White Spot outbreak

Sparx

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Hi guys, I could use some advice from the experts.

I noticed on Tuesday that two of my redhead eartheaters had developed white spots, and the third was flicking and rubbing himself against the substrate and rocks.
They’ve been showing all the signs of Ich so I went straight out and got treatment for them, not sure if it’s just a UK brand but I bought Love Fish White Spot and Parasite treatment. I removed the chemical filtration media and administered the first dose that evening and raised the temperature of the tank accordingly.
The instructions stated to administer the first dose, then after four days repeat the dosage, which I did yesterday.
I’ve read and watched YouTube reviews on this treatment which have mostly stated to do a water change a few days after the second dose and to put the chemical media back in.
The instructions on the bottle says not to re-dose or use another medication within seven days of using the treatment.
I’ve since lost the two eartheaters, and the remaining one now also has the spots.

I was hoping to see an improvement by now but it’s not looking any better. So my question is, do I do a water change? Or do I not and just re-dose? Or water change then re-dose?
I’m concerned for the rest of the live stock and really don’t want to lose any more of them.
I’ve tested the water and everything there looks normal.

Please help!

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That Geo is in very poor condition - thin, and with what looks like an irritation on its head, under the white spots. I wonder if the fish had a bacterial infection, and maybe the spots could be opportunistic Epistylis taking advantage of a weakened fish. I would google image that, and see if it corresponds to what you can see way better than we can from the photo.
 
He’s still quite young so still small, and the “irritation” you speak of is his natural colouring being a redhead.
I don’t think it’s Epistylis because the spots do not protrude off of his body, and he has all the symptoms of Ich. The heavy breathing, the flashing/rubbing against objects etc.

Any advice on what to do next?
 
I had red heads for years. The head marking in the photo doesn't look right to me. The eyes show a problem as well. It looks like it was underfed when a juvenile.

But you see the spots, and the texture is key. That's hard with a photo. So for Ich, I would follow the instructions on the product. There are many remedies, and they can be slightly different in their concentrations, secondary ingredients, etc. If it is Ich and it's killed two, then it's really established, and it could take a few weeks to clear it. It can be a solid 3 weeks sometimes.
I would stay the course with what you've bought (I'm not in the UK to know the product). But you need to keep the fish alive, and redheads need water changes - 50% routine a week in general. I would do the changes between treatments.
 
What temperature is the aquarium water?

What are the ingredients in the medication?

Are there any white spots on other parts of the fish besides the head?
White spot normally spreads over the entire fish (including fins) and all the fish in the tank within a few days to a week. It doesn't stay isolated to the head.

Fish rubbing on objects in the tank does indicate an external parasite like white spot, velvet, Costia, etc. This isn't velvet and doesn't look like Costia, Chilodonella or Trichodina. It could be white spot but could be something else, depending on if there are white spots elsewhere on the fish.

--------------------

If you added medication and it hasn't cleared up the problem within a few days to a week, the medication might have expired or you under-dosed.

To work out the volume of water in the tank:
measure length x width x height in cm.
divide by 1000.
= volume in litres.

When you measure the height, measure from the top of the substrate to the top of the water level.

If you have big rocks or driftwood in the tank, remove these before measuring the height of the water level so you get a more accurate water volume.

You can use a permanent marker to draw a line on the tank at the water level and put down how many litres are in the tank at that level.

There is a calculator/ converter in the "Aquarium Calculator" link under "Useful Links" on the right side of this page that will let you convert litres to gallons if you need it. The link is also below.

Increase aeration/ surface turbulence when using medications or salt.

--------------------

Right now I would do a massive (80-90%) water change and gravel clean the substrate. Clean the filter too if it hasn't been done in the last 2 weeks. Wash the filter media in a bucket of tank water and re-use the media. Tip the bucket of dirty water on the lawn outside. Then treat the tank again with a full dose of medication.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

Check the other fishes for signs of white spot.
 
What temperature is the aquarium water?

What are the ingredients in the medication?

Are there any white spots on other parts of the fish besides the head?
White spot normally spreads over the entire fish (including fins) and all the fish in the tank within a few days to a week. It doesn't stay isolated to the head.

Fish rubbing on objects in the tank does indicate an external parasite like white spot, velvet, Costia, etc. This isn't velvet and doesn't look like Costia, Chilodonella or Trichodina. It could be white spot but could be something else, depending on if there are white spots elsewhere on the fish.

--------------------

If you added medication and it hasn't cleared up the problem within a few days to a week, the medication might have expired or you under-dosed.

To work out the volume of water in the tank:
measure length x width x height in cm.
divide by 1000.
= volume in litres.

When you measure the height, measure from the top of the substrate to the top of the water level.

If you have big rocks or driftwood in the tank, remove these before measuring the height of the water level so you get a more accurate water volume.

You can use a permanent marker to draw a line on the tank at the water level and put down how many litres are in the tank at that level.

There is a calculator/ converter in the "Aquarium Calculator" link under "Useful Links" on the right side of this page that will let you convert litres to gallons if you need it. The link is also below.

Increase aeration/ surface turbulence when using medications or salt.

--------------------

Right now I would do a massive (80-90%) water change and gravel clean the substrate. Clean the filter too if it hasn't been done in the last 2 weeks. Wash the filter media in a bucket of tank water and re-use the media. Tip the bucket of dirty water on the lawn outside. Then treat the tank again with a full dose of medication.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

Check the other fishes for signs of white spot.

Thank you for this Colin.

We lost the last eartheater today 😔

The temperature is currently sitting at about 28°c.

The ingredients in the medication are:
Formaldehyde
Malachite Green Oxalate
Methanol

The white spots were covering his entire body, including the fins, but this didn’t show up in the pictures I took. This was the same for the other eartheaters.
The two rope fish also have spots but are not as noticeable, and they aren’t showing any abnormal behaviour.
None of the other fish have spots that I can see, I have Mollys, Cherry Barbs, Scissortail Rasboras, Angel fish, a Bristlenose Pleco, and two Synodontis Hybrids. The Synodontis have been flicking and rubbing but no signs of spots.

The medication is new, only purchased last week and expires in October 2026.
If anything I would have given them over the stated dose rather than under dosing as I didn’t account for the substrate, rocks and plants.
I have also a good amount of aeration in the tank.

I will do a big water change and gravel clean this evening, but I am wondering if it might be something else if all the fish should be affected when they don’t seem to be. Is it a good idea to still re-dose the same treatment? Or try a bacterial infection treatment instead?
 
My deepest sympathies for your fishie loss. I know how frustrating and disheartening losing fish can be.
I just went through this, but I think I caught it in the earlier stages. I used the same active ingredients that you have done, and I am now onto my third three day dosage. I did three days with meds in, big water change, added meds again for three days, another big wc, and meds again, same dose, now I’m on day 9 of meds in tank.
I would dose again if I were you, my symptoms were not so dramatic and
I only lost one, a female guppy, who I suspected had some co-morbidities.
I feel for you, it sucks when you try to do everything right for your fish, and are still overpowered. I scan all my fish every day, like a hawk.
I reckon do a third dose and if they’re eating, try offering them some food soaked in fresh garlic that’s been allowed to air for 10mins to allow the allicin to develop. The garlic will help support their immune response, but probably won’t fix everything if the damage has already been done. I wouldn’t be doubling up on an anti-bacterial medicine at the same time. Formaldehyde kills a lot of bacteria and you’ll probably do more harm than good. Also, whats the concentration of these meds? They might be too weak.
What are your parameters? Don’t forget about ammonia, ensure hasn’t suddenly spiked, which can happen, even in a well established tank.
 
Last edited:
My deepest sympathies for your fishie loss. I know how frustrating and disheartening losing fish can be.
I just went through this, but I think I caught it in the earlier stages. I used the same active ingredients that you have done, and I am now onto my third three day dosage. I did three days with meds in, big water change, added meds again for three days, another big wc, and meds again, same dose, now I’m on day 9 of meds in tank.
I would dose again if I were you, my symptoms were not so dramatic and
I only lost one, a female guppy, who I suspected had some co-morbidities.
I feel for you, it sucks when you try to do everything right for your fish, and are still overpowered. I scan all my fish every day, like a hawk.
I reckon do a third dose and if they’re eating, try offering them some food soaked in fresh garlic that’s been allowed to air for 10mins to allow the allicin to develop. The garlic will help support their immune response, but probably won’t fix everything if the damage has already been done. I wouldn’t be doubling up on an anti-bacterial medicine at the same time. Formaldehyde kills a lot of bacteria and you’ll probably do more harm than good. Also, whats the concentration of these meds? They might be too weak.
What are your parameters? Don’t forget about ammonia, ensure hasn’t suddenly spiked, which can happen, even in a well established tank.

Thank you for the extra advice.
I did a water test yesterday because I was worried about ammonia, having removed the active carbon. But it’s only risen to 0.5 so not too bad. The rest of the water parameters were fine.
I did a big water change and gravel clean this evening and re-dosed with the same meds. Also cleaned the sponge media while I was at it and I’ll do another water test tomorrow.

But thank you for your sympathies, it is frustrating and disheartening losing our precious little ones, especially when all we are trying to do is our very best for them.
 
It's not bacterial so don't use antibiotics.

The Malachite Green should kill any external protozoa, including white spot.

Make sure you don't have carbon in the filter. Carbon is a black granulated substance that will remove medications from the water.

Do a big water change and gravel clean, then re-treat the tank.
 

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