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FAQs on Copper Use 4

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, & 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, Utilization/Duration, 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, Cryptocaryoniasis, Marine 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 Green, Mercury Compounds/Topicals, Methylene Blue, Metronidazole, Quinine Compounds, Sulfas, Treating Disease, Treatment Tanks, Medications/Treatments II, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease, Garlic Use, Antibiotic Use, Marine Disease 1, Puffer Disease,

Copper is variably toxic (but also so to a degree) depending on species and specific conditions.

Quarantine; Cu use       9/8/19
Good Morning,
I have 3 fish in quarantine that will eventually go into a 180G Fowlr.
Juvenile Emperor Angel 3.5", adult Majestic 5.5", Saddleback Butterfly.
They have been quarantined for about 6-8 weeks in a 70g bare bottom tank (with PVC fittings for hiding places .) Initially in hyposalinity 1.009 sg. since that is how they were purchased. Looked like the saddleback had mild crypt. After 2 weeks of hypo at 1.009, I began to raise the salinity and dosing with Cupramine. I slowly raised the salinity to 1.013 over week one and two while slowly adding Cupramine to maintain a level of .2-.25. ( I use the Hanna copper checker ) By the time the salinity had been raised
to 1.017 ( 4 weeks ago ) the Cupramine level was at .3 . At 2 weeks ago Cupramine level was .3 . For the last 7 days SG has been at 1.022 and Cupramine has been at 0.45-0.50. The angels are eating like crazy and look to be doing great ( new life spectrum pellets, nori, mysis ) but have developed mild cases HLLE. The saddleback is another story . It looks great but I have not observed it to eat anything.
<Not surprising... stress, copper exposure, low spg>
It has had some small white spots on the black part of its coloration that have not changed since the start of quarantine. I am thinking that these may be Lymphocystis and not crypt. Do you think it is safe to start
removing copper from the QT ?
<Yes I would>
After the copper is removed, how long should I observe in quarantine ?
<Maybe another week>
I am hoping the butterfly will start eating after copper is removed from the QT. ( I have tried everything, from garlic, brine shrimp , mysis, nori etc to entice this fish ) Any suggestions ?
<An open bivalve... you can buy either frozen/defrost, or live>
The 180g FOWLER display that they will be going into has 2 damsels , a percula, an aggressive 16+ yr old large Heniochus butterfly , 4 shrimp ( 2 skunk cleaner shrimp , 2 fire shrimp ) and 2 brittle stars. I recently lost an Emperor Angel after 12 years and am hoping to successfully introduce the fish from the QT. Should I remove the butterfly from the display before introducing the fish from QT ?
<Maybe... I'd at least rearrange the decor, introduce the new fish with the lights off toward evening>
The 180g has been up and running since 2002. The QT since 1990 .
Parameters are as recommended for FOWLER for both ( except the copper treatment for the QT ) .
Thanks Jimmy
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Quarantine, Cu removal       9/8/19

Thank You, I started using a Polyfilter and even though copper levels are dropping , it is slow going in the 70g QT. By my calculations and measurements for a 70 gallon bare bottom QT at a .5 ppm starting point ( which translates to 125mg of copper in the water column ) a fresh Polyfilter that sees 250gal/hour flow removes about 10mg copper daily out of the water column.
<Interesting; in that I intuitively would guess this would me much more, faster>
That is approx. what is in 20 drops of Cupramine. The Poly-Bio-Marine site states that 8 sq inches or 1/4 of a poly filter will remove 285 mg of copper ions, both chelated and non-chelated forms. Visually, the poly filter looks like it is removing more. I imagine there must be an equilibrium process going on. Water change looks like the most efficient method of removal . Any thoughts?
<Time going by; you continuing to measure...>
Thank You
<Thank you, Bob Fenner>

Debate solving. Crypt Cu exposure sensitivity      6/25/19
Good evening Bob,
<Hey 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 VERY high>
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 sensitive intervals>
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>

Copper in quarantine tank       9/21/18
Hello WWM crew,
<Hey Dan>
Quick question. I have a Maculosus Angelfish (my favorite fish by the way)
<It´s a gorgeous fish!> coming in the mail (via UPS) tomorrow morning. Ever since I lost my entire tank to a Marine Velvet outbreak one year ago I have quarantined everything that has gone in there. No problems since.
<Glad you fixed that issue>
I just did a copper test (Seachem test kit) and I'm getting a copper reading of about 0.25. Basically what Cupramine recommends for the initial dose. This is down from 0.5 after 48 hours of running activated carbon in the hang-on filter and doing a larger water change this afternoon.
My question is, will that level of copper harm the fish upon drip acclimation from 24 hours in a shipping bag? Would I be better off just adding him to my 200 gallon display or quarantining him for a few weeks with a minimum of a half dose of copper in the water? I'd rather quarantine him, but I don't want to kill him with the initial exposure to a half dose of Cupramine in the water.
<Seachem´s Cupramine will absorb any traces of copper. If you can still get it from your LFS today, that would be the route I would take. A second option though, will be to give the Maculosus a Fw bath previous to the addition to the display tank; even though I don´t think this dose of copper to be high enough to be toxic to your angel, please take enough time acclimating it.>
Thanks for your help,
<Welcome Dan. Wilberth.>
Re: Copper in quarantine tank       9/21/18
Thanks Dan.
I’m now a big believer in quarantine, so I think I’ll add some more activated carbon and do another water change, and then give the new angel a 2 hour drip acclimation to the quarantine tank.
<Good, just don´t let the water temperature in the bag to drop.>
Hopefully that will suffice.
<You will be fine, don't worry. Keep us posted on how it goes. Wilberth.>
Copper in quarantine tank       9/21/18

<Hey Dan, on a previous answer I advised you to use "Seachem´s Cupramine", my mistake; I meant "Cuprisorb". My apologies. Wilberth >
Re: Copper in quarantine tank       9/21/18

Thanks. No worries. I knew what you meant.
Unfortunately I won’t be able to get any Cuprisorb before the fish arrives. But I did double the activated carbon in the filter, so hopefully that and a large water change will lower the copper level further overnight.
<That will help for sure .Wilberth.>

Copper Power Green/ ICH in 110gal community tank      8/28/18
Hi guys,
<Hello Megan>
I have searched your forums and your site, I have found various posts and questions regarding Copper Power Blue (Saltwater) but nothing really for the freshwater version. We recently moved some juvenile loaches from a 55gal along with their tank mates - various live bearers and some Danio's, Otos and 1 albino Bristlenose.
<Mmm; the loaches and Loricariid catfishes really do not like copper or Nickel, Zinc...>
Filters were kept the same but had a disaster with the sand we first put in. So literally 1 week after moving we had to drain tank and switch to gravel - during this switch we found that we most definitely have Ich. My LFS recommend and sold us Copper Power Green. 11oz was added to the tank in increments to avoid shocking the fish, the temp was raised to 84 degrees.
<I'd raise the temperature up to 86, 87 F. and use carbon to remove the medication... AND add aeration; less oxygen available/soluble at high/er temperatures and metabolisms increased. The heat alone will kill the Ich.
After a week or so post-symptoms, lower the temp. back down a degree or so every two days>
I have not found much on the web regarding the Copper Power - and am unsure how long I should leave the temps elevated while using the med.
<I would NOT use this (fine) medication w/ the fishes you list that I've mentioned>
So far the clowns are handling everything remarkable well, but my platys are struggling a little along
with the swordtails. Just reaching out to see if you guys know of and are familiar w/ the product and its efficacy.
<Again; just elevated temperature will effect a cure here. Bob Fenner>

Copper treatment, incl. marine Velvet f'... Using WWM      3/15/18
Good evening from Thailand
as I had a bad Marine Velvet outbreak in a tank (fish with life rock only)
I am now having the survivors go through a Cupramine treatment. This started a few days ago and copper levels are sitting nice at the recommended 0.5 ppm and fish seem to be behaving ok still eating well.
(think even noticing some of the survivors showing the parasite previous losing them??)
Some snails I had in there and crabs seem to have died
<!? Yes; of a certainty from the copper exposure. ALL non-fish life needs to be elsewhere; lest they be poisoned AND absorb the copper>

which I knew was going to happen but I figured getting the tank Velvet free and in the same time treat the survives superseded the snails and crab as they can be reintroduced at a later stage again...Now I am wondering as I might want to add new fish to this set up
<What? No; don't add anything here until you're VERY sure the Velvet is gone>
as the suggested 30 day period is on going with every time a new fish is added we start counting back from day 1 I guess.....How long can fish be ok in this therapeutic level of copper and how dangerous is to add new fish
into a copper environment from buying them new...
<There is too much to answer, ask and respond to here by rekeying. But all is available by your searching on WWM re "Cupramine", "Velvet"... and READING. Do so, and write back w/ specific questions (if you have them) afterwards. Bob Fenner>

Best copper treatment       2/27/18
Hi there, thanks for providing such an awesome site!
<A pleasure to learn, share>
It's time again to let the main tank go fallow for 6 weeks, quarantine and medicate my fish.
The good news is, I know from your site and thus past experience that this is by far the simplest, cheapest, and least labour intensive way to sure fire eradicate this nasty parasite called Ich.
Yes, I did try everything else suggested out there first, but they always came back!
<Crypt can be very persistent>
My question is which copper medication do you prefer, and also which test kit?
<Am a bigger fan of SeaChem's Cupramine and their Copper Multi-Test kit.
Have used hundreds of gallons over the decades>
Thank you again,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Disappearing copper      11/26/17
Hey Bob, im using chelated copper in my saltwater quarantine facility, Im 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 nitrites.
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 out.
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.>
Kind regards,
<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

Hey Bob,
<Hi Branko>
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 here),
when reading it its always slightly lighter than color preset for 0.1ppm.
So we are drip dosing CU for about 0.04-0.06 (depending on the reading previous to dosing), trying to achieve 0.15.
<Good technique>
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 all.
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>

Kole Tang; hlth., and Cu f'      10/18/17
Good afternoon Crew,
I unfortunately experienced a loss in my tank last night - my Kole tang.
I've had a Kole Tang previously for years... a curious outgoing fish that was constantly on the move. I have a shallow 60g tank, 79f, 1.024 salinity, no signs of nitrates/nitrites/ammonia - although I have been purposely
allowing a little hair algae to grow for the upcoming arrival of my Kole Tang. I'd say overall I feed rather lightly, sometimes every second day (but am observing my fish growing/fattening up), and only enough that just
a small amount of thawed frozen Mysis/brine/etc... falls to the substrate for my snails/crabs/serpent star, etc
I currently have a few corals, bta, two clowns, yellow watchman goby, royal gramma... I noticed a plump Kole Tang with what appeared to be ICK at my LFS and offered to buy him at a greatly reduced price because I've
successfully QT and treated ICKY fish with Cupramine in the past, and without losses. The Kole Tang went straight into my 30g QT bare bottom tank and I followed the Cupramine instructions as always. The Kole Tang would sometimes eat, sometimes not, but frequently picking away at scraps that had stuck to the foam cover on the filter. He remained active and plump for the 16day QT. With the Cupramine treatment over and no signs of white spots, and what looked like a healthy active fish... I introduced him to my display tank.
The Kole Tang's been shy, not as active, and while I've witnessed him picking away at the glass and rocks from time to time, I rarely saw him feeding with the other fish. Almost two weeks later... Last night, he was on his side in the corner of my tank and breathing rapidly. He still looked to be of a healthy size, but something was obviously wrong. I felt that removing him at that point would cause more stress and certain death.
Watched my cleaner shrimp jump on him at that point, and the Kole Tang swam away. I checked on him this morning and his outer body had been completely picked away by hermit crabs and my serpent starfish.
Question... do you think the death may still be Ick related, even though he appeared to have successfully finished a Cupramine treatment?
<Ick/Crypt might have been a factor... to extent here. As well as the copper exposure. I suspect this fish had a trauma issue though. Perhaps from collection, holding, transport...>
I don't think anything in my tank could've harmed him, and he had no wounds of any sort. I'm assuming my small to medium sized bubble tip anemone wouldn't have been the culprit (unless the BTA had actually caught him and was eating him)?
<Could have had a brush here as well>
I'm stumped... I thought I had success in saving this fish from the store.
<Sometimes Dave, sometimes not. Bob Fenner>
Re: Kole Tang     10/18/17

Could a simple brush from the BTA have done something like that?
<Not likely a Ctenochaetus tang would perish from glancing a BTA; no; not of/by itself>
I was thinking possibly trauma from collection, but in the QT he was really active, breathing at what I perceived to be a normal rate, etc... Cupramine indicates to treat at .5mg/l, and that toxic levels exist at .8mg/l My
treatment was definitely at .5mg/l, having checked multiple times throughout the 16 days. Are some fish (tangs?) more delicate with copper treatments?
<Re copper exposure; there is no sub-physiological dose. Akin to old treatments of humans by mercuricals and arsenicals; you're killing the host by degrees along w/ the parasite. Tangs are amongst the most sensitive fishes to copper poisoning. Bob Fenner>

Copper edta in a shark tank       4/11/17
First let me start by saying I love this site. I have used it many times now. My question is I have a coral cat shark that I would like to put into my 375 gallon reef tank. I use Kent's essential elements and a couple other products for dosing my corals. After reading all the ingredients to make sure none contain copper, I found that the Kent's essential elements
contains copper edta. My question is can I still use this and put my shark in the bigger tank?
<The use of this product, the little bit of copper and preservative is likely of little consequence here. I would not be concerned. "Some" copper is an "essential nutrient"... and the Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) chelate is of little activity>
I know you can't use copper based medicine for sharks, but I have not found anything on using Kent's essential elements in a shark tank. Thank you for your time and knowledge.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Copper edta in a shark tank       4/11/17

Thank you for the quick reply. I will be adding him to my 375 real soon then. Thanks again.
<Cheers Joe, BobF>

Chaetomorpha and Hospital Tank     1/11/17
Quick question, is it OK to use macroalgae, e.g.; Chaetomorpha in a hospital tank secured by an algae clip, for example during a Cupramine treatment?
<Mmm; no... the algae... most biota will "complex" the copper, other med.s as well... And the copper will kill the algae>

I realize that it's recommended to only use inert substances in a hospital tank, and macroalgae, isn't considered inert, however, I was wondering if it might be an exception?
<No; not at all. IF you were feeding it... and removing the part the animals didn't consume; that might work out. But I would not leave algae in a treatment tank>
The only purpose of having it in the hospital tank would be to help keep the nitrates in check beyond water changes.
<Mmm; better to keep switching out pre-cycled media... like filter pads, sponge filters... along w/ dilution from the water changes>
I would never move the macroalgae out of the hospital tank to the display tanks.
Thanks, John
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Chaetomorpha and Hospital Tank     1/11/17
Perfect Bob, that was my gut thought, but I wanted to check with the experts to be sure! Thanks again.
<Glad to share w/ you John. BobF>

Cross contamination of copper   8/7/16
Hello there
I hope that you are having a great day Bob.
<Thank you Mark>
I had a question I wanted to run by you. I have a 140g which I just transferred over to a 240g tank. I had moved everything already except for maybe 70lbs of live rock.
Yesterday I accidently grabbed the wrong syringe to check the salinity in my 120g, instead of grabbing the one I use to check salinity I grabbed the one I used to dose Cupramine for my hospital tank. To make matters worse I rinsed the syringe in my old 120g tank. So now my 120g, with my leftover liverock, has about .1ml of Cupramine in it from residual Cupramine.
There's nothing left in the 120g except for live rock which I had wanted to transfer over as well. Should I take any precautions or is the dosage too small to have any effect on the live rock? Thank you.
<Not a worry mate. Turns out that some small amount of cupric ion is actually a micro-nutrient, a necessary component... and found naturally in seawater. The tiny amount you've added is of no deleterious consequence.
Bob Fenner>

Hospital Tank; filt.       7/15/15
Hello Crew,
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 hospital tank?
<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 from?
<Not if you don't move much water with the fishes; no>
Thanks Ed
<Welcome. 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>

"Copper kills everything"      12/17/14
Hello Bob,
<Greetings Neale>
A news story on NPR on how simply using copper in hospitals could help stop the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria:
The bottom line is that "Copper kills everything”. Perhaps an important lesson for those aquarists who reach for the bottle of copper-containing medication when treating Whitespot and the rest before thinking about the impact that copper will have on all the other living things in their aquarium.
<Ah yes; have labeled Cu a biocide myself for years... akin to mercuricals and arsenicals for other human uses, it has some utility at low doses, but is always toxic to all>
Reminds me of the aquarists who won’t use the salt/heat method for Whitespot because they’ve heard that “catfish are allergic to salt” but won’t blink at the thought of using a copper-based medication instead.
Cheers, Neale
<And you. BobF>

Query on saltwater aquarium... Copper mis-use, no rdg.     6/16/14
Dear Crew Member,
I have a 160l fish tank with live rock, live sand and a yellow tang. My setup has a protein skimmer, sponges,
<Mmm; what/which species?>

wave maker and ceramic rings in the
sump. The yellow tang was showing an orangish tinge near its tail since past few weeks and was occasionally rubbing its body against sand the live rock. So my LFS cited they were symptoms of onset of the white spot disease.
<Well; general irritation possibly... Some scratching is "natural"; not a concern>
He came over, did 50% water change
and added 5ml of Cuprazin
<Mmm; Tangs don't "like" copper... HAD you read on WWM...>

to my display tank directly. He did not have the Copper measuring test kit with him. The tank at that time was housing the live rock and the fish.
The fish died in 4 hrs time. :'( So here are my doubts:
1. I am not sure did the fish die because of the medicine?
<Likely some influence here; yes>
2. Now I do have to throw away the live rock?
<No; not necessarily...
3. Will they produce algae again?
3. Do I have to remove whatever Copper is left from my tank ? If yes then why and what are the methods of removing it?
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/curemovalfaq2.htm
and the linked files above>
4. When can I add new fish to the tank? Now my tank houses only the live rock and live sand.
5. I can never add anemones to it now?
<Keep reading. Bob Fenner>
Awaiting your valuable comments.

Cupramine tx... READING      2/10/14
Ok so here's the situation... I had an Ich outbreak and didn't have another option other than to treat my display tank.  It's a FOWLER with niger trigger, coral beauty and dog face puffer.  I am using Cupramine and started the dose today. ( tank is 75 gallons)
The problem is that after following the dosing instructions to a T, I still couldn't get a reading at all!
<? Just put a drop of Cupramine in some water in the test chamber/tube and see if that will show a positive>
  Im using an API test for copper.  Im not sure if it's the test kit or the substrate/live rock that is throwing off
my readings.
<... oh yes; they will absorb most all Cu, quickly>

  I just know that I do not want to overdose my tank so I'm holding off on putting anymore in the tank until I get advise from you all as I do not trust the LFS's..... please help...
<Help yourself. There are thousands of searchable queries re copper use archived on the site>
I mean, if in fact the coraline alga on the LR or the substrate are " absorbing " the Cupermine, then should I continue to dose until a reading appears in the water column?
<... You should read till you understand what you're doing, what your  options are. And soon. B>

commercial holding tank questions; Crypt...   5/16/13
Hi Bob,
It has been awhile since I last wrote you so I figured I would check in as I had a few questions I am hoping you can answer.  Last time we spoke I was about to open my new saltwater shop and you were helping me figure out my issues regarding ammonia spikes with the new dry rock and instead adding the fresh live rock to the set up in the fish holding system.  I'm happy to say that business has been really good since opening and I have been busier than I could have ever expected to be honest in my first year.
<Ah good>
 I am so busy some weeks that I have trouble keeping up with getting new livestock in to the shop after everything is sold on busy weekends.  Which leads me to my questions.  If you recall my store consists of a 1000g fish holding system and a 800g coral/invert system.  The coral/invert system does fantastic.  I run a skimmer and ozone and dose supplements for the corals as needed.  No problems there. The fish system however has been a headache from the start.  No matter what I do I can not seem to get things the way I want them.  If you remember I have a centralized system of 24 x 40g breeder tanks with an inch of aragonite sand
<I'd switch to coral sand... for looks, function; though not really a giant step forward here>
and one or two live rock pieces for each tank.  One 3ft LED strip light on each tank. In the back I have a 150g sump
<Is there room to add volume here? I would>
with a commercial sized protein skimmer, an Ozotech 1g ozone generator, and a Emperor Aquatics 300w HO UV along with 900w of heaters.  Salinity is kept at 1.022-23.  Temp: 74-75 in the winter months, 76-77 currently in the spring months as the retail space is on a concrete slab floor which stays cool.  No ammonia, nitrites, <10 nitrates.  I have also been corresponding with Bob Goemans regarding my current utilization of Chloroquine phosphate through the holding tanks as I have had good luck in the past using it in a hospital tank setting.
<I do hope/trust that you're not using CP on a continuous basis>
 My question in essence deals with disease prevention.  Every time I get a new shipment in of fish I see crypt spots pop up on the tangs and angels within a few days of arrival.
<Ahh, very common... the rule rather than exception>
  I was hoping running the CP through the holding tanks at 10-15mg/l would prevent this from happening
<Mmm, no... copper would be an order of magnitude better>
but it does not seem to be as effective as I hoped.  I am not sure if the rock and substrate are effecting the effectiveness of the drug or if the tank lights are degrading the medicine or even having an effect at all.  I turn off the ozone and UV when medication is present.
<Yes; have to>
  And have been redosing every 5-7 days as directed by Ed Noga and Bob G. I have tried the Guerrilla acclimation technique and have been ordering from reputable wholesalers (QM, SDC) without much luck in preventing outbreaks on new arrivals of certain Ich susceptible fish.
<You likely have a resident infestation... Are you "up to" the possibility/practice of bleaching the receiving/holding/isolation area every shipment? Moving some clean filter media from another system (perhaps the invertebrate sump)? Otherwise... I might stoop to the use of a chelated copper product in your fish system>
 I am thinking in going a couple different directions at this point...
1.  Setting up a three level QT rack in the back room big enough to hold 30-40 fish upon arrival.  Treating fish as needed for 1-2 weeks then moving up front to displays.
2.  Pulling all calcium based live rock and sand from fish system and replacing with bio balls, faux ornaments, inert freshwater gravel so as medications are more effective and I can treat fish system with copper or formalin if necessary.
<Ah yes>
3.  Adding more UV and Ozone to the system in hopes that better sterilization will be achieved without medications.
<What is your RedOx/ORP currently? I'd keep it (safely) consistently under 400...>
My concern obviously is once the fish have visible spots or symptoms in the retail holding tanks that they are no longer a sell-able product and the shop loses money and time treating and rehabbing the fish.
<Yes; not practical>
I guess my question then would be what is your preferred method for keeping a fish system healthy in appearance.
<As you've done and stated: Have stable, optimized holding facility, buy initially clean stock, quarantine/treat if necessary enroute to offering for sale...>
 I do not want to over medicate but it seems my ozone and UV are not enough on their own.  Perhaps I am undersized?
<Perhaps; a factor is volume size for sure... but only "a few percent" of your issue/situation. Again, like most all shops, you have a resident/in-place parasite situation>
 Other stores in the area run inert substrates and fake decor in their fish systems.  I am positive the one store uses formalin in the system when adding new arrivals and then UV there after.
<I'd use the formalin only in (heavily aerated) dips, short immersion baths>
  Their fish always seem to look in good health although I do hear they have high initial losses.  I am worried that my live rock and sand is harboring a lot of the disease.  I would like to keep some sort of substrate and decor in the tanks as I do promote reef tanks and Fowlr as my main selling setups. 
Any input you think would be helpful I would be glad to consider at this point.
Thanks again Bob!
<Though it can become a "bad habit", I'd lean, direct you to try the copper route (testing for and adjusting daily) at this time. Going forward; when you and your market will pay for it, separately holding incoming livestock shipments... Bob Fenner>
Re: commercial holding tank questions, Cu use       5/26/13

In the past I have used Seachem Cupramine.  I have never had much luck with using it though on dwarf angels such as flame and potters angels and wrasses.
<Mmm, these families members don't "like" copper for sure>
  My research says you are supposed to ramp up the dosage until recommended level is reached or run half levels for dwarf angels and not use at all with some wrasses. 
<Mmm, no; or not really... the active ingredient (check whether you're using a chelated kit...) should be at 0.35 ppm free copper (Cu++); no more than 0.50 ppm, nor less than 0.20... you'll have to check... see below>
How would I do this for new fish shipments if the copper is already at full strength in a holding system?
<? Don't follow you>
Out of curiosity why do you say the Chloroquine Phosphate only lasts a day or so after dosing?
<Often falls out of solution in typical settings... photo-oxidized et al.>
  I thought most authors were recommending treatment every 5-7 days.
<... Mmm>
 I was basing my dosing regime off of Norga <Noga, Ed.> and Goemans literature on CP use and dosing once a week-10 days.  I have been very happy with using CP in the past but it seems no one knows or follows a standard dosing regime for disease treatment or which diseases CP actually is effective on eradicating.
<Most all external Protozoans>
  I also liked CP for its algaecide like properties in the display tanks. 
From what I understand copper will do the same for combating algae?
<Yes... more olde timey>
  For the UV, it is an Emporer <Emperor> Aquatics HO 150w per bulb model. 
The Ozotech ozone generator is 1g/hr but no air dryer which then reduces the output by half I believe.
<Highly variable depending on temperature and (relative) humidity>
 But if I am running copper I can not run UV or Ozone anyways if I understand correctly?
<Yes; correct>
  The QT tanks have been ordered and I am hoping to put together the new holding system this upcoming week.  I am still not sure which direction to go on sand and rock in retail displays as it is a big endeavor to change out. 
<Then I'd leave out for now... just have to check the alkaline reserve, perhaps adjust more often... that, and/or more expensive, larger water change-outs>
 I will have to ponder more on this subject.  Thank you again for your guidance.
<Glad to assist your efforts. Bob Fenner>
Re: Re: Re: re: commercial holding tank questions; was Crypt, CP, Cupramine f's, quarantine sys. des.      6/13/13

Hi Bob...a short update on the store...I'm in the process of changing over all the live rock in the store holding tanks and large main sump to fake resin decorations out in the front tanks and bio balls in the filtration room to get ready for a possible copper treatment if necessary in the fish system.
<Mmm, do bear/keep in mind that you'll still need to monitor (daily) and re-add on a regular basis. The copper med./s will fall out of solution even in "just" plain saltwater systems, sans any décor... from the alkaline water and absorption by biota>
 Currently the Chloroquine phosphate is still running through the system, would you recommend trying to remove that before treating with copper?
<Mmm, no>
 I obviously have no way to test to see how much remains in the water as that is one of its drawbacks when using.  I was thinking I could turn back on the ozone and UV to remove the CP?
<It is so transient... and not trouble "mixing" w/ Cu; that I wouldn't/don't worry re>
 I have also reduced the salinity in the system down from 1.023 to 1.015.
<May as well drop a few more thousandths... to 1.012... even for most fishes 1.010... just need to take your time "re-upping"... a thousandth per day or thereabouts>

 It definitely seems to be helping with the general behavior and outward appearance of the fish.  ORP is almost 300 now with no skimmer, ozone, or UV running because of the CP.
<I should make a brief comment here; so am doing so: To others/browsers: (please) don't use CP, other "chemical means" to raise ORP (or as algicides....)... >
 I'll be glad to get the skimmer/ozone going again to remove it from the water and get the ORP back into the 400s.  My question is regarding using copper for the 1000 gallons system if necessary.  Which type do you recommend for a LFS setting?
<Mmm, much to say/relate: let's have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cryptchelcucures.htm
see the upper right box?>
 As I mentioned earlier, all the live rock is being removed, but there still will be some live aragonite sand present in some tanks.
<Then copper will be lost a bit faster than if it/this were absent. No big deal>
 I was leaning toward just a regular ionic copper sulphate mix and maintaining it at .15 ppm
<... too low... Shoot for 0.20>

 along with the salinity at 1.015.  Is there an economical commercial brand to use or should I go the DIY mix route? 
<I'd use the commercial chelated here. IF this were a very large public aquarium I MIGHT make up my own citrated (10% citric) CuSO4 . 5H20 aqueous solution... but even then would likely just make a deal, purchase (rather than make) my own chelated mix. Look for the one gallon size... even comes in larger... not for your use here>
Most ionic brands recommend 1 drop per gallon of saltwater.  So if I have 1000 gallons, and 1 drop = .05 ml, I would need 50 ml of copper sulphate?  Does that sound right?
<... no my friend. Even more dangerous is what you sound like. Do you know stoichiometry? How to make molar solutions? Please, for here/now, just purchase the brand/s mentioned on WWM>
  I was also looking at CopperSafe (chelated) and also Copper Power Blue (not sure if it is ionic or chelated) but it seems I would need large gallon sized quantities of those forms of copper.
<Both good products, and one gallon will last you a good long while>
  CopperSafe instructions are 4 ounces per 100 gallons?  Seems like a lot to be dosing in a commercial setting.  Also, seems like most wholesalers/LFS are running UV/ozone as well?
<Often the case; yes>
 Is this possible with copper present?
<Mmm, yes; though these cause (even) faster "drop out", and the coating of sleeves of ozone made via UV are a pain to clean... acid wash. Better to turn off UVs during/IF using Cu>
  The CopperSafe specifically states on its label safe to use with UV and skimmer.
<Is safe, just not as efficacious... think on this idea: Copper won't stay in solution in seawater period... it gets ad- and absorbed even faster w/ more biota/physiological activity present, more so w/ alkaline décor (sand, gravel, rock) present, faster w/ higher (more concentrated) specific gravity, faster still at higher pH, ORP, UV use.... Do you understand? I would use whatever brand, a good test kit...>
 I would like to utilize UV and ozone if possible.
<... go ahead and try this then... Just monitor/measure for free Cu at least once daily, re-adjust>
 I know that is not possible with brands like Seachem Cupramine.  Finally, the new QT holding system is also nearly complete in the back room.  I still cannot decide how to plumb them together though.
<I would NOT do this. Keep both systems COMPLETELY separate... I'd go so far as to bleach the filter media, perhaps the entire quarantine system between each use... Yes; and re-inoculate w/ media from a known "clean" system each week/two weeks... whatever the new livestock incoming schedule is. You do NOT WANT to mix anything wet... nets, specimen containers, hands, cleaning gear twixt the Q system and the store's livestock display systems>
 I will be glad when the stress of re-doing this system is complete. 
<Ah yes; I do know>
I hope that the upgrades will translate into healthier fish and more profit for the shop.  As always thanks for your input.
<Am very glad to be here for you. Bob Fenner>

FW: Fowlr health     7/4/12
Bob, Well I just completed a two week cycle of copper in main tank. I know you hate that.
 So now all fish are doing great, except a few still showing signs.

 My niger, saddleback butterfly, and powder brown tang. Have been doing a lot of gill rubbing lately. I don't see any signs except for the rubbing , but I know that could be several things. Do you think there rubbing from coming off the medication or do I still have a ick problem?
<...? Can't tell>
 I have been trying to keep my water quality supreme! The Niger, and my lemon peel had a cloudy eye about week ago. Both have recovered with out treatment. I just want to stay on top of my tank and not loose any more of my baby's. Since treating my tank with copper. I have purple and pink coralline growing everywhere. Hoping it a sign of good things to come. Jim
<Sign of insufficient, discontinuous copper concentration. B>

Tubifex Worms and Copper... learning to search      4/23/12
Hi there!
I am currently conducting an experiment on the biological effects of copper contamination, and I am using Filamentous algae
<Mmm, you'll need/want to know which species... as well as the conditions of exposure, water quality>
 and Tubifex worms as an indicator of the effect of the copper.
<Cupric ion? Cu ++ I take it>
I was just wondering, will relatively small amounts of copper kill Tubifex worms in a freshwater environment?
<Mmm, need to define "small"... Tubificids, Annelids can "take" some free copper exposure... relative to other life>
Also, what other factors may lead to the death of Tubifex worms?
<Time for you to visit a large/college library. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm
I know they can survive in very low oxygen levels, but I was just wondering what other factors can lead to their death.
Thank you for your help,
Love the site!
Biology Enthusiast
<Enjoy the process. What you seek (to know) is not hard to find in the scientific literature. Get a reference librarian to help you. Bob Fenner>

possible copper dosing in the DT 1/30/12
Greetings Crew,
<Sorry for this later reply... busy>
Here is my quick story of stupidity. I hadn't added anything to my 240 FOWLR in almost 2 years, I purchased a Huma Trigger from Diver's Den, and a Gray Angel (P. arcuatus) from Live Aquaria. I pulled my QT out of my garage (in Arizona) and set it up. Day 3, I had a major leak in the QT. I panicked and put the fish in the DT.
<At least w/ a prophylactic dip/bath en-route I hope/trust>

All seemed fine, I debated treating the tank with PraziPro,
<For worms? Why?>
but decided not to. 4 weeks went by, and the angel was dead with no symptoms I noticed. The following day, my big Sohal had what looked like flukes on him, many white stringy things and many white dots. I did a FW dip on him, they looked a little better, I went ahead and dosed PraziPro.
Several of the other fish are now lethargic and have "foggy eyes"....From the PraziPro perhaps?
<Maybe... but I'd be doing a few skin scrapes and looking under a 'scope>
Nobody is showing spots other than the Sohal (pic attached), but a few are acting itchy, rubbing up against things and acting "twitchy". Huma and Lime Green Wrasse act the healthiest. My Crosshatch Pair are in hiding, Passer Angel is also acting under the weather. Sohal is still breathing very rapidly, a few others a little faster than normal, and nobody ate very well last night.
I also had an issue with my timer where as the lights stayed on all night for 3 different nights over a period of a week, My guess is this bothered the Sohal the most.
<Perhaps a contributing factor>
One more note, my Goldentail Moray was dead this morning.
I had him 3 years, but he was so shy, that it had become almost impossible to get him food with the Wrasse and Triggers stealing everything I tried to get him. I would guess he had been in the tank dead for maybe 2 days before I discovered him today. Perhaps a reason the fish looked worse the last 2 days? I changed about 50 gallons today.
I guess my question...Do I pull the LR and treat with copper?
<... I wouldn't... IF coppering I'd do it elsewhere... w/ only the carbonate/bicarbonate et al. alkalinity of the water itself to interfere.
IF you have to treat in situ (DT) I'd be (VERY QUICKLY) using a quinine compound. Please see here re (NOW):
and the linked files above>
The pic of the Sohal is attached, sorry it's not definitive.
<Only microscopic use is. This appears to be Crypt to me. I'd be treating for Protozoans>
I've been in the hobby 11 years now and never had Ick or Velvet, I'm worried it's the later.
<If so all would be very likely dead by now>
Thanks so much,
<Welcome; and please do keep us abreast of developments. Bob Fenner>

Healthy Fish. Genicanthus, Cu use 1/10/12
I have a female swallowtail angel in QT, going on two weeks now, who exhibits no signs of crypt or any other illness.
I have tang in my display tank who is absolutely sensitive to crypt. I recognize the possibility that the angel could make it through quarantine without a crypt outbreak, and then "carry" it to my display tank where my other fish would be devastated by it.
<Okay... and recognize that there may well be a resident infestation of Crypt in the main/display tank...>
Could you weigh in on the idea of preemptively treating the QT with Cupramine?
<Yes. Am not a fan of copper use on Angels... see my opinions, the rationale for them posted over and over on WWM re>
In my experience angels are the worst fish for copper, but they're also among the worst for carrying bugs without displaying symptoms.
<I'd be using a quinine compound here... also posted... WWM>
I do not believe tangs can coexist in a tank with crypt,
<You'd be wrong here>

and I really don't want to crash my tank with Ich. Also, there seems to be a crackdown on quinine antimalarials. I can't find the stuff in stock,
<See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuinSourceF.htm
so at this point I really think it's copper or it's nothing at all.
<Up to you>
Thanks in advance,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

180 gallon reef, Crypt, Cupramine... 10/20/11
To the Crew at WWM
About five weeks ago I had to drain my 180 gallon reef tank in order to capture all of the fish due to an outbreak of Ich, I always QT all my new additions for 4-weeks with Cupramine and an extra two weeks of non medicated observation before introducing them into the main display or frag tank and have not seen a white spot on any fish in over three years since the tank was reestablished after a major crash due to copper contamination from a defective RO membrane. The pair of Lineatus wrasses were the last two fish introduced but they did not handle the initial QT very well and 10-days into the treatment I had to abandon the QT process and get them straight into the display for fear of losing them. Two weeks later I had a massive Ich infestation.
<All too common unfortunately>
I setup a large 150 gallon tub with 5 seeded sponge filters, a heater and two large power heads, I split the tub in half with egg crate to keep 4 different tangs separated, A purple and a yellow tang on one side and a powder brown and a red sea Sailfin on the other. All four of these fish have been coexisting with one another for over three years in the reef tank but I felt that it was important to split them up a bit due to the stress of being in QT for 10 weeks.
<I do agree>
In addition to the tangs, I have many different species of wrasses, two trio's of Hawaiian Flame wrasses which I have a trio on each side of the divider to keep the males apart (one trio stayed in my 75 gallon frag tank and the other trio was in the main display) a male and female Rhomboid, a Pair of Lineatus, an African exquisite wrasse, a blue star leopard wrasse, a green Coris wrasse, an Ornate Christmas wrasse, a filament flasher wrasse, a rose banded fairy wrasse, a red fin fairy wrasse, a small male and female square patch Anthias pair and three large figi <Fiji> chromis
<Very nice>
For the last three weeks, I have kept a steady Cupramine level of .035,
<0.35 ppm free cupric ion...>
feeding the fish only once a day and doing 20-gallon water changes every
other day. The problem is over the course of the last week, I have lost the male and female rhomboids, the pair of Anthias, the female Lineatus and one female Flame wrasse. Each and every one of them looked fine in the evening when they were fed but I would find one or two of them dead in the morning.
I have kept up on all my water parameters, in the very early stages the ammonia level did go up a bit but I have not had a level higher <lower> than 0.02 <0.20 ppm> in over three weeks. My suspicion is that one of the tangs on the side where I keep finding the dead fish is most likely the culprit and that would be either the powder brown or the Sailfin.
<More likely the latter>
I have now resorted to putting most of my wrasses into large shoebox sized critter cages, those wrasses are all the flames, the Male Lineatus and the rose banded fairy. Since that time I haven't lost a single fish that has been contained in one of the cages but this morning I found my flasher wrasse dead, he wasn't contained so I am wondering which fish do you think may be causing the killing spree?
<The Zebrasoma>
All the fish on the other side of the divider which are the Purple and Yellow tangs, the three Figi chromes and the blue star leopard are all doing fine, not a single issue there but I am running out of room to put more critter containers on the other side for the remaining three free swimming wrasses plus the replacement Rhomboids and squarpatches that will be arriving soon Thanks for any help or advice you could give
<Mmm, please peruse our archived materials on the use of Quinine Compounds:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Addended 10/20/11

Thank you for all your helpful insight, I did move the Sailfin to the other side of the divider, so we will see how that goes. I did read up on the quinine sulfate and have just ordered a 50 gram container which is being overnighted. Sounds like its going to be poly pads and carbon for the next couple of days
Thanks for your help
<Very glad to be of assistance. BobF>

Marine Ich Treatment 10/20/11
Bob and crew, I have a quick question for you that I hope you might be able to help me with.
I have a 300 gallon tank with 9 large fish and 5 small fish (2 triggers, 2 tangs, 1 large angel, 1 grouper, 1 hogfish, 1 wrasse, 1 giant Hawkfish, 2 small angels and 3 damsels). I had an Ich outbreak.
<...? What? Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/QuinSciUseF.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Marine Ich Treatment 10/20/11

Bob and crew, I have a not-so-quick question that I hope you can help me with.
I have a 300 gallon tank with 2 triggers, 2 tangs, 1 large angel, 1 grouper, 2 wrasses, 1 giant Hawkfish, 2 small angels and 3 damsels. I had an Ich outbreak about 2 months ago. Quarantine for so many fish was
impossible. I decided to treat the display tank
with Cupramine
. I dosed the recommended dose of .5 g/l but then realized that I had forgotten to turn the UV off. After turning it off, I started removing the copper (to almost zero). I then started dosing again about 2 weeks ago until I reached a dose of about .35 (lower than recommended
<No... this is the upper limit period for free cupric ion exposure>
but angels are sensitive to copper so I decided to try the .35). About 5 days ago I added about .05 more, to reach .40.
Today (after 9 days of .35 and 5 days of .4) there are still visible signs of Ich (although less than before). The fish are also scratching MORE than before.
All fish are eating except the large angel.
What do you suggest I do at this point?
<Switch to a Quinine drug. BobF>
Thank you so much in advance.
Marine Ich Treatment - 2 10/20/11

I just sent an email 5 minutes ago...1 more quick note: the angel has very cloudy eyes, is not eating, has what looks like pockmarks (scars) under her fins and is facing the water pump for 2 days now.
<Likely a goner. See WWM re Crypt... Don't write, READ! B>

Ick outbreak... copper use/strength, rdg. 10/6/11
Hi there, Just had a quick question. I looked up treating with copper on your site, but really have not found a answer to my question. I have 55gall quarantine tank. It has bare bottom with two small pieces of rock and a sunken ship.
<The rock will likely complicate/absorb some copper>
I know the ship sounds horrible in a saltwater tank, but its a quarantine tank. I tried Hypo salinity to 1.009 and vacuumed the bottom everyday, but it did no good. I just purchased Mardel Coppersafe, and API Copper test kit. I was wondering when I am testing for the proper level of copper where should it range on my color card? It ranges from 0 to 4.0(mg/l).
<... 0.15-0.35 maximum free copper ppm... equivalent to mg/liter>
Should I raise my temp to 84 and raise salt gravity to 1.017? Thanks, Jim
<Maybe. I'd go back, do a bit more reading on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Copper question, misuse, removal 8/23/11
Hi guys, Mr. Fenner answered a previous question regarding my Bamboo Cat Shark in regards to an eye injury. Thank you again. Unfortunately I have run into another problem, it has been a learning experience to say the least. A LFS recommend I treat my 300 gallon FOWLR with Copper Safe for an Ich outbreak.
<... No>
I began treating about 2 months ago and had to significantly increase the dosage significantly, 5x the strength, to obtain a therapeutic level due to the large amounts of live rock and sand.
Poor idea in hindsight, but fortunately all the fish have made it through and have been Ich free for several months. (I now quarantine). About a week ago I introduced a Zebra eel and a Gray eel from a 100 gallon into the current 300 gallon. The eels have not started to eat yet and I have also noticed my Porcupine Puffer biting his food and than spitting it out. I have been performing large water changes and running Cuprisorb to take out as much copper as possible. The Seachem test detected 0 copper from the best I could tell. I am continuing to run Cuprisorb 24/7 however the lack of interest by the eels and strange behavior from my puffer fish combined with the excessive dosage of copper makes me wonder if I should dispose of the majority of live rock and sand that was present in the tank during the copper treatment.
<Mmmm. Not likely of help here>
I would ideally like to keep the rocks as I have invested over $1,000 with the rock, however, the happiness of my fish are a much greater priority.
Would you recommend discarding the live rock and sand?
<I do not>
Or continue to run Cuprisorb?
<And add a few pounds of good quality activated carbon to your filter flow path>
There is some Cyanobacteria growing on the live rock as well as several hermit crabs alive
<IF these were present during the treatment then there never was a metabolic dose of copper/cupric ion present... the Ich/Crypt is still resident; the fish/hosts just having and still fighting off via natural (and possibly some acquired) immunity>
and well, until the puffer fish locates them. I am not sure if this is an indication that the rock is no longer contaminated with significant amounts of copper. Thanks again. I have found a great deal of information on your site. Zach
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Hi 3/27/11
Hi Crew, I am performing hyposalinity 1.009 to my 300gallon. Can I turn on the ozonizer?
<Likely so... you may well get different readings per the output setting as for your regular specific gravity>
2nd question , can Cupramine and Praziquantel mix and dose?
<They can>
Thank you very
Kellvin Lim
<Am not much of a fan of hyposalinity treatments. Do read re on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Re: My next move.... 9/3/10
Thank you Bob-
<Welcome Ron>
I was all prepared to take your advise, but upon return home from work today one of the fishes was scratching on the PVC in the tank....
I started the copper on 8/8, I'm beginning to wonder if I should finish the 4 week copper, dip everyone in Formalin and try a quinine phosphate, since I have a few weeks before the display is finished fallowing.
<Harsh... but perhaps the best route. B>

Copper and aquatic life 5/26/2010
Hi Bob, There are so many hobbyists are so misinformed about the present of copper in fish food that I thought the link below 'might' clarify the misconception. Even among the advanced reef keepers still warn fellow reef keepers the danger of copper in fish food! I thought you might be interested in this info. As well. Little learning is indeed a dangerous thing.
<Heeeee! Indeed>
Oceans, tidal pools, lakes, rivers, and ponds --all bodies of water that sustain life-- have copper present as a vital, naturally occurring element. Its presence as a basic component of the process that spawns the abundant species that swim, scurry, wiggle and wallow in the waters of the world has been established by Nature and confirmed by scientists.
It is, simply stated, indispensable because it is necessary for normal growth in living beings.
"The role of copper in small quantities is essential to marine life," says Dr. Karl D. Shearer, Research Fisheries Biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service, at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, Washington.
"It is a key component of enzymes, compounds that act as catalysts in the metabolism of organisms," says Dr. A. G. Lewis, an oceanographer and Professor in the Department of Oceanography and Zoology at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B. C., Canada. "Because it is an essential metal, an adequate supply is necessary for normal metabolism," he explains
"Copper's main role in the body is through metalloenzymes and enzymes catalyze many different chemical reactions," says Dr. Kathryn Michel, Assistant Professor of Nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Michel adds that "the body is full of enzymes and any chemical reaction in the body has possibly enzymes associated with it. Copper is a very important component and absolutely essential to the performance of the enzymes"
She explains that "enzymes are critical to the development of bone tissue and the production of red blood cells. A copper deficiency would contribute to anemia."
Put simply, "enzymes won't function without trace minerals such as copper, which means there's no metabolism," says Dr. Shearer, the National Marine Fisheries Services biologist, who has worked extensively in the analysis and development of food for fish. With no metabolism there would be no energy to fuel the vital processes that sustain life in creatures.
Aquatic plants, which play an important role in marine life, are no less reliant on copper. It plays an important role in photosynthesis and respiration. Like marine animal life, plants get copper from copper that is dissolved in the water, copper that is present in other particles or sediment found in the water and copper in their food.
Levels of copper in fresh water and salt water have been found to be generally low. In the United States studies of raw, untreated surface water have shown copper content ranging from 0.001 milligrams per liter to 0.28 milligrams per liter. The mean was 0.015 milligrams per liter. In open oceans, copper levels ranged from 0.1 milligrams per liter to 0.39 milligrams per liter, with an average of 0.8 milligrams per liter.
These figures show how copper is effective in small quantities. Dr. Shearer says that "the normal level of copper in whole fish tissue is one to two parts per million." To measure such tiny amounts requires a spectro photometer, an instrument that gauges matter by zeroing in all the way down to atoms in molecules. Scientists heat animal tissue to extremely high temperatures until atoms begin to emit light. Different atoms produce light at different wavelengths. So "we measure (light) wavelength to get to know what elements are present in the tissue of the fish and we measure the intensity of the light, which tells us the amount present," says Dr. Shearer.
The amount of copper and other trace minerals in the growth and development of fish, crustaceans (shellfish) and mollusks such as oysters and clams may be minute in quantity but enormous in economic terms. Many of these species are part of the renewable foundation of fishing, a vast worldwide activity that helps meet a growing demand for protein.
Commercial and recreational fishing is practiced just about every where in the world, including such land-locked countries as Bolivia, in South America, and Azerbaijan, in Asia. Bolivians have been fishing the waters of Lake Titicaca for centuries, and the valuable caviar industry of the world is centered in Azerbaijan, on the Caspian Sea. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimated that in 1997 the world's food fish production reached 90 million tons, an almost threefold increase since 1960. Almost a third of that catch was raised on fish farms in a fast-growing commercial process known as aquaculture. Fish grow under controlled conditions within enclosures and are fed a carefully balanced diet that invariably includes copper.
At Bio-Oregon, in Warrenton, Oregon, a producer of formulated food for fish farms, Dr. Dennis Roley, says that "copper has always been a supplemental trace element." Because copper can be virtually recycled from healthy animal tissue, fish food industries find copper in organic forms such as copper sulfate in the offal of edible fish such as salmon that has already been processed.
By including copper in fish food, fish farmers are replicating what nature does so well in the wild: providing an environment that nurtures life and growth. In this respect marine life is similar to other species.
"The requirements for trace minerals such as copper are pretty steady among vertebrate animals," says Dr. Shearer. Interestingly, he adds, crustaceans, such as shrimp, lobster and crab, are in particularly need of copper because its serves as an oxygen carrier in their blood.
Dr. Lewis, the University of British Columbia oceanographer, notes that "copper concentrations in crustaceans may be elevated compared with other groups since many crustaceans use copper in a blood pigment"
That is why, if you look closely, blood on an uncooked shrimp looks bluish, a typical color of certain forms of oxidized copper. Copper in marine invertebrates plays the role that among humans is performed by iron, which is present in blood as hemoglobin.
It doesn't take much copper to perform its critical role in marine species. Data supplied by Dr. Shearer shows that Atlantic salmon and Channel catfish require 3 milligrams of copper per kilogram of feed. Rainbow trout and carp make do on 3 milligrams per kilogram of feed.
Although requirements have not been determined for every marine species, scientists do know that copper deficiencies in certain species can result in reduced growth and cataracts, among other symptoms. Conversely, scientists have observed that overly high presence of copper in natural waters, due to pollutants or produced experimentally, may badly damage gills, adversely affect the liver and kidneys of fish or cause some neurological damage."
Scientists are frequently frustrated in their efforts to study more closely the effects of too little or too much copper on aquatic species in the wild because it is unusual to find whole fish that have died slowly as a result of malnutrition. "In the wild animals with deficiencies get quickly eaten or decompose," says Dr. Shearer.
Dr. Lewis, who every year prepares a review of copper in the environment for the International Copper Association, says that copper plays an important role in other aquatic environments, too. It is a key component of marine plant life. It is commonly used to purify and distribute drinking water. It combats the growth of unwanted organisms that foul water intake lines, aquaculture facilities and the hulls of vessels.
In another link: http://www.copperinfo.com/health/aquatic.html
The requirements for copper is fairly steady among vertebrate animals. Crustaceans, such as shrimp, lobster and crab, are in particular need of copper because its serves as an oxygen carrier in their blood.
Some scientists believe that copper concentrations in crustaceans may be elevated compared with other groups since many crustaceans use copper in their blood pigment. That is why, if you look closely, an uncooked shrimp looks bluish, a typical color of certain forms of oxidized copper.
<Thank you for sending this along Pablo. As we discussed at last week's Interzoo, some Copper is indeed a good thing... An essential micro-nutrient, and useful as a preservative at times. Not harmful. I will gladly post this about on WWM for others edification. Be seeing you, BobF>

Aiptasia.. giving up the ghost.. not quite! 3/17/10
<Hi Jerry>
I've finally decided to surrender to the plague. But before I junk the whole 180 gal. tank, I'm considering one last hurrah. I've tried direct injections, Butterfly fish, Nudibranchs, Peppermint Shrimp... Nothing works.
But this I know. They are Anemones and they probably won't like a steady diet of copper.
<They won't..>
The fish shouldn't mind
<They will..>
but I guess I'll lose the inverts.
<You will, assuming that your substrate does not absorb the copper rendering it useless. I would not go this route>
If I don't get rid of the Aiptasia though, eventually they'll be the only inverts left, anyway.
<My fave control for this is the Forcipiger flavissimus Butterfly>
So my question is, will this extreme measure also wipe out the basic biology in my live rock?
<Yes, mostly>
I can re-introduce Xenia, etc. once the copper is cleared,
<Most likely, yes. After a while, with carbon added>
But will I lose the biologic filter in the meantime?
<Yes you will, if you add enough to kill the Aiptasia, which might be quite a lot with a substrate present>
And by the way, can the copper eventually be removed with huge water changes & carbon filtering?
<Yes it can. There is some evidence that a certain amount remains in the system, but after a while (weeks, months) you should be ok>
Does all this sound like the ravings of a beaten aquarist?
<It does Jerry.. I don't know enough about your system and it's inhabitants, but if you really do want to 'go nuclear' then you could consider dropping the salinity over using copper, gradually over a period of weeks so as not to disturb the biological filter too much.. you might have more/ better success this way. This is not something I would do personally as I have battled these with success myself, and do think that with some perseverance you can do the same.. try the Forcipiger.. a great, hardy fish to have.. and peaceful. Reduce feeding, increase skimming.. do you have many, and messy fishes? Reduce these>
<No problem>

Caulerpas & Copper? Which is better for a holding system. 7/1/2009
<Hi Matthew.>
I am in the process of reconstructing & redesigning my fish holding system.. It's a 150 gallons total system volume. Reasons for redesign are:
reinforcement of the stand with 2x4's, problem of high nitrates, insufficient space in the sump for a bigger better skimmer, and lastly overflow capacity when power shuts down was not enough.
I have ordered up modifications to my original sump to accommodate the new skimmer and have enough capacity for draining when/if power goes off and also space to put Fiji mud and possibly Caulerpas to export nitrates/phosphates and have healthier water for my fish.
<Sounds good.>
I have come across the debate of whether or not I will be running Caulerpas without copper or copper without Caulerpas. If I use copper, I will have the problem of slowly increasing nitrates without my Caulerpa and large water changes with constant adjustments using copper. I was told copper will kill the Caulerpa yes?
<Copper will kill any algae and invertebrate, essentially negating the refugium you just set up.>
Previously a Aqua UV sterilizer was being used, but after dismantling it I took a peak inside and saw how resinous the glass tube had become and realized its ineffectiveness against zapping pathogens.
<They do require regular maintenance to keep the inner sleeve clean.
Should be cleaned every two weeks or so.>
Being that the U.V. requires so much maintenance, I think this time I will not incorporate it since copper sounds more effective.
<Long term exposure to cooper is not good for fish either..>
If I don't use copper, my tank is not protected against ich/velvet but I will be able to keep nitrates very low.
<You can control Crypt and velvet using good quarantine and dipping procedures.>
Which method would you go with,
<Algae and refugium along with quarantine.>
Any suggestions for the long term success of this holding system are appreciated.
<Read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cutrbfix.htm >

Re: Caulerpas & Copper? Which is better for a holding system. 7/2/2009 <Hi Matthew.> Sounds good, another person I know in the service biz recommended the same thing, Caulerpas and U.V.
I guess a 10 or 20 gal tank could be used to isolate and treat extreme cases with copper and freshwater dips.
One more thing, how much more susceptible do fish become to ich/velvet when nitrate concentrations are 50ppm and above?
<The water quality is poor at that level, which could stress the fish and make them more susceptible.>
Thanks, -Matthew <MikeV>

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>

Copper And a FOWLR Tank (Is Simple'¦ Don't Do It) -- 07/02/08 Evening gentlemen, <<Hello'¦and Ladies here too>> I have read thru numerous FAQs regarding the use of medications in marine display tanks, mainly never to do it. <<Reasons for this>> But I have a situation which I cannot handle with normal treatment tank procedures (space and time constraints). <<Pity'¦so now your livestock/tank system must suffer the result>> So, specifically regarding the use of copper based medications (i.e. Copper Power) <<Hmm, this product states it is 60-times less toxic to fish'¦so likely 60-times less effective as Copper treatments go>> in the treatment of Ich in a FOWLR tank: What exactly will be destroyed? <<Most all non-vertebrate life will be malaffected'¦beneficial alga, crustaceans (macro- and micro-), bacteria/microbes, et al>> I understand any invertebrates in the tank will die, but what about the live rock and live sand's ability to provide biologic filtration? <<Yes, this too will be affected>> If I never have intentions of placing invertebrates in the tank would copper be a viable option? I assume I will have to monitor ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and copper during the treatment duration? Thanks, b <<Aside from the damage to the system, it will be difficult to maintain medicinal/useful levels of Copper as it will be readily absorbed by the carbonaceous rock and sand. Do this right, and remove the fishes to a hospital tank for treatment. Regards, EricR>>

Copper safe in freshwater and how to remove copper danger 5/5/08 I used CopperSafe a couple time in several tanks. I have since been told by a respected friend that no copper formula is safe in my aquarium fish only with a plant or 2).I was told even after treatment that the tank and the substrates/decor and filters could not be rendered safe due to copper leaching from that point on. Is this accurate ?and if not is CopperSafe safe/and how would one de-tox the tanks and filters from copper residue leaching without dry-docking them? And can it be done even with a dry-dock downtime? Thanks very much. Mike <Mike, I wouldn't worry about it. Your friend is technically correct that copper medications are more or less toxic to all fish. But then so are many medications that we take. It's the dose that matters. While some freshwater fish (notably stingrays and Mormyrids) are very intolerant of copper, most freshwater fish are able to tolerate a small amount without harm. That's why copper-based medications are so widely used to kill parasitic infections like Whitespot. So provided you have used the copper medication as instructed by the manufacturer, you are not putting your fish at risk. A series of 50% water changes will flush out any residual copper to very low levels, at which point you can safely add copper intolerant species if need be. Unlike marine tanks, where calcareous rockwork is common, freshwater tanks usually contain only inert rocks like granite and slate. These inert rocks do not absorb copper and will not leach it out again afterwards. That's the reverse of the situation in marine tanks, where the calcareous rocks can release copper long after the medication has actually been used. Of course if you have a hard water cichlid aquarium with tufa rock or coral sand, these calcareous media can and will absorb copper, so you will need to be more careful. But cichlids generally aren't bothered by copper, so even there the risk is small. If you're still worried, grab a copper test kit from a marine aquarium supplier and check the levels in the tank are within the safe zone. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Ineffective Copper Treatment. 5/1/08 Hello and sorry for another question. <Hello> I will give you a brief overview of the situation I am in. Over a year ago I had an outbreak of Marine Ich. I did a two month quarantine of all the fish and let the main tank remain fallow for the same time period except for inverts (corals, snails, live rock, shrimp, and hermit crabs). The fish were treated with Cupramine successfully and returned to the main tank and the Ich returned with in a few weeks. After about a year I lost the Niger Trigger and decided it was time to try another treatment other then keeping the aquarium environment in the fish's favor. <Ok> I decided to place the fish QT for a 3 month period while increasing tank size from 75 gallons with 30 gallon refugium to a 125 gallon tank with the same refugium at the end of the 3 months QT period. I replaced all the substrate with new and rinsed all live rock and corals with new salt water at the end of the 3 months and placed in them 125 gallon tank for the first time with the old water plus the additional new water. Again the main tank remained fallow except for the corals, snails, hermit crabs, shrimp, and live rock during the three month fallow period. The fish were successfully treated with Cupramine again in the QT tank with no signs of Ich except for rapid respiratory rates of about 100-120 minute on only two of the fish. The other fish were in the 20-30 range. The respiratory rates never changed with treatment and they are active fish as well. I reduced the bio load from six fish down to four (taking the Rabbitfish and the flame angel back to the store because I am leaning towards a full fledged coral reef tank with a light bio-load vs. a tank with soft corals and heavier fish bio-load) The governments rebate check will be used to upgrade to Metal Halide lighting for the new tank "Yeah". The tank is presently stocked with a Royal Gramma, Yellow Tail Damsel, Six Line Wrasse, Blue Hippo Tang, about a dozen hermit crabs, ten snails, two cleaner shrimp, a green star polyp that has covered about thirty eight pounds of rock (my favorite), many mushrooms, couple hundred Zoanthids and a small trumpet coral at the very top of the tank under the power compacts that has grown from three heads to six. <Sounds nice> Water parameters are within reef parameter guidelines. Now for the problem after the fish were moved back into the new tank. After about two weeks in the main tank the Blue Hippo Tank has White spots again. <Very susceptible, especially in a tank that is a little on the small side for this fish that likes to roam.> I am to the point were I want to treat the main tank regardless of repercussions to rid myself of this problem. <I doubt the main tank is the problem.> The frustration level here is growing as I am sure you are aware of and have experienced yourself in the past. <Yep> I am considering a reef only no fish tank because I believe maintaining reef level water quality to be much easier then getting rid of Marine Ich. Again Thank you for your continued consideration in this matter. Budde <I think you are looking in the wrong spot, its doubtful that the ich is surviving in the main tank being fallow this long. More likely is that some is surviving the copper treatment. There has been talk of some copper resistant strains, which may be something you are experiencing. I would probably try a quinine treatment here, easier on the tang than copper anyway. You have the right idea here, just running into a little more resistance than usual. Also make sure you are not using the same tools, equipment, anything wet, in both tanks, could be leading to possible cross-contamination.>' <Chris> <<Ahh! Excellent Chris. RMF>> Algae research, CuSO4 bibliog....... 4/8/08 Robert... you really seem to be tuned into algae control. I'd very much like to obtain some good research on the use of copper sulfate to control algae. I'd like to be able to read it and then reference it. could you direct me to some good sources for this. thanks so much for your help, Ric <Mmm, in the early eighties I worked more directly for the gov't at a facility here in San Diego... NOSC (the civil servants love their acronyms), Naval Ocean Systems Center... at a bio-assay lab... essentially testing copper and organo-tin compounds for their efficacy and toxicity to a few species, densities of sea life... At the time they had a bibliography of a few thousand references... See a large/college library with a science dept. (bio., chem.) of size here. Doing such searches is covered on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Re: Difficult Case of Ich, or something else? Mis-using Cu 8/13/07 Thanks for your reply. I will continue to read the website. <Welcome, good> I tried to find a test kit for CopperSafe and eventually gave up. If I could have gotten my hands on a Kordon Aquatru Chelated Copper test kit, I would have certainly used it, or used a different kind of copper that could be tested for. I took a sample of water in to the LFS for testing, and when he found out I used CopperSafe, said he couldn't test for it. I looked all over online, and even made a few phone calls out of state, no one had a test, <Try MarineDepot.com, CustomAquatic.com...> and was eventually advised that as long as I dosed the tank properly, there should be no reason to test as the copper is chelated. <... no> To be sure, I even added a little more every few days, <...> and added more every time I changed some water. Half way through treatment, <... what?> I even removed all of the copper with a PolyFilter (came out very, very blue), and redosed the tank to make sure I had the proper level in there. I removed the CopperSafe once more (again very, very blue Poly) just before taking the fish out. The remaining two in treatment are showing no signs of ich, even without CopperSafe. <Good> It sounds rather bleak for the current system, anyway, so in getting back to my question, would anything else in the tank be rendered unsuitable for inverts later if I use copper in the main system? Can I use the same tank? <...? This is posted...> Would the silicone absorb copper? Could I use the skimmer again? The filter, if I replace the bio wheels? <All can be used> If I understand correctly, the only way to completely eradicate ich is to remove and sterilize everything. So, if I get another outbreak, I'm inclined to copper the main system, since I will likely be starting over anyway at that point. Or, at best, reach a stand off, but won't be able to add any fish. Not what I had in mind for the long term. Finally, the main tank salinity is currently 1.024. At what pace can I bring it down to 1.010? Do you think there is a possibility of the Neon Dottyback killing the shrimp? I can't seem to find a TMC Vecton UV Sterilizer here, only in the UK. <Is distributed through Quality Marine in LA... have your LFS contact them> Are there any others that you might recommend? <... posted> This is such a downer, but I can only learn from this going forward. Thanks so much for your help. Your book is fabulous. Kim <Try using the site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/index.html Bob Fenner>

Re: Queen Angel and Niger Trigger problems; Crypt, 8/13/07 I purchased a 50 gal tank to serve as my hospital tank. <Okay... have re-read our prev. corr.> I did a 5 minute methylene blue/freshwater dip and have had the fish in the hospital tank for almost two weeks. I have been treating the hospital tank with CFX copper treatment and have been maintaining a level of between .15 and .30. I do a 10% water change every other day and all of my levels appear to be good. Checked at least daily. I lost my clown a couple of days into the treatment, unfortunately, after reading on the website, that was an anticipated loss (was hoping it wouldn't happen, but was expecting it). The Niger Trigger has shown no real improvement. His eye is still cloudy and he is not as social as he was prior to this entire ordeal. The angel has been a lot more active; however, today, I noticed what appears to be scales or bubbles in/on one of her eyes (not small, almost like large air bubbles). She is still more active than she has been, but is not quite right, probably due to the copper. <Likely> I'm going discontinue the copper treatment and let it flush out with the water changes. <I'd finish the two week regimen> I've read for hours and believe I am doing the best thing for my fish. Is there anything else I can do? <Not known from the information you provide> Thanks for the help, David <BobF>

Copper Sulfate and species' tolerance 3/23/07 Hi Bob and crew, <Hey, Rebecca! JustinN with you today.> Firstly, let me say: what a great website you have! I have perused it extensively and truely appreciate the resource. <From all of us here at the crew, we deeply thank you for this. The knowledge that we're helping other hobbyists is truly a reward in itself.> Now for my situation: I have a 135g saltwater tank that seems to have a case of the dreaded ick. I was hoping that there was an *easy* way of treating this without having to catch all my fish and move them to a qt. However, after using Kick-Ich (which I now do not see much support for) for 3 days, I feel that I have to do the "right thing", which I plan to begin tomorrow: I will move all the fish to two qt tanks, treat these tanks with copper sulfate for at least one month while I let my main tank fallow (there's live rock and some hermit crabs, but I'm hoping to add corals etc once this ich problem is solved). <You are wise here, my friend. As you've unfortunately learned first hand, there's 2 kinds of reef safe ich treatments -- ones that will kill off all invert life in your aquarium, and ones that will do effectively nothing.> My main concerns/questions are the following: 1) Are any of the below fish that are particularly sensitive to or should not be exposed to copper? - 4 blue-green Chromis - 1 convict tang - 1 humbug damsel - 1 lawnmower blenny - 1 purple firefish - 1 coral beauty - 1 neon goby - 2 common clowns <The neon goby and firefish may exhibit some signs of sensitivity, but I don't think there will be a concern here. If there's any fish in your list to watch it would be the two of them, though.> 2) In the main tank, everyone gets along pretty well. Are there any suggestions with respect to arranging them in quarantine (e.g. if 2 tanks are set up)? I was planning on keeping the tang and damsel together (the tang is 2x larger than the damsel so the damsel doesn't push him around). <Sounds fine here. Just be sure to provide some sort of chemically inert hiding areas for all the QT occupants.> 3) How often should water changes be done to keep the nitrates, etc. down? Is once a day or every two days too much or too little? <Once a day is probably a good idea here, depending on how large of a quarantine you use obviously. You can always test your water quality daily and react accordingly as well.> Thank you in advance for your help! Regards, Rebecca J. <No problem, Rebecca. Glad to be of service! -JustinN>

Copper test kits 3/16/2007 I am confused by the following...... I have in the past always used Aquarium System copper <Is copper sulfate pentahydrate in aqueous soln. (water)... Non-chelated...> and test kit..... During treatment I maintain .15ppm level for 14 days...... <A bit on the low-side... you want this to be the absolute lowest concentration (and no more than 0.35 ppm free cupric ion...)> I recently purchased a Red Sea test kit they claim to maintain .3 ppm for ten days based on there kit..... Any idea what the difference may be.... <The range of efficacy...> I have always thought levels above .20 ppm were toxic to fish.... Thanks for your help ! E-mail from Craig Smith <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/copperus.htm The linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Another Angelfish and the Prophylactic Use of Copper ) 3/14/07 Hi guys. <Leslie in for the guys this evening'¦> I have a 120 gallon FOWLR which was nearly "completed" recently. It has two 3" Regal Tangs, a 3" Yellow Tang, a 3" Coral Beauty, a 4" Purple Tang, a Longnose Hawkfish, a Purple Firefish and a Blackcap Basslet. <Wow, that's quite a combination there. I hope you are planning on a much larger tank sometime in the not to distant future. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but here goes'¦.. your tank is not appropriately stocked. You have 3 more Tangs than the recommended number, which would be one per system unless you have a very large system. 120g would not be considered very large. The Purple firefish belongs in a more docile environment. These fish have a tendency to hide and starve to death when kept with more pugnacious fish.> I had recently added the "final" addition, a very good looking Bluefaced Angel. It had been at the LFS for 4 weeks and was eating Mysis shrimp. <Very good signs!> I got him and since my quarantine tank was only 10 gallons and he had been looking good at the LFS a added him directly to my tank. <Woops, a larger quarantine tank would be in order.> Of course four days later he has velvet and dies two days after that. <Oh no, so sorry for the loss, but not unusual.> Naturally a day after he died, the Tangs were showing early signs of velvet too. So I bit the bullet and took out the live rock and cleaner crew. I treated the whole system with copper and even though the two Blue Tangs went down to the bottom on their sides, everyone recovered. <Very lucky, indeed.> So here is my question: I'd like to replace the Angel with either another Blueface or an Imperator. <Your tank is really to small for either of those fish. If you have your heart set on one of the large Angelfish you really need a bigger tank. Please do yourself and those fish a favor'¦.get a bigger tank and/or return some of those fish your LFS and re think your stocking plan.> Since the live rock is out and the water is medicated could I add the fish while the copper is still in as to avoid any ick or velvet breakout while adding him? <I wouldn't. Copper is a not gentle drug. I am not a fan of using prophylactic medication most of the time.> It's been about three weeks with the copper in the tank. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated. Francisco J. <Well those are my thoughts, probably not exactly what you wanted to hear but I hope they help, Leslie>

Follow up on Patrick Myer's choice in copper, test kits for same 3/9/07 Mr. Fenner, <Pat> You asked me to reply with the copper test kits I found most useful in combating my c. irritans problem. To be honest, I found the Red Sea kit the best for three reasons. First, the color grading on the test kit varies enough between the different levels and it is specific enough to allow for more accurate treatment. Second, it comes with its own copper dose, so you know that the test kit is made to test the non chelated copper you are using. And, third, it comes with non chelated copper which in my estimation is the best. <Ahh!> I tried using SeaCure copper and a Salifert test kit. What an expensive and deadly combination those two were in my hands. I could detect no copper at all with the Salifert test kit. Of course that did not stop the copper from being toxic and killing fish!! I then purchased the test kit from the same manufacturer (Aquarium Systems if memory serves correctly). I was able to detect a definite copper level, which I already knew I had because the fish told me so. The Aquarium Systems test kit was hard to use and the color changes between copper levels is a joke - seriously the difference between toxic level and therapeutic level was not too much different unless you are very keen at differentiating your shades of light blue. I overdosed a Powder Blue Tang with that one. I loved that fish too. I went from that debacle to the Red Sea and had success. Oh, I also tried the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals test kit, but it is so NON-specific that it is essentially worthless. <We are in agreement> The best success I had was running a specific gravity of 1.008-1.009 (I have a refractometer) and dosing the copper in a glass tank with 3" PVC pipes for cover and a Whisper HOB filter with bio-balls from a mature tank. On a positive note, I have another Powder Blue Tang in a 20 gal long QT right now and he is doing superb. I have had him for three weeks and he had "a spot" not really convinced that it was anything other that a figment of my imagination and paranoia at the time, but he got a weeks dose of copper and not a blemish since and that' been three weeks ago. I plan on keeping him in there for a few more weeks to fatten him up and get him ready for my reef tank that has a very robust eating, but very peaceful Hippo Tang. I'll have to see how it goes. I've had great experiences in the past with that combo even though some others have not. I really think it comes down to the size of the tank and the aquascaping. <Yes> Thanks so much for the advice. I think I will give the Marine Center a shot. They sure get a lot of great stuff. Sincerely, Patrick Myer <Again, thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Copper Treatment 2/19/07 Dear Mr. Fenner/James <Akila> I purchased a 3' Auriga Butterfly from the LFS yesterday and it's in my 20G QT now. I have dropped my Gravity to 1.015. Is this gravity suitable to treat the Auriga? The butterfly has not shown any ill effects up to now (tap on wood) but I have not fed him yet. <Personally, I wouldn't go much below 1.018.> I also want to treat this QT with chelated copper. This is the only type of copper available at the store. Do you think chelated copper is effective??? <Is effective but not easy to control. The dosage rate is usually related to tank volume, and if this volume is misjudged, the treatment can be ineffective or dangerously high. As for butterflies, they have a heightened sensitivity to copper, and long-term use can suppress their immune system making the fish more susceptible to other pathogens, kind of like throwing gas on the fire. Anyway, I like to use non-chelated copper. It generally has a half life of about 12 hours, so if the dose was slightly high, it would lower in a short time. When using non-chelated, it is very important to monitor the level at least twice a day to insure an effective treatment level. As for butterflies, I'd start with a half dose. If it were me, I'd order non-chelated copper from your nearest etailer and overnight it. Shouldn't cost that much shipping-wise for a small item like that.> My test kit says it measures Cu+2 what does this +2 mean? The range they have mentioned is 0.25 mg/l to 2.5 mg/l. What is the correct concentration I have to use to treat the QT fish??? <Bob, correct me if I'm wrong, but the Cu2+ is the chelated form. <<Mmm, no... there is another molecule tied/liganded to this. Copper sulfate (pentahydrate before dissolution in water... sometimes with addition of citric acid, other solubilizers... CuSO4, is a common formulation... this "breaks down" in basic (high pH) solutions... to yield the cupric ion (Cu++). RMF>> Cu+ would be the non-chelated which also forms a blue, blue/green coloration when mixed with a small amount of water. So, based on your info, your test kit is measuring chelated copper. <<Mmm... well... chelated copper "breaks down" to be the same ionic copper (Cu++)... over time... per design... neither looks blue unless in high concentration. RMF>> As for dosing, chelated would be 0.2ppm and ionic, 0.15-0.20 ppm. When using chelated, and treating by water volume, these levels will generally exceed 0.20ppm.> One last thing, how many times during this 2-week period should I change water and what percentage should I change. FYI I use natural seawater so should I do it frequently? <I wouldn't do this unless ammonia is detected. You must also monitor this during treatment. Two-week period? Treatment should last at least 21 days to ensure the kill of hatching (hatching doesn't sound right??) cysts, as copper is ineffective to them until then. Do use any chemical filtration during treatment, as it will absorb the copper from the water.> Hope to hear from you guys soon and thanks in advance for any advice. <You're welcome, James (Salty Dog)> Take care, Best regards, Akila

Re: Ich Outbreak 3/9/07 Thank you for your response. The ammonia detox is a Kent product. Could you tell me is .15 the correct reading for the copper test? <Again, depends on what types of fish you are treating. Did you not read the link and related files I gave you?> Treat with the copper for 21 days, then do water changes to rid the copper? <I would filter the copper out with chemical media such as a Poly-Filter or a good grade of activated carbon etc.> You also mentioned the hang-on filter, could you tell me in your opinion which would you recommend and how to go about using or seeding it? <Again, as I mentioned in the original query, with copper present, not much seeding is going to take place. As for a HOB filter for a QT, I would go with something inexpensive and easy to maintain. The Whisper is a good one in this regard.> Thanks again. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Butterflyfishes and copper treatment 2/16/07 Hello, <Good morrow to you> I would appreciate any help you could give me on my tank situation. I am really frustrated after losing a couple of fish and would like to figure out what I can do differently and what is the best course of action. <Okay... as in I will try to assist you> I have a 90-gallon quarantine tank that has been running consistently for about a year now. My water chemistry is all within normal range (Ammonia=0, Nitrites=0, PH=8.2, Alkalinity=normal, salinity=1.024); I don't know the nitrate level, and I will have to get a kit to test it. I assume it is pretty low, as I do 20-gallon water changes every two weeks, and I do not overfeed. <I see> Ten days ago, I moved four fish (3 wrasses and a firefish) from my quarantine tank to my main tank after treating and quarantine them for ich for about 4 months. They are doing well in my main tank. However, the fish I bought in the last 3-10 days have started to show signs of ich, and I have lost 2 of them--a yellow head jawfish and a yellow longnose butterflyfish. <Generally very sturdy aquarium species> Within a couple of days of adding them, they started showing signs of hemorrhaging and stopped eating. <Yikes... troubles, challenges ahead of your receiving them...> I found the yellow longnose butterflyfish this morning moving around in a 360 degree circular pattern, bumping into things, and it was dead shortly thereafter. My copper sulphate level is slightly below .20ppm. Does the hemorrhaging seem like it is a reaction to the parasites, the copper or both? <Mmm perhaps a combination... no way to tell... w/o knowing the history of these animals ahead of your receiving them... Were they at your dealers a good few days or more before your picking them up?> When I bought them, they were all eating and appeared in good health. All of them, with the exception of the jawfish, were in tanks with a copper level of .20ppm for at least a few days. Could the hemorrhaging indicate that they were exposed to copper for a few weeks? <Mmm, again... a possibility... but would take more than this exposure to "do them in" as you state> The fish store also was keeping the butterflyfish in a salinity around 1.018, <Typical...> so I took about 3 hours to acclimate the fish since my salinity is so much higher. <I would do this much more gradually... about a thousandth in density changer per any given day> I'm concerned about treating my butterflyfish (a pearlscale butterfly, a raccoon butterfly, a threadfin butterfly, and a Klein's butterfly, all around 2-3" each) with copper since I have done it unsuccessfully in the past (with a Pakistan butterfly, a latticed butterfly and a pearlscale butterfly), and I understand that butterflyfish are more sensitive to copper treatments. <Yes> In the past, I treated the ich early, but the level got a little high, around .25ppm. I appreciate your help. Jenny <I would not use copper of any sort if this is to be simply a Quarantine, and not a treatment tank... and if pressed to use copper, only a chelated variety/brand... and lower on the useful/efficacious concentration... 0.15 ppm free cupric ion. Bob Fenner>
Re: Butterflyfishes and copper treatment 02/17/07
Thank you for your feedback. I have a couple more questions regarding copper and treating ich. <Okay> My 90-gallon tank has been a quarantine and treatment tank for a year now, and I want to start stocking it as a regular fish tank. Since I've already got the nonchelated copper in my tank, I would imagine that I need to remove it with carbon or a poly filter before adding chelated copper? <Yes, I would> Since I want to add more fish and copper is so effective at treating ich, I'm thinking my best route would be to treat with copper, although I am concerned about its effects on the butterflyfish. Are freshwater dips really a good alternative? <Yes... can be... if the Cryptocaryon is not "too advanced"... as in cases where multiple generations are entrenched, embedded deep in the fish hosts integuments> It doesn't seem like it is nearly as effective as the copper treatments. Thanks again for your help. <Is much safer, less toxic... You have read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm scroll down... to dips/baths, the voluminous materials on Crypt, its treatment... the use of Copper... 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>

Re: White Spots! II - 01/14/06 Dear Eric <<Akila>> I am in a big mess. <<So I have surmised.>> My whole system is a mess now. <<Too much too fast my friend.>> I am sorry to bother you this much but I have no other alternative than telling you. <<No worries mate, I hope I can be of some help.>> All my fish are badly infected with white spots and there are some velvety patches on them. <<I suspect either your tank was not as "cycled' as you thought...or more likely you put too many fish in at once and overwhelmed your biofiltration.>> They don't eat and are not active. <<Very bad>> My Bannerfish is very weak. His banner fin is bitten of my wrasse so I removed the wrasse. <<Good move...I suspect you have (had) a mimic cleaner wrasse...bad news...>> I got hold of Chelated Copper Sulfate but there is no clear instruction on the bottle. <<?>> It says to use 5ml of Copper Sulfate to 40L of water. So my tank has 300L and I should use 60ml right? <<Mmm...by my calculations this would equate to a dose of 37.5ml.>> <The calculated gallonage is 300 liters? The actual gallonage is actually appreciably less... due to displacement by rock, gravel... RMF> So I did it. <<Likely you have poisoned your fish with an overdose of copper...a large partial water change is in order. Be aware that you have also wiped out your biofiltration. You will need to do large water changes every couple days...you will also need to replace your live rock once you finish treating these fish.>> I have no freaking test kit to measure copper levels and it is practically impossible to find one in the local market. <<A dangerous situation my friend. You need/must be able to measure the copper in your tank.>> The instruction on the bottle says to use copper for 2-4 weeks. So does that mean I should put 60ml of copper sulfate everyday? <<NO!...add the copper sulphate to a reading (you need a test kit!) of 15ppm...then maintain this level for 2-4 weeks as necessary.>> My clown is on the surface level doing badly. I am lost I feel like the end of the world. <<I'm sorry for your/the fishes pain...this could have been averted with proper quarantine/observation/treatment before placing in the display.>> I have 100's of very very tiny white spotty creatures running all over my tank's glass walls. What are these? <<Copepods?>> Are these causing white spots? <<I think not.>> How do you kill them off? <<The copper will do it.>> If by any chance my Bannerfish survive this crisis will his fin grow back? <<If it wasn't cropped off too close to the base it should, yes.>> I appreciate you response. Thanks, Best regards, Akila <<For your sake/the fish's sake Akila, do learn from this experience. Slow down a bit and set up a proper quarantine tank. Regards, EricR>>

Maracyn and Coppersafe Reaction 1/16/07 Boy did I screw up. <Uh-oh.> I have 125 marine tank. I had a huge case of ich...I added CopperSafe. <Doh!> The next day all my fish had pink fungus all over them. I added Maracyn. <Doh!> Now my tank looks like swamp water. <I bet.> I am losing fish one by one. <Not surprising unfortunately.> I don't know what is killing them now there is no sign of ich or the pink stuff. <The fact that you declared nuclear war on your tank.> I only added Maracyn once. <One time too many sadly.> My water STILL is swamp water green. HELP!!!! I have already done: 50% water change <Good> 80% water change <Good> 100% water change <Good> I have put a phosphate filter in the sump and a pantyhose sock with some granular phosphate remover. I leave my white lights off hoping that the light won't promote growth. Okay, I have now replaced ALL of the following: Live rock all 140# Live sand all 60# Water Now running Phosphate Carbon AmQuel and Cycle for life and water is still turning green slowly HELP!!!!! Emily Gansereit <The double hit of copper and antibiotics has made your tank hostile to most all marine life. The tank is now cycling and living organisms are starting to re-colonize the tank. This starts with the toughest, usually lower forms of life, like free floating algae. Best bet now is to test for copper in the water, if found do more water changes. Get some Poly-Filters and run these along with carbon and the Phosphate remover. Water changes are your friend for the foreseeable future. Also get a QT tank to avoid this situation if the future. With time and proper care the tank should return to normal.> <Chris>

Treating SW Puffers with "Ich" 1/4/07 Hello, <Hi Brenda, Pufferpunk here> I have tried to find my answers on your website but I need more instructions as I have tried a few things. I am fish sitting my sons puffer while he is on vacation. Before he left he thought his puffer had ich, he quarantined him in a 15 gallon tank (he is usually in a 55) and treated with copper. <Copper is extremely toxic & can be deadly if used incorrectly. Levels must be measured constantly.> After about three days he thought he noticed a small "burn" on his belly and so he put him back in the regular tank. <Copper> The ich still seemed to be there. Spots all over, cloudy eyes, eating funny. Holding food in his mouth and blowing it out. Then we did a three day treatment of quick cure. Spots still there. Did a water change and a very brief fresh water dip. No change. The spots are small like salt shaker. Today I noticed his eye looks like a patch of skin is peeling off. Please tell me what to do next. <Please read: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9 I'd also add Melafix to help heal the damage the meds have done to him. I hope he gets better soon. ~PP> Brenda

Huma Huma help 1/2/07 hello. <Hello, Graham here.> I have had a catastrophe... and want to help save my last fish... I purchased some turbo snails from the local pet store and after introducing them to my 75 gallon tank all my fish started scratching. I added Sea Cure and that was the end of my marine life. I lost 2 clown 2 damsel 1 yellow tang and my emperor angel.. now my trigger is left but he is still scratching away at his side. he has his whole belly red and flakey now. what can I do ? My tank was all zeros for no2, no3 and ammonia and a ph of 8.0-8.2.... I now have him out of the tank and in a quarantine.. he seems to be fine but he is scratching his skin really bad...I an dosing him with sea cure BTW. <Very hard to diagnose a problem like this when you can't see it. Send a high-resolution .JPG that has been either compressed in an image editor or to a .ZIP file. (Make sure the file is no bigger than 500k, but preferably under 100k) If you cannot send a pic, I recommend you try to work out an identification from our FAQs using the search tool.> Thanks Josh <Welcome.> <P.S. Bob F. : Please jump in if you see a red flag I'm missing! -Graham> <<Mmm... copper poisoning... removing the copper, hope, time going by... RMF>>

Copper 12/29/06 Bob, <Graham here, happy to help!> I have been in the marine hobby for 25 years and have a question about copper. I have a fish only aquarium with live rock. <How long has this setup been running & cycled?> After adding a few fish the aquarium came down with Crypt. <Same question as above. Are these the first fish in this system? If not, are you quarantining and/or dipping? How long after adding these specimens did symptoms appear?> I have been treating with Sea cure Copper and testing in AM and PM. I have to add a full dose (meaning 1 drop per gallon) in the AM and PM to keep levels at .15....Is this normal? <Normal? Yes. Firstly, know that Copper is best-utilized in a bare-bottomed tank (Hospital tank) as it it readily absorbed by any calcareous substances like L.R. & L.S. That said, you will have to *closely* monitor the Cu levels to maintain the proper .15 to .2 ppm you crave for Crypt. removal. This dosage in your display system spells problems for any inverts you plan for in the future. Hard to say without more specific info on your system like filtration, skimming, specimens. Here is a must read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/copperprodfaqs.htm > Also does adding calcium (for coralline algae) effect copper levels? <Hmm... I can't say I've ever heard that one posed. ...and after some (shallow) digging through the archives here, I don't see any connection between the two, but I am not chemistry buff. Try the google search of WWM and see what you turn up!> <<Mmm, yes, will precipitate copper in all formats to degrees. RMF>> Thanks in advance and Happy New Year !!!! <You're welcome! HNY to you too!> E-mail from Craig Smith <Graham Tasker>

Re: Copper & Crypt. 12/29/06 reply To respond to your questions: Aquarium set up for 8 years. Fish only (have no plans on inverts) Have the following fish: Adult Chrysurus Angel 8 years Adult Red Sea Imperator Angel 7 years Gold Flake Angel 7 years Red Sea Semilarvatus Butterfly 6 years Royal Gramma 8 years Coral Beauty Angel 4 years Red Sea Asfur Angel 5 years 4 Neon Gobies 2 years Purple Pseudochromis 2 years Clown Trigger 6 years <I'd like to see a pic of this setup.> Aquarium is approx. 90 gallons with 2 magnum 350 with micron filters....2 18 watt UV sterilizers (Change bulbs every 6 months and are connected after the magnums). Red Sea Prizm Pro Skimmer. Emperor 400 filter (mainly used for X-PO4 and Chemi Pure. and prefiltration. Also 1/10th HP Chiller with temp set at 77 degrees. 2-150 watt HQI 14,000K bulbs with lunar lights. 2 300watt heaters. Specific Gravity at 1.019. Use only RO water and Red Sea Pro salt. 2 Rio 1100 power heads for circulation. <I sure do like Wet/Dry with a system of this specimen-count.> The 2 fish I recently added 2 weeks ago are: Red sea Regal Angel Red Sea Purple Tang < I have to admit, this seems like a large bioload for this relatively small tank.> All fish are total pigs when eating..... No signs of stress..... It appears only the new additions have Crypt..... Very minimal signs on any other fish The substrate is a dusting of crushed coral which is gravel washed every 2 weeks when I do a 13 gallon water change The live rock was added 3 months ago approx. 100 lbs of I believe its called Allure (prior to that I had dead bleached coral which became a pain keeping clean..... I did not quarantine the new arrivals (never have in past) <Never a bad idea. Do you have the equipment to setup a small Q.T.?> Symptoms appeared 7-10 days after adding the new fish... <This would've been kept in a separate system... How confident are you that you properly identified the pathogen as Crypt.? If you are sure, then I wouldn't be discouraged yet. Eradication can take a little while, especially since your carbonaceous substrate and LR. is absorbing the Cu. Either way, please read these links. http://wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm You will be an expert after these reads.> pH 8.2 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate < 20 phosphate 0 Alk 3.0 Calcium 350 SG 1.019 Thanks Again Graham <You're supremely welcome, and Happy new year, Craig!>

Copper Safe, Not Safe for Everything 11/6/06 To the crew, <Hi> We all know that Copper Safe is supposed to do a number on marine ick, but what about other things like Soft corals (polyps, Leathers, Mushrooms)....does it have any affect on them at all? <Oh yes, and not a good one.> Also does it have any effect on Copepods? <Yes again, and not one you want.> As always your answers are greatly appreciated. Jon Orlando, FL <Get thee a QT/hospital tank for the benefit of your main tank.> <Chris>

Re: Copper Safe, Not Safe for Everything Part II 11/6/06 A Hospital tank, I have, but...The result I'm trying to achieve is to kill off bristleworms, there are just too many of them, along with Glass anemones. <Copper is not a good solution, too indiscriminate.> I understand that if I don't do something for them soon, they will multiply and take over the tank within months, if not weeks. <Maybe> What else can or should be done without infesting the hospital tank with bristleworms and glass anemones? Jon Orlando <Cut back on feeding for the Bristleworms, and either try a Peppermint Shrimp or two or injecting the anemones with a Kalk solution. Give a read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i3/aiptasia_impressions/aiptaisia_impressions.htm > <Chris>

Copper/Biological Filter 10/24/06 Hello all, <Hi> Well, after 18 months of referring to your invaluable site I'm in the process of buying the "stuff" for my 227g reef tank. Including 2 quarantine tanks. One for fish (20g) and one for inverts (10g). <Excellent> Sooooo exciting and thanks for everything!!! <Good luck on your new endeavor.> Gear includes Iwaki pump, PFO MH lighting with VHO and moonlights, Euro-Reef CS250, Tunze streams and Spectrapure Maxpac RO/DI. And a refugium! Couldn't have done it without you folks. <Sounds Nice> A question, please. I know copper kills the beneficial bacteria in a bio filter, right? <Mostly yes.> But--my LFS's all use it in there fish systems continuously and tell me they have no problem with their systems having ammonia or crashing. How is this possible with copper being used all the time? Thanks sooooo much, everyone. And Marina---what a doll. <We like her.> Excited in Lakewood, Ca. and love to you all God Bless Peter <Whenever I have heard of a LFS doing this they are not running it at "full strength". Probably why they have not had other problems. To be honest I would not buy a fish that has been exposed to copper long term, pretty nasty stuff when used incorrectly.> <Chris>

Copper/Biological Filter Part II 10/26/06 Thanks Chris, <Sure> But all 3 stores use it in their systems. And yes it is a lower dose. <A waste and stressful to the fish in my opinion.> But still, it doesn't effect their filtration???? Or, lower doses are not toxic to biological filter? <Not as toxic.> Thanks again Peter <Chris>

Copper and Live Rock 9/25/06 Hi Bob, <Hi, Chris here> Is it true that copper can kill your biological filtration system? (Live rock, Bio Wheels). <Yes> I have a 55 gal. FOWLR, emperor 400, SeaClone 150 skimmer, 18 watt turbo twist, 2 Hagen 802 powerheads. I can not keep more than 3 fish alive in there then they start dying off. <Tank infected with Ich.> My local source told me that the copper killed my live rock. Could that be the case... <Probably> Thanks Aaron <Chris>

Re: Ick Ick Ick 7/25/06 Thanks, I am going to go the copper route then. Is Cupramine ok? <Yes... one of the best chelated products here> One last question please. Should I just leave the live rock currently in the 35 in a holding tank for 6 weeks to ensure the ick is not still there or can I just put the rock in freshwater for a few hours to ensure it is clean of any ick? <Mmm, I'd likely leave it in place if you can manage to leave this system fallow for at least a month> Thanks for your time! <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ick Ick Ick, Cu use and skimming 7/25/06 Sorry Bob, <No worries> I cannot find a definitive answer for this. Is it ok to leave my skimmer on in the quarantine tank after the Copper is added? <Actually, need to shut the skimmer off... lest it remove the copper even more quickly than other processes combined. Bob Fenner>

Treatment of Gobies, Copper, Cupramine 7/10/06 Dear Mr. Fenner Thank you so much for your kind reply a little while ago, when I wrote to you regarding the terrible incident I had with my Clown Goby having a horrific reaction to copper. I thought that I would let you know that although my subsequent water changes prevented any further damage to her, she never really recovered, and died 5 days later. <Thank you for this update> I had been hoping that as she made it through 48 hours, she might recover, but I think the damage was too severe. I also wrote to the company who makes the copper treatment, to see what their advice was on treating Gobies with copper. I thought that you would be interested to see their reply, as they seem to think that copper does not have any ill affects on Gobies. I would be interested to see what you think, before I reply to them: "Cupramine works great on most copper sensitive fish like puffers and Angels. You will find that puffers are mush more sensitive to copper than gobies. We have had many people use Cupramine on gobies and puffers without a problem. I'm sorry for what your goby is going through but I can assure you it is not from the proper use of Cupramine. One dose of Cupramine (1 ml per 10.5 gallons) will result in a copper concentration of 0.25 mg/L. I suspect that your fishes reaction is a result of disease or possibly you used Cupramine inappropriately. <Possibly> Here are some questions that may help us figure out what occurred: Where did you get the water for the quarantine tank? Was it freshly made salt water? Did you check to make sure it matched pH, temperature, salinity, and that the ammonia and nitrite were at zero? <Good questions, concerns> Did you add any other chemical with the Cupramine? Water conditioner, medication, ammonia remover. Did you have a UV sterilizer running? <This will remove the copper...> Did you do anything that could have stressed the Goby prior to being placed in the aquarium? Freshwater dip Are you sure that the fish has ich or velvet? What you describe sounds like Brooklynella. (rapid progression, string-like material hanging off the fish) <A valid concern. Copper compounds will not treat this protozoan complaint... but it is rare on Gobiids/oids> Please let me know the answers to these questions and I will help you the best I CAN. <A very nice response indeed> Best Regards, Seachem Tech Support" Thank you for your time and help once again. Kind regards Claire <Thank you for sending this along. There is much to know/relate concerning copper's use... Not a simple, use so much of this, in such and such condition/s. Bob Fenner>

Copper Treatment...Tangs And Other Sensitive Fish 6/21/06 I'm about to start treating my purple tang, firefish goby, royal Gramma, and neon goby with copper to rid my tank of ich once and for all. The cleaner shrimp and garlic helped, but the ich would always reemerge after a few days. I have been reading for WWM for the last 2 hours about copper treatment to make sure I do it right. From my understanding measuring the amount of copper in the water is essential, especially when dealing with tangs and other scale-less fish/es. <Yes> I also read that many people seem to have trouble reading levels of chelated copper and that test kits are specific to either chelated or ionic copper. I have a bottle of CopperSafe (chelated) and a bottle of SeaCure (ionic). Which would you recommend I use? I also have a Salifert copper test kit on the way in the mail. <To measure the concentration of Copper Safe, a chelated or total copper test kit is required. All readings should be based on the total copper or chelated copper results and not the free copper results. The Salifert Test Kit measures dissolved or weakly chelated copper. Strongly chelated copper will measure very low or not at all with the Salifert Kit. I believe the Copper Safe is strongly chelated. Bob, do you agree?> <<Is, do. RMF>> Do you know which (if either) type of these two copper medications would the Salifert test measure more accurately? <The Sea Cure would be my choice.> Can I rely on this test kit? <Yes, a very accurate kit.> After reading several letters, it seems like many people treat the bare hospital tank as directed on the bottle but then get strange results when measuring with a test kit. <I'm guessing the proper kit isn't being used for the type copper they are using.> Also, I'm still confused as to the amount (ppm) and duration of treatment for tangs and other sensitive fish. 0.15-0.25 ppm of ionic or 1.5-2.0 ppm of chelated seems the standard, tangs and firefish too?? <I would monitor the copper level very close and maintain at 1.5ppm with these types of fish.> Twenty-one consecutive days is what most people seem to recommend. Then again I also read that Bob stated he would not treat a tang for this long and drop treatment to 14 days instead. <Bob, is this dated info, or can tangs be treated at 1.5ppm for 21 days safely?> <<Better to limit to minimum dose, exposure time. RMF>> Thank you in advance <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Re: Crypto ... carefully deciphering copper/cupric levels, testing... carefully 6/22/06 Thanks Jason for your quick reply! <Dave, James answered your query.> I failed to mention this morning that when I saw the problem had gotten much worse overnight, I sped things up and added another half dose of Cupramine to the system. The next half dose will bring me up to the .5 mg/L. Yes, I am watching this with a FasTest kit, but it's terribly hard to differentiate the colors. <Yes, the Salifert is much better in this regard.> I'm keeping a very close eye on my dosing levels as a secondary precaution and am getting another test kit today to help me make sure I have it right. When I stopped at the house today over lunch, I found that the spots had dropped from the Butterfly and the Hippo. My lion is still moderately affected, but it's not bad. <Should improve.> I noticed that my Red Coris seemed very lethargic and was laying half in, half out of the substrate. Since he was not visibly affected by the Ich, I filled a QT quickly with 10 gallons of new seawater I mixed this morning (yes, yikes), PH and temperature adjusted and moved him into it to get him out of the copper. Do you feel that the Red Coris Wrasse has a lower than usual tolerance for copper? <My opinion, yes.> Maybe I just panicked. My lion seems a little more sluggish than usual. Again, maybe it's just that I am unusually vigilant when I am dealing with a "coppered" system. I've heard that lions have a low copper tolerance. Do you agree with this, <Do not believe so, lionfish are pretty tough customers. Problem is, if you are having trouble determining the copper level with the test kit, then we are not sure what your level actually is.> and do you feel that the copper levels we are dealing with are worth exposing them to the potentially stressful QT environment? <QT should be a little less stressful than a coppered tank.> Most specifically I am trying to confirm that the Cupramine levels we are dealing with (.5 to .6 mg/L) are safe for: Red Coris Wrasse Volitans Lionfish Sailfin Tang Pearlscale Butterfly Blue Hippo Tang Snowflake Eel <Should be if that is the true copper level.> I think I'll go with your advice and continue the main tank's treatment for a full 3-4 weeks. <Yes, the length of treatment is critical to ensure all parasites have been eradicated.> Given the progress I've made today perhaps I can gain a foothold on the lifecycle by maintaining copper and adopting a watch and wait stance. <Yes, that is all you can do right now. In the future, do QT new arrivals for 30 days to be sure the animal is disease free.> Thanks again, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Dave Please help - Treatment of Gobies 6/19/06 Dear Mr. Fenner I am writing to you in great distress, in the hope that you might be able to educate me further in the type of medications that can't be used on Clown Gobies. With all the best intentions in the world, I put my Citron Goby in to my quarantine tank to treat for a whitespot/velvet infection. I started to treat her with Copper - Seachem Cupramine, to be exact. I only put the first days dose in. Everything seemed fine. Later that day I then went to browse the web for more information on the Green Clown Gobies I was thinking of buying. I stumbled across your very informative webpage for this breed, and noted, with horror that under the disease section of your Gobies page you write, "Gobioids for the most part are relatively disease resistant, with the exception of one type of disease, environmental. Though they have cycloid or ctenoid scales, they have about the same intolerance of harsh chemical treatments as "naked" fishes. Many more are bumped off from copper, malachite and formalin- containing medicants than from the infectious diseases they're used against." <Yes> In sheer panic, I rushed downstairs to see the horrific sight of my clown goby. Her skin had literally started to dissolve, and there were parts of her fins eroding at the edges, and places where he skin had bubbled up. Most horrifically, there were two places where the copper had eaten in to her body. She also had what looked like red blood lines to the rear of her gills ... internal bleeding? Words cannot describe how devastated I am. I rushed to do a 50% water change, using my main tank water, and started to run a PolyFilter, in order to significantly dilute the copper solution. <Good moves> 30 hours on, she is still alive, and there has been no further damage to her skin that I can see. I know that it is unlikely that she will survive this ordeal, but I am desperate to do all I can, and to make her as comfortable as possible. I am daily testing the water parameters. The QT is blacked out, and I am starting to lower the salinity, in order to keep and bacterial infections that could arise from the damage, at bay. Yours is the only website I have found that indicates towards this problem with Gobies. <Mmm... a speculation re the "capacity", utility of the Net at this juncture. I and others have written (magazine articles, books) touching on this topic/issue for many years> I have purchased a copy of your book, and have read there what you have written about this also. <Oh!> My very experienced LFS also had not heard of this problem. I was wondering whether you are able to tell me if this is a normal reaction by my clown goby to this treatment. <It is. Such "toxic" treatments, even with chelated copper solutions need to be carefully measured at about the near lowest physiological dose (0.15 ppm free cupric ion equivalent)> Also, does this happen to all Gobies? <Nearly all... though smaller individuals, species are more direly and quickly mal-affected> I understand that this reaction is caused by copper, malachite and Formalin-containing medicants. Does that mean any use of those mentioned substances, even at very low doses? <One can... in actual practice these materia-medica are used by public aquariums, wholesalers... daily> Would there be any difference in reaction from chelated and non-chelated copper? <Mmm, oh yes... The free cupric ion is really the only important measure in both/all cases. Utilizing sequestered compounds only/allows for a more "steady" dosage... The chelated is better for hobbyists and commercial settings in almost all cases. Free copper (sulfate) solutions are of value for raceway, open, culture, some high-tech. settings> Why is the Gobiodon reaction not a more widely know fact? <Mmm... ours seems an esoteric field... My next guess is that there are so few aquarists that "make it to" the level of serious keeping of this huge group of fishes that they have little chance/opportunity (as yet) to communicate their observations, findings> I would be very appreciative of any further information and help that you could give me. Kind regards Claire Read-Ball <I do sincerely hope that you remain active in this hobby field... And strongly encourage you to pen an article for sale to the print and electronic media in our interest for your and all's edification. Bob Fenner>

Re: Re-infestation of Marine Ich, Copper(Safe) use 6/1/06 Hi Bob and Crew, <Laurie> Help! I need your advice again! It's been a week since our first correspondence and here's what's been done and is going on: * All fish caught, dipped and moved to 29 gallon hospital tank on May 24 (we were up until 1 a.m.!) * Scott's Fairy Wrasse didn't do too well, but survived (he had spots before dipping). He seems to have recovered and is now eating and breathing very well. He had a few spots left; those are now gone, so the parasite is now in its second stage? <Possibly... you did treat this tank? With?> * Bristletooth Tomini Tang died the next afternoon (he had spots before dipping and was breathing with difficulty) * Goby jumped out of the tank three times; I was there to rescue him the first two times, but not the last time :^( He died on May 29. * I'm using CopperSafe. It states that copper test should show 1.5 - 2.0 ppm. I've found that I need to add more than the dosage documented in the instructions to get up to this level. I'm using SeaChem test kit. <Yes and good> * Water is disgustingly cloudy. I did 1/3 water change two nights ago, with no improvement (and added the appropriate amount of copper and tested to be sure). (Tank is running with an AquaClear 70 (sans carbon) and two powerheads - water should be moving at around 700 gph.) * Blenny is doing OK. Thankfully, he is eating Seaweed Selects. * Remaining fish are doing well (Banggai and Pajama Cardinalfish and Yellow Candy Hogfish) <And... you are testing for ammonia, nitrite?> Here's where I need some advice. CopperSafe states to treat for 5 - 30 days. Article says start reducing copper after 2 weeks. I don't really understand the article, as I read that parasites take 5 - 28 days before swimming to find a host. As the copper levels are reduced, will it still be an effective parasite killer? <Mmm, no... needs to be kept at a therapeutic dosage/concentration for the duration of treatment> I thought not, which is why it's important to keep the correct level of copper?? <Yes> So, if these were your fish, would you treat full-strength for 30 days, or start reducing after 2 weeks? <Keep at full-strength> If reducing, would you reduce via water changes only, or by adding carbon back to the filter? <Likely just time going by and water changes...> Thank you. I really appreciate your help. Regards, Laurie O. <Bob Fenner>

Copper, basses/soapfish - 05/29/06 Hi again, I have another quick question for you. Can you treat the sixline grouper with copper safe? <Yes> Have a feeling you can't. I already dosed my 60 gallon tank with 75ml as per instructions, but I do not think I did the right thing as the sixline is getting some white on him "draping". Should I get this stuff out of the tank ASAP? It has only been in the tank for two days. I have some poly filter I could put in. Thanks Again <Please see WWM re whatever you're trying to actually treat here, copper use... Bob Fenner>
Soapfish Copper Treatment...Panic - 05/30/06
Hi, I need to know if you can treat the Soapfishes with Copper Safe. <<As far as I am aware, yes...though I would proceed with caution/observe the fish closely for adverse reactions/distress>> I have a clown grouper and sixline that are in a tank I have treated with Copper Safe and think I may have done the wrong thing. <<If this is the display tank then yes, you have damaged your biological filter if nothing else>> They just ate a good meal - so maybe I am wrong, but with the threads on your site make me think otherwise. <<The result of a knee-jerk reaction. You don't state why you thought you needed to medicate the fish...but is obvious you didn't research beforehand>> Should I Poly-Filter out the copper? Not trying to rush you, I know it is a holiday and all - but my groupers are really cool and I don't wanna lose them. <<Understood...Yes, I would do a 30% water change and add carbon/Poly-Filter to your filter flow path...and move the fish to a hospital/quarantine tank if they truly need medicating>> I really appreciate your info. Thanks - Dan <<Regards, EricR>> Also, my water is in good shape - barely any nitrate, but I don't think you can get it to zero while feeding groupers. <<Indeed...a nitrate reading below 15ppm is generally considered "acceptable" on most FO/FOWLR systems. Keep a close eye on this and perform water changes as needed as you will likely see a rise in nitrates until your bio filter recovers. EricR>>
Soapfish Copper Treatment...Panic II - 05/30/06
Thanks for the reply, I woke up this morning and everyone looks better. <<Ahh, good>> I added the CopperSafe on Friday and it's been in a little over two days. I initially treated the fish this way because they have Ick that I think was brought in by two damsels. I did the old pour the water in the bucket and dump the fish in method. <<I see...>> I know, big mistake. Shows you healthy looking fish are not always what they seem. <<Indeed>> Anyway... I put the CopperSafe directly in the tank because I am starting a new system in a couple of weeks and figured it doesn't really matter. <<...?>> So I had about 30lbs. of live rock and 20lbs. of live sand in the tank, is it all doomed or will it recover? <<Will likely be fine>> I also did not take the carbon out of my filtration when I added the CopperSafe, so in affect...did I weaken the treatment? <<Mmm, yes>> The carbon was only a couple of days old. Don't mean to go on, it's just that I can't really get good answers anywhere else. <<I hope I'm being helpful>> So I am going to take your advice and do a 30% water change and add a new Poly-Filter. <<Excellent...the Poly-Filter will/should show some blue coloration if there is any remaining copper in the system>> Thanks -Dan <<Regards, EricR>>
Soapfish Copper Treatment...Panic III - 06/01/06
Hey Eric thanks again... <<You're welcome>> You are definitely being helpful; while on that subject... let me pick your brain some more. <<Okay>> The reason I said it didn't matter about treating the whole display tank was actually thought out. 1 - I am planning on getting the copper out via water change and Poly-Filter, and 2 - I just purchased a 135 gallon (to make fish only) tank with wet/dry, sump deal. <<cool!>> I decided now though that I would like to take my 25 gallon reef and transfer it to the 60 gallon. I am wondering if the live rock that was treated in the 60 gallon will be ok left in as I make it into a reef set up. <<There's a good chance the rock is fine...but this is a great opportunity to use new rock for its fresh mineral content/bio diversity>> I have a really awesome 25 gallon reef tank and things are growing too big for the tank. I want to transfer the whole tank, but wonder even after water changes and Poly-Filter if that is enough or will my reef stuff be in danger? <<Mmm, may not me worth the risk for you then...>> I am thinking the CopperSafe will be gone or mostly gone and it should be fine? I think. <<Considering the single dose was quickly diluted/removed by the presence of carbon in your system there's good chance all will be fine...but the final decision is up to you mate>> Thanks again Eric - Dan <<Cheers, EricR>>

Copper - 04/27/06 Dear Mr. Bob Fenner <Rachel> Thanks a lot on the last reply. I need a bit more of your valuable help. Do you think that my tank's beneficial bacteria will adapt to chelated copper and grow over time even though copper is still in the tank? <Can to some extent, yes> And also is chelated copper effective to treat a tank because some people say that ionic copper is better? <Is actually only ionic copper that is much use here. The chelating/sequestering is valuable to keep a ready dosage in solution... put another way, the use of a chelate allows one to place a much larger, slowly-de-chelating concentration in place...> Why? It's pretty hard to find a good test kit for chelated copper. Do you know of any good brand that'll do the job because Seachem test kit didn't work at all? <There are several... see/use the Net re> From the day that I got my Bannerfish it only eats dried worms and the LFS said it's not that nutritious. I heard that Vitamin C is really good for fish so is it alright if I dip dried worms in Vitamin C and feed it? <Mmm, marine fishes drink appreciable amounts of their environment... and there are ancillary benefits of adding vitamins directly to the water... This is what I would do here> Also I got a Vitamin C liquid from a Pharmacy and this certain brand is for little children. Its pure Vitamin C. Do you think it'll be good for fish? Best regards. <All Vitamin C molecules are identical, of use> Rachel <Bob Fenner>

Copper, Bubbles & Yellow Color - 04/23/06 Hi Mr. Bob Fenner <Rachel> First of all your site is great! Learnt a lot and still learning. <Ah, good> I have an 80G Marine tank running for about 3 months now. It's a fish only tank with one Volitans Lionfish, a Bannerfish, a Clarkii Clownfish and one Klunzinger's Wrasse. <This last... the Thalassoma wrasse is a beauty but requires quite a bit of space to move to stay happy...> I have cycled it and was running great for a couple of months but recently developed some problems. First thing is that I saw 2 white little spots of my clown and one spot on my Banner's fin after about one month of no signs of disease can that happen? <Oh yes> So I was worried and called the LFS they offered me Chelated Copper immediately so I came home added it directly to my tank as instructed. <Mmm... not to your main tank...> I took the Activated Carbon out of my Canister and switched off the protein skimmer following the instructions of the LFS as they told me it removes copper. Did I do a bad job? <Quite likely...> Will the Copper affect my Beneficial Bacteria? <Yes> Because there is a slight detection of Nitrite? And I don't have a QT. Also my water is slightly yellow for the last couple of weeks and I don't know why? <The lack of carbon, skimming, the copper effects...> Is it a sign of overfeeding? What can I use to get rid of the yellow? <See the above> My tank has developed a lot of bubbles recently on the surface although I have two powerheads running smoothly and also have a powerful airstone? Is it because of the copper? <Yes... the effects thereof> Is there anyway to stop this bubble collection ?? <See the above...> My fish seems to be okay as they behave normally but my lion seems to rest a lot but he eats very well? Do you think this is normal? <... perhaps> And how do you calculate whether a fish is rapid breathing? <Counting with the use of a time device... tapping a pencil on a piece of paper if rapid...> I'm planning to add live rock very soon but I don't to how to do that with copper in my water is there any way to remove copper before adding live rocks? Please let me know what you think of my situation. Hope to here from you soon. Thanx a billion. <Mmm, used to be millions... more evidence of inflation. Your answers and many more related items of use are posted on WWM... Please start reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/copperfa.htm and on to the linked files at top. Bob Fenner> Rachel

Copper Treatment 3/17/06 Hi there, <Hello.> It is me again. I would like to tap your vast experience on the copper treatment for the following kinds of fish which I currently have and experience a Ich outbreak. Would they survive a copper treatment? & which one I should NOT treat with copper or reduce dosage? 1. Regal Angel 2. Coral Beauty -- a dwarf angel 3. Firefish 4. Cleaner Wrasse ( have been with me for 1.5 years).? <Lucky you.> 5. Red Shoulder Fairy Wrasse <All can be treated with copper, just be sure to monitor with a copper test kit. Doses should not exceed 0.2ppm. Do google our web site for copper treatment info.> Your help is much appreciated. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Regards.

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>

Copper and Silicone 03/9/06 Will CopperSafe effect <affect> my silicone? <The silicone will absorb some copper but no harm will come to the silicone. James (Salty Dog)> Pls help

Copper & Epsom Salt? - 03/05/06 Hi, Bob, <James today> It's me again. I have asked questions on Ich-Attack, Hyposalinity & Epsom salt ..etc. and you have been such a patient consultant to have provided me with the effective answers and suggested me to the route of chelated copper. Well, I will follow your advice to administer chelated copper sulfate ("CopperSafe" from Mardel) treatment on the sick fish in my FOWLR ( I will remove the Live rocks first). <<... there is still "too much" other "stuff" here to use copper. RMF>> The questions I have for you are :_ 1. As I have treated an Anthias with Epsom salt for past few days, would chelated copper sulfate interfere/react with Epsom Salt ( I believe is Magnesium Sulfate) and cause any toxic compound or making copper toxic for the fish? <Should not.> 2. What's the best way to eliminate toxic ammonia/nitrite arising from administering copper treatment in aquarium? Would Amquel+ from Kordon be able to do the job here or would it interfere with the copper to make it toxic? <It shouldn't, but I would do small water changes instead and add CopperSafe to the new water. Do use a copper test kit to ensure an effective dose is maintained.> Please advise. 3. Is it true that copper will be toxic in low pH? <Should not, and you shouldn't allow the pH to drop to begin with.> Best regards & thanks in advance. You have been most helpful!! <You're welcome, and do search/read on copper treatment on our site. James (Salty Dog)>

Copper treatment - 3/1/2006 Hi Crew, <Chris> Perhaps you guys can help me. I've been treating my fish only marine system with Cupramine for an outbreak on ich. <... not a good idea to treat the main tank itself...> I've tested the levels with both the SeaChem kit and the Salifert kit and it's always been about 0.4 <A bit high... have you read on WWM re?> On day 3 of the treatment I lost a regal angel and my other tangs and butterfly's were shaking, darting around and most stopped feeding. <... poisoned> I've tested all the water parameters and apart from the copper (0.4) they are all okay. On day 4 I lost a yellow tang and then a red tail pearl scale. Obviously I stopped the treatment and removed the copper with PolyFilter but I am totally baffled by the strong reaction the fish had to a well regarded product (Cupramine). The ich was not serious enough to explain the deaths and now the copper has been removed the fish are almost back to normal and yes the ich is still there. Here's the thing, i am running a sulphur denitrator on the system and I'm wondering if you are aware of any toxic reactions which may have occurred when copper mixed with the sulphur in the low ph of the reaction chamber. <... could be> I may be completely off on this explanation but I know these units are fairly new and if this was somehow linked to my experience I'd like to warn others. One last point, I stripped down the denitrator and cleaned the sulphur beads with water. I reconnected it to the system after the copper had been removed and whilst I was commissioning it i.e. letting the water run through it fully open the fish started flicking and shaking again before I finally switched it off. Any idea what's happening? Many thanks Chris <For reasons gone over and over on materials archived on our site, I would not treat a display tank as you have done. The free copper (what you're likely relating, measuring) is too high for the species listed... How to put this... there is a narrow range of efficacy/toxicity with copper... "Some is good, too little is worthless, a bit too much is poison". Read my friend. Bob Fenner>

Cupramine, filter bed safe? - 3/1/2006 Greeting WetWeb people! I hope all is well with you. My question concerns Seachem Cupramine. I have a Royal Gramma with ich (he was the only guy in the 24g reef tank). I have removed him and placed him in a 10 gallon with a few pieces of live rock, <...> and a marineland bio-wheel 100 filter (tanks up to 20g). Here are the questions finally after much, much reading in the Copper FAQ's. Is this going to effect my bio-wheel or my live rock bio-filter at all? <Mmm, yes, likely will interrupt nitrification... You'll have to monitor, have new water ready for change-outs> Seachem Tech via telephone said it won't be enough to be terribly concerned due to it being ionic and amine based. <Only experience will/can tell...> I wanted to get you guys and gals take on this. <Mmm, a bit less effect (on "average") than free/ionic copper use, but still will likely subtend...> Obviously some copper will be absorbed by the live rock, <You'll want to remove this... will absorb almost immediately> but that's ok...I'll be testing regularly. <... try it...> By the way, would you truly go with the Cupramine, or the other Seachem product called Paraguard? I've also read of some people having good success with it against ich (In a QT of course!!!) Thanks all for your time and advice!!! <... depends on a mix of variables... Both are efficacious... but would try one OR the other. Bob Fenner>

Copper removal - 02/27/06 I had an outbreak of marine ich right and added copper. I want to reduce the copper levels soon because I recently installed a UV filter. I know I can't turn it on until the copper is gone but I also have very porous volcanic rocks as decoration. Is there a special way to clean them to get rid of the copper it absorbed or should I just take them out? <Read FAQ's here for info. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/curemovalfaqs.htm> Thanks. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Skimmers/Operation & Disease/Treatment 2/22/06 Hello, <Hello> I got two quick question I hope you can help me with. First, what is the difference between wet skimming and dry skimming and which is better for nutrient export? <Dry skimming produces dryer foam and exports nutrients more efficiently. Wet skimming generally produces a tea like color in the collection cup and not as productive as dry skimming.> Second, I have a ten gallon hospital tank and I am treating my blue tang for marine ich using Mardel Coppersafe and I need to make a small water change (2 gallons enough?). <Yes.> After the water change do I reapply more Coppersafe or just leave the 12 ml I added in the beginning? Thanks and you guys rock. <You should use a copper test kit when using copper to ensure an effective dose is always present and monitor on a daily basis. Tangs are sensitive to copper and overdosing can cause more harm than good. James (Salty Dog)> Walid Medications/Copper/Dosing So when testing copper, what level would be too high when using Copper medication? <You should strive to maintain 0.20ppm, no higher. James (Salty Dog)>

Disease/Ich ... actually copper use 02/12/06 Dear Crew, Thanks again for the help and your quick reply. <You're welcome.> Just a few more questions. First, I used the recommended dosage of Copper Safe which brought the level to 2.0 total ppm of chelated copper.<I hope it's not 2.0. Should be 0.2ppm.> According to the test kit (Aquarium Pharmaceuticals) this is total copper. Is this sufficient? <Yes.> I'm asking because even after a couple of days the fish are still scratching even after an initial fresh-water dip before being quarantined. <The 0.2 level needs to be maintained for at least 21 days. Not going to see overnight results. Do check copper level at least daily and adjust. James (Salty Dog)> <<Doh! 2.0... RMF>>

Disease/Ich - 2/11/2006 Dear Crew, <Hello Jeff.> Thank you for all the great info I've learned since I discovered your website. <You're welcome.> My tank came down with ich and I've moved everyone into a q-tank with the exception of my hermits. I was wondering if they need to move also? Do hermits harbor ich parasites? <No to both.> Also, should I change treatment to ionic copper? The q-tank was treated with chelated copper (Copper Safe). I've ordered a copper test kit from a supplier to the water industry so I can get accurate readings. <Whether you use chelated or ionic you still need to test daily to ensure effective levels of copper are present. The copper choice is yours to make.> One last thing, if I let my show tank sit fallow for a month with nothing in it (meaning nothing excreting into the water), how do I keep my biological media from dying off? <Your hermits should keep some level of bacteria active. I wouldn't put all the fish back at once though. Do one a day starting with the most timid. This will allow the bacteria to adjust without getting to dangerous levels.> Thanks again for your help. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Sincerely, Jeff

Ich / copper / knowledge transference 2/7/06 Hello, <Hello> I'm about to fire up the QT tank and treat all of my fish for Ich. I have a compressed Toby and want to double check and make sure he will be okay with Copper Sulfate? I think all of my other fish should be fine. <I'd keep the therapeutic dose at the low end (0.15-0.20) and use a chelated brand> Also, how long should I treat with copper in the QT tank before I start adding carbon to remove the copper? Thanks David <Much, much more to state here... and is stated on WWM... see there re Crypt, Copper use... Bob Fenner>

Copper overdose in Purple Tilefish? 1/21/06 Bob, <Art> I recently purchased a Purple Tilefish, who was eating like a pig, four times a day. The second day, I noticed a light outbreak of ich on him, <... no quarantine> so I began to treat him with Seachem Cupramine (He is sharing a 30 gal. quarantine tank, <Oh!> only glass and water, with a Comet, who has shown no symptoms). I built up to the recommended dose at half the manufacturer's recommended schedule, and as I got nearer to 6L (the total dose recommended for 30 gal., in order to reach 0.5 ppm), I dosed in increments of one fourth the manufacturer's directions. I did this because there is very little info available on the Purple Tilefish, and I suspected he was sensitive to copper. <You are correct here> He tolerated the dose with no side effects whatsoever to a total of 4.25L (between 0.25 and 0.5 ppm), but the morning after I added another .75L, to a total dose of 5.25L, he was listless, stopped begging for food, stopped eating, started twitching his head, and he has the darkened, splotchy areas on his body (spine and around the eyes) that I have come to associate with copper poisoning (yes, I have done this before). <Yes...> I immediately performed a 10 gal. (one third) water change, and installed a couple of poly filters to remove the copper. A day later, he is still alive, but also is still not eating, still twitching, still has the dark areas, and one eye appears to be slightly popped, although not cloudy. <All symptomatic...> The Comet, meanwhile, appears to be fine. He may have skipped a couple of meals, but he has resumed eating. Are the symptoms I described consistent with copper poisoning, in your experience? <Yes> Can fish recover from this, and if so, will his normal coloring return, and what about twitching he pop eye? <All can be recovered from> This is the first time I have seen these symptoms associated with copper poisoning. <Mmm, would bear your "writing all up", presenting as an article, pitch to hobbyists, professional aquarists> As far as the Comet is concerned, I am naturally reluctant to continue his quarantine period with copper. If he shows no symptoms of ich for the rest of his quarantine (another week and a half), can I add him to my display tank at that time, and be reasonably sure that I have not introduced the parasite to the display tank? <I might risk this... passing the fish through a prophylactic dip (just slightly reduced spg, a spritz of formalin mixed in)> I recently finished going fallow, and I don't want to do it again, but I have more fish on the way that I need to put into quarantine. I would very much appreciate your expert advice. Thanks, Art <Difficult to state what I might due w/o looking at the animal, but am inclined to encourage your moving it... lest it perish otherwise. Bob Fenner>

CopperSafe... copper use period 1/20/06 We have been dealing with Ich since we put up our tank, we were treating with CopperSafe. The first set of fish all died. We emptied, cleaned, and changed everything on our tank. Now our new fish have it. We are treating with the CopperSafe, which says to add 1tsp. / 4gal. <Mmm, with testing...> And this treats for one month. It has been almost three weeks and it is still there. It says the treatment lasts for one month. Does this mean that I only need to add the solution to the water once a month. <Negative> I am confused. And my Bala Shark, an Guppies seem to be dying once again. I would really appreciate any suggestions, since I have already spent over 100.00 buying and replacing my sons pets in the last three months. Thank You <One should only use copper products while simultaneously utilizing test kits... to assure therapeutic levels... for either chelated (as here) or free cupric ion formats... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/copperprodfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Ich!!!!! Don't believe what you hear or read... gather data, think, then act I've never had a problem with the 30 gallon reef tank that my children (10 & 12) set up (with my help) they do weekly water checks and everything has always been good Calcium 380, Alkalinity is 8.0, they do 10% water changes each week. Then over the holidays decided they would add 2 Tank Raised True Percula's. They were quarantined for 2 weeks by a friend. Then added to the tank now three weeks later Ich. <Even the best laid plans...> Went out and bought another tank to do our own quarantine/hospital tank. Here is my problem, from reading (not enough) I did make sure the salinity was 1.019, temperature 80, the LFS told me don't need to do a dip, and that the tank had to have coral, <?> plus said that no one sold copper tests anymore. <Incorrect> Where I said I saw them online and they said but they will email you that they are out of stock. Thinking maybe something had changed. Believed them and said okay. Added the copper, but now I think do I have to tear it all apart and take out the bottom coral and leave it's bottom bare? <Sigh... yes> (I mean the tank not the fish!) My children want to save these fish and the cost I feel in the long run was worth the cost and it was a good lesson in learning for them. But is this a lesson also that some people can and will advise you wrong even if they are a well established LFS? <Yes, unfortunately... we're people, not the pope... fallible> Please advise. P.S. My children even have a battery back up on there because when we have these rain storms and power outages here in Northern California. I want them to do this correctly and learn. Now they want to take Scuba to learn and experience the places where all their corals come from. Your web site has taught them so much and they have even purchased your books. Thank you for any insight. M <Your answers, protocol are posted, over and over on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Porcupine puffer disease diagnosis... unsuitable water quality, copper exposure, - 01/12/2006 Hello, Your web site seems quite helpful in disease diagnosis, so I hope you can help. I have a 100 gal. saltwater tank that I have had for about 8 months and have had the porcupine puffer for about 7 or so. The problem is that he has not eaten anything in the last 2 weeks, he is still very active and always greets me with excitement. <... have you read on WWM re feeding puffers, diodontids?> The water quality is good salt 1.022 <I would raise this to near seawater strength... 1.025> ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates less than forty <Keep under twenty...> as far as can tell. I do use copper in the recommended dosage <Stop! This is toxic to your livestock... should not be used on a continuous basis... some folks think never on puffers... can/will account for the non-feeding by itself> and have so since I have had the tank. <This is a mistake> He shows no external signs of disease, he acts hungry when I bring his feeding cup around but when i put the shrimp in he goes for it once or twice then just lets it fall to the bottom. Before I could barely feed my bottom feeder because he would eat everything I put it. I know I need to vary his diet other than shrimp but as of now he does not want to eat, food suggestions would be helpful. The damsel, sailfin, and snowflake eel are all happy/healthy fish. I don't know what to do he does not match any disease charts he just wont eat. Thanks <... not a disease, unless you consider iatrogenic/induced, poor supplied circumstances as cause... Read on my friend. Your answers are on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Copper blind 1/4/06 Happy new year from British Columbia <And to you from sunless Michigan> I would have asked a question long ago but your web site seems to answer pretty well everything. Anyway my dilemma is around copper treatments. I picked up CopperSafe and a test kit which will read the levels of free copper and chelated copper sulfate (Aquarium pharmaceuticals). I measured precisely 16 gallons (US) of salt water, and added exactly the recommended amount of copper and added it to the hospital tank. The recommended level from the directions should have ended up being 1.5 -2.0 ppm, but it seems to be well below that amount. The colour on the chart makes me feel colour blind, but so do all the other test kits I have. My other family members back me up with opinions about the colour on the chart. The hospital tank contains a heater, air stone, 10 pvc fittings and I'm using an aqua-clear 70 with a regular foam pad to help capture solid wastes. The test kit was the only one I could find within 50 miles of here. (the Question) : Do I trust the manufacturers amounts or should I trust the test kit or could the addition of the Aqua-clear affect the results by absorbing the copper in the foam pad? <I'd trust the test kit. Keep in mind that PVC, substrate, etc, will absorb some of the copper which is why you are reading a lower level than expected. For copper to be effective you should test on a daily basis and adjust if necessary.> I checked out Hach copper test kits and they are over 10 times the cost of an normal priced one. There doesn't seem to be any in stock in BC. My fish are all in the hospital tank right now and I'd hate to put them through all this for a dose that won't do the trick. <Understood. Do maintain an effective dose for a minimum of 21 days.> I'll take a second to thank everyone at wet web media and all the people who write in with their questions. All the problems and answers are very helpful in this fascinating hobby. <Thank you. James (Salty Dog)>

Hyposalinity vs. Copper 12/22/05 Hello WWM crew, <Hello Misty> Looking forward to seeing and meeting some of you at our Next Wave Conference at the end of January here in Dallas. I owe you all some in-person "thank you's" for the past four years of advice and help. <We look forward to that> Anyway, the decision at hand today is treating ich with hyposalinity vs. copper. I've been lucky to not have to deal with ich for the first four years as a hobbyist. I guess my time is up on that front. <We all get a turn at one time or another.> I have a Kole Tang that has had a break-out. The only other affected fish is my bi-color blenny - right now at least. Of course, all of this happens two days before I leave town for the holiday (I leave this Friday), but my husband will be in town to carefully administer whatever regimen is necessary (this being the same husband who turned off the lights on my fuge a couple of years ago for 4 days because it bugged him while he was watching TV...hmmm). <Ah, husbands are like wives.> So, if you are in my shoes, what would you do? I've heard about tangs vs. copper. I've heard that copper can be more effective than hyposalinity. Here's what I have to work with immediately: 120-gallon display tank containing inverts and the following fishes: 1 Banggai Cardinal 1 Bicolor Blenny 2 False Percs 1 Target Mandarin 3 Green Chromis 1 Kole Tang 29-gallon baby Banggai grow-out tank, with a one-year old "baby" in it - so it's cycled and ready to go, has a Remora skimmer, too. Empty 75-gallon tank My initial thought is to remove the affected fish immediately to the 29-gallon and begin a treatment of some sort (would appreciate thoughts on the best treatment option). Then, when I get back into town (next Monday night), set up the 75-gallon tank and remove the rest of the fish from the display in order to give them a bigger QT/treatment tank and allow for the fallow period of the display tank. If the other fish are not affected, then I could possibly put them in the 75 and only have the affected fish in the 29 as well. Thoughts? Advice? Magic potions? Thanks again, in advance. I owe you a cocktail when you get to Dallas. <Always nice to be on the receiving end.> :-) <Misty, I'd put the affected fish into the 29, remove the skimmer using a power head for circulation and begin (immediately) treatment with a chelated copper (Copper Safe) as I'm thinking your husband is not going to test copper levels and adjust on a daily basis if you use the non-chelated form, and, you may not want him to. Then I'd follow your plan of relocating the remaining fish into the 75 and let the display go fallow for a month. You may very well end up treating all the fish in the 75 as others will probably be infected. I'm posting a link on the subject for your reading. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm Good luck. James (Salty Dog)> Kind regards, <And Happy Holidays to you> Misty Johnson
Re: Hyposalinity vs. Copper...decisions, decisions 12/24/05
Thanks so much for the quick reply. <You're welcome.> Another quick question - what if catching the tang is his doom vs. trying something else? He was hiding out last night in an alley between two live rock sections. <If the ich is visible and nothing is done to correct it, he will be doomed anyway. At this stage its much less stressful on the tang if he were by himself.> So, I did what I could and picked up a cleaner shrimp and "Marine Max" - as recommended by my LFS based on his prior experience with the product and a yellow tang in a new tank with ich. <The cleaner shrimp isn't going to eradicate the parasite.> I picked up some Garlic Xtreme as an appetite booster, <This helps.> since Mr. Tang is looking a little thin as well. IF I can catch him without really stressing him out to his doom, I already have the Copper Safe ready to go. The blenny shouldn't be a problem to catch since he shows up for feedings with the rest of the dogs. <About the only choice you have is to remove the rock and catch him. Chasing him all over the tank with a net isn't going to improve health matters. Much easier to QT before adding fish into the display tank.> I think I'll owe myself a cocktail, too, after all of this :) <I usually have one as a prevention. James (Salty Dog)> Misty Johnson

Copper Treatment for Crypt and Ammonia Problems (PLEASE HAVE BOB FIELD THIS QUESTION) 12/17/05 Dear Bob, <That's Bob Field to you...> I would like to start out by saying that i wish i would've listened to your recommendations for quarantining all fish before introduction to the main tank, because if i did, i wouldn't have to write this particular letter to you. I would also like to thank you and the WWM crew for all of the time that you guys put into maintaining this site. <Woulda, coulda, shoulda... and what about these "i's"?...> Due to some nasty Ich outbreaks in my two main tanks (46 bow reef and 55 FOWLR) I had to take immediate action and remove all fish for copper treatment. I plan on letting the two main tanks run without any fish for about 6 weeks. I have read through all of the Copper FAQ's and have come across many horror stories about Ammonia killing the fish in treatment due to lack of a biological filter. <Yes... common, and easily avoided...> I am trying to make sure that this doesn't happen to me. I need your opinion on my plan of action against the Ich before I begin treatment. Here's the plan: 20 gal tank with 3 inch Brown Spotted Grouper, 4 inch Maroon Clownfish, 4.5 inch Blue Velvet Damsel, 2 inch Yellow Damsel, 2 inch Brown Leaf/Wasp Fish, 1 inch Chromis. 20 gal tank with 2 inch Niger Trigger and 3.5 inch Humu Trigger. 20 gal tank with 15 inch White Eye Moray and 3.5 inch Niger Trigger. All tanks will have a specific gravity of 1.017 and be treated with CopperSafe chelated copper treatment. I will either test with a Seachem or Salifert copper test for chelated copper. All 3 of the 20 gallon tanks will share a 20 gallon sump that will have a Magnum 350 Canister filter and Jebo/Odyssea Canister filter (don't know model # but it filters 350 gph) with ammonia media in place of the carbon media. Also I will use a Turboflotor 1000 with Oceanrunner 2500 pump in the sump and maybe a modified Seaclone 100. Here's my questions about all of this: How much and how often should I feed these fish to reduce the possibility of an Ammonia spike? <Sparingly daily for the "not big meaty eaters"... once or twice a week for the latter> Can all of the aforementioned livestock be treated with chelated copper? <Mmm, yes... the Moray is the one who will least "like it"> What copper level should I aim for with this type of livestock? <0.15- 0.25 ppm free cupric ion... consistently... not higher, lower> Is it okay to use Ammonia pads and Ammonia media for filtration during copper treatment? <Generally not... remove cations... the copper> Would you recommend any additional filtration in this situation? <Not really> What is the maximum amount of time I can treat this livestock with chelated copper? <... a good question... likely two, three, perhaps four weeks... less is better. Therapeutic exposure for two weeks should "do it"> Is it okay to treat a new fish that was recently purchased from the LFS with this sort of treatment? <Very good question... likely in a more "weakened state"... Best to avoid over-treatment... only careful observation, experience can/will tell> What temperature should I maintain during treatment? <Upper seventies F.> Thank You VERY Much, Garen Wright <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Copper As Treatment for Marine Ich. Not Without Research - 12/15/2005 Dear crew, <Hi there Carlos.> I've read your articles re Marine Ich. <Good.> I understand that the recommendation is to isolate the fishes and treat them with Copper Sulfate while letting the main tank go fallow. I would like to know if I could just put the Copper in the main tank because I don't have the facilities to house all my fishes in a separate tank. <Was not covered!?> Besides, it would be extremely difficult to catch the fishes without stripping the tank which I don't plan to do. <Then you should not treat the main tank. Have you read on other treatments (hyposalinity, increased temp.)?> I have a 75 gallon fish only with live rocks running. <Not if you put in Copper.> Will the copper kill the beneficial bacteria in my filter? <Yep.> Lastly, how long should the copper treatment last? <Not covered either!?> It is now afflicting my Powder Brown Tang and Brown Tang. Thanks a lot and more power to you! Carlos <Carlos, there's just not enough time or space for me to relay all you need to know. All of this has been specifically covered and is waiting in our disease FAQ's. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm Scroll down to the 3rd section Disease Treatments. Perhaps you've looked in the wrong place before. - Josh> Right Thinking -- Wrong Timing... 12/5/05 I recently purchased a med. size Raccoon Butterfly for my 55 gallon fish only tank. I have 2 False Percula Clowns, and 1 medium size Blue Tang. On the 3rd day I noticed the raccoon scratching on my fake coral and not eating. (The only thing he would eat was frozen brine.) I checked my water and copper and all fine. I brought it to the shop I bought it from and they said it was fine, but to add some more copper. So I did , and it was just above .15 The next morning he stopped scratching, but that night when I got home, he was breathing heavy and sitting on the bottom of the tank, and still wouldn't eat. I noticed as I got him that my tang and him were getting along just fine. So I don't think he was being bullied. I put him in my hospital tank, after a brief FW dip, and he is laying on his side breathing very rapidly. He probably won't make it. I was just wandering if you had any ideas of what might of been the problem. Thanks, Aaron <Well, Aaron, this is a case where all of your intentions were good, but the execution was a bit off. First, you indicated that you have a "hospital tank", which is good! However, you need to use it as a quarantine BEFORE adding new fishes to your display. This will give you the ability to catch and treat illnesses before they get introduced into the display. Also, do think about the long-term implications of your stocking plan. These fishes need a lot more space than a 55 can provide, so consider this... Next, it is always advisable NOT to treat in the display tank, for a variety of reasons. Use that extra tank. Copper sulphate, although highly effective at treating many diseases, can be hard on many fishes, including Butterflies. <<Butterfly-fishes are one of the few animals the staff at the LBAOP will NOT use copper meds on. Marina>> Sometimes, the collateral damage caused to the fish in treating the disease is too great. Formalin-based treatment is recommended in the case of more copper-sensitive fishes. Again, you'll have far greater control of the dosage in a separate tank. Unfortunately, it's hard to say what you're looking at, but it could be a parasitic illness. If your Butterfly is struggling, you may need to reduce the copper level in the treatment tank. Although it may be too late for this fish, if you take this as a valuable lesson, the experience will not have been in vain. Chin up! Don't forget to quarantine before adding fishes to the display! Regards, Scott F.>

-Copper in the Main Tank- 12/10/05 Hey Crew, <Daniel> I had a problem that I can't find on your forum or the internet. I've even asked some of the biologists at the Jenks and the New Orleans Aquarium and nobody has given me a conclusive answer. I have a 75 gallon salt with a sand bottom and 30ish pounds of rock with one large lionfish. The lion has a mild case of ich that I treated with a chelated copper medication. The problem is that I used a bit too much and now I can't find out a way to dissolve it. <Mmm, I can see the problem already. You treated the main tank. The copper is permanently in the substrate and live rock. For all intents and purposes it is no longer safe for any invertebrates.> I have accomplished a 100% water change, sifted all the sand in a bucket with running water, and the test strips are worthless because they don't test for chelated copper. All I have to go on are the snails that die when I put them in there. I had to give the fish up because I am now deployed and it will be six months before I am back. So do you think the copper will evaporate by the time I am back? <No, All substrate and Live Rock must be removed and the tank must be cleaned and probably bleached several times. Copper leeches into the porous rock and sand grains and stays there indefinitely and for fish keeping purposes is considered contaminated permanently. You also should not treat a lionfish with copper first, try other medications. They generally do not do well with copper treatments. Please also treat with medications in a separate tank NOT connected to the main tank so that you do not contaminate the main tank again. All the inverts dying off are due to the copper. Please wash the tank thoroughly and retest it with a copper test kit for chelated copper, then when those come back undetectable, test with snails etc well before you add substrate or LR back into the tank. That will at least save you money in the long run. Also a PolyFilter <<Is a proper noun, name of a product, capitalized.>> can remove copper in the water enough when you are washing the tank to make it useful to try.> Thank you for your time, Daniel Doyle P.S. It is a glass tank <Justin (Jager)>

Yet Another Copper Use Disaster - 12/08/2005 HEY CREW, <Hello Sam. I've seen that you have three entries on this same situation, so I'll just combine all on this one. First, the bit about the bathroom has some merit but I agree that this is not your case. Chemicals used in bathroom cleaning would be quite harmful for the tank, likely airborne transfer. Just keep the door closed when cleaning up. The Windex is an ammoniated cleaner and should not be used for the glass cleaning (spraying on a towel still doesn't change its chemical composition). This could be a contributing factor, but again This is not your main problem. > I was treating with Copper for Ich about 2 weeks ago. <This is your problem.> I've had PolyFilters in my Fluval and wet/dry since. My Copper level is about .5-.10 <I think you mean .05 - .1> I've done about 3 water changes since. <Nowhere near what you needed to do. You need massive water changes to even help straighten this out (the ammonia and nitrite I mean). I see that you don't have a QT (the only suitable place to use Copper) which I assume to mean you have no secondary housing options. I suggest you enlist the help of a friend or LFS that may baby-sit your fish for now. Your fish will most likely die if they stay. This appears to be a predator type display with no intentions of housing inverts., hopefully that's the case as that's the only thing going for you. The Copper treatment has killed your beneficial bacteria, and thus your cycle. You'll have to start over to reestablish one and if you do want to have inverts. eventually then you'll have to throw out your LR and substrate as well.> Any advice, my fish are not looking too well. What can I do to get that Copper out of there since obviously the poly filters are not working? Is the Copper permanently in the rocks, or tank? <Bingo!> It is a display tank. I have no room for a hospital tank. <I'm sure your view on that will change. Well Sam, I know these are tough times so I won't be mean. However this was flagrantly irresponsible and you must understand the correct application (not just the dose) for all medications as well as their possible ramifications before ever using them.> Thanks, Sam <You're welcome Sam. I hope this gets to you in time. - Josh>

Cupramine, Quarantine, and Fish in Hospital 11/10/05 Ok, <?> The Infestation of Ich is getting pretty bad. Everyone is covered with it EXCEPT (interestingly) the Pink Damsel that I re-introduced. (I'm still treating it though). So here's my deal: I will set up a 10 gallon quarantine tank tonight complete with a hang on filter with sponge and BioSpira for cycling. (Added to water from the display). I will place various pieces of PVC scrap and coffee mugs for hiding. Then add the fish and start the treatment. Is it better to introduce the Copper before the fish and establish a level, or does it not matter? <Not important which> <<Your biological filtration will become severely compromised as soon as you start treatment. I suggest you have on hand LARGE amounts of pre-mixed saltwater (heated) on hand for the quite necessary water changes to come. MH>> Anyway, then the tank will run without fish for 6 weeks and I will never again, not quarantine a new fish. <I'll bet!> Last question, I have a Red Sea Test kit (it came with Para Guard but I heard Cupramine is better.) Seachem said it should work with the Cupramine, would you know? <Mmm, nope... is it a chelated copper kit? Should state right on it, in inserts> Lastly, I will add two Lysmata cleaner shrimp. Will they clean tomites from the sand? <Good question... I don't think so> Thanks so much for your help. My fish and I appreciate it!! -Jon <Bob Fenner>

Trying to learn while they burn, Copper Use 11/10/05 Well, as you may know, I purchased Cupramine by Seachem. Here is my added question. I am treating in a 10 gallon QT tank, with Bio-Spira added and a Small 175gph HOT filter and heater. Inside are some coffee mugs for hiding. Now 1. Do I need to siphon the bottom of the tank to clean up dead Tomites? <Could> If so how does this affect Cupramine's concentration? <Dilutes it...> 2. Will it be necessary to perform water changes in the tank. The Cupramine does not specify weather or not to do so. <Keep reading. Bob Fenner> Thanks so much! -Jon <<Am emailing Jon with the following: <<Jon, your money will be wasted trying to establish biological filtration while at the same time administering copper in any form for treatment of disease. You MUST have on hand a large amount of pre-mixed saltwater (heated, too, please) ready for water changes. If necessary, on the order of 75%-100% (well-aged water is really the best way to go for this. (Well-aged = 1 week.) Plan on doing these changes daily if you really want to treat your fish well. Save the BioSpira to kick-start biological filtration AFTER the fishes have been treated, because they still require a minimum of 30 days DISEASE FREE in quarantine to be considered safe & healthy for placement in display. Marina>>

Trying to learn while they burn, Copper Use - Uhh.. IV? 11/11/05 Thanks Bob and Marina! <<Much welcome Jon, but we're both hoping that you've done some reading on site as well. Much (if not most) of this has been gone over.. rather ad nauseum, and it's time consuming to try to answer everything again and again (it's pretty much THE reason why we archive).>> Marina: I have already used the Bio Spira but I can get it readily on hand, so not a big deal. <<Ok, just know that with the copper you're killing what you just paid to have live.>> So are you telling me I should change water every day?? <<IF necessary, absolutely! You can be treating the disease with the copper, but killing the fish with nitrogenous wastes if you don't adequately address that issue, and it IS very much an issue. That doesn't make much sense, does it? Also, having high levels of nitrogenous wastes simply makes fighting the disease that much more difficult, makes the treatment that much more toxic. Indeed, high nitrogenous waste levels is often believed to INDUCE disease in otherwise healthy fish.>> How Much? <<That is best determined by daily testing for ammonia and nitrite. Then you must change out enough water to get it as close to zero as possible. Remember, you CAN simply re-dose the make-up water with the Cupramine, then test to ensure you have proper levels. That way, the dosage will not change despite the water changes (don't add the Cupramine until the water's actually ready to go into the system). In any event, I've found that one usually has to change 50% or more in a small q/t, so that's a place to start. Remember also, aged water is key for your fishes. I cannot adequately quantify why this is so, but experience tells us it is.>> The Cupramine bottle states that after first dosage, wait 48 hours and then repeat the dosage. <<Alright. I assume they also say you must test BEFORE you add more, or you could be creating quite a chemical pickle for the fish.>> Does not mention water changes. <<I can't speak for the manufacturer, but I think they're assuming that you know you must maintain non-toxic levels of ammonia, nitrite in this situation. This is not like adding freshwater to replace evaporative losses.>> I don't want to mess around with it too much because I don't want to accidentally off-throw the therapeutic concentration. Thanks! Jon <<You won't if you test before and after. Not to mention the fact that you're undoing what you've done in your effort to treat disease, and putting the fishes through a chemical hell if you DON'T perform sufficient water changes. How is the fish going to fight the disease if it's choking/suffocating on its own waste?? And you're welcome, but have you read our copper treatment FAQs yet? There really is SO much more information in those sections than what Bob or I could give you in a few emails. Use our Google bar, search keywords, like "Cupramine, copper, marine ich/parasites" (there are quite a few more terms, but these should net you what's necessary), then be SURE to hit "cached". This highlights the desired search results for you. Exceedingly nifty.>> Just out of curiosity, what exact procedure would you follow in this situation (using Cupramine)? <<Honestly, it's been QUITE a long time since I've treated a fish for disease (haven't had my own fishes in quite a few years), and I probably wouldn't begin with copper, but let's assume I would: I would, of course, treat at their recommended therapeutic dosage, testing very closely (might use two kits, just to be sure - brand and age are important here, too). I would definitely perform water changes based on test results; I don't want to see ANY ammonia or nitrite in that hospital system. That means that if I had to change 100% of the water, that's what I'm doing. Hope that makes sense (will make more if you do the recommended reading). If you Google copper as a treatment, you'll find a whole lot of insecticidal applications, this stuff is toxic, must be handled with care and care taken for the fishes being pickled in it. Marina>>

Can freshwater dips with velvet clog gills? Plus, disappearing copper 11/9/05 I have been battling velvet (Amyloodinium ocellatum) in my tank for over three months. You'd think I was an idiot, but I'm pretty much an expert on the parasite by now (I even helped the not-so-expert local PetSmart to identify and rid their system of velvet). I have spent days reading up on your site over the last few months, which has been helpful, despite my lack of success. I rid PM's 250g tank of velvet, however, I am not having the same luck with my 72. To make a long story short, I lost almost all my fish in two days the first time around, <Can be very virulent> so the tank went fallow for two months and the surviving fish in a QT (with no outbreaks over those two months at all). Upon my re-introduction of a yellow tang, it died overnight from velvet once more. How does velvet survive in a fallow tank for two months? <On "slime" detritus... a good idea to clean out, lower spg, raise temp...> So the 72g was stripped down, all corals were put in a 30g (which are doing great), and the rock in a tub. I sucked up the 5" DSB, scrubbed the tank dry, and after a 100% water change, the 72g has a 3/4 in sandbed (not live) and is treated with Cupramine (but still has live rock - it's expensive and I didn't want to let it go). <... Cupramine and carbonaceous materials together? Not for long... the carbonate in the substrate and LR will absorb the copper in short order...> Corals will stay in the 30g for 10 weeks so the parasite dies out. The 72g will be treated for a month and the copper will be sucked out if the remaining rock for a month with CupriSorb. <Uhh, not likely> Sounded like a good plan, but then it got messy. <I'll bet...> 1. I can't get copper to show up in my tank. I've added three times the max dosage of Cupramine (should be 1.5 ppm by now) over the last week and I am still getting a 0 reading on Seachem's copper test. <Is all gone... absorbed> Seems the copper or the test would be bad, but both seemed to work for Pet's Mart's tank. Everything in my tank should be dead - even fish, but NOTHING is dying. I think the test is right - the one mushroom coral left is thriving, so there can't be much copper. The velvet is thriving too. I think my current fish have fought it off enough that they are immune, but new fish I'm trying to QT have it now (I thought treating new fish would be good, to make sure they didn't have anything from the LFS. now I know that was a very bad idea. please forgive my bad judgment!). <Mmm, not a bad call, just a poor choice of means of execution> I know rock and sand can absorb copper, but can they absorb that much? <Oh yes... and much more> If so, is it going to release all that at once and wipe out my tank? <Could, but unlikely to do so... but enough can/could be released to damage other than fishes.> What should I do? I have PVC pipe for them to hide in if I need to trash the rock, but I hate to lose that much LR. it's expensive. <... I would sell, trade to someone with fish-only system aspirations> 2. I've tried a freshwater dip on two fish who have both died. I followed protocol to a tee - R/O water pH matched, temp matched, and aerated for one hour. The yellow tang I dipped bled out of his gills (that's what it looked like) immediately, then quit moving, so I put him back in the QT - I'm assuming he was too far gone and the bursting parasites ripped his lungs up. <<Hey, mate, fish don't have lungs. It's the gills they're breathing with. MH>> He lived for a few hours but died overnight. Was the dip the wrong thing to do? <In this case, yes... I would not FW dip fishes for Velvet treatment...> A new dip bucket was set up for a Coral Beauty which was given to me by Pet's Mart to save. The CB was fine in the freshwater, swimming like nothing was wrong for five minutes. Upon re-introduction <... why replace the fish/es in an infested system?> to the QT, he freaked out, swimming at the top of the water. He died quickly thereafter, and did not sink. I was told that FW dips for velvet can clog their lungs with the dying parasites tissue. Can that happen? <Yes> Would trapped air be the cause of his floating? <Possibly, but doubtful... more likely disorientation, the fish trying to breath> From experience, I don't want to dip my pink tail trigger (which is the one fish I didn't want to lose - not easy to replace). Is that a bad call? Is there a point where the dip does more damage than good? <Yes> What is that point? <Individual cases... how debilitated what species, specimen is...> Is there anything that can be done once it's showing on their body? <Yes...> He'll probably be gone by morning but I thought I'd ask for next time. Thanks so much for your help and patience. Rockwell Ryan <... Have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amylloodiniumart.htm and the Related linked files above? I would do so (again), and the archived materials on Copper Use... You need to treat these afflicted fishes in a system devoid of carbonaceous material... with daily testing... plenty of aeration, water on hand for change-outs. Bob Fenner>

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