FAQs on Copper Use,
Related Articles: Copper Use in Marine Systems, Medications, Use of
Biological Cleaners, Aquatic
Surgery, The Three Sets of Factors
That Determine Livestock Health/Disease,
Related FAQs: Copper FAQs 1, Copper
FAQs 2, Copper FAQs 3, Copper FAQs 4, & FAQs on Copper: Science, Rationale/Use, Free Copper/Cupric Ion Compounds (e.g.
SeaCure), Chelated Coppers
(e.g. Copper Power, ), Making Your
Own/DIY Copper Solutions, Measure/Testing, Prophylactic Use, Toxic Situations/Troubleshooting, Copper Product FAQs, Copper Test FAQs, Copper Removal FAQs, Copper Removal 2, & Live Rock, Marine Parasitic Disease, Parasitic Marine Tanks,
Parasitic Reef Tanks,
Ich, Marine Velvet Disease, Medications/Treatments 1, Medications/Treatments 2, Medications/Treatments 3, Antibiotics/Antimicrobials, Anthelminthics/Vermifuges/Dewormers,
Copper FAQs 1, Organophosphates, Epsom/Other Salts, Formalin/Formaldehyde, Furan Compounds, Garlic, Homeopathic Remedies (teas, pepper sauce,
other shams...), Malachite
Blue, Metronidazole, Quinine Compounds, Sulfas, Treating
II, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic
Disease, Garlic Use,
Marine Disease 1, Puffer Disease,
Whatever format, product containing copper you
use, it must be present at all times during the treatment
interval (usually two weeks) at a physiological
dose/strength/concentration... The only way to assure that this
is so is by using in a treatment tank, and (daily) testing... Even w/o
the presence of calcareous material (rock, sand,
substrate/gravel), the alkaline components and biological
interaction et al. will cause copper to leave
solution. Turn off skimmer/s, Ultraviolet Sterilizers,
remove chemical filtrants...
Debate solving. Crypt Cu exposure sensitivity
Good evening Bob,
I attended the reef a palooza show in New York (actually situated in NJ)
, by to purchase anything but to gather some info and took first hand
with the makers . (Or catchers if it’s pertaining to livestock)
I got into a friendly debate with two guys with tables adjacent to each
other, one being an sps stick guy, another fish importer.
Discussing the usage of copper based medications, and length of time.
<A big topic; some decidedly divisive opinions and MUCH science here>
One thing they did agree on, like the literature says, is it kills the
“free swimming stages” . But we couldn’t come to a consensus on what
exactly the free swimming stage is.
<Temperature dependent, and again, scientifically described....>
We know when it’s on the fish, it’s not touchable , protected in the
fishes body. We know it’s protected when it is encysted in the bottom ,
or in the substrate, waiting to hatch out.
<Yes; and can remain encysted at times for months>
We know the copper can kill during that phase when they hatch out and
have to find a host.
<Mmm; not during encystment as far as I'm aware, unless Cu++ levels are
But what about the time from when they “fall” off the fish, and have to
swim to the bottom and begin encysting?
<THIS and when they're swarming, looking for a host IS the copper
During that time when they are going from the fish to the substrate, are
they prone to or protected by copper at this time?
Thanks as always and appreciate your thoughts .
<Glad to proffer them. Cheers, BobF>
Rocks and Cupramine 3/19/19
Quick question around a debated topic. Will a small amount of rock (about 6-8
lbs.) in a 72-gallon hospital tank have a real effect on my Cupramine addition?
<Copper is always to be treated in a bare bottomed tank. Medications such as
copper are rendered less effective or ineffective by the buffering action of
calcareous media like gravel, sand, rock, coral skeletons, etc. (even in small
amounts.) Furthermore, the media is now tainted for future invertebrates...
ruined essentially... anemones, starfish, shrimp, etc. can overdose on the
absorbed copper in the substrate even when the water tests copper free.>
I had to set up an emergency hospital tank out of my QT tank when I found that I
am battling some sort of ich/MV breakout. Fish began to flash periodically and
show small white spots and were completely covered.
Originally thought it was MV, but fish had "Lived" through it for a couple of
weeks which I think would suggest Ich; MV would wipe the tank out much quicker.
I went the Selcon, Garlic, water quality route to avoid breaking down my 265
reef, but it (whatever "it" actually is), came back with a vengeance and took 5
fish in 2 days. The tank is now fallow, and the survivors are in intensive care.
This is not fun
<Certainly not fun. Cheers. Wil>
Disappearing copper 11/26/17
Hey Bob, I'm using chelated copper in my saltwater quarantine facility,
I'm losing concentration no matter how much I dose it cant go above 0.1,
I have a large skimmer and sponge filter.
Organics and nitrates(50-100) are present in the system. No ammonia or
I've tested copper on separate batch of water, cu doesn't lose
concentration in test batch(no fish, clean fresh water). Any ideas?
<Ah yes; a few. First off, for all who may read this; even chelated
formulas of copper are transitional (leave solution), slower than
acidified, non-sequestered formulations, but in time, all precipitate
Secondly, the more efficient skimming, the faster all copper compounds
will exit. Thirdly, the more organic content of sorts (e.g. the sponge
filter) there is, the quicker the loss of coppers. Fourth; a chance to
relate an actual occasion of such loss... at WSI in Fiji they utilized
crushed coral rubble in their Tahitian (pressurized) sand filters... And
too wondered where their chelated copper product was disappearing. On
inspecting, I found the material to be caked and bluish.... Yes, the
copper was being "plated out" on the filter substrate. Sooo, I would ask
you how much said alkalinity you have, are adding in your system...
encourage you to NOT add it the same day/s as the chelate, AND to
pre-mix the carbonate, bicarbonate well in advance in make up water,
ahead of use.>
<Do you have data... for when you added the copper, the recorded
concentration, measures the following days to share? Bob Fenner>
Re: Disappearing copper 11/27/17
To follow up, we don't raise alkalinity. We use Sea Salt of a world wide
sold brand of salt.
<Ahh; I see>
I never even measured it but I guess its up there in normal range about
8 or so.
<Please do measure for me... at least a couple times before and after
changing salt AND adding copper>
As for copper reading, we use Salifert test kit (only one available
when reading it its always slightly lighter than color preset for
So we are drip dosing CU for about 0.04-0.06 (depending on the reading
previous to dosing), trying to achieve 0.15.
It takes about 5-10 hours for dose to get into the system. Typically we
measure it next day, and reading shows ~0.1ppm as if we didn't dose at
Regardless of what we do, reading is always about 0.1. So I was puzzled
<It's getting absorbed somewhere for sure... do you have carbonaceous
substrate in your system?>
We did notice however, when taking out a sponge from the system to use
it as bacteria seed for other system/customers fish only tanks, that
copper is released out of the sponge into the new water.
<Ah yes... As I mentioned last time; the biota/biomass there will absorb
appreciable copper. Bob Fenner>
Hello almighty saltwater gods. I am not worthy. So I was thinking.....what kinds
of materials and what nots can hold Cupramine in a tank and cause the testing
level to appear not to rise and/or then possibly leech back into the water when
<Oh; this list is long... am sure one could use the Net, but am so olde that I'd
be looking in a CRC Manual for common molecules likely to form in a marine
aquarium habitat. Is cupric chloride, copper carbonate have a higher solubility
For example, small clay pots, while they make nice caves, are porous. And can
bits of uneaten food soak the medicine up enough to cause a problem?
<Mmm; not as much as the seawater itself, or "fresher" carbonate substrate and
rock.... fired clay pots are somewhat chemically inert>
I know to remove uneaten food but I was thinking about using a seaweed clip and
in that case, the food would spend more time in the water than flakes or Mysis.
My bicolor blenny, usually fat and happy, is eating little.
I am currently having what seems to be a bit of trouble getting my Cupramine
level above 3ish. All of my parameters are good and I only have a pre seeded
filter, heater, two little clay pots and an airs stone in a bare bottom 20 long.
I am treated a bicolor blenny and a royal gramma. I have been slowly raising the
Cupramine level over the last week and I want to be sure I am at a good
therapeutic level so I'm not wasting my time and unnecessarily stressing my
fish. Also, I don't want to prolong their Ich misery. It is/was a slight case to
my eyes. I did not follow the directions, dosing wise, because I have read it is
better to slowly raise the Cupramine level, especially for the sensitive blenny.
Since the white spots, of which there were only two on the blenny's top fin, and
one on the gramma' head, are not the actual parasite themselves, is their
absence after or during treatment even a fairly reliable sign that treatment is
working? Shouldn't the spots disappearing mean nothing more than the human
equivalent of a scab falling off?
<Mmm; these spots may be from irritation of some sort... mucus accumulating....
Even Trematodes (seeing them btw very commonly here in Curacao the last week
I have read that Cupramine may kill Ich at levels as low as .25 but I don't want
to take the chance of under treating,
<Ah yes; and deep-embedded parasites, ones on fishes w/ thick mucus; even some
"Crypt ""races" can be resistant to copper exposure>
particularly since my bicolor has not been eating well. I think he should be ok
eating only a little so long as I can complete the treatment in a reasonable
amount of time, say three weeks total. I am using a SeaChem test. My ammonia is
good and I have been doing 20% water changes every three days, matching the
temp, ph, SG, and Cupramine level in the new water with that of the tank prior
<Should test and replace the copper every day>
Besides that, the tank was fully cycled prior to treatment. I will remove
Cupramine after treatment and let my tank remain fallow for 72 days total.
<I and you very likely appreciate the vagaries of copper use... Hence my
swerving allegiance to Quinine compounds (and always prevention via dips/baths,
careful livestock selection, optimized, stable environment, good nutrition....)
over recent years. Bob Fenner>
Hospital Tank; filt. 7/15/15
I am In the process of starting up a 20 gallon hospital tank that I would
probably run 24/7 and had a question or two. Once I cycle the tank from using
sponge filters that I have had sitting in my main display sump won't the
copper that I use for medication deplete the bacteria that I used to cycle the
<Yes; can; likely in time>
and if so what do I need to do to keep the tank cycled for the 24/7 duration
that I plan on using it for ?
<Mainly water changes.... replacement of the biomedia>
also, when it is time to introduce the fish from the hospital tank to the main
display won't this introduce copper to the main display from which the fish came
<Not if you don't move much water with the fishes; no>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Problems following treatment. Cu in a display tank,
puffer... mistakes or a prank - 3/10/12
My attempt to control white spot with Cuprazin ended up in
disaster-I’ve lost two fish L.I still don’t know what have caused
The white spot outbreak wasn’t serious and only some fish were mildly
affected. However my Dogface puffer’s(Daisy) eyes got badly
affected (cloudy and irritating)
<... a poor idea to treat puffers w/ copper compounds... gone over
and over on WWM>
and also she started resting on the rocks more and more often . I
decided not to let it get worse and started using copper treatment as
stated on the label.
Also I was using a test for copper to make sure I am not
For the first 5 days there was no problems and all symptoms of white
spot outbreak started to disappear. Later water started to get
<Wait... are you treating the main/display tank...? An even worse
every day for the next few days but the Seachem ammonia alert test
which is attached to the glass inside aquarium kept showing
<I wouldn't trust this monitor alone>
so I‘ve assumed that there was no reason to be concerned. This was
until I‘ve found Tasseled Filefish (Marley) dead on 01/09. Other fish
apart from Daisy were mostly unaffected.
I’ve tested the water which was showing very high level on
How high it’s impossible to tell from the test but it was dark purple
on the upper scale. I’ve changed 30-40% of the water within few hours
and retested water. No change.
<... that high>
Next day I’ve changed 60% of water but still no change, test for NO2
showing dark purple! Ammonia alert still was showing ‘safe’.
Next I’ve placed some carbon into the sump in hope to remove copper
from the system and rebuild gradually bacteria population. Also
simultaneously I’ve cleaned the canister filter, added absorption
media (Purigen by Seachem) and disconnected bio pellet reactor which
was connected in line with the filter.
I have to admit that the bio pellet reactor was full of trapped
pieces of uneaten food(mainly bits of prawn). The reactor was
new to the system and running on it for less than two
<... are you really making this up or...?>
1. Currently I am suspecting it could be part of the problem.
<This IS a prank email then>
Reactor is disconnected for a week now; I keep flashing bio pellets
every day and changing water in the tube. However, water inside the
reactor tube is still showing the presence of NO2.
On the plus side the NO2 level inside the aquarium is 0 for the last
All fish recovered (some like Emperor Angel didn’t look affected at
all) apart from Daisy(dogface)which supposed to be one of the hardiest
. I‘ve even transferred her to the reef tank where the water is
perfect for the last 10 hours of her life but it didn’t help. She
looked very swollen especially around her eyes whatever has caused
2. There will be point where I have to re-join the bio pallet reactor
back to system (unless I decide go back to Aqua Medic sulphur) and I
would like to avoid food bits being trapped again.
I don’t think I am overfeeding fish but my porcupine puffer has very
bad table manners which may contribute to the problem.
Any time he gets his favourite prawn; he shreds it into thousands of
tiny pieces and spit it out. Other fish can only retrieve some before
they get swallowed by pumps.
What can be done about it?
3. I don’t know to which extend copper contributed to deterioration
of water quality but until I know I will be frightened to use it
I would greatly appreciate if you help me to clarify described
<... Search on WWM re copper use, their use w/ puffers,
Tetraodontiform fishes period... bio-pellet use, prawn use as foods and
Thiaminase... Don't write us, read. Bob Fenner>
Re: Problems following treatment. -
I do apologize but it wasn't a prank email.
1. I didn't know that copper badly affect puffers.
<... see WWM re>
Label only states not to use it on sharks and rays. I treated the
so there is no new outbreak soon. Since it is FO tank I am not
concerned about rock.
<... you should be... The copper is taken up by the rock, leaches
back for a long while... and ill-effects on your
2. I've been using prawn as food (among others)for over a year so
didn't realize it could be problem.
<Search on WWM, along with Thiaminase>
Media were cleaned regularly both in sump and canister filter from all
sorts of waste (I've been told that they should).
<Counter the copper as well>
My porcupine puffer shreds into tiny pieces anything including
recommended cockles once he gets them off a shell.
3. Bio pellets -I've only read manufacturers manual and references.
I've connected it to the OUTLET of the filter 2000L/hr.
Obviously I need and will do extra reading. However, I didn’t
realized that with(2) and (3) there is some area of uncertainty where I
could be doing something wrong.
I’ve done lots of reading about white spot treatment but there are
differences of opinions and no method seems to be perfect ( as a person
with limited experience I am confused). I’ve selected the one which
is fastest and most lasting results.
<... and you. BobF>
Marine Crypt & Two Forms of Copper
I seem to have a stubborn case of marine crypt.
Treatment is in a QT system that has a wet/dry on it for
<Can be problematical... the accumulating mulm "taking up"
they are bare tanks with a few PVC fittings for shelter. I started with
Seachem Cupramine at a dose of .4 for three weeks (testing was done
every two days to verify the copper level, it was consistent each test.
During this time used a few different Seachem copper test kits with
different lot numbers along with a Salifert copper test kit). After the
three weeks were up I did a 100% water change and ran Seachem Cuprisorb
to remove any lingering copper. The fish stayed in the QT system to
verify that the crypt was eradicated (there has been no fish additions)
and after two weeks crypt did start to reappear.
At this point I decided to start treatment over again with Seachem
Cupramine, at a dose of .5 for four weeks.
<Allow me to make (one of several today) side comments... IF copper
treatment doesn't effect a cure over a two week time period,
it's unlikely to do so w/ further exposure>
During this treatment testing copper levels was spot on, after a few
days the visible stage of the crypt disappeared. After the three week
mark one fish did start to show some crypt during the .5 level
treatment. After the 4 weeks were up I did another 100% water change
and ran some new Seachem Cuprisorb.
At this point I decided to try using CopperSafe. I let the Seachem
Cuprisorb run for one week and then removed it. It's been three
days since it's been removed from the system and I tested the
copper level with the Seachem test kit, it came in what looks like .05,
almost at zero but it has a very slight blue hue on the test kit. So on
with my main question, can I start to add CopperSafe even though I have
a slight amount of Seachem Cupramine in the system?
<You could; but I wouldn't... Please read here:
scroll down to Protozoans, Crypt... re FAQs: "Cures that
work"... read re the use of Quinine compounds, and if there's
coverage for the species of fish hosts here specifically, those areas
as well. Obviously, copper is not working here. Bob Fenner>
Thanks for any help you can offer,
question about treating tank with copper.
No reading 4/20/11
Hello, I am having a terrible time with my tank this last couple of
I have a 50gal tank and have had a terrible Ick outbreak. I believe it
was introduced by an angel I didn't quarantine. (I know I know...)
The coral beauty died, then my dogface puffer was infected so I put him
into a QT tank and treated with half does of
<... there is no therapeutic value to anything other than a free
cupric ion "dose" of 0.20-0.35 ppm>
and he died 2 days later. So now I have pulled out my live rock and my
crab and put in a separate 10 gal tank and decided to treat DT. All
that is in there now is a damsel and a snowflake eel. My tomato clown
died yesterday and a yellow tail damsel died this morning. The guy I
talked to at the fish store instructed me to treat eel also even though
he wasn't showing any symptoms.
We put the Cupramine in tank last night and my eel would not come out
of his hiding place to eat, so I did a Google search and read that
copper was bad for him as well so I pulled his home out and put him in
the tank with the crab and live rock. I hope that is okay! I panicked,
I don't want to lose another fish since I've lost 4 since this
started 2 weeks ago. Any advice would be great! I have never had this
much trouble with any of the tanks I've kept. Very frustrating!
Thank you in advance! Amanda
<Better for you to treat with a Quinine compound, best CP. Read
and the linked files above. Now. Bob Fenner>
Copper and Ozone 2/12/11
I work in a large LFS and we run Copper Power in the saltwater fish
<Not uncommon for LFSs in the west>
My question is could we use Ozone an the UV sterilizer with copper in
the system. Thanks for any guidance you can provide
<Not really, no... these agents will too readily "drop
out" the free copper; already lost to precipitation easily in
alkaline, marine settings.
Better to just use the O3 whichever means it's generated, if you
"can" kick the Cu habit>
Long Island Andy
<San Diego Bob>
Re: Copper and Ozone 2/12/11
Thank you very much for the quick response
<Certainly welcome... have seen many occasions where people were
"wasting their resources" blending copper solutions in the
presence of these two physical filtration moda... Doesn't work.
My next move....
<And you Ron>
I have a 29g QT with a group of fish in their 4th week of a copper
treatment. My display is in it's 4th week of a fallowing
I would like to give the display at least 5 weeks before reintroducing
My initial plan was to begin reducing the copper in the QT before
acclimation into the display.....or should I just keep it at full
potency until the 5th week and acclimate to the display.
<I would reduce the copper exposure. Full strength/concentration for
more than four weeks is getting too toxic to suit me>
The fish are showing no signs of distress.
Yet another question, should I tear down the 29g and sanitize/sterilize
it before treating new fish or can I introduce them and raise the
copper back up with just a substantial water change?
<The latter is fine>
Thank you for your thoughts,
Metronidazole with Cupramine copper
Bob in his article about Metronidazole in Use With Other Chemicals,
"Safe to add, treat while in the presence of other
I'm treating in my qt tank a Arothron diadematus with Cupramine
<Mmm, do take care here. Puffers and copper compounds can be
and Praziquantel for flukes but I want to add Metronidazole for
internal parasites in fact the puffer is not eating although it is
Can I use Metronidazole with cup amine? Is it safe?
<Yes and yes. BobF>
Thanks a lot
Can I use Amquel+ with CopperSafe? No and
reading, action, ASAP -- 3/31/10
I was searching on your site and over the web for an answer to this
question in the past 2 days and no luck. I also asked the guys at
Kordon - no answer yet.
I have setup a hospital tank to treat my saltwater fish of Marine Ich.
I am using a bare tank with PVC fittings inside for hiding places, a
<That was, was not inoculated with nitrifiers?>
and a loop system with a bare 10G tank converted into a
Inside the sump I have the bio material from an older CPR skimmer
and some Chaeto. I thought to use the Chaeto in case some of the pods
and rotifers would survive the copper
<... No, will not... if the dosage is what it needs to be, will kill
and would server as food for my mandarin fish.
<... nor will the Callionymid likely. I would not treat such with
Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cryptblensgobs.htm
and the linked files above>
I hope the poor guy will survive this.
It's been 2 days now and the ammonia into the hospital tank Hoovers
around 0.5 ppm even after my repeated water changes.
The water I am putting inside is from a RO+DI unit and I'm fairly
sure it's pure.
<Has naught to do w/ cycling>
I added some ZymBac in the tank as well and that seem to have helped
the ammonia growth, but it didn't bring it down much.
May I use Amquel+ or Amquel to control the ammonia?
<Will precipitate/remove the copper...>
Of course I will continue to do at least one water change per day until
I see the ammonia going down completely. I'm replacing out about
50% of water each time.
Do you know how toxic is 0.5 ppm ammonia to the fish?
<Any is to degrees toxic... half a ppm is close to deadly at high
I have 3 tangs, one coral beauty, one hawk fish, one algae blenny and
<!? All in ten gallons? Do read here as well:
and soon. Bob Fenner>
Re: Can I use Amquel+ with
Thanks for your quick reply. I will read the articles you pointed me
<Welcome and Ok>
I was not clear on some aspects of my hospital setup. I am using a 30
gallon tank, and 10 gallon sump in a closed loop. I had 2 sponges and
the bio-material from CPR into the main's tank sump for over a
month and I moved those into the QT.
<Mmm, sounds/reads like the copper may have "bumped off"
your nitrifying bacteria... Please read here:
I took out the Chaeto and I will take out the mandarin too. To lower
the ammonia should I just continue the big water changes?
<Keep reading. BobF>
Re: Copper use in main/display
<Mmm, I'll place this msg. in JustinN's in-folder, but want
to interject here myself>
Your comment toward the end was rather contradicting. First you said
you wouldn't recommend treating with copper because of risking a
large part of the bacteria colony. Then in another sentence you said,
if your diligent
and don't plan on adding any corals or inverts then go ahead. So
you do think it's ok to treat with copper then? Or don't you?
And will the copper kill my live rock and all the bacteria on it?
<Copper use in "display tanks" is an abysmally foolish
idea. Not only is it almost impossible to sustain a therapeutic dose of
free cupric ion (due to precipitation with carbonates in the substrate,
rock, and even the seawater), the hard materials are rendered dubious
of further use. READ here:
and the linked files above. Search before writing us. Bob
Mandarin with bubbles... Cu, ich,
nitrification issues 12/11/09
I was referring
<Oh oh... where's the previous correspondence? Starting off em
media res doesn't often work here. We have several crew members,
many queries, else in life...>
to suggestions on medication that would not destroy the good bacteria
along with the ich as I have heard conflicting
information on whether or not it does.
<Most all such medications for fresh and marine "ich" do
have negative effects on nitrifiers. Hence the need to monitor
nitrogenous metabolites, prepare in advance (via water changes,
chemical filtrants...) for such potential troubles>
I did have trouble with ammonia in a cycled quarantine after using
copper and thought that it may have been the contributor.
<It may well have been. Bob Fenner>
Copper Treatment For Butterflies/Dwarf
Angelfish 12/11/08 Hi Crew? <James today, Mark> Quick
question (I hope!) I have had Heniochus Butterfly and a Coral Beauty in
my QT since purchase 10 days ago. I performed a FW and Methylene blue
dip prior to placing in tank Each fish has a small white spot on a fin
and I am observing closely for parasite infestation. I have read on
your site that the dwarf angels to not do well with copper treatment.
Is this an absolute contraindication or a relative contraindication. I
have Cupramine at home and am ready to pull the trigger or should I be
going a different direction? <Mark, if it were me, I'd keep a
close eye on the spots. Your Heniochus and Coral Beauty are more
sensitive to copper than most other marine fish. Treating with copper
would be the last resort (personal opinion) as it does suppress the
immune function and is highly stressful to fish. Hyposalinity might be
a better choice for you right now. I have used Cupramine in the past
and in my experience it has been more effective and tolerated much
better than other forms of copper. I believe Seachem recommends a 5ppm
dose, but I wouldn't go this high for these fish. In the past,
I've treated dwarf angels with a 4ppm dose and it proved to be
effective. You must test twice daily and maintain the 4ppm to be
effective, and test with a test kit that will correctly measure the
type of copper you are using.> THANKS SO MUCH! <You're
welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Ich, copper and DT 7/24/08 Hello, <Hi
there> I was wondering if you could offer some advice in
regards to my ich problem. I have a 150gal FOWLR display tank and
a 40gal QT. Unfortunately the fish I have are too many and too
large to be able to treat in my QT. So after doing some research
I came to the conclusion that the best course of action is to
remove the LR from the DT, put it in a large container with salt
water, heater and powerhead, remove all my inverts and place them
in my separate fuge, then treat the DT and fish with copper.
<... a very poor idea> What do you think? Would you advise
this? <No and no> The DT would have only the fish and
1" live sand. <... the copper won't stay in solution,
and you'll be killing most all in the LS> There would be
no inverts or LR at all. <So?> I plan to treat using
Cupramine. <A good product I'll warrant, but won't
work here> How long should I treat the tank? <I
wouldn't... you'll find that you are unable to
"keep" a therapeutic dose of copper in such a
setting... too quickly adsorbed...> Would 3 weeks get rid of
the ich on the fish and the DT? The live rock, I would leave in
the separate container for 6 weeks and I would leave the fuge
disconnected from the main sump also for 6 weeks. Thank you for
any help you can provide. -Peter <Happy to banter with you...
If you're set on trying a cure in the main set-up, I'd
look into (and quickly) the use of Chloroquine phosphate... the
search tool, on WWM, the Net... Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich, copper and DT 7/24/08 Hello,
<Peter> Thank you for the quick reply. <Deemed
necessary... as is this resp. here> So the copper treatment
would be ineffective because the copper would be absorbed by the
live sand and keeping the correct concentration would be
difficult? <Adsorbed> Would I be able to keep the correct
concentration if I test the copper level daily and add as
necessary? <No... have tried this... with many gallons of
Cupramine... in commercial settings... over decades of time...
You don't have to repeat my lack of success. Won't
work> Would hyposalinity work better in this case? Maybe keep
the display tank and fish in hypo for 4 weeks. <... sorry to
state, I don't have time to re-write all of this... IS posted
on WWM, in books, articles penned by me...> I understand the
live sand would die in both cases. But with hyposalinity, it
would re-populate once the live rock is added back to the tank.
Plus I would be able to return the inverts once the treatment is
over. Something I can't do if using copper. Thank you for the
suggestion of using Chloroquine phosphate. I will research it on
the net and WWM. -Peter <I would... and quickly. BobF>
|Hospital tank common filter. Copper removal,
re-addition -- 9/24/07 Dear Bob, I am daily reading and
reading your notes and FAQs. <Me too> I am sometimes confused
and most of the time getting educated. <We share this
impression> Your site is wonderful. As I discussed earlier about
my plans of quarantine using one central filtration system which I
have already constructed. I wish to modify it slightly. I have made
a final sketch attached. I would appreciate your suggestions. <I
see it/this...> After the fresh water dips the new fishes shall
be kept in these tanks for two weeks in Cuso4 on 0.25ppm, SG 0.017
at 28 deg. Cel. <... okay> In the system there are two racks
A and B with 9 tanks each total 18 tanks having sponge filters.
<Again, the water should flow to and from each separately...>
Total water vol. in 18 tanks is 1200 liters. The filtration sump
(water vol. 200 liters) is further divided in to three sections: 1.
To eliminate Cuso4 from returning water of hospital tanks using
Activated Carbon. Carbon shall be replaced every week). 2. To
remove the NH3 and No2. using biological filtration. 3. Storage
area for adding Cuso4 again to maintain 0.25ppm of Cu and
recirculating back to the racks. <Mmm, how will you accomplish
this careful removal, replenishment?> The water circulation
shall be done alternatively once every week <Needs to circulate
continuously... to avoid the ill-effects of metabolite
accumulation...> for rack A and B controlled by the gate valve.
The returning water shall pass through the U.V.(30 watts) <Need
more watts than this... covered on WWM> After the removal of
Cuso4 and biological filtration, the treated water shall stand in
the third section of the sump for addition of CuSo4 with aeration.
The first two sections shall be aerated by the undergravel filter.
After two week of treatment the CuSo4 shall be remove and the
filtration system shall be kept on continuously. Is it possible for
me to achieve this filtration. Will the biological filtration be
stable. <Maybe... As I ask/ed... how will you know how much
copper has been removed, how much to re-add?> Regards,
<Good ideas though. Bob Fenner>
Copper in FOT.. Workable Solution?
3/16/06 Hi Bob & Team. I wish you all well. You have been GOOD
to our hobby. Couldn't have done it without you guys.
<Glad to help... though it's obvious it is
getting past time to "cast our nets" out for more help...
We're up some two k sessions per day over a few weeks ago...>
I would like to confirm the following treatment regime
before I carry it out & I look forward to your usual prompt good
quality response. <Will try to deliver>
In my situation when there was Ich/Marine Velvet
outbreak in a bare-bottom FOWLR tank. All LRs had been removed from the
tank (making it FOT) and it was observed that bio filter not adversely
affected as there was no ammonia surge. Is it possible to go for copper
treatment in this FOWLR turned FOT (Fish Only Tank)? <Yes... with a
few caveats. Copper compounds and free cupric ion can/will suppress
nitrification... so ammonia et al. must be monitored, new water stored
for change-outs...> Since there is no Live Rocks and no Live sands
(to begin with), With pumps, powerheads, skimmers and chiller as only
gears in water, I assume it is alright to go copper treatment in main
display. Can I get your confirmation? Would copper kill all my existing
nitrifying bacteria? <Likely so... though with
careful application (a few times a day)... using chelated... this
effect can be more/less managed> Treating Main display
tank in this manner will serve as good alternative, in my case of FOT,
compared to catching all 6 fish out and quarantine them in 3 x QTs +
fallow the main tank (which is FOT now). Not to mention the poisonous
ammonia/nitrite issues that pop up often in new QTs all the time. For
your info, the LR are put aside in a rubber maid bucket to keep alive
during this treatment period. <Yes... one other of
those aforementioned caveats: the amount of "interfering"
biological material in your "live substrate removed" system
is going to absorb some of the copper material... Much more than a
purposeful "treatment tank"> Another question
to ask is: what is your experience in Copper Safe (Mardel) vs.
Cupramine (Seachem)? <Both are fine, reliable/consistent products.
Have used vast quantities of both> I have both and I am not sure
which one to use for treating my FOT main tank. From what I read from
instructions, Copper Safe requires 30 days of treatment and Cupramine
is 14 days. Should I then infer that Copper Safe (Chelated Copper
Sulfate) is less concentrated and slower? If I want faster treatment, I
should go with Cupramine? <Both... should be used
for the same period of time... somewhere between these two time-frames
actually...> Copper Safe needs to be effective from
1.5ppm - 2 ppm (from instruction) and Cupramine is 0.5ppm. Now, I am
confused on why such great discrepancy? Not to mention that your site
here says 0.2-0.3 is ideal. <Let's try to
clear this up (for sure) here... the last values are for Cu++, free
cupric ion... the two sets ahead are for (broken by testing protocol)
chelated copper compounds... Is this clear?> One last
point is I intend to change to bigger tank as my fish is going to
outgrow this 2.5 year old tank. So no reef tank set up will be done on
this current tank. Good reason for me to go treatment this way. Hope
you can see my rationale. <Yes, though, assuredly,
copper is "used up", almost always becomes complexed/lost
within reasonable time frames from use in such systems... weeks, months
after use such gear can be used with non-vertebrates.>
Thanks in advance for your helpful advice, as always. :).
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
QT copper treatment Kole Tang
2/4/07 Hello crew and I have to say this is virtually the only
source of information that I and my fish can count on. <Mmm, books?
Clubs?> Over the years you have helped me beat Cyano without
chemical intervention and now I am in the last stages of using QT for
all fish introduced into my 125G FOWLR. <Yay!> My question is
concerning my QT tank, a 12 gallon nano cube which has a small Kole
Tang that has been treated for 21 days with CopperSafe and monitoring
Cu level. The fish appears fine and is eating well. I have
read a numbers of FAQs indicating I should only treat Tangs for 14 days
at the minimum effective level of copper. <Mmm, a good general
"rule of thumb", yes> Since my fish is doing well I was
planning to stretch the treatment period to 28 days. Do you
think this is to much exposure to copper for a Kole Tang versus the
comfort that 28 days of copper should eliminate ich. Thanks
again. <I think/believe that about all the good one can do with such
treatments is accomplished in two weeks... beyond this there is a fast
drop-off of benefit vs. risk of poisoning. Bob Fenner>
Copper and coral again I may be crazy, but I
thought I was told that if I used CopperSafe in my tank that it was
free floating and would NOT absorb into my rock and crushed
coral. <that is complete crap... whoever told you that was
ignorant indeed (as in not-knowing, although I wonder about some of the
turnips at LFS I have met)> Although it would explain why I
can't seem to get inverts to do very well in the tank. Tell me I am
not crazy and that what I heard was right....I hate to think of
trashing 110 lbs. of coral and a ton of my rock. thanks Robert
<sorry, bub... but medication of any kind should NEVER be used in a
display tank. That's what quarantine tanks are for, my friend. a
proper QT is 4 weeks and the display tank unmedicated runs fallow
without a host for the pathogen in the interim. Your rock is
"poisoned" by copper. Still not to be wasted... you have
choices, The rock can be used in fish tanks or any aquaria where
inverts cannot crawl across the stained media. Or... you can use a
bunch of poly-filters for months to slowly pick up liberated copper and
resist buying any more snails, anemones, corals etc for many months
until it all clears up. The rock is still biologically quite useful.
best regards, Anthony>
Can you help with ich? Hope this the right address
for Q&A!!! Hello, <Hi Vicki> I have recently discovered what
appears to be ich in my 75 g tank (on a Sohal, porcupine, and
Klunzinger Wrasse). I tried removing them to a 10 g. quarantine tank
treated with CopperSafe (I followed instructions EXACTLY!). My fish
were fine for about a day...then WHAM, they all started breathing
rapidly, sitting at the bottom of the tank, and looking generally
awful. My wrasse was on his last fin, when I decided to get them back
into the main tank. All have regained their vigor, but also retained
their ich. <A 10 gallon QT is a little tight for these guys,
depending on their size....> What am I doing wrong?! I already tried
Sea Cure Copper for ich on a dwarf angel--same results:(. Again, I was
meticulous following those directions! My water tests fine for ammonia,
nitrite, nitrate. I am afraid of copper now, and am feeding
anti-parasite food/doing freshwater dips to keep the ich at bay. Have
also added a UV sterilizer for future problems. I think I'm getting
ich-obsessed. Please help me--I don't want to lose another fish!
Vicki <Alright Vicki, you need the copper and more importantly, you
need the test kit for the copper you have. PLEASE go to WetWebMedia.com
to the copper FAQs http://www.wetwebmedia.com/coppertestfaqs.htm ands
read the faq's about the types of tests and the copper they test
for. Maintain the free cupric ion at 0.25 for two weeks and test daily.
DON'T overdose!!!!! I bet you have too much copper. There are a ton
of links and FAQs on copper at WetWebMedia. The tests can be had from
most of the WetWeb commercial sponsors. Craig>
Copper Capers? Could you please give me a list of
fish on which I should never use either hyposalinity or copper
medications on? I know some of the larger angelfish, triggers, puffers,
and some tangs can take it. What about butterflies, gobies,
blennies, and dwarf angels? <Well, I am a big fan of copper sulphate
as a cure for parasitic diseases, but, as you surmised, not all fishes
take it well. Tangs, for example, respond well to copper for short
periods, but if they are subjected to prolonged exposure, their
digestive fauna can be damaged, which can cause serious health problems
down the line. Only expose tangs to copper long enough to affect a
cure. In my experience, most butterflies seem to do okay (some
don't, however), as do some of the larger blennies and gobies.
Dwarf angels, on the other hand, do not always fare so well with
copper. Formalin-based medications would be better. If you test for
copper concentration, you'll at least have a better picture as to
what is going on in your tank> The reason I am asking is that now
that I got the hang of things I am trying harder to keep species such
as powder blue tangs and various butterflies and angelfish, I'd
hate to kill them using copper. <A good goal. Of course, as big a
fan of copper as I am for treatment, I do not endorse its use on a
prophylactic basis. I'd rather use freshwater dips and
quarantine...> And one more thing that I know a whole lot of
hobbyists are confused about is the ppm of copper needed to cure some
parasites. Now I know that you guys always say that .8 ppm
is the highest any fish can take. But if you look at most of the copper
manufacturers directions they suggest 1.5 - 2.5 ppm. You guys always
think that the hobbyist has "misplaced" the decimal point but
we haven't. Weird stuff, what do you say? Thank you
Dinesh Patolia <All very valid points. To make it more confusing,
there are kits that measure "free cupric ion", "total
copper level", or chelated copper, etc....I have always used
Mardel CopperSafe, myself, and have followed the manufacturer's
directions to the letter, and it works for me. I guess my point is-
always follow the manufacturer's instructions, and ALWAYS test for
copper with a kit that measures the type of copper which you are
using...For more on copper use, check out this
FAQ: www.wetwebmedia.com/copperfa.htm Hope this helps!
Regards, Scott F>
- Copper in the Main Tank? - After reviewing all
of the postings re: copper, I do have a few questions. If I have a
90-gallon fish-only tank that comes down with ich (lets say 4 of 5 get
it), you are suggesting that they all be put in quarantine tanks and
treated with copper in there? <Absolutely.> Logistically, is this
really possible for the average hobbyist? <My friend, I am an
average hobbyist, and I've done this with four or five ten gallon
tanks, all purchased for the occasion... it really is your best option.
All other options are fraught with problems and potential
ineffectiveness.> I don't have another 90-gallon Q tank set up
for these occasions so I'm not sure what I would do. <Several
smaller tanks are actually easier to manage - less need to chase fish
around to catch them for dips, etc.> I had always heard that you
have to treat the entire tank if you have ich in your tank or another
parasitic disease. Also, if that is done, won't the parasite
continue to live in your main tank, even if the 1 or 2 other fish have
not been struck by it? <Our suggested routine is to remove ALL fish,
and let the tank run fallow for four to six weeks. A very large
percentage of the parasites will perish in time without fish-hosts.>
Will it actually live on them and in the substrate and multiply etc?
<As long as there are hosts, yes.> And still be there when your
other fish return? <Yes.> I am currently treating my 90-gallon
tank with SeaCure after the lone fish I have (Miniatus grouper) came
down with ich after it had killed a tank mate. Are you saying that the
SeaCure will destroy all of my good biological filtration that has
built up in my wet/dry trickle? <Yes, and it will also be absorbed
by your substrate and rock work, which means the effective dose will be
lower than intended, potentially doing your fish no good at all.> I
would appreciate your feedback. <Cheers, J -- >
- Copper and Scaleless Fish - WWM : I'm moving
all my reef fish into a QT tank to begin a serious treatment for Ick.
I'm planning on using ionic copper, but I wonder if I should put
the scaleless fish like the Firefish, blennies and gobies into a
separate tank and treat some other way, such as with malachite green?
<Not a bad idea.> Any advice would be most appreciated.
<Well... scaleless fish can put up with copper, but likely you need
to reduce the dose a tad so that they aren't overly irritated by
it.> Thanks, SLC <Cheers, J -- >
Feeding Habits W/copper treatment Mr. Fenner: I
have had to treat my tank with copper due to a fish occurring with
parasites. My LFS indicated that my water is probably contaminated with
parasites from the infected fish. <Yes... if the tank itself was not
treated with a therapeutic dose for this duration> He indicated I
should treat with copper for two weeks along with Greenex.
<Mmm, am not a big fan of this product... quite toxic> I told him
I had a lionfish and he indicated it would be okay. Now my blue ribbon
eel and lionfish who both ate every other day have not eaten for almost
a week. <Not good... the former fish is exceedingly difficult to
keep even w/o disease, treatment problems> I know my eel can last
longer than a week without eating, however, I am concerned with the
lionfish. <It too can go a surprisingly long time w/o food>
Should I stop treatment with copper? My lionfish did show some cloudy
eyes indication after the initial fish contacted the parasites. The
lionfish eyes seem to have cleared up. I started treatment on 1/7 and
treated with copper up until 1/13. I had the copper up to 2.0ppm before
I stopped. <... a few concerns with your statements... you need to
treat the fishes for a two week duration... to assure parasite
eradication... and follow a known-effective regimen for at least
reducing the pathogenicity of the parasites in the main system. And 2.0
ppm of what? Not free cupric ion?...> Thank you for your assistance
on this matter, since I do not want to harm the fish anymore than I
might have. Also I would like to obtain new fish in the future and do
not want to obtain any till I know my water is okay. Regards, Mendy
<Good idea... Please take the time to read through the "Marine
Parasitic Disease" section of WetWebMedia.com:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm and the many linked FAQs files
there... especially re parasitized systems. We'll be chatting. Bob
Rocks & coral w/copper? Hello Dr. Fenner,
<Just Bob please> Everything I have read seems to say that an
effective copper treatment for marine ich/velvet requires removal of
rocks & coral (mine are not live). <In almost all cases,
yes... otherwise the life, chemical nature of the non-living matrix
absorbs the copper... and kills a bunch of the life in the process>
A month ago I completed my second 14 day copper treatment @ 25ppm in my
135 gal. <Mmm, you're missing a decimal point> Each time I
removed everything except about a one inch layer of crushed coral.
Without adding any other fish the ich/velvet has returned, my fish get
along fine with no stress, but on warmer days my tank's temperature
fluctuates a few degrees. <Whoa! Are you sure you had a continuous
physiological dose (free cupric ion concentration) during this
interval?> I said the heck with stripping my tank again and just
started the treatment again. <Mmm, not a good idea... weakened
fishes... from the previous treatment...> So far after only a few
days the disease has seemed to subside. I will treat for at least 14
days. My question is Dr. Fenner, am I likely to be successful in
treating with rocks and coral in the tank? <No... if these
materials, life are present they will take up the copper, be harmed by
it (in terms of the living components, organisms) and preclude/prevent
the copper from being of sufficient ongoing strength (concentration) to
effect a cure. Please read through the many disease, copper use
articles and FAQs posted on the Marine Index of WetWebMedia.com> And
would it be advisable to try to push a few extra days on the treatment?
In testing the copper levels I have not seen erratic drops or rises in
the levels, and also, all of my fish have handled these treatments
extremely well. One other thing please, I regularly feed these fish
live ghost shrimp that I keep in a slightly brackish 150 gal tank
outdoors. I collect these from a bay by the thousands, could they
possibly be transmitting this disease to my fish? The water quality is
always very good. As always, thank you very much for your time and
expertise, Steve Tilotta <Again, do study the materials posted on
WWM. Bob Fenner>
Ich treatment with copper. Bob, <Anthony Calfo
in your service> My fish and I have a question. <fire away
Dr Doolittle... or your piscine spokesfish> I have a 55 gal FO tank
with five fish (a purple Dottyback, yellow tang, Percula clown, golden
sleeper goby, and a red-finned fairy wrasse) with a 2-2.5 inch layer of
reef sand and no live rock or corals. My fish have come down with
Ick. <if no new or un-quarantined fish recently, look towards
temperature fluctuations (day/night) as a likely culprit> The yellow
tang started dashing and scratching a few days before the spots
appeared and periodically the Dottyback scratched on my Fluval return
tube. The Dottyback and wrasse developed the tell tale spots of Ick a
few days later. Last week, I started treating with CopperSafe directly
in my tank since I have to rid both the tank and fish of the Ick.
<Argghhh... copper is always to be treated in a bare bottomed
vessel. Medications such as copper are rendered less effective or
ineffective by the buffering action of calcareous media (gravel, sand,
rock, coral skeletons, etc). Furthermore, the media is now tainted for
future invertebrates...ruined essentially... anemones, starfish,
shrimp, etc. can overdose on the absorbed copper in the substrate even
when the water tests copper free.> I also increased my temperature
to 84 degrees. I purchased a Kordon chelated copper testing kit and it
appears that my copper concentration in my tank is 2 - 2.5 mg/L as the
color is hard to determine compared to the testing kit. It is my
understanding that the copper only kills the larva of the Ick once they
hatch out of the eggs laid at the bottom of the tank. Is this
true? <essentially> How long does it take with me treating
with CopperSafe for the spots to disappear off of the fish?
<no guarantee in a tank with sand or rock (more freq copper and
tests are need daily to keep levels therapeutic because sand and rock
keep absorbing it further...Eeek! In a bare bottomed aquarium, common
Ich can be cured simply by siphoning the Tomites/larvae off of the
bottom for eight consecutive days. Ich cure that simple> I thought
they would be gone but when I get close to the tank I see possibly
50-100 spots on my wrasse even though he is swimming in 2-2.5 ppm of
copper? <assumedly you mean .25 ppm copper as over .3 is fatal to
many species. Each spot can drop and develop a couple of hundred cysts
as well! No wonder it spreads so fast!> Is this normal? I have read
that the eggs can lie at the bottom of the tank for up to twenty-two
days before they hatch but the CopperSafe says to treat for only 14
days. <a lot of unproven theory here... I took a fish
pathology course by some of the worlds leading pathologists at the
University of Georgia (Blasiola/Gratzek). Copper should be treated for
21 days if unassisted by water changes in a bare bottomed vessel ro
freshwater dips> If I remove the copper after fourteen days, cant
the eggs hatch and the free swimming Ick reattach to my fish? Should I
treat for fourteen days after all the spots disappear or from the date
I put in the CopperSafe? I read on WetWebMedia that the copper has
attached to my substrate. Will I have to replace all of my sand or just
the top layer? <all sand and rock removed if you want to keep
inverts later (anemones, starfish, shrimp). If fish only, you may leave
it. A quarantine tank would be cheaper for future reference...do
research equipment and protocol on this topic> Thanks for your help
as I am freaking out over this Ick outbreak. It seems the more I read,
the more I get confused and this is why I wrote so many questions. I
don't want to lose anybody to Ick or worst yet, kill them myself by
poisoning them! Thank, Ray <best of luck Ray... do invest and use a
QT tank for all new and sick fishes. 4 weeks is safest in QT.