How long does it take for a fish to recover from Ich?

tatty_kassy
Member
Hello Folks!
It is sort of a two sided question.. 1) Is it possible for only one fish in the tank to get ich?
2) How long does it take for a fish to recover from it? So far it has been about 6 or 7 days of treatment and she is looking a lot better, she swims properly now instead of always having her tail to the ground, but she still likes to take rests on the bottom of the tank every so often. She eats well, and holds her own against fish if they get too close. She definitely has energy....
How much longer should I continue treatment? I would even appreciate just a ballpark estimate....
Thank you for your time!
-K
 
BennyB
Member
ICH is extremely easy for other fish in the tank to get. It doesn't pass from one fish to another, like a cold. It's a parasite that attaches it's self to the fish, and after about...I'm gonna' say a week, the ich falls off of the fish to the bottom to reproduce. That is the stage where you are suppose to kill it. Ich treatment chems might work, but don't always. The most effective treatment is an ol' fashioned heat treatment. Jack the heat up to 86 degrees F and let time take it's course.
With this method, it usually takes a week to effectively kill off the ich, but it is highly recommended that you continue the treatment for another week (two weeks total) to ensure that all the ich has been killed off. Be sure to do plenty of water changes and gravel vacs to pic up the dead or reproducing ich parasites from the bottom of the tank.

If you've been doing treatment for 7 days, then I would continue for another 7 days. You didn't give me much on what method of treatment you're using, but it generally takes two weeks on any treatment.

Hope this helped.
 
Jaysee
Member
tatty_kassy said:
Hello Folks!
It is sort of a two sided question.. 1) Is it possible for only one fish in the tank to get ich?
2) How long does it take for a fish to recover from it? So far it has been about 6 or 7 days of treatment and she is looking a lot better, she swims properly now instead of always having her tail to the ground, but she still likes to take rests on the bottom of the tank every so often. She eats well, and holds her own against fish if they get too close. She definitely has energy....
How much longer should I continue treatment? I would even appreciate just a ballpark estimate....
Thank you for your time!
-K

1). Yes, it is possible. It's happened to me on several occasions where only one or two fish in a tank get ich. In cases such as that, water quality is usually not the cause - it is a result of other stressors, such as a tank mate. I put the fish in a quarantine tank for treatment, and do not treat the fish in the main tank. IME the other fish do not get infected. Water quality will result in more and more fish getting infected, and all the fish will show signs of being stressed. While different fish have different sensitivities to poor water quality, ALL fish are affected by it.

2. Continue treatment until the fish has made a full recovery. Generally, if a fish is sick from non water quality issues, removing either the fish or the source of the stress will result in the fish getting better. Often times, the day after I bring home fish they develop ich. IME once the spots fall off, they do not return without any help from me.

How are you treating the fish?
 
Aquarist
Member
Good morning,

More often than not, if one fish is infected with ICH then the entire tank is infected and should be treated. To be on the safe side I would not Quarantine 1 fish but treat the entire tank.

Using the heat method as mentioned above is most recommended. Raise it to 86 F and leave it there for two weeks. Do two gravel vacuums each week to remove the spores that fall off of the fish and into the substrate. ICH may appear worse before it gets better. Be sure to leave the temperature increase for a full two weeks. Warmer water requires more oxygen so an air stone/supply line should be added.

Once fish have had ICH it is a possibility that it won't happen again. However, there are cases of it reappearing.

Ken
 
Jaysee
Member
Ken I know we always do this but its something ive seen time and time again so I must disagree with the notion that if one fish is infected they all are. if the fish don't have spots they aren't infected. that's like saying because 1 fish has a fungal infection they all do. they don't have it till they have it.

at this very momment I have a qt tank with new fish in it. the killis developed ich the day after bringing them home, while the others did not. I did NOTHING to treat them - the spots fell off and that was that, as I expected. once the fish were no longer stressed, they were no longer suceptable to it. otherwise, as you said, all the fish would get it. that's one of many examples. AGAIN, this is when water quality is not the cause.
 
Aquarist
Member
LOL JaySee,

There is nothing wrong with disagreeing. If what you do works for you then I wouldn't change a thing

I stand by my recommendation of treating the entire tank, especially in cases where a Quarantine tank is not used prior to introducing new fish into a main show tank. I would not feel comfortable knowing a fish with ICH was in my main tank, moving it to Quarantine and treating that fish only, with the possibility of ICH remaining in the main tank, visible or not. It's risky IMO and not one I'm willing to take and I don't recommend that anyone else risk it either.

Ken
 
Shawnie
Member
one fish with ich and no others, doesn't always mean its NOT the water quality either...id make sure everything is on target with ammonia/nitrites/nitrates and go from there....every fish is different on how much stress they can handle and some have a lower immune system...which ich just loves....but either way, id also treat the entire tank with higher heat, more gravel vacs, and extra air stones..it won't hurt the tank to be treated this way and why take the chance that another could come down with it next week?
 
sirdarksol
Member
Tatty_Kassy
As has been said, yes, it is possible for only one fish to get ich. However, that one fish getting ich means that there are other parasites in the water. Once there is ich in the aquarium it is all but impossible for all of the parasites to happen to be one one fish or another. There are going to be some free-floating and some in the substrate.
If you've got sensitive fish, and feel that it would be safer quarantining/treating just one, you certainly can. It is quite possible that that one had some issue that made it more susceptible to ich. However, at that point, it's always imperative to watch out for other fish getting infested, too.

As far as number two, it is extremely important to continue an effective treatment for at least two weeks. There are no fish-safe treatments that kill all three stages of the parasite, so only continuing until there are no more spots on the fish is taking a huge chance that they won't return.
I have read numerous accounts from folks who have had ich in their tank, treated until the spots were gone, stopped treatment, and then had their tank overwhelmed when the cysts in the substrate opened up a week later. Most often, this second wave is worse than the first, and usually ends up being fatal to at least one fish. Some people may have had success with only treating until the symptoms are gone, but doing so is playing Russian roulette with your fishes' health.
 
BennyB
Member
Yeah, keeping the treatments going for the full two weeks is absolutely necessary. I'm actually treating ich right now, I'm thinking my new pleco brought some from the lfs to my tank. I haven't ever had a problem with it after I treated the first time. My first time, a few weeks after getting my platies and mollies, I had an ich breakout. I used ich chems to try and kill it off, didn't treat for more than a week, (mainly because I ran out of the chems) but I stopped treatment and everything looked alright. But as sirdarksol said, it would be a lot worse when it comes back. Indeed it was, it was awful. But in that short week or extensive research, I learned about the heat treatment, then ran that the full course of two weeks. Ever since then I've never had anymore problems with ich. Until now, of course, but at least now I'm ready. Know all the symptoms, and could take care of it waaaaaay before it got bad. I even had it in my fry tank, thank the sweet Lord my molly, guppy, and platy fry is old and hardy enough to handle the temperature, because 86 is pretty rough.
Works like a charm.
 
  • Thread Starter
tatty_kassy
Member
Wow! You guys are full of info!
My treatment has just been water changes of 50% every two days, I have the heat at 86 degrees, no salt because I have an ADF in there, and I put a capful of colloidal silver in every 4 days. (every 2 water changes)
I'm not even too sure she had Ich, I just assumed because everything except the white spots matched. I am pretty sure she was stressed, she was pregnant for like 45 days, she lost all her fry, and her male is SUPER protective and that probably stressed her as well. I separated him and so far none of the other fish bother her, although she does like to hang out right at the divider next to her man.
And unfortunately I do not have a quarantine tank yet, not until I move at the end of the month. So, I have to treat the whole tank.....

I'm just worried that all these water changes and such may actually stress the other fish out and cause them to be suspect to catching it.

So it sounds like I have another week to go! So far so good....so far....
 
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