3. Fish are covered in small white spots.

ICK!!!  The most common parasitic infection is fairly easy to treat.  Ichthyophthirius multifiliis is generally found in most fresh water aquariums.  When fish become stressed, the parasite can take hold.  If caught early enough you should be able to clear it up in about a week.  Ich if left untreated will severely damage the fish's body and gills then lead to a secondary, usually fatal infection.

In fresh water aquariums treat with any product containing malachite green.  I recommend treating at 3/4 dose of the manufacturers dosing scale.  It's very easy to overdose with malachite green so care should be taken during treatment.  Sensitive species, such as clown loaches or other scale-less fish should be treated at half dose.  Malachite green is an extremely effective stain.  Spilling it on your carpet or clothing will leave a permanent blue/green spot.

Ich happens! Salt water aquariums suffer from this problem also.   Although it resembles fresh water ich, it is a different parasite.  Cryptocaryon Irritans is a bit more difficult to treat.  In a "fish-only" aquarium copper sulfate can be used to treat the parasite, usually with great success.  In a reef aquaria or any tank with invertebrates, cleaner shrimp and cleaner wrasses can be added.  There are products available that claim to cure saltwater ich without copper and claim to be reef safe.  I personally have had limited success with these products.  Although they never seemed to hurt the invertebrates, the parasite was not fully controlled and the fish subsequently died.  Cleaner shrimps, cleaner wrasses, increasing the temperature of the tank and a good weekly cleaning of the substrate is your best bet.  For extremely stubborn cases the fish can be placed into a quarantine tank and treated with copper.

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