Argh ICH!!!

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Aquarium Advice Activist
May 4, 2004
Ok SO my tank is a very well established tank. Nothing has changed Until I decided to add a new puffer! Stupid stupid stupid I should ahve qt but I am dealing with some sick seahorses and some sick turtles no qt tanks left. So I figured got the sterlizer going use some vitamins no problem.

Ok yes problem. THe puffer had ich. And as soon as I noticed that I noticed the fact that my sterilzer broke! Go figure. SO now all my fish have ich! This stinks!

SO I have been treating with vitmins which I was succesful with in the past vitachem, vit-c and garlic. Not this time.

The puffer has gotten VERY bad! The other fish have it but are doing ok, scratching but not as bad as this poor puffer. So I decided to treat with cupramine. (which now I am on a mission to find a new test kit b/c of course mine does not seem to be working). Ok so I did this yesterday. And today I did a fw dip on the puffer. But I need to know if there is anything else I can do for him. HIs eyes are completely swellen and white and he is just not doing well at all! And I feel terrible about this.
Can I do a hypo treatment on the tank in addition to the cupramine. For some reason I thought I couldn't hypo the tank while treating with copper? B/c if so I can. SO now I have the sterilzer off b/c that is what the instructions say. Tomorrow I am going to call around to get a new test kit and I am continuaing the vitamins. If the puffer lives I will probably do another fw dip on Monday.

Any other suggestions ideas opinions anything to help this poor puffer. I think the other guys will be ok as long as I continue treatment.

So just to give you info... obviously fish only tank (with a puffer!), 90g with a 30g sump, sterlizer and skimmer are off right now. Water parameters are all within normal limits.

You actually have a two fold problem. No test kit to accurately guage the level of Cupramine and a substrate that is most likely lowering the value as time passes. It makes it rather difficult to maintain anykind of copper properly with a CaCO3 sustrate or any other similar material.

Copper treatments and hypo should never be combined, the chance of the pH lowering to a point the chelated or in this case amine based copper will reduce to it's ionic form and actually poison the tank. Considering your situation, I would nix the copper (several water changes/carbon) and switch over to hyposalinity only. I am assuming there's no rock? Also discontinue the FW dips. With a proper treatment in place it is unneccessary and you risk more harm than good. It doesn't actually eliminate the problem, just gives some temporary relief.

The lowered salinity will also help the fish's immune response work more towards self healing than osmotic balance. The puffers eyes are most likely the result of the parasite activities. If that continues, you may need to add an antibiotic but do not rush into. Give the hypo a few days to take effect and be sure the fish are fed a quality diet high in HUFA additives and if you can find it, Beta Glucan.

Try to keep plenty of SW at hand for water changes, keeping the water quality high is paramount. Also be sure you use buffered RO water when dropping the salinity to 14 ppt. 20% water changes with the RO every 3-4 hours should do just fine. Check pH and salinity 2x daily minimum. Make sure alk stays in the higher range.

Ok thank you so much for the tips. I was so mad when my test kit wouldn't work. I even tried the test stuff they give you and it didn't work either. ANd nobody around has the seachem test kit. You know I kind of thought I shouldn't have done it but I don't know what I was thinking.

I will do the hypo. I don't have RO water access (have the system but hubby has never set it up for me). BUt I do treat my water with aquaplus and I have the marine buffer so I can buffer it and stuff. So basically lower the sal over a few hours ok no problem I can do that tomorrow.

I am not familiar with this HUFA???? What would htat classify has. Should I continue the vits I know they help with the immune system and slime coat and all that and it has worked for me when I first got my tank up and running I had this problem.

There is rock but it is not live rock, the sand was live sand though but no biggy I have a good amount of filtration that it will be ok if I killed it.

Finally will the puffers eyes recover???? THey look really bad!

Thanks again! We just worked out a way to have a qt sw setup for new fish (I am breaking down a setup and I am going to use that for qt!!! if I want to save the live sand is that possible???)


Oh yeah how long will it take to get rid of the copper that I put in yesterday????
Tap water is fine as long as it's treated. HUFA = highly unsaturated fatty acid and is a must for fish nutrition and even moreso when they are ill. Selcon or Zoecon (also a vitamin additive) are the more common ones. You can continue to use what you have now as well. What brand is it?

As for the live sand, it may be a loss already. I wouldn't bother at this point becuase removing would be too much for the fish at this point. I would however suggest you remove the rock to some pails/bin with a heater, powerhhead and a polyfilter pad. You will most likely be able to use that once all is said and done. Just remember, it must remain out of the tank for at least 6 weeks.

A few large water changes (25%+ each) along with a few swaps of carbon should remove most of the copper from the tank by tomorrow. At least enough to start the hypo enyway. Just be sure you run the carbon for about 6-12 hours and then change for fresh. ½ cup/50 gal of water volume.

Why do I need to take the rock out it is not live rock.

If you've had the rock for any length of time, there a good chance it is live rock. The live sand (if bug/worm laden) would have colonized it by now. The copper will have killed some but you might still be able to salvage it. The hypo will surely kill the rest if not.

OK but do I have to. Would it be a big deal if I killed it??? THat would just be alot of work for me right now.

You don't have to but I would really recommend it. If the rock is fauna ladden, the die off will make maintaining water quality quite difficult. Your choice either way.

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