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FAQs on Freshwater Ich, White Spot Disease: Sensitive Livestock, Situations

Related Articles: Freshwater DiseasesIch/White Spot Disease, Freshwater MedicationsFormalin/Formaldehyde, Malachite Green, FW Disease Troubleshooting,

Related FAQs: FW Ich 1, FW Ich 2, FW Ich 3, FW Ich 4, FW Ich 5, 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 Medicines, Ich Cases, & Aquarium Maintenance Choose Your Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options by Neale Monks, Freshwater Infectious Disease, Freshwater Fish ParasitesAfrican Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid Disease

Sensitive List, Plus!:
Naked Catfishes (vs. armored), Tetras/Characoids, Knifefishes, Mormyrids (Elephantnoses...), Loaches, some small minnow family fishes (e.g. barbs, Danios, Rasboras, "sharks"), all baby, weakened-compromised fishes. Almost all invertebrates, plants...

Ick Cure     10/12/19
Good Moring,
Can I use ick cure in my tank that has a Columbian catfish in it.
<The API product? I would NOT use Malachite Green on scaleless catfishes...
Instead, a real cure can be effected here by raising temperature, and possibly adding sea salt. Please READ here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Ick Cure /Neale       10/12/19

Good Moring,
Can I use ick cure in my tank that has a Columbian catfish in it.
<I can think of absolutely no reason why you would have to. None at all.
Columbian Shark Catfish are brackish to marine catfish, any above SG 1.002, Whitespot/Ick parasites simply won't survive. The free-living stages will be killed immediately, which means, at tropical temperatures, infected Catfish moved into brackish or marine conditions should be completely free of Whitespot/Ick within a week or so. Conversely, if you're keeping the Columbian Sharks in a saltwater system, moving them temporarily into low-end brackish or even hard freshwater should kill off the marine Ick, Cryptocaryon, within a few days as well. Oh, and if you're keeping Columbian Sharks in a plain freshwater tank, then don't. Just don't. Add the salt, and the Whitespot will go! Cheers, Neale.>

Ich in Shrimp/Planted Tank     12/17/18
Hello Crew!
<Ms. H.>
I am finally back in the hobby after many years. However, it has not quite started as smoothly as I would like. The tank is a planted 29 G standard (fishlessly cycled- 0 ammonia, nitrite, ~10 ppm nitrate, 74*F currently) and was initially stocked with 28 celestial pearl Danios, 1 (maybe 2 inch) albino Bristlenose Pleco, and ~30 cherry shrimp. Before that, the tank was cycling with just plants and hitchhiker snails for about 5 weeks. The livestock was added on 12/5. Absolutely none of the local fish stores are decent, so these critters were shipped to me from a single supplier.
So far, I have lost two shrimp (one a few days ago and the other yesterday), one Danio (arrived very skinny and haven't seen it in a while), and now the Bristlenose Pleco (late yesterday). I was trying to figure out what on earth happened, since the tank has consistently shown 0 ammonia/nitrite and I had seen everyone eating. Today, I noticed a couple of the Danios had suspicious white spots (one or two per fish, some on the body and some on the fins). I am guessing ich is what took the Pleco and that it was hard to spot on the albino fish. I am especially kicking myself because I ordered online to specifically avoid major ich problems like all the local stores have! No idea, beyond shipping stress, on what could have happened to the shrimp.
<This last; "what could have happened to the shrimp." What are you referring to?>
Now I am faced with a dilemma. Most advise for treating ich involves salt/heat. Can I go to 85/86* safely with CPDs?
<They should be okay at this temperature temporarily (a week or so); as long as there is sufficient aeration>
I'm thinking it should be fine in the short term (and will be slowly raising temps unless told otherwise). Can heat alone work (which I see is sometimes recommended)?
<Heat alone can (indeed) work>
Most importantly, will this kill my shrimp and plants if I try to do this in the main tank?
<See the mention of the Cryptocorynes below. RCS upper temp. limit is generally/given as 80F... again, I would risk raising it to the mid 80's here>
The tank is planted with crypt wendtii and balansae, so I am particularly worried about melting the plants down to nothing (again LOL). I can live with dead plants if it means healthy fish but I am rather attached to the shrimp already. I have the ability to set up a QT tank for the fish to treat separately, but I don't know if that would cause more stress to the fish.
<Agreed; and, what a trial trying to net them out!>
From what I can find on here, leaving the display without fish for a week or so at 80* should be long enough for any cysts to die off, but please let me know if that's wrong. Treating the whole tank with anything aside from salt and heat is pretty much a non-starter if I understand correctly too. Finally, would acquiring a UV sterilizer be of any use (as either an alternative or adjunct to any of the above)?
<There are other methods, but I would just go w/ the heat here>
Lesson learned- always QT (even if it's the only fish and it's all from the same supplier and they are very reputable) and QT the fish and shrimp separately.
<Ah yes>
Many thanks in advance!
<Welcome. Please do keep us informed of your observations. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich in Shrimp/Planted Tank     12/18/18

Thanks so much for the quick response.
<Welcome; certainly>
The "what could have happened" referred to the mysterious shrimp deaths of the first two.
Sadly, I have come back to 3 more dead shrimp today. The tank temp is sitting only around 82 right now. Should I stop increasing temp?
<... I would raise it to 85 F....>
Will the week you mentioned at an elevated temp be enough to rid the tank of ich?
<Hopefully so>
The fish are darting around, so I think everyone is getting stressed. I am at a loss on what to do from here. I've heard Paraguard is invert safe,
<?! It is NOT. The Malachite (Green) is quite toxic to shrimps: https://www.seachem.com/paraguard.php>
so I am honestly tempted to lower the temp a little (roughly ~80) and go with it in tank or just net all the fish out and treat separately. I really don't want to lose more shrimp (or fish for that matter) if I can avoid it. I lowered the water level a bit and have a sponge filter already running (the sponge gives a ton of aeration).
<The choice is yours>
Furthermore, am I making an inaccurate assumption with the shrimp? I have been assuming stress is causing losses this whole time since water parameters have been correct and I haven't seen any obvious signs of disease.
<I/one cannot really say based on the proffered data. There could be other cause/s, influences at play here>
Thank you all again for the assistance.
<To be as clear as I'd like: I simply respond to folks GIVEN the information available and what I have confidence in, to WHAT I would do given similar circumstances. In this case, were it me/mine, I would go forward with the increased temperature, possibly add some activated carbon to the filter, flow path (to discount metabolite, other noxious factors); and NOT medicate, NOT move the organisms here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich in Shrimp/Planted Tank     12/18/18

I probably should have looked at the ingredients before thinking about Paraguard. Testimonials or not, I am not risking malachite green with shrimp. My apologies.
<No worries>
I bumped up the heater again to get it to 85F and will plan on a week at that temp once it gets there. I'll pick up some carbon just in case something is going on that I can't see/test for.
It does make one wish for a crystal ball though. I appreciate all of your (and team's) efforts to essentially assist people blindly.
Assuming no more shrimp deaths or major fish distress I will maintain course per your advice. If anything else happens I will just go ahead and net the fish out to treat separately.
<Anima bona fac; be of good life. Cheers, BobF>

Ich and Fin Rot?
Hi crew, hope all is well on your end! I'm writing about a black skirt tetra in my 29 gallon community tank. About a week ago I noticed some white spots on her tail which caught my attention.
<I see these.... sand, air bubbles? Ich?>
When comparing her to the other tetras I realized her tail is not as full. I was suspecting ich and fin rot, but I was able to find a photo of her that was taken a month prior. I realized that she has looked this way for at least a month, possibly since I got her. I guess I just never noticed it. In the tank are five other tetras, 4 danios, a small school of kuhli loaches
<These don't like most ich med.s>
and a school of cories. All are free from spots, fin rot, etc. All are thriving, including the fish in question. Ammonia and nitrites are 0. Nitrates are 40 ppm(have been experimenting with matrix and Nitrazorb during the slow process of reducing this number with moderate results).
<Water changes in the meanwhile>
Please review the attached photos as your thoughts would be very much appreciated. Thank you. Danielle
<IF anything (and after reading on WWM), simply raising water temp. to the mid 80's F.
The reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwich.htm
and some of the first files linked above.
Bob Fenner>

Botia system; Ich     11/8/14
Hi there! I have a 60g with an array of tropical fish. (Green Severum, 2 Bolivian Rams, 6 emerald green cities, 2 red tailed Botias, 3 African dwarf frogs, mollies, Neons and long finned red minors and a dwarf Gourami).
<Blimey! Quite the collection of not immediately obviously compatible fish/frogs. But if it works...>
Water is usually at 75 degrees. We have Ich. I have copper, and I am thinking it might be too harsh for the Botias, am I correct?
<Does vary, but yes, Botias are often intolerant of copper and formalin.>
Or can I use it on them? I have an idea of the salinity and heat approach, but worry about the tetras in high salinity and higher temps... Any suggestions are so appreciated!
<Using salt at 2 gram/litre, plus raising the temperature to 28 C, will do the tetras/your livestock no real harm for the 7-10 days required. Certainly less toxic than copper. Do understand brackish water is from
about 5 gram/litre, and seawater 35 gram/litre, so the 2-3 gram/litre used to medicate against Whitespot is almost trivially low. Cheers, Neale.>

Gastromyzon & Whitespot  1/1/13
Dear Crew.
Happy New year to you all, and sorry to bother you when I expect you are all on Christmas & New Year  holiday, or recovering from  it!
<Pretty much…!>
I have 3 indoor fish tanks but the questions I have relate to a 20 gallon coldwater, unheated tank.  I have a pond outside, and have one baby goldfish, taken from the pond, which I am trying to rear inside until large enough to go back outside in the pond. It is now about 2 inches long. About a week before the Christmas break I purchased 4 fish labeled Hong Kong Pleco at the LFS.
<In the UK, most commonly Beaufortia kweichowensis, but there are numerous similar species.>
They were housed with goldfish and labeled for coldwater, and are now in my 20 gallon aquarium with the one goldfish.
<Yes, they are often sold this way. Not a good way to keep them though. While Beaufortia, Sewellia, Gastromyzon and Pseudogastromyzon spp. are subtropical (like Goldfish) they are adapted to fast-flowing, oxygen-rich environments -- the complete opposite to what Goldfish are adapted to! While they can coexist in aquaria for a time, the reality is that Goldfish are so big and messy they pollute the aquarium to such a degree that the sensitive Beaufortia end up suffocating (for want of a better word).>
I have been trying to identify them better, using the internet and comparing to the pictures available, and I think I may have 2 Gastromyzon zebrinus, and 2 Gastromyzon stellatus, but I am finding ID difficult, especially with the 2 spotted ones.
<Do visit Loaches.com; they have a very good photo gallery as well as a forum.>
At the time of release into the aquarium I thought one of them had a few white spots, and now I can see that the goldfish has suddenly acquired Whitespot as well.
<Unfortunately all too common when buying new fish.>
I have been looking up how best to treat this, and can find very little information.  I am considering salt treatment, which I have used with success in another tank several months ago.  I have not used it with Plecos and definitely not with Hillstream loaches.  I am wondering how salt tolerant they are?
<They aren't brackish water fish, that's for sure! But at the 1-2 gram/litre concentration they're no more sensitive than Neons, Corydoras or any other freshwater fish.>
I have in my store cupboard a new unused eSHa EXIT that I purchased to use in the previous outbreak in a different tank, and in the end I was not brave enough; I used salt and increased temps with great success, in a tank containing tetra and dwarf Cory cats, and Debawi catfish.  Catfish are my favorite but I am aware that salt and all medications must be used with great care with all fish, particularly catfish and all scaleless fishes.
<The "scaleless fish" is a bit of a red herring; sharks and moray eels are scaleless, yet clearly live in the sea! You are correct that some catfish are intolerant of salty water, but then at least two catfish families (including dozens of species) live primarily or exclusively in the sea, so there again, you can see the salt intolerance thing is overrated. Even Common Plecs and Sailfin Plecs inhabit brackish water in the wild (albeit in non-natural parts of their range, i.e., Florida). So rather than focusing on salt as a binary thing -- "safe" vs. "not safe" -- look at salt as something to use carefully, with an understanding that *overdosing* can cause harm, and that overdosing a tank of strictly freshwater fish like Neons or Hillstream Loaches would be easier to do (i.e., with less salt) than fish that have some degree of salt tolerance (such as Guppies or Kribs).>
I wonder if you have any advice on how to get rid of this irritating (both for me & the poor fishes) problem, and I wonder if the Anti Whitespot Treatment medication I have is safest,
<I have used eSHa 2000 with a variety of supposedly sensitive fish, such as South American Puffers, as well as catfish without problems. I haven't used it with Hillstream Loaches though. Would I try it? Yes; but I'd use salt/heat first.>
or if I should go with what I have done before i.e. salt and increased temps - bearing in mind I have coldwater fish to treat!
<Goldfish and Hillstream Loaches will be fine at, say, 25 C for the week or so required. Indeed, Goldfish can tolerate A LOT more heat than that! For the sake of the Hillstream Loaches, increase aeration and maximise water turnover; they're more sensitive to low oxygen levels than ANYTHING else.>
Also, having looked up all I can find on your pages about these cute little fish, I noticed people have had difficulty feeding them.
I chopped the round end off a courgette, put a veggie-coil through it to make it sink, and after a couple of days it was showing signs of starting to go a bit soft, and I was ready to take it out. But the next day I noticed it was mostly eaten!  I have now replaced it with a fresh piece.  I don't think goldfish eat courgette - do they?
<Yes. Goldfish are herbivores, and eat most anything soft and gooey.>
And I have actually seen the HK Plecos excreting!
<pedant>Biology teacher that I am, let me remind you excretion is removal of metabolic wastes, in the case of freshwater fish ammonia from the gills, which should be invisible. Defecation is the removal of indigestible remains of food. That's presumably what you saw!</pedant>
Thanks for your help with this.
VWG - Cornwall UK
<Welcome, Neale.>
Re: Gastromyzon & Whitespot     1/3/13
Dear Neale
Thank you for your reply! And for your information!
I have visited Loaches.com and yes they do have very good pictures, as do seriouslyfish.com.
The 2 fish I have that I think are G. zebrinus seem to be different to each other in colouration, but their patterning is the same.  One is dark grey with bluish markings, but the other seems darker but with paler markings, almost golden, especially on the tail end.  The pattern is spotted (but not uniformly round spots) on the head, and striped across the body.  They are young fish, less than an inch long, so I am expecting them to change as they grow. The 2 spotted fish I thought are G. stellatus I am now even more confused about.  The spots are uniform and very round, sometimes looking pale blue and sometimes yellow.  There seems to be a red flash on the tail, but they open & close the tail so fast that it is hard to be sure of colouring.  The eyes are black but have a yellow circle around them, which the zebrinus (?) do not have.
<Indeed. In any case, all these Hillstream Loaches are much of a muchness. Small, sensitive to warm water, need lots of oxygen, and prefer a diet based on green algae and tiny invertebrates. Have you seen the newish "Loaches" book from TFH? Worth picking up; I got mine discounted, so shop around!>
I am using API aquarium salt, and have so far added 2 tablespoons to 20 gallons.  You mentioned 1-2 grams per litre, but I have no way of measuring this.
<Kitchen scales for the weight of salt? One level teaspoon is about 6 grams. One US gallon is 3.75 litres.>
A website that I have visited suggests a maximum of 1 tablespoon
<3 teaspoons, i.e., about 3 x 6 grams… 18 grams.>
in 5 gallons,
<18.75 litres…>
for sensitive fish,
<18 grams/18.75 litres, i.e., about 1 gram/litre.>
and I wonder if you agree with this for use with Hillstream loaches?
<I'd use twice as much. But sure, go ahead, see what happens. If the Whitespot clears up, it works! If not, then double the salinity. Do put all of this in perspective. Seawater is 35 gram/litre, so 1 gram/litre is one thirty-fifth of seawater salinity, which is easily drinkable, let alone stressful to freshwater fish.>
The temperature is at 20 degrees C at the moment. I am all for doing things slowly! I can not seem to find an explanation of how this treatment works - is it the salt or the heat that kills the Whitespot?  Will it be killed with salt alone if the dosage is sufficiently high,  or even with heat alone, -  if the fish were heat or salt tolerant?
<Heat speeds up the life cycle of the Whitespot parasite. Depending on water temperature, the parasite lives in the skin of the fish for 1-7 days, during which time it is immune to any medications. This is the "white spot" phase you can see. Then, once the parasite reaches maturity, the cyst burst open and a free-living stage comes out and, among other things, multiplies itself and the "babies" go off to find new fish to parasitise. Heat reduces this phase from 7 days (or more) down to 1 day. Now, only with the baby parasites swimming about, is the medicine or salt able to kill the parasites. Medicines like cooper poison them, salt stresses them to death. Make sense?>
On the matter of being pedantic, I would agree that things need to be right where written words are involved, and I tried to use the word "fishes" correctly; i.e. to describe plural fish but of different species, but I missed an apostrophe, because 'the problem' is belonging to the fishes! [(both for me & the poor fishes) problem] Therefore is *fishes'* more correct? I stand corrected on the use of the word excrete, as I thought wrongly that it was from the word excrement ! (As in excrement!)
<Fair enough!>
I have increased aeration in the tank with use of an air stone, and plan to add a second power head type filter. I forgot to mention also, that since adding the loaches I have noticed a few very very tiny white worm like things clinging to the glass of the aquarium.
<Nematodes. Harmless (usually) especially if they're moving about on the glass. There are some parasitic nematodes, part these tend to be inside the fish so you don't see them, the exception being Camallanus worms.>
I have watched the loaches and they do not eat them, they pass over them.
The worms seem to curl up and then when the loach has passed over the top, uncurl back into a straight line again.  They are very tiny, no more than 3mm long, and very thin.  There can not be many as now I am looking for them I can not see any!
<Mostly these nematodes feed on organic matter. They're everywhere in the wild. Apparently there's one that lives in beer mats! It's called Panagrellus redivivus.>
There are also a few odd looking cling-on things that look like the scale insect you get on houseplants. There are a few here and there on the filter and on the glass, and I can't say as I have noticed them before the introduction of the loaches!
<There's presumably something they're eating. Algae possibly, but more often uneaten fish flake etc.>
On the subject of compatibility - hopefully the goldfish can go in the pond when big enough - do you have any suggestion for a few suitable tank mates for the loaches? - if this the road I decide to embark upon that is - is it correct that tiger barbs can be kept at low water temperatures?
<Wouldn't be my first choice. But there are some good, low-end tropical barbs. Rosy Barbs are lovely but a bit big. Golden Barbs (Puntius semifasciolatus) are one option, as would many of the Danios and of course White Cloud Mountain Minnows (but don't mix these with Danios larger than they are!).>
Thank you for your time & knowledge!
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Ich with shrimp and Kuhli loaches      11/28/12
I would really appreciate some advice on how to best go about treating Ich in my 55 gallon freshwater planted tank (parameters being nitrite at 0ppm, nitrate under 20ppm, pH around 7. I got some new fish about a week ago, and they all seemed healthy. Today I noticed that my new Madagascar Rainbowfish, and my old ones (there's 9) have Ich, but it only seems to be affecting them for the time being. I'm worried about one of the Rainbowfish in particular because he has more white specks than the others. More like 10 or 12 whereas the others have more like 4-5. So far I've done a 25-30% water change, and right now I'm trying to figure out the best way to go. I have 5 bamboo shrimp, 5 Kuhli loaches, and 8 Nerite snails that I don't want to lose. I don't want to use anything harsh for medicating if I don't have to, and I was looking into the salt and heat method, but I don't know that the bamboo shrimp would do well with the heat. I am not opposed to taking my plants out if need be, but of course it would be easier if I had some method to use that is safe for snails, shrimp, Kuhlis, and plants. I think the salt would be okay for everybody else, but I'll go ahead and make sure with you guys. My stocking has Otocinclus catfish, a Bristlenose Pleco, Kuhli loaches, neon Rainbowfish, harlequin Rasboras, ghost catfish, a dwarf gourami, gardneri killifish, zebra danios, Madagascar Rainbowfish, and bamboo flower shrimp.
Also, one of my ghost catfish kinda has a light gray somewhat cloudy looking upper lip and instead of facing his whiskers forward, they're kind of out and down. I'm not sure what that is, but I hope you can take a guess at it.
Your advice is greatly appreciated.
<Mmm, well; the best process would be to remove the fishes to another system and treat there, but if it were me/mine, I might try simply raising the temperature (but not adding salt/s) here. Read:
and the linked files above. All you list should tolerate 86 F., I'd increase aeration if practical. Bob Fenner>

HD Ghost knife Ich photos for you     6/4/12
Hi there,
I've found your site super informative, unfortunately though none of the information I've found has helped my poor Ghost Knife. I injured myself at work (dislocated shoulder, torn ligaments) and was unable to get home for 2 weeks. Had a friend feeding my fish. After 2 weeks I came home to find my bristle nose fry dead and my blue Acara fry dead. All had lost colour, bloated and were at a furry stage of decomposition.
I've been heat/salt treating the BGK for 3-4 days now,
<How high is the temp.? Mid to upper 80's F.?>
and its only getting worse. The 3 Kuhli loaches and 5 Elec yellows don't show Ich symptoms, but don't look well either. Unfortunately i don't have a med tank for any of them. My second tank is full, and SUPER healthy.
Hopefully these hi res photos will be of some use on your website.
<Thanks for sending them along. Bob Fenner>

Re: HD Ghost knife Ich photos for you    6/19/12
Just wanted to send you an update. After 30c temp and salt additions to the water had no effect, i started to notice my Kuhli Loaches getting sick. One died (found him stuck to the filter) and my Electric yellows would not stop scraping themselves. I decided to medicate, using VitaPet Multicure at half strength. after 10 days the BGK has completely healed (fin is yet to grow back, but has healed) and my Kuhlis are more lively than ever. The yellows now are back to normal. They weren't eating much when sick, now they eat anything and its been weeks. My BGK goes nuts for Cichlid crisps
and Algae wafers. The active ingredients in Multicure are 0.400mg/ml Malachite Green, 4.0mg/ml Methylene Blue, 2.00mg/ml Acriflavine. 2.5ml per 20litre every 3 days.
Hope this is of some use :)
<Thanks for the update Sam; yes, quite sure this'll be informative to some.
Methylene Blue and Acriflavine are both relatively mild and I've used them with sensitive species like Puffers. On the other hand, Malachite Green can be quite nasty, but if it worked for you, great! Salt/heat usually works very well with Ick, so do check you use the method correctly. It's a much less toxic approach for dealing with Ick, though it's less effective at low concentrations when treating Velvet, and the two diseases are easily confused. Cheers, Neale.>

Something funky in my tank
Something funky in my tank (bacteria; Whitespot)  12/1/11

Hi there!
I am a little concerned, I have a 200gallon tank with 1bgk, 6 mollies, 3 platys, 2 Corydoras,  2 gouramis, 8 ghost shrimp & 6 black skirt tetras. I recently noticed I have this white stuff growing on my tank glass. It seems to be attached, but sways with the movement of the water. Originally I thought it was an algae build up so I just cleaned the glass & went on with my weekly water changes. Its back this week and seems to be more than the last week, also it seems that now my all my fish have lil white spots like grains of salt on them. What can I do to  treat my tank & not harm my bgk or my shrimp? Can you help?
<Hello Ashley. The wafting, thread-like stuff is fungus and/or bacteria and/or "blue-green" algae (Cyanobacteria). Telling these three things apart if difficult, but in short, fungus tends to grow on rotting things like (improperly cured) bogwood, dead fish and faeces. It doesn't grow on plastic or rocks. Bacteria will grow anywhere, and whereas fungi tend to look like cotton wool threads, bacteria have a slimy, matted, often fibrous appearance. Regular bacteria become a pest in tanks that aren't properly cleaned, because they're feeding on organic muck of various kinds.
Blue-green algae are also bacteria, despite their name, and tend to grow where there is light and nutrients but poor plant growth. Poor water circulation favour all kinds of bacteria. Chances are your tank doesn't have enough cleaning and indifferent water circulation (air-powered filters and hang-on-the-back filters are notorious for this). The fact your fish have Whitespot now also suggests environmental stress. Review water quality carefully, my guess is that your filtration just isn't as good as you think. The salt/heat method is the safest approach where Apteronotus or shrimps are being kept, as copper and formalin will quickly kill them.
Cheers, Neale.>


Complications treating ICH in tank with Hillstream Loach   10/17/11
Hello WWM Crew,
Thank you for taking the time to help me with this problem. I have searched your site and done hours of Googling and can't find just this situation and am not sure what I can do.
I have a 125L unheated tank that contains 2 fancy goldfish, 3 variatus platies, 3 WCMMs and a Hillstream loach (Pseudogastromyzon cheni). The tank is well aerated with the venturi system on my Fluval U3 filter on maximum and tiny bubbles visible throughout the tank. Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0 and Nitrates 10mg/l.
I went away for the weekend 2 weeks ago and when I came back one of my fish (the black moor) had what looked like a bacterial infection - a couple of small white patches had appeared on his tail. These were not Ich and he has had them before a few months ago, where they cleared up untreated in a couple of days. I wondered if maybe his immune system had weakened from the stress of me not feeding him for a day or two (my boyfriend gave my
goldfish half a pea each on the Sunday)?!
<Could be>
But...... two days later I came home from work and both fish had loads of Ich white spots on their fins, tail and odd ones on the body!! Over the next few days Ich appeared on the other fish, except for the WCMMs and the Hillstream Loach.
Initially I added aquarium salt at a dose of 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons.
(My tank is 33 US gallons so I added 6 tbs). I was very worried about the effect this may have on the Hillstream loach as I found conflicting information on the internet...... however my Hillstream has not changed his behaviour in any way.
After a couple of days I could see no more Ich on my moor but looking closely at his body he had a lot of faint white patches which I assume are bacteria on his damaged slime coat...... so I then added Interpet No.9 'Anti Internal bacteria ' into the tank. This medication has been something of a cure all for me in the past. The next day the white patches had almost completely cleared up! Phew! However, the platies Ich seemed to have worsened!
I did a large water change (50%) and replaced the salt I had removed. A couple of days later the Ich had returned in even greater number to both goldfish and even the WCMMs were rubbing! The Hillstream loach must not be too many generations from the wild as he is still completely unaffected!
After almost two weeks of salt treatment my moor has no visible Ich, however the platies and other GF still have the spots. Many of my fish are periodically clamping their fins.
Yesterday I added a heater to the tank and brought the temperature up to 24C.
<Ahh, good... >
I daren't take it any higher for fear of starving my loach of oxygen! All fish remain active at this temperature. BUT the moor now has a scary looking white patch of bacteria at the base of his tail where it splits into two.
<I would raise the temperature much higher... Yes, even w/ the risk of increase metabolism, diminished DO... to 29 C. I have done this on several occasions w/ fancy goldfish and Hillstream Loaches. Add aeration if you have it in any form... and be very stingy re feeding>
I want to treat again with Interpet No.9 Anti Internal Bacteria to get rid of this! Will this combination of heat, salt and Medication be too much for my loach? Are there any safe alternatives?
<Not really; no>
Thank you so much for your help! This Ich has gone on for too long! So far no casualties but some heavily clamped fins for over a week suggests that may change..... :-S
Thanks again,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Helppppp !- 8/20/11
Hello Robert,
We bought a couple of Clown Loaches and a Pea Puffer.
<Not compatible. Clown Loaches are big, schooling, sensitive but messy fish that need a huge aquarium. Youngsters might be kept in something around the 55 gallon mark up to about 15 cm/6 inches, but subadults and adults need much bigger tanks, 100+ gallons. Pea Puffers are tiny little things that would get lost in tanks that size, and even though they might be happy enough in a big tank where you couldn't see them, they're nippy and incompatible with almost everything.>
I'm not for sure right now, but I think the Loaches have Ick. They are in my 45 gal. Tank with other fish
<Treat with the usual heat/salt approach. Heat alone *may* work.>
And a crayfish, my question is will the Ick medication harm the crayfish if I have to treat the tank.
<Crayfish are Clown Loach food, so obviously you can't keep them together anyway. But even so, formalin and copper are toxic to both loaches and crayfish, and puffers as well!>
I also see that you mention marine salt on your site as a possible cure for Ick, but I have read on another site, that loaches and crayfish are salt intolerant.
<They tolerate this low concentration. But no one should be keeping crayfish and Clown Loaches together. So this shouldn't be an issue. Repeat after me: Crayfish are not kept with fish, crayfish are not kept with fish, crayfish are not kept with fish. Doing so is extremely risky for both fish and crustacean.>
I'm really in a quandary as to how to precede, any help would be appreciated.
<Do try reading about the needs of livestock *before* buying them. The three species you have here each needs it own aquarium.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
re: Helppppp !- 8/20/11

I guess I should have been more clear. Two of the Clown Loaches are less then 3 in. And are in the 45 gal. These are the ones I wasn't sure of. The Pea Puffer was not in this tank. It did not survive, I am pretty sure it was stress, because we live about 15 mi. from the store.
<No, not the reason it died. Think about it: these fish have been shipped 1000s of miles to get to the retailer. Done properly, taking home fish shouldn't cause any problems at all, and I routinely bring home fish by public transport in my backpack, the fish being bagged up for hours at a time. More usually, fish die a day or two after purchase because the purchaser failed to acclimate them carefully, or worse, introduced them to an aquarium not suitable for that fish species.>
The other 2 Loaches are in a separate tank and are about 1 in. long they I know for sure have Ick'¦ all were bought to control snails.
<Which they won't do. Snails are not solved by adding fish. Retailers may tell you this, the same way they tell you that you need a fish to deal with algae. But it's rubbish. Snails turn excess food into baby snails. Keep the tank clean and remove solid waste, and you have fewer snails. Add more fish, and you have to put more food in the tank, and that means more food for the snails to eat. While some loaches and puffers consume snails, they usually don't eat the pest varieties with any real effectiveness. The Assassin Snail, Clea helena, is rather better, but only as part of an overall improvement of conditions in the aquarium.>
And the crayfish isn't interested in any of the fish, still have the ones that Were in there when it was introduced.
<For now. But this is really, really risky. Crayfish view tankmates as potential food. Yes, in the wild they mostly eat plants and carrion, but in an aquarium they, and do, eat small fish. Conversely, after moulting Crayfish are extremely vulnerable to damage from larger fish. You also need to provide supplemental iodine to Crayfish (marine aquarium iodine drops, at half dose) as well as calcium (unshelled shrimp, for example) and in a smaller, Crayfish-specific aquarium this is altogether easier and more economical.>
And far from being stupid as you imply, I do try to read up on my livestock.
<I'm glad to hear that, I don't imply that you personally are stupid. For all I know, you're smarter than me! But rather, you have made a very ill-advised combination of livestock that no aquarium book would ever recommend. Clown Loaches need one set of conditions, Puffers another, and Crayfish a third. Keeping all three together makes no sense at all. In any case, the salt/heat treatment should be tolerated by all these species and would be the way forward. You should remove the Crayfish in any event, and the Puffer is dead anyway, so you're really just concentration on the Loaches. Generally, it's the copper- and formalin-based medications that cause Loaches harm; salt/heat is very safe to use.>
<Most welcome, Neale.>
re: Helppppp !- 8/20/11

I'm going to answer here instead of in between you answers.
<Great! Makes things a lot easier to follow.>
I realize that some of the fish are shipped thousands of miles,
regardless the fishes were acclimated and the Puffer was put in a tank alone... no other fish.
<Fair enough. But still, do be aware that puffers can be quite sensitive, and you need to be double-careful when it comes to acclimation to the new tank after purchase.>
A retailer is not the one that told me about the Loaches being snail eaters, it was something I read or heard on one of these expert websites (which is becoming more and more obvious is a crock, anybody and everybody seems to be one).
<Perhaps. One reason we recommend books is that the people writing them tend to be experts in some demonstrable way, whereas anyone can say anything on a web page. On the other hand, there are some outstanding websites out there, including loaches.com and thepufferforum.com, both of which might provide useful reading for you. The loaches/snail and puffer/snail "solutions" have been around for years, and almost everyone mentions them, but in practise neither is terribly reliable. In the case of puffers, they're usually more trouble in community tanks than the snails, and loaches, well, they can be aggressive and/or demanding animals, so hardly easy to keep. Almost always, there are cheaper, easier, and more reliable solutions.>
Anyway every snail they find they are making short work of, leaving the empty shell behind.
<Yes indeed, loaches can be excellent snail-eaters.>
As for the crayfish, as I said he isn't interested in the fish. I have had him for 2 years. There are no lg. fish in the tank to bother it after molting and he stays in The cave he lives in most of the time.
<As with many things in life, what works for some people might not work for most everyone else. It's like when TV news people report on the world's oldest man, and he lives in Siberia or somewhere like that, and reckons a vodka with every meal is what's kept him healthy. Maybe, but maybe not, and he's just lucky. What a doctor would recommend for good health won't be what individuals think is the key to their healthiness. Here at WWM we try to offer information -- perhaps a bit conservative sometimes -- that will work in the largest number of situations. In this case, not mixing crayfish with fish is the recommendation. But if you trust your crayfish, and you know what to look for in terms of potential trouble, then more power to you. It's just not a "wise" approach.>
As for my smartness, that varies from day to day. I just didn't like the implication.
<I can well imagine.>
All my tanks have a 50% water change weekly, unless I feel they need it sooner. Also I use to do the salt Addition just for this reason, everybody I talked to said I didn't need to.
<Well, routine addition of aquarium salt (not marine aquarium salt!) to freshwater tanks is NOT recommended, and is considered rather old school and potentially risky. On the other hand, short-term use of aquarium salt to treat Whitespot is recognised as a low-risk, low-cost treatment for Whitespot.>
As per your advise I am stopping the Ich med., doing a 100% water change and adding the marine salt.
<Not marine aquarium salt! Plain vanilla aquarium salt, sometimes called tonic salt or livebearer salt.>
In the 45 gal. tank I saw today that the other Loaches also have Ich, so will do the same to it,
<Yes, can work well with loaches. Do adjust them slowly though. I like to make up a brine solution in a jug that contains all the salt needed for the whole tank, and then pour that into the tank in stages across an hour. That allows the fish time to adjust.>
I do not plan on removing the Crayfish though, hoping he survives.
<Can't think why he wouldn't.>
Again Thanks,
<Cheers, Neale.>
re: Helppppp !   8/22/11

Thanks again for your help.
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

clown loach with white spot like dandruff 7/29/11
Hi I have 3 clown loaches and 3 neon tetras left in my tank after a bad case of white spot that was brought in with the 3 new loaches that I introduced to my existing 2 clown loaches and neon tetras. I first treated with half dose of Protozin on day 1,2,3 and 6 as advised by staff at shop
<Would not use medication with Clown Loaches, too many risks; salt/heat tolerated much better.>
lost 2 of my clown loaches that I had for a year and now have 3 left who came good but have now white spot again I think it seems like some sort of dandruff coming off them when they flash over the driftwood and it is all floating through the tank since I started salt treatment and turned heat up to 86 degrees last night and will leave it like that for two weeks as I read on one of the FAQ's.
<Clown Loaches are very sensitive to skin parasites, including Whitespot and Velvet. It'd be good to assume they have Whitespot and act accordingly.>
My questions are do I feed the clown loaches while treating them
<If you want, but only if water quality is perfect. Clowns are VERY sensitive to ammonia and nitrite, so if these aren't zero, then one reason your Clowns are getting sick could very easily be stress.>
and do I do water changes and filter cleans. I have a 100ltr tank water seem fine
<Much too small for this species; even 250 litres would be tight!>
and loaches seem happy enough except for the flashing it looks quite  annoying to the poor little darlings your help and advice would be great
thank you.
Regards Deborah
<Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: clown loach with white spot like dandruff   8/3/11

Great reading Neale! Sorry hadn't found that information myself, not from lack of trying with four children screaming in my ear.
<Ah, yes, you'll see that I often recommend against people with small children getting fish. Four children at home would do my head in! I spend my working day teaching kids, and that's plenty enough exposure to the little "darlings" for me'¦>
Thank you so much for your response to my email, it's been a week now and I still have 3 clown loaches, (looking great no spots) and 2 (only) neon tetras. I still have the temp at 86 c and am treating with salt, I found by changing at least 10% of the water every second day, and doing gravel vacs there is less stuff?? floating around.. not any actually.
<May help, but water changing is part of the way environmental conditions are improved, rather than the whole story. The size of the tank and adequate filtration are the other two parts.>
The plan is to leave things like this for a further 5-7 days, then slowly return things to normal and fingers crossed all will be well. So grateful for your wonderful educating site, and wish you all well.
Kindest Regards
<Thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>

dosing Ich in qt tank 12/5/10
just brought home some new fishes who are well settled into their qt tank for the moment. however it appears a couple of the cardinal tetras are sporting white specks on their fins, I cant imagine what this could be besides Ich :/ In this tank I have altogether 2 honey Gourami, 10 cardinal tetras and 2 "peppered" Corydoras (I'm not quite sure if they are the same as salt and pepper Cory; they look more grey and black, mottled, than white and black) The first thing I am trying is to raise the temperature, at room temp/with the light on in the QT it stays about 77 but for getting rid of Ich I understand 86 is ideal. However I'm not 100% sure the heater I have actually works :(
Now the question I have, I have 3 different options of actually treating this either if the heat doesn't work or in conjunction with the heat. I'm a long way from a store here so I have to use what I have on hand. I have salt- which I read the Corys won't tolerate well; a bottle of CopperSafe; and a bottle of Wardley's Ick away, which is 0.075 malachite green. I understand these are all toxic and tetras are a little picky in general and I'd only do a half dose anyway, but I was wondering which of the three would be the best tolerated by the combination of fish in there? I am hoping, since I couldn't find anything about honey Gourami and medicine sensitivity, that it means they are not sensitive. I know Corys and tetras can be. I'm really hoping to nip the Ich before it spreads/reinfests.
also I am certainly planning on daily water changes and there is no substrate other than a small handful of marbles on the bottom of the tank, which don't even cover the surface (easy vacuuming) thanks for any advice.
<Do skip the Ick medications, and instead use salt/heat to treat.
Corydoras will handle the requisite low salinity -- about 2 g/litre -- just fine. Have done this many, many times and is FAR safer than copper or formalin. The idea Corydoras are "allergic" to salt is non-scientific and based on a total misunderstanding of how osmoregulation works. By contrast, copper and formalin are toxic to ALL fish, and while many species will tolerate short-term exposure, all are killed by misuse of these products.
Likewise, while all Corydoras (except C. sterbai) are best kept between 22-24 C/72-75 F, short-term exposure to 28-30 C/82-86 F will cause them no harm at all. All this holds true for your Tetras too. I will remind you that Cardinals require warmer water than Corydoras paleatus, so these are not an ideal combination, though farmed C. paleatus may be better at the required minimum 25 C/77 F than wild ones. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick clown loaches   11/13/10
Hi there . I bought some clown loaches and they have Ick ,
<Very susceptible>
( they looked fine when I bought them ) , I started them on a half dose of copper safe
<Mmm, I would not treat Cobitids w/ Copper compounds... can be cured with simple thermal manipulation. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwichremedyyes.htm
and the linked files above>
it got better and now it is three times worse than before is there another thing I can add to the water to help ?
<... learn to search/use WWM>
They also have skinny fish disease also known as the virus that causes the hole in head disease , I do not know what the scientific name is ,
I have started putting Epsom salt into the water ,
<? Not efficacious>
I read that it can completely cure the fish if it ingests some of the Epsom salt (don't know how I'm going to do that lol ) and it can really help if it is just in the tank it can even reverse it a little , I put a tablespoon of it into a 5-1/2 gallon tank . Any tips would be greatly appreciated ! Thanks .
Josh .
<Read on! Bob Fenner>

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>

My clown loaches still have severe ick! -- 09/08/09
I have read many articles on your website about ick and have followed them, however my clown loaches still have severe ick!
<This species is an "Ick magnet"!>
I have done the salt and raised the temp to 84. I lost one catfish and my two loaches have lost their color and still look very ill.
<Hmm... Ick usually doesn't kill fish, at least not quickly, so do review other possible problems. Fish die because the Ick parasite damages the skin, allowing secondary infections to set in. It's these secondary
infections, coupled with stress and quite possibly problems breathing (Ick parasites attack the gills as well as the skin) that lead to death. But since Ick usually turns up when new fish have been added to the tank,
review things like quarantining procedures and whether the water quality is still as good as you think within the aquarium.>
What do I do now? I have groumis and leaf fish in my tank too. It is day three of treatment.
<Do understand the salt/heat method (and indeed ALL Ick medications) kill ONLY the free-living parasites, not the ones on the fish. What happens is this: You cannot do anything about the Ick spots on your fish. By heating up the water, you speed up their life cycle, so they burst more quickly. At that point, those spots die. But they throw out "baby" parasites, the free-living stage, that swim about for 24-48 hours to find a host. If they can't find a host, they die. For that period of time, and ONLY for that period of time, medications and salt are able to kill the parasites. Copper kills the parasites, while salt stresses the parasite and essentially draws all the water out from its cell, killing it. You MUST use the right amount of salt for this, otherwise it won't work. Too little, and the free-living cell will survive, and settle onto a fish, to start the next generation of white spots. You need to use 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per gallon of water.
That sounds a lot, but it's actually a trivial amount in terms of what freshwater fish can tolerate. It's like chemotherapy: the idea is it kills the disease before it kills the fish. Leave the water "salty" for about 2
weeks at this temperature, and you should find the Ick vanishes. After that time, just do regular water changes to slowly flush out the salt. Your Loaches and catfish will tolerate this much better than copper/formalin.>
Can the other fish tolerate the high temps!
<Yes, but add additional aeration if they are breathing heavily, and certainly ensure filtration (water circulation) is good.>
I am very frustrated! Please help-I don't think one will make it thru the night. Thanks Jill
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ick
Thank you for all your help!
<You are most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Ick 9/11/09
I have other questions for you.
<Fire away.>
It has been a week since I did the salt and temp change for the ick. I lost one catfish and one clown loach.
<Not because of the salt, if you did things right. But Ick does make fish vulnerable to secondary infections, and other Ick medications (with copper or formalin) are especially toxic to Loaches and some catfish.>
The other loach had a fungus so I put fungus clear and stress coat in also.
It has been 5 days and the clown loach is still holding on, not eating and laying around. His fungus has cleared. All the other fish are doing fine, no Ick seen. Do you think the high water temp (82) is making him
<Not directly; Clown Loaches can do well in very warm water. But lack of oxygen will stress any fish. When you raise the temperature, you decrease the amount of oxygen in the water. Furthermore, fish at the bottom of the tank (like loaches) will be getting less oxygen anyway than fish at the top of the tank. So you do need to be very careful that [a] there's good water circulation from top to bottom; and [b] your tank isn't overstocked. Adding another filter, an airstone, or a powerhead could all be useful additions to your system if you're concerned oxygen might be an issue.>
How long do I have to keep the temp up?
<About two weeks. You need to mature ALL the Ick parasites on the fish, and this can take about a week under tropical conditions. You warm the water to speed things up, and in theory, at 82 F they should mature within about 3-4 days. If you honestly can't spot a single Ick anywhere, then you can lower the temperature. It won't stop the salt working. With luck, all the Ick parasites have matured already, and there's nothing to lose.>
Thank you so much! You have been a great help.
<Good luck! Neale.>

Ich, plants & surviving fish  7/16/09
Hey there,
I have a 65 gallon freshwater planted tank currently with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and 20 nitrate as well as my first case of ich. I'm a little heartbroken because it's already claimed 5 loaches (2 chain, 3 yo-yo) and I'd had the 3 yo-yos since I started the hobby 3.5 years ago.
<I see. The thing with Ick medications is that they're more immediately dangerous to certain fish, including loaches, than the Ick itself! This is why for Loaches we recommend the older heat plus salt technique rather than Ick medication. Aquarisol contains copper sulphate, and that's certainly one of the things believed to be more toxic to loaches than we'd like. Next time, raise the temperature to 82 degrees, and add 2 to 3 teaspoons of plain aquarium salt per gallon of water in the tank. I like to mix the salt with some warm water in a jug first, and then dribble the brine into the tank in front of the filter outlet; this helps it mix quickly around the aquarium. Run thus for a week or two, and you should be Ick free. The salt concentration is too low to harm fish or plants, but usually kills the free-living Ick parasite stages very quickly.>
I'd treated tank by increasing water temp to 84 degrees and added Aquarisol. I removed carbon, added an air filter and did 25% water changes every other day for 6 days. The loaches went fast, but one had managed to survive and seemed fine until I lowered the water temp back to 78. Within 24 hours the final loach passed with spots and a thick slime coat covering it. The other inhabitants of the tank: 8 Congo tetras, 1 blue emperor tetra and 2 Siamese Algae Easters have all appeared normal (no spots, no flashing, no change in eating habits) throughout this process. After I lost the 5th loach I've kept the water tamp @ 84. After reviewing the articles here I decided the next course of action is to add salt, a step I'd been reluctant to do with loaches in the tank.
<Ironically, I think it was the copper that killed the Loaches, not the Ick, and salt/heat would have been a better option.>
My questions are should I put the carbon back in the filter to remove the Aquarisol, is the Aquarisol the reason why my jungle Val and java fern have died and should I remove the wood and moss decorations while I'm treating the tank?
<Curious; actually, plants usually tolerate medications quite well, so I'm surprised by this. But it's possible I guess. In any even, both Java Fern and Vallisneria are tolerant of salt, so again, salt/heat would have worked well.>
It seems like no matter how often I siphon the tank the moss holds in a lot of particulates.
<Yep! One reason Java Moss is suited to clean tanks with small fish, rather than tanks with robust or burrowing fish.>
Thanks, Christine
<Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies, babies, Ich trtmt.  3/2/09 hi i have found ick in my tank on a neon tetra ,i have treated before with ick guard and it worked. I would like to use it again but i have found some baby fish in my tank if i lower the dose will it harm the babies? and will it work? <Ick medication used correctly should do no harm to livebearer fry. Do not reduce the dosage or it won't work! Remember to remove carbon from the filter while treating the fish. Cheers, Neale.>

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.>

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.> Catfish ich  4/8/07 Hello! <<Hi, Victor. Tom here.>> I have a somewhat urgent question, since I just added fish to a tank that already had a Pleco in it, but one of them had ich. <<Oops'¦>> Unfortunately one of the additions is an angel catfish (Synodontis angelicus) and I'm not sure what treatment to use so I do not harm him. Thank you for your time and best regards. <<Look into Kordon's Pond Rid-Ich+, Victor. It's a re-formulation of the original (excellent) product and can be both safe and effective when used to treat scaleless fish like your Synodontis. Obviously, you'll want to pay special note to any/all precautions and/or recommendations that the manufacturer makes in regard to treatment. As an aside, unless your tank is already heavily aerated, I would also look into providing for this in conjunction with the treatment. Best of luck.>> Victor Teran <<Tom>>

Ick treatment & a Baby Whale  6/23/07 Hello, Thank you kindly for your prognosis on the Dwarf Gourami. I'll keep them isolated and cross my fingers.... and not re-stock with Dwarf Gouramis. Another question: Today I noticed that one of the rainbow fish (Red Rainbow female) has 2 tiny white spots... sweet mother of science, I fear ick. She's a relatively new introduction to the tank (4 days) but was quarantined for 8 days prior to being introduced. If ick, I've previously had success with Mardel's Maracide Concentrate... but what about the Baby Whale who lives in the tank (I've had him for about 8 months now... a healthy happy 4 inch Mormyridae) can he withstand an ick treatment like Maracide. Many thanks, Michelle <Happy to help. It's a shame that Dwarf Gourami Disease is so common. Anyway, as for the Ick in your aquarium, be extremely careful when treating the tank. I am not personally familiar with this medication, but I'm a bit concerned that its web page says it "may be harmful to amphibians and some snails". Anyway, before using it, check that the carton said it was safe with invertebrates and stingrays. Anything safe with those should be safe with Mormyrids; if it doesn't say it is safe for those, then assume it is not. If your retailer doesn't know, then checking the web site (or telephoning) the manufacturer can help. The safest thing is move the Mormyrid to a quarantine tank, treat the main tank, use carbon and water changes to remove leftover medication, and then return the Mormyrid. With luck, your Mormyrid will not be infected. Since you've had the baby whale 8 months, he's obviously settled in and feeding -- so I wouldn't take any chances risking such a lovely animal. Cheers, Neale>

Plecos, hold the salt please -- 5/30/07 Hello, <<Hello, Julie. Tom with you.>> I have a question about adding salt to my freshwater tank. I have a 55 gallon tank. Currently, it contains black mollies, gold balloon belly mollies, zebra Danios and one 12 inch Pleco. <<Hmmm'¦okay. Mollies are typically categorized as 'brackish' water fish, Julie. Your Pleco has little, if any, tolerance for salt. Not ideal but let's see what we can do.>> My problem - the black mollies have ich and I am having trouble getting rid of it. I read that my tank needs salt and this will aid in getting rid of and keeping the ich out of my tank. <<Salt is one of the 'safest' ways to go, Julie, but not the only one. In this case, a 'treatment' level of salt for Ick will do your Pleco no good whatsoever. We need to look for an alternate course of action.>> I also read that my Pleco will not do well with too much salt in the water. <<True.>> Is there a certain amount of salt that I could add to my tank that might help my mollies but not hurt my Pleco? <<In this case, Julie, there isn't. Plecos can 'tolerate' no more than a dosage of one tablespoon of salt per five gallons of water and even that is 'iffy'. You'd likely need to up this to around two-three tablespoons per five gallons to effectively do battle with this parasite. Not an option, I'm afraid. You should consider Maracide here. Not quite as effective as other forms of treatment but 'scaleless' fish seem to do quite well with this treatment. 'Quick Cure' is a formulation of formalin and malachite green which is very effective, particularly when combined like this but, it does have 'safety' drawbacks as it's toxic to fish and plants if dosing isn't done properly or, if treated for a prolonged period. Treatments with this product can be very successful when half-dosed in 12-hour intervals, however. I'd go with the Maracide here, though. If this were a more serious outbreak, I'd direct you to go with the Quick Cure but I'd rather that you feel comfortable with this rather than put you on the spot. Also, remember to increase the temperature of the tank to 82-86 degrees F. over a period of several hours to speed up the life cycle of the Ick.>> Thanks, Julie <<You're welcome, Julie. Best of luck. Tom>>

Ich, frogs, snails and shrimp question - 7/23/07 Hello! I have searched all over for an answer to this question and I can't find one. So, I'm going to email this and hope someone answers it! We have one goldfish, one platy, one ghost shrimp, one snail and one (tiny) African Dwarf frog. The gold fish looks like it has a case of Ich... small white dots/bumps on it's fin. We took him out of the aquarium, and I want to treat it, however, I'm not sure if we should treat the tank with the frog, snail and shrimp in it? Should we take them out? Do they need to be treated? Help! Please? Thank you! Deanna <Hello Deanna. Snails are usually resistant to medications, but shrimps are not, and often frogs aren't either, so good save there. You will need to treat the whole aquarium for whitespot rather than just one fish. Actually, to be precise, the anti-Ick medications cannot kill the parasites on the fish which is why removing them to a quarantine tank is pointless. All they kill are the free-swimming parasites before they attack the fish, and even if you cure the fish in the quarantine tank, the next generation of parasites will still be in the aquarium waiting to re-infect your fish! That's why you need to treat the tank, not the fish, so you can break the life cycle of the Ick parasites. Every few days they flip from being on the fish to being free swimming as one generation dies and another is born. Or something like that, anyway! So, remove the shrimp and perhaps the frog too. Treat the tank. After a week, change 50% of the water, and install carbon in the filter. (I assume you know you MUST always remove carbon before treating an aquarium, because carbon removes medication just as it removes any other organic material.) After 24 hours do another 50% water change, and then return the shrimp and frog. The levels of copper, formalin, or whatever else are in the medication will now be too low to harm the shrimp or frog. Hope this helps, Neale>

Ich and the scaleless barb   8/14/07 Dear WWM Crew, <<Dear Claire. Tom here this afternoon.>> Congratulations on your fantastic and informative site - it has been an invaluable resource as I set up my first tropical tank. <<Very glad to hear it, Claire.>> Unfortunately that tank has now come down with ich (due to an unquarantined new arrival - long story, and I've learned my lesson...) - I saw one or two spots on fins this evening. <<An Ich infestation is a pain in the backside to have to deal with but it's a far cry from other problems that might have occurred. Sorry you learned the hard way but all of us have learned something in this hobby the hard way so welcome to our club.>> I have Nox-ich to treat it with but would like some advice on dosage, due to the presence of a 'mutant' fish. The tank contains 6 female rosy barbs (rescued feeder fish), five tetras and a Bristlenose catfish (gradual stocking still in progress). One of the rosy barbs has no scales. <<Hello? Haven't heard of that one, Claire. Interesting'¦>> She is in all other respects a perfectly healthy (before the ich) and active fish. I assume the lack of scales means that I should treat the tank at a lower dosage level, but would like your input before I do. <<Not to send you back to the LFS unnecessarily, Claire, but neither your Tetras nor your Bristlenose Pleco are going to appreciate the Nox-Ich formula which contains sodium chloride (salt) and malachite green as its active ingredients. Even at half-dosages you'd really be putting yourself on 'aquarium watch' for signs of stress with your pets. Additionally, as I see below, you have a planted tank. Plants don't much care for salt, either. I don't want you wasting time here -- nor your money -- but Kordon's Rid-Ich may be the better choice of medications given the circumstances. It's a combination of malachite green and formalin but, in combination, at lesser concentrations than would be found with other medications using one, or the other, exclusively or nearly so. In combination with each other, these are very effective even when 'dosing down' (one-half the prescribed) because of scaleless fish.>> Tank stats: 150 litres, live plants pH 7.4 ammonia and nitrites nil nitrates 5 Thanks! Claire. <<Tank stats look quite good, Claire. Be sure to read the directions of any medication carefully and followed them to the letter. Best of luck. Tom>>

Black Ghost Knifefish and Ich 10/24/07 <Hi Jillian, Pufferpunk here> I am at a loss as to how to treat my two BGK fish. They live together in a large tank along with two Raphael catfish and an Oto whom they surprisingly do not bother. Recently I noticed a few small white spot (suspecting ich) on one of the BGK, and am wondering what is the best course of action for treatment. Firstly, should I isolate the infected fish or treat the tank as a whole since all fish have now been exposed? <I would treat the whole tank with heat & salt.> Secondly, what it the highest temperature that BKNs will tolerate, as my usual treatment for ich is to up the temperature to 82-84 F and add 2Tbs of salt per 10g of aquarium water? <MT BGK lives in a discus tank with a normal temperature of 86. Since these are soft water fish, I'd start with 1 tbsp salt/10g.> This leads me to my third question, is it better to treat the BGK with this salt treatment or to use a product like RidIch at 1/2 strength? <I wouldn't use meds on scaleless fish. Before starting treatment you should do at least a 50% water change and vacuuming of your tank. I also suggest doing 50% water changes every other day of treatment, (again vacuuming the substrate) to reduce the number of parasites in the water. I do not like to use medication with scaleless fish, except in cases of heavy infestation. Melafix is helpful to treat any damage done to the puffer's skin from the parasite. If you run into any secondary bacterial problems, Pimafix may also be used. By the 2nd day of treatment, you can raise the salt to1 tablespoon per 5 gallons of aquarium water (remember you already have 1 tbsp/10g in there, so adjust for that), while gradually raising the temperature to 86 degrees F. Continue with this for a period of one month, adding back 1 tablespoon of salt for every 5 gallons of aquarium water that you remove during water changes. One thing to remember with high temperatures is that there is less dissolved oxygen available in warm water than there is in water at cooler temperatures, therefore it is recommended to run an additional airstone to oxygenate the water.> I am a little attached to these fish and would like to see them make it through this. Thank you in advance for the advise. <It sounds like you have caught the disease early & your fish should be fine. ~PP> -Jillian Scharfstein 

Ich elephant nose  10/23/07 I have had my elephant nose Approximately 8 months. He has been happy and healthy. He has developed tiny white spots on his pectoral fins and anal fin that look like ich. Is there any medicine I can treat him with that won't kill him? Thank You Karen <Hello Karen. With Mormyridae, the things to avoid specifically are Formalin and Copper, both of which are widely used in anti-Ick medications. So you need to treat Mormyridae in the same basic way as, say, Clown Loaches (see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/clnlchdis.htm ). Anyway, the basic trick is this: raise the temperature to 30 degrees C (around 86 F). Oxygen level goes down as temperature goes up, so you need to compensate for that. Add additional aeration if you can, but failing that, adjust the water level and/or filter so there is lots of splashing and circulation. Now make up a brine solution in a jug, with about 2-3 grammes of aquarium salt (not marine salt) per litre of water in the aquarium (in other words, a salinity of 2-3 PPT). There's almost exactly 6 grammes of salt per teaspoon, so estimating how much you need should not be too difficult. Stir the salt into the water thoroughly until dissolved, and then slowly add the brine a little at a time into the outflow of the filter so that it quickly disperses around the tank. After a few days the parasites on your fish will mature and die, but the mobile parasite larvae will not be able to re-infect your fish, and the disease will go away. This takes quite a few days, but it does work. Increasing the salt concentration to as much as 6 grammes per litre of water can be used to deal with stubborn infections, but the higher the salinity, the more gently you need to adjust your fish to it, and the higher the degree of osmotic stress placed on the fish. Conversely, once you're done treating the fish, do a series of relatively small water changes over the next few days to gradually bring the salinity down to zero. As ever, do establish why the Ick became a problem. It doesn't come from nowhere, and is either brought in by unquarantined fish or else provoked into action by stress or lapses in water quality. With Mormyridae, prevention is FAR better than cure. Good luck, Neale.>

FW Ich... Malachite and Formalin exposure to non-fishes   1/26/06 I have a ten gallon tank that houses some female beta's an Asian floating frog, African dwarf frog and a fire belly newt.  My question is last night I saw a couple spots on two of my females that looks like ich but I am worried about the other creatures, will they be alright if I treat the fish with Quick cure. <You are wise here. This "medicine" is way too toxic...> I think I may have used it once before when I had the newt in the tank but I can't remember for sure. <I would only expose the fish to this material. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Michelle
Re: FW Ich... Malachite and Formalin exposure to non-fishes   1/30/06
How long should I actually treat the tank the medication says two days but I have read (and this varies) you should do it for up to two weeks? <Two weeks for most regimens, remedies> Also since I was stuck I bought a one gallon tank and gravel from wall-mart.  I rinsed the gravel for at least a half hour but I noticed last night that the water smells really strange.  I have figured out that it's the gravel that smells (almost reminds me of super glue) and now my Asian floating frog isn't eating (it's been two days since he ate last) although my ADF seems happy. What should I do? <... please read WWM re setting up a freshwater system... You need to make means of removing/cycling wastes...> rip it apart and start over without any gravel until I can get more from my LFS that I trust. I took the newt out and put him in a container I have for my crickets but it's kind of small for the newt and the two frogs. I am so mad I thought I was doing the smart thing by separating them and now I feel like the are in more danger then they were in the "ichy" tank! Michelle <Have you read our posted piece and Related FAQs re FW ich? Please do, and soon. Bob Fenner>

Re: FW Ich... Malachite and Formalin exposure to non-fishes   1/31/06 I should have mentioned I purchased not just the tank but a tank kit.  I removed all the gravel (after speaking with the manufacturer who said the smell can result from the paint they use sometimes but they do test it with fish before it goes for sale? I removed it and tossed it anyhow.) and replaced it with safe gravel from my tank at work. Since doing so everyone is eating and doing well. <Ah, good> Any other time I have let the tank cycle for about a month before putting fish or anything in it but I was stuck this time. btw the treatment for ich seems to be working thus far. Thanks for the help. <Thank you for this update, clarification. Bob Fenner>

Black ghost problem... poisoning with Malachite   4/28/06 Hi <Hello> I really hope you can help me. About 2 weeks ago my Clown loaches and blue rams started to show signs of Ich. <No fun> After being given advise by my local fish store, I purchased WS3 medication to cure it. <... malachite green, Acriflavine and quinine sulphate (WS3®, King British)> Only after reading your site have I found out that Black Ghost Knife Fish are sensitive to medications <And the Clown Loaches...> and I have started to notice that my BGK is swimming lazy, has greyish white patches down the side of him and his fins have become torn and have red patches. I don't know if this is Ich, Slime disease or a fungus growth with fin rot. Please could you help me.. Many thanks. Steve. <... with what? Malachite Green should be dosed at most at half concentration with the loaches, Knifefish... This, along with temperature increase should effect a cure for ich. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files at top and on WWM re these fishes "Health FAQs". Bob Fenner>

Ich and Sensitive Fish - 05/23/2006 Dear WWW crew: <Good morning, Sheryl!> I am facing treating Ick in my one of my tanks for the first time.   <Awh, bummer....  I trust you'll be considering quarantining any incoming livestock from now on, eh?> Unfortunately, the tank in with the breakout occurred contains sensitive fish: a fire eel and four Beaufortia kweichowensis (Hillstream loaches.)  <Yikes!  Sensitive, indeed.> Non fish include apple snails, MTS, and Ramshorns.  I want to know if I am on the right track as far as treatment.  The tank is 75 gallons.  Fish included a fire eel, five Hillstream loaches, 8 tiger barbs, and a female convict cichlid.  Plants are java ferns, Anubis species, Cryptocoryne species, and Crinum thaianums.  Filtration is a Rena XP3 and a Penguin Bio-Wheel 350.  I have an in-line heater that keeps the temperature at 76 degrees.  I also have a Rio Aqua pump near the bottom of the tank to increase the water flow. <Appreciated immensely by the Hillstream loaches, I'm sure.> I noticed the Ick this morning and immediately removed all my fish, plants, snails, to a plastic tub.  I then drained the tank.  I removed all of my gravel (something I was going to do anyways, converting to sand.)  I took the bio media basket out of my Rena XP3 and placed it in my 10 gallon quarantine tank, because it is very porous and I did not want it absorbing medication.   <Good move.  Leave it there for a few weeks.> I do not run chemical media in my Rena, only in the Penguin because it is easier to change. <Good plan.> I then set up the Penguin on my quarantine tank, which now houses the plants and snails.  The hard decor (a resin rock cave and terracotta pots) were placed on my back deck to dry out in the sun.   <To be safe, give 'em a couple weeks.> Another resin rock cave was bleached and rinsed to be used in the main tank as cover for the eel in the now bare tank.  The fish are now back in the 75 gallon.  The temperature has been raised to 82 degrees over the course of the day. Two airstones are now running in the tank, to help with the oxygen level.   <Good.> Marine salt (I have a package of Oceanic Salt to use up since I switched to Instant Ocean for my reef) was added until a SG of 1.001 was reached.   <Be very, very cautious, here....  There's more than just salt to synthetic sea salts; this could alter your pH significantly, so please be testing.> Then, following the instruction for tetras because I do not want to overdose, I added one drop per two gallon of Quick Cure.  I will do 50% water changes daily, vacuuming the bottom of the tank as well to pick up any parasite cysts, because my bio-media is gone and I do not want a "spike" of any kind to occur. <Perfect.> Should I raise the temperature higher or will that be bad for the eel and loaches? <I wouldn't want to bring it much higher, myself, as the loaches will probably have a tendency to stay on the bottom, where there's the least oxygen now.> Is marine salt OK to use to treat Ick <I would use a salt marketed for freshwater use....  In my experience, this will not alter your pH anywhere nearly as much as a marine salt.> and how high of a SG will the loaches tolerate?   <A very good question, indeed.  The real answer?  I don't know.  I don't know about the eel, either.  I would go ahead and try raising it up a bit, and be prepared to drop it if any of the fish really seem to be having trouble.  Don't go above 1.003.> What medicine do you recommend other than Quick Cure?   <Salt alone.> I know it is nasty stuff but it's all I have right now.   <Other options would be copper-based medications or Methylene blue....  but I tend to prefer salt and heat and no other treatment.> How long should I treat the 75 gallon?   <Two weeks at a minimum, longer if you stick with just the half-dose of Quick Cure, perhaps.> How long will it take for the Ick to die off in the quarantine tank without a fish host?   <Two or three weeks.> Where the heck could this have come from, no new fish have been added in over six months (the barbs), and those were quarantined for three weeks before I added them to the main tank. <Anything wet can bring in ich.  Even just water.  Plants, substrate, snails, wood, anything that has been in a tank containing ich may have tomonts stuck to it.  I am a strong advocate of quarantining even plants prior to adding them to a tank, having brought ich in that way myself, a couple of times.  If you haven't yet, please do read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm .> Thank you for any help you can give me. <Glad to be of service.> Sheryl <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Ich and Sensitive Fish - II - 05/23/2006 Thank you for your quick reply! <Glad to be of service.> I am going into town tomorrow and will pick up some regular aquarium salt.  I wasn't thinking about how marine salts are formulated to raise pH.  My fire eel and loaches seem to be tolerating the 1.001 well, so when I get the correct salts I will begin raising to 1.002.   <Great.  If they can handle 1.002-1.003 for a couple weeks, you won't need any medication.  Again, I stress to you, I do NOT know if they can handle this.  You will need to watch them very closely.  If they show signs that they're not doing so well, back off on the salt some.> I tested my water this morning before the water change and read an ammonia level of 0.1.  I am thinking of buying one of those ammonia monitors to stick in the tank until I can get my bio-media back in the filter.   <Those monitors are useful, however imprecise, so do please be testing along with it until you are familiar with what color really means what.> After the 50% change the ammonia read at 0.   <Great!  And you added salt to replace what you took out, too, right?> To be honest, I could be reading it wrong.  It is hard sometimes to match the color in the tube to the colors on the chart, especially when there isn't a lot of difference between 0 and 0.1 color wise.   <I totally understand.  You're probably okay after the water change, I imagine.> I am wondering if the ick came in on a Java fern and apple snail I added to my tank last Thursday.   <Entirely possible.> I always quarantine my fish for at least two weeks, but plants and snails?  I never would have thought!   <Don't feel bad, at least....  The one time I chose not to quarantine plants (I actually used to have a dedicated Rubbermaid tub with light set up for the purpose), I ended up with ich.  And I knew better!  No excuse for that, is there?  At least you were ignorant, and have now learned.  I was just cocky and stupid.> Again, thank you for your help and quick reply.  -Sheryl <I'm glad I could be of help, Sheryl.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Ich (y) tank and tankmates?   9/19/06 Dear WWM Crew, <Amanda> I have several questions that I have Googled, but don't seem to find the answers that I seek.  (I am an amateur 10-gallon tank owner.) I have a planted tank with : 2 Sunburst platys 2 female betas 4 neon tetra 1 yellow 'mystery snail' ...and a snail problem. My first question is this :  how can I rid my tank of all the little brown snails that keep popping up out of (seemingly) nowhere? <Mmm, posted: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnailcompfaqs.htm> My second question has a bit of background to it.  My 2 lovely lady Bettas were purchased from a major pet retail store, and were immersed in blue medicated water.  I believe I introduced 'ick' into my tank when introducing these fish.  What are some 'Betta-safe' measures that I can take to rid my tank of these parasites? <Mmm... Copper and Malachite Green containing remedies (almost all the effective chemical treatments contain one or both) are toxic to your plants and snail... I would try elevated temperature alone... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above...> My third (and final) question also deals with 'ick'.  Are snails susceptible/possible carriers of this protozoan parasite? Thank you very much, Amanda <Ah, no. Bob Fenner>

Crayfish Safe Ich Medication Hello crew (probably Sabrina), <Sorry, Ya got Don tonight. Sabrina's birthday today. Hope she has a happy one> I apologize for resorting to e-mailing you, but I've searched quite a bit and I can't seem to find what I'm looking for. Neptune, my electric blue crayfish (Procambarus alleni), lives in a 55 gallon tank with a small selection of plants, 2 gold Gouramis, 2 blue Gouramis, a large Plecostomus (Jacques), a dinosaur eel (Scuttlebutt), a baby whale fish, and a temporarily small Arowana. I made the hasty mistake of dumping in some small feeder guppies for the Arowana without quarantining them. Now I have a fun little (deserved) ich outbreak.  I've slowly elevated the temperature to the mid-80's (Fahrenheit) and added some salt. The ich doesn't seem to be giving in that easily though, so I am going to medicate my tank. I currently have Quick cure. I understand that copper is quite unhealthy for my crayfish. The Quick cure label only lists the active ingredients (formalin and malachite green). Is Quick cure safe to use with my crayfish? If not, is there another effective medication that is crayfish-safe?  Would it be best to just remove my crayfish into my empty QT and medicate the main tank? If it is, I read that the too-small-to-see ich cysts can stick to a crayfish, so would my tank be re-infested when I moved the crayfish back? Again, I apologize for bothering you, but at least now anyone else with these questions will be able to find them! Thanks in advance for your help (again). -AJ in Florida <Don't use the copper in any tank where you may someday keep inverts. Months, and dozens of water changes, later it can still kill. If your QT is large enough to house all your fish for four to six weeks, move all the fish (but not the crayfish) and treat them in QT. Leaving the 55 fishless while treating in QT will starve out the parasites. If not then you will have to move the crayfish into the QT and treat the main.  Treating in the main is a last resort as the meds will nuke your bio filtration resulting in ammonia spikes. This will require that you do many large water changes to keep your fish alive, replacing the med with each. Much easier (and cheaper) in a small QT. I would use heat and salt only, no matter where you treat. Your eel and Plec will be badly stressed by copper. Possibly to the point of killing them.  Salt is much easier on the fish and 100% effective if used at the proper dosage, 76 grams per 10 gallons. For a 55 gallon that works out to 418 grams or just under 15 ounces. Make a brine out of tank water and add it back over a day or two. Take the temp up to 84. When ever you do a water change add the same concentration of salt to the new water before adding it to the tank. Of course you will need to test for ammonia and nitrite during any treatment. Continue treatment for at least two weeks after the last spot drops.  Always use a gravel vac to remove water. The Ich reproduces at the bottom of your tank. You have a lot of work ahead of you. Get your fish off of feeders. And oh yeah, the crayfish. Just keep him away from any fish for the four to six weeks and any hitch hikers will starve out. He can not be infected. Good luck. Don>  

Ich, Overstocking, Scaleless Fish, Fry, and Research - 10/28/2005 Hi, My name is Saran & I fear my tank my have an ick epidemic!  <Hi Saran, Sabrina with you this afternoon.> I have a 20 gallon tank with a whisper filter, heater & airstone. I keep the temp at 78 degrees. In my tank I have 1 Pleco, 4 clown loaches, 6 guppies (2 male & 4 females), 5 swordtails (2 male & 3 female), 6 Harlequins, 4 guppy fry, 8 swordtail fry,& lots of live plants.  <This is way too many fish for a 20 gallon tank.... the Pleco and clown loaches will outgrow it rather quickly - common Plecos get well over a foot in length, clown loaches nearly a foot.> All of my guppy fry & 6 of my swordtail fry are in a breeding net & 2 swordtail fry are in the tank. The guppy fry are almost 3 weeks old & my swordtails fry are 2 1/2 weeks old. I love them so much!!!!! <Best, then, to prepare for them and their needs - after researching what those needs are.> I had bought a 10 gallon tank to rear them in when my clown loaches came down with the dreaded ick!!! So I started to use it as a hospital tank. I took the loaches out (what a mission that was!!!) & started to treat them with Jungle Lab's Ick Guard II for scaleless fish at a temp of 80 degrees.  <You're going to need to do some reading about ich, its life cycle, and treatment of ich.... this is a parasite that spreads readily. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm .> I moved the tank around a lot to get the loaches out & I fear I may have really stressed out my other fish because when I got home from work 2 of my guppies & 1 of my harlequins now have ick.  <To be expected.> Should I treat the whole tank for ick now? Do I have an epidemic on my hands? Also can I treat my tank with my beloved fry in it? <Read the link above, and the files linked at the top of that page.> Can I use the Jungle Ick medicine for the rest of my fish. Also I have a bottle of CopperSafe from when my male beta got ick last month, should I use that instead or will it hurt my loaches when it's time for them to come home?  <Can/will hurt the loaches and fry.> By the way my Beta lives in a different tank (5 gallon w/ internal filter, heater, under gravel filter & a very cute fiddler crab). <Fiddler crabs are actually not freshwater animals - it is unfortunate that they are sold as such. I will also caution you that they are carnivorous and may pose a threat to your Betta.> Will my plants be ok with medicine? <Possibly.> Can they get ick? <No, but ich "cysts" can "stick" to them and be transferred to other tanks if you move them. Anything wet moved from an infected tank to another can bring ich with it.> I also have a 10 gallon tank w/ whisper filter, treasure chest air pump, heater (set for 72-74 degrees), 3 common goldfish, & 2 butterfly loaches. <Uhh, more reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .> Should I move my fry in there for the duration of the epidemic? <No. They can/will spread ich to the other fish - not to mention that they need an incompatible environment.> I am afraid that the tank will be too cold for them & my butterfly loaches like low temps. <Correct.> I am buying a used 20 gallon from someone in my town next week to deal with the fact that when my fry get older they will need more than a 10 gallon. Can I wait that long to treat so I can take them out? <Next week is likely too late.> I am such a worried fish momma!!! Thanks, Saran <Please read.... those articles and others on our site.... Much for you to learn. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Ich, Overstocking, Scaleless Fish, Fry, and Research - II - 10/29/2005 <<Oh boy.... Bob, my apologies first and foremost.... Not sure how to format this to make it "work" in the FAQs.... That said.... Saran, my responses will be in double-carrots. -SCF>>  <<All in italics is from the previous correspondence.  Marina>> <<<Thanks, M!  -SCF>>> >Hi, >My name is Saran & I fear my tank my have an ick epidemic! ><Hi Saran, Sabrina with you this afternoon.> >I have a 20 gallon tank with a whisper filter, heater & airstone. I keep the temp at 78 degrees. In my tank I have 1 Pleco, 4 clown loaches, 6 guppies (2 male & 4 females), 5 swordtails (2 male & 3 female), 6 Harlequins, 4 guppy fry, 8 swordtail fry,& lots of live plants. ><This is way too many fish for a 20 gallon tank.... the Plec and clown loaches will outgrow it rather quickly - common Plecs get well over a foot in length, clown loaches nearly a foot.> - I realized very quickly that there were too many fish which is why I am getting the other 20 gallon so I can divide in half. Pleco in one with the fry, 2 swordtails, & 3 guppies. Then the other with the loaches, 3 swordtails, 3 guppies & harlequins. The Pleco & loaches are really young (Pleco is 3" & loaches about 1 3/4") as well & when they get too big we were going to get a bigger tank. Is this ok or am I making a mistake & should just get a 55 gallon soon rather than later? Or should I get an even bigger one? <<Mm, ultimately (years down the road), the Plec and loaches will outgrow this, but it would do for several years. Were it me, I'd skip the second 20 and go straight for the 55, if you do plan to purchase one in the future anyway.>> >All of my guppy fry & 6 of my swordtail fry are in a breeding net & 2 swordtail fry are in the tank. The guppy fry are almost 3 weeks old & my swordtails fry are 2 1/2 weeks old. I love them so much!!!!! ><Best, then, to prepare for them and their needs - after researching what those needs are.> - Well what I have been doing is having them in the breeding net. I feed them 3-4 times a day on finely ground fish flakes. I scoop out excess food after 10-15minutes. They are getting really big & are almost ready for freedom. They have double in size from birth size. That's what I read in the freshwater fish books that I bought after my guppy let em drop. Is there anything I am not doing for my fry guys! <<I usually prefer to recommend that they be in a dedicated tank for them, and them alone, with a sponge filter (great place for microscopic food to grow, and won't "suck up" healthy fry like a power filter would). Breeder nets are quite small, don't allow much flow through them - you might find a better survival rate if you transfer the entire brood into a dedicated 10 gallon tank. The other major thing I urge you to think about in your care for all your fish (not just your fry) is a quarantine system for new livestock; this would have entirely prevented your tank getting contaminated with ich in the first place.>> >I had bought a 10 gallon tank to rear them in when my clown loaches came down with the dreaded ick!!! So I started to use it as a hospital tank. I took the loaches out (what a mission that was!!!) & started to treat them with Jungle Lab's Ick Guard II for scaleless fish at a temp of 80 degrees. ><You're going to need to do some reading about ich, its life cycle, and treatment of ich.... this is a parasite that spreads readily. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm .> >I moved the tank around a lot to get the loaches out & I fear I may have really stressed out my other fish because when I got home from work 2 of my guppies & 1 of my harlequins now have ick. ><To be expected.> >Should I treat the whole tank for ick now? Do I have an epidemic on my hands? >Also can I treat my tank with my beloved fry in it? ><Read the link above, and the files linked at the top of that page.> The above link doesn't address the fry issue. <<Consider fry as delicate as scaleless fish, perhaps more so, and treat accordingly - and carefully, with close observation.>> >Can I use the Jungle Ick medicine for the rest of my fish. Also I have a bottle of CopperSafe from when my male beta got ick last month, should I use that instead or will it hurt my loaches when it's time for them to come home? ><Can/will hurt the loaches and fry.> So can I treat my main tank with the Jungle Ick medicine for scaleless fish? Will it work for fish with scales? Will the Jungle stuff hurt my fry or just the CopperSafe? <<I believe this is a formalin medication.... to be used with some caution. I would recommend that you follow the instructions on the bottle very, very carefully; also, do a Google search on treating ich with salt and heat.... Take a look at this article: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showquestion.php?faq=2&fldAuto=32 . With any treatment you settle on, there will be some degree of risk for the fry. I think it is better, though, than allowing them all to contract ich, especially since it would be very difficult to tell if they have any parasites.>> >By the way my Beta lives in a different tank (5 gallon w/ internal filter, heater, under gravel filter & a very cute fiddler crab). ><Fiddler crabs are actually not freshwater animals - it is unfortunate that they are sold as such. I will also caution you that they are carnivorous and may pose a threat to your Betta.> Oh my god I can't believe they sell them as freshwater when they are not!! <<Agreed. This is one of my biggest problems with the freshwater pet trade. Very depressing.>> Will it be ok?  <<Not long-term.>> Should I add a little salt or will it hurt my Betta.  <<The amount of salt the crab would need to thrive would not be okay for your Betta, unfortunately. Ideally, the crab should be in a situation where it has the ability to spend its time in and out of the water, and have access to saltwater. This would be really tough to do without a tank set up just for him and maybe a friend for him. If you have the space and time, you might think about this.>> The crab spends most of it's time in the filter & never really interacts with the beta. It molted last weekend I was so excited! <<That it molted is perhaps good news, at least.> >Will my plants be ok with medicine? ><Possibly.> >Can they get ick? ><No, but ich "cysts" can "stick" to them and be transferred to other tanks if you move them. Anything wet moved from an infected tank to another can bring ich with it.> Is there anything I can do to get the cysts off? <<Not really.>> Does this mean I need to do something to my filter since it is wet? <<Probably will need to replace any filter media that you remove while you're treating, but other than that, no.>> >I also have a 10 gallon tank w/ whisper filter, treasure chest air pump, heater (set for 72-74 degrees), 3 common goldfish, & 2 butterfly loaches. ><Uhh, more reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .> Why did you send me to a link for Dropsy?  <<Whoops! My apologies, meant to send you here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm  .>> My goldies aren't sick they are doing great. I feed them in the morning & then they nibble at the plants for the rest of the day. They swim around constantly nibbling & the butterfly loaches are always hiding out in the pipe ornament. <<Do please read the article I just linked.... And again, my apologies. All the best, -Sabrina>> 

Mollies W/Ich 11/04/03  <Hi, Pufferpunk here>  First, let me say WOW! what a great web-site. I have learned so much since finding your site. Thank you!  <Thanks for the compliment!>  My question is, how old do baby mollies need to be before you can treat them for ich? The fry are about 1 week and 3 days. There are 13 of them in a 5 gallon tank. I removed them from the main tank because I noticed ich on the mother and 1 guppy. In the main tank are 1 molly (used to be 2, another female lost her after birth), 3 guppies (1 male, 2 female).   So far my method in the fry tank has been to keep the water temp at 80 F.  Keep the tank lights off and put in 1 Tablespoon of salt. That seemed to help, most of the white spots are gone, but a couple of the fry still have 1 or 2 spots.  <I personally don't use any meds for the treatment of ich. I would think newborn fish would not fair well w/any kind of meds. Here is the info I have printed on ich at my puffer website. The same goes for any fish.  If some morning you get up and it looks like someone has salted the body, fins, and gills of your fish, you are looking at "Ich", sometimes called ick, or white spot disease. "Ich" is a protozoan parasite with the scientific name of Ichthyophthirius multifilius. It is the largest of the ciliated Protozoans. It is easily introduced into your tank by new fish or equipment or plants that have been moved from one tank to another. A quarantine tank is the best way to prevent introducing this parasite into your display tank. If you see ich on your fish they should be treated immediately. In heavily stocked tanks it can cause massive death rates within a very short period of time. Some symptoms before white spots appear may include flashing, clamped fins, weakness, loss of appetite, and decreased activity. In the case of heavy gill infestations, you may not see evidence of white spots, but may find your fish breathing heavily at the surface of your tank. Secondary bacterial and respiration difficulties may result, so keep an eye out for complications in addition to the ich infection.   The best way to prevent ich, as I stated above, is to quarantine all incoming fish. A minimum of three weeks in quarantine (in my opinion) is the best way to go. When kept at 76 to 83 degrees, incoming fish that have been exposed to ich may show symptoms within the first 3 days. However, at cooler temperatures, ich outbreaks may take longer to show up because of its lengthened life cycle. Water temperature has a tremendous effect on how fast the life cycle of ich is completed. At water temperatures of 75 to 79 degrees F, the life cycle is completed in about 48 to 72 hours. In water temperatures below 75, it takes much longer for the parasite to complete its life cycle.  LIFE CYCLE: There are three phases to the life cycle of this protozoan. Ich is susceptible to treatment at only one stage of its life cycle, so knowing the life cycle is important.  ADULT PHASE: the parasite attaches itself under the mucus layer of the skin or gills, causing irritation and the appearance of small white spots. As the parasite matures, it feeds on blood and skin cells. After some time, the parasite breaks through the mucus layer and falls to the bottom of the aquarium.  CYST PHASE: after falling to the bottom of the aquarium, the adult cyst bursts and divides into numerous daughter cells called tomites.  FREE SWIMMING PHASE: after the cyst phase, the free swimming tomites search for a host. If a host fish is not found within 2 to 3 days, the parasite dies. Once a host is found the whole cycle begins again. These three phases take about 28 days at 70 degrees F but only 3 days at 80 degrees F. For this reason it is recommended that the aquarium water be raised to between 80-86 degrees F. for the duration of the treatment. If the fish can stand it, raise the temperature to 86 degrees. Raising the aquarium temperature in this manner will shorten the length of time between the cyst phase and the free swimming tomite stage. It is during the free swimming tomite stage that chemical treatment is effective in killing the parasite. During this time, whatever you use for treatment should be supplemented with daily or every other day water changes and gravel vacuuming to remove as many adult cysts and free swimming tomites as possible.  TREATMENTS:  Before starting treatment you should do at least a 25% to 30% water change and vacuuming of your tank.  I do not like to use meds w/my puffers, except in a heavy infestation.  One tablespoon of salt per 5 gals. of aquarium water, gradually raising the temperature to 86 degrees F. This is good if you have to treat BW fish who actually like salt as part of their aquarium habitat. Continue with this for a period of 21 days. Adding back 1 Tablespoon of salt for every 5 gals of aquarium water that you remove during water changes. One thing to remember with high temperatures is that you should run an additional air stone to oxygenate the water. There is less dissolved oxygen available in warm water than there is in water at cooler temperatures.>  Thank you so much for your time, Jen  <You're welcome & good luck. It sounds like your mollies are on their way to being healthy, well cared for little fishies! -- Pufferpunk> 

Treating clown loaches for ich (10/14/03) <Hi! Ananda the clown loach nut here tonight...> After a 35% water change, my 5 clown loaches developed ick.   <Uh-oh.> No fish had been added to my tank in months so I'm pretty sure it was caused by the water change. I use Reverse Osmosis water and there is no control of temperature.   <Yep, that'll do it. You need to get a container big enough to hold all your water-change water and get a heater for it.> I introduce it a gallon every  30 to 45 min.s or so so the tank has a chance to heat keep up.   <The initial temperature shock is enough to trigger the ich.> ANYWAY, after the loaches developed ick, I tried Ick Away for several days (with charcoal filters removed and temperature up to 82) which did nothing to help. <Argh. I have yet to hear anything good about "Ick Away".> I then went to CopperSafe before leaving for the weekend.   <Never use copper with loaches! They're just too susceptible to it.> When I returned, 3 of the 5 were dead and the other 2 were covered in Ick.  Within a couple hours, they died too.   <Sorry to hear that... hopefully you've done another water change to take care of the probable ammonia and nitrate spike?> None of my other fish have ick.   <Clown loaches are ich magnets, so I'm not surprised to hear they got it bad but nothing else did...> My tank is a 30 gallon with an Emperor 400.   <That's what I use on my 30 gallon tank. But...with copper added to the tank, the bio-wheels have been sterilized and are going to be ineffective until the tank re-cycles. You're going to have to do more frequent water changes for a while. Your other option is to get some Bio-Spira, which must be refrigerated until you use it, as it contains live nitrifying bacteria.> Fish are 3 Rummy Nose Tetras, 2 Corys, 2 Rosey Reds, 3 Red Platy's, 3 Black Molly's, and  3 Otocinclus. <You're almost at the maximum fish capacity this tank can hold. With the loaches, I would characterize that tank as overcrowded. I keep my loaches in a 55 gallon tank -- they're still fairly small, about 3" long -- with the knowledge that they're going to need at least a 90 gallon tank in a couple of years.>   What is the BEST way to cure Clown Loaches of ICK.   <Many people use their ich medication of choice at half-strength, for twice as long as is generally recommended. That, and they crank the tank temp up. Personally, I'm a bit paranoid when it comes to my clown loaches. I've used "FW Ecolibrium" when they had ich -- it's more expensive than most ich meds, but it's completely safe for scaleless fish. I have a couple of bottles around, though I've been able to avoid ich since the first time they got it by carefully matching new water to tank water for water changes and by quarantining any new fish that get added to their tank. I got the Ecolibrium through Drs. Foster & Smith (they're a WetWebMedia sponsor, so you can get to their web site from the banner at the top of the Daily FAQ page).> And while I'm at it, what's the best way to cure most fish of ICK?   <Increased temperature: 86 degrees or higher for 10 days. And salt -- "freshwater" salt, not marine salt, since you don't want to change the pH. Your mollies and platies won't mind salt at all (mollies actually prefer some salt in the water). The rest of your fish should be able to tolerate a bit of it for a while. The level you need is 2 ppt salinity, which generally works out to a specific gravity of 1.002-1.003. Get the Aquarium Systems SeaTest hydrometer to check the specific gravity (it's the only one that measures low levels, except for the glass thermometer/hydrometers -- which are pretty easy to break). You'll need to find a temp. vs. S.G. chart to convert the actual S.G., since the SeaTest is calibrated for 76 degrees and your tank will probably have a higher temperature than that.> I've been searching the web high and low and I've seen nothing definite on the cure for ICK that seems to work. <One person's experiences with ich and her clown loaches: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=3&thread=11808 > Thanks for a great website. <You're welcome -- check out our forums, too!> -Mike P.s.  GO CUBS!!!!! <Ah, they lost tonight. :-( Maybe tomorrow night... --Ananda>
Re: Ich on clown loaches (10/16/03)
Ananda, thanks for the great info.   <You're welcome!> I'll check out Drs. Foster & Smith for proper medication (by the way, their catalog is almost a quick guide to proper fish and tank care.  It's indispensable.)   <I use it a lot, too, but more for finding out which things are supposed to do what! But do compare their information to others' -- you may find that a phrase can be misinterpreted, or someone else's version may make more sense, etc.> My LFS told me that CopperSafe was the *BEST* way to cure ick for Loaches.   <Ack! Sounds like someone was seriously mis-informed....> I prefer the method of Sea Salt and raised temperatures to any medication.  Not because of the cost, but because I hate adding any chemicals.  Is there a salt level/temp setting I can use all the time that would be preventative against ick?   <Hmmm. Any increased temperature for long periods is going to speed the metabolism of the fish as well as any parasites -- and speeding the fishes' metabolism will shorten their lifespan.> Just curious.  Or after the 10 days at 86 degrees should I just bring it back down to 78? <That would be my recommendation.> Thanks again for the help and a big thank you to the team for such an informative website.   -Mike <Thanks for the kind words. --Ananda> P.s.  Go CUBS - Game 7!  :) <*grumble* There were no fireworks in Chi-town last night....>

Ich and Shrimp Dear Wet Web Media, <Hi, Laura, Sabrina here today> Is there any ich cure out there that is safe for ghost shrimp and freshwater plants?   <To be honest, no, not really.  You can use malachite green at half strength for twice as long as recommended....  Rid-Ich comes to mind (a formalin/malachite green mix), but there are plenty of other concoctions out there using malachite green.  I think Kordon sells it, too, as just plain ol' Malachite Green.> I have a densely planted tank and about 50 ghost shrimp, so removing the shrimp isn't an option.  What else can I do?  I don't want to lose my hand-collected native fish... <Why not remove the fish to treat?  If that's at all possible, then you can treat with whatever will work best for your species without worrying about the shrimp and plants (leave the tank fallow for a few weeks, though).  Raising temperature and adding salt will help, and if the fish are salt-tolerant, you can remove the plants to a separate container for a few weeks (provide PVC or something for cover instead) and salt the tank to a specific gravity of 1.003-ish for a while.  Ghost shrimp can definitely take this - can even be acclimated to saltwater conditions, if done slowly and carefully.> Thanks for any help you can give,  Laura <Sure thing.  Hope all goes well,  -Sabrina>

Ich fix with crab? (12/18/03) <Hi! Ananda here this snowy afternoon...> I have a problem with ich.  The medication bottle says I can't use it with invertebrates and I have a red crab. It also says the dose is half as strong for tetras (I have 5 Neons) as it is for live bearers. <Sounds like Quick Cure.> What should I do? Use 2/3 dose and take the crab out for 3 days?   <I would move the crab to a different tank. Then you can use a half-strength dose for a double duration.> What if the crab dies from the stress of being removed?   <I think that's unlikely unless you don't acclimate him slowly enough. If you have a spare bit of air tubing, you can use that to set up drip acclimation. With the crab in a container of water from his current tank, use the air tubing and start siphoning water from the new tank. Put an overhand knot in the air tubing so that the water just drips from the new tank into the container the crab is in. When the container gets full, pour out half of the water. Do that once or twice more, and the water in the crab's container should be close enough to what's in the new tank to move the crab in without stressing him.> I have another small tank I could put him in where there are guppy fry and one baby sunset wag.  Can you offer any suggestions?   <Already did... :) > I'd really appreciate it.   <No problemo.> ( By the way, I'm the one who asked about the interbreeding of balloon mollies with regular mollies.   <Yep, I remember that.> So far they haven't even gotten pregnant and I've had them together for about 9 months or even longer!  Remember I have one balloon molly male and two regular female mollies.  Just wanted to offer the information in case you are interested.) <Thanks for that; I'm always interested in molly info. Do you know how old the females are? I've seen "female" mollies suddenly develop male characteristics when they were about a year old...I call those "late-developing" males. It's possible you have two of those -- or perhaps the mollies you have are from genetically-incompatible species. Or there could be other issues....>   Thank you, Leslie Wilson <You're quite welcome, and thanks for the molly info! --Ananda>

ICK AND FRY HI, Rachel here. <hello, Magnus here.> My Platy fry are 2 weeks and I swear every time at look at them they are bigger! <That does tend to be the way with babies, they grow.  hehe.  But, seriously i know what you mean, my platy fry would seem to double in size in no time.> Now, a threesome of bleeding heart tetras have Ick! Can I treat the fish with CURE-ICK and not hurt the baby? <Young fish are very sensitive to medicines.  I would set up a quarantine tank and move the bleeding hearts to that tank, so you can medicate them safely there.  This will work best for the tetras and the platy fry.  Good luck. -Magnus>

Ick Ick Ick Hi, I have two Orandas and two albino clawed frogs. I noticed white spots on the two Orandas. I went to the pet store and purchased Ick Guard II, for scaleless fish. I was told that I could leave my frogs in with these treatment and it would still help my Orandas. I was wondering if this was true? I also wanted to know why my fish get ick and what I can do to prevent it in the future. Thanks so much, Aaron <<Dear Aaron; I don't recommend treating the tank with the frogs in it. You can simply remove them, and put them into a bucket for a few days, until the treatment is over. Cover the bucket so they cannot escape, and add a bubbler for aeration. After the treatment, do a 50% water changes, put the carbon back into your filter, and then you can re-add the frogs. For future reference, please test your water regularly, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates, do regular partial water changes, and please make sure your tank temp is always stable!-Gwen>> <The formalin in this trtmt. will kill your frogs. RMF>

Just lost my Rainbow Shark Hi Crew - 3 days ago I spotted Ich on my fish.  Started treating with "Nox-Ich" immediately, raised the water temp to 82deg and added some aquarium salt.  The Ich appears to be gone, but this afternoon the Shark suddenly started gasping for air, turned pink around his chin and gills and turned upside-down.  We moved him right away into a clean tank, but sadly this didn't help. He just died :^( The question is:  what do you think killed him?  All the other fish seem fine - a Pleco, several Platies, 2 (new) Opaline Gouramis and one Marbled Hatchet.  Except for the Gouramis, they've all been tank mates for quite some time. Also, where did the Ich come from?  The Gouramis are new, but have never shown any signs of Ich.  We did get a new piece of driftwood (from an established tank) 2 weeks ago.  And some new plants.  Do plants and wood carry Ich? Thanks for any insights you can offer. < Many times fish that show no signs of a disease can still carry it into a new aquarium. This is why we here often recommend a quarantine tank for all new critters before they go into the established aquarium. Your new Gouramis had the ich on them and passed it on to the other fish. Some fish are sensitive to the malachite green. Rainbow sharks are not listed as a sensitive fish but I think they are. When in doubt I would use the Nox-ich at one-half the recommended dosage.-Chuck> Anne A Cycle of Questions Hi again and thanks for your response. I do have some further questions. I believe I must remove the live plants from the tank during  treatment? <Yep, Although some tough plants can handle the salt. Keep them in a fishless container for at least one month. Adding them back earlier could bring back the Ick>   Should I keep the temp up at 86 during the minimum 2 week treatment? <Yes, Ick can only be destroyed during one phase of it's three stage lifecycle. Higher temps speed up the lifecycle and kills it quicker. Do not raise the temp until the salt is in> During this minimum 2 week treatment, do I continue the daily water changes and replace the salt in the new water? <Continue testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Do water changes if you see any of the first two or when nitrates climb above 20ppm. Yes, you would have to replace the salt in any new water. Mix it in before adding it to the tank. Be careful to keep the same concentration. Doing 50% water changes makes it easy to figure out the dose. Remember, treat for two weeks AFTER the last spot drops. Very important!>   Being how I have a whisper power filter that has the filter and the sponge-thing, is there a way to remove the sponge thingy to a bucket or something therefore preserving the biological filter? <Not really. The bacteria will starve without an ammonia source (the fish). Keeping it with fish will spread the Ick> Or if I were to go out and buy a small QT tank, could I use the established filter or some water from the established tank in the new QT tank? or would that just be contaminating a new QT? My concern is that possibly killing my tank and  causing it to recycle. Would my existing fish (powder blue Gourami, 2 clown loaches) die in the recycle? YIKES! I am not aware that these are "hardy" fish. <The best way to do this would be a small, bare bottom QT. Fill it with water from the problem tank. Add the fish, but not the filter. A simple sponge filter, or even just a airstone will do. With all fish out of the main, turn up the temp to 86. Throw in a small frozen shrimp to feed the filter. A little fish food added daily will also work. Let it sit this way for 30 days while you treat the fish in QT. The parasite will starve out with no fish host. Test the QT daily and do water changes to correct spikes in ammonia or nitrite. If you are doing enough water changes to control ammonia and nitrite, there is no need for a filter. Just an airstone. Treatment will prevent the establishment of any bio filtration anyway>   Could I possibly use some sort of "dip" or "bath"? I guess what I am really saying is. I can probably afford to go and buy a small QT tank (with filter, heater, hood, and I could use my existing air pump for the new QT) but by doing so, (will probably get in the dog house with hubby) it would be starting out with new water? new cycle? same dangers?   (ammonia, nitrites).. help.. I'm so confused! <All you really need is the tank with a glass lid, heater and airstone. You do not need a lighted hood or a filter. A 50% water change in a 5 gallon tank is easy. Just siphon the water from the bottom to remove the Ick that is reproduction mode. A dip may (doubtful though, IMO) clear the fish, but not the tank>   If I were to go and buy a QT tank, what are your recommendations for this route? I understand that if I remove the fish from the main tank, that the ich will die because there will be no host. So I think that I can possibly save my main tank by getting a QT tank? <Correct, just add that ammonia source (shrimp).> Should I use the water from the main tank in the QT tank? And since I have to buy a filter for the QT tank, can I just put my  established filter in the new QT tank and put the new filter in the main tank? Or will this also cause a recycle in the main tank? Or can I maybe switch out the sponge thing? (i.e.: keep the sponge in the main tank, and add a new filter, and put the old filter from the main tank in the new QT tank?) If I were to use  new filter in the main tank, that contains the carbon, this would clear up the  meds from the main tank water right? A final thought here... I am getting some algae on the walls of the tank (due to the lack of an algae eater), would this  be enough "stuff" to keep the biological filter going if I put new filter assy. in the main tank and moved the established filter assy. to the new QT tank? <Only if it died and rotted> Ugh.. ok.. now I am getting a headache LOL... thanks for your help and support in this matter! Nancy   <Now my heads spinning with filter jumping all around. But I think I answered all above. Main point is that you can save yourself a lot of money, work and worry, along with lives, by using a QT before adding any living thing to your tank. Moving an established filter will move the Ick, and any new filter will need to do through a cycling period. So any way you do it, you're going through a recycling. Better in a small tank while letting the large go fallow. Don>

Fiddler Crabs, Ich Problems? Is there a safe medication to treat for ich that will not kill my fiddler crabs? <Yikes! Ryan here today.  We use a quarantine method to treat infected fish- That involves removing the infected animals, and treating them separately.  In that case, your crabs are safe!> It's been 20 years since I've had an aquarium, and it seems that many rules about keeping and caring for freshwater fish have changed.  <I'll say!> I did my homework and researched the subject so that I felt comfortable with my choices.  About 2 months ago I purchased a 55 gallon aquarium, and started with about 5 Neons to get the water cycle to do its thing.  I now have several fish: 5 swordtails, 6 mollies, 5 dwarf platies 6 dwarf Gouramis, a Pleco, 6 Cory catfish and 6 fiddler crabs.  (I love the fiddler crabs.) <That Pleco will soon outgrow the 55 gallon tank...I'd inquire early about trading him for a smaller Pleco once he's about 6 inches.> Everything was going well, including the birth of about 30 babies (black mollies, silver Lyretail mollies and sunset dwarf platies) until last weekend when I did a 25% water change to correct nitrate and total alkalinity levels.  I also rearranged the fake plants, rocks and log to allow the fish to have more swimming room and to ensure a better water flow from the filter.  I must have really stressed my poor fish.  The other day I noticed that 2 of my dwarf Gourami had small slits and little holes in their upper fins.  That evening I noticed my male silver Lyretail had trouble swimming and was at a 45 degree downward angle, and sometimes faced straight down.  I immediately added extra aquarium salt to the tank and increased the water temp to 82 degrees (from 78).  The following day, after work, I purchased a 6 gallon  'hospital tank', Maracyn and Maracyn-Two for my 3 sick fish.  Unfortunately, when I got home, one of the Gourami had died.  It looked to be sick for only 24 hours, so I was pretty shocked to find it dead that quickly.   I checked all my fish and decided that only 2 of the other Gourami had what is probably Fin and Tail Rot, so I put them, along with my male Molly into the hospital tank, using water from the 55 gallon tank.  (I didn't want to stress them further.)  I've been medicating them for 3 days now and they are looking much better.  My Molly is actually starting to swim somewhat normally, so I believe there is hope for him. <Sounds hopeful!> Now for the bad part... I came home from work today and found 3 more fish in the 55 gallon tank that look like they have Fin and Tail Rot.  It also looks like there may be a white spot or two on these same fish.  I have CopperSafe that I was going to use in the hospital tank if I needed to treat for Ich, but I can't use it in my 55 gallon tank as it would kill my crabs.  I've started treating the big tank for Fin and Tail Rot, but am not sure what to do about the possible ich, as I don't want to kill my crabs. <You're going to need to treat all infected fish in the QT tank.  Next time, add the fish to the display tank AFTER they have successfully completed 6 weeks of quarantine.  Then you won't have the same issues.  This time around, it's the long road my friend.  The answer to your question is no- There is no ICH treatment that is truly crab-safe.  Good luck, Ryan> Chris

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