Starting my war with Ich- first time, advice needed

Badfish_Reefer

New member
So I woke up this morning and noticed my Kole Tang has begun to get some ich spots on his fins. :headwalls:

Something I've always dreaded happening but never thought it actually would.

There's no way I'm getting this fish out of the tank, I've got a million caves in my rockwork and the second I stick a hand in he disappears.

It's a reef tank so I don't have many medication options.

I turned on my UV sterilizer to help out a bit.

Nitrate and Nitrite at 0. Salinity 1.025, Temp at a constant 79.

Considering I can't remove the fish and I have corals, what are my viable options?
 

slief

RC Sponsor
Premium Member
There was a thread here the other day with a member swearing he cured ich several times by sprinkling ginger powder into melted frozen food and refreezing it for later use.

I battled ich once in my reef tank and lost most of my fish. My tank is huge and there was no getting the fish out without completely breaking it down and that wasn't going to happen.

I tried everything from UV to reef safe ich treatments like Kick Ich and Medic Ich treatment along with garlic, selcon infused food, lowered salinity, lots of O2 via air stones etc. Nothing helped. You might try the ginger and let us know if it helps. Best of luck in your battle.

Here is the ginger thread.
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2342319&highlight=ginger

It's been three years since my ich battle and it's never returned. It was gone after 30 days or so but like I said, it took a toll on my fish and I lost about 60-70% of them. It was very painful for me but with my tank, it's aquascape that is glued together and the fact that it had been up and running for more than 7 years at the time, there was no way I would have risked my established eco system or corals to treat the tank with copper and I had no means of QT'ing that many fish even if I could have gotten them out.

Incidentally, my ich outbreak was brought on by a sudden water temp change as a result of a large (100 gallon) water change using water than was much cooler than my tanks. It dropped my tanks temp 4* in a matter of 30 minutes and my powder blue tang broke out within 24 hours followed by most of the other fish. That is the only time I had an issue with ich in over 20 years.
 
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Duvallj

New member
Sorry to hear your dilemma.
Treating ich in a reef environment might be next to impossible.
Some of the most effective methods are treating the fish in a hospital tank while staving out the ich in the main tank.
Due to the life cycle you may be battle ich for quite some time (months and months) if it were done in the main tank.

Its a pain, but you might have to dissemble your life rock in order to catch the fish.
 

Badfish_Reefer

New member
Thanks for the advice Slief... I've heard of people trying alot of things but never ginger. I want to leave disassembling the rock work to catch the fish as a last resort, so I might just give the ginger a shot. Nothing to lose (I hope). I'll check that thread out.

Sorry to hear about the losses from your own battle with Ich, that's rough. I have a feeling my tang broke out for a similar reason as yours. Did a water change last night and dropped the salinity and temp a little bit. It was a slight and temporary drop but those tangs can be sensitive...

I'll keep you guys updated if I try the ginger method
 

sczlars

New member
Feed your fish well, and they will probably get over it. I know this isn't the position of this forum (stickies), but if your fish are otherwise healthy and not stressed out, eating well, and (possibly) having the calming presence of a cleaner shrimp, they will kick the infestation. Personally I would do this. In the past I've lost fish trying to separate them from the tank, medicate, letting the tank sit fallow, etc... it wasn't pretty on the fish, and I think now that if I had just left well enough alone, the problem would have taken care of itself. My current tank is proof that this method works (for me). --Lars
 

sczlars

New member
Did a water change last night and dropped the salinity and temp a little bit. It was a slight and temporary drop but those tangs can be sensitive...

so if this is what 'caused' the outbreak, then you already had ich in the tank and your fish was not showing the symptoms, or it already had a working level of balance with the parasite. I think the worst thing you could do now would be to do anything drastic that would stress out the fish more.

--Lars
 

IslandCrow

Reef Monkey
Premium Member
Feed your fish well, and they will probably get over it. I know this isn't the position of this forum (stickies), but if your fish are otherwise healthy and not stressed out, eating well, and (possibly) having the calming presence of a cleaner shrimp, they will kick the infestation. Personally I would do this. In the past I've lost fish trying to separate them from the tank, medicate, letting the tank sit fallow, etc... it wasn't pretty on the fish, and I think now that if I had just left well enough alone, the problem would have taken care of itself. My current tank is proof that this method works (for me). --Lars

This may very well work, as ich is certainly not always fatal. The big thing to keep in mind is even if the fish survives and even after it stops displaying symptoms, it will more than likely remain a carrier and potentially infect any other fish you add to the tank. If you do decide to go this route, your focus should be on promoting fish health as sczlars pointed out.
 

slief

RC Sponsor
Premium Member
OP,
One thing I would strongly suggest you do immediately is add an air stone to the display close to a power head. Ich attacks the fishes gills making it difficult for them to get enough O2. By adding the air stone, you can help supplement the O2 so they don't die from ich endured hypoxia.
 

Badfish_Reefer

New member
Thanks for the advice guys. I'm definitely going to focus on promoting overall fish health to combat this thing, there's really no other option. I'll diversify their diet a bit and try adding ginger. Getting a little cold now where I am so the temp in my RO storage has dropped. I'll heat up the water more before I add it which should help with the stress too.

Good call on the airstone. I've got one lying around somewhere, I'll be hooking that up tomorrow.

Are some cleaner shrimp a good investment at this point?
 

TankCla

SPSychology
Starting my war with Ich- first time, advice needed

Definitely a good investment. My tang goes every hour or so to the cleaner shrimp for ich cleaning.

I have visible improvements after one week of frozen food soaked in garlic extract and vitamins. I am also soaking small pieces of seaweed, just bite size for the tang.
 
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TankCla

SPSychology
How are your fish? I am in the third day of mixing frozen food with garlic extract, ginger powder and metro. My tang is clean. Today all the ich spots are gone. I think this ginger thing really works.
 

Timber77

New member
feed extra heavy , healthy fish will survive, as the guy above said oxygen is your friend.
chasing the fish is probably the fastest way to make sure it dies, dont stress them out with hands in the tank .
 

Badfish_Reefer

New member
Hi all- just wanted to give an update and also let everyone know how much I appreciated all the advice during my ich battle the past month.

Shortly after starting this thread, I began soaking all food in garlic extract and doing everything possible to keep my hands out of the tank. It took about a week but my Kole Tang was finally looking like he had cleared up and didn't have any visible ich spots. Then a few days later I woke up and sadly he was dead. I had added the airstone and he had seemed to be doing better so I was a bit surprised by this. However, he was looking pretty skinny for a week or two leading up to his death and I noticed he wasn't really eating like he used to. I think all the stress from the ich, etc caused him to not eat and become weakened which ultimately led to him dying.

A few days later one of my clowns broke out in ich. I continued feeding with the garlic extract and keeping my hands out of the tank. I added top off water more gradually than normal. Now he looks fine and doesn't have any visible ich spots. He's eating really well and seems to be back to normal. Keeping an eye on him but hoping for the best.

Lessons learned from this experience:

-Preventative care is worth making an effort for. Feeding well, keeping hands out of the tank, cleaner shrimp and investing in an ATO to avoid changes in temp and salinity adding top off, all help to keep the fish stress free. Also, just because you can't see ich spots doesn't mean your fish is out of the woods. Continue to monitor them and feed well.

So far only one fish has perished, with one more being infected (now with not visible ich). I know the ich is still there but I'm doing my best to keep the fish stress free and the ich under control.
 

fscmocsaj

New member
I have Ich in my tank and I just try to keep my fish well fed. I add ginger,garlic and amino to their food 2-3 times a day and they are fine. I've had 1 outbreak of ich(by outbreak I mean all my fish are covered in Ich and they look like death) however all my fish survived thank god. But as soon as my water quality starts to drop or something changes drastically I notice my fish start to suffer.

I've had only 2 deaths.
My first longnose hawkfish jumped out of the tank. (rookie mistake, no lid)
My maroon clown went into shock because the salinity of my tank was a lot higher then the LFS. (another rookie mistake)

Everyone has their own methods and people will tell you that things don't work but I've learned to just try all methods and something is bound to work for you.

Good luck!
 

ca1ore

Grizzled & Cynical
I think if you cannot remove all your fish, the only option is to make sure they are given a healthy diet and excellent water quality - and ride it out! One consequence of this is that your tank will likely always have ich and make certain fish off limits (the 'ich magnets').
 

Badfish_Reefer

New member
I agree, I think the only course from here on out is to feed well and optimize water quality. Definitely going to stay away from purchasing anymore Tangs although I would love to have them in my tank. But, it wouldn't be responsible of me, or fair to the Tang, for me to introduce it into a tank that I know has ich lurking in it. I'll have to wait until my next tank in a couple of years to have Tangs
 

falconut

New member
My display tank got infected with ich and I tried the ginger, but it didn't work for me. After a month or so of a few fish getting just a few spots, almost all the fish were covered. So, I had to pull almost all my rock out and remove the fish for hypo. Not a fun 4 hours. So, far I lost a few of the fish, but the remainder are doing good. My advice for this, don't wait until they get real bad.
 

ca1ore

Grizzled & Cynical
Keep in mind that by 'riding it out' you may end up with no fish :(. It may be necessary to dismantle the tank, and remove all the fish. Keeping the tank fishless/fallow for at least 12 weeks is really the only way to ensure that your display is ich free.

It is a MASSIVE pain, I know. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet.
 

Badfish_Reefer

New member
Ya, I'm aware that pulling out the rocks and fish might just be a reality. I'm going to see how it goes for now but will probably take all the fish out at some point. I'm thinking in December around the holidays when I have some time off, I might make that a project.

Anyone have experience with that and can share? I have a 40 breeder I'm just using to store RO that I could transfer my coral and LR to for a couple months.

I'd then put all fish in a hospital tank and treat with copper. Let them them stay in the hospital tank for 12 weeks while the rock and coral stay in the 40 breeder. Then give the current tank a vinegar bath?

If I do it I want to make sure I really get rid of all the ich. Will it be able to stay alive in the rock or do I have to go hypo with the rock in the tank?

If someone could walk me through the process that would be great. Whatever is easiest and makes sure I get rid of the ich.
 

S14Swap240sx

New member
I just kinda lightly skimmed this thread... and im only speaking from experience, I added a coral beauty from a great lfs which ended up showing signs of ich after getting comfy in my tank.. it spread to other fish but everyone kept up with a strong appetite and looked great.. I stayed ontop of water changes on a weekly basis from that point on.. 4 months later I just added a tang from petco to the tank, and he shows no signs of ich, after being in the tank for a month now everyone is happy. my clown and firefish are from petco as well and they where the first into my tank of 4 fish total.. never had any issues aside from the coral beauty from a nice lfs having ich.

clearly I was overwhelmed by the amount of work it was to rid an established tank with ich.. first I didn't have the money to set up another tank, nor the room, or the time. So I just let the tank run on its own for a while.. untouched aside from water changes on a weekly basis and since then no issues at all.

so anyways you wanted opinions, their is mine.. just don't add things, keep an eye on your fishes health.. and don't stress the entire tank but if a fish does go south remove him and treat it individually.

I cant even begin to tell you how the quality of fish like African cichlids went down so fast once they became so popular over the last few years.. every time I added a fish to a tank at my office I knew I was going to have ich floating around.. but honestly some fish show quick signs of it.. and continue on like it doesn't bother them and before you know it, its gone. while some do start to gasp and show signs of stress and at that point I would treat the fish individually.
 
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