Hello again! Today I’m going to talk about something that if you’ve been in the fishkeeping hobby for a while you may have encountered once or twice. Yes, I’m going to talk about ich: those white dots that infest your tank.
What is ich?
Those white dots (that look like sugar grains or salt grains) are an ectoparasite (an ectoparasite is a parasite that feeds from an organism but from the outside, kind of like lice for humans or fleas for cats and dogs). This ectoparsite is a protozoan called Ichthyophthirius multifiliis.
It’s very dangerous for the skin and the gills of your fish. If you don’t control it, it can be deadly. But don’t worry, here you’ll learn how to fight it!
How did it get in my tank?
Well, it’s usually introduced by a new member of your fish tank from another tank that was already infested. If your fish are stressed because of high levels of nitrites or ammonia or even temperature swings they become and easy target for ich.
How do I prevent it?
Try to keep your water parameters stable and if you’re going to add new organism, have it in quarantine for a while (14 to 21 days). Don’t buy fish if you see that they’re sick. If you can’t quarantine your new fish (because you lack the extra equipment) even though it’s not the safest way, here is what you can do: after acclimating your new fish -as usual- use your net and add only the fish. Never add the water from the travel bag to your aquarium. Never.
How do I know if my fish are infected with ich?
You have to try to keep an eye on them. When you’re feeding them, try to look at their fins, their gills and their bodies. If you catch it early you can attack it before it gets really serious and out of control.
If your fish is sick, you’ll find little white dots (like salt or sugar grains) on their bodies -like I said, it could be on it’s fins, it’s gills, etc. Also you may see your fish are acting weird, they will hide, they will scratch against any surface.If you see any of these things on your fish, even if it’s only one… you have to act.
How do I fight it?
Once you spotted a white dot on your fish, even if it’s only one… That’s it, the whole tank is infected. So removing that specific fish it’s not going to help. You have to treat the whole tank.
Now I’m going to tell you the treatment that I use and works great for me. But remember, this treatment is for freshwater tropical fish and it’s up to you to do the research and find out if your fish can handle the high temperatures.
So, as you have guessed, what I do is I raise the temperature of the tank to 82° F (I do it gradually) and a I do a 30% water change every two days for two whole weeks. Even if I don’t see any more dots I keep going until the two weeks are up.
If you’re going to try the heat treatment, please be sure your water is well oxygenated. Add and extra air stone or an extra air pump if it’s necessary. You have to have in mind that oxygen is less soluble at higher temperatures, so you have to make it easier for your fish to breath.
This is what works for me. And I highly recommend it because you don’t use any chemicals and you don’t alter your water parameters, you only raise the temperature. This treatment takes time and you have to be persistent with the water changes, but it’s been the less harmful was to fight ich that I’ve found.
Well, this is it. If you have any questions you can leave it in the comment section below and I will answer them! See you next time… bye!