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FAQs on Freshwater Ich, White Spot Disease 5

Related Articles: Freshwater DiseasesIch/White Spot Disease, Choose Your Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options by Neale Monks, Formalin/Formaldehyde, Malachite Green, FW Disease Troubleshooting,

Related FAQs: FW Ich 1, FW Ich 2, FW Ich 3, FW Ich 4, FW Ich 6, FW Ich 7, & FAQs on:  FW Ich Causes, Etiology, Diagnosis, Ich Remedies That Work, Phony Ich Remedies That Don't Work, Ich Remedy Sensitive Livestock, Ich Medicines, Ich Cases, & Aquarium MaintenanceFreshwater MedicationsFreshwater Infectious Disease, Freshwater Fish ParasitesAfrican Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid Disease


Re: Resistant Ich  4/11/10
Ich hasn't gotten any better. . . actually, it seems it's gotten worse. .
<Make sure you're following the correct protocol. If you're treating just Guppies (if I recall) then raising the salinity to 5 grammes salt per litre should wipe out Ick and Velvet without the least problem. If you're using a medication of some sort, make sure you're using it correctly, especially with regard to doses, duration, and removal of carbon. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Resistant Ich
Yes, that is exactly what I did. The fish look and behave worse each day.
. . I really don't know what to do at this point.
<Are you sure you have Ick? Ick WILL be killed at 5 g/l salinity. Make sure you're adding the right amount. But Finrot can look similar in the sense of having white specks, and this is bacterial and so won't be affected by salinity. Indeed, severe Ick cases will allow Finrot to become established, and mostly when fish die from Ick, it's actually a secondary infection that killed them. Melafix and other tea-tree oil medications are fairly useless, so get out the Roto-Rooter stuff. Here in England I happen to like eSHa 2000, but in your country there may be other equivalent antibacterial and/or antibiotic medications. Do check everything else in the aquarium is good, especially water quality and water chemistry. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Resistant Ich
Ok. . . since we seem to be delving into what other things it could be other than ich. . . here is a summary of what seems to happen.
<Hmm... not necessarily instead of Ick, but could easily be alongside Ick.>
These white specks, about 1mm seem to attach or "slide" off the fish. When they do attach, it's usually only for a minute or two. I can even visibly see ones that have slid off the fish drift off into the upper areas of the water. No, they don't look like "static" gas or oxygen bubbles on them.
Some can only be seen when the fish are facing me.
<No idea what these might be. Possibly crustacean parasites of some sort.
Try doing seawater dips for 2-20 minutes, i.e., for as long as possible before a fish rolls over or shows other signs of severe distress. Seawater will usually [but not always] cause macroscopic freshwater parasites to be "shocked" off before the host is harmed.>
Other symptoms. . . reddened gills, gill coverings are shiny on some fish and spotted (spots are black/dark green/reddish) on others. Scales seem very slimy, sort of like the colour of thick layers of plastic or sealant;
as best as I can describe it. Eyes on some fish are completely black (even the "ring" around the eye), normal on others. Females tend to bottom sit for long periods until I go to the tank. Occasionally, they're even static in the water, not really moving. They still have an eager appetite. Males are almost always at the very top of the waterline, mouth open just below the waterline. No, no ragged fins or anything. Temp is at 84F. Couldn't tell you about the water chemistry . . . I'm still waiting for the fish store I go to get some more testing products. I'd guess the PH is
somewhat alkaline (rough guess), because of the shells and rocks in the tank.
<Well, "rough guesses" don't necessarily help. Do get the pH and hardness tested. Guppies are somewhat adaptable, but they do need basic, hard water to thrive. The addition of marine salt mix takes care of pH and hardness unless your water is very soft, but plain tonic salt [what is called "aquarium salt"] has no impact on pH or hardness since it's basically just sodium chloride. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Resistant Ich  4/11/10
We use Anglian Water supply here in the UK, and we're in the hard water regions.
I just went to my tank again and one of the males is down on the gravel, idle, breathing very rapidly, and looks like it has some sort of dropsy.
<I'd euthanise. See here for humans vs. inhumane methods:
Could it be internal parasites that's letting the fish be weak against the ich and allowing it to continue?
<Unlikely but possible. The whole "internal parasites" thing is usually raised when inexpert fishkeepers don't have a clue why their fish is sick. It's used as a way to shift blame, I suppose. The reality is that nine times out of ten fish get sick because of external factors. Many wild fish have internal parasites and these don't cause them the least harm. Indeed, you likely have a few, too. But when environmental conditions are poor, one way or another, internal and external parasites can cause problems. Anyway, to say anything sensible I do need to see the fish. Fancy Guppies vary wildly in quality, and yes, they are particularly prone to certain internal parasites, notably Camallanus, though you would know about these. There's also good lab-based evidence that fancy Guppies are less resilient than wild or cross-breed types. So there's a bunch of factors. All you can do is optimise the conditions for the species, purchase the best quality stock, and maintain them within recommended parameters for the species. Cheers, Neale.>

Treating Ick in a Community Tank   3/12/10
Hi Crew,
I'm hoping you can help. I am leaving for a 6-day trip in a few days, and have a friend who is going to care for my fish. In preparation for the trip, I cleaned my tank, filter, and did my weekly 25% water change.
I checked over each fish and they all look fine...except for one of my swordtails. Her tail and fins have numerous white spots, which I can only assume is Ick! The fins/tail are also ragged. There is no flashing, and the fish is still eating well.
None of the other fish have any symptoms - no flashing, hiding, white spots or ragged fins.
I have isolated the affected fish in a 5 gallon hospital tank
<All have to be treated... the system itself is infested>
and am treating the rot with Mela/Pimafix
<Worthless... see WWM re my opinion re this tea extract... If you were sick w/ something that might well kill you, would you administer Lipton?>
- this is all that I have on hand tonight. I have nothing on hand for the Ick tonight. I will also increase the temperature,
and will buy some salt in the morning.
Even though the main tank has no symptoms, do you suggest I treat it as well?
<I might, yes>
If so, I am concerned about the increased temp, salt (and potential medicine if you recommend any) on my more sensitive fish. Here is what I have:
Dwarf Gourami
Tetras (black phantom and red phantoms)
Various Cory cats (elegans, peppered, and a third kind I can't identify)
Oto cats
Pond snail
<Oh... the Tetras, Otocinclus, and esp. the snail, do NOT "like" ich medications>
My biggest concern is the effects of salt and high temp on the cories, Farlowella and Oto cats (as well as the snails). And if I end up needing medicine, is there one that is safe for all these species that inhabit the main tank (I live in Canada and can't always locate the brands used only in the U.S. or other countries).
Thank you so much for your time!
<I would just go with elevated temperature here... the mid 80 F. range... raised immediately, and left there till after you come back; then lowered slowly per here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwichremedyyes.htm
Bob Fenner>

Ich. Sm., FW...    3/7/10
To whom it may concern,
I have recently in the last 3 weeks set up a 10 gallon tank.
<10 gallon tanks are very bad choices for beginners. Do read here:
Stocking them is difficult.>
I am a beginner at this, so I was just adding fish when I pleased. I have 2 platys, 1 molly, and an algae eater at this point in time.
<None of these are viable in a 10 gallon tank. Moreover, Platies need cooler water (around 24 C/75 F) than Mollies (around 28-30 C/82-86F).
Platies are true freshwater fish, whereas Mollies tend to do best given slightly brackish conditions. Mollies are certainly much more sensitive fish and don't tolerate ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate.
Your "algae eater" could be anything, but my guess is that it's either Pterygoplichthys pardalis -- a species that gets to 45 cm/18 inches in a year or so -- or else Gyrinocheilus aymonieri -- a species that gets almost as big, but is massively aggressive and causes all sorts of problems.>
The 2 platys, are covered with ich, which I just discovered what it was. I noticed spots on them within the last week but I don't remember specifically how long its been. The molly has probably 4 total now which before had none and I cannot really tell with the algae eater. I started treatment today with Rid Ick +, I'm going to use it everyday and change partial water everyday for I place the Rid Ick + in.
I also plan on purchasing plain Epsom salt tomorrow to help with things.
<How will that help?>
I am really paranoid now about the ich; my 2 platys just lay on the bottom now under the coral on inside one of the decorations- I don't know if I caught it too late or this is common of fish with ich.
<Ick certainly will damage the gills, making it difficult for fish to breathe. Non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels are also likely to cause symptoms like these (and will kill them eventually).>
I just want them to survive so I can get them back to normal living with the ich gone. Also, I don't know how I can quarantine new fish when the time is right because I do not have another tank for this. What can I do primarily to ensure I wont have another major outbreak again?
<The only way to stop Ick getting into a tank is to quarantine new livestock. Otherwise, any time you buy new fish, you run the risk. Pure and simple. The exception is a brackish water system, which would be ideal for Mollies (but not the other two species) since Ick can't live in brackish water. But a 10 gallon tank is far too small for Mollies.>
Please help me with anything and everything you know; I am very concerned for these fish and their health and future fish and preventing it from happening again.
<I'm glad you're concerned, but you also need to do some reading. I fear you've simply set up the tank, added a bunch of fish at once (without researching their needs) and hoped for the best.>
Thank you!!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re Ich again. FW...   3/8/10
To whom it may concern, I emailed you the other today concerning ich.
Since then my fish have passed unfortunately besides one; my black molly still appears to be perfectly healthy with no visible spots.
<I see.>
Today is day 3 of treatment.
<Does take longer that this. Ick medication (or salt in the water) only works when the Ick cysts burst, and the only way to speed this up is to raise the water temperature, with 28-30 C being recommended for tropical fish.>
I know the only time to kill ich is when it falls off the fish, to reproduce again. I am wondering if a) I should completely remove the molly and the water it is in and do a complete water change or b) continue to treat the tank where the infestation occurred with the molly still living in there?
<Treat the tank, with all fish in place.>
I am unsure how I will know if I have rid the molly from the initial infestation and when I can place him back in the initial tank with everything clean (gravel, plants decorations, water, tank).
<You won't be able to clean the tank thoroughly enough to remove every Ick parasite. In any case, proper use of medication or salt will kill all the free-living stages, so Ick won't be in the system any more. This is why Ick reappears when you buy new fish and don't quarantine them: it needs a way into an Ick-free aquarium.>
I know when getting new fish to quarantine now, but since the molly is in the tank by himself getting treatment will he be safe in the coming days to just completely start over and place him in there?--- ( I hope this isn't too confusing, I know what I am thinking and want to ask but do not know how to word it) On the other hand, I am wondering the best way to clean the stuff that was inside the tank without soap or chemicals ...just hot water and soaking?
Also, on the top suction cup of my heater for the pas two days, I'm guessing its the ich? but salt like spots are behind it...would that be the ich itself?
<The free living stages are invisible. You can't see them. They can survive for hours on any wet object, like a net or bucket.>
If so could I use that as a reference if I leave the molly in the same tank as he is now to judge when the ich may have become controlled and treat a few days after I dont see those spots anymore?
<Don't really understand what you're asking here.>
I know this is a lot and my wording may have not been the best, so I hope you understand what I am trying to ask/say.
I just want to get this molly safe so he doesn't contaminate when I start fresh, and I am unsure how I go about knowing or when I will know.
<Ick gets into the tank with new fish. If you treat your aquarium properly with medication or salt, you break the parasite's life cycle, and it is eliminated *until* you add new, infected fish. For what it's worth, if you keep Mollies in brackish water, Ick won't happen, ever. Ick cannot live in brackish water.>
Thank you in advance for your help, Sarah
<Cheers, Neale.>

Ich - Need advice on treatment -- 03/05/10
Hello WWM Crew,
I first apologize for the long issue I am about to get into, but I know that details help when someone else is looking for information. So here we go.
I had a recent ich outbreak in my 55 gallon due to a PH hike. The host (red spotted Severum), and two other fish (2 wild Rotties) showed a spot or two.
I cranked the heat to 86 (this didn't affect the fish), added aquarium salt to the tank, and used Super Ick Cure (API) for one week.
<Mmm, the temperature alone should have effected a cure here... Do check your thermometer for accuracy, consider raising to 88 F>
I read that formalin was toxic so that is the only reason why I did not use Quick Cure initially.
Some of my ID sharks had red bleeding fins and a grey slime on them during this treatment so I used Maracyn and Maracyn for secondary bacterial infection. After one week of this, I saw no improvement. So I did a 30% water change, removed the medication via carbon and left the tank alone for 2 days while monitoring the fish. Rapid improvement in the sharks, the bleeding fins healed, the slime was going away and the fish were back to normal. Except, the Rotties still had a spot or two and the Severum had what looked like more spots, just less noticeable.
My water parameters were still good, PH =7.4, Ammo=0, Nitrite = 0, Nitrate = 5.0. I started medicating again but this time with Quick Cure. I have used this before with success when I had to use with the Maracyns together.
Anyway, after one treatment, the Rotties spots fell off but the Severum still had Ick. I continued treating the 55 for another week with Quick Cure and replaced aquarium salt when doing water changes. Then a did a 25% water change, added carbon to the tank and moved the Severum to a 10 gallon that I had running with an established BioWheel running on it. Parameters were similar on both tanks so the move went well.
The fish in the 55 gallon recovered from the 2nd week of medication. All slime disappeared off the sharks, their fins healed 100%, the Rotties were not showing any spots, but I continued to check all fish daily. Since the fish were not affected by the heater at 86, I left it alone. I have (2) 350 Penguins with 4 BioWheels on this tank. Since I had two other healthy tanks with BioWheels, I decided to keep all 4 BioWheels running on the tank during medication. Should I have removed them? Despite this, my parameters remained at PH =7.4, Ammo=0, Nitrite = 0, Nitrate = 5.0.
The Severum in the 10 was eating and lively but still had Ick, even though I was still treating him with Quick Cure. The tank showed ammo at .25 so I did a water change. I did some research on stubborn ich and called National Fish Pharmaceuticals and bought quinine sulfate to treat the ich.
Before the order came, nitrites in the 10 went to .25. The Severum seemed fine though. While this is going on, in the 55 gallon, a found a new Ick spot on one of Rotties.
<One spot? I wouldn't be so sure this is Ich>
When the medication arrived, I took the Severum out of the 10 gallon, put him back in the 55 gallon with the others. I started medicating the entire 55 gallon tank with the quinine sulfate (using 1/4 tsp per 10 gallon). NFP suggested I medicate once and leave in tank for 7 days with no water changes.
It is now day 3 since I started the treatment and all the fish are well, eating and lively. However, the Severum still has spots on his tail and the spot on the Rotty has gotten bigger and more noticeable on him.
<These spots could just be mucus... not parasitic>
The temp has been lowered recently to 84 degrees and this was done simply by moving my heater. The thermostat is actually set on the heater to 84 degrees but would always register at 86 in the horizontal position in the tank.
I am tempted to do a water change today, maybe 25%, and add a new dose to the tank but am unsure as to how much would be appropriate.
<I would not re-dose either with Quinine or the Formalin-containing product>
I have read through your entire quinine sulfate section but every situation is different. I would appreciate any suggestions you have for mine.
<I'd just be patient for days, a week here... Re-raise the temp. (to 88 F) if the more than the spots show evidence of parasitic infestation. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich - Need advice on treatment -- 03/05/10
Hello Bob,
Thanks for the quick reply. I actually have 2 thermometers on my tanks, one glass and one digital with a probe in the water.
<Ah, excellent>
I check them every morning to make sure they are within range. Both are within 2 degrees of the heater. Regarding the spots, I thought about whether this was actually ich because the temps stayed consistent for 2 weeks over 84 and my fish were no longer flashing. They were eating well and looking good.
<There are some other possibilities indeed>
If it's mucus, does it look like ich spots?
What would this be called and can this be contagious to the other fish?
<Depends on... what it is and cause/s>
Should I try after the 7 days to just return the tank back to normal, leaving the temps high at 88? Should I treat the Severum separately for the spots? Hopefully the 10 will have cycled completely by then.
<I would leave all as is for now>
I am already beating myself up for doing so much. The ich problems I have had have always been controllable in my tanks in a short time. But this time it caused my cichlids to violently scrape themselves on the gravel so I thought the infestation was more serious than it actually was.
Thank you again for the advice. I plan to wait it out and I'll keep you informed.
<Thank you. BobF>

Rickettsial DNA found in ICH 2/18/10
I received this article from my Alma Mater and thought you might be interested (if you were not already aware of the findings). Apparently researchers found DNA of Rickettsial bacteria within freshwater Ich. This might prove interesting in the future treatment of Ich. I've enclosed a link to the press release from the Univ of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine if you are interested in reading more about this.
Link: http://www.vet.uga.edu/PR/ich.php
<Thanks for this. Very interesting. In the case of Ick, there have been debates over the years about whether there is more than one strain, including what some hobbyists call Super Whitespot, a strain that seems resistant to the usual medications. I would hope that the new treatments they are investigating will help treat all strains of Ick. Incidentally, Rickettsia-type bacteria have caused problems with fish in the past. Anyone who kept Blue-eyed Plecs (Panaque cochliodon) during the 80s will remember how often these lovely catfish succumbed to mystery wasting diseases. It turned out that Rickettsia-type bacteria were causing the problem. Cheers, Neale.>

Ich, reading, rambling    1/10/10
Dear Crew,
I am not sure if there is ich in my aquarium. I believe I've seen a few white spots here and there ( if so probably because of the stress of the newcomer fish). Should I treat the tank either way?
<A hard choice to make... as "IF" your fishes aren't infested, the treatment can be more deleterious than not treating. If anything, I'd just go the elevated temperature route here>
The medicine is Jungle Ich Clear Tablets.
Also, my new black molly has a terrible crooked jaw!! this happened I'd say half a week after I got the fish. Therefore, it didn't come like that. What should I do with him.
<Just wait if it were me; some might euthanize>
( cannot get a fish specialist, only child:))
Thank you for your help
<Please learn to/use the search tool and indices on WWM. For here, read:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

<? Please include prev. corr. I don't know what you're referring to. B> 1/11/10
Dear Mr. Fenner,
I actually already do have my temperature up to 80 degrees for the same reason. Should I put it any higher.
Thank you very very much for all of your help,
Dante G
"Ich, reading, rambling
Dear Crew,
am not sure if there is ich in my aquarium. I believe I've seen a few white spots here and there ( if so probably because of the stress of the newcomer fish). Should I treat the tank either way?
A hard choice to make... as "IF" your fishes aren't infested, the treatment can be more deleterious than not treating. If anything, I'd just o the elevated temperature route here>
The medicine is Jungle Ich Clear Tablets.
Also, my new black molly has a terrible crooked jaw!! this happened I'd ay half a week after I got the fish. Therefore, it didn't come like that.
hat should I do with him.
Just wait if it were me; some might euthanize>
cannot get a fish specialist, only child:))
hank you for your help
Please learn to/use the search tool and indices on WWM. For here, read:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>"
I actually already do have my temperature up to 80 degrees for the same reason. Should I put it any higher.
<Yes, I would...>
Thank you very very much for all of your help,
Dante G.
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm
Learn to/use the search tool/indices before writing us. BobF><<Again...>>

Purchasing Fish, FW, Ich...   12/17/09
I went to buy some Congo tetras from my local LFS and they looked like they had an extraordinary amount of slime coating on them.
I was convinced that a small diamond tetra in the same tank had ich.
<May well be.>
The salesperson didn't think anything was wrong with them.
<Take that for what it is: a judgment on the quality of an item from the person selling it.>
The next day the manager confirmed my suspicion that the tank contained ich. He told me to check back the following weekend. Should I buy these fish after they have been treated for ich?
Can ich be cured in just a week?
<In theory, yes. At tropical temperatures the parasite matures in the host (the white spot) within 48 hours, and then it bursts, and the free living stage has about 24 hours to find a new host. It's this 24 hour long free living stage against which Ick medications work (none cure the parasites already in the fish). While I'd tend to wait 10-14 days before declaring a tank Ick-free, in theory at least, a reliable medication should put an end to the parasite life cycle well within that time.>
I heard that fish become less susceptible to this disease once they have survived it.
<Have heard this, but read nothing scientific to back up the argument.>
If this is true, then would it be better to buy these particular fish as they will be more immune to the disease.
<Wouldn't let this be a factor either way.>
Or is it better to seek another LFS with healthier stock?
<Even the best stores get Ick from time to time. If they treat them quickly, and the stock is otherwise in good condition, I'd be happy buying from such a store.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Ich and the planted tank.   10/30/09
Hi folks!
<Hello there Tom!>
This is a great website and I refer to it often. It is difficult, though, to filter through all the stuff I'm not looking for to get to the stuff I need.
So, I have an Ich question.
I set up a planted tank about two months ago, and since then have been adding plants and fish to reach the well planted and still under populated tank. I'm new at this hobby and am still trying to learn the massive amounts of info needed to do this, and I make lots of mistakes along the way. My tank is a 75 gal freshwater. I used Eco System complete mixed with gravel for substrate.
I have very hard alkaline water. PH 8.0; KH about 200; GH 300; zero nitrites; nitrates steady at <10; zero ammonia. The lighting is one T-5 54 watt full spectrum bulb, one T-5 28 watt cool white household bulb, and one T-12 deep ocean 18 watt 10,000KH with a high blue spectrum.
I haven't tested for phosphates or iron, but I'm assuming the levels might
be a little or a lot high because I have algae. Mostly green hair algae on my driftwood (a large piece about 18 inches long and 22 inches high), but also some stag horn and thread algae. I'm hoping this will all eventually work itself out as the plants grow and the tank settles down. In the meantime I have 5 Otos and an SAE to help out.
<So far so good>
For fish I have 8 Praecox Rainbows, 1 Boesemanni, 2 Golden Wonder Killies, 2 Congo Tetras, 1 YoYo Loach, 1 Dwarf Gourami, and, believe it or not, a German Ram who is doing very well in spite of the conditions for him.
<Through generations of captive production, this species has become much more "aquarium-hardy" than wild types>
All was going well until last week when I stressed them out 3 days in a row.
First day I added the Otos.
<Sans quarantine?>
Next day I moved the Gourami over from my small tank which I am shutting down. Finally, next day I did my weekly cleaning.
By that evening they were showing Ich spots. I decided my best course of treatment, considering these fish and the plants, was to avoid medication and treat with heat and salt. I have had the heat up to 80
<I'd raise it further... to 85 F.>
since then and have treated with aquarium salt at the rate of 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons.
<Mmm, there are types of plants that don't "like" salt additions>
I also added Melafix twice at a ratio of 1 teaspoon per 10 gal. All the fish are still doing well, color is good, active, eating well; in fact the Dwarf rainbows are still mating. But the Ich spots continue to come and go.
How long will it take for the Ich to be gone completely?
<May never... oh I see this below... The system, many if not most are; may be infested. The spots on the fishes can be "cured" however... By elevating the temperature>
Does it ever go completely? Also, info everywhere says to do daily water changes when treating Ich and siphon out the gravel. I will do a weekly cleaning again tomorrow, but doesn't that much cleaning stress the fish out even more, thus starting the cycle all over again?
<Too much cleaning is problematical, yes>
How long should I wait before turning to medication, and which meds do you recommend given the variety of fish and the plants?
<Again... mid 80's...>
Also, in the past when I have treated for Ich in my smaller tanks, I have lost my biological filtration as a result of the meds.
<Very common>
I know this is a lot of questions but I have a couple more. Over the last few days my rainbows seem to be pooping much more than is normal for them.
I have cut back slightly on their food which is minimal to begin with so I can't attribute it to overfeeding. Is this something that occurs naturally with this kind of treatment?
<Mmm, don't know>
Also, I am under the impression that planted tanks need the mulm for nutrients so when I do water changes should I not siphon the gravel, and just suck out water?
<Some "surface" cleaning is fine>
Won't the tank eventually get pretty disgusting if I don't siphon the gravel? And finally, Since this is a planted tank it needs regular hands "in" work weekly. Is there a better way to trim plants and clean up that won't stress my fish or am I going to stress them every time I clean the tank?
<Some stress is good, actually necessary...>
I really appreciate all you folks do to help the budding hobbyist like myself. I wait patiently for your response before I do any further treatment. Thank you.
<The temp. will "do it". Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Help with Ich 10/4/09
<Good morrow>
I have a 30 gallon tall freshwater planted setup that has been up and running for four months. The tank was well planted in the beginning, stocked slowly and went through a "silent cycle," with no ammonia or nitrite readings ever being present, and eventually reaching a fairly solid 10 ppm nitrate level. pH tests at 7.0 and total alkalinity is 80 ppm. GH is hard at 150. The tank appears to have developed an ich problem in the last 24 hours.. The last fish I added to the tank was a Siamese algae eater three weeks ago, and while it appears completely healthy, I'm seeing what appear to be the classical signs of ich on a few of my rummy nose tetras. Everybody else has been in the tank for at least six weeks or more (the rummies have been there three months). My fish are as follows: two angels, two cories, three Otos, one turquoise rainbow, one redtail sword, one small yoyo loach, one twig catfish, six rummy nose tetras, one Siamese algae eater and one flower shrimp. I've noted that periodically the SAE will swim with the rummies and occasionally they seem to be a bit worried by him, although he doesn't appear to seriously go after them and I don't see him attacking anybody. Other times, they seem fine having him swimming among them.
My question is this. I don't have a quarantine tank, and at this point I have to assume the whole tank is infected anyway.
<Yes; agreed>
Not sure where it came from, but the rummies are dither fish so perhaps it's in their nature to be more easily stressed and perhaps a latent infection just came out when the SAE showed up in the tank.
<Likely so>
Given the catfish, cories and shrimp, what would be the safest method for treating my tank.
<Elevating temperature>
I note that salt and heat appear to be your favorite recommendation and it would be my preferred method, but I'm concerned about their impact on the Otos, the twig, the cories and the shrimp.
Will this be the safest possible method in my tank?
<I would not use much, perhaps any salt. Depending on your plant species you have more than the fishes listed>
I should also mention that at this point everyone is lively, swimming/schooling appropriately and eating well.
Any advice you can provide in this case would be very much appreciated.
<Raise the temp. to 85 F. or so, stat.>
I've spent hours going through your replies to others, but it's hard to weed out the answers that pertain to my particular array of fish so I hope you don't mind me rehashing a problem that you've addressed many times before.
<Ahh, I won't refer you to WWM re FW white spot then. Hopefully catching the Ichthyophthirius soon, overdriving its metabolism will solve the parasitic issue here. Bob Fenner, who is going through a similar bout...>
Re: Help with Ich 10/4/09

I'm running a stock Eclipse II hood and also a basic Red Sea CO2 reactor. Should I put in an extra airstone or do you think the high circulation from the Eclipse pump will provide enough oxygen?
<Better to add the mechanical aeration>
I've got it set right now so it's actually about half an inch above the water line so a lot of surface agitation present at this point. Also, should I turn off my CO2 pump when I raise the heat?
<Mmm, I'd at least turn down to about half>
How about water changes?
<Greatly reduce till the ich is far gone... three weeks sans spots>
I have a planting substrate mixed with some gravel so don't vacuum because it makes a fierce mess of substrate in the water. I've been told to leave mulm to settle for the plants. Should I continue with bi-
weekly 25% changes or change more often?
<I'd hold off on to the maximum...>
Thanks so much for your quick
reply on my last post!
<Deemed prudent. BobF>
Re: Help with Ich, FW   10/5/09

Can my shrimp stay in the tank or do I need to remove?
<Mmm, they can stay... aren't "carriers">
If I put him in a tank with fish can he carry cysts with him and infect them?
<Anything wet can. BobF>
Re: Help with Ich  10/5/09

I went out and picked up a pump and a 1 1/2 inch oval disc air stone for extra oxygenation, which is now installed and running in the tank. I've put the temperature from 78 up to 82 degrees since this morning and will continue to raise it through the evening until I reach 85 degrees.
I hope that's not too fast!
<Is not>
My shrimp absolutely
loves the new air stone! He's gripping a rock for all he's worth with his face and fans head on into the bubbles, clearly delighted with the new addition. I can't imagine how he's holding on!
<With pure joy>
So far nobody looks any the worse for wear as the day goes on and the rummies are still the only victims of the ich....still very active and schooling well so will keep my fingers crossed. I believe I have caught this very early on and with all your help hopefully will beat it. I'll keep posting to let you know how it's going or if I need anymore help. Once again, thanks so much for your prompt replies and all the great help you provide.
<Welcome Lisa. BobF>
Re: Help with Ich 10/14/09

Hi Bob,
As promised in my last post to you, I'm writing to update you on the progress of the ich.
<Thank you>
I increased the temperature gradually over a period of 36 hours from 76 to 85 degrees so as to be sure I wouldn't stress the fish. Of the rummy nose tetras who had the ich, only three were affected to any significant degree and based on pictures I have seen on the internet, I would say that I caught it quite early because mine were not too badly affected. Four days into the treatment, one of my angels also developed three spots on one fin. Still, across the course of the week I could see that none of the fish were getting any worse and they all continued to school well and eat with great enthusiasm. Also, no problems with any secondary infections.
<Ah, good>
Here we are now, eight days after reaching the maximum temperature of 85 degrees and the ich has almost completely cleared. Only one of the rummies still has a bit on one of its fins. Everybody else is completely clear. My expectation is that by the time it reaches the two week mark, I should be able to start gradually lowering the temperature of the tank back down to the previous 76 degrees, again doing this over a couple of days so as not to stress the fish.
<Yes... extend this time frame to three weeks if you further detect any presence of parasites>
Once again, thank you so much for all your helpful advice. It's good to know that this can be treated with heat alone, because having to add either aquarium salt or a chemical treatment would have definitely
resulted in the death of at least some of my fish and/or plants.
Thanks to you, I didn't lose anything from my tank!
<Outstanding. Thank you again for your report. Bob Fenner>

ICK, Betta, Bowl  -- 09/03/09
I have a Betta named Buddy sitting on my desk for my students to enjoy. I noticed he has some white spots on the ends of his fins and tail this morning and I suspect it is ICK. Can I use Ick treatment in his bowl like I
would in a regular fish aquarium with other fish?
<Hello Lysa. First things first. You can't keep Bettas in bowls. I know you don't want to hear this, but all you're doing is showing kids the wrong thing. As a biology teacher in the past, I know how anxious good teachers are to instill love for animals in their students. But this isn't the way to do it. A Betta needs, at minimum, a 5-gallon tank with a heater and a filter. Bowls simply aren't big enough, and all that happens is the poor animals either gets chilled or poisoned with its own waste. Some of the less reputable pet stores will suggest otherwise -- even going so far as to say that Bettas live in puddles! Think about that for a moment: why and how would such a fish evolve? It's very likely your Betta actually has Finrot, as this often begins as specks of dead white tissue at the ends of the fins. It's caused by two things, a weak immune system (e.g., because the fish it too cold) and chronically poor water conditions (which overwhelm the immune system and allow ambient bacteria to turn from being harmless to becoming pathogenic. It's essentially gangrene, and left untreated, kills. So what to do? First, set up a tank with a heater and a filter. The heater should keep the water around 28 C/82 F. A degree or two above or below won't matter, but unless you live in Thailand, your room temperature just won't be warm enough, hence the heater. Cold air especially harms Bettas (and indeed all air-breathing fish) very quickly, leading to the fishy equivalent of pneumonia. Next up, install a filter. Nothing too fancy here: a simple air-powered box or sponge filter is ideal. Undergravel filters are good, too. Filters with electric pumps tend to be a little on the strong
side, causing these fish real problems. They're essentially crippled by the crazy long fins we've bred into them, and can't swim properly. Wild Bettas have much shorter fins. Now, using the test kits you have -- you do have test kits, right? -- check the nitrite and ammonia levels. Both should be at zero, all the time, no exceptions. If they're not, then you're under-filtering or over feeding your Betta. Do 25% water changes daily or at least every other day until the filter is matured (this takes 4-6 weeks from new, but you should be okay to do weekly water changes from about the end of the third week) Once your fish has the right environment, you can treat for Finrot using, for example, Maracyn. If you don't fix the environment, using medications is like sticking your finger in a leaky dyke: pull your finger out (stop medicating) and the leak will spring right back (the fish will get sick again). I do wish pet stores would stop selling bowls, but so long as there are people out there who buy them, I guess that's too much to hope for. Set your students a real example: show them that animals comes with responsibilities. But even better, use the *aquarium* to demonstrate environmental science. For example, how bacteria convert ammonia (which is toxic) into nitrate (which is safe, and indeed used by plants as fertiliser). Fish tanks are a great way to demonstrate
the inter-relatedness of microbes with the organisms we can see, and in a miniature way, a reflection of how our own species depends so often on microbes most of us ignore. Some even use aquaria to show how closed systems work, including Planet Earth, with everything linked to everything else, and problems for one leading to problems for others. Cheers, Neale.>

dojo loach eel and ich  6/18/2009
Hello Crew,
It's been yrs since I last emailed you guys for help & I am happy to report I have spent my teens & early 20s researching & gaining experience w/ my fish.
Sadly I made a beginners mistake by only QTing my new mollies for a week & noticing a few small spots 2 days later that I assumed to be ich.
<Do review the needs of Mollies:
Contrary to popular misconception, they aren't especially good additions to freshwater tanks, and are invariably hardier and easier to keep in brackish water conditions. Since the free-living stage of the Ick parasite is not able to live in brackish water, Mollies under such conditions aren't bothered by this disease.>
So I pulled the 2 with spots out & put them back in QT & dosed them with quICK cure, set up my 20 gallon & pulled my fire eel & dojo loach from the main tank & then treated my main tank also. This was 2 days ago and the spots on the mollies in QT are gone & no one else has shown any signs although I will continue treatment for another 3 days.
<With Loaches and Fire Eels, it's perfectly viable to treat your fish for Ick all at the same time, using the old salt/heat combination.>
My problem is that I am unsure what to do about the dojo & eel? They have shown no signs of ich and the temp in the 20g is 81 which I assumed would speed up the life cycle of ich & the fish would be showing some signs so I could know whether or not to treat them?
<Since these fish were exposed to the Ick-ridden Mollies, they should be treated accordingly. Make a brine solution in a jug containing warm water into which you add 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per US gallon of water in the aquarium. Once dissolved, pour into the outflow of the filter so it quickly mixes. Leave at the high temperature you have for about 2 weeks. This should kill any free-living parasites. The salinity is actually very low, and won't harm fish, plants or filter bacteria.>
There is so much conflicting information on ich & the life cycle, how long it can survive & at what temps & I have spent countless hours reading only leaving myself more confused! Should I leave the dojo & eel alone & watch them, or should I treat them with Coppersafe in the 20g then and them back to the main tank in a week after the quICK cure has been filtered out? I have never lost a fish to ich & I certainly don't want my fire eel to be my first.
<Spiny Eels and Loaches are both notoriously sensitive to some medications, so where possible, use salt plus heat method instead of copper- and formalin-based medications.>
I would like to get them in the main tank as soon as possible as I am currently maintaining 7 tanks. I cant give you any specifics on water quality as I do not test my water anymore. I do change 40-50% each week as the main tank is heavily stocked (7 female Bettas, 4 platy, 8 mollies, 2 swordtails, 2 Bala sharks, 1 Gourami, & before this the dojo loach & the eel 9" & fat as a garden hose!) a lot in a 50g & I did test for the 1st few months, things were stable w/ my water changes & I had no problems until this, which was caused by the new fish.
<Quite the mix.>
I would just also I to state that I got the Balas, eel, dojo, Gourami, and a 30g tank stuffed full of several other fish (2 black skirts tetras, a serpae, a glow light tetra, 3 Kuhlis, 2 big unidentified loaches, a killifish, 2 true SAE's, another Gourami, a beautiful but fairly aggressive male electric yellow cichlid and 9 of his off spring!) so you can see why some ended up in my main tank! Also I have been trying unsuccessfully to find suitable homes for the Bala sharks & the cichlids for nearly 2 months.
But the closet big city is Vegas & it is 90 miles away so I don't know what to do! I myself would never had bought the Balas as I know how big they get, however I have grown a bit fond of there peacful nature & clicking sounds. (0: They are about 6 inches for nose to tail. Anyways this was a long email but this is really the only place I could look for help on what and not to do w/ the eel and dojo. And PLEASE if you know anyone who wants some fish send them my way! (0=
<Your best bet here is to join an online forum that includes members from your country; most have "buy, sell and swap" sections, through which members trade fish. The popular Tropical Fish Forums one for example has sections of this type for both UK and US hobbyists. Being a Brit myself, I really don't keep up to date with the fish swapping scene in the US, I'm afraid!>
Thanks for the help, Jenny
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: dojo loach eel and ich 6/18/09
thanks for the advice! I had originally started a salt, heat mix for the dojo and the eel. I had 21 teaspoons in my 20g so far and then I started feeling bad for my dojo as it was breathing rapidly so I took half the salt
<The salt was unlikely to be the reason the loach was breathing heavily; because Ick and Velvet parasites readily (perhaps preferentially?) attack the gill filaments, it's often the case that fish find it difficult to
breathe long before you see the tell-tale white cysts on the body of the fish.>
Also, I do keep salt in my main aquarium, though not to the point of brackish, 30 teaspoons in my 50 gallon.
<Unless you're keeping brackish water fish, there is absolutely no point to adding salt to a freshwater aquarium on a permanent basis. This is "old school" fishkeeping, where salt was used to detoxify nitrite and nitrate, which were often at high levels in aquaria through to the 1970s because of inadequate filtration and infrequent water changes. Like activated carbon, salt is redundant in freshwater aquaria run along modern principles: lots of filtration and weekly water changes of 25-50%. On the other hand, if you insist on keeping Mollies with freshwater fish, raising carbonate hardness and ensuring a stable pH around 7.5 to 8.0 will significantly help things, and because Mollies are so sensitive to nitrate, the use of small amounts of sodium chloride might be useful. But to be honest, I recommend against Mollies in community tanks; we get so many letters about sick Mollies, it's beyond a joke!>
I have never had any deaths besides of fry being eaten, they really have no chance with all the Bettas.
<I imagine your success with fish has more to do with good fishkeeping than the use of salt!>
So anyways I will try the salt/heat combo again. Do I need to keep the salt in the tank for a full 2 weeks?
<Yes; salt doesn't kill the Ick you see on the fish, but the free-living "babies" that emerge when the Ick cysts burst. Those cysts take a few days to a week to burst at tropical temperatures, so it's usual to run the tank
with salt in it for two weeks to minimise the chances of [a] any cysts not having burst; and [b] any free-living stages still being in the water.>
Thanks, Jenny
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: dojo loach eel and ich 6/27/09
Hey Neal,
I still unfortunately am having some problems here, whatever my fish had must not have been ich.
About 3 days ago I returned everyone to the main tank and all seemed well at first but last night I noticed my new black molly had the same thing as before. It is like small clearish white patches. Definitely not a fungus.
<Hmm... with Black Mollies this is quite common and usually means something isn't right in terms of water chemistry. They secrete an extra thick layer of mucous, and that becomes visible as greyish slime on their bodies. It's not a disease as such, but a first sign of stress; should you subsequently see unnatural swimming ("the Shimmies") or actual signs of Finrot and Fungus, then you may need to medicate. But at this stage, observe and in particular test the water conditions. Mollies need fairly warm (around 26-28 C) water; a high pH (around 7.5 to 8); lots of hardness (15+ degrees dH) and preferably some salinity (SG 1.003-1.005 being ideal).>
It's almost like you can only see them at a certain angle. They are only slightly raised and they appear to either fall off of resolve over a period of about 24 hrs or so. I was thinking columnaris (sp?) but I don't believe that drops off or resolves on its on?
Is it some other type of parasite?
<No, I don't think so.>
There is currently between 60-66 teaspoons of aquarium salt in the 50g tank.
<Assuming each teaspoon is 6 grammes, that's 360 grammes in 190 litres, or 1.9 grammes per litre. At 26 C, the optimal salinity for Mollies would be about 6.5 to 9 grammes per litre. So assuming you're keeping your Mollies with brackish water or salt-tolerant fish, you could up the salinity and expect them to get much healthier. As I've written endlessly here at WWM and elsewhere, it's a gamble keeping Mollies in anything other than brackish water because, as you're seeing, they often don't do well in freshwater conditions.>
I kept it up after the ich treatment just to be safe.
<Would stop treating once the instructions on your treatment says to stop.
Don't keep medicating just for the sake of it!>
The temp is 77 F and no one else seems to be showing any symptoms beside the black molly and one other new molly who I believe is partially paralyzed (bought that way)
<Very likely "the Shimmies" if you mean fins alongside the body, wobbling from side to side, and seemingly "treading water" rather than swimming normally.>
but she eats/acts normally beside her swimming and occasional clamped tail fin. Any ideas?
<Just the usual! Mollies aren't freshwater fish, and the salt you're adding for treating Ick isn't the marine salt mix you need for Mollies, and you aren't adding enough to ensure Molly health. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: dojo loach eel and ich 6/27/2009
I definitely can't add more salt since I do have a loach in there.
However as soon as I can get rid of some of my cichlids, I plan on moving my tank wards :). I do have an extra 20 gallon but I don't think it is big enough for mollies personally, especially not for 9 of them.
<I would tend to agree.>
Maybe I can put my female Bettas in the 20 gallon (they are huge pigs and definitely need to be separated from the main tank since my fire eel eats blood worms daily) and put my mollies in the 30 gallon and put everyone else in the 50 gallon. Well I really appreciate your help, I will keep you posted on the fish. It does seem like some slime coat issues.
<In the short term, stabilising pH, providing sufficient hardness, and above all, ensuring low levels of nitrate as well as zero ammonia/nitrite are the keys to success with Mollies. Wild Mollies certainly do live in
freshwater, so they don't "need" salt as such. But the reality is that unless the aquarium is warm, scrupulously clean, and provided with very stable hard water chemistry, adding marine salt mix tends to make keeping
them much easier. Do read here:
Thanks again, Jen
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: dojo loach eel and ich, not ich...    7/2/09
Hey Neale,
My ammonia and nitrites were at 0, my nitrates were high though at 40.
<In itself not likely to cause problems in the short term, but in freshwater at least, high levels of nitrate to seem to stress certain fish, notably cichlids and Mollies, unduly.>
I did a 50% water change which I have been doing 2x a week since the meds since they always seem to rattle the param.s of the tank. Luckily the mollies issues seem to have resolved on their own and the one who has the shimmy's is recovering as well.
<Yes, this is typically what happens, if caught early; no cure as such, but improved environment does lead to a self-cure on the part of the fish.>
I did find someone who is taking 9 of my 10 cichlids and someone else who is coming for hopefully all of my tetras. I am going to move the mollies to the 30 gallon and eventually when I can find a home for the blue Gourami I will make the tank brackish although my mollies do fine in freshwater I am curious to see if I notice a change in growth or behavior with brackish water.
<It's not so much about something new happening, but that in brackish water they tend to be less likely to get sick. In other words, they're normal Mollies, more of the time. There are endless arguments about whether Mollies truly need brackish water conditions -- they are largely freshwater fish in the wild -- but it does seem to be a good way to keep them as pets.
And it needn't be a chore either: many plants tolerate slightly brackish water well, as will a whole host of fish, including things like Ticto Barbs, Horseface Loaches and Hoplosternum littorale catfish, all good companions for Mollies and often assumed to be freshwater fish despite naturally occurring in brackish water through parts of their range.>
I do have a little killifish in there, I have read that they tolerate salt so I may keep him in there.
<Indeed; most killifish not specifically adapted to very soft water will often tolerate slightly brackish water well. As a group, there are numerous killies that prefer brackish or even saltwater conditions.>
I appreciate your help and the wonderful website. It is a wealth of knowledge and I love learning and enjoying the fish keeping hobby. Take Care WWM Crew!
<Thank you!>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Ich Advice, mollies, more  - 06/05/09
Hi There,
I have been reading your site very diligently over the past two days as we realized two of our black mollies have ich. The information you have provided and the q/a section has been very helpful. I am sure every tank, like every fish has a different story and set of issues :-)
<As does every individual>
In our tank we have 4- 2 yr old silver mollies (not even an 1�), 3 large red platies, 5 of their off spring and then ~10 of their off spring (3 generations), also 2 pop belly mollies, 3 black mollies, two (heckle and
jeckle) yellow mollies, 3 baby swordtails, one beautiful 5� rainbow shark
<El rey>
and ~15 more tiny babies of a mix (we thing black and yellow). Our tank has been very �busy� as of late.
Anyways our tank heater failed a couple weeks ago and the water temp spiked to almost 90 degrees (yikes). Now we have ich! Our water chemistry is perfect! The Ph was a bit high but controlled that by removing a piece of drift wood.
<Unusual... such material/s generally lower pH with their decomposition>
From a treatment perspective we have done the following- removed the carbon from the Whisper and canister filter, used ½ of the full dose of Para Guard from Seachem as only two of the black mollies show spots and we don't want to kill the babies (I would rather extend the treatment cycle than risk losing them). We have kept the lights (compact florescent) off except for ~15 minutes to check for spots daily, closed the curtains to eliminate more light, done ~50% water changing using a gravel vac and have added the
recommended salt (done once so far). We are slowing raising the temp of the tank from 74 to 84- should reach 84 by tomorrow night.
<So far...>
I am happy to say that the two fish that visibly had spots are looking better, the babies and other fish do not look stressed although some are spending more time near the top � not sucking air though.
My questions:
- how long do we continue this treatment?
<I'd treat at full dose, per the bottle recommendations>
- How often do we really need to do a water change/vacuum if our chemistry is good (checking daily)?
<Not at all if so>
- Is there anything else we should be doing?
<Not likely>
- Some say that we should stop feeding the fish during this process? Rumor? I haven't read that on your site.
<I would continue to feed>
- Do we really need to keep the lights off (I miss watching the fish already)?
Thank you very much for your time and input.
Kerrie Minoia
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

ICH, FW    5/11/09
I have a ten gallon tank with mollies, guppies, platies, a loach, and ghost shrimp.
<A bad start already. Guppies are okay in 10 gallons, though males will tend to be aggressive and certainly harass (read "gang rape") the females unless you outnumber the males by 2-3 females each. Platies need more space, around 15-20 gallons, and Mollies even more. Not sure what "a" loach might be -- there are lots of loaches, most of them gregarious and some of them very aggressive. Shrimps are fine, but do be aware most medications will kill them.>
I recently added a molly who I think brought ich with her.
<Quarantining new livestock prevents this.>
She is currently extremely pregnant. I want to use salt to treat the tank, since that seems to be the treatment with the fewest drawbacks.
<Mollies are much better kept in brackish water, around SG 1.003, or 6 g marine salt mix per litre. I don't really know why people stick them in freshwater aquaria because they get sick very often kept thus. It's got to be something like 50% of the time. Virtually every book says this, so I'm guessing you didn't read anything before buying these fish. Please do be careful about shopping for fish -- they aren't cut flowers, and each has its own needs.>
Will all the fish be safe with the addition of salt, and how should I go about doing this?
<Salt is fine for all of these at the dose required, 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per US gallon for at least 7 days with the temperature raised to 82-86 F. Carbon will have no affect, though I'd make the point carbon is largely useless in this type of aquarium and wasting space better given over to biological filter media. Don't buy a filter that demands certain "modules" be used; they're a way for manufacturers to extract cash from you. Always buy filters that let you add whatever media you want.>
(How much? How often? How long? Is carbon in the filter going to be a problem? Any other important info?)
Thank you,
<While the Ick shouldn't be a long term problem, your aquarium is a disaster waiting to happen. Please read here and act accordingly:
Cheers, Neale.>

Ich!!! 4/14/2009
Hi crew!! Happy late Easter. I hope you guys all had a great holiday.
Unfortunately for me, i have been having a rough one. I have a 40 gallon hexagon tank with 3 discus, 8 cardinals, and 4 Otos. I have plastic plants and hiding spots for them. My temperature right now is about 81-82 degrees Fahrenheit. However, one of my cardinal tetras has ich. He is still very active and eating a lot. I am afraid it will spread to my discus. I read your article and it said to raise it to 82 degrees. So since my tank is already 82 do i need to raise it any higher?
<You can, to 86 F, though the Otocinclus may be severely stressed, so watch them. Cardinals and Discus are warm-water fish adapted to habitats of that type, but Otocinclus come from relatively cool, fast-flowing llanos streams with lots of oxygen.>
Should i try any medications?
<I'd use salt/heat first.>
I don't have an extra tank to hospitalize my sick cardinal, so can i just treat for the whole tank?
<You MUST treat the whole tank; if one fish is visibly infected, likely all the others are as well, albeit not obviously, e.g., the parasites are on their gills.
I also read about the salt. But, can my discus tolerate the salt?
<Not an issue at this salinity level.>
How much should i add, and how many times per day or week?
<2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per gallon. Add once, and either do no water changes, or else replace old water with new water containing the same amount of salt (so that the overall salinity stays the same).>
I still do water changes weekly of about 50 percent and they all seem healthy, except for the ich. Thanks for your help. Oh, and what is a good medication you recommend?
<I rate eSHa EXIT very highly; it's old school, but seems to work well even with delicate species like catfish and puffers. It's a Dutch product, widely sold in the UK, but whether it's available outside the EU I cannot say.>
Thanks so much for your help.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: ich!!!  4/15/09
Thanks for your quick reply. How long do i have to wait after i add the salt to do water changes?
<As long as you want. You can change 50% of the water the next day if you want, so long as the new water that goes in *also* has salt added at the correct dose. Provided the overall salinity stays at 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per gallon for the next two weeks, that's all you need to do!>
Do i have to add some salt a little by little so they get used to the salinity, or is it okay to add it all at once?
<All at once is fine. Seriously, this salinity is trivially low. It's less than SG 1.001. You could drink this stuff.>
Thanks for your help once again.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Thanks so much!
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

A quick goldfish Ich question and thank goodness for QT! 4/16/09
Hi all you fantastic WetWeb crew,
I just have a couple of Ich questions; I have used the search tool but I am a bit confused.
I have just purchased two new common goldfish to join a single one in a fully cycled 190 ltr tank.
Fortunately I put them in a 60 ltr fully cycled quarantine tank when I got them on Saturday. I am almost certain one of them has Ich. I am so pleased I did this!
<Agreed, should make treatment easier, but since the Ick parasite is highly mobile (e.g., on wet nets and hands) it is likely your other fish are at risk, so observe carefully.>
I have been testing the water each day and have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 7 nitrates and the pH is 8.2.
<Sounds fine.>
I would really like to use a salt treatment to clear this up, rather than medicate the tank as I feel that they have been stressed enough from their move. However, I am not sure what dosage the salt should be in. I can find dosages but I am not sure if the crew member answering is using English gallons or US gallons.
<It's 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per US gallon.>
Could you tell me what the dosage is in English gallons (or Litres!).
<One US gallon is 3.78 litres. If your bucket or aquarium is rated in Imperial gallons, 12 US gallons are 10 Imperial gallons.>
I kind of assume that you add the salt over a period of time, not straight away, if this is so what sort of time period do you use to get the salinity up?
<Adding the salt straight away is fine; the salinity is very, very low.>
I am under the impression that salt treatment may affect my biological filter.
<It won't.>
Am I right in thinking that you continue treatment two weeks after the spots have fallen off?
<Correct; the salt doesn't kill the white spots on the fish: only the free living parasites.>
Once the Ich has gone, and I move my fish, I was going to take out my filter sponge and bioballs and place them in my external canister filter (so I always have spare mature filter media in an emergency). Should I
sterilise everything or just run the tank for 3 or 4 days without fish in it to get rid of any Ich?
<It's a good idea to sterilise hospital tanks, provided you can keep filter media alive someplace else. Of course, in the case of serious illnesses you would sterilise the filter media as well, and then re-cycle the hospital tank.>
My other little goldfish has had a bit of a white patch by her mouth which we never noticed until she was in QT. This has almost cleared right up but I guess the salt may help this little fish too.
<May help a little, but I'd observe, and if the white spot isn't clearing up (it may simply be a bruise) I'd treat for Finrot/Fungus; in the UK, I recommend eSHa 2000 as working on Finrot, Fungus, and Columnaris equally well.>
I can't say how brilliant QT is - both the fish looked fine in the tank at the LFS and also in the bag when we got home, but once in QT you can really get a good look at them.
It was very, very tempting to put them in our main tank, and thanks to your website, I'm so glad we didn't!
Many thanks in advance, Michelle
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Not so "Quik-Cure" (FW, Ich) 04/03/09
Hi gang,
<Hello again, Kristi,>
As always, your site has invaluable info. but I'm not finding clear enough directions to proceed. I was hoping to get some help.
<Fire away.>
I have a 20 gal FW (0 ammonia, 0-ites, 15-ates) w/ 1 dwarf Pleco, 10 glass fish (now 9, as one was found dead today), and a beautiful new three-spot blue Gourami I adopted a week ago. I keep the tank at 80 degrees and filter w/ dual hang-on-back power filters (one a bio wheel). Since adding the glass fish two months ago, I've been fighting an ich outbreak (.no QT, unfortunately. Lesson learned). This outbreak, however, is very resistant and doesn't seem to want to go away. I used Quick-Cure as directed
(formalin / malachite green) w/ carbon removed, no cure (that has worked for me in the past). Then I took suggestion from other website to increase temp to 82 degrees, treat with Quick -Cure every 3-4 days w/ 50% water changes in between, and end treatment after two weeks. That was focused on killing ALL of the parasite in its free-swimming and vulnerable state over time. To no avail. the ich is back AGAIN! Ugh!!
<Do try the salt/heat method (82-86F, 2 to 3 teaspoons of tonic salt per gallon); should cause no problems for any of these fish.>
I've read more about use risk of formalin/malachite green curative and decided to throw it away (since I'm the one w/ my arm in the water doing the water changes). So here I am needing to ONCE AGAIN cure ich and need specific direction. Increase temp again to 82 degrees? Will salt addition help in the tank (I know glass fish are fine. but Pleco or 3-spot?)?
<What I'd do.>
Salt water dips (although I know the ich is tank-wide)?
<Dips are pointless with Ick.>
Other safer products that would nip this resistant ich in the bud?
<Certainly. There's some discussion in the trade re: "Super Whitespot", a variety of the Ick/Whitespot parasite that seems more resistant to standard cures.
Personally, I've found eSHa EXIT works well, and a lot of retailers use this potion too, but it's a European brand that may not be available in the US. It contains Acridine, Malachite green, Methylene violet and Methylene blue -- so any similar combination of drugs should work.>
I've read up in the normal places on WWM and did search, but I'm just so confused at this point and need some hand-holding.
On a related note, I just now found four little specks of this salt-like grains now affixed to the inside of the glass. This is the FIRST time I've ever seen this. They don't appear to be moving and I know this can't be
ich (glass can't be host). but what is it?
<Could be algae or Nerite snail eggs (if you have them) or really all sorts of things. I'd recommend scraping them off the front glass. Not because they'd cause harm, but because big patches of limey stuff can be really
difficult to shift and very unsightly.>
It isn't white powder, but very much like the ich grains that are now on one of my glass fish. Thoughts? Treatment course?
Oh if only I can get all these issues settled and just glide w/ normal water changes. The problem solving sure is getting old. I don't want to give up this hobby, but I'm afraid I will on our next relocation (we move
every 2-3 years) if I can't get into the "glide" preventative stage.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions!!!!!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Mollies with Columnaris and Ich -- 03/22/09
Hello Crew,
<Hello Carla,>
I'm in a bit of a quandary. I purchased three mollies the day before yesterday, and placed them in my cycled 10 gallon quarantine tank (pH: 8.1, ammonia: 0, nitrites: 0, nitrates: 0 -- I had a bunch of extra cuttings so
the tank is stuffed with live plants).
<Mollies don't do well in small tanks. They're very sensitive to nitrate as well as ammonia/nitrite, and in small tanks it is very difficult to keep them healthy for long. Minimum tank size for small Mollies (Shortfin
mollies, black mollies, balloon mollies) is 20+ gallons, while large Mollies (Sailfin mollies, liberty mollies) is over 30 gallons.>
Unfortunately yesterday I observed that one of the mollies had what we used to call cotton mouth or mouth fungus.
<Very common with Mollies, especially when kept in freshwater conditions.>
I understand, from researching your site, that this is likely Columnaris (bacterial).
<Indeed. You will need a suitable antibiotic or antibacterial (as opposed to a make-believe solution such as tea-tree oil or salt.>
Today I also observed two Ich spots (sure glad I quarantined). I was going to go the salt + heat route, but I learned (also from researching your site), that Columnaris grows faster with higher heat.
<Your options are limited here, but in this case, I'd raise the salinity to deal with the Ick, and treat with an antibiotic/antibacterial at the same time. Since Mollies are best kept at SG 1.003, I'd recommend 6 grammes of marine salt mix per litre of water. There's not much point trying to keep Mollies in a freshwater aquarium because they rarely (seemingly, less than 50% of the time) do well. You're also fighting with one hand behind your back because the tank is so small, so a difficult job is being made twice as hard.>
My questions are: Should I raise the heat, and how I can treat both the Columnaris and Ich concurrently? Also, should I remove my plants?
<Plants will not be affected by antibiotics or antibacterials used correctly, and a salinity of SG 1.003 is fine for hardy, salt-tolerant plants.>
Thanks very much for your help and your wonderful website.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Mollies with Columnaris and Ich   3/23/09
Thanks very much for your help. The Mollies are currently in a ten gallon tank because they are in quarantine (their permanent home will be a 40-gallon heavily-planted breeder tank).
<Ah, that makes sense. A 40-gallon system will be perfect.>
The water parameters of that tank are:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 8.2
Carbonate hardness: approximately 200 mg/L CaCO3
<That's 200/17.8 = 11.2 degrees KH. That's extremely high, and while perfect for Mbuna or Central American livebearers, a lot of other fish will find that a bit on the hard side for their tastes. Do be aware when choosing fish and plants.>
Their tankmates will be Wrestling Halfbeaks, Scarlet Badis, White Clouds, and Threadfin Rainbows.
<Halfbeaks will thrive, the others should tolerate, but may not show optimal colours or longevity.>
I was hoping the Mollies would do well without salt because of the high pH and hardness, and I wasn't sure (aside from the Halfbeaks) whether the plants and other residents would appreciate the salt.
<Plants that tolerate hard water generally do well in slightly brackish water too; species such as Vallisneria, Hygrophila, Java ferns, hardy Crypts, etc. If you have plants that need soft water, chances are they
aren't going to thrive a this level of carbonate hardness either, so it's a moot point. As for the fish: Halfbeaks tolerate salt well, but the others are truly freshwater fish.>
But I will add salt and remove some of the other residents and non-salt tolerant plants if necessary.
<Would be my recommendation. Mollies deserve a tank of their own: they're spectacular fish, and wonderful pets. But they are finicky in freshwater systems. They need perfect water quality. You might decide to medicate them in the quarantine tank, and when they're healthy again, try them out in a plain freshwater tank. With luck, you'll be okay. But if you find you're constantly having to deal with Fungus and Finrot, remove the Minnows, Rainbows and Badis, add a little salt, and maintain the system at SG 1.002-1.003.>
I've started to slowly raise the salinity of the quarantine tank, and I'm off to the LFS to pick up the antibiotic and a hydrometer. I believe we have Maracyn and Maracyn II available here (Canada), so I will purchase
A couple more questions, if you'll bear with me:
<Of course.>
Which Maracyn product would be most effective against Columnaris?
<Maracyn rather than Maracyn 2 is usually used first. It contains Erythromycin, which should work on Flexibacter columnaris.>
If the Mollies recover, when would it be safe to place them into my main tank (so that Columnaris does not contaminate that tank).
<Columnaris, like Finrot, is a disease latent in all tanks, and the bacteria involved is presumably harmless most of the time. It appears not because a fish "caught" the disease, but because the fish was somehow
weakened, and its immune system overwhelmed. So provided the other fish are healthy, you shouldn't worry about cross-contamination.>
Thanks again...
<No probs.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Mollies with Columnaris and Ich - Update 04/03/09
Thanks very much, Neale, for your advice. Just thought I would give you an update on the Mollies. I used the salt + heat treatment for the ick, and the ick has disappeared.
For the mouth rot, I couldn't find Maracyn at my LFS, so I used TC capsules (tetracycline). The mouth rot hung around during the course of the treatment (5 days), and then I had an ammonia spike (the packaging on the TC capsules claims that they will not affect the biological filter, but I suspect otherwise).
<Oh dear.>
Unfortunately one of the Mollies died (oddly, it was the healthiest, dominant female).
<Sorry to hear that; I wonder why?>
I subsequently performed 75% water changes for the next several days to control the ammonia, used activated carbon to remove the tetracycline, then added some nice filthy filter media from my other tank to repopulate the nitrifying bacteria. Over the next several days, the mouth rot on the remaining Mollies disappeared, but I'm not sure if I can attribute it to the tetracycline or the water changes.
<It's a combination: the antibiotic kills off the bacteria, but improved water quality allows the fish's immune system to repair the damage and prevent re-infection>
Anyway, the remaining Mollies have recovered, and in a week or so, I will remove them from quarantine and place them in my 40-gallon tank.
Also, you were right, the salt did not seem to affect my plants (Hygrophila polysperma, Hygrophila corymbosa, Rotala rotundifolia, Java Moss, and Bacopa monnieri).
<Not sure about Rotala, but certainly the others are happy in brackish water, let alone slightly salty/warm water of the sort used to treat Ick.>
Thanks again for your help,
<Thanks for the update, Neale.>

Ick 3/28/09
Hi my name is Melisa some of my fish have white spots on fins and the rest look fine I just put in a sucker fish in and know my mollies have white spots on them what should I do. I have the mollies two rainbow sharks, two cat fish. Can I still raise the tem on the fish tank and add the salt. thank u for your help yours truly Melisa.
<Hello Melisa. You will need to treat for Ick, either using the salt/heat method or else with a proprietary Ick medication. Used correctly, neither should harm your other fish or the filter. Do note that Mollies tend to be sickly in freshwater tanks.
Sucker fish, by which I assume you mean Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, is a beast of a fish, and unless your tank is over 55 gallons in size, it will eventually become so territorial it will likely terrorise your other fish. It isn't a community fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Treating illness with central filtration 3/28/09
I work at a retail store with fresh water tanks, where all the tanks share a large single sump filter.
I would like to know what the best way to treat ich and fungus in this situation are, because quarantining is a not an option for me unfortunately.
<Since the free-living Ick parasite moves for 24 hours or more through the water column, you can reliably assume all the other fish have been exposed to the parasite.>
Currently I turn the filter off
and treat each tank with ich medication
<If you want, assuming all the livestock are copper/formalin-tolerant; invertebrates and snails won't be, and some fish, particularly loaches, puffers and some catfish are also sensitive.>
aquarium salt
<Salt + heat can work.>
and Melafix for a while before turning the filter back on.
<You must leave the filter running. A dead filter will kill more fish more quickly than Ick! The only precaution here is to remove carbon prior to using medication.>
Would it be better to leave the filter on and add medication directly to the sump?
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale>

Question about fish with ich! 3/24/09
I was wondering if you could perhaps help me with a problem I've been having with my freshwater fish community. I have a Pleco, four fancy male guppies, three black skirt tetras and four neon tetras. I noticed a case of ich a couple of days ago on my Pleco, then spotted it on two guppies.
I'm new to the fish world, and freaked!
<Don't be freaked; be well read. There's plenty of stuff on this site, as well as lots of books. You've made some common mistakes right here. Neons and Black Skirt tetras need to be in groups of 6+ or they behave in odd ways. Black Skirt tetras (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi) are notorious fin-nippers, and when kept in too-small a group, often become especially nasty towards things like Guppies, Bettas and Angelfish. Neons on the other hand are shy fish, and in groups that are too small they become stressed, usually just dying off, one at a time, for no obvious reason. Plecs (typically Pterygoplichthys species) grow rapidly (within 12-18 months) to a massive size; 30-45 cm (12-18 inches) being typical. Unless you have a huge tank, upwards of 55 gallons at least, you're creating a problem for yourself here as this fish will overload the filter and make it impossible to keep the fish healthy.>
Just a week or two before, I had purchased one of those 'Glofish' (I think its actually a zebra Danio) but didn't research about how they would do in the tank.
<Indeed, is a genetically modified Danio rerio.>
Sad to say, I now know that it will chase around my guppies and make everyone in the tank nervous.
<Completely predictable. Danios are schooling fish, and in groups of less than six often become bullies. Any shop that sold you ONE Danio was taking advantage of you.>
Two of my neon tetras died, leaving only the four behind, and two guppies died, leaving only the remaining four that I'm trying to save. I got rid of the Glofish, gave it to my sister, but noticed that under all that stress, my small community had high ammonia levels.
<Nothing to do with stress. Ammonia comes from fish waste, and unless this tank is large, you probably have too many fish. Or else, you added too many fish at once, without cycling the tank first. Or again, you could be under-filtering or overfeeding. Often, beginners do all these mistakes.>
So I did a total vacuum clean up and did a water change or two over the next few days. Then one day, I woke up and BOOM, there was the ich on my Pleco!
<Not boom at all. Predictable. Ick usually arrives with new fish. Because the parasite can't live apart from fish for more than a day or two, Ick rarely appears in well established tanks. But when people are starting out, buying new fish, infected fish come into the aquarium and spread the parasite. The best thing you can do is quarantine all livestock for a month before adding it to your aquarium. But if that isn't practical, e.g., you have just one tank, then add fish with at least a month between them. This will give you time to see if the fish you just bought are healthy, and if not, take remedial action.>
I purchased RidIch from PetSmart, and started using that for the past three days. Did a small, less than 25% water change this morning, but still haven't seen any results. Now, I just spotted a really bad case of damage to the tail fins on two of my fancy male guppies! I'm freaking out. I called a lady at PetSmart, and she told me not to add any other sort of meds. into the tank while I'm trying to cure the ich.
<In this situation I'd actually recommend treating the Ick with salt/heat, and the Fungus with an appropriate anti-fungus medication. This combination would be safe. Broadly, yes, the lady at the pet store is right; you shouldn't mix medications unless you know the combination is safe. Anyway, for the Ick, raise the temperature to 82-86 degrees F and add 2 to 3 teaspoons of aquarium salt (not marine salt mix) per gallon of water. The free-living Ick parasite cannot abide salt, and once the white cysts on the fish burst, the free-living stages that emerge will die. At the same time, treat for Fungus. Avoid nonsense like tea-tree oil preparations; while they sound good on paper, the plain fact is they're unreliable. Instead, look to medications that contain Acriflavine. This is an extremely effective anti-fungal medication. If you're unsure if you're dealing with Fungus, Finrot or Columnaris ("mouth fungus") you may decide to use medications that contain formalin and malachite green; these tend to work quite well on all three infections.>
She thought maybe, since the RidIch helps with fungus infections too, that the fin rot would go away with the RidIch.
<RidIch contains formalin and malachite green, and should work for both, but if it doesn't, be prepared to switch medications.>
Any help or suggestions you have would be much appreciated. I'm just a novice to all this, but I do my best by researching everything as much as possible.
Eagerly awaiting your reply.
<Please do review our page on good beginner's books. For a few bucks, you'll equip yourself with knowledge that will save a lot more money (and fish lives) in the long term.
<Glad to help. Neale.>

Re: Question about fish with ich! 3/24/09
Thank you so much for all your help Neale.
Should I continue with the RidIch, or do you think I should just go with the salt?
Thanks again,
<I'd use the Rid Ick now, and see what happens. If no improvement in terms of Ick and Fungal infection, then by all means consider an alternative approach. Cheers, Neale.> 

Re: Question about fish with ich! 3/24/09
One last thing,
would Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Aquarium Salt from PetSmart be the right thing?
<This is precisely the type of thing to use when treating Ick. But as mentioned, go with the Rid Ick you already have, remembering of course to remove carbon from the filter while medicating (carbon removes medication).
Cheers, Neale.>  

Hatchetfish with ich? - 02/08/09 OK...we bought three silver hatchetfish 5 days ago, they've been in our quarantine tank which only has a few cherry shrimp and snails in it. They seem vigorous and as of this morning are still hearty eaters. But two days ago I noticed a few white spots on the fins of one of the hatchetfish, now he's got about 7-8 spots and one of the other fish has 2 spots. They look like grains of salt and I'm pretty sure it's ich. Glad they are in the quarantine tank. I've read your faqs about ich and the consensus seems to be that the heat/salt combination is less abrasive and works best, is that correct? Will my cherry shrimp and snails be ok with the heat and salinity? I have read snails and shrimp are not susceptible to ich, but they can carry it on them, correct? What would be the best way to handle my ich problem given the snails/shrimp are in the tank? Should I give them a salt dip and move them? Leave them with the hatchetfish and do salt/heat? Or use something like Ich-X or Rid-Ich? I am hesitant to use chemicals as they seem very harsh? Thanks, Melissa <Hello Melissa. Hatchetfish are very prone to Ick/Whitespot, which is why I recommend quarantining them for at least two weeks before putting them into a community tank. As you correctly suspect, copper-based medications that will treat the Ick will also kill shrimps and snails, so can't be used. (This is, by the way, why you don't add other livestock to a quarantine tank: doing so defeats the whole object of the exercise.) But you are where you are, so let's deal with things as they stand. Salt/heat won't harm shrimps or snails. Snails and shrimps can indeed carry the free living parasites on the water "stuck" to their bodies if moved from one tank to another. The parasites can't live on them shrimps or snails, so you can QT both by putting them in another tank for a few weeks. This will break the life cycle as the free living (= juvenile) parasites die if they cannot find a host within a set period of time (around 24 hours, but depends on temperature and other factors). Salt dips won't work: you MUST expose fish, shrimps and snails to the salt/heat combo for the requisite period of time. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Hatchetfish with ich? 02/09/09 Hi Neale, <Unfortunately "out"> Thanks for your reply. Hatchetfish don't have any more (or less) spots and are still eating well. <Ah, good> They are tolerating the salt dosed as recommended but I am having trouble getting the temp about 82, I guess I need a stronger heater because it's been turned up to max temp and it doesn't get any hotter. <Ahh, perhaps another heater of similar wattage in tandem> I took the shrimp and snails out and put them in a old tank we had from a Betta long ago, it's only 2.5 gallons but has a heat/light they seem fine. <Good> Our local fish specialty store said salt doesn't work, heat is fine but recommended ParaGuard by SeaChem, they said it is less abrasive and works well. I hate that I get different advice everywhere, I never know what is best. Have you heard of it? <I have, and this is a good product. However, the heat alone should effect a cure here> Or in your opinion should we just stick with the heat/salt? <This last is what I would do. Bob Fenner> Melissa

Ich, Meds, & Scaleless-- 1/20/09 Hello WWM, You have been my trusty source for over two years, and I'm ashamed to say I have read your 'related articles' and I'm thoroughly confused about what to do with the unstoppable and dreaded Ich in my 50 g bowfront with 3 African brown knives, 1 black knife, 3 featherfins, 2 pim pictus, Hatchetfish, zebra Danio? They were perfectly fine, weekly water changes, water tests all good - no deaths for 6 months, then I bought my black knife and a pictus - yes, without quarantine because they looked fine. 3 days ago, I did a 70% water change, vacuumed gravel, raised the temp a couple degrees last few days to 83, heading to 86, have used RidIchPlus+ every 12 hours and covered the tank for complete darkness all to no avail. I'm going to add an airstone because of the higher temp. But the problem is, it's worse. The ich is now on the eyes of my African browns, I'm so afraid they aren't going to make it. What else can I do? I saw your remarks about aq. salt 1tbsp/10g and 1/2 strength malachite green -- all this on top of what I'm doing? No article provides a holistic remedy about all the interactions of these different treatments -- at what point am I overdoing it and curing the disease but killing my fish? What more should I be doing or what should I stop at this point? Should I remove all the plastic plants and accessories and wash them in a vinegar solution? I feared this would keep stressing them out....Help! I can't think of anything else but to save my babies... Holistic Answer Seeker <Hello. The "holistic" answer to healthy fish is to optimise water quality and provide a healthy diet. That's it. Nothing else. Usually when people have problems with fish health it's either the water quality is poor or they offer their fish an unhealthy diet, for example one containing feeder fish. I mention these things because a 50 gallon tank is way too small for the fish you have, a single Notopterus notopterus (Featherfin Knifefish) will easily overwhelm that tank once it reaches its adult size of around 60 cm (about 24 inches). Obviously the Danio and Hatchetfish will end up as food, and while these Knifefish are predators in the wild, allowing predatory fish to consume live fish in captivity is one of the best ways to make them sick. (Both Danios and Hatchets should be in schools, preferably in separate tanks, since Danios tend to bully/kill Hatchetfish.) In any case, let's review the Ick problem. The combination of salt and heat should kill the free-living parasites once the cysts burst open. Do bear in mind that an open cyst is a pathway for secondary infections, and one of the major problems with severe Ick outbreaks is that things like Finrot can soon follow on. Because Knifefish are more tolerant of salt than copper/formalin, I'd definitely be using the salt and heat method to treat them. Indeed, some Knifefish inhabit brackish water, and the Asian species especially are pretty adaptable. Do not add any other medications to the water during this phase. Very few medications interact well. Do a couple of big (50% plus) water changes between the end of using one treatment and the beginning of another, so that you can flush out any residual medication. You can also filter with fresh carbon for the same effect, but frankly water changes are good so why not do them anyway? All else being equal, I'd expect otherwise healthy Knifefish to recover from Ick without too much fuss. But this is contingent on ammonia and nitrite being zero and the pH staying stable, in other words, conditions in the tank being good. In the meantime, start saving up for that 200 gallon tank: you're going to need it! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Ich, Meds, & Scaleless-- 1/20/09 Thanks Neale for your response, because I may have a cough, but if I take all 40 cough meds available to me I may cure the problem but harm myself in the process. <Hi Michelle, your analogy is a good one. All medications are poisons: it's a question of dose.> That's where I'm at with all the articles on here - you all endorse Aquarisol, RidIch+ and some other meds at half strength with scaleless and some other remedies here and there, but as for the whole package approach at one time you say just stick to heat, salt, good food and 50% water changes <We each have different experiences, but broadly speaking you'll find agreement on the basics; tea-tree oil doesn't work, salt is useful for specific problems, not everything; and copper-based medications are toxic to different fish at varying levels.> I'm confused by some points in your response. 1.You say I have a Featherfin Knifefish that can reach 2 feet, I don't - I have Featherfin catfish which reach 10 in max., aka Synodontis Eupterus. <Ah, that wasn't clear from your list. It seemed to be a list of Knifefish. As you say, S. eupterus isn't so big. A nice fish, by the way.> And I have the one inch zebra Danio, not the giant ones so they have never bothered the Hatchetfish. <The Zebras can be bullies! Not every time, and not in every tank. As you can understand, I have to try and offer advice that works in the most possible situations.> Brown and Black knives usually leave all alone if they are fed twice a day as I've experienced and Bob Fenner mentions in his articles. <Does vary on the tank and the tankmates. If yours are happy, that's great. But ordinarily, I wouldn't recommend people mix them, and certainly not in relatively modest aquaria.> 2. So the complete approach is Heat, salt and water changes are the answer? The heat is 85 and quite a challenge to maintain with 50% water changes and isn't there a risk of gas bubble disease or water hardness issues from the tap? <Salt/heat should work fine. As for the water changes, provided you dechlorinate the water, I can't see any problems with gas or hardness, assuming the water isn't a problem for the fish ordinarily. You don't have to keep the water at 30 C (85 F) by the way. All heat does is speed up the life cycle, so instead of it taking a week for the cysts to burst, it only takes a couple of days. So if you're more comfortable keeping the fish at, say, 28 C (82 F) then by all means do so, or even cooler if you prefer. It's the SALT not the HEAT that kills the parasite.> How often should I be doing the water changes - from the bottom or top? <Your normal water change cycle would be fine, say, 25% per week.> After each one should I be replenishing with aquarium salt at the rate of 1 Tablespoon per 10 gallons removed? <Yes: any water removed should be replaced with salted water. Evaporated water should be replaced with UNSALTED water, since evaporation doesn't carry away the salt. Please do weigh out your tablespoons, at least once, to check you're adding the right amount of salt. A tablespoon should be three teaspoons, or about 3 x 6 = 18 grammes. That's about 0.65 ounces.> It falls to the bottom and remains solid so does that run the risk of having too much in the aquarium if I didn't vacuum it all? <Are we talking about salt here? DO NOT add salt to the aquarium! Dissolve the salt in the bucket of water first. While the danger of grains of salt sitting in the tank isn't in itself a huge risk, if a fish is stupid enough to eat a lump of salt, that would be fatal.> As for food I feed them Hikari bloodworms in AM, and then pinch of flake food and 2 algae chips in evening. <Sounds good.> And finally, I really should stop the RidIch+? <Yes; salt/heat OR Ick medication. No need for both.> By the way, Day 5, nothing is better; the ich is on their eyes. I'm doing a 50% water change - I've been doing it every other day. Day 1 was 70%, then Day 3 was 30%, now I'll do a 50%. <Let me clarify. How long have you been treating with salt/heat? The salt won't work until the cysts burst. I'm also curious about whether this really is Ick. There are some other things that can look similar. Any chance of a photo? Other things might be Velvet or physical trauma.> Thanks, M <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Ich, Meds, & Scaleless-- 1/20/09 Neale, <Hello,> I just took out all the plastic plants thinking that maybe they have to be rinsed well of the food particles and what not that accumulates over time. I carefully inspected them all - 1/2 don't seem infected. <We're talking about the plastic plants? These won't be "infected" with anything, though any wet object can carry Ick parasites from one tank to another (why retailers sterilise their nets in between catching fish for customers). By all means clean plastic plants, I'd recommend every month or so, or whenever they look dirty. But in and of themselves, they should really cause problems.> The two worst are the pictus catfish - in fact, one has blood red spots on the tips of several fins. <Now this sounds like Finrot.> They are both entirely covered with salt-size-dots that I assume to be Ich (i.e. Just as if you salted a fish for dinner.) <"Salt grains" accurately describes Ick, I'll admit that. But because Ick (brought in with the new fish) breaks the skin/mucous layer on a fish, it makes them vulnerable to Finrot and Fungus, so you may have multiple issues to deal with. On the plus side, there is no reason not to use a reputable Finrot medication (e.g., Maracyn) alongside salt/heat treatment. Maracyn obviously works in brackish and marine fish tanks, so a tiny bit of salt isn't going to cause any problems.> Then my brown knives are coated in the same tiny white dots and several eyes are going cloudy now too. So it looks like it's bacterial as well? <I think we're dealing with two issues at once.> I just scrubbed and rinsed my Whisper filter. I put the two carbon filters back in. <Do please remember: Carbon removes medications (other than salt) from the water. You cannot treat fish while leaving carbon in the filter. Even I've made this mistake, and wondered why my fish didn't heal. The reality is that carbon is more trouble (and expense) than it's worth in most freshwater tanks.> Every time I add water I try to make it the same temperature, add a tiny drop of water conditioner to take out metals. <Not sure what you mean by a "tiny" drop, but the dose on the package per gallon, yes.> I added the dissolved salt water - API aquarium salt, right? <This is fine. You don't want marine salt mix because that would alter the pH and hardness. Tonic or aquarium salt, such as that from API, should be fine.> I don't know what else to do. Should I pull out the pictus, set up a hospital tank for them separately because one of them was the one who started all this? <No. I'd treat everyone together.> But I still have to treat my main tank? My poor baby brown knife is hovering vertical in the corner in distress that I safely had for years; I don't think she has much longer. <Do please review the environment, just in case. It's easy to assume water quality and pH are good because they always have been, and in fact they're not any more. But assuming they're good, I think the problem here is that we've got Ick that prompted a Finrot outbreak, and because you've used carbon, the Ick medication didn't work, so things kept getting worse. The real damage Ick does is to the gills, making fish increasingly "out of breath" and that's why they look so unhappy. The good news is that they should recover, even from fairly bad cases, given the right treatment.> Losing it, M <Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Ich, Meds, & Scaleless-- 1/20/09 Neale, re fin rot I have been reading about this bacteria and I am separating them, but have I been making them sicker by adding salt? <The salt dose I recommend is very low, and won't stress your fish unduly. Even salinities as high as around 6 g/l (SG 1.003, about 0.8 oz per gallon) aren't going to harm freshwater fish in the short term. Indeed, elevated salinities may have some therapeutic value under some situations.> See: http://www.aquariumlife.net/articles/fish-diseases/22.asp <That's a good article, but the comment on salt is a bit misguided. Salt has little/no impact on Finrot directly, though fish that prefer saline conditions (for example Mollies) are more prone to Finrot when salt isn't added to the water. The bacteria that cause Finrot live in fresh, brackish and saltwater conditions, so obviously salt itself isn't toxic to them. Now, while adding salt in the long term (i.e., every week) isn't a good idea with freshwater fish, in the short term (a few weeks of treatment) there is little evidence it harms them, and by contrast much more evidence that the alternatives (such as copper) are more immediately toxic. This is why "delicate" fish such as Stingrays, Mormyrids, Knifefish and Loaches are treated with the salt/heat method, not copper-based standard issue Ick medications. Is salt poisonous to catfish? No more so than to any other freshwater fish, and there are in fact MANY catfish that live in brackish water habitats, and a surprising number that live in the sea. It comes as a surprise to many people who repeat this "salt is dangerous to catfish" idea that there are in fact catfish that live on coral reefs!> "The use of aquarium salt will benefit livebearing fish, but should be avoided in fish, such as scaleless catfish, that are sensitive to salt" <Scales are neither here nor there. Moray eels don't have scales, but they live in the sea. Goldfish have scales, but live in freshwater. It's all to do with how a fish is adapted to its environment, and nothing at all to do with its skin! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Ich, Meds, & Scaleless-- 1/20/09 Neale, To answer your questions - I removed the carbon 5 days ago when I began treating this - I know it removes medicines. <Cool.> I never put it back in there until today when I removed all the plastic plants because it stirred up so much debris that I needed to cycle it out to clean the water along with my 50% water change. 1/2 my fish, not plastic plants, look sick, the other half fine - that's why I thought it a good idea to isolate the pictus in a hospital tank - so now that we know we have comorbidity (multiple things going on here) should I begin with the Maracyn? <I would.> m <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Ich, Meds, & Scaleless Neale, They are dying now by the minute. The ich seems to have receded except with the African brown knives. Bala showed no signs, even with the Ich, except today a bloody top fin where it connects to him. My small African brown knife died and internally at the tail and mouth it was blood colored. My medium African brown knife is upside down. What's the most awful new symptom is giant pieces of skin of the Featherfin catfish and brown knives were just falling off in large grey pieces like something out of a horror movie. I did the Day 2 dosage of Maracyn and Day 1 dosage for Maracyn-Two. How did this happen? All from a sick pictus? I just don't understand how my whole tank is dying and not responding to anything - I change the water every 48 hours. The temp stays at 84. What is going on that it only gets worse? Is it possible they have true fungi and body fungi and internal and external body infections all at the same time? My water is so clean, I put in an extra bubble wand, removed the decor...I'm just so lost and tired of crying with each death. It just feels so hopeless. M <Michelle, if the fish are becoming bloody on the body and not just the fins, that tends to imply a systemic bacterial infection, something akin to septicaemia. That is very difficult to cure, which is why the accent when dealing with bacterial infections is to recognise them early on (the Finrot stage) or better yet, prevent them altogether. So in all honesty, I cannot offer much hope with regard to the fish already at that point. Ick doesn't so much "recede" as move from the whitespot cyst phase to the free-living stage in the water. The fish that have lost their cysts haven't been cured: it is essential to understand this. The cysts have burst, and the parasites are now in the water. The salt should kill those parasites, so your fish will not be re-infected, and that's how the Ick cycle gets broken. Now, the burst cysts are sites for secondary infections, so it is critical to keep an eye on them for any signs of Finrot or Fungus. I am concerned that things have spiraled out of control incredibly quickly here, which is why I don't think Ick by itself is the issue. I can't stress this point strongly enough: you must check the water quality and water chemistry to see if there's anything else that might be causing problems. If this was me, and I was losing a bunch of fish rapidly, I'd be super-critical of aquarium conditions. I'd take the fish out and put them in a bucket. I'd remove the filter, rinse the media, and keep it running, connected to the bucket with the fish (easy to do with canister filters just by moving the inlet and outlet hoses to the bucket). I'd then strip down the aquarium, give everything a good clean, especially the gravel, and re-fill will fresh, dechlorinated water (with salt added in this case). Once that was done, I'd acclimate the fish to the new aquarium water just as if you'd bought them new. In other words, I'd remove some (10-15%) water from the bucket, replace with water from the aquarium, and repeat this 5 or 6 times over the next couple of hours. Then the fish would be lifted out and put into the tank. The idea is to minimise contamination of the new aquarium water with water from the bucket. Anyway, yes, this is fairly extreme, but at least this way I'd be assured the fish had optimal water quality without being exposed to rapid changes in pH, hardness or temperature. Since the Ick life cycle has broken, you can lower the water temperature to the normal 25 C/77 F. To answer your question, can all this be caused by one new fish, the answer is quite clearly "yes". The bigger question though is did the catfish bring in a disease that caused this problem, or did the catfish merely destabilise what was already a flawed aquarium. I mention that because in my experience aquaria have a "carrying capacity", and one fish can throw the whole thing off balance, until the livestock "die back" to a stable level. It isn't easy to predict this level, and "inch per gallon" rules are seriously misleading. So as I say, be critical about how heavily stocked your tank is, and think about whether filtration is adequate and if the available carbonate hardness is adequate to maintain a stable pH. Sorry I can't offer any easy fixes. Good luck, Neale.>

Questions about specific treatments for Ich.  10/25/08
Hi We have a large tank with blood fin tetras, black widow tetra's, Gourami's, Pleco's Angel fish, Mystery (Apple) snails , Kuhli loaches, and a platy. My question is regarding which fish will not cope with treatment with Wardley's Ick away. I hear that loaches will not cope with a full dose treatment. so we will isolate the Kuhlis in another tank and half dose them, Their is a concern with the Tetra's, The blood fin's and the Black widow tetra's. Are they fine with a full dose treatment. Also the snail's are they going to be affected. Are plants going to be affected also?
thank you for your time. also if any of the other fish are not ok with the treatment please let me know.
My approach will be to remove Kuhli loaches.
Turn off the aquarium light (Treatment deteriorates in light), Raise the temperature to 27 degrees Celsius (80.6f) (To speed up life cycle of Ich (Ichthyophthirius multifilis).
Treat with appropriate dose for a week. Vacuum tank every couple of days.
Re dosing salt after vacuum (A couple handfuls for the 160 litre tank) and cross fingers that the treatment clears up the infestation and flashing.
thank you for your time, I appreciate your effort..
mike and Nicola
<Copper- and formalin-based medications are lethal to snails and shrimps. There are also some reports of certain medications being stressful/toxic to loaches and catfish. So in this instance I'd eschew standard Ick medications in favour of salt/heat treatment. See here:
Raise the temperature to 82-86 F. Add salt to a jug of warm water at a dose of 2-3 teaspoons per gallon (12-18 grammes per 3.8 litres) of water in your aquarium. Dribble slowly into the outflow from the filter so it quickly stirs into the water. Leave for 1-2 weeks, and then lower the thermostat and do your regular water changes to gradually lower the salinity. This very low salinity is harmless to your fish and invertebrates, but will kill the free living parasites (not the white spots you can see!) breaking the cycle of re-infection. Cheers, Neale.>

Ich! help!!!  10/14/08 Dear WWM crew... <Hi,> i have a 55 gallon fully planted aquarium, which i have been working on since January of last year. Up until 3 days ago, everything was in order. I do a 10- 15 percent water change religiously... (AT LEAST twice a week), i feed sparingly, and i have an eheim canister filter that hasn't failed me yet. 3 days ago i noticed that my lampeye killies were dying off, one or two a day. I had a shoal of 9, but now only one is left. I also had a Prochilodus that was with me from the very beginning, and he just kicked the can this morning. <When more than one fish dies within a few days, and especially if more than one species is affected, the FIRST thing you do is grab your test kits and check the nitrite and the pH. Why? You want to know [a] whether water quality remains good; and [b] whether the pH is stable, and therefore whether water chemistry is stable.> I made sure the filter was properly working, i did a 50 percent water change, and then i noticed on my beautiful Congo tetras, small white spots all over! Also, it looks as if their fins are starting to deteriorate! <Almost certainly a reaction to poor conditions. The Whitespot tends to come in with new livestock, and there's much debate about whether it can lie "dormant" in tanks for any length of time. So the question is what have you recently added to the tank? Do be aware that nets can transfer Whitespot parasites, and they can even get into tanks via plants, if those plants were in tanks with fish. On the other hand, Finrot is an opportunistic infection that appears whenever fish are stressed.> I have had these Congos for months, and their finnage is finally stunning...to lose them now would kill me....I also noticed white salt looking spots on almost all my other fish. My threadfin rainbows are covered, and even my Endler guppies are fighting white specks on their fins. I have researched online ich treatment, but they all prescribe a medicine which might be potentially harmful to my giant Amano shrimp, cherry shrimp, and clams... what can i do to save my fish? and keep my inverts alive as well??? please help! <You're in the classic "Morton's Fork" that reef-keepers have to deal with. Formalin and especially copper-based medications are lethal to shrimps and most other invertebrates. Your best option is to raise the water temperature to around 28-30 C and add salt (tonic salt is fine) so that the salinity is raised to the point where the free-living theronts (which emerge from the cysts) are killed. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm This requires a dose of 2-3 teaspoons per gallon. Don't add the salt directly: instead heat some water to about 40 degrees C, pour into a jug, and then stir in the necessary amount of salt to make a brine. Over a few hours, add this to the tank to gently raise the salinity, taking care to keep stirring the jug or adding more warm water if any salt comes out of solution. Leave the tank running at this elevated salinity for 2-3 weeks, and then turn down the heater and do a series of water changes across the next week or so to return things to normal. This low level of salinity is harmless to fish and shrimps (and, usually, plants), but will be enough to kill the Whitespot.> best. peter <Cheers, Neale.>

Clown Pleco Skin Patchy-ness... medication poisoning, reading   10/11/08
Well, to start I have 9 Zebra Danio's, 10 Neon Tetra's, 6 Harlequins, 2 Cory's, a rather peaceful Siamese Fighter, and a Clown Pleco. My tank was recently infected with the Whitespot disease which killed off all 6 or my Bleeding Hearts, my other Clown Pleco, a male and female Dwarf Gourami's (I still have 1 other female Dwarf Gourami but I suspect she won't make it) and all 7 of my Emperor Tetra's. (The Emperor's where the ones to bring it into the tank.) We used Exit
<www.eshalabs.eu/pages_eu/product_engels.html?zoom=2&download=1 - >
for the Whitespot and the treatment worked on the rest that didn't die but its started to come back on the Neon's and Siamese (who is dubbed Jackie Chan ^_^).
<Good name>
We're treating the Ick again
<I would be reading on WWM re... at least elevating temp. to bolster a cure here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwichremedyyes.htm
and the linked files above>
but my main problem at the moment is my Clown Pleco. He's chocolate brown with kind-of yellow spots and stripes.. So far he hasn't been affected at all by the Ick but I've noticed he's gotten some lighter patches on his skin.
<Is affected... more by the eSHa product likely...>
They seem to be crescent shape and go down his back (though this is in a regular pattern). He's also gone very quiet (whereas before he was quite active) and isn't eating as much. He's barely moved at all day.
<Being poisoned... have you measured any ammonia, nitrite...?>
I did a water test and the results came back fine aside from the pH which showed between 5-6.
<Dangerously low... likely not well buffered either... Do you know much re alkalinity AND pH? Please see WWM re, and possibly at least mix in some source water with appreciable hardness>
I don't know if there is something wrong with the Pleco but I'm quite fond of him and am not keen on losing any more fish. ^_^;
<Then... I'd be reading... Stat>
Any help would be much appreciated.
Jasmine Law
<Read. Bob Fenner>

Re: Clown Pleco Skin Patchy-ness, Ich    10/12/08
Many thanks for your help, it is greatly appreciated. I read on your site about raising the temperature to kill the Ick, and I've now raised it to 80 F however I am concerned about raising the temperature to the level required to kill off all stages of Ick as I know some of the fish I have, such as the Danios, tend to prefer cooler temperatures.
<Ah, yes>
Would it be ok, bearing in mind the different species I have, to raise the temperature?
<Yes... better by far than to suffer, perhaps perish from the ich itself... or more medicine exposure. If they were mine, I'd go ahead and raise the temperature to 83-84 F.. This is not too high for Danios in the short term>
What temperature do you consider tolerable for the different fish in the tank?
<For all the species you list (below) in your original email, this temporary elevation will be fine... Do take care in a couple weeks however to lower it slowly... no more than a degree per day or so>
I've done another water change. And another water test. The results came back as:
GH - 180
KH - 180
PH - 7.0
Nitrites CNO2 - 0
Nitrates - 20
<Mmm, the Nitrates are borderline high... going forward I would read re such on WWM:
and the linked FAQs file above... and do what you can to reduce this level>
Also, in the past week I have done two 50% water changes (leaving a few days between each change) and another 25% earlier today.
I checked the Clown Pleco and I couldn't spy any patches on him. I hope this is an improvement. Though he is still quiet and not moving as much.
Thanks again for your help.
Jasmine Law
<Bob Fenner>

Ick/Whitespot  7/22/08 Hi Guys, I added five new baby neon tetra's to my tank recently - it seems the neon's have all developed Ick/Whitespot. I already had 6 Neon's 2 guppies and a Sailfin Molly - these all appear to be fine. <So far at least... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollies.htm Do review the needs of Mollies, and also be warned Neons may nip the fins of fancy male Guppies.> I have read your articles regarding ICK and just wanted to confirm your recommendation for best way to treat. <Promptly!> I was just going to buy meds and treat the tank with meds and regular water changes. However from reading through your site would you recommend increasing temperature and treating with Salt instead? <Makes no odds either way. I tend to use commercial medications such as eSHa EXIT (a brand I find works well even with sensitive species like puffers) because it's easier. But if you want to use salt/temperature, go ahead.> I have added salt before but never with the neon's only with mollies/guppies can my neon's tolerate salt? also my temp is at 80f already is it safe to increase the temp further? <Neons should tolerate the very low salt concentration required, particularly if you build up the salinity across a few days. As for raising the temperature, I wouldn't. Temperature is about speeding up the life cycle of the parasite; in itself it isn't a "treatment" as such. The idea is that the salt only kills the free living parasite, so the sooner that phase begins, the better.> Thanks in advance Scott <Cheers, Neale.> Help! Emergency!, Ich treatment, Water Changes 6/17/08 Hey! <Hello> Um......I'm in a bit of a jam. My 20 gallon tank which has quite a bit of fish in there has had two guppies develop ich and I have already had to kill them. <Why? Need to slow way down here.> Would a water change help? <Would help improve the environmental conditions I bet.> If so, could you give me directions how to do it? <All you seek is here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm .> Is there anything else that I could do? <Yes, see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm .> My dad Already said no to treating in because he says the treatment turns the water a dark blue and he says that its like you're actually poisoning them. <I think he is talking about using Methylene Blue, which is very safe but not very effective.> Please e-mail back! Also, I have another 10 gallon tank for my newborn fry. Could I get ich in that too? <Yes> Should I do a water change? <When in doubt do a water change.> -Sarah <Chris>

Frustrated with Fish, FW Disease, Ich 5/14/08 I have a 55Gallon goldfish tank. It has been up and running for a few months now. The numbers are as follows Ammonia = 0 Nitrites = 0 Nitrates = 60ppm this number is due to a problem with source water, recently I switched to using spring water as recommended by my LFS. This seems to have solved that problem. <Might want to look into an RO/DI unit, could be cheaper in the long term depending on what the spring water costs you.> I am now battling ich. I used Maracide to treat the tank. <Malachite green, pretty toxic stuff. There are less toxic means to fight this, see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm . > I treated the tank exactly per the instructions. I also brought the temperature of the tank up to 76F to try and speed up the life cycle of the parasite. All but one of the goldfish died (there were four fancy in total). The little black moor that is left is on his way out and the strange thing about it is that the ich never actually left the bodies of the fish. Over the course of treatment of seven days the ich never dropped off the fish. The black moor has more ich on him now then when I started treating. Is there anything that can be done for him? <Could try a formalin bath, but be wary, formalin is also fairly toxic to people, so may not be appropriate for a work environment. Don't want to get in trouble for bringing a carcinogen into a doctor's office.> Also I cannot let the tank go fallow because it is set up at a prominent doctor's office and it also houses two ACF's, which by the way are doing just Jim dandy. I need some help. I am getting frustrated and losing fish and my boss is losing confidence in my ability to manage the tank. Please help... <Can be frustrating.> Treat with an alternative medication? (After a huge water change and running carbon so as not to overdose the tank on meds.) <I would probably try to avoid medications here since you can not QT these fish, most medications will destroy your biofilter and lead to water quality issues. I would try using salt first, "about 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons for two weeks." http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm .> Is Maracide typically an effective solution? <Yes, but it leads to poor water quality which can cause even more problems to the already weakened fish.> How do I get the critters off of the fish so I can kill them? <They pretty much have to cycle off themselves, most treatments attack them in their more vulnerable free swimming stage.> When might I ever be able to have fish again? <Without a fish host their lifecycle is about 2 weeks. Best bet here is to QT any new fish before placement in the tank to avoid these types of problems.> Can I add fish while I medicate to ensure they do not contract the disease? <I would not add anything to the tank while treating. However if the tank is devoid of fish not treatment is necessary, without fish hosts the tank will be ich free in about a month.> What about the ACF's they handled the Maracide well but I researched it and contacted Mardel to make sure it was safe, is an alternative medication also going to sit well with them? <Amphibians are going to be very sensitive to any chemical you put in the water, so best bet here is to just let the tank run fishless for a month since the Ich cannot host on the frogs.> I read that adding salt could be effective but I also read that ACF's do not tolerate salt well? <They do not generally do well with salt. My advice here is to let the frogs run the tank for a month, then add new fish after a month long QT to make sure they do not bring in any new diseases.> Oh and finally, I forgot there is a little butterfly loach in there as well. He seems to be fine although determining his health is tough because he isn't very active. <If he remains in the tank, so will the Ich.> Also I do know the benefits of a quarantine tank and I am kicking myself but my options are limited because of the fact that I am not able to make my own decisions about the tank. <For a display tank like this a QT tank is almost mandatory, for the simple fact that can't easily break down the tank and run it fallow. I think the doctor would hopefully understand the old "ounce of prevention" saying if you explain the benefits to him/her.> <Chris>

African Cichlids scratching 5-1-08 Malawi Cichlids With Stubborn Itch Hi Chuck, We wrote to you back in January 2006 about an issue with our fish scratching on rocks, gravel, etc. I've included the e-mails below. Just wondering if we could ask for your advice one more time! I'll give you an update... After your advice we treated for Ich/ Protozoa infection on two separate occasions. The first dose didn't stop them scratching so our local fish shop recommended a second, prolonged treatment with a different brand (ie 2 treatments back to back). That proved to be a disaster; it not only failed to stop the scratching, but also killed many fish. We were left with a few P. saulosi, P. acei and some Synodontis catfish. We spoke to many fish shops and no one could help us or suggest any further treatments. One said it could be the water conditioner or that it could just be natural behaviour. Having lost so many fish we had given up on treating them any further and just thought we'd see how things go. Over the past 2 years we've completely changed the rock, the sand, all water conditioners/hardeners/etc., tried different foods, got a bigger canister filter, put in some powerheads, added Seachem Purigen to the filter (changed monthly) and maintained good water conditions throughout. (Phew) All the fish seemed very healthy. They bred many many times (to the point that there were far too many for the tank) and even our Synodontis population tripled using the saulosi as hosts. Everything was perfect...except they were STILL scratching! A week ago we sold all the fish except the Synodontis and bought a colony of 5 large venustus (1 male 25cm, 4 females 20cm). Unfortunately I noticed the male scratching last night. I can't see anything visually wrong, no spots or anything. We checked the water conditions and got the following: GH = 22 deg., KH = 10 deg., pH = 8, ammonia = 0, nitrites = 0, nitrates < 5ppm (didn't register any on the test). I'm absolutely stumped and very frustrated. It seems obvious that it's a parasite... Do you have any ideas on what it could be? Is there any way of testing the fish before trying to treat them? Any natural remedies that won't kill the fish? Any non-parasite ideas? Sorry about the long e-mail! Thanks in advance. Carl & Monica < Ideally you take a sample of the protective slim from the skin of the fish and look at it under a microscope. Look for parasites that may be causing the irritation. If you tried the Rid-Ich, then I am surprised that it didn't work. Generally new fish are stressed and they produce lots of this protective slim. Sometimes they produce enough to overcome the parasite and the organism becomes less of a problem. To increase the slim you could add aquarium or rock salt. You don't want to add too much because the slim will coat the gills and impede respiration. Other natural remedies would be to increase the water temp to the mid 80's F. Higher temps increase the metabolism of the organism and they cannot keep this up. Think of it as giving your tank a fever to fight a cold. I would start by adding a tablespoon of salt per 5 gallons of water and raise the water temp to 83 F. If the fish act too stressed then reduce the water temp until they feel more comfortable. If the eyes are also cloudy then it could be bacterial. Try Furanace, it works well on both bacteria and funguses. Minerals and metals may also cause the irritations. You could set up a quarantine tank and fill it with treated R/O or treated distilled water. That way you are in control of the minerals/metals in the water.-Chuck> Re: white specks 4/23/08 Hi Mike and Crew, Thank you for the advice given so far. The tank inhabitants are one male and three female Neolamprologus multifasciatus, chosen to suit the small tank. My current water conditions are as follows; Ammonia - .1ppm <Too much! Tanganyikans are notoriously sensitive to nitrogenous waste, and even Nitrate causes problems, let alone Ammonia. So, first up, review feeding and filtration. If these are basically fine, then also check you don't have ammonia in your drinking water. Sometimes as plain vanilla ammonia, sometimes as chloramine. In either case, you'll need to take remedial action by adding the appropriate conditioner to the water prior to use. All this said, if there's traces of ammonia in the drinking water, any half-decent filtration system should remove it quite quickly.> Nitrite- 0ppm Nitrate- 0ppm-1ppm PH- 7.6 (not currently adding Alkaline Buffer as I've been doing twice a week 50% water changes to keep the white specks numbers down) <Hmm... not sure you *can* safely economise on carbonate hardness in a Tanganyikan tank.> GH-179ppm (not currently adding KH/PH Plus as I've been doing twice a week 50% water changes to keep the white specks numbers down) KH-179ppm (as above) <Adding a pH buffer is largely irrelevant if you're adding sufficient carbonate hardness. DIY recipes for making Rift Valley water using cheap grocery store chemicals cost pennies per gallon. A common Rift Valley salt mix is as follows. Per 5 gallons/20 litres: 1 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) 1 tablespoon Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) 1 teaspoon marine salt mix (sodium chloride + trace elements) Or get a recipe from a Rift Valley cichlid book, and then act accordingly. While I agree that commercial Rift Valley salts are pricey, that doesn't mean you can economise while treating your fish. Raising the carbonate hardness should automatically take care of the pH without any further need to add chemicals.> In my attempts to eradicate the organism I have tried an 18 day course of white spot eliminator, which had very limited effect. I then let the tank sit for two weeks before trying two courses of Parasite Eliminator, followed by water changes as directed, again with very limited results. <Do check you have removed carbon. One of the most common reasons medication don't seem to work is that carbon was left in the system.> As I learn more about the fish and fish keeping, I am hesitant to add more medications, instead doing twice weekly water changes to let the tank and fish recover from medications. I will try to take photo for more info but the specks don't photograph to well, as they are tiny. They could be compared to half a grain of sand size, and seem to be able to change directions in the water as they move against the current. <Sound like either Whitespot or Velvet; many medications treat both. Whitespot looks like salt, Velvet is smaller and looks like confectioners/icing sugar. Velvet also tends to have a slight golden sheen, hence the name. Often Velvet attacks the gills before anything else, so your fish "flash" against objects in irritation before any white spots become visible. Because Velvet attacks the gills early on, it is almost always associated with rapid or laboured breathing relative to normal.> At present I have not seen the white spots form on the fish like any of the pictures on the net, admittedly they are small fish which makes it hard to see. Thank you again for you time and assistance any advice is much appreciated. Kind regards, Darren. <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Brown knife and ich, reading   4/17/08 A few fish in my tank have ich I added a medication called quick cure wondering if it will affect my brown knife fish? <Mmm, yes. The active ingredients (copper sulfate and formalin if memory serves) will likely kill any Apteronotid> I would like to cure the ich without harming the Knife so what do you suggest? <That you read: http://wetwebmedia.com/ see the Freshwater Subweb... re FW Knives, their Health/Diseases, the articles on Ich, and the active ingredients in Quick Cure. Likely simply elevating temp. will "do it" here... as you will find by reading. Bob Fenner>

Ick, FW... Discus incl.  -03/27/08 Hello, I have discus and cardinal tetra in a 44 gallon tank. The tetras have the ich white spots. As soon as I noticed them I raised the tank temperature to 82-84 removed the carbon filter and treated with Rid-Ich. After several days and treatments the ich was still on them. I then did a 50% water change and began treating with super ich treatment. The discus appeared to be stressed so after two days put filter back in and did water change. Cardinals still have white spots but not noticeable on Discus. What can I use to get rid of the Ich and not harm or stress the discus? Any assistance you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Susan <Hi Susan. There's really no magic to Ick medications, and when they don't work, it's either because the disease was misidentified (e.g., it's Velvet, not Ick) or else the medication was used improperly (e.g., wrong concentration, without removing carbon, etc.). So check these things; it's easy to make mistakes. Next up, I'd recommend trying alternate brands of medication. I've found some medications much less effective than others in some instances. I'm not a huge fan of raising the temperature when using copper/formalin medications IF the Ick problem is being dealt with early on. The standard operating temperature for Discus is around 28C/82F, and that should be ample warmth to speed the Ick life cycle to under a week. Raising the temperature makes more sense with coldwater/subtropical fish where the life cycle takes longer. Because Ick damages the gill membranes, the combo of high temperature (= low oxygen) coupled with the Ick damage can lead to breathing problems for the fish. In any case, removing carbon shouldn't be causing distress to your fish. If you have so much organic material being dumped into the aquarium that the water turns nasty within a few days, you have bigger problems than Ick! Seriously, carbon plays no particularly useful role in freshwater aquaria so I wouldn't bother with it. Do always check that "modules" in filters don't have hidden carbon sachets. Carbon exists in the hobby primarily as a way for manufacturers to extract cash from consumers, and they love to build in carbon (costs pennies) into filters to force inexperienced consumers to buy new carbon modules every month. Almost every time I've experienced or been told about Ick medication not working, it's been because there was carbon somewhere in the system. Cheers, Neale.>

Ick, planted aquaria  -03/17/08 Hello Crew, Once Again I Need Some Advice. <Overdoing the capital letters, I think!> In The Marine Hobby 20 Years, Newbie To FW Planted Tank. My planted FW Tank Is Flourishing Beyond My expectations. <And that's bad because...?> 5 Cardinal Tetras, 2 Pairs Fancy Guppies. 6 mo old. I Noticed 2 of the cardinals Have Ich (White Spots) How Can I effectively treat a live planted tank without any effect on the plants? <Plain vanilla Ick medication should work fine. It was true in the old days that some medications harmed plants, but nowadays this isn't the case. Most modern formulations are fine; check the box/bottle for any notices to the contrary.> I do have a Quarantine tank, Can I simply remove them? does the Ich Parasite remain live in the tank without fish? <Just as with Marine Ick, if you remove the fish, the free-living parasites die after a week or two.> Does It attach to plants? <Free-living parasites can of course be present in the water on a plant, but the parasite cannot feed on the plant so will die if it cannot find a fish host.> Do I need to treat Both the tank and the fish? <Leave the fish 'in situ' and then treat the tank.> Thanks Crew, Grateful To The Crew In NJ.. <Cheers, Neale.>

Air Bubbles/ Ick / Help! -03/17/08 Hello, <Ave,> First of all, I want to thank you so much for this extensive website. It has proven multiple times to be an extremely helpful asset. I am very sorry if you have previously answered this question before. <If we've answered it, we'll direct to the answer!> Okay, I am living in a very small apartment. Though I had many small aquariums when I was younger, I have not had any in a very long time. What I was originally looking for was a very small desktop aquarium to put on my desk (obviously [= ). The one I purchased was the one recommended to me by the PetSmart personnel, a Top Fin Aquascene 1. It's a triangular-shaped aquarium with dimensions 10.125'L x 7'D x 9.875'H. <Triangular (and any other funky shaped) aquaria are bad; they're a waste of space, and hold less water than a rectangular shape would. They're also difficult to stock, because surface area is critical, and again, these have less than ideal surface area to volume ratio. If space is truly at a premium, then weird shape aquaria are the WORST choices you can make.> I am not quite sure how many gallons it is. <Easy: find out how many buckets of water it takes to fill. In any case, since it's A LOT smaller than 1 cubic foot (12 x 12 x 12 inches, about 8 US gallons) this comes under the heading "Too Small For Fish". Perhaps keep shrimps, plants, snails. But not fish.> To filter, it uses an under gravel filter with an air stone. <OK.> I purchased the fish that the associate recommended: 3 (2 females -- one looks quite pregnant and 1 male) red/orange guppies with black tails and fins (she told me they were guppies, but after some research, I think they are actually platys) and 1 albino dwarf 'sucker' catfish. All fish are between 1 and 2 inches. <Nope. None of these are acceptable for this aquarium. None. Not at all. Never. No. Nix.> I set up the new tank with aquarium rocks and 2 aquarium plants, and within a short time (about an hour) added the fish. I asked the associate if there is anything I needed to do, and she never mentioned cycling the aquarium. I had no idea that aquariums needed to be cycled until I read something about it last night on your wonderful site. I feel so horrible for not realizing it before I put the fish in -- I am really worried about my fish. <I'm worried too. You need to read/review fishkeeping before spending money.> At least two of my guppies/platys have developed signs of Ich/Ick (little white cysts) and one of them is doing something that vaguely represents 'humping' the water (not rubbing). I am so sorry for my crude description, but I have no idea how else to put it. My little Harvey (the male) is the one who is showing the most little white cysts. He has been off by himself underneath a plant -- for a few minutes I thought he was dead. I am so worried that I did something to hurt them. <Yes, you did do stuff wrong. Wrong tank, wrong volume of water, wrong way of setting up.> When I started up the tank, I put some API Stress Coat into the aquarium to treat the water. I have fed them Tetra Color Tropical Flakes. Last night I put in some QuICK Cure, and put 2 drops in today instead of 1 because I am not seeing any improvement. <Please, unless you're a vet/microbiologist with a minor in organic chemistry -- follow the instructions on the package! Don't make stuff up as you go along!> I have also noticed an incredible amount of bubbles on the top of my aquarium. They look as though they are start from the top of the filter, although the water level is over the top of the filter. At first, I thought that the bubbles were caused by the air stone being too close to the top of the water because it had slid up, but I pushed it back down, and there has been no improvement in the amount of bubbles. <Bubbles like CO2 coming out of solution as the water temperature changes. Quite common in small tanks.> Are the bubbles in any way related to the ICH? <No.> I thought it might be connected because the bubbles completely but temporarily dispersed when I added in the Quick Cure. <Unrelated.> Or, and I don't think that this is it, but are the bubbles in any way possibly related to the light? There is a small light in the aquarium. I read somewhere that guppies/platys desire a 70ish temperature, (my room stays at about 71), and since the water was quite cold and I do not have a thermometer, I have left the light on constantly since last Wednesday-ish. (I purchased the tank on Monday evening, and it is now Saturday). Is this bad for them? <Tropical fish should be kept at a constant 25 C/77 F. I don't care how you do that, but you DO HAVE TO DO THIS. Unless you live in the tropics, then your house will be too cold for them. They're called "tropical fish" for a reason, and not as a marketing ploy!> I also noticed a small white membrany-looking thing inside the tube connected to the air stone (I have no other idea how to describe it.) <Perhaps algae or fungus of some sort. Siphon out.> Just wanted to double check that I AM supposed to leave that air filter on all the time. I turned it off last night because I was having so many bubbles that the lid was coming off the tank. <Yes, the air pump must stay on all the time if it is driving the undergravel filter (or any other filter).> Also, the two guppies/platies that were actually moving around were both like mesmerized by the top of the air filter (where the bubbles come out.) <They like water current.> I turned the light and pump off last night, and the bubbles are gone. I am afraid to turn them back on. <As temperature goes down, the CO2 dissolves into the water. I'm sure you remember your chemistry class at school about the solubility of gases in water as it relates to temperature.> Also, I think that the first day I overfed them, because I would watch them eat, and when it looked as though they had finished, I would add more. I couldn't believe how much they had eaten. However, I think that some of the flakes had been swept by the filter into the top of one of the plants, because I noticed several flakes mixed in with the rocks at the bottom. <All food should be gone within 1-2 minutes of feeding. And in such an insanely unsuitable aquarium as this, feeding more than once a day would be wrong.> Also, should I do a water change? <50% weekly.> The water isn't even a week old. <Quite right. Old water is bad water.> Please tell me what to do! -- I will do anything for them! ]= <Buy a bigger tank. This is not negotiable. This aquarium was a stupid purchase frankly, and I'd sooner you'd asked for help before spending the money. There's no way these fish will last long in it. Take my advice: get something around the 20 gallons mark. Yes, it might look big in the store, but trust me, you will be so thankful afterwards. You can keep reasonable numbers of fish (those Corydoras are schooling fish for example and unhappy kept in groups of less than 6) and your aquarium will be about 1 million times easier to keep.> Thank you so much in advance for your time and concern. <Not a problem.> Jessica <Cheers, Neale.> Re: Air Bubbles/ Ick / Help! Oh, and its a 1-gallon aquarium. <Too small for fish. Possibly cherry shrimps and snails. But that's it. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Air Bubbles/ Ick / Help! -03/17/08 Thank you for the quick reply. <Not a problem.> The thing is, we are not allowed to have aquariums larger than 2.5 gallons. I agree, it is a stupid rule. <Well there it is: if this is the rule, then fishkeeping honestly isn't an option. I'm saying this from years of option *and* from daily trying to help people with these "micro tanks". But for less experienced hobbyists unable to select the appropriate livestock and monitor/control water quality, these small aquaria are death traps for fish.> I asked a million questions of multiple sales associates, so I am sorry if I was under the impression that I had done my research. <Don't be too disheartened. We all make mistakes.> I am trying my very best to take care of them. <Good stuff!> Please let me know what I should do. <Apropos to what? In a tank this small I'd not be keeping fish at all. I'd perhaps go with a clump of Java moss, a few nice little Cryptocorynes, some pretty stones and sand, and then some Nerite snails and cherry shrimps. That would be relatively stable and easy to look after. Also colourful and fun to watch. But fish honestly need more space than 2.5 gallons, except perhaps a single Betta (but talk about a boring life, being a Betta stuck in a glass box that size!).> Thank you in advance. <Cheers, Neale.> Thanks again for your input. I really do appreciate it. [= <Cool. Good luck, Neale.>

Salt&heat or Meds for Ich? -- 03/10/08 Hi, thanks in advance for all your help. I discovered just a few ich spots on my platies, and the different kinds of treatments I read about sound intimidating. I have aquarium salt on hand that I use regularly since they are livebearers, but I hesitate to put my fish through the high temperatures and lower oxygen. What would you suggest as safest for platies? Salt&heat, or do I make a run to the pet store tomorrow? If salt&heat, what's the recommended course of action (how much, how long, and what temperature)? Thanks so much. You people are awesome. ~Jen P.S. Specs of the tank, in case it helps: 20 gal freshwater Species tank of 3 varieties of platies: total of 10 fish between 1 and 2 inches each Regular dosage of 1 Tbsp aquarium salt per 5 gallons during water changes <Jen, to be honest I'd just use a standard copper-based Ick medication. Platies are sufficiently hardy that copper intolerance isn't really an issue. That said, you can raise the salinity to SG 1.003 (6 g/l), perhaps even SG 1.005 (9 g/l) with care, and the Platies should be fine and even without additional heat the Ick will die off quite quickly. Raise the salinity across a few days, leave it there for a couple of weeks, then bring it down again. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: cichlid question Disease Treatment Recommendations -- 03/07/08 Thanks for the info but before I got the reply, I got desperate and called the local petstore (which might I add that here in the mountains where I live good pet stores are few and far between) and she told me to use Jungle brand Ick Guard to treat for Ick. I told her that it didn't look like Ick and she said that it was the advanced stages of Ick, and insisted that I use the Jungle brand Fungus treatment along with the Ick Guard. < Ich is a common parasite but usually shows lots of white spots. The Formalin I recommended also does a great job on ich.> So Tuesday, I did a 50% water change... Wednesday I tested my water 10ppm nitrates, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and the pH was 7.6 I know this needs to come up but I was afraid of putting too many chemicals in the tank. I treated with the Jungle brand products and the fish still look bad, but eating well today on Thursday morning but after reading your reply today, I am afraid that I am wasting time. I have not had any deaths yet, still have 6 fish... but one of the Jewel cichlids has become anti-social and hangs out at the top of the tank about 2 inches below water line. I have no idea if its a male or female but I like to call "IT" a her because she seems so petite and girly to me.. :) but anyway, she hangs out at top just below water line and still eats but not with the enthusiasm as her tank mates. She is the one looks the worst. She is covered in black patches and is very dull in color now. After treating with the Jungle products I plan to do another water change tomorrow or this evening. So would it be ok to treat my fish again with the products you suggested even after all the chemicals I have already used? < When I make a recommendation it is based on the info supplied by the writer and what has worked for me the best in the past. Jungle products usually have lots of salt in them. Salt increases the slime on the surface of the fish and this could be some of the improvement you are seeing. If you don't feel that the current treatment is doing any good then do a 50% water change and treat as per my suggestion.> I am sorry to sound like such a "noob" but I really want to prove my husband wrong, he said that I need to flush my fish and raise guppies. Not only is this a mission to save my beautiful fish, it has become a mission to prove I CAN survive fish other than goldfish and guppies. As for the rock salt you suggested isn't just regular non-iodized salt? Like table salt? Sodium chloride? < You can use rock salt or aquarium salt.-Chuck>

Re: cichlid question Cichlids With Ich Treatment  3/9/08 OK, so far so good! Fish are still alive! They are looking much better with just the salt that you recommended. I am having a hard time finding the Formalin, pet store didn't have it. So, I treated with the Jungle product for Ich. I have used the Jungle medication until is all gone. I was wondering how often I should treat with the salt and should I replace my carbon in filters when doing so. Color is beginning to come back it appears on my Jewels, and their black patches have faded almost completely away. Unfortunately for me, the more petite Jewel has something going on with her eyes. They don't appear to be bulging out really but more like growing light fuzz or fur? She doesn't seem to be blind, both Jewels still occasionally "scratch" the head/gill area of their bodies as well. The only new symptom is the eye thing at this point. < The white fuzz is a fungal infection.> My tank tests are pH 8.4 , ammonia 0, nitrates are 10 ppm, nitrites 0. water temp is 78/79ish. I don't have any carbon in the filters at the moment and have been relying on 50% water changes about every 2-4 days during this sick time. Also, I have a spotted cichlid, reminds me of a leopards spots, that has done amazing through all of this. He has never lost any color or shown signs of any sickness. I was wondering if I should purchase a smaller tank just for him and stop medicating him if he doesn't look or act sick. I know you all are so busy and I hate to bother you with my fish problems since I am sure you get tired of answering the same questions time and time again. I have really tired to search the web for answers as well as your site. It is just hard to read so much information and think well that fits, oh no wait that one fits and so on. I am so unsure of what I am doing at this point, I just find it more comforting to actually discuss it with someone if possible. Thank you again for your time. < Look for Rid-Ich at the local store. If you cannot find it then look at DrsFosterSmith.com for either Formalin or Rid-Ich from Kordon. The disease may have caused a secondary bacterial infection. This can be treated with Nitrofurazone. This medication is also somewhat successful against fungal infections.-Chuck>

Ick problems with goldfish   3/5/08 Hello, I have a fantail goldfish that got Ich about a week ago and I have been treating her with Maracide using the directions on the bottle. She did not appear to get any better after the week the bottle advised for treatment, so i bought a heater after reading a website that suggested to do so and also got pure NaCl to create a .3% salt solution in the tank. I have the heater set on about 81 degrees, and i was wondering how long it will take for the Ich to all die, and especially wondering if there is anything I am doing wrong? Thank you, Lindsay <Lindsay, do make sure you have removed carbon from the filter. A very common mistake people make is to leave carbon in the filter, and this simply absorbs any medication before it does any good. You don't really need carbon anyway, so you may as well leave it out completely. Do also remember it takes a while to work: the medication *doesn't* kill the visible parasites on the fish, but the next generation parasites they produce once they leave the host. In a coldwater tank this can take a good couple of weeks. Heating the water speeds things up, and you should see results within 3-5 days. If these aren't the issues here, get back in touch. Cheers, Neale.>

why?... Ongoing re ich, Pim...  2/1/08 Hello Neale, I am now on day three of the treatment for my pictus catfish. Both white spots I saw on one of the pictus are gone - today as I was looking at her I noticed that both of the pictus' tails are slightly frayed. I know they weren't like this before. What is causing this? They hardly ever fight, and they seem to always be swimming together. Is this another infection? Thanks, Neervana. <Frayed fins are normally a sign of Finrot and/or Fungus. Whitespot/Ick can trigger these problems -- when the cysts burst and the whitespot parasite swims out (to reproduce and then infect more fish) it leaves behind a hole, and bacteria can get into the hole and cause an infection. Alternatively, you may have some problems with water quality, because Finrot and Fungus are both related to water quality nine times out of ten. In any case: check the nitrite, to make sure the aquarium is healthy. When the Whitespot medication is done, do a 50% water change, and then start a treatment for Finrot and Fungus. I recommend eSHa 2000 because it treats both equally well, but you can find alternative brands if you want to. Damaged fins are -- up to a point -- low priority complaints, so don't fret too much. Yes, you must treat them, but they will heal nicely once you have added the medication. In the wild fish damage their fins all the time. It is really only in the bacteria-laden water in a fish tank that fin damage becomes potentially lethal. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: why? Doesn't Neale suggest a good FW tome?  2/1/08 Hi Neale, So now I'm on day 4 - which is the one where I don't add any medication (Protozin). My tank is starting to smell, and I really don't like it. Also, the water is getting a bit dirty - when is the earliest day I can change the water, day 6 or 7 perhaps? Also, I don't know where to get eSHa 2000 from, my LFS don't have it. Thanks, Neervana. <In four days after a water change, your aquarium SHOULD NOT smell! If it smells, then you are doing one (or more) of the following: - Feeding the fish too much, so that leftover food is rotting. - Not removing uneaten food (see above). - Keeping too many fish in too small a tank. - Not providing adequate filtration for the sorts of fish being kept. Aquaria in good condition DO NOT SMELL!!! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: why? 2/1/08 Hi Neale, Yes, I have not vacuumed my gravel since the start of last week. Now what should I do? When I went to the LFS the lady said that since my tank came with an in-built filtration/oxygen system I don't need any other equipment added to it. I only have two pictus catfish in my tank, so I think it's ok for the meantime for them. So should I vacuum the gravel then? But I thought this could dilute the medicine? Thanks, Neervana. <Vacuuming the gravel is really neither here nor there when it comes to water quality, unless you are keeping very large, messy fish that produces lots of faeces. For Pimelodus pictus, you should be able to go for several weeks without needing to clean the gravel. The only way the gravel would become filthy enough to smell would be if your were putting in masses too much food. Which you're not, I hope. For two Pimelodus pictus, half a cube of wet frozen bloodworms should be adequate. If you're using dried food, then a pinch about the size of your little finger's nail. I'm past remembering what sort of tank we're talking about. How big is the aquarium? On the filter, look at the pump, and less if it has a gallons-per-hour (gph) or litres-per-hour (lph) rating -- it should do. Also what temperature is the aquarium? Cheers, Neale.>

Re: why? Pim., ich...    2/3/08 Hi Neale, The tank is 10 gallons (which I know is too small for these fish, but I am currently saving for a bigger one to move them into, which would be around two months' time) then I would use the tank I already have as a quarantine tank. <Hmm... a 10 gallon tank isn't really suitable for these fish, even for a while. Do check the nitrite level, and I'm guessing you'll find it isn't zero. This is a bad thing.> I put the temperature up to 30 degrees - it used to be 26 before, but I raised the temperature to 30, because the lady in the LFS told me to do that. <This is indeed correct *while* treating for whitespot/ick. But once the whitespot is dealt with, reduce the temperature to around 25. These are not fish that live in very warm water. More heat = less oxygen, and that'll make the fish less happy and the bacteria less efficient.> I also noticed that it's only when I first added the Protozin that there was a weird smell coming out from the tank and that it went after a couple of hours. Every time I add the medicine the tank smells. I also wanted to mention that when I raised the temperature, I did it in one go - when I was reading some of the messages people had put online they all advised each other on raising it one degree a day - I didn't do that, I only did it all at once because I didn't know. Could this be why it smells? <No.> I have not done the water change yet, so do you think I should wait until day 6? <If you can, wait. But if the fish clearly look ill, then you have to do a water change of 50%.> My two pictuses are starting to look a bit sick as in their fins are turning opaque a bit and do look a bit ragged. <That's likely Finrot.> Also, when I feed them I feed them about a little less then half a cube of blood worms, a pellet each (tetra ones) and about half a pack of jellied daphnia. I feed them a different thing each day like you said, but perhaps it is too much for them. <Too much. Stop feeding them completely while they are sick. Once they are healthy, switch to feeding once every two days, and even then only a small quantity of food. As I said earlier, about the same amount as would fit on the fingernail on your little finger.> What do you think I should do? Thanking you, Neervana. <Cheers, Neale.> Hi Neale, I have a 200 gallon tank I could move them into once they are healthy - but I have two Bala sharks already in this tank who are perfectly healthy... <Don't mix sick fish with healthy fish.> so I don't know if it's wise to move them in now, as the Bala sharks might catch the white spot? <Perfectly possible.> Anyway, should I do a water change now? Thing is, I did a water change every week since I got them, the did two water changes before I put the medicine in. They really don't look well at all, so I should do the water change now and then continue with the Protozin and feed them a little every two days until they look healthy again? <Do the water change, and don't feed the fish for the next few days and see if the water clears up.> Thanks , Neervana. <Cheers, Neale.> Hi Neale, I was wondering about something, thought I would just ask you quickly. This tank was new and the pictuses are the first two fish to live in it - so how did they catch white spot? <Likely had it at the store. This is why we quarantine fish, to keep diseases from getting into our home aquaria.> I did read online that apparently it's bad to mix the water that your fish comes in with the water in the tank, as it may contain white spot, because some of the fish in a few tanks in that fish shop are dead on the gravel. <Indeed, you should put the new fish into a bucket with the water from the bag. Then add a few cups of water from the fish tank over the next 30 minutes. Then lift the fish out and put it into the tank. Ideally, you're putting it into a quarantine tank. This doesn't stop whitespot if the fish are already infected, but it does reduce do something to help keep out the motile whitespot parasites (which swim in the water looking for hosts). But the tank these two fish were in did not seem like it had any unhealthy fish. <Most aquarium stores have water that flows between multiple tanks and one big filter. So even if one tank seems devoid of sick fish, that doesn't guarantee anything. The better stores will use UV to reduce the chances of diseases moving about, but this isn't an 100% fix.> Do you know how it could have happened? <Not exactly, but I can guess. The fish had whitespot when you bought them. After a few days the cysts matured and you saw the spots. In the meanwhile, a combination of the whitespot itself damaging the skin together with poor water quality/overcrowding has led to Finrot.> Also, I did not vacuum the gravel today I just took a small bucket and took water straight out of the tank, that does not matter does it? <That's fine for a water change. Under normal circumstances, the gravel doesn't need to be cleaned every week. Once a month is fine, perhaps less if the tank has lots of plants and is otherwise well maintained.> I mean I have just ordered a gravel vacuum and waiting for it to come, that's why I can't clean the gravel. <I don't use a gravel cleaner anyway. Just a stick and a siphon. Stir gravel with the stick, and use the siphon to suck away any dirt.> But I assume that it's not important to vacuum the gravel if it hardly shows any dirt on it? <Visible dirt doesn't directly harm fish. Dirty tanks tend to be poorly maintained tanks, but in itself silt is harmless. Check out the "wild" and you'll see a lot of silt! Fish get harmed by the invisible things -- nitrite, ammonia.> I mean mine does not look like there is any mess on it. I am expecting to vacuum the gravel next week. Should I continue with the Protozin just the same because I did the water change, does that mean the concentration has been diluted now? I am on the fourth day now, and you said I should put the next dosage on day 6. Then water change on day 8. Proceed with this? <Precisely; carry on as if you had NOT done a water change.> Thanks and sorry for pestering you so much, but I just want to be sure. Neervana <I suspect, my friend, that the time has come to invest in a good aquarium book. <<Hallelujah! RMF>> A lot of these questions are fundamental to the hobby, and having a nice book with the facts laid out fair and square will be very helpful. Visit your local public library and test drive a few tropical fish books. When you've found one you like, BUY IT! Trust me, compared to anything else you will get in the hobby, a good aquarium book is BY FAR the best use of your cash. Cheers, Neale.>

My new tank, poor FW mix of lvstk., ich   1/31/08 hi, Currently I have 55G tank which contains four 2inch gold fish , six 2inch Koi carp , two 4inch Koi carp , six 2inch angels and one 25cm Pleco. I know it's a small tank ,that's why I am building a new 200G tank. <Very good.> I am thinking about buying 2 red bellied piranha. Is that a good idea?. <To mix with these fish? Absolutely not. In addition, most of the common piranhas in the trade, including Pygocentrus nattereri (the Red-bellied Piranha), are essentially solitary fish in aquaria. Their social behaviour in the wild is extremely complex and difficult to replicate in captivity. Juveniles may school together, but adults only form schools under certain conditions, and when mature the males are territorial and ultimately guard nests and eggs. Unless kept in BIG aquaria where there are AT LEAST SIX specimens, piranhas simply don't work in groups. The dominant male systematically harasses and eventually kills the other fish. The flip side to this is that single piranhas are nervous and scared of their own shadows! They are very VERY boring pets.> Is there any kind of fish that I can add with the piranha's? <None.> Right now I have one more problem , one of my Koi carp is scratching ,what should I do . <Likely Whitespot/Ick and should be treated accordingly.> Is it necessary to remove live plants before adding any medicine into the system?. <Not normally, no.> One of my Koi carp has full red body with small white patches in the middle, is that what u call white spot disease. <Sounds like it.> And last I want u to suggest a suitable filter for my new 200G tank (please mention the company name also) <The ideal filter will vary. If the tank contains just fish and no plants (or maybe floating plants or plants attached to wood) then an undergravel filter can work very well. Use at least two powerheads to get a gravel bed this size working properly. Alternatively, you can use one or more external canister filters. These work better with tanks that contain plants. In either case, the brand of filter doesn't matter much, though some brands, notably Eheim, have a good reputation for reliability and value over the long term. The main thing is turnover. For large fish like yours, you want the powerheads or filter pumps to produce at least 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. So in your case, the pumps should add up to 6 x 200 = 1200 gallons per hour.> thanks a lot Mathew <Cheers, Neale.>

Ich or designs??? FW, reading  -- 1/26/08 Hi, I need just one second of your time. <A bit more than this> I have a jewel cichlid that is still under 3 inches and it has dots all over his body. I am not sure if this is his design or if it is a disease like ich. Can you please help me out. The spots are all over the body even on the fin. If it is on the fin, does it means it is definitely ich or velvet? Also, is it safe to use medication even if I am not 100 percent sure if it is a disease? Thanks guys. ~Mikey <... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

hi? Child? No info., en media res... FW Ich... reading  -- 1/26/08 Hello Again <... where is the prev. corr.?> I was worried, so I look every where and I found out it might be Ich and was wondering what's the bets way to be sure they got it and to treat them for it. The Water Temp is 24'C and the ph is 7. I would like To Know How much to feed them each day Because This is my first Aquarium And I Have 2 Loaches And 1 Ghost Knife Fish. Thank you Again Chris <... the loaches and Knife are "special cases" where Ich is concerned. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above, carefully... Bob Fenner>

Devastating Ich outbreak, 2 fish down, please help.  Goldfish 12/28/07 Hello there, <Ave!> Please help, we've had a dreadful week. <Oh?> On Dec 21st our beloved goldfish (Jasper the black moor, Oscar the comet, and Daphne the Oranda) developed what we believe to be ich. Lots of tiny spots that attract tiny oxygen bubbles, particularly around the gills and under the chin, but also on the body. Dorsal fins went flaccid, and the fish seemed itchy and weak. They continued to feed well, but otherwise a very distressing turnaround for otherwise healthy, happy fish. No obvious reason for the outbreak -water quality good, no new plants, stock or live food in the last 6 weeks, no changes we can think of. <Hmm... as you realise already, Ick tends to follow on from specific things rather than coming out of the blue. But it may happen.> We immediately did a water change (around 40%) and started treating with Interpet Anti-Whitespot (formaldehyde and malachite green oxalate). As our tank tends to be a bit on the warm side anyway (the built-in light and filter warm the surface, but the fishies are happy with it), we couldn't really raise the temperature much, but we turned on a second pump for extra aeration (we are in the process of switching from the old one to the new one as the motor is dying so have both in the tank to get the cycling right) but neither of them are carbon or zeolite, so no contraindication for the medication. <In terms of conditions, all sounds good. I will admit though that I've not found Interpet Anti-Whitespot completely effective in all situations. I prefer to use eSHa EXIT, an alternative product widely sold in the UK and Europe. For whatever reason, it seems to deal with the "super" whitespot strain rather more effectively than Interpet Anti-Whitespot. You may also be dealing with Velvet rather than Ick/Whitespot. Here's the difference: Whitespot cysts look like salt grains, but Velvet cysts are more like icing sugar. Velvet also sometimes has a yellowy or golden sheen rather than plain white and is almost always associated with heavy or rapid breathing. Interpet Anti-Whitespot doesn't treat Velvet, but eSHa EXIT does, which is another reason I prefer it. It is also cheaper!> In the early hours of December 24th our little black moor died. It was a horrible death, covered in spots (little bubbles you could see clearer with the lights off), and total paralysis as his fins clamped. We were devastated, but it seemed the other two were perking up. We redosed (I think we did a 25% water change at some point during this process to date, which may have been a mistake, but we were responding to the fish looking distressed, and getting so much conflicting advice looking online) and waited. Throughout the day the other two improved, but just before bed I thought I saw more spots on the comet's back. By Christmas morning he was dead. <Hmm... does sound more like Velvet than Ick. Because Velvet attacks the gills before anything else, by the time you see any cysts on the body, fatal damage may have been done to the gills already. Ick doesn't normally kill fish very quickly, so while it certainly is fatal in the long term, you should have a safe zone of a couple of weeks to spot and treat the disease reliably.> Daphne, our remaining baby, has been up and down since. On Boxing Day she looked a bit better, yesterday morning she had a massive reinfection, with lots of the tiny spots/bubbles all over her face and gills. We again changed water (50%) and redosed, and by evening the spots were gone, and she looked much better, if slightly puffy and discoloured around the gills and dorsal fin. This morning the puffiness on the gills looked like a large blister, and in the last hour one has filled with blood. She was having trouble swimming against the current of 2 pumps, so turned one off so she can move more easily, but is swimming in circles close to the surface and is not well at all. We're desperate to save her, but don't know what to do. She's still feeding fine (they've always had a varied diet, peas, frozen daphnia, pellets, flakes, cucumber, p etc), but she's been doing long white stringy poos for a couple of days (seem to have firmed up a bit today actually). <May be unrelated; her diet sounds excellent.> We're about to do start doing salt baths -we were going to start this earlier, but what with the chemicals in the water we didn't want to distress her more. We were thinking of doing a 100% water change tomorrow and start again using a different medicine, as this clearly hasn't been effective -what do you think? <Yes; for now, assume it might be either Velvet or Ick, and use a medication that treats both equally well. eSHa EXIT is one such brand, and there may be others.> Other than the huge amounts of formaldehyde and malachite in the water, the pH and nitrates have stayed constant, and no nitrate. Not able to test ammonia till tonight as we picked up the wrong kit and the shops have been closed, but with the water changes and everything else being the same I'm not overly worried. <Medications shouldn't harm to filter, so assuming you're keeping up with water changes, all should be fine there.> Please help us save Daphne, we really couldn't bear to lose her now. Many thanks for your time on this, and happy holidays. Sara and Jonn (London, England) <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Devastating Ich outbreak, 2 fish down, please help. 12/28/07 Hello Neale, thanks so much for the quick reply. <No problems.> Will do some med shopping in the morning. We considered that it might be something other than ick, but that was the closest symptom match, and it looks more white spotty and velvety.... hard to say, but happy to go on to a treatment that will kill both. <My thoughts exactly.> She seems to have responded well to the salt bath (30mins at 0.3%) so was thinking of doing that again every 6 hours or so. What do you think? Also, our big concern right now is the big blood blister that accounts for most of her right gill -can't find many accounts of this. <Hmm... likely a secondary infection. Salt water dips will certainly help. Goldfish have a high salt tolerance and generally respond well to this sort of therapy. Having said that, if the blister doesn't clear up, then do use a general purpose Finrot/fungus medication. Again, I've found the eSHa variety, eSHa 2000, to be cheap and effective against a wide variety of infections.> Is this a sign of final throws of a infestation, or is this the sort of thing that looks worse than it is (it looks dreadful)? <When Ick or Velvet cysts "burst", they release free living "spores" that eventually multiply up to form the next generation of parasites. In breaking the skin, this bursting of the cysts can allow secondary infections to develop because the integument between the fish and the water is broken. In this instance, if the blister isn't obviously clearing up, I'd break the habit of a lifetime and use both eSHa 2000 and eSHa EXIT at the same time. According to the manufacturer, they are safe to use together. http://www.eshalabs.com/exit.htm Such a combo should fix just about anything.> Thanks so much for the back-up on this, is so hard to know if we're doing the right thing. xxx <Treat quickly, and be careful to follow the instructions, and you should be fine. Cheers, Neale.>

Ich not going away:(, FW...  12/25/07 Hello bob, my 4 Neons just got ich and I have read your articles. I raised the temperature to 84 degrees Fahrenheit, I added one teaspoon of salt for every five gallons of water and I am currently using Mardel CopperSafe medication. The ich just isn't going away. I think it is getting a little better, but I want it to be completely gone because it is going to be a gift for my cousin. Am I doing anything wrong? I recently did a 50 percent water change and cleaned the gravel. Also, for the Mardel CopperSafe medication, how often should I use it. It says to treat for one month but I do not know how often I should use it. Please give me some advice. Last, is there anything else I can do to rid the ich? Is Mardel CopperSafe medication good? Thanks so much for your help and your time. <A few thoughts. Firstly, do make 100% sure you have removed carbon from the filter. Lots of people forget about this. Personally, I consider carbon a waste of space in the average freshwater community tank, but some people still use the stuff. In any case, carbon removes medications from the water, so your fish won't get better. I'd tend not to use salt/temperature in situations where copper-based Ick medications are viable, as is the case with Neon tetras. I'm not familiar with CopperSafe but I have encountered situations where one brand of anti-Ick medication didn't work, but a second brand did. So try switching to an alternate brand. I happen to find the eSHa EXIT anti-Ick medication highly effective and safe with even sensitive species, so if you're in Europe or someplace where eSHa products are sold, that's worth trying. Do also remember you can't do water changes while treating the fish: the concentration of medication must remain constant throughout the course. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: ich not going away:( 12/25/07 Hello again, The Mardel CopperSafe medication says that it treats the water for one month, so am I not suppose to do a water change for one whole month? Please write back. Thanks again. <No, do regular weekly water changes of 50% as per normal. There's no point treating the whitespot if the fish end up dying from nitrate poisoning or acidosis. Cheers, Neale.>

Freshwater Ich and UV Sterilizer   12/25/07 Thank you so much for being here and available. I've done many searches on your site over the past few months an have learned an incredible amount. Now I have a problem and would like advice. <Okeley dokely.> I have been back in the hobby since last April, after some years away. This time I've been very scientific, reading and studying and actually understanding the why as well as the what. I currently have a 10 gallon non-CO2 planted tank (set up last May) and 10 gallon mixed reef (set up last August), both very successful and I am setting up a 46 gallon planted tank. The big tank is my problem. <Hmm...?> OK, I took a chance and screwed it up. I cycled the tank with mulm from my old tank, and the levels dropped very quickly. I stocked it with fish from one, usually very good, LFS. Cardinals, Corys, hatchet fish, pearl Gouramis, cherry barbs, 6 very expensive guppies from a breeder in California. I figured I'd stock it very quickly and then stop, no more fish or anything, and I'd be great. <Mulm doesn't really carry a huge amount of filter bacteria: bacteria are mostly where there's rapid water flow, because they're super-demanding of oxygen. Gravel from a tank with an undergravel filter is excellent, but otherwise old sponges from a mature aquarium are best.> A couple of the hatchet fish developed ich after about 6 days in the tank. I noticed a spot last Wednesday, hoped against hope it would be nothing. It spread to other fish. Last Friday morning it was apparent I had a serious emergency. I have no way to quarantine 30 fish. I'm going to be out of town the first week of January. <Hatchets are very sensitive fish at the best of times, and I'd not add them to an immature tank, no matter how "cycled" I thought it was. In any case, whitespot shouldn't be deadly in the very short term, and adding suitable medication should at least slow things down, even if you're able to do all the doses required to kill the infection.> I had a major panic attack, did some research on-line and started calling around town. One LFS "could probably get me a UV sterilizer by next Thursday." The other LFS had one they recommend in stock. (I've dealt with both stores before, they're both pretty good.) After discussing install options, I bought an inline UV sterilizer, a sump, and a pressurized CO2 setup as well. I figured since he was coming out anyway, we'd do everything I'd been thinking about. We had it installed by 5pm last Friday. <UV filters don't 100% kill whitespot (or any other type of waterborne parasite). They certainly help, but wouldn't be my first line of attack. Elevating the temperature plus adding salt, or treating with anti-Whitespot, would be better.> I bought some Ich treatment that he recommended, just in case, but I really don't like dumping chemicals in the tank if I don't have to. I was hoping the sterilizer would handle it. <Nope.> http://www.uskoi.com/ich-x.htm The hatchet fish started showing multiple spots Saturday evening. The cardinals have some spots, the Gouramis have some spots. Nobody was in great discomfort. This morning (Monday) the (VERY expensive) guppies aren't showing any spots that I can see but the girls are hanging out on the top a lot more than they have been since the arrived last week. :-( <Whitespot irritates the gills, and over time leads to something akin to suffocation.> To recap - I bought the hatchet fish a week ago Saturday. I saw my first speck Wed afternoon. Friday afternoon the hatchet fish had several spots and I had an obvious problem. We installed the UV filter Friday by 5pm, and turned the flow down on the pump as low as we could get it. There is flow but quite minimal. (Recommended to kill parasites.) <Sounds an odd recommendation. Most UV filters I've seen added to tanks use normal water flow from an external filter or whatever. Is this a separate pump just for the UV device?> I keep the tank temp set at 78F, I noticed this morning that it's at 80F. Possibly because I keep the room very warm. The CO2 is one during daylight hours. I do not believe it is gassing the fish out, in fact I may turn it up a bit when & if I solve the Ich problem. The plants are pearling nicely. <There is a balance that needs to be struck between the CO2 the plants want and the stress high CO2 levels cause fish. But that's unlikely the issue right now.> I did a 15 gallon water change yesterday afternoon (Sunday). I am assuming the spots that are showing up now are parasites that were already attached on Friday. I am assuming that the UV filter is going to drastically reduce the free-floating stage and I should start seeing a reduction soon. I can do another water change this afternoon, and probably another one tomorrow. I have to pack all my water from town, my well is too salty for plants or fish. <The feeding stages on the fish will need to mature and hatch before the UV filter can do anything. Warm water speeds this up.> But I'm worried. <huge sigh> I'm really stressing out. :-( <Not much you can right now beyond treating the tank. I'd not hold much store by UV alone at all, though I'm open to correction here.> Am I on the right track here, with the UV sterilizer? When should I start dumping chemicals, or should I at all? What chemicals? I'm freaking out this morning because the female guppies are looking a bit too quiet. (The males are being typical guys. <g>) What type of time-line should I expect with this blasted parasite? <The life cycle of whitespot is 2-3 days at tropical temperatures, so in theory you should see improvement quite quickly.> SueP <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Freshwater Ich and UV Sterilizer 12/25/07 Thanks! <You're welcome.> OK, I'll do another water change this evening & add the meds. I understand that salt will kill the plants? Should I turn the temp up? <Salt at the doses required to treat Ick will not harm your plants; nor will elevating the temperature.> The UV sterilizer is in-line with the canister filter. Both are large enough to handle the tank. The sterilizer suggests doing 2 tank turnovers an hour for parasites. Higher flow will kill algae but they want the water to spend time next to the light to kill parasites. <Ah, that does make some sense. But my worry here would be reducing the water flow through the canister filter. Canister filters have HUGE oxygen demands, and slow water flow switches the highly aerobic bio-filtration bacteria into a dormant mode, which you obviously don't want. I'd personally prefer better water quality with less effective UV filtration than the other way around. UV is "icing on the cake", but water quality is the essential "meat-and-potatoes" of fishkeeping (if I can mix my metaphors!). Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Freshwater Ich and UV Sterilizer 12/25/07 Update - I just dumped 4 tsps of Ich-X in the tank. I'll do a water change tonight and treat again if things look worse. <Hmm... don't do water changes while treating -- for hopefully obvious reasons, if you suddenly dilute the concentration of medication, the medication will lose its efficacy. So hold off water changes until your have completed the ENTIRE course of medication, which may be multiple doses across several days.> And I did add the filter media from the old tank as well, when I started this one. We tested and the cycle seems to have completed within a week. I hope the meds don't mess it up now, but I'm more worried about the fish. <No, modern fish medications are almost universally safe with filter bacteria.> FWIW - the guppies look a bit better and the female Gourami was offering to lay on her side and breed a few minutes ago. <Very good. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Freshwater Ich and UV Sterilizer 12/25/07 The Ich medicine bottle suggests doing a 30% water change just before every dose. I assume it's to remove as many free-swimming parasites as possible. Realistically, I'm not able to do the water changes that often. <Hmm... regardless of the reason, always follow PRECISELY the instructions on the packaging. Failure to do this can lead to a variety of problems, including failure to adequately treat the disease.> Today I had the water but it's taking forever and ever for my heater to get it up to temp, so I just dumped the meds in the tank and left the new water heating. I may use it tomorrow, but esp. after hearing your opinion, I may let it go another day or two dosing without water changes. <Provided you use water conditioners, there's no harm in using a mix of hot and cold water to get the warmish water you need.> I'll turn the flow up on the canister filter when I change the water and can tell how hard it's moving. <OK.> I still have a few visible Ich spots but everybody seems comfortable and active. Occasional flashing but not constant. <Good. Do remember the medication stops re-infection, it has no effect on the current (visible) generation of white spot parasites.> The female Gourami has a ding on her side but I suspect she banged a scale when she was being chased by the male. I'm watching it, I'm feeling rather paranoid at the moment <wry g>, but so doesn't look in distress and it doesn't look fuzzy or anything. <Are these Dwarf Gouramis (Colisa lalia)? These are very commonly infected with a viral disease that is untreatable and highly infectious. An early symptom is small blisters on the body. Infected fish should be painlessly destroyed and Dwarf Gouramis never, ever added to the tank unless it is autoclaved. I'm not kidding about this... as far as I'm concerned, people shouldn't buy this species unless they got them from a local breeder.> Thank you so much for your help! Hope you had/have a really wonderful Christmas! <Thanks, Christmas was swell. All the best, Neale.>

Re: Freshwater Ich and UV Sterilizer 12/26/07 No these are Pearl Gouramis. I didn't know that about Dwarfs, what a shame. And I've been admiring them for months, wanting to buy a pair. Guess I won't... :-( <Pearl Gouramis are excellent fish; generally peaceful, long-lived (7+ years) and hardy. Dwarf Gouramis are a total waste of time/money.> Did a 15 gallon water change at noon today and added the third dose of meds. Everybody looks good, the hatchet fish still have a few spots but the visible spots are definitely clearing upon everybody else. <Sounds good.> One of the guppies is having babies, I hope they make it to the thick plants. Nobody in the tank looks particularly voracious, and historically I've had more problems with overpopulation than with babies surviving. But these are pretty special guppies, so I'm hoping! :-) <Hatchet fish will eat them given the chance, but as you have lots of plants, you might luck out. By all means confine the babies to a floating breeding trap for a few weeks if you want.> I turned the flow on the filter up and the guppies are surfing the current. :-) <Ha! Sounds as if you have everything in hand. Cheers, Neale.>

Ich, FW, Botia macracantha... no reading  12/12/07 Hi, I have a clown loach that recently got ich. <... this is a social species. Should be kept in a shoal...> But I am not entirely sure. He has like white air bubbles on his tail and on his fin. <Mmmm, could you send along a pic?> Is this ick or not? Also, is there a very accurate and easy way to tell if your fish is healing from ick? Last, how much salt should I use and how often? I have a fifty gallon freshwater tank. Thanks for all your help. ~concerned owner... Oh, and how do I feed frozen bloodworms to my bottom feeders? Thanks once again <How is it you managed to skip over our instructions for writing us w/o reviewing what is posted? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/clnlchfdg.htm and the linked files above. There is just too much that is necessary, related to your general questions to answer succinctly. What you need to know en toto is posted. Go and read it. Bob Fenner>

I think our tank has Ich! -11/27/2007 Hi Crew- <Emily> I think our 75 Gallon Freshwater tank has ich! I think 2 new sail fin tetras which we bought 1 week ago (which we did not quarantine) brought it in. <Happens... more so during this time of year when temperature changes chill newcomers in transit...> They both have 2 or 3 little white bubbles on their fins and body. 1 Angel fish also has 1 white bubble on its fin. Is this ich? <A bubble... have you read much re FW ich? Looks more like salt grains> I am quite a novice when it comes to fish. I'm still learning. I have several different fish: 5 red eyed tetras, 2 sail fin tetras, 2 angel fish, 1 spotted leaf fish, 1 Pleco, 1 Farlowella twig, 1 Black ghost knife, and 1 temperamental fire eel. <Quite a mix> I don't know what to treat the tank with because of our variety of fish. <You are right to be cautious... likely temperature manipulation alone is the route I would go here> I read through your articles about ich but I was concerned that some of the treatments might harm the eel or the ghost knife. <You are correct> (On top of this our fire eel is still healing from pop eye- what bad luck we've had.) We also have quite the assortment of live plants. Do I really have to remove all of them from the tank to treat the ich? <IF you are to treat the system with harsh chemicals (metals, dyes) yes> We also don't have a good QT tank set up. Can we just treat the 75? <Might be expedient... just the elevated temp.> What do you recommend? We just got finished treating a really stubborn case of pop eye too. <Mmm, very important... What, how did you treat? This alone may be the source of the "bubbles"... NOT ich. Otherwise the treatment may have weakened your stock to such a degree that they will not easily suffer further manipulation> I am just SOO frustrated with our new hobby. I hope you can help us. <Take y/our time here... I/we need to know much more re your set-up, history... For now I would nudge up your water temperature... to the low eighties F... this should harm nothing... and may expedite the life cycle, removal of this observed phenomenon's leaving... whether its parasitic or no> Thanks so much, Emily <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Ammonia test strip question - 11/20/07 Hi Crew, <Leah,> I saw one white spot on the tail of one clown loach. Unable to decide if it was ich, I decided to be proactive and treat with Rid-Ich+. The spot was gone within 24 hours, and no other fish developed any other spots, and no one seemed itchy or otherwise uncomfortable. I began to wonder if the original spot had been ich at all, but I intended to treat for a week to be safe. I removed my carbon filter, did a daily 25% water change and used a half dose of Rid-Ich+, although I later read conflicting reports online over whether half doses are effective. <Depends. Sometimes half-doses work acceptably well, without putting sensitive fish at risk. More often though, the salt plus heat method works better and more safely for treating Ick on Clown loaches, Mormyridae, etc.> I treated through day 5. Today was supposed to be day 6 of treatment, but I noticed that my Mardel ammonia test strip had gone from plain yellow (0.0 ammonia) to a kind of off-yellow. It's hard to describe, and it does not match any of the other colors on the test strip, which grow from pale green to dark blue-green. It looks for all the world as if the Rid-Ich+ has slightly stained the test strip. Is this likely? <Certainly possible. If the nitrite level is zero, I'd assume that's the problem here. If the nitrite isn't zero, then perhaps there's something else going on.> How reliable are these strips, compared to other kinds of tests? After 5 days of half doses of Rid-Ich+, do you think I've harmed my good bacteria? <No.> This morning I did a 40% water change with dechlorinated water, and no meds. I also replaced my carbon filter. When I return home this afternoon, I will put in a new ammonia test strip and see if it stays yellow. (I'm waiting until the afternoon because I don't want any remaining meds to stain the new one.) Do you think I should take any other actions? <Not really, no.> I have an ammonia locking agent, and something called stress-zyme that is supposed to help replace good bacteria. <You shouldn't need either of these things in a stable aquarium. Traces of ammonia in your tap water should be removed by any decent dechlorinator, and the ammonia produced by your fish gets used by the filter bacteria. Bacteria supplements are, in my opinion, more about selling stuff to hobbyists that actually doing anything useful.> Unfortunately I will be unable to observe the tank again until the afternoon, but I can check my email and drop by the pet store on the way home if you recommend buying a different test kit. Thank you very much, <Hope this helps, Neale.>

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