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Old November 15th, 2007, 02:16 PM
Marty's Mom Marty's Mom is offline
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Salt for treating ick?

Does anyone know if salt can actually treat ick? I've read that it can help fish to heal and prevent disease but someone offered me the salt info. Any comments? Also, I have a cat that has been drinking out of my aquarium (infected with ick) and I'm wondering if anyone knows if cats can be affected (by ick).
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Old November 15th, 2007, 03:08 PM
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bendyfoot bendyfoot is offline
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Don't think the kitty can be hurt by it, but I've always bought a bottle of that blue stuff you add to the tank in drops (can't remember what it's called), but it's cheap and effective. THAT I wouldn't let kitty drink, though.
You should invest in a hard-topped fitted cover for the tank to keep kitty out and fishies in. They're not too expensive.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 03:21 PM
Marty's Mom Marty's Mom is offline
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I thought you had to buy med. too. I do have a hard top on my aquarium but my hubby took off a corner that should have stayed put when we set up the tank. Kitty likes to get in the one corner and drink. I've tried putting a towel over the back of the tank but kitty always manages to knock it out of the way (inevitably ending up with a corner in the tank soakin up the water). I think I'll try to stick some duct tape on the corner and see what happens.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 05:49 PM
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MyBirdIsEvil MyBirdIsEvil is offline
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I don't personally use salt to treat ich, but some people have great luck with it. From what I've seen, it usually takes much longer to treat with salt, and I choose to stress my fish for a short amount of time with meds rather than draw out the process.

I'm not sure how much you know about ich, but it's not the fish you are treating. The idea is to kill the parasite after it has dropped off of the fish and prevent it from multiplying and reinfecting your fish. Once the ich is on the fish it is pretty much impossible to kill. Once it has dropped to the substrate and is ready to multiply it is suseptible to treatment. The best treatment for the fish themselves is making sure you have very good water quality so the fish can better fight off the parasite.

Heat speeds up ichs lifecycle. The higher the temperature the sooner the ich will drop off your fish and be suseptible to treatment. That's why all meds indicate that you should raise the temp.
Ich is intolerant to a certain level of salt, which is why people recommend using it. Ich is also intolerant of heat, but honestly ich can live up to pretty high temperatures, that many fish won't tolerate, so I don't recommend raising past 80 (simply to speed up the life cycle) unless you have very heat tolerant fish such as discus. Even 80 may be detrimental to some coldwater species, so you will have to treat much longer if you have coldwater fish since the ich will take longer to drop off your fish and be suseptible to treatment.

I do recommend that you test all your water parameters since ich isn't at all common in an established tank where all inhabitants are healthy and water quality is good. You can have ich in your tank (in fact some regions have ich present in their tapwater believe it or not) and your fish should be able to fight it off unless it's present in very high numbers or they are stressed by something, such as poor water quality.
Your ammonia should be 0, so should your nitrites, and your nitrates should be under 40ppm.


Your cat cannot be infected by ich. Ich is a specialized parasite that must have fish as a host to complete it's lifecycle. The white spots are where the ich has burrowed into your fish to feed, it then drops to the substrate and multiplies. The cycle starts over again.

Your cats CAN, however, contract bacterial infections from drinking water out of your tank.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 07:48 PM
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want4rain want4rain is offline
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i have never had an issue treating scaleless fish even with ich, the only fish i probably wouldnt would be fish who need more oxygen such as river fish.

i *highly* recommend salt instead of meds. salt is found in many bodies of water even if in small quantities. you wont find Malachite Green anywhere naturally. nor does it stain your tank.

another way to treat ich (typically used in brackish water tanks) is to raise the temp SLOWLY above 87f. ich can not survive those high temps. most fish can if the ich is resistant to salt (which doesnt happen often)

take the tank temp up to 84f, add 2tbs of salt per 10g if water. dissolve first, do not add to filter, add over an hour or so. in other words, dont just dump it in.

when you do a water change, first top off the water with FRESH NON SALTED water. then do a water change. salt does not evaporate. vacuum the gravel really well.

you need to leave the salt in for at least 4 weeks.

do you have any live plants? was this a new fish?

thanks!! and good luck!! i highly recommend it as it does not destroy your good bacteria nor does it stain your tank blue or green.

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Old November 17th, 2007, 02:15 AM
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MyBirdIsEvil MyBirdIsEvil is offline
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I have several fish that would die if temperatures were raised so high, which is why I can't recommend doing so without information on the species.

I also meant to mention, if you have mollies or most other livebearers, these fish can survive high salinities (mollies can be kept in marine aquaria in fact), so treating with salt would be the best option. It may actually lower stress and allow them to fight off the ich since they do better in a saltwater enviroment anyway. Like want4rain said, don't just dump it in, the particles can stick to your fish and burn them, especially if you have bottom dwellers that will likely come into contact with it. (Imagine rubbing salt on a wound or a sensitive part of your body, not real pleasant).

If you do raise the temperature try to add more aeration and surface agitation since higher temperature water doesn't hold as much oxygen. You can actually suffocate your fish with high temperatures depending on the turnover rate in your aquarium, surface area, and stocking levels, anything that dictates how much disolved oxygen is in your water at any given time.
This isn't a problem for fish such as gouramis (bettas included) that can breathe atmospheric air. Many other species can also gulp atmospheric air given a low oxygen enviroment.
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Old November 17th, 2007, 04:50 PM
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Sneaky Sneaky is offline
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Hi there,
lets examine a couple ideas that have been suggested in this post.

Heat Kills ich. This is completely untrue. Heat does Not kill ich. In higher temperatures the metabolism of the parasites is sped up. This causes eggs to hatch faster, which is what you want when TREATING Ich with some kind of anti-parasitic treatment, as you cannot kill the ich while in the eggs. So you want them hatch as quickly as possible to die during treatment. The life cycle of the ich parasite is approximately 6 days, which is why most ich treatments require treating for at least 14 days combined with high temperatures (though i think 87 is a fair bit extreme, 84 would be more than sufficient).

Salt. Well, this is somewhat true, in high concentrations of salt ich can be killed. However, Salt is NOT always safe for fish. Some fish like plecos, cory cats, loaches, and other scaleless fish do not tolerate salt well if at all.
IF you do NOT have any scaleless fish , you may try using salt. The required dosage would be 1 tablespoon per 10 gallons of water, pre-dissolved in water and added SLOWLY over the period of 2 days time, to prevent shock to the fish. If you have scaleless fish, I would not use this treatment at all.

Methylene Blue/ Malachite Green/ Copper Salts Treatments. These are meds commonly sold to treat ich, including the names like QuICK Cure and Ich be gone, and RidIch. These treatments would not be considered safe by me nor would I ever use them. Dyes like malachite green are known to cause cancer, and Copper is lethal to fish in small amounts. Copper is by far the most dangerous drug people dose their fish with. Once in the tank copper chemically bonds to any and all porous surfaces in the tank. It can continue to do so and cause copper levels to rise in the tank to lethal levels over time.
Scaleless fish cannot stand copper, even trace amounts in tap water can cause illness and death.

Now there is a FANTASTIC ich medicine out there. It is all natural, safe for all fresh and salt water fish, safe for invertebrates like shrimp and snails anemones and mushrooms, and works great. Its called Kent Marine RX-P. Dont be fooled by the name to think it is a marine product. The companies product line is called Kent Marine. RX-P is made with a type of pepper which is safe for fish and inverts but hated by ich. There is No need to raise the temperature in the tank, (though you can), and treatment consists of adding the med every 2nd day for 14 days I believe.
It is essential on day 7 and day 14 that you do a water change and gravel vac. It is also essential that you remove carbon from your filters.
The water changes help to soothe fish and remove eggs and free swimming ich and corpses from the water column.

Now finally, lets examine why fish get ich. Many tanks, but not all, contain ich. This parasite normally does not ever bother healthy happy fish. It is when fish have reduced immune systems, open wounds, or are severely stressed out that ich infects fish.
This can happen when new fish that are not quarantined prior to adding to the tank are brought in (big no - no , always quarantine new fish for 1 month minimum prior to adding to your population), it also can happen when fish are not cared for properly - such as poor feeding, poor cleanliness habits such as infrequent or too small water changes.

Fish that are healthy and well cared for rarely if ever will get ich. You should examine your care methods to find out how the Ich came into your system.
Do you do regular at least once weekly water changes of 35% with 50% of the gravel in the tank vaccuumed?
Do you stagger your filter cleanings so 50% of the media remains uncleaned and do you rinse media in used tank water?
Do you clean your filters enough? HOB filters should have media rinsed once monthly, Canisters at least 3x yearly, and sponge filters should be squeezed out in old tank water once biweekly.
Did you quarantine new fish before adding th em to your tank?
Did you dump the water from fish bags into your tank? Try to avoid doing this at all costs. Net fish out of bags to put in the tank.

Hopefully this will help you. Good Luck.
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