Mr. Saltwater Tank

Terrible Advice Tuesdays (T.A.Tues) Expect That Tang To Get Ich

Terrible Advice Tuesdays (T.A.Tues): You can expect a tang to get ich (cryptocaryon irritans).

The rest of the story: Expecting a fish to get a disease is the equivalent of saying, “Nothing I can do, it is going to happen anyways”, and sitting around waiting for the disease to show up. What a horrible idea.

I certainly won’t deny that tangs are more prone to ich than other types of fish. And just because a fish is prone to a disease, that doesn’t mean you should expect your fish to get a disease.

Why? There’s a couple of reasons:

  1. If a fish doesn’t have a disease, and isn’t exposed to a disease, then the disease can’t show up out of thin air. An ich-free tang that is kept in an ich-free system can’t suddenly come down with ich. (And yes, the idea that every tank has it in it is also terrible advice)
  2. Diseases, and certainly ich, can be prevented with correct quarantine procedures. Ich can be prevented and shouldn’t be expected.

Finally, if you really expect tangs to get ich, then you’d be crazy not to quarantine them and strongly consider prophylactic treating them as well. (Note: As explained in my quarantine guide, I’m not a proponent of putting a fish through a cocktail of medications in an attempt to prophylactic treat against every disease.)

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Comments for this article (13)

  • Roger says:

    I have to agree with Mike , UG filters were and are IMO a good way to filter water and whats with “modern-day finer sands” we had the “finer sands” back in the day too,,,,they are defiantly just not for salt water is all,, but I would still use UG filters for some fresh water applications,,,,,but to the topic I would NOT EVER think they was good for ICH cure ,,,,,

  • Matt says:

    Great bit of info to be shared and another failed ich treatment put to bed hopefully 🙂

    It has to be said though, JasPR’s epic verbal meanderings stole the show for me today… 😀 Sorry Mark 😉

  • John says:

    I hope there is a next generation and that the younger ones do not go off in the cloud and forgot about hands on hobbies.

  • Loni says:

    I agree with Mark. No quick fix is the best fix. Quarantine!!! My husband and I have been doing this for about 3 years now, which I still consider ourselves new because we are always learning. That I think is the most fun part! But ich takes the fun out of everything. We recently upgraded to a 220 gal, and I got overly confidant and added a few too many fish too fast, seriously just 4 fish over a 6 mo time span which I thought would be fine for a large tank, considering we only had about 5 small fish to begin with! But I was so wrong. We ended up with an ich outbreak, and didn’t get a hold of it in time and eventually lost 5 fish. Devastating. We treated for a month, got a uv sterilizer, and now it’s on the up and up. Live and learn..

  • Matt says:

    seems so logical(and otherwise irresponsible ) to not quarantine! I purchased Marks book(not a marketing plug) and have used the steps outlined since setting up my new 260 reef. While it tested my patience not having the fish in the main tank right away I know I eliminated the risk of adding a purple and yellow tang, that did have ich, into an otherwise healthy population of fish. I live by the quarantine process now. It kills me to see the animal shows on discovery dumping floating bags of fish directly into their main tanks-WHAT ARE THEY THINKING!!!


  • Russell moreau says:

    I had a tang that caught ick an died an a black an white clown fish that had it an saved it by treating it in quarantine tank.Now I quarantine every fish.good advice mark

  • nicholas says:

    Any one who thinks that ich is in every tank is nuts. Marine velvit has a similar life cycle to ich, but is far more deadly. If ich was in every tank, then why can’t velvit be in every tank. If that was the case, then there would be no reef keeping hobby for any one.

  • Branden says:

    Well I just learned the hard was and added my last fish a blue throat trigger to my reef no qt. and bang ick showed up for the very first time in 5 years of runing the tank. And then I took the whole reef apart to get every fish out and treat with copper now all I have left is a golden eel every fish gone. Could have been velevet. So now I’m going to leave the reef tank fallow. For 10 week to eradicate anything that was introduced. Now I will qt everything. I hope 10 weeks is long enough. Tank is loaded with sps and no other way of dealing with it I feel.

  • sandy says:

    My regal tang got ich after three months in my tank so I added cleaner wrasse in my tank problem solved

  • Sandy…the same advice I talk about in the quick tip here goes for cleaner wrasses as well

  • Will says:

    Freshwater ich is a nasty thing, usually killing everything in its path unless treated. I have not had the same experience with crypto. It tends to only plague stressed/unhealthy individuals, and healthy individuals do not (visually, anyway) seem to become a host for the next cycle.

    Do I think it live naturally in every reef tank? No, but I think its more common than people think. I also don’t think its “crazy” to think it could be in every tank. We really don’t know a ton about it; we hardly even call it by the correct name. I also tend to think we overreact when we see it, tearing our tanks apart to rid it, and using nasty treatments on our fish, which further stresses them out. Trying to cram in too many fish without proper hiding places, in combination with poor husbandry and the presence of crypto is a recipe for disaster. However, I’ve had fish with crypto in my tank (telling me the parasite exists in it), that recover and the parasite didn’t return as expected by its lifecycle (again, visually). The 2 fish in my system that have had it, have never shown signs of a second infection. I understand its possible the infection occurs without any visual cue.

    Varied diet and proper husbandry goes a long way in keeping healthy fish.

    QT is still the best way to go, but once crypto is in the system, I don’t think its worth the time/money/effort to put it through a fallow period unless you’re planning on keeping some very difficult/finicky fish.

  • Anthony Towsley says:

    Just an FYI…

    National Fish Pharmaceuticals “Crypto-Pro” is a miracle for ICH (Freshwater and Marine).

    Kinda hard to find it tho and I had to order it directly from the company’s website last time. It’s pure quinine (anti-protozoan). I would only treat in a quarantine tank for marine as some LPS (Euphyillia for instance) reacted very very poorly to it and bleached out. I’ve treated and cleared ICH in large freshwater systems with a single treatment (per seller’s advice). As far as Fish they don’t even seem to know it’s in the water. No signs of stress that I observed other than the ones with ICH (I.E. freshwater loaches).


  • steve says:

    Just what Mark said, I have been saying as well. Ich does not just magically appear. All those who say it just left the tank, or that you never quarantine, you’ll get hit one day.

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