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FAQs on Marine Ich, Cryptocaryoniasis & Cures Involving Formalin/Formaldehyde

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

Related FAQs: Formalin, Best Crypt FAQs, Crypt FAQs 1, Crypt FAQs 2, Crypt FAQs 3, Crypt FAQs 4, Crypt FAQs 5Crypt FAQs 6, Crypt FAQs 7, Crypt FAQs 8, Crypt FAQs 9, Crypt FAQs 10, Crypt FAQs 11, Crypt FAQs 12, Crypt FAQs 13, Crypt FAQs 14, Crypt FAQs 15, Crypt FAQs 16, Crypt FAQs 17, Crypt FAQs 18, Crypt FAQs 19, Crypt FAQs 20, Crypt FAQs 21, Crypt FAQs 22, Crypt FAQs 23, Crypt FAQs 24, & FAQs on Crypt: Identification, Prevention, "Causes", Phony Cures That Don't Work, Cures That Do Work,  Products That Work By Name: Free Copper/Cupric Ion Compounds (e.g. SeaCure), Chelated Coppers (e.g. Copper Power, ), About: Hyposalinity & Ich, Treating for Crypt & Sensitive Fishes:  By Group: Sharks/Rays, Morays and other Eels, Mandarins/Blennies/Gobies, Wrasses, Angels and ButterflyfishesTangs/Rabbitfishes, Puffers & Kin...  &  Parasitic Marine Tanks, Parasitic Reef Tanks, Marine Velvet Disease, Biological Cleaners, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease, Infectious Disease

Example Products:

Rid-Ich: Malachite Green and Formalin Organicure: Copper and Formaldehyde Formalite II: (Aquatronics) Formalin, Copper, NiSO4 Formalin 3: Formalin

Better to use as a dip/bath and move infested fishes to new surroundings following. Toxic over-exposure is very easy to achieve. KNOW the actual volume of water you're treating... Do NOT over-dose.

Formalin question     5/5/20
Hi Bob
<Hey Jas>
I hope you are doing well during this crazy time, your in the West Coast hot spot and I’m up here in the East Coast hot spot. Anyway I have a question about Formalin. It’s hard to keep track of what is still legal.
<Been long since abandoned for injecting dead folks here in CA>
It’s been a while since I have used meds on fish. From my understanding formalin and some of the medications that were formulated with it, such as quick cure, are no longer on the market because they have been ban by the FDA.
<Mmm; not entirely as far as I'm aware>
I know Kordon still sells a medication Rid Ich Plus with malachite green and formalin, but from what I understand the concentration of the formalin is considered to be not that effective.
<I do think it is still effective... but dangerous... to aquatic life and humans. Do see/read what we have on record for its use on WetWebMedia.com>
<Welcome. BobF>

I'm poisoning my fish and need some help, Ich treatment, 3/15/09
Crew -
Good evening!
<And to you.>
If you don't mind, I'm going to send you a 2 part email, the first (this one) is a question that satisfies an immediate need I have. The second will be a bit longer - without any questions (but certainly open for criticism/suggestions) - that I hope you can share with your reader base as a "please see this person's story" in regards to Florida live rock, not quarantining everything, and flooding a basement so many times its a wonder I'm still married :)
<Sounds like a good read.>
I'm in the middle of a battle with crypt, and I've taken all fish out of the main tank and put them into my QT - which unfortunately for my fishes, was bought AFTER I realized I had this parasite.
<Often the case.>
Fish are in QT, being treated with Formalin, per label instruction. (25% water change daily, re-dosing until "fish are cured.") After a week, I'm not seeing any signs of crypt, but my fishes don't look too well. I'm
concerned that the level of formalin may be getting too high in the tank, but I have no way to measure it.
<Could be an issue.>
I'd like to switch to copper treatment but don't know how to go about it given that there's Formalin on the tank, or if its the right move.
<If the fish are not doing well the switch could be too much. Also depending on the breeds copper may not be an appropriate treatment method.>
Do I need to do huge water changes, run carbon, or other to remove all formalin before adding copper?
<Yes in my opinion. Try to get some Poly-Filters, are best at removing chemical residues.>
And, if fishes are already looking poor, is changing treatment going to cause more trouble/stress than its worth? (I'm sure I'm ok with aeration, and I'm using Amquel in addition to the 25% daily water changes for water conditions)
<Could be, may want to hold off treatment, and see if their condition improves without the chemical treatments. If they do return to a more normal state but are still symptomatic with the Ich then other treatment options can come into play.>
Thank you,

Thomas Roach Ick Omnibus, formaldehyde, quinine f's -12/11/08 Hello Mr. Fenner and others, <Thomas> Thought I would give you an update on my situation, as I'm hoping you are still familiar with it? Mainly to serve as a warning to others and emphasize the dire need for quarantining livestock, because once you get this resistant strain of Ick in your tank it is not coming out with ease? <Ah yes> We moved a couple of weeks ago and of course the fish still had ick? I disposed of most of my sand bed to get to 1? or less for maintenance purposes, changed 100% of the water and still had the infestation. I treated it with a Formalin product similar to quick cure, which again reduced the ick while the treatment was ongoing, but with this strain WHAT FORMALIN BASED MEDS SEEM TO DO is allow the remaining ick to come back at much greater numbers and strength? why this is, I do not know but it has happened both times I have treated with the Formalin based products. <A useful observation, note> This treatment I have gone back to the Quinine Sulfate (by stock in Natl. Fish Pharm if they offer it, I'm funding the place :-) ), and I seem to be having better results completely by accident! In some foggy haze I quadrupled the original dose for this size tank somehow, and it seems as though it has proven to be more effective at a ridiculously high dose. After a 3 day period I did NOT do a partial as recommended and treated at regular dosage, and after the 2nd 3 day period I treated at 1 ½ times the recommended dosage. The fish, into day 8, show no signs of Ick, whereas they have in the past treatments. I'm not overly confident yet, but I'll post results as we go. If other hobbyists had any clue what I am dealing with, there would never be an email to you regarding skipping quarantine, and I cant stress it enough to your readers how much misery it can cause. Thomas Roach <Thank you for reports on this ongoing exercise. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ick-  12/11/08 Thanks, Bob... let me restress how TOUGH this is... to me far worse than Oodinium simply because you cannot get rid of it. I have the salinity at 1.017, <Has to be much lower... 1.012, perhaps under 1.010 to really mal-affect the Cryptocaryon... at this level... most of your fishes as well...> temp at 82, and water full of meds and it is still resistant! QT all your fish!!!!! This makes African cichlids look mighty tempting again. <Ah yes... or even Guinea Pigs!> On a side note, Quinine is quite effective at destroying Cyanobacteria... at least it had one pleasant result... gone with one dose. Thomas Roach <Silver linings... BobF>

More Re: Hurricanes, Ick, and the like... 10/28/08, 11/13/08 <<RMF>> Hello Mr. Fenner, <Bob is out away from the net for a bit. Scott V. with you here.> No resolve yet, but updates for you and results of things attempted... <Okay.> I went with the Quick Cure treatment, with much worry. I used daily for four days, one drop per gallon, monitoring water conditions and carefully observing the fish. Both tangs did fine through the treatment, and the ich disappeared for the four days. It did not kill the bio filter, either that or monitoring of the water conditions plus immediate water change after day four prevented any issues. <<Mmm... much more likely that either the bottle of QC was not potent or that the make-up of your water/system absorbed the principal ingredient (Formalin)>> However on day five, after rerunning the skimmer and carbon, the next day the ich returned worse than ever, again only on the Atlantic Blue Tang. <<More evidence of the above>> This was Saturday morning. I had one treatments worth of Quinine Sulfate left, which I administered immediately. (I have not as of yet located the Chloroquine Sulfate, my wife's Vet was not familiar with it.) <<Mmm, phosphate, not sulfate>> <A treatment of growing popularity, though still hard to find. Bob Goemans had a great article on the subject in the Sept. 08 FAMA, with some sources for Chloroquine phosphate, one of which is http://www.spectrumchemical.com/retail/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=Chemicals&product%5Fid=6647185. Most chemical supplies will have this.> The Quinine must have severely reduced the ich, as Sunday and Monday mornings there were some present on the fish, but not near the number as Saturday morning. <It can be an effective treatment.> Prescription says to treat these fish in a nine day continual bath... but I'm thinking that perhaps twelve days or longer might be appropriate for this resistant strain. I have never seen anything quite like this. Again, I'll follow up with results/progress, but if you awaken in the night with an amazing idea, please reply! <I will drop this in Bob's box just in case he does have more to add when he gets back. Do keep us posted.> Thanks again, we're struggling but pressing on... <Welcome, a steady course my friend. Scott V.> <<Thank you Scott, Tom. BobF>>

Help! Ammonia Disaster 2/19/08 Hi Crew! <Hello> I love your site, and don't think my first year in this hobby would have been so successful without it! With that said I am having a problem with ammonia. My tank is a one year 90g reef with 130lbs. of LR. My sg. is 1.25, ammonia 0.05, Nitrites 0.00, Nitrates 0.05. I perform weekly 15g water changes. Livestock I have left a yellow tang small, two false percula clowns, two green chromis, a kole tang small, 25 hermits, 25 snails, a sally lightfoot, a red brittle star, a sand sifting star, and a few soft corals. <Ok> I lost a chromis, and watchman goby due to ammonia. The problem started when my skimmer broke, our LFS is not to good so I ordered a new one online. Then my Kole Tang developed a case of flukes. I know I should have a QT/Hospital Tank, and will in the future. <Lesson learned.> I instead treated the entire tank with a reef safe treatment from Fish Vet called Aqua Clear that contained Formalin. <Not so much reef safe.><<Toxic as H E double you know whats. RMF>> My LFS recommended this, but I think it killed my bio filter because the first time in a year I have ammonia. <I would agree.> Instantly stopped using medication. I have done repetitive large 30% water changes daily for five days now, and can't change the ammonia level below 0.05. I have tested the batch water which is ro/di and it is clear. I am trying to avoid all chemical additives, because I read your negatives on those. <Mostly, although a little ammonia neutralizer may be of value here as a temporary stop-gap.> I let my water mix in a 50g Rubbermaid for a full 24 hrs. before changes. I have reduced feeding, but to no avail. Any suggestions, or should I keep up with these big water changes? <Keep it up.> Are the water changes hurting anything? <Doubtful.> Any help would be appreciated! Thanks, Scott <If you can find some Bio-Spira Marine this would be a big help. Otherwise add some media if you can to any filters you have running, to encourage the bacteria to multiply. Otherwise you may just be seeing the formalin still effecting the bacteria and only time will give it a chance to recolonize the tank.> <Chris>

Sailfin Tang, Pearlscale Butterfly With Crypt 01/24/08 Hellllooo Eric! <<Hey there Don!>> Ok Tang and Butterfly in QT have crypt. <<Better there than in the display, eh>> Pick my poison for me in the early stage. A) Copper, B) Formalin, C) Organic Ich Attack, besides the FW dip over 5 minutes and daily water changes. <<Hmm Ive seen some folks recommend Formalin-based medications over Copper for Tangs, but Im leery of these embalming fluids but for extreme cases. If a medicant is needed, I would likely go with a Copper-based formula and keep a very watchful eye on the Tang. And though Ive not tried this myselfif the Ich is not excessive, I might be inclined to skip the Copper and proceed with a series of daily pH adjusted Freshwater baths (could even add some Methylene Bluejust enough to turn the water deep blue). Performing these dips for 3-4 days at a time combined with daily siphoning/vacuuming of the tank bottom (hopefully this QT does not contain rock/substrate), and then carefully observing the fishes for a while to determine efficacy/the need to repeat, may take care of this pest protozoan over a series of weeks while possibly proving easier on the fishes than medicating (poisoning) them. But, its hard for me to make this call. You will have to decide how much trouble you want to go to and/or what measures are necessary at this time>> Hope all is well on the new room your building. <<Yes, thank youhave about finished putting down the new Bamboo flooring, cabinetry and display/book shelves to do yetis a renovation rather than an additionthough there is a fair amount of building-in involved>> Thanks, Don V. <<Happy to help. EricR>>

Re: Sailfin Tang, Pearlscale Butterfly With Crypt - 01/24/08 Forget it I blew it :(. <<!>> I put in formalin/quick cure and poisoned them. <<Sorry to hear my friend. And not to be flippant, but and in this time/culture of instant gratification, quick often means deadly in this hobby. A sad and expensive lessonbut the cure is sometimes worse than the illness. Okay, enough of the lecture>> I am finally giving up the formalin thing. <<Has its uses, Im surebut you MUST know what you are doing>> It's just I have never done copper. <<Can also be abused/misusedbut is my preference between the two>> Next time I get fish I'm just going with FW bath over 5 minutes and then QT tank him, daily dips, and clean bottom of tank (QT always bare bottom). <<Mmm, yes And please dont misinterpret my words/intent here I know you recently went through a bad bout of Ich in which you lost fishbut it is oftentimes good to just slow down/be less reactionary and resort to the meds only if the fishes lives are in peril. Yeah, yeah, I knoweasy for me to say[grin]>> I use my wet dry filter for vigorous water movement. Does keeping SWG at .017 help? <<Creates more stress than any good it does, in my opinion. Keep the QT at NSW levels and rely on the freshwater baths to do their jobs>> I feel like I'm making the same dumb mistakes. <<But hopefully learning from same?>> This drives me crazy. <<Many have been down this same path>> I volunteer for a wildlife reservation and mainly keep Tigers, Lions and other big cats <<NeatI do like the big cats>> and animals and if they get sick we just take them to a vet! <<Indeed>> Thanks again. <<As alwaysquite welcome>> You're my only link to fish people because all the people I know think I drive myself crazy over this stuff, and how much it costs. <<Hmm, perhaps a few beers or a bottle of wine are in order for tonight. For medicinal purposes only, of course [grin]. Kidding asideis obvious to me you care about your charges and about how to properly provide for them. You are learning and you will get better at it. Patience and moderation Regards, Eric Russell>>

Re: New Ich, & CMA update news   8/21/07 Thanks, Bob. It's turning into a real battle. I think I'm going to try and set up a 20 gallon for a 'true' quarantine tank, instead of the tote I was going to use. In the meantime, I think I'm going to go through the quinine sulfate treatment again. I hate that I'm reducing my bioload this way through death, though, but I believe the puffer is going to expire. I gave him and the yellow tang a fw dip, but he's not doing so well. National Fish Pharm recommends a treatment of every three days for three treatments, vs. what the guy told me on the phone, so I think we'll go that route, unless you can think of any other medicine the shark would tolerate. <Posted...> Just to be clear, Quick Cure (formalin, right?) <One ingredient, yes> is not an option, correct? <Is used as immersion bath material by many folks, institutions... but the infested system needs to be sterilized, the animals moved in turn to other quarters> In all my fish keeping years, I've never had this bad of a time with Ick. Honestly, it has been really discouraging, to the point of wanting to give up. Such a reversal, too, from getting a dream tank (200 gal) and finally having a shark to complete depression. Fortunately I've just gotten more resolved. Your book came Friday, I've been reading it all weekend. <Oh! And some good news there... my draft was finished 12/05... and TFH has asked Editor James Lawrence of Microcosm and I to bring it/CMA up to date... by Nov.! So a new edition will come out in early to mid 08> If I can only save the Passer Angel and the shark, I'd be content with just those two beauties. I'm taking hope that neither of those two show any active symptoms, which since I know the ick is there, maybe they are just more resistant or the quinine has prevented them from becoming infested. I guess I need to recommend not buying macro algae for anyone's tank, though rinsed it in fresh water hoping that would help. Anyway, thanks for any advice, and even a vent. Just know I'm still trying. Thomas Roach <Do re-read our Crypt sections Thomas and press-on... BobF>

Ich complications and musical fish tanks. Crypt related self-imposed prob.s   8/5/07 Hi! <Hello there> Thanks for the help with my previous problem about a lump on my little porcupine puffer. He seems to be doing better! Now I have a new issue. I have a narrow-lined puffer that is approx 4 inches and have had for 4 months or so. He's battled ich for a while. The first time I had no quarantine tank since I was new to the trade. It went away, and reappeared again in a month or so with its natural cycle. He was hit pretty bad the second time so I bought a 10 gallon QT and put him in there. My Flamehawk (only other fish at the time) was put in the QT too, and both treated with QuickCure for Ich. I put the Flamehawk (Jim) back into the main tank since he was so depressed on the bare-bottom QT. <After how long?> Kept the puffer in the QT for 6 or 7 weeks and then ich reappeared on his body (in the QT?!). <Your systems are infested> The next day, Jim was scratching in the main tank and I noticed ich spores on the glass. <Mmm, no... Not visible as such. This was something else> I think that's what they are - round white/pink spots with little "legs" around the circumference holding on the glass, <Ah, no> very tiny. If not, I may have another problem. Anyway, I put Jim in the QT with Puff again and they're being treated with QuickCure <Formalin and copper... very harsh... You need to measure, monitor the copper concentration very carefully... at least once daily> again with at least 20% water changes every few days. In the process of all of this, I accumulated two new fish (just too cute to pass up! <...> But what a dump idea...), a porcupine puffer and a sailfin tang. <For how large a system?> Both about 2-3 inches. They're in the main tank. <...? No quarantine?...> Today I noticed tiny white spots on their fins. They are cloudy white, though, and very small and don't appear to be raised. I thought it was ich but not sure. Also on a side note, do tangs nip fins? <Often, if crowded, yes> My Porcupine (Daffy) looks like his back fin has some bites in it and I'm concerned about the tang bullying him. So here's the real question. I bought a 100 gallon tank that has been delivered to me this morning, but am too poor right now to buy the liverock and sand to set it up right away. I would like to solve this ich problem, and somehow let the main (20 gallon) go fallow, finally. The QT tank I have right now (10 gallon) is so small I don't want to QT all four fish in there. Would you suggest using the 100 gallon as a hospital tank, bare-bottom, and medicated to treat the fish with ich? Then after the 20 gallon has gone fallow, will I be able to use the live rock and sand from there to put in the 100 gallon? <Once the parasite is gone, yes> I'd like to use the 20 gallon as a sump, and use it's contents in the 100 gallon to save the cost of buying new LR and sand. I'm just lost as to which tanks I should use for what right now, and when it is safe to move things around. Also, how long does it take for a fish to be free of ich once obvious signs are gone like scratching and spots? Because if it's significantly less than the 6-8 weeks it takes for a whole tank with LR and live sand to go fallow, I'd like to move Puff and Jim from the QT to the 100 gallon, since they appear fine and wont risk infection from the 100 gallon since it's new everything, and then move Daffy and the tang into the 10 gallon to be treated. Then from there to the 100 gallon as well. Which option do you think is best? Or another recommendation? One last question - if the fish all end up in the 100 gallon, will I have to quarantine the new liverock I buy for that tank when I have the money? What is the benefit of quarantining LR? Thanks for your help in advance, and if anyone gets a chance to read through this it's a testament to how important doing things right is and not getting hasty over hoarding cute fish - this is such a mess! <Have just skipped down. Your answers and much more related material that you need to understand is posted on WWM. Please learn to/use the search tool, indices. For the Crypt issues start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm scroll down to the royal blue tray... Your problems are mostly of your own making... Stop buying livestock, poisoning it with mis-medicating for now... and READ. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich complications and musical fishtanks Bob, <Leah> Jim was in the QT for about two weeks. Quick Cure is Formalin and Malachite Green, not copper. <Man! I must be more than half asleep. Thank you for this. Am confusing this with "Organi-Cure"> I've been very careful about not using copper on my puffers. And I've been using the medication at half dose, not "poisoning" them. <Is still very toxic...> I don't know if he sailfin feels crowded, he's in the tank with only 1 other fish. I understand the problem was my fault, which I admitted to. I know how to treat ich, after READing hours worth through your website, I've picked up tons of info. The questions I have were about which tanks to use, which to go fallow, and where to put the fish - not so much how to treat the ich. I've asked my LFS what to do about this and they have been much more helpful. it's unfortunate your reply was hostile, because the last reply I had about a previous problem was much more informative and friendly. I don't appreciate the implications that I "poison" my fish and have not spent time trying to find these answers on my own. I couldn't find them, which is why I wrote. Also, please keep in mind that I've had less than 6 months experience at this, and am grateful for the all help I receive. <Sorry for my apparent crankiness...> Criticism and pointing me to information I've read that doesn't answer my questions does not help. Also, if those spore were not ich, do you have any idea what they might be since that might be a problem? Leah <With legs as you mention... either very likely crustaceans or worms of some sort... Protozoans are not visible to the naked eye. Cheers, BobF> Quick Cure... or quick death  8/25/06 I have a very important question. I am using Quick Cure to treat Ick . <Malachite Green and Formalin... very dangerous> I have my fish in a 10 gallon QT and the Quick Cure has been working great. The dose for Quick Cure is 1 drop per gallon for 5 days. Say I do a 100% water change on the 4th day because of high nitrites and because I wanted to move them to a new 10 gallon setup do I put 40 drops in the new tank or is that too much? <Is way too much...> Do I just put in 10? <Never more than one drop per actual gallon> Please help, I do not want the 40 drops to be to concentrated and kill the fish. Another way to put it is if I do a 50% water change on the 3rd day do I just put in 10 for that day or do I have to put in more to compensate the drops I put in for days 1 and 2? Thanks <... one drop per gallon as changed, replaced, time going by... Bob Fenner>

Re: Quick Cure  - 08/26/06 Thanks for reply. Makes me feel much better to get information from such a highly respected source! I know the Quick Cure directions say use for 5 days, but what if all the ick is not gone yet? <Continue for full course of treatment... the parasite can/does "cycle" off the host fishes...> Allot <A lot> of people say they use for 14 days to make sure all the ick is killed. <Too long, toxic> The fish do not looked stressed at all. Also off the current subject do you think I can put 2 Sailfin Tangs together? <In a very large system, likely yes. See WWM re the genus, Compatibility> One from the Red Sea is the new one I might get and smaller, the current one is the Zebrasoma Tang and is bigger and has been in the tank for a few months, Thanks Again <Bob Fenner>

Re: Quick Cure, Crypt, PBT Dis, reading  8/27/06 Thanks Again for your reply. I have one more question. I have a Hippo Tang (Ick Magnet) in the QT. I have been dosing him with the Quick Cure for 6 days today and would like to stop but he still has Ick. He was doing better days 3,4,5 with very little visible Ick but then today he has more on him. I thought it was just about to be all gone. <... I would not treat this fish with formalin and Malachite Green... under most circumstances> I know you said the Quick Cure is toxic so I do not want to dose him too long. What would you do if it was your fish? <Please read.... Here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/paracdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above...> I also have a Sailfin tang and he has shown no signs of Ick since day 2 or 3. I have been doing 30% water changes. Right now the Nitrites are at .25 and the ammonia lower then 1.0 so I am about to do another 40% change. So since the Quick Cure treatment is over and the Hippo Tang still has Ick what are my options now, Thanks <Don't write... read. Bob Fenner>

Ick and Formol  12/15/05 Dear Sirs Can I use Formol <A 40% solution of formaldehyde> to treat ick in a Yellow Tang? <Not safely> The dosage, 20 drops for eight litres is ok? This dosage is recommended for Discus and during one hour with good aeration. An alternative will be 3 drops for ten litres during 24 hours. Thanks in advance Best regards Flávio <Do be careful if you proceed... be in constant attendance, ready to remove the fish from this bath. Do also read re formalin/formaldehyde use and other means to treat Cryptocaryon posted on WWM. Bob Fenner> Re: crypto and hyposalinity: hypo does not work  8/16/05 Bob,     I did quarantine the Emperor before for 1 month but still had the problem with the crypto. <Did you treat (prophylactically) with copper?> Is a 55 gallon quarantine with daily water changes for all the fish in the 180g display enough or am going to have problems ? <Can't tell... you just have to try, monitor and see> This is the only tank that I presently have set up for QT purposes ?  ( Fish = Large Emp Angel, Naso Tang, Majestic Angel, Foxface, Purple tang ) <These two angels together... not a good idea...> All fish are still eating and doing very well i.e. no exterior signs of disease.  Do I need another QT ? <Maybe>     Kordon's Rid Ich+ is said not to disturb nitrification ( this is a 11.5% formalin USP grade  4.25% and a zinc free chloride salt of malachite green .038% ) <... we've been over this? Formalin is a biocide... crosslinks peptides... did you not state you had some bio-medical academic background? Look up the MSDS information on this compound> I guess you would not recommend treating the main display with this? <...> Because ? <... posted on WWM: ...> it would not work ? or I would have trouble getting it out of the system after treatment done? You have been a big help separating wheat from chaff re this issue. And I will be patiently persistent Jimmy <Then read... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm Please learn to/use the indices, search tool on WWM... Bob Fenner>

Ich treatment for Dwarf Angels 8.11.05 Hello Folks, My main tank has come down with ich.  I first noticed it on my hippo  tang, and shortly there after the spots appearing on all the other fish.   (I have 1 hippo tang, 3 dwarf angels, 1 lawnmower blenny, and 2 clowns) <Have the dwarf angels been together long. Over one year... six months even? An unnatural mix and some source of stress indeed> From what I've read angels don't do well with copper, correct?    <True> So I should use a formalin product like Kordon's Rich-Ich +, correct?    <This could be helpful... in a bare-bottomed QT tank. Never dose formalin in the main display. Nor organic dyes for that matter when you have live rock.> Do you recommend the full dosage (1 tsp per 10 gallons), or should I go with a  half dosage?   <Always full strength in QT> If I go with a half dose I'm assuming this will prolong  the treatment time? Thanks!! Travis <In addition to conventional medications, I like to soak food in garlic extract and beta Glucan (get from GNC health stores). I believe these to be very helpful. Best of luck, Anthony>

Ich treatment for dwarf angels II 8.11.05 the dwarf angels have been together for about three months.  they were  added at the same time and get along fine.   <It means little... and is hardly a test of time. If yours are like most, they will scrap in time (sexual maturity) and be a constant source of stress for each other. The mix is unnatural and ill-advised IMO> the reason I asked about the dosage is because I read something on your  site about certain fish being sensitive to such medication .   _ http://www.wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm_ (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm) <understood> It reads: "Some groups of freshwater fishes (small Characoids/tetras, Mormyrids, loaches...) and marines (Surgeonfishes, Rabbitfishes, dwarf  angelfishes...) are sensitive to formalin and formalin/malachite, and should not  receive more than half doses of these chemicals. Live plants are also made of proteins... and will die if exposed to formalin. Formalin kills microbes indiscriminately, including nitrifying bacteria. Hence you will need to monitor the accumulation of ammonia and nitrite, and take steps to prevent their  exceeding 1.0 ppm (likely by massive changes of pre-conditioned water)." Thanks. <Formalin by itself is no more stressful than most any other meds in general, but with organic dyes like malachite green, the angels can respond badly. Watch closely... but I'm still saying full dose and standard QT protocol (daily water changes form the bare bottom of the tank to reduce larval parasites, etc). Anthony> <<RMF would heed the manufacturer's warning and treat only half dose.>>  

Formalin with Sensitive Fishes Hello WetWeb crew person who takes this question    : ) <Hello! Ryan with your question today>      Ive made it a habit to peruse this most awesome website almost everyday as new challenges arise in my marine animal keeping odyssey. <Phenomenal thing to say!> Thank you all for your much needed knowledge, time and caring for our piscine critters and their sometimes bewildered owners. <Sometimes?  Just joshing>      I am seeking advise on treating a pretty sensitive flasher wrasse (not sure if P. carpenteri or p. filamentosus) for a rather persistent case of crypt..  He is in a 15 gallon bare bottomed, PVC pipe quarantine tank along with 5 Stonogobiops gobies.  PH  has remained at 8.0.     I tried a fresh-water dip on the wrasse with adjusted ph to 8.0  and temp around 78f, and the wrasse went stiff and flared, lost color and dropped to the bottom and lay there within 5 seconds. He didnt move when I scooped him out and put him back in the quarantine where he spent twenty four hours breathing heavy and lying in a corner before he recovered. <Doesn't sound too promising>  In fact, I believe I was more out stressed by how he reacted.  Am not inclined to do that again. <And likely not necessary, if the proper medications are added to the quarantine setup.>      Decided to treat with Kordon Formalin-3 because it seemed this was the better choice for a sensitive fish. <Yes, I was about to suggest it> The biological filter crashed after first treatment. <Predictably> Have been dosing according to directions on bottle for 7 days at the 10ppm.  Temp. is at 80f.  Because of the filter crash I have been doing 30-50% water changes a day while siphoning bottom, and dosing new change water only. <In QT, 30% daily water changes are almost mandatory!  In a perfect world, you shouldn't rely on the bacterial filter in this scenario> Also am adding Seachem Prime to help protect the fishes from the unfortunately present ammonia and high nitrites. <OK> Throughout this, so far, 7day ordeal, the wrasse and gobies having been eating (feeding sparingly) with a ravenous appetite.     On 7th day (AAAAAAARGH!, my back is killing me), about 3 new Ich spots appeared on the wrasses dorsal fin. <It's time for copper>      My questions come from total lack of experience in treating marine fish....would you recommend I stay with the Formalin-3 at double the recent dose to 20ppm (which is what I've begun to do as I wait for a response)? and observe if it was simply that the dose was simply not strong enough? Or do you recommend using the heavier duty formalin (staying with the same type of chemical) for ponds from a company like Aquarium Products instead (I have to order off the internet)?  Or  go on to Coppersafe which I worry will maybe pound the wrasse and gobies more than the formalin.  Is switching medications  way too detrimental to the fishes health? <Run carbon, and in two days with water changes, start copper treatment.  Buy a copper test, you'll need it to get the treatment levels correct.>      I am trying to be as conscientious a caretaker as possible and absolutely appreciate the time taken by you to consider and answer my questions. <Yes, and overcoming ICH is the nastiest business in the hobby!  Be patient, you're on your way to curing this ailment!  Feel free to write back if the copper doesn't do the trick.  Cheers, Ryan> Thank you so much, once again,  Esmeralda

The Ich Warrior Is On The Offensive! Hi Scott, <Hello again!> Appreciate your quick response in my time of aquatic turmoil. Do you think Formalin 3 is a good treatment for the flame angel in the hospital tank? The bottle of Formalin says that the dose can be repeated every 24 hours is that o.k?  I'm going to go easier on the hospital tank meds this time around. <I'd follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter with this, or any medication> Like you said,  you must be relentless back to the ich parasites to beat this thing and you're not exaggerating one bit!! <Yep, but you CAN beat it!> I'll let you know how this thing goes. <Please do! Good luck!> Thanks again, Ed <Go get 'em, Ed! Regards, Scott F.>

Sticking It To Ich... Hi Scott, <Hello, again!> Formalin medications are effective for Ich, too? Which commercial Formalin-based meds do you recommend? I'd rather stay away from copper, as I've heard one needs to monitor/test it constantly for it to be effective...? <True- copper requires regular testing to assure that you are maintaining a proper therapeutic dosage, and not poisoning your fishes. Easy to accomplish with an inexpensive copper test kit, but if you are not up to this, then by all means try a different medication. Kordon, Aquarium Products, Sea Chem, and others market such products. Check out our sponsors' links for details...Remember to follow the manufacturer's instructions concerning dosage and treatment period exactly...And please don't use one of those so-called "reef safe" "cures" in your display tank...To do so will result in the voiding of your WetWebMedia warranty, and permanent restriction to keeping Gambusia affinis (mosquito fish- beautiful if you like gray fish with clear fins!) as your exclusive pet fish, for the rest of your natural life span! LOL. Get the point? Don't waste time with them! You're too smart, and keeping mosquito fish is really boring!> The problem I'm having with putting fish to an isolated tank is the fact that there will be no bio filtration in that tank...? So ammonia levels will be a problem? I will not have time to change water in there every day... or shouldn't I? Thanks, Luke <Good question, Luke. What I got into the habit of doing a long time ago (thanks to the writings of Bob over the years) is to keep an extra sponge filter (I use the "Dirt Magnet" brand...As "Mr. Nutrient Control Nerd", the brand name freaks me out- but it works great!) sitting in my main system's sump, so that it is always "pre-colonized" with a population of beneficial bacteria. When I need to set up my quarantine tank when I impulsively find that fish that I've been geeking out over at the LFS, I simply pop it in the QT (which was filled with water from the display tank), hook it up, and I'm ready to go. Sterilize the sponge when you're done using it, and place it back in the sump for next time...Easy! Same approach works for your "hospital" tank. You should always have one or two of these ready at all times for situations like this. It only takes a few days to get one of these sponges colonized, and I have never had a nitrite or ammonia situation in the QT as a result of this. If you need to, this would be one of those cases where you can also throw in a bacterial culture like Hagen's "Cycle", or Fritz's "Fritz-Zyme" to help "kick start" things if you can't wait for the sponge to thoroughly "acquire" a bacteria population. As far as water changes during treatment- do make regular (like very other day, if possible) small (1/2 to 1 gallon max, in a 10 gallon tank) changes, siphoning detritus at the same time. This is important, because water quality and environmental stability, not to mention, attention to overall good husbandry habits, are especially vital in a small tank. Good luck! Get to it and beat this thing, okay? Regards, Scott F>

Attacking Ich... One last question, if you don't mind..... <Sure- no problem...> If I set up a quarantine tank of any type, does it matter what type of filter system I use, considering that they'll only be in there a few weeks, and do I keep medicating that tank with Formalin, or just try a copper treatment? <Usually, it's okay to use an outside power filter, sponge liter, or inside box filter...simple and effective. Use water from your main system, and usually, you'd "pre-colonize" the media in the main tank to acquire beneficial nitrifying bacteria> Thank you so much for your help. It's nice to get a fast response from someone who knows what's going on. I never seem to get a straight answer from the people working in the local pet stores. <Glad to be of service! I hope that this information is of use to you! Regards, Scott F>

Ich Treatment My Bannerfish had huge Ich. I dipped it for 3 minutes into this solution: 1L of fresh water, pH, Ca, temp, alkalinity - same as main tank <good> One drop of Methylene Blue 5% solution <this stuff works good> 3 drops of Aquatronic Formalite II (15% formaldehyde, copper and nickel sulfate)<would not have used this...read more at this link http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm>   After I transferred the fish into main tank (it's been 1.5 hrs ago) the breathing rate of fish is about 10x normal!<yes, freshwater dips are very stressful on the fish, and it didn't help that you used Formalin II-very toxic to the fish (outlawed in some states too!!)> But the Ich spots are all gone and the fish cleaned up perfectly.<good to hear> Is it normal for the fish to have this breathing rate after FW+Formaline+copper dip (3min) or did  I overdose on Formalite II?<could have-normally freshwater dips are used with one medication only (not a mixture of 3)> I'm not sure if 3 drops per liter of this solution might have been too much? <believe it says 1 or 2 drops per gallon> It doesn't say how much copper sulfate is in there, but maybe at that dose it was too much for the fish? <could be> Anyway, the fish is alive, just breathing very, very rapidly... will it get over it, <possibly> or is it possible that after that does of copper and Formalin, the fish will die?<maybe> I.e. is copper still toxicity remaining after the copper has been removed? Perhaps too much copper for 3 minutes got into the body of the fish?<do read more at WWM on treatments of ich, would keep your aquariums water in top shape, keep the lights off and maybe a blanket/sheet over the aquarium (to reduce stress) and hope for the best, Good Luck, IanB><<... was this fish returned to the infested tank? RMF>> Thank you, Luke

Re: ICH! Thanks for your reply,  <<my pleasure.>> I was treating with quick cure for a few days, but now switched to Coppersafe as even a half dose of the formalin and malachite green looked to be giving them chemical burns (not sure if I was just seeing things, but there skin seemed a little more pale, could have been just the stress I suppose).  <<Well, these treatments are harsh, just like nasty cough medicine makes you gag and become pale. ;-)>>  I guess I have two follow up questions: One is that my poor loaches hate the quarantine tank because there's nowhere to hide, as I took out all decorations because I didn't want there to be extra places for the cysts to latch on to. Since removing the decorations I've kept the tank covered most of the time (except for feeding and for inspection) with a towel so they don't get so stressed by movement outside the tank and I read that darkness seems to help cure ich as well any truth to that?). Is there a better way to isolate shy fish? I have read that the quarantine tank should be bare bottomed and without decorations so that the parasites have nowhere to hide.  <<Ah sure... some large PVC fittings, pre-made Y's and elbows will work just fine. Safe to use in the quarantine as they won't react with the water or absorb the copper. Also, it sinks.>>  The other is that I don't have room for all the sick fish in my tiny 5 gallon quarantine tank (heck, the three loaches alone are too big for this tank), I do plan to get another isolation tank after this (my first bout with any type of disease since I dove headfirst into this hobby about two months ago), but since my 40 gallon tank isn't planted (yet), would it be alright to just put all the fish back in that tank and just treat that with copper for about a month? <<You run the risk of stunting/damaging/wiping-out the biological filter in this system. I would recommend against it.>> All the fish seem to be doing better now (haven't noticed any scratching for a few days), and I never really saw the 1 mm dots that are characteristic of ich, just saw very tiny dots and lots of scratching, so it was just somewhat of a minor breakout I guess, though I will continue to treat and monitor. <<Monitor, then treat... I don't have any experience with Loaches, but I know that there are several marine fish for whom scratching is a normal, everyday occurrence and it has nothing to do with disease or parasites. What the fish's motivations are is only known to the fish, but it's a good thing to keep in mind before grabbing the bottle of copper and dumping into the tank at the first scratch.>> Thanks again, Jason <<Cheers, J -- >>

Re: live rock and ick questions II Hello again Anthony, Just wanted to tell you I'm going to use the formalin like you suggested, but no one in the area has it in stock so I'm stuck waiting here for it to arrive mail order.  <indeed, not the only med or even foolproof... but all things considered will serve better or best in this case> The stores did have formalin/malachite green combinations but after looking over your site I seen that malachite green can be deadly to the tangs. In the mean time I called around a few animal hospitals and found one that deals with marine fish and that he could do a scraping of the skin and gills and identify the problem.  <wow...outstanding!!!> My concern is the transportation of the fish, I will probably bring along the yellow tang. They suggest putting the fish in a cooler with water from my main tank. I agree with this, but do you think I should get one of those battery operated air pumps since it will be about three hours by the time the fish will be back home? Hopefully!  <absolutely a great idea> Also maybe a little Amquel or Cycle for the ammonia?  <I don't believe you need either...water changes will be fine instead> Or should I just wait until I get the formalin? From what I read, formalin sounds like the best treatment for parasites.  <really a case by case basis... with large scaled and tough fishes that clearly have Crypt... copper is fine after all. But gill flukes are very tough to cure and copper is not the ticket then. Really case by case> I just like to be sure, I don't want to treat them for something that isn't there and stress them out again when I do know what to treat for. I looked on Kordon's and Aq-Products web site and neither mentioned turning UV or skimmer off during treatment, could you please tell me? <recommended in both cases as standard QT procedure> Man, I wish I ran across this site and picked up CMA about 8 months ago, I don't think I would be having these problems. I put each fish in a 20 gallon bare bottom tank with a little hide out and cheapo tetra tec filter and treated each one with copper, but after looking over this site it seems copper is mainly just for ick.  <correct...and very good for it too> Also while I was on my formalin hunt I was checking out the live rock and every place that had it, the rock had no coralline algae coverage at all, it was just an ugly brownish color. In all their tanks it was covered in green and purple algae, looked beautiful. I finally asked the last place I was at why it didn't look like it does in their tanks and they told me the algae will come back with time and the addition of calcium. Is this true?  <absolutely true...just a matter of a few months and consistent dosing of calcium and Seabuffer> Or do you think I would be better off ordering from one of the online retailers? I'm using a total of 220watts All Glass compact fluorescents with the 9325 K bulbs. Would this amount of light be enough to sustain the algae growth on a 125 gallon?  <fine for live rock... but not all coral/invertebrates> One more thing I seek your advice on is my wet dry filter. It is probably 12 or so years old and the bio media is this big roll of filter felt with a black plastic mesh rolled inside, I believe its called DLS.  <wow! I haven't seen that for years!!!> I guess my question is: would using these plastic bio-balls as there called, be a better media for the bacteria to colonize?  <better yes, but if you haven't had ammonia problems and the media is not terribly soiled, why bother> The area where the plastic media can go is 16x11x8. Is there a desired flow rate through these things? Is it possible to flow too much water through them?  <yes...high flow or channeling is a problem indeed. Moderate flow is recommended> One thing I noticed in your Q's and A's is the Prizm hang on protein skimmer, and that you guys rate it for about a 30 gallon tank. I couldn't agree more, I have used it for five months and it never pulled out more than a few ounces a week. I think the collection cup evaporated just as fast as it could pull anything out.  <hehe... yes, to say that most of us are less than impressed with its performance would be an understatement> Maybe I can use it for curing my rock.  <actually a very good idea for high nutrient systems> Recently purchased a Berlin Turbo and the cup is full approx. every three days.  <not bad... but do aim for daily production> The gunk collected smells so bad I have to dump it down the street. If you don't have time to respond to all questions, I would understand, my main concern right now is transporting the yellow tang or if you don't think its necessary I'll just wait for the formalin. Thank you very much kind sir. <the gill scraping is not necessary but a wonderful option. Your call as long as the fish looks strong in the meantime. I'm inclined to leave him rest at home, do freshwater baths on it and wait for the medication. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: ich III Thank you very much for your response on both my emails both of them were very helpful.  <very welcome> I'm having a tough time finding someone who sells formalin.  <several popular products have this in it... it is also available from some local pharmacies. If it is too much trouble that way, any of a number of mail order places stock it and can have it to you within 48 hours. But strategically from a mail order company near you> A couple of friends of mine said they have had great results using copper power have you ever heard of this stuff and could that be used in my QT tank instead of formalin.  <again... copper is very effective only on tolerant large scaled fishes (some tangs, clowns, damsels and the like) but extremely toxic to small scaled and sensitive species like Sweetlips and even Powder Blues. The Powder Blue has an awful reputation in captivity for many reasons, not the least of which is their tendency to suffer parasites easily> I also noticed that the spots on my powder blue tang this morning are disappearing  <very common... Ich has an extremely short life cycle (within 24 hours)... the spots commonly wax and wane> and I have not moved him to the QT tank yet what do you make of that.  <QT is always best> All fish are eating very well including the 2 with ick do you think the ick on the fish is just from stress.  <we have no way of knowing for certain> Do you think I should wait to see if the fishes immune system can get rid of the ick on its own or move them to the QT tank right away.  <too many fish die from such hesitation... if you are asking me for my best advice, it is a daily water change in a small QT tank with medication. With stable temperatures, good food, etc (proper QT) the fish has an extremely good chance of being cured within 2 weeks. Without it you stand to watch the pathogen possibly flare and take every other living fish out with him, or anything in between. Best regards, Anthony> Thanks for your help.

Re: ich IV I was reading that the temperature of the water should be under 80 degrees is this correct? Should I also remove all carbon from the filter that I'm using. <temperature is subjective... cooler has more oxygen but favors conditions for parasites during treatment. Warmer is better is you have very good aeration/oxygenation. And yes, do remove chemical filtration like carbon during medication treatments. Regards, Anthony>

Re: ich V I was able to buy formalin-3.  Is this good for curing the ick.  <if it is pure formalin, yes. If not you may have to watch more closely or lighten the dose dependant on what/if the combination drug is> I set up my quarantine tank the pH, temperature and specific gravity are identical to my main tank. Do I need to drip the fish or just move him right into the QT tank. <a brief acclimation of 15 minutes is recommended. Anthony>

Re: ich VI Do you think it is necessary to do fresh water dips everyday or would the QT tank be enough.  <daily freshwater dips are extremely effective and recommended for most fish. 5-8 consecutive rids most large external parasites like common Ich> I would think the fresh water dips would put a lot of added stress on an already sick fish.  <nope... if done properly, it is less stressful than chemotherapy like a 21 day copper treatment. Bona fide academics have run tests to this effect. FW dips are stressful, but not as stressful as parasites chewing up their gills...hehe> I'm currently using a 10 gallon QT tank and using formalin 3 as the medication each teaspoon treats 10 gallons of water with 10mg/l of formaldehyde its says I can double the dose but I have only used I dose can you give me an opinion on this thanks always. <as I mentioned before, I have no direct experience with this product. the double dose is likely fine with large scaled fishes, but I would resist with weak or known sensitive fishes like scaleless species. Anthony>

Maroon Clown fish with Ich? Bob, <<JasonC here filling in for Bob while he packs for his upcoming dive trip.>> I have a 55 gallon tank with 1 yellow tang, 1 maroon clown fish, 1 velvet and 1 blue damsel. I also have several green/brown button polyps, Christmas tree worms, feather dusters, some hard coral (?) that came with the LR (about 25 pounds of it) etc. My question is : Recently I noticed some little white spots on my clown fish and did a fresh water dip (4 times).  <<in what period?>> He/she has been eating fine, does not scratch at all, and all spots seem to be along its white stripe and on top of the head. My water parameters are : Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 10ppm (?) pH 8.2 and Alkalinity 3 to 3.5. I have been adding Alkalinity Plus/Hardness every other day.  <<for any particular reason?>>  Does this sound like Ich, or I shouldn't worry about it?  <<could be Ick, may also be stress - you should be at least concerned>> If it is indeed ich, why isn't the clown fish scratching?  <<hasn't reached that stage or epidemic proportion. Most times the spots are like a scab - a sign that the parasite has BEEN there, but may not still be there.>>  In addition, my LPS suggested Organicure, however I am concerned that it will hurt my coral states that it has COPPER 1.25% and FORMALDEHYDE 17%).  <<you should be concerned - it will almost undoubtedly cause problems for your coral>>  Should I treat the fish separately in a QT or is the ich already established in the tank?  <<If you must treat the fish with harsh mechanisms and you want to save your corals/invertebrates, then yes you will have to remove the clown. As for the infestation of your system, it is probably too late - has it become established? No easy way to tell, give it time and the answer will be a solid yes.>> Thank you for your attention, D. <<do try to avail yourself to the assorted readings on the WWM site, and in particular do a search on HYPOSALINITY - a regimen for lowering the specific gravity of your tank to help remedy this situation. In addition, your tank is a prime candidate for a biological cleaner like a Cleaner Shrimp. Check these links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cleaner.htm  Cheers, J -- >>

Ich/Fresh water Dips Hi Bob/Steven, Thanks for your valued advise, it's very much appreciated. I have another question for you. I have been reading your Diseases section at WWM concerning Ich and F/W dips. The situation: I have a 30gal quarantine tank that is currently housing a Bi-color Angel and Regal Tang. The Regal Tang is showing signs of what looks like ICH (salt like grains on both sides of it's body). I bought both fish just a day ago. When I bought him he looked fine. I followed the acclimation procedures as outlined by FFExpress. This morning I noticed the Ich on the Tang. Is using Kordon Rid - Ich + okay for the Bicolor Angel? <The active ingredient in that product is Malachite Green and Formalin. I am pretty sure the Malachite Green is bad for Centropyges.> He doesn't show any sign of Ich, but, as he is new and in the same q-tank as the regal tang I'm thinking he needs Rid - Ich as a precautionary step. What do you think? <I would begin with daily water changes first. A 25% daily water change on a QT tank can effect a cure for Cryptocaryon if done everyday for two weeks.> I plan on performing the usual other steps as well; water change, raise the temp slightly, lower salinity to upper teens and a 5 min f/w dip. <I like the dips, too, but try the daily changes first and then escalate the treatments if no response is seen.> But please let me know if you think the Rid Ich + is okay for the Dwarf Angel? Thanks, Steve Segura of San Jose, CA <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

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