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FishDeals.com | Aquarium Fish Disease Identification, Diagnosis & Treatment
Ichthyophthirius (white spot or ick) - Identification & Treatment

Major Sick Fish Diseases:

Much has been written on the topic of stress & disease, below is summary to help guide you throughout Ichthyophthirius (white spot or ick) prevention and identification. Please feel free to send any comments or suggestions to Ask An Expert.

 Ask a Question in the Sick Fish Stress & Disease Forum

  • Small white grains of saltlike spores all over body
  • White pimples concentrated mainly on the fins
  • Rubbing up against other objects
  • Slimy skin due to heavy mucus layer
  • Abnormal swimming behaviour
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Lethargy and loss of appetite
  • Fraying fins and/or cloudy eyes

  • Symptoms of Stress & Disease
  • Ichthyophthirius (white spot or ick) General Description
    The most common freshwater aquarium diesese around. Just go to most walmarts. The small pustules are actually sacks of tiny protazoans. In a few days, the sacks break open and the parasites fall into the aquarium gravel where they multiply in great numbers. When mature, the new protazoans attack the rest of the fish. It is this lifecycle that makes Ich so contagious. The protazoans will weaken the fish progressively by destroying the protective coating.

    The protazoans may only be destroyed after they have left the sacks. When embedded in the aquarium gravel, they are susceptible to medication. Therefore, increasing the temperature of the water during treatment can speed up the life cycle, causing the pustules to break open quicker. After exposed, the protazoans are killed before they can multiply.
    Ichthyophthirius (white spot or ick) Treatments
    There is only one treatment I recommend for Ick. Quickcure had beaten it time and time agian at my house. I keep it around all the time. I might be bias but, ride the horse that got you there. This stuff is like magic, it's cured ick fully everytime I have used it.

    Shake well before using. Use one drop per gallon daily on all fish except those of the tetra group. For tetra--use one drop for every two gallons daily. For marine fish--for lymphocystis use one drop per gallon daily in a bare aquarium. Cures ick in two days, lymphocystis in one week. Quick Cure will slightly color the water blue--this disappears in a few days. Remove charcoal or carbon from filtration system during treatment. Avg. Price - $1.77

    Another remedy is to raise the tank temperature to about 90F (Be very careful, some fish can't handle this.) and add 1 tsp/gallon salt to the water. But why waste your time, Get some Quickcure today!
    Ichthyophthirius (white spot or ick) Prevention
    Ich can be introduced into the aquarium via infected water, plants, substrates or fish. Some fish can in fact carry the parasite without actually ever being diseased themselves. These carriers shed the parasite into a new aquarium and expose other fish to it who may not have a natural immunity and thus become infected.

    Therefore, there are some very simple precautions which can prevent ich being introduced:
  • Donít buy any fish from a tank in which ich (or any other disease for that matter!) is obviously present.
  • Quarantine all new fish for at least a month before introducing them to the main tank or pond. Treat with Quickcure just in case.
  • Donít add any pet store water to your tank or pond: do the usual temperature and water chemistry adjustments for new fish in a separate bucket and then net the fish out to put it in the tank/pond, leaving the pet store water to be thrown away.
  • Disinfect any new plants, ornaments and substrates with a bleach or potassium permanganate solution before placing them in the tank.
  • Image Gallery of Ichthyophthirius (white spot or ick)
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    Ichthyophthirius (white spot or ick) Frequently Asked Questions

    Have a Question, please post one here, Ask An Expert

    #ImageDisease TitleTop 3 Symptoms
    1. Ammonia Poisoning
  • Red streaking on the fins or body.
  • Purple or red gills.
  • Fins are torn & jagged.
  • 2. Anchor Worms
  • Tiny white-green or red worms in wounds.
  • Frequent rubbing or "flashing".
  • Ulcers may appear.
  • 3. Black Spot
  • Small black speckles on body.
  • Frequent rubbing or "flashing".
  • Small black smudges on fish.
  • 4. Cataracts
  • White or grey "foggy" eyes.
  • Eye looks like it has a slime coat.
  • Tendency to bump into things.
  • 5. Cotton Mouth
  • White "Cotton like" fungus on the mouth.
  • Lethargy and loss of appetite.
  • White spots on mouth, scales, and fins.
  • 6. Curved Spine (Fish TB)
  • Curved or Crooked Spine.
  • Lesions on the body.
  • loss of scales.
  • 7. Dropsy
  • Huge, Fat, Bloated Belly.
  • Lethargy and loss of appetite.
  • Scales almost popping off.
  • 8. Fin Rot
  • Fins turn Jagged or whitish and die back.
  • Fins look like they were ripped off.
  • Fish is not eating.
  • 9. Hole in the Head
  • Hole in the head.
  • Small sore on head.
  • Lethargy and loss of appetite.
  • 10. Ichthyophthirius
    (white spot or ick)
  • Small white "salt-like" pimples on fins & body.
  • Lethargy and loss of appetite.
  • Frequent rubbing or "flashing".
  • 11. Neon Tetra Disease
  • Restlessness.
  • Whitened areas deep into the fishes' flesh.
  • Spine may become curved.
  • 12. New Tank Syndrome
  • Sudden Death.
  • Cloudy Water.
  • Unexplained Death.
  • 13. Oodinium (velvet)
  • Fine grey-gold to whitish 'dust' on the body.
  • Very rapid gill movement.
  • Scratching or flashing.
  • 14. Parasites (External)
  • Large ugly sores on body.
  • Skin looks grey in patches.
  • Fish swim aimlessly.
  • 15. Planaria
    (white hairlike worms)
  • Small White Hairlike Worms.
  • Tiny, Wiggley Worms often found in the substrate.
  • 16. Pop Eye
  • One or both eyes protrude from the head in an unusual fashion.
  • 17. Skin / Gill Flukes
  • Fish gasps for air at the water's surface
  • Gills open and close rapidly
  • Gills are covered in mucus
  • 18. Swim Bladder Disease
  • Erratic Swimming Position
  • Loss of equilibrium
  • Fish will be unable to maintain buoyancy
  • 19. Vitamin Deficiencies
  • Scoliosis (Curved Spine)
  • Reduced Growth
  • Anorexia (Lack or Loss of Appetite)
  • View Symptoms per Vitamin
  • References/Further Reading

    The Manual of Fish Health
    Dr. Chris Andrews, Adrian Exell and Dr. Neville Carrington.
    New Jersey: Tetra Press, 1988

    Handbook of Fish Diseases
    Dieter Untergasser
    Translation by Howard H. Hirschhorn
    T.F.H. Publications, Inc., 1989

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