By Joseph Devine
Is there a fish in your tank that has started to look and act a little weird? Is it swimming odd, scratching against rocks or lethargic? Does the fish have suspicious white dots growing on its body? These spots look as if the fish has been sprinkled with a salt shaker. If the answer to these questions is yes, your fish likely has Ichthyophthirius Multifiliis or Ich.
Ich is the most common disease of fresh water fish. And while you may be concerned about the state of the fish that currently has Ich, your worries should be based more on the rest of the fish in your tank.
Ich is highly contagious and once one fish has it, the entire tank is at risk of becoming infected. And what started as a problem with one fish will soon become the equivalent of a plague in your tank if fast action is not taken.
The Life Cycle of Ich
In order to understand how to go about treating your fish for Ich, you need to know about the life cycle of Ichthyophthirius Multifiliis.
Ich is caused by the protozoa ichtyopthiruis. It is an ectoparasite and essentially feeds off of your fish's body when the fish becomes infected. The stages of Ich include:
Feeding stage-the parasite feeds in a nodule (the white spots) formed in the skill or gill.
Encapsulated dividing stage-after feeding the parasite falls off the fish and adheres to plants, nets, gravel or other ornamentation in the aquarium.
Binary fission-the Ich rapidly divides up to 10 times and takes hold of the entire tanks, attacking any other fish in the tank.
The rate at which the life cycle of the parasite moves is largely dependent on the water temperature in the tank. The life cycle is significantly sped up the higher the temperature of the water.
There are a number of ways of treating Ich that differ greatly based on the type of fish in your aquarium. But the first approach to treating Ich should be separating the infected fish from the rest of the fish in the aquarium as soon as possible.
Once it is separated you can treat the infected fish, but remember to also treat the entire tank as well! Once Ich can be easily seen on a fish, it is likely already on its way to infecting the whole aquarium.
For more information on Ich, visit the website of Austin Vet Clinic today.