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small fry 12-31-2012 04:49 PM

My First Ich Outbreak
Hey guys,

After being an avid fish keeper for over two and a half years, I'd almost developed the idea that I'd never have to deal with something like an ich outbreak. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

Tank Info
Recently I've been working on setting up my 55 gallon tank, which at this point is going to be a South American Cichlid tank. I've been keeping up with regular water maintenance as usual, but lately, I've added different fish. Last week I moved out 3 Jewel Cichlids (an adult and 2 juvies), and a juvie Red Zebra and I added 7 Black Widow Tetra (about 1"-1 1/2"), and 1 juvie female Firemouth Cichlid. I've kept 4 Convicts (about 1"-2") through the transition.

Currently the tank stock is as follows:
x1 Firemouth Cichlid (2")
x4 Convicts (1m,3f)
x7 Black Widow Tetra

Now, I realize that even after taking out the 4 African Cichlids, the 8 other SA fish still have a fairly large impact in the balance of the bio-system. I've added a few bacteria-related chemicals like Stability (as I always do with new fish), added some aloe for fins, and probably a few other things.

The move was last week. I hope this isn't too hard to follow.

Over the first few days, I watched over the tank very closely. The aggression was very minimal, and for the most part, the only species that showed evidence of fighting were the convicts (they fight each other sometimes and leave the others alone). Over this week I've watched them fairly well, and up to this point there still hasn't been much nipping at all, although every once in a while a Convict will chase a strayed Tetra for a second or two.

Today I noticed that the diatoms in my tank were getting worse. After a closer inspection I realized that my filter had been unplugged! The tank was probably stagnant for a few days, possibly. I inspected the fish and what I thought was just a bubble on one of the Black Skirts is actually what I believe to be a Ihthyophthirius cyst. I noticed a few more on some of the other Black Skirts. It hasn't spread to the Cichlids.

I'm not sure if the Ich originated from the fish store I got them from, or if it was related to stress in the 55 gallon tank. Thinking back on when I was at the pet store, I realize that some of the other fish had Ich as well, so I probably got it from the pet store. Either way, I really should have set up a QT. I just didn't want to quarantine a shoal of 7 larger tetra in a 10g tank for two weeks.

Anyway, although I haven't had issues with this problem before, I am fairly familiar with a few different methods of treatment. Up to this point I haven't done much. I've already carried out a 50% water change, which I plan to do everyday until I get this under control. I upped the temperature from the regular 78*f to 82*f. Other than that, I wanted to get some opinions and suggestions. I've seen plenty of contradictory information on how further treatment goes. Here are my questions

*I've read that it's a good idea to add Salt. Would that be just regular "freshwater" salt, do I use full recommended dose, and how often do I use it?
*Would medication do any harm? I want to get rid of this bug without using much medication, but I do have some if it would help. Maybe I could use half-dose?
*The tank is running at 82*f right now. Do I need to add airstone (which I plan to do anyway) and bump the temperature up higher, or would that make breathing too hard since Ich can get in their gills?
*Is there anything else any one of you would recommend?

I apologize for the long read. I like to be as informative as possible on critical issues like this. I really appreciate any tips or suggestions you might have. I have some head-knowledge, but really no experience treating this problem.

small fry,

small fry 12-31-2012 08:16 PM

Let me make sure I included everything.

1. What is the size of your tank?
55 gallon

2. What are your water parameters? State the brand of test kit used.

3. Is your aquarium set up freshwater or brackish water?

4. How long the aquarium has been set up?
Over four months

5. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them?
x1 Firemouth Cichlid (2") - got last week at PETCO
x4 Convict Cichlid (1 1/2") - had for over a month
x7 Black Skirt Tetra (1 1/2") - got last week at PETCO

6. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants)?
Unfortunately not.

7. What temperature is the tank water currently?
Bumped up to 82*F for treatment

8. Are there live plants in the aquarium?
One stem of Anacharis - recently added.

9. What filter are you using? State brand, maintenance routine and power capacity.
Marineland Emperor 400 - 80g capacity.

10. Any other equipment used (aside from heater and filter which are two very important components of the tank)?
Single Bulb Aquarium Fixture (48" T8 8000k), and I may add airstone for Ich treatment.

11. Does your aquarium receive natural sunlight at any given part of the day? What is your lighting schedule (assuming you do not rely on sunlight for our viewing pleasure)?
A tiny bit of indirect sunlight is received in the daytime. They are on a 12h/p light schedule.

12. When did you perform your last water change and how much water was changed? How often do you change your water? Do you vacuum the substrate?
I do 25-30% water changes on a regular basis. I vacuum 1/4 of the surface floor every two weeks. After discovering the Ich today, I have and will continue to do 50% water changes daily for a week or two.

13. What foods do you provide your fish? What is the feeding schedule?
They eat Cichlid flakes (Wardly brand, I think), Mini Hakari Pellets (Bio-gold), Bloodworms, and occasionally an algae wafer.

14. What unusual signs have you observed in your fish?
A few white specs (no more than 5) on a few Black Widow Tetra.

15. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis? If so, what treatments did you use? State your reasons for planning ahead of proper diagnosis.
I have only done 50% water changes (and will continue to do so daily), and have raised the temps to 82*F. I have questions about salt, temperatures, and other things in my first post.

If you have any suggestions or tips, I would greatly appreciate them! Like I said, this is the first time I've dealt with this, and anything helps. Thanks!

-small fry,

small fry 01-02-2013 12:30 AM

Well, I don't really know how to say this, but my fish don't have Ich after all. After closely examining them over the last few days, none of them have "cyst" (which actually turned out to be air bubbles) are in the same spot, and at different times, they've been completely clear of them.

I apologize for taking up people's time with this thread. Thankfully, though, there's nothing that needs to be treated. Sorry for the false alarm! :oops:


small fry,

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