My first ICH Article

  • #1
Here it is

ICH is one of the most common aquarium diseases and it's effect can be major if not treated.
This guide will help many with treating ICH, as many do.

Description & Life Cycle:

ICH, also known as Ichthyophthirius is an extremely comon parasite that affects aquarium fish.
It is highly infectious and potentially lethal and manifests as tiny white spots all over the fish.
ICH is also known as Ick (Not sure why though) or white spot disease (Because it causes small
cysts to form on the skin of infected fish). ICH is a free floating organism that searches the aqu-
-arium for host that it can attach to. ICH in most cases starts in the gills - where we humans can
not see with the human eye. In other cases, the ICH parasite will attach itself to the outside of
the fish, feeding on the bodily fluids. The ICH is not visible until a cyst forms and making the
grain like appearence to us. Once the the parasite grows to big for it's own cyst (overgrowing and
breaking it), will break off (Called theront). The theront will fall off and attach itself to somewhere
in and on something in the aquarium. Once it settles, it will turn into trophont. Once turned into
trophont, it will reproduce hundreds of more ICH parasites (tomites) into the aquarium within
a few days; thus restarting the cycle.

Most common causes of ICH:

In most cases, when a fish is stressed, its immune system will lower < causing ICH to be able to
affect the fish. This is why you see new fish most commonly get it. Why is because the transport'
will cause stress on the fish + the intoduction to the new tank; and like I said, stress affects the
immune system of the fish and gives it more of a chance for ICH to enter. There are actually a
few main causes to ich: General water quality, ammonia in particular. High ammonia level is the #1
cause of “stress”, ich and death; Super stress from transport; and other fish effecting one another.

Symptoms of ICH:

Usually the first sign of ICH is when the fish start scrathing against objects in the aquaria. The fish
'scratch' against things because they are trying to rub off the ICH parasites, that's how bother some
those parasites are to the fish. Also, another and most obvious of the symptoms of ICH is when the
ICH parasites start to show on the body of the fish. They look like grains of salt sprinkled on the fish.
It will usually take 5-10 days before they start to die, so start treating immediatly one the sign of

Treating ICH:

  • Raise your temperature of your tank to 84ºF - 86ºF (Heat rapidly speeds up the metabolism~Life
    of the ICH, making them fall off the fish faster). If your fish is a coldwater species, stick to the
    salt treat ment of ICH.

  • Start doing regular water changes but with a gravel vacuum (The purpose of this is to suck up any
    of the fallen off spores of ICH on the gravel plus it will also help improve the water quality, thus
    helping bring up the immune system of the fish).

  • ** Add more oxygen to the tank by adding aeration (When the ICH is in the gills of the fish, it makes
    it harder for them to breath). It will help the fish with it's breathing regulation.

  • ** Add roughly one teaspoon of salt per gallon of water. (You can adjust this amount depending on
    how salt tolerant you fish are). Use aquarium salt, not table salt. Also, the scaleless fish or most
    invertabrates aren't fond of salt so don't use it if you have any. And no, Freshwater inverts cannot
    carry freshwater fish disease so it is possible to separate them when treating your tank.

(** = Optional)

Keep up this treatment for a minimum of 1-2 weeks.
Once your are done with your treatment and you are sure of that the fish are rid of it, keep the temp
up at 84-86 for one more week, just as a precaution.
Hope you all like, I worked on it for a bit.
MD Angels
  • #2
Very nice article, PHP. Clearly you spent a lot of time on this and did your research. Good job!
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thank you MD Angels, I have quite some experience with ICH myself as well.
MD Angels
  • #4
Yeah, unfortunately, its something we all seem to encounter at some point. Good to know about Freshwater inverts not being able to transfer it. I did not know that before!
  • #5
Great job !!!

You can tell the time and effort you put into it.....

Good information, will be very helpful.
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Thank you

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