Ich eradication vs. Ich management

Discussion in 'Fish Disease Treatment and Diagnosis' started by Humblefish, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. alin2

    alin2 Well-Known Member

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    Well...I have moved from ich prevention to ich management despite all best efforts. :(:mad:

    I QTed all my fish for at least 30 days with Prazipro and Cupramine, checking the copper level with a Salifert test kit on a regular basis (every 2-3rd day). My tank was doing well with 6 sunset anthias, 3 threadfin anthias, a white bar anthia, a male/female pair of Watanabei angels, and a Helfrichi firefish/ All fish were QTed and this fish population were slowly added over 6 months.

    I have a dedicated fish QT system along with a coral QT system in my fish room.

    So, to my dismay, my helfrichi firefish came down with ich. I tried to net her since her bolt hole was right in front but that proved impossible. I ordered the Aqua-medic fish trap (which is very clever), but on the next day it arrived, I found her dead. She was my favorite...All the other fish have looked healthy and thus far visible ich free.

    Who knows where something went wrong? My display tank has a properly sized UV sterilizer that is on 100% of the time. I QTed everything that went into the tank with the exception of some trochus snails. Perhaps there was encysted ich on the snail. Or, perhaps, 1 day my Cu level dropped? It's impossible to know.

    All I know is that despite time, effort, and resources to try to keep ich from the tank, I am now unhappily in the ich management camp. My fish QT is a 20 gallon tank that would be too small for all 12 other fish for treatment for 76 days (letting the display go fallow). I could go get a 55 gallon hospital tank, but my wife would literally kill me if I put another tank downstairs.

    This hobby is so frustrating! Hopefully, my other fish will remain disease managed and live healthy lives. I guess this also kills my plans for tangs and I will only add further ich resistant fish I think.

    Just venting...
     
  2. Humblefish

    Humblefish Dr. Fish Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Reef Squad Expert Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member

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    Unfortunately, snail shells are the perfect surface for tomonts to encyst upon. :( Also, how close are the QTs to your DT? Despite how strongly I advocate ich eradication these days, I employed ich management for almost 30 years. So I feel your pain. :(
     
  3. alin2

    alin2 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I didn't QT the snails since my QT tank really has no algae for them to feed on. I guess I could have put some nori in for them to feed on. Painful lesson learned. Looking back on it, the only other item not QTed before introduction into the refugium was some caulerpa and chaeto.

    My fish QT is separated by a wall from the display tank but is in the same room as my sump, refugium and about 6' away. I read about the aerosol transmission of Ich, but I needed to house all the fish stuff into a fish room (which was a former bathroom) to get the spousal okay. So, despite best efforts, which obviously wasn't good enough, I'm stuck with ich management. Sucks.
     
  4. Humblefish

    Humblefish Dr. Fish Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Reef Squad Expert Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member

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    Sorry to hear :(
     
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  5. alin2

    alin2 Well-Known Member

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    In your opinion what are the most ich resistant fish? Certainly not Helfrichi firefish :( and acanthurus tangs. What about zebrasoma tangs?
     
  6. Paul B

    Paul B Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Article Contributor

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    The most ich resistant fish are fish that are immune from it, like the ones in my tank. :D
     
  7. alin2

    alin2 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah...but that doesn't help me stock MY tank. Lol. ;)
     
  8. Paul B

    Paul B Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Article Contributor

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    It does if you keep them immune. :D
     
  9. 1stNoel

    1stNoel Well-Known Member

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    My local LFS told me they just practice ich management by keeping the fish well fed and removing any bullies from the display tank. If they see someone fighting...out they go (easier said for an LFS that can just sell the ones they don't want). That seems to work for them.

    With the first ich outbreak in my tank, all the fish picked up a bit of ich. Since I started using SelCon, Garlic, and keeping nori in the tank...the only one that still picks up ich is the Powder Blue Tang. And I think that's because I have one yellow tang that constantly picks a fight with it. Even though the Powder Blue, who is pretty chill, finally whooped its *** one night...the yellow tang keeps coming back for more and keeps him stressed. I'll probably have to give away the Yellow or keep it in the QT.

    "Can't we all just get along?"
     
  10. Humblefish

    Humblefish Dr. Fish Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Reef Squad Expert Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member

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    IME; Zebrasoma are probably the most ich resistant tangs. Any fish with a thick slime coat (Clownfish, anthias, wrasses, even mandarins) is gonna have a better chance for survival than a thin coat Acanthurus tang.
     
  11. 4FordFamily

    4FordFamily Tang, Angel, & Wrasse Addict R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Article Contributor Partner Member

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    Agree 100% most HEALTHY zebrasoma tangs can fight off ich and live many healthy years in an ich management tank.

    Also for what it's worth cupramine has failed me even at very high concentrations although I too have identified a culprit or two that may have cross contaminated.

    1) my hand moving from tank to tank to add nori each day (i do wash with soap in between though) but more likely is
    2) using the same hoses to do water changes several in a few day period with a tank i am knowingly practicing ich management techniques (primarily wrasse and a blonde naso). My guess is that this was the culprit and perhaps sharing nets but I still have some doubt about cupramine's effectiveness on some strains
     
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  12. Lowell Lemon

    Lowell Lemon Well-Known Member

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    I have read the discussion here with much interest and while I am a noob in this forum I do have over 30 year of industry experience to support a lot of what Paul B is saying about fish health. I could open another discussion about diagnosis via cell phone camera and related. (Not a good idea as I have already faced wrath for that) But I will face it one more time by saying without a microscope the actual causative organism is just a blind guess when the only evidence is a bad photo and short description of possible symptoms. So the shotgun approach to kill the invader often kills the fish instead. I have drawn many parallels to Human disease associated with the overuse of antibiotics and the resulting problems with MERSA and other drug resistant organisms. This is a problem in aquatic husbandry practices as well...just look at the aquaculture industry for examples. Medication should be the last resort and then only after proper diagnosis.

    Proper filtration including ozone, protein skimming, U.V. or diatom/mechanical, filtration and dilution (large capacity holding systems) goes a long way in giving wholesalers an advantage in the success of keeping fish alive. If a local store uses the same designs and systems their loss rates are historically around 1%-5% instead of 30% plus. This makes a huge difference to the bottom line of the stores in an area where there is little profit compared to dry goods. Proper nutrition is as important in my experience with quality live and frozen foods giving an advantage. I used available aquaculture systems to provide success to many store owners in the Northwest and down the Pacific coast. The results were as stated above.

    I would also caution the idea that Crypto is the causative organism in many of the deaths attributed to "ich" like symptoms. There are other organisms that are commensal in nature that become pathogenic and cause loss rates up to 80% in aquaculture systems. Why is it so hard to believe that these same organisms maybe the cause of so many fish deaths in aquariums? But I have been blistered on this subject as well...even though I spent the money on the diagnosis through Washington State University to uncover the causative organisms. Once the organism was discovered the treatment was successful and did not include drugs of any kind. All it took was the customer trusting me to deliver the necessary equipment to make the system work. Nothing earth shattering just Chillers, U.V. sterilizers, and proper mechanical filtration to compliment their biological and protein skimmer system.

    Our husbandry techniques and nutrition are major advantages for the fish we keep. How is feeding the fish foods not encountered in the wild good for them? Let's just mention gold fish for saltwater predators? Who knows what type of bacterial problems are caused by that type of feeding? Who knows what type of resistant organism we are helping to create?

    We need to pay more attention to the conditions of fish in the wild and duplicate that as much as possible in the tank. That means some fish should not be up for sale in the trade...there I said it. Keep in mind I have been an offender in this area in the past. I have provided sharks and rays to customers in the past. I will not do that in the future. They are just to large and the space requirements are above what the most well healed individual can afford. We as hobbyist/industry folk should keep track of what species should not be kept and stop buying/selling them. Just because you can does not mean you should.

    Thanks Paul for the reality check and the success of your practices. The type of system is not as important as attention to the requirements of the fish and inverts. Well done sir.
     
  13. Humblefish

    Humblefish Dr. Fish Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Reef Squad Expert Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member

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    @Lowell Lemon Most hobbyists do not have access to the resources you mentioned, nor the time to maintain them. I've yet to find an aquarium DE filter that is SW safe. I know of almost no one who uses ozone anymore and most UVs have too slow of a flow rate to be effective. Not saying your claims are wrong, but for most hobbyists proper QT to prevent diseases from entering their DT in the first place ends up being the path of least resistance. ;)
     
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  14. Lowell Lemon

    Lowell Lemon Well-Known Member

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    I guess you have a problem with something I said.

    Funny I think I just saw you agree with Paul B on DE.... Mechaical filtration takes many forms in large system development...most often sand or cartridge filtration. No one uses large scale DE...I was just pointing out that there is some benefit in samll aquaria.

    U.V. systems built around the projected or desired flow rate are still widely in use. Show me a wholesale operation of any large volume that is not using one. Take Quality Marine for example and look at what they use. It is not a difficult piece of equipment to use, understand or maintain.

    There are several on this forum that still use ozone. One of them just featured a 9' aquarium near Sydney for example. His tank is outstanding by the way. Look it up.

    Your theory that you can create a secure sterile environment through quarantine only is not managable for most people. In practice how are you going to prevent introduction of some organism you can't see with the introduction of liverock, livesand, algea, or invert specimens. A truely sterile controlled environment does not exist in nature or the aquarium. Paul's methods are much more practical for most people.

    Just because you have not had my experiance does not invalidate what I am saying. I hope you understand that. I have only presented my experiance in these matters not some claim of any settled science. You can debate that on your own.
     
  15. Paul B

    Paul B Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Article Contributor

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    Hi guys. I won't get into this as I have done it to death and my fish have only been immune for 35 or so years so what do I know? :D
    But I still use ozone. Have a great day :p
     
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  16. 4FordFamily

    4FordFamily Tang, Angel, & Wrasse Addict R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Article Contributor Partner Member

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    Paul and Lowell, humble isn't saying ich management cannot be effective. I would argue that depending on your livestock you plan to keep, it may work well if you don't cut corners and things work out well and you know what you're doing.

    The problem is that most people in this hobby have little experience, not enough resources as humble said, or a taste for fish that typically do not thrive in these environments. I've had several thriving reefs without care in the world that ich was present because it had not showed any symptoms except to occasional new additions that either survived and fought it off or they didn't.

    I might argue that for 95% of those that do this, that although it is easy and it may work for some time, it is not the most ethical choice.

    Example, I eat like a cow. Most people that eat 1/4 as much as I do are morbidly obese. But a sweeping statement that one shouldn't eat 10k calories in one day as I often do on Saturday and another 6k on Friday and Sunday each or they will be fat and unhealthy is not correct. Instead of experience or knowledge, I get away with it because I run 22 miles per week and lift weights 3 days per week for a total of 6 days/week exercising. Strange analogy but my point is that there are many variables that can allow one to do things others cannot successfully. I used to be 308lbs and my metabolism is naturally slow. A single factor (exercise) allows me to eat like I want to. I don't eat fried foods and many high fat foods but I carb load like nobody would believe.

    I also submit to you that diseases such as velvet are far more prevalent now than they used to be. So many LFS have it running through their systems. Most experienced hobbyists probably can keep it out of their tanks by very selectively purchasing livestock because they have the resources, experience, and knowledge to do so. Many do not, even after several years in the hobby. I've been duped myself, and I consider myself very capable of identifying an early illness or unhealthy fish. Velvet will take out even the most stable, aged, healthy tanks. I've had some fish survive long term because they were so "immune" particularly wrasse but even a hippo for a couple months until it won over. I didn't properly identify it because it did not show classic symptoms (or I incorrectly identified the problem as well and "fixed" other things instead of the real problem).

    Again, so many factors play in to this big picture. Things have changed over the years, strains have evolved, and husbandry appears to have generally suffered through the supply chain. Even the past ten years since I worked at an LFS things appear to have changed.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
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  17. Lowell Lemon

    Lowell Lemon Well-Known Member

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    @4FordFamily,
    With your current experiance has the disease problem been associated with "farmed" fish or wild caught? Are the fish comming from a facility where the farmed fish are co-mingled with the wild caught? I am just curious since aquacultured Salmon are questionable as a food source due to many factors. In fact I refuse to eat farmed Salmon or farmed fish if at all possible. Let's not even get into the known problems with farmed Asian shrimp and the rearing methods. But then again I do not eat shellfish...I know how and what they eat.

    I have to admit I am not part of the supply chain anymore but I was at one time and so I respond from those experiances in the past. I would love to hear what has changed that has brought us to the current state of affairs. Due to my age many of my past associations in the pet industry have retired or sold their businesses. I do know that in terms of consumption the industry has greatly diminished and the demand has fallen for both live stock and the realted products. I wonder if our failure as a hobby has impacted the consumption. You can find many people leaving the hobby here in this forum as they sell off their systems and livestock.

    I am not saying medication is not viable but that it is just as difficult and expensive as any other method and in personal experiance has a lower success rate in terms of survival. All you have to do is read some of the heart breaking threads on this forum and watch as another person loses a complete tank of fish by attempting to shotgun a solution. It is sad to watch them frantically tear everthing down in an attempt to medicate every fish in a reef system to only see the fish die one by one in the hospital tank. Go back and read some of the threads you have been involved in and look at the success rate. It should be instructive for us to see our lack of success with fish disease. We should pay attention to natural methods in response to disease prevention and care whenever possible.

    I know the equipment I suggest is not natural but does enhance the success rate for those that apply the science to their tanks. Observation is a skill a person must develop to be successful in this hobby.

    You illustrate a great reason for success in your personal life of diet and exercise. You are actually showing a more holistic way to live both for yourself and the animals you care for. I don't know if you see the connection but the laws of health are mirrored in both your experiance and the natutal world. Your reason for success is what I suggest is a reason for success for Paul and others who pay attention to the natural laws of cause and effect. More people would do well to associate their health in a cause and effect way.

    In the end I just want people to be successful in this hobby. I think we all suffer from tunnel vision at times and I would just like people to look at a bigger picture solution. When we focus on just one side of the care of fish we can assume that only some drug or quarantine system will save us from the ever present problem of disease.

    Your mention of the rise of Velvet and more resistant disease is the alarm bell I want to ring here. We can't continue to expose organisms to low dose chemical and drug protocols and not expect it to create drug resistant organisms in the future. This is one of the reasons we have to continue to manufacture more powerful antibiotics in human medicine. People often depend on a pill instead of prevention. Prevention is not a chemical or drug routine it is good nutrition, reduction of stress, fresh air, clean water, rest and exercise for humans. It is the same for animals aquatic or not.

    Great post and good discussion from the Fords as usual. Have a great day all!
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
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  18. Paul B

    Paul B Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Article Contributor

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    Exactly what I have been saying for decades. This hobby is still using the same exact methods we used when the hobby started in 1971, I think it was on a Tuesday about two or two fifteen in the afternoon. I know because I was there. We bought fish, they got ich, we added copper, cured the fish, or not. Now many people quarantine and the same amount of fish are lost either in quarantine itself or right after because quarantined fish have almost no immune system because we kept them from pathogens for a long time instead of allowing the fishes immune system do what it is supposed. (Boy in the bubble) Just search for tanks that were lost right after quarantine, you will find hundreds.
    "I am not talking to Noobs", and you know who you are. Noobs need to quarantine because no fish is healthy in a new tank. None, zero, nada I don't care what the LFS, your girlfriend or Brian Williams tells you. New tanks are not healthy. New could be 2-5 years old. I realize we feel that after our $8.00 test kit says our tank is cycled we could stick a manta ray in there, and you can if you keep it's head underwater, but it will be hard to clean that tank after that thing dies, as it will. Our tanks need a layer of "mulm". Yes, dirt and it's associated bacteria. This "mulm" covers every reef in the sea. Yes I have also been on every reef in the sea. OK, maybe not every one, but many. "Mulm" is the stuff that grows and houses bacteria, algae, pods and maybe parasites. I like parasites, all sorts of parasites because (unless you are a Noob) they are the "only" thing that will keep your fish immune from parasites. Noobs, go and watch Oprah, I think she is giving away Cadillac's to cats.
    Most of us are thinking backwards and the internet has a lot to do with that. It is counter productive to keep a reef tank to clean. Reefs are not clean. I dove twice last week, trust me. The sea is full of pathogens, all sorts of things, but fish in the sea don't hardly ever get sick except for the occasional headache. Yes I know the argument that the sea is big and our tanks are small Yada Yada. If my fish can stay healthy after I add flounders, mud, snails, crabs, seaweeds and water from New York waters as well as buy fish from every LFS in New York and throw them in my tank after a little acclimation and maybe read to them a little. My tank is not magic.
    Fish come to us with immunity, most of it is lost during shipping and handling but it is still there. We need to just feed our fish correctly and that may not be just commercially available food. We need to broaden our horizons, not our waistline. You don't have to follow my model of feeding foods with live bacteria in their gut like live worms and clams, "but" then you need to quarantine everything and be very careful never to introduce anything wild and use no NSW. Parasites can come on corals, algae, snails, crabs, live rock and food. Again, Noobs, go someplace else and don't read this or you will get me in trouble as I am not talking to you.
    I took this last week in the Caribbean. See the stuff growing all over the rock? No one is vacuuming that and it is thick. Fish eat it and they spawn in it. It is needed for a reef to be healthy.
    [​IMG]

    I took this last year on Key Largo.
    [​IMG]

    And this 2 years ago off Hawaii. Notice the spotted moray eel.
    And do you know what that eel is eating? Live fish with all the associated gut bacteria that it needs to keep up it's immune system. Also notice he is not dead and doesn't have ich, velvet or anything else.
    Gut bacteria is the key but almost no one gets it. OK, now all the sterile people can yell at me. I turned off the sound on my computer and am listening to In a Godda Divita so I can't hear you.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Lowell Lemon

    Lowell Lemon Well-Known Member

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    Sterile tanks were the vogue in the 1970's with bleached coral and white sand...and dead and dying fish. It was the advent of the Reef Aquarium that changed everything for me and my success. Natural aquariums are the goal in my mind no matter if they are fresh or saltwater. I remember well the success of building a tank with fresh cured live rock...what a revolution in saltwater fish keeping! The fish thrived and the tanks matured at a better rate than some of the current protocols. I even had one 60 gallon tank that never had a water change in over four years...light feedings and only a couple or three fish...one a Mandarine Goby. Single 175 watt metal halide lamp on a timer with an ATO, trickle filter, skimmer and return pump. Tank turn over was less than 4 times an hour. Oh yes there was macro algea in the display. Lots of pods running around.
     
  20. Humblefish

    Humblefish Dr. Fish Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Reef Squad Expert Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member

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    Not a problem, just expressing a different opinion. You seem to be kind of paranoid about people disagreeing with you or jumping on your case about your ideas. I can assure you the latter will not be tolerated here. When someone posts a question about a fish disease problem, feel free to chime in even if your advice is contrary to what I'm doling out. At the end of the day, the OP will decide for themselves whose advice to take (or perhaps take none at all.)

    I also disagree with your assertion that a skin scrape/scope ID is required to make a correct diagnosis. Having that would be optimal, yes, but impractical for most hobbyists. How many times do you go to a doctor and he/she makes a diagnosis based solely upon the symptoms you list, and fails to do a biopsy or any blood work? I think we do a pretty good job of guessing correctly with just a "bad photo and short description of possible symptoms" to work with; confirmed when the sick fish in question makes a completely recovery. 90% of the diseases we see on this forum are going to be the garden variety types: Ich, velvet, brook, uronema, flukes, intestinal worms, Lympho, bacterial infections. After doing this awhile, you start to notice certain patterns develop; the same symptoms listed again & again for X disease. That kind of experience makes it easier to make a proper diagnosis, especially when those symptoms also line up with experimental fish in my care. Every now & then you will encounter something unusual on here, like a Cirolanid Isopod I saw on a clownfish just yesterday.
     
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