMedia.com), and add a food supplement called Selcon to your daily offerings to bolster these fishes immune systems...> My darling hubby and I are quite divided over this but since I capitulated to buying the product rather than insisting on starting the q. tank, it looks like we are going to use it.  <Do start the Q tank as well... now... for a few reasons... you will need it. Trust my intuition here...> We intend to buy live rock and try our hand at some hardy beginner corals in the near future which is why we didn't just medicate the tank with copper to begin with. If you can't proffer an opinion on the effectiveness of the product, at least tell me if it might harm my wonderful fish. Thanks be to God, we've not had any fatalities but reading the terrible outcomes of some of the other aquarists' problems on the WetWebMedia site has made my blood run cold. <Mine too...> Thank you for your help! Kindest regards, Sherri Lindsey <Very glad to help you. Do keep a sharp eye on your livestock, set up that 55 in anticipation of the CPR filtration... monitor ammonia... Be ready to shift to copper-based medication. Bob Fenner>

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