Goldfish Disease- White Spot Disease- Ich (Ichthyophthirius multifiliis)

Goldfish disease are very common in goldfish and one of the most common goldfish diseases is white spot disease or Ich as a short version of the scientific name Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. Ich is very common and usually occurs from either due to stressful situations like poor water conditions or a sudden chill. You can usually tell when goldfish diseases occurs as they become ill or sick by symptoms like either rapid breathing or scratching on the gravel in the aquarium can indicate signs of white spot disease or ich.

When you notice this behaviour in goldfish, look at your goldfish closely and you will probably see white spots or like small grains of salt on your goldfish. These white spots, goldfish disease, are the parasites which are feeding on the goldfish’s body fluid. White spot disease or Ich can spread quite rapidly on the goldfish if left untreated.

Here is a picture of blue catfish which is covered with ich. These look like grains of salt which are the ick parasite. You can see all the white spots or cysts that are all over their body in this photo. The blue catfish is also showing signs of stress as you can see by the clamped fins.


Blue Catfish Heavily Infested with Ich Commonly Known As White Spot Disease - Ick

Blue Catfish Heavily Infested with Ich Commonly Known As White Spot Disease - Ick

The first thing you need to understand is how the parasites life cycle operates when attacking the goldfish itself. Each cyst or white spot is the parasite which is feeding off of the goldfish. It has attached itself to them by swimming as a small microorganism. These parasites need to find a host or they die. Once the parasite finds the host (goldfish) it hooks onto the skin and begins feeding. When they first attach themselves they are too small to be seen by the eye. As these parasites feed you will then see them as small white spots usually within a day or two covered over the body of the goldfish. Once this happens these cysts or parasites break free from the goldfish and begins to reproduce very rapidly. This goldfish disease spreads quickly and proper goldfish care needs to be done right away.


The reproduction phase of these parasites is when it infects goldfish very quickly. As mentioned above each cysts or parasite breaks free from the goldfish, when this happens each cyst that breaks open contains about 500 new parasites for ever cyst. The numbers can become quite significant and can literally take over the goldfish’s body if left untreated. When these 500 new small microorganisms become free swimming they need to find a host. When they do the whole process begins all over again.

Controlling the population of these parasites can only be done when the life cycle of these parasites are in the free swimming stage. They can only be killed during this stage with proper chemical or ich medications. The best thing to do when treating your goldfish aquarium for ich diseases is to treat it for at least 10 days. By doing this it will ensure you totally destroy all parasites as each parasite may be in a different stage at the time of treatment. Remember ich can only be killed during the free swimming stage so make sure you treat minimum 10 days. Each cysts must break open to be exposed to the medication to eliminate these parasites.

Treating ich or white spot disease in goldfish needs to be taking care of right away as it’s a very aggressive disease that attacks goldfish. Begin treatment right away for excellent results.

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2 comments on “Goldfish Disease- White Spot Disease- Ich (Ichthyophthirius multifiliis)

  1. Gregory on said:

    I treated had 3 fish in my aquarium. Treated for ick. 2 died but one has survived and i think fully recovered. Is it possible that the ick was so bad that now that it has been treated the fish appears to have black bruises on its body? I know he is much better as he swims around very happy now and is not lethargic at the tank bottom. I have cleaned aquarium now do i still need to treat water? I have treated previous water for about 8 days. Thanks so much

  2. Miranda on said:

    I’m not sure if it’s ick or fungus that is destroying my aquarium, the fish that are the most affected just look kind of cloudy all over, and when they die (as 3 have now, despite adding lifeguard) they get instantly fuzzy postmortem…I’ve begun treating them for fungus now as I think that that’s what it may be, but I go back and forth on whether I think it is ick or fungus and the lifeguard didnt seem to be helping, what should i do?

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