Ich that keeps coming back! HELP ME!!!
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:01 PM   #1
vamplock5
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Ich that keeps coming back! HELP ME!!!


I need help! I lost all my fish in my 20 planted tank to ich while on a trip and my tank watching friend did not notice it in time. I did a water change and still treated the water with Super Ich Cure as directed even though there were no fish in the tank just to be safe. After waiting two weeks I started to add fish again.

Well it is back again and I am treating my tank with super ich cure again! But on day four of the treatment there are still white bumps on a few of the fish. What should I do? Is there anything else it could be? Should I try something else? Mind you I do have a yoyo loach in my tank so I know that could make some treatments different. PLEASE HELP!!!!
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:13 PM   #2
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I hate ich. Here is what has worked for me successfully in the past:

Turn up the heater to above 80 degrees. Search online and you will find the exact temperature, but what this does is speeds up the life cycle. Ich is only susceptible to treatment after it falls off the host and hatches. I've tried all the different methods of medicating the aquarium and the heat works to quickly rid ich from the tank when combined with a medication.

If you are not planning on keeping any inverts (snails, crayfish, shrimp) you can try copper safe. That has always worked for me in conjunction with the increased temp.

Add a UV sterilizer to the tank. This will greatly reduce the likelihood of a reoccurrence.

And lastly, quarantine your fish prior to adding them to the main tank.

These are things that have worked for me in the past. Good luck!


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Old 11-13-2012, 10:45 PM   #3
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Default I use 82-84 degrees & K-salt to treat mine.

Higher temps bring out the ickies to the surface of the fish by giving the parasites a nitro boost. Once the adult parasites fall to the bottom, the eggs from the adults that will turn into baby icks can be destroyed with a concentrated k-salt water solution.
  • Not sure how you would do that with a loach. I would remove the loach & treat him outside the main tank.
  • Did you use the full dosage for the super ick cure for treating your ENTIRE tank?
  • Did you also remove any decorations/driftwood & caves so the medication could get to all the surfaces?
  • What kind of fish do you have in your tank?
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:14 PM   #4
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I don't think the ich survived in your tank for those 2 weeks. The new fish most likely had ich at the store when you bought it. Like the previous members stated, raise your temps and keep dosing the meds. Adding more oxygen with an air stone will help during this process.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:33 PM   #5
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Day 1
Syphon gravel while doing 50% water change
Add 1 tsp of salt per gallon
Raise temp to 86
Add airstone

Day 2 -21
Syphon gravel while doing 50% water change
Add 1 tsp of salt per gallon water change gallon amount
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:17 AM   #6
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ich s a very persistent parasite. The only way to truly kill ich is with copper. Best way to clean your dt is to remove all fish and leave it fallow (empty) for six to eight weeks. The paraste wll die with no host to prey on. You can treat loaches wth copper, just have to be careful not to dose them too heavily all at once. Bring up the level slowly over a period of 12-24 hours along with setting your temp over eighty and it should clear up in no time.
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:53 AM   #7
vamplock5
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Is the copper safe ok to use with my life plants? What about salt?
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:55 AM   #8
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As is it ok to start the medication again even though they have already had medication for four day now?
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:48 AM   #9
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the copper and the salt are not the greatest for your plants, but they should survive wthlttle to no loss. Switching meds is never a good idea mid treatment. It just helps the paraste uild a resistance to it. I would run the full course, do a 50% water change. Give the tank a few days to stabilize afterwords. Then if you feel you haven't wiped out the ich, go with salt or copper.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:29 AM   #10
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86F+ stops ich from reproducing.. alongside regular water changes, it should go away.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:51 PM   #11
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More about Ich:
1) Ich did not survive in your tank for 2 weeks with no fish unless it dropped to pond water temperature. 24-48 hour max at room temperature.
2) Do not combine medicines with UV. UV can deactivate meds. Use EITHER salt and heat (and you can add UV to this) OR medications.
3) Medicines lie.
Read about the life cycle of Ich, and remember this: Meds CANNOT kill ich while it is on the fish. Any medicine that says it kills in just a few days is lying. Ich has to fall off the fish to breed first, then the medicine kills the babies, not the adults.
4) You can separate the fish into different tanks according to which fish tolerate which treatment best. Loaches are fine with Rid Ich, but not so great with salt. Salt is not good for plants. You could also separate the plants from the fish, and treat the fish in a bare bottom 10 gallon tank with something the plants do not like (salt...). If the plants are in a warm, well lit tank while the fish are being treated, NO fish in the plant tank, then any Ich will die without a host.
5) If this is a 20 gallon tank a Yoyo Loach outgrows this tank really fast, anyway, so if you get another tank, make sure it is big enough for the Loach.
What other fish do you have?
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Ich is an organism that has several phases to its life cycle. Only one of the 3 phases is vulnerable to salt or any other medication.
Killing Ich is a matter of understanding that life cycle and having treatment in the tank at the right time to kill the susceptible phase.

Trophont is the phase that lives on the fish. At first you cannot see it, but within a few days it grows to the white spot that gives this parasite one of its common names. It lives on the fish for several days (longer in cooler water) then falls to the floor of the tank. Medicines do not affect this phase because it is burrowed under the fishes' slime coat. Fish can be infected in their gills, where you cannot see the parasite. This is why a quarantine tank is very important: New fish live in quarantine from your established tank(s) until Ich or other diseases or parasites have been ruled out or treated.

Tomont is the phase that reproduces, most often on the floor of the tank. Diligent vacuuming of the floor of the tank can remove a lot of these, and I have even heard of complete cures in a bare bottom tank with daily vacuuming. Meds do not affect this stage. The Ich organism is in this phase for only a day or so at tropical tank temperatures. This phase releases hundreds of free swimming babies.

Theront and Tomite are the names given to the babies that swim in the water, looking for a host. This is the phase that is vulnerable to meds. They usually find a host in 24 hours, so keeping the meds in the water is important.

When you see a couple of white spots on the fish it may not look quite like full blown Ich at first, you are seeing the earliest visible signs. It grows quickly though to the obvious salt or sugar look. Since you do not know what ages of Ich are on the fish, and there is some natural variation in the growth rate, you can assume that you have all three phases in the tank by the time you see the first signs.

Treatment is aimed at finding something toxic to the Ich organisms without killing the fish. Some fish are more sensitive to certain medicines.

If you can raise the temperature the Ich will go through its life cycle faster, fall off the fish faster and reach the vulnerable stage (Theront) faster. If increasing the temperature is too hard on the fish then this is optional. Increase the aeration in the tank by adding a bubbler that increases the water movement, add a power head or other pump that creates more ripples at the surface, or drop the water level so the water returning from the filter will create more turbulence at the surface. If the fish are still gasping at the surface, lower the temperature by a couple of degrees. It is generally safe to raise or lower the temperature by about 2 degrees F or 1* C per day. More than this can add more stress to the fish.
In cool water tanks Ich may live for several weeks, and in a pond for several months. Fish kept in these settings generally are not tolerant to increasing the temperature, so the treatment will take longer.
More about temperature: It used to be that Ich could be killed by sustained temperatures over 86*F. The problem is getting the WHOLE volume of water this temperature, even under the gravel. (Bare bottom tank is easier). However, there has been another form of Ich discovered that is resistant to any temperature that is safe for the fish. If you can get the temperature up this high (over 86*F), you may still kill the Ich, but if it does not die, your fish may have 'Super Ich'. Super Ich is also resistant to the common Ich meds.

Medicines that treat Ich:

Salt. Sodium Chloride. Add salt slowly, over several days. 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons is a moderate dose, 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons is a stronger dose. Add the day's worth of salt to a cup of tank water and pour it into the tank slowly, over several hours. Next day, do the same. 3rd day, the same. At this point you will have 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons (strong dose) or 1 tablespoon per 10 gallons (milder dose) in the tank. Whenever you do water changes add the proper dose of salt to the new water so the level stays the same for the full course of treatment.
Salt can be the iodide- and anti-caking-free forms such as Kosher, pickling, water softener, or aquarium salt if you have any worries about iodide or anti-caking ingredients (read the labels to be sure). I have used table salt (with anti-caking ingredients and iodide) for short term use with no problem. Do not use Epsom salt, or the salt and mineral blend that replicates ocean water. This level of salt is bad for plants.

Rid Ich: A Kordon product, active ingredients Formalin and Malachite Green. (These ingredients are common to many Ich treatments.) Labeled to be a gentler medicine for sensitive fish. You can also ease the fishes' introduction to the meds by dosing similar to the salt: Add half the dose in the AM and more later in the day. There are instructions on the label for dosing weaker or stronger fish. Remove activated carbon from the filter. May stain silicone and some other stuff in the aquarium. If you use Amquel Plus dechlorinator switch to something else while using a Malachite Green based medicine.

Coppersafe and other copper products. These seem safe for the fish, but fish keepers who have used copper preparations have noticed that shrimp and snails also die, and the effects seem to linger for a long time, as if the copper has not been fully removed from the water, making it impossible to keep shrimp or snails in tanks that have been treated. Remove activated carbon from the filter.

Clout (long list of unpronounceable ingredients) by Aquarium Products. A much stronger medicine, not for use on delicate fish. Remove activated carbon from the filter.

Ultra Violet Sterilizer: Will kill the Theront phase. Safe for all fish.

Combining treatments: DO NOT combine medicines unless BOTH are labeled as safe for use with each other. Part of this is that 2 meds may combine chemically to form toxic substances. It can also be that each medicine weakens the fish just a little bit, but the combined effects of 2 medicines are more than a fish (already under stress from Ich) can tolerate. UV may deactivate some meds.

Here is one possible treatment schedule. I have dosed per sturdy fish in a 10 gallon tank.

Day 1: Water change emphasizing gravel vac (I am using the term gravel vac even if you have a bare bottom tank- same idea- do a water change that emphasizes the removal of whatever is on the bottom of the tank) Add 2 teaspoons of salt in a cup of tank water, spread out over the course of the day. Increase the temperature by 2*F. (Note the cautions above about aeration in the tank as you are raising the temperature)

Day 2: Add 2 teaspoons of salt over the course of the day and increase the temperature by 2*F.

Day 3: Water change emphasizing gravel vac. Add salt to the new water at the rate of 2 teaspoons per 5 gallons to match the current dose in the tank. Add more salt (2 more teaspoons) over the course of the day and increase the temperature by 2*F.

Day 4 and beyond: Continue water changes every other day (daily is even better) remembering to add salt at the rate of 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons to the replacement water. Continue to raise the temperature if the fish are handling it OK.

Continue treatment until at lease 3 days beyond the day you saw the last Ich spot on the fish. Remember the phases of the life cycle: A spot that falls off the fish does not become vulnerable to meds (actually it is the babies that are vulnerable) for a day or so after falling off the fish. The meds need to be there to kill these last babies. If you are treating a cool water tank keep the meds at therapeutic levels for a week beyond the day you saw the last spot on the fish.

Begin to reduce the salt and temperature SLOWLY. Do small water changes that do not contain salt.
If you have used other medicines do larger water changes and add activated carbon to the filter.
Reduce the temperature at the rate of 1*F per day.

Additional meds: Fish under stress tend to lose more body fluids than healthy fish. Increasing the total dissolved solids (TDS) in the water reduces this tendency. You can add salt (Sodium Chloride) at the rate of 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons, if the medicine you are using is labeled for salt water. This is not a high enough dose to kill Ich, but is generally safe even for fish that are sensitive to salt for the short term of treatment, and helps them regulate the amount of fluid in their cells.

I have heard of using antibiotics with or following Ich treatment, with the thought being that fish in a weakened condition may be more vulnerable to bacterial infections. DO NOT combine meds unless BOTH are labeled for use with each other. I have not had Ich followed by bacterial infections, but simply monitor the fish following the Ich treatment and be ready to treat for whatever else may show up. I do not think they need to be treated for some unknown disease that does not seem to be present.

Nitrifying bacteria and Ich treatment.
Some medicines can kill or weaken the colony of nitrifying bacteria. Monitor the water for ammonia and nitrite and be ready to do water changes as needed to keep the ammonia under .25 ppm and the nitrite under 1 ppm. When you do water changes for any reason during Ich treatment re-dose whatever medicine you are using to maintain the therapeutic dose in the tank. Once the medicine is cleared from the water you may want to add nitrifying bacteria to the tank either a bottled product like Tetra Safe Start or Dr. Tim's One and Only, or else add some filter media from a cycled, healthy tank. (Do not swap filter media: you might be adding Ich to the healthy tank, just get some media from a healthy tank and add it to the recovering tank)

Do not cross-contaminate healthy tanks and sick tanks. Use separate equipment on the various tanks, and treat the equipment to kill whatever disease or parasite you are treating in the hospital tank.

Ich does not survive without a host. If you lose all the fish in a tank I would run the tank for a few weeks with frequent water changes and gravel vacs and keep the bacteria fed with ammonia, similar to the fishless cycle. (add ammonia to the 3 ppm level daily until you are ready to re-populate the tank, then do as big a water change as needed to reduce the nitrate as close to 0 ppm as possible). Ich can live in the gills of fish, and can exist at a low population level so that you may not be aware that a fish has Ich. This is what is likely behind the thought that Ich can be 'dormant'. It has no dormant phase.

When any one fish in the tank shows Ich the whole tank has Ich. You cannot see Ich in the gills or on the floor of the tank, but you must assume it is there, ready to re-infest the fish. You may separate the fish to different tanks according to their medicine tolerances for treatment, all these tanks then become hospital tanks and need to be treated, even if you do not see Ich on all the fish.
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:32 AM   #12
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Simple Solution. Works 99% of the time...

Turn temp up to ~84 Degrees. At this temperature Ich's free-born (water) cycle is about 10-15 hours at the maximum. It has to find a host within those first 8-12 hours otherwise the cell that causes Ich doesn't have enough energy to be successful.

If you have co2 turn it down some. Otherwise leave the rest of the tank the same and possibly add a very LIGHT amount of epsom salts. 1 tsp per 20 gallons. Most of the time you can get by without the epsoms.

Also if your medicating the tank, TAKE OUT CARBON BAGS or any thing besides bio media (ceramic balls, mechanical fibers). Carbon will remove the medication as soon as it touches it.
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:54 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone for the help. I have my tank at 84 now and started the med cycle again. Leaving for vacation on Friday which is when the second dose is due. So hopefully when I return Sunday all will be well. If not I will try salt after giving the tank a few days to stabilize. If that does not work then it's on to copper safe. Oh and I added a bubbler again.
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:29 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vamplock5 View Post
Thanks everyone for the help. I have my tank at 84 now and started the med cycle again. Leaving for vacation on Friday which is when the second dose is due. So hopefully when I return Sunday all will be well. If not I will try salt after giving the tank a few days to stabilize. If that does not work then it's on to copper safe. Oh and I added a bubbler again.
Best of luck!
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:23 AM   #15
Gold Finger
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I have telescope eyed goldfish and fantails. They tolerate heat so well (contrary to popular belief) that I switched from salt and some heat to heat alone. 86 degrees stops it from reproducing or reinfecting. 88 degrees kills it outright, but not the stuff on the fish which takes a few days to mature out then dies once it drops off the fish. I turn the tank up to 90 degrees which, in my setup, requires a 300 watt Eheim heater in the 15 gallon sump of my 80 gallon tank. The ick is dead and gone in about seven or eight days. I leave the heat up for at least ten days to be sure. I have never seen this kind of fish show any stress from 90 degree heat. Apparently sustained temps in the mid ninetys can be bad, but not 90. 110 is lethal. These fish love the heat at 90. My heater takes an hour to raise the temp 1 degree. I turn it on full blast and it allows plenty of time for acclimation. I have hear rumors of a strain of ich in florida which requires 92 degrees to kill it.

I sometimes add new fish without quarantining. These fish often bring ick which often appears on the old fish but not visibly on the new arrivals. The heat wipes it all out for good. If your Ick is reoccuring your fish have a weakened immune system. I am told that Ick in fish is a bit like Strep in humans - always there in small numbers but kept in check and harmless as long as you are healthy. If the immune system is compromised or something causes the ick concentration to rise it becomes dangerous. Your fish may have an internal parasitic, viral or bacterial infection or some other thing which is predisposing them to the ick. The solution there is hard to pinpoint. If it kept coming back I might guess bacterial problem first and try a course of food based antibiotics followed by probiotic gut recolonization, but as a last option.
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