Diseases – White Spot

Diseases – White Spot

Water quality is paramount to fish health. Having the right water parameters gives you the best chance to minimize interactions with diseases, stunting of growth and death.

Due to the nature of fish keeping there are problems which can arise and need to be dealt with. Like any animals, fish are susceptible to a range of diseases and health problems. Occasionally fish can have issues such as tumors, major organ failure/diseases, metabolic diseases (diabetes etc). However, the overwhelming majority of problems involve external parasites, fungus, gill and bacterial infections.

It is important to note any body of water will be teaming with millions of bacteria, and nearly all fish carry small populations of parasites of which are waiting for an opportunity to present a problem. Generally speaking there needs to be a predisposing factor such as poor environmental conditions, poor nutrition, overcrowding or poor water quality. In addition to causing stress, this can depress the fish immune system. When adding new fish that appear healthy to the aquarium, they still may cause stress to the tank, which can also cause an outbreak of a disease. The disease could have already been present in your tank, but the new stress has provided it with an opportunity for an outbreak.

White spot

Is commonly known as itch or ick and is one of the most common diseases and is capable of affecting all fish species. The parasite will burrow in to the fishes gills, skin and feed off the skin cells and blood. In most cases, white spots on a fish is the first sign and or the fish rubbing against objects.

In severe cases, the fish may have a slimy appearance to their body, by the time this is noticed the tank would be well infested. The lifecycle of the parasite is to fall off of the fish and to then multiply producing up to 1000 new parasites, the entire life cycle is as little as 4–6 days.

Because the most vulnerable stage is when they are free swimming, it is necessary to treat the tank, because once a parasite has started to replicate , the tank is already contaminated. To treat the tank you should raise the temperature by four degrees and add a small amount of aquarium salt and your chosen appropriate medication.

Remember that because of their life cycle, and needing to treat the free swimming stage you will need to keep medicating your tank every few days or in some cases daily for the treatment to be thorough. The medicating process can take up to 3 weeks.

White spot breakouts can occur at any time however you should watch your tank closely after water changes as their can often be a relationship between; a drop in temperature and a white spot outbreak in fish that are weak. Fish that are stressed by an environmental change are more likely to suffer from a white spot outbreak.


Smaller species and scale-less fish will need to be treated at a half dose as they are more sensitive to medication.

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