12-12-2007, 12:18 PM
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Need Help With Ich.
Just joined and saw your post. Hope you've solved your problem by now, but if not, here's what I did in a similar situation:
I have a 125 gal FOWLR containing several angel fish and tangs. It has an attached 40 gal refugium with 3" sandbed and calerpa. Out of the blue, it developed a ich problem (assumed ich with small white dots on body and fins). Not all fish were affected. I removed the ones with ick, treated in a hospital tank and then put then back in the main tank. They looked O.K. for several days, then developed the white spots again. I did this 2 or three times with the same result. I was geting very frustrated with this situation, and I mentioned to the fellow that operates the shop where I get all my fish. He said treat the 125 gal tank with Mardel Laboratories Coppersafe. I told him I didn't want to kill the refugium sandbed or the nitrifying bacteria in the live rock and have to recycle the tank from square one. He said it wouldn't be a problem unless I had invertebrates in the tank, which I don't. Just remove the calerpa from the refugium. The Mardel literature says the same. But I didn't reallly believe either. So I put some live rock in my hospital tank added the sick fish, added Coppersafe, and monitored ammonia level very closely, I expected the ammonia level to rise as the Coppersafe killed the nitrying bacteria in the live rock and recirculating media. But ammonia didn't rise. This sort of convinced me that the Coppersafe wouldn't wipe out the nitrying bed in the main tank. So I took a deep breath and added Coppersafe to the main tank. As expected, the ich problem cleared up in a couple of days. But, as in the hospital tank, there was no indication of ammonia or nitrite. Furthermore, the large colony of copepods in the refigium tank didn't appear to be affected. I expected them all to be wiped out within 24 hrs. I left Coppersafe in the tank for 7-10 days, then gradually reduced the copper level to zero over the next month with water changes and polymer filters. The Coppersafe did seem to knock back the coraline algae on the live rock. But it has recovered well. When I put the calerpa back in to the refugium, I thought residual copper in the sand might kill it, even though copper in the water was zero. But it didn't, and the calerpa is againgrowing well.
During this process I apparently contaminated my 75 gal FOWLR and some of the fish developed ich. I repeated the Coppersafe treatment with the 75 with the same results. It's been almost a year now with no ich problems in either tank.