Latin name: Ichthyophthirius multifiliis Other names: white spot Pathogen:
Microscopic examination of skin and gills scrape shows rotating ciliated infusoria,
Fish do not react to anything,
Fish hang near the surface with heads up,
Fish itch (fish scratch on the rocks and other objects),
Fish stop feeding,
Very small whitish-yellowish spots,
Initially, fish may rub against hard objects and hang near aeration bubbles. Small white growths are visible on the body and fins. Fish will look like it is covered in grains of salt. The infection will cause breathing at the surface and fast respiration. Sick fish stop feeding and do not react to external irritants. Heavy losses will almost certainly ensue. Microscopic examination of scrapings of skin and gill filaments will show infusoria.
The disease is caused by Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, a species of ciliate protozoan. It is oval or round and measures 0.5 to 1.0 mm in size. An adult parasite penetrates the skin. A fully developed trophont falls from the fish, attaches itself to any solid object and secretes a cyst. The encysted cell undergoes rapid division over approximately twenty-four hours to produce up to 2000 daughter cells. New organisms start swimming in search of a host using cilia. They must find a host within 2 or 3 days or they will die. Adult organism can parasite on almost any fish infecting fins, in the epithelium, and gills. Young Ichthyophthirius multifiliis is very small and cannot be seen wihout a microscop or magnifying glass. After 2 or 3 days of parasitism, it reaches up to 0.3-1 mm in diameter and can be seen with the naked eye. The infection is visible in the form of characteristic whitish-grey spots that resemble small grains of sand or salt that first cover the gills, then spread to the fins and finally the whole body. These ‘grains of salt’ ulcers that form in the place where the parasite burrows under the skin. The parasite is introduced into the aquarium with feed, water, plants, and gravel (if it has not been boiled or tempered) taken from natural reservoirs as well as with fish, plants, water or equipment from a contaminated tank.
How to cure:
Infected fish are treated in the main tank with brand-name medications (Super Ich Cure by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, Faunomor by Aquarium Munster and Costapur by Sera), as they do not harm plants and biofilters. For the treatment period, coal, zeolites, peat and other suchlike fillers should be removed from filters. Faunomor should be dosed according to the manufacturer’s instruction. Super Ick Cure and Costapur should be given tree times every other day (e.g. the medication should be given on the first, third, and fifth day of treatment). It recommended to double the dose of Costapur. Medication should be given at night (as it is dissolves in the light). Before medication is administered it is advisable to carry out a 15 % water change, provide strong aeration, and apply a superfine filter pad (which effectively stops swimming infusorians). A slight increase in water temperature (no more than 2 degrees) could be beneficial. Add salt (large or sea salt), concentration depends on the fish species (from 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons per 10L of water). If there are precious plants in the main tank, it is better not to use salt. Simultaneous addition of Sera ectopur leads to a quicker recovery of the fish and helps to deal with other ectoparasits as it causes them to detach from the fish’s skin. It is also a good disinfectant as it contains various oxygen-emitting salts. TetraMedica General Tonic can also prove beneficial. “Little white salt grains” should start to disappear from the skin on the 2nd or 4th day. On the 6th day carry out a water change and add activated carbon into the filter. After several days, bring water temperature back to the normal range.
Super Ick Cure îò Aquarium Pharmaceuticals
Faunomor îò Aquarium Munster
Costapur îò Sera
ContraIck îò TetraMedica
General Tonic îò TetraMedica
The odd parasite is present in almost any aquarium, but remains dormant. Unsatisfactory environmental conditions such as stress, sudden decreases in temperature, poor diet as well as transportation may lead to explosive and damaging outbreaks.