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What does getting ich under control look like?


jwcarlson
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First noticed ich on Wednesday AM.  Got new fish Sunday and Sunday afternoon did med trio.  Then Wednesday AM saw ich only on the rummy nose tetras.

Did partial water change after work and redosed Ich-X.  Looked worse in the morning, did another change and another dose.  Looked better after work on Thursday.  Changed water and redosed.  Now it's spread to other fish.  Everyone is eating OK and I think med trio cleared some worms out of a couple of cardinal tetras that were pretty thin, they seem to be gaining a little weight.
 

Been changing water and dosing Ich-X about every 12 hours since Wednesday afternoon.  And it's not clearing up.  Rummy nose look worse again today than last night.  I know it's only 'killable' in the free-swimming stage... I bumped the temp up a couple of degrees (was at 76 got it to 78 now).  If no difference in the AM, I might bump it to 80 when I redose.

One thing I've noticed is that the blue color in the water is darn near gone within... half an hour?  It's not there for long at all.  Maybe that's normal.  I've never used Ich-X and I haven't treated ich in probably two decades. 

Pic is best I could get on one of the rummy nose.    

Water Parameters:

  • pH - my tap water comes out of the tap at 7 and ages to 8.2, this tank has Fluval Stratum which seems to drop pH to about 6.5.  I change water straight out of the tap.
  • Nitrates - tons of plants also in quarantine, nitrates are rock bottom... MAYBE "5" on the test strip this morning.
  • Hardness - 18 degrees/320 ppm
  • Nitrite - 0
  • Ammonia - 0
  • KH/Buffer - 16 degrees/285 ppm
  • Water Temperature - 76 before this afternoon, now increased to 78

Thanks!

20220122_171136.jpg

Edited by jwcarlson
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I have treated Ich a few times successfully. I treated with API Super Ick 1x and 2x Seachem ParaGuard (I would use API again, I have Ich X but no experience with it yet). I treat Ich until there have been NO signs for 7 days. Upping the heat (I'm not sure 78 works it would have to be higher) helps speed up the lifecycle and like you said yes, when they drop from the fish, hatch from the substrate and become free swiming that is the only time they can be killed. Because technically you're not using heat yet, what you are likely seeing is other lifecycles happening at different rates. It's possible the Ich X isn't being dosed correctly? I know it's not as blue as API Super Ick is. You don't have any filter media running that would remove meds? 

I treated with heat 1x and the other 2x without heat- the only difference was it takes a lot longer when there is no heat. 

Definitely add an airstone if you use heat, it depletes oxygen. 

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
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Totally get the slowly part. I didn't like doing it because it seemed to make my fish uncomfortable but it definitely did the job faster. Medicating for longer I hate too, so it's 6 of one half dozen of another. 

You're probably just seeing the newer life cycles coming through. I would keep going until no signs after 7 days or unless fish show signs of stress.

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On 1/23/2022 at 4:16 AM, jwcarlson said:

Do you notice a blue tinge that sticks around?  The blue is just GONE in really short order (like... 30 minutes or less).  Makes me wonder if Fluval Stratum can cause it to react out or something?

The blue tinge shouldn't go that quickly I have never use fluval stratum so don't no if it will effect medication

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That may not be ich. These latest pictures look like epistylis. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between the two. The spots seem to stand out and they are a little fuzzy. Here is a chart from the aquariumscience.org article on epistylis. The article is very good to learn causes and treatment.

10.6-Epistylis.jpg

Edited by HH Morant
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Thank you, ordered everything to mix up some medicated food.  I'll keep doing the Ich-X in the meantime as the meds won't be here until Friday 😞

At least it doesn't seem to be getting worse.  But article does say Malachite Green can be somewhat effective, so maybe that's holding it somewhat at bay for the time being.  The spots do seem to be changing, but not really increasing in number or density.

 

Thanks everyone!  I'll update next week.

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I had bumped temp to 82.  Yesterday AM it dawned on me that the *whatever it is* looked better in the mornings than it did in the afternoons.  So I did a water change, but didn't dose Ich-X.  

This morning the fish look just as good if not better than they did yesterday, so another water change and no Ich-X.  

Somehow all of this has knocked my bacteria colony off kilter.  I hadn't tested for a couple of days because I was doing it twice a day and everything looked exactly the same.  0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, <10 ppm nitrates.  

Then yesterday it popped nitrites so I checked ammonia and it was there as well.  

Don't know what to make of that unless repeated Ich-X was nuking bacterial colony.  Fish don't seem too stressed or anything.  I did switch to Fritz complete at about the same time as starting Ich-X, so maybe that caused some issue?  Fritz Complete says 1 capful for 50 gallons so I do ~1-2 drops for about three gallons.  To avoid using it I'm just aging/preheating the WC water which isn't too big of a deal.  Also slowly turned temp back so it should be back to ~78 when I get home from work today to slow whatever might be going on.  Will be interesting to see how they look tonight.

 

Also... looks like my meds to make medicated feed will be here today and not tomorrow.

Edited by jwcarlson
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How long has the tank been cycled?  I don't think it is unusual for a tank that is not yet mature to have an episode of ammonia/nitrites.

The toxicity of ammonia depends  on your pH.  The higher the pH, the more toxic they are. See the aquariumscience.org article on ammonia toxicity.

 I think the best course is to monitor the ammonia and nitrites and do water changes to keep them at a level the fish can tolerate. Your beneficial bacteria needs a little time to catch up.

 

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Actually, it was half full and I was putting some fish food in it for a few weeks before that.

So it's been closer to two months.  But wasn't anything scientific going on.  

Didn't start testing until just before I put fish in.  Had nitrates, but no ammonia or nitrites so figured it was "good to go".  But fish have only been in it about a month and then got some more (and more plants) to QT before getting the 75 gallon set up.  Original fish were in for three weeks before adding more.

Might do it a bit differently if I had a time machine.  And it's been 15 years or so since I've cycled a tank.  

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Less than 10 "spots" this evening.  Fins look a bit ragged (assuming former "cysts" or infected areas get wrecked that makes sense).  Changed water and fed Kanaplex/Focus/Garlic Guard mix according to directions.  All were happy to eat.  

 

Ammonia at zero now, still some nitrites, nitrates much higher so whatever is going on hopefully its settled in shortly.  PH on this tank is in the 6.5ish range. 

Says to feed for a week, does that seem reasonable?

 

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I assume when you ask feed for a week you mean medicated food? If that's what the instructions say I'd say yes- you should always finish a course of treatment especially when it comes to anibiotics. 

Do you have any buffer? 

When I was treating Ich, I was using API Super Ick and had an ammonia issue (thankfully my pH was higher- but the heat I was using sped up decay in the tank, therefore ammonia!) so before I redosed meds I did a water change and dosed it and Prime. 

I hope something here helps. 

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
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@xXInkedPhoenixX

Yeah, our tap water comes from aquifers where the water filters down through all of the limestone here in Iowa and is just about what most people would call "liquid rock".  Ruins appliances, leaves white powder on everything, nothing rinses clean.  Perfect African cichlid water (probably?).  But not necessarily so perfect for other stuff.  Comes out of the tap at pH of 7 and ages up to a pH of ~8.  So it apparently also has a lot of carbon dioxide in it.  TDS on aged water pushes 500.  To combat it water "softeners" are a big thing here.  It's ion exchange that has a resin that strips minerals and replaces them with sodium (usually two sodium for one mineral is my understanding).  TDS on my "soft" water is like 1200.  I don't use that stuff in the tanks (anymore, I used to mix it to get to temp as our hot water is always "softened").

When I was originally in the hobby (15 years ago) it always scared me away from (my dream fish) discus, but have been pretty re-assured by a number of people that the pH and hardness won't really be an issue for growing out/keeping discus.  So I do want to give that a shot soon.

 

On this tank's front, almost no white spots on the fish this AM.  I think I saw <5 spots total on the eight rummynose.  Will just keep on keeping on (daily ~25% water changes and medicated feed 2x a day) for the time being, everyone seems to be OK other than looking a little ragged from whatever cropped up and now seems to be receding.  I've never dealt with "stress ich", but it seems really strange that when I quit treating with Ich-X that it went away.  I'm now back to original temperature ~78 degrees and no treatments in the water (except whatever dissolves from the food).

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Maybe... but here's the thing... the "ich" went away almost entirely well before I started the medicated feed.  HOWEVER, the cardinals certainly got something in the fray.  The rummynose went from some spots 10 days ago, spots increased (and seemed to constantly change) for about 7 days while I was dosing Ich-X every 12-24 hours).  I made the observation that the longer the time went between treatments, the better the fish looked.  Meaning fish dosed in the AM looked worse at 4 PM then they did immediately prior to their AM treatment.  That didn't add up to me.

Admittedly there was also ammonia and nitrite issues in the meantime, so none of this is anything than a half-baked theory.  But I'm not so sure it wasn't ich, stress ich, and epistylis.  The last being a secondary infection after ich started to clear.

At this point all I can do is keep observing and keep the water safe for them.  Which pretty much describes fish keeping in general. 😄

Edited by jwcarlson
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