Help! Ich / other parasite in tank w/ guppies, nerite snails, and otocinclus

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Registered Member
Original poster
Jan 15, 2019

I'm new here and new to keeping a fish tank. I bought my 10 year old daughter a fish tank over a year ago for her birthday and we've had a number of problems, including difficulty keeping guppies alive.

Currently, we had one last adult guppy and two nerite snails (who seem to be doing fine) and decided to try again. We bought two new younger guppies and my daughter also fell in love with otocinclus, so we got two of those. The pet store just sold the otocinclus as algae eaters (we had some brown algae already and algae wafers on hand). I didn't know about quarantine tanks or anything else...I did look up the otos and it seemed to say we needed a live plant, so we went back for an Anubius.

Now, our last original guppy is acting oddly (lurking at bottom, hanging at top, hiding, poor appetite) and has several odd growths? bumps? specks? on his top fin (see pic below). Might be ich (in the trophant phase??). My daughter is devastated that once again we may be losing her fish!

The tank is a 10 gallon Aquaeon starter tank with lid and lights. Has a filter (I think up to 100 gph, but I'm not totally sure I understand how to determine that) that uses carbon filters. We also put a little ammonia filter in the small slot at front of filter. We bought a separate heater as the original one didn't work well. We feed tropical flakes. It's possible we have overfed at times as we are still learning! It gets only some indirect light from a window. The temp is maintained at around 78-80 degrees F. We were changing water and suctioning gravel every couple weeks, which I now realize may not be often enough.

Water tests in safe zone for alkalinity, hardness, nitrite, nitrate, and ph. I took samples to several stores and ammonia is fine as well. They all say the water seems clear and like the tank has matured (is that the right word?).

I'd like to treat for ich and similar parasites and provide support for secondary infections... and I'm not sure of the best approach given the mixed types of animals (guppies, snails, otos). From what I've read, salt and heat can be good for ich but both the snails and otos could be at risk (and the single Anubius). I bought a bottle of Paraguard but then learned it may not be safe for snails. I also have a bottle of Imagitarium Parasite Remedy, but found mixed reviews on its effectiveness.

I raised the temp to about 81 degrees and bought a simple bubbler to increase oxygen.

So, I'm desperately in need of suggestions for treating my tank that are unlikely to kill anyone. I haven't started anything yet.
- Can Paraguard be used with nerite snails? I have a small 3 gallon tank (with no filter and a teeny heater) I could maybe move the snails to, but for how long (so they don't carry the ich back) and would I need to supplement feed them?
- Can Paraguard be used with otos?
- Is this even ich (which is why I like the broad approach of Paraguard)?

A couple of pics added.See odd growths / white bumps with small black spot on edge of top fin.
Any help greatly appreciated!


Last edited:


Global Moderator
Staff member
Jan 11, 2013
West Falls NY
Real Name

Water changes every couple of weeks like you say is not nearly enough and is probably the root of your issues. You shouldn't do them any less than once per week and you should change at least 50% of the water every time unless your water parameter test kit indicates you can change less.

I wouldn't do a 50% all at once not knowing how your tank water compares to your tap water at this point, but I would do maybe 20% per day to see how the fish do, then gear your stock and feeding such that you only need to do one water change per week.