You want to do your best to take care of your Oscar fish. These fish are such amazing pet fish that you wind up growing attached to them.
Putting effort into caring for the fish ensures that they will stay healthy. These are generally hardy fish and they don’t die easily.
They aren’t invincible, though, and these fish can have issues with certain illnesses. For example, you might see that white spots are starting to show up all over the Oscar’s body.
What does it mean when white spots appear on an Oscar fish? Is there something you can do to help the fish get better?
Continue reading to learn about white spots on Oscar fish. You’ll have a better idea of what you should be doing for your fish.
What Are the White Spots?
The white spots that you’re seeing are caused by parasites. Your fish most likely has a parasitic infection called ich.
These white spots aren’t actually the parasites themselves, though. They’re cysts that form because the parasites have dug into the fish.
When white spots start appearing on the body of the fish, it’s a sign that the fish is sick. The white spots can start appearing in many different spots on the body.
As things advance, you might even notice white spots on the gills. This can be seriously troublesome since it might make it tough for the fish to breathe.
The white spots form on the body when the parasites dig into the skin. Initially, Oscars might only have a few spots, but the problem will continue to get worse as the parasites multiply.
After a few days, your fish could be completely covered in white spots. This is very troublesome for the fish.
Ick on Oscar Fish
When Oscar fish have ick (ick and ich are used interchangeably), it becomes tough for them to remain comfortable. You might notice that the fish will become sluggish and won’t swim around as much as usual.
Sometimes this will also cause the Oscars to lose their appetite as well. When things get really bad, the Oscar fish might stop eating entirely.
It’s common to see Oscar fish trying to rub against objects in the tank. This is likely done in an attempt to remove the parasites or to find relief.
Ich is a very uncomfortable condition that makes life hard for fish. When your fish have ich, it’s going to be important to take action fast.
This disease can spread quickly and it might cause every fish in the tank to become infected. As soon as you notice white spots on your fish, you should take steps to remedy the situation.
What Causes Ich?
The direct cause of ich is a parasitic infection. Parasites known as Ichthyophthirius multifiliis infect fish and dig into the skin.
They then multiply and you start to see white spots appear all over the body of the fish. This is a contagious condition, and that means that other fish in the tank will get sick as well.
That’s the direct cause of ich, but healthy fish won’t normally get infected. Generally, Oscars will only get ich if they are stressed in some way.
Stressed fish are more susceptible to becoming sick or getting infected. A fish can become stressed in a number of different ways.
Typically, this has to do with poor water conditions. Perhaps you haven’t been cleaning the tank as regularly as you should and this caused the Oscar fish to become stressed.
It could also have to do with a pH imbalance, improper water temperatures, or keeping an Oscar fish in a cramped environment. These are large fish that need to have enough space to live and be happy.
Before moving on to treat the condition, it’s important to try to solve any issues in the tank. You want to take care of things that are stressing the fish at the same time as you’re treating it.
How Do You Treat This Condition?
Treating ich is simple enough so long as you catch things early. If you wait too long, it’s possible that your fish might die.
Usually, people are able to treat ich fast enough that fish will make a full recovery. It just goes to show that paying attention to your fish and being proactive makes a difference.
First, you want to quarantine any sick fish in a separate tank. This should be done to try to keep the parasitic infection from spreading.
Since ich is so contagious, the entire fish tank might already be infected. If this is the case, you don’t have to bother with a quarantine tank.
Doing large water changes can help to get rid of the parasites. After a big water change, keep working to keep the fish tank very clean.
There are medications that you can use in the water to get rid of ich. Buy medication that is meant to treat ich and then use it as instructed.
Sometimes you’ll need to use the medication multiple times to get rid of all of the parasites. This is because you can only kill the parasites during certain stages of life.
It can be beneficial to raise the temperature of the water to the upper limit of what is acceptable for Oscar fish. This makes it tougher for the parasites to survive.
Try raising the temperature to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmer water will shorten the life cycle of these parasites and they’ll spend far less time under the skin of the fish.
Also, putting aquarium salt in the fish tank will help out. You should only use as much aquarium salt as instructed.
The presence of the salt inhibits the parasites. If you do all of these in conjunction, you should be able to get your fish feeling better.
The best way to prevent ich is to keep the fish tank very clean. You want to avoid stressing the fish.
Keeping the tank clean will ensure that your Oscars have a great environment to live in. They’ll be able to thrive if the fish tank is clean and the water parameters remain steady.
Remember to do regular water changes, too. It’s important to do weekly water changes when you’re trying to maintain a clean fish tank.
The water is going to get dirty over time because fish defecate in the tank. If you’re not changing the water and cleaning the tank out, it’s not going to be pleasant.
Ideally, you should be doing 30% water changes on a weekly basis. If you stick to doing this on a schedule, you’ll get better results.
Buying a more powerful filter for the fish tank might be a good move as well. A better filter will do a better job keeping the tank clean.
If it seems like your tank is getting dirty too fast, it could be that the filter you have right now just isn’t powerful enough. Since Oscars need fairly large fish tanks, it makes sense that you’d also need a powerful filter.
You can also ensure that you give the fish a large enough fish tank. These fish don’t do well in smaller tanks or fish tanks that are overcrowded with too many fish.
Keeping Oscars in fish tanks that are smaller than 75-gallons will not work out. It’d be best to have a 100-gallon fish tank or something even larger.
Many enthusiasts say that you should go as large as you can for these fish. This is especially true if you plan to keep multiple Oscars in the tank
It’s also wise to quarantine fish before putting them in the main tank. If you plan to add any new fish to the tank, it’s best to quarantine them for four weeks in a separate tank to ensure that they aren’t bringing parasites or diseases into the tank.
Do this with aquatic plants as well since that is another way to transfer parasites or diseases. Being more careful should allow you to avoid issues with ich as much as possible.
After learning about white spots and what they mean, you now know that it can be a serious issue. Some Oscar fish might die when they get sick like this.
Ich has the potential to kill fish if you ignore the problem. If you take action in a timely fashion, you can help your fish get better.
This parasitic infection will make your Oscars very uncomfortable. You’ll be able to turn things around by giving them medication and raising the temperature of the water.
Raise the temperature to 82 degrees Fahrenheit and give the fish medication that is meant to kill the parasites. There are many medications that you can purchase at pet stores that will solve issues with ich.
Since this is such a contagious condition, it’s likely that you’ll need to treat the main tank. If only one or two fish are sick, you might wish to use a quarantine tank for the sick fish.
Pay attention to your fish and do what is necessary to help it get better. In the future, you can try to prevent issues with ich by quarantining incoming fish before putting them in the main tank.
You’ll also want to focus on keeping the tank very clean. Hopefully, your fish will get better and you won’t have problems with ich moving forward.
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.