How to Identify and Solve Aquarium Problems

There are literally hundreds of afflictions that can affect the health of your fish. There are several precautions which can be taken to reduce the possibility of disease and keep it from spreading if it does occur.

The first step is to buy only good-quality, compatible fish and then quarantine new fish before adding them to the aquarium. Avoid stressing the fish with rough handling, sudden changes in conditions, or “bully” tankmates. Don’t overfeed your fish. Remove sick fish to a hospital tank for treatment and make sure to disinfect nets used to move sick fish. Don’t transfer water from the quarantine tank to the main aquarium. Don’t let any metal come in contact with the aquarium water.

The most common problems seen in home aquariums are usually either bacterial or parasitic in origin. Luckily, most are easily diagnosed and can be successfully treated. In most cases a treatment that can be purchased at a pet store will work well, as long as you have properly identified the problem. If the treatment is an anti-biotic or copper based, remember to remove all carbon from the filtration system. Bacterial diseases are usually characterized by red streaks or spots and/or swelling of the abdomen or eye. These are best treated by antibiotics such as penicillin, amoxicillin, or erythromycin. The most common parasitic disease called “Ich” can be treated most effectively with copper or malachite green in the right dosage. Most treatments will have copper as an ingredient. When using any anti-biotic make sure the biological filtration in your aquarium is not destroyed. Although most of the treatments available at the store state that they will not harm your biological filter, sometimes they will, and it is best to either monitor your ammonia and nitrite levels or use an ammonia remover to be sure your levels of ammonia don’t become a problem. When using any medication which has copper as an ingredient, be aware that most plants will not do as well and that invertebrates, such as snails, will be killed.

Did You Know

The Goliath frog of West Africa is the largest frog and can weigh almost as much as a housecat.

Of the 350 or so shark species, about 80% grow to less than 5 feet in length and are unable to hurt people or rarely encounter people.

A shark’s skin is embedded with dermal denticles, which resemble teeth.

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