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Hi Kevin,

Here's some information:

"Plants can carry parasitic ciliates or dinoflagellates, if coming from a contaminated environment. For example, Oodinium (velvet), which rapidly spread. To distinguish Ich from Velvet, without a microscope, is often very difficult, and in my opinion it would be better to think in terms of both.

Most if not all medications work killing the free-swimming forms of the parasite, while the forms encysted in the skin and gills escape their effects. That's why long periods of treatment are recommended: you have to slowly break the parasite's life cycle at the free-swimming stage.
This is in my direct experience seldom effective: I got consistently a good temporary relief with formalin+malachite green (multiple doses over about two weeks), but relapses invariable occurred in a few weeks. I also had only one permanent success out of three bare tanks treated with copper (even monitoring for therapeutic levels). So, the most effective remedy is a temperature treatment: Ich is less heat resistant than Velvet, and you can try first with a 10-day cycle at about 87-88 deg. F (adequate for Ich), and resort to a 5-day treatment at 93 deg. F (necessary for Oodinium) in case the problem persists. Heat kills all life forms of the two parasites, including those incysted, and it is therefore more likely to provide long-lasting results. Be aware that, although most plants will take it with no problems (excluding some cold water species and possibly sensitive Crypts, and the like) some fishes will not tolerate it, especially if already weakened by the disease. Good aeration should help, but it does not guarantee 100% tolerability. Unfortunately the alternative is to have many fishes killed anyway by the epidemics.

The survivors will develop immunity and become more resistant, but any new addition to the tank may then become at high risk of infection. Therefore Ich or velvet should be aggressively eliminated, in my opinion. You may try to remove shrimps to a separate tank for the period of increased temperature, if you think they will not take it. I have no idea whether or not they are at risk of being infected: if they do not carry the disease you can re-introduce them after the original conditions are restored. "

"I've used malachite green many times in the past. I've never lost any shrimp or snails due to the medicine. Use half of the prescribed dosage on the bottle, which should be someting like 1 drop/ 2 gallons. I use it initially, then again after two days. After a couple more days, a 30-50% water change will clean things up. The formalin/malachite green breaks down in the presence of light, so it's pretty much gone on it's on in a few days. I've never had it stain anything but my fingers. Don't put it directly on the sealant and you shouldn't have a problem. The ich may linger for several days, but it should disappear."

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