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redchigh 04-12-2010 04:41 PM

How to treat ich without harming shrimp/snails?
Alrighty this is my first time meeting ich- and of course, it's on a black molly.

After some research, it seems many popular remedies contain copper... I have snails and shrimp in the tank though, so that's out.

I added 2 TBSP aquarium salt to the tank (about 10G). I hope it doesn't hurt my plants...
I also dosed with Pimafix- I know, pimafix won't do anything to ich, but I was thinking, it might prevent the fish from catching a secondary infection from the ich stress. Was that a bad idea?

I only have one adjustable heater... so I took it out of my 10G cichlid (fry) tank and put it in the infected 10G. How can I disinfect the heater in the ich tank so I can swap them?
Will drying it out for 24hrs be enough? What about a strong salt water solution?

I also have some potassium permegranate... should I use it to treat the ich? Personally, I'm scared to use the stuff.

So in summary,
I can't afford to buy any medication right now.
Should I treat the tank with Pimafix to prevent a secondary infection?
Can Potassium Permegranite (sold as "clear water" since it gets rid of cloudiness in a tank) treat ich?

Just remembered the aeration thing... I'll hook up an air pump (will it work without an airstone? I might have one somewhere) while I wait for help.

Is salt and higher temps enough to treat a minor outbreak on it's own, or should I be as worried as I already am?:cry:

(You know, it's funny. I've offered advice to people for treating ich that I've read online, in books etc. But now, I'm in a panic.:shock:)

Lupin 04-12-2010 11:07 PM

Pimafix is pointless. There is no need for you to add that crap. And neither can you use PP without actually damaging your fish and even killing all your invertebrates.

As for your heater, drying it out for a few hours should be enough. Ich cannot survive outside water for several hours.

Just use table salt without yellow prussiate or ferrous cyanide added. Here's the rest of info about adding salt that I pulled from my articles.

White Spot Disease
Ich, Ick

Early signs of white spot begin when fish flick themselves against rocks. They may also swimming in an odd behaviour as if they were trying to use the water to wash away an irritation. Some of the more common causes are stress, bad water conditions, live food that have been infected by the pathogens or already infected fish without quarantining it.

Ich is a protozoal infection that afflicts fish and can rapidly kill them, most often by damaging gill tissue. It is highly infectious and potentially lethal and manifests as tiny white spots all over the fish. The spots are no larger than grains of salt. The wide host range of this parasite is its life cycle, and speed of multiplication especially in a tropical aquarium. When you see the white spot on your fish, it is already too late for those ich particles to be avoided.

The organisms, trophonts goes through a life cycle of a small white spot feeding on your fish which drops off to the floor of your tank and encases itself in a cyst called tomont. While encased in a cyst, it divides into up to 2000 new mobile organisms called theronts. The cyst then ruptures, thus releasing the theronts which seek out a host to feed into. They must locate a host within 24 hours otherwise they will die. Only the mobile stage is vulnerable to treatments.

Ich will appear if the fish is stressed. Note that it acts more as a 'contaminant' and is not part of the tank's ecosystem. Any new fish should be quarantined for 2-4 weeks. Failing that will increase the risk of introducing diseases which wil affect other occupants. New fish are always possible carriers of diseases.

Increase the temperature to at least 84-86 degrees as much as the fish can tolerate. Add aquarium or table salt (dissolved in water) at a ratio of 1-3 teaspoons of salt per gallon of water in your tank equivalent to 0.1-0.3% depending on the tolerance level of your fish.

For basic procedures, here are the steps.
1. Dose one teaspoon per gallon of salt or equivalent to 0.1%.
2. After 12 hours and assuming the fish has tolerated it very wellso far, repeat step 1.
3. After another 12 hours, repeat step 1 again.

While waiting, it does not hurt to add a powerhead or airstone to increase the oxygen level. Over the first couple days, your fish will appear worse and will eventually recover as the treatment progresses. In most cases, ich will disappear on the sixth day. However, there is still a probability that some cysts have not yet ruptured so it is advisable to keep the treatment up for full ten days.

If you are not able to raise the temperature at all especially if you are dealing with fish that lack tolerance for temperature above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, you may need to extend the treatment although a good general guideline is to continue 7-10 more days of treatment right after the ich had seemingly disappeared.. At 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the life cycle of ich is quicker. The colder the temperature, the slower the life cycle thus the treatment will extend even longer than required.

Level of Tolerance
For bottom dwellers such as plecos and loaches, you may need to maintain the saline solution at 0.1-0.2% so it will not be detrimental to them although there have been few instances where some catfishes can tolerate as much as 0.3%.

Do make sure your fish can tolerate the elevated saline solution. If in doubt, be prepared to do a water change to relieve the fish of the osmotic stress caused by the salt. Try not to lose focus on the actual saline solution you already administered or you might end up overdosing the salt more than it was necessary.

Clown loaches and young oscars are notorious for getting ich after they are transferred to your tank. These and many others can tolerate salt. If you are unsure about your fish’s tolerance for salt, be sure to look for answers in a reference book or ask an expert.

A salt test kit available at your local fish store will help you get the exact dosage. Something in the range of .2%, is where you want to be.

Water Changes vs. Salt
Should a water change be necessary, make sure you redose the salt solution per the water volume replaced.

For example, a 10g needs 30 teaspoons at 3 teaspoons per gallon of water measurement. If you wish to change at least 50% of the water, then another 15 teaspoons of salt should be redosed to keep the saline solution effective against the parasites.

Teaspoon vs. Tablespoon Measurement
For those not familiar with the teaspoon = tablespoon conversion, a round heap of tablespoon is equivalent to 3 teaspoons.

In Australian standard, a tablespoon is equivalent to four teaspoons so please adjust the necessary dosage as much as possible.

Plants Goners Or Not?
Unfortunately many plants do not do well with this salt treatment and may appear to wither but will usually come back in time once the salt treatment is over. Removing them to a salt free environment after a thorough rinsing may save them, however they must be kept at the high temperature or for an extended period of time. When the cyst breaks up in the plant holding tank, the small parasites will be unable to find a host and will die within 24-72 hours depending on the environmental conditions. Ich is easily transferred to other fish tanks so do not share nets, heaters and wet hands between infected and non infected tanks.

Mutual Relationship of Bacteria vs. Ich
Abstract explaining the presence of endosymbiotic bacteria within ich and bacteria with mutual relationship towards ich developing its infective capability can be found here.

Other Treatments:
Malachite Green, Formalin

Do NOT combine formalin and salt.

Check this list for contraindications of the above treatments.


Discussion Thread:

redchigh 04-13-2010 02:10 AM

So... I should rip my plants out and put them in my invert tank? Will the salt hurt my snails and shrimp?

Lupin 04-13-2010 03:21 AM

What shrimps do you have? A teaspoon or two per gallon will not hurt them. Snails, it depends. Which snails do you have? You can freely move them in another tank if you are worried although dissolution of salt is very important as salt grains can likely burn them. Invertebrates are unlikely to contract ich.

Most plants such as Java ferns have strong tolerance for salt. Which plants do you keep? Be sure to dip them in potassium permanganate if you wish to move them. The PP should be able to destroy any cyst latching on the leaves.

Oldfishlady 04-13-2010 10:58 AM

If it is a mild out break and only one fish is affected I would QT that fish and start doing daily water changes on the main tank and on the QT fish.
I have had mild out break of ich on one fish due to stress in my heavy planted tanks and I didn't do anything and it resolved on its own once the fish de-stressed from the move.

aunt kymmie 04-13-2010 11:08 AM

Should you decide to use the potassium permanganate, a word of caution: that stuff will stain anything it comes into contact with purple and you'll never get it out. I spilled some on my walkway when using it and I have a permanent purple spot that I can't get rid off! Wear gloves if you use it. My hands were purple for weeks!

redchigh 04-13-2010 01:47 PM

The molly seemed to be getting worse... Laying on the bottom with obviously clamped fins... I'm maintaining the salt treatment, but I also gave her a 5 minute dip in a PP solution with a higher concentration of salt. She didn't like it much, but I think she hated the bowl she was in more than the salt/pp water. Now she's swimming around, and is her old self, although of course she still has the cysts. My plants in that tank (That are doing well and I actually care about) are: Hygrophila Difformis (growing HUGE- stopped using it as a bunch plant, I plant them seperately and they form a "bush" over 4 inches wide) Red Ludwigea Hornwort Corkscrew Val Aponogeton (crispus?) Banana plant Anarchis Stargrass (as my forground carpet plant- I keep horizontal, but I may stop- It's growing beautifully- and becomming my favorite) Red Rotala (rotala indica?) Java Moss Java Fern (Should tolerate the salt fine) Snails, I have MTS, Pond, and ramshorn. I know, they're cheap, but I just don't want a mass die-off to polute the water. I doubt all of them would die anyway) I also have ghost shrimp- Due to the heavy planting I couldn't catch all of them. I have an invert tank with the moved ghost shrimp and snails so I can restock the tank when the treatment is over. It's just a mild outbreak, but I don't want to remove the molly- I'm afraid that would give me a false sense of security. Should I move her to my invert tank? I kind of want to keep the invert tank salt-free for obvious reasons. I read about people who struggle with ich for months- I want to treat the whole tank, and keep everything isolated (or move inverts to the invert tank since the parasite will die there without a host) and Nip. It. In. The. Bud. I rinse my net in a STRONG saltwater solution before I hang it up, and make sure it's dry for a while before using it again.

redchigh 04-13-2010 01:58 PM

Apparently I turned javascript off on my computer, and now my line breaks don't go through in the forum :|

redchigh 04-14-2010 01:57 PM

I took a pic...
This is ich, right?

aunt kymmie 04-14-2010 02:58 PM

I had already posted on your other thread where you had this picture and I do not think your molly has ich. Ich presents as tiny white dots, this looks like white patches. I'm only familar with ich so I couldn't venture a guess as to what is wrong with your molly.

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