photo credit creative commons license bob_jenkins
Fish Diseases — The Signs of Stress and/or Disease
- Everyone deals with sickness in their aquarium at one time or another.
- This list may be extensive...but here is some information that may be of some help for you.
- Be sure and see RECOMMENDED TREATMENT following list of diseases.
* Before you do anything...Check your water parameters!
Is there high ammonia? Nitrates? Nitrites?
If you find any of these readings to be high, an immediate 25% water change should be made. Has the temperature been constant or does it fluctuate even a few degrees from day to day? If it fluctuates, you may have a faulty heater, and it should be replaced. Varying temps can cause stress in fish.
Are you changing enough water? Many times water changes are all that you needed to help fish get back to health. Adding salts and heat can do wonders. You may not have to use any medications at all.
Learn to recognize these signs of stress and/or disease:
1. Clamped Fins
The fish clamps its fins close against the its body. Experienced aquarists use this to quickly spot problems with their fish.
If you see that some of your fish have clamped fins and treat your fish immediately, you can usually cure them and avoid more serious stress and disease.
See Recommended Treatment ~below.
Looks like the fish is swimming fast but staying in the same place. Shimmy is easy to spot, and if the fish is treated immediately, you can usually cure it and avoid more serious stress and disease.
See a Recommended Treatment~below.
3. Ich Spots
Ich looks like tiny white spots on the body and fins of the fish. This is a common disease of fish, and if the fish are treated immediately, you can usually cure ich and avoid more serious stress and disease.
See Recommended Treatment~below.
4. Red or White Sores
Many things can cause sores on fish such as fights with other fish, scraping on sharp rocks, and small wounds that get infected and grow bigger. A new small sore can usually be cured. Older or larger sores are more difficult to treat, but sometimes you can succeed, and treating your fish will make it less likely that other fish will be infected by the fish with the sore. Quite often these sores are flat or cause a depression in the surface of the fish. Less often a sore may be a bump that is raised above the surface of the fish.
In all cases the Recommended Treatment is the same.
5. Gasping at the Surface
A fish that is gasping at the surface of the water is usually suffering from a lack of oxygen, that could be due to a lack of oxygen in the water or the fish’s inability to absorb the oxygen from the water. If there is just one or only a few fish gasping at the surface, but the other fish are normal, then the water probably has plenty of oxygen and you should immediately treat the gasping fish.
See Recommended Treatment.
On the other hand, if almost all the fish are gasping, then there is probably a lack of oxygen in the water, and you should immediately do all of the following:
- Check the Filter to be sure it’s working properly. If it’s not working properly, immediately fix it.
- Check the Temperature of the water on the thermometer. Angelfish do best in 78-82 degree water.
- Add Aquarium Salt until the water has a total of 1 Tablespoon of aquarium salt for each 5 gallons of water. An air stone is helpful for added oxygen.
6. Crashed on the Bottom
When fish crash on the bottom and do not swim, it is usually a sign that they are exhausted. There are many reasons a fish can become exhausted, but quite often they have been sick, and probably showed symptoms such as gasping, shimmy, or clamped fins, before they became tired and crashed on the bottom. So the Recommended Treatment was not started promptly, and chances of curing a fish that is crashed on the bottom are less, but the Recommended Treatment may work and will probably protect the other fish that came in contact with the crashed fish.
See Recommended Treatment.
7. Glancing or Flashing
is a fish behavior where a fish rubs itself on the bottom of the aquarium, or on the gravel, or on a rock or ornament. The fish rubs or glances because it is itchy. An itchy fish often develops more serious Signs of Stress and Disease. If you see your fish glancing, you should immediately treat your aquarium.
8. Loss of Appetite
If your fish is not eating or takes food in its mouth and then immediately spits it out, your fish is showing one of the Signs of Stress and Disease. You should be sure other fish are not making this fish miserable. Give fish that are not eating the Recommended Treatment.
9. White, stringy feces
Always keep an eye on the type of poop your fish put out. It should be a reddish brown, similar to the color of the food you are feeding them. If it is white and stringy, it is time to evaluate your fish’s behavior to determine if it is sick.
10. Other Signs of Stress
There are many other Signs of Stress and Disease in fish. For example, there is so-called “fin rot” where the edges of the fish’s fins disintegrate, or “pop eye” where the fish’s eye bulges out, or “cotton mouth” where the fish has patches that look like cotton around it’s mouth, but most of these more pronounced Signs of Stress and Disease occur after the more subtle Signs of Stress and Disease that are listed above.
Severe fin rot by vikas
“Fin rot”, “pop eye”, “dropsy”, and “cotton mouth” are difficult to cure. But before they occur, the fish often show milder Signs of Stress and Disease like clamped fins. If you treat a fish at the first Sign of Stress and Disease, you’ll have a much better chance of curing it.
If you see any of the symptoms listed above or if several fish have recently died in your aquarium,
Take Immediate Action!
Siphon with bulb by Shocker
1. Clean Your Tank.
The first step is to clean your tank. Don’t overreact and completely tear it apart and scrub everything. Just scrub the sides and bottom, and do a 25-50% water change. Be sure to add conditioner. ( AmQuel +plus, Prime, Stress Coat are good products)
Repeat water changes every day until the fish are no longer showing Sign of Stress or Disease. Don’t change more than 25% of the water in one day.
2. Clean the Gravel.
Tanks that have gravel should have a layer about 1/4 inch thick. Vacuum the gravel. Do not vigorously clean as to remove all beneficial bacteria.
Usually 1/2 the tank at one cleaning is sufficient.
You can avoid many problems with your fish’s health by not having any gravel in your aquarium (bare-bottom) or by keeping a very thin layer of gravel.
3. Add Aquarium Salt.
The dose recommended on the package label is one Tablespoon of Aquarium Salt per five gallons of aquarium water. So, for example, a 10-gallon aquarium gets 2 Tablespoons of Aquarium Salt. Do not repeat the salt and do not use iodized table salt. Aquarium Salt is available in many stores that sell pet fish. It can also be purchased in a grocery store–normal table salt, but DO NOT use IODIZED.
4. Increase the Water Temperature.
Gradually increase the temperature of the water to a maximum of 88 degrees F. Water should never be lower than 78 degrees for angels. Most all cichlids do best in warmer temps. of 78-82 degrees.
What Not To Do
DO NOT add any other fish until all signs/symptoms of disease are gone.
These are general guidelines. Some fish hobbyists may have differing opinions on water temps, cleaning tanks, treatments, etc. But these can be helpful to a newbie who needs information FAST.
BEFORE ANY MEDS ARE ADDED TO YOUR TANK, BE SURE TO REMOVE YOUR CARBON FILTER. REPLACE IT ONLY WHEN THE MEDS APPLICATION IS DONE. Follow directions & treat for full duration even if fish appear to be improving.
Maracyn 2 by johanna13
* Fish medication List*
Please note: this is not an “all inclusive” list.
Regarding medicating fish: It is always best to treat any fish in a bare bottom tank when medications are being used. IF you can not do this make sure you don’t have any excess of organics built up inside your filters or gravel. A good cleaning of the tank (before medicating) will always help any meds work better instead of having to cut through all the organic loads. To ease up any ammonia building up and there will be some, feed lightly. Water changes will greatly help in reducing bacteria and parasites depending on what you’re dealing with. This will also require you to use more meds as a daily dose.
Effective treatment for Internal Flagellates or hexamita. Common symptoms: spitting out food, white stringy feces, fish acting nervous & facing towards back of the tank & hiding. Not eating a very common sign of flaggy. Treatment: 300 Mgs per 10 gallons of water. Heat up to 88 degrees. You may add Epsom salts 1 teaspoon per 20 gallons with addition of 25 to 50% water changes before each dose. This dose may be repeated 2x daily morning and night. Metronidazole will lose its effectiveness within 8 hours. For a stubborn case use 500 mgs per 10 gal 2x daily. These treatments should continue for 5 days. In food, if your fish are still eating you may dose 100 mgs per 1 oz of food. Mix in well. Allow 10 minutes to soak up. Feed twice daily for 5 days. Any un-used foods should be stored in the freezer not the fridge as the medication will lose its effectiveness.
This dewormer will require 4 feedings. Grind up into a fine powder and mix 1/8 teaspoon per 3 ounces of food. Mix together medicine and food. Allow to soak in food for 1 hr. Place in Fridge while soaking. Feed once on days 1 and day 2. Begin 3rd and 4th feedings on days 7 and 8. Panacur does not go into water. (Only food) Do not feed other meals during the days of dewormings.
Most commonly used for gill flukes and internal worms. 14 days for gill flukes & eggs. 18 days for Capillaria to adults & eggs. 1/4 teaspoon per 25 gallons along with daily water changes at 25%. Redose after water change to the percentage you relieve from the tank. Water changes are necessary to avoid bacterial problems. Aeration is important during this treatment as oxygen will deplete. Caution: There have been reports of fish head-standing & tail standing when using this medication. Praziquantel can be used as an alternative for flukes. Do not exceed temperatures of 84.
This is used as a treatment to control external parasite infections of fish. It is effective against most protozoans, Also some of the parasites known as trematodes. Formalin kills parasites on gills, skin, and fin. Make sure water is clean before beginning this treatment. Then dose 2 drops per gallon. With a 50% water changes in 8- Hours or 4 to 6 drops per gallon, 50% to water change in 4 hours. Must check fish throughout the course of this treatment for any stress. Formalin can also be used to control fungus on eggs 1 -2 drops per gallon. Formalin is not effective against internal infections. 3 treatments of every other day will be needed for flukes to get under control. The temperatures should not exceed 82 degrees. Formalin removes oxygen. Be sure to add some extra form of Oxygen.
Jungle Parasite Clear or Prazi-Pro:
These are meds that are used for parasites. Parasite Clear is a combination of Praziquantel and other meds, so it is harsher on fish than Prazi-Pro. PC can be dosed 3 times during a 48 hour period.
For flukes and tapeworms, 100 mgs per 10 gallons, premixing in a cup using R.O. water before adding to tank. Continue with normal water changes if needed to maintain proper tank balance, cleaning up foods & feces. Reapply the meds only to what you take out after every water change. This treatment should go to a full 21 days to hit hard on gill flukes. To target tapeworms, mix in food 1/2 Teaspoon meds to 1/4 lb of food or 500 Grams of food to 400-mgs of prazi med. Feed every second day for 1 week. No other foods should be fed on the days of Anti-worm feedings
Jungle Fungus Eliminator:
For fungus cottony wool like appearances, grey skin, red sores, Columnaris, fin rot, raised white lumps. 1 Teaspoon per 5 gallons, heat to 84 degrees along with daily water changes and dose again. This will help control external bacteria or fungus. 5 to 10 day treatment. Great for newly shipped fish.
For gram-positive & negative bacterial diseases, milk like coating on the fish, redness in gills, fungus-deteriorating split fins. 1 - 2 capsules per 10 gallons. 25 to 50% daily water changes and dose again. Salt maybe be added to give it more effectiveness 2- tablespoons per 10 gals.
For body-slime & mouth fungus, eye-cloudyness, popped eyes, fin rot, open sores, bacteria inside gills and bloat. This medication can be used at 200 mgs per 10 gallons. If your fish are showing sores or bloat you may need to double dose to 400 mgs per 10 gals. The addition of salts would be helpful. Water changes at 25 - 50%. Dose again and salt daily for 5 to 7 days.
(Mainly used for) Internal bacteria infections, abdominal bloating, red streaks, fin rot, redness in nostril area. Each pill contains 150 mgs. Double dose for internal bacteria for 3 daily treatments. Then a normal 150 mgs every second day for 7 to 10 day period. Maintain water changes though out this treatment at minimal 25% daily.
Dropsy, lifted or protruding scales, gill infection, cloudy eyes, clamped fins, red streaks & bloating. Days 1 & 2 use 20 mgs per 10 gallons. Days 3 to 5 normal dose 10 mgs per 10 gallons.
For Gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, ulcer disease, bacterial hemmorragic Septicemia. (Red streaks on fins & body) DOSAGE: 1/4 teaspoon per 20 gallons every 24 hours with a 50% water change before each treatment. Treat for 10 days. This can also be mixed inside foods. 2 teaspoons per pound. Feed this medication for 14 - 21 days. Cover up tank and keep lights off.
Rock salts - sea salts:
A first aid treatment with large daily water changes. Great for stress & fighting off external fungus & bacterial problems. Use 2 tablespoons to start, working your way up to 4 tablespoons per 10 gals. Maintain salts for up to 10 days.
A laxative for bloating, fish who have overeaten. Great to have in first aid kit. Dose 1 to 2 teaspoons per 10 gallons. Fish should have some relief within 6 to 10 hrs. If you see no results you may the double dose.
Euthanasia: 1Ml of clove oil & 1 tablespoon of vodka - rum. Mix this together in 1 gallon container. Place fish inside. The fish will go off without any fight or suffering.