Tank upgrate dilemma while dealing with Ich

This forum is for all health-related questions on Loaches and other freshwater fish.

Moderator: LoachForumModerators

Post Reply
Olesja
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:06 am
Location: Milford, CT

Tank upgrate dilemma while dealing with Ich

Post by Olesja » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:09 am

Hi everybody,

Looking for any advice on how to proceed with tank upgrade during my unfortunate encounter with ich.
This week was supposed to be long waited upgrade for my clown loaches (http://forums.loaches.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=24921) as I noticed some flashing signs and couple spots on tail of one loach. So tank (72 gallon) has UV filter running with temperature at 84.

Original plan: the new tank was supposed to get all filters from 72 gallon and all fish with exception of weather loach. I was going to acclimate weather loach to lower temperature and add 7 new friends from Qtank.

Now, with unfortunate encounter with ich, do I have any options? I appreciate any advice on ich treatments and moving loaches (or not moving):
1. Ich - continue UV, raised temperature, water changes or use something else. The only medication I came across so far is Ich Attack.

Options I came up with for moving/not moving loaches:
2. Set up new tank - fishless cycle with some media added from Qtank (weather loaches show no decease) and Bio-Spira. Wait until loach tank ich free then move loaches and filters (is there is a possibility of having ich free tank???)

3. Set up new tank as planned and continue with raised temperature and additional UV (add another UV to accommodate more volume) and handle ich in the new tank - Is this really an option??? The only advantage I see with this method is some ich will be left in old tank and temporary bare bottom will help with cleaning and I won't have to try to control nitrates...

4. Transfer one of the filters (2 Eheims) from loach tank continue with fishless cycle and any ich carried over with filter will die off without fish. Continue treat fish in existing tank. I guess this option is like #2 with only difference of where bacteria will be transferred from.

72 gallon: PH 6.6, Amonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 10 (currently but they've been raising to 20/40 without daily 30% water changes).
The tank was recently treated with PraziPro to address possible worm issue with one of the loaches (http://forums.loaches.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=24910)

Is there any way I could figure out what caused ich?

I will appreciate any advice, comments. Please let me know if I can post any details to help answer some questions.
Thank you in advance!

User avatar
DainBramage1991
Posts: 274
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:56 pm
Location: Northern New England

Re: Tank upgrate dilemma while dealing with Ich

Post by DainBramage1991 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:08 pm

First and foremost, don't transfer ANYTHING from the tank with ich to the new tank!!!

Keep everything separate, fish included. Make sure that ALL signs of ich are gone, then wait another 3 weeks (at least) before moving fish to the new tank, which will give you time to do a proper fishless cycle. NEVER share equipment between tanks.

Also, it doesn't matter if your dojos look healthy, they're not - or at the very least they can be carrying ich with them.

Olesja
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:06 am
Location: Milford, CT

Re: Tank upgrate dilemma while dealing with Ich

Post by Olesja » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:00 pm

Thank you for quick response, my plan was to reuse some of the current filters from 72 on the new tank to have more water turnover for my loaches. Once the ich is gone, can I carry filters over with media, or should they be cleared out, sanitized and restarted? Thanks again!

Diana
Posts: 4675
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 1:35 am
Location: Near San Franciso

Re: Tank upgrate dilemma while dealing with Ich

Post by Diana » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:19 pm

There is always a question about whether Ich is gone or not.
It can hide in the gills, which is why a several week quarantine is better. In that time, Ich can go through several generations, and it is MUCH more likely that you will see it.

I agree with as close to a full quarantine as you can. Do not use anything from the tank where you see Ich until it is gone.

Ich will die off with no hosts. A tank with no fish will be Ich-free within a few days to a week, depending on temperature. If you want to do the fishless cycle, and jump start it with a used filter from a known Ich tank, (after the Ich is gone) I would keep that tank fish-free and feed the bacteria with ammonia until some time has passed. 24-48 hours at high end tropical temperatures, perhaps a week at room temperature (though 2-4 days should be plenty) and a week or more for a cool pond. Longer waiting is better. Just keep feeding the bacteria, just like you are doing a fishless cycle. But why bother with the filter, just for the bacteria? Get a bottle with Nitrospira and jump start it that way.
If you remove the filter from the tank it is on, then that tank does not have enough bacteria to handle the waste from those fish.

Optimum:
Wait until the Ich is gone.
Put one filter and about half the fish in the new tank.
Add Bio Spira or other product (the real Bio Spira is just for marine tanks) to both tanks.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

Olesja
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:06 am
Location: Milford, CT

Re: Tank upgrate dilemma while dealing with Ich

Post by Olesja » Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:00 pm

Hi Diana,

Thank you for detailed response. I am leaving 72 gallon tank as is (raised temperature + UV) until all signs of ich are gone.
I waited for this upgrade for a long time, so another month would not make much difference. I am taking this wait as an opportunity to practice my ammonia testing skills with fishless cycling :). My new tank has built in wet/dry filter, so I have plenty new media for bacteria to grow. I am also hoping to get some plants going before my loaches move in.

Update on ich: I could not see any spots on any fish and had no signs of flashing. Loach that previously had spots on the tail, seem to have clear tail and clear skin; she is also very active and eating. So, I will be patient and hope for the best. But, I am looking for any advice on any must have at home ich medications to keep for any emergencies. The only medication I found in local stores is Ich Atack, which has a lot of controversial reviews. I do have a stock of various medicated flakes from angelsplus.com for my Q-tank and emergencies, but not sure if any of them might help with ich.

Thanks again to everybody for advice and knowledge shared. This forum has been invaluable resource during my 10 year loach journey and huge inspiration!

User avatar
DainBramage1991
Posts: 274
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:56 pm
Location: Northern New England

Re: Tank upgrate dilemma while dealing with Ich

Post by DainBramage1991 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:16 pm

The best emergency treatment for ich is the adjustment knob on your tank heater. Aquarium salt is also good to have on hand, provided your fish are tolerant of it (most loaches are somewhat intolerant of salt, so be careful).

Ich Attack may or may not work on standard ich, but it definitely did not work on the resistant strain I dealt with last year. It did send my nitrates through the roof, though. Not something I will use again.

Glad to hear that your fish seem to be improving. Be patient, ich is a nasty parasite that can recur if you don't maintain the treatment long enough (while it does not have a dormant phase, it is possible for it to be harbored invisibly on healthy fish).

Olesja
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:06 am
Location: Milford, CT

Re: Tank upgrate dilemma while dealing with Ich

Post by Olesja » Mon Aug 12, 2013 12:39 pm

Just thought I will post a quick update.

Ich: So, almost 3 weeks later I have not seen any signs of ich since original sighting on 7/27.
I am thinking gradually lowering temperature back to 80 this week.

Fishless Cycle: Is moving along, Ammonia is at zero, Nitrites are off the chart for about a week and slight Nitrates readings (5-10ppm). I made 50% water changes to bring Nitrites lower, thinking my cycle might have stalled. So, I am patiently waiting for the cycle to be over.

Question on water parameters: At which point should I worry about matching parameters between tanks? And, while water is getting ready for fish transfer, how do I keep bacteria alive without adding ammonia? Would ph/kh/TDS be affected by cycling and change after the cycle is complete? IS there an acceptable difference between water parameters that would not cause too much stress to fish? Here is the example of difference between two tanks:

72 (current tank)
TDS = 133 (tap TDS 57)
PH = 7.0 (tap 7.2)
KH = 20 (tap water KH = 20)

220 (new being cycled)
TDS = 104
PH = 7.6
KH = 30

Question on fish move: If I move fish gradually, how could I make sure bacteria is getting enough ammonia? I guess I am being hesitant to bring all clown loaches at once.

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!

Diana
Posts: 4675
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 1:35 am
Location: Near San Franciso

Re: Tank upgrate dilemma while dealing with Ich

Post by Diana » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:44 am

Nitrifying bacteria will breed best in water like this:
High KH (over 5 German degrees of hardness for sure, and 10+ is fine, perhaps better)
High pH (7-8)
Some GH showing. I am not sure how much other minerals these bacteria need, so adding a little plant fertilizer (KH2PO4) could help.
High temperature (upper 70s to low 80s F) if you can maintain high oxygen levels. Otherwise moderate temperature is better. (mid 70s F will hold a lot more oxygen, and grow the bacteria just fine.)

Nitrite and ammonia under 5 ppm. Yes, the cycle can stall if the NO2 gets too high. Do water changes to keep it lower, and perhaps add less ammonia (to only 1-2 ppm) until the bacteria catch up. Then try the ammonia back to 3 ppm and see if they can handle it.

After you have grown the bacteria to a big colony they will stay alive just fine at a wider range of conditions. For example, many soft water fish prefer lower GH and KH (under 10 degrees) and pH closer to neutral (6.5-7.5). The bacteria are OK with these conditions, though it is not the optimum for breeding a large colony fast (which is what the fishless cycle is all about).

So, here is what I would do:
1) Complete the fishless cycle with hard, alkaline water to grow the bacteria as fast as possible.
2) When the fishless cycle is complete do a couple of really large water changes so that the new water matches the GH, KH and TDS of the tank the fish are in now.
3) Continue feeding the bacteria with ammonia if the fish will not be moved within 24 hours. You could feed the bacteria with as little as 1 ppm ammonia for a few days, though if it is going to be longer I would feed with more (to 2-3 ppm). Of course you will then need to do another water change, because the bacteria will be very busy turning that ammonia into nitrate!

If the water in the new tank is the same as the water in the old tank (GH, KH and TDS) or the values are within 10%, then the fish will be fine. If not, then make the water right. Add minerals if the new water is too soft, or add RO water if the new water is too hard.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

Olesja
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:06 am
Location: Milford, CT

Re: Tank upgrate dilemma while dealing with Ich

Post by Olesja » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:13 am

Hi Diana,

Thanks for your reply. My cycle got "over the hump" with 50% water change, smaller ammonia dosage, and additional bacteria feed from healthy tank (I think this was common recommendation I have found across this forum and some others). As you pointed out, the issue with cycle progression was the soft water that was a sub-optimal for colony growth and also NO2 accumulation that stalled it for a bit.
As of 5 days ago, my tank is cycled, with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and nitrates off the chart. So 90% water change on Sunday brought everything to the fish-ready state: Ammonia = 0, Nitrite =0, Nitrates = 5.

My new question: :) is there certain KH that is recommend for clown loaches? My tap water is very soft and water in my tank has KH is at 20 mg/l at best (2drops on nutrafin kit). I will not attempt any changes while fish is being moved to the new tank, but would it benefit me in the long run to have higher KH for loaches? Thanks again!

Diana
Posts: 4675
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 1:35 am
Location: Near San Franciso

Re: Tank upgrate dilemma while dealing with Ich

Post by Diana » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:35 am

http://www.loaches.com/species-index/cl ... cracanthus

The key parameter for most fish is the GH, not the KH.
Most soft water fish prefer the GH to be under 10 German degrees of hardness.
Most Loaches are not too picky, and per the species guide (linked above) Clown Loaches are OK in water that is a bit harder, up to 12dGH.

In most tanks I set the GH to the right level, then make the KH somewhat similar. For soft water fish I use tap water which, for me, is fairly soft (GH and KH about 4-5 degrees).

Fish and plants need the minerals that are in the water that we test as GH. If the GH was under about 2-3 degrees I would add GH booster.

KH measures carbonates. These are a buffer that keeps the pH stable. Some plants use carbonates, and nitrifying bacteria use carbonates. I would add a source of carbonates and aim to keep it at about 3 dKH (about 55-60ppm). Less than that will tend to allow the pH to vary, perhaps a bit more than the fish would like. When I need to raise the KH I use baking soda. 1 teaspoon per 30 gallons will raise the carbonates by 2 dKH.
Fish are not very picky about pH, they need the mineral levels to be right. Still, a stable pH is one way that we know conditions are stable in the tank, and the fish do have a range of acceptable pH levels. When the KH is right, the pH is likely to be in that right range. I will add peat moss to the filter for fish that need the organic acids and a lower pH.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests