Friday, January 10, 2014

Is Your Fish Sick???

Is Your Fish Sick???

Well, this is blog is to help you find easy remedies to the most commonly found problems of your fishes. Mind it that this isn't a final solution and there may be instances you may not find the symptoms exactly matching to the ones mentioned in this article. I would always recommend a Medic to treat the fish. However in the due course of time or some of the common infections can be handled using this.... 

Diseases due to Nutritional disorders. 


Constipation in fish is not a disease but rather the result of being out of condition perhaps due to wrong feeding, but it can also be the herald of more serious condition.

Symptom: The fish becomes thin, sometimes refuses to eat. Faeces of the fish are long and stringy and it remains attached to the fish`s vent for sometime before breaking off. Fish becomes sluggish.

Treatment: Keep the fish on fast for sometime or transfer the fish to the hospital tank and add common sea salt to the water ( add 4 teaspoon of common sea salt to 4 litres of water). Keep the fish in hospital tank for 10 to 30 minutes. This effectiveness of treatment can be judged by fish passing heavy excreta (diarrhoea). Before returning the fish to the community tank, change the fresh water in the hospital tank and feed the fish with live food for few days. Feed the fish daily, only one time in the morning, feed the fish only small amount of food as the fish consumption.


This is not really a disease but simply a disorder usually caused by wrongfully feeding that is too much of dried food. It can also be caused by constipation.

Symptom: Indigestion can be recognized by a swollen belly, air bubbles in the faces and general sluggishness. It is not serious in itself but most cause the fish some discomfort, so it should be speedily treated for that reason alone, but if left untreated, it could lead to a more serious condition.
Treatment:  Keep the fish for some time and transfer the fish to a hospital tank containing 5 litres of water and add 5 teaspoon of common sea salt and left the fish in the hospital tank for 20 to 30 minutes. This effectiveness cause the fish to heavy excreta or diarrhoea, then change the water in hospital tank and feed the fish with live worms for few days then transfer to the community tank.
Feed the fish only one time daily as signs of the fish food intake.

Disease due to negative effects of Abiotic factor

Branchiitis :  (Inflammation of Gills)
This is not strictly a disease but a negative effect of oxygen depletion in culture system.Symptom: The gills become inflamed and swollen, sometimes accompanied by white patches on the body and a general listlessness. Treatment: Salt bath methodAdd small amount i.e a teaspoon of common sea salt in the community tank the salt ratio that is 100gms to 5 litres of fresh water. Transfer fish to this concentration for one day in the community tank. Live bears containing common sea salt, it reduces the spreading of disease. At the time of treatment, remove the live plants from the tank then next day change the water in the community tank.

Gas bubble diseaseIt cannot be considered a disease as it is only a side effect of oxygen super saturation due to either continuous aeration or strong plant growth or fairly intense isolation.Symptom:  Accumulation of fine gas bubbles within the fish body under the skin and a tendency for large fish to make tiny creaking noises when netted.Treatment: Transfer the fish to normal water or rapidly remove super saturation by disturbing the water with a power filter. (The amount of gas content is in excess of the normal, it is known as super saturated).

Exopthalmia (Pop-eye)
It is caused by the haemorrhage in the capillaries of the eye sockets, capillaries are ruptured by the accumulation of gas in the sockets either one or both eyes.
Symptom: This is really an easy disorder to identify; the eye becomes enlarged and stands out in the socket like the half spheres of rabbit’s eye.
Treatment: Transfer the fish to hospital tank and add 3 teaspoon common sea salt for 10 litres of water. Keep the fish in the salt bath for 36 hours with aeration then change the fresh water till it comes to normal form and then transfer the fish to the community tank.

Alternative Treatment: Immerse the fish in a bath made up with one drop ammonia to a 5 litres of water. The temperature of the bath should be set at 80 degree F (26 degree C) and the fish left in the bath for 3 hours. After this period, gradually reduce the concentration by adding fresh water until it reaches the normal. After well being, the fish can be returned to the community tank.

Diseases due to co-existing organisms.

Fungus :

Fungus is more common in cold water fishes but tropical attacks are caused by some micro organisms. The water mould Soprolegnia. In all cases the fish is covered with cotton – wool like growth.

 Mouth fungus 

    This is a most unpleasant disease luckily it is rather rare in well maintained aquarium, but once it develops, it is highly infectious and if not checked, it will soon reach epidemic portion.
Causative agent: Chandrococcus columnaris, Cytophaga columnaris.
Symptom: First white cotton like fluff appears on the lips, which progress into the mouth, eventually it starts to rode the jaws away. A major cause of this disease is damage or bruising to the lips of the fish unless the affected fish is considerable value. It should be killed before this fatal disease spreads otherwise it attacks the other occupants of the tank. This disease is formed during transportation by clumsy handling. We can give treatment but we cannot expect 100% result.
Treatment: This is a difficult disease to cure, by mass treatment. It is much safer to treat fish individually by careful netting and swabbing the mouth with hydrogen peroxide straight from the bottle then keep the treated fish in hospital tank till disappearance of disease.

This disease is caused a fungus which infects marine, cold water tropical fish. It forms roughly spherical cysts microscopically small which attack the liver, kidneys, spleen, heart and the other organs and even the muscles and skin. The daughter cysts develop inside the mother cyst which when they mature, bursts to release the parasites.
Causative Agent: Ichthyphonus Fungus Spp
Symptom: Internal Symptoms are difficult for the average aquarist to asses, and it is possible for a fish suffering from this disease to die without exhibiting any external changes of appearance.
Generally fish becomes very emaciated, swellings may occur which burst and form ulcers, pop-eye may develop and if the brain and the swim bladder is affected, the fish may have difficulty in swimming.
Treatment: There is no effective treatment for this disease, therefore it is better to remove the sick fish and destroy it to prevent from other fishes becoming infected.

Saprolegnia Fungus

The cause of this disease is a fungus nearly as often as their cold water cousins. This is because the fungus that settles on dead organic matter such as uneaten food, forming fine white filaments. It usually attacks only the fishes that are already ion a weakened condition. Bruises gill, wrongful feeding, attacks from other fish, weakness from another malady and dirty aquarium are all possible causes of this fungus. The fungus can develop independently in fish but it is some rare in tropical species.
This is a most unpleasant disease luckily it is rather rare in well maintained aquarium, but once it develops, it is highly infectious and if not checked, it will soon reach epidemic portion.

Causative Agent: Saprolegnia Spp.
SymptomsThe fungus becomes evident as white shiny, cotton – wool like film covering the infected area. When the fish is removed from the water, the film collapses.
Treatment: The fish should be placed in the hospital tank without any plants and salt added in the proportion of two level teaspoons to every 5 litres of water, sea salt is preferable to common salt. Even after 24 hours, if there is no evidence of improvement add two more teaspoon of salt.
If by the third day no change is noticed, add another teaspoon salt. When the fish is cured, it should be re-acclimatized to fresh water before being returned to the community tank. This is accomplished by adding freshwater over a period of few days to lower the salt content.
Alternatively, make the fish bath with potassium permanganate, that is one gram per 100 litters of water and immerse the fish for between 10 to 20 minutes. After being cured, add to the community tank.


A number of are known to inject fish causing conditions such as fin rot, tail rot, ulcer disease and Furunclosis and gill infections. Among these are Myxo bacteria (slime bacteria) and bacteria in the genera pseudomonas, Aeromonas and Hemophilus.
The features in which most bacterial infections have in common are ulcers (open sores) on the skins, fins and mouth, internal abscesses, and increased mucus on the skin and gills.
These skin ulcers are like the top of an ice berg in that they give only a plus to the marked infections inside the body of the fish.



Chronic Dropsy; a swollen abdomen in the fish
Acute Dropsy; sudden swelling i.e fish`s scales to stand out.
One of the strangest of our fish disease is dropsy; it is caused by bacterial septicaemia spp. This bacteria is found in most waters. It is a disease that takes many forms and it is almost incurable. Normally really healthy fish are immune from the disease but they can contract the disease if a tank becomes infected.
Causative agent: Bacterial septicaemia spp.
Symptoms:  The fish become bloated with distended belly so much so that the fish looks as if it will burst (chronic dropsy), the scales stand proudly from the body, and skin lesions may appear, surround by a white ring, with a black outer ring.
Treatment: There is no real cure for this disease, it usually proves fatal within three weeks, it is therefore, advisable to destroy any infected fish immediately, it becomes evident that is suffering from dropsy. 
But sometimes the disease responds temporarily to the following treatment. Isolated, the fish is placed in a hospital tank which has been added one teaspoon of sea salt crystals to 5 litres of water. This is unlikely, to prolong the fish`s life for more than a month or two. 

 Fin Rot & Tail Rot

Fin rot and tail rot is an external bacterial infection because of poor water quality, overcrowding, and lower temperature. 
Causative agent: Pseudomonas Spp. , Aeromonas Spp.
Symptoms: Fins, tails become bloody, frayed and are eaten away leaving only the fin and tail rays.
Treatment: Bacterial fin and tail rot is very difficult to cure but it can be prolonged lasting a few days in Trypaflavin. To prepare the bath, dissolve one gram of Trypaflavin in a litre of water then use 10ml of this stock solution per litre of water. 
Phenoxephol has also been used to found to be an effective cure for fin rot and tail rot.
Next method: affected part of the fish may be carefully clipped off and the infected region be sobbed with 3 % hydrogen peroxide solution. 
Finally improve the water quality, remove the uneaten food from the tank, partial water. Lastly add cooking salt 10 to 20 grams to one litre of water concentration by this time, remove live plants and activated carbon from the tank.

Protozoan diseases.

Ichthyophthiriasis (white spot diseases)
All fresh water aquariums are infected by this well known disease at sometimes. Ichthyophthiriasis multifiliis is the name of the parasitical organism responsible for the common disease known among aquarists as white spot.
The parasites are one celled animals spherical in form, with cilia covering the surface. They borrow under the surface skin of the fish where they set up on irritation and spread, unchecked, all over the body and fins. The live off their host until they become fully developed and when they mature, the parasites fall off from the host and individually form a cyst which adheres to plants and rocks. The cyst capsule eventually bursts releasing up to a thousand tiny spores to re-infest the fish. 
Causative Agent: Ichthyophthiriasis multifiliis Spp.
Symptoms: The first indication of the fish is to get white spot. The fish darting about among the plants or flicking themselves against the rocks obviously trying to ease the irritation, and a tendency to hold the fins and tail flat. 
If white spot is not checked at this stage, the spots will become visible and multiply rapidly until the whole body and the fins are covered. The main cause of this disease is a chillness caused by the sudden temperature changes. Such changes need not be excessively low, a drop from 82 degree F (28 C) to 74 degree F (23 C) may well trigger on and break. Another source of infections is of course the introduction of newly acquired fish which already has the disease.
In sometimes diseases spread from the net and infected hand dipped into the healthy tank.
1. Raise the temperature of the water to 85F (29C) by heater as to increase the growth rate of the parasite. Within three days in the same temperature, the parasite will mature will fall off the fish into the tank. Remove the fish to another tank to prevent re-infection.
2. Add common table salt in a concentration of one table spoon full of one litre of water. Leave it for some days and then change the water neatly. 

3. Methylene blue has been used effectively in a concentration of 3 or 5 % solution per gallon of water. Repeat this treatment every five days for three weeks. Then change the water partially by siphoning to remove the tinted sediment.


Costaisis is caused by a small parasitic flagella that attacks the skin and gills of fish.
Causative Agent: Costia Spp. 
Symptoms: It is recognized in the later stages by a reddish streak something like a burn which spreads along the side of the fish from the tail towards the head.
In early stages, the fish behaves more or less, as if they have white spot by rubbing themselves against gravel and plants.
Treatment: Immerse the affected fish for 20mins in a bath made with 10 to 15gms of cooking salt to a litre of water. After changing of water, transfer the fish to the community tank.
Alternatively, use a formalin bath for about 45mins in a 2ml of a 40% solution to 10 litres of water. After changing water transfer the fish to community tank.
Additional protozoan parasites are Childon and Trichondina.

Oodinium (Velvet on rust) Diseases

There are various species of oodinium. It resembles as “ich” but both are common and are caused by protozoa parasites. The parasites attack the gills and skin but will also penetrate deeper into the body if the disease is not checked early.
Causative Agent: Oodinium Spp.
Symptoms: The disease can be recognised by a yellow brown film in a body of velvet like film. It may have appearance of talcum powder. The dust is pale yellowish colour.
Treatment: Transfer the fish to a hospital tank take a malachite green concentration of one drop of .75% solution per 5 litre of water. This drug is not safe for small fry and on overdose may be rapidly toxic. Then transfer to fresh water, afterward introduce to the community tank.Take the infected to the hospital tank then add 1% of Methylene blue that has been found effective against velvet disease. It can be used in tanks for conditioning plants and is completely harmless even to the smallest fish power filters that containing charcoal should be switched off while treatment is proceeding.

Worm Parasites


Various worms cause troubles in the aquarium of which the most important are the flukes. Flukes (trematodes) infecting fishes usually those passed from fish to fish and not as to many requiring intermediate hosts such as snails or birds.

1. Gill fluke and skin fluke 
Infestation by monogenetic dremtodes.There are two flukes are common parasites of aquarium fishes. Dactylogrus (Gill Fluke) and Gyrodactylus (Skin Fluke).
Causative Agent:  Skin Fluke – Gyrodactylus Spp.Gill Fluke – Dactylogyrus Spp.
Symptoms: The parasite causes the fish to swim in jerky manners and scratching themselves against gravel, plants, etc. A strong magnifying glass will show the slender skin flukes on the surface of the fish. Gill flukes usually cannot be seen and at times they may be visible at the edge of the gill cover. The skin and gill will develop increased amounts of mucus with a slimy appearance and may show small blood spots.
Treatment:1. Transfer the affected fish to hospital tank. Adding 2ml of 40% formaline into a litre of water and dip for 30-45 minutes. Then transfer the fish to fresh water and then again transfer to the community tank.2. Another type treatment is to transfer the fish to the hospital tank and add (10mg per litre) of potassium permanganate or treated whole with 2 mg per litres.3. Salt Bath: transfer the affected fish to the hospital tank which contains salt bath i.e 2 teaspoon of table salt to 2 litres of water for 20 minutes. Then transfer fish to the fresh water and then finally transfer to the community tank.To avoid disease caused by other flukes that have intermediate hosts, inspect fishes and never introduce snails into the aquarium that are not guaranteed for community tank.

Crustaceans Parasites   
There are two crustaceans of importance in the aquarium Argulus, the fish lice and Learnae, the anchor worm copepod.

Fish Louse – Argulus

Fish louse actually a crustacean like the sea side crab, this parasite swims from host to host, anchoring itself by means of strong suckers, and penetrating the skin with a poison spine. We can see it with the naked eye.
Causative Agent: Argulus.
Symptoms: The disease is recognized by reddish inflammation marks around the site of the skin which develops into greyish patches, usually round. Favourite areas of the attacks are around the belly, gills and throat. Infected fishes are restless and flick themselves against gravel or rocks, fins usually flattened.
Treatment:Transfer the affected fish to the hospital tank and prepare both with potassium permanganate one gram in 100 litres of water and immerse the fish for 10 to 30 minutes daily for 8 – 10 daily continuously. 
Another method, Argulus are quite large, 1/4th in size and can be picked off with forceps. Remove the fish from the tank (fish can survive for 1-2 minutes) hold in a wet cloth, and pull the adult louse only with forceps. If it is stubborn then apply a drop of salt solution to it with a small brush (don’t let it to touch the fish`s skin). Transfer the affected fish and its companions to hospital tank, treat the affected only but watch closely for adult lice hatched larvae as the remedy is always effective against these worms.
Salt batch is also a method to kill the fish louse. Remove the live plants from the tank. Then add common cooking salt to the community tank in the ratio of 1 kg cooking salt to 10 litres. Allow the fish to stand in this concentration for 2 minutes to the hospital tank and give full aeration. High salt concentration kill louse and their eggs also dies. This method is applicable only for aquarium tanks.

Lernae (Anchor Worm)

Anchor worm are ectoparastic and generally they do not attack tropical aquarium fishes except large cichlids.

Causative Agent:Lernea Spp.
Symptom: Anchor worm has anchor type body as a microscopic form and only weeks or months when they protrude from the skin. The anchor worms attack themselves and burrow into the skin, leaving only the egg sacs protruding. It is clearly visible on the fish and when it drops off, it leaves unpleasant ulcers.
Treatment: Remove the fish from the tank (fish can survive from 1-2 minutes). Hold it with wet cloth and pull the parasite off with forceps. The point of attachment on the fish can be treated with a drop of mercurochrome to help prevent secondary infection with bacteria or fungus.
Salt bath treatment is also a method to kill the anchor worm. Remove the live plants from the tank. Then add common cooking salt to the community tank to the ratio 1 kg cooking salt to 10 litres of water. Allow the fish to stand in this concentration for 2 minutes and then immediately transfer the fish to the hospital tank and give full aeration. Higher salt concentration which kills the anchor worm egg and minute organisms.


  1. I Appreciate the effort, this is a good post.
    I have 4 electric yellow cichlids, all of them had a healthy appetite until a few days ago. now one of them (a male) , used to be the healthiest and dominating the others, seems to have some trouble eating. few days back I noticed that he would come out eagerly (as all of them normally do) for food but does not eat when I feed them with pellets. and now he seems to have completely given up eating. The others are normal. I don't see anything abnormal visually except that he has become thinner because of not eating. Also a little black patch under his jaw, though it may be normal, I'm not sure if it was there before. And no, he doesn't try to hide but he is a little weak now. Is there a problem with his vision, is he not able to see the food? It would be great if you can help me understand the problem. Whats wrong with the cichlid and What am I supposed to do?