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My fish have ick! I need a little help...

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Here's where you can read the background story and what I've done so far: (Post is dated 4-2-14.)

I've lost two fish so far. My last pictus is not handling the heat as well as it should be and I don't know what to do now. Petsmart does not seem to sell anything that actually works (medication-wise) and I've heard mixed things about pictus and salt.

I'd like to lower the water temperature a little and try some salt but I'm afraid that the catfish won't like that one, either.

Can anyone give me advise? The catfish is swimming near the top, going up and down the side, and/or laying in the corner with it's belly againts the glass and pushing itself up towards the surface.

Do you think it might help to add some more aeration?
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· Planted Tanker
6,139 Posts
If there's any amonia/nitrites present they become exponentially more toxic every degree the temp rises. The fish would probably benefit from a partial water change, not only for that but for the oxygen boost as well.

The important thing about salt (or any change) is to do it slowly. The temp should've been slowly crept up over a day or two, not all at once. Im not saying that's what you did, just pointing it out. 86 degrees is on the high end of tolerable. I'd probably shoot for 82-84 initially.

I would do a 50% water change, and add 1tbs salt per 5 gallons to the new water. Then tomorrow add enough to get the whole tank salted to that ratio. Then do 25-30% water change every couple of days afterwards, keeping the same salt ratio, until the ick clears up. If it's going to work you should see an improvement after just a few days. At least that's been my experience. Good luck.

· Registered
560 Posts
The tank was already at 82-84 degrees, so it wasn't too much of a major jump there.

I'll give the water a test and see if anything is off there.

I'm going to do the water change and add the salt now, then.

Salt added at a rate of 1/2 a teaspoon per gallon (3 teaspoons in a tablespoon. 3/5 is 0.6. I added an extra teaspoon at the end.

Catfish is swimming towards the top against the current by the side but is not staying near the top like it was before. I'm going to put in a small amount of frozen bloodworms for it now.

· Registered
560 Posts
Alright, I've always enjoyed experiments, I guess...

The pictus is ignoring the blood worms. I don't know if it is because it can't see them from where it is or if it just is not hungry or in the mood to eat. Not a good sign, that's for sure.

Not sure what did it. The catfish has died, though.

The only thing I can recommend and say at this point is to always catch ick early and to treat as soon as possible. For me, heat has always worked and never failed. But, what good does heat do if the fish are already nearly dead from ick?

Maybe in this case I should have used heat and salt. Maybe I should have used medicine. But, I didn't. I stuck with the way I knew to be true.

So, I now share this experince with the world. Treat ick with heat if caught early. Treat coldwater fish with medicine or salt if caught early.

I've also learned that some fish are nearly immune to the ick. If my black guppy survives and has babies, I will be interested in perhapes sacrificing one of the fry once it has reached adult stage to see if the resisitance is hereditary. It'll be interesting.

My silver molly may not make it at this point.

Rest in peace, my two catfish. Thank you for all that you have taught me this time. I won't forget it.

Rest in peace, my bala shark. Thank you for teaching me that the heat method truely works.

Rest in peace, my platies. Thank you for being the first to show me what ick was and how not to treat it. I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for you.

Thank you, my rainbow shark for showing me that some fish just do not get ick and just how sensitive scaless fish are to ick medicine.

Thank you, my black molly, for proving to me that some fish do not get ick.

And, I appologize to all of the fish I have lost to ick that have not taught me anything. Somewhere along the line, I've made a couple of mistakes. I've forgotten somethings, not worked hard enough, tested things, got frusterated, made great breakthoughs, experimented, failed, succeeded, and, came though each experience with something new to teach to others and became all the better for it.

I've learned that if I set my mind to something, I'll find a way. I've never given up on any of the fish. I did what I could with what I had. I'm sorry, platies, for not having a heater. I'm sorry, rainbow shark, for not knowing you didn't have scales. I'm sorry, bala, for turning the heat down so far. I'm sorry, tiger barb, for keeping you away from the rest of your school for so long they won't even let you school with them. I'm sorry molly and catfish for not treating for ick as soon as I got you guys. I knew you had it, the store you came from always does.

Another piece of advise before I finish this is this; if you've bought fish from a store often and have had ick outbreaks the majority if not all of the time, I'd treat right from the start. It is, in the long run, less stressful on the fish than waiting for the last minute to treat. Ignore everyone who warns against unneeded stress. A good bout of heat for the fish that can handle it, a dose of salt for those that can't handle the heat, or medication at 1/2 strength for those that won't tolerate either and a clean tank is the best preventive measures out there.

To all of the fish I have lost and all that I will loose in the future: I apologize for not being good enough, for not pay enough attention, or for not doing things when I should have been doing them. I can't promise to be perfect, but I can promise to get better. :redface:

· Registered
22 Posts
I also had a bad ich outbreak, with all my neon tetras infected. I used the Kordon Ich Attack as well and had 100% survival which is to include my ottocats and ghost shrimp. I left the temp at 75, and resumed normal water changes weekly as well as dosing with the medicine twice daily. It took a month to completely clear up, but I had no loses and the plants all made it just fine. The only drawback was that the water took on a brownish hue during the treatment, but that disappeared two weeks after final treatment.
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