Probably one of the most common molly fish diseases is the white spots, also known as ich or ick. The white spots are caused by the ciliate protozoan Ichthyophthirius multifiliis parasite.
You can treat Ich (white spot) diseases very effectively with the Seachem ParaGuard medication.
This medication is available on Amazon and can used to treat other diseases such as velvet, fin rot and flukes too.
Ich is very easy to detect, because white spots appear on the body, fins and gills of the mollies. Ich can quickly take over the whole fish population and can easily be transferred to other aquariums just with a few drops of water or with a fish net.
The good news is that the white spots disease in molly fish is very easy to treat, in early stage.
In this article, I will teach you how to detect ich at the very beginning and how to treat it correctly.
Life Cycle of Ich
Just like any other organism, ich also has a life cycle. The life cycle of this ectoparasite highly depends on water temperature. Ich can live about 7 days in 77 °F (25 °C) and up to 8 weeks in 41 °F (5 °C) water temperature.
How Ich Reproduces?
Mollies can tolerate a wide range of temperatures between 72-82 °F (22-28°C).
In this water temperature ich will reproduce very fast. As mentioned above, at 77 °F ich will live and feed for about one week on the fish’s skin, gills or fins. After that, the ich (trophont) will fall off and will incubate for a few days.
The incubation period of ich is about 3-4 days, but sometimes it can take up to one week.
The incubated ich (tomont) will produce thousands of theronts, which will be released in the water column after incubation. These theronts will attach again to the fish and the reproduction cycle starts over.
How to Detect Ich in Your Molly Fish Tank?
On mollies, especially black mollies, ich is very easy to detect. The white spots are very obvious on the fish.
However, on silver mollies or lighter colored molly fish, ich is not as conspicuous. Beside the white spots, there are other signs and symptoms that are specific to ich diseases.
Here are the most common symptoms of molly fish infested with ich:
- Molly fish will lose appetite or refuse eating at all
- Often they will breathe heavily, gasping at the surface or staying at the bottom of the tank
- Hiding in corners or between plants is also very common for mollies infested with ich
- Mollies infested with ich will rub their body to aquarium decoration, rocks and plants
- In advanced infestation stages, molly fish will swim upside down (at this point the fish can’t be saved)
Can Ich Kill Molly Fish?
Yes, ich can kill molly fish.
Though, ich can be treated easily if it is detected at an early stage. If you don’t get rid of ich in one-two weeks, the infestation can be so sever, that it can kill an entire molly fish population.
How to Treat White Spots on Mollies?
As mentioned before, ich can be treated very easily. There are many medications that will cure ich. I like to use Seachem ParaGuard medication from Amazon. This medication can cure white spots, velvet, find rot and flukes diseases too.
It is always a good idea to have medications on hand, so you can act as fast as possible, when it comes do any type of diseases in your molly fish.
When using medication in your aquarium, you should always remove activated carbon media. Activated carbon will neutralize most chemicals, so it will most likely neutralize the medicine too.
Beside medication, you can also use sea salt to treat ich. This is how I treat ich in my molly fish tanks:
- Slowly raise the water temperature to 82 °F (28 °C)
- Add an airstone to oxygenate the water
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt per gallon of water
- Leave it like that for one week
- After one week, do a 50% water change and vacuum the gravel
- Observer the fish for another week, to make sure the ich is gone for good
If necessary, repeat the process for another week.
Ich hate salt and the will die even from a small amount of salt. Molly fish on other hand like slightly salted water, because in the wild they live in brackish water.
Salt does not kill the incubated ich, this is why you have to wait about one week or more in order to ensure all hatchet ich will get from the salt.
The high water temperature will speed up the life cycle of ich and will shorten the incubation period too.
Though, you should note, that in water temperature above 82 °F (28 °C) the level of oxygen decreases significantly. This is why you need to use an aristone to provide a good oxygen exchange, so your mollies will not get suffocated.
Treating fish individually is not a good idea in case of ich infestation. If one molly fish got white spots, most likely all of them will get it. So in case of white spots, you need to treat the entire tank.
How to Prevent Ich in Your Aquarium?
Ich will not appear in your aquarium just like that. Usually, ich gets into fish tanks with new fish or plants.
The best way to prevent ich infestation is to setup a quarantine or hospital tank. In this tank, you will treat all your new fish and plants that you buy for about 1-3 weeks.
The hospital tank should not be running all the time, just when you prepare to buy new fish.
Use separate equipment for the quarantine tank to prevent eventual infestation to the other tank(s).
I hope, this quick guide has helped you understand how ich infestation works. It is always better to prevent diseases, instead trying to cure them.
In case of white spots, you need to act fast and don’t let this nasty diseases take of your beautiful mollies.
If you have any question regarding ich in molly fish, please leave a comment below. I will try to help as quickly as possible.