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Tropical Fish Diseases, Medication and Treatment Guide

All the tropical fish owners out there, face fish diseases at some point. Bookmarking this guide just might be exactly what you need to read at some point to prevent or treat disease occurrences. Take the time now to bookmark this page and keep it for later reference, better safe than sorry.

tropical fish disease medication treatment guide

As much time and care that you take to feed, clean and filter as much as possible, tropical fish diseases strike when least expected. Just like other animals, fish of the warm waters of the tropics tend to be attacked by various diseases quite often in nature.

The symptoms are definitely tricky to pinpoint but are present and can turn up at any time. One needs to vigilant regarding tropical fish diseases and precaution is always a welcome pre-treatment. This guide will help you get a clear idea of how tropical fish may develop an infectious disease and what might be done to avoid your favorite fish from getting into such a miserable situation.

List of Tropical Fish Diseases

Let's take a closer look at common tropical fish diseases. Below are common types of fish diseases, medication, and treatment. Always be careful when handling a sick fish, to prevent cross-contamination, use a quarantine tank and separate fishnet.

1. Ich ( Ichtyophthirius )

Also known as white spot disease is pretty common and can be cured. The fish exhibits stressful behavior in conditions where imbalanced water measures and shifting of temperatures might be present. The fish will develop small white particles covering the body from head to tail. Looks like specks attached to your fish. Your fish might suffer from breathing issues, you can observe them as they might scratch against other objects to "scratch the itch" and relieve the irritation caused by the infection.

Treatment:

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Ich is a well known and treatable disease very common among fish. It is easy to cure through a water medication treatment commonly called white spot control or ich treatment. White spot treatment acts as an effective method for eliminating toxic and harmful infections found in aquarium water that might be responsible for developing Ichtyophthirius. Always, when possible, use a quarantine tank and separate fishnet.

2. Hemorrhagic Septicemia

Fishes affected by Hemorrhagic Septicemia are in serious danger and should be treated quickly. The disease can be identified through red marks on the fish scales along with swollen eyes and holes or discoloration on the body. Hemorrhagic Septicemia is caused by a bacterial infection due to unclean water conditions resulting in the organic waste build-up and high levels of nitrate being present. Left untreated, the bacterial infection will wreak havoc on the internal organs and cause secondary symptoms and finally death of your fish.

Treatment:

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Precautions should always be taken when dealing with hemorrhagic septicemia. Make sure you wash your hands and do not have open cuts or wounds on your hands when placing them in the tank water. Use a separate quarantine tank and fishnet to prevent an outbreak.

3. Fungus

Fungal infection consists of both internal and external infections. The background mainly of why it develops is unbalanced pH levels of water and inadequate maintenance which in turn causes serious bacterial infections. Internal fungal infections such as mouth fungus can be a fatal disease where not much can be done to save the fish. External fungal infections are when the tropical fish are usually contaminated by fungi that have a specific cotton wool kind of texture. Immediate treatment is required to save the creature from becoming food to this fungus disease.

Treatment:

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Specific fungal treatment is required to fight off the infection. Contaminated water should be treated with care. The fish should be given the treatment in a quarantine tank and use a separate fishnet.

4. Dropsy

If your fish develops a swollen abdomen and its scales look like they are standing on end, then your fish has dropsy. Dropsy is mostly caused by neglect of the aquarium water and general maintenance. Poor water purity filtration could be the cause as well and unfiltered waste can cause harmful bacteria to build up. Dropsy can appear as a bulged out stomach or weak and under-energized behavior amongst the fish. Medication, water changes and perhaps even a clean out of the old filter is probably in order.

Treatment:

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Simple bacterial medication treatments are suggested for Dropsy. But most of all the aquarium’s environment needs to be addressed and cleaned up. Cleanliness and proper water filtration are all basically the core requirements for helping fish fight off dropsy.

5. Fin Rot

Fin Rot, as the name suggests is related to the worsened conditions of the tail and fins due to bacterial infections attacking the fish. The disease can be caught from other fish and can also take place on its own. Some fish face stressful situations which result in the damage of their fins or have fin nipping tank mates that can cause tears on the fins leading to infection.

Once again a balanced aquatic environment plays an important role here. Fishes tend to recover from Fin Rot over time, but a much-needed check of water parameters and good tankmates are important to keep in mind.

Treatment:

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Use a separate quarantine tank and fishnet if possible. Salt can be an effective antibacterial for the infection and should help the tropical fish recover at a faster rate.

6. Exophthalmia

Fish suffering from Exophthalmia have damaged eyes. They might have blurry visions and eye swelling caused by an infection inside the eyes. Any injury could also be a potential cause. Poor sight can be problematic for the fish resulting in indifferent behavioral patterns. Blindness could follow.

Treatment:

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Treating an eye injury is tricky and requires a quick and effective treatment to prevent loss of sight and death.

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Although Exophthalmia is easily identifiable due to obvious looking symptoms, the treatment is trickier to apply because of an unknown reason for disease. One way to narrow down the cause can be to find if more than one fish is affected. Several organisms being affected at once would probably bring the water quality at fault. Ensuring proper pH levels as well as purity should be the next task.

7. Argulus ( Anchor Worm )

The possibility of a louse being present on fish is incredibly shocking, but it can happen. These parasites can range in length from 5-10 mm. Fish usually go around scratching themselves on objects and surfaces due to the itch that the louse can cause. The fish are often left with irritated lesions and stressed because of this parasitic infection. These fish lice are possibly attracted from newly arrived aquarium mates who might be infected from before. Quarantine tanks should always be used when bringing home new fish to prevent parasitic infestations.

Treatment:

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Argulus can be treated through the simple use of medication. Be on the lookout for secondary bacterial infections caused by open lesions. It is also recommended to go for an overall tank clean up just to be on the safe side in case of any free-roaming bacterial or parasitic organisms.

8. Lymphocystis

This is a viral disease, prevalent between tropical fish, primarily found in saltwater fish. Lymphocystis may not cause a fish to die but it does have alarmingly harmful effects. The virus causes damage allowing for secondary bacterial disease to enter the fish causing damage and disfigures the tropical fish. Large spots can be visible on fins and scales.

Treatment:

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No cure is available for Lymphocystis but you should quarantine and treat for secondary bacterial infection.

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A cure for Lymphocystis is not available but it is advised to treat for secondary bacterial infections and quarantine in hopes of self-recovery. Remember that Lymphocystis is viral and can only be caught from other fish organisms, therefore the process of quarantining new fish should be done.

9. Hexamitiasis

The hole in the head or Hexamitiasis infection represents the disturbing eroding patches found on the fish's head. The root causes are not confirmed, although some suggest the possibility of harmful bacteria in water or insufficient food or poor nutrition provided to the fish being the possible reasons. The fishes develop large holes or patches overtime that is easy to spot as early symptoms.

Treatment:

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Quarantine your fish and treat with General Cure while providing a clean environment and quality food. It is possible for your fish to make a full recovery and live a long life after treatment.

10. Anchor Worms

Another parasitic disease is where bacterial worms create problems for tropical fish. Unlike fish louse, these tiny worms are much more infectious and can create greater damage on fish skin. Newly introduced fish are the major culprits behind the disease as they enter the aquarium carrying potential parasitic infections. These worms enter the breeding pinnacle inside the fish’s body where the eggs are located. This causes swelling and reddish patches because of inflammatory behavior. Irritation and red cuts are a commonly found symptom.

Treatment:

API GENERAL CURE Freshwater and Saltwater Fish Powder Medication 10Count Box

Treats a wide variety of parasitic diseases including velvet, anchor worm, fish lice, hole-in-head disease, gill, and skin flukes.

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The parasites can be completely eliminated through medicated water treatment. The treatment finishes off all signs of parasitic and bacterial capacity in the aquarium making it completely safe and free from unwanted contamination.

Preventive Care - Keeping a Clean and Healthy Fish Tank

It is important to note that a lot of the tropical fish diseases discussed above can be avoided and keeping healthy fish requires a healthy, balanced fish tank environment to live and breed. If you are experiencing a lot of sick and or dying fish, then it is definitely time to change your maintenance system and take a closer look at the root cause of the illness. Remember that most diseases develop from preventable situations and get worse over time. As wise people say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Tropical fish, whether fresh or salt water have basic needs to help them thrive and grow in their tanks. This means regular maintenance of your aquarium is a must and cannot be neglected. Being a fish owner, it all comes down to you, if you don't keep things clean, who will?. Let's take a closer look at what regular maintenance and care look like for the average fish keeper.

Water Changes and Filtration

This is definitely a basic rule when it comes to taking charge of fish aquariums. Water is the medium of life for fish and impurities might generate unwanted results. It is strongly suggested to change at least 10-15% of water weekly, with water changes no less than two weeks apart. Keeping water quality balanced and clean of toxic build up will remove harmful bacteria from your tank. Spikes in ammonia and waste build up, account for almost all tropical fish diseases.

Food and Nutrition

Never forget to feed your fish, seems silly, but some people just forget. A healthy diet defines a healthy lifestyle for these aquatic animals and therefore should not be neglected. Imagine if you ate just once a day? A pinch of paper thin flakes, how would your overall health look? Tropical fish require a variety of foods, including live foods to grow and thrive. Watch and observe your fish very carefully while feeding them, do they eat all the food? Certain diseases might show early signs if your fish don't eat regularly.

Importance of Fish Space

Give your fish room to move and swim without overstuffing our tank with fish. An overcrowded aquarium is not only awfully difficult to maintain but can turn out to have certain unlikely repercussions. The extra waste build up of ammonia and fish poop, plus uneaten food can quickly develop into a disease explosion. A spacious, ever colorful and lively aquatic environment always keeps the fish happy and healthier.

Observe Fish Behavior

Keeping a track of fish behavior and health is as important as maintaining the environment. Have adequate knowledge of your fish and keep track of their behavior towards food and other tankmates. If fish are dying left and right, something is wrong with your water. Check for uneaten food, do water changes and remove dead fish quickly before they foul your water.

Final Thoughts

The above-given information will never assure complete prevention against any or all tropical fish diseases unless the most important factors are taken into consideration. This, of course, means the efficiency in the maintenance of the aquarium. Giving a healthy habitat to the fish takes a lot of work, but your fish rely on you for this and the responsibility should not be taken lightly.

Making sure your aquarium is in the best possible shape for the fish to avoid any such preventable diseases should be your number one priority. A beautiful looking aquarium will always be dependent on happy and healthy fish.

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