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FAQs on Freshwater Ich, White Spot Disease 1

Related Articles: Freshwater DiseasesIch/White Spot Disease, Freshwater MedicationsFormalin/Formaldehyde, Malachite Green, FW Disease Troubleshooting,

Related FAQs: FW Ich 2, FW Ich 3, FW Ich 4, FW Ich 5, FW Ich 6, FW Ich 7, & FAQs on:  FW Ich Causes, Etiology, Diagnosis, Ich Remedies That Work, Phony Ich Remedies That Don't Work, Ich Remedy Sensitive Livestock, Ich Medicines, Ich Cases, & Aquarium MaintenanceChoose Your Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options by Neale Monks, Freshwater Infectious Disease, Freshwater Fish ParasitesAfrican Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid Disease


The Joy of Ick Hi, I am getting back into the "Joy" of aquarium ownership after about 10 years of time off from the hobby as my daughter recently got one for her Birthday. I have a 10 gallon aquarium with an Aqua Tech Bio Filtration System along with a bubble curtain. In the tank are 2 Swordtails Male & Female; 2 Red Flame Dwarf Gouramis; 2 Guppies Male & Female; 1 Algae Eater.  OK, here is my question. When I originally began to purchase fish for my tank about 3 weeks ago a male sword tail developed Ick. I believe that he may have brought it with him as it became present the day after I brought him home and there were no other fish in the tank except for the guppies and they were both fine and showed no signs of illness. He died about a day and a half later. I began treating for Ick using Jungle Ick Clear. The male Guppy developed Ick on his head and the other fish began picking at him so I placed him in an aquarium net breeder as the picking developed into a sore. The guy at the fish store said for me to continue treating for the Ick for 30 days and to use Mela Fix for seven days to help with the sore and to prevent secondary infections. He also told me that my guppies would probably die.  I have been putting the Ick meds 1/2 tablet in the AM as well as the 25% water change and the Mela Fix in the evening. The Directions on the Ick meds Say to add 1 tablet and if it doesn't clear then to repeat it every 24 hours along with a 25% water change until gone. The Ick has cleared up on the Guppies head and his sore is looking a lot better.  The Ick clear ingredients are Victoria Green, Acriflavine and the Mela Fix is Melaleuca. Do I need to make any changes or do I continue to do what I am doing and how long do I really need to treat for the Ick?  Is there another medicine that is better or that might work faster. If I have to continue getting up extra early then I will, but it sure would be nice to get some extra sleep.  The Guppies were my cycle fish so I figured that they would die and now that they have made it I am really rooting for him. As of now the other fish seem to be doing fine. Thanks in advance for your help. Your site has been invaluable to me. Sincerely, Christi <Your fish are getting better, so I do not want you to stop or change what you are doing. It was good advice to treat for 30 days. It was also a little self-serving since he's selling you all that expensive medicine when salt is all you needed. Salt is cheap, less stressful on the fish and is 100% effective. Please read here on Ick. http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showquestion.php?faq=2&fldAuto=32  Take note of the life cycle and continue treatment for at least 2 weeks after the last spot drops. Always, do water changes with a gravel vac. The parasite reproduces on the bottom of the tank. You should be testing your water until you are sure your bio filtration is re-established. Also, when stocking guppies or swords it is best to have one male and 3 or 4 females. The males are aggressive breeders and can harass a lone female to death. Best to spread out the aggression. Don>

The Joy of Ick part2 Hi Don, Thanks for your help and for reassuring me. Other things in my life are a bit hairy right now and keeping this tank has been great therapy. So when everyone else is pointing out how wrong I am, It was nice to hear that I am doing "something" right. Sadly Mr. Guppy didn't make it this morning. Although the guy recommended the meds in the hopes of me buying them all from him, I went to Wal-mart and saved $2.00 to $3.00 on the products. I do have Aquarium Salt (which the helpful lady at Wal-mart recommended, not the guy from the fish store) and I added it when I first set up the tank and when I made water changes. In the article it said to raise the level by 1ppm per day. I am trying to figure out how to do this in real measurements. Such as do I use a tablespoon or teaspoon and how many. My hubby is a scientist and he can figure it out but he is at work right now, so I will have him do the figuring when he gets home. Side note: I knew about needing more females to go with my males but the "guy" said that I can't have any more fish. He said that what I had was all that my tank could handle. Since I do not have the money or room for anything bigger I kept it at what he recommended. Thanks again and I will keep up with what I am doing unless you recommend different. Have a great day. Sincerely, Christi <Then using salt at these levels you can not measure by volume. The salt should be weighed or a refractor should be used. I once weighed out a dose of 76 grams using course aquarium salt. It was over a 1/4 cup. Did the same with a finer grain Kosher salt and it was about an eighth of a cup. Same amount of salt, but the grain size makes a big difference in it's volume. We're near the upper limits for the fish here, so we can't make a mistake. Weigh it out or pick up a refractor. I make a brine with tank water and added it back over two days. No problems. As to the guppy stocking. Again you got good advice as to number of fish, it's just the mix that is off, IMO. With the male guppy gone you could return the female and pick up another lady sword. Don>

Ich - catfish, rope fish Hello! Hope all are doing well today. We have read through a great many of your articles and postings and we have used this information to successfully treat ich once before, though we did accidentally kill our first rope fish by giving him a 'salt dip.' So this time, we are writing to ask about our specific fish. We are very concerned over losing them, and we hope you can help us. <Will try> We have ich - there's no question about it. I believe we obtained it through a group of feeder fish (Rosey Reds) that I did not quarantine. It was a busy day and rather than 'going through the trouble of quarantining,' I simply came home and dumped them in our beloved tank. <Yikes> The occupants of our tank are as follows: 1 upside-down catfish, 1 Pleco, 1 crayfish, 1 tiger shovelnose catfish, 2 parrot fish, 1 rope fish, 3 tiger barbs, 2 gold snails, and 1 fiddler crab.  <Quite a mix... am sure you are aware of how large the Shovelnose cat will get... its propensity for swallowing tankmates> We are particularly concerned about the treatment of the rope fish and the tiger cat. We found articles concerning treating the other types of fish, but not those two in particular. So far, we have increased the water temperature from 77 to 80 degrees, removed the carbon from the filter as well as the ornaments from the tank, and we have used the gravel vac. We are unsure what measures to take now due to the tiger cat and the rope fish. <I would raise the temperature further... to the mid eighties F., and use half doses of ich medicine... likely malachite or copper based> Thank you in advance for reading this and, hopefully, for your help. Sincerely, Gary and Melissa Kramer <Bob Fenner>

Ich Dear crew, <Linda> I have two female guppies that appear to have ich (small white spots on their fins and body). I have been using Ich Guard for several days, and the one that first had ich seems more active and generally better (though she is still has a few spots), but the other did get sick (only a few spots). I have been putting the Ich Guard in every night after a 25% water change, and I have been vacuuming the gravel. I don't want to continue the medication much longer though, because I can't believe extended treatment is good for the tank. The temperature in the tank is probably low, because I don't have a heater. Would a heater help? <Yes, very much so> How gradually do you heat the water? <Can be raised several degrees quickly (hours), but should be lowered a degree or two per day> Is there anything else I can put in to help? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm  and the Related FAQs (linked above)> By the way, I have 6 guppies in all--3 female, 2 male, and 1 fry, who seems to have been born during this mess, does not seem ill-affected by the medication... <I strongly suspect the medication is only transient here... not staying about, doing much> ...and is doing a great time hiding as I only see him when I vacuum the gravel.  Thanks for your help, Linda <With the addition of the heater, medication, you should see no spots within a few days... Bob Fenner> 

Re: Ich Thank you so much for your help. I have purchased the aquarium heater and have started heating the water. I was concerned about your comment that the medication I was using was only transient... <Some "stick around" much longer than others> ...so I did switch to some other medication I had used for an earlier problem, Fungus Cure. This medication isn't specifically for ich, but the ingredients seemed really similar: Victoria Green B and Neutroflavine for Fungus Cure versus Victoria Green, Nitromersol, and Acriflavine for Ich Guard. <Yes, a Jungle Brands product> I hope I haven't made a mistake. I know, though, that the Fungus Cure stuff stays around long enough to cure problems. <Yes, the Acriflavine color is quite useful as an indicator> It turns my aquarium green until I put the activated carbon back in my filter, whereas the Ich Guard turns my aquarium blue for about an hour and then is clear again.  <Mmm, it should be staying blue longer... evidence of interaction with your water, decor, gravel (?) and its removal> Please let me know if I am on the wrong course. I saw the one baby guppy this morning, so I know the new stuff didn't kill him off.  <I think you have made an improvement here. With elevated temperature a cure should be effected... and its obviousness apparent soon. Bob Fenner> 

After Ich Goes (we're gonna let it all hang out) I have an aquarium with a Pleco. I used to have a yoyo loach, two swordtails, two angelfish, an Opaline Gourami, two scissortail Rasboras and two Bala sharks and the Pleco. About two months ago we had a power outage, about two days after that I saw white spots on one of my Bala sharks so I bought some medicine, "Ick Clear" I think is what it was called, and started treating the aquarium as directed. I took the carbon out of the filter and raised the temperature and replaced 25% of the water every other day. Well I lost my sharks first, then my Scissortails, then my loach, then my angels and finally my swordtails. The only ones I had left were my Gourami, which had white spots, and the Pleco which never seemed to be infected. I moved my other fish from my 10 gallon to my twenty gallon and moved my Gourami to my ten gallon and treated it by itself. The Gourami recovered and is doing well. My Pleco is now in my large aquarium (where the ick outbreak was) by itself. How long should I leave this aquarium with the Pleco before adding more fish?  Should I treat the aquarium with the Pleco even though it did not seem to be infected at all? How would I treat it? It has been about a month and the Pleco seems normal. Thank You Mac <The Pleco can get Ick, so right now you must still consider that tank infected. Pull him out and put him in the ten for a month. Keep the infected tank fishless and crank the heater up to 84. Throw in a small raw shrimp to keep your bio filtration going. In 30 days all the parasites will have starved out if there is no fish host. Plecos have thick skin, but their gills and mouths can host the Ich. A heavy breakout on the gills will kill. Use salt and water changes to cure Ich. Salt is 100% effective and not as harsh as meds. Cheaper too. Read here for it's proper use. http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showquestion.php?faq=2&fldAuto=32 Take note of the life cycle of Ich and continue treatment for two weeks after the last spot drops. If you never see any spots, I would still give them two weeks just to be sure. Then use the ten as a QT. Everything gets 30 healthy days in QT before it goes in the main. That's 2 weeks with salt after the last spot, then 2 weeks without salt for Ich. I would do this even if they are coming from one of your other tanks. The power outage did not introduce the parasite into your tank. The lack of filtration or heat may have stressed the fish enough to lower their immune systems, but it was in there beforehand. Don> Black ghost knife with ich Hi I have a Black ghost knife fish who is a new addition to my tank - though I have owned them in the past and have learned the * hard way* that these fish need a lot of individual care. <And don't "like" ich medications> through research and experience, there has been a great learning curve for me -  My tank is 29 gal with only 5 other fish who have been stable and healthy ( 2 are Discus and healthy). <This tank is way too small for even just the Knife... or one Discus> 2 days ago, I bought a 4 inch BGKF who has a great personality but the aquarium shop I got him is only 75% reliable  - has a fair number of unhealthy fish)- my tank has been quite healthy and I do 30% H2O changes every 2 wks w/ gravel vac. <I take it you did not quarantine this new addition>   Today, my BGK started to show a number of ich spots - I killed my last BGK with Rx in the main tank for another sick fish - <Very common> (ironically - the 1st discus I got had a good case of hole in head!) I bought this fish because I loved the personality of this fish... - I need to *save him* - what should I do? all readings on my tank are normal ; ph is 7.8, Soft H2O, lots of hiding places sterilizer always running. Peggy <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top) and: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/knifefishfaqs.htm I would use half doses of AquariSol, elevate temperature to the mid-80's F... And get a larger system for this life ASAPractical. Bob Fenner>

Fiddler Crabs, Ich Problems? Is there a safe medication to treat for ich that will not kill my fiddler crabs? <Yikes! Ryan here today.  We use a quarantine method to treat infected fish- That involves removing the infected animals, and treating them separately.  In that case, your crabs are safe!> It's been 20 years since I've had an aquarium, and it seems that many rules about keeping and caring for freshwater fish have changed.  <I'll say!> I did my homework and researched the subject so that I felt comfortable with my choices.  About 2 months ago I purchased a 55 gallon aquarium, and started with about 5 Neons to get the water cycle to do its thing.  I now have several fish: 5 swordtails, 6 mollies, 5 dwarf platies 6 dwarf Gouramis, a Pleco, 6 Cory catfish and 6 fiddler crabs.  (I love the fiddler crabs.) <That Pleco will soon outgrow the 55 gallon tank...I'd inquire early about trading him for a smaller Pleco once he's about 6 inches.> Everything was going well, including the birth of about 30 babies (black mollies, silver Lyretail mollies and sunset dwarf platies) until last weekend when I did a 25% water change to correct nitrate and total alkalinity levels.  I also rearranged the fake plants, rocks and log to allow the fish to have more swimming room and to ensure a better water flow from the filter.  I must have really stressed my poor fish.  The other day I noticed that 2 of my dwarf Gourami had small slits and little holes in their upper fins.  That evening I noticed my male silver Lyretail had trouble swimming and was at a 45 degree downward angle, and sometimes faced straight down.  I immediately added extra aquarium salt to the tank and increased the water temp to 82 degrees (from 78).  The following day, after work, I purchased a 6 gallon  'hospital tank', Maracyn and Maracyn-Two for my 3 sick fish.  Unfortunately, when I got home, one of the Gourami had died.  It looked to be sick for only 24 hours, so I was pretty shocked to find it dead that quickly.   I checked all my fish and decided that only 2 of the other Gourami had what is probably Fin and Tail Rot, so I put them, along with my male Molly into the hospital tank, using water from the 55 gallon tank.  (I didn't want to stress them further.)  I've been medicating them for 3 days now and they are looking much better.  My Molly is actually starting to swim somewhat normally, so I believe there is hope for him. <Sounds hopeful!> Now for the bad part... I came home from work today and found 3 more fish in the 55 gallon tank that look like they have Fin and Tail Rot.  It also looks like there may be a white spot or two on these same fish.  I have CopperSafe that I was going to use in the hospital tank if I needed to treat for Ich, but I can't use it in my 55 gallon tank as it would kill my crabs.  I've started treating the big tank for Fin and Tail Rot, but am not sure what to do about the possible ich, as I don't want to kill my crabs. <You're going to need to treat all infected fish in the QT tank.  Next time, add the fish to the display tank AFTER they have successfully completed 6 weeks of quarantine.  Then you won't have the same issues.  This time around, it's the long road my friend.  The answer to your question is no- There is no ICH treatment that is truly crab-safe.  Good luck, Ryan> Chris

A Cycle of Questions Hi again and thanks for your response. I do have some further questions. I believe I must remove the live plants from the tank during  treatment? <Yep, Although some tough plants can handle the salt. Keep them in a fishless container for at least one month. Adding them back earlier could bring back the Ick>   Should I keep the temp up at 86 during the minimum 2 week treatment? <Yes, Ick can only be destroyed during one phase of it's three stage lifecycle. Higher temps speed up the lifecycle and kills it quicker. Do not raise the temp until the salt is in> During this minimum 2 week treatment, do I continue the daily water changes and replace the salt in the new water? <Continue testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Do water changes if you see any of the first two or when nitrates climb above 20ppm. Yes, you would have to replace the salt in any new water. Mix it in before adding it to the tank. Be careful to keep the same concentration. Doing 50% water changes makes it easy to figure out the dose. Remember, treat for two weeks AFTER the last spot drops. Very important!>   Being how I have a whisper power filter that has the filter and the sponge-thing, is there a way to remove the sponge thingy to a bucket or something therefore preserving the biological filter? <Not really. The bacteria will starve without an ammonia source (the fish). Keeping it with fish will spread the Ick> Or if I were to go out and buy a small QT tank, could I use the established filter or some water from the established tank in the new QT tank? or would that just be contaminating a new QT? My concern is that possibly killing my tank and  causing it to recycle. Would my existing fish (powder blue Gourami, 2 clown loaches) die in the recycle? YIKES! I am not aware that these are "hardy" fish. <The best way to do this would be a small, bare bottom QT. Fill it with water from the problem tank. Add the fish, but not the filter. A simple sponge filter, or even just a airstone will do. With all fish out of the main, turn up the temp to 86. Throw in a small frozen shrimp to feed the filter. A little fish food added daily will also work. Let it sit this way for 30 days while you treat the fish in QT. The parasite will starve out with no fish host. Test the QT daily and do water changes to correct spikes in ammonia or nitrite. If you are doing enough water changes to control ammonia and nitrite, there is no need for a filter. Just an airstone. Treatment will prevent the establishment of any bio filtration anyway>   Could I possibly use some sort of "dip" or "bath"? I guess what I am really saying is. I can probably afford to go and buy a small QT tank (with filter, heater, hood, and I could use my existing air pump for the new QT) but by doing so, (will probably get in the dog house with hubby) it would be starting out with new water? new cycle? same dangers?   (ammonia, nitrites).. help.. I'm so confused! <All you really need is the tank with a glass lid, heater and airstone. You do not need a lighted hood or a filter. A 50% water change in a 5 gallon tank is easy. Just siphon the water from the bottom to remove the Ick that is reproduction mode. A dip may (doubtful though, IMO) clear the fish, but not the tank>   If I were to go and buy a QT tank, what are your recommendations for this route? I understand that if I remove the fish from the main tank, that the ich will die because there will be no host. So I think that I can possibly save my main tank by getting a QT tank? <Correct, just add that ammonia source (shrimp).> Should I use the water from the main tank in the QT tank? And since I have to buy a filter for the QT tank, can I just put my  established filter in the new QT tank and put the new filter in the main tank? Or will this also cause a recycle in the main tank? Or can I maybe switch out the sponge thing? (i.e.: keep the sponge in the main tank, and add a new filter, and put the old filter from the main tank in the new QT tank?) If I were to use  new filter in the main tank, that contains the carbon, this would clear up the  meds from the main tank water right? A final thought here... I am getting some algae on the walls of the tank (due to the lack of an algae eater), would this  be enough "stuff" to keep the biological filter going if I put new filter assy. in the main tank and moved the established filter assy. to the new QT tank? <Only if it died and rotted> Ugh.. ok.. now I am getting a headache LOL... thanks for your help and support in this matter! Nancy   <Now my heads spinning with filter jumping all around. But I think I answered all above. Main point is that you can save yourself a lot of money, work and worry, along with lives, by using a QT before adding any living thing to your tank. Moving an established filter will move the Ick, and any new filter will need to do through a cycling period. So any way you do it, you're going through a recycling. Better in a small tank while letting the large go fallow. Don> New Tank + No QT = ICK Hi and thanks for having such a great site. Here's my setup: 20 gallon freshwater tank, whisper filter, heater usually set to 77 but is at 86 right now, live plants, 20w full spectrum fluorescent bulb, 1 powder blue Gourami, 2 clown loaches, water treated with AquaPlus tap water conditioner, no hospital tank   my tank is newly set up, and is just about done with the 1st cycle, ammonia=0, nitrites= trace, nitrates=12.5, pH= 7.2. My problem is Ick and an unknown white fuzzy patch. One of the clown loaches has Ick, a persistent case of it actually. I have been treating the tank with Ich Attack for over a week now and the ich is now worse than it ever was. Saturday (one week after first treatment) I doubled the  dosage (as was recommended on the bottle for severe infections), and have been  double dosing it every day since. The LFS told me not to do any water change or  gravel vac until the ich is gone. (I had been doing a 20% water change and  gravel vac daily during the first week of treatment prior to this last Sat) The odd thing (to me) is, that only one of the clown loaches has ich, the other  one is fine! And the Gourami does not have ich either.   White fuzzy patch on the powder blue Gourami's dorsal fin (fungus??/mold??). The spot is on the very top of the fin (on the top edge) When  I first noticed the white spot, I thought it was ich. This spot however has  grown to just a tad bigger than the head of a pin and looks in appearance to be  fuzzy. It is only this one very small spot and is not growing rapidly at all, nonetheless, is still there and I don't want for it to become a problem. Of  course during the first week of treatment this spot has not gotten any better and has grown ever so slightly.   The Ich Attack claims to be 100% organic and treats diseases caused by Ich, Fungus, Protozoans and Dinoflagellates. Directions say to add 1 teaspoon of Ich Attack for every 10 gallons of aquarium water. Repeat dosage daily for one week.  For severe infections the daily treatment may be increased by 50-100% (1.5 to 2  teaspoons) and the treatment continued for longer thank 1 week. For Ich (white  spots) treat for 3-4 days after the last spots are gone. Do at least a 20% water  change at the end of treatment. As I said, the first week I used the initial dosage. Since Saturday I have been double dosing and the ich on the loach is worse than ever. He does rub on the gravel and ornaments more now too. He eats just fine and acts fine otherwise. I am new to this stuff and am not sure of what different meds might be used on delicate loaches and also with live plants in the tank. Also of growing concern is the white fuzzy patch on the Gourami (who is also eating and acting just fine). I have looked and looked for info on fungus similar to what he has  to no avail, or maybe it's just so new that it doesn't yet resemble pics that I have seen of other fish with fungus. I do not have a digital camera so I cannot  provide a picture of it (not that even a pic would do much good as it is so  small). Do you have any recommendations as to what I should do to deal with the ich and this white fuzzy spot? I am truly at a loss here and from all I read, LFS is not my friend and only will direct me to spend money on things that will not help my fish. Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated! And thank you in advance for your help! Nancy   <Hi Nancy, Don here. Please start the water changes again using the gravel vac. This is very important. The parasite reproduces in the gravel. Do not add any more of the med. Great to see you are testing, you will need to continue for a while. You do have two problems here, but the cure is the same. Salt. Please read here on it's proper use. http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showquestion.php?faq=2&fldAuto=32 Take note of the Ick lifecycle and continue to treat for at least 2 weeks after the last spot drops. If during treatment many spots disappear suddenly, vac the gravel very well. They will still be alive and setting up to reproduce. Getting them out before this happens will give you a 1,000 to 1 return on your efforts. The salt will kill any you miss. Salt is 100% effective and will also knock off the fungus. However the levels needed will at least stress, if not kill, the bacteria in your filter. You will need to recycle after treatment. See the hassle (and lives) a QT tank can save you now?> 

Crayfish With Ich? - 12/13/2004 Hi, I was wondering if crayfish can get ich. <No.  Ich (Ichthyophthirius multifilius) is an obligate fish parasite - the Cray cannot be affected by ich.  A Cray can, however, have ich cysts stuck to it, while the cysts are reproducing and before they become free-swimming in search of fish.  These would be totally invisible to the naked eye, and can be stuck to anything from an infected tank - gravel, plant, and crayfish alike.> I have one that I saved from the feeder goldfish tank at my work. Once I got it home I realized it has what looks like ich on it. <It's more likely either his coloring or bits of detritus stuck to him.  I wouldn't be terribly worried.> I can't seem to find any info on treating crayfish with ich though, which made me wonder if it is ich at all. <Very, very highly unlikely.> I do not want to introduce him to my tank if he could make all my fish sick. <As above, he can have (invisible) cysts stuck to him - I wouldn't be too worried, but it would be best to quarantine him anyway, as it is best to do before introducing any animal to your established tank.> I have a 20 gallon heavily planted (swords, and frills) tank with one Creamsicle and one silver Lyre-tail (sp?) molly, their new fry, a dragon fish, <This common name is applied to a few different critters....  but any one of them (Polypterus sp., Erpetoichthys sp., Gobioides sp.) will all outgrow a 20g tank in short order - and the last, Gobioides, is a brackish animal.  Please research this fellah a bit, find out what you have, and what your options for it might be.> a rummy nose tetra, and a gold  mystery snail. I really don't want to get ich and have to uproot my whole tank. <Agreed.  Ich sucks.> Any info would be great. <As above, your absolute safest bet is to quarantine *any* new livestock before adding to your tank.  BUT - this is pretty important - a crayfish really isn't a good tankmate for any of the fish that you've mentioned; any/all of them are more than likely to end up as crayfish food eventually.  I urge you to set up a new tank for the Cray (even just a very, very simple 10-gallon setup would suffice).  One cool bonus is that this is more than likely Procambarus clarkii, and you would not at all need a heater for his tank.  Crayfish are unbelievably interesting animals to watch and care for, I think you would really appreciate him if you can give him a place to call home.  I also urge you to read crewmember Gage Hartford's excellent and fun article in our online Conscientious Aquarist e-zine, on care and breeding of crayfish:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i4/crayfish/crayfish.htm > Thanks, Candice <Wishing you and your crayfish well,  -Sabrina> Stocking a 10 Gallon Thanks for the help!  It looks like everybody's calmed down and pretty much back to normal. I guess they just had to get over the initial shock of the addition of the Neons, plus it looks like my temperature was actually fluctuating up and down a few degrees every day when the tank light was turned on and off (now I just keep it off except for during feeding time, is that ok?). <Sure, except for your viewing enjoyment> Another problem has shown up though: the largest barb has started flashing. I can't see any white spots anywhere on him, and none of the other fish seem to be flashing, so is it ich?  Since I don't have an empty tank sitting around, I can't quarantine him and treat him separately, so what do I do?  Would one of those cheap travel tanks (like the kind kids keep hermit crabs in) be ok for this purpose, without filtration or anything?  Would moving him to a tank like that cause too much additional stress on him? What kind of meds are the best to use? I've tried RidIch in the past (on a previous tank setup) with no success...it actually seemed to have killed the fish faster than the ich would have, and I followed the directions on the bottle perfectly. This guy is one of my favorite fish so I really don't want to lose him if I can prevent it.  Please let me know your thoughts on this situation.  I really appreciate you all taking the time to help novices like me!  Thanks so much! -Melissa <The flashing is a fish's way of scratching. The number one reason (as in 9 out of 10) they do this is Ick. However anything the bothers the skin could be a cause. Including any ammonia or nitrite OR high nitrates. If you see this continue after you get the water is in line, or if you see even one spot, use salt to treat. Please read the link below. http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showquestion.php?faq=2&fldAuto=32 Be aware that even salt may stress or even kill off the bacteria in your filter. That is why it is better to QT for treatment while leaving the tank running empty for a month. If you must treat the main, continue with the testing and do as many water changes as needed to control spikes in ammonia or nitrite. Don>

Re: tankmate issues, please help! Hi Don- Thanks for the quick response.  It seems that at least 2 more of my fish have begun flashing throughout the day. Also looks like a white spot has developed on the barb's tail. Salt seems like a great treatment for ich, but I've read in a few places that neon and Glo-light tetras can't tolerate it. Is this true? -Melissa <Yes, but if you measure out the salt, make a brine and add it over two or three days they should be OK. I used salt at these levels on Brass and Cardinal tetras in my QT. I lost only one Cardinal out of 30 assorted fish. Make sure you read up on the Ick life cycle and continue treatment for at least two weeks after the last spot drops. When you do water changes always siphon from the bottom and mix the same concentration of salt in the new water before adding it. Good luck. Don>  

Goldfish and Pleco Tank with Ick We have 3 goldfish that we have had for over 3 years without a problem. But our tank seems to have a lot of algae, so we got a Pleco from the pet store. As soon as he went into the tank (after the normal adaptation process), the goldfish started acting weird. First, they all lay clumped down together on the bottom corner of the tank, hardly moving, then they all were doing tail stands, all fins pulled in. My husband did water changes, and tested the water. The nitrates were high, but that was all, so he kept doing water changes. Then, a couple days later, I noticed the ich. Tiny white spots all over. So we started treating with IckAway. Now, on the third day of treatment, their tails are all mangled and eaten away. One had a long beautiful tail, and not its all just strings practically. What do we do?  Where did we go wrong (besides bringing the algae eater into our lives)? And how do we fix it before they all die? Thanks so much! <Hi Don here. I would continue with the water changes, without the Ick medicine, until nitrates are below 20ppm. Both Goldfish and Plecos are massive waste producers. And the Ick med may have killed off the bacteria needed to process that waste. This could be the cause of the fin rot. Check for ammonia and nitrite. Do water changes to keep both at zero. Add about one tbls of aquarium salt to every 2 gallons of water to kill off the Ick and help the fins grow back. Mix the same concentration in the replacement water before adding it to the tank. Watch the Plec for signs of stress, Clamped fins, rapid breathing. He he's OK, increase to one tbls per gallon. These two fish need different water temperatures. The Goldfish around 70, the Plec around 80. During Ick treatment, raise to around 78 and add an airstone. Keep the salt in the water for at least 3 weeks after the last spot drops. Then reduce the salt and lower the temp to around 74. that should keep everyone comfortable. BTW the  "normal adaptation process" for any new addition is 30 days in QT to prevent Ick and others from getting to the tank in the first place. Now you see why>

Sick Fish ( HELP) Hello,  Where to start?   I have two 55gallon aquariums stacked on one another, with a bio filter and pump system underneath , its a freshwater setup that's been in place for the past 5 years . I've had aquariums for about 15 years are so.  My problem is I purchased new fish and made the mistake of not quarantining them first, Stupid I Know!   I had to go out of town on business and left someone to take care of my fish while I was gone, when I returned 4 days later not only do I have ick on my 8" Severums which I have raised from nickel size, but also have a ex-large Solid Black angel that appears to have cotton fungus.   All the sick looking fish seemed to be in the lower tank, which I realize the temp to be a little cooler, a degree or two but still at 76-78.  Note I had just did a water change prior to addition of new fish.  Water checks out fine!   I purchased Wardley's Watercare Ick Away ,   added to both tanks top and bottom as recommended , water turned blue for a short period of time then cleared up I'm guessing maybe cause of the Bio system?   The second day a repeated the dosage according to instructions.  On the third day I noticed a real serious problem on all fish in the lower tank . (Fin rot ). Side fins , and tails.   I  have now did a 25% water change and added  MelaFix to try and help the fins. I've since lost a half dozen smaller fish in the top tank, probably from meds I NO.  I'm really trying to save my fish can you help?  The Severums are still eating well but lying a lot on the bottom of the tank, still showing signs of ick, but not as bad as it seems to be cycling out . Is it possible that the ingredients in Wardley Ick Away caused damage to the fins of the fish?          Do you think an overdose would have caused this ? What do you recommend ?       The Ex-large Angel doesn't eat, closed fins ,   The Severums both Green and Gold , still have signs of ick, plus now have serious damage to there fins but or still eating well.     Thanks for your time, hope to here from you SOON. < A couple of things are going on. First of all you need to do a 30% water change on the systems by vacuuming the gravel in each tank. This will remove the crud in the gravel and help reduce the nitrates. Clean the filter. This will also help reduce the nitrates. Remove any carbon and treat the system with Kordon's rid-ich to get rid of the ich and Nitrofuranace to get rid of the bacterial infections. Raise the water temp to 80 degrees F to help get rid of the ich. Do not feed the fish for a few days. I suspect that when you went away your well meaning friend overfed your fish tipping the aquariums sensitive balance over the edge. The ammonia levels went through the roof and your fish got stressed and sick. Treating a dirty tank is an up hill battle. Organics in the water absorbs much of the medication so a clean tank is much more effective. When you treated the tank for ich the medication may have killed or at least affected the good bacteria in your filter system so watch and test for ammonia and nitrite spikes while treating this time. I would do daily water changes until the fish show signs of getting better.-Chuck>                                   Robert

Goldfish question Hello <Hi...I'm Jorie...> Our family has just recently entered into the fish world. <Congratulations and welcome!> We started with a very small tank and one goldfish.  Now we have a five gallon tank, three goldfish, 1 Betta, and 2 very small really shiny fish. <Not all in one tank, I hope? Bettas are tropical fish, whereas goldies are cold water.  Don't know for sure what the other two fish are, but perhaps they are white cloud tetras, or silver dollars? Check out some internet sites and see if you can make an ID on sight...if not, call the pet store where they came from to find out what they are.  Chances are they are tropical as well.> We've had the 5 gallon tank less than a week. <Are you familiar with the term "cycling", as it pertains to a fish tank? It's a way for the water to establish a beneficial bacteria colony, which in turn allows some of the fish waste to be "used", rather than immediately turning into ammonia (highly toxic to fish).  Did you allow this new tank to cycle? If not, you most likely have a build up of ammonia, nitrite and/or nitrate, allow which are poisonous to fish.  You can purchase a simple test kit to check these levels if you don't already have one; in the meantime, I suggest doing a 50% water change as soon as possible, and maybe do another 25% one tomorrow.> The three goldfish have taken to hanging out together at the bottom of the tank where they almost seem to be sleeping.  I have noticed tiny white spots on their fins....ick I'm guessing from the reading I've been doing. <Sure sounds like ich to me.> I did a 25% water change today. <Great...probably you should another tonight, if possible, and another again tomorrow.> It seemed at first only one of the goldfish had the spots and now I believe at least two do.  They seem to be mainly concentrated on the fins.  Is it best to treat the ick with just water changes or do I need to medicate too? <Water changes are definitely crucial in combating ich.  Keep them up regularly (e.g., 25% each day).  With regards to treating ich, there are many schools of thought.  You can medicate, or you can use other measures, such as increasing the level of salt in the water or adding heat (probably not the best course for cold water goldies). Personally, I like to use salt as treatment...by increasing the salinity levels from 1.000 (pure FW), to just 1.002 or 1.003, you can eradicate the ich parasites.  I'd suggest you purchase a small container of aquarium salt and a plastic box type hydrometer...add just enough to raise the salinity just those couple of points, and you'll kill the pests.  Keep up with the water changes also.> Also, is the "hanging out at the bottom all together" common for goldfish or is this because they may be ill? <Probably they aren't felling well, because of the ich, and also because of the toxins in the water, as we discussed above.  Salt and water changes should cure their/your problem, I think!> Thanks for your help Julie <You are most welcome.  Hope all goes well, Jorie>

Fungus(?) Emergency! Once again I come to you in need of help. I only wish that this time it were under better circumstances. We have a fully populated 29 gallon community tank. We just returned from running last-minute Halloween errands so I stopped to say hello to the fish. The majority of our fish are speckled with tiny white spots! They are small enough that at first glance I thought that they were air bubbles from the airstone. It looks as if someone splattered the fish with white paint. I'm not sure what it is, or what to do. If it's ich, it's unlike any ich that we have seen before. We immediately put some MelaFix into the tank. Please help us. We don't know what to do! < Most likely it is ich and needs to be treated. Check the heater and make sure it is working properly and is correctly adjusted. It should be around 80 degrees F. Use rid-ich by Kordon or another medication with a combination of formalin and malachite green. Watch for ammonia spikes because some medication may affect the good bacteria that break down the fish waste into less toxic substances.-Chuck> Thank you so much (again) - Ian

Just lost my Rainbow Shark Hi Crew - 3 days ago I spotted Ich on my fish.  Started treating with "Nox-Ich" immediately, raised the water temp to 82deg and added some aquarium salt.  The Ich appears to be gone, but this afternoon the Shark suddenly started gasping for air, turned pink around his chin and gills and turned upside-down.  We moved him right away into a clean tank, but sadly this didn't help. He just died :^( The question is:  what do you think killed him?  All the other fish seem fine - a Pleco, several Platies, 2 (new) Opaline Gouramis and one Marbled Hatchet.  Except for the Gouramis, they've all been tank mates for quite some time. Also, where did the Ich come from?  The Gouramis are new, but have never shown any signs of Ich.  We did get a new piece of driftwood (from an established tank) 2 weeks ago.  And some new plants.  Do plants and wood carry Ich? Thanks for any insights you can offer. < Many times fish that show no signs of a disease can still carry it into a new aquarium. This is why we here often recommend a quarantine tank for all new critters before they go into the established aquarium. Your new Gouramis had the ich on them and passed it on to the other fish. Some fish are sensitive to the malachite green. Rainbow sharks are not listed as a sensitive fish but I think they are. When in doubt I would use the Nox-ich at one-half the recommended dosage.-Chuck> Anne An ich theory As a child in Alaska, I was given an aquarium but could not afford any of the paraphernalia - heater, medicine, etc. <Me too Anna and that was way longer ago than I care to think about. MacL here with you>   I knew nothing about raising tropical fish but had a large variety of platies, swords, guppies, catfish, Gouramis, Neons.  The heat in our home was turned off daily leaving the house very cold at night and warm during the day when the stove was lit.  We even had a pitcher of ice frozen on the counter when we awoke.  My fish rarely got ich and recovered quickly. I just wonder if it was because the temperature changed gradually with the room temperature of the house and also because I changed the aquarium water weekly - 100% of it. <In all honesty I think that the fish nowadays and no criticism meant to the breeders are less hearty, whether it be from using medications or from inbreeding or whatever I can't tell you but I definitely see it.>  I scrubbed all the decorations and also shook all the gravel thoroughly to make sure the water ran clear. <But the other thing is that the water these fish go into, the water that we drink now is so much less pure than the water of the past.>  I did not know anything about the PH balances.  I did know that I needed to leave the water sit for 24 hours for the chlorine to evaporate. <Nowadays its chloramines and those things are sooooo bad>  Also, I had no thermometer so used my two hands to determine if the old water and new water were about the same temp.  Also, I knew nothing of mixing the old water and new water to keep the fish from becoming shocked.  I just fished them out of the old water with a net and put them into the new fresh clean water.  They always seemed to love it and would swim like a kid with a new toy.  I changed the 'furniture' each time, too, to give variety.  Now that I read all the rules and regulations on how to keep a tropical tank and try to follow everything exactly, and test the water regularly, I am having more problems than every before.  Can you please explain the difference?  Could it be that frequent changes kept all the ammonia levels down so the good bacteria was not needed? <I doubt that you ever had rises in the ammonia because of that but also doing complete water changes with amazing water would make a huge difference.>  Could it be that the frequent changes also got rid of any "ich" babies before they had a chance to take over the aquarium? <The ich has a cycle where it becomes free floating in the water and you might indeed have eliminated a lot of it by putting fresh clean water in.>  I am totally puzzled but have been wondering. <I think its really the water quality differences in my personal opinion. MacL.> <<And a lack of ich, other pathogens to start with that could spread. RMF>> Fish starting to look like a ghost (Ick) One out five of my fish has the gotten the case of the ick. I've tried Internet surfing trying to find some information on what to do. One step I have already done is taken 1/4 of the water out of the tank (8 gallon) and adding in fresh water w/ a capful of IckAway by Wardley. The rest I'm clueless. Some say stop the filter and some say don't? Should I quarantine the fish or not? Raise the temperature if so how? Change the filter or not?  The symptoms are of course furry spots and touch of scale damage. Still energetic but just covered w/ ick on some of the head and whiskers. I'm not sure of the type of fish, the best I can do is describe it as a miniature catfish that is highly energetic. If you can help I highly appreciate it. < Treating ich on catfish and loaches can be tricky. They usually don't like the typical medications on the market. Some fish are more prone to attacks of ich than others. I think I would recommend treating the entire tank at this point. I would recommend rid-ich plus by Kordon and follow the directions on the label. Remove the carbon and clean the filter and the medication will work much better. Raising the temperature will help but you will need to increase the aeration too. I think you will be ok if you follow the directions on the bottle.-Chuck> Betta fin and tail discoloration Hi, we have a fish tank of 30L of water in our office place. We had 6 different species of community tank fishes including angelfishes, neon tetras, head standers and one Betta among others. About 13 days ago, a Friday, we left our fishes for the weekend, and when we returned on Monday we noticed they were infected with ich or white spots. Many of the little ones died over the weekend, and the others seemed very sick. Although our beta didn't showed any white spots on him, he acted as if he was fungus infected. So we began a fungus-white spot treatment, hoping to save at least a 10% (5) of the fishes. This weekend the last of the angel fishes died and the beta has good mobility and he is feeding well but we he has a strange discoloration in his fins and in the  bottom of his tail. We don't know what to do or and we hope you can help us...thank you very much! < Ich or white spot disease is deadly to smaller tetras. You should be using a Formalin-Malachite green type medication and raise the water temp to 80-82 degrees to treat the ich. The sick and dead fish have raised the ammonia levels in the tank and your Betta probably has a bacterial infection referred to as fin rot. Clean the filter and do a 30% water change. Treat the tank with Furanace or Maracyn to stop the fin rot. These medications may affect the good bacteria that breaks down the fish waste into nitrates so you need to do water changes more often until the bacteria bounce back after treatment.-Chuck>

Oof - Spots on Cat my catfish I believe has ick, he has spots around his gills and fins, I've treated the water twice, do you think he will be ok ,do I need to keep treating him. < White spots are definitely a sign of ich. Catfish can be sensitive to ich medication so read the directions carefully. It takes at least 3 days to cure it. Maybe longer if the medication is cut in half as some recommend. Make sure you do a water change in between treatments. Raise the water temp. to 82 degrees will help too. When the spots are gone the parasite may still be in the water in an almost invisible larva stage so follow the directions on the package.-Chuck> (WWM Crew's usual admonition - please use proper punctuation & capitalization!)

FW catfish, ich follow-up yes my fish is better, but his gills look awful raw and red around them, is there anything I can do or will it heal up. thank you so much. and when can he eat minnows again < It may be awhile for the gills to heal completely. Keep the water well oxygenated and you can drop the water temp down to 78-80 degrees. If you must feed minnows it is best to quarantine them before adding them to your main tank. Feeder fish are a major source of introducing diseases to aquariums so should be used cautiously.-Chuck>

Ichyness I have a 29 gallon tank.....established for a year. I have 2 dwarf Gouramis, 2 swordtails, 3 black skirts, and a dwarf Pleco. One of my Gouramis has 5 or 6 white spots on him (like pimples) and some sort of film that makes him look like he is shedding (mostly by his top fin). I do 25% water changes every month, my PH is basic, my Ammonia is 0ppm, as is my nitrates. I have been treating the entire tank with Rid Ich+, and recently put him in a quarantine tank (2.5 gallon). Do I treat him in the 2.5 tank? do I hold off and see what happens? PLEASE HELP. Thanks, Kurt <<Hello. Fish generally fall ill due to stress from bad water quality. It is likely that you are not doing water changes often enough. Buy a nitrAte test kit, your test kits are most likely for ammonia and nitrites, which should both be zero because they are being turning into nitrAtes. Buy a nitrate test kit, your readings are probably quite high. You need to do water changes often enough to keep nitrates at 20-60ppm, or, the lower the better. As for the actual illness, yes! you will need to treat the main tank AND the hospital tank, as well. It is hard to say if the "shedding" indicates a parasite or a bacterial infection, I cannot tell without seeing the fish, but some salt should help, one tablespoon per gallon, pre-dissolved and added slowly. And get your water cleaned up, since continuing bad water quality will mean that your currently healthy fish will also start becoming ill. Let me know how it goes, and continue to do your water testing :) -Gwen>>

Re: Dwarf Gourami Ichyness I just tested my water......Nitrates, Nitrites, and Ammonia are all 0ppm. My sick Gourami has stopped eating....will rid ich do the job, I'm wondering if its a parasite and I haven't been treating him correctly? My other Gourami looks like he has a scale that is standing up, and is getting a bit fuzzy. perhaps he was bitten by one of my other fish? perhaps its not a scale? I have tried to take photos, but it is difficult. Should I pull off the scale? <<Hello. You might want to re-test your water...there is really no way that your nitrates can measure zero in a tank full of fish. That, and the fungus, tells me that things are not as they seem.  At any rate, you can cure the parasite problem by using either salt or Quick Cure, and you can cure the fungus problem by using either salt or an anti-fungal medication. Ask your LFS what they have in stock to help you. Salt will cure most infections that are relatively new, but if these problems have been present for a while, you may need something stronger to do the job, like salt with an antibiotic. Again, ask your LFS what they can sell you to treat both of these problems. And please, take a sample of your tank water to the LFS while you are there, and have them test your water, you can compare the results with your own test kits. Your test kits might be past their expiration date. -Gwen>> 

Ick and new tank I have multiple problems occurring all at once. I have a 55 gallon FW tank stocked with a 6" Oscar, 7" Pacu, 5" Iridescent Shark, 4" Blue Jewel Cichlid, 3" Turquoise Cichlid, 2 -1.5" Convict Cichlids, and 2 Plecos 4" & 6".  All the fish were doing great in their old 39 gallon tank (the Oscar and Pacu being in there for well over a year) with no problems whatsoever.  3 days ago I moved them into the 55g when I went back to school.( I treated the water before release of fish). First:  There is an Ick problem in the tank.  The Blue Jewel and the shark being heavily afflicted.  The Oscar and Pacu have little spots on their eyes.   The rest of the fish are untouched.  Here's what I did: in the 55g tank added treatments of Jungle ick guard, following directions to the letter.   I also raised the water temperature to around 82.  There doesn't seem to be any change.  In fact the shark appears to be getting worse so I removed it from the tank.  Any recommendations that I haven't tried, I'm not to sure on what would be the safest alternative. < For ich I like to use a combination of malachite green and formalin. It takes awhile for any ich medication to work and as you have found out some fish are more susceptible than others. Keep the water temp high and do lots of water changes to reduce the parasite load and you should see so benefit in a least three days.> Second:  The Blue Jewel is acting very odd.  It floats in one spot most of the time with jerky movements.  It occasionally has a spasm of jerky swimming.  It also seems to be unable to attack when the convicts pester it. It will merely turn on its side to them.  Is this ick related or something else? < Could be the ich. You don't have to see spots to have the parasites attack.> Third:  The Plecos seem to have a hard time finding algae, being a new tank and all.  Is there something I can do for them? < I like to use guinea pig pellets to get them started. Fish need vitamin C and fresh guinea pig pellets are alfalfa with vitamin C added to them. Get them from a local pet shop and just drop a couple in and your Pleco will be out in no time. Commercially available algae wafers from the store are also accepted. too.> Fourth:  The Pacu is less active than it used to be.  I put some feeder fish in the tank and it doesn't even chase them where it used to keep swimming and  eating until it was full or the fish were gone.  Is this new tank syndrome? Traumatized from the trip to school? Or something else? Thanks for your time. <In the wild Pacus actually eat fruit that falls into the water. It may be sick or just tired of feeder fish . Try another type of food and see if things pick up.-Chuck> - Jason

Ick and New Tank Syndrome Hi Crew <Hi back! MikeD here> I recently set up a 29 gallon aquarium....been a month or so. The fish we have are 2 black mollies 2 gold mollies 2 baby platys (born in previous tank) 2 guppies 9 neon tetra.<Here's your whole problem in a nutshell. Too many fish added too soon and in a bad combination. The Neons are very delicate and require the opposite conditions from the mollies, meaning that whenever one species is happy the other will be stressed and on death's door> Recently the fish have developed a white powder like bumps on their bodies and fins are also looking damaged. I have already tried Maracyn for 8 days and Maracide for 3 days but with little change. The guppies especially seem to be getting worse. The fish also rub themselves against rocks in the tank. Please help me save my fish!!!!!<This should be easily done. Although I normally suggest not treating your main tank, it sounds like you have little choice in this case. The Maracyn regimen that you have been using is useless against Ick, which is a protozoan parasitic infection rather than a bacterial problem.  Any good Ick remedy will knock it out, but keep in mind that most ick remedies are FATAL to neon tetras unless used 1/2 strength, possibly even then.  On the other hand, left untreated, you are likely to lose ALL your fish, so you have a tough choice to make. In the future, I'd suggest EITHER live bearers or tetras, not both, and added in small numbers gradually. The "No Willpower Syndrome" is one we all caught early on, usually with disastrous results. IN the future, remember, slower is better and check with what you're purchasing in regards to water requirements. Remember, any good Ick treatment, ASAP!> Thanks Jeff Ich Problem I have a 20 gal. tank with 6 neon tetras, 4 guppies, and one Corydoras catfish. I have noticed that the fish are scratching against the gravel and decorations but there are no visible white spots. A few of the Neons do show signs of fin rot. What's happening? What medication should I use?  -Tommy <<Hello. First thing you need to do is check your water quality: take a sample to your LFS and have them test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. The first two should be zero, and nitrates should be low, between 20-40ppm. If any levels test higher, you may need to do more frequent partial water changes. Once your water has been tested, you can buy some Quick Cure or equivalent ich medication. The water changes SHOULD clear up the fin rot, and the Quick Cure should take care of any parasites (use this at half dosage with tetras). Always follow directions for medications very closely. -Gwen>>

Maracide? I have a little Honeycomb Tatia that seems to have Ich.  And I don't know what I'm doing!!  Please bear with me here... I have other fish, they're all fine.  I put her in a 2.5G hospital tank, removed the charcoal filter.  Tried aquarium salt treatment for a few days (a couple teaspoons a day).  After that, I was going to start partial water changes.  Well, I came home from work the third day and thought she was dead. So I started dumping out the water into the toilet. Come to find she was just sleeping.  Upside down.  On the bottom of the tank and not moving or appearing to breathe.  Not dead.  Just the stress she needed!  It's not that I don't love her, but she really did look dead. At this point, almost all the water's gone.  So I cleaned out the tank again real good and filled it with some aged water and got the temp back up to normal (about 82F).  Put her back in and tried the Maracide, since she was still covered in "salty granules" from the Ich.  I read that I should get the temp up really high so now it's at 88F.  And yes, I realize I'm probably dong EVERYTHING wrong, but I've read about 100 different versions of what to do. And I'm very confused because I've read that I should treat her from 3 days to a week.  And yet my Mardel Maracide bottle says NOTHING about duration.  It says it treats the fish, not the water.  Helpful.  Do I only use it once???  Do I use it every day until she looks better? And. How do I tell if it's working?  Will I be able to tell when the parasites become free swimming?  If it treats the fish and not the water, but Ich is impossible to kill when it's in the fish, then what's the point???  Should I be treating the water and not the fish? And to confound me further, I've read that Malachite is dangerous and I should only use 1/2 dosages of it.  I've also read that catfish are harder to treat (which would imply a fall does to me).   I've also read that while "Maracide" is pretty safe, "Malachite" is dangerously toxic.  The bottle of Maracide says that the ingredients are Malachite Green and Chitosan. Please help me.  I have read so many posts but I'm just more confused than ever.  These fish always astound me with how tough they are but it is a learning curve for me. < Some fish always seem more prone to ich than others. First keep the fish in the hospital tank. Keep the water temp at about 82 degrees F. Do not use a filter just an airstone. Do a 50% water change and add the dosage of rid-ich  by Kordon recommended on the bottle. Usually it will be 1/2 of the dosage for catfish than for other fish. At this temperature the ich parasite will metabolize quickly, leave the host fish in a few days. The minimum would be three days, at lower temps it may take up to a week for cool water fish like goldfish. Since you do have not filter in your tank you will need to siphon the water out of the tank to keep it clean every day. A third will work. Get the junk off the bottom too. Look closely at the main tank for signs of ich too.-Chuck>

Re: Maracide? Thank you.  I've been keeping an eye on the other tank.  Is it still okay to use Rid-Ich even though I've treated her with Maracide? <Since you already have the Maracide then continue with that treatment until the ich is cured. If it does not seem to work after a week then I would change medications. Do a water change use the rid-ich when you are suppose to treat with the Maracide. The rid-ich has formalin and malachite greed . These are suppose to be the best when used together.-Chuck> ~Bethel

My catfish have Ick! Help! Hello,     My name is Debbie. I am new with fish and just purchased some really neat 6 inch long catfish. I can not remember what they are called. But they are white with black spots all over the place. I also have 2 two inch water crabs in the same 10 gallon tank.          When I woke up one morning, my catfish were all laying on the rocks not really moving. I noticed white spots all over their bodies. One of their bodies starting losing all of it's spots. I called someone I knew, she said that my fish developed Ick (Ichthyophthirius).     I quickly purchased Wardley Watercare Ick Away medicine. What am I supposed to do besides adding a teaspoon of the medicine every 24 hours and turn off my filter? Am I supposed to wait and keep using the Ick Away every 24 hours? Plus how am I supposed to give them baths? Is it too late to save them? Please contact me on my email at DebbieXXXX.net as soon as possible. Thank You. <<Your TEN gallon tank is way too small for a pair of SIX INCH catfish. Are they even still alive?? Why did you turn your filter off, please turn it back on. When medicating fish, you need to remove the carbon, do NOT turn the filter off! Your best bet is to take these SIX INCH fish back to the store you bought them at, and exchange them for a couple of small, hardy tetras. And tell the store you have a TEN GALLON tank, that has not been cycled yet. If you tell the store people your tank size, they will surely know better than to sell you such large fish. By the way, depending on the medication you are using, it may kill your crabs. Please ask the store some questions and make sure you understand the answers before buying anymore large fish OR medications. -Gwen>>

HELP- POSSIBLE ICH on Harlequin Rasbora Hi guys, been a long time since I've had trouble with freshwater tank so of course, now is one-. I have 15 gallon freshwater tank- Eclipse charcoal filter, use Algone pack. Ph is 7 as is community tank, temp about 72-73. I have - 2 harlequin Rasboras, 2 white cloud minnows, 2 cherry barbs, 2 Otos, 1 amino shrimp. Have driftwood, variety of java ferns, watersprite, and some red Hygros growing. Change water every 2 weeks, no problems. This morning one of the harlequin Rasboras has a white thick spot on her tail- actually where the tail meets the body on the top. Small, almost looks like a piece of salt. Nothing else on her body- I always check fish- she is happy, eating, no abrupt swimming patterns etc. Unfortunately can't get a photo- she swims too fast and flash whites out everything. Is this Ick disease? All the photos I've seen of infected fish have spots all over, or at least more than one spot. And this spot LITERALLY came out overnight- when I saw her this morning I thought some salt was on her tail?! The only other strange thing with this water change is that there are salt crystals on outside of tank- a ton of them. when I change the water i put in about 2 teaspoons of aquarium salt- because of the amino shrimp to help with her shell. Never had a hard time before, until now.  Also DO NOT have a quarantine tank- this is my 6yrs old tank that somehow I have become responsible for. Anyway I can treat all of the fish without harming them??? many thanks, concerned mom < The water temp. is a little low. I would bring it up to 78 to 80 with a heater. At the lower water temps the fish sometimes become stressed and could succumb to ich. Raise the temp and watch carefully for any additional signs of ich. If more spots are found I would remove the filter cartridge and the bio wheel and keep them in a damp cool place. Don't let them dry out. Many of the ich cures may be toxic to the shrimp, so I would remove him too. Treat the tank with Rid-ich as per the directions on the bottle. When the ich is cure you can put the filter back together and the good nitrifying bacteria on the wheel should kick in and get things back to normal in no time. -Chuck> Rosa 

POSSIBLE ICH on Harlequin Rasbora - Follow-up thanks chuck- raised the temp to 80 and the spot on Rasbora is smaller---wow--- but this afternoon will lower the temp to about 78 and then see how they are all doing- some gasping last night on part of minnows AND barbs- but everyone seems ok this morning. any idea as to when I can bring temp down to where it should be??? < At least three days. That's how long the ich life cycle takes to leave the host fish.-Chuck> 

POSSIBLE ICH on Harlequin Rasbora - II Thanks chuck- but one more question. With the filter gone how will the water move in the tank- otherwise just stagnate and 'sit there'-- is that a condition that is necessary for Rid ich to work? < Just take out the bio wheel and the filter insert. Keep the pump running to circulate the water.> Sorry if this is a 'dumb' question but I thought that filter motion was necessary for well being of fish./???  Also, can the fish take that higher temperature-I guess I'm worried about the minnows.. < This is what happens sometimes when you mix cool water fish with true tropical fish. You try to keep things in the middle to keep both kinds of fish happy but sooner or later something happens. Increase the water temp a little at a time and watch the minnows for stress. I think they can handle the water temp it is just that the water can carry less oxygen at higher temps. You may need to add an airstone to increase the oxygen of the water. The minnows will let you know if they are being stressed by their gasping for air.-Chuck>

My guppies have ick I've been treating my tank for ich for 3 days now. It doesn't seem to be clearing up. I have 6 guppies and 2 babies (guppies also) . I'm using Cure-Ick. The ick doesn't look horrible. It is just sprinkled on. It is small little spots. all of my Syno-cats came down with the ick first but then started to develop a white film over their body. Which also covered their eyes. The medication I'm using says use for three days. It is a Malachite Green-formalin base. Should I try something else? < That is the right stuff.> Unfortunately where I live the only place that is slightly fish experts is Pet Smart. I'm really worried about losing the babies. They are still going strong but I've noticed that now they have a little bit of ick. they are only 4 days old. The Ph is around 7.4-7- < Make sure the water temp. is around 80 degrees. And do a 30% water change every other day. The parasite likes under the skin of the host for a couple of days and can only be killed when it is off the host and free swimming. Your catfish do not like the medication so make sure you follow the directions when it comes to treating catfish. Watch for ammonia spikes because the ich medication may affect the good bacteria that breaks down ammonia and nitrites.-Chuck>

Bristles in Yer Nose! I recently acquired a breeding pair of Albino Bristlenose Plecos, I put them in a 20 gal. QT tank along with a few Rummynose tetras. My goal was QT for 6 weeks and than to introduce them into my 92 gallon discus tank, which I have had set up for over 3 years, with no problems.  I also I have a 55 gal Discus tank never a problem.  After 2 days I notice ich on the RN Tetras, I immediately raised the temp to 84 degrees, increase air and began to use Jungle labs Ich Guard II. (Formalin 37% solution, Victoria green, Nitromersol, and Acriflavine) I called Jungle Labs prior to use and they assured me that it would treat the problem without harming the Plecos or the couple of plants in the tank. It has been 8 days of 1 teaspoon per 10 gallon treatment with the 84 degree temp. The RN Tetras seemed to be looking better, but today one of them had a lot of spots beginning again.  Both Plecos seem to be free at this point, all fish in tank are eating aggressively.  I did read all other posts regarding ich, my situation is slightly different than any of those.  Any insight would be appreciated.  < If you still having problems then I would try a different medication. I personally use Rid-ich by Kordon. It is basically Formalin and Malachite green. Follow the directions on the bottle. Ich is a protozoa that spends some time infested on the fishes skin and gills. At this point it is almost impossible to kill. It does leave its host to reproduce and is vulnerable at this stage. Sometimes it can stay on the fish for a few days. So be patient change some water and try a water treatment that includes and additive that adds a protective slime coat on the fish.-Chuck>  Jim P

Spotted Gouramis  HI, We have two kissing Gouramis, and about a week ago we transferred them from a 2.5 gallon to a 5 gallon tank and also put 5 Neons in with them. When we came home today we found our Gouramis on the bottom of the tank and they now have little white dots all over their fins and body. What is this? Are they dying? Is there anything we can do. We took the Neons out thinking they might have caused it, what more is there to do? thanks. Lauren & Jess  <<Dear Lauren and Jess; I will need to ask you some questions. What is the temperature of the tank? Is there a heater? How often do you do water changes? Do you test your water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates? If so, what are the results? Right now your fish have ich, a parasite caused by stress. It can happen just from transferring fish into the tank, like your Neons. Or it can happen any time the temperature is too cold, or if it fluctuates at all. You might as well put the Neons back in with the Gouramis, since you will have to treat ALL the fish for this disease. At your LFS you can find some ich medications, like Quick Cure, or Super Ich Cure, which is a better choice since it is gentler on Neons. Treat the tank according to the instructions. And remove your carbon from the filter during the treatment as it will remove the meds. Do a water change after the treatment, and replace the carbon. Neons are very sensitive fish and should not be kept in a 5 gallon tank, unless you can guarantee an absolutely stable temperature. And your kissing Gouramis will grow to 8 inches in length, too large for a permanent home in a five gallon tank. You may need to upgrade :) -Gwen>>

Ick Ick Ick Hi, I have two Orandas and two albino clawed frogs. I noticed white spots on the two Orandas. I went to the pet store and purchased Ick Guard II, for scaleless fish. I was told that I could leave my frogs in with these treatment and it would still help my Orandas. I was wondering if this was true? I also wanted to know why my fish get ick and what I can do to prevent it in the future. Thanks so much, Aaron <<Dear Aaron; I don't recommend treating the tank with the frogs in it. You can simply remove them, and put them into a bucket for a few days, until the treatment is over. Cover the bucket so they cannot escape, and add a bubbler for aeration. After the treatment, do a 50% water changes, put the carbon back into your filter, and then you can re-add the frogs. For future reference, please test your water regularly, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates, do regular partial water changes, and please make sure your tank temp is always stable!-Gwen>> <The formalin in this trtmt. will kill your frogs. RMF>

Coppersafe to fight ich Dear Sir, <<Hello. Gwen here.>> We have a large community of freshwater fish in a 60 gallon tank.  The fish are mostly live breeders (mollies, platys, guppies, swordtails) mixed in with a few Columbian catfish, Corys, Plecos, tetras and a few other little guys.  I would definitely not think that the tank was overcrowded.  However, we are having a real problem with parasites invading the tank and I have treated for Ich so many times that I fear it is just pointless.  Therefore, I felt trying something like CopperSafe just in case this is a velvet attack as opposed to Ich.  My question is, how often can you treat with the CopperSafe?  When can I do a water change?  If I do a 50 % water change (I'm also having crazy ammonia spikes on this less than one month old tank) will I need to retreat? Any ideas would be most appreciated. Kindest regards, Rev Shannon Symons <<If your fish are stressed, they will become sick. You need to find the cause of the stress, or the ich WILL keep coming back. Stress can come from many things, overstocking being one of them. In order to know if your tank is overcrowded, you need to test your water. Water testing is the MOST important part of keeping fish. You need to test your tank regularly for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. If you do not already own these test kits, I highly recommend buying them at your LFS. Ammonia is waste produced by the fish, and is changed nitrite by the biological bacteria, and then into nitrate, in a well-kept tank. Therefore, even though you should test all three, just to be sure there is no problem with your biological bacteria (good guys), you should be using the nitrate test kit to ascertain if your tank is overstocked. You should keep the nitrate level relatively low, say 20-60ppm for most community fish, and even lower for sensitive species, like neon tetras, etc. If you find that you cannot get your nitrate levels low enough by doing regular partial water changes, then you are overstocked! Overstocking leads to high levels, and your fish will definitely be stressed. Other stressors include pH changes, (do not change your pH while your fish are sick) and temperature fluctuations, please make sure the temp is stable! The heater should be good quality, and you should keep a thermometer on the tank so you can make sure the temp is exactly the same each day. When you do water changes, the incoming new water must be the exact same temp as the tank water (use the same thermometer). Temp stability is important, especially when you are fighting Ich. First, for the duration of your ich treatment, make sure your water is between 80-84 degrees F. If need be, you can raise the temp by a couple of degrees each day. Warm water speeds up the lifecycle of the parasite, giving you a better window of time to kill the free swimming parasites. Once they attach to the fish, they are hard to kill. Second, remove all carbon from your filter(s), and treat with a good ich medication, like Quick Cure or Super Ich Cure. Treat for the duration on the package, at half dose for tetras and catfish. If you still see the parasites on the fish after the treatment, you may continue for another day. When the treatment is done, do a water changes, and replace the carbon into the filter. If you really feel the need to use copper, use Cupramine instead. You will find it in the saltwater section of most fish stores. I would not use it at full dose with the fish you have. Copper is extremely toxic. Even one quarter dose should help without harming the fish, assuming this is a normal ich problem...it is also possible your Ich is a secondary infestation, caused by the stress of an internal parasite/bacterial infection. If the above steps do not help your fish, please write me again, as you may need an antibiotic to cure a primary infection. But try the above first, since antibiotics are expensive, will kill your biological filtration, and are a last resort. -Gwen>>

ICK AND FRY HI, Rachel here. <hello, Magnus here.> My Platy fry are 2 weeks and I swear every time at look at them they are bigger! <That does tend to be the way with babies, they grow.  hehe.  But, seriously i know what you mean, my platy fry would seem to double in size in no time.> Now, a threesome of bleeding heart tetras have Ick! Can I treat the fish with CURE-ICK and not hurt the baby? <Young fish are very sensitive to medicines.  I would set up a quarantine tank and move the bleeding hearts to that tank, so you can medicate them safely there.  This will work best for the tetras and the platy fry.  Good luck. -Magnus>

Ich medication is not working Hello there, I am having a problem treating ich in my tank. I have a 29 gallon freshwater tank. I have a few hatchet fish, and some black phantom tetras (I did have cardinal tetras, but they all died) <A tough fish to keep, indeed; very, very sensitive to medications and water parameters.> The hatchet fish were the first to show symptoms.  I also have a wood shrimp, which I took out before adding any medication. <Ahh, good move!> First I got Kordon RidIch, I have been using this for over a week and it does not seem to be doing anything. <It may take a while for the meds to become effective, especially if you are using it half-strength (recommended with sensitive tetras, etc.).> After I started using it, I noticed that the black phantoms started to get spots, it looks like the hatchet fish have more ich now than when I started.   <It may appear to get worse before it gets better.  I would strongly recommend reading the following article for a better understanding of this illness:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm > I have been following the directions, and doing a water change before each treatment.   <Wonderful.> I went to the pet store today and bought some Mardel Coppersafe, it doesn't give me very much information about it. I also read some where that if I use copper in my aquarium, I won't be able to put any invertebrates in the tank, and I would like to put my wood shrimp back in. <You are *exactly* correct!  Copper will adhere to your substrate, decor, etc., and leach out slowly over time.  Returning the shrimp to the tank after copper treatment is very, very risky - I would not use the copper, at all.  Ananda introduced me to a product called "Eco-Librium FW" made by Fish-Vet; she has informed me that it works very, very well, and has thus far been safe for her scaleless buds - but I do not know how shrimp-safe it would be; no ingredients are listed.  Here is the manufacturer's rundown:   http://www.fishvet.com/pages/disease2.tmpl?sku=09202001140509 .> Do you have any suggestions? <By far, your best option is to remove the fish from the tank and use whatever medication you prefer on the fish in a separate quarantine/hospital tank.  Then, you will not have to worry about the shrimp, and he can go back to his home after you clean the RidIch from the tank.> Thank you so much, <Any time.> Leeann Pippert <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Transfer of Freshwater Ich - 02/04/2004  I just have a few quick but important questions. I have 3 young swordtails about 1"-1.5" long. I just cleaned their tank today, added a new plant, and put 'Bob the bully' back in after separating him from the other 2 for some time.  <Depending upon the gender of the other two (hopefully both female!) this aggression is normal, no need to rein it in. It is normal breeding behaviour for males to harass the females - removing the offending male will only stress him. It is better to just have lots of good places for the females to hide if necessary.>  I got these swordtails from a friend about 2 weeks ago and they're doing fine. Today, I let a friend use my fish net while I was cleaning their tank and after he used it I washed it with hot water. But now I see that his neon tetra has ich and he used my net!  <Eek! I would recommend boiling the net, just to be on the safe side.>  I just put a stress coat in the water hoping that will protect my fish and now I'm really worried. Are my babies going to get ich?  <I would not be too terribly concerned. It might be wise to raise the temperature (slowly!) to 82 degrees Fahrenheit for a week or so, and add aquarium salt (the stuff marketed for freshwater use) at a rate of one tablespoon per ten gallons. This should help prevent your swords from contracting ich, even if it is present in the tank. Please also avoid stressing the fish unnecessarily, as that will open the door to disease.>  Should I run to the pet store and get some medicine to use, even though they may not have it?  <Frankly, I always like to have medications on hand, in case of emergencies.>  Is using ich medicine on a non-infected fish dangerous?  <Yes. I never like to recommend medicating a healthy fish. Most ich meds are concoctions of malachite green and Formalin, or are copper-based - these are toxic to fish, just happen to be *more* toxic to protozoan parasites like ich.>  I'm afraid if they do get it I won't notice and something bad will happen.  <Just keep a close watch on your fish. If you see them "flashing" or "scratching" against decor and substrate quite often, it might be wise to medicate. Please also read here, to understand more about this parasite: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm >  Please help! Thank you, Abby  <Just keep watching your fish (I know that's not gonna be hard!), and keep your water in good health. You should be fine. Just be prepared, in case you do see signs of illness. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

New tank, Bio-Spira, and fungus problem - II Thanks Gwen, I appreciate your help. I didn't use the old media because for the new tank because the old tanks were 5 gallon hex's with the carbon/floss cartridges and bio-wheels incorporated in the top. I can't really think of a way to use the old media's with the Fluval, unless I just suspend the whole filtration unit above the tank somehow. I vacuumed, and am now treating an ick outbreak on two of my fish, using aquarium salt. :^( Will do water changes, and try to bump the salt up to .3% over the next 24 hrs. I hate to use the chemical ick products as my filtration biology is on shaky ground as it is. The ick reared it's awful head today....had never seen it before this at all. Thanks! Any other ideas or suggestions would be very appreciated. I hope you all had a great weekend. Laura Swenson >>Ah, I understand! Sorry to hear about the ich, Laura...what a pain! Okay, I guess all you can do at this point is keep testing the water and performing the water changes necessary to keep your levels low. What is the tank temp? Since you have goldfish, I hesitate to advise raising the temperature, so I guess you will have to battle the ich with salt. Best of luck to you. -Gwen<<

Sick fish and cloudy water Hello All, <Hi. Steve Allen tonight.> I have to say I love your guys' website. A lot of useful information. I've gotten a lot of help previously when I had an ich outbreak that wiped out half of my tank. <Glad the site was helpful. It has certainly helped me.> Which is the reason for me writing this to ensure I do treat them in time and correctly and to find out some more info.  All 5 of my blood parrots have died but my cichlids are still alive!!!! They were Jellybean parrots which I found out later that they were all injected/dyed <A horrible, barbaric practice indeed> which made them susceptible to disease, but we won't get into that.  They've been replaced by more cichlids and catfish. With that said, I think I have too much information stored in my brain in a short period of time and now I'm somewhat lost in which direction to go.  Let me tell you what I have before I get started. I currently have a 90 gallon freshwater tank, nothing but fake plants, gravel and some driftwood. Inhabitants are no more than 2 inches <Fish grow you know.> big except for the catfish. I have 1 of each species/genus: Electric Yellow, Cobalt Blue, Kenyi, Auratus, Red Zebra, Bumble Bee, Snow White Socolofi, I think it's a Labidochromis textilis, can't really find much info on that species though since it's not as popular, Albino Fairy Cichlid, and Daffodil. <I'll be shocked if you can get this many (10!) cichlids to grow and thrive and get along in a tank of this size. You have too many.> I recently purchased 2 Synodontis upside down catfish about 2-3 inches big. A common Pleco about 5 inches and a chocolate Pleco about 3 inches. (I think it's a chocolate/rusty Pleco, it has the closest resemblance to what I can find on the web) I had quarantined all 4 of them for about a week <1/4 of the time recommended.> and acclimated them slowly into the main tank. They disappeared for several days. They've been in the main tank for about a week now. Didn't realize that they were nocturnal. <I often didn't see my Synodontis for weeks at a time.> I've had them for about 2 weeks. Up until a few days ago, I started seeing them chase the cichlids out of the caves they were hiding in. I was starting to get worried that they were dead or something.  I did have some algae growing on the wood, the fake sword plant and along the sides of the tank, but now they're spotless!! So I assume they're eating, not only that, they're poop is soo long so they are definitely eating something. Ammonia 0.25 ppm (probably due to overfeeding or from adding the catfish) <And having too many messy fish in your tank.>  I did cut down feeding to half now and will continue to do so until zero, maybe even stop feeding them if anything. Nitrite 0 Nitrate 40 ppm  Is this level okay or should it be lower? <I'd try to keep it under 20 with a good regimen of frequent water changes.> What is considered to be a safe level of nitrate? What is enough to keep algae growing? <Keep at 20 or less.> pH is at 7.6 Water temp is at 75-78 I've been doing weekly water changes since about 4 months ago I tore down the main tank due to all the parrots dying. At the time I had 5 cichlids left which I ended up using to get the tank to start cycling again. After about a month, I purchased bumble bee, snow white and the Textilis cichlid and added them to the tank. (I know I shouldn't have done that because I didn't know at the time that the tank hasn't fully cycled yet PLUS me had no test kits either...I'm so bad...) A week later I bought the 2 fairy cichlids and added them too. This is when I started doing my research on the Nitrogen cycle and then I went out and bought test kits. About 6 weeks went by and test readings dropped to zero and Nitrate was at 20 ppm that's when I started adding the quarantined catfish. I resisted the temptation of adding more fish. yay!!! <Yes, you already have too many.> I've been changing about 30% of the water weekly <good>, vacuuming the gravel <good>, adding Amquel <bad>, Stress Zyme <not very useful> and Stress Coat <why?>. Last time I changed the water was on Monday 1/26/04, 2 days after the catfish were added. I WAS using aquarium salt when ammonia and nitrite levels were peaking to aid the cichlids in breathing. <not really much help> I knew that this were to help during my research and the cichlids were all at the surface gasping for air so I added extra aeration too. <a better choice> But after getting the catfish I wasn't too sure if they were sensitive to salt so I didn't add any when doing the last water change.  Up until last night I noticed that my chocolate Pleco had one white spot on his tail. I checked again today and it wasn't there. Without panicking, I knew it was ich but the source of it was a mystery to me. <One spot may not be ich, but wise to be cautious.> I'll be trying to catch Mr. Pleco tonight and move him to a separate hospital tank which is housing a baby black Dalmatian molly (Nemo) about 1cm, the ONLY survivor out of 15-20 fry and the mommy died the day after. <What are you going to do with the Molly?> All the other fry were probably eaten by the bigger mollies or from the red worms hanging from the mommy's butt. EWW I know. Sad to say I tried to save her but I couldn't. I ended up inheriting her when all of my boyfriend's family's fish had died except a few mollies and Gouramis. That's a whole different story, won't get into that.  Anyway the cichlids are displaying A LOT of scratching which is starting to worry me. <I'd worry too. Could be ich or perhaps irritation from high nitrate.> Bumblebee is scratching itself against anything non-stop and it's not looking too pretty. And the Lab Textilis is swimming in a funny circular motion. A few of them also hang out by the heater and water current. And they're colors have been changing as well. The chocolate Pleco was the only one who had any ich visible on his body but all other fish seem to be displaying infection as well but no spots.  Should I treat the whole tank since they all seem to be showing signs of distress or should I just remove my chocolate Pleco into a hospital tank and treat him there for ich? <Start with the Pleco and getting the nitrates way down with a big water change. Stop using Amquel. It is only a stopgap measure.> I know if I treat the whole tank, the meds might destroy most if not all of my good bacteria but since I've been doing weekly water changes and is in that MODE, <more like DAILY if you kill your biofilter.> I wouldn't mind to continue for a few more weeks...just a few weeks.  <Do it forever.> BTW, I haven't changed the filter in the water pump yet, but will do so soon. It's been about 2 months since we cleaned it. <Could be pumping out a lot of nitrate.> What about the catfish, are they sensitive to medications or salt? <Salt is not helpful in with this problem. I suggest you read through the FW Ich FAQs for info on correct treatment.> They seem to be fine, no scratching or spots.  Can high levels of ammonia cause ich outbreaks? <Can weaken fish immunity> Right now it's at .25ppm What about cloudy water? <Bacterial bloom. If green, then algae.>After I did the water change, my tank got cloudy, it was cloudy even before the catfish were added....I haven't used activated carbon before but I did purchase a box of AmmoChips. Would this help? <Will absorb ammonia.> In case the cause is from the ammonia. I know it might help with my cloudy water situation.  Can ich occur when other fish are picking/nipping at the new inhabitants? <Yes, or perhaps they already had it.> I'm asking this because I've been seeing Bumble bee nip my Pleco's fins which are raggedy and torn right now. Will Maracyn used to treat fin and tail rot help? <Antibiotics will help with fin rot.> The catfish are good "fighters" so none of the cichlids are bothering them and the common Pleco is the biggest fish and I don't think they bother him either.  I do have Rid-Ich from my previous experience, which didn't go too well because by the time I found an answer, it was too late to save any parrots. <Check the FW Ich FAQs for the best options.> But the cichlids still lived through it!!! Poor fish, they've been through a lot in the last few months...the good thing is that they're growing pretty rapidly. <And soon will not fit in your tank.> I apologize for slapping you guys with a rather long email and it's been months since I've had an ich outbreak. I have somewhat of a clue of what needs to be done but I'd rather be safe than sorry. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you!!! Sandy <My main advice is to stay away from the fish store. Don't buy any more fish until you have another or a bigger tank. You are going to need one just for the fish you already have. Do you have some good aquarium books to read? Hope this helps.> 

Ich treatment? Aquarium salt? What to do next? (1/5/04) <Hi! Ananda here this afternoon...> Hi, I just added a treatment for ich parasite. I took out the carbon filter cartridge. I have the pump still running. <Sounds okay so far....> When can I put the filter back in? <That depends on what medication you are using. You might want to get a carbon-free cartridge for mechanical filtration.> Aquarium salt is that a one time add. I added some for my black mollies one teaspoon per gal. <That's not enough to affect the ich. To treat ich with salt, you want to get the concentration up to about 3ppm. The amount of salt you will need to get to that level can vary somewhat.> If not how often do I make the aquarium salt add and how much per gal? thank you.... <It depends on what fish you have in the aquarium. Most fish can tolerate the concentrations needed for the length of treatment, but many cannot tolerate those levels in the long term. Do look into information about treating freshwater ich with salt on the WetWebMedia site and in the forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk. --Ananda>

Ich and Shrimp Dear Wet Web Media, <Hi, Laura, Sabrina here today> Is there any ich cure out there that is safe for ghost shrimp and freshwater plants?   <To be honest, no, not really.  You can use malachite green at half strength for twice as long as recommended....  Rid-Ich comes to mind (a formalin/malachite green mix), but there are plenty of other concoctions out there using malachite green.  I think Kordon sells it, too, as just plain ol' Malachite Green.> I have a densely planted tank and about 50 ghost shrimp, so removing the shrimp isn't an option.  What else can I do?  I don't want to lose my hand-collected native fish... <Why not remove the fish to treat?  If that's at all possible, then you can treat with whatever will work best for your species without worrying about the shrimp and plants (leave the tank fallow for a few weeks, though).  Raising temperature and adding salt will help, and if the fish are salt-tolerant, you can remove the plants to a separate container for a few weeks (provide PVC or something for cover instead) and salt the tank to a specific gravity of 1.003-ish for a while.  Ghost shrimp can definitely take this - can even be acclimated to saltwater conditions, if done slowly and carefully.> Thanks for any help you can give,  Laura <Sure thing.  Hope all goes well,  -Sabrina>

Ich fix with crab? (12/18/03) <Hi! Ananda here this snowy afternoon...> I have a problem with ich.  The medication bottle says I can't use it with invertebrates and I have a red crab. It also says the dose is half as strong for tetras (I have 5 Neons) as it is for live bearers. <Sounds like Quick Cure.> What should I do? Use 2/3 dose and take the crab out for 3 days?   <I would move the crab to a different tank. Then you can use a half-strength dose for a double duration.> What if the crab dies from the stress of being removed?   <I think that's unlikely unless you don't acclimate him slowly enough. If you have a spare bit of air tubing, you can use that to set up drip acclimation. With the crab in a container of water from his current tank, use the air tubing and start siphoning water from the new tank. Put an overhand knot in the air tubing so that the water just drips from the new tank into the container the crab is in. When the container gets full, pour out half of the water. Do that once or twice more, and the water in the crab's container should be close enough to what's in the new tank to move the crab in without stressing him.> I have another small tank I could put him in where there are guppy fry and one baby sunset wag.  Can you offer any suggestions?   <Already did... :) > I'd really appreciate it.   <No problemo.> ( By the way, I'm the one who asked about the interbreeding of balloon mollies with regular mollies.   <Yep, I remember that.> So far they haven't even gotten pregnant and I've had them together for about 9 months or even longer!  Remember I have one balloon molly male and two regular female mollies.  Just wanted to offer the information in case you are interested.) <Thanks for that; I'm always interested in molly info. Do you know how old the females are? I've seen "female" mollies suddenly develop male characteristics when they were about a year old...I call those "late-developing" males. It's possible you have two of those -- or perhaps the mollies you have are from genetically-incompatible species. Or there could be other issues....>   Thank you, Leslie Wilson <You're quite welcome, and thanks for the molly info! --Ananda>

Pleco with Ich It seems my Pleco has Ich.  I have been studying up but would like to act fast.  He is the only one in the tank and my QT doesn't have a heater yet. <Does the heater from the main tank fit in the QT?  If he is the only one in the main tank you can treat him here, but there is a chance you will kill off your beneficial bacteria which means more water changes.> I have read many things on meds <Me too, always very blurry, but the Reef Invertebrates book has a lot of pretty pictures.> but am very unsure on what is safe for him.  So at the moment I am raising the temp (slowly of course).  How high can I go with him and can I use freshwater salt? How much? Temp, at only 73 right now but slowly increasing. <You could go up to around 82 over a period of a few days, be sure to keep your water well aerated.  When you bring the temp back down drop it about 1/2degree per day until you reach around 76-78.> I really don't want to lose him.  No rubbing or hanging at the top yet, but he definitely has a couple of white spots on him.  Did an 8 gallon change already.  Please Help ASAP.  I am going to keep studying your website to see if I can find info on Plecs and ich.  Water conditions still the same, Ammonia 0.6, nitrite 0 and PH 7.5 <Check out this page http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/loricariids.htm "The too-common infestations of ich can be quickly resolved with malachite with or without formaldehyde preparations. Be wary of utilizing too much salt, metal (copper) or insecticide (DTHP, Masoten, Dylox, Neguvon) medications on these catfishes; they succumb to these treatments more readily than the apparent cause you're treating."  The ich meds will have the ingredients listed on the back of the bottle.  Best of Luck, Gage> Thank you very much A very worried Tracy

Plec with Ich, cont'd Hello Gage, <Actually, Sabrina here - Gage and I have discussed your issue, and he asked that I respond, so here I am!> I thought I would update you on my poor little Plec.  He isn't doing so well.   <Sorry to hear it!> The ich seems to be gone but his gill movement is very rapid.   <Could be from the salt, or the water quality, or a combination of them, as we've discussed at length in the forum, or even possibly a return of the ich. He has turned a caramel color.  I found out I had ammonia right out of my tap but I think it was a little too late.  He went through ammonia then nitrite problems.  Amquel seems to have fixed the water quality problems but I fear it may be too late.  Poor guy doesn't look very good.   <Sad, indeed.  Gage and I both have our fingers crossed for him.> He went through a Kanacyn treatment for red spots on his fins which have not gone away. <As I've mentioned in the forums, I think the very small size of your Plec, along with how heavily infested he was, along with the water quality issues you've been dealing with, made him very sensitive to the salt - I still very much think this is the problem with the blood streaked fins (a strong sign of something in the water that the fish can't tolerate). Right now I just have him in the dark (in case of velvet), salt 1.001 SG ready to go back up if ich appears, temp 86.   <Personally, I'd eliminate the salt.  This Plec has taken a beating - don't know for sure if the salt is affecting him, but I suspect so.> I am going to start lowering his temp today to 82.  I think I may just leave him and then euthanize him when he stops eating and moving about normally.  He is in such bad shape I am not sure I want to use meds. <Good to use caution, here, yes.  Do not consider euthanizing unless he stops eating - a fish that is eating isn't bad enough to want to die yet, in my opinion.> Otherwise, he is eating well and going about his day normally.   <*Definitely* a good sign.> He always comes over when I am checking on him.  He is much more personable than I would have ever thought.  He is a sweet little fish.   <Plecs can be very personable.  Some of the Loricariids are some of my very favorite fish.> I feel terrible to have put him through all this, but I didn't have a clue.   <You are learning, and have learned a lot - that is what's important in this.  You have done a lot and are still trying.  You and your Plec have been very strong through this - don't give up hope yet.> I trusted a pet store and that was wrong. <It is unfortunate how much bad information can be had through some pet stores, out of ignorance (and worse).> I now know a heck of a lot more, and through all this, found a really good fish store.   <Wonderful to hear!!> I figure after he passes I will let the tanks run for a month to kill any parasites, then look at getting some Danios.   <An *excellent* plan!> We still would like to have a common Plec but won't get one till the tank starts to grow algae.  That will also give us time to save for larger tanks. <Do please look into some of the other Plecs that stay smaller and eat meaty foods, like L-260 (just happens to be my absolute favorite).  Browse through some of the L-numbers in the "common name" section of the "Cat-eLog" at http://www.planetcatfish.com/catelog/com_index.htm and see if you find something that interests you.  I think there's a suitable Plec out there for just about anyone.> He is in the QT right now and we are working on getting the 33G water conditions perfected.  Still showing nitrites.  I am sure water changes with Amquel will fix that tank in time just like it did in the QT. <Yes.> Thank you very much.  Between you and the forum I have learned so much valuable information.  I think when it is time to get more fish, I will make less mistakes thanks to you guys.  Keep up the good work.  Tracy <Gage sends his regards, and we are both very glad to have been able to help.  Thank you for the kind words, and good luck with your little Plec!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Mollies W/Ich 11/04/03  <Hi, Pufferpunk here>  First, let me say WOW! what a great web-site. I have learned so much since finding your site. Thank you!  <Thanks for the compliment!>  My question is, how old do baby mollies need to be before you can treat them for ich? The fry are about 1 week and 3 days. There are 13 of them in a 5 gallon tank. I removed them from the main tank because I noticed ich on the mother and 1 guppy. In the main tank are 1 molly (used to be 2, another female lost her after birth), 3 guppies (1 male, 2 female).   So far my method in the fry tank has been to keep the water temp at 80 F.  Keep the tank lights off and put in 1 Tablespoon of salt. That seemed to help, most of the white spots are gone, but a couple of the fry still have 1 or 2 spots.  <I personally don't use any meds for the treatment of ich. I would think newborn fish would not fair well w/any kind of meds. Here is the info I have printed on ich at my puffer website. The same goes for any fish.  If some morning you get up and it looks like someone has salted the body, fins, and gills of your fish, you are looking at "Ich", sometimes called ick, or white spot disease. "Ich" is a protozoan parasite with the scientific name of Ichthyophthirius multifilius. It is the largest of the ciliated Protozoans. It is easily introduced into your tank by new fish or equipment or plants that have been moved from one tank to another. A quarantine tank is the best way to prevent introducing this parasite into your display tank. If you see ich on your fish they should be treated immediately. In heavily stocked tanks it can cause massive death rates within a very short period of time. Some symptoms before white spots appear may include flashing, clamped fins, weakness, loss of appetite, and decreased activity. In the case of heavy gill infestations, you may not see evidence of white spots, but may find your fish breathing heavily at the surface of your tank. Secondary bacterial and respiration difficulties may result, so keep an eye out for complications in addition to the ich infection.   The best way to prevent ich, as I stated above, is to quarantine all incoming fish. A minimum of three weeks in quarantine (in my opinion) is the best way to go. When kept at 76 to 83 degrees, incoming fish that have been exposed to ich may show symptoms within the first 3 days. However, at cooler temperatures, ich outbreaks may take longer to show up because of its lengthened life cycle. Water temperature has a tremendous effect on how fast the life cycle of ich is completed. At water temperatures of 75 to 79 degrees F, the life cycle is completed in about 48 to 72 hours. In water temperatures below 75, it takes much longer for the parasite to complete its life cycle.  LIFE CYCLE: There are three phases to the life cycle of this protozoan. Ich is susceptible to treatment at only one stage of its life cycle, so knowing the life cycle is important.  ADULT PHASE: the parasite attaches itself under the mucus layer of the skin or gills, causing irritation and the appearance of small white spots. As the parasite matures, it feeds on blood and skin cells. After some time, the parasite breaks through the mucus layer and falls to the bottom of the aquarium.  CYST PHASE: after falling to the bottom of the aquarium, the adult cyst bursts and divides into numerous daughter cells called tomites.  FREE SWIMMING PHASE: after the cyst phase, the free swimming tomites search for a host. If a host fish is not found within 2 to 3 days, the parasite dies. Once a host is found the whole cycle begins again. These three phases take about 28 days at 70 degrees F but only 3 days at 80 degrees F. For this reason it is recommended that the aquarium water be raised to between 80-86 degrees F. for the duration of the treatment. If the fish can stand it, raise the temperature to 86 degrees. Raising the aquarium temperature in this manner will shorten the length of time between the cyst phase and the free swimming tomite stage. It is during the free swimming tomite stage that chemical treatment is effective in killing the parasite. During this time, whatever you use for treatment should be supplemented with daily or every other day water changes and gravel vacuuming to remove as many adult cysts and free swimming tomites as possible.  TREATMENTS:  Before starting treatment you should do at least a 25% to 30% water change and vacuuming of your tank.  I do not like to use meds w/my puffers, except in a heavy infestation.  One tablespoon of salt per 5 gals. of aquarium water, gradually raising the temperature to 86 degrees F. This is good if you have to treat BW fish who actually like salt as part of their aquarium habitat. Continue with this for a period of 21 days. Adding back 1 Tablespoon of salt for every 5 gals of aquarium water that you remove during water changes. One thing to remember with high temperatures is that you should run an additional air stone to oxygenate the water. There is less dissolved oxygen available in warm water than there is in water at cooler temperatures.>  Thank you so much for your time, Jen  <You're welcome & good luck. It sounds like your mollies are on their way to being healthy, well cared for little fishies! -- Pufferpunk> 

Treating clown loaches for ich (10/14/03) <Hi! Ananda the clown loach nut here tonight...> After a 35% water change, my 5 clown loaches developed ick.   <Uh-oh.> No fish had been added to my tank in months so I'm pretty sure it was caused by the water change. I use Reverse Osmosis water and there is no control of temperature.   <Yep, that'll do it. You need to get a container big enough to hold all your water-change water and get a heater for it.> I introduce it a gallon every  30 to 45 min.s or so so the tank has a chance to heat keep up.   <The initial temperature shock is enough to trigger the ich.> ANYWAY, after the loaches developed ick, I tried Ick Away for several days (with charcoal filters removed and temperature up to 82) which did nothing to help. <Argh. I have yet to hear anything good about "Ick Away".> I then went to CopperSafe before leaving for the weekend.   <Never use copper with loaches! They're just too susceptible to it.> When I returned, 3 of the 5 were dead and the other 2 were covered in Ick.  Within a couple hours, they died too.   <Sorry to hear that... hopefully you've done another water change to take care of the probable ammonia and nitrate spike?> None of my other fish have ick.   <Clown loaches are ich magnets, so I'm not surprised to hear they got it bad but nothing else did...> My tank is a 30 gallon with an Emperor 400.   <That's what I use on my 30 gallon tank. But...with copper added to the tank, the bio-wheels have been sterilized and are going to be ineffective until the tank re-cycles. You're going to have to do more frequent water changes for a while. Your other option is to get some Bio-Spira, which must be refrigerated until you use it, as it contains live nitrifying bacteria.> Fish are 3 Rummy Nose Tetras, 2 Corys, 2 Rosey Reds, 3 Red Platy's, 3 Black Molly's, and  3 Otocinclus. <You're almost at the maximum fish capacity this tank can hold. With the loaches, I would characterize that tank as overcrowded. I keep my loaches in a 55 gallon tank -- they're still fairly small, about 3" long -- with the knowledge that they're going to need at least a 90 gallon tank in a couple of years.>   What is the BEST way to cure Clown Loaches of ICK.   <Many people use their ich medication of choice at half-strength, for twice as long as is generally recommended. That, and they crank the tank temp up. Personally, I'm a bit paranoid when it comes to my clown loaches. I've used "FW Ecolibrium" when they had ich -- it's more expensive than most ich meds, but it's completely safe for scaleless fish. I have a couple of bottles around, though I've been able to avoid ich since the first time they got it by carefully matching new water to tank water for water changes and by quarantining any new fish that get added to their tank. I got the Ecolibrium through Drs. Foster & Smith (they're a WetWebMedia sponsor, so you can get to their web site from the banner at the top of the Daily FAQ page).> And while I'm at it, what's the best way to cure most fish of ICK?   <Increased temperature: 86 degrees or higher for 10 days. And salt -- "freshwater" salt, not marine salt, since you don't want to change the pH. Your mollies and platies won't mind salt at all (mollies actually prefer some salt in the water). The rest of your fish should be able to tolerate a bit of it for a while. The level you need is 2 ppt salinity, which generally works out to a specific gravity of 1.002-1.003. Get the Aquarium Systems SeaTest hydrometer to check the specific gravity (it's the only one that measures low levels, except for the glass thermometer/hydrometers -- which are pretty easy to break). You'll need to find a temp. vs. S.G. chart to convert the actual S.G., since the SeaTest is calibrated for 76 degrees and your tank will probably have a higher temperature than that.> I've been searching the web high and low and I've seen nothing definite on the cure for ICK that seems to work. <One person's experiences with ich and her clown loaches: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=3&thread=11808 > Thanks for a great website. <You're welcome -- check out our forums, too!> -Mike P.s.  GO CUBS!!!!! <Ah, they lost tonight. :-( Maybe tomorrow night... --Ananda>

Re: Ich on clown loaches (10/16/03) Ananda, thanks for the great info.   <You're welcome!> I'll check out Drs. Foster & Smith for proper medication (by the way, their catalog is almost a quick guide to proper fish and tank care.  It's indispensable.)   <I use it a lot, too, but more for finding out which things are supposed to do what! But do compare their information to others' -- you may find that a phrase can be misinterpreted, or someone else's version may make more sense, etc.> My LFS told me that CopperSafe was the *BEST* way to cure ick for Loaches.   <Ack! Sounds like someone was seriously mis-informed....> I prefer the method of Sea Salt and raised temperatures to any medication.  Not because of the cost, but because I hate adding any chemicals.  Is there a salt level/temp setting I can use all the time that would be preventative against ick?   <Hmmm. Any increased temperature for long periods is going to speed the metabolism of the fish as well as any parasites -- and speeding the fishes' metabolism will shorten their lifespan.> Just curious.  Or after the 10 days at 86 degrees should I just bring it back down to 78? <That would be my recommendation.> Thanks again for the help and a big thank you to the team for such an informative website.   -Mike <Thanks for the kind words. --Ananda> P.s.  Go CUBS - Game 7!  :) <*grumble* There were no fireworks in Chi-town last night....>

- Freshwater Ich - Hi Robert, <Hello, JasonC here today instead...> I am a beginner in aquarium set up and already had burned my finger trying to treat a goldfish. I saw the white Ich parasite in one of my Black Moor and took in out in another 10 gallon tank from my 30 gallon main tank. I set out to treat it with Methylene blue and went as per the instructions on the medication, but in three hours I found it dead. Now though I don't see anything unhealthy in six of my goldfishes in the main tank, I am very much worried, what if ICH appears in them. I have raised the salt level to 0.6% in the main tank. Also I have bought Kick-Ick Ruby Reef. But I am paranoid of using any medication. <I don't blame you... in this case, I would really wait until you see some symptoms before you take action.> I want your suggestion on the correct dose of Kick-Ick. <Personally, I have zero confidence in the efficacy of this 'medication'.> The instruction on the medication suggests that use- 2.0 oz per 25 gallon on the 1st day and repeat it on 4th day and so on. But it has not been indicated how much water changes should be made between the 1st and 4th day or how often. <Depends on where the problem is being treated. Ideally, you should treat sick fish in a separate quarantine tank, away from the main tank. Because Kick-Ich isn't copper based, you don't have to worry so much about stalling the biological filter, but copper-based medications require daily water changes and then redosing of copper to keep the level sufficient to kill the parasites. But again, Kick-Ich is a pepper-based solution which to date has no scientific data to prove it's effectiveness against ich - I wouldn't bother with it.> Since I was not sure I used the recommended dose and made a water change after 2 hours changing 50% of the water. <You just reduced your dose by 50%...> The goldfishes did pretty well. But I wanted to know what should the duration for which the medication be in the water to be effective against the Ich. <Again... I would hold off treating anything until you observe symptoms.> You advise in this regard would be greatly appreciated. <Cheers, J -- >

Ich Cured Finally Finally got the virulent outbreak of ich in my FW quarantine tank cured.  I tried the popular malachite green and formalin medication with no results. <yes, they are normally more harmful to the fish than the ich!!> Finally raised the temperature to 87F  and switched to CopperSafe, (monitored with a test kit) which cleared the infestation in less than a week.<Copper Sulfate is the best way to treat parasites>  I left the copper in the tank for another week, and a week ago began removing copper with PolyFilter (is that stuff great or what -- pads turned bright blue-green!).<yes, this really works>  I lost fewer than a third of my infected fish (all prior to use of CopperSafe). <sounds good except for the third of livestock lost> Of course not happy to have lost any, but glad the survivors made it. <agreed> I am planning to move the survivors into my display tank in about another week (total of 3 weeks since last ich spot seen).  Is that enough time?<I would let it go 4-5 weeks, you would be surprised how long ICH can live without a host!!!..better safe than sorry my friend, Good luck, IanB> thanks tom

Freshwater Frustration (Fighting Ich) But this recent freshwater ich problem has got me frustrated.  In an earlier post that Bob Fenner responded to, I wrote that I had an ich outbreak in a 60 gallon FW quarantine tank.  I have a few of several types of fish, including clown loaches, glass catfish and blue Gouramis.  In any event things were going fine for a couple of weeks when I noticed the characteristic appearance of ich spots.  I raised the temperature to 84 and began medicating with Rid-Ich+.  I meticulously kept up the instructions for about 8 days ( using the optional 12-hour dosing schedule), with absolutely no improvement in appearance of the fish, except that the clown loaches got worse (they look like the rim of a margarita glass).  So, I changed out enough water to assure most of the malachite and formalin were gone, and added Coppersafe.   The temperature is now at 86, with heavy aeration and filtration. Carbon and PolyFilter have been removed.  I am also running a Diatomagic diatom filter (mostly for the aeration, but also in the hope of snagging a few free-swimming parasites).   Other than looking encrusted, the fish are behaving well (other than some scratching, of course) and eating with gusto.  I plan to do daily partial water changes, as well.  Any other suggestions for this frustrating problem?   <In this instance, I'd follow the full course of Copper Safe and observe the fishes carefully. With good food, a correct therapeutic dose of copper, and a little time, you should see some improvement in a matter of days...> PS  The 180 FW tank they're destined for when they're better houses two 7-inch 13 year-old clown loaches and a ten-year old Pleco. <I love those fish...Especially the gnarled-out old ones! That's a longevity record to be proud of!> I am really glad I used a quarantine tank -- best advice I've ever read (and heeded)! <Glad that you feel that way! It is so essential to fishkeeping success that I hope it becomes part of everyone's routine! Quarantine just plain WORKS!> thanks tom <My pleasure, Tom...Just stay the course, and don't give up on the fish...You've done great so far- keep it up! Regards, Scott F>

Freshwater good and bad news Greetings to all!  The bad news is that I recently bought a number of fish to stock my recently-established 180 gallon freshwater tank and now a couple of the fish have a "light" case of ich.  The good news is that I started them (and have kept them since purchase) in a QUARANTINE tank!!  I have read through your site a number of times, and the importance of using a quarantine tank has been stressed repeatedly.  Although I have been doing this for more than 20 years without quarantining new fish, (dodged a lot of bullets, I guess) I took your advice and I'm happy I did. <Me too! The general quality of freshwater livestock has vastly disimproved over the last decades>   The quarantine tank is my old 58 gallon Oceanic with established biofiltration.  The new fish currently residing in the Q tank are clown loaches (small), two small Cory catfish, small Pleco and a couple of blue Gouramis, several small glass catfish and Hatchetfish.  Right now only one Gourami has spots -- just a couple on tail fin and a couple on the body.  I have begun raising the temperature from 79 F to the goal temperature in three days of 84F.  I am hesitant to medicate the tank, because the fish look so good otherwise.  They are swimming, eating, and active. Is the temperature treatment enough to "cure" the outbreak?  If I use medication, do you recommend the Rid-Ich (malachite and Formalin?)  Should I get the medication and watch and wait and only medicate if the problem worsens? <Yes. This is what I would do. Wait a good few days to a week... see if the ich "cycles off" and doesn't resurface... another week and you are past a "highly virulent" phase... with little likelihood of a recurrence. Bob Fenner> thanks for your help! tom

- Ich Gone Bad - I know, I know, this situation is all too typical. I have 1 Pleco, 4 loaches, 2 Siamese shark and 1 black ghost knife. I am very excited about the 2 sharks, so as soon as I reached home from LFS, I immediately released the sharks to join in the tank. I noticed the sharks are very nervous and fast swimmers. But what I didn't notice is that they have ich. Initially, 4 loaches died one after the other white their body covered with white spots and sort of white solid slime. Then I (finally) saw the massive invasion of ich on the nose of the 2 sharks and some part of my (precious) BKG. I immediately moved the rest of the fishes to a 10 gal tank. So what really causes ich??!! <It is a free-moving protozoan. More reading for you here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm > I ask the LFS, one told me is the cold temperate and ask me to buy a heater and salt. The other told me is the water condition and ask me to buy General Aid and White-Spot by Danios. So I use every I have on my desk that "shopping spree". I increased the temp to 32C, added a cap full of White-Spot and General Aid, 2 tbspn of salt per gal. Is this ok, that tank sure looks blue. <I'm afraid to say... it's not a good idea to make several changes all at once.> On ya, one more thing, the sharks kept on rubbing their noses on the tank, the skin and flesh that the tip of the nose is GONE. So now they are bleeding and wasting more flesh away by rubbing some more. How can I stop this (the bleeding and rubbing). <Make sure the water quality is where it should be.> One more, how long does it usually takes to completely cure the fish of ich? <Several weeks, depends mostly on the fish and numbers of parasites present. Cheers, J -- >

- Extra Virulent Freshwater Ich? - Hello Crew, Bob Hartline, from The Aquarium here. <And JasonC over here...> There seems to be a new strain of freshwater ich starting to become prominent. Have you heard anything? <Not of this specific nature.> We have tried temp increases, malachite green, Acriflavine, potassium permanganate, salt and any other standard med to no avail. This sucker just laughs. Certainly no laughing matter... <Indeed.> Seems to avoid our attempts at poison by reproducing on the fish. I have seen this in Marine fish, but this is the first time in Freshwater. Comments and observations are needed ASAP. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm > Thanks, Bob <Cheers, J -- >

Success in treating freshwater parasite problem >Hi Marina: >>Good morning, Bill. Your treatment seems to have worked! The white angel is free of all outward signs of ick and the other fish are all fine. >>Excellent!  Very glad to hear it. >I bought a device that allows me to read salinity and it is at 3 ppt, and I am going to leave it there for a couple of more weeks just to be certain. >>A refractometer, perchance? >Can loaches and Bala cats tolerate the salinity treatment? Would a seawater dip work with an Oscar?  (My Oscars are fine, but just wondering for future possibilities.) >>Yes, they can tolerate this better than they can certain medications. >Boy, I love keeping fish! (Although I do feel a little odd when I eat sushi now - and should I catch me any salmon, trout, halibut or grayling, it's going to feel a little different than it used to, now that I have fish buddies.) >>Yes, some folks do find themselves in a similar quandary.  As of yet, I have no problem eating what I keep (raising animals for food does help in that area).  Very glad I could help!  Marina

HELP!! ICH!! As a new aquarist, I carefully followed all instructions in setting up my new 55-gallon tank, cycling with Danios and some bottom fish, and waiting patiently for my LFS's go ahead before putting my first two Mbuna in the tank...all the while reading and educating myself as much as possible on keeping my aquarium.  I then foolishly ignored advice to quarantine all new fish before adding to the tank and apparently introduced ich with a white socolofi purchased at Petco.  A couple of days later I noticed some fish scratching themselves on rocks, then some white spots on a Red Zebra.  (There are currently 9 juvenile Mbuna in my tank).  I have been treating with Malachite Green for five days; the white spots are gone but the scratching behavior continues.  I removed the 6" Plecostomus this morning as he seemed stressed and his fins were becoming ragged; the two Chinese Algae Eaters are surviving, but are nowhere near their usual obnoxious selves.  Can you tell me what else to do?!?  Thank you for any help...Ruth <Its possible that the fish now have a secondary infection. Treat them with a medication for general bacterial problems and they should improve. Ronni>

Re: HELP!! ICH!! Hi Ronni, <Good morning Ruth> Thanks so much, I didn't think about a secondary.  I went to my LFS today, and they recommended "CLOUT" (which I bought).  Will that cover it? Thanks again... Ruth <Well, Im sure youve already used it and found out for yourself since Im slow in replying to this one but Clout should work fine. Good luck! Ronni>

Re: HELP!! ICH!! Hello again Ronni... <Hello Ruth> OK, I've been using the CLOUT for 5 days now (This was after 10 days of malachite green for ich)...improvement seemed minimal, everyone was still lethargic and not eating great, so I also started Mela-fix two days ago.  BIG overall behavior/appetite improvement!  But still there is flashing going on with most of the fish (some more than others) and one white socolofi that is noticeably worse, and is also now shaking his head back and forth.  Can you tell me what now?!?  Flukes?  If so, which type?  What would the safest, most effective treatment be?  The fish all LOOK good, and are active again, it's just the rubbing and head shaking.  I've talked with another person at my LFS and have read everything I can find on line, and I'm just not sure how to proceed.  I'm just so aggravated!!  Nothing gets into my tank without being quarantined for a good long time. I appreciate ANY help! Ruth <I dont think this is flukes. Id lean more towards a residual scratching and possibly some irritant in the water itself. Have you done a water change since the treatment? And have you tested your ammonia and nitrites? I would take a look at these and possibly add a little salt to the water (unless it already has salt in it, I cant remember what your first post said) to see if this helps. Ronni>

Ich and Black Mollies (04/03/03) Hi, <Hi! Ananda here tonight; the mollies are in the other room...> I recently got 6 black mollies.  In a few days one female had gotten a spot near its top fin.  It became more pronounced and I even noticed its gills became shiny.  I decided to "cull" the ill fish as to protect the others.   <That probably wasn't necessary... it is very easy to treat mollies with ich. Just add salt to their water: - siphon off about a gallon or so of tank water, depending on the size of the tank - add the salt -- maybe 1/4-1/2 cup of marine salt, depending on the size of the tank - mix well - slowly pour salty water into tank The reason this works is that parasites are much less tolerant of changes in salinity than your mollies.> I want to transfer the rest to my main tank but worry they may bring the illness with them. Is it contagious? <It is. But it is easily eradicated from a quarantine tank.> I have been putting in half the recommended dose of Formalin at night and the rest of the fish show no signs (yet).  How long should I leave them there to make sure it will not infect the main tank? <Ich has a life cycle of about a month. I would wait a minimum of two or three weeks after the last signs of ich are gone.> I have Platy fry in the main tank in a nursery and would like to transfer them to the smaller tank where the mollies are.  The fry are about a week old.  Will they be affected by the trace Formalin or the traces of Ick that may be in the smaller tank? <Quite possibly. But if you can salt the smaller tank, you can avoid the problem. Platies are also amenable to salt, though I don't believe they can tolerate as much salt as the black mollies, who can even be kept in full marine tanks.> Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thank you in advance for your prompt response. Kevin <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Re: Ich Hi sir,        There was a disease in my tank in which white spots appear on my goldfish lion head and I added a medicine name (RIDALL) plus salt and in seven days white spots disappear. But my silver sharks have white spots on their body and is not going. Tem 26C Ph 7.5 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Tank size 37 gallon Fishes 17 What do I do now? Change of medicine or some thing else? The silver sharks are also losing there balance. <Well, you really shouldnt have goldfish and tropicals mixed together. The temperature your tank is at is perfect for the tropicals but way too warm for the goldfish. But anyway, the disease you described is Ich. I would do a water change and then treat with a different medication. Ick Guard is a good one and so is Maroxy. Ronni>

Licking Freshwater Ich! Hi.  I have a 30G freshwater tank with an Eclipse 3 hood.  Stocked now with 3 platies, 5 cardinal tetras, 3 Rainbowfish (2 Boesemanni 1 turquoise), one OTO and one Siamese Algae Eater. Tank has had ich impervious to everything known.  Going on 5 months now. <Wow! That's a long outbreak!> Ammo, nitrite, nitrate, all 0, pH is 7.7. Do 15% water change weekly. Tried quinine, m green/formalin, Metronidazole, nothing has worked to eradicate it.  Lost 3 clown loaches on 3 outbreaks for 9 total. <Awful to hear...> I'm considering using a UV sterilizer now.  Thinking Turbo-Twist 9W with a mini-jet pump which is adjustable. Figuring I'd run it at about 60GPH, to allow sufficient contact with the bulb while still getting a 2X turnover. <That makes sense> But there is a lot of conflicting reports regarding whether UV sterilizers have any effect on ich.  Would I be wasting money?  Or might I get some benefit.  I want to keep clown loaches, but fear adding them will bring more ich, more death.  Don't see logic of QT tank as ich is most definitely in the main tank not on incoming fish (example: 6 days ago last clown loach dead.  No other tankmates had any ich signs. <I understand your thoughts on this, but I respectfully disagree...Quarantine will definitely help prevent new outbreaks of ich and other infectious diseases in your main tank...try this procedure before you discount its effectiveness...It works!> Treated with RidIch+ for 2 more days anyway.  Did 25% water change.  5 days after all that, new ich spots on a platy). Want to end this in the main tank.  Think I'd get benefit from a UV? Thanks! Joel <Well, Joel, UV is useful for killing the free-floating pathogenic organisms that cause some diseases, however, what you need to do is deprive the ich parasites of their hosts, which will disrupt the life cycle of the parasites, and cause their population to crash. Do this by removing all of your fishes (even the "healthy" ones) and placing them in a separate aquarium for treatment (if necessary) with the ich medication of your choice. Meanwhile, leave the main tank "fallow" for 30 days. After the 30 day period, you can re-introduce your now healthy fishes into the tank, which should have a much lower parasite count than it did previously...a level that healthy fishes should be able to withstand. This is not a fun procedure, but it works in both fresh and marine systems. Try it! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Meds and UV Sterilizers I recently wrote about the amazing results I have had with a Coralife Turbo-Twist UV Sterilizer in eliminating a long, persistent and deadly ick outbreak. After about 3 weeks of ick-free life in the tank, I decided to try once again to add clown loaches. Surprise, surprise, they are now showing signs of ick, after about 4 days in the tank.  Earlier, a platy had shown white spots but those went away after two days on their own, the UV seemed to take care of it. <Operative words here are "seemed to"> My question is this: should I just let things be and hope the UV controls the parasite? <I wouldn't. I'd at least raise the tank temperature to the mid-80's F (which by itself will likely kill the trophonts/feeding stages on the fish/es>   Or should I medicate the tank?  If the latter, is there any medication I can safely use in conjunction with the UV? <Yes. Look for "other than" malachite, formalin based ones... Specifically, there are some based on silver salts that are fine for use  here, like Aquarisol> Or must I turn the UV off?  If the latter, what med would you recommend to help my clown loaches, and for how long should I use it before re-starting the UV? <See above> Prior to adding the UV, over a period of about 6 months I had lost I think 9 clown loaches (3 on 3 separate occasions, all to ick).  I have had horrible luck, but they are among my favorite fishes and I really want to keep them. Thanks. Joel <A good idea to put a quarantine procedure into place for all new livestock. Bob Fenner>

Re: Meds and UV Sterilizers Thanks for the reply.  As for Aquarisol: my bottle says copper Zycosin, as does their website.  Nothing about silver. <Yes... used to be silver based... now copper>   The word copper makes me think you can't use it with the UV on. <Depends on chelation, sequestering... Easy enough to do an experiment... with and w/o the UV on and testing for free copper> I just want to confirm it is ok to do so before trying it.  Whaddya think?  If not, what about Clear Ick by Aquatronics, which is quinine monohydrochloride and gentian violet, whatever that is? <Another good choice... or as stated previously just raising the temperature will do it...>   Just want to be sure my UV doesn't turn the meds into something that will kill everything in the tank. <Mmm, no, this won't happen. Bob Fenner> Thanks again!

Re: Ich & Loaches I have one clown loach, two platys, and one African butterfly in my 10 gallon hex tank. I am new at this and just learning the ropes. I now have ick in the tank and am trying to find out what to do about it. I have used ick guard but am concerned as i continue reading that this may not be good for the loach. Please help on what to do?? I have a friend with the quick cure and she is recommending that for treatment. Any advice would be wonderful. N <You should be able to treat with the Ick Guard but only use ½ of the recommended dosage. Ronni>

Yucky, Yucky Ich! I received a 27 gallon tank for Christmas, and have it set up and running. I have been told all along that my water checks out great, but have been having trouble with the fish coming down with ich. <Well, ich is a parasitic disease, and the most likely cause of ich is a fish bringing the parasite into the aquarium. Yes- good environmental conditions and water chemistry provide optimal conditions to keep the fishes healthy, but the primary cause, the parasites themselves, needs to be addressed.> I have treated the tank, and this last round has left me with three fish.  I'm not sure what to do now, whether to take the tank down and start over from scratch, or what exactly I should do.  Any suggestions would be most helpful.  I am also planning on changing where I buy fish from. Thanks... <Well, regardless of whether you have a freshwater or marine system, I do not recommend treating the main aquarium with medicines. Much better to remove the infected animals to a separate tank for treatment. Meanwhile, let the main system run "fallow", without fishes, for at least a month. This will allow the parasite population to diminish for lack of fish hosts. I'd execute this procedure today on your tank. Even if the remaining fishes are not currently displaying symptoms, get them out and let the tank run fallow...be sure to conduct all regular maintenance on the tank during the fallow period (water changes, etc.). For more on attacking this disease, see the wetwebmedia.com site and do a keyword search on ich using the Google search feature. With quick action and good observation (not to mention quarantine of all new fishes)-you'll lick this disease! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

White spot on platy Im in the process of cycling a new FW tank (26 gal) with 2 platies. Theyve been in there now for 3 full days.  I just noticed one of them, a male, has a tiny white spot where the tail fin joins the body.  I dont recall seeing it yesterday.  Ive been adding a little bit of salt per day to get the whole tank up to around 3-4 tbs. (up to about 3 Tbs now), but had been keeping the water temperature at the low end (74 F) to make sure ammonia doesnt reach toxic levels at 7.5-7.7 pH.  It looks like the ammonia level has stabilized for now, so I bumped up the temperature to 80, and planning to bump it up a bit more in the morning if I see more spots. <<It's possible that this spot was there and you just didn't see it before but it sounds to me like it's the beginning of Ich. To be on the safe side I would place this fish in a quarantine tank/bucket and keep a close eye on him and on your others just in case.>> Im hoping it isnt ick/ich, but if it is, is medicating the only way to make it subside?  Are salt and elevated temperature good first steps and might it go away?  The fish seem quite active still and appetite has not diminished.  I did a search through the site and most of the answers seem to indicate medicating, but I read a few that gave me the impression that I should try the salt and temperature first. <<Salt and temperature can help aid in the removal of ich but will not cure it on their own. You will need to medicate to completely eradicate it. There are a lot of commercial medications to treat ich, my personal favorites are Maracide or Ick Guard. Your LFS should have at least one of these. Ick Guard tends to work a bit faster but I have had it fail me once, Maracide takes a couple of days longer but it's never failed me. Check the spot again today, if it looks like a grain of salt stuck to your fish or if there are now more than one you need to immediately begin treatment for ich. And don't get depressed, ich is a nasty disease but is easily curable.>> Thanks for your help. Mark Kubo <<You're welcome. Ronni>>

Yikes! ICK!!! Help!  I stocked my tank with 5 Gouramis, 1 male Betta, 2 Kuhli loaches and 3 clown loaches.   <<Just a note from experience here, watch your Betta with the Gouramis. The Betta may at some point eat the "whiskers" of your Gouramis or the Gouramis may decide that the Bettas fins look like a tasty treat. :o)>> At some point, ick was introduced.  I've been treating with a commercial product for the last 3 days, using their directions (the ick was minimal at beginning of treatment -  4 or 5 white spots total on clown loaches mainly).  What are my chances of getting rid of this nasty organism? I'd appreciate any info or advise you have to offer. <<Your chances of getting rid of it are actually quite good. Time/success will depend on what kind of commercial medication you are using. My personal favorites are Ick Guard or Maroxy but I've talked to many people about Ich and everyone has their own favorite. Just follow the manufacturers instructions exactly and you should see an improvement. I'm not positive here but your loaches may be a small scale or scaleless fish, if they are then the medicating rules are different for them. Many ich medications can be poison to scaleless fish. Do a search for clown loach using the Google search box at www.wetwebmedia.com to find out for sure. Take care! Ronni>> Thank you! Bev

- Freshwater Woes - Hi, <Greetings, JasonC here...> I have just found your website and it is terrific. I wish I had know about it before. It would have saved me my present grief. I have had a tank for about a year and a half now. I started off with a 25 gallon (the first 6 months) and had so much fun with it my girl friend got me a 55 gallon for my birthday. Everything has gone perfect until about a week ago. I bought a new clown loach and my tank came down with ick a few days later. I know now I should have used a qt tank. <You are quite right.> I have not been very scientific about my tank I have just been going with the flow and enjoying it all, but when I look at my usually very energetic and fun to watch Bala shark sitting listlessly at the top of my tank i feel irresponsible and quite sad. I will tell you about my tank before I explain the fishes appearances... I think they might have ick, cloud eye and some sort of fungus. As I said I have a 55 gallon tank. I am using to AquaClear filters one is a 200 and the other is a 500. In the tank I have the following an Auratus, Bala shark, convict, blue spotted jewel, Texas cichlid, Kenyi, scoleri, a mutt (it is a remaining baby between the Auratus and a red zebra... pet store does not believe me but i have no other idea where it came from.... the Auratus killed the mother shortly after eating most of the babies), a Johanni, a butterfly fish, three clown loaches, striped Raphael, a Chinese algae eater, and a Pleco. I know now that this tank is probably over crowed and the species may not be the best match but the tank has been great. <The tank is not 'probably' over crowded, it is 'definitely' over crowded.> All of the fish seem to get along fairly well and i have not had a single problem until now. <Likely the problems have been brewing.> I have read many of the faq's and i find that I do not know what a lot of the things discussed are. I am unaware of what is meant by a skimmer or a RO/do I was wondering if there is somewhere i could look on the web that would basically explain the basic steps to keeping a tank properly. <Well a couple of things come to mind here - first, protein skimmers and RO/DI filters are typical tools of the marine aquarist and are seen less often in the freshwater side of the hobby. Protein skimmers especially are next-to-useless in a freshwater tank, so you really don't need to concern yourself with these. Likewise, there are articles all over the freshwater section that would be apropos - for instance, the ones on quarantine.> Like I said i am quite upset about the state of my Bala shark and I want to make sure I take better care of my fish :). Anyway onto my present problem. It seems I have ick but my shark also seems to have cloud eye and some stringy white stuff on his side. All of my loaches and the Pleco also have ick. I have been treating them for two days now with rid ick and I have read on the net the life cycle for the disease. So I understand this will take a week of treatments. <More than a week, much more like two.> I do not have a second tank (gave the old one to my girlfriend) so I cannot remove these fish from the tank. <Well... do prepare some water for frequent changes as you will likely lose the biological filter due to the treatment with Rid-Ich.> The ick i think will clear up i am just wondering with the presence of the cloudy eyes of the Bala and the stringing white stuff on the Bala and the Pleco that i might be treating the wrong thing. <Well... it's hard to say exactly. In a tank as over-loaded as this one, there are probably some extenuating environmental conditions which are causing stress which is in turn compromising the fishes' immune system. You should start your reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdis3setsfactors.htm > Anyways I am sorry this is such a long email but after viewing this webpage I think i might be doing a lot of things wrong and want to correct thus. <Actually, I can only suggest - you will have to be the one to do the correcting - putting the suggestions/reading into action.> thanks for your time Ross <Cheers, J -- >

Re: Ick and fish I have read many of your articles and responses on the website and really need some advice.  My fiancé and I are very new to fishtank keeping.  We unintelligently purchased a black fin shark for our 10 gallon tank, along with 2 black tetras, 2 algae eater, and although we had 3 neon, we now only have one, as the shark has eaten the other 2.  The current problem is that we only bought the algae eaters 4 days ago, put them in the tank, and the shark is now showing signs of Ich.  Our normal temp. runs about 76-78 degrees, our ph runs around 7.0 and we have started an Ich treatment called Ich-away by Wardley.  After all the reading I have done, I am concerned that the malachite green may harm the fish.  My questions are: 1.) Would it be better, considering the fish, to treat with raising the temp., and salt content? <You could try this, but raising the temperature may be just as harmful.  Maybe a medication which is primarily Formalin such as "Quick Cure"> 2.) What should we do with the shark, as we are college students, and can not afford nor keep a 55 gal. tank?  I really care for the shark, he is a beautiful creature and I don't want to hurt him. <If you are limited to the small tank, you may need to start looking for a good home for him.> 3.)  How long would we be able to keep the shark in the 10 gallon tank?  We have now had him for about a month.   <That depends on his current size, you do not want to stunt his growth in the small enclosure.> Thank you very much for your time!!!!  We appreciate it greatly, Jessica VanEeckhoven <You may also want to check out our FAQs on freshwater diseases. http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fw3setsdisfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm Best Regards, Gage>

Re: Ich? I had a problem with my heater in my small 29 gal tank. The water dropped from 82-84o to 70o. It has a Severum and some angel fish. <Both will need a larger tank.  Severums may also get too aggressive for the angels.> I noticed my Severum scratching on things and making sores on himself.  I did a 50% water change and he seemed better the very next day and the angels were more lively.  A few days later I noticed some small white spots on the fins of my angels.  The Severum shows no signs and his wounds are healing.  I have been treating for two day for ich.  I understand from what I have read that it could take up to two weeks or more of treating.  I am still not positive that ich is what I am dealing with.  ADVICE PLEASE!!! Carrie <Sure sounds like Ich.  Ich can be brought on by sudden temperature swings.  I would continue to medicate, following the instructions on the bottle, and check out the link below for more information on Ich.  Best of luck, Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fw3setsdisfaqs.htm

Ich Hi. <<Hi Megan - Lorenzo here answering Bob's fishmail while he's at a fish conference in Texas...>> I think I have a problem with ich. I have a black, buggy-eyed fish in a bowl (I think they called her a 'moor.') <<Sure. A type of goldfish.>> She has white spots and is a little bit sluggish. From what I remember about keeping a full aquarium, this is ich. <<If the spots are very small, and not fuzzy, but more 'sharp' looking>> Am I right? I bought drops to treat the ich but it hasn't seemed to be helping. <<Also change about 1/3 of the water every day, and retreat with an appropriate amount of your medicine>> A friend told me something about adding salt to the water. Is this true? <<Goldfish should have some salts in the water for long-term health, but not regular table salt - ask at you local pet store.>> And if so, how much should I add. <<The package will say. It's very, very little.>> Also, I have a small snail in the bowl. Would the salt harm the snail? <<If you add too much, too fast, yes. Use less than half what the instructions say, just to be safe. You can gradually (over a few days or weeks) use a little more salt at each water change until you get up to the package's recommended dose.>> Thank you very much, Megan <<Welcome! -Lorenzo>>

Ich Hi there, <<And hello to you...>> I just want to see if I'm taking the right course of action here, I think I have a little bit of a weird situation because of the mix of fish I have. I noticed two days ago one of my clown loaches acting a bit odd (laying on his back, but also seemed to be scratching), wasn't sure if he was just being silly or what.. then I noticed last night that the other clown loach was scratching as well, so I turned on the high beams (2 55watt CF bulbs) and took a real close look to reveal some very very very small white dots. I can hardly see them, but I'm fairly sure its ich. Anyways I have two clowns and a queen loach, a Bala shark and a Julidochromis regani all in a 40 gallon tank ( I know it's an odd mix, I inherited the Julii). Since the loaches are scale less fish I took them out and put them in a 5 gallon tank with a castle for them to hide in (they are still somewhat small at 2.5 inches or so), and I treated the small tank with a tbspn of salt and a half dose of quick cure as that's all I could get my hands on. As for the other tank, I don't see any spots on the Julii, nor have I seen him scratch, the Bala shark may have a few spots on his fin, but it's really hard to tell. But I did go ahead and shut off my carbon filter and just use my power head for filtering, and gave them a dose of quick cure as well as I'm sure the parasite has to be in the tank from the loaches and I don't have anymore tanks to put these guys in, and they were too big for the little tank. Also, I went ahead and bumped the temps up to just above 80 on both tanks. I guess my questions are: 1. Is the half dose of quick cure okay for the loaches? I have some Aquarisol, would that be better? <<Well... I had to go look at the bottle of QuickCure [formalin] and look up Aquarisol [copper] on the Net to see what the ingredients are. Copper is your best route if your fish are not sensitive to it.>> 2. How long should I continue this regiment? <<If I recall, 14 or 15 days are required to complete a copper regimen. >> 3. How can I be sure that the 40 gallon tank is safe to put them back in? <<Take all the fish out for about six weeks to let the parasite's various life stages draw to a close without hosts.>> 4. Lastly, a tricky question, how the heck did they get this? I haven't added anything to this system since I set it up, the most recent thing I did was a 20% water change on Friday, and I changed the carbon in the filter. I had some lace rock in the tank that was buffering the pH, so when I added the new water, that dropped the pH back down about .4, other than that the chem.s look ok ammonia 0 nitrate 0. Any ideas? <<Well... typically there is always "some" parasite in any system, and all other things being equal, a healthy fish can live with or shed these without difficulty. But then... perhaps some stressor will come along and give your fish some spots. Depending on the source and duration of the stress, the parasites will fall off and produce armies of parasites which then overwhelm your fish. Of course, it doesn't have to be this way - looking for and correcting water quality issues, crowding, and other environmental problems go a long way to reducing stress.>> Thanks in advance, Jason <<Cheers, J -- >>

Ich in fw tank Hi guys, <Hey, Ananda!> I've gotten so used to brackish tanks that I hadn't thought about what to do when my husband's freshwater fish got ich...and now one of them does. It's an Eclipse 5, and he's got one molly (with one ich spot), two female betas, the smallest generic Pleco we could find, and ghost shrimp.  <what a wacky mix of fish <smile>!> My gut reaction is "add salt and raise the temp" -- but the temp is already at 80*, and I don't know how much salt the betas, Pleco, and dwarf lily plant could take.  <alas...agreed...although I would at least one tablespoon per 10 gallons, and possibly double that [still nowhere near brackish...hehe]> (I think the sword plant, dwarf onions, and java fern would be okay with a bit of salt, and the coffeefolia just lost all its leaves.) The stuff I found on FW ich on the Koi page WWM says "treat the tank" and mentions copper and malachite green. The Pleco page mentions malachite green with or without formaldehyde. <aside from the plants sensitivity to the organic dyes, a combo drug like "Quick Cure" (Aquarium Products brand?) may be ideal as it had mostly Formalin with a tough of malachite green> - The molly is the only fish affected, and has only one ich spot, which I just noticed this morning. If I treat the molly in a separate tank, have I caught the ich early enough to not need to treat the whole tank? <well... not exactly, but that still doesn't mean the other fish will get it. Perhaps their resistance is fine and the molly got ich in part from being kept without enough salt. Mollies are indeed in need of salt. The Audubon guide to N. American fishes lists Sailfin mollies with saltwater fishes (!!!) not the freshwater ones> - I've successfully treated a molly with ich by using Quick Cure in a hospital tank. (99.2% formaldehyde, 0.75% malachite green, 1 drop per gallon daily for a week.) But would it be harmful to the shrimp or plants? <oops...didn't read far enough. Great product, but may indeed hurt plants and shrimp... best remove the molly to QT and hope/expect that the main display will be clear after her 2-4 week hospital stay> Thanks, Ananda <quite welcome, dear. Anthony>

Freshwater Cleaners Are there any species of freshwater fish that help with the eradication of the ick parasite suck as the saltwater cleaner wrasses and cleaner shrimp? <Not that I am aware of.> Thanks for your help a couple of weeks ago regarding my Hole in the Head problem in my saltwater tank. I caught it in time and saved my Kole Tang. I feel great! Couldn't have done it without you! I learned a lot. All my fish thank you too! Jayne  

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