Ich In Goldfish (How To Treat White Spot Disease)

White spot disease is probably something you’ve heard of if you’ve kept goldfish for a long time. White spot disease is the appearance of white spots on the goldfish’s skin and fins. White spot disease is caused by a parasite called Ichtyopthirius multifiliis, or simply known as “ich,” which is a nasty parasitic infection.

A lot of aquarium keepers have likely dealt with an ich infection at some point. If your goldfish has a white spot on its skin, you should treat it as soon as possible. If you’re looking for more information about ich, this article will talk about the signs and symptoms of ich and how to treat them.

What Causes Ick In Goldfish

Ich is a very dangerous parasite for fish and even more so for your goldfish. It can cause a lot of problems that can kill your fish.

The main causes of ich in goldfish are normally poor water quality, an overcrowded tank, temperature shock, contamination in the tank, improper diet, cold water and of course, stress of any kind. Fortunately, proper care can prevent all of this!

Here are each of the causes in more depth.

1. Poor Water Quality

Fish can get sick from a lot of different things if the water they live in isn’t good. It stresses out your goldfish and tends to make them much more likely to get sick or catch diseases. This is because stress makes their immune systems weaker, which makes parasites and bacteria like ich easier to catch.

2. Overcrowded Fish Tank

Having way too many fish in your fish tank can also make goldfish as well as other species get Ich. Fish that don’t have enough space to swim are less happy and healthier than those that do. Because of this, they also have a higher chance of getting sick and spread diseases to each other.

3. Temperature Shock

Goldfish are pretty tough and can live in a wide range of temperatures, but a sudden change in temperature is very bad for them, as it is for all fish. Temperature is a big source of stress for fish, which can make them sick with ich and other parasites and bacteria. If the change in temperature happens quickly and is big enough, it can kill the fish.

4. Contamination

The parasite that causes Ich disease can spread easily to a new fish tank in a variety of ways. It could come from infected things like substrate, aquatic plants, and decors that you put into your fish tank. The fish could also have been sick already when you took it home since they don’t always show signs of illness right away.

5. Improper Diet

If you’ve been keeping goldfish for a while, you might have noticed that pet stores sell fish food that is made just for goldfish. This is because each kind of fish needs a different mix of nutrients every day to stay healthy. Also, if you give your goldfish the wrong food, they might not want it and leave it in the tank, which can make the water in the tank go bad, which is another way for the ich parasite to grow.

6. Cold Water

When you have a cold aquarium, it can be extremely easy for parasites to reproduce, which makes it more likely that your fish will get an Ich infection. Even though your fish tank has a heater, the temperature outside will still affect your fish. Also, colder water slows down the immune system of goldfish, which makes it easier for them to get ich.

7. Stress

Anything that makes your goldfish stressed can make it more likely that it will get an ich infection. This is because stress can weaken the immune system of the fish. Stress also makes the fish lose its appetite leading to low metabolism which then weakens the immune system even further.

Symptoms Of Ich In Goldfish

Ich is a parasite that can kill any aquarium fish, such as goldfish, very quickly. They live under the fish’s skin, where they feed on the fish’s body tissue, so it’s important to treat them as soon as possible. If you think your goldfish has an ich infection, look for these signs.

1. White Spots

If your goldfish has ich, it might have white spots all over its body. The white spots on your fish are made up of ich that are eating the flesh of your fish. But if the white spots are mostly near the gills and front fins, it’s highly probable that your goldfish is a male and is ready to breed.

2. Loss Of Appetite

One sign that your goldfish has ich is that it doesn’t want to eat at all. This is because an ich infection can make the animal feel stressed, which can make it do strange things like lose its appetite.

3. Lethargy

If your goldfish has ich parasites, it will try to hide and stop moving around as much. This happens because fish will instinctively try to hide when they don’t know what to do, are scared, feel uncomfortable, or are stressed.

4. Fin Rot

Ich is a tiny parasite that lives on the fish’s scales and fins and feeds off of them to get the nutrients it needs to make more of itself. When this happens, the fins and scales get hurt, and they will eventually start to rot.

5. Pale Color

A pale-colored goldfish usually means that the water has too much ammonia and nitrates. But ich can also make your fish lose its vibrant color. If your fish’s color changes, it’s usually about to die, so you should treat it right away.

6. Cloudy Eyes

Another sign that your goldfish is living in bad water is that its eyes are dull and cloudy. But ich can also do this to your goldfish because they can get in through cuts or even the eyes, where they release their digestive enzymes. This can cause damage and inflammation to the eye’s tissues, which can make the goldfish’s eyes look cloudy.

7. Rapid Breathing

Rapid breathing could be a sign of illness, a lack of oxygen, or another fish that is being aggressive. But if your fish is breathing quickly, it could be because it is very stressed and trying to take in more oxygen.

8. Clamped Fins

Fin clamping is also another common sign of an ich infection. This is when the dorsal fin is pressed against the body. Sometimes, fish clamp their dorsal fins down when doing certain things or swimming in a certain way. This is normal, but if you find that your fish is always clamping its top fin, this is usually a sign of stress and illness.

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What Are The Early Signs Of Ich In Goldfish

One of the things that makes an ich infection so dangerous is that it is hard to detect early on because it doesn’t show any obvious signs right away. But there are early signs of ich in goldfish that will let you know for sure if your goldfish has it. Here are some early signs that goldfish have ich.

1. White Spots On Your Goldfish

If your goldfish has white spots on its skin, this could be an early sign that it has ich. It starts with one or two white spots most of the time. If your goldfish gets white spots, you should take care of it right away.

2. Gasping For Air

When your goldfish is gasping for air, it’s often a sign that something is wrong. It’s possible that your goldfish is sick and not breathing right, living in water with the wrong pH, or has ich. Your goldfish’s fast breathing doesn’t necessarily mean it has ich, but it does mean that something is stressing it out.

3. Rubbing Against Objects

Your goldfish may sometimes rub themselves on rocks and objects in your fish tank to clean themselves or to scratch an itch. It is a very normal behavior that is often called “flashing.” But ich can also cause itching, and a fish can only get rid of the parasite by rubbing itself against a rough surface.

4. Rapid Gill Movement

Checking to see if your goldfish’s gills are moving normally is another way to find out if it has ich early. If your goldfish’s gills move quickly when it tries to breathe, this could mean that it has ich. That’s because ich tends to make your goldfish stressed, which makes it much harder for them to obtain adequate oxygen in the tank.

5. Lethargy

Most of the time, when a fish is lethargic, it’s because something is making it upset. It could be the environment or other fish in the tank being mean, or it could be ich. Ich is a parasite that attaches to your goldfish’s skin and eats its flesh, which causes a lot of stress.

Can Goldfish Recover From Ich?

Goldfish are usually very tough fish, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get sick. There are still a few common diseases and parasites that can still affect goldfish. Ich is one of the common parasites that can infect goldfish, which is easy to spot because it looks like salt crystals on the scales and fins on your fish.

Ich can kill your goldfish very quickly, but if you treat it before your goldfish gets sores, gets white eyes, breathes quickly, and rubs itself against things, it has a good chance of recovering. However, it can be hard to get rid of the white spots that have grown on your goldfish’s skin.

If you can’t save your fish, make sure to clean your tank, equipment, gravel, and plants well before you use them again to get rid of all the ich.

When adding a new fish to your aquarium, you should put it in a quarantine tank first to make sure it doesn’t have anything that could spread to the other fish. Also, make sure to wash the new décor or substrate well before adding it. You should also be careful about what you put in your fish tank, so you don’t get another white spot infection.

How To Treat Ich In Goldfish

When your goldfish has ich, it will stress them out so much that it can cause other health problems. Goldfish infected with ich need to be treated as quickly as possible and properly. To treat ich on your goldfish, follow these easy steps!

1. Perform Water Change

Change at least 25% of the water in the tank and get rid of any waste or ich that is floating around. You can also lower the water level in your aquarium to make the surface of the water move more. This will help move the ich treatment around the water when you add it later.

2. Remove Activated Carbon In The Filter

After changing the water in your aquarium, take out the carbon filter because the activated carbon will make the medicine useless. You can get rid of it and replace it with a mechanical filter that can also make the water move. This will also help move the treatment for ich throughout the water.

3. Increase The Water Temperature 

The reason for raising the temperature of the water isn’t to kill the parasite with heat but rather to speed up its life cycle. You are trying to speed up the process of each parasite getting to the stage where it can swim freely so that the ich medicine can kill them without hurting your fish. Make sure you raise the temperature of the water slowly, so you don’t shock your fish.

4. Increase Oxygenation In The Tank

Goldfish can get more active when they are heated, which means they need more oxygen. Your ich-infected goldfish may also have a damaged gill, which could make it hard for it to breathe. To compensate for that, you can put air stones in your aquarium or put in an air pump. 

5. Use Ich Medication

There are many commercial treatments for ich that you can buy online or at a pet store near you. Most of the time, these are chemicals like malachite green, methylene blue, and copper that are safe for aquariums. However, copper-based treatments for ich can hurt other animals or plants in the aquarium where it is used.

6. Add Aquarium Salt

After treating your fish tank, you can add aquarium salt to your aquarium. The salt cleans the water by slowly letting oxygen into it. It also helps parasites get off the fish’s skin. Aquarium salt helps fish stay healthy by making it easier for them to breathe. It also makes your goldfish’s slime coat thicker and kills ich faster.

To add aquarium salt to your fish tank, add 1 tablespoon of salt for every 3 gallons of water. Make sure you’re performing a 25% water change every couple of days, and add any aquarium salt which will have been lost.

And make sure you don’t add aquarium salt to your water for more than 10 days in a row.

5. Wait For The Ich To Die Off

It might take a while for the ich medicine to get rid of the parasites in the tank because each parasite needs to be free-swimming before it is killed. After two weeks, the white spots on your goldfish should disappear, and there shouldn’t be any ich in the tank. If your fish still has ich after two weeks, you might need to get help from a veterinarian.

6. Bring The Water Temperature Back

After two weeks of treatment, your goldfish should be free of white spots and swimming normally. Once your goldfish is healthy again, you should slowly cool the water back to 20°C to 23°C so you don’t shock it. Slowly bring down the temperature by 1°C per hour for 48 hours.

7. Weekly Water Changes

Once your goldfish is healthy, you need to get the salt and treatments out of the water. However, salt and treatments don’t evaporate out of the water. The only way to get rid of it is to change at least 30% of the water every week.

Goldfish Ich Salt Treatment

Ich is a big problem for us aquarium keepers, but if the right steps are taken, it can be stopped and treated. One thing you can do to get rid of ich is to put aquarium salt in the water of your fish tank. Aquarium salt can help your goldfish grow a slime coat that protects them from predators, and the salt itself can kill the ich in the water.

You can actually use aquarium salt alone to treat ich infection, but it depends a lot on how bad the infection has gotten. The general rule is to add a tablespoon of aquarium salt per three gallons of water for about a week or two. However, this will only work well for smaller cases of ich infection.

Treat your fish as soon as you see early signs of ich infection so that it won’t deal a great harm to your fish. When treating your goldfish with salt, make sure to use salt that is intended for aquarium use.

How To Prevent Ich In Goldfish

As aquarists, it is always our job to keep our pets safe and out of harm’s way. It also keeps us and our pets from getting stressed out. Here are some ways to keep your goldfish from getting ich.

1. Clean Everything Before Putting It In The Aquarium

Ich can get into your fish tank if you put something in there that is already infected with it. Ich can travel on aquatic plants, substrate that hasn’t been cleaned, and decorations. Make sure your tank is clean and free of germs before you put anything in it.

2. Always Quarantine New Fish

Ich can also be brought into your fish tank by new fish. It is highly recommended that you set up a second fish tank to be used as a quarantine tank. This way, you can keep a close eye on your new fish to see if they have any diseases, parasites, or bacteria with them or if they are healthy enough to go into your aquarium.

3. Maintain High Water Quality

Ich can grow in many places, but especially in aquariums with bad water. Make sure the water in your aquarium is always clean by doing partial water changes, putting in a filter, and adding live plants.

4. Do Not Overstock Your Tank

When you have a lot of fish in your aquarium, not only do the fish have less room to swim, but they also produce more waste, which gives off ammonia and nitrate, which changes the quality and conditions of the water. This will make the water quality in your aquarium worse, which lets ich live and grow.

5. Give Your Goldfish High Quality Food

Always give your goldfish food that is different, healthy, and tasty. This will not only keep them happy and healthy, but it will also make their immune systems stronger. A healthy goldfish can also have a healthy slime coat that helps protect it from ich.

6. UV Lighting

Installing UV lighting in your fish tank is one way to stop ich from growing in your tank. UV sterilizers can’t kill ich that is already on a fish, but they can kill ich while they are free swimming. This makes it less likely that ich will attach to your goldfish.


Here are some frequently asked questions that people have about dealing with ich in their goldfish?

Can Goldfish Survive Ich Without Treatment?

I you don’t stop the cycle, your fish will keep getting sick from ich infection. However, if you act quickly, you can save your fish from the pain and stress of an ich infection.

How Long Can a Goldfish Live with Ich?

Ich will usually kill a fish if it is not treated within 5 to 7 days after it gets the most severe symptoms. Leaving infected goldfish untreated will cause the ich to breed more in the tank, which can also spread to other fishes inside your aquarium.


Goldfish are easy to take care of because they are pretty tough. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t get sick or get a parasite like ich. If you find ich on a goldfish early enough, you can treat it, but it may take a while for your goldfish to get back to full health.

You can treat your goldfish by making the water warmer, adding more oxygen, and using chemicals and salt to treat the water. You can even stop it from happening in the first place if you quarantine new fish, clean new equipment and decorations, and keep the water quality high. When you feed your goldfish, make sure to give them a good look and treat them as soon as you see early signs of infections.

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