Treating Ich with salt, no result - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Treating Ich with salt, no result


We've been treating our tank (details below) with salt for 9 days, with no result, and wanted to know how to refine our method or what the next recommendation would be for our fish.

It's a 55 gallon, has been running for 3 months following a fishless cycle. Eheim 2215 filter, 150w heater and 100w heater, sand substrate, driftwood, slate, Satellite LED+ lighting, 24" airstone. We have Am Swords, dwarf chain sword (these are great!), DHG, Anubias and Xmas moss and riccia on a "tree".

Params tested today are 0amm, 0nitri, 0nitra, 8.0ph, temp @ 84f (as part of treatment)

We've added the fish in stages, in the following order, 11 zebra danios (hilariously psychotic), 5 otos, 1 Endler (snuck in with the Otos as fry), 2 Cory Habrosus (awesome) and 18 neon tetras.

We QT's the tetras for a week, but after adding them they began showing ich. Reading around yielded very conflicting info on treating ich with plants and the catfish, so I figured to try salt and heat. The heat was brought up over the first 3 days up to 84f, and salt was added over same period to a final ratio of 2T per 5gallon. Treatment was started 9 days ago, and has been at full temp/concentration for 6 days. I've done 2 water changes, trying to keep the concentration going.

The ich as come and gone off of different fish, iniitally it was on 3 tetras, then one oto, and now its on 3 _different_ tetras. The fish have handled the changes well, and seem be behaving normally.

Should I wait longer on the treatment? Raise concentration? OR is it time to abandon salt/heat and go with medication? I'm considering Paraguard, nox-ich, rid-ich but have conflictiong information on all.

I look forward to seeing what wiser people than I think about this, as it's a thoroughly confused issue to internet at.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 04:35 PM
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 04:36 PM
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One tablespoon of salt per five gallon's for two week's has worked for me with 82 to 84 degree's F.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 04:59 PM
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Get the heat up higher, 86-87f. I believe most strains of ich can't reproduce above 85f.

Make sure you have good surface agitation for O2 exchange. Higher temp = lower O2

Could take up to 10 days or so. When you don't see any more signs of ich I would still keep up the temp and water changes for a few days to be safe.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick replies.

Based on above I'm planning on continuing salt treatment, and will try increased temp if my heater will handle it. My regular 150w heater is set to max, and the supplemental 100w from my QT is there to take up the slack.

If no positive changes by the 23rd I think I'll switch to paraguard after dropping the temp down.

Thanks for the advice all.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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Update: All the neon tetras now appear to be ich free.

I'm going to maintain the temp and salt level for 4 more days, and then slowly bring it down over the next 6.

If this holds, very happy with result. Great advice in the above posts and especially the link, which is the one I based the original treatment on, thanks all. The fish really haven't seemed distressed, which may have something to do with the very gradual ramp up of salt and heat, as well as this being a really mild case of ich.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 12:37 AM
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id continue the heat treatment for a week and end the salt treatment now

I have cured ich with just heat quite well
and its so much less irritating to the fish
but I did think it was gone before it really was, I continued heat for around 3-4 days and it came back on the 6th

so that being said Id recommend a full week of treatment after you stop seeing signs
just to be safe
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 04:21 PM
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Definitely do not stop too quick. There are likely to be ich here and there who have not reached the correct stage to be killed and you certainly do not want to start over! I had one round of ich which was just not going away and it was a case of ich killing the fish or the treatment killing them. I increases both salt and heat until they were almost fried and pickled before the ich gave up. Both salt and heat were way beyond any recommended levels but the fish survived--- finally!
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Most of our fish are towards the cooler end of the spectrum, and the corys and otos are supposed to be less salt tolerant, but they've all handled the treatment pretty well. I did drop the water level a bit so that the spray bar for the filter was making lots of surface disruption, and we have a 24" airstone, but I think the best thing we did was add heat and salt at a very slow rate.

I'll keep updating here to confirm success or lament failure.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 05:48 PM
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Continue with heat and salt at least one week after all the white spots have disappeared.

After its white spots phase ich goes into its hibernating in the gravel phase and you can only kill it once it spawns out of the gravel to search for a host.

Meaning, the absence of white spots is not the absence of ich.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-21-2013, 06:01 PM
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86+ degrees for 10 or more days is the key IMO. Has always worked for me.

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29 gal planted, 1 festivum, 1 bristlenose, emerald cories.
29 gal planted, 1 rainbow cichlid, 1 pearl gourami, 1 bristlenose, mystery snails, emerald cories.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-21-2013, 11:11 PM
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Ich can live in the Gills of your fish. make sure to continue for 1 additional week after last spot is seen. If you vacuum the substrate every 2-3 days, you can hurry it along. Because the trophets will be waiting in the substrate.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 03:53 AM
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As Oceangirl stated, keep up the heat and gravel vacuum for a week after spots gone. Don't add anymore salt, the water changes will dilute it out, but the heat is important to continue.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by aquabruce View Post
Get the heat up higher, 86-87f. I believe most strains of ich can't reproduce above 85f.
this, I just did that and ICH is gone.. good luck partner!

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 01:07 PM Thread Starter
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To update, after 14 days of temps at 84-86, with approx 1t salt per gallon, the ich has been non visible since day 11 or so. Will continue treatment for 5 more days and then slowly bring temp down. I've been doing water changes 2x a week and initially trying to keep salt concentration level, although at the last water change I didn't add new salt. Fish seem happy, and haven't noticed any plant damage aside from a slowed growth on Am swords and banana plants.
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