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Old 01-08-2006, 01:04 PM   #1
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A Couple of Ich Questions...

Like you haven't already answered enough ich questions. I spent a couple hours last night reading through quite a few of them but I do have yet another question or two for you.

First.. Say a tang were to break out with ich. Obviously it's stressed or ill. But say that sometime between acquiring the ich, and the time the critters fall off him his health improves. Is it possible that the ich won't come back? And if it doesn't come back, and none of the other fish in the tank come down with it, is it possible for the ich to die off? Is a healthy fish the equivalent of no host at all? Or rather is it possible for the ick to survive in your tank when the fish aren't showing any signs of it?

Next question. In the event the ich does come back, what is the preferred method of treatment? Copper or hypo? I read mixed reviews on both so far (and don't worry, I do know not to do either in the main tank). Some say copper is stressful, some say hypo is stressful.

Thanks so much for your time!
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Old 01-08-2006, 05:03 PM   #2
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Re: A Couple of Ich Questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsaraber
Obviously it's stressed or ill.
First correction, a healthy fish is just as apt to be afflicted as an ailing one.

Quote:
But say that sometime between acquiring the ich, and the time the critters fall off him his health improves. Is it possible that the ich won't come back?
Possible yes but not the norm.

Quote:
And if it doesn't come back, and none of the other fish in the tank come down with it, is it possible for the ich to die off?
Again possible but even more unlikely. I had originally thought it was a years time frame but I have recently learned the parasite can sustain itself (continued reproduction) for as long as 2 years.

Quote:
Is a healthy fish the equivalent of no host at all?
Definately not. No host means no fish, no exception 8)

Quote:
Or rather is it possible for the ick to survive in your tank when the fish aren't showing any signs of it?
Most definately!

Quote:
Next question. In the event the ich does come back, what is the preferred method of treatment? Copper or hypo? I read mixed reviews on both so far (and don't worry, I do know not to do either in the main tank). Some say copper is stressful, some say hypo is stressful.
In regards to teleost species, hyposalinity hands down. Many species cannot tolerate copper or do quite poorly during the regimen. Hypo is the best tolerated by most all fish species. It is also not stressful in the least when done correctly. The major downfall of it's appliaction is the lack of preparation (cycled QT/no refractometer) and the improper implementation and monitoring. More commonly pH and salinity. If done correctly, it has been shown to be the most effective with the least (if any) losses.

If copper is required (low salinity variant) or diagnosis includes the possibility of Amlyoodinium (velvet) then the best choice there is Cupramine, upto and including puffer fish. Cupramine has proven time and time again where copper is a must to be the most tolerated by a wide base of species otherwise sensitive to it's use. Being an amine based product though, it must have the appropriate test kit.

Cheers
Steve
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Old 01-08-2006, 05:47 PM   #3
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Thanks Steve! More questions for you.

Quote:
the parasite can sustain itself (continued reproduction) for as long as 2 years
This doesn't apply to a fallow tank right?

Ok, hypo it is. Refractometer - check... Cycled QT - will popping a fresh bag of live sand into the QT tank work?

Regarding PH - how much of a fluctuation is ok? The PH in our main tank does fluctuate a tad bit during the course of a day - not by much, at least not enough to ever affect the fish or anything in the tank so far that I can tell. I'm guessing the main concern is to make sure the change water PH matches the QT tank PH?

In a 30 gallon QT tank with a 20 pound bag of live sand (assuming it's ok to put that in the tank at all) - how often and how much of a water change do you suggest? Fishwise we'll have 2 percula clowns, a potters angel and a purple tang (he's about 2 or 3 inches) in QT.
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Old 01-08-2006, 06:07 PM   #4
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Yet another question...

Is it possible to remove everything except the fish out of the main tank and do the hypo there? The sand would have to be left behind and there are a few small things living in the sandbed but not a whole lot, a few little mysis, brittle stars and a bristle worm or two...
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Old 01-08-2006, 06:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsaraber
Thanks Steve! More questions for you.

Quote:
the parasite can sustain itself (continued reproduction) for as long as 2 years
This doesn't apply to a fallow tank right?
Correct, without a fish host the life cycle is broken. I usually suggest 6 weeks at minimum but preferabley 8.

Quote:
Ok, hypo it is. Refractometer - check... Cycled QT - will popping a fresh bag of live sand into the QT tank work?
No, use no substrate or rock. Only inert decorations/PVC pipe and the filtration equipment/heater/powerhead etc. If your QT is not cycled, add some filtration media from the main to colonize bacteria. Filter pads, carbon or something similar. Using hypo also allows for the use of polyfilter pads (Poly BioMarine) which will help control nitrogens. HOB filters with biowheels are excellent for this type of set up if you have one.

Quote:
Regarding PH - how much of a fluctuation is ok? The PH in our main tank does fluctuate a tad bit during the course of a day - not by much, at least not enough to ever affect the fish or anything in the tank so far that I can tell. I'm guessing the main concern is to make sure the change water PH matches the QT tank PH?
Exactly correct. Your best means of defense is a good offence if you'll excuse the analogy. Buffering the RO used for the initial drop in the salinity is the best means of preventing a pH crash during the process. Also due to the diluted chemistry of the lowered salinity of the SW used for water changes, it is not uncommon to need a buffer addition there as well. Checking alk/pH of your QT a couple of times a day is best but I think you get the point nicely


Quote:
In a 30 gallon QT tank with a 20 pound bag of live sand (assuming it's ok to put that in the tank at all) - how often and how much of a water change do you suggest? Fishwise we'll have 2 percula clowns, a potters angel and a purple tang (he's about 2 or 3 inches) in QT.
No sand but in regards to the water changes, I would keep at least 50% of the QT water volume on hand at all times. Two rubbermaid bins would work best. One for mixing and one for using on the QT. All they will need is a cheap heater and powerhead. With careful planning you can easily get away with one bin though. For that kind of a bioload I can only guess but best to do two water changes daily (AM/PM) as apposed to one. You may need from 5-10-25% at each change, it's impossible to determine. Be sure you test the nitrogens (NH3/NO2/NO3) twice daily and determine the best amount needed to keep these in check. Ammonia and nitrite being your biggest concerns. Since the QT will largely be uncycled with added bacterial media, you'll be needing rather large changes in the beginning but will calm down as the biofilter gets established (week or two). In the meantime, keep feedings light and siphon out detritus and uneaten foods at every opportunity along with the water changes. If using filter material (floss/sponges) be sure they get rinsed in SW (not fresh) daily.

Cheers
Steve
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Old 01-08-2006, 06:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsaraber
Yet another question...

Is it possible to remove everything except the fish out of the main tank and do the hypo there? The sand would have to be left behind and there are a few small things living in the sandbed but not a whole lot, a few little mysis, brittle stars and a bristle worm or two...
It is possible but not preferable. Anything living left behind other than fish and the bacteria will perish in this kind of reduced salinity. More commonly it creates rather nasty water quality issues due to the death of the sandbed. If a QT is available, use that. It may seem like a PITA, but in the long run less than using the main.

Cheers
Steve
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Old 01-08-2006, 07:16 PM   #7
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Thanks so much Steve.. I appreciate all your help!!
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Old 01-16-2006, 03:12 PM   #8
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Thought I'd pop in for an update. I hate when threads regarding sickness end with no indication of how everything turned out.

We moved the fish into a QT tank this past Saturday morning. The clowns were super easy to catch, we cornered them when they were sleeping with a piece of plexi. The tang we managed to trap in a container baited with garlic soaked nori. But the angel, ARGH! We ended up having to drain the tank entirely. The sandbed in the center of the tank is lower than along the outside edges so we hoped we'd be able to drain the water and the angel would end up in what little bit of water was left in the center of the tank. All was going well, he was actually where we hoped he would be but then he decided to beach himself under a rock and we ended up having to pull out some of the rocks to get to him.

We decided to use a 20 gallon tank, with a magnum filter, lots of PVC bits and a bag of carbon that had been sitting in the sump of the display tank for about a month - we thought that might provide a nice start for the bacteria. We've been lowering the SG ever since then, 2 gallons at a time, every few hours, with buffered freshwater. We feel better doing it a little slower than the 1/5 water changes recommenced by ATJ's. Original SG was 1.025 and after a 2 gallon change this morning it's down to 1.011 - I'm expecting to have them down to 1.009 by tonight.

We used eggcrate for the top, easier to cut to fit everything we have in there. We've also got an auto top off in use.

So far the fish seem fine, and they all ate well last night. No signs of ich on any of the other fish except for one dot on one of the clowns but that's gone already today. The tang still has quite a few dots but I don't think he's too bad on the whole.

Have been testing ammonia and so far no signs of it but then again we have been doing 10% water changes 2-3x every day to lower the salinity.

I've already got the calendar marked so we know when the 8 weeks is up and we can start working on raising the salinity again.
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Old 01-16-2006, 07:45 PM   #9
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Thanks for posting the update. Please keep us up to date on your progress by all means.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsaraber

I've already got the calendar marked so we know when the 8 weeks is up and we can start working on raising the salinity again.
Actually it's not really 8 weeks you should be working towards but 4 weeks past the last sign of visible spots on the fish. That is usually the best target time frame. It is commonly about 6ish weeks as a rule but if you choose longer that's just fine too.

Cheers
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Old 01-16-2006, 10:36 PM   #10
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Thanks for clearing that up Steve.

The 8 weeks was mainly for the fallow tank - I figured we'd start raising salinity around week 6 or 7 to get them ready to move back in.. It's good to know the bit about "4 weeks past the last sign of visible spots on the fish"... Just in case they hang on longer than anticipated.
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