Ich, also known as white spot disease, is very common in freshwater fishes. This is a fatal disease and can make your betta fish suffer from a life-threatening condition. In the worst case, your betta can even pass away.
Being knowledgeable about the symptoms of ich and its treatment is necessary to treat your fish at early stages. So, how to treat ich in betta fish? Let us find out.
Ich or white spot disease is a common disease caused by external parasites. Treatment includes salt and heat treatment and medical treatment. Quarantining new batches of fish, plants, and invertebrates for 3-4 weeks will help prevent ich.
This article will discuss how to treat ich in betta fish, and also we will discuss what ich is and what are the symptoms of ich in betta fish. So, let us get into it.
- 1 What is ich?
- 2 What are the symptoms of ich in betta fish?
- 3 Can betta fish die from ich?
- 4 Best ich treatment for betta fish
- 5 How to prevent my betta fish from ich?
- 6 Conclusion:
What is ich?
Ich, which is also known as the white spot disease, is caused by the external protozoan parasite.
The name of that external protozoan parasite is Ichthyophthirius multifiliis.
Ich causes multiple white spot diseases on your betta fish body which is visible to the naked eye.
Ich has three life cycle stages:
- One is a parasitic trophont.
- Second is the reproductive tomont.
- And, the last one is an infective theront.
Let us discuss how these life cycle stages work.
A parasitic trophont lives in the host’s body (Infected betta fish body) and keeps damaging your fish’s tissues.
The host provides all things like food that the parasitic trophont requires for their growth.
When the parasitic trophont gets matures, it leaves the host body and reaches the bottom of the tank.
The parasitic trophont now produces the cyst wall to become a reproductive tomont.
Now, every tomont gets divided into one cell to two cells, and in this manner, the multiple division carries on.
You must know that one cyst produces around a hundred to thousand infective theront.
The infective theront leaves the cyst and swims in the water, searching for fish to attack.
Once they find their host, they get attached to it and feed on their tissues.
The infective theront again becomes the parasitic trophont by feeding on the host’s tissues, and the cycle continues.
Also Read: How Do You Treat Fin Rot In Betta Fish?
What are the symptoms of ich in betta fish?
All these are the symptoms you have to look for when detecting if your betta fish is suffering from ich:
- Your betta fish will develop white spots all over the body.
- Your sick betta will become lethargic.
- Your betta will rub their skin against rocks and plants.
- Your sick betta fish will try to hide from other tank mates.
- You will notice sudden flashing behavior in your sick betta fish.
Look for all these symptoms in your betta fish to detect if it is suffering from ich disease.
Your betta fish will develop a white spot all over their body; in some cases, their fin will also develop white spots.
The white spot will appear as a sprinkle of salt all over the body.
Your betta fish will come under stress because of itching and loss of appetite and will become lethargic.
Betta fish suffering from ich will feel itchiness and try to rub their body against the objects in the tank, like rocks and plants.
Sick betta fish will show hiding behavior as they will become weak and lose their immunity, so to not get threatened by other tankmates, sick betta will prefer to hide most of the time.
You will notice your betta fish flashing itself against the objects to get relief from itchiness.
Also read: Why Is My Betta Fish Not Active?
Can betta fish die from ich?
Ich can be fatal for your betta fish if not treated at early stages.
Your betta fish can die from ich if not appropriately treated.
Ich or white spot disease is a common disease among freshwater fishes.
This disease requires medical attention for treatment.
It is easy to prevent and challenging to cure when it reaches the advanced stage.
So, we should always try to prevent our betta fish from such issues.
Best ich treatment for betta fish
All these are the treatment you can consider to treat your betta fish from ich:
- Salt and water treatment.
- Treating betta with medication.
- Heating treatment.
Salt and water treatment
Using aquarium salt will help you eliminate the ich from the tank.
Add one teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon of water.
Follow these steps to treat ich using aquarium salt:
- Add one teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon of water. (You can increase or decrease the quantity according to the instructions given on the back of the aquarium salt).
- Perform a 30% water change every two days.
- Make sure to add the amount of salt to the water lost during the water change.
- Perform this treatment for the next ten days and keep monitoring your sick fish.
- After ten days, start performing a water change you usually do, but this time don’t add salt.
- Keep performing a water change until your betta tank gets salt free.
If your betta fish doesn’t recover from ich using salt treatment, proper medical treatment will be necessary.
You can also treat your betta ich with proper medication.
To treat betta fish, you must use a medicine containing malachite green or methylene blue.
We advise you to visit your fish vet before applying any medication.
There are many other diseases that look like ich but are not life-threatening.
Diseases like fin ray fractures look like white spot disease but are not as critical as white spot disease.
It is very much necessary to be clear about the dosage to apply while medication your sick betta fish.
If you end up underdosing your sick betta, the ich will not get eliminated, and if you end up overdosing, your fish can suffer more than recovering.
So, it is necessary to read all the instructions given in the medicine and consult your vet before applying any medication.
Increasing the water temperature will help you eliminate the parasite from the tank.
Consider slowly increasing the water temperature up to 82 °F.
You can increase the water temperature up to 82 °F as your betta fish will live comfortably in this temperature.
The parasite will not be able to survive in these water temperatures, which will help you to eliminate them from the tank.
Don’t increase the temperature by once; consider increasing it to 1 Fahrenheit a day.
How to prevent my betta fish from ich?
Ensure all these things to prevent your betta fish from ich:
- Quarantine all the new fishes, invertebrates, and plants before adding them to your betta fish tank.
- Provide your betta fish with adequate water conditions.
- Feed your betta fish regularly with high-quality food.
- Provide your betta fish with a stress-free environment.
Quarantine all the new fishes, invertebrates, and plants.
Quarantining all the new batches of fish, invertebrates, and plants is very much necessary to prevent your betta fish from such issues.
Ich is contagious and can spread all over the tank, infecting all your fish.
Quarantining fish, invertebrates, and plants will prevent ich and other diseases and parasites from entering your betta fish tank.
Isolate a new batch of fish for 4-6 weeks in a separate tank with separate equipment.
Isolate invertebrates for 3-4 weeks in a separate tank with separate equipment.
Isolate plants in a separate tank with no fish for one to two weeks with separate equipment.
The reason for isolating plants without fish is that the parasitic cycle will fail as there will be no fish to feed.
Provide adequate water conditions
You must know that ich catches fish with a low immune system.
If your betta fish is weak and have a low immune system, it will be vulnerable to ich.
Betta fish living in poor water conditions will become stressed and weak.
To ensure good water conditions, perform a weekly water change of at least 35%.
Doing a water change will help you keep the water clean.
Treating fresh water with a water conditioner before adding it to your betta fish tank is necessary to eliminate chlorine.
We recommend using the API water conditioner to treat the water, as it will help you eliminate chlorine, chloramine, ammonia, nitrite, and heavy metals from the water.
A good filtration system will also help you keep the water clean and safe from harmful toxins like ammonia and nitrite.
You can consider using a Fluval high-performance aquarium filter for your tank.
It will ensure that your water is clean and protected from harmful toxins like ammonia and nitrite.
Also, it is necessary to regularly check ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate and ensure to keep ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm, whereas nitrate should be below 20 ppm.
Even a small amount of ammonia can make your betta fish suffer from life-threatening conditions.
We recommend using the API freshwater master test kit to check your fish tank’s ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH level, as it shows an accurate result.
Feed regularly with high-quality food.
Feeding your betta fish regularly with high-quality food will keep them strong and healthy and help prevent issues like ich.
Feed your betta fish 2-3 pellets twice a day, keeping a 12-hour gap between each feeding.
Quantity more than that will result in overfeeding, and your betta can suffer from constipation and bloating due to overfeeding.
Bettas are carnivore fish and require meat-based high, protein food in their daily diet.
The staple part of your betta fish diet will be betta pellets.
You can feed your betta fish with Tetra Betta Floating Food, as it contains all the nutritional value your betta fish require to stay healthy and enhance their color.
Feed them with live, freeze-dried, or frozen food like brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, daphnia, bloodworms, and tubifex worms as a treat for one to two times a week.
Also read: H
Provide stress-free environment
Providing a stress-free environment for your betta fish is necessary to prevent them from such issues.
Stress weakens your betta fish, making them vulnerable to diseases like ich.
Ensure all these things to provide your betta fish with a stress-free environment:
- Ensure adequate water temperature by keeping it between 78-82 °F. (Add a heater to stabilize the water temperature)
- Maintain ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm and nitrate below 20 ppm.
- Add plenty of aquatic plants to your betta fish tank, which will help you mimic their natural habitat and keep the tank clean and well-oxygenated.
- Avoid overcrowding your betta fish tank by following the one-inch one-gallon rule. (One inch of fish per gallon of water)
- Feed your betta fish regularly two to three pellets two times a day with high-quality food.
Ich, also known as white spot disease, is caused by the external protozoan parasite.
You can treat ich by using aquarium salt, medication, and heating treatment.
Adding one teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon for ten days will eliminate infective theront from the water.
Using a medication with proper vet recommendations will also help you eliminate ich.
Ich parasite cannot survive in increased water temperature, so bringing the water temperature to 82 °F will eliminate ich.
Quarantining new fish, invertebrates, and plants and maintaining good water conditions will help you prevent your betta fish from ich.