Friday, January 12, 2007

How To Avoid Aquarium Disease

By Lee Dobbins

There are many diseases that can affect your aquarium fish and once your tank is infected, there’s a good change that all your fish can get sick. Luckily, keeping a disease free tank is not that hard. Most disease is a result of poor water quality so not overcrowding your tank and keeping a regular maintenance schedule is a must.

Most aquarium disease can be avoided by making sure your aquarium water is healthy. If disease does break out, doing a water change and treating the water for the particular disease is the best way to nip it in the bud. If you don’t do these two things your tank is a disaster waiting to happen.

Neglecting the appropriate tank maintenance and partial water changes will allow toxins to build up in the water, basically polluting your fish’s environment. As the water becomes more toxic your fish become more “stressed”, the more stressed your fish becomes the easier it is for the micro organisms present in your aquarium water to infect your fish with various diseases.

I addition to insuring your aquarium has good water quality, you should also keep an eye on your fish each day so that you can be alerted to any signs of stress right away and take the appropriate action.

So how do you tell if your tropical fish are stressed?

Tropical fish don’t react the same way to stress as people do, but there are some tell tale signs you can be on the look out for. Some things to look for include; fish rubbing themselves against the gravel or aquarium d├ęcor, fish hiding in the corner or under plants or rocks all the time, fish bobbing around with their fins close to they body and any growths or white fuzzy spots are some of the things that indicate aquarium disease. More...


Aquarium Disease Prevention
By Carl Strohmeyer

I have kept up many aquariums (marine and freshwater) during my years of aquarium maintenance. It was more of a challenge than my personal aquariums as many of customers overfed or did not tell me fish were sick until it was too late. That is why prevention is the best remedy.

[1] Cleanliness; regular quality water changes are extremely important. By quality I mean to not over clean the water by taking fish out and washing the gravel. You want to use a gravel vacuum and do partial water changes that disrupt the fish as little as possible. The purpose of this is to remove organic debris before it can fully go through the Nitrogen cycle, eventually increasing your Nitrates and lowering your ph. You also want to dechlorinate the water so as to not stress out the fish or environment. There are many good products for this: Novaqua, Start Right, Stress Coat, just to name a few.

[2] Good filtration. I recommend two filters for redundancy, and I never totally throw out all media, rather I rinse part of the filter media in used aquarium water so as to preserve beneficial (aerobic) bacteria for proper biological filtration (ammonia and nitrite removal).

[3] Use ultra violet sterilization. UV sterilizers prevent many bacterial, fungal, and protozoa diseases. In addition they help with oxidation properties (Redox Potential) of the water and in so doing, water clarity.

[4] Do not overfeed! Use quality, aquatic based foods, not foods high in cereal, beef proteins and fats, and soy proteins. Some good brands: HBH, Ocean Nutrition, Blue Lagoon, Sanyu, Hikari, Spirulina 20, Omega. Some brands to avoid: Tetra, Hartz. More...


Aquarium Medications, Treatments, and How They Work
By Carl Strohmeyer

his article (which will continue to grow with information) is informational about different aquarium (and pond) treatments. I give the gram negative or gram positive applications where they apply. Many aquarium antibiotics and chemical treatments are explained.

When you have fish that are sick (bacterial, fungal, protozoan, or other parasites), you want to try and isolate them in a hospital aquarium whenever possible. Regular water changes before each treatment allow for a more effective treatment, especially when treated in the display aquarium. Sponge filters work well in hospital aquariums. Remember to remove carbon, as carbon will remove many medications. Also not that silicone in the aquarium will absorb malachite green, methylene blue, and copper sulfate. Most corals (crushed and otherwise), and ceramic decorations will also absorb medications such as malachite green, methylene blue, and copper sulfate. Proper calcium levels are important, as calcium also helps in healing and stress, and without proper calcium levels healing may be diffficult or impossible. The addition of antibiotics (such as Tetracycline) will lower calcium absorbtion.

TRIPLE SULFA (Sulfamerazine, Sulfamethazine, Sulfathiazole):

TRIPLE SULFA (Sulfamerazine, Sulfamethazine, Sulfathiazole):

USE: Treatment of gram-negative bacterial infections, fin and tail rot, mouth fungus and collapsed fins, columnaris. Also useful for damaged fins caused by fin nipping. An old standby that is still usefull and can be used in combination with Malachite Green or Acriflavin (do not combine with copper sulfate) DOSAGE: 250 mg per 10 gallons every 24 hours with a 25% water change before each treatment. Treat for a minimum of 10 days.


USE: Treatment of bacterial infections, both gram-positive and gram-negative infections such as fin and tail rot (split, ragged and deteriorating fin and/or tail), Popeye (protruding eyes, may be cloudy or hazy), gill disease (swollen, discolored gills, gasping for air and a decrease in activity) and secondary infections. It interferes with the production of proteins that the bacteria need to multiply and divide (bacteriostatic). Tetracycline Hydrochloride mode of action is as a protein synthesis inhibitor via an aminoacyl-tRNA binding mechanism to the 30S subunit. Mode of resistance is the loss of cell wall permeability. Note, Teracycline can lower red blood cell count, because of this I would not use with injured fish. DOSAGE: 250- 500 mg per 20 gallons of water. Every 24 hours with a 25% water change before each treatment. This product will not work in water with a ph above 7.5- NOT FOR MARINE USE!


USE: Resistant strains of Ich (especially on scale less fish). Protozoan, sliminess of the skin and Rams disease (whirling disease). Also good for resistant strains of Hexamita when combined with Metronidazole. DOSAGE : 250 mg per 10 gallons of water. Once a day for 4-5 days. Do a 25% water change before each treatment.

OXYTETRACYCLINE HYDROCHLORIDE: USE: Gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Marine ulcer disease, cold water disease, bacterial hemorrhagic septicemia and mouth fungus. DOSAGE: 250- 500 mg teaspoon per 20 gallons every 24 hours with a 50% water change before each treatment. This antibiotic is best used mixed in with food, especially if your ph is above 8.0..


USE: Bactericidal for many gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria causing disease in fresh water and marine fishes. This antibacterial is effective for control of Aeromonas, Vibrio and related species. Nitrofurazone is particularly useful for control of minor topical skin infections of marine fishes that have not become systemic. Effective against marine ulcer disease and protozoan. Also useful in treating furunculosis found in Koi. Serious adverse events related to nitrofurans are very rare. Acquired resistance of bacteria to nitrofurans during therapy has been rare and has not appeared on a significant scale in over 50 years of use. Do not use in the presence of invertebrates. DOSAGE: 250- 500 mg per 20 gallons. Treat every 24 hours with a 50% water change before each treatment. Treat for 10 days.

NEOMYCIN SULFATE: USE: Gram-negative bacteria (Pseudomonas- Red spots or streaks on body or fins of fish.) and tuberculosis; gram-positive, and possibly mycobacterium. Works well in freshwater or saltwater aquariums. DOSAGE: 250 mg per 10 gallons of water. Treat every 24 hours with a 25% water change before each treatment. Treat for 10 days. For tuberculosis, use for up to 30 days.


USE: Hole in the head disease (hexamita), chilodonella, salt water ich, bloat. DOSAGE: 250-500 mg per 20 gallons. Treat every 24 hours with a 25% water change before each treatment. Treat for 10 days.


USE: It is used to treat many sensitive gram–negative and some gram–positive bacteria. Works especially well in salt water aquariums. Works well combined with Nitrofurazone for flexibacter (columnaris) (Symptoms: Fuzzy, thin, white coating on the body and fins. Looks like a fungus). Also useful for Pseudomonas-Open red sores or ulcerations, fin and tail damage,fins and tail are eaten away, in severe cases, down to the body (can be combined with Neomycin for this). Kanamycin can be effective for whirling disease and dropsey. Kanamycin sulfate appears to prevent bacteria from making their cell walls, so the cells die.

DOSAGE: 250-500 mg per 20 gallons. Treat every 48 hours with a 25% water change before each treatment. Treat for 10 days.


USE: Fin and tail rot, kidney disease, pop eye. Most gram-positive and some gram negative bacteria and fungus. Black Molly disease. DOSAGE: 250- 500 mg per 20 gallons every 24 hours with a 25% water change before each treatment. Treat for 10 days.

TRICHLORFON (Dylox) Dimethyl (2,2,2,Trichloro-1-Hydroxyethyl) Phosphonate:

Trichlorfon is an Organophosphate and degrades rapidly (approximately 99% of applied degraded in 2 hours) in alkaline pond water (pH 8.5) at room temperature. but remains stable in the same pond water held under acidic (pH 5.0) conditions for 2 hours. Trichlorfon is very highly toxic to invertebrates. DO NOT USE ON FISH THAT ARE CHEMICALLY SENSITIVE such as: Silver Dollars, Rays, Bala Sharks, Arowanas, Tinfoil Barbs, Hemiodus, Piranha, Most Silver Scaled Fish, Marine sharks, Lion Fish. See methylene blue if Dylox treatment is not available or viable

USE: Trichlorfon is useful for treatment of: Hydra, Lernia (Anchor Worms), Parasitic Copepods, Monodigenetic and Digenetic Flukes, Fish Lice (Argulus), Leeches CLOUT contains Trichlorfon (Dimethyl (2,2,2,Trichloro-1-Hydroxyethyl) Phosphonate), as well as; 4-[P-(dimethylamino)-O-phenylbenzylidene]-2, 5-cyclohexadien-1-xylidene dimethylammonium chloride, 1,2,dimethyl-5-nitroimidazole DOSAGE: There is no recommended dosage (other than Freshwater fish acute toxicity= 1.6-180 ppm), refer to manufacturers directions for all products containing Trichlorfon. Treat again in 14 days to kill new hatchings of Anchor worms.

ISONIAZID 300 mg: USE: Treatment for tuberculosis in susceptible fish such as Discus. Can be combined with kanamycin. DOSAGE: 1 tablet per 20 gallons, every other day for 14- 30 days

METHYLENE BLUE (Zinc Free) 2.303% :

USE: Fungus on eggs, Ich, fungus and some bacteria. Effective in gill disease. Transports oxygen. Some protozoa, sliminess of the skin and oodinium. Great for use as a 30 minute dip at double dose. Very effective when used as a dip for topical treatment of parasites, bacterial, and fungal infections. When dylox is not available, this can a useful treatment for anchor worm (especially in goldfish); first carefully remove the anchor worm with tweezers, then dip the affected fish in Methylene blue. When used with a UV sterilizer to kill the swimming stage of the female anchor worm (the female is the parasite), this can be an effective treatment. (Tank can also be treated with Malachite green or malachite green combination during this time for improved effectiveness). Also useful as a dip for ammonia and nitrite poisoning. DOSAGE: 1 teaspoon of a 2.303% solution per 10 gallons every other day for 10 days with water changes before each treatment. BEST USED IN A HOSPITAL TANK. Methylene blue can destroy nitrifying bacteria and plants in the display aquarium.

ACRIFLAVIN 3.84% solution: USE: For treatment of bacterial infections such as mouth fungus, salt water Ich, fin and tail rot, fungus, saproglenia, skin parasites, oodinium (velvet), sliminess of skin. DOSAGE: 1 teaspoon of a 3.84% solution per 10 gallons every other day for 10 days. Combines well with copper sulfate and malachite green.


USE: For treatment and control of various external parasites of freshwater and marine fishes. When used as directed the medication will control or prevent the following common protozoan parasites: *Ichthyophthinus (freshwater Ich) exhibited as fine “salt like” white spots that usually first appear on the fins. *Costia (Ichthyobodo). Not to be confused with ich, is a parasite that can live dormant on healthy fish (primarily their gills), then under certain conditions (poor water conditions, stress, ECT), reproduce rapidly. Symptoms of an outbreak include Heavy and labored “breathing” flashing and rubbing, skin cloudiness caused by excess mucus. *Chilodonella, *Ambiphyra, *Cryptocaryon (marine Ich), *Epistylis, *Oodinium and Trichodina, *Plistophora (best combined with formalin at 1/2 strength) Malachite Green is also effective against common external fungal infections of fishes and eggs which include Achlya and Saprolegnia. DOSAGE: 1 teaspoon of a 0.038% solution per 10 gallons every other day for 10-14 days. Or 1 drop of .50% solution per gallon every other day for 10- 14 days. 25% water changes are recommended before each dose. Use half dose for scale-less and delicate fish such as Clown Loaches and Neon Tetras. Double dose for marine aquariums. Note; malachite green is more toxic at higher ph. Can be combined with Formalin or Acriflavin.

FORMALIN (3% formaldehyde):

USE: For treatment and control of the diseases caused by fungi, protozoan and monogenetic trematodes of freshwater and marine aquarium fishes. Formalin will control or help prevent diseases of fishes caused by the following disease organisms: Ichthyophthirius (freshwater "ich"), Costia, Chilodonella, Ambiphyra, Cryptocaryon (marine "ich"), Epistylis, Oodinium, Amyloodinium, and Trichodina. DOSAGE: 1 teaspoon of a 3% solution per 10 gallons every other day for 10 days. Combines well with malachite green.


USE: For treatment freshwater and marine ich, Oodinium, external parasites, fungus and even algae. Very effective when used properly and carefully. DOSAGE: Treat according to your solution to bring your copper level to .15 -.20 ppm. Sequestered Copper (often called chelated, but that is incorrect, chelated means inactivated) sulfate works best (citric acid help achieve this). Soluble copper salts work well in freshwater only. Do use with snails and other invertebrates, do not use in reef aquariums, and note; when uses as an algaecide, the copper is absorbed by the algae then released when it dies. Removal of sequestered copper can be difficult, only EDTA (Ethylene Diamine Tetra Acidic Acid) and water changes remove it, NOT carbon.

ORGANIC MEDICATIONS: There are three organic or “homeopathic” treatments that I have used;


USE: Pimenta extract is effective for a broad range of bacterial and fungal diseases that typically afflict fish and other aquatic animals. Fish diseases that may be treated in accordance with this include bacterial fish diseases, such as fin and tail rot, mouth fungus (often caused by the bacterium Flavobacterium columnaris); fungal fish diseases (such as those caused by microorganisms of the genera Saprolegnia and Achyle) and the like.

DOSAGE: Refer to Pimafix instructions


USE; Usnea is a lichen of the family Parmeliaceae that grows in damp temperate woodlands. I have found it effective for bacterial, fungal and even parasites such ich. This lichen is boiled like a tea then added to the aquarium.

DOSAGE: None established yet. I boil one small sprig and add this to every 10-20 gallons of water every day until cure is effective +2 days


USE: Repairs damaged fins, ulcers, and open wounds. Promotes re growth of damaged tissue and fins.

DOSAGE: Refer to Melafix instructions

By Carl Strohmeyer

Article Source:

Betta Fish Diseases