Ich on Blue Tang after Quarantine

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macphoto

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Aug 19, 2005
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I bought a blue tang last month... looked healthy in the LFS's tank, and was eating. I placed him in a QT tank, and after a day or two of mostly hiding, he was eating well (I fed him frozen mysis, flake, and nori). This was the first time I've QT'd a fish... the various articles I found on the topic varied widely on how long of a QT was necessary... some as short as 10 days (liveaquaria.com), and others suggested 2, 3, or 4 weeks.

I should have stuck with the higher number.

After 3 weeks and 2 days of closely monitoring him several times a day and seeing no signs of disease, I figured it was safe to move him to the main tank. That was this past Tuesday (December 4th).

He's been eating very well, happily swimming around the tank. But today, I suddenly see white spots on him...




Eeeeek! Does this look like ich?

So now, of course, I'm in somewhat of a panic. Aside from kicking myself for not keeping him in QT for just a little longer, I'm trying to figure out what my next step should be. As of now, I'm not seeing any obvious white spots on the other fish (yellow tang, coral beauty, two false perculas, and a firefish). Given that, I wonder if it would be worth the trouble of trying to just catch the blue tang and put him back into QT, since maybe the ich has only infected this fish and has not reached the reproduction stage yet. This would involve removing most of the LR (I tried for a few hours tonight to catch him... he stays in the rock whenever the nets are in the water), so perhaps if I'm going to go through all that trouble, I should pull all the fish. Problem is, my wife and I are expecting, and I'm worried that if the baby comes soon after all the fish are moved, I won't be able to keep up with the water changes to head off the ammonia spike, hence the idea of just moving the blue tang and monitoring the other fish.

Anyway, I'm a little suspicious of the timing... no signs of ich on the blue tang for 3 weeks, and suddenly when I move him to the main tank, he gets it within a few days. That has me wondering if perhaps my main tank has had ich for some time, but the other fish are able to fight it off for the most part. Is an ongoing "minor" ich infestation like this even possible, or if the tank has it, would all the fish regularly have many noticeable white spots?

I do see one or two tiny white spots on the coral beauty every now and then... they look different than the above picture (smaller, less "pimple-like" in appearance), and I always figured these were just bits of sand that had stuck to him, since it never progressed beyond that.

One idea I had was to remove the snails, crabs, and shrimp, and some of the LR, and do hyposalinity in the main tank.

Any suggestions?

--Michael
 

macphoto

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Thanks for the response. I'm a bit worried about moving all the fish to QT right now, since the bioload will necessitate frequent water changes for a while... if my wife goes into labor (which could be anytime in the next 2 - 3 weeks), I might not have the time to babysit the QT for a couple of days, and the ammonia spike would probably kill the fish.

I've read some good things about a product called Ich-Attack... I'm inherently skeptical of stuff like this, but there are numerous reports of it having worked, so maybe it's worth a try.

Also, I'm wondering if perhaps a UV sterilizer might buy me some time, keeping the outbreak under control until I have a chance to do a more extensive treatment.

The good news is that, so far, he's still eating very well... he has an absolutely voracious appetite for just about anything I drop into the tank.

--Michael
 

RPetty

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Oct 14, 2007
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good luck!!! i am introducing my yellow tang into my display tomorrow... he has been in qt for 18days. i hope all goes well with that.
:confused:

I have used ich attack in the past with questionable success... I had an ich outbreak about 45days ago and removed all fish exept my longnosed hawk and 4 damsels (they didn't seem to be effected). I treated my display with ich attack for two weeks and did a series of large water changes. (I also have a turbo twist 8x uv sterilizer)
After removing the fish and treating the display i have not seen the remaining fish show any signs of having ich. i'm not sure if that is because lack of fish and my turbo twist have prevented the ich from completing its cycle or if the ich attack actually worked. I guess i will see soon if my efforts were successfull... i have a total of 4 fish in qt that i will be introducing over the next week.
 

jayghmi

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Feb 3, 2007
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I am by no means an expert, but I have heard (not personal experience) that any type of stress can bring out spots on a tang and it might go away.

Do you have cleaner shrimp? Everyone I know that has tangs has some cleaner shrimp, which they believe is mandatory for healthy tangs.
 

macphoto

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Aug 19, 2005
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Well, I'm now treating with Ich-Attack, and added UV as well. Plus, I added an extra temporary powerhead blowing sideways across the lower front of the tank, thinking that perhaps this will keep the ich suspended longer in the water column after it detaches from the tang, giving it more of a chance to be run through the UV before it has a chance to set up shop at the bottom.

I do have a cleaner... the tang has approached the shrimp a few times, but I guess they're still negotiating the terms of the deal, as I haven't seen any cleaning going on yet.

--Michael
 

schigara

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Jan 2, 2005
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Exactly. If you think of how the parasite boars into the skin and then becomes encysted, there is really no way for the cleaner shrimp to get at the parasite.

My personal belief is that a cleaner shrimp doesn't eat the ich parasite anyhow.
 

macphoto

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Aug 19, 2005
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Here's how he looks now...




Interesting, most of his spots are not as sharply defined as before.

I doubt this is a result of adding Ich Attack (from what I understand, when the little devils are embedded in the fish, they're not affected by medications)... maybe they've reached the stage where the cysts rupture and they fall off. But I didn't expect this for at least a few more days (3 - 7 days is the figure I read for this stage). Perhaps this is not ich after all. Or, more likely, they'd already been there for a few days before yesterday, but were too small for me to notice.

--Michael
 
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