Ahh! Saltwater Aquarium Pests and Parasites... dealing with
Saltwater Aquarium Pests and Parasites – the Creepy Crawlies!
Saltwater aquarium pests and parasites might have an adverse
effect on the health of your marine tank. Bacterial diseases
can cause ill-health in your fish and invertebrates. Bacterial
disease can also kill the fish in your tank. To get rid of the
problem you might have to start all over again from scratch.
This is not only very upsetting but also very expensive.
So it makes sense to be on the lookout for saltwater aquarium
pests and parasites and to treat your fish at the first sign of
illness. Marine fish usually fall prey to gram-negative
bacteria. These include Pseudomonas, Vibrio and Myxobacteria.
It is not always easy to spot saltwater aquarium pests and
parasites in marine fish. Often you may not know that there is
something wrong until your fish become seriously ill.
You can help prevent saltwater aquarium pests and parasites by
making sure that conditions in your tank don’t encourage their
growth. To do this you need to understand how and why saltwater
aquarium pests and parasites occur in marine fish in the first
Bacterial disease is caused by a number of things, sometimes in
combination. Such disease can be topical (external) – for
example fin and tail rot and ulcers or systemic (affecting the
body internally) or it might be a combination of both.
Saltwater aquarium pests and parasites are more likely to
affect fish that are in poor condition. The healthier your fish
are the more resistance they will have to saltwater aquarium
pests and parasites.
However fish that are weak, sick or stressed by environmental
conditions in the tank are easily infected by saltwater
aquarium pests and parasites. Bacterial diseases may gain entry
into the body through the pores along the lateral line. The
gills are another site of entry into the body of a fish.
So what environmental conditions make it more likely for
saltwater aquarium pests and parasites to cause illness in your
tank? The leading cause of bacterial attack is poor
environmental conditions in the tank. If conditions are allowed
to deteriorate the health of your fish is impacted and this
might make them more susceptible to diseases.
Saltwater aquarium pests and parasites will soon bloom and
over-run the tank. If the water is white and cloudy and the
fish have sores on their body, conditions in the tank are very
poor and must be corrected.
Your fish may also be affected by saltwater aquarium pests and
parasites if they have other infections. So treating them is
crucial. If your fish are not fed properly they might not have
built up a good resistance to infection. Any injuries that your
fish have might allow bacteria to take hold. Fish that are
stressed and harassed are also more likely to become ill.
Older, weaker fish are at increased risk of contracting a
bacterial infection as are any fish that come from water that
has been contaminated (for example tap water!). If a fish eats
the flesh of a sick fish it may also become ill with the same
disease. So how do you know if your fish are infected with
saltwater aquarium pests and parasites? What should you look
If your fish are afflicted with saltwater aquarium pests and
parasites they might show one or more of the following
- Red frayed fins or fins that show red streaks.
- The fins might disintegrate (in fin and tail rot).
- Red areas around the lateral line (streaks or blotches).
- Open sores on the sides of the body and near the fins.
- Bloody scales at the fin base.
- Fast breathing.
- A grey film may cover the eyes.
- The fish may appear listless or lethargic.
- They may lose their appetite.
- The stomach may be swollen or bloated from saltwater aquarium
pests and parasites that cause bladder infections, for example.
Bacteria are not the only saltwater aquarium pests and
parasites that might affect your fish. Black Spot disease is a
common marine illness caused by a parasitic turbellarian
flatworm in the genus Paravortex. It makes its home at the
bottom of the tank after which it attached to a host fish for
about six days then falls off into the substrate again. It is
common in Yellow tangs and Angelfishes.
If you notice tiny black dots on the body of your fish and they
seem to be scratching against objects or have red skin and are
lethargic they might have black spot disease. It is less common
than some other saltwater aquarium pests and parasites (white
ich for example) but should still be
If any of your fish contract the diseases mentioned above or
other illnesses, they may not die immediately. But in general
if saltwater aquarium pests and parasites are not treated your
fish will die in a one to two week period. There are viral
strains that can kill fish within a day or two. Even if you
don’t know what the disease is you need to take steps
immediately to isolate the ill fish.
Fish that are infected with saltwater aquarium pests and
parasites should be placed into a quarantine tank. This is
because bacterial infections will spread to healthy fish very
quickly if sick fish are allowed to interact with them. Once
the illness affects the internal organs the fish will stop
eating, breathe rapidly, and lie on the bottom of the tank
where it may be eaten by other fish or start to decay releasing
bacteria into the water.
To protect your fish from saltwater aquarium pests and
parasites diagnose and treat your fish with the appropriate
antibiotics. Ask your aquarist for advice if necessary. Only
place your fish back into the tank once they are completely
healthy. This will ensure that your tank stays pest free. The
most important way to guard against diseases is to make sure
that your fish are as healthy as possible and you can do this
by making sure that conditions in your tank are at optimum
About The Author: Finally, All The Information You Will Ever
Need To Begin A Wonderful Love Affair With Fly Fishing! Visit
Search our Site