You wake one morning to find that you healthy looking betta fish is now not so healthy looking….What looks like someone took salt and shook it all over your fish can be a lot more serious than you think. The reality is that this is the sign of a very common disease known as “fish ick (ich)” or white spot disease.
Here are some things you can do to prevent and treat white spot disease:
- Regularly change out the water to your aquarium- I personally change the water out of my tank twice monthly although you don’t necessarily have to be that vigilant. Changing out the water is more than simply pouring it out and filling it up though. You want “aged water” meaning that you want water to be sitting out for at least 24 hours before you fill the tank up.
- Feed your betta fish a variety of foods- freeze dried and flake food- Betta fish are meat eaters but giving them a mixture of brine shrimp and beef hearts combined with the typical flake food is best.
- Reduce the stress of your beta’s environment by maintaining a constant pH balance and avoid fluctuations in water temperature and ammonia levels- You can buy testing kits at any local pet store and your aquarium should have a thermometer. Temperature should be regulated to keep a constant and reliable environment and betta fish are best suited for warm and slightly acidic pH balance (7.0)
- Don’t overstock your tank with fish- Sounds like a no brainer but many people think if one is good then 10 must be better. An overstocked fish tank is a breeding ground for disease and stress (which cause disease because it hinders a fish’s immune system.
- Always quarantine new fish for a minimum of four days before introducing them to your main aquarium- Fish that come fresh from a pet store are more likely to bring with them anything they had in the previous tank. Since the Ick parasite has a life span of 4 days, you are going to want to quarantine the betta fish long enough for the parasite to proliferate and die.
- If a fish shows signs of Ick, remove him to the quarantine tank (min. 4 days)
- Never purchase plant life that has been in a tank with fish in it. If you do, quarantine it- Just like purchasing fish from a fish store could cause problems, purchasing plant life that share a tank with other fish can do the same. Quarantine to be on the safe side.
Obviously, there are also medications that you can use to eradicate the Ich but remember, you aren’t necessarily treating the fish themselves but you are treating the tank. If you follow these steps then your fish will lead a happy (and healthy), stress free life.
Leo Dimilo loves his betta fish and has had betta fish as pets for 8 years now. His site has a wealth of information about Betta fish about
http://betta-fish-facts.blogspot.com/2008/03/ick-disease-how-to-treat-your-beta-fish.html”>Ick disease and the various ways to treat ick.
Leo Recommends the complete guide on Betta Fish [http://bettafishguide.net] for a comprehensive look at how to keep your betta happy and healthy.