Maybe it’s time to put down your big city aquarium, or your natural freshwater fish tank and add some fish. Maybe you’re just looking for something different, or maybe you’ve been pondering on what kind of fish to put in your aquarium and just need some help.
Whatever the reason is, I’m sure that this article will help you decide whether or not Ich is worth the dangers involved with having it in your aquarium.
What Is Ich?
Ich, also known as ichthyophthiriasis, is a disease that can infect freshwater fish. It is caused by a parasite called Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. The parasite lives inside the fish’s swim bladder and causes it to swell up like a balloon. If you have any fish that are displaying symptoms of ichthyophthiriasis you should quarantine them to prevent spreading the infection to other fish or people in your household who could accidentally get infected.
Of all the challenges we face as aquarists, Ich is one of the most difficult to tackle. Although contamination is rare in a well-maintained tank, when it occurs it can be catastrophic to your fish. You see, ich can spread quickly through a tank and devastate your beautiful collection.
It is a terrible disease that can be easily spread to other fish. It’s also extremely contagious, meaning that if you have it, your tankmates will become carriers too.
The Ich Life Cycle
The life cycle of Marine Ich consists of four unique stages in which the parasite takes on five different forms:
Trophont – In this form, the Ich parasite is spread by the movement of water and sediment. It is also found to be present in some larger animals such as sharks and dolphins.
Protomont – The protomont phase is the first visible stage of the Ich parasite and can be seen as white patches or spots on fish or other marine organisms.
Tomont – In this phase, the Ich parasite takes on a more opaque appearance with a dark coloration and can be seen as dark patches or spots on fish or other marine organisms.
Tomite – This is the final stage of Ich infection for fish and other marine organisms following which it remains dormant (inactive) until conditions become favorable for its re-infection.
Theront – The theront phase marks the end of life for many fish and other marine organisms infected with Ich parasites.
Sign of Ich in Your Newly Purchased Fish
1. Raised white spots, a sign of Ich
The most obvious sign of ich is white spots on your fish. These are caused when the ich parasite attaches itself to the skin, which causes a raised spot or bumps. The bumps may be round or oval-shaped and can be anywhere from 1-2mm in size. If you see these white spots, it’s likely your fish has contracted ich.
2. Fish scratching themselves against hard objects, a sign of irritation caused by the parasites
Another sign of ich is when your fish starts scratching themselves against hard objects. This can be caused by the parasites irritating their skin, making them want to scratch themselves. It’s also common for infected fish to float at the top of the tank since they’re trying to get away from other fish that may carry the parasite.
3. Breathing heavily, another sign of Ich
Fish may also start to breathe heavily, which is another sign that your fish has contracted ich. This can be caused by the parasites irritating their lungs and making them want to take deeper breaths. If your fish isn’t getting enough oxygen, they may even try to jump out of the water!
4. Loss of appetite is also a sign that your fish has Ich
Another sign that your fish has Ich is if they stop eating. The parasites can cause irritation and inflammation, which makes it painful for them to swallow food. This can cause them to lose interest in their favorite treats!
5. Cloudy eyes and gills, yet another sign
A loss of color can also be a sign: Your fish will lose their bright colors, which is another sign that they have Ich. They will turn pale and their eyes will become cloudy. To make matters worse, the ich parasites can also cause your fish to gasp for air at the surface of the water!
If you notice these signs, then it’s important that you take action immediately.
How Long To Quarantine a New Fish that has Ich?
If you suspect that a new fish has Ich, do not remove it from the tank or start any treatments right away. The best thing to do is quarantine the fish for at least 2 weeks.
How long depends on how sick the fish is. If it’s very sick, you might need to quarantine it for a couple of weeks or a month before seeing if it gets better on its own. However, if the fish is showing signs of improvement after just a day or two, then there’s probably no need for further isolation. You can put the fish in with your other fish immediately so long as:
It isn’t still showing any signs of ich. You should watch for other signs of illness in the tank. These could include:
- Slimy growths on the side of the tank or on top of decorations and corals
- Lethargy (not swimming as much as usual)
- Red patches around the gills or mouth area
It doesn’t seem agitated or stressed by being placed with your other fish (for example: it may be swimming around happily).
What medications should you use to treat Ich?
There are a few medications that can be used to treat ich.
The first is hyposalinity. This means that you give the fish some saltwater and not the freshwater. The reason for this is because Ich is actually a parasite that lives in the water, so if you give them saltwater instead of freshwater, it will kill the parasite and kill off any new ones. You need to make sure that they have enough room to swim around in their tank and not just stay in one spot all day long because they need to be able to move around.
This is the most effective way to treat ich, but it can be stressful for your fish and expensive. You can also use this method on multiple tanks at once if needed.
This method is fairly easy and safe for most fish, although it doesn’t work as well as force-feeding meds against ich.
Ich Remedy or Ich Control Medicine
Ich can be treated effectively with medication in almost every case (if you’re willing to spend money).
These medications work by killing off any new parasites that might be in your tank or those that have already been there for a while but haven’t grown yet. They also prevent new parasites from getting into your tank in the first place.
You can buy these medicines online from pet stores but they’re very expensive so it’s best if you just buy them from somewhere else like Amazon or Walmart instead where they’re cheaper than at pet stores but still worth every penny!
Best Quarantine Tank Setup for Fish with Ich
Quarantine tanks are the best way to treat, cure or prepare a fish for release. But they’re not always easy to set up. Here are some tips:
- Keep it simple
Aquariums can be complicated and messy, so it’s important to keep your quarantine tank as simple as possible. A bare bottom with only a heater, filter and little else is ideal. This will make it easy to clean your tank regularly and keep it looking good.
- Choose a tank that’s big enough
The larger the better when it comes down to quarantining your fish. It’s better to have more space than less because you’ll have more room for error in case something goes wrong with your fish during treatment or curing.
- Get an aquarium heater
An aquarium heater protects against dips in water temperature caused by draughts or air currents from other rooms in your house — this can help prevent ich from spreading from one tank to another by simply providing heat at night when most of us are asleep or away from home relaxing on vacation!
- Set up a simple aquarium filter
Aquarium filters are one of the most important devices you can use to keep your fish healthy and happy. If you have an aquarium that doesn’t have a filter, it’s time to get one. A good filter will help remove waste and excess ammonia, which is what fish are most susceptible to getting sick from.
- Don’t forget aquarium gravel and decorations
You want to do is add some decoration and give your tank some color. This will help create a more natural environment for your fish, making them feel more at home in their new home. You should also add some gravel to the bottom of the tank so that the water doesn’t drain too quickly.
- Keep the water clean and change it regularly
You’ll want to make sure that all the water in your tank gets changed regularly so that any build-up of waste or bacteria doesn’t cause problems for your fish later on down the line. You may need to do this every week or two depending on how often you feed your fish as well as how many fish there are in total in each aquarium tank size/type (smaller tanks are less likely than bigger ones).
- Give your fish the best chance at healing
It’s important to give your sick fish the best chance at healing by starting them off in a quarantine tank where they’ll have nothing but clean water and no stressors such as other fish or bulky decorations.
- Be patient and persistent
Don’t rush the process. Ich is a very delicate, slow-moving disease, and it can take up to two months for your fish to completely recover from it.
If you want to speed up the recovery process, give your fish some vitamins and medication as soon as possible after infection.
If you have a quarantine tank set up for fish with ich, be patient and persistent! It may take 3-4 weeks for your fish to fully recover from this disease.
How long does it take for ich to spread to other fish?
It takes from less than 24 hours to 3 days, depending on the number of infected fish and the type of fish that are infected. The longer the time between infections, the more likely it is that there will be no spread of the disease. However, even if all of your fish are quarantined and treated with medications, it is still possible for them to spread the disease.
Can I add new fish while treating Ich?
No. You should not add new fish until your quarantine tank has been confirmed free of ich. If you do add new fish during treatment, they will most likely be immune because they have been exposed to ich in a previous tank or aquarium. This immunity can make them resistant to infection during future treatment attempts.
How long does it take for Ich to leave a tank?
It varies, but usually it takes about 2 weeks for ich to leave a tank. The length of time needed to fully clear the aquarium depends on the severity of the infection and how many other fish are affected.
Are white spots on fish always Ich?
No, white spots are not always caused by Ich. White spots can be caused by other diseases or parasites as well as environmental stressors like temperature changes or poor water quality.
Can plants carry Ich?
Yes, some types of plants do carry this disease. In fact, some types of live rock may also harbor this parasite. However, most aquariums do not have enough plants that are likely to be infected with ich so they will not spread the disease further than they already have. Do not remove any plants from your aquarium until you know for sure that they are safe!
Can Ich live outside of water?
In short, no. The Ich is a parasitic infection that only lives in saltwater environments. It cannot survive in freshwater and will die if it is transferred between tanks.
Can Ich live on the live rock?
No, the Ich cannot live off of live rock because it needs a constant supply of saltwater to survive. Since most reef aquarists have their corals in freshwater only, the chances of transferring an ich-infected fish from one tank to another are slim to none.
Can ich stick on aquarium glass?
No, it will not stick to the glass and can be removed easily with a soft cloth or paper towel. However, if you have a heavily infected tank, it may be best to quarantine the fish until the ich dies off completely.
Can water changes cure Ich?
Water changes are not effective in curing ich, as they do not remove the parasite from the fish. However, they can help keep the symptoms under control and prevent secondary infections from spreading. You should perform 50% of your weekly water changes when treated with medication as an extra precaution.