Mr. Saltwater Tank

Terrible Advice Tuesdays: Ich Is In The Water

Terrible Advice Tuesdays (T.A.Tues): There is no need to quarantine your fish because ich is in your tap water.

The rest of the story: Look out! Not only will tap water make you pregnant, it’s going to give your fish a parasite too! AAAAHHHH!!!

Clearly the clerk at the local fish store who dispensed this advice has zero clue about ich. Ich is a saltwater parasite. Put it in freshwater for a couple of minutes and it dies. In fact, one way to help relieve fish of some of the discomfort caused by ich to is give them a properly performed freshwater bath. (Warning: freshwater baths can be lethal if you don’t do them correctly. Full details on how to do them can be found in my quarantine guide).

Therefore, if ich dies in freshwater, it can’t possibly survive in tap water. It especially can’t survive long enough to make it through all the sanitation steps found in wastewater treatment plants, then hang out long enough in freshwater to reach your house to infect your fish.

Thanks Tim for passing this one on.


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Comments for this article (14)

  • Jon Harrison says:

    Bad advice like this is why I stopped going to the fish store in my town

  • Roger says:

    How do I get a response to my questions on your upcomming series?

  • Joe says:

    Lololol people never cesse to amaze me anymore lol

  • CJ says:

    Freshwater dips do nothing for cryptocaryon irritans. The parasite embeds much deeper into the fish’s skin than velvet or flukes, etc. I am actually surprised that you are saying this Mark. This is bad advice for reef keepers who are still learning the hobby. Based on this post, I have a feeling there will be many fish that are put through unnecessary treatments that cause more stress on the fish. Stressed fish can quickly equal dead fish. If a freshwater dip helps a sick fish, then it is not the ich that the FW dip is helping with, more likely velvet or flukes. In my opinion, if you can properly diagnose marine ich or any other marine disease, then you had better have hospital tank and the appropriate medications ready – and of course a 10 week fallow period if that fish made it into the display tank.

  • Greg says:

    Please forgive my ignorance but…Ich is a saltwater parasite? Ich dies in freshwater? Then what about Freshwater ich? I’m confused…

  • CJ…freshwater dips can provide temporary relief for a fish. They aren’t a cure, but they can cause the disease to dislodge from the host.

  • Roger…I sent you an email

  • Greg…Ich is a parasite and the freshwater version of ich is different than the saltwater version. This site is about saltwater tanks so I’m referring the saltwater version

  • Jason says:

    Hello Mark,
    I dealt with the Ich issue a couple of weeks ago and ended up loosing my fish to it . I know I am nowhere experienced enough to attempt a fresh water bath. What other treatments do you recommend to help cure Ich, other then raising the temperature?

  • David Rifkin says:

    Just wondering…… When I had freshwater tanks, sometimes Ich kill a few fish. So there must be a freshwater AND and a saltwater variety?

  • Victor says:

    Mark have you never hade freshwater fish? 2 of my 3 tanks are freshwater. And let me tell you there is a freshwater form of ich. Wich I like to to do a saltwater bath to help them. Same rules as saltwater bath. Am finding a lot of my saltwater troubles are simaler to something you find in freshwater. In short my freshwater now how gives me a head start on my salty problems.

    Having sead that. Ich my be a common problem. But in tap water. I think not.

  • Hans says:

    Quick question about ice. I have read in multiple publications that ice is “in” every fish. It is just when the fish becomes stressed that it becomes prominent and then causes a problem for the fish, and not so much a problem that exists in the water colum. I have also read in both fresh and marine books about dipping fish for parasite removal as a preventative measure, but not sure how much I like that due to increase stress on said fish.

    If you could comment on this I would appreciate it. I try to get most of my information from publications from marine biologist or people of simalar educational background. I find that most blog site are filled with self named experts.

  • victor says:

    in my last post I was having a bit of fun. There is a freshwater form of ich. But it is not going to be a problem in a freshwater bath or in dropping the salt levels to help treat marine ich.

  • Bozz says:

    there are both saltwater and freshwater ich lol.

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