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White Spot Disease: Definitive Treatment in 6 Steps 2023

White spot disease might be one of the most commonly encountered diseases. The cause of the disease is a type of parasite. Unfortunately, freshwater fish with white spot parasites can die if not treated.

One of the significant fish diseases, white spot disease is not difficult to diagnose and treat. If the treatment is done correctly and on time, your fish can recover from this disease.

White Spot Disease

We will discuss the symptoms and treatment of white spot disease, scientifically known as ichthyophthirius multifiliis (ich). The health of your fish is directly related to water quality and many other factors. If these values deteriorate, the bacteria and parasites that form can make your fish sick. The best treatment method is prevention.

White Spot Symptoms

Among the symptoms of white spot, the most recognizable ones are, of course, the white dots on the fish. In addition to this, fish with white spot begin to rub themselves against rocks and other objects. The disease progresses in three stages, and understanding these stages means getting a head start in its treatment.

  1. Stage: Trophont: This stage is when the disease settles in the fish. The parasite lodges itself between the fish’s skin and mucus, forming a cyst. Unfortunately, if you want to destroy the parasite at this stage, there’s nothing you can do.The cyst it forms will prevent any intervention. After the completion of the cyst formation, the parasite, which feeds on the fish, releases itself into the water.
  2. Stage: Tomite: Treatment is possible at this stage because the parasite has now released itself into the water and is looking for a place to latch onto. It begins to multiply, latching onto any surface indiscriminately. At this stage, the parasite is vulnerable to chemical treatment and can be eliminated.
  3. Stage: Thermont: The most probable treatment occurs at this stage. The parasites, having completed their reproduction, exit the cyst and mix into the water, starting to look for a stop to feed. Therefore, this stage is when white spot treatment will be most effective.

Definitive Treatment for White Spot Disease

This disease is among the easiest to treat, depending on the method of treatment. For a definitive solution, move the sick fish (or fishes) to a quarantine aquarium and monitor your other fish, applying the treatment to your main aquarium if necessary. Otherwise, the parasites in the main aquarium water will not die, and you won’t be able to eliminate the parasite.

We mentioned the stages to capture and eliminate the parasite species causing the disease above. If the white spots are visible on your fish and no delay was made in treatment, it will certainly work.

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Steps you need to follow:

  1. Gradually increase the aquarium water temperature over several days to 28 degrees Celsius first, and then again over several days up to 30 degrees. This process will make the parasite vulnerable. (Temperature values may vary depending on the fish species. Please gather information about your fish before performing these actions.)
  2. Add a teaspoon of rock salt for every 5 liters of water (Excessive amounts can harm the fish). This is crucial because some mistakenly use lemon salt or table salt instead of rock salt. If you are performing this process in a quarantine aquarium, you can also use a small amount of methylene blue.
  3. Change 30% of the water either daily or every two days (Pay attention to the change rate when reapplying salt and methylene blue).
  4. Continue this process for up to 10 days. Due to the water temperature, you should be able to see the white spots disappearing from the fish’s body.
  5. Observe your fish; at this stage, the improvement in your fish should be visible. Although rare, if there is no improvement, immediately obtain white spot medicine and start applying it, trying the treatment with the medication again.
  6. After the process, gradually reduce the temperature back to its normal level. Additionally, make a 70% water change to balance the salt ratio.

IMPORTANT WARNING: If you have plants, snails, shrimp, and stingrays in your aquarium, be sure to perform the salt or medication addition step in a quarantine tank. Otherwise, you may lose these organisms. Also, when you purchase a new fish, you should keep it in a quarantine aquarium for a few weeks to ensure it is not sick.

Whether you’re new to the aquarium hobby or have years of experience, there’s always a chance that you might encounter the white spot disease. Sometimes, this disease can manifest quickly and disappear on its own. However, most of the time, if left untreated, it can spread throughout your aquarium, resulting in all the fish becoming sick and, unfortunately, potentially leading to their death.

In this article, we discussed the white spot disease, its symptoms, and its treatment. We hope your fish returns to health soon.

Please, do not hesitate to write to us using the comment section below for your questions and comments.


Is White Spot Disease Fatal?

Though this disease is easy to diagnose and treat, if not treated correctly and in a timely manner, it can lead to the death of your fish. By following the treatment described in the article, you can save your fish.

Can White Spot Disease Be Transmitted to Humans?

No, white spot disease is not contagious to humans and does not pose any danger to them.

How Many Days Does White Spot Disease Treatment Take?

The treatment duration for white spot disease is 10 days. If there are no mistakes or omissions during this period, your fish will recover.

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