White Spot (Ichthyophthirius)

Ichthyophthirius is the name of the parasitical organism responsible for this illness, which is effortlessly recognised by a rash of white spots covering the body and fins. The spots are about the size of a pin head, and are caused by the parasite burrowing just below the skin and setting up an irritation.

The initial sign you might get of white spot is that your fish dart about among the plants or flick themselves against the rocks to ease the irritation, and also the barometer of health, the fins, will probably be laid flat, not erect as with healthy fish.

If white spot isn’t checked at this stage, the spots multiply rapidly until they cover the entire body and fins in a film of fungus, which soon outcomes in death.
The main trigger of the trouble is a chill brought on by a sudden change in temperature. This change require not necessarily be of a low temperature, a sudden drop from 80° to 74° F is fairly sufficient. Yet an additional trigger is the introduction into your tank of a new specimen which has the illness.

The initial step in the cure would be to raise the temperature to 85°F and to maintain it there for a number of days. You should do this irrespective of any treatment to follow.
The parasites develop on the fish until they reach their maximum size, generally in two or 3 days. Then they drop off on to the bottom of the tank, multiply a number of hundred times, and are then ready to begin all over again When the parasites drop off the fish, remove the fish to a sterilised tank (also at 85°F). If your fish have no sign of the white spot after about ten days you are able to think about them cured. Thoroughly sterilise the old tank prior to using it again.

An additional technique of curing white spot would be to add 3 drops per gallon of 2 per cent mercurochrome to the infected tank, mixing the mercurochrome with a little quantity of water initial. After a week, draw off half the volume of water, and replace with clear water. Some aquarists complain of loss of fish after this treatment from mercury poisoning, but I can only assume they use too strong a answer, for I have never lost a single fish with this treatment.

An additional technique would be to use 2 drops of 5 per cent aqueous answer of methylene blue per gallon of water in conjunction with a temperature of 85°F, but this stains the sand and isn’t great for plants. The modern treatment would be to add 2 to three grains of quinine sulphate or quinine hydrochloride per gallon to the affected tank. Mix initial with water and slowly stir into your aquarium, which should be kept dark during this treatment. This cure is, in my opinion, the most efficient simply because it doesn’t discolour the water, or harm the fish or plants.

Proprietary brands of white spot cures are fairly efficient, but as most of these are affected by light, make certain they’re supplied in dark-coloured bottles.