Coldwater fish with ICK/ICH Treatment questions
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:38 PM   #1
sowNreap
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Coldwater fish with ICK/ICH Treatment questions


I've spend the last 2-3 hrs reading various threads on treating ICH not only on this forum but other sites as well .. and quite frankly I'm confused about amounts of salt to use & how slowly to ramp up (time frame).

First, I understand the cycles of ICH. I also know about various methods of treating such as Heat, heat/salt, commercial products.

Tanks size 75gal .. fish Bluegill ... water temp 72F. One fish shows signs of 2 white spots. Possibly had 1 spot "fall off" .. does this leave a red mark where it fell from? Or it could be a scrape mark where he ran into the driftwood. Not sure. Did weekly 50% water change yesterday. This is a moderately heavily planted tank.

So wanted to treat with salt ... can't really do heat as this is unheated tank & I don't have heater that can handle 75 gal tank. Will it be possible to treat with salt ONLY?

If yes .. I can treat salt only ..
1) How much salt to start with ?
2) how often can/should I add more .. every 2 hrs? 4 hr? 6hr?
3) What is the final salt amount I want to achieve?
4) can I start with table salt to get the process started until I can get to the store to get kosher or aquarium salt?
5) is the salt treatment safe for
a) Black skirt tetras
b) Otos
c) snails

Possible reason for outbreak now .. moved 1 fish from a different tank into this one and he's a bit more aggressive than the others so he might have stressed this fish. No new fish or plants. All have been in my tanks for at least 8 months.

I have 4 tanks total of different sizes and try to maintain proper hygiene between them. The one exception is a 10 gal tank which is sort of grow-out/snail tank with no fish which I sometimes will put plants from others tank into it and then when needed, move to a different tank. Possible cross contamination there & maybe not a good idea. So I might need to treat all tanks although the other 2 with fish show no signs of ICK. I can raise temps in 10 & 20 gal tanks so might try heat/salt treatment there.

Thank you for helping to clarify the salt treatment for me. I'd spend more time reading to find answer myself but would really like to get the treatment started soon.

Last edited by sowNreap; 06-24-2013 at 10:54 PM.. Reason: added alt spelling for search purposes.
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:57 PM   #2
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If you leave it unheated this salt treatment will take a LONG time. The purpose of the heat is to speed the life cycle, so the salt can do its work. I am not sure you should be putting Salt in with your plants. I have read that it can make them melt or kill all of them. Especially if some are sensitive. You'll need to use the correct salt, table salt has preservatives that will Kill your fish.
I would get one of the following products not salt, Plant safe.
Ick attack
Paraguard by Seachem (this is plant, invert, Scaleless fish, Otto safe I use this myself)

I have used Paraguard to successfully treat Ich myself after raising the Temperature for 3 weeks and then using HALF the recommended dose once per night (works best with the lights off).


If you want to do the salt treatment which I don't suggest. I use 1 tablespoon Aquarium salt per 5 gallons. To add salt, mix it with some of your tank water in small volumes and add to your tank. Never dump salt in directly as a solid. I use a Water pitcher and mix the salt into that with the tank water. Then over the course of 4-6 hours add a cup or so each 1/2 hour to hour. Watch for signs of stress and have water on hand for a water change if need be.

Last edited by Oceangirl; 06-24-2013 at 10:58 PM.. Reason: add
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:24 PM   #3
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I agree with Oceangirl. Paraguard is a good treatment option.
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:19 PM   #4
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Thanks for help. I've read many posts on forum here that Salt only can be done in a planted tank. And that most of the commercial products stress fish more than salt or salt/heat combo. ???? This is one of those cases where there is so much info on net it's hard to determine what is the best way to do something.

My problem is the only fish store around here is a Petsmart ... they don't really carry a lot of products so doubt they carry it. Which means I'd have to order online and wait to get it. In the meantime the ICH is slowing propagating, although probably more slowly due to colder water.

High heat (which means buying a heater for one time use) & NO lights probably won't do the plants much good & probably really stress my fish so might just chance the salt routine. I know they can handle it because when I first got them I used to use salt in the aquarium per recommendations found on web. Another of those some say use, some say don't.

So basically I should mix the whole amount .. 1 tablespoon per 5 gal ... into a container and then add small amounts (whatever that might be for a 75 gal tank) every 4-6hrs?? So about 13 tablespoons for approx 65 gal actual water volume. I did find the non-iodized salt I used before.
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:45 PM   #5
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You could use the Tetra Ick Guard. I used it with good results when I had an ick outbreak but know that it will stain decor and your tank silicone blue.
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:58 PM   #6
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You can push the temp with bluegills up to 80. I wouldn't do it for long but just long enough to kill the ich.
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:51 PM   #7
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When I say no lights, I only mean for a few hours after dosing in the daytime. I usually dose at night. People do entire weeks without light, its called a black out and the main purpose for it is too cut the algae down. Lights off during treatment actually helps fish, light stress fish further. I highly suggest Paraguard because it won't stain anything and I have used it myself. I would get the heater though.

to do the salt method you'll add a little bit of water 1-2 cup of salty water from the pitcher an hour. I mixed all my water in a pitcher, then added it over 4-6 hours or how ever long it takes you to add the pitcher to the tank. Then When doing a water change, you'll have to figure out how much water you took out and then add the water plus the missing salt every water change. Without the heater, you may be doing this for months.

I know petsmart had the Ick attack from Sea chem. I have seen it, never used it though. Paraguard is online usually but Its all I every use now.

Last edited by Oceangirl; 06-25-2013 at 10:53 PM.. Reason: add
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:03 AM   #8
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There are so many conflicting opinions about Ich treatment because it is easy to kill. Almost any treatment will work, if the timing is right.

If you want to use salt, I would add 1/3 of the dose each day for 3 days, and add it slowly, over several hours.
At cool water temperatures the treatment will take a long time, and the plants will not survive with that much salt for that long.

The other products that are labeled safe for plants and whatever livestock you have (fish, shrimp, snails...) would be my choice.

Here are a few other options:

1) Remove fish from the tank. All the fish. Put them in a smaller bare bottom tank (or several tanks) that you can heat. Add floating plants, but understand that they will die. They are in there to provide some hiding places for the fish. Do the salt and heat treatment with as high a temperature as you can maintain in the tank(s). Vacuum the floor of the tank daily.
In the empty main tank the Ich will die off without a host.

2) Add UV sterilizer to the main tank, and use a lower dose of salt (1 tablespoon per 10 gallons) and hope. Use whatever heater you can, even if it just gives you a few degrees increase. Any amount is helpful. Daily vacuum to remove fallen Ich organisms, hopefully before they breed. Remove the most delicate plants to a quarantine tank. Without a host, any Ich on those plants will die. When the Ich treatment is complete in the main tank, and most of the salt is gone, replant.
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatGuyWithTheFish View Post
You can push the temp with bluegills up to 80. I wouldn't do it for long but just long enough to kill the ich.
I maybe be able to use my small heaters for 20 gal tanks & push the temp up some to help move the process along.

Thanks Fishguy for the recommendation that I can go to 80 degrees .. any idea how long it might take at that temp to kill the Ick along with salt treatment.

I did start the salt treatment already. I wanted to get something going before trying to heat the tank with those little heaters and having the Ich population explode.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oceangirl View Post
When I say no lights, I only mean for a few hours after dosing in the daytime. I usually dose at night. People do entire weeks without light, its called a black out and the main purpose for it is too cut the algae down. Lights off during treatment actually helps fish, light stress fish further. I highly suggest Paraguard because it won't stain anything and I have used it myself. I would get the heater though.

to do the salt method you'll add a little bit of water 1-2 cup of salty water from the pitcher an hour. I mixed all my water in a pitcher, then added it over 4-6 hours or how ever long it takes you to add the pitcher to the tank. Then When doing a water change, you'll have to figure out how much water you took out and then add the water plus the missing salt every water change. Without the heater, you may be doing this for months.

I know petsmart had the Ick attack from Sea chem. I have seen it, never used it though. Paraguard is online usually but Its all I every use now.
I misunderstood your "lights-out" statement. I've read about the lights out for algae but usually they end up with almost no plants left .. at least the threads I've read. Thanks for the additional info on the salt treatment. Like I said, I already started it since I had that and know my fish can handle it ... not sure about plants but will find out I guess.

Just curious does anyone know if Ick Guard or Paraguard has an expiration date. I might order some for "just in case" next time I place an order somewhere, but not if it's only good for a few months or so.

Also, I just found some IckGuard in my fish stuff from when I bought my tank used. No telling how old it is. Does it "go bad"? Worth taking a chance on using it?
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
There are so many conflicting opinions about Ich treatment because it is easy to kill. Almost any treatment will work, if the timing is right.

If you want to use salt, I would add 1/3 of the dose each day for 3 days, and add it slowly, over several hours.
At cool water temperatures the treatment will take a long time, and the plants will not survive with that much salt for that long.

The other products that are labeled safe for plants and whatever livestock you have (fish, shrimp, snails...) would be my choice.

Here are a few other options:

1) Remove fish from the tank. All the fish. Put them in a smaller bare bottom tank (or several tanks) that you can heat. Add floating plants, but understand that they will die. They are in there to provide some hiding places for the fish. Do the salt and heat treatment with as high a temperature as you can maintain in the tank(s). Vacuum the floor of the tank daily.
In the empty main tank the Ich will die off without a host.

2) Add UV sterilizer to the main tank, and use a lower dose of salt (1 tablespoon per 10 gallons) and hope. Use whatever heater you can, even if it just gives you a few degrees increase. Any amount is helpful. Daily vacuum to remove fallen Ich , hopefully before they breed. Remove the most delicate plants to a quarantine tank. Without a host, any Ich on those plants will die. When the Ich treatment is complete in the main tank, and most of the salt is gone, replant.
Thank you for your response. I didn't see it before I posted my other reply .. was multitasking. LOL

I may have some big rubbermaid tubs I could move them to and lots of Anacharis I could afford to lose.

What if that main tank has some snails ... they could act as host can't they? They may be hidden since the Bluegills would eat them if they see them.

Maybe I would be better off taking the plants out of main tank & leaving fish in and using salt with some heat? If the organisms can't live on the plants I remove to the rubbermaid tub then I could replant after treatment. I think leaving the fish in the bigger tank might be less stressful than trying to move them. But then that leaves them in there to allow the Ich to get back on them. Besides I already started the salt treatment in main tank so if I don't remove the plants they may die.

edit: I may see how quickly I can get online order for Paraguard without paying arm/leg for next day shipping. Will having some salt in the tank and lower temps help keep it from propagating too quickly? And will the little salt I have in there now hurt the plants very quickly?

Edit again: I guess it might be more trouble to remove plants than the fish. I can always do water changes to remove salt that is in the main tank already. But then again .. I do need to re-scape anyway.

Last edited by sowNreap; 06-26-2013 at 01:44 AM.. Reason: add info
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:00 AM   #11
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Ok ... after weighing all my options and doing some more reading (which is what makes it so hard to choose right option) .. I've decided to just order some Paraguard and hope it gets here before the Ich spreads too much.

Now new question, will the amount of salt added already hurt the plants if left in there say 3-5 days? No idea really of the amount of salt in there right now. Will it help (along with cooler water temp) to slow the Ich down until I can get the Paraguard treatment going?

Or would I be better off changing water to get the salt out of it?
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:41 PM   #12
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I finally found a local fish store that specializes in salt water & reptiles that had some Paraguard. The only aquatic store left in town now besides Petsmart.

So now my plan is to vacuum & change about 50% of water then start the Paraguard treatment. Is changing that much water too extreme of a change of the salinity?

Thanks for everyone's help and suggestions. Guess I freaked out a little when I saw the Ich spots.
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Old 06-27-2013, 01:03 AM   #13
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Not if you add the new water in gradually. Then start the Paraguard treatment. Here ids my method of dosing the Paraguard works like a champ! No deaths!
Make sure to leave the lights off when treating for the first few days. This Med will dissipate in water over time and I think light makes it less effective. That is just my 2 cents. I also extremely under fed the whole tank, or no feed if shrimp only tank. Its a 29 gallon planted, you'll have to adjust for your tank. Here's what I did:
Day 1: 8am dose 2ML , Noon dose 3 ML, 4pm Dose the rest
Day 2: 8am 4 ML, 3 pm Rest of the dose
Day 3: Full dose in the morning or before going to bed which i did.
Day 4: Full Dose in Morning or before going to bed which i did.
Day 5: Check the Shrimp or Fish you are treating full dose if not well
Day 6: Full Dose in Morning or before going to bed which i did.
Day 7: Water change Day, do what you do. Make sure to sterilize you water change equipment after so not to reinfect. This is also another check day. If fish or shrimp still dying/sick do the week treatment over starting at day 1 after water change. Make sure to add the meds slowly back, like the diagram. Because you took a lot out with the water change.
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Old 06-27-2013, 07:36 AM   #14
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Ok .. thanks for the info. Much appreciated.
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:22 AM   #15
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Good luck with the treatment.
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