Skip to Content

How to Treat a Pleco with Ich

How to Treat a Pleco with Ich

Share this post:

This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

You want to take care of your plecos the best that you can. These fish are fairly hardy, but they can encounter certain problems.

For instance, many people wind up dealing with ich outbreaks when caring for plecos. This can happen when you have issues with water quality.

Ich is a serious problem that can be dangerous for plecos. You need to figure out how to take care of the fish and get them back to normal.

Read on to learn about plecos and ich. You’ll learn more about why plecos might contract ich as well as how to treat the issue.

Can Plecos Get Ich?

Plecos can indeed get ich. This is considered to be one of the most common diseases that plecos have to deal with.

Ich, also known as white spot disease, is something that pretty much any fish can get. This is a type of skin condition that is caused by parasites.

Protozoan parasites infect the plecos and cause them to have white spots appear all over their bodies. The white spots that you see are the parasites.

When your plecos get this disease, it’s going to be very uncomfortable for them. Plecos don’t have an easy time dealing with this issue.

Later, you’ll learn about how to treat the condition. For now, it’s important to learn how to confirm that plecos have ich.

Does My Pleco Have Ich?

Snakeskin Barb With Ich or White Spot Disease
Snakeskin Barb With Ich or White Spot Disease

It’s usually easy to tell whether fish have ich or not. The appearance of white spots all over the body will be a sure sign of the disease.

Most people won’t recognize that plecos have ich until the white spots show up. You’ll start to see small white spots appear on the bodies of the plecos when they have ich.

The white spots look like small specks of salt. They can appear all over the body and they might even show up on the gills.

This parasitic infection can even make it hard for the plecos to breathe. When the spots appear on the gills, it’ll be even more problematic for the fish.

Are there other symptoms that can tell you that the fish have ich? Keep reading to find out more.

Symptoms of Ich

There are many different symptoms of ich that you should look out for. The white spots are the most common symptoms, but there are others to be aware of.

You’ll likely see the plecos attempting to rub against objects in the tank. This will be in an attempt to find relief from the parasites that are attached to their bodies.

Fish that contract ich wind up becoming lethargic as well. The fish might stop eating while it is infected as well.

Bloating is common when fish are infected. This occurs due to the bodily functions of the parasite.

These signs will help you to know that you’re dealing with ich. You should take action to help the fish as soon as you can.

What Causes Ich?

Dirty Fish Tank

Ich is generally caused by poor water conditions in the fish tank. Healthy fish will be able to fight off ich infections, but stressed fish will succumb.

If you’re keeping the plecos in dirty water or you’re not monitoring the parameters properly, it’s more likely that the fish will get infected. This is why it’s imperative to take care of the aquarium.

Of course, ich is directly caused by the protozoan parasites that infect the fish. They just have an easier time infecting plecos when they are stressed.

Other factors can cause plecos to become stressed as well. Not feeding the fish properly and forcing them to live in overcrowded fish tanks will be sources of stress.

Your fish tank might be exposed to ich when you transfer new fish into the tank. The new fish might have come from a tank where some of the fish were infected with ich.

It’s wise to quarantine new additions to a fish tank for several weeks before adding them to the main tank. This will limit the likelihood of exposing your aquarium to ich.

How Do You Treat it?

Treating ich is not that difficult, but it can be tougher when treating plecos. Plecos have a harder time dealing with common ich medications than many other types of fish.

As such, you’ll need to be careful when using ich treatments on the tank. Usually, pleco owners use ich medication at half strength to protect the fish from harm.

It’s also common to treat ich by heating the fish tank and using aquarium salt. The combination of higher temperatures and aquarium salt will kill the parasites that cause ich.

Heap of Coarse Salt on Black Background

Using heat to treat this issue can be very stressful for plecos. Some enthusiasts recommend raising the temperature to 86 degrees Fahrenheit, but this is far hotter than the water temperatures that plecos normally enjoy.

It can be hard for the fish to tolerate this. You’ll want to keep a close eye on the plecos if you choose to do this.

Raising the temperature for one full week can help the aquarium salt to kill off the parasites. When using aquarium salt, you’ll have to be careful not to use too much since that can also harm the plecos.

You can also opt to just use the medication on the water to get rid of ich. Just remember that plecos are sensitive to these medications and that it’s safer to use them at half strength.

Can Ich Kill Plecos?

Yes, ich does have the potential to kill plecos and other types of fish. Ich is dangerous for many different reasons.

When one fish in your aquarium contracts the disease, it’s likely that all of the fish in the tank will get it as well. It can spread very fast and you’re going to want to act quickly if possible.

Treating ich sooner rather than later will be for the best. You want to ensure that you can get rid of the ich so that the fish can recover.

If you don’t notice the ich infestation for quite some time, your fish are going to suffer. Fish that contract ich will deal with many health issues, and they might eventually succumb.

The fact that ich can kill plecos doesn’t mean that it will kill your pleco. If you treat the fish, it should have a great chance of surviving.

You just need to use the right treatment methods to ensure that the fish will get better. Feed the fish well and nurse it back to health so that you can enjoy having it in your tank for a long time to come.

Final Thoughts

Now you know that plecos can get ich. Ich is a serious problem for most types of fish, and you’re not going to want to ignore signs of an infestation.

When plecos get ich they’re going to have a tough time. It’ll make them uncomfortable and it might even make it hard for them to breathe.

All of the fish in your aquarium could wind up getting the disease. Luckily, you’ll be able to treat ich to get the fish better in a timely fashion.

There are various medications that you can buy that will help you get rid of ich in your fish tank. When treating plecos, you’ll want to use these medications at half strength.

It’s also possible to treat this issue using heat and aquarium salt. This is a proven method that will kill off the parasites.

Whatever you decide to do, it’ll be wise to take action fast. Don’t let your fish suffer longer than they have to.

Ignoring the problem could lead to the death of your plecos. Since you don’t want that to occur, it’s best to be a proactive fish owner.

Share this post: