White Spots On Goldfish (Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention of Itch)
Is your Goldfish dying and you don’t know why? Is your Goldfish racing here and there in the aquarium and behaving weirdly? Is your Goldfish skin bumpy or skin have white spots? These are a few questions that occur in your mind when you are dealing with these situations. Don’t worry you are at the right place where we will try our best to help you.
White spots on Goldfish are because of the disease called Itch or Ick. This happens when a parasite ichthyophthirius attaches itself to goldfish.
In this article, we will try to answer all your questions and remove your worries about white spots on Goldfish often mentioned as Itch or Ick. By the end of this article, you will know all the symptoms, causes, treatments, remedies, and tips for this disease.
What are these White Spots on Goldfish?
These white spots on Goldfish are caused by a disease known as Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, commonly known as Ich. Usually, the size of these white spots is the approximate size of grains of salt. These white spots appear on Goldfish because of a parasite Protoza that attacks fish with lower immunity. These parasites attach to the Goldfish and feed on them. It feeds on the body cells and fluids of Goldfish. Ich spreads very fast and is lethal if left untreated.
Lifecycle Of Ich
Before telling you how to treat and prevent Ich or white spots on Goldfish I will tell you about the life cycle of ICH.
Ichthyophthirius multifils commonly known as ICH or ITCH parasites are passed into the pond, fish tank, or aquarium by a carrier fish. The parasite attaches itself to the fish’s body and feeds itself with the cells, tissue, or fluids of the fish. When the parasite grows, the adult parasite called Tomont leaves the body of the infected fish and attaches itself to some other surface in the aquarium, pond, or fish tank e.g. stones, ornaments, decorations, etc. Then it forms a thin-walled cyst. In the cyst, the Tomont divides very fast and forms 2000 to 3000 small mites. Which are ready to attack other Goldfish to attach to them and grow.
Ich parasite attaches itself to the goldfish. After getting a lot of food from the Goldfish it becomes an adult and is ready to reproduce, at that time it forms a cyst or nodule in which Ich parasite reproduces. So, these parasites have been feeding off Goldfish for a few days before these white spots appear. This is the time i.e. feeding stage in which we can control the Ich parasite and protect our Goldfish.
What are the Symptoms of Itch or Ich?
There are a couple of symptoms from which we can easily tell that Goldfish is suffering from Itch.
The most common symptom is that white spots appear on the Goldfish bodies.
Difficulty in Breathing
This disease will spread fast especially in the gills so fish will breathe heavily as they are not getting enough oxygen.
Rubbing Body With Tank
Goldfish infected by Ich will have itch all over its body so it will rub its body on the walls of the aquarium, decorations, and ornaments. So, this causes damage to scales.
White Patches On Gills and Fins
If we do not use any itch treatment, this white spot disease (Ich) worsens and larger white patches on the scale, gills, and fins appear.
Goldfish Appears Tired and Lethargic
You will see that although the fish is eating it will become lethargic within a couple of days.
What are the causes of White Spots (Ich)?
White spot or Ich does not just happen. There are some specific reasons behind this. Some of the causes are discussed below.
Whenever there is a change in the environment of any species, there is inherent stress supposed to happen. The same is the case with Goldfish. There are three types of stress i.e.
- Physical: Because of fatigue.
- Emotional: Because of hunger or temperature difference.
- Social: Because of an unfamiliar environment.
So, stress is not good for Goldfish. Due to stress, Goldfish immunity becomes weak and it became more vulnerable to catching Ich infection.
2. Unsuitable Water Conditions
Unhealthy, unclean, unhygienic water conditions are also responsible for the Ich outbreak. So these need to be kept in check.
3. Unsuitable Temperature
An aquarium must be equipped with a water heater to control water temperature because the temperature variation of water is a leading cause of Ich.
4. Pre-infected Fish
Another main cause of Ich infection in your aquarium is buying goldfish from a polluted or contaminated fish tank. So, your fish was already infected and then the infection spread in your aquarium or fish tank.
What should you do to prevent white spots or ICH in your goldfish?
Now, I will give you some tips and if you will follow them your Goldfish will remain healthy. Goldfish like other pets need your care, love, and time. They are beautiful perfect pets and they are easy to maintain. The tips I am telling you are my own experiences which I learned with the passage of time. The tips are as follows
Ensure Proper Environment
Before buying Goldfish, first, make a home for them. Keep in consideration the following points while keeping Goldfish.
- An environment just like a goldfish’s natural habitat is very important.
- If you are buying only one goldfish, a bowl is enough but if you want to buy more than one an aquarium of good size or fish tank is a better option.
- The Goldfish must have enough space to swim freely. Because the Goldfish is very energetic.
- Buy a fish tank, aquarium, or bowl with a lid. So, the fish will not jump outside, and the water will not get dirty because of dust.
- The tank or aquarium should be placed in a clean, level, and sturdy place. There should be enough sunlight, but sunlight should not fall on the fish tank directly.
- Clean the tank and all accessories with mild soap powder.
Maintain the Water Temperature
Goldfish need a proper temperature for their health. You should buy an automatic water heater to control the water temperature. If the temperature of water in your aquarium is low, there are more chances for an outbreak of ICH.
Purify the Water
The water should be prepared a couple of days before putting Goldfish in it.
- Add chlorine to the water tank or bowl where your goldfish will stay before its arrival.
- You should buy a water filter. A water filter will keep the water healthy and remove harmful substances.
- Another important thing is a water pump. A pump keeps the water oxygenated and makes bubbles that break the water’s surface to let Oxygen enter the water.
- Replace water weekly. Remove half the water from the aquarium or tank. The water which you will put in the tank must be kept for 24 to 48 hours on standby to absorb chlorine.
Feed Them Properly
Go to your vet and consult about the type and amount of feed for your Goldfish. Mostly you should feed them once a day. Their feed must be of good quality to boost the immune system which will help them to avoid ICH.
Pollution is not good for your Goldfish’s health either noise or any other type. Keep the following things in mind.
- Don’t smoke or spray in the room where the Goldfish tank or aquarium is.
- Bad loud noise and tapping aquarium glass walls create stress in fish.
- Stress is not good as it decreases the immunity of Goldfish and the Goldfish is more vulnerable to catching ICH. So avoid any type of stress in your Goldfish.
Give a Natural Feel to Fish Habitat
Put real plants in your aquarium. They will give a natural habitat to Goldfish. They will not only remove toxic substances but also prevent algae to form.
Clean the Aquarium Regularly
Clean the fish tank or aquarium regularly, including all the accessories, and wash out slime and waste. So, that there will be no germs, bacteria, or parasites.
Quarantine the Goldfish
Whenever you buy Goldfish or get goldfish as a gift first quarantine them separately before putting them in your aquarium or fish tank. It will give you time to check if your goldfish is healthy. If not quarantined, an ill goldfish can spread its disease throughout the entire aquarium.
Before buying, always check the fish tank of the shop. If it looks dirty or you find any dead fish or weird behavior in the fish then don’t buy Goldfish from that shop.
What are the treatments for white spots (ICH) on goldfish?
Before starting treatment first thing you must always remember is that you don’t have to stop treatment if white spots are no longer visible because there are chances that the parasite is still present in your aquarium or fish tank because it is not compulsory that all the parasites are of the same stage of their cycle. So, maybe if you will stop the treatment the remaining 5 or 6 parasites will reproduce again very fast and you will have to start the whole process again.
There are two types of white spots or Ich treatment. We will discuss both of these treatments in detail.
- Natural Treatment
- Commercial Treatment
I like this treatment because this treatment is not expensive. Secondly, there are no side effects on Goldfish or any other pet in the aquarium, pond, or fish tank.
Listed below are the steps that you need to follow for the Natural treatment of your goldfish. They are fairly easy and can be done by beginners too.
- Increase the temperature of your fish tank. Increase the temperature slowly so your Goldfish adjusts itself with increasing temperature. A sudden change in temperature can shock the fish. ICH will stop reproducing in high temperatures.
- Put SALT in your aquarium or fish tank. Aquarium salt is best, you will add 1 teaspoon to 1 gallon. This remedy is really very nice and it works great on white spot disease of Goldfish.
- With the increase of temperature in the water tank, the oxygen level of water becomes low because the water is not absorbing oxygen. Oxygenate your water tank by lowering the water level in the tank.
- Keep your water temperature high and constant for at least 10 days. Change the water after every two days. When the white spots disappear wait for 3 to 4 days and then gradually reduce the water temperature.
- Keep on changing the water weekly. Changing water helps keep it pure.
Commercial ICH Treatment
After 10 to 12 days of natural itch treatment if you still see white spots on your Goldfish or notice any other ICH symptom, start the commercial ich treatment.
Visit your vet and discuss the best medication which is more effective and has no side effects. Follow all the instructions. Repeat this treatment weekly or after 15 days. When the white spots on your Goldfish disappear and you feel your Goldfish and aquarium are healthy, stop doing it. With the weekly change of water, the remains of any chemicals or toxins will wash off. Enjoy your healthy Goldfish again.
The Bottom Line on White Spots On Goldfish
Goldfish are very nice and easily maintained pets. If you keep them and their environment clean you can prevent ICH or white spot disease. You must be consistent. Always buy good quality and healthy Goldfish. If you see any symptoms act quickly and treat your Goldfish in the best possible ways. If you treat them properly at right time, there is no need to worry. Best of luck to you and your Goldfish.