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  • Species: Whitespot / Ich on Platy

Whitespot (Ich) And Velvet: How To Tell Them Apart And Treat

There are two common diseases that manifest themselves as white grains on the fins and body: Whitespot and Velvet.

The best way to tell them apart is by the size of the grains. Whitespot cysts are larger, more like salt grains, while velvet cysts are much finer, like icing sugar. Velvet also tends to produce a distinctive golden sheen on the fish, hence the name. Whitespot is probably the more common of the two diseases. Both are highly contagious and if not treated can allow secondary infections to set in, potentially killing the fish.

Both Whitespot (also known as Ich) and Velvet are easy to prevent. Since newly purchased fish frequently carry these parasites, quarantining such fish for 2-3 weeks before putting them in a community tank is highly recommended.

Whitespot is a parasite that most tropical fish enthusiasts will encounter at some point. White spot disease is actually responsible for more fish deaths than any other disease. This disease is generally found in aquarium fish due to their close contact with other fish and also sometimes the stress involved in living in an aquarium as opposed to their more natural habitat.

To treat infections, either use a proprietary whitespot and velvet medication, or else use aquarium salt. If using salt, start by raising the temperature to 28-30 degrees C. This speeds up the life cycle of the parasite. Add salt at a dose of 2 g/litre and leave the tank running this way for 2 weeks.

Although proprietary medications are widely sold, they can be toxic to sensitive fish like stingrays, loaches, mormyrids and some catfish. Using salt is generally kinder to the fish and less stressful to these sensitive fish.

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