What is ICH?

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Colin_T

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WHAT IS ICH?
Ich or Whitespot is a parasitic protozoan that infects fresh, brackish and saltwater fishes. It is identified by small white spots that appear on the fish's body & fins.

There are several stages to this parasite's lifecycle and it must be noted that the parasite can only be killed during its free swimming stage. That is when the parasite is swimming around in the water looking for a new host.

Stage 1: The white dots on the fish. The parasite has attached itself to a fish and is feeding off it. The parasite has a white case that is glued to the fish and is protecting the parasite from everything.

Stage 2: The parasite has gorged itself on fish blood and drops off the fish and sinks to the substrate. When the parasite detaches from the host fish, it leaves a small wound and the fish's immune system patches up the wound leaving a small scab. The white spots disappear from the fish because the parasites are now on the bottom of the tank dividing/ reproducing inside their little white case.

Stage 3: The white case with the parasites inside, ruptures open and releases hundreds of new parasites that swim around the aquarium looking for a new host to attach to. This is the only time you can kill this parasite, while it is swimming around looking for a new host. Once the parasite finds a new host and produces its little white case, you cannot kill it. If the parasite is not killed during this free swimming stage there will be a lot more white spots on the fish.

Fish die from this parasite because they can't breath. The parasites affect any part of the fish they can attach to, including the gills. When the parasites drop off the fish they leave a small wound that becomes a scab. One little scab is not an issue, but when the fish has 500 little scabs on their gills, it becomes very difficult for them to breath. The parasites damage the gills and cause scabs and scar tissue and the fish suffocate. Large numbers of parasites can also cover the gills preventing the fish from absorbing oxygen from the water.

-------------------------
TREATMENT.
Treatment can range from Sulphur based medications (triple sulpha), Malachite Green based medications, Copper based medications, heat treatment, and moving the fish. Malachite Green based medications are the most commonly used and are available from any petshop.

*NB* Malachite Green is carcinogenic (causes cancer), so you should try to avoid coming in contact with this substance and wash your hands and arms with soapy water after handling medications containing this chemical. In fact you should wash your hands and arms after handling any fish medication or using any water test kits, or just working in the tank.

*NB* Keep all medications away from children and animals. Try to keep them in a cool dry place and check expiry dates when purchasing them.


Heat Treatment.
The parasite does not like heat and raising the temperature of the water to 30 degrees Celsius for 2 weeks will usually kill off the parasite. If the water temperature is below 24C then the temperature should be raised to 30C slowly, over a 24-48 hour period.
*NB* If you are keeping coldwater fishes do not use heat treatment.

When using heat treatment you need to increase surface turbulence because warm water holds less oxygen than cool water.

It is also a good idea to do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate, and clean the filter before treating the fish with any medications or heat. The water change and gravel clean will dilute the number of free swimming parasites in the water and cysts in the substrate, as well as removing most of the rotting organic matter that is in the gravel and filter. This allows medications to work more effectively and focus on the harmful pathogens rather than the bacteria feeding on the gunk in the gravel.

If you don't want to use heat treatment or can't because you have coldwater fishes, and you are unable to get medication for a few days, you can limit the number of free swimming parasites in a tank just by doing big water changes and gravel cleaning the substrate. You do a 80-90% water change and complete gravel clean each day until you get medication. The big water changes dilute the number of pathogens in the water and that reduces the number of parasites that can infect the fish.
*NB* Any new water being added to the aquarium must be free of chlorine/ chloramine before it is added to the tank.

*NB* Big water changes and gravel cleaning alone will not cure the disease. It is simply to buy you some time until you can get some medication to kill off the parasites.


Moving Fish.
This is something I do with marine fishes if they are in a coral tank or aquarium with invertebrates. Basically we move the fish into a clean container of water every day for a week. The parasites on the fish drop off after a few days at 26C, and sink to the bottom of the container. Each day you move the fish out of that container and into a clean container with new water. There are no free swimming parasites in the new container of water so the fish cannot be reinfected. And by moving the fish into a new container each day, you move them away from the parasites that have dropped off them. Eventually all the parasites have fallen off the fish and the fish are free of the disease.

A heater (if required), thermometer and an airstone should be added to the container of water to help maximise oxygen levels and keep the water warm for the fish. The heater, thermometer, airstone and attached airline/s should be cleaned and disinfected before being used in another container. As should any nets used to transfer the fish from one container to another.

Depending on water temperature in the main aquarium, you can usually put the fish back into their tank after 1 week. However, I prefer to keep them out for 2 weeks. The free swimming parasites cannot live more than 48 hours without a host fish. And it can take a week for all the cysts in the substrate to open. Keeping fish out of the tank for 2 weeks guarantees there will be no parasites left alive in it.
Corals and shrimp are not affected by Ichthyophthirius.

You only need 2 or 3 containers for this. Once the fish have been moved out of one container, you wash it out with hot soapy water and then give it a wipe down with bleach. Leave the bleach for 15 minutes and then wash the container out again to remove the bleach. Allow the container to dry completely and it is ready for use.

If you use aquariums for this, only leave the bleach in the aquarium for 5 minutes because bleach damages the silicon glue that holds the glass together. I prefer to use plastic storage containers for this purpose because the plastic is unaffected by the bleach.

-------------------------
There are new strains of this disease that have developed a resistance to most of the common medications that contain Malachite Green and Sulphur, and some parasites have developed a tolerance for high temperatures. In these cases you can use the moving technique or try to find a medication with Praziquantel in. Praziquantel is used to treat cats & dogs for tapeworm, but it also works on fish. And work done on it in 2005-2006 by associates at a petshop in Perth, showed it killed Ichthyophthirius.

If none of the above treatments work, you can use Copper based medications. The parasite has not developed a resistance to copper and it will kill them. However, you CANNOT use copper in an aquarium with any invertebrates (shrimp, crabs, snails, corals, anemones, starfish, octopus, etc). Copper will kill these organisms as well as the parasites.

-------------------------
U/V STERILISERS.
In a previous post U/V irradiation was mentioned. This is done using an Ultra Violet (U/V) sterilising unit to expose the aquarium water to U/V light. The U/V light kills living things in the water.

U/V units are like an external filter and are regularly attached to canister filters on the outlet pipe. They have a case containing an Ultra Violet light and a clear tube for water to pass through. Water is pumped through the clear tube and is exposed to U/V light as it passes through the unit. The slower the water passes through the unit, the more U/V light it is exposed to. The more U/V exposure, the more effective the unit is, and the more organisms that are killed off by the U/V light.

Whilst these units do kill off the free swimming parasites, they do not cure the disease because there is no guarantee that every parasite will pass through the unit and be exposed to the U/V light.

-------------------------
There are rumours that this parasite is found in all aquariums and all untreated water. That is false. The parasite has to be introduced into a water body, where it must find a suitable host within 48 hours or it will die. The only way for this disease to get into your home aquarium is through introduction of the disease. You have to bring this disease into your aquarium either on a new fish, new plant or other object from a contaminated tank, or in some water that has the free swimming parasites in it.
 
Last edited:

Juliak

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WHAT IS ICH?
Ich or Whitespot is a parasitic protozoan that infects fresh, brackish and saltwater fishes. It is identified by small white spots that appear on the fish's body & fins.

There are several stages to this parasite's lifecycle and it must be noted that the parasite can only be killed during its free swimming stage. That is when the parasite is swimming around in the water looking for a new host.

Stage 1: The white dots on the fish. The parasite has attached itself to a fish and is feeding off it. The parasite has a white case that is glued to the fish and is protecting the parasite from everything.

Stage 2: The parasite has gorged itself on fish blood and drops off the fish and sinks to the substrate. When the parasite detaches from the host fish, it leaves a small wound and the fish's immune system patches up the wound leaving a small scab. The white spots disappear from the fish because the parasites are now on the bottom of the tank dividing/ reproducing inside their little white case.

Stage 3: The white case with the parasites inside, ruptures open and releases hundreds of new parasites that swim around the aquarium looking for a new host to attach to. This is the only time you can kill this parasite, while it is swimming around looking for a new host. Once the parasite finds a new host and produces its little white case, you cannot kill it. If the parasite is not killed during this free swimming stage there will be a lot more white spots on the fish.

Fish die from this parasite because they can't breath. The parasites affect any part of the fish they can attach to, including the gills. When the parasites drop off the fish they leave a small wound that becomes a scab. One little scab is not an issue, but when the fish has 500 little scabs on their gills, it becomes very difficult for them to breath. The parasites damage the gills and cause scabs and scar tissue and the fish suffocate. Large numbers of parasites can also cover the gills preventing the fish from absorbing oxygen from the water.

-------------------------
TREATMENT.
Treatment can range from Sulphur based medications (triple sulpha), Malachite Green based medications, Copper based medications, heat treatment, and moving the fish. Malachite Green based medications are the most commonly used and are available from any petshop.

*NB* Malachite Green is carcinogenic (causes cancer), so you should try to avoid coming in contact with this substance and wash your hands and arms with soapy water after handling medications containing this chemical. In fact you should wash your hands and arms after handling any fish medication or using any water test kits, or just working in the tank.

*NB* Keep all medications away from children and animals. Try to keep them in a cool dry place and check expiry dates when purchasing them.


Heat Treatment.
The parasite does not like heat and raising the temperature of the water to 30 degrees Celsius for 2 weeks will usually kill off the parasite. If the water temperature is below 24C then the temperature should be raised to 30C slowly, over a 24-48 hour period.
*NB* If you are keeping coldwater fishes do not use heat treatment.

When using heat treatment you need to increase surface turbulence because warm water holds less oxygen than cool water.

It is also a good idea to do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate, and clean the filter before treating the fish with any medications or heat. The water change and gravel clean will dilute the number of free swimming parasites in the water and cysts in the substrate, as well as removing most of the rotting organic matter that is in the gravel and filter. This allows medications to work more effectively and focus on the harmful pathogens rather than the bacteria feeding on the gunk in the gravel.

If you don't want to use heat treatment or can't because you have coldwater fishes, and you are unable to get medication for a few days, you can limit the number of free swimming parasites in a tank just by doing big water changes and gravel cleaning the substrate. You do a 80-90% water change and complete gravel clean each day until you get medication. The big water changes dilute the number of pathogens in the water and that reduces the number of parasites that can infect the fish.
*NB* Any new water being added to the aquarium must be free of chlorine/ chloramine before it is added to the tank.

*NB* Big water changes and gravel cleaning alone will not cure the disease. It is simply to buy you some time until you can get some medication to kill off the parasites.


Moving Fish.
This is something I do with marine fishes if they are in a coral tank or aquarium with invertebrates. Basically we move the fish into a clean container of water every day for a week. The parasites on the fish drop off after a few days at 26C, and sink to the bottom of the container. Each day you move the fish out of that container and into a clean container with new water. There are no free swimming parasites in the new container of water so the fish cannot be reinfected. And by moving the fish into a new container each day, you move them away from the parasites that have dropped off them. Eventually all the parasites have fallen off the fish and the fish are free of the disease.

A heater (if required), thermometer and an airstone should be added to the container of water to help maximise oxygen levels and keep the water warm for the fish. The heater, thermometer, airstone and attached airline/s should be cleaned and disinfected before being used in another container. As should any nets used to transfer the fish from one container to another.

Depending on water temperature in the main aquarium, you can usually put the fish back into their tank after 1 week. However, I prefer to keep them out for 2 weeks. The free swimming parasites cannot live more than 48 hours without a host fish. And it can take a week for all the cysts in the substrate to open. Keeping fish out of the tank for 2 weeks guarantees there will be no parasites left alive in it.
Corals and shrimp are not affected by Ichthyophthirius.

You only need 2 or 3 containers for this. Once the fish have been moved out of one container, you wash it out with hot soapy water and then give it a wipe down with bleach. Leave the bleach for 15 minutes and then wash the container out again to remove the bleach. Allow the container to dry completely and it is ready for use.

If you use aquariums for this, only leave the bleach in the aquarium for 5 minutes because bleach damages the silicon glue that holds the glass together. I prefer to use plastic storage containers for this purpose because the plastic is unaffected by the bleach.

-------------------------
There are new strains of this disease that have developed a resistance to most of the common medications that contain Malachite Green and Sulphur, and some parasites have developed a tolerance for high temperatures. In these cases you can use the moving technique or try to find a medication with Praziquantel in. Praziquantel is used to treat cats & dogs for tapeworm, but it also works on fish. And work done on it in 2005-2006 by associates at a petshop in Perth, showed it killed Ichthyophthirius.

If none of the above treatments work, you can use Copper based medications. The parasite has not developed a resistance to copper and it will kill them. However, you CANNOT use copper in an aquarium with any invertebrates (shrimp, crabs, snails, corals, anemones, starfish, octopus, etc). Copper will kill these organisms as well as the parasites.

-------------------------
U/V STERILISERS.
In a previous post U/V irradiation was mentioned. This is done using an Ultra Violet (U/V) sterilising unit to expose the aquarium water to U/V light. The U/V light kills living things in the water.

U/V units are like an external filter and are regularly attached to canister filters on the outlet pipe. They have a case containing an Ultra Violet light and a clear tube for water to pass through. Water is pumped through the clear tube and is exposed to U/V light as it passes through the unit. The slower the water passes through the unit, the more U/V light it is exposed to. The more U/V exposure, the more effective the unit is, and the more organisms that are killed off by the U/V light.

Whilst these units do kill off the free swimming parasites, they do not cure the disease because there is no guarantee that every parasite will pass through the unit and be exposed to the U/V light.

-------------------------
There are rumours that this parasite is found in all aquariums and all untreated water. That is false. The parasite has to be introduced into a water body, where it must find a suitable host within 48 hours or it will die. The only way for this disease to get into your home aquarium is through introduction of the disease. You have to bring this disease into your aquarium either on a new fish, new plant or other object from a contaminated tank, or in some water that has the free swimming parasites in it.
This is great information! It helped me improve my understanding on how to treat my ich outbreak, thank you!
 

TwoTankAmin

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There is a lot of information missing I think. Have fun poking arond the paper below. Bear in mind that as ornamental fish keepers there are more ways to kill ich than can be used by the aquaculture for food industry.

von Gersdorff Jørgensen, L., 2017. The fish parasite Ichthyophthirius multifiliis–host immunology, vaccines and novel treatments. Fish & shellfish immunology, 67, pp.586-595.

Abstract​

Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, the causative agent of white spot disease (ichthyophthiriasis) is a major burden for fish farmers and aquarists globally. The parasite infects the skin and the gills of freshwater fish, which may acquire a protective adaptive immune response against this disease, making vaccine strategies feasible. However, there is no prophylactic treatment available and repetitive treatments with auxiliary substances are needed to control the infection. Historically, a variety of drugs and chemicals have been used to combat the disease but due to changing regulations and recognition of carcinogenic and environmentally damaging effects the most efficient compounds are prohibited. A continuous search for novel substances, which are highly effective against the parasites and harmless for the fish is ongoing. These compounds should be environmentally friendly and cost-effective. This review presents recent progress within host immunology, vaccinology and a description of novel substances, which have been tested as treatments against ichthyophthiriasis.
https://digital.csic.es/bitstream/10261/177215/3/I. multifiliis review_revision_final.pdf

You can read that 5 days in 32C (almost 90F) water kills ich. How many of your fish can survive that temp for 5 days?
 

GaryE

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You can read that 5 days in 32C (almost 90F) water kills ich. How many of your fish can survive that temp for 5 days?
This is an old thread about a lot of old problems that are still new to many.

I have very few fish that wouldn't be killed, or at the very least harmed longterm by a heat treatment even for a few days. Keeping my fishroom at around 22-25 max is an extremely important thing. Ditto for salt, and copper. I haven't tried the quinine solution, although I have heard good things.

So you pick your poison. Ich is a creature and we kill it with, basically, poisons. Which poison does the least damage? Is it roasting it? That works with fish from very warm water to begin with. They can take it. Is it salt? That's fair for coastal fish. Is it malachite green? It does work and is easy to remove. It doesn't affect the fishes longterm ability to breed, as heat and possibly copper can. Methelyne blue? Not as easy to remove, but effective and easy to get in many places (pharmacies in some jurisdictions - it used to be a mouthwash).

In the vast expanses of the wild, Ich is an annoying parasite. In the close crowded confines of a tank, it is a deadly killer. Some species are prone to it, others have defenses. Based on the ecologies fish come from, there is no one perfect treatment. Case by case, but keep a bottle of malachite green in the cupboard.
 

DoubleDutch

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It is my understanding that all untreated water contains ich. If the tank water has been cleansed of the ich parasite, the next untreated water change will reintroduce the parasite. It is a practice to treat the water at a water change with a mild ich remedy (like aquarisol.) I have also been directed to treat all incoming fish in quarantine with an aquarisol wash. When treating the water at waterchanges it isn't necessary, I am told, to mess with the filter media. It is treating the water to kill the parasite, not treating the disease.

If I am posting here incorrectly or my information is wrong, dragonslair, let me know and I'll immediately remove it. ;)
You are not correct.
 

Kyanite14

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This is a common question that is often asked, what is ich and how is it recognisable and what causes it?
The real term is ICHTHYOPHTHIRIASIS. OR commonly known as white spot.
It is an extremely comon parasite that affects aquarium fish. It is highly infectious and potentially lethal and manifests as tiny white spots all over the fish. The spots are no larger than grains of salt. The wide host range of this parasite is it's life cycle, and speed of mutiplication especially in a tropical aquarium. When you can see the white spot on your fish it's already too late for those ich particles to be killed, they can only be killed in the parasitic stage.

FISH parasite stage under the skin and fin. }TROPHONT exits fish and forms a reproductive stage(TOMONT) } The tomont then settles on the substrate and starts its division. The Tomont can reproduce 200-800 THERONTS The Theronts must locate a fish within 24 hours otherwise it will die.It is at this stage when the free swimming Theronts can be destroyed by treatment/chemicals. If it infects a fish the cycle starts again, if not and it is killed off by the treatment the cycle stops. Early signs of white spot are when fish begin to flick themselves against rocks. Other signs are your fish swimming in an odd behaviour as if they were trying to use the water to wash away an irratation. Then you have the white spots. There are many causes for white spot, fish catch white spot like we catch a cold! Some of the more common causes are stress, bad water conditions, live food that have been infected or you've bought an already infected fish without knowing it. The main culprit is the parasite Ichthyophthrius multifiliis
Treatment: There are many remedies out on the market, most are based on either Methylene Blue or Malachite Green. Salt can also be used(not table salt),but only with salt tolerant species and if you have a major outbreak than the "big guns" need to be brought in. The big guns being UV irradiation.

*edited one line for clarification and opened it if dragonslair wants to amend my own alteration! :) *
Have had a guppy that developed one little white spot on its tail. It then died the next day. Somehow no other fish developed the white spots. I guess something stressed it out and caused the parasite to manifest, but the rest were healthy enough to fight it off on their own! He was the tiniest guppy, so I guess he was a target for bullying.
 

DoubleDutch

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Maybe add that most fish that die " cause of Ich ", actually don't die by the parasites itself but die cause of human behaviour.

Panick, misdiagnosing, different kinds of treatments at the same time, etc etc.....

When you start treatment (no matter what kind of treatment) at the moment you spot Ich in general it isn't lethal or hard to treat at all. Certain strains indeed need a different approach.

Myths about parasites that always be in a tank or on fish are unlogical and simply not true and making the panick even worse.
 

GaryE

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It's been my more recent experience that Ich is very easy to handle if you act quickly. A key mistake that lets it kill is dawdling, or waiting for meds. This creature spreads fast. If you can whack it when you see it, right when you see it, it's doomed.
When?
When you bring fish in from a store, where crowding in shipping favours the spread of parasites. Expect it to come calling. It's especially active if fish get chilled, so as a Canadian, I watch closely as I QT fish, from October to May. It's less likely when inside and outside are more stable.
I see a big difference between Ich, and Ich outbreaks. If the parasite gets loose in a larger, populated tank, you have a problem (that can be solved). Just the appearance of Ich in a QT, as long as the fish weren't attacked days before in the store (online purchasing risks from sight unseen buying...) is an inconvenience, if you're equipped.
And yes, while this upsets some people, I use Malachite green, a medication derived form the natural mineral Malachite. It kills the parasite in its freeswimming stage, and then is easily removed. Those opposed to the use of chemicals will often use the chemical Sodium Chloride, salt, in one of the great inconsistencies of our hobby.
Heat kills most strains, and is harmful to many fish species. There are many species of Ich, as you'd expect with something that breeds so quickly. A few are heat resistant. There are also parasites similar to Ich that resist treatment, but act differently.

There is a post way back, 15 years ago, when this thread started that is really valuable. It says that there is Ich that resists the dye medication (malachite turns everything bluish green if you spill it). It says we must use copper. Copper works like a charm, but the meds being introduced back then are off the market because of toxicity. That aquarist had fallen for marketing that started rumours about meds not working, except for one miracle product - colourless and cheap. It was poison, and I think a lot of the fear of using effective treatments flows from that period. You can't trust the unregulated fish industry. It's a free market and it'll sell anything. The dye treatments have been around since the 1920s and while we fight about them, they are proven.

You have to be able to get the chemicals you use out of the tank easily when their work is done, and copper and salt are not easily removed.
 

Kyanite14

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WHAT IS ICH?
Ich or Whitespot is a parasitic protozoan that infects fresh, brackish and saltwater fishes. It is identified by small white spots that appear on the fish's body & fins.

There are several stages to this parasite's lifecycle and it must be noted that the parasite can only be killed during its free swimming stage. That is when the parasite is swimming around in the water looking for a new host.

Stage 1: The white dots on the fish. The parasite has attached itself to a fish and is feeding off it. The parasite has a white case that is glued to the fish and is protecting the parasite from everything.

Stage 2: The parasite has gorged itself on fish blood and drops off the fish and sinks to the substrate. When the parasite detaches from the host fish, it leaves a small wound and the fish's immune system patches up the wound leaving a small scab. The white spots disappear from the fish because the parasites are now on the bottom of the tank dividing/ reproducing inside their little white case.

Stage 3: The white case with the parasites inside, ruptures open and releases hundreds of new parasites that swim around the aquarium looking for a new host to attach to. This is the only time you can kill this parasite, while it is swimming around looking for a new host. Once the parasite finds a new host and produces its little white case, you cannot kill it. If the parasite is not killed during this free swimming stage there will be a lot more white spots on the fish.

Fish die from this parasite because they can't breath. The parasites affect any part of the fish they can attach to, including the gills. When the parasites drop off the fish they leave a small wound that becomes a scab. One little scab is not an issue, but when the fish has 500 little scabs on their gills, it becomes very difficult for them to breath. The parasites damage the gills and cause scabs and scar tissue and the fish suffocate. Large numbers of parasites can also cover the gills preventing the fish from absorbing oxygen from the water.

-------------------------
TREATMENT.
Treatment can range from Sulphur based medications (triple sulpha), Malachite Green based medications, Copper based medications, heat treatment, and moving the fish. Malachite Green based medications are the most commonly used and are available from any petshop.

*NB* Malachite Green is carcinogenic (causes cancer), so you should try to avoid coming in contact with this substance and wash your hands and arms with soapy water after handling medications containing this chemical. In fact you should wash your hands and arms after handling any fish medication or using any water test kits, or just working in the tank.

*NB* Keep all medications away from children and animals. Try to keep them in a cool dry place and check expiry dates when purchasing them.


Heat Treatment.
The parasite does not like heat and raising the temperature of the water to 30 degrees Celsius for 2 weeks will usually kill off the parasite. If the water temperature is below 24C then the temperature should be raised to 30C slowly, over a 24-48 hour period.
*NB* If you are keeping coldwater fishes do not use heat treatment.

When using heat treatment you need to increase surface turbulence because warm water holds less oxygen than cool water.

It is also a good idea to do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate, and clean the filter before treating the fish with any medications or heat. The water change and gravel clean will dilute the number of free swimming parasites in the water and cysts in the substrate, as well as removing most of the rotting organic matter that is in the gravel and filter. This allows medications to work more effectively and focus on the harmful pathogens rather than the bacteria feeding on the gunk in the gravel.

If you don't want to use heat treatment or can't because you have coldwater fishes, and you are unable to get medication for a few days, you can limit the number of free swimming parasites in a tank just by doing big water changes and gravel cleaning the substrate. You do a 80-90% water change and complete gravel clean each day until you get medication. The big water changes dilute the number of pathogens in the water and that reduces the number of parasites that can infect the fish.
*NB* Any new water being added to the aquarium must be free of chlorine/ chloramine before it is added to the tank.

*NB* Big water changes and gravel cleaning alone will not cure the disease. It is simply to buy you some time until you can get some medication to kill off the parasites.


Moving Fish.
This is something I do with marine fishes if they are in a coral tank or aquarium with invertebrates. Basically we move the fish into a clean container of water every day for a week. The parasites on the fish drop off after a few days at 26C, and sink to the bottom of the container. Each day you move the fish out of that container and into a clean container with new water. There are no free swimming parasites in the new container of water so the fish cannot be reinfected. And by moving the fish into a new container each day, you move them away from the parasites that have dropped off them. Eventually all the parasites have fallen off the fish and the fish are free of the disease.

A heater (if required), thermometer and an airstone should be added to the container of water to help maximise oxygen levels and keep the water warm for the fish. The heater, thermometer, airstone and attached airline/s should be cleaned and disinfected before being used in another container. As should any nets used to transfer the fish from one container to another.

Depending on water temperature in the main aquarium, you can usually put the fish back into their tank after 1 week. However, I prefer to keep them out for 2 weeks. The free swimming parasites cannot live more than 48 hours without a host fish. And it can take a week for all the cysts in the substrate to open. Keeping fish out of the tank for 2 weeks guarantees there will be no parasites left alive in it.
Corals and shrimp are not affected by Ichthyophthirius.

You only need 2 or 3 containers for this. Once the fish have been moved out of one container, you wash it out with hot soapy water and then give it a wipe down with bleach. Leave the bleach for 15 minutes and then wash the container out again to remove the bleach. Allow the container to dry completely and it is ready for use.

If you use aquariums for this, only leave the bleach in the aquarium for 5 minutes because bleach damages the silicon glue that holds the glass together. I prefer to use plastic storage containers for this purpose because the plastic is unaffected by the bleach.

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There are new strains of this disease that have developed a resistance to most of the common medications that contain Malachite Green and Sulphur, and some parasites have developed a tolerance for high temperatures. In these cases you can use the moving technique or try to find a medication with Praziquantel in. Praziquantel is used to treat cats & dogs for tapeworm, but it also works on fish. And work done on it in 2005-2006 by associates at a petshop in Perth, showed it killed Ichthyophthirius.

If none of the above treatments work, you can use Copper based medications. The parasite has not developed a resistance to copper and it will kill them. However, you CANNOT use copper in an aquarium with any invertebrates (shrimp, crabs, snails, corals, anemones, starfish, octopus, etc). Copper will kill these organisms as well as the parasites.

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U/V STERILISERS.
In a previous post U/V irradiation was mentioned. This is done using an Ultra Violet (U/V) sterilising unit to expose the aquarium water to U/V light. The U/V light kills living things in the water.

U/V units are like an external filter and are regularly attached to canister filters on the outlet pipe. They have a case containing an Ultra Violet light and a clear tube for water to pass through. Water is pumped through the clear tube and is exposed to U/V light as it passes through the unit. The slower the water passes through the unit, the more U/V light it is exposed to. The more U/V exposure, the more effective the unit is, and the more organisms that are killed off by the U/V light.

Whilst these units do kill off the free swimming parasites, they do not cure the disease because there is no guarantee that every parasite will pass through the unit and be exposed to the U/V light.

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There are rumours that this parasite is found in all aquariums and all untreated water. That is false. The parasite has to be introduced into a water body, where it must find a suitable host within 48 hours or it will die. The only way for this disease to get into your home aquarium is through introduction of the disease. You have to bring this disease into your aquarium either on a new fish, new plant or other object from a contaminated tank, or in some water that has the free swimming parasites in it.
Hey Colin, is Malachite Green like in Nox Ich safe for Nerites? I don’t have ich, but I want to know what to get just in case I ever do
 

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