Treating for ich

  • #1
HI all,
I'm doing my first ich treatment. Already put in the aquarium salt and just put in some ich treatment that has malachite green in it. I guess I'm just wondering if it's OK that the tank is so bluish-green now. I mean, the stuff I put in was very blue-green, so I guess it's normal, but it just looks so weird!! I just need some reassurance!
  • #2
Welcome to Fishlore

I'm not sure about your water. What I have been reading on the forums is that you can treat ICH by raising the temperature to 85 degrees. If you raise the temperature raise it by 1-2 degrees a day until you reach 85, then leave it at that temperature for 14 days. I hope all goes well for the fish in the tank.
  • #3
When I used it, the water wasn't too colored - but it was noticeable. If the water is thick blue/green, you might've used too much ;D

What kinds of fish are in the tank? If you have any catfish or scaleless fish, you may want to use a very small amount of salt (or none) and maybe use a little less medication.

Oh, and make sure (if you haven't already) take out the carbon from your filter as it will absorb the medication.
  • #4
If you have tetras or scaleless fish like loaches, you have to cut your meds down in half. I use Quick Cure and love it. For my 30 gallon with tetras, they had only 15 drops a day to the regular 1 drop per gallon. I have concerns with the salt as it does not always work and for some fish, can be worse than the ich. Here's what has worked for me. Remove the carbon out of your filter. Day 1, give the first dosage. Each day after, do a partial water change before adding new meds so it does not build up to toxic levels. I always keep the temp at 84 and turn off the lights in my tank during the treatment as the lights attract the organisms. Treat until you no longer see ich on the fish and then continue with the treatment for a full 7 days after. The parasite hatches every few days so the free swimmers will die during this treatment. Your tank will turn blue as the silicone and air tubing will pick up the color. Make sure to use an airstone or something similiar so the is extra water movement and air as the bacteria dies off in higher temps and needs air to survive. I did not lose any fish during my lasts bout of ich and was very happy with how fast it was gone.
  • #5
I respectfully have to put a slightly different slant to your advice here. The temperature of the tank NEEDS to be at 85 degrees for 14 days because the organism that is causing the disease leaves the body of the fishes at this temperature and if the temperature is turned down before the 14 days is complete, the organism will not be killed and will settle right back onto the fish and reinfect them. This is a magic formula but there are some good points that have been made.

1) we do not know what kinds of fish are in your tank - If you have catfish, sharks, loaches, or any other fish that does not have scales, please do not use salt in your tank and before you dump any medication into your tank be sure to read as most medications containing Malachite Green are toxic to these same fish. This is also true of medications containing Methylene Blue. These medications also play havoc with your biological filter.

2) While I have used Quick Cure and do like it, without the temperature raise to 85 and the length of time (14 days) the parasite is not really dead just dormant. Yes, the spots go away very fast but there is a time frame in the lifecycle of the parasite that has to be taken into consideration. The ones that went freeswimming into the water when you put the temperature up are only the beginning of the problem. The ones who are still emerging and hatching off the fish in the days to come need that time to be killed.

  • #6
Good advice Rose. I must disagree slightly with smillermom about turning off the lights during treatment. The fish are used to a normal day-night cycle and I think it would be stressful when suddenly the lights didn't come on.
Don't worry about the colored water--that is normal with a lot of meds. Your thermometer suction cup (if it is clear) and possibly aquarium silicone will turn that color too. ;D Please tell us what your fish are in the tank. Also, what is the name of the medication you are using?
  • #7
I have had to treat for ich before and I found the water changes to be most helpful. it is important to change out about 25% of the water every day before giving the treatment. I found it was easier to get in the habit of doing it at the same time every day for the 14 days straight. most treatment bottles I have seen say to treat for 7 days until the visable signs are gone and then for 7 days more to make sure the water is treated.

from what I understood from my research on the topic, the parasite is in the water all the time and the fish are usually fine and can fight it off. if a fish becomes sick for another reason or gets stressed, it causes their immune system to lower it's defenses and the parasite can take over. I have found that making sure there is as little stress as possible and using isolation for at least 3 days before adding a new fish can lower your chances of getting ich.

I have lost a few fish from ich and that is why I researched it so much. I didn't want to go through it again. I have guppies and platies. I constantly have babies in my tank. the harsh ich treatments and exessive salt are not an option for me. I keep my tank set on 82 degrees at all times. I add some salt to my tank when I change out some of the water just to try to keep a constand amount in there, but I never add more than a pinch at a time. I have one fish who is in isolation because he never really got over the ich, but I am begining to think he has a different problem that could have been started at birth.

everyone here has great advice for you to help you with your fish, but you really need to make sure their advice applies to your fish. you know what you have and we don't. find out as much as you can before you go all out with the treatment. if you do too much at one time and it's the wrong thing for your particular fish, you may find you don't have any fish left.

I wish you luck with this and I hope you figure out what works for you!
  • #8
This is why my advice is the raise in temperature to 85 only and no meds or salt as that has been known to take care of the problem completely and will not hurt ANY fish. The only time I have known it not to be effective is when it was not done long enough or if the fish were too far gone before the treatment began.

  • #9
Well, I see some of your points but do not some of them. They parasite hatches into free swimmers every 3 days. If you treat for 1 week after you have seen the last of the ich, it will kill off 2 cycles of the parasite. Unless you run extra air into the tank, keeping the temp at 85 can be stressful on the fish and it also depletes oxygen and bacteria in the tank. I guess it depends on how you want to do it, with or without meds. I have had ich only once and have had tanks for a long time.As for the lights, we are only talking 10-12 days and the fish get natural light as well as room darkness. I only turn off the lights until the spots are gone then continue with partial water removal and the meds for 1 week. Everyone has a different way to cure ich, personally, I do not like to add salt for any reason into a freshwater tank with fish that do not need that environment.
  • #10
I have good reasons for not using the medications. Most of the Ich medications contain either Malachite Green or Methylene Blue. Both of these disturb the biological filter and cause a minI cycle situation to occur. If your fish have already been sick they really do not need to have any more stress factors to deal with.

Yes, of course, I do agree that there should always be airstones used with the temperatures at that level. The reason I forget sometimes to mention them is that I never run any aquarium without one going at all times anyway. It is just a good policy to have one to keep the "hot spots" stirred up and add more oxygen to the tank.

I lost a fish by leaving it in the dark for too long and as my friend the fish vet told me, disturbing its immune system by not seeing to it that it received enough light to replenish its Vitamin levels. He told me that they needed daily light in order to keep their immune systems healthy. So while I have heard pros and cons about having the light on and off, my personal experience says that, I believe what the man says. Fish can have bad problems from lack of light and they do not need more than one problem at a time. Again, this is my opinion, you may take it or not; but I feel I would be totally remiss in not explaining why I do what I do.

  • #11
Interesting, I had never heard that about the immune system.  Thanks for explaning that, I appreciate any new info.  I truly believe in limiting meds so thanks, I do only use ich treatment and anto biotics as needed. One of the reasons I never recommend salt also is with any beginning hobby, some mistakes are made and one being the amount of salt added to the tanks during treatment. It can be overused and result in fish death. I don't think I have ever seen how much to use posted here. Hmmm, you know, a place with just articles and stickies for quick info would not be a bad idea!! By the way, love your name, I have tons of chickadees here for the winter months as I feed them and they are almost docile!
  • #12
I have two questions: 1. Where does this Ich come from? I read it is in the water. I have also read fish naturally have ich and other diseases and it doesn't appear until there is a change in the tank. 2. When the carbon is off, does this mean your filter is off or is JUST the carbon removed so that the medication is not absorbed?
  • #13
1. Ich is a parasite in the water that can attack the fish if they are suddenly stressed, like if the temp suddenly drops.
2. Never turn off the just have to remove any carbon from the filter or it will adsorb any medications.
  • #14
from what I understood from my research on the topic, the parasite is in the water all the time and the fish are usually fine and can fight it off. if a fish becomes sick for another reason or gets stressed, it causes their immune system to lower it's defenses and the parasite can take over

Ohhhhh I have ICH!!!!! It came in on my newly aquired plecos. Just noticed it today, my tank temp is fairly high, so I had to make a minimal adjustment to get temp up. I will change out 25% tomorrow, try and get rid of some of the swimmers. Not all my fish are showing signs, but most are.

Really stinks as the plecos I bought have white spots so I didnt pick it... and didnt quarantine. :S

Just want to note I have had fish with ich before. In both instances my fish neither suffered from stress or any other factor. I have found that full blown tank infestations are caused by a weak individual eventually succumbing undetected (in gills usually) then when the little **** burst out and multiply they do it in such numbers that there is no way for the others to avoid infection. In my case a highly infected outsider.

I have no one suffering and only a few detectable spots on those infected thus I am hoping I caught it soon enough to treat without loss.
  • #15
This morning checked my fish and about 50-60% of the spots have gone on all fish. SO raised temp has had an immediate effect. Water change this morning then back to normal routine but with high temp for two weeks. Looks ok from here.

Forgot to mention with higher water temp they are insanely hungry.
  • #16
Hungry is good - it also means they do not know that they are sick. Great! So glad they are getting better. The real trick is to catch it early and it appears that you did so I am happy for you.

  • #17
Ok a day after raising temp about 90% of spots have gone. I can see this treatment is going to keep the water changes busy. Simply du to the fact hey are hungrier than usual and eat much faster.

Interestingly enough I seem to have the begginings of a pair bond starting and although its two different types of angel, I am pleased as its the best specimen of each I have.
  • #18
Todays update... only tow fish have spots now, one has one left the other has about 3-4. But almost entirely gone. I will do a 25% supplementary water change tonight. But things are looking better.
  • #19
Great! and I do hope the pairing works out well. We will be anxious to hear if you have a spawn out of it.

I am so glad the ich is clearing up so nicely for you. You caught it in time before it had a chance to do lasting damage to your fish.

  • #20
Yep seems so. And now I am entirely spot free and all are happy. Just run this temp for the remainder of the required time and all good.
  • #21
Day four of treatment and all is going great.
  • #22
Day 5 already..... just 9 to go and all happy.
  • #23
The higher the temp the more active fish are That's why they are Hungry.
  • #24
Day 11 (3 to go) all clear. Look forward to dropping the temp a few degrees though... my angels look great but no at their peak.
  • #25
Temp has been brought down the last few days. All happy ich gone.
  • #26
That's great!
  • #27
Ok...I know I've posted a lot about this I'm sorry lol. I'm not getting a quarantine tank until this Friday and won't have it ready to go until probably Saturday. The guy at my LFS is going to sell me water from his reef tank for $.50 a gallon so I won't have to wait for a cycle. In my display tank now, all I have are 5 fish and live rock, along with some fake stuff. 4 of the 5 have ich. I was told to raise the temp. and feed them garlic..and that would cure it. I'm just getting really worried right now because I can see it all over their bodies, and I don't want to wait until Saturday to put them in the tank and treat them. Since I don't have corals...and just live rock...can I just treat them in my tank now. I have some "Quick Cure," or would I be hurting my tank?
  • #28
"sell me water from his reef tank for $.50 a gallon so I won't have to wait for a cycle" THIS WILL NOT MAKE THE TANK NOT HAVE TO CYCLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the water doent have much to do with cycling But the gravel and filter media do, that's where all the good batceria is NOT THE WATER
  • #29
I have all my fish in a bare tank. Plus I have my hermit crab and cleaner shrimp in there as well. I am treating my fish for ich so I decided to just put them all in the quarantine tank. I know inverts like my shrimp don't get ich (I think I read that in some article on this site..but I could be wrong), but is it a bad thing to put ich medication in the tank with them because that's what I did and I don't think he's doing too well.
reef freak
  • #30
QTing them, as I've found out, seems to make Ich worse. Ich is usually able to take hold because of stress. The more stress, the weaker the fish's immune system, the more Ich.

My Blue Tang had Severe ich, and all I did was:
Keep Params good
Keep SG at 1.024 (If you have SW)
Keep temp from swinging
Feed garlic and vitamine based foods (I used Formula One pellets)

My Tang's Ich cleared in 3days

DO NOT USE MEDICATION!! It will stress the fish sometimes. NEVER PUT IT IN YOUR DISPLAY!!!! The shrimp isn't doing well because of the medication. Inverts CANNOT stand copper, or medications.

Do EXACTLY as I said and it should clear up. This is the most natural way of ridding ich. The ich will still be in the tank, but as long as the fish's immune system doesn't fail, they should be fine.

  • #31
Thank you so much. Unfortunately, my Regal Tang died. She was looking very bad, and just laying at the bottom of the tank so I put her in my QT...and she later died. I guess it was just the stress...and my shrimp died too. It's unfortunate that they haven't made a medication for ich that is safe for everything else. I have learned for next time. I'm still waiting for my tank to get back to normal since I had treated it. The carbon should have gotten the medication out by now. Thank you again for your help!!
  • #32
I am no expert, but I think my 2 Cherry Barbs have Ich. They both have white spots all over their bodies. One has had them for two days, the other began developing them today. They look like they are getting covered in salt just like in the descriptions I read on this web site.

How best should I take care of this? I have read there are chemicals that can be used, or that simply raising the temp in my tank to 85 will work. Not sure if that is to warm for my Cherry Barbs and Zebra Danios in this tank.

Thoughts and advice would be appreciated.

  • #33
If it is just cherry barbs and zebra danios you can raise the temperature to 83 degrees farenheit, 85 is too high.

What size tank is it and are there any other fish in the tank? How many cherrys and zebras do you have in there?

Oh and keep the temp at 83 degrees while doing twice as many waterchanges as usual for atleast 2 weeks. The 2 weeks is because of this:

Ich has 2 stages, one is free swimming spore of sorts, the other is the one that shows on the fish as attached. They are a living parasite, so the 83 degrees temperature is higher than the free swimming one can survive. The ones that are attached die off in about a week and a half to two weeks... so at that point you are ich free.
  • #34
NOT 85! To get rid of ick you have to raise the temp over 82. It just has to be AT LEAST 82. So 82.5 is ok or 83. Keep it there for at least 2 weeks. This temp should be ok for your fish. Do water changes, every other day, because the higher temperatures diminish the available oxygen in the water.

If the white spots don't noticeably lessen within a day, where you can see it is getting better on the fish, you can medicate. The temperature kills the parasite in the water, which is ultimately what you need to do to prevent it from returning any time your fish are stressed, or you add new fish.
  • #35
Thanks for the advice. It is a 30 gal far I just have 2 Cherry Barbs and 2 Zebra Danios in the tank.
  • #36
Just so you know, if you increased the numbers to 6 of both the barbs and danios it may smooth their stress levels out, which would make them less suseptible to disease. Both fish are schooling fish and feel safe when in numbers 5-6 or more. In a 30 gallon you could do 6 of each and be fine, you could do up to 10 of both and be fine, actually, but if you only do 6 of each you would have a little bit of room for a clean-up crew of bottom dwellers such as 3 corydoras anaeus or whatever.

Good job on not overstocking, though.
  • #37
Rounding out the schools would be good and if you wanted something to aid them, Ich-Attack is safe but I wouldn't use anything else and as you know, just warmer water would do the trick. Good luck with them.
  • #38
THere has been doccumented cases where the ick strain will survive at 90 degrees but I don't thing that is that case here. When I had ich in my 50 gallon I upped my tamp to 87 degrees I had cardinal tetras corydoras a pleco and they all pulled through no casualties. I alsio used the Ick attack that co betta couple is talking about and it also helped
  • #39
Thanks all. I pickup up a bottle of Ich Attack today and I am using that as well as bumping the temp to just above 82. We will see how it goes.....lost one fish today, but determined to save the rest.

  • #40
Wolfgang, do you have a source on that? That is interesting info.

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