How To Prevent, Avoid, & Fix Ich on Aquarium Fish? How to identify Ich? What are the early symptoms of ich?

Ich is a very common illness & it is a parasite that catches fish. Your fish may get ich & its cure is very simple. Ich can kill your fish so take care of your fish & treat them on time to save them. You can use a number of treatments to save your fish from ich, but if not treated well, it can affect your fish health.

Ich is a white spot illness. Many hobbyists think that ich is present in most of the fish tanks. Because of its presence in most of the tanks, your fish might come in contact with it, but due to the immune system of the fish, fish fights against ich & can stop ich from showing its symptoms. Fish having weak immunity could develop ich because they are unable to fight it & fish living in captivity with poor water quality could have weak immune system & also those under stress could get ich. Stress reduces the immunity of fish & ich parasites usually show symptoms in a stressed fish.

Fish can be stressed if the temperature is either hot or cold than the required temperature for fish. Or if the water quality is poor. Or fish in your tank are aggressive or those that stresses other fish by chasing them, or you do not take good care of how much you feed your fish, & more things can stress your fish, but new fish could be stressed when you buy it from shops & due to mishandling your fish might stress them. Also, it is difficult for a new fish to adjust in a new environment & with new mates.

Signs of ich on fish
Signs of ich on fish

Recognize Ich symptoms on a fish:

It is very easy to recognize ich on a new fish & ich can be spotted as white spots on fish body & gills. In some situations, you will find its symptoms just on the gills of fish. Due to the spread of ich, your fish may start scratching its body against sides & bottom of the aquarium. Ich can affect the respiratory system, severe agitation, your fish might not eat well due to this disease, & could finally die.

What are the early symptoms of ich disease?

If you recognize ich early, you can easily cure your fish, & most of the fish can be completely cured. Ich is different from other illnesses because it has a life cycle.

1. Parasite stage of Ich:

The ich catches a fish, & starts eating the skin & tissue, which cause irritation.

As it attaches itself to the body of the fish, it hurts your fish & makes a wound. Fish infection with ich attempts to save itself & a white, crusty wall covers the ich inside. It makes a white spot on the fish which can be seen.

This white spot is not ich itself, but it is a seal which covers the ich. Hence ich can’t be treated with medicines added to the fish tank because the white crusty wall is covering it.

It is easy to spot ich in this stage because you can see a white spot easily on the fish body or gills.


2. Intermediate stage of Ich:

After maturity of ich, it erupts through the white covering & starts floating around to attach itself to a hard surface, mostly it attaches itself to your fish tank bottom.

A white crust which is protecting the wound is removed, & the wound is unprotected. This is the time when your fish can get an infection or fungus.


3. Reproductive stage of Ich:

Ich present on the bottom of the aquarium, covering itself in a seal, which is like an egg. Inside that covering, it creates numerous fries. Due to the covering of the egg, the fries are safe from medicines added to the aquarium.


4. Infectious stage of Ich:

After hatching of the egg, all babies spread in the aquarium. They are looking for new targets. Fries can only live for a few days. If they can’t find any fish to attach themselves to, they will die.

Higher temperature increases the speed of ich life cycle.

After seeing white spots on the fish body or gills, most commonly your fish has ich parasite. You need to add quick treatment to protect the fish. Due to fast reproduction of ich, it is very important to save your aquarium because one mature ich can reproduce numerous ich babies within 24 hours if your aquarium temperature is kept between 22 to 25 Degree Celsius.

How to cure ich disease on a fish?

Read how to save fish from ich disease:

Chemical Treatment for Ich:

It is difficult to cure ich because it hides inside fish’s skin & gills, & infected fish is not able to tolerate higher concentrated doses which is able to kill ich present in the fish’s tissues. It is easy to treat mature and baby ich parasites when it is present in the water & before it attaches itself to the fish body.

You can move the infected fish to a new small aquarium where you need to treat this fish only without curing other healthy fish, & in this way you don’t need a high dose of chemicals due to the small size of the aquarium.


Add Salt and Increase Water Temperature for treating Ich:

You can use more ways to treat ich including adding salt, increasing temperature, & water change is also a good way to treat ich. This disease normally lives inside fish for 5 days to 1 week when your tank water temperature is kept between 22 to 25 Degree Celsius. You must continue this treatment for 5 to 7 days to remove ich from the sick fish. Full life cycle of ich finishes in 6 days when your aquarium temperature is kept between 24 to 25 Degree Celsius.

Ich life cycle speeds up with increase in temperature. It is suggested to increase temperature of water to around 30 Degree Celsius if your fish are able to survive it, during treating your infected fish, which will increase the life cycle of ich.


How to Prevent fish from Ich:

It is better to save your fish from ich than treating the parasite. You must use careful protections to protect your fish from ich parasite. Setup your tank & add fish to it a week later. Ich babies when hatch from egg usually die when they can’t find a new target within 2 to 3 days.


Quarantining New Fish:

Fish carries a lot of illnesses, & they may look fine when you buy it from fish stores. Setup a new aquarium for fresh fish & observe it for at least 10 days before adding it to the main tank.

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