Animal Stories - Fish Disease and Treatment

Animal-World Information about: Fish Disease and Treatment

Introduction to aquarium fish diseases and treatments.
Latest Animal Stories
Austin - 2011-08-04
My shark is swimming like vertically, but staying in place. Just yesterday he was totally fine and swimming around the bottom of the tank. I've had him for about a week or so and I don't know what to do.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-08-04
    Usually when it is behavior it is tank conditions so check temperature, water ph and if you need to treat the tank. Included is Animal World article on Fish Diseases and Treatment which will give you symptoms and recommended treatment. Check the tank and then scroll down on the article to see if any symptoms look familiar.
Arden - 2011-08-15
Okay, so I have 1 puffer in a 30 gallon tank, and it's been totally fine, but I came home one night and he was sitting at the bottom of the tank, his spots are dissapering and he's all dark with a little black on his belly. He hasn't moved from that spot for 2 days now, and is breathing very deeply. He now has this thick clear coat forming over his eyes. What do I do?? ):

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-08-15
    Aniaml World article on Fish Diseases and recommended Treatment link
    Check out the symptoms and see if something corresponds to what you see. I didn't see anything specific - cloudy eye - sounds like you got a bacterial thing going on though.
Joanna Draper Metzger - 2011-08-02
2 of my sons goldfish have "bumps/ulcers(?) on them. The common goldfish fish has a raised bump that isn't discolored and not as worrisome (maybe a tumor?). However, the white fantail has a larger reddish protruding bumb/ulcer that is worse in appearance. I have treated the tank with Melafix/Pimafix to no avail and then tried two rounds of Lifequard. They do not appear in distress and the ammonia/ph levels are fine. It's a 29 gallon tank with a bio-wheel and I clean the tank regularly.
Any suggestions/opinions would be appreciated, as I don't know what to do next. I can mail a picture to you. Thank you in advance.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-08-02
    Sounds maybe like red pest which is treated with an antibiotic. I have attached the linke for the Animal World article on Fish Diseases and Treatment. Scroll down to Red Pest and click on it and recommended treatment is also there. You can also scroll down to other symptoms - just in case you see something that looks more close to what you are saying the fish have. Sounds like red pest though. Good luck
  • Brittany - 2011-08-10
    I had a clear, what looked like a tumor, coming from the side of my fancy goldfish, Pebbles. The local pet stores said to give melafix, I did and it didn't help. Eventually my fish started floating n had a hard time swimming. It turned out to be a cyst that helped create swim bladder disorder. This disorder is deadly.
Ms B - 2011-08-05
My male swordtail looks like hes going to Blow UP. He looks like a Turkey What happened?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-08-06
    Check out Fish Disease and Treatment on Animal World - look at bloat.
Lewis - 2011-07-26
I added a cream angel to my 30 gallon aquarium with a coral beauty, then a few days later it got ick!
I treated it but then it died :(
I want to add another one but don't want to get ick again can anyone help me???

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-07-26
    Look up ick and you will see the life cycle of the disease is about 4 weeks. Caught in time - there shouldn't be a problem. So the ick is present before there are visible signs. You can treat for ich as soon as you bring the fish home or as soon as any visible sign. Then there is the quetion --- did the fish already have ich when you brought it home? You have experience now so you know what needs to be done. Go for it and good luck.
  • Lewis - 2011-07-28
    Thanks I looked at a few websites and some said to use garlic. Is that the garlic we put in food or is it something else???
    If it is the garlic we eat do you put it in their food because I have a glass where I take water from the tank and defrost the food in there?
  • Lewis - 2011-08-01
    So what type of garlic is it??
  • Clarice Brough - 2011-08-01
    I'm not sure that garlic is your solution. Fish don't use garlic in nature, though there are some fish people that really like it, and suggest that it has medicinal value. But I'd rather look at the problem directly.

    With saltwater fish, especially more delicate fish like the Angels, it's a really good idea to quarantine before adding them to your main tank. One fish with ich can wipe out your whole tank. So to really control what's happening, use a quarantine tank for at least 2 weeks. That will give you're new fish a chance to de-stress and acclimate.

    If it has ich, you can read all about this disease above on this page. Also how to treat it. It's a lot easier to treat one fish in a smaller environment that it is to treat your whole tank too. And a lot safer.

    Ich is an easy parasite to control, if you catch it right away. Usually caused by stress, or poor water conditions. In your case, I would guess stress as it was just recently shipped. Good luck!
Misty - 2011-07-19
PLEASE HELP! :(( I have a black moor fish that I have had for about 6 months-year and yesterday I noticed his gills were swollen on both sides. I have searched and searched but can't find any information on swollen gills or what could be the problem. He looks normal otherwise but has been acting very strange. He will sit at the top of the water level with his face in the corner, won't eat until the food sinks to the bottom. It seems to have a hard time breathing and sometimes swimming. I want to help him and get him well before its too late and I hope I caught it soon enough. :(( Please if anyone has any information or has gone through this before, any information helps! I don't want to treat him or do anything that could cause him to die or get sicker until I am sure what his illness is.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-07-19
    Usually behavior problems (acting strange)is a result of the tank conditions. Behavior like sitting in the corner, not eating, gasping at surface etc. Check out all your tank conditions - temperature water etc.
    Next attached is article on Fish Diseases and Treatments - scroll down to you come to symptoms. I was looking at dropsy but another symptoms might be closer. You can see your little fella and I can't. Look at symptoms and determine what is condition and corresponding treatment is recommended.
  • Jenny Rybacki - 2011-07-31
    Ick can cause swollen looking gills. I treated with Coppersafe when our tank became infected once and sadly only one out of 4 goldfish survived. We had a black moor, 2 fancy, and 1 calico. The survivor was one of the red fancy. We have since replaced her tank mates with a single black moor and are debating on whether to add another friend in the near future. They are both thriving now. I waited a month after treating to purchase the new fish and look over the fish at the pet store every couple weeks to see how well they are taken care of and keep a rapport with the fish guy there.
santiago - 2011-07-28
I have a 20 gallon tank started 4 opaline gourami. One stay on 1 side of the tank the other 3 on the other side.They started to die slowly 1 by 1 no fins eyes missing. He's the only one left in the tank with a pletco.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-07-29
    Something is obviously big wrong. I don't know for sure what. I'd look over the article on Fish Disease and Treament from Animal World and see if you can spot the symptoms. I'd check your tank temperature water etc also. I'd just completely start over and do all new water or exchange all the water and treat it. Your tank is also too small for the fish you have in there. The gourami are going to be about 6 inches as adults and so four of them would need at least 24 gallons of water. One inch on adult size needs a gallon and you have to subtact gallons for gravel, plants and decorations. A 30 gallon tank would be best for 4 gourami - no pletco. It is hard to start but don't give up or get discouraged. It gets a whole lot better.
  • venkataraounnamatla - 2011-07-31
    This information is very good but latest information is better because now a days so many antibiotics are coming to market that information is also need please give the information. Thank you.
  • Clarice Brough - 2011-08-01
    Staying in one spot in an aquarium for these types of fish indicates they are stressed. Stress causes disease. Things that cause stress are poor water conditions, not enough space and/or inadequate hiding places, and aggravating or aggressive tankmates.

    Because it's a new tank, you may very well still be in the middle of the nitrification cycle. (I'm assuming you have a filter and good water movement.) It can take about 6-8 weeks to go thru the nitrification cycle. Once you're tank is cycled, you will have established bacteria in the tank that controls toxins, specifically ammonia and nitrite. Water changes can help the fish handle the toxins while the tank is cycling, because that will remove some of the ammonia and nitrite, but also slows the cycle time down a bit. But this just means it takes a litter longer... no biggie.

    Plecos are much hardier fish to cycle a tank with than Gouramis, but one you're tank is cycled (you can test for ammonia an nitrite) it will be established. Bacteria in the tank that controls these toxins.

    At that time you can slowly start to add additional fish, about 2-3 small ones at a time for a 20 gallon. I say slowly because if you add too many fish at once, you put a load on the biological cycle. Then the tank will spike in ammonia again, and you risk loosing fish. But the existing bacteria will also grow rapidly to handle this heavier ammonia and nitrite load, and get back in balance. Still it's best to go slowly.

    If you're tank is already established, then a very probable cause is a lack of adequate hiding places for your fish. Plants, artificial are fine, help create safe areas. Also, gouramis are notorious for picking out one of their mates and harrassing it... usually to death. This is another good reason for many hiding places... for escape.

    Antibiotics and other types of treatments are for when a disease is identified. If it's a new tank, I would first make sure the environment is right before looking for a disease problem.
Amethyst - 2011-07-31
One type of nematode that infests fish is the camellanus nematode, which looks like a red thread hanging out the fish's anus. It can be deadly if left untreated, particularly in small fish. However, it is treatable with levamisole, and requires two (or more) treatment cycles, two weeks apart. The subsequent treatments gets rid of any new nematodes that have hatched since the last treatment. So far as I have discovered, the only place to buy the levamisole packaged for aquarium use is from Charles Harrison at He's got an article about it and how it was developed for use in aquariums (he was one of the developers) at There is another good article, with lots of good scientific information, at She gives a number of sources of levamisole packaged for use with other animals, and explains how to figure out the correct dosage for aquarium use.

Nicole McDonald - 2011-07-22
My puffer fish is just floating there. We have changed the tank several times. It seems like every week it starts to stink! We have the correct temperature and brackish water for the green puffer. We have the bubble maker to help oxygen flow and a filter. He looks really sick, Help!

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-07-23
    Where is the water coming from? Purifying tablets, chlorine? Something is strange if the tank is smelling that bad. I also included link for Fish Disease and Treatment Look up symptoms and also tank conditions. Corresponding treatment is recommended.
  • Betta Care - 2011-07-23
    Check for water source, I suggest you get water from a different source and treat it with conditioners available in pet stores before you let your fish in. Also make sure that the water is run through a new filter before you let your fish in. I suggest you check the following 2 sites which give a lot of information about fish care and

    All the best !
bahareh - 2011-07-19
I have a question. My arowana fish has got red spots on his tail and fins. It's like bloody spots with, like a white hair poping out of them. I hope you would help me cure this.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-07-19
    Link for Animal World article on Fish Diseases and Treatment is here and article is attached. Sounds like red pest of fin rot - both of which are treatable. Click on the link and scroll down to Symptoms and see if this is what you are saying. The recommended treatment is also there. It happens.
  • bahareh - 2011-07-20
    Thanks for answering me. Any way I was wondering if you could put some picture of this red pest disease so I could figure out if it's exactly the problem or not. Cause you know the symptom is kind of weird like I havn't seen such red spots with a white hair poping out of it before.