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Fish diseases

maintenance, care, compatibility

We also recommend that you read the brochure Navigator 3: an interview with an ichthyopathologist. Below is a link to the pdf-version, which you can download, as well as its test version.

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interview with ichthyopathologist

We present to your attention the third edition of the Aquarium Navigator for Beginners. We decided to devote this issue to the urgent aquarium problem – diseases and treatment of fish.

The problem of identifying diseases is faced by everyone, both beginners and professionals. Even an experienced aquarist, at times, is not able to identify a particular disease: the pathogen is modified, the symptoms change.

How to be a newcomer who first encountered this problem?

We hope that this issue of the brochure will help you understand everything.

Allow me to present to your attention!

Veterinarian – ichthyopathologist Vera Dudina, Leading specialist of one of the largest networks of pet stores in Russia, ichtipathologist in the third generation.

Vera kindly agreed to give an interview for our brochure.

But for a start, as an introduction, we consider the fundamental issues associated with the diseases and treatment of fish. Let’s start with the fact that the aquarium is not sterile, that pathogenic organisms are always present in it: fungi, bacteria and parasites.

But why, then, the fish, in the presence of such “unsanitary conditions”, do not get sick? The answer lies in a very important feature of any living organism – immunity.

Immunity (lat. Immunitas release, getting rid of something) – immunity of the organism to various infectious agents (viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, helminths) and products of their vital activity, as well as to poisons of plant and animal origin, with alien antigenic properties.

Any healthy body is ready to fight back any pathogenic flora! Immunity is a shield that protects its owner from any enemies.

But you need to understand that vitality and immunity are not eternal. If the shield constantly works in the “reflection attack” mode, it will eventually crack, and then completely crumble.

And then, an incalculable pathetic horde rushes into the organism, captures and destroys it.

In addition, it should be said that one of the reasons that ruin the immune system is stress from overcrowding the aquarium, stress associated with fish incompatibility, improper feeding, improper care, lack of proper filtration and aeration of the aquarium, high concentrations of protein breakdown products such poisons, like ammonia, nitrite and nitrates.

All these negative factors can work both together and separately, but one way or another, they destroy the fish’s immune system day after day.

Trite, but the best medicine is prevention. Proper care, proper water parameters, the correct selection of fish – are the key to the health and longevity of aquarium inhabitants.

However, none of us are immune from aquarium troubles. Anything happens, and even in ideal conditions the fish can get sick.

What to do?

Short action plan in a critical situation.

Conduct a thorough diagnosis of the disease.

The saying “Measure seven times, cut once” fully refers to the definition of fish sores. What only disease does not find a novice in their wards.

Practically, like Jerome K. Jerome, “everything except puerperal fever”. In order not to be mistaken in the diagnosis, it is necessary to know the usual behavior of the fish, behavior under stressful conditions, spawning behavior, housing conditions, body shape, colors inherent in this species, and much, much more.

Sometimes soft-water fish are kept in cichlid conditions, which is why fish lose fins, and the owner also additionally treats fish from fin rot. The outcome of this treatment is obvious.

If you have carefully studied the entire above list and are still in doubt, refer to our forum section. “Disease of fish and their treatment.”

Decide on treatment immediately. 90% of diseases are treatable at an early stage.

Conversely, even the simplest disease in the terminal stage cannot be treated.

Before treatment, test aquarium water for poisons: ammonia, nitrite and nitrate (NH4, NO2, NO3).

In the event of a deviation from the norm, poisons are immediately removed by water changes and appropriate aquarium preparations. See more forum “Nitrites and nitrates in the aquarium.” The fact is that drugs are both treated and destroyed, i.e. have both positive and negative effects on the body.

Their use is incompatible with high concentrations of poisons, and, in most cases, ruin the fish.

The course of treatment is carried out in accordance with the diagnosis, exclusively recommended preparations in carefully adjusted dosage, in accordance with the specified terms.

At the end of treatment (if it was held in the general aquarium, and not in a quarantine aquarium), it is necessary to remove the medicinal preparations (by substitution or filtering agents) and to restore biological balance, using biostarters if possible.

Recovering fish recommended rehabilitation activities – high-quality and balanced nutrition, after a course of antibiotics – probiotic bait, the introduction of vitamins and / or herbal medicine.

Additional materials for self-study:

– Herbal medicine in an aquarium.

– Tea in the aquarium.

– Iodinol in the aquarium.

– How and what to feed the fish?

– Drugs Tetra.

– Other aquarium chemistry.

And now, the promised interview with Vera Dudina.

Vera hello, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.

Tell me, please, what brand-name and pharmaceutical preparations do you recommend to buy in the “Aquarium First Aid Kit” so that they are always at hand?

As is known, about 90% of the problems of a novice aquarist are the fault of the aquarist himself. This is overfeeding, and overpopulation, and impatience at startup.

Hence the main problem is water quality. Therefore, it is imperative to have a means for emergency protection against toxins (ammonia and nitrite).

Drugs are used to neutralize them. Sera Toxivec or API Ammmolock.

To monitor the content of nitrogenous compounds, you should have a drop test for ammonia and nitrite. I will focus here, as most newbies underestimate the importance of aquarium tests. Often, infectious diseases and toxic poisoning products of protein breakdown are very similar in symptoms.

Even a specialist will not always be able to differentiate them, as they say, “by eye”.

As for contagious diseases, sooner or later any aquarist will meet with ichthyophthirius. The sooner treatment is started, the higher the success rate and the shorter the time it takes to apply the drug. There are a lot of drugs for treatment: Tetra medica ContraIck, Sera Costapur, Jbl Punctol, Antipar

In the initial stages of ichthyophthirius, they are all quite effective. For “running” cases, you will need a combination of several drugs.

When using a combination of drugs is better to consult with a specialist, because many drugs can not be combined with each other, it can cause intoxication in fish.

It is always useful to have a light disinfectant in the first-aid kit, which can be added for injuries (after fights), for mild forms of fin rot. You can use drugs such as API Melafix (based on tea tree essential oil) or Tetra Medica FungiStop (colloidal silver solution is not recommended for use in combination with other drugs and conditioners).

This is the main set. The rest is already more narrowly specialized and is bought as needed.

So nevertheless, what drugs are better to use for beginners, brand or pharmacy?

Branded products are designed specifically for fish, most of them are thoroughly tested in specialized laboratories. A person without relevant experience, I recommend to use only them.

If the funds available in pet stores, is not enough (as well as when making a diagnosis) – it is better to consult with a specialist to clarify the diagnosis and prescription of treatment.

Before contacting a specialist, prepare anamnestic data:

The volume of the aquarium, its population.

How long has the aquarium been launched?

Schedule of cleansing, when was the last cleaning, what part of the water change.

The frequency of feeding, what and how much feed, how quickly the fish eats food, whether there is a recent change in appetite.

What kind of manipulations have been carried out over the last couple of weeks: new inhabitants, new décor, feed changes, some other innovations …

Water parameters: pH, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates are mandatory in aquarium water, rigidity is possible. In tap water (or from where you take water for an aquarium) – pH, preferably ammonia and nitrites (sometimes it happens, unfortunately, that the cause of the sores is the quality of tap water), rigidity if possible.

Symptoms: when there were, who are sick, the full picture, preferably with a photo.

Based on your practice, which fish diseases are the most common and how do you treat them?

If you look at aquariums for beginners and amateurs, then the most common problem, as I already said, is ammonia and nitrite poisoning. Here the basis of treatment is the normalization of conditions of detention.

Of the drugs are used Sera Toxivec or API Ammmolock (I have already talked about their purpose) and the culture of bacteria, for example, Tetra Safe Start. The rest of the treatment is to eliminate overcrowding, do not feed the fish (on average 2-4 days), daily changes of 10% of the volume.

Treatment of infectious diseases, as a rule, is strictly individual. It depends on the inhabitants, the intensity of the disease, the presence of plants, snails, shrimps and other factors.

Based on the topic of the Navigator, which fish do you think is better not to take a newbie?

First of all, I do not advise taking fish not aquarium. These are swimmers and giants: shark balls, pangasius, red-tailed catfish, snakeheads, shell pikes and many others.

Such fish needs very specific conditions of keeping, large volumes. For many of them, even 500 liters will be too little.

By experience, very often newbies cannot cope with cichlids. Fish aggressive, wayward, territorial. Feeding varies greatly by species.

Improper feeding is a common cause of intestinal disorders and hexamitosis. For their content, a sufficiently solid theoretical base and practical experience are needed.

The most important thing – do not forget that the flight of your imagination is strictly limited to the volume of the aquarium and the compatibility of the inhabitants with each other. Never buy an unfamiliar fish spontaneously because you liked it.

Find out its name, at home look at information about the requirements for the content, maximum sizes, compatibility, if after that you understand that the fish is yours, you can go buy.

Please share your secrets of maintaining fish immunity before and after treatment?

The main secret is not a secret, but the rule: to ensure good conditions of detention. Avoid overcrowding, schooling fish are kept in packs, those who hide hide away, small and large fish are not kept together, balanced proper feeding, clean and safe water.

All this is the prevention of stress, and as a result – a decrease in immunity.

Iodine and vitamins affect the immunity of fish; these components are contained in the air conditioner of the company. Tetra Tetra Vital. This drug can be used on a regular basis, weekly, after water changes.

On the Internet you can find information about using in the aquarium tea (as a light antiseptic, to accelerate regeneration), Vetom 1.1 (as an adjunct in complex treatment, its bacteria synthesize interferon-protein, a factor of nonspecific antiviral immunity), human recombinant interferon and roncoleukin (also immunomodulatory drugs with antiviral activity).

Often fish fall ill with a single disease, say a bacterial infection, and then pick up a secondary infection – a fungal infection. In this regard, the question arises – can then, in all cases, treat “everything and the paste”.

That is, immediately make and bactericidal and fungicidal drugs? Or is it better to treat in strict accordance with the symptoms?

The main principle of any treatment is “do no harm”. Very often there are cases when a fish (and not only a fish) dies not from an illness, but from treatment.

Many drugs can not be combined categorically. If there is a suspicion that there is a combination infection, it is better to seek the help of a specialist in order to find compatible drugs.

What drug can you recommend, in addition to the main treatment, to be safe? Is simultaneous treatment and use of herbal medicine possible?

Almost all infections and invasions somehow injure the mucous membranes. For their quick recovery, in addition to the main treatment, we can recommend preparations based on essential oils: API Melafix and API Pimafix.

In the case of a mild infection, they can be used as the main agent (Melafix with bacterial as well Pimafix – with fungal infections). Also used for these purposes. Almond leaves, decoction of oak bark, tea.

Well stimulates the immune system iodine. When treating, add an iodine alcohol infusion – 5 drops per 100 liters or iodinol – 1 ml per 10 liters. Be careful, overdose of iodine is unacceptable and deadly!

You can use the branded drug Tetra vital (according to the instructions).

Often in the aquarium where the treatment is carried out, in addition to the fallen fish there are aquarium plants, shrimps and snails. Snails, for the period of treatment can be obtained, but plants and shrimp are not always.

Tell me, what drugs do you think tolerate plants and crustaceans? What drugs are clearly contraindicated in such cases?

Definitely can not use copper and preparations containing it. Refrain from using funds whose composition is not specified.

Plants and invertebrates react badly to nitrofuran preparations: Sera baktopur direct, Antibac Pro, furazolidone, furatsilin.

There is experience in the treatment of ichthyophthiriosis in the aquarium with plants and shrimps. Sera Costapur. Of the antibiotics in herbalist, enrofloxacin (a veterinary drug) was used.

Essential oil based products are also safe for all inhabitants – API Melafix and API Pimafix.

Often on the Internet you can find information that introducing a drug and conducting treatment should turn off the aquarium lighting. For example, drugs such as Sera bactopur direct and the antibiotic metronidazole. So nevertheless, is it necessary to turn off the lighting during treatment or not?

If so, why and with which drugs?

Many antibiotics decompose in the light. Therefore, they write in the instructions that it is necessary to store in a dark place, and medicine jars are traditionally made of dark glass.

Bicillin-5 and nitrofurans clearly decompose (Sera bactopur direct, Antibac Pro, furazolidone). There is no data on how fast this process is going.

If there is a possibility – of course it is better to turn off the light.

How do you feel about UV sterilizers, as a means to prevent diseases?

UV sterilizers are well proven in two cases – it is a fight against water blooming and rearing aquariums with a large number of fry. For the rest, I consider their use unjustified.

Please tell us about the typical signs (symptoms) of a disease? To beginners better oriented.

Many diseases have very similar symptoms, and it is not always possible to determine the diagnosis. Sometimes a diagnosis cannot be made without microscopy or even an autopsy.

I will talk about the symptoms that you should definitely pay attention to, without reference to diagnoses. I wouldn’t like to have diarrhea and sleeping pills on my tip.

So what is worth paying attention to? Not only with your fish, but when you buy in the store.

Behavior: heavy breathing, the fish is on the flow of oxygen or “smokes” at the surface. It lies at the bottom, is not active, or, on the contrary, moves unnaturally sharply, is torn.

Scratching about the soil and scenery. The fish, which is usually kept in mind, begins to hide, tends to solitude.

Feeding. Refusal to feed. Fish repeatedly takes and spits out food.

Exhaustion may occur, for example, a sunken abdomen, shrunken backs, unnaturally large eyes, protruding skull bones.

The presence of parasites visible to the naked eye. These can be bright white dots up to 1 mm in diameter – ichthyophthirius (each such point is one unicellular parasite).

Crustaceans – arguments and lerneys. Sometimes you can see intestinal parasites (roundworms – nematodes), protruding from the anus. Some species of flukes have rather large sizes (up to 3 mm) and are visible with the naked eye – they look like a wriggling villus.

Most do not exceed 1 mm in size and microscopy is necessary for accurate diagnosis.

Lesions of mucous membranes and scales. The first reaction to the aggressive effects of the environment is increased mucus secretion. First, bubbles begin to stick to the body of the fish (this can often be seen when landing fish in a new aquarium, this is the result of stress due to changes in water parameters).

Then dull greyish accumulations of mucus appear, gradually increasing in size. On the body you can see erosion, ulcers, hemorrhages, necrosis (tissue necrosis).

Sometimes scales fall on the affected areas.

Lesions of the gills. The fish is breathing heavily; mucus can be released from the gill covers.

Often the fish pops up and stands at the surface, “smokes.” The gills can become unnaturally red, or vice versa – pale.

The defeats of the fins. The so-called “fin rot” – a white patina, as if eating fins.

Sometimes only the tissue between the rays is affected, and the rays themselves remain.

These are the main symptoms that should alert. In fact, there are many more of them; carefully observe the behavior and condition of the pets in order to identify the disease in time.

90% of novice aquarists who have a sick fish have an elevated concentration of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate in an aquarium. In this case, as a rule, the patient has an average or even severe stage of the disease.

What is the best way for a newcomer to do in such a situation: remove poisons and at the same time treat Remove poisons, and then treat?

Or at your own risk start treatment immediately?

In practice, there was such a case – they brought two goldfish from a round aquarium. The fish had the worst ammonia burns, they did not descend from the surface of the water, they often breathed. At the same time, they were amazed by ichthyophthirius.

Here it is important to correlate the risks. Virtually any medicine will finish off a fish in such a serious condition, so the temperature in the aquarium was lowered a little to slow down the development of ichthyophthirius and removed intoxication. Used drugs Sera Toxivec and API Melafix.

A week later, the gills began to heal and the fish swam in the water column. Only after that we again raised the temperature and treated ichthyophthirius.

In each case, the decision will be made individually, depending on the state of water, fish, process intensity, and other conditions.

Sometimes the fish are injured from fights and clashes with neighbors, or, for example, during the formation of a viral growth on the fin stop it. What drug would you recommend for a quick wound healing?

Again, any disinfectant: API Melafix and API Pimafix, almond leaves, oak bark decoction, tea. In extreme cases – methylene blue or tripoflavin.

Please give farewell to novice aquarists.

I would like, of course, that you have passed all these troubles. However, as practice shows, sooner or later, diseases visit each aquarium. The most important thing is not to delay the treatment.

The score sometimes goes not even for days, but for hours. A disease that was easily treated yesterday — it is becoming deadly today.

And, of course, health to you and your pets!

Dear reader! Below, we have prepared additional materials for you on the subject of fish disease and aquarium hydrochemistry, they will help you to further explore the topic covered in this brochure.

Disease fish.
Basics of aquarium hydrochemistry.

Fish diseases (and not only) are divided into two large groups – infectious and non-infectious diseases.

Infectious diseases have a specific pathogen (it can be a bacterium, a virus, a fungus, etc.) and are transmitted from an infected individual (or from an intermediate host) to a healthy one.

Non-contagious diseases are various injuries, congenital pathologies and diseases caused by a violation of conditions of detention. To know the reasons for their appearance and to be able to distinguish a contagious disease from a non-contagious one, you need to understand the basics of the chemical processes taking place in the aquarium.

Let us consider in more detail each group of diseases.

Non-contagious diseases.

This is a large group of diseases, which include injuries, congenital pathologies and diseases caused by violation of conditions of detention. In an amateur aquarium most of the diseases are non-infectious! They are often confused with fungal and bacterial infections.

Be careful! The treatment of infectious and non-communicable diseases is radically different and incompatible with each other.

Incorrect diagnosis and incorrect treatment in this case can seriously harm the inhabitants of the aquarium.

Within the framework of this topic, we will get acquainted with diseases caused by disturbances in the nitrogen metabolism:

Ammonia and ammonium poisoning;

Nitrate poisoning, nitrate shock;

Nitrogen cycle:

No wonder many experienced aquarists believe the nitrogen cycle is the basis of the basics. The ability to create and maintain biological balance in an aquarium is the best prevention of most ailments.

What lies behind the terrible phrase nitrogen cycle? Let’s figure it out.

We all know that fish love to eat … They love to eat. Common truth – all that was eaten, sooner or later come out.

Fish excrement, uneaten food, corpses and dead plant parts are all biological wastes, which in water begin to decompose under the action of various microorganisms.

Any protein contains nitrogen (N), nitrogen decomposition products are extremely toxic to fish, and therefore, to avoid serious poisoning, it is necessary to understand how the nitrogen cycle works.

Ammonia / Ammonium.

Ammonia (NH₃) – is the first stage of protein decomposition. Ammonia is a poisonous gas that dissolves easily in large quantities in water.

In an acidic environment, most of the ammonia is bound to hydrogen and forms an ammonium ion (NH₄¯). It is believed that ammonium is not toxic, but it is not.

Ammonium has all the properties of ammonia, just acts a little slower.

Where does excess ammonia come from? How is it neutralized in an aquarium? How to identify ammonia poisoning in fish?

How to help the fish in case of poisoning?

* MAC – the maximum permissible concentration of a substance that is safe for life and health.

Causes of ammonia poisoning:

Insufficient filter capacity;

Insufficient amount of soil;

Wrong start of the aquarium;

Replacing 100% water;

Predisposing factors:

What questions will help us know that ammonia poisoning is possible in an aquarium?

What is the volume of the aquarium? Who lives in it?

So you can draw conclusions about overpopulation, if any.

How to feed – how many times a day and in what quantity?

How long has the aquarium been launched? Perhaps the aquarium is new, in which case it is more susceptible to ammonia flashes.

How often do you change the water? How much water do you change?

Often, novice aquarists in pursuit of clean water, change it completely, and most enthusiasts also boil the ground.

Has the treatment been done lately? Have any medications been used for prophylaxis?

Antibiotics and antiparasitic drugs are detrimental to the microflora of the aquarium, their use can also cause an ammonia flash.

Symptoms of ammonia poisoning are quite bright and characteristic:

A large amount of mucus on the body;

The fish “itches” on the soil and scenery;

The fish stands on an influx of oxygen;

Hemorrhages in the gills and at the base of the fins;

The fish is breathing heavily;

Water becomes whitish;

With a strong overfeeding, the water gets a yellow-brown shade and putrid odor;

The diagnosis is confirmed by testing water for ammonia;


Medical history (feeding, care, volume, population, clinical signs …)

Checking water with ammonia / ammonium tests.


Do not feed for 2-3 days! (To stop the processes of decomposition and the formation of excess ammonia).

Eliminate overcrowding if there are too many fish.

Daily water changes ¼

Sera toxivec (this drug binds ammonia in a non-toxic form and protects the mucous membranes of fish from the aggressive effects of the external environment).

Sera bio nitrivec, Tetra Safe Start (cultures of live bacteria that naturally decompose ammonia and nitrite).

Normalize filtration and increase aeration (the filter sponge is the substrate on which bacteria live, the bigger it is – the better, bacteria need oxygen to decompose ammonia and nitrite).


Nitrites (NO₂) – are formed from ammonia in the presence of a sufficient number of bacteria (Nitrosomonas).

Nitrites are also toxic to fish, but their toxicity is much lower than that of ammonia. May cause chronic, almost asymptomatic poisoning.

Like ammonia, they are effectively removed from the water only with the help of bacteria (Nitrobacter).

The causes of nitrite poisoning and its treatment will be largely analogous to ammonia. However, it is much more difficult to diagnose it, since there are practically no bright symptoms.

An accurate diagnosis can only be made based on the results of water testing.

Causes of nitrite poisoning:

Insufficient filter capacity;

Insufficient amount of soil;

Wrong start of the aquarium;

Replacing 100% water;

Predisposing factors:

High water hardness, high pH (cichlidics);


There are usually no specific symptoms;

Regular single case;

The fish is sluggish, standing buried in the corner of the aquarium;

The fins are compressed, the color turns pale or dark;

There may be a small amount of mucus on the body of the fish;

Treatment similar to treatment for ammonia poisoning (but nitrites remain in water much longer, so the duration of treatment may be longer):

Do not feed for 2-3 days! (To stop the processes of decomposition and the formation of excess ammonia).

Eliminate overcrowding if there are too many fish.

Daily water changes ¼ (not more).

Sera toxivec (this drug binds ammonia in a non-toxic form and protects the mucous membranes of fish from the aggressive effects of the external environment).

Sera bio nitrivec, Tetra Safe Start (cultures of live bacteria that naturally decompose ammonia and nitrite).

Normalize filtration and increase aeration (the filter sponge is the substrate on which bacteria live, the bigger it is – the better, bacteria need oxygen to decompose ammonia and nitrite).


Nitrates (NO₃) – the final decomposition product of nitrogen. Removed from the water by substitutions, or consumed by plants as a source of nitrogen.

Accumulating in the aquarium in large quantities (rare water changes, or their complete absence) can cause nitrate poisoning. When transplanting fish from a successful aquarium into an aquarium with a high concentration of nitrates, one can observe the so-called “nitrate shock”.

Maximum permissible concentrations vary for different fish – on average it is 50 mg / l, for undemanding fish (zebrafish, local guppy breeds) up to 100 mg / l, whimsical fish (discus, battle clown) – 25 mg / l.

Causes of nitrate poisoning:

Rare water changes, or their complete absence

Predisposing factors:

Lack of live plants.


The fish is “drawn out”, grows poorly;

Viviparous fishes stop spawning;

New fish “do not go” to the aquarium, they have observed “nitric shock” (acute poisoning and sudden death within 1-3 days);


Medical history (mode of feeding, care, volume, population, clinical signs …).

Water testing with nitrate tests.


Regular water changes.

It is categorically impossible to remove nitrates by abrupt and abundant water changes! When transplanting fish from nitrate water to clean water, the same symptoms are observed as with nitrate shock.

If the water in the aquarium has not changed for a long time, the ground did not siphon — you need to press on the ground in several places before the first cleaning, check for bubbles (in the soil, in the absence of oxygen, methane and hydrogen sulfide are formed, as in a swamp). If bubbles have gone – it is necessary to carefully drain most of the water, transplant fish there, and then rinse the soil (otherwise, hydrogen sulfide kills the fish within 15 seconds).

Old water is poured back into the aquarium, then fresh water is added.

Planting live plants minimizes the accumulation of nitrates in water.

Contagious diseases.

Infectious diseases have a specific pathogen and can be transmitted from a sick individual to a healthy one.

Depending on the type of pathogen, infectious fish diseases are divided into several groups:

Protozoal diseases (ichthyophthiriosis, kositosis, hexamytosis, oodiniaz …).

Bacterial diseases (flexibacteriosis, aeromonosis …).

Parasitic diseases (arguments, lerneiosis, gyrodactylosis, dactylogyrosis …).

Fungal diseases (saprolegnosis …).

Viral diseases (lymphocystic disease …).

Consider each group separately.

Protozoal diseases:

The causative agents of protozoal diseases – representatives of the kingdom of Protozoa (protozoa) – unicellular microorganisms. In this course, we will consider several diseases caused by parasitic infusoria and flagellates.

Ichthyophthyriosis: Also known by the names “Manka”, “ichtik”, “White spot disease”, “Ich”, “Ick”.

Pathogen: Parasitic equorestial infusoria Ichthyophthirius multifiliis.

Symptomatology is very characteristic – white dots up to 1 mm in diameter appear on the body of the fish.

Development cycle:

Adult parasite is under the epithelial layer (epithelium – the upper layer of the mucous membrane), here it grows, feeds and matures. The mature parasite dissolves the epithelium and falls to the bottom, forming the second phase.

Tomont. It is covered with a shell – cysts, thanks to which it is practically invulnerable to adverse environmental conditions.

Viable ichthyophthirius cysts were even found in tap water! Depending on the conditions, the cyst either falls asleep or the tomont in it begins to actively divide.

Tomont is divided, forming up to 1000 daughter cells (trophozoites or strollers).

Strollers dissolve the cyst and fall into the water. Lifespan tramp is two days.

During this time, it must find a host (then the development cycle will repeat), or it will die.

Features of tropical forms:

Tropical ichthyophthirius, oriental ichthyophthirius, “Oriental”.

At the moment, many ichthyopathologists separately distinguish the so-called “tropical ichthyophthirius”. In contrast to the cold-water form is extremely stable, it is very difficult to cure.

The development cycle takes place completely on the host’s body, the cyst is formed directly under the epithelial tubercle, the tubercle is torn, the vagrants crawl and immediately take root under the epithelium.

The parasite is small, the core is not horseshoe-shaped, but twisted.

Small rash, barely noticeable.

The rash is clustered.

Resistant to high temperatures (up to 32 ° C).

Resistant to many drugs (use FMC, furazolidone).

Kostioz (Ichthyobiasis):

The causative agent is Costia flagellates (Ichthyobodo) necatrix.

The fish “itches” on the stones.

On the body appear gray-blue matte spots.

With the defeat of the gills fish breathes heavily.

Fins strongly stick together.

Fish swims at the surface with characteristic “jerking” movements.

The parasite is very small, visible only under a high magnification microscope.

An accurate diagnosis can only be made by microscopic examination of scrapings.


  1. Sera costapur 1 ml per 40 l (every other day) + Sera mycopur 1 ml per 40 l – half the dose, as indicated in the instructions (daily).
  2. Baths with potassium permanganate and salt: 2% saline solution (2 teaspoons of salt per 1 liter of water), potassium permanganate to a clear pink, but not intense, color, aging 10-15 minutes.


Hodiniosis, velvet disease, gold dust, colise disease.

Pathogen – flagellates of the genus Oodinium.


The body of the fish becomes “rough”.

To the naked eye, the rash is almost invisible, under the magnifying glass you can see the characteristic golden dust.

The appearance is very reminiscent of the tropical form of ichthyophthirius.

Development cycle:

Adult parasite (trophont) on the body of a fish.

Dividing tomonta in cysts into 256 tomites.

Education dinospore (hymnospore).


1.Bicillin-5: pH not lower than 6.5, t from 24 ° С, the light does not turn on. 1-1.5 million IU per 100 liters of water. The next day, replace 30% of the water and make a full dose of bitsillina.

The third treatment in two days and the last – in 7 days.

2. Preparations of heavy metals (especially copper) – “Formed” works well, it is used according to the instructions.


Octomitosis, spironulosis, hole disease (Hole-in-the-Head), discus disease.

Cause: Hexamita salmonis flagellates (another name is Octomitus truttae), drop-shaped, with 4 pairs of flagella (3 pairs in front, 1 in back). The parasite multiplies by division, but can also form cysts.


Transparent-whitish, often filiform and often viscous mucous excrement.

Loss of appetite. Then refusal to eat.

In mild cases, the fish “spit” repeatedly taking food in the mouth and then spitting it out.

Some increase (bloating) in the abdomen (not always observed). Then the fish begin to lose weight and their abdomen acquires a characteristic keeled or concave shape, and the back dries out.

Fins strongly stick together.

Darkening color, solitude.

Erosion and ulceration of the integument of the head and change in the appearance of the lateral line (perforated disease).


1. Hyperthermic treatment: raise the temperature to 33-35 ° C. An extreme measure, when a fish is in serious condition, does not eat.

Raise no more than 3-4 ° per day.

2. Metronidazole (Trichopol): 250 mg per 35 liters. Three days make medication every day after water changes (up to 25%).

Then – every other day, replacing about 10-15% of water. The course is 12-15 days!

3. Metronidazole + ciprofloxacin (enroxyl, baytril): metronidazole for large adults (not exhausted!) Cichlids – 1 tab. (250 mg) to 15 liters. water for small species and young cichlids – 1 table. 25–30 l, full dose daily, 50% of the volume of water replaced. Ciprofloxacin – 500 mg per 50 l (enroxil / baytril 5% – 1 ml per 10 l). After 3 days, the drugs are given in half dose.

Bacterial diseases:

The causative agents of this group of diseases are bacteria. These are also single-celled microorganisms, but unlike Protozoa, they are more simply arranged, they have no nuclei, as a rule, of a much smaller size.


Flexibacteriosis, fin rot, “gray saddle”, “mouth disease”, “Asian”, aquarium plague.

Cause: Bacteria Flexibacter Columnaris.

-strictly aerobic (requires oxygen).

-warm-water (temperature increase during treatment is unacceptable).

-gram-negative (a group of antibiotics with a spectrum of action on gram-negative microorganisms is selected for treatment).

-non-halophilic (do not live in salt water).

-conditionally pathogenic (cause disease only under stressful conditions).

-may occur even in good conditions, with sufficient aeration.

-predisposing factors – large crowding, stress, transportation.


White spots about 5 mm; over time, the white area increases.

White-gray vatoobrazny plaque (similar to the fungus Saprolegnia) or growth, as if “eating” the skin of the fish.

Necrosis (premature cell death of living tissue) of fins, which is accompanied by white bloom and cannon-like clusters of bacteria.

Occasionally, areas of the body of a fish that are affected by Columnaris bacteria darken in a half-full color or become the color of flesh (meat).

“Saddle” (saddle-like) affected area in the region of the dorsal fin, which gave the second name of the disease – “gray saddle”.

On the gills, Columnaris may cause the gill filaments to disintegrate; their color may change to light or dark brown. In this case, there is rapid breathing, and the fish can rise to the surface of the water, where the oxygen concentration is higher.

Treatment regimen:

Ciprofloxacin – water-soluble forms (“Digran”) are used, other tablets are practically insoluble in water. Dose – 500 mg per 50 liters of water.

It is applied daily before turning off the light in a full dose of 3-7 days. Negative effect on the organs of blood creation, excretory system, central nervous system.

At the wrong dosage, after the use of Ciprofloxacin, strains appear that are absolutely not susceptible to all antibiotics.

Antibuck (ciprofloxacin) – 1 tablet per 100 – 200 liters of water. It is applied daily before turning off the light in a full dose of 3-7 days.

Enroksil (Baytril) – 5% solution – 1 ml per 10 liters of water. It is administered daily in a full dose of 3-7 days.

Less toxic than ciprofloxacin.

Small fish (blue neon, rhodostomus) – enroxil (baytril) 5% 1 ml per 10 l once (or twice with an interval of 12 hours) for prophylactic purposes immediately after disembarking from the packages.

Levomycetin – 1 tablet (0.5 g) per 10 liters of water. It is made 1 time in 3 days.

Course up to 3 weeks.

Sera mycopur

Contains acriflavin active against Flexibacter Columnaris in the early stages of the disease.

Prevents secondary seeding with fungal infections.

It is applied daily in a dose of 1 ml per 20 liters (1 drop per 1 liter of water).

Used as an auxiliary drug in addition to antibiotics.

Doxycycline + Biseptol-480

Doxycycline – 2 capsules (200 mg) per 100 liters of water. It is made 1 time in 3 days. Course up to 3 weeks.

Daily replacement of 25-30% of water, and we make 100 mg per 100 l (1 capsule) of doxycycline.

Biseptol-480 – 1.5 tablets per 100 liters. Then daily 0.5 tabl per 100 liters.

Course 5 – 7 days (up to 10).

API PimaFix

Antifungal agent on a natural basis (bayese essential oil).

In the early stages can affect the pathogen. Stimulates the immunity of fish.

It prevents secondary fungal infections.

To bring daily at the rate of 5 ml per 38 l, as an adjuvant in conjunction with an antibiotic.

Auxiliary means:


Viviparous, goldfish, tetradons, monodactyls, Argus – 1 tbsp. l 10 liters of water.

Scaleless – 1 tbsp. l 40 liters of water, with caution, under supervision of the general condition of the fish.

The rest of the fish – 1 tbsp. l 20 liters of water.

Strictly! Prepare the mother liquor. The aquarium is poured into 3-4 stages with an interval of 30-60 minutes.

The condition of salt-sensitive fish must be monitored for several hours.

The temperature of the water gradually, at the time of treatment, drops to 22-24 ° C.


Rubella carp, abdominal dropsy, spreading scales.

Causative Agent: Bacteria Aeromonas punktata.

Carp rubella is also called a wide group of diseases caused not only by Aeromonas bacteria, but also by pseudomonoses (ex. Pseudomonas fluorescens), a viral disease – spring carp viremia).

The causative agent is a strict anaerob (it does not require oxygen in the water for breathing), therefore the disease is more common in aquariums with poor aeration, in old acidic water, under poor conditions of maintenance and regular overfeeding.

Widely distributed in the middle lane, it can be brought with live food.

Cold water, does not like high temperatures.


The fish is sluggish. Does not respond to stimuli. Stop eating.

First, it is collected at the surface of the water, then it lies on the bottom.

Scaling of scales: at the beginning of the disease, the scales of the fish rise, after a while the powder spreads all over the body and the scales begin to fall.

Abdominal dropsy: The abdomen is distended, the anus is inflamed.

Hemorrhagic ulcers: bloody spots appear on the body and fins, then they ulcerate. Blood-red ulcers in white border.

Treatment regimens.


Roncoleukin – at the rate of 50000-100000 IU per 10 l, every other day 3-4 applications.

Stimulates the immunity of fish, suitable as an adjuvant in the treatment of any species of carp rubella.

Ciprofloxacin, Antibac, Enroxil, Baytril.

All drugs are active against aeromonosis and pseudomonosis, treatment regimens as with columnaris.

Doxycycline + Levomycetin + Nystatin.

This combination is used in severe cases with large ulcerative lesions.

Doxycycline – 1 capsule 100 mg per 30-35 l.

Levomitsetin – 500mg per 20 liters.

Nystatin – 200,000 units. 30 -35 l.

Make a day, after the change of 1/3 of water.

Nitrofuran preparations: furazolidone, Sera baktopur direct.

Sera baktopur direct 1 tablet per 50 liters of water every 3 days, after changing 30-50% of water. Can be used in the form of short-term baths – 1 tablet per 2 liters of water for 30 minutes.

The drug is extremely toxic.

Furazolidone 1 tablet (50 mg) for 10-20 liters every other day.

Nitrofuran preparations can be combined with antibiotics, for example, with chloramphenicol or ciprofloxacin.

Parasitic diseases:

The causative agents of this group of diseases are multicellular parasites (mainly flat and roundworms, parasitic crustaceans).

Argulosis: the pathogen is the toad branch of crustacean argument (carpoed, carp louse).

They feed on the blood of fish.

The female lays about 250-300 eggs on glasses, decor or another substrate, eggs develop 3-5 weeks depending on the temperature.

Larvae hatched from eggs for 2-3 days swim freely, looking for fish, if they don’t find them, they die.

The development of larvae in the adult parasite occurs on the body of the fish within 2-3 weeks.


1.Manual processing – daily inspection, removal of parasites from fish and clutches from the glasses. Complete disinfection of the aquarium in advanced cases (whiteness or ecocide solutions).

2.Specialized products – sera Argulol, JBL Aradol Plus.


The causative agent is copepods of the Lerna (Lernaea cyprinacea and Lernaea elegans).

Only females parasitize (males die immediately after fertilization of the female).

One female bears 1400 eggs (two egg bags of 700 eggs each) every 2 weeks for 16 weeks.

The larvae swim freely in water before puberty.


1.Manual processing – daily inspection, removal of parasites from fish and clutches from the glasses. It is necessary to be extremely careful, because the crustaceans, when removed, burst and the anchor remains in the body, causing prolonged boils.

Complete disinfection of the aquarium in advanced cases (whiteness or ecocide solutions).

2.Specialized products – sera Argulol, JBL Aradol Plus.


Pathogens are monogenetic flukes of the family Gyrodactylidae.

Reproduction occurs on the body of the host, the live-bearing parasite does not form forms resistant to treatment.

The size of the parasite to 1 mm.

The fish becomes closer, the fins stick together.

Characteristic jerking movements appear.


Praziquantel based preparations:

1.Sera med Professional Tremazol, JBL Gyrodol Plus, JBL Gyrodol 2, JBL GyroPond (according to the instructions).

2. Azipirin, Azinoks, Drontal – 1 tablet per 10-15 liters of water, one time, exposure a day, increase aeration, a day later 50% water change. In particularly advanced cases, it is possible to carry out a second treatment in the same way.


Pathogens are monogenetic flukes of the Dactylogyridae families.

Species specific (infect a strictly specific type of fish).

They feed on mucus from the body of the fish (do not feed on blood).

Gills pale pink, swollen, anemia develops.

From under the gill covers visible mucus.

The fish refuses to eat, hangs at the surface, breathes heavily.


1.Sera med Professional Tremazol, JBL Gyrodol Plus, JBL Gyrodol 2, JBL GyroPond (according to the instructions).

2. Azipirin, Azinoks, Drontal – 1 tablet per 10-15 liters of water, one time, exposure a day, increase aeration, a day later 50% water change. In particularly advanced cases, it is possible to carry out a second treatment in the same way.

Fungal diseases.

The causative agents of this group of diseases are lower fungi. Fungal diseases, as a rule, are not independent diseases.

They appear as secondary infections with lesions of the skin.

“Cotton Disease” (saprolegnosis):

The causative agent – fungi of the genus Saprolegnia, Achyla, etc.


Fluffy neoplasms, usually white or whitish, consist of separate filaments.

As a rule, the infection is secondary, it develops with the defeat of the skin.


1. Improving conditions of detention.

2. Treatment of the underlying disease.

3.Specific drugs (Sera mycopur, Tetra Medica Fungi Stop according to the instructions)

Viral diseases.

The causative agents of this group of diseases are viruses. These are the smallest microorganisms consisting of a protein coat and nucleic acid (DNA or RNA).

There is no specific treatment for viral diseases in ichthyopathology. Immunity is stimulated, symptomatic treatment is carried out.

Lymphocytosis (grapelike nodosity):

Causative agent – Lymphocystis virus


Small white, gray-white or pinkish neoplasms, most often on the fins, as well as on the head and body.


1. There is no specific treatment, as a rule, it is sufficient to improve the conditions of detention, and the disease resolves itself. 1.5-2 months is necessary for full recovery.

2. Sometimes surgical intervention is used (if the neoplasm interferes with eating or swimming).

3. To stimulate immunity, iodine (Tetra Vital) can be added to water, especially valuable fish – Roncoleukin at the rate of 50000-100000 IU per 10 l, every other day 3-4 additions.

Diagnosis and treatment choice:

It is not always possible at home, without a microscope, to make an accurate diagnosis. Let’s analyze different options:

Option 1: You managed to make an accurate diagnosis.

We carry out treatment according to the scheme for this disease.

Option 2: you see that there are deviations from the normal state, but an accurate diagnosis cannot be made.

It is necessary to “narrow down” the range of diseases in the affected area (ectoparasitic – caused by skin parasites, intestinal) as much as possible and treat them with a wide spectrum of action, with a maximum coverage, for example:

1. Treatment of ectoparasites: Salt (1 tbsp. At 10 liters, or 1 tsp. At 10 liters for sensitive fish), formamed 10 ml per 50 l every other day, enroxil (baytril) 5% – 1 ml per 10 l (daily 5-7 days)

2. Intestinal infections: Feed in small portions 2-3 times a day, preferably with live food or freezing. In the feed, dissolve metronidazole and chloramphenicol 1 tablet for every 4-5 cubes of bloodworms, a course of 1-2 weeks.

You can add metronidazole to water 1 tablet 250 mg per 40 liters (daily or every other day depending on the severity of the disease), a course of 2 weeks.

We monitor the effectiveness of the applied treatment, if necessary we make adjustments.

Important! It is necessary to take into account information about the content and, if possible, to make water tests for the most important indicators, since poisoning with nitrogenous compounds, acidosis and alkalosis are “masked” as infectious diseases.

In this case, the use of drugs will worsen the situation!

Drug compatibility:

Not all drugs can be combined with each other. When combining medicines it is necessary to consider:

-Medicines cannot be used together with Tetra AquaSafe, Sera aqutan, Sera toxivec conditioners (conditioners protect the mucous membranes of fish, reducing the availability of medicines, neutralize some medicines).

-Medicines can not be used in conjunction with UV treatment (ultraviolet destroys drugs).

-During treatment, it is necessary to remove coal and zeolite from the filter (sorbents neutralize the effect of drugs).

-During treatment in water there should be no excess of organic matter (organic substances decompose react with many drugs, reducing their concentration in water).

-Iodine stimulates the immune system of fish, it is well combined with most drugs, 5% alcohol solution – 5 drops per 100 liters.

-When combining drugs, it is impossible to combine drugs with the same active ingredient and antibiotics of the same group, for example, Ciprofloxacin and Baytril, Sera costapur and Ichthyophore (this leads to overdose and drug poisoning).

Diseases of aquarium fish-treatment

Aquarium fish disease is a very bad moment in the life of an aquarist. Even skilled aquarists with great experience are not insured against this trouble.

However, most diseases are well treated. If you are extremely attentive to the inhabitants of your aquarium, ready to look for information in special literature and online resources, you can successfully cope with it with a bang.

Ichthyopathology – the science that studies fish diseases – subdivides them into infectious and non-infectious. Infectious diseases are divided into infectious and invasive. Infectious diseases are caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Invasive – parasites of animal origin.

Diseases of aquarium fish

The parasites, in turn, can be divided into two groups – unicellular (protozoa) – flagellates, sporozoans, ciliates and multicellular – helminths and crustaceans. Non-contagious diseases occur when optimal conditions for fish are disturbed and mistreated.

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