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This is a discussion on ich? within the Cichlids forums, part of the Freshwater and Tropical Fish category; --> I got a pair of rams last week and a couple days ago I noticed a spot on his fin. Is it ick? Can ...

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Old 04-20-2014, 12:25 PM   #1

I got a pair of rams last week and a couple days ago I noticed a spot on his fin. Is it ick? Can I use petcos herbal ick treatment with the water conditioner in my tank? It says not use w/ sulfinate, I didn't see that in the ingredients on my other stuff.

40g - 2 electric blue rams, 5 blk. skirt betas, 2 Serpae tetra, 1 red/blue columbian tetra, 4 sterba cory's

Aqueon water conditioner, tetra easy balance plus Api master test kit PH 7.4 every thing else is at zero.
Temp. 83f

Api master test kit PH 7.4 every thing else is at zero.
Temp. 83f
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Old 04-20-2014, 04:15 PM   #2
LittleBlueFishlets's Avatar
I'm not on my regular computer, so I can't see your photo right now.... However.... Ich looks like grains of sugar or salt.

If this is what he has, the simplest treatment is simply to raise the water temperature to at least 86F (30C) IF the other fish in the tank can withstand that high a temperature.

Ich is a parasite. Elevating the water temperature prevents them from reproducing, so eventually, the parasite dies out.

Keep the water temperature high for at least several days after you see the last of the white spots. If raising the temp to 86F (30C) doesn't help, try increasing it to 87-88F (31C), as sometimes the parasite is resistant and higher temps are needed.

That's it. If it's Ich, then just elevated temperature is all that's needed. There's no reason to use medications, IMO. Keep the heat raised until at least 5-6 days after you see the last of the white spots, in order to make sure they've all died off.

-- If you want more detailed info on Ich, read on: --

The white spots that you're seeing are from parasites that have burrowed into the fish. While they're burrowed into the fish, they're protected from harm. They'll eventually fall off, but it takes a few days. So it can take about 5-6 days to see results using the heat method.

There are 3 parts to the life cycle of Ich:

Stage 1) trophont - this is the stage where you see the white spots. The parasite has burrowed into the fish, where it's protected from treatment (which includes medications, salt and heat). So treatment isn't effective here. This stage lasts several days.

Stage 2) tomont - the trophont finishes feeding, and falls off. It's now called a tomont. Since it's in the water column, treatments (medications/salt/heat) are effective now - BUT only for several hours. It then forms a protective cyst around itself, so treatment isn't effective. Unfortunately, the organism is reproducing during this time.

Stage 3) thermonts - Several days later, the cyst bursts, and lots of new organisms go in search of a host fish. They have several days to find a new host, or they will die. Treatment is effective during this time.

So basically, you have to treat while the parasite is either in the early part of stage 2, or during stage 3....

Some people also use aquarium salt or medications (especially ones that contain both malachite/Victoria green and formalin) in addition to heat. But obviously, heat alone is less toxic than adding salt/medication, so it may be something you want to try first - but it does take time to treat this way.

Because the parasites go through three stages, you'll also need to continue treating for at several days after you see the last of the white spots go away. This is because the parasite is only visible during stage one. There are other parasites in the tank going through stages two and three, (but you can't see them,) so you need to continue treatment until it's gone through the entire life cycle sequence.
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Last edited by LittleBlueFishlets; 04-20-2014 at 04:17 PM..
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:14 PM   #3
I would be careful of any ich treatment because Tetras can very easily be over medicated even with using strictly as directed. Isolate the ram and watch him if you need to medicate after trying the raised temp protocol then you will only need to treat the 1 fish. Also remember ich sheds eggs just like other parasites so raising the temp should kill them also.
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:25 PM   #4
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I disagree - if one fish has ich then the whole tank should be treated.
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Old 04-25-2014, 04:01 AM   #5
Originally Posted by jaysee View Post
I disagree - if one fish has ich then the whole tank should be treated.
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Old 04-25-2014, 12:38 PM   #6
This is also the reason good quarantine procedures should be followed. Tetras are very sensitive to ich treatments. You would have to do half doses of treatment so you don't kill them. Also it might not be ich. Try raising the temp before using any medication. Also when you do water change vacuum your substrate WELL. That way you can get the eggs out of the tank before they can hatch and reinfect your fish. I quarantine my fish for about 2 weeks or a month before introduction to my display tank. It's a matter of safety for the other inhabitants of my tank. Even when I start a new tank I quarantine so nothing is introduced to my display tank. I also will do preventative treatment on fish before they leave quarantine. I'm paranoid about my pets health. I don't want to have to explain to my son why his fishies went bye bye.
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Old 04-25-2014, 02:02 PM   #7
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If you are doing a heat treatment, you do not need to worry about vacuuming the substrate - dead parasites don't reinfect fish.
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Old 04-25-2014, 04:13 PM   #8
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Ich has a cycle (obviously...), and through this cycle there are times it can be treated, and times it is extremely hard to treat.

Trophont (visible on the fish's body as white specks which is actually the fish's response to the unwanted parasite)

Tomont: Here they drop off of the fish (breaking out of the "cyst" they form around themselves) and are briefly susceptible to treatment. Until they find a good spot to encyst itself again (usually in substrate), where it multiplies.

Theront: Free swimming stage. Right now, is the most susceptible time for them.

That's all from memory. The heat plays a role - not in STOPPING the cycle (not immediately anyways), but aids in speeding the cycle up. In colder water the cycle takes about 6 weeks (give or take), but in warmer water it can take under a week to complete a full cycle.

Ich cannot survive temperatures above 86 degrees Fahrenheit. So yes, the above statements about using heat - is right on! It does work.

However, I still suggest vacuuming the gravel, as it will removed "Tomont" stage ich, plus remove any dead parasites. There really isn't a downfall to cleaning your tank - unless you go overboard, of course.

But that is just me. Any time I had seen ich, I still cleaned the bottom of the tank. Quarantine is not needed, since it is not as contagious as some think... They attack fish who have a weaker immune system. This is why when a fish is stressed or already ill, the ich appears. I have never had a healthy fish come down with ich - only those who were stressed or ill.

I prefer heat method, or a heat and AQ salt method (the salt dehydrates the pesky parasites). That's usually for a massive outbreak of ich.
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Allanira (04-26-2014)
Old 04-26-2014, 07:30 AM   #9
I do prefer the salt and heat method. Even if I have to top off my tank 2x a day. I still vacuum the crud out of the substrate. I've seen fish that were stressed from transport of 20 minutes get ich. I prefer to quarantine new arrivals to prevent me having to clean a hundred pounds of substrate, plus treat any fish that is sensitive to meds. I only have crawdads who are sensitive this time around in both tanks. I do have a small 10gal hospital/quarantine tank set up and cycled for any fish that looks like it might be getting sick. I'm not saying everyone likes the same treatment methods or that it works 100% of the time. It's a matter of learning. Just remember tetras are sensitive to meds, but can stand some salt in the water. I use it as a profilactic (don't mind my spelling) if its a small tank like 20 gallon I sprinkle about a table spoon every few weeks after cleaning. It also adds some needed electrolytes to the water. I've had tetras on and off for years. The salt treatment is the safest for them. The last time I had the 20 gallon going was nothing but tetras, and a betta but Fred was a really calm cool fish. My laugh too hard my oldest named him. I wish you luck of getting rid of it fast before it infects your other fish.
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:10 AM   #10
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AQ salt is definitely the next safest method :) Meds can be so tough on fish... And luckily, ich is not one of the ones you absolutely need medications for.
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