Angelfish ich pictures

Angelfish ich pictures DEFAULT

Does my angelfish have ich? (Pics posted)

Agree with all the others, this is @Colin_T’s more “technical” advice:

“The safest treatment for white spot (Ichthyophthirius, aka ick or ich) is heat. Just raise the water temperature to 30C (86F) and keep it there for 2 weeks. Then reduce the temperature.

Wipe the inside of the glass down with a clean fish sponge.

Do a 75-80% water change and gravel clean the substrate before raising the temperature.

Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

Clean the filter. Wash filter media/ materials in a bucket of tank water and re-use the media. Tip the bucket of dirty water on the garden/ lawn.

Increase aeration/ surface turbulence to maximise oxygen levels in the water.
The following link has information about white spot. The first post on page 1 and second post on page 2 are worth a read.

This is a common question that is often asked, what is ich and how is it recognisable and what causes it? The real term is ICHTHYOPHTHIRIASIS. OR commonly known as white spot. It is an extremely comon parasite that affects aquarium fish. It is highly infectious and potentially lethal and...

Good luck! :fish:



How to Prevent Ich on Fish | Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine

Author: De-Hai Xu, PhD

Ich is one of the most common fish diseases, but it is fairly preventable and treatable. A scientist lists the best methods to reduce the risk of ich and treat outbreaks in the aquarium.

Everyone Loves Aquariums

Millions of people around the world keep aquariums stocked with colorful ornamental fish, enjoying one of the most popular leisure-time activities. In a 2011—2012 national pet owner survey, the American Pet Products Association (APPA) reported that 12.6 million US households own pet fish. Among them, 11.9 million households have freshwater fish and 0.7 million have saltwater fish.

Currently, huge selections of beautifully colored aquarium fish are available so hobbyists can stock their aquariums to satisfy their taste and add beauty to their homes. Aquariums are often placed in the waiting rooms or lobbies of restaurants, clinical offices, hospitals, commercial buildings, and hotels, providing enjoyment, satisfaction, and relaxation for people in these areas.

Parasites in Fish

Several factors influence the health of aquarium fish, and parasitic disease is a major one. Several major groups of parasites can be seen in aquarium fish. Protozoans are single-celled organisms that typically have a direct lifecycle, requiring no intermediate host to reproduce. Monogenetic trematodes (flatworms or flukes) commonly invade the gills, skin, and fins of fish. They have no intermediate host, but are host- and site-specific—if they are found in one species, they usually will not spread to other species of fish, even in the same tank.

Types of Parasites

Digenetic trematodes (grubs) have a complex lifecycle involving a series of hosts, including snails and birds, nematodes and leeches, meaning they cannot complete their lifecycle in an aquarium because they cannot reproduce. Crustacean parasites come in many types, such as Argulus (fish louse), Lernaea (anchor worm), and Ergasilus (gill lice).

Most of the parasitic diseases encountered in aquarium fish are protozoan parasites, especially those that cause white spot disease. White spot disease is a very common problem in freshwater aquarium fish. The disease is caused by the ciliate protozoan Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, commonly called ich or ick. Fish infected with ich typically develop small, blister-like, raised lesions (white spots) on the skin and/or fins. If the infection is restricted to the gills, however, no white spots will be seen.

Ich infects almost all freshwater fish and has a high mortality rate. All the fish in a tank could be easily killed in a short period. Some aquarium fish may be more sensitive to ich infection than other species, but no fish species has complete natural resistance to ich.

Lifecycle of Ich

Three Life Stages

Ich is a ciliate parasite that has three developmental stages, a parasitic trophont, a reproductive tomont, and an infective theront. The parasitic trophont lives completely within the host fish, causing tissue damage and leading to the host’s death. The host provides the parasite with food and other necessary substances for growth.

Mature Trophonts

The mature trophont leaves the fish, attaches to the sides and bottom of the aquarium, and secretes a cyst wall to become a reproductive tomont. Each tomont divides from one cell to two cells and then undergoes multiple divisions to produce 100 to 1,000 theronts within a single cyst. Infective theronts then bore their way out of the cyst and swim actively in the water in search of fish to attack. Theronts can swim in the water for two to three days and will die if they cannot find a fish to attack. However, once they find a fish to attack and burrow into its epithelium, the theronts become trophonts and feed on surrounding host tissue until they reach mature size.

Treatment and Prevention of Ich

Whenever any white spots are seen on the skin and fins, fish are most likely infected by the parasite ich. Immediate treatment is required in order to save the infected fish. Parasites can reproduce rapidly, and one mature ich trophont can produce several hundreds to thousands of infective theronts in less than 24 hours at a water temperature of 22° to 25ºC (72º to 77ºF).

Chemical Treatment

Chemical treatment of ich infection is always difficult because the parasite penetrates into the fish’s skin and gills and diseased fish usually cannot tolerate a chemical concentration that is high enough to kill the parasite within the fish’s tissues. The best time to treat infective theronts and reproductive tomonts is when they are still in the water and before they penetrate the fish as trophonts.

Most of the anti-ich chemicals contain formaldehyde, malachite green, copper sulfate, a combination of formaldehyde and malachite green, or a combination of copper sulfate and malachite green. The infected fish can be moved to a quarantine tank in order to avoid treating healthy fish, and less chemical is needed in a smaller tank.

Salt and Water

Other methods, such as adding salt, increasing water temperature, and changing the water are also used by fish hobbyists to treat ich infection in an aquarium. Parasitic trophonts usually stay in fish for five to seven days at a water temperature of 22º to 25ºC (72º to 77ºF). The treatment may need to continue for five days to one week in order to remove the parasite from the infected fish. The complete ich lifecycle lasts three weeks at 9º to 10ºC (48º to 50ºF) but only six days at 24º to 25ºC (75º to 77ºF).

Because of ich’s sensitivity to water temperature, you should heat the aquarium water to about 30ºC (86ºF) for the duration of the treatment, if the fish can tolerate the temperature, to accelerate the lifecycle of the parasite.

Ich Prevention

As is usually the case with disease, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best method for controlling ich infection is prevention. Precautions are needed when establishing an aquarium to prevent ich from being carried by fish, aquatic plants, decorative items, gravel, and water. An aquarium should be set up with everything for one week before the fish are added. Infective theronts usually lose their infectivity after being separated from fish for two to three days.


Fish are major carriers of parasites, but they may not show signs of disease when purchased from pet shops. The newly purchased fish should be quarantined in a separate tank for at least a week to 10 days before adding them to the main aquarium. If the fish show any signs of parasitic infection, they should be treated in the isolation tank without affecting the main aquarium. Before adding new aquatic plants to an established aquarium, they also need to be kept in a separate tank for several days first.

Adding Decorations

Stones/rocks and gravel are commonly used in aquariums as decorations or as a filter for removing waste. A layer of cultured gravel containing colonies of beneficial bacteria can biologically remove waste from the water. However, if the stones/rocks or gravel are collected from rivers or streams, they need to be washed and completely air-dried for two days in order to prevent any parasites from being carried into the aquarium.

Early Detection

In order to keep fish from getting badly infected with ich, early detection of the parasitic infection is critical. The fish in an aquarium need attention at least a few minutes each day to detect any unusual behavior, especially for the first two to three weeks after they have been added to the tank.

In the earliest stage of infection, there are no visible spots on the fish. It is also hard to observe the spots if they are few in number. However, the fish’s behavior may change to flashing suddenly, scratching against rocks and gravel, gulping air, or jumping out of the water—all indications that the fish are infected by parasites and are trying to scratch their itch. When fish are treated during an early infection or a light infection, the chance of survival from parasitic infection is always higher than for a severely infected fish.

Fish Immune Response Against Ich Re-Infection

Fish that survive an ich infection can develop an immune response and become resistant to parasite re-infection. Serum and mucus from those immune fish contain antibodies against the parasite. Then, when infective theronts come into contact with anti-ich antibodies, the antibodies cause the theronts to become immobilized. The immobilization causes the theronts to lose their swimming ability. The antibodies also cause the parasites to leave the fish so that ich cannot become established in immune fish. Recently, a few studies showed that vaccines against ich induced protective immunity and could provide a solution to prevent this parasitic disease through vaccination instead of chemical treatments.

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Cause, Treatment & Prevention of Ich in Freshwater Fish

fish in tank

Ich (ick) is the most common disease of all freshwater and marine aquarium fish. Anyone that keeps fish for any period of time will eventually have fish that develop ich. Many hobbyists consider this disease to be just a common nuisance but the reality is that ich is probably responsible for more fish deaths than just about any other disease. There are several effective treatments for ich, but if they are not administered correctly, they can cause serious problems with your fish and tank inhabitants. This article will help explain the source and cause of ich as well as giving treatment options and prevention strategies.

What is Ich?

Ich is a protozoan disease that is often called 'white spot disease.' The scientific name for the disease is ichthyophthiriasis and the causative agent is Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. It is wide spread in all freshwater fish but appears to be more common in aquarium fish, possibly due to the closer contact and stress involved with aquarium species.

Why Fish Get Ich

Ich is so widespread that many experts feel that it is present in the environment of most aquariums, especially in larger holding tanks, rearing ponds of breeders, collectors, and wholesalers. In fact, just about every aquarium fish will come into contact with this protozoan at several times in its life. Because it is so widespread, most fish have developed a good immune response against the disease to allow them to fight off the protozoan infection before it ever causes any symptoms. Captive fish that develop ich usually get the disease when their immune systems are not functioning as well as they should be because of stress. We know that stress lowers the immune response and when fish are stressed that is when ich is most prevalent.

There are many causes of stress in a fish's life, many of which can be made worse or better by the owner. Water temperature, water quality, tank inhabitants, improper diet, and a variety of other factors all contribute to stress, but one of the most severe causes of stress occurs during shipping and handling of a new fish. Whether coming from the wild or farm-raised, the handling and shipping of the fish from their origin to a wholesaler, then to a retailer, and finally to your home is extremely stressful. With the widespread prevalence of ich, it is no wonder that many newly purchased fish are affected.

Identifying Ich in Fish

The symptoms of ich are very evident and usually include characteristic white spots on the body and gills. In some infections, the ich organisms will only be found on the gills. As the disease progresses, the fish will become more irritated and may try to rub or scratch against the sides and bottom of the tank. The disease may then cause respiratory distress, severe agitation, loss of appetite, and eventually death.

This disease is often identified based upon history, symptoms, and the presence of white spots, but if there is any question, it can be identified microscopically. A lesion can be scraped and viewed under the microscope to reveal a rather large cyst between .5 and 1.5 mm in diameter. It also has a very characteristic large horseshoe-shaped nucleus.

The Life Cycle of Ich

  • Trophozoites mature in the skin of the fish.
  • Trophont (mature trophozoite) leaves the fish.
  • Trophont produces tomites.
  • Trophont bursts and tomites are released.
  • Tomites penetrate the skin of the fish, and the cycle is repeated.

The life cycle of Ichthyophthirius is complicated but very important in understanding the treatment and prevention of ich. Once the ich protozoan attaches to the side of the fish, it begins feeding on the skin and tissue causing irritation. The fish's body begins to wall off the parasite to try to limit its damage. The protozoan continues to move around in the cyst feeding and growing, while the body continues to further encapsulate and wall it off.

This encapsulation by the body is one of the reasons that ich is so difficult to treat during this stage of the disease because medications cannot penetrate through the wall of the cyst to reach the ich parasite. During this stage, the ich protozoan is called a trophozoite. The trophozoite eventually matures and is termed a "trophont." It will burst through the cyst wall and then fall to the bottom of the aquarium. It then begins to divide into hundreds of new ich-infecting units called tomites. This stage is very temperature-dependent within its capsule, with the fastest replications occurring at warmer temperatures near 78-80 F. At optimum temperatures, the replication will be completed in about 8 hours. At lower temperatures, the replication takes longer making the treatment time for eradication much longer.

Once the replication is complete, the trophont bursts and releases the newly-formed tomites into the water. The tomites are motile and swim around the tank searching for a fish to attach to. Once they attach to a fish, the cycle will start over again. It is during this stage that ich is most susceptible to treatment. Many of the available medications will kill the tomites, thereby stopping the cycle of ich in your tank. It should be noted that these tomites will only survive for 48 hours, if they do not find a fish to attach to. These tomites will also attach to plants, filter material, etc. So if you move a plant from an infected tank into a clean tank, you have just infected the clean tank with ich. Depending on the water temperature, the whole cycle can take from 4 days to several weeks.

How to Treat Ich

Because the life cycle is temperature-dependent and the ich can only be killed in the tomite stage, we will want to raise the tank temperature to 78-80 F over 48 hours to speed the cycle of tomite formation and release. Theoretically, if the cycle takes four days to complete at this temperature, then the treatment should be complete in 4 days. On the other hand, if the temperature is much colder, for example at 60 F, the treatment would need to last for several weeks or longer.

Since we understand that we cannot kill ich while it is on the fish, we know that moving a fish to a quarantine tank to treat will not solve the problem in the main tank. The time to use a quarantine tank is before a new fish is introduced into a display tank. If a fish in a tank has ich, you must assume that the entire tank is now contaminated with ich and must be treated.

Another way to get ich out of a tank is to remove all of the fish. Since we know that the tomites can only survive for 48 hours without attaching to a fish, if we remove all of the fish and then raise the temperature to 80 , the existing ich in the tank should be dead after 2 days. To be safe, wait 4 days before returning the fish to the tank. But remember, you will need to treat the tank that the fish are moved to, otherwise, fish entering that tank could become infected.

Remember, we are treating the tank, not the fish, so all effective treatments are designed to kill the trophite form of the disease while it is in the tank. The mature ich organisms that cause the problems on the fish do not die from treatment, but fall off in a couple of days during their normal life cycle and then their offspring die from the treatment in the water.

Some of the best treatments historically have been formalin or malachite green, or a combination of the two. Copper, methylene blue, and baths of potassium permanganate, quinine hydrochloride, and sodium chloride have also been used but do not appear to offer an advantage over the more readily available formalin and malachite green products.

When using formalin, make sure to use recently purchased formalin. Formalin that is stored for long periods of time can convert to paraformaldehyde, which can be toxic to fish. An indicator that this has occurred is the formation of a white precipitate in the bottle. Malachite green may also stain some decorations and silicone to a green color and may be toxic to piranhas, neons, sunfish, and some scaleless fish, if given at the recommended dose. For these fish or other sensitive species, they should be treated at half strength and monitored carefully for signs of distress.

While we rarely recommend treating an entire tank for a disease, ich is an exception. Make sure to follow individual label directions, and remove the carbon from your filter and shut off any UV sterilizers or protein skimmers during treatment because they will inactivate or remove any medications that are added.

Preventing Ich

Ich is a very common disease and if your fish get it, you are going to end up having to treat the entire tank. Therefore, it is a much easier disease to prevent than treat, and the following is a list of suggestions for helping to prevent ich in your tank:

  • Only purchase healthy fish that are free of all signs of disease.

  • Never buy fish from a tank that contains a dead or a diseased fish.

  • Always place new fish in a proper quarantine tank for a minimum of two weeks before introducing them into your tank.

  • Never buy plants from a source that keeps them in a fish tank with fish. If you do, make sure to quarantine your plants for at least 4 days.

  • Purchase fish from as direct a source as possible to reduce shipping and handling stress.

  • Remove to a quarantine tank and treat any fish that begins to show the first signs of ich.

  • Avoid any fluctuations in temperature, pH, or ammonia levels as these are all very stressful to fish and can result in an outbreak of ich.

  • Always feed a variety of properly-stored food including freeze dried, frozen and flaked.

  • Do not overstock your tank. Most tanks have too many fish and not enough cover which leads to stress, disease, and increased mortality.

  • Maintain excellent water quality and do regular water changes.

While ich may be the most common disease in aquarium fish, it does not have to infect your tank. By following these preventive guidelines and promptly treating any infected fish, you can greatly reduce the damage that can be caused by this deadly disease.

My Sick Angelfish! 🐠 💦

Oh, no!

Has your fish broken out in white spots?

It might just be Ich.

This is a nasty disease. And if left untreated, it can kill your fish.

Today, I will teach you all about Ich, including how to identify and treat it. This guide might just save the life of your fish!

FishLab Note: Ich is short for Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. Much easier to say “Ich,” right? Pronounce it like ick.


What is Ich?

White spots on freshwater fish scales from Ich

Ich is one of the most common aquarium diseases.[1]

In fact, Ich is so commonly experienced that many fish keepers believe it to be found in every single aquarium.

So, what is Ich exactly?

To put it simply, Ich is a parasite that appears on the body, fins and gills of fish. If left untreated, Ich will eventually kill your fish.

Ich is easily transferred from one tank to another by fish, invertebrates, plants, decorations or even maintenance equipment like your gravel vacuum or nets.

These parasites are small. Real small. So small, in fact, that you need a microscope to see them…

Freshwater aquarium Ich white spot disease viewed under microscope

Lucky for you, you don’t need a microscope to tell if your fish is infested with ich. There are some obvious symptoms that I will cover further down this guide.

If caught early, Ich is very treatable, and many fish make a full recovery.

What makes Ich unique among fish diseases is that it has a life cycle.

1. Parasite stage

The Ich burrows into fish, feeding on the skin and tissue, causing irritation.

As it burrows into the flesh of your fish, it causes a wound. Your fish tries to protect itself and a white, crusty wall seals the Ich in. This wall looks like a white spot.

Many people think the white spot itself is Ich, but it’s actually more like a scab. The Ich hides behind it.

While burrowed beneath the skin, the Ich are protected from any medications you add to your aquarium.

This is the stage when most fish keepers first become aware that their aquarium is infested with Ich – the tell-tale white spots that cover your fish make it easy to identify.

2. Intermediate stage

Once the Ich matures, it bursts through the white crust and floats around looking for a hard surface to attach to – generally the bottom of your aquarium.

The white crust that covers the wound of your fish falls off, leaving an open wound. At this stage, your fish are prone to infection or fungus. Yep, it’s possible for fish to have more than one disease at once.

3. Reproductive stage

Once on the bottom of your tank, the Ich seals itself in a tomont, which is essentially an egg.

Inside the egg, the Ich divides itself into hundreds or even thousands of babies called theronts.

Because the egg is sealed, the babies inside are protected from medication.

4. Infectious stage

When the egg hatches, the theronts are released into the water. They swim around freely, hunting for fish to burrow into.

The babies can only survive for a few days. If they don’t find a fish to infect, they die.

It is during this stage that Ich is vulnerable to medication.

So, how long does all this take?

Well, it all depends on the temperature of your tank.[2]

The higher the temperature, the faster the life cycle.

  • 70˚F (21˚C) – Up to 18 days
  • 85˚F (29˚C) – Up to 6 days

As you see, the temperature of your tank greatly affects the life cycle of Ich. Generally in a tropical tank, the lifecycle generally takes 10 to 12 days. Raising the temperature is one of the tools you can use to rid your tank of Ich – I’ll cover this in later in the guide.

FishLab Note: Good news! The following aquarium creatures are generally considered immune to Ich:

  • Invertebrates – e.g., Shrimp
  • Gastropods – e.g., Snails
  • Amphibians – e.g., Frogs
  • Reptiles – e.g., Turtles

However, that doesn’t mean they can’t “carry” an Ich infestation into your freshwater tank. Use a quarantine tank to avoid this!

Gourami with Ich on fins and scales in freshwater aquarium

There are a few topics in fishkeeping that divide the community. How Ich first gets inside your fish tank is one of these debates.

There are two theories as to how Ich first appears…

1. It’s transferred from tank to tank – Ich is highly contagious and easily transferred from tank to tank. It can hitchhike on a newly bought fish, plant or invertebrate when you add it to your aquarium.

2. It’s always in your tank – Ich is so common that many believe that Ich exists in every tank and only infects your fish when conditions are right.

There still has not been 100% agreement among the fishkeeping community as to which argument is correct.

Not one to take sides? Then, I have good news for you…

It doesn’t really matter which theory is right!

You see, the methods of identifying, treating and preventing Ich from infecting your fish are still the same.

So, leave the two sides to fight it out over who is right. You just worry about the important things like protecting your fish from Ich.

How do you identify Ich? (Symptoms)

Most fish keepers first identify Ich when their fish breaks out in white spots, randomly scattered across the body, fins and gills. The white specks almost look like someone sprinkled salt over your fish.

At first, it may just be a single spot…

Cardinal tetra with one single white spot on scales the beginning of ich

On its own, a single spot does not confirm that your fish is suffering from Ich. You see, many other diseases such as fungus and columnaris can start out as a white-colored spot.

However, if more and more white spots appear, it’s almost certainly Ich.

Cardinal tetra fish covered in lots of white spots ich

These spots can be seen without magnification and can grow into larger white patches. If untreated, things can get pretty bad…

Cardinal tetra dying from Ich covered in white spots

In the very early stages, these white spots are most noticeable on clear fins.

Close-up on cardinal tetra tail covered in white spots

If your fish has big fins with bright colors, then these white spots can be considerably more difficult to notice.

Betta fish with Ich on his fins

The same goes for fish with spotted patterns…

Cory catfish covered in Ich white spots resting on bottom of aquarium

These spots led to Ich being commonly referred to as white spot disease.

Unfortunately, in some cases, Ich may only be present on the gills and mouth – not on the skin or fins. The bad news is that Ich in these areas is very difficult to identify for someone who has never battled it before.

Fortunately, you can use other symptoms to diagnose your fish as having Ich. These symptoms affect your fish’s behavior.

If Ich establishes itself in the gills, it will make it more difficult for your fish to breathe. Because of this, your fish’s gills will move much faster than normal, as they try harder to breathe.

You may even notice your fish move to the top of your aquarium where there is more oxygen or even gasp for air at the surface of your tank.

As the Ich infestation progresses, your fish will become lazier and move slower than they normally would.

German blue ram with white spots (Ich) hiding behind plant in aquarium

You may even notice your fish lose color. As the infection progresses, fish often refuse to eat.

Scratching is the final clue that your fish has Ich because those white spots can be itchy. Unfortunately, your fish doesn’t have hands to give himself a good scratch. Instead, he will brush against objects to make the itching stop, which can result in scrapes and damaged skin.

While some species of fish are more prone to Ich than others, such as tetra, no fish is immune to it.[3]

I also point out that if you notice Ich on one fish in your tank, then it’s safe to assume that they all have it. Ich generally shows up first on the most sensitive or stressed fish, but due to how contagious Ich is, your other fish already have it. It’s simply too early to identify.

It’s important that you correctly identify Ich and not a disease with similar symptoms. Many Ich treatments do not cure other diseases.

Not sure that you are actually dealing with Ich? Ask a member of an online aquarium forum. Simply sign up and post a pic, and others will help you diagnose what is going on with your fish. I sometimes do this myself when I want a second opinion!

How do you treat Ich?

Golden balloon ram with white spots on fins, Ich

Have you diagnosed your fish with Ich?

Well, the next step is getting rid of it.

Use FishLab’s four-step process to eliminate Ich in your aquarium, fast!

This treatment process cures your fish and aquarium of Ich at the same time.

Important: Your fish might already be too weak or too far gone to be saved. While I cannot guarantee the survival of your fish, using these steps will give your finned friend the best shot of overcoming Ich.

Carefully read each of the four steps below. Incorrectly treating Ich can harm or even kill your fish.

1. Check your water quality

Using an aquarium test kit to make sure water quality is good when treating Ich

As with any disease, to see the best results when fighting Ich, you want the water in your tank to be pristine.

You should already be regularly testing your water with a good aquarium test kit. If you aren’t, now is the perfect time to start.

So, grab a test kit and check the following:

Not only will good water quality allow your fish to recover faster, but it can also impact how certain Ich medications affect your fish.[4]

If anything looks out of the ordinary, you want to fix it before moving forward with Ich treatment.

Step 2. Get your fish eating

Tetra infected with Ich covered in white spots eating fish food

Note: If your fish are eating normally, you can skip this step. However, I suggest reading it just in case your fish refuse food in the future.

Many fish that suffer from Ich refuse to eat. Not exactly a good thing when trying to save your fish.

If your fish isn’t eating, she will become weak and less likely to overcome her battle with Ich.

Fortunately, there is a natural solution that gets even the most stubborn fish eating again…


Garlic is used to stimulate appetite, meaning it makes your fish want to eat. It can make all the difference to an Ich-infested fish that refuses to eat.

So, how do you feed your fish garlic?

One popular solution is to swap your fish over to a garlic-infused diet. New Life Spectrum Thera-A is a potent, garlic-based fish food. Not only is it suitable for carnivores, omnivores and herbivores, but it also contains more garlic than other fish food brands. Remember to choose the correct size for your fish! It’s available in five different pellet sizes, from small to large.

Once you beat Ich, swap back to your fish’s usual food – there is no need to feed your fish garlic if they are disease-free

Have fish with a specific diet? Use a concentrated garlic solution instead. Garlic Guard is designed specifically for aquariums – soak your fish’s normal meal in the solution before feeding it to your fish.

Alternatively, you could always mix up your own garlic infusion. It’s a little time consuming, but it will save you money. All you need is a medium-sized bulb of garlic.[5]

  1. Peel the garlic and cut the ends off each clove.
  2. Microwave the cloves for 10 seconds.
  3. Cut the cloves lengthwise into thin strips.
  4. Place the strips in a cup of dechlorinated water.
  5. Let sit at room temperature for 12 hours or longer for a stronger solution.

The longer you soak it, the stronger it becomes. This mix can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.

And, there you have it! Three different ways that you can get your fish to eat garlic to give them the strength to fight off Ich.

Note: This step can be skipped. However, in my experience, it will greatly improve the chances of your fish making a full recovery from Ich.

As a side note, garlic is a parasite-fighting superfood… And, Ich is a parasite.

You see, garlic contains allicin, a compound that not only reduces inflammation but may even boost the immune system of your fish.[6]

Other scientific studies have confirmed garlic’s ability to help combat Ich.[7]

However, on its own, feeding your fish garlic won’t rid your tank of Ich. You need to combine it with the next two methods…

Step 3. Raise your aquarium’s temperature

Ich covered Goldfish in aquarium that is too hot looking at aquarium and sweating

Now, as I discussed earlier in the guide, you only have a very narrow window when Ich is vulnerable to medication – which is why treating Ich can be so difficult.

The good news?

You can make this window roll around sooner by increasing the temperature of your aquarium. 86˚F (30˚C) is the sweet spot.

Now, the trick is to increase the temperature slooooooooowly.

Fish are sensitive to rapid changes in temperature. If you raise it too quickly, you risk killing your fish. Check out FishLab’s guide to aquarium temperatures for more info.

So instead of adjusting the water in your tank straight to 86˚F (30˚C), increase it 2˚F (1˚C) each hour.

Regularly check the water temperature with a good aquarium thermometer to ensure that you are not cooking your fish.

Note: This step is less suitable for overstocked tanks, tanks with poor circulation or heat-sensitive fish. If your tank checks any of these boxes and you don’t feel comfortable increasing the temperature, please skip this step.


Well, as the temperature of your aquarium rises, the water in your tank will hold less oxygen. This is particularly problematic if your tank has poor circulation or is overstocked, where oxygen is already low.

In these cases, raising the temperature may cause problems breathing. Not something you want if Ich has infected the gills of your fish.

Fortunately, this can be overcome by adding an aquarium air pump and airstone or increasing the flow on your filter. This will agitate the surface of your aquarium, improving the amount of oxygen available to your fish.

As for heat-sensitive fish such as goldfish, only adjust the temperature as high as they will tolerate. Any increase in temperature will help shorten the lifecycle of Ich – giving you a better opportunity to get rid of it for good.

Don’t worry, you can still beat Ich without raising the temperature, but it will take a little longer.

Step 4: Choose your Ich medicine

Man comparing two different Ich medications in his hands

With your fish fed, and the temperature raised, it’s now time to get rid of your Ich problem once and for all.

To do that, all that is left to do is add Ich medication to your tank.

FishLab Note: Before adding Ich medicine to your tank, remove any chemical filter media such as activated carbon or Purigen. These chemical filter media can soak up certain types of medication, preventing it from treating your fish.

Oh, and before I continue, I just want to touch on using half doses of Ich medication. My general thought is: Don’t do it!

Using a half dose will just make it weaker to the point where it may not cure Ich. It’s like when you are sick, you don’t take a half dose of medication, do you? Nah, you take the full amount.

As always, follow the directions closely when treating and watch your fish like a hawk for the first two hours after adding any medication. If you notice any adverse reactions, do an immediate water change and discontinue use.

Warning: Many beginners kill their fish by overdosing their tank with Ich medication. Ich medication is dosed to the amount of water inside your tank. And, that’s where mistakes are made…

You see, your tank will never actually hold the amount of water it claims. By the time you factor in your substrate, plants, decorations and even fish, there will be considerably less room for water. Please keep this in mind when determining how much Ich medication to add to your tank.

1. Ich-X

Ich-X the best medication for treating freshwater Ich

Active IngredientsMalachite green, formalin
Scaleless fish safeYes
Plant SafeYes
Shrimp SafeYes
Snail SafeYes

From my experience, a combination of malachite green and formalin is the most powerful way of getting rid of Ich.

But be warned, it’s like a nuke.

This product will stain – it’s an unavoidable downside of malachite green. It will stain your seals, airline tubing and even some decorations. It will also dye your water green during treatment, but this isn’t permanent and soon fades with water changes.

Obviously, this is less of a problem if you use Ich-X in a quarantine or hospital tank.

Despite its ability to stain, Ich-X is my go-to solution for treating Ich.

I have personally used Ich-X for over eight years and know many independent fish stores that also use it to treat fish for disease prior to adding them to their tanks – Even for sensitive, scaleless fish.

The reason? It’s darn effective.

Just make sure you do the 1/3 water change before adding each dose. As per the instructions, it’s a vital part of the treatment. I personally use a good gravel vacuum when I do the water change to help suck the Ich eggs out of the substrate.

Now, I must add that any Ich medication that combines malachite green and formalin can be used instead. Off the top of my head, Kordon Rid Ich Plus and Mardel Quick Cure also come to mind. However, given the success I have experienced with Ich-X, I would be hesitant to recommend anything else.

If you really don’t want to experience the staining, then I have an alternate solution for you…

2. Seachem ParaGuard

Seachem ParaGuard Ich treatment to cure white spot disease

Active IngredientsGlutaraldehyde, malachite green
Scaleless fish safeYes
Plant SafeYes
Shrimp SafeYes
Snail SafeNo

While Seachem ParaGuard does contain malachite green, when used at the suggested dose, staining should not occur.[8] This is likely because it contains less malachite green than other Ich cures.[9]

Another reason many fish keepers choose ParaGuard over Ich-X is because they claim it has fewer side effects to sensitive fish.

Even so, Seachem themselves suggest starting out with a ¼ dose before slowly working your way up to a full dose for fish like loaches and catfish.[10]

While it may not be my go-to Ich cure, ParaGuard is still undeniably effective. And, if you are looking for a non-staining Ich medicine for your display tank, it’s a very viable option.

As an added bonus, Paraguard can also be used to treat secondary infections that arise from an ich infestation.

3. Salt

Aquarium salt used to remedy Ich in aquarium fish

Active IngredientsSalt
Scaleless fish safeNo
Plant SafeNo
Shrimp SafeYes
Snail SafeNo

Salt is perhaps the cure I most often see recommended both online and in real life – it’s hugely popular as an Ich treatment.

I don’t share the same feelings, however. In fact, I think people are too eager to recommend salt as a remedy for Ich.

This might surprise you, especially given that salt is cheap, commonly available and very effective at treating Ich.

So, why don’t I recommend it more highly?

Well, many species of freshwater fish hate salt. Cory, loaches, livebearers and koi, for example, are all well-known for their salt intolerance – the amount of salt needed to kill Ich can also kill these fish.

In fact, long-term use of salt can have a negative impact on fish due to the fact that it interferes with osmoregulation, which is how your fish balances minerals in its body.[11]

On the flipside, certain fish like cichlids and goldfish can respond positively when salt is added to their tank – and for these fish, there is little reason why you shouldn’t use salt.

And now, we get to why I cannot recommend salt for everyone…

Only you know if salt is a good Ich solution for your tank.

You should only use salt as an Ich cure after heavily researching the salt tolerance of your fish. If you are confident that your fish will respond positively to a salt treatment, then go right ahead…

But if you have any doubts, I suggest using a different Ich remedy.

This wraps up my section on treatment. I’m sure many of you reading this have your favorite way of curing Ich. If so, stick with what works for you. But if you have never battled Ich before, following the above four steps gives you the best opportunity to beat it on your first try.

However, just because you have eliminated Ich in your tank, it doesn’t mean your fish are safe just yet – which brings me to my next point…

The dangers of Ich and secondary infections

Gourami covered in white spots in later stages of Ich

Fish can catch more than one disease at a time. In fact, by coming down with Ich, your fish is actually more likely to be afflicted with another disease.[12]

Because your fish is already in a weakened state from both stress and Ich, your fish is much more likely to catch other diseases than he normally would.

For example, this platy is suffering from columnaris of the mouth, which came on while being treated for Ich…

Platy with a couple of white spots from Ich and columnaris secondary infection

This is referred to as a secondary infection.

And let me tell you, battling two or more diseases at once sucks. For you and your fish. Not only will you need different types of medication to combat the other diseases, but your fish’s chances of recovery greatly diminish.

This is why it’s so important to get your water quality sorted out in the beginning. See Step 1 of FishLab’s Ich elimination process. It helps reduce the chances of a secondary infection.

It is for this reason that you should monitor your water and fish closely during treatment. It allows you to quickly identify and eliminate any problems that may arise.

Even after you have eliminated Ich, your fish are still prone to other bacterial and fungal infections – so watch your fish closely in the weeks after treatment, until your fish have returned to full health.

While this may all sound like doom and gloom, recovery from Ich is very common. In fact, it’s one of the easier diseases to cure. If caught early, most fish make a full recovery.

Even so, the best way to beat Ich is to stop it from affecting your fish in the first place, which brings me to my next point.

How do you prevent Ich?

Tropical fish with early signs of Ich identified by white spots on fins

In my opinion, the best way to prevent Ich is to quarantine all the fish you buy before adding them to your tank…

Because that fish you just bought has been on one heck of a journey. Many fish we keep in aquariums come from the other side of the world. Even the ones that are bred locally make their way through multiple tanks before coming home with you.

During this journey, your fish will have plenty of opportunities to encounter Ich. While your fish may look good and healthy, she may already be infected with the early stages of Ich.

If you add this fish to your tank now, you risk everything in your tank being infected with Ich.

If you are serious about aquariums and plan on keeping fish for years to come, you want to set up a quarantine tank.

A quarantine tank is essentially an in-between tank for your fish to hang out in before you add him to your main tank. Most fish keepers quarantine their fish for 2 to 4 weeks.

During this time, the fish is treated for parasites with a copper sulfate solution like this one.

Seachem Cupramine - a copper remedy for Ich and other parasites

Cupramine will eradicate any Ich and other parasites while in quarantine.

Now, you may be wondering why I didn’t recommend Cupramine in the four-step Ich removal process. Well, I would be hesitant to add copper to a main tank because it’s toxic to shrimp, snails and even some plants. Plus, once treatment is finished, it needs to be removed from your tank with chemical filtration.

Once your fish has been monitored and treated for a few weeks, you can add her to your main tank without the risk of introducing Ich and other parasites.

Now, I understand a quarantine tank isn’t going to be a practical solution for everyone. But in my opinion, it’s the best way to prevent parasites, fungal and bacterial infections from entering your main tank. It can also be used as a hospital tank when not being used as a quarantine tank.

The same goes for live plants, which should be treated before being added to your tank.

However, if you like to play things risky and skip the quarantine tank, there are other ways to prevent Ich…

Ich commonly infects fish that are stressed and in a weakened state.

So, If you eliminate stress, you can make your fish Ich-safe, right?

As if you needed another reason to stop stress, it’s the number one cause of death in fish.

Fortunately, keeping your aquarium stress-free is darn simple. In fact, much of it comes down to good housekeeping – things you should already be doing!

  • Cycling your aquarium
  • Not overstocking your tank
  • Stocking compatible fish and invertebrates
  • Testing your water quality
  • Keeping water parameters stable
  • Cleaning and maintaining your aquarium
  • Performing water changes
  • Not overfeeding your fish

Not too hard, right? These simple tasks will keep your fish happy and healthy.


Black neon tetra with Ich (white spot disease) on scales and fins

I know those white spots covering your fish from mouth to tail might look intimidating. But don’t worry, Ich does not have to be a death sentence.

If caught early and with proper treatment, your fish should be on the road to recovery in no time.

If it’s too late for treatment, you may have no other solution other than to euthanize your fish. I know it can be hard, but it may be the only way to stop your fish from suffering.

Many fish keepers consider Ich to be a rite of passage. If you are keeping fish, it’s only a matter of time before you need to overcome it.

And now that you have read this guide, you know exactly what to do.

How do you treat an outbreak of Ich? Let me know in the comments below!


Ich pictures angelfish

Increasing the Water Temperature to Treat Angelfish Diseases

Raising water temperature is considered a valid treatment to remove parasites and fungus from infected fish. However, increasing temperature for bacterial or viral diseases will cause the bacteria and virus to flourish. Therefore, it is important to know the difference so as to know how to treat the angelfish and not cause harm.

There is some controversy regarding raising the water temperature to treat diseases in

fish. Some swear by the treatment, while others say to avoid it completely. Some fish, like angelfish and discus, like warmer water, and aren’t distressed by the 4 to 6 degree Fahrenheit temperature increase to treat ailments. But other fish in the tank may not survive such a temperature increase. Raising temperatures is often recommended when using other treatments such as salt or commercial medication.

rasing water temperature

Flickr: JonJon2k8

How to Increase the Water Temperature for Angelfish Disease Treatment

Identify the disease. Before adjusting the water

temperature as a means to treat angelfish disease, you much first identify the cause of the symptoms in your fish. Increasing the water temperature may worsen some conditions. Only try this treatment if you can confirm that you have a parasitic or fungal infection. Do not raise the water temperature for bacterial or viral diseases.

Go slow. Abrupt water changes will stress your already sick fish. Increase the water temperature slowly by 1 degree F every few hours until your tank reaches 82 to 85 degrees or 4 to 6 degrees above the normal water temperature. Some experienced hobbyists feel it is safe to go higher for angels and have water temperatures hit 90 degrees or above. However, other experienced hobbyists feel this is too much stress on the angelfish.

Increase the aeration in the tank. Warmer water temperatures decrease oxygen in the water. Some medications also decrease the amount of oxygen in water. Since this gives fish less air to breathe, add an air stone, lower the water level, or both. Lowering the water level gives more splashes and agitation when the filter return water goes into the tank. More surface agitation of the water increases the amount of oxygen in the water. Adjust the return to a higher volume if the filter has an adjustable return.

When to lower the temperature. Only keep the water temperature high for 5 to 10 days. After this, lower the temperature slowly using the same method as raising the temperature.

Angelfish Diseases That Higher Temperatures Can Treat

Treating Ich, Ick, Ichthyophthirius multifiliis

Ich is possibly the most commonly fish ailment associated with increasing temperatures to cure. Ich, also called white spot because of the white spots on the fish is a common parasite that attaches itself to fish. Attached to fish, it looks like salt. Loaches and other smooth skinned fish are the first attacked by the parasite. Any fish that has ich attached will eventually die unless treated.

Raising the tank temperature will kill the ick when in the free swimming stage and speeds up the parasite’s lifecycle. Ich can’t be killed while it is attached to the fish. It feeds on the fish, before releasing itself to reproduce. Higher temperatures cause the ich to release from the fish and become free floating sooner, where it can be treated and killed. Medicines or salt treatments are most effective at this time. It is recommended to keep the temperature elevated for 3 days after the last sign of the parasite.

Other Parasites and Fungus

Saprolegina and Achlya, velvet disease, also known as gold dust disease, fish lice, Costia are fungus and parasites where raising the tank temperature is recommended in addition to other treatment.

When Not to Increase the Tank Water Temperature

Mouth fungus,Flavobacterium columnare, or Columnaris

Mouth fungus, Columnaris, is misnamed and actually a bacterial infection. Raising the temperature increases the mouth bacterial infection growth, but lowering temperature doesn’t help. Using salt treatment for bacterial infections is ineffective as the salt concentration would have to be so high the fish would be harmed.Antibiotic medications work best for mouth fungus.

As with all medication, read and follow the instructions on the container. Follow instructions in regards to raising or lowering temperatures. Be aware that both medications and higher temperatures can reduce oxygen content in the water.

Also, many of these diseases in fish are signs that the fish are living in poor water conditions. Improving your tank care will prevent most of these conditions from becoming life threatening to our fish.

Angelfish Diseases References

A few of the better books for learning more about this topic are The Manual of Fish Health and Aquariology, Breeding & Raising Angelfishes, by Ed Standsbury, Tetra and a TFH book, Discus Health.

Fishlore: Freshwater Fish Disease Symptoms and Treatment

Angels Plus: Frequently Asked Questions about Angelfish Health

Species Spotlight - Angelfish

Angelfish Diseases, Parasites & Remedies

An important part of knowing how to care for your angelfish is being aware of the signs and symptoms of the various angelfish diseases that can affect your angelfish.

Parasites, bacteria, fungus and various viral infections can all affect your angelfish. Of course, the first line of defense against diseases is offering proper tank conditions for your fish.

Good water conditions coupled with a varied and balanced diet can go a long way in ensuring that your angelfish develop a strong immune system that can ward off many diseases.

In my experience – and I’m sure many other aquarists can back me up on this – prevention is the best medicine there is, but even with the best prevention diseases may still strike sometimes.

When this does happen, it helps to be aware of how each disease manifests itself, so you can spring into action and offer appropriate treatment for your angelfish.

Here are the most common angelfish diseases, parasites, and remedies that you can apply to prevent further damage or the death of your angelfish:

Angelfish Dropsy

Dropsy appears as a result of an underlying infection caused by a bacterium that’s normally available in aquariums but causes problems if the immune system of your angelfish becomes compromised.

As a result of the infection, kidney function can become compromised, which leads to fluid build-up in inside the fish.

Symptoms of angelfish dropsy include:

  • Bloated appearance and protruding eyes;
  • Scales sticking out;
  • Rapid gill breathing;
  • Loss of appetite and lethargy.

As for the remedies to angelfish dropsy, the outlooks aren’t good. If you notice the disease in its advanced stages, there isn’t anything you can do to save the lives of angelfish that are affected.

If you manage to catch the disease in its incipient stages, adding antibacterial medication to their food and treating angelfish in a separate tank, which contains Epsom salts (⅛ teaspoons to 5 gallons ratio) can help draw out some of the excess fluid.

Angelfish Ich / Ick

Angelfish Ich or White Spot Disease appears as tiny outbreaks of white spots dotted across the body of the fish.

The leading cause of ich in angelfish is sudden changes in water temperature and stress.

Alternatively, introducing plants or other fish that already carry the protozoa in a tank with bad water conditions can also lead to Ich in your other angelfish.

Without treatment the disease carries a high mortality rate, therefore, immediate treatment is required.

Symptoms of angelfish Ick include:

  • White spots on the body of your angelfish;
  • Fish rubbing against objects in the tank trying to remove the spots;
  • Folded fins;
  • Difficulty breathing if spots are located on gills;
  • Loss of appetite and disoriented swimming.

Remedies for Ich include:

  • Anti-parasitic medication;
  • Raising water temperature to 86°F;
  • Adding aquarium salt to the water, which can disrupt the fluid regulation if Ich.

When adding antiparasitic medication into the tank, it’s best to remove the carbon filter, because it may absorb the medication.

Angelfish Fin Rot

Angelfish fin rot is a bacterial infection that commonly appears in freshwater aquariums where water conditions are precarious. It attacks the fins and slowly works its way to the base.

Angelfish fin rot can be caused by Flavobacterium Columnare, Pseudomonas, or Aeromonas, all of which may be present in tanks, which aren’t properly cleaned.

Symptoms of angelfish fin rot include:

  • Fins looking like they’ve been shredded;
  • Difficulty swimming if disease is advanced;
  • Milky-white areas if disease spreads to other areas.

Remedies for this disease should involve a complex approach:

  • Assessment of water conditions, followed by tank cleaning and multiple 20-50% water changes;
  • Removing fish that nip at the fins of other fish, rehoming fish if tank is overstocked;
  • Antibiotic treatment.

Unfortunately, once the infection damages the fins of your angelfish, the affected tissue cannot be regrown or regenerated, therefore, I recommend doing your best to prevent the disease from spreading by following a strict treatment plan.

Angelfish Velvet Disease (Gold Dust Disease)

Velvet Disease is an infection caused by the parasite Piscinoodinum, which attacks the body of the fish forming a cyst in the natural slime coating of the angelfish and then erupting through the skin.

Symptoms of velvet disease in angelfish:

  • Body is coated in gold (sometimes green or brown) cysts;
  • Excess slime production;
  • Rapid breathing;
  • Rubbing against objects in the tank;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • General lethargy;
  • Fins kept at side.

Secondary infections because of the weakened immune system of the fish are also common, therefore, the symptoms of velvet disease can be accompanied by symptoms of other infections as well.

Remedies should be applied immediately as you notice symptoms because the disease is extremely contagious, and it can result in the death of your fish.

Treatment options that can help include:

  • Quarantining fish in a hospital tank, which is blacked-out (cover it with a blanket) for 3 weeks and temperature is raised to 82-86°F;
  • Add aquarium salt to the tank (dissolve aquarium salt in 0.5-1 gallon container of warm water, add 2.5 teaspoons of aquarium salt for every gallon of water in your aquarium);
  • Medication added to the tank (e.g. formalin, acriflavin, methylene blue, copper sulfate).

If your angelfish respond to the treatment, they can be transferred from the hospital tank into a suitable aquarium.

Angelfish Hexamita (Hole-in-the-Head Disease)

Also known as Hole-in-the-Head disease, Hexamita is caused by the rapid multiplication of a parasite that’s normally present in freshwater aquariums. Untreated, the disease can cause the death of your angelfish.

Symptoms of angelfish hexamita:

  • Loss of appetite;
  • White, stringy feces;
  • Lesions on the head;
  • Loss of color.

Remedies for angelfish hexamita that can help:

  • Quarantining infected with in a hospital tank;
  • Raising water temperatures gradually until it reaches 90°F;
  • Treating the aquarium with MetroPlex.

Angelfish Gill Flukes

Gill Flukes in angelfish refer to parasitic infections that affect the gills and skin of your fish. Outbreaks are usually caused by stress and improper tank conditions.

Parasites can burrow into the skin of fish and create ulcers and infections.

Symptoms of angelfish gill flukes:

  • Gills look like they’ve been shredded or chewed;
  • Excess mucus formation;
  • Breathing difficulties;
  • Rubbing against objects;
  • Red skin.

Remedies for angelfish gill flukes you should try:

  • Treatment with anti-worm medication Praziquantel.

Angelfish Anchor Worms

Anchor Worms aren’t technically worms. They’re small crustaceans that embed themselves into the scales and flesh of your fish.

Symptoms that can help identify angelfish anchor worm disease:

  • Redness, ulcers, inflammation at the spot where the crustaceans embedded into the body of your fish;
  • Red or white-green worms at the base of fins;
  • Difficult breathing and rubbing against objects.

Remedies that can be helpful:

  • Potassium permanganate bath to kill immature anchor worms that haven’t embedded yet;
  • Use tweezers to remove any embedded anchor worm;
  • Treat the aquarium with Dimilin to kill larvae and any adult anchor worm that hasn’t embedded;
  • Treat aquarium with aquarium salt.

To avoid future infestations, be very careful when adding new fish to the tank or adding plants to the tank as both can carry the worms.

Angelfish Swollen Bellies – Big Stomach

Angelfish with swollen bellies or angelfish with a big stomach may be having symptoms of dropsy, which — as I mentioned at the section about angelfish dropsy — is an infection that damages the kidney function of angelfish and causes fluid build-up inside the fish.

Besides dropsy, there are other conditions that can cause angelfish to have a big stomach or a bloated appearance:

  • Spawning – when the angelfish female is preparing to lay her eggs, her belly will have a swollen appearance;
  • Poor digestion – the narrow bodies of angelfish makes them susceptible to constipation caused by poor digestion (soaking dried flakes in castor oil or glycerol, or feeding them mashed peeled peas can ease indigestion);
  • Sign of kidney problems – a cyst, an infection or lesions can also cause angelfish bellies to swell;
  • Internal parasites – various internal parasites can also cause a bloated appearance.

Therefore, angelfish with swollen bellies may not necessarily be ill (e.g. they may be just preparing to spawn), but it’s important to monitor the situation and see if there are further signs of disease.

If you’re in doubt about what may be causing a swollen belly in your angelfish, make sure to consult a specialist.

Angelfish Mouth Fungus Disease

Angelfish mouth fungus is caused by Flavobacterium columnare, which is a gram-negative bacterium that’s present in aquariums and under normal circumstances, it doesn’t affect fish.

However, since they’re opportunistic bacteria, they’ll enter the body of your angelfish via wounds and establish itself in the wound of angelfish with weakened immune systems.

Symptoms of angelfish mouth fungus include:

  • Fluffy off-white cotton-like threads at the face, gills or mouth;
  • Sores and lesions in advanced cases;
  • Ragged fins;
  • Rapid breathing;
  • Excess mucus production on head, gills.

Remedies that you can try to treat angelfish mouth fungus disease:

  • Antibiotic or antibacterial medication (kanamycin and phenoxyethanol at 100 mg/l of water for 7 days;
  • Adding salt or sodium chloride to the tank (1oz of salt per gallon of water) can help prevent the disease.

Keeping optimal water parameters and regularly cleaning the tank can also help prevent this disease.

Angelfish Virus Infection

Also known as angelfish AIDS, the angelfish virus infection is a devastating and virulent infection that can cause the death of your angelfish in a couple of days after infection.

It’s highly contagious and it’s easily spread from one fish to another.

Symptoms of angelfish virus infection:

  • Weakness, loss of energy;
  • Fins folded against the body;
  • Excess amount of slime production;
  • Fish are usually at the bottom of the tank;
  • Nose slightly pointed up.


Outlooks aren’t good for fish that were infected by the virus, and they usually die off in a couple of days, however, some remedies you can try:

  • Quarantine infected fish in a hospital tank (no lights, sponge filter and UV sterilizer);
  • Treat tank with Seachem Para Guard for 3 days, perform a 10% water change between each treatment;
  • Add Mardel Maracyn to the tank to prevent secondary diseases.

If your angelfish survives the angelfish virus infection, you can move them to an aquarium, however, not with healthy fish as they may still carry the virus for at least 6 months.

Angelfish Popeye Disease

Angelfish Popeye disease is an infection that causes fluid build-up behind the eyes of your fish. It can be triggered by precarious water conditions and even though it carries a very low risk of fatality, it can damage the eye and even cause it to fall out.

Symptoms of Popeye disease in angelfish:

  • Protruding, cloudy eyes;
  • Ruptured eyes that lead to loss of vision.


  • Performing a 50% water change 4-5 days in a row to ensure optimal water conditions;
  • Adding Epsom salt to the water at 1-3 teaspoons/gallon;
  • Antibiotics mixed into food and medications that work for fin rot disease can also help.

Angelfish Cotton Wool Disease

This disease can be caused by a variety of factors like overcrowded tank, low water temperatures or poor water conditions.

Symptoms of angelfish cotton wool disease:

  • Translucent layer that’s expanding on the skin of the fish;
  • Edges of the body may appear bloody (like blood is oozing through the skin).

Remedies for cotton wool disease in angelfish depend on how advanced the disease is. If it’s in an advanced stage, euthanasia is the most compassionate thing you can do at this point.

If you’ve managed to catch the disease early on, you should address the environmental factors in the aquarium (cleaning the tank, performing water changes, rehoming fish in overstocked tanks).

Once these things are taken care of, you should add marine salt to the tank (4 teaspoons/gallon) and treat water with potassium permanganate.

Final Thoughts

These are the most common angelfish diseases that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites in the tank.

Because some angelfish diseases are so difficult to treat, prevention is key. That said, you should focus on keeping water parameters at optimal levels, performing water changes and tank maintenance on the regular.

Moreover, make sure you feed your fish a healthy diet that meets their nutritional requirements and strengthens their immune system.

And lastly, always be very careful with new fish that you’re introducing to the tank (always quarantine them first!) and with live foods and plants that you’re adding to the tank.

If you’re careful about these things, you can minimize the occurrence of diseases and make sure that the immune system of your angelfish can put up a good fight in case diseases still find their way into the tank.

Angelfish   Freshwater  

avatarI’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.

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Ichthyophthirius Multifiliis in Fish

Ich is caused by an external parasite that causes multiple white spots on your freshwater fishes' skin and gills. This is a common parasitic infection of freshwater fish and is one of the few fish parasites that can be seen with the naked eye. However, there are other non-parasitic causes of white spots on fish that need to be ruled out before treatment is initiated. Understanding the parasite's life cycle is critical to successful treatment.

What is Ich?

"Ich" or "white spot disease" is caused by the protozoan parasite, Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, which means in Latin "Fish Louse with many children." The saltwater form of ich or white spot disease is caused by Cryptocaryon irritans. Both parasites have a complex life cycle that makes them difficult to treat. The large feeding (trophont) stage is visible to the naked eye as the white spots on the fish’s body, but highly resistant to treatment. The free-swimming theront stage is not visible, but is the only stage in the parasite’s lifecycle susceptible to treatment. It only takes one trophont to reproduce after feeding on a fish (as a tomont), releasing 1,000 new infective organisms (the theront) into a system, so infestations can occur very rapidly. The life cycle is temperature dependent, with fewer days between stages in warmer water, and severe delay in colder water.

Signs of Ich in Freshwater Fish

  • Small white spots on the fish's body
  • Fish flashing, or using objects in their environment to scratch themselves
  • Bruising or scale loss secondary to flashing
  • Lethargic and increased respiratory effort
  • Sudden death (can be multiple fish in one system)

White spot disease can be mistaken for other non-serious issues. Fin ray fractures, or fractures to the cartilage of a fin, can look very similar, but are not life threatening. Breeding tubercles on male goldfish, producing multiple white bumps on the operculum and pectoral fin, also look identical to white spot disease, but are normal anatomical variations. Lymphocystis, a viral disease in fish, can produce similar white bumps but can be differentiated by your veterinarian.

Causes of Ich

The most common cause of Ich is failure to quarantine a new fish addition to the aquarium. Since it only takes one infectious Ich parasite to reproduce and then spread through an entire tank or pond, most fish will "look okay" and not act sick at all until a few life cycles of the parasite are complete, which can take a few days to a few weeks, depending on your water temperature. Safely quarantining all new fish will prevent the spread of Ich to your main aquarium.

Additional causes may include:

  • Using infected equipment between tanks without proper sanitation
  • Transferring infected filter media or décor between tanks
  • Moving infected water between systems


For treatment to be successful, you may have a veterinarian to examine your sick fish to make a correct diagnosis. Remember, there are other things on fish that can look remarkably similar to white spot disease that will require different treatment. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, there are treatment options available for prescription through your aquatic veterinarian and fish store. Monitoring and maintaining your water temperature is critical to ensure the parasite is completely eliminated from your system. Many over-the-counter "treatments" do not take this into account and if not properly used can severely hurt your fish in addition to not completely treating the Ich.

Many online forums will recommend manipulating your tank temperature to speed up or immobilize Ich. Unfortunately, in doing so, you will stress out your fish and make them more susceptible to death from secondary causes.

How to Prevent Ich

  • Quarantine new fish for four to six weeks (temperature dependent)
  • Quarantine new invertebrates previously kept with fish for two to four weeks
  • Quarantine all new plants before adding to the tank (two weeks with no fish)

To prevent Ich or many other parasites and diseases from entering your aquarium, all new additions, including fish, invertebrates and plants, should be quarantined in a separate tank using separate equipment for four to six weeks. Quarantine will be slightly shorter at higher temperatures. Do not manipulate your fish's ideal temperature range in order to shorten your quarantine period. This can stress out your fish and make them susceptible to many diseases and parasites.

All new plants previously kept with fish should be quarantined. By keeping plants isolated from all fish and inverts for at least two weeks, the parasite life cycle will break and the parasite will die off. Ich requires a fish host to complete its life cycle. Use these two weeks to beef up your plants with some extra fertilizer since transport and handling can easily damage aquatic plants.

In order to improve your fish's overall health and wellbeing, be sure to maintain good water quality at all times and feed an appropriate diet. Keep up with a regular maintenance schedule. Check in on all your fish on a regular basis and understand their normal appetites and behaviors so you can quickly judge when something is wrong. If you suspect something is wrong with your fish, contact your aquatic veterinarian as soon as possible.


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