Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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smota 06-01-2008 10:31 PM

Sulfathiazole for ich????
Has anybody here used sulfathialoze to treat ich in saltwater tank? Does that really work? How should I use it? I cycled my tank with 3 damsels and a clown fish. I noticed that the demsels had white spots, so I took them out of the tank (becauseI didn't want them anyways). But now I noticed that my clown fish who was with the damsels also presented some white spots on his fins as well. I have just added a brown Tang. PLEASE HELP!!! I love the tang and don't want it to get ich. I have garlic guard in the house and also sulfathiazole. I am not sure how to use sulfathiazole or if it even works. I was told that I need to mix it in their food, but if I add it to the water, will it help quicker? Help, please, please....

Pasfur 06-04-2008 12:17 PM

I do not have experience in using sulfathialoze in treating marine ich. Sulfathiazole is more commonly used to treat secondary bacterial infections. It is very important that you do not mix Sulfathiazole with Copper Sulfate. That being said, lets move on.

You say you have ich, so I will assume you have determined with accuracy that the disease we are treating is in fact Cryptocaryon irritans. If you are not 100% comfortable with this fact, then you need to seek additional assistance before treatment. If you have diagnosed correctly, you should see scattered white spots on the body and fins. You may also see cloudy eyes, scratching behavior, and labored breathing. The fish would likely rub against corals and decorations and swim directly against the water flow of power heads and filter outlets.

As to treatment, you should know that removing infected fish does not rid the aquarium of the infection. You must treat the actual water. Crypto is usually treated with a Copper Sulfate / Malachite Green solution. This treatment option is not available if your aquarium contains live rock or invertebrates. In this case, hypo salinity is usually the most effective treatment. Many hobbyists combine the hypo salinity with a garlic food supplement.

Unfortunately in the marine hobby, it can be very difficult to overcome a case of ich. Far more important than proper treatment of the disease is proper prevention. Many precautions need to be taken to prevent outbreaks.

Never buy fish on first sight. Only purchase fish that you have planned to buy and watched carefully over a period of several days to weeks. If necessary, ask the pet shop to hold the fish for a few days so to ensure it is in good health. Make sure the fish is feeding aggressively and swimming normally.

At home, all fish should be isolated in a separate aquarium for 2 to 3 weeks prior to adding to the main tank, allowing time for any disease to expose itself and be treated. In the display aquarium, I would suggest running a UV Sterilizer to reduce the risk of infections.

Over the long term, selecting proper fish for your size aquarium and experience is extremely important. I am not sure which species of Tang you purchased when you say "Brown" Tang, but a couple species fit. One is the Zebrasoma scopas, which needs a well established tank of at least 75 gallons. The other likely species is the Acanthurus leucosternon, or Powder Brown Tang, which grows very large in size and needs no less than a 125 gallon tank, preferably 180+ gallons. I can not comment on your tank size, but i can say that you made a poor choice in fish. You should never add a Tang to any aquarium which has had a recent Ich outbreak. Tangs are extremely sensitive to Ich and a very poor choice for a newly established aquarium. The Zebrasoma genus is generally hardy, but still not a good beginner choice and certainly requires a quarantine period prior to introduction to the display.

I know this post is running long, but i am afraid that a lot of mistakes have already been made. It will require some effort on your part to fix this and a lot of patience.

smota 06-04-2008 08:29 PM

Thanks a lot!
Thank you so much for the information. When I introduced the powder brown tang and the purple tang I was aware that I had and infestation of ich. Since it is my first time having saltwater I kinda paniced. I consulted with several fish stores and was informed that my tanked had been cycled and that my water was perfect. So I thought I was ready to start adding fish. I was told that it would be okay to start with tangs, which I loved. The ones I got (in different days) had been in the store for over a week because I kept watching them and admiring them. I also asked the store owner if those fish had been quarentined in copper and he said yes - for 10 days. So I felt comfortable bringing them home.
I now learned that tangs are very prone to develop ich due to their skin type, so I decided to start a copper treatement for the whole tank since I don't have any invertebrates or reef. I understand that copper will kill my live rock, but in the future I can just throw crumbles of live rock and they will grow bacteria again within a few or severl months, once my tank is copper free.
I decided to keep my tank treated with copper until I finish adding all my fish and make sure they are okay in their environment. Then I will try to eliminate the copper from the tank and bring the rocks back to life again!
I feel that this may be the safest way for me to keep my tank free of parasites, since I don't have a quarentine tank yet.
I greatly apprecite your information and time.

smota 06-04-2008 08:30 PM

I was NOT aware of the ich infestation...

Pasfur 06-04-2008 09:15 PM

WAIT!!! Take out your rock before you treat. Just put the rock in a bucket of saltwater. The benefit of live rock is far greater than the bacteria within the rock. You will never bring the rock "back to life" after treating with copper.

Oh yes... and find another pet shop. The advice they gave is inexcusable.

smota 06-04-2008 11:51 PM

Too Late
Thanks again for the your input and suggestion. I am tending to agree with you. I may need a different pet store. This would have been a great idea, but I also didn't think anything about it. He just told me that if threw crumbs of live rocks on top of my (now dead) rock, the bacteria would spread again and within a few months I'd have all my live rocks back doing their thing.
Let me ask you this: I noticed that when I get home(at night) and gradually turn on the lights my purple tang gets very very agitated. He swims from one side to the next hitting his head on the glass, on the stone, diving into the sand. Do you know what may be wrong with him? The water levels are still okay.

Pasfur 06-05-2008 05:17 AM

I see both of your threads, but i don not have time this morning to respond properly. I will give you my opinions on this situation tonight.

I really dislike your pet shop. I have a few select words for that guy.

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