Fish Disease – Prevention Rather than Cure
How To Prevent Fish Disease
There are usually good reasons why fish turn out to be sick. The common reason is actually stress. 90% of aquarium fish ailments can be avoided by controlling this. Stress weakens fishes’ defense system, ultimately making them susceptible to disease.The fact is diseases and parasitic organisms are present in the majority of aquariums but healthy fish are usually resistant to them so they are in most cases not really an issue.You will find a number of factors why fish may be stressed out, most of these are environmental:
- Bad water quality meaning detectable levels of ammonia or nitrites, or high levels of nitrate
- The aquarium water temperature is fluctuating more than 2 deg F/day
- Aggressive freshwater aquarium fish that don’t get on in a community tank
- Too many fish in the tank (5 adult goldfish in a 10g tank)
- The tank is too small for the fish (12 inch fish in a 10g tank)
- The Aquarium ph level is wrong for the fish species
- The aquarium water ph is fluctuating more than 0.2 units a day
- Insufficient cover or hiding places present
- Water hardness not right for the type of fish
- Not enough oxygenation of the water
- Improper fish nutrition (wrong food, foods not varied)
How To Keep Your Tank Disease Free
You should always have aquarium water test strips on hand. I recommend these test strips because they accurately show you at a glance the condition of your tank water looking at the six most important water parameters: Chlorine, pH, Nitrate, Nitrite, Hardness, and Alkalinity.
As well as looking at all of the reasons above, often ailments are introduced to your home aquarium whenever you decide to buy fresh fish or plants from the store. So you ought to always be careful not to buy sick fish. In particular it is best to not even acquire fish from a tank in which any of them are displaying signs of disease or if there is any medication within the tank water (water coloured yellow, green or blue). It is also an excellent idea to know how long the store has had the fish. Newly arrived specimens may be carrying diseases where the warning signs haven’t appeared yet. It’s often better with fresh arrivals to wait some weeks before you buy. If you need to have a particular fish right now then you should use a quarantine tank when you get it home. Quarantining is simply a posh term for keeping fresh arrivals in a separate tank for a couple of weeks to verify they’re not infected before introducing them to your other fish.
So far as plants are concerned, they really should be disinfected ahead of adding them to your tank.
What Are The Signs Of Disease?
For anyone who is an enthusiastic aquarist then it goes without saying that you are going to be aware of typical appearance and behaviour of your little aquarium family. Not recognizing what’s normal suggests that you will not know what is sick!
The bad symptoms are:
- Clamped fins (fins tend to be closed together, the dorsel fin is down)
- Tail and Fin Rot
- Refusal of the fish to eat its usual diet for more than two days.
- Light places, spots on its body or lesions
- one or both eyes are bulging
- The fish is gasping at the top of the water
- The fish floats, sinks, whirls, or swims sideways
- The fish swims at a strange angle.
- The fish shimmies (moves from side to side without going forward)
- A usually lively fish is still
- A generally still fish is very active
- The fish abruptly becomes bloated (when it’s not due to eggs or young)
- The fish is rubbing itself against the pebbles and fish tank decorations
What You should Have In your Medicine Chest
- Water test strips for pH, hardness, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. It is possible to obtain test strips that cover each of these items and a lot more with 1 dip
- Aquarium salt (This is not table salt since it has additives to stop it from blocking the salt cellar which might be damaging to you fish. Rock salt is fine
- Malachite green/formalin ich remedy
- Methylene blue
- Chlorine bleach for disinfection
- Possibly one antibiotic (Kaynamycin or Furanace)
- Antibiotic-containing food
- Copper treatment for enteric parasites
And for fish large enough to grip:
- Malachite green or mercurochrome
In my next article, if prevention has been unsuccessful and you have sickness in your tank, I will go through several of the most common maladies such as tail & fin rot, white spot, ick, pop eye and dropsy and what might be done about them.