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FAQs on Marine Ich, Cryptocaryoniasis & Treating Sensitive Fishes

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 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, ), Formalin Containing: (e.g. Quick Cure),  About: Hyposalinity & Ich, 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

There could be made a sliding scale of susceptibility... and a closely positively corresponded one for sensitivity to treatment... From the top down:

Surgeonfishes/Tangs, Puffers & Kin, Angels and Butterflyfishes... Maybe a scale, 1-10... seven for Wrasses, a six for Lionfishes... Basses a three or so... Note, no fish group rates a zero...

Ich; Crypt... tangs.... Using WWM      11/26/15
Hello my name is Esmeralda and i recently bought 4 tangs a Blue hippo, sailfin, scopas, and a yellow eyed Kole tang. I've had them for three days and i just noticed they all have white spots on them.
<Ah yes; Surgeons/Tangs are quite susceptible to Crypt>
i have two little clown fish a small puffer a sleeper goby and a mandarin goby
and 4 small damsels. they r all small fish I've had all the other fish for a while now and i just introduced these 4 tangs but the problem is now they have ich and i noticed my puffer is starting to get white spots too.
<Yes; the fancy name "Ichthyophthirius" means "Fish" "disease/condition" "that can be seen".... All fishes are to degrees able to be hosts>
i went to a local saltwater store and i was told to get Ich-X.
<Not of any use; a scam. Search WWM and READ Re>

i started it yesterday but it seems to just get worse on the tangs. i have a lot of corals in the tank as well i don't know what to do because it seems as though its getting worse instead of better and my tangs r starting to move slower and hiding more.
<Unfortunately; the mix of fishes you have can't really be treated together.... the others you already have are easily poisoned by most "ich remedies" that can/will treat the Tangs. As there is too little time to have you adequately read, understand and react, I strongly encourage you to drastically drop the spg/density of your water here... like to 1.016 now and a further few thousandths tomorrow; to gain you and the fishes some time. And......>
I called the fish place where i got them and they said it was probably because of the stress they've been through.
<... yes; this plus they had the Crypt oncoming w/ them.... Almost all fishes ARE carriers; assuredly all Tangs>
Please help i don't want them to die they look so pretty and all i wanted was a good home for them.
<.... You'll have to READ. Start HERE:
and then the articles at top: DO THIS ADDITION OF FRESHWATER TO REDUCE SPG NOW; and READ ASAPractical. You need speed and comprehension to form a workable plan, else your livestock will die.
Bob Fenner>

Quarantining copper sensitive fish; commercial        3/16/15
Hello Crew,
<Howsit Frank?>
I had a question about quarantining copper sensitive fish. I have a fairly small operation importing fish as a wholesaler and I run Cupramine in my quarantine tanks.
<Have used MANY gallons, car-boys of this product over the years>
I wanted to know what your suggestions were for fishes such as wrasses and butterfly fishes since they are more sensitive to copper.
<Mmm; is posted on WWM>
Would you suggest a freshwater dip and placing them in the main system?
<IF in apparently very good shape on arrival, yes... I definitely WOULD do the SOP acclimation for commerce archived>
Or putting them in a separate quarantine system using a different medication?
<Mmm; nah. Have seen around the world where some (smaller) Labrids, even Chaetodontids were placed in invert. systems (along w/ tube-mouthed fishes and Amphiprionines..., but if it were me/mine, I'd stick with the same dosage for all>
If so what would be a good overall medication to use for those fishes sensitive to copper if there is any.
<Also posted. CP. Bob Fenner>

Lion in QT, Crypt conundrum    8/14//08 Crew, I've had a large lion in a 55-gallon QT for 6 weeks now. He went in appearing completely "clean" but developed white spots on the fins during the third week (hooray for QT!). <I'll say!> I performed a pH and temperature-adjusted freshwater dip (he did NOT enjoy that) and the spots cleared up within a day or two and have not reappeared...yet. I've been performing roughly 30% water changes about once a week, <Mmm... should do daily> paying particular attention to vacuuming every inch of the bare bottom of the tank. Although, at this point, I'm kind of at a loss for how to proceed. I've read every QT\crypt FAQ on WWM and can't seem to glean a solid direction to take with this specimen. Copper treatment is a potential avenue but I get dramatically conflicting recommendations on it's use with this species all over WWM, not to mention hyposalinity. Answers to the following should help me along: 1. What is the definitive answer on copper treatment of this pseudo-scaleless fish? Can lionfish handle copper treatment at the necessary dosage to eradicate crypt from the QT tank? <Lions/Scorpaeniforms don't "like" copper exposure... I'd rate them a 3... or a 7 on a scale of ten, depending on which end is which... in terms of tolerance. In wholesale practice, they're treated the "same as other general fishes"...> 2. Is it possible to produce a crypt-free specimen from a QT tank that has hosted the parasite but has not had any chemical treatments? <Mmm, possible, yes... probable... not w/o treatment> Another way to phrase the question is...Since the fish has already presented with crypt in QT, can the lion be considered "clean" if it lasts six weeks without visible reinfestation and nothing but water changes, good vacuuming, and a periodic freshwater dip have been employed? <Mmm, no... too likely there are embedded trophonts, missed tomonts...> I have a 150-gallon display that has gone fallow for nine months and I really don't want to reintroduce crypt by making the wrong decisions with this lion in QT. Please assist and, as always, thank you for your valued advice. Fred Warren <At the very least, I'd do another FW bath, with aeration, formalin moving this animal enroute to the main tank. Otherwise I might go a "quinine" treatment route/regimen here over copper... Bob Fenner>

New Ich, resistant Crypt    8/18/07 Guys, Have you heard of a new strain of crypt, a strain resistant to treatment? <Oh yes> Bob knows my situation, that being my system was infested with ich, and though I've got a qt tank now (have not used it yet, I'm not buying another fish till this gets under control.) I have had to address it through other means. With a shark present in the 200 gallon, I've used quinine sulfate. I did the full treatment, and it seemed to wipe it out. It returned later, I think by putting Caulerpa algae in the tank for tang food from a LFS, it's the only possible way, even though this algae was in their invert systems. After the first treatment the fish were great for about 3 weeks. I first noticed the ich on the Atlantic Blue tang, since that time the yellow Tang has it, and the other fish are flashing thought I cannot see ick on them (it's there, I know). Anyway, I began treatment again with the quinine sulfate, treating for 5 days as prescribed by the gentleman at National Fish Pharm, but it did not clear it up and I lost the Atlantic Blue Tank. The yellow tang also has it now visibly. After the 4th day, I dosed the tank a second time with the quinine sulfate. It does not seem to be having an effect on this crypt. The guy at National Fish Pharm told me they were now dealing with a resistant strain. If this is it, it is bad stuff. I'm going to continue the Quinine treatments, but I'm afraid I don't have many options now. Just curious if you had heard of it, it's frightening. I have no idea what to do. Thomas Roach <Perhaps formalin dips/baths, moving the affected fishes... BobF>

Re: please help my angelfish :) Crypt?   1/27/07 Well, I've researched your site until my eyes hurt as well as several others and spoken with people from four different fish stores.  My head is whirling :)  I would like to bounce a few more questions off of you before I start treatment this weekend. <Okay> I've picked up Cupramine and a test kit.  I know my Lionfish is especially sensitive to copper treatments.  However, I am wary of using formalin as a treatment due to its toxicity to humans. <You are wise here> I have two toddlers that will have access to the area where the tanks will be located (not to mention myself coming in contact too with the amount of water changes I'll be performing).  Are any other fish on my list here that are especially sensitive as well (5" Yellow Tang, 5" Cuban Hog, 4" Maculosus Angel, 6.5" Tuskfish, 4" Auriga Butterfly)? <Mmm, on a sliding scale of such... the tang, angel and butterfly are sevens, the wrasse a five... the lion about an eight...> How should I treat the copper sensitive ones?  Will lower doses be effective against the ich? <I would just keep the copper concentration on the low effective dose level... about 0.20 ppm free cupric ion... Should be fine here if the Lion isn't starting too debilitated. Otherwise I'd run the Lion through a pH-adjusted FW bath with the Formalin enroute to quarantine/isolation> I am also trying to decide between 3 smaller treatment tanks vs.. 2 larger ones as well as how to best split my livestock between them. Sensitive species in one and non-sensitive species in the other or something like that.  So-so sensitive ones in a third possibly.  What are your thoughts on this? Thank you as always, Rich. <Posted over and over... Bob Fenner>

Ick Hello whomever might be on tonight, I have a question about treating my fish for ick (which I have in my display tank ). I am planning to freshwater dip and quarantine my fish but I am not sure all will tolerate such treatment. Here is a list of my fish. 2 damsels, 1 clown, 1 flounder, 1 mandarin goby, 1 powder brown tang (the one with the problems), and 1 blenny. are all of these ok with copper? <Uh, no... unfortunately the Clown, Mandarin, Tang and Flounder are rather copper sensitive... I would try environmental manipulation as a treatment here... along with the dip> fresh water dip? Oh and should I remove my sea cucumber from display? Thanks for having such a great site Karl <Umm, you need to read it a bit more Karl. I would NOT try to treat your fishes in the main tank... Please re-read WWM, including ALL the sections on Cryptocaryon, UNTIL you understand what you're up against, and your best options for action... do this ASAP... as you can win this battle, but only if you act decisively, quickly. Bob Fenner> - Battling Ich - Hi everyone, I recently battled ich in my 135 reef.  Three tangs & a Flame Angel were victims.  All that is left is my Flame Hawk, Firefish, & a Fairy Wrasse.  I decided to finally setup a quarantine tank for all new arrivals.  My first fish, an Eibli Angel.  He now has ich, so I decided to give him a freshwater bath with Methylene Blue.  He freaked out the minute I put him in the freshwater (same pH & temp).  I hurried and placed him back in the QT.  He is now laying on his side breathing rapidly. <Is this an up to the minute report? I'm just curious how long the fish has been lying on its side... many fish appear to do poorly in a freshwater dip, but in fact will be fine - if you didn't leave him in there for at least five minutes, then you probably didn't address any of the ich issues - you will likely still need to treat the quarantine.>   When I setup the QT, I used water from my display tank.  It had been about three weeks so I thought the ich was no longer an issue, guess not. <The fish could have had this before you got it, and the stress of the move is what caused it to show up.> Should I get the remaining fish out of the display & treat with copper in my QT and leave the display empty for a while? <Are there any signs of trouble on your fish? I wouldn't treat them unless absolutely necessary.> Are these fish going to tolerate copper? <The angel probably won't - you might want to reduce the dose just a shade so that you don't OD the angel.> This is a lesson for everyone to quarantine all new arrivals, I wish I would of.  Thanks. <Cheers, J -- >

- Battling Ich, Follow-up - Well, the angel died about two hours after I gave him a brief freshwater bath. <I'm sorry to hear of your loss.> I thought wrasse's, firefish & Hawkfish were pretty disease resistant. <For the most part, they are.> If ich hasn't appeared on them, is it safe to say the tank is ich free? <I wouldn't go so far as to say the tank is ich free, but you may have a reprieve for the moment. Keep a sharp eye on things and make certain nothing has spread to your fish.> They are eating great and seem to show no signs. <Sounds good.> Thanks.   <Cheers, J -- >

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

Uh- Oh...It's Ich! Scott: <Hey There!> First of all, thank you very very much for your timely help.  Unfortunately, it is indeed ich.  I had a buddy come over to confirm my fears.  It was a combo of my inexperience, and not wanting it to be ich that caused me to goof up the diagnosis. <Hey- experience is the best teacher- now you know!> This morning, the flame angel only has one spot.  The tang has 2, but in different places than last night.  I think the UV sterilizer might be helping...either that or the fish are shaking it off.  They're still eating...esp. the tang...he's like a cow and grazes all day. <Well, the fact that the fishes are eating is always a good thing. However, the spots "disappearing" is really a function of the life cycle of the parasite, which enters a free-swimming phase during it's life cycle. Next, the parasites attach to sand or other substrates, only to re-emerge and attack again. We need to attack ich with techniques that disrupt the life cycle of the parasite> Here's my dilemma. I have numerous hiding places for my fish in the live rock, so much that netting them is going to be nigh impossible. Do you think I would be ok just letting them tough it out since the ich doesn't seem to be getting worse?  Of course if they break out all over, I'll have to do something, but am worried that the stress of netting them and then giving them a dip might be worse than the alternative. <I totally understand your frustration and concern here. It absolutely sucks to remove all of the fishes for treatment! However, the alternative is a seemingly endless cycle of ich outbreaks. Once the parasite is in the tank- it's IN the tank! Removing all of the fishes for treatment and letting the display tank run "fallow", without fishes, is really the most reliable option for eradicating this disease, IMO. The stress of breaking up live rock to get out the fishes for treatment is far less than the stress for te fishes (and you!) that will ensue if you don't take action. This type of experience will have you singing the praises of the quarantine process whenever you purchase new specimens for your tank! You will NEVER want to go through this process again!> I'd treat the tank, but have lots of inverts...shrimp, crabs, sea stars, snails, etc. Thanks again! <Yep- it's no fun. I am really skeptical of so-called "reef-safe" "cures", which supposedly attack the causative parasites, yet some how cause no collateral damage to inverts, etc. Please. please do the fallow tank procedure, and treat with a reliable medication in a separate tank. I know that with perseverance and patience, you'll beat this thing! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Jeff

Sticking It To Ich! Sorry for bugging you guys again, and I'm sure this is everyone's favorite subject.  Just to let you know, I did read over the FAQs for about three hours before I decided to send this email (that's why my eyes are so crossed). <I hear ya- lots of info. out there! Scott F. here today!> Anyway, I was stupid and impulsive when I added some newly added fish to my main tank.  I did not QT, but did do a 3 min. FW dip. <Well, still better than nothing at all (not much...)...> Well needless to say, I've had a rather bad Ich outbreak.  Almost all the fish are showing signs.  I have in my 125g tank a 3" porcupine puffer, 4" B&W Heniochus, 2.5" Flame Angel, 3" Yellow tang, 1" Domino Damsel, 3.5" Lawnmower Blenny, 2" Scooter Blenny, 1.5" green spotted (brackish) puffer, and a pair of clowns (Sebae and Clark)...odd pair.  I do have a QT, but it's only ten gallons.  I also have a 30 gallon Rubbermaid container that I make up my water in.  I was thinking of putting my Emperor 400 on that container and adding all fish except for the puffers and the blennies.  I've read/heard that puffers and blennies are sensitive to copper. <Some can be...You could use a preparation containing Formalin for these fishes...> I've also heard that Flame Angels are sensitive, but I don't think that there is much room in the 10 gallon QT. <Centropyge angels can be a bit sensitive to copper, but I have used it without incident...Just avoid prolonged exposure and test carefully...> I've purchased some SeaCure (is this stuff OK?) along with a copper test kit and am planning on treating the fish in the 30 gallon. <This stuff is just fine, if used as directed. I commend you for testing...If you dose copper, testing is absolutely mandatory!> I plan on doing FW dips with Methylene blue for the puffers and Blennies.  Or could I add something else like Formalin to the FW. <Yep!> I don't want to kill these fish.  I've tried to come up with the simplest plan.  Last time this happened (I'm obviously not a fast learner), it was a nightmare.  I lost my Ocellaris clown pair and about 10 other damsels along the way.  Also, I haven't had too much success with FW dips lately.  I always PH and temp match the water, but my fish seem to die after a 5 min dip.  Is 3 min.s OK? <3 minutes is the minimum, IMO- but if 5 was disastrous for you, then stick with 3!) I've too much money and time invested to give up, plus these fish are so enjoyable to watch, but am really getting discouraged by Ich. <You will beat this thing. You are approaching it just fine. Don't be discouraged- just stay the course on the treatment> My tank was Ich free for 6 weeks before the new fish arrived. <And it can be that way again if you run it fallow for a month or more...> Also, do you know of a place where I may purchase some copepods for my scooter blenny to eat while in QT. <Try my favorite place, Indo Pacific Sea Farms in Kona...> Once again, I'm sorry for asking a question about a topic that has been covered so many times on you website, but the more that I read the more confused I was getting.  Thank you for any help that you may provide. <Never a bother...Ich treatment is something that can be extremely successful if approached correctly...and you seem to be approaching it correctly!> Also, if you see anything that I may have left out, please let me know. Vince <I think that you're okay...Be sure to follow the medication treatment instructions to the letter, keep water quality in the "hospital tanks" as high as possible, and hang in there! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Marine Ich (I think) Hi, My hippo tang has developed about 5 or 6 white spots on his body, is breathing rapidly and looks a bit pale. I've read through the articles and Q&A on disease but am still somewhat confused. So, what is my best plan of action?  My tank houses 2 clowns, 1 yellow wrasse, 1 hippo tang, 1 cleaner shrimp, a few turbo snails, and 1 brittle star. Coral include, a leather, candy cane, bubble, torch and assorted polyps. If I move all the fish to a quarantine tank, is it true that the parasite population will crash with no host? If so how long would that take? Would I have to remove my shrimp, star fish and snails to? What would be the best treatment in the quarantine tank, what brand of medication? Is it ok to treat the other fish even though they show no signs of disease since they will all be in the quarantine tank?  Thanks for your time and info.  Angelo >>Good morning, Angelo, Marina here.  Ok, you seem to be observing a parasitic infection, classically ich, either Cryptocaryon or Amyloodinium.  Look up "hyposalinity ich" in the Google search engine on our site and you'll find PUHLENTY to read, eh?  Also, look up "parasitic disease" as well.  Now, onto using hyposalinity: remove all the fish to however many hospital-quarantine tanks/containers (doesn't have to be a tank, per se) as necessary to avoid overcrowding.  They're going to be in there a good 6-8 weeks while you let the main display lie fallow (fishless) to deprive the parasites of hosts.  This will clear the display of cysts.  The fish can be treated either using hyposalinity or copper (I generally don't recommend Formalin, as it's a bit tricky to use), though I'll suggest the hypo route initially, saves you time and money (you'll need a test kit if using copper).  You *will* need to be sure that the salinity in the q/t is around 1.010 or less to be effective.  It will take the fish a couple or three days to acclimate to the lower salinity (try a drip method if you can set up a container w/drip line).  They should be free of ich after 30 days, but you don't want them back in the main till you're sure it's ich-free.  If you bump up the tank temp that will speed up the parasite's lifecycle--be careful here, no more than 84F what with the corals.  That should do the trick for you.  Also, utilize nutrition as a means of fighting disease, use a supplement such as Selcon (soak food in it for a bit) a few times a week to give all fishes a boost.  I will also suggest having on hand some Spectrogram and/or Melafix in case of secondary infections at the parasite wound sites.  Best of luck!  Marina

Ich in the evening Hello everybody, could you answer my question? <I'll certainly try. If I can't I'll pass it on to the rest of the crew> I have a 50gln salt tank with a cleaner wrasse a juv. asfur angel, small falcula butterfly, yellow tail Coris wrasse with approximately 60lbs of live rock, two heaters, power head aiming from left to right towards the bottom rear with a penguin 330 filter. I keep the temp between 78-80 degrees, all parameters are well but here is my question, every evening my asfur and butterfly come down with ick and in the morning they are clear. I just got done giving both a fresh water bath, checking ph, temp and dechlorinating and now they are twice as bad.  Why the outbreak every night and why the infestation after the bath? <I would get these guys into the quarantine tank ASAP and try to diagnose what is causing the ich. Have you read our disease files at WWM? There is tons of information on file. "Disappearing and reappearing ich is standard and I'm afraid if not treated promptly will become "all ich...all the time." That would be really bad> Per your suggestion I've acquired a Q-tank and as soon as I complete the cabinet I'll be setting up my new 125, yahoo! Thank you in advance for your time and effort, it doesn't go unnoticed. <Your recognition is appreciated. The answer to your question can be found in the disease archives at WWM. Check it out! David Dowless>

Time For Action! (Attacking Ich) HI, Lynn here again. <Hi Lynn- Scott F. here today> I have a 125 gallon marine tank with a large variety of specimens. I have been reading this web site and many others for months now. I'm quite new to this hobby (about 1 year). So far, I have had ample luck with my tank. Unfortunately,  1 loss to me is 1 to many. <Agreed!> I wrote recently about my ill Foxface Lo I had purchased in an attempt to save  ( he passed away this evening), but he did give it a good fight. Well, here I am again with another possible problem. Unfortunately, it's possibly ich. Treating Ich is hard enough in even a qt tank. My tank houses 1 Stars and Stripes Dog Face Puffer ,1 Majestic Foxface ,1 Lionfish,1 Silver Scat, 1 Snowflake Eel, 1 Engineer Goby, 3 damsels, Turbo snails, hermit crabs, about 50 lbs of live rock (rough guess), a few live plants, Serpent Starfish( 1 adult and uncounted amounts of baby stars which came in  new live rock) which I started to keep in qt tank but had to place in main tank after a few hrs of quarantine due to medicating Foxface Lo ( in fear the spectrogram would kill off the baby starfish). As of now I only have a 10 gal quarantine tank. <Hey- it's better than no quarantine tank. Keep in mind, however, that a quarantine tank is not a permanent feature, and should be broken down when you're done using it.> My new tank won't be ready for delivery for at least one month- 125 gal.. I had my puffer in qt tank about a month ago when he stopped eating. He had a case of "cloudy eye". I keep close watch on my water quality levels. I check no less than 2 times per week all have been good- ammonia has never topped over 0.25, nitrates at .0  nitrites .0. Bi-weekly water changes ( 25 %), top-offs every week salinity 1.020- 1.023, ph 8.2 temp 80-82 F. Because of the venomous nature of some of my fish, I feel a dip would be out of the question. I have noticed the slimy bubbles (like grains of salt ) bringing me to conclusion of ich, as your FAQ has stated ( in text and photos) on at least my Foxface and my Puffer. <Do consider treating these fishes with Formalin, as opposed to copper...Puffers don't do well with copper at all, in many cases> The rest of the fish are a lot harder to tell but I fear chances of the rest having it are highly probable. It's impossible to fit all these fish into a 10 gal tank, or even the non fish into it + live rock which  are harboring baby stars an other livestock. <Rubbermaid containers or large trash cans make great emergency treatment facilities...> I feel I should treat as soon as possible, before it affects there health. <Sounds like it already has!> I have read all the articles you have posted throughout your website and other sites. How can this be done without absolute  casualties? Or unnecessary stress to my tank? <Do read up on the "two front" ich treatment technique that I have exposed on WWM, as well as the many other parasitic disease treatment FAQs and articles on WWM. Lots of good information here!> P.S.-The symptoms of ich have been present for at least 1 month. It has taken me this long to identify it (through articles and photos) So I know the new rocks and plants were not the cause, they were introduced this past weekend. <Well, they could lead to potential future problems. I'm a very conservative type, who quarantines EVERYTHING that goes into my tanks...Really a practice worth subscribing to. Keep a good attitude, take prompt action, and hang in there. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Saltwater Ick Dear Mr. Fenner: <Petr> I would like your advice on dealing with Ick.  I have a 55 gal saltwater with Tidepool w/ BioWheel sump, LifeGuard mechanical filter, Mag Drive 700 pump, two Rio power heads inside the tank, and the SeaClone 100Gal skimmer.    I also have about 10lbs of live rock and another 20lbs of dead coral rock.    The tank has been running over a year now and the water parameters seem to be fairly stable (pH ~8.3, ammonia & nitrite not detectable, 9dKH, 300ppm Ca, Phosphate < 0.05ppm, 1.023 spg, 78F temp).  I use RO/DI water (weekly 5gal change, keep water aerated in a bucket for 24 hours before use), dose Kalk, Reef Builder, Reef Advantage Magnesium, Reef Iodide, and run Black Diamond Carbon.  I do realize that more live rock and better skimmer would be desirable and I plan to get better skimmer in the near future. <Well stated... and though I would choose other makes, models of gear, your parameters and testing protocol point up good husbandry> Q: Over a period of time is dead coral rock become a home to the beneficial nitrifying bacteria and will it function just like live rock does? <Yes> When I converted from freshwater into saltwater, I made a decision not to invest too much money into the livestock before I make a reasonable progress in maintaining the tank. <Outstanding>   After dealing with outbreak of Cyano- and later green hair algae, I think it was a wise decision.  I managed to learn how to control the algae mainly because of all the posts on your web site.  I started off with Powder Brown tang, Coral Beauty, Six-line Wrasse, and a blenny (I cannot quite identify the species).  I also have a number of Blue Leg hermit crabs, three Astraea Cone head snails, and one Bumble Bee snail. In my quest for better water quality trying to eliminate green hair algae, I purchased from a LFS some macro algae and put it into the tank.  I did not quite know what sort of disease preventative measures I should take before putting it into the tank and so I just dumped it in.  A week later I noticed white spots that looked like grains of salts on my Tang and the Coral Beauty.  The Tang seemed to hang in front of the power heads, I guess attempting to get the parasites off.  I purchased a 20gal tank, moved the fish in and treated them with Cupramine.  I ended up losing the Coral Beauty right away.  Three weeks later I move the fish back to the display tank per advice I got in my LFS.  The week later the Tang showed the same symptoms again.  At that time I had to leave for a several days and did not have the time to repeat the treatment.  When I got back I noticed that most of the spots were gone.  I also noticed that they reappeared after a water change.  Also the Wrasse and the Blenny showed no signs of the disease.    Eventually I ended up repeating the treatment and lost the tang. <... your system actually has the ich infestation> A couple of month later without the Wrasse or the Blenny showing any sings of the disease, I purchased Yellow Tang from a different LFS and added it to the display tank.  The people in the store claim that they quarantine new fish they get and that they also use copper to prevent parasite infested fish to be sold to their customers. A week later I noticed the same white spots on the Tang. <Yes... again, your system has the resting stages and feeding ones cycling in/out... you must need remove the hosts (fishes), perhaps "speed things up" by elevating temperature, lowering spg... to cycle them, weaken them... get these stages out of your main system, while treating the fishes in your 20.> This time around I took the time to read up on treating Ick.  I moved all the fish to the quarantine tank and kept them in there for over five weeks (Oct. 29 -- Dec. 5 according to my log).  I treated them with Cupramine using the manufacturer dosing recommendation (2 drops/gal on the 1st day, 1 drop/gal on the 3rd day). <Need to use a test kit... not just add indiscriminately (w/o testing)... as all cases/situations are different... and it is very easy to thus end up with too little, too much active ingredient (free cupric ion)>   The symptoms of the disease disappeared.  However, due to a faulty heater I almost electrocuted myself and lost the Wrasse and the Blenny. <Yikes!> The Tang developed HLLE that I hope can be reversed with better nutrition and water quality.   <Yes, you are correct> Also during the same time I slowly (over a period of 2 weeks) lowered the SPG in the display tank to 1.020 and increased the temperature to 83F. <Ahh, good... I would lower the spg even more... to 1.015 likely, or if there are no outward signs of stress (on the live rock etc.) down to 1.010> During the last couple of weeks in the quarantine tank the tang has not shown any symptoms of Ick.  I worked on getting the water parameters as close as possible in the two tanks before I moved the Tang back.  Yesterday, three days after the move, I noticed a few white spots on the tang again.  I will need to observer the Tang for another day to determine if the symptoms are the same. <Yes> Q: Is it possible for Cryptocaryon to survive this long without a host or did it somehow survived the copper treatment in the qt and showed itself only after the fish was moved back to the display tank? <Could be either one... a month (or longer) with the environmental manipulation you mention is generally long enough to eliminate all but the most entrenched, virulent populations of Cryptocaryon... but the dosing of copper products w/o concurrent testing... is fraught with danger> I am trying to figure out what to do next.  Should I repeat the same treatment and lower the SPG even more in the display tank? <Yes... and not to worry re doing this over a couple of weeks... w/o sensitive animals (like shrimps, crabs, mollusks) go ahead and lower it in a couple of days> Should I use copper more aggressively in the qt? <Mmm, not more aggressively... a physiological dose does all the good it can do... Much more is deadly... but allowing the cupric ion content/concentration to drop below the dosage alternatively does no good at all> Should I try to use a cleaner shrimp or Neon Blue Goby instead? <I wouldn't at this juncture... unless in your estimation the fish/es can't take more copper treatment> Now I know that the prevention is the key, but I would like to figure out how to deal with the disease without having to tear down and sterilize the system.  Any suggestions? <I would "go back" and try the treatment protocol in both the fallow main system and treatment/quarantine tank... with the lower spg, perhaps even a higher temperature (85 F), and using a copper test kit this time for the treatment tank.> Best regards, Petr <Press on my friend. You are on a path of utility. Bob Fenner>

That Yucky Ich Again! I've a 100 gallon fish only tank which has been running beautifully for over a year now. It's stocked with a yellow tang, juv. Koran, a orange-spot trigger, couple of small filefish (these are looking for a new home) a couple of damsels and a pair of percula clowns. This tank has very brisk water movement via two powerheads, and a Rio 2500 in-sump pump which runs the sump, and then pushes the water though a UV sterilizer (new bulb) back into the tank. Oh, and there's a big skimmer in the sump as well. <Cool!> Anyhoo...just a couple of days ago a few of my fish broke out with ich. I can't understand why as I haven't introduced any new fish and as usual I've been doing water changes and cleaning the skimmer out regularly. I caught all the affected fish and gave then 3 minute freshwater baths. I also gave the tang and angel one even though they didn't show signs. <That was a nice move- decisively executed!> I performed a 25% water change and I treated the tank with "Organi-cure" (copper-based). <Well- you kind of did it right, IMO! I don't like to dose medications in the main system-very problematic, both in terms of keeping medications at therapeutic levels (meds are often absorbed by rocks and sand) and for the potential damage to desirable invertebrate life forms.> Then next morning it looked as if the white spots were pretty much gone. However, one of my damsels kicked the bucket.. (I've had this particular fish for years, he was my first saltwater fish, ever). Later on that day I again gave the fish another round of freshwater dips.....this morning the damned white spots were back! The angel has a couple spots on his tail and the damned triggers and filefish are covered in the stuff. No one else is affected. <If it's ich- it's just a matter of time!> I was considering purchasing a couple of cleaner shrimps, however I used to have 2 of them and they mysteriously disappeared - I suspect the trigger and filefish them, though they did seem to coexist peacefully enough at first. What can I do at this point to stop this Ich from continuing and do you think it wise to purchase more cleaner or peppermint shrimps? <Shrimp are a nice "first line of defense" when dealing with ich, but I would not rely on them as a "cure". My recommendation: Get all of the fish out of the tank, place them in a separate tank for treatment with a commercial copper sulphate preparation (per manufacturer's recommendations), and let the main tank run "fallow", without fishes for at least one month. In the absence of hosts (the fish), most of the parasite population will crash, falling to levels that most healthy fish could resist. Conduct regular water changes and other maintenance during the fallow period. It really works, believe me. Nothing is 100% guaranteed, but this is a very simple, proven method to eradicate the disease in most cases. It's not the most fun course of action, however.> I am willing to let the filefish go, as they are too aggressive for my taste, but I am rather attached to the trigger. I appreciate your help! Thanks, Tana. <Just "stay the course", Tana- you'll beat this disease if you are patient and diligent. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Ick Problems Hello, Let me apologize in advance for the length of this e-mail. <And I apologize for the long answer!> I have a serious problem of ick. I have a 125 gallon fish only tank w/ live rock. I have 3 yellow tangs, 1 mandarin goby, 1 snowflake eel, 1 banded moray, (I know the eels are predators, only temp pets) two coral banded shrimp, a cleaner shrimp, 2 serpent stars, 4 brittle stars, a two band anemone fish clown fish, a white anemone w/ purple tips, two banded cat shark eggs (again only temp pets, I know they will get big) <that they will>, and some blue leg hermit crabs. <First, run thorough water tests (pH, ammonia, nitrite, check water temp, salinity, everything you can think of and make sure nothing is out of whack. If you do not remove the causative factor of the stress your fish are under, you'll be hard pressed to fix them up. Try to think of anything that could be stressing them out, maybe bullying, who knows> My 3 tangs and clown fish have ick, pretty bad too. I am new to saltwater and hope to fix this problem correctly. I asked my local fish store and they just suggested a chemical to put in the water, <Eh, they've likely suggested one of the various "reef safe" ich meds on the market which, at least in my experience, rarely work, and even so on only the lightest infestations. If they have recommended copper, malachite green, Formalin, etc, please don't use them as you will lose all the invertebrate life in your live rock.> I truly believe that there is a better way to do this <me too!> that's why I'm writing. I did some research on your site and found tons of help. Now for the fun part of me asking some questions. This is what I have in mind to do: I was going to buy a 40 something gallon garbage can, I have a strong power head now, I was going to take some water out of my tank put it in the garbage can, use the power head for circulation and air, put all the fish in there (except the eels, they are being traded in this weekend) do I need to put the shark eggs, live rock, shrimp, star fish, and anemone in there to or just the fish? <If you plan on doing the garbage can thing, make sure you have a heater in it, as well as some type of bio-filter (preferably also a protein skimmer). A big power head will keep the water moving but make sure that the fish are not going to be blown around. Provide cover for them with NON-LIVING rocks, such as tufa rock. Just the fish go in here, don't worry about the eggs.> After the fish get in the garbage can I was going to raise the tank temp to 82 and lower the salt to .10, is that the right thing to do? For how long? <No, simply let the tank go without fish for at least a month and it should be safe to add the fish back. It may not be necessary to remove all the fish to the barrel, remove the blatantly sick ones and any that you suspect may come down with it next. You can always remove one that gets sick later to the barrel.> How long will the fish need to stay in the garbage can, what kind of med, or treatment do I give them once in the can? <Keep them in there until the disease has been gone completely for a few weeks, preferably a month. Guidelines for treatment can be found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marparasitcurefaqs.htm> I am like I said new to this and would like to take the time to do it right. Will they be o.k. in a garbage can, what about a heater won't that melt through the plastic? <Buy one that you can get a heater guard for (plastic heater "cage"), Tronic heaters come to mind.> Will this ick get off the fish, will it leave the tank? <Unfortunately ick can spring up just about any time if there is stress on the fish> I need some serious step by step help, I would greatly appreciate it guys. <Check out all the links on http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marparasitcurefaqs.htm, you'll find a wealth of info!> Again sorry for the length, hope you will help me out of this pickle. <Good luck, and make sure you test your quarantine barrel frequently so they are not inadvertently killed by rising ammonia/nitrite levels or a falling pH . -Kevin>

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