Showing posts with label Fish Diseases. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fish Diseases. Show all posts


Index of Tropical FISH DISEASES

A veterinarian gives an injection to a goldfish
A veterinarian gives an injection to a goldfish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
After creating and maintaining your beautiful aquarium, all the time and money you spent on it, the last thing you want to deal with is tropical fish diseases. Coming home and finding your fish covered with white spots, the eyes swollen or the fins disintegrating is a blow to any aquarist.

The following are the categories and symptoms of the most common diseases in tropical fish.

Fungal Diseases
Fungal diseases will usually occur after the fish has already been weakened through stress, parasites, or bacterial disease. In some cases, the fish will appear sluggish and in the later stages develop cysts. Another type of fungal infection will produce white growths that eventually turn into cotton-like tuffs on the skin.

Bacterial Diseases
Bacterial diseases often need to be treated with antibiotic medications. Fish infected with bacteria often develop bulging eyes, ulcers and open sores. One bacteria causes a disease called mouth fungus that looks like a fungal infection on the mouth. Other signs of a bacterial infection include a loss of appetite, hollow belly, erratic swimming, and disintegrating fins.

Viral Diseases
Viral diseases are fortunately fairly uncommon in fish. On the sign of a viral disease is white swellings on the body of the fish. Viruses cannot be treated with medication because they use the host's body to reproduce and live on. If you suspect your fish has a viral disease, it should be removed and placed in another tank so the other fish will not be infected with the same virus. The best thing you can do is to provide a clean environment and a healthy, nutritious diet. A virus can only be identified by special equipment and it is often difficult to detect.

Parasitic Diseases
One symptom most parasitic diseases have in common is the fish scraping against or rubbing objects. The parasites are eating through the flesh of the fish and if they aren't removed will eat into the organs and kill the fish. Simply pulling the parasites off will often do more damage to the fish. A bath of potassium permanganate or a salt solution is often the best method to remove parasites. In some cases you will be able to see the parasites on the skin of the fish and thus confirm the problem is parasites, or you may notice other signs such as rapid gilling, clamped fins, red skin and weight loss.

Protozoan Diseases
These diseases are caused by the protozoan parasite that infects the intestinal tract. Several diseases will cause a yellow to light brown dust on the body. On commonly known protozoan disease is called ich. Ich is characterized by small white spots all over the body. The fish will breath rapidly and have clamped fins. Other types cause excessive slim on the body, frayed fins, bloated body and a lack of appetite.

The best way to avoid tropical fish diseases is to have a clean tank and provide adequate nutrition. New fish should always be quarantined for two to four weeks.


Effective Ways to Help Keep Your DISCUS FISH Free from Diseases

Photo prise en aquarium d'un discus Heckel du ...
Heckel Discus
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The aquarium is not typically what you would first think when talking about pets. In fact, most of us would instantly depict n image of a dog inside our mind, or maybe even a cat. But many homes today do have fish tanks and they are not just for ornamental or design purposes. Yes, they do look good, that is a given. Fish tanks and the fish themselves are also effective stress relievers. That’s why many people today would rather own fishes. And one of the fish breeds that many aquarists choose is the discus fish.

Before anything else, there are many advantages to owning a pet fish. First, you won’t need to take them for walks, you don’t have to give them baths, they don’t demand much attention, and you don’t really have to clean up after them after every while. Yes, they still need some looking after but not as much as compared to our canine and feline friends. This doesn’t mean though that once you have your tank, filled it up with water, and purchased your feed then your all done. There are still quite a few things that you have to do to ensure that they will live a long time and save you the anxiety of having to buy new fish every time.  

The big news is, most fishes, including the discus fish, maybe even more so, develop health conditions because of stress. Although fishes are fragile as compared to other household pets, they don’t really just die and wither if they are kept well. And all you really have to do is make sure that the tank is clean and feed them as scheduled, which is not really all the time. There are some factors though that can cause them stress and thus weakening their immune system. Here are some ways that you can do easily to keep your discus fish stress free and healthy.

Like air is to humans, water is the single most important aspect of fishes besides food. So make sure that their water is free from chlorine and other toxic chemicals, as well as heavy metals. You should also keep it a good temperature and pH level. Investing in a dependable purifier, filter, and aerator will make the water clean and livable. 

Vary the diet of your discus fish. Aside from the flakes and granules, feed them blood worms or fresh or frozen brine shrimp as discus fish are carnivorous.

Keep your aquarium in a quiet and solitary place. Too much noise and motion, like a door opening or heavy human traffic, can cause them stress.

Never overcrowd your tank. Discus fish are very protective of their space so they need an ample re to grow and breed. The bigger the tank, the better. 

Consistency is the key. Do not allow abrupt highs and low in the temperature and pH levels of the water in the tank. This can put them in shock.

Following these simple steps will help you keep your discus fish away from stress thus giving them a healthier and longer life. 


KHV- KOI Herpes Virus

English: From USGS public information leaflet ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
KHV or Koi Herpes Virus is a potentially deadly virus which has recently shown up in the Koi industry. The first outbreak was reported and confirmed in late 1998, early 1999 in Israel. Since then, outbreaks have been reported all over the world, in  Asia, Europe, and The United States of America. As with the majority of Herpes type viruses in the world, Koi Herpes Virus is believed to remain with infected fish for their full lifespan. Even Koi that was exposed to the virus at one point or another are considered carriers, even if they did not show signs of the virus. The mortality rate for fish exposed to the virus ranges from 60 to 80 percent.

When it comes down to it, any Koi is susceptible to the virus. The only real way to prevent it is to make sure that your Koi is never exposed to it. As long as you are knowledgeable about the disease, the chances of your Koi catching Koi Herpes Virus is substantially less.

Koi Herpes Virus Facts

Since the first outbreak in 1998, quite a bit has been learned about the virus. Knowing the facts about the virus may mean the difference between potentially infecting your pond, and preventing it.

Once a fish has been exposed to the virus, it will always be a carrier. Even with proper treatment, these fish will never be able to go to a new home. Sending exposed fish to a new home can potentially spread the virus to other fish. Likewise, adding new Koi into your pond could cause the new fish to get the virus, and cause a potentially higher mortality rate.
There is no known cure for the Koi Herpes Virus.
Stress does not cause the disease in any way. However, stress can cause the disease to have a higher mortality rate.
74 degrees Fahrenheit activates the disease. This is extremely useful information because it allows for quarantining and testing to see whether or not fish have Koi Herpes Virus.
The virus can be spread a number of ways, including coming into contact with infected fish, water in which infected fish swam in, tools used when handling infected fish, and so on.

Preventing Further Spreading Of The Virus

Once your fish has been diagnosed with Koi Herpes Virus, the only real way to ensure that you do not infect any other fish is to consider depopulation. Depopulation is essentially the elimination of your entire population of Koi. While this might seem harsh, it is truly the only way to completely eliminate the possibility of any other fish from catching the virus.

When purchasing new fish, it is a good idea to quarantine the new fish separately from your current population for no less than 15 days. Knowing that the disease is activated at exactly 74 degrees Fahrenheit allows you to expose your fish to the right conditions for the disease to show itself. Koi that live in the conditions for this amount of time and do not develop any symptoms will have a substantially less chance of having the virus.

It is important to remember that when you quarantine your new Koi, they should remain under total isolation. This means that you should not allow anything to come into contact with the quarantined Koi, especially items that also come into contact with your current population. Separate tools, food, and water should be used, and never under any circumstances, should the tools used for your quarantined fish leave the area in which they are used. Another important thing to remember is proper hand washing procedures when handling both Koi and Koi items within the same time period.


AQUARIUM FISH death: precautions of young aquarist.

Small Aquarium with Paracheirodon innesi (neon...
Small Aquarium with Paracheirodon innesi (neon tetra), Trigionostigma heteromorpha and Hemigrammus erythrozonus
(Photo credit: 
Another thing to watch out for in a newly installed tank is the quantity of food: very little of this should be given during the first three weeks. Mind you! I am not suggesting that you should not give them food at all, because without food, no bacterial flora forms. The food supply to the bacteria should be increased only very gradually.

Fish keepers with old functional aquariums should avoid general cleaning that is washing of sand/gravel, scrubbing of the tank wall and complete water changes so as not to disturb the bacterial flora.

When you have to service, it should just be the removal of the mulm and dead leaves sufficient to ensure adequate flow through the filter and no more. The bad habit of replacing the entire filter material or the soiled part with fresh materials is detrimental to fish life. Most bacteria live in the sludge at the bottom of the tank, so don't throw them away.

Many pet shops that operate a house-to-house maintenance routine on aquariums are used to the habit of a complete overhaul which invariably lead to fish death. I have met many people who have said, "I used to service my tank myself. On close scrutiny, I discovered that he indulges in the unforgivable habit of washing the aquarium with detergents!

In real life situation, no one can attest to having experienced a complete overhaul of a river bed. The only thing that happens during heavy rains or flood is the partial/complete change of the water body. The bed, sand and gravel components get cleaned but not overhauled.

This is nature's method of 'servicing' the fish's natural environment. So why don't we all adopt nature's method? Professional aquatic pet dealer’s service aquariums in the same way, and to the committed aquarist, I will advise you to do this yourself!


Constant AQUARIUM FISH DEATHS: causes and solutions

No Fishing 4
Photo  by Fifi Banana 

A fish death aquarium tank is one of the common challenges faced by aquarists. There is a number of factors that could be responsible for the deaths experienced. These are outlined briefly below.

·                     The aquarist selection of fish.
·                     The removal and packing of the fish from the pet shop
·                     Transport time and period and the handling of the fish in transit
·                     Quarantine procedure.
·                     Adjustment and adaptation into the new community or environment by the new fish.

When buying fish from the pet shop always spend some time at the place to inquire about the life history and habits of the new purchase. You can then make a selection from a collection of the same species. Never buy the last specimen in reserve at any shop because if it had been a good specimen, you would not have met it there in the first instance.

Always form the habit of making your fish purchase during the cool periods of the day, preferably before 12 noon or after 4.30pm.

These are the only periods I can guarantee for fish comfort. This restriction is borne out of my observation that most pet shops and aquarists alike do not seem to care about insulation of the fish against temperature fluctuations after gassing them in a polythene.

When making your fish selection from the pet shop be sure the attendant has the expertise to pick fish out from a selection. This you can know through the swiftness with which your choice fish is removed out of the selection.

Reject a fish that has been chased around, gasping for breath... It is a week already! Chances are that it gives up with the further stress that accompanies the transportation of the fish.

Make sure that your new purchase is quarantined. That's a single factor that affects fish survival as pets.


Six Reasons Why You Should Never Neglect CHANGING WATER In Your Aquarium Tank

pH Control – pH stands for hydrogen potent. It is actually the concentration of hydrogen ions present in your aquarium tank, and as you know, hydrogen ion concentration refers to acidity of the water in the tank. As fishes live in the water, performing all their biological activities, the pH value is bound to change. The best way to ensure that the pH values remain conducive for the health of your fish is to change the water often.

Kh control – For the scientifically inclined people, Kh is the hydrolysis constant. Simply speaking, it is the ability of water to buffer, which means, maintain a particular optimum level of the acids and bases in it. Changes occur in the fish tank over time due to the inclusion of chemicals produced from biological activity. That is one reason why the water has to be periodically changed.

Controlling nitrate levels – Ideally speaking, a saltwater aquarium must have a nitrate concentration of at the most 20 parts per million and a freshwater aquarium must have at the most 50 parts per million. Fish excretion is in the form of ammonia, which increases the nitrate level of the tank. There are protein skimmers available that can help to keep the nitrate levels to optimal levels within the tank. But these skimmers will not be able to remove the organic debris that collects in the tank from time to time. That is the reason why complete water changes become necessary. In fact, aquarium sellers do stress upon nitrate level maintenance as the most important reason for making periodical water changes. 

Detoxifying the aquariums – Dead aquatic organisms, byproducts of metabolic activities in the fish and other aquarium residents and the excretion products of your fish will definitely introduce some toxic products in your aquarium tank. Some toxic materials can also enter from the external environment, such as when things drop into your tank or when some microorganisms enter through the air. They could play havoc with the health of your delicate fish. You cannot effectively monitor such toxic intrusions. The best way is to change water.

Cleaning aquarium accessories – If you have live elements in your aquarium tank such as live sand, live rock, sponges, bio balls, etc. it is best to provide them with clean water of aquarium standard to filter out the wastes that they produce from time to time.

Controlling algal growthAlgae are microscopic plants that grow in all types of aquatic environment. They grow faster in aquariums because the water there is stagnant and favorable for their growth. However, algae can pollute the water in the closed environment to drastic levels, which could also mean health problems to your fish. Not only that, algae will compete with the fish with the resources available in your aquarium. If you change the water from your aquarium regularly, you are also removing the algae that have grown in them.

Hence, water changes in your aquarium are a very important aspect of aquarium cleaning. They ensure that your fish live longer and healthier in the home you provide them.



Photo: Wikimedia
Fish death is one of the main problem that beginner aquarist and even few experts. It’s so frustrating to the extent that most quit keeping life aquarium fish. Most fish deaths are caused as a result of parasites both internal and external types that compete with you fish in the tank. If you watch your aquarium fish often you should be able to discover when they have been infected by this parasite and be able to treat them to avoid fish death. Look out for the following behavioral symptoms in your fish.

  • Constant lying on the bottom or hanging at the surface.
  • Rubbing of the body against rocks.
  • Gasping at the water surface.
  • Non-response of feeding
  • General dullness and lethargy
  • hovering in a corner
  • fish swimming with clamps up
White Spot: - the most common of the visible signs is the development of the pinhead-size while sports on the body or fins. This ailment is referred to as white Spot caused by the parasite - Ichthyophthirius Multifillis.

This parasite has a free-swimming stage, which attaches itself to the fish. The most common chemical used in treating infected fishes is Methylene Blue. You could buy a one percent stock solution from a reputable chemist or aquarium shop and apply at 0.8 to 1.0ml per gallon of water. This amount should be added all at once. Repeat after one or two days.

The fishes must remain in this bath until every while spot has disappeared. A water change after treatment is necessary or else prolonged contact with the chemical may affect the fertility of the fish. Aquarists using side filter with activated charcoal should remove this gadget to prevent the coal from absorbing the blue dye.

During treatment, you should use artificial aeration with coarse bubbles near the surface, since a dirty bottom would inactivate the medicament by absorption. A better measure is to remove all dirt from the bottom before treatment.

Methylene Blue is harmless to young fishes and unlike the general belief, it does not affect plants if used in weaker concentration.



Myxobolus cerebralis, a myxosporean parasite, ...
Myxobolus cerebralis, a myxosporean parasite, causes whirling disease in farmed salmon and trout and also in wild fish populations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are certain types of parasites out there that affect fish. They can become a very serious problem though. They can result in the fish not growing like they should. They parasites can become so bad that they result in the fish dying. This is a common issue in many areas. As a result, they can die off in a complete area without any way to survive. Other creatures that depend on the fish for food will not be able to survive in that location either.

These types of parasites tend to only be a problem in areas where freshwater fish live. There are ways to remove the parasites from the environment though but before you start to use chemicals to destroy them. You may end up doing more damage to the fish than helping them out. The biggest type of fish parasite is the protozoa classification. The good news is that they are the easiest form of a fish parasite to destroy.

There are several different species of fish parasites that fit into the category of protozoa. They can generally be eliminated by adding copper sulfate to the water. Some people add it on a regular basis in a pond of fish just as a precaution so that they don’t lose their valuable fish to parasites. 

If you find your fish in the pond are having more trouble then usual surviving you may need to check to see if parasites are the problem. Some indicators that you may have fish parasites to contend with include them losing weight, not eating like they should, and a high number of them are turning up dead. 

You can’t see them without a microscope though. You can get a specialist to come in and test for them. This will also help them to determine what type of fish parasite you are dealing with. Finding the best course of action to resolve the issue is going to be in your best interest. 

When parasites invade fish in a wild environment though it is more difficult to take care of. They can be more vicious too and they will destroy the fish population from the inside out. The local Division of Wildlife will have to evaluate the situation and decide what course of action to take. They want to do what is best for all of the creatures that live in that area. 


How To Properly Introduce NEW FISH Into Your Aquarium

Thumbi West quarantine tank
Photo  by beesalo 
There are two areas of introducing new fish into an aquarium that you must be aware of:

1. Fish Quarantine

Fish quarantine is one big, singular factor that must be observed strictly before you can be sure that your new fish is of good health and not an apostle of doom for the other inmates. Most new fishkeepers don’t take consider this very important factor.

For the benefit of intending aquarists, quarantine in the fish world refers to the physical and chemical treatment of new fishes (either imported or caught from the wild) to rid them of disease and restlessness before introduction into a new environment,

A small quarantine tank (30x20x25cm) is advisable for any serious aquarist. The alternative is to be sure that your pet shop has a functional quarantine section to cater for bacterial, fungal and viral diseases.

This is a sure guarantee against fish deaths. The unfortunate thing with most shops in the country is the lack of space and inadequate expertise to build and administer the prophylaxis procedure on new fish, as the procedure is sure to last at least nigh days! To the average aqua-investor, this is an unnecessary tie down of capital and you know what that means.

Admittedly, the expense incurred on quarantine by way of chemical purchase e.g. copper sulfate, wescodyne, malachite green, teremycin etc) is high. This is more or less reflected in the final sales price of the fish, which is slightly higher in our shop. But, this would pay you off in the long run, as it is unlikely that you will complain of fish deaths any longer.

I am quite sure, some fish farmers reading this column would be more concerned about the application of this procedure to solve their farm problems especially those with hatcheries or those who stock with post-fry and fingerlings.

2. Feeding New Fish

When you just introduce a new fish to aquarium tank it’s necessary to feed the fish. Though this will not be instant because no matter how carefully you add the fish to your aquarium tank they will look very unhappy for a while.

Thus it’s necessary that you turn the flights out, and leave them overnight to get used to their new home first before thinking of feeding them. Then feed fish with aquarium fish food with fish flakes the next day, this will make the fish feel at home.

If you already have an established tank, it is advisable to quarantine new fish before adding them to an existing populated, and the cheapest way to do this is to purchase a plastic tank which will need no gravel or plants.

This can be used solely for quarantine and as a hospital tank.

Leave the fish in this tank for about three days during which any disease harbored by the fish would be evident for which it can be treated using available chemicals from your dealer. The fish can then be introduced into the tank in the same way as before.

When you add new fish to an established community, there will probably be a certain amount of harassment of the new arrivals by the original fish. Try to divert their attention by giving them a good feed when the fish are introduced.


A Beginners Guide to a Clean and HEALTHY AQUARIUM

aquarium (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A clean aquarium is the best habitat for all kinds of fish or other living organisms like crabs for example. A clean aquarium means your fish and plants will live for a long time saving you time and allowing you to enjoy watching them grow. The best way to keep an aquarium clean is to have all the proper equipment and use it often to clean with. It is also a matter of know how. There are a few things that every aquarium owner must know to clean an aquarium and maintain it in the best possible way. 

People who don’t know much about aquariums might use harsh household cleaners to clean their aquariums. This would have detrimental to the small ecosystem you ought to be striving to create. Good tips for keeping your aquarium clean is to keep the water supply clean by cleaning the water pump. To do so one should always keep the filtration system in mind. A good clean filter is what the life of your aquariums ecosystem depends on. Cleaning the filter too often might also have a negative impact on your aquariums life. 

It is therefore important to maintain a balance and to clean your aquarium's filter only when needed or specified by the manufacturer of the filter. Many aquariums experts recommend that the ornaments as well as the glass ought to be cleaned at least once every two weeks. Cleaning the aquarium ornaments and glass prevents algae from building up inside. If the aquarium is made from plastic materials then cleaning should be performed at smaller time intervals, perhaps once a week. When performing maintenance operations to your aquarium, you should always keep in mind a few things to ensure that things are going smoothly inside your aquarium. Check the air pump and see if it is running ok. It is imperative that there is enough oxygen for the fish but also to allow for proper flow of the water. 

Another thing that will ensure a longer life for your aquarium is ensuring that the water is changed often. This way your fish and plants will live longer and your aquarium will definitely look better. One more thing that you should do to maintain a clean aquarium is to clean, or at least rinse the gravel that sits on the bottom of your aquarium. This process entails that you remove all contents of the aquarium including the fish. Therefore, its viability depends highly on how many as well as what kind of fish you have. 

Keeping a clean aquarium does not only entail cleaning it every week or two weeks. You should also consider acquiring a water purifier. There are many kinds of purifiers out there for different types of aquariums as well as sizes. When you use a water purifier to clean the water contents of your fish tank you should always let it sit and mix with the water to allow it to dissolve. If you are new to aquariums, always remember to read the instructions on every product used. Be careful; keep a schedule for maintenance operations and treat your aquarium with love and it will eventually flourish.


Ahh! Saltwater Aquarium Pests And Parasites... Dealing With SALTWATER AQUARIUM Pests And Parasites – The Creepy Crawlies!

Cryptocaryan irritans.jpeg
Yellow tang with white spots characteristic of marine ich  Wikimedia Commons.

Saltwater aquarium pests and parasites might have an adverse effect on the health of your marine tank. Bacterial diseases can cause ill-health in your fish and invertebrates. Bacterial disease can also kill the fish in your tank. To get rid of the problem you might have to start all over again from scratch. This is not only very upsetting but also very expensive.

So it makes sense to be on the lookout for saltwater aquarium pests and parasites and to treat your fish at the first sign of illness. Marine fish usually fall prey to gram-negative bacteria. These include Pseudomonas, Vibrio and Myxobacteria. It is not always easy to spot saltwater aquarium pests and parasites in marine fish. Often you may not know that there is something wrong until your fish become seriously ill.

You can help prevent saltwater aquarium pests and parasites by making sure that conditions in your tank don’t encourage their growth. To do this you need to understand how and why saltwater aquarium pests and parasites occur in marine fish in the first place.

The bacterial disease is caused by a number of things, sometimes in combination. Such disease can be topical (external) – for example, fin and tail rot and ulcers or systemic (affecting the body internally) or it might be a combination of both. Saltwater aquarium pests and parasites are more likely to affect fish that are in poor condition. The healthier your fish are the more resistance they will have to saltwater aquarium pests and parasites.

However, fish that are weak, sick or stressed by environmental conditions in the tank are easily infected by saltwater aquarium pests and parasites. Bacterial diseases may gain entry into the body through the pores along the lateral line. The gills are another site of entry into the body of a fish.

So what environmental conditions make it more likely for saltwater aquarium pests and parasites to cause illness in your tank? The leading cause of the bacterial attack is poor environmental conditions in the tank. If conditions are allowed to deteriorate the health of your fish is impacted and this might make them more susceptible to diseases.

Saltwater aquarium pests and parasites will soon bloom and over-run the tank. If the water is white and cloudy and the fish have sores on their body, conditions in the tank are very poor and must be corrected.

Your fish may also be affected by saltwater aquarium pests and parasites if they have other infections. So treating them is crucial. If your fish are not fed properly they might not have built up a good resistance to infection. Any injuries that your fish have might allow bacteria to take hold. Fish that are stressed and harassed are also more likely to become ill.

Older, weaker fish are at increased risk of contracting a bacterial infection as are any fish that come from water that has been contaminated (for example tap water!). If a fish eats the flesh of a sick fish it may also become ill with the same disease. So how do you know if your fish are infected with saltwater aquarium pests and parasites? What should you look for?

If your fish are afflicted with saltwater aquarium pests and parasites they might show one or more of the following symptoms:

- Red frayed fins or fins that show red streaks.
- The fins might disintegrate (in fin and tail rot).
- Red areas around the lateral line (streaks or blotches).
- Open sores on the sides of the body and near the fins.
- Bloody scales at the fin base.
- Fast breathing.
- A grey film may cover the eyes.
- The fish may appear listless or lethargic.
- They may lose their appetite.
- The stomach may be swollen or bloated from saltwater aquarium pests and parasites that cause bladder infections, for example.

Bacteria are not the only saltwater aquarium pests and parasites that might affect your fish. Black Spot disease is a common marine illness caused by a parasitic turbellarian flatworm in the genus Paravortex. It makes its home at the bottom of the tank after which is attached to a host fish for about six days then falls off into the substrate again. It is common in Yellow tangs and Angelfishes.

If you notice tiny black dots on the body of your fish and they seem to be scratching against objects or have red skin and are lethargic they might have black spot disease. It is less common than some other saltwater aquarium pests and parasites (white ich for example) but should still be looked for.

If any of your fish contract the diseases mentioned above or other illnesses, they may not die immediately. But in general, if saltwater aquarium pests and parasites are not treated your fish will die in a one to two week period. There are viral strains that can kill fish within a day or two.  Even if you don’t know what the disease is you need to take steps immediately to isolate the ill fish.

Fish that are infected with saltwater aquarium pests and parasites should be placed into a quarantine tank. This is because bacterial infections will spread to healthy fish very quickly if sick fish are allowed to interact with them. Once the illness affects the internal organs the fish will stop eating, breathing rapidly, and lie on the bottom of the tank where it may be eaten by other fish or start to decay releasing bacteria into the water.

To protect your fish from saltwater aquarium pests and parasites diagnose and treat your fish with the appropriate antibiotics. Ask your aquarist for advice if necessary. Only place your fish back into the tank once they are completely healthy. This will ensure that your tank stays pest free. The most important way to guard against diseases is to make sure that your fish are as healthy as possible and you can do this by making sure that conditions in your tank are at optimum levels.


DISCUS FISH DISEASES - Ammonia Poisoning and Ich

Nitrogen Cycle in aquariums. Legend: (1) Addit...
Nitrogen Cycle in aquariums. Legend: (1) Addition of food and nutrients, (2) Production of Urea and Ammonia by Fish, (3) Ammonia is converted to Nitrites by beneficial Nitrosomonas bacteria, (4) Nitrites are converted to Nitrates by beneficial Nitrospira bacteria. Less toxic Nitrates are removed by plants and periodic water changes. (5) Evaporation. (6) Light, (7) Soil, (8) O 2 produced by plants, (9) CO 2 produced by Fish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the most common Discus fish diseases is ammonia poisoning. This occurs because of toxic ammonia buildup and improper nitrogen cycle in the aquarium. Ammonia poisoning can sometimes be caused by the malfunction or removal of biological filter in the aquarium. This disease directly affects the fish and along with it are harmful side effects like increased disease vulnerability and organ failure. It's very important for you to know that you cannot put a tropical fish in the water until the ammonia has been completely removed.

You also have to make sure that your filters are working correctly. To prevent this disease from occurring, you have to change the water on a regular basis and if possible, do not overcrowd the tank. If your fish appears to have red and swollen gills or if it keeps on staying at the water surface gasping for air, it is most likely affected by ammonia poisoning. This happens because the more ammonia present in the tank, the less oxygen is available for your fish.

Other signs that your fish is affected by the disease include loss of appetite, hovering at the bottom of the tank, sluggishness and inflamed eyes or anus. If you have a relatively new tank, the ammonia level can rise quite quickly unless it has undergone cycling already. Cycling simply means establishing a bacteria bed in your biological filter to remove the toxins that the fish's metabolism emits. It's actually pretty easy to deal with Discus fish diseases like ammonia poisoning or ammonia stress. Water change always helps in making the fish getting rid of ammonia. You can use an ammonia remover but keep in mind that this will not help in the long run because it can cause long-term negative side effects in the tank. When changing the water, make sure you are not using water that has ammonia content so that the biological filter can begin to process the excess waste while relieving the stress on the Discus fish.

Aside from ammonia poisoning, another disease that can be caused by poor water quality is ich which involves the appearance of white spots on the fish's body and fins. The best way to treat such Discus fish diseases is to increase the water temperature and administer medication available at any pet store. Before administering the medication, make sure to remove the carbon filter because this may absorb all the substances. If possible, use a quarantine aquarium to make sure other healthy fish won't get affected.



English: Discus fish. Aquarium in dehiwala zoo
Discus fish. Aquarium in dehiwala zoo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The most popular concerns about discus fish are those related to their health since they are know for being very sensitive to environmental conditions. It is essential for discus health that you recreate the living conditions they are used to in the wild: soft, slightly acidic clean water. Of course breeders do everything in their power to protect discus health given the fact that they also require special temperature and pH. Therefore if you plan on buying discus fish, you should start preparing their tank a month in advance to make sure you ensure discus health.

There are many problems associated with discus health, but I will mainly refer to the environmental ones, which seem to be the most common. For instance, the iodine deficiency may appear due to pollutants in water or improper feeding. Then, another problem related to discus health is the lack of vitamins in the food, which on the long term may create low immune system and deficient wound healing for instance. Vitamin C is essential for discus health; hence make sure you store food properly or you risk losing this vitamin though oxidation. Absence of this vitamin leads to bleeding, fin ulcerations and many other problems.

Many of the discus health problems appear because of breeders ignorance or failure to provide the proper living conditions. Once you take up breeding fish, there is a responsibility involved like with any other animal; should you find yourself overwhelmed, you can always turn to special discus health services provided by vet units. Information and tips you may find in books on discus health or on sites such as are highly reliable and make a very good start when in comes to taking care of discus health. The authors of such books are usually experienced breeders from whom you have got lots to learn.

 Discus health should not be an issue for someone careful enough to follow some ground rules. For instance, the water cycle should be functional all the time and no waste or uneaten food should be left in it. Discus health is threatened in case of over-heating. Do not go over 31 degrees Celsius, as this will also lower the oxygen level in the tank and cause your fish to suffer from oxygen starvation. Monitor your discus health on a regular basis and check the living conditions daily or even several times a day if possible so that nothing goes wrong.


WHITE SPOT or ICK Is a Common, But Easily Curable FISH DISEASE

Peter R. Richter, Sebastian M. Strauch, Azizullah Azizullah and Donat-P. H├Ąder - Photo: Wikipedia
White Spot
White spot disease is caused by a parasite called Ichthyophthirius multifilis. This disease is also called Ick or occasionally Ich or Ichy.

The fish has white spots on its skin. The spots are about the size of a pinhead and the fish can look as if it has been sprinkled with salt or sugar grains. The parasite also attacks the gills of fish. This is more difficult to see. The gills may look more red than usual, but this is hard to see, and excessively red gills can be caused by a number of things. The gill infection makes it more difficult for the fish to absorb Oxygen from the water and infected fish can show signs of being short of Oxygen like "gasping" at the surface, or apparently breathing very fast. This shortage of Oxygen can be caused by many things.

Sometimes fish will swim down and try to rub their skin against objects. This is called "flashing" and can be caused by any skin irritation.

Sometimes fish show no obvious symptoms, but simply die. If a fish dies you should take a very close look at all the fish in the tank.

This is a very common disease of fish. The parasite is present at low levels in most aquariums, often without causing any trouble. Most fish have been exposed to this parasite and have developed some immunity. Those fish that have been raised in the complete absence of the parasite will not have this acquired immunity and will be very vulnerable to infection.

The statement that this parasite is present in most aquariums is often misunderstood. Ichthyophthirius multifilis cannot lie dormant for long periods. It survives by living on fish. An aquarium might be empty of fish for a month. It would be free of the white spot parasite. Then a fish was bought which was free of any visible disease and then quarantined. This fish could be introduced into the empty tank and develop white spot. The erroneous conclusion might be drawn that either the empty tank had a dormant white spot, or that the quarantine was not correctly done.

What would actually have happened would simply be that the fish had a white spot infection without any symptoms. A successful parasite does not make its host ill. If the parasite wiped out all the fish in the aquarium, pond or lake it was in, the parasite itself would also die. In the wild, the white spot parasite is apparently successful and most of the time does not kill its host. In the unnatural ecosystem of an aquarium, it can easily get out of balance and kill all the fish. This is not only fatal to the fish; it is also fatal to the parasite.

The ideal parasite is one that actually gives some advantage to its host. As far as I am aware, having the white spot parasite is no advantage to fish, but other parasite/host relationships may have developed into symbiotic ones where both organisms get an advantage.

If something stresses the fish, their immune system often becomes less effective. The same effect can be observed in people. You are much more likely to get both minor and major diseases when you are under stress.

There are many things that can stress fish. One very common one is simply being caught, put into a plastic bag and transported to a new home. A common time for an outbreak of White Spot is just after a new fish has been added. Some people incorrectly assume that the new fish has introduced the parasite. They may then go back to the shop they bought it from and see that the tank the fish came from is perfectly all right.

Other types of stress include changes in temperature, pH, dH or any other water parameter.

Life Cycle
Ichthyophthirius Multifilisis an obligate parasite. This means that it can only live in the presence of fish. The actual visible white spots are the feeding stage, called a trophont. The trophont grows and then drops off the fish, falling to the bottom of the tank and forms a cyst called a tomont. Inside the tomont, as many as 1000 tomites can form. The tomont opens and the tomites go into the water.

The time it takes for Ichthyophthirius Multifilis to complete its life cycle depends on the temperature of the water. At 6 degrees C (43 degrees F) is gets through its life cycle in about 55 days, while at 29 degrees C (84 degrees F) it completes its cycle in only about 4 days.

The tomites have to find a fish quickly or they will die. At normal tropical fish tank temperatures, they only have about 2 days to find a fish to infect.

The trophont on the fish probably cannot be successfully treated, although claims have been made of successful treatments with salt baths. The tomonts on the bottom of the tank are also hard to kill although they can be removed by gravel washing. Keeping the tank clean will help.

The only stage that is readily susceptible to treatment is the free swimming tomite. This can be killed by many things including heat, ultraviolet light, salt and many other chemicals.

There are many possible forms of treatment. All the different ways of killing off the parasite suffer from the problem that there are many strains of this parasite and they vary in their susceptibility to the treatments. Here are a few of the ways of treating this disease:

There are many commercial treatments for white spot. They generally use some combination of chemicals like Methylene Blue, Malachite Green, Formaldehyde, Acriflavine etc. In our own tanks, the medication I prefer is Wardley Ickaway, but different people will have their own preferences.
Note that these medications are absorbed by activated carbon and if you have carbon filtration it will need to be turned off. Most of the medications are also destroyed by ultraviolet light, so ultraviolet sterilization will also need to be turned off.

Tetras and other Characins, scaleless fish like loaches and catfish as well as baby fish are more susceptible to many of these medications, and they will need to be used a half the normal rate. You can use the half rate at double the normal frequency.

The life cycle of this parasite is speeded up enormously by heat. Increasing the temperature will make the chemical treatments work faster, but will also mean that the infection will spread faster.

However, if the temperature is raised enough the parasite cannot reproduce and the infection can be cured just with heat. But some types of fish cannot survive the temperature needed to destroy white spot. To break the life cycle of this parasite you need to raise the temperature to about 30 degrees C (86 degrees F). To actually kill the parasite you need to raise the temperature to about 32 degrees C (89.6 degrees F). This temperature would need to be maintained for at least four days to have much chance of killing the parasite. Not all fish can survive this treatment and many that can be badly stressed by it. Increased aeration will be needed because Oxygen does not dissolve as much in warm water, and the fish's metabolism increases as the water warm up to the need more Oxygen.

This method of treatment is sometimes the method of choice if you are treating Labyrinth fish like Siamese Fighting Fish, Gouramis or Paradise Fish. These fish can survive the temperatures needed and can breathe air as well as water.

Some people have reported success in treating this disease by the careful use of chlorinated tap water. Personally, I would not attempt this, and I advise other people not to try. The actual level of Chlorine in the water as it comes from the tap varies, not just with the locality, but also with the day of the week and the season of the year.

Apart from the difficulty of getting the dose of Chlorine right, there is the problem that some places, like the Adelaide Hills where I live, have Chloranimated water. This is deadly to fish and I would not risk using the water at all without dechloranimating it.

Salt will kill the white spot parasite, but different strains have different tolerances. Most strains of the white spot will be killed by 3 grams per liter of salt, but to be sure you will need to use 5 grams per liter.

This means that many common aquarium fish cannot survive the level of salt needed to kill white spot. Generally, this treatment method is unsuitable for fish from places without much salt in the water like the rivers Amazon, Congo, and Orinoco.

It can be used on the livebearers like Guppies, Mollies, Platies, and Swordtails. It can also be used with some of the Australian fish like the Murray Cod, Silver Perch, and Callop, but not safely on the Rainbowfish.

Most aquarium plants will be killed by this level of salt.

Ultraviolet Radiation
Ultraviolet light will kill the free swimming tomite stage of the parasite, but can only work on the tomites actually sucked through the ultraviolet sterilizer. You are more likely to get good results if the ultraviolet unit is more powerful than usually recommended for your sized aquarium.

An ultraviolet filter will help to prevent white spot, but cannot be relied on to cure it.

Disease Free Fish
It is possible to breed fish in the complete absence of the white spot parasite. This happens with many of the livebearers bred in Malaysia. These fish are grown in water which is a mixture of freshwater and seawater, sometimes having as much as half the salt concentration of pure sea water. These fish will never have been exposed to white spot and to some other diseases and will be very susceptible to them. These fish can be wiped out quickly. If they are bought they need to be observed and treatment applied quickly as needed. Aquarium shops will normally warn their customers that the fish are disease-free.

Secondary Infections
White spot infection damages the skin of the fish and it is common for bacterial or fungal infections to occur together with the white spot.

Susceptible Fish
Some types of fish get the white spot disease more easily than others. The Clown Loach has a particularly bad reputation for getting this disease.



Cotton Mouth disease also knows as Mouth Fungus is a disease your fish can get and it needs to be dealt with quickly. Cotton Mouth disease is not as common as the white spot disease, but, it is highly infectious and contagious. 

The victim fish shows a whitish fungus around the cheeks and lips. The lips may become swollen and rot away. Sometimes a rotten strip of lip attached only at one end will move in and out of the mouth as the fish breathes.

Photo Wikipedia
Fish infected with Mouth Fungus lose their appetite and their movement become sluggish. If no adequate treatment is given, the whole frontal part of the head may be eaten away finally and the fish dies. 

Unless the affected fish is of considerable value, it should be killed before this fatal disease attack the other occupants, of the tank. Think about it... is trying to save the life of one fish worth risking the death of the rest of the fish in your aquarium? 

But if you insist on keeping the fish or in case the infection has already been passed on to other occupants, the following treatment is advised: 

- Swabbing the mouth of the victim fish with a soft cloth dipped in a strong salt solution. Then you must then keep the patient isolated in a bucket or jar containing a strong salt water. 

- Try swabbing the lips with a 5 per cent silver mercury preparation.
- Make a solution of Terramycin or Aureomycuin by dissolving 50mg per gallon of water, a rapid cure is expected within 48 hours. 

You can try all of the above remedies, but the most common remedy is the popular Methylene blue solution. To perform this remedy the sick fish should be placed in a jar, bucket or a treatment tank into which has been added a methylene per blue to color the water deep blue.