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RE: [APD] Aquatic-Plants Digest, Vol 4, Issue 103

Sounds like the ich parasite might have a similar lifestyle to that of the herpes family of viruses.
In my mind, the ich parasite exists perpetually in the aquarium, but not in a complete dormant state. Since it requires a host to survive, as Mike has pointed out, it is possible that ich is present on some or most fish as a chronic low-level infection, just like herpes simplex virus (the one that causes cold sores). Usually the number is low and there is no noticable infestation or disease, but when the host gets stressed out, boom! the virus/protist starts replicating rapidly and you see visable disease, such as cold sores or ich. Treatment with medication only relieves the symptoms and blocks the high reproductivity rate. But like the remaining virus inside the nerve cells of human lips, remnant protists could survive on the skin or inside of the fish. That's my theory anyways...

- Seweryn

I disagree. All the scientific evidence I've seen says that ich must find a
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-- such as using the same bucket to make water changes in
infected/uninfected tanks or using the same net, etc. Once an ich infection
is cured in an aquarium, it is gone forever, unless the tank becomes
reinfected from an outside source.

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