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Ichthyophthyroidism or semolina in aquarium fish


Our expert in fish farming and aquarium care

Hello! Two days ago, I decided to carry out a general cleaning in the aquarium, and additionally took measures to cool the water. And today I noticed that glass perches and Sumatran barbs behave strangely - they draw in fins and itch on the ground.

And the goldfish showed several small white grains on the fins.

A friend said that, most likely, this is ichthyophthyroidism. Where did he come from? Tell me how to cure fish from this scourge?

White spots, or “semolina,” is a common phenomenon. There are several reasons for their appearance - live food, new plants, sick fish, stressful situations. It is noteworthy that the unicellular infusoria causing the disease, in a weakly active form, is present in almost every home pond. Transportation of fish or an unexpected change in familiar conditions (a sharp drop in water temperature, power outages) can cause an outbreak. In your case, the provoking factors were the general cleaning and cooling of the water.

Description of Ichthyophthyroidism

Ichthyophthyroidism is caused by parasitic ciliary infusoria Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. In the confined space of the aquarium, it is quickly transmitted from one fish to another, thereby causing an epizootic. A ichthy appears in the form of convex white dots on the body of the affected fish. The foci of the disease in their appearance resemble semolina, for which the disease received its common name "semolina".

The white dots on the body of the fish are ichthyophthirius cells (trophoziotes), which are embedded in the pockets of the epithelium and feed on the tissues of the skin of the carrier. The development of the parasite occurs cyclically from 7 to 10 days.

Ichthyophthirus development cycle:

  1. After maturation, the trophoziot leaves its shelter and falls into the ground, where it secrets a cyst.
  2. Within a day, 600-1000 tomites (daughter cell) are formed inside the cyst.
  3. After growing up, the tomite turns into a theronte, which leaves the cyst and sets off for free swimming, looking for a host among other fish.

Now about the treatment

Treatment of ichthyophthyroidism at the initial stage is not particularly difficult. The main thing is not to hesitate and start therapy immediately after the detection of alarming symptoms. Unfortunately, the pathogen over the years of struggle with it learned to adapt to the negative effects and mutated - there were forms that could lead to the death of even large individuals in just 5-7 days. So proceed to save the fish immediately.

Symptoms of ichthyophthyroidism

  • The initial form of the disease is not noticeable at first glance, given only the fact that the fish can itch on each other and rub on pebbles. Thus, they try to remove the irritation on the scales of aquarium fish caused by attacking parasites.
  • At a more advanced stage, individuals are very concerned. Most often scurry from side to side, eat little, fins often shudder with convulsions.
  • Sick fish often stay closer to the surface, due to rapid breathing and lack of oxygen.
  • The main sign of fish disease is the presence of white-yellow tubercles on the body, gills, fins and even in the mouth of individuals. The number of these tubercles grows every day, gradually "sprinkling" all the fish in the aquarium and moving on to other individuals. In the form of tubercles, we observe not the disease itself, but only the ulcers caused by these parasites. At the last stage of inhiophthyroidism, there are so many such ulcers that they form one large, watery tubercle. The presence of such a lesion site can only indicate that the disease is neglected and the fish are unlikely to be saved.
  • When the disease is neglected, scales or skin can cling to the fish layers.

Causes of the disease

Ichthyophthyroidism causes infusoria parasitizing on fish, ichthyophthyrius. White dots on the fins are containers on the tissues in which the parasites settle.

Growth on the body of aquarium fish lasts 6-7 days, after which the ciliator leaves the body and prepares for reproduction. Having sunk to the bottom, it secrets a cyst, which during the week is divided into more than 700 new parasites. Ichthyophthiriuses float freely and infect other fish, invading suitable tissue sites. As a rule, these are the most vulnerable parts of the body of a fish, such as gills.

Today, a tropical variety of the disease ichthyophthyroidism is common. Parasites do not separate from the owner for reproduction, doing so on the body of the fish. These species love heat, are tolerant to different composition and hardness of water. The treatment is more complicated and many traditional methods are ineffective.

Ichthyophthyroidism is a fish disease whose body is weakened by stress. Even a healthy-looking fish can carry a parasite hiding in its mouth or gills and waiting for a convenient moment. Therefore, it is possible that a new resident, beautiful and healthy in appearance, in a new house will be covered with white dots in a day. Another option is also possible: the newcomer will remain healthy, and the old-timers will be infected. This happens if the fish is already sick with ichthyophthyroidism, has developed some resistance to pathogens. If her treatment was insufficient, she is the carrier of the parasite.

How to treat ichthyophthyroidism

It is important to treat not only the aquarium fish themselves, but also take appropriate measures to decontaminate the aquarium. Earlier, decoy in aquarium fish was considered easily treatable, now it is becoming more difficult to treat it, as parasites adapt to methods of fighting bacteria. With the onset of the first symptoms of the disease, the fish in the aquarium can die after a week, so you need to treat semolina immediately.

It is possible to cure fish by moving them to another tank, and leaving them in the aquarium.

White point treatment methods:

  1. Ichthyophthyridiosis salt treatment
  2. "Malachite Green"
  3. Hydrogen peroxide
  4. A mixture of malachite green medicine with others

Ichthyophthyridiosis salt treatment

This method is suitable for the treatment of ciliates brought from local waters, as tropical bacteria tolerate salt water well. Salt must be taken in the calculation of one tablespoon per 10 liters of water, while gradually raising the temperature to 32 degrees. The duration of treatment is 14 days. After therapy for 30 days, it is necessary to replace water by 30% every week. Efficiency is achieved by reducing the amount of oxygen for the life of the ciliates, and the increased temperature of the water prevents their reproduction.

"Malachite Green"

The effectiveness of the drug is omitted by the factor that the concentration of 0.09 mg / l of fish and plants is adversely tolerated, and a decrease in concentration leads to a decrease in efficiency. And also an indicator of not more than 0.06 mg / l is recommended if young fish and representatives without scales live in the aquarium. It is introduced gradually until the rashes disappear, and several days after the elimination of visible signs. With each new addition of the medicine, it is necessary to replace the water.

A mixture of malachite green medicine with others

The combination is designed to effectively fight infection, it is important to carry out such treatment only in jailers, since the use of these agents disrupts biological filtration.

The following drugs are used to treat semolina in fish:

The combination of malachite green, methylene blue and formalin effectively helps fight ichthyophthyroidism. A mixture of these drugs is called anti-steam treatment.

Treatment of ichthyophthyroidism with furacilin is also a good antimicrobial agent. Furatsilin is on sale in a drugstore. A drug is required in the form of tablets in a dosage of 0.02 g. For therapy, you need to put 1.5 tablets in warm water, for complete dissolution. Add the previously described malachite green solution to the liquid. This composition is enough for an aquarium with a volume of 20 liters.

If furatsilin is used without a combination with other drugs, then 6-8 tablets per 100 liters of water are calculated. Every day for 4-6 days, water must be changed by 20% and add half of the dissolved tablets.

Branded preparations for ichthyophthyroidism in aquarium fish:

  • manufacturer Sera,
  • Tetra manufacturer,
  • Aquarium Pharmaceuticals (API),
  • JBL Punktol ULTRA (in acute stages of the disease).

Aquarium Pharmaceuticals is available in capsule and liquid form. The liquid medicine has a composition different from capsules and is used after capsule therapy or replaces them in the acute form of the disease.

Semka on fish lends itself well to therapy with specialized pharmacy drugs. Tablets are produced by different manufacturers, the list of medicines for fish for semolina is periodically updated. This is due to the fact that those drugs that were previously treated lose their effectiveness, bacteria acquire immunity, so the means for treating fish are constantly being improved.

Before using the medicine for ichthyophthyroidism, it is important to carefully read the instructions, each drug has its own composition and medicinal properties that have different effects on the inhabitants of the aquarium.

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Treatment of ichthyophthyroidism in a common aquarium

Before starting therapeutic measures, siphon the soil and rinse the sponges of mechanical filtration, replace 20% of water, remove activated carbon from the filter and install aeration. By the way, the cleaning of the aquarium should be carried out before each infusion of a medicinal substance. Decor items, driftwood and stones should be removed.

Many people believe that the first steps on the road to recovery are fever and salt. It is important to note the following. Raising the temperature above 32 degrees is effective in dealing only with "domestic" ichthyophthyroidism. For a tropical species, heat is ideal distribution conditions. Note that if the gills are damaged in the fish, then the jump in the temperature curve will only increase hypoxia, which can lead to death.

Using salt is also not so simple. Many tropical species of ichthyophthyroidism tolerate the increased salinity of the environment well, that is, it will have to be salted more intensively, which is especially bad for loaches, catfish, labeos and sensitive labyrinth fish. Then you have to guess what they could not stand - too salty water or infection.

One of the most effective treatment methods is the use of an organic dye - malachite green (concentration 0.9 mg / l). But if you contain fish without scales, then the dosage should be reduced to 0.6 mg / l. Malachite greens are introduced into the jar daily, until the "semolina" on the body and fins of underwater residents disappears completely. Before each infusion, change a quarter of the total water volume. Increases the effectiveness of the drug iodine. Drip it at the rate of 5 drops per 100 liters of water. The recommended temperature during treatment is not more than 28 degrees.

Furacilin (1.5 tablets per 20 liters of water) can be added to malachite greens. Furazolidone (5-7 tablets per 100 liters) of water helps well. The tablets should be pre-soaked in water for 10-20 minutes, and then mix thoroughly.

Nitrofurans have a bad effect on biofiltration, so replace 20% of the water daily.

Do not forget to measure hydrochemical indicators. If the amount of ammonia is above normal, then change 30% of the total water. When replacing, avoid temperature contrast. If the water smells of chlorine, be sure to defend it for 2-3 days.

Symptoms and causes of the disease

If the fish in the aquarium have white dots on the surface of the body, then this is the main symptom of the emerging disease. Initially, spots appear in a small amount, then every day there are more white dots. White dots on fish are no larger than semolina grains. Ichthyophthyroidism in fish develops with bacteria entering the aquarium, ichthyophthirius ciliates, along with food, soil and water. Bacteria are fixed on the scales of fish. The decoy on the fish is actually not white spots, but tubercles through which the parasites exit.

  • restless behavior
  • fish rub their bodies on objects, plants and soil,
  • in case of damage to internal organs, pets become passive to external irritants, appetite disappears, they are often located on the surface of the aquarium, swallowing air,
  • with damage to the cornea, blindness develops,
  • the color of the scales and torso fades,
  • scales are covered with white coating.

Without immediate action, the inhabitants of the aquarium can die as a result of a lack of oxygen and damage to the epithelium of a large area.

The most frequently affected species are viviparous individuals. For humans, this bacterium is harmless.

Causes of fish infection with decoy:

  • live food, it is especially difficult to remove parasites from plants brought from tropical places,
  • the appearance of a new fish in the aquarium,
  • dirty soil
  • as a result of poor-quality and irregular cleaning of the aquarium: clean the coating on the walls, wash the filter,
  • cold water,
  • temperature differences in the aquarium,
  • stress.

At the initial stage of infection, before the appearance of the tubercles Ichthyophthirius (another name for the disease), it is impossible to see with the naked eye.

Treatment Scheme for Ichthyophthyroidism

Of the pharmaceutical drugs, you can also use biseptol, delagil (used as an adjunct in external lesions of protozoa (usually with ichthyophthyroidism), gives a therapeutic effect in combination with other drugs, enhancing their effect, immunosuppressant), iodine (6-8 drops per 100 l ), chloramphenicol (250 (up to 500) mg per 10 l) is dangerous for aquatic plants and sensitive fish), metronidazole, trichopolum, tetracycline. The list is not exhaustive, but before use it is better to check with knowledgeable people and read on the Internet, as well as read the instructions for use of the drug.

Causes of ichthyophthyroidism in the aquarium

Sooner or later, all aquarists face this disease, so there’s nothing wrong with it, the main thing is to find the right and effective treatment. I found and gladly shared with you. I wish that your fish do not get sick, and if they suddenly get sick, then a speedy and quick recovery!

With all my heart and soul, Natalya.

/ Author: Nataliya Baranova, Tashkent, Uzbekistan /

Drugs for the treatment of ichthyophthyroidism

Today, there are many drugs for the treatment of ichthyophthyroidism. By and large, they have the same composition: a mixture of malachite green with various substances - with formalin, methylene blue, furatsillin, diamond greens.

  • Antipar (when used in a general aquarium, it requires constant monitoring of hydrochemistry)
  • Sera Omnisan (good for the initial form of ichthyophthyroidism)
  • Aquarium Pharmaceuticals (available in liquid and capsule form),
  • JBL Punktol ULTRA (when running forms it is recommended to combine with JBL Ektol crystal),
  • Sera Omnisan + Mikopur (perfectly copes with tropical forms of ichthyophthyroidism),
  • Sera Costapur,
  • Tetra Contralck.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions clearly. The ingredients are quite toxic - you can not exceed the indicated dosage. Usually, at a temperature of 23-25 ​​degrees, the drugs are administered every other day, at a temperature of 26-28 degrees - daily. The maximum number of administrations is 5. If after 2-3 times the use of the effect is not observed, then the reason is probably organic contamination, high pH (normal - 7.5), a large number of trace elements (fertilizers were applied), lack of oxygen, an excess of air conditioners for water.

It is better to inject drugs with a syringe. Dilute, based on the volume of the tank, the required amount of the drug in 500 ml of water and pour portionwise at intervals of several seconds. After the treatment has successfully completed, it is necessary to withdraw the remains of the drug. This will help a massive replacement of water (twice a day for 30%) and carbon sponges, which should then be eliminated. Monitor nitrite and ammonia concentrations for several days.


To prevent the disease, it is necessary to observe safety measures:

  • quarantine for new aquarium inhabitants, including plants,
  • ensuring the hygiene of the aquarium, for this there should be a separate siphon, net and other accessories.

When buying a new pet, it is forbidden to immediately plant it in a common aquarium. Even a careful examination before buying does not guarantee health; in fish, white dots do not always appear in open places. Ciliates may be in a state of hibernation on the skin or in the oral cavity and in the gills. During transportation and resettlement of a pet in a new aquarium, the fish experiences stress, as a result of which the disease becomes more active and begins to actively develop.

It is necessary to place the new pet in a special quarantine aquarium, add one domestic inhabitant to it and wait a few days, after which the newcomer can be shared in a common pond.

To avoid contamination of the entire aquarium, it is important to monitor the behavior of the inhabitants when something new appears in it. Outbreaks of the disease occur regardless of the time of year, year-round. However, the fact is noted that the disease is most often found in the spring and summer.