You know that cichlids can get sick just like other fish. Cichlids are fairly hardy, but they can still have a tough time with certain conditions.
One sickness that many fish have to deal with is known as ich. This is a condition that is characterized by white spots appearing on the body of the fish.
If your fish have white spots and seem like they’re sick, they likely have ich. You’ll want to intervene and treat the fish to help them get better.
Keep reading to learn about ich and how it can impact cichlids. You’ll get information on how to treat this sickness so that your fish can get better.
Cichlid White Spot
What does it mean when you see white spots appear all over your cichlids? It means that they have contracted ich.
The white spots that you’re seeing are parasites. Cichlids are hardy fish, but they can still get ich when they become stressed.
Conditions in the tank might not be good right now. If the water is a bit too dirty, or if the water parameters are off, it’ll cause the fish to become stressed.
Stressed fish are more likely to become infected by bacteria and certain types of parasites. Ich is caused by protozoan parasites.
This is something that can be treated, but it’ll be harder to treat things if you wait too long. It’s best to try to catch this situation as early as you can.
Never ignore ich since it can cause cichlids and other types of fish many problems. The treatment process isn’t difficult, but you can make things tougher by failing to take action for too long.
What Are the Symptoms of Ich?
You already know about the white spots that appear on the fish. Usually, the easiest way to notice that a fish has ich is simply to see that it has white spots on its body.
Often, it isn’t possible to tell that the fish has ich until the white spots appear. This doesn’t mean that the white spots are the only symptoms of the condition, though.
Fish that contract ich will often become lethargic. The fish might even stop eating as the condition progresses.
It’s very likely that you’ll notice the fish rubbing up against objects in the tank. They do this to try to find relief from the parasites.
This condition is very uncomfortable for the cichlids. They’re going to have a tough time dealing with this.
Even if ich isn’t something that’s likely to kill your fish, it’s still not something you should ignore. You want to treat ich as soon as you can.
How Do You Treat Ich?
Treating ich isn’t that hard. There are several things that you can do to get the fish better.
It’s going to be necessary to treat the cichlids using some type of medication. There are several medications that you can buy at pet stores that will treat ich.
The most common type of medication that people buy when treating fish for ich is known as formalin. It’s also pretty common to treat the condition with malachite green.
When treating cichlids for ich, it’ll be good to buy a simple to use treatment such as Ich-X. This is safe to use for cichlids and it’ll get rid of the parasites rather fast.
There are other things that you can do to help the fish and get rid of the ich in the tank. Raising the temperature of the water makes it so the parasites can’t go through their life cycle properly.
It speeds the life cycle up and causes the parasites to die out. Raise the temperature to the upper limits of what cichlids can tolerate.
You might also want to add some aquarium salt to the fish tank. Salt can help to get rid of the parasites that cause ich, but you have to be careful.
Cichlids are freshwater fish, and that means that they can only tolerate so much salt. Only use as much salt as you’re instructed to in the instructions that come with the aquarium salt.
If you do all of this, it’ll be easy enough to get your cichlids better. It might take a little time, but they will be able to turn things around.
Do your best to keep the fish healthy by feeding them high-quality foods. Monitor the water conditions carefully to ensure that the cichlids rebound and start to thrive in the tank again.
Water changes are an important part of getting the fish tank back to normal. When you discover ich in the tank, you should do an immediate water change.
You’re trying to get rid of the parasite. Do water changes daily to try to get things better in the tank.
It’ll only be positive for the fish when you change the water and try to keep things very clean in the tank. Combining this with raising the temperature in the water can really have a positive impact.
Can Ich Kill Fish?
Yes, ich does have the potential to kill fish. It’s simply not likely that your fish will die unless you ignore the issue.
If you ignore that your fish has contracted ich, it’ll continue to get worse. The condition will keep developing and the ich problem will weaken the fish.
Earlier, you learned that ich causes fish to become lethargic and stop eating. This could become part of what will ultimately kill the fish.
When you notice that a fish has ich, it’s best to start treatment right away. There’s no reason to wait to help the fish.
Cichlids are generally hardy fish that should have a fairly easy time surviving when they contract ich. Simply treat them as described above and everything will likely be fine.
What Causes Fish to Get Ich?
Why did your fish get ich in the first place? Generally, healthy fish aren’t going to contract ich.
Cichlids will only get ich if the conditions in the tank are rather poor. Often, fish getting ich is a sign that the water quality in the tank isn’t good.
It could be that the water parameters are far off of what they should be. In this situation, you’ll want to fix issues with the water temperature or the pH balance.
Fish can also become susceptible enough to get ich due to becoming stressed for other reasons. For example, the fish might be stressed if they’re kept in too small of a tank.
You always want to make sure that your fish are being cared for properly. Even issues with feeding the fish improperly could stress them enough to cause health problems.
How to Prevent Ich
Preventing ich is just about taking care of the basics. Do a good job monitoring the water parameters.
Keep the water in the tank very clean by regularly cleaning the tank. It’s important to do weekly water changes of 15% to keep the water clean as well.
Feed the fish high-quality foods and make sure that you’re giving them enough food. Don’t overcrowd the fish tank either.
If you’re putting in the effort, it’ll be far less likely that your fish will ever have to deal with ich. It truly is a condition that only impacts cichlids that are vulnerable due to being stressed.
Quarantine New Fish
Another thing to consider is that sometimes you might introduce parasites to the tank by adding new fish. It’s normal to add new fish to a community fish tank from time to time.
Before putting new fish in the main tank, it’s going to be wise to quarantine the fish for a period of time. This helps you to avoid adding fish to the tank that will infect the fish that you already have.
To get the best results, quarantine newcomers for several days. This should be a good thing to get used to doing whenever you want to put new fish in the tank.
It can also help you to prevent other types of diseases and bacteria from entering the tank. Many enthusiasts say that it’s wise to quarantine new aquatic plants as well.
You’ve now learned about cichlids and ich. These fish are generally hardy and don’t have much to fear from ich so long as you take care of them.
In fact, it’s unlikely that cichlids will ever get ich if the conditions in the tank are good. They will only wind up contracting ich if they’re stressed due to poor conditions in the tank.
This is why it’s imperative to take care of the tank properly. You need to pay close attention to regular tank maintenance.
Monitor the water parameters and keep things in the right range. Avoid overcrowding the fish tank with too many fish.
Do regular water changes and clean the tank as often as you’re supposed to. Don’t forget to feed the fish either since that will also cause them to become stressed.
If your fish do wind up getting ich, you’ll be able to help them get better. Simply treat them using medications such as formalin to clear things up.
It’s also helpful to raise the temperature of the water. Treating the tank with aquarium salt can be good when trying to get rid of ich as well.
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.