How long does Ich last?
Last Wednesday I noticed some white little dots on my goldfish's caudal fin. I looked up images on the forum and decided it definitely looked like ich and began treatments Thursday morning. I am using one dose of RidIch every morning according to the directions, and I have removed the carbon. The spots continued to appear for another day after this and now are just in a holding pattern.
How long does ich last? About the only thing the medicine has accomplished is staining all the silicone sealants in the tank. (The instructions did warn about this possibility.)
There are actually two goldfish in the tank, and the other one does not have ich. Since it is a goldfish tank, though, I have no heater for it and don't want to raise the temp as is usually suggested because the fish will suffer. The unaffected one is particularly sensitive to heat, as discovered this past summer.
How big of a tank is this? How big are the fish? What are water params for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH? How long have you been treating the tank to this point? Is there an air stone in the tank? What are the listed active ingredients on the meds you're using?
I might be able to suggest a more effective med. Ich isn't always the easiest thing to get rid of in goldfish, and not all meds are effective or even safe for all fish. I can't suggest anything specific until I have more info, though.. for the safety of the fish. The more details you can offer me the faster/easier I can help.
It's a 10-gallon tank with two twin-tailed goldfish, each about two inches (I stunted their growth by putting them in such a small tank but I didn't know any better at the time). There is a Tetra 5-15 filter on it; an air stone; and live plants. Ammonia and Nitrite are 0ppm and Nitrate is between 15-20ppm before each weekly 25% water change. Temp is currently 74 degrees F.
I've been treating the tank since Thursday, so that would make it 6 days. I've been using RidIch which has Malachite Green and Formalin in it.
I was a little surprised that Ich showed up since I have not added anything new to the tank in several months, but the goldfish are not overly healthy. One was used to cycle the tank at the recommendation of LFS and additionally has an impaired mouth which limits both his oxygen and food intake; the other got very ill this summer from the heat and has suffered from fin rot on and off ever since (Melafix and Pimafix are the only things that help him recover).
If I ever try goldfish again, I plan to get a BIG tank for them (landlord won't permit it right now) so that I don't abuse my poor wet pets. I only wish the LFS had told me how to properly care for them....
Ok, well, first and foremost, the 10 gallon tank is the main issue here. Is there any way to go any bigger at all? If not, I may be able to help you get the fish healthy enough to find new homes for them... but if they stay in that 10 gallon tank too long, they are sure to die, there is no way to prevent that.
You say these are "twin tailed"... are they fancy or comet goldfish? That will make a big difference in some of their care and tolerance levels, too.
After 6 days of that med I would say its time to stop treating, do a few water changes over the next few days (25 - 30% each time) and let me find you something that should do the trick. Malachite green is one of the harshest meds out there, and I'm sure the fish probably aren't reacting well to it at all. Put the carbon back into the filter, let the whole system run for a few days like that to rid it of any medication. You can add 1/8 cup of marine salt to the water, this will help as a healing agent for the fish and will make them more comfortable. DO NOT dissolve the salt in water before adding it to the tank... just sprinkle it all in. It's ok if some of it lands on the fish, and the fish may even come up and swim through it as you're dumping it in, this is ok! If you sprinkle it vs dumping it, and you do it in front of the filter where the water flow is heaviest, it will mix much faster.
You were right not to raise the tank temp, that would only have killed your fish. Please be prepared, once the conditions are changed in the tank, it is very likely that these fish will begin to grow quite rapidly. While the growth can be stunted, it isn't the tank size that causes it. The water conditions are what stunt the growth. Do you have test kits? If not, most LFS's will test water for free. It's a good idea, especially with goldfish or smaller tanks to have test kits on hand at home. The API Master kit is a liquid kit that we here at the board have found to be the most affordable while retaining a good level of accuracy. Can you please post test results for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH? This is information you'll need to monitor regularly. The other thing to note is that poor water quality will have an effect on how well a med works, and can turn many meds lethal.
I would suggest preparing to do a lot of water changes from now on. 25% every other day to start out with, then as the fish begin to grow, this will become daily until the fish just don't fit into the tank or they die because even daily won't be enough. I hate to sound like such a downer about this, but goldfish in a 10 gallon tank is only temporary, one way or another, there is no way around that. I wish I could offer more hope. If these are comets, they grow to 14 inches each, if they're fancy, about 8 inches each. Stunting the growth means causing internal damage, but many fish are able to at least partially recover from this once their conditions improve, and the sooner that happens the better chance they have at healing much of or most of the damage done.
I'll keep an eye on this post and help however I can, but I need more info first... and you need time to do the water changes and get the meds out of the water. Once I know water params, then I can suggest a more effective medication. Good Luck to you and your fish.
I will try to clarify a little more. Twin-tailed goldfish are fancy goldfish; both of mine are of the Ryukin variety. Again, my ammonia is at 0ppm, my nitrite is at 0ppm, and my nitrate only reaches at most 20ppm before I do the water change. I have all my own test kits; I use liquid API tests for their reliability.
The goldfish used to be in a different tank where the water became lethal; miraculously they survived and now I keep the water as pristine as possible. There was no change in their growth pattern what-so-ever. I can do daily water changes, but is it really necessary when the parameters are all at such low levels? The landlord will not permit another or larger tank, so I am pretty much stuck. Grr...
I will replace the carbon with a water change and see what happens. Any recommendations as to treating the Ich will be most appreciated.
Okay, I did a 30% water change, put in a new carbon cartridge, and double-checked my parameters. Ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 0ppm, and nitrate under 10ppm. I should have stated last time that I am more than willing to do daily water changes if necessary, but I just was not sure if it were yet necessary.
The Ich does look better today, but it is still there to some degree. Hope that info helps.
Ok, sorry it took so long for me to reply, but I had to sit and really map this out for you. I enlisted the help of my husband last night. We have found 2 options for you. The choice will be entirely yours, but as we both agree that it sounds as if the fish's immune system has already been damaged beyond repair, and that is likely the cause for the ich to still be an issue after such a harsh medicinal routine for 6 days... there really are only 2 options we've found, 1 of which will require real effort and some slight expense on your part while offering a 50/50 chance of the fish's survival and extended life, and the other to humanely put the fish down and calling it "best for the fish" and learning from the mistake (sounds as if you have done that already).
Option #1: The medicine is called acriflavin, and it's some nasty stuff! I suggest wearing gloves whenever coming into contact with it, and also in covering any surface in plastic before using it. Acriflavin tends to stick to "everything", so it's best not to treat in the main tank. This method would work best if you used 2 large buckets, an air stone, and a daily water change of 100%. Taking 1/2 of the water from the tank (water from the surface only) fill the bucket, keeping track of how many gallons of water you have total in the bucket (so you will know how to dose the meds). Anything you put into the bucket with the fish will be garbage after the treatment is complete (5 days), but if you have a silk or plastic plant to spare, it helps reduce stress levels. Place both fish into the bucket (even if one isn't showing symptoms) and dose with acriflavin, add the air stone and if water level is more than 1/2 in the bucket, lay a towel, screen or other protective barrier over the top in case fish should try to jump. Day 2 would simply be a repeat of day 1, using the 2nd buckt and completely fresh/clean water dosed with the proper amount of acriflavin, move fish to bucket #2, air stone to bucket #2, cover to bucket #2, then using bucket #1 on the 3rd day, for a total of 5 days. On the 6th day, the bucket of water should not contain any acriflavin, just clean water. The fish must remain in the bucket for 3 wks with the air stone, would need a 50% water change daily once the meds have stopped, and the tank itself would need to run at a temp of 88 degrees for 3 wks to burst any remaining cysts in the tank. I do not suggest trying to empty and start the 10 gallon over again while the fish are being medicated, although this would seem like an easier way to go. Even if completely cleaned out, new gravel, there is always the chance that something could survive and reinfect your fish when they are put back into it, and the good bacteria culture would be destroyed, thus a cycle would have to happen again, which could prove lethal if the immune system is damaged.
Option #2: Euthenasia
Again, sorry this took so long but I am still searching for more options that may work. Thus far... this is all I've been able to find to offer.
Best of luck to you and your fish, and if I find anything else in the next few days, I will PM you with the information.
Wow...that's a lot to take in. Thanks so much for doing the research for me - most appreciated. Since the fish is eating and swimming normally and shows no visible signs of distress, I hesitate to euthanise so quickly.
I think the bucket method might a better option.
I do have a question, though: you mentioned that Malachite Green is one of the harshest chemicals available to treat ich, and that the fish is probably suffering as a result of the treatment. If this other stuff is even more potent, would it not be even worse to subject the fish to? Or is this the only alternative since the Malachite Green was not overly effective?
One other query: The ailment seems to slowly be dissipating - would there be any harm in waiting to see if it leaves of its own accord? I am not totally convinced it is even ich, but I think that is what it is based on photos I found here on the site. The affected fish has some yellow granules on the right side of his body. It is mostly at the base of the caudal fin, with one on the tail and one on the pectoral fin. The two spots on the caudal and pectoral fins have disappeared, and the few spots near the tail are less in number than they were originally.
I would really like to try to keep these guys alive until we can get a bigger tank for them...even though it might be a few months.
Considering the situation, even with treatment I can only offer a 50/50 chance that this fish may survivie. If the immune system is heavily damaged, there is no way to tell what will happen and how long that will take.
If you intend to try to do this without the meds, try at least doing those daily water changes, up to 50%, and each time you do a water change, vac part of the gravel bed. This will help to keep the water quality in prime condition and will help to avoid any 2ndary infection that could set in.
Best of Luck to you and your fish, let me know if you need any further help!
I will do the 50% water changes for a few days and see if things continue to improve. If not, I will move on to the bucket method with the Acriflavin. I have also been adding a half dose of Melafix and Pimafix to the water to help ward off secondary infections, but like you pointed out, this is already a weakened fish since he was my "starter" fish, so these preventive measures may not be sufficient. I will let you know what happens.
Again, I really appreciate the info you researched!
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