After creating and maintaining your beautiful aquarium, all the time and money you spent on it, the last thing you want to deal with is tropical fish diseases. Coming home and finding your fish covered with white spots, the eyes swollen or the fins disintegrating is a blow to any aquarist.

Following are the categories and symptoms of the most common diseases in tropical fish.

Fungal Diseases

Fungal diseases will usually occur after the fish has already been weakened through stress, parasites or a bacterial disease. In some cases the fish will appear sluggish and in the latter stages develop cysts. Another type of fungal infection will produce white growths that eventually turn into cotton like tuffs on the skin.

Bacterial Diseases

Bacterial diseases often need to be treated with antibiotic medications. Fish infected with bacteria often develop bulging eyes, ulcers and open sores. One bacteria causes a disease called mouth fungus that looks like a fungal infection on the mouth. Other signs of a bacterial infection include a lose of appetite, hollow belly, erratic swimming, and disintegrating fins.

Viral Diseases

Viral diseases are fortunately fairly uncommon in fish. On sign of a viral disease is white swellings on the body of the fish. Viruses cannot be treated with medication because they use the host’s body to reproduce and live on. If you suspect your fish has a viral disease, it should be removed and placed in another tank so the other fish will not be infected with the same virus. The best thing you can do is to provide a clean environment and a healthy, nutritious diet. A virus can only be identified by special equipment and it is often difficult to detect.

Parasitic Diseases

One symptom most parasitic diseases have in common is the fish scraping against or rubbing objects. The parasites are eating through the flesh of the fish and if they aren’t removed will eat into the organs and kill the fish. Simply pulling the parasites off will often do more damage to the fish. A bath of potassium permanganate or a salt solution is often the best method to remove parasites. In some cases you will be able to see the parasites on the skin of the fish and thus confirm the problem is parasites, or you may notice other signs such as rapid gilling, clamped fins, red skin and weight loss.

Protozoan Diseases

These diseases are caused by the protozoan parasite that infects the intestinal tract. Several diseases will cause a yellow to light brown dust on the body. On commonly known protozoan disease is called ich. Ich is characterized by small white spots all over the body. The fish will breath rapidly and have clamped fins. Other types cause excessive slim on the body, frayed fins, bloated body and a lack of appetite.

The best way to avoid tropical fish diseases is to have a clean tank and provide adequate nutrition. New fish should always be quarantined for two to four weeks.

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