Monday, March 10, 2008

Ick Treatment For Betta Fish

Help! My betta fish has white flecks all over it! One day you wake up and go to feed your beautiful betta fish just like every other day and you realize there's a problem. As opposed to its normal, colorful appearance, your fish is covered in tiny, white dots! It looks like someone has shaken a saltshaker over your poor fish!

What's going on here is a bad case of Ich, or Ick. Ich is a common parasite that lives in your betta tank. When something goes wrong and your betta is weakened Ich can gain a foothold and infect your fish. Ich can be deadly to your fish, so it's important to take steps to prevent it and treat it.

For prevention it's best to make sure that your betta lives as stress-free as possible. Anything that frequently stresses a betta out can weaken its immune system. Make sure that you keep the water temperature between 76-82 degrees F. This is a normal healthy temperature for a betta. Anything too far above or below that range is dangerous to them.

Add some aquarium salt to the water when you do a water change. Be sure that you have aquarium salt. It isn't table salt! Add about 0.25 to 0.5 teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon of water. This has a tonic effect on your fish and helps keep Ich at bay.

Now, if you've already got Ich it can be hard to get rid of. It can also be very contagious. Make sure that you don't contaminate other tanks! Treat the entire tank and be certain to scrub your hands and any common equipment before touching other tanks or fish.

Ich has three life stages, and you can only treat it in the last stage. During the first stage the parasite has burrowed beneath the fish's skin. This is where you see the white spots. Start treating now, but the medication won't hit the Ich yet.

The second life stage of the parasite sees it drop off of your betta fish and multiply rapidly at the bottom of the tank. Continue treatment, although it's not particularly vulnerable at this point.

The final life stage of the Ich parasite is where you can get it. During this stage the parasite is an adult and it is free-swimming. It swims in the water looking for another fish to live on. Here's where the medication will kill it best.

Two things can really help your treatment. First, slowly increase the water temperature to 85 degrees F. This will help the parasite speed through its life cycle and hit the vulnerable adult stage quicker. The other factor in treatment is frequently changing the water. This will help get rid of a lot of extra Ich.

To treat the parasite look for a medication based on copper or Malachite Green. Most of the Ich treatment medications you find at the pet stores will have these chemicals in them, but check anyway. Treat according to the medication dosing directions. Be sure to treat your tank for a full 14 days, even if your fish appears fine. Remember that the white spots on the fish are just the first visible stage of the parasite development. Being careful to treat after there are no white spots will help ensure that you've cleared out the infestation!

7 comments:

Amie N said...

I really like your blog. My betta was very sick and we had to send him to fish heaven today. Your tips and tricks will help me with their care next time. Thanks for all the great information. :)

pratishtha said...

male bettas fish

This is the first time I’ve read about this. I keep learning new things everyday!

Helen Sheffield said...

After I change my betta's water, within 2 or 3 days the water becomes cloudy with "transparent tissue-like" things floating around in it and on top of the water. What is this??

Andrew said...

Thanks for this piece of important information. My betta has Ick and we now are treating it! :)

Selina said...

Good morning Mr Isaac!
Thanks for the valuable betta fish info on the internet.
My 3 year old male betta died this morning :( (his name was Sergio),
and I was wondering if it could have been the food, you see I was growing my own mosquitoe larvae
on my back yard, and they ( I have a female on a near by tank) seem to love chasing after them and eating them.
Once I started this he never when back to eating the dry blood worms from the pet shop.
I cathed the larvae and cleaned them with filtered water. So these past weeks he started looking pale and was not eating well or at all for some days, so I went to the petshop and put the methylene blue to the water as they suggested, but he dint make it.
I know is hard to tell but, do they also turn pale as they age?

Michael said...

I thought my betta fish had ick (thank god it wasn't although I was ready for it) so I read your blog :) Thank you soo much and I just found out what other things my aquarium salt does :) I'll add this blog to my bookmarks :)

Erika said...

FIRST OFF: Do NOT use copper based treatment methods because copper is toxic to your fish.

SECOND: If someone adds salt to their tank for nine days, on the tenth day your betta’s KIDNEYS WILL FAIL.

THIRD: It shouldn't be kept in a jar that is sure to make the nitrate levels in the tank supremely high. And it is just plain cruel.

FOURTH: Ich is not in all tanks, and if left in a tank without fish for three days in 85 degree water it will die, or if the water is left at 95 degrees for very tuff ich.