ich and quarantine tank setup
I have an Ich problem. I have Ich in my 80 gallon display tank, which consists of 2 amphiprion ocellaris (clownfish), 1 salarias fasciatus (sailfin/algae/lawnmower blenny), 1 acanthurus nigricans (whitecheek tang), and also: a bulb anemone, a chocolate chip starfish, a few shrimp, and a mix of 30-40 snails.
According to what I've read (http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.php), I need to move my fish to a quarantine tank for treatment, and allow my display tank to sit for 4+ weeks without the fish (so the Ich dies off).
1) My quarantine tank filtration isn't ready (hasn't been seeded with beneficial bacteria in the display tank)! Should I put a sponge filter in my display tank and let it soak up beneficial bacteria for 4 weeks before moving the fish to the QT and beginning treatment? Or should I start right away and worry about the quarantine tank cycling (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate...) and combatting that with chemicals and frequent water changes? If I should start treatment immediately, any suggestions on how to keep ammonia levels from peaking?
2) My barebone (just some PVC) quarantine tank is only 15 gallons. Is it large enough to quarantine 4 fish for 4-6 weeks? I have a tank divider if necessary. Here are the sizes of my fish:
If not large enough, should I treat 2 fish at a time, or do something different?
I don't think quarantine would be an option if you weren't able to empty the display tank of all infected fish because they'll just keep attaching to other ones until you swap the 'clean' ones back in. Would other methods like raising the temp for several weeks be an option for you?
From what I've read about ich, and I've read a lot because I couldn't seem to get rid of it from my first set-up, you should be able to destroy ich when it's off the fish at 89-93 degress, but it's usually only advised if you have real hardy fish.
I know nothing about saltwater aquariums, but I read this thread a few days ago, maybe it will be helpful.
Hey Peter- I'm not up to speed on treating ich in regards to saltwater fish. Hopefully our saltwater guys can advise shortly. I know they have alot of good info on how you should handle this situation. In the meantime, I'll go and see if I can hunt down the particular thread I'm thinking of...
PS. Twistersmom...you beat me to the link. :)
I am sorry I missed this thread when you posted. I assume at this point that my advice is to late to be helpful, and that you have already taken steps to treat the ich. Given that the advice you were about to follow is high risk at best, most of your fish have probably passed on. Can you give us an update?
A few thoughts on your idea. First, it is far worse to expose fish to an uncycled and unstable aquarium environment than it would have been to keep them in the display. In fact, the stress associated with the move to such a tank would probably be enough to cause many fish to perish. Second, ich can live for up to 90 days without exposure to fish. Your short time span of 4 weeks is not nearly close to being effective. It would be a totally wasted effort. Finally, the hobby has yet to identify any chemical method of treatment for ich that would justify a hospital tank environment for medication. I have to respectfully disagree with the comments of Steven Pro in the article that you linked. I am quite surprised to find such outdated material being referenced from such a normally reliable source. Until the last 18 to 24 months, studies of ich treatments have been widely inconclusive and unable to be duplicated in lab environments. Over the past couple of years, there has been rather wide spread documentation that the common ich treatments are rather ineffective at best. This is a fact that has been generally agreed upon by nearly every source you will find in publications dated after 2007. Unfortunately, the references linked above are all dated 2003 and prior. You can check out issues of TFH and FAMA over the last 18 months for several ich related discussions.
In my personal experience at home, the best bet is to boost the immunity of the fish by feeding a garlic supplement, and adding a UV Sterilizer to your system to help prevent the spread of the ich from one host to the next. I have found this natural method to be highly effective against ich when symptoms are caught early.
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