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Re: Disinfecting Established Tanks --DON'T!
Doug Cushing wrote:
> Like a complete fool, I put some "new" fish in a well-planted tank and now
> (despite my attempts at treatment) all of the fish, both old and new, have
> perished due to Ich. Now I know that a quarantine step is truly worthwhile.
> In the meantime, can anyone tell me the best way to disinfect the infected
> tank (without harming the plants) so that I can eventually add new
> inhabitants? Thanks much.
> Doug Cushing
Disinfecting tanks is usually an exercise in futility. Look to why the fish
got the Ich, Doug, for it rarely infects, much less kills, otherwise healthy
fish. Quarantine is semi-ineffective, as low-grade infections last for
months in otherwise strong fish. No symptoms show.
[Simple household chlorine bleach, diluted 19:1 with warm water is an
effective antibacterial, antiparasitical treatment that renders any tank
antiseptic enough to be quite unhealthy. Plants can be dipped, from 30
seconds for frilly delicate ones, to 2-3 minutes for tough Anubias. At least
it rids them of unwanted algae. ;-)]
To me, Ich and Velvet are symptoms that I have somehow stressed the fish
beyond safe limits. Wild fish don't live in sterile environments, and
opportunistic bugs are always going to be present if the desirable
nitrifying bacteria, infusoria, etc., are also to be available.
Ich and Velvet go through a free-swimming stage, and *must* find a host
within about 24 hours or they die. Heat the tank to above 82F for a few days
to a week, and the absence of fish will assure the current Ich hatch is gone
for now. Only truly cold-water plants might object to that treatment.
Prime candidate for an outbreak of Ich seems to involve shock of some kind.
[Gradual buildup of ammonium/ammonia at high pH or nitrite at low pH are the
common exceptions. Aka missed water changes.]
Thermal shock -- sudden chilling -- is a major cause -- often happens in
shipping. Tds shock -- dunking in rainwater -- is another. That usually
happens when introducing new fish without acclimation. A third big cause is
treating chloraminated water with a hypo-based dechlor product aimed at
chlorine. "Amquel," "Prime," or "Ammo Lock 2" all tie up that small burst of
ammonia that is released when the water is treated.
Beware of products that brag about "breaking the chlorine-ammonia bond."
They will kill your fish in most chloraminated water. The subsequent disease
outbreak is rarely blamed on the real cause, the water treatment. The
released ammonia burns the skin and gills, and either bacteria or parasites
attack the damaged cells. I know of at least two cases where large fishrooms
were virtually wiped out by this problem. It is very real.
Most fish diseases are a symptom of something wrong in the environment we
are giving the fish. If you have an outbreak, go ahead and treat the
disease, but be sure to find the root cause or it *will* happen again.
Disinfecting is just a way of treating the symptom and ignoring the real
Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679 huntleyone at home dot com
If it ain't broke, don't fix it -- and, especially,
don't let politicians fix it. ... Thomas Sowell
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