Everyone loves having angelfish in their aquariums because of how gorgeous they are. These elegant fish swim through the water with grace, and they have such bold colors that they will stand out in just about any aquarium.
Knowing this, it makes sense that the fish have become so popular. Most buy angelfish for their beauty, but that beauty can be tarnished in the fish contracts a disease known as “ich.”
Angelfish ich is a serious problem that can threaten the health of the entire tank. You’ll notice this disease pretty quick because it’ll cause white spots to form on your angelfish.
What causes angelfish ich? Can anything be done to treat this disease so that the fish can be saved?
Continue reading to get all of the pertinent information about this problem that you need to make an informed decision. You should be able to keep your fish safe when you understand what causes this to happen as well as how to treat the disease.
What Is Ich?
Ich is a disease that is caused by a parasite. Specifically, the protozoan parasite with the scientific name Ichthyophthirius multifiliis is to blame for the condition.
There’s another form of the disease that is caused by a different parasite, but that’s something that saltwater fish have to deal with. Since most angelfish are freshwater fish, this article will be concerned with that form of ich.
Sadly, infestations can occur rapidly, and that is why your whole fish tank will be in danger. After feeding on fish, the parasite can reproduce and unleash a thousand organisms into the water.
Each organism is capable of infecting fish, and you can see why angelfish ich is something to take seriously because of this. You want to try to keep your eyes open for signs of ich early on so that you can try to take care of the issue.
Symptoms of Angelfish Ich
There are quite a few symptoms of angelfish ick, but the one that most will notice involves white spots forming on the fish’s body. You’ll eventually see white spots all over the angelfish, and it’d be hard to overlook something such as this.
Aside from the white spots, you’ll notice that the fish will rub against objects in the tank in an attempt to remove the spots. This condition is very uncomfortable, as you might expect.
Sometimes fish will appear to have folded fins when they’re suffering from ich. You’ll also see that the infected fish will have a hard time breathing.
The breathing difficulties can be quite pronounced when the white spots are present on the gills. This can be very dangerous for your angelfish.
If you see the angelfish swimming around and looking disoriented, then that is an effect of the disease. The fish will also lose appetite while it’s sick.
In some cases, you might even notice bruising on the fish. Fish have been known to lose scales when they’re dealing with ich, too.
Can Ich Kill Angelfish?
Yes, ich can kill angelfish if you don’t take action. In fact, it’s not unusual for ich to lead to sudden death.
You could see multiple fish in your fish tank drop dead if the ich problems are particularly bad. This is why it’s crucial to start treating the fish as soon as you can.
If you wait, then the fish might wind up not having as much of a chance. When you want to get your fish tank back to normal, it’s best to be a proactive fish tank owner.
How to Treat Angelfish Ich
Treating angelfish ich can be done in a few different ways. If you want to get the best results, then you should combine the treatment options.
The angelfish should take anti-parasitic medication to try to get rid of the parasites. Note that the medication might not be effective during certain stages of the parasite’s life.
To get the medicine to work as well as possible, it’ll be wise to remove the carbon filter. Carbon filters might absorb the medication, and you need the medication to make it to the fish so that they can get better.
One good thing that you can do to fight parasites is raise the temperature of the water. Under normal circumstances, the angelfish will want the fish tank to stay between 76 degrees Fahrenheit and 84 degrees Fahrenheit.
To make things tougher for the parasite, you’ll want to raise the temperature in the tank to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The fish will be just fine when you raise the temperature, but you should do so gradually so that you don’t shock the fish.
Many experts recommend adding salt to the fish tank as well. The presence of aquarium salt can significantly disrupt the fluid regulation of ich.
What Causes Ich?
The causes of ich are usually pretty easy to determine. Most often, ich occurs when you add something new to the fish tank.
For example, you could have added a new fish to the tank without properly quarantining it first. This means that the new fish likely had ich and exposed the rest of the tank to the disease.
Even moving an aquatic plant to the tank has the potential to contaminate the aquarium. If you move infected water between systems, then there’s a chance that you’ll encounter problems.
People have even accidentally transferred ich between tanks by swapping out filters. If you aren’t careful, then things such as this can happen.
Preventing ich is really about making safe choices for your tank. Quarantine new fish for four to six weeks to ensure that they aren’t infected.
If you want to add new aquatic plants to the tank, then you should be able to quarantine the plants for two weeks with no fish. After this time, it’ll be safe to add the plants to the tank.
Bad water conditions make it more likely that ich will thrive. For this reason, you should do everything that you can to keep an eye on the water quality in the tank.
Test the water to keep the pH balance just right. Ensure that the temperature remains in the right range for the angelfish, too.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.