Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Cape Coral, Florida
I have now treated it successfully in two different tanks by raising the temperature to 88 (fully 88, which means more like 89) for two weeks. I read about it for many, many hours trying to find authoritative info. There's lots of rumors.
As to moving to a hospital tank, you must keep the temperature in the main tank warm (your 84 is fine) while having zero fish there long enough for it all to die, about a week. Note that moving plants, decorations or any material while that tank is infected can move the ich to another tank. A tank empty of fish that is cold can last MUCH longer before it all dies. It is a myth that an empty tank can maintain ich alive, but it is true that an empty cooler tank can keep it alive for weeks.
There are ich strains that can live > 86 degrees. Mine were not, but it is possible (I think from reading it is rare).
There are recommendations that confuse temperatures. EITHER raise the temperature > 86 degrees (let's call that hot) alone or with salt, OR if using medicine raise it to 82-84 (let's call that warm) with the medicine. Use of the warm with medicine is to speed the lifecycle up so the time-medicated can be brief. Use of the hot temperature is aimed at actually killing. The hot water (which reduces oxygen) combined with medicine (which also reduces oxygen) can be dangerous. When you medicate the fish it is only serving to kill the parasites falling off -- not the ones already on it (which will mature and fall off eventually).
Ich can be very much present in fish without overt symptoms, notably it can live inside the gills. Do not only pull fish with obvious ich out for treatment, every fish in an infected tank, plus the tank, plus everything in the tank (plants, substrate, decorations, filter) must be treated either with time (and no fish), heat, or medicine or combinations. The worst thing some people do is move the "fish that doesn't have it" to the safety of another tank while using medicine.
While I understand inverts cannot get ich, like plants, it would seem possible they can carry (literally) it, but I am not sure of that.
Salt + heat is often recommended as better than heat alone, but salt can kill a lot of plants.
Ich can ONLY be killed when in its free swimming stage, either very briefly as the parasite falls off the fish to the substrate, or longer when the then-multiplied-by-hundreds parasite swims back to re-infect the fish. No medicine (that is not fatal to everything) can kill it when on the fish, or in the substrate multiplying. That's why all medicine recommends warm temperatures to speed the cycle up and ensure all parasites are in the free swimming stage at some point when the tank is medicated.
Some recommendations will be to repeatedly vacuum the tank to remove the multiplying parasites. It may be true that you are removing some of them, but that is not effective for that reason, and does little good when using heat or salt alone (it is somewhat like only killing the roaches you see in an infested house). Organic matter int he tank makes medicine less effective (since it is non-specific what it reacts with); vacuuming is removing the organic matter making the medicine more effective.
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