Is the medicine helping or hurting my fish?
History: We had been having some problems with high nitrates for a few months and nothing was working to get them down and then I got some advise that all the bioballs was contributing to the problem. So I started removing some out of the sump and cleaning (with saltwater) the ones in the overflow. I'd done one sump and the overflow split up into a few sessions with no spike in the ammonia or nitrites at all. Then about a week later I did half our other sump and the ammonia spiked to about .3 for some reason. We quickly did a few water changes and bought some stuff for our canister filter to reduce the ammonia and it went back to 0 within a few days but before that our Naso and goldbar started to get some white spots on them looking like ich. We went out again and bought some organic Ich Attach from Petco (also treats fungus, and two other diaseses). Having a 300gallon tank with 400+ lbs of live rock I didn't think there was much chance of getting them out without major stress to treat with copper and the Ich Attach had good reviews on it.
Its recommended to treat with Ich Attach for a week (2-3 days after you see no sign of ich) but if its bad can be extended longer. We just put in the 8th dose last night and its still not cleared up. The naso and goldbar are looking better but still have signs of it but my female p. clown that was been fine this whole time this morning was at the bottom of the tank this morning with white stuff flowing from her. It didn't look like ich, more like a silky scarf or something but I couldn't find any pics online that looked like it. After the ich treatment it says to do a 20% water change. Should we go buy another bottle and hope it clears up everything or should we stop now and do the water change and maybe some other treatment? We were borrowing a UV sterilizer from someone for awhile but gave it back a few months ago. Just ordered one this weekend so it should be arriving later this week. Sorry this is so long, does it sound like the ich attach is working at all or what else should I try? I'm really worried about my clown :(
Went home for lunch and the clown is dead and blue face angel was laying upside down but still breathing ok. This is all happening so fast and we didn't do anything different last night. The nitrate, nitraite and ammonia are 50, 0 and 0 which is better than its been before we started the meds. Could the meds be messing up something else? Going to test the pH in a bit. We have 100 gallon tub we use for water changes with a few pieces of live rock and a pump in it and thinking of moving the angel in there since he's so weak looking and we could probably catch him.
I am personally against using almost any medication in a marine aquarium. After over 15 years of keeping marines, my personal experience and the stories I have heard from hobbyists almost always mirror what you are seeing. Most medicines do not rid the system of ich, and they put a tremendous burden on the existing livestock.
My advice would have been to lower the salinity to 1.013 quickly, in one big water change. Begin to feed garlic enhanced foods daily. And then wait. I have found this method of ich treatment to allow the fish to naturally fight off the infection without risking the entire system by adding medications. For the record, I personally run a UV on my marine systems and believe you will see an improvement after your UV arrives.
Thanks for the advise. We ended up stoping the meds and doing about a 25% water change which I think is helping but definately not out of the woods yet. I've read some about giving a freshwater bath to get rid of the ich. Is that something you recommend or does lowering the salinity to 1.013 have a similar affect?
I have used freshwater baths on dozens of different fish, with very mixed results. At this point in my life, I no longer use this method. In my experience, the level of stress placed on the fish in a freshwater bath is extreme, and the benefits minimal.
In contrast, I have had very good success in helping the fish to fight off infections by lowering the salinity, feeding a garlic supplement, and adding a UV sterilizer to the system.
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