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Old November 15th, 2007, 01:16 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, 02:08 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, 02:21 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, 04:49 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, 06:48 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, 01:15 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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