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FAQs on Avoiding, Treating Parasitic Disease with Hyposalinity 1

Related Articles: Hyposalinity or Osmotic Shock Therapy (OST) by Pete Giwojna, Marine Parasitic DiseaseMarine Ich: Fighting The War On Two FrontsQuarantine, Quarantine of Marine FishesSpecific Gravity, Salinity,

Related FAQs: Hyposalinity Treatments 2, Hyposalinity Treatments 3, Hyposalinity & Ich, & Hypo Methods, Protocols... Hypo Dangers, Provisos... Hypo Success Stories... Hypo Failures, or Not Quite Yet Success Stories... & Treating Parasitic Disease, Marine Parasitic Disease, Parasitic Disease 2, Parasitic Disease 3Parasitic Disease 4, Parasitic Disease 5, Parasitic Disease 6, Parasitic Disease 7, Parasitic Disease 8, Parasitic Disease 9, Parasitic Disease 10, Parasitic Disease 11, & FAQs on: Parasite-infested Systems: Parasitic Marine Tanks, Parasitic Marine Tanks 2, Parasitic Reef TanksParasitic Reef Tanks 2, & FAQs on: Preventing Parasite Problems, Diagnosing Parasitic Diseases, References on Parasitic Diseases, Index Materia Medici for Parasitic Diseases (medicines), Treating Marine Parasitic Diseases, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Marine Parasitic Diseases, Hyposalinity Treatments 2, Fallow Tanks, & Best Crypt FAQs, Cryptocaryoniasis, Marine Ich, Marine Velvet Disease Biological Cleaners,

Personifer Angel/Please Help... mixed Angels, Crypt likely   9/2/06 Hello Everyone: I have read just about everything I could about the Personifer (I think) I have a 180 gallon all fish and live rock tank. My Personifer angel is about 3 ns half inches long and has white spots that are more spread around then close together. In the book by Robert M Fenner (great book) it looks like it could be Amyloodinium Ocellatum more then it could be ich but am not really sure. <Mmm, could be either from this description... but if Amyloodinium this fish would be soon dead... a few days> My PH is 8.4 and everything else is great and my salt level is between 1.022 or 1.024 somewhere in the middle. I have about 3 other peaceful angels in my tank also. <Mmm, likely not compatible> I just want to know please,  how can I cure him? I have a 10 gallon tank I could set up. I have copper, QuickCure. Please tell me directly on how to save him And how can I look up a fish where just you guys talk about the fish only?  Please help me I really love this fish and I paid $200 dollars for him. I live in New York and it bother me to see this.  Please reply to Joey Harper   <A bit more to this... you need to treat all, including the tank itself. Set some time aside (and soon) and read, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and the linked files above. You need to formulate a plan, get more treatment tanks, start making new water for change-outs... Bob Fenner>

Hyposalinity/Disease Treatment  - 03/27/06 Hi Bob,  <James today> I tried to find the answer on your fabulous site, but couldn't find what I a looking for.  I have a 120 gallon  live rock and sand tank with a protein skimmer and a hang on filter.  I have been running this system this way for 2 years.   I recently added more fish and I think I maxed my fish capacity for the filtration level on my tank.  As a result I started to have some water quality challenges.  I have been fastidious about quarantining new fish and watch my water quality carefully.  I did a big water change that I get from the local aquarium to compensate for my water quality drop.  I am now convinced I got Ick from the aquarium although I am sure that the aquarium filters its water.  I have never had Ick in this tank. My question.....I have brittle stars, hermit crabs and some anemones and I am thinking about lowering the salinity on my tank to break the cycle of the Ick.  Would the brittle stars survive a lower salinity?  I know the hermit crabs can.  The brittle stars would be difficult to collect since they live under the rock.  Do you think this is a good choice for dealing with my Ick problem.  <Do read here Dawn.  Do look at related links on this page, also. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/martrthyposalfaqs.htm  Others have had the same problem, see what was suggested in the FAQ's.  You can read what you are dealing with here.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm>   Removing all my fish from the aquarium and letting it go follow for a month would be a nightmare for me as I have a lot of fish and the daily water changes in quarantine is exhausting.  If I remove and treat sick fish than they will get sick again when I put them back in my tank.   I know I need to address the Ick issue some how and soon.  I would love to get some cleaner shrimp and a cleaner wrasse, but my eel seems to have an appetite for both. He has had some expensive dinners in the past.  <So has my wife.> I am going to add some additional filtration to address the water quality challenges. I am also adding garlic to the food. What do you recommend would be the best approach given the information.  Do you think lowering my salinity would be a good course of action and would it be safe to leave brittle stars and hermit crabs in tank during this process? <Consider UV Sterilization.  It will help. Aloha from Hawaii,  
<Bob is there as we speak, totally bummed out.  Nothing to do but dive, have cookouts, etc....boring. James (Salty Dog)> Dawn Re: Hyposalinity/Disease Treatment  - 03/27/06 Thanks James,  <You're welcome.> Oh I feel so sorry for Bob vacationing in Hawaii.  It has rained here for a month straight and today we have flash flood warnings.  Let him know that he unfortunately came for some of the worst weather I have seen in ten years. <I'm sure Bob is aware of that and will read and possibly comment.  And don't feel sorry for Bob.  He has a life I dream about.  Very busy, but rewarding.> <<Actually, not busy at all, but a great deal of fun. RMF>> I have a 15w UV on my tank already.  Is that too small for a 120 gallon.  <To be very effective I wouldn't run more than 400gph through it.> Is it worth upgrading to a larger size in light of my situation? <Don't think so.> I read the articles on low salinity and Ick.  Do you think it would be wise to remove fish now (dreaded all fish and a nightmare of water changes to boot), my fish are showing no signs of distress yet.  Is waiting it out until I see distress a mistake?  In past systems my fish have over come the Ick with improved water quality and garlic.  I fear I may have a heavy infestation. You know who quickly it all can turn......What would you do?  <What I would do is move the fish into quarantine and treat.  Let the tank go fallow for one month to insure all cysts have passed on to a better world, then re-introduce the fish back into the tank.> Thanks again,  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Dawn

Low Salinity Quarantine? 8/22/05 Hi all, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I am going to set my QT up in a few weeks, which leads to my question.  Would it be okay to quarantine all new fish with hyposalinity to prevent any disease?  After the quarantine period, I would then acclimate very slowly to the salinity of the display water.  If this seems okay, what would be a good salinity to quarantine with?  Thanks. <Well, there are many hobbyists and wholesalers that advocate lowering the specific gravity (to 1.010-1.012) during quarantine because it is thought that this will lessen the possibility or ferocity of (parasitic) illnesses. There certainly seems to be some merit to this process, but I personally do not employ it. I believe that maintaining "normal" specific gravity during quarantine may be a bit less stressful...One less environmental adjustment for a newly-acquired fish to make. Similar to the reasons that I don't use "prophylactic" medication while quarantining fishes. That's just my take on it; certainly NOT the last word on the subject! give it a shot and see if it is ok for you. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Crypto and hyposalinity 8/9/05 Good Morning,    I have a 180 g fish only tank to which I recently added a emperor angel.  This angel is a beast.. aggressive and a great addition, now king of the tank ( others.. Naso tang, powder blue, majestic angel, Fiji Foxface, purple tang )  unfortunately, even though I used a QT for a month the display tank came down with crypto.   <No...> I have two questions.. I have a refugium and I have heard from the ecosystems site (M. Paletta ) that crypto can be difficult to eradicate when miracle mud is in use  Is this true ??? <More difficult, yes>     My second question: I treated the entire tank after taking the macroalgae out with hyposalinity ( SG 1.010 brought down slowly over 5 days )  Fish are all doing great.  I am feeding high moisture foods ( mysids, formula I, II )  How long should I, can I treat and is it likely that the crypto will return as a problem as  I bring the salinity back up SLOWLY? Thanks Jimmy <Almost certainly you will not be eradicating this parasite... optimized conditions, purposeful cleaners... you may achieve some sort of uneasy balance... Please read... on WWM re hyposalinity treatments, Cryptocaryoniasis... Bob Fenner>
Re: crypto and hyposalinity 8/9/05 Dear Bob,     Thanks for the reply on hyposalinity.  One last question.  ( 180 g FO tank )  I started the hyposalinity treatment after four fish in the tank came down with crypto. <Lowering Spg will very unlikely effect a permanent cure...>   I plan on eventually putting LR in the tank.  I have read on WWM extensively.  Are there any other options for treating the display ( it currently has no inverts ) that will eradicate the crypto but not harm the biological filter bed. <Mmm, no> Currently all inhabitants are doing well, eating like pigs and are free of infection in SG 1.010  ( Naso tang, blue tang, majestic angel, emperor angel, Fiji Foxface ).  Should I continue with the hyposalinity or should I consider other options. <The latter> Will formalin wipe out my bacterial bed if used at the conventionally prescribed doses ? <Oh yes... a general biocide... crosslinks proteins... building blocks of all life on this planet... Do please read on WWM re marine ich... consider copper treatment... and soon. Bob Fenner> Thanks Jimmy
Re: crypto and hyposalinity 8/11/05 Dear Bob,    I am very thankful for your advice.  I would use copper to treat my fish but my experience with copper and nitrite sensitive angels ( emperor, majestic ) is not so good. <Better than losing your livestock though...>   Hyposalinity clears the ich in 5 days <... but does not remove it from the system...> but I am concerned about the long term eradication of ich from the system. <Ah good, me too> It seems to me that once these fish become afflicted with crypt then the battle is uphill.  Even with copper at adequate levels for the prescribed length of time in a QT recurrences do occur <Very rare... if the therapeutic dose is maintained...> and the fish are more apt to get a reinfection because of the immune suppressant effects of the copper.  Do you have personal experience with copper treatment of above species?   <Ah, yes... a very great amount> Should I run a QT with copper at all times in order to allow the biological cycle of the tank to mature  with copper ? <Posted... on WWM>      I think that for this go round I may need to rely on the hyposalinity ( sg1.010 ) ozone, UV sterilizer, frequent water changes, and garlic extreme / good nutrition get me through since my filter in the QT may take a hit if I add copper ( my fish have done so well and look to be disease free with the hypo, ozone, UV etc that I feel that I may be doing more harm than good by turning to copper.  Is my thinking off base on this issue i.e. do you think that I will regret this approach ? Thanks Jimmy <I do agree with you re cycling, copper and QT... But I would still go this route... rather than ping-ponging with Crypt... Bob Fenner>
Re: crypto and hyposalinity 8/12/05 Dear Bob,      After reading extensively on hyposalinity and crypt, and, of course, with your help, I am reaching the conclusion that eradication of crypt from the marine system can only be achieved with QT and copper treatment and letting the display lie fallow for two months. <There are a few other approaches... but none as assuredly successful> I was somewhat enchanted by Steve Pro's recommendation that hyposalinity is his #1 choice because it is easy on the fish. <... if only it worked>   I am beginning to realize that there is much controversy re: hyposalinity as a cure, but more often than not, the attestations as to its effectiveness are followed by reports of outbreaks 6-12 months later. <Or generally much sooner> I have a 180 g FO tank and I really want to do this right but I only have a 29g and 55g tanks set up as QT, neither of which have been cycled with copper so the addition of copper will disrupt the biological cycle of the tank/filter.  What is the best way to treat with copper so as not to disrupt my bio cycle ? <Minimal doses with a chelated formulation... twice daily testing... Bob Fenner>
Re: crypto and hyposalinity a thanks to the crew 8/12/05 Bob,     Now that I am convinced that hyposalinity may not achieve long term cure for the treatment of crypto, I am curious as to why you think it does not. <Historically it just hasn't... in the vast majority of cases.> I cannot see any signs of visible infestation in the fish that I have treated.   <... not visible to the naked eye> I suspect that the proponents of this method of treatment for marine ich would argue that hyposalinity is the equivalent of allowing the tank to be fallow.   <No... or not valid... Is there a difference between a present, though not observable infestation and none at all? Yes> Is there a "subclinical" or low grade infection that occurs even at low salinity that slows down but does not completely disrupt the life cycle of the parasite?   <Bingo... though, for clarity's sake, the term infection is used for infectious disease... bacteria, fungi... and not Protozoans like Crypt> Would using hyposalinity with a Metronidazole or a malachite green formalin combo like Kordon's Rid Ich+ achieve the desired result ? <In what sort of treatment mode? As a dip? As long time immersion? Maybe... the point is to remove the feeding stages from their host fishes as well as destroy (here's the hard part) all intermediate stages... in well-established infestations, systems... this can be very difficult... lowering Spg, elevating temperature in the infested systems themselves is of use in "speeding" up the metabolism, cycle of the parasite> As an aside I note that Kordon states that their product does not disrupt the bio cycle. is this true ? <Mmm, strictly speaking... are you referring to Malachite Green?... this is so... but indirectly, this use often does lead to a check to loss of nitrification. For Malachite AND Formalin, biological filtration is indeed kaput, finished> (It has been my experience to be wary of products that make this claim)      I must digress and take one moment to thank you for all of your help.   As a Biology Major and an MD with a background in pharmacology, I have found you and the crew at WetWebMedia to be an excellent source of information, sympathy, encouragement for those dedicated to the hobby.  As I have pursued the hobby through the years I have found myself reading more and more to seek a reasonable consensus of opinion amongst the experts rather than just believing the label or the LFS is always "right" Thanks and have a nice day  Jimmy <Thank you. Bob Fenner>
Re: crypto and hyposalinity: hypo does not work 8/15/05 Dear Bob:     I must say that as much as I initially resisted the concept that hyposalinity ( 1.010 ) does not work for marine crypto: I am now a believer that it is not the panacea that people once thought it would be. <Or have tried to promote it as such> I have a 180g FO tank that came down with crypt shortly after I added a gorgeous Emperor Angel. <... no quarantine?...> The first fish (no surprise) to be afflicted with this malady was a powder blue tang the others looked fine but who knows. <Ah, yes... good bio-indicators...> I quarantined this fish from the system in a 55 g tank and dropped the salinity to 1.010 in both the quarantine and the display.  I have written a few times questioning if hyposalinity is a reasonable treatment given the fact that fish in the display are doing so well with no overt signs of disease (I run a UV sterilizer as well as ozone as well as frequent water changes every other day in the display but I run a bare bones, but well cycled quarantine ). <Ah, good> It has been three weeks and today I noticed that my quarantined powder blue indeed has crypt while in a salinity of 1.010, subtle but still there.  I took therapeutic measures and he is swimming in copper now to the tune of a therapeutic dose and the rest is out of my hands.  So what do I do about the fish in the display that are all doing so seemingly well? <Am sure you already know the answer to this Jim...> Does combining hyposalinity with 5-nitroimidazoles make sense or would I just be wasting my time and money? <The latter my friend> What do people that keep reef tanks after they quarantine one diseased fish in a system that has other residents?  Thanks Jimmy <... you need to remove all fish life... treat all... leave the main system sans hosts... Bob Fenner>
Re: crypto and hyposalinity: hypo does not work  8/16/05 Bob,     I did quarantine the Emperor before for 1 month but still had the problem with the crypto. <Did you treat (prophylactically) with copper?> Is a 55 gallon quarantine with daily water changes for all the fish in the 180g display enough or am going to have problems ? <Can't tell... you just have to try, monitor and see> This is the only tank that I presently have set up for QT purposes ?  ( Fish = Large Emp Angel, Naso Tang, Majestic Angel, Foxface, Purple tang ) <These two angels together... not a good idea...> All fish are still eating and doing very well i.e. no exterior signs of disease.  Do I need another QT ? <Maybe>     Kordon's Rid Ich+ is said not to disturb nitrification ( this is a 11.5%formalin USP grade  4.25% and a zinc free chloride salt of malachite green .038% ) <... we've been over this? Formalin is a biocide... crosslinks peptides... did you not state you had some bio-medical academic background? Look up the MSDS information on this compound> I guess you would not recommend treating the main display with this? <...> Because ? <... posted on WWM: ...> it would not work ? or I would have trouble getting it out of the system after treatment done? You have been a big help separating wheat from chaff re this issue. And I will be patiently persistent Jimmy <Then read... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm Please learn to/use the indices, search tool on WWM... Bob Fenner>
Quarantine for LR , Algae, beating Crypt (hypo f')  9/24/05 Dear Bob,      Hi, it's me the guy that initially did not believe you that hyposalinity would not work for marine crypt. <Saludo> I have done the things I should Have done to begin with.  All is going great in my 180g FOWLR.  I treated all inhabitants with copper in their own QT's.  All of my fish tolerated copper surprisingly well.  ( I used Cupramine )  I did not lose a single fish. <Testimony to your careful measure, patience, observation>     My display now has fish in it.  And 150 lbs of live rock. A gorgeous Emperor, an awesome majestic, a very tame Naso. Plenty of hiding places for the angels to be civil with each other.  Ah, success !  On the plus side, the rock actually "cured" 2 months ago, but because of my crypt outbreak it stayed in a fallow fish display with near perfect water conditions for 2 months and even though I used only 300 watts of standard florescent bulb lighting 50/50 mix of 10,000K and actinics I am starting to see blue a green coralline algae.   <Good> Thanks for all your help!   Is this enough light for my FOWLR ? <Likely so>     I really wish to avoid the nightmare of introducing crypt into a display. So here are my main questions.   1) How long would you recommend that I quarantine Gracilaria, or Chaetomorpha, or even cured LR prior to introducing to my display ? <A couple of weeks should do it> 2) How about snails or hermits ? <About the same> Have a great weekend.  Jimmy <Thank you for the update. Congratulations on your success in beating the Crypt. Bob Fenner>

Fairy Wrasse with ich - alternate treatments 8/8/05 I have had a Cirrhilabrus rubriventralis wrasse in QT for 3 weeks now.  He has had mild ich from the get go so I took the salinity down to 1.011 measured with a lab grade hydrometer.  I thought we were over it but yesterday I looked in and he's a mass of white spots! I am tired of this and am going to treat the fish with copper, unless these fish are oversensitive.  Is this a good idea? <Fairy wrasses are at least somewhat sensitive to copper IMO. I'm not a big fan of it as it is. If it were my fish, I'd do freshwater dips from a QT tank near daily for 5 days while adding garlic and B12 to the water> cheers, Wayne Oxborough. Norway <With kind regards, Anthony>

Comment of Hyposalinity... use by itself, with copper, for treating crypt Hello, <Hi there> I have been reading many posts and responses on different ways of treating marine ich.  I would just like to share my success with several different treatments with others on how to treat it.  Over the years I have read MANY articles from marine biologists to the common person on how to treat it with variable success.  There have been 2 that I have found that work the best. And when used in combination the ich is gone in under a week and hasn't returned.  The first that I found to be very useful and with very good success is copper. Of course with any medication you need to follow the instructions to the letter.  I have found that for most people when it doesn't work its because the copper level isn't high enough.  Many times this is because they have left carbon in the tank which will dwindle the effect and get rid of the copper.  And in some cases they use too much and kill the fish. <Yes... free copper needs to be monitored... a few times a day tested for... and kept at a physiological dose/concentration> The other treatment (the one that I recommend) is Hyposalinity.  I found that around 1011-1013 seems to do the trick wonderfully.  Using this method I have found that lowering the salinity a little faster has a better affect on killing the ich.  The reason is because inverts are much more sensitive to salinity changes than fish are.  However, this cant always be done because some fish are very sensitive themselves.  So when treating less hardy fish you do have to lower it slower.  Everyone should know what lowering the salinity does to a fish.  One thing it does is makes it easier for the fish to filter out the salt in the water for them to drink since fish drink continuously.  This helps the fish by giving them more energy to fight off the ich.  HOWEVER, hyposalinity is to be used for a short period of time, no longer than about a month.  The reason is because the low salinity over a prolonged period of time will make the fishes kidneys fail which of course will kill them.  Also, when using these treatments its always good to turn of the heat to around 82-85.  This actually helps the fish as well because it helps their immune system as well as making the life cycle of the ich shorter. NOW, to let everyone know that both of these techniques are to be used strictly on fish in preferably a quarantine tank.  However, they can be used in a main tank if the tank is FISH ONLY. But again the quarantine tank is by far preferable.  As far as what people should have their salinity in their main tank as, that all depends.  In a fish only tank, a salinity of 1018 seems to work best. This benefits the fish in the same way I said above but keeps the salinity at a safe level for long-term.  However, in reef tanks the salinity has to be higher. In my opinion about 1024-1025 seems to work well.  Now there is one BIG thing that EVERYONE needs to know. ALWAYS quarantine your fish before you put them in your display tank.  Watch them closely for 3-4weeks. I know its a pain to have a separate tank and costs a little more. BUT I guarantee that in the long run it will be WELL worth the cost of having one.  Because you will spend a lot more money buying new fish that die all the time when you could have spent a little more money up front and saved you all the trouble.  Also in my opinion, if you are starting out, do a fish only aquarium for a little while.  Then if you want to go towards a reef tank do so.  Reef tanks are far more expensive and require much better water quality and are FAR LESS forgiving than fish are when it comes to screw ups.  I know this was a lot to read but I hope it helps a few people out there because trust me I have seen it all. If you are thinking about starting up a tank, please realize that the initial investment is gonna be quite high. However, once the tank is setup and is established assuming nothing more is added.  Marine tanks are actually quite easy to take care of. You really don't have to mess with them much. I have found that many people do MORE harm than good when adding all these additional chemicals and doing water changes more than needed.  When you do these things you tend to screw up the whole ecosystem.  A monthly 20-25% water change along with the few correct amount of trace elements does the trick. <Thank you for sharing your thoughts, experiences. Bob Fenner> A few points for everyone! 1.) Don't buy fish at Wal-Mart 2.) Be skeptical when getting advise from people at Petco and PetSmart (they usually don't know what they are talking about which is why most of their fish have ich.) 3.) Always quarantine your fish before putting them in your main tank 4.) Read the first 3! ;) Martouf

Treating ich/itch... Having read all I can about itch treatment on your site, I have decided to try hyposalinity first and fallow my tank for a 8 weeks. I would however like to know why bob, you don't seem to favour hyposalinity <Doesn't often "work", too hard on many species, impugned specimens... that is, more stress than it's worth...> and if so, what then is your preferred method for treating itch in general? <... this is posted... on WWM. BobF>

Ick\hyposalinity Hello, <Hi there> My 400 gallon FOWLR has Ick. The regal tang is getting pretty covered and most of the fish have a few spots. I have been reading about treatments and all the FAQs for hours and hours. I'm now a little confused about what to do. I will definitely let my main system go fallow and put my 10 or so fish into 2 x 75 gallon treatment tanks. I will change 25% of the treatment tanks water every day. Now, do I use the 1.010 hyposalinity method or do I use copper? <Could use both, either, neither> If I use copper what should the salinity be? This hobby is no fun at the moment. Kind Regards, Jim <Keep reading... on WWM re Cryptocaryon/iasis... treatments. Bob Fenner> 

Mac's Good Advice re: Hyposalinity and Ich Hello MacL , <Hi Mike, MacL here with you.>  I was in Tony’s Just Fish the other day with the saltwater ich hyposalinity tank??  <I definitely remember, it was a pleasure.> The Thera and garlic you recommended was great for the fish. They are holding steady at .009-.010 and are totally spot free and look unaffected by the water chemistry, in fact they are as energetic as ever.  <Wonderful, you did a great job taking the water down slowly.>  I wonder if they have a boost energy production from the lack of osmotic activity through the gills?  <I think they have more a boost of energy from not having the parasites all over them.> Just wanted to say thanks. <Its great to hear that it worked so well for you.>  I'll come see you guys at the store sometime soon for some specimens.  <I look forward to talking to you anytime. MacL> 

Hyposalinity and ich Hello there, < Hi > I searched your website but could not find anything addressing my question. I have a 150 FOWLR tank with Marine Ich and have been keeping salinity down between 1.016 and 1.017 for the last 6 months. I've also been using some cleaner shrimp and would love to finally get some neon gobies to add to the effort.  < Wow cleaner shrimp at that salinity?  If you would have asked I'd say they would die, but I guess I not. >  I also hear that low salinity actually makes it easier for the fish to breathe as well.  < It may.  I'm not sure, but it sounds logical in some regards. >  How long can I keep the salinity at this level?  < Well with fish for quite some time.  With invertebrates I'd say not long.  I would keep it at maybe 1.019 or 1.020. >  I have heard many fish stores keep their salinity low to reduce parasites and save money on salt.  < If it is to fight parasites that is good, if it is to save money that is a store not worth visiting. >  I find these to be two very attractive reasons for myself as well. Are there any long term negative effects on Fish at this level?  < Yes, but there may be some long term benefits as well.  I think that is too low, and I'd probably keep it a bit higher just to be safe. >  Are some species of fish more susceptible to low salinity issues than others?  < Certainly.  Some fish are very tolerant (even brackish in nature) and others can't take the change. >  Should I raise the salinity?  Why? Would I risk an increase in my Ich?  < Yes probably so.  But I think using garlic is a good idea, or just trying to improve the overall health of the tank.  That is a better treatment for ich than hyposalinity. > Thank you for your help in this question.  < Good luck. > Brendgol Majewski <  Blundell  >

Hyposalinity & Ich Questions Hey again, How are you guys and girls today? <<Marina here, doing very well sporting a new "do".>> Well I don't think you remember so I'll tell you my problem again. <<Well, I forget names anyway, so that's a good idea.>> I had a bad case of ich on my 2 false Perculas and 1 royal Gramma. You suggested I move them to QT and I did so. Well I have lowered the salinity in the QT to 1.016 and raised the temperature to 86 degrees in both tanks. <<1.016 isn't low enough to even make a dent as far as C. irritans is concerned. You'll need to accurately get that level to at LEAST 1.010, and can - maybe should - go down to 1.007 for best efficacy. Know also that raising the temperature does a few things *besides* speeding up the lifecycle of this protozoan parasite. It increases the fishes' metabolism, lowers the O2 saturation, too.>> I was wondering how long should I let my main tank run fallow for? <<6 weeks MINIMUM! Most advise 6-8 weeks, I think 8 are much better. And that's the fallowing bit. To be clear on the q/t - it's got to be a minimum of 30 days DISEASE FREE. Too many folks misinterpret the purpose of q/t, so, here it is for however long the net exists.>> Also, when you meant hyposalinity how low does that mean? I read somewhere on this site that it is not effective until below 1.009. If this is true should I lower the Qt salinity to about that? <<Read above, and search for articles on using hyposalinity by Terry Bartelme (I sure do hope I got that spelling right) and Steven Pro. Search Advanced Aquarist (to be found on reefs.org), as WELL AS searching our site on marine parasitic diseases, etc. For treating this marine disease, hyposaline means below ( "<" less than) 1.010.>> Thank you for your help and a good day to you. <<You're welcome, and when the KIDS notice I got my hair cut is when it'll be even better.. no, wait, when my sourdough starter shows that doubling in volume is when it'll be even better.. no, wait, when my OVEN is fixed..! Best of luck, mate. Marina>>

Copper treatment side effect? Dear Bob: <Eric> My fishes are in the QT with copper for a week, and because the salinity was lowered to 1010, therefore I was trying to raise it slowly day by day by changing 4 gallons of water daily (20 gallon QT). my Regal angel today show signs of distress. She seems to be not able to keep his posture, as like she is trying hard to not float up to the top. her head tilt down and swim backwards/side?? She is breathing rather fast but she seems alert, (eyes are looking and moving). she is not breathing really fast. but faster then normal. however all her tankmates are fine. Will the fish's floating device malfunction if I am raising the salinity too fast? And how fast is too fast?? <A ppt (part per thousand) a day is about safe for fishes... two ppt maximum "going up" (one going to lower Spg). The combination of altered salinity AND copper is too much for some species, individuals. Bob Fenner>

- Treating Ich with Hyposalinity - Hello crew: <Hello.> I am currently letting the main tank go fallow, and my fishes are in a 20gallon QT with filters heater, I know how a proper Qt should be setup so I do not need info on that.  This is the first time I try hyposalinity and before I used copper most of the time. The reason why I try this is because I have 2 very sensitive fish in the list, 1 being a sub adult regal angel and a Juv Blueface angel. From the observation, they have Ick. Not like they have velvet. because they are still behaving normally and actively searching for food, eat well in the QT and no scratching of any kind. Also, I notice when the Ick fell off the fin of the fish are not transparent anymore... and it is not velvet because I see no slime, not breathing too rapidly either.  <Ok.> I put them into the qt on Monday and gradually lowering the salinity, from 1.025 to now 1.010. However the Ick is still present.. should Ick Trophont be killed at this kind of salinity?  <It "may" but really hyposalinity on its own has never worked for me.... you'll need to use this in addition to some other methods to kill the ich. Because of the sensitivity of these fish to copper, I'd recommend formalin. Do make sure you follow the directions to the letter as an overdose will likely be fatal. Make sure you also use a gravel vacuum to clean the bottom of the quarantine as you'll be able to remove the sessile stage of ich this way and potentially break the cycle. Likewise, once you start the formalin treatment you'll need to have many days of water changes ready to perform perhaps 25% a day or more to keep the water quality tip-top.>  The qt temperature is 82F. and no ammonia..  The concern is I can see my fish getting more Ick on its body today, then before I lowered the salinity 4 days ago... and the fish is still live and eating, swimming and behaving normal[ly]. Should I add copper now???  <See, previous comment.>  I really love this 2 fish and so not want them to die.  <And neither would I... but act now... don't wait.>  Please help me !!! Desperate.  Eric <Cheers, J -- > 

Treating Ick using hyposalinity.. first try - II Hello: <Hi there> Sorry I might be stupid. So where should I go and get formalin? <An amazing coincidence... have been gearing up to write a series of articles... called "pathologically speaking"... and my first installment was to be... formalin/formaldehyde... I will add to the topic headings "sources" (as well as chemistry, uses, dangers...). Oh can be purchased in hobbyist quantities from either the LFS or etailers... Kordon/Novalek repackages small volumes for aquarium use for instance> LFS? Can you please tell me some of their name from a brand so I can start somewhere? I am swamped with problems already and if you can help me out by telling me which formalin to get, that will be of great help! <And, not to confuse you, but this dangerous compound is sold for "food purposes" et al. in 37% gallon containers... this is a BUNCH> By the way, the salinity reading was off when I am measuring it using an arm type meter, then I use a refractometer to check again, it is now really 1.010. will salinity higher than 1.010 keep the Ick alive and multiply? I guess my question is that is 1.010 the threshold that Ick eggs are killed?? <Mmm, how to state this clearly... the low salinity itself will very unlikely result in the outright death of all stages of Cryptocaryon... It may weaken it sufficiently... and along with a lack of ready fish hosts, cause such a loss of vitality that it won't revive unless your fishes are greatly weakened otherwise... but it will NOT kill it> Last, since formalin have so much side effects that I have to take care of, (oxygen, change water all the time, stress to fish etc.) will it better off to use copper + hypo instead? Eric <Good question... A matter of opinion, circumstances... but IMO, most scenarios, the copper, with or w/o lowered Spg is better than formalin use. Bob Fenner>

Re: treating Ick using hyposalinity.. first try, but wants another opinion I would like Bob to answer this question please! <Okay> I would like to restate I have a Juv Blueface and a regal angel in QT right now.  So if I want to try hypo with copper, can I do it with 1.010 salinity or do I suppose to raise it up a little first? <Copper can be administered at either, any salinity> Is ParaGuard a product made of formalin/formaldehyde? <See here re MSDS for SeaChem's products: http://www.seachem.com/support/MSDS.pdf  This is Gluteraldehyde and malachite green> Can it be use to treat Ick? <Can> If so which is better? Copper with hypo 1.010 or ParaGuard with hypo 1.010? <The latter> Please help as I want to start the treatment right away. <This is my opinion> If I need to raise the salinity back up I need at least 14 days and the regal angel is already decrease in appetite.... very worried. Eric <I caution you re lowering salinity this much (further stressing your livestock) AND treating with copper... if it were me/my decision I would NOT leave the Spg this low (likely no lower than 1.018 while administering physiological dosages of copper... Study here my friend... be careful with the copper use... with daily testing... Bob Fenner, who is getting around to writing that "pathologically speaking" series... Yesterday the bit on formalin: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm

- Hyposalinity/low pH Problem - I am QT'ing a small 1" yellow watchman and a 2.5" coral beauty in a 10 gallon tank. It's been 2 days since purchase and, predictably, the CB now has ich.  My preferred method of treatment is hyposalinity. It seems to work every time; the only drawback however is that once my salinity is leveled off at 1.009-1.010, the pH drops dramatically (especially at night), even though I aerate and buffer the change water (which reads 8.2-8.4 ph when I add it in) a day in advance. Now matter how much buffer I add, pH dips to 7.6 at night. I use DI water for the change water.  I'm going to lower my sg over the next 2 days to fight off the ich for 14-21 days, and I'm dreading the low ph already..... Any suggestions?  <I'd try adding buffer to the quarantine tank directly. Baking soda will work fine as it's difficult to overdose. Still, take a small vessel of tank water, mix in a teaspoon of baking soda and add that mixture to the tank. Wait an hour or so and then test. Would consider adding it in the evening before the lights go out. Cheers, J -- > 

Organic QT Not Working Hi all, I have had much success in the past quarantining all new fish in a small tank with salinity of 14PPT. But this time it is not working at all. I have had a Hippo Tang and pair of true Perculas in QT for a month now. They still have ectoparasites, I'm hesitant to call it ich b/c the hypo-salinity had no effect on it; but it sure does seem like crypto. So I have since raised the salinity back up to 33PPT and started feeding the fish Omega one super veggie soaked in 'Zoe' (this was the LFS advice after explaining the situation to them.) I had been feeding a mix of various seafood and dried red Nori before. I also put one of my cleaner shrimp from my reef in the QT as I know that won't really help, see I'm losing my mind! I don't see how these fish will ever get to go to my reef if I don't use copper. And I really don't want to do that as I am an "organic reefer." I make my own food never add chemicals, same philosophy in the garden too; the 'ZOE' junk was a hard sell for the LFS :). I am so frustrated should I put the shrimp back in my reef and dose copper? <I think I would like to see a picture of the fish in question. If you or a friend has a digital camera, take a photo (one is enough) and send it back as an attachment.  I do not like to recommend a treatment if I'm unsure of the disease problem.  Good luck Ryan. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, Ryan

Clown triggers swollen, hyposalinity... issues of too much money, too little knowledge Hi crew, I need your precious help to solve a great problem. I'm making hyposalinity in my tank (250 gallons) for fighting Cryptocaryon. A week ago I've brought my salinity to 13 ppt and now my fishes are free of white spots. But two of them (medium clown triggers) have their belly very very swollen. <... likely as a consequence directly of the lowered Spg... and a comment re the two Clowns in one tank... not a good idea... you will likely have a great deal of antagonism, stress overall here> I've bought one of these two clowns Saturday and after a eight hours acclimatizing I've put him in my tank. <...! You put new fish in an ich/crypt infested system? Without quarantine?... Why?> Yesterday he had his belly swollen like the other clown who is in the tank from the beginning of hyposalinity. Another clown trigger is died 3 days ago this is body swollen. <Stop!> All other fishes are ok. Now I have put the two swollen triggers in another tank with 35 ppt of salinity to save their lives. <Are you moving these fishes between these differing densities of water immediately? As in within a day? Not good> Is possible the reason of this is too much salinity because of wrong calibration of my refractometer. What can I do to save them? Please help! Thank you very much Lorenzo <Lorenzo... please study www.WetWebMedia.com re Cryptocaryon, Hyposalinity, Clown Triggers, Quarantine... go to the homepage, use the Google Search Tool there. Much to learn my friend, that will save you worry, money, lost livestock. Do NOT buy any more livestock, or manipulate your water quality until you understand what you're doing. Bob Fenner>

Hyposalinity Or Medication For Ich Treatment? Hi crew, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I have, am having serious issues in battling ich this time around. <Uh- Oh...> All of my fish (1 Flame Angel, 1 Valentini Puffer, 3 Firefish and 1 Neon Goby) were infected with ich. I removed all from my 100 g. and put them into 2 separate 10 g. QT cycled tanks. The Flame Angel Beat up the Firefish so I got a second-hand 29 g. with a divider and moved all fish in there. I lowered the sg to 1.010 and ever since, I'm having bad water quality issues. I tried Bio-Spira but it doesn't work at that sg. <Not sure of that- I would follow the manufacturer's guidelines to the letter. I've never been a big fan of hyposalinity for a variety of reasons, but regardless- water quality can be brought in line through good husbandry techniques...> I change 10 g. twice daily in effort to reduce nitrites. Ammonia is now 0, nitrite usually 0.1-0.2. I was using tap water for the change water but the chloramines (.25 ammonia even with Prime) were creating larger nitrite spikes (.5). I am running to my LFS daily to get 20 gallons of DI water. <Unfortunate, but your solution is a good one, given the circumstances...> It's been almost 2 weeks and it's getting very expensive and time-consuming. I spend 5 hours a day changing/getting water. I can't install a RO unit at this time. <I'm sorry to hear that...It sounds like actually procuring the water is eating up most of your time? Daily water changes are not a great idea in a situation like this, IMO. Possibly more disruptive than helpful. Consider increasing the SG (gradually, of course) back to "normal" parameters. This will allow you to use the currently ineffective "bacteria in a bottle" product. You could then treat with a common over-the-counter ich medication, such as copper sulfate (for fishes that can tolerate it) or a formalin-based product.> To make matters worse, it's been 10 days of hyposalinity and the fish have ich again. I lowered the sg to 1.009. My flame angel's lips are white (probably from bad water quality). <Hmm...not sure about the cause, but water quality is certainly a possibility> All fish are still eating. I think the cure is worse than the disease at this point. <Well, as I've previously stated- I am not a big fan of hyposalinity. Not to say that some medications are any less stressful, but they do have proven track records.> I think I might have to raise the sg back to normal, and use some other treatment. <We're on the same wavelength!> I've had success with hypo in the past, but that was only 1 fish at a time not 6!. I'm probably not siphoning all the eggs out (the Firefish are very jumpy and prone to fly out of the tank when I siphon). <Understood> Should I continue hypo, and if so how long? Should I treat with formalin too? I can't use copper because of my scaleless fish. My main display is fallow (I'm keeping it this way for 4-6 weeks). <Regular specific gravity and formalin-based medication would be my recommendation> Thanks for any advice you can provide Tired, Angela <Do a little "course correction" here, Angela- and carry on from there! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Ich Problems... I have been having problems with ich in my main tank. I spoke to my supplier who had recommended that I lower the salinity to 1.015 which I did. That was about six months ago. I have  had several fish (Kole tang, and Emperor Angel) die on me during this time. <That is a bit low for a long term sustainable system> My water seems to be fine - pH is 8.2, alkalinity 10 and ammonia low. The only item which is low is the calcium. As I have no coral in the tank, that was not a concern. I bought another Kole tang from my supplier and it died within 3-4 days. <Lots of possibilities here, some of which may have been beyond your control (i.e.; the fish may have been sick prior to your purchase, etc.)- part of the reason that I'm a huge fan of quarantine> The Kole was covered in ich . I decided to get another opinion from another supplier in town and they said that my salinity should be brought up to 1.021 as I am putting the fish under stress for the long term. <I agree with the supplier. Hyposalinity may have some merit in certain situations, but I feel that a more "natural" specific gravity is better for long-term success and overall health for your fishes> I am getting conflicting advice . Can you help me? The other fish in the tank seem to be OK - a Sailfin Tang had some ich but it disappeared after a week. I also have a Cuban Hog, Flame Hawk, Moray Eel, Yellow Tang and Naso Tang. I have been adding Coral Vital to try and treat the ich prophylactically but it doesn't seem to have had much effect. <It wont...'nuff said on that!> Thank you. Vito <I believe that your problem may lie in two areas- selection and acclimation/quarantine. It's important to be very careful when selecting your fish. If they are showing any signs of illness, or in a tank with fishes that may be showing signs of illness, you really should pass. Be sure to embrace a quarantine procedure with every new arrival. The process has been written about extensively on the WWM site by yours truly and other authors. In quarantine, you can observe the fish carefully and treat easily if disease manifests. I think if you are more careful in these areas, then you will see a dramatic improvement in your success with your fish. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Hyposalinity In The Quarantine Tank Thanks for the input on recommending 1.025 salinity for the main tank as opposed to 1.008 to 1.012 for the long term health of the fish..   <You're quite welcome! I think that your fish will definitely benefit> My question now is whether or not keeping the Specific gravity at 1.008 or so in the QT tank for about 3-6 weeks before slowly raising the salinity back to 1.025, would be safe for marine fish? <That would be fine. I prefer "normal" specific gravity all the way, as it simply is one less acclimation when it's time to add the new guys to your display tank, but there are many people who use hyposalinity in quarantine with no problems at all.> How long would you recommend fish should remain in 1.008 without ill effects? <Weeks, in my opinion> I just read some info about keeping the salinity this low in your QT will dramatically reduce the length of time your new fish should be QT'd, say from about 4 weeks to about 2 weeks or even less due to the fact that some marine parasitic infections are easily killed off without the use of copper or any other chemical based fish medications in near brackish water conditions. Is this true? <Umm, partially. Hyposaline conditions can help prevent some parasitic conditions, as many parasites cannot tolerate lower specific gravities. However, I would not use hyposalinity as a "shortcut" to lessen the quarantine period. The full 3-4 week period is enough for most symptoms of dreaded parasitic illnesses (like marine ich or Amyloodinium) to manifest themselves.> Also, is hyposalinity effective for eradicating awful and virulent diseases such as Amyloodinium or Brooklynella, since I plan on adding clownfish to my main tank? <Well, there is still much debate on this. I've even read some reports that say that freshwater dips are relatively ineffective against these illnesses. However, I'd rather try them myself before chemicals. The best way to prevent these scourges is to select your fish carefully, and to use the full quarantine period. Make sure that you obtain captive-bred clownfish, as wild-caught ones are more prone to these virulent illnesses. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Omnipresent crypt? hi guys, well maybe you can explain something to me. I'm confused. I'm under impression that Ick is always present in a marine tank. so what happens is a fish gets stressed, for whatever reason, and losses his slime which allows for the Ick to attach.  is this right, the whole story? <Mmm, no. There are Cryptocaryon-free systems... and there are systems that do have latent, low-pathogenic loads of this and other protozoan parasites. Often there are environmental influences that trigger, pre-dispose more full-scale infestations and possible related mortalities... as well as nutritional inputs, genetic...> so I'm thinking why don't I just keep my salinity at 1.016. I mean besides keeping everything else in order. <Mmm, well, low Spg is in turn stressful... though many stores, wholesalers purposely keep their water less than natural seawater strength, this is not encouraged for the vast majority of permanent displays> is there a way to help fish keep their slime, besides not stressing them out. <None that I'm aware of> I do not understand separating fish from the main tank when Ick is constantly present.  it seems just as stressful on the fish. I know Ick is a never ending battle. oh well, forward march. <The logic of removing fishes from an infested system embodies being able to treat them while not destroying the biological filter and other micro- and macro- non-fish life in the main display, yet encouraging the death of fish-host parasites in their absence... and allowing the parasitized fishes to be treated separately in an environment that is hostile to non-fish life. Bob Fenner>

Hyposalinity Treatment in QT (4/7/04)   Hi again! Thanks so much! <You're welcome. Steve Allen back with you tonight.>   I've started to lower the salinity of the QT .. it now reads 1.018 (from 1.020, .001 lowered per day), temp stays at 82 F (it's hot here due to summer season) .. I've also read in the site's forums that 1.015 would be the tolerable level for the fishes, and other articles say that its 1.017, I'll try to adjust between these levels as long as the fish can tolerate. <I'd go lower n a QT. I've seen recommendations as low as 1.009. Read here: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.htm  Part 2  is in a later issue of the same on-line mag.>   I'm doing daily water changes (10-20% water changes) to the QT and siphoning the bottom. <Good, sucks up the tomites.> I'm also doing FW dips with Methylene Blue, doing it every other day to avoid causing too much stress to the fishes (forgot to mention that the 2 false Percs and Sebae are 1 inch juvenile, hopefully to get a bigger home for my family, and a bigger tank for them to transfer before they get big, as they eat a lot) . There are still some ich specs but slowly improving. <I would stop the dips once your salinity is in range. That plus the elevated temp should cause the last spots to go away.> We don't have Formalin medications here, <Where is here?> and copper test kits  =( but I saw a Malachite Green treatment, and copper (but not sure if its chelated), could I substitute either malachite green or copper in their FW dips treatment? <Copper in the FW dips really won't help. Longer exposure (continuous for 14 days) is preferred. Malachite green is sometimes added to FW dips. At this point, I'd keep the salinity low and the temp up for a few weeks. Then gradually raise back to normal and observe for a few weeks more to make sure the ich does not recur. Total time out of tank around 6 weeks. This may seem long, but if you can sustain it, your odds of not having ich again will be much better.> It's getting better, thanks for all the help ! <Glad to hear. Hope this continues.> Romel

Hyposalinity Technique WOW ! ultra speedy response. I'm really amazed with the very supportive & informative consultation from WWM crew. <We try our best!> Last few questions regarding Hyposalinity methods (s.g reduce to 1.009), will it kill following : 1. fishes - 1 Huma Huma trigger, 1 shrimp goby, 2 green Chromis, 1 Sailfin, 1 yellow mimic tang, 1 maroon crown, 1 royal Dottyback. <The fish should be okay if the decrease is done carefully> 2. Hermit Crab <I'd remove> 3. Feather Caulerpa <Definitely remove!> 4.The good bacteria colony (aerobic & anaerobic) in live rock and sand bed. <Probably not> My current s.g is 1.021, should I reduce it to 1.009 ? Or just 1.015 will do? <If I were to use the hyposalinity method (and I wouldn't!), I would not go below 1.015, myself> To reduce from 1.021 to 1.009, how many days shall I take in order not to 'shock' my fishes? <I'd lower it (to 1.015, as we discussed above) over at least 3 or 4 days> Will 2 weeks of hyposalinity treatment sufficient? <Hard to say. Could take longer- maybe a month> Shall I increase the temperature to 90F to enhance the process ? <Nope- I'd keep it around 80 degrees F or so> p/s : I know u don't like hyposalinity method, <Gee- what gave that away! LOL> but I really wish to hear your opinion so that at least I don't violate too much from the normal practice of hyposalinity. <I think that the course that we discussed is fine. I guess that I may sound a bit closed-minded about this technique. Don't get me wrong- I'm not saying that this practice won't work. It just hasn't worked for me (or anyone that I know, for that matter), but many successful hobbyists report that this approach has worked well for them. There is a valid theory behind it. It's just that I cannot (and will not) ethically recommend a course of treatment that I have personally found to be ineffective. Do try it, and it may work well for you-in which case, I encourage you to use this as your default treatment technique in the future. Take careful notes and share with others. Again, don't forget to give it a suitable length of time to get a good cure.> Thanks. Best regards, PJ <My pleasure, PJ! Good luck! Do let me know how things work out for you! Regards, Scott F>

Hyposalinity Treatment? Hi Scott, just come across the following OST method recommended by Saltaquarium website: http://saltaquarium.about.com/cs/diseasesich/a/aa102797f_2.htm I think this method is much easier and quite suitable to my current FOWLR tank, but just want to get your opinion before I try (it require no removal of fishes from main tank). <Well, it's the old "hyposalinity" trick...Sometimes it's effective-sometimes it isn't! I have never personally liked it, myself, but many hobbyists report good results with the technique> Also, will the Caulerpas in my refugium survive with such low s.g ? Thanks. Best regards, PJ <Well, PJ- it's hard to say. Quite possible that the Caulerpa population could "crash" with the decreased specific gravity. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Hyposalinity Vs. Medication In The Battle Against Ich Thanks for your advice, I think I would better try the Seachem ParaGuard first rather than taking the risk on Hyposalinity treatment. Btw, can you pls help answer the earlier questions (pls scroll down) posted by me ? Thanks so much. Best Rgds, PJ <Hi PJ- sorry that I missed the rest of your questions the first time.. Ich is a highly contagious disease, and can affect fishes in many different types of setups and at many different stocking levels. The key to control it is timely intervention and an understanding of the life cycle of the causative protozoan, Cryptocaryon irritans. I know you expressed a bit of concern regarding the "two front" ich treatment technique that I advocate in my article, however, I believe that this is one of the most effective techniques that you can utilize, because it addresses the life cycle of the protozoan. With this approach, you are "treating" the tank as well as the fishes. The most important part of the treatment, besides rapid intervention, is to let the display tank remain "fallow", without fishes, for an extended period of time. This is crucial, because once Cryptocaryon is in your tain, it's IN your tank! By denying this protozoan it's hosts (your fishes!), you are interrupting its life cycle, which will result in a significant demise in it's population. Treating your fishes in a separate tank enables you to have greater control over the process, and to assure that medication is being maintained at proper therapeutic levels throughout the treatment period. ParaGuard is a fine medication, but-like any treatment, it should be used in a separate tank. Medicating the main system is problematic, IMO, for a variety of reasons. I know that it's not fun to disassemble the rockwork, but I think that the long-term benefit of this process outweighs the temporary annoyance! It's hard to say how long a fish can live while infected with this disease. If it gets into the gills, it is possible for it to be fatal in a relatively short time (days, perhaps); or the animal could be rendered susceptible to an assortment of secondary infections which could do it in. Take action now, while treatment is simple. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

When should I stop? Quick Question. At what point will lowering the specific gravity adversely affect my biological filter media?  At what point will it stop to grow good bacteria on the media.  Specific #'s would be great. <NSW, near sea water conditions are best. That is, a specific gravity of 1.025 is ideal... and keeping this about here (topping off regularly, adjusting new water carefully) is very beneficial. For treatment with hyposalinity, any drop/change in Spg will adversely affect nitrification. ANY. You should monitor aspects (ammonia, nitrite) daily, be ready with new water for dilution, perhaps chemical filtrants, pre-made biological filter material... if lowering Spg, or raising it.>          If you want some details leading up to this question read on, if not thanks for your help!         I have a 120 gallon main tank a 20 gallon quarantine and a ten gallon hospital.  All tanks are biologically alive with all parameters in check.     The reason I have all the tanks going is that I just got a majestic angel about a week ago, I know what you are thinking but I did my research and realize what I'm up against and took 7 months of going to my LFS to find the perfect specimen.  The problem occurred when I introduced some Caulerpa to the main tank for a treat for my powder blue after a quick rinse without quarantine," bad move". I've been doing this for 5 years now, will I ever learn.  Within about 5 days the tang had some spots, I caught him gave him a dip then returned him home. Three days later you know what.  Unfortunately I'm in it for the long haul now at least 45 days.              So now I have three tanks set up and running. A ten gal hospital barebones with a powder blue in it which I'm am treating with hypo salinity and formalin dips plus my own tank/filter creation which has a high enough turn over rate to successfully filter out that pesky littlie protozoa but allows me to segregate the bio filter. A 20 gallon quarantine tank with 8lbs of live rock, live sand, tang haven algae two power heads and a whisper 30-60 which I modified and put  bio wheels in to boost it's efficiency, one Chromis and a majestic angel.  Did I mention I have now found a few spots on the angel?   <Now you have> So lets break it down I have three tanks with Ick and five fish I have to find a place for to let the main tank go fallow for about two months.  Yes. I do have cleaner shrimp but about all they're good for is making babies and stealing food from the Anemone, Its a good thing my two Perculas are great protectors.  I have a written protocol for all new fish but slipped on the algae.  I always use my quarantine first then if the new fish have parasites I put them in my hospital which I will establish 1 week or more ahead of getting a new fish by a sponge filter from my main tank  then I can let the quarantine go fallow for a month while I treat the new fish in the hospital tank without drugging up the water then after one month they go back in the quarantine tank for another two weeks. I always try to keep from using meds, except in dips, if I can at all avoid it.  If there still alive after all this then they make it into aquarium paradise, if not then at least I didn't contaminate my main display. I have about a 85% success rate.  I thought I had a fool proof system. I guess the fool didn't fallow the system.                    Without the books of Bob F. and articles on this site I wouldn't have ever stayed in this hobby.  You guy's are the Bomb! <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Back To Normal (Returning Fish To Normal Specific Gravity) Hi all, <Hey there! Scott F. with you today!> I was wondering if I needed to slowly raise the salinity ~5ppt a day from 14ppt back to 35ppt to return fish back to my main system after a month in hyposaline conditions. Or, can I safely do a drip acclimation that spans that range in salinity? It seems that water changes with NSW conditions would be safer but the drip would be easier, please advise. Thanks, Ryan   <I'd be more comfortable with the gradual increase to 35ppt. The drip method can work, but it might be a better idea to do it the slow way...HTH! Regards, Scott F.>

Hindsight is 20/20 I just wanted to say, your advice saved my clown!  He is alive and  well today after I gave him the 15 minute bath (friends thought I was  nuts!)  In addition, used the same technique for my yellow Hawaiian tang  that had black spot disease (parasites).  Although he could only tolerate  it for 3 minutes, it did the trick! Thanks Very Much! Nadine <Thank you for this mention of what can be "spastic" dipping behavior. Bob Fenner>

Attacking Ich Through The Hyposalinity Approach? Hey WetWebMedia team! <Hey there! Scott F. with you today!> I have had my tank at 1.010 for 2 days, and I am still seeing ich appear on my fish.  Is this normal?  I thought the ich would be dead at this salinity.  I am positive it is ich.  Jeff <Well, in my opinion, hyposalinity is not the most effective method to attack ich. However, in all fairness, do give the treatment a few days to "kick in". Personally, I favor intervention with medications (copper sulphate, or a Formalin-based product, if suitable). Hyposalinity can work, but I've noticed that if a cure is not affected in the first 4-5 days, it probably won't happen. Also, don't be fooled when the spots disappear, is the causative parasites may be entering their free-swimming phase, only to re-attach again at a later time. Ideally, you should consider the "fallow tank" approach to fighting ich, as we often advocate here on WWM. Review the parasitic disease articles and FAQ's for more. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Hyposalinity? - Thanks for the help, but the tusk died anyway. <I'm sorry to hear of your loss.> I'm not sure what to do. I have had an Ick problem and I've tried copper before with a test kit but it somehow evaded me and reinfected my tank. But I've spent a lot of time on your website and in the forums. You guys seem to advocate copper usage while the other "experts" on the forum say to use hyposalinity. I've been conversing with one guy who has written several internet articles and he said to use hypo, that's it's easier on fish and can be used more than two weeks. <Sounds like Ed Fang... if this is the person, he is quite adamant about the use of hyposalinity, but I don't agree with his premise - long term exposure to lower than normal salinity is indeed stressful and causes more long term problems than it solves. You will notice that most Wet Web Media folk also advocate pH-adjusted, freshwater dips along with copper and that is really all the hyposalinity that is needed to deal with ich. If you look at the long term results of some of the larger cases sited by Mr. Fang, you will see that the livestock didn't fare so well. For saltwater fish, the density of the water is important to the regulation of their internal systems - extended exposure to hyposalinity can cause irreversible stress and harm. This is my opinion.> So I bought a refractometer and have a red sea raccoon, flame angel and a flame hawk in a 30g q-tine and I've been slowly lowering the SPG. So is it a no go one hyposalinity treatment? <Sounds to me like it's already a go - you're already on your way there. You've managed to get plenty of opinions about this... you need to make this determination for yourself.> And how does copper fully cure Ick if it can only be used for two weeks when the Ick life cycle is four? <As far as I know, the complete life cycle of ich is not four weeks, it's somewhere in the 10 to 14 day range, mostly depending on temperature. As long as the quarantine tank is bare - no substrate, nothing to absorb the copper, copper treatment will kill the parasite in most of its life stages. Anything that emerges in quarantine will be exposed to the copper and be killed. Copper is effectively a pesticide, a biocide - poison if you will... you can kill your fish with it if the concentration is too high, so yes, is does kill Cryptocaryon. We can only relate our own experiences as what has worked for us. So... do whatever your research and your mind tells you to do. It's time to stop listening to everyone and think for yourself, get going on a treatment system.> Thanks again Brandon <Cheers, J -- >

A Little Less Salty, Please (Hyposalinity Treatment) What is the highest temperature and the lowest salinity I can go that cleaner and peppermint shrimp can exist in? I have had Ick for two weeks and I want to try the cleaner shrimps and a Gobiosoma goby. Thanks for the info. Cheryl <Well, Cheryl, I'd be hesitant to recommend a SG less than 1.018 for shrimp, although I suppose that it may indeed be possible to adapt them to a lower specific gravity over a very long period of time. The most common hyposalinity treatment uses a specific gravity of 1.015, although there is no one "perfect" number that I am aware of. Proceed with caution, and monitor water conditions carefully. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Hyposalinity Therapy And Inverts... Hello to all at WWM: I have what I hope to be a relatively quick question. I just introduced a  flame angel in my 110 gal system and guess what.....he has Ick. This is after 2 week QT and eating beautifully. <Bummer. I don't know if it would have made a difference in this case, but I usually recommend a 3-4 week quarantine period, just to give any potential diseases a little longer to manifest themselves...> Here lies my problem...I would like to use the hyposalinity therapy which I have found very effective in the past, but this time I have brittle stars involved. Right now I have two brittle stars in the tank that are fairly large, body about the size of a quarter and legs around 6 in. My problem is I am having a problem trying to get them out with all the rock, etc. I know they can't handle an SG of 1.010. At this point the angel only has a few spots (it's been about a week). I have lowered the SG to 1.016 and have been feeding foods soaked in garlic and vitamins. <Unproven, but potentially a viable treatment...> The other fish in the tank show no signs of infection......but you know Ick! I was wondering if I keep the SG at this level will the brittle stars be able to handle it for awhile? <It would be  a risky proposition, in my opinion...> I lowered the SG primarily to ease the osmotic pressure for the fish and just in case I can lower it quicker from 1.016 to 1.010 than from its original level of 1.022. From what I have read this approach may be effective..... <It has proven effective in many instances. However, I have not favored this technique, myself. I have seen it to be rather hit or miss...I prefer more aggressive treatment courses in a separate aquarium, for the greater degree of control that is afforded...Not he best way, but that's what has worked best for me...> I guess I'll know as the life cycle of the ich has a chance to proceed. If I couldn't catch the brittle stars, I was thinking of using a product from Chem-Marin's Stop Parasites. Have you heard or used this product? <I have heard of the product, and I have seen it marketed as "reef safe". I am always a bit cautious about products described in this manner. Think about it: How can a cure target just the ciliated protozoan that causes ich, without causing damage to physiologically analogous benign animals that reside in a reef system? Your guess is as good as mine. I won't bad mouth a product that I have not used...I just recommend keeping a skeptical eye with this, or any product. Try the product if you must- but I'd use it-or any treatment product- in a separate treatment aquarium. It seems to be effective without using chemicals. <Let us know if it works for you.>    Thanks for your most valuable input, Gene <A pleasure, Gene. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Hypo-salinity and Hydrometer Accuracy Hello Bob, Steven, Jason, and the rest of the crew, This is my first question for you so I want to say that your site is wonderful and has provided me with a wealth of information, which has allowed me to be much more successful at this hobby than I could have ever thought.  Without this site, I would likely be one of those in and out reefers who drops the hobby after a year, now I'm hooked for life.  I'll keep this short, no story behind why I'm asking.  I am having a problem with hypo-salinity treatment.  I believe that my hydrometer readings are off.  I have three: a Deep Six, a Sea Test box-style, and a floating glass (with a built in thermometer and made for aquarium, rather than lab use).  All three read differently!  So I chose to trust the floater because I have read the others can drift over time and both are not brand new.  I have conversion charts galore, but they are worthless if you don't know the calibration temp of the hydrometer or if the hydrometer is not accurate anymore.  I believe I am failing to maintain a proper 1.009-1.010 SG and that my true SG is more like 1.012-1.013 (this would be true if the floater were calibrated at 60F).  After three weeks in hypo and several FWD's my fish are still showing spots and scratching a bit. >>Do know that there are documented subspecies of Cryptocaryon irritans that do quite well in low salinity environments. >Questions:  Is there any way that I can mix a test sample of water with a controlled amount of salt (I have Instant Ocean brand) at a specific temperature in order to test the accuracy of each hydrometer?   >>Yes.  I would first calibrate with distilled water. >Is there any other way for me to be sure that I am at the proper SG level?   >>Yes!  Invest in a good quality refractometer! >Even if I am now at 1.013, is it possible for the ich to be so virulent as to survive that, and continue to re-infect my fish?   >>Yes.  This would necessitate the utilization of copper or formalin treatments. >Can the spots I see be bacterial infection from the parasites bursting out during FWD's? >>Yes, but not so likely as to keep the same appearance of the ich (at least not in my own experience, secondary bacterial infections really LOOK like infections). >With sincere gratitude, Manny >>Do a search on Terry Bartelme, he's written quite a bit on ich, treatments, prevention, etc.  Then, I would search the reefs.org library, as well as Advanced Aquarist for the same.  I've only recently learned of the ich subspecies, both instances mentioned by folks working in Hawai'i.  Hope this helps!  Marina

Porcupine puffer with ich (08/28/03) <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I have been reading your puffer FAQs.. but yet to find any help for my problem. I have an 80 gallon tank w/a porcupine puffer fish, a lionfish, a trigger fish and a yellow tang (the latter have been moved to a non-infected tank).  my puffer has had ich for about two weeks now...other than the obvious visible symptoms, and heavy breathing and sometimes twitch- like movements he is eating and functioning fine. <So you have just the puffer in the 80 gallon tank? I would put him in his own hospital tank and let the display go fallow for at least a month.> After calling my local fish store as advised I turned up the heat to around 82 degrees, kept the lights off and have done a few water changes.  The levels test fine.  My boyfriend has gone several dips that while clearing the fish up a bit...still has not gotten rid of the problem. We were advised not to do anymore for fear of stressing them out even more. <Dips alone will not get rid of ich if you're putting the fish back into an infested system.> We treated the tank with Marisol (I believe that was the name) for a week daily, and it seemed to have no helpful effect.  The lionfish has gotten worse w/one clouded eye now, and the puffer's white patches are getting more dense in some areas (make sense)??? <Cloudy eyes are usually a symptom of poor water quality. You might want to check your test kits.> We are trying to stabilize a hospital tank to put them in...but it probably won't be ready for a month. <Good grief, don't bother trying to cycle a hospital tank right now. Get the infected fish in there ASAP. Then you'll do daily water changes to keep the ammonia/nitrites/nitrates under control and bring the specific gravity down to 1.010. And keep the tank temp up.> I really don't want my fish to die...please please please email me back with any suggestions...I will appreciate it indefinitely!!!  Thanks again,  Bonnie <Do check out the ich articles and FAQs on the WetWebMedia site, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm. --Ananda>

Burrfish with Ich (08/11/03) Hello WWM crew!! <Hello! Ananda here tonight...> I recently bought a Burrfish and while it was in my QT tank it developed Marine ich.  Little white cysts on his fins. <Yep, that's ich.> On two separate occasions I performed freshwater dips with 8.2 ph water for 3 minutes, it was all the little guy could handle.  I then transferred him into a new QT tank with Meth-blue.  I changed 5% of the water ever other day and re-treated.  I also lowered the salinity to 1.017.   <I would go even lower -- try about 1.010-1.012.> He seemed to come around after the 2nd day, but all of a sudden it was all downhill.  It has been one week, instead of getting better he seems to be getting worse.  Please advise.  He has now developed white cysts all over his body in the QT tank. <I would dip him, for as long as he can handle it, every day. You can use Methylene blue in the dip to give him more oxygen. And be careful not to let any ich cysts back into the hospital tank. You can boost the tank temp to at least 82 to shorten the lifespan of the ich cysts. You'll want to do *daily* water changes, vacuuming up the ich cysts from the bottom of the tank.> He is still eating fine, but looks thin, I also think he has a internal worm. Please help.  DW   <Sounds like it's time to start feeding him Metronidazole-laced food if he'll eat it. If you get the Seachem Metronidazole powder, the container has directions for adding it to food. It can also be used in the tank and may help with the ich. The Metronidazole is hard to overdose, so I'd do both. (Hex-a-Mit is the Aquatronics brand of Metronidazole.) In addition to the Metronidazole, you could use garlic oil in his food. I use the little gel caps, poke a hole in them with a pin, and squeeze the stuff onto freeze-dried krill. The freeze-dried foods absorb the garlic oil better than frozen foods. Hopefully this will help!  --Ananda>

Hyposalinity And Ich Hi <Hello, Scott F. with you!> I have 2 quick questions if you please: 1. If I want to do a hyposalinity treatment ( for ich ) in my FOWLR tank what is the max temperature and minimum SPG I can use? <I wouldn't go below 1.010-1.012, and I'd keep the temperature no higher than 82 degrees F. Acclimate the animals carefully, and don't do this in a tank with inverts and coral. Remove them, or do this in a separate tank> 2. How long should I keep the tank at these parameters for effective treatment? <I'd leave conditions that way for at least 3-4 weeks...Do look at you other treatment options as well, before starting this process.. It can work, but may not be as effective as some other techniques (like letting the display tank run fallow, while treating the fishes with an effective medication. Lots of different schools of thought on this...Consider them all! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Re: Q-Tank/Ich Treatment Mr. Fenner, One serious question. What is the lowest one can bring the salt level, where Ich will die and fish would be safe?  <Depends on species and their current health... but 1.010 is the typically given figure... not lowered all at once, but about a thousandth per day... keep your eye on at least ammonia, pH shifts... plenty of aeration, observation...> Planning to treat Ich with garlic. Thanks <Please read through the Marine Parasitic Disease sections on our site starting with: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm There are other approaches I would use first with an existing infestation. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich Treatment Forgot one last thing. How low of a Spg level would be safe for cleaner shrimps? <Not as much or as fast as with fishes. Maybe 1.021 and this very slowly adjusted... Need to either leave them in near seawater Spg or move them to same in another system while treating your fishes with hyposalinity. Bob Fenner>

 

 

 

 

 

Ick/ Hypo. with lionfish >Hello, >>Good morning, Marina at your service. >I have a 120 FOWLR. I have an lionfish with Ick. The only other fish are two wrasse. A red Dottyback (5") and a moon wrasse (2"). The water quality is good. >>Actual readings are always helpful. >There is no apparent stress. >>Stress may not always be apparent.  How about nutrition? >I have dipped the lionfish. (fresh water/formalin). I put him back in the display. The wrasse at times will rub against the rock. This is leading me to believe they may be infected. >>They most certainly are infected.  The formalin is questionable in its efficacy in treating ich.  However, the issue you now have to deal with is that you have either Cryptocaryon irritans or Amyloodinium infesting your display.  There is only one failsafe method that I know of to rid your display of it. >Therefore, I am considering removing the live rock and dropping the salinity.  Is this a good route to take? Would you suggest another option? >>Yes.  Rather than remove the live rock and utilizing hyposalinity, I would place all the fish into a quarantine system, and allow the display to lie fallow for 6-8 weeks (8 are better, in my honest opinion).  Then, you can use the first prudent, known method to treat the fish directly (you also have much more control using a q/t system--and any watertight container can be used for q/t--bare bottomed, with pieces of PVC for hiding places), which is the hyposalinity you're thinking of.  (The other known, proven cure is using copper--formalin is more stressful and not a proven cure.)  For hyposalinity to work you're going to have to lower the s.g. to <1.010 (or lower).   >My goal is to eliminate the parasite. How about the addition of a UV? >>U.V. will only kill those Protozoans that are free-floating, and this is only part of their life-cycle.  I would save my money. >I've heard there is Ick always present ? Thanks for any assistance you may give. >>There are those who would assert that this is not always true.  However, in my own experience, when there are stressors, ich seems to be the first sign, even in a system where it's never been noted previously.  Religious quarantine procedures will go a long way towards ensuring the protozoan isn't introduced into your system.  Before I forget, while the fish are in quarantine/hospital, be sure to siphon the bottom of the tank/container every day to remove dropped "spores".  Best of luck to you!  Marina

Preventing Ich Hi guys <Scott F. your guy today> After numerous disasters and chastising from you guys I now religiously QT my fish for 3-4 weeks. <Great move! You're assured a much greater chance of success with this process!> Some people on the chats recommend preventative Hyposalinity in the QT for new fish while others do not.  What are the benefits vs. drawbacks of this and do you recommend preventative Ich treatment?  I and a few others would like your educated opinion. Thanks as always. Joe <Well, Joe, the theory behind hyposalinity is that it creates an environment that is not conducive to the lives of parasites. They cannot make the osmotic "stretch" (as Bob refers to it) as easily as fishes can, and therefore, are less likely to propagate and infect fishes (This is the same rationale for prophylactic freshwater dips, by the way). The "drawbacks" to this procedure are mainly that you need to acclimate the fishes very carefully, and changes to the environment must be made slowly. Sometimes, overall water chemistry stability can be difficult to maintain in hyposalinity situations. As far as "preventative" ich treatment is concerned, there are a number of things that you can do: First- the use of quarantine procedure is a great first step. Also, maintaining stability in all environmental parameters is very important. Some people feel that feeding foods soaked in garlic extracts can help repel parasites (the thought being that a substance in garlic, Diallyl thiosulphate, may interfere with the Cryptocaryon parasite to recognize their potential hosts -your fishes, due to a sulphurous chemical "signature"). The jury is still out on that one, however. You're doing it right so far! Keep up the good work! Regards, Scott F>

Puffer Problem I've been treating my Porc. puffers for ich using hyposalinity, and while its suppressed the ich, it hasn't gone away yet. They seemed okay until this afternoon, when I noticed one of the puffers looks like he has a bruised side. He looks miserable and I don't know what it is. Is it possible that the ich has caused blood vessels to burst under the skin, or is this possibly unrelated and just really bad timing? <Most likely, an unrelated (but poorly timed) problem> He also doesn't seem to want to move the fin on that side very much. Right now, I'm thinking of starting copper treatments with CopperSafe in a hospital tank because I'm sick of messing around with hyposalinity and it not working (there is a good chance I just don't have the salinity low enough, but now I don't want to wait to try to keep adjusting). But I'm worried the copper will be bad if he's in a weakened state. Please, any advice would be appreciated. <Well, I'm not a big fan of hyposalinity...Lots of hobbyists use this technique to combat ich and parasitic illnesses, but it seems to be better at preventing ich than curing it. I believe that medication does a better job. If not copper, then you may want to use a commercial cure containing Formalin..> If he is injured somehow else, I don't know how. He's in with another porky, a Hawkfish, and a ruby headed parrot wrasse. The tanks primary filtration is a canister filter, and the intake is covered. There are rocks, etc... in the tank, but nothing with small holes he could have gotten stuck on. <Hard to say what the cause might be...Could possibly be a trauma of some sort...But I don't believe that it's a disease at this point...> You can also see more pictures of the bruise here: http://wetfish.terminus13.com/misc/puffertrouble/trouble.html <Good pics, but I couldn't get a good feel for what it was...My advice: cure the ich with a reliable medication (in a separate treatment tank), and continue observations and effort to maintain good water conditions...I think that getting rid of the ich is he most important thing to deal with at this time....Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Re: live rock Hi, I have a problem hope you can help me. I have a 150uk gallon tank 9 fish 40 kilos of live rock ,2 canisters running with sintered glass and skimmer. Readings are great , lost no fish yet and eating well, but I've got ich, the tanks is in a alcove and really hard to dismantle and almost impossible to catch fish. I've been told that dropping the sg to 1.010 for 4 to 6 weeks will do the trick? I have no inverts at all and have been told the live rock will survive ? The live rock is purely for filtration purposes will it still work after this process ? Thanks, Hope you can help me. Mark <Hi Mark, you make no mention of a QT tank, please go to WetWebMedia.com and type "quarantine" in the Google search engine. Read the QT article and associated FAQ's.  There is no real way to treat in tank other than medicated food (either tetra anti-parasite) or Seachem. Both contain Metronidazole, the active ingredient.  The best, most sure-fire way is to follow the QT procedures and hold tank fallow of fish for one-two months. Your predicament is why you need a QT.  Craig>

- Hyposalinity and Ich Treatment - Dear Jason and Crew: <Good morning.> Ok. So I should not lower salinity... well. What really should I do in my main display??? <Let it go fallow, leave the invertebrates in there... bring the temperature up to about 82 F.> I read your FAQs already. I am formulating a plan for action. With limited amount of resources... Ok. Now I have 1 33 gal, full setup HT and a 30 gal tank only. Do u think the fishes will be able to all fit in?? <No, I don't, you should really try to scratch up at least one more tank - a 20-long perhaps.> Also, I have a get a filter for the 30 gal tank right?? <Yes, but it doesn't have to be fancy - an air driven sponge filter will do.> And a heater right? <For certain.> Do I use copper on both tanks?? <In the hospital/quarantine tanks, yes.> 14 days with how many water change?? <Depends on the number of fish in the tank - perhaps 50% every other day or 25% every day, depending on the number of fish in the tank you may need to increase the percentage.> and the thing is, I have to house them in these two tank for at least 45-60 days.. how can I do that?? <With a lot of patience - they will either pull through or not - I don't know how else to say it.> Should I get a 72 gallon and house all the fish in one tank? <I wouldn't - your money will go much farther on several smaller tanks.> Or 2 tanks each 33 gallon?? <There you go.> I personally think that the 72 gallon is a better way. <I don't.> More water capacity, stable environment... <Yes, but overcrowding - which is really a major stress on the animals, in addition to the other stresses... don't do it.> but I also think that I have many tangs in the tank, and this will cause stress... either way, I will run each with a heater and a AquaClear 500 as a filter, plus a powerhead and a protein skimmer. With plenty of PVC's to hide. <Good plan.> Also, how to minimize stress in a qt?? dark surrounding?? Or no light at all? <I don't bother lighting the tanks, and just use natural light in the room.> Or having backdrop all around the tank?? <This is wise if the tanks are placed side by side, so the fish aren't antagonized by their neighbors.> Pls comment. And what is the water parameter needs to be when treating the fish?? <Same as you would need in the display.> Low salinity and high temp at the qt?? <You can if you want, but the copper treatments will be doing their thing, so hyposalinity and higher temperature aren't 'really' necessary.> if so, how high the temp and how low the sal needs 5o be with my fishes/? <I would try and go with normal conditions, myself - SPG no lower than 1.020, temp in the normal range - perhaps 80.> And also, for how long the low sal and high temp needs to be in effect? Do I change all my water after the copper treatment?? <You'll be changing the water very frequently - once you change the water, you will have to dose the copper again to make sure the dose level stays constant. I would change the water at the beginning of the day and then dose the copper.> If not,  how many percent should I change?? <Again, either 50% every other day or 25% a day, depending on the number of fish in each tank - you may have to change as much as 50% a day if your quarantined tanks are packed - more than three fish each.> And also, if my tank is fallowing, can I vacuum the gravel for washing to minimize the Ick?? <Yes, and you should... it's a good time to do this.> Since this is the 3rd time this is happening, I really think the parasite has conquered my gravel bed... and I think I should wash it,, any thought? <Just vacuum it. Let the temperature and fallow period do their work.> So basically, I understand I need a full treatment system for the fishes for the fallow period, and in order to minimize stress, I need a bigger tank to capacitate the fishes. <No, multiple smaller tanks so that they don't feel overcrowded.> Will treat them for 14 days with CopperSafe and what is a appropriate test kit for measuring Mardel labs CopperSafe product?? <A copper test kit.> I am thinking of housing all the fishes for 60 days... maybe longer this time. <Don't go too long - there is such a thing as too much quarantine - six weeks should be plenty, and you might even get away with five.> Pls comment on my email and provide answers!! I really need your help. Your confused. loyal fans Thanks Jason, Craig and bob (rob) to be so patient with me..... really appreciated. Eric <Cheers, J -- >

Bicolor Anthias, low Spg I have a Hawaiian bicolor Anthias (beautiful fish) I got from FFExpress 3 days ago. I acclimated him to my  20g quarantine tank which I had at a S.G. of 1.012 to reduce the parasite load (FFExpress uses shipping water S.G. 1.014 for the same purpose). <Are you sure about this? Not a good idea> I was excited at first because he was eating (Sweetwater Plankton), active and appeared to be doing well. Today he is not eating and is tipping to one side as he swims. He keeps opening and closing his mouth. I tested the water, and everything seems to be ok. Temp 75 degrees, pH 8.3 no ammonia or nitrates. I cannot see any parasites. I did a 2 gallon water change which raised the S. G. to 1.014. I would appreciate any advice you can give me. <I would raise it a good 0.001 per day till you were back to NSW/1.025, offer live foods. Bob Fenner> Tom Berry

Rockin' Around! Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> Hoping you can help me out. I have a 230 gallon tank FOWLR.  I introduced the ich parasite into it by adding some rock.  I cannot remove the fish so I would like to do hyposalinity for 45 days.  I have no corals but do have beautiful coralline algae on the rocks...my questions is...by doing hypo will this kill the coralline and other stuff on my rocks? if so, could this cause a ammonia spike? <In all likelihood, yes. And the die off of animals and algae could overwhelm your filtration and cause an ammonia spike. I know it's not a fun (or easy) method, but removing the fishes and letting the tank run "fallow" for a month really is the best way, IMO. Hyposalinity can work, but the fact is, the hosts for the ich parasite (the fishes) are still there. Granted, the parasites don't make the osmotic "stretch" as well as the fishes, but... I'd err on the side of caution. Sometimes this course of action works, sometimes it doesn't. If it were my tank, I'd rather endure the hassle of removing the rock to get out fishes (and re-setting it when the fishes are gone) and facing that disruption, than I would potentially killing all of the desired growth on the rock and dealing with the possible pollution (not to mention, having to wait for the desirable life forms to re-colonize the rocks). Whatever course of action you choose, just be patient! I'm sure you'll be successful!> Thank you so much, your site is marvelous!! Lynn McKinney <And thank you for the kind words, Laura! Good Luck! Regards, Scott F>

Hyposalinity Hello, crew! Enjoying your information and contributions more than ever. Perhaps you can clear something up for me, what is the appropriate salinity and time period for hyposalinity treatment in a fish-only quarantine tank? <Here is an excerpt from an article I am working on along with a few references for additional information. Low salinity has been demonstrated to be an effective treatment against Cryptocaryon.  A salt level of 14-15 ppt or 1.010-1.011 specific gravity for 7-10 days has been reported to kill the parasite.  Most fish will tolerate being transferred to a low salinity tank without special acclimation procedures.  The low salinity water should match the temperature and pH, though. After treatment, the fish need to be slowly acclimated back to full-strength seawater.  Increasing the specific gravity 0.001 per day should be slow enough. The drawbacks to this treatment are the same for many of the treatment options discussed above.  Invertebrates and certain fish will not be able to tolerate it.  Sharks and Rays are two fish groups that are not safe for this procedure.  I would also not recommend this approach in the presence of live rock or live sand.  The Hyposalinity will likely kill the worms, crustaceans, mollusks, and other life, causing a severe drop in overall water quality. Kollman, Rand. 1998. “Low Salinity as Quarantine and Treatment of Marine Fish Parasites” SeaScope, Volume 15, Spring 1998. Also, I seem to remember that Ich can be present (and actively affecting a host) while the spots do not actually appear on the fish. True? <Yes, it is not uncommon for Ich to begin in the gills, but there are signs/rapid breathing.> Thanks very much! Travis <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Salinity Hi Robert/Craig Hi Heinrich> Is there any guidelines on how long low salinity (specific gravity = 1.018)can be maintained in a tank for the purpose of treating ich/velvet? How will this affect fish if these low ranges is maintained for long periods - say up to a month? <Not needed for this period, just for copper treatment of two weeks, then slowly raise to 1.023-1.025. Continue QT w/o copper for additional two weeks.> I think I have stopped the ich/velvet now - the fish looks much better, but I am scared that if I bring the salinity back to normal the parasites will start to flourish again. <Not with copper at proper levels, lowered SG not necessary.> The tank had this low salinity for 7 days now - all the fish is happy and feeding well.  <Another week of this, copper and 83F and parasites should be on the run.> I am also maintaining a level of 0.18mg/l copper in the water. Any advice on this. Heinrich <Yes, Heinrich, do keep this at 0.025 ppm free copper. Make sure you use the right test kit for the type of copper you have. See WetWebMedia.com search "copper treatment". Hope this helps! Craig>

Salinity Hi Robert/Craig Hi Heinrich> Is there any guidelines on how long low salinity (specific gravity = 1.018)can be maintained in a tank for the purpose of treating ich/velvet? How will this affect fish if these low ranges is maintained for long periods - say up to a month? <Not needed for this period, just for copper treatment of two weeks, then slowly raise to 1.023-1.025. Continue QT w/o copper for additional two weeks.> I think I have stopped the ich/velvet now - the fish looks much better, but I am scared that if I bring the salinity back to normal the parasites will start to flourish again. <Not with copper at proper levels, lowered SG not necessary.> The tank had this low salinity for 7 days now - all the fish is happy and feeding well.  <Another week of this, copper and 83F and parasites should be on the run.> I am also maintaining a level of 0.18mg/l copper in the water. Any advice on this. Heinrich <Yes, Heinrich, do keep this at 0.025 ppm free copper. Make sure you use the right test kit for the type of copper you have. See WetWebMedia.com search "copper treatment". Hope this helps! Craig>

Lowest salinity safe for crab and shrimp? Hello again. I apologize for so many questions, there is so much to learn. I have read over all the FAQ's regarding lowering specific gravity for reduction of ich. I am leaving my tank for 2 months without fish hosts to greatly reduce parasites. <After two months, there will be no more parasites. They will all perish in one month.> There is a Lysmata cleaner shrimp and a white spotted hermit crab in there with live rock, my question is what is the absolute lowest I can reduce salinity to without killing my crustaceans? <No need to do the low salinity with no fishes, but anyhow, I would not go below 1.018.> Right now I have it at 1.019 with a temperature 84. <I would leave as is.> Regarding my 2 quarantine tanks one with a maroon clown and neon goby and one with purple tang and neon goby what is the lowest salinity possible these fish will tolerate? <I have read of treatments as low as 1.010.> If my maroon clown shows no signs of parasites and seems very healthy can I please take out the CopperSafe, it has only been in for 7 days, but she has been visibly parasite free for 6 days. <I would run the suggested course of treatment.> I know she is sensitive to copper and I want to take it out as soon as is safe to do so and put in a piece of live rock to hopefully help with reestablishing bacteria after the copper. <There are other treatment options in you do not like copper; daily water changes and freshwater dips are my two favorites.> Also is it okay to take copper out of purple tang's tank after 2 weeks even if she still has faded spots/scars on her body. <Same advise as above> Thanks again for all the wonderful help and advice, I would be so lost without your website. No one at any of my LFS can ever agree or seem sufficiently knowledgeable to trust. ~Kylee Peterson <That is a shame. -Steven Pro>

Ich I need some advice please if you All don't mind. <Not at all> Let me show you the gist of a discussion on the chat pages that I posted. <Okay> Tank is 75 gallons and has been established for a long time. Water is in great shape. No ammonia, no nitrites, no nitrates at the moment because I'm sure of very frequent water changes. They had an ich outbreak and I recommended freshwater dipping. <Whoa! Need details on the make-up (life, gear) and history of this set-up... responses will vary tremendously. Freshwater dips/baths, lowering Spg by itself will rarely effect a cure of a "going" case of marine ich.> Very few spots, very healthy fish. They seemed to get better. Then it came back. Of course life cycle of ich. Spread to more fish. So I suggested gradually lowering the salinity. Well they have the salinity at 1.016 and I have never seen so much ich on a fish in my life. How low does it have to go to be of help? <Once again... depends on the history/stability of the set-up... it's presumed capacity to favorable adapt to lowered Spg... and the organisms in question. Many invertebrates can't take quick or low Spg... Most fishes can/will do fine in 1.010 water... lowered about a thousandth per day> How long do you leave it lowered and it looks like they are going to lose one of the semilarvatus. Which they lost. This tank is a reef tank and doing great they really don't know how to catch the fish and re quarantine them without taking the entire tank apart. I'm worried about them loosing all the invertebrates if they take it any lower with the invertebrates still in the tank. <Please, please read through our site re marine disease and specifically Cryptocaryon and its treatment, avoidance: staring here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm> I've read the site here and I've been reading online and advice varies as to how low to make it go. I'm afraid to tell them to take the sg any lower. SeaTest sg kit. Temperature is 80 to 82. Colt coral isn't looking so hot and I'm worried about the clam. <Me too... this treatment: lowering Spg, dipping will NOT cure the problem... I WOULD take the tank apart... treat the fishes as proscribed on WWM, and return the Spg in the main/invertebrate/non-fish tank to "normal"> The tank isn't mine. Mine's a 125 and so far knock on wood no ich. But this has made me wonder about quarantining, etc. Would it be better for her at this point to take out the invertebrates and put them in a tank with the correct salinity and go on and do the hyposalinity in her main tank ORRR would it be better to remove the fish and do the hyposalinity in a quarantine tank?  <Mmm, neither... the fish/non-fish do need to be separated, and treated, at this point with a copper-based medication... and Quick!> Provided of course I could get a quarantine tank set up for her? There's a ton of live rock and invertebrates in that tank but the salinity is already low so which do you suggest?  And the question becomes is 1.016 low enough? or how much lower should I tell her to take it? <My friend... stop "listening" to any/everyone... and THINK for yourself here. Read just this note... You state that you have tried lowering Spg, freshwater dips... they have not worked. They WILL NOT work... You need to formulate a working plan (treatment tank, allowing the non-fish system to go fallow... i.e. with fish hosts) to weaken the marine ich... and treat the fishes. NOW. Bob Fenner>

Hyposalinity Success/Live Rock Bob, I am happy to say that the hyposalinity approach, (ph 1.017 and 84 degrees for 4 weeks) solved the Ick problem I had with my live rock. I put my puffer in the plastic trash can with the live rock after 4 weeks, if any of my fish was going to get Ick this one would, of course I brought the salinity up to normal and temperature down before I put him or her in and no traces of the disease after 8 days. <A little short time frame, hence why quarantine procedures are for a minimum of two weeks with approaching four weeks being better.> As a matter of fact, the puffer never looked better. All I have in the can is an air stone and heater, it is amazing how the live rock alone is filtering and providing the correct environment for creature. <Yes, effective, simple, and natural.> I'm glad I was able to save the live rock, I will now feel comfortable adding the live rock to my new 125 gal tank, still cycling. I just wanted to let the other hobbyists out there who are using live rock and will probably come down with a case of Ick eventually, that the hyposalinity method really works. Thanks again for all the advice you have given me in the past. Fred Warren <Glad to hear things are working out for you. -Steven Pro>

Parasites (ich?) and rapid SG/Temperature changes Hi Bob: <Anthony Calfo in your service> I have a 65 gallon FOWLR tank which uses an undergravel filter (powerhead driven), a Fluval 403, and a simple Berlin skimmer (the tank and its equipment are "older", having been previously used for freshwater and stored in the garage for years -- I would much rather be using my old Aquasystem wet/dry but that's a different story altogether...) Fish include a large Tomato Clown, Flame Angel, Snowflake Eel, Huma-Huma, a handful of snails, and a few Damsels left over from my initial cycling (I wish I had discovered your web page before I resorted to such an "old school" approach!). <no worries... a nice traditional tank> Tank was running fine, all chemistry good, but I did notice a small white "thing" on the tail of one of the damsels (about 1/3 the size of a grain of rice). I couldn't tell if it was the result of a fin tear or something else, so I let it be for a few weeks and nothing changed. Eventually, the white "thing" on the damsel went away. A week later, my clown and angel were covered in much smaller white specks (ich, I presume). This happened seemingly overnight -- I did not see the fish scratching on rocks, etc. and I do check my tank every day. <also look for rapid gilling or closing one gill cover as much as a week before signs of Ich> It was nighttime and I was panicked, so after reading some more of your web page I opted to lower the SG in my tank to 1.016 and increase the temperature to 82F to keep things in check before I (reluctantly) resort to copper or try gobies (an uncertain solution considering my voracious little Huma ). <if copper, avoid in main tank...reserve for a hospital tank> This morning, I woke up to discover that both the clown and angel are nearly spotless! Also, the clown seems to have a much better appetite and is less "passive" with the other tank inhabitants than I had previously observed. All other fish seem OK. At this point, what would you suggest? It seems to me that the rapid lowering of the salinity did wonders to wipe out the vast majority of the little buggers on the fish. Should I try my luck and continue with the lowered salinity/increased temperature for the remainder of the month?  <although this usually doesn't cure it alone... it may work. Keep the temperature very stable in the tank and ride it out. But do be prepared to use a medicated quarantine tank if necessary. Freshwater dips also do wonders> I am trying as much as possible to avoid copper treatments, since I do not have a QT nor anywhere to put my live rock (yes I should probably stop being so cheap).  <yep... a ten gallon tank with a sponge filter is much cheaper than losing all of those fish and running the live rock and sand with copper> The Huma Huma is not very big (maybe 1.5"), do you think gobies would fare well in this environment? <perhaps not long term for most goby species> Finally, what do you feel is the "safest" low level of salinity to permanently keep the tank at? Are there any benefits to a low-salinity tank besides the insignificant cost of salt? <I wouldn't make it a habit of going below 1.018 long term... unnatural if nothing else> Your help is greatly appreciated, Samuel Livingston <always welcome... with kind regards, Anthony>

Hyposalinity - Live Rock Bob, I am once again battling Ick, don't know if I introduced it with the many additions of live rock over the last 2 months,  <No... likely a "resting stage" that was not eliminated before... and sufficiently weakened, susceptible hosts...> I am resigned that I will have to deal with this disease on and off. I removed the 40 lbs of live rock from my 54 corner tank and put in a 30 gal plastic trash can with aeration and a light at least 12 hours a day. I coppered my main tank and the fish are improving nicely, my question is, if I use the hyposalinity method on my live rock, 1.017 and 84 degrees for 6 weeks, can be certain that I will kill off the Ick ? <Not absolutely certain... but close. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance Fred Warren

Hyposalinity Bob, <You actually reached Steven Pro working his shift answering some of the daily questions. Anthony Calfo and I are currently helping Bob.> I have been reading some info on hyposalinity. I have been told that hyposalinity is effective 90% of the time. <I do not know if that number is true. I believe it is somewhat effective, but I do not know of anyone who has done any controlled studies and I talk to Randy Goodlet, one of the chief proponents of hyposalinity, all of the time.> Is it safe for all tank mates, such as clam, shrimp, SPS , etc. <Definitely not. Fish only and you may have to be careful with which fish. Some are going to be more sensitive than others. -Steven Pro> Barry

Fallow Tank Bob Happy holidays! I have E-mailed in past (from different address) about three butterfly's and ich. They were doing fine, eating heartily but parasites were very prevalent on fish. More so on Pakistani and Cortez and less on Golden. First two eyes are cloudy (Bacteria problem brought on by parasite?).  <Likely, yes... or treatment, or both.> Well, today the Pakistani would not eat. First time this has happened. I removed all three to my QT tanks and will leave them there as long as you recommend. I feel I can clear up fish with copper, What would you recommend for cloudy eyes? Do you treat in conjunction with ich or after? Broad spectrum or specific? (Gram Neg or Pos) <Would just treat with the lowered Spg, elevated temperature and copper... the cloudiness should clear (hopefully) with the overall improvement in your Butterflyfishes health> Freshwater dips (Methylene blue) every week will be added to treatment process. I have been through this before when quarantined on arrival. My problem is main tank. I have live rock and am determined to keep it. My questions are, first I have a snowflake eel. In you book you suggest they are not parasite prone. Will leaving him in main tank added parasites (host) during fallow period?  Basically should I remove him? <Unfortunately, should be removed... otherwise, as you hint, will act as space vector> He does well with all live rock and is not subjected to copper treatment in QT. How does hyposalinity affect live rock, snails, and hermit crabs? <Yes... don't want to lower too much, too fast...> I have a few each, Less crabs, I believe some have invaded eels space. My real concern is live rock. Any other recommendations I would appreciate. Main thing the live stock is still doing well. D Stanley <Please read over the many FAQs on live rock posted on WetWebMedia.com Let's continue to discuss your situation if you'd like, if anything is unclear about your treatment plan. Bob Fenner>

Tang with Ich Hello Mr. Fenner, I sure appreciate your website, and all of your replies in the past. I currently have a problem with ich in my tank. I have an 80 gallon tank, with a remora pro skimmer, plenty of mechanical and biological filtration, and 60 lbs of live rock. It has been up since January 2001. It is stocked with: -large Valentini puffer -medium maroon clown -medium scissor tail goby -medium sleeper head goby -2 blue damsels -large lawnmower blenny -small Dottyback (magenta and yellow) -tiny long horn cow fish -medium chocolate chip star -medium Condys anemone, oh and a small cleaner wrasse (who loves to pester the puffer). <Quite a mix> I recently (about 2 weeks ago) bought a powder brown tang from a dealer that I trust. A few days after I put it in I saw a few ich spots.  <No quarantine? Nor a dip/bath? This is a touchy, ich-prone species...: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm > After reading the section of disease on your website, I raised the temp. (to 84 degrees) and started to lower the salinity. Now after 2 weeks the ich spots come and go, but have not disappeared. I now have the salinity down to 1.018 and the temperature is at 85 degrees. The spots are not severe, but they are there, and tonight they look a little bit worse. The cowfish has a few spots on his fins also. I feed the fish green marine algae (ocean nutrition brand), and brine shrimp with a HUFA and vitamin supplement (made by Warner Marine).  <All worthwhile steps to try... but taken together, may not be enough to totally "cure", definitely not eradicate this parasite from your system> I also add a product by Marc Weiss that encourages coralline algae grown, and it supposed to interfere with the ability of ich to attach to the fish's skin. <Ludicrous. Discontinue using this line of products> I know that I should have quarantined the tang for at least a week, and that I should have done a fresh water dip before I put him in, but I didn't and it's too late now. So I'm just wondering if I should do anything other than what I am doing. <You likely know your options... continue as you're doing, try other biological cleaners, remove the fish livestock for copper treatment elsewhere, try more voodoo products. These are all gone over on WWM. Bob Fenner> I greatly appreciate your time. Thank you, Jim Moss

Re: Q-Tank Mr. Fenner, One serious question. What is the lowest one can bring the salt level, where Ich will die and fish would be safe?  <Depends on species and their current health... but 1.010 is the typically given figure... not lowered all at once, but about a thousandth per day... keep your eye on at least ammonia, pH shifts... plenty of aeration, observation...> Planning to treat Ich with garlic. <Please read through the Marine Parasitic Disease sections on our site starting with: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm There are other approaches I would use first with an existing infestation. Bob Fenner> Thanks,

Re: Ich Treatment Forgot one last thing. How low of a Spg level would be safe for cleaner shrimps? <Not as much or as fast as with fishes. Maybe 1.021 and this very slowly adjusted... Need to either leave them in near seawater Spg or move them to same in another system while treating your fishes with hyposalinity. Bob Fenner>

Re: formalin-3 Robert, I decided to keep a fish only aquarium and in order to avoid this parasite problem in the future I have started lowering the SG and planning on lowering it to 1.017-1.018 and since my tank is at 80 degrees F in the summer this means 1.015-1.016 with my SeaTest hydrometer, right? <Right about there> Will this low SG be ok with batfish? (I don't have them yet) <Yes... if adjusted slowly... and in initially good health> Will this low SG kill the remaining parasites in my system? <Hmm, not to kill... but will impugn their health, spread... Hyposalinity (much lower) as a dip, longer term bath can kill such organisms... see: http://wetwebmedia.com/martrthyposalfaqs.htm> In my 60 gallon tank can I have 2 batfish, 1 coral band shrimp, 2 Gobiosoma goby, 2 Firefish, is this ok? <Alive? No... too crowded to even have one adult batfish (family Ephippidae) can I have any more than that? if so what else would you suggest? <Please read through the Livestock Selection parts on our WetWebMedia site... time to re-do your stocking plan. Bob Fenner> thanks again, Marc

Annularis Angel update! (ich treatment by hyposalinity, eye cloudiness...) Hello Robert! We exchanged a few e-mails last week, about the Annularis and wanted to ask you few more ???? 1. Can Ick only be killed when it is floating free from its host? <Virtually yes> 2.Have you heard of this Hyposalinity method in fighting parasites? <Yes... have a FAQs section on the WWM site re> Here is a link some else gave http://www.wyx.com/iheo/tank/hyposalinity.htm 3. Will this method rid me of Ick on it's own? <Not usually> My tank is fish only. I recently took copper medication out after a over 4 week treatment. I let the system run clean for a week and everything tested good. So last week end is when we bought the Annularis. His behavior is mixed to me. He eats like a hoarse yet hides from most of the other tanks mates. He really does not like the light on. When you come to see him, and if he sees you, he will come over to check you out.  <Yes, a timid species... avoids divers in the wild as well> The 2nd day in my tank he developed an eye infection (cloudiness) By Mon. it moved to just one eye. I was told by my LFS to just let it adapt to his new environment . They also said they have seen this before and especially with angels, They did not seem overly concerned! <Usually resolves...> When Weds came around, it was definitely looking worse. It looked like the infection was eating into the eye. I started treatment with Melafix that night. When I checked Fri. I found no real improvement yet it didn't get any worse. However I discovered almost every fish in my tank Itching and scratching (jerk swimming). I was so pissed!!! I see no strong evidence of a parasite or White dots. Last time I could definitely tell! All I see are 3 or 4 white particles on the Annularis, but can't tell if it's debris from the sand or Ick.( nothing on the fins or Tail of any fish.) <Might be from the Melafix use> Here is a link to some pics taken this past Thursday http://logos-and-graphics.com/angelfish/ I don't want to use copper, and I can't because of the angel. <Why?> Plus I don't want to mix medications. So I started the Hyposalinity treatment on Fri. at 1.020 and now I'm at 1.015 on Sun. As I took some water out and replaced it with fresh RO water I noticed the itching and scratching fading away. Could I have put to much Melafix in and caused the itching? <Yes> Will this Hyposalinity kill any of my fish when it gets to 1.010 for 4 weeks? <Possibly> I appreciate the Help Thanks Jason <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Re: I always seem to come back to you! :) Raise temp to about 82f, and drop Spg to about 1.017 - SLOWLY. You mustn't drop the salinity too fast, for the sake of your hermit crab, and other tiny crustaceans you certainly have hiding from your Labroides (cleaner). Don't drop that Spg more than 2-3 points over a 24 hour period, same thing for bringing it back up when you decide the ordeal is over. HOWEVER - that wrasse will potentially/likely keep ich under control quite nicely. The thing with ich is, once it's in a tank - it's there FOREVER, unless you leave the tank fallow (no fish) for at least 6 weeks, or strip it all down, throw away the rock and substrate, bleach the tank and other hardware, and start over. Nobody wants to do that. Adjust the temp and Spg, don't feed the wrasse his favorite food, maybe buy a cleaner shrimp to help the wrasse, and get a quarantine setup before you buy any more fish! Best regards, and good luck, -Lorenzo p.s. There is a 'support our site' somewhere within WWM... I don't do the maintenance there, so I'm not sure where it is... but it lets you donate (NOT tax-deductible) directly. But don't tell Bob I 'solicited' you or anything... !

Fallow tank Hello again, Mr. Fenner I promise to stop e-mailing so frequently. I am a great proponent of your book and was thrilled when I found it possible to speak with the guru himself and have been spending much time at WWM. <Ah good, no worries.> My tank was up and running well when I introduced a coral beauty without dipping or quarantining, how I wish I had. <I'll bet...> The beauty was covered with Ick within 48 hours and the other fish began showing symptoms. To make a long story short , I removed my live rock and treated with copper. The coral beauty died. For several days I was unable to get the copper up to 0.15.  <Likely absorbed by... your carbonaceous materials there... rock, substrate...> Next the test went through the roof. I removed the fish to a hospital tank. They all shortly died with the exception of a juv. dragon wrasse who is still happy and healthy. My assumption is that I killed them with the copper. Now for my question: <Very common... once the "uptake" was saturated... additions of the copper accumulated quickly... as you know, there is very little "wiggle room" in copper use concentrations> I read in your book that I should let the tank rest for a month before reintroducing fish.  <Hmm, a good idea, if I don't re-say it myself!> By this time I was going to follow your advice without question. <Never do this my friend... with anyone, any information> The month is nearly up and I have just learned from wet web that it is recommended that in that time the temp. should be raised and salinity dropped. <This does "speed things along"...> I did not do either, but I introduced a UV sterilizer. Has my fallow month been for not or can it still count in reference to diminishing the population of parasites? thanks again, Steve Browne <You're likely fine now... Bob Fenner>

Salt-Water Ich Dear Bob, I read an article about treating marine fish for ich with a method called "Hyper-Salinity" where you lower the salt content in the tank to 1.010 for 14 days. <Yep, that would be "hypo", rather than hyper (i.e. less, rather than more than normal seawater> My question is, does this actually kill the parasite?  <In many cases, yes... ahead of actually killing its hosts> If not, do you know of any treatments that actually kill the parasite? It must be a copper-free treatment because I have a Banded Cat Shark. <For sharks, the better approaches are environmental manipulation... lowering specific gravity as you mention (though not necessarily so low... and over a period of days, one or two thousandths per day...), along with elevated temperature (to about the mid-80's with these tropical species... with an eye on providing extra-needed aeration/circulation for warmer water. Chemical means are either too toxic or ineffective... in particular, I disdain the "hot sauce", sugar/vital and garlic cure-alls touted by others...> Thanks for taking the time to read this, I know you are very busy! Daniel Powell >> <Not that busy my friend. Good luck. Bob Fenner>

Reef Problems I have a 29 gallon reef tank that has been running for about 1 year. Recently, my yellow tang and maroon clown have begun to scratch. I have a quarantine tank, but I am unable to catch either of the fish to treat them. Someone told me that I could lower the salinity to around 1.012, which would kill any parasites on the fish. My question is, how much stress would this put on my corals and inverts. If they will live under the lower salinity levels, what would be the maximum time that I can keep the water condition that way before everything begins to suffer.  Thanks again for your time, Josh C. >> Thank you for writing... and raising this "graded response" question. Every organism is different in species and individual specimen in its range of tolerance to such variables as specific gravity change and range... Some "corals" are found (as species and specimens) in shallow environs subject to much rainfall, run-off... and have more "tolerance" to manipulation of Spg in captivity...  But having stated this, the lowering of Spg to 1.012 is too low IMO for any given mix of hobbyist stinging-celled life... I will state that 1.017 is probably the lower limit I feel comfortable with... and even then, the bottom line is what you observe when/if lowering it in the way of your livestock's behavior... But this low Spg will do about as much good as any further lowering for the situation you describe.... Which brings me to... the likelihood that you have no specific pathogen problem... Fish just do "scratch" for different reasons (not just external parasites)... and so, I'd look into aspects of water quality, first and foremost... and barring finding (and fixing) anything in particular, do the "general" cathartic step and make a large water change...  If you still sense that your fishes are too "scratchy" try a biological cleaner species or two (gobies, shrimps).... and be observant. I wouldn't move the fishes unless I was really sure they had a treatable disease that necessitated it. Bob Fenner.

Salinity vs. systems Hello Mr. Fenner. My question is regarding our old friend ich. I recently had a bad outbreak in my tank due to a temperature fluctuation I believe. I have already lost a royal Gramma and my six line wrasse is in a bit of a bind to say the least. To help with the situation I have raised my temperature to 82 degrees and dropped my salinity slowly I should point out) to 1.014. My hope is that between the salinity temp and wrasses sliming nighttime cocooning ability I can get him through it. Let me point out that getting him out is similar to throwing rocks at a fruit fly. The tank is a twenty gallon long with a ten gallon sump and a US aquariums protein skimmer with about 40-50 pounds of live rock and a good 3 inch sand bottom. I use Kent strontium and iodine and calcium. The only other additive is Marc Weiss coral vital which claims to keep ich dormant. So now with all that out of the way on to my question. What effect will such a low salinity have on the corals? I don't plan to keep the salinity there for too long just for three days (with one day being over in about 10 minutes). Can I expect serious system failure in the corals or will I be safe for a few days. Any response would be greatly appreciated even though the trial is on :) thank you TOM  < Welllllll, many of the corals that are collected in very shallow water, and/or near freshwater outfalls (as species and specimens)... if they're initially in good health... should do fine for two-three days in water of a Spg of 1.014... but there are many corals that will do poorly... very poorly being dropped and kept for more than a day or two at this low salinity...  I'd move the corals if at all possible to another setting, or at least keep a close eye on them... and even if I had faith in products that claim to "make or keep ich dormant" (I don't), I would at least add some facultative Cleaners like Lysmata shrimp and/or Gobiosoma gobies. Good luck.



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