This is another article which is part of the “keeping tropical fish” series.

Eventually, you will find that at some stage your fish will get a disease or two. Some things you can be sure of while others you can’t. There are many types of diseases that would take a whole website to cover but here are a few common ones:

Symptoms of illness It could be… Treatment
Your new fish have died – there is no obvious sign of illness “new tank syndrome” Adding fish to a brand new aquarium stresses the fish, and sometimes it can be fatal. Don’t add the fish too soon or use a *water conditioner*
Loss of appetite An environmental problem Inspect for any manifestations of disease, and get a basic water tester (Ammonia, etc)
Cotton Wool effect on the body Fungus Use medication (*anti fungus*) and a salt bath (1 teaspoon per litre)
Small, white sports on the head, body and fins White spot Use a *commercial formula* and dose quickly before the parasite spreads
Fraying of the fins Fin rot Use a *commercial formula* before secondary infection occurs
White film on the eye 1 – Poor water quality 2 – Eye Fluke 1 – Change water frequently 2 – Use eye *medication*
Fish are gasping, on the bottom/red streaks around gills 1 – oxygen starvation 2 – gill disease 1 – too many fish, use a better *air pump* 2 – use *medication*
Worms/threads hanging from gills, fish are gasping Gill worm A parasite, use *anti-parasite medication*
Scales seem to be raised, fish are bloated Dropsy An indication of very bad water quality and mostly incurable
Parasites attached to fish/fish scraping against rocks Anchor worm *Anchor worm parasite medication*

Beware of using too much medication and it is best sometimes to remove your fish to a *hospital tank* because medications which demand you remove the carbon filters ot have malachite green in them will disturb your nitrogen cycle. This will leave you with a highly dangerous amount of nitrogen in your setup.

In short, buy only healthy fish. If you find your tank has been seriously affected by your disease, look first to your water quality because that will be where most of your problems lie.

If you have very sick fish that are not going to survive put them out of their misery painlessly by putting them in very ice/cold water. This shuts down their systems very quickly and is a more painless method than most. This works very well for tropical fish because they are adjusted to warmer water temperatures, cooler temperatures will put them down quickly and painlessly.


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