Treating ICK With Temperature & Salt - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-04-2012, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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Treating ICK With Temperature & Salt

The ICK is back... This time it's in my 10 gallon tank. I lost a pleco already and my other 4 Platy's are still alive.

I started raising the temperature this morning from 74F-80F. By tomorrow I will have it up to 85F where I will keep it for 10 days.

I did a 50% water change today, and plan to do this daily for 1 week.

Also, I added 2 tablespoons of aquarium salt to the tank.

This is my first attempt to treat ICK with salt and temperature only...

Am I doing this correctly?

Here's the kicker, this morning when I noticed the ICK I also notice that my Platy's had fry. I trapped 13 in a floating breeder trap.

Any suggestion at all?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-04-2012, 01:57 PM
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Have you considered methalyn blue?

Not the best for the plants but the best for the fish.

I used to have a lot of ich problems before I stopped buying fish from anyone besides members here.

-Andrew
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-04-2012, 04:52 PM
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You are doing the heat and salt correctly.
If you have a UV sterilizer, or are willing to buy one, that is a very good addition. It will work with salt in the water.
The more water changes you can do the better, but the goal is to vacuum the floor of the tank. Ich falls to the floor to breed, and you can vacuum out a lot of the breeders daily or every other day.

Maintain treatment until at least a week past the day you see the last Ich on the fish. That last Ich could have escaped being vacuumed and could reproduce. Keep the treatment going to kill the possible babies from that last Ich.

Platies are highly tolerant to salt, so no problems that way. Most Cats are not, so if you need to change the level of salt go slowly. I would not have added 2 tablespoons of salt to a 10 gallon tank all in one go. I would have spread it out over a day or two.

When you do water changes prepare the water with the required salt: If you are doing 50% water changes then you will add 1 tablespoon of salt to the 5 gallons.
When it is time to remove the salt GO SLOWLY. Do not make massive water changes with no salt to drop the level. Make regular water changes, but use half dose, then 1/4 dose and so on for about a month. Fish metabolism has adjusted to the salt during treatment, and it is harder for them to adjust to less minerals and salts in the water.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-04-2012, 04:57 PM
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I have fish that don't tolerate salt very well so have always raised the temp to 86 for three weeks. Does the trick everytime.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-04-2012, 05:04 PM
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Most species of Ich cannot reproduce in the hot water. There is one type that seems to be able to handle all the temperature that the fish can handle, though.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-04-2012, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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I do not have a UV Sterilizer, but I will consider getting one...

The temperature is now at about 86F where it will stay until about "1 week after I see the last trace of ICK" Thanks Diana.

I will continue to do my daily water changes at 50% or less.

What do you propose I do with all the Fry? I separated them all in a breeder trap, but they all escaped by the next morning. I could recapture them and ridge the trap so they can't get out this time. There cute I'd like to watch them grow up a bit. It's my first Fry...

Maybe I could set up a small 1 gallon for them to reside in...
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-05-2012, 12:15 AM
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In that small a tank the parents are all too likely to eat the fry, so if you can put them in a separate tank that would be better. Breeder nets are sort of stressful to the fish.
If you try something as small as 1 gallon be ready for daily water changes. Fry are more sensitive than the adults to toxins. I would go larger than 1 gallon if possible.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-05-2012, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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Today is day 3 of my salt/temp treatment for ICK.

Bad News, I can start to see small white spots on the fry and a couple have died already.. I may just get ride of them before they foul the tank even more...

Platy's are a tough fish. I can tell they are struggling. All four of them often huddle in the corner of the tank.

I have been continuing my 50% water changes daily adding salt back in with the new water. I sucked out so much crap out of the gravel I was astounded.

I'm wondering if that is where the ICK multiplied in the first place. That may be my problem. I don't think I was cleaning the gravel good enough. Before I would only clean out the surface of the rocks. But now I see that I need to go all the way to the bottom to get the crud out.

Temp. has been standing between 84F-86F I hope my fishes survive.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-05-2012, 05:32 PM
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Increase the water movement, especially at the surface.
Ich can get in the gills, compromising the breathing, and warmer water holds less oxygen.

Ich has a life cycle that is pretty regimented in terms of time. If things do not happen quickly for them they die. They do not have a resting, dormant or spore stage.

~On the fish: They land as single celled organisms, burrow in and start dividing. Several days to a week at tropical temperatures, a month or longer in a pond.
~Falls off fish, lands mostly on the substrate, but can also perch on other horizontal surfaces like leaves, rocks and driftwood. This is the phase that is reproducing, and some meds seem to have some affect on this phase. A day or two at tropical temperatures, several days to a week at pond temperatures.
~The reproductive form releases hundreds or more single cell babies. These drift in the water and must find a host quickly or they die. This is the phase that is most sensitive to medications, including salt. At tropical temperatures they can die as fast as 24 hours, but in a mild pond they can live for several days.
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Treatments are aimed at breaking that cycle, or killing the most vulnerable phase, the drifting babies.
"Organic" treatments:
~Bare bottom tank, 100% water change every 24 hours. (or move the fish back and forth between 2 or more tanks). This interrupts the life cycle. The adults fall off the fish, but before they can reproduce the fish are moved and the water (with the adult Ich) is tossed out.
~Salt and heat: High temperature speeds up the life cycle so the treatment is over sooner. Salt dehydrates the baby Ich organisms. Most varieties of Ich cannot live if the temperature is over 86*F, but to be sure the WHOLE water volume is that warm, including under the substrate, you might need to raise the temperature to 90*F. This is very hard on the fish. Salt without heat also works. Maintain the tank at the best possible temperature for the fish. This will usually mean the treatment goes on longer.
~Playing games with the temperature. Ich seems to fall off the fish when the temperature is raised and lowered. This can be stressful to the fish. If you are interested in this method, do some more research. The timing and the exact temperatures are important to make this method work.
~Ultra Violet Sterilizer can be added to any of these. It will kill the babies that pass through it, so make sure circulation in the tank is optimal, and you are using the right pump to send the water through the UV.

"medicine"
There are several over the counter medicines available. Do not use UV with them. If you use Amquel or Amquel Plus dechlor, read the label. It should not be used with dye based medicines.
Rid Ich is one of the gentler ones.
Many meds are dye based. They often stain the silicone.
There are some pretty strong meds, quite stressful to the fish, but if the fish are in good shape, and are not delicate fish to begin with, then you could try something like Clout.
Any medicine that promises a cure in less than 2 weeks is lying. Look at Ich life cycle, the timing of each phase. Give each phase at least 10% plus or minus in the timing. Ich that is burrowed in under the slime coat of the fish is not affected by medicines. Since this phase lasts at least several days, and more often a week, there is no way a medicine will affect these in just a few days. These must fall off the fish and reproduce and it is the babies that are killed. The medicine must remain in the water the whole time, and usually a minimum of 2 weeks at tropical temperatures to be sure you have killed ALL the Ich.
There are some meds that say they are from organic materials. The posts I have seen from people who have used these are not encouraging.
__________________________________________________ __________________

Points to remember:
Ich gets on the fish a few days before you see it. When you start treatment the fish already have some 'invisible' Ich that continues to grow. So, a few days into the treatment you will continue to see more Ich showing up on the fish. This does not mean the treatment is not working.
If more spots show up after those first few days, then worry that the medicine is not killing the baby Ich organisms.

The cleaner the tank the better. Many medications act by latching onto almost any organic matter, including waste that is decomposing in the gravel. Remove all that so the medicine will attach to the Ich organisms, and improve conditions for the fish. (Salt does not work this way, but the cleaning of the bottom is improving conditions for the fish, and removing a lot of the breeding Ich.)

Fish under stress cannot osmoregulate as well as healthy fish. If you are not already doing the heat and salt method, then add some salt to the water to help reduce this stress. 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons is enough, is a mild dose that is fine with plants and delicate fish.

Ich comes from somewhere. Not the air. Not a dormant phase.
There may be a low level infection in the tank, with Ich possibly living in the gills, or an odd Ich or two somewhat hidden under a fin, or by chance on a fish that just does not turn around, so you miss it.
Ich is rampant in hatcheries, wholesalers and retailers. Assume the water in the bag has Ich, even if the fish look clear of the parasite. Assume the fish have that single cell stage before you can see it, or has some Ich hidden in the gills. QUARANTINE ALL NEW FISH, NO EXCEPTIONS.

Ich can be starved out. A couple of weeks in a tank with no host and most of the Ich is dead. I would give it a month, just to be sure, but moving the fish to a bare bottom hospital tank and leaving the main tank TOTALLY empty of fish will clean up the main tank. (Maintain the nitrifying bacteria will ammonia like you are doing the fishless cycle).
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2012, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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Diana, I can't thank you enough for your curious and thrall response!

It has been 7 days since my salt/temp treatment I lost one pleco and 2 platy's before the signs of improvement started; however, I saved one pleco and 2 other platys therefore I would call it a success, but I am not celebrating quit yet.

I figured out what my problem was. My problem was 2 fold. 1 my tank was over populated. 2 I was not cleaning the gravel correctly. These two things in conjuction with one another = disaster.

I figured if I cleaned the tank weekly and did the correct water changes, then I would be fine. I was mistaken. I was not sticking the gravel suction cleaner deep enough in the gravel to make and real difference. Hence, the first got stressed due to ammonia spikes and boom. The ICK attacked.

I pulled out so much crap from the gravel it was unbelievable. The fish probably didn't die from the treatment but from my daily water changes. They were pretty stressed for awhile but now things have calmed down.

I plan to keep the temp up for at least another week. The salt is rough on my plants so I think I might change that out though a series of water changes.

Thank you everyone for your help. I do have to say that the temp/salt treatment was way more effective in my experience than my previous chemical treatment which was a epic failure.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by tylergvolk View Post
The ICK is back... This time it's in my 10 gallon tank. I lost a pleco already and my other 4 Platy's are still alive.

I started raising the temperature this morning from 74F-80F. By tomorrow I will have it up to 85F where I will keep it for 10 days.

I did a 50% water change today, and plan to do this daily for 1 week.

Also, I added 2 tablespoons of aquarium salt to the tank.

This is my first attempt to treat ICK with salt and temperature only...

Am I doing this correctly?

Here's the kicker, this morning when I noticed the ICK I also notice that my Platy's had fry. I trapped 13 in a floating breeder trap.

Any suggestion at all?
I'd personally raise it to 86F but that's just me being anal and it's what I raised it to when I used this method of curing ick. This is the best method I think, too. Skip the meds. They didn't work when had a mouth fungus ravishing my serpae tetra

Anyway, I'll actually buy an ick fish if it isn't already too late for it because I know I can cure it easily with the salt+heat method.

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 01:04 AM
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Originally Posted by tylergvolk View Post

I pulled out so much crap from the gravel it was unbelievable. The fish probably didn't die from the treatment but from my daily water changes. They were pretty stressed for awhile but now things have calmed down.
Pretty sure you pulled out a BUNCH of your beneficial bacteria, too. I don't have gravel anymore but I'd only vac half the gravel but not on the same day as cleaning the filter media.

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