Feb 13 2011, 11:42 AM
Ich is a very common parasite characterized by white spots form .2 to 1 mm in size all over the fish including in the gills. The parasite can not be killed when it is in the white spot stage, but can only be killed after it breaks out of this stage and into a free swimming stage (tomites) looking for another host.Treatment usually takes 6 or 7 days, but must be carried out at least 3 days after the last signs of white spot are evident. This parasite has become very resistant to antiparasitics and can remain dormant in the “white spot stage” from 6 to 35 days or longer depending on what “species” of Ich is involved. Long term medications may be needed such as a copper medication.
Ich can "hide" in the gills and mouth. It is for this reason that we treat 3 to 6 days beyond the evidence of white spots on the exterior of the fish.
**Treatments include Rid Ich +, Quick Cure, Cupramine, Paraquard and others.
. **If using a copper based product frequent testing of the concentration of copper in the water is essential to maintain the proper therapeutic level of copper in the water. Too low of a concentration and the parasite is not killed. Too high of a concentration and the fish is killed.
**Copper products must not be used at the same time as antibiotics.
**Copper products can be absorbed by gravel and leach back into the aquarium after treatment. Treatment with copper products should be done in a bare bottom tank. Gravel from infected tanks needs to be disposed of. It can contain untreated parasites.
** ***When using Cupramine it is imperative that you do not use “Prime” or another water preparation that neutralizes chloramines! The “amine” (ammonia) part of Cupramine will be neutralized, leaving pure ionic copper in the water and will kill the fish! Also regular dechlor must be used “sparingly” to avoid the same problem!
***Copper treatments should not be done when there are plants or algae present as the plants and algae absorb the copper and then die, releasing all the copper back into the water rapidly, possible causing too high of a level of copper, killing the fish.
***Medications may work differently in various water due to the amount and types of minerals in the water. Be prepared to do a water change or add carbon to remove the medication if the fish do not tolerate the treatment.
**Tetras, Loaches and all scaleless fish may not tolerate full doses of antiparasitic medications.
**Do not use formalin based products if the fish has open wounds.
**Using Increased Temperature to Aid in Treatment
Increasing the temperature may aid in treating external parasites due to the following
1. High enough temperatures actually kill the parasite. *Make sure the fish in the tank can tolerate the increase in temperature. I have had Discus in temps above 92F. I have had bushynose plecos in temps above 85F. I have had Oscars and common plecos in temps of 90F.
2. The increase in temperature speeds up the life cycle of the parasite. Medications are most effective at certain stages in the life cycle (ich can only be treated during the free swimming stage). If the life cycle is sped up, then the total treatment duration may be reduced, resulting in less stress on the fish.
3. The increased temperature increases the fish metabolism, aiding in faster healing and ability to fight disease.
**With an increase in temperature the oxygen levels in the water decrease. Extra aeration is recommended.
**An increase in temperature may not be good if bacterial infection is present as the bacteria reproduce faster and may become worse. (this is debated among many fishkeepers). Generally a lower temperature is recommended with bacterial infections to slow down the bacteria.
**Using an increase in temperature Plus one of the medications is usually very effective.
**According to Untergasser in “The Handbook of Fish Diseases” the following temperatures are effective in killing parasites.
Ich dies at 91.4F for 10 days (most people say at temps kept over 86F) (May take up to 35 days)
**When treating for external parasites, the tank must be kept very clean to eliminate dead parasites and parasite cysts. Vacuuming the gravel is a must. Gravel makes it difficult to treat parasites as the parasite can “hide” in the gravel and medication may not reach the parasite.
*** Formalin is normally clear. If it is “Milky” in color, then it is no good and must be disposed of, it will be very toxic to fish.
Clout and Fluke Tabs
Clout and fluke tabs are very effective against external parasites. These meds contain “dylox” (trichlorfon), an insecticide.
The fish may lose their apetite and color when using this medication, but this is usually resolved once the medication is stopped and water changes are done.
****Never use these medications when plecos are present as plecos have shown a sensitivity to this medication and have died.
I have used these medications at the recommended dosages for a period of 5 days.
***These medications are a neurotoxin to humans and may affect the nervous system. Keep your hands out of the water, especially if you have open sores.
Here is a pic of the pectoral fins on one of my oscars indicating possible ich.
This post has been edited by Ardan: Feb 13 2011, 06:20 PM
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