Can Neon Tetras Get Ich? {How Can I Cure It?}

Are you noticing white spots on your neon tetras? Are you worried they are infected with Ich? This article will try to help you and your neon tetras to get rid of Ich.

Can Neon Tetras Get Ich? Yes, neon tetras and many freshwater fish in aquariums may develop Ich. Try not to worry too much and start treatments right away. Quarantines and tank cleaning are going to be pivotal in curing Ich on your neon tetras.  

Ich is a very common parasitic illness affecting plenty of neon tetras. Let’s find out what we can do about it.

How Do I Know If My Neon Tetras Have Ich?

You will notice a few obvious signs if you carefully observe your neon tetras. Here are some examples:

  • White spots
  • Rubbing against rocks
  • Scraping along the substrate
  • Abnormal swimming patterns
  • Twitching in the water
  • Dull color
  • Abnormal curvature of the spine

Why Do My Neon Tetras Have Ich?

Ich is pronounced as Ick and sometimes spelled that way online. Sometimes they arrive infected with Ich from the place you bought them.

Ich happens to neon tetras when:

  • They are sick
  • Their immune systems are weakened
  • Inadequate water conditions
  • Changes in water temperature
  • Poor handling 
  • Previously infected tank
  • Contagiously spread from tankmates

How Does Ich Infect Neon Tetras and Their Tank?

  1. The Ich protozoan parasite attaches itself to your neon tetra.
  2. It starts to feed off the skin and irritates the neon tetra.
  3. The body tries to harden itself to protect it from the parasite.
  4. The parasite envelopes itself in cyst resembling white spots.
  5. It feeds and grows.
  6. The cysts protect the parasite at this stage and makes it harder to treat with medicine. It eventually matures and bursts.
  7. The cyst is now a trophont and it falls to the bottom of the aquarium.
  8. The substrate is now going to infect the rest of the fish in the tank.

What Should I Do If My Neon Tetras Have Ich?

You may notice symptoms in only one or two neon tetras. The white spots you see on one neon tetra doesn’t mean that it is an isolated problem. Most likely, all of your fish are affected and most are already infected.

Some neon tetras will exhibit a higher tolerance due to stronger immune systems. The issue should be treated in the tank as a whole. A quarantine tank will also be helpful during this time.

  • Medical treatments: Nox-ich, Kordin Ich-Attack are two examples.
  • Remove the infected neon tetras and place them quarantine.
  • Drain the aquarium.
  • Treat it with ammonia.
  • Raise the temperature of the water in the tank to 86°F.
  • Vaccum the gravel or substrate.

Should I Try Every Remedy to Cure My Neon Tetras of Ich?

There are many solutions found in the fish keeping community. Applying every one of them together may not work. You have to decide on the severity of the problem.

Start small by removing the infected neon tetras and carefully observe the tank before deciding to remove all of them.

Raising the temperature may do the trick without having to drain the aquarium. The entire process will take time and careful evaluation.

YouTube video

Can Neon Tetras Cure Themselves of Ich on Their Own?

It will take a long time for Ich to disappear on its own. After several months the parasite will weaken and dissipate. Relying on this method is risky and it’s asking a lot from even the healthiest neon tetras.

Ich cannot thrive in warmer tank temperatures. If you raise the temperature by 2 degrees each day until you reach 86°F, the neon tetras will be able to handle it. Ich will not and slowly but surely, the parasite will not able to survive.

This is a simple method, but if you want to act fast, you may need medical solutions and a quarantine tank.

I Have 10 Neon Tetras And Only 1 Has White Spots. Are The Rest OK?

No, they are not. If one neon tetra is infected, it’s safe to assume they all are. The tank itself is now a problem. The cysts may have burst and fallen to the bottom of the tank.

Vacuum the substrate twice a week and keep changing the water while raising the temperature of the tank slowly. Carefully observe your neon tetras and look for improvements.

What Can I Feed My Neon Tetras To Help Cure Ich?

We need to boost the immune systems of the neon tetras to give them a fighting chance for survival. Removing them from the infected tank and treating their original habitat can be done at the same time.

Now that we have isolated our neon tetras in a quarantine tank, we can feed them supplements and medicine.

  • Garlic juice: Sold as Garlic Guard or minced at home and turned into a juice will help in small doses when added to their meals.
  • Vitamins in a bottle: Add Vita-Chem or Selcon onto the fish food or drop it directly into the tank. It’s best to follow the directions on each bottle.
  • Copper based medication: Most treatments for Ich include copper. Make sure to read the bottle and see if you can notice it as part of the medical solution.

How Long Should I Continue Ich Treatment for Neon Tetras?

There is no exact number, but it’s best to be safe with a higher number. 10 days may not suffice. Aim for 14 days of treatment. If the neon tetras are still rubbing against rocks, twitching or you still see white spots, stop counting.

You will have to start counting again from day 1 and notice that their symptoms have gone away. Then you can adjust the water temperature back to normal in slow successions until you reach 14 days.

Consider a larger tank to prevent ammonia levels from rising. Healthier neon tetras will be less susceptible to catching Ich.


This article is meant to inform you that neon tetras can get Ich. It is common, but it’s also curable. There are many remedies and solutions to treating Ich that aren’t specifically designed for neon tetras. More research is necessary for treatment but don’t worry too much.

You are becoming better at keeping fish with each bump in the road. Stay vigilant, keep observing and remain informed. The fish keeping community thanks you for it.

Brian Arial

Brian Arial has kept fish for leisure and worked with fish stores for most of his life. He enjoys writing and caring for aquariums and ponds.