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Old 06-25-2014, 01:17 AM   #1
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Treating ick with scaleless fish

I have a newly set up 45 gal tank that is still cycling (fish in with tetra safe start). Set up June 9 and got 3 black skirt tetras the following day. I added an oil cat (centromochlus perugia) the following day, and 3 featherfin catfish (that I thought were corys as they were in with the corys at wallmart) a few days later. Testing with a pi master kit, my ammonia and nitrite have been keeping at mostly .25-.5 and I've been doing 25% water changes when either is at .5 (I've done 4 of these water changes since the ammonia and nitrite showed up June 16th). No nitrate yet last week I got two small silver dollars and all has been well until today. Suddenly they both have what I think is ick. Small white dots on dorsal and tail fins. My question is how do I best treat this with the oil cat in the tank? I've been reading that copper products are toxic to scaleless fish and salt isn't tolerated either. Some threads state raising the temp to 86 for two weeks kills the parasite and any eggs in the tank. Does this work? I'm just so nervous as the tank isn't even finished cycling and now this added stress. I don't want to lose anybody! Any advice will be greatly appreciated!
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Old 06-25-2014, 05:48 AM   #2
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I have only had ick when I bought new fish and quarantined them.

I have had luck with raising the temp. to 80 degrees, adding an extra air stone at full power and doing 50% water change daily. At 80 degrees the ick should start to disappear within 2 days. My fish do not tolerate 86 degrees, 80 is sufficient for the ick cycle to speed up. The extra air in the tank is necessary because the heat dissolves oxygen quicker and the water change helps remove the ick concentration. I also clean the filter every day during the start of the outbreak.

I never use medication on any fish.

I hope this helps
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Old 06-25-2014, 01:21 PM   #3
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I've read in multiple forums that the temp needs to be 86 with an airstone for extra oxygen. This is maintained for two weeks. They say 82 speeds the life cycle, 85 prevents reproducing and 86 kills live swimmers. I don't know how reputable that person was as everyone has their own "tried and true" methods. I also forgot to mention I also have 6 ghost shrimp... Will they tolerate the high temps. Mostly I'm worried about my oil cat as I've read how sensitive they are to ich and all of the treatments. No symptoms on him so far. Oh and I forgot to mention, my temp was 80 in the tank when they came down with the ich! I don't want to clean the filter or vacuume gravel as I don't want to disturb what little biological filter I've acummulated so far! Another post stated turning off the lights would interrupt the life cycle of the ich... Is there any truth to that?
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:29 PM   #4
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Maybe this will help you understand my method, you need to clean everything.
Higher temperatures are not beneficial.
If this helps you feel any better, I have a degree in biology, masters in microbiology...meaning I know parasites



The life cycle of ich

The life cycle of Ichthyophthirius is complicated but very important in understanding the treatment and prevention of ich. Once the ich protozoan attaches to the side of the fish, it begins feeding on the skin and tissue causing irritation. The fish's body begins to wall off the parasite to try to limit its damage. The protozoan continues to move around in the cyst feeding and growing, while the body continues to further encapsulate and wall it off. This encapsulation by the body is one of the reasons that ich is so difficult to treat during this stage of the disease because medications cannot penetrate through the wall of the cyst to reach the ich parasite. During this stage, the ich protozoan is called a trophozoite. The trophozoite eventually matures and is termed a "trophont." It will burst through the cyst wall and then fall to the bottom of the aquarium. It then begins to divide into hundreds of new ich-infecting units called tomites. This stage is very temperature-dependent within its capsule, with the fastest replications occurring at warmer temperatures near 78-80F. At optimum temperatures, the replication will be completed in about 8 hours. At lower temperatures, the replication takes longer making the treatment time for eradication much longer.
Once the replication is complete, the trophont bursts and releases the newly-formed tomites into the water. The tomites are motile and swim around the tank searching for a fish to attach to. Once they attach to a fish, the cycle will start over again. It is during this stage that ich is most susceptible to treatment. Many of the available medications will kill the tomites, thereby stopping the cycle of ich in your tank. It should be noted that these tomites will only survive for 48 hours, if they do not find a fish to attach to. These tomites will also attach to plants, filter material, etc. So if you move a plant from an infected tank into a clean tank, you have just infected the clean tank with ich. Depending on the water temperature, the whole cycle can take from 4 days to several weeks.


Treating Ick


Now that we understand the life cycle of freshwater ich, many of our treatment recommendations make more sense. Because the life cycle is temperature-dependent and the ich can only be killed in the tomite stage, we will want to raise the tank temperature to 78-80F over 48 hours to speed the cycle of tomite formation and release. Theoretically, if the cycle takes four days to complete at this temperature, then the treatment should be complete in 4 days. On the other hand, if the temperature is much colder, for example at 60F, the treatment would need to last for several weeks or longer.
Since we understand that we cannot kill ich while it is on the fish, we know that moving a fish to a quarantine tank to treat will not solve the problem in the main tank. The time to use a quarantine tank is before a new fish is introduced into a display tank. If a fish in a tank has ich, you must assume that the entire tank is now contaminated with ich and must be treated.
Another way to get ich out of a tank is to remove all of the fish. Since we know that the tomites can only survive for 48 hours without attaching to a fish, if we remove all of the fish and then raise the temperature to 80, the existing ich in the tank should be dead after 2 days. To be safe, wait 4 days before returning the fish to the tank. But remember, you will need to treat the tank that the fish are moved to, otherwise, fish entering that tank could become infected.
Remember, we are treating the tank, not the fish, so all effective treatments are designed to kill the trophite form of the disease while it is in the tank. The mature ich organisms that cause the problems on the fish do not die from treatment, but fall off in a couple of days during their normal life cycle and then their offspring die from the treatment in the water.
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:45 PM   #5
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Here is a side note, everything in your tank is contaminated with ick. As you probably figured out, your tank was not completely cycled, therefore adding the fish prematurely increased the stress level in the fish.

Since you need to do frequent water changes, over feed the fish to insure a healthy immune system. This will not hurt them nor do anything to the cycle since you have to do water changes anyway.

Your tank is probably out of balance, so keep an eye on the nitrate levels, they can spike at anytime and kill fish quicker than ick.

Good luck with all that
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Old 06-25-2014, 05:09 PM   #6
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Thank you for your input but treating with ich remedies is not an option as I have a catfish (centromochlus Perugia...a scaleless fish...all of the common treatments with copper, formalin or malachite green are toxic to scaleless fish). Yes, I know my tank is out of balance as it is still cycling (see first post), I don't have any nitrate yet, so I don't think overfeeding is a good idea as it will just increase my ammonia and then nitrite. The temp is now 84 and I've added a large10" air stone to improve oxygen levels. Any "Catfish" experts out there that want to chime in?
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Old 06-25-2014, 09:07 PM   #7
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you did not read my post correctly, I showed you how to treat without chemicals.

First 80 degree temp, higher tempts do nothing.
Clean everything
Add extra oxygen...as in air stone
change water frequently (should be daily at least 50%) which includes vacuuming the substrate, that decreases the ick concentration
Over feed fish to increase their health, you are changing water anyway, that will not increase their nitrates in a normal cycled tank.
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Old 06-25-2014, 11:03 PM   #8
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I don't have a spare tank to move fish to...Thinking of getting one for a quarantine tank eventually. Even if I did move the fish and raise the temp of the empty aquarium, how do I know that the fish don't have any in their gills or on their bodies (that have not caused that salt like cyst yet) when I move them back to the treated tank? Anyway, it would be difficult to clean everything as I have live plants, 2 inches of gravel that I don't think I should vacuum due to the biological filter and 6 ghost shrimp that are hard to see and I don't want to vacuume them up! I just feel cleaning would be futile with all of that gravel. Not to mention stress on the sick fish. I called api and they said I can use super ick cure at 1/2 the dose and it would be safe for my cat. I'm going to call Tropic isle tomorrow as that is where I got him, and see what they say. Thank you so much for the advice and microbiology lesson!
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Old 06-26-2014, 04:10 AM   #9
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Treating ick with scaleless fish

Thanks Pamiam, that was really interesting, I am lucky to have had Ich only once, but treated it with meds. I have taken some notes, so that I can do it your way, raise temp to 80deg for 4 days, feed fish up and do daily 50% WC's ( with clean water being same temp as aquarium).


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Old 06-26-2014, 05:38 AM   #10
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Sounds like you are frustrated.

The whole article I posted for you has many sound advice, you do not have to move them to another tank, I never did. That was just a suggestion from the article.

I never use chemicals for anything, I found they are more harmful than the actual disease. I try methods that are natural, therefore safer.

The key to fighting ick is understand the stages of it's life cycle.

Ick on fish can not be treated, it is already attached and must fall off naturally.

Once the ick has released itself from the fish, it falls to the bottom of the tank. It is in a capsule, it can not be killed at this stage either. (This is why cleaning the substrate is important, you are removing this stage from the tank) This stage is where the 80 degrees comes into play, it will reproduce itself, usually completing replication in 8 hours. If you had a 70 degree tank, it would take the ick longer to replicate, therefore it would remain longer in that stage.

Once the ick has completed it's 8 hour replication cycle at 80 degrees, it burst open...THIS is the stage to kill the ick, it is swimming all over the tank looking for fish.

This is why you do 50% water changes daily, you are eliminating the concentration of ick in both the replication stage and the free swimming stage.

This really works, it is time consuming but I never lost a fish.

Good luck with all this.
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Old 06-27-2014, 01:39 AM   #11
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I just worry that with hundreds or thousands of free swimmers, I'm not going to get every single one with water changes, and vacuuming the gravel will disturb my 17 day old biological filter. Also, if newly hatched theronts attach to the gills, I won't get them by doing water changes. It's aso heavily planted making that difficult, and I have 6 ghost shrimp that hide everywhere and I don't want to suck them up. The 50% water change is aso difficult as I have to do it with a bucket and no matter how carefully I pour, it is a hurricane in there for the 4 buckets I have to dump in to do my 25% water changes (very stressful). And my tank top is level with my chest so lifting the bucket up that high 3/4 full of water has been a struggle for me. Your method sounds great for a 10 -20 gallon aquarium that is cycled,and isn't planted with 6 invisible ghost shrimp running around! I called the LFS where I bought my cat and they recommended paraguard by sea chem at 1/2 strength dose. I think I'm going to go get some tomorrow as the spots have dropped off now and will soon be hatching. Thank you again for your advise and the time you took to explain everything in detail.
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:42 PM   #12
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I've used seachem paraguard which contains malachite green and is effective against ich. For scaleless fish you can give a half dose every 12 hours and it is well tolerated. Do not start with full dose, or fish will get stressed. Note that paraguard malachite green is safer for scaleless catfish compared to traditional malachite green.

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Old 08-08-2014, 11:22 AM   #13
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I just wanted to update that I treated with paraguard as that was what LFS recommended...(daily...1/2 dose at first, then increased to full dose over the next week as no one showed any signs of stress), and it worked! Everyone was fine...even my ghost shrimp and plants. Didn't have to remove filters. I highly recommend this stuff! And it doesn't dye everything blue!
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Old 08-08-2014, 02:32 PM   #14
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Just a random comment, but I noticed that you are changing water by dumping buckets into the aquarium - I don't do it like that. The way I do it is using tygon tubing and the power of suction. You get a bucket, put it on a higher surface then the aquarium, stick the tygon tubing into the bucket, and suck the water up the tubing near to your mouth. You then quicly stick the end of the tubing into the aquarium, and wait. The gravity forces the water out of the tube, into the aquarium, and to fill that space, the water in the bucket has to move into the tube. There is no stress, and my fish enjoy eating the bubbles made by the small stream of water pouring into their home.
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Old 08-09-2014, 01:33 AM   #15
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Thanks Gibberwatt, I will definitely try that! I actually have a tall dresser next to the tank that I can set the bucket on.
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Old 08-09-2014, 12:59 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pamiam View Post
you did not read my post correctly, I showed you how to treat without chemicals.

First 80 degree temp, higher tempts do nothing.
Clean everything
Add extra oxygen...as in air stone
change water frequently (should be daily at least 50%) which includes vacuuming the substrate, that decreases the ick concentration
Over feed fish to increase their health, you are changing water anyway, that will not increase their nitrates in a normal cycled tank.

86F is very commonly quoted as per article below. I have seen posts on people using lower temps but I haven't seen any science to back it up as a study. I would love to see that happen.

http://www.aquahobby.com/articles/e_ich2.php

I have had ich at 81F or 27C and no success however I didn't do extensive gravel vacs (planted tank). Also I'm aware there are more heat tolerant ich out there or it's possible I had cold spots in the tank.
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