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How to treat marine fish with a dip

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  • Graeme
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So I looked all over, and could not find anywhere that posted simple instructions on how to treat marine fish for various reasons with a 'dip'.

There are numerous chemicals and medicines that can be added to dips, each for specific reasons, and each with it's own pros and cons.  What I would say is, unless you have identified something that needs a specific medicine, then stick to one of the two simple methods below.

Here's the two methods I know of that will treat (or at least provide some relief from) the vast majority of parasite.

NB: If you suspect your fish has white spot, then a dip will help provide some relief, but will NOT CURE it.  Please go and read this: How to cure Marine White Spot, Ich, Cryptocaryon Irritans - Marine Fish - Marine Fish Diseases - ReefBase Marine Fish & Reef Keeping Forum

Fresh water dip
These are the key points:
  • Make sure the temperature of the dip and the tank matches
  • Make sure the pH of the of the dip and the tank matches
  • Dont use tap water, as the chlorine and other chemicals will harm your fish
Temperature shock and pH shock can kill fish quickly.  You'll find a lot of forum posts saying not to worry about pH, but if you ask the experts (wet web media for instance), they confirm pH matching is vital!

How do I do it?
Put some RODI in a bag and float it, or in a bucket and heat and aerate it.  An aerated bucket is better, as you don't risk the fish jumping out, spilling the dip into the tank, the fish has more oxygen available (reducing stress), and you have easier access to drop the fish in, get it out, etc. 

Next rasie the pH using some baking soda - Sodium bicarbonate (not the same as baking powder).  It doesn't take a lot for a small volume of water.  Try half a levelled teaspoon to start with.  Test the water, then add some more until you match the pH of your tank water.  You shouldn't need more than a 2-3 of teaspoons for a bag of water (often a lot less).

If you're using the bucket method, remove the heater when you add the fish, to stop the risk of it burning itself. 

Now add the fish, and leave it there for 10 mins.  It's quite likely to go nuts a bit, then flop over on its side and play dead...that's normal.  Leave it there.

When the 10mins is up, return it to the tank.  It's likely to be exhausted from the experience, so expect it to take a while (24hrs) before it's acting normal again.

Observe closely over the next couple of days, then repeat if needed.

Iodine dip
Take some tank water, add a few drops of iodine (this is what I use: Brightwell Lugols Solution 30ml - Advanced Reef Aquarium Hobbyists | eBay ) and drop the fish in for 10 mins. 
Return to the tank.

The idea of the iodine dip, is that iodine will kill most inverts, so any parasites that are not buried under the skin, or deep in the mucus should let go, die, etc.

Obviously, don't do this with snails, crabs, shrimps, liverock, etc.

You can combine both methods, dipping the fish in one bag, then the next time the other.  I wouldn't do one after the other due to the stress.
Last Edit: Dec 5, 2014 3:09:59 pm by HK_Fuey



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