- caused by several members of class Phycomycetes
the best known of which is Ichthyophonus
(=Ichthyosporidium) hoferi. May be
regarded as a time- bomb ticking away in ALL fishes which lays
dormant whilst the fish is not under stress. Should conditions in
the system deteriorate the fungus suddenly explodes into action and
the fish may die.
SYMPTOMS Rapid loss of body weight - often despite
good appetite, leading to vertigo (loss of balance) and abnormal
swimming pattern. Some of these symptoms can be confused with same
symptoms produced by physical or pressure damage to swim- bladder.
Early symptoms later deteriorate to ulceration and fin damage
probably as a result of secondary bacterial infections on damage
sites caused by loss of balance. Finally if untreated, the spleen,
liver kidneys and brain become infected, "Pop-eye"
develops and in the last few hours, breathing rate increases
TREATMENT "Spring clean" the entire tank.
Treat water with until respiratory rate falls to
normal. Stop all feeding until symptoms disappear.
PREVENTION These diseases are extremely difficult to
treat - no doubt due to the facts that:
they are essentially diseases of the internal organs i.e. spleen,
brain, liver, etc., which are difficult to reach with medications,
b) apart from Saprolegnia, there are no easily-seen external
symptoms until the disease is already well advanced.
key to successful avoidance however is undoubtedly keeping the
system scrupulously clean at all times. Never overfeed, use the
Nitrate, Nitrite, Ammonia, pH and Hardness test kits to ensure that
water management, and water chemistry are always maintained within
optimal limits. In short - keep stress to a minimum so that the time
bomb ticks quietly away until your fishes cheat it by dying of old
geometra and various other leeches.
SYMPTOMS Large leeches, measuring up to 5 cm (2
inches) long firmly attached to the skin, fins and, perhaps, gills.
Heavily infected fish may appear listless, thin and occasionally
behave in an agitated fashion. Reddened areas on the fish body
indicate previous points of attachment which are susceptible to
secondary fungal infections.
TREATMENT Organophosphorus insecticides such as
metriphonate may be used (0.25-0.4 mg / liter, continuous bath for
7-10 days, may need repeated). Since this medication will kill the
leeches but may not affect the eggs a combined therapy should be
PREVENTION Avoid plants from doubtful sources.
(see Anchor Worm)
Lice (see Argulis)
- caused by a virus (first ever described in fishes - 1965) which
gains entry to cell through rough handling or fighting.
SYMPTOMS Large, (1-5mm) off white granular growths -
often spherical and attached to any part of body or fins. Very rare
in f/w fishes. Fish shows little signs of distress and often
continues feeding normally. Surface appearance of cyst resembles
small ball of cauliflower or raspberry. No increase in breathing
rate is detectable.
TREATMENT Remove tumors surgically with a scalpel or
razor-blade and sterilize area before returning fish to aquarium.
Feed as normal. Surgically removed lymphocystis may recur.
PREVENTION The Lymphocystis virus is present in almost
all bodies of seawater and brackish water, so that any fish which
suffer physical damage to body or fins may become infected. MORAL -
handle fishes very carefully and prevent aggression amongst tank
members. It is extremely rare for this disease to prove fatal as a
bloat (bacterial disease - gram negative)
not certain - possibly multiple fungal/bacterial or viral infection.
It could be due to a metabolic or nutritional disorder.
SYMPTOMS Fish's body bloats out (as though full of
roe) and, viewed from above, scales stand away from body producing a
pineapple-like appearance - most common in Carp family and
Anabantids. Long, pale faecal casts. Ulcers on body, pale gills and
a "pop eye" appearance are also common.
TREATMENT As soon as abdominal swelling is noted,
isolate the fish and treat with a broad spectrum antibiotic. Early
treatment is essential. You could use oxytetracycline (20-100 mg/
liter; five days bath, may need repeating), tetracycline
hydrochloride (40-100 mg/ liter; five days bath, may need repeating)
or minocycline hydrochloride. For minocycline we recommend 250mg/10
gallons of water. On day 2 change all the water and add the medicine
again at the same dose for another 2 days. Increase aeration during
treatment. Do not use minocycline a third time in a raw. Caution:
tetracyclines are photo sensitive - turn lights off during treatment
- better still cover the whole tank with a blanket. If the fish is
still eating, soak the food in a concentrated solution of the
antibiotic before feeding.
PREVENTION Avoid overfeeding or feeding the wrong kind
of food (e.g. vegetable matters to carnivores).
Caused by free
SYMPTOMS Such animals appear to suddenly
"bloom" in an aquarium. Tiny mites (less than a millimeter
in size) may appear from time to time in the damp area between the
water surface and the cover glass.
TREATMENT None effective but prevention is effective.
Mites can be collected and removed from the surface damp cloth.
PREVENTION Do not overfeed, regularly maintain the
filter and clean the gravel often.
- MOUTH FUNGUS Caused by Chondrococcus
SYMPTOMS Greyish-white cotton wool like growths around
TREATMENT In a soft, acid water aquarium, improve the
water quality and decrease bacteria-count with acidifying agents.
Use a proprietary antibacterial agent which may also be applied
topically. Increase aeration and filtration to maximum acceptable
a) By regular usage of sensitive Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate test
kits, so regulate the amount of feeding to ensure that free
ammonia/nitrite NEVER appear in your aquasystem. With correctly
designed filtration system, ammonia, nitrite and nitrates should
never be allowed to climb above minimal levels.
b) Never overfeed:
c) Never use "spoiled" foods:
d) Never use sea foods, Daphnia, Tubifex etc., which have not been
e) Always quarantine doubtful looking fish in a general
f) ALWAYS prevent vitamin deficiency in captive fishes by adding
the above in a few words, what one is really saying is:- Disease
in fishes, as in all creatures, is always an inevitable response to
STRESS EXPOSURE. Stress in the aquatic enviroment can assume many
forms, i.e. chemical (=pH, nitrogeneous toxins), physical (=temp.,
S.G., oxygen tension), biological (=poor feeding, vitamin
deficiency, etc.), psychological (=aggression, clumsy handling).
Avoid stress = no disease.
tetra disease (bacterial
disease - gram negative)
Neon tetra disease - caused by the
microsporidian parasite Pleistophora.
SYMPTOMS Neon Tetra, (and rarely other tetras, zebra
danio and some barbs) begin to lose normal brilliant, sharply
demarked coloration - especially the red stripe; respiratory rate
increases to 100 + GB / min. (gill beats per minute). Other symptoms
include unusual swimming behavior, spinal curvature, emaciation and
TREATMENT No treatment has been completely effective.
Some success has been achieved using furazolidone (50-75 mg/Kg fish,
with food, each day for 7-10 days). Change 25% - 33% of aquarium
water. Since this medication may just control the outbreak of
secondary infections rather than acting directly on Pleistophora you
should always isolate fish that have shown the symptoms and treat
them separately. Fish that recover may still host the parasite.
Avoid cannibalism of dead fish.
PREVENTION Improve aquarium hygiene and or filtration.
Improve feeding regime. Never buy these species if not fully
quarantined - use an antiparasitic aquarium remedy while in
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