It’s week two of our fishes’ copper treatment in the hospital tank, and I am happy to report that they are both doing great. The coral beauty never showed visible signs of ich, and it is eating and active. The tomato clown was pretty sick when we moved it to the hospital tank — it had lots of white spots on its body and eyes, and it wasn’t eating much (it’s usually a total piggy at feeding time). Now, it is 100 percent clear — no spots, and its appetite is good and it’s swimming around the tank.
Keeping the tank hospitable has been quite the challenge. It wasn’t properly cycled before we moved the fish in (we didn’t have time), so we’ve been battling ammonia. I figured out a routine that worked. We do a 25 percent water change every other day. With a bit of testing, I figured out how much copper medicine to add to the new saltwater to keep the levels consistent in the tank. I’ve also been rinsing out the filter media every other day in saltwater (to remove waste while preserving the good bacteria).
In a few days, the fish will have completed their two-week treatment, and I can add the carbon back to the filter, which should help a little. At that point, I plan on testing the ammonia levels and changing out the water as frequently as necessary. Since I won’t have to worry about calculating how much copper medicine to add back to the tank during a water change, I can do larger and more frequent water changes if needed.
I’m hoping that the tank will start to stabilize in the next few weeks. This will be the fishes’ home for the next eight weeks, and large water changes every other day are a bit of a hassle. I feel like I am constantly mixing up saltwater, heating saltwater, siphoning saltwater, holding buckets of saltwater over my head (heavy buckets!) and testing for ammonia and copper levels.
Isn’t it amazing what we will do for a few fish? (They are worth the work!)