Ich is one of the true banes of the fish keeping hobby that causes problems for huge numbers of fish keepers every year. Due to being such a huge issue, we constantly see people reaching out and asking for a quick and easy way to cure ich.
More recently, we have noticed people asking about how they would go about treating ich with garlic so we wanted to publish this article sharing our thoughts.
Although garlic can help treat some types of parasites that can cause problems with fish, there is minimal evidence to show that garlic actually helps treat ich. If your fish are having issues with ich, we would always recommend that you try to use a commercial ich treatment if possible.
Can I Put Garlic In My Fish Tank?
If you want to, you can put garlic in your fish tank but there is no real evidence that it will actually help with treating ich. In fact, if not done correctly, adding garlic to your fish tank could actually do more harm than good for sensitive fish species.
We go over this in more detail in our article on using minced garlic for fish but in our opinion, unless you are using something like Garlic Guard, the risk outweighs the possible rewards for using garlic in a fish tank.
If you do decide to add garlic to your fish tank, we would recommend only doing so for a very short period of time (a couple of days at most) and only using a very small amount.
Can Garlic Get Rid Of Ich?
Although there is no evidence that garlic can help get rid of ich, some people swear by it as a treatment. If you want to try treating your fish with garlic, we would recommend only doing so for a very short period of time as time is scare when your fish is having problems with ich.
Too many people waste time with treatments such as garlic allowing the ich to get stronger and your fish to get weaker.
This is not new either, we have lost count of the people that we have seen asking if Melafix treats ich or if Pimafix treats ich even though neither product claims to be an ich treatment. Whats worse, people on social media commonly recommend garlic, Melafix, and Pimafix as ways to treat ich!
We don’t think that the people recommending using things such as garlic are intentionally misleading people either. We really do think that they have good intentions but they just misunderstand that garlic only works with a very small number of parasites.
Even then, the actual benefits of using garlic on these weaker parasites is questionable and there are usually much better options available.
How Do You Use Garlic To Treat Ich?
It is very unlikely that garlic will actually treat ich but if you want to give it a go, we would recommend only using a small amount for a short period of time.
Due to ich being an external parasite it is probably better to try and use the garlic to crate garlic water. This means that you mince the garlic up into a very fine substance and then add the garlic to your tank water.
You can use a strainer if you wish to prevent the garlic from free floating but when it comes to ich, we think that the full process is just a waste of time.
In theory, you could try to add the garlic to the food of your fish if you really wanted as you would to try and treat internal parasites but again, in our opinion, this is probably a waste of time.
We have an article going over what to do if your ich treatment is not working but the short version is to just use a commercial ich treatment. It is highly likely that you will get much better results in a much shorter time frame.
How Can You Actually Treat Ich In Your Fish Tank?
There are a number of alternative ich treatments out there but treating ich with garlic really isn’t one in our opinion. Although most people should be using a commercial ich treatment to treat an ich breakout in their fish, we do have some other suggestions for specific situations.
Our article on the best ich treatment for planted tanks goes over most of them in more detail. That article should offer something that you will be able to use in your aquarium due to using various alternative methods due to many commercial, chemical based ich treatments potentially killing the plants in your tank.
We also have this article going over ich treatments for scaleless fish too as they tend to need very specific ich treatments due to being scaleless. The same thing can be said for our shrimp safe ich treatment article too due to shrimp needing a very safe, low compound ich treatment due to how sensitive they can be too!
Using The Ich Temperature Trick!
When treating ich, you can also increase the water temperature to help kill the parasite. This is a very common method that is used and it is often called the “ich temperature trick.”
The idea behind this method is that the higher temperature will speed up the life cycle of the ich parasite and cause it to die faster. This can be a very effective method but it does have a few potential drawbacks.
The biggest drawback to using this method is the fact that it can actually stress your fish out more. This is due to the fact that most tropical fish are used to living in water with a temperature between 76 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
For the ich temperature trick to actually work, you have to be able to push your water temperature up to 89F (31C), but if you can get your temp up to at least 86F (30C) it can sometimes help with the ich too.
These temperatures are far from suitable for all species of fish, plants, snails, and shrimp so this is not a valid solution for everyone so please keep that in mind!