How To Treat and Get Rid of White Spot Disease On Fish?

How to treat white spot on fish
(Last Updated On: September 26, 2021)

How to treat white spot on fish? Ichthyophthirius multifilis is the parasite that causes white spot illness. This ailment is often referred to as Ick, Ich, or Ichy. In this article, we will find how to treat white spot on fish?

How to treat white spot on fish?

Lets read the full article!

Symptoms

The skin of the fish has white dots on it. The spots are about the size of a pinhead, and the fish may appear to be covered in salt or sugar grains. Fish gills are also attacked by the parasite.

It’s more difficult to see this. The gills may appear redder than usual, however, this is difficult to detect, and extremely red gills might be produced by a variety of factors.

Because the gill infection makes it more difficult for the fish to absorb oxygen from the water, infected fish may exhibit symptoms of an oxygen deficiency such as “gasping” at the surface or appearing to breathe very quickly. Many factors can contribute to a lack of oxygen.

Fish will occasionally swim down and touch their skin against items. This is known as “flashing,” and it can be brought on by any type of skin irritation.

Sometimes fish die without displaying any evident symptoms. If a fish dies, you should examine all of the other fish in the tank.

Omnipresent

This is a rather frequent fish illness. In most aquariums, the parasite is present at low levels and rarely causes problems.

The parasite has been exposed to most fish, and they have evolved some immunity to it. Fish that were raised in the absence of the parasite would lack this acquired immunity and will be extremely susceptible to infection.

The notion that this parasite can be found in almost all aquariums is frequently misinterpreted. Long durations of dormancy are impossible for Ichthyophthirius Multifilis. It feeds on fish to stay alive. For a month, an aquarium could be devoid of fish. It would be rid of the parasitic white spot.

Hence a fish that was free of any evident sickness was purchased and quarantined. This fish can be put into an empty tank and develop white spots. It’s possible to make the incorrect conclusion that either the empty tank had a dormant white spot or the quarantine was not completed properly.

How this would have actually happened is that the fish would have developed a white spot infection without exhibiting any symptoms. A parasite that is successful does not make its host sick.

The parasite would die if it killed out all the fish in the aquarium, pond, or lake where it was found. In the wild, the white spot parasite appears to be successful and does not kill its host very often.

It is very easy for an aquarium’s unnatural environment to become out of balance and kill all of the fish. This is harmful not only to the fish but also to the parasite.

A parasite that genuinely benefits its host is the ideal parasite. To my knowledge, possessing the white spot parasite provides no benefit to fish, but another parasite/host partnership may have evolved into symbiotic relationships in which both creatures benefit.

Stress

When fish is stressed, its immune system is often less effective. When it comes to humans, a similar effect can be seen. When you’re stressed, you’re more prone to have both small and big illnesses.

There are numerous factors that might cause stress in fish. One of the most prevalent is being caught, placed in a plastic bag, and relocated to a different location.

A common time for a White Spot breakout is shortly after a new fish has been added to the aquarium. Some individuals mistakenly believe that the parasite was brought by the new fish. They can then return to the shop where the fish was purchased and ensure that the tank in which the fish was kept is in immaculate condition.

Changes in temperature, pH, dH, or any other water parameter are examples of additional types of stress.

Cycle of Life

Ichthyophthirius Multifilis is a parasitic obligate. This means it can only exist in a fish-filled environment. The obvious white patches represent the feeding stage, which is known as a trophont.

The trophont expands and ultimately falls off the fish, forming a cyst called a tomont at the bottom of the tank. As many as 1000 tomites can form inside the tomont. When the tomont opens, the tomites fall into the water.

The length of time it takes Ichthyophthirius Multifilis to complete its life cycle is determined by the water temperature. It takes about 55 days to complete its life cycle at 6 degrees Celsius (43 degrees Fahrenheit), but only 4 days at 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit).

The tomites must find a fish as soon as possible or they will perish. They only have approximately two days to find a fish to infect at regular tropical fish tank temperatures.

Treatment

Although promises of successful treatments with salt baths have been made, the trophont on the fish is unlikely to be properly treated.

The tomonts at the tank’s bottom are equally difficult to kill, though they can be eliminated with gravel washing. It will assist if the tank is kept clean.

The free-swimming tomite is the only stage that responds well to treatment. Many things can kill this, including heat, ultraviolet radiation, salt, and a variety of other compounds.

There are numerous therapy options available. The problem with all of the numerous ways of eliminating the parasite is that there are many distinct strains of the parasite, and their susceptibility to the therapies varies. Here are a few options for treating this illness:

Medications

There are a variety of commercial white spot treatments available. Methylene Blue, Malachite Green, Formaldehyde, Acriflavine, and other compounds are frequently used. Wardley Ickaway is the medication I prefer in our tanks, although various folks will have different preferences.

Remember that activated carbon absorbs these medications, so if you have carbon filtration, you’ll need to turn it off. Because ultraviolet light destroys the majority of drugs, UV sterilization will need to be switched off as well.

Tetras and other Characins, as well as scaleless fish like loaches and catfish, and juvenile fish, are more vulnerable to many of these treatments and will require half the usual dosage. The half-rate can be used at twice the typical frequency.

Heat

The parasite’s life cycle is greatly accelerated by heat. The chemical treatments will work faster if the temperature is raised, but the infection will spread more quickly.

Therefore, if the temperature is raised high enough, the parasite is unable to replicate and the infection is healed. However, certain fish species are unable to withstand the high temperatures required to eradicate white spots.

To break the parasite’s life cycle, elevate the temperature to around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees F). To kill the parasite, the temperature must be raised to around 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 degrees F).

To have a good chance of killing the parasite, this temperature would have to be maintained for at least four days. Not all fish can withstand this treatment, and those that do will be severely harmed.

Because oxygen does not dissolve as well in warm water and because the fish’s metabolism increases as the water warm up, more aeration will be required.

When treating Labyrinth fish such as Siamese Fighting Fish, Gouramis, or Paradise Fish, this method of treatment is sometimes the best option. These fish can withstand the required temperatures and can breathe both air and water.

Chlorine

Some patients have stated that the judicious use of chlorinated tap water has helped them treat this ailment. Personally, I would not undertake this, and I strongly warn others not to do it as well.

The exact level of chlorine in the water from the tap varies depending on not just the location, but also the day of the week and the season of the year.

Apart from the challenge of finding the proper Chlorine dose, there is also the issue of Chloranimated water in some areas, such as the Adelaide Hills, where I live. This is poisonous to fish, and I would not use the water without first dechlorinating it.

How to treat white spot on fish

Salt

The white spot parasite is killed by salt, however, various strains have varying sensitivities. Most strains of the white spot will be eliminated by 3 grams of salt per liter, but if you want to be sure, use 5 grams.

As a result, many popular aquarium fish are unable to withstand the high levels of salt required to kill white spots. In general, fish from locations with a little salt in the water, such as the Amazon, Congo, and Orinoco rivers, are unsuited for this treatment process.

Guppies, Mollies, Platies, and Swordtails are examples of livebearers that can be utilized with it. It’s also okay to use on several Australian fish, such as Murray Cod, Silver Perch, and Callop, but not on Rainbowfish.

This level of salt will destroy most aquarium plants.

UV (Ultraviolet) Radiation

The parasite’s free-swimming tomite stage is killed by ultraviolet light, but it can only kill tomites that have been sucked through the UV steriliser. If the ultraviolet unit is more powerful than is normally recommended for your aquarium’s size, you’ll have a better chance of getting decent results.

Although an ultraviolet filter can help prevent white spots, it cannot cure them.

Fish that are free of disease

In the absence of the white spot parasite, it is feasible to breed fish. This is the case with many of the Malaysian-bred livebearers.

Such fish are raised in water that is a combination of fresh water and seawater, with salt concentrations up to half that of pure seawater. These fish will have never been exposed to white spots or other diseases, and will therefore be extremely vulnerable to them.

These fish are easily wiped off. If they are purchased, they must be watched and treated as soon as possible. Normally, aquarium businesses will inform their customers that the fish they sell are disease-free.

Secondary infections

White spot infection causes damage to the fish’s skin, and it’s usual for bacterial or fungal diseases to coexist with it.

Susceptible Fish

Some fish are more susceptible to white spot illness than others. This sickness has an especially nasty reputation among Clown Loaches.

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