White spot (Ichthyopthiriasis)

Symptoms

Gills white spots
Gills show very obvious white spots on and around them.
White raised spots (1-2mm)
White raised spots of 1-2mm are apparent all over body and fins.
Lymphocytosis
Rubbing/scratching
Fish constantly rubs or scratches itself against any object available.
Ammonia elevated >0.02ppm un-ionised
The un-ionised ammonia causes toxicity. Calculate this from Total Ammonia with RSFP Ammonia Test and chart therein.
Respiration rapid
Fish is breathing very fast, much faster than is normal.
Breathing at surface
Fish stays at surface usually at an inclined angle and breathes or sucks air.
Fins folded
The fins of the fish remain in a closed position due to discomfort.
Hiding abnormally
Fish hides behind rocks or suchlike, appearing seldom if ever.
Nitrate level above 50 ppm
When nitrate level is very high, at over 50 ppm or much more, can help to induce "ick".
Temperature sudden changes
Temperature has been changed suddenly usually downwards in recent days
Listless and lethargic
Fish moves very lazily in water, much less than normal, lacks interest.
Reluctant to feed
Fish comes to eat but with evident lack of appetite.
White raised spots (1mm) - fins
Raised white spots about 1mm can be seen on fins.

Causes

Protozoan parasite viz. Ichthyophthirius multifiliis.

Prognosis

Fatal if not treated, but progression of infection is normally slow enough for recognition and succesful treatment. Treatment should eliminate completly.

Treatment

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Prevention

Ichthyopthirius multifiliis cannot tolerate over 1 ppt salinity & thus salt can be used both as a cure & a preventantive. It is especially useful for euryhaline fishes such as poeciliids, which are prone to develop "ich" when kept in freshwater. Most fishes tolerate low salt levels. Salt also helps to alleviate the osmotic stress caused by the epithelial damage.

Contributors

DVM Noga, Ed
N.Carolina State Univ. Coll.Vet.Medicine
Dept. of Companion Animal Medicine
Raleigh NC  USA

Pictures

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