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Will My Fish Die Of White Spot?

Updated on March 9, 2014

The White Spot Disease can be fatal. Of course, prevention is better than cure, but if one or more fish of the aquarium are affected by the parasite, the disease can be controlled and eradicated.

An effective eradication of the illness will only be obtained if it is known when and how to treat it.

We will see why is a highly contagious disease, which are the affected areas, how to identify the disease correctly and which preventive measures can be taken to prevent it.

Once the parasite enters the aquarium, certain triggers should be given to produce the infection, like sudden changes in water temperature or weakness of the fish.

When affecting one or more fish of the aquarium, the parasite completes a biological cycle in the infecting phase (encysted in the skin of the fish), reaches its adult stage and leave the host fish.

White Spot Disease
White Spot Disease

Once out of the fish, in the free phase, reproduction begins (asexual reproduction by binary division) being able to produce more than 2000 new parasites that will try to begin a new cycle in a host fish.

The distinctive characteristic of the white spot disease, is that each point (a cyst that is caused by the immune system of fish) looks like salt sprinkled over the body of the fish. If it looks like cotton, it is not ich (it can be fungus). The infection begins in the caudal and dorsal fins, in which the first spots can be seen against the light. Each spot can house one or more parasites.

The parasitoses continues on the body of the fish, and can go on to affect the eyes and the gills. In the gills moderate or severe congestion may occur. The fish with severe affection in the gills have difficulties to breathe and this can lead to death.

To avoid the death of the fish, it is necessary to take actions immediately when detecting and identifying the disease. The medications are not effective when the parasite is in the infecting phase (encysted), the parasite can only be attacked in his free phase.

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For this, the parasite's life cycle is accelerated so that as soon as possible it leaves the fish (which means that the fish suffer less).

The time of the parasite's life cycle can be modified by controlling the temperature of the water. Once it has left the fish, the medication is applied.

The white spot disease is the most common disease in aquariums, but it is also one of the easiest to prevent. The preventive actions are focused on ensuring the hygiene of everything that is introduced into the aquarium, either decorative objects, rocks or plants.

It is also important the good selection of the fish that are purchased in pet stores, should not be purchased fish that are in a fishbowl with dead fish or whose movement is erratic.

Once at home, it is convenient to keep in quarantine the new members for two weeks in an isolation tank, so it can be seen if the fish has any disease symptoms.

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