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ICH in a planted tank...

 Chuck Gadd wrote: <<<< ICH in a planted tank...
First of all, I'm not sure what caused it.   Water parameters
are perfect, temperature was a stable 78 degrees.  Only new
addtions to the tank:
- - A couple new plants about a week ago.  Fish in the stores plant
tanks show no signs of an outbreak.  
- - live brine shrimp added 6 hours before the first signs of ich.
- - two amano algae eating shrimp added 6 hours before the first
signs of ich.
- - I added a small amount of rinsed Flourite.  I can't imagine
this having any relationship to the ich.
I am starting a treatment using a Malachite Green solution.  It says
leave the tank lights off "during treatment".  Does this mean that
they want me to leave the lights off the entire time?  I read on 
the Krib to use the recommended dosage (Actually I'm using a 50%
dose because I've got a bunch of cories, and I've read that 
tetras are also sensitive to malachite green.)  But the 
stuff on the Krib said to treat every 3 or 4 days, for 
12-16 days total.  There is no way I can leave me lights off for
that long.  Every plant I've got will be dead.    I'm planning
a large (50%) water change and new dose of Malachite Green every
3 days, for 4 or 5 total doses.  (...)>>>>>>>

Plants can definitely carry parasitic ciliates or dinoflagellates,
if coming from a contaminated environment. I had for months
a terrible Oodinium (velvet) epidemics, which rapidly spread 
to most of my tanks before any symptom appeared. I lost
tens of fishes, and it took months to completely eradicate it.
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). Malachite green is
photosensitive, and your plan to dose it at night would not
substantially help to provide the needed continuous coverage.
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 anyway 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 the 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. There
is however risk in case they are capable of carrying it back. I just
have no info on this subject, sorry. Good luck

Dionigi Maladorno
dionigi.maladorno at roche_com
This message presents personal opinions which are not necessarily those
of my employer.