by various microsporidian
parasites such as Ichthyosporidium,
Nosema, Myxobolus and Henneguya
and the fungus Dermocystidium.
SYMPTOMS Small to large smooth, yellowish white cysts
on skin, fins, gills, in muscle or among internal organs. Size of
cysts varied from a few millimeters to a centimeter. Usually
spherical or oval although some may be elongated or irregularly
TREATMENT None reliable treatment.
PREVENTION Isolate and treat infected fish separately.
Disinfect tanks and all equipment which have contained infected
fish. Do not buy obviously infected fish.
problems refer to vitamin deficiencies
SYMPTOMS Vary according to the vitamin which causes
the deficiency. Symptoms may be identical to symptoms observed in
other diseases (lethargy, cloudy eyes etc). Some common
symptoms in Vitamin deficiencies are:
Vitamin A :
Poor growth, loss of appetite, eye problems, dropsy, gill
problems, hemorrhage at fin base.
(Thiamine) : Poor appetite, muscular wasting, convulsions, loss
of equilibrium, edema, poor growth,
(Riboflavin) : Cloudy eyes, blood shot eyes, poor vision,
avoidance reaction to light (photophobia), dark coloration, poor
appetite, poor growth, anemia.
(Pyridoxine) : Nervous disorders, loss of appetite, anemia,
edema, gasping, flaring of gill covers.
(Cyanocobalamine) : Poor appetite, anemia, poor growth.
Loss of appetite, poor growth, muscular wasting, convulsions,
skin and gut lesions.
Poor growth, visceral hemorrhages.
: Poor growth, lethargy, fin damage, dark coloration, anemia.
Poor growth, dropsy, skin lesions.
acid : Gill and skin problems, loss of appetite, poor growth,
Vitamin C :
Dark coloration, skin problems, eye diseases, spinal
Supplement the missing vitamin.
PREVENTION Feed a variety of commercially available
brand foods of good quality
(="OODINIUM" = "VELVET" DISEASE) - caused by
protozoan dinoflagellates (Oodinium
Limneticum in freshwater - Oodinium
ocellatum in saltwater). Almost
always caused by exposing fishes to high levels of ammonia / nitrite
poisons, e.g. during intercontinental shipment, immature filtration
SYMPTOMS Within 6-8 hours of the fish becoming
infected the respiratory rate rises very steeply from the normal
60-90 GB/min. to as high as 200-300 GB/min. If not treated quickly
at this stage, tiny grayish-fawn cysts (difficult to spot with naked
eye unless fish can be maneuvered into a head on position with light
behind it) appear in enormous numbers on body and finnage. Can never
be confused with "white-spot" disease since - a) the spots
are much smaller, and b) "white-spot" disease doesn't
cause an increase in respiratory rate until several untreated days
have passed and the fish is dying. Some species occasionally seen to
flick and twitch pelvic / dorsal fins and even close down the
worst-infected gill chamber if disease progress untreated.
TREATMENT Carry out 25%-33% partial water change if
time permits and repeat changes at very close intervals (even twice
daily) until respiratory rate falls to a normal 60-90 GB/min. Stop
all feeding until symptoms disappear. Treat with a proprietary
velvet remedy, white spot remedy or a broad spectrum antiparasite
treatment (copper sulphate ; 0.15-0.30 mg/Liter - continuous bath
for up to four weeks and / or metronidazole; 7mg/litre - continuous
bath, may need repeating). Badly affected fish should be isolated
and treated separately. The speed at which this infestation spreads
and the severity of the problems it may cause highlight the
importance of quarantine and a preventive course (e.g. with copper
PREVENTION Never permit the nitrite reading to show
higher than 0.125ppm (=1/8 mg/liter). This means using an efficient
filtration system. Never permit nitrate reading to climb higher than
minimum permissible level indicated on the test kit literature.
Never overfeed.. Never use seafoods, Daphnia, Tubifex, bloodworms
etc., which are not gamma irradiated. Use plant supplements to
promote vigorous, harvestable plant growth, or - conscientiously use
partial water changes to control nitrate build up. This disease is
extremely virulent and must be treated as soon as possible. The
casual pathogens in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums are
essentially gill parasites - hence the sudden and dramatic increase
in respiratory rate.
eye disease (exophthalmia)
A badly infected eye of a
sub adult Fossorochromis rostratus which appeared to
spread to other fish in the tank. Photo courtesy: Frank Panis.
Caused by a variety
of factors including bacterial infection, parasite infestation, poor
water quality and internal (metabolic) disorders.
SYMPTOMS One or both eyes protrude from the head in an
TREATMENT It may be necessary to isolate the infected
fish and treat it with a broad spectrum antibiotic (preferably by
injection). However this will be effective only if the symptoms are
related to a bacterial infection. Since this disease is usually
characterized by low infectivity, it may be best to leave the
affected fish in the main tank and provide it with good food and
optimal conditions. If the disease appears to spread to previously
unaffected stock remove the fish. Sometimes the protruding eye,
especially if the original cause was physical damage - a common
result from fighting, may protrude very much and at last fall. In
this case, add a general antibacterial remedy in the water tank (to
avoid secondary infections) and leave the fish as is. Usually, after
a month, the would will heal and the fish will behave normally -
FUNGUS, caused by Saprolegnia
sps. fungi, poor hygiene, overfeeding and
SYMPTOMS Grayish-white, cotton-wool-like threads
growing from the fish's body and particles of uneaten food, etc., on
TREATMENT Remove waste food from tank. Treat water
with available aquarium antibacterial and antifungal agents.
PREVENTION These diseases are extremely difficult to
treat - no doubt due to the facts that:
a) they are essentially diseases of the internal organs i.e. spleen,
brain, liver, etc., which are difficult to reach with medications
(at effective concentrations), and,
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
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 age.
(See Fin and Tail rot - fungus)
by any pathogen.
SYMPTOMS Very difficult to distinguish since the
symptoms of the primary disease and those of the secondary infection
are present at the same time.
TREATMENT Usually you have to take the risk and treat
the one which seems more life threatening for the fish.
PREVENTION Good hygiene, prime conditions of the fish,
early diagnosis and treatment of the primary disease.
It is caused by a
broad spectrum invasion by numerous pathogens, protozoan, bacterial
and fungal may be responsible.
SYMPTOMS Fishes (mostly livebearers and particularly
Mollies) swim with curious shimmying action of body. Later, if
untreated, fish becomes unable to swim and sit on the gravel
TREATMENT Remove fish. Increase temp. To 27°C (85°F)
Use a broad spectrum antibiotic or proprietary brand remedy.
PREVENTION Always maintain water chemistry in a
livebearer tank in the following condition - high pH value (7.8 -
8.3pH), high hardness (15°DH+), high alkalinity. The best way of
creating this livebearer (and Mbuna) special water, is to add up to
25% of seawater to the aquarium. Please remember to prepare
replacement water in the same way. Never buy unmedicated, newly
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