You have to first determine the problem before you apply any medication to your fish

You have to first determine the problem before you apply any medication to your fish. While some diseases have symptoms that look similar, they need different treatments obviously. A good practise would be to keep a small quarantine tank on standby, in case you need it to treat your sick fish. Not all fishes are affected at the same time, so you need to separate the sick one from the rest as quickly as possible. Another good practise is to keep common medications handy, so that you can apply them as
and when you need to. Take care not to overstock and do check their expiry dates from time to time.

Here are some common fish diseases/problems. Learn to recognise these symptoms.

1. Ammonia poisoning. Fish are seen gasping for air at the surface of the water. This usually happens for a new tank setup. It’s part of the nitrogen cycle during which ammonia is converted into nitrates. Most fishes do not survive during the initial stage.

Remedy: When you are first setting up your aquarium, run the pump and put in cheaper fishes to start the cycle. Another alternative is to put in fish food and allow it to decompose to produce ammonia gas. The whole procedure should take at least 2 weeks. Once the nitrate level in the water is safe, you can then put in your fish.

2. Lack of oxygen. Fish are seen gasping for air at the surface.

Remedy: This can be easily rectified by adding an air pump to the tank.

For more information on setting up a new tank, go here.

3. Fish fungus. White or dirty white cotton-like growth on the skin. When left untreated, the fish will die.

Remedy: Change your water every other day. If the situation does not improve, it is best to quarantine the sick fish and treat it individually. There are many ready-made fungus treatments in the market. Just shop around and ask for the right one.

4. Tail and/or fin rot. Obvious signs are rotting fins and blood on the edges of fins. This is usually caused by bullying fishes and/or poor water conditions. Tuberculosis can also lead to tail and fin rot.

Remedy: If it is caused by a bullying fish, separate them and treat it with antibiotics (chloromycetin). If it is caused by poor water conditions, change the aquarium water frequently.

5. Velvet. They appear as yellow or brown dusty spots on the fish. The fish may show signs of irritation and may be rubbing on surfaces in the tank.

Remedy: Quarantine the fish because Velvet is highly infectious. Treat it with copper at 0.2 mg per litre. Repeat once every few days if needed. Do not prolong the treatment as copper can cause fish poisoning.

6. Ich or White Spot (Ichthyophtirius multifiliis). It appear as white spots on the body. It is usually caused by poor water quality.

Remedy: You can head down to the pet shop and get a remedy for it. To help in the treatment, raise the temperature of water to 27?C (80? F) to speed up the cycle time of this protozoa (Ichthyophtirius multifiliis).

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