problems with ich

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by steveredlakefallsmn, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. steveredlakefallsmn

    steveredlakefallsmnValued MemberMember

    hello im new to this and am wondering if i am doing somthing wrong.i have a 29 gallon tank.i have 5 tiger barbs,4 mollys,an albino rainbow shark,and had 2 pictus cats.i found that i have ich,i have treated it 3 times but still see a problem with is a new tank set up.has been up and running now for 3 weeks,im wooried i will lose more of my fish with this bug.i have turned up the temp to 80 degrees,hoping that will help,but have seen no changes nitrites are0 nitrates 0 ph 8.0, soft water,alkaline is high.what do i need to do to save my poor fish?
  2. midthought

    midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Your nitrites and nitrates are 0? Do you know what your ammonia is at? Are you testing with test strips by any chance, or liquid tests?

    When you say you've treated it 3 times, do you mean that you've medicated it until it's gone away and then it's come back each time?

    As far as I'm aware, you need to keep temps warm (82 ideally) for 2 weeks or so to properly interrupt the ich bacteria's life cycle. But someone else will jump in with more advice soon, I'm sure.
  3. Shawnie

    ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    welcome to fishlore!!!!
    Im sorry things are going bad though :(
    At this point, we need to get the tank cycled.....heres a few things to help

    -you need a liquid master kit as strips are too unreliable
    -finding some prime conditioner, with daily water changes, will keep the fish safe while that happens...the prime will detox the ammonia/nitrites (which can kill the fish) for 24 hours until your next water change
    -for ich, turn up the temps to 84-85 for 2 weeks...add some extra air stones as warmer water has less oxygen....vaccuum the tank 2 times a week while treating for the ich ..ich spores will hide in the subtrate...when doing the new water changes every day, make sure the temps are 84-85 going back into the tank......stop the medications
    -the worst part, 2 pictus and a rbs are NOT going to tolerate eachother in a 29g tank :( I know its not the news you probably want to hear, but all of them in that size tank, and being territorial bottom dwellers, can either end up with them stressed and having ich very often, or one or more being killed..

    although its totally frustrating when beginning, once you get things back in check, its an addicting/amazing hobby :) I hope things look up soon!
  4. Prince Powder

    Prince PowderWell Known MemberMember

    Hello Steve and welcome to Fishlore!

    I'm sorry about your fish. ICH is generally one of those things that can be killed without the use of meds. I would recommend raising your tank's temperatures to about 85 degrees and keeping it at that temperature for a full two weeks. The higher temps speeds up the life cycle of the ICH parasite and causes the spores to fall off the fish and into your gravel. Do two water changes with a gravel vac a week to suck the spores out of the gravel. This should be sufficient to clear up the ICH. Then I would recommend keeping your tank temperature at around 78-80 degrees, it seems to be a better temperature range for most tropical fish.

    I see in your aquarium info that you do not know about the nitrogen cycle. Learning about the nitrogen cycle and getting your tank properly cycled is very important to the health of your fish and it will prove the best way to keep the ICH (as well as other illnesses) from infecting your tank again. Basically it is this: When your fish poo they release ammonia into the tank. Ammonia is very toxic to fish, but a bacteria will grow to consume the ammonia and convert it into nitrite. Nitrite is also very toxic to fish, but another bacteria will grow that will consume the nitrite and convert it into nitrate. Nitrate is not toxic to fish as long as the levels are kept low with regular water changes. Once you have enough bacteria grown to convert all the ammonia and nitrite at the same pace as it is being produced then the cycle is complete. It can take four weeks or more for a tank to grow enough bacteria to complete the cycle. Since you already have fish you will need to take precautions to ensure that they are kept safe from the toxic ammonia and nitrite. (I see in your aquarium info that your nitrite level is "in the safe zone". Unfortunately, despite what some testing strips suggest there is no such thing as a safe zone for nitrite or ammonia. The only level of ammonia and nitrite that is safe for fish is zero. Here are some suggestions that will not only help with the ICH, but also help with cycling your tank.

    Invest in a good quality liquid test kit. API makes a great kit that includes tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH, all of which you will need. Get a bottle of water conditioner that will not only dechlorinate, but will also detoxify ammonia and nitrite. Two brands which are perfect for this is Prime by Seachem and Amquel+ by Kordon. Start a routine of daily partial water changes. You only need to do a gravel vac twice a week, and only while treating the ICH. The rest of the time, and when your treatment is done, you just need to change the water and avoid disrupting the gravel. The water changes will keep your ammonia and nitrite levels low and the Prime or Amquel+ will keep the ammonia and nitrite detoxified for 24 hours until the next water change. Once your ammonia level is 0, Nitrite 0, and Nitrate more than 0 then your tank will be cycled. With a cycled tank your fish will not be stressed from the exposure to toxins and that goes a LONG way in keeping them healthy and your tank disease free.

    Good luck with your fish and please keep us posted.
  5. OP

    steveredlakefallsmnValued MemberMember

    thanks for all your help.i will try all your at work right now and will not have access to another comp till tomorrow,since i dont have one at home at this point.thanks again,and have a happy easter if you celibrate it.
  6. Shawnie

    ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    Happy Easter to you as well Steve!!
    Print all this out as it will help allot im sure ...
    Good luck and I hope things look up soon!
  7. OP

    steveredlakefallsmnValued MemberMember

    stil have problems!!!!!!!

    shawnie,i am doing what needs to be done but im still having problems.i have now lost all my tigers,so sad.i have done water changes as you have told me,my mollies are doing good,but know im worried bout my albino rainbow,seems to be doing good dont see the ick on it,like i did earlier.the water temp is at 82 to 84 degrees,i have added more air to tank,i do less feeding,and water changes are going good,do i continue?and if so for how long?i have one mollie that still has white spots but they seem to come and go,also likes to stay on the bottom,comes up to the surface to feed but goes back down,seems to do alot of hiding.i call him my lazy fish cause he doesnt do much,un like the other rbs seems ok but does alot of hideing as well but seems to come out when the light is off.he even went after my hand when i was doing a water change and had to move a couple rocks back in place.seems quite protective of his area in the tank.well thanks for listening?any more help would be great!i just dont want to give up,but it is getting the best of me,ive never had as much problems as i have had know.thanks again hope to here from you.
  8. Shine

    ShineWell Known MemberMember

    With the heat treatment just keep the temp up for 14 days after all the white specs are off the fish

    Here's some info I found on ich, and a link to the rest of the article:

    (1) Ich is always present in an aquarium- WRONG. Ich doesn’t come in with dry salt mixes or lands in your tank from the atmosphere. Ich is a single-celled animal that is introduced to your tank, usually attached to a new fish or free swimming in the shipping bag water.

    (2) Ich cannot be killed or completely wiped out- WRONG. Ich is an Obligate Ectoparasite. This means that without a host (a fish), it will die of starvation within 6-8 hours.

    (3) Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides Dimdiatus) and Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata Amboinensis) eat Ich- WRONG. Wrasses and shrimp eat necrotic tissue, damage scales, and scabs. It has been well documented that the symbiotic “cleaning stations” in the reefs by wrasses and shrimps are there to help heal wounds from carnivore attacks, territorial fights, and other skin/scale injuries. It is possible that these cleaners might knock the parasite off the fish while doing this, but do nothing to control the reproduction and life cycle of Ich in your aquarium.

    (4) Fish eventually get immune to ich- TRUE. After repeated exposure and survival, fish build an immunity to Ich. However, new introductions don’t have this immunity and often die of Ich within a week of introduction, even though every other fish is fine. You will blame your LFS for selling you a fish with Ich, but the problem is Ich is present in your tank and your fish have gained some immunity which prevents fatalities- but they still suffer from the disease.

    (5) Stress causes Ich- WRONG. If Ich is present in your tank then stress reduces immunity and your fish will show more advanced and serious signs of the disease. But if Ich is not present, it doesn’t matter how stressed your fish get they won’t get Ich.

    (6) Freshwater dips eliminate Ich- WRONG. Freshwater dips may cause gill attached parasites to dislodge, but do not effect epidermal parasites. These are protected by the fishes own mucous layer. You may reduce the discomfort of scratching, but you will not prevent the cysts on the skin from dropping off and reproducing in the gravel.

    Life Cycle of Ich

    Before I cover how to kill them, let’s look briefly at how they live:

    * Free Swimming – The Ich parasite swims around your tank looking for a host. If it can’t find a fish within 6-8 hours, the parasite dies of starvation.
    * Attachment – It finds a fish and attaches to the skin or gills. It stays put and feeds off the fishes body fluids for 4 days.
    * Encystment – The parasite is now nourished and encased in a hard shell. It drops off the fish. The cyst floats around the aquarium for up to 18 hours looking for a place to settle down.
    * Reproduction – Once settled in, the cyst begins to reproduce (by cell division) splitting about 9 times which produces roughly 500 baby parasites within the cyst. This can take up to 28 days.

    When the cyst breaks open, all the parasites start swimming around looking for a host, and the cycle starts over again.