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jeffcoatbs 06-13-2013 02:41 PM

Ich Breakout in Planted 125, Please Help!
I have a standard 6 foot 125 gallon planted aquarium, and have recently discovered that I have 2 dead fish and a pretty bad ich breakout after returning from a 5 day vacation last night. It may also be worth mentioning that the tank has been running for about 3 months now, and I've been fighting a brown algae problem for the past few weeks as well (although the water parameters all still looked excellent: Ammonia: 0, Nitrite: 0, Nitrates: <20). Other than that, everything seemed fine before a left for vacation last week. There are about a dozen various plants in the tank along with three smaller moss balls and lots of driftwood. I'm running two emperor 400 filters and 135 watts of flourescent lighting (75 watts at 6500k, and 60 watts at 6700k) 9 hours a day. I feed a combination of pellets, freeze dried bloodworms, flake, and an occasional algae wafer twice a day.

Stocking wise, here's a list:
1 female crowntail betta (RIP, I know this is an odd choice for a 125 but she actually did great in there with the other fish since she was 2.5" herself. That said, I don't believe I'll be replacing her.)
1 rubber lip pleco (RIP)
__________________________________________________ ____
3 pictus (currently 3", LFS told me they were the 6" variety)
1 clown pleco (currently 2")
6 Bala sharks (currently 2-3", I know that these guys get big but have never seemed too aggressive to me)
weather loach (currently 3")
6 denison barbs (currently 2-3")
3 rosy barbs (2", will be adding 3 more once I get my issues resolved)
3 congo tetras (2", will be adding 3 more once I get my issues resolved)
2 kribs (3.5" Male, 2" Female)

Pictus Cats and Clown Pleco were very lethargic and covered with ich. I had to remove the two partially eaten dead fish, and immediately did a 50% water change. Ammonia looked to be less than 0.25 ppm when I measured after the water change. I added prime and aquarium salt with the 50% water change (Ammonia was 0.25 ppm, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: 20). I use Seachem Ph neutralizer since I have tap water, so I don't regularly test Ph. I've never used the aquarium salt before, but figured it couldn't hurt in this situation. I opted to not treat the ich with medication, but instead gradually increased the temp of my tank from its normal 75 degress to the mid 80s. It was at 82 degrees this morning before I left for work, and the pictus cats and pleco were much less lethargic. The pleco was even eating an algae wafer. However, my male Krib looked very stressed and was breathing heavy. I went ahead and set the heaters to rise to 84 degrees, and left for work.

I hope my male Krib will hang in there, since our little Krib pair are our favorites along with our weather loach (the only ones with names... of the remaining fish). My thinking is that one of the fish died soon after we left and mucked the tank up pretty good over the next few days before we got back. I just never would've expected to have ich, since I've never had problems with it before and there were no signs of it before we left for Vacation. The rubber lip pleco was one of the newer fish, and I was only able to watch him for a couple weeks before we left. Maybe he was carrying it, and when he died it spread rapidly due to the ammonia spike as well. I'm really at a loss for how exactly it happened, but I guess all that matters at this point is getting the tank healthy again.

So my plan of action as of right now is:

-More regular (daily?) water changes with Prime, Ph Neutralizer and Aquarium salt
-Add more airstones to the tank
-Maintain a temp between 84-86 for an extended period (2 weeks?)

jeffcoatbs 06-13-2013 02:53 PM

1. Size of tank? 125 Gallon (6 footer)

2. Water parameters
a. Ammonia? 0.25
b. Nitrite? 0
c. Nitrate? 20
d. pH, KH and GH? 7.0
e. Test kit? API (liquid)

3. Temperature? 75 normally (84 currently)

4. FW (fresh water) or BW (brackish)? FW

5. How long the aquarium has been set up? >3 months

6. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them? See original post above

7. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants)? No

8. a. Any live plants? Fake plants? ~12 live plants/3 moss balls
b. Sand, gravel, barebottom? Gravel with flourite
c. Rocks, woods, fancy decors? Any hollow decors? rocks, driftwood, and a large pirate ship and treasure chest to function as caves on opposite ends of tank.

9. a. Filtration? 2 Emperor 400 power filters
b. Heater? 2 Fluval E300 heaters

10. a. Lighting schedule? What lights are used? 3) 25 watt microflourescent 6500k bulbs, and 2) 36" t8 30 watt flourescent 6700k Life-glo tubes.
b. Any sunlight exposure? How long? Window in room with tank, but no direct sunlight.

11. a. Water change schedule? once every 1-2 weeks
b. Volume of water changed? 20%
c. Well water, tap water, RO water? tap water
d. Water conditioner used? recently went to prime, was using API stress coat
e. Frequency of gravel/sand (if any) vacuumed? spot vac areas where I feed during every water change

12. Foods? sinking pellets, flake food, freeze-dried bloodworms, algae wafers
How often are they fed? twice per day

13. a. Any abnormal signs/symptoms? white spots and lethargy
b. Appearance of poop? normal
c. Appearance of gills? normal

14. a. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis? added aquarium salt and increased water temp. No meds.
b. What meds were used? None.

15. Insert photos of fish in question and full tank shot if necessary.

Read more:

Sanguinefox 06-13-2013 03:31 PM

Your plan of action sounds like a good one, though keep a solid eye on the fish for signs of heat stress. The other thing I would add is to try to do some substrate level vaccuming when possible.

You want to get those eggs out of there to control the outbreak. Also make sure to recheck the fish research wise to ensure they tolerate salt. I'm not well versed in many of those so I can't really say.

jeffcoatbs 06-13-2013 03:51 PM

Thanks for the advice, I'll do a little research to make sure that all of my fish will be ok at the higher temp for a short time. I was initially mostly concerned about the Weather Loach as he is a cold water fish, but he seems to be coping with the temp increase very well so far. My biggest concern now is the male Kribensis, since he was the most stressed when I left for work this morning.

Sanguinefox 06-13-2013 04:50 PM

Loaches don't do well in general with salt and I'm sure the Weather Loach is no different. I'd leave the salt out and just stick with heat if possible, or if you can juggle the loach to a qt so you can do salt for the tank, that would work too. Can't believe I missed that. When my Loaches had an outbreak of Ich I ended up using Kordon's Rid Ich Plus. It is loach friendly and that combined with high heat seems to have did a good number on the Ich. Didn't lose a single fish either. You have to have that extra aeration then when combining heat and meds.

jeffcoatbs 06-14-2013 12:52 PM

I didn't realize that the weather loach might be sensitive to aquarium salt. I guess going forward I just won't add any additional salt with the water changes. Everyone was still ok this morning, and the temp of the tank was up to 85 degrees, which is where it should stay. The 3 Pictus Catfish are still very stressed and surfing the corner above the Treasure Chest that is their normal home. They are also not eating. All of the other fish are eating, and seem much less stressed with the exception of the Bala Sharks. They are acting very strange. They will suspend pointing straight down toward the bottom of the tank, and then dart rapidly across the tank repeatedly. I haven't seen them flicking like the other fish, so I guess this is their way of reacting to the ich. They also don't seem to be eating as much as normal, while all of the other fish are acting and feeding normally at this point, even the Clown Pleco that is covered in ich nearly as badly as the Pictus Catfish are.

I was initially very worried about my Male Kribensis, but he seems to be doing fine now. I think the initial increase in tank temp just had him stressed out. I will probably order some of the Kordon's Rid Ich Plus (Amazon seems to have a decent price and I'm a Prime member so I get free two day shipping), and if I don't see much improvement over the next couple of days while I wait for it to arrive, then I'll probably treat with it once it arrives. Thanks again for your help!

jaysee 06-14-2013 01:27 PM

Welcome to the forum

I would increase the temp to at least 86. I use 88. There is a threshold of tolerance for the ich with regards to temperature, and the closer you get to it, the greater the chance of it not being completely effective. 84-85 is right at the boarder of being effective.

Also, I would not use salt. The heat alone will cure the fish and eradicate the parasite from the tank. Adding salt isn't going to make them any deader. Too, meds, heat and salt are all stressful. Using salt with heat just makes the fish more stressed and uncomfortable.

It takes about 5 days for the spots to go away with the heat method. Since you've started it, it would be best to just see it through rather than switch up treatments.

jeffcoatbs 06-14-2013 05:32 PM

Ok, so I'll increase the tank temp another couple degrees when I get home and stop adding the aquarium salt during my water changes. That should put my tank right around 87 degrees. At least I will have the ich meds in case I need them in the future.

I will follow through with the heat method and keep everyone posted.

jeffcoatbs 06-14-2013 07:47 PM

I just got home from work to two dead balas. They didn't show any apparent signs of ich, so I'm hoping I didn't kill them with heat stress. The four remaining balas are hovering in the back right corner of the tank, and the three pictus cats are hovering in the opposite corner. None of them look very good, and seem extremely stressed. The clown pleco is now completely covered in white spots, and is on the driftwood in the center of the tank. I hope the aquarium salt didn't have anything to do with the added stress on the balas either. I'm going to follow through with the heat and hopefully we won't lose any more fish. My wife is pretty upset with me for not using meds since we've lost two additional fish now, but I can't say for certain that we weren't going to lose them anyway. My tank temp is at 84-85 degrees right now, and I'm afraid to go higher at this point. I'm extremely frustrated to say the least.

jaysee 06-14-2013 08:52 PM

If they are at the surface, it sounds like there's not enough oxygen in the water. You can lower the water level to make more surface disturbance.

I've administered the heat treatment, at 88 degrees to 50 different species, including cold water species and high oxygen species and have not had a problem. That's not to say that no one will ever have a problem ever, but I wouldn't expect issues.

If you aren't going to go higher than 84-85 then you should abandon the heat treatment. Raising the temp but not higher than the threshold will just make the ich worse, not cure it.

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