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Old 01-11-2005, 07:41 PM   #1
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Ich treatment (heat and salt) with my tank occupants

3 Otocinclus
3 Cardinal Tetras
5 Lemon Tetras
Ghost shrimp
Some plants (anacharis, hornwort, water sprite)

See a few little dots of ich, so I want to get it taken care of before I restock my tank (didn't find a dead fish for a few days and a lot of other fishes paid the price). I'm going to work the temp to about 88 def if I can.

Can my tank handle any salt, or do the otos and tetras preclude that? Would even some salt be beneficial, even if it was a low amount based on my fish?
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Old 01-11-2005, 08:14 PM   #2
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Try the heat first. If you're catching this on the onset you should be OK with just the heat for 3 weeks.
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Old 01-11-2005, 08:44 PM   #3
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It seems like the onset. No more I haven't seen any more than one salt grain on any fish and most don't have any.
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Old 01-13-2005, 01:27 PM   #4
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Heat

Heat (at those temps) is not going to kill ich. Heat has got to exceed 90F for 3 hours every 3 days. I'm not sure your fish will tolerate the swings. Even at those temps - "death" of ich is iffy.

A little article on ich - to help understand what works best:

http://www.caloriesperhour.com/fish/notes_ich.html#what
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Old 01-13-2005, 01:50 PM   #5
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Heat (at those temps) is not going to kill ich. Heat has got to exceed 90F for 3 hours every 3 days.
That's the first time I have ever heard that. I have sucessfully treated ich with temps of 86 and a touch of salt.
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Old 01-13-2005, 01:57 PM   #6
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That's an excellent article Frisckey. Thanks for providing the link.

However, a quote from the article states that a temperature of 88F for a day or two is sufficient to kill the ich. Read through after it lists all the meds.
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Old 01-13-2005, 02:28 PM   #7
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I know...funny I'd post a contradition to what I said, eh? I forgot that was in there...I like the article because its easy reading in layman's terms, ya know?

I got my information from a book on fish health, from the "pros", if you will. So I'd trust that over someone that doesn't quote their references. You can surely try it...for some it has worked...or at least they think it has, only to find ich "suddenly" appears much later. This is when it lays latent.

And, I've been into a lot of research since I began this hobby about 4 or 5 years ago and discovered several references to ich acclimating to saltier conditions, just as some fish might acclimate. The best "salt" treatment for ich is a sudden, large scale change in salinity (but that would also kill fish). There is a SW strain of ich, too.

The absolute BEST way of clearing ich from a tank (not from fish, tho) is leaving the tank empty for 7 days, running a minimum temp of 80F. Without a host, the parasite dies.

I went 4 years in this hobby never having had ich, always using QT, etc. One day, one of my loaches started gasping for air. In a 125 gallon 6' tank, I surely could NOT treat the entire tank for an illness I could not identify. I immediately removed the fish to my 10 gallon QT tank, and it turns out (2.5 months after having received him) this fish was hosting an ich infection in the gills. The spots later turned up on the fins after being placed BACK in QT. Needless to say I did NOT treat my main tank for ich. I did 150% water change over the next 3 weeks (series of 3 50% water changes w/ gravel vac to remove cysts)). Since fish were happy, healthy - I'm assuming they were able to ward off any invaders that may have given swarmed the tank. I never, ever add salt to my tanks, not even to treat disease. Well, 'cept when I kept a brackish mollie tank.

Just some personal experiences to share!
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Old 01-13-2005, 02:46 PM   #8
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That's great, and I'm glad you shared. Another odd thing is that everyone has different experiences. Some infestations can be denser than others.

The reason I suggested 3 weeks of heat to TeutonJon is because of all the ich stages. At 3 weeks he'll kill every little ich bugger in his tank for sure. The salt does help and I use it frequently in my discus tanks if I even suspect something parasitic. However, different species have different tolerances to salt.

That article makes an point BTW. The secondary infections associated with ich are more deadly than the ich itself. It is posible to cure the ich in a fish only to have it die from something else.
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Old 01-13-2005, 03:00 PM   #9
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Wow, that is an awesome article on Ich. I have tons more info on Ich then before. Thanks for posting that link.
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Old 01-13-2005, 04:50 PM   #10
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Blasted ich!
I don't mean to hijack this thread but it is an ich related question...As I'm treating with salt / temp, I'm noticing slight fraying of some of my neon tetra's scales. Should I add a bit of melafix to prevent secondary infections, or will it screw up the salt treatment?
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Old 01-13-2005, 05:30 PM   #11
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Melafix/Salt

Melafix will not interfere with the salt treatment you are using now, to the best of my knowledge. Melafix is often coupled with salt in the treatment of many minor or secondary infections.

You said fraying of the scales? Or fins?

Fraying of scales...meaning, they are sticking out a little? If so, I would stop salt treatments immediately. Tetra are salt intolerant, generally speaking - and treating with salt, should dropsy happen to be ocurring would be deadly. There is a delicate balance of salts in/out of a fish's body (see: osmosis in fish)...too much salt in the tank will exacerbate dropsy symptoms of bloat. Epsoms salts would be used in place of normal aquarium, rock or marine salts (hopefully your not using marine salt).
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Old 01-13-2005, 06:03 PM   #12
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Oh blast
I meant fraying of the fins. I'm using aquarium salts purchased at the lfs. I'm glad to hear that melafix is ok - I think the fish are feeling out of sorts with the high temp, so I'm not surprised that they might be getting a bit of a secondary thing. I am determined to get rid of the ich though...
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Old 01-15-2005, 03:22 PM   #13
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yeah, I've always read that salt is bad with tetras.

Well, 88deg (or so and holding). It's not super steady, but I'm going my best to keep it there. Everyone seems ot be doing fine. There was a little more ich visible as the temp started to go up (as expected). Almost all of the "active" grains are gone now (only see one remaining).

which brings up another question.......the recommended regime I've seen is that you keep it there for 3 weeks or so. Now is it the 3 weeks that seems to work, or just keeping it going for one week after you notice no more active grains (in order to clear any there were in the gills)?
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Old 01-15-2005, 04:31 PM   #14
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Now is it the 3 weeks that seems to work, or just keeping it going for one week after you notice no more active grains (in order to clear any there were in the gills)?
Keep the heat and salt treatment up for 2 weeks past the time you see the last ich grain.

The amount of salt for treating ich is really miniscule. Most fish will not feel any affects of the salt. It is just enough to change the osmotic concentration to the point where the ich parasite is affected.
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Old 01-15-2005, 07:12 PM   #15
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yeah, but if you read my original post, have no-salt fish (tetras and otos), otherwise I'd be putting salt in. I've got a container sitting below my tank just teasing me.
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Old 01-16-2005, 10:32 AM   #16
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If it's any help, I've got tetras and I've been salting (seems like forever...stupid ich) and so far they've been ok with it. BrianNY (I think) had made the point to me that somtimes you have to consider the big picture ie. getting rid of the ich; if your fish are already compromised they may not survive the treatment but you have to try what you can.

Brian, sorry if I'm putting words in your mouth. At least they're not swear words.
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Old 01-16-2005, 11:05 AM   #17
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When I had an Ich problem, I treated as recommended with Salt and heat (86d) for three weeks. Only two of my tetras went on to "fishy heaven" and that was long after the treatment had ceased (secondary infection, stress...hard to tell). The point being, I started with 6 tetras and still have 4. That was two months ago.
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Old 01-16-2005, 12:12 PM   #18
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I'm not worried about you putting words in my mouth sciencegirl.......hey, it's better than the foot I put in mouth every so often. *LOL*

IMO the aquarist has to be realistic about treating fish. Every fish cannot be saved. All we can do is hope we've diagnosed correctly, caught the culprit in enough time, and do our best.
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Old 01-17-2005, 11:20 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by TeutonJon78
yeah, but if you read my original post, have no-salt fish (tetras and otos), otherwise I'd be putting salt in. I've got a container sitting below my tank just teasing me.
I just have to comment that in short term doses...most any fish will tolerate low levels of salt. Some species are more receptive than others. Sudden large or sustained changes in salinity (usually only altered with marine salts) are what's really debateable.

Two big rules: Don't dump salt directly in tank (it can burn fish)
Don't use marine salt for your partiular fish.

Gradual increases in salt levels are easiest for fish to handle. So maybe daily increases until you reach teh recommended 1tbsp per 5gallons.

You'll know rather quickly if your fish cannot tolerate salt levels. And, more often than not - for short term, they will.
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Old 01-18-2005, 07:15 AM   #20
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I have found using a daily treatment to be more effective than a one time treatment. Also keeping the tank darker and not turning on the lights is another helpful thing to do. Adding salt for two days and making small daily water changes before adding meds seemed to help alittle more. Raising the Temp to 85F should be enough to speed up the life cycle and with added salt/meds take care of the problem fairly quickly. The last time I had Ich was when I added 1 new fish to my tank without using a QT tank needless to say I have learned my lesson. I hadnt had Ich in over 3 or more years prior to that case and have not seen it again since I cured it.
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