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"Q's About Stu's Salt Treatment"

Posted By: Joe Loach <jloach@gte.net>
Date: Monday, 12 October 1998, at 4:34 p.m.

Stu, first of all, *thank you* for bringing this to light (the formula from TFH). I guess I'm not as radical in my thinking as I originally thought. :-)

...and furthermore, please understand that I'm not pickin' on you, Stu, but I do have some questions and concerns about this piece from TFH raised for possible discussion:

"Increase the temperature slowly to 86 degrees F (try not to go more than 4 degrees F/day). Ich can not survive easily in temperature more than 86 degrees F. Leave it at this temperature until you are sure that the fish are healthy. (1-2 weeks?)"

I know the intent of raising the temp slowly is to acclimate the fish gradually to higher temps. However, although well-intended, I wonder if this is necessary? I have brought home fish in small bags that were acclimated in 15 minutes temperature wise. I've never measured the temp in the bags, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were sometimes a 8-10 degree difference. I don't buy the notion of only 4 degrees per day. It does err on the side of caution, but I don't think it's necessary. (COFO = Crusty Old Fart's Opinion) If I had a heavy case of ich in my tank (as I did 11 years ago), time counts. A day of playing it safe could have cost me my Clowns.

"Add salt at a rate of 2.75 teaspoons of salt per gallon divided over a 3 day period. Make sure you use synthetic sea salt or non-iodized table salt (much cheaper). When doing water changes, make sure that you replace the salt at the same level. Keep the salt level at 2.75 tsp/gal for 2 weeks before reducing through water changes."

I wonder how on earth this person came up with 2.75 tsp/gal? Why not 2 or 3? Did this amount result from experiments done with osmosis, or does the person just prefer working with fractions? :-) ..."over a 3 day period"? Again, I don't buy this. Too slow. At the point in time that some people may spot the ich (many times in an advanced stage), getting the salt content up over a 3 day period sounds a little slow.

"You should also be able to use many of the ich medications with the salt treatment, but be careful about your salt level since many times much of the ich medication is salt."

I think you're right on, Stu. However, *I'd* caution the element of elevated temps used with many standard ich meds and scaleless fish. *I believe* (COFO), that many of these meds may irritate the skin or small scales on loaches and leave them open to infection. I've had that happen to me using Maracide with Coolie Loaches long ago--the label says that there is no need to increase the temp. True this would cycle the ich faster, but perhaps at the cost of a fish's increased motabolism in toxic dyes, leading to a greater negative effects upon a loaches skin or small scales.

Long ago, I misread an article that suggested the use of using 1 *teaspoon* per 5 gallons of salt. I remembered it as 1 TABLESPOON per 5 gal and used that amount for YEARS in my tanks. I keep Corys. I've heard of some Corys having problems with salt...but mine didn't. :-) I wonder if it was the elevated heat for an extended period of time that did in some of your Corys? When I treated my fish in this manner, I elevated the temp from 76 - 90F as quick as I could. I *think* it took 36 hours or less? I can't remember. I also added 1 TABLESPOON of rock salt per 5 gal. (It was after this event that I decided to add it permanently to the water at that rate). I maintained this for *1 week*. Then did a 1/2 water change.

I wonder if using synthetic sea salt was a factor in the Cory deaths? I only use rock salt. I am aware that synthetic sea salt has a lot of "extra stuff" in it.

Just some thoughts. Please excuse my ramblin' ...I need my laxative now. :-)

Joe Loach (Crusty Opinionated Old Fart -- COOF! Bettin' COFO!)
 

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