One of the Most Common Fish Infections: Ich

Ich is a common parasite in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. It usually happens after you started your aquarium for about a year or shorter. It can also happen from bringing fish from a fish store that already had ich. Some people put there new fish in a quarantine tank before putting the fish in the aquarium. This helps you find out if the fish is sick or not. Fish also can get infected when stressed. Ich isn’t noticed in the beginning of it’s cycle but after a while, you’ll notice salt like spots on the fish’s fins, body, or even eyes. If you have ich too long, bacterial infections like rotting fins, scales falling off, or fungus can grow on the fish.

Ich infected goldfish Ich infected clown loach

Removal

If ich is on one fish, that means it’s in the whole tank. Bringing an infected fish to your tank will infect the whole tank. Ich lives underneath the gravel or substrate then spreads throughout the water to infect the fish.  Water changes can help get rid of some of it. Raising the temperature to around 82 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit will stop the ich from reproducing. The bad things about this is the oxygen level in the tank is lowered so the fish need more oxygen. Air pumps will fix this problem.

Another way to remove the ich is salt. Aquarium salt should be used for this, not cichlid, table, or marine salt. I’ll warn you that soft water (low ph) fish don’t do very well with salt in their tank like discus which require a ph of 7 or lower. I recommend fish that can withstand a 7.5 or higher ph. Another bad thing about this method is plants cannot tolerate the amount of salt being used for this treatment. Two tablespoons of salt per five gallons is good. Keep doing this everyday or two. You could increase the amount to five tablespoons per five gallons but be careful because scaleless fish like loaches don’t do to well with this much salt. If the ich spots go away, still continue the treatment for a few more days because the ich virus is still in the water. Keeping the temperature up to 82 to 86 degrees should help too. After the treatment is finished, do a 50 percent water change.

Medications can help too. Just be careful what medication you’re getting because not all of them are effective. Look for products with good reviews. I recommend “Rid Ich Plus” by Kordon. Make sure you follow the directions of the bottle carefully. Remove your carbon or chemical media (learn more here)  from the filter during the treatment because it can remove the treatment from the water. After the treatment is done and the ich is out of the fish and water, put the chemical media back in. This gets rid of any remaining unused medications in the water. A 50 percent water change can help too.

Fin rot in gold fish