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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Aquatic Animal Health Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #293672

Research Project: Integrated Aquatic Animal Health Strategies

Location: Aquatic Animal Health Research

Title: Preventing Ich

item Xu, Dehai
item Klesius, Phillip

Submitted to: Aquaculture Miscellaneous Publications
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/27/2013
Publication Date: 1/14/2014
Citation: Xu, D., Klesius, P.H. 2014. Preventing Ich. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine. February:60-63.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Millions of people in the world keep aquariums stocked with colorful ornamental fish and enjoy one of the most popular leisure-time activities. In a 2011-2012 national pet owner survey, the American Pet Products Association reported that 12.6 million of U.S. households own pet fish. White spot disease is a very common problem in freshwater aquarium fish. The disease is caused by a ciliate protozoan Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, commonly called “Ich”. Ich infects almost all freshwater fish and the Ich infection can easily killed most of the fish in a tank within a short period of time. Chemical treatments of Ich infection are difficult after the parasite penetrates into the fish’s skin and gills. The best method for controlling Ich infection is to prevent Ich from getting into the aquarium. Precautions are needed when establishing an aquarium and preventing Ich from being carried by fish, aquatic plants, decorative items, gravel and water. The newly purchased fish should be quarantined in a separate tank for one week to 10 days before adding them to the main aquarium. If the fish show any signs of parasite infection, the fish should be treated in the isolation tank without affecting the main aquarium. Early detection of parasite infection is an important step to keep fish from getting into a heavy infection by Ich. When fish are treated during an early infection or a light infection, the chance of survival from parasite infection is always higher than severely infection fish. The life cycle of Ich, treatment of white spot disease and fish immune response against Ich re-infection are also discussed in this article.