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Ich prevention

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I have a disease free Biocube 32 gal freshwater setup.


 Can someone or hopefully many of you weigh in on my idea to use Cupramine as a prophylaxis to prevent ich entering my aquarium along with a new arrival.


I understand well the ich cycle and feel there can be no downside to treating for ich as I introduce new fish. After the treatment period I would add activated carbon to filter to remove the copper.


If you believe this is not a good idea please tell me why and please be specific.


Thank You

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Not a bad approach to ich prevention to your display tank. In broad brush strokes, it sounds like you've followed Humble Fish's approach to ich.


As long as you have your QT cycled and ready to accept a fish, be very sure of your copper dosing regimen. Understand that ich isn't the only thing that can plague a fish; however it is the most common ailment we deal with.


I'm not going into too many specifics, but this is the article I am referring to.

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5 hours ago, TalonlV said:

I have a disease free Biocube 32 gal freshwater setup.

Are you wanting to QT freshwater or saltwater fish? (I'm confused.)


Also, are you talking about using a separate QT to treat, or dosing Cupramine directly into your DT?


I'm probably overthinking this, but I figure a little clarification can't hurt... 😉

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On 4/10/2020 at 4:21 PM, TalonlV said:

weigh in on my idea to use Cupramine as a prophylaxis to prevent ich entering my aquarium along with a new arrival

On 4/10/2020 at 9:46 PM, Humblefish said:

Are you wanting to QT freshwater or saltwater fish? (I'm confused.)

Me too, but I suspect the question is about medicating a marine display tank.  (Could be wrong, we'll know soon.)




In general prophylaxis isn't a good idea unless you know the fish are (or are highly likely to be) compromised.  


The first thing that should stand out about that statement is the implication that you're getting fish from a source you know to be compromised.




No, seriously.  Don't do that.


Buying fish from vendors that trade in sub-quality animals only encourages them to order more fish, which in turn will also be compromised.  


Bad mojo for you and for the hobby to encourage this kind of animal trade, IMO.


If you don't currently have experience selecting healthy fish, then you should be moving VERY SLOWLY though this part of the hobby.  PATIENCE.  The more you watch fish in the stores the more you'll get familiar with them.  The more familiar you are, the easier you'll be able to tell if something is "off" with any given fish.   If you can watch a fish for a week or two straight and you only see stable or improving behavior patterns, you can know with a high degree of certainty that it's fine.  (That's no mean feat since most stores turn over their inventory more quickly than that - you'll "miss out" on a lot of fish.  Be patient and hold to your standards on this until you're WAY better at knowing what to look for.  Reading helps a lot too.  Start with Marine Aquarium Handbook Beginner to Breeder IMO.)



You should be able to use your local fish stores as your quarantine.


Don't take our word for it we don't know about your local stores.   Use your judgement and find out.


But if you have to buy your fish sight-unseen for some reason (ie online shopping) or your source of fish is just otherwise compromised then you're going to be dealing with animals of predictably lower quality...even if it's only due to the stress they acquire during shipping, which would be very optimistic.  A best case scenario for "compromised".


One thing to keep in mind is that not all compromised fish are pathogen-related; not all pathogen cases will be "outbreaks".  


Also, do not look for a one-size-fits-all approach here – you and your fish are likely to suffer for it if you do.


As for gear, you'll need an observation tank, and potentially a treatment tank to keep things simpler if you do actually have to treat one or more fish.


The observation tank should be set up like a good, basic fish-only tank, with lots of naturalistic decorations to make the fish feel homey.  The is necessary because the fish could be living in there potentially for months.  If it's not set up well, the tank itself will become a stress to the fish.


The treatment tank (or "hospital tank") should be set up like you see most folks do their "qarantine tank"...it should be spartan, with just enough cover to keep the fish from freaking out during the period of the treatment....usually not that long, which is why it does not require an elaborate setup.



A common good example of prophylaxis is the application of antibiotics after rheumatic fever in order to prevent a common infection from occurring afterward.   It's a known situation where infection is likely to occur based on two important things:  1) a large scientific record and 2) a concrete patient history that includes a specifically identified and treated pathogen that indicates this response.


Guessing (the opposite of scientific predictability) that fish which you don't even have yet will be sick enough to treat is dangerous to your fish.  There's no good reason for you to assume anything in your case....(but in a case like rheumatic fever we are not making assumptions or guessing). 



The good folks at Merriam Webster say this about the term "magic bullet" in definition #1:


1: a substance or therapy capable of destroying pathogens (such as bacteria or cancer cells) or providing an effective remedy for a disease or condition without deleterious side effects

Unless you're playing Mario Cart....


There is no magic bullet.


Copper is not a magic bullet and no medication should be treated as one.  


Copper should not be used lightly as it's very capable of turning a healthy fish into a marginal one, or a marginal fish into a sick one.


The same goes, more or less, for any medication.  👍


Remember the purpose of a medication in this role:  


To kill.  Maximum toxicity but short of killing the host.  


And remember with medications that it's always a compromise between causing damage to the host and (hopefully) causing WAY MORE DAMAGE to the infectious agent.  But there will be damage in both directions.


Suggested reading from our most-tropical Regional Aquaculture Center in the US:

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