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Are your Fish Sick?
Lee Dobbins

Keeping a fish tank is a wonderful and relaxing hobby, but it can
turn stressful if your fish start to die off. The most common
cause of fish disease is poor water quality so it is vital that
you perform regular maintenance on the tank, making sure you do a
partial water change periodically and clean out any waste or
uneaten food so it does not decay and poison the water.

Many fish diseases can be halted if you provide treatment as soon
as you see any signs of your fish being sick. Therefore, it is
important that you monitor your fish each day to see if there are
any signs of illness.

Some common symptoms of disease are listed below.

White dots Ė sometimes fuzzy looking, almost like grains of salt
on your fish. This disease is called Ichthyophthirius), or simply
Ich. It is a rather common disease and is caused by poor water
quality or can effect your fish when itís immune system is not
functioning up to par due to stress. It can be treated easily if
you catch it in time. There is a special solution you can buy at
the pet store to medicate your tank and, hopefully, get rid of
this problem.

Gray patches on the skin, looks cottony and can be around the
gills. This is a fungus also caused by excess fish waste and food
decaying in the bottom of the tank. You can buy treatment for it
and it should clear up easily unless you have let it go too far.
In the future remember to clean the tank each week so you do not
have a reoccurrence.

If your fish seem like they are gasping for air, this could be
simply due to lack of oxygen in the water and not necessarily a
disease. You could add an airstone to see if that helps the
problem. Make sure you do not overcrowd the tank with too many

If you see your fish scraping itself against the bottom of the
tank or the decorations, itís possible that he has a parasite
called Flukes. These attack the gills and skin and are rather
difficult to get rid of once your tank is infected. Again, poor
water quality will make this much worse. They do sell medication
for the tank and you may be able to clear it up if you treat the
tank at the first sign of trouble.

Rotting fins are sometimes seen if the fish is under stress and
also if the water quality is substandard. It is a bacteria that
is attacking the fins and you must treat the tank at the first
sign of this problem. If possible, isolate the affected fish to
another tank to prevent the bacteria from spreading.

To insure that you always have healthy fish, you should keep the
tank clean and religiously perform partial water changes. This
will not only keep your fish happy but will make for a better
looking tank as well!

Lee Dobbins is a pet lover and owner of where you can learn to setup your
freshwater aquarium. Find out more about fish disease at

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