Why Does My Clownfish Have White Spots? {Here’s What You Do}

Have you noticed white spots on your clownfish? Why does my clownfish have white spots?

Are you concerned it’s a disease that could spread across your entire tank?

In this article, we will discuss the white spots on your clownfish and find out if they are sick.

Why Does My Clownfish Have White Spots?

The white spots most likely indicate a parasitic infection such as “ich”.

It could infect all your fish in your tank if proper procedures are not carried out.

What is Ich?

The word comes from Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. These white spots could be as small as little grains of salt. Clownfish who are infected by ich may lose their appetite or hide. If left untreated, it will cause death.

Ich can spread quickly in an aquarium. The parasites complete cycles of life and death by feeding on their hosts. Removing all the fish from the tank will eliminate their food source and they will die off.

If the white spots are large enough and noticeable, they could be getting to the maturing stage where they are about to fall off and release into the water. This is bad because they could attach themselves to the rest of the marine life and infect the entire tank.

Is it Common for Clownfish to Have White Spots?

It is more common for freshwater fish to develop white spots indicating ich. It could also be signs of other diseases such as:

  • velvet
  • brooklynella

The mucus layer on clownfish gives it a natural defense against ich. The fact is, ich is stubborn and can find its way into its gills or an area of the body where the mucus isn’t as thick.

How Do You Prevent White Spots From Occurring?

If you are worried about white spots developing on your clownfish, then consider the following suggestions.

  1. Nutritious meals balanced with meat and plant matter.
  2. Test for Ideal Water Levels
  3. Quarantine all new fish before introducing them into your main tank

1. Nutritious Meals

This is the easiest solution for prevention and treatment.

  1. Make sure these omnivores that we enjoy in our tank are eating food meant for clownfish.
  2. Clownfish flakes or pellets contain a mixture of meat and plant material to ensure a healthy balance in their diet.
  3. You can also fortify their meals with Selcon or vitamin supplements.

You can dip mysis or brine shrimp in this solution to carry the nutrients from Selcon into your clownfish for added nutrition.

2. Test Water Levels

Something could be wrong with the levels in your tank. Ammonia, salinity, PH and water temperature are a few examples of what is needed to be measure in your tank. Make sure the equipment you are using isn’t malfunctioning and giving you the correct readings.

3. Quarantine New Fish

When introducing new fish into your large tank, it’s best to quarantine them in a smaller tank first. Both tanks must be cycled and ready to harbor fish in ideal water quality to sustain marine life.

Quarantining new fish will ensure that they don’t infect your fish with possible diseases that could be brought over from the local fish store or their source of origin.

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What Types of Changes To Notice With Clown Fish White Spots

Your clownfish may exhibit certain behaviors when they are showing white spots

  • Lethargic or sluggish
  • Not eating enough or at all
  • Hiding
  • Scratching against something to dislodge the spots (parasites)

The white spots themselves have to be observed as well. Check for the following

  1. White spots increasing in size: This indicates that the parasites are growing will rupture and fall into the tank soon.
  2. White spots moving around: This shows that the spots are alive and hosting off the clownfish carrier.
  3. White spots not multiplying or moving: This could indicate that the problem is not ich and maybe they are not sick.

What To Do If The Problem is Ich

  • Copper based medication
  • Iodized salt added into the tank
  • Quarantine or removal of clownfish
  • A full tank cleaning for up to 4-6 weeks

Mixing in solutions with salt or copper will help get rid of ich, but a full tank cleaning may be the best option. The tank would have to be unoccupied for a month or longer to make sure the parasite has gone through its life cycle and died off.

Are White Spots Lymphocystis?

The news is better than treating ich. A clownfish and its neighbors must be removed from the tank to allow ich to die off. The same isn’t true for lymphocystis.

In order to treat this lymph disease, you need to focus on maintaining the water quality levels. This is a virus that your clownfish can fight off. You can help your clownfish by supplementing more vitamins into their meals with Selcon or other vitamin solutions.

It is up to the clownfish to fight off lymphocystis. What we’re trying to do is to boost their immune system to help them with the battle. They can spread this to other fish too, so focus on the tank as a whole. Maintain the best water quality possible to help get rid of this issue.

Is My Clownfish Sick?

Once again, it’s very hard to diagnose your clownfish in this article. We are here to help with the information we have learned as volunteers and members of this community.

If the white spots haven’t grown or moved, you can most likely rule out ich. The problem could be lymphocystis. This condition would make the white spots look like they’re protruding like bumps or cysts. If the spots look 3D or sticking out, then it isn’t ich.

Does a Freshwater Dip Help To Remove White Spots?

Unfortunately a quick dip in freshwater is not going to solve this problem. The white spots could have ruptured and infected the entire tank. The clownfish will return to their tank that is still infected.

Treating the entire tank means that the fish will have to be quarantined or relocated for up to 6 weeks. Keep monitoring your fish. Try the freshwater dip for no more than a few seconds at first and give up if not results are noticed.


White spots could be a serious issue. Before conducting a full quarantine, observe your clownfish for 1-2 days. If the spots grow, move around or drop, then there is a bigger issue with the entire tank.

If you want to heal your clownfish of these white spots, please have a second tank with the correct water quality levels on hand for quarantining purposes.

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.