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Unread 10/28/2008, 09:39 PM   #1
WaterKeeper
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Have ICH looky here!!!!!

Alright Newbies, there are just so many times in a day I can cure a case of Ich or Velvet. So to save myself some serious carpal tunnel here is the lowdown.

Ich, Cryptocaryon irritans, and Velvet, Amyloodinium ocellatum, are two parasitic organisms, one a ciliated protozoa the other a dinoflagellate, that infect marine fish. Ich manifests itself in the tissue of fish and the infected fish becomes covered with white spot, about the size of the head of a pin or smaller. Velvet often remains unseen until the latter stages when a thin, white film, often called the "Vail of Death" forms over the fish's body. Infected fish dash around the tank, rubbing on the rockwork and, in latter stages, gulp air from the tank surface and refuse food. This behavior takes place as the fish's gills are attacked by the parasite and the fish is unable to breathe properly. It eventually leads to death if not treated in a timely manner.

Both have a staged life cycle that involves a cyst stage, a free swimming stage and a feeding stage where they attack the host fish. They are both obligate parasites and do not survive if a host fish is not present. Their life cycle is usually complete in a six week period with a tank temperature of 80°F. Lower temperatures prolong the life cycle while high temperatures shorten it. The main vector for introduction into a aquarist's tank is by adding an already infected fish.

Once identified it must be treated in a timely fashion as, once outward signs of the disease are noticed, the infection progresses rapidly. The fish should be isolated in a hospital tank. That is a bare tank with circulation provided by powerheads or hang on the tank filters. A heater should be used and set for 82°F, the slightly higher temperature speeding the life cycle. Do not go too high as breathing is difficult for a diseased fish and high temperature lowers dissolved oxygen. It is best to use water from the main tank. Water quality is maintained through the isolation period by fairly large daily water changes on the order of 20% each day. ALL exposed fish should be treated but invertebrates are not attacked by these parasites and may be left in the display.

There are three proven ways to treat the disease. Copper is a biocide to both and copper containing medications are readily available. Formalin, a dilute solution of formaldehyde, is used as a daily dip and again is available at most pet supply houses. Hyposalinity, relies on osmotic shock, the organism cannot maintain proper inner cell pressure when exposed to lower saline content. It requires no medication and only needs a supply of RO/DI water.

Here are the procedures-Do Not combine treatments. Use only one!

Copper

To use copper, get a copper ich medication and a copper test kit from the LFS. Fill the tank with water from the display and warm to 82°F. If using a HOB filter for circulation, run it without filter media as that can remove the copper. Add the proper amount of copper solution according to the package dosing direction. After it is mixed check the copper level; it should be between 0.2 and .25 ppm. If low, add more medication, if high, remove some water and replace with water from the display. Now add the infected fish.

Make up some saltwater mix and add the proper dose of copper using your test kit to insure accuracy. With this solution you will replace 20% of the hospital tank water each day. This keeps nitrogen levels under control during the treatment period. Every day check the copper level and adjust to the proper 0.2-0.25 range if needed. You do this for a full month then you can stop the copper additions. Observe the fish in the hospital tank for another two weeks to make sure they are parasite free and then return them to the display.


Formalin Diptaken form a thread recently posted by Urchinhead

Quote:
Originally posted by Urchinhead

What you will need to do is setup a QT tank that is large enough to support all of the fish you presently have regardless of symptoms. Attach the UV sterilizer to this tank after giving it a good flushing with hypo salinity RO water. Do not use anything from your infected tank in the QT tank.

Next take all of your fish out of the tank and give each one a Formalin dip (I am partial to Formalin but there are other things you can use) using a 5ml to 1L ratio solution of salt water for 5 minutes. Monitor the fish and remove if it appears to be having problems.

Next put the fish in the QT tank and repeat dips every three to four days for about 10 days.

Keep the fish in the QT tank for a total of 6 to 8 weeks and run the main tank fallow. This means no fish in it but inverts and corals are fine.

After you are sure you are symptom free on all fish (and you should be) reintroduce the fish to the main tank.
Editors Note- The UV filter is needed in this method as it is a dip method and the hospital tank water is not medicated. If a UV is out of your budget then a canister filter with a 2 micron or less polishing filter will also serve to remove any pathogens in the water column.


Hyposalinity--used for Ich not Velvet

Caution-a refractometer or lab quality hydrometer must be used in this method!

In hyposalinity the normal salt content of the tank is reduced by over half, that is from normal 35 ppt to 16 ppt, which corresponds to a specific gravity of 1.009. The treatment is done in stages. On day one RO/DI is used to replace hospital tank water till specific gravity falls to 1.022, day two it is reduced to 1.018, day three 1.014, day four to 1.009. This last salinity is very important. If even .001 unit high the ich can survive and if too low the fish can be harmed. That is the reason a refractometer is used. Once the specific gravity is down it is wise to make a batch of saltwater up that has a salinity of 1.009. This is used for daily water changes to reduce the chance of ammonia or nitrate buildup during treatment. The low salinity is maintained for a month. The salinity is then increased, but even slower. Raise it 0.002 units each day until 1.026 is again reached. Once at normal salinity the fish may be returned to the display.

Those are the three proven methods.

There is a forth method that I'm told by experienced reefkeepers is also effective. I placed it in the experimental category as there are not enough reports to completely show that it consistently works. Submitted by MotherFish, here is that method-

Tank Transfer Method

This method is an all natural alternative to the use of chemical treatments or hyposalinity. The Tank Transfer Method breaks the parasite's life cycle at the stage when it has left the host fish, and encysted on the substrate to multiply. Preventing reinfection is accomplished by removing the fish to a second quarantine tank before the cysts can hatch.

The basic requirements are two tanks, two sets of PVC for hiding spots, an airpump, and two sets of tubing and airstones for aeration. Additional equipment may include a heater for cooler climates, and a tight fitting lid to prevent jumpers.

Important: Anything that has been used in one tank must be completely dried before being used in the other tank, including heaters and dip nets.

Begin by filling the first tank with water from the display, the airpump/airstone, and one set of PVC. Acclimate the fish to the tank. The fish should be kept in the first tank for 3 days. After 3 days setup the second tank with water from the display, the second set of PVC, and a fresh airstone and tubing. Transfer the fish from the first tank to the second tank. Empty the first tank and allow it, the PVC, and the airstone to dry for the next 3 days which will kill any encysted Ich. Repeat the procedure every 3 days for a total of 4 transfers. Since the parasite only attaches and feeds on the fish for three to seven days before dropping off, the fish should be completely free of cryptocaryon by the fourth transfer. So long as no other health issues are observed during quarantine, the fifth and final transfer is to the display.

Because biological filtration is not practical with this method, an ammonia detoxifier (AmQuel, Ammo-Lock, Amguard, etc.) and/or partial water changes should be used to combat build-up from feeding and waste. Additionally, since there are no chemical treatments that could be affected, disposable carbon filtration may also be used with the understanding that nothing must be used on both tanks that hasn't been completely dried first.

Tip: Before using a net to transfer the fish between tanks, dip the net in a solution of tankwater and StressCoat to coat the net, and help reduce the chance of abrasion.

There is a fifth proven method, not usually mentioned. Called the dieoff method all the fish in the tank are allowed to succume to ich or velvet leaving a barren tank that can't have fish in it for 6 weeks. It is a sad method but will happen if the treatment of sick fish is not started as soon as disease is noticed.

Here are some remedies more in these articles by Steve Pro

Ich Part 1
Ich Part 2
Velvet

But the best method is not to get it in the first place; you darn Newbie

Preventing Disease


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Last edited by WaterKeeper; 04/13/2009 at 09:16 AM.
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Unread 10/28/2008, 10:01 PM   #2
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SWEET FIRST POST




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Unread 10/29/2008, 12:05 AM   #3
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thanks for the information tom, i hope i never need it but know where to look if i do


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Unread 10/29/2008, 11:35 AM   #4
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That should eliminate about 10 threads a day lol! Yay WaterKeeper!


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Unread 10/29/2008, 01:07 PM   #5
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Oh, how I wish.


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"Leading the information hungry reefer down the road to starvation"

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Unread 10/30/2008, 03:46 PM   #6
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Great thread idea Tom

Here are some other links:

Pau B's method:

http://www.reefcentral.com/wp/?p=283

An Ich primer
has about twenty links to other threads on RC

http://www.reefcentral.com/wp/?p=286

using a quarantine tank

http://www.reefcentral.com/wp/?p=256


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Unread 10/30/2008, 06:11 PM   #7
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Please tell me this is a "sticky" and will stay at the top of the forum... Thank you Waterkeeper!


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Unread 10/30/2008, 07:49 PM   #8
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Used Super Glue Gel.


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"Leading the information hungry reefer down the road to starvation"

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Unread 10/31/2008, 07:53 PM   #9
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Please give me some advice

I had my 120G set up for a year and recently has an ich outbreak. I'm trying to figure out the best approach to do this and would like some guidance and advices. Live stock includes a hippo tank, a bellus angel, 2 ocellaris clowns, a green mandarin and a couple spotted cardinalfish.

I'm setting up a 40G hospital tank for copper. The 2 clowns, 2 cardinals, and the mandarin seem uneffected by the outbreak but after all the reading/research, I'd like to quarantine them anway.

My question is what should I do with the mandarin? He takes frozen mysis. The bellus has an open wound/cut around the mouth. Is she going to be okay in copper for 4 weeks? And how long should I acclimate them for the copper tank?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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Unread 10/31/2008, 09:36 PM   #10
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Re: Please give me some advice

Quote:
Originally posted by twinturbodevil
I had my 120G set up for a year and recently has an ich outbreak. I'm trying to figure out the best approach to do this and would like some guidance and advices. Live stock includes a hippo tank, a bellus angel, 2 ocellaris clowns, a green mandarin and a couple spotted cardinalfish.

I'm setting up a 40G hospital tank for copper. The 2 clowns, 2 cardinals, and the mandarin seem uneffected by the outbreak but after all the reading/research, I'd like to quarantine them anway.

My question is what should I do with the mandarin? He takes frozen mysis. The bellus has an open wound/cut around the mouth. Is she going to be okay in copper for 4 weeks? And how long should I acclimate them for the copper tank?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

To Reef Central

It is a good idea to take the fish out and quarantine them.
IMO I would use hyposalination for 4-6 weeks.
In the mean time the display tank can remain fishless for the six weeks to ensure that the ich has been removed from the display tank at the same time.
Hyposalination is easier to tolerate for some tangs.

How big is the hypo--perhaps it should have its own qt for filtration purposes?


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Unread 10/31/2008, 11:52 PM   #11
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Re: Re: Please give me some advice

Quote:
Originally posted by capn_hylinur

To Reef Central

It is a good idea to take the fish out and quarantine them.
IMO I would use hyposalination for 4-6 weeks.
In the mean time the display tank can remain fishless for the six weeks to ensure that the ich has been removed from the display tank at the same time.
Hyposalination is easier to tolerate for some tangs.

Thanks capn,
I'm going to use the 40G for the purpose of quarantine those fish. I hope it's big enough for 7 fish during the 6 week treatment period.

Quote:

How big is the hypo--perhaps it should have its own qt for filtration purposes? [/B]
Do you mean that I should get another smaller tank to set up a sump/skimmer for the QT?


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Unread 11/01/2008, 06:39 AM   #12
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Waterkeeper, as of this morning this thread has been read 380 times You have performed a great service! But don't let it go to your head....


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Unread 11/01/2008, 08:57 AM   #13
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As of this morning their have been about 380 threads asking how to treat ich on the NTTH forum since I posted this.

twinturbodevil,

It is unusual for a Mandy to contract ich but that is not to say it never happens and I would assume they can carry the disease without showing outward signs. Be it copper or hypo all fish should be treated if one has ich. It keeps you from repeating the process over and over. If that wound gets infected you can add antibiotic to the H-tank but I won't unless it gets worse.


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Unread 11/01/2008, 03:25 PM   #14
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Re: Re: Re: Please give me some advice

Quote:
Originally posted by twinturbodevil
Thanks capn,
I'm going to use the 40G for the purpose of quarantine those fish. I hope it's big enough for 7 fish during the 6 week treatment period.



Do you mean that I should get another smaller tank to set up a sump/skimmer for the QT?
sorry--typo--I meant to ask how big the hippo tang was

if you are going to use hyposalination then you can throw a couple of live rocks from the display tank in there. The bacteria will die back but recyle quickly when the salinity is back to 1.026

Waterkeeper I did a search this morning--there are only 379 threads


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Unread 11/09/2008, 09:16 PM   #15
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"new all natural ich/fungus cure"

I just found some stuff at PetCo of all places...i then found the same stuff at a LFS later but that was after the point.

i found ich on my fish...dont know what stressed them but there it was. So being desperate like i was and knowing the closest LFS that had real ich meds was over an hour away i bought and tried this "organic" ich treatment.

Now this stuff stinks...i mean it. It smells like someone took a some of every spice in the world and made tea from it then let it partially rot. it promises all over the bottle that it is all natural and organic.

It says on the bottle that it is safe for all types of aquariums fresh/marine including reef tanks. So i put it in the tank at the recommended dose for 3 days and amazingly enough the ich is gone. The bottle says keep treating for 7 days so i keep up the dose. I then noticed 1 clear day and then a very small amount of the ich was back then the next day gone again and i havent seen any ich in 4 days since the treatment was over.

This stuff is in an orange bottle but im not going to name it here beause i dont want ppl to think this is an add for the stuff. If anyone cant find it and wants to know what it is they can pm me.

The only thing i noticed was my GBTA would shrival up right after i put it in but would always come back out about 2 or 3 hours after i treated. it looks healthy and is eating normally so im thinking it is ok and just didnt like the "taste" of the stuff. Everything else looks and acts perfectly normal and my mushrooms actually look more healthy than they did right before i started treating for the ich.


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Unread 11/09/2008, 09:34 PM   #16
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Re: "new all natural ich/fungus cure"

Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Turtle
I just found some stuff at PetCo of all places...i then found the same stuff at a LFS later but that was after the point.

i found ich on my fish...dont know what stressed them but there it was. So being desperate like i was and knowing the closest LFS that had real ich meds was over an hour away i bought and tried this "organic" ich treatment.

Now this stuff stinks...i mean it. It smells like someone took a some of every spice in the world and made tea from it then let it partially rot. it promises all over the bottle that it is all natural and organic.

It says on the bottle that it is safe for all types of aquariums fresh/marine including reef tanks. So i put it in the tank at the recommended dose for 3 days and amazingly enough the ich is gone. The bottle says keep treating for 7 days so i keep up the dose. I then noticed 1 clear day and then a very small amount of the ich was back then the next day gone again and i havent seen any ich in 4 days since the treatment was over.

This stuff is in an orange bottle but im not going to name it here beause i dont want ppl to think this is an add for the stuff. If anyone cant find it and wants to know what it is they can pm me.

The only thing i noticed was my GBTA would shrival up right after i put it in but would always come back out about 2 or 3 hours after i treated. it looks healthy and is eating normally so im thinking it is ok and just didnt like the "taste" of the stuff. Everything else looks and acts perfectly normal and my mushrooms actually look more healthy than they did right before i started treating for the ich.
Mr. Turtle please read the first post again by waterkeeper

"There are three proven ways to treat the disease. Copper is a biocide to both and copper containing medications are readily available. Formalin, a dilute solution of formaldehyde, is used as a daily dip and again is available at most pet supply houses. Hyposalinity, relies on osmotic shock, the organism cannot maintain proper inner cell pressure when exposed to lower saline content. It requires no medication and only needs a supply of RO/DI water."

try to stay away from "Snake Oil" products and go with the basics--you will be better off in the long run and have more money in your pocket for the fun stuff in this hobby




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Unread 11/14/2008, 11:20 PM   #17
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Ok so my problem a fish went into my tank about 4 hours ago. Now after getting a closer look at him in the lights and what have you, he appears to have this ich. Is it too late for all my fish, I dont have a quarinteen tank, just main tank. If it is too late for my other fish should i do the hospital tank in my main? should I be treating all fish? should I do a water change in the main? is the water infected? OMG what should I do, like I said he was put in 4 hrs ago? Am I screwed? thanks


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Unread 11/14/2008, 11:25 PM   #18
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sorry--yes--you have introduced ich to your display tank.

Remove the suspect fish and put him in the qt immediately for observation.

Watch the other fish in your main tank for 12-14 days. If some ich was introduced they may have built up immunity systems that can fight off the ich without being quarantined.

If it does start to spread in the display tank then all the fish will have to be removed and quarantined
The display tank will have to remain fishless for 6-8 weeks to irradicate the ich

But lets not panic yet--remove the one fish and observe closely the other fish.


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Unread 11/23/2008, 07:16 AM   #19
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Great post. One Question--

For those of us with larger reef tanks and tons of rockwork it can be impossible, or nearly so to catch and QT all of the fish. None of the proven methods can be done in a reef tank. Are there any methods that actually work for treating the display tank and don't kill corals? IME the methods that claim to do so are not reliable. They either do nothing for the ich or can actually kill some of the corals, despite claims to the contrary.

Any advice? (Besides of course prevention which takes patience, sigh!)

Thanks!


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Unread 11/23/2008, 02:47 PM   #20
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Hi Ms. Swizzle,

Unfortunately, no proven methods that I know of. Steve Pro talks about several methods in that series of articles I linked to in the top of this thread. People report having luck using garlic, ginger and various herbs that are OK to add to the display but there is no hard evidence that any work with any efficacy. Sure, people say vitamin C will cure a cold but studies show it is no more effective than eating chicken soup or drinking herbal tea.

Just a while back there was this Thread on catching fish and in it a link to a Calfo thread The Drain Method. It may help in the capture of elusive fish

To be sure to eradicate ich, capture and treatment in a hospital tank, is by far the best bet.

Sorry.


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Unread 11/23/2008, 04:38 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by monicaswizzle
Great post. One Question--

For those of us with larger reef tanks and tons of rockwork it can be impossible, or nearly so to catch and QT all of the fish. None of the proven methods can be done in a reef tank. Are there any methods that actually work for treating the display tank and don't kill corals? IME the methods that claim to do so are not reliable. They either do nothing for the ich or can actually kill some of the corals, despite claims to the contrary.

Any advice? (Besides of course prevention which takes patience, sigh!)

Thanks!
this is why it is so important to qt every fish you purchase--even more important with large tanks.
for the fish that are in there --through use of vitamens, healthy nutrition, garlic ect then you can build up their immunity to ich over a long period which will allow them to deal with any ich themselves in a natural way.

note: there is no total immunity to ich but there are ways to build up a tolerance to it.


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Unread 11/23/2008, 05:23 PM   #22
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Thanks for the responses which confirm what I have learned the hard way. Too bad there isn't a reef safe method that has predictable and satisfactory results.

I do QT all of my fish and actually always have (unless they are the first fish into a tank). Unfortunately it is easy to yield to the temptation to cut the QT short after a couple of good weeks. In my freshwater tanks that never really has caused big problems. In salt I not only advocate QT of all fish, but a minimum of four and better six weeks.

Now, if I could only remember why that is so important next time a fish is looking good in QT and the QT tank is seeming a little harder for "the fish" than having it in my nice big display tank would be ....

Oh well, live and learn.


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Unread 11/23/2008, 06:27 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by monicaswizzle
Thanks for the responses which confirm what I have learned the hard way. Too bad there isn't a reef safe method that has predictable and satisfactory results.
The preferred method that comes as close to reef safe as you can get is to:
quarantine all fish purchases for 4-6 weeks
dip all coral purchases

on going feed your fish a well balanced diet.

eliminate stress on your fish as best you can


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Unread 11/25/2008, 07:28 PM   #24
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Hey guys, Im pretty much a N00B when in comes to reef tanks though I have had many trigger tanks. My question is I just set up a tank three weeks ago and purchase 90 percent of my live rock (100lbs) from a very well established tank that someone was breaking down. When I purchased the rock he also gave me 2 free clowns and a cleaner shrimp which I really didnt wanna take but the fish had no where else to go. Some of the live rock had small mushrooms but thats it. Anyhow, 3 weeks into the setup the fish were fine so I picked up a yellow tang and and about a week later (today) the fish are showing the early signs of Ich. (Dashing around and rock rubbing) I have a 30 gallon but is not set up that I can probably use for a hospital tank but now Im concerned that a fresh hospital setup might not be good either. What should I do? From the information above, it seems that if I lose the fish and dont put anything else in the tank for two months I can be safe!

Basically it boils down to me obviously being concerned about the fish but also about the fortune I just put out on the rock, refugium, and lighting. Wife will ring my neck if I have to break this down and set it back up as I'm having a baby in 2 months and am lucky she finally let me piece this together!

I have already learned enough from this thread that a hospital tank is basically a need and will be set up ASAP but correct me if Im wrong that filling a tank tomorrow and dropping the fish in that day isn't a good idea.....

Also, all the fish are currently doing is the rock rubbing and erratic darting (mostly the tang). No hazy eyes or specs of any kind!


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Unread 11/27/2008, 10:34 AM   #25
sufunk
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Davie, Florida
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I think it's a little off for you guys to be telling newbies that they "must" and "immediately" get any fish with ich into quarantine and hypo. That is NOT the case many times and with good food and good water, the fish will fight off ich on their own most times. As long as the fish are still eating well, hypo is definitely NOT a "must"! Ich is not the death sentence you guys are making it to be most times.

Hyposalinity is a very difficult procedure that has to be monitored very closely. Thats a little much for a lot of newbies. I've had my share of ich outbreaks and almost all of them were from neglecting water changes and having ammonia in the tank. The fish always kept eating and i got the water back in check. They fought off the ich and it disappeared.

Yes, i know it is still in my system but as long as my water quality is high, they do not get ich. This can be done in ALOT of cases where you guys are telling people to tear their tanks apart and do a hypo which can be as or more stressful to the fish. As long as fish are eating, there is no reason to FREAK OUT and do hypo until they stop eating, imo and ime. I have bought 4 tangs in my 4 years in the hobby and all 4 are still healthy, happy and ALIVE despite their very infrequent bouts with ich and i have NEVER done hypo.

Their is a reefsafe fix for your ich, it's good food and good water!


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Current Tank Info: 36g reef and 180g reef, 3x250w Phoenix 14k MH's and 8x39w T-5's, 2 Tunze 6100's with 7095 controller, 2 Koralia 3's, ASM-G3 skimmer, mag-12 return, eco systems sump/fuge
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