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Old 05-16-2006, 07:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How long does ick last?

My fish came down with ick. I noticed it 3 days ago and started using Rid-Ick 2 days ago. My fish are still full of the white spots and scratching on the sand substrate. How long does the whole ick cycle, and getting completely rid of it usually take?
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Old 05-16-2006, 08:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It's been a while since I've had to deal with this stuff, but if I remember right it takes about 1 week for the ick to go through it's lifecycle at 74 deg F. The white spots will actually fall off and go into the substrate where they multiply and become many more which will free swim and look for new hosts. This is the point were most remedies will kill the buggers- when they are free swimming. Many aquariests will slowly raise the temp a couple degrees over several days. This will speed up the life cycle of the ich and clear it up faster. Just make sure you add some air bubbles to make sure there is enough oxygen for the fish when you medicate or increase temp.

Next find out why they got sick in the first place. Didn't quarentine a new fish? Maybe the heater is broken and the temp is fluctuating too much. Where the fish just added and not acclimated properly?
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Old 05-16-2006, 08:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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All good advice. Raising the temp a two to three degrees from where you currently have it will kill the ich. Rid-ich is a great ich killer and usually takes 5-7 days to completely rid the ich once you add the medication. It's a good idea to circulate the water, and remove any carbon.

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Old 05-17-2006, 10:49 AM   #4 (permalink)
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By the way, simply raising the temperature close to 87F (slowly, a few degrees/day) and using aquarium salt (1tbsp/gal) does the job well too. Salt simulates the fish to produce more silme coat and the ich cannot survive temperature above 86F.

BE careful, Rid-Ich will stain the silicone blue.
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Old 05-17-2006, 01:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Good advise so far, so I don't need to add to that.

The ich cycle usually takes about 28 days to go through all of the phases, so I try to treat for at least that long.

I'm not a fan of Rid-ich either and much prefer the heat and salt method, or Coppersafe, depending on what you have in the tank. Plants do fine with either treatment, but inverts won't tolerate the Coppersafe.

It sounds like you have a pretty heavy infestation going on, so I would do a big water change and try one of the other methods mentioned above.

Good luck.
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Old 05-18-2006, 11:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I didn't have much luck with chemicals in curing ich. Could be that my fish picked up a resistant strain.

On AB Forum we discussed ways to cure ich using filters and salt. Salt (NaCl) at 2 tsp/gal seems to reliably kill the infectious ich swarmers. The only downside is that that concentration (about 0.3%) will kill plants.

Here's the link:

http://http://www.aquaticplantcentra...ating-ich.html

I cured Ich without chemicals by moving fish from a new, clean quarantine tank equipped with a chloroxed Quick Filter every day for 6 days. By the time the Ich cysts dropped off the fish and released their infectious swarmers, the fish were safely in a new tank. It worked beautifully, but it was lots and lots of work!

After learning from my fellow ABers how reliably salt works, here's what I'd do instead. Transfer your fish to a hospital tank set at 83F containing 2 tsp salt/gal. Watch to see whether the spots decrease. At 83F, the cysts (white spots) drop off the fish in 4-5 days as part of the Ich parasite's normal cycle. If spots come off and no new ones appear, you'll know that the salt is working (killing the swarmers and preventing re-infection of the fish). If the salt works, your fish should be cleaned up in 5-6 days at 83F.

After the fish appear clean, wait 1-2 more days. You want to make sure that ALL the cysts have dropped off. Remember, there may be one or two left in the gills that you can't see, so be patient. (Each cyst can release 300-1,000 swarmers, so you need to make sure that they're all gone from the fish).

Meanwhile, keep the temperature high (~83-85F) in your main tank while you're treating the fish. At this temperature and without a fish host, the swarmers will die within 3-4 days. Thus, you should be able to safely return your fish to the main tank within 6 days of there being no fish in the tank. I waited 7 days and my fish were fine.
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Old 05-18-2006, 07:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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An update.... my fish are doing much better now, although I did lose one clown loach the second day of treatment. My temp has been at 83F for the past 5 days and i've been using Rid-ich every 24 hours along with a 25% water change. Almost all fish are 'spotless'. Another question is can snails get ick? I removed all of the plants and some snails from my tank before treatment and when I put the plants back I don't want to reintroduce ick to my tank. And thanks for all the input everyone.
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Old 05-19-2006, 07:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I've never heard of snails getting infected with Ich.

If the snails and plants have been kept at 83F or more for about 5 days, they should be safe to add back to tank. By this time and at this temperature, cysts will have hatched and swarmers will have died without a fish host. Still I'd rinse them before adding.

Glad that your treatment is working!
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