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Old 11-22-2010, 06:42 AM   #1
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Ich not responding to heat treatment

Hey about 4 weeks ago i noticed one of my clown loaches had a white spot on it caused by ich, i also noticed other fish flashing in the sand, rocks and plants so i did some reading and have increased my tempreture to 30c it seemed to work at first, after 16 days there was no sign of it anywhere all white spots had dissappeared around 8 days previously an non of the fish were flashing. To be honest i forgot that my tempreture was still at 30c and it has been left like that for about 4 weeks now however the ich has started too return, i see fish flashing and the occasional white spot on a fish, it doesnt seem to be responding to the heat treatment, i have a bottle of white spot treatment but i only want to use this as a last last resort. I cannot add salt to the tank as it is a heavily planted with clown loaches and corydoras in. What would people suggest doing?

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Old 11-22-2010, 08:26 AM   #2
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raise temp 80 degrees and lots of water changes. preferably 50% every other day.
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:40 AM   #3
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There are 3 possibilities:
1. You don't have the temp at 30 C (= 86 F). Check the temp with a thermometer, sometimes the heater dials are way off.
2. You don't have ich this time ... the new white spots might be something else.
3. You have selected out a heat resistant strain of ich - There have been reports of certain strains of ich that can withstand temp of over 90F.

First - check your water conditions. Ich usu. happens when fish are stressed, most common being deteriorated water conditions. You need to correct the underlying stress condition or you can't treat the fish sucessfully.
Try increasing the temp to 88 or even 90, if your fish can stand it. <You need really good aeration for high temp.> Make sure it is really up there consistently ... check with a good thermometer a few times a day.
If all else fails, you are left with ich meds to treat the presumed heat resistant ich.

<There is a final method of non-drug method for treating ich ... works in goldies & prob other fish as well ... but involves a lot of work & stress to fish & fish keepers. This is the tub-to tub method. Knowing the ich cycle involves a phase in the substrate, you can break the cycle by removing the trophants. You need 2 hospital tanks/ tubs. The tubs need to be bare bottomed with a minimum of stuff. (Basically heater & basic water circulator - filter/bubbler/PH.) You remove all your fish to the 1st tub. Set up the 2nd tub so it is ready for fish. Next day remove all fish from tub 1 to 2. Any trophants that fell off the fish will be left behind in tub 1. You disinfect tub 1 (bleach) & set it up again. Next day you move the fish back, disinfect tub 2. Repeat daily for a few weeks. The tubs need to be big enough so that the water quality will not deteriorate in one day (it will not be cycled with all the bleaching). And since you are killing all the trophants each day, eventually ich will be eliminated. Meanwhile, all ich will die in your main tank that is without a fish host. You may maintain the biofilter in the main tank with ammonia or fish food ala fishless cycling.>
80 gal FW with 30 gal DIY wet/dry/sump.
9 fancy golds, 1 hillstream loaches, 1 rubber-lip pleco (C. thomasi), 3 SAEs, small school of white cloud minnows, planted.
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Old 11-25-2010, 06:07 PM   #4
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I always recommend Heat & Salt, and I really like Kordon's ICH-Attack.
Originally Posted by ChileRelleno
Read these articles, read the linked articles/documents in their links, the Skeptical Aquarist has some especially good links.
"Knowledge is Power" & "Know thy Enemy", read, read, read, read, read...
SkepticalAquarist article
AquariumAdvice article
Cichlid-Forum article

Lets dispel a common 'Fish Myth' right off the bat...
ICH is NOT always present in the water/fish...
It is not airborne, it doesn't travel by Spores, it will not come in via tap-water during a PWC and it does not lay dormant.
It must be introduced in some way as noted below.

If you follow through on the 'Heat & Salt Treatment' as specified, I practically guarantee the 100% eradication of ICH within your tank...
Unless you re-introduce it thru lack of quarantine/preventative treatment with new fish, unquarantined/untreated transfers of plants, decor, water or by cross contamination thru the use of equipment in multiple tanks.

'Heat & Salt', either of these treatments alone can/will kill the ICH protozoa, together they eradicate ICH very effectively and completely.
This treatment is especially safe with Oscars as they are very tolerant of both heat & salt.
Please be aware that some fish, inverts and plants may not handle heat or salt well and treatment may need to be adjusted to fit their needs.

Raise it slowly, but ASAP, to at least 86'f, preferably 87'-88'f.
One degree (1'f) every twelve (12) hours is the normally recommended interval for increasing heat, but in a emergency like ICH I'd raise as much as one degree (1'f)every six (6) hours.

Hold temp for at least two weeks after the last sign of ICH.

This is extremely important because water holds less O2 at higher temperatures.
Filter outflow splash, spraybar or powerhead flow directed at surface, airstone/bubblewands are good ways to increase surface agitation.

Salt is not required, but it is IMHO very helpful and I recommend the combination of Heat & Salt.
I recommend continuing the 'Salt treatment' for the duration of the 'Heat treatment'.
Use at your discretion.
Be aware that some Cats/Plecos (in particular Corydoras), Tetras, Loaches and etc, can have adverse reactions to salt.
Fishes that navigate by electric fields, like Elephant Noses, Knifefish, certain Eels should never be exposed to salt.
Many plants are intolerant-highly intolerant of salt.
By raising salt levels to 2-3 ppt or 1.002-1.003 specific gravity above what one normally keeps the tank at can destroy the Ich parasites. It has a strong effect on osmosis, and dehydrates the parasite to the point the parasite can no longer function and dies. Again, raising levels slowly but not too slowly is key here; raising salt 1 ppt per day is recommended. Generally 7.6 grams of salt per gallon is equal to 2 ppt or 1.002-1.003 specific gravity . However, it?s the chloride ions which are necessary for the treatment, and different salts have different levels of chloride. It?s best to purchase a hydrometer which measures low levels of salt to ensure proper dosage.
2 weeks at those levels sure eradicate all the parasites. Again, be sure all the fish in your tank can deal with those levels of salt. On that note, most scaleless fish CAN handle these levels of salt. Plecos and Loaches especially do fine despite Internet rumors to the contrary. It has been noted some tetras and Cory's do not do well with salt, however.
Based on everything that I€™ve read to date, I would feel comfortable adding 2-3 tablespoons salt per 5 gallons if I were also using the high temperature treatment outlined above. If I were using salt alone, I would work my way up to 4-5 tablespoons per 5 gallons. We don€™t want to skimp on our treatment if we hope to permanently eliminate this pest. Salt should be added slowly over the course of 24-48 hours or so (always dissolve in a small container of tank water first). Keep a close eye on your fish and perform an immediate water change if they show any additional signs of stress (beyond what the Ich is already causing).
For detailed info about salt check this out, SkepticalAquarist- Salt

Here are the conversions/measurements for dosing salt from a reliable source, see page four (4), table 3, units in parentheses.
Note; you may want to adjust your dosage +/- as desired.

Water Changes/Vacuuming SubstrateWater changes are very helpful in fighting ICH infestations.
Using a gravel vacuum, do a large water change and thorough vacuuming water on a daily basis.
This eliminates a great number of trophozoites and tomites from the water/substrate.

Other ways to combat ICH
A UVS, Ultraviolet sterilizer when properly setup will kill free-floating ICH.
A Diatom filter will capture and kill ICH too.
Micron filtration depending on the size may perform as Diatom does.

I would only recommend the use of standard* medications as a last resort, and used in conjunction with the heat treatment at slightly lower temps, 80'-82'F, these temps will greatly speed up the life-cycle and shorten the time needed to medicate successfully.
IMO this is the last resort, a truly desperate measure for a ICH infestation gone unchecked...
I cannot recommend any of the standard* meds, use at your own risk.
Their effectiveness when used as directed is controversial, despite manufactures claims some still seem to affect a tanks bio-filter and many fish-keepers report undue stress related complications.
Many ICH meds will adversely affect/kill scaleless fishes and inverts.
Many ICH meds will also further deplete oxygen levels, take countermeasures as per above.

*A non standard med, ICH-Attack.
ICH-Attack is a 100% natural remedy that has proven anti-protozoal and anti-fungal properties.
Active ingredient is Naphtoquinone which is not known to be carcinogenic as many standard meds are.
Manufactured by Kordon, available at various retailers.

If you use standard meds the read this...
Do a water change prior to starting treatment and remove the carbon from the filter media; not the entire filter. If the carbon is part of the filter cartridge, make a slit in the side of the filter media and remove the carbon.
Be aware meds will most likely destroy the nitrifying bacterial colonies. Be prepared to measure ammonia and nitrite levels, and reduce the levels if necessary, by water changes or ammonia/nitrite reducers (this is the only time you?ll see me recommend their use!). Water changes likely will affect levels of meds in the tank, and you may need to adjust doses to keep the meds at the levels needed to kill the theronts.
Once treatment is finished, you?ll need to remove the meds from the water. Best way to do this is to run fresh activated carbon in your filter for a couple of days.
** Do note, the directions on the meds are generic; if you remember from the earlier discussion ich has a life cycle with only one stage susceptible to meds. Do not follow the directions when it comes to length of dosing times as some will claim to eradicate Ich in as little as one dose. The first treatment will only kill a percentage of the parasites (remember the Ich life cycle). It?s better to continue treatment till 3 days after seeing the last white spot on your fish; this way you can be fairly sure you have eradicated all the parasites.
AquariumAdvice article
Please realize that ICH like everything else in the world has it's exceptions, however rare.
There has been cases where ICH has been able to complete its full life cycle under the fishes slimecoat/skin, rendering it for all intents untreatable.
There are cases where ICH has survived salt as high as five (5) tablespoon per five (5) gallons. (Not sure as to what this dosage equaled when measured in 'ppm' or 'specific gravity'.)
There is one (That I know of.) reported and documented case where ICH survived temps beyond 87'-88'f.
These are rare exceptions, not the norm.

These are my opinions, this is how I would treat my fish, just my $0.02...
ICH's life cycle doesn't have a set length of time, as a matter of fact, it is dependent on temperature. Fish keepers can use this to his/her distinct advantage.
By increasing the frequency of it's (susceptible) stages, we can treat and eradicate it in a shorter time frame.

We can even halt it's reproduction, and cause deformities to any new Tomites whilst in it's Tomont stage, we can even straight out kill it.

ICH's life cycle is temperature dependent. Higher temperatures within its livable range speed up every stage of the life cycle, while the lower temperatures will slow it down. At 18°C/64°F the cycle takes 10-12 days to complete.

It has been found that Ich does not infect new fish at 29.4°C/85°F (Johnson, 1976), stops reproducing at 30°C/86°F (Dr. Nick St. Erne, DVM, pers. comm.), and dies at 32°C/89.5°F (Meyer, 1984), [1]


Now that we know a little more about Ich, we can develop a safe and effective natural treatment plan to eradicate it. A multi-pronged treatment plan offers the most assurance of complete eradication of Ich and TLC for the fishes in your aquarium. As with any treatment, carefully observe the reaction of your fish to any changes you make in their environment. If an adverse reaction occurs, discontinue and try another approach.

1. Increase temperature to 30°C/86°F. With tropical fish, an increase in temperature to 30°C/86°F is usually very well-tolerated. Since this temperature prevents reproduction of Ich, it can theoretically cure the problem by itself. So the first step would be to increase the temperature slowly, 1°C/2°F per hour until the correct temperature is reached. This temperature should be maintained for 10 days, and then slowly returned to normal. Some fish can tolerate higher temperatures. If your fish are more heat tolerant, try increasing the temperature to 32°C/89.5°F for the first 3-4 days to kill the Ich. Then reduce temperature slowly to 30°C/86°F, and hold it there for an additional 6-7 days, or until a total of 10 days have passed. Gauge the heat tolerance of your fish by observing their reaction.
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Old 11-26-2010, 08:37 PM   #5
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Heat alone is the best method for getting rid of ich in mild outbreaks, however not the most effective on severe outbreaks. Raising the temperature to 86 and performing frequent, partial water changes can help the situation greatly but may not always be 100% effective. This method will help to control the Ich but is not the best primary course of action in your situation. Leaving the tank at such a high temp for two weeks unnessarly stresses the fish far beyond what is required. The addition of aquarium salt dosed at 1 teaspoonful per 5 gallons will eradacate the parasite completly in 72 hours. If done correctly.

With the water temp at 86F
First do a 50% water change and vacume the gravel this will reduce the number of parasites in the tank. Next dose with the pre-disolved salt as discribed above.

The second day repeat, the third day repeat, Ich should now be gone you could leave the temp at 86 for an extra day. On day four do another water change without the addition of the salt. Then return the temperature to your normal setting.

Salt disrupts the life cycle of the parasite by changing the specific gravity of the water and osmotic pressure (the differance between the pressure inside the cell and the water) causes the parasite to expolde. I only added this so you not only know that salt works you'll know and understand how it works.

Please use only aquarium salt not table salt which contains anti-caking agents (yellow prussiate of soda) which is toxic to aquarium fish.
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Old 11-26-2010, 08:57 PM   #6
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The OP state that his is a heavily planted tank. Salt at levels needed to treat ich will wipe out the plants.

One option, however, is to treat with salt in a hospital tank. To kill the parasites, you need salt at 0.3% level. 1 teaspoon per 5 gal is not enough IMO. <If you are seeing effects, it is likely from the 86F in the regime rather than the salt.> I also disagree with the 72 hr treatment. Ich is only susceptible to salt in the theront phase, so you need to maintain salt at 0.3% at least for 2 life cycle. <That would be close to 1 week at high temp (high 80's), and 2-3 weeks at lower temp (like 70's). I routinely treat for 4 weeks for my goldies.>

Note that you do have some salt sensitive species. It is prudent to use salt at lower levels (maybe up to 0.2%) and raise the level much slower (perhaps 0.05% per day) while watching the fish closely for bad side effects.
80 gal FW with 30 gal DIY wet/dry/sump.
9 fancy golds, 1 hillstream loaches, 1 rubber-lip pleco (C. thomasi), 3 SAEs, small school of white cloud minnows, planted.
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Old 11-27-2010, 10:07 AM   #7
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Ich for me too .

Got 4 new rummies and now 1 week later the 4 new rummies and 4 exisiting ones are dead and the two balloon mollies are infected. The catfish and black skirts seem unaffected.

Treating with salt and 30C heat since Wenesday but I think the rummies were too far gone. Just hope I can keep the rest alive!
135 litre (35 US gallons) 6 Black Widow Tetra; 3 Mollies; 3 Bronze Cory; 1 Pygmy Cory; 6 Gold Barbs
27 litre (7 US gallons) 6 Guppies.
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Old 11-27-2010, 10:22 AM   #8
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Just remember that if you use meds to treat the ich on your loaches that you will need to do it at half strength. Loaches don't handle the meds well.

As one of the scaleless members of the Cobitidae family (along with others of the Botia genus), clown loaches are often the first fish in the tank to show signs of ich when the parasite is present. If treatment becomes necessary, take care in choosing medications because loaches and other scaleless fish absorb chemicals through the skin more readily than their scaled counterparts. Read labels on any medication thoroughly and NEVER use Clout� as it can be lethal to scaleless fish.

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