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Possible Ich (Ick)
01-31-2015, 07:31 AM,
#1
Dave Offline
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Possible Ich (Ick)
Greeting's Fish Friends,

I really REALLY hate to have to write this. Thor, if you read this I sure hope you can give me more GREAT advice like you did last time with the Tetra SafeStart Smile

I may possibly be facing my first fish illness. I'm reading a dozen different ways to treat Ich (Ick). Would love to hear more opinions on dealing with this.

My tanks is new (almost 6 weeks old) 5.5 gallon fluval tank with 5 very active guppies. The tank has cycled. My pH is
7.2, Ammonia 0. Nitrite 0, Nitrate .05-.10. I'm doing 1 gallon water changes about every three to five days. I also have a small
10 watt heater in the tank and that keeps the water temp at exactly 78*. I also put a small amount of aquarium salt in
the water as PetSmart told me this would be beneficial to the guppies (1 Tbsp. for 5 gallons). There are no live plants in this tank.

The guppies are VERY active and eating well. This aquarium is on my desk and I see these fish all day long while I'm working. Yesterday I
noticed 1 fish was occasionally 'scratching' himself on one of the rock decorations in the tank, I didn't think anything of it at
the time. Today all 5 guppies are doing this intermittently. There are NO signs of white sugar like specks on the fish...but I am
wondering if this might be the beginning of Ich? One week ago I added 2 guppies from LFS to the tank.

I don't want to be a 'fish tank hypocondriate'....but I also don't want to be caught off guard in the event this turns into
something more. I keep reading that these medications can/will kill your biological filtration (which I have worked so hard
for these past 6 weeks)...I sure hate to wipe it out now and have to start over...plus, what in the world would I do with the
guppies in the meantime? A dilemma Dodgy

I also am reading about the high temperature treatment which I really like the idea of. I would have to go buy another heater which would allow me to control the temperature (that's no problem).

Any thoughts from your vast knowledge would be appreciated Cool

Many Thanks,
Dave
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01-31-2015, 02:24 PM,
#2
Thor Online
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RE: Possible Ich (Ick)
Hi Dave,

First, do not panic.
There are many things can cause fish to scratch themselves against objects. It is unlikely ick in your case since you have had your fish for over a month. Any sign of ick would have shown a long time ago.

While I can't tell you I am 100% sure since I can't see your fish, in my opinion it is 99% unrelated to parasites since you have just noticed the scratch after 5 weeks. A lot of us have quarantine tanks for new fish just came in. It is to prevent them spread possible parasites and diseases to the fish in our already established aquarium. Usually we leave the new fish in the quarantine tank for only 2 to 4 weeks, because any sign of diseases and parasites should have shown by then.

Ick or ich has a life cycle of only a few weeks. Although they might not show as white spots on the fish at first, you should have definitely see them on your fish in 5 weeks if they were there in your aquarium.

I acknowledge there are other parasites can cause fish itch and scratch against objects, it is also unlikely since it has been more than 5 weeks before you have noticed the behavior.

Second, other possible causes.
Trace of ammonia and some other chemicals in the water might cause fish to "flash" (scratch against objects). Keep water quality at excellent level can help.

Have you done the weekly partial water change? You need to replace 30 to 50% of the water once a week. In your case, you may increase the frequency and do this once a day for a few days to see if the problem goes away. A lot of problems can be fixed by better water quality. Feed your fish less food and make sure no leftover after each feeding will help the water quality too. When you do partial water changes, make sure you remove the fish waste at the bottom.

Third, do not use salt. It has very little proven benefits.
Even (if) there are parasites such as ick, to kill them with salt you will also need to reach the concentration to kill the fish. Absolutely do not jump into the conclusion of ick and use medications, meds can cause more problem and should always be used as the last option.
To treat ick there is the "heat treatment". Ick dislike warm water and most ick strains will stop reproducing at 86F+. To take advantage of this, we have successfully eradicated ick by gradually increase the water temperature to 86F over the course of many hours (to give the fish time to adopt). Keep the 86F water temperature for 2 weeks should be sufficient to let the existing ick run its course of life cycle without reproducing.(all ick died off).


Let me conclude my answer for you.
Do nothing except partial water changes and cut back on feedings to ensure the excellent water quality. in the case you start to see the white spots, share a photo with me. If it is ick, then try the heat treatment after consulting with me.

Good luck
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01-31-2015, 02:37 PM,
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Thor Online
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RE: Possible Ich (Ick)
Sorry, I missed the part of two new guppies were added a week ago the first time I read your post. It can be a problem. There is the possibility that the new guppies came with parasites. It is why a quarantine tank is always recommended for any new fish.

My advices from the last post still stand. Do the partial water change a few times (no more than once a day, and watch the temperature of the new water, let it be equal or close to the aquarium water temperature)) to see if the problem fixes itself.
If the problem gets worse, or if you start to see white spots, please get back to me here before try something else. ☺
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01-31-2015, 10:17 PM,
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Dave Offline
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RE: Possible Ich (Ick)
Thank you, Thor! It is now morning and the fish are still 'flashing', but I do not see any white spots at all. The fish are VERY active and they ate very well this morning... (they always eat like pigs). I'm careful about the feeding, and I've never had them leave so much as a speck when I do feed.

I went out last night and got to PetSmart right when they were closing the doors but they let me in to purchase a larger heater. The heater I have in this small Fluval is only 10 watts and I'm not able to control the temp (it keeps the small tank at 78*). This new heater is now in the tank and I have increased the temp to 80*. I will increase the temp about 2 degrees every six hours until I get to 86*. I also put a small airstone in and running this as I've read that the higher temps can deplete oxygen in the water.

The water parameters are as perfect as I can get them. pH 7.2, ammonia 0. nitrite 0, nitrate .05. I do not have a water hardness test kit as of now. I have well water and my pH from the tap is about 6.8. I suspect my water is soft as whenever I do dishes the water foams/suds very easily (I've always heard that was a sign of soft water), but not sure how scientific that theory is Dodgy

I'm confused about this salt thing. The guy at the LFS says guppies really like a bit of salt in the water, and a lot of online guppy sites say the same thing...this is the reason I put a small amount in (1 Tbsp. for 5 gallons). Other people say no salt. I will discontinue adding salt as I do the pwc over the next week.

I did a 25% water change last night and will continue to do this daily. I'll check in and let you know if anything changes over the next 24 hours. I'm watching for the white specks...I thought for sure I would have seen them this morning, but nada...

I really appreciate your time in helping me out here!

Many Thanks,
Dave
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02-01-2015, 01:56 AM,
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Thor Online
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RE: Possible Ich (Ick)
I wouldn't use the heat treatment just yet. Until you see multiple white spots on your fish, you can't be sure it is ick. While the heat treatment is relatively harmless when it is compared to medications, it is still unnecessary protential stress you are putting your fish through for no reason. I was suggesting to increase water quality first to see if the problem goes away. Heat treatment is only reserved for identified ick case.
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02-01-2015, 11:49 PM,
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Dave Offline
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RE: Possible Ich (Ick)
Update:

Fish are still flashing and I continue to do the 25% water changes. No signs whatsoever of the sugar-specks. A couple of the fish are flashing a lot, others only occasionally. All ate well this morning. The smallest guppy is actually looking stressed (tired), he is the one flashing the most.

My water parameters changed. My pH 7.2, ammonia (a tinge off 0 yellow), nitrites 0 and nitrates 0. I don't know what happened to the nitrates??? Why do I show a tiny bit of ammonia but 0 nitrates? When I do the pwc I am adding 14 drops of Top Fin water conditioner....could that be hiding the nitrate readings? I'm a little puzzled. I will test the water again this evening before I do the pwc.

Water temp is at 80*. I'll just continue to do what I've been doing... Let me know if you think there is anything more I could be doing.

Thank's so much!
Dave
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02-02-2015, 12:25 AM,
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Thor Online
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RE: Possible Ich (Ick)
While the partial water changes remove some of the nitrate, it is quite hard to get nitrate to below 5ppm without doing multiple water changes every day. Perhaps you are still not doing the nitrate test right.

You need to keep ammonia at 0ppm. It can be the cause for flashing since ammonia can burn fish's gills to make them feel uncomfortable. Feed them only once every two days if you have to.

There are other parasites beside ick. Some can't be seen by naked eyes. However, you shouldn't rush into any conclusion at this point, since most of the parasites killing meds are also stressful if not harmful to the fish.

Just keep the living conditions at optimized level for your fish, while keep eyes on any changes.

Best luck to you ☺☺
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