ICH (ICK) Life Cycle and Natural Treatment

  • #1
ICH LIfe Cycle Information provided in the Fish Lore link below:
Ich Fish Disease

Natural Treatment:

When dealing with ICH, the entire tank should be treated. If 1 fish has the parasite then chances are good that the entire tank is infected. If you move the ill fish to a Quarantine tank, then you will probably have to treat 2 tanks. Personally I use the increased heat method and no salt:

My treatment for ICH without Medications (no salt) w/100% survival rate:

Increase the tanks temperature to 86 degrees and leave it there for a full two week period. Even if the fish appear to be free of the parasite, leave the temperature increased for the full two weeks. Raise the temperature slowly throughout the day. 2 degrees per hour should be fine.

Warmer water requires more oxygen so adding an air stone / supply line may help.

Do two gravel vacuums each week to remove the spores that fall off the fish and into the substrate. Make sure the new water is the same (86) temperature as what is in the tank. If your tank is heavily planted, vacuum lightly so that you do not disturb the plant roots.

Adding Garlic Guard or garlic juice onto the fish food 2 or 3 times each week will help to boost the fishes immune system. (link below for garlic juice):

"Benefits of garlic:
Purifies blood; detoxifies; lowers cholesterol levels; lowers blood pressure; blood thinner; prevents blood clots; boost immune system; prevents heart disease and strokes; destroys cancer cells; muscle relaxant; antibiotic; antifungal; suppresses growth of tumors

Making your own juice, recipe:
Using a medium size bulb; peel cloves apart, snip off ends; microwave cloves for 5 to 10 seconds to pop hulls; remove hulls; cut the length of the cloves in thin slices; place in cup of hot (from tap) water; cover, and let sit at room temperature for 12 hrs; mash the cloves and strain for immediate use; refrigerate until needed. good for two to three weeks.
The longer the cloves soak, the stronger the solution."

It may take more than 1 try when using Garlic. If the fish ignore the foods soaked in garlic, try it again the next day. Be careful not to over feed your fish!

Vita chem (for additional vitamins) added to the fish food and directly into the tank will help the fishes overall health. Follow the directions on the bottle.

It's been my experience that salt isn't necessary with the heat treatment. Salt may also cause live plants to melt in a freshwater tank.

If one feels they need to use salt, then one should also be using a hydrometer to measure salt levels.

Salt For Fish Diseases | Freshwater Beginners 139048
(see post #32 in the link above)

ICH may appear to get worse, before it gets better. It may take several days before you see a decrease in the white spots/parasite.

It is not recommended to use the increased heat method along with medications. Choose 1 or the other. I only suggest medications if you are experiencing fish loss. If you are using medicines, then please follow the directions on the label, to the letter. Using smaller doses than what is suggested on the label, may not be sufficient to rid the parasite from the tank itself. You may see it disappear from the fish but that doesn't mean it has all been removed from your filter and substrate.
(Note: Some medicines may harm invertebrates, again, check the label)

Once the ICH has been removed via the heat treatment, there is no need to treat again with medications. Remember you are trying to mimic a natural environment and the fewer chemicals and medications you use, the better off your fish are going to be.

Amphibians and Invertebrates are not susceptible to ICH.

If you have a planted aquarium, most plants should survive the increased heat method. The plants do not have to be removed from the aquarium.

You do not have to remove decorations from your tank and you do not need to replace your filtration. The increased heat will remove the ICH from all of these.

Medication (last resort):

I've never used this product myself but I have seen it mentioned, used on the forum and with success:

I highly recommend Quarantine for all new fish:
Quick and dirty quarantine setup


Best wishes for your fish!


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