Tips to Prevent Fish from Becoming Ill

Poor water quality is the main reason fish become ill,thus, aquarium maintenance should be considered a serious and critical job. High-quality water free from toxins and waste contributes to fish health and prevents disease.

Fish Care

If your fish was in good condition at the beginning of the aquarium set up, poor aquarium parameters can affect the fish very quickly and cause stress. Stress is an important factor that may cause several negative health issues such as a weakened immune system. During the adaptation period, a fish can survive the short stress, but if the stress becomes chronic, the results can be detrimental.

Aquarium Maintenance

One crucial thing to consider is the cycle of the aquarium. The nitrogen cycle of the tank should be completed before putting the first fish in the tank. Then, water quality should be monitored regularly with special test kits. Ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, pH, and hardness are the main parameters that cause fish to become sick and/or die. Ammonia and nitrites levels should be zero. Nitrates should remain below 20, while the pH and hardness remain between the appropriate levels for the aquarium type.

Additionally, aquarium temperature should be monitored regularly in case of rapid weather changes. Partial water changes should be done regularly. If the tank is not heavily stocked with fish it will be enough to change 20-30% of water every two weeks. Otherwise, water replacement should be more frequent because in crowded tanks, ammonia and nitrite accumulation will increase quickly. The addition of salt will not prevent disease;salt shouldn’t be added in a fresh water tank since too much salt could kill the freshwater species.

A filter is a vital piece of aquarium equipment. High-quality aquarium filters have many advantages to keep the water clean. It is recommended to remove excretes and leftover food in the tank as well. Ultraviolet sterilization may be helpful to protect fish from diseases.

Fish Care

You should visually inspect your fish every day. Fish should not be inactive, extra thin, and/or pale. Any small physical changes should be noted. For example, white spots, unusual puffiness, or red sores are signs of several diseases. Early treatment will always help the fish more easily than waiting for it to become achronic case.

If one of the fish looks ill, it should be transferred into the quarantine tank and receive appropriate therapy until recovery. Some diseases are contagious and can affect the whole aquarium. Be sure to continue to monitor the other fish as the sick fish recovers.

Feeding is another important factor for preventing fish from diseases. Frozen or live foods are good nutritional sources; zucchini, broccoli, and spinach can be left in the tank, but not more than three days. Fish shouldn’t come in contact with any kind of chemical such as perfumes and detergents, which can be highly toxic. Also, if any sign of disease occurs,contact a professional, as treatment should not be conducted without special knowledge of the fish, disease, and side effects.

Elimination of Stress

Stress is unavoidable for fish; however, it is possible to keep fish away from the main stress factors. Adverse effects can be seen very quickly or it may take several weeks to realize the fish is not in good condition, but even a healthy fish may die suddenly. In this situation, the source of the stress should be determined and removed. Adding new fish in the aquarium is one of the main causes of stress. New fish should be transferred gently and carefully. A quarantine tank can be useful for the acclimation of a new fish. Fish health depends on intensive care with good aquarium maintenance.

Symptoms of a Sick Fish

Some diseases have very clear signs of the disease.  Loss of appetite, pale body, cloudy eyes, frayed fins, and unusual inactivity are all symptoms of bacterial diseases such as fin rot, hole-in-the-head, and dropsy mouth. Fungal diseases occur as a result of a weak immune system and the diseases manifest as fluffy white spots on several parts of the body. Parasitic invasions can be seen on the fish’s body. Parasitic invasions are highly contagious resulting in the infestation of the entire tank in a very short time. Typical symptoms are red or discolored skin and abnormal growths on the body. Viral diseases are the most dangerous ones because the treatment is very difficult. Viral infections can cause small, white clumps on the sick fish’s fins.  Whether viral, parasitic, or bacterial, remember to always consult with a professional before starting any type of treatment.

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