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saltyveins 10-10-2009 07:59 AM

Please help. Copper, Cuprimine UV Sterilizer
OK I need to know why, what happens when using cuprimine in a system with a UV sterilizer operating. The second thing the direction read after remove inverts is unplug UV. Why? What exactly happens if you don't??

Pasfur 10-10-2009 09:07 AM

In theory, the use of a UV reduces the effectiveness of copper. Honestly, copper is a rather poor choice for most marine applications due to the high level stress it places on the fish. In my personal experience, fish do not respond well to copper treatment, compared to other methods I have used to treat for parasitical infections.

What are you treating for?

saltyveins 10-10-2009 04:09 PM

Thanks Pasfur, We are treating for supposed "ick" however I am not fully convinced that is the root of the problem. The reason for my concern is that my boss, seeing small white spots on the grey angels, dosed the system with Cuprimine. The next day almost all of the angels died (Blue, queen, grey, pigmy, rock beauties and butterflys as well). I checked the dosage he claimed to have used and it was not nearly a full dosage so that rules out an overdose. The directions for the Cuprimine call to turn off uv-sterilization. The next thing that we thought was that maybe the Cuprimine reacted with the UV in a negative fashion. But if it just reduces the effectivness of the Cuprimine then the combo should not have been toxic, however I will agree STRONGLY that the use of cuprimine is in its own manner toxic. I thank you again for your advise. I am very upset about the large loss and never want to see this happen again. BTW all parameters are within spec and tested very often. Also a water change was performed two days prior on both our fish systems and only the system with the Greys suffered losses/"ick".

Pasfur 10-10-2009 04:59 PM

Did you test for cooper? It is very possible that there was already copper present in the system prior to adding the Cuprimine, and the result was in fact an overdose. It is hard to imagine such a rapid fish loss unless this was in fact an overdose situation. I can tell you this... I have personally used Cuprimine on systems with UV's as a preventative measure. This was before I became wise to better methods.

In an LFS environment I would highly recommend a few things. First, all systems need to be run without substrate. A few individual compartments could have a thick layer of sand for the fish that require the sand, but other areas should be free of substrate. Next, you should be running UV sterilizers on all your systems and replacing the bulbs every 9 months. Finally, you should feed a garlic enhanced food several times per day after the fish arrive, to boost the immunity system and provide a natural defense against parasites.

For your existing ich loaded (fish free) system, I recommend a quick large scale water change, lowering the salinity to 1.008. Leave it this way for 24 hours and then begin to increase the salinity back to normal levels. This should wipe out the bulk of your problem without harming any biological filters to a great degree. The first fish shipment added should be about 1/3 normal levels, increasing to 2/3 the next week, and full capacity on week 3. This will allow the bacteria which does die off to quickly reestablish.

saltyveins 10-10-2009 08:20 PM

Great info. Very much appreciated. All useful stuff. Let me clarify one thing quickly; we are actually collectors. All of our stock we have caught ourselves.
OK Now I havn't been able to test for copper. I feel very niave, but my boss hasn't provided a test kit and claims the one he has will not detect the cuprimine for some reason... So overdose isn't ruled out yet.
Now this particular fish system has undergone an overhaul including a full bleaching and then re-bio because of a bacteria we couldn't find a cure for. So what that means is that the water has never had copper added until the day before yesterday. But is it possible for copper to endure a bleaching and 100% water change?
Now what I'm really starting to wonder about is a different solution my boss added a few times a week ago. The stuff is Quick Cure. I'm sure you know what that is, Methal Green and Formalin. I'm not a big fan of this stuff at all, but I have seen it actually work before with little stress. Anyway I think that the residual Formalin combined with the Cuprimin is the culpret for the devistating loss. This is just my guess. I wish I had more experience, but I will just have to do research instead. One thing to note, there were some species that were uneffected; Jawfish, Spanish Hogs and Hamlets.

Thanks again.

Pasfur 10-11-2009 10:12 PM

I have personally had much better success with Quick Cure than with Copper. In fact, I have found Formalin in general to be a more effective medication that Copper. That being said, in my opinion, all of these medications we are discussing are downright unreliable at ridding ich and stressful for the fish. I wouldn't touch any of these at this point in my fishkeeping life.

On the subject of the copper. When you did the overhaul, did you leave the substrate in place? (assuming you have substrate) If so, this could be the culprit, because copper canl absorb into the substrate and release back into solution following the complete water change.

Given that you are actually collecting, I would think a holding facility with a low salinity would improve survival rates. Proper conditioning followed by an increase in salinity prior to shipment would be logical. The question is actually about $$money$$, and I have no idea what issues your particular industry faces when it comes to cost and time demands.

saltyveins 10-14-2009 07:29 PM

Thanks again, I agree about the lack of safty and reliability of both medications. I would LOVE to go green and use little to no medications. I am interested in using Pimafix. It claims to naturally enhance the fish's immune system using ingredients found in nature. I believe that sanitization would eliminate many of our problems. It's all about preventative maintenance. I unfortunatly do not have any decision making control over how our warehouse is maintained, but it is still my responsibility to keep things running smoothly. So I must grit my teeth daily and do what I am allowed. i.e. the system that suffered the extreme loss last week, I am not allowed to even do a water change on. ?!?!?!?!?!? This makes no sense to me at all. He justifies by claiming that it has now definatly killed off any bacteria in the water and if I do a water change it may come back again.

PS no substrate

Pasfur 10-14-2009 09:01 PM

I have no experience with Pimafix, can't help you there.

I find it disturbing, insulting, and down right painful that the guy calling the shots thinks that doing water change could be problematic. Wow.

saltyveins 09-22-2011 01:19 PM

I just stumbled back onto this forum after a few years off. Just wanted to say thanks for all the good detailed info you have shared. Long story short, I bought a Collecting License and work for myself now. Guess who is going out of business and can't keep employes? :lol: I use "green" tequniques on my systems and feed my fish homemade foods with all sorts of great stuff in it. AND my fish a super healthy with very few problems at all. With a little effort to combat ick before it starts I rarely ever see it. I don't have much $$ to work with so all my stuff is low budget and homemade including protein skimmers, sand filters, bioreactors, sumps and deals on eBay. Last night I installed 144 watts of UV on my 1000 gal fish system. Next weeks project is a quarantine system for fresh caught fish. The idea is after maybe 48 hrs in the quarantine system, they can be moved into the main holding system. This way if I need to use a medication for ick, it will be in the quarantine tanks, not the main system. The big problem is that with fish constantly coming in fresh, there is a very high chance for parasites and bacteria to enter the system. Also when bringing in fish from the boat, I use a freshwater dip with a bit of Stress Coat and am cosidering using a medication as well. So far I have had only 1 ick outbreak and it was under control right away without any big losses. That was also before the UV was installed. So all in all I should be trouble free from here on out. Let me know if you need any fish or inverts. I can be found on eBay as salty_soldiers and you can e-mail me @

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