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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Far East Super Ick

By David Lass

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During the past few years, the bacteria, protozoa and parasites that cause fish diseases have been doing a little “genetic modification” of their own--meaning that they have become somewhat/very resistant to the standard treatments used in the industry. Tetracycline, which has probably been the most-used antibiotic in the business, is in some cases not as effective as it has been in the past. One of the biggest problems is that the ick protozoan has developed a strain that is very resistant to standard treatments. I was first introduced to the ick problem by my friend Brian Aukes of National Fish Pharmaceuticals. I told Brian I was ready to give up on clown loaches, as more than half the time they would come down with ick that I was not able to cure, and I would lose the entire tank. Brian said there was a new strain of ick, which he called “Far East Super Ick” which was what he thought my problem was. The Far East Super Ick does not respond to the two commonly used treatments for ick--QuickCure (formalin and malachite green) and copper.

Brian sold me some quinine sulfate, and he guaranteed this would solve the problem of the ick protozoa that wouldn’t give up. It worked. Ever since I have been using quinine on clown loaches (and other loaches, and tricolor sharks), I have cut my losses just about to zero. When the clown loaches first come in, I give them one treatment of quinine sulfate. After two days, I do a partial water change and do another treatment.

For me, that is all that is needed. If you are having problems with what look like perfectly healthy fish coming from your suppliers, and breaking down with ick within a day or two, I would bet that you have “Far East Super Ick” in your tank(s). Try treating with quinine.

Brian’s company is the only place I know of, so far, to get quinine sulfate for aquarium use. Visit his website.

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