55 gallon aquarium, 0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite, 10-20ppm nitrate ( tap water tests 5-10ppm nitrate and 1 ppm ammonia).Water Ph is 7-7.2, 12 dgh. I do at least one weekly, sometimes twice, 25% water change. Normal temperature is 76 F. The tank is moderately planted with anubias and java fern.
I am fairly new to tropical fish, but my previous fish included a 16 year old goldfish that got killed by a mother-in-law who thinks she knows everything.
Tank occupants are 7 platies, 4 swordtails, 5 rummy nose tetras (temporary occupants until i can get my soft water tank going), one largish platy fry/juvenile, unknown number of smaller fry, unknown number of Malaysian trumpet snails. The livebearers have been in the tank for 2 months, the rummies have been in the tank for 2 weeks but came from a seemingly disease free tank with massive angelfish and discus. The only (adult fish) mortality in the tank occurred 3 weeks ago when a platy died in childbirth. Personally, I think the platies were the ich carriers and the tetras or fry blew up the infestation.
I noticed and ich outbreak about 8 days ago. Day 1 was observation and massive internet research. Day 2-3 was cranking up the heat to 86-88 F and slowly adding salt to a concentration of 1 tsp salt per 5 gallons ( tetras). I have a UV sterilizer for other purposes, but it did seem to help slow the spread while the heat was being increased. Day 4 was when the last visible white spot vanished. The ich strain seems to be heat responsive. All the fish are outwardly healthy, active, hungry, and horny (male platy and swordtail). A platy developed a white gash a few days ago but it has almost healed. The platies and swordtails flash but only when there is food, water changes, or if a person is standing near the tank. Video surveillance shows no flashing when there is no food or human (another thread). The plants are holding up well so far. I have done three 25% gravel vac water changes during this ich period.
I would like to know the specifics about the ich tormont phase. I have read that ich stops reproduction at a particular temperature. Does that mean that the tormont attempts reproduction and fails and dies or does that mean that the tormont just sits there in a kind of stasis, waits for better conditions (maybe when heat treatment is halted), and/or eventually starves(after a long period)? Additionally, when the fish is infected by ich trophants, are all the trophants forced off the fish during heat/salt treatment or is this purely a part of the cycle as well?
Assuming ich can complete a successful cycle, what is the approximate timeline for the ich life-cycle at 86F and above? Its not like the treatment is stressing the fish out, but keeping the temperature stabilized with a building heat wave in southern California is proving difficult. I will go the full two weeks if I have to for the heat part of the treatment, the fish are fine so far, it's the humans that are getting stressed. I do want to start taking out the salt soon with small water changes, the tetras don't seem to have a problem so far but I am still uncomfortable with them in any salt concentration.
My goal is total eradication
. I don't want any dormant ich. I want it all gone. However I don't want temperature to spike past 90F or go below 86F either. It has gotten close a couple times and the heater needs constant adjustments. Malachite green and formalin meds are out of the question, I have a woman of child-bearing age in the house. I also like my snails so no copper unless absolutely necessary.
How effective is heat and salt for permanent eradication? When I get another fish and put it in quarantine, will heat treatment for two weeks eliminate all possibility of ich?
This infestation is driving me up the wall. I guess I should be thankful that my only loss is my sanity. I did expect an outbreak but I really want this to be a one time thing. Any advice that hasn't been stickied would be most welcome.