Ich looks like tiny grains of salt covering a fish's body. Fish may appear "uneasy" and may be scratching against objects or against a tank's bottom. They may also make sudden darting motions. Not sure about the loss of appetite.
Thanks Isabella! I am trying to decide if my fish might have ich. As hard as I look, I can not see any little white spots or anything that looks like grains of salt. This afternoon, I did notice two of my fish (zebra danio and golden long finned zebra danio) brushing up against stuff at the bottom of the tank. The zebra danio may be a bit faded (or I may be imagining things as a worry wort). Another zebra danio has been lethargic and doesn't come out at mealtime. He is the one who got me worred in the first place. The other fish (pencil fish and von rio tetras) all seem fine. What do you think?
I am thinking about raising the temperature (it is currently 75 F) and adding salt, but I am not sure. I checked the water chemistries and everything seems fine (ph 7.4; ammonia, nitrite and nitrate all 0). Any ideas?
Scratching against objects, loss of color, and loss of appetite may well be an outset of a disease. If they're not eating and appear pale, they may be sick. You can't know what disease it is yet since they have no growths, or salt-like grains in the case of ich, on their bodies. But ich is in fact characterized by scratching and loss of color, and possibly by loss of appetite.
I suppose it is always safe to add aquarium salt to a tank. If you want to use salt, use 1 tablespoon of aquarium salt per 5 gallons of water. But before you add the salt to your tank, dissolve it in a cup or two of tank water first. Then, very gradually, pour it into the tank. Also gradually raise the temperature to 80-82F (some people suggest raising it to as high as 85F but I personally wouldn't raise it that high for my fish if they were sick). If you have a separate cycled quarantine tank, transfer your fish there and threat them there. If not, I suppose you could add the salt to your main tank. It shouldn't hurt the rest of healthy fish.
Your water quality seems very good. How long have you had this tank? How large it is and how many (and what kinds) of fish do you have in there? How often do you perform water changes? What is the pH of new water that you add to your tank with every water change? Since your water seems perfect, perhaps it is a very different pH (or temperature) of the new water that you use for water changes? Fish are very sensitive to sudden pH changes (and to sudden temperature changes) and if it stresses them enough they may get sick.
Thanks. I think I figured out how to add the signature with information about tank size and fish. Let's see if I can answer your other questions. It is a 44 gallon tank. It has been set up about six weeks with fish for about a month. The two zebras have been with us in a smaller tank for seven months. They were the first to go in. The others were added gradually. I do weekly water changes of just over 10%. I'm glad to hear your suggestion of only raising the temp to 82 F. 85 seemed kind of scary.
It would take me some time to set up a Q tank so I may try treating them in this tank. One question--we are thinking of adding cories later. Will adding salt now be a problem for them down the road?
Well, all seems perfect with your water. I wonder what may have caused your fish to get sick. Maybe they're bullied by some other fish? Bullying brings about stress as well, and stress can bring about disease. Something must have caused the disease.
Anyway, use the salt treatment if you feel that you must. It shouldn't hurt other fish. Fish_r_friend, I think that a combination of increased temperature and salt treatment should be more effective than, say, salt alone or increased temperature alone. Salt has soothing properties for fish. Ihenkin, this is some good information about aquarium salt and why it's good for fish when they're sick: (it is a long thread but it would be good if you read all posts in it to see the different views and determine which one is best for you).
While you're treating your fish with aquarium salt, keep adding appropriate amount of salt with each water change for as long as they're sick (for example, if you change 5 gallons of water, add 1 tablespoon of salt to tank with new water). When they recover, the salt will be removed from your tank by your regular water changes. I suggest that you increase your water changes; when fish are sick, larger and more frequent water changes are better. Try to perform, say, 30% water changes per week. Or 15% water changes twice a week. Some people would advise you to do even larger water changes. Whichever the way, water changes should not be harmful to fish, especially not to sick fish.
Thanks. I have been considering the bullying issue. I have noticed that the golden danios chase the other fish. We have discussed "giving them up for adoption" but are still evaluating. I wonder....
I am getting ready to do another water change and will go ahead with the twice weekly plan. I am slowly raising the water temp and am considering the salt--thanks for information on that. Would it make sense to put the salt in with the fresh water? I am also considering using Quick Cure. Do you have any experience with that? That is my LFS recommendation.
Meanwhile, the fish seem to be doing O.K. The lethargic one has been swimming around a bit more--still haven't seen him eating. I haven't seen any more rubbing. The zebras still look a bit faded to me, though.
when you raise the temperature to 85 degrees, the temperature at which the parasite that causes Ich to leave the fish's body and go freeswimming in the water; be sure you leave it there for at least 14 days. If you turn the temperature down too soon and the parasites are not killed, they will simply settle back on your fish and reinfect them. I have used Quick Cure and in conjunction with the temperature change and length of treatment at the higher temperature, I was very pleased with it. Ich is a cool water disease. You might consider keeping your tank just a couple degrees warmer than 75 to prevent further outbreaks.
I don't use salt as I have Otocinclus catfish in my tanks. Any scaleless fish should not have salt used with them. I have seen a post somewhere that said it should be okay but most of my information states not to do it so I do not.
I have also seen a post of another scaleless fish dying in a salt bath. If you do not have scaleless fish though, salt will not hurt your fish, I just cannot say that I have had experience with it helping either.
I know I sounded kind of ambivalent there, but I hope I helped a lttle.
Rose, that's what I think too. I think I'd be afraid to use salt with scaleless fish. Some people on Fish Lore say it's OK to use salt on scaleless fish, others say it's not OK. I think Vin somehere said lately that "most catfish are brackish water and scaleless" and that's why they can tolerate salt. But I don't know anymore. I wonder which is true.
P.S. Are loaches scaleless? I have a golden algae eater and I can't see any scales on him. Maybe he has them but I just don't know they're scales. My blue blushing angel looks like she's missing scales in most of the parts of her body too.
Chickadee and Isabella, thanks for your thoughts. Here is an update. I have increased the temperature, done a water change, and, after MUCH deliberation, but before your most recent posts, I did add the salt. I also bought, but haven't used Quick Cure. I guess I will see if the temp and salt do the trick. The fish seem better. I haven't seen any more rubbing up against stuff in the tank. My littlest danio who has mostly been in hiding is now out, but mostly hangs in a corner and doesn't come to eat with the rest of the gang. He hasn't for days, which does worry me. I am watching closely, though and I think now he may be getting some of the small specs of food that fall his way. It is hard to tell.
The salt thing does seem weird. I don't have scaleless fish, so folks are assuring me that it is O.K. It seems weird to make that big a change to the water, though. Also, I wonder how many water changes you have to figure on doing before adding scaleless fish to the tank. I'm not adding any fish now, of course.
I would think 4 or 5 water changes would dilute things down enough, but keep in mind, the carbon filter will not remove the salt the way it will a medication, so be cautious. It also depends on the concentration of salt you are using. If you are using the 1 tsp of salt for 5 gallons of water, it won't take nearly as many water changes (the 4 or 5 I mentioned) as if you spiked the dosage higher. You will still need to change your filter media to make sure the salt that has lodged in it is not reintroduced into the tank though.