Hospital Tank for Ich question

JustinMN18

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Hi Everyone,

I am 3 months into the hobby, and unfortunately, my tank went through a pretty intense Ich outbreak after adding a Kole Tang. I lost the tang but was able to save my other 2 clownfish and have them in a hospital tank, using Copper Power. I have a few questions about this particular hospital tank / dosing / next steps.

1) I noticed my ammonia was high (the seachem badge thing is garbage), so I did a 50% water change yesterday. That means I needed to replenish the copper. I re-dosed last night, and this morning I noticed the copper (using Hanna checker) was at 1.19, below the 1.50 therapeutic level. Is this 10-hour lapse in time going to negatively affect my quarentine time? I dosed 2 ML this morning, and will check the parameter in a few hours.

2) Is there an easier way to water change and know how much copper I need? I have a 10 gallon tank and haven't been able to figure out how to know exactly how much copper I need each time I dose.

3) After a few weeks of using copper, should I be doing water changes to get the copper down as much as possible? My understanding is that now that the copper is in my tank, it'll always be in there to some degree. I plan on using this tank as the quarentine tank for each fish moving forward. I guess my ultimate question here is... Should I / When should I lower copper, and to what PPM, and for how long? Can other fish go in it? Sorry if that isn't making sense haha.

Any other thoughts and feedback would be greatly appreciated. The main 55 gallon tank is going fallow for a few months, so the fish will be in here for a while. I pre-ordered a Waterbox Marine X 110.4, and once that gets here, I plan on cycling it and then adding the clowns to that tank once that is completed. Then take some rock out of my 55 gallon as well as my corals, snails, crabs, and shrimp. I want the Waterbox to be completely Ich-free.

Thanks!
 
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NinjaTiLL

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I am using Copper Power in a 10g Quarantine Tank right now. I believe 10 gallons of water require 15ml of CP to get to the recommended 2.5ppm. Definately use the 2.5ppm dose. I've seen others posting about relapses of disease because they were using a lower dose of CP. Dropping below 1.5ppm is bad and basically you just restarted your QT time from when you dosed back up over 1.5. If you do a 50% water change (i.e. one 5g bucket), add 7.5ml of CP to the bucket before you put the water back into the QT so that your QT water never drops too low.

I do believe that your Ammonia test kit will give false readings in the presence of copper. So the Seachem Alert badge is your only hope (I use it too).

If your QT is properly cycled (hopefully with seeded media from your DT) then water changes every few weeks should be OK. I am going on 14 days with fish in the QT and I am probably going to do a 50% water change today. The alert badge is not showing any ammonia but the water is clouding up a bit probably from food waste and detrius. Fish are doing Ok as far as I can tell.
 
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JustinMN18

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I am using Copper Power in a 10g Quarantine Tank right now. I believe 10 gallons of water require 15ml of CP to get to the recommended 2.5ppm. Definately use the 2.5ppm dose. I've seen others posting about relapses of disease because they were using a lower dose of CP. Dropping below 1.5ppm is bad and basically you just restarted your QT time from when you dosed back up over 1.5. If you do a 50% water change (i.e. one 5g bucket), add 7.5ml of CP to the bucket before you put the water back into the QT so that your QT water never drops too low.

I do believe that your Ammonia test kit will give false readings in the presence of copper. So the Seachem Alert badge is your only hope (I use it too).

If your QT is properly cycled (hopefully with seeded media from your DT) then water changes every few weeks should be OK. I am going on 14 days with fish in the QT and I am probably going to do a 50% water change today. The alert badge is not showing any ammonia but the water is clouding up a bit probably from food waste and detrius. Fish are doing Ok as far as I can tell.
Thanks for the info! Even if the dose went below 1.5 for like 10 hours overnight?

Also, when you're done with the 14 days (I was thinking of doing 30 days with a range of 1.5 - 2ppm), are you going to just put regular salt water in? Or are you just quarentining and not dealing with an Ich problem?
 

NinjaTiLL

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Even if the dose went below 1.5 for like 10 hours overnight?

According to @Humblefish, yes, even a slight drop resets your quarantine clock. From https://humble.fish/quarantine/ :

The above prophylactically treats most parasites if held at a therapeutic concentration for 30 days. Therefore, it is important to test your copper level frequently. If the level drops below therapeutic (1.5 ppm is the minimum for Copper Power) even slightly, the 30 day clock restarts after you’ve raised it back up. Therefore, when doing a water change dose any new water with copper or Chloroquine before it is added to the tank. After 30 days you can perform water changes and/or run carbon, Cuprisorb, poly filter, etc. to remove the medication(s).

Right now, I am prophylactically treating 2 new fish in QT (a blue-eyed kole tang and a matted filefish). My first 2 fish I treated in copper (@2.5ppm) for the full 30-days because I do not have a separate, clean, sterile tank to transfer them to after 14-days. I think I'll do the 30 days again for these fish. I thought of doing the 14-days, catching the fish and holding in a small container until I can clean their QT tank and re-setup... but there's risk in that... and I don't have another full QT setup for a second QT tank.
 
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NinjaTiLL

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@NinjaTiLL Ok. So while my tank is fallow, should I just remove all copper after the 30 days and know that there will be trace amounts for the remaining time?

If you dosed copper into your display tank, then yes, you may never fully get rid of copper but you can try to remove with the methods HumbleFish mentions in his QT article. If you only dosed into a QT, then there are no worries. After 30 days, transfer the fish in to a clean, no-copper tank. Since your DT fallow time will be longer than the QT copper time, I would transfer the fish into a small holding container (maybe a 5g bucket 1/2 to 3/4 full of fresh saltwater with a sterile powerhead pointed at surface), clean the QT tank, allow to air dry, then refill the QT tank with fresh salt water and transfer fish back into QT. If you don't want to clean the QT tank, then use carbon or cuprisorb to remove copper from QT. If it leaves trace amounts of copper, I wouldn't worry. Up to you how to do it based on capabilities and equipment.
 
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JustinMN18

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If you dosed copper into your display tank, then yes, you may never fully get rid of copper but you can try to remove with the methods HumbleFish mentions in his QT article. If you only dosed into a QT, then there are no worries. After 30 days, transfer the fish in to a clean, no-copper tank. Since your DT fallow time will be longer than the QT copper time, I would transfer the fish into a small holding container (maybe a 5g bucket 1/2 to 3/4 full of fresh saltwater with a sterile powerhead pointed at surface), clean the QT tank, allow to air dry, then refill the QT tank with fresh salt water and transfer fish back into QT. If you don't want to clean the QT tank, then use carbon or cuprisorb to remove copper from QT. If it leaves trace amounts of copper, I wouldn't worry. Up to you how to do it based on capabilities and equipment.
Alright, here's a question. What do I have to do with the fish to make sure that the fish themselves don't get copper / medication into my display tank once I'm done? Is there any threat of that being a problem? What if I transferred out of the hospital tank into another clean quarentine tank for observation? Will copper be then brought with the fish into the sterile QT tank?
 

NinjaTiLL

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Alright, here's a question. What do I have to do with the fish to make sure that the fish themselves don't get copper / medication into my display tank once I'm done? Is there any threat of that being a problem? What if I transferred out of the hospital tank into another clean quarentine tank for observation? Will copper be then brought with the fish into the sterile QT tank?
When I transferred from QT to DT, I caught the fish with a net and dumped into a 1L container of DT water. Then the whole 1L went into DT. I tried to minimize the QT water transferred. I thought about a fresh water dip or fresh saltwater dip before final transfer into DT but wanted to minimize stress to fish. I have an ICP test pending with Triton so I'll let you know if any elevated copper shows up.

If you go from copper QT into a sterile non-copper QT, the ammount of copper that would be transferred from a secondary QT-to-DT transfer would be negligible. Not enough to worry in my opinion.
 

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Thanks for the info! Even if the dose went below 1.5 for like 10 hours overnight?

Also, when you're done with the 14 days (I was thinking of doing 30 days with a range of 1.5 - 2ppm), are you going to just put regular salt water in? Or are you just quarentining and not dealing with an Ich problem?


If the level went below 2.0 for any length of time the clock should start all over! 1.5 ppm with Copper Power isn't enough with the recently identified copper resistant strains. I aim for 2.25-2.5 .....I get to that level gradually over about a week. The best way to do water changes is to add the expected amount of Copper Power to the new water, mix and then check the level and adjust/re-test/rinse/repeat until it matches the level in the QT.

For this reason I have a tank I only use for copper with a ceramic media biofilter in a HOB filter. I keep fish there for 2 weeks and transfer to a sterile observation tank for any other treatment. That copper tank stays set up all the time and the biofilter maintained with occasional challenges with ammonia when it's empty.
 

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