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Ich, velvet, and other such diseases are a tough battle to fight & hard to watch the fishies suffer with it. However, you can save many fish by treating your fish early on.

As a preventative measure sporadically use treatment, such as Aquarisol. Or when introducing new fish, or plants, for a few days. The parasite can come from either by fish or plants.

A common treatment is by using aquarium salt and raising the temperature. I regularly use the salt - as mollies and guppies like the salt and do better in it. Some species do not tolerate salt and would need to research before adding to your aquarium. Some will only use aquarium salt and temperatures between 82-86 degrees.

The problem with raising to a higher temperature can mean that the fish will get more bacterial attacks. They have wounds from the ick and are prone to getting another infection easily. For instance, I had one female guppy secluded in breeder box that had just a clamped tail before bedtime - when I woke up - she was dead and her tail was completely gone down to the end of the spine.

I use Aquarisol as a preventative measure. When I noticed first signs of ich/velvet I used Methylene Blue for days and didn’t seem to help much. Then I’ve used Malachite Green in my fry tank at 1/2 dosage and seems to be helping.

However, in my tanks with sailfin mollies, I am using Copper, per advise from my LFS. Treat without carbon filter add meds, and then redose in 2 days. The active ingredient in copper is like a time-released capsule and is gradually released over several days. Leave meds in for 14 days, or per instructions. Copper cannot be used on snails and other marine life creatures. Consult your LFS for advise before usage.

I treat with raised temperature and aquarium salt, right off. Meds are only added later if no improvements are seen. 8 sailfin mollies in 1 tank are doing much better in 7 days, with added treatment of copper and are getting their energy back. The 2nd tank with mollies, the treatment was started too late and suffered a few losses, but 3 mollies appear to be getting better and eating. Guppy tank is suffering losses with the only added meds of Aquarisol, then later Methylene Blue. After filtering that out and many water changes, tried Malachite Green. Still is progressing and other infections are appearing. Now I’m trying copper and seems like some are doing a bit better, but expecting heavy losses of my breeders.

If you have any fry when you first see outbreak of ich in tank, move to a separate tank, as they cannot handle the meds that the adults can. And sometimes the adults can’t even handle the meds with all the stress and illness.

I feed them at a reduced level, as when they have a full-blown infestation they will not eat anyway. If you have babies keep feeding them 3 light meals a day... as they need energy to battle disease. After you see most food fall to the gravel, after a little while, it will be time to vacuum and then water changes.

I vacuum & change water after feeding, and them introduce any replacement meds, or replentish salt “after” feedings.

Here are steps to battle ich or other parasite diseases:

Vacuum Gravel:

It is necessary to remove some of the parasite cysts at the bottom of the aquarium. Left unchecked, the parasite invasion explodes when they hatch again (in increasing numbers).

Water Changes:

It is necessary to change water daily at 25% of the tank when disease is rampant. Also, when treating with meds without filteration, it gets out toxins in the water and free-swimming ich larva.

Aquarium Salt:

It helps produce the fish slime layer to keep parasites from easily attaching, it heals wounds and helps digestion.

Higher Temperature:

82-86 degrees - 84 being the normal range. It gets the parasites when they are free floaters (not attached as a host to the fish) and they don’t tolerate this and die.

Secondary water treatments can be used are:

Aquarisol, Malachite Green, Methylene Blue, Copper

(note: don’t treat with different meds in the tank at the same time)

Duration of treatment:

You will need to keep treating your fish after you see the last spot gone from your fish. However, it still may be residing in your substrate or free-swimming. Some say treat for 3-5 days longer, and others say for a complete 2 weeks. 1-2 weeks of additional treatment is recommended. Preventative treatments should be used sporadically, thereafter.

Articles on treatment of Ich: aid=2421 h=ichwhitespotdisease

Note: Before adding meds to a fry tank, or tank with plants, seek advise first from your LFS. Copper cannot be used on snails and some other marine-life. Consult your LFS for advise on copper before usage.

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment or give me a


  • Michelle: Glad to see you managed to get the post up :-)
  • guppylover: very helpful.
  • kosmos2006: This is a great article if you never had to deal with ich before. I wish I would have read this article when I started keeping fish. I learned the hard way. This is pretty close to the exact things I would do for ich. The only thing I would add to the secondary treatment is, if and only if the fish is in really bad condition do salt or medicine bath. The bath helps get some ich off the fish in a short amount of time. This also depends how much salt/medicine the fish can tolerate. Once again great article.
    One note: Garlic extract is good at preventing external parasites and it helps increase appetite in picky fish. I use it in all my tanks.

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