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[APD] Ich and water changes

Mike Wickham wrote:

> I disagree. All the scientific evidence I've seen says that ich must find
> host within a short period of time, or it dies. This is backed up by
> practical experience. I've never seen ich develop in an established tank
> unless it had new (infected) fish introduced or was cross-contaminated by
> another source...

I agree.  Moreover, I don't see what all the fuss is about anyway.  There
are some REALLY NASTY fish diseases that can get into your tank that are
between difficult and impossible to cure.  Ich isn't one of them.  If caught
promptly, even if you DO manage to contaminate your tank by being less than
totally careful about quarantining new introductions, ich is pretty easy to
treat, and there are treatments available that don't harm plants.  It is
certainly worth trying to prevent ich getting into your tank, just as it's
worth washing your hands or steering clear of obviously sick people to
prevent the spread of human diseases.  But if ich does find its way into
your tank, it is far from the end of the world.  Increase the temperature,
treat the tank and move on.

Since I weighed in on this issue, I'll also add my two cents on the water
change issue as well.  Just as with most things related to aquariums, some
idiot can find some way of harming their fish with just about anything.  I
doubt there are many of us who have been in the hobby who haven't, at some
point, had someone kill some of our fish by over-feeding while we've been
away on vacation.  That doesn't make fish food a bad thing.

I've seen MANY more problems from people changing too little water than
changing too much.  As others have pointed out, you certainly shouldn't go a
year without a water change and then do a 90% (or probably even 25%) water
change.  But that's not because there's anything wrong with the NEW water...
it's because your fish have become acclimated to the cesspool you've allowed
to develop in the tank... And this counts for planted tanks that seem to
"suck up" nutrients too.  There are MANY things that build up in the water
column that we can't easily test for with hobby grade test kits.

To me, it hardly seems worth the effort to pull out the hoses to change less
than 25% of the water.  I often do 50% water changes, and from time to time
I've done 90% water changes without harm to any fish or plants living in the
tank.  And you don't need to change water weekly to make it "safe" to do a
50% water change.  I rarely have time to change water weekly.  I try to do
water changes every two weeks, but often let it slip longer than that when
family life gets in the way.  If I were having any problems with algae or
tank stability, I'd make sure I did the water changes more often.

There are only two legitimate caveats I know to changing too much water at
once, as long as the tank hasn't been neglected for a LONG time.  First is
for those of us who live in parts of the country where it gets very cold,
particularly if your tap water comes from a frozen-over reservoir.  In this
instance, the water may be super-saturated with gasses.  This can cause the
fish a lot of distress and even kill them if you do too-large water changes
without somehow allowing these gasses to escape.  The easiest way I know of
is to use a spray head, like you'd use for watering the garden to aerate the
water as you pour it into the tank.  The further you let the spray fall
through the air before entering the tank, the better it will work. (BTW this
gas problem won't cause ich either... the fish will die much too quickly to
get sick)

The other potential problem is for those of us who have large amounts of PO4
in their tap water.  My tap water runs about 3ppm.  In water changes up to
about 50%, my plants just lap it up... this is my method of supplementing
phosphate.  But at those times when I do a REALLY big water change, I have
to either run it through a phosphate absorbing resin, or be prepared for
some green-water management in the days following.<g>

So the bottom line is, don't get your knickers in a twist over ich, and for
HEAVEN sake, don't fear water changes!


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