Guide to Aquarium and Fish Tank Disease Identification and Treatment
Listed below are the most common tropical fish diseases known to aquarium hobbyists, and also their recommended treatments that I have learned throughout the years. Please read about each disease carefully and study the corresponding photographs and make sure that you properly identify your fish’s infection before administering a possibly incorrect medication.
Identification and treatment of tropical fish diseases are absolutely necessary for every aquarium owner. Even the most seasoned professionals will eventually have to deal with an infection in their fish tanks. Most tropical fish diseases are fairly easy to identify, and if noticed and treated early, can be stopped before the death of your pet. Note that all aquarium disease medications have very specific instructions, so always read any documentation in full before administering any treatments. Some medications can injure or kill invertebrates or plants, and even others can kill tropical fish without the proper skin/scale type or armor. Use these treatments only as directed!
It is also highly recommended to increase your aquarium temperature up to a range of 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit slowly throughout the day’s time. Warmer aquarium water is less stressful to most tropical fish than cooler water is, and will help speed up treatment even on coldwater species. A normally regulated aquarium water temperature of 76 degrees is ideal for most major types of tropical fish, and a stable temperature has always been helpful in keeping a fish’s immune system healthy.
Ich (ICHTHYOPHTHIRIUS MULTIFILIIS)
Advanced Ich infection on a catfishICHTHYOPHTHIRIUS multifiliis, or “ICH” for short, is by far one of the most commonly encountered freshwater tropical fish diseases. Ich is a waterborne microscopic parasite that reproduces in very small colonies among the slime coat and skin of your fish. A common sign of the beginning stages of Ich infection is what is called “flashing”, where fish will swipe against aquarium decorations or the gravel at the bottom of the tank in an endeavor to seemingly scratch themselves.
Only one or two small colonies will appear at first and be very difficult to identify until this infection advances to near maturity. The irritating Ich parasite, if untreated, will very rapidly overwhelm the fish with tiny white spots, making your fish seem as though they have been sprinkled with salt. In a matter of only a couple of days, this parasite can spread to every tropical fish in your aquarium, eventually killing every one of them if untreated.
Treatment for Ich – Since Ich is a true parasite, it needs to be treated appropriately with an anti-parasitic agent safe for aquarium fish and invertebrates. Some fish disease medications are known to cause plant death, so read all instructions thoroughly before treating your aquarium for sicknesses. In my previous experience, a product known as Rid-Ich worked very well for common aquarium diseases. Check your local pet store for the most current medication for Ich.
See More: Aquarium Fish Compatibility