14 days in Copper - still itching

rrichardsmn

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I got a Blue Hippo Tang with noticeable Ich and moved it to my QT setup. It had scratched some of the color off face and sides when I got it and had noticeable white spots. I starting increasing copper dosages up to 2.25-2.5 over 3 days and soon after noticed the white spots leaving and fish looking better (more active and eating). The only symptom that I continue to see is it continues to scratch itself on the PVC pipe in QT setup. We are now on 14 days of copper in therapeutic levels and the behavior continues. I know I don't want to mix medications, but should I move to copper free setup and attempt to treat for other potential diseases/flukes/parasites, or just ride out the full copper dosing schedule?
 
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Matt L.

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Have you tested with a reliable copper test kit to ensure that you achieved the correct dosage? Why type of copper are you using? I recommend copper power and using a Hannah colorimeter.

Matt:cool:
 

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30 days in copper can be beneficial to make sure all the ich is gone, but just as importantly is your display will need to be left fish free for 72 days (i believe).
If not quarantining them isn’t going to fix the problem
 
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Matt L.

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Copper Power with Hannah test kit
Good. Remember, copper only kills ich in the free swimming stage. It won’t have much of an impact on ich already on your fish. That may be why the fish is still scratching. If appetite is good and the coloration appears normal, observe, and maybe wait for the ich to move on in its life cycle.

Matt:cool:
 
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rrichardsmn

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Good. Remember, copper only kills ich in the free swimming stage. It won’t have much of an impact on ich already on your fish. That may be why the fish is still scratching. If appetite is good and the coloration appears normal, observe, and maybe wait for the ich to move on in its life cycle.

Matt:cool:
Thanks Matt - I thought that might have been the case, but everything I have read says that they should only live on fish for 3-9 days before dropping off and being impacted by copper. Since the white spots were gone after 3-4 days, I assumed that phase was over. I have been checking copper daily, and no drops in levels since I got it to therapeutic levels (14 days).

Any thought that it had something else in addition to Ich that I should be treating for now? Or just go full 30 days in copper and see if anything changes?

Also, any thought on how long it will take the blue color to come back where it has scratched? It's kind of a whiter blue in those areas now.
 

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Copper is irritating to fish with thin slime coats. If the copper has been maintained at therapeutic levels over the last 14 days then the scratching behavior could just be irritation from the copper. As long as your tang is otherwise tolerating the copper continue it for the full 30 days.
 
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rrichardsmn

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Copper is irritating to fish with thin slime coats. If the copper has been maintained at therapeutic levels over the last 14 days then the scratching behavior could just be irritation from the copper. As long as your tang is otherwise tolerating the copper continue it for the full 30 days.
Thanks - I have seen potentially heavier breathing over past 2-3 days, but nothing too dramatic. Sometimes it's hard to know if it's imagined or real when you see minor symptoms. It does make sense that it could be copper irritation since I thought itching had ended for a few days before starting again.

I have a second clean setup that I could move the fish into and continue watching for 14 more days. I have read that that is generally fine for QT process and less stressful to sensitive fish.
 

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Thanks Matt - I thought that might have been the case, but everything I have read says that they should only live on fish for 3-9 days before dropping off and being impacted by copper. Since the white spots were gone after 3-4 days, I assumed that phase was over. I have been checking copper daily, and no drops in levels since I got it to therapeutic levels (14 days).

Any thought that it had something else in addition to Ich that I should be treating for now? Or just go full 30 days in copper and see if anything changes?

Also, any thought on how long it will take the blue color to come back where it has scratched? It's kind of a whiter blue in those areas now.
The tomont stage that drops off of the fish isn’t affected by copper. These release theronts which are killed by copper. Trouble is that the tomonts can release theronts for up to 28 days (and 72 days in that rare instance in a lab). That is the reason for the 30 day copper treatment.
The other consideration is perhaps your fish also have flukes?
Jay
 
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rrichardsmn

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I understand the general lifecycle - was just weighing all the pieces. Ich, Copper irritation or poisoning, other parasites, other causes... and trying to make a decision that will be best for the fish. As I mentioned, I have read posts by Humblefish saying 14 days in copper followed by clean QT is an option since you are unlikely to transfer any of the tomonts to new tank if you just transfer the fish.

I have come up with a few options that might work and would like to get feedback on which would be best:
1) Leave in Copper for 30 days and then treat for flukes or other internal parasites. This seems the most likely to kill any Ich possibility, but something is causing irritation on fish still and this will delay the process of resolving this the longest.

1B) Leave in Copper for 30 days and start treatments for flukes or other parasites in copper. I have read mixed thoughts on mixing other medications with Copper Power and I don't want to cause additional problems.

2) Move to clean QT setup without Copper and treat for other issues. This seems to be best for resolving any copper irritation issues and likely to manage Ich. Will allow for treatment of other issues in clean environment as well.

2B) Move to clean QT without Copper and observe for 14 days. If symptoms clear up, no additional treatment needed.
This seems easiest on fish, but will again delay treatment if there is an issue.

I am leaning to 1B or 2 if nothing else changes.
 

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Copper gets blamed for a lot of things, including scratching, but with the slightly rapid breathing, and the flashing, I’m more worried about gill flukes.
I agree about trying to avoid using multiple meds at the same time. I would consider running copper for 20 days, then removing at least 50% of it through water changes and dosing the tank 2x with prazipro.
Jay
 
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rrichardsmn

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Copper gets blamed for a lot of things, including scratching, but with the slightly rapid breathing, and the flashing, I’m more worried about gill flukes.
I agree about trying to avoid using multiple meds at the same time. I would consider running copper for 20 days, then removing at least 50% of it through water changes and dosing the tank 2x with prazipro.
Jay
If I have second tank setup for QT, wouldn't just moving it there and doing prazipro be better? What would 1/2 dose copper do?
 

Jay Hemdal

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If I have second tank setup for QT, wouldn't just moving it there and doing prazipro be better? What would 1/2 dose copper do?
The half dose of copper is simply to reduce it to the point where there isn't any chance of the two drugs cross-reacting. You could take it to zero if you want, just don't take tooo long, because you want to get the prazi in there soon.
If the second tank has a solid biofilter, and wasn't exposed to ich, you can do that. I just worry if it is a fresh tankj, you'll be battling ammonia issues.

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Do you have a UV on his system? Only thing that worked for me. I’ve been through Ich a few times over the year’s. UV has saved by butt. UV garlic and heavy feeding.
 

Jay Hemdal

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Do you have a UV on his system? Only thing that worked for me. I’ve been through Ich a few times over the year’s. UV has saved by butt. UV garlic and heavy feeding.
If the OP is in fact chasing gill flukes in their fish, a UV sterilizer won't have any benefit.

jay
 

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quick update: after adding pazipro, I haven't seen any additional flashing behaviors. Should I have seen flukes falling off?
Probably not - if there are just juvenile flukes, or just a few of them, I don’t think you’ll see them after a prazi dose. I’ve only seen flukes fall off during FW dips, when I see them in the bucket.
Jay
 
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