Is this ick or something else?

  • #1
I'm in the middle I'm in the middle of losing a neon tetra, And also at that same time noticed what I thought was just air bubbles on the driftwood. But when I reached in just now to wipe them off it was more like dandruff. Is this ick? I need to treat rapidly? What do I use to treat? How did I get it? see photos and please help.
And if it matters first treatment. Freshwater tank, 55 gallon, 30 neon tetras, 4 Ottocinclus t and one stick catfish(Felowalla). Gravel bottom tank, approximately 6 live plants
the only new introduction to the tank was some Live plants approximately 30 days ago.
I can rub it off the driftwood by hand, bilut it takes some effort. I simply thought it was bubbles as that's what it looked like.


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  • #2
It's something else. The only visible sign of Ich is on infected fish.

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  • #3
Okay. Strange. The neon tetra that is struggling does not look like it has anything on its skin eyes or anything. It looks clean from the best I can tell.
  • #4
Okay. Strange. The neon tetra that is struggling does not look like it has anything on its skin eyes or anything. It looks clean from the best I can tell.
How are your water parameters? You could use the emergency template but it will be difficult to diagnose if there are no physical symptoms. How long have you had the neons? They are not very hardy these days. The last time I kept them I had the occasional random death and after a couple of years there was only a few left out of a dozen.
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  • #5
What is the water volume of the tank? 55 gal
How long has the tank been running? 2 yr
Does it have a filter? Yes Tidal 110
Does it have a heater? Yes
What is the water temperature? 77 degrees
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) 30 neon Tetras, 4 Ottocinclus, 1 stick catfish- Farlowella

How often do you change the water? Weekly
How much of the water do you change? 50%
What do you use to treat your water? Tetra Aquasafe
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Once per month substrate

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes
What do you use to test the water? No
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: unknown
Nitrite: unknown
Nitrate: unknown. (I need something very easy to use as I don't understand any of this. Digital meter to tell ne?
pH: unknown. (I rescued these from our office. They were going to flush them.)

How often do you feed your fish? Once a day
How much do you feed your fish? A pinch
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Aqueous and Hikari
Do you feed frozen? No
Do you feed freeze-dried foods? No

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 1.75 yrs
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? 3 days ago, But had lost another 11 month ago.
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Neon tetra Not swimming correctly. Upside Upside down, seems like it has Vertigo. And now I noticed white dots on the driftwood and glass but nothing on fish
Have you started any treatment for the illness? Changed half the tank Saturday, quarter of the tank and sub today
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? odd swimming, vertigo

Explain your emergency situation in detail.
(Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)

I lost I lost one neon tetra about a month ago, but also noticed I was missing 2 auto sinkless. That means 3 fish were dead in a matter of a couple months, and now I'm losing another neon tetra that's behaving the same way as the previous 1 that died. But now I'm also noticing white spots on the driftwood, in the glass as well. I do not have snails.

Include pictures
Life had I've had these neons Close to 2 years. But I lost 1 about 30 days ago, along with apparently 2 Ottocinclus sometime within that month or 2. I never had any trouble for nearly 2 years until recently. The biggest change was live plant introduction Starting around 8 months ago. I was told to use liquid plant food, as well as the tablets under the roots, but I've stopped all that since noticing the 2nd fish dying. Since I had zero issues for nearly 2 years, I'm eliminating potential factors. That being the plant tablets and liquid plant food and if all of the plants die so be it.
  • #6
We are flying blind without knowing your water parameters. We can assume that the tank is cycled if you haven’t recently replaced all of your filter media at once. There should also be minimal nitrates with that level of stocking and 50% weekly water changes. It would be helpful to confirm though - If you don’t want to buy a test kit maybe you could take a water sample to your LFS and have it tested. Make sure to record the results and post them here for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. Results for pH, KH & GH would also be handy if they will also do that for you.

If your water tests ok I don’t think you have too much to be concerned about at this stage. The occasional loss of a neon over a 2 year period of time doesn’t necessarily mean that you have an infectious disease issue. I don’t know what is on your wood, it looks like eggs?

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  • #7
What eggs? The Ottocinclus? What about on the glass?

I was I will see if I can get the water tested, but I do change the water every week, I have not changed the filter media. I've done that sequence for a couple of years now and it's been very successful. But the white Dots on the driftwood, and glass Is definitely new. Last plants I added was about 3 weeks ago. Thanks again everyone
LFS= Local fire station?
  • #8
Look into vorticella.
Strong chance what you have was introduced with new plant.
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Haha. Thank you for the clarification, as the local Fish store is 30 min away. Probably best if I purchase a test kit come up but I need something easy to get the main results I need. I'm not good at the drops and the strips and all that
  • #11
Think on the wood we're looking at mold / fungus.

  • #12
The white specks on the wood will probably be tiny organisms and Vorticella has been mentioned as a possibility. These would be filtering food particles and bacteria out of the water column I think.

I don't think you should be seeing this issue. Normally there isn't enough nutrients/bacteria available in the water column to sustain these tiny organisms. So perhaps you are overfeeding? Neon Tetras only need half a flake per day each in order to maintain their bodyweight according to a scientific experiment I am aware of.

In my experience it is normal to lose the odd Neon Tetra every couple of months however well you keep them. It can be hard to diagnose why a fish dies if there are no external signs and it's not a problem with the whole group.

I'd suggest that a basic essential for fishkeeping is regular maybe monthly water testing with something like the API test kit for Ammonia and Nitrate and maybe some other tests on occasion such as for pH and nitrite.

Also a thermometer on the front glass top corner. There are small stick-on ones. I keep Neons between 68 and 73F after reading about the temperatures in the jungle streams they originally come from. I noticed the males were less inclined to stake out territories and fight at these lower temperatures.

The main problem with Neon Tetras is getting healthy stock in the first place as they seem very susceptible to Columnaris when first purchased. The store may be already losing them and fish for sale may already have advanced disease. I heard of a store that removed 50 dead ones from the shop tank before opening every day. One of my local stores was asking me what to do about it indicating that they had a big problem with losses. I have found a shop that acclimatises carefully and is able to avoid selling me fish with Columnaris. If you buy Neons with Columnaris you will likely experience heavy losses until things stabilise somewhat and your fish can carry signs of the disease for months afterwards. They may carry it until they become old and the disease will typically infect the gills and finish them off in old age I've found.
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  • #13
Thank you Thank you for all the information regarding neon's and fish in general. Since I got all the neons from a very young age, they were really small, I was hoping to have them for 10 years or something like that before losing any. But I get the occasional one. I just wasn't happy to lose 2 in such rapid succession, along with finding out that 2 of the Ottocinclus had disappeared AKA must have died.

The funny The funny thing about the Ottos,one day I noticed a tiny little thing moving around on the glass, and I grabbed a magnifying glass and found that it was a tiny microscopic Ottocinclincus! Maybe after they breed they eat the other males? Haha

Anyway, I did now have a roughly 5 or 6 month old Ottocinclust from that birth. I was not trying, pet no idea that there was pregnancy, had no idea how to make the tape safe, but one made it. I don't know how many there was originally but unhopeful just 1. I wouldn't want to think about how many could have died by my fault. So please don't mention it. :)

So i've locked So I've lost a couple of neons and some Ottos, but I have a new birth from the Otto and have over the months added a couple more so maybe I'll h ave some more births in the future.

The tank seems better today for some reason, but I'm still going to try to find the necessary testing equipment. Thank you again everyone for all your help.
  • #14
The tank seems better today for some reason, but I'm still going to try to find the necessary testing equipment. Thank you again everyone for all your help.
The cheapest way to obtain most of the tests that you will ever need is probably to get the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. Then you might add the GH & KH Test Kit separately.

Otocinclus are a bit like neons in that they are prone to random die offs. Although if they are going to die they usually do so within the first few months particularly if the tank does not contain a lot of biofilm for them to eat (such as a reasonably new setup). If they make it through the first few months they are usually ok. I have only a few in a 65gal that has been running for years but I still give them supplementary feed in the form of blanched cucumber and zucchini.
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  • #15
I just ordered I just ordered a nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia test strips. I think it covers a ph and hardness as well. I should have it by Friday and I'll post the results Friday night or Saturday to see if it has anything to do with the white spots or what's shown on the glass.
That's sound That sounds very similar to mind. The stick catfish has been alive for 4 years. I kept him/her alive in the office, and now multiple years here in my house. I do the same with supplementing zucchini and algae wafers

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