DIY copper med

Humblefish

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For our friends in Canada, a DIY copper med:

Into 1 liter of RODI water add:

4 grams Copper(II) sulfate pentahydrate (CuSO4.5H2O)

AND

0.25 gram Citric acid
- the acid acts as a stabilizer to the copper in solution. Never substitute the citric acid with ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) since it will render the copper way more toxic. :eek:

Everything should dissolve nicely giving you a slightly bluish solution.

9.8 mL of this solution is necessary to bring 100 Liters (26.4172 US gallons) of tank water to 0.1 mg/L copper. Therapeutic range is ~ 0.15 to 0.25 mg/L, but I would try to stay below 0.20 for sensitive species. Can easily be tested using the Hanna High Range Copper Colorimeter (HI702). :)
 

Humblefish

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Copper sulfate pentahydrate is also listed here as a proper treatment for Marine Ich: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fa164

 

Humblefish

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North reef

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Thank you very much for this info, it has been most frustrating dealing with fish diseases since the recent changes.

Quick question though, is this an ionic copper solution or chelated? Reason I ask is I have three wrasses ( a carpenters fairy, a yellow coris and a blue stripe cleaner wrasse) who are currently undergoing QT after a near complete tank wipe out. Before I return them to the DT I put them thru your QT procedures (Metro and prazi) but have been waiting on copper till I found an appropriate medication. Is this solution going to be safe for them if I slowly increase the dose over a week? I have a Hanna checker for Cu levels.

Cheers,

North Reef.
 

Humblefish

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Quick question though, is this an ionic copper solution or chelated? Reason I ask is I have three wrasses ( a carpenters fairy, a yellow coris and a blue stripe cleaner wrasse) who are currently undergoing QT after a near complete tank wipe out. Before I return them to the DT I put them thru your QT procedures (Metro and prazi) but have been waiting on copper till I found an appropriate medication. Is this solution going to be safe for them if I slowly increase the dose over a week? I have a Hanna checker for Cu levels.

Copper sulfate is closer to ionic copper than chelated. It is "old school copper", which isn't used much anymore (except by wholesalers, public aquariums, research institutions, etc.) It is actually the safest form of copper to use. It just isn't very "hobbyist friendly" due to it's narrow therapeutic range.
 

mikeintoronto

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I’ve recently been using this copper solution to treat my fishes (obviously I’m in Canada). It was hard to maintain it at 0.15 to 0.2 in the beginning and I had to keep checking this post over and over again to make sure I was at the right therapeutic level. It’s also easy to overdose; just a couple drops can raise it about 0.05 in a 20 gallon tank.
I don’t know if this is true for other copper meds (since the therapeutic level is higher) but I experienced that the copper level dropped very quickly in the first few days in a new setup - I’m assuming it’s getting adsorbed to my sponge filter - but after that it stabilized. So I didn’t consider the treatment “started” until a day or two after therapeutic was reached, once it stabilized.
I just wanted to share that experience.
 

Humblefish

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Yes, it can take copper sulfate a few days to stabilize because the fish metabolizes it. I haven't used it in so long that I had forgotten about that part. A chemist friend of mine uses it exclusively to QT, and says he has much better success than with proprietary copper formulas. In fact, I'm pretty sure he is who shared the formula with me.
 

Kups

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How risky is putting fish through copper only and into DT? I'm in Canada too and just starting to stock a new DT. My biggest concern is introducing something that can wipe out the whole tank.
 

Humblefish

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How risky is putting fish through copper only and into DT? I'm in Canada too and just starting to stock a new DT. My biggest concern is introducing something that can wipe out the whole tank.

If dosed properly it should keep Ich & velvet out of your DT. But brook, uronema, flukes, turbellarians and bacterial diseases are not treatable with copper. So, I recommend using an observation tank for 2 weeks as a safeguard between your QT and DT.
 

Salmo Si

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Is there any you would recommend? I did find some that said ok for an aquarium.
No, I've never used any. The ones I've found for aquarium use appear to be designed to supplement copper for planted tanks, rather than treatment of protozoans. They are chelated to EDTA which is a strong chelating agent. This means that the reactivity of the copper is greatly reduced. You could try dosing as per Copper Power to 2ppm and find that it is not strong enough to be therapeutic. Or, perhaps, it's too strong and your fish are killed. I'm afraid that it might be a case of trial and error.
 

Salmo Si

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@Humblefish have you any idea where this recipe comes from? The ratio of citric acid to copper is very low in this recipe when compared with the one in Noga. I've found some other recipes online where the citric acid to copper ratio is at or closer to 1:1.
 
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Wyster

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No, I've never used any. The ones I've found for aquarium use appear to be designed to supplement copper for planted tanks, rather than treatment of protozoans. They are chelated to EDTA which is a strong chelating agent. This means that the reactivity of the copper is greatly reduced. You could try dosing as per Copper Power to 2ppm and find that it is not strong enough to be therapeutic. Or, perhaps, it's too strong and your fish are killed. I'm afraid that it might be a case of trial and error.
Thanks Si, I will have a look around and see what I can maybe find from a commercial side, im sure our Fluid engineers will maybe able to come up with an idea of where or even if they use it in there little science kit when testing the fluids we use downhole.

I don't understand why we are limited to Ionic copper in the UK only anyway if i find something I will share.
 

Salmo Si

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Thanks Si, I will have a look around and see what I can maybe find from a commercial side, im sure our Fluid engineers will maybe able to come up with an idea of where or even if they use it in there little science kit when testing the fluids we use downhole.

I don't understand why we are limited to Ionic copper in the UK only anyway if i find something I will share.

NT labs claim their product is chelated. I asked them what the therapeutic dose was and they refused to tell me as the product also contains formalin. Therefore you can only dose what it says on the bottle, and you can't be sure what the copper concentration is. This makes it worse than useless IMO.

I'm going to be making up some of my own copper and chelating it with citric acid. I've got a local shop interested in testing it, so hopefully it will prove to be well tolerated by fish. I'll send you some if you want to risk it!
 
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