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My Salt and Ich thoughts

Posted By: Eric L
Date: Wednesday, 4 December 2002, at 8:57 p.m.

I read that maintaining salt in the tank all the time would not be a good idea if you later intended to use it as a treatment for ich when your fish definitely showed signs that they had it.From what I understand ich can survive in salted waters and when it is used specifically for the TREATMENT of ich,it is the CHANGE in salinity that helps to effect a cure.
I have used salt as a cure for ich over the years.I have not lost a fish to ich in all the years since an old timer told me of it's effectiveness.I use it only when I see ich is definitely present.Maintaining a low level of salt might not only reduce the effectiveness of the treatment when it is truly needed,but it probably is not the optimum way to keep most of your freshwater fish healthy in the long run.I believe the best way to keep your freshwater fish healthy is to keep them as they have adapted to live for millions of years-in clean freshwater.While I love using salt for ich and certainly see some merit in a retailer routinely dosing his tanks,I don't feel maintaining it constantly really has any positive value in otherwise well maintained home aquaria.The store that I worked in used salt,whereas a wholesaler that I worked for routinely used Trichlorfon for new arrivals.Both operations were obviously succesful at maintaining their fish.The wholesaler had to maintain his fish for a longer time than the retailer,who had to sell the fish directly to demanding customers without the opportunity to observe his stock for long periods before sale.The wholesaler,retailer,and home aquarist represent to me three different situations with three different ways of dealing with them.
The way I treat ich-
1.Be reasonably certain your fish have ich.This can be tricky as some other problems/nonproblems look like ich.
2.Change 80% percent of the affected tanks water w/new dechloraminated water of the appropriate temp and chemistry before treating with salt.
3.Adjust the thermostats on your heater to achieve an 80 degree temperature.
4.Keep biological filters active.This is not a time to clean out your biofilter.
5.Add 2 1/2 tspns per gallon of salt divided into 3 doses added over 3 days.For example-a ten gallon tank would have 9 tspn.s the first day,8 tspsn.s the second day,and 8 tspn.s the third day.
4 Maintain this salinity for 14 days.If you elect to change water(a good idea) during these 14 days,add the appropriate amount of salt to replace what you have removed.
5.Keep nets and any other appliances from recontaminating the tank during the 14 days.I have multiple nets/gravel vacuums etc. and make sure that they are completely air dryed before reusing.If you intend to simply reuse a single set of equipment,a disinfectant can be employed.

Notes-I would not use salt in a tank with plants present.Although I'm sure many plants can tolerate the salt,it's not difficult to treat the fish in a seperate tank if this is the case.Without a fish present,the ich should run it's course before you are ready to put your fish back in 14 days.I have used this safely with Botia Striata,Acanthopsis loaches,hardy cyprinids,and many types of catfish including Mochokids,Doradids,Pimeloids,Loricaariads,Banjo cats,and corys.Fish I would be careful(observe when adding salt)with include Tetras,Loaches,and Corys.When these fish are affected with ichthyopthirius a chemical therapeutant might be a less risky choice.I have always used common iodized table salt for this.I use D&$mond Cryst*!l brand without problems.Clean water really helps the fish tolerate the salt and recover quickly.I always change water before treating and feed much less during treatment.Chemical Therapeutants can be cocurrently use w/ salt.I have tried malachite/green or with "scaleless" fish Ick Guard 2.
Just my opinions,your mileage may vary!

 

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