Jump to content

Ich - Reef Safe Solution


Recommended Posts

If you can remove it an put it in a QT tank that would be best.


I have heard of some stuff called Rubyreef kick-ick (something like that). Supposedly it is reef safe, but it is expensive... Especially if it is going to be used in a 120g tank.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

The ruby reef works great BUT you need to at least double the dosage . It works really good at 3x the dosage that is how I use it. I had a Powder blue that came down with it last month and went 2-

half the dosage and had no problems. I have used it about 8 times in the past and the only time it didn't work was when I went regular strength. I re dosed at triple and it cleared right up. Pat is the cheapest in the area. I always try to keep a bottle on hand for possible outbreaks on new fish. It isn't cheap around $35-$39 per big bottle , you will need at least 2 bottles.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

With my understanding, any 'reef safe' medication will not rid your tank of ich, but only remove it from the fish. As I understand, if you use something such as this, your tank will still have ich and it may re-present itself onto fish when they become stressed and their immune system weaken.


Taken from beth at SWF.com..

Ich is a ciliated protozoan called Cryptocaryon irritans. Common names for this parasite in the hobby are: Ick, Ich, white spot disease.


There are only 2 viable choices for treatment for ich. Copper and hyposalinity. Hyposalinity is safe and beneficial in more respects than just getting rid of the parasite, so there really is no reason not to use this as a treatment choice for this parasite. So-called Reef Safe medications are risky business. They are never very effective and could effect your reef ecosystem and inverts.


The “Bug”. What is it? How does it Work?

Ich has a multiple stage life cycle of approx. 2 wks at tropical aquarium temperatures [77-80 degrees] during which time the parasite undergoes 4 phases:


1. The trophont stage is seen as the mature parasite attached to the fish, feeding off fish tissue. This has the appearance of salt-like grains often described by hobbyists as white spots or white dots, thus the common name of the disease, “White-Spot Disease”. What the hobbyist is actually seeing with these white dots is a protective covering, or cyst, which the parasite creates over itself as a means of protection. Parasite defense mechanism! As the parasite feeds it will grow in size. It is this growth or varying sizes of the trophont that may confuse the hobbyist to think that the infected fish is suffering from some other malady [such as lymphocysts]. The visible distinction between Ich, and some other problem is usually numbers. Left untreated, ich will multiply on the fish and usually cover the body—fins and body alike. [cycle timeframe: aprrox. 7 day stage]


2. The tomont stage occurs when the trophont matures after having fed on your fish for around a week. At this point, the parasite, engorged and well-fed on your fish, detaches its protective cystic covering, leaves the host fish and swims in the water column for several hours until it can find a place in the aquarium to settle. It will then attach itself to a surface in the aquarium: Sand, live rock and, perhaps even the surface of rocks where coral is attahced, or even the aquarium glass, filters, whatever. Once settled the cells within the cyst begin dividing to form more parasites [up to several hundred]. [cycle timeframe: several hours]


3. The tomite stage, are the products of the parasite reproducing. They become free-swimming in the aquarium as theronts. [cycle timeframe, approx 4 days at 77-80 degrees water temp].


4. The theront stage of ich are free-swimming protozoans that must locate a host fish within several hours, or die trying. This is the stage when fish become vulnerable to infection. The infection is transmitted through the water column.


When can I kill ich?


Some ich can be killed while still on the fish with freshwater dips. The operative word here being only “some”. Freshwater dips will not cure ich . At best, it can be employed when a fish is so infected with parasitic cysts that serious consequence, such as eminent death, will likely occur if something is not done immediately.


Effective treatment, however, can not occur until the parasite has left the fish. Using hyposalinity as a treatment, the parasite is killed when the protozoa is in the tank, on a hard surface, during what would be the reproduction stage. The hypo-saline conditions kill the parasite at the tomont stage of the life cycle. In a copper treatment, the medication targets the infectious, free-swimming theront.


Why Should I Care About When the ICH can be killed, as long as it is Killed?

Because there is a common misconception that the protozoa can be killed as soon as treatment begins, and this is not the case. The hobbyist needs to understand the stages of this particular “bug” in order to eradicate it.


Also, always keep in mind that ich is an organism, its lifecycle is not going to be like clockwork in the sense that all parasites in your tank are going to be at the exact same stage simultaneously.


Most Effective Treatment

HYPOSALINITY is Osmotic Shock Therapy [OST]. O.S.T. places the infectors [ich] in an environment in which they cannot hope to survive while the host, (or infected fish) can. This remedy WILL NOT work in reef systems or invert tanks as it incorporates lowering the specific gravity of the entire aquarium to 1.009 SG or to 14-16ppt [parts per trillion] salinity---this SG/salinity being too low for inverts, LR or LS. Marine invertebrates have the same osmotic concentration as the surrounding water and if placed in hyposaline conditions they will likely die of osmotic shock. Likewise, this procedure should not be used on sharks/rays, only boney fish. The procedure, can, however, work very well in strictly fish-only set ups.


The method of lowering salinity/SG is simple: Over the course of 48-hrs, salt water in the tank is replaced with fresh RO or DI water in several, but small increments until a SG of 1.009/salinity 14-16 ppt is achieved. Maintain pH, as pH tends to lower in hypo-saline water; you need to maintain a pH which is safe for marine fish and consistent with the levels in the display/hospital tank. The best instruments to use for measuring specific gravity are refractometers or high-quality, lab-grade glass hydrometers. The reason these instruments are recommended is because of their precision and the need to be very precise in attaining therapeutic SG/salinity for the procedure. Never use plastic sing arm type hydrometers. They are basically useless for this procedure, and, really, they are so inaccurate that they should not even be used for routine salt water assessment either. As to the beneficial microbes you rely upon to provide natural filtration in your aquaria/QT, NOT TO WORRY! The bacteria colony will survive, the fish will be more than fine; Ich, however, will not survive. By lowering the salinity, you will also be lowering the osmotic pressure of the water. The parasites NEED high osmotic pressure to convert saline water into freshwater. All marine animals need freshwater as we do [these parasites are considered marine animals as well, BTW]. They just convert it differently, usually via their tissues. Reduce this necessary pressure and the ich will die. As a higher life form, the fish will do fine with this short-term treatment. Preference for this treatment of ich over copper is based on toxicity. Hyposalinity has no ill effects on fish during or after treatment, whereas copper is a toxin, and could have enduring negative effects on fish even following a successful treatment.


Maintain the 1.009 SG/16-14 ppt salinity in the tank for 3-4 wks AFTER no visible signs of ich are present with your fish. After that time, you can slowly, over the course of several [5-7] days, raise the salinity back to normal levell. Take longer raising the salinity then you did lowering it. If the fish are in a separate treatment tank, leave them there for 5-7 days after returning the salinity to normal levels. If the fish are well after this time, then move them back to the display.


Copper Treatment is highly effective when applied precisely and monitored closely. The drawbacks to copper, however, unlike hyposalinity, is that copper is a toxin---to both parasite, as well as your fish.


In this treatment, the hobbyist will use use [best choice] Cupramine which is manufactured by Seachem. You will also need a compatible copper test kit that will “work with” the copper. If you use Cupramine, then also select Seachem’s copper test kit.


You should always set up a hospital tank, never adding copper directly to your display. At all times, maintain therapeutic copper levels in the hospital, using the copper test kit daily. READ THE LABEL of your medication and follow the directions. Like hyposalinity, copper treatment requires precision. Not enough copper, and the treatment is ineffective. Too much copper, and the treatment could be lethal to your fish. Take care, be attentive.


The treatment course for copper is 3 weeks after you have attained therapeutic levels. Following treatment, you should leave your fish in the hospital tank for an additional week for observation.


What else should I do during treatment?


Continue common sense maintenance practices. That means water changes, water quality tests, etc. In this case, while treating, you will want to perform water changes that match the water in your QT. If your tank is under hyposalinity, then the water you change out, must also be at the same salinity/pH as the water you remove from the tank. Likewise, if you remove copper treated water, then the water you put back into the tank needs to be copper treated as well, at the the appropriate therapeutic level.



Many many fish tank enhabitants live with ich in the system, but they show no signs as they are healthy. Ideally you want to have an ich-free system, but the only way to do so is to QT every new addition.


All of this is just my opinion and im sure there are people who agree and disagree, but it is also supported by science :).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In perfect world we could Quarantine everything. Ich can be brought in to a tank through anything

that is brought from the outside. A drop of water on a new coral or snail or crab or even some plants.I will have to look up the article again but I think it was on RC about a large public aquarum

that quarantined every fish and coral for 4 months for a new exhibit before being brought into the large display tank. They got ich after a few months and they could only explain it coming in on some inverts as to how it got in.All I am saying is that there is no true way to 100% way to avoid it.


I did want to say as far as the Kickich, that the active ingredient is 5-nitroimidazoles and I found another Ich treatment that I have never seen before that a lfs uses ( it's a powder) that has a similar nitro ingredient.

It was made by seachem i think. Joel e-mailed Seachem and asked if they are a similar product, I don't know if he ever was e-mailed back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never quarantine fish, and I have had ich outbreaks. Some fish live, some die. It depends on the health of the fish. Try supplements that help keep the slime coat going, soak your food in selcon or another type of vitamin/omega protein additive. Watch the temperature in your tank. Hopefully this will aid your fish into beating the ich. Try getting some pure garlic extract at a health food store. This not only stimulates appetite, but also irritates the ich.


Good luck

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well if your going to do garlic as a medicine do it right, heres some info from beth aswell..


Garlic is a plant with its primary ingredient, allicin, identified, at least anecdotally, as benefiting fish health and even combating certain fungal, viral, bacterial and parasitic pathogens, even serving as a type of homeopathic repellent. Saying that, the hobbyist can not make the mistake of identifying garlic as a cure-all for any fish disease. Rather, if used, it must be considered as a preventative measure, rather than a cure post-disease process; a supplement used to enhance fish health, or in addition to employing other established methods used to address fish diseases.


It is important not to use a processed product: bottled garlic. Instead, the hobbyist should use fresh garlic as identified below. [You need only buy a single garlic glove at a time, not bunches.]


Snap a single glove off of the bud. Peel off the skin. Using a non-porous container, such as a glass or Pyrex dish, and a sharp knife, mince and smash the glove, preserving the juice. Once finely minced and smashed, and the juices have been released from the garlic, quickly add meaty foods, such as fresh homemade fish food, or high-quality frozen fish foods. Lightly mix the food in with the garlic so that the food is saturated, but not swimming in garlic juice. Cover your container, and place the mixture in the refrigerator for 5 mins.


Feed your fish, preferably using a syringe or a turkey baster to ensure that fish receives the garlic supplemented food. You can add a small bit of sea water to this mixture to get the mixture into your delivery syringe.


This should be done 3x a day if you are using garlic medicinally. And, if using garlic for its antibiotic qualities, the food soaked in garlic should be given to the fish immediately. Do not delay, or wait while the food mixture soaks up the garlic.


Allicin is produced immediately upon mincing the garlic glove and quickly breaks down. That is why marketed bottled garlic is virtually useless and the hobbyist needs to use fresh garlic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

this persons statment means ZERO IMO.


I agree with you with the 1-2 days it cleared up thing. I was just passing along what I heard as another alternative treatment to fighting ick. I know about the parasite lifestyle, and that to "cure it" it needs to be killed in the substrate and the water column as well. I have just never heard of this treatment before.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

All the info I included had helped me make my decision. I had a tank setup and added a new fish and aquired ich. I then did my research and came to the conclusion it would be best for the fish and the enviorment to fully kill all the ich in the tank. While its going to be a huge hassle, as anyone who has come over to my place has seen, I have three tanks setup doing water changes daily. I feel this is a small inconvenience to provide the best quality of life and enviorment for the fish. My first few relpies detailed would you need to do to completely clear your system of ich, which is what im in the process of doing currently. No matter what anyone says about a medication other then copper or hyposalinity, its not going to cure ich. Its going to remove ich from the fish possibly but its going to still reside in the substrate,rock and water column to pop up at the first chance it has to infect a weak fish again. With this information you can decide what you would like to do. I think everything posted in this reply is considered to be 'fact'. While its not proven, just like much of everything in this hobby, it seems to be generally accepted as correct.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cleaner shrimp are in the same category as any of the "cure ick meds" as all a shrimp does(which is speculation) is clean the active ich off the fish, it does nothing to remove anything for the substrate or water column, again it just removes the symptoms off the fish but does far far from curing anything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

well Realisticly there is no cure... it will always be there once it's there unless you just change tanks pretty much... It will always be there in the sand, rocks, plantlife, ect.... It is brought on when fish get stressed and the ich overcomes them. Crappy but it's just like when humans stress they are more vonerable to get sick! Although Garlic has helped me and a few others I know some of the fish just get chased around too much and get picked on. Hope you guys have luck with getting rid of it or a cure! that would be real nice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Im goin to disagree. The cure is hypo/copper coupled with leaving the sand/rock and everything seperate from fish for 5 weeks. Ich MUST have a fish to host or it will die. In the same regard a human is not going to get sick if he is in a sterile envoirment even if he has a low immune system. You or your fish cant get sick if theres no virus there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cleaner shrimp are in the same category as any of the "cure ick meds" as all a shrimp does(which is speculation) is clean the active ich off the fish' date=' it does nothing to remove anything for the substrate or water column, again it just removes the symptoms off the fish but does far far from curing anything.[/quote']


well your right the ick is still in the system but I really dont think theres a absolute cure for a reef system so the best ive found in my 22+ years is cleaner shrimp,I dont believe in adding a chem that may or maynot work of anykind and Im a firm believer in a well stocked tank of coral it becomes food so between shrimp and corals ick is maintained at a healthy level .So my point was get back to a natural way of maintaining it and you'll get good results not using a med thats gota be affecting more then just the parasite .I still lose fish but there always new fish and i think there death was due to more then just ich.And id also like to know ware you heard or read that what a cleaner shrimp does is speculation ive personly watched them clean ich off fish in my quarintine not much speculation in that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a thread with this problem awhile back. I ended up using garlic like dstoneburg lined out on the first page. The ich was present on 2 of my 5 fish for about 2 months and i fed them garlic soaked food every day.


I really can't say if that is what did it, but I haven't seen the ich back since. Its been roughly 4-5 months i think. I don't think its gone, and i'm sure it will pop back up. So in the mean time i'm just giving my fish healthy foods and trying to keep stress levels down as much as i can.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...