Copper treatment

Users who are viewing this thread

Humblefish

Dr. Fish
Location
Wandering Nomad
Country flag
Copper treatment (updated 6-29-22)

What It TreatsMarine Ich (Cryptocaryon irritans) and Marine Velvet Disease (Amyloodinium ocellatum). There is some anecdotal evidence that copper will suppress symptoms of Brooklynella hostilis and Uronema marinum; however it is unlikely to completely eradicate either.

How To Treat First, it is important to know what type of copper you are using. Below is a list of the most commonly available copper products, their therapeutic level and alternative copper test kit(s) that can be used. With all copper products, it is best to test using the Hanna High Range Copper Colorimeter HI702.
  • Copper sulfate (0.20 ppm): Seachem or Salifert copper test kit
  • Cuprion (0.20 ppm): Seachem or Salifert copper test kit
  • Cupramine (0.5 ppm): Seachem or Salifert copper test kit
  • Coppersafe (2.0 ppm): No suitable alternative - Only use the Hanna checker
  • Copper Power* (2.5 ppm): No suitable alternative - Only use the Hanna checker
* Copper Power Dosing Calculators: calconic.com OR fishotel.com

Starting Point - Copper sulfate, Cuprion and Cupramine should all ideally be ramped up slowly, taking several days to reach therapeutic level. (Obviously, this is not always practical when treating an active outbreak of Ich or Velvet.) However, with chelated copper (Coppersafe or Copper Power) you are able to drop most fish straight into 2.0 ppm. (y) I still recommend taking 48-72 hours to reach 2.5ppm when using Copper Power.

There is no "ramping down" period that is necessary with copper treatment. Meaning, a fish can go from full therapeutic to zero copper without experiencing any issues.

Treatment timeframes - The first thing you need to know is that the "copper clock" does not start until you have reached a therapeutic level (see above). It is also important to treat at "reef temperatures" (77-80F) so the lifecycle of the parasites proceeds as expected. The traditional way of using copper is 30 days at a therapeutic level in a bare bottom QT. A therapeutic level must be maintained at all times during the 30 days, so testing often is important. If the level drops even slightly out of range, then the 30 day clock restarts. One reason your copper level may drop unexpectedly is if you are treating in a tank with rock or other material which absorbs copper. Conversely, if you exceed the therapeutic range you risk killing the fish. At the end of 30 days, remove all copper via water changes, Cuprisorb, Polyfilter, etc. and observe the fish for 2-4 weeks to ensure treatment was successful.

An alternative way to use copper is to treat for just 2 weeks and then transfer the fish to a different observation tank. However, adhering to these "rules" is very important if you wish to try this:
  1. Copper level must be at FULL THERAPEUTIC (2.5 ppm if using Copper Power) for the entire 14 days (very important).
  2. QT water temp should stay consistently between 77-80F.
  3. Nothing from the QT can be reused to setup the observation tank. Transfer just the fish, nothing else!
  4. The two tanks should be at least 10 feet apart, to avoid any possibility of aerosol transmission. Also be careful to avoid cross contamination via wet hands, feeding apparatus, anything wet really…
  5. Do not lower the copper level prior to transferring. The observation tank should be copper free, so you can observe to ensure treatment was successful. You can, however, treat with other medications (e.g. Prazipro if you need to deworm) during observation.
The above strategy works because after 14 days any ich or velvet trophonts should have dropped off the fish, provided you treated with a) Therapeutic copper the entire time b) At "reef temperatures" (77-80F). The presence of therapeutic copper in the water shields your fish from reinfection from any unhatched tomonts (which release free swimmers). It’s these unhatched tomonts you are transferring your fish away from by utilizing this method. Therefore, understand that the QT is still possibly contaminated with ich and/or velvet tomonts even after all the fish have been transferred out. Which is why sterilizing your QT in-between batches of fish is always a good idea.

Pros – Readily available.

Cons/Side Effects – Appetite suppression and lethargy are common side effects. If a fish's appetite lessens, that is usually OK. However, when a fish stops eating completely, perform water changes (to lower the copper level) until he resumes eating. If this happens a second time after you raise the copper level back up, this means that you’ve likely encountered a “copper sensitive” fish and an alternative treatment should be used instead. (Note: Anytime you lower the copper level below therapeutic, the 30 day treatment clock begins anew once the copper is raised back up.)

More info: Use of Copper in Marine Aquaculture and Aquarium Systems

Copper treatment video:

 
Last edited:

00Dan

Active member
Subtherapeutic copper at the wholesale facilities was bound to create superbugs eventually. I get the distinct impression however that nothing will change until it starts to effect more than just hobbyists.
 

Wyster

Well-known member
Country flag
I have two tanks but cannot move it 10ft away, I assume that if I break the qt down drain and put the fish in a container while I set the OT up this would not lead to any chnace of contamination?
 

Wyster

Well-known member
Country flag
You would need to be very careful. How much space do you have between them??
Less then 6inches when up and running, but I can store tank and equipment away from the other one when not in use, then have the QT stripped and awy before moving the other one in or will this be a risk still? Being in the UK we do not have any air heating or AC units so i can eliminte suction but not transfer by air.
 

Wyster

Well-known member
Country flag
Less then 6inches when up and running, but I can store tank and equipment away from the other one when not in use, then have the QT stripped and awy before moving the other one in or will this be a risk still? Being in the UK we do not have any air heating or AC units so i can eliminte suction but not transfer by air.

Right solved my own problem so I can now get them 10 feet away from each other, re arrange the garage a bit and get my brother to build me two seperate frames.
 

Humblefish

Dr. Fish
Thread starter
Location
Wandering Nomad
Country flag
Right solved my own problem so I can now get them 10 feet away from each other, re arrange the garage a bit and get my brother to build me two seperate frames.

BigThumbsUp.gif
 

Humblefish

Dr. Fish
Thread starter
Location
Wandering Nomad
Country flag
Sticky has been updated with this information:

** If you do not feel comfortable treating with chelated copper @ 2.5 ppm (or if the fish is a known copper sensitive species), I recommend treating with chelated copper @ 2.0 ppm. This is still therapeutic, but may not be sufficient for copper-resistant parasites, so observe the fish for at least 30 days afterwards (in a non-medicated QT) to ensure copper treatment was successful. **
 

Wyster

Well-known member
Country flag
Sticky has been updated with this information:

** If you do not feel comfortable treating with chelated copper @ 2.5 ppm (or if the fish is a known copper sensitive species), I recommend treating with chelated copper @ 2.0 ppm. This is still therapeutic, but may not be sufficient for copper-resistant parasites, so observe the fish for at least 30 days afterwards (in a non-medicated QT) to ensure copper treatment was successful. **

Is this applicable for Coppersafe to ?
 

Wyster

Well-known member
Country flag
Yes, any form of chelated copper. Coppersafe and Copper Power being the most commonly available brands (at least here in the US).

For Cupramine, I would treat @ 0.5ppm regardless.
Thanks for that as Im sure read somewhere Coppersafe was only safe up to 2.0ppm, I have both Copper Power and Coppersafe and running low on Copper Power till I'm back to Nigeria on the 19th so I have a pair of Bluethroats that will have to be coppersafed
 

Humblefish

Dr. Fish
Thread starter
Location
Wandering Nomad
Country flag
Anyone good at math? I use a water change system for my qt tanks at work. I'm wondering if I change out a qt tanks water 25% change with 2.5ppm copper how much that will raise the concentration. I know that the rate of increase will diminish with every water change. I start my qt tanks out at 1ppm so I think any increase won't be significantly higher than .4ppm
The schedule of water change, testing and dosing would follow:
Day 1: dose copper
Day 2: water change with copper water @ 2.5ppm, test for increase. Dose additional copper to attain .25-.33ppm increase.
Day 3: Test, dose .25ppm-.33ppm
Day 4: water change with copper water @ 2.5ppm, test for increase. Dose additional copper to attain .25-.33ppm increase.
Day 5: Test, dose .25ppm-.33ppm
Day 6: water change with copper water @ 2.5ppm, test for increase. Dose additional copper to attain .25-.33ppm increase.

repeat until 2.5ppm
 
@Vincelovesfish I'm curious as to why you don't start your QT tanks out @ 2.0 ppm?
I guess I am anxious about dropping fish straight in at that concentration. Also because I am not the only one handling qts. If I am not there the next day when someone else increases it to 2.25 I cannot be there to monitor any copper sensitive species. 1ppm was a happy medium for me in my mind that of we have anything sensitive they'll have a better chance when ramping up slower.

I can certainly be convinced and change that procedure. I know the benefits are faster qt, suppressing velvet qucikly and that most fish handle it just fine. I worry about the other fish that can't.
 
Top