Ask Aquariaman
Advice column all about aquariums by J. Hotelling
Subject: freshwater ick


We are new to the world of aquariums and fish and just bought a new 29 gal

aquarium. A week ago we put our first fish in (after a week of letting the tank and filter set). We put 3 zebra danios and 3 platies in the tank.

Yesterday we noticed one of the danios had a LOT of white spots. The store where we purchased everything gave us CopperSafe and told us to do a 50% water change. We have done that and now need to know how long should we use the CopperSafe? When is it safe to add new fish? Also we read someplace that adding non-iodized salt to the freshwater tank is good for the fish and helps keep the ick away - any truth to that? Any other treatment suggestions such as an antibiotic?

Thanks for the help.



“Ick” is one of the most common fish diseases. This was probably caused by

the stress of moving the fish, or a difference in water parameters between

the tank at the pet store and your tank.

Using salt is almost always a good idea for many types of disease

prevention. Don’t use too much, though. Perhaps 1 teaspoon/5g. of water or about five teaspoons for the 29 g (with substrate there is actually less

than 29 g in the tank.)

The CopperSafe is a good treatment because it will discolor your water.

Many treatments contain a form of Malachite Green, which is good, but

discolors the water terribly. This could be used in a hospital tank other

than your main tank. There are other forms of treatment out there, but try

sticking to your CopperSafe and using the salt. Follow directions carefully on the Copper Safe. Once the dosing period is over and the ick has cleared, then you can add other fish.

Make sure your tank is completely cycled before you fill the tank with

its’ allotted number of fish.

I wish you all the best with your new friends. May you enjoy the hobby for

years to come.



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