White Spot On Fish – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

One of the most common fish diseases in an aquarium is called White Spot. This often arises after adding new aquarium fish. Especially fish with a reduced resistance due to stress, wrong fish composition or bad water values ​​are susceptible to it. Unfortunately, White Spot is highly contagious, but fortunately it can also be treated.

Quick solution against White Spot?

Do you think your aquarium fish have spot or White Spot? Then don’t wait any longer and intervene! When some of my fish got white spot I used this very effective drug . Fortunately I was there in time (except for one unfortunately) and after the cure I come back to breathe a sigh of relief. Not sure what disease is there? Then try this universal fish remedy . In any case, be there on time!

Is your question not answered in this blog? Leave your question in the comments at the bottom of this blog!

In this blog you will find answers to:

  • How do you recognize White Spot?
  • Solve White Spot with medicines
  • Solve White Spot naturally
  • What are the causes of White Spot?
  • Prevent White Spot in the future

Okay, so you look in the aquarium and you see one or more aquarium fish with White spot. You may have heard the term White spot somewhere. It is therefore logical that you immediately make the connection with White spot. However, White spot is sometimes confused with other fish diseases . So take a good look. There is actually a difference between white fluffy stuff (Cotton Wool Disease) and White Spot. At first sight almost the same, but there are different fish diseases.

Fun fact: fish that have been ill by White spot and have recovered from it, have built up a resistance to it.

White Spot, how do you recognize it?

White Spot Fish disease

Below are the four most common symptoms of White Dot. Do your fish have (one of) the following symptoms? Then act immediately or keep a close eye on your fish in the coming days.

  • Your fish has White Spots, especially on the fins and/or gills and/or tail. Very high chance that your fish has White Spot. Act immediately (see later in this blog) and add medication to the aquarium water.
  • The fish simply looks unhealthy, for example due to weight loss. There is a chance that your fish has or will soon have White Spot. Act preventively with fish medication and keep a close eye on your fish.
  • The fish rubs against objects or the bottom of your aquarium . There is a good chance that your fish has White Spot. Keep an eye on your fish for the coming fish. If your fish develops any of the other symptoms in the next few days, act immediately.
  • The fish has a peeling epidermis. That can be a sign of starting White Spot if you don’t see any white spots yet. It could also be another fish disease at this point. Keep a good look. If you see other symptoms, take preventive action.

How do you cure White Spot as quickly as possible?

Okay, you are not a vet, but as an amateur vet you have found that your fish does indeed have White Spots. And that is a problem that you want to get rid of as soon as possible. Fortunately, White spot is treatable. You can do this naturally, or by administering medication. By the way, in this case I recommend a chemical way because this has less impact on the biological balance in your aquarium.

Tip: when using medicines you have to remove the carbon from your filter because carbon and medicines do not mix well.

Treating White Spot with medication

Chemical treatment of White Spot has less impact on the biological balance in your aquarium, but is certainly not harmless. Therefore, go through the following steps for an efficient treatment method.

  • Step 1: Order medication . We previously recommended the drug  Ichtocell from HS Aqua.  There are also alternatives such as Ectocel. We have received good responses about this.
  • Step 2: Preferably quarantine the affected fish in a separate aquarium. The faster the better. Make sure that your quarantine tank is in a quiet place and that the water values ​​and temperature are the same as the original aquarium. Add some aquatic plants. This makes the quarantine tank feel more natural for your sick fish(es).
  • Step 3: Remove all absorbent filter materials from your aquarium . Carbon removes micro-pollutants from water, but carbon also absorbs medication, something you don’t want. Also remove your biological filter substrate such as argrex granules and/or biopipes. If you have a diffuser on the outlet tube, make sure that maximum oxygen is added. Otherwise, provide an air pump or air stone for the entire treatment time. Some substances in the medicine absorb a lot of oxygen from the aquarium water. The next step is to increase the temperature, which also reduces the oxygen content in your aquarium.
  • Step 4: Check your water values ​​and pH in particular (what are water values ​​again?). A possible cause of White spot is that the water values ​​are not in order. Therefore, test these values ​​before and after the treatment. If the White Spot has gone after the treatment, but the values ​​are still not right, there is still some work to be done. The pH values ​​are important when you use the FMC medicine. This is quite a powerful tool and requires a special approach. If your Ph value is 7 or more, use 1 milliliter of FMC per 100 liters. A pH value below 7 is a maximum of 0.75 milliliters per 100 liters.
  • Step 5: Slowly increase the temperature to 28-30 degrees. Check the temperature regularly so that the water does not get too hot. Don’t just rely on your heating, keep checking.
  • Step 6: Feed the fish little for the first few days. Sick fish are not very hungry. In addition, pollution in the form of excess food is a burden on your aquarium. You can’t use that now. Remove dead aquarium fish from the aquarium immediately.
  • Step 7: After four days, change 50% of your aquarium water. After the medicine has been able to take effect for a few days, it is important to apply a water change. Your fish will be very happy with it because substances from the medicine are still present in the water.
  • Step 8: No more dots after four days? Still dosing! The parasite on the fish may be dead, the cysts (the parasite at an early stage) may still be present in the water. Prevention is a cure, so you want to prevent those cysts.
  • Step 9: What is the situation after 8 days? After 8 days the misery should normally be over. The effect of the treatment has to do with how quickly White Spot is treated. Unfortunately, you may already be late.
  • Step 10: If your fish do not respond to the (after) treatment . Then try again to perform a cure in which the above steps are repeated. If you still have White Spot, go to a vet with specialist knowledge about fish.
Fun fact : some freshwater fish, such as Clownbotias and Scaleless Catfish, are extra sensitive to White Spot.

Natural Treatment

Besides a medicine, you can also try to dissolve White Dot without medicine. I myself am a proponent of medication because it is more effective and does not immediately upset the household of your aquarium. On the other hand, medication can also have major consequences for your aquarium fish. Follow the steps below for a natural way to combat White Spot.

  1. Increase the temperature in your aquarium to 28-30 degrees for a week. Pay attention! This should be done gradually and attentively, keeping a close eye on the fish’s response. Find out beforehand whether all your fish can tolerate a temperature of 28-30 degrees.
  2. Change a total of 75% of the aquarium water during this week. Do this in stages. White Dot uses cysts (read: parasite babies) that will open. To give them less chance of attaching themselves to a fish, this large amount of water must be changed.
  3. Still no results after 8 days? Then start taking medication as described in the previous chapters. It is important to start treatment on time.
Tip: test your water values ​​at White Spot to be sure. This tells you nothing about white spot, but it does tell you whether your water values ​​are in balance. Properly monitoring your water values ​​will save you a lot of misery in the future, including sick fish. What are water values ​​again ?

What exactly is White Spot?

For the geeks among us, it’s good to know what we’re actually talking about. White spot.., that name tells us something visually, but what is it specifically? A good question because White Spot is not so much a disease but a parasite that makes your fish sick. The unicellular parasite Ichthyophtirius Multiliis causes White Spot.

Before this parasite clings to your fish, it goes through a stage. That stage starts with so-called cysts. Don’t worry, a baby parasite. Those cysts develop in your tank until they reach maturity, then they spread in your tank water. Your fish swim through it and then the parasite feast continues. Aquarium fish that are infected eventually develop white spots. Without treatment, the infection will spread and the fish will look like someone has thrown powdered sugar over it.

Your aquarium fish suffer from White Spot and try to get rid of this annoying parasite by rubbing against objects in your aquarium. Ultimately, the fish will show illogical behavior by, for example, hardly moving or swimming strangely through the aquarium. Eventually your fish will die.

Read Also: Hole In The Head Fish Disease – Precaution And Treatment

Preventing is better than curing it

white spot ich disease

There is a lot you can do yourself to ensure that your fish remain healthy. White Spot is a parasitic disease. A number of good tips are available against parasitic diseases. What you really want is to reduce the possibility of a parasitic infestation.

  • Tip 1: keep an eye on your fish. Fairly basic, but the sooner White Spot is detected, the faster the treatment can take place. This ensures that White Spot does not spread in your aquarium.
  • Tip 2: Make sure your new fish are glowing with health. Only the best looking fish are good enough for your tank. Are the colors bright? Do they look fit? Depending on the fish species: are they actively swimming? All good questions to answer beforehand.
  • Tip 3: Change your aquarium water regularly and gradually and ensure a constant water temperature. Is your aquarium in direct sunlight? Immediately move to a place where that is not the case. Also read the blog about aquarium cleaning  for more info.
  • Tip 4: Avoid stress. Just like with humans, stress is a precursor to low resistance. Provide sufficient hiding places, the right fish species together. Does your aquarium resemble their natural environment? Then you’re doing well.

Preventing by understanding

To properly treat White spot, you must intervene as early as possible in the disease process. It is therefore important to have insight into the process in which spot arises and what you can already do to prevent this. White Spot is spreading through the following developments:

  • Phase 1: White spot is caused by a nasty parasite that often becomes active due to new fish or temperature fluctuations in your aquarium. What can you do: regularly check your water values, water temperature and pay attention when adding new fish to your aquarium. Are you in doubt? First place the new fish in a quarantine tank for a few days.
  • Phase 2:  After the parasite gets hold of your aquarium fish, it will settle on its host and you will then see the White Spots appear. What can you do: Act immediately upon seeing White Dots. Order medication and slowly increase your aquarium water to 28 degrees for a week.
  • Stage 3: White Spots remain active and continue to grow into adulthood. Then the White Spot leaves the fish and they fall into the water. There a cyst develops that grows into a source of fire where thousands of infection hairs develop. These will at some point spread out in your tank and look for a new fish. What can you do: keep your aquarium clean. Change (part of) the aquarium water regularly to keep the water balance healthy and to give bad bacteria no chance.
  • Phase 4: have the infection hairs found a new fish? Then the cycle starts again. Very annoying! What can you do: now you understand why water changes (against those hairs) and temperature increase (against growth) are so important.
Fun fact: When the White Spot reaches its swarming stage, it can live without fish for 48 hours.


White Spot can be a persistent phenomenon in aquarium fish. Ideally you want to prevent Spot, but it can happen in the wonderful world of aquariums. Paying close attention and tackling the infection in the early stages is the key to success. In other words, time to start looking at your aquarium. That shouldn’t be a punishment!

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