ICH! What next?

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ladyagate

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Long story short, I went to my LFS to purchase a few new tankmates and came home with 1 rummynose, 2 pandas, and ICH! There were two tanks that were "off limits" because my LFS person had just received a shipment of fish that were already infected (how frustrating is that!?) so I stayed away from those tanks. Well it turns out it didn't even make a difference because I purchased my fish on Monday and by Wednesday there were 4 tiny spots on the top and side of my new rummynose.

So far, this rummy is the only one to show symptoms. I waited a day because the spots were very faint but they grew Thursday so I bought a new heater (I had previously been limping along with a 50 watt in a 30 gal.. bad I know.. but at least this gave me an excuse to buy a 150 watt!) and by Friday night the heat was up to about 85/86.. Within this time all but one of his spots fell off! Once I noticed that, I very thoroughly vacuumed the gravel until the water was down to 50%. By late last night, the last spot has disappeared.

So here are my questions:
Should I have vacuumed immediately after that last spot fell off?
How often should I vacuum the gravel? I vacuumed yesterday right after I noticed most of his spots had disappeared and I need to know when to vacuum again.
Will my fish be alright at 86* for 2 weeks?
I am assuming salt will be a no no since i have cories and a gourami?
If things get out of control, does anyone have any med recommendations, and if so, will they mess up the cycle?
Speaking of cycle, how do high temps like this effect the cycle??

Lastly, is it possible that I caught this earlier enough that it may not spread to my other fish, or at least may not end up a complete disaster?

Once again, thanks in advance for taking this time to read this
 
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AlyeskaGirl

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hello,

Sounds like you got things in control. That's great! Fish will be ok with the temp that high for two weeks and will not affect the nitrifying bacteria. Make sure you have an airstone for more oxygen, high temp means less oxygen. Perform daily partial water changes and gravel vac every few days. No salt with Corys.

Most meds harm the nitrifying bacteria, stick with high temp, water changes and gravel vacs.

https://www.fishlore.com/Articles/CuringIch.htm


This is why quarantining new fish for at least 10-14 days or longer before introducing them to the main tank is suggested.
 

Brittany

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So far you have done well. I'd keep the temperature at 86 for about 10 days. Oxygen is lower in warmer water, so I would also increase the aeration. 25% daily water changes will help a lot. Removing the gravel if you have an unplanted aquarium would be beneficial, it will make it easier to siphon the floor of the aquarium where many of the tomites will be located. Definitely no salt with the gourami and cories.

"Speaking of cycle, how do high temps like this effect the cycle??" The ich life cycle is temperature dependent, at 86 degrees the ich will stop reproducing. At 90 degrees they will die, but fish cannot handle that high of a temperature, so the goal is to speed up the life cycle and removing the tomites during the infectious stage.

Parasitic Stage - The first stage (trophozoite) is embedded in the skin of the fish, and feeds on fluids and tissue cells. The fish tries to protect itself by producing more cells around the trophozoite, which leads to the formation of the tiny white spots.


Intermediate Stage - Eventually the trophozoite morphs into a trophont, detaches from the host leaving an open wound, and swims freely until it locates a suitable place to settle.


Reproductive Stage - Once the trophont settles, it forms a sticky wall around itself and becomes a cyst (tomont). Inside, the tomont divides into many hundreds or even thousands of tomites.


Infectious Stage - The tomites are released into the water column and swim freely until they attach to a host, starting the cycle over again. If a tomite doesn't find a host within a short period of time, it will die.


Hope this helps.
 

ladyagate

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Thank you for this great information! I have searched around fishlore and looked at past threads but it becomes very confusing when there are conflicting answers. It's nice getting such thorough responses, so quickly.

I just got home from work and checked each fish and here is the situation: the original rummy is looking a little pale and pretty thin but no more spots. I just dropped some flakes in and he did eat so I think he's on the mend. One other rummy has 2 spots and another one has only one. The remaining rummies appear to be spot free for the time being. My gourami still looks clean (maybe because he tends to hang out towards the top of the tank and away from the gravel where the ich reproduces? Just a theory..) Unfortunately, it looks like one of my new pandas has it the worst with some large spots on his tail and possibly elsewhere.. He's a little skittish in general so it's hard to get a good look at him.

I need to run out to petco and buy some more stresscoat since I am fresh out.. Then a 25% change tonight and a 50% gravel vacuum tomorrow afternoon.

Does anyone know if stresscoat would help the rest of my fish resist getting infected? I wonder if anyone has any experience with that..

This is becoming kind of exhausting.. Wish me luck and I will update if things get better/worse.
 

Brittany

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Seeing as there are still white spots on your fish, the ich is still in the parasitic stage. The rummy eating is a good sign, it means that he's getting better. Fish that have ich may stop eating for awhile, so making sure that you give every fish little portions of food everyday is important.

I'm not sure if stresscoat will help, but I do know that if you use NovAqua+ during water changes it will dechlorinate the water and help seal off the wounds caused by the ich.

At 85 degrees the ich will not infect fish that have not already been infected, so you're in the clear for the fish that are healthy.

Good luck!
 

ladyagate

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Well, unfortunately things are getting worse..

There appears to be something different wrong with one of my pandas. There are no spots on him, but his tail is almost half gone! It looks like fin rot, but I don't understand how he could lose his tail so quickly! I was slightly concerned when I brought him home on Monday because I did notice that his fins looked a little worn and small so this might have been something that started before I bought him.. When I get home tonight I will be setting up my ten gallon and moving him if he's still alive. If so, I will treat him with melafix to attempt to stop whatever is eating away at his fins and to start healing them. Right now he is in a breeders net with a plant so none of the other fish can stress him out or pick at him if he passes on.. How sad

Other than that, 3 or 4 of my rummies total are infected now, one with about 8 spots and the others 2 or 3.. My other panda is still untouched, along with my gourami. I bumped the heat to about 87 today and so far everyone seems fine.. I am considering shooting for 88 if I don't see any bad reactions to 87. Also, I did a 25% change last night and will be doing a 50% gravel vac tonight..

It has gotten considerably worse today so I'm starting to get a little scared that I will have to medicate. Shouldn't it have stop spreading after I turned the heat up?


I should also add, my tank is at 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite
 
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Brittany

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It didn't spread when you turned the heat up, the fish that show white spots now were already infected. They just hadn't formed tissue cells around the trophozoite. Sorry to hear about your panda. .

If you want to medicate, you can. I personally am not a big fan of using a lot of chemicals. Quick Cure and Copper Safe are both very effective if you would like to add to the heat treatment.

Good luck.
 

ladyagate

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When I came home last night the sick panda was already gone.. I am not convinced it was the ich that did him in because his tail was GONE. And the rest of his fins were so worn down.. Something else was going on there (Also, he was in a breeders net by himself so nobody started to eat him after he died)

So do I bring him back to the store? I bought him exactly a week ago, along with the rummynose that caused this whole mess.. I'm entirely sure what to do, but I do know that if I lose any more fish I will be very frustrated having to restock.

One of the rummynoses is getting quite a few spots now, although he is still looking red and eating very well so I think these are good signs. What's odd is that the first rummynose to get sick does not have any spots any more but for some reason seems the most stressed out. He does not school and more.. he mostly just hides around the back of the tank and when I feed he only eats a tiny bit then goes into hiding again. Other than that, he is spot free and swimming fine, just terrified I think.

To make matters worse, I think there is something wrong with my heater. I had left it at 86 for a few days now, but when I got home last night it was at 84 and the pilot light wasn't even on. I cranked it up to 88 and it is now at 85. So I might be bringing that back and switching it for a different one.

I'm not exactly having very good luck here am I? Heh..
 

ladyagate

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So, I just bit the bullet and bought a tiny bottle of nox ich. That was what was suggested to me at the LFS I stopped by today. This is also the medication my dad used on our platy tank when I was a little kid so I feel pretty confident that if push comes to shove this will work.

Haven't decided if I should wait it out with the attempted high heat any longer.. I'm worried about my heater not keeping my tank a constant temp between day and night. I would really like to just see this done and over with. Especially since this particular LFS just got a shipment of chocolate gouramis, which I have never seen before! Gets me in the mood to finish stocking this 30 gal!
 

GoGreen

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Just reading through this thread, sorry to hear of your issues, it is so tough when there is sickness in your tank, lots of work, water changes and worry...

I don't know much about ICH but I have read that it usually seems to get worse before it gets better! Definitely get yourself a good heater, one of the things that can stress fish and bring out ICH is fluctuating temperatures, that much I know.

So sorry to hear about your panda, in my experience they are delicate little guys...
 

Shine

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I agree with GoGreen. Ich does tend to look worse before it gets better. Expect that when treating and you'll talk yourself out of a fair bit of stress.

I've treated for ich using soley the heat treatment (well... after trying meds that didn't have any noticable effect beyond turning things blue) and it worked. Poor little fish looked dead for days during it though, and didn't eat for at least a solid week! Several times I was convinced that he died... laying on the bottom of the tank and not noticably breathing. If yours are still eating you are ahead of the game at this point.

I wouldn't worry about raising the temp any higher either. 85-86 is more then good enough from the reading I have done. Where the heat kills the ich parasite off is at the 'free swimming' stage where it is looking for a new host. Any parasites that are currently on the fish can't be killed by the heat... but then neither are meds capible of killing it while its on the host fish. On the plus side the heat aslo speeds up the life cycle and gets it to the larval stage faster when the heat can kill it

Good luck, I hope all your fish pull through!
 

ladyagate

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ACK! Okay, this heater thing is getting to be a HUGE problem! I noticed about an hour ago before heading to bed that the tank looked a little cloudy.. So I go check the temp and it was 90 in there! It went from 84/85ish to 90 in a matter of a couple hours! Poor fish were looking very groggy in there.. I pulled the hood off immediately and ran a fan over the tank for half an hour.. back down to 86 but I have NO IDEA what to set my heater to now.. I'm afraid to go to bed and wake up to find my fish dead from heat/cold..

On the bright side, that probably cut back on the time this ich will be in my tank maybe?
Pray for my fish!
 

GoGreen

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Oh dear! Yeah, you would think that you have cooked the ICH out of there by now! Poor little fish, I sure hope they make it. Will you have a chance to get a new heater that you can rely on?

Seems like you and I are battling some problems here...here's hoping things take a turn for the better real soon.
 

ladyagate

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Well, since the heater went haywire on me things seem to have settled down again. The heat is at a pretty constant 85/86 and I will be doing my 3rd treatment of nox ich tonight. Tomorrow I will do a 50% water change through gravel vac and then start the nox ich over one more time. From there I will likely leave the temp up for another week or so. Kind of just play it by ear I suppose.

There are still a few rummys and my lone panda and gourami that are not infected so I believe they will be in the clear. There are still a few spots on 3 or 4 of my rummys but those have lessened since adding the meds. In fact, my first rummy to get infected has finally come out of hiding and is schooling and eating again! Definitely a good sign that things are turning around..

In another 2 weeks or so I will be able to continue stocking! WITH a q tank this time.. heh
 

ladyagate

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Well, since the last time I posted I have lost my last panda This is the third panda I have lost in about a month. I don't think I'm going to bother with them anymore, they are just so hard to keep and always die without showing symptoms. Back to bronze cories for me! Or perhaps another more hardy variety.. (I'm open to ideas here!)

My honey gourami is still going strong and I haven't lost any rummynoses, although a few of them seem to be reinfected. It seems like the same 3 or 4 get spots, lose spots, and then catch new ones again.. Unfortunately, this is my fault because I misdosed the nox ich I have been using to treat them. Instead of putting in 1 drop per gallon, I've been doing 1 drop per TEN gallons.. Along with bumping the temp up from 84 back to 86, needless to say I've started over with the treatment with the RIGHT dosage and will be on the third day tomorrow. After a large water change and one more run through of meds I am hoping I will be done with all of this nonsense!
 

ladyagate

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Lost a rummynose today.

I am having the WORST time fighting this ich. The rummynose who died had it the worst however, and it seems that the rest of the fish are ich free, or at least have very minimal amount of spots. Hopefully this will be a turning point? Sigh....
 
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