Curing Ich: RTR's Salt & Heat Method

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Since this board has been up, we have found there are several questions that routinely get asked in order to help diagnose problems. If you can have that information to begin with in your post, we'll be able to help right away (if we can!) without having to wait for you to post the info we need.

1) Your water parameters - pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrates and salinity (if appropriate). This is by far the most important information you can provide! Do not answer this with "Fine" "Perfect" "ok", that tells us nothing. We need hard numbers.

2) Tank size and a list of ALL inhabitants. Include algae eaters, plecos, everything. We need to know what you have and how big the tank is.

3) Feeding, water change schedule and a list of all products you are using or have added to the tank (examples: Cycle, Amquel, salt, etc)

4) What changes you've made in the tank in the last week or so. Sometimes its the little things that make all the difference.

5) How long the aquarium has been set up, and how did you cycle it? If you don't know what cycling is read this: Fishless Cycling Article and familiarize yourself with all the information. Yes. All of it.

We want to help, and providing this information will go a LONG way to getting a diagnosis and hopeful cure that much faster.

While you wait for assistance:
One of the easiest and best ways to help your fish feel better is clean water! If you are already on a regular water change schedule (50% weekly is recommended) a good step to making your fish more comfortable while waiting for diagnosis/suggestions is to do a large water change immediately. Feel free to repeat daily or as often as you can, clean water is always a good thing! Use of Amquel or Prime as a dechlor may help with any ammonia or nitrite issues, and is highly recommended.

Note - if you do not normally do large water changes, doing a sudden, large water change could shock your fish by suddenly changing their established water chemistry. Clean water is still your first goal, so in this case, do several smaller (10%) water changes over the next day or two before starting any large ones.

Curing Ich: RTR's Salt & Heat Method

Postby Pufferpunk on Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:23 am

Salt and heat for FW Ich:

1. Increase temperature to 80F -84F. Ich is principally a temperate zone gill parasite and fish may have issues getting enough O2 in warmer water. Start at 80F and if there are no signs of respiratory distress (labored breathing and/or hanging at the surface), increase to 84F.

2. Add 1 level measuring teaspoon per US gallon of salt (ordinary table salt) to some removed tank water, mix well to dissolve and add it back to the tank in the path o the filter outflow or other current. This can be done while the tank is warming up. If there are no signs of distress (as in #1 above), after 12-24 hours add another 1/2 teaspoon per gallon in the same way. Do not use "aquarium salt" as that has no legal definition.

3. Both salt and heat interfere with the division/reproduction of the parasite (the stage after the parasite falls off the fish and rests on the substrate or decor. It is effectively invisible at this stage). At and above 80F, the life cycle is ~3 days total. Therefore you need to hold at the elevated temp approximately 10 days (or at least 3 life cycles).

4. Some to many folks like to vacuum and partial daily during the elevated temperature period. If you do this, the make-up water must have the 1.5 teaspoons per gallon of salt pre-dissolved in it, and it must be at the same temp as the tank before it is added to the tank.

5. At the end of the 10 days, reduce the temperature to your normal operating level.

6. The salt is diluted out by water partials after the ten days are over. Routine 50% partials will effectively remove it after 4 partials. These may be done daily if it is desired to get back to normal operational levels more quickly (I do). At least the first 50% partial should be done immediately after the end of the treatment. After one 50 partial, the salt is down to 3/4 tsp/gal. After two 50% partials it is down to 3/8 tsp/ga. After tree partials it is down to 3/16 tsp/gal and after 4 partial is down tp 3/32 tsp/gal or effectively undetectable.

Nota Bene: The disappearance of parasite lesions from the visible surface of the fish does not mean the parasite is gone. It is a gill parasitre, and if not cleared by the full 10-day treatment it may persist chronically in the gills.
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Re: Curing Ich: RTR's Salt & Heat Method

Postby RTR on Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:44 am

As with other medication therapies, just about everything about the above process is critical, particularly:

-heater malfunction or adding cooler water can delay the cure, further stressing the fish.

- sloppy measures can adversely affect the fish.

-failure to pre-dissolve the salt can adversely affect the process.

-some folks have reported strains of Ich which required higher salt concentrations than what I use. I personally have never run into one of these strains. If there are such, then higher doses are in order, and could be increased at one-half to one level teaspoon of pre-dissolved salt per 12 hours. The timeclock would for ten days would start when the salt content is where you want it to rum. Maintaining stable temperatures is quite important during the process - temperature fluctuations themselves can mimic the reported effects of so-called difficult strains.

-high heat with gill infections of any sort can be highly stressful if the O2 levels will not support the fish easily. Watch the respiration rate carefully throughout the process.
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Re: Curing Ich: RTR's Salt & Heat Method

Postby Reaperpilot2014 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:40 pm

This is great PP and RTR!
It's a crayfish! It's a snail! It's a... ah who cares?
Nom nom nom!...

Tank: 4 liter custom-shaped sphere
Contents: 1 Brainfish
Ph: 7.4
Ammonia, nitrites, nitrates: ?
Problem: Cloudy/muddy water
Can you help me?
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Re: Curing Ich: RTR's Salt & Heat Method

Postby bertie 83 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:46 pm

+1. As i said when this was last posted its the best/most straight forward explanation. Can we sticky/ save this forever?
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Re: Curing Ich: RTR's Salt & Heat Method

Postby Reaperpilot2014 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:47 pm

It was already a sticky.
It's a crayfish! It's a snail! It's a... ah who cares?
Nom nom nom!...

Tank: 4 liter custom-shaped sphere
Contents: 1 Brainfish
Ph: 7.4
Ammonia, nitrites, nitrates: ?
Problem: Cloudy/muddy water
Can you help me?
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55g - 3 SA Puffers "Larry, Curly, * Moe"
30g - 1 GSP "Demon"
15g - 1 C. Irrubesco "Raoden"
29g - 1 Figure 8 - Looking for good name ideas...
29g - Ramshorn, Marmorkreb, Cherry & Ghost Shrimp Breeder Tank
10 wonderful years with puffers!
Location (country): USA

Re: Curing Ich: RTR's Salt & Heat Method

Postby sevenyearnight on Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:49 pm

I'm glad the heat portion of this is clarified, don't want to kill the fish along with the ich!
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Re: Curing Ich: RTR's Salt & Heat Method

Postby bertie 83 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:51 pm

Reaperpilot2014 wrote:It was already a sticky.



Eeerrrrmmm...... I knew that lmao.Sorry lol
It's amazing how easy maintenance is. If done regularly and thoroughly
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Re: Curing Ich: RTR's Salt & Heat Method

Postby RTR on Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:03 pm

I have always been conservative w/heat. I also do not want to kill the fish while curing the Ich.
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Re: Curing Ich: RTR's Salt & Heat Method

Postby sevenyearnight on Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:11 pm

I've read that certain species of fish are very intolerant to salt, but I can't find a specific list of fish that are intolerant to salt. I've just seen some catfish, loaches, or snails. Which species of FW fish would this method likely not be appropriate? Is there an alternate version for such species?
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Re: Curing Ich: RTR's Salt & Heat Method

Postby RTR on Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:46 am

I have used the standard dosage of 1 to 1.5 measured teaspoon per actual US gallon of water (not nominal volume - no tank actually holds its nominal volume*) with a huge variety of fish. That definitely includes Clown Loaches, Kuhli loaches, and other species in the family, plus myriad catfish (multiple families), Tetras, Rasboras, Barbs, Cichlids (from rainforest to Rift), Anabantids, just about anything i have kept myself.

We have been in this house >25 years, plus the prior 9-10 years in our former home, during which time I have had no, repeat no, outbreaks of FW Ich outside of QT. In that period, the tan census has varied from 12 (during moving from the old house to this one) to over 40. I am totally compulsive about QT as I operate many linked systems of tanks (circulating ranges) and cannot afford infectious diseases, especially easily treated ones such as Ich.

*I do know the actual volume of all my tanks. The one time I use buckets is in set-up, to measure working volume. Otherwise I pump water to where it is needed, and generally remove by vacuum (Python). And, yest, I do have a separate Python for QT, along with all the other needed equipment for QT. If you use nominal volumes, you may well OD on many meds.

Substrate and decor volumes can radically affect working volumes. My "rocky" tanks can easily have half or less of the nominal volumes - one reason I use so many "sumps" or refugia. I need the working water volume to be far more than that available in the display - I learned that from public aquaria many decades ago. My Malawi mbuna setup required two veggie filters - more for volume than anything else, but I get higher O2 levels with the reverse and same light cycle veggie filters and eat a lot of nitrogen at the same time. My Tanganyikan breeding systems have similar fry and veggie filter "sumps" for the same reasons. The Rainbows have even larger ones as they breed more profusely. I really need to know real volumes of all the systems, even if most/none have never seen any meds.

HTH
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Re: Curing Ich: RTR's Salt & Heat Method

Postby DrKennethNoisewater on Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:02 pm

thanks. next ich outbreak i will refer to this.
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Re: Curing Ich: RTR's Salt & Heat Method

Postby bertie 83 on Sat Oct 08, 2011 4:51 pm

This is it
It's amazing how easy maintenance is. If done regularly and thoroughly
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Re: Curing Ich: RTR's Salt & Heat Method

Postby scpion on Thu Nov 24, 2011 3:56 pm

My tank temp is at quite a constant temp of 27 degree celsius = 80.6 farentheit. Here, temp do not fluctuate much. To blow hundreds on a chiller to drop the temp by 1-2 degree does not seems logical in terms of $$. From the first post, If this temp is hindering the reproduction of ich, does it mean there shouldnt have any outbreak? Birdy seems to have some white specs on his fins now :( ... Salt added as per instruction now..
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Re: Curing Ich: RTR's Salt & Heat Method

Postby Pufferpunk on Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:23 pm

Normal tropical temps are 78-80.
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"
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Re: Curing Ich: RTR's Salt & Heat Method

Postby scpion on Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:29 am

One a side note. Normal room temperature in Singapore hovers ard 27 Celsius. That is not including other factors like heat from light fixture, enclosed hoods etc. The worse is those that have lights that are built into the hoods. They can escalate to a whopping 30 degree Celsius. Unless they are purely into aquascape where they will have a chiller and temperature control measures. For the common people, most do not even monitor temp as its deem as unnecessar or not even aware. Even at temps of between 27-30 degree Celsius here, ich is still a fairly common diease that is encountered.
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