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Betta Ich: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatments

betta ich

Betta fish, or the Japanese fighting fish, is a hypersensitive and hostile fish found in South Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. As a beginner betta fish owner, you might be constantly worried about some disease in your betta. Likewise, betta ich is usually what pet owners are worried about.

Betta ich is an annoying disease that most freshwater fish like a betta are prone to. They are commonly seen with white spots on their body, which means they have the ich or ick. White spots clearly indicate that your betta is suffering from betta ich. Hence it is often known as betta ich. The disease is curable. However, if you leave the condition untreated for a long time, you might lose your betta to death. Betta ich is usually caused due to inferior water conditions in the tank or if your betta fish is anxious about something. In this post today, we will discuss all the betta ich.

What Is Betta Ich?

The sickness is induced by Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, a single parasite that attaches itself to the betta from the outside. To survive, parasites require a host to attach themselves to. The pathogen can replicate once it has latched itself to the host betta.

This makes controlling their reproduction a tad more difficult, as well as a headache when they get into your tank. You will have to move quickly if you want to eliminate them from your tank. It is essential to know the different stages betta ich has to be as precise with the treatment as possible. Here are the stages betta ich grows through:

Stage 1: Trophozite Phase

This is when the parasite links itself to your betta. At this stage, the parasite is not dangerous. It feeds upon your betta and is visible. The parasite matures and then leaves the betta’s body, leaving a cyst behind. This is betta’s natural defense to avoid as much damage as possible.

Stage 2: Tomont Phase

This phase is also known as the reproducing stage. Once the parasite leaves the betta body, it goes down to the bottom of the tank upon the substrate. There it reproduces through the process of binary fission.

Stage 3: Theront Phase

Once the trophozoites have reproduced enough, the mature ones start floating in the water randomly and have 48 hours until they find a host, or else they would die. This is the stage where treatment is possible.

The only way you can treat betta ich is to treat the water. When it forms the cyst, the betta fish’s natural defense prevents the infection from entering its body as much as possible. Likewise, immunity prevents the entering of medication as well. Therefore it becomes crucial to know each stage properly.

Betta Ich Symptoms:

What Is Betta Ich?

Here are a few symptoms you can look for betta ich:

  • The primary visble through naked eyes indication of betta ich is white spots. They ususally occur on the body. One might also observe the white spots on the fins and tails.
  • During any betta sickness the most important and basic symptoms is loss of appetite and inactivity. Your betta will become tired and lathergic and will like to consume ntohing at all or minimum.
  • If your betta is in community tank, it will start feeling threatened by other fish and will prefer hiding or staying alone. This is because your betta can feel its immunity getting weak and in order to save itself from becoming a victim of some predatory species it chooses to hide.
  • Your betta will want to rub off the white spots from its body and therfore will be seen scrubbing its body against the tank objects or plants.
  • Other symptoms that is common when betta is sick can be observed too. For instance, fins clamping, stressed, loss in vibrancy, and gasping for air now and then.

Betta Ich Causes:

Betta Ich Causes:

The best way to treat any disease is to know the reasons behind what is causing it. Hence, here are a few things that can cause betta ich:


When your fish have good immunity, it can fight any disease. However, any amount of stress can significantly weaken its immunity, making it susceptible to bacterial or fungal diseases. Betta can stress out by any change in tank parameters, like water change or the addition of a tank member.

Poor Quality Water

The parasite might be already present in your tank. However, it can be triggered by bad immunity. If water has high ammonia or nitrate content, your fish immunity is bound to weaken. Therefore, inferior water quality could trigger the parasite already present in the tank.


A new member in the tank might be contagious and held responsible for spreading the disease to your betta. Nevertheless, you can assure nothing happens to your betta by building strong immunity. This can be done by providing the proper aquarium conditions to it.

Betta Ich Treatment:

The first step to carrying out any treatment process is to quarantine your betta into a new tank. Therefore, firstly isolate your betta to cure betta ich. After that, you can follow these steps:

  • If your betta has not been affected yet, you can always isolate and kill the parasite because it will noe have no host to atttach itself to .
  • You should rasie the temperature of the tank your betta is in. Do not raise the temperature suddenly, give your betta time to adjust with temeprature changes slowly so that it does not stress out more. Raise your temperature degree by degree everyday upto 86 degrees Fahrenhiet.
  • Add aquarium salts to the tank watere while raising the water temprature. This will increase the hardness of the water, making it hard for the parasite to survuve. At the same time it also helps in building betta’s natural defense. Add one tablespoon of aquarium salt every gallon.
  • Keep changing the water every second day about 25 percent. However, keep the salt content in mind for frutiful treatment. Do this for 10 days. If you see no improvement we recommend consulting a professional immediately. They wiill provide with proper medication for betta ich.

Betta Ich Or Fungus?

The symptoms of betta ich and fungus or relatively similar. Nevertheless, they are dissimilar in some aspects. They have different causes. However, there is no significant difference in treating a fungal infection in betta or parasitic infection such as betta ich.

The betta fungal infection is characterized by extended cotton-like white growth near the fins or tails or a previously injured area in the betta. Whereas betta ich is when your betta has white spots all over its body, sometimes white spots appear on the face.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Can a fish survive ich?

It should be treated as soon as possible, or else it could cause death in your betta. However, if treated timely, you might save your betta.

How long till ich falls off the fish?

It takes up to 4 to 8 weeks for an ich parasite to be treated. One might have to treat the betta ich with medication for a month or so.

How do I clean my tank after ich?

Replace the tank water. Reset the betta aquarium filters and supply the natural filtration with some domestic ammonia. Increase the water temperature in the betta aquarium to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

My betta has a light blue mark on his face, is it ich?

No, it might not be ich. Ich is characterized by white spots on the body of the betta.

What is the highest temperature for treating ich on betta fish?

To treat betta ich, you will have to raise the temperature slowly one degree every day until it reaches the highest temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit; if there is no visible recovery in 10 days, we recommend consulting a professional.

Final Thoughts:

Betta Ich can be a handy job to clean from the tank. Nonetheless, if you want your betta to survive significantly, you clean the water with every last bit of it. Also, try maintaining all the water parameters, tank requisites, and dietary needs of your betta to strengthen its immunity and help it fight such diseases.