I read this....
Ones a medical method the other a tree hugger.
Treatment Option 1 - Copper:
Copper is a highly effective medication against Cryptocaryon irritans when dosed and maintained in the proper concentration. The references I found varied in their recommended dosage:
Andrews et al, 1988: 0.15-0.30 mg
Bassleer, 1996: 0.25-0.30 mg
Gratzek et al, 1992: 0.115-0.18 mg
Noga, 2000: 0.15-0.20 mg
Untergasser, 1989: 0.15-0.20 mg
*(recommends to be used with Methylene Blue)
I am going to abbreviate my advice and simply suggest to: "Always follow the directions of the manufacturer of whichever brand of copper medication you employ, and always use a test kit to verify the dosages." Copper has a narrow range of effectiveness and levels must be monitored at least daily.
Copper has several disadvantages in treating Ich. First, at too low a dosage, it is ineffective. Secondly, at too high a dosage, it could kill all your fish. Daily, or better yet twice daily, testing is required to maintain an appropriate and consistent level of copper. Even when within the appropriate ranges, some fish cannot tolerate copper. Some of the fish more sensitive to copper are lionfish, pufferfish, mandarins, blennies, and any other scaleless fish. Copper is also a known immunosuppressive, making fish more susceptible to secondary infections. Invertebrates are extremely sensitive to copper and cannot be housed in a tank undergoing this treatment. Lastly, copper cannot be used in the presence of any calcareous media. Live rock, sand, crushed coral, and dead coral skeletons will all adsorb copper, rendering it useless a treatment.
Copper specifically targets the infectious, free-swimming theront stage of this disease, as being buried deep in the skin of the host protects the trophonts; the cyst walls of the tomonts are similarly impervious (Colorni & Burgess, 1997). Knowing this and the life cycle of Cryptocaryon irritans, monitoring and dosing as needed in the evening right before the lights go out is going to be the most effective method. This should ensure optimal treatment concentrations at the most beneficial time.
Copper is probably the most popular method of treating Cryptocaryon irritans, but is not my first choice. It is far too labor intensive for me to recommend to the general public, has a large risk of overdose, lowers the fish's resistance to other diseases, and can cause serious damage to the kidney, liver, and beneficial intestinal flora of the fish being treated. Damage to intestinal flora is what many hobbyists point to as a possible contributing cause for Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE
), although there is currently no definitive cause of HLLE
Treatment Option 2 - Formalin:
Formalin can be administered one of two ways; either in short dips with saltwater or used continually in a hospital tank. The dosage for the continuous use is 1 ml of the 37% stock solution for every 25 gallons of quarantine tank water (Bassleer, 1996). I prefer the formalin dip to continuous use because formalin is a fairly toxic compound. Also, with no commercially available test kits to monitor the concentration, it would be difficult to dose an entire tank and account for evaporation, absorption, etc.
To prepare the dip, I take 5 gallons of tank water and add to it 3.75 ml of 37% formalin. I also aerate the water vigorously to ensure there is maximum dissolved oxygen. The dip should last 30 to 60 minutes. As when using any medication, it is best to monitor the fish's reaction and be prepared to act if it appears in distress. When the dip is complete, net the fish, place it back into the hospital tank, and discard the dip water. This protocol should be repeated every other day for two weeks.
I would like to remind readers of a few precautions regarding the use of formalin. First, it is a carcinogen. Formalin is an aqueous solution of carcinogenic formaldehyde gas, so gloves should be worn and the area should be well ventilated when using it. Secondly, formalin should not be used if fish have open sores, wounds, or lesions. It is likely to cause tissue damage to these open wounds. And lastly, formalin can rob the water of dissolved oxygen. That is why proper aeration is so crucial. For that reason, do not use formalin if the water temperature is 82*F or higher (Noga, 2000 and Michael, 2002).