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Regarding White Spots


ParadiseLost

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Hello all,

You may remember me discussing that I found a white spot on Klaus' tail. Well it hasn't gone away, and I have salted them as instructed in an effort to get it to go but it is perhaps a little smaller but no change otherwise. I have been hoping for a couple of days it would go on its own as I wasn't sure it was ick.

Anyway I go to the tank this morning and he has a white spot on his body. Now I have read that ick only attack the fins so what on earth could this thing be on him? They all seem relatively find otherwise, fairly active, eating well...

Do you want me to do that form just in case?

Thoughts on this would be very helpful ta! xxx

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It might be a stress spot...can you get any good photos or a film of it? Is it fuzzy looking or more like a grain of salt/sugar? Size? Your tank parameters would be helpful too if you can, the usual questions -amm, nitri, nitra, pH, tank size, water changes, etc etc etc...

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[*]Test Results for the Following:

[*]Ammonia Level? .50

[*]Nitrite Level? 0

[*]Nitrate level? 0

[*]Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)?

[*]Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)?

[*]Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? Drop test kit

[*]Water temperature? 21 degrees C.

[*]Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 20 gallons, nearly 3 weeks but the cycle has only just started.

[*]What is the name and size of the filter(s)? Aqua-Flow 200 running at 400litres p/h.

[*]How often do you change the water and how much? At the moment nearly every day because of the cycle and I do 25% or more.

[*]How many fish in the tank and their size? 3, all 2 inch and less.

[*]What kind of water additives or conditioners? Water conditioner to make it safe, it's currently at .2% salt (I started salting a few days ago and am now gradually removing the salt).

[*]What do you feed your fish and how often? flakes, peas, bloodworms, Hikari pellets, twice a day, fasted for 24hrs a week.

[*]Any new fish added to the tank? Calico fantail 3 weeks ago.

[*]Any medications added to the tank? Just the salting.

[*]Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? The fuzzy spot on Klaus' side, he has also slightly torn his dorsal fin, and has a weird spot on his tail that isn't fuzzy but bitty sort of, like a scab to me.

[*]Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? They all seem quite happy though I don't think they enjoy the salting, especially Lt Shiny Sides.

Pics: DSC01323 - I circled the spot on his side and it looks fuzzy, and I circled his torn fin.

DSC01284 - you can see the little spotty thing on his tail. I think it's a bit smaller than that now though.

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I think it's a stress spot caused by prolonged exposure to ammonia, but I'm no expert on that so hopefully someone else will be along shortly.

You need to be doing 75% water changes instead of 25%, you need to change the water as soon as the ammonia hits 0.25ppm, 0.5 is high and potentially toxic (Lupin has some weird table thing with temp and pH as factors) so that's the first thing I'd deal with :)

Keep us informed, good luck :)

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I think it's a stress spot caused by prolonged exposure to ammonia, but I'm no expert on that so hopefully someone else will be along shortly.

You need to be doing 75% water changes instead of 25%, you need to change the water as soon as the ammonia hits 0.25ppm, 0.5 is high and potentially toxic (Lupin has some weird table thing with temp and pH as factors) so that's the first thing I'd deal with :)

Keep us informed, good luck :)

But I thought it was OK so long as it was under 1? At least that what I read on the board here on the cycle your tank page :(

I don't know how on earth I am supposed to do 75% tho :|

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That's ich, my dear.

I have never heard of "stress spots" until just recently on the board. I am not sure where this idea came from, but I am very skeptical as to whether it is real or not.

You need to definitely be doing at least 75% water changes. It's not that hard to do a 75% water change. Especially on a 20gal. If you need some advice, I would be more than happy to help. I do 75%-90% water changes on my tanks using the good old bucket method!

Ammonia of 0.5ppm is not good. I'm not sure where you read that it was ok as long as it was under one, but I think you must be mistaken......O! You are talking about the "Ammonia Toxicity" chart from one of our long-ago moderators. In order to use this chart, you really need to have pH results...Can you get those? And this chart is more of a guideline; as in "This level of ammonia won't KILL your fish, but it's not good for them either."

Ich can definitely attack the body of the fish, not just the fins. Though you usually see it first on the fins. Here is a picture from joshmadison.com DSC_4625-200-corydora-with-ich.jpg You can distinctly see the white sugar/salt spots on his whole body. It is a fast killer, especially when the fish keeper has no idea how to treat it correctly!

The good news is, it's easily treatable. Salt and heat, that's all you need.

Raise your temperature up to about 80F/27C. Then gradually elevate your salt levels up to .3%

I see that you have gravel in there. I would recommend taking that out. At least for the duration of the salting. It's nearly impossible for the salt to get to all the nooks and crannies of the gravel. And it's almost impossible to vacuum it well enough every day to get all the cysts. Taking it out is the best course of action. When you are done salting, if you want it back in, boil it, then let it COMPLETELY dry before putting it back in.

On to the salt. You will need to raise the concentration up to 0.3% (that's 3tsp (1TBSP) per gallon). Since you have already salted it I assume you know how to do this safely. You are going to want to keep the salt in there for AT LEAST one week AFTER you see the LAST cyst fall off. Don't be discouraged...Ich gets worse before it gets better, so you may see what seems to be a severe outbreak. You may be tempted to dump some "ich medication" into the tank. DON'T!! This do more harm than good.

I hope this helped. Let me know if you have more questions. I will add this thread to my "watch list" so I can stay up to date.

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Sarah: I got stress spots from Trinket (well, not literally!) when one of my fish had dropsy (and ich straight after a tumory lump - she was allowed to be stressed!) she got a fuzzy fluffy white spot like the fluff out of a sports sock on her body near the tail, it disappeared the next day, another of my fish had the same thing when she was added to a new tank, again it disappeared after a day or two and that's what Trinket said it was. Just one loan spot, which is why I asked whether it looked fuzzy or like salt grains :) Just for clarification :)

Lou: You can do 75% water changes fine, as long as the water is deep enough for your fish to swim in, and they're still small so you could probably go right down to about 10-15cm depth if you wanted, particularly if you take the gravel out (if you do this on a cycled tank do it in portions so you don't lose your cycle, in this case it won't be an issue), I do 50% water changes on my tank every week, it just takes lots of back-and-forths between the tank and the sink, which is why I keep my fish in the kitchen...

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That's ich, my dear.

I have never heard of "stress spots" until just recently on the board. I am not sure where this idea came from, but I am very skeptical as to whether it is real or not.

You need to definitely be doing at least 75% water changes. It's not that hard to do a 75% water change. Especially on a 20gal. If you need some advice, I would be more than happy to help. I do 75%-90% water changes on my tanks using the good old bucket method!

Ammonia of 0.5ppm is not good. I'm not sure where you read that it was ok as long as it was under one, but I think you must be mistaken......O! You are talking about the "Ammonia Toxicity" chart from one of our long-ago moderators. In order to use this chart, you really need to have pH results...Can you get those? And this chart is more of a guideline; as in "This level of ammonia won't KILL your fish, but it's not good for them either."

Ich can definitely attack the body of the fish, not just the fins. Though you usually see it first on the fins. Here is a picture from joshmadison.com DSC_4625-200-corydora-with-ich.jpg You can distinctly see the white sugar/salt spots on his whole body. It is a fast killer, especially when the fish keeper has no idea how to treat it correctly!

The good news is, it's easily treatable. Salt and heat, that's all you need.

Raise your temperature up to about 80F/27C. Then gradually elevate your salt levels up to .3%

I see that you have gravel in there. I would recommend taking that out. At least for the duration of the salting. It's nearly impossible for the salt to get to all the nooks and crannies of the gravel. And it's almost impossible to vacuum it well enough every day to get all the cysts. Taking it out is the best course of action. When you are done salting, if you want it back in, boil it, then let it COMPLETELY dry before putting it back in.

On to the salt. You will need to raise the concentration up to 0.3% (that's 3tsp (1TBSP) per gallon). Since you have already salted it I assume you know how to do this safely. You are going to want to keep the salt in there for AT LEAST one week AFTER you see the LAST cyst fall off. Don't be discouraged...Ich gets worse before it gets better, so you may see what seems to be a severe outbreak. You may be tempted to dump some "ich medication" into the tank. DON'T!! This do more harm than good.

I hope this helped. Let me know if you have more questions. I will add this thread to my "watch list" so I can stay up to date.

Thank you for being so informative :)

It seems strange that it has moved on him quite slowly, and I have salted them already, but I will top up the % now... need to buy more salt though eh expenses!

Um well I don't have a bucket, also what is annoying is that the tank is quite tall and thin rather than wide so even if I got one I wouldn't be able to dip it into the tank! So I'm stuck using a big plastic box and a couple of jugs instead :(

How would you recommend upping the heat? I don't have a heater and I can't afford one. I have a warm light that is good at maintaining temperature but overnight when it is off that all goes too so I am not sure what to do, especially since it seems to be getting quite cold here meh.

Do you think I should just take them right out when I remove the gravel? I've never done barebottom either...

Thanks xxx

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I hate to step in and discombobolate the general thoughts of others, but I feel that in this case, I do need to do it a bit.

"Stress Spots" - appear in many comments around the internet. If you read it closely - nearly all the references to "Stress Spots" are, actually, referring to "White Spot" - a rather vague and inaccurate reference to the parasite Ichthyophthirius multifilis - or Ich, as it is commonly abreviated. Ich is a parasite that burrows under a fish's skin- where it feeds on the fish and grows. As it grows and reproduces, the volume or size of the parasite stretches the skin - much like the skin is stretched over a pimple on someone's face. The "white" look is given as the skin is stretched. The spot itself - or white bump - is actually the fish's skin - stretched over a growing parasite. When the bump gets big enough, the skin breaks and releases 1000s of tiny swimming parasites that will swim for a while in the water and then attach themselves to the fish to do it all over again.

The reason ich is often called "the stress disease" is that ich is VERY prelevant in nature. In most volumes of water - and even in a large number of closed tank systems, ich parasites can be dormant, waiting. A system with a heavy media filter or a gravel/sand substrate is a particularly supportive environment for dormant parasites. These parasites cannot normally affect a fish too much - as long as the fish is HEALTHY. WHen the fish gets STRESSED - (the most common stressor is poor water conditions) - (temperture, ammonia, nitrite, too high nitrate, new tank, shipping, etc), the parasties can find an "in" - and attack. That is why "White Spot" or "Stress Spot" - aka "Ich" - appears at the times of "stress".

"Stress Spot" does NOT refer to a spot that appears on a fish's tail, side, etc. for no other reason than that the water is poor or the fish has stress. An idiopathic spot is NOT "Stress Spot". White spots COULD be an Ichthyophthirius multifilis parasite.... but having only ONE spot usually does not indicate such. IF the spot changes or more occur - is probably is. Ich can actually kill a fish and the keeper may never even see a single spot!

It is not uncommon to see a spot of fungus where a small injury has occured. These are normally naturally resolved by the fish, itself, in a short time. Sometimes a viral attack can happen at the point of a small injury. These slightly swollen whitish spots most commonly seen in the rays of a fin or tail may resolve by themselves, but can commonly take a year or more to shrink and disappear. There is not too much to do about these - as long as they do not spread or change much. They will naturally resolve in time in a healthy fish. I have even had one fish keeper identify a beginning Furunculosis infection as "white spot" or "stress spots"..... and it was not.

All problems - of ANY type, however - are greatly impacted by water quality. The advice pertaining to lowering your ammonia levels in the tank are spot on. I am never happy with an ammonia level that goes over 0.25ppm. EVER. Change out your tank every time your ammonia gets to 0.25ppm. Change out AT least 50%. The 75% change will lower a 1ppm ammonia to 0.25ppm ammonia. This is the top of the scale. I would suggest doing another change. Keep the ammonia low. When you start to get nitrite, you need to be even MORE vigilant. Ammonia levels can cause life-long problems. Nitrite causes even more devastating effects for the LIFE of the fish. Change out the water. When in doubt, change out more.

Typically, test your water. Take out whatever you need to take out to take the ammonia below 0.25ppm. Do it as often as you need to in order to keep the ammonia lower than 0.25at all times.

Good luck. This does not appear - at this time - to be anything that needs instant treatment. If you wish, you can take a cotton swab soaked in Potassium Permangantae or Hydrogen Peroxide. Lift the fish gently out of the water - OVER the water or over a bucket or bowl of water. Gently swab the spot. If you use PP crystals, dip the fish in a cleasing dip and replace in the tank. Once is enough. Keep the water clean. Keep the salt level up. Watch the fish. It is a pretty good bet that these will resolve themselves within time.

Edit: Oh man. I get an phone call and get interuppted and Sarah does a GREAT job. :) thanks.

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Hmmm I wonder what Tigger had then...it was definitely fuzzy, I guess it could have been fungus but it really didn't stick around very long. It wasn't ich, I've seen that before.

Bad call on my part, I apologise, thanks for clearing that up Daryl :)

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So I will just keep changing their water and salt them. OK I can manage that...

Again just want to ask about moving them out of the water would that be ok? Want to keep stress minimal and I can decide if moving = stress or staying in tank = stress!

xxx

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I guess I am not completely clear on why you would move the fish - at least not for any length of time. The tank, IF (emphisis on IF) you have an infestation of Ich, is already compromised. You might as well treat the whole thing - fish and all.

As far as the heat - all it does is speed up the life cycle of the parasite. They will attach and grow to maturity and multiply much faster with warmer water. Since you can ONLY kill them when they are in the microscopic free-swimming stage (called swarmers), you wish to speed up the maturing of the "spots" - so they swell up, burst and release the swarmers. As the swarmers go out into the salted water, they will die.

IF you heat the water and speed up the life cycle in an ich infested fish, it will often look MUCH worse very quickly. This can be scary - for the parasites are maturing and growing quickly - make more white spots (visible growing parasites UNDER the fish's skin) that poof up nearly overnight. As these burst, however, you can KILL the swarmers with the salt.

If you do NOT heat the water, the parasites will STILL mature and burst out releasing the swarmers. They will STILL die when they hit the salted water. It just takes more time to make sure you have matured all the parasites and killed all the swarmers. Salting for at least 2 weeks is recommended - EVEN IF YOU DO NOT SEE ANY MORE SPOTS.

AS far as removing the gravel, it IS best done with the fish out of the tank. Typically, there is a lot of waste in the gravel. It may appear to be clean, but you probably will be grossed out at how nasty it is. When you start to scoop it out, you can stir up a tremendous amount of waste and noxious gases. It is better that you do not subject your fish to that. Take out some of the water that is in the tank and place it and the fish in a bucket, bowl, cup, etc. Swirl the gravel around vigorously with your hand to stir up all the gunk and vacumn out all the gunky water. Then pull the gravel out. Rinse the tank and refill with clean water that matches temp and parameters - just no ammonia/nitrite, etc. Lift the fish gently back in.

It will be far less stressful to the fish to have CLEAN water and no place for parasites to find safe haven. The salt will reach all corners of your tank - and kill any little nasties that may be trying to hide.

IF this is Ich, you should be just fine. IF this is not - you will not have hurt anything - you actually will be treating in a fashion that will help, also. So....

Suggestions:

REmove your gravel if you wish. REduce your gravel to a single pebble layer if you do not wish.

Salt to 0.3ppm over a period of 36 hours.

Touch each of the spots with a cotton swab dipped in PP or HP.

Keep an eye on the fish. If they develop MORE spots, the spots GROW, the spots MOVE or they appear to be struggling, more intervention may be needed. KEep the water parameters in line - keeping the ammonia at or below 0.25ppm.

Good luck. You seem to have a good handle on this. :)

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I guess I am not completely clear on why you would move the fish - at least not for any length of time. The tank, IF (emphisis on IF) you have an infestation of Ich, is already compromised. You might as well treat the whole thing - fish and all.

As far as the heat - all it does is speed up the life cycle of the parasite. They will attach and grow to maturity and multiply much faster with warmer water. Since you can ONLY kill them when they are in the microscopic free-swimming stage (called swarmers), you wish to speed up the maturing of the "spots" - so they swell up, burst and release the swarmers. As the swarmers go out into the salted water, they will die.

IF you heat the water and speed up the life cycle in an ich infested fish, it will often look MUCH worse very quickly. This can be scary - for the parasites are maturing and growing quickly - make more white spots (visible growing parasites UNDER the fish's skin) that poof up nearly overnight. As these burst, however, you can KILL the swarmers with the salt.

If you do NOT heat the water, the parasites will STILL mature and burst out releasing the swarmers. They will STILL die when they hit the salted water. It just takes more time to make sure you have matured all the parasites and killed all the swarmers. Salting for at least 2 weeks is recommended - EVEN IF YOU DO NOT SEE ANY MORE SPOTS.

AS far as removing the gravel, it IS best done with the fish out of the tank. Typically, there is a lot of waste in the gravel. It may appear to be clean, but you probably will be grossed out at how nasty it is. When you start to scoop it out, you can stir up a tremendous amount of waste and noxious gases. It is better that you do not subject your fish to that. Take out some of the water that is in the tank and place it and the fish in a bucket, bowl, cup, etc. Swirl the gravel around vigorously with your hand to stir up all the gunk and vacumn out all the gunky water. Then pull the gravel out. Rinse the tank and refill with clean water that matches temp and parameters - just no ammonia/nitrite, etc. Lift the fish gently back in.

It will be far less stressful to the fish to have CLEAN water and no place for parasites to find safe haven. The salt will reach all corners of your tank - and kill any little nasties that may be trying to hide.

IF this is Ich, you should be just fine. IF this is not - you will not have hurt anything - you actually will be treating in a fashion that will help, also. So....

Suggestions:

REmove your gravel if you wish. REduce your gravel to a single pebble layer if you do not wish.

Salt to 0.3ppm over a period of 36 hours.

Touch each of the spots with a cotton swab dipped in PP or HP.

Keep an eye on the fish. If they develop MORE spots, the spots GROW, the spots MOVE or they appear to be struggling, more intervention may be needed. KEep the water parameters in line - keeping the ammonia at or below 0.25ppm.

Good luck. You seem to have a good handle on this. :)

Thanks! I moved the fish into a bowl and have cleaned out the tank and taken out all the gravel (long business that!)

So they are waiting for the tank water to acclimatise to the right temperature (nearly there)

I took EVERYTHING out. I decided that I wasn't gonna give the parasites anything extra to hide in so all I have in my tank is a filter. Looks a bit bare but for now it'll do.

I wont be able to touch the spots though, I don't have any of what you recommend besides the fact I can hardly get a picture of Klaus let alone hold him >.<

Thanks! I'll keep you updated xxx

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That should not be a problem. No matter what is the problem - parasites, a touch of fungus, a beginning infection, a touch of virus.... the salt and clean water and time should do the work.

IF - and only if - something more happens, should you need to do more.

SOrry about the work - but.... once it is done - GREAT!

:) Good for you.

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That should not be a problem. No matter what is the problem - parasites, a touch of fungus, a beginning infection, a touch of virus.... the salt and clean water and time should do the work.

IF - and only if - something more happens, should you need to do more.

SOrry about the work - but.... once it is done - GREAT!

:) Good for you.

Have just realised I don't have enough salt to do the full % might just leave it til tomorrow rather than confuse myself by putting in whatever I have left and not know my %s! So I was at .2% before but I took out like 60% of the water so what am I at now?

Also what brand salts are good in your experience? xxx

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RIGHT

So I am down to 0.25 ammonia woooo improvement. The fish certainly are alot more active, and I have made the water warmer too. I will do another water change tomorrow evening to try and get the levels down once more. I am going to get salt tomorrow too, so for now they are warming up. All other levels are at 0 :]

xxx

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Did you redose salt based on 60% water volume?

No not yet because I need to get more from the shop. I have some salt but i don't know how much % that'd take me up to so I'd rather do it properly with the right amount xxx

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Update: So I have salt

This afternoon I have changed their water again before salting, so they have had a 100% water change in 12 hours! Now that I have changed their water, I am adding the salt to 0.1%. In the end I thought it would be better for me to take all the older salt out because of the sudden large water change I didn't know what level I was at (I'm no good at maths). So I am starting again with the salting, at 0.1% now, then adding another .1% later, and another tomorrow.

I am also trying to raise the temp but it's difficult because I'm in an old house and the air around the tank cools a lot in the evening. I don't know if I will be able to maintain a v high heat...

I think they are enjoying having clearer water though, they are all a lot more active compared to yesterday before the water change, the ammonia levels were obviously having a sluggish effect on them.

Klaus hasn't got any more spots yet.

xxx

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Update: Had their second bout of salting and another water change (I replaced that salt too).

Just fed them. All active and hungry...

However just had a look at Klaus and though no more spots MORE torn fins :( :( It's his side fins now. Is he ok? I know salting can help to heal it but why has he torn it?

Please help!xxx

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ok just keep up with the salt!

sometimes takes up to 3 weeks! it will work just stay the course!

i wrap my tank in towels/blankets at night to keep temp regulated! its a way to keep it even without a heater!

Kosher salt at grocery is pretty inexpensive!!!

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Not with the salt in there at this point though. Salt and plants don't mix. So far the only ones tolerant to it are anubias and Java ferns but you're still banking on luck salt won't kill them either.

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Not with the salt in there at this point though. Salt and plants don't mix. So far the only ones tolerant to it are anubias and Java ferns but you're still banking on luck salt won't kill them either.

Thank you Lupin. I am looking at him again today and he has more frayed fins :( :( It's upsetting me because I don't know why it's happening. Is it a sign of something more? xxx

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Frayed fins are not a problem in and off themselves. They are an indicator that something is slightly out of wack.

If I had to guess I would say it was a pH fluctuation from your large water change. My Phoenix gets frayed fins when the tap water has an especially low pH.

Did you check the pH of the tap before you added the water? Do you know your Kh?

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