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Ick In Betta Fish: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

ick in betta fish

Betta fish is an increasingly demanded aquarium fish characterized by vibrant colors and widespread fins. However, they are highly susceptible to various parasitic and bacterial diseases. Among the more common ones is the white spots disease or Ick. Let us discuss more on ick in betta fish.

Ick is a parasite that attaches to the body of a betta fish and causes discomfort, itching, and sickness. Betta fish are prone to ich, and failing to cure them for too long can prove to be fatal. The main symptom of Ick is white patches on the betta’s body, which make it appear as if it is covered in white dust. For this reason, ick in betta fish is also called white spot disease. The Ick in betta fish will heal entirely as long as you treat it properly and as soon as possible.

Ick In Betta Fish: Symptoms

Ick In Betta Fish: Symptoms

White Spots

The most common symptom that your betta fish is suffering from Ick is the development of white spots all around the body of the betta fish. For this reason, Ick has also been termed the white spot disease. Parasites that cause Ick are tiny white creatures that attach themselves to the body of the betta fish.

The severity of the disease can be easily identified by looking at several white spots on the betta fish. If the spread and frequency of the white spots throughout the body are high, then the severity of the disease is also high.

Loss Of Appetite

Perhaps the most common symptom for any ill betta is loss of appetite. If you notice a sudden aversion of your betta fish towards food, then there is a high chance that your betta fish is suffering from some illness. Therefore, it is not quite advisable to assume that your betta is suffering from Ick based on loss of appetite.


With the loss of appetite comes lethargy as well. If your betta fish does not eat the required amount of food, he will eventually get lethargic; thus, if you see your betta fish lying at the bottom of the tank most of the time or swimming inactively, then it may be a sign of something wrong in your betta fish.

Rubbing Against Tank Surfaces

Since the Ick parasites are attached to the body surface of a betta fish, the betta will start rubbing itself against tank objects or aquarium glass to free itself from the parasites. This is another visual symptom, and if you see your betta fish doing it, then immediately check for ick in betta fish.

Other Symptoms

Other than the above-mentioned symptoms, there might be other symptoms as well that may indicate ick in betta fish. For instance, ick also causes the betta fins to become clamped. Moreover, ick also affects the gills of a betta fish. Thus, an affected betta fish may also experience difficulties in breathing.

Ick In Betta Fish: Causes

Ick In Betta Fish: Causes

The parasite that causes ick in betta fish is naturally present in almost every large aquarium. However, this does not mean that it is inevitable for your betta fish to avoid contracting ick. Betta fish has a natural immunity against ick parasites.

Therefore, as long as your betta fish has a healthy immune system, ick cannot affect your betta fish. However, stress causes your betta’s immunity to deplete. Thus, stress can, in turn, cause ick in betta fish. Major causes of stress include inadequate water parameters, inhabitable tank conditions, and low water quality.

Ick In Betta Fish: Treatments

Treatment of ick in betta fish is of utmost importance as ick is fatal in the long run. If you notice any symptoms of ick in your betta fish, then you should start with treatment as soon as possible. Following are some ways in which you can treat ick in betta fish.

Quarantine Tank

If you notice any symptom of ick in your betta fish, the first thing you must do is isolate your betta fish to a quarantine tank. This is done keeping in mind that the betta fish needs to be treated in a different environment. Moreover, a quarantine tank is necessary if your betta fish is living in a community tank.

Increase Water Temperature

Ick parasites thrive in cold water conditions. Therefore, to counteract the effects of ick in the betta fish, you must gradually increase the water temperature to about 80-84 degrees F. Keep in mind that you should not increase the temperature suddenly as it will stress out your betta fish.

The warm environment will inhibit any further growth of ick parasites in the tank. It is advisable to add an air stone if you are increasing the water temperature because warm water can store less oxygen. Thus, to keep up with oxygen requirements, an air stone must be added.


Apart from quarantining your betta and increasing the water temperature, it is also recommended that you administer medication like Red Ich Plus in the tank. Such medications have a strong appetite for ick parasites and are really effective in curbing the spread of the disease.

Additionally, you can also consider conditioning your tank water using a water conditioner. Adding aquarium salt is also an effective move as it works towards strengthening the immune system of your betta fish.

Water Change

To better the water quality of the tank, you must conduct periodical water changes. For an ick-afflicted betta tank, a 25-50% water change is recommended on a daily basis to refilter the tank water and rid it of all the ick parasites. If all the above-mentioned treatment steps are followed simultaneously, your betta fish will surely recover in no time.

FAQs On Ick In Betta Fish

Does ick go away on its own?

If the water conditions and tank parameters are adequate, the immune system of the betta fish will fight the ick on its own.

How fast does ick medicine work?

You must continue administering ick medicine for about a week before you see any effective results.

Is ick contagious?

Ick is a highly contagious parasite that may spread from one fish to another fish rapidly.

Final Thoughts

You must look for symptoms of ick in betta fish and identify them as soon as possible. The cause for ick is quite definite, and the treatment process is also well-defined. Ick is a common disease, but it can prove to be fatal if left untreated.