Fish Diseases and treatment methods

It is always easier to prevent disease than to cure it. Fish get diseases usually because of our omission.

What does "prevent fish diseases" means?

  • Do not keep to many fish in the aquarium - provide the right amount of space for each fish;
  • Ensure you maintain good water quality - water quality is affected by the appropriate chemical composition. Water should be regularly monitored by appropriate test kits for the contents of ammonia, nitrites, level of pH, water hardness and its purity. To keep the water in high standard systematic water exchanges are necessary, removing rotten elements or food not eaten by fish from the substrate and removal of damaged parts of the plants.
  • Maintain proper and stable water temperature - not stable temperature is one of the factor that fish catch disease;
  • Choosing fish to the aquarium by species behaviour and required environment conditions (temperature, ph, water hardness, etc.) - significantly increases the well-being of other fish, level of stress, feeding and normal development
  • Feeding with various types of food: do not limit food types to the dry food, from time to time feed your fish with alive or plant food
  • Buy fish, plants and other inhabitants of the aquarium from reliable sources: most diseases is spread by newly acquired fish, plants, snails, plankton. Even food live food may contain bacteria or viruses.
  • Carry out a quarantine for newly purchased fish, plants, snails and other aquatic animals. If we find out that new fish has a disease before we let them in the main aquarium we will save fish in our main tank and also save us a lot of work trying to get rid of the disease from the main tank.
  • Protect the inhabitants of the aquarium from poisons that may get into the water from the outside. Secure In the room with aquarium do not use insecticides, avoid usage of any type of spray or smoking cigarettes in the room with the aquarium
  • Observe fish and move sick ones to a separate tank: any abnormal behaviour of fish may indicate the illness. In the most cases disease detected earlier can be successfully treated.

But even being really cautious we may find out that our fish got a disease. Then it is very important to correctly diagnose the disease and determine its cause. The next step should be to eliminate the problem and proceed with the treatment.

First symptoms of fish disease

It is impossible to describe all the symptoms of all diseases mostly because most of the symptoms are not specific to individual disease. However, some changes can be observed on the fish skin or in the fish behaviour, which clearly indicates the problem in our aquarium. These include:

  • fish colour change (which may be caused by excessive cooling down or warming up the water)
  • body cover in rash
  • bonded or frayed fins
  • clouding or ulcerated skin of the fish,
  • efflorescence or spots
  • redness around the anus,
  • asymmetry and emaciation of the fish body,
  • protruding eyes
  • changes in behaviour: hiding, not taking food (may include indigestion caused by monotonous food), unstable or jumpy swimming, rubbing up against objects in the aquarium
  • if the fish are staying close to the surface of the water, greedily swallowing air than it is likely that there is an oxygen shortage or increased concentration of the harmful substances in the water,
  • if the fish like to staying close to the heater than the temperature in the tank is too low,
  • the swim bladder disease can be noticed if fish which leaving in the top part of the water suddenly stays close to the bottom of the aquarium,
  • the acidity (pH<5) or alkalinization (pH>8) of the water is indicated by: fish being excited, staying close to the surface, trying to jump out of the aquarium, fish skin is getting darker and covers with mucus. Drastic change of water pH can cause fish deaths,
  • A significant thickening of the body, ruffled scales, blowing up the eyeballs can indicate disease called dropsy.

Quick diagnosis of disease

This table will help you diagnose symptoms and their possible causes. When you click disease you will be redirected to the page with more information about it. That page also includes treatment methods.

This table is divided into a few groups:

- Eyes
- Skin
- Gills
- Fins
- Excrement and anal area
- Change in appearance (bulge, thinning, contortion)
- Behaviour and abnormal swimming
SymptomsPossible cause/disease
Eyes
Bulging eyesDropsy
Mycobacteriosis - Fish tuberculosis
Swelling of the eyeGas bubble disease
Whitening or cloudiness of the eye lensCataracts
Inadequate water temperature
Nutrient deficiencies - not correct diet
White spots - Ich - Ick
Eyes covered with mucusCataracts
Skin
Change body coloration - dulling of coloursInadequate water temperature
Spironucleus - dinoflagellates
Fading coloursMycobacteriosis - Fish tuberculosis
Costia - Ichthyobodo
Internal/external parasites
Microsporidiosis
Oxygen deficiency
Ichthyosporidium
Pleistophora - Neon tetra disease
Redness of the skinCostia - Ichthyobodo
Cotton-mouth - Columnaris
Lernaea
Ammonia poisoning
Sores on the skinMycobacteriosis - Fish tuberculosis
Dropsy
Ichthyosporidium
Lernaea
Skin inflammatory conditionLernaea
Cotton-mouth - Columnaris
Jagged skinCotton-mouth - Columnaris
Internal/external parasites
Mechanical injuries
Velvet - Oodinium
Mucus covering the skinCostia - Ichthyobodo
Velvet - Oodinium
Internal/external parasites
Gas bubble disease
Alkaline water
Acid water
Oxygen deficiency
White spot - Ich - Ick
White streaks along the spine and below the dorsal finPleistophora - Neon tetra disease
White stains on the skinCotton-mouth - Columnaris
Yellowish dots with velvet-gold shine on the bodyVelvet - Oodinium
Small, white tumours on the skinPleistophora - Neon tetra disease
Fluffy, cotton wool-like shreds on the skinFungus - Saprolegnia
White-green worms(threads) hanging out from the skinLernaea
White rush on the body and gillsWhite spot - Ich - Ick
White, fluffy clusters around the mouthCotton-mouth - Columnaris
Stains on the headHexamita
Brown cysts on the skinNematodes
Open holes on the bodyMechanical injuries
Hexamita
Internal/external parasites
Darker colour of the bodyHexamita
Spironucleus - Hole in the head
Pleistophora - Neon tetra disease
Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract
Blisters on the skinGas bubble disease
Inadequate water temperature
Protruding scalesMycobacteriosis - Fish tuberculosis
Dropsy
Ichthyosporidium
Scales lossMycobacteriosis - Fish tuberculosis
Cotton-mouth - Columnaris
Gills
Damage of the gillsAcid water
Alkaline water
Faster movements of the gill coversWhite spot - Ich - Ick
Velvet - Oodinium
Gas bubble disease
Alkaline water
Oxygen deficiency
Cichlid bloat
Open the gill coversDropsy
Deformation of the gill coversInadequate water temperature
Red gillsAmmonia poisoning
White spot - Ich - Ick
Clamped gillsNutrient deficiencies - Dietary imbalances
Fins
White coating on the edges of the finsFin rot
Clamped finsInternal/external parasites
Velvet - Oodinium
Inadequate water temperature
Frayed finsMycobacteriosis - Fish tuberculosis
Fin rot
Velvet - Oodinium
Dropsy
Mechanical injuries
Pleistophora - Neon tetra disease
Ammonia poisoning
Internal/external parasites
Destruction of the finsFin rot
Destruction of the caudal finPleistophora - Neon tetra disease
Twitching finsAcid water
Redness of the base of the finsFin rot
Excrement and anal area
Reddening anal areaInflammation of the gastrointestinal tract
Cichlid bloat
White, filamentous, stretching excrementCichlid bloat
White, sticky excrementSpironucleus - Hole in the head
Filamentous, mucous excrementNematodes
Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract
Dropsy
Bloody fecesNematodes
Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract
Vestigial amounts of excreted fecesConstipation
White, mucous, jell like excrementHexamita
Worms hanging from the anusNematodes
Change in appearance (bulge, thinning, curvature)
Bloated the bellCichlid bloat
Hexamita
Dropsy
Ichthyosporidium
Spironucleus - Hole in the head
Constipation
Gas bubble disease
Mycobacteriosis - Fish tuberculosis
Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract
Nematodes
ThinningMicrosporidiosis
Mycobacteriosis - Fish tuberculosis
Pleistophora - Neon tetra disease
Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract
Nematodes
Ichthyosporidium
Ammonia poisoning
Internal/external parasites
Nutrient deficiencies - Dietary imbalances
Hexamita
Curvature of the spineMicrosporidiosis
Pleistophora - Neon tetra disease
Mycobacteriosis - Fish tuberculosis
Nutrient deficiencies - Dietary imbalances
Curvature of the body lineDropsy
Behaviour and abnormal swimming
Loss of appetiteHexamita
Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract
Mycobacteriosis - Fish tuberculosis
Fin rot
Ichthyosporidium
Velvet - Oodinium
White spot - Ich - Ick
Spironucleus - Hole in the head
Dropsy
Microsporidiosis
Cotton-mouth - Columnaris
Constipation
Gas bubble disease
Alkaline water
Oxygen deficiency
Inadequate water temperature
Internal/external parasites
Nutrient deficiencies - Dietary imbalances
Pleistophora - Neon tetra disease
Costia - Ichthyobodo
Cichlid bloat
ApathyDropsy
Ichthyosporidium
Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract
Internal/external parasites
Gas bubble disease
Acid water
Alkaline water
Mycobacteriosis - Fish tuberculosis
Inadequate water temperature
Nematodes
Nitrate/nitrite poisoning
Lernaea
Fungus - Saprolegnia
Nutrient deficiencies - Dietary imbalances
Carbon dioxide poisoning
HidingAcid water
Hexamita
Pleistophora - Neon tetra disease
Ichthyosporidium
Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract
Spironucleus - Hole in the head
Dropsy
Gas bubble disease
Cotton-mouth - Columnaris
Skin scrapingLernaea
White spot - Ich - Ick
Cotton-mouth - Columnaris
Internal/external parasites
Costia - Ichthyobodo
Velvet - Oodinium
Fungus - Saprolegnia
Breathing problemsCostia - Ichthyobodo
Ichthyosporidium
Internal/external parasites
Ammonia poisoning
Oxygen deficiency
Carbon dioxide poisoning
Inadequate water temperature
Acid water
Cotton-mouth - Columnaris
Velvet - Oodinium
White spot - Ich - Ick
Lernaea
Carbon dioxide poisoning
Swimming under water surfaceAmmonia poisoning
Nitrate/nitrite poisoning
Oxygen deficiency
Gas bubble disease
Acid water
Ichthyosporidium
Inadequate water temperature
Alkaline water
Cichlid bloat
Difficulties in swimmingDropsy
Gas bubble disease
Fin rot
Nutrient deficiencies - Dietary imbalances
Microsporidiosis
Constipation
Nematodes
Swim bladder diseases
Swaying movementsFin rot
Swim bladder diseases
Ichthyosporidium
Costia - Ichthyobodo
Pleistophora - Neon tetra disease
Carbon dioxide poisoning
Hanging in the water, the tail twitchesSwim bladder diseases
Mycobacteriosis - Fish tuberculosis
Swimming upside downSwim bladder diseases
Hexamita
Sudden movements of the fishAmmonia poisoning
Oxygen deficiency
Inadequate water temperature
Acid water
Jumping out of the waterAcid water
Inadequate water temperature
Ammonia poisoning
Leaping swimming above the bottomLabyrinth cold
Ichthyosporidium
Being close to the heaterInadequate water temperature
Clumsy fish movementsAlkaline water
Lying on the tank bottomInternal/external parasites
Slow growth of the fishNematodes
Ammonia poisoning
Nutrient deficiencies - Dietary imbalances
ConvulsionsNutrient deficiencies - Dietary imbalances
Breaking the fish of the aquarium equipment - signs of blindnessCataracts
AggressionInadequate water temperature
Carbon dioxide poisoning

Disinfection aquarium and plants

To disinfect aquarium and equipment use formalin, potassium permanganate (1 g per litre of water) and rivanol (1-3 g per litre of water). You can also use hydrogen peroxide. To disinfect aquarium plants use potassium permanganate (1 g per 20 litres of water). Wooden decoration elements simmer for a few hours. Fish net used to catch sick fish should be constantly kept in a saturated salt solution. After disinfection remember to wash the tank and equipment in fresh tap water.

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