Is Your Fish Sick? How to Combat ICK in Your Planted Tank!

Is Your Fish Sick? How to Combat ICK in Your Planted Tank!

Maintaining a fish in your planted tank requires extensive dedication and care for which several precautionary measures should be followed. If you are not keen on performing regular cleaning and maintenance, then parasites and other infectious bacteria may weaken the health of your fish. So, if you are determined to keep your fish happy and your planted tank healthy, then we have found a few of the best techniques that can be applied to generate long-term benefits and keep your fish from getting sick. Furthermore, planted tanks are more likely to face fungal infections such as ick that can damage the entire environment of your fish tank. Although there are chemicals and solutions available to keep your water chemistry safe from such problems, you must follow precautionary measures beforehand to avoid these problems altogether.

Fish sickness and failing health

Every time a problem arises in your planted tank it is associated with the conditions of your aquarium, that we can agree on, I hope. The cleaner your fish tank, the fewer diseases which could end up killing your fish. In order to clean your aquarium efficiently, there are some initial steps to be followed. At first, one of the more obvious steps to take is going to be to perform water changes.

This removes dirty or contaminated water and is a necessary step to properly addressing most outbreaks in your planted tank. Some may suggest completely emptying the tank and scrubbing it down, but that is in severe cases, which can still be addressed a number of ways. Fish tanks that are washed by adding detergents are known to be one of the root causes of sick fish as chemical particles situate themselves in gravel and corners. Furthermore, water changes are advised to be frequently repeated, almost daily and usually in 1/4 increments, with regular testing proceeding and following the changes.

Cleaning and washing process

Old gravel can also be a causing factor in an unhealthy environment for your fish in your planted tank especially if you haven't been properly maintaining the tank. For cleaning the old gravel, you are advised to vacuum it properly before placing all of it back into the fish tank. Keeping a bare aquarium is recommended as gravel results in many problems associated with your fishes' weak health.

Cleaning and washing process
Cleaning and washing process

Adding aquarium salt can adjust the pH levels of your tank water by giving the perfect and healthy survival conditions for the fish. As they are easily available in different pet stores, you must follow the correct procedure and recommended amount when adding it to your aquarium.

There are different types and categories of aquarium salt available for which you need to avail some guidelines. Other factors such as maintaining proper water temperature and CO2 levels also play a vital role in the developmental lifecycle of your fish and plants. So, if you are really worried about the decreasing health levels of your fish, the above-cleaning methods can lend a helping hand in providing the results you are looking for. A reminding note: Water chemistry can tell you a lot. Perform water test to ensure you have correct levels.

What is ICK and how can it damage your planted tank?

ICK is a common fish disease, which occurs if you are not able to care and maintain your aquatic environment properly. This can cause white spots on the fish, which we identify as ICK. It seems as if someone has sprinkled salt all over the body of your fish. In most of the cases, this disease can cause parasitic white spots, which will cover most of the infected fish.

Additionally, ICK also causes a rapid increase in breathing resulting in worsened health conditions for your fish. You planted tank is at high risk of being damaged by this transferable disease as falling fins and dying fish tend to accumulate deep into the gravel, increasing ammonia levels. When tank water is not changed regularly, the chances of other fish being affected by ICK is increased, and the overall health of your planted tank will suffer.

Here are some methods to avoid ICK: Reduce Stressors

At first, fish tank owners should focus on cleanliness and scheduled maintenance. Never overfeed your fish as fish usually spit out any excess food they take in, and accumulation is bad if left unchecked. The leftover food particles can cause stress and make the water dirty resulting in higher chances of fish and plant related health risks. Furthermore, you can also provide some extra shelter to the newly added fish by giving them an area where they can feel safe and comfortable.

With proper planning of rocks, woods, other hardscapes and planted vegetation, fish can find new places to spend some peaceful time alone where they can recuperate stress-free. When you are planning your planted aquarium, make sure the fish you choose is able to survive with other species that may be present in an already established planted tank. In case they do not find it suitable to live with each other, you will want to address the unwanted stress by separating fish as it can certainly damage their health and activities when under stress, which can also lead to an ICK outbreak.

Normally, it is difficult to completely rid your tank of the ICK disease, as you will have to make untiring efforts, the include water change after water change. There are different kinds of medications available, which provide treatment for goldfish, freshwater and tropical ick and the problem could also be cured by using ick medications containing active chelated copper sulfate. You are advised to take precautionary measures in advance as your fish tank might be affected by Ick disease in the near future. Knowing this fact, we all must purchase relevant treatment medications in advance to tackle the disease beforehand. So, if you are really worried about the negative effects of this disease, following the tips and methods as explained in this article will surely provide long-term protection for your fish tank.

Be sure that you aren't overfeeding over overcrowding your tank. Overcrowding will absolutely lead to fish death. It might seem neat to have a lot of fish in the tank, but if you don't provide adequate filtration, there will be many issues. I only advise keeping a significant amount of fish if you are using a sump. A wet/dry sump will specifically keep water clean and oxygenated and be the best possible bacterial filter you can have. This is the only proper way to house a significant number of fish or keep fish such as Elephant Nose for many years.

Is it Too Late to Fight my ICK Outbreak?

With the never-ending effects of Ick disease on fish in planted tanks, there are several precautionary measures which can be followed to keep it maintained and safe for your bio-load. Since fish health tends to weaken due to the presence of infectious bacteria and contagions in the water, making sure you are keeping your aquarium water crystal clear with routine water changes is a good way to start the healing process when recovering from ICK. With regular water changes and scheduled cleaning, the chances of disease coming in and affecting your planted aquarium are greatly reduced.

By now you are aware of a couple of reasons that cause ICK and even a few ways to fight it, the only thing left to do is to go to war with it, so what are you waiting for. As an aquarist, it is your duty to ensure a healthy living environment for your fish, plants, and other aquatic life in your planted tank and the techniques explained in this article are simple to implement and can save you time, frustration and money in the future. Furthermore, you can ask advice from your LFS about relevant medications and treatment procedures to permanently get rid of Ick disease. So, if you are struggling and finding it hard to restore the healthy environment your tank once had, then reaching out and digging deeper should be your first course of action. By taking note of these few tips and precautions, you can definitely prevent a disaster and reduce your risk of getting ICK.