Difference Between Ick and Ich (With Table)

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Pets are considered as the best friend of man. Pets are often treated as children and family members. They are loyal, sacrificing, and love their owners unconditionally. They alleviate stress and break the monotony from the work. Keeping fish as pets is quite common. But fishes often do not survive and die due to diseases like Ick or Ich.

Ick vs Ich

The main difference between Ick and Ich is that Ick and Ich are two different names of the same parasitic infection called Ichthyophthiriasis. The infection is caused by a ciliated parasite called Ichthyophthirius multifilis. The parasite mainly affects fishes with a weak immune system.

Ick has the potential to cause disturbances in osmoregulation which further allows other bacteria and fungi to enter and affect the cells of the skin. The overall effect of this condition can deplete and reduce the levels of oxygen supply.

On the other hand, Ich is also known as white spot disease. The life cycle of Ich ranges from 13 to 15 days which can be divided into three major stages. The symptoms of the infection are changes in the behavior of swimming, loss of appetite, frayed fins, or rubbing of the skin against decorations or other objects.

Comparison Table Between Ick and Ich

Parameters of Comparison IckIch
Full form IchthyophthiriasisIchthyophthiriasis
Causative agent Ichthyophthirius multifilis Ichthyophthirius multifilis
Effect Affects fish with low immune system Affects fish that have a weak immune system and can cause death ultimately
Type Protozoan Disease Protozoan Disease
Prevention The temperature of the aquarium should be around 78 to 80 °F for a minimum of two days The temperature of aquarium should be around 78 to 80 °F for a minimum of two days

What is Ick?

Ick is a protozoan disease caused by fish is which live in a closed vessel, especially Koi. Ick is the short term of the full name of the disease called Ichthyophthiriasis. The causative agent of the disease is a protozoan called Ichthyophthirius multifilis. The protozoan survives mostly in fresh water and seawater.

The ciliated protozoan also survives in closed vessels. The parasite lives under the skin of the fish and irritates the skin. It has the potential to cause disturbances in osmoregulation which further allows other bacteria and fungi to enter and affect the cells of the skin. Though Ick is not fatal, it acts as a gateway for other infections which can be fatal.

After the initial stages of living under the skin, the protozoan attaches itself to the gills of the fish. This attachment can cause interference in the cells which actively carry oxygen. The overall effect of such a condition can deplete and reduce the levels of oxygen supply.

The disease can be identified by noticing symptoms like difficulty in breathing, rubbing of the skin against decorations or other objects, washed off slime coat which increases the mucous layer of the fish, changes in the behavior of swimming, loss of appetite, frayed fins, and appearance of cloudy eyes are some of the common symptoms of the disease Ick.

What is Ich?

Ich is also known as Ick in various places. It is also known as white spot as the symptoms involve the appearance of “salt grain-like texture” on the skin of the fish. The introduction or occurrence of the parasite in the closed vessel can be due to many reasons among which the most common is the arrival of new fishes in the vessel.

Most healthy fishes maintain a balanced relationship with the host and keep the production and population of the host under control. However, the new arrival of batches usually has a weaker immune system and is unprepared for the infection. Such batches are most susceptible and vulnerable to parasitic infection. The deterioration in the parameters of water is also a common cause of the infection.

Ich can also be caused due to excessive waste accumulation in the water, fluctuations in the levels of pH, ammonia, nitrates, and content of dissolved oxygen. Most outbreaks of parasitic infection can be avoided by maintaining a clean, hygienic, and good aquarium.

Ich has a life cycle that can be broadly divided into three stages. The life cycle ranges from 13 to 15 days and temperature plays a vital role in accelerating the cycle. The mature parasite can be identified as they form pustules on the skin and later then pustule ruptures which allows the trophont to settle at the bottom of the vessel.

Main Differences Between Ick and Ich

  1. Ick affects fishes with a weak immune system while Ich affects fishes that have newly arrived and have low immunity and preparedness.
  2. Ick can be prevented by maintaining the temperature of the aquarium to around 78 – 80 °F for 2 days while Ich can be prevented by quarantine tank or fish dip before introduction.
  3. Ick can be treated with Formalin while Ich can be treated with Malachite Green.
  4. Ich and Ick are caused by the same ciliated protozoan host called Ichthyophthirius multifilis.
  5. Ich and Ick stand for the same parasitic infection which is called Ichthyophthiriasis.

Conclusion

Ick and Ich are different names of the same disease or infection called Ichthyophthiriasis. Both are common potential diseases that affect pet fish is like Koi. The diseases thrive generally in freshwater, but also in the artificial vessel which is called an aquarium.

The causative agent of both diseases is Ichthyophthirius multifilis. The infection is not potent enough to cause the death of the pet fish but acts as a route for other infectious to take place. Other infections which are caused by Ich or Ick can be fatal since they directly affect the oxygen supply.

The infection can be avoided and prevented with efficient maintenance and care. The build-up of metabolites, wastes, and nitrates should be prevented for the wellbeing and long life of the pets. And every change in the behavior of the fishes should be observed and taken care of immediately to prevent a longer impact.

References

  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/abaj104&section=67
  2. https://agris.fao.org/agris-search/search.do?recordID=AV2012094450
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