View Full Version : Ich treatment choices?

03/28/2009, 11:38 AM
hey guys,

i posted this in my local forum but was hoping for some quicker responses. Sorry if this is bad etiquette.

I am aware of the arguments out there against treating for ich or just feeding well and forgetting about it. However stubbornly though, Ive made my decision that the only thing that truly works is hypo and QT (DT tank fish free for 6 weeks) to completely eliminate ich from your DT.

That said, my dilemma is below as I stupidly, didnt follow my own rules:

I just got a powder brown and while I dipped him, I didnt QT him and of course, he is covered now. I hate ich!!!! So far he seems to be the only fish that has it bad. One of my clowns has a spot but not yet terrible.

Here is the problem: I just found out I may be moving within 2 months but not far at all (actually across the street). I am hesitant to undergo this full QT procedure only to put the fish back in the tank and then have to move them again (fearing that stress might will make the fish susceptible ick again).

So I was wondering if there was a temporary solution so that I could wait to do this type of in depth treatment until I move. I am adding garlic to all their food and all the fish are eating well, except the tang (he did pick at seaweed I placed in the tank today but not much at all. He is grazing the bit of hair algae I have also but other than that nothing).

I know there are medications that claim to cure ich but what are your thoughts on the reef safe ones (copper not an option for me)? Is kick-ich any good? Metronindazole? API's Super Ick cure? From what I have read, most of them suck.

My other option is to remove the fish and give them a formalin bath along with some meth blue in regular SW but I would end up putting them right back in an ich infected tank so I am thinking that may be useless as they'll probably just catch it again. Maybe a FW dip would be better?

Right now I have the PB tang, 2 B&W clowns, 1 six line, and 7 Blue-Green Chromis' (which are impossible to catch without removing the rock as is the six line). There is no way I can catch all these fish without tearing down the tank which is another reason I want to wait until I move.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

03/28/2009, 11:42 AM
There are NO "reef safe" ich cures. The only proven methods to date are hypo OR copper OR tank transfer method, of which hypo is the easiest. Must use a properly calibrated refractometer and also keep an eye on ammonia and pH and have ready made change water on hand to do any water changes. Garlic has never been proven to do anything for ich or a fishes immune system. UV sterilizers do nothing for ich either.

03/28/2009, 12:51 PM
Agreed. But before I undergo any of those proven methods, is there a temp solution?

03/28/2009, 01:58 PM

03/28/2009, 02:59 PM
thanks for that link. I had actually read that before. So i guess you're telling me there is now temp solution....lol.

to be clear, I am not trying to eradicate or cure ick with a quick treatment. I know that doesnt exist. What I am hoping for is something to temporarily relive these fish of the ich until I can do the full treatment. Maybe get the tang healthy enough to eat at least for a little while again until i can do the full treatment/QT

04/14/2009, 08:23 AM
if you are only moving across the street just treat him in QT and move him quick when it its time to do so. I am treating a PBT as well (i rescued him from PetSmart) using the hypo method, it takes a long time but getting rid of Ich is worth the trouble!!


04/14/2009, 02:09 PM
I know that this may not be popular here, but I have elected not to treat for ich. All of my fish (see signature) have been infected with ich for over six months. At this point, I am very confident to state that the infestation is completely subclinical. I have seen no spots or scratching from my fish in months. All I do is feed the highest quality food soaked daily in selecon and keep my water quality very high. My fish are fat, active and show no visible or behavorial signs of ich. This strategy has worked well for me.

04/14/2009, 02:47 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14824818#post14824818 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Stuart60611
I know that this may not be popular here, but I have elected not to treat for ich. All of my fish (see signature) have been infected with ich for over six months. At this point, I am very confident to state that the infestation is completely subclinical. I have seen no spots or scratching from my fish in months. All I do is feed the highest quality food soaked daily in selecon and keep my water quality very high. My fish are fat, active and show no visible or behavorial signs of ich. This strategy has worked well for me.

not as uncommon an opinion as you might think. A lot of people elect to do this and there is nothing wrong with it at all especially if your fish are healthy enough to battle it off. it really becomes personal preference and how much risk your willing to live with. Clearly, an ick free tank has less risk of fish loss than one with ick.

Ick is like the common cold in humans. Its just bothersome but if your immune system is healthy and you provide yourself with good nutrition you'll fight it off....until the next time. It'll never kill you, but it bothers the heck out of you. However, if your immune system is not healthy and you don't eat well, then the cold can kill you (a stretch, but you get the idea).

Ick in established tanks is not much of a problem until new fish are added. Stress levels go up thereby decreasing immune system strength. Sometimes you'll get away with it but sometimes adding a new fish to a tank with ick can wipe out every fish in a tank. Especially, if it hits the gills or eyes.

Me personally: I'd rather not take the chance. Luckily, I'll soon have the ability to run a QT system when I move and I will definitely be QTing all incoming fish as well as my current fish for at least 6 weeks.

For now, Im happy/sad to say that my PBT tang has been living with ick and doing it damn well. He is eating like a horse and fat as hell. Super bright colors and you can only tell he has any ick at all every two weeks. Still, hell be in QT soon.

04/14/2009, 06:07 PM
Agree, and those are all good points. I just hope my luck continues and plan on adding no more fish and keep things as stable as possible. My prior post is a bit inacurate in that I forgot that all my fish, except the puffer, have had ich for the last six months. I had the identical species before who did become symptomatic so I decided to give him a paraguard bath just to knock off some of the parasites and hope his immune system would get enough of a head start to go back to subclinical. I killed him in the process definitely due to my error in probably making the bath too strong. I added my new puffer about 1 month ago after quarantine and a pre-emptive quinine sulfate bath to keep the parasites off of him for a few days after being added to the display (stays in the body of the fish for a few days killing any ich that attaches to the fish) knowing that he would be most stressed during this period and therefore susceptable to being overcome. So far, the puffer has shown no signs of ich either physically or behaviorially, although I know he has it. I should add that I do run UV which I think keeps the parasite in reduced numbers and a ton of flow which I have read some think may make it more difficult for the parasite to find a host.

04/14/2009, 10:50 PM
hmm...havent read much about quinine sulfate.....interesting.

I think Uv does exactly what you say....reduces the total number of parasites in the tank from like 4 billion to 3 billion....lol, but hey every bit helps which is why i run one too.

About the flow, im sure it helps as well...luckily i have 2 vortechs in a 90... :)

Imo, smart of you to dip the fish before placing him in the DT. A lot of people only concern themselves with ich but fish can come to you with a whole lot of other parasitic or bacterial infections that a simple dip can get rid of. I think if a dip is done properly you are more likely to lose the fish from disease if you dont dip it than from the dip itself. Of course, it kills the ich too but if your tank had it its obviously going to find the dipped host.

I maintain: a tank left host (fish) free for 6-8 weeks (some say 4-6 but 6-8 is definite) will rid said tank of ich. If every fish put into that tank is then dipped in medicine and QT'd, it is completely possible to be ich free. To gasman's point though, is it worth the trouble? For most probably not. For me , it is.

04/14/2009, 10:51 PM
sorry, this is for Manny. (thanks Freed)

Is "Ich" always present in our aquaria?

There is a widely held belief in the marine aquarium hobby that "Ich" is always present in our aquaria and this belief is often repeated on marine bulletin boards. There is much information in the scientific literature that contradicts this belief.

C. irritans is an obligate parasite (Burgess and Matthews, 1994; Dickerson and Dawe, 1995; Yoshinaga and Dickerson, 1994). Obligate means the parasite can not survive without infecting its host, in this case, fish. Theronts have been shown to die if a suitable host is not found within the required time. Yoshinaga and Dickerson (1994) found that few theronts (0.34%) were viable 12.5 hours after excystment and Burgess and Matthews (1994) found that no theronts were viable 18 hours after excystment. Colorni (1985) found that some excysted tomites (=theronts) were observed to be moving weekly after 48 hours. While the life span of the theronts appears variable, it is limited and all will die without finding a suitable host.

If an aquarium has no fish in it, and there are no additions of fish, or anything else that could be carrying trophonts, tomonts, tomites or theronts for a period of 6 weeks or longer, all parasites will have died. An aquarium such as this is an obvious exception to "Ich" always being present.

Many fish collected for marine aquariums will not be carrying "Ich". Incidence of C. irritans in wild fish varies widely and may be geographically related. Some authors have found few infected fish, if any, in the areas they have examined (Puerto Rico: Bunkley-Williams and Williams, 1994; southern California: Wilkie and Gordin, 1969) . Others have found that low levels of infection are not uncommon (e.g. southern Queensland; Diggles and Lester, 1996c). Keeping multiple fish in holding tanks and at aquarium stores increases the chances of a fish carrying "Ich" parasites, but it is still possible to acquire a fish that is not infected with "Ich".

If new fish are quarantined for at least 6 weeks, any parasites on the fish will have gone through a number of life cycles increasing the number of parasites present. In the majority of cases, the increase in parasite numbers will result in full blown infection and fish can be treated to remove the parasites. Hyposalinity has been demonstrated to break the life cycle of "Ich" (Cheung et al. 1979; Colorni, 1985) and fish correctly treated with hyposalinity will be free from "Ich". Any fish that do not show signs of infection after 6 weeks are very unlikely to be carrying any parasites.

If fish that are free from "Ich" (either because they were not originally infected or because they have been treated with hyposalinity) are added to an aquarium that is free from "Ich", the aquarium will stay free from "Ich" and be another exception to "Ich" always being present.

Burgess and Matthews (1994) were attempting to maintain a viable population of C. irritans which could be used in later studies. To maintain the parasite populations, they needed host fish in order for the trophonts to feed and continue the life cycle. Each host fish was only used once in a process of serial transition such that none of the hosts would die or develop an immunity. While the procedure worked very well and enabled them to maintain populations for some time, the viability of the populations decreased with time and none of the 7 isolates they used survived more than 34 cycles, around 10 to 11 months. They suggest this is due to senescence and aging in cell lines is well recognised in Ciliophora.

The presence of aging cell lines in C. irritans suggests that an aquarium that has been running for longer than 12 months without any additions is unlikely to have any surviving "Ich" parasites, yet another exception to "Ich" always being present.

Whilst "Ich" may be present in some aquaria, it is certainly not present in all aquaria. Through careful quarantining and treatment, it is very much possible to establish and maintain an "Ich" free aquarium.

04/14/2009, 10:55 PM
sorry again, guys....I thought this was my local forum thread and just realized most of you dont know Manny. I apologize for the reference.

05/01/2009, 06:55 PM
well, the Powder brown tang died. dam petsmart, im such a sucker for needy animals.
while the hypo treatment was fine for ich it was not enough to ward off a bacterial infection that killed him in 2 days. i wish i would have just coppered him at this point.


05/02/2009, 01:03 PM
some fish do better with copper or hypo.

ex. puffers do a lot better with hypo.

05/02/2009, 07:17 PM
Are you sure your fish have Ich or do they have Brooklynella? The treatment of choice for Ich is copper, I use ionic copper in a QT tank for four weeks. For Brook you have to use Formalin. The procedures for using formalin are as varied as the individuals you talk to. The most effective treatment is Formalin dips. Where you put 1 cc of 37% Formalin (Formaldehyde) in 1 gal of water and dip your fish for 45 minutes. You do this five times once every other day. I personally prefer Formalin in the QT tank. I put 1 cc to 10 gals of water every day for three weeks. Formaldehyde evaporates out of the water within two hours and is not accumulative. It does deplete the oxygen in the water so you need vigorous aeration with air stones. Do not use Formalin on fish that have open wounds, it will kill them. You treat the fish for BOTH conditions at the same time. Start with formalin dips then put them back into a copper tank. After 10 days of Formalin dips, once every other day they are cured of Brook then keep them in the copper tanks for three to four weeks and they are cured of Ich. The tank the fish came out of has to be fallow, fishless, for at least 6 weeks. The eggs of Ich are in the bottom of your tanks and can lay dormant for up to six weeks. When they hatch they have to find a host or they will die. Brook's parasite divides and becomes a free swimmer looking for a host. The swimmer can persist up to four weeks before it dies. So a six week fishless tank can say it is free of Ich and Brook. So you don't go through this in the future, QT all new arrives for at least 4 weeks.