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Deadly Fish Diseases and the Best survival guide

By reefspecialty, April 4, 2015

Deadly Fish DiseasesFish tank gives an elegant and aesthetic look for your home and Aquarium Fishes are small creatures that bring big pleasure while watching them swimming to and fro. Like any other pets, fishes are also prone to diseases. The reasons for their illness are commonly due to Bacterial infections, parasitic infections and fungal infections. You cannot identify that your pet is suffering from some disease unless you observe them regularly. If you didn’t notice the small changes in the behavior or physical appearance of the fishes or invertebrates, it might lead to death of the species.

This guide will give you an awareness of some common diseases that can cause to freshwater fishes, their symptoms and treatments / medications to cure that.

Ich or Ick

Symptoms:Deadly Fish Diseases

  • Salt like small white spots on fins and skin
  • Clamped fins, cloudy eyes and rapid breathing
  • Reduce in food intake, which adversely affects the weight
  • Rubbing and scratching against objects

Reason:

Ich is actually the short term of “Ichthyophthirius multifiliis”. Ich attacks the fish that are under stress. The fish may be stressed due to abnormal water conditions like increase in temperature or fluctuation in pH level.

Treatments or Medications:

  • Maintain proper temperature of water in the tank.
  • Also, using a proper test kit monitor the ammonia, nitrate and pH levels and take necessary actions in case of imbalance
  • You can also use salt mix or chemical additives to get rid of Ich.
  • As Ich doesn’t survive in increased temperature, you can try using heating elements. But it might adversely affect the life of fishes. So, care should be taken while using this method.
  • ParaGuard™ eradicates ich effectively
  • Many medications are also available in local pet store which can help to a great extent

Anchor worms

Symptoms:

  • Small string like Whitish-green or whitish-red worms protruding from fish’s skin
  • Area of contact will be swollen
  • Fish may often scratch against fixed objects in the tank

Reason:

Young anchor worms are actually crustaceans that swim freely in the water, burrow themselves into the fish’s skin. They develop for several months after entering the muscles then they release eggs and die. But they leave holes in the skin which may become infected.

Treatments or Medications:

  • If identified in early stage then substantially remove the parasites and clean the spots with antiseptic.
  • But it is hard to remove the worms in the later stage, as it will be rooted deeply. In that case, daily give 5 to 10 minutes bath with sea or salt water until the parasites fall off. The salinity level should be between 30 -35 ppt.
  • Potassium permanganate works well to treat parasites. Mix 0.5g of crystals in 2 gallons of water. Leave the fish in the solution for 10 to 30 minutes and then rinse in clean water for few minutes.

Velvet

Symptoms:

  • Infested fishes have tiny golden yellowish growth on the skin.
  • Often scratch against fixed objects like rocks to get rid of the parasites
  • Fishes may show clamped fins
  • Losses the natural skin color
  • Due to affected gills, fishes face difficulty in breathing
  • Possible loses weight

Reason:

Velvet disease is also known as Gold Dust Disease. Velvet disease is either caused by Oodinium pilularis or Oodinium limneticum parasites. These parasites will attach themselves to the fins or skin of the fish. Sooner it forms a cyst on the fish and remains there until it matures. Once it is matured, it releases hundreds of new cells which again swim in the tank to infect another host.

Treatments or Medications:

  • Copper sulfate is the best known treatment, to get rid of such parasites.
  • Add 0.2 mg of per liter once in few days until the parasites are removed.
  • Do not use excessive quantity of copper sulfate as it might become poisonous. Also, perform gradual water change to remove the copper trace.
  • Acriflavine based products can also be used to treat the parasites. But it might cause infertility in the fishes.

Pop-eye

Symptoms:
Fish Diseases

  • Abnormal protrusion of one or both of the eyes
  • Eyes appear swollen

Reason:

Pop-eye is caused due to bacterial infection. It can also affect due to oxygen overload.

Treatments or Medications:

  • Increase air flow in the tank
  • Check the various water parameters and maintain the water quality
  • Use appropriate antibiotics to cure the bacterial infection. Care should be taken while using antibiotics as it might affect the tank’s biological filtration.
  • KanaPlex™ is a blended kanamycin based medication works well to treat pop-eye

Fin & Tail Rot

Symptoms:

  • Deterioration of fins and tail
  • Blood red streaks on edges of fins
  • Fins and tail become completely tattered and might cause death
  • Loss of appetite, laying on the bottom of the tank and cloudy eyes

Reason:

Fin & tail rotting happens due to bacterial infection in the fins and tail. Poor water quality is also a vital reason for shrugged fins and tail. But healthy fishes are not affected by these bacteria’s unless they have injured fins or tail. Bullying or fin nipping fish mates also might cause this damage.

Treatments or Medications:

  • Leave the infected fish in salt water for some time
  • Add 20 mg of antibiotics like Chloromycetin or tetracycline per liter for treating. Carbon might absorb the medications. So, remove any carbon filtration before adding the medicines.
  • Kanamycin based medication – KanaPlex™ help to treat tail and fin rot safely.
  • Maintain good water quality and quarantine affected fishes from bullying or nipping fishes

Hole in the Head

Symptoms:

  • Presence of small holes in the head
  • In advanced stage the holes spreads across the lateral line of the fish
  • Fish reduces or stops food intake and in turn losses weight

Reason:

This is also called as “Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE)”. There are no proven reasons for the hole-in-the-head disease. Few of the possible reasons endorsed based on studies are, long term use of activated carbon, deficiency of vitamins and calcium and poor water quality.

Treatments or Medications:

  • Reduce or remove activated carbon filters
  • Provide proper balanced died food. Enrich the food with vitamin C, vitamin D and calcium supplements
  • Perform frequent partial water changes to maintain good water quality

Dropsy or Malawi Bloatgoldfish11

Symptoms:

  • Bloating of abdomen due to fluid accumulation
  • Protrusion of scales around the swollen area
  • Fading of body color

Reason:

Dropsy or Malawi bloat is caused because of bacterial infection in the organs like abdomen, kidney and intestines. Because of the infection, the fish may not be able to regulate required amount of fluid to that part or cause renal failure. Mostly stressed fish often gets infected. Unbalanced water quality is also a possible reason for this infection.

Treatments or Medications:

  • First try enhancing the water quality
  • Also, provide healthy diet food
  • KanaPlex™, kanamycin based medication cures dropsy safely.
  • Use antibiotics with food to treat the affected fishes. Remove carbon filtrations before providing any medications.

Fish or Mouth Fungus

Symptoms:

  • Greyish or Whitish cotton like growth around the mouth or all over the body of the fish
  • Fungus eats away the tissue of the fish’s head and body which might lead to death.

Reason:

The bacteria called Flexibacter columnaris causes the fish or mouth fungus disease. Columnaris enters through injuries in the skin of the fish and causes the infection. It is contagious disease and can spread from infected net, containers and rocks.

Treatments or Medications:

  • Use Penicillin for treating the columnaris.
  • Medications like Chloromycetin, Tetracycline, Acriflavine, Copper sulfate, Potassium permanganate and Malachite green can be used appropriately to get rid of Mouth and Fish fungus disease.

Flukes

Symptoms:

  • A layer of mucus covers the gills and whole body
  • The skin becomes reddened
  • Gill movement increases rapidly
  • At advanced stage, fins become drooping and fishes gasps for air
  • Gills or fins tissues will be eaten away
  • Scratching against fixed objects

Reason:

Flatworms are species similar to ich but these are about 1 mm long and have eye spots unlike ich. The flatworms infest the gills / skin and starts decaying it leading to death of the fish. But these flatworms will infect only the stressful fishes. Poor water quality is also a reason for this disease.

Treatments or Medications:

  • Treat in potassium permanganate water for 15 – 20 minutes. Add 10 mg of potassium permanganate per liter.
  • Use appropriate over the counter medications to treat the parasites.

Fish Lice

Symptoms:

  • Flat bug-like, semi-transparent louse attaches itself to the skin of the fish
  • Fish scratches against the tank wall or fixed objects to get rid of the parasites
  • Louse annoys the fish. Fishes becomes agitated.
  • The louse pierce the skin and sucks the blood of the fish
  • Fish’s skin becomes inflamed and may have clamped fin.

Reason:

Lice transfer from fishes brought from outdoor or from wild fishes.

Treatments or Medications:

  • Physically remove the lice using forceps
  • Leave the infected fish in salt water for 5 – 10 minutes daily, until the lice completely detaches.

Fish Tuberculosis

Symptoms:

  • Loss of skin color and loss of appetite
  • Emaciation of the fish and loss of scales
  • Sores on the skin
  • Skin ulcers, hollow belly and tattered fins
  • Lead to skeletal distortions and might cause death

Reason:

Tuberculosis is caused due to bacterial infection. These bacteria’s transmit from infected fish’s feces or from open ulcers. Also improper water quality can cause fish tuberculosis.

Treatments or Medications:

  • Use antibiotics like kanamycin or erythromycin.
  • Adding a drop of baby vitamin B-6 liquid for 4 gallons of water will also help to treat tuberculosis.
  • Care should be taken while handling fishes infected with tuberculosis. Because it might transmit to humans through any open wounds.

By monitoring regularly and providing right treatments and medications at right time, you can save the life of your lovely species.

Stop! Know what your Goldfish needs
13 ways to keep your fishes Healthy and Happy

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