Velvet, otos, and copper dosing
Ammonia level = 0ppm
Nitrites level = 0ppm
Nitrates level = 5ppm
Water hardness = pH 8.2
Specify other chemical levels that might be relevent = GH off the chart KH 8
Volume of tank = 75 L/20gal
Size of tank = 30" long
Filtration system = HOB Whisper 20
Temperature = 78 degrees F
Age of tank setup = ~ 1 month
If a new tank when was it cycled and how? = fish cycling (mistake, I know) finished cycling two/three weeks ago
Number and amount of water changes weekly = 20% weekly, just did 50% water change when fish started itching
Age of fish <if known> = two barbs 4 months or less, two fully grown, otos unknown
Any recent changes = otos added last thursday, hospital tank uncycled so no quarantine
Okay, so I know I have velvet and I know copper does the trick VERY nicely with barbs (had this problem in a different tank). My problem is that I have no idea if copper is safe for otos. I've read a little bit that says it is. I've also read and heard that copper isn't safe for any fish. I've dosed 3 tsp of coppersafe (the directions say to do 5) because I knew about copper overdose before but now I'm not sure what to do with the otos. The barbs aren't looking any better since two days ago when I dosed the first copper. My hospital tank is almost cycled, so should I move my otos and dose the full amount of copper? Or should I leave them and finish the dose?
yes copper based treatment is great for velvet, when combined with a total blackout (no light whatsoever for 36-48hrs).
yes copper is also a very toxic substance and can kill any life, not just aquatic, if overdoses occur. the safe level for copper in an aquarium is no more than 3ppm. so only dose what the medication states, no more.
if you are really concerned about the level of copper invest in a copper testing kit (£15 or so)
after the treatment course has finished, add activated carbon to your filtration system to remove any residual copper particles.
the best way to do a blackout is to wrap the tank in a heavy blanket or duvet, do not feed or peek and only let light in when dosing for that days treatment (best done with curtains draw to keep light down to a min), obviously no tank lights on during this period.
you may wonder why the lack of light is important, well the parasite that causes velvet Oödinium pilularis contains Chlorophyll and as such needs light to live, eliminate the light and treat with copper and you have maximized your chances of eradicating it.
any more questions, feel free to ask here or via PM
finally good luck and keep us posted
forgot to say, yes the treatment should be safe with otos, at least when I treated them in a tank that had velvet they all survived
Edit: So it's covered but I know my nitrates are only about 5ppm. Will that affect the outcome? I know during an algae outbreak you have to make sure your nitrates are up before blacking out the tank. Same for velvet?
nitrAtes (no2) should be fine upto 50ppm, so don't worry about them for now.
the main thing is to clear the velvet.
yes, cover the top, the aim is to eliminate any light getting to the water.
Just a note on copper: shrimp and other inverts are *very* sensitive to any copper residue. You'll probably never be able to keep shrimp in that tank now that you've used copper in it.
I do believe that the copper tests will test enough for residue that you will be able to determine if the tank is safe for inverts. It's definitely a worth investment irregardless. As always, I recommend the API liquid test, as it has a good reputation as being the most accurate.
If you do decide to try inverts in this tank at a later time I would recommend running carbon for a long time and changing your substrate. It's also an extremely good idea to add 1-2 ghost shrimp as your guinea pigs (as mean as that sounds). They're thankfully extremely cheap, and they will give you a good sense of whether or not any others will survive.
Also, I found this cool little product and was wondering if anyone had any experience with it. It's called CupriSorb™ and I found it here.
I figure if I was going to keep ghost shrimp around, plants, and possibly a freshwater clam or two, I might as well buy a copper testing kit. Figure it's worth the investment as all of my other water testing kits have been invaluable.
I would say several months/a year, and that is assuming the copper test reads negative at that point.
Also, I really wouldn't recommend keeping freshwater clams. They feed solely on green water, so you'll be starving your clams to death unless you are prepared to constantly supply them with that (and you have a source of green water). They are also extremely bothered by anything disturbing them and it will prevent them from feeding, they really must be kept in a community tank.
I made the mistake of adding two to my community tank under the impression that they could be fed marine invert food, but I was sorely mistaken. There's a lot of misinformation out there on those little guys.
Sorry my posts have been so negative- I swear I'm just trying to prevent cruddier things from happening later. And there's lots of good things to do with the tank!
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