View Full Version : Another Ich question
In trying to understand ich, I have a couple of questions:
If one fish in a system exhibits ich, does that neccessarily mean that all the fish in the same tank will eventually contact the disease, or is it possible that some fish can resist it. According to everything I read, once it's in a particular tank it will keep multiplying via any host fish available. If that's the case and its a parasite, why would it kill everything. As a parasite, it wants to maintain the host in order to survive itself. Is it possible that ich can exist in a tank at some level, only blooming on certain stressed, weak individuals, but not able to effect fish that are healthy and therefore resistant.
Also when it appears on the fish, what's the normal length of time before it detaches, can that be a little as a few hours and what is that dependant on.
Any thoughts appriciated, thanks MGB
02/11/2006, 08:54 PM
Your reasoning, although sound, doesn't apply in the marine aquarium. I've conducted lab experiments and have dealt with this parasite since 1969. Let me explain.
In the wild, when a fish gets Marine Ich (Cryptocaryon irritans) the fish is free to swim around and away from the area it contracted the parasite. The parasite gorges itself, becomes 'pregnant' and drops off. The fish swims away from the cyst that releases the free swimming, infectious Theronts. So the fish has a chance to 'get away' from further infection.
By your reasoning, the parasite has indeed not killed its host. The parasite now looks for another fish who 'happens by' where the infectious Trophonts are.
See where I'm going? In the aquarium, the fish can't escape. The infectious stage keeps attacking the infected fish, living off of it. The fish can't 'get away' and keeps getting reinfected until it is overcome from the infestation, or by chance develops an immunity before it is killed.
Regarding the first question. . .The 'problem' with this disease is that not all 'spots' are visible to the human eye. This parasite actually prefers to reside in the fish's gills, where we can't see it. By the time we see the disease as spots on the fish's body or fins, the parasite could have gotten a good foothold.
The only way to overcome the infestation is to remove all fish and treat them to clean them of the parasite; let the tank go fishless for about 8 weeks, and return the clean fish to the display.
The MI imbeds itself on the fish and buries itself under the slime coating of the fish. This is one reason it can't be attacked by us -- it is protected by its host. This is the reason why a fresh water dip doesn't cure the fish. The MI engorges itself and drops off as a cyst. This has an average time of 4 to 10 days. BUT, the problem is that sometimes it was found to take a few hours or a couple of weeks. A big range. There are no absolutes. For instance, some cysts don't have to drop off at all! They can stick to the fish and release their Trophonts. Rare but possible.
What determines if the fish is infected has nothing to do with weakness of fish or parasite. It is just opportunity. Going back to the 'fish can't get away' scenario, the numbers of parasites keep multiplying until either the fish survives by chance, gaining immunity, or dies.
I have found that in a mixed (community) tank, about 4 to 10% can develop an immunity if they are strong, healthy, and either had some innate immunity developed in the wild, or 'luck out.' However, the ones that survived can still harbor the disease and the next incoming fish that has no immunity can suddenly lead to an explosion of the disease. During this explosion, the original carrier can actually die. It's again, the matter of numbers and opportunity.
In short, Nature has it all worked out -- in the sea -- not in an aquarium! In the aquarium, we humans have given this parasite an advantage over the fish they wouldn't normally have in the wild. The 'kindly parasite' becomes a killer in our aquariums. :rollface:
02/12/2006, 09:27 AM
Very insightful as always Leebca. I have been researching this parasite for sometime of course not to the extent as you, but what confuses me is if it is a parasite and if it the fish (lets say a clown) has a thick slime coat then the ick cant attach. If it doesnâ€™t attach it cant reproduce, if it cant reproduce then it will eventually die. Wouldnâ€™t this mean that ick can be killed off as long as they donâ€™t host on the fish? I know in the research I have read that the chances of the fish being able to resist the parasite is slim but possible. Is this true?
02/12/2006, 10:30 AM
Now you're getting into the biochemical abilities of the parasite. :)
The slime coating of the fish acts like a deterrent, but not protection. The infectious Trophonts actually have a chemical that can get through the slime coating to the fish's body. It is harder for the parasite to do this, then when infecting the more exposed tissues of the gills.
In the case of tangs, their coating is weak and their body is covered by a different mechanism which is practically NO deterrent to this parasite. That is why we see so many more tangs with this parasite.
For the above reasons, a healthy or sick fish is just as susceptible to the parasite. It's not a matter of will the fish get infected; it's a matter of how long the fish will survive after the attack. This survival aspect is the part related to fish stamina, health, diet, stresses, etc. Like computer hard drives: It isn't a matter of if they will fail; it's a matter of when they will fail. Infection (or drive failure) is inevitable when the parasite is in sufficient numbers.
As is common in Nature: When one organism has a defense, the enemy organism has a circumventing mechanism.
There is work being done along the lines you are thinking. For instance, what if we (humans) could artificially induce the fish coating to have an absolute protection against the parasite? It wouldn't be an immunity in the truest sense of the term, it would be a genetically or chemically induced 'shield.' But, you are correct: If the parasite can't infect a fish, the parasite dies. That is part of the basic definition of an obligate parasite.
Whenever you find yourself making an absolute statement in this hobby (like using the word "can't") then you usually can count on it being wrong, somehow; somewhere! :D Don't forget, there is no slime coating on the gills and the fish, swallowing so much water as the fish does, the fish has an increased probability of getting infected in the gills than on the body/fins. :rollface:
When performing hyposalinity for the treatment of ich, how does the low salinity effect live rock, I understand it will kill any invertebrates that happen to be living on or in the rock, but does it kill the good bacteria residing in and on the rock and consiquently impacting the biological filter for the tank, possibly drastically.
Also what are the effects of hyposalinity on coralline algae, can they survive it, or will it recced and die. Thoughts appriciated, MGB
02/12/2006, 02:59 PM
The bacteria responsible for nitrification of the biological wastes in the aquarium are not killed by the hyposalinity treatment. That includes those that are on and in the live rock.
Unfortunately, these bacteria can be affected. The change in salinity usually puts the bacteria into a metabolic state of rest while they adjust to the new salinity. So, for a short time they may cease to function/eat/grow or they might just slow down in their waste handling 'duties.'
However, the hazard to putting LR through a hypo treatment is like you mentioned -- the death of the other organisms. It is many of these other organisms that make the LR, LR. Without them, the value of the rock drops down to the price and value of. . . base rock. This death will create a spike in ammonia. If you couple this spike with the (above mentioned) fact that the bacteria may stop processing waste, the water becomes deadly to the fish you're trying to treat.
During a hyposalinity treatment, you will have enough trouble trying to keep the pH high and stable. You don't need to wrestle with ammonia and nitrite spikes making the whole experience deadly or stressful for the fishes. Leave the LR in the display. :) OR if you must convert it to base rock, do that separately.
Coralline algae is pretty resilient. I have never heard that a hyposalinity treatment has killed them. Like the bacteria, they will probably hibernate for a while. I've had only small quantities of coralline go through a full 9-week hyposalinity treatment and survived. Truthfully, I couldn't tell if it grew or not during that time. If it did, it was not visible to the eye. So, I'm unsure if that is representative of all the types and variations out there.
Hope this helps! Ask if you have ?
Thanks for the info, I appriciate it. I'm trying to figure out in my head which would be the most desirable quarentine set up, unfortunately fish really respond well to an enviroment full of live rock, rather than a sterile plastic substitute. A compromise seams difficult, on the one hand a tank absent of live rock is more practicle for hyposalinity, on the other a tank full of live rock provides a less stressful enviroment, where acclimation is less stressful. Quite frustrating really.
02/12/2006, 08:47 PM
Sorry to jump in this thread, but I need an answer. How long can a fish stay in hypo, 1.009 safely? I have a blue tang that's been in 8 weeks and will probably keep him 12 weeks if that's ok.
02/12/2006, 08:50 PM
MGB, they'll be ok for 8 weeks in a sterile tank with pcv pipe. Mine just went through it. But the challenge like lee said is keeping the bio filter stable. Just get a big qt tank.
Jana, what do you call big, is 50 gal sufficient. What did you use for a bio filter. Please give details of your quarentine setup
02/12/2006, 10:20 PM
I have a 40 gallon qt tank. My display is 120. It's very important to establish a bio filter before you add the fish. You do that by buying a filter for your qt. I got an aquafilter from Dr. Foster & Smith rated for 110 gal. I put the sponge in my sump of display and let it stay a couple of weeks. I had time because my fish were ok even though they had ich. The challenge is not losing your cycle. I took the sponge out and put in the qt filter. The ammonia needs to be near 0, the nitrite also 0. When the nitrates get close to 30, I do a 40 percent water change. You have to get the salinity to 1.009 to be effective. You can do that very quickly, see Advanced Aquarist. com January issue. Also Steven Pro has good qt article in sticky of fish disease on this forum on QT tanks. I have learned everything I need to know on this forum.
Also important is to measure ph every day to keep high, tends to drop at 1.009.
I know it's a lot of work, but the reward is an ich free tank. From now on, I'll quarantine everything 4 weeks, fish immediately into hyposalinity, inverts just 4 weeks to let any ich on them die. That's the only way to keep it away. I hate to look at my tank with ich on my fish!
I put my first group back in the tank today. They look great. Hope this helps.
Good info Jana. I have another question; about freshwater dips. How effective, percentage wise, are they at ridding the fish of ich. I'm presuming FW dips are not 100%, if they were it would simplify the quarentine proceedure. Then one could be assured the new fish had no parasites before entering the tank. It wouldn't stop the fish from getting reinfected in the new tank, if ich was present, but it might severely limit the introduction of ich, which wasn't apparent on the fish before purchase.
02/13/2006, 01:46 PM
My understanding from all the reading I've done is freshwater dips are not effective against marine ich, but may be for other diseases. The only sure way is to qt all new fish in hypo for 4 weeks. I know it's tough. But after your display is fishless for 8 weeks and any fish you put in is at 1.009 for 4 weeks after no spots showing, then you can be relatively sure that no ich will enter your display.
TerryB has good article in Advanced Aquarist online magazine January issue about putting the new fish into hypo at 1.009 without much acclimation, just temp and ph. Go to advanceaquarist.com for his first article in a series. Feb issue he promises more detailed info to come.
02/13/2006, 04:15 PM
I'm not usually on line after 7 p.m. Pacific Time. :D
Going back to where I left off. . .MGB: Your acting like the fishes have enough intelligence to be happy or sad; to know the difference between a real or plastic environment. I wouldn't make these assumptions! ;)
Ever seen those plastic "sewer pipe" decorations? They come in all sizes. I use them not only in my QT, but I've worked them into my displays. The fish 'love' them! They swim in one hole and swim out one of three other holes. I use them to create 'tunnels' from the front to back of my LR and even into other spaces within the LR. In the QT the fish swims into it and pokes its nose out of the upper pipe to watch me put food in the tank. It's all they need.
In my displays, every old fish tries to make the sewer pipe decor its home/territory, but all the fish use the 'highways' that no fish can claim the pipe! And when things get tough (scary), three or four fish cram into the same pipe for safety!
Of course the fishes will be 'less stressed' in a larger tank, but your QT is not about size, it's about function and it's temporary. Providing hiding places is all that's needed. I've quarantined more than 650 fishes over the last 35 years. It's not frustrating to me. :D
02/13/2006, 04:19 PM
Studies have shown that food fish in hyposalinity can live an extremely long time. It has been projected by some reliable scientists that they and oranamental marine fishes could live indefinitely at low salinity. Where things quickly go wrong is maintaining stable water parameters at the right levels while keeping the salinity low. Lowering the salinity upsets Nature's balance with the dozens of ingredients in the water.
So 12 weeks in hypo is okay, if the hypo is being controlled for water quality. :cool:
02/13/2006, 05:55 PM
Thanks Lee! I can relax now and enjoy my fishes and test my water and test my water and test my water.
I guess I was presuming that fish such as a dwarf angel feel far more comfortable in a rock enviroment that somewhat approximates its natural enviroment, rather than a plastic tube creation in an otherwise bare tank. I could be wrong, but I guess its hard to quantify the effects and consiquences of either set up on a particular fish. That given and what we already accept and know about salt water fish, is that they seam to prefer enviroments that mimic their natural ones.
02/13/2006, 08:19 PM
Are you sure you're just not putting human emotions onto a fish? What do we know about what they prefer? I assume if they prefer anything it would be to have been left where they came from. ;) A fav saying of mine: "If fishes had wishes, there'd be no fishes."
Assuming water quality is where it belongs:
1) A frightened fish (and newly acquired angels are usually in that category) is looking for a place to hide. Does it care if it's rock or plastic?
2) The next thing the fish needs is food. It recognizes the place it came from as to how to acquire/find its food. That could be rock or substrate or open water, or any combo. If an artificial rock has food on it, does the fish care if the rock is granite, lava, sandstone, or plastic? If I drop an artificial clam on the half-shell (and I have) laced with meaty prepared food the angel loves into the QT, does the angel care if the clam shell is real or plastic? I have fed Moorish Idles on a dinner plate. After a few weeks of this, they would go berserk trying to get to the plate (happy?) when the plate entered their tank.
3) Once 1) and 2) are secured, the next thing the fish wants is to procreate --- make more little fishes. Aquarists are coming along in that area, but we aren't there yet for all the angels.
At what point would you say the fish is happy, or unhappy? No matter how hard we try, we can't duplicate its natural environment. We can only mimic it. Can we truly remove absolutely all stress on our fishes?
An argument is given that fish should not be quarantined because they are not happy in the QT. But how many fish, released into their 'comfortable' display just hide until they die? Happy fish? One distinct advantage our cages have is (if we do it right) to have no disease or predators there, adding years to the average lifespan of the fish.
I know where you're coming from MGB. I do sympathize though the above may seem hard-hearted. But I believe. . .
If we as aquarists have taken the step to remove a fish from its natural environment, then the first step to settling it into our artificial homes is to acclimate it and, at the same time, to protect our acclimated fishes.
The QT doesn't have to be stark: You can put in artificial anything into the QT -- you can put in silica based sand and substrates (just no carbonates) I don't have any indication that the fish cares about what the environment is made out of, so long as items 1) and 2) are at a minimum, satisfied. In fact, as I noted in a previous post, I have fish in my display which prefer to stay in or near the plastic sewer pipes, although there is plenty of LR for them to choose from. Hmmmm
Your approach undoubtedly has strong proven evidence, however I feel it's a little symplistic to assume that just because the safe shelter and food requirements of a newly aquired fish are met that that in itself should allow acclimation without any major problems. How well or quickly a fish acclimates to captivity is dependant on more than safe shelter and available food.
My train of thought has nothing to do with trying to understand wether a fish is "happy" or "sad", I'm thinking what would be the "best possible" enviroment that illicits an already stressed fish, from the process of capture and travel, to resume its natural behavior. I'm sure you'll agree that enviroment must play a role in this responce, all animals, including fish must have behaviors that are triggered by their enviroment, in order to survive.
I agree that some species are obviously quicker at adapting to new enviroments than others, however from all the anactdotal evidence within the hobby, it would appear that a more "natural" enviroment can have a significant effect on the success of acclimation by certain species. Many marine fish come from extremely specialised niches wouldn't it be logical to attempt to mimic such enviroments in order to lessen the trauma of acclimation. Reef keeping has come a long way understanding the needs of many corals, however it seams fish keeping has still got a ways to go.
02/13/2006, 09:42 PM
I think it is important to try and imulate the natural environment to the best of our abilities. Do I think the non-coral eating species care whether the corals in the tank are real or artifical...no. However, recreating the natural habitat is helpful to a point. Fish that sleep in fine sand should be provided with it. Fish that perfer low lighting or caves to get out of direct light should have them. Fish that comes from an environment with moderate water current may be stressed in a tank with violent current. Fish that come from a turbulent environment may need a lot of water current because it contains more oxygen. Fish should also be provided with a diet that is as close as possible to what they eat in the wild.
02/13/2006, 10:08 PM
Leebca, what method of medication would you recommend to use to combat a noticeable ich infestation? I know that by the time it is noticeable it is well progressed. Are you a fan of the so called "garlic" route of combat? I think it's a bunch of hog wash but being that you are a studied individual of the disease can you recommend anything that beats the ich over another method? I have a new copperband butterfly and a 6 line wrasse in QT right now and they don't show any signs of the disease but if they exhibit it in the near future what do you suggest?
02/14/2006, 08:48 AM
Terry's points are well taken, based upon what the fish's life-style is about. But your point is still weakened by the fact that for 20 years, prior to reef tanks being embraced by marine aquarists, our tanks were not anything in the way of appearing like a reef.
My personal success at keeping fish in that no-way-looking-like-a-reef-tank environment (taking into account the variations mentioned by Terry) is no different than my success at keeping fish in a reef. If the fish is properly acclimated, the asthetics to the scenary are in the minds of humans. How long do you think a fish can remember what its home looked like?
I can only base my opinion on my experience and observation. :D
I can just as easily get a fish to live in a bare tank with hiding places and food, as I can in a reef tank with hiding places and food, if the fish is properly acclimated first. Those who say their fish live better in the reef tank without going through QT are actually experiencing that their fish eats all the available food in the fake reef and then dies of starvation, never acclimating. So the outward appeaance is that the fish is living longer, but I say, the fish never acclimated to captive life.
02/14/2006, 09:02 AM
Garlic has its place, but it doesn't cure Marine Ich. The danger in using garlic is that the right medication isn't being administered and valuable cure time is being wasted. For my opinions about garlic, see these threads:
Also take a look at Steven Proâ€™s Article on that garlic doesnâ€™t cure nor increases the immune response:
Alternative cures are mentioned in several articles. If you want references to those, I can provide them.
As for me, the preferred cure method is copper when the fish and copper get along. I prefer copper first because it is quick and I can easily control it --- I'm good at it! :D I favor the use of Cupramine because of its gentler affects on fishes.
If there is any doubt about how the fish takes to copper or if the infestation seems minor, I will use hyposalinity, but I use 11ppt hyposalinity and monitor it four times a day.
What I recommend to new and nearly new aquarists is to use hyposalinity. It is easier to control; harder to control pH; but non-lethal if the aquarist makes a mistake. If I could trust all aquarists to do it right and use Cupramine, I'd favor that as my first choice (i.e., if it is suitable for the fish species being treated).
I'm too lazy for this one, but the transfer method is useful in fighting this disease. It's my own laziness that holds me back from even mentioning it in almost all of my posts.
So, this is along route to get to the answer to your question. . .Use hyposalinity for those two fish if they contract/have Marine Ich. ;) Combine this treatment, with vacuuming the tank out twice a day.
02/14/2006, 09:17 AM
Should I do hypo right now just in case and as a preventative? No signs of ich at all but they are both eating extremely well and look absolutely fantastic and would hate to lose them if I should have started hypo by now. Your thoughts please. Thanks, Jeff
02/14/2006, 09:26 AM
I think I'm gonna get flamed for this post but I've always let my fish just go. I view Ich like chickenpox, they only get it once. When I get a new fish, I'll see a slight case of Ich, but then over a few days, it'll go away. The new fish is always the ones who get it, but my old fish will never get it again. I've even had a heater go out, dropping my tank into the 60s at night for a month or 2, and 70s during the day. Miraculously, nothing was dying which why I didn't know the heater was out...ok ok ok I lied, my macroalgae was dying..:P
02/14/2006, 10:25 AM
I've never supported treatment of fishes 'just in case' they're sick. First off, hyposalinity is only good for treating one disease. There are many diseases and conditions which affect fish. I h ave two exceptions. I treat all tangs with Cupramine (to kill MI and MV); and although I don't keep anemonefishes, I would treat them for Brooklynella. These two fishes have these diseases too often not to go ahead and treat them.
So, 'No.' Don't treat the fish unless you can see something wrong and then, only treat for that specific ailment.
Don't be too concerned about 'missing the disease.' Marine Ich is not that fast a killer. You'll have time to launch a treatment for it, when and if you see it. Just remember to closely observe your fish at least twice a day.
You're lucky that they are eating. Keep things as they are. Good luck! :)
02/14/2006, 06:35 PM
Today I got ich with a brand new clown. He got it in a few hours. Is this normal? Also, his color has greatly faded. Does this symptom often accompany ich?
02/14/2006, 07:07 PM
Diagnosis is very important. Are you sure it is Marine Ich (Cryptocaryon irritans)?
Besides the salt-sized spots there are other symptoms. You should read up on it:
and. . .
Steven Proâ€™s article on Marine Ich (Part 1):
A just-acquired fish is a good candidate to bring the disease to your tank. Hence the need for quarantine.
So if an individual fish has an aquired immunity or is one of the small percent that is just naturally immune to ich, can this fish still carry the disease, thus infecting its tank mates and how does that work, does/can the parasite cycle on the immune fish without the fish becoming significantly impaired.
02/17/2006, 01:54 PM
Not likely to have a 'natural immunity.' Probably the fish had been exposed to the disease and developed an immunity somewhere along its life in the reef, or along the handling path.
The concept that an immune fish carries the parasite has been a subject of few studies and many debates. The concept of 'immunity' says either you are, or you aren't. Like, there is no such thing as being a little bit pregnant.
Another aspect to try and grasp is the mechanism of the immunity, also subject to debates and few studies. Antibodies seem to be present which attacks proteins in the parasite. Some seem to be able to prevent the parasite from attaching.
What I have found is that some fish are just not overwhelmed by low numbers of the disease. I don't know why. They carry it and in a captive environment, bring it into an aquarium and literally wipe out the entire population (sometimes even themselves). It goes back to the idea that too many parasites and even the carrier will succumb.
Technically, if the fish is immune, it does not have or carry the parasite.
So basically no fish is ever "safe", immune or not, it could be just a ticking bomb,never showing symptoms but never the less still carrying the parasite, probably in low numbers but ever ready to bloom given the differences of the captive enviroment.
On a related note, I might be completely off base here, but somehow I get the feeling that there's still a majority of people who still don't quarentine, inspite of the overwhelming evidence that if you don't its just a matter of time and fish before you have to deal with a parasitic outbreak/heartbreak. MGB
02/18/2006, 01:50 AM
I do routinely treat new fish with hyposalinity. You do have to keep an eye on the water quality, especially the pH in hypo. However, I don't just use hyposalinity as a proactive approach to handling ich. I think it does help with some types of gill flukes and black ich. A major reason that I treat recently transported fish is to help them recover from the stress of transport and handling. I believe they regain osmotic balance (osmotic dysfunction is inherent to stress in fish) more quickly in hypo and probably eat sooner as a result. There is also reason to believe that hyposalinity helps the fish conserve energy that would otherwise be expended in osmoregulation. Think of it this way: when you are sick you need to conserve energy so you stay in bed and sleep more. This may not be the best example, but fish have a limited amount of metabloic energy. Since most fish haven't eaten for a while before they are transported and they tend not to eat for a while after they arrive I think that makes it all the more important to conserve metablolic energy.
Sadly, you are probably right that most people don't quarantine. Many have to learn the hard way by killing some fish before they understand the importance of quarantine.
02/18/2006, 03:14 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6769098#post6769098 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by TerryB
Many have to learn the hard way by killing some fish before they understand the importance of quarantine.
Reading alot of threads on the topic of QT, some never do get the hint even after they do kill a tank full of fish from not using proper QT.
02/18/2006, 06:49 AM
Regarding. . .So basically no fish is ever "safe", immune or not, it could be just a ticking bomb,never showing symptoms. . . The thing is there is real immunity. But even a fish who has attained immunity, doesn't keep it for too long.
Fish immunity isn't like human immunity. Theirs seems to be exposure/time related. An immune fish usually looses its immunity with time, unless repeatedly exposed to the parasite.
It is the above logic which gives some aquarists cause to say, 'Then the best procedure is not to QT but keep putting the disease into the tank to keep their immunity up.' I think you can see the harshness of such an approach.
There are always testimonials of aquarists who claim they have never used a QT procedure and after Y years their tanks are disease-free. This gives hope to those who don't want to do it. But the truly experienced and intelligent aquarist realizes that it was only a matter of luck (or they are keeping fish particularly hardy and resistant to the parasite).
Sadly, many aquarists still don't use a quarantine process, even after like Freed has stated, they have evidence of its benefit.
I partly blame the people who 'sell' the marine hobby. The would-be aquarist asks the retailer what is needed to have an X gallon tank and no one ever mentions, 'Oh by the way, if you want to keep marine specimens, you'll need another tank and setup for quarantine. So the person gets into the hobby and finds he has to spend more money and time than planned.
Too bad marine aquarium packages aren't sold that include a QT! :(
02/18/2006, 07:15 PM
As an add-on to the above post. . .
There was a poll done here at RC to see how many people quarantine ALL their new fishes:
02/18/2006, 07:26 PM
I'm in there on the first page. WOOOOHOOOOO!!!!
02/19/2006, 03:48 PM
Leebca, today I noticed that someone sprinkled some salt on my Copperband when I wasn't looking. Just a few specs on his main side fins. My water reads like this: SG-1.027 alk-8.3dkh pH-8.1-8.3 or so and temp-76.6
I am in the process of raising the temp to around 80-82 and will take a few days to do it.
Am also going to be lowering the salinity but I need to know how far to take it down. I will aim towards 1.015 but am not sure where to stop so please let me know. I do use a calibrated refractometer so no worries that my measurement is off.
I just bought some Garlic Guard by Seachem and will soak the food in this before offering it to them.
I also have the 6 line wrasse in the QT tank as well but I can't get a good look at him to see as he is very skiddish and won't stay still. They are both eating just fine and are fat and sassy so no worries there either.
Any other recommendations? Please feel free to let me know. Thanks, Jeff
02/19/2006, 04:47 PM
Keep the temperature at whatever the fish are used to. Marine Ich doesn't change its cycle rate much with a rise in temperature. Higher temperatures mean less dissolved gases in the water, which IS a downside.
I perform hyposalinity treatments at a salinity of 11ppt. I press the MI organisms. I haven't found any fish yet that this is a problem with, but if yours does show bad signs at this salinity, bump it up to 12ppt.
You can assist in the decrease of infecting, free-swimming Theronts by vacuuming out the tank and decorations twice a day (just after lights go on and just before lights go out).
Remember that the hyposalinity treatment is slow. Hyposalinity stresses MI and, like stress on fishes, a few get by once in a while. However, hyposalinity treatment is the easiest on the fish.
After you see the last spot on your fish, keep treating for 4 more weeks, then slowly raise the salinity to normal. Once at normal, leave the fish in quarantine another 3 weeks to verify your treatment was a success.
All fish from the infected tank have to be treated, whether you see or think they have MI or not.
Know the difference between salinity and specific gravity and use salinity for your target:
Hold that salinity in check religiously. If your QT evaporates fairly quickly, check salinity three or four times a day and make adjustments. A single slip up and you're back to ground zero.
One of the biggest challenges is keeping the pH stable and in the right zone. Be prepared to make pH readings/tests as often as you check the salinity, AND be prepared to adjust it (pH+ additives).
Garlic is not a cure and I'd rather use additives more important than that. Soak the foods in vitamin and fat additives and add beta glucan to the food during this recovery time.
Good luck! :rollface:
02/19/2006, 06:57 PM
What is MI? What about soaking in "Reef Plus" by Seachem. It has amino acids and vitamins for coral growth and other reef creatures. Don't know if that is what you are talking about but it is what I have on hand.
Also have Kent Marine "Essential Elements". Essential trace mineral supplements for reef and fish only marine aqueriums.
02/19/2006, 07:21 PM
Sorry. I abbreviate sometimes. MI = Marine Ich.
Vitamins & Fats (for fish):
The products you mentioned are not fish food supplements/additives. They are water conditioners/additives. The above list are food-soak products. They are just a sampling.
02/19/2006, 08:14 PM
I have zoe so I'll use that.
02/20/2006, 01:00 AM
Leebca, I just thought of something. I also have a dead plate coral in the same QT with babies growing all over it. Will the hyposalinity hurt them or even worse kill them? If so, what should I do with the plate corals? Would it be safe to put in one of my display tanks? I don't think it would be but you know more than I do about the transfer of ich and fish/corals than I do so let me know what you think. I always QT everything and this coral was undergoing QT when I put the fish in with it. Thanks, Jeff
02/20/2006, 06:06 AM
Inverts can't handle the hyposalinity. Living corals will usually die and that will create a big problem in the QT.
Transferring the plate coral to the display may bring with it (in the water or attached to the coral) the MI parasite. BUT, that is okay IF your display is fishless. If your display is MI free and contains fish, then you don't want to do that.
Take the coral and put it into another small aquarium or plastic container. Provide the coral with proper light, water quality, and food, but keep it in quarantine at least 6 weeks, preferably 8.
02/20/2006, 06:34 AM
Is it possible to have MI in a tank, with the fish infested, but absolutely no outwards signs? Reason I ask is that a few of our fish (queen angel, radiant wrasse, and a bird nose wrasse) all play this game of follow the leader where they will swim in a line and then buffet themselves in the sand one after another.
We have never seen any sign of ich, all the fish are healthy, eat well, and any new additions get QT. I am wondering are they exhibiting this behavior because they are uncomfortable, or infested, and we do not know it?
02/20/2006, 10:13 AM
MI prefers to infest the gills. -- Out of sight. But it isn't likely to stay there in a closed aquarium. It would spread and fairly soon show itself.
If by 'buffet' you mean flashing, or scratching. . .fish do this now and then. If it occurs too frequently, there is most likely something irritating their gill. These irritants include water quality issues, bacterial, and/or (not only) disease.
How much is too much? Good question. I guess I have my own standards that I go by. If my fish flashes more than 4 times in an hour, then something is suspect. When the fish flashes more than 4 times in 15 minutes, there definitely is a problem.
02/21/2006, 05:45 PM
Leebca, so over the last 2 or 3 days I have brought my SG down from 1.027 to 1.021 by changing about 1-2 gallons of water a day and replacing with fresh RO/DI. Is this too fast of a drop or should I be dropping it faster to get down to 1.009-1.015 with a ppt of 11? The copperband only has a few salt spots on his tail and the 6 line has only one on his right wing. Looking better. Have been vacuuming the bottom of alot of the detritus that has accumulated over the last several months.
02/21/2006, 08:23 PM
The lowering of the salinity can be done fairly quickly. It needs take no more than 3 days. When it comes time to raise, that is when you want to go slowly.
Sounds like you're on the right track. :thumbsup:
02/21/2006, 08:26 PM
OK. Will change out a few gallons at a time then. This is the most water changes my QT has ever seen and the cleanest it's been in a long time. Thanks, Jeff
Can you please describe how ich physically look on the infected fish. I have seen lot of photos of largely infected fish but what does a miled infection looks like. I have posted a help trend earlier about a Blue Tang - Paracanthurus hepatus. She stayed at the LFS for 3 weeks to make sure she was healthy. No signs of ich and good color. So I brought her home performed a 15 minute fresh water dip mixed with Methylene Blue. Placed her in a 5 gal hospital hyposalinity with Seachem Cupramine Copper at about 15-20 mg/l. I perform daily RO water change 25-50% depending tank condition. Tank is bare bottom, with heater couple PVC'c and Penguin BIO-Wheel Power Filter minus carbon filter. She has been in the tank for 15 days. She is very shy but eating very well. This morning I woke her up to feed her and I saw some small white spots behind her eye and one in her mid section it looked like a scratch or missing scale it does not stick out like salt crystal. I am puzzled after all this time in quarantine is it possible of this being Ich? This afternoon feeding time the dots where not as prominent. She is not rubbing or itching. I need your opinion on what could these dots be? And need clarification on how does ich physically look on the skin. Please help I donâ€™t want to keep her there more than I have to.
02/21/2006, 09:05 PM
Good question. Sometimes I wonder if one spot could be ich. But hypo and copper both at the same time in a five gallon? You have to be very careful about the water. Did I read that right?
02/22/2006, 06:24 AM
Unfortunately, it only takes one visible spot to make the infection. The problem is what you don't see (in the gills) or have missed in other places on the fish.
There are other conditions and diseases which cause aberrations on the surface of the fish. Then, like you wrote, there are also possibilities of injury. There is no 'black-and-white' call, in my opinion. But, that is the reason for the quarantine. You are there to observe the fish for no less than 6 weeks.
Then, your fish could be reacting to the treatment/medication. 15-20 mg/l is 15-20 ppm. My Cupramine bottle says to hold the concentration between 0.5 and 0.6 ppm. So I would question whether or not you were medicating properly and that you were using the Seachem copper test kit to control the copper content. You indicated the fish in QT has been there 15 days, so I assume the treatment is over? You have removed the copper from the QT?
Like some chemicals can 'burn' people, there are those chemicals that harm a fish's surface. Such a small quarantine tank (QT) is not too good. Water quality control can be a problem. Even a small increase in ammonia (like right after feeding) can overwhelm the bio-system temporarily. This will expose the fish to varying levels of ammonia and nitrites, of which you might not even be aware. So part of what you my be seeing could also be a reaction to short-lived excursions in water quality
Regarding Marine Ich and time. . .Like I've written before, you are never sure your fish doesn't have MI until after observing it for 6 weeks. The MI cyst can survive up to 6 weeks before 'getting the urge' to release the infecting, free-swimming Theronts. Even if the fish looks 'clean' at time of purchase, the water it came in or a hidden gill Trophont can still start a disease outbreak --- slowly but surely.
Thank you very much for your reply. As all ways great information. No treatment is not over the fish is still in quarantine tank and is still under SeaCure Copper Treatment medication 2 drops per gal. as indicated on the bottle. I monitor copper levels daily with Fast test as suggested by SeaCure. Copper level has been between .15-20 mostly on the higher side of the 15 of the color chart but not passed 20. I also have a 20 gal pre mixed RO water circulating at 1.009-1.010 specific gravity from which I perform 25 to 50% water daily changes to the hospital tank. Where I am confused and donâ€™t understand is this fish has been in the LFS for 3-4 weeks in their medicate tanks. I accept the fact there are fish going in and out of the tank all the time possibly contaminating the LFS holding tank. Please correct me if I am off base here if the LFS holding tanks are medicated any incoming new MI with fish should be incapacitated by the copper. My basic logic on this issue is MI comes in with the new fish then MI drops from the infected fish to find a new host and gets zapped by copper or by UV.
Second part of the equation is I bring this fish home perform a Methylene Blue dip and place it in a hyposalinity hospital tank with copper and perform water changes. 2.5 weeks down the road I see white spots on the fish while it is in copper. You indicated MI cyst can live up to 6 weeks. During this cyst stage while infecting the gills is copper effective? If it is not effective then we may be back to square one for treatments.
I examined the fish under bright lights and the white spots do not protrude out they are flat to concave by the eye where the black stripe meets. Is MI physically bumps? I donâ€™t want to release her in my display tank at the same time I donâ€™t want to keep her in the hospital tank with copper no more than I have to. I feel like I may be putting this poor fish in unnecessary stress keeping him in the hospital tank for another 6 weeks possibly longer. She may survive the MI but die of stress. I am trying to make an educated decision that hopefully with good out come. Thank you for all the valuable information you provide us.
02/22/2006, 10:48 AM
Sorry Memo. I thought you had posted you used Cupramine. . .I think you're using the SeaCure properly, but it isn't a particularly 'friendly' copper product. I've 'burned' my fish with that one. Anyway. . .
No one will perform a quarantine process as well as the individual aquarist. The LFS is primarily interested in fish that don't appear ill. Whether they harbor disease or not, is not their primary goal. So long as the perception is that their fish are healthy, that is all it takes to sell them. I know this sounds harsh, but. . .they are in business and the LFS is a business. Let's say the LFS was altruistic and really only sold healthy fish. Then wouldn't they provide a guarantee of 10-14 days with provisions on your water quality and tank conditions? Anyway. . .
The point of the above is how do you know that the LFS kept the copper at the right level all the time? You know from what you've written, how important that is. I'm sorry, but I don't trust anyone as much as I trust myself, with test data in hand, and in control. So the LFS keeping a fish for 14+ days doesn't mean that much to me EXCEPT that the fish is eating, appears nourished, looks good, not psycho, looks like it is aware of what's going on (not spaced out) and its surroundings, came through proper or reasonably proper acclimation procedures, etc.
You can be sneaky (like me). I test the water my fish arrive in for a variety of things. Test it for copper and see for yourself what level it is (without telling your LFS). Get water form your LFS tank and tell them it is to test for salinity, pH, etc. (but really test it for copper).
You are absolutely right about the LFS stock coming and going. The fish was NOT held in quarantine -- it was just held while fishes with diseases came and went around it. Your fish was never really separated from those other fishes. What would happen during your treatment if in the middle you added new fish? or kept adding new fish once every 5 days or so? You would never ever finish treating your fish, because the treatment is for 14 days. The LFS isn't too concerned about constant exposure to the copper because he/she hopes to sell the fish within that time frame. If not. . .Another one bites the dust.
So to address your first question. . .You are basically correct. The copper will keep beating up on the free-swimming, infectious Theronts. The other stages of the disease are not affected by copper. While it is on the fish, the fish mucous layer protects the parasite. The probability of you getting a 'clean' fish from your LFS IF he/she maintained therapeutic copper levels is good, but there is a chance, with the coming and going of fishes that your fish picked up a lone parasite that got to the fish before it got killed by the copper, or made it to a UV unit.
Don't put too much faith in what the LFS does in the way of copper treatment. There are dozens of fish ailments, conditions, and diseases. Copper treats only two primary diseases. You don't want the LFS process to reduce or change your quarantine process -- 6 weeks observation in quarantine minimum.
Your dip is good because it can help remove or at least give problems to organisms that affect the fish's gills. The dip can also reduce the chances of Marine Velvet, and potentially give difficulties to any attached micro-worms, etc. to the body. The Methylene Blue will counter some ammonia affects in the transport bag (but likely not much in the case your LFS is close), and provide an easier time for respiration. But that is no guarantee either, especially if any of the LFS water made it to your tank.
MI parasite burrows into the fish and is protected by the mucous membrane. The added complication to this parasite cycle is that a tiny Theront that has burrowed into the fish is not seen by the humane eye. Once that Theront gorges itself and becomes 'pregnant' then we see it. So there is the complication of a fish newly infected, but invisible to us. What we see is usually a raised area the size of a grain of salt, although several Trophonts can appear together to be larger. Some spots may be a bit smaller at they 'grow.' When the fish turns to face you, you would normally see the spots raised from the surface of the fish. But early Trophonts can be very shallow/short/'nonprotruding'.
If you've finished the copper treatment (according to the time) then stop the copper treatment. Watch/observe your fish. If you can, photo it and post it in a new thread for us to look at. What you've described is not normally how MI looks.
You're welcome! And sorry for the lengthy post.
Thanks for the reply. Can you please elaborate on " I've 'burned' my fish with that one" Do I take that as skin burns/rash? Or fish grew wings. You are on the money about LFS. They are there to make money and fish is a commodity that they trade. If copper does not affect all stages of MI I would fear the worst. I was hoping I overly medicated her and gave her a rash ('burned'). I will take some photos tonight. Again thank you so kindly for all the information.
02/22/2006, 05:02 PM
I sometimes exercise my 'dry' humor. Sorry. I have helped fish over to fight evil in another dimension (e.g., died), and I have poisoned fish. The poisoned fish can develop a bad case of septicemia-like symptoms which has the appearance of being scraped or what human children might call a skinned knee appearance.
Remember to post those photos in a new thread. :)
Thanks! I did post the photos under a new trend â€œBlue tang with possible MIâ€
Not much detail on the photos but please let me know what your think.
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