Animal Stories - Fish Disease and Treatment

Animal-World Information about: Fish Disease and Treatment

Introduction to aquarium fish diseases and treatments.
Latest Animal Stories
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.
Ross - 2011-07-19
Recently set up my aquarium. Got 2 convict cichlids initially which are doing fine but most fish I've added since have died. - I've lost 4 lemon cichlids and now a much larger fish. The shop said it was fine to mix them and the catfish and pleco I've added are also ok. The ones that died all displayed the same symptons - they looked fine one minute then started swimming manically round in circles and upside down and then finally dying. It was very quick. In all cases it happened 2-3 days after putting them in the tank. Any ideas what it could be?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-07-20
    Check out tank conditions, temperature and pH etc. Usually behavior is tank conditions. Look at Fish Diseases and Treatment and see if you see anything else that it might be.
Karen Busyn - 2011-07-18
We have had a telescope goldfish for several years - it appears that one of his eyes is growing at a much faster rate than the other. Is this normal? Is there a disease that would cause this? Should we be changing feeding or treating with medication?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-07-18
    Look at article Fish Diseases and Treatments and match symptoms against what you are seeing in your goldfish.

    Check pop-eye or cloudiness of eyes. Treatable - OK?
gouramigal - 2011-07-14
I think I've worked it out. It has AMMONIA POISONING, all the symptoms add up ..
Fish gasp for breath at the water surface
Purple or red gills
Fish is lethargic
Fins are torn and jagged
Loss of appetite
Fish lays at the bottom of the tank
Fish may appear darker in color
Red streaking on the fins or body,
poor fishy i hate to see him like this.. ;(

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-07-14
    Sure it is not a bacterial disease? Animal Eorld article on Fish Diseases and Treatments says "Bacterial Diseases: Bacterial diseases are usually characterized by red streaks or spots and/or swelling of the abdomen or eye. These are best treated by antibiotics such as penicillin, amoxicillin, or erythromycin". Chck it out and check the symptoms out because it is treatable.
Anonymous - 2011-07-13
My goldfish has fungas. What do I do?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-07-14
    Attached is Animal World article which lists the recommended treatment for fungus. Fungal "Diseases: Comon fungal infections often look like gray or white fluffy patches".
    The problem is that there are different types of fungus and depending on what you rlittle guy has, the treamtnet s are different. Scroll down to symptoms and identified what is going on and the recommenede treatment is there. If youhave any problems then write us back and give us a better description of what is happening and we will help.
Howard Blake - 2011-07-11
I have a question. My male swordtail has been swimming to the top of the tank often and staying there. His top fin is not extended and neither is the female (which she is pregnant). Is that normal or not and if not what should we try and do? We also put an air filter in the tank to provide more air with the plants.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-07-11
    Test the water. Check everything out in the throughly. Adding the air filter was a great thing to do. Usually they swim to the surface for additional oxygen. Usually, change in behavior has something to do with the tank enviornment. Swordtails are sort of known to like more thanone female, also. But definitely check out the tank conditions first.
  • Howard Blake - 2011-07-12
    Thank you. We will check that.
Chris Norris - 2011-07-08
Hi guys. I have a long fin bristle nose who is doing well but i have noticed that his fins are not as big and as nice as they were when I got him. He's in a 90l comunity tank and has always been left alone never nibbled or chased by anything. I can use help me with my problem...???

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-07-08
    I included the article on Fish Disease and Treatment. It might be Fin & Tail rot which is a bacteial infection. He could have had it when you brought him home. He could have hurt himself somehow in the tank and it caused a bacterial infection. Another fish could have nipped him. It happens. Anyway, look at the article and find the symptoms and check out that disease and just look at symptoms in general. The recomended treatment is there.
  • Chris Norris - 2011-07-09
    Thanks for your help cheryl. I will look into it.