Clownfish are very popular because they’re pretty and they’re fun to observe. They’re also among the easiest saltwater fish to take care of for newcomers to the hobby.
Even so, you’re going to need to be on top of things when caring for any fish. If you don’t pay attention to the fish, then things can go wrong pretty quickly, and this is especially true if the fish are sick.
It’s important to keep an eye on your fish to watch out for signs of sickness so that you can catch things early. For instance, you might see that one of your fish has white spots one day.
Can clownfish get ich or would seeing spots on them be related to something else? Keep reading to learn more about clownfish and ich.
Clownfish Can Get Ich
Clownfish can indeed get ich, and it’s not something that you’re going to want to ignore. Some people assume that clownfish can’t get ich because they’re resistant to it, but they can definitely still get infected.
Ich isn’t as problematic for clownfish as it is for many freshwater fish. Saltwater fish such as clownfish have natural protections from ich, but it’s still something that you don’t want to have in your tank.
Some clownfish enthusiasts have noted that the fish can die from severe ich infestations. This means that you want to get it out of your tank as soon as you possibly can.
There’s a lot more to learn about this topic. Keep reading so that you can learn about ich and what you can do to protect your clownfish.
Ich is a type of parasitic infection that fish can get. When the ich enters the aquarium, it’ll infect your fish and this will cause them to have white spots show up on their bodies.
When you look at the fish closely it should be fairly easy to see the white spots. Saltwater fish such as clownfish have built up a resistance to ich since the mucus on their skin helps to protect them.
If you don’t treat this condition, then it has the potential to kill your fish. Catching the disease early will give you a great opportunity to turn things around.
What Can Ich Do to Clownfish?
Since clownfish are supposed to be resistant to ich, why do you need to worry about it? If they’re saltwater fish, shouldn’t you be able to safely ignore it?
Ignoring an ich infection would be a very bad move if you care about your fish. While it’s true that ich isn’t as problematic for clownfish due to their natural protection against the disease, it’s also true that it can still be harmful.
Firstly, clownfish can still carry the infection, and they can easily pass it to other fish. This can be a problem when you’re keeping clownfish in a community tank.
Aside from this, you should know that ich can negatively impact the breathing of the clownfish. If things get too bad, then the fish might even die.
Check the Gills of the Clownfish
You should take the time to check the gills of the clownfish to see how they look. If ich is present on the gills, then you’re going to want to treat the fish immediately.
As mentioned earlier, ich is a condition that will cause fish to have white spots on their bodies. You might see that your clownfish will have a white spot on its gills.
This is going to make it hard for the fish to breathe. It’s definitely not good for the health of your fish.
The white spot in question should look a bit like salt. It’ll be like grains of salt that have attached to the gills of the clownfish.
If the clownfish has spots on its gills, then it’s best to treat it to help it out. Clownfish might be able to get rid of the parasite on their own, but you don’t want to take chances.
Treating ich is going to involve a few different approaches. You can try to take good care of the clownfish and let it heal on its own or you can specifically treat the clownfish.
Caring for the clownfish involves giving it high-quality food while ensuring that the water quality remains very good. Keep a close eye on the water parameters and observe the fish to see how it’s acting.
If the fish is eating well and doesn’t appear to be lethargic, then that will be a very good sign. Look to see if the white spots are multiplying or increasing.
When the white spots aren’t increasing or multiplying, it’s fair to assume that the fish is naturally ridding itself of the parasite. If there are increasing problems with white spots, then the fish likely needs a bit of help.
This is where actually treating the fish comes into play. There are some different treatment options that you can try out.
Many enthusiasts say that giving the clownfish a copper-based medication will be the quickest way to solve issues with ich. This is a common treatment that has been shown to help clear up ich infections.
Adding iodized salt to the tank might also prove to be beneficial. Sometimes it’s best to remove the infected clownfish from the tank and quarantine it.
If the clownfish is the only fish that appears to have ich in a community tank, then you might wish to quarantine it right away. This can help to prevent the ich from spreading to other fish.
You’ll also want to clean the fish tank thoroughly for around six weeks. You’re trying to get rid of all traces of the infection, and this means more regular cleaning and water changes.
If you do a good job, then you should be able to clear up the ich and get the fish looking healthy again. Sometimes it can feel like a pain to get rid of ich in a fish tank, but you can get it done if you put in the effort.
Advice for Preventing Ich Infections
You likely want to avoid having to deal with ich infections in the future. After all, it’d be way better to not have to see your poor clownfish get infected with ich ever again.
The best thing that you can do is focus on keeping the tank very clean. If you’re thorough when it comes to cleaning the tank, then it’s less likely that you’ll have to deal with ich.
Do your best to clean the tank regularly and remember to do water changes each week. It could be that ich became a problem in the tank due to the water becoming dirty.
When the water in the tank is dirty, it often means that you’ve been a bit lackadaisical when it comes to weekly water changes. Changing 15% of the water on a weekly basis is the best recommendation to keep problems such as this at bay.
It’s also worth noting that you want to limit organic debris in the tank to keep the water parameters steady. Feeding the fish too much food can easily become a problem.
If the fish aren’t finishing everything that you give to them, then you need to scoop the excess food out of the tank. That leftover food can easily raise ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels in the aquarium.
Ideally, you should only feed the fish as much as they can eat within a few minutes. Try to avoid overfeeding the fish to make your life easier.
Keep a close eye on the pH balance of the water as well as the rest of the water parameter settings. It should help you to avoid encountering issues with ich.
Another thing to think about involves adding new fish or new plants to the fish tank. You could be bringing ich into the tank from an outside source.
Fish that come from a pet store could be infected with ich. This is why many people choose to quarantine new fish for six weeks before putting them in the main community tank.
It’s also said that plants can carry the parasite. You might want to keep plants quarantined for a while in a fish tank that doesn’t have any fish in it.
Now you know that ich can indeed be a problem for clownfish. They’re resistant to ich, but it can still negatively impact their gills.
Keeping the fish tank clean and doing your best to keep water parameters in the right range will help. You should be able to prevent ich from becoming an issue in your fish tank.
Be sure to quarantine new fish coming into the tank as well as new aquatic plants to be on the safe side. If your fish does show signs of having ich, then you can treat the fish to help it get better.
Luckily, ich isn’t as deadly for clownfish as it is for many freshwater fish. Saltwater fish such as clownfish do have a natural resistance to ich, but you don’t want to ignore problems.
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.