White Spot

Ichthyophthirius Multifilis - A typical Disease Problem

I have some fish that have small white spots on them. Each white spot seems to slowly grow then disappears. The spots seem to appear randomly anywhere on the fish.

They fish first started showing the problem a month ago. My fish are still eating and do not seem particularly distressed, but they look a bit thinner than when I first got them from the pet shop. What could be causing this?

I have checked my temperature and pH and they are in a safe range. Please help, I would like to know what this is caused by so that I can go about finding a remedy. I tried adding some salt but this did not seem to make any difference.

Cause of White Spot Disease

They probably have white spot (Ichthyophthirius multifilis or just "ich" when abbreviated). This bacteria forms small white cysts all over fish. Once the cysts mature they break open releasing the infectious phase of the organism.

Ich can be hard to sight on white fish. It often makes it's way into established aquariums when a new fish is added. Albino catfish such as corydoras aeneus can have a number of cysts that are not noticed before purchase. Pay careful attention to such new additions.

clown loach with white spot

This clown loach has a severe infestation of white spot showing all over it's body. When the ich has reached this stage it has usually gone through several life cycles in the aquarium and will be sapping the fish's strength.

White Spot Treatment

betta fish with white spotTo treat whitespot try raising the water temperature to 30 degrees until they all fall off then keep it at that temperature a bit longer still. This may take a number of weeks until the bacteria has gone through it's lifecycle and detached from the fish.

This raised temperature will kill the bacteria without the use and side effects of medications. Although suitable for many tropical fish this treatment method is not suited to coldwater fish such as goldfish. In these situations commercial white spot tratments should be used instead. Typical ingredients in such solutions include formaldehyde and malachite green. Avoid staining porous items with the malachite green by removing them before treatment. Filter charcoal will also need to be taken out or it will absorb the treatment before it has had a chance to be effective.

When treating with either method the oxygen in the water can become depleted more readily so add an air stone if required.

cichlid with white spot disease

This cichlid shows symptoms of white spot bacteria on it's head body and fins.

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