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Old 06-06-2013, 11:47 PM   #1
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Calling on the experts: Ich Alert! Please help me help my fish!!

Hi, everyone, I'm hoping the experts out there will kindly give me some sage advice to help me help my fish

I'm still pretty new to fishkeeping, and I'm battling The Mighty Demon Ich for the second (or likely still the first) time.

Here's my setup:
15g column
penguin 150 with biowheel, added ceramic media and second filter cartridge
air pump rated for 15-20g with airstone
fluval heater (100 watts set at 80-82 degrees)
gravel/small rock substrate
plastic trees and plastic bamboo which floats on top
4 harlequin rasboras
3 albino cories
(had a male crowntail betta in there, moved him to his own 5g tank)

So we had ich and it appeared to be gone, I stopped treatment and now it's back. Sooo, I've resumed treatment, Seachem Metronidazole and the green malachite ich stuff, which I now realize I stopped too soon and, I'm gradually raising the water temperature. I use Tetra EasyBalance once a week to add some aquarium salt to help with healing... Other additives are Stability every other day to get the bacteria up to speed, and Prime when doing pwc's... I'm also using AmmoLock to protect the fish from ammonia til I get through the mini-cycle I'm in from the pwc's?? (ammonia at .5ppm today, nitrites and nitrates at 0). I feel like I'm bombarding my fish with chemicals, but I don't know how else to to deal with the various problems I'm having... [sigh]

Questions:
1. How high should I raise the water temperature? I've heard 82 degrees as well as 86 degrees...
2. How can I treat the ich and not risk another mini-cycle from water changes?
3. My cories occasionally go streaking up to the top, and then turn right around and barrel back down to the tank floor. They seem to be active and healthy otherwise. Does this mean anything, or is it just cories having a good time?
4. One of my rasboras is a bit smaller than the others, and doesn't seem to be as healthy overall. Is he being picked on?
4. Any other advice? Things started out well, but now I'm frustrated and feel like I can't keep a stable environment in my tank for more than a few days at a time I'm starting to dread coming home because there are so many problems for my little guys

I so want to do the right thing for my fish and keep them in a healthy environment. I read and research and try to find out all I can, but it seems I still have a lot to learn...

Thank you very much for your help!

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Old 06-07-2013, 12:43 AM   #2
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same here
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Old 06-07-2013, 02:54 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by annabel1066 View Post

Questions:
1. How high should I raise the water temperature? I've heard 82 degrees as well as 86 degrees...
2. How can I treat the ich and not risk another mini-cycle from water changes?
3. My cories occasionally go streaking up to the top, and then turn right around and barrel back down to the tank floor. They seem to be active and healthy otherwise. Does this mean anything, or is it just cories having a good time?
4. One of my rasboras is a bit smaller than the others, and doesn't seem to be as healthy overall. Is he being picked on?
4. Any other advice? Things started out well, but now I'm frustrated and feel like I can't keep a stable environment in my tank for more than a few days at a time I'm starting to dread coming home because there are so many problems for my little guys

1) I went to 85 degrees when my tank had Ich. I don't think you need to be exact. The higher the temperature the more it impedes the ich's life cycle. Keep the temp up another 10 days after the last sign of Ich.

2) water changes shouldn't be causing mini cycles. How long has you tank been running and how did you cycle it? You should try and figure out what is actually causing the bad water readings and correct it.

3) my understanding is that is normal behavior for Corys.

4) As long as its eating, doesn't seem to have any physical injuries and is behaving normally then I wouldn't worry.

4) try reducing the amount of chemicals you use. Prime to condition the water during PWCs is fine, but the rest of it seems excessive. Clean water with good parameters should be all your fish need.
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:17 AM   #4
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Holy crap with the Chems lol if you have a good filter generating BB then there's no reason for any type of "treatment" to fix water quality. Prime is good, I used Rid Ich + when my loaches brought Ich to my tank and it worked great. No problems since.
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Old 06-07-2013, 04:36 AM   #5
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actually when my tank is infested with ich, I just add salt, raise temperature and daily water changes, in just 1 week ich was completely gone.. I do not use any chemical treatments cause I cant afford to buy one, hehe..
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Old 06-07-2013, 04:41 AM   #6
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There are strains of ich that are not easily affected by 88degrees F... If you are sure you have ich, then it is everywhere in your tank and filter and fish...

Is it possible to get a ten gal to treat your fish there, while you do some major cleaning of your main tank, substrate, filter, etc... with bleach?

Ich can go into a dormant state where it has been known to survive a year or so...

Meds can get expensive. Sorry to hear you have that problem. It is always good to have a spare ten gal tank to place newly bought fish before introducing them to the main tank.
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:27 AM   #7
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yes corys act like that. how long does it take the heat thing to work?
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:53 AM   #8
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I used raising the heat & nothing else the last time I got ich it worked great, within a couple days I didn't see it anymore & it hasn't been back since. I didn't want to add a bunch of stuff to shock the fish even more.
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Old 06-07-2013, 06:48 PM   #9
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Well, my thanks to everyone for their advice. I'm going to try daily water changes, and see what happens. My fish are becoming lethargic, so I'm feeling less than optimistic...
I have to say that I may just pack it in if these fish don't make it. In spite of putting in hours and hours of reading and really trying to do this right and be kind to the fish, I have reached a low point and my fish just keep dying. It's not from lack of effort, just maybe misguided effort... it's so hard to know what to do and what is the priority of the moment when you're a newbie.
For example:
Yes, I need to keep the water at optimum levels, but easier said than done. If I have ich, I have to take one of the filter cartridges out because it has carbon in it which will filter out the medicine, and removing the filter cartridge will decrease the level of beneficial bacteria. If my BB level drops, can the remaining bacteria handle the fish I have? I do have a filter that will hold 2 cartridges, so I figured out that I can keep one with carbon and one without, so if I have to treat for ich again, I won't have to start over on the bacteria colony. And after the last, not this, round of ich, I also added a small bag of ceramic media and some foam to provide more substrate for my bacterial friends. So why am I getting elevated ammonia levels? I don't think it's overfeeding. I'm not even sure I'm feeding them enough (small portion once a day). The tank setup is almost two months old, and I did an fish-in cycle with Tetra StartUp, I think it is. I used the stuff that replaced Marineland Bio-... The toxin levels were fine when I started adding fish. I added one or two at a time, bought them their kind of food, etc. etc.

I have given it the proverbial college try. I haven't considered any of my fish disposable, and I have worked diligently to save every one, even putting one of the small rasboras in a breeding cage at feeding time so that I could be sure he was getting enough food.

[discouraged]
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Old 06-07-2013, 08:51 PM   #10
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To be clear fish can develop an ich resistance, but ich can not survive without fish in the tank. So it does not just lurk indefinitely in a tank or lurk indefinitely in the substrate, but it can lurk in a fish that has a developed some immunity. Tearing apart and bleaching is not necessary, in my opinion. I recommend the following article.

http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/ichthyophthirius

P.S. I'm sorry for your losses. It is alway hard.
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:09 PM   #11
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Don't get discouraged I bet everyone here has had at least one outbreak of ich! That's where you gotta push through, figure out what works & keep getting more experienced I got frustrated earlier because I couldn't get my pump going right. I thought if I can't even get a pump working right ( I always have trouble with that lol) then I need to get rid of my tanks. But I took it apart & tried again & it worked. Im sorry for your fish loss, about 6 months ago I lost every fish in my tank except 3 to ich & I've bought two fish since then but decided to slow down & do a lot of research before I start setting up more tanks. It has done a lot of good!
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:40 PM   #12
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Appreciate the reference and kind words, Coryluv. I've actually re-resolved to conquer the dastardly ich. My cories are becoming more active as we speak. I've done a 50% water change and put the carbon filter back in to give the fish a break from the chemicals. I'm raising the temperature to around 83 or 84, and tomorrow I'm going to get more ich medication, the kind recommended in the linked article. I'm going to take the carbon filter back out and treat continuously with frequent (daily?) water changes and gravel vacuuming for 12-16 days, until I see no sign of ich.
Question: Is 83 or 84 too high for cories?
Again, thanks so much for your help!
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:47 PM   #13
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Hi, Chas10, I'm going to do just that. I've been reading about ich (see link from Coryluv, very informative), and I'm going to follow the advice I found there and treat with a combination of formalin and malachite green, keeping the gravel extra clean, the temp up and the light low, and we'll go from there.
Thanks for the words of encouragement I'm feeling better about things in general, mostly because my cories and rasboras are more active after this evening's pwc ;o)
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Old 06-07-2013, 11:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by annabel1066 View Post
Hi, Chas10, I'm going to do just that. I've been reading about ich (see link from Coryluv, very informative), and I'm going to follow the advice I found there and treat with a combination of formalin and malachite green, keeping the gravel extra clean, the temp up and the light low, and we'll go from there.
Thanks for the words of encouragement I'm feeling better about things in general, mostly because my cories and rasboras are more active after this evening's pwc ;o)
I'm glad theyre feeling better!
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Old 06-07-2013, 11:03 PM   #15
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I'm glad theyre feeling better!
And I'm glad you are too
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Old 06-08-2013, 07:54 PM   #16
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Hi, everybody, just wanted to report that the tide is turning in The Battle of the Ich, and my fish are starting to show signs of healing Everybody is moving around more, and the spots have stopped increasing, so we are making headway.
Treatment is Rid Ich + , heat and a little salt, low light most of the day and pwc's. The ammonia levels are better at .20ppm (still working to get it down to 0ppm with pwc's), and I'm a much happier fishkeeper
My sincere thanks for your responses and encouragement.
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Old 06-08-2013, 07:56 PM   #17
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And I'm glad you are too
Chas10, your kind words got me through a bad day, and they were much appreciated. Persistence and perseverance are definitely the key...

Karen
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Old 06-08-2013, 10:08 PM   #18
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I'm so glad I could help!
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