Marine ich disease is caused by a single-celled organism scientifically known as Cryptocaryon irritans. Many aquarists also know this disease as white spot or crypt. Marine white spot disease also has a fresh water cousin known also referred to as Ick. The two diseases are not related as they are caused by completely different organisms although the symptoms are very similar. This article will show you how to get rid of marine ich safely and without causing harm to your other reef inhabitants. But first we need to know what Ich really is, before we can treat it.
What Is Marine Ich?
One of the major differences is that Cryptocaryon irritans, (Marine Ich) spends much longer in the dormant stage. Both forms of the disease are highly contagious and normally they both get introduced to the tank by adding already infected material to the ecosystem.
The organism goes through 4 distinct life cycles. Most fish keepers will only notice the disease during the feeding (Trophont) stage when they feed of the fish’s tissue, skin and gills. The maturity rate of salt water ich is directly tied in with the water temperature. In warmer environments they tend to mature a lot faster. The maturity rate can range anywhere between 3 to 8 days on the outside.
This is why some fish enthusiasts see raising the water temperature as an option to get rid of ich. Raising the water temperature as a counter measure however is like playing Russian Roulette with your already stressed out fish, and that’s not even taking into account the other reef inhabitants.
After they mature they will let go of the host and drop to the bottom of the tank where they will float along the bottom of the tank looking for a safe place to reproduce (Protomont stage). Once the organisms have found and attached themselves to a safe place they will start forming into an encyst (they form a shell) and enter the Tomont stage.
During the tomont or reproduction stage it can divide up to ten times where one cell organism splits into 2 and 2 organisms in to 4, 4 split up into 8 etc. etc. As you can see this rapid reproduction is a real threat to your fish.
After the tomont stage, the tomites or Theronts (immature organisms) get release from the enclosing shell and disperse throughout the tank. The tomites are the free swimming “offspring”. At this point they will start attacking your fish once again. Only this time there are many more of them than the first time around. After they “hatch” they have a 24 hour window of opportunity to find a host. Any longer than that and they die. As soon as they find a host, they will enter the feeding (trophont) cycle all over again.
Reef Safe Ich Treatment
This life cycle explains why aquarists sometimes think they’ve gotten rid of Ick only to see it come back after a few days. Many new reef keepers treat the tank when the protozoa are at the feeding (Trophont) stage and stop treatment when the visible signs of infection are gone. To completely eliminate ich No Sick Fish recommends following through with the treatment until the disease is completely eradicated from your tank. Failure to follow though will increase your chances of your tank getting re-infected.
Copper, formalin and quinine based solutions have been used to treat tanks against ich, but the problem with these products is that they will also kill most other reef inhabitants. These solutions will kill your invertebrates, live rock and sand and even the natural beneficial bacteria that break down waste.
No Sick Fish has the only reef safe ich treatment that can be applied directly to the infected aquarium without causing harm to other marine life in the tank. Get our No Sick Fish Ich Treatment today and get your tank back in shape.