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PostPosted: Nov 22nd, '09, 09:19 
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I have been very interested in Aquaponics for quite awhile and once I buy my new house in a few months time I want to start up a new system.

Thus I have spent alot of time researching aquaponics and I found something interetsing that I thought I would share and hopefully get some feedback on.

Treatment of itch (White spot) in silver perch normally involves treatment with between 2-5g/litre of salt concentration (2-5ppt) for upto 20 days.
Unfortunately this method is not very good for plants.

On the NSW DPI website I found an online book called Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention of the Diseases of Silver Perch
http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets ... Manual.pdf

This Manual states that Ich can be treated with Copper Sulfate (Basically a ferilitiser similar to Iron Sulphate or Potassium Sulfate- Different elements of course) at the rate of 0.1-0.2mg/litre or 0.1-0.2ppm of copper
Caution- Alkalinity needs to be >50mg/litre and copper sulfate is an algacide (will remove algea from the system)
According to the book "Aquaponics Food Production" from BYAP the level of copper in the fish tank for adequate plant production shooul be 0.02-0.2mg/litre or 0.02-0.2ppm.


Am I missing something here about the negative side effects of copper sulfate and will this be an viable treatment alternative then salt?


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PostPosted: Nov 22nd, '09, 09:34 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Keep in mind that many treatments for fish might not be appropriate in AP system for one of several reasons.
1- most aquarium treatments are not meant for food fish
2- many of these aquarium treatments could be very bad for people eating the plants from these systems.
3- many treatments will kill off the bio-filter
4- many treatments are going to be costly so treating an entire large AP system would be prohibitive
5- many treatments need to have system water changed out after treatment is finished
6- anything with copper in it must be very carefully measured and monitored to keep from killing the fish with the copper over time.

Salt is generally cheap, safe, and easy. Most plants are fine with salt levels up to 3 ppt. If one must treat for ich then salt up to 6 ppt (depending on the tolerance of the particular type of fish) is probably worth it even if it does bummer some of the plants, there are still many types of plants that are just fine with that level of salt.

I don't know the particulars about Copper Sulfate or how safe it would be for the fish/plants/bio-filter/and people involved but I do know when dealing with fish, any copper must be very carefully monitored. Remember that AP systems tend to have falling pH and most plants would prefer a slightly lower pH but unfortunately copper becomes more toxic to fish at lower hardness and pH.

Anyway, it might be best to quarantine new fish for a period of time before placing them in a big system. This way if you must treat for Ich you can do so in a smaller system so whatever treatment gets used will only affect a smaller set up instead of the entire large system. Still a quarantine system needs to be big enough to keep the fingerlings well for a couple months without water quality problems.

Hope this helps a bit.

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PostPosted: Nov 22nd, '09, 10:42 
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Fully understand what you are saying TCLynx that salt would probably be the easier option and that copper can be toxic if used incorrectly.

But from my understand (from a farming background with a keen interest in biological farming methods)

At lot of health problems in animals and humans are caused by low levels of a particular trace elements.
eg Foot root, foot abcess or lice are caused from a deficiency in zinc and can be treated with zinc (normaly zinc sulfate)
Internal parasites are higher in livestock that are deficient in copper and can be treated with copper sulfate.

Copper sulfate is not a toxic man made chemical but just a mixture of natural occuring copper and sulphur (unless it contains some form of toxic impurities)

The level of copper sulfate required fro the treatment of Ich still puts the copper with in the safe range of copper in the fish tank water required for plant growth, so I can not honestly see how if used at the correct dosage level it could cause any probleme to the AP system.

But like you said copper can kill fish if used incorrecly over time so maybe it is safer to use salt.
Just an Idea I thought Id share for comment on

PS most early developed worm drenches for cattle and sheep where copper based and quite often these drenches killed the livestock if used at a rate higher then recommended. Alot of farmers also suffered long term health problems from being exposed to high copper levels for long periods of time (no personal protective clothing was used back then and clothes only washed once a week so there was constant exposure to the copper)


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PostPosted: Nov 22nd, '09, 10:45 
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Copper is toxic to silver perch at levels of over 0.25mg/litre so there is not much room for error as copper needs to be between 0.1 and 0.2mg/litre to be effective


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PostPosted: Nov 22nd, '09, 11:00 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Agreed that Copper Sulfate may not be a terribly scary chemical. Just do be sure of the things that need to be kept controlled when such a thing might be used.
The hardness and pH of a system are likely to drop over time if not monitored and controlled so if the copper sulfate is going to become toxic to the fish if those things change, it means a lot more things to keep careful track and control over.

Truth is most of us with Backyard AP systems get a bit lax and may only test occasionally or when cycling up or adding new fish. There have been many system crashes when the pH drops a few months after a system is initially cycled up, add extra copper into that mix and such things get far worse. Most of us are a bit lazy and don't need the extra things to keep track of.

Good luck to you in whatever you decide is best to do.

Truth is, you probably only have to worry about ich when first adding new fish so if you make a point of quarantine before putting new fish into a main system, then it isn't much of a worry anymore. Most other fish diseases are stress related so keep water quality good, a bit of salt as tonic and don't stress out the fish too much and all else if fairly easy.

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PostPosted: Nov 22nd, '09, 11:15 
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I agree that problems only really come about when the fish are stress so if water quality is kept high, fish are well feed and healthy the health problems should be an issue with older fish, its just the new fingerling with the stress of transportation which will be the problem- quarantine with salt before adding to the rest of the system.

Thanks for the feed back really appreciated


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PostPosted: Nov 22nd, '09, 19:50 
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Since that article was written... Copper Sulphate has now been banned from use with ALL edible fish destined for human consumption... and it's been placed on the "proscribed" list of aquaculture treatments...

Similarly... the use of Copper Sulphate in marine anti-fouling paints has now also been banned... because not only did they kill any barnacles on a ships hull.... but all crustacea and marine life in the marina as well... :wink:

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PostPosted: Dec 9th, '09, 17:40 
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Tc, you mention 6ppt for itch in silver perch, is there a holding time at this salt level, eg 6ppt for 3 or 12 hours or is it just a case of up to 6ppt till there better and then water changes to bring the salt levels back down

For info my fish dont have ich, but trying to gather as much info as I can and become a bit more eductaed in the ways of the fish, and what works and what doesnt


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PostPosted: Dec 9th, '09, 17:42 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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simso wrote:
is it just a case of up to 6ppt till there better and then water changes to bring the salt levels back down

As above...

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