Aquarium Fish Diseases (2)

If a fish is ill with an internal problem you cannot see, this can be the trigger to White Spot, one of many aquarium fish diseases.  Also bullying, poor water quality or bad aquarium management can all lead to white spot or fungus breaking out.  The cause of white spot breaking out on newly bought fish is mainly high nitrates in the new aquarium ,wrong levels of pH, or introducing the fish in a manner which causes great stress on the fish.

White Spot is easy to catch in the aquarium, but is also easy to treat. If dealt with in time it will not be fatal. It is seen most times on newly introduced fish, which is caused by stress being placed on the fish through netting, bagging, transportation, introduction into a new tank, and then acclimatisation.

After this, White Spot disease is often secondary to another problem in the aquarium. The parasite responsible for the disease is present on all fish. Changes in the environment such as temperature, pH, ammonia etc will trigger the start of the white spot disease. The disease is not visible straight away, with the first symptom being when the fish start energetically rubbing themselves on rocks and gravel. This is followed a few days later when small white spots appear on the fins and then spread over the whole body. The white spots eventually reach the gills, which cause the fish breathing problems and then suffocation.

The initial cycle of the parasite is three days after it has infected the fish. After this period, the parasite  detaches itself from the fish and falls to the bottom of the aquarium where it forms a cyst and divides into hundreds of young. Within 36 hours, the young parasite swims off seeking a new host and in the confines of an aquarium, new hosts are easy to find.

Treatments are readily available from Aquarium Suppliers and not an expensive investment for the well being of your fish.




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Pop-Eye – Exophthalmosis an infection of one or both eyes. The disease, also know as Pop-Eye, causes a swelling behind the eyeball due to retention of liquid or gas. Pop-eye can be caused by many different parasites or bacteria and in most cases, impacts to the eye are the principal reason for the infection starting. Impacts to the eye can be caused by such things as: Fish swimming around a tank to escape from other tank mates (normally a bully), fish rooting for food around rocks, fish which are startled by a knocking on the glass etc. It is important to note that the two diseases often occur together. It is rare for a fish affected by advanced dropsy, not to exhibit the symptoms of exophthalmos.

Dropsy – This is noticed with the fish displaying unusual swimming actions, where a fish either floats at the surface, or finds it difficult to move from the bottom of the aquarium. Infectious dropsy attacks the abdominal cavity, which, because of the accumulation of septic liquid, distends seriously.

When a fish is severely affected, the scales lift up, which give the fish the appearance known as “pine cone”. Dropsy is caused by a bacterial infection. Some cases can be caused by kidney failure. If the kidneys fail to operate correctly, fluids build up in the body giving the symptoms of dropsy.

Dropsy usually attacks fish which are weak or in poor health. Inappropriate food can lead to dropsy. Treatments are now available for this disease which are easy to use and will treat the ailment quickly.

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Algaes (1)

Algae is very hardy and can be really tough to remove from the fish tank, especially Black Algae (BBA). The main cause is the phosphate and other nutrients which are generated from left over food.

There are very few fish that will eat this algae. SAE’s and Yamato shrimps are known to eat it but they may not be enough if BBA is well established in your tank. 

Total blackouts  may not work either as this algae is not caused by extra light but fundamentally, an excess in nutrients. Frequent water changes are strongly recommended during any treatment. Adding more plants, especially the aggressive and fast growing “floaters” such as Pistia, Salvina, Duckweed to absorb the extra nutrient quickly, may also help, remember if the algae is in “bloom” …. It is still in the initial stage.

There are many views on how to remove the algae and some people recommend manually scraping off the algae from the leaves as they believe that this is the best way to get rid of these ugly additions to your tank. Before trying this or any other “radical” treatments, always seek advice.  If your tank is infested with BBA, reduce feeding immediately and you may also need to stop any fertilisation and CO2 injection as well.

It can be tough fighting these unwanted guests and you must ensure that you are careful with any treatment; it is feasible that if you approach this in the wrong way, a complete aquarium revamp could ensue. As with many things, prevention is ALWAYS better than cure, as soon as you see the first signs of BBA, add extra plants (floating plants) and assess what could be causing your particular issue.

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