Is Fish Disease Even Worth Treating?

Joe C.
  • #1
I just (hopefully) ended a week and a half battle with ich, which I lost. Or rather, 6 of my fish lost.

Upon seeing the characteristic white spots and the scratching behavior, I decided to quarantine the infected fish. I transferred them from their 46 gal home to the 20 gal "medical ward." I gave them Tetra Ich treatment medication, followed the dosage directions (1 tab x 10 gal). I did water changes, once, sometimes twice daily (25%-50%). This was necessary because the quarantine tank, being a temporary tank, was not cycled not was I able to have activated carbon in my filter (to prevent it from clearing the medication). The treatment lasted for about 5 days, with no improvement in any of the fish. In fact, while in quarantine, many of them got more spots before eventually dying. I also supplied a bubbler to the quarantine tank just to boost the oxygen levels.

Now with the infected fish dead, and the quarantine tank disassembled, I am left to wonder, what was the point of all of this effort? The trips to PetsMart to buy the medication, the setting up a whole other aquarium, the time-consuming and water-wasting water changes, only for the fish to do anyways despite my best efforts. Note that in my main aquarium I have the heat turned up to 85 degrees to remove any trace ich in there. But I am just wondering, should I have just left the fish in the main tank to die? As horrible as that sounds, this is not the first time I've unsuccessfully dealt with ich. I didn't have luck with the API medication before, which is why I thought I'd try the different Tetra brand. One reason that fish become infected in the first place could be stress. But the fish are put under even more stress with the medication and the constant (necessary) water changes? So even if the medication is benefitting them, they are still stressed because of the constant changing water parameters. I just don't see the point in even attempting treatment when the stress of the treatment itself is likely to exasperate the condition further.

Anyways, I'm just wondering if anyone else feels the same frustrations with the quarantine/medication process. Has anyone actually had success with medication? Or do you simply treat ich by raising the temperature?

  • #2
I used the salt and temperature method with good success when I had those issues. I keep copepods and other crustaceans so I can't use traditional copper treatments. I have had issues with petsmart fish in the past so I generally don't buy fish from them. I can't keep neon tetras from that place alive for the life of me but have no issues with the ones from my true lfs. I would reccomend shopping elsewhere.

  • #3
Has anyone actually had success with medication? Or do you simply treat ich by raising the temperature?

I've had success curing Ich with both methods but sometimes have lost fish in the process. I usually try the heat treatment first but it didn't work last time so I think if it ever happens again I might skip the heat and go straight for the meds. I'm not sure why it didn't work for you and understand your frustration. I think we have a responsibility to try to cure fish that become sick but we should also minimise stress and suffering so it's a tough call to make.
Carolyn Underwood
  • #4
Sorry about your fish, Joe C. Recently, I had to treat two of my tanks for an Ich outbreak. In one tank there were 2 Black Moors that were covered with Ich and they were sitting on the bottom of the tank with clamped fins. After reading about what my options were to treat it, I ended up using the 86° + salt method. I did not add the recommended amount of salt, only 3 measured Tbsp. for a 25g tank. I put a heater inside and brought the temp up to 86.4°, then put a regular thermometer with a suction cup on the inside of the tank, checking it several times a day to make sure the tank was maintaining the 86.4°. At first, I thought they would never make it...I put 2 bubbling aerators inside the tank and they would swim over and lay on them, or hang around right next to them. After about 3 days, the Ich dots started to slowly disappear and by day 5, there were no white dots left on them. I did about a 40-50% water change around the 3rd day and made sure I heated filtered water and added back in some salt, then just waited. The only other thing I did was remove all the decorations, plants, and driftwood from the tank, save for 1 Vallisneria plant. They made it!
In the other tank are Platies, a Betta and a baby Goldfish that will soon need to be moved. In all, there are 15 fish. I did the same treatment in this tank, 37g, except added 4 Tbsp. salt instead of 3. I lost only 1 Platy, but I am not sure it was due to Ich or the treatment. I can't imagine why only 1 fish died during the treatment. All of the other fish remained active with good appetites and had varying amounts of Ich on their fins and after 5 days of the 86.4° + aquarium salt, there were no signs of Ich on any of them. No decorations or plants were removed when the second tank was treated. None of the plants died.
86 ssinit
  • #5
Sorry your ick treatment didn’t work. Heat and salt are the best method. If you want to spend money on something other than meds. Get a uv sterilizer. Ok what ick is is a 3 part disease. First is the spots on the fish they fall off and become eggs the eggs hatch and produce hundreds more ick which swim around till they land on a fish and start the cycle all over. The salt help release them from the body and relieves the fish. The heat (and a uv sterilizer) kills the swimming stage and the vacuming water changes pick up the eggs on the substrate. This way has allways worked for me. A uv light works great. Last time I got ick it was gone in 3 days.
  • #6

Not want to be offensive / rude or what so ever, but Ich (if that was it) is one of the easiest diseases to treat (always in the main tank : not seperated)

Noticed in a lot of threads that a lot of fish die. In my opinion often cause :

- It is another disease. Bacteria love heath.
- Treatment is started too late
- Med- and heathtreatment is used at the
same time. Sometime even together with
salt treatment.
- The treatment isn't given correct.
- The fish in case are sensitive to meds.
- The fish in case are senditive to heath

So I say yes it is worth it, but know when and how. As sais it is one of the diseases that is the easiest to treat.

For instance 85F won't kill Ich, 86F+ will.
So you might get another infection (if it was Ich).

My advise : Lower the temp to normal, keep a good med on hand and use it when needed (visible signs reoccure), aerate and don't panick.

Greetings Aad.
  • #7
I used to be a big heat treatment person. Any more I just use a med. Kordon ich plus I believe. Seems to work good. I just treat the whole tank.

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