Marc88

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In the short time I've been in this hobby, there have been three categories for copper dosing as it relates to the DT. Yes, copper will kill corals and inverts, that is not debatable. Make no mistake. I do not intend to bash anyone who falls into any of the categories. My goal is to try to provide some clarity in the clouded space of the world wide web(WWW). This journey is not intended to be the "best practice" in reefing. I intend to provide others with some evidence so they can make an informed decision on how they want to proceed if you happen to find yourself in the same position as me. I get a little long-winded at times, so bear with me. I'll let you know upfront as of two days ago (4/17/20). I began dosing copper to my DT. Read below for further.

Category 1, "You cannot, under any circumstances, ever dose copper in your DT. You will never be able to keep corals. Your rocks/sand will forever leach copper back into the water column." We have no shortage of people in this camp. They seem to be the majority by far. I have never seen a post from anyone who dosed copper in their display tank. Then after the dosing was unable to remove it, causing long term failure. It's usually quoted from reef urban legend or reef well-known fact. I mean no offense by that at all, I blame the internet for this problem. Please feel free to correct me. I will not be offended. If you are one of these people, please post below. Leave photos and a short story to help the community. It would be helpful to have this information in one place.

Category 2, "You absolutely can dose copper in your DT. After the treatment is done, you have to make sure you run a copper remover and get a 0 reading. Run a few ICP tests to be sure, and you will be all set. I've done it myself, and now I have a successful reef, look at my pictures." These folks are very few and far between. Not many fall into this category that I've been able to find on my searches. They are by far the minority. I don't know if that's because people don't post or some other elusive reason. If you are one of these people who have found success, please post below, even if it was short term success, if you've had long term success even better.

Category 3, "I don't know who's right. I don't know if I'm just looking for the answer I want to hear because it is more convenient for me(known as answer shopping). Or, am I in denial of the truth: you cannot dose copper in the DT. Lastly, everyone is afraid to go against the grain/ risk the thousands they have spent on this hobby, which is completely understandable? What am I missing?" This is where I find myself.

Because I fall into category 3, I'll tell you how I got here. And what lead me to ultimately dose copper into my DT. I will try to make it brief. I ordered a Red Sea 625xxl and got it all set by the end of January 2020. This tank replaced my lightly stocked 125 gallon, my second saltwater tank. I filled it with brand new Marco Rock (that had been cycling since Febuary 2019 for this purpose). I decided to go bare bottom this time around to make things low(er) maintenance. I have heavily invested in Apex and watch a lot of BRS videos. All of the fish stock transferred over to this new tank, and I added some new guys as well. I thought I did an excellent job QT my fish, but to my surprise, I did not(sarcasm). I had what I thought was velvet, which may be ICH (see my pictures below, and you be the judge). Regardless, as the disease progressed, I saw a bunch of spots that appeared to me and all my infinite wisdom to be velvet. Instead of losing all my fish, I decided to dose my DT with copper.

The tank stock:
1 Yellow Tang
1 Desjardini Tang
1 Powder Brown Tang
1 Hippo Tang
1 Coral Beauty
1 Matted Filefish
1 Pink Watchman goby
1 Melanurus Wrasse
1 Midas Blenny
1 Chromis
1 Royal Gramma
2 Lyretail Anthias
2 Ocellaris Clownfish
5 Zebra Barred Goby

When I started seeing spots on the Hippo tang, I got worried. I referred to the internet, as most of us do, to try to find some resolve in the situation. I have only been in the hobby for three years, but I researched enough to know that I don't know that much, lol. As we all do, I found @Humblefish, @HotRocks and @4FordFamily threads and used those as a guideline. But I also have so much respect for @Paul B and take note of his natural apprach. However, when the Hippo's spots quadrupled in one day, then multiplied on my powder brown and a few other fish as well, I referenced internet photos and believed I had marine velvet. I felt I didn't have the time to ask the internet to confirm my suspicion. I went over my options weighted everything out and decided I was going to dose copper and document the outcome for the rest of my category 3 folks.

I had too many fish, and I did not have a QT tank to put them all in. I'm aware I could have purchased a rubber made tote and put the fish in there for 76 days while the DT ran fallow. But maintaining a large plastic bin of water was not in the cards for me. If this turns out to be the worst-case scenario, I will replace the rock in my DT and start over.

My plan is to document the progression of this and see if the rocks absorb notable amounts of copper. I will post the daily copper levels from my Hanna Checker to this thread to keep track of things. I will also do my best to keep those interested informed on the progression of this dosing experiment.

If you have any comments or suggestions for me along the way, anything is welcome. See the attached pictures.

@lolmatt Thank you again.
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mickeysreef <*))))<

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I began dosing coppersafe in my dt on April 6. I had ich in the tank. by April 10 I was at 1.87. thereaputic levels per fritz are 1.5 to 2.0. since April 10 I have inched up slowly to about 2.0. I have both the API and Hanna kits that I check off each other as neither is fool proof. April 10 I installed a uv sterilizer set on parasite flow. April 12 whitespot gone and has not returned.

I spoke to fritz several times and confirmed 1.5 or above for 30 days will normally treat most cases of ich however I could keep it in there as long as I want if I wanted to wait the 72 days for the ultra rare cases. They stated many petshops run copper indefinitely in their systems and that makes sense.

as you, I scoured the net and found exactly what you did. a very small percentage of people who said their tanks are thriving after copper. I also ran into people who said you never ever add copper to the display.

my tank is new, I don't have sand but I do have rock, no invertebrates, gave away my lone coral and my snails. this rock was all dry so no worms, cucumbers etc. I didn't want any like I had on my last tank.

it's 210g w 40g sump. I started with 20 fish, some of them just 3 days old when I saw the spots. I lost 3 fish, 2 were within 48hrs of putting them in the tank, probably stress, last fish was lost a couple days ago, probably stress again.

seachem has a product cuprisorb, I plan on running that until copper is out, waiting a few months and then periodically checking. I read cuprisorb is renewable but not sure if I can or should run it forever. we'll see. I think you'll be fine.

I had someone tell me my fish were stressed even. I believe anyone who is running a tank and knows there is ich in the tank is just asking for trouble. one day a pump, heater, circuit breaker will trip and they will "stress" their fish out again. I chose this route and I think it's a no brainier not even a question that it's the right way to go.
 
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Marc88

Marc88

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I began dosing coppersafe in my dt on April 6. I had ich in the tank. by April 10 I was at 1.87. thereaputic levels per fritz are 1.5 to 2.0. since April 10 I have inched up slowly to about 2.0. I have both the API and Hanna kits that I check off each other as neither is fool proof. April 10 I installed a uv sterilizer set on parasite flow. April 12 whitespot gone and has not returned.

I spoke to fritz several times and confirmed 1.5 or above for 30 days will normally treat most cases of ich however I could keep it in there as long as I want if I wanted to wait the 72 days for the ultra rare cases. They stated many petshops run copper indefinitely in their systems and that makes sense.

as you, I scoured the net and found exactly what you did. a very small percentage of people who said their tanks are thriving after copper. I also ran into people who said you never ever add copper to the display.

my tank is new, I don't have sand but I do have rock, no invertebrates, gave away my lone coral and my snails. this rock was all dry so no worms, cucumbers etc. I didn't want any like I had on my last tank.

it's 210g w 40g sump. I started with 20 fish, some of them just 3 days old when I saw the spots. I lost 3 fish, 2 were within 48hrs of putting them in the tank, probably stress, last fish was lost a couple days ago, probably stress again.

seachem has a product cuprisorb, I plan on running that until copper is out, waiting a few months and then periodically checking. I read cuprisorb is renewable but not sure if I can or should run it forever. we'll see. I think you'll be fine.

I had someone tell me my fish were stressed even. I believe anyone who is running a tank and knows there is ich in the tank is just asking for trouble. one day a pump, heater, circuit breaker will trip and they will "stress" their fish out again. I chose this route and I think it's a no brainier not even a question that it's the right way to go.

Thanks for the input! I appreciate the words of encouragement. I wanted to go the ich management route, but I got cold feet when the spots multiplied. I purchased a UV and everything. I actually have cupisorb on hand so when it's time ill drop it right in!
 
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Marc88

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Following...

What type of rock and sand are you using? Do you not have a CUC or corals or did you move them prior?

I used Marco rock from BRS on a bare bottom tank. I had Just snails for CUC. Only one coral. (purple stylo) didnt make it past the first day of copper. This is a really new tank. I didnt stock it with coral and I'm really glad I didnt. Inverts and coral won't make it through copper treatment.
 

mickeysreef <*))))<

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Thanks for the input! I appreciate the words of encouragement. I wanted to go the ich management route, but I got cold feet when the spots multiplied. I purchased a UV and everything. I actually have cupisorb on hand so when it's time ill drop it right in!

I can't say enough that I think it's the absolute right way to go. I believe that the advice of not adding copper to a display tank is good advice but it's taken out of context. and possibly an old idea that no longer applies in circumstances like ours. ich management is just something I would rather avoid. my UV sterilizer will eventually be set to combat algae, the original purpose I ordered it for.

the big thing is making sure it never enters. something I'll have to figure out our pay a premium for. my tank is fully stocked with the fish, I'd like to add another tang maybe that's not in the cards for me but I already have hippo, powder blue, tomini, and yellow.

maybe a lavender and whitecheek
 

Skynyrd Fish

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Ok you can run copper and then have corals. I am living prof. However it will take some time and some cuprasorb. I run cuprasorb now as a safety precaution as my equipment is old. Also 20 months ago I must have received some bad ro membranes as my ati test showed copper in the ro water and tank. My Hanna tester showed .14. Now my Hanna tester shows .03 while ATI test shown undetectable. Most sps were added one year ago, with a few added December 19.
AA189658-35C6-418C-92CD-56CE9876CACB.jpeg
 

Skynyrd Fish

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I’d like to add that only if there is no other choice would I add copper to the display. But it can be done. If all my fish got velvet now I’d have a tough decision. Take out all corals, and live rock and treat or get out the fishing line and fish traps and qt. I just answered my own question.. since my tank is up and mature I would trap or line catch all the fish.
 
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Skynyrd Fish

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To the Op. you made the right move. Once the disease is gone a couple massive water changes and cuprasorb will get you ready for snails and corals. I’d start with a couple snails first. Give it a couple months and good luck. Your tank looks great and you have some cool fish.
 
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Ok you can run copper and then have corals. I am living prof. However it will take some time and some cuprasorb. I run cuprasorb now as a safety precaution as my equipment is old. Also 20 months ago I must have received some bad ro membranes as my ati test showed copper in the ro water and tank. My Hanna tester showed .14. Now my Hanna tester shows .03 while ATI test shown undetectable. Most sps were added one year ago, with a few added December 19.
AA189658-35C6-418C-92CD-56CE9876CACB.jpeg
That looks amazing!! The proof is in the pudding. I appreciate you sharing your success. For you to have had a similar issue 20 months ago and be where you are today is encouraging.

When you ran copper, did the rocks and sand absorb some?
 
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I’d like to add that only if there is no other choice would I add copper to the display. But it can be done. If all my fish got velvet now I’d have a tough decision. Take out all corals, and live rock and treat or get out the fishing line and fish traps and qt. I just answered my own question.. since my tank is up and mature I would trap or line catch all the fish.

I agree. A decision like this is only for someone who has a new tank with little to no corlas. Rehoming corals for me would be a difficult task. I feel this would be impossible for someone with a mature reef tank.
 
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I can't say enough that I think it's the absolute right way to go. I believe that the advice of not adding copper to a display tank is good advice but it's taken out of context. and possibly an old idea that no longer applies in circumstances like ours. ich management is just something I would rather avoid. my UV sterilizer will eventually be set to combat algae, the original purpose I ordered it for.

the big thing is making sure it never enters. something I'll have to figure out our pay a premium for. my tank is fully stocked with the fish, I'd like to add another tang maybe that's not in the cards for me but I already have hippo, powder blue, tomini, and yellow.

maybe a lavender and whitecheek


I agree with you. I think the advice is great, but it is circumstantial, like most things in this hobby. There is not a one size fits all answer to dose or doe not. I'd like to see a pic of your current treatment. Thanks for the info!
 
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Marc88

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I think you have ich. Marine velvet doesn't show up as dots. it sort of looks like the fish color is washed away with white.

seen velvet plenty of times at petco

Thank you...I asked my LFS guy and he also pointed out my rookie mistake, lol. it was too late by then.
 

mickeysreef <*))))<

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here are some shots of my tank just now. the first fish I noticed spots on was the sailfin, next day powder blue was covered. I noticed just a couple of spots on the tiny sized hippo. tomini had a couple of spots as well.

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these shots were before treatment, I really didn't take too many because I already knew what it was and was expecting it and I'll say that is almost looked like velvet on the sailfin and all of the powder blue's skin was raised like a bad razor burn from shaving but he had white dots all over his fins.


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oh thought I'd also share my GOT Night King picture lol. you can only see it from this angle, had no idea this rock looked like this haha
thumbnail looks a lot better than full picture. try to look on your phone

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Almost 24 hours later copper reads 2.53. This is whtin the accuracy range of the checker so I would say so far it's not absorbing into the rocks(yet
20200420_070551.jpg
). I will check the levels daily and post a photo to keep track of this.
 

mickeysreef <*))))<

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Almost 24 hours later copper reads 2.53. This is whtin the accuracy range of the checker so I would say so far it's not absorbing into the rocks(yet). I will check the levels daily and post a photo to keep track of this.


whitespot normally drops a week or less after you see it.
should not return at your lvl of copper so you should be good,
how long are you planning to treat?
good time to add a new fish, just start the clock + 7 over when he is in
 
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Marc88

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whitespot normally drops a week or less after you see it.
should not return at your lvl of copper so you should be good,
how long are you planning to treat?
good time to add a new fish, just start the clock + 7 over when he is in
I plan on treating for 30 days. Your absolutely right. I should add more fish bit I feel I was reaching the limit already. I have a few more on my list.
 
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