Recently, my true percula clown has gotten ick. Currently, he is in a 10 gallon quarantine tank, dosed with Cupramine copper. Its got a whisper
filter of adequate size, heater, a rock, one powerhead, and a 15 watt NO bulb. I have not measured the copper level, but my guess, from what I have
dosed, is around .7 or .8 PPM
. He is getting better, at least it looks that way. But when I got home today, he was upside down, in the upper back corner
of the tank!!! He is still very much alive, but he is still upside down. He does still eat, but not if it is more than 2 or 3 inches below the surface.
I checked nitrate and nitrite, all fine, and I put ammonia neutralizer in daily, since I do not have a test for ammonia, and I cannot use carbon in my filter because of the copper. He will turn over, but not for very long, maybe a few seconds, then goes back to being upside down.
Question 1- Does this setup for a quarantine tank sound good?
Question 2- Could he be upside down because of the high copper levels? If not, then what?
Question 3- I have heard clowns are sensitive to copper treatments. Should I change to a different treatment, such as Clout or Rid-ick, both of
which are readily at hand?
Thanks for any help you can give, Ryan
Yikes Ryan... things don't look/sound good. Do agree that Clownfishes (and other fishes that live in close association with invertebrates) are sensitive to copper... and I do hope that what you really are seeing is ich... a few other common clownfish parasite problems (e.g. Brooklynella) look similar symptomatically, but are not susceptible to copper treatment.
1) The quarantine set-up sounds okay.
2) The copper could indeed be mal-affecting the clown, but the overall stress and disease itself could account for the behavior as well.
3) Here's where I have to clobber you. Even with semi-sequestered formats of copper like Cupramine, you need to have/use a copper test kit. Re-read the products label and use instructions. It calls for a first day input of 1 ml. per ten gallons that will render a free copper reading of 0.25 ppm
and a follow-up treatment at the same rate to give a reading of 0.50ppm. It has been my experience that this product will not effect a therapeutic effect unless it is at least at a 0.20 concentration or a treatment effect unless it is at a 0.30 ppm
dose. Yours is way too low... in other words, the present concentration is not doing anything to treat the fish. The only way to tell how much copper (Cu++) you have in solution is a test kit.
I would NOT switch to another medication. The Cupramine can/will do "the job" if it is ich, and the other "Med.s" would likely push the fish over the edge. If the fish is still alive, do lower the specific gravity over the next two days to 1.017, raise the Cupramine concentration to at least 0.20 and keep it there (by testing, re-addition of Cupramine). Do keep your eye on ammonia levels, changing water if you don't have, or want to invest in an ammonia test kit...
You might benefit from reading the archived articles on copper use, marine fish diseases, Clownfishes on my wetwebmedia.com website. It's free. Bob Fenner