9 Steps To Cure White Spots on My Discus – Discus Ich Cure

9 Steps To Cure White Spots on My Discus – Discus Ich Cure

When white patches on fish bodies occur, this is called Ichthyophthirius or Ich, an infection found mostly in freshwater. This is a result of parasite infestation in your aquarium, which affects the fishes. The number of these parasites determines its effects on the fish; if they are multiple, the infected number of fishes will definitely be larger. Discus Ich is an obligate parasite, which means it can not survive without fish.

Table of Contents

Discus White Spots Symptoms

  • White spots appear on the skin, gills, or fins of discus.
  • Loss of Appetite.
  • Flashing swimming.
  • Decreased Activity.
  • Irritability.
  • Gills appear pale and swollen.
  • Stress.
  • Open body ulcers at the side of the fish.
  • White Spot on fish Lip.

Discus White Spots Disease Details

White patches on the fish’s body are as a result of the Ichthyophthirius parasite. Ich is a small white and clear discus spots found on the bodies of discus fish and many on the fins. The discus white spots are a bit smaller than the typical salt granule-like spots. It is really dangerous when the ich infection is on the gills because there the white discus spots can not be seen, and the discus fish may be suffering in silence because of that. In situations like this, their gills should be checked if it is infected, it would appear pale and swollen.

NOTE: This swelling can affect their breathing and make it more difficult for the fish to survive.

The parasite feeds on the body of the fish and multiplies as long as there are still fishes in the tank. When the parasite has completely eaten up the fish from inside, they release themselves and drop off in the water in the form of a cyst. At this stage, this cyst bursts out to release more and more parasites. This puts other fishes in the tank at risk when the fish previously eaten by the parasite might be on the verge of dying.

Because of its life cycle, the discus Ich parasite may remain in your tank even if your fish build immunity against it. It is also possible that when your fishes build immunity against it, it will disappear unless your fish becomes stressed again.

NOTE: Discus Ich is highly contagious and spreads at a high rate from one fish to another.

Water temperature has adverse effects in determining how fast the life cycle for discus Ich is completed. When temperatures are warm (79-82°F), the life cycle is completed in about 48 hours, because of this, chemical treatments should be applied every other day. When the temperature is cool, the life cycle is extended, and treatments should be spaced as such.


The following are causes factors that enhance the spread of discus white spot disease.

  1. Invasion of parasites like ich, costia.
  2. Overcrowding in the aquarium.
  3. The parasites can also be introduced by using an infected fish or pond equipment.
  4. The introduction of lower temperature water to that of the aquarium can cause the release of discus Ich.

9 Steps To Discus White Spots Treatment

[STEP1] – Quarantine The Ich Infected Discus

Immediately quarantine infected discus fish you notice symptoms to prevent it from spreading to other fishes.

[STEP2] – Raise Water Temperature

Raise the water temperature in the quarantine to about 90°F, the water temperature has adverse effects on the speed of which the discus Ich life cycle is completed.

[STEP3] – Apply Uniodized Salt

Apply a Little any un-iodized salt, it is harsh to most parasitic organisms.

NOTE: Use a dose of 1 teaspoon of salt per 1 gallon of water.

[STEP4] – Perform Daily Water Changes

Perform Daily water changes of about 50% daily.

[STEP5] – Remove Filter Carbon

You should remove carbon from the filter when medicating.

[STEP6] – Add Treatment Substances

Add Copper sulfate, Formaline, and potassium permanganate to the aquarium water in the correct proportion According to a vet’s prescription.

Chemicals mentioned above should be applied on a daily basis, because of the unique life cycle of the Ich parasite, it develops cyst in the body of the discus, which when given off differentiate into thousands and freely swim into the water, the treatment of chemicals only kill the freely swimming tomites and cannot enter into the skin of the fish.

Also, the chemicals will not affect the tomites that come out after it is non-effective.

NOTE: Repeated treatments will continuously kill the tomites as they emerge from the body of the discus until the adult parasite comes out of the sick fish.

[STEP7] – Organic Waste Should Be Constantly Cleared

This will help clear up the cyst in the aquarium and prevent the release of more tomites, hence will greatly enhance the effect of the treatment chemicals.

[STEP8] – Add Ich-x 

ich-x for discus white spot
  1. Use ICH-X to your aquarium (5ml to every 10 Gallons) along with the treatment chemicals mentioned above.
  2. Wait for 24 hours.
  3. Do a water change 30% of your tank water.
  4. Use ICH-X again.
NOTE: Repeat this method until you see no ich in your fishes. When you see after 2 to 4 days there is not ich, do an additional treatment of 1 day extra.
NOTE: If exceeded the 5th day and you haven’t seen any dramatic change into the ich disease of your discus, then it is most probably you are not dealing with white spots (ich disease) and better to investigate to see what is the real disease in order to cure it.

[STEP9] – Investigate The Real Disease

Observe the sick discus fish closely and ensure she is responding to treatment Justich case Ich exposed her to other bacteria.

Future Prevention Tips

  • A new aquarium should be left without fish until after one week, these parasites become ineffective without fish for two to three days.
  • Quarantine new fishes in a separate tank for at least (one week to 10 days) before transferring into the main tank to watch them and treat them in case if any of them has symptoms of ich or any other disease.
  • Before adding new plants to your aquarium, the plants should be isolated for at least 5 days first.
  • Stones and gravels that are to be used for your aquarium should be washed and air-dried for at least (2 to 3 days), especially if it’s taken from rivers or streams .in order to prevent parasite being carried into the aquarium.
  • Observe your aquarium daily at least for a few minutes in order to detect any unusual behavior; early detection is very crucial.
  • Maintain healthy water quality and regularly change aquarium water.
  • Avoid overcrowding your tank, which can lead to an increased rate of stress, disease, and death.
  • Feed your fishes properly stored foods.
  • Avoid unstable temperature, pH, or ammonia levels. This can stress your fish and can result in an outbreak of ich.
  • Buy Discus from direct sources as much as you can to prevent shipping and handling Discus stress.
  • Don’t buy plants from sources that keep them in the fish tank with fishes. They could be infected.
  • Do not buy from tanks that contain dead or diseased Discus fishes and only purchase fishes that are healthy and strong.

Why Do My Fish Have White Spots On Them?

White spots disease is created when the parasites inhabit the body of the fish. The parasite keeps digging into the skin after the attack so that they live on the body of the fish. The parasite in its mature stage in the Life cycle is very strong when they attack the discus fish. The parasite can mostly be found in your aquarium when there is a poor water condition, decayed food crumb that is left in the aquarium, and frequent temperature change are the major reason your aquarium will become habitable for the parasite.

Can Fish Live With Ich?

Yes, a discus fish can Live with Ich for a long time, but that is based on her immunity. Discus Ich can kill a discus fish in the space of two days, but some fish with a high immune system can withstand the parasite and build a resistance to it after some time. If a fish can withstand the Discus Ich parasite, it can live with it for up to 11months and more. These fishes build up immunity against discus Ich, but that does not mean that the parasite has disappeared from your aquarium, you still have to apply the treatment.

Can White Spot Kill Discus Fish?

White patches on the fish body is an indication that the parasite is already feasting on the body of your fish. When that happens, the fish is exposed to more diseases and will probably die as soon as two days, so when you notice any of the symptoms that I will show you below, immediate treatment steps are required.

How Can I Cure White Spots?

Different manufacturers produce a liquid white spot remedy but what I recommend and is to use the ICH-X solution. Then you checkmate the size of your tank and treat likewise with the treatment tips above over a period of 4 to 5 days to kill the parasite at the different stages of its life cycle.


Ich is very severe; it can clear an infected aquarium in two days; it can be managed and prevented. Following the guide above. Discus fishes that are able to survive an ich infection can develop an immune response and become resistant to the parasite that it can not infect it again. The serum and mucus from the immune fishes contain antibodies against the parasite. Then, when infective tomites come into contact with anti-ich antibodies, the antibodies cause the tomites to lose their ability to swim.

The antibodies also cause the parasites to leave the fish so that ich cannot inhabit the immune fish. Ich is a very common disease, and if your fish get it, you have to treat the entire tank. So, it is much easier to prevent than treat.

If you still notice the symptoms of ich in your tank, then transfer all your fish to another aquarium and leave your aquarium for about eight weeks before taking your fishes back. Your tank will be free from each after that.


This is me Firas Sameer, the founder of DiscusRescue.com, I am an aquarist guy with a passion and love for Discus fishes, I am learning every day with my hobby at home and sharing the things I am learning from my experience with you.

2 thoughts on “9 Steps To Cure White Spots on My Discus – Discus Ich Cure

  1. I have a 2 inch Discus that appeared to be doing well for several weeks until yesterday. I noticed he was hiding a lot and then today he has refused to eat. I did notice two tine little white spots on his tail fin that I did not notice before.
    I’m wondering if this is Ich or some other parasite? I almost forgot…,
    As I was trying to check him out he got close to me and starting rubbing his body on the gravel and then almost sliding himself up along the glass.

    My temp is at 85 degrees. Ph is the same as always. I have a 125 gallon with 5 Discus so there’s plenty of room.
    Will do a 20% water change on Sunday.

    I’d like to treat what the issue is but, I just have no idea. Discus are new to me.

    I’d love to hear any advice you can give. I’m not liking my local aquarium store so I have nowhere to go for help until I establish a new relationship with a different store or breeder.

    Thank you!

    1. there are no enough details for the water quality, also the previous weeks’ water changes intervals, however, put in mind that if you keep a sustained water quality you are good to go, also the sizes of other fishes related to those 2-inch discuses, I suggest you check also the other article of having Discus white spots so you compare that (Epistylis) articles along with this one in order to give you a better understanding about your real white spots causes.

      Epistylis In Discus | 3 Treatment Methods

      Also, you better check those tips on how to have a healthy Discus for the long run.

      5 Main Tips On How To Keep Healthy Discus – Practical Guide

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