My betta has ick, should I treat my whole 10g? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-18-2012, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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My betta has ick, should I treat my whole 10g?

Right now the only occupant of my 10 g is the betta, but I have a batch of cherry barbs coming this next Friday. I'd love some advice on whether I need to treat my whole tank and leave the betta in or if I should transfer him to the "sick tank", treat that and breakdown and redo my 10g. I have no idea how transferable ick is so I don't know what I'll need to do for the tank to be okay for when the barbs arrive.

Thank you in advance!
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post #2 of 12 Old 03-19-2012, 12:13 AM
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I would treat the whole tank. If the white spots are falling off then the whole tank is infected. Add some salt (about a teaspoon per gallon, or in your case 2 tablespoons) and crank up the heat to about 82-85 F. This speeds up the life cycle and causes a disruption, ending the ich. Also, check the Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate levels. Don't use the test strips, use the chemical drops. Test strips are USELESS!!!!! Oh and you are going to want to do water changes. About 25% and make sure the temperature is the same for the new water. I have done up to 50% water changes in my tanks and just so long as the water temperature is the same my guys have done fine. Another question.... have you cycled your tank?
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post #3 of 12 Old 03-19-2012, 07:24 AM
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Your entire tank will be infected, so the whole thing must be treated.

As mentioned, you need to increase the temp, but with only a Betta in the tank I'd go to 86 degrees. Bettas can easily tolerate that for a week without issue. At 86 degrees Ich will not be able to reproduce. Raise the temperature slowly, spend a full day letting it rise bit by bit.

You can use salt as said, it's the time tested method, or you can use a medication (don't use both). Salt can be slower to work, depending on the type of medication chosen. If using a medication, remove any carbon from your filter but leave the filter pad (cut it if you have to for removal).

In my own experience with Ich and a Betta (in a planted 10 gallon) I used Coppersafe. Went from ~30 spots at the start, to zero in under 48 hours. However, even after seeing no spots you have to keep the treatment up for a full week to ensure you got them all (Ich life cycle at 86 degrees is ~4 days). During this week I did not do water changes.

In my opinion, water changes are useless with Ich unless you have water quality issues (Ammonia/Nitrite). Doing water changes while using medications is difficult as you must re-dose the new water before adding it.
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post #4 of 12 Old 03-19-2012, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks to both of you, this may actually solve two problems at one time, assuming the remaining pond snails I want to get rid of aren't fond of the higher teamps and salt. Before I treat though, will the salt damage the live plants I have in there? And yes, the tank has cycled, ammonia, nitrates and nitrites are at 0, GH was low when last tested, Kh was super high, though I need to test that again here soon. I just have the drop style test kits, way more fun and certainly more accurate.
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post #5 of 12 Old 03-19-2012, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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I forgot to ask, should the filter be off during the treatment, or should I just remove what carbon is left from the pouch? Put new carbon in?

Nevermind, this was addressed.

Last edited by AlainaToadpipe; 03-19-2012 at 11:13 AM. Reason: edited for stupidity
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post #6 of 12 Old 03-19-2012, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlainaToadpipe View Post
Thanks to both of you, this may actually solve two problems at one time, assuming the remaining pond snails I want to get rid of aren't fond of the higher teamps and salt. Before I treat though, will the salt damage the live plants I have in there? And yes, the tank has cycled, ammonia, nitrates and nitrites are at 0, GH was low when last tested, Kh was super high, though I need to test that again here soon. I just have the drop style test kits, way more fun and certainly more accurate.
Salt will kill most plants, so do not use it if you have live plants. I would most certainly use the Coppersafe, it may or may not kill the snails. Copper is toxic to them, but people have used Coppersafe with inverts with no notable effects, others have had some deaths. Since you don't want the pond snails...

The alternative is to quarantine the snails (or other inverts) while treating the tank and fish. Ich requires a host to live, without any fish whatever Ich is present with the inverts will eventually die off.

Nitrates of zero may mean a couple things. Your tank hasn't started a cycle yet, or you have enough plants to fully use all ammonia leaving none for the bacteria. That usually takes several fast growing plants though. I assume you are using the API Master Test Kit? Do you shake the #2 Nitrate bottle for at least a full minute before using, and shake the test tube after adding for a full minute? It can give a false low reading if not shook.

If its is cycled though, leaving the tank without a water change for a week is a non-issue.

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I forgot to ask, should the filter be off during the treatment, or should I just remove what carbon is left from the pouch? Put new carbon in?
Leave the filter going, just remove the carbon itself. You want to keep the filter pad in the tank so the bacteria it has on it will not be killed off. In a planted tank, you shouldn't use carbon anyways (it will remove nutrients the plants need).
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post #7 of 12 Old 03-20-2012, 11:40 AM
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Agree that salt will likely harm the plants and may kill them at the level used in treatments. But I also consider salt detrimental to soft water fish, like the Betta. I would not use salt. It is only adding more stress to an already weakened and stressed fish.

The higher temp is said to cure ich without medications, and with a Betta I would go this route since they can tolerate the heat for a week or two. Raise it to high 80'sF.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #8 of 12 Old 03-20-2012, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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Perhaps I jumped the gun, then. I started the salt treatment yesterday. I can do a water change today and start removing the salt that way. Hes been in the treated water for about 16 hours. But I don't want to put him through too many changes too quickly either. At this point, should I go ahead with a water change? If so, about what %?
The plants are in their own container and with fresh water at this point, so not affected by the salt. I understand Ich to not survive if they are not with a host animal, but that could be incorrect. I dont know enough about the parasite yet to know what is folklore and what is true yet.
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post #9 of 12 Old 03-20-2012, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by AlainaToadpipe View Post
Perhaps I jumped the gun, then. I started the salt treatment yesterday. I can do a water change today and start removing the salt that way. Hes been in the treated water for about 16 hours. But I don't want to put him through too many changes too quickly either. At this point, should I go ahead with a water change? If so, about what %?
The plants are in their own container and with fresh water at this point, so not affected by the salt. I understand Ich to not survive if they are not with a host animal, but that could be incorrect. I dont know enough about the parasite yet to know what is folklore and what is true yet.
If it were me, I would do a partial water change, say half the tank, and go from there, adding no more salt obviously. The positive effect of a simple water change is something that often amazes aquarists; provided the parameters are close (hardness, pH and temp), there is no detriment to a water change. Discus breeders make one or more 90% changes every day on fry tanks.

There is much about ich we really don't fully understand. The fact is that it can survive for months, even years, with no visible spots and then suddenly burst out when something stresses the fish. There is an article in the current issue (April) of TFH on this very subject, ich surviving with no visible signs in an aquarium for a year. So far, everyone agrees that this can only happen if there is some host fish, so in a totally fish-less tank it is believed the ich will die off in a couple weeks.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #10 of 12 Old 03-20-2012, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you very much for all of the information. When my son gets home we'll do a 50% change and then go from there with keeping the temp high. I'm guessing it wouldn't be a bad idea to do another 50% or more change within the next day or so (as you say, as long as the parameters are as close to the same as possible). Luckily I don't have to modify my water in the tank, the params are pretty much identical right out of the tap, but I'll make sure to dechlorinate and raise the temp to match what's in the tank.
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