Ich again?!!!
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Ich again?!!!

This is a discussion on Ich again?!!! within the Tropical Fish Diseases forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I tried to take pictures, but I couldn't get any that clearly captured the situation, so I'll have to describe it instead-- I'm sorry. ...

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Old 12-26-2010, 08:35 PM   #1
 
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Unhappy Ich again?!!!

I tried to take pictures, but I couldn't get any that clearly captured the situation, so I'll have to describe it instead-- I'm sorry. My fish are notoriously camera-shy when it matters most... here is the link that describes my tank: http://www.fishtanks.net/fishtank.php?fishtank=2883
... hopefully that will help.

One of my clown loaches hasn't been looking well-- he seems too skinny, and his tail-fin has raggedy edges. He was a baby when I added him, about two months ago, and he hasn't grown much since then-- although he's been very active, and has a voracious appetite.
I spoke to the people at my local fish store about him, and told them I was reluctant to say he has ich, because none of my other 5 clowns had shown any signs, nor has my red-tail shark, and because his tail doesn't have white spots on it-- it's just raggedy.
I also told them I had not let the temperature in my tank drop below 80 degrees F. They told me it sounded like he was "on the mend", ich is always present in fish tanks, and he was young when I added him-- therefore delicate and susceptible.

First off, I have heard so much contradicting information about whether or not ich is always present in the tank, I don't know what to believe.
Secondly, I just noticed a definite white spot on one of the other clown's tail-fin, and this clown had been very healthy in appearance-- not as active as his skinny friend, but has grown larger since becoming a member of my tank.
Thirdly, I had an outbreak of ich in my tank about 8 months ago, and lost 3 baby clown loaches. I tried to treat it with heat alone, which had been a successful method the only other time it had happened, years ago. The heat method did not work this last time (8 months ago), and I'm pretty sure I must have had a heat-resistant strain. After my 3 clowns had died, I slowly returned the heat to normal-- no other fish were affected, and before I was willing to add clowns again, I added the red-tail shark as a baby to assure myself the ich was gone. After 2 months with no signs of ich, I added 3 baby clowns, and about two weeks later, 3 medium-sized clowns.

Is it ich? Is ich always in the tank, or is that just a myth? Is there a such thing as clown-loach-only-ich? If it is ich, I don't want to treat it with heat alone, since that did not work last time, so does anyone have any treatment suggestions? Am I cursed?

Any suggestions would be so greatly appreciated-- I love my clowns so much, and I feel so frustrated with whatever keeps happening to them. All of my other fish are healthy and happy, which I am thankful for... but I want the same for my clown loaches.

Thank you all...
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:46 AM   #2
 
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I managed to get a couple of pictures-- they're not great, but hopefully you can see the troubles. I lowered the exposure and upped the contrast, and originals are included as well.

Here is Raggedy Andy:



Here is the white spot I just noticed today, with a red arrow pointing to it (remember, these are two different loaches):



And here are the originals of both pictures:


I hope these pictures help...
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Old 12-27-2010, 02:23 PM   #3
 
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Sorry for the troubles you've been having. I can't see the pics, as they didn't load for me, but here's my favorite article as it pertains to Ich:

The Skeptical Aquarist

It's my opinion, and experience, that Ich is always present and will present itself whenever fish are under stress. Clown loaches are incredibly susceptible and I have had to treat my group of clowns for Ich on three separate occasions over the last 2 1/2 years.
I just finished treating them for Ich last week, and this was in a tank that has had no new fish additions in nearly a year so in my mind, yes, Ich is always there lurking. The clowns were stressed as I had uprooted most my plants, replacing them with new ones, and I had removed the driftwood in order to clean algae off of it. Even though I put the wood back in as close to the original positions as I could, for whatever reason all this hub-bub upset my clowns, but not my Discus. (and they say Discus are delicate?? lol)
I have always used Kordan's Rid Ich+ for treatment of Ich. With clowns (and ANY scaleless fish) you must only use the meds at half strength, and half strength only.
It's my opinion that the high salt/heat method is more stressful on clowns than that of medication.
I've tried both methods and I will not ever be using the heat/salt method in my tank again.
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Old 12-27-2010, 04:07 PM   #4
 
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I uploaded the pictures wrong last night... take two...

Here is Raggedy Andy:

12-26-10 02.02.jpg


Here is the white spot I just noticed today, with a red arrow pointing to it (remember, these are two different loaches):
12-26-10 01.03.jpg


And here are the originals of both pictures:
12-26-10 02 original.jpg 12-26-10 01 original.jpg

I hope these pictures help...

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Old 12-27-2010, 04:11 PM   #5
 
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Thank you so much, Aunt Kymmie. Above, you should be able to see the pictures-- I couldn't see them either, and realized I didn't attach them correctly.
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Old 12-27-2010, 05:42 PM   #6
 
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There are no stores in my area with Kordon's Rid Ich + in stock-- they either had Rid Ich without the + or Pond Rid Ich +, so I ordered a bottle of Kordon's Rid Ich + online, and should have it in a couple of days. The internet rocks. ; )

Aunt Kymmie, you mentioned... oh, right (I'm new to forums)...

Quote:
Originally Posted by aunt kymmie View Post
It's my opinion that the high salt/heat method is more stressful on clowns than that of medication.
When I had the outbreak about 8 months ago and tried to treat it with heat alone, I couldn't understand why my loach's spots seemed to be getting worse with the raised temperature. I now think I must have read some bad information, because the article I was going with said the spots should go away after a few days of raised temperature, as the parasites detached. That article was clown loach-specific, too... hmmm... but after that experience, I would definitely agree that heat is not the way to go... the poor things were covered with spots by the end, and by that point I was afraid to try medication.

I'll update this post with hopefully good news-- but in the meantime, all thoughts on the matter are welcome and greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:56 PM   #7
 
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Just thought I'd give my 2 cents on the ich subject. It's always been my opinion that Ich is not always present in the aquarium (sorry to differ Kymmie ). I believe it can be eradicated but it only takes one cell that survives the treatment to re-infest a tank at an opportune time (when a fish is stressed). Heat alone doesn't always kill the parasite, just speeds up the life cycle, unless the temperature is high enough (this also varies but I think I read close to 90F somewhere) and even then you may encounter a more heat resistant parasite. That's why salt is used in conjunction with high heat because the salt is what actually kills the parasite and then only in it's free swimming stage. But then you're dealing with lowered oxygen content and some fish do not tolerate salt well so there is extra stress. Like AK, I've always just used meds like QuikCure full strength without uping the temp (or at half strength if there are sensitive species). I think the myth that ich is always present comes from people not dosing long enough. The meds only work at the free swimming stage of the parasite and there may be hundreds of eggs in the gravel hatching at different times. If you treat long enough (at least a week after the last spot is seen on a fish) and do a good gravel vac every couple days while treating I believe you can combat it and have an ich free tank. It's only when new fish or plants are introduced that it may be brought in. I haven't had an outbreak in one of my tanks that has had no new fish introduced (without quarantine) in about almost 3 years. And that's another important tool to keeping ich out of your tank is to QT all new fish. I even QT plants. This is just my take on Ich. I could be wrong. Just another poiint of view to confuse you!

Aunt Kymmie, I'm curious on your experience with your loaches. Do you think the new plants may have brought it in? Did you QT the plants? I know you're always very careful especially when it comes to your beloved clowns. I could be totally wrong in my believe that ich can be eradicated.
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:18 PM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeaninel View Post
This is just my take on Ich. I could be wrong. Just another poiint of view to confuse you!
That's okay, and thank you, Jeaninel-- I'm curious to see what becomes of this discussion. ; ) I'll definitely follow your advice about treating later, after the spots are gone-- if ich can be destroyed completely, I want to destroy it. I've recently had so much trouble with the stuff, I've realized I have a difficult time relaxing when I watch my fish... I'm always on the look-out for the dreaded ich.

When I was a kid, my dad had an Oscar that he loved dearly. I named him-- his name was Juan, and Daddy liked to joke, "he's the only Juan in there, and even if we had more fish, he'd still be the only Juan in there". Juan got ich, and my dad tried everything to made it go away-- I can remember him taking Juan out of the tank and actually putting medicine on his body, in the later stages. It wasn't until months after Juan had died my dad realized the live minnows he would feed Juan as a treat must have kept bringing in the ich. It was very sad-- I remember Juan's tank standing empty for a long time after, because my dad was too heartbroken to get more fish. He eventually did get more, but he never had another Oscar. He still mentions Juan occasionally, even if just to use our old joke about his name-- funny how these fish get to us...
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Old 12-27-2010, 10:27 PM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeaninel View Post
(sorry to differ Kymmie ).
I believe it can be eradicated but it only takes one cell that survives the treatment to re-infest a tank at an opportune time (when a fish is stressed).

I think the myth that ich is always present comes from people not dosing long enough. The meds only work at the free swimming stage of the parasite and there may be hundreds of eggs in the gravel hatching at different times. If you treat long enough (at least a week after the last spot is seen on a fish) and do a good gravel vac every couple days while treating I believe you can combat it and have an ich free tank.

Aunt Kymmie, I'm curious on your experience with your loaches. Do you think the new plants may have brought it in? Did you QT the plants? I know you're always very careful especially when it comes to your beloved clowns. I could be totally wrong in my believe that ich can be eradicated.
Always ok to differ, it gets the conversation rolling!

I do dose long enough. At least a week after the last visible white spot has been seen, to be sure I've gotten all of it. While treating with meds I also add a diatom filer as I think it helps trap eggs and free swimmers. I clean and then replace the diatom filter daily.

New plants always get a "bleach" rinsing and then sit in a big bucket (with lights and a heater) for three days, sometimes as long as a week. (It seems I'm never ready for planting when they arrive anyway, lol).
My Ich outbreaks: the first time was due to no QT on new fish I added, which were the Clowns.
The second time was plants going into the tank with no rinsing and no QT.

This time the Clowns broke out with Ich PRIOR to adding the plants. I thought what the heck?? Am I really seeing Ich? I couldn't believe I was seeing it. So no new additions for nearly a year, (those new additions were QT'd for nearly three weeks) and no plants without the sit & soak bucket treatment. I can't help but think that Ich is present, low levels, but still there.

I can't imagine where else it could be coming from other than surviving in the tank, waiting for a stressed fish. What do you think?? What else could it be?? Jeaninel, you're right, I do LOVE my clowns.
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:31 AM   #10
 
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Wow, that's interesting to know. I know you take every precaution with your tanks so I was curious to know the circumstances around your experience with it. Clowns seems more susceptible to ich than others. Do you think some fish can be carriers of ich harboring the pest but not showing any outward signs until at some point for some reason an outbreak occurs? That's what's so great about these forums...learning from others experiences as well as sharing your own.
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