Can Plecostomus Get Ich? {How To Cure Ich Fast!}

Are you wondering if the white spots you see on your Plecostomus is Ich? Could a scale-less catfish like a Plecostomus even get Ich? In this article, we’ll find out if and why your Plecostomus has Ich.

Can Plecostomus Get Ich?

Yes, If Ich is present in your tank, all your fish are susceptible of catching this protozoan infection that may spread across the body, eyes, fins and gills of your Plecostomus.

Due to not having scales, half the dosage of salt and medication for your Plecostomus, but raise the temperature to speed up the life cycle of Ich.

Why Does My Plecostomus Have White Spots?

Are you seeing your plecostomus rubbing its body or scraping across surfaces or the walls of your tank? Look closer and you may see these white spots forming, growing and possibly dropping into the tank to infect the rest of your fish.

All fish in an aquarium can get Ich if the conditions in the tank allow for it. Ich may have infected your plecostomus due to the following reasons:

  • It arrived to your tank with a new fish.
  • You may have an improperly cycled tank.
  • There could have been contaminated food.

All blame aside, it’s time to treat the tank and everyone inside to speed up the cycle of Ich and get rid of it.

How Do I Get Rid Of Ich On My Pleco?

Your will need to look at the entire tank and assume that Ich is now present in all four corners. Any community fish are susceptible at this point. There are three ways to get rid of Ich as soon as possible:

  • Raise the Temperature
  • Add Salt
  • Drop in medicine

Raise The Temperature

Slowly increase the temperature to 86-89°F one degree per one or two hours. The life cycle of the Ich protozoan parasite will speed up and they’ll eventually fall off your plecostomus and die.

Keep your plecostomous well-fed during this time by offering the tastiest foods. You will need its immune system strong to withstand this potentially deadly infection.

Add Salt

This is easier said than done. First of all, freshwater fish do not tolerate large amounts of salt. A plecostomus with no scales is even more sensitive to salt treatments.

If 1 tablespoon of salt is recommended for 5 gallons of water as a general rule of thumb, consider half this dose for a plecostomus. Stressing your weakened fish with too much salt may cause more harm than good.

Medicate The Tank

Ich medications are available at every local fish shop. This is one of the most common illnesses that plague our tanks when we least expect it. A full cycling of the tank might be in order to strengthen your beneficial bacteria.

Medicating the tank will weaken good bacteria as well. Remove the carbon from the filter to allow the medicine to spread throughout the aquarium.

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How Long Will It Take To Cure My Plecostomus With Ich?

4-21 days is a full estimated range in the life cycle of Ich. If you are actively treating the tank with higher temperatures, salt and medicine in correct amounts, you can help speed things along.

This is also a good time to soak some foods in garlic or vitamin based liquid solutions. Dip a slice of cucumber in either of the suggested supplements to help boost the immune system of your ill plecostomus during this time.

Hopefully the irritation will subside, there will be no more rubbing against surfaces and peace will be restored in your tank. If it takes too long, your tank’s nitrogen cycle may become harmed to a point where a new cycling process must occur.

Will Ich Kill My Plecostomus?

Thankfully, you have a hardy type of fish that can withstand an Ich infection. If you are able to provide comfort through hiding spaces, plenty of room to prevent overcrowding and nutrient dense meals, your plecostomus will not succumb to Ich.

Reduce stress or remove your plecostomus and place it in a quarantine tank where they won’t be disturbed by other infected fish who could be swimming erratically or looking for places to rub their infected bodies. Vacuum the gravel to clear out any fallen Ich parasites that are dormant or dead in the substrate.

What Does Ich Look Like On A Pleco?

You are looking for white spots or slightly gray spots spread across the body of your pleco. Look inside the gills to see if the parasite has latched inside and is causing labored breathing.

“Ich bloat” is when your pleco looks swollen when the spots take over the body. They swell with fluid before they mature and drop.

A normally peaceful or motionless pleco during the day may start swimming erratically or darting around the get rid of it. Scraping or rubbing is a common indicator when Ich is present.

Are Plecos Sensitive To Ich Treatment?

Plecos are freshwater fish with no scales. When you purchase a bottle of Ich medication, you will take notice of the instructions. Try to reduce the dosage in half because your pleco is sensitive to these medications.

Follow the same advice for salt treatment as well. Try half a tablespoon per 5 gallons of water instead. Raise the temperature up to 89°F very slowly or stop at 86°F if you notice your plecostomus gulping for air at the surface due to a lack of oxygen.


Plecos can get Ich. Your fish are all susceptible once it’s introduced into your tank without you knowing it. Sometimes our tanks aren’t cycled well enough to protect our plecos from getting Ich. Other times, it’s simply unavoidable.

These little parasites are looking to attach themselves to a host and your pleco may have been the victim. Good food, good water parameters, but a raise in temperature with half doses of salt and medication can help speed up the healing process for your pleco to recover soon.


Thanks for visiting for another article on plecostomus that we greatly enjoy taking care of in our aquariums. Check out more of our articles on the variety of marine life we research and keep. Bye for now!

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.