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ICH success story

Posted By: David M. <center@justice.com>
Date: Wednesday, 5 June 2002, at 10:49 a.m.

This is the first time I have posted here, but have been an avid reader since purchasing my first clown loaches about 2 months ago (note: I am also extremely new to the hobby - my first aquarium was purchased about 3 months ago).

I tell you this story for two reasons. First, if I did something right, perhaps it might help others. Second, if I did something wrong, I would really like to know so that I don't make the same mistake again. My success could have very well been a tragedy and I would like to know from more experienced people which is more likely.

Anyhow, I have 5 clowns (very small loaches, each about 1.5 inches in length) in a heavily planted 30 gal. and after having them for about 1.5 months, I noticed them scratching themselves quite frequently. Upon closer inspection, I noticed white spots on their fins and bodies and two of them were extremely pale, inactive, and had clamped fins. They were obviously quite sick, but I didn't know with what. So, I read everything I could here and elsewhere and concluded they had parasites.

I talked with my local fish store owner (who appears to know quite a bit about both plants and loaches). I was concerned about killing the plants with medication, and hurting the loaches with the wrong medication. He suggested the following:

1) remove them from the 30 gal. tank and put them in a 10 gal hospital tank.
2) raise the temp slightly to around 84 degrees F.
3) add a bit of salt to the tank (approximately 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons).
4) use a product called CLOUT (manufactured by Aquarium Products), but be careful about its use.

He argued that I will probably never be able to completely remove the ICH from the 30 gal. tank, so I should treat the loaches in a hospital tank and then leave them there for about 2 weeks to let their immune systems build back up before returning them to the 30 gal. The other fish in the 30 gal. also had spots on their fins (1 angelfish and 4 neons), but the spots were few and they have disappeared now.

The recommended dosage for the CLOUT was 1 tablet/10 gals. everyday until symptoms disappear. I didn't want to overmedicate (since everything I read said that loaches are sensative to medications), so I used a slightly altered schedule:

1 tablet of CLOUT on the first day, another tablet 2 days later, and a third tablet 3 days after the second.

5 days into their treatment I did a 50% water change (the NH levels were rising with the addition of the 5 loaches to the tank - there were already 3 danios in the tank. Since I didn't have anywhere to move the danios during the treatment, I left them in there).

I am THRILLED to report that all of the loaches are spot free and appear to be very happy. They are eating well, are quite active, and their color is returning (a wonderful, beautifully dark black). Also, the scratching has stopped. I was fearful that I would lose the two that seemed to be the worst, but they are all doing well now.

So, this treatment seemed to work. I could not find any discussion of CLOUT on this forum, or elsewhere. Perhaps it is a common treament and I just missed it.

I have noticed in the last day that the loaches seem to "groom" each other - in other words, one will swim in a vertical position while another one "picks" at the first one. Then, they trade off and the first one "picks" at the second. Is this normal behavior? It does not appear to be aggressive.

I have an amusing story about my attempts to remove the loaches from the 30 gal. that involves one reluctant loach and a piece of Malysian driftwood, but I'll save that story for another time.

Thanks for reading my long post !!

-David
 

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