Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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satwood 11-03-2008 06:29 PM

ICH Attack
I recently setup a new 45 gallon tank and transferred a lively group of my red-wags. The tank has cycled and has been running for about 2 months now. My parameters are all good, no amm or nitrite, very low nitrate, and ph around 7.5. Sadly I made the mistake of buying a marble molley pair and some neons to add to the tank and they appear to have brought in ICH. I've already lost a couple of red wags and I'm deciding tonight how to dose. I'm starting to raise the temperature to 85 degrees and planning to use salt. I also have a package of "Ick Clear" which is victoria green and acriflavine. I understand the acriflavine is deadly on the tank so I'd rather not use it to avoid staining everything. However, I'm worried that my fish will be harmed by the salt...

Please tell me if I am headed in the right direction.

1. Size of aquarium (# of gallons) 45
2. Is your aquarium setup freshwater or brackish water? Fresh
3. How long the aquarium has been set up?2 months
4. What fish and how many are in the aquarium (species are important to know) 8 Red wags, 2 marble mollies, 4 neons, 2 Cory catfish
5. Are there live plants in the aquarium? Yes
6. What temperature is the tank water currently? 78
7. What make/model filter are you using? Aquaclear 50 and Marineland 350
8. Are you using a CO2 unit? no
9. Does your aquarium receive natural sunlight at any given part of the day? no
10. When did you perform your last water exchange, and how much water was changed? 1 week ago, 10 gal.
11. How often do you perform water changes? every week
12. How often and what foods do you feed your fish? twice per day, flakes & brine shrimp
13. What type of lighting are you using and how long is it kept on? Flourescent, 12 hours
14. What specific concerns bring you here at this time? See above
15. What are your water parameters? Test your pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.
16. What test kit are you using and is it liquid or test strips? Liquid
17. When was the last time you bought a fish and how did they behave while in the pet store tank? last week. 2 neons died right away, the mollies did fine.

satwood 11-03-2008 10:39 PM

Just an update, I decided to use table salt instead of sea salt after reading numerous posts here and on other sites, because my water is generally hard and higher ph anyway. I don't need any more alkaline buffering. I have several fish now with visible white dots on them which i believe confirms the diagnosis. The water temperature is on it's way up now towards about 84 degrees and I've added about .3 tsp salt / gallon so far in 3 hours, planning to get to about .6 by morning. Then I'll let wait the day while I am at work. Any recommendations for during the day tomorrow? Should I risk raising the salt concentration up to 1tsp/gallon with the tetras and corys in there?


iamntbatman 11-03-2008 11:09 PM

I'm not familiar with the medication you're using, but it might be a good idea to check the ingredients to see if it's already got some salt in it. If so, you might want to re-do your salt calculations.

Also, the cories especially will not appreciate the high salt content, so I would err on the side of caution. The higher temps will really be the ich-killer here.

satwood 11-04-2008 10:06 AM

Fortunately for the Corys, so far I have not used the medicine and my salt concentration is still low, around 0.5 tsp per gallon. I did not get it all added this morning. I've gotten the tank to about 82 degrees and then the heater is pretty well max'd out. My house is at 60 degrees or so. Since heat seems to be the secret weapon I'll buy another heater tonight and tag team it to get to 85 degrees.

Any thoughts on how hot is too hot for my occupants? I've had tanks over the summer get to 88 by accident before I shut off the lights, without any fatalities.

Also, how long should I continue treatment? From reading the links it seems like one life cycle is 4 - 5 days so two weeks at 85 degrees may be indicated. Should I continue increasing the salt concentrations?


iamntbatman 11-05-2008 01:16 AM

The only fish you've got in the tank that might "suffer" at the higher temperatures would be the livebearers. The neons and cories should do just fine but keep an eye on those livebearers, especially to see if they start gasping at the surface. You can always throw an air stone in there to increase surface agitation and thus the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, which can become an issue at higher temps.

Taking the salt content that might be in the medication into account, I would only raise salinity to half of the recommended amount. The medication should also be used at half strength due to the cories being in the tank. That, coupled with the increased temps, should be plenty to fight the ich off. Just remember that the salt has to be removed from the tank via water changes just as slowly and deliberately as it was added to decrease the stress on the fish and eliminate the risk of osmotic shock.

satwood 11-06-2008 09:01 AM

Thanks for your help iamntbatman. I should have clarified my earlier posts, I did not add any medication. I decided against it pending the results of the salt and heat. The warnings about the medicine being toxic and causing cancer scared me off.

Thanks for the advice on the livebearers. So far they are OK but I can see they are very hyper and do have very fast respiration. I have a large bubble wand in the tank and one of my filters has a rapid flow downwards from the back of the tank to roll in the bubbles that come off the wand. I turned the air pressure up in it last night just to be safe. I lost another neon last night. He probably succumed to the ick, could not tell for sure.

Examining all the fish I could only find one white speck on one fish, which is encouraging. The test will be in a few days if no new specks emerge, that means the swimmers are not able to re-attach or survive.

I'll follow your advice on a slow ramp down of the salt content through water changes. What's a slow enough pace? 20% every other day maybe or even slower?

I appreciate your help. This is a most unpleasant situation and very stressful for me, as I hate torturing the poor creatures :cry:

iamntbatman 11-06-2008 06:59 PM

Good to hear your fish are handling it well. 20% every other day sounds fine. Once the ich clears up you should have some happy and healthy fish. The neons, being new additions, are probably in a state of lowered immunity due to the stress of being moved and all, so that's probably why you've been losing them. Good luck, and keep us updated!

satwood 11-14-2008 12:12 PM

So here is my latest status: I lost a couple more red wags and another neon during last week, but now this week everything seems much better. In fact, I have had at least two new batches of fry born. There are no new eruptions of white spots to be found. The corys are doing fine and life in the glass box seems to be more normal now. The water temp is still at 85 degrees and I did get the salt level to about 0.75 tsp per gallon. I have not felt that I needed to go any higher. I made a 20% water change over the weekend and added salted water at the same ratio. We're now a few days short of 2 weeks of this treatment

Since the white spots are the only visible indication, I'm going to assume that the parasite needs 4 more days after the last visible sign and allow at least a full 7 days from last Monday as the timeframe to begin dropping the salt level. That would mean next Tuesday the 18th to begin scaling back the treatment, a full 2 weeks after Nov 4th when I realized I had a problem. Let me know if you think this is enough. The best part is I saved them without dangerous chemicals...

I don't know how severe mine was on the scale of ICH attacks but judging by the number of spots and number of fish that were hiding or gasping I think this was fairly big one. Hopefully I have been successful and hopefully this information will help someone else. The resources on this forum are great and I appreciate everyone's suggestions and advice.

I love the red-wags and the neons. I know they are not even from the same parts of the world but they seem to live together very well once they acclimate. I'm glad I was able to save most of them.:-)

I'll post another update after the weekend.

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