One proven way to treat ich/ick

guppy

Small Squiggly Thing
Apr 15, 2005
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I am writing this because it is something that comes up so often.
Ich is a protozoal infection that afflicts fish and can rapidly kill them, most often by damaging gill tissue.
The organism goes through a life cycle of;
a small white spot feeding on your fish,
which drops off to the floor of your tank and encysts,
while encysted it divides into up to 2000 new mobile organisms,
the cyst ruptures, releasing the mobile organisms which seek out a host.
Only the mobile stage is vulnerable to treatment by anything that will not also kill your fish.

Here is an old fashioned but very effective method for treatment.
It can be used for most fish but morymids, corys, and some pims are sensitive to salt. Because the organism infest the tank, the whole tank should be treated.

Raise the temp of your tank to at least 85-86 degrees F.
Add aquarium salt (dissolved in water) at a ratio of 2 teaspoons of salt per gallon of water in your tank.
Now wait, while waiting it does not hurt to add a powerhead or airstone to increase the O2 level.
Over the first couple days your fish will look worse but then they will clear up. about the sixth day they will look clear but because some ecystments have not yet hatched keep the treatment up for the full 10 days.
If you are not able to raise the temperature you need to extend the treatment, at 85 the ich's life cycle is quick but at 72 it can take weeks, below 70F treat for 6 weeks.

There are medicines you can use but many fish are sensitive to them, you can also try just heat at 90-91 degrees F but some fish can't take that heat and some strains of ich can survive it.
The salt and heat method is one I have used several times with sucess.
 

BDawg364

Gambusia
MFK Member
Feb 6, 2006
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I think you are awesome guppy. If only I had your knowledge. I just got a job in fish at the local Petland, the closest place with fish for 20 miles, excluding Walmart. I hope someday I'll know half of what you do.
 

Anythingfish

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Feb 23, 2005
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Guppy has given excellent advice; a salt treatment works wonders in combating Ick.

It is my intent to add clarity and strengthen some of the points already made by Guppy. I get many phone calls on fish health issues and no mater how I explain the treatment some people, especially those new to the hobby, take shortcuts; for example they just dump in some table salt and hope for the best. As mentioned it is important to raise the temperature to 85 - 86 degrees to speed up the parasite's life cycle. If you do not already have an air stone bubbling in the infected aquarium it is advisable to add one as the dissolved oxygen level drops significantly when the temperature is raised and yes the fish can suffocate from lack of oxygen.

Unfortunately many plants do not do well with this salt treatment and may appear to be failing but will usually come back in time. Removing them to a salt free environment after a thorough rinsing may save them; however they must be kept at the high temperature as well. When the Ick capsule breaks up in the plant holding tank the small parasites will be unable to find a host and will die within 24 - 48 hours. Ick is easily transferred to other fish tanks so do not share nets, heaters and wet hands between infected and non infected tanks. Fish in treatment appear to do better with a reduced feeding regiment.

When you look into the pet shop / fish store aquarium their fish may appear healthy without any signs of disease. Ask how long the fish have been in the store and when the last time new fish were added to that tank. If it has been 2 weeks or more your chances of getting disease free fish improve.

Impressive looking Clown Loaches and young Oscars are notorious for getting Ick after they are home in your tank. These and many others can tolerate salt. If you are unsure about your fish’s tolerance for salt look for answers in a reference book or ask an expert.

A salt test kit, available at your local fish store, will help you get the exact dosage. Something in the range of .2%, is where you want to be. For large aquariums that works out to about 2 pounds or slightly more than 2 cups of salt per 100 gallons. The salt I use is "Evaporated Sea Salt" available at Home Depot in 50 pound bags. Do not use salt with iodine added or water softener salt with "YPS" or any other chemicals added.
 

fishnutham

Needs More Room!
MFK Member
Nov 25, 2005
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awsome glad its a sticky now seems like this question comes up every day just a idea but maybe you could do one for worms too seems like thats just as common some days i just get tired of answering the same question.
 

dapike1979

Candiru
MFK Member
Nov 25, 2005
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:clap Thank's for the Sticky!! Keep up the good Work!! :clap :thumbsup:
 
F

FishHeadSoup

Guest
Heres another Ick question for this thread...

I just had a total wipeout of my 5gallon tank because of Ick. :swear:

Should I start the entire tank over and cycle it again OR will the Ick die off with no fish in the tank? :eek:


(I think if we post other possible Ick questions here, then there can be more info for people) :)
 

walls

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Apr 2, 2005
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FishHeadSoup said:
Heres another Ick question for this thread...

I just had a total wipeout of my 5gallon tank because of Ick. :swear:

Should I start the entire tank over and cycle it again OR will the Ick die off with no fish in the tank? :eek:


(I think if we post other possible Ick questions here, then there can be more info for people) :)

Good question :thumbsup:

I aslo want to add that the treatment supplied by GUPPY worked as he stated on my 135. I lost no fish and have not had another infection.
 

guppy

Small Squiggly Thing
Apr 15, 2005
11,582
76
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confused, lost, and lonely
FishHeadSoup said:
Heres another Ick question for this thread...

I just had a total wipeout of my 5gallon tank because of Ick. :swear:

Should I start the entire tank over and cycle it again OR will the Ick die off with no fish in the tank? :eek:


(I think if we post other possible Ick questions here, then there can be more info for people) :)
If you keep the water warm 85+ F. for several days the ich will die, The mobile stage only lives about 48 hrs without a host fish but the ecysted stage in the gravel can also last a couple days. A week at that temp with no fish should kill off the ich and end the infestation.

As an aside there is even a multitank method of curing ich that involves no meds of salt that can be used for fish like mormyrids, it involves moving the the fish into a bare bottom tank over night and moving it to a fresh tank the next day. You then empty the first tank and clean it with hydrogen peroxide or non-detergent bleach solution and set it up again.
Each day you repeat the move and clean, you keep this up for at least a week.
What this does is breaks the infestation cycle by not allowing the new parasites access to a host, the mature "spot" falls off to encyst and divide leaving fewer of them on the fish. They are killed before they hatch. Each time you move the fish it has fewer of them on it until all have matured and been killed.
 

rook45

Jack Dempsey
MFK Member
Jan 9, 2006
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guppy's treatment works :thumbsup:
 
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