View Full Version : Treating....<ick?> or <???>

07-14-2009, 02:52 PM
Hi all. I'm not sure if I have a problem or not, so I'll just describe the situation and see what you think.

I bought/moved an established tank May1. It is 135g tank with a 40 g sump. It contained some live rock, some base rock, a White tailed trigger, a picasso trigger, a lionfish, a wolf eel, a valentini puffer (and another puffer who seemed unhealthy from the start and died a few weeks later, condition not related to the current problem).

Everyone else has a healthy appetite and they all get along reasonably well except the two triggers occasionally 'argue' at feeding time, and the lion fish occasionally chases the white tailed trigger out of 'his' spot.

From the very beginning, the white tailed trigger would bash his body up against the rocks and side of the tank as he was swimming by. The picasso trigger does it a bit too, but not as much. I wasn't sure if he was itchy, or if he was trying to roust out some food to nibble on. I couldn't find out if this was normal behavior for triggers, but as he seemed healthy I let it pass. But, now he is doing it more and more. So much so that his scales are starting to look roughed up from the bashing on the rocks. I kept watching for spots but saw none, and I figured it would be pretty visible on a dark brown fish. But maybe he successfully knocked them off? Anyway, about a week ago I decided I saw a few white spots on the lionfish, and treated the whole tank for 3 days with something called Anti Ick. I thought the spots disappeared from the lionfish, but now... sometimes I see them and sometimes I don't. Do they fall off??? The triggerfish is definitely looking even more roughed up. I've been trying to get a pic, but so far they all look unclear.

Should I try another course of Anti Ick? Should I try moving Bambi (the white tail) so a separate tank? The whole tank needs to be treated anyway, right? What about the live rock?

If it is Ick, where did it come from? I didn't introduce any new fish, and I don't feed live food.

BTW, weekly I replaced about 10 gallons of water. My pH is around 7.8, SG 1.022, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate negative. Occasionally I get a trace amount of nitrite or nitrate, but ammonia has always been negative.


07-14-2009, 03:14 PM
Others might know better but I feel ich is just normal flora found in a fish tank like nitrosomas and nitrobacter. It just kinda floats around until it find something to host, in our cases fish that are stressed.

I don't personally believe you can let a tank sit empty for "x" weeks and be free of ich forever.

Ich is very small very distinct round dots, always the same shape and size. A couple of dots during a stressfull time is not worth the added stress of netting and quarantine in my opinion but is a sign to get a quarantine tank running in case the ich gets worse.

07-14-2009, 08:56 PM
If you have purchased an established tank the ick probably came with it.

Don't add the medication to the tank if you have live rock, live sand,corals and invertebrates. The ick medication is lethal for Corals and invertebrates, it will aslo kill the good bacteria in your substrate and live rock.

I have ick in my tank, I know it is present....My fish seem to be resistant to it. They are happy and well fed. If something is stressing them they will show signs of ick. I have to agree with Snaz about the quarantine, it is sometime so stressing that the fish end up dying.

Do you soak the food in Garlic and Selcon? What is your nitrite level?

07-14-2009, 09:16 PM
I soak their food in Selcon about 3-4 times a week. Garlic, no. I feed a mix of silversides, prawns with shell, blue crab and smelts. Occassionally I give the triggers an algae wafer because they seem to like it so.

So far I seem to have 'gotten away' with treating the tank for ick the first time, though some of the green growth on the rocks did die back a bit. The hermit crabs and cowrie snail are still alive too, so no harm done it seems. Though maybe no good. Would something like Melafix do any good?

I just checked the nitrite again (because you asked), and it is negative. Which is what is almost always is.

He's quite a voracious eater, I wonder if he's stressed because I'm not feeding him enough? Although if I fee HIM more than once a day I have to feed everyone more than once.

07-14-2009, 09:26 PM
Medicating main display tank is worse than not medicating at all in my opinion. If your going to medicate you MUST do it in a seperate tank, do not let anyone tell you otherwise, especially an LFS.

07-14-2009, 09:27 PM
ich is always present in the tank which i believe is true. I use to have lineatus wrasse that had ich come and gone everyday. I use garlic guard and deep the frozen food for straight 2 weeks and this thing really work. You will see the affect in a day or 2 that ich will disappear since ich doesn't like garlic, don't stop feeding them with garlic once you have seen the ich is gone, keep on feeding them straight for 2 weeks then you will never see ich again unless your parameter is bad. Good luck

07-14-2009, 09:31 PM
You could soak his food in garlic. I use Kent Garlic Xtreme.


What medication did you use?

i have crabs
07-14-2009, 09:36 PM
sounds like ich or a similar parasite,
google saltwater ich there are lots of articles to read, its a parasite and was probably in the tank and on the fish when you got them, most treatments that are reef safe are garbage asfar as im concerned, you can take lots of different actions a couple common routs are
1. do nothing hope it goes back under control, problem is ich is still in the tank waiting for another chance to take over,
2. feed with garlic, add reefsafe ich snake oil treatments buy cleaner shrimp/fish, problem is you will still end up with ich in your tank waiting to take over again someday but better chances of fish surviving than doing nothing,
3.buy a qt tank if you dont have one yet, big enough for all your fish to live in for 4-6 weeks,treat the fish with either hyposalinity or a copper based treatment for min. 2 weeks and leave your display fishless for 4-6 weeks, this will kill the ich parasites in the tank and on the fish and will now not have to worry anymore.
ich can be reintroduced into the tank by adding new fish that have not been treated properly, or in there egg like state on rocks or corals you buy,
having a place to keep new rock and corals for 3-7 days is ideal but most people dont do that step since the risk is small

07-14-2009, 09:55 PM
In my years of battling ich, the only thing that ever truly worked for me was to add lots of cleaner shrimp and to help the fish kick the ich themselves. As others have stated, ich is always there but it rears its ugly white heads when it finds a host that is weak and stressed out. Fish get weak and stressed out for many reasons. I usually get ich outbreaks when new fish are added. Even some of the existing population develop ich because they stress out about the new addition. Sometimes one or two fish get ich if I have left a water change for too long. Generally if they are healthy they will kick the ich themselves. The cleaner shrimp help them along by picking off their ich. I have 4 skunk cleaners and 4 blood red shrimp and all 8 of them have cleaning stations that the fish line up for when they get ich, or even if they are just itchy. With 8 shrimps, I also get a lot of shrimp spawning.. they are a busy bunch! :lol:

Anyway, that is my strategy and (thankfully!), even though I get ich now and then I have yet to lose anyone to ich (since adding my population of shrimps a couple of years ago.


07-14-2009, 10:26 PM
Thanks everyone.

Sorry, I'm new to sw, so I just wanted to ask... what exactly are cleaner shrimp? I have a predator tank, won't they just get eaten?

Some people swear by garlic, I've read others that think it's an old wive's tale.:lol: It certainly couldn't hurt anything though, so I'll give that a shot too.

Buying a qt tank for all my fish just doesn't sound feasible. They'd probably all kill each other in smaller quarters.

Thanks again,

i have crabs
07-14-2009, 11:25 PM
yes cleaner shrimp would get eatin fairly quick in your tank, and garlic dosent cure ich at all it improves the immune system of the fish so that they are able to fight it off better,
in my opinion it would be best to buy a used 90g and use it for a month as a qt if the fish start looking real bad or stop eating, a few specks here and there isnt much to stress about though so as long as things are under control id just start soaking their food in garlic and hope for the best

07-17-2009, 03:32 PM
So now there seems to be more spots on both Bambi and Fabio. I really think I should treat the tank, but moving them is not a great option. I do have about a 30g spare tank, but I couldn't imagine the lionfish in a tank that size. So, what I wondered is if I could move the rock instead? I only have live rock and some base rock (I assume what is sitting under the live rock isn't live yet). Could I move those in to a tub or something, then treat the whole tank? I'd have to figure out hidey holes and sleeping spots for everyone with <?>... something. Maybe stryofoam or plastic?? What do you guys think?


07-17-2009, 03:43 PM
If you treat the main display tank with chemicals (even if you take out the rock), don't you still have to figure out how to get those chemicals out of your main display tank? That is, you'll probably want to flush the main display tank once everyone has been treated, that means moving them into a temporary hold while you do the flush? I would go with getting a larger used tank for QT'ing, or use your current display as a QT and buy a new tank for the main display :-)

07-17-2009, 04:33 PM
The instructions on the bottle of Ick treatment say to remove it with carbon, which is what I did when I treated the first time around (plus a partial water change). But I don't want to submit the rocks to another treatment, as they did suffer a bit.

I truly have no room for a 90g tank, and I'm also recovering from surgery so shopping and bringing one home just isn't an option.

The rock would be all right in a tub, would it not? I've heard people talk about doing that, for other reasons.


07-17-2009, 05:53 PM
ya, the rock will be fine in the tub. I have a few pounds of rock sitting in a tub right now with a heater and Koralia 1 circulating the water. The rock is waiting to be put into a new tank. Lots of pods swimming around in that tub with no predators.. hehe.


07-17-2009, 08:12 PM
Do the rock need the heater and hte circulation? Heat shouldn't be a problem, it's hot here. Would it be all right if I just changed the water every couple days? I'm figuring this to be a four day event or so...? Do the rocks need any nourishment? Selco?

07-17-2009, 09:46 PM
Do the rock need the heater and hte circulation? Heat shouldn't be a problem, it's hot here. Would it be all right if I just changed the water every couple days? I'm figuring this to be a four day event or so...? Do the rocks need any nourishment? Selco?

The circulation is a must. Your rocks cannot move the water through themselves and if the water just stagnant the rocks will die. A power head of any size is better than nothing. The heater is more to keep temp fluctuations to a minimum and although air temperature is warm I'm sure it drops at night.

i have crabs
07-18-2009, 12:55 AM
ich treatments that dont contain copper dont really require you to take out the rock, and if your treating with copper in your main tank even after cleaning/removing the copper best as possible you could have issues keeping corals in that tank, i dont know if you have any coral or plan on it, but copper based treatments are the best way to go in my opinion

Red Deer Reptiles
07-18-2009, 08:15 AM
just a thought: kordon{aqualherbals} makes two products to fight ick. ick attack 100%organic and Rid Ick plus. also AQUARIUM PHARMACEUTICIALS sells Melafix MARINE. PLEASE PLEASE Read The DIRECTIONS. MAYBE THIS HELPS .2000gals plus running .

07-23-2009, 01:36 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions. In the end, I did... nothing. I am quite baffled, as sometime it seems he has small white dots, and sometimes not. I don't know if it's the lighting, or if it's 'dust' that just settles there and leaves or what. But, as I lost most of the emerald green algae when I treated with the ick medicine, I'm reluctant to expose the rocks to anything else, even moving. Esp if I'm not sure it's necessary. There are no white dots on Bambi, but his scales do look roughed up from the bashing against the rocks (but whose to say that's caused by ick?).

Now, however, Fabio (the lionfish) has cloudy eyes. Both eyes. I researched this a bit, and it seems recommended treatment varies from antibiotics to epsom salts to melafix, and the causes seem just as varied. Since it seemed the least harmful to the rocks, I started a course of Melafix yesterday. It might help Bambi too. It says I'm supposed to treat for 7 days, and leave the protein skimmer off while I'm treating, which seems like a long time to be without the protein skimmer. I do have a Fluval filter running as well. Yesterday, before treating the tank and turning off the skimmer, the pH was 7.8, SG= 1.023 and ammonia, nitrate and nitrite all negative. Since I can't turn the protein skimmer on, what do I do if anything does come up positive? Water changes?

Oh, and the other thing that happened 2 days ago is that Olivander, the Valentini puffer, puffed himself for no apparent reason. I have never seen him puff, the prev owners said they had never seen him puff. It didn't appear that anyone else in the tank was paying any attention to him whatsoever. I just mention it because I have no idea if it is in any way related. Sign of stress? Appetites seem good for everyone, though Fabio didn't eat yesterday. Not that unusual though, as he often skips a day and then is ravenous the next day.