Betta Fish Ich (White Spots) w/ Pictures: How to Treat

betta fish white spots
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Last Updated: May 26, 2022 by Dave Gibbins

Ich is a very common disease that appears in fish. Ich can be a problem that seemingly springs up out of nowhere, and at first, may be hard to notice on your fish. While Ich may not be seen as bad other health problems, it can still kill your fish if not treated fast enough.

Here we will teach you how to spot Betta fish ich and the best ways to get rid of it. To start though we are going to go over exactly what this issue is.

What is Ich?

Ich is actually a parasitic disease, caused by single-celled parasites, that need to immediate host. Due to this fact, these parasites can reproduce and survive for a period of time without a food source. This makes their population a little bit harder to control, and also a complete pain when they find their way into your aquarium.

They can also be incredibly hard to spot, especially before attaching to your fish thanks to their small size. The parasite, especially once attached to the host fish can reproduce. This quickly worsens the disease within days every fish in your aquarium will have parasites on their body.

To completely wipe them out you will need to act fast and assume there is a lot more in the water than what’s on your fish. Betta fish ich needs to be treated like a disease that can come back, instead of a one-shot cure-all due to the parasite’s hardiness.

Also note, that a single mature parasite can produce between 100 to 1,000 offspring, this can happen within a 24-hour timeframe.

Betta fish ich symptoms

Ich or White Spot in Betta Fish

To identify Betta fish Ich, you will need to wait for the parasite to attach to its host. After the parasite has made its way onto your Betta, you will start to see white spots develop on their body. The spots have been noted to look like pieces of salt to many aquarium owners.

You may also notice that your fish has cloudy eyes or that they are breathing faster than normal. In cases with fast gill movement, you may be able to see tiny white spots when the gills open.

The behavioral signs of ich are pretty strange as well. In cases where the parasite has infected the gills, the fish may try to stay near the top or bottom of the aquarium to help their breathing. Infected fish also start to starve themselves, and may grow thin quickly.

Betta’s will also start to hideaway more or rest on the bottom of the aquarium more than they swim around. You may also notice that your fish seems to be trying to scratch themselves against decorative objects or the side of the aquarium, a symptom that is also present in Betta velvet disease.

How to prevent ich on fish

To prevent Betta fish ich there are a few steps you can take to make the aquarium an inhospitable place for the parasite. One of the top causes of parasites making your way into an aquarium is the addition of new fish. Since Ich is so hard to spot, you may not notice that a newly bought fish is infected until it’s too late.

Before you add any new fish to your aquarium, try to keep them quarantined for up to a week. You should also keep this process in mind before adding plants to your tank, as well. This includes natural rocks that you may have collected to add in, for rocks or would be sure to air dry them for a few days. Along with this, be sure to change your water and keep up with scheduled aquarium maintenance/cleaning.

As with keeping almost any health problems in check, keep your aquarium at a constant. Fluctuating betta tank water temperature or PH levels can create an environment for parasites to grow. In fact, the parasite responsible for ich won’t even be able to reproduce unless the water is 72º to 77ºF. When you think about it that’s actually a pretty small window for reproduction.

Additionally, only feed your fish properly stored food, that hasn’t been opened for more than a month. Parasites love to work their way into decaying food, and this gives them easy entry inside your fish.

Betta fish ich treatment

Ich can be a little bit tricky to treat since it gets inside of your fish’s body. To properly treat ich we are going to need to kill the parasites. Since they have attached to your Betta fish though using chemicals or things that could quickly remove them could also kill your fish.

Chemical treatment is still possible, but you will need to follow very careful steps in order to successfully get rid of the pests. First, start by putting your betta in a smaller tank, and clean out the main one. This will allow you to focus on a smaller affected area, making you use fewer chemicals. Be sure to measure out the medicine perfectly to avoid damage to your Betta.

A safer and much easier method of getting rid of Ick is by turning up the temperature in your aquarium. Ick is an incredibly temperature-sensitive parasite and will die at higher temperatures. Do this by slowly increasing the tank water up to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Bettas can successfully tolerate this temperature and it will not be favorable for the parasites. Many aquarium owners add aquarium salt to help remove the parasite, as well.

While your betta fish is healing in their hospital tank clean out the main tank and even consider letting it air dry for a few days. This includes any rocks or decorations that also may be in the tank if you have aquatic plants quarantine them for a week to kill any parasites.

Don’t be afraid to use chemical cleaners on the empty tank, just thoroughly wash it out a few times after your are done. Without a host and proper temperature, the parasites won’t be able to reproduce at all or for long. It’s suggested to let this process take 10 days or at the very least a week.

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