Goldfish Diseases

Goldfish Ich Disease (Ick)

goldfish ich disease

Symptoms of Goldfish Ich Disease (Ick)

Small white spots which look like grains of salt attached to the fish on the skin, gills and fins. Fish sometimes rub against hard objects to attempt to dislodge the parasites. may also rub against hard objects. In the latter stages of the disease gill damage may cause the fish to gasp.

Causes of Goldfish Ich Disease (Ick)

Ich (also known as whitespot) is a contagious disease caused by a microscopic parasite, Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. The ichthyophthirius multifiliis parasite attaches itself to fish as part of its lifecycle, burrowing underneath the skin to feed on the fish and forming white spots or cysts at each point of infection. The parasite eventually drops off the fish but continue to multiply inside a protective capsule. The capsule eventually bursts releasing more infectious parasites into the water which attach themselves to new host fish. Ich is sometimes introduced with new fish which are carrying the disease. Fish become more prone to infection by ich when water temperature fluctuates widely or when temperatures fall below the normal range.

Treatment of Goldfish Ich Disease (Ick)

When treating ich it is recommended to increase the water temperature as this speeds up the life cycle of the parasites which can only be treated during the free swimming stage of the life cycle. Increased temperature reduces disolved oxygen levels so try to make sure the water is well aereated. For coldwater goldfish it is not recommended to raise the temperature beyond around 25oC (77oF).

The main treatment types for curing goldfish ich are usually based on malachite green, formalin, copper or aquarium salts. As with most things to do with fishkeeping, opinions do vary on which is the more effective. Our recommendation is to treat promptly with a commercial anti-parasitic medication. Commercial remedies are Maracide by Mardel Labs and Protozin by Waterlife. Some resistant strains of the ichthyophthirius multifiliis parasite seemed to have developed. These resistant strains can be difficult to treat. If the treatment used is not effective within 7-10 days then you will need to try an alternative treatment method.