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Ich or Ick (Ichthyphthirious)
Symptoms : Most obvious symptom is the little white specs all over the body. These white specs will looks like salt that has been sprinkled on your betta. Another common symptoms is that your betta may appear spastic and attempt to scratch itself on the bottom of the tank or anything it can scratch on. Your betta may also exhibit labored breathing.
Info : Ich is a protozoa and is extremely contagious. By the time you have discovered ich, you can count on that the majority of any other fish in the tank are also infected. I would recommend treating the entire tank. This parasite resides in all water and strikes on a stressed fish. You will notice the parasite in their adult stage, when they are embedded in your fish's skin or gill. At this point it is feeding on red blood cells and your fish's skin. After a few days on your fish, it will release itself from your fish and fall to the bottom of the tank forming a cyst. During this time it uses rapid cell division to create up toward 1000 new free swimming parasites! If a host isn't found within the first 72 hours, the parasite will die. If a host is found a new cycle will begin. These phases take approximately a month at 70F but the process is considerably increased to a 5 day cycle when the temperature is raised to 80F. For this reason, it is recommended that the temperature be raised anywhere from 80F - 85F during treatment. Ich is best treated during the free swimming phase, of raising the temperature will ensure you treat during this phase.
Treatments : Malachite Green, Coppersafe, Quick Cure, Aquari-Sol or Maracide. Follow the directions on the packages, raising the temperature to 80F-85F if at all possible. If you cannot raise the temperature due to the betta being in a small bowl, do a full water change and then treat. Move to a warm area of the house if possible.
Prevention : You can prevent Ich by adding Aquarium Salt and Aquari-Sol to your tanks every water change.
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Last update:
  March 23, 2009 10:27 PM CST

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