White Spots On Goldfish But Not Ich? (& What It Is)

Last Updated on 2023-12-07

Are you noticing white spots on your goldfish? You might be worried that it’s ich, but there are actually many other possible causes. So, we’ll discuss the various causes of white spots on goldfish and how to treat them. We’ll cover topics such as diet, water quality, and parasites, and provide treatment options.

So, keep reading!

Key Takeaways:

  • White spots on goldfish can be mistaken for ich, but they can stem from various causes apart from parasites, including sunburn, diet deficiencies, high ammonia levels, bacterial infections, stress, and false ich.
  • Not all white spots on goldfish indicate a health risk; however, proper care, regular water quality checks, and suitable feeding routines are essential for their well-being.
  • Understanding the causes of white spots is crucial: sunburn due to direct sunlight exposure, diet deficiency, high ammonia levels, parasites like ich, bacterial infections, stress, and false ich can lead to these spots.
  • Treatment approaches for white spots when not caused by ich involve improving water quality, adjusting the diet, adding aquarium salt, increasing water temperature (if suitable), administering antibiotics if bacterial infections are suspected, providing hiding places, and isolating affected fish in a separate tank.

Can White Spots on Goldfish Not Be Ich?

White spots on your goldfish can often be mistaken for ich, a parasitic infection that can be fatal if left untreated. However, not all white spots mean there’s a problem with your fish! Water quality issues can cause white spots known as “False Ich” to appear on the fins of goldfish. 

These spots don’t necessarily indicate a health risk, though you should still test your water regularly and make sure it’s suitable for your fish. If you do spot what looks like ich—dots composed of white granular material—It’s important to take action right away to try and prevent the spread of the infection by isolating affected fish from the rest of your aquarium.

In short the main causes are: sunburn, diet deficiency, high ammonia levels, parasites, bacterial infections, stress and false ich. Most of which can be treated with proper aquarium care and feeding routines!

Now, check out this video by Simple Aquariums on why white spots on Goldfish doesn’t always mean ich:

Why Is Your Goldfish Getting White Spots?

White spots on your goldfish can be cause for concern, but they don’t always indicate a health issue. Here are the different causes of white spots on goldfish and how to address each one:

Causes of White Spots on GoldfishDescription
Sunburn / UV RaysGoldfish exposed to direct sunlight may develop small white spots on their skin and fins due to sunburn. Avoid exposure or provide shade.
Diet DeficiencyInadequate nutrition can lead to white spots, indicating a lack of essential vitamins and minerals. Offer a balanced diet with fresh and frozen foods.
High Ammonia LevelsElevated ammonia levels in the aquarium can cause white spots. Regular water changes and proper filter maintenance are crucial.
Parasites (such as Ich)Infections like ich can lead to white spots and can be fatal if left untreated. Isolate affected fish and employ appropriate treatment methods.
Bacterial InfectionBacterial infections can manifest as white spots on the body or fins. Consult a vet for antibiotics if suspected.
StressEnvironmental changes or aggressive tank mates can stress goldfish, resulting in white spots. Provide hiding places and a stress-free environment.
False IchAppearance of white spots similar to ich, caused by poor water quality. Regularly test and maintain suitable aquarium conditions.

1. Sunburn / UV Rays

Goldfish that are kept outdoors or in tanks exposed to direct sunlight can suffer from sunburn. This will present as small white spots on their skin and fins. To prevent sunburn, make sure your fish tank is in an area with adequate shade, or use a UV-blocking aquarium cover.

2. Diet Deficiency

Poor diet can lead to white spots on the body and fins of goldfish, indicating a lack of certain essential vitamins and minerals. Make sure you are feeding your fish a balanced diet that includes both fresh and frozen foods.

3. High Ammonia Levels

If the ammonia levels in your aquarium are too high, it can cause white spots on goldfish. To reduce the amount of ammonia in your tank, do regular water changes and make sure your filter is functioning properly.

4. Parasites

White spots caused by parasites such as ich (Ichthyophthirius multifiliis) can be fatal if left untreated. If you suspect parasites, isolate the affected fish and take measures to reduce or eliminate them, such as increasing the water temperature or adding an aquarium salt bath.

5. Bacterial Infection

If your goldfish is showing signs of infection, such as white spots on the body or fins, it may be caused by a bacterial infection. The best way to treat this is with antibiotics prescribed by a veterinarian.

6. Stress

Goldfish are sensitive creatures and can be easily stressed by changes in their environment or tank mates. Stress can cause white spots on the body and fins. To reduce stress, provide your fish with plenty of hiding places and keep them away from aggressive tank mates.

7. False Ich

This is a common occurrence among goldfish, characterized by small white spots that may look like ich but are not. False ich can be caused by poor water quality, so it’s important to regularly test and maintain the proper levels in your aquarium.

White spots on goldfish

How Do You Treat White Spots on Your Goldfish (When They Aren’t Ich)

White spots on goldfish can be a sign of many different issues, including sunburn, diet deficiencies, high ammonia levels, and parasites. If the white spots are not caused by ich (Ichthyophthirius multifiliis), then there are several ways to treat them. Here are seven ways to address white spots on your goldfish:

1. Improve Water Quality

Ensuring your tank has the correct water parameters is essential for keeping your goldfish healthy and free from white spots. Check your ammonia levels regularly, do regular water changes, and make sure your filter is functioning properly.

2. Adjust Diet

If you suspect a diet deficiency is causing the white spots, try adding a variety of fresh and frozen foods to your goldfish’s diet. Providing a balanced diet is essential for keeping them healthy and free from white spots.

3. Add Aquarium Salt

Adding aquarium salt to the tank can help treat minor bacterial infections and reduce stress levels in fish, which may be causing white spots. Make sure to follow the instructions on the package and add the salt gradually over time.

4. Increase Water Temperature

Raising the temperature of your tank can help reduce parasites such as ich, which may be causing white spots on your goldfish. But only do this if you don’t have any other tropical fish in your tank, as they can’t tolerate high temperatures.

5. Administer Antibiotics

If bacterial infections are suspected, antibiotics prescribed by a veterinarian can help treat them and clear up the white spots on your goldfish. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully when administering medications to ensure the safety of your fish.

6. Provide Hiding Places

Stress is one of the most common causes of white spots on goldfish. Make sure to give them plenty of places to hide, such as plants and rocks, and keep aggressive tank mates away from them.

7. Quarantine

If you think your fish may be infected with parasites or bacteria, the best thing to do is isolate the affected fish in a separate tank. This will prevent the spread of any illness and allow you to treat them more effectively.

betta care facebook group

How to Cure White Spots on Goldfish or Ich Naturally

Here’s a step-by-step instruction for the natural remedy for white spots on goldfish:

Step 1: Gradually raise the aquarium water temperature. Over a 48-hour period, increase the temperature to 86 °F (30 °C) in small increments (2 °F/1 °C every hour).

Step 2: Ensure high oxygen levels in the water, especially as the temperature rises.

Step 3: Add aquarium salt. Use the recommended dosage of 1 tablespoon for every 5 gallons of water. This helps goldfish develop slime coats and targets free-swimming ich parasites.

Step 4: Maintain the water temperature at 86 °F (30 °C) for 10 days.

Step 5: Perform water changes. Change 25% of the water every couple of days, adding the appropriate dose of aquarium salt after each change.

Step 6: Wait 3 to 5 days after the last signs of white spot disease.

Step 7: Gradually reduce the water temperature back to 65 °F (18 °C).

Step 8: Continue regular water changes on a weekly basis.


Can You Save a Fish with White Spots?

A fish with white spots, often caused by parasitic infections like ich, can be saved if treated promptly and effectively.. Isolate the fish, address the root cause, and administer appropriate treatments to increase the chances of survival. Early intervention is vital.

What is the Difference Between Ich and Epistylis?

Ich and Epistylis are both protozoan parasites that affect fish, but they differ in type and characteristics. Ich is a ciliate with a complex lifecycle, causing white cysts on the skin, gills, and fins of fish. Epistylis, on the other hand, is a protozoan with a simpler structure that forms stalked colonies on fish surfaces.


White spots on goldfish can be caused by various issues, including sunburn, diet deficiencies, ammonia levels, parasites, and bacteria.

To treat these white spots, it is important to improve water quality, adjust the diet of the fish, add aquarium salt to the tank, increase the water temperature (if suitable), administer antibiotics prescribed by a veterinarian if a bacterial infection is suspected, and provide hiding places for stressed goldfish.

Lastly, affected fish should always be isolated in a separate tank in order to prevent the spread of any illness. By following these steps, you can successfully treat white spots on your goldfish and keep them healthy.


Ultimate Betta Fish Care Guide
About the author

Hey! I'm Nicolas from Iguane Media !

Blogger and Owner of the betta care fish guide
Thanks for reading this blog

I'm an Animal Lover

Leave a Comment


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)