Ich: Finding My Truth (amidst the gazillion philosophies, schools of thought and approaches)

Discussion in 'Fish and Invertebrates' started by dmhinsf, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. Thales

    Thales Past President

    How do you know the Vitamin C helps you from catching anything? This is the kind of thought I am very interested in....lots of people think things like that, but there often isn't much evidence that the thing people think happens actually happens. Many products are sold, and there are a million in the reefing world that claim to make your fish healthier. Many of these products are sold by getting people to think that it helps keep fish healthier and that 'it can't hurt'. The main point here is that there are lots of people that don't use Vitamin C, or other additives, that have plenty healthy fish, which makes the question - why spend the money on a product that might work, but people who don't use it have the same results as the people that do?

    Like I said, this is a real interest for me and I realize that it may not be for others so tell me to shut up if I am annoying and I will. :D
  2. Thales

    Thales Past President

    Whoo hoo! Thanks! There are several other parts to the series if you are interested - http://packedhead.net/2010/skeptical-reefkeeping-part-1-re-you-sure-that-that-thing-is-true-or-did-someone-just-tell-it-to-you/

    Yes. Marine ich is a very difficult to pin down and test, and for some reason there is very little money for actual research.

    IME velvet is not nearly as common as MI, so that seems like the best bet. There are several treatments that have been shown to work - hypo, copper (hard to do well or correctly), the transfer method, and chloriquine. There is also a variation of the transfer method that I have used at work which is a big 25 micron pleated cartridge with a big pump moving a lot of water through it. As the pleated cartridge clogs it filters finer particles and since ich is IIRC between 20 and 30 microns the pleated filter should catch them. I have done this a couple times at work and it may have done the trick - of course, it could have been other things too and the method has not been tested. I only used it because the fish were on display at work and were not catchable.

    I am with Leebca on that. Terry B also agrees as does Christine Williams....though last time I checked there was some evidence that seemed to show that garlic might be doing something, but not enough to get me to use it.

    That is the million dollar question, and a hard one to answer. I can only tell you what I do...I don't do anything but increase feeding and maybe a waterchange. If in a week or two the signs of infection go away, great. If they don't and the spots come back and get worse, I would try to catch the fish and treat it. Of course, catching the fish can be more stressful than not, so its hard to decide if the treatment is worse than the cure. In that case, I might go with the modified transfer method I described above.

    It does. That is why I try to base my positions on real evidence and not anecdote. Noga and Terry B have been my standards.

    Having ich in your system does not mean that your fish are doomed. I would feed the crap out of them and see what develops - or doesn't!
  3. denzil

    denzil Webmaster

    Great discussion. I too am of the opinion of only believing stuff written in white papers and always remaining objective regarding anecdotes or partially controlled experiments. I love the scientific method.
  4. ReefLove

    ReefLove Guest

    There is just too many things, I am stressed reading stuff even if I don't have a tank. God help me !!
  5. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    Definitely good stuff Rich.
  6. tankguy

    tankguy BOD

    Its all good Rich , I am by no means an expert. The vitamin c things comes from growing up. When I was a kid thats all I heard. Takes your Vitamins to help prevent you from getting sick. So I applied that to my tank. For me it seems to be working. What works for my tank may not work for some one elses. I have tried alot of ich meds and have been told this one really works or that one really works. For me none of them worked. Vit C and good food seemed the best way for me to go. Ive had pretty good success or maybe Ive just been lucky. Either way if its working for me and maybe it will work for someone else. If im wrong then I will always take it as I learned something new. In this hobby we never stop learning
  7. Thales

    Thales Past President

    Right on! I think for me the question is 'how do you know it is working'?
  8. tankguy

    tankguy BOD

    Quite honestly I dont. But no ich and the fish looking healthy leads me to believe it is. Hell outside of a cough that I have I feel pretty good. Still taking my vitamins
  9. Thales

    Thales Past President

    How do you reconcile the people that don't add that product to their tanks and also don't have ich? I would say the same about human Vit C, but think that is a distraction from the reefing discussion. :D
    I used all kinds of products over the years and thought they were working, but when I would run out and not replace the product, I continued to have the same results which led me to the conclusion that is couldn't be the products that were giving me those results and now I can spend that money on other things.
  10. robert4025

    robert4025 Sponsor

    I like what Rich says. Keeping the fish well fed, keep their environment stable, and their immune system will be more likely able to fight off almost anything. This is the practice we stood by for years in the shop and its working well for us for almost five years now...even on a commercial scale. Our survival rate on new fish is about 95% in the shop.
  11. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    Been telling people what Robert just said for years!
    A hungry fish is an angry fish! How do you feel if you haven't ad enough to eat?!
  12. goldielocke76

    goldielocke76 Supporting Member

    LoL angry with a massive migraine xD

    That's why I have an autofeeder and the huge selection of frozen food for my fish in the tank. Not only do they have different frozen, but different pellets as well :D and any time I see a new frozen food, I'll pick it up to see how they like it.
  13. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Easy : All people, tanks, feeding habits, and fish are different.

    Besides, that is just anecdotal evidence.
    Couldn't resist :)
  14. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    I do want to try to explain why I have an issue with the some of studies and articles out there.

    A lot of the experiments/articles are trying to prove/disprove a 100% link between Vitamin C and curing ich.
    The thought being it should always work or always fail.
    We are beyond that in my mind. It is long since proven that it is not a miracle cure.
    (Both people and fish)

    But the problem is, that "proven no 100% link" is then used to say it is useless in all cases.
    Which is wrong.

    Instead, the discussion should be "Can it work under certain circumstances?"
    If so, why or why not? And would it help me in my case?

    Like other things, they can be good, but then get horribly over-hyped.
    That crazy hype is easy to disprove, but then you lose track of something that might
    actually be useful.
  15. Thales

    Thales Past President

    If that is the case than there can be no useful advice about reef keeping.

    I am pretty sure that that is exactly my point. :D
  16. Thales

    Thales Past President

    There are not a lot of them. And the point is to show any link at all.

    No way. The point of an experiment is to generate results, not to try to generate 100% or 0% efficacy.

    At the same time it is often promoted as a miracle cure, or worse, something that you need to continually spend money on for it to have its supposed effect.

    I don't think anyone says that.

    I think that is exactly what the discussion actually is.

    They hype may be easy to show, but it is far from easy to get people to take it to heart. If it is useful at all it is up to the people saying it is useful to show it is useful. If they don't, it should go into the 'we don't know' category, which makes it hard to recommend unless you are the one making money from it. It may be good to eat rocks to help digestion, but until someone can show me some evidence that there is any efficacy, I am not going to eat rocks.
  17. Crabby

    Crabby Guest

    Hmm. I sense a BAR group experiment here. Now, all we need are some volunteers, some food, and a big bag of rocks....! ;-)
  18. gimmito

    gimmito Guest

    :) :bigsmile: :D
  19. goldielocke76

    goldielocke76 Supporting Member

    Sorry guys, I guess I'm still stuck on: "Why try to put a band aid on it, when we can stitch up the wound to stop the bleeding?" i.e. why are we trying to find a "cure-all" for ich when we should be trying to find out what we can do as hobbyists to prevent an ich outbreak all together? If I am doing something wrong in my tank, I don't care what miracle cure works, the ich is going to keep on coming back until we can pinpoint the major causes in each individual tank, fix that, then find out what we can do or give our fish to prevent ich, not cure it.

    Thought one: vitamin C boosts the fishes immune system, therefore, no matter how stressed out they get (temperature swings, bullied, poor environment, etc) as long as they receive a vitamin c supplement, they will be healthy enough to fend off an ich outbreak.

    Regardless if it is vitamin C, selcon, vitachem, ginger, or whatever it is, that is what I'd like to know. I don't believe that we will ever find a cure all for ich. I mean, is there a cure all for fleas? No, just preventatives.
  20. Thales

    Thales Past President

    Part of the problem is that there are very few proven cures for marine ich, and none of them are reef safe. If there was a reef safe treatment or cure, ich would not really be much of a problem. Since actually treating it is difficult, people are focused on cure all's. So, how do you prevent ich all together in a display tank? 30-60 day QT with skin scrapes on the way in and out, and treatment of the QT system if necessary. Possibly some prophylactic treatments as well, but they worry me and sometimes can do more harm than good to a stressed fish. Time and effort is the key to preventing this parasite.

    Fleas are a great comparison to marine ich. Both have industries set up to provide cures and preventative measures that have little or no shown efficacy, but people really want to feel like they are doing something so they convince themselves that these things actually work. Treatment for fleas and ich are pains in the butt, but we know they work. Preventatives may look like they work, correlation does not equal causation, even though our pattern seeking brains want to think it does.

    The same holds true for fish - people really want to feel that they are doing something so they are happy to shell out money for a product of questionable efficacy. In other words, there is no additive or supplement that has been shown to actually prevent ich outbreaks, even though people will swear that 'it worked for them'. But that is anecdote, and no matter how sexy and helpful it sounds, it still doesn't mean that it works.

    So, feed your fish well, feed them often and try to keep things stable. I would much rather reefkeepers spend money on that stuff, and time really doing their homework than trying to find a solution in a bottle that prolly does nothing.

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