|Not, of course, implying you're the scum.|
I'm finishing this saga in case anyone who, like me, ends up with sick fish and in a desperate attempt to help them starts googling everything imaginable in an effort to save them. If this is you, then I hope something I've written has helped. I've finally, finally, finally (is that enough finallys I wonder....) have come down to the end. After six weeks, and 5 dead fish, I think it may be over (knock on wood).
I switched my Ich medication to a brand called Kordon Rid Ich Plus as I read on some fishy-forums that it was safe for Clown Loaches at a normal dosage. It is, so don't worry. I followed the instructions to the letter with a 25% water change and a full dose every 24 hours (yes, it's true) for three days (this is exclusive of the 5 weeks I was dosing the tank with another medication so I've been at it a while). After three days I realized, finally, that I wasn't actually facing Ich. Well, maybe initially I was, but Robert was getting skinnier and skinnier (no, not Skinny Disease) and I finally noticed a thin, white parasite attached to his head, trailing behind him.
|Yes, I too wonder how I could have missed the '...and other external parasites'|
External parasite alright, but too big to be Ich, and even though I watched him eat daily, he was staying dangerously thin. There were several expletives uttered, and I hustled off to the fish shop to get some new meds. Once I got home (with the new, all-purpose parasite medication) I double checked the Kordon bottle and noted that it treated several parasites besides Ich. Stupidly, I hadn't noticed this, just like I hadn't noticed the signs that would suggest it wasn't an Ich infestation (none of the other fish have been sick in all the time I've had them, for instance....other than the dead ones of course). The main clue was the 'ich' just wasn't falling off the fish. (Ich has a definite life cycle and will drop off the fish after a few days to breed in the substrate).
I decided to stick with Kordon's and dosed them again yesterday (with the requisite water change). So, to add up, that's 4 doses over 5 days (yes I skipped a day when I was despairing that it wasn't Ich and didn't know the Kordon treatment was for other parasites as well, and yes I'm dumb...or illiterate). Shortly after dosing the tank yesterday I thought Robert was dead. He was slumped in the corner of the aquarium, partially on the sand, partially on the glass, and his breathing was shallow. I was sad, but a part of me was thinking, thank god... once he's dead I can get on with re-building a healthy tank.
I left the room to get a drink so I could sit with him until he was gone (yes, terribly corny and sappy, and yes I know he's only a fish but I'm a big softie at heart). When I came back it was like a scene out of Pulp Fiction. Someone had plunged him with adrenaline and he was zooming around the tank. Not dead after all, and not, I was happy to note, a zombie intent on eating the brains of his tank mates (in case you are new to my blog I love zombies and always try and work them in when I can, so there's your explanation).
Today he is looking good. Not simply, 'not about to die', but actually looking good. He's put on a bit of weight (thanks to some strategically placed brine shrimp), the parasites are almost all gone, and he is swimming and exploring. Whew!
I'll still be treating the tank for a few days as I know he's not 100% yet. I note he is still flashing (rubbing against rocks and such) and did see the other loach (George) doing the same. After 6-weeks however I finally feel that the saga of Ich, or not Ich (whatever the hell it is) is coming to a close. I'm setting up my quarantine tank today (as the lack of one is how the fucking parasite got into my main tank in the first place) so I can, in a couple weeks, get some more loaches so my loach pack can once again be a pack.
The final damage (in Canadian dollars)? I dread to actually tally this up, but here goes:
4 Clown Loachs: 60.00
1 Bolivian Ram: 20.00
Rid Ich Med: 10.00
Kordon Rid Ich: 15.00
Other Meds: 25.00
New Loaches: 60.00-100.00 (depends on size)
Bolivian Ram: Hard to find and unable to replace at my location :(
Total: $190.00 - $230.00
Considering I have a spare tank that can easily be used for quarantine, this can either be considered a costly lesson in fish-keeping, or a fair fine for being stupid. You can decide.
Happy Friday Everyone!