You want your discus fish to do well in your home aquarium. They’re such gorgeous fish and you likely want them to stick around for a long time in your tank.
To keep these fish healthy it’s important to put in the effort. You need to take care of them well and pay close attention to water quality.
Things can go awry in the tank sometimes, though. Like many fish, discus fish can get sick and one of the potential diseases they might deal with is known as ich.
Ich, also referred to as white spot disease, has the potential to seriously bother these fish. You need to take action fast to protect your fish.
Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about ich in discus fish. This will help you to get the best results you can.
What Is Ich?
Ich is a type of parasitic infection that causes fish to have white spots appear on their bodies. It makes them very uncomfortable and you’ll often see the fish rubbing against objects in the tank.
The disease is caused by parasites and can be a big problem for discus fish. Sadly, discus fish can die if you don’t treat ich as soon as you notice it.
Many discus fish owners have said that their fish have died within two days after contracting ich. So this tells you that you need to take things seriously if you wish to save your fish.
When trying to spot the parasites on the fish, you’ll notice that the white spots are quite small. Sometimes the spots might even look as if they’re a bit clear.
Generally, the spots will appear on the body of the fish. They might appear on the fins and sometimes the spots can even get on the gills.
What Are the Symptoms?
The biggest symptom of ich will be the appearance of white spots. You’ll see white spots show up on the body of the fish.
These white spots are usually fairly small and they will look sort of like specks of salt. The fish will likely act very lethargic when it has this condition.
You’ll see the fish losing energy and it’ll stop being as active in the tank. It’ll lose its appetite and might even stop eating entirely.
Rubbing against objects in the tank (often referred to as flashing) is a common thing that fish do when they have this disease. It’s thought that the fish do this in an effort to remove the parasites or to find relief.
Pay attention and try to catch the symptoms as soon as you can. This disease can kill all of your discus fish in just a few days.
Ich is highly contagious and it’ll likely wind up impacting every fish in the tank. So you want to act now to save your fish.
What Are the Treatments?
There are several treatments that can work to help you get rid of ich. Many people treat fish by giving them copper sulfate, formalin, or potassium permanganate.
It’s also normal to add aquarium salt to the tank to try to inhibit the parasites. Typically, it’s normal to add one tablespoon of aquarium salt for every 40 gallons of water, but you should follow the specific aquarium salt instructions that you receive.
Raising the temperature in the tank can help as well. You want to raise the temperature to the upper limit of what the discus fish can deal with.
Higher temperatures help to get rid of the ich in the tank. Combine this with water changes, feeding the fish high-quality foods, and careful monitoring of the tank.
You can get the fish to make a full recovery by acting fast. In the future, you’ll want to keep the fish from getting this disease, though.
There’s always the potential that you might lose some fish. Discus fish are somewhat fragile and they can die when they get sick or stressed.
Hopefully, you can save all or most of your discus fish by acting quickly. Do your best to treat the fish and solve the problems in the tank.
How to Prevent Ich
Preventing future ich outbreaks will involve being very careful. Quarantine any new fish for at least a week before putting them in the main tank.
You want to avoid bringing parasites into the tank. Isolating new aquatic plants for five days before adding them to the tank is also advised.
Do your best to maintain high water quality. A clean fish tank is far less likely to deal with issues with these parasites.
Also, the fish won’t be stressed if they’re kept in a clean and appropriate environment. They’ll be less susceptible to getting this disease if you’re caring for them to the best of your ability.
Do regular water changes, focus on tank maintenance, and keep both the pH balance and water temperature steady. Often, discus fish will contract ich when there are temperature fluctuations.
So pay attention to the basics and all will be well. You can prevent ich by putting forth the right amount of effort.
You know what ich is now and you know what to do to prevent it. If your fish get this disease you need to act fast or they might die.
It’s not something that you can ignore for a few days. It won’t go away on its own and it requires treatment.
Luckily, there are many great treatments out there that can help you to get things back to normal. Follow the advice above and your fish should be okay if you caught the issue fast enough.
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.