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Old 01-12-2006, 08:17 PM   #1
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Ich, ich, ich...

Hello all. I have been lurking around this site for a couple of months now and have gathered a ton of useful information from everyone's posts. I had a question about the infamous "ich" parasite. I've searched through the forum archives in an attempt to answer my question, but have been unable to come up with anything definitive. Apologies if this has been asked a million times already. A bit of back story first...

Last year, I purchased a royal gramma from a LFS. Around the same time, I also picked up a handful of tiny red hermit crabs to serve as a cleanup crew for my tank (details of which should be visible in my profile). After a month or so, the gramma developed what I suspect was the dreaded ich. It had all the hallmark signs - began as a few white specs, went away for a few days, then came back even worse. I attempted to treat it but was unsuccessful and the gramma eventually died. The only other fish in my tank, a false ocellaris that I still have today, never exhibited any symptoms.

It has been about 3-4 months since I lost the gramma. In the meantime, I have switched tanks and substrate for unrelated reasons. When the ich outbreak occurred I was running gravel on top of an undergravel filter. Eventually the old tank began leaking, so I bought a brand new 30 gal to transfer everything into. I decided that during the tank transfer it would also be a good opportunity for me to ditch the outdated UGF and replace the gravel with aragonite-based sand. The transfer was made successfully and my clown and most of my cleanup crew made it through that ordeal.

Now, for my questions:

Is it possible for inverts to carry the parasite? I understand that inverts aren't prone to ich the way fish are, but is it possible for them to be carriers? I had never noticed any ich in my tank before the outbreak with the gramma, so the only thing I can think of is he either came infected or the cleanup crew brought it with them.

Would my tank swap and substrate switch have rid me of the parasite? As I said before, I did those things for reasons completely unrelated to the ich outbreak, but would this have helped my ich problem at all? From my understanding of the ich life cycle, it seems that the parasite spends its time in the substrate when it isn't stuck to the fish. I'm assuming this had minimal effect but thought I would ask anyway.

Is it possible for fish that aren't exhibiting any ich symptoms to still sustain the parasite? My goal in the near future is to buy a larger aquarium (probably in the neighborhood of 75-90 gallons) and make it a reef tank. I plan on bringing over all of the inhabitants of my current tank, including the clown who was sharing space with the gramma a few months back. To this day he is behaving normally and has never shown any signs of the parasite. I've read that the only sure-fire way to rid a tank of ich is to leave it fallow for 6+ weeks. Does this apply if there is a fish present that is seemingly immune? There haven't been any new fish added to the tank since the gramma died 3 months ago, so the clown would be the only possible host available, but as I said, he has never shown any symptoms. I don't want to drag the parasite over to my new tank, so I'd like to know if I should treat him before adding him to the larger tank.

Sorry for the lengthy post. I'd appreciate any info from you guys. Thanks!
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Old 01-12-2006, 08:26 PM   #2
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Oops. I can see that the answer to my last question was already answered here: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=69073

Sorry about that.
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Old 01-12-2006, 10:51 PM   #3
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Re: Ich, ich, ich...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jobu
Now, for my questions:

Is it possible for inverts to carry the parasite? I understand that inverts aren't prone to ich the way fish are, but is it possible for them to be carriers? I had never noticed any ich in my tank before the outbreak with the gramma, so the only thing I can think of is he either came infected or the cleanup crew brought it with them.
Actually it goes a bit futher than that specifically, anything wet is actually a potential carrier. As far as inverts themselves, yes they can carry the tomont (reproductive cyst) stage. Any hard surface is a potential spot for the parasite to settle.

Quote:
Would my tank swap and substrate switch have rid me of the parasite? As I said before, I did those things for reasons completely unrelated to the ich outbreak, but would this have helped my ich problem at all? From my understanding of the ich life cycle, it seems that the parasite spends its time in the substrate when it isn't stuck to the fish. I'm assuming this had minimal effect but thought I would ask anyway.
It actually could have helped some but one swap alone would not have been suffiecient. There is a treatment know as the "4 day transfer" that works when done in a specific manner.

Cheers
Steve
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