Ok Let me say hello to all and this is my first time posting to the forums, although I've been reading and following up with a lot for the last 2 months now. Apologies in advance for the long post, but I'm feeling a bit down about this ich treatment and I need some guidance and reassurance to see this through. Thanks so much.
I'm fairly new to fish keeping but I've done an extensive amount of research to aid in my novice.
Tank Stats: 55 gal
- fake plants, Emperor400 BioWheel, 1 sponge filter, bubble wall and air stone, all natural tiny gravel bed, lots of hiding places,
1 300w fluval heater
ammonia: 0, nitrite: 0, nitrate: 5-10ppm, p.h 7.4, temp: 86 (for ich treatment, usually resides at 78-80)
Inhabitants: 2 dwarf gourami, 1 blue gourami, 1 gold gourami, 4 baby clown loaches (less than 1"), 1 common pleco (very small 1.5" maybe), 1 young black ghost knife (under 3"), 2 cory cats
(we plan to upgrade to 100+ gallons for the loaches and the pleco and ghost in due time)
Basically the tank was cycled with preseeded material and ammonie before adding the first batch of fish. It ran smoothly for a month with the gouramis, cories, and the pleco. Husband brought the clowns and ghost knife to surprise me and he didn't even see the loaches covered from head to toe in ich spots.... he put them in the community tank and I came home to find this disaster...
I figured it was too late to return the fish now that ich was so graciously dumped in my tank *sigh* so I decided with the scaleless fish in there that heat and salt was the way to go. My heater maxed out only brought the tank to 84 and I slowly added 1 TBSPN of salt per 5 gallons over the next 48 hours (predissolved and dribbled near the filter intake). I lost the smallest, weakest, most heavily infested loach the following day. Over the course of the week the remaining 4 loaches had maybe 10-20 spots each and they exploded with even more spots but then during week two they all slowly fell off. I gravel vacced almost daily to help remove any parasites and replaced salted water accordingly. Week 3 was looking so promising, 2 of the 4 loaches were cleared for days while the last 2 had 1-2 spots. NO other inhabitants ever showed symptoms of ich and the cory cats and pleco seemed to be tolerating the salt. Everyone was eating well, swimming and the loaches went from pale white thin sickly to bright orange with dark black stripes and had grown quite a bit. We are currently in week 4 of treatment and I've added a second smaller heater to bring the temp from 84 to 86 because these last few spots wont budge! And it appears that the 2 that cleared now have 1 spot each, and the 2 that had a few are completely CLEAN... what is going on here? I'm not mixing my clowns up lol because they each vary in size.. the largest baby is almost double the size of the smallest with 2 similar sized mediums but one has a solid black face (beautiful) so I can easily distinguish them.
Is it ok to have this salt concentration and heat for so long? I thought the heat/salt treatment should top out at 3 weeks and I can see my ghost knife is finally succumbing to the salt.. he was perfectly fine for 3 weeks but now his fins are thining out.. he is still eating well and growing but this looks like the onset of fin rot and the only thing I can attribute this stressor to is the salt. He has plenty of hiding places and no one bullies him. In fact, all of the fish get along surprising well.
My main concerns: Is the treatment is taking too long to rid the last 3 spots on my clown loaches or should I remain patient with it and keep going? Is it time to switch to meds? I don't want to kill my biofilter. Our little ghost is a toughy and has been eating from my hands since the day we brough him home (as do all the fish actually..... lol). The cories have also slowed down a bit. Everyone is eating, like I said, but I stay at home and tediously care for the fish and watch them A LOT. I know their habits already and I notice even the slightest changes in behaviour. I know the ghost is wearing thin of the salt as are the cories.
I recently added another smaller heater to get the tank to 86 and it's stabilized there since yesterday in a desperate effort to kill these last stubborn spots...
I'm disheartened by this mess so ANY and ALL advice would be much appreciated. TY for reading.