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Pepper power!

Posted By: BB <nettech@bellatlantic.net>
Date: Tuesday, 22 December 1998, at 3:32 a.m.

I have shared my feelings reguarding medications for use in the home aquarium several times in the past. There always seems to be a steady flow of posts regarding ick and how to cure it. Thankfully, it has been several years since I have had to treat (knock wood) fish myself. That's not bravado on my part because ick can be introduced by fish, food, and even tapwater. Just lucky. If I had a fish with ick I would be treating with salt and higher temperatures. That is until today..... I want to share some information on an alternate treatment. The thing I like about this is that it's somewhat more natural then most medications on the market and it has a proven effectiveness on freshwater and saltwater. As if all that weren't enough....It's safe for plants, the biological filter bed and scaless fish!

Let me get a few things off my chest first :) Feel free to argue any of these points with me and I'll direct you to at least one source of information where you can read it for yourself. 1) Malachite Green is a carcinogen. (I am not sure if the FDA used fish or animal for the study but why take chances.) Enough reason for me not to use it. 2)Malachite green made from zinc-free oxalate salt combined with formalin still contains Malachite Green. Both of these chemicals affect the respiratory system in a negative way, and aeration must be increased to compensate. 3)While copper sulfate has many benefits, treating ick isn't one of them imho. Regardless of this it is an active ingredient in some cures. Copper is sometimes combined with Formalin. The bad thing about copper is unless it is stabilized with citrate to keep it ionized as a solution it remains in the aquarium. Uncitrated copper will cause copper toxicity and at the very least (because it must be maintained at a high dose for a long period of time to be an effective cure against ick) can lead to permanent liver dammage. Yes, copper is a poison and the trick is to maintain a dosage that will cause the ick to slough off and kill the spores but not kill the fish in the process. For a cure that is around 50% effective it is not worth the risk. 4)Formalin by itself is less effective then the treatments I'm about to describe. In most cases Formalin is combined with one of the aforementioned drugs. ....on to the new stuff!

And now for something exciting. If you have been following the science of fish health you may already know that several companies have been researching alternative treatments to one of the most common diseases an aquarist can encounter. The cat is out of the bag and those medications have now become available to us. There are two products out that facilitate the use of the hot pepper in the cure for ick. The pepper causes the fish to overslime and the cysts slough off the host. Irritating the fish to overslime sounds better than messing with breathing dosen't it? Kent Marine RxP (there is also a freshwater version) uses a natural plant extract to expoled the ick cysts to prevent it from reinfecting the host. Chem-Marin's Stop Parasites includes a false host that is more desirable then the fish to prevent it from reinfection. There are accounts of people buying infected fish and adding it to the bag. They watch as the ick fell off! Eight years to develop and one hour to erradicate all free floating ick. Amazing! I haven't had a use for it yet but I almost want to buy some infected fish and try the experiment myself. Maybe those poor zebra loaches I saw last week:( Heck, because the products are all natural I could even use them as a seasoning the next time I cook. ...forget I said that. I thought I would just let eveyone know there is now another alternative out there, and from all accounts it sounds like a fantastic idea. If you have used one please let the fourm know.


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