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Ich Breakout in Planted 125, Please Help!

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Ich Breakout in Planted 125, Please Help!
Old 06-16-2013, 11:09 AM   #11
 
I now have 4 airstones in the tank, and I lowered the water level slightly for more surface agitation since it's now in the 87-88 degree range.

I've now lost 3 Bala Sharks, 2 Redline (Denison's) Barbs, and now our Female Krib this morning with no warning signs

And there are still some very stressed fish in the tank, so I'm guessing that number will climb...

I had no idea that an ich breakout could be this bad. I missed a few days of treatment in the beginning because I was on vacation, and I guess it just really dug in there over those few days. I can't imagine that there's still not enough oxygen in the tank at this point, but I still can't help but wonder if this heat treatment isn't getting the best of some of the fish. I'm not going to abandon it, but I can't help but second guess myself.
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Old 06-16-2013, 11:55 AM   #12
 
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I feel for you. I had an ich outbreak a month ago that wiped out one of my tank entirely and that was with heat and meds.The stuff is just evil.
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Old 06-16-2013, 11:56 AM   #13
 
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My denisons made it through just fine - they are a sensitive cool water/high oxygen fish. Bala sharks upper temp preference is in the low 80s, so mid to high 80s should not be a stretch for them. I'm sorry to hear that you are experiencing losses - it's a rare occurrence with the treatment. A treatment can only be successful if the fish survive, so there's no sense in continuing a treatment if you are losing fish like that. I would discontinue and try a medication. Quick cure worked very well for me, back before I began using heat. Quick cure and other similar products can stain the decor, so if you have any nice pieces you may want to temporarily remove them. Placing them in a bucket of water will preserve the bacteria living there.

Did you do a water test? any ammonia/nitrite? Any time you lose several fish quickly, you should test the water right before doing a large water change. If you are medicating and fish start dying on you, then You should discontinue treatment and see about modifying your approach. Same goes for anything you do to the tank that is reversible - if it's not working, back up and see if you can figure out why and find another way to do what you want/need to do.



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Last edited by jaysee; 06-16-2013 at 12:04 PM..
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Old 06-17-2013, 01:41 PM   #14
 
The confusing thing is that the heat treatment does seem to be working for the Pictus Catfish, which were infected with Ich the worst, besides the clown loach that had it even worse and finally succumbed last night. So that's one more loss.

Now one of the Balas and one of the Denison's Barbs have cloudy eyes and are acting lethargic. Which leads me to another question for you veterans... Can Ich cause cloudy eye as well, or do I have something else going on in my tank in addition to the Ich?

I have a 10 gallon QT tank setup, but I'm not sure if moving the sick Bala and Denison's Barb to treat them with the Melafix or Jungle Fungus Clear is the right thing to do. I have the QT tank temp set around 85 degrees with two air stones and a small amount of gravel substrate. My plan is to pull the two fish out with cloudy eye and treat them in the QT tank if I can catch them when I get home from work this evening, unless any of you feel strongly against doing so.

I don't want to abandon the heat treatment because I feel like it is helping at least some of the fish. I'm just not sure why all of the fish died, but I don't think it was purely the heat since I feel like I have enough aeration in the tank (although I haven't measured the oxygen levels, and I have no way of doing so). I will check my water parameters again when I get home to be sure that there's no ammonia or nitrite, but I don't think there is because I've removed every fish that I've lost very quickly (I basically watched them die ).

As a side note, losing all of our fish has been a terrible experience. However, my wife and I spent all of Saturday night at the emergency room with our 3 year old son. He had a Febrile seizure from a fever of 103.4, and they had to run an IV with antibiotics because they couldn't identify the cause. He's since doing much better, and after a follow up with our pediatrician this morning the doctors believe it is/was something Viral causing the high fever. Nevertheless, THAT has to be one of the scariest moments I have ever experienced. As worried about my fish as I have been, they unfortunately haven't received my full attention over the past couple of days. As a result I missed doing a water change yesterday. I'm not sure that matters, but I can only handle so much at one time. I am doing my best, and hopefully I won't end up losing every fish in the tank.

On a positive note, my 29 gallon is and has been doing great for over a year now (knock on virtual wood). I have to take some solace in the fact that I've been successful with that tank, and that I've done everything that I thought needed to be done to be successful with my 125. The big lesson that I've learned from this whole thing is that I will absolutely quarantine every new fish I purchase from now on.

Last edited by jeffcoatbs; 06-17-2013 at 01:52 PM..
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:21 PM   #15
 
Agreed I would stop with the heat and run a copper medication. The heat treatment is not something I would do in a planted tank. They have increased O2 demands at night so that could easily be why you are seeing fish loss over night. Also with most plants not being able to stand such high temps you can risk water quality issues indirectly and well as plant loss.

That said I've never done the heat treatment so I can't really help there. I always use a copper medication for 3 weeks and rarely ever had any fish losses from ich. So I would suggest copper safe. Quick cure IMO is a harsher medication given its active ingredients. You will need to decrease heat either way or you are likely to continue to lose fish at night especially with added medications as it will decrease the O2 levels even more.
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:42 PM   #16
 
I've read that some Ich meds will stain the seals in the tank. Is this true for the Coppersafe medication that you suggested? If not, then I'll start reducing the tank temp and try to find the medication to start treatment. Do you think somewhere like PetSmart will sell it? My LFS closes at 6 pm, so it's too late to purchase it there this evening.
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Old 06-17-2013, 06:52 PM   #17
 
copper medications will not stain silicone seals. Most stores will carry copper-safe another medication is aquari-sol but that was discontinued not to long ago.
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:30 PM   #18
 
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At this point, I completely agree with Mikaila's advice.

I'll move on to respond to a couple questions that you (jeff) had along the way. But before I do that, may I offer my sincere best wishes for your son's recovery. That must be very devastating in itself.

The heat treatment will work fine, but not all fish can manage with such elevated temperatures. And it is far more than the oxygen issue. The warmer the water, the harder the fish (any fish) has to work just to keep its internal homeostasis functioning. This saps considerable energy and increases stress to the fish. And stress is the direct cause of 95% of all fish disease, including ich. So this is not to be sneezed at. I can't say that the erratic behaviour of some of the balas was due to this, but it might well have been.

Second question was salt, which fish can or can't handle this. The easy answer is that no soft water fish should be subjected to salt. Hard water fish can manage. But when it comes to soft water fish, salt should not be the first option. Many will say that copper-based medications are also stressful, and they are, but when compared to salt the copper is by far the lesser evil for soft water fish. Again it is internal physiological issues. And some fish like loaches and catfish can be severely burned with salt.

The third point I picked up on was your water change schedule. One-fifth of the tank every 1-2 weeks is no where near adequate. I realize you have plants, and there are those who say no water changes are needed with plants, but I don't buy that. And you have some large fish, and while I don't know the level of planting, I would surmise that the fish load is going to be beyond the point at which the plants can handle things that well. The two dead fish is indicative of this, as in a planted tank a dead fish or two should not cause problems if the tank is balanced to begin with, and your weekly water change is the best way to achieve this state. I do 50% of my tanks every week, and have for over 15 years running. At the very first sign of trouble, whatever it may be, I immediately do a major water change, sometimes as much as 3/4 of the tank. When this is resolved, get on a regular weekly schedule and up the volume.

Byron.
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:17 AM   #19
 
Thanks for all of the advice guys. I will plan to do a bigger water change on a weekly basis from now on, and quarantine every fish for a two week period, since I now have a 10 gallon QT tank setup.

I have started reducing the temp of the tank. I found with this whole experience that the temp rises and falls very slowly in a tank this size (125 gallon), so I just set my heaters to the temp I wanted and it changes slowly enough (my guess is about 1 degree every 2 hours) that it hasn't been an issue. I also found the Coppersafe and added the treatment last night after a 25% water change. My water parameters looked good before the water change (ammonia: 0, nitrite: 0, didn't check nitrates but assume they're in the 10-15 range at this point with all the water changes). This has been, and continues to be, quite the learning experience for me.

I change a third of the water in my 29 gallon on a weekly basis, but I guess I assumed because my fish are still very small in the 125 that I didn't need that kind of volume yet. The most I can do on my 125 without shutting down the filters and floating the biowheels is 25%, so I'll up it to that on a weekly basis for now, with the intention to increase the volume when the fish are bigger.

With all that said, I have some good news to report (along with some bad). The bad first, I lost another bala last night, and one redline and bala are still stressed with cloudy eye. The good news however is that all the white spots are gone from the fish that had them, including the Pictus Cats which were just eaten up with them. All fish are acting normal again (eating normally) with the exception of the the sick redline and bala.

The really good news is that my son is doing much better as well. :) I appreciate the concern from the community here, and I can't express my gratitude for all of the help you guys have provided to this point. I will keep updating everyone with the progress of my tank, but hopefully I am in the homestretch at this point.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:58 PM   #20
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffcoatbs View Post
Thanks for all of the advice guys. I will plan to do a bigger water change on a weekly basis from now on, and quarantine every fish for a two week period, since I now have a 10 gallon QT tank setup.

I have started reducing the temp of the tank. I found with this whole experience that the temp rises and falls very slowly in a tank this size (125 gallon), so I just set my heaters to the temp I wanted and it changes slowly enough (my guess is about 1 degree every 2 hours) that it hasn't been an issue. I also found the Coppersafe and added the treatment last night after a 25% water change. My water parameters looked good before the water change (ammonia: 0, nitrite: 0, didn't check nitrates but assume they're in the 10-15 range at this point with all the water changes). This has been, and continues to be, quite the learning experience for me.

I change a third of the water in my 29 gallon on a weekly basis, but I guess I assumed because my fish are still very small in the 125 that I didn't need that kind of volume yet. The most I can do on my 125 without shutting down the filters and floating the biowheels is 25%, so I'll up it to that on a weekly basis for now, with the intention to increase the volume when the fish are bigger.

With all that said, I have some good news to report (along with some bad). The bad first, I lost another bala last night, and one redline and bala are still stressed with cloudy eye. The good news however is that all the white spots are gone from the fish that had them, including the Pictus Cats which were just eaten up with them. All fish are acting normal again (eating normally) with the exception of the the sick redline and bala.

The really good news is that my son is doing much better as well. :) I appreciate the concern from the community here, and I can't express my gratitude for all of the help you guys have provided to this point. I will keep updating everyone with the progress of my tank, but hopefully I am in the homestretch at this point.
This is good news all around.

If you are quarantining new fish, make it 4 weeks or even 5. There is much that you won't see with 2 weeks, believe me. Ich is a minor issue, and usually that turns up within 2 weeks, but these days there are several protozoan around and these can take longer.
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