I think I've got more ich going on.
A month or so ago, I had a massive ich outbreak that wiped out my entire 16g tank. The tank sat empty for 1-2 weeks, then I stripped it, cleaned everything with hot water and rebuilt it using new substrate, added new plants and ditched the old decor for real manzanita driftwood. The tank then sat empty again for about 1 1/2 weeks while I waited for the fish I'd ordered. (Green neons and ember tetras)
The day before the new fish arrived, I pulled the new filter cartridge from the filter on my 36g tank where it had been seasoning, and slipped it in the 16g filter. Next day, I picked up the new fish, drip acclimated them and added them to the tank. That was last Thursday.
I lost one green neon Sunday night. Looked him over and he looked fine, so I figured it was stress from the move, etc. Another neon came with a small white patch on his head, but it didn't look like ich or fungus and it showed no signs of change nor did he exhibit any symptoms of anything - he ate and swam with the rest of them.
Today, I turned the light on to see some very tiny white spots on two or three of the neons. Not more than 2 or 3 on each fish. Six days after they arrived.
I'm freaking out. If I lose this tank again, I'm not sure I'll restart it. I've already dosed them with AP Quick Cure (half dose since they're all tetras) and begun to slowing raise the temp (although my heater is very temperamental in that tank, so raising the temp takes some doing.)
Do you think these fish brought the ick with them? Is there a chance the previous ich lived through the tank being cleaned? I feel like crap about this. I really thought I was good to go. And since the tank was empty, I didn't quarantine these guys. They're basically in a quarantine situation already since they're the first ones in the tank.
Every fish you get can bring ich into your tank, which is why I preemptively treat all new fish for ich while they are in quarantine.
There is even the possibility of parasites being introduced with new plants, which is why many people "quarantine" plants too.
Ich is the most common and also the easiest ailment to cure in the hobby. It's important to learn how to cure it - once you know you will never worry about it again. I know that you had a disaster with it before, and I'm not saying this to put you down in any way, but one should never lose an entire tank to ich. It's just one of those things that you have to learn how to deal with it. Some people are really lucky and rarely ever see it, while for others it's quite common for new fish to show spots.
I used to use quick cure before I learned of the heat method. Quick cure worked well for me, though I never used it at half strength.
Did you use Quick Cure at full strength for tetras? The label says not to do that. I wonder if the meds and heat are too much together.
I'm going to do a water change as soon as I can today, other than that, I'm just hoping for the best.
I never raised the temp when I medicated. I've always read that that was a bad thing to do, and the meds worked fine at the normal temp. To be honest I only used it a handful of times - I didn't like that it stained decor and silicone so I looked for another way to cure it, which is when I found the heat treatment. Never looked back.
I never really understood the whole half dose thing. I mean, if a half dose was all that's needed to cure the fish, then why isn't that the recommended dosage? I don't like the idea of treating with such a low dosage of meds that it may not work. For starters, it'll put the fish through needless stress if it doesn't work, possibly weakening the fish for the next round of treatments, not to mention that the fish would still be infected. Also, that's how resistance is built up. Those are my thoughts on the matter.
So you think I should just try the heat?
Going back to what you said, yes, the first fish in the tank are essentially being quarantined in the show tank.
If you've already begun the medication, you might as well see if it works. It's a short treatment (compared to the 2 weeks of heat), so you should know fairly quickly if it's working. They don't call it quick cure for nothing ;-) If it works, great. If not, then I would try to give the fish a couple days reprieve before starting a new treatment. You seem to have caught it early, so you have time to spare. It's when people start scrambling to do something once the fish are infested that time is running out.
I've administered the heat treatment (@88 degrees) to about 50 different species, including cool water fish such as goldfish, dojos, denison barbs, danios, plecos etc. I have not lost a single fish to the treatment, but there is a risk that latent issues may become critical issues as a result of the heat. Personally, I like to know that the fish I'm putting in my tank are strong and healthy, so even if I were to lose a fish here and there to the treatment, I would be okay with that.
I appreciate the input, but feel like you've given me a mixed answer. You've used heat successfully, but you're telling me to keep up with the meds? Should I turn the heat back down then? It's about 80 in the tank now, which isn't the top range for either fish (green neons - 81, embers - 82).
Should I go ahead with the water change?
I don't know how far into the meds you are. If you've literally just started with the meds, then you can switch tactics if you want. If you're already into the meds for a couple of days, then I would say finish with that. Too, you mentioned your heater being temperamental - all the more reason to finish with the meds in my opinion. In the future, when you have a reliable heater, I would suggest you try using heat. What will kill your fish fast is getting the temp up, but not high enough to interrupt the life cycle (86+), so unless you are confident in the heaters ability to get the tank up to at least 86, I would not attempt to cure with heat. Also, bugging out and cooking the fish is another concern about an unreliable heater.
As for a water change - if you are sticking with the meds, then I would just continue to follow the instructions for them. I don't recall they mention doing water changes during the treatment. If you are going to switch tactics, then a water change is a great start.
I appreciate all the help.
I just started the meds this morning, so only one day.
I have a digital thermometer on that tank, so I can monitor the temp to the decimal point. My heater is temperamental in that it's hard to adjust, not that it doesn't heat well. Temp is up to 82.4 now so I'm wondering if I should just try the heat first?
I realize I'll need to put an airstone in there too, correct?
My quarantine tanks are not planted, so I do not know to what degree that changes anything. I've not done the treatment on a planted tank. I do not use an air stone or do anything to add aeration. It's never been a problem for me, but it would be a good idea to be capable of increasing the surface agitation should you see the fish gasping at the surface. If the fish are gasping, that's a clear indication that there's not enough O2. It's also said that you must do daily water changes and vacuums. I do not, and it's never been a problem for me. All I do is plug the heater in (which has been precalibrated to 88) and in two weeks I unplug it. For me, it's as simple as that.
I feel like the extra precautions are something you need to be familiar with in the beginning, but after you've become accustomed to curing it you can determine for yourself what is needed and what is not. Some people will never not be as safe as they can be, and that's okay. Other people are more curious by nature and want to see for themselves what will happen if..., and that's okay too. I'm obviously of the latter, and have found the treatment no less effective not following the precautions. The bottom line is to do whatever you are comfortable doing.
Honestly, both treatments will work. I don't know how well your plants will handle the heat treatment - plants are not my thing. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable on that front can assist you in your decision.
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