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Ich and the sick Betta

To Dave with the ich-y fish:

Since you seem to be concerned about how to treat the fish without messing
with the tank, you might try this - and only do this is you are QUICK about
it.  Catch the fish, lay it on a wet paper towel, and very quickly and
delicately dab it directly with the quick cure malachite green medication.
(I have used clean Qtips in the past, but probably anything - like a small
kids paintbrush - will suffice.)  flip it over and do it again to the other
side.  then release it back to the tank.  If you are steady, you can do the
whole thing (after catching) in fewer than 15 seconds.  This method will
spare you medicating the entire tank.  THe fish will be stained green for a
little while, but will that will fade in 24 hrs.  In my opinion, this works
better for the affected fish (I had to do this to some serpae tetras when
they had mouth fuzzies).  I believe raising the temperature slightly (try
80 deg?  Look this up on usenet - I forget the exact temp now), it will
speed the life cycle of ich, so they will die faster.  

[Small lecture about ich forthcoming, delete at will]

Ich is probably one of the most prevalent - and yet one of the most
preventable - aquarium diseases.  I have read (and believe) that, like
algae (ObPlant), ich is also ubiquitous in tanks as a silent occupant,
unless the fish are stressed and have weakened immune systems.  Then ich
comes in and does its work.  When I was a new aquarist, I had recurrent
bouts with ich.  In my case, it was due to sudden temperature change when I
was doing tank maintenance.  Despite being cold-blooded, the sudden temp
change (back then, I just used cold water from the tap to change an
unheated tank water) gave them some kind of shock, weakened them, and made
them ich-y.  Now I'm not anal when I change water now, but I do check the
water temps in the tank and coming from the faucet just by touch, and I
adjust until they match before filling the tank.  I would guess the temps
were within 5 deg F of each other.  I haven't had any ich in my tanks for
six years now (knock on wood).  I hope this helps you.

And to Sue with the sick Betta:

I wish you good luck!  I have never had a fish recover from dropsy, altho I
did have some that lived for several weeks with it before going to the
great big aquarium in the sky.  If he recovers, please let me know how you
saved him, so I may remember that for future fish.  The problem with dropsy
is that it usually results from multiple secondary infections (you said
that he first had cotton mouth) - so it's impossible to treat, most of the
time.  I hope he survives!