A Koi keeper has 3 main
problems apart from KHV:
- White Spot. and this one is linked to the previous two.
White Spot is a stress related infection - no stress no white spot.
You don't have to be a brain surgeon to under stand that one.
problem has a bacteria back up, these symbiotic bacteria live within the
protozoan, alphaproteobacteria (rickettsiales), sphingobacteria, and
flavobacterium columnare which enters the proazoan via the cilia. As you can
see a cocktail of infection. This why white spot is such a killer. When fish
have been infected to a high degree no treatment works - they just die.
White Spot is ichthyophtririus or ich as its sometimes known. It is a
ciliated protozoan that encysts under the skin of the fish. These encysts gives
the disease its name as they look like small white pin heads.
infection it mostly, but not always, takes place in the gills, and it's the
gill mode that is the killer. White Spot on the gills cannot be seen unless it
is tested for and so the wrong treatment is often used and the fish does not
die with speed.
There is also a problem with this disease known as
asymptomatic carriers, which can remain in a pond for an indefinite period
until a new fish is added which are immunologically naive to White Spot will
contract the disease immediately.
If a fish is introduced to pond
containing an endemic ready infected but asymptomatic group of fish and it
survives without treatment then it will have the same immunity as the other
stock. However, if the new fish cannot resist infection then will show signs of
the disease very soon and give the impression you have introduced an infected
fish but in fact it's your stock that are at fault.
Damage to the gills
is the main way it kills, but also damage to the skin with secondary
infections. In fact, unless you have an epidemic, its mainly the secondary
infection which kills a fish even though it may have been cured of White Spot..
Immunity will not show its self in quarantined fish. Fish look very ill
with White Spot like us having the flu rather than a cold. Most White Spot
infections are brought into a pond by new fish either netted poorly or
transported in poor conditions.
An outbreak in a pond with no new fish
added indicates the system is at fault and needs sorting immediately, before
any treatment starts.
When buying fish, if there is one that looks like
its was one number of the lottery win, then there's a good change it has white
Do not believe the magazines and books -White Spot can infect in
Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. I know I've seen infections in mid winter.
All the cold water does is slow down the time from encysts cysts to spores and
I've already stated I don't give out treatments on this
site, but nothing works other than malacite and formalin. I know it will harm
your filters, so run a by-pass. You are between the proverbial rock and a hard
place. If you don't your fish will die. Use fresh mix not rubbish that's been
mixed in bottles when the Titanic went down.Salt Treatment
have completed my trails using salt for white spot (ichthyophthirius
multifiliis -ick ) including the asymptomatic form. My finding are as follows:
- It takes longer than malacite/formalin but results are much better.
- The fish are completely clear.
- Unlike malachite/formalin where you need 4 treatments and by then
your water quality is up the spout, a salt treatment will just give is nitrite
spike which soon goes (not in all cases nitrite does not show)
- Doses 3%. Use pond salt (not tonic salt rubbish) e.g. 30lb per
1000gallons for 25 days. Split the dose into 5 days, using the same amount per
day until full dose is achieved.
- Add malacite green at 10ml per 176 gallons on day 7 and again on
The results showed the fish are COMPLETELY free of this - what I
consider a fish's premier infection, on a standing with K.H.V, as both will
wipe you out. Treatment now available
The following article is acknowledged with thanks to Doc Johnson of
Freshwater Ich - Ichthyophthirius multifilis - is a killer of very
small fish, and can cause "redskin" disease in the winter regardless of fish
Look closely at gill tissue under the microscope to be sure to exclude
this pathogen, because it does not usually cause the typical "white spot"
syndrome as in other fish. Therefore, it's often an overlooked diagnosis.
Clears easily with
(0.3%) but sometimes takes four to five days because the epidermal phase
(explained in the book) is safe from treatment
If I had to guess, I
would guess that every singe hobbyist in the whole world WILL encounter Ich at
some time. Usually the meeting occurs early on, as a beginner, before water
quality parameters such as Ammonia, Nitrites and 'The Cycle' become more
familiar, and 'Quarantine' is just a high ideal observed by a few pathetic
perfectionists.What is 'Ich'?
(Ichthyophthirius multifilis) is a ciliated protozoan that encysts under the
epidermis of the fish; and, in its encysted condition, causes small white spots
all over the fishes body and fins. In some cases, Ich spots may be present, but
will not be visible. You may still see them under the scope, or you may see
them exclusively on the gills. This is how infected fish may get into a tank
without being detected, even if quarantined for a period of time. Asymptomatic
carriers can sustain a population of Ich in a tank or pond for an indefinite
period. Sometimes an owner will purchase a new fish who, being immunologically
naive to Ich, will contract the condition immediately upon introduction to an
'endemic' (already infected but asymptomatic) group of fish. If a fish
contracts Ich, and survives without treatment, they have shown strong immunity
to re-infection, indicating that the potential for a vaccine exists, and is
being worked on at University of Georgia and other institutions. It would have
astonishing impact on the Catfish industry if it could be achieved.
rapidly kills smaller tropicals and goldfish, while often sparing the larger
varieties (fish such as Oscars and Koi). Damage to the gills is the primary way
it kills, but damage to the skin with secondary bacterial infection may also
Its life cycle is roughly 2-5 days, but can be longer
(5+ weeks!) if the water is cool, much shorter if the water is warmer. There is
the old rumour that warm water eradicates it. This is substantially true when
temperatures exceed 85 degrees, however; there are strains coming out of
Florida and detailed by researchers at University of Florida that can survive
and thrive up to NINETY degrees or more! Recall that many of our bread and
butter species of tropicals come from Florida, and so may harbour this heat
The parasite has a phase that encysts in the epidermis
of the fish as previously stated (called a theront). It matures under the skin
and finally drops off, falling to the bottom (becoming a trophont) to divide
into numerous (hundreds) of tiny swarmers (tomites) that actively seek out a
host on which to encyst and renew the cycle of infection. Because an important
phase of its life cycle occurs on the bottom of the aquarium, it is for this
reason that you can help limit infections with water changes made by siphoning
the gravel, removing those dividing Ich packets.
research at Oklahoma has revealed a strain of Ich that does not have to leave
the fish and whose Ich packet (trophozoite) remains under the epidermis (safe
from medications) and the tomites swarm out under the epidermis. The lesions
look much like Carp Pox lesions, being large, flattened, and waxy looking. This
parasite is harder to clear because it is the free swimming tomite that we can
kill with medicaments.
Prevention is attended at the wholesale level by
the maintenance of a 0.3% salt solution which crenates (kills) the emerging
tomites. We do not recommend that you as a hobbyist maintain this salt level
all the time because live plants can be killed by this, and all species of fish
are NOT universally tolerant of this. Still, many have found that salt is a
very effective annihilator of Ich infections if normal precautions are