Tag Archives: fish disease

ICH!!! Why the aquarium hobby is dying! LISTEN PetCo and Petsmart!

9 Mar

All hobbies peak and then ebb in popularity. The aquarium hobby was most popular in the 1970’s. There were a number of tropical fish stores in our town. Now, only three. A PetCo, a Petsmart, and one family -owned store.

I propose two main reasons for the decline of fish-keeping as a hobby.

The main reason is the same one that kids don’t ride bikes, play “Army” or go explore the local creek.

Computers. Simple as that. Computers, cell-phones that do everything, gigantic TV’s with fantastic game systems. Here’s a picture of my son playing a basketball game on our new TV:

No competition I'm afraid.

No competition I’m afraid.

The second reason is ICH! The disease, the little white spots all over your fish. The parasite.

Most stores do not quarantine their fish before sale. Most stores do not have employees who can quickly recognize sick fish. Many stores keep these sick fish in tanks that are inter-connected with the healthy fish.

You just can’t win. I have bought Ich-infested fish 3 times in the past 18 months. A single Angelfish purchased at Petsmart infected all the Angelfish I had at the time. A group of four Tiger Barbs purchased at PetCo caused a mass die-off in my most populated community tank. I had quarantined them for two weeks.

Healthy Red Swordtails.

Healthy Red Swordtails.

Most recently, I bought 4 Black Phantom Tetras at Petsmart. I put them in a 10-gallon tank with some Corydoras and Red Swordtails. The tetras quickly became covered in Ich. After treatment all four were dead. The fish I owned all survived.

Red Swords with Photo-shopped Ich.

Red Swords with Photo-shopped Ich.

So, imagine a new fish owner. He or she is all excited about this new hobby. Buys a brand-new tank, socks a few hundred dollars into filters and food and water-testing supplies. Eventually spends another 50 dollars on fish.

The odds are some of those fish are diseased, and the most likely culprit is Ich. The fishkeeper buys medication, most of the fish die anyway, the enthusiasm is gone, and the tank goes in the garage or up for sale on Craigslist.

I just can’t believe that, in 2013, the fish we buy can’t be entirely rid of Ich. I’m telling you, Petsmart and PetCo, you might be making money selling a few replacement fish and the medication to cure Ich, but you are ruining potential life-long hobbyists by the THOUSANDS. Figure it out!

Curing a sick Angelfish (Hexamita)

7 Mar

Healthy Angelfish. No bumps around the head.


White bumps on both sides of head, one developing into a larger sore.

A month ago I noticed the beginnings of an illness in my female Silver Angelfish. She had white spots or bumps around her head.

I had a Silver Angel pair living in a 55 gallon community tank with large tetras, swordtails, Corydoras catfish and a few other species. I haven’t added any new fish to this tank in a long time so I can’t pinpoint where this disease may have come from.

The female continued to eat and swim around normally. I noticed more white spots all around her head. This was not Ich. The spots were too big and , believe me, I’ve seen Ich before.

I didn’t take any action. She was still eating and swimming strong and I wasn’t sure what it was.

My brother immediately diagnosed it as Heximita, which is the organism that causes Hole-in -the -head disease. I still wasn’t sure.

I did some reading on the Internet about this condition and found several discussions that conclude that the problem is a fungus. A fungus? Now I was confused. It looked like a parasite to me.
I went to our local fish shop. Not Long John Silver’s or Red Lobster, I mean an aquarium store. I showed the owner the photograph that is on this page . She dismissed the idea of Hexamita.  “Discus get Hole-in-the -Head Disease”.  She talked about “pus pockets”.

“Take the fish out and lance the biggest growth, see if it’s pus-filled. Then add some salt to the tank.” I thought the salt sounded like a fair idea and I appreciated her honest opinion. She wasn’t just trying to sell me something.

When I got home the female was dead.  Darn it! I should have done something!

By then the male Silver had acquired this disease. Same thing. Large white spots around the head. No other fish in this tank were sick or dying.

I had to act. I put the male in bucket of water from a non-diseased tank. I have a medication called Clout. It says to use one tablet for 10 gallons of water. The bucket holds about 3 1/2 gallons of water. I dissolved the tablet in a small amount of water and put one-third of it into the bucket with the Angelfish. By the way, I also had a heater and an airstone running in the bucket.


After two days, I changed the water completely and added another third of the solution. Then, after two more days, changed the water again and added the final dose.

I changed the water one final time and waited a few more days. I don’t know what the life-cycle is of this disease. After about 8 days in the bucket I put the big guy back into his tank. He looks fine so far.

Here are two pictures I took of  him a few days ago as soon as the lights were turned on. His stripes were faded but isn’t he a beautiful fish?



I am  increasing the water changes in that 55 gallon tank, trying to give the fish a healthier environment to fight any disease that may be lurking.

My conclusion is that it was Hexamita. Large Cichlids do get this disease, not just Discus.

Here is some info on Clout:

Clout is a tablet fish medication specially formulated for fresh and saltwater aquariums. Helps treat visible parasites and parasitic disease conditions such as: gasping for air, rapid breathing, flicking, listless behavior, and excess mucus production. Provides effective medication for a wide variety of parasitic and protozoan infestations, including:

  • Ich, Hydra, and Leeches
  • Planaria, Epistylis, and Trichodina
  • Hexamita, Tetrahymena, and Body fungus
  • Digenetic flukes, Parasitic copepods, and Monogenetic flukes
  • Learnia (anchor worms) and Argulus (fish lice)