of the skin
by various external protozoan parasites (such as Ichtyobodo
/ Costia and Chilodonella)
and monogenetic flukes like Gyrodactylus.
SYMPTOMS A gray-white film of excess mucus develops
over the body and is especially noticeable over the eyes or areas of
darkened pigmentation of the skin. Badly affected fish become
listless and lie on the bottom, occasionally scratching themselves
against rocks. Secondary bacterial infection is common.
TREATMENT Initially treat the fish with a white
spot remedy (see disease). If no improvement is observed within 5-7
days, carry a 50% water change and use an antiparasitic treatment
with a formalin (15-25 mg / liter, continuous bath for several days)
or organophosphorus insecticides like metriphonate (0.25-0.40
mg/liter, continuous bath for 7-10 days, may need repeating).
PREVENTION Improved general hygiene of the tank is an
essential and effective prevention.
by various factors, including sudden changes in temperature,
although microbial infection may be involved in some instances.
SYMPTOMS Fish experiences difficulty in maintaining
its position in the water. It may show a "list" to one
side or even float on its side or back at the water surface.
TREATMENT Since there are various causes, specific
treatment is difficult to recommend. Isolation of the fish in a tank
with shallow water and temperature 5 degrees higher than the stock
tank or pond may bring about an improvement. Addition of salt, up to
1 g/Liter may be worthwhile. Addition of a proprietary antibacterial
agent may also help.
PREVENTION Avoid sudden temperature fluctuations ;
improve water hygiene.
by a variety of environmental factors such as chemical pollution and
perhaps some viral infections. Tumors may be inherited by the parent
SYMPTOMS Unusual growths or swellings and may occur in
any part of the body. Tumors on skin and fins are usually obvious
while similar growth may occur among internal organs causing firm,
noticeable swelling to the general body shape.
TREATMENT There is no special treatment. Isolate the
fish and monitor its condition closely. Surgical removal of tumors
can be attempted although the frequency of recurrence is quite high.
Painlessly destroy any fish in clear distress.
PREVENTION Do not purchase fish that show signs of
(see Sliminess of the Skin)
Caused by infection with acid-fast
bacteria such as Mycobacterium
SYMPTOMS Suffering fish often have a emaciated,
hollow-bellies appearance, with coincidental loss of appetite and
loss of color. They may exhibit other symptoms like "pop
eye", fin rot, body ulcers and listless behavior. Many small
nodules or tubercles (about the size of a pinhead) usually occur
within the internal organs.
TREATMENT Isolate fish and monitor their condition.
You may use a combination of sulphafurazone (0.2mg / g fish),
doxycycline (0.005 mg/ g fish) and minocycline (0.005 mg/ g fish)
administered intramuscularly. Treatment may need repeating.
Painlessly destroy not responding fish.
PREVENTION Buy healthy stock and care for it
correctly. Do not feed fish on live or dead fish from infected
spot disease (see Ichthyophthirius)
Worms in the body cavity
Caused by various helminthes (worm)
parasites, such as cestodes (tapeworms)
SYMPTOMS Low level infestations usually pass unnoticed
and do little harm. Heavy infestations may cause a swollen belly,
impaired swimming behavior, damage to internal organs and rupture of
the body wall. Both parasites may live free in the body or
encapsulated in white or off-white cysts.
TREATMENT It id fortunate that these parasites very
rarely become a problem to the fishkeeper since there is no reliable
PREVENTION Avoid buying infected fish. Do not feed
live foods such as "water fleas" (the intermediate host of
many of these parasites) unless they originate from a fish-free
in the intestine
- Caused by
various helminthes (worm) parasites such as cestodes
(tapeworms), nematodes (roundworms)
(spiny-headed worms). Digenetic flukes also occur here but are
rarely pathogenic in fish.
SYMPTOMS Except in the case of very heavy
infestations, where the fish may appear thin or grossly distended,
with the parasites perhaps protruding from the vent, obvious
symptoms are usually lacking.
TREATMENT Since most infections pass undetected and
probably do little harm, treatment is usually not necessary. On top
of that, the hosts necessary for the parasite to complete its cycle
are lacking from the aquarium environment. However Camallanus
nematodes (a parasite common to livebearers) may multiply within the
confines of an aquarium. In such situations the use of anthelmintic
treatment may be desirable.
PREVENTION For open ponds: cover them from fish eating
Caused by the larval stage of digenetic
fluke parasites, such as Clinostomum,
SYMPTOMS Yellow color cysts develop on the body and
fins. Small numbers cal do little harm but large numbers can harm
TREATMENT Very rarely necessary and is difficult if
PREVENTION Avoid obviously infected fish and
discourage fish-eating birds from visiting garden ponds to prevent
the life cycle being completed.
Andrews, Adrian Exell and Neville Carrington.
"The Interpet Manual of Fish Diseases". Salamander Books
Limited, UK, 1988.
"Tropical Aquarium Fishes",
Tetra Press, Salamander Books Limited, UK, 1997.
Paul V. Loiselle
"The Cichlid Aquarium", Tetra
Edward J. Noga
"Fish Disease, Diagnosis and
Treatment", Mosby-Year Book, Inc, 1996.
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