Aquarium Fish Health: White Spot Disease Symptoms And Cures

Fish death is one of the main problems that beginner aquarist and even some expert aquarist face. It’s frustrating to the extent that most quit keeping aquarium fish.

But fish death can be avoided. Most fish deaths are caused as a result of both an internal and external types parasites that compete with the fish in tank.

As a result 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 White Spot disease behavioral symptoms in your fish.

– Constant lying on the bottom or hanging at the surface.

– Rubbing of the body against rock

– Gasping at the water surface

– No response to feeding

– General dullness and lethargy

– Hovering in a corner

– Fish swimming with clamps up

White spot disease

The most common of the visible signs is the development of the pin head-size while spots on the body or fins. This ailment is referred to as White Spot disease and is 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 per cent 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.

Another tip if you are using a side filter with activated charcoal should remove it to prevent the coal from absorbing the Methylene Blue.

Another tip… 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 fish and unlike the general belief, it does not affect plants if used in weaker concentration.

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Aquarium Fish Health: Dealing With Cotton Mouth Disease (Mouth Fungus)

Cotton Mouth disease also know 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 while spot disease, but, it is highly infectious and contagious.

Cotton Mouth Disease

The victim fish shows a whitish fungus round 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.

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 consideration value, it should be killed before this fatal disease attack sthe 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 strong salt solution. Then you must then keep the patreat 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 colour the water deep blue.

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The Swim Bladder Disease

Do some of your fishes seem to be staying at the water all of the time? Whenever they try to swim downwards, do they seem to float back to the water surface? Or sometime they’ll even swim upside down as if they’re dead. If so, they might be suffering from a swim bladder disease/disorder! Of course, this does not apply to natural water surface dwellers.

The Swim Bladder Disease
What is a swim bladder?
Also known as the gas bladder or air bladder, it is an internal organ of a fish that controls its buoyancy. It is a gas-filled sac with walls that are impermeable to gases. By controlling the amount of gas in this sac, the fish is able to control its buoyancy.

There can be different causes, and different causes require different treatment.

Bacteria – A bacteria attack could cause inflammation at the epithelium of the sac, making the sac walls too thick for proper gas diffusion. Thus, the fish is now stuck at certain buoyancy, making swimming very difficult.

Diet – Feeding low-quality food that soaks up water and expand inside the fish can cause food impactions.

Shape of fish – Globoid-shaped fishes such as the Pearlscale Goldfish are especially prone to the swim bladder disorder due to their guts being all squashed up in their abdomen.

First, tend to your water’s quality. Making sure the water quality is top-notch allows us to assume that it is not a bacteria attack. But if you strongly suspect it to be the cause, then do visit your local pet shop for an appropriate medication. For treatment towards the other forms of cause, first stop feeding the sick fishes for a few days. Fishes can go without food for up to 10 days, so stopping a few days is really all right. After the few days, if the fishes do not get better, try feeding peas. Yes, peas that we eat. This treatment is being recommended by many and is well worth a try. The peas will supposedly encourage the destruction of impactions.
Remember, always keep your water condition good and feed sparingly. This will keep the occurrences of swim bladder diseases to a minimum.

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Goldfish Floating Problems

Goldfish swim bladder problems are very difficult to treat – especially in fancy goldfish. Floating seems to be more of a problem in egg shaped varieties especially if kept in aquariums and shallow ponds. There are lots of theories about the cause. I tend to believe it is a combination of in-breeding that produced an anatomy with compressed egg like bodies, feeding issues, and possibility an air bladder infections?

First stop feeding completely. It might take a month or more but this often helps. Maybe it is the loss of weight or it just takes time for the problem to resolve it self. Fish will not starve if not feed for a month – I promise. It would also be very helpful to raise the water temperature to 75 to80F degrees and add 1-2 lbs of salt per 100 gallons of water. Goldfish seem to do better if kept in water that constantly has 1/2 to 3/4 lb. of salt per 100 gallons. Be sure to use plain non iodized salt. If you have aquatic plants with your goldfish you will want to use a very low level of salt perhaps 1/4 lb. per 100 gallons.

Temperature changes also seem to play a factor. Use an aquarium heater indoors to keep your water temperature constant. In an outdoor pond do what you can to moderate the temperature changes.

I have not seen or had much success treating floating goldfish with antibiotics. I have read several articles that state that if there is an infection involved it is most likely viral and not bacterial. Therefore the only practical therapy is supportive.

Once a fish is floating so badly it starts getting infections from it’s skin drying out above water you have a major problem. You might try to put something in the aquarium that would allow the fish to suspend itself below water. In a pond they will sometimes wedge themselves into a water lily or some other pond structure to stay below the water. Maybe in an aquarium you can put in something smooth with a dome top and open sides that will allow the fish to swim into it and be held below the surface. You might have to place the fish in position several times before it stays there.

Now the really bad news. If you catch a fish and treat it quickly it can resolve it’s floating problem – however eventually these same fish tend to start floating again and they respond poorer to treatment if at all the 2nd time, etc.

Prevention is the key. Buy comets or common goldfish – they seem to be almost immune to this problem. When you buy fancy goldfish be sure that you watch them for a significant time – are they swimming normally? If they seem to sit on the bottom or swim in a awkward position head up or down do not buy them. They should not float or sink when they stop swimming and be able to hang fairly level while suspended in the water for some time. I know! The best ones all seem to have a swimming problem. PLEASE – DO NOT BUY THEM!

Feed only very fresh goldfish food that is kept in a air tight container in a cool dry place where it cannot get moldy. I suggest the refrigerator. Feed tiny amounts several times a day. Overfeeding is death to fish. Feed only sinking food. Avoid flake foods. Buy goldfish food made into pellets. You can soak most goldfish pellets in pond or aquarium water for a few minutes and it will sink – but that is too much trouble for me. I buy sinking pellets. If you cannot find sinking goldfish pellets ask you supplier to order them for you or go online to I buy the SHO Gold sinking pellets that is advertised on this website. I also like to feed canned baby green peas occasionally.

Floating food especially flake food requires goldfish to swallow air which can start the floating problems. These types of fish have a swim bladder that is connected to their gut. They add or remove air via this duct as needed for buoyancy control. Apparently some fish start to develop a problem equalizing the air in their swim bladders and either start floating or sinking.

There definitely seems to be less floating problems in deeper ponds vs shallow ponds and aquariums. Perhaps fish in deeper ponds (3 ft+) can dive to the bottom when they first start having a problem and because of the extra pressure equalize the air in it’s bladder easier than in a shallow pond?

We have three small baby ranchus about 1-1/2 inches long. We keep them in a one hundred gallon aquarium. Recently one of them started floating. I moved the baby fish to our outdoor goldfish pond which is 3-1/2 feet deep. After only a few days it was doing much better. Perhaps because it could swim towards the bottom of the pond and equalize the pressure in it’s swim bladder easier. I will still bet you however, that this fish will have a floating problem as it gets bigger. Only time will tell. (follow up – this ranchu did well for about 4 months but, then started floating again and eventually died. The other two fish are still doing just fine)

I am sorry I do not have better news for you about your floating goldfish. Hopefully, this information will help you prevent future problems in other fish and more carefully select healthier fish less likely to develop the problem. Good Luck!

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Common Fish Diseases

There are many different kinds of ailments that can attack aquarium fishes. They are also sometimes hard to diagnose properly. I have written some information on some of the most common ailments and their treatments. It is wise however, to always check with a knowledgable aquariest, or veteranarian if you can’t diagnose or treat your fish. Water quaility is the best way to prevent the onset of diseases in your fish. Keeping your tank and filters clean will help. Also if there are signs of injury, you can often ward off problems by treating the injured fish before infections invade the wound. When adding new fish to a tank be sure to watch for signs of disease or damage from transport, fighting, etc. Spending time watching your fish and how they behave is one way of getting to know your fish. You will notice changes in behavior when they get sick. Knowing your fish and how they act, may help you notice diseases and treat them before the fish get too bad to treat, or infect the whole tank.

Quite a few people have sent me email and webform submissions asking about fish diseases. I am not able to answer questions on fish diseases. I cannot accurately diagnose your fish’s disease or ailment over email. Just as your doctor could not diagnose your illnesses over the phone. It takes a lot of experience to be able to accurately diagnose various diseases. The only way to correctly do that is to be able to see the fish in question. I have provided a short list of the most common ailments below. Read the symptoms and treatments carefully. Always seek the advice of your local pet or aquarium shop, if you need someone to look at your fish, or take it to a veteranarian. That may sound funny, however, there are some very expensive fish out there!!

“ICH”: White spot disease
This is probably one of the most commonly found ailments. Ich looks like small granules of salt and are separate from each other and defined. This Protozoan disease in fresh water environments is caused by Ichthyophthirius and in marine environments by the parasite Cryptocarion irritans. The parasite attacks the eyes, fins, gills, skin and mouth interior. It is recognized by tiny and distinct, white pinpoints covering these surfaces.The fish may attempt to scrape itself against objects in the aquarium, exhibit a loss of appetite or a stressed-rapid breathing. The parasite has a cyclical life span and can only be affected by treatment during the free-swimming stages of the cycle.

Treatment: In most cases the use of a Copper Sulfate or Copper Formalin based medication should be able to clear most parasite outbreaks. I recommend Copper Safe, or Maracyn. In severe cases, it may become necessary to exactly determine the type of parasite, so that a more targeted medication may be prescribed. There are various commercial remedies on the market which commonly come in either chelated or non-chelated formulas. Chelated formulas are easier to administer, but may not be as effective as non-chelated formulas with certain outbreaks. Whichever brand you choose, be careful to follow the manufacturers directions precisely. The parasite usually leaves an open wound once it leaves the host to reproduce and in many instances a secondary bacterial or fungus infection may occur. It is always prudent to combine an antibiotic remedy with the parasite treatment to prevent further complications.

Thermal Therapy: In aquarium environments with warm water species, raising the aquarium temperature to 90� for a period of 5 consecutive days may also be effective. Do not use thermal therapy on fish sensitive to warm temperatures, as it will only lead to increased biological stress.

Velvet looks similar to Ich, but there will be many more small white spots that appear dusty. This Protozoan disease in fresh water environments is caused by Oodinium limneticum and Oodinium pillularis. In marine environments by Oodinium occellatum. The parasite attacks the eyes, fins, gills and skin. The disease may resemble “Ick”, but is recognized by a dusty appearance on these surfaces and can have a yellowish color. The fish may attempt to scrape itself against objects in the aquarium, exhibit a loss of appetite or a stressed-rapid breathing. The parasite has a cyclical life span and can only be affected by treatment during the free-swimming stages of the cycle.

Treatment: See treatment above for Ich, It is the same for Velvet.

This is one of the most disturbing of fish diseases, and is rarely cureable. Dropsy is an internal bacterial infection. The fish’s scales will stand out, making it have a pine comb look. What causes the scales to protrude is the body will fill with fluids, swelling the fish causing the pine cone effect, and can be severe enough to sometimes cause the eyes to bulge. The fish will get very lethargic. Move the infected fish to a quarantine tank. Use Kanamycin or Tetracycline and raise the temperature to about 80 degrees. You can also try using Epsom salts to treat the disease. Use one tablespoon for each 10 gallons of water. This will help eliminate the fluid from the body.

This is a very common disorder which infects all kinds of tropical fish. Its appearance is a cottony white color, and usually shows up on scrapes, damaged fins, or on the mouth. It is also much more likely in poor water conditions in which there are unacceptable levels of ammonia or nitrites. Fungal infections are also a sign of bullying by other fish. Fin nippers will damage the fins of other fish making them more susceptible to fungal infections and external bacterial infections such as fin and tail rot. Treatment of fungal infections is relatively easy. There are a great many commercially available products for this, including MarOxy by Mardel Laboratories and Super Sulfo by Aquatronics.

Visible worms, flukes or lice on the body. Parasitic infestation is perhaps the easiest to diagnose. The fish must be removed from the tank while the parasite is removed. Follow up treatment is essential to prevent fungal or bacterial growth. Treatment: Pick the visible parasites from the fish. Follow with commercially available treatment such as Aquatronic’s Diacide or CopperSafe by Mardel Laboratories. You can also help prevent infections from the parasite by applying mecuricomb to the wound with a cotton swab.

External Bacterial Infection:
There are a great deal of possible symptoms associated with this infection. There may be spots on the body which appear red or orange. Watch for red streaks on the surface on the body. Dropsy is also a sign of a bacterial disorder. “False Fungal Infections” look like fungus but is actually a bacterial infection known as Columnaris. These symptoms may include a white or gray film on the body. Bacterial infections are often difficult to diagnose due to the many different types. Orange or red streaks on the body is usually the only fool-proof method for the identification of a bacterial infection. Treatment: There are a number of effective treatments for many stains of bacterial infections. Three of the most common are tetracycline, penicillin and naladixic acid. Salt baths are another effective treatment. prednisolone getting off

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Water poisoning

A lot of fish diseases are the result of poor water condition / poisoning. Make sure you have good water condition is a good way to prevent fish diseases. Also, make sure your tank is completely cycled.

Ammonia Poisoning –
Ammonia is highly toxic to any fish. Reasons for an ammonia poisoning include a new set-up (nitrogen cycle), an interruption of the beneficial bacteria (i.e. power outage, medication, filter exchange) or a change in the bio-load, if too many new fish have been added to the aquarium too quickly.

Symptoms –
The signs are a lethargic motionless fish hovering at the bottom of the tank, red gills and a lack of appetite. Advanced cases will show bleeding gills as well as external and internal bleeding toward the final stage before resulting in death.

Treatment –
In addition to a water change, first aid can be given by lowering the pH to 7.0 or less. Toxic ammonia changes into ammonium at this level and is, at this stage, harmless and non-toxic.
PH can be lowered by using distilled water for the partial water change.

Nitrite Poisoning –
Nitrite is less toxic then ammonia, but still poses a significant health risk to the fish, and can be deadly in high doses or over long periods of time.
Nitrite enters the bloodstream of the fish and binds hemoglobin cells – the oxygen carrying vessels of the fish’s body. In other words, high nitrite levels will suffocate the fish.
The cause for nitrite poisoning is the same as described with ammonia poisoning.

Symptoms –
Fish gasping for air at the water surface is generally a good sign of nitrite poisoning.

Treatment –
15% water change daily until the tank is cycled.

Chlorine, Chloramine, Heavy Metals –
All three of them are in general of no concern as the water usually is treated with a conditioner prior to use, eliminating this problem right from the start.

Most tap water (city water) is treated with chlorine/chloramine to make it safe for human consumption. Unfortunately, our wet pets do not appreciate that. Chlorine/chloramines poisoning has similar signs as associated with nitrite poisoning. Chlorine/chloramines irritates the gills and blocks the oxygen carrying cells, again leading to suffocation. Additional to the fish gasping for air, a chlorine odor can be detected.

If so, adding a water conditioner is imminent, as chlorine/chloramine can kill all fish within 24 hours.
High concentrations of heavy metals can lead to a sudden fish death without any warning signs. A good water conditioner will also remove heavy metals next to chlorine/chloramine.

The degree of heavy metal toxicity is dependent on the water hardness. Fish can tolerate 10 times the amount of heavy metals in an aquarium at 18 degrees hardness as with 1 degree.

Some medications and aquarium additives contain copper; they have to be used with caution and should not be used over an extended period of time.

Carbon Dioxide Poisoning –
CO2 levels in excess of 25-30 ppm are dangerous for fish. Common signs for CO2 poisoning are an increasing and more rapid breathing, gasping for air, and a staggering swimming behavior – all leading to suffocation of the fish.

CO2 PoisoningCO2 poisoning can be caused by a malfunction of the CO2 reactor, or the inability of plants to absorb CO2 if the lighting is insufficient.

A quick and long lasting solution is to heavily aerate the tank through surface agitation and air-stones. This will cause the CO2 to dissipate from the water.

Hydrogen Sulfite
In rare occasions, such as a severe lack of maintenance or an extended power outage, hydrogen sulfite can be formed in the gravel or within the filter.

Hydrogen sulfite can be detected by its rotten egg like smell. Hydrogen sulfite transforms iron within the blood cells into sulfide which will lead to suffocation of the fish.

Hydrogen Sulfite
The warning signs of hydrogen sulfite are the same as with nitrite poisoning in addition to the rotten egg smell of the water.

Prevention is crucial; the gravel should be cleaned on a regular basis. In case of a power outage, the filter has to be rinsed out well, before re-starting it. This will help eliminate the toxins that are in the filter, instead of washing them into the tank. Toronto e s c o r t s

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Marine Velvet (Amyloodiniosis) – Written

Marine Velvet (Amyloodinium ocellatum) is one of the more problematic parasitic diseases encountered by hobbyists. Only Cryptocaryon (marine ich) is seen more frequently by aquarists. Mortality is nearly certain in the advanced stages of Amyloodiniosis and diagnosis is difficult due to the lack of outward physical markings in the early stages. Heavy infestations tend to occur within the gill filaments and death can occur within a day once this stage is reached. Quick, proactive treatment is needed to save the infected animal and early detection is desired. Once the parasite is introduced into a closed system, all fish must be removed to a hospital quarantine setting and treated accordingly. Amyloodiniosis has been known to wipe out entire fish populations within a week of introduction, so the best course of action is to quarantine all new arrivals for a period of four weeks before placing them in the display tank. This parasite is usually brought into a system with newly-arriving fish, but can also be brought in (less frequently) from invertebrates, corals, live rock, etc, in its tomont stage.

Life Cycle:
The life cycle of Amyloodinium ocellatum should be understood in dealing with an infected fish or system. Basically it has a 3 stage life cycle.
1. Trophont- The stage in which the parasite becomes attached to the host fish either on the body or the gill filaments. Here the trophozoites grow and mature, getting their nutrients from the host fish. Once they reach maturity (3-7 days) they then drop off the fish and encase on the substrate in the tomont stage.
2. Tomont- In this cystic state the tomonts undergo internal division and emerge in greater numbers to the free-swimming state called dinospores.
3. Dinospore- In this free-swimming state the parasites reattach to the host fish to start the cycle over again in greater numbers until the animal becomes overwhelmed and perishes. Dinospores remain in this free-swimming stage, seeking a host usually for 7-8 days, but some have been found to survive as long as 30 days. It is in this free-swimming state that the parasite is vulnerable to treatment.
It is also worth noting that Amyloodinium can complete its life cycle in as little as 3-6 days. This short life cycle, coupled with the fact that each new tomont can release as many as 256 free swimming dinospores, is the primary reasons why death from this parasite is so abrupt. Without quick intervention, the gill filaments can quickly become overwhelmed and damaged, causing the fish to suffocate.

Symptoms and Prognosis:
The difficulty in dealing with this parasite is diagnosing its presence. Unlike Cryptocaryon, physical markings are usually not detected until the later stages of infestation when the animal is already near death. Early detection is paramount if a successful treatment is to be implemented.
The early signs include loss of appetite, rapid respiration rate (about 80 times a minute), general lethargy, swimming or hovering in one part of the tank (usually near the surface or by a power head) and scratching (flashing) on substrate, rock or tank decorations. In the advanced stages there may be golden or white dusty-looking patches on the body, or around the gills. Unfortunately, once this stage is reached, the fish will usually perish within a few hours from a lack of O2.

The only practical, effective treatment for amyloodiniosis is copper. All fish (hosts) must be removed from the infected system and treated in isolation (quarantine) hospital tank(s). The parasite is only vulnerable in its free-swimming (dinospore) state, so the copper must be maintained at the manufacturer’s recommended dosage for 14-21 days. A 21-day period of copper treatment is the best way to ensure that the parasites at all stages have completed their life cycle and have been eradicated. After the copper treatment is complete, the fish should remain in the hospital tank for another 5 weeks for observation to ensure against reinfection.
The copper medicine that I recommended for this treatment is Cupramine by Seachem. It is a non-chelated copper and is well tolerated by most fish. It is also imperative that the proper test kit be used while administering a copper treatment. In the case of Cupramine, the Seachem Multitest kit for copper is the test kit of choice. When using copper, the correct dose must be maintained for the prescribed time. If the level of copper in the hospital tank is too low, the parasite may survive the treatment. If the level of copper is too high, the fish may die from poisoning. It can’t be stressed enough how important the PROPER test kit is for this treatment.
Invertebrates, corals, and microscopic life in the substrate and live rock cannot tolerate any level of copper and should remain in the display tank. They are NOT considered hosts for Amyloodinium and will not facilitate their life cycles.
The second and equally important part of the treatment is the display tank fallow time. Once again, ALL fish must be removed to hospital tanks for treatment and the display tank must be without any fish hosts for a period of eight weeks to ensure that all trophonts have cycled through the free swimming stage and have died off due to a lack of fish hosts.
It is also important to note that the immune system of the fish will be highly compromised. High water quality and good nutrition are extremely important while the fish is in treatment. Ammonia and pH should be monitored closely. Good water quality can be maintained with daily pH-adjusted, pre-medicated water changes. One can also help boost the immune system of the fish by soaking the food in a high quality vitamin supplement such as Selcon or Zoe.

An Ounce of Prevention:
The best measure one can take in the battle against a parasitic outbreak is to keep the organism out of the system in the first place. A proper four-week quarantine period of all new arrivals will help ensure that the system stays “clean”, even if the animals are the initial purchases. This observation period is the perfect time to treat any ailment that may show itself and will ensure that the parasite remains out of the display tank. It’s better to treat in a controlled setting at first, rather than stressing the fish by catching and removing them from the display tank at a later date.
Even though invertebrates, corals, live rock, and other non-fish additions are not hosts for parasitic outbreaks, it is also recommended to isolate and quarantine these items if they come from a system that houses fish life. When items come from a system that houses potential hosts (fish), there is a possibility that a tomont could be transferred into your system from any item within that system.

Marine Velvet is a deadly, difficult ailment to deal with once introduced into a closed system. With the careful selection and proper quarantine of your new pets, you will have, in fact, earned your pound of cure.

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Setting Up Quarantine Tank

A quarantine tank need not be an expensive addition to your fishkeeping hobby, and could avert a potential disaster. A simple setup is described below.

A small (say 18x12x12″) tank should be suitable for all but very large fish. No substrate is necessary as this will make the tank easier to keep clean as well as cutting the cost. Use some sort of backing on the tank to make fish feel more secure, this could be extended along one of the short sides of the tank. A 50-100W heater should be sufficient. Use a small inexpensive sponge filter (this could be left running in the main tank when not in use to keep the filter ‘mature’, and returned to the main tank with the fish once it has been established that they are healthy).

Keep decor to a minimum to aid cleaning (e.g. rocks, plant pot ‘caves’ or plastic plants), but provide a refuge for fish to feel secure. Without live plants it is not necessary to light the tank, this will also reduce the cost and the fish may feel more secure in subdued daylight than they would under bright lighting.

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Try This for Tail Rot

Until discovering this method of treating tail rot, I had previously run into one problem or another with any other medhod of treatment I tried…either the medication did little or nothing to cure the tail rot, or it worked fine on the tail rot but damaged the health of the guppy itself.

Having gone through a wide variety of formulas to cure the bain of the guppy breeder I gradually reached the conclusion that anything that was strong enough to cure the tail rotbefore the show value of the guppy was lost, was too strong for the guppy to live in safely.

The answer had to lie in getting a super strong dose on the tail area without giving the guppy the same dosage. Since this theory obviously does away with adding medication to the tank water, the next locical step was to net the guppy out of the water for treatment.

To make a long story short, several methods and several types of medication were tried. The easiest and most effective method turned out to be as follows:

1. Net the fish and hold it in the net until the first wild thrashing aroung stops.
2. Hold the fish firmly but gently within the net so his head is uphill from his tail… this is vital as thestrong medication must not run down in to the gill areas. Should this happen, immediately return the fish to the tank and cross your fingers.
3. Paint the exposed side of the guppy tail, beginning at the peduncle and concentrating on ther final fringe where the tail rot is most active.
4. Paint the other side of the tail right through the net from the outside.
5. Wait about 20 seconds after painting then return the fish to his home tank (providing of course, that it is clean and well cared for).

All signs of tail rot should be gone by the next day and within a week new growth should be visible. Ocassionally a fish needs more than one treatment (maybe a spot was missed during the first treatment). Because the functional part of the guppy does not come in contact with the medication it has proven perfectly safe to repeat the treatment as often as necessary to clear up even the most persistant tail rot.

The medication that has proven most effective on my guppies is Tetra care Fungistop (active ingredients: colloidal silver, natrium chloratum, Ma-gn.sulphuric) used full strength from the bottle painting directly on the tail it seems to stop the tail rot right now and regrowth begins quickly… no need to trim away diseased areas. If the tail rot has not been allowed to progress very far, the fish is back in show finnage in no time at all. And since it is not necessary to add medication to the tank water, the fish is not weakened but remains hardy and vigorous. It has certainly proven to be the quickest, safest method I have come across.

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Treating external infections and wounds on your Koi & Goldfish

Fish live in an environment where bacteria are always present. Healthy fish living in healthy water conditions have a special slime coat designed to protect them against infections. Bacterial infections are almost never a primary cause of disease. When parasites, physical injury, or poor water quality damages a fishes skin, fins, or gills you can bet that external bacteria infections will eventually show up. An additional important consideration is water temperature. At water temperature below 65 degrees a fish’s immune system is greatly reduced and below 50 degrees it is almost nil. To successfully treat an external infection you must have water temperature above 65 degrees at minimum and 75 degrees would be much better. This is another reason to have a quarantine tank that can have it’s water temperature maintained at 75 degrees at all times. If you are continually treating external infections you must find and eliminate the primary cause/s. In order of probable primary cause look for:

Poor water quality could be due to high ammonia, nitrites, D.O.C.’s., dirty filters or pond with lots of decaying material, or low oxygen levels. Larger filter system and or better maintence.

Skin or gill parasites – must be identified and treated specifically

Rough or sharp objects in the pond that fish can rub against – eliminate.

Immune deficient fish due to liver or kidney damage or internal infection.

Once you have checked for fish parasites and tested your water and everything is fine. Then you should be able to treat you fish’s fin or skin infection easily. If external infections are detected early, prompt wound care and topical disinfectants work very well. Here is an effective method to administer effective first aid for skin or fin infections.

Use surgical gloves.

Gently catch the infected fish and use an anesthetic to put it under so you can work on it.

Gently place the fish (wound side up) on a plastic bag molded to hold the fish in place and keep it’s skin and gills moist and not damage the slime coat on the rest of the body. Your fish will be just fine for at least ten minutes under these conditions.

Use a paper towel to gently clean and dry the affected fin or wound area.

If there is a lot of infection material present thoroughly clean area with hydrogen peroxide but be sure it does not get into fish’s gills or eyes. Clean entire infected area including under each affected scale with a disinfected fingernail cleaner to remove any pockets of infection.

Use topical disinfectant such as iodine on a cue tip to drench the affected areas and allow to dry briefly. You may want to use a hair dryer set on cool to speed up the process.

Move the fish into a clean container with aerated pond water until it revives and starts swimming. Then return the fish to a heated quarantine tank or pond if temperature is warm enough.

Closely observe daily to be sure the wound is not getting worse. Feeding is a good way to get a closer look at the treated area. Healing should be visible in 3-7 days depending on the water temperature. Do not reapply disinfectant or re-clean wound unless healing is not apparent after one week. Fish heal by having a thin clear fragile membrane like layer of skin grow over the affected area. Try not to net or otherwise damage the healing area. Slowly the affected area will turn white, which means it is healing – leave it alone. If after one week the area looks worse or shows indication of bleeding you will need to repeat the wound treatment process but this time be sure you do a really good job of cleaning and disinfecting the affect areas.

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