Anyone here have ich in their tank with immune fish?

Discussion in 'Fish and Invertebrates' started by Enderturtle, Jul 3, 2014.

  1. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    I've been battling ich for approximately 1.5 months now (seems longer)

    Tried cupramine but failed and am now trying tank transfers. To be blunt this is really lame and making reef keeping far less fun.

    Does anyone here have a tank which they know have fish that are infected by ich but they can live with it? I know a couple LFS (PM to find out which) in the peninsula who have ich-riddened fish which means alll of their fish are infected due to the fact they have connected systems. I don't really notice ich on LFS fish though which means they're healthy enough to not let the parasite take hold.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2014
  2. bluprntguy

    bluprntguy Webmaster

    Ich sucks. Fish don't become immune to it.

    I wouldn't look to any LFS's as models of good aquarium keeping practices. They are just selling their livestock before they show signs of being infected with ich. The stores pretty much just accept high losses of fish and remove the dying fish before the customers see. They also have massive UV sterilizers to help manage the parasite (but not eradicate it) and/or they run low levels of copper in their fish only tanks to suppress the parasite. There isn't a LFS in the area that I know of that quarantines or treats fish like they should.

    Fish can't really just live with ich in our enclosed systems. In nature, they may be exposed to an ich parasite or two, but in our enclosed systems, thousands of ich parasites infect the tank at one time and don't get dispursed into the ocean. Therefore, the ich have only a few fish as potential hosts, which overwhelms the fish's ability to deal with the parasite. I don't think that doing nothing is a viable solution.

    Proven effective ich treatments are: cuppramine, hyposalinity, tank transfers, and chloroquine phosphate. Out of all those I've found CP to be the easiest and most effective. You simply dose it once into the tank and then dose any water that you use for water changes to maintain the concentration. Leave the fish in the treatment for 6-8 weeks.

    I've stopped buying fish for LFS at all since none of them bother to quarantine and pretty much 75% of the fish I've bought locally have been ich infected. I'll order online from liveaquaria since they quarantine and treat for a myriad of diseases. I've also had Aqua Exotic order ORA fish for me and then I just picked them up as soon as they arrived and before they put them in their tanks.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
    neuro likes this.
  3. euod

    euod Supporting Member

    Yes, I have a tank with ich and my fish live with it happily for 6+ years now. It is fine if you have uv and ozone which I do. And it is controllable or subside if you do not add anymore fish to the system which I don't most of the time. I do qt my fish sometimes up to 3 mos before I add them to the display and that involve observation, getting it to eat well and treatment if necessary. It is not wise to dose every fish with drugs because certain fish are sensitive to the treatment. So yes, qt your fish because that is our responsibility anyway since we do not want to pay a premium $. If you have ich, stop adding fish because you have overloaded the system.
  4. Lokii_37

    Lokii_37 Guest

    I had an ich out break last winter. It killed 3 of my 5 fish. The wrasse and clown never showed any signs of ich. I ended up catching the 2 living fish and keeping the DT fish free for 6 weeks.

    Heating an extra tank, 30g, in the garage in the middle of winter sucked but I have not seen any signs of Ich in the DT in 18 months
    bondolo likes this.
  5. gimmito

    gimmito Guest

    bondolo likes this.
  6. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    I'm thinking Jim is the local tang guru.
  7. gimmito

    gimmito Guest

  8. tankguy

    tankguy BOD

    this crappy thing will always be with us no matter what we do. Some fish will survive treatments while others wont. Ive had ich from time to time but this time around Ive been much more careful about what goes into my display. Although I will admit to rolling the dice with my trigger.
    gimmito likes this.
  9. Geneva

    Geneva Supporting Member

    Jim - what type of tangs were infected and which one made it? Do you find tangs more susceptible to ich than other fishes? (I recently lost a 3 year old powder blue tang and not sure if ich was the reason....)
  10. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    Ive successfully treated my fish using the tank transfer method and keeping the main tank be fishless for 2 months. Cupramine did not work against ich.

    Unfortunately any coral or snail or rock we put in our tanks could contain an ich cyst. Requiring a 2 month quarantine which is the amount of time required to starve ich to death. Most people do not quarantine their snail, coral, etc for two months prior to putting in the tank. Its a matter of time and chance until we contract ich again.

    Tangs are more susceptible to ich due to their small scales. Dragonets are less susceptible to ich due to their slime coat.
    Geneva likes this.
  11. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    I have tried various treatments in hospital tanks, but not cupramine yet.
    No obvious winners.

    I have had ich go through my display tank twice. Both times were from short QT due to vacations.
    Both times, the fish were from good local stores as well, not petco.
    The Ich seemed to run its course and disappear permanently.
    A few fish died, some were sick, some were always fine.
    The fish that died all went in the first few weeks.
    After about 3 months, there were no more visible outbreaks.
    And new fish added after that did not suddenly show any signs of ich issues.

    There is research that shows fish can develop an immune response to ich that
    lasts for about 6 months.

    Look up: (Burgess 1992; Burgess and Matthews 1995). (Colorni, 1987 and Colorni & Burgess, 1997)
    Perhaps they are wrong, perhaps not. I am not getting into that argument.
    Best to read the papers and decide yourself.

    My only suggestion:
    Always QT for 2 months, and that means 2 months from last sign of infection if it shows.
    The effort/risk tradeoff on other more intense methods and treatments is a personal decision.
    Geneva likes this.
  12. gimmito

    gimmito Guest

    Hi Geneva,

    The tangs that were effected were the kole and lieutenant tangs. Unfortunately, I lost both tangs. In hindsite I should have introunced both tangs at the same time. Yes, IMHO tangs are ich magnets...especially powder blue tangs. Sorry that you lost the fish.

    Geneva likes this.
  13. bluprntguy

    bluprntguy Webmaster

    The papers cited don't actually appear to support this premise, unless I'm missing it. I don't see any thing in the text that might seem to hint at immunity and searching the PDF's for the word "immunity" turns up zero results in both of the papers. It seems this all leads back to a University of Florida internet post where someone (student, teacher, researcher, or perhaps the janitor) made this claim and they cited Burgess and now it's been repeated over and over on the internet.

    Humans don't develop an immunity to getting bitten by mosquitos, dogs don't develop an immunity against fleas. I'm not sure how a fish could magically develop an immunity that would somehow protect them against becoming a host for the ich parasite.

    In fact, researchers have been able to keep ich alive in a closed system for 2 years (at which point they ended the study) and the fish were subject to repeated outbreaks (Yoshinaga, T. & H.W. Dickerson. 1994). Another study found ich re-infected fish for 34 cycles. That pretty much dispels the myth of some miracle immune response from the fish.
  14. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    This paper is one example.

    The ich parasite is pretty small, perhaps on the level that immune systems can start to deal with it.
    So pretty different from a mosquito or flea.
    But I do agree that there is so much information and disinformation, it is hard to tell the truth.
  15. iCon

    iCon Supporting Member

    Quite interesting as I was going to post something on this. Ich destroyed my tank about 2-3 months ago. Skimmer cup overflowed, shocked the system and GG. One surviving fish remains that never showed any signs of ich. It also survived an ich outbreak from a previous system about 2 years ago. Coincidence or immunity?

    Additionally, I was wondering if the system still has ich in it. Usually, a fallow tank leads to absence but what about an 'immune' fish? Getting itchy to dump stuff back in there. If deemed to still have ich, well, the little guy is going to live by himself for a long, long time! :D
  16. bluprntguy

    bluprntguy Webmaster

    I haven't had much time to dig in, but it says that the fish continued to be infected by ich, just at a reduced rate, so "resistant" would be more accurate than calling them immune. Once trophonts established an infection in the "immune" fish, the ich continued their lifecycle the same as the fish that were "naive" to the parasite. Our enclosed aquariums can have outbreaks of thousands of ich at a time, so a fish being able to fight off 50% more of them is not likely to be an "improvement" that's noticeable (and probably not really of much comfort to the fish).

    I need to re-read that section, but it sounded as if they tested fish at 1 month, 3 month and 6 month intervals, and the fish at 6 months were infected at the same rate as those that were "naive" to the disease. So, the "resistance" they describe appears to be gone entirely sometime between 3 and 6 months.

    Also, they tested a mullet instead of the ornamental marine fish that we regularly keep in our aquariums.
  17. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    My question:
    If you have a couple of fish showing signs of ich, you do nothing different,
    and they eventually get better, what is the reason other than immunity (or "good enough" resistance)?
    Without that, seems like fish would continually keep re-infecting each other forever.

    Really only two off the wall ideas I can think of:
    1) Ich could get inbred with rapid reproduction in a small environment and die off.
    Possible I guess. But I thought they reproduced sexually. Not sure, but seems unlikely.
    2) There is some Ich predator around, that multiplies and wipes them out.
    Possible, but unlikely. If it existed, we could grow it, sell it, and make a ton.

Share This Page