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Old 04-25-2005, 09:24 PM   #1
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Fish Illnesses

The only fish illness i really know anything about is ich, because I have had to deal with it already and successfully treated it. However im not familiar with any other fish diseases. Could someone just highlight the basic fish diseases, causes, and treatements? Thanks, you have all been so helpful.
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Old 04-25-2005, 09:42 PM   #2
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disease

Hi Ashley.

My views are not popular with many people, I have studied fish disease intensively over the last decade and I have been keeping and breeding fish for over 35 years. I once was one of those people who liked to "diagnose" fish and start dumping antibiotics and remedies into my tanks without any real understanding of what was happening. I saw the removal by the FDA of antibiotics out of aquarium stores 20 years ago, then saw them allowed again and I cringe at the way they are used. They are dangerous to our environment, they are dangerous to the people in your house and certainly have questionable benefits to your fish.

Fish are not unlike people in that they remain healthy until some type of stress situation cause their immune system to be supressed. In that situation they(and people), are suceptible to infection from various pathogens.

In fish, the main causes of stress are poor water quality, transporting from point A to point B, incompatible tankmates, and certainly poor feeding regimens. Fish are particularly prone to disease during new tank cycling.

When a fish is showing signs of illness the best thing to do is to start doing small partial water changes to reduce build ups of toxins in the water,,,stabilizing the temperature is also important and understanding what caused the stress and eliminating it is important.

Unfortunately, many people feel compelled to move fish to a hospital tank, and in more cases than not this causes more problems for the fish because the stress of being moved,,and then the inevitable barrage of chemicals.

The over the counter chemicals available to aquarists have questionable value, certainly it is out of the scope of most fish keepers to identify specifically which pathogen is infecting their fish. Adding antibiotics is a futile thing, there are gram positive and gram negative bacteria that need to be treated with specific antibiotics,and just randomly tossing in drugs usually has no effect on the causative bacteria. Dosing is the major problem,,,adding drugs to the water has little effect on the germs in the fish's body.

Prevention is the easiest way to treat illness,,,doing a 10-15 percent water change weekly, keeping the environment STABLE, feeding very small feedings and sparingly, will ensure good health in fish.

Of course, buying sick fish from the LFS is never good, and learning how to choose healthy fish is important and learning which fish are going to be compatible in your tank is as important. Bill P.S. Where in florida are you?
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Old 04-25-2005, 09:49 PM   #3
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im in nursing school and i do understand the dangers of overusing antibiotics. I am also aware of the correlation between stress and disease. I am also aware of the need to keep a healthy environment, i do weekely water changes and regular gravel vacs and test my water parameters weekely as well. I have a QT tank for fish before i introduce them to my aquarium. I only asked for a highlight on the general fish illnessess, and by causes i meant want organism caused it, not environmental factors, and just what the most effective treatements are for each disease.
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Old 04-25-2005, 10:01 PM   #4
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disease.

Hi,,,I guess the most common ailments that aquarists are likely to encounter are the external parasites, like ich,,and also velvet disease,,which can look a bit like ich,,the organisms are smaller and are more insidious,,,velvet of course is caused by Oodinium sp. Curing a full blown case of velvet is not as easy as ich,,,and copper sulfate is the prescribed treatment.

Bacterial problems are the main causes of illness in aquarium fish,,bacterial proliferation is usually caused by the stresses I've mentioned before.

Fungus(body) is often misdiagnosed,,a bacteria called Columnaris presents itself as a white cottony growth that many people confuse with fungus. Columnaris is aggressive,,it grows rapidly and is usually caused by poor water quality,,it can be brought under control by doing daily successive water changes.

The other main cause of loss in fish is because of the handling and multi chemical treatments that fish recieve in shipping. Strains of fancy tropical fish are not as disease resistant as they were 20 years ago and farmers and wholesalers today rely on large amounts of salt in the water and tons of antibiotics. Fish are suffering form kidney and liver damage and even though they may appear ok in the store the trip home will often seal their fate.

I've dissected many dead fish and found this to be the case. Bill
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Old 04-26-2005, 09:47 AM   #5
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thatmagicguy: This is some of the smartest material I have read around here EVER. It is too bad more people do not heed what you say. Unfortunately, the current attitude (in America, anyway) of "if I'm sick, gimme a pill" seems to extend to the aquarium hobby. And because of that, like you said, you will run into much resistance and browbeating around here.
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Old 04-26-2005, 11:34 AM   #6
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Sorry Fish Surgeon, but I don't agree with your assessment of the people on AA. While it's true there are people everywhere that want to be spoon fed and given the magic pill, I've found the members here to be open and understanding. Sometimes it takes longer to sink in as we're dealing with different ages and skill levels.

I've also been advocating "not" to medicate until there's a reasonable certainty of diagnosis. I have yet to be brow beaten for it.
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Old 04-26-2005, 12:31 PM   #7
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I see the words "Melafix" and "Maracyn" thrown around here WAY too often. In fact, I bet I could start a post right now and say "my fish's gills are red and he's breathing fast, but acting normal otherwise," and sure enough someone will come along with Melafix.

And I guarantee you if I or someone else says NOT to use quarantine tanks (see the posts above), the browbeating begins.
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Old 04-26-2005, 12:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
And I guarantee you if I or someone else says NOT to use quarantine tanks (see the posts above), the browbeating begins
Your probably right there, but it's not so much different than how you are behaving towards the members of this site, accept your a bit more mean spirited about it. Not for long though
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Old 04-26-2005, 03:35 PM   #9
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This thread has turned into a discussion that is not really about what AshleyNicole was asking, but I do wish to chime in and state that I have not used antibiotics to treat an illness in years, but I have used Melafix and Pimafix - not in quarrantine but in the main tank as an antiseptic and mild antibacterial that I do not feel is the same as treating with antibiotics. It has helped cure minor ailments like mouth fungus and fin rot, in conjunction with daily PWC - which are so important.

Thatmagicguy's approach is not so far off my way of thinking, since I do not see much sense in dumping $30-40 into fish medications for an ailment that is likely not curable, and since I have adopted a frequent PWC schedule with attention to stress factors in my fish, I rarely see illness at all. That brings me back to AshleyNicole's original question, and all I can tell you is what I have seen crop up for me over the years: ich, velvet, parasites, mouth fungus, fin rot, bloat, and a little bit of TB (Mycobacterium). The last one I have had no luck treating and once I think I am sure that is what it is, the fish gets euthanized.

I always have Melafix and Pimafix on hand, and in the case of ich and parasites I treat with heat and salt or sometimes just heat. Here are a few links that list some common fishy diseases and how they are often treated:

http://www.klsnet.com/files/fishchart.htm
http://animal-world.com/encyclo/fres...n/Diseases.htm
http://www.aquatronicsonline.com/hobbyist/hobbyist3.htm
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Old 04-26-2005, 11:35 PM   #10
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This topic has been unlocked. Let's stay on topic and be nice!

TankGirl, those are some great links! I'm wondering if the Aquatronics meds are available anymore. I've heard from a few places that they are unavailable now. I tried to make an online order for some of the meds, but was told the same thing. It was my favorite line of meds.
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Old 04-27-2005, 07:28 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone, i appreciate all of your views, it's nice to see all sides of this. I realize the dangers of overmedicating of course, thanks for all your tips.
BTW, on the subject of QT tanks. I don't know about quarentining already sick fish in your aquarium, but i think its a really good idea to quarentine new fish when you buy them from somewhere, becasue i know a lot are live caught and DO carry diseases. I always set up my QT tank at a higher temp with salt and put the new fish in for two weeks before adding to my 55 gallon. Since i've done that, i haven't had any cases of ich, and i got it twice before i started doing that!
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