how long does copper take to kill Ich

Discussion in 'Fish Disease Treatment and Diagnosis' started by RiaanP, May 8, 2017.

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  1. RiaanP

    RiaanP Member

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    I firmly believe in doing the bucket transfer method to really cure whitespot. Been doing that for years and got a 100% survival rate.

    However, I got asked a question around copper and I cannot find the answer.

    As we know, copper is only effective during the free swimming stage. Basically it poison the whitespot theront more than it poisons your fish. How long during this short period, can the theront swim around in the copper poison, before the copper will kill it?

    Is it like a headshot - boom - wasted action?
    Or does it take 5 minute? half an hour? hour?
     
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  2. Best Fish-Jake

    Best Fish-Jake Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    2 weeks is the standard treatment period.. the copper must be maintained at a therapeutic level for the entire 2 weeks.
    I don't know if there have been any studies done on how long it takes copper to kill ich in the theront stage, but I'm betting within an hour... following
     
  3. RiaanP

    RiaanP Member

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    yes, that part I know.

    Within the first couple of hours, since hatching and before finding a host. How long will the whitespot survive in a copper solution?

    Their free swimming stage is 24 to 48 hours, although the longer they take the lest effective they are to penetrate the host. (maybe too tired to dig - to put it in simple terms)
    and
    So how long does copper take to kill the free swimming theront before it can find a host?
     
  4. RiaanP

    RiaanP Member

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    This period would be to ensure that those whitespot pests that are on the host already (3 to 7 days), grow up and eventually fall off are also targeted. Although they encyst within 2 hours but can take longer, up to 18 hours. Hopefully the copper do have time to have an impact on these before they encyst. Else we need to wait that they hatch and hopefully zap the second wave as they hatch. In my experience, the next breakout takes 11 to 12 days depending on factors. 14 days is not enough in my opinion, as the cyst can take 3 to 28 days to hatch, again depending on factors like temperature.

    Leads to another question, do copper impact whitespot as they fall off the host before they encyst? Have time to kill it?
     
  5. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    The theront can swim around in the copper for hours, and may even attach to the fish in copper treated water. However, as long as proper copper levels are maintained, it will be too genetically damaged to survive for more than a few hours.

    I am guilty of saying this as much as anyone, but it isn't completely correct. Theronts are very susceptible to copper and will die anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. If a tomont (cyst stage) is exposed to the copper treated water for 2 to 3 weeks the copper will prevent it from producing viable theronts.

    This is the basis for the two main copper treatment options. You can treat the fish for as few as 9 days in copper if you transfer them immediately to a clean quarantine tank. It is typically recommended to treat for a little longer to allow some margin which is why I prefer 14 days.
    The other option is to treat in copper for 30 days. At this point you can remove the copper from the system and keep the fish in the same tank. Not only will you have killed the theronts but any remaining unhatched tomonts will also have been sterilized.
     
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  6. Humblefish

    Humblefish Dr. Fish Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Expert Contributor Article Contributor Louisiana Reef Club Partner Member 2018

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    +1 I read one study (will have to find it) which claimed a theront is damaged almost immediately after emerging from it's tomont (in copper water). Like you said, the severity of damage is highly dependent upon whether or not the copper is being maintained at a proper therapeutic level. Subtherapeutic copper may allow some of the theronts to survive and complete their lifecycle; and then the next wave could be more resistant to copper in the water. ;Nailbiting
     
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  7. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I've been searching for that study with no luck myself. :confused:

    I just remember it talked about the theront being damaged to the point of not being viable in a matter of minutes but that it could potentially survive for longer. Assuming therapeutic levels of copper, of course.
     
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  8. RiaanP

    RiaanP Member

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    Thank you @Brew12 and @Humblefish for your replies.

    Now that you remind me, long ago I did read an article that touched on copper and cysts. And it stated that it does impact the cyst but not 100% all of them. Something in the range on 80 or 70% if I can now recall correctly. That will help in reducing the second wave numbers a lot, giving the fish in our little glass boxes a better change. I need to find that document.

    Another problem I got is that in my experience with whitespot, is that the second wave hatch around 11 days after first round. Mass fish die-off before 14 days. If the copper takes 3 weeks to kill cysts we are possibly still looking at rather large numbers emerging. 11 days is what I found is the cycle here in South Africa. On a number of occasions where a guy had an outbreak and then he said its all sorted, no more spots and his fish are healthy while the fish are still in his display, asked them 14 days later how is it going just to get a reply that he lost most if not all his fish.
     
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  9. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I remember reading something along those lines, also. If I recall correctly, this was based on a 10 day treatment. I really wish I could find that study. Although I have never seen a study that shows it I do believe that by day 30 in therapeutic levels of copper that 99%+ of cysts will be genetically sterilized.

    This is why I would never trust any treatment recommendation that lasts 14 days and doesn't involve a transfer into a clean quarantine. There are many products that recommend 2 treatments a week apart or treatment for 10 days. This doesn't make sense if you understand the Cryptocaryon lifecycle.
     
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  10. Humblefish

    Humblefish Dr. Fish Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Expert Contributor Article Contributor Louisiana Reef Club Partner Member 2018

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    I know I have it in my trove of studies on the desktop (which is currently in storage). :(
     
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