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Icky situation

Posted By: BB <nettech@bellatlantic.net>
Date: Wednesday, 25 November 1998, at 1:15 a.m.

In Response To: Tiny YOYO vs Icky ICK (BB Wilcox)

Ichthyophirius multifiliis, white spot disease, or most commonly referred to as ick is an external protozan parasite. This parasite can be introduced into aquaria via food, water, or most commonly the addition of new fish. The life cycle of the parasite goes someting like this: The white spots you see on your fish is the encysted feeding stage of a protozoan (this stage is referred to as the theront)and while the parasite is in this stage NO medications (to the best of my knowledge)can penetrate the epithelium (outter shell) of the encysted parasite. The parasite feeds and eventually breaks away from the host where it falls to the gravel an undergoes mitosis (makes lots of baby parasites) and in the course of 18 to 21 hours (at 73-77 degrees) can produce hundreds of new parasites (this stage is referred to as the trophozoite or trophont). While in this stage the parasite can be treated and erradicated. If not treated here the new parasites find a host and it begings again.

Treatment: The life cycle of ick is relative to temperature in that higher temperatures (say 79-80 degrees) will speed up the life cycle of the encysted parsites, making then fall off before it's time, and treatable. I have used this method in conjunction with aquarium salt and had great success. I added approx. 2 table spoons per five gallons over the course of several days. The entire treatment took 8 dyas and also included gravel cleaning and a 20 percent water change every day. While this is more work then just throwing in some medication where you just remove carbon media (very important as carbon will remove the treatment) and do water changes per the instructions I find it makes more desirable to let the fishes natural immune system do some of the work, as I have read if the immune system is strenghted in this way the fish will be better apt to fight this parasite if encounted again.

Caution: raising temperature in aquaria means less oxygen in the tank, so increase airation in overstocked or weakly airated tanks (an airpump with several airstones does the trick). I think most medications suggest raising the temp. and increasing airation anyhow. Don't use salt in tanks that contain cory cats or other fish sensitive to salt. As for not using salt in a planted tank...well at the concentration I suggested you shouldn't have any problems...at least I never have.

Last word: If you do buy medications be sure to cheak the date on the bottle/box. Make sure the medication is suitable for laoches/botia. I have also read articles that use a diatom filter with de to remove the parasites in conjunction with the treatment above. Never tried it so I won't elaborate there.

Good luck and let us all know how you make out, BB

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