Ichthyopthirius multifilis, more commonly known as White Spot is one of the most common parasites we find in our aquariums. Fortunately White Spot is one of the easiest parasites to identify and to cure.
Make no mistakes about it though, it's a killer. If left untreated, White Spot can destroy your whole collection in no time at all. So how do we identify White Spot and how do we cure it?
Identification The reason most of us keep ornamental fish is to watch them, and this is where you can spend valuable time learning the natural behaviour of your fish, this is where you will identify white spot. It is clear from both the behaviour and appearance of your fish if they are suffering from White Spot.
Behaviour: You will see your fish flicking/flashing off of hard surfaces such as ornaments and gravel in an attempt to alleviate the itchiness caused by the parasites. They can also become lethargic and sit on the bottom with their fans clamped, they appear to be sulking. Another symptom is also shortness of breath and gasping at the surface.
Appearance: In one stage of the White Spot life cycle your fish will look like they are covered in a sprinkling of salt or sugar, hence the name, White Spot. They really are covered in white spots.
Life Cycle The length of life cycle of the White Spot parasite is largely dependent upon the water temperature. The warmer it is, the faster their life cycle. The white spots you see on the body of the fish is the parasite burrowed just under the surface of the skin and feeding. The parasite will eventually fall off the fish and will become enclosed in a protective "case". Inside the case the parasite will multiply/divide and when ready will explode sending 1000s of free swimming parasites into the water.
Depending on the temperature of the water, the parasites can be free swimming from 2 to 28 days, the warmer the water the quicker they mature. Once fully mature, they once again attach themselves underneath the skin of the fish and the cycle begins again.
Treatment White Spot can only be cured at the free swimming stage of its life cycle, it's vital that during this period the correct medication is in the water at the correct dosage rates.
Fortunately, in store we have everything you need to destroy white spot. If you think your fish are suffering from White Spot, come and see us immediately to get the treatment started.