sick goldfishGoldfish are subject to all kinds of diseases. Many are introduced with new fish, and some are highly contagious. Whether disease breaks out depends on the resistance of your fish. Poor living conditions weaken your fish, cause chronic stress, and ultimately compromise the fish’s immune system. This is why I have repeatedly stressed the importance of maintaining a healthy aquarium for your pets. Even if you do everything in your power to maintain a disease-free aquarium, you may have to confront health problems in your fish; even experts fall to those problems.

Remember, healthy goldfish rarely get rick, When they do, it usually means that they have been stressed by poor water conditions, rapid temperature changes, bad lighting, bad food, or any number of other factors associated with an unhealthy aquarium. It is important to maintain your aquarium carefully so that you don’t have to read this guide again.

Signs of Illness

The first step in treating any kind of ailment in your aquarium is to recognize and identify the problem. You can determine if a fish is not healthy by its appearance and its behavior. Since you have been spending time examining your fish while you feed them, you should be able to identify problems as soon as they manifest themselves.

Telltale behavioral signs of illness include:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Hyperventilation of the gills (the fish looks like it is panting)
  • Gasping for air near surface
  • Erratic swimming behavior
  • Lack of movement
  • Rubbing the body or fins against objects in tanks
  • Twitching fins

External symptoms include a variety of physical abnormalities of the head, body, fins, gills, scales, and anal vent. The key to diagnosing the various disease associated with aquarium is to learn the signs of each one.

Commercial Remedies

When you are a beginner, it is very important to use commercial available treatments rather than homemade remedies. Some experts recommend using chemicals such as malachite green or potassium permanganate to treat fish disease. These chemicals must be handled in very exact doses. If a fish is overdosed with one of them, it can kill the fish faster than the disease. Especially with fancy goldfish, you must be cautious.

Discuss all the possible remedies for a disease with your local aquarium supply dealer. If you are still not satisfied, don’t be afraid to call your veterinarian and ask a few questions. If your veterinarian does not treat fish, he or she can usually recommend someone who does. Finally, when you apply the remedy, make sure you follow the directions exactly.

The Old-Fashioned Salt Bath

This is the most time-tested cure-all of the freshwater fish world. Sometimes called progressive saltwater treatment, it is how the hospital tank is most often used. This very simple treatment has been known to cure a number of fish diseases, including ich, fungus, velvet, and tail rot. Many expert swear by it.

You simply add one teaspoon of table salt (not iodized) for each gallon of water to the hospital tank that houses your sick fish. Add the same amount of salt again that night and twice the next day, also in the morning and at night. If there is no improvement by the third or fourth day, add one more teaspoon of salt each day. One the ninth and tenth days, make partial water changes and check for results.

Emergency Cleaning

If any of the infections mentioned here strike more than three or four fish, you need to take drastic measures and perform an emergency cleaning. This is the most extreme treatment for disease in your aquarium. Place all the fish in the hospital tank and begin treating them. Then turn your attention to the aquarium.

An emergency cleaning means breaking down and thoroughly cleaning your aquarium and starting it up again from scratch. Throw out filter media and empty out the contents of the tank. Wash the walls, the gravel, and the filter with bleach. Of course, make sure you rinse everything thoroughly. Then rinse it all again. Do the same with the plastic plants.

Throw out the rocks and buy new ones. If you have any live plants, dispose of them too. Replace the filter media and airstones, any tubing, and whatever else you have in tank. Wash the heater with bleach as well, making sure to rinse it thoroughly. In essence, you are starting over again because your tank was overrun by disease.