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RE: Ich medicines and treatments in planted tanks

> From: "Joe Reiter - Bigfoot" <jreiter at bigfoot_com>
> Hi all.  This is my first post to the list.  (Been lurking for a while.)
> I've got some questions about ich medicines in planted tanks.  This topic
> looks to have been beaten to death in the archives, but after all my
> searching and talking to various people, and I seem to get a lot of
> conflicting info.  :)

Since I managed to turn a case of ich into a horrible plague recently, I can
tell you how wrong things can go. I got a fish shipment last month that was
too large for my quarantine tank. Since I was dumb enough to order more fish
than I could quarantine, I was certainly silly enough to put them directly
into my main tank.

I was looking for a safe cure that wouldn't hurt the plants or the fish and
would leave no permanent damage to my tank. I'm not a fan of the odd color
of my quarantine tanks silicone:) I also had several fish that were
sensitive to malachite green.

I used copper the last time I got ich 7-8 years ago (with a fish shipment
that I didn't quarantine). The fish all lived, most of the plants died along
with the invertebrates. I promised myself everything would get quarantined
from then on. It was a good plan. It worked.

I opted for the recently popular "total darkness" because I was not going to
risk treating my tank and killing the plants if I didn't have to. I bumped
the temperature to 86 and covered the tank with heavy bedspreads and kept
the room dimly lit for about 60 hours. I uncovered the tank to find that a
few fish had died and they all had a lot of visible ich. With the added
temperature, the ich  now had a full lifecycle head start. Once you see that
much visible ich, you are in pretty deep trouble. As I got to witness, the
ich you can't see is the prime cause of death.

I started dosing formalin and aerating the sumps. I dropped the temperature
back to 80, but it takes a couple days for the tank to lose that much
temperature. Formalin is a fairly popular treatment and doesn't seem to be
fatal to most plants and fish. There are exceptions, of course.

The other option was metronidazole, but it was not readily available locally
in the quantity I needed. I could not wait any longer and risk killing more
fish. I was feeling pretty guilty by now and my local pet store sold "pond
sized" containers of formalin.

After a couple days, the visible ich was decreasing, but the fish were not
improving. Twice a day, I was retrieving a few dead fish. Close inspection
showed why. I had never really examined the extent of damage ich causes both
internally and externally. It is amazing that some fish survive.

Total dead thanks to my actions (most of them 8+ year old adults):
	9 Siamese algae eaters
	6 Clown Plecos
	4 Ottocinclus
	6 Farlowella
	6 Rainbowfish (assorted)
	3 Serpae Tetras
	2 Black Tetras
	4 Clown Loaches
	7 White Tetras

The survivors:
	8 Ottocinclus
	1 Farlowella
	5 Rainbowfish (assorted)
	2 Black Tetras
	5 White Tetras

Additionally, most of the plants suffered a mild setback, some had die offs
approaching 80%. Others still appear unaffected after a few weeks. It will
probably take a while longer before I am certain the crypts are OK. Fast
growers and delicate plants suffered the worst. Between the temperature, the
darkness and the formalin, I have too many variables to pin the cause down.

I pruned out all the dead plants (and the last of the dead fish that were
still hidden). The remaining fish are all healthy and the plants are
recovering well.

Nothing like having a "lesson learned" sledge-hammered in.

Jon Wilson