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Fish diseases – diagnosis and definition

The articles describe the following diseases, their signs and methods of treatment: alkalosis (alkaline disease), arguments, asphyxia (asphyxiation), acidemia, acidosis (acid disease), white-skinned, branchiomycosis, inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, hexamytosis (octomitosis), gyrodactylosis, glutenosis, rotting of the stomach (ihtiofonoz), ich, kostioz (ihtiobodoz) lepidortoz, lerneoz, obesity, oodinioz poisoning, plistiforoz (neon disease), colds, injuries, trihodinoz, tuberculosis (mycobacteriosis), hilodonellez, chlorosis embolism gas, ulcers (peptic ulcer disease) .

The first and most important step in the treatment of the disease is establishing diagnosis.

For the correct definition of the disease of the fish is not enough knowledge obtained from books and magazines, you need practical experience and preferably at the beginning help of experienced amateurs. The most common diseases with clear signs can be identified by each experienced aquarist, and only mostly rare, difficult to recognize diseases require special studies to make a diagnosis using technical tools that are inaccessible to amateurs.

For diagnosis, conduct three stages of research fish:

– history, i.e. history of the disease;
– a preliminary study (behavior change, visual inspection);
– direct examination (dissection, examination of internal organs under a magnifying glass, examination of preparations under a microscope).

Studying the history of the disease, you need to get answers to the following questions which, in some cases, will allow to suspect the presence of a particular disease:

– whether new fish or plants appeared in the aquarium before the onset of the disease (they can be a source of introduction of various pests and infections);
– whether there was a strong temperature fluctuation (possible cold, temperature shock, etc.);
– where the food given to fish was taken (poisoning, pest infestation and infection are possible), whether the fish ate it completely or the remains were not cleaned and rotted on the pound (oxygen may be lacking), regular feeding with dry or abundant and monotonous food (possibly and inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract);
– whether there was a change in pH (acid or alkaline disease is possible);
– whether new decorative elements have been introduced (poisoning is possible);
– whether another change of water was made (poor-quality water with a high content of chlorine can cause chlorosis, a sharp change in dH or pH can greatly affect the health of the fish);
– whether fish die one after another at different intervals of time or there is a massive death of fish (with a gradual deterioration in water quality and with the defeat by parasites, fish often die separately, although with some infectious diseases their mass death occurs, with a sharp deterioration in water quality – most likely death of fish in a short period of time);
– what changes were observed in the behavior of fish: rubbed against stones, snags, soil, leaves of plants and other objects; made swinging movements of the body; refused to feed; became sluggish, inactive, etc.

Anamnesis is followed by preliminary studies in which once again carefully study deviations in the behavior of fish from normal, and then make an external examination of the body (darkening of the color, the appearance of spots and tumors, local mucus, etc.), gills (rapid breathing, mucus etc.), eye (clouding, pumaglazy), fins (spreading, compressed, destroyed, etc.).

Listed below are some signs for suspecting the onset of a disease:

– fish rubs against various objects – gyrodactylosis, dactylogyrosis, ichthyosporidiosis, ichthyophthiriosis, kositosis, lherneoz, oodiniosis, trichodynosis;
– the fish produces rocking movements with the body – inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, gyrodactylosis, dactylogyrosis,
ichthyosporidiosis, lerneoz, cold, tuberculosis, chylodonellosis;
– refusal of feed – branhomikoz, dactylogyrosis, ichthyosporidiosis, bone disease. plastiforosis, tuberculosis;
– fish is inactive – acidosis, branchiomycosis, inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, obesity, the common cold, tuberculosis;
– the fish jumps out of the water – alkalosis, acedymia, poisoning, chlorosis;
– fish rushing around the aquarium – alkalosis, dactylogyrosis, chlorosis;
– gills are covered with mucus – alkalosis, dactylogyrosis, chlorosis;
– the scales are raised on separate parts of the body – lepidorthosis, ichthyosospiridiosis, tuberculosis;
– fish often approaches aeration bubbles – ichthyophthiriosis, trichodynosis;
– the skin dims – alkalosis, inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract;
– fast breathing – alkalosis, asphyxia;
– Puglyiva fish – acidosis, poisoning;
– the anus reddens – inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, hexamitosis;
– on the body of the fish, local redness with a wound and abundant mucus is the argument;
– there is a bug-eyed – glugeosis, ichthyosporidiosis;
– the edges of the fins are splayed, dull bluish-white in color – rot of the fins;
– fish swims in jumps – ichthyospordioz, plastiforosis;
– on the body and fins of a bloom-like patina of white or light yellow color – ringworm;
– a shiver passes over the body of the fish, gills darken – gas embolism;
– on the body of the fish small dark spots turning into ulcers – peptic ulcer.

It should be noted that the symptoms in the description of diseases rarely occur all at once, a number of them may not appear at all.

The diagnosis is confirmed only by direct research. For example, a skin disease may be due to another disease that has weakened the body of the fish.

For research, fish are taken, which is especially distinguished by painful phenomena, i.e. its behavior indicates the presence of the disease or there are obvious changes in the skin, gills, eyes or fins.

Before proceeding with the direct examination of a diseased fish, an amateur should know what the skin, gills, eyes, fins and internal organs of a healthy fish look like. conduct her research.

All studies should be carried out with diseased fish, because decomposition phenomena that change the picture of the disease quickly occur in the dead, many pathogens quickly leave it, the skin becomes cloudy, and often the diagnosis becomes impossible.

The study of fish should begin no later than 10-15 minutes after her death. For the study you need to have: a magnifying glass (at least 8x), a microscope (you can school), dissecting needles, small scissors, a scalpel, tweezers, filter paper, a pipette and a dissecting dish.

All tools should be boiled.

Dishes can be made yourself. From the bottom of the canned food, several holes are made in the bottom of the tin box, which are sealed with insulating tape from the outside and embedded in paraffin (liquid paraffin is mixed with furnace soot until it is black) with an even layer of about 2 cm.

Dishes can be replaced with a wooden board.

Before the examination, the fish must be killed, for which the brain is separated from the spinal cord with scissors, cutting the spinal column in the neck area (see fig.).


Passing the cut line to kill the fish.

Then put the fish on its side in a steamer dish and strengthen it with needles or pins, inserting them into the head and tail (see fig.).


Fish attachment points.

Skin tests are done with the help of smears, for which a mucus is scraped from the affected area with a scalpel, capturing a piece of skin, as well as from the base of the pectoral fin, from the caudal fin, from the lateral line area and from the gill covers (see fig.).


Direction scrapings.

The smear taken is placed in a drop of pure water, previously placed on a microscope slide, then the smear is crushed with needles and covered with a cover glass. It is important that the cover glass does not suck in too much (a drop of water is too small and air bubbles are visible), but it does not float either (a drop of water is large). In the first case, water is added, in the second – it is sucked off with filter paper.

The finished product is considered first with a weak, then with an ever increasing increase.

For reliable detection of small parasites, filaments of the fungus and bacteria, they use illumination in a dark field.
The affected fins are separated with scissors and examined under a microscope in parts in a drop of water. The drug is prepared as described above.

To study the gills, the gill cover is raised with tweezers and the widest part possible with scissors. Then carefully remove the gill arches with gill lobes and transfer
them in a drop of water on a slide where needles are separated from each other. Take one of the gill arches, put it in a drop of water on the second slide and cover with a cover glass, and the drop must be large enough so that the arc is not pressed.

The other arc is transferred to a drop of water on the third glass slide and lightly pressed (do not flatten!) The glass slide. Then spend
research under the microscope. Parasites on the surface are more visible on the second glass in a dark field, and living in tissues – on the third.

To study his eyes are removed from the eye socket, a smear is taken from it and examined in a drop of water under a microscope.
The eyeball is placed on a glass slide, incised, and the outflowing fluid is examined under a microscope.

An examination of the internal organs requires an autopsy. Attaching a fish or holding it with tweezers depends on its size and the habit of the aquarist.

First, a belly incision is made, which runs from the anus to the throat. To do this, one end of a well-sharpened small scissors is inserted into the anus and an incision is made, making sure that the blade inside the fish is pressed against the outer side of the body wall and would not damage any internal organ. Incision of the sides also start from the anus and produce an arc up and forward.

The third incision connects the two first along the arc behind the gills. Now the wall can be separated from the body.

If it has grown together with the peritoneum or the upper parts of the tissues interfere with this, then they are separated with a scalpel (see fig.).


Cut lines at the opening of the fish.

After a careful examination of the internal organs with a magnifying glass and the determination of possible deviations, they proceed to research under a microscope. After cutting off a small piece of the organ, put it with a pair of tweezers in a drop of water on a slide, peel it with two needles and cover it with a light pressure.

Then the drug is examined under a microscope, starting with a small increase.

The results of all stages of the study should be recorded in a notebook, which will facilitate their comparison and diagnosis, as well as help with further research on sick fish.

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