During the past few years, the bacteria, protozoa and parasites that cause aquarium fish diseases have been doing a little “genetic modification” of their own. This means that they have become variably resistant to the standard treatments used in the aquatics industry. Tetracycline, which has probably been the most-used antibiotic in the aquarium fish industry, is in some cases not as effective as it has been in the past. One of the biggest problems is that the Ich protozoan has developed a strain that is very resistant to standard treatments.
I was first introduced to the new Ich 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 Ich that I was not able to cure, and I would lose the entire tank of fish. Brian said there was a new strain of Ich, which he labeled “Far East Super Ich,” which was what he thought my problem was. The Far East Super Ich does not respond to the two commonly used treatments for Ich – QuichCure (formalin and malachite green) and copper.
Brian sold me some quinine sulfate, and he guaranteed this would solve the problem of the Ich protozoa that wouldn’t give up. It worked. Ever since I have been using quinine sulfate on clown loaches (and other loaches, and tricolor sharks), and have cut my losses to just about 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, this 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 Ich within a day or two, I would bet that you have Far East Super Ich in your tank(s). Try treating with quinine sulfate.
Brian’s company is the only place I know of, so far, to get quinine sulfate for aquarium use. Visit his website here>>