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  1. #1
    Does anyone have the time?
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    Understanding fish diseases and how to prevent them from happening.

    I have seen a lot of posts saying things like: help I think I got ick, what is this, etc. So here is an article which will hopefully help you get a better understanding of disease and prevention, and how to diagnose what your fish has.

    Preventing disease:

    The health of your fish depends on the quality of thier enviroment. Poor water conditions, stress, and/or incorrect feeding can cause illness, therefore it is up to you to see that this doesn't happen. Certain procedures must be taken to prevent diseases from making themeselves at home on your fish. Quarantine new species that will be introduced into your tank so you can evaluate them thoroughly. Keep in mind to handle your fish correctly when moving them whether it be from a bag or from another tank. Prevent poisons from predators from entering your tank. Make sure that heating, lighting, air, and filtration is functioning properly and well maintained. Last thing to do is make sure that the water quality is fresh, clean, and balanced for your fish. Also, if you have a planted aquarium don't forget to care for them as well.

    Quarantine:

    Quarantining new fish can help stop spreading possible diseases. You can monitor the fishes behaivor. Spot diseases, if any, and treat according to the type of disease. I recommend you keep new fish quaratined for 2-3 weeks before introducing them to a community tank.

    Reducing stress:

    Stress is a major factor in preventing disease. It is caused by bad handling, poor water conditions, sudden changes in water conditions, and the famous tapping on the glass. If you have to move a fish, remember to handle with care, if you are rough it will cause the fish to stress out. Light changes will cause fish to be stressed, to soften this shock follow this procedure:

    Switch off the aquarium light before turning off the lights in the room, wait about 5-15 minutes so the fish can get adjusted to the low light level, then turn off the room lights.

    A stressed out fishes immune systems is lowered, therefore allowing infections and disease to occur.

    Nets:

    If you use a net to move a sick fish keep in mind that net is now contagious and should not be used until disinfected. You should be able to pick up a disinfecting solution at your local fish store.

    Nutrition:

    Overfeeding your fish can cause algal and bacteria growth so make sure you feed your fish accordingly. A common cause of low immune systems in fish is a lack of vitamins. To prevent this use a variety of foods as like you and me, I'm sure that fish get tired of eating the same thing day after day.

    Types of ailments:

    External infections are easily seen and treated. Internal disorders, however are much harder to determine and cure.

    Parasites:

    These are the creatures that make homes out of our fish and are very much unwelcome. Most parasites feed primarily on the mucus layer on the skin and gills. Larger parasites penetrate the skin and feed on blood and tissue.

    Bacteria and fungae:

    Basically this is caused by poor tank conditions. Dead plant matter, feces, and/or uneaten food encourage bacteria or fungae to grow.

    Skin disorders:

    This is the most common problem found in fishes. They are caused by bacteria or parasites. There are several symptoms involved in diagnosing a skin disorder which I will explain in another article.

    Gill disorders:

    Basically it is when the fish have problems with thier respiratory system. In time the gills will thicken up in response to the chronic irritation. This can and will slowly suffocate the fish. The cause of this condition may be slime disease, gill flukes, or bacterial damage.

    Disorder of the eyes:

    Many of the same diseases that affect a fishes skin can also affect its eyes. Bad handling and/or poor water conditions cause minimal damage which will allow bacteria or fungae infections to occur.

    Dropsy:

    This is when the fish appears to be abnormally swollen. They often can't be distinguished from each other without a post-mortem.

    Wasting:

    Weight loss resulting in an uneven appearance. This is caused by harassment of an individual fish preventing access to food, or a disease such as tuberculosis, which is more common.

    Swim bladder problem:

    Abnormal swimming or difficulty maintaining equilibrium may be due to several reasons:

    Deformed swim bladder
    Cancer or tuberculosis in organ next to the swim bladder
    Constipation
    Poor nutrition
    Chilling (colder water)
    Serious parasitic infestation
    Serious bacterial infections

    If you think your fish has a swim bladder problem check and treat for other diseases first.

    Well, I hope that this article has been very helpfull and informative. Good luck to all of you in preventing diseases. Look for my next article within the next few days on different diseases and how to eradicate them.
    Last edited by OrionGirl; 10-27-2004 at 9:16 AM. Reason: Cleanup up punctuation and spelling
    Remember that I'm nothing but a mistake,
    a lifeless corpse for you to forsake
    If your life is not for me to seize,
    then you will suffer from my disease.





  2. #2
    No freelancing! OrionGirl's Avatar
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    Great topic. I'd encourage people to provide feedback, though please do not post questions about conditions in your tank currently--those should be addressed in the appropriate forum.

    OG



  3. #3
    redorkulated happychem's Avatar
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    Great article, I like the way that it is organised and the topic is about as relavant as it can get.

    I do have a couple of comments:
    1) Disinfecting solution: 10% bleach solution followed by rinsing and dechlorination. You don't want any disinfectant to get into your tank, by its nature a disinfectant is a kill-all, so bad for everyone. Chlorine (i.e. bleach) is one of the easiest to remove post-use.

    2) Algae, while symptomatic of a nutrient excess/imbalance, are not harmful to fish. While unsightly, algae are still plants and still absorb ammonia and give off O2.

    3) Bacteria are nature's way of dealing with all the crap that higher lifeforms either excrete, discard or cannot use. They are not all bad and this point should be made very clear. The heterotrophic bacteria that consume uneaten food, dead plant matter, old fish scales and so forth are not related to disease and provide a beneficial service to an aquarium's ecosystem. Indeed their presence helps to prevent the virulent forms of bacteria (and fungae) from gaining a foothold. While thorough tank cleaning and a proper maintenance routine is necessary, it is critical that the reader not mistake the presence of bacteria with possibility for infection.

    IMO, infections come from bacteria normally present in small amounts in the water, that the fishs' immune systems can easily deal with. However, poor maintenance allowing organics (such as fish hormones and breakdown products of food) and sulfur compounds to build up weakens the immune system allowing the baddies to gain foothold and multiply.

    I don't mean to suggest that this wasn't your intent in your article (and I know that it's just the intro), but in our bacteriophobic society, I think that it's of uttmost importance to be perfectly clear that bacteria are not bad per se, [just like people] some are and some aren't.

    On a nitpicky grammatical note, an infection by bacteria or fungae = "bacterial" and "fungal" infection
    The tiny purple fishes run laughing through your fingers,
    and you want to take her with you, to the hard land of the winter.
    -Cream

    My tank(s) - latest update Nov. 7, 2005 (56K warning)



  4. #4
    Senior Member, Sophomoric Attitude beviking's Avatar
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    Great idea for an article! I think more detail should be given to each "section". Much of what is written could be gleaned from a quick look into the forums. Also, IMO, there are several vague addresses such as...

    Preventing Disease - Any course in aquaculture is going to teach you that there are three components of fish health. They are fish, pathogen, environment. Obviously this lesson relies on the fact that the pathogen is present, which for many bacteria and fungi, it is, often parasites too but not necessarily. When the fish and environment are healthy/favorable, the pathogen has less of a chance to infect the fish. As the fish's health deteriorates and/or the environment deteriorates, the pathogen has a greater chance of causing ill-effect on the fish. It is a dynamic interaction and to say it is just the quality of the environment seems to make the assumption that the fish is healthy and there are no pathogens present. I think a section could be devoted to "stresses of fish", "What causes the environment to degrade", and "Pathogens of fish"...o.k., books could be devoted .

    I didn't understand this... "Prevent poisons from predators from entering your tank."?

    I understand this..."Last thing to do is make sure that the water quality is fresh, clean, and balanced for your fish. Also, if you have a planted aquarium don't forget to care for them as well." But think it could be clarified for newbies. Another section on what "good water quality is"?

    "Stress is a major factor in preventing disease." Should read "Stress is a major factor in causing disease and should be prevented."

    "External infections are easily seen and treated." Usually to experienced aquarists, not so to newbies.

    "Bacteria and fungae:

    Basically this is caused by poor tank conditions. Dead plant matter, feces, and/or uneaten food encourage bacteria or fungae to grow." Bacteria and fungi are caused...? Explosion in population may be caused by the listed criteria but they are most always present.

    "Wasting:

    Weight loss resulting in an uneven appearance. This is caused by harassment of an individual fish preventing access to food, or a disease such as tuberculosis, which is more common." What about parasites?

    Kudos for taking on such an expansive (is that a word )topic!
    "Don't remember where I was, I realized life was a game
    The more seriously I took things, the harder the rules became..." Dave Mustaine

    Tank pics



  5. #5
    Does anyone have the time?
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    "Prevent poisons from predators from entering your tank."

    Sorry, typo, it should have stated : Prevent poisons or predators from entering you tank.

    Thank you for pointing this out. Yes, expansive is a word.

    I wrote this article just to give people precautions on how to handle and take better care of their fish and their envirmonet.

    I do appreciate the feedback and all of you did make some sound points in your comments.

    Once again, I thank you for your replies.
    Remember that I'm nothing but a mistake,
    a lifeless corpse for you to forsake
    If your life is not for me to seize,
    then you will suffer from my disease.



  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Further discussion to be located in this thread:
    http://www.aquariacentral.com/forums...69#post1495369



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