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FAQs on Marine Ich, White Spot, Cryptocaryoniasis: Cures 1

Related Articles: Marine Ich: Fighting The War On Two Fronts, Cryptocaryoniasis, Parasitic DiseaseQuarantine, Quarantine of Marine Fishes

Related FAQs: Crypt Cures 2, Best Crypt FAQs, Crypt FAQs 1, Crypt FAQs 2, Crypt FAQs 3, Crypt FAQs 4, Crypt FAQs 5, Crypt FAQs 6, Crypt FAQs 7, Crypt FAQs 8, Crypt FAQs 9, Crypt FAQs 10, Crypt FAQs 11, Crypt FAQs 12, Crypt FAQs 13, Crypt FAQs 14, Crypt FAQs 15, Crypt FAQs 16, Crypt FAQs 17, Crypt FAQs 18, Crypt FAQs 19, Crypt FAQs 20, Crypt FAQs 21, Crypt FAQs 22, Crypt FAQs 23, Crypt FAQs 24, & FAQs on Crypt: Identification, Prevention, "Causes", Phony Cures That Don't Work, Hyposalinity & Ich, &  Marine Parasitic Disease, Parasitic Marine Tanks, Parasitic Reef Tanks, Marine Velvet Disease, Biological Cleaners, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease, Best Quarantine FAQs, Quarantine 1, Quarantine 2, Quarantine 3, Quarantine 4Quarantine 5Quarantine 6Quarantine 7Quarantine 8Quarantine 9Quarantine 10Quarantine 11, Quarantine 12, Quarantining Invertebrates

Probable Cures Include: In a "bare" treatment tank: Copper compounds (chelated or free cupric ion) WITH matching daily or more often testing... Formalin dipping and moving to non-infested systems... Formalin and Malachite... Lowering spg., elevating temperature... Need to remove some types of chemical filtrants, turn off UV, skimmer/s. Allow the main tank to go fallow for a month. Even serious bottom vacuuming, water changes may effect cure. Oh, and yes... many fish groups are sensitive to irritating chemical treatments.

Crypt help!!!! 3-26-09
Hi guys,
Love the website...I use it lots.
<It is superb...so do I>
Unfortunately, this time I have a question that I need a little more help with. I have a boxfish (Ostracion cubicus) with a really bad case of crypt....(I think).
<A better diagnosis than "I think" would be helpful>
I've had him for about 6 months and he's always been really healthy and happy.
<Good to hear, not an easy species to keep. I have an O. cubicus myself>
About a week ago, I went down to feed him, and found him absolutely covered in little white bumps. I've read all of the remedies for crypt on your site, but my problem is that I can't really use any of them because I also have a banded bamboo shark, a porcupine puffer, a spotted puffer, and a hermit crab in the tank.
<I also have a bamboo shark, cute when they're little, but fast growers and they need a big tank!>
I know that if he gets stressed he can release a deadly toxin, which is why I am unsure about moving him into a quarantine tank.
<All the more reason to do so>
I have noticed a couple spots on the puffers, but they aren't nearly as bad. I've been treating the tank with Ich cure for a few days, but he just seems to be getting worse.
<What are the ingredients in "ich cure"? I recommend ceasing treatment and performing a large (50% +) water change>
I've also been adding some garlic in with his food, but that doesn't seem to be helping either.
<Garlic isn't a cure for anything>
He's still happy, and eating great, he just looks terrible all covered in bumps. I guess my question is Do I risk moving him into a QT tank, or is there some other treatment that is safe for the shark and the puffers? Any help you could give me would be appreciated... I'm getting worried about the little guy.
<I'm not sure how big your shark, puffers, and boxfish are, but treatment in a QT tank is always recommended. If this is not feasible (water quality could definitely be an issue here) then your only option will be to treat the entire display tank. Your "miracle cure" in either case is going to be the medication quinine sulfate, available from www.nationalfishpharm.com.
At the risk of sounding like a salesperson (I'm not, just a fan!), this is the most effective crypt medication I've ever used, and is safe with puffers and sharks. Order it, pay extra for overnight shipping, and treat asap. Quinine sulfate is toxic to molluscs, and other invertebrates to a lesser extent>
Thanks in advance!!
<M. Maddox>

Ich Treatment Options  6/4/08 The Fallow Aquarium Approach To Fighting Ich! Hi, <Hey there! Scott F. in today!> I have a question for you. I have a standard 90g tank (48"x18"x24") with the following livestock: Purple Tang (3.5") Kole Tang (4") Foxface (4") Percula Clownfish (2") 3 Chromis (1") Anyway, for various unmentionable reasons (read: rushed quarantine) my Purple Tang is exhibiting the early stages of ich. <Uh-ohh..> I noticed maybe 3-4 white specs on his body and two on a fin. Because of this, I fired up the old quarantine tank (20L with hang on power filter) to isolate the tang. Unfortunately, I had to go out and pick up another 20L and a 10G to house the rest of my livestock, as I did not want to put them in with the sick tang for several reasons (space, no other fish has shown signs of disease). <I respect your logical approach.> I freshwater dipped the Purple Tang for 3 minutes and placed him in the 20L quarantine tank. He made it through like a trooper and after ~3 hours of recovery is swimming around in his tank. I managed to catch the Clownfish and the Chromis, and they are set up in an uncycled 10G for the time being. I am going to have to do a lot of water changes to keep the parameters in check on my 2 new quarantine tanks. <Yes, you will. For the future, I always keep a sponge filter or two in the sump at all times, colonizing beneficial bacteria, so that you've got one ready in a pinch whenever you need to set up a quarantine or hospital aquarium.> Anyway, I didn't have time before work to catch the Foxface or Kole. They are both skittish/nimble. I fear I may have to dismantle all the rock work to nab them. <Unfortunately, you might.> The Foxface is particularly skittish. He changes color when someone walks in view of the tank. I'm afraid that tearing apart the tank and fishing (ha) out these last two residents will leave me with painful puncture wounds and traumatized fish. <This is a definite possibility. It is truly important to get these fishes out of the display aquarium if you are going to attempt to affect a cure. Fallowing the aquarium is a successful technique, as it does create an interruption of the life cycle of the causative protozoa.> I have read about the hardiness/disease resistance of the Foxface, and I am trying to convince myself that it may be better to leave these last 2 in for the time being. Instead of tearing the rest of the tank apart, I could carefully monitor the remaining fish for signs of ich while monitoring the rest of the non-sick fish in quarantine (and treating the Purple Tang with hyposalinity). If either remaining fish were to exhibit symptoms, I would pull them out and dip/quarantine them. I have been checking up on the Purple Tang several times a day since he was introduced (fearing this scenario), and he was not showing any ich symptoms before this afternoon. The gist of my question is whether the benefit of immediate quarantine would offset the trauma the Foxface/Kole Eye tang would go through if I have to net them out. I'm also concerned with leaving any fish in the tank due to the lifecycle of ich (leaving the tank fallow to kill of any remaining bugs). Any recommendations? <Although your thoughts are certainly well taken, I am of the firm belief that you need to remove ALL of the inhabitants of the infected aquarium to assure yourself of the best possible chance of success. It's not fun, and it's certainly not easy- but it is the best (and ONLY) way to go if your intention is to successfully break the life cycle of this nasty protozoa. The bottom line is that if Ich is in your system, it's IN your system, and fallowing the tank is the best way to address the problem, IMO. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Crypt success (fighting the war on many fronts)  -02/20/08 Hey guys, <Wes> I just thought I'd email you about my recent success with marine ick (Cryptocaryon irritans). Many of my techniques have been taken from your pages, so I need to say thanks and maybe give someone going through the same thing the best shot at kicking ick. <Please do> Okay, here's the story. I was given a black ocellaris misbar clown on very short notice. I used well cycled rock from another system and setup a small quarantine (5 gallons) with a Prizm skimmer and an angstrom 4 watt UV (just a trickle going through this unit). I FW dipped the clown for ~12 min (I've discovered my tap water is just for FW dips--pH over 8.0, with a fair bit of hardness, so it's easy to temp and pH adjust). For the last two minutes of the dip I added a drop of formalin. I then rinsed him in SW and added him to the tank with rock and just a spattering of sand, to act as a substrate for the crypt when it drops off. The next few days were HAIRY, with the clown looking as infested as I've ever seen a fish (and I've lost a round of fish to crypt) and barely eating a tiny amount every now and again of crushed pellets (nothing else, and I tried EVERYTHING). I tried to feed small amounts as often as I can to help him beef up a bit. Each evening, when as many of the hosts dropped off as I thought would for the day (I also do an increased photo period, it seems like more hosts drop off later in the day) <Interesting> I did a 100% water change, being careful to take out EVERY bit of water and sand in the tank. I also gave the rocks a good rinse in some extra new water to help dislodge the crypt. Over a few days I went down to hyposalinity levels (1.008-1.010 and put the clown in another FW bath while I changed the water, being very persistent with removing all of the sand, where hopefully the parasites attached after dropping off. I also did my best to shake off every bit of loose stuff from the rock before replacing it in the tank. Each night I added a touch more sand to replace the sand I'd sucked out and repeated this until the clown appeared ich free for several days. I am now doing regular water changes, slowing bringing him up to 1.026 where I keep my tank and feeding heavily, and he seems to have made quite the recovery. Anyway, I've discovered there is NO substitute for a good QT... I figured a good recounting of saving a fish that was nearly doomed would be a good thanks to you guys... Wes <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: other writer's comment on disappearance of Crypt in the tank with time 01/21/2008 Hi there! <Hello> Several days ago a FAQ was submitted about Ich "disappearing" in a tank if there had been no cases within a certain time period. They could not remember what article it was, but I think I may have found the reference. <Ahh> I have recently been battling Crypt on my Purple Tang, and so had also been researching the disease. I think the article "Marine "Ich"" on this page "http://www.petsforum.com/personal/trevor-jones/marineich.html " is what the writer remembers. The text in it reads: <"Burgess and Matthews (1994) were attempting to maintain a viable population of C. irritans which could be used in later studies. To maintain the parasite populations, they needed host fish in order for the trophonts to feed and continue the life cycle. Each host fish was only used once in a process of serial transition such that none of the hosts would die or develop an immunity. While the procedure worked very well and enabled them to maintain populations for some time, the viability of the populations decreased with time and none of the 7 isolates they used survived more than 34 cycles, around 10 to 11 months. They suggest this is due to senescence and aging in cell lines is well recognised in Ciliophora. The presence of aging cell lines in C. irritans suggests that an aquarium that has been running for longer than 12 months without any additions is unlikely to have any surviving "Ich" parasites, yet another exception to "Ich" always being present. Whilst "Ich" may be present in some aquaria, it is certainly not present in all aquaria. Through careful quarantining and treatment, it is very much possible to establish and maintain an "Ich" free aquarium."> I hope you find this article reference useful...I know I have learned more recently about Cryptocaryon than I ever thought I would. My Purple Tang seems to have beaten Ich using the product Ich Attack in my display tank - I will report back on the long-term results of my treatment in another month. Before you say "You read our information and still treated your display tank!!!", I will provide you with a short history of the treatment. I admit I was loath to dismantle my tank to catch my fish, as I did not have a ready quarantine tank of the right size. I didn't think a Purple Tang, a Six-line Wrasse, and a Yellow Watchman goby would QT well in a 13-gallon acrylic tank (which is what I have) for the duration, so I was looking at using a 18- gallon Rubbermaid tub - would this have been big enough? After reading as much about it as I could, my LFS persuaded me to try the treatment he has several times successfully used on various tanks to treat Ich, as has another one of his customers (who has also successfully used it on 3 different tanks). So, somewhat against my original inclination, I decided I would try the medication - and if it didn't show results or the tang became worse, I would do the QT. My tang started out with ~12 spots that I could see, but none of the other symptoms often reported. I also began feeding him the New Spectrum Anti-parasitic Pellets exclusively, which he ate every 3-5 hours as if he hadn't been fed in months. After 8 days I doubled the treatment per the directions from Novalek to a full dose every 12 hours...and at the end of the second week my tang seems to be free of the Crypt spores for 3 days. I did not run my skimmer during this treatment, but I did run a Magnum HOT filter with a micron cartridge. As I said, I will report on my Tang - I figure waiting 8 weeks before getting any additional fish is only prudent - and if the Ich returns, I will report and also be doing the QT treatment. I apologize for the length of the email - I always appreciate the tremendous information your website provides, and hope that I can successfully report on the use of Ich Attack to other aquarists. Thanks, Kerstin <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Reef safe <treatments> and skimmer/ozonizer <sel.> -11/18/07 Hello Mr. Fenner, <Jerry> My wife says that she wants to get me a tee-shirt with your face on it since "I spend so much time on your website!" <Heeee! Mine would rather I got one with Brad Pitt on it> Any how, you guys are the best, sometimes I wish I never came across your website because as they say ignorance is bliss!! Now I kick myself in the rear for all the things I did and still do wrong. <Oh, don't I wish that there were similar "projects" like WWM... on other hobbies, interests... aspects of gardening, cooking...> One recent case in point, quarantine tank and dip. You know the story. One minute my new fish has no spots, now my tank is infested. <Ah, yes> I read a discussion you were having regarding ozone as a possible way to treat ich, in the conversation you mentioned a company in Germany called Preis Aquaristik. <Yes! Oh! Ms. (Cornelia) Preis... IF ONLY one could import there line... including vaccines for many common fish complaints... Products that REALLY work... I see her/them every couple years at the InterZoo industry trade show in Nuremberg... and never have missed a chance to ask re their export to the west... Too many issues with laws, regulations... and rightly so...> I researched them and came across a product they make called Preis Neosal Liquid. I wanted to find out if you are familiar with the product and also if it is Reef-Safe. On the description section: for saltwater use only, specially formulated for use in marine tanks with invertebrates. <Oh! They do have a nice website: http://www.preis-aquaristik.com/eng/heilmittel/hmpreisneosalfluessig.html And do state that this product is fine to use with invertebrates... HOWEVER their info. includes some important statements re lowering spg (to 1.018)... and preventing elevated pH through not using calcified water... And the mechanism... flagellar immotility, worries me. I would NOT use this material in an established reef tank> Being so close to Christmas and Thanksgiving, I would hate to have my tank fallow. I know you say in the forum that there is no "Reef Safe" treatment but will this at least help? <Mmm, my usual chagrin and stmt. here re the relativity of this term "reef safe"...> Yes, I am looking for that get outta jail free card! <Heeee! Best to break out the board game Monopoly here> Also my skimmer is rated up to 110g (AquaC Urchin Pro). I have a 90g reef tank w/20g sump and 20g refugium, maybe about 110g together, not counting LR displacement. I was thinking about upgrading my skimmer to an Aqua C 180. My question to you, is if you had a choice, would you upgrade the skimmer or buy an ozonizer to supplement? <Mmm, a tough one... the ozonizer> I have read about the ozonizers and I would love to go that direction. In your opinion were would I get more bang for my buck? Thank you for your time, Jerry <Willkommen! Bob Fenner>

Freshwater Dips and Ich, Proper methodology 10/31/07 Hello, <Hi> First, thank you for all the information and time that you all put into your website. I don't know what I'd do without it! I do all my research on WWM and now friends and family come to me for aquatic advice :-) <Maybe you will join us here some day.> I do have a question that I couldn't find a specific answer to: I bought a Desjardini tang that had some ich on it so I freshwater dipped it with meth blue (about 4 minutes) and quarantined it. Within a few days it was active and eating with full colors. About 5 days later the ich returned along with loss of color so I administered another FW dip with meth blue (about 4 min) and within a day it was back to full colors, active, and eating. Then, about a week later (which was yesterday), the ich was back in full force again, loss of color, rapid respiration, the works. I realized that this is my fault, as the water quality had degraded because I hadn't done a water change that whole week (don't worry, I've already reprimanded myself). <Well the water quality may have encouraged the infestation, but the pathogen was already present.> So I did a large water change (always using water from my 100g system ensuring proper temp/salinity/pH/etc) along with a FW dip with meth blue (about 5min). <I assume the tang was never in the main tank and it is ich free, otherwise you may be transferring more ich into the tank with every water change.> Today, the tang is very active, breathing normally, and has a voracious appetite. The problem is that the ich looks worse than it did before. Usually, after dips, the ich disappears and the fish's colors return but this time the colors haven't fully returned (only partially) and more importantly the ich looks as though it has spread. <FW dips are not really a cure for Ich. While it may provide temporary relief t does not effect ich already detached from the fish or ich that has already dug itself in deep to the fish's body.> I've read all about crypto life cycle and the chemicals but have always been wary of using copper or formalin (and have never needed to as the dips with meth blue, water stability, and nutritious feeding usually do the trick). <Can help control the parasite, but will not eliminate it, however I too am weary of chemicals, they are not very specific in what they effect.> So my main question is that I was curious as to how often one could administer FW dips (once a day/week/etc), aware that it probably has a lot to do with how stressed the fish is already. <Daily if the fish seems strong, but as you say it depends on the fish.> So I assume I will have to treat the QT tank to prevent future outbreaks as well and am considering hyposalinity or possibly copper (which I've read all about on WWM, of course). Any recommendations are much, much appreciated as I do not want to lose this beautiful fish. <Neither is great especially with a tang which tend to be sensitive to copper, and making a mistake with hypo is a real problem where it either kills the fish if it gets too low or is ineffective if it gets too high. A nice article by Steven Pro can be found here outlining your options http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.php .> I apologize if the answer to this question has already been posted but I did look around and could not find one (regarding how often one can FW dip, that is). Thanks again! -Grant- <FW dips will help but not to be considered a cure. I would go with copper here, but the levels need to maintained closely, or if you have a second QT tank move the fish daily between the two, sterilizing and drying out completely the unused tank. This can be very effective but stressful on the fish with all the netting and moving about.> <Chris>

Ich Question, Tank Switching, Copper Hello, <Hi> Thank you all for all your help and dedicated work! I know you have several pages on ich - I've read all (or most) of them and it seems that copper is the preferred recommendation. I don't think I've come across this idea though. <Copper is good in many, but not all cases.> I have a Blue Hippo Tang in quarantine. It seems that he has come down with ich (has the white sugar type coating on his skin in the morning, by evening, it is clear, same cycle the next day). I've never had any kind of luck in doing copper treatment - as a matter of fact, I've either killed every fish I've tried to treat with copper or they have developed secondary infections. <Can be a problem, especially with tangs which are quite sensitive to copper.> I'm wondering if I can pull him out of the Q-tank and do either a fresh water bath or a Formalin bath and then move him into another Q-tank? If the fresh water or Formalin bath will kill the actual ich on the fish and then he is moved to a clean q-tank, would it be possible or probable for a reoccurrence? <This is an excellent method, my personal favorite if people have the means. Except here you need to do this more than once, a fw bath will not remove most of the parasites, so the new system will be infected. The idea here is to clean and completely dry out the old QT, refill and move the fish back, then clean and dry the 2nd QT. Some people have seen success in as little as 3 day, however I would do this for at least a week, then restart the QT timer and see what happens.> Also, if this won't work, are there any alternatives to copper? I just really hate to go through that again. <There are alternative, formalin, hyposalinity, others listed on WWM.> Thanks, MP <Welcome> <Chris>

Untreatable Ich/Crypt   9/28/07 Hello, <Hi there> I'm having a rough time trying to eradicate ich in a 10g quarantine with a dwarf angelfish.? Fish did fine for the first week and then overnight, ich exploded with probably over 20 visible parasites.? I am positive the day before there were none.? Anyway,? I did a freshwater dip which removed some but not all.? <Correct... such immersion baths will not eradicate deep/older/multiple phase infestations...> Fish began recovering (eating better, breathing relaxed).??I started treatment with Cupramine exactly per dosing instructions.? Concentration has held steady at .4 - .5 ppm for days, will treat for 14 days minimum.? I know this concentration is higher than for straight? ionic copper from copper sulphate, but it is exactly? as recommended by Seachem for Cupramine.? <Yes> The problem is that the ich will not go away or even lessen.? <... may not be Crypt> Spots drop off but are replace by new ones in different areas.? This has been occurring for about 3 days.? Not sure what else to do here.? Could you address the possible theories below. 1.?Cupramine is just ineffective at manufacturer's recommended dosage, need higher dosage (say 0.6 ppm). <Mmm, doubtful> 2. Resistant strain of ich.? If so, anything else to try in quarantine? <I'd try both dips incorporating formalin, vacuuming the tank during, and quinine treatment... All covered on WWM> 3. Too many tomites for complete kill.? Is lethality of copper immediate to tomites, or can some/many make it through even at proper dosage of copper.? Fish returns to same place every night near tank bottom.? Could tomites make it to fish so quickly that copper cannot be effective.? If so, what to do?? Seems hopeless if this is the case. <Mmm, there are some rumors of resistant Crypt going about... Who knows?> I can see visible cysts on the bottom of bare tank everyday.? These are siphoned off once a day. <Good... see the files on Formalin, Quinine... on WWM. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Greg Re: Resistant Ick -- 9/28/07 Bob, <Tom> In reading the daily FAQ today (which I do every day now) I saw the email from someone concerned about the resistant ich strain. In my recent dealings with National Fish Pharm, Bryan at NFP told me that the quinine sulfate I used was developed specifically for that strain and is very effective. Might be worth ordering some, 50 grams is plenty and is worth the 20 bucks. Hope it helps someone. Thomas Roach <Thank you for this heads-up Tom. BobF>

Chaetomorpha salinity -- 09/15/07 Hi. <Hi Larry.> I am planning to do a hyposalinity treatment on my 55 gal. fish only tank due to Ich outbreak. Will the macroalgae Chaeto survive during the treatment? <I tried to grow Chaetomorpha in a brackish tank with sg = 1.010 and it died within 3 weeks. Hyposalinity is used best in a separate tank without substrate (that way you can vacuum the bottom and remove quite a lot of protozoans), but if you are applying this method in your main system, you need to find alternate quarters for you macro algae.> Thanks. Larry. <Good luck with your treatment! Cheers. Marco.>

Medication /bacterial supplement recommendations, Bactinettes/Nitrification, successful use of Cuprazin for Crypt and Velvet    7/25/07 Hello all. Apologies in advance for the stupidly long email. <No worries> I have written to offer my recommendations on a few products I have used recently whilst treating for ich/whitespot and velvet in my saltwater setup, and also a European bacterial supplement I have used and found to be very effective. <Ah! Thank you> I recently caused a near-wipeout of the nitrifying bacteria in my reef tank by medicating (for whitespot AND velvet) with the so-called reef-friendly Octozin by Waterlife. I have learned my lesson the hard way, and will never medicate in my display tank again. <Alleleujah!> Luckily, I did not lose any fish, although my torch coral and a few shrooms are still recovering, fingers crossed. My main concern was the loss of bacteria; ammonia spiked at about 2 mg/L and I didn't see much conversion to nitrites/nitrates, for obvious reasons. An avid reader of your site, I was desperate to get my hands on some Bio-Spira or similar, as Hagen's Cycle was having little effect. However, we in Europe cannot buy Bio-Spira, or certainly not by conventional means. I had seen some mention on UK websites of a product called "Bactinettes" made by the German company Soll (or Soell). These are small, 3 mm diameter gelatinous spheres, which apparently house nitrifying bacteria. They are suspended in a fluid containing ammonia, amongst other nutrients, to keep the bacteria happy! Bactinettes can be used in both freshwater and saltwater setups, although more and bigger 'doses' are required for saltwater. They must be stored at 4ºC for greatest efficacy. In some reviews I have read, when these bacteria are not kept chilled, they quickly become ineffective, so make sure your retailer is storing/shipping them correctly! <Noted> Upon receipt, you are advised to drain the surrounding fluid from the spheres (very important step, because as I mentioned the fluid is nutrient-rich), place spheres into a media bag, and place bag directly into the filter. In my case, I didn't have any type of filter that would be suitable, so I wedged the bag into my live rock, and aimed a powerhead obliquely at it in order to create some circulation. The idea is that the spheres 'dissolve' over a few days, releasing bacteria which then colonise your filter/live rock, and begin their metabolising miracles! To give you an idea of how many packs are required: my tank is 200 litres. I bought 6 'portions' of Bactinettes: 2 portions were inserted on each of days 1, 3, and 9. I must add at this juncture that I am in no way connected with this company - I just wanted to pass on my experience to other Europeans who may be looking for a bacterial supplement product which works. I should also say that I think there is no substitute for patient and natural cycling; however in my case I did not have the time (clock was a-ticking!) or capacity to do this, and I was terribly worried about my livestock. My water, within one week, during which I also saw a heavy nitrite spike, is now down to undetectable levels of ammonia and 0.1 mg/L nitrite, and counting. The nitrate load is being taken care of with a Deltec MCE 300 skimmer - also a wonderful product! The Bactinettes have been a lifesaver for my fish. I'm not going to say where I bought them from, as I'm sure everyone has the capacity to google search, and they are available from at least one online retailer in the UK, and elsewhere across Europe. I'm not expecting you to endorse the product without having used it yourselves, and it is no substitute for less desperate and more 'natural' measures! As I said, I just wanted to share my experience - this worked for me. I am going to recommend that my LFS gets some in, although I will hopefully never need to use them again! By the way, I can also recommend Cuprazin (Waterlife) as a hospital-tank only treatment for whitespot and velvet. It brought my clowns back from the brink. I have spoken with the chemist who devised this medication, and he claimed that as well as the ubiquitous Copper Sulphate, Cuprazin also contains Malachite Green and Formalin (in what levels I do not know, but they seemed to be effective without causing any nasty side effects), and it could therefore be used as a broader spectrum treatment than CuSO4 alone. In my case, it solved a medium case of whitespot within 3 days, and a severe case of velvet within a week. I continued treatment for 15 days, at a copper concentration of approx 0.5 mg/L, in a bare-bottomed 10G hospital tank with a few pieces of PVA guttering for cover, and an bubbly airstone, heater and pump. Every day after feeding I removed 10L water by siphoning from the bottom to collect any parasites/waste, and replaced with a 'new' 10L water, to keep the ammonia levels down. On replacement of the 10L water, I added 10 more drops of Cuprazin to compensate for that which had been removed in the 'old' water. The idea is that 1 drop Cuprazin 'treats' 1 litre of water. Cuprazin is chelated, and I was worried that adding this amount every time I did a water change would mean a build-up of copper to toxic levels, but it seemed to keep my 0.5 mg copper/L constant and steady. I would definitely recommend the use of a Salifert or similar test to keep an eye on this, however. I also carried out two sets of freshwater dips, well aerated and pH and temperature adjusted (days 2 and 3), which resulted in huge amounts of mucus being expelled from the gills of both fish, and many of the whitespot parasites dropping straight off the skin of one of the fish. I managed to keep my clowns happy and calm in these dips for 17 minutes on the first try, and 10 minutes on the second attempt. I did not add methylene blue to the freshwater dip as I was worried that this would be one chemical too far! I cannot stress the importance of good aeration, temp and pH matching in freshwater dips heavily enough. These factors, in my humble opinion, are what makes or breaks the dip, and the fish! The velvet parasite was more resilient to these dips, but was soon taken care of by the Cuprazin. I tried to keep the temperature in the hospital tank fairly high (27/28ºC) and the specific gravity fairly low (1.020) during treatment. After 15 days, I continued the water changes for a couple of weeks, just without adding any more Cuprazin. Bingo! Happy, healthy clowns! Many thanks for listening. I hope I've managed to give someone some handy advice! Lisa, UK. <Thank you for writing... so completely and clearly! Bob Fenner>

Question about quarantine because of vacation  -- 8/19/07 I'm a bit stressed since I'm leaving for vacation tomorrow morning for a week. My fish broke out with ich about 2 and a half weeks ago and have been in a hospital tank set-up since then. The fish are: Regal Blue Tang 3 False Percula Clowns Flame Hawk Hoeven's Wrasse These guys were all in a 90G FOWLR system and I'm letting the tank go fallow for 1.5 months to 2 months as I want to make sure that darn crypt is gone. <Great technique, IMO. No treatment can be guaranteed 100% effective, but the "fallow tank" technique works very well.> The fish were treated with Coppersafe now for 2 weeks and I was battling ammonia/nitrites like crazy during that time doing daily water changes and such. Since I'm gone for a week, and they've been treated w/ Coppersafe for 2 weeks now I decided to move them to my 2nd hospital tank set-up. I freshwater dipped the fish for about 5 minutes each before they were moved to the other tank (the Tang and Hawk HATED the dip and the Hawk seems pretty stressed out by it). <I do FW dips on all new arrivals prior to quarantine, and I can agree with you- some fishes just don't like it. It can be really nerve-wracking for the aquarist, too! However, it's a valid and useful procedure, IMO.> I've been monitoring them all morning since I did the dip and moved them. In the new tank, I added some of the Marine Bio-Spira just to try and get a bit of bacteria build-up to "cycle" the tank before I left since I just added a new sponge filter instead of removing the copper from the other. <Good thought, but it may take time for the new sponge to "colonize" beneficial bacteria.> I'm just worried that the fish, who at the end of a 2 day trip last week even looked stressed from the ammonia/nitrites, should be fine over the course of a week with what I tried to do to the tank to get it up and going for them. The SG is 1.15 and I plan to leave it like that when I leave to help and control the ich more and the temperature is around 87 degrees as well. <Aerate the water very well...at this temperature, the oxygen carrying capability of the water is certainly more limited, and you don't want to cause any more stress for these fishes. As far as the fishes staying in this treatment aquarium until you get back- it is a potential risk, but it sounds like you've done what you could to "jump start" the nitrogen cycle. I can't promise you that nothing will go wrong, but if it were me, I'd follow through like you're planning. "Repatriating" the fishes to the display before the end of the fallow period would simply be asking for trouble, IMO.> You guys are amazing and I appreciate this site more than any other out there. Jon <Glad to be of service, Jonathan.. Regards, Scott F.>

Sterilizing system after ich   8/18/07 Greetings, members at WWM: <Stan> First of all let me say that you folks are doing everyone in the hobby a great service. Thank you for your generous contribution. Like most others I have an ich infestation in my tank and am finding ways to deal with the problem. First a little history: I am fairly new to hobby. I have been studying saltwater aquarium for almost a year and finally have a 350 gallon set up with wet/dry, skimmer and 100 gallon refugium all cycled 3 months ago. The main tank has 400 lbs. of live rock with some mushrooms and 3 inch sand bed. For now its fish only but I plan to turn it into a reef in a year or so depending on how comfortable I am when the time comes. The first fish introduced was a White face tang (A. japonicus) then a Cinnamon clown followed by a Purple tang and finally a Powder blue tang. All fish successfully completed a 4 week quarantine except the powder brown. He did not eat the first 8 days in QT and appeared very thin and distressed. Because he did not show signs of disease now in hindsight, not eating is a sign?) <Yes> I placed him in the main tank reasoning that the more natural environment will get him eating. My plan worked and he slowly starting eating Mysid shrimp and progressed to other foodstuffs. I realized the danger of placing a fish into a display tank without completing QT and am now paying a heavy price. The first ich outbreak appeared 6 weeks ago on the Powder brown. I removed all fish and coppered treated all for 4 weeks while leaving the main tank run fallow. After the 4 weeks (fish are stressing out in QT)  tentatively returned the powder blue to the refugium to test the water. A week go by, no signs of ich. I returned all fish to the display tank. Two days ago all tang has ich. All fish are now back in hospital. My questions are should I let the tank run fallow longer? <Yes... larger tanks have longer "latency"...> What if I let run fallow for 8 weeks and ich is still present? <Trouble...> Would it make a difference if I let it run fallow 12 weeks or more? <Mmm, not much, no> Here is one other thing that I have been contemplating: What if I remove all live rock leaving the sand in the tank and flushing out the whole system with freshwater and possibly methylene blue? <Mmm... no real use here... the LR, hard skeletons of the mushrooms can act as vectors... Anything wet really> I can stir the sand daily to suspend any undesirables to be skimmed out. I realize the ich can still be in the rock but I can leave that out in a holding tank for an extended period. I also realized that I will kill the live sand in the process but I am willing to sacrifice that. I can re-inoculate the sand again, correct? Will the ich be considered eradicated from the system if I sterilize it as outlined? The sand will turn blue but will it fade? <Methylene Blue should not stain much/permanently, but if it were me going this route, I'd use dilute bleach likely...> Thank you for your time in advance. I know I have made a costly mistake but it WILL NOT happen again. Sincerely yours, Stan Young <A hard lesson indeed my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: sterilizing system after ich   8/19/07 Thank you, Mr. Fenner for your reply to my query. I take it that your next preferred course of action is to let the tank run fallow longer along with the elevated temp. and lowered SG rather than flushing the system with freshwater? <Yes... this is what I would do> Even though anything wet can be a vector the dormant ich will still need to hatch at some point and find a host to complete it's life cycle, correct? <Yes, of a certainty> All fish are in two 30 gallon hospitals and hanging in there but I need to formulate a game plan for the main tank and soon for the fishes sake. I will start another but longer fallow period unless you have other suggestions. Thank you. Stan <The "other" principal consideration is to assure that the "deeper" embedded trophonts on the one tang are eradicated... I would look into immersion baths with dilute formalin, possibly the use of ingested Metronidazole (one dosage regimen) here. Fight the good and knowledgeable fight... and you should win here. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: sterilizing system after ich  8/20/07 Thank you again, Mr. Fenner. Your advice is reassuring and a real moral boost. I really enjoyed your book " The Conscientious Aquarist" and it's that book that spurred me into the hobby/addiction. <Yikes... maybe I should hand out free packs of Pall-Malls?> I have probably re-read it front to back 12 times in the last 10 months since I bought it but find myself going to the Disease section much lately wonder why?). It took me almost a year to map out and set up this tank custom tank, plumbing below on ground level, quality components,etc)much of it base on your guidelines. It's a beautiful piece of work and one day it will house beautiful ,healthy fish. I have two more questions concerning ich eradication,sir,if you don't mind: Is there such a thing as an ich free tank or is ich always in one's tank but maintained subclinical by diligence in upkeep? <There are indeed such "specific pathogen-free" systems> I have heard conflicting opinions on this topic. Why do you favor a 2 month fallow period over stripping down and starting over? <I do> Which route is deemed more effective? <Define effective> Thank you. Sincerely, Stan Young <BobF>

Re: sterilizing system after ich  8/21/07 Hello Mr. Fenner, <Just Bob, Stan, please> I fully acknowledge that your recommendations are made based on professional experience and vast knowledge in the field. It is not my intention to question but I am trying to gain a better knowledge of the problem I face. <Question everything my friend> By "effective" I mean with a higher degree of success. I have been doing alot of research on WWM and am sure my questions/your answers have been posted here before. No, you do not need to pass out free Pall Malls but I will take a bag of dark chocolate anytime. Thank you for your time. Stan Young <Heee! My desire was/is "merely" to ask that you consider what is to be possibly gained, lost from either of these approaches... Is the risk of the two-month fallow period not working (for/to you) "worth less" than the surety of nuking your system... having to re-establish it bio-geo-chemically? There are no (as far as I can see... relative to my knowledge, value system presently) discernible, clear choice of one over the other here... IF this were a commercial concern, for sure we would bleach it... the "down time" otherwise would prove to be vastly uneconomical... but for a home hobbyist? BobF>

Re: sterilizing system after ich   8/22/07 Hello Bob, <Stan> Thank you for clearing that up for me. I just want to understand the logic behind your thinking so I can apply it to my situation/file for future reference without taking up your valuable time. Most of our day to day problems are presented with multiple options and which route we choose should most of the time be base on economics. <Mmm, do like the qualifier "most of the time"... and the pragmatic nature of the stmt.... but what of ethical considerations? Are there other motivators?> What are we trying to achieve and how much labor are we willing to put in? <And at what apparent cost to the rest of the world, opportunity (what you might otherwise do with the resource), null-hypothesis (the "cost/s" of doing nothing)> I had had to remove 400 lbs of rock twice within the last 2 months just to catch the fishes. Is it easier to keep removing rock, tearing down my aquascaping again and again or to start fresh? <Mmm, not always, no> What I want to achieve is one of those "specific pathogen-free" systems and if that means nuking my system to start anew that's what I am willing to do. Running fallow for 8 weeks certainly seem to me the most sensible, logical approach. <Yes> I have read alot <No such word> of your replies to others inquiries concerning ich and I now have the impression that if ich is in your system, it's IN your system. If this is true does that mean we cannot get it OUT of our system other than nuking it? <Not usually> What weighs on my mind is that I have read numerous accounts of attempts at running fallow tanks for extended periods without success. Could it be they we not doing it correctly? <The vast majority of cases, not done correctly...> From all that I have read about the ich life cycle 2 months fallow time should kill it off but why...? <A lack of diligence in testing for, maintaining physiological dosage of medication/s mostly. BobF> Thank you Stan

Re: sterilizing system after ich   8/22/07 Hello Bob, It has been a real honor communicating with you. Thank you very much for sharing your time. Stan <A pleasure my friend. BobF>

A Crypt recipe that worked   7/19/07 Crew, After years of getting advice from your team, this is just me sharing some experience. I had read a ton of WWM (and other) material and learned there are about a gazillion opinions. <Yes... ours are more qualified than the most all IMO/E> It's not easy to find a clear, complete, consistent, and readily available regimen for treating Crypt, <Situations vary as well...> and there are a large number of WWM queries that attest to this. Especially when you combine the choices of chemical treatments with options for hyposalinity, temperature, copper sensitivity in some species, test kit compatibility, duration of treatment, etc. <Well-stated> Most saltwater hobbyists have to deal with this parasite at one time or another, so I hope this helps. I wanted to share my experience because it worked, and worked very well. Not proud about it, but I've been through the Crypt treatment cycle a few times over the three years I've been in saltwater. I invested a long time ago in a 10G QT/sponge filter setup but even then the nasty parasite slipped by last time... on a Mandarin, no less. Next time I'm not going to cut short the QT time, even for a Mandarin. For treatment of all my fish at once, including a Purple Tang, Hippo Tang, Flame Angel, 2 Perculas, and a Yellow Watchman Goby, I had to invest in a larger treatment system... the 10G wouldn't work here for obvious reasons. All fish showed signs of Crypt, especially the Hippo, it was absolutely covered in cysts. I gave both Tangs a pH and temperature adjusted FW dip to knock back the parasite while the copper did its work. I think the Hippo, and maybe the Purple, would have died without the FW dip. <Noted> To fully treat the Crypt, I used Red Sea's copper test kit that includes their Paracure copper sulfate treatment. I know some of you prefer chelated products, but I really liked this one because it matches very well with their test kit... <Also noted... and good points> no guesswork here, and it can be had, complete, for under $10. Easy to test/read and keep at 20, 25, or 30 PPM. Also very stable copper level if there is no live rock in the treatment system, I only needed to add more copper when I did a water change. I mention the LR because I had to do a LOT of water changes to control ammonia after the copper killed the bio-filter. As an experiment, I added LR to the treatment system to help with the ammonia. I put in about 20 lbs of extra rock and rubble that I had. With the copper exposure, this LR won't be used in a display tank ever again. I don't know why the copper kills the nitrifying bacteria in bio balls and sponge filters, but not in the LR, <Much deeper nooks and crannies... and assistance chemically from the carbonates...> but it worked and the ammonia went away in a couple of days . The LR did absorb some of the copper so I had to test for and add some Paracure daily, <At least... a comment to all browsers... "Live Rock" is not a "Campbell's Soup (tm)" consistent product... "Newer", more calcareous material will almost immediately absorb free cupric ion... Needs to be tested and adjusted at least twice a day> but this was a lot less work and stress than the massive daily water changes I was doing to keep the ammonia down. I kept the copper at 20-25 PPM for 14 days, not 30 PPM as it states in the Red Sea <Significant figures... there's a decimal place missing here. See: http://www.redseafish.com/languages%5C95%5Cpdf%5C139.pdf for instructions and MSDS> instructions since I was dealing with some copper-sensitive species. I could tell the Tangs and Angel would rather not be enduring the chemo-therapy, but they all made it through the treatment period plus six more weeks in the QT while the display ran fallow for eight weeks. All are back in the reef display now, and all are doing great. I kept the QT Spg at 1.025 and temperature at 81-82F because I didn't want to add the stress of acclimating and re-acclimating between the display and QT. <Good points> The pH stayed at 8.2-8.3 by using Kent or SeaChem buffer with the water changes. I fed the fish Spectrum pellets and Sprung's seaweed sheets. Rinsed the filter pad of detritus every 3-4 days, and did a 30-40% water change when the nitrates got above 10 PPM. The copper additions and water changes were done via the sump to avoid more stress on the fish. I've included a picture of my QT setup, and these details: - 28G DIY acrylic tank with a 1" overflow, 1/2" return - Enough PVC pipe sized to provide every fish with their own retreat - 20G wet/dry sump with bio-balls, with the drip plate and filter pad. - Mag 7 sump return pump provided plenty of circulation in the QT and kept it clear of detritus - Heater in sump - Large airstone in sump for extra aeration - Added about 20 lbs live rock to the sump Thanks, Tom <Thank you much for sharing Tom. You have no doubt saved countless others much head- and heart-ache... as well as their livestock. I thank you. Bob Fenner>

More a story than a question (DSBs and Ick)  7/10/07 WWM : I'd like to share a quick story (experiment?) and a related hypothesis. I have a 4-year old 135 gallon reef with a 3-4" bed of mainly sugar fine aragonite. I recently bought and quarantined  <For how long? W/ or w/o dip/s?> a Yellow Tang (Tangus Yellowus ) and was 'pretty sure' it was ich free. Of course, two days after I introduced it to the tank, it broke out with numerous ich-spots on its fins. <The ich/Crypt may have been in the system, not on the Tang itself initially> Feeling pretty discouraged, I quickly removed it and put it back into the quarantine tank, which was now turned into a hospital one. I watched the other critters in the main tank for a day or two, and of course, my Regal Tang ( Tangus Doryus ) showed a smattering of itch spots on its rear sides, the same place it had ich about three years ago. <Bingo... it's an all Bingo morning! Very likely a resident Crypt situation> Very reluctant to go through what I did the first time I had ich - catch all the fish, put them in two separate hospital tanks, nuke them all with copper, and let the main tank go fallow for two months - I decided to try an experiment first. The day after my Regal Tang showed no signs of ich, I vacuumed out the entire sand bed from the display tank. My theory is that since most of the tomonts ( the "divide-and-conquer" stage ) would have attached 'somewhere', most likely to the plentiful substrate, removing said DSB would remove most - if not all - of the tomonts. <This is so> After creating a system of siphons, pumps, large containers, filters, and helpers, I removed the entire 200 lbs or so of my DSB in about 3 or 4 hours. <Wow!> Looking back, I think it would have been easier to remove all of the fish, but you know about hindsight. <Oh yes...> So far, so good. I believe that I got lucky, in that all or most of the ich trophonts left the host(s) within a twenty-four hour period and attached completely ( or mainly ) to the DSB by the time I suctioned it out. The Yellow Tang is back in the display tank after being cured in the hospital tank ( I hope ), and everyone seems happy and healthy. Of course, I have lost the benefit of a DSB, and I haven't decided what to do with all of the sand yet, as it smolders in the outdoor sun, hopefully baking and incinerating those nasty little protozoa. <How much time has gone by? Likely the protozoans are cycling... will be back like that hack Ca Governor...> One curious side effect - my Royal Gramma now swims upside down all of the time while under my live rock caves and overhangs. It's as if the missing sand bed has confused it - which way is up ? Down ? <Is actually the orientation that "they do" in the wild... No problem> I'll let WWM readers know the eventual results of my experiment in a month or two, when I can be assured of success in my ich removal (reduction?) experiment. Cheers - SLC <We'll see... Perhaps you'll (re)establish the uneasy parasitic system balance here... in favor of the host/fishes. BobF>

Re: More a story than a question (DSBs and Ick) ( For Bob F. )  7/12/07 Thanks Mr. Fenner : There's good Karma in re-reading TCMA and receiving an e-response from his truly, in the same week. I'd like to clear up a few points from my previous thread ( below ), some of which are embarrassing given my experience and knowledge of this confounding hobby : - The ichus-cryptus was most likely _not_ in the system - it ran ich-free for more than three years. I inspect my Regal Tang daily ( the ich-Canary in the reef mine ) - with the oh-so-original name of "Dory" - after my nightmarish first run-in with ich back in 2004. I can say with confidence that the ich just wasn't there. <Okay... then whence forth?> - The new Yellow Tang came from a chain Pet Store, whose name shall remain unspoken but rhymes with "Let Go." <Oh, Pet, with a harsh kappa sound ahead...> The tang I bought had no visible signs of ich when bought, but other fish in the same system - all tanks are plumbed together, with no copper or UV - had obvious ich-ness. The nice but recently post-pubescent LetGo worker answered my many questions about quarantine, salinity, temp and prophylactic-medication questions with , "oh, I don't know, but those are cool questions. What's ich - hold on, dude, my cell phone is ringing." <Heeeeee!> The tang was on sale, it looked abnormally healthy relative to peers in said system, so buy it I did. - I quarantined it for 15 days, 6 hours. I ran it through hypo-salinity ( .017 ) and temps of ~86F. You know the results - I think a salinity of .009 would have been better, and yes, I know 21 days should be a minimum, 30 a better amount of time. Why did I cut it short? To quote Mr. W's Attorney General - "I don't recall." <A passable answer/response in our times it seems...> It's been two weeks since I removed said DSB. The fish are spot-free and as healthy as I've ever seen them. The Yellow Tang nibbles on everything green and hairy it sees. I inspect all fish three times a day, and if need be I'll catch them all and re-re-re-quarantine and medicate them. I think I simply got lucky with the DSB removal. I would never recommend this method to anyone, especially those who have never dealt with ich and its frustrating back-from-the-dead life cycle. I do intend to put back some kind of substrate in the future, but only after I am absolutely confident of the ich being really, really gone, say in two or three month's time. <I do know of real instances, writers who endorse siphoning bottoms... does/can work> When can I expect to purchase yours and Mr. Calfo's next installment in the "Natural Marine Aquarium Series" ? <I wish... maybe next year... if JasonC resurrects our drafts, does the lay-outs...> Regards, SLC The "Ichenator" ( "That's not a Trophont Tumor !!!" ) <Say, would you like to run for governor? BobF>

- Treating Ich - Howdy Fishy Friends, <Greetings, JasonC here...> This is in regards to my 75 gallon reef.  I will give you a little background on the system.  It has been up and running since October 2002. <Ok.> About 3-4 weeks ago we switched two four strip damsels and one yellowtail damsel out for three TR Common Clown's, A Firefish, and A Royal Gamma.  Other inhabitants include, 3 Mushroom corals, 1 Anemone, 1 fan worm, 1 Arrow Crab, 1 Choc. Chip Starfish, about 20 assorted snails, about five blue-legged hermit crabs.  Water change about every other week, approx. 12 gallons.  Eheim filter, and a large protein skimmer about a cup a week at the most and a wave maker.  The fish are feed Formula one and two with flake brine shrimp. pH-8.2 to 8.4, Nitrite, Nitrate, and Ammonia all zero.   About a week ago we added an Algae Blenny.  Last night I noticed about 10 white spots on the Royal Gamma,  I immediately setup our 29 gallon hosp. tank with lots of aeration and performed a 10 min freshwater dip on the Royal Gamma.  I then checked the other fish, Two of the clowns appeared to have one or two white spots, so they too were removed to the hosp. tank after a freshwater dip  I began treatment with quick cure.  I believe the algae blenny is the main cause of this outbreak because the LFS I bought him from has had problems in the past with ick.  I normally don't buy from them but my trustworthy dealer could not get the algae blenny for a month, due to excessive algae growth I really wanted to get him. <This is hardly your dealer's fault. It's a very safe assumption that all fish coming in to stores have parasites... and by not putting the fish through quarantine before adding them to your main system, you pretty much guarantee parasitic problems throughout the display. More reading for you on this here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm > Before last night everything was great fish where all happy and appeared to be eating well.  I then decided to move the algae blenny to the hosp. tank.  Due to the coloring of the blenny it is very difficult to see if ick is present.  I also added a lg. piece of LR with lots of algae and also added some crushed coral from the main tank for additional food for him.  Is this going to be enough food to sustain him or can I use algae sheets? <Well, if you are treating with Quick Cure in this hospital tank, the rock will absorb the chemicals necessary for a strong dose, which means you won't be treating anything and killing the rock at the same time. Much better to try and supplement the blenny's food a different way and run the hospital tank either bare, or with some 'furniture' made from PVC fittings which won't absorb the copper and formalin.> Currently we have no filtration on the hosp. tank, I have a bio wheel but carbon is present with the cartridges and wheels.  So should I use this? <Take out the wheel then - the carbon will absorb the active ingredients in the Quick Cure. Pretty much, once you are in the situation of having to treat these types of chemicals in a hospital tank, you will not be able to establish a biological filter and you will instead have to resort to large, frequent water changes in that tank - perhaps 25% a day or 50% every other day.> Also I have an extra protein skimmer should this be used on the hosp. tank? <No - rely on the water changes to keep the bioload and dissolved wastes to a minimum.> I have read that protein skimmers and carbon take out the medication, is this true? <Yes, but more so with the carbon.> This morning I looked at all fish in the hosp. tank and none appear to have white spots.  So I don't know if it is gone, dormant, or if I were seeing things last night? <Parasites live in cycles - the spots that you see are typically not the actual parasite but an indication of irritation, and nine times out of ten the parasite has dropped off to reproduce. When it comes back, it will present itself in 100 to 1000 fold the original numbers.> Should I still treat them with the medicine and freshwater dips? <Absolutely.> If so how often should I do freshwater dips? <Unless the problem is severe, I would hold off on the dips and rely instead on the Quick Cure, although is this is really Ich, you'd be better off with a true copper medication - Quick Cure also has formalin in it which is pretty nasty stuff.> I thought if there are no more signs of ick in a week, I thought about putting them back in the tank, or should I wait the full two weeks. <For a copper treatment to be effective, it must continue for 14 days... after that point you can probably be safe with a final freshwater dip and re-addition to the main tank.> I have a copper testing kit, so that won't be a problem. <It's not even really important unless you want to make sure you are treating with the appropriate amount.> I also went out and purchased a Lysmata Shrimp thanks to your website), however my dealer had no Gobiosoma. <If you do get one of these, please do quarantine it before putting it in the main display.> I added the shrimp to the main tank to help prevent any ick on the one clown and Firefish. <Sounds good.> I also read on your site to leave the main tank with no fish inhabitants for a month, to prevent any additional break outs. <Longer is actually better if you can manage it - six weeks is ideal.> I have another 10 gallon tank plus the 29 gallon tank I can use to put the fish in for a month.  My ick problem does not seem to be so severe to do this, what is your opinion? <Well, if there are still fish in the main tank, then keep them under close observation while the other fishes are being treated... if the fish in the main tank become infected, use this as an indicator for what you might do next.> Thanks a lot, Happy Swimming Annette PS: Sorry guys I forgot some stuff, I increased the temp to 80-82 degrees in the hosp. tank and lowered the Salt level to 1.020 to 1.018, also I just moved the other clown to the hosp. tank, looks like he may have some too. <Good plan on the temperature and salinity change. Sounds like you might want to consider running that main tank fallow for a while. Cheers, J -- > 

Ich, Ich, And More Ich! Hey Crew...What a great web site. Always very informative! Please help. <Will do my best-you've got Scott F. today!> I have just upgraded from a 30 gal high to a 46 gal bow front. The 46 has been set up now right at 6 weeks. From the 30 I brought a yellow tang and Picasso Trigger and Tomatoe Clown which have been part of the family  for about 5 years. They eat all the time and are very happy when I come home from work. Since they moved to there new home the Trigger has seemed to hide a lot and seems to have the blahs. I understand this may just be normal adjustment or behavior. <Yep- they can be big babies! In time, he'll overcome his apparent shyness!> Now here is the real problem. I purchased a small Purple Tang last week that developed ich within 2 days. Now it has spread to my Yellow Tang and Picasso. I was told to raise the temp and salinity which I did last night. <Raising the salinity? Yikes! You mean, lowering the salinity (i.e.' "hyposalinity")-right? Just making sure. Raising the salinity could be quite problematic> Is this all YOU can do and hope for the best? I have been doing salt water tanks since 1989 and have only had this problem one time before. I have had a lot of experience but not with ich. Please HELP! Thanks  Randy S Auburn, AL <Well, Randy, I think that the best course of action when fighting ich is, unfortunately, the least enjoyable method: Remove all the fishes into a separate tank for treatment with a commercial copper sulphate product, per manufacturer's instructions, and let the main system run fallow, without fishes, for at least a month. This will help disrupt the life cycle of the parasites that remain in the system by depriving them of their hosts, the fishes. You can do it, and it will work for you! Also, be sure to quarantine all new arrivals a minimum of 3 weeks before adding them to the main tank. Finally, I hope that larger quarters are in the future for everyone? That's a fairly substantial bioload of potentially large fish in a relatively small tank. For long-term health, a much larger tank is the best way to go... Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>                 

Staying The Course (Finishing Disease Treatment) Hi crew, <Scott F. your Crew Member today!> I have a 220g FOWLR system where the fish got ich.  Moved the 6 of them to a 33g medicine tank, they have been in there for 3 weeks with copper. <Good procedure> I know you suggest 6 weeks for main tank to go fallow, but the fish seem quite healthy - I guess the issue is the ich parasites are in the main tank though.  Am I playing with fire if I put them in now?? <I'd have to say yes...You've done a great job in curing your fishes, and you went through all of the trouble to get them out of the display tank for treatment- please don't stop now...Give it the full month- to-month-and-a-half of fallow time...> When I do put them back, should I introduce one fish per day to reduce stress?? <I'd reintroduce them all at once, myself, but you are more comfortable, you can certainly do it gradually> Do I need to give them a fresh water bath?? <Generally, there is no need to freshwater dip the fishes prior to reintroduction...As you are aware, the purpose of a freshwater dip is to help assist in removing parasites from the fishes' skin (parasites can't handle the osmotic shock of a FW dip like the fishes can), so if you are still concerned about parasites, you may want to leave them in the treatment tank for a while longer...> Thanks. Joe <My pleasure, Joe...Keep up the good work! You're almost home free. Just be patient! Regards, Scott F>

The Perfect Cure For Ich? Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I've been reading through your website for several weeks now and want to thank you for all the great info you've made available!  The guys at my LFS have been telling me that there is no way to 100% remove ich from a display tank aside from tearing it down, cleaning it and starting over. <Yep- that's about right!> They say that even if the tank is allowed to go fallow for several weeks there will still be some small amount of the parasite remaining.  They suggest that the quality of the water and the overall strong health of the fish will keep ich from becoming a real problem. <I agree! As a big proponent of the "fallow tank" treatment, I always temper this advice with the caveat that no treatment is 100% successful at eradicating this scourge from your tank. The object of the fallow tank is to encourage the parasite population to crash for lack of hosts. There are always a few parasites that will linger in the substrate, or elsewhere in the system, in a "dormant" mode- waiting for the right situation to arise before striking again. The thought process here is that the parasite population will be reduced to a level that otherwise healthy fish should be able to fight off> For instance, if you introduce a new fish it may show some signs of ich after a bit but if it is vibrant and healthy in the first place it will beat the ich much like a generally healthy person will beat a cold.  We humans are surrounded by germs, diseases and parasites everyday with out getting sick.  It is only when we let ourselves get tired, stressed out and rundown (i.e.. live in an unhealthy environment) that these diseases have a chance to act on our system.  Is there any truth to this? <I agree, for the most part. One of the reasons that I harp on utilizing quarantine before introducing new fishes to the display tank is because I feel that many disease symptoms don't manifest themselves for several days, or even weeks. It is really important to keep the environment stable, and your fishes well fed, for the very reasons that you mention. However, there are times when fishes cannot simply "shrug off" the infection, and medical intervention becomes necessary. The bottom line is, quarantine your new fishes religiously, keep environmental parameters consistent, and feed a variety of quality foods regularly. Couple that with careful observation, and you can't do much better than that> Thanks for your time! Bryan <Any time, Bryan! Sounds like your dealer has some good quality advice to give you...And a knowledgeable dealer is a great ally in your hobby. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Ich Cures? Which one of those would you recommend against Ich? Kent Marine seems to be pepper based and claims to eradicate all 3 stages, but need to use Kent Poly-Ox with it (not sure what it is, but I've heard it's dangerous). Ruby-Ick reads that it will only go after the free swimming stage of Amyloodinium, so I'm not sure if it will cure the one already present on fish. Both of them seem to be safe with bio filtration and invertebrates and seem much safer than copper. What is your opinion on this? <Well, since you asked...In my opinion, it's best not to treat in the display tank at all. I am an old-fashioned fish nerd that agrees with the tried-and-true methods in this case. How can a "cure" simply target the specific parasite without damaging benevolent creatures of similar biological composition? Too risky, if you ask me. I'd remove the fishes (all of 'em) to a separate treatment tank, use a commercial copper sulphate or formalin preparation in the treatment tank (copper WILL kill inverts!), and let the display run "fallow", without fishes, for at least a month, conducting regular water changes and maintenance in the tank during this time. After a month or so without fish, the vast majority of the parasites will "crash" for lack of suitable hosts. This is not a fun procedure, it's not easy- and it's not even a 100% guaranteed cure (none are!), but it has a high success rate, because it attacks the disease by breaking  the parasite's life cycle. And it won't put any undesirable substances in the display...A good trade-off, if you ask me! Good Luck! Regards, Scott F> Will copper kill crabs, snails and cleaner shrimp? <<Of a certainty, yes. Bob F>> Thank you.

Ich? on Yellow Boxfish <Hello! Ananda here tonight> We have had our boxfish in our tank for about a month.  He has been very healthy with no signs of disease until today when we noticed about 30 or more white dots all over his body.  We suspect ich, but the dots do not seem to be clustered around his fins....yet?  He is still eating, breathing and swimming as usual.   <Those are good signs.> We know not to treat him with copper since he is a scaleless fish, and we know he secretes a toxin, which could kill everything in our tank, when he becomes stressed.   <Yup.> Our concern is will he release this toxin if we try to remove him from the tank to do freshwater dips?  Should we do freshwater dips?   <Yes, it's possible that your cowfish might release toxins if the freshwater dip stresses it sufficiently. You can minimize the stress of a freshwater dip by ensuring that the dip temperature and pH exactly match that of the display tank, and by aerating the dip tank. However, some people prefer to save freshwater dips as a last resort for these fish.> Is there any other way to treat this fish?  We have already started to raise the temperature to 80 degrees and are starting to lower the salinity as well.   <You've already started on the primary treatment: lower salinity and higher temperatures. These would be best carried out in a bare-bottomed hospital tank, along with daily water changes, siphoning from the bottom of the tank to get the greatest number of ich cysts. I've read that people with cowfish are more likely to use UV sterilizers -- which are good only against the free-swimming stage of the parasite, mind you -- to help combat ich. Another favorite of the crew on the Cowfish, Puffers, & More discussion group seems to be StopParasite. I have no experience with that particular product, so I suggest you check the Cowfish etc. discussion group for peoples' opinions: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CowfishPuffers_andMore/ > Is it possible that this is something other than ich?  His tankmates are a Foxface, a damsel, a Kole tang and a couple of snails.  Thanks for any advice you can give. <More on Boxfishes here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfshfaqs.htm ... --Ananda>

Ick Problems Hello, Let me apologize in advance for the length of this e-mail. <And I apologize for the long answer!> I have a serious problem of ick. I have a 125 gallon fish only tank w/ live rock. I have 3 yellow tangs, 1 mandarin goby, 1 snowflake eel, 1 banded moray, (I know the eels are predators, only temp pets) two coral banded shrimp, a cleaner shrimp, 2 serpent stars, 4 brittle stars, a two band anemone fish clown fish, a white anemone w/ purple tips, two banded cat shark eggs (again only temp pets, I know they will get big) <that they will>, and some blue leg hermit crabs. <First, run thorough water tests (pH, ammonia, nitrite, check water temp, salinity, everything you can think of and make sure nothing is out of whack. If you do not remove the causative factor of the stress your fish are under, you'll be hard pressed to fix them up. Try to think of anything that could be stressing them out, maybe bullying, who knows> My 3 tangs and clown fish have ick, pretty bad too. I am new to saltwater and hope to fix this problem correctly. I asked my local fish store and they just suggested a chemical to put in the water, <Eh, they've likely suggested one of the various "reef safe" ich meds on the market which, at least in my experience, rarely work, and even so on only the lightest infestations. If they have recommended copper, malachite green, Formalin, etc, please don't use them as you will lose all the invertebrate life in your live rock.> I truly believe that there is a better way to do this <me too!> that's why I'm writing. I did some research on your site and found tons of help. Now for the fun part of me asking some questions. This is what I have in mind to do: I was going to buy a 40 something gallon garbage can, I have a strong power head now, I was going to take some water out of my tank put it in the garbage can, use the power head for circulation and air, put all the fish in there (except the eels, they are being traded in this weekend) do I need to put the shark eggs, live rock, shrimp, star fish, and anemone in there to or just the fish? <If you plan on doing the garbage can thing, make sure you have a heater in it, as well as some type of bio-filter (preferably also a protein skimmer). A big power head will keep the water moving but make sure that the fish are not going to be blown around. Provide cover for them with NON-LIVING rocks, such as tufa rock. Just the fish go in here, don't worry about the eggs.> After the fish get in the garbage can I was going to raise the tank temp to 82 and lower the salt to .10, is that the right thing to do? For how long? <No, simply let the tank go without fish for at least a month and it should be safe to add the fish back. It may not be necessary to remove all the fish to the barrel, remove the blatantly sick ones and any that you suspect may come down with it next. You can always remove one that gets sick later to the barrel.> How long will the fish need to stay in the garbage can, what kind of med, or treatment do I give them once in the can? <Keep them in there until the disease has been gone completely for a few weeks, preferably a month. Guidelines for treatment can be found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marparasitcurefaqs.htm> I am like I said new to this and would like to take the time to do it right. Will they be o.k. in a garbage can, what about a heater won't that melt through the plastic? <Buy one that you can get a heater guard for (plastic heater "cage"), Tronic heaters come to mind.> Will this ick get off the fish, will it leave the tank? <Unfortunately ick can spring up just about any time if there is stress on the fish> I need some serious step by step help, I would greatly appreciate it guys. <Check out all the links on http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marparasitcurefaqs.htm, you'll find a wealth of info!> Again sorry for the length, hope you will help me out of this pickle. <Good luck, and make sure you test your quarantine barrel frequently so they are not inadvertently killed by rising ammonia/nitrite levels or a falling pH . -Kevin>

Can you help with ich? Hope this the right address for Q&A!!! Hello, <Hi Vicki> I have recently discovered what appears to be ich in my 75 g tank (on a Sohal, porcupine, and Klunzinger Wrasse). I tried removing them to a 10 g. quarantine tank treated with Coppersafe (I followed instructions EXACTLY!). My fish were fine for about a day...then WHAM, they all started breathing rapidly, sitting at the bottom of the tank, and looking generally awful. My wrasse was on his last fin, when I decided to get them back into the main tank. All have regained their vigor, but also retained their ich. <A 10 gallon QT is a little tight for these guys, depending on their size....> What am I doing wrong?! I already tried Sea Cure Copper for ich on a dwarf angel--same results:(. Again, I was meticulous following those directions! My water tests fine for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate. I am afraid of copper now, and am feeding anti-parasite food/doing freshwater dips to keep the ich at bay. Have also added a UV sterilizer for future problems. I think I'm getting ich-obsessed. Please help me--I don't want to lose another fish! Vicki <Alright Vicki, you need the copper and more importantly, you need the test kit for the copper you have. PLEASE go to WetWebMedia.com to the copper FAQs http://www.wetwebmedia.com/coppertestfaqs.htm ands read the faq's about the types of tests and the copper they test for. Maintain the free cupric ion at 0.25 for two weeks and test daily. DON'T overdose!!!!! I bet you have too much copper. There are a ton of links and FAQs on copper at WetWebMedia. The tests can be had from most of the WetWeb commercial sponsors. Craig>

Copper/Disease Treatment I have another question. I recently removed all my fish from my main tank into (potential) treatment tanks. I did this because my blue tang had white spots and was scratching. My flame angel and coral beauty also had white spots. I had been attempting to treat with Kent Marine's exp (I know, I've read your opinions on this, but I was desperate until I got the tanks set-up and had time to remove them and live rock). The fish did well for several days, but then the flame wasn't eating. By the time I got them transferred the flame angel was in bad shape, and died shortly after. The other fish have now cleared up and don't have spots. They are in bare bottomed tanks, but I have not yet added copper as they seem to have improved. I assumed I was dealing with ick, but I'm now not quite sure. I was going to leave the fish in their current holding tanks for 4 weeks to allow the main tank to go fallow, but they definitely do not seem to like them, especially the yellow "Coris" wrasse who is constantly searching the bottom at night for a place to bury himself. Any suggestions as to my next course of action? Sorry for the length, and thank you ahead of time. Rich. <Yep, would treat w/copper as per WetWebMedia.com quarantine/copper info. Give the Wrasse some plastic pipe, some plastic plants and the like to hide in and feel comfortable. They don't have to be totally bare, just inert. I wouldn't trust that whatever it is is necessarily under control, although the freshwater might temporarily help and then have a population explosion. Could be velvet or ick. Treat both w/copper. Follow the WetWebMedia copper info. Craig> 

Ich, copper, and frustration Dear Mr. Fenner, I am an avid reader of your books and FAQS, and yet have never had the need to ask you a direct question, as most of the time I get a response from your previous answers. <Am glad you find such records useful.> Nevertheless right now I am having a problem with my 90 gallon fish only tank. For about 2 years I had it stocked only with a Naso Tang, a small jeweled eel, a leopard snake eel and a big eye Popeye (squirrel). I have a modified Seaclone and just two weeks ago bought a Sanders 50 ozonizer. Everything was going great until I decided to add a lovable but ich-magnet spotted puffer. I don't have a QT tank, but at least I dipped him before putting into my tank. Sure enough after a couple of days, ich started to appear on the puffer, and then the Naso showed some scratchy symptoms. I added Coppersafe as per the instructions, and removed all carbon, stopped skimming and ozonizng. Also, I have FW dipped all the fish 4 times in 6 days. All the fish seem to be doing better, except for the Naso who it seems to me doesn't handle the dips too well (always gets discolored and lethargic after them). Today I noticed that the Naso had an apparently inflamed eye (copper poisoning?) <Possibly... and/or (more likely) irritation from being netted for dipping> and don't know if I should re-install the carbon and turn on the ozone and skimmer.  <Leave the copper treatment for a good two weeks... the ich is in a collective resting stage... will come back if you truncate the period. Also, you don't mention lowering spg, elevating temperature as part of your treatment protocol... and I do hope/trust you are using test kits for free cupric ion... it's strange your eels aren't exhibiting odd behavior if you have therapeutic copper levels> I do not see much ich on the fish, but I am afraid that the dips and copper might do the Naso in. I have been using copper for 5 days, but cannot test it as my copper test is for copper sulfate and does not seem to register the Coppersafe chelated type. <Ahhh, there are chelated-copper type test kits> Since I live in Costa Rica, there really isn't too many places from where to buy supplies and so I would have to order them on-line and the proper kit would not get in time. <There are a couple of shops in San Jose you might check> What do you suggest? Any help is greatly appreciated. Kind regards, Harold Chamberlain <Other than the above... of course quarantine of incoming livestock... Bob Fenner> 

Ich issue After reading all your excellent posts I have begun to question my long-time friend/saltwater store owner. He is strongly suggesting a "wait a few days and see" approach as I would prefer some kind of immediate action. I have 65 gal. and 30 gal. fish only tanks. The 30 has been going strong for several years. The 65 is only 1 1/2 months old. This past weekend we decided to purchase some fish to go in the new (65) before we migrate the 30 gal. guys over to the new. My wife and daughter picked out a Koran angel, powder blue and Sailfin to start with the 6 cycle damsels. They had been in for 2 days when I noticed some dusty spots and light marks on the angel. Today I came home to find the powder covered with white specks. The Sailfin has no signs of issues (yet) and the Angel does not have the same small spots as the powder blue. All are eating well and my local fish friend recommended raising the temp to 86 along with leaving 1 light on 24/7 and wait a couple of days and see how it looks. My water conditions are ideal and I have a wet/dry, 25 watt UV, chiller and protein skimmer. Should I go ahead and drop the SG to 1.017 at this point or wait the 2 days out with the temp increase? You have probably answered this one several times but I am desperate to keep my daughters fish alive. I am somewhat hesitant about the freshwater dipping and medication without trying any basic measures. Please advise. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. <The most basic and effective thing that you can do is invest in a quarantine tank. Remove the fishes to a separate system and treat them for two weeks with a copper-based ich treatment, using test kits for free copper levels and ammonia. Lower the specific gravity in your main system (to about 1.017), keeping the temperature around 84F and let the whole system go fallow (w/o fishes) for at least a month (two is better). For more info on treating your fish please check out the links below. http://wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/marparasitcurefaqs.htm With proper treatment your fish should prevail, Good luck, Gage> 65 gal. Koran angel Sailfin tang Powder blue tang 6 damsels A=0 Nitri=0 Nitra=15 SG= 1.024 PH 8.4 original temp= 80 Thanks, Jonathan Moore

Temperature in Relation to Cryptocaryon Treatment Does raising the temperature during copper treatment for subject disease hasten treatment <Increased temperature does in fact speed up the lifecycle of the parasite and is generally effective in quickening the cure.> and if so, to what temperature for a fish only tank would you recommend excluding quarantine? <Based on your last statement, "excluding quarantine", I take it you have decided to copper your main display tank vs. isolating the diseased fish into a proper hospital tank. That is an absolutely horrible idea, but regardless, I would aim for 82*F.> Thank you, Stephen Pace <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

ICH Treatment-Temperature <Hi Stephen, > Does raising the temperature during Copper Treatment for subject disease hasten treatment and if so, to what temperature for a fish only tank would you recommend excluding quarantine? Thank You, Stephen Pace <Raising the temp to 83F will hasten the life cycle of the parasite, not shorten the length of treatment. This is usually done in a QT accelerating the free swimming stage where it can be treated with copper. This is during treatment only and the temp should be slowly lowered back to a normal range over several days afterward. I recommend treatment in a QT. Please visit WWM for more on disease, ick, temperature and salinity manipulation in the treatment/QT tank. Hope this helps, Craig>

Fallow tank question Hi, all... <Scott F. with you this evening> I had a bad outbreak of ich due to a variety of reasons several months back, and lost all fish in a reef tank. <yuck> I corrected what I think were the problems, but left the tank fallow only for 2 weeks before repopulating with a couple of fish (I'm *trying* to learn patience in this life :)). <It IS a virtue, they say!> Too soon, so I had another outbreak that killed the fish again. Or so I thought. It's now been 4 weeks fallow, and I'm waiting another week before introducing any new fish (which are currently quarantined). The tank seems healthy (the corals are growing and thriving, but they seem lonely :)). However, I noticed that the last bout did *not* kill all the fish - I have a tiny goby that I bought in combination with a pistol shrimp during the repopulation a month back. For the first time in weeks, he poked his head out while I was looking, and he seems fine. There is *no* way to get him out of the tank without completely ripping the tank apart, which is not something I'm willing to do at this point. Is this a setback to the "fallow" program?  <Well, honestly-yes- sigh> He's obviously resistant to ich - would he still be a "carrier"?  <Certainly a possibility> What are my options? < A really tough call here-prudence would dictate that you remove the goby, too-but...You may just want to wait a few more weeks to see if the ich manifests itself on this fish. Maybe try some biological cleaners, such as shrimps; reintroduce your fish and hope forth best. It's a risk either way-you just have to make the call that serves "the greater good"> ( After close to 5 weeks, I'm looking forward to getting fish back into the tank. Arthur <You've done a great job being patient-keep up the good work>

Ich Treatment Dear Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob tours Australia. Last I heard... he was spotted on one of OZ's beautiful nude beaches. Rest assured though... Bob is too discreet to sun soak in the nude. Instead he opted for a lovely, Teal colored, thong bikini. He almost got in trouble for it too... the Department of Agriculture thought he was smuggling plums but then realized their mistake with some embarrassment.> I have a 5 month old 105 gallon fish only system that has developed Ich, the purple tang being the main recipient. I have used Kent RPX for two weeks followed by 5 doses of Quick Cure and the infestation is still alive.  <It sounds like you treated the main display and if that was the case, the medications were rendered seriously ineffective by the calcareous media in the tank (any gravel, sand, rocks, shells, coral, etc... they soak up the meds). The directions for such medication do or should say to medicate in an isolation tank> I am now attempting to lower the salinity to 1.015 in an attempt to affect a cure. What is the best approach in a fish only system? <low salinity helps but almost certainly will not cure alone. I would advise removing the fish to a bare bottomed QT tank and retreat with the quick cure. Freshwater dips and possibly low QT salinity will help as well. Do research the archives on these topics. A lot of good questions, answers and articles (Quarantine, Ich treatments, etc)> Thanks, Joe <good luck, my friend>

Siphoning Cryptocaryon/parasites technique question Hi Bob, I like this method a lot! <... In a bare bottomed aquarium, common Ich can be cured simply by siphoning the tomites/larvae off of the bottom for eight consecutive days. Ich cure that simple> My question is: Can this method be used in the main tank?  <Not to effect an actual cure... The stated approach is merely a "percentage game" of removing some resting stages... it won't get them all> If I were to siphon the larvae using the draw of my HOT Magnum filter, are they so small that they would just go right through and back into the tank? If stuffed with cotton, would that catch 'em? <Yes to going through these filter media... You might use a Diatom (tm) filter and earth...> I already took out the carbon so that the copper and follow up antibiotics would go to work. Also, my crushed coral substrate is so old that it was to be replaced soon anyway, 1/3 at a time, as you recommend. Finally, do copper bonding agents like Cop-a-way really work in your opinion, rendering them unabsorbable by non-fish livestock (if I ever decide to go that route)? <Yes, do work> Thanks for your patience and wisdom, Jonathan, Los Angeles <And you for yours. Bob Fenner>

Powder blue tang issues Hello, <Hi there> I had a powder blue in a QT for almost five weeks with no problems at all. Three days ago my QT UV sterilizer broke. Yesterday my powder blue woke up with a mild case of ich.  <Yikes, typical> There are 6 cleaner gobies in the QT, and they are doing their job. I gradually dropped the salinity to 1.018 and raised the temp to 80F. I am aware of the benefits of the fresh water dips, and used them many times.  <Mmm, did you this time?> The problem with this powder blue is that he is extremely shy and neurotic. <Also not unusual> I am not sure what might stress him more - fresh water dips or the sight of a net (or a plastic container, or a hand to get him to the dip). Considering his fear factor, should I still try the dips, or wait and see how he will turn out tomorrow? Thank you. <I would have dipped/bathed the fish on its way into the quarantine system... Now...? I might wait another day or two... try adding vitamins to the food, water... Bob Fenner>

Ick (Aaargh!!!!) Hello- <Cheers, Anthony Calfo in your service> I've got some kind of parasitic infestation in my 125 Gal. fish and live rock tank (no corals). I see white salt spots on bodies and fins and some fish are scratching (Majestic Angel, Cuban Hog, Harlequin Tusk).  <large like grains of salt would indicate common Ich (crypt.) whereas fine like talc would suggest marine velvet (Oodinium)> There is no respiratory distress or loss of appetite. The only fish that don't have spots are three that have been in this tank for 4 yrs- a Foxface, a red flame hawk, and a long nose hawk-  <yes... common for fish that have suffered this parasite before...some immunity> plus a recently added algae blenny. <not yet at least> First, I removed the live rock to a trash can with aerator, dropped SG to 1.017, raised temp to 82 degrees.  <to be done gradually over days for fear of mitigating the condition> Then, I lowered the SG in the 125 gal to 1.014 from 1.022 all at once,  <not recommended although I have done it before and will do it again <G>> and I am gradually -over several days time -raising the temp from 76 deg to 82. <OK> I dropped SG on Monday. It's now Friday. All of the fish seem to be tolerating low SG. All are eating and moving around the tank except for a yellow banded maroon clown. The clown has been hanging out in a cave under a rock but did come out to feed last night. <no worries... let her pout, they are hardy> The low SG appears to be working (spots are disappearing). I'm most concerned about the angels- the flame has cloudy eyes that are a bit popped, <do add 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt per 5 gallons (split dose over a day or do in installments and dissolve in seawater first)... this is aimed to relieve the exophthalmia (Popeye)> and head shaking behavior, and the Majestic looks great but also has head shaking. Also last week the majestic excreted a long stringy mess. Didn't look good. <you have indicated three different things... a possible bacterial infection (Popeye), spots and head shaking (Ich) and now stringy white feces (internal parasites perhaps> Stephen Spotte lists head shaking as one of the clinical signs of Amyloodinium disease.  <it is a VERY general symptom of gill irritation which could be from Ich, Oodinium, gill flukes, nitrogen poisoning and so many other things> Spotte says that Amyloodinium is persistent and fishes can never recover totally, and there will be another out break at a later time.  <only true in the sense that we are al carrying potentially pathogenic organisms at all times that can be expressed with stress. Your chances of getting or keeping a sterile fish or even Oodinium free are as unrealistic as your own digestive tract being sterile or so-called "disease free". Have no fears. Good husbandry will carry fish many years! (Nancy aquarium in France, case in point: numerous fishes over twenty and even 30 years old!!! (incl Perc clowns) with basic sponge filtration. If you keep and use a quarantine tank ( I suspect you didn't for these new fish which is why you have an outbreak in part) you'll find that you can easily temper the impact of such pathogens. Not cure forever... but easily temper. It is standard and necessary protocol for responsible aquarium keeping> His advice is to destroy everything, sterilize the tank and start over. I'm not going to do that.  <keep in mind that you are citing a reference that is likely over 15 years old (copyright). Perhaps more. Spotte is a great scientist... but times and knowledge have evolved!> I've read that Cryptocaryon disease is not a as deadly.  <agreed> Does Cryptocaryon also infect the gills and cause head shaking? <yes> Spotte lists respiratory distress as a clinical sign of Crypto but not head shaking. <again... cannot be taken so literally... simply gill distress> I have never used copper even though I have a bottle of Cupramine- I keep reading the directions and reading Spotte, Moe, Tullock, and Fenner (of course). If I use the copper I will use it in the exhibit aquarium, pull it out with PolyFilters after treatment, discard the dead coral rock decor, and return the live rock to the main tank.  < I would advise you to simply use a proper QT tank and let the tank simply run fallow for the QT duration (4 weeks)> I will not use a separate treatment tank. (The exhibit aquarium is in my restaurant and I want to keep the fish in it.)  <then it will be done at the increased risk of their mortality. I do not fault you for it... they are your charges/responsibility. But know that you are taking the long way around the barn! Medicating a tank with calcareous substrate that will absorb copper like a sponge means that you will be dosing and testing for copper levels at least twice a day each for about 21 days. Not at all practical> OR I may pull the angels out of the exhibit tank, place them in quarantine, and possibly treat only the angels with copper. <yes, my friend... this would be better> But I would prefer to continue with the low SG and after 6 days raise the SG to .017 and hold it there for another week, and then raise it to .021, hold the live rock in the trashcan for 6 weeks and then put it back in the exhibit tank. <all good ideas... I concur> Am I shooting myself in the foot by not using the copper?  <for Crypt I will agree with copper use. Not much else for copper> The fellow I buy my fish from says that if I wait too long to use the copper, then the disease will establish itself in the aquarium and I will always have problems.  <not true> What do you think about that head shaking? You're probably doing some head shaking yourself right about now. <heehee... I though the web cam was turned off <G>. You are a good sport!> Thanks for your help and thanks for putting together a great website. Sally <I wish you the very best of luck! Kindly, Anthony Calfo>

Conscientious Marine Aquarist (ich treatments) Dear Mr. Fenner, <Hello> I live in Indonesia and always have the love of diving and keeping aquarium. My previous attempts have been only complete failure without proper understanding of water quality. I really hate to see any one of my stock die. <Me too> Thank you for your lovely book of Conscientious Marine Aquarist which I really learned a lot and enjoy reading it. My newly assembled tank finally started to show some promise. <Ah, good> Recently, both of my newly introduced Clownfishes are suffering white spot diseases. I quickly removed it and place in a quarantine tank with copper sulphate dosage. It was cured (white spot disappeared) after 4 days and I decided to put it back to the main system. <Mmm, needs to be treated, kept isolated for two weeks> Only 2 days after the clown fishes was put back to the main system, white spots started to reappear (not on the other 2 damsel fish). I have anemone in my system, what should I do to clean the main system? <Let the system "go fallow" (without fish hosts) for a good month. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm and the treatment FAQs files linked (in blue above)> There are also other Damsel fishes, should I remove them as well? <Yes, all fishes> How long should I continue to keep the fish in a quarantine tank if after all white spot disappear? <At least a month> Do you publish any other aquarium book? <Yes my friend. Please peruse the WetWebMedia.com site for these, and make it known if anything is unclear. Bob Fenner> Best regards! Liao I Ching

Moray Eel/Ich We have a moray eel in my tank, and one of our tank inhabitants came down with ich (treating with copper in our quarantine tank). Anyhow, we noticed our moray occasionally scratching the side of his head on the sand and we think he has ich in his gills as well.  <possible> I know they are fairly hardy and don't get infected often,  <correct> but what is the best treatment for the eel ? I know of the following treatments, but don't know which is best for a scratching moray: -Formalin in q-tank - long term exposure -Formalin/fw dips <above two are possible with observation (and a covered lid on FW dip bucket...hehe)> -Copper/Cupramine (I thought eels are sensitive to copper, not sure) <very correct> -Hyposalinity and raising temp. <stimulating but may not effect a cure alone> Is there a recommended treatment for moray eels, and anything that should definitely be avoided ? Thanks <yes... Never copper or organic dyes (blue, green, etc)> Jim <best regards, Anthony>

Ich and Now Oodinium Hi Steven/Bob, I have a fish only with live rock,75G have been having problems with my first ich outbreak since I was a teenager. The trigger and Sailfin tang started with just plain ole ich. I started treating with kick ich, because I didn't want to harm the live rock. My Miniatus is very resistant, is still fairly healthy. The trigger has some ich and maybe slight Oodinium, still fairly healthy. Now the Tang has full blown Oodinium, I removed most of my live rock to another tank and started treating with Mardel CopperSafe chelated. The tang is in dire straights as of right now, but still eats and is totally coated in Oodinium, rapid breathing. I did freshwater dip him today to hopefully keep his gills somewhat clear so he doesn't suffocate, does this help with that? <Yes, but will not effect a cure with the animal being replaced in the infested system.> Or are the cysts protected in the gills too? <Yes, please read through the marine parasitic disease sections posted on WetWebMedia.com> Anyways I just wanted to say to readers out there forget the new treatments if you want to save your fish. <Agreed... most are shameful shams... replete with misleading advertising/promotion> Use copper if you have a fish only or fish only with live rock, remove the live rock to another tank. Or if you have a large enough quarantine tank, which I do not, especially for my 7 inch Miniatus, go that route. You may not be able to return the live rock back into the tank, if you do what I'm doing, but at least if you really have had your fish for years like I have and you love them you will give them a fighting chance before they pass their tolerance threshold. And coral skeletons replicas ain't so bad anyways for aquascaping for a fish only. I attribute my Sailfin Tang's Oodinium outbreak to my late decision of deciding to use copper. Because I was busy fiddling with less effective treatments, kick ich, rally, my Sailfin may die in a few days. Hopefully he will make it though. And why does everybody say copper harms biological filtration when the manufacturer directions for CopperSafe chelated explicitly says it does not effect biological filtration?  <Generally not> Are they lying or what? Will I ever be able to add live rock to this tank again?  <Yes, assuredly. The residual and re-released copper can be safely removed via chemical filtrants> It has no substrate by the way, just some Tufa left in there. Filtration is lifeguard fluidized, Fluval 204, AquaClear 500 and Berlin skimmer, plus 50lbs of live rock which is no longer in there. There is the Aquariums Systems copper remover product, which claims to remove chelated and free copper very efficiently with no leaching which I plan to use after treatment and PolyFilters, activated carbon and water changes. Will it be safe to add some live rock again after a few months? <Yes> PS Running my Berlin skimmer will not reduce the copper, right? <Skimming does remove copper compounds> Just checking. Other than the tougher groupers, triggers, damsels and some of the fish that are now being tank raised, I'm beginning to feel that not many other fish types should be available in this hobby anymore. I read through these posts about these fish suffering and dying over and over again. Personally I feel most of the fish that are offered out there are not good aquarium subjects and I feel bad that I heard almost 50% of fish shipped die from the shipping stress alone. <This stated value is too high. Likely less than 10% is close> I personally feel that in the future, I may work toward having certain species of saltwater fish in the trade banned from import with large fines involved. Moorish Idols, Regal angels, other angels, tons of misc. butterflies, mandarin fish, wild caught seahorses, orange spotted filefish, the list goes on and on. These sensitive species shouldn't be caught or sold anymore, except for maybe scientific reasons. Freshwater is a different story though, most species tend to be extremely resilient for the average educated hobbyist, but I'm sure a lot of species of them shouldn't be in the trade either. Thanks for listening and thanks for any info, Dennis <Thank you for your valuable input. Sorry for the delay in response. Been out of the country for a while. Bob Fenner>

Re: ich III Thank you very much for your response on both my emails both of them were very helpful.  <very welcome> I'm having a tough time finding someone who sells formalin.  <several popular products have this in it... it is also available from some local pharmacies. If it is too much trouble that way, any of a number of mail order places stock it and can have it to you within 48 hours. But strategically from a mail order company near you> A couple of friends of mine said they have had great results using copper power have you ever heard of this stuff and could that be used in my QT tank instead of formalin.  <again... copper is very effective only on tolerant large scaled fishes (some tangs, clowns, damsels and the like) but extremely toxic to small scaled and sensitive species like Sweetlips and even Powder Blues. The Powder Blue has an awful reputation in captivity for many reasons, not the least of which is their tendency to suffer parasites easily> I also noticed that the spots on my powder blue tang this morning are disappearing  <very common... Ich has an extremely short life cycle (within 24 hours)... the spots commonly wax and wane> and I have not moved him to the QT tank yet what do you make of that.  <QT is always best> All fish are eating very well including the 2 with ick do you think the ick on the fish is just from stress.  <we have no way of knowing for certain> Do you think I should wait to see if the fishes immune system can get rid of the ick on its own or move them to the QT tank right away.  <too many fish die from such hesitation... if you are asking me for my best advice, it is a daily water change in a small QT tank with medication. With stable temperatures, good food, etc (proper QT) the fish has an extremely good chance of being cured within 2 weeks. Without it you stand to watch the pathogen possibly flare and take every other living fish out with him, or anything in between. Best regards, Anthony> Thanks for your help.

Re: ich IV I was reading that the temperature of the water should be under 80 degrees is this correct? Should I also remove all carbon from the filter that I'm using. <temperature is subjective... cooler has more oxygen but favors conditions for parasites during treatment. Warmer is better is you have very good aeration/oxygenation. And yes, do remove chemical filtration like carbon during medication treatments. Regards, Anthony>

Re: ich V I was able to buy formalin-3.  Is this good for curing the ick.  <if it is pure formalin, yes. If not you may have to watch more closely or lighten the dose dependant on what/if the combination drug is> I set up my quarantine tank the pH, temperature and specific gravity are identical to my main tank. Do I need to drip the fish or just move him right into the QT tank. <a brief acclimation of 15 minutes is recommended. Anthony>

Re: ich VI Do you think it is necessary to do fresh water dips everyday or would the QT tank be enough.  <daily freshwater dips are extremely effective and recommended for most fish. 5-8 consecutive rids most large external parasites like common Ich> I would think the fresh water dips would put a lot of added stress on an already sick fish.  <nope... if done properly, it is less stressful than chemotherapy like a 21 day copper treatment. Bona fide academics have run tests to this effect. FW dips are stressful, but not as stressful as parasites chewing up their gills...hehe> I'm currently using a 10 gallon QT tank and using formalin 3 as the medication each teaspoon treats 10 gallons of water with 10mg/l of formaldehyde its says I can double the dose but I have only used I dose can you give me an opinion on this thanks always. <as I mentioned before, I have no direct experience with this product. the double dose is likely fine with large scaled fishes, but I would resist with weak or known sensitive fishes like scaleless species. Anthony>

Naso Relapse... Anthony, I have a feeling I'm going to wear out my welcome,  <no worries, my friend> but unfortunately I am in need of some advice yet again. I used the search option on your web page but could find very little info about my new problem. If you remember we have been going back and forth about my blonde Naso, which became ill over the weekend. Well since the transport into a QT, and subsequent treatment with Greenex which started on Monday, his ich cleared up, his appetite increased and the gilling ceased. In fact he was looking very good, up until last night. The ich has come back, which isn't a big problem I was expecting that.  <indeed> The new problem is that the poor guy now has cloudy eyes. To be exact it looks like there is a kind of film which has coated the eye. Also he refused food, both last night and this morning.  <secondary infection or response to the aggressive Greenex treatment> I searched on WetWebMedia.com for any articles relating to this. Really all I found were articles relating to exophthalmia, which he definitely doesn't have. There is zero swelling around the eyes. <agreed> I set up the quarantine tank using water from the main display. So my thinking is that whatever was in the main display, to cause his sickness in the first place, is still there making him sick.  <the water was appropriate... the fish is immuno-compromised and brought it in on his, er... person> I was hoping that treatment would help this. Could this be a side infection, initiated by the ich weakening his immune system?  <either or both> Is this yet another type of protozoan infection? Is there anything I can do, outside of a quick water change, to aide him? Should I do anything? <I still rank freshwater dips above all including Greenex> I realize this is a lot of questions. But since I'm not out of the woods yet, I was hoping you could help point the way. <no trouble... a common problem. Naso may still be quite fine in a week. Easy on that Greenex please. It is cure or kill.> Thank you, Michael Mariani <best regards, Anthony>

Maroon Clown fish with Ich? Bob, <<JasonC here filling in for Bob while he packs for his upcoming dive trip.>> I have a 55 gallon tank with 1 yellow tang, 1 maroon clown fish, 1 velvet and 1 blue damsel. I also have several green/brown button polyps, Christmas tree worms, feather dusters, some hard coral (?) that came with the LR (about 25 pounds of it) etc. My question is : Recently I noticed some little white spots on my clown fish and did a fresh water dip (4 times).  <<in what period?>> He/she has been eating fine, does not scratch at all, and all spots seem to be along its white stripe and on top of the head. My water parameters are : Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 10ppm (?) pH 8.2 and Alkalinity 3 to 3.5. I have been adding Alkalinity Plus/Hardness every other day.  <<for any particular reason?>>  Does this sound like Ich, or I shouldn't worry about it?  <<could be Ick, may also be stress - you should be at least concerned>> If it is indeed ich, why isn't the clown fish scratching?  <<hasn't reached that stage or epidemic proportion. Most times the spots are like a scab - a sign that the parasite has BEEN there, but may not still be there.>>  In addition, my LPS suggested Organicure, however I am concerned that it will hurt my coral states that it has COPPER 1.25% and FORMALDEHYDE 17%).  <<you should be concerned - it will almost undoubtedly cause problems for your coral>>  Should I treat the fish separately in a QT or is the ich already established in the tank?  <<If you must treat the fish with harsh mechanisms and you want to save your corals/invertebrates, then yes you will have to remove the clown. As for the infestation of your system, it is probably too late - has it become established? No easy way to tell, give it time and the answer will be a solid yes.>> Thank you for your attention, D. <<do try to avail yourself to the assorted readings on the WWM site, and in particular do a search on HYPOSALINITY - a regimen for lowering the specific gravity of your tank to help remedy this situation. In addition, your tank is a prime candidate for a biological cleaner like a Cleaner Shrimp. Check these links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cleaner.htm  Cheers, J -- >>

Treating Ick Hi Bob, thanks for the excellent site, I've been reading as much as I can for days! I will be visiting often as I just started a 30G tank. <Ah, good to have the company> I just introduced a six-line wrasse a few days ago to my previous occupants a 3/4" yellow tailed damsel, 1 1/2" clarkii, and a 1" pygmy angel. All are eating and looking lively and healthy. Except for the six-line which I can barely see tiny white spots, about 5 of them, and who also scratches the coral a lot. I can't catch the fella without taking my coral out <For five spots... I'd try treating this specimen in place>  since there are tons of small crevices he can hide in, but I'm worried that he'll infest my other occupants <This has already "happened"... Now, more a matter of balance then a "yes/no" question of whether the infestation will ever turn hyperinfective> quickly. I've lowered the salinity to 1.020 and raised the temp to 82. Is it too late to do anything?  <No... you're already doing something. I would also go the vitamin/food soaking route, perhaps even augment with garlic, and add a purposeful cleaner organism.> Should I take the wrasse out (causing stress to the others as I chase him) or put copper in the entire tank as a precaution?  <I would do neither... Treat the whole system as above> On a side note, I wish he could help himself, he's been acting as a cleaner wrasse since I put him in, the clarkii and angel regularly try to get him to clean them. <This happens> Thanks for any advice, I'll keep checking the site to see how others deal with ich. <Do so my friend, and do write back if this is unclear, incomplete. Bob Fenner> -Jack

More on Treating Ick Hi Bob, thanks for the quick reply and the advice! I'll continue with the lowered salinity treatment and try the vitamins and garlic. Just a few more questions (sorry), I would like to get a cleaner shrimp to help out and possible a neon goby (would the goby clean a wrasse?) <Definitely the Gobiosoma... Read about them, Labroides wrasses, and cleaner shrimps on WetWebMedia.com> if I can find one. Would the wrasse or pygmy angel do anything to or eat a cleaner shrimp?  <Should get along fine> I used to have a coral banded shrimp that would chase the small fish around and sometimes eat them, so I think I'll avoid that one!  <Yes, look into the genus Lysmata>  I guess outside of emptying the tank for a long period, I have to accept that it has ich and I have to control it. <Yes, this is so> I've had a couple of other tanks before and they've done well, just was so happy that this new one had zero problems until now! Live and learn I guess!  <Yes... perhaps quarantine in the future. Bob Fenner> Thanks Bob! -Jack

Ich Same old story. Let my tank go fallow for a month (wasn't sure if there had been ich exposure to it. Quarantined 3 butterfly fish for 3 weeks with copper and 5 minute freshwater dips with Methylene blue once a week and upon putting fish in main tank. I introduced fish one at a time, every two days. First fish to go into tank 6 days ago is showing signs of ich, I'm sure other will follow. They are eating well and mannerism normal. The system is 90 gallon with about 100lbs of live rock. I have 40watt UV sterilizer with algae scrubber and Tunze p. skimmer. I have Ozone available, but don't use it. I have read your website pretty extensively and also have your book. Of course, with all your consistent info on what to do to treat main tank and re-quarantine the fish, I have questions about trying something a little different.  <Okay> Trying to cut down on the fallow time of the main tank. From what I understand, could be months with no real guarantee. <Yes> I really want to keep the live rock and not introduce copper to main tank. I was wonder if I remove all the rock and freshwater dip it for one hour?  <Mmm, might help more than hurt> or whatever time would kill any attached parasites. <Likely that resting stages would not perish... and likely they are present (multiple generations) already> I believe freshwater dips are key to the quarantine process. I don't know how effective it work with rocks. Then put rock in vat of saltwater with high temp and low salinity. Do the same for gravel or just remove and replace. Treat the fish in quarantine and bring everyone together in about three weeks. Sounds great? <I would try the "environmental manipulation, adding cleaners, bolstering immune systems with vitamins and iodide added to foods" approach first...> Tell me there is easier way or what you think. I guess I left out that I would drain system when fish. rock, and gravel is removed. <Understood> I have become more experienced in the quarantine process and have the setup to make it work so if I can rid main tank of ich, I feel I can prevent this from happening in future. Hope your dive trip went well. Just got tickets yesterday for Caymans to dive with kids over spring break. D Stanley <Do think your present situation over a bit more... before taking drastic action... very hard on the Butterfly fishes... and the "balance" of health/disease may be just slightly away now... And do instead dwell on the near future of enjoyment, sharing with your family in the tropical West Atlantic. Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich/FW dips Bob Do you recommend a freshwater dip for a new arriving fish before putting him in quarantine, or waiting a couple of days? <Not all fish species, specimens routinely... some arrive too weak to dip, others are historically worse off for the operation, unless they are judged parasitized...> I am talking about an overnight delivery instead of a fish from LFS. How long of dip is best? I am watching fish closely. If 5 minutes is effective on killing parasites I obviously don't want to leave fish in dip for ten minutes. I understand that some fish will react differently. But I guess I am asking what is optimal. <Please read my dip/bath articles starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm and the FAQs files beyond> By the way, my current butterflies seem to be fighting off parasites. I believe you can judge a lot about a fish by closely watching him eat. <Yes! This is so> If there is any change, something is probably up. These fish would peck at my finger if I let them. Saw two of three pecking at algae. Time will tell. What is best, in your opinion, vitamin, for supplement with my concerns?  <A liquid complex...> What do you think about garlic? and garlic and vitamin supplements on the market?  <Both, all of these have their place... my opinions, related background information are posted on the WWM site... there is a search feature there if you don't want to avail yourself of the Marine Index/Site Map> Fish don't seem to crazy about it, but if it is important they can be trained to eat it. D. Stanley <Not altogether unlike human food preferences, eh? Bob Fenner>

Help on Cryptocaryon in a 200 Good morning, Bob: We have a Cryptocaryon outbreak. I've read a number of your responses to other folks with the problem, but perhaps we're needing a more tailored response. We have a 200-Oceanic we've been running for over 2 years now. It replaced a 75-gallon we ran for a year. We've dealt with Cryptocaryon periodically. The copper works, but we have live rock and nowhere to place it. Our second tank houses the inverts. <Perhaps you will have to move your fishes... wait quite a while... as the system is so well-established...> We moved our Achilles tang to the smaller 30-long. He was most infected. <Very typical> He's fine now. We know he can't survive in the small tank so we'll need to move him back. In the 200 we have about 6 inches of sand as a base. Critters: a Picasso trigger (obviously can't move him to the invert tank), a pink-face wrasse (same problem), lemon meringue wrasse Cook Island velvet wrasse yellow tang purple tang Naso tang (did have the Achilles) flame angel Acanthurus angel puffer 2 maroon-and-yellow clowns a gorgonian a sponge and one crab until the trigger finds him. <Yes> No new fish have been added recently. We have plenty of social room, so there is no aggression other than the occasional sibling nips during feeding. We'll try lowering the gravity. The tank (we're in South Texas) usually runs about 80 degrees. Last coppering we followed instructions to the letter and still lost an uninfected wrasse. The Acanthurus and the puffer have it fairly badly. The pink-face doesn't show much but is scratching. The flame and both other wrasses show no signs. We use R/O water. <I see> We have a cleaner wrasse borrowed from our fish store but we moved him to the smaller tank to work on the Achilles when the pink-face bit him. The small tank has a tri-color wrasse, a yellow tang, a Goby and pistol shrimp, two fire shrimp and some snails. It'd be a buffet for the trigger, so we can't move him. He doesn't seem to show any infestation but if the others have it....Any ideas??? <Yes... though I suspect you can see this coming... Another tank/set-up... for treatment, quarantining... isolation. Bob Fenner> Much thanks, Susan

Re: Ich/velvet and stuff like that. Hi Bob, I have some questions. Since I am treating my 55 g tank with CopperSafe (removed all inverts/corals to a 20g QT) would a water conditioner/detoxifier affect the copper?  <Could, yes> I had to use filtered water but not RO which I usually use, therefore I added some Tetra water conditioner to the water and mixed it with Instant Ocean salt.  <No worries here.> Then added some of it to the 55 g tank (tank was low after I moved most rock/inverts/corals). Then I added CopperSafe per the directions. This morning the fish left in the tank yellow tang/blue damsel) are both ok (blue damsel is not scratching anymore). Did I reduce the effect of copper by doing that? <Only way to tell... and there are a few other "things" that will/do remove the copper... is to test... at least once daily... and re-treat.>  I just want to make sure no parasites are left behind planning to leave the copper in for 2 weeks). <Is there something about reading that bothers you? I would read through reference works, at least the WWM site... instead of patch working your understanding of how to be an aquarist "after the fact" by asking questions about what you've done...>  Btw, I've tried to get an opinion from another LFS on treating ich etc.. <Ahh, good> and the owner (who was very friendly) said CopperSafe would not be removed from the system (I know by using Polyfilter/carbon it can be removed per WWM) and that is what I'm planning to do. <"Would not be removed"... Umm, you/they can do a very simple experiment... add the product to a sample of water... test it over time... Magic! Where's it going?> Also, my undulated trigger, after showing some discoloration in his body, his skin is now peeling off he's in another QT by himself now proved to be too aggressive anyway)). The QT was coppered when I treated my yellow tang. Now the trigger's left eye is covered by what looks to be something like 'skin or white film' and he's very sluggish. Any ideas what happened here? <Study> Thank you for the advice, you've been a great help in dealing with this mess. I will keep reading WWM when I have free time). <Don't do anything w/o understanding what you're doing... Bob Fenner> D.

Ick I have a 55gal. tank, I have 40lbs of Fiji live rock, 2 small clowns, had a yellow tang, had 2 dominos. I saw the little spots 6 days ago, and the 3 fish died. My local store told me to do a water change, and I did. 3 days later they  died. I now see little spot on the clowns, what should I try? I have (2) 330 bio wheels, a cpr150 skimmer ,water temp 78. thanks for your help <<We need to backtrack a bit... do you dip or quarantine your livestock? The store suggested a water change? What for? At this point you need to remove your fishes, or your live rock and any invertebrates and algae to separate systems and treat the fishes with a copper based medication, using a test kit to assure the proper dosage... and manipulate their environment to their benefit: by lowering the specific gravity of the water to about 1.018 and raising the water's temperature to about 82 F. There is too much to tell you here to make your previous exposure to information make sense.... I would suggest you read over the Marine Disease, Medications/Treatment System, Copper Use, Quarantine, Dips/Baths, Acclimation articles and book sections stored at the URL: www.wetwebmedia.com and get back to me if you are unclear about how and why to proceed... Do this now. Time is of the essence. Bob Fenner>>

I give Mr. Fenner, We have had more than one conversation about this, I've read everything I can get my hands on. Here is the scoop... I can't rid my reef of ich. First I took out all the fish, left it for 2 months. All the while a 25 watt UV going 24-7. All the fish were in other tanks, medicated, showed no sign of infection. I have 2 cleaner shrimp, one cleaner wrasse, one neon goby, 3 peppermint cleaners in the reef for "cleaning" purposes. Before the fish were introduced the gravity was lowered to 1.019, (and that did in two hard corals.) I vacuumed every two days for the last two weeks, about 2 to 4 gallons. Raising the salt level back to 1.025...I started back slow... three yellow tangs, then angel, about this time I saw a spot or two on the fish. I stopped adding, the spots left in a day or two. I waited a week... nothing, so I added a purple, hippo, Kole... two days later the Kole and hippo are a mess! All the fish are still eating like pigs, no ill health. EXCEPT they are covered with spots, I mean lots! HELP... any ideas? Should I start over? What about the rock, sand, coral etc.??? I give up, what do you suggest? I'm tired of the problem, it is the only tank I have problems keeping ich out. Thanks again, Steve <<Hmm, and you quarantined, dipped at least in freshwater (plus?) all the new fishes?... I might well "start over" or at least go back to square one, moving the mal-affected fishes through quarantine... to other systems... and leaving the tank fallow again for a couple of months... something in the equation is missing here... maybe some lax lack of discipline in keeping nets, specimen containers, maintenance gear separated from the "bad" system and "others".... Bob Fenner, who doesn't believe in giving up>>

Help crypto that will not go! I have a 120 gallon fish only marine tank with a wet dry system, protein skimmer, and U.V sterilizer. I have wrasses, angels, and tangs. Recently, I have had a Cryptocaryon outbreak after adding new fish, I have never had a problem before treating with copper. This time it has been a very stubborn case. My copper level has been at .25 for over 2 weeks, I have also lowered the salinity to 1.016 four days ago to try to help. The powder blue tang and the Personifer angel seems to be the most susceptible, the other fish just have a few spots every few days. The spots will go away then return a couple of days later (all of this during the treatment). What do you recommend to clear this thing up? I have been using reagent grade marine copper, are there other products or is this copper faulty? Please help, I am frustrated! Thanks, Durell Tharpe  <<You mention having a UV... you're not running this at the same time as the copper I hope? At this point, with the Cryptocaryon being entrenched in your system... I would continue to treat the fishes there... but with a more stable format (like Cupramine) of copper... with daily testing of free copper levels... You're sure you've had 0.25ppm all this time? Very strange... and the copper you're using is CuSO4 . 5H2O? (copper sulfate pentahydrate... probably)... did you citrate it? (acidify the solution with citric acid) or use other adjuncts? I don't think you've had a physiological dose in your system the last two weeks...Bob Fenner>>

Re: Help crypto that will not go! The copper I am using states Copper Sulfate and citric acid in distilled water for the contents and I have been running the U.V sterilizer the whole time and checking the copper level daily. It reads .25 every time. I don't know what to do. I have used this copper before in controlling outbreaks and it always worked. Why should I not be running the U.V? And if Cupramine is a better option, how should I go about changing the treatment now? Thanks Again, Durell Tharpe  <<The UV will remove many formats of copper... but 0.25ppm is right in there... sort of surprising to me (and you I suppose) that the Cryptocaryon is not gone then... Please have someone check your copper levels against their kit... and your copper solution.... it isn't precipitating on the bottom of its storage container is it?... I would give the current copper a rest (maybe let it go a week, and then start up with another brand... like the Cupramine (it can be added on top... as long as the total free copper is not excessive. And elevate the system temperature to 83-84 F...Bob Fenner>>

Re: Help crypto that will not go! Thanks for your advice. I did a water change, bought new copper and lowered the salinity more. I lowered it to 1.011. I was going to leave the salt level there for about a week, do you think this will be harmful or not? Is it truly helpful (as many collectors advise to do this)? What effects does this have on the fish and the parasites? Many thanks, Durell Tharpe <The lowered spg? The fishes adjust if they're in good shape to start with, the parasites "pop" due to inability to cope with change in osmotic pressure. Bob Fenner>

ICH!! Good morning! First, I would like to say thanks for your help in the past and for maintaining such an excellent web site. It is by far the most informative and organized site I have ever seen. <Thank you> Now to the nitty gritty. I have a 90 gallon tank with a corner overflow, a wet/dry filter, protein skimmer, Chemi-pure carbon, 30 lbs of live rock (Fiji and Marshall island mix), 50lbs of tufa (not live) and 50 lbs of Florida base rock (not live). The later will hopefully become live. The miracle of life!! <Yes> I have an emperor angel, flame angel, domino damsel, yellow tail damsel, 3-green Chromis, algae blenny, six-lined wrasse, 2 brittle stars, 15 assorted snails (mostly Astrea), 10 blue-legged hermits and a blood shrimp (cleaner). I have a 40 gal tank (7 months old) that was a fish only tank that I used as a quarantine tank for the above list of fish but not the inverts. I added those directly to the 90 gal but not the shipping water. <Yikes... dips, baths... quarantine...> Most of the fish, I have had for more than 2 months with the exception of the six-lined and the Chromis'. I slowly moved the above fish from the 40 to the 90 over the last month. I dipped all fish in either a fresh/methyl-blue mix or salt/formalin mix before putting them in the main tank. All where doing well and seemed happy until two days ago when I noticed that Domino had some white spots on him. Last night he looked worse and then the flame and emperor started showing white spots (mainly on the fins). All where eating well with no signs of stress or distress. I immediately took action and removed all the rock and caught all the fish. I dipped them in a formalin dip for 45 minutes to 1 hour before placing them back into the 40 gal that fortunately only had one fish in it and 2-blue legs. Most of the parasites fell off the fish during the dip. I also treated the tank(40) with Organi-cure (formalin/copper mix) to hopefully kill anything that made it through the dip. <Yes, with the emphasis on "hopeful"> My water tests fine. NH3=0, NO2=0, NO3=<10ppm, pH=8.0, Alk=11dKH, Ca=380ppm. Water smells good and is very clear. I change or rinse my wet/dry pre filter every day or two. Empty the skimmer every other day (about 1/4 inch of a watery brown gunk). I feed formula 1, 2, angel, pigmy angel, Spirulina, brine +, VHP, tetra flake, live black worms and variety pack. At least three of the above twice daily. I did give them some live brine shrimp a week or two ago. I wonder if the ich came from them? I won't do that again!! <Not likely... instead a latent infection from the original livestock...> My questions are: What do I do now? I thought about lowering my specific gravity to 1.017 and raising the temp to 83-84 in the 90 gal tank for 4-6 weeks with no fish. Will this rid the main tank of the ich? Will this hurt my blood shrimp, live rock (has nice coralline and Marco algae growing), snails, hermits and brittle stars? <Probably be the route I would take as well.... should be okay with other life...though it will take a beating from these conditions> Why didn't the cleaner shrimp clean the fish? <Maybe overwhelmed...> Why did the ICH show up after the quarantine and dips prior to moving fish. Could the ICH have come from the live rock in cystic form or the inverts? <Once again, not likely... mainly from other fish hosts or contaminated water directly> Will I be plagued with ich for ever and have to eventually treat my main tank? <Hopefully (here's that term again) not... the Cleaner will "catch on" and ich will be eliminated from your systems (plural)> What's the best medication to use on the 40. Is Organi-cure any good or should I use Coppersafe etc. for two weeks. I have some poly filter that I can use to get ride of the Organi-cure. <the Coppersafe or other such, with a test kit> Should I use stress coat or tetra anti-bac/fungal flakes (has tetracycline hydrochloride in it). I also have Greenex, formalin and tetra anti-parasite flakes. Are any of these any good? Should I use the flakes and a medication at the same time? <Not the Greenex or formalin... the flakes and a copper-based med. can be used simultaneously> If you treat a tank with copper or other medications, does that mean you can never put any inverts in it unless you change all the rock and substrate? I have heard this from many fish stores. <No... the copper precipitates out completely over time, or can be almost instantly removed with activated carbon use> Boy I'm about out of breath!! Once again, thanks for your help and keep up the great work! Tom <Don't lose faith... better times a coming. Bob Fenner>

Ick! Hello Bob -  I know you have answered this question a million times. If you could please address my specific situation I would appreciate it. I have 110 gallon FO tank with 75lbs of live rock purchased from FFE, a wet dry and a Berlin protein skimmer. The tanks inhabitants consist of an Asfur Angel, Emperor Angel, Heniochus, Lookdown, Blue Yellow Tailed Tang, and an Australian Raccoon Butterfly. I had a horrible ick outbreak so I treated the tank with SeaCure copper (between .15 - .20 ppm). The next morning the fish seemed to be worse off than before putting the copper in the tank. I've also bumped the temperature up to 84 degrees and slowly lowered the specific gravity to 1.015. Why did the bout with ick get worse after putting copper in the tank and is the live rock no longer any good?  <So much going on with many organisms dying off that are/were your live rock... And the LR is still good... you can use it as base, or repopulate it with some new rock placed on top.> I do have a 29 gallon qt tank that the fish were in shortly before the outbreak. Obviously, I did something wrong. Can you offer some advise to this frustrated hobbyist? <Please read through everything posted on our site, including other peoples questions and input on the topics of quarantine, parasitic disease, ich, copper... in the Marine Index: Home Page. Bob Fenner>

Ich Hi Bob, let me begin by saying I am honored to be able to communicate with the author of the book I consider my marine Bible. (That is my wheedling way of saying I enjoyed the hell out of your book and also to thank you for giving me free advice, it is worth so much in this hobby.)  <Glad to be here. Thank you for your kind, encouraging words.> I won't bore you with all the specs on my tank let me just begin by stating I was careless when purchasing a couple of Angels from a dealer that refused to use copper to treat his incoming fish. You can guess what new friend decided to join my fish tank? ICH! I have a lot of live rock and I began my copper treatments (SeaCure) as this seemed the only viable way to shake this parasite. I removed all my inverts except some hardy mushroom so as to be able to gauge how powerful copper is, and they of course shriveled up like sun-dried tomatoes.  <Yes.> I now have left three fish of great concern, a blue face angel (my best friend), a flame angel and an Anthias that are all healthier since the copper. My question is why is that when I turn my lights off and inspect in the morning the Ich appears again? <Cyclicity of the host/parasite relationship... really> And has my tank now changed so significantly that my dreams of a building a reef over time are crushed? Is my tank and rock tainted now? Could I have a virulent case of Ich? <No, not really, and less virulent/pathogenic than before... Do avail yourself of cleaning organisms to "pick up the slack" after not adding more fish for at least a month... Some Gobiosoma gobies, Lysmata or Stenopid Shrimps...>  I have made an mental decision to quit salt altogether if these fish go sour on me due to financials and failure.  <Not an atypical stance/attitude, and one that always brings a sense of foreboding of loneliness to/for me... Do let us pursue a happier path.> Let me just say that I spared no expense (I.E. hospital tank, filtration) when it came to equipment and set up and did not ignore the procedures you laid out in your book. Needless to say, I am beginning to become sour on the keeping of saltwater animals. I can't seem to shake ich and my little friends are dying before my very eyes and it is tough to watch that and your money go down the tubes. <Indeed. I feel your sorrow, and will help. Please take a long read through the parasitic disease, quarantine, medication, ich parts of the site: Home Page . Help is available my friend.> I can't fathom tearing down and starting again, there has got to be a better way. Sorry for the long wind here and random questions but I am losing sleep over this and it is supposed to be a simple fix. Thank you and you are doing wonders for this hobby I am still involved because of you and your writings!  P.S. Please let readers know it is bad to purchase fish from any dealers that do not treat their tanks with meds (preferably copper). We should at least be able to buy disease free specimens for the prices. It is truly incredible some of the idiots I meet in this hobby, and they give it a horrible reputation. Sorry for the rant, THX!  <Thank you for caring, and sharing. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich Hi Mr. Fenner, I am writing you to ask another question. About 2 weeks ago my main tank came down with a case of Ich. Much to my dismay, I began treatments with copper to the main tank on 8/29 and began testing right away. I got a kill dose (20-30ppm) <Hey, move that decimal place over!> within 3 days and kept that dose up until the 11th (yesterday). It seemed all the Ich was gone and my fish had no signs of it anywhere except and occasional head scratch. Actually the Blueface Angel I have had small pits in his head shortly after the breakout which seemed to be healing nicely. So I put a poly-pad and some copper remover (ion-exchange media) in to begin removing it on 8/11. When I awoke this morning to inspect the fish I discovered the Ich had returned, that quickly! <Arggghhhh, next time, the whole two week regimen... you know. And do take a read through the site for input on these treatments... And lower your spg, raise temp... as detailed there: Home Page .> I am all out of tricks. I will begin copper treatments again this evening. But I don't want to treat with copper forever or even for another 2 weeks for that matter. I have lots of live rock on my tank, could this be a root cause.  <Yes, indirectly. The parasite could be "hiding out" in resting stages, and/or the material (living and not) that is the LR could be absorbing enough of the medicant there to render it ineffective... Do move the fishes, treat elsewhere... and let the tank go fallow (with the lowered spg (1.010, temp. about 85F.) for a month or two...> Could the ich be waiting in the rocks? Maybe I should remove it all and treat the hell out of the tank? If you could give me some direction I would really appreciate it. This disease is not suppose to be this hard to shake. Thanks Bob, you're the greatest!  <It, the parasite... can be a real trouble once it gets entrenched, hyperinfective... best to prevent... I know, you fully realize this... now. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Cryptocaryoniasis Bob, I would like to understand the science of the recommendation to lower the SG  in the refugium holding my live rock. If Cryptocaryoniasis is an obligate parasite, requires a fish host, and completes its life cycle in up to 34 days (at 83 deg f), and I avoid fish introduction for two months, what is the benefit of making the environment hostile to invertebrates? <Just a margin of safety... the "fallow field" approach to hyperinfected systems fails quite regularly... the daughter colonies of Cryptocaryon can "wait" for months sometimes...> Is the cyst form stable beyond that period? Does the SG impact that? I hate  to stress out all of the other invertebrates clinging to the rocks, if time will be just as effective. <Bingo. and Yes... time is/would be effective... but not in an absolute sense... Imagine LD50's or radioactive isotope half lives... 90 some percent of pathogenicity will likely be lost in a month... 95-98% in two... when to one hundred?> thanks, Sam  <Bob Fenner>

Cryptocaryoniasis Bob, We have traded several email back and forth regarding the problems that I  have been having. It is clear now that rather than having poisoned the new  arrivals with Cu, they have died from Cryptocaryoniasis. The quarantine tank  was filled with the water from the main tank (along with the parasites) Now the question is...how best to eradicate the Cryptocaryoniasis from the main tank. I have read all of the threads re: Cryptocaryoniasis on your web site. Unfortunately, my tufa rock is siliconed in place, making it impossible to remove and therefore, very difficult to net the fish. The live rock in both  the tank and refugium is loose, and could be removed to a quarantine tank. I  have no other invertebrates. Questions: 1) is the Cu actually toxic to Cryptocaryoniasis (sparing the need for breakdown and Clorox)? <Yes, assuredly... even the daughter, resting stages in its life cycle. However, bleach definitely is a biocide... and if you move the fishes, and really want to be assured... this takes less time than env. manipulation and hoping a month or two down the line (w/o fish hosts) that the Cryptocaryon has lost its virulence and/or has all gone away.> If so, could I remove the live rock, treat the system with Cu x 2 weeks, with the fish in place, and then ultimately return the live rock? <Yes, if all goes as planned... with the cupric ion kept at physiological dose levels... and the env. manip. referred to.> If so, how can I eradicate the Ick on the live rock (how much time?, ? medication) <A month or two, 1.010 spg, 85 F.> 2) are any medications more specific and effective than Cu? (Metronidazole, Chloraquine). Would they be less toxic to the tank? <These are not antibiotics, and no to them being effective or less toxic.> 3) would there be issues with Cu sequestration in the Tufa and crushed coral  that would inhibit transition to live rock and future invertebrates? <None that are practical> 4) Can the live rock survive in a 29 gallon without protein skimming? I can move the lighting from the refugium. <Yes, very likely most all the types, amounts of life> thanks, Sam  <Good luck my friend, Bob Fenner>

Re: Cryptocaryoniasis On question 1, if the Cu is toxic, and can only be used for two weeks with fish, is that a certain cure, or only hopeful? <<More hopeful than absolutely certain... but in 99.9% of cases effective. Bob Fenner>>

Re: Cryptocaryoniasis Bob, I have isolated the refugium from the main tank, transferred the live rock to the refugium, and started Cu in the main tank. I am lowering the SG and raising the temp. Is it necessary or desirable to lower the SG in the refugium, if I am willing to keep it isolated from any fish hosts for 2 months? I will raise the temp, but don't want to kill the invertebrates on the rock if not necessary. Thanks, Sam <<Yes, lower it down a thousandth or so per day to at least 1.018... perhaps lower, but no lower than the invertebrates show definite signs of stress...Bob Fenner>>

Fish Ich Okay Bob, I've looked at the information and the closest match appears to be the dreaded Cryptocaryon irritans. White small spots have just now started to appear on my trigger too. I gather that my best option is to treat the whole tank with copper since it appears to have transferred to other fish. I have some copper and was told that the solution should be dosed at one drop per gallon. How often do I need to treat? Should I just leave the not too well established live rock in since it is probably contaminated too? Am I going to need to break down the whole tank? What kind of dipping might you suggest if I should move the fish to another tank? I don't want to lose these fish - they're good ones and all are still eating well. Help! Thanks, Patti Brown  <Read over the pieces on copper use, marine parasite diseases and all the FAQs files on our site:  Home Page ... you need a copper test kit, to augment environmental manipulation... and to do so NOW, with knowledge and intelligence. Bob Fenner>

Fish ich Okay, I'm going to try the copper on the tank. I am going to leave the live rock in - I didn't invest much money in it and I don't want to risk contaminating another tank. <Actually, do remove the rock and just let "moist dry" in a plastic trash can, fish boxes, coolers... for the duration (freshwater rinse before and after as it leaves/returns to/from the system)... as it will greatly interfere with the copper treatment (the biota and alkaline material that is the LR matrix will absorb the copper very quickly otherwise> When I add more live rock in the future, should I dip it before addition? <Not necessary or advisable... real parasite and infectious agents rarely enter systems this way... but pests do...> Methylene blue? The link to copper use at the website does not give any info, but I did read some of the FAQ's. When I treat, how often do I need to check the levels? <No to the Methylene Blue, the copper needs to be checked at least once daily> I have gathered that I need to keep levels up for two weeks, correct? <Yes> Will this work, or am I probably going to have to let the tank go fallow at some point? Should I also lower salinity too and raise temp? <Please read over the FAQ's on our site re the above. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help, Patti

That Pesky Ich!> Bob and Anyone Else Involved: <Scott F. Involved here...> I placed my clown trigger in a qt tank for approx. one month, afterwards he made the big leap into my 90 gal. FOWLR.  <Awesome protocol!> His tankmates are guinea fowl puffer, Picasso trigger. All have been fine for approx. 2 months. Recently I added a emperor angel after quarantining for only two weeks. <Uh-Oh..> It was in friends tank for 6 months. I checked all their fish and no sign of any ich or parasites. It has been in the main tank for approx. 3 weeks now. I noticed the other day the clown appears to have ich or some disease that looks like someone dumped light white powder over parts of his body.  <Sounds like ich to me> All fish have been eating fine. My parameters are all fine. I recently took water to my LFS and he agreed. <It still sounds like ich!> My qt have become a refuge for snails, crabs, and live rock.  <A quick aside on the QT tank: You really need to leave it bare (no substrate, rocks, snails, nothing. Just some PVC sections or other inert materials. Reason is twofold: 1)These items won't absorb any meds that you may have to dose. 2)They could become havens for parasites and other bad stuff. A QT tank need not be permanent. Just clean it out, break it down and set it up again when you need it. Ok- off of my soap box!> How should I treat the clown? I am afraid of doing a fresh water dip. Do I have alternatives? What meds do you recommend?  <I am a firm believer in copper sulphate, do seed in a (bare) quarantine tank, with the level monitored by testing to assure proper therapeutic level.> I have one other small tank that is empty. Hang on filters, and air stones as well. I am making some new water as we speak to combine with either the main tank or the qt tank water after I hear from you. <I'd use water from the main tank, unless your new water is identical to the tank water. Just less stressful to the fish at a time they don't need more stress.> Thank you again for your assistance on this. I really do not want to lose any fish. Have lost some in past when I did not act accordingly and quick enough. Regards, Arthur Mendelsohn <Arthur, your quick action will save your fish! That is the good news. The bad news is that ich is in your main system, and needs to be eliminated as much as possible. The best way to accomplish this is, unfortunately, as unpleasant as it is effective. Remove all of your fishes to appropriate hospital tank(s) for at least a month. let the main system go "fallow" without fish for this period of time. This process interferes with the life cycle of the parasite which causes ich. In the absence of hosts, many of the parasites will die, and their population will be tremendously reduced, at least to a level that healthy fish can resist. Although 100% elimination is almost impossible, this is the best way, short of breaking down the tank and starting over. It sucks, it's no fun-but it really works. And I know that you will NEVER abbreviate the quarantine period again, right? Good luck! You'll win!! Scott F.> 

Angelfish With Ich Dear Bob, <Scott F. here tonight> I purchased a 3.5" juvenile Queen Angelfish about a week ago.  He has developed what appears to be Marine Ich after a few days of being harassed by a slightly larger tank mate; a Yellow Tang.  The main tank is a 75-gallon reef aquarium stocked with 1-Yellow Tang, 2-Ocellaris Clownfish, 1-Orchid Dottyback, 3- Damsels live-rock and a number of invertebrates. <I don't mean to nitpick at a time like this- but do plan on moving him to larger quarters at some time in the near future. This beautiful fish will get huge, and will require a very large (200 plus gallons) tank to live out anything approaching its natural life span. Just something to consider, okay?> I set up a small hospital tank (6 gallon) four days ago and have him quarantined. <Good move to have a hospital tank at the ready. In the future, however, do quarantine all new purchases a minimum of 3 weeks before introducing them into the main tank. it's a very useful and simple process that can prevent a lot of grief for you and your animals> Three days ago we gave him a two-minute fresh water dip followed by a one-hour formalin bath at a concentration of 1-tsp/five gallons of salt water.  The Queen Angel was then placed in the hospital tank treated with SeaCure' Copper at 0.15 mg/l and we have been monitoring Copper levels with the Fast Test, test kit.  I have elevated the hospital tank temperature to 83Ã'º F and have maintained a specific gravity of 1.0235. <Glad that you took fast action to treat him!> It appears to the eye that all signs of the disease are gone. However, I would like to get your recommendation on the duration of treatment and/or isolation.  As I mentioned this is a rather small hospital tank and I would prefer to get him into the main tank as soon as it is safe to do so.  So far the main tank has not shown signs of an outbreak. <Please note that the ich parasite enters a free swimming stage and will seem to disappear after just a few days, often before re-appearing on your fish again. I believe that you should run a full 3 week treatment on the fish. If you are concerned about keeping him in copper for that period of time, regular water changes will reduce the level gradually. However, I'd follow the manufacturer's instructions for the brand of medication that you're using. Be diligent about water changes and maintaining the proper therapeutic copper level during the treatment period. With patience and time, he should be just fine. That's the good news. The bad news is that the ich is probably in your main tank. If it were me, I'd remove all of the fishes to a quarantine tank (with or without copper, depending upon whether or not they're showing signs of the infection. Let the main tank run "fallow" (without fishes) for a month or so. Continue normal maintenance routines (water changes, etc.) during this time. This fallow period will deprive the parasite population of hosts, which will result in the death of most of them and a huge decrease in the parasite population in your system. Not a fun process, but truly a necessary one, IMO, if you're going to achieve a disease-free tank in the future. It's not 100% effective, but it does increase your odds tremendously. Avoiding having to do something like this is the #1 reason while we drum into everyone's heads that quarantine of new fishes before they are placed in the main tank is so Important.> Thanks in advance for your assistance and I too would like to add my thanks for the great content you authored in The Conscientious Marine Aquarist.  Best regards, Jeff Detweiler <I'll certainly pass the "props' on to Bob, Jeff! And I know that you'll be successful at beating the ich! Keep reading, learning, and showing patience! You're doing fine, so hang in there, okay?>

Tales of ongoing Crypt <<Greetings, JasonC here...>> I have had an ongoing ich problem in my marine aquarium. I have read numerous articles on treatment, and your website e-mails on the subject. I have isolated my surviving fish in a separate treatment tank and will treat with Cupramine or Coppersafe for 2 weeks. I intend to keep them isolated for additional weeks. I realize the display tank is infected and intend to let it go fallow for at least a month. Would six weeks be better?  <<Six weeks would be better, yes.>>  Is that enough to get rid of the ich in the display tank?  <<Tough question... it should be, but one can never be 100% certain. Without a doubt it will reduce the number of parasites to a manageable level. If the fish return in good health, then they should be able to do just fine.>> I eagerly await your answer, and Thanks. W. Tripp <<Cheers, J -- >>

Ich/Fresh water Dips Hi Bob/Steven, Thanks for your valued advise, it's very much appreciated. I have another question for you. I have been reading your Diseases section at WWM concerning Ich and F/W dips. The situation: I have a 30gal quarantine tank that is currently housing a Bi-color Angel and Regal Tang. The Regal Tang is showing signs of what looks like ICH (salt like grains on both sides of it's body). I bought both fish just a day ago. When I bought him he looked fine. I followed the acclimation procedures as outlined by FFExpress. This morning I noticed the Ich on the Tang. Is using Kordon Rid - Ich + okay for the Bicolor Angel? <The active ingredient in that product is Malachite Green and Formalin. I am pretty sure the Malachite Green is bad for Centropyges.> He doesn't show any sign of Ich, but, as he is new and in the same q-tank as the regal tang I'm thinking he needs Rid - Ich as a precautionary step. What do you think? <I would begin with daily water changes first. A 25% daily water change on a QT tank can effect a cure for Cryptocaryon if done everyday for two weeks.> I plan on performing the usual other steps as well; water change, raise the temp slightly, lower salinity to upper teens and a 5 min f/w dip. <I like the dips, too, but try the daily changes first and then escalate the treatments if no response is seen.> But please let me know if you think the Rid Ich + is okay for the Dwarf Angel? Thanks, Steve Segura of San Jose, CA <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Naso with ICH Bob, I'm confused and concerned. We just got this Naso tang a week ago and a few days ago he developed white spot. We set up a hospital tank. We have 5 damsels and 3 hermits in our display tank and 16 lb of live rock. The white spot is there in the morning and drops off over the course of the day. It's very minimal and he's eating heartily. We plan to take out the Naso and a damsel (if we can catch him--the others look great) since he has become less active over the past day. A little damsel looks a little weak so we figured we'd bring him out too. 1.if we treat him with Cupramine, we could devastate his gut. Will he recover? We have the Seachem test kit (it's over a year old--the LFS did not have a fresh test--will it still work)? <Yes... if you have to go the copper route... see below> 2.We don't have biological filtration in this tank (26 gallon). Can we really keep him in there for more than a week (as the Cupramine suggests--2 weeks)? How do we prevent an ammonia spike? Water changes? <Yes, by testing, changing nitrifying media from a clean source... and water changes...> 3.I've heard discussions about chelated vs. ionic Cu. We bought Cupramine because the LFS we got him from said they used it in their tanks (we figured it worked before). Then the said they did they only used it in hospital tanks. The therapeutic window is pretty slim--.5 to .8 ppm. Can we kill this guy very easily with this stuff??? Could you suggest brands if we should not use this stuff? <Yes... all fishes to a small degree can be killed by too much free copper, cupric ion...> Thanks, Allyson <Now, what I would do... the environmental manipulation mentioned on the Marine Parasitic Disease sections of the www.WetWebMedia.com site, the use of vitamins mentioned there, AND the addition of a Cleaner Shrimp of the genus Lysmata... do these things NOW and don't use the Cupramine or other medication. Bob Fenner>

Ich :( Hi Bob! Seems like I am pestering you an awful lot lately :) My latest problem is ich. When I got home last night, I noticed that my Powder Blue Tang had it pretty badly. I have never had the problem before, or else I probably would have diagnosed it quicker :( Anyway, I moved the Powder Blue to my 20 gallon hospital tank (where my yellow tang is already residing, due to black spot) and went and bought CopperSafe and a copper test kit. After I had dosed the hospital tank I went back and studied my reef tank to see if any other fish had it. Well, the tangs were mostly hiding, which they have been doing quite a bit lately'¦ (duh, I guess now I know that's the first symptom). Anyway, to the point -- my Kole tang has it pretty badly so I moved him too. Also and my Purple Tang has just a teeny bit, but I left him in the reef hoping maybe the cleaner shrimp would help. This morning the Powder Blue was dead, but the Yellow and Kole seemed ok.  <Arggghhhh, I'm with you> My main tank is a 55 gallon reef with 50 lbs live rock, 2 anemones, mushrooms, daisy polyps, button polyps, 6 inch snowflake eel, pacific cleaner shrimp, red brittle star, flame scallop, decorator crab, turbo snails, blue leg hermit crabs, 2 damsels, 3 Chromis, and a tomato clown (besides the tangs). My filtration is a large protein skimmer and an undergravel filter with two powerheads. My hospital tank is a twenty gallon tank with nothing but a large over-the-back BioWheel/mechanical filter unit, heater, and airstone. Amm/Nitrite/Nitrate 0, Alk 3.5, Calcium 300, salinity 1.022. Whew! All, that said, here are my questions: Should I move my Purple tang to the hospital tank? Is my hospital tank going to be big enough for these three fish? Is water quality going to be a huge issue in that little tank? Will my other fish probably get ich too? Will the ich die off by itself in the main tank, and how long until it's safe for the tangs to go back into the main tank?  <Yes, do move ALL the fishes... and leave the tank fallow... for... maybe two months... If you can, move the fishes from treatment (should take two weeks...) to another system... and be religious about not mixing ANY gear, water from the ich-entrenched system... to it. Speed up the passing of the Cryptocaryon by elevating the temperature (to about 82, 84 if your non-fish livestock will take it)> Thank you in advance for answering my questions. I cannot express to you how great it is to have access to someone who gives consistent advice. Out LFS is really neat and they have their own huge, beautiful reef tank, and a great selection, but their advice is often lacking and they contradict themselves. Very frustrating!!  <Glad to be here... and not appear too self-contradictory! Bob Fenner>

Bobbing for ich... important, interesting methods for avoiding, treating external parasitic (mostly) complaints of marine fishes  - 01/12/2006 Hello, <Hi there> Could you help clear something up.  Will a freshwater bath on a marine fish destroy some of the encysted parasites of ich or velvet? <Often so, yes... this is posted... on WWM...>   I get conflicting information on this.  At the store I work at, we do keep copper in the water for parasite control in our marine section. <Very common practice in the trade> So when the parasite drops off and the swarmers bust out they will shrivel up and die. <That is the hope> But if I could give the fish some relief from the load of parasites it currently has on it, I would like to do that. <You are wise here... my urgings for prophylactic dips in the industry... from collectors forward, have been emphatic and constant going on three decades... Please see WWM re "Guerilla Acclimation"...> Giving the fish a pH adjusted temperature adjusted freshwater bath when it obviously has something, that sounds like good advice. <We are confluent in this opinion> We know a freshwater bath will kill or reduce a lot of other pathogens that could be hitching a ride on the fish, from flukes to Brooklynellosis.  But besides killing all the other stuff that might be in the gills on a fish that's showing spots, Will it actually help to reduce the load of marine ich or velvet? <Oh yes. Done correctly, they are virtually eliminated, excluded with such practice> Or am I only giving a bath to kill whatever else might be on the animal and waiting until the encysted parasites drop off? <If your systems are "specific pathogen free", you will not have such pathogens to reinfect/fest them...> | I had the idea that the freshwater bath might take off some of the fishes slime coat and expose the parasite to the killing freshwater.  Or is that not the case? <Yes... with most fish species, in good initial health, such exposure results in more slime production temporarily> In a related idea of giving a saltwater bath to a fresh water fish.   Sometimes I will see a fish arrive covered so heavily with ich (freshwater) that I go 'man, that's horrible'.  I don't think the animal will survive to where those encysted parasites drop off to be killed by the medication that's in the water.  So how about a salt bath. <Can be utilized with good result with many types/groups of fishes... not all. One must be attentive (there while doing this, closely observing), using aeration... removing the fishes if/when show too much stress> I've read a few authors suggesting a 1% or 3% bath, in that it would take off the fishes slime coat exposing the parasites from their slime coat fortress to be immediately destroyed, and it encourages the fish regenerate a new slime coat more aggressively. <Yes, ideally> The bulk of the question affects how I handle a fish that I see is 'covered'   Can I do something now to help it get some of those nasties off it and medicate.  Or are my hands tied and I medicate, wait, and hope it survives until they fall off. <Can do much... the best, most logical place is in transition, during handling, placement on arrival... during acclimation... next, by way of quarantine procedures... Of consequence, careful species and individual selection/sources, and appropriate, stable environmental, nutritional inputs> In a semi-related note I was browsing through the posts on marine velvet and a reply from a person Anthony from a post called "Oodinium".  He mentioned a preference of formalin over copper, in that copper would not penetrate deeply into the flesh to kill the parasite.  I thought that even the powerful formalin would still run into that same problem.  The parasite is protected by its slime coat fortress, that no medication could penetrate into it. <Mmm, well... metal and formalin containing material does produce such irritation that much of the slime coat of fish hosts is sloughed off, with not-too-deeply embedded parasite fauna going with it...>   You just wait until it falls off divides and kills the free swimming state. <Mmm, better to remove the stages from the host, kill them in the process if possible, and poison them in off-host stages as well. Bob Fenner> Thank you for time,

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