My Fish Have White Spots - Are They Sick?
The most common disease that occurs in aquariums takes the form of tiny white cysts on the body and fins of the fish. They look like tiny grains of salt. Symptoms include rapid gill movement and scratching against objects. This is caused by a one-celled parasite. The tiny white grains of salt are actually calcium cysts secreted by the parasites to protect them while they feed.
Identical symptoms, and the form this disease takes, occur in both freshwater and marine aquariums, although it is a different animal that causes the problem. In freshwater the parasite is named Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, which we call "Ich" for short. In saltwater the parasite is named Cryptocaryon irritans, which we call "Crypt" for short. Both feed on the bodily fluids of fish. Both have a ten to fourteen day life cycle. Fortunately, if the problem is caught in time, both diseases can easily be cured. It is a good idea to look closely at your fish at least once a week for signs of trouble and call us right away if you see this problem.