Fish Disease Spotlight: Ichthyobodo

Ichthyobodo is a parasite which afflicts pond, aquarium and saltwater fish. Many parasites are specific to certain water types, and there are number of things which cause it. Identifying the condition as early and possible and taking the proper steps will ensure the survival of your fish.

What Causes Ichthyobodo Infection?

Ichthyobodo is a protozoan, and like most parasites did not evolve to kill fish, but rather to live inside of them for as long as possible. It is a specialized organism that reproduces at a much higher rate than its host, and instead of rapidly succumbing to the infection the fish will become ill. Ichthyobodo will feed on the host to acquire the nutrient which are needed for its survival, and foments a type of interaction that will occur between the two organisms. As with other fish diseases, poor management on the part of owners is one of the major culprits in the development of this affliction.

The usual cause of infection from this parasite is fish stress which results from overcrowding and an unsanitary pond environment. When fish become stressed their immune systems will weaken, which in turn makes them vulnerable to both Ichthyobodo along with other diseases. Fish that are overfed may also be susceptible to this parasite.

Ichthyobodo Symptoms To Watch For

A fish that has become infected by this parasite will display abnormalities in its gills or skin. Specifically, the skin will turn greyish steel in color while emitting mucus which is either grey or blue. The fish will also become weak and sluggish, with a reduced desire to eat. Fish that are ill may spend lots of time near the water’s surface to capture air and might also frequently rub up against objects. As with most conditions, the affliction will worsen if not addressed.

How To Treat And Prevent Ichthyobodo

Ichthyobodo is a complex condition that will require most pond owners to visit a veterinarian. They will use a microscope to identify and diagnose the parasite, which visually resembles a flame that flickers. For treatment the fish will need to be placed inside water which has salt, potassium permanganate and formalin added to it. Copper sulfate can also be used, but adding these ingredients to water is a process that should be done with the supervision of a professional.

To prevent this condition from reoccurring, it is absolutely essential that the sanitary conditions of the pond be improved. The environment in which they reside should be as stress free as possible; as such an environment ensures that the immune system of the fish will remain strong. Furthermore, the tank, aquarium or pond must be cleaned frequently, and the fish should be given a moderate diet so that an excessive buildup of organic material within the water is avoided. Finally, pond owners must ensure that their ponds do not become overpopulated.