Hobbyists that take very good care of their tank will rarely encounter a sick fish. Almost all health problems can be avoided by taking some preventative measures. Keep reading to learn to prevent medical issues, to spot problems early on, and to treat fish diseases.
Pay attention to fish: There are certain things all fish never (or at least very rarely) do. For example, fish never normally gasp at the surface. Fish will only gasp at the surface if they are suffocating because of poor oxygenation, parasites, damage to their gills, et cetera. Other behaviours that are cause for immediate concern include shimmying, cowering, or dashing around the aquarium. If your fish exhibit any of these behaviours, consider speaking to an expert as soon as possible for assistance with a diagnosis.
Be faithful to quarantine new additions to your tank. Quarantine is a easy way to give residents of your tank a better chance of living long, healthy lives. Set up a separate aquarium as your “quarantine tank.” This tank should be filtered and maintained like any other tank. Whenever you purchase a new fish to add to your tank, place it in the quarantine tank first to make sure it isn’t sick.
Ich: Ich is named for Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, the parasite that causes ich. Symptoms of ich include small, raised white spots on the body and fins, making it one of the few fish ailments. Any species can be affected by ich, and is highly contagious. There are several ways to treat ich. The first is by raising the temperature of the tank to about 90°F. The heat will kill the parasites, and most fish will be able to tolerate this rise in temperature for several days, which is how long it will generally take to wipe out the parasites. Ich can also be treated by adding salt or an ich-specific medication to the water in the tank.
Fungus: Fungus shows up as a white growth on fish, appearing sort of like cotton. An infection of fungus often follows another infection, usually on a fish’s lips or fins. A fish suffering from fungus should immediately be moved to another tank and treated with a fish medication.