Ich in Planted Tank
So I came back from my last trip late last night, was gone for 5 days, tank light comes on a couple hours ago and of course I missed the tank so I pull up a stool with the 2 year old for some counting and I found about 6 of my black neon tetra's have small white spots. My first thought is ICH!!. I know I should be posting this in the fish disease section which I will be reading next but I figure the extra level of difficulty I have with plants and shrimp this may be my best bet. So I'm hoping that someone here has successfuly battled Ich in a planted tank with inverts.
It's a 29g, medium planted, 8 Harlequin Rasbora, 8 Black Neon Tetra, 3 Emerald Catfish, dozen or so ghost shrimp, unknown amount of pond and ramshorn snails.
So far the only effected fish that I can ID are the Black Neon's. Right now I don't really have access to a QT tank, the 10g is stocked with 4 High Fin Tetra and planted with a sponge filter as well. I would like to avoid "flip flopping" the fish.
So far I've read that increased heat and very mild salt might be my best bet.
I would not use salt, it can be more harm than good to characins and plants. I have successfully dealt with bad cases of ich in planted tanks, and one with shrimp too, by using Coppersafe.
I do a major water change, half the tank, and raise the temp to 85F partly via the water change and by adjusting the heater(s). Then I dose with Coppersafe. Leave the tank for a full week, then turn the heater back down to the normal temp and let the tank naturally cool. Then do a water change 3-4 days after that.
Thanks, do you dose the coppersafe according to the bottle. Everything I've read says that it is lethal to shrimp. Also should I discontinue plant ferts?
And don't use plant fertilizers (liquid) during this period. I did find the first time I used CS that some of the plants were affected, but since then no issues. It is the additional copper i suspect.
Copper is an issue for invertebrates, as it is for fish and plants and bacteria. But my lone shrimp managed fine; can't guarantee this. CS is not as strong as some copper-based remedies. I have never had corys react to CS, but they do to any other medication with copper. Yet, this does clear up the ich. And I find raising the temp does seem to help.
Speaking of which, if you are concerned about the shrimp, and provided the fish can tolerate it, raising the temp to 90F for a week without any medication will get rid of ich too. But the fish have to be able to stand this. My corys can't.
Thanks Byron, while usually I will follow your advice to the T. I veered slightly on this one and will see how it goes. I figure if all else fails I will go the CS route. I'm just so attached to my shrimp and snails lol. I find myself spending more time watching them than anything else and I'm just very nervous about wiping them and, and worse, rendering the tank inhabitable to them in the future. I've read some horror stories from copper based meds.
I picked up some Kordon Ich-Attack a herbal based remedy, I know it's not proper meds and I read some very mixed reviews. Yesterday I raised the temp slowly from 78 to 82 and will creep it up to 85 today, I don't want to go much higher than that with the inverts and catfish. I also did a 50% water change and dosed the Ich-Attack. It says to continue daily until 3 days after the spots dissapear. I figure if after a week of the raised temp, mother nature, and the ich-attack there is no improvement or the spots get worse I'll bite the bullet and go with the CS. I think I caught it early though, each affected fish only has 3-6 visible spots.
Well so far 24 hours after first dose, the Ich has not spread or increased. In fact I notice a few less spots on a couple of the fish, there are only a couple left that have 3 or more visible spots. Not sure if that is the Ich cycle (the phase when it frees itself and floats to the substrate?). I did a lot of 'frantic' reading when I realized the fish had it but was mostly skimming for treatment options. I picked up some Brine Shrimp that said it promotes health. Figure I'd mix that in with the flakes/bloodworms. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that a 50% water change, the herbal treatment, and good diet/water parameters give them what they need to fight it off. So far none of the fish, even the ones effected, have shown any behavior changes and are still eating and swimming well. All the shrimp are still doing well.
I had a small ich outbreak a while back and I was afraid to use the coppersafe because of my inverts. I just tried raising the temp to about 84 for about 10 days. It seemed to work and I havent had another outbreak since.
Thanks everyone. Water is stable at 86. Two of the Rasbora were showing some stress when I got home. Top fins were straight up and they were wiggling tail fin really rapid, calmed down during feeding then they seperated again, the Ich also progressed to a couple of the Rasbora and one Danio. No signs of it on the Catfish yet. The poor Tetra are looking pretty blah, Ich seems to be spreading on them and they are losing color. Thinking since the water just stabilized above 85 yesterday (I took it very slow) it might be an outbreak from the bacteria that took hold before the temp rose above 85. Either way I did another small water change and added an airstone. I'm pretty sure all this change is not good for the plants. I'm going to give the natural cure another day or so before going with Rid-Ich or Coppersafe. If I'm correct the bacteria shouldn't be able to reproduce or take hold on the fish above 85 correct? So after the visible stage it should slow down and die off without hosts? I'm curious though how it's spreading now, I guess I'm sticking with what I said above about those being the free swimming bacteria grabbing hold just before the temp rose above 85. Other than the water change I added some Stress-coat last night with the dose of Ich-Attack. Plants are all doing ok still, but it's pretty early into the environment change, watching to see how they do long term (10+ days of this). I counted all but two shrimp which doesn't surprise me, they are sneaky little buggers lol.
I think the temp would have to be much higher, around 90F, before it alone would kill the ich free swimming stage. Raising the temp to 85F has the advantage of speeding up the life cycle, so we get them sooner.
If you do go to another remedy, whatever it is, do a major water change. Mixing these substances can be dangerous. You may know this, but it is worth mentioning. The fish are under stress from the ich, stress from the temp, and likely stress from the products; you don't want more stress. As for spots, I have had spots still appear right up to close to the end of the week, so don't let that discourage you. Some of these critters might get through the defense, I guess.
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