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Caribbean Reefer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I awoke to the unfortunate realization that one of my Tangs is displaying white blotchy spots on its tail fine which I assume might be MI. I recently had to move and I am sure it was quite stressful on my fish. I have a 90 Gallon Reef Tank and currently only house a Yellow, Blue and Purple Tang along with two Maroon Clowns. My water parameters are nearly perfect and theres no reason to believe any undue stress is occurring in the tank. I know the safest way is to quarantine my fish and go through that whole treatment process but I have a question and would like to see some opinions. All of the fish a eating very well and I give them a varied diet of spectrum, mysis and seaweed. Currently only the Yellow Tang is showing these blotchy white spots on its tail fin. Since Marine Ich will die in a certain period, if my fish are eating healthy and develop strong immunity resulting in no visible signs of the Ich for a period of two weeks, would it be possible for the Ich to die off after a couple weeks? Basically Im curious as to whether or not strong immunity will ultimately kill off the Ich as they would have no host. I am dreading having to break down the liverock to catch the fish and then QT them for 4-5 weeks. How likely is it that if no visible signs occur for a couple weeks that the Ich will die off without a host? I have no plans to introduce any more fish for the forseable future. Prompt responses would be greatly appreciative as I would like to act as soon as possible if absolutely necessary. Thankyou!
 

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Officer Tang
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blotchy white spots sounds like stress marks, not ich. ich looks like sugar grains on the fish's skin
 

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I suggest doing a search on this site on marine ich. There is some great info and advice.

Ich will not die off if there is fish to host on in the system. Ich goes through several stages of its life, and the only one visible is the stage you are presently going through.

Tangs are hard to treat and moving them to a QT maybe too stressful. Do you have a properly cycled QT setup?

Fish can and often do fight off the ich parasite. Stable unstressful conditions are very important.
 

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Caribbean Reefer
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ive been running a this Marine Tank for about a year now and am pretty educated on the hobby as ive done a ton of research prior and during the course of my marine tank. I had always had a large planted tank but eventually got bored with it and am exclusively marine now. I am very aware of marine ich and its cycles/treatments etc and am more than 50 percent sure I have a very mild case in my display tank right now. I have a qt but its not set up currently and would take about a week if I use nutriwater and stability. While ive read countless articles on Marine Ich I am looking on clarification about allowing ich to die off naturally as I would use meds as a very last resort. My water quality is basically ideal at present as I checked it this morning and I have about 100 lbs of live rock and several corals with power heads skimmer and uv sterilizer. How likely is it that I can leave the tank be and allow the fish to fight it off naturally. And if no Ich is visible for a couple of weeks during what would be an average cycle can I assume that the Ich will eventually die off? Has anyone here been successful with this after seeing Ich at one point?
 

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Ich will most likely not die off if there are fish for it to host on...it may very well get to a level where the fish show no symptoms, but it will still most likely be present. There are many people who advocate removing the fish and treating them and leaving the main tank "fallow" for 6-8 weeks so all stages of Ich will die. Personally, while I think QT is a good idea for many reasons beyond just ICH, I have seen Ich reappear in tanks even where all fish were QT'd and the tank was supposedly "Ich free". I believe Ich can enter a tank on corals and rocks in these cases, so unless you are going to QT every single item that enters your tank long enough for Ich to die off, this may not be a total solution. Beyond that I think trying to catch and move the fish is often more stressful than leaving them in the display.

To answer your question about "in tank" treatment, IMO there are no "reef safe" treatments. That said, I find there are things you can do to help the fish recover on their own. First off, are the fish stressed in any way? Stress can be caused by water params that are off or fluctuate a lot...stress can also be caused by aggressive tank mates or over stocking. Limiting stress in any way possible will help fish health and allow them to better combat Ich. The other thing I find very helpful for fish with Ich is feeding. The type of food is important IMO...flakes and pellets are often not overly nutritious. A variety of high quality frozen food is the best choice IMO as well as the addition of Nori or other seaweeds for Tangs in particular. Also, very regular feedings seems to be very helpful. If I have fish that are showing signs of Ich I will feed them small meals 3 or 4 times a day. In short I find fat, happy fish have the best chance of beating Ich long term. There is even some research that suggests fish that beat Ich naturally build up some immunity to re-infestation.

These are certainly not the only options, and others may have other ideas...but after many years of stressing over Ich this it what I have found works best for me.
 

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Caribbean Reefer
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
As I mentioned in my original post I recently moved to a new house (im a student at UGA so ive done this a couple times) and this was the only source of stress the fish would have experienced. All of my parameters are ideal and I feed them a combination of brill shrimp, spectrum pellets, and seaweed. I always prefer trying to beat parasites naturally by providing the best possible environment for them. What are your thoughts on dipping food in medication? And what can I add to supplement their immune system sort of like steroids for their system? In a 90 Gallon Tank I keep a Yellow, Purple and Hippo Tang along with two Maroon Clowns and two Butterfly Fish among other various crustaceans. Only the Yellow is showing signs of Ich. The Yellow and Purple Tang were introduced at the same time about 7 months ago and have gotten along just fine.
 

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As I mentioned in my original post I recently moved to a new house (im a student at UGA so ive done this a couple times) and this was the only source of stress the fish would have experienced. All of my parameters are ideal and I feed them a combination of brill shrimp, spectrum pellets, and seaweed. I always prefer trying to beat parasites naturally by providing the best possible environment for them. What are your thoughts on dipping food in medication? And what can I add to supplement their immune system sort of like steroids for their system? In a 90 Gallon Tank I keep a Yellow, Purple and Hippo Tang along with two Maroon Clowns and two Butterfly Fish among other various crustaceans. Only the Yellow is showing signs of Ich. The Yellow and Purple Tang were introduced at the same time about 7 months ago and have gotten along just fine.
There are not any meds that I'm aware of that I would consider safe if you have a reef, even in small amounts. The ones that will not effect corals or inverts are not effective IMO. Some people swear by garlic. Personally I'm not sold. I do think it may help incite a fish to feed, but I'm not sure it has any real health benefits for fish. It sounds like you are doing what I would already. Keep up the feeding with a variety of good foods and do what you can to reduce stress. Short of that I'm not sure there is much else you can do "in tank".
 

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Ok, a few things. Yes, fish can fight off ich on their own and with no new additions (LFS water, LR, corals, snails, fish...I mean nothing) fish will become immune to the ich in the tank in about 10-11 months. In a fallow tank (no fish) ich will die off in about 6 weeks for some strains, 8 weeks for even most tough strains, though some lab tests have shown ich can survive without a host for up to 10 weeks. If you are going to wait anyway, wait the full 10 weeks.
+1 on making sure it is ich. Ich usually looks like sugar or salt grains, not blotchy. Blotchy could be a number of other issues.
With most illnesses/parasites, reducing stress is key. You can supplement food with garlic which can help boost an immune system to counteract any stress, which lowers immune systems...being sick is stressful. If they are eating, it is a good sign.
Even if the other fish aren't showing signs, assuming it is ich, they are still infected. Only the one stage is visible. They just may not be "symptomatic". I use the analogy of your wife is stressed and gets a cold. You go to work, feel fine, sit next to a coworker, who gets sick with the same cold, but you are still fine. You were infected, but fighting it off better than your coworker and wife did.
+1--I am not a big fan of any "reef safe' treatments. Some people on here say they work, others swear they don't...call me a skeptic. I think any treatment adds more stress to the equation.
Fish can fight off ich naturally and do it all the time in the right environment.
One concern I do have is your stocking. Purple tangs are recommended for over 100g by themselves. Hippos are recommended at over 150 by many sources with yellows recommended for 75g. Of the three tangs, the yellow is the least aggressive, so would be the first to succumb to stress. Being that you have maroon clowns, which are also very aggressive, and territorial, along with the butterfly fish, that look "siimilar" to tangs, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the yellow tang is experiencing a lot of stress. My purple tang almost killed my mimic tang in a 175g that is lightly stocked (two tangs, a rabbitfish, one wrasse, 1 firefish, two clowns at the time). I know experienced hobbyists have had success with tangs in smaller than the recommended sizes, but maintaining constant parameters is a must in this situation. I think the move is likely what pushed it over the edge. Hopefully, you can keep things very stable and it can recover on its own, but I'd try to watch for behavior very carefully for any signs that the yellow is being bullied.
 

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Caribbean Reefer
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks richkor for your input. I do realize that a 90 Gallon is not ideal for the Hippo and Purple but I bought them as Juveniles about 6-7 months ago and will be done with grad school by next spring when I plan to get a permanent residence with my fiance back in ATL (atleast permanent for awhile) when I will be getting either 150 or a 250 Gallon Tank so Im hoping that they will be ok over the next few months. If they are eating healthy and Im maintaining ideal parameters is it reasonable to just allow the fish to fight off the Ich on their own? The Yellow seems to be doing much better now and has regained his bright color as well as elongated fins but I can still see 2 or 3 grains on his nose. I really dont want to medicate the fish and QT them bc I feel that stresses them far more than allowing them to deal with it on their own while I am attempting to provide them with the best possible environment. Would medicating them be better in the long run or allowing them to fight it off naturally in your opinion?
 

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I hate drugs. If you can do things naturally in the DT, take that route. I agree it is less stressful and if they can adapt to the new environment and settle down, that should be all that is needed. Keep them well fed with Nori and mysis, etc. Soak in garlic if you can. If they are eating, that is a good sign. If the problem worsens, then you may not have a choice, but often QT'ing to medicate causes more harm than good (adds stress to all inhabitants, meds ca be stressful and dangerous if not exactly right, etc). Keep stress down, maintain stable parameters, and cross your fingers for now.
 

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Officer Tang
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I'd let them fight it naturally, though the source of the ich may be stress from the small living quarters, and in that case it will keep coming back. Medicating is never a great idea when talking about ich, IMO. You run the risk of creating a super strain of ich that is immune to medications, and you also dont allow the fish's immune system to develop any sort of immunity to the ich.
 

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Caribbean Reefer
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Sounds good. For now I am just going to feed them a top quality balanced diet and see if the Yellow can fight it off as I dont see any signs on the Hippo or Purple as of now. Ive had all three in this 90 Gallon for a few months now without any problems and they are all approx 4 inches as I bought them as Juves. I believe the only major stress that has occurred would have been the move this past wknd. But ill keep a sharp eye on them and hope it works out for the best. Thanks for all the advice/opinions!
 
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