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FAQs on Parasitic Reef Tanks 2

Related Articles: Marine Parasitic Disease

Related FAQs: Parasitic Reef Tanks 1, Marine Parasitic Disease, Parasitic Marine Tanks, Cryptocaryoniasis, Marine Ich, Marine Velvet Disease, Biological Cleaners, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease,

Looks good eh?

Ich; Crypt in a 750 gal. reef      5/3/18
Hey Bob, good morning.
So as luck would have it, my 750 has developed ich. I haven’t had to deal with this crap for close to 8 years. My tank is loaded with coral so treating the display isn’t an option and I have close to 40 fish and 400 pounds of LR so netting the fish out is also not an option.
I started them on DR Gs parasitic food,
<http://www.drgsmarineaquaculture.com/anti-parasitic-caviar-detail.cfm,  CP>
raised the temp and bought 5 cleaner shrimp. I also just ordered a new bulb for my sterilizer
<UV speeds up the decay of Chloroquine phosphate>

and should have it running in a day or 2. Even though the fish are still eating, I've lost 4 of them. Is there anything else I can be doing to get this under control?
<... Plan B... removing the fish livestock to where spg can be manipulated, allowing the 750 to go fallow... Otherwise... hoping the remaining fish livestock will develop resistance, immunity... Trouble introducing new fish/es... NEED to be thoroughly acclimated, conditioned to the system, including water changes from the main to Quarantine system/s>
I’m also running ozone although I realize it doesn’t do much for ich.
As always, thank you
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich      5/3/18

Thanks Bob. The link you sent for the food is different from what I bought. The stuff I got is actually frozen Dr Gs food. Is the liquid form you sent better in your opinion?
<I don't know John. My guess/supposition is that the frozen format would retain CP potency. I did meet Dr. G years back giving a presentation (used to call pitches) at a S. Fla. hobbyist show. Seemed very nice, honest, competent folks/family. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich      5/3/18

Ahh. Ok. Thanks for the input. Hopefully it is as reef safe as they say it is. I have thousands in corals at risk if it isn’t.
<Do see WWM re CP, and for what you have invested... the 2d ed. of Ed Noga... Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment. B>
Question. More re Crypt in a 750 gal. reef      5/4/18

Good morning Bob,
<Good morrow to you John>
I have been wondering something that maybe you can answer. It’s about ich. So if ich primarily effects fish when they get stressed and their immune system takes a hit, why is it that the whole tank becomes infested?
<There is more to such infestations. Apparently there are degrees of "hyperinfectivity"...
some "pumped up" strains, populations (perhaps species) of Cryptocaryon, REALLY causing more havoc once their daughter colonies ramp up >
If a fish with ich is introduced into a healthy thriving tank with all health fish, why isn’t the ich isolated to just the stressed fish?
<Mmm, not the "nature" of the Protozoan. It's swarming stages are "forever" seeking out host/s... in the wild, diluted by huge volume of space, pushed off the reef into deeper water. In captive, recirculated systems there is a "high target zone" throughout the tank>
I’m thinking in terms like this... if a fish recovers from ich it’s because their immune system beefed up and fought it off. But.... if a fish is already healthy, why do they become infected in the first place?
<Matters of titers against specific "types" of the parasite is my guess. Akin to you, I gaining resistance to particular "strains" of microbial diseases through exposure, but not to all "types">
My livestock was incredibly healthy in my 750 and I obviously added something in the last couple weeks that introduced ich in the system. Why were my healthy fish infected?
<As stated>
Thank you?
<I so wish we could go back in time and discuss, have a collective understanding of a protocol for diminishing introduction... improving the health of to-be introduced new livestock. Institutions like public aquariums, commercial aquaculture.... are VERY careful to acclimate, isolate, quarantine ALL newcomers for these dual purposes. Have you decided to drain the tank, remove the remaining fishes? Bob Fenner>
Re: question, 750 gal. reef, Crypt       5/5/18

Thanks Bob. I haven’t reached that stage of the game yet. I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that. This tank is massive and I just don’t know if the juice is worth the squeeze. My coral population is vast and the thought of pulling them all out leaves me feeling like I need to be medicated.
<I do understand. Have "been t/here" before John. Steady on. B>
long term. Infested SW systems      5/17/18

Hey Bob, good morning.
<Hi John>
This question is regarding marine velvet. My 750 got infected with it a few weeks back and devastated my fish population.
<I def. recall>
I have about 10 out of 30 remaining. About 1/2 of the remaining fish must be immune because they haven’t shown any symptoms. The other half are touch and go.
<I see>
I’ve tried to trap them with no success and with thousands in corals I can’t treat the tank. The question is this. If some of these fish pull through and clear the infection, will I ever be able to add new fish to the system or will the parasite always be present even on the healthy fish?
<I hinted re this before... You will need, be best served to select more resistant species (not Powder Blue, Brown Tangs e.g.) from better source countries, AND harden them ahead of introduction. The short version of this last involves isolation/quarantine to assure initial health, AND a bit of acquired immunity imbued by slowly introducing water from the main/display into the new arrival tank. Some folks might suggest prophylactic treatment/s as well. The reality is that nearly all captive systems are infested w/ parasite fauna of various mix; with the other two "factors that determine livestock health" acting as more drivers of outbreak>
As always, thank you.
<Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm
Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Persistent Parasite        10/24/15
I will start with admitting my own failure to properly quarantine has put my fish in peril. My question is, at this point, what can be done. I am weighing my options for treatment of parasites in a reef environment.
<.... leave all present, move those infested.... All gone over/archived on WWM
I have an orchid pseudo, yellow watchman goby, blue hippo tang, and a pair of mocha Ocellaris clownfish. The tang was the last addition and seems to indicate classic symptoms of parasite infestation. He periodically scratches, and has white spots similar to grains of salt. I wanted to approach conservatively because the tang appeared to be the only symptomatic fish. I was wrong. It has been about three weeks and the tang, though obviously still infested, eats heartily and behaves normally.
<A wavering balance here.... >
I feed mysis, emerald entree and Nori soaked in garlic. Until this morning the other fish seemed unaffected. Today the male clownfish is lethargic and not eating. Could external parasites create this behavior?
<Oh yes>
Does this indicate the parasite isn't limited in extent to the surgeonfish?
<Oh... clinically it may seem that only one, a few are affected... actually all fishes AND the system are involved
I have been trying to contact the owner of the company that produces Dr. G's medicated fish food but no response yet. Is Chloroquine phosphate hazardous if ingested by invertebrates like a cleaner shrimp?
<Can be if too much... again; you can just search/read this>
The food claims to be reef safe but I am troubled that I can't contact the manufacturer. Would treatment with this medicated food affect the biological filter?
<Which? Depends on the compounds involved/laced in the food mostly>
Given the list of occupants what would be the minimum size hospital tank?
<Perhaps a thirty gallon>
Would you move all five fish to the same hospital tank?
<Let's have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm
and as usual, as much of the linked files above....>
Would copper be contraindicated because of the tang?
<Depends on how weak the host is; what sorts of Cu used>
Would a freshwater dip with formalin provide some relief?
I want to allow the main tank to run fishless for a few months to attempt elimination of the malady. The main concern is for the health of the inhabitants, I will continue to learn.
This hobby isn't as easy as filling a glass box with seawater then just dumping the fish in, as it's portrayed in "Tanked", a cable TV show.
<Don't get me started re those buffoons, the idiocy of that program. Grrrrrrrrr>
It portrays unrealistic expectations for average hobbyists and a huge lack of solid information about the requirements for successful aquarium keeping. Perhaps a WetWebMedia television show might be something to consider.
<Ah my friend.... from the words of.... Sharing w/ Jim Stime
. Bob Fenner>
Re: Persistent Parasite /JimS       10/24/15

After many years of aquarium service and dealing with Ick, and mostly in fish-only tanks, I've determined the there is 100% cure.
<.... I think you've left out the word "no">
All fish have Ick, it just depends on how well the fish itself is able to deal with his situation. Quarantine in advance is a plus, especially in reef tanks, but what does one treat with?
<A few options>
Copper is what I've found to reduce Ick, and while there is a specific level stated it requires testing, and the kit. hopefully made by or compatible with each other.
<Have to be>
I've found a visual que to work better for me. Are the parasites decreasing at the level that I am at or do I continue to increase, and at what rate?
It’s a rather shoot-from-the-hip approach, and not one I would suggest to the inexperienced. What I did want to offer was the realization that fish with Ick in a reef tank have a significant disadvantage, there are no effective medications that can be used in this style of tank due to the negative affect from the medication on invertebrates, therefore, aside from sneaking the medication in to the fish by hiding it in there food, the only effective treatment is to remove the fish. Ah not as easy as it sounds! Yes, and the trick actually is to be smarter than the fish...so why not drop the water level in the tank so they cant swim away and then net them out....and then treat in a properly set up hospital or quarantine tank.
<Oh yes. BobF>
Jim Stime, Jr
Aquarium Design - Installation and Maintenance
Midwater Systems - JELLIQUARIUM Jellyfish Display Systems
MyFishTank.com - Acrylic Aquariums, Stands and Canopies
LA Fishguys - Aquarium Reality Television

Hopefully you can help my with my sick Tinkers butterfly     1/7/14
Dear WetWebMedia-crew/Bob,
First I like to compliment you on your website. I really like the way it has grown organically and I appreciate the information provided a lot. I email you because I hope you can maybe point me to something I have overlooked so far. I have copied/pasted my question from the topic I started on ReefCentral.
<Can't convert these files... would you please just copy and paste them in a new email to me/us? Will respond to you below>
I really hope you can help me.
Kind regards,
Tanne Hoff
My tinker's butterfly is ill. I bought it 6 months ago and it has done very well the first 6 months.
< A tough species, sub- and whole genus>

Since it stopped eating last week I decided I should treat for Cryptocaryon.
<?... why? I would NOT do this>

I set up a small hospital tank using water from the aquarium and I started treating with a mild dose of malachite green, Methylene blue and formalin (commercially available fish medicine here sold under the brand name Femsee),
<Dangerously toxic>

 I stuck to these for 2 days.
Yesterday I switched to copper and Furaltadone (broad-spectrum antibiotic, Nitrofuran derivative). I choose the copper because of what I have read both on websites such as these and based on the book by G. Bassleer about fish diseases. The Furaltadone was used because my LFS advised me to do so as he felt there might be secondary infections. This LFS mostly knows what they are talking about. I have a Salifert copper test kit and as I read I should gradually increase the level of the copper I started with about 0,15 mg/l.
<... has to be higher... 0.20 mg/l (eq. to ppm); but no higher than 0.35 ppm free/cupric ion>
I check nitrites and ammonium daily, so far both are undetectable. Daily I replace 50% of the water with water from the reef aquarium, I top up removed medication.
The fish still does not eat.
<Not with being moved, these chemical exposures, no... NEEDS to be moved back to more agreeable setting, conditions; offered foods it recognizes, perhaps laced with HUFAs, vitamins as appetite stimulant>
Of course, the main goal is to get the fish completely healthy again, but I feel I should get it to eating as well. Of course, the fish probably does not eat because it is ill, but the fact it does not eat does not help its immune system.
So my main questions are:
- am I doing everything right?
<No; not; see above>
- when could I expect the fish to eat again?
<...? When it is treated better>
All suggestions are more than welcome.
I filled in the questionnaire from the stickies as well.
<... for somewhere else. We don't do this/these on WWM>
Thanks in advance, also on behalf of my fish 
1. How old is this aquarium?
Set up in 2006. See the picture I have attached.
2. If less than six months old, what is ammonia level?
3. What is SG of this aquarium? How measured?
1.024, spindle
4. When was the last fish added to this aquarium?
August 2013, 5 small Anthias cooperi which all do very well.
5. Was it quarantined? If so, how? And how long? Was it prophylactically treated? How?
Kept in a separate perforated box in the tank for about 2 weeks.
Prophylactically treated in a FW-bath with Praziquantel for 25 minutes.
6. If you are using a copper based medication, which one? How often do you measure level? When?
See below.
7. If you are using hyposalinity, how did you calibrate your refractometer?-
8. Please describe in detail, the appearance of the fish? If there is one or more pimples, are they lumpy? What color?
Fish looks ok, but an experienced keeper could see there was 'something' wrong when the fish was still in the display tank. It has had a few spots earlier, but nothing serious. The amount of spots seems to have increased a bit, but, even worse: the fish quit eating last week so it was moved to a hospital tank on Jan. 4th. I have attached two pictures of the fish, the one from the front shows the skin's condition best. That picture is not completely clear, but especially on the black areas of the fish, the spots are visible quite well.
9. Please describe the behavior of the fish as best you can. Is it acting reclusive? Is it always up towards the top of the aquarium? Is it avoiding light? How active is the fish?
When still in the display tank, the fish used to be very active and ate nearly anything from between my fingers. Last week the fish quit eating and I did not get it to eat, I tried lots of food without any luck. When the fish quit eating, it went to the cleaner goby and cleaner shrimp more often and was less often swimming in the visible area of the aquarium.
10. Is the fish eating? What?
No, see above. There are some live Mysid shrimp, some bigger (but small enough for him) other shrimp and a clip of seaweed (which he used to like) but he does not touch anything.
<Return this fish to the main display... try opened shellfish, worms....
Bob Fenner>
Re: Hopefully you can help my with my sick Tinkers butterfly; now w/ pix     1/7/14

Dear Bob,
Thanks for your fast reply! Wow!!
I copy the text and add the pictures separately... Thanks in advance!! :)
<I see; these are all the same as what you included past your initial message. Which I have responded to since (between this email and your first>
<.... I see some light spotting in your included images... but am curious as to the other fish livestock... They did not, do not show symptoms? I would STILL return the BF to the main display... and have you read here:
and the linked files above; for background and to formulate a plan for fighting the loss of appetite, whatever possible protozoan issue this might be... in the entire system. We'll chat after your reading. BobF>
My tinker's butterfly is ill..... <the rest a copy of the above>

Re: Hopefully you can help my with my sick Tinkers butterfly    1/9/14
Hi Bob,
Thank you for your fast reply. It took me longer due to work duties, but I didn't skim investing time in the sick fish :)
The other fish in the tank are fine. For the last few years, I have seen some spots come and go and I actually regard that, in a otherwise healthy reef tank, to be something not to worry about. The reason I moved the tinker to a separate tank is that it got my attention it did not eat anymore.
<Such "transient" Protozoan parasite situations are very common... in fact, they're the rule rather than exception>
I have tried multiple food: live crustaceans (adult brine, Mysis and small feeder shrimp), live mussels (cut open) and today I introduced some vermetid snails without their shells. Apart from the mussel I have seen the fish devour these foods (next to nearly anything including flake food et cetera) in the large reef tank before. Whatever I do, the fish does not eat.
<The HUFA, vitamin mix/soak is advised again>
If the fish would have continued to eat in the display tank, I would have left it here, but to be more 'in control' I separated the fish.
<The fish itself is better in a larger, established/stable setting>
I hope your advice will help me to cure my fish :)

Please help with a treatment dilemma - 8 year old system; crypt      6/3/13
Hi crew,
We recently moved our mature 7-8 year old 4ft reef tank to a slightly smaller (just over 3ft, 300l) system. The move went well (I thought), with fish being kept in a holding tank and live rock - in a heated and aerated container, with plenty of flow. I used a mix of old and new tank water and new live sand and also Seachem Stability. Water was tested daily and there were no spikes, ammonia and nitrites were 0, nitrate was very low.
About a week after moving the fish into their new tank, we noticed some were occasionally itching. Fish moved were: an Eibl’s angel, six-line wrasse, pair of common clowns, a domino damsel
<Keep your eye on this Dascyllus... too dominant in most settings>
and our beloved coral goby. All fish have been with us for at least 2 years and everything was QT’d before adding to main tank. Never had an outbreak in the old system. The wrasse started first but he recovered after a few days and has been fine since. Then it was our angel which we sadly lost the other day – we are heartbroken as he’s been with us for 8 years! The goby shows no signs of Ich or anything at all but first thing in the morning the black domino damsel looks covered, same as the female clown. Both fish are otherwise well and feeding very well. I have my QT on standby, together with some Cupramine and a Salifert test kit. The dilemma is this – do I leave them be and hope for the best, avoiding stress from trying to catch and move them (also worried about how the wrasse and goby will deal with the copper). Or do I take out asap and treat?
<I would have taken out and treated. Sorry for the lateness of this reply/response... I would still remove and treat>
I have some very important and hard exams coming in 10 days (mature student!) so timing is not ideal to say the least. I also fear that if I don’t treat, even if they recover, newly added fish would still catch it and then the whole thing starts again. Ideally would like to keep them in QT for at least 6 weeks in order to rid the DT of the parasite. How it got in our system is another question but I guess it’s too late to worry about it now.
<Likely a very olde/long-term resident infestation. Most all systems have them/these>
The only stock added to the new tank were some clean up crew and a small mushroom rock (yes, I know it can live in rocks and substrate...)
<Yes, anything wet>
Please help!
Many thanks
<Again, I apologize for the time lag here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Please help with a treatment dilemma - 8 year old system   6/3.5/13

Thank you so much for your reply, Bob. Yesterday we decided enough was enough and took the fish out - had to literally rip the tank apart to get the wrasse hiding under the very last bit of rock! They are all in a HT now, started dosing Seachem Cupramine.
 They seem ok, apart from the female clown.
Have put some bits of pipe and fake plastic plants (never thought I'd be seen buying those) so the fish are a bit more relaxed now. I think main concern is now to keep ammonia and nitrites down as I am only running a small cobra filter with sponges which I had tucked away in my sump. I am also using Seachem Stability to help the filter.
Is it really true that even running the tank fallow for a few months would not guarantee Ich free environment?
<Strictly answered, yes. The longer though, the more sure>
By the way, visited the shop where we
purchased the mushroom rock and most fish had signs of WS, quite a few were scratching, etc...
<Ah yes>
Thanks again
Jo and Colin
<Thank you for this follow-up. BobF>
Re: after Ich outbreak -update, and Crypt sys. f'       6/4/13

Hello Mr. F,
Now I understand what '' living with Crypt '' means, and I got to tell you, it's not easy!!! But I really hope that I will find the ways to be
successful in this attempt.
<Am hoping with and for you Andrei>
But, I need some help, and here is where your beautiful and helpful organisation comes in:-)
I took out of the DT the hepatus that seemed to maintain always the parasites on his skin, it was not stressful because I got him with the fish trap. After a freshwater bath he is now in qt. And I introduced 2 days after the Z. xanthurum that was in qt for 4 weeks with water from DT. I kept it for the first 24 hours inside the fish trap just to acclimate it with the other fishes and also to be able to get it out if it got spots.
Well, after releasing, the A. japonicus beat it for a day, now they are good and the xanthurum is eating with all of them, but he got spots!!!
I am going to leave him in there and wait for some days, and act only if the others will get worse.
But, my problem now: what do I do with the Z. cornutus that is sitting in qt for 2 weeks now and eating Ocean Nutrition Angel Formula that contains sponges, and also Spectrum pellets that he grabs from the bottom, not while they are floating. He is definitely not perfect in qt because of the water condition, but introducing him in the DT considering the state he is in, he will probably be harassed by the others. And also the crypt... I have a friend that has a small nano (130 liters ) with clowns and damsels and some other small fishes and inverts that has been set up for a year now, should i place him there until the things calm down in my tank and he gets fat?
<A tough choice... I would go w/ the friends 130l for now>
 He doesn't have the ideal parameter, but at least the tank is  cycled and the only thing to worry about is the nitrites, but my qt is worse, for sure, and roughly the same size.
I don't even begin to think about when and how I will reintroduce the hepatus in the DT again....
And, that's all for now... I am just installing a new chiller for my tank , and a calcium reactor, so I have to go ahead, just waiting for the times that will be more calm and enjoyable.
Thank you again,
Andrei  from Romania
<Keep the faith/hope my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re Tomini Tang Aggressive Toward Tribal Blenny/Compatibility/Now Ich Treatment 12/6/11
Regarding the Gobiosoma gobies, are you suggesting that they are a better choice than the Elacatinus oceanops (Neon Goby)?
<The Neon Gobies are part of the purposeful cleaner group. I did say "such as". See here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/neongobies.htm
<James (Salty Dog)>
Re Tomini Tang Aggressive Toward Tribal Blenny/Compatibility/Now Ich Treatment 12/6/11

<Hello Larry>
Not mentioned but I have been treating the tank/fish with Kent Garlic Xtreme and Vita Chem pro forma for the past 2-3 weeks. If the Selcon is better, I'll get it.
<The Vita Chem is fine.>
Have also been feeding Formula Two (contains garlic). The Kent's added direct to the tank water and to food not already containing garlic, e.g., Spirulina brine shrimp.
A cleaner shrimp has been in the tank for about 2 weeks which the Kole 'paired' with on day one. The cleaner attempted to host with other fishes but most were ambivalent (don't know if that is a reflection of them being 'clean' or simply not caring to have a shrimp mount them.
<Likely do not require service.>
The Kole will even open his mouth for the shrimp several times daily; he makes multiple trips to the 'cleaning station' throughout the day. Yet, with all that he is still exhibiting large numbers of salt size spots over his body. The Kole also swims with the tribal blenny - the only 2 fish showing symptoms.
<Cleaner animals are not a total cure for the disease. There will be uneaten spores that will hatch and seek a host.>
The reading you sent is not optimistic about reef tank treatments; even hyposalinity and mid-80s temps from what I'm reading do not rid the tank completely of Ich from what I glean. This is most discouraging.
<That's because it's not sound to treat a reef tank and that "reading" was intended to guide you on what needs to be done to treat the fish and soon. In my opinion (mentioned earlier),
there is no 100% effective Ich cure you can safely use in a reef tank. You need to take action and not write.>
Sincere thanks and regards,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Tomini Tang Aggressive Toward Tribal Blenny/Compatibility/Now Ich Treatment 12/6/11
Hi James,
<Hello Larry>
Appreciate your frankness.
For the purposes of treatment for ICH, should I consider an anemone an invert or fish?
<An anemone is an invertebrate, same as crabs, shrimp, starfish, urchins, snails, etc, etc.>
Thank you.
<Welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Tribal Blenny/Compatibility/Now Ich Treatment 12/12/11
Hi James,
<Hello Larry>
Have taken your considered replies to heart. Please do not take my writing as a delay in taking action. The blenny and Kole have been in QT and under treatment with Cupramine for 5-days. They are doing very well, eating healthfully and in much better health than prior to treatment.
That said, the logistics of maintaining them in a small QT are problematic and not without risk and, the fish still in the 65g display are now symptomatic.
<Uh oh.>
I would like to treat the display tank with Cupramine as there is no reasonable method for me to hospitalize the remaining fish and the natural approaches of garlic, supplements, and other remedies have all failed but perhaps helped prolong health and boost the fishes immune systems.
By treating in the reef tank (first, removing coral and inverts), I can shorten the time the current patients are in the QT, avoid the 8 week fallow waiting period, and return all inhabitants (coral, fish, inverts) to the display tank in approximately 4 weeks after the removal of Cupramine.
All that assumes: Cupramine can be 100% easily removed with charcoal, charcoal like filters (e.g., Chemipure), and/or Cuprisorb; the biological filter can be reseeded and rebuilt; no damage or contamination to the tank, live rock, substrate, plumbing, etc. so that all hardware can be kept in place and safely retained for use. If I cannot treat with Cupramine in the display tank, then the only alternative I see is a hyposaline treatment in the display which also has issues, e.g., buffering, pH, filtration, etc.
Please confirm or correct my thinking as I prepare the next step: remove coral and inverts and proceed with Cupramine in the main tank.
<Since you have no alternative, you will have no choice but to treat the entire tank. Keep
in mind that tangs, wrasses, mandarins, are more sensitive to copper than most other fishes. The few times that I have used copper, I did not put the full dose in the first day, but gradually increased the level to 0.15--0.20 mg/L free copper over a period of three days. This allows fish time to increase internal substances and physiological mechanisms that protect their bodies against toxicity. It can also be very challenging to maintain the recommended does as rock, aragonite, etc., can absorb copper. It is a must to test and maintain proper copper level on a daily basis at the least. If your sensitive fish such as tangs appear to darken or show behavior abnormalities, drop the dose to 0.15mg/L. The time span required to cure is a minimum of 3--4 weeks for Cryptocaryon and 10--14 days for Amyloodinium. Invertebrates should not returned to the treatment tank until Cu2+ concentrations are 0.01 mg/L or less, but ideally zero. There are safer methods of treatment and these can be found in our disease/treatment index.
Thanks and best regards,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Tribal Blenny/Compatibility/Now Ich Treatment 12/12/11
My head is spinning with all the different methodologies and debates around them, especially regarding treatment in the display tank.
<Mmm, shouldn't be if you have read where I linked you.>
Hyposalinity as a dip seemed reasonable, but is so contested in a display tank I'm truly frustrated and moving into inaction as every course seems fraught with potential disaster -
<Is always a risk using copper especially if the fish are already in poor health/infected.>
seems crazy to just sit and wait it out and as nuts to move ahead with so much unknown. And, how can it be any easier to manage than Cupramine given the buffering issues?
I was hoping you'd be able to guide me .... I know there are no guarantees.
I thought Cupramine might the easiest to control in the display tank, but given your feedback in managing the levels (I have a Seachem multitest kit) but given that Pukani rock (I have tons) is so absorbent, aragonite, etc. I'm really at a standstill. If I can safely build the dose between .3-.5 in the display tank....treat for 21 days once a therapeutic dose is reached, that should effectively treat and kill the Ich. The Kole and blenny are responding well in the QT at that dose.
<Cupramine is a little safer than copper if you follow Sea Chem's instructions to the letter......"Remove all invertebrates. Turn off UV sterilizer; remove chemical filtration. If the bottle has a dropper cap, use 20 drops (1 mL) per 40 L (10.5 gallons*) the first day, wait 48 hours, then repeat. On non-dropper caps, each inner ring is 1 mL. In freshwater use half dose. Final copper concentration is 0.5 mg/L (0.25 mg/L in freshwater). Leave at this concentration for 14 days. Do not redose without testing (MultiTest: Copper"¢). Do not use in conjunction with any other medication. If tank has ever been treated with an ionic copper (e.g. copper chloride, sulfate or citrate), test copper level after initial dosing. Although most fish tolerate Cupramine"¢ to 0.8 mg/L, it is not advisable to exceed 0.6 mg/L copper. Remove with carbon or CupriSorb"¢.">
But your experience raises good questions about feasibility of maintaining the dose though I'd think it would relatively easy to maintain once reached. Yes?
<Once the absorbtion slows down it is a little easier to maintain.>
So, is the issue clearing the Cupramine from the DT....rock and substrate the harder issue (assuming I've managed not killing off the fish in the process) so that the system, rock, aragonite, etc. is reef safe again?
<As I mentioned earlier, use a Poly Filter.>
Please tell me your personal best choice for treatment in the display: assuming I remove the coral and whatever inverts I can capture and save to sustain elsewhere.
<Metronidazole (Flagyl), Quinacrine Hydrochloride, Quinine Sulfate is safer but not always effective. We generally recommend starting with this but in your case along with the progress you've made so far, might want stick with Cupramine. I furnished you a link to our disease treatment index and you should do less typing and more reading. And most importantly, act fast if you wish to save some or all of your livestock. James (Salty Dog)>

Parasitic Infection, crypt f' 10/19/11
Hope all is well. I thought it this was supposed to be a stress free hobby,
lol. Anyways I think I have another Ick outbreak going on in my 90 gallon reef. I have not added anything new or had any stressful water parameter fluctuations so I am a little stumped here. The tank currently houses 4 Spotfin cardinals, Helfrich Firefish, blackline blenny, yellow assessor, and skunk clownfish. Over the last week the blackline blenny has started flashing and today I noticed two spots which looked like Ick but disappeared
6 hours later. The flashing has increased to the point where it is almost constant and am starting to get a little concerned. I immediately started adding Selcon and garlic to the food and have started feeding multiple times a day in small amounts instead of my 2 times daily routine. 8 months ago I had an Ick outbreak when I added the clownfish and treated all the fish with hypo for 8 weeks and kept the display fallow for 12. I thought this would have killed the Ick
<Nah; almost, actually make that never>
and if it is Ick I am puzzled why it would take so long to return.? The blenny is the only fish that is displaying these symptoms at this time so I am reluctant to tear the tank down to remove the fish at this moment. I do know if this is Ick I will have to take further action.
Is there any parasites similar to Ick that can cause these symptoms? If I do need to treat for Ick again I am very concerned how my Spotfin cardinals would handle Cupramine treatment. Do you have any insight with this species and Cupramine? Do you think just treating the blenny with Cupramine is an option and leaving all other fish in the display is an option here since I am not sure this is indeed an Ick infection?
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasittkfaq2.htm
and the linked files above. B>

recurring Ich problem 1/13/11
Hi Bob,
<J & G>
First of all thanks so much for your wonderful website. I've been reading it for about 6 years now and get all my information from you.
<I do hope/trust not all. A good idea to "scout around", look for underlying science, rationale>
My problem is recurring Cryptocaryon that I've been fighting on and off for years. I have a 750 liter marine reef tank with an ecosystem sump, a skimmer, chiller, lots of live rock and only a few corals at the moment.
All my water parameters are good and I'm currently housing only a few fish: 1 yellow tang, 1 convict tang,
<Social animals, Manini/A. triostegus>
1 raccoon butterfly fish, I large algae blenny?, 1 Tomatoe clown and 1 tank bred ocellaris clown. Except for the ocellaris clown - who is in a treatment tank at the moment and the Tomatoe clown - still in the main tank- all fish seem healthy, happy and are eating well, with no signs of Ich. I isolated the ocellaris as he was covered with white spots and looking bad (I had two and the female died over night). I am now contemplating of how to tackle the crypt once again.
<Best indirectly... through foods, improved water quality (high, steady RedOx), and the use of cleaner organisms:
Among many attempts I have once before emptied the main tank and let it go fallow for 9 weeks, returned the treated fish which were definitely Ich free, only to see them get infected in the main tank again.
<Ah yes... experienced many times...>
From what I understand from your comments on Cryptocaryon "daughter colonies of Cryptocaryon can wait for months sometimes in the main tank" and "once a system is infected it is very hard to eradicate the parasite completely".
<Yes; this is so>
So I was hoping to strike a healthy balance by keeping my water parameters good and stabilizing the system, and obviously, most of my fish can cope with the parasites as they have probably build up immunity against the Ich.
<I do agree w/ this stand>
However, when I want to add new fish, I go through the quarantine process, add them to my system - and they get infected straight away! So here are my many questions:
1. What is the absolute maximum time these critters can hold out in a fallow tank, 3 months, 6 months, or more?
<Mmm, more absolutely>
2. If I let the tank go fallow will it help to lower the salinity, or will it encourage the cysts to go into hibernation and wait for more optimal conditions to hatch?
<You can "speed up" their life cycle or slow it in a few ways. Lowering the salinity can do both, depending on, again, a few factors>
3. What is the absolute min. spg the eco system with its miracle mud and Caulerpa can handle? And what about the life rock and few corals?
<Variable by species, condition... 1.012 for the first two, though the drop may spur on a death event of the Algae. The life on/in/as the rock can likely tolerate even lower density... Corals... some are very sensitive; best not exposed>
4. What are my chances of actually ridding the established system of Cryptocaryon - I know this is a tricky question - but if this was your system would you try and tackle it, considering that best part of my fish are actually happy at the moment?
<By optimizing the environment, the health of the livestock through nutrition... perhaps through administration of CP through foods:
But than, if I don't rid it completely, how do I introduce new fish to and infested tank?
<Mmm, "carefully"; best by "mixing" water twixt the systems... over a period of weeks, months...>
5. What are your thoughts on a new treatment from Canada for reef systems - "Medic - by polyp lab", which is basically crystallized peroxide.
Would the system benefit from this while it runs fallow?
<Have no experience w/ this product, ingredient for the stated purposes... But not likely (very) toxic>
6. And my last question - I live on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland/Australia
<Oh! Have a good friend who lives, teaches at University there... his mum is in Brisbane to the N.>
and get my water from the ocean (okay, not right now with all our torrential rains and all the flooding, but normally I do get good water here.) If I were able to rid my system of Ich, would I be re-introducing it again with the ocean water? If yes, how could I treat the water to kill the parasite?
<There are a few protocols... which HAVE to be administered w/ CARE. The best in general is the use of Chlorine (bleach) and its subsequent (days later) removal via (Sodium) Thiosulfate/Hyposulfite... and testing! (for free Cl)>
Thank you so much for all your advice in advance, kind regards, Jana
<A pleasure to share Jana. Bob Fenner>

Ich-Damn Ich, reef sys. 8/11/10
Just a quick question. I have a 300 gal system with about 8 small to med fish. Everything has been kosher for quite sometime, however, my return pump died, rather than replace it with another Mag 24, I opted for a Reeflo
dart as it wouldn't contribute to heat in the system and they are much more reliable. I had a spare Mag on the system so I was able to plan the transition out. Long story short I had to drain the sump and drill another hole in the sump to allow for the large inflow size of the dart. It turned into a logistics nightmare, and took approx 24 hrs to complete, I had heat, flow and aeration in the tank. Everything has returned to normal however a few of my fish, despite being vibrant and healthy and voracious eaters do have 3-4 ich spots.
I do have a suitable QT, the problem is catching them, I really don't want to tear this reef apart it has tons of sps.
<I would not tear it apart, nor move the fish livestock; but be patient, wait for now sans treatment>
I have dealt with ich before, my question is, since the stressor that caused it is gone, is there any chance it will abate on its own or should I say screw it and remove the fish now for treatment.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/reefparfaq2.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Another Question on Treating Marine Ich 4/15/09
WWM Crew:
I know that you guys get a million questions about this topic, and I've done my research, but I can't make up my mind on how to treat a recent ich outbreak in my reef tank. I know that my tank has ich, but it has never
been a problem.
<Can come and go... with stress, introduction of new livestock...>
Every once in a while my A. japonicus will get one or two specks of ich on it, but the ich will disappear in a day or two. I've never even seen the fish rub against anything in the tank so I've never been concerned
about the ich. My problem arose just recently after adding a purple tang to my tank.
I know that adding a new fish creates stress in the tank, especially another tang, so I attempted to reduce stress and the chances of a conflict between the tangs by dividing my tank in half using eggcrate.
<Mmm, no isolation, quarantine? Not even a prophylactic dip/bath?>
After a day and a half everyone in the tank seemed to be doing well so I removed the eggcrate and after a brief stint, the tangs left each other alone. Although the fish all seem to be getting along, there must have
been enough stress on the tangs to allow the ich in my tank to multiply.
<And you may well have introduced a new "strain" of Crypt with the new fish>
The tangs are acting healthy and eating like pigs, so I'm torn between letting the fish fight the ich themselves (like I have in the past) or catching the fish and treating them with freshwater and/or copper dips. In order to catch the tangs I will need to tear apart all of the rock work which I know will be stressful on all of the fish. Because the fish seem so healthy I'm leaning towards letting the fish fight it off, but at the same time I don't want it to get to the point where the fish are mouth breathing and not eating because in my experience, that's usually game over.
<Our experiences compare well>
Also, if I let the fish fight it off, will reducing the specific gravity from 1.025 to 1.020 be enough of a change to help them out?
<Not in my experience, no. See WWM re>
I don't dare go any lower with inverts and coral in the tank.
<I would not even go this low here>
I'm interested to hear whatever opinion you may have.
<... all are posted my dear: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm>
I've included a couple of pictures to show the progression of the ich.
<Very nice images. Clearly indicative of Cryptocaryon>
Also as a side note, all water parameters are great and the tangs are utilizing the cleaner shrimp regularly.
<A tough choice to make... If it were me, mine, I think I'd keep contemplating for a couple more days... Perhaps try Garlic in the foods...
Read re the use of Quinine (sans snails)... on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Flashers, fairies and tusks, oh my! 11/30/07 Question for you guys. I took all of my fish out of my 90g because of a bad crypt outbreak. All are in a nice sized 40G quarantine now after a freshwater dip and all. The inhabitants are as follows: 1 3" Whip-fin Fairy Wrasse (*Cirrhilabrus filamentosus)* 1 2.75" Clown Fairy Wrasse(*Cirrhilabrus solorensis)*** 1 Yellow Watchman Goby *(Cryptocentrus cinctus)* Now, these guys have been in the Quarantine tank for a month with no signs of crypt on them with a temperature of around 86 degrees. I've been feeding them New Life Spectrum Thera+A pellets soaked in Selcon as well and have slightly lowered the SG to about 1.019 just for a bit of added help. These were the survivors of the crypt outbreak as I lost a gorgeous Kole Tang, a Filamented Flasher Wrasse, and a red fire fish. I was surprised to see the Flasher get the crypt as bad as it did considering I've never seen any of my wrasses that I've had in the past ever get more than a spec or two. He was covered and, unfortunately, did not survive the night after being given a fresh water dip -- which removed all the Protozoans off of him. <Good> My question is this. I'm letting my main tank run fallow for another month and a half (so about 3 months total) with a bit of an increased temperature to 85 degrees. <Good> It's a soft coral only reef tank and the fishless state has seemed to spring coral growth a bit, which was nice. Since the inhabitants in the quarantine/hospital tank have been more than healthy under constant observation, I purchased a gorgeous 2" juvenile Australian Harlequin Tusk (*Choerodon fasciata)* . <Mmmm, I would have waited... simply out of the question/desire to not complicate things> He was at the LFS for 2 weeks and was eating like a pig the day they got him (I had him on hold for 2 weeks before I threw down the cash). <Very good> He was eating frozen food there and it didn't take more than a feeding for him to move right onto my NLS T+A pellets that I've been feeding for a while now. Anyways, I've read on your site that they can usually co-exist with fishes smaller than them that they have grown up with. <Yes. Have seen this in many instances> I just want to ask you what you think the success will be for my tank after it's running of a fallow state is over? <Should be fine> Though I'm sure my peppermint shrimp will be goners eventually, but there really are a TON of hiding places for them that even a juvenile tusk can't get into since my rock is all fastened together, I would think they'd be the only potential casualty outside of maybe a hermit crab or two in the long run. - Jon <One can only hope, and be observant. Your protocol, plans look good to me Jon. Bob Fenner>

Is My Ich Problem Solved... I can hear Karen Carpenter singing (and tossing her cookies), "We've only just begun,,,, plegghhhhh!"> 3/16/2007 Hey Guys - <Carl> I'm a new addition to keeping a reef tank although I did have a 75 Gallon Cichlid tank for about 10 yrs. Wow was that easier.. Anyway, decided to jump right in with a 175 reef display. <Wow! I'll say!> It has been up and running since December. Due to some poor advice about quarantining at my LFS (don't worry I've been religiously reading your postings now and have a 20 set-up, I ended up with Ich in my tank. First symptoms appeared on the Yellow Tang (a month ago) which is still in the tank but no longer with symptoms. <Mmmm> I was actually able to catch the Kole and Sail Fin Tang that also ended up showing the tell tale signs of infestation. (Spots and Scratching). I've now had them out of the tank and treated for about 2 weeks and none of the other fish in the tank are showing outward signs (never have). <Your tank is infested, assuredly> If I continue without symptoms for another 30 days is it conceivable that my 3 cleaner shrimp and the limited number of inhabitance in this tank ended the cycle? <No> I'd sure hate to go through all of this only to learn that I still have an infestation that I couldn't detect 6 months from now. Currently still in the display: Naso Tang, Rabbit Fish, 6 Line Wrasse, 4 Green Chromis, 5 Clowns, 2 Dart Gobies, Long-Nosed Hawkfish, and Yellow Head Sand Sifter Goby, Strawberry Pseudochromis. If not, could a 20 Gallon support all of these inhabitance if necessary? <Not likely, no> Also, I've looked all over the site regarding the best methods for removal in the event that you suggest I should still move forward with this method of treatment. <I don't suggest you do so...> I couldn't find anything although I've read of several people online that have suggested removing the majority of my water into garbage cans, catching the fish and then quickly replacing it. I do have live rock and a torch coral, frog spawn, a small frag of Zoas and another frag with some mushrooms on it. Could they sustain a lack of water long enough to catch the fish? Thoughts? Thanks in advance for your help. Carl <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reefparasittksfaqs.htm and the linked files above... I would learn to "live with this" as you'll soon understand. Bob Fenner>
Re: Is My Ich Problem Solved - 03/17/07
Thanks so much for your help. I've asked my wife for your book for my upcoming birthday and look forward to "starting over" after pulling everything out and going through the fallow time period. <The thorough, but sure avenue>
Thanks for all of the information that you provide on your website as I feel like I have a source for much better information now. Just wish I'd found you sooner. Again thanks! Carl
<Am glad we have found each other at last. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Possible Ick on my Yellow Tang & Foxface Rabbit. & troubled mix... 3/4/07 Hello Guys.... <Claudia> 4 weeks ago, I restarted my favorite hobby and bought a 55G reef tank after nearly 7 years of not having one. My problem is that like a complete Moron, I neglected to Q my livestock and I just discovered what appears to be "Ick" on my Yellow Tang and my Foxface Rabbit <Yikes... very susceptible> :( I did a 20% water change and I am now in the process of obtaining a Q tank to treat my livestock. My questions are, what type of "Ick" treatment to you recommend?, <Mmm... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/crypttangs.htm and the blue links at the top...> as I do have other fish that I most likely will have to treat, such as a baby Humu-Humu, <... in a reef system? Will get way too big here> royal Gramma, black true percula clown, and a Hawkfish. Since I have a carpet anemone <... not a good choice...> and other Inverts in my reef tank, I also need to know if I should buy a separate skimmer, filter, and heater for the Q tank?, <Not the skimmer, but...> as I plan to leave the reef tank with it's original equipment during the 30 day Q time to allow this "pesky parasite" to die off while my livestock re-coups. <Good plan> Lastly, do you recommend that I move some of my live rock and live sand from the reef tank to the Q tank along with the livestock during treatment?, <I recommend you read... and soon> or should I just purchase some more from my LFS? Your advise <advice> will truly be appreciated, and I promise that from now on, I will Q all my livestock for 30 days before I add them to my reef, ......should the need arise. :) Thanks! Claudia <Read on my friend, read on. Much, MUCH more that needs to be related than we can bandy about here... and by the time the necessary going back and forth were done, your animals would all be gone... Do please read re the compatibility and systems for each of the species you list... You really need to trade out the Rhinecanthus and Carpet... Bob Fenner>

Ich in my reef! Does WWM have anything on this? 3/3/07 Hello Bob, I am writing you today in concern for my 90 gallon reef aquarium. I noticed Cryptocaryoniasis (Marine Ich) on a few of my fish last night. In hopes of not having to tear my tank apart, discard the beautiful rock work, and sand <!!! Why?> I thought I would get all of the fish out of the tank do freshwater dips with them and place them in quarantine for 3 to 4 weeks. <Oh, you still have the rock and sand... I would put it back in> I will still have to take the tank apart, but I can reassemble the rock structures and place the corals back into their "nooks and crannies" <Good, yes> I was thinking that without hosts for the "Ich" for an extended period of time like 3-4 weeks the "Ich" would simply "die off" and the problem would be solved. Do you think that will be able to save the tank? Any other measures you would go to ensure success? <... yes... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and the linked files above... not all of them!> I have lots of "inverts" that I want to leave in the tank such as: 3 "Cleaner Shrimp", 8 Nassarius sp. Snails, 10 Trochus Snails, 20 very small Nerite Snails, 12 Red Leg "equal handed" Hermit Crabs, 3 Crocea Clams, a dozen assorted Feather Duster worms, 2 Protula Magnifica (Red Coco Worms), and I have quite a few corals in this tank as well. They are: 1 Trachyphyllia Geoffroyi Brain Coral, 1 Cladiella Sp. Coral that was referred to as "Young Soft Coral" it is about 8-10" diameter sort of encrusting and bushy in appearance and it seems to love bright light, 1 Branching Torch Coral with 6 Large heads, 3 Acropora Corals, 1 Platygyra Brain Coral, 2 finger leather corals. Sinularia sp., 1 "Pom Pom Xenia, and 1" Blue Xenia". The Fish in the system are: 1 Large yellow tang 4 1/2", 1 Banggai Cardinal, 8 Chromis Viridis, 1 Pseudochromis Fridmani, 1 Cirrhilabrus solorensis, 1 Six Line Wrasse, 1 Coral Beauty Angelfish, 3 "Yasha Haze" Gobies, and 2 Percula Clownfish. I also plan on but haven't added yet, a mandarin dragonet. The quarantine tank for the fish will be 55 gallons, and possibly a 20 gallon long tank if the fish need to be separated a bit more. I will keep the tanks bare bottom with some PVC pipe and some cheep plastic decor for hiding places, and I have thought of even running the quarantine systems with chelated copper sulfate for the 3-4 weeks <Two weeks of copper exposure is all the good you can likely do> of quarantine just to be safe, however I have heard that Pygmy angelfishes don't appreciate copper too much, nor do most scaleless fishes. <Correct... get/use a good test kit... keep free cupric ion on the low physiological dose side... 0.20 ppm...> Do you think that would be necessary? I will run hang on power filters for the two QT tanks, with a protein skimmer on the larger tank. Would lots of water changes be good practice on the quarantine tanks also? The "Ich" isn't at it's worst yet, just a few minor spots visible on some of the fish. I want to run the main system with the inverts and corals in it for the 3-4 weeks the fish are in quarantine. <Are you even sure this is Cryptocaryon? Have you introduced a non-quarantined organism in recent times?> My last question for you is, can "Ich" have any affect on Clam mantles? <None as far as I'm aware> If so, how would you go about treating that? Thank you for your time and consideration, Brian <Much to read (and quickly!)... I do wish you had an inexpensive microscope (I have a cheapy QX-3 on my desk right here...). BobF>
Re: Ich in my reef! 3/4/07
Bob, Thank you for responding so quickly! Below is a copy of the email I sent you last. In response to one of your questions, yes I did introduce some specimens recently to the display without quarantine. <Doh!> I know that was completely dumb! I definitely will never be doing that again! The coral beauty had several white spots, more appearing daily! His eyes were also becoming blotchy and clouded. I have already started the freshwater dips. <... for what reason/s? Are you returning the infested fish/es to the infested system/s?...> The yellow tang, coral beauty, solorensis wrasse, and clownfish have all been dipped, the solorensis was acting a little too stressed (breathing erratically, and even stopping all together for a bit) so I only dipped him for 4 minutes. The rest of the fish have all gotten 5 minute dips. The fish were then all moved directly to the quarantine aquarium (with water the same specific gravity, temperature, and ph of the show aquarium). <Oh, good> I have a 20 gallon aquarium that is set up for quarantine for the gobies, Chromis, small fridmani (1.5"). I do need to pick up a microscope sometime soon. <A very useful tool. Do take a look on the Net... the Intel/Mattel... I think they're up to QX-5 now... is a real winner... and very reasonable in cost. If it were up to me... after hooking up all to the Net... I would supply most all with one of these> I couldn't believe this, but no stores in my area carry Methylene Blue, some local fish stores didn't even know what it is! <... dismal> So I got online and found some and I ordered it. I would feel a lot better using that in freshwater dips. <Me too> So two weeks for the copper? Would Salifert's copper test kit work well for testing chelated copper sulfate? Thank you again! Brian <... if you can secure one that is made for chelated copper... Read my friend, read. Bob Fenner>

Happy Balance Of Ich In The Reef Tank?? - 02/22/07 Hi crew, <<Hello Jana>> Could someone please advise me on the following? <<I'll give it a shot>> I have a 430 litre reef tank that has been infested with ich for some time now. <<Mmm, indeed...these protozoan pests are present in most all aquaria, to some extent>> My inhabitants are 2 medium Moorish idols, <<Difficult to keep>> 1 yellow tang, 1 juvenile emperor angel, 1 milky way cardinal <<...? I'm going to go out on a limb and guess this last here is a Banggai Cardinal>> and the latest edition was a redline cleaner shrimp. Except for the cleaner all fish have been treated with copper twice already for 14 days and the main tank has run fallow for 36 days (1st time) and 30 days at 28 degrees second time round. <<Hmm...some would say a minimum of six weeks fallow is best>> The yellow tang did not take well to the Cupramine but came right after being introduced back into the main tank. <<Ah, yes...hopefully the bacteria in the fish's gut has not been too severely malaffected>> Both times when I reintroduced the fish the ich came back. <<A longer fallow period would seem to be called for...though this is not foolproof, and even when successful is only temporary as the protozoan is so easily reintroduced>> Very subtle on the 2 Moorish idols and a few spots on the angelfish. Yellow tang and cardinal are completely clean. <<No...just not manifested as "spots">> The newly introduced cleaner shrimp does not seem too interested on the job. <<Sometimes happens, but these "bio-controls" can be very helpful where this pest is concerned. I would obtain one or two more>> All fish seem happy and healthy (other then the few spots), eat well and look good. <<Not uncommon at all. If water chemistry is kept optimal, the fish are not overly stressed and are well fed with an appropriate diet (some added vitamin supplements would be a good idea), there's a good chance they can fight-off/keep the infection from becoming problematic>> I've been reading your website for months now (best of all sites!!!) and find it very interesting. <<Is good to know>> The ich in my tank however seems to be persistent. <<Oh yes!>> I have read a couple of frequently asked questions where you guys talk about reducing the virulence of the problem. <<A healthy, well balanced system is key>> Bob advised once to 'give it a good two months of running the tank fallow to be more or less (90 some %) sure of reduced virulence' in an extreme ich infested tank. <<Good advice from a man who's seen much more than most re this hobby>> I've also read of tanks with an existing balance of ich and fish. <<Yep...as already stated...is present in most everyone's aquaria>> So my questions are: What are the chances of actually having an ich-free tank once there has been an infestation? <<Ich "free?" Is possible, though usually short-lived>> From what I understand, even after months there can still be a few hardy ones left. And if ich exists in the tank but is under control, how does it stay under control and does not break out every now and then? <<When I first ventured in to the marine hobby several decades ago the saying regarding ich infections was "not if, but when"...and this still holds true today. In my opinion, your best defense/weapon against ich...aside form proper quarantine/prophylactic treatment...is to maintain optimum water conditions and stock wisely (don't overload the tank, house incompatible species, etc.)>> Every time one adds a new fish, the new guy on the block picks it up, right?? <<Usually as a symptom of stress from being the "new kid in school," yes>> Other then what I've already been doing, can you suggest anything else that there is left to combat ich. I seem to have a mild but constant infestation. <<If the infection is not worsening I would be inclined at this point to keep a close eye on things and let the fishes immune response deal with the protozoa...oh yeah, and add a couple more cleaner shrimp...>> Thanks for all your wonderful advice, Jana <<Quite welcome...happy to assist. Eric Russell>>

Re: Happy Balance Of Ich In The Reef Tank?? - 02/23/07 Thanks Eric for your speedy reply and advice. <<Quite welcome Jana>> I think I'll do just that, instead of moving fish back and forth in and out of quarantine, I will see how it all goes, seeing that fish seem happy. <<Ah yes...the "fuss" can sometimes do more harm than good>> Oh, and will get another cleaner shrimp or two (not cheap these little creatures).. <<Indeed...if you're in the UK, I remember the prices as quite dear for these little crustaceans, though camel shrimp were quite cheap by comparison...if you are "down under" I expect prices to be even more inflated>> My Moorish idols by the way are awesome. <<Much in agreement...I am particularly enamored by these fish and would love to have a tank-full myself>> I heard that they are difficult to keep but I got them fairly small and have them on the Spectrum food. <<EXCELLENT! Of the few successes I have heard about concerning these fish, New Life Spectrum foods have played a key role>> In between I get them sponges and other algae from the ocean (live by the beach, Australia). <<(Ah, mystery solved) Do be cautious of introducing pathogens/parasites>> They eat like pigs. <<Very good to hear>> Anyway, still wanted to know what you think of how many fish one could keep in a 430-litre tank without overcrowding? <<Depends on the fish Jana...what do you have in mind?>> Wanted to add a majestic angel still and may be a pair of maroons... Too much? <<Considering the Moorish Idols and the already established Emperor Angel, yes. If you wish to keep the Z. cornutus happy and healthy I suggest you look to a specimen or two of smaller and more "peaceful" species>> Thanks again for your advice, Jana <<Always welcome. Eric Russell>>

Saltwater disease and treatment, Crypt mis-steps - 02/21/07 I have a 75 gallon tank housing a clown fish, 1 Blue Tang, 1 damsel, 1 Royal Gamma, 1 snowflake eel, 1 red-white banded shrimp, 2 snails, 2 small green crabs and live rock. (and until this morning 1 Coral Beauty) We have a Cascade 1000 Canister filter (265 gph) as well as a Bio Wheel filter for additional filtration. It is heated to approx 80 degrees. We have a protein skimmer, but have recently stopped use while treating the slime coat on the Tang. <... suspicious> When the Beauty was purchased, my husband noticed a small white dot on its tail, but unfortunately still got the fish. This was our second Beauty, the first died the day after we got her. We have heard Coral Beauty's are a hard fish to care for, but still wanted to try again. <This Dwarf Angel can be easy to keep to easy to lose depending on where it is caught (actually by whom, and how processed) and subsequent (in transitio) treatment...> All the other fish have been there for over 6 months and seem to be great, other than the Blue Tang's stressed look occasionally. <Is crowded here... the size of tank, cohorts> I know we made the first mistake by not putting the new fish in quarantine before putting in the housing tank. <Bingo> Well, eventually that one spot turned into many white spots in more than one place on the Beauty. We assumed it was Ich. <Perhaps... but could be "nothing"> We removed the live rock, snails, shrimp and crabs into another tank and decided to treat with Rid-Ich. <... Uh, no... not in your main tank...> We now know that we probably should have just removed all the fish and treated them in the other tank, but now it is too late. Well they have had two days worth of treatment and the Beauty was floating this morning. So, my questions... Should we stop Rid-Ich treatment on the other fish, since none seem to have ever been infected? <... you should READ... your present system is in trouble as well as all your fish livestock...> I read that it is hard to remove Copper from your system once introduced, is this possible? <... Is possible... easy even... Am I a little lost here? Did you say you treated with RidIch... this is Malachite Green and Formalin... no copper> When can we put the live rock, shrimp, snails and crabs back into the housing tank? <... much MUCH more to learn/understand here... Please start reading, making good notes here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and the linked files above... NOW. Time IS of the essence> Would it hurt/help to put all the fish in the other tank, since they have been treated with the Rid-Ich, and let the housing tank clean out for a couple of weeks? <You don't "have" a couple of weeks> They have been in the tank with the deceased Beauty for a couple of weeks, so they must not be a good host to the disease, although, I realize they are still susceptible. <Yes> UV Sterilizer? I have read and read about them, but not sure if it would help. Assuming it would, is a 10 Watt sufficient for my tank? <... read> We are scared to move forward at this point in risk of losing our other fish. Any ideas on the next steps would be greatly appreciated. Of course, in the future we will always place a new fish in the other tank before introducing it to the housing tank. Thanks for any information you can give, you guys rock! Charity Rochelle <There is just so much to know, relate, that by the time we go back and forth with simple questions/answers, your tank will be devoid of life... Please... read. Bob Fenner> Oodinium/Whitespot... Unbelievable (almost) mis-mix, parasitic problem 2/12/07 Hi there you guys <Jo> We need some help please. We have an Aqua Medic Anthias 120 aquarium. 115 Gallons, Turboflotor 1000 protein skimmer, post skimming trickle filter and mechanical filter module, Twin 150 w metal halide lights with 10,000k AquaLine lamps. There is also a UV fitted. The tank is set up with live rock. Livestock (what's left) is, 1 large regal tang, 1 large yellow tang, 1 Emperor Cardinal, i file fish, <What species please> 2 percula, 2 black & white clown fish, 1 Clarks clown, 1 cleaner wrasse, <Not easily kept> 1 midas blenny,1 blue throat trigger fish, 1 Lyretail wrasse, 6 Chromis, 1 batfish, <! What species? Get very large> 1 coral beauty, plus, 1 brittle star, 2 sand sifting stars, 1 clam, <Won't be happy in this setting... too much activity from the fishes> 2 leather corals, 1 toadstool coral, 1 sea rod, <...> 1 malu anemone, 1 other anemone, <Not compatible with each other or the other Cnidarians...> 1 cabbage coral, 2 mushroom corals, 1 asparagus coral, 3 large turbo snails, 1 hermit crab, 2 carpet anemones, <...> 1 Goniopora coral, <...> 1 boxing shrimp & 2 cleaner shrimps. We have an outbreak of Whitespot, <Yeeikes... "When it rains..."> and are losing fish on a daily basis. We have been treating the tank with Exodin <........> and have gone through 2 treatment cycles, but with no benefit. <Need to be treated... elsewhere... the fishes separated... immediately> We had been advised to shut down the system when treating but as I understand it the cycle of the Whitespot is 6 weeks in all, and obviously we can not shut everything down for this amount of time. <... no> Can you please give us some advice on what to use, and how to go about it, so that we may save the livestock that we have left! Many thanks Jo & Graham <Where to start here? You have way too much life... and much of it incompatible here... You need to separate and treat the fish life in another system (or two)... If at all possible, practical, stop doing all else and READ re the "Systems", "Compatibility" of all the species you list above... and make a list/discrimination amongst them... for 1) What can go together in this volume, 2) What you need to separate, give away, return... And READ here ASAP: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and the linked files above... as long/far as it takes you to understand what you're up against... and FIRE whoever has sold you the mess you have... AND avail yourself (set up, use) of a Quarantine system for all new livestock... I do hope you don't end up quitting the hobby out of frustration... but you have many trying times ahead. Bob Fenner>

Re: Oodinium/Whitespot... Unbelievable (almost) mis-mix, parasitic problem 2/12/07 Thanks for your response. <You need too read... and act... NOW...> We have since lost all 5 clowns & the midas blenny. The file fish is a tassel file, <Gets way too large for your system...> The Batfish is an orbit. <Ditto> The clam is in a quiet area of the tank, and seems happy, not had any problems with it. <It will perish soon> All the corals are healthy and feeding, and growing, We have had no losses there. We are in the process of setting up a separate tank to put the fish in, to treat. <Ahh, thank goodness> As I understand it if we allow the tank to lay with just the invert's and treat the fish elsewhere we will have a good chance of clearing the problem, possibly in 6 - 8 weeks? <Hopefully> I am uncertain as to where the 'itch' came from. <Then... read> We had no problems for 3 months, and didn't think we had transferred anything to the tank with any form of disease. It didn't appear after an addition, and I wondered if it was caused by stress?? <Ah, yes... with a latent infestation present> Our tank maintenance man came to day and performed a 25% water change, cleaned the tank and sand, and suggested that we use no treatment in the tank, <Good> and live with the results. <Uh, no... the results will be the loss of all fish livestock...> He recommended we add more cleaner types to the tank, turbo snails, hermit crabs and blue cheek goby? Any comments on this?. <... dismal> As for the store that sold us this 'mess' as you call it, we will be shopping elsewhere from now on. <I would> We will need to ask advice from someone as to what we need to re home. We were not told we couldn't have certain anemones together ect. <... and no such word as ect.> I find it very hard to ID for sure the types we have, and admit i am unsure of compatibility. <Obviously> we have tried our best, <... Perhaps given a lack of useful, direct information> but obviously we have failed to a point, and must now concentrate on what we have left. <Again... the urge to action... with knowledge here... READ, understand for yourself the current situation... and the impending doom... This mix of livestock is a proverbial time-bomb... with an ever-shrinking fuse. Bob Fenner>

Tang with ick in reef tank, can't get him out... Crypt denial 12/28/06 Hi, You guys are always so helpful. Here's one for you. I have a Purple Tang in my 75 gallon reek tank - about 2 weeks. He was looking good, eating well, swimming. Now he has ick & I can't get him out, nor can my aquarium service without tearing the whole reef apart. <This is what must be done then...> My water parameters are excellent - a little high on salinity 1.025 - which the corals love, so the service man dropped the salinity to 1.022. <Not good to do... quick or otherwise with the corals...> He told me to gradually drop the salinity to 1.020 & then for about a half an hour to 2 hours drop it below [optimal 1.017. <... this won't work to do anything to reduce, treat the Crypt> [ Or Until corals, invertebrates [serpent stars, crabs, shrimp, etc. stress] Of course I was aghast. He said the parasites cannot live below 1.020. <... No, not so. See... reality... the Net at least...> Meanwhile my cleaner shrimp [2] are desperately trying to clean the tang [but he won't sit still] <This also won't eliminate the problem... "so many foxes, so many chickens..."> & I'm feeding him more formula 2 [supposedly immune boosters] <Food period...> & live spinach, lettuce & microalgae. By the way I have a refugium & a super protein skimmer in my sump. If I could get the D---- Tang out, I would treat him <My friend... your system HAS the Crypt... all the fishes must be removed, treated elsewhere> and bring him back to the store - never again a Tang! meanwhile I'm fearful of my other smaller fish, I've had a long time [clown, 6 line wrasse & royal Gramma. Do you have any other possible solutions? Thanks, Linda, the fretting aquarium mom <... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and the linked files above... and soon! Bob Fenner>

Reef Ich - 06/20/2006 Let me start by saying you all run a spectacular website. < Bob and his people have really done well. > <<Richard... you are "the Bob and people"...>> I have a question regarding saltwater ich in a reef tank. I have read the articles that you have referred others to regarding the subject, but I still feel a bit shaky on what I am doing. Here is the situation, I bought a royal Gramma the other day at the fish store. My cat decided to knock over and break my 10g quarantine tank about a week prior. Therefore, i reluctantly threw him in the main tank. < The cat, or the Gramma? (Sorry, I couldn't help myself!) > The main tank is 30g with a couple of corals, a scooter blenny, a false percula. Well, of course I got a sick Gramma. < That is quite normal. The stress of the capture, coupled with the change in water conditions, often encourages this. > I didn't notice it the night I acclimated him, but the next day I noticed he had ich. < When you see the spots, it's actually cysts laid by the actual parasites. It would not have been easy to see the parasites, unless they are in cyst form, don't kick yourself too hard! > At this point, I'm freaking out and mad at myself at the same time. I immediately went out and got another 10g tank and set-up a hospital tank. < Very good idea! > My question is what to do with the main tank. Like I said the Gramma was in the main tank for probably 36 hours or so. Since removing him I have been running my vortex diatom filter, which claims to remove the free-swimming parasite, while stirring up the sand in hopes of removing any cysts. I have also done a 20% water change. < While overly aggressive, not a bad idea. Be sure not to stir too deep. You don't want to disrupt your de-nitrification bed! > Should I go get a cleaner shrimp or two? < Cleaner shrimp are a very good idea. One should be enough, but two will interact. > What else would you recommend doing? < Relax. I honestly think you are stressing yourself out so much, the stray electromagnetic fields you may be throwing around could eventually stress not only the fish, but the family too! > I don't know what my risk of infection is since the Gramma was only in the tank a day and a half. < Truly healthy fish will remain unaffected by this incidence. Their immune system will easily combat the onset of infection. > Also, are my corals in jeopardy? I have a green star polyp colony, Zoanthids, and a mushroom leather. < The corals are not in jeopardy, in fact, they could be benefiting from the free-swimming nematodes as a free food source! > THANKS, for your time and effort in responding to this inquiry. You guys are great! < Don't forget the girls! You are welcome! RichardB >

En-Crypted system. No easy way out - 05/22/2006 Hi guys I have been reading the papers and questions but I couldn't find anything on TRI-SULFA tablets. <Mmm, use the Google search tool with the term "Triple Sulfa"> this is the situation to give you a quick run down. I have ick, and the problem is I have a reef tank, yes I do have a qt tank also but its just too small for all my fish as I have read 8 weeks without fish will kill the parasite, great but I just cant accommodate this. <... Sulfa drugs will not help here> so I have been I search of something that is reef safe that might do it. <... there are no such things... as "reef safe" and effective/useful protozoacides> So I brought cleaner wrasses they have done great things. (would have preferred cleaner shrimp but over here in Aus they charge about $130 for one, I find this a bit pricey) <Yikes! I'll say> I have tried the garlic method and still doing so. <Again, will not effect a cure> my LFS suggest Vertaid (spelling) to rid the white spot off the fish. and then TRI-Sulfa to actually kill the parasite, so my question is will this actually work if treatment is kept up for about 4 - 6 weeks? do I have to treat for longer? shorter? <Won't work period> what else is there that I can try? any help from you guys would greatly appreciated. regards Brad <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and the linked files at top... including parasitized systems... Bob Fenner>

Fish sick, already lost one fish. Please help ... SW parasitic dis., sys. 2/22/06 Hello, <Hi there> I have a question regarding disease in the marine aquarium. I have 5 tanks which share a central filter/skimming area. So as you can guess whatever it is is now in all the tanks. <Yes... hopefully you have a separate quarantine/treatment system off line> The first sign of disease was noticed on my Copperband butterfly which I have had for about a month, at the advice of the LFS (actually a good store) I left the fish alone because he was eating so well I figured I would administer Selcon and garlic to his daily mixture of clams mussels and Mysis. Well this fish doesn't seem to be under any more stress, but it still has some small spots on the pectoral fin. The next I noticed was a Pearlscale butterfly that is housed in the same tank. He has ick throughout his body and doesn't seem to be doing too well. As for the fish I lost, it was a threadfin which was in one of the other tanks. Two days ago I noticed him scratching a bit, and then yesterday he was very bad, reddish streaks throughout his body. I quickly moved him to a QT tank with copper at .25ppm, <Your system/s have crypt...> I was afraid of a FW dip as he was already very stressed. Unfortunately he was dead this morning. I checked my water this morning in all my tanks, and to my surprise it was a bit high, which has never been a problem. Ammonia .3ppm, <Trouble> Nitrite .1ppm, Nitrate 20ppm, pH 8.2, Temp 77.8F, Salinity 1.024. I think the rise may be due to an increased bio load, as well as the live clams/mussels I have been giving the BF's as I do not always get them, out as quick as I should. As I know these levels are not highly dangerous, but they are also not ideal so I am doing a water change today. Are these levels enough to have killed the threadfin, or just induce additional stress? <This latter> There are also many inverts in this system and none of the corals seem stressed. My concern is the remaining fish in my system, should they all be removed and placed in QT? <Yes> This would be a task as the main tank houses the Pearlscale, copperband, coral beauty angel, tomato clown, two small damsels, and...... a newly acquired rock beauty angel, more on this later. Two of the other 4 tanks running on this system are housing fish, which include a Lemonpeel angel, another Pearlscale, and a yellow tang. So would it be advisable to QT all of them and allow the tank to "fallow" for a month? <Or more, yes> Is there any other meds I should use? <None that will do you, your animals any good, no> Also which copper treatment do you recommend? <... posted> Also regarding the sensitivity to copper, how would i go about treating the BF's and Angels? <... also...> Regarding the difficult to keep rock beauty, my girlfriend likes to surprise me with fish...good and bad! But i told her to make sure they are eating prior to purchasing them. So this little (2") rock beauty was actually eating flakes in the store, in my tank he takes them as well, but frozen meaty foods seem to get spit out. As per your recommendation this fish was not QT and placed into the display. This fish acts and appears very healthy, and since he's only been in the tank 3 days I do not think he is the culprit. Also if I need to QT all fish, what do you suggest I do with this guy? <Move, treat with the rest> I do realize that I could just have a slight case of Ick and my slightly elevated water conditions could be adding to it, I was just very concerned about the red streaks which seemed to appear overnight, especially on the threadfin as these are regarded as fairly hardy, and I couldn't find anything this fish wouldn't eat. Any help or advise that can be given will be greatly appreciated. Thanks <... read my friend. Some netting practice ahead of you. Bob Fenner>

Overall tank health 1/18/06 Hi there WWM crew! Since I've gotten into the tropical aquarium hobby, WWM has been my saving grace for tank solutions. =) Thanks all! <Welcome> Quick questions on a few things happening in my tank, but first my setup: 60 Gal acrylic Live rock with a few coral frags purchased from the LFS 1 yellow-eyed tang (approx 2.5", which survived a bout with ich thanks to a few treatments of freshwater dip) <Uhh, the ich/crypt is still in your system> 1 percula clown (approx 2.5", which also survived a bout of Blackspot disease from my freshwater dip) 1 diamond goby (approx 4") 1 cleaner shrimp (healthy since the beginning) Lots of copepods in and around the liverock crawling around Assortment of turbo snails and blue-legged hermit crabs My first question is in regards to my percula clown. His Blackspot disease has faded away quite well since its last freshwater dip treatment a few weeks back, but there is still a *faint* shadow of the various spots on its body remaining. He has a HUGE appetite, and is feeding and behaving quite normally. Should there be any cause for me to do a follow-up freshwater dip treatment for it? I feel it would stress the clown more than help. <... the FW dip will do no lasting good... please seem WWM re "Parasitic Systems"> My second question is in regards to my yellow-eyed tang's relationship with the diamond goby. They DO NOT get along. It's mostly the tang which is territorial and tends to chase the goby around the tank whenever it feels necessary to protect its space. <What they do> I've noticed the goby had found refuge under a large live-rock by burrowing a cave under it. After a week or so, I noticed the substrate was getting encrusted on the top layer since the goby had been sifting much less. I've also noticed the goby is thinner now because of this. Is there a way I can get the two fish to "harmonize"? <More rock, space> And my last question is about the live rock. I've noticed that there has been a reduction in algae (I had a major algae bloom for the last few weeks). I've fed the fish more conservatively, and scaled back lighting by 1 hour. I've read that good live rock will have purple coating on it. <Mmm... no. Carbonaceous substrates can/will grow these encrusting red algae... given lighting, nutrient, water quality conditions... and a lack of predators thereof, competitors...> Mine has different shades of purple coating on most of the liverock, but overall, the purple has become less intense, and parts of the live rock have become very light in color. This could be a result of my purchase of 5-6 additional turbo snails and hermit crabs to clean up the live rock. <Oh, yes> My coral frags have been placed on individual large pieces of liverock, and now have spread small baby coral. I'm hoping this coral reproduction/spreading is indicative of a healthy tank? <I'd say so, yes> Sorry for the lengthy email. I have numerous questions that I've searched the FAQs that *indirectly* relate to my specific tank setup. I've included a few pictures for you. Thanks for your time and assistance! <Again, welcome. Bob Fenner>

Crypt in Reef Display 12/13/05 Hello Crew, <Hello, Dr. M.> In my 120 gallon reef tank, my Hippo Tang has several small raised white spots all over his body (more towards his head). I have seen him with these spots in the past and I have treated with Kick-Ich (the marine reef safe product) and it seemed to have worked. What are these spots? None of my other fish have these spots (yellow tang, clown, cardinal, Anthias, royal Gramma, wrasse, flame angel). It is next to impossible to catch him and place him in my sick tank. Any other treatments? <Here are few links that pertain to your situation, I think they will be quite informative: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-12/sp/index.php http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-10/sp/feature/index.php http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.php Thanks goes to Steven Pro for these.> Dr. M <Adam J.>

Ich in reef 12-06-05 Seems like just when I get my tank looking the way I want it, and am all ready to stop purchasing new inhabitants something terrible happens. <Murphy's law at it's finest.> I recently had my entire fish only tank wiped out by marine velvet (unfortunately I at first thought it was ich and went with a pointless hyposalinity treatment). Now a large blue tang in my reef has come down with ich. I know it is probably my fault for not quarantining. <Yes, it is your fault... Glad your realize that and I hope you learn from it.> In two years of doing this I have never had an infection of any kind before, now all of a sudden I get both of the dreaded salt water diseases from the same online store. <Proper QT could have saved you from both.> Go figure. Anyway, the gist of it is, there is approximately 0 possibility of me getting any of my fish out of the reef. <Short of a total tank tear down.> <<With Amyloodinium, he may very well have to. Marina>> It is 135 gallons with over 200 lbs of live rock and close to 30 corals. I have 4 tangs, 3 clowns, and 2 gobies. <You seem to be a bit on the heavy side for tangs and clowns (Clowns are best kept in pairs) for a tank that size. That could add to the fish stress and ich issues.> Thus far only the blue tang has shown ich, and he has had it for about a week and a half. <They are horrible for ich.> He is a large tang, and does not appear to be too effected by it, thus far it is not all that bad. He eats like a pig, only scratches on the rock once in a great while, and is very active. <He sounds very healthy. That might save you.> My water parameters are sound, nitrates around 10 ppm I think, ammonia and nitrite 0, pH about 8.2-.3, dKH around 9-10. I do about a 5 gal water change per week, and vacuum the soil near where the blue tang likes to hang out. I will probably up this to 5 gal twice a week. I feed my fish with Mysis shrimp enriched in Kent Zoe and Zoecon, as well as garlic Xtreme. (incidentally the garlic was not added for the ich, I have always added a few drops to the fish food for its attractant properties, although if it helps at all, great) I also add Kent vitamin C to the tank daily. I will attempt to keep my water parameters good and feed vitamin enriched food, that aside, I have purchased 1 skunk cleaner and 2 fire shrimp to help control things, but they seem to hide all day and do not do their jobs. Aside from feeding them well and the biological cleaners, I just want to make certain there are no other reef safe methods that I am leaving out. I have read your FAQs on this, but just want to check to be certain there is nothing else I can do. I was wondering if meds like Metronidazole are reef safe, and if so where can I get them? The online stores don't sell them and neither do my local fish stores. <Always keep all meds out of a reef tank. Reefs have very delicate chemistry balances and even more delicate biological filter balance. Meds tear both of those to shreds.> One last question: if I do nothing but keep the water clean and feed him well, what are the chances of keeping him (and my other, as yet unaffected fish) alive? <Fairly good.> After all their immune system should be able to build up resistance after extended exposure to the parasite. <You are very correct. A weak or ill fish might be lost, but the healthy fish should fight the ich off. Do remember that those fish will still carry ich and any new addition will be susceptible to that ich when it is introduced to your tank. Good luck and feed them well. Travis> Frank Janes

Marine Ich in a Reef Tank 12/2/05 Can you tell me what is safe to use in my tank with lots of live coral. <There has been talk of new treatments for illnesses of fish within reef tanks. However out of the common medications available even those claiming to be reef safe are not truly safe. They can be quite risky as far as invertebrate and bacteria life…and many are ineffective on the ich/ (crypt) itself.> I have lost two fish as of now 1] yellow eye tang, 2] royal Gramma. Any help you can give I thank you here and now. <The tried and true effective way is to remove all fish to a quarantine tank and treat them there while allowing the tank to run fishless for 4 to 6 weeks. See here: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.php > <Adam J.>

At Wit's End Dear WetWeb crew member, <Hi there> My husband and I have had a 220 g marine fowler w/a DSB tank for two years. Your web site has been invaluable to us. We have spent many hours reading numerous articles and email. We thought we had followed your quarantine and dip recommendations religiously, added new specimens sparingly and slowly. Our tank parameters have been good and the fish have been healthy. But this past year has been a nightmare. Last September, we added some more live rock. We had cured and quarantined it for over 3 weeks. Obviously big mistake not enough time. Two weeks later we had an ich breakout. We moved everyone to a 50 g & 30 g tank (f/w dip first). Treated them with copper for two weeks and vitamins (Selcon) and let the main tank run fallow for 6 weeks. Added them back in (f/w dip first). About a month later ich again. Again, we moved them treated them but this time we emptied the tank removed the rock and replaced the substrate. We bleached the entire tank replaced all the plumbing with new PVC (we took advantage of this time to replace the wet/dry with a 55g sump and protein skimmer(EV240)). We added new substrate and the old rock and let the tank run fallow for over two and a half months. Afterwards we added the fish back to the main as before but adding one tank at a time (over a week apart). We even added a neon goby (quarantined of course) as extra insurance. <Good move> It is now over two months later and we have ich again. The fish have grown too big for the 30 and 50 g tanks ( and don't have room for any more). We are now contemplating the inconceivable - permanently remove all the substrate and live rock (which is encrusted with coralline algae and some Syconoid sponge) and add the copper directly into the main and leave it a fish-only tank. We would have to remove the goby and maroon clown and starfish because of the copper. We know we are not suppose to dose the main tank, but feel it has become our only option. We would welcome any suggestions? We have a 40w UV sterilizer Our fish included a Naso, raccoon butterfly, three Heniochus, Midas blenny, 2 Vanuatu damsels, 2 blue damsels, neon goby, Foxface, clown trigger, <Yikes... this last is likely a huge source of stress> maroon clownfish, 2 green Chromis, Thanks, Nancy <Mmm, I know you might not like to, but I would trade the triggerfish in. I would try one last gasp effort and add a couple of Lysmata species cleaner shrimp here.>
Re: At wit's end
Thanks for your quick reply. We ended up moving everyone into quarantine. The midas blenny, maroon clown, neon goby are in the 30 g with just Selcon soaked food. Is this OK? <Should be... if they're getting along> The rest are in the 55g with the initial dose of Cupramine, Selcon soaked food. These guys are tough and survived before but it seems an endless battle. I think the ich is here to stay no matter how long we keep the main fallow. We want to keep the ich in check. But how? <Use of cleaners, optimized, stable conditions...> On the surface it seems that the fish live in a favorable environment. They eat well, have grown well and display no odd behavior such as hiding, darting, dashing etc. The 100lbs live Fiji rock is encrusted with mostly coralline algae and some small sponges. We have tried to keep a stable environment (like what WetWeb and Bob Fenner/Anthony Calfo books continually advocate) We have tried our best to follow their guidelines by quarantining new arrivals, aggressive protein skimming, weekly 30g water changes, light but frequent feeding of a variety of foods such as (New life Spectrum Thera A, Ocean Nutrition seaweed selects, formula 1, formula 2 and prime reef). Ammonia, nitrite are zero and nitrate 10, ph 8.2. What are we doing wrong? <Mmm, nothing that I can see here... with the exception of not quarantining new livestock, excluding these pests from the get go> You mentioned the clown trigger as a stress (I know they are usually a real problem but he's been real passive, the butterflies and tang steal food from his mouth and he lets them). Also the last time everyone had ich, the trigger was the last fish put back in the main and it seems everyone became a lot calmer (esp. the Naso and raccoon) once he returned. The Naso is the most aggressive when it comes to food or her "cave". The blue damsels will chase the smaller fish occasionally especially around their territory. <You'll see...> The live rock provides plenty of hiding places for everyone. No one is reclusive. All in all everyone seems to get along (no battle scars, torn fins). <Appears... thus far...> Before we move everyone back to the main, we are considering the following changes To reduce the Cyst/Daughter Tomite stage
1. Again, run the main tank fallow for two months. Will raising the temp kill the coralline? <Not unless it's raised very high... nineties F> Add cleaner shrimp - Will cleaner shrimp eat the cysts on the sand/live rock or only off the fish? Are there any other cleaners that will the eat the cysts? <No... not directly> 2. Or should we remove the live rock and substrate and add bio balls to the bio chamber of the sump. It may remove the majority of "daughter' tomites but the live rock/sand is such a better bio filter we hate to give it up aside form the aesthetics. <Stick on most everything... particularly gravel/substrate> To Reduce free swimming stage 1. Add an ozonizer and bigger UV. 2. Add more neon gobies 3. Remove the clown trigger and add some cleaner shrimp (as per your suggestion) <Good> We know copper works, since it has been our savior two times before. But we can't been moving our fish to quarantine every two months. It is too stressful on everyone. We hope these new adjustments help prevent another breakout. Any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks. Nancy <Do please read through the "Three Sets of Factors...." piece archived on WWM... a trial I know. Bob Fenner>

Re: At wit's end Dear Mr. Fenner, Thanks for the quick reply. We value your advice. I have read the "The Three Factors". It really sums up what we are trying to do. <Ah good... a "holistic" understanding, approach is best> We really have tried to follow what is discussed on your website and in your books. I guess, we just had a bit of bad luck/judgment (that last batch of live rock should have been quarantined longer than 3 weeks). As always we have quarantined all our inhabitants including the rock in fear of the dreaded ich. But, unfortunately we still got it and although nearly at wit's end this last episode, we are determined not to throw in the towel just yet. This hobby has become a passion for our whole family (including our sons age 9 & 14). We all have learned so much. We feel a great responsibility towards our tank inhabitants and will continue to try and provide them with the best environment possible. <Outstanding> So we have decided to move the live rock and substrate into a "future" invertebrate tank and let the 220g tank become just a fish-only (after it runs fallow for a couple months). Hopefully, that will significantly reduce the ich population so that our fish can live in peace. Thanks for having a wonderful site. It has been tremendously helpful. Nancy <Thank you for your kind words, thoughtful input. Bob Fenner>

Ich/control in Reef System Hello, <Hello, Rob> Love the website, I reference it almost daily. But I was wondering what your opinion was on the use of U.V sterilizers. <I think they are an affordable aid in helping to prevent ich outbreaks. Much more reasonable and safer than ozone. To be effective the flow rate cannot exceed the manufacturers rating. Personally, in a tank of your size, a flow rate of 200gpm through a UV would be effective. I also think it is better to size a little higher than what you actually need.> I have a 90 gallon reef tank. Water quality is great, all levels are where they should be but ... After quarantining a Longnose butterfly for over a month, I introduced him into my tank. All was well for several days and then one afternoon I came home and he was covered with ich. Not just a couple but everywhere. I had no sign of ich for literally years. There are cleaner shrimp in there and the resident fish visit them regularly but this Longnose kept trying to get my Twinspot hogfish to clean it, to no avail. Well he died yesterday and now a couple of my other fish have ich on them. What did do wrong here? I have been keeping salt fish for 17 years, I have had my problems but not like this. I always quarantine, treat as necessary which is why I haven't had ich for so long. So how could ich have gotten into this tank? Any ideas. The resident fish have been in there together for over 2 years. And one more thing, is there any way to treat this tank, I have a lot of inverts and corals in there. Thanks for any advice, I have exhausted all my ideas. <Ich can be transferred in various ways. Nets, dealers water, new rock/coral with cysts in and about the rock that aren't hatched. Do a Google search on the Wet Web. There are several articles on prevention and cure. James (Salty Dog)>

Inverts OK for Fallow period after Amyloodinium? 5/2/05 WetWebMedia has been an invaluable resource as I branched into marine, and I turn to you again now in a dark hour. <Glad you have benefited, and hope to help further!> First, just to give you the basics of my set-up: 220 gallon tank with roughly 260 pounds of live rock. Circulation from 1 1500 GPH powerhead , 2 810 GPH powerheads, one 900 GPH powerheads. An Aquaclear 500 holds my carbon and PolyFilter, both regularly changed. Skimmer is a Tunze 240/3. I use only RO/DI water and I dose every day with a two-part calcium/buffer (B-Ionic) to encourage coralline algae and because I have a huge derasa clam (about the size of a football). Nitrates, nitrites, ammonia all undetectable, Ph is 8.2 to 8.4 (depending on how one interprets the colour, which is always the same). Apart from the big clam, the other main occupants are an 18" S. gigantea anemone and a green bubble-tip anemone. <All sounds good.> About two weeks ago, I had fish. Now, I have only two little ocellaris clowns, and they are on their last legs. The tank was doing very well, until I was away for three days and, on the first day, my cleaning lady blew a fuse and the tank shut down...no circulation, no heat, no light, no skimming, no auto-top-off. But still, it is a big system and I was sure it was no big deal. I got everything running and things looked fine. Then the Amyloodinium ocellatum hit. Now, about two weeks later, almost everything is dead The inverts (the clam, the anemones, cleaner shrimp, snails and corals) all seem 100% fine. The two remaining fish will not likely last the day. I am trying to remain positive and will start again. (My initial reaction was to sell everything off and go back to freshwater only.) <Oh, no! Please don't give up. Outbreaks of Amyloodinium (like ick) often occur after stressful events like your tank experienced. Amyloodinium can hit hard and kill fast. By the time it is positively ID'd, it is often too late. I always keep Chloroquine diphosphate on hand in case of velvet outbreaks. It works very well, and IMO is safer and easier to use than copper. I would suggest moving your clowns to a hospital tank and trying Chloroquine (if you can find it) or copper (follow the package directions carefully!).> How do I do it? The tank actually looks great, though barren. My plan was to leave the system fishless for two full months at 80 degrees. I thought this would sufficiently weaken the resident Amyloodinium ocellatum. My concern is that with the inverts, this won't be fallow at all. I understand that this parasite, though it doesn't kill inverts, can piggyback on them. So that is my question: is what I am proposing enough? <Amyloodinium and Cryptocaryon can hitchhike with inverts or in their bag water if they are scooped up in the right stages of their life cycle. However, they cannot survive without fish hosts. So, to answer your question, as long as your tank is fish free for about 4-6 weeks, no Amyloodinium or Cryptocaryon will survive even with inverts present. Best Regards. AdamC.>

Attacking Parasitic Disease In The Display Tank Despite my persistent warnings to quarantine all fish prior to introduction to his main tank, my little brother introduced two tangs purchased online without doing so (There is only so much influence I can have from 1200 miles away). <Darn...Well- you gave it your best shot!> Within two days one is dead, and the other has very tiny white spots covering its body. He sent pics, but I could not see any signs. He has since moved all of his fish into a quarantine tank and begun treatment recommended by a local dealer. The question that I can't answer for him. If this is coral fish disease, can he treat his main tank with anything that will ensure the bugs are dead. He is planning a 6 week quarantine, but does not want to re-infect his fish after reintroduction to his main tank. He has the beginnings of a reef (green star polyps and a few mushrooms, along with snails, hermits and a cleaner shrimp). Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. Alex <Well, Alex- if by "Coral Fish Disease" you mean a parasitic infection, such as ich, then you'd be advised to address the disease with the fallow tank technique that you're using. As far as "treating" the main tank is concerned, there really is no "reef safe" medication that you can use, IMO. Depriving the causative protozoa of their hosts (your fishes) is really the best way to go. In the absence of fishes, the protozoa population will be substantially reduced, so that your otherwise healthy fish should be able to resist them. The best bet is a six to eight week "fallow" period, IMO. Tell your little bro to get the fish out and be patient, and hopefully, he'll enjoy a happy ending! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Fallow Period And Parasitic Illness Life Cycles Dear WWM Crew, <Scott F. your Crew member tonight!> It seems that you have read and answered about a million questions involving marine aquarists trying to rid their reef tanks of Cryptocaryon. <One million, four hundred thirty-two thousand, three hundred and eleven, to be exact! :) > I wonder if you can tell me how many individuals have had success with letting their tank go fallow for 1 to 2 months. (If you do not have data on this may I suggest that a survey is set up?). <A great idea...I'm not aware of any project done on this, but I have personally used this process many times, and know numerous aquarists that use this tank successfully.> It seems that no definite information exists about exactly how long a Cryptocaryon cyst may survive without a host. <Well, generally speaking, the free-swimming theronts must locate and inhabit a suitable host within several hours, or they will perish. However, the phase when the protozoa becomes a tomont (which attaches to a substrate) takes anywhere from 4 to 28 days, during which time they divide and then re-enter the water column. This is when they are most vulnerable. There are no "absolutes" that I am aware of, however.> It makes sense that a parasite should take a form in which it can "wait" for a relatively long time before finding a host to insure its survival. If it is possible for a cyst to be viable after 6 months to a year perhaps it would be better advice to the aquarist to dismantle and disinfect their system and then follow strict quarantine with the new system which would include a protocol of medicating. <In extreme cases, such practices may be required. The "fallow" technique is very effective, but no cure is 100%, with the exception of your "doomsday" concept of "nuking" the tank!> My own experience with Amyloodinium proved that after a fallow period of 4 months the parasite still existed in my system. After that I decided to move the fish (treated in a separate quarantine tank) to a larger system with brand new rock and sand. After the fish were treated with Cupramine and the copper was removed from the Q-tank, I added some of my old invertebrates (shrimp, corals, and clams) to the Q-tank and watched for signs of Amyloodinium again while the new tank was cycling in. Luckily, after several months all was disease free. Sadly, I discarded my old rocks and sand which I believe housed the culprit. <Unfortunate, but possible the best move to make at the time!> I moved the contents of the Q-tank into the new system which has remained disease free for a year and a half now. The whole process took over a year to fix since the first fallow period I tried was 2 months during which I treated the fish with Cupramine the first time--(yes, I treated the fish twice with copper and no deaths occurred). If we cannot invent a miracle reef safe cure for these parasites we should at least learn as much as we can about them. Thank you, Laurie <Laurie, I am in complete agreement with you on many points. Understanding the life cycle of the causative protozoa is of utmost importance when attacking this virulent disease. There is a lot more to learn, and hopefully, dedicated hobbyists like yourself will contribute to the body of knowledge that we have in the hobby. Keep learning and sharing! Regards, Scott F>

- Don't Panic - OK, so I am at that point. You know, where you wonder if it is all worth it or not. Let me explain. I have a 75 gal Reef tank. The tank has been set up for a year and a half. It has 150lbs rock several leather corals, mushrooms, polyps etc. will be specific if necessary. I have a yellow eye tang, flame angel, red scooter blenny, spotted Mandarin, six line wrasse, 2 Banggai cardinals and several snails and a cleaner shrimp and peppermint shrimp and a orange Linckia star. I noticed what I thought was ick on the Mandarin a couple of days ago. I knew I could not get him out without tearing the tank apart so I ordered the ick treatment that is supposed to be safe for reef tanks. In the mean time I tried Kent's extreme garlic. I understand this is not your recommendation but under the circumstances I thought I would try it but I have not used it yet. <So you actually haven't tried this yet.> I have been having trouble with temperature fluctuations of about 2, maybe 3 degrees from night to day. <Mate, turn up your heater or get a new one... temperature fluctuations should be very easy to correct.> Chemical levels are normal but alk and calcium have been low (2.0 2.6 today, and 325calcium) and have been trying to bring them up slowly. <Suggest you stop worrying about calcium and alkalinity for the moment.> Today I watched one of the cardinals lose it and get sucked through the over flow. I have him in the Refugium for now in a net. He is breathing heavy and probably won't last long. I also noticed the wrasse's fins are rotted and he is scraping the rocks and the yellow eye tang has what looks like cotton drooping from the tips of his fins. The signs look serious. <Actually, they sound diverse if nothing else, but not so serious... you are not out of time yet.> I also have what I think is called a mushroom plate coral that looks sick as well. It looks like it has blisters and a couple of the mushrooms won't open. I am panicking and do not know what to do. <For starters, stop panicking... take a deep breath... anything less than a clear head will help you little at this point.> I have a 7 gallon tank I could use as a hospital tank but I hardly think it will be big enough for all the fish. I am going broke and desperate. What other information do you need to be able to help? <None.> I fear I may have to just tear it down and basically start over.?? <You have not reached this point.> I wrote not long ago about a freshwater planted tank problem which is still a problem but it fails in comparison to this one. I have done so much reading my eyes are fuzzy so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much. Sincerely, Chris <My friend, you are not out of options and the walls are not crashing down around you... all is well for the moment. Let's work on one thing at a time. Your Mandarin Dragonette will likely not fare well in your system, regardless of it's current state of health - this single fish needs 100 gallons of mature [1-1.5 years] tank to support it. Anything less will likely result in the fish starving to death. Any decline in health you have observed is likely a result in a lack of nutrition... I would keep this fish under observation for now, perhaps remove it to the quarantine tank if its condition does not improve. The six-line wrasse does sound like it could have some troubles... and catching this fish will be no easy feat. Suggest you use a 1" flexible drain line and empty your tank into a couple of garbage cans - leave the fish with about six to eight inches of water and you should be able to scoop them out with little trouble. Once you have the six-line in hand, give it a pH/temperature adjusted freshwater dip and quarantine it. Your Kole tang sounds like it has Lymphocystis which is not that serious and comes and goes on its own. Please do keep your spirits up... your problems are not insurmountable. Cheers, J -- >

- Fallow Tank Questions - WWM: My reef tank is in a state of fallow indefinitely. It had ich that killed more than three fish, and the survivors are in QT tanks. The question is: for how long? <Six weeks is usually enough.> I've targeted 60 days, which will end around March 1st, and the ich has long been gone (apparently) from the main ich target (a juvi Regal Tang) after my copper-free QT treatment regimen. I really want to eradicate every last ich-creature and I can wait as long as necessary before returning the fish. The only problem(s) are that this Tang is getting HLLE again, which I had fully cured in the main tank with Selcon soaked food (my presumption), but the HLLE is slowly returning in QT as a result of the stress of QTing (my presumption again.) <Why not continue with the Selcon-soaked food?> Is 60 days a good break even point, where the benefits of QT observation and main tank fallowness equal the negative drawbacks of containment stress on the Tang and my other critters? <Think 60 days might be excessive for all involved.> I'd fallow the main tank for a year, if I could hear the dying screams of just one ich cyst. What nasty little hell-spawn brainless single-cell miscreants those things are. Thanks, SLC <Cheers, J -- >

- Getting Rid of Ich in a Reef Tank - What is the best way to rid ich if I have an existing reef system? <You have several options.> I have some corals and live rock... should I take the corals and live rock apart to a separate system?? <Better to remove the fish to quarantine tanks and let the main system go fallow, leave all invertebrates in place.> While the main is tear down and redo?? <Should be fine after six or so weeks of fish-less operation.> Can I keep the live rock and coral?? <Sure. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/treatmen.htm > Eric <Cheers, J -- >

Ick in Reef Tank Help Please. <I'll give it my best Steve. Don with you tonight> My 125 gallon reef tank with mud filter has been up for 6 months. I have bubble, frogspawn and torch corals. My 2 tanks and 1 royal Gramma have white spots all over that appear to be ick. The fish are scratching themselves on the live rock. What can I do for the Ick? Is there any medication I can add directly to the tank? I assume it would be very hard to remove the fish with so much live rock providing places to hide. <DO NOT medicate the main tank. The medications will kill the biological filter and possible render the rock/sand useless as it will hold the medication for a long time. Sorry to tell you but you must get the fish out of the main tank and into a quarantine tank and treated there. The main tank should be allowed to fallow (run without fish) for 6-8 weeks. This helps break the parasite/host cycle between the fish and ich. See here for more on quarantine and disease. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm> Thanks, Steve

Ick, full reef, what to do? OK, long story short, 75g reef, been fighting the good fight against ich for a month. I had a medium yellow tang (I know, I know), a flame angel, and a small maroon clown. Despite garlic treatments every night (my wife *hated* that smell), they finally succumbed. I fished (no pun intended) the clown out, but the angel and tang disappeared about a week ago - and I mean disappeared, since searches with a flashlight didn't turn them up. No sign of a body, I assumed my brittle stars, hermit crabs and other cleanup critters took care of them; it's happened once or twice in the last 8 years, and I haven't seen negative impacts on my tanks, so I simply let it go. Further investigation would involve ripping apart the tank, which considering the amount of rock and coral, I'm loathe to do. So I'm settling into a 4 week fallow period, and tonight I take a look into the tank after lights out (as I like to do every once in a while) with a flashlight...and lo and behold, there's the yellow tang. He is so far deep into the rock that I can only see him through a small hole between two rocks, but he's alive. Not well, but alive - he looks mottled and starved, but he won't die. Still no sign of the flame angel. So now what? Ripping apart the tank will involve disturbing a ton of inverts, and likely cause some deaths. Given his condition, I doubt if the tang could be saved, even if I could get him out. He won't come out to eat - I have no idea how he's still alive. And I guess that means the flame angel could still be alive, although I've seen neither hide nor scale of him at all. Do I rip apart the tank to get him (and maybe the angel) out? Do I let nature take its course? How do I know when he dies, so I can start the fallow count? I had my heart set on Christmas eve to end it, but I won't cheat, and if I can't be sure he's dead, how do I even begin to count? <sigh> The cleaner shrimp was on him in that hole, trying to help, but he's a goner...I don't want him to suffer, but I have no idea how to get him out...I don't think I could have kept him alive this long if I had *tried* to, but now that I sort of *want* him to go, he's on life support. Instant karma, I suppose...any ideas? Arthur <Boy, you said it Arthur. Not quite instant or it would be more tolerable, huh? This is a choice on your part. I can only give you the advice I would follow myself, to be conscientious and catch the fish, probably both of them, and get them into a QT with copper after a FW dip. I know this involves a tear down, but you have no way of knowing if ick hosts are surviving and you can't let them suffer. With this type of infection you may want to hold fallow for a longer time. If your fish were eating I would advise medicated food which I have found works well. I would advise having some on-hand during re-introduction to the display just in case you have an outbreak from the stress. To my knowledge there are no reef safe additives or garlic treatments that do anything to ick but make them smell like garlic. As long as you are here, you may as well get it done once and for all instead of fighting an on-going problem. Craig>

55g reef with ich Tell me how I can get ich out of a reef without taking all the fish out. <I am not aware of any treatments that are reef safe AND effective. The fish need to come out and go into quarantine> I have a cleaner wrasse and shrimp. <Uh oh. The cleaner wrasse is a bad deal. These fish will not survive very long in an aquarium with or without the presence of ich > Should I get 2 cleaner wrasse? <NO!> should I be feeding them well? <Feeding alone won't affect ich> Maybe get some Zoe vitamin?? <Okay. Optimize water quality and keep the temperature as stable as humanly possible. No more than 1 degree variance within a 24 hour period> UV light?? <Waste of money. It won't help> I need help? <Yes...you do. I suggest reading the articles and facts at Wetwebmedia.com There is tons of treatment directions for ich and other parasites. In addition the book The Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Robert Fenner is also an excellent reference. Please don't add medication to your main display. Especially not copper> thank you <You're welcome and good luck! David Dowless>

Ich Won't Go Away! WWM Crew, <Scott F. here today> My name is Jeff Rossi from Beyond The Reef in Schaumburg, IL. I am hoping you might take a moment to assist me with some advice for one of my good customers who is having a major problem with parasites in his tank. I'm not sure if you will be able to offer any advice, but I have run out of ideas to help him. He has put together the specifics of his tank with things he has tried. I know for a fact that he is very meticulous when it comes to his aquarium in trying to do everything by the book. Any advice you may offer would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Jeff Rossi Beyond The Reef Equipment: a.. 72 gallon bow front tank b.. EHEIM Professional wet/dry canister filter c.. EHEIM Ecco canister filter w/18 watt dual helix UV sterilizer d.. Prizm protein skimmer e.. 250- watt heater f.. 1-power head (GPH-106) placed mid-level in tank g.. Lights = (2) 40-watt bulbs (7 hours per day) Ornamentation: a.. 1-1/4" of crushed coral (grade: fine) b.. Various decorative dead coral, blue ridge, cats paw, pipe organ, etc. Water levels: a.. Salinity is 1.020 (DI water) b.. Ammonia- zero c.. Nitrite - zero d.. Nitrate - 40-50 ppm (Max. level before a water change) e.. PH-8.2 f.. Dissolved oxygen-10 mg g.. Alkalinity-3.66 Meq/L or 10.2 DKH h.. Temp is 77-78 degrees i.. Phosphates-.5 ppm I have had a FISH only aquarium for 2 years. The last 1-1/2 years has been a constant battle to keep fish from perishing due to ICH or the treatment to get rid of the parasite. Mainly the side effects of using copper! The type of fish I have had in this time frame are: Tangs, Angels, Butterflies, Hawkfish, Clowns, Dottybacks. While having these fish I am very conscience of not over-crowding the aquarium, and using high quality foods such as name brands like: Spectrum, Ocean Nutrition and frozen foods such as Mysid shrimp, blood worms, Life Line Green! The symptoms of this parasite are: Fish scratching, dashing and twitching while swimming, small white spots (size: little smaller than grains of salt) on various parts of fishes body (i.e. Tail, fins, head, body, and eyes). <Yep- sounds like ich!> I think this is an ICH-type parasite. The cycle seems to be: which-ever treatment I use to get rid of this parasite symptoms, usually copper, is the only treatment that seems to work. I run the medication with no symptoms on fish for 21-28 days. After therapeutic levels come down and ICH-type parasites dis-appear, anywhere from 1 to 3 months later, I get ICH-like symptoms once again. My tank has been in this reoccurring state for the last 1-1/2 years. <A fairly common occurrence for many people> Just a couple of things to note: 1.. I don't have an overflow box, so I don't surface skim. I have a lot of protein particles floating in the tank. 2.. For a fish only tank, I have a lot of Copepods. Their numbers multiply and dissipate in an ongoing cycle. What they eat and why they thrive in my tank, I don't understand. At peak numbers, there are as many as one every 1/8" on the back wall of my tank! What is odd, also, is that they still exist after Hyposalinity, Copper and Fluke treatment. Why? <Well- one of the many reasons that we don't recommend dosing your main system with copper is that it tends to be absorbed by the rocks, substrate, etc., and generally does not stay at a therapeutic level for a very long time (at least not long enough to affect a cure). There are a number of other reasons not to treat in the main tank, but the aforementioned one seems to be very applicable in this case> Treatments for Ich (failed) over 1-1/2 years a.. Hyposalinity - 1.009 for 28 days b.. No-Ich by Marine Aquaria (reef safe) - per Dr. Prescott @ Marine Aquaria, tried increased dosages, 48 hours lights on, 48 hours lights off, etc. c.. Feeding garlic in foods d.. Copper Sulfate CuSO4 by AQUA CRAFT - .15 ppm for 28 days e.. Sea Cure by Aquarium Systems <All of these techniques have merit, to a certain extent, but I don't think that they really attack the problem effectively for the long run> I ENJOY THIS HOBBY MORE THAN I CAN EXPRESS. But dealing with this parasite is wearing on me. I don't want to break down the tank and start over! There must be an alternative solution. Isn't there? What do I do to rid this parasite of my tank PERMANENTLY? Why does it come back after aggressive treatment? <Okay- here are some ideas. First, you need to adopt a sort of "two pronged" strategy when dealing with an ich outbreak in your main tank. The approach that I feel works best is as follows: Remove all the fish from the aquarium. Treat them with copper sulphate, following manufacturer's instructions, in a separate aquarium that does not have any sand, rock, or other materials that can absorb the medication. Meanwhile, the main system should run "fallow", without fish for at least 30 days. As you probably are aware, the ich parasite requires a host once it enters its free-swimming phase, or it will die. If you deprive the parasites of their hosts (the fish), you will substantially reduce their numbers to levels that otherwise healthy fish can resist. Continue regular tank maintenance (i.e.; water changes, media replacement, etc.) during the fallow period. Once the "fallow" period is over, and the fishes appear to be ich free, you can return them to the tank. While no method can guarantee 100% effectiveness, this technique has worked better than anything I have tried over the years to beat ich! Is it fun, or easy, to capture and move all the fish? Nope! However, I believe that this is a method that can seriously disrupt the life cycle of the ich parasite, and "break the chain" of recurring infections that you're experiencing. Do try it and see if your luck changes for the better! Hope it works out for you! Regards, Scott F>

Reef Ich Hello all, <<And hello to you. JasonC here...>> Thanks a ton for all of the advice - your site is a virtual gold mine for newcomers. I would have given up ages ago if we hadn't stumbled on WWM! <<Glad to hear you are still around.>> Now down to business: I am having bout of ich in my 9 month old 90gal reef tank, and would like very much to "Take a look at Terry Siegel's article in Marine Fish and Reef 2002 Annual." as you suggested on the FAQ (Parasitic Reef Tanks). Where might I find this article - is there somewhere on the web? <<http://www.animalnetwork.com/fish/print/marudefault.asp >> Would my LFS be likely to have the Annual? <<This is quite likely.>> Any other suggestions on what I can do would be appreciated - I believe that my "crisis" was caused by unmonitored evaporation - salinity got up to 1.029 (from 1.026 where it has been for two months) for at most a week (is it likely that this stress caused the ich outbreak?). <<It is possible, but wouldn't be my first choice for a couple of reasons. First is that the chance from 1.026 to 1.029 would have been gradual, not overnight. Also, having actually measured this, some places in the world actually measure even higher - the Red Sea was 1.030 so... 1.029 is high, and perhaps not idea, but shouldn't have been the major stressor to cause an ich outbreak.>> Have lowered it to 1.0235 in three days, am continuing to lower it - how low can I go? <<Much lower, but I'm not sure I would recommend this at this juncture.>> All other parameters are fine (0 nitrates, ~400 Ca, 12 KH, 8.3ph) have also increased temp to 82 (can I go higher?). <<I wouldn't do it just yet.>> I noticed ich on my yellow goby (who is now MIA) first on Sunday night - now almost everyone has a little bit, but none look so bad as he did. <<If this fish isn't truly MIA, then keep up the observations, one of the other fish may be giving it a hard time.>> Everyone (else) is eating well and very active - two percula clowns, 9 green Chromis (the newest addition, they have been in the tank for three weeks now), one bicolor blenny, three engineer gobies, two fire gobies. I have plenty of "janitors" - variety of snails and crabs - but no cleaner shrimp (should I get one/some?). <<This is what I would try first... try some natural cleaners and see if they can't bring things back into balance.>> Thanks again!
<<Cheers, J -- >>

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