Have I misdiagnosed ich?

John58ford

Hi all, so as allot of you know the things I know I go crazy learning about. But then again... there are some serious deficiencies in other areas of my knowledge often experience based. For those that don't know me yet, I have a bunch of tanks, and tend to write more than required, but I value a thorough answer.

Here's the issue: I brought in some new mixed stock while setting up a standalone tank. The tanks long term is multiple small/nano schooling and once it's cleared QT I'm moving some more matching schoolers (from my other tanks) in, and moving a couple of the new individuals out. The tank is moderately planted and lightly stocked. I usually do a medicate as required qt and run a tank independently for 2-3 month before moving my stock in or new stock out. This tank needed meds, more below.

I had adopted stock from a friend with suspected internal parasites and skin infections. He had lost allot of stock over the past 6 months from an established tank but had been getting ready to move so he didn't invest much time into a cure.
1x very large amano shrimp
1x older fancy guppy
2x larger than average Cardinal tetras
1x clown pleco, about 3 years old
2x Otto cats
The guppy immediately got aggressive and shredded the large tetras up. One unfortunately passed the first night before I saw the damage. Even after bringing more cardinals to split the attention better, he proceeded nipping fins off. The guppy will be finishing meds in a breeder net, and may finish observational QT in an old betta tank or possibly my conditioning tank.

I bumped the numbers up a bit and brought in some lfs stock.
4 additional Cardinal
2 juvenile Otto cats
7 young rummynose.

Totals:
1x amano shrimp
1x clown pleco
5x Cardinal tetra
4x Otto
7x rummy nose

I've finished a round (dose, wait 48, dose, wait 48, flush) of api general cure and erythromycin, the last doses for those were Sunday. Additionally I have been dosing ich-x. While the primary meds were in the tank I wasn't doing a full 30% between doses of ich-x but was siphoning the sand for cysts/detritus (remember the suspected parasites as well) daily with my small siphon, pulling about 3 gallons in the process, but being very thorough. Daily after vacuuming I would dose ich-x at full strength: 5ml per 10 gallons, 15ml total.

I started dosing ich x on day 2 of meds when suspected ich appeared on the new rummynose. This seemed likely as the school is juvenile and the lfs had only had them in for a short while.

Tuesday, was flush day for the API meds so I cut a deep water change and stepped up to max dose on the ich x. It says I can dose every 8 hours after a 30% WC. So they got 2 yesterday and one today, and I have to say I am in shock to still see the numbers increased.

I have not used ich x before, but have had good luck with api super ich cure, before I switch though I have this thought:
This makes me wonder if I am not diagnosing correctly. I have seen my endlers and hybrids in the frat tank go after each other and get some slime coat damage. I have seen other fish take impact damage running from the net and get little fuzzy bubbles that go away, but this doesn't look like that.

Can I get a second opinion? Here are a pair of shots, cropped, and original:
20200520_094610.jpg
(The rummies mouth is open and blurred in the shot, not fuzzy like it kind of appears in the photo)

20200520_094610~2.jpg

20200520_094553.jpg
20200520_094553~2.jpg

A shot of the whole tank:

20200515_103423_HDR.jpg

And the guppy in time out:

20200515_121757.jpg

I know the question will come up:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: trace
pH: 7.6
gH: 3
kH: 3
79 degrees Fahrenheit
29 gallon tank
130 gph gentle river flow from right to left with spray bar. bubble wall adding gentle current from back to front.

Yes, I know the water is soft for an amano.
Yes, this tank is cycled, seeded well from an old tank, the plants, high lighting and water changes explain the lack of nitrate in any real accumulation, but it is there.
Yes, I know I need more cardinals, I have a school waiting to join these guys once the meds clear the tank and I don't see any signs of issue.
After observation, the guppy will be tried in my species tank of silver tips, or rasbora. I believe he has an issue with the color blue?

Thanks a ton for your help, any thoughts on giving them a 3-5 day rest and switching to super ich cure? Did I misdiagnose? Could the meds (maybe even ich x) be causing a different type of slime coat abrasion I haven't seen?

I haven't had any stock pass since the guppy attack, but if any do I will put it under a microscope and see what I can find. Hopefully this doesn't happen.
 

Liv2011

It looks like ich to me.
Try raising your temp to 86 F over the course of a couple days, and keep it there for about two weeks.
 
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Fisheye

Sorry, that's a lot of info to process. Could you take a sec to break it down simply.

The fish with suspected ich are all in the same tank. You have treated that cycled tank with ich meds. Now you want to treat the same tank with new ich meds?
 
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John58ford

Sorry, that's a lot of info to process. Could you take a sec to break it down simply.

The fish with suspected ich are all in the same tank. You have treated that cycled tank with ich meds. Now you want to treat the same tank with new ich meds?
Yup, you've got it pretty well down. All fish with ich are in the same tank, I don't cross contaminate. The appearance of ich was after I started treating for internals and bacterial. I have run minimum dosing of ich-x for 3 days, and now 2 days at max dose. 5 days total.

I am surprised I have watched the ich multiply instead of reduce over the last 3 days. It started out as a couple rummies, was treated immediately/consistently and now is pretty much on everything with scales.. .That made me wonder if it was misdiagnosed, or even a reaction to the meds itself.

With a couple second opinions taking into account that I have just finished other meds, set up, and other factors (the allot to take in part). I am going to Huck this ich-x in the garbage and go back to super ich cure, which has actually worked in the past in my fish room. I will proceed with ich-x second 8 hour dose tonight as scheduled, but if I wake up tomorrow and there are more infection sites I will need to change meds.

It looks like ich to me.
Try raising your temp to 86 F over the course of a couple days, and keep it there for about two weeks.
Thanks for a second opinion, I have been trying to keep the temp @80 due to some species limitations but will keep that idea loaded up.
 
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e_watson09

I agree with the temp treatment. Raise it up to 85-86 for two weeks. Every other day do a good gravel vac. Then put the temp back down to normal. The higher temp is honestly usually less stressful than any medications and works better in a lot of cases
 
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Fisheye

Do ya'll suggest running an airstone concurrently? Do you have to turn off co2 during treatment?
 
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John58ford

Do ya'll suggest running an airstone concurrently? Do you have to turn off co2 during treatment?
In a tank where the species is safe at higher temperature, (say Cardinals, species only) you will experience a lower level oxygenation at a higher temperature. Running co2 is more dangerous than usual at higher temperature, additionally you should use air if it's available.

I would consider ich in a high tech tank a nightmare. Ideally you would pull your fish, treat them separately in a hospital tank, using temperature and or meds, while keeping the filter and air running. Simultaneously you would need to keep life out of your high tech display tank long enough to starve any ich, while conducting numerous very thorough sand/gravel vacs to remove any tomonts (basically ich eggs).

The issue with ich meds is they only kill the ich while it is free swimming (from egg, looking for a fish) and it turns your display tank blue. It can be bad for plants and depending on brand will leave your silicone blue for between a week and 3 months.

The tank I'm treating, while moderately planted and lit well is in fact a low tech tank. I don't fert or inject in my fish room (though have read a ton about it and get the bug occasionally) the fish come first. The plants come last at my place so I am and will continue treatment in tank.
 
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Liv2011

Yup, you've got it pretty well down. All fish with ich are in the same tank, I don't cross contaminate. The appearance of ich was after I started treating for internals and bacterial. I have run minimum dosing of ich-x for 3 days, and now 2 days at max dose. 5 days total.

I am surprised I have watched the ich multiply instead of reduce over the last 3 days. It started out as a couple rummies, was treated immediately/consistently and now is pretty much on everything with scales.. .That made me wonder if it was misdiagnosed, or even a reaction to the meds itself.

With a couple second opinions taking into account that I have just finished other meds, set up, and other factors (the allot to take in part). I am going to Huck this ich-x in the garbage and go back to super ich cure, which has actually worked in the past in my fish room. I will proceed with ich-x second 8 hour dose tonight as scheduled, but if I wake up tomorrow and there are more infection sites I will need to change meds.


Thanks for a second opinion, I have been trying to keep the temp @80 due to some species limitations but will keep that idea loaded up.
Species limitations shouldn’t be an issue. I did this with neon tetras recently, and their preferred temp range is low 70s. All spots were gone within a week. (I did daily water changes as well, and salt dips.)
I can’t speak for or against any ich meds.
 
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StarGirl

Ive always heard you shouldnt do heat and meds both at the same time. One or the other because of the oxygen levels.
 
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John58ford

Ive always heard you shouldnt do heat and meds both at the same time. One or the other because of the oxygen levels.
That's a good one to add here, as I may be going for the heat option. There are videos that mention raising temps and using ich-x if the species is warm water tolerant. The back of the box of super ick cure recommends increasing temperature to 82.

I have used super ich cure before and can vouch it worked but turned my world blue for a month or so. I have a box in the fish med cabinet, but I picked up the ich-x after hearing about it being cross compatible with general cure and em.

Glad to hear you had heard not to bump temp while using some meds, I will look very closely at the meds I select if I need to use the temperature trick


Back of super ick cure (API):

20200520_130720.jpg
 
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John58ford

Thank you all for your input and verifying the suspected infection.

I really thought it was ich as well but am pretty bummed that 5 days into ich treatment I have new sites appearing on the fish. This makes believe that I had free swimming ich survive the ich-x and find the fish.

I will be bumping the temperature up to 82 for the rest of the day, pulling a 50% water change tonight and dosing ich-x one more time. Tomorrow morning I will go deeper than 50% and will be increasing to 85 and switching to the API product for the rest of the duration. The only critter that will be well outside the parameters at 85 degrees is the shrimp (my friend didn't even know he was in there lol), and honestly I don't have a harder water tank set up for him so his life is going to be a bit harder than that if the average shrimp anyhow.


For those reading this for the education/lurkers:
-Ich begins it's life as a tomite, it swims around looking for a fish to dig into for up to 48 hours.
-Once it digs in, it becomes a trophont and eats off of the fish to mature 48-96 hours. It is protected as a trophont and the white you see is a cyst forming in your fish's slime coat.
-Next the cyst/mature trophont fall off of your fish and replicate for 2 days to a month/become a tomont.
-Finally the tomonts open and out swim the tomites.

You're goal with medicine is to hit them while they are tomites.

Your goal with heat (up to 85) is to accelerate the life cycle so you can time the meds easier

The goal with extreme heat (86+) is to stop them from being able to reproduce or (89.5+) to kill them where they stand.

I don't think I can ethically take my current stock over 86, but I will go to 85 tomorrow morning after that last water change as it should finish getting the other meds (GC and EM) out of the tank. After looking deeper into StarGirl15 saying not to crank temps while medicating I was able to find data about prazi, and some other meds reducing free oxygen enough you would not want to bump the temp. Tldr on that is if you run the med trio, and genuinely need to treat ich, wait until you have the GC an EM out of the tank to bump the temp.
 
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John58ford

Hello all, just wanted to drop a quick update. I did misdiagnose the Ich. The tank was devastated, life happens but I like to be transparent and hope it may help someone.

Unfortunately several fish passed on a morning I had work and by the time I got to them I wasn't able to identify any of the issues by microscope. I was however able to scope one a few days later. Here's the final timeline and findings:
Day- Finding
0- introduced original stock from rescue tank
1- woke up to find guppy shredding Cardinal tetras, one Cardinal passed. Rearranged tank.
2- guppy still attacking Cardinal. Cardinal and one Otto showing signs of internal parasites. Tank was incredibly under stock and got was being aggressive so additional Cardinal tetras and a small school of rummy nose were added, 2 additional Otto.
3- started treating for internal parasites and suspected bacterial. Dose general cure and e.m.
4- dose e.m. guppy still attacking blue fish so I put him in a large breeder net with a solid bottom and some rocks for comfort.
5- 25% water change, observe suspected ich on rummynose, dose g.c., e.m., ich x.
6- 25% WC, dose ich x, e.m.
7-50% WC, GC and EM treatment now complete but no carbon to be added due to dosing ich x.
8-25% WC, dose ich-x. Observed suspected ich getting worse and increased to max dose frequency of ich-x, 25% WC dose ich-x
9-posted the op. Raised temp to 82, 25%wc dosed ich-x, 25%wc dosed ich-x.
10-raised temp to 85, 2x WCs and doses of ich-x. Suspected ich is progressing rapidly... Lost one Otto(lfs stock) to dropsy like symptoms, I have seen this from med sensitivity before and let it slide.
11-suspected ich had infected all but the Otto's, pleco and guppy. Flush tank with several gentle water changes and dose with liquid super ich cure (API) while cussing about ich-x.
12- lost Otto (rescue stock) that had appeared to be recovering from bacterial/external injury no apparent ich on any bottom feeders or the guppy.
13- things get disappointing. Came home to 3 lost Cardinals (lfs stock), one lost rummy. I should have stopped here as suspected ich was STILL progressing, but I didn't. Second dose of super ich cure.
14- suspected ich still progressing, lost 2 rummy, again while I was working and couldn't scope them before damage from snails etc.
15- suspected ich had not been responding to heat, or meds tank was gently flushed and powder super ich cure (contains additional nitrofurazone for secondary infections) was dosed. Strict light discipline went into effect to prevent the med from oxidizing. I figured man these Ich sure are due to fall off any time now right?
16- 3 more dead rummynose, again not at s convenient time for microscope.
17- final Cardinals lost throughout the day. finally I am able to get the scope on a fresh fish, take a scrape from the larger Cardinal. it's not ich. It looks like flagelettes but not a dead match for epistylus. Realizing I messed up, allot, I flush the tank, add carbon let it ride while I think.
18-had concluded that it had to be a disease similar to epistylus and indicative of a anti biotic resistant free floating bacterial infection. Released guppy from jail since all I had left was one final very spotted looking rummy, one clown pleco, 2 Otto, and somehow through all of this the shrimp had molted and the snails were laying eggs lol. Designed UV sterilizer housing for light bulb I was given for Christmas (ok so I procrastinated...)
19- glue drying. Last rummy looking worse but not dead.
20-installed uv sterilizer, sterilizer was initially designed to run the whole rack (~120 gallons) at level 1 sterilization. In this use case though, Installed in line with 130gph pump for a single 29 gallon; the math puts the dwell time/distance at 2 times level 2 sterilization. 12 watt rated bulb found to be drawing 10.5 watts once started and stabilized.
21- magic... Remaining rummy nose that looked like jack Frost the ice crystal king looks almost perfectly clear of spots within 30 hours of bringing sterilizer on line.

I don't want to turn this into a UV sterilizer thread, and actually haven't posted the questions I have about UV sterilizers yet as it was given to me by someone who happened to have heard me the one time I mentioned it. I will be opening a thread about that.

*If anyone managed to follow the timeline, here's a question.* Why did this bacterial infection follow the Cardinals and rummynose, while leaving the sensitive Otto's and the pleco alone? I don't believe it was NTD with a secondary bacterial infection but maybe? I never saw a sway back, the fins were solidly attached to the dead fish, and those were earmark symptoms of NTD. Any other ideas?


Anyhow, thank you all again for following this through with me. Sorry to bring bad news. I will be starting a pros/cons on UV sterilizer on a later date to pick the brains of those smarter and more experienced than I, but for now it's running 24/7.
 
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