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SusanB 12-04-2012 10:30 PM

Loaches with Ick - Help
I have a 55 gallon tank with clown loaches (I know, will eventually need a larger tank), tiger barbs, cherry barbs and australian rainbow fish.

The tank got ick, most likely from the fish being stressed from temperature fluctuations. I have gotten a second heater for the tank. I have been treating the tank with Paraguard which seems to have helped all of the fish except the loaches.

I had five loaches and lost two today. I have removed the loaches into a 10 gallon tank with a sponge filter and no substrate. I have set the temperature in the 10 gallon to 86 degrees and covered the tank with a towel to keep it dark and quiet.

What else should I do to eradicate the ick? Should I add salt? If so, how much salt should I add? Should I continue the Paraguard? Should I try something else? Right now the tank has no medication I took the sponge filter out of the 55 and put it in the 10 gallon so hopefully we have an instant cycle. I love the little loaches and really want the last three to survive.

Sanguinefox 12-05-2012 12:21 AM

I am currently battling Ich myself. That said do not use salt. Loaches have no real tolerance for it. The best thing you can do other than the higher temp is to keep up with good water changes.

There are meds you can use but if you do it has to be at a low or half dose. I'm currently playing it safe with Ich Attack by Kordon, but the purpose of most meds is to kill off the parasite when it is in it's most vulnerable stage and that isn't when it is on the fish but instead when it is in the free floating stage.

lakemalawifish 12-05-2012 02:13 AM

I agree, no salt for Clown Loaches. One thing about Clowns is, when they get about 3-4" the males will get pimples on their faces that looks similar to ich. It just means that they are reaching sexual maturity.

SusanB 12-05-2012 08:28 AM

Treating clown loaches has been no fun. Some sites say treat with salt, others say don't treat with salt. There are also varying opinions on how much salt to use if you do treat with salt. Loaches are my favorite fish and I was heartbroken to find the two of them dead.

When they were still in the 55 gallon I was treating with Paraguard and doing water changes every 2-3 days. The other fish got better, but the loaches still have spots and look terribly thin. I put the loaches in the 10 gallon hoping that by not being harrassed by the other fish and just being able to rest in a nice quiet, warm environment will help them. I am also hoping that I can entice them to come out and eat as well.

If it were your fish, would you continue the Paraguard? I am going to continue to do water changes in the 10 gallon but I am going to use a turkey baster instead of a gravel vac to try to keep from disturbing them too much.

lakemalawifish 12-05-2012 09:51 AM

Not sure about continuing to dose with Paraguard, you will have to use your best judgement on that according to the instructions on the package. My only suggestion is to research how much heat CL's can tolerate and continue with that. If I were you, I would not use the turkey baster to clean the tank because I don't think that will remove as much of the ich parasite that is free floating and in the tank substrate as siphoning will. I have read about people using extreme heat measures for a long period of time, research that, seems like it is 2 weeks or so (just be sure that CL's can tolerate that much heat). Just be sure to have good oxygen in the tank, i.e. surface agitation, air stone, clean water. Wish I knew more to help you, I love our Clowns too and hope your little guys are doing the happy dance soon! Also, remember that ich can be transferred from tank to tank via cleaning tools, siphons, nets, because of that I have separate equipment in a bucket that is just for when I have an ich tank. I have read that it can even be transferred by your hands if you do not wash them after you maintain a tank with ich, not sure if that's true?? Best wishes for a successful outcome!

SusanB 12-05-2012 10:16 AM

I think clowns can tolerate fairly high heat and there is no substrate so I might be ok with the baster if I take out about 20 percent of water concentrating on the bottom of the tank. Last night when I saw how sick the loaches were I immediately set up a quarantine tank with just a heater and sponge filter.

I hope the heat can kill the ich on the sponge filter as well. I am thinking I will keep the loaches in quarantine for about a month or so just to make sure they fully recover.

Sanguinefox 12-05-2012 05:09 PM

Posting to say that you can go ahead and keep using it. From the research I have done I have learned so far that Ich has three stages. It has a form where it is in your fish's body, burrowed under the slime coat and protected from medication and or being rubbed off. It also has a form where it falls off and undergoes cellular division and a free swimming form when it is looking for hosts.

The only way to kill it is to get it while it is in that free swimming stage. Turning up the heat makes the life cycle of the parasite go faster and thus exposes the next brood to what you put in there (in this case medication) to kill it. If it is already on the fish there is nothing you can do to get it off but wait and hope that the animal is healthy enough. When the stuff falls off to go into it's next cycle that's when you start to open the window to killing it. They key is to stop the next infestation/infection cycle by eradicating the parasite in it's most vulnerable stage.

Frequent water changes helps keep the tank clean to prevent infection of others things during this stressful time for your fish and helps remove some of the spores and some of the free floating parasites. Make sure you keep up with water changes, the heat, and the meds. Vaccum the walls/clean them when you can even if it is just to stir it up before doing a water change.

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