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Whitespot (Ichthyopthiriasis or Ich)

This article was worked on by our good friend Nads, this took a lot of her time up to sort it out which will help our members time and time again. Thanks to Nads for this.

Moderators: Nads, Ray, iwade4fish, Super Turtleman

PostAuthor: Nads » Sun Feb 17, 2008 10:47

White-spot is an extremely common disease caused by the protozoan Ichthyophthirius multifiliis.


- Small, slightly raised white spots occurring singularly or in groups as the disease becomes more advanced. In the most advanced stages the fish may appear as if it has been sprinkled with salt or sugar.

- Scratching or flicking

- As the infestation becomes more advanced, panting and heavy breathing will become apparent.


- The white spots are caused by the protozoan Ichthyophthirius multifiliis during the parasitic stage of it's life cycle.


- See "Life-cycle of Ichthyophthirius multifiliis" detailed below.


- Fortunately white-spot is normally easy to treat and medications can be purchased from any fish store.

- It is essential that the directions of the treatment are followed even if the spots have gone as the protozoan is only treatable during it's free swimming stages and not continuing treatment can mean the spots will return in greater numbers.

Life Cycle of Ichthyophthirius multifiliis

1. The parasite attaches itself to the body of the fish during it's feeding /growing stage (trophont).

2. The mature parasite drops from the fish onto the substrate

3. The parasite reproduces within the substrate as a tomont or "cyst"

4. Cyst begins to divide

5. Cyst release 250 to 2000 infective stages

6. The infective stages (theronts or "swarmers") swim in the water in search of a new host - this is the only stage in the life-cycle in which the parasite is susceptible to treatments.
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