Possible ich help?

  1. ashleyb Member Member

    This morning when I woke up all my fish looked normal. When I came home seven hours later I noticed one of my velvet swordtails has a large white spot at the very tip of her tail, and another small spot on her dorsal fin. I'm not quite sure what this is yet, because the larger white spot seems way too big to be ich, it's the size of the tip of a pen. But the other spot looks like a small speck of sand. Neither of them look fuzzy.. I'm not sure if this is ich or the beginning of something else.. I haven't introduced anything new into the tank except a large lava rock. I know ich can develop at any time, but more so when you add new fish. Everyone has been here quite some time, the only new addition is the lava rock..

    Here is my tank setup:
    29 gallons
    80 degrees
    1 HOB and two sponge filters
    Bubble wand
    0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 20ppm nitrates
    Heavily planted
    Flourite black sand

    2 female red velvet swordtails
    2 female koi swordtails
    7 neon tetras
    1 mystery snail
    2 rabbit snails
    1 nerite snail

    None of the other fish show any symptoms of this. Everyone (including the swordtail in question) is behaving normally and appetites are good. I don't notice anyone showing any signs of lethargy or rubbing against any tank ornaments. My question is, should I start raising the temperature in the tank as a precaution? Or should I wait and see if this develops? Also, I know the neons are very sensitive to temperature and water parameters, would raising the temperature cause them to die? Would the snails be safe too? Because my snails are honestly my favorite part of my tank..

    I've been trying to take a picture of the sword but every time I come near the glass with my phone she hides in the plants. I'll try my best to get a picture soon.

    Guys, I just need to know if I should start raising the temperature in the tank now as a precaution.. Or if I should wait and see if it's a confirmed case of ich. And will the heat harm my neons or my snails. Please help!
  2. dcutl002 Well Known Member Member

  3. ashleyb Member Member

    For the life of me I can't get a clear picture of her. It's been a full day and the small spot that was near her head disappeared, but the larger spot on her tail still looks the same. All of the other fish are doing well. I haven't increased the heat in the tank because I'm not quite sure what I'm dealing with yet. Maybe it's just an injury? I have no idea. How long does ich typically take to really start showing?
  4. Charles556 Member Member

    Sounds a lot like Ich to me. The white spot falling off the fish is characteristic of the parasite, as that is a part of its life cycle. You can be sure that your entire tank is infected. Not sure about the larger spot on her tail, though.

    The sticky provided by dcut is very helpful; I used it to treat my tank.

    For now, I'd recommend raising the temperature of the tank by two degrees/hour until you get to 86 F, like the author of the sticky says. Doing so shouldn't harm any of your fish, live plants, or bb.

    The reason why people say not to keep neons or snails at higher temps is because if they're kept in the warmer water their entire lives, their lifespans will be severely shortened. Keeping the temp at 86 for 2 weeks will not harm your neons and snails and will actually bolster their immune systems.

  5. ashleyb Member Member

    But should I really be treating the entire tank and stressing everyone out because one swordtail has an odd white bump on her tail? And everyone (including her) is acting just fine with beautiful water chemistry? I don't notice any real symptoms of ich other than a bump on her tail. No lethargy, no rubbing against tank ornaments, they play and eat as if nothing is wrong, and not a single other fish shows any symptoms of a problem. I would normally just put her in a quarantine tank but it's currently being used to nurse an injured fish already.. I don't have two QTs. Wouldn't I be seeing symptoms from the other fish too if ich is all over the tank?

    Sorry, I'm not doubting your advice one bit. I'm just saying the white bump on her tail doesn't appear to be ich to me, and there isn't any others to be seen in the tank. It doesn't look fluffy or fuzzy either. It doesn't even look like an ulcer. It's just a little white dot sitting there and is larger than your typical ich speck. It doesn't resemble a grain of salt at all.

    I guess I'll start raising the temp just to be on the safe side. Thank you for replying. I'm really at a loss to what this could be, because it doesn't look like ich, columnaris, parasitic or bacterial from what I've researched. It doesn't resemble any of them! But I'll starting heating the tank just in case. Now that I can rest assured my neons and snails won't perish I'm more open to the idea. Thank you.
  6. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    You don't want to be raising the temp if you think it is a fungus, since elevated temps will make the fungus worse. I think I would just wait it out a little and see if anything gets worse.
  7. Charles556 Member Member

    I suppose it couldn't hurt to wait a day, and I suppose we can't rule out fungus, considering that fungi can infect fish with ich via the holes bored by the protozoan.

    According to the OP, the big white spot appeared after a 7 hour period. That means that the fungus would have either had to have grown on the fish in that period, or wait for an ich protozoan to bury itself into the fish skin, fall off, and then start to grow in the now reduced timeframe. I don't know how fast fish fungi can grow, so...

    However, there is one other thing I'd like to say. According to peteducation.com, the visible ich 'dots' can vary in size from .5 to 1.5 mm in diameter. That should cover the size of a pen tip.

    This makes me think that our mystery white dot is actually just a large ich spot, not fungus.

    If I'm wrong, though, and it turns out the large dot is fish fungus, then you can treat the swordtail in a separate tank and still treat the main tank for ich. Especially since many anti fungal medications are deadly for inverts. We wouldn't want your snails to be harmed :)

    Here's a helpful link for fungal treatment:


  8. ashleyb Member Member

    Thank you for the literature! I'm going on a day and a half and the bump on her tail isn't progressing or decreasing. It's just kind of there without any additional symptoms or bumps and everyone else still looks really healthy..

    Could she have just injured it? I have a really abrasive lava rock in there and I also posted in another thread that she was being really aggressive for a while. She used to push around another marigold in the tank until one day the marigold roughed her up for it, and it hasn't been a problem since.

    I'm going to watch it for another day or two before I make any decisions. I don't want to treat her with any chemicals if I don't have to, and her health doesn't appear to be suffering at this time. Thank you so much for your replies. I'll keep you updated!
  9. Mallorysmith44 Member Member

    My tank got the Ich and at first fish were dying and I didn't know why no signs of anything on them and then one day i seen one fish that maybe two or three white spots on its fins looks like grains of salt and then couple days later I found another fish and I fount out I had the Ich. And I had to treat the whole tank because whether or not other fish are showing symptoms they still have and its in your water and everything. So i got the tablets and treated it with the tablets and cleared them right up and everybody is thriving now.
  10. ashleyb Member Member

    It's been two days now, and when I got home from work tonight (after a 13 hour shift) her fin is looking much better! The spot is definitely shrinking (healing?) and isn't noticeable from a few feet away from the tank. Two days ago I could see it clear as day from my couch.

    I am really starting to believe this may have something to do with the fighting I was experiencing, which I submitted a separate thread about. This particular swordtail was acting highly aggressive with her all-female counterparts. And she was straight up bullying a marigold in the tank.. Until I saw the marigold snap and put her in her place a couple times. Maybe this is just an injury? Time will tell. But it seems to be resolving itself, whatever it is, and the other fish all still seem unaffected.

  11. ashleyb Member Member

    An update:

    The last couple of days the white spots on my sword's fin were getting smaller and had almost disappeared. However I came home tonight after a 13 hour shift, turned on the tank light to feed them and the spots have now TRIPLED on her back fin, and she has a new spot of it on her anal fin now too.

    When I look at the spots they appear to be fuzzy looking. This does not look like ich one bit. I started giving her methylene blue dips tonight.. Hopefully I'll see some progress. I'm not 100% positive what I'm dealing with yet but my inclination is fungus because of the fuzzy looking appearance. All of the other fish in the tank remain healthy and active, not a sign of this on them. I'm going out to buy yet another quarantine tank to put her in tomorrow just in case. I feel so defeated.
  12. DoubleDutch Fishlore Legend Member

    Any pics ?
  13. Sarah73 Fishlore VIP Member

    Agree! Any pics you can show us would be helpful:)
  14. ashleyb Member Member

    I'm sorry guys, I have tried SO hard to get pictures of her but she's so quick in the tank! These are not clear photos but it's the best I can do.. You can at least see that the size of these are much larger than a typical ich spot. And when I woke up this morning after her methylene blue dip last night, they do look much smaller and the spot that was on the anal fin is now gone. You can't even tell in the pictures that they appear fuzzy-ish. I'm so sorry i can't get better pictures. I still find it so interesting that the other fish in the tank are utterly unaffected by this, it's been going on for over a week now, and I thought bacterial or fungal infections are contagious??

  15. ashleyb Member Member

    I understand that by looking at these pictures these spots appear to be ich. But it's definitely not ich! I've dealt with ich before and seen it first hand and I swear to god they look nothing like ich, even though the quality of the pictures make it appear so.. From my understanding ich looks like salt sprinkles on your fish. But these spots are larger than that and some of the spots even group together to form one "longer" area with irregular edges.
  16. DoubleDutch Fishlore Legend Member

    Are you thinking for us now Ashley hahaha.

    It's not Ich !!! I'd say bacterial cause the edges of its tail isn't right as well (finrot ?). I'd try some regular waterchanges first.
  17. Sarah73 Fishlore VIP Member

    Bacterial infection. Water changes and just watching her will be best like DoubleDutch said
  18. ashleyb Member Member

    I'm wondering how it happened though? I am anal retentive about my tank! I do bi-weekly water changes and test my water every other night without fail. I have THREE filters in this tank and I keep it soooo clean. How did this happen? And do I need to worry about it spreading to the others? I haven't noticed one iota of this on other fish and it's been over a week. I'm so confused how she caught a bacterial infection. :(
  19. DoubleDutch Fishlore Legend Member

    Bacteria are everywhere and very unpredictable !
  20. Sarah73 Fishlore VIP Member

    Very true!