Aquarium Fish Diseases

White Spot Disease in Aquarium Fish

All fish have ever had contact with the microorganisms that cause white spot disease, as it is present in the water. However, they do not get sick if they have high defenses.

This
is a deadly disease, highly contagious, but with treatment it can be cured quickly and effectively. Therefore, it is essential to know it if you have an aquarium at home to take preventive measures, since it is one of the most common aquarium fish diseases .

What is white spot disease?

White spot disease, or Ichthyofiriasis, lies in freshwater aquariums since it is intolerant to saline water. It can appear due to fungi due to the poor condition of the water.

It is recognized for starting developing small white blisters of just half a millimeter in diameter, on the skin and gills.
It is caused by ciliated protozoa called Ichthyophthirius , which are bacteria present in humid environments.

Once the fish is infected, if it has low defenses,
the parasite reactivates and takes the opportunity to reproduce rapidly.

As a defense mechanism, the fish’s body reacts by forming an inflammatory mucosa around the bacteria, to try to isolate it and prevent its evolution.
That is when those little white dots are seen on your body.

What symptoms does the white point have?

  • The main aspect that characterizes this disease is the appearance of small white dots.
  • Before the protozoa appear, the fish begins to have behavioral changes: nervous, they swim quickly and they become irritable.
  • In cases in which the bacteria have already developed seriously throughout the animal, it begins to rub against any object to scratch and relieve its stinging. This indicates that the parasite broke through the mucous membrane and is now directly affecting you.
  • Once the fish has a lack of appetite and breathing difficulties, the disease can quickly lead to death, so act quickly and treat it, even before its health declines.

White spot treatment

Before knowing how to treat the white spot in aquarium fish, it is necessary to know the life cycle of the parasite to understand the ideal times in which to attack it.

Life cycle of the parasite Ichthyophthirius

The Ichthyophthirius parasite is always present in the water and lodges in the fish, remaining dormant until it has a chance to reproduce.

Depending on the state of the aquarium and the defenses of the fish, it may or may not make the animal sick.

  • It lodges in the mucus of this in a state called Trophon , once this period ends, it breaks, letting millions of parasites escape.
  • When the parasite is spread in the water substrate, it is called Tomonte. In this stage they look for a fish in which to stay , if they do not find a living organism in 48 hours, the parasites die. At this stage it is appropriate to attack them.
  • At 10 ° C the parasite can complete its life cycle in 5 weeks. On the contrary, if the water temperature is 21 or 23 ° C it will take only about 4 days. Hence, it is recommended to apply the treatment after increasing the temperature, so that this favors its extermination.


After taking into account how this bacterium develops, we can determine the states of vulnerability in which the treatment will take the greatest effect.
Chemical treatment is ineffective when the parasite is encapsulated in the fish’s skin.

Process to cure white spot in aquarium fish

To proceed with the cure, after thermoregulation of the aquarium, the light must be turned off, the filter without carbon, increase the oxygen and a stable temperature of 30 ° C.

With this thermotherapy you can use a natural treatment that requires the administration of aquarium salt.

When the water raises its temperature, the cysts fall off the fish and become vulnerable , it is then that a small tablespoon of aquarium (not table) salt can be used for every 4 liters.

However, there are also some effective medications to treat whitehead in fish:

  • Malachite green
  • Formalin
  • Methylene blue
  • Mercurochrome
  • Quinine sulfate or hydrochloride
  • Metronidazole


Among others that an expert can prescribe, along with their specific dosages.

Eliminate whitehead in marine fish

The ciliated protozoa Ichthyophthirius cannot withstand salt water, so part of the treatment to eliminate the white spot consists of adding sea salt to the aquarium water, so … How is there a white spot in marine fish?
The white spot of marine fish is caused by another parasite, Cryptocarion irritans , which is deadly against the fish in our aquarium.

To combat it, you have to know the level of stress that the animal suffers.
After correcting this obstacle, the corresponding treatment will be applied, taking into account that in case of diseases in marine fish, this type of process can last more than a month.


Clarified this point,
The use of copper sulfate is recommended, which is a very effective antiparasitic, but it causes the death of all invertebrates and calcareous water, therefore it must be administered in a quarantine aquarium.

Ektomarin is also a drug that fights infections, with which animals have more tolerance since it releases oxygen when administered.
However it is less effective against Ichthyopyriasis.

Tips to prevent the appearance of the white point

It is important to always take precautions, not only with respect to white spot disease, but with any disorder that may affect the health of our pets. In this case, as we have already mentioned , the aquarium must receive constant maintenance.

When we acquire a new fish,
a preventive measure so that it does not infect the rest with any disease, is to keep it in quarantine for at least 2 weeks, ruling out the possibility that it is infected from another aquarium or the pet store.
Clean well and boil the accessories that we introduce in the fish tank , do not make sudden changes in temperature, in the levels of ammonia, GH or pH . You have to feed the fish withquality food , and vitamins.

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