Mild Reoccurring Ick

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by Bindel2303, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. Bindel2303Valued MemberMember

    So I set up my 55 gallon aquarium in February, cycled it, and have been slowly adding fish to it over the last several weeks/months. As it stands now there are 3 platys, (1m&2F) 3 mollys (1m&2F), 6 Guppies (1m&5F) 3 neon tetras, 3 cardinal tetras and one otto. Over the last couple weeks or so I have been having issues with one fish getting ick at a time. I would take them out to a quarantine tank, treat them and then put them back, then before I knew it another fish would have it. It was mostly the female molly, platy and guppies, and I had a feeling it had something to do with Male to female ratio. I know I should get at least one more platy and one more molly but I haven’t been able to find the ones I want. I have checked the water chemistry and everything is fine there so that’s not an issue. I did at one point add a batta to the mix, when I thought everything was fine, which seemed to work out ok. There was a little bit of fin nipping early on but after a day or 2 things seemed to level out and they seem to be getting along ok, but the ick got worse.

    After quarantining was not working I have finally come to removing the batta and treating the whole tank to see if that works. I did talk to a guy at my LFS and he said ick is often a temperature thing so to try turning the heat up some. Having dealt with ick in the passed I did not totally agree with his statement but did not think turning it up a little could do any harm.

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to why my fish keep getting mild cases of ick and it keeps coming back? Also I was worried about adding a batta but had read about peoples successes in community tanks, has anyone on here tried that before, and if so how did it work out?

  2. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    I don't know how much you turned up the heat before, but turning up the heat to 82-84 degrees for 2 weeks *will* interrupt the ich life cycle. Ich is a parasite so if you interrupt the life cycle effectively, it won't come back (assuming you don't introduce more fish with ich). If you don't turn up the heat for long enough or not high enough, the ich will keep reproducing in the tank and infecting your fish, as you see.

    Also, the ich spores fall off the fish and sink to the ground, so be sure to do extra gravel vacs to try to pick those up. And if you don't already have a bubbler, put one in for the duration that your tank is so warm, because warm water has less oxygen and the bubbler helps oxygenate it.

  3. bass masterWell Known MemberMember

    It could be a water quality issue, do you know your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels? If any of these numbers are higher than they should be then it is probably stressing your fish which makes them more susceptible to ich.

    To know how to fully treat ich, there are some things you need to understand about the ich lifecycle. Ich will probably be first seen on one of your fish, it forms a small cyst inside the fish's slime coat and feeds off the fish for a certain amount of time to store up some nutrients. During this stage, it is completely immune to almost any type of treatment. Once the ich has gained enough nutrients, it drops of your fish and sits on your gravel bed and begins multiplying into hundreds of tiny "tomites" or swarmers. Once the swarmers scatter in your tank, they search for a host to attach to and to thus restart the cycle. Your LFS was partially right about the temperature thing, although they kinda mixed the two effects temperature has on ich. Fluctuating temperatures can often times cause an ich outbreak which is why it is important to get a quality aquarium heater (3-5w per gallon should work) but also, heat plays an important role on speeding up the ich lifecycle. At higher temperatures, the ich can actually reproduce quicker which means it will drop off from your fish faster so you can treat it quicker. Also at higher temperatures, the ich tomites will die off faster so it is less likely they can re-infect one of your fish.

    To treat ich, heres my recommendations. Turn the temperature up to about 84-86 slowly, 1-2 degrees per day is generally what is recommended. Vacuum your gravel daily to take out as many of the reproducing ich spores as you can. With that combination, no other meds are typically needed, although I personally would recommend a half teaspoon of salt per gallon because most of your fish can tolerate salt exposure pretty well. Im sure someone will disagree with me about the salt, but it helps to kill off the tomites quicker and really doesnt stress the fish too much if its only in the tank for 1-2 weeks. Also, you only have to add the salt once, it will not leave the aquarium, only add enough to treat the water you add to the aquarium after vacuuming. Once you are done treating, keep changing the water but do not add any more salt. After keeping the temperature at the right temp and vacuuming daily for about a week, most of the white spots should go away and your fish should stop flashing. Keep up the treatment for the next 3 days and then you can start lowering your temperature back to normal.

    hope that helps

    edit: ditto midthought on the bubbler, it is important to keep the water aerated while the temperature is high
  4. catfishlover123Well Known MemberMember

    I have my female betta in my comunity tank. My betta will only flare if it is bothered by another fish.
  5. allibobsWell Known MemberMember

    I had the same problem in my big tank and it's really frustrating!

    What we did and it seemed to work was take out the problematic fish and treat them for 15 minuets in a tank with a slight over dose of methylene blue (or shop bought ich treatment that has this in it) then add them back the the tank and repeat the treatment daily until you are ich free

    worked for me BUT others might disagree
  6. Bindel2303Valued MemberMember

    Thanks everyone for the info. My tank was at about 78 degrees and its now about 82 or so. I have a bubble wall in the back of the tank so that should help with oxygenating the water. I dont off the top of my head know what all the water parameters were but they were all safe and normal, I know that. I know fluctuating temperatures can cause ick, but my tank has been pretty steady at 78 since I started it. I will try turning it up a little more though.

    I have tried using Aquari-Sol as an ick treatment the last 3 days because I don’t want to turn the silicone in my tank blue with quick ick. Its too early to tell if its working, although today I noticed a cloudy film coating the glass on the inside of the tank. Anyone know why or what this is? It concerns me. I was able to wipe it away with an algae cleaner, but it was strange.

    Now many of you told me to do daily water changes, how ever the medication says to wait 7 days. What do you suggest. Also fluctuating temperature can help cause ick, wouldn’t water changes not be a good thing?
  7. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Just one clarification: ich is a parasite and isn't "caused" by water temp changes. However, it may become more visible or apparent with warm temps because it does become more active then. But it is a *parasite* and not just latent in all water like some other diseases (e.g. columnaris). Once you clear ich out of your tank, all the temperature fluctuations in the world aren't going to bring it back into your tank (barring introduction of it through another fish).
  8. bass masterWell Known MemberMember

    The film is probably just some bacteria growing on your glass, if you dont like it you should be fine to just wipe it off. If you are already medicating you should probably follow the instructions given, the daily water changes are just part of the technique used to get rid of ich without medicating. As for ich being "caused" by temperature, it is not technically "caused" by temperature, but rapid temperature swings can stress your fish out and make the ich more active which can lead to an ich outbreak. I know there is some debate as to whether ich lays dormant in a tank or not, but I havent seen any conclusive research proving that ich is not present in a cured tank, but I have, however, had ich outbreaks without introducing new fish for months so I personally lean towards believing that ich can lay dormant in a tank.
  9. Bindel2303Valued MemberMember

    The reason I did not totally agree with the LFS guy is because I was pretty sure ich was a parasite that fish became susceptible to if they are stressed, no matter what causes the stress, water temp or not. That’s why I think the batta contributed some what to the worsening of the outbreak. Yesterday it seemed to have gotten worse, but it was only the second day of them all being in the big tank again being medicated. Today it is about the same, no worse, but not much better yet either. The wired thing about the film on the inside of the tank is it was not there earlier that day but seem to appear only in a few hours.
  10. bass masterWell Known MemberMember

    yea ich is a parasite that can spring up from a number of causes, but it is pretty closely tied to temperature in many ways. Also I noticed in your original post, you said you were quarantining fish individually. This approach doesnt really work with ich because it lives throughout the tank and not just on the fish.

    I used to almost always have a betta in my community aquarium and never had a problem until recently and after doing my research, Ive decided to never try that again. Different bettas can have completely different personalities and some will coexist peacefully with other fish, but many will not. Bettas are generally a species that does best in isolation and shouldnt really be mixed with other fish for a number of reasons. Even the bettas that coexist with other fish peacefully, end up not being as happy as they would on their own Generally the best set up recommended for a betta is a 5g heated, filtered tank with soft decorations and no other fish.
  11. Bindel2303Valued MemberMember

    Well bummer, thats what I was afraid of. Thanks for the help. I'll keep everyone posted on the ich issues.

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