It is really common among people to keep fish as home pets. Although it might look simple to care for them, there might be numerous unforeseen problems occurring along the way. One of them is the ich.
This is one of the most often seen diseases that we might encounter in the case of the freshwater and marine aquarium fish. In case you keep fish, sooner or later the disease will appear.
There are some hobbyists who don’t really take this disease seriously, but it is said that it is responsible for the majority of the deaths. Naturally there are different kinds of treatments, but these have to be administered correctly, otherwise they will cause problems to all the inhabitants of the aquarium.
Actually ich is a protozoan caused disease that is also known as “white spot disease”.
The disease might be also found at freshwater fish which live in the wild, but it seems like the stress that the fish experience is higher in an aquarium and this favors the illness to appear more often.
It is easy to recognize the ich. Its symptoms include some white spots that appear on the body of the fish and on the gills.
In case the disease gets more serious, the animal will try to scratch against the side or the bottom of the tank. At this stage it is really important to take some measures.
The seemingly harmless white spots might cause respiratory distress, loss of appetite, severe agitation and in the end, death.
The life cycle of the causing agent is quite complex. It attaches to the side of the fish and it starts feeding on the skin and tissue, causing an itching sensation. The agent moves around the cyst and it continues encapsulating.
This is why it is difficult to treat it at this stage. The agent matures and in the end it bursts through the wall of the cyst and falls to the bottom of the tank. Here it divides into hundreds of infectious agents.
The warmer the water, the faster the replication is. At the suitable temperature for the fish the replication happens in 8 hours.
Since the disease is so widespread, the professionals say that it can be found in any aquarium environment, collectors, rearing ponds or breeders. For the same reason the majority of the fish have developed a certain level of immunity against it and they manage to fight the disease off before it shows any signs or symptoms.
The aquarium fish develop the disease in the moment when their immune system is weakened. Usually this is caused by a high level of stress. There are numerous different ways to stress a fish, and the one to blame for the majority of the causes is the owner. The temperature of the water, the tank inhabitants, water quality, diet and some other factors contribute to the overall well-being of the fish.
The most stressful event in the life of a fish is to be handled and shipped when transferred to a new environment. This is why it is no wonder that the majority of the new fish has this disease.