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FAQs on Copper Medications/Products

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FAQs on Copper: Copper FAQs 1, Copper FAQs 2, Copper FAQs 3, Copper FAQs 4, & FAQs on Copper: Science, Rationale/UseFree Copper/Cupric Ion Compounds (e.g. SeaCure), Chelated Coppers (e.g. Copper Power, ), Making Your Own/DIY Copper Solutions, Measure/Testing, Utilization/Duration, Prophylactic Use, Toxic Situations/Troubleshooting, Copper Product FAQs, Copper Test FAQs, Copper Removal FAQs, Copper Removal 2, &  On Marine Diseases: Marine Parasitic Disease, Parasitic Marine Tanks, Parasitic Reef Tanks, Cryptocaryoniasis, Marine Ich, Marine Velvet Disease, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease,

Make sure an be sure re matching your type of copper (chelated or "free") and test kit, treatment values...

Best copper treatment       2/27/18
Hi there, thanks for providing such an awesome site!
<A pleasure to learn, share>
It's time again to let the main tank go fallow for 6 weeks, quarantine and medicate my fish.
The good news is, I know from your site and thus past experience that this is by far the simplest, cheapest, and least labour intensive way to sure fire eradicate this nasty parasite called Ich.
Yes, I did try everything else suggested out there first, but they always came back!
<Crypt can be very persistent>
My question is which copper medication do you prefer, and also which test kit?
<Am a bigger fan of SeaChem's Cupramine and their Copper Multi-Test kit.
Have used hundreds of gallons over the decades>
Thank you again,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Invisible Cupramine... testing for copper, product f'  01/13/09 Hey Crew, <Hi Quincy!> I have a 30 gallon quarantine tank with three saltwater fish that I just started treating with Cupramine. All carbon has been removed from the filter. All that remains in the tank are a few bowls/plates for cover, a heater, a powerhead, and a Penguin filter with a simple sponge and BioWheel (Just to be clear- no sand, no rock in the tank). It is my estimation that there is no material inside the tank that can/will remove the Cupramine. <Doesn't sound like it to me either.> As per the Cupramine instructions, I added 1 ml per 10.5 gallons (so 3 ml.s total). I waited two days and added another 3 ml.s. After waiting 30 minutes, I tested the copper levels with the API copper kit and the result was 0 ppm. To make sure my eyes weren't bad, I had my girlfriend read the result as well-still 0 ppm. So, I added another 3 ml.s to see if I could get a reading. Again, I waited 30 minutes and tested- still 0 ppm!? By now, the copper level should be well above the recommended 0.5 ppm. Just to make sure I wont kill my fish, I have not added any more Cupramine without getting some professional wisdom. First off, does the API copper test kit test Cupramine? accurately? Secondly, could the Penguin BioWheel be taking out the Cupramine? And thirdly, if the API copper kit does test Cupramine, should I continue to add more Cupramine until I get a reading of 0.5 ppm? FYI: I do not have access to buy another test kit around my area. I went on Seachem's website and it says that Cupramine does not expire, so this should not be the issue. <Your Penguin filter will not remove the carbon. It's either your test kit or Cupramine or user error. First I would, test the Cupramine itself. You should definitely get a copper reading with that. If not, you'll need to get another test kit. I personally like the test kits made by Salifert. Test the Cupramine with the NEW test kit to confirm it's a good test kit, then test your water. If the new test kit shows negative for copper then you have a bad bottle of Cupramine.> Thanks in advance, Quincy <Good Luck - BrianG>

Re: Ick Ick Ick   7/25/06 Thanks, I am going to go the copper route then. Is Cupramine ok? <Yes... one of the best chelated products here> One last question please. Should I just leave the live rock currently in the 35 in a holding tank for 6 weeks to ensure the ick is not still there or can I just put the rock in freshwater for a few hours to ensure it is clean of any ick? <Mmm, I'd likely leave it in place if you can manage to leave this system fallow for at least a month> Thanks for your time! <Welcome. Bob Fenner> Treatment of Gobies, Copper, Cupramine   7/10/06 Dear Mr. Fenner   Thank you so much for your kind reply a little while ago, when I wrote to you regarding the terrible incident I had with my Clown Goby having a horrific reaction to copper.  I thought that I would let you know that although my subsequent water changes prevented any further damage to her, she never really recovered, and died 5 days later. <Thank you for this update> I had been hoping that as she made it through 48 hours, she might recover, but I think the damage was too severe.   I also wrote to the company who makes the copper treatment, to see what their advice was on treating Gobies with copper.  I thought that you would be interested to see their reply, as they seem to think that copper does not have any ill affects on Gobies.  I would be interested to see what you think, before I reply to them:    "Cupramine works great on most copper sensitive fish like puffers and Angels. You will find that puffers are mush more sensitive to copper than gobies.  We have had many people use Cupramine on gobies and puffers without a problem. I'm sorry for what your goby is going through but I can assure you it is not from the proper use of Cupramine. One dose of Cupramine (1 ml per 10.5 gallons) will result in a copper concentration of 0.25 mg/L.  I suspect that your fishes reaction is a result of disease or possibly you used Cupramine inappropriately. <Possibly> Here are some questions that may help us figure out what occurred: Where did you get the water for the quarantine tank? Was it freshly made salt water?  Did you check to make sure it matched pH, temperature, salinity, and that the ammonia and nitrite were at zero? <Good questions, concerns> Did you add any other chemical with the Cupramine?  Water conditioner, medication, ammonia remover. Did you have a UV sterilizer running? <This will remove the copper...> Did you do anything that could have stressed the Goby prior to being placed in the aquarium? Freshwater dip Are you sure that the fish has ich or velvet?  What you describe sounds like Brooklynella.  (rapid progression, string-like material hanging off the fish) <A valid concern. Copper compounds will not treat this protozoan complaint... but it is rare on Gobiids/oids> Please let me know the answers to these questions and I will help you the best I CAN. <A very nice response indeed> Best Regards, Seachem Tech Support"      Thank you for your time and help once again.   Kind regards   Claire <Thank you for sending this along. There is much to know/relate concerning copper's use... Not a simple, use so much of this, in such and such condition/s. Bob Fenner> Copper Treatment...Tangs And Other Sensitive Fish  6/21/06 I'm about to start treating my purple tang, firefish goby, royal Gramma, and neon goby with copper to rid my tank of ich once and for all.  The cleaner shrimp and garlic helped, but the ich would always reemerge after a few days. I have been reading for WWM for the last 2 hours about copper treatment to make sure I do it right.  From my understanding measuring the amount of copper in the water is essential, especially when dealing with tangs and other scale-less fish/es. <Yes> I also read that many people seem to have trouble reading levels of chelated copper and that test kits are specific to either chelated or ionic copper.  I have a bottle of CopperSafe (chelated) and a bottle of SeaCure (ionic).  Which would you recommend I use?  I also have a Salifert copper test kit on the way in the mail. <To measure the concentration of Copper Safe, a chelated or total copper test kit is required.  All readings should be based on the total copper or chelated copper results and not the free copper results. The Salifert Test Kit measures dissolved or weakly chelated copper.  Strongly chelated copper will measure very low or not at all with the Salifert Kit.  I believe the Copper Safe is strongly chelated.  Bob, do you agree?> <<Is, do. RMF>> Do you know which (if either) type of these two copper medications would the Salifert test measure more accurately? <The Sea Cure would be my choice.> Can I rely on this test kit? <Yes, a very accurate kit.> After reading several letters, it seems like many people treat the bare hospital tank as directed on the bottle but then get strange results when measuring with a test kit. <I'm guessing the proper kit isn't being used for the type copper they are using.> Also, I'm still confused as to the amount (ppm) and duration of treatment for tangs and other sensitive fish.     0.15-0.25 ppm of ionic or 1.5-2.0 ppm of chelated seems the standard, tangs and firefish too?? <I would monitor the copper level very close and maintain at 1.5ppm with these types of fish.> Twenty-one consecutive days is what most people seem to recommend.  Then again I also read that Bob stated he would not treat a tang for this long and drop treatment to 14 days instead. <Bob, is this dated info, or can tangs be treated at 1.5ppm for 21 days safely?> <<Better to limit to minimum dose, exposure time. RMF>> Thank you in advance <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Re: Crypto ... carefully deciphering copper/cupric levels, testing... carefully   6/22/06 Thanks Jason for your quick reply! <Dave, James answered your query.>   I failed to mention this morning that when I saw the problem had gotten much worse overnight, I sped things up and added another half dose of Cupramine to the system.  The next half dose will bring me up to the .5 mg/L.  Yes, I am watching this with a FasTest kit, but it's terribly hard to differentiate the colors. <Yes, the Salifert is much better in this regard.> I'm keeping a very close eye on my dosing levels as a secondary precaution and am getting another test kit today to help me make sure I have it right.   When I stopped at the house today over lunch, I found that the spots had dropped from the Butterfly and the Hippo.  My lion is still moderately affected, but it's not bad.   <Should improve.> I noticed that my Red Coris seemed very lethargic and was laying half in, half out of the substrate.  Since he was not visibly affected by the Ich, I filled a QT quickly with 10 gallons of new seawater I mixed this morning (yes, yikes), PH and temperature adjusted and moved him into it to get him out of the copper.  Do you feel that the Red Coris Wrasse has a lower than usual tolerance for copper? <My opinion, yes.> Maybe I just panicked.  My lion seems a little more sluggish than usual.  Again, maybe it's just that I am unusually vigilant when I am dealing with a "coppered" system. I've heard that lions have a low copper tolerance. Do you agree with this, <Do not believe so, lionfish are pretty tough customers.  Problem is, if you are having trouble determining the copper level with the test kit, then we are not sure what your level actually is.> and do you feel that the copper levels we are dealing with are worth exposing them to the potentially stressful QT environment?   <QT should be a little less stressful than a coppered tank.> Most specifically I am trying to confirm that the Cupramine levels we are dealing with (.5 to .6 mg/L) are safe for: Red Coris Wrasse Volitans Lionfish Sailfin Tang Pearlscale Butterfly Blue Hippo Tang Snowflake Eel <Should be if that is the true copper level.> I think I'll go with your advice and continue the main tank's treatment for a full 3-4 weeks. <Yes, the length of treatment is critical to ensure all parasites have been eradicated.> Given the progress I've made today perhaps I can gain a foothold on the lifecycle by maintaining copper and adopting a watch and wait stance. <Yes, that is all you can do right now.  In the future, do QT new arrivals for 30 days to be sure the animal is disease free.> Thanks again, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Dave   Copper in FOT.. Workable Solution?   3/16/06 Hi Bob & Team. I wish you all well. You have been GOOD to our hobby. Couldn't have done it without you guys.    <Glad to help... though it's obvious it is getting past time to "cast our nets" out for more help... We're up some two k sessions per day over a few weeks ago...>   I would like to confirm the following treatment regime before I carry it out & I look forward to your usual prompt good quality response.    <Will try to deliver>   In my situation  when there was Ich/Marine Velvet outbreak in a bare-bottom FOWLR tank. All LRs had been removed from the tank (making it FOT) and it was observed that bio filter not adversely affected as there was no ammonia surge. Is it possible to go for copper treatment in this FOWLR turned FOT (Fish Only Tank)? <Yes... with a few caveats. Copper compounds and free cupric ion can/will suppress nitrification... so ammonia et al. must be monitored, new water stored for change-outs...> Since there is no Live Rocks and no Live sands (to begin with), With pumps, powerheads, skimmers and chiller as only gears in water, I assume it is alright to go copper treatment in main display. Can I get your confirmation? Would copper kill all my existing nitrifying bacteria?    <Likely so... though with careful application (a few times a day)... using chelated... this effect can be more/less managed>   Treating Main display tank in this manner will serve as good alternative, in my case of FOT, compared to catching all 6 fish out and quarantine them in 3 x QTs + fallow the main tank (which is FOT now). Not to mention the poisonous ammonia/nitrite issues that pop up often in new QTs all the time. For your info, the LR are put aside in a rubber maid bucket to keep alive during this treatment period.    <Yes... one other of those aforementioned caveats: the amount of "interfering" biological material in your "live substrate removed" system is going to absorb some of the copper material... Much more than a purposeful "treatment tank">   Another question to ask is: what is your experience in Copper Safe (Mardel) vs. Cupramine (Seachem)? <Both are fine, reliable/consistent products. Have used vast quantities of both> I have both and I am not sure which one to use for treating my FOT main tank. From what I read from instructions, Copper Safe requires 30 days of treatment and Cupramine is 14 days. Should I then infer that Copper Safe (Chelated Copper Sulfate) is less concentrated and slower? If I want faster treatment, I should go with Cupramine?    <Both... should be used for the same period of time... somewhere between these two time-frames actually...>   Copper Safe needs to be effective from 1.5ppm - 2 ppm (from instruction) and Cupramine is 0.5ppm. Now, I am confused on why such great discrepancy? Not to mention that your site here says 0.2-0.3 is ideal.    <Let's try to clear this up (for sure) here... the last values are for Cu++, free cupric ion... the two sets ahead are for (broken by testing protocol) chelated copper compounds... Is this clear?>   One last point is I intend to change to bigger tank as my fish is going to outgrow this 2.5 year old tank. So no reef tank set up will be done on this current tank. Good reason for me to go treatment this way. Hope you can see my rationale.    <Yes, though, assuredly, copper is "used up", almost always becomes complexed/lost within reasonable time frames from use in such systems... weeks, months after use such gear can be used with non-vertebrates.>   Thanks in advance for your helpful advice, as always. :).    <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Cupramine, filter bed safe?  - 3/1/2006 Greeting WetWeb people!  I hope all is well with you.  My  question concerns Seachem Cupramine.  I have a Royal Gramma with ich (he  was the only guy in the 24g reef tank).  I have removed him and placed him  in a 10 gallon with a few pieces of live rock, <...> and a Marineland bio-wheel 100  filter (tanks up to 20g).    Here are the questions finally after much, much reading in the Copper  FAQ's. Is this going to effect my bio-wheel or my live rock bio-filter at  all?   <Mmm, yes, likely will interrupt nitrification... You'll have to monitor, have new water ready for change-outs> Seachem Tech via telephone said it won't be enough to be terribly  concerned due to it being ionic and amine based. <Only experience will/can tell...> I wanted to get you guys  and gals take on this. <Mmm, a bit less effect (on "average") than free/ionic copper use, but still will likely subtend...> Obviously some copper will be absorbed by the live  rock, <You'll want to remove this... will absorb almost immediately> but that's ok...I'll be testing regularly. <... try it...> By the way, would you  truly go with the Cupramine, or the other Seachem product called  Paraguard?  I've also read of some people having good success with it  against ich (In a QT of course!!!)   Thanks all for your time and  advice!!! <... depends on a mix of variables... Both are efficacious... but would try one OR the other. Bob Fenner> Seachem Copper Test/CopperSafe ... Velvet?  2/2/06 Hi and thank you for the wealth of information on WWM. I am having a  problem with what I believe is marine velvet based on what I've read. My  fish which are still small (all 3.5" or less) are: Niger Trigger, Copperband  butterfly (who also has developed a small red blotch on his body, leading  me to believe he has some kind of internal bacteria problem), Yellow Tang, Coral  Beauty, Pearl-scaled angel, & 3 blue devil damsels.   Yesterday they were all moved into a 30 gallon bare bottom  hospital tank with plastic "rock" hideaways using water from the main tank. I  have a Whisper 30-60 with a floss filter in it (no carbon) with a UV  sterilizer <Shouldn't be used while treating with copper> & an air stone for oxygen. I've raised the  temp. to 82 and am in the process of lowering salinity with each water  change.   I could take time to explain how I believe the disease was  introduced into the tank and attempt to justify my current dilemma, but it's a  moot point now. Lessons have been learned and my sweet husband has learned not  to *surprise* me "gift fish" and I've learned to *find* water to put in a  quarantine tank no matter what time of night it is (long story). <Not pleasant surprises>   Anyway... yesterday after having moved the fish into the hospital  tank, I dosed with Coppersafe according to the manufacturer's instructions. It  is supposed to bring the chelated copper level to 1.5-2.0 (cupric ion level -   .2-.3). A few hours after dosing the tank, I tested for copper using Seachem's   copper test and it read 0.6. The test's color chart only registers up to 1.0.   The test says that when testing for chelated copper, you're supposed to let the   test mixture sit for 25 min. instead of using the 2nd reagent and comparing   colors right away. I did that. <Good>   I'm confused as to which reading I'm supposed to find when I test  for copper. Since I dosed per their instructions and got a reading of only .6, I   thought, "Oh blankety-blank... I'm either supposed to be seeing a result of 1.5,   in which case I'm not even close and wouldn't be able to tell anyway since the chart doesn't go above 1.0, or else I'm in bigger trouble and have overshot the  result of .2-.3. Either way, I'm not where I'm supposed to be with this   Coppersafe." <I would contact SeaChem (see the info. on the Net) re this quandary... Am not familiar with their colorimetric chart/s (is there a reverse side? Or what they intend. Your values sound okay for what you're looking for...>   Well... I'm also having the typical hospital tank problem of rising   ammonia because of the bare tank, and have already done a couple of large water   changes (adding more Coppersafe to the added water as instructed) and am   prepared to do this daily because of the lack of a biological filter. <Yes>   The fish are acting worse today than yesterday... breathing faster  and acting more stressed, though they are all still eating. <Feed very sparingly> This made me think  I'd OD'ed on the Coppersafe and made matters worse, but on the other hand if I   didn't dose enough Coppersafe, then it could just be the progression of the   velvet causing them to act more agitated... I really don't know.   So this evening, I had a friend of mine talk to the guy at the local  LFS, who touted ParaGuard as his med. of choice. He bought a bottle for me. I've   not used it yet. I understand that there are differences in the  medications (copper vs. aldehyde/malachite green). Being scared to death that I  had overdosed Coppersafe, I put PolyFilter in the Whisper filter and thought I  would do a large water change tomorrow and start over using the ParaGuard.   My questions are: If I dosed Coppersafe correctly, what  reading should I have found using Seachem's copper test, (1.5-2.0 or .2-.3)? <The first range... if this is what the chart actually indicates> Also, which medication is more appropriate for velvet and a possible bacteria? <... posted on WWM... there are a few options (none very safe, all involving "fooling with" water quality...)> I  did not do a freshwater dip prior to placing them in the hospital tank. I am  afraid to try it now because they are so stressed out from the disease/bacteria  & the move. <You are wise here> Would doing a dip be beneficial at this time or should  I leave them be? <Too late for this to be efficacious... need yet another system to move to... otherwise... the current one/s are infested/infected>   I thank you so much for your time and attention. Ann  B. White <... so much to say/relate, and no means here... If you could be sure this is Amyloodinium I would proscribe other means of treatment... but there is a great chance it is "something else" for which such treatment would be false. Perhaps your LFS has a copy of Noga's "Fish Disease; Diagnosis and Treatment"... I would read through the introductory sections and on to the common parasitic diseases of marines if you could get your hands on a copy. Bob Fenner>

Re: Seachem Copper Test/CopperSafe   2/3/06 Blessings on you for answering my queries... Thanks much! ,<Welcome>> Hi  and thank you for the wealth of information on WWM. I am having a  problem with what I believe is marine velvet based on what I've read.  My  fish which are still small (all 3.5" or less) are: Niger Trigger,  Copperband  butterfly (who also has developed a small red blotch on  his body, leading  me to believe he has some kind of internal  bacteria problem), Yellow Tang, Coral  Beauty, Pearl-scaled angel,  & 3 blue devil damsels. Yesterday they were all moved into a 30  gallon bare bottom  hospital tank with plastic "rock" hideaways using  water from the main tank. I  have a Whisper 30-60 with a floss filter  in it (no carbon) with a UV  sterilizer <Shouldn't be used while  treating with copper> The LFS told me I couldn't use Cupramine with a UV, but that it  would be ok with CopperSafe. Hope I didn't hurt them! <<Not hurt, but exposure to UV will deplete the copper... faster with simple ionized cupric ion solutions... and can "plate out", cover the UV lamp or its sleeve. Have to check concentration very often... a few times per day, and adjust, add more to keep at therapeutic levels>> & an air stone for oxygen. I've raised the  temp. to  82 and am in the process of lowering salinity with each water   change. I could take time to explain how I believe the disease  was  introduced into the tank and attempt to justify my current  dilemma, but it's a  moot point now. Lessons have been learned and my  sweet husband has learned not  to *surprise* me "gift fish" and I've  learned to *find* water to put in a   quarantine tank no matter what  time of night it is (long story). <Not pleasant surprises> Anyway... yesterday after having moved the fish into the hospital  tank,  I dosed with Coppersafe according to the manufacturer's instructions.  It  is supposed to bring the chelated copper level to 1.5-2.0 (cupric  ion level -   .2-.3). A few hours after dosing the tank, I tested for  copper using Seachem's   copper test and it read 0.6. The test's  color chart only registers up to 1.0.   The test says that when  testing for chelated copper, you're supposed to let the   test mixture  sit for 25 min. instead of using the 2nd reagent and comparing  colors right away. I did that. <Good> I'm confused as  to which reading I'm supposed to find when I test  for copper. Since  I dosed per their instructions and got a reading of only .6, I thought, "Oh blankety-blank... I'm either supposed to be seeing a result  of 1.5,   in which case I'm not even close and wouldn't be able to  tell anyway since the chart doesn't go above 1.0, or else I'm in bigger  trouble and have overshot the  result of .2-.3. Either way, I'm not  where I'm supposed to be with this Coppersafe." Well... I'm also having  the typical hospital tank problem of rising   ammonia because of the  bare tank, and have already done a couple of large water changes  (adding more Coppersafe to the added water as instructed) and am    prepared to do this daily because of the lack of a biological filter.   <Yes> How often can I do large (50% or more) water changes? I've been  doing this daily, but I'm still having a hard time keeping ammonia under  .5. <<Daily if necessary... with pre-made water... store it ahead of use... Covered on WWM>> The fish are  acting worse today than yesterday... breathing faster  and acting  more stressed, though they are all still eating. <Feed very  sparingly> The LFS gave me Thera+ AntiParasitic food for them, and everyone  eats this except for the copperband butterfly who refuses anything I've given  except for frozen Mysis. Is there a liquid antiparasitic something that I can  soak the Mysis in for his sake? <<Yes>> This made me think   I'd OD'ed on the Coppersafe and made matters worse, but on the other hand  if I didn't dose enough Coppersafe, then it could just be the  progression of the   velvet causing them to act more agitated... I  really don't know. So this evening, I had a friend of mine talk to  the guy at the local  LFS, who touted ParaGuard as his med. of  choice. He bought a bottle for me. I've not used it yet. I  understand that there are differences in the  medications (copper vs.  aldehyde/malachite green). Being scared to death that I  had overdosed Coppersafe, I put PolyFilter in the Whisper filter and thought  I   would do a large water change tomorrow and start over using the  ParaGuard. I wound up using PolyFilter overnight, then doing a 80% (or  slightly more) water change the following day, followed by dosing  ParaGuard. Today I had planned on doing another large water change and dosing  ParaGuard again, as instructed. On the bottle, it tells me to dose ParaGuard and  keep doing this daily... the same amount... unless the fish show signs of  stress. Is this daily dosing supposed to increase the concentration of  medication in the tank? Am I virtually starting over every time I have to do a  large water change, or is this something that dissipates out of the water  quickly, therefore requiring daily dosing even if you don't do water  changes? <<Not starting over as long as the concentration of medications is kept up>> My questions are:  If I dosed Coppersafe correctly, what  reading should I have found  using Seachem's copper test, (1.5-2.0 or .2-.3)? <The first range... if  this is what the chart actually indicates> Also, which medication is  more appropriate for velvet and a possible bacteria? <... posted on  WWM... there are a few options (none very safe, all involving "fooling with"  water quality...)> I  did not do a freshwater dip prior to  placing them in the hospital tank. I am  afraid to try it now because  they are so stressed out from the disease/bacteria  & the move.   <You are wise here> Would doing a dip be beneficial at this time  or should  I leave them be? <Too late for this to be  efficacious... need yet another system to move to... otherwise... the current  one/s are infested/infected> I thank you so much for your time  and attention. Ann  B. White <... so much to say/relate, and no  means here... If you could be sure this is Amyloodinium I would proscribe  other means of treatment... but there is a great chance it is "something else"  for which such treatment would be false. Perhaps your LFS has a copy of Noga's  "Fish Disease; Diagnosis and Treatment"... I would read through the  introductory sections and on to the common parasitic diseases of marines if  you could get your hands on a copy. Bob Fenner> They don't have the copy of the book :(  And I've noticed  symptoms for more that one disease on different fish. The copperband butterfly  is gilling quite fast, though neither gill is clamped to his side. I've also  noticed a discoloration of white patches on him (not salty-looking or  dusty-looking) and also a small red blotch, kind of like a small varicose vein.  He also has a white dusting on his fins. I'd assumed that he has a bacterial  problem, internal and external. The coral beauty had a film covering her  (possibly just mucous) with white clumps around her mouth. She also had frayed  fins. These symptoms seem to have been alleviated in the hospital tank over the  last couple of days, but believing it to be ick and/or velvet, I'm sure the  symptoms could come back soon. The pearl-scaled angel had frayed fins that are  looking better, but also a dusting of white all over... not grainy-looking, just  a soft dusting. Now I've noticed that the yellow tang, who had previously not  shown any symptoms but was placed in the hospital tank along with everyone else,  has developed black dots on her otherwise golden yellow body (black spot  disease, I'm assuming). The Niger Trigger shows no outward signs of infection  other than scratching, but he does hide the majority of the time. The 3 blue  devil damsels show no outward signs, though I saw these and all the others  scratching on rock and sand before being placed into the hospital  tank.   The medications at my current disposal are CopperSafe  and ParaGuard. It feels like I'm up against every fish disease all at once,  never having battled any of them prior to this. What treatment regimen would you  prescribe? <<Impossible to say for sure w/o microscopic examination... treating for most all is dangerous... toxic, debilitating... but you may have little choice here. I'd use both per the manufacturers instructions>> I've searched WWM day and night and see different meds for specific  ailments... What about when you have one hospital tank full of different  problems? I'm prepared to go out and get another medication, do another  almost-complete water change and start over with whatever medication will knock  all this mess out. I wish I didn't have to use a medication, but I believe if I  try homeopathic methods at this stage of the problem, it will be too little, too  late. Thank you so much for your help. Ann  B. White <<Your situation is (very) unfortunately far from unique... w/o careful acclimation, quarantine (or outright luck), most aquarists eventually come across such travails... Bob Fenner>> CopperSafe... copper use period   1/20/06 We have been dealing with Ich since we put up our tank, we were treating with CopperSafe.  The first set of fish all died. We emptied, cleaned, and changed everything on our tank.  Now our new fish have it.  We are treating with the CopperSafe, which says to add 1tsp. / 4gal. <Mmm, with testing...> And this treats for one month.  It has been almost three weeks and it is still there.  It says the treatment lasts for one month.  Does this mean that I only need to add the solution to the water once a month. <Negative>   I am confused.  And my Bala Shark, an Guppies seem to be dying once again. I would really appreciate any suggestions, since I have already spent over 100.00 buying and replacing my sons pets in the last three months.                 Thank You <One should only use copper products while simultaneously utilizing test kits... to assure therapeutic levels... for either chelated (as here) or free cupric ion formats... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/copperprodfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Coppersafe treatment querulous statements re the product  1/14/06 Dear WetWeb Crew, I would like to thank you all for the wonderful job you do here. Robert   Fenner I would also like to thank you for being part of the crew. I love  your books I recently had an outbreak of Ich in my 125 aggressive tank.  Inhabitants of this consist of very large vol. lion 10-12 in, 11in panther  grouper, silver scat 9 in, piney boxfish puffer 6-7 in, black moray eel 15-20  in, BI colored Foxface 5-6 in, lunar wrasse 7-8 in. I knew I had to treat  all  of these fish and a QT was not an option at this time my lion and  spiny boxfish puffer and BI colored Foxface all came down with ich severely the  lion and the puffer refused food for a week straight. I have used CopperSafe by  Mardel in the past with good results in this tank. I dosed the tank with 1  tsp. per 4 gal. after 24 hrs the lion started eating again. It did however take  the puffer a few days to regain his appetite, But now is eating as normal. I  have read through many of your posts regarding this product. The many questions  concerning carbon removing the copper from the tank. I have used this product in  the very same tank also with very good results and no losses of stock - one  brittle star fish I forgotten I had. Coppersafe is made with chelated copper  sulfate and carbon filters do Not remove the product. <Mmm, actually will> This product states  carbons do not have to be removed from the tank to be used. <... can't find this... I used to answer Mardel Labs 800 calls...> My concerns also in  the past were Long term effects for adding Inverts. However  I did find  after 4 months of normal water changes My tank was safe for inverts after 4  months had past. I do agree highly  a good quarantine tank is necessary to  have handy, But if it comes to losing all of my fish I would rather kill the LR  if that's the case. <Not necessary> BTW It did not harm my emerald crab CopperSafe states it  will not harm inverts with exoskeletons. This tank was parasite free until  I added one piece of LR from one of my other tanks reef). ps. Thank you all again Lynn <... Bob Fenner>

CUPRAMINE USE Hi guys, your collective wisdom would be appreciated. I have successfully used Cupramine in the past to treat ick in a QT setting, but now I find it necessary to treat in a fish-only display tank; I have a large French that picked it up, probably from the stress of being moved; he's just too big to treat in my QT; I have minimal substrate and about 15% by volume coral rock/coral. Will this significantly degrade treatment effectiveness, and if so can I compensate?  <Steve, rock and sand/crushed coral do absorb copper.  Effective treatment needs to be maintained using a reliable copper test kit to ensure the level is effective.  Search the WWM, keyword, copper, for more info.  James (Salty Dog)>Your thoughts please.  Thanks, Steve. Effectiveness of Copper in combating ich... Hi! <Hello> Recently, I have an outbreak of ich in my FOWLR display tank having after intro an infected new fish... I have remove all the survivors from the display tank and put them into quarantine with copper treatment (I am using Seachem Cupramine).  Will be leaving my display tank fallow for 8 weeks so I took the time to do some rescaping. <Okay> I happen to catch a hitchhiking pistol shrimp  (about 1 inch in size) on one of the live rock and decided to carry out an experiment on it.  Cruel I may be but I really wanted to know the true effectiveness of copper against ich (since I learnt that copper can be deadly to inverts).  I place the pistol shrimp into a small container and add Cupramine solution (of copper 0.5mg) and leave it there for 3 days, it is still alive.... I raise the copper level to 1.0mg and for four days amazingly, the fellow is still alive.... <Happens> Now, I'm really curious about the true effectiveness of Cupramine....  Is it truly deadly as it claims to invert?  What's the catch here? Thanks Caleb <Copper, when coupled with chelating, sequestering agents like alkanoamines can indeed be rendered less toxic... and less effective in its intended use/s... Bob Fenner> CopperSafe Can't Kill Cleaners? Bob, <Bob is away right now, so I'm going to take a crack at your question.> Hi, I just treated my tank with CopperSafe. I had an ich outbreak. All the ich is gone. I've always used CopperSafe. But to my amazement. My camel  striped cleaner shrimps did not die from the copper treatment. <You were expecting for them to die when you medicated and did not remove them from the system to spare their lives??> I tested my copper with SeaChem's Multi Copper test. Kept levels at 1.5 ppm. For 3 weeks. Do you know why my shrimps were fine? Also on CopperSafe's instructions they state "remove all inverts without an exo-skeleton." <I think that the instructions provided pretty much explain why they survived. Shrimps possess exoskeletons, and if CopperSafe says to remove all invertebrates without an exoskeleton, we can assume it would kill inverts lacking exoskeletons, but not those possessing them. hence, your shrimps would survive.> Why did they survive? <See above. Hope this helps, Mike G.><<Methinks he was just lucky... RMF>>

A Good Copper Product? Hi Bob, <Scott F. in today!> I have a question regarding a copper-based medication. Have you or any of your staff heard of "Pointex" produced by Aqua Medic from Germany. If so, how good is it. Thanks. V.P. <Well, V.P.- I have not personally used this product. I generally use Copper Safe by Mardel. However, I am a big fan of Aqua Medic products. They are of high quality, and are usually innovative. I do have a friend that has used this product for years for ich treatment and swears by the stuff, and it has been effective for many others. If you follow the manufacturer's directions to the letter, you should be okay. Regards, Scott F.>

CopperSafe: Maintaining A Proper Therapeutic Dosage Scott, thanks for your quick response. <Glad to be of assistance!> I am going out to day to get a  bigger hospital tank and  a copper test kit per your advice. Do you know what is a good reading for copper in a hospital tank.  The  directions on my CopperSafe bottle only says to add 1 TSP per 4 gallons but does not give an exact number to shoot for. I want to make sure I don't under dose or over dose. Brendan <Well, Brendan- the manufacturer of CopperSafe, Mardel Labs suggests that their formulation will maintain a total copper concentration of 1.5-2.0ppm if used as directed. Mardel recommends a Hach test kit (which is a very pricey, but high quality kit), but any quality test kit that measures TOTAL copper concentration should do the trick. Be sure to monitor carefully. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

The Wisdom of Hospital Tanks (5/31/04) Hey Steve, <Good Morning>   Thanks for you reply, but you people seem to give some VERY bad advice on treating Ick in a Fish-Only-Tank (FOT)! <Bad advice is advice that is dangerous or is guaranteed to fail. Difficult advice, yes. Effective on the experience of many long-time SW fishkeepers, also yes. Bad, I beg to differ.>Why would you not put CopperSafe in a FOT??? <Because it may destabilize/kill the biofilter, because in may kill useful inverts such as amphipods. There really is no such thing as a FOT. There is other animal life, perhaps unseen, in there that may be worth preserving.> I was reading a posting of a guy who had 4 fish with ick in a 90 gallon FOT and he was advised to go buy and set up several QT tanks to treat them when all he needed to do was treat the whole tank! <There is disagreement on this, Our advice is only one opinion. Anyone dealing with a problem like this should seek out multiple opinions and decide which makes sense to them. In my profession, we call this "getting a second (or more) opinion.> My LFS owner says it is stupid to have a QT tank for a FOT. <Too bad he has to resort to insults to justify his opinion.> He says you only need a QT tank for a reef tank because you can't treat it directly with CopperSafe when you can a FOT. If you have a FOT and a fish gets ick you just treat the whole tank! <This is not without risk.> He says CopperSafe will not hurt the other fish <as long as they are not copper-sensitive fish> and chances are they all have ick and the entire tanks has ick so treat the whole damn thing. I hear your argument of contaminating the fake corals, dead rock (or non-reef live rock) and gravel, but as long as you never use it in a reef tank in the future what is the problem! <Never say never. I paid over $500 for the live rock in my FOWLR--I want to be able to still use it if I convert to a reef.>   I am going to send another posting on this subject and I hope you post it <we post everything that is not patently offensive> because I hate seeing bad <in your opinion> advice like this being given out. <This method works.> I can only imagine this poor guy who probably works a 40+ hour week and has a wife and kids spending all this time and money setting up all these QT tanks <A Rubbermaid tub costs $5, a cheap heater about $15 and an adequate filter $20 tops. I've paid more than twice this total cost for a single fish.> for a FOT, how idiotic! <BTW, I work 50+ hours per week, have a wife and four kids, and take 24/7 calls one week out of every five. I have enlisted the assistance of my family with the aquarium. A couple of the kids are quite interested. I would not have embarked on this if I was the only one in the family who enjoys it.>   Also, I did not say my LFS owner said it was "impossible" to overdose with CopperSafe, he said it was "hard" to overdose with it if you follow the directions, therefore, he said I did not need a Copper test kit <The test kit is also useful to make cure the level in the water is high enough to be effective, not just to be sure it is not toxic.> (By the way, my LFS owner maintains thousands of gallons of tanks in Greenville, SC including a 1,600 gallon system and over 3,000 gallons for the Greenville Hospital System so I think he knows a little about fish keeping!) <No doubt, but his calling our crew stupid says a lot about him too. I have never told a patient that another doctor who treated them was stupid or gave "stupid" advice, even when I thought they were. I avoid this because I was not privy to all of the information that led to the choice of that course of treatment. I merely make the case for why I feel a different course of action is warranted.> FYI, My Yellow Tang made a complete recovery using CopperSafe within two weeks in my QT/FOT and that was several months ago and he is doing fine so I am a fan of Mardel, CopperSafe, but I will check out Cupramine. <Glad to hear your Tang did well. I never impugned the quality of the product. You asked me if it was the best available and I simply stated that there is no proof either way and pointed out that Cupramine is also a well-regarded product.> I see it in the Dr. Fosters catalog and it sounds good and I like Seachem (they make Matrix!). <I too have been quite satisfied with Seachem products, and they enjoy and excellent reputation. Good luck with your tank. I hope all works out well. Steve Allen> Nathan

Re: A note re a query to WWM re SeaChem >2.I do appreciate the efforts of Seachem to launch a more safe  >product, but the instructions on the label are not satisfactory. A  >safe product in my view will tell more about the nitrifying bacteria  >and what effect will have turning off the UV sterilizer at the dose  >they recommend. ><Do communicate your concerns to Seachem about this. They make some  >excellent products and are very responsive to consumer concerns> This gentleman has not communicated this question to us (at least not by e-mail) as of yet, so maybe you could pass onto him our question of exactly what kind of information is he looking for in this regard. We have very limited space on the label as it is and it is used to most efficiently convey all relevant information regarding the use of the product. We recommend turning off the UV sterilizer to prevent conversion of the complexed copper into non-complexed copper (which would result in a toxic level of free copper). However we do not have the room to further expound on why we recommend that and all of the possible ramifications of doing so might have and to what extent those ramifications could occur depending on any number of variables. I think it would be understood by anyone using a medication that it is going to have some kind of negative influence on the bacterial filter... however the extent to which that effect will be made manifest cannot be precisely predicted depending on numerous variables that vary from tank to tank. I think it would also be implied that bacterial filter will not be wiped out using the recommended dosing as that would be unconscionable to produce a product that would do so and not warn the consumer. In short, I understand his desire for more information, but it simply comes down to space restraints and the use of that space to convey only the most critical information. Hopefully this will help. -Greg Morin <Thank you for this input. Bob Fenner> Gregory Morin, Ph.D. ~~~~~~~President/CEO~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Seachem Laboratories, Inc. www.seachem.com 888-SEACHEM

Is CopperSafe Safe and Effective? Hey guys, <Steve Allen tonight> I have a question about Mardel, CopperSafe. My LFS swears by it. They use it in their display tanks. <Not a good idea in the long run.> I had a Yellow Tang that got ick in my reef tank so I put him in a 29 Gallon fish only tank (FOT) and treated the tank with CopperSafe. He got over the ick in a week or so and he is doing fine. <Maybe. It comes back if not thoroughly treated.> I still have him in the FOT with a Dragon Eel Blenny (Dottyback) and I have not removed the CopperSafe aside from water changes which has diluted it. I have got to get a Copper test kit, but my LFS said you don't need it with CopperSafe because it is hard to overdose with it because it is water soluble or something. <Phooey! Anything can be overdosed.> 1. Is CopperSafe the best copper treatment for Marine fish with Ick? <I'd say there's real little evidence either way. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/copperprodfaqs.htm > 2. If not, what Copper treatment do you recommend? <Cupramine is another well-regarded product.> 3. If you don't like Copper, what do you use to treat ick in a FOT tank? <There is 100% agreement among the crew that no medication should ever be put in a display tank. Only in a hospital tank.> 4. How long can I keep my Tang and Dragon Eel Blenny Dottyback in there with the CopperSafe without it hurting them or is it slowly poisoning them? <this is unknown. If you reduce the level with water changes and maybe Polyfilter, they should be OK.> 5. I have about 6 Hermit Crabs in there and the CopperSafe has not affected them. I thought Copper was deadly for all inverts. Why hasn't it killed them? <Hermits are more resistant to copper, but death is not always instant. If they start to die en masse in the next few weeks, you'll know why.> 6. Will the CopperSafe kill snails (I guess I will throw one in and see)? <Why risk it's life just to satisfy your curiosity? Why not drinks some to see if it's harmful to people? JK ;) Yes, CopperSafe usually kills snails. Read the link above & more.> 7. Will CopperSafe kill Grape Caulerpa? <I doubt it. It's not weed killer, and Grape Caulerpa is a weed. I hate the stuff. I'd never put it in a display tank. All kinds of little pieces break off and clog up powerheads, etc. (End-of-rant)> 8. Will CopperSafe kill Tube Worms? <Almost certainly> Thanks <Hope this helps. You should really read the series of articles that starts here: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.htm

The Good, the Bad, and the Just Plain Wrong.. >Hi! >>Greetings. >Many thanks for your help in the past. I'll try to be brief. >>It wasn't me, I swear! >I have recently described a situation where I chose to treat my display tank with Cupramine because of the incessant presence of Ich. >>As opposed to fallowing? >No fish loss, just constant irritation and unhappy fish. It is a 125 gallon tank and who would be in a mood to bootstrap it unless necessary. I was advised by a number of people, the local fish stores (several) and the labeling of the product that it would not impact my biological filtration. >>HUH?  You're serious, aren't you?  Sweet Christ on a crutch.   >And that is what I would never have compromised knowingly. I believed them. Mistake 1. What a bunch of crap! >>Indeed. >I have been in the hobby for over 20 years and that was when I used copper last - before this 'great product just recently'. Well, it did get the parasites - they are in the Lord now. But now my tank needs to cycle again with some valuable and dear creatures in it some over 10 years old. >>A dilemma, but certainly not one that can't be worked through. >Mistake 2: I was led to believe that the Cupramine could be cleared from the water by active carbon. >>A portion, yes, but really, PolyFilter is best for this.  Even then, to be safe you'll need to use it repeatedly.  And, it can only fix what hasn't already been fixed by other "stuff" (live rock, silicone, etc.). >I filtered the water for as long as my test kit registered zero. I then added live rock, quite a bit and well cured and many $$$. At this time Nitrite read zero and ammonia high. >>Indicating you have no nitrifying bacteria whatsoever.  That is called "Square One". >When the ammonia did not budge I did some further looking. Then I found out from other sources that Cupramine, not a simple copper sulphate solution, but a very complex one: copper -tris [cupric (tris hydroxy methyl  amino methane)] complex (hope I got that right) can not be totally eliminated with carbon. >>Yes.  However, I must note that of the available products, Cupramine is one I favor, in large part because of its efficacy.  This issue likely would have been encountered with the other products, as well. >I found this out from the helpful staff who make Poly Filter. So, I ended up killing off great bacteria by the Cupramine in water that tested "zero" for copper. Great! Mistake 3. >>Well, at least you're honest about your mistakes. >I did my best to make sense of what happened and I could scalp some people - in part myself for being so trusting.   >>It happens to the best of us.  Ask my "lawyer".  <rolling eyes here> >Since my pH happened to be on the low side of 7.8, I also lowered the tank temperature to 20 C to decrease the % of possible toxic ammonia. >>Ammonia is actually more toxic at higher pH values. >During all this time the fish community remained happy as usual though begging for food which I also decreased to a minimum. >>Why not go ahead and feed, just do more and larger water changes? >Upon the advice of the one knowledgeable aquarist and the Poly Filter guys I padded my Eheim Professional with plenty of their filter material. Alas, it cleared the remaining copper ammonia complex and probably plenty of other contaminants. It then made sense to me to replenish the bacteria culture and after some looking I chose Biozyme. >>Ok. >After two days, the Nitrite level rose suddenly to 1.6 -1.8 which I was not happy with but clearly the cycling started. >>Clearly. >As an emergency measure I got hold of a bottle of Prime to reduce it to 0.8 but because the tank seems to be kicking in, the bacteria need food too as much as the fish don't need the Nitrite. >>Yes, but the bacteria can do with a bit less food than the fish can do with the nitrite.  It *can* be brought back to snuff slowly.  Right NOW is the best time for the addition of new live rock. >I resisted water change because I did not want to upset an already delicate balance especially in view of the pH possibly rising. >>Do a water change, my friend.  The stress on the fish is a bigger issue than not cultivating *enough* nitrifiers.  You see, you WILL get them, just in smaller numbers, but the bigger issue is getting them RE-established first. >My experience with a closed system is that what goes in does not come out all by itself.   >>Indeed.  I think that resembles certain theories of physics, as well. >So, I left that aspect alone. >>Ok. >I am ready to rescue the fish to safety should things become critical. >>Do a water change instead of LETTING things become critical. >To this date, they have not exhibited any sigh of discomfort or toxification, no listlessness, breathing seems normal, no sudden flashing around the tank etc or any infection so they remain in the tank. They eat well when I feed them - tiny scraps.  I reason, why upset them if not absolutely necessary - they are busy enough with bad water. >>I can see your reasoning, but I'm sure you can understand where it hits a point at which it just doesn't make sense. >I would be very (very) grateful for any input about the above. >>Good.  ;) >I am sure I am not alone in this. >>Aw HECK NO! >I am also hoping that this communication may alert others that Cupramine may/does wreak havoc with Nitrosomonas especially and that active carbon may/will not eliminate it completely. >>And Nitrobacter.  Lots of folks believe what's on the bottle, when it's really much safer to assume that all meds will be entirely indiscriminate in what's killed.  Of course, there ARE exceptions to the rule, such as some parasites that are not at all affected by copper treatments. >With thanks for your always useful advice and with kind regards, Peter Paul Biro >>You're welcome, and treat your fish to a Christmas-time water change.  Marina

The Good, the Bad, and the Just Plain Wrong.. II >>Hi Marina! >>Hello, Peter! >Many thanks for your advice and patience to read through the long saga. >>It's a good thing I LOVE to read, then, eh? >I am happy to report that by the time your email arrived about a day after my email both Nitrite and Ammonia dropped down to the bottom of the readable scale. >>Excellent. >Today, after normal feeding both remain near zero - anyway - the color swatch that represents the lowest measurable amount by both the Hagen and the Red Sea test kits. >>I bet your fish are happy. >They will certainly get fresh water, this time not tap water which here in Montreal looks very suspect at this time. I purchased an ion exchange resin cartridge that should eliminate pollution and questionable stuff in our drinking water. I am keeping active carbon and poly filter in my Eheim as well. >>Sounds like a plan.  There's another Seachem product, the name escapes me at the moment, that is supposed to actually help with some contaminants as well.  Are you using the ion exchange solo, or in conjunction with a reverse osmosis unit?  To the best of my knowledge, both perform better in conjunction with each other. >I am planning several water changes but given the situation as described earlier do you think 20% is enough? >>Not by a long shot.  On the order of 50% is much more like it.  I haven't been able to find the actual graphic, but out there somewhere is a graph showing how doing several small w/c's is actually FAR less effective than doing one large one.  If I recall, it demonstrated that if one performed four 25% w/c's, they would be something like 50% LESS effective in reducing waste/contaminants than doing ONE 50% change.  However, you're communicating with a woman who is severely mathematically declined (bordering on moronic here - don't ask me how I did so well chemistry), so I can only relay what I've read.  Maybe there's someone else on the crew who can wrangle a calculator without getting hurt who might be able to demonstrate this in mathematical terms.  How in the WORLD do I manage to cook?  Don't ask about my checkbook, my mantra is "Thank God for Quicken!".  But, I digress. >I am reluctant to do more in one shot; I would rather do 20% changes say a few days apart until most of the water in the tank could be called fresh. How would you go about it? >>I wouldn't, because going that route you'd have to perform at least double the number of changes.  Don't be afraid of doing one big change, my friend.  It really is ok. >I am enormously relived that my dear little creatures are fine and never showed any sign of stress. >>Indeed! >I also have another question unrelated to this tank. I have a sweet little (14 inch) snowflake eel since about 4 months. My first eel ever.  He is very gentle, gets along with other fish, even those just a bit bigger than bite size for him. He is happy if I pick him up; he hangs on my submerged finger or curls up in my palm. >>Wow, that is amazing.  My own experiences with snowflakes have been somewhat less friendly.  However, I did know a fantastic Zebra moray that was just like this, except he was big around as my thigh (at that time, which was one serious thigh).  He was practically a pet.  No, he WAS a pet. >I got him to eat very quickly, likes fresh shrimp, krill and similar. He stopped accepting food about two weeks ago. I am aware that they go on hunger strikes on occasion. He seems happy, sociable, curious and very active after sunset. This tank has good water quality and has not experienced any mishaps such as my other 125 Gallon tank.  In your experience, at what point should I start to be concerned about his not eating? I offer him food usually every other day to see if he got fed up with his dieting but so far he remains uninterested. >>I wouldn't worry unless it goes much longer than a month.  Do watch his weight, I'm assuming that he's probably in fine mettle.  If he's more active during evening hours, you may wish to wait until then to offer any foods. >I searched your site and others and I read that they do this on occasion but that is about as much as is written about this specific topic. Could you direct me to sources I may have missed? >>Other than Googling it, my only other suggestion would be to join a few saltwater boards and pose the query there.  I am associated with our sister site, WetWebFotos (though don't get to spend as much time there as "here"), the URL is http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk  -  then there is another site I visit daily, http://www.reefs.org  - and an immensely popular site is ReefCentral   http://www.reefcentral.com  (I HOPE that's the URL!).  At any of these sites you are likely to find others who have experienced the same issue, and can query as to their experiences, including how long you can expect the diet to continue.  Just don't tell him Dr. Atkins is dead, eh? >With thanks, Peter Paul Biro >>You're again very welcome, and Happy Holidays, Feliz Navidad, La Chaim, Inshallah and all that bit.  Marina

- Copper in the Main Tank? - After reviewing all of the postings re: copper, I do have a few questions. If I have a 90-gallon fish-only tank that comes down with ich (lets say 4 of 5 get it), you are suggesting that they all be put in quarantine tanks and treated with copper in there? <Absolutely.> Logistically, is this really possible for the average hobbyist? <My friend, I am an average hobbyist, and I've done this with four or five ten gallon tanks, all purchased for the occasion... it really is your best option. All other options are fraught with problems and potential ineffectiveness.> I don't have another 90-gallon Q tank set up for these occasions so I'm not sure what I would do. <Several smaller tanks are actually easier to manage - less need to chase fish around to catch them for dips, etc.> I had always heard that you have to treat the entire tank if you have ich in your tank or another parasitic disease. Also, if that is done, won't the parasite continue to live in your main tank, even if the 1 or 2 other fish have not been struck by it? <Our suggested routine is to remove ALL fish, and let the tank run fallow for four to six weeks. A very large percentage of the parasites will perish in time without fish-hosts.> Will it actually live on them and in the substrate and multiply etc? <As long as there are hosts, yes.> And still be there when your other fish return? <Yes.> I am currently treating my 90-gallon tank with SeaCure after the lone fish I have (miniatus grouper) came down with ich after it had killed a tank mate. Are you saying that the SeaCure will destroy all of my good biological filtration that has built up in my wet/dry trickle? <Yes, and it will also be absorbed by your substrate and rock work, which means the effective dose will be lower than intended, potentially doing your fish no good at all.> I would appreciate your feedback. <Cheers, J -- >

- Dealing with Ich - Greetings Bob. <Actually, JasonC today...> I recently found your site and have now set it to my homepage.  I am so glad to see you guys here.  I have searched the FAQs relating to ich and the treatment of this nasty disease. (Diseases were so much easier to treat in medical school) I have an 80gal tank that seems to have the beginnings of an ich infestation.  I have about 40 lbs of LR, a 125 wet/dry, power filter with carbon and powerhead.  I have had the tank set up as an invert tank and developed ich about 21/2 months ago, I tried freshwater dips, Kent RZ-P (with a skimmer) etc and the ich ended up wiping the tank out. I decided to scrap the invert idea and go with a fish only set up since they are easier to treat if something becomes amiss.  I do not have a hospital tank at the moment.  I let the tank sit for about 1 month and tested the water quality (which have all been ok) and recently added two damsels as a test.  They have done perfectly fine for two weeks.  No scratching, no signs of salt like dots.  So I added a dog-puffer and lionfish.  They have done fine for a week until just yesterday I notice a few small white dots on the domino.  There are no signs up ich on anyone else but I know the little buggers are hiding out in there!  AHHHHH!!!  Here we go again.  As I said, I do not have a hospital tank and I want to hit the ich in the main tank as quickly as possible. <I really wouldn't advise this. Your lack of a quarantine tank and protocols for incoming fish got you where you are now. Treating the tank with copper will kill much of the life in your live rock and will most certainly stall the biological filter, leaving you with toxic nitrogenous wastes. Similarly, the absorption of the copper by the rock will make it difficult to reach an effective dose level. Please consider isolating your fish.> Would you recommend going with free copper (more readily available) or go with chelated? <If you must, chelated - it will come out of your rock work quicker.> I have raised the temp to 81-82 and salinity has been lowered to 1.018.  Any help is appreciated!  And thanks for all the help you give all of us!!!! Chris Kenmore <Cheers, J -- >

Sick Emperor Angel >Hello Mr. Fenner, >>Good morning, Marina to help you today. >I have a quick question that no one can seem to answer efficiently. I have an Emperor Angel fish that I have had for about 9 months now, and it just got sick about 1 month ago. The symptoms were: Pale body, fins were deteriorating, wasn't eating too much, breathing rapidly and darting/twitching. I took it out of the main tank, put it into a quarantine tank and treated it with copper for about 3 1/2 weeks. I tested the copper at 1.5, which remained consistent throughout the 3 1/2 weeks. Which brings me to today. I have been watching the fish a lot and it eats tons of food now, the body looks really nice, but the only thing that looks fishy (no pun intended) is that it still breaths rapidly (and seems to cough) like there is something bothering its gills, and darting/twitching. I have looked closely on its body and don't see any signs of parasites, however there are some small discolorations on the skin that are a little bit bigger than the size of freckles (there are about a handful on both sides of the fish) It is just discoloration (grayish color), it is not bulging, not fungus looking, not red around it, nor lesions on the body....it just seems like something is eating away at the skin with the way the fish is twitching/darting. Do you know what it might have? I was thinking that it might be gill flukes or something but I don't know. >>I'm thinking trematodes or something similar, and if I recollect correctly they're not at ALL affected by copper treatments.  You'll have to use Formalin, and I'll link you to a med guide and hopefully will find other links for you as well. >I am confused on what to do now, because CopperSafe kills mostly everything, but the fish still seems to be in discomfort....What medicine, if any, would be effective for the symptoms that I listed? I appreciate your help. All in all, the fish is really healthy, it isn't sluggish or weak, it is rather aggressive and loves to eat! >>Be sure to keep him fed and fat, in the meantime... http://www.petswarehouse.com/Fishmed2.htm http://www.petswarehouse.com/Fishmed3.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/disease.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/martrtmtfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/med.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimfa.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/treatmen.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/copperprodfaqs.htm >>There is SO much to find via Google through the site that I'm leaving it at this for now.  There is much information on utilizing Formalin for certain parasitic infections, and you'll soon learn that copper isn't the panacea that some believe it is when dealing with them.  Best of luck!  Marina

Is CopperSafe safe? Hello Crew, I was reading a package of CopperSafe, and it said that you only have to remove inverts without an exoskeleton.  Is this true?   Its only true long enough to make you believe that your shrimps did not die from copper two months after a treatment <G>. Hermits can usually live through copper... no invertebrates should be exposed to it. Not truly safe. More importantly, your question implies that you may not have a quarantine tank in use and that you are going to treat your display. Both situations are a recipe for failure with marine aquariums in the long run. Copper will poison your calcareous media (sand, rock, gravel, etc) for use with inverts in the future. Please read the excellent new articles on QT in the WWM archives (click link on new at WWM from the daily FAQ page if you like> I recently have had an outbreak of Ich in my Marine tank.  I currently have one coral banded shrimp, 4 scarlet reef hermit crabs, and about 10 Astrea snails in my 125 gallon.   <the snails are dead quick from copper... the shrimp likely soon after.> I also have 2 Ocellaris clowns.  I believe I read that they should not be treated with copper.  I have a very small QT about 5 gallons and all of my fish will not do well in there.  I'm working on getting a bigger one, but have limited funds.   <no worries my friend... how about a clean garbage can for a makeshift QT. Move the heater light and aeration over> Any suggestions would be great.  Thanks again, and I love you website. <thanks kindly! Anthony>

Organicure Hello Bob, <<Hi, JasonC here... Bob is off diving in some tropical place...>> As happens too often I have stayed up way too late reading through FAQs on your site. In looking through your FAQs I noticed that you do not seem to like Organicure (Copper 1.25% and formaldehyde 17%) as a treatment. My question is why?... since both copper and formalin are recommended in other FAQs. Okay, I'll admit the name is misleading and the "safe for shrimps and crabs" thing is BS. <<I'd rather not speak for Bob, but my guess for his apparent dislike of Organicure would be your aforementioned claim on the label about being safe for inverts, which it obviously is not based on the ingredients. I think perhaps also because as a combined cocktail, the average hobbyist can do a lot of damage with this brew. These are only guesses though... personally, I've also used Organicure to good success in my quarantine tanks so...>> However, I have been using Organicure quite successfully (although not according to directions) since I can remember for both crypto, velvet, and pretty much any thing that looks like white spots. My treatment routine is 1 drop Organicure per 2 gallons (half the recommended dosage) repeated daily for four days. If this fish are tolerating this very well I sometimes increase the dosage up to 1 drop per 1.5 gallons, depends on the species. <<Hmm, we differ here... I strictly stick with the directions, and have will no ill effects.>> I have "burned" fish using the recommended 1 drop per gallon. <<Ah well... we all have different experiences I suppose. No worries, though.>> In most cases the fish are free of visible parasites by the third day, if not I do a freshwater dip and complete the treatment. I have successfully treated a wide variety of animals including sensitive species such as butterflies this way with no ill effects. Although, in case you post this, <<Oh... it will be posted, of that we can be sure.>> I should note that occasionally I have had a reoccurrence of the parasite after a week or two so I keep a close watch on the animals for 2 - 3 weeks following treatment. Just thought I would share this with you. <<And indeed, thank you for sharing.>> Thanks for the helpful site, Richard <<Cheers, J -- >>

Nitro bacteria Steven, thanks for the info. Sounds bad about the nitro-bac though. I used Cupramine which is supposed to be safe to the filter bed. However, I've been adding small amounts of food to the tank to try and bring about some ammonia for the nitro-bac and my readings are still 0. <There are still some that made it through. Copper is harmful, but will not sterilize the tank.> If the worst case is true though and I guess I won't know until I get some damsels in there to really put it to the test. <True> Should I remove all the dead coral decorations and all the crushed coral substrate out of the aquarium and replace with live sand to help speed up the re-cycle. <My reference to ruining all the calcareous media was to inverts. The impact on your beneficial is a completely different thing.> I don't want to have to wait three months again to cycle this tank again. One other thing if you don't mind, what are your thoughts on using AmmoLock in an emergency in a uncycled QT if need be? <Worth a try, but water changes can and will help, too.> Thanks again Steven, Rob <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: ich freaking me out (types of copper, test kits) Bob or Anthony. which test kit matches which copper product. I have Cupramine AND CopperSafe the test kits I have are SeaChem, red sea AND Fastest thank you AGAIN confused Renee RN <Please read through the labels AND WWM files on Copper Use... match chelated with chelated, non- with non-, for test kits and copper solutions. Bob Fenner>

Re: copper and its solubility/thanks Bob- Thank you for responding to my E mail. I know from the number of people that I have asked that it is not an easy one. I'm curious, what does CRC stand for? in reference to the manual you mentioned Thanks again! J. Warrick <Chemical Rubber Company... http://www.chem.uidaho.edu/~honors/crc.html back in the "old days" they had a virtual monopoly on such data gathering. Bob Fenner>

Copper Hi Bob, FYI...after dosing the recommended quantity (per the instructions) into my 55 g tank, I could still see copepods, (forgot to remove 2 blue hermit crabs as well; both survived the treatment) <Interesting> Ick disappeared and the fish are doing fine. CopperSafe's instructions indicate that it may be harmful only to corals or animals without an exoskeleton. One night I even saw some type of weird amphipod ( I suspect) that looked like a little guy with arms and legs, jumping from rock to rock (size= roughly 1/3 or an inch; see below). I thought per your advise below, nothing should be left alive in a system that has been treated with copper? I just wanted to bring this to your attention... <Thank you for this... walking a/the thin line... between poisoning the undesired life, not so poisoning desired livestock, Bob Fenner> \'/ | / \ Thanks, D.

Re: Copper > Hi Bob, > FYI...after dosing the recommended quantity (per the instructions) > into my 55 g tank, I could still see copepods, (forgot to remove > 2 blue hermit crabs as well; both survived the treatment) > <Interesting> Indeed.. those must be some real die hard organisms, or this product (Copper Safe) is not as harmful as you make it to be. <<It's a bit safer than other formulations... definitely more so than non-chelated copper compounds>> > Ick > disappeared and the fish are doing fine. CopperSafe's instructions > indicate that it may be harmful only to corals or animals without > an exoskeleton. One night I even saw some type of weird > amphipod ( I suspect) that looked like a little guy with arms and > legs, jumping from rock to rock (size= roughly 1/3 or an inch; see > below). > I thought per your advise below, nothing should be left alive > in a system that has been treated with copper? I just wanted to > bring this to your attention... > <Thank you for this... walking a/the thin line... between poisoning the > undesired life, not so poisoning desired livestock, Bob Fenner> There's some risk in every action taken. <<A verity my friend... as well as risk in non-actions. Bob Fenner> D.

Copper Questions Hi Bob! Hope you had a good holiday season. It's pretty cold here in Indiana. What's it like in sunny CA? <Bunk, I had to put a tee shirt on this AM!> I am setting up a quarantine tank, and I just have three quick questions for you. First, is there a certain brand of copper that you prefer? <CopperSafe and Cupramine... are what I mainly use, suggest worldwide... I know the company/manufacturers and their ready distributors... ease of securing four one/gallon cases... consistency of product> I was leaning toward either CopperSafe, SeaCure or Cupramine. I want to have some on hand in case the need arises. <Good idea> Second, I read from several sources that maintaining a "therapeutic" level of copper is a good idea for a Q tank. Do you agree, and what constitutes a "therapeutic" level? <I don't agree... better to forego the use of copper in most cases... use a bath/dip instead... many animals are more sensitive to copper than "what it's worth" to intentionally poison them. Ask the folks who suggest such continuous use what they consider a "therapeutic level"... to me it/this is the same as a treatment level of free cupric ion... anything less is a sub-therapeutic concentration... does no good, some harm. Please see the many "copper" sections on WetWebMedia.com> Finally, would a small power filter (hang on) be adequate filtration for a 10 gallon Q tank? <Should be... do add some extra aeration depending on bio-load...> Thanks for you help! Dave Indianapolis <Good questions. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Copper too high? Hello Mr. Fenner, Thank you for the excellent advice you have given me on my fish. I am approaching day 5 of my copper treatment and up till now I could not seem to get the levels above .10ppm. I added the usual amount (that until now did not seem to raise the level substantially) of copper to my 135gal yesterday, and tonight I have tested twice @ .25ppm! My fish are not showing any stress whatsoever. Should I carbon my tank or will it settle down by tomorrow? <Likely drop overnight> My fish are foxfaces, spadefish, sea robins, flounders, damsels, skilletfish, and a blenny. I have a supply of ghost shrimp in the tank that do not seem affected either. Steve Tilotta <Surprising re the Ghost Shrimp. Bob Fenner>

Re: Copper too high? Thank you so much for your reply. Earlier I was panicking, so I didn't bother to read the FAQ's on copper use first. BTW, I am using SeaCure's copper sulfate & citric acid, and I am testing it with Fastest. The manufacturer recommends .15ppm max, but when I treated a couple of months ago @ .15 a couple of hidden crabs actually survived the whole treatment. <Yes... this is the lowest end of a physiological dose of free cupric ion> The durability of my ghost shrimp doesn't surprise me a bit. I collect them by the thousands (to feed my flounders & sea robins) from Galveston, TX. (if they can live there, they can live anywhere)  <Agreed... spent some time driving in trucks, sleeping on the brown water beaches there> I keep them in a 150gal. 21/2' deep box lined with a pond liner in my back yard (in the shade). Only high ammonia (Apparently not high copper) seems to harm these little titans. <Amazingly tough. Bob Fenner>

Re: miracle cures If "Kick Ick" and "Rally" were in my business I would tell people to READ about them first. I did that after I over used them and it was too late. These medications only poison the fish to provoke a defensive reaction that will make the parasites "slide" off.  <This is so> Only problem is they come back 100x more and your fish are weaker due to the poisoning. I think 3 of my fish may have made it if I didn't over medicate with these products. By the way, I don't know what size tank that Maculosus was in but mine is only 75gall. Too small I know but I am gearing up (i.e......getting a real job) to make a significant upgrade towards the end of the summer. <Timely> I do have a good relationship with the store so I will make sure I can trade him in if he becomes the marauder that I've heard he can be. Thanks again.....keep up the great work. Rick <Thank you my friend. Will endeavor to do so. Bob Fenner>

copper test kit Dear Robert, I read all the copper related columns in your web page but still can't get the answer that I'm looking for. Kind of stupid, right? <Mmm, likely "what you seek" is not there, or poorly written.> For treating marine ich in fish only tank, I am currently using an ionized copper sulfate product from "Marine Enterprises". Is this a good product? <Yes> Is it named as a non-chelated copper? <It is a non-chelate> I tried to use "Marine Enterprises" own copper test kit to measure the copper level, but have a hard time matching the color. <Perhaps another brand would be better> Do you have any brand of test kit that can accurately measure the level of copper sulfate ion (CUSO4 . 5H2O 4%)? <All sorts... I use LaMotte and Hach's> Which one of Salifert, Lamotte or Hach do you prefer in my case? <Probably Salifert... cheaper, more widely available> Thanks for your great help. Best wishes, Alexcych <Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Re: Copper I have a 220 gallon tank that is strictly fish. I have been adding fish and a few have come down with Ick. What brand of copper do you recommend? I am currently using SeaCure from Aquarium Systems. Also, how long do I keep the treatment active? The treatment is currently between .15 and .25ppm. John <Much to say... Please read through the many "copper" sections posted on the marine index of our principal site, WetWebMedia.com There is a search feature there. I would not necessarily treat your fish livestock with copper... Bob Fenner>

Copper Hello, I have read many articles about the use of copper on WetWebMedia and Ffexpress. Throughout the articles you mention many types of copper that you will not use. What do you recommend? What brand? John <All copper solutions (chelated/sequestered and "free") have their place, use, advantages/shortcomings... Mainly I/we have made-up our own citrated solutions using clean water, citric acid, copper sulfate pentahydrate... I use, have used most commercial preparations over the years... Could you be more specific about your situation, or what you hope to accomplish with this information? Bob Fenner>

Copper, fish secreting mucus Bob, I noticed after medicating with chelated copper that my emperor angle is secreting more body mucus. How do I know, well my down tubes on the intake and output of the canister filter has a good coating, plus my Emp feels a bit more slimy. I grabbed my emperor, to get a scraping sample. I'm going to put the scraping sample under a microscope. Over at Hopkins Marine station right by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I have a buddy that works there. Anyhow is chelated copper good to use? Or should I use copper sulfate? I hear that chelated copper is very difficult to remove from out of the water. That it tends to bind. What are you opinions regarding copper sulfate, and chelated copper. Thanks again. <These are posted... where? Bob Fenner> Linstun

Re: Copper use Bob, Here's a question that is not on your FAQ pages nor on your sight .Ok you ready? Here it is. Since I don't have ANY life forms in my 240 tank, only the substrate. How long should I treat it with copper??? To make sure that the damn ick is completely gone. No resting stages etc.. My current copper levels are 1.5 ppm. I'm using CopperSafe which is a chelated kind. <Treat per the label instructions. Bob Fenner> Linstun

what you think. (re copper use) Bob, here is a discussion from my LFS owner. Can you give me you PERSONAL opinion regarding his advice to me. Please this means a lot to me. Thanks Linstun- First off, Copper Safe is the wrong type of copper to use to either prevent or cure Oodinium (saltwater ich). Copper Safe is a chelated copper ion; that is, it is bound with a chelating agent such EPDA. Therefore, the copper ion never contacts the parasite directly and is universally known to be unacceptable for treatment. Think of a chelating agent as a force-field surrounding an ion, such as copper in this case. Copper Safe, or any chelated copper product, is primarily marketed to those who insist on having a treatment that is "safe" for invertebrates as well as fish.  <Not safe for non-fish life. Easier to use as the sequestering agent helps keep the copper in solution longer... Non-chelated copper needs to be checked for concentration, re-applied more frequently. The amount of free/cupric ion is meant to be the same in both formulations> Bottom line: chelated copper is ineffective and nearly impossible to remove from the water after use, as it will not precipitate (fall out of solution) like a free-ion copper treatment. You must remove all the water after Copper Safe is used -- big time bummer! <Ridiculous statement. Was actually a liaison for Mardel Labs for a while, answering their 800 product information calls... Do actually use the products, activated carbon, Polyfilter, or just "time going by"... even chelated coppers are easily removed, precipitate insolubly over time> Use only a free-ion solution of copper, such as the one marketed by Aquarium Systems for the quarantine tank. We also mix up our own batch using the ratios of copper sulfate and citric acid outlined by Dr. Dempster from Steinhart Aquarium all the way back in the 1950's... that's how long it has been used successfully! <Yes... our old companies mixed up several thousands of pounds of copper sulfate pentahydrate. Do know of the Dempsters of the C.A.S as well, fine folks> Couple of questions... Was the emperor angel quarantined before you added him to the tank that was free from fish for three weeks? If not, was he removed from the same tank and then put back in? If so, of course, he may never have lost the parasites to begin with and only brought them back with himself as he entered the old tank. <Likely so> The mechanism for ciliates and dinoflagellates (Oodinium and Cryptocaryon) to re-infect takes much longer than a day or two, <If there is no multi-generational infestation present> as the tomites must reach the host, encyst, fall off, and only then do you see a white spot -- which actually is not the parasite at all, but a cavity left behind from where it was attached that has filled in with bacteria! <Not so... the mucus markings can be present feeding stages> The cystic stage (on the fish) is much, much too small to see with the naked eye. My guess is that the emperor has been a host all along. The description you give of "winning the battle" is typical if treatment is given or not, as this is part of the natural cycle for the parasites to fall off and then reattach later at a much greater force, which usually kills the fish by overwhelming its ability to respirate. <Agreed> Keep in mind, this discussion is really speculation, as the only way to identify and be sure of any disease causing agent is with the use of a microscope or a culture -- which most hobbyists are unprepared to do. Drain the quarantine tank and main tanks completely if you have use Copper Safe and re-fill with new synthetic salt mix. Dose the quarantine tank with a free-ion copper sulfate solution and maintain the level between .15 to .20 ppm. Do this for 14 days with all the fish. In the meantime, keep the main tank empty of fish. After you are sure the quarantine is successful (kept at the proper level of free-ion copper throughout), add the fish back to the main tank and everything should be OK. You asked about copepods -- they are closely related to brine shrimp  <Define "closely"... different Classes...> and unaffected by either form of copper solution. Don't be concerned about them, as most forms are innocuous. <Time to hit the books. Physiological doses of copper will kill any/all crustaceans. Just do a simple experiment here.> If you want to sure, I'll teach you how to do a scraping of the fish (won't harm them at all) and you can borrow my microscope to see if any parasites remain. It's actually pretty easy to see Oodinium or Cryptocaryon. I'll sell you a 50 gallon mix for $14.00 or a 150 gallon bucket for $40.00 when ever you need it. Otherwise, I'm not sure when the sale is next going on. Good luck, Ray <My friend, my personal opinion that is of any use to you is the same as it has been: You need to study. If you take the time, make the effort to consult the scientific literature, you won't find yourself wasting your time, your livestock's lives, scratching around for disparate opinions.  In the early eighties I worked for a bioassay lab run by the U.S. Navy testing anti-fouling paints; principally copper and organo-tin compounds. Our bibliography included some ten thousand references on the science and technology of copper. Testable, refutable hypothesis... science.  The efficacious use of chelated coppers in ornamental aquatics is not a matter of "opinion". Does your LFS believe that manufacturers, wholesalers, and yes, public aquariums would waste their time, money, livestock on chelated copper solutions if they were ineffective? Ridiculous. Read, learn, stop wasting your time. Bob Fenner> Linstun

Re: what you think. Bob, Now you can see why I am so confused. I hear one thing and then I hear another. <Don't I understand this... I have "been in" the hobby and industry for decades... trying my best to "sort things out"... and "run into" the same situation as you appear to be in (direct to conflicting instruction sets) continuously. This is a large part of the reason that I put my ideas, suggestion, opinions, borrowed facts (e.g. references) into PRINT. For others to peruse, dispute, use/adapt adopt to their own purposes. Try to understand, it is imperative that you learn to "sort out" these viewpoints yourself, to develop your own "course of action"... Not simply ask, follow the directions provided by any one or even a group of people. To know the "why" you are doing something is tremendously empowering. Don't be lazy and cheat yourself of understanding> I'm at a point where I'm about to give up on this hobby. Even after reading so many things, books, internet. etc.. Every opinions, answers are so different. Just thought you should know. <I do know this. Bob Fenner> Linstun

Re: SOS, just doused CopperSafe.. Bob, I took out all of my liverock, cleaner gobies out of my infected 240 gal. Tank. And capped off my 20 gal. refugium.. Afterwards I doused my tank with CopperSafe. There are no life forms in the tank whatsoever. Since I don't have any liverock, inverts, fish left. Is it ok to over douse the CopperSafe? <Mmm, there are other biocides that work faster, more completely, but no real problem if there is nothing other than water in the tank> The only thing left in the tank is ich, and microbes. Also I moved all of my liverock in 2 20 gal. plastic garbage cans. Both running with powerheads, <The ich can encyst, live on these surfaces for weeks to months> but only one has a heater in it. I don't have an extra heater. Will this be alright for the liverock?  <Please read WetWebMedia.com re LR> The rocks are totally aged and cured. Oh and would the 240 tank be considered "treated" and fish safe after 2 weeks from now? Or do I need to wait longer. Thanks, <See above. Study my friend. Bob Fenner> PS all of my fish are in two 50 gallon quarantine tanks. They are also being treated with CopperSafe.....

Did I get it right (tank, ick sick, cooper safe) Sorry for the intrusion (I will keep it short, 10-15 pages perhaps), :) <Mmm> I have recently (very recently, 3mos) started a fish-only tank, so I thought... I have been in fresh water for about 2 yrs (elbow deep), which does not help much. Now it appears that my fish-only became fish-parasite only tank. Furthermore I got an anemone, which now has her/his own quarters. <Yikes> I have 30g, 330 Penguin Something Rather BioWheel, AquaClear 402 air head (that's me) and one of those, BEST ON THE MARKET SeaClone FOR UP TO 100G skimmer (I guess I should change that eventually??). After cycling the tank with not-so-live rock, I got 3 false Percula babies, which are getting alone so far (3wks). At the same time I got an orange-base anemone, which I was told needs nothing extra, just throw her in the water the owner said, so I did.  <Hmm, not easily kept by and large. Maybe not a "partner type": http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anemones.htm> Three days into our coexistence clowns continued to show no interest in the anemone but begun to show ick (I think). Being a freshwater elbow-deep expert, I went to the same store and did not find it unusual for the owner (same person who sold me the anemone) to give me Cooper-Safe as a remedy. <No...> "Don't forget to raise temperature" he said. This is when my reading came handy, I did get the anemone out first, but treated the rock and fish with Cooper-Safe. Till now I am not sure if the cooper settles in the rock. <Yes... are you testing for free copper in your water?> Then came more reading and more reading and then some more reading, thanks for the info. <Glad, even happy to be here> Anyway, now I have a 55g waiting for the new ballast, hood, lights and a bunch of new not-so live rock in buckets, endless bottles of Iron, Calcium, Trace Elements, Iodine, Strontium and whatever else I could think of. All of the inhabitants will go there eventually (the tank that is) well, except for my freshwater pets and the cats. <Good idea> To continue the saga, I've learned that the first batch of rock I bought was from the sick tank, so it was probably swirling with germs... <Time for some fish store shopping> Now, that I am putting it all on "paper" I begin realizing how blonde I really am. Well, enough about me.. After all this, if you are not asleep yet, here are my questions: 1. Do we have Ick? Fish seem to be fine, eating like pigs and display no distress Ph is 8.0-8.2, 0ppg Ammo and Nitrite, 20-25 Nitrate, Salinity 1.022-23. All three have 1-2mm in diameter white sugar-grain-looking clumps on their body and fins. Not much, 2-3pc each, but it has only been only two weeks and more have appeared since the episode with cooper, which is still in the water. The clumps look nothing like salt-grains, which seem to be smaller, at least in my house so I got to thinking... again... is this ick? <May be something else... Brooklynella and Lymphocystis come to mind first. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clndisfaqs.htm and the links beyond> 2. Cooper... Is my old rock doomed for existence in sick tank only or can I eventually use it for an invertebrate-fish-perhaps Coral tank? <Yes you can use this rock... the copper/cooper will become more than less insoluble in your circumstances> Cooper-Safe says that it does not settle in gravel. (Am I too gullible?). <No... you seem to have a good balance of openness, playfulness and skeptical cynicism> 3. Setup... Will 250W (150-day-light, 110 Actinic) for 55g standard depth tank be sufficient lightning for Long Tentacle Anemone or should I take out a loan on a different type of light (I mean Metal Halide)? <S/b enough> Halide cannot go in the hood? ......Right? <Not likely in a "stock" hood... one could be made, bought to accommodate MH... I would stick with what you have> Will it be enough filtration / skimming for 55g. (330gph 2 BioWheels filter and SeaClone MaxiJet 1000 pump apparently for 100g)? I have additional power heads if needed. <S/b fine. Keep the pump intakes well-screened in the event of the anemone floating about, getting sucked up against...> 4. Additives.... Do I really need all the additives, (actually I think Strontium and Calcium is overdoing it, but my rock will appreciate it) such as Iron, Iodine and Trace Elements in the water?  <Hmm, not likely necessary... definitely would not go overboard with just pouring in A, B, C... w/o test kits for all, monitoring> I use ReefCrystals for the anemone and they say (again I may have been tricked) It is "ENRICHED" (but don't say with what) for optimal growth of invertebrates <Mainly a bit more calcium. A good product> 5. Cure for Ick... I will begin reducing gravity (salinity-the same thing?) <For intents/purposes here, yes> to eventually reach 1.019 and the temperature is up to 80oF and will probably go up to 88oF unless you speak now... ( at what temperature will my tank become fish-soup?).  <Mid eighties F is enough... no further benefit from further elevation> Must I get the UV sterilizer or can it (UV) be skipped? <Can be skipped. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphysf.htm> 6. The one who started all this..... Anemone is OK, she even kept her green-brown glow for now and sits under a rock somewhat attached with the outer-part of her tentacle plate, awaiting for the 55g to get ready. She eats in her 10g tank and yesterday I did not have to "stuff food in her mouth", she actually held onto it and mouthed it herself. It is not very roomy, but somehow we maintain the Ammo and Nitri at 0 with PH of 8.0-8.2. Must be the water changes and the skimmer. She has regular light (15W) and Penguin-Wheel 170. Powerhead was been turned off as she did not seem to like that idea. moved away from the stream). What are her chances of survival in my hands?  <Better at this point... Mmm, fifty-fifty with a more than 50 variance> Should I give her away to someone who knows?  <I would not give this animal away.> Or just go to church more often?  <If this brings you solace, understanding, grace...> Actually I do "want to know", but it takes time... I do my best between FT work and FT grad program. <All things take time my friend> I do appreciate your time and in advance thank you for any suggestions, comments or whatever else, including additional reading material that you may offer. (I have read not all, but quite a lot of web-sites that appear through search and eves-dropping on other people e-mails.) I will also understand if you just don't have time for this, we are all busy people. Once again, thanks, Oksana. <We all have exactly the same amount of time... Let us set out to use ours well. Bob Fenner>

Re: Did I get it right (tank, ick sick, cooper safe) You are good AND fast? Thanks a bunch, I'll go to reading now, Hope all is well, Oksana Thank you. <Yes my friend. Chat with you soon. Bob Fenner>

Supplements Hi again, Still have more questions, this time on supplements: 1. I have heard that using Lugol?s solution for iodine supplements in the aquarium is quite controversial; however, would it be good to use Lugol?s solution as a dip for incoming inverts (coral, etc.) and mix a solution of KI as the supplement? What percent mass by volume would you recommend the KI solution to be? <Yes... as a matter of actual practice this is exactly what I do, and institute in culture and collection stations... Stock solutions, treatments are a bit "tricky"... as you can well appreciate... the amount applied is highly variable... depending on stocking considerations of animals that use/need iodide... dosing frequency/protocol... make up of the system contents and filtration... My best advice/what I do is to administer a given amount and test the next day... and above all, carefully observe your livestock.> 2. I?m curious about making a CuSO4 solution for use in a quarantine tank. I know there are two ways to make a stable for (citrated or chelated) but I?m not sure exactly how to go about the procedure (I have access to a high school chemistry lab). Specifically, what percents of CuSO4 and citric acid do I use for the citrated for (please specify units, i.e. volume/volume, etc.)?  <Approximately ten percent by weight of the citric acid granular... to copper sulfate pentahydrate...> What ligand compound do I use for the chelation process and what procedure do I use? <Most formulations involve alkano-amines... These procedures are proprietary... but you can get a good glimpse of all by a visit to a college library, perusing the Chem. Abstracts on-line...> 3. Somewhat off the topic, how do I recharge the Tap Water Purifier? I tried to use a weak HCl solution but when I tested the new batch with a TDS test it read about 2900 mg/L whereas the entering water is about 400 mg/L. <Yikes... best not to try recharging these ion-exchange resins at all... In fact, you sound like a candidate for a simple reverse osmosis unit... this will get you clean enough water for the lowest possible cost... and no waiting, muss-fuss...> Thanks again, Kevin <Looking forward to further "conversations" with you. Much more can be said on the large topics, ideas you present. Bob Fenner>

Reef  lighting, supplement questions... hey bob. I have a few questions...I have a 55 gallon reef tank (standard size 55 gal.) right now, I have 2 - 55 watt power compacts on the right side of the tank and 2 - 35 watt power compacts on the left...is this sufficient lighting??? <For? What sorts of organisms, desired results?> ..it is a homemade hanging hood, so I was considering putting all of the power compacts on one side and getting one metal halide for the other, does this sound better?? <Perhaps, with the MH lighting over more light-needy/using life> ... also, I have a Acropora coral that completed lost, or should I say, shed its color of green and is now completed white...did it die??, <Possibly. Or has just lost all its zooxanthellae... should have algae growing over its skeleton if gone> why would this happen??? <A few possibilities... could be the lack of adequate lighting, lack of biomineral, lack of alkalinity, infectious or parasitic disease...> will this process have any effect on the other corals??? <Depends on the cause/s> I have a calcium reactor and add strontium and iodine on a weekly basis, I do weekly 5 gallon water changes (with ro/di water), all other parameters are fine...thanks, Jeff <Time to re-read (leisurely) through your reef aquarium reference books, the gamut of material on marine set-up and maintenance posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com in search for "things that click" here. Bob Fenner>

Copper & Annularis Angel. (Seachem product, advice?) In my experience's with copper products I've lost a puffer, several Lionfish, and 3 baby emperor angels, (not all the same time). At No time was the copper level at the label max dosage. After investigating and calling the company (Seachem) They told me copper can not be used with these fish. Something about sensitivity to CU ions and liver failures. All of these fish died almost the exact same way. All water parameters were in check. There was heavy breathing for a day or so then they spasmed out from what appeared to look like a massive heart attack! (very troubling to watch!) So given my situation what would you do? Jet <Where to start here... All fishes (and non-fishes for the matter) have a sensitivity to copper (cupric ions)... Puffers and Marine Angelfishes only to a slighter degree than some sort of "average" (who told you what you state above at SeaChem?)... I suggest the use of other technologies ahead of chemical medications for reducing the likelihood of parasitic infestations (preventative dips, quarantine, cleaners...) as stated in various places under "Marine Diseases" on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com, various books, articles. And if a person finds themselves faced with the necessity/expediency of copper use, to avail themselves of chelated/sequestered solutions, WITH test kit use...  The "results" you detail, "heavy breathing for a day... spasmed out... massive heart attack!" describe something other than death from a normal dose of copper... Again, I am curious as to why a company representative would describe one of their products as so toxic w/o listing it as such on their label, inserts... Bob Fenner>

Re: Copper & Annularis Angel. <<The "results" you detail, "heavy breathing for a day... spasmed out... massive heart attack!" describe something other than death from a normal dose of copper... Again, I am curious as to why a company representative would describe one of their products as so toxic w/o listing it as such on their label, inserts... Bob Fenner>> A very very very good question! And why did none of LFS employs not say anything? <Got me, and you... and your poor fishes> I wish I can remember who I spoke with at Seachem. It was a fellow with a strong accent, one of their tech support staff. I should also tell you when treating with the product Their were other fish in the system that had absolute no adverse reactions. <Bizarre... and frightening... were the specimens "new"? As in recent imports?> So should I continue with approach I'm going in? I'm still at 1.015 salinity? <I would at this juncture... with the addition of cleaners when the spg is elevated back to near natural seawater> The eye looks much better today, and he's swimming about, along with a healthy appetite! <Good to hear/read> Sorry if I'm a pain in the neck Jason <No worries my friend in fish. Would you mind if I sent this and your last post to SeaChem? Bob Fenner>

Re: Copper & Annularis Angel. (Send to Seachem.) You may go right on ahead. I feel a warning label would be very appropriate on a product sensitive to certain fish. <Me too, certainly> As for cleaner shrimp! I'm afraid my Huma Huma trigger will make a tasty snack of him. The fish that got exposed to the Cupramine product were all but one, brand new to my tank. The puffer I had since November. As for when the store had them in. I know one of the Baby Emperors were their for at least 3 weeks before I bought it. I currently go to 3 different LFS in my area. <And you did test for free copper ion with a "matching" test kit? Does sound more and more like an unintentional overdose. Bob Fenner> Jason

Kick-ich? Hi Bob, I'm still dealing with ich problems in my 20 gallon tank. My LFS recommended Kick Ich, so I just dosed my tank with it, and now my fish are spazzing out just like they did when I tried using Cupramine for the second time. I was determined that the copper was what killed my first clown so I didn't want to use it. I was also skeptical as to whether my problem was really ich in the first place. The did have white spots for about two days. Now there are no white spots (I know the fish may have ich even if you don't see the lesions though). <Yes, and the ich parasites may be in their "off host" tomite stages... and coming back in force...> They have been scratching against the substrate - but eating completely normally. Oh - one of the clowns has gotten a lot darker on the top part of his body - kind of brown almost. Could this be a sign of something else.  <Likely just an artifact of the treatment itself> I also see traces of a line on his body, but not very noticeable and it's been there since the beginning. Also, I've read everything on the wetweb site on ich, diseases, vertical line disease, etc. and this line doesn't look like the vertical line disease that's described there. It really just looks like an impression - like the lines on the palm of the hand. <Again... the "Kick-ich"> Did I mess up by treating the water? It seems that everyone I ask at every fish store here gives me different advice and I don't know who to believe. ARGH! My fish are even more stressed after the Kick Ich than before. <I don't endorse the use of this product... but other folks who I deem credible have told me it worked for them> My ph is 8.2, but my alkalinity is around 1.7.  <This is too low...> nitrites 0, ammonia 0, copper is nil. . .The ph and alkalinity test kits came together with a bottle of buffer too. . . do I use the same buffer to treat both?  <Yes... I suspect so> Won't treating the alkalinity alter my stable ph? <Not necessarily... pH is a "point" on a scale... alkalinity is a measure of "resistance" to change in a given point... if the buffer is formulated to "hold" the pH about where it is, the pH won't shift...> Please help, I'm confused about so many things. Thanks, Laura <Lots to be confused about... As I frequently state: strive to understand the underlying facts/science behind all's opinions... and decide for yourself what to do. Bob Fenner>

Re: Kick-ich? Hi Bob, One more question: The KickIch says it shouldn't be used in conjunction with any other chemicals. Knowing this, Should I refrain from adding the buffer until after the treatment? Thanks, Laura <Please try to understand me here... I DO NOT ENDORSE the use of this product... It is my opinion it is neither safe nor effective enough to be offered on the markets as it is. CONTACT RR re their products... I do not use them, will not use them. Clear? Bob Fenner>

Ich and Coral Vital I need some advice, I just happened on your site here. You have so much information, I'm still trying to find my way through. <Me too! And so much more to go...> We have ich in our 75 gallon tank. First we lost an arrow head crab, then a blenny and another small fish (not sure what though, it's really my husband's tank) Our yellow tang has signs of ich, and some "pock marks" around his face and another small fish is showing some signs of ich. We have a little over 100 lbs. of live rock. We don't have a quarantine tank (yet, getting one very soon). There are just so many theories, that it is down right confusing.  <Yes... most everyone has some opinion... and very different. Look to folks who have "no axe to grind", or "palm to grease"... i.e. nothing to sell you here, and can/will provide substantial background reasoning for their opinions.> Reading through your letters, I immediately ordered some gobies and cleaner shrimp, they will be here in the morning. A store we get fish and advice from suggests Coral Vital to kick the ich. As a matter of fact they said it's the only way. From reading your letters, I know that's not true, but what do you think of using the Coral Vital? Please help. Thank you, Mercedes <The addition of simple sugars (mainly hexoses) is a proven cathartic... used from the 1940's on in Europe... and a part of receiving protocols I instigate yearly at collecting, transshipping, and wholesale livestock businesses every year... but ongoing benefits? I am doubtful, and there is much evidence of downsides (e.g. filamentous algae proliferation... diminished vitality in livestock...), and for "cures"? Malarkey I say... Am still waiting to see evidence of such claims... as in "science" (testable, falsifiable hypothesis... carried out in double or more blind studies...) the sugar daddy ads are a dismal example of yellow press IMO...  Bob Fenner>

Cupramine hello bob, do you know SeaChem Cupramine and are they capable of destroying parasite Oodinium and crypt? <Yes and yes.> am I right to say Oodinium and crypt looks almost the same. <Yes, the crypt/ich more discrete generally, fewer, larger whiter dots... the Amyloodinium/velvet more diffuse, often brown to reddish cast in appearance> my Asfur contact the disease from the purple tang and his behaviour are normal normal breathing, alert and eating not that serious right. when can I turn on my ozone and u/v? <Best to leave off during the treatment period, two weeks> what happen and is there any chemistry reaction is ozone is on and I intend to on my skimmer abt 2 days later. <The ozone and U.V use can/does rapidly increase the rate of loss of this copper-based medicant. You need to monitor free copper (but with a chelated copper type test kit) at least daily and adjust concentration accordingly> where can I find you and what are you promoting in the Aquarama this year? <Tell us where you'll be at a predesignated time... and "just" the interest. I/we do not "sell" products or livestock of our own. Bob Fenner, who encourages you to review the materials on marine parasites, three sets of factors that determine livestock health, dips/baths, quarantine, copper use, and ich, velvet on the www.wetwebmedia.com site.>

Ick Bob, I have some problems!!! I purchased a Powder Blue Tang that apparently had  ick. I've learned my lesson, because I did not have a quarantine tank. The  tang died but he decided to leave the parasite behind. Now it appears the  yellow tang has spots and my flame angel is getting cloudy eyes, which I'm  guessing is another sign of those damn parasites. To further thicken the  plot I'm in college right now and I'm planning to move the tank home with me  in a month and a half, so I really don't want to set up a quarantine. It is  a fish only tank, and I have no desire to make it into a reef system. I have  some live rock but there isn't anything growing out of it. I would like to  treat the whole tank with copper so that all the fish don't die before I try  to move everything home. I'm currently using a product called Greenex by  Aquatronics that is supposed to stop Ick and other parasites. the yellow  tang seems to be doing better, but not the Flame Angel. I also have a  damsel, a clown fish, and a Panther Grouper that look normal. I think  treating the tank with copper is my only option. My local fish store  doesn't have any Gobies, or cleaner shrimp, that you told some of your other  customers to use. If you give me the go ahead to use copper or some other  form of treatment on the main tank, I would appreciate some names of  products and testers you would use. I'm starting to lower the salinity to  around 1.018 and the temp to 82 like you told some of your other customers  as well. Thanks for all your help!! Andy "The Hater of Ick" Reeser >> Thank you for your well written mail... And do give up the Greenex (the formaldehyde in the product will kill your beneficial microbes... soon), and start the requisite two week treatment with a copper based medication (and test kit for same...) along with your stated environmental manipulation... The brand I would use is Cupramine... more stable, consistent... easier to use... Bob Fenner

Copper Medications Dear Mr. Fenner, I know that one must turn of chemical filtration when medicating with a copper medication such as Cupramine but I'm curious to whether one should turn off the protein skimmer also. Does a protein skimmer remove copper medications from the water?. Also does adding a ph buffer such as Proper PH 8.2 (copper absorption by the bicarbonate salts???) affect dosage? Regards, Alec >> Yes to both. Definitely turn the UV off... and monitor dosage, especially if you're adding alkalinity supplements... Bob Fenner


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