Ich heat/salt treatment and eradication. - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 2 Old 04-19-2012, 04:39 AM Thread Starter
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Ich heat/salt treatment and eradication.

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.

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post #2 of 2 Old 04-19-2012, 07:16 PM
At the top of the forum see the Tropical Fish Profiles? click it and scroll down to Tropical Fish Diseases.Click and go to Important articles.Click and go to Lupin's information about Ich. A very good explanation .
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