tropical fish

Main Menu

Site Map
Fish Pictures
Volume Calculator


Freshwater Tropicals
Getting Started
Cycling an Aquarium
Fish Disease
Water Chemistry
Fish Index
Other Articles
Getting Started
Live Stock
Water Chemistry
Other Articles

Fish Disease By David Rope

Fin Rot
Fin Rot is a bacteria that attacks the fins and in extreme cases, the body. This bacteria is usually the result of environmental stress such as poor water quality, bullying, etc. Part of treating this illness is early detection. If left untreated, secondary infections can occur. Fin or tail rot can also be a secondary infection caused by stress from other diseases. There are many different ways that harmful bacteria can enter your aquarium, some fish at the pet store will look perfectly normal but harbor harmful bacteria that the fish has become immune to, and will release the bacteria through its feces in your tank. However, healthy fish will be able to fight off the bacteria with little trouble. If only a few fish infected, it is best to move them from the main tank, and place them in a bare hospital tank for treatment, but in most cases a hospital tank is not an accessible. Fish should never be given low dosages of medications over a long period of time, this could cause the bacteria to become immune to medications. Always follow the instructions on the bottle.
Symptoms: Rotting fins, loss of appetite, sluggish movements and laying on the tank bottom.
Treatment: There are numerous treatments available at any fish/pet store. Example:

Body Fungus Body Fungus is just that, fungus. It will attack your fish's skin and cause ulcers or death in extreme cases. Large amounts of organic materials such as decaying food or fish waste can cause a breakout of fungus in your aquarium. Open wounds can develop fungus. The fungi feeds by excreting digestive enzymes which if it’s on the fish, slowly digests parts of the fish. Though cured easily, if the fish doesn't get prompt treatment it will surely die. Secondary infections are also common.
Symptoms: White or grayish patches appear on the skin or gills that look like cotton or wool.
Treatment: Either purchase a treatment from your local fish/pet store specifically for fungus or buy an all round antibacterial treatment such as Melafix.

Skin & Gill Flukes Flukes are a parasite that attack the gills and skin of infected fish. Small numbers of flukes are pretty much harmless, but in bad water conditions, over crowding, or aquaria with high organic content, they can multiply at a fast rate. According to the fish doctor the only reliable way to diagnose is with a skin scrape.
Symptoms: Fish will flash or scrape its self against aquarium décor, rapid gill movement, at a more advanced stage, the fish will isolate its self and lie at the bottom with fins clamped. Also cloudy skin due to excess mucus.
Treatment: Flukes are hard to treat and complete eradication is virtually impossible. It is said that for individuals affected with flukes, consecutive salt baths over 2-3 days can be useful. There are commercial treatments avalible.
Example: No pic yet..

Hole In The Head – Hexamita Hole in head is a very serious disease that warrants prompt treatment. Large cichlids such as Oscars, discus, and pikes are very susceptible to this disease. Hole in head, believe it or not, is an intestinal tract infection.
Symptoms: Holes in the head area, ulcerations on the body, loss of appetite
Treatment: A recommended treatment is Hex-A-Ex, although I am not speaking from personal experience. Contact your local fish/pet store or the forum for more info.

White Spot - Ichthyophthirius (Ich) Ich attacks the skin and gills of the infected fish. Ich is a parasitic infestation that is a very common pest among hobby aquarists. It can be introduced by rapid changes in water chemistry such as temperature or ph (these weaken the fishes immune system leaving them susceptible to disease), poor water quality, or bullied fish. Ich is easily treated if caught in time. Once symptoms are observed, treatment must be swift. The life cycle of ich is about 4 days, if treated, it will have to be a minimum of 4 days. While the ich is in cyst form, it cant be killed by medication so you have to treat long enough for the cysts to hatch into its free swimming form.
Symptoms: Fish will flash or scrape its self against aquarium décor, appearance of small white cysts or "sprinkles of salt" on the body or fins, loss of appetite, rapid gill fluctuation (breathing heavily), exhaustion, isolation, fish may hang out near the surface or water return.
Treatment: There are many different treatments available for ich, just goto any fish/pet store. Many people believe that the addition of aquarium salt at the ratio of 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons of water, to be very effective along with the commercial treatment, and upping the temperature to 82F.
Click Here for a more in depth article on ich / whitespot
Example: No pic yet.

Pop Eye Pop eye is an infection that can have a few causes such as bacteria, Poor water quality, injury, poor nutrition, tumors, vitamin deficiently. The symptoms are quite clear.
Symptoms:Eye or eyes protrude from head, cloudy eyes from bacteria infection.
Treatment:Generally hard to treat, u may try a broad spectrum antibiotic.
Example: No pic yet

Swim Bladder Disease Swim bladder disease is sometimes caused by deformed bladder, parasite infestation, bacterial infections or constipation.
Symptoms: Loss of balance and/or abnormal swimming
Treatment: This is also a hard disease to treat, there is also a product around called Paragon II by Aquatronics® that supposedly aids in treatment of swim bladder disease.

Velvet (Oodinium)
Velvet is a parasite that is often confused as ich. The difference is, velvet is smaller and infects predominately the body and looks like a fine powder rather than salt sprinkles. Velvet attacks the body of the infected fish and is very contagious. Velvet is most likely caused by stress, poor water quality or chilling (sudden changes in water temperature). Velvet is a bit easier to cure than ich because the life cycle is shorter. However, this disease can prove fatal if left untreated.
Symptoms: Fish will dart around and flash or scrape its self against aquarium décor, appearance of fine yellowish or white dust on body, fins clamped and/or rapid gill fluctuation (breathing heavily).
Treatment: Increasing the temperature to 82°F and application of a commercial chemical treatment is most effective. It is also said that adding salt will aid the fish in its recovery as in ich.

Dropsy is a bacterial infection that can attack the internal organs. This bacteria seems to only affect fish weakened by bad water conditions, stress, etc. Excess body fluid builds up making the fish appear bloated and the scales protrude outward from the body. This disease needs to be caught early to have a good chance of successfully treating the fish. Symptoms: Bloating, protruding scales, exhaustion, isolation, loss of appetite.
Treatment: There are commercial treatments available from any fish/pet store, but it must be diagnosed early.
Examples: No pic yet.

Neon Tetra Disease
Neon Disease is caused by a parasitic single called organism called Pleistophora hyphessobryconis. The cell, releases millions of spores in to the water during reproduction. The spores are consumed with food by the fish where they then enter the intestine. The spores grow and replace the muscle fibers weakening the fish. If an infected fish becomes wounded or dies, the spores can escape and infect a new host.
Symptoms: Pale white patches appear under the skin beneath the dorsal fin. The fish also becomes emaciated and may swim erratically.
Treatment: Commercial remedies are usually ineffective as by the time diagnosis is confirmed the fish is too weak to be saved.
Examples No pic yet

Cotton Mouth
Mouth Fungus is so called because it looks like a fungus attack of the mouth. It is actually caused from the bacterium Chondrococcus columnaris. It shows up first as a gray or white line around the lips and later as short tufts sprouting from the mouth like fungus. The toxins produced and the inability to eat will be fatal unless treated at an early stage.
Symptoms: White cottony patches around the mouth and loss of appetite
Treatment: There are commercial products available to treat cotton mouth. Examples: No pic yet

Back To Top

All Information ©2002 Tropical Fish Help
If you have any questions please use the forum