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Discussion Starter #1
I introduced three new fish (clown loaches) without putting them in quarantine first. I feel like a massive idiot.

The next morning after adding the loaches, I noticed one of them had some white specks I hadn't seen the day before. I've never had ich in my tank, but recognized it right away from pictures. I set up my other tank, moved the three new ones over and medicated them with Super Ich Cure. It was too late. My rainbows, neon, glass catfish, and pleco in the main tank all had ich two days later. I set the temperature at 82 F, added aquarium salt, and medicated the main tank with a full dose of Super Ich Cure for 4 days. Everyone just got worse during those days. Some are totally peppered with white specks! Medication did NOTHING. (Yes, I took the carbon out of the filter first.)

Overnight I lost my neon and a glass catfish and all but one of my fish now have ich. This morning I did a 50% water change, took out all the decorations, vacuumed the gravel, put the carbon back in the filter, added a third airstone, dissolved and poured in 4 tablespoons of aquarium salt, and am partway through bringing the temperature up to 86 F. I did NOT add any more useless medication.

Tank is 55 gallon community tank with 1 rubber lip pleco, 2 remaining glass catfish, 5 rainbowfish, four clown loaches (three of them tiny), 4 khuli loaches, 1 platy. I am very attached to these fish, as I have had most of them for 5+ years. My long term plan was to move them all into a 100-200 gallon tank before the loaches got too big, and add more rainbowfish. But now I'm afraid I'll lose them all.

What else can I do? Is there a medication that would actually work? Anyone have any success treating such a widespread ich outbreak? More salt? How often to vacuum?

Thank you in advanced!
 

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Sorry to hear about your troubles. Ich sucks but it is fairly easy to treat. You have to give the treatment enough time to work as the parasite may be in different stages of its life cycle. Treatment only kills the parasite when it's in its free swimming stage. So you must treat long enough to kill all the parasites. I've used Quick Cure with good results. The directions say to treat for 3 days but you need to treat longer than that. I dose for 3-days then do a water change and vacuum and repeat the treatment. Once you no longer see any spots continue to treat for 3 days then do a water change and vacuum to remove meds. Make sure you aerate your tank well as the medication will deplete the oxygen level. You don't need to raise the temp. This will only exacerbate the depleted oxygen problem. As long as your tank is at tropical temps your fine.

If you have fish that are sensitive to meds you can use salt at 2 teaspoons per gallon concentration. Use a bucket to premix some salt with your tank water and slowly increase the salt level in your tank over the course of about 8-12 hours until your at the 2 teaspoons per gallon concentration. Again, leave the salt at this level for about 2 weeks replacing any salt you lose during water changes. This worked well for me when my tank broke out with ich and I had a Pictus cat so was hesitant to use meds.

Good luck and I hope you don't lose anymore fish. It sucks when you've had them for so long. Clown loaches are notorious for being ich magnets. Make sure to qt any new fish.
 

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Forgot to add that itch always seems to get worse before it gets better so just keep up the treatment. Don't get discouraged! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the advice! I stopped at my lfs to see what they had. They only had Nox Ich, but also told me that the stuff I had tried before doesn't usually work. They said to use the Nox Ich at half dose for three days (because of all my scaleless fish), and keep the temperature at 86 F. Came home for lunch to find all fish looking even worse than this morning, which I wouldn't have thought possible. Most of them are just powdered in ich. I know the last two glass catfish will be the next to go. :( I'll try this, but also maybe order quICK cure online just in case. Should I be continuing to vacuum the gravel during treatment?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Lost another glass catfish this afternoon, followed by one of the new clown loaches. The the rest of the catfish look ready to go, as does my large clown loach, who I've had for 6 years. Never had anything like this happen before. I just feel so upset and helpless.
 

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Unfortunately the fish you have are ich prone and to complicate treatment are sensitive to medications. I agree completely with jeaninel and would continue to treat as she suggested. NoxIch is a quality medication. I have used it with success. Quick Cure is my personal favorite and is good to keep on hand.

I want to mention that water changes are highly helpful in fighting Ich. As you remove water you are also removing free swimming parasites. I have in some cases changed 50% of water 4 to 5 times per day during a heavy infestation. You just have to replenish the medication that was removed during the water change. Be sure to remove water directly from the bottom of the tank as you do these changes, hypothetically to remove unhatched eggs.

Ich is frustrating to say the least. It is very difficult to find any LFS without some fish infected. I doubt they use proper precautions when moving from tank to tank with their nets/arms/ etc. I personally quarantine EVERY fish purchase. I keep 2 aquariums, 5 gallons each, empty for quarantine. A sponge filter remains in the main aquarium, seeded with bacteria from the main tank, and ready to move at any time to the Q tank. I literally just fill the 5 gallon up with water from the main tank and add the sponge filter. After the Q period is done, I empty the tank completely and am ready for the next purchase.

For what its worth, I also keep a UV Sterilizer on hand for when needed. They are crazy effective, despite claims you've read online from people who've probably never used them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for your advice! I actually just bookmarked a submersible UV sterilizer on Amazon. What kind do you use? And how many watts?

So I continued with the Nox Ich, but it may have been too late. After the second dose I noticed the kuhli loaches were writhing around in pain and their skin looked as if it was peeling off. They did not have ich spots though, so I set up the quarantine tank with unmedicated water, 86 degrees, 1 tsp per gallon salt, and plunked them in there. So far so good. Their skin has healed and they're swimming and eating well. The spots dropped off my platy, so I put him in there too, same with my dominant male Boesemani. Unfortunately the rest weren't so lucky. By the time the dust settled I lost all of my glass catfish, my pleco, all of my clown loaches, and all but one of my rainbowfish. 12 out of 18 fish gone in a week.

Now I'm dismantling the tank and sterilizing everything. Going to start again with new substrate and plants (to replace the ones I effectively killed with heat) and move the survivors back upstairs. The kuhli loaches will be happier with new sand, rather than the old gravel anyway.

Any tips for sterilizing to make sure no ich remains? I'm thinking boil what I can and bleach what I can't boil...

I will never skip the quarantine when purchasing new fish again.
 

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You don't need to sterilize everything. Without a host the parasites will die. But, so long as you are starting over anyhow I'd just clean the empty tank and equipment with hot water.

I don't recall the wattage on my UV. I've had it for 10+ years now, can't even recall the brand off hand. It is a hang on external UV. The key with a UV is the flow rate. The longer the water is exposed to the UV as it flow thru the unit, the better. Balance this with turnover of the aquarium water. I try to use a power head that turns over the tank water 1-2 times per hour.
 
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