When Quarantine is mentioned, it means the ENTIRE
TANK. REMOVE ANY DYING OR DEAD FISH IMMEADIATLY!
This is highly contagious and can be spread to other
aquariums by algae scrapers, fish nets, wet hands, anything wet.
CAUTION! When buying medications and you have invertebrates in your tank, be sure the medication does not harm them. If you must use medications that harm invertebrates, they can be removed to a clean environment and returned to the tank after 72 hours of the last treatment.
CAUTION! When using antibacterial medications, they will harm or kill the plants and snails in the aquarium unless otherwise stated. If one cannot be found, remove snails and plants to a clean environment. They can be returned after 72 hours of last treatment.
Aquarium Salt- Add 1 level tablespoon per 5 gallons or 1 level teaspoon per 1 gallon of water to ease stress and aid in healing every time you treat for an illness.
Remove Activate Carbon when treating with medications. Replace when treatment is finished to remove residual medications.
Ask your local fish supplier for best treatments.
Anchor Worms (QUARANTINE)
Anchor worms cause extreme distress in fish. About 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch long, greyish in colour with a forked tail. Fertilized females penetrate the skin where they embed themselves like an anchor (hence the name) and develop egg sacs at the ends of the two fork points of the tail. The area where the worm has attached itself is red and secondary bacterial infections and/or fugal infections may occur if not treated promptly. This is extremely contagious and you must treat the entire tank. These mostly come from live foods.
Symptoms: green, brown, brown-red, clear, white or greyish string-like growths with forked tails that are visible anywhere on the fish. Open sores may also appear where the worms have drilled into the flesh. Do not confuse the open sores left by anchor worms with bacterial disease. These are ulcers.
Treatment: Any medications that treats for external parasites, especially anchor worms. Another method is to take a pair of tweezers and carefully remove the worm after a salt dip. Salt dips are also an easier way to remove already present worms. Remove the worms, but also treat for them for ulcers and if a secondary bacterial infection occurs, treat for it as well.
This is caused by a bacterial infection, or a disturbance in metabolism due to feeding of the wrong types of food or too much food.
Symptoms: Fish grow increasingly fat and look as if it will burst at any moment.
Treatment: If possible, separate infected fish. Add 1 level teaspoon/gallon of aquarium salt to the water, raise oxygen content and give appropriate medications. If a bacterial infection is the cause, quarantine the entire aquarium and treat for bacterial infections. If food is the culprit, change to appropriate foods.
Bacterial Gill Disease (QUARANTENE)
Difficult to diagnose visually.
Symptoms: Fish may have difficulty breathing and have bright read gills (even brighter if gills are red normally). Fish may linger at the water’s surface, on the bottom of the aquarium or near filters, gasping for breath.
Treatment: Use 1 teaspoon per gallon of aquarium salt in your tank to aid in healing and reduce stress. Use an antibacterial medication.
Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia (QUARANTINE)
This is from heavy stress, fighting, parasites.
Symptoms: Blood streaks on the fins and body of the fish.
Treatment: Add 1 teaspoon of aquarium salt to the aquarium to aid in healing and to reduce stress. Use anti-bacterial medications.
Bacterial Infection (QUARANTINE)
Bacterial diseases are usually the result of unclean tanks, cold water (not including coldwater tanks for coldwater fish), over-crowding, corn-based diets, or parasite infestation. There are several forms of bacterial infections that can infect your fish. Such common diseases are Fin Rot, Ulcers and Dropsy. Others can be detected with laboratory tests. To help prevent this, maintain proper water conditions.
Symptoms: Cloudy eyes, clamped fins, open sores on the body, abscesses, inflammation of the skin(reddening), fins look torn or eaten back. Internal organs can also be infected. Bulging eyes may be present or possibly rapid breathing.
Treatment: Fish with this should be treated with an anti-bacterial medication. The best would be a broad-spectrum antibiotic such as a general treatment medication. Using 1 teaspoon per gallon of aquarium salt in the water will aid in recovery. Some antibacterial medications can harm or even kill aquatic snails and vegetation. Consult your local fish supplier or petstore for assistance.
Usually these spots are seen as the fish is healing from ammonia surges. The area that was burned will turn black and this is the healing sign. The spots should fade within about 2 weeks. However, if there are snails in the tank or the fish are living in ponds you should read below:
These spots could be from the pigmented cysts that contain the larval stage of a trematode intestinal fluke. Quarantine tank if so.
Symptoms: Small black or brown spots up to 2 mm (0.08 inches) across. These spots appear on the body and fins of the fish and sometimes on their mouth and eyes.
Treatment: Modern anti-parasitic treatments should kill the parasites, and salt dips will remove them from the fish. The spots once formed may remain on the fish.
Blood Flagellates (QUARANTINE)
Normally aquarium fish are not affected by this. This disease consists of single-celled organisms with hair-like flagellae. They live as parasites in the blood of the fish. They live in a leeches intestines and are passed on to the fish when the leech bites the fish.
Symptoms: Fish will appear listless and swim abnormally. They become emancipated, with sunken eyes and pale gills (this indicates low red blood cells). Severely infected fish will die.
Treatment: No chemical treatment has been found to be effective against blood flagellates in fish. Since only fish that have been attacked by leeches become infected, it is most effective to remove the infected fish and eliminate the leeches. It is an easier task to accomplish in an aquarium than a pond.
This is caused by detergents, over-fertilization, hairspray, pesticides, Nitrite, Nitrate or Ammonia poisoning.
Symptoms: Colours of fish fade, fish gasp for breath at water’s surface, erratic swimming such as swaying, turning about and bumping into things.
Treatment: Do an almost complete water change (4/5). Use water conditioning agents and aquarium salt to protect the mucus membranes of the fish. Do not feed for 3 days. Test filter to be sure enough water is passing through and there is no over-flow. Use remedial measures. Watch your fish carefully. This lowers a fish’s resistance and makes them susceptible to disease.
Chilodonella & Cyclochaeta(QUARANTINE)
This disease has a habit of showing up when a fish has been injured. The parasite attacks the fish, but can spread to healthy fish in crowded conditions. The disease is very debilitating and in severe cases can cause long-term damage to the gills.
Symptoms: Affected fish will rub against hard objects and hold in their fins. A whitish blue opaqueness covers the skin, particularly between the head and the dorsal fin. If the gills are affected, the respiration rate increases noticeably. The later stages of the infection will give the skin a swollen appearance then fall off.
Treatment: If the fish is fairly strong, a good treatment is to try a 3% salt dip (this is a great cure to this). Keep the fish in the salt solution until they roll over, then put them back in the tank. For alternative treatment, and less stress for your fish, try a salt solution of 1% and let the fish swim in it for 10-15 minutes, then replace the fish back in the tank. Their are medications available at the pet stores. Look there and follow the directions accordingly. The parasites will die off if in the tank with no fish if they are left that way for 5 days. You must still treat your fish!
The most common cause of clamped fins is poor water quality. This is especial if the pH has crashed or the Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate levels are too high and the fish could have Chemical Poisoning. Parasites also cause this. If your water quality checks out fine, consider treating for parasites.
Cloudy eye can have many causes. Look for signs of Velvet Disease, Ick, Slime Disease, Dropsy and Fish Tuberculosis. However, sometimes this is caused due to bacterial infections.
Symptoms: One or both eyes become cloudy, and take a whitish appearance. Fish may show signs of distress and be off-color and behave abnormally.
Treatment: Establishing the likely cause of the problem and treating it as soon as possible is the best way to prevent damage to your fish's nervous system. The incidences of cloudy eye can be maintained by keeping the water quality in a good condition, and adding a small amount of aquarium salt to the water at water changes. There are many good medications available at your local pet stores that deal with this problem. Follow the recommended accordingly.
This is often caused by a diet without enough variety, or by feeding too many starchy type foods.
Symptoms: If your fish is having trouble passing feces, or if they are forever trailing behind a fish, your fish may be suffering from constipation.
Treatment: Feeding your fish a diet with more roughage and a greater variety sometimes helps! Feed live foods such as (wax worms, brine shrimp, tubiflex worms, etc.) peas, spinach. Stop feeding for 3 days. After three days, feed frozen peas that have been shelled and defrosted. These will help clean out the digestive track of the fish. If floating continues, pre-soak pellet food in one ounce of water and a pinch of Epson Salt. Soak for 10-15 minutes then discard water and feed pellets to fish. Try the Epson Salts only once or twice for as regular ingestion will kill the fish. Soaking pellets in the aquarium water also helps, but do not use water from the tank, use the water you have pre-treated to top off the aquarium water or replace changed aquarium water. Your aquarium water could contain parasites that can infect the inside of your fish.
Caution here. Some fish could be spawning. Affects mostly Goldfish. Costia is a protozoan flagellate. Attaches itself to fish and destroys skin cells. Usually preys on fish that are already ill or weakened. This is seen in over-crowded tanks. While a parasite is attached to a fish, it will thrive, but once removed, it will die in an hour. If fish are not treated promptly, fish will die in a few days.
Symptoms: Fish swim awkwardly, with fins folded. May rub against hard objects in the tank. An off-white film with reddening of affected areas can be seen on closer inspection.
Treatment: A 3% salt dip or a 1% salt bath may work. There are anti-parasitic medications available. Best to treat entire tank.
Coral Fish Disease (Oodinium ocellatum) (QUARANTINE)
This infection is similar to the freshwater velvet disease but lives mostly within and on the infected fish's gills.
Symptoms: Dusty skin, rapid breathing, and flared gills.
Treatment: Isolation in a hospital tank and treatment with copper sulphate or a proprietary remedy.
Dropsy/Malwi Bloat (QUARANTINE)
Dropsy is not a specific disease, but rather a condition where the fish's abdomen becomes swollen. It causes concentration of the fluids in the body tissues or cavities. This results in swelling of the fish's abdomen, thus creating a pinecone effect. The scales protrude from the body. A sudden swelling of the abdomen (scales may stick out) is ]known as acute dropsy while a slow swelling of the abdomen is known as chronic dropsy. The actual cause of " swelling could be one of several conditions:
Acute Dropsy - Internal bacterial infection can cause internal bleeding and thus cause acute dropsy.
Chronic Dropsy - cancer: In this case, the abdomen is slow to swell as the cancer affects the fish's internal organs. If the fish is not isolated in the early stages of the disease, it could spread to other fish that are being housed with the ill fish.
Chronic Dropsy - parasites: Internal parasites can cause dropsy (abdominal swelling) because they are rather large parasites or because of the damage they are causing with the fish's organs. The abdomen tends to swell over a period of time if the fish is infested with internal parasites. It is best to isolate the sick fish at once to help maintain the outbreak of disease with other fish!
Goldfish are said to be somewhat more prone to dropsy than other fish. In some cases it is caused by a Costia Infection. Be careful when making this decision. Some fish could be spawning.
Symptoms: The body will have a general swelling with protrusion of scales. The eyes may even bulge.
Treatment: Dropsy is not very contagious. The earlier it is caught the more likely treatment will be helpful. It is best to up the water temp to about 82-86 degrees F and use Epsom salts (1/8 teaspoon of Epsom salts per 5 gallons) instead of aquarium salts because they win help the fish to lose some of the fluid that has built up. (It is common to think that salts would help, but in reality the fish is bloating and having a hard time ridding its body of fluid; whereas the Epsom salts will "draw out toxins"). It is also wise to increase aeration since the temps will be higher. Water quality is very important at this time. This will have to be tried for about 2 weeks. Now if you think the fish is suffering from parasites you will need to treat for them first.
Fin and Tail Rot (QUARANTINE)
From a Bacterial Infection caused by improper water conditions, a high Ammonia content, pH is too high, Nitrates are too high, too much salt in the water, fish nipping at fins and from fighting.
Symptoms: Fins look frayed, eaten back, fins will erode right to body, fins show a loss of colour, and black streaked with blackening of the edges.
Treatment: Be sure you use medication for Fin And Tail Rot. In some cases secondary fungal infections can occur. If so, treat for Fin And Tail Rot first, then for fungus infections.
Fish Leech (QUARANTINE)
Worm-like creatures that attach themselves to a fish and suck their blood. They look like threads streaming from any part of a fish’s body. Secondary parasites such as Blood Flagellates are carried by Leeches. Fungus and/or Bacterial Infections are also a secondary cause.
Symptoms: Fish are restless, rubbing against anything it possibly can. Leeches are visible to the naked eye.
Treatment: A 3% salt dip is an effective way to remove leeches. If leeches remain after the dip, remove with tweezers. DO NOT REMOVE LEECHES BEFORE DIPPING YOUR FISH!!! Removal before will result in further injury to your fish.
Fish Lice (QUARANTINE)
Parasitic crustaceans that crawl on the body off Tropical Fish including Goldfish. They pierce the skin and suck blood.
Symptoms: Round flat shells with eight feather-like legs that range from 8mm to 12mm (0.3in to 0.5in) in diameter. Colours vary from light green to brown. Secondary Fungal and/or Bacterial Infections are in occurrence from Lice damage.
Treatment: Easily removable from the fish using a 3% salt dip and tweezers. Treatment for secondary diseases should be considered.
Fish Louse (QUARANTINE)
Argulus This parasite is another crustacean parasite which can swim from host to host attaching itself with strong suckers and puncturing the fish's skin with a poison spine.
Symptoms: scraping, scratching small sores, and the appearance of the parasite itself.
Treatment: removal with tweezers and removal from the infected setup along with treatment using a proprietary remedy.
Fish Tuberculosis (QUARANTINE)
Common mostly in Goldfish. The bacteria Mycrobacterium is the cause if this illness. It will infect humans so take precautions when siphoning water. DO NOT SWALLOW! WASH YOUR HANDS VERY WELL!
Symptoms: May show loss of appetite, laziness or listlessness, and loss of colour. When further progressed, fish become emancipated and develop bulging eyes as well as skin defects. Their spines become deformed.
Treatment: Consult your veterinarian. An early stage can be treated with human anti-TB drugs. Once the disease has advanced, medications do not seem to help. Remove dead or dying fish to prevent spread to other inhabitants of the aquarium. Best thing to do is the Humane Disposal of the fish.
Most commonly a secondary infection from open sores, injuries, recent diseases, or a lack of mucus covering. To avoid Fungus, remove sharp objects from the tank, do not overcrowd the fish, maintain proper water conditions and a clean tank.
Symptoms: White or grey cottony patches attached to the skin, mouth and/or fins of fish. There can also be extensive mucus on gills or surrounding wounds (Slime Disease).
Treatment: This is fairly easy to cure if Slime Disease is not present and medicated quickly with anti-fungal medications.
A common Bacterial Infection.
Symptoms: Open red sores on the body of the fish.
Treatment: Using a salt dip as well as antibacterial medications is an effective measure.
Hole-In-The-Head Disease (Hexamita) (QUARANTINE)
Parasites that infect intestinal track of fish, especially Chilids, Discus and many saltwater fish.
Symptoms: Holes develop in the head of the fish. Peeling and erosion of skin and muscles of face. Fish lose weight, show loss of appetite, nervousness, and ultimately death. Fish in planted aquariums rarely get HITHD for fish nibble plants for extra nutrition. Lack of nutrition and food varieties are a common culprit as well. Protozoan Hexamita can be found in lesions. If left unchecked, can prove disfiguring and fatal as well.
Treatment: Make sure water quality is optimal for fish. Feed vitamin-enriched foods with a high vitamin-C content. Consult your local petstore or fish supplier for further aid in treatments.
The most common parasitic infection of all fish. Pretty well constantly present in aquariums. Infects fish of poor health and or left with a low immune system due to other illnesses.
Symptoms: Fish look as if they have been sprinkled with salt. Fish may show rapid breathing, cloudy eyes, some fin deterioration.
Treatment: Salt dips are very effective along with medical treatments. Always adding aquarium salt to your tank will aid in the prevention of this illness.
Inflamed Gills (QUARANTINE)
Nitrate poisoning, possibly bacterial infection, defective gills(if born that way).
Symptoms: One or both gills will not close all the way. Gills may be inflamed. Fish may be gasping for breath.
Treatment: Use an antibiotic. In case of Nitrate Poisoning, use Methylene Blue.
Neon Tetra Disease (QUARANTINE)
A parasite that infects the muscles of tetras, angelfish, barbs and rasboras.
Symptoms: Causes loss of colour, a deformed appearance and a high loss of fish. Treatments are not always affective.
Treatment: Consult your local petstore or fish supplier for aid in this disease. Adding 1 teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon can aid in healing.
Pop -Eye can affect pond and aquarium fishes. The progress of the disease depends on what is or has caused it. Bulging eyes can result from a number of causes, including Fish Tuberculosis, Ick, Dropsy, Slime Disease and Bacterial Infections.
Symptoms: One or both eyes protrude abnormally. (remember some fish are bred to have protruding eyes ex: fancy goldfish)
Treatment: Use anti-parasite and anti-bacterial treatments along with salt dips. This is usually effective
Mostly affects Bettas (Siamese Fighting Fish), but can affect other fish. Sometimes a Betta will act sick but not have any symptoms of illness. They could have a mild bacterial infection, internal parasites such as worms, or just be depressed. Males can also become depressed after spawning. A male will let himself starve to death.
Symptoms: May or may not have clamped fins, lays on bottom of tank, does not or hardly eats, barely swims around and mostly stays in one place, Betta will not flare or build a bubble nest.
Treatment: If possible depression and a male Betta, put him with one or more female Bettas, depending on his temperament. A male Betta also does very well with a mixture of Mollies, Regular Guppies, Zebra Danios, Swordtails and/or one or more Comets. In the case of a male Betta that has just been separated from his siblings, float his jar in the tank or set it right next to the tank of where his siblings are still present so he may see them. Remember to secure the jar if floating in the tank so he does not swim out of it. For fish that show other signs including Bettas, including ones mentioned above, the fish may be sick. Check the other diseases on this site.
Saddleback Disease (QUARANTINE)
A bacterial infection caused by a common bacteria on the slime coating of a healthy or sick fish.
Symptoms: Greenish patches on fins and mouth area of fish. Livebearers develop greyish patches on their backs, hence the name ‘saddleback’. Areas affected may develop into ulcers and infect gills causing a rapid loss of fish.
Treatment: Using aquarium salt and salt dips are useful in aiding antibacterial medications in the treatment of this disease.
Skin Flukes/Gill Flukes (QUARANTINE)
Cannot be seen without a microscope. 0.8mm or 0.03in in length. They attach themselves much in the same way as anchor worms do. They constantly reproduce. Serious infections can result from their infestation.
Symptoms: Fish may rub against anything hard in the aquarium. Skin may appear opaque or inflamed. Gills can have a red discolouration (more so if gills are normally red). Fish show lack of appetite and rapid breathing. Fish may also linger near or at waters surface, gasping for air.
Treatment: Easily treated with fluke medications. Another remedy is a 3% salt dip. Always read medication instructions before use.
Slime Disease (QUARANTINE)
Caused by various protozoa and are treated in similar ways. These different parasites are Costia, Cyclochaeta and Chilodonella.
Symptoms: Frayed fins, sluggishness, dulled colouration, damaged gills and even death.
Treatment: There are many medications to treat this illness. If Slime disease does not clear up after following medication directions, it is more than likely the Chilodonella strain. Follow the treatment for this strain. If no results occur after this, consult a veterinarian. Read the individual treatments for each strain as well.
Subclinical Parasitic Infestation (QUARANTINE)
Protozoan Parasites that infect the gills and skin of fish.
Symptoms: Fish scratch against objects in aquarium, can develop sliminess on the skin (Slime Disease) or bloating. Swimbladder Disease and Ascites can be secondary infections. Breathing can be accelerated.
Treatment: Use antibacterial medications. Treat much the same way as Slime Disease.
Swimbladder or Flip-Over Disease
Swimbladder itself is not contagious, but some of the causes are. Commonly found in round bodied fish such as Orandas, Ryunkins, and Shubunkins. Also common in young Bettas about 30 to 60 days old whom have not fully developed as of yet. Double-Tail Bettas are particularly prone to this for they have a short body. Over-feeding such as too many Brine Shrimp and the wrong types of food can also cause this in all fish, as well as diseases. Sometimes it is not the Swimbladder or the Stom, but other diseases such as infected internal organs, improper water conditions, wounds from fighting, internal parasites, bacterial diseases or masses such as tumours. High Nitrates can damage the Stom and lead to Swimbladder Disease. Constipation can also show the symptoms of Swim Bladder Disease.
Symptoms: Unable to swim properly, may be swimming upside down (upside down catfish are upright) or on their sides. Some may just lay on the bottom and slide around. Fish can be bloated.
Treatment: Stop feeding for 3 days. After three days, feed frozen peas that have been shelled and defrosted. These will help clean out the digestive track of the fish. If floating continues, pre-soak pellet food in one ounce of water and a pinch of Epson Salt. Soak for 10-15 minutes then discard water and feed pellets to fish. Try the Epson Salts only once or twice for as regular ingestion will kill the fish. Soaking pellets in the aquarium water also helps, but do not use water from the tank, use the water you have pre-treated to top off the aquarium water or replace changed aquarium water. Your aquarium water could contain parasites that can infect the inside of your fish.
These treatments work in the early stages of digestive related Swimbladder problems (constipation for one). Once a fish begins to swim upside down, it cannot digest food properly and will slowly die. Treating for the other mentioned diseases along with these treatments can help your fish recover from this. When all attempt and trials fail, this is when one considers humane disposal of a fish.
Open sores located anywhere on a fish’s body. Caused by bacteria and/or parasites.
Symptoms: Red sores that appear and then hemorrhage on a fish. Sores have red abscesses or edges. Fish may also have red edges on fins (Fin Rot), show a lack of appetite and sluggishness.
Treatment: Treat as you would a Bacterial Infection.
A skin parasite.
Symptoms: a golden, velvety covering on the skin, fins and gills of fish. Fins may be clamped, fish will show laboured breathing. Fish will rub against hard objects and surfaces in the aquarium.
Treatment: Add 1 teaspoon per gallon of aquarium salt to the water. Parasites are highly contagious. Use anti-parasitic medications. A 3% Hydrogen Peroxide and Aquarium Salt bath also help to clear up Velvet.
Internal Parasitic Worms
Intestinal worms are usually found in outdoor fish. Indoor fish can become infected through wild- caught fish, or by feeding certain live foods that carry the parasites.
Thorny headed worms
These parasites attach themselves to the intestine, damaging lining and making the fish susceptible to infection and other parasites. These particular parasites hang on the gut lining by a duster of tiny hooks and absorb food over their entire body surface.
They are usually flattened and similar to a ribbon in shape. They use sucking discs or hooks to attach themselves to the belly or intestine of the fish.
Threadwonns or roundworms
They are usually found in the intestine of the fish. There are only a few select species that will be found in fish tanks.
A worm that infects the rectum of aquarium fish. It is usually seen in livebearing fish. Clusters of the worm can sometimes be seen protruding from the anus of a resting fish.
Infect the intestinal track of fish.
The gill and skin flukes are exterior parasites.
Symptoms: Fish may lose weight for no apparent reason, no matter how much they eat, fish start dying for not apparent reason.
Treatment: Severe infestations are difficult to treat. You would have to check with your local petstore, fish supplier or a veterinarian for more help on this issue. Prevention is the best medicine.