Ich / Velvet Do Nothing Treatment Thread!

Jon!

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I am sharing my experience beating (living with) ich/velvet by doing nothing except maintaining good water quality and movement and increasing the quantity, quality and variety of foods offered to the fish in my DT.

Hi all. I'm a big fan of R2R and the many perspectives I've gained over the years. With that in mind sharing my surprising experience with Velvet/Ich.

I had an outbreak about 3 months ago. Not sure if it was ich or velvet. Almost too many small spots to be ich and too few to be velvet. Several flashing fish. In any case I did a water change and dramatically increased the volume and variety of foods offered to the fish and the diseases went away and have not come back. Yes i am sure i head velvet and i'm pretty sure the fishes own immune systems have been able to fight it off.

This is not a veiled anti-vaxer thread I swear!

But over the years i've gone to every length suggested on this forum for dealing with such a display tank outbreak - i've had a few over the last 15 years that have caused mass casualties. I've emptied my DT of fish, putting them all in my DIY QT (following the advice on this thread to a T) and had DT fallow for 90 days. Also, i've removed all inverts and coppered the tank and then tried to remove the copper, QT'd the fish for 30 days with copper, etc etc. Neither worked well.

So, my own protocol until further notice is keep the tank clean with good flow and water changes ever 2 weeks, feed generously a big variety of frozen and dried foods, buy fish only from TSM (the only place i know that really QTs fish before they sell - they are amazing and RIP Matt).

Very good luck to all and i hope this helps someone.
 
REEFTIDE

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I've had ich 3 times in my nine year old 139G SPS system. It definitely hurts, as each time I lose 1 to 3 fish while the rest carry on.

There is always some identifiable stressor that kicks it off. Aggression once, a heat event another time (when A/C went out in July), or most recently when I added a school of anthias.

As soon as I see ich:
a) I slap on a UV 24/7
b) Add an extra feeding (and I already feed a lot of quality frozen & nori)
c) Shorten the light cycle by a few hours (more rest, less stress)
d) Pray & hope

I admire those that do the real deal QT, but it just does not add up FOR ME. Too much acropora in the tank to be ripping it all out to remove fish for fallow. Also, I am always a live rock reefer and I move a lot of coral in/out.

If I had FOWLR, I would absolutely do real QT.
 

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I am sharing my experience beating (living with) ich/velvet by doing nothing except maintaining good water quality and movement and increasing the quantity, quality and variety of foods offered to the fish in my DT.

Hi all. I'm a big fan of R2R and the many perspectives I've gained over the years. With that in mind sharing my surprising experience with Velvet/Ich.

I had an outbreak about 3 months ago. Not sure if it was ich or velvet. Almost too many small spots to be ich and too few to be velvet. Several flashing fish. In any case I did a water change and dramatically increased the volume and variety of foods offered to the fish and the diseases went away and have not come back. Yes i am sure i head velvet and i'm pretty sure the fishes own immune systems have been able to fight it off.

This is not a veiled anti-vaxer thread I swear!

But over the years i've gone to every length suggested on this forum for dealing with such a display tank outbreak - i've had a few over the last 15 years that have caused mass casualties. I've emptied my DT of fish, putting them all in my DIY QT (following the advice on this thread to a T) and had DT fallow for 90 days. Also, i've removed all inverts and coppered the tank and then tried to remove the copper, QT'd the fish for 30 days with copper, etc etc. Neither worked well.

So, my own protocol until further notice is keep the tank clean with good flow and water changes ever 2 weeks, feed generously a big variety of frozen and dried foods, buy fish only from TSM (the only place i know that really QTs fish before they sell - they are amazing and RIP Matt).

Very good luck to all and i hope this helps someone.
I am dealing with an outbreak and am almost on the same page as you. Outbreak in my DT and I had no place or move anything so I had to treat in tank. I think that you certainly can ‘eradicate’ parasitic diseases with extreme measures like moving to a copper treated QT and letting the tank go fallow, but barring those steps, which can be wildly expensive and time consuming, many of the halfway measures can do more harm than good - you stress the fish and the system, degrade water quality because you can’t do water changes and have to take out absorbent chemicals, and often sacrifice coral and invert health for the sake of the fish.

I am not at all convinced that if I had just gone with water quality management + immune system boosting instead of medicines I would have lost any more or fewer fish than I have, and I would have fewer bleached corals in my tank to boot.
 

pathot984

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If it was indeed velvet and you had no losses you should go out and buy a lottery ticket :)

glad it worked out for you
+1
 
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I've had ich 3 times in my nine year old 139G SPS system. It definitely hurts, as each time I lose 1 to 3 fish while the rest carry on.

There is always some identifiable stressor that kicks it off. Aggression once, a heat event another time (when A/C went out in July), or most recently when I added a school of anthias.

As soon as I see ich:
a) I slap on a UV 24/7
b) Add an extra feeding (and I already feed a lot of quality frozen & nori)
c) Shorten the light cycle by a few hours (more rest, less stress)
d) Pray & hope

I admire those that do the real deal QT, but it just does not add up FOR ME. Too much acropora in the tank to be ripping it all out to remove fish for fallow. Also, I am always a live rock reefer and I move a lot of coral in/out.

If I had FOWLR, I would absolutely do real QT.
I have been in this exact boat, except no losses. However it is difficult to add new fish that don't already have an immunity built up IME. Especially ich prone fish.
 

ScottB

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I have been in this exact boat, except no losses. However it is difficult to add new fish that don't already have an immunity built up IME. Especially ich prone fish.
Yeah, my Powder Blue ich magnet has had it twice and my 10 year old hippo three times. The last round on the PBT, he gave up his tank boss status for a couple weeks to the Yellow, but took it back after a couple weeks.

It is the newer fish that don't make it in my system too. Anthias, dwarf angel, even an algae blenny.
 

Jay Hemdal

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I am sharing my experience beating (living with) ich/velvet by doing nothing except maintaining good water quality and movement and increasing the quantity, quality and variety of foods offered to the fish in my DT.

Hi all. I'm a big fan of R2R and the many perspectives I've gained over the years. With that in mind sharing my surprising experience with Velvet/Ich.

I had an outbreak about 3 months ago. Not sure if it was ich or velvet. Almost too many small spots to be ich and too few to be velvet. Several flashing fish. In any case I did a water change and dramatically increased the volume and variety of foods offered to the fish and the diseases went away and have not come back. Yes i am sure i head velvet and i'm pretty sure the fishes own immune systems have been able to fight it off.

This is not a veiled anti-vaxer thread I swear!

But over the years i've gone to every length suggested on this forum for dealing with such a display tank outbreak - i've had a few over the last 15 years that have caused mass casualties. I've emptied my DT of fish, putting them all in my DIY QT (following the advice on this thread to a T) and had DT fallow for 90 days. Also, i've removed all inverts and coppered the tank and then tried to remove the copper, QT'd the fish for 30 days with copper, etc etc. Neither worked well.

So, my own protocol until further notice is keep the tank clean with good flow and water changes ever 2 weeks, feed generously a big variety of frozen and dried foods, buy fish only from TSM (the only place i know that really QTs fish before they sell - they are amazing and RIP Matt).

Very good luck to all and i hope this helps someone.

That, in essence is "ich management". Many people use that process, I have myself in reef tanks with few fish and lots of corals. Glad it worked for you.

However, there is something that comes into play, called "propagule pressure". When the parasites become numerous to a certain point (and nobody knows exactly what that point is, it is different for different fish) the impinging theronts from ich or velvet, or the larval flukes attacking the fish, become stressors themselves. They then overrule the reduced stress from good feeding and great water conditions, and the fish get sick.

What we need to avoid here on R2R is people suggesting "ich management" to members whose fish have clearly gone beyond that tipping point. It won't work for them. Then, I have to get into lengthy discussions as to why it won't work for them, and since ich management is easier, people often follow it and then lose their fish. Even a proper treatment is no guarantee once the fish have reached that point.

What is the tipping point? With true velvet, if you see symptoms of rapid breathing, your fish are past it. For flukes, if you see overt symptoms (rapid breathing, cloudy eyes), your fish are past it (but you might find a few flukes in diagnostic dips). With ich is where it is tricky - if I see more than abut 30 discrete spots on one fish, I consider it past the tipping point and I will intervene.

Jay Hemdal
 
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Jon!

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Got it. In past breakouts i have tried to follow the more scientific sounding posts with prescriptions based on papers about exactly how many days ich lives in various forms, when to use prazi, and how much; what copper level if chelated or other for what duration, TTM etc etc. I am hopeful that the feeding and water quality regimen i am using now will work better than my success with the various other methods, which is a low bar. I'll let you all know how it turns out.
 

HomebroodExotics

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Got it. In past breakouts i have tried to follow the more scientific sounding posts with prescriptions based on papers about exactly how many days ich lives in various forms, when to use prazi, and how much; what copper level if chelated or other for what duration, TTM etc etc. I am hopeful that the feeding and water quality regimen i am using now will work better than my success with the various other methods, which is a low bar. I'll let you all know how it turns out.
If you beleive the feeding better foods is the key then you should really list out what foods you are feeding.
 
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Jon!

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I just try a variety of frozen and pellet foods. I feed LRS frozen of various types, Piscene Energetics pellets and New Life Spectrum pellets. I have a bunch of each and just try to keep everyone fat and happy.
 

mehaffydr

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I am fore sure no expert here but I have to ask. Sometime I see people refer to a fishes immune system when talking about success with Ick or Velvet. I really do not see the connection. Ick and velvet are parasite just like a tick or flea would be to a mammal I believe maybe this is where I an wrong and would like to better understand. So if you put a mammal say dog , cat or person in a room with ticks or fleas the parasite attaches to the mammal gets nutrients reproduces and then the offspring attack the mammal. If I have a good immune system the parasites are still going to attack me and slowly bring me down and I do not believe that my immune system has anything to do with it. The Immune system I understand helps fight bacteria and virus that are inside of the body.
If anybody smarter than me can help me understand this please explain

So my real question is does a fishes immune system really have anything to do with surviving Ick?
 

reefiniteasy

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I just try a variety of frozen and pellet foods. I feed LRS frozen of various types, Piscene Energetics pellets and New Life Spectrum pellets. I have a bunch of each and just try to keep everyone fat and happy.
Do you not feed those foods regularly? If you do, and your fish got sick, how could continuing to feed them that food all of a sudden help manage the sickness. This is what I do not understand about sickness/ich management. Also, your protocol of feeding quality food and water changes, isn't that what should be happening in the first place. So wouldn't your protocol just be more of the same. If doing the regular every day things of water changes and quality food cured/managed ich and/or velvet, should you reevaluate your regular husbandry practices that might have enabled the outbreak to begin with.

This post is not meant to be argumentative, just some things I thought about as I've read the thread. This is not so much directed at you but the idea of ich management. I don't get it I guess.
 
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Jon!

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Do you not feed those foods regularly? If you do, and your fish got sick, how could continuing to feed them that food all of a sudden help manage the sickness. This is what I do not understand about sickness/ich management. Also, your protocol of feeding quality food and water changes, isn't that what should be happening in the first place. So wouldn't your protocol just be more of the same. If doing the regular every day things of water changes and quality food cured/managed ich and/or velvet, should you reevaluate your regular husbandry practices that might have enabled the outbreak to begin with.

This post is not meant to be argumentative, just some things I thought about as I've read the thread. This is not so much directed at you but the idea of ich management. I don't get it I guess.
Yes, pretty much the same routine as i try to follow - I'm just more disciplined. Big change is that the food is fed at greater volumes and frequency. Usually I would feed less to try to keep nutrient levels down. The downside is i have more algae so have turned down lights a bit. A bunch of toggles. But the main thing is i am more disciplined about doing the things I should - as you state.
 

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I am fore sure no expert here but I have to ask. Sometime I see people refer to a fishes immune system when talking about success with Ick or Velvet. I really do not see the connection. Ick and velvet are parasite just like a tick or flea would be to a mammal I believe maybe this is where I an wrong and would like to better understand. So if you put a mammal say dog , cat or person in a room with ticks or fleas the parasite attaches to the mammal gets nutrients reproduces and then the offspring attack the mammal. If I have a good immune system the parasites are still going to attack me and slowly bring me down and I do not believe that my immune system has anything to do with it. The Immune system I understand helps fight bacteria and virus that are inside of the body.
If anybody smarter than me can help me understand this please explain

So my real question is does a fishes immune system really have anything to do with surviving Ick?
yes, you have certain white blood cells called eosinophils, which fight parasites.
 
BRS

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I am fore sure no expert here but I have to ask. Sometime I see people refer to a fishes immune system when talking about success with Ick or Velvet. I really do not see the connection. Ick and velvet are parasite just like a tick or flea would be to a mammal I believe maybe this is where I an wrong and would like to better understand. So if you put a mammal say dog , cat or person in a room with ticks or fleas the parasite attaches to the mammal gets nutrients reproduces and then the offspring attack the mammal. If I have a good immune system the parasites are still going to attack me and slowly bring me down and I do not believe that my immune system has anything to do with it. The Immune system I understand helps fight bacteria and virus that are inside of the body.
If anybody smarter than me can help me understand this please explain

So my real question is does a fishes immune system really have anything to do with surviving Ick?
I am kinda with you on the confusion around immunity to parasites. I guess I think of it more with respect to immunity from SECONDARY infections caused by the weakened respiratory systems that the parasite (ich) can cause. A parasite that inflicts 100% mortality does not seem to me to be very self sustaining.

Intuitively, I also cling to the thinking that every parasite has a predator(s) and or a few limiting factors. A diverse, mature biome should propagate predators/competition for some form of the parasite, limiting their populations. This I believe I have read from members like @Paul B and @jda.

If I have incorrectly credited them, I apologize, but otherwise maybe they can pitch in here.
 
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Jon!

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Again, I'm in no way proposing this is ideal. But everything has to be considered in light of the alternatives.

And relative to the other anti ich/velvet actions i've taken over the years this seems an alternative worth discussing.

I've had pretty poor success in getting fish thru the 10-20-30 or whatever day quarantine protocols, despite following best practices read on r2r. This is to say nothing of the effort, disruption, expense, space etc required to follow various protocols - all of which i'd be happy to do if i had more confidence in their success.

A friend once told me that a fat fish is a happy fish. Fingers crosssed.
 

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I don't QT or treat for these diseases... mostly. I have mature tanks with lots of microfauna. Anything that drops off of the fish that hits the rocks or sand can be eaten by a myriad of creatures looking for a meal. While I have no illusions that this is eradication, it works and has for decades. I also know that I am not going to QT every snail, macro algae, urchin (impossible, IMO), etc. so something is going to find it's way into my tank. I do have another tank with a welcoming host (nice fish that show them how to eat and come up to the top when I am there with food), to get fish non-skittish and eating well and then in they go once they are eating flake, pellet and mysis with a gusto.

If I get large angels, I do dip them for flukes if they came from LA wholesaler.

The current trend of sterile tanks with dry/dead rock and/or/ bare bottom are perfect breeding places for ich and velvet, yet nobody mentions this when they are selling you dry rock and listing the BS benefits like being pest free or the like. IMO, a 10-20 pound order of some sort of real ocean live rock from either the Gulf or Pacific, a small sand bed and a few months of time is the best thing that you can do for fish. You might get an apitasia that you have to deal with, but you are going to get those anyway and it is a lot less painful than ich, velvet, diatoms or dinos for a few years.

To each their own, but this works for me and used to work for all kinds of people in past generations/styles of reef keeping. A decade ago, the advice was to wait for 6 months for your tank to mature before you tried that hard fish... this is when the tank is ready to chow down on some ich tomonts.

I know that this is long, but I just got a group of 7 anthias that was shipped on accident. All had fin rot and a few spots on them, by they needed to get out of that LFS and they were a deal. They went into one of my observation tanks with an angelfish that was already eating well along with a Fowerli Tang and Blue Throat Trigger. The anthias also had some fin rot. It has been a little more than a week and all are eating well, the spots are gone and the fins have arrested the rot and are starting to heal. It will be a few more weeks before the fins are 100% again, so this batch will have to wait, but they are eating mysis, capelin roe and some are eating pellets and flake. The angel and tang are eating everything including flake. I did not fear for one minute that my prized Chrysurus Angelfish was in peril because of these fish with spots.

If anybody cares, I could post more on this because there are some other details that matter like maintaining a quality reef tank for those microfauna (they are sensitive to N and P), etc., but I will hold back for now since few seem to even care anymore.
 

jda

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BTW - what I wrote about above is not "doing nothing." I keep the sand, real live rock, nitrates lower, phosphates lower, etc. to keep the most diverse tank that I can have. If you stare at my rocks or sand for long, you will see countless pods, mini brittle stars, mini things in shells, all kinds of worms, etc. - every inch has life on it. I also keep lots of macro sized rock and sand hunters like crabs and shrimp. I have to work hard to keep the tank this way and part of the reason is healthy fish. As an aside, the corals really love this too. All of this is on purpose and takes a little bit of work from time to time.

I heard somebody at a show in the 1990s, maybe Dr Ron?, but I forget so don't quote me on that, talking about how diverse microfauna was the most effective disease management tool at our disposal and it stuck with me. Some of the talk is that while full out QT might be better for some fish, he knew that too few would do it and that some fish are just not good candidates for it. It has saddened me a bit to see reef tanks be less and less diverse and almost get to where a bottle of bacteria is now the gold standard poured into a tank with decorations. Nearly everybody with a sterile tank gets dinos/diatoms, hair algae, ich, velvet, etc. all to perhaps save a 1 in 100 chance of getting a mantis shirmp that are super easy to get rid of in like 5 minutes or a few aiptasia that most get anyway?
 

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I have had Ich in my RS 750xxl for about a year... i added a strong UV light, treated all fish with MetroPlex and only lost 1. When I add new fish i also treat them with MetroPlex as i'm sure ich is still present but my other fish (Brown Tang, Foxface, Horned Cowfish, 2 x yellow coris wrasse, swallowtail angelfish, squareback anthias and diamond goby) are all fine. No need for the nuclear option of going fallow for 76 days - that would really suck and not sure why anyone would do that when you can manage ich without needing to go to the mattresses
 
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