Ich (whitespot)

Name of disease: Ich.

Other names: White Spot.

Type of disease: Parasite.

Occurrence: Very common, affects all types of freshwater fish.

Symptoms include: White spots like grains of salt on the fish's fins and body, thickened slime coat, clamped fins, fish flicks/rubs itself against objects in the tank, faster gill movements, fish stops eating. Can be distinguished from Velvet Disease by the larger, more rounded and whiter spots.

Caused by:

1. Ich organisms are introduced into the tank via new fish / plants / ornaments and infect other inhabitants. (This can be prevented by quarantining new arrivals and disinfecting plants etc. with a potassium permanganate solution).

2. Ich organisms are already present at a low level (causing no problems to the fish), but a sudden cause of stress such as poor water quality lowers the fish's immune resistance and causes infection..

Treatment:Ich has a free-swimming stage in its life-cycle so the whole tank must be treated, not just the affected fish. Do not use a hospital tank for this reason. EITHER treat with salt at a .3% solution OR with medications containing Malachite Green, Formalin or Copper (examples: Rid-Ich (US), Protozin (UK)). Increase tank temperature to high 70's and if using a Malachite Green medication keep tank completely dark and covered over. Continue treatment until fish have been completely ich-free for at least 3 days, ideally 6 days. Vacuum the substrate thoroughly after treatment has finished to remove any remaining parasites in tank.

Precautions:Check water quality regularly during treatment as both salt and meds can affect the cycle. Due to its life-cycle, ich can re-occur after treatment has finished; if this happens re-start treatment and do not stop until fish have been ich free for at least 6 days..

Medications: QuickCure, Nox-Ich, Acriflavin, and Parasite Clear (Jungle Labs).