The symptoms of the white spot disease
Fish affected by white spot disease or Ichthyophthirius multifiliis rub against the soil, the objects of the setting or the plants. In the hours following the appearance of these first symptoms, small white spots appear with relief. First in the fins and that later they are extending throughout the body. If the infection reaches the gills, the respiratory rate is accelerated (gill infection by white spot is often fatal for small-sized fish such as neon).
White spot disease is often not detected until the appearance of “white spots”. The treatment of this disease does not involve too much trouble, as long as it is applied to time. In fact, lack of treatment or in the case of treatment applied too late, mortality will be important among fish, especially the smaller ones.
Ichthyophthirius multifiliis is responsible for this fish disease in our aquariums. It is a single-celled parasite surrounded by vibrating eyelashes that allow it to swim (ciliated ectoparasite). The mobility of the parasite allows you to find your guest. Once it does, it penetrates the epidermis of the fish with the help of circular motions. The immune system of the infected fish reacts against the invasion, producing a white spot in the entrance area of the parasite.
If you want to know more information about aquarium fish disease, here you have a link with aquarium fish disease .
The life cycle of this parasite is developed in 3 phases
The growth phase corresponds to the appearance of white spots on the skin of the fish. Parasites feed on fish meat and become fat.
The multiplication phase: once the parasite has matured (even if the fish is already dead). It leaves the skin of the host, falls to the ground or on the plants. And is wrapped in a membrane (the parasite protected by this membrane Is called a cyst). In this way, protected, the parasites begin to multiply by division.
The propagation phase: the cyst breaks in a few hours to release up to 1000 new parasites. That will begin to look for a host to start again with the development cycle. (The white spot parasite has about 72 hours to find a host. But it does, Will die).
The duration of the cycle depends on the temperature, at 25ºC, this process does not last more than 3 days. We are also suggest extended to several weeks at lower temperatures.
Causes and factors for the appearance of white spot disease
This disease occurs most frequently after a sudden drop in water temperature. Because changing aquarium water with too cold water, failure of the aquarium heating system, or abrupt lowering of temperature in winter because it does not have all the necessary power in the heaters. It can also appear with a significant stress on the fish. Causes bad conditions of transport, poor acclimatization of the fish before entering them in the aquarium, etc.
Treatments against Ichthyophthirius multifiliis
The parasite is untouchable during its growth period and its cyst period. It is only vulnerable when it moves freely through the water of the aquarium in search of a host. I’ts not treated with medicines directly to the fish. But it treats all the water in the tank (in fact the whole aquarium).
This disease is very frequent, so there are numerous formulations on the market. They are often preparations based on malachite green dye – mineral high in copper oxide. It is very important to carefully follow the instructions for use that come with the treatment (be careful with exoskeleton-free fish such as Corydoras, because they are sensitive to malachite green).
A slight increase in the temperature of the aquarium water after treatment starts. If possible, will reduce the duration of the treatment (the biological cycle of the parasite accelerates). You should not use any filtration system that carries active carbon (the activated carbon will remove the drug from the water). It is necessary to use an oxygen aerator in case you have to stop the filtration system and a recirculation pump to move the surface of the water well so that there is a good oxygenation (if you turn the filter off for a few days many beneficial bacteria will stay Without food and will die, better to remove activated charcoal from the filter and leave the rest of filtering components).
The duration of treatment
Usually, lasts about 7 days to ensure the elimination of all parasites. And filter with activated carbon for at least 3 days. The water of the aquarium to eliminate the treatment of the water.
Other ways to eliminate parasites from the aquarium include the following:
By increasing the temperature of the aquarium water to 32 ° C, at which temperature the parasite can no longer live. This, of course, if the fish will bear it.
The fish aquarium is left free (by moving them to a small quarantine aquarium for treatment – also applicable to the first treatment alternative) and lowering the water temperature below 20 ° C for a minimum of 7 days.
These two alternatives allow not resort to the treatment of the entire aquarium. If it is too large and saves us a change of much water. We are suggest in the treatment leaflet several changes of water during the same of even half the volume of the water of the aquarium.
When choosing a treatment for white spot disease to inform you well of the way to do it. And a poorly applied treatment may even make it more resistant to Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. Maybe your fish affected by it.