ICH 101 For the Noob by a Noob

Discussion in 'Diseases' started by cosmo, Jan 13, 2012.

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  1. cosmo

    cosmo Giant Squid

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    Hello,
    Let me preface this by saying that I’m in no way an expert on ich, and the following should be taken as such! Ich just happens to be one of the most frustrating things to happen in our reefs! So the following info is meant as a starter guide for when you panic and don’t know what to do if your tank comes down with it! I’m basically going to compile the info out there in a short read! I’d suggest that you go read up on the topic more so you can make up your own mind on how to treat this situation!

    THE BASICS!

    NEVER TRUST YOUR LFS THAT HE QT’D YOUR FISH FOR YA! HIS TANKS PROBABLY ALL HAVE ICH IN THEM, AND UNLESS YOU KNOW FOR SURE, DON’T TRUST IT!


    The best thing to do for Ich is not get it in your DT! How do you do this? You’ll need to set up a QuaranTine tank , and keep all future inhabitants in this for 6 weeks! They’ll need to be treated with hypo salinity/copper/or formalin to eradicate their bodies of the disease! All corals should be dipped in a solution like CoralRX, and all inverts(inverts and corals can not tolerate copper.formalin or hypo) should be QT’d for 21 days to rid any ich that may be lurking in water in their cavities! That being said, you still may get Ich!
    The next best thing to do, IS AVOID STRESS OF THE FISH IN YOUR TANK AND FEED THEM A WIDE VARIETY OF HEALTHY FOODS!
    Do not overstock your fish,
    put fish in appropriate sized tank,
    do not house aggressive fish with non aggressive!
    Also, supplement the fishes diet with selcon(vitamins) and garlic periodically(there is a theory out there that too much garlic can harm your fish, but it seems to take ALOT)! Garlic stimulates appetite and the immune system, thus helping keep the fish healthy
    Keep your water quality A1!

    Now that being said; i think we all know most of us aren't going to QT our fish for 6 weeks! There is a school of thought out there that all fish have the ich in them and you'll never eradicate it completely! Also are you going to QT all your snails, your chaeto, etc? And does adding more stress during a long drip method or a small QT. So I'll let Vinnyboombatz put it better! good reading!http://www.3reef.com/forums/new-hobby/simple-rules-avoid-ich-126326.html

    Research and choose for yourself! There's schools of thought on both sides!
    The following is stolen from Coralline:
    There are only three proven effective treatments for ich. But none of these are reef or invert safe! And never combine any of the treatments as it can kill your fish!

    1. Hypo salinity Hold salinity at 11ppt-12ppt (1.008-1.009) until at least 4 weeks after the last spot is seen! Raise and lower this very slowly to allow the fish to acclimate!
    2. Copper
    3. Formalin

    Yes some of the cure all products advertised may have some degrees of formalin in them, but not nearly enough to eradicate ich. If the product had enough formalin in it to kill ich, it would also kill all inverts and sensitive tank inhabitants. The marine fish industry would save millions of dollars each year if there was such a product that you could just add to your display tank.

    Life Stages of Marine Ich

    1.TOMONT STAGE: May last anywhere from 3 - 28 days or even longer depending on water temperature. You cannot see ich in this stage; it is attached to the substrate.
    2. THERONT STAGE: The free swimming stage lasting anywhere from 1 - 3 days.
    3. TROPHONT STAGE: This is the only stage that you can actually visualize the parasite. At this stage it is attached to the fish and feeding on the fish, lasting 3 - 7 days.
    4. TROPHONT FREE SWIMMING: The last stage where the parasite has fallen off the fish to begin its reproduction cycling in the substrate.

    THIS IS THE RUB: JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN NOT SEE IT ANY LONGER DOES NOT MEAN IT WAS ERRADICATED.

    To effectively treat this parasite one needs to understand the life stages of ich. “

    -Coralline
    The full thread for the above:
    http://www.3reef.com/forums/fish-diseases/life-cycle-marine-ich-96343.html
    [FONT=Cambria[/COLOR]]Please read for a thorough detail on myths and facts on Ich;[/FONT]
    http://www.reefsanctuary.com/forums/fish-diseases-treatments/23132-marine-ich-myths-facts.html

    OK SO YOU GOT ICH! WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS?

    1 THE BEST OPTION

    SET UP A QT TANK; PLACE ALL YOUR FISH IN, TREAT THE APPROPRIATE AMOUNT OF TIME BASED ON WHAT METHOD YOU USE! AND LEAVE THE TANK FALLOW FOR AT LEAST 8 WEEKS! (FALLOW=FISHLESS) You can raise the temperature to 82 to increase the life cycle of Ich and eradicate it quicker! But why go through all this and rush, only to have some of the lil buggers still in there and go through it again!

    NOT TOO FUN BUT YOUR ONLY OPTION!

    2 THE NOT SO GREAT OPTION, BUT YOU HAVE NO OTHER OPTION! (CAN’T SET UP A QT FOR WHATEVER REASON!) A lot of times if the following are used, you stand a decent chance your fish will pull through and develop a partial immunity (PARTIAL)
    -Raise the temperature slightly to increase the ich’s life cycle
    -Feed your fish garlic and Selcon laced variety of quality foods!
    -Remove as much stress as possible!

    -I used a product called Herbtana Microb Lift! While there is nothing that says it officially works, many have had some success with it! IT DOES NOT CURE ICH! It is reef safe according to the product, and everything I’ve read(some of my corals did close up, but reopened soon)! The basic premise is that it increases the fish’s immunity, appetite, and slime layer! This allows the fish to stay strong and battle the ich! The increased slime layer also helps prevent the ich from attacking the fish so they fall off and die! This is at least a 15 day process requiring no skimming or UV sterilization, and a 25% water change! I’m not sure if it worked for me, but it didn’t hurt anything IMO! I’d also do some water changes throughout since you won’t be skimming and probably feeding a little heavier!

    When to pull your fish and set up a hospital/QT tank! This is more stress on an already stressed out fish, so should be a last resort!


    If your fish stops eating and grows lethargic and hides, it may be time to pull your fish, and set up a hospital/QT tank! Also, if she’s scratching to the point that she’s harming herself!

    Please note that i think that they are 2 different entities!

    A hospital tank IMO is for quick few day treatments of very sick fish, to medicate them and get them ready to return to the DT; it can consist of something as basic as a bucket/tote, heater/thermometer/airstone and a few hiding places! No carbon/rock/sand to absorb the medicine!

    A QT would be used to treat the fish and house them for the 8 week fallow session of your DT!

    Read: First step QT tank: read this:http://www.3reef.com/forums/fish-di...ital-tank-124470.html?highlight=hospital tank

    Getting a Hospital Tank Setup STAT - Nano-Reef.com Forums

    This should consist of an appropriate sized tank! notice in the links to have a spare filter running in your sump to add bacteria to the new hospital tank and no sand/rock/carbon in the tank to absorb the medicine! Also provide hiding spots!

    I used Instant Ocean Life Guard!(seacham paraguard also) But you can also use Furan or ________________(Pro's please help here?Thx). After treatment is complete, Place the fish back in the DT!


    So all your fish made it through, and are ich free right? WRONG! Ich is still in your DT, and will more than likely rear its ugly head again! There’s a theory that if there are no more outbreaks over an 11 month span, Ich will have a lesser chance to come back in bloom, but it’s still there! The best thing you can do is the something from above! DO NOT OVERSTOCK, ONLY PUT FISH IN YOUR TANK THAT IS SIZE APPROPRIATE, FEED QUALITY FOODS, KEEP PARAM’S IN CHECK, AND PRAY!LOL

    A quick word on UV Sterilizers! UV sterilizer are usually put on systems to kill the free floating ICH parasites. This will help, but it will not kill all the parasites simply because all the water will not make it though the sterilizer. An UV Sterilizer can help protect against an outbreak of ICH though.And it may kill other bacteria that the fish will not have to fight off and weaken it! So in short, an UV Sterilizer is nothing more then peace of mind and will not help prevent ICH in your tank. (input by stickSmith)

    My experience as a noob;

    I trusted that my LFS, a long time buddy, had QT’d my new yellow tang and Flame Angel! And yes, I was overstocked! Got them home and everything seemed great! The next day, the FA was covered, and the following the YT! But they were eating! I panicked and bought everything I could find and read, read, read! I just didn’t have the money or time to set up a full QT! So Herbtana, garlic, and selcon it was, as well as some new frozen foods! For 2 days all seemed to be doing ok, then on the third day, the Tang and FA,were covered scratching, hiding and not eating for a full day, looking almost dead! I set up a 20 gallon tote, with a heater, thermometer and air stone and pulled the FA and YT! I chose Instant Ocean Lifeguard as a broad spectrum medicine! I know it’s not the best, but all my LFS had to offer! The next day my FA was dead and the YT looked bad! In my DT I was using herbtana! My clowns were covered, and my chromis and dotty back were definitely itchy! But all were eating! I doubted the orange clown was going to make it, but I tell ya that herbtana made those guys ravenous! After 5 days my YT was still not eating but was alive and treatment was over! I gave him a bath in tank water for a few minutes and put him back with the lights out! I continued the herbtana! The next day, he came out eating his NORI, looking like a skeleton! Within 7 days all fish didn’t have any “signs” of the disease and were eating! Day 10, all looked good! The YT had his color back and some meat on his bones! I did a 10% water change every other day, as I knew I was over feeding with no skimmer, to help keep the water clean, levels down, and remove any of the lil buggers I could! THIS IS NOT A TESTIMONIAL, JUST MY EXPERIENCE! So my tank seems happy today! For the time being! But I will not be adding any more fish and causing stress or overcrowding!


    Hope this helps, but if you’re starting up a new tank, save yourself the hassle, and set up a QT!


    All the pro’s please prvide feedback so I can improve this, especially with the other various medications! I'm a noob, please be gentle, I tried!

    Happy reefing!
    Ryan




     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
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  3. tattoolew

    tattoolew Sea Dragon

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    AwSome read really good guide for ick for all level hobbyist.
     
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  4. cosmo

    cosmo Giant Squid

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  5. sticksmith23

    sticksmith23 Giant Squid

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    Great read. This should really help out some the newer folks in the hobby/addiction.
     
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  6. NanoMano

    NanoMano Gigas Clam

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    looking good MANG
     
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  7. Corailline

    Corailline Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It is a dry heat, yeah right !
    That was very nice of you to gather all the information to provide some guidance to those struggling with the frustrations that goes with dealing with marine ich.

    Hopefully one day treatment options will be better.

    I post a lot about this topic and have changed my thoughts on aggressive treatments throughout the years. In my opinion (only) reduction and relief of stress is the biggest tool.
     
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  9. sticksmith23

    sticksmith23 Giant Squid

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    That is consistent with what I have been reading on these forums over that last 6 months or so. It seems that when many people ask if they should move their sick fish to a QT, somebody will chime in and tell them not to due to causing to much stress on the sick fish and the other fish, which could in turn make the other fish more prone to ICH as well.
     
  10. cosmo

    cosmo Giant Squid

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    thx corailline! You were kinda my judge on it! Appreciate the pat on the back! I just remembered how panicked I was, and wanted a quick reference with the basics! This got longer than i wanted but alot of stuff to do!

    i just added a hospitl setup link where dowtish and reefmonkey gave some great advice! and a part about UV sterilizers! Alot of conlicting info about those!

    keep the suggestions coming!
     
  11. Corailline

    Corailline Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It is a dry heat, yeah right !
    I would say that if you have hard to find, expensive fish or rare fish that routine QT is probably appropriate to the situation. Some types of fish are also prone to different parasites both internal and external. Prophylactic treatment for these parasites or other pathogens becomes routine for those housing those type of specialty fish.

    It will always be hot topic, responsible hobbyist need to know their options and do the research. I do not believe that you can not effectively and repeatedly treat it without knowing the life cycle.

    It's up to the individual to decide if QT works for their situation or not, and with that knowing how to properly set up a QT and run one so as not to do more harm than good.
     
  12. cosmo

    cosmo Giant Squid

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    Good Point! Its almost like you know what you're talking about!;)
    I changed the hospital tank section to 2! 1 for a brief hospital tank for medication only, and the other as a long term QT tank so you can leave your DT fallow?

    Thx for the input
     
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