February 2, 2019

Treating Goldfish Diseases

Fish such as goldfish can suffer from various diseases such as fin rot, swim bladder disease, fish fungus and fish lice. We will not cover all disease just the most common ones you may experience.

Waking up to see your aqua one fish tank is full of fish that have fallen ill or worse have died can be a shocking discovery. Considering the average fish keeper can easily sink thousands of pounds into their hobby you need to know how to quickly and efficiently treat the most common diseases found with fresh and tropical fish.

We have put together this easy to use guide which should help you get the need to know information fast and efficiently.

Please use our table of contents to jump straight to your problem. ⬇️

Fin Rot

What Causes Fin Rot?

Fin rot is a very common disease found in freshwater fish tanks, and it is also one of the most preventable conditions effecting fish. While the disease is caused by some type of bacterial infection, the underlying reason is always the aquarium environment. This means that only fish in aquariums with less than ideal conditions are susceptible to it. However, if caught early enough the infection is treatable. Any fish under stress is at risk. This stress could be caused by a variety of factors, such as poor water quality, an overcrowded fish tank, eating outdated fish food, moving to a new tank, or in a tank with aggressive fish. If your fish are living under any of these conditions, they are at great risk for the bacterial infection and precautions should be taken.

Symptoms of Fin Rot

Fin rot is typically very easy to detect, even at the early stages. The fins of your fish will start to turn white around the edges. As time progresses the fins will start to fray at the ends and the base will show signs of an infection. At the later stages of this disease, the fin may actually even fall off. This will greatly affect your fish’s ability to survive in the tank. In many cases, a fish with fin rot will also develop cotton wood disease, which produces a wool-like coating over the fish’s body, mouth, and fin.

Treating Fin Rot

While this disease is treatable, immediate attention is required. Once fin rot progresses to a severe state, you may no longer be able to save the fish. The first step is to clean the entire tank, including the gravel and decorations, and change out some of the tanks water. Begin antibiotics immediately and continue for at least seven to ten days. You should also perform a salt treatment on the entire tank to protect all the fish in the aquarium. Add one tablespoon of salt for every five gallons of water.

During the duration of the treatment, it is important that you check the tank conditions on a daily basis. This included checking the water temperature, pH balance, and other chemical levels. Make immediate adjustments as necessary to keep your tank in ideal condition. You also want to avoid overfeeding and remove any aggressive fish to a secondary tank. It is also crucial to keep your tank clean and free from fish feces and decaying food and plants, which can increase bacteria growth in the tank.

You can avoid it from attacking your fish, by simply keeping your aquarium at ideal conditions at all times. Regular maintenance and careful observation of your fish can keep this deadly condition at bay. If left untreated, it is almost always fatal. This means that you must start treatment the minute you notice any whitening around the edges of your fish’s fin. If you wait until the symptoms are more extensive, you will likely be too late for corrective treatment.

Recommended Treatment

Swim Bladder Disease

What Is Swim Bladder Disease?

All fish have a swim bladder, which is an internal organ that is filled with gas. This order controls the fish’s buoyancy and gives it the ability to swim effortlessly throughout the tank. If this organ stops functioning properly, it will directly affect the fish’s ability to swim. Depending on the fish and the severity of the disorder, this will cause the fish to flip on its back, swim sideways, or sometimes swim with its tail higher than its head.

Symptoms of Swim Bladder Disease

Is your fish swimming sideways or upside down? If so, it could have a swim bladder disorder. This disorder affects the fish’s ability to swim properly causing it to either turn upside down or go sideways. Swim bladder disorder is most commonly seen in fancy goldfish. Unfortunately, many people think that the fish has died or is dying when they see them floating upside down. Before you remove the fish from the tank, check to see if the fish is breathing. If it is, this condition may be very easy to fix.

Causes of Swim Bladder Disease

There are several reasons why your fish may have this disorder, including constipation, overeating, eating low quality fish food, a cyst on its kidney, or even a sudden change in tank conditions. On the other hand, this could be a sign of an infection. This is especially true if your fish is displaying other signs of distress, such as dropsy or clamped fins. If several fish in your tank are showing signs of swim bladder disorder, your tank conditions are most likely the problem. The good news is that this can be fixed quickly and effectively.

Treating Swim Bladder Disease

Since it will be impossible to determine exactly what the cause behind the swim bladder disorder is, you will need to treat for a variety of problems. The first step is to check the water temperature of the tank. You can even raise the temperature slightly to between 70°F and 80°F. This can help greatly with constipation. You should also refrain from feeding the fish for 48 hours. This will give the fish time to process the food already in its system.

If no improvement is seen within 48 hours, start your fish on a high fiber diet. Peas are a good choice and can be cooked and then peeled before feeding to the fish. You can also try a salt treatment, by adding one tablespoon of aquarium salt for every five gallons of water in the tank. If there is still no improvement, treat with antibiotic fish food to treat any type of infection the fish may have.

Many times, fish will start showing improvement with an increase in the water temperature and/or fasting. However, it is always best to keep a close eye on your fish during the recovery period to make sure that the swim bladder disorder does not return. In almost all cases, this disorder can be treated effectively and the fish will return to swimming normally after just a few days.

Recommended Treatment

No products found.

Fish Fungus

What is Fish Fungus?

Fish fungus is most commonly found in outdoor freshwater ponds that have an overabundance of decaying organic matter. However, it can also be found in home aquariums. It is very easy to detect a fungal infection because the fish will have a fluffy coating on its body that resembles wool. This coating can be either white or grey in color.

The good news is that typically, fish fungus only attacks the external organs of the fish, but in rare cases, it can affect some of the fish’s internal organs. This does not mean, however, that immediate attention is not necessary. If proper treatment is not received, a fungal infection can lead to death.

Is Fish Fungus Deadly?

A fungal infection is considered to be a secondary condition because it only occurs in fish that are either injured, ill, or stressed. Healthy fish have a layer of mucus coating their skin that protects them from this type of infection. However, if this mucus has been damaged or if the fish’s immune system has been compromised, this mucus shield will not protect them.

Various stress factors, such as poor water conditions, malnutrition, overcrowded, dramatic change in water temperature, or a chemical imbalance will reduce the fish’s immune system and make them susceptible to fungal infections. This fungus can spread very rapidly and may affect more than one fish at a time.

Treating Fish Fungus

It is recommended that you treat the entire tank with malachite green. This will protect all the fish in the aquarium or pond. Once the treatment has been completed, you should remove the infected fish and house it in a quarantine tank. The infected fish can also be treated with salt baths, but it should not be released back into the regular tank or pond until all signs of the infection are gone. If any other type of infection is detected, you can use an antibiotic to help the fish heal faster. Interpet have an excellent Anti Fungus Solution which can help.

Slowly increase the water temperature of both the regular tank or pond and the quarantine tank, until it is about 76°F. Fungus does not grow well under warmer conditions, so increasing the temperature will stop this growth. Once the infection is gone, you can slowly return the water to its original levels. Be careful to increase or decrease the temperature over several hours, so you do not add unnecessary stress to the fish.

Preventing Fish Fungus

While fungus is a common problem found in both ponds and aquarium, it should not become a reoccurring issue. If you are having a repetitive problem with fungus, then there is likely a problem with your tank, such as overcrowding, poor water quality, or unclean conditions. You will need to identify the problems and take effective action, or the fungus will continue to attack your fish.

Since fungus is easy to detect, treatment should begin almost immediately. It may take several days or weeks until you can return the quarantined fish back into its regular home. As long as the water conditions are improved and the fungus is removed correctly, it should not reoccur.

Recommended Treatment

API MELAFIX Freshwater Fish Bacterial Infection Remedy 473 ml Bottle
  • Contains one API Melafix Freshwater Fish Bacterial Infection Remedy, 473 ml bottle
  • Heals bacterial infections and repairs damaged fins, ulcers and open wounds
  • Contains natural, botanical tea tree extract to quickly and rapidly help fish
  • Helps treat newly-introduced fish to reduce risk of disease outbreak in freshwater aquariums
  • Use daily for a week when treating infections and for 3 days as a preventive when adding new fish

Fish Lice

What Are Fish Lice?

Fish lice are the largest known parasite to attack freshwater fish, especially goldfish and Koi fish. Instead of attacking home aquariums, fish lice are most commonly found in outdoor ponds. This can make treating them effectively very difficult and timely. However, without proper treatment, all the fish in your pond could eventually die.

Fish lice are visible to the naked eye, but they may try to hide in places on the fish’s body that make them hard to see. They have powerful claws and hooks that they use to latch onto the fish. They will use their hooks to puncture the skin repeatedly to make it easier to feed on the skin particles and blood. This can be extremely painful for the fish.

These lesions on the skin of the fish also make the fish more susceptible to many types of bacterial infections. In addition, lice can carry an array of diseases and infections with them that can easily be transmitted to its host. It is imperative that you try to eliminate any infestation as quickly as possible.

Symptoms of Fish Lice

As the lice attack the fish, you will notice the fish trying to rub against the rocks or bottom of the pond to find relief from the pain. Your fish may also stop eating and become lethargic due to lack of energy. Due to blood loss, the color of the fish will start to fade and the fish will spend more and more time at the bottom of the pond. If your fish are displaying any of these symptoms, take a closer look at their body. You should be able to detect fish lice quite easily.

Treating Fish Lice

Female lice can lay up to 2,000 eggs at a time, which can lead to a full lice outbreak within just days. Immediate treatment is required. If possible, you can pull the affected fish out of the water and use tweezers to remove the lice from its body. If this is done, Neosporin should be used to treat the lesion. In addition, a salt treatment and a treatment specifically for fish lice should be use. It is also recommended to use an antibiotic to treat the fish for any infections caused by the infestation.

Since these parasites can spread very quickly, you may need to treat the water four or more time before all the lice are gone. Continually, check your fish over the next several weeks to ensure there is not another outbreak of lice. Many pond owners regularly treat their pond for lice just to be safe. This type of precautionary treatment will protect your fish against this dangerous parasite.

Many people also quarantine any new fish for up to two week before releasing them into their pond. This will not only protect your pond against fish lice, but you may also be able to prevent numerous other diseases from entering your pond. Inspect your new fish on a daily basis and treat any disease as soon as it is detected.

Recommended Treatment

Interpet Anti Parasite Slime and Velvet Aquarium Fish Treatment, 100 ml
  • Eradicates flukes and protozoa
  • Treats velvet, slime skin and gill parasites
  • Reduces levels of parasites
  • Harmless to biological filters
  • For use in cold water and tropical freshwater aquariums which do not contain invertebrates or scaleless fish

Hole In The Head Disease

What Is Hole in The Head Disease?

Freshwater Head and Lateral Line Erosion (FHLE), more commonly referred to as hole in the head, is a devastating disease the typically effects freshwater fish, but can also attack saltwater fish. This disease is very recognizable because it causes lesions on the head of the fish. These lesions may even produce a parasitic discharge that may look like small threads. This condition can be very deadly to your fish if not given immediate treatment.

Causes of Hole in the Head disease

There are several things that may cause hole in the head, including undo stress on the fish, an imbalance in the tank, or a parasitic infection. Fish living in aquariums with less than ideal water conditions may be more prone to this disease. Problems like overcrowding and poor water quality add stress to the fish and lower its ability to fight against these types of diseases.

Hole in head disease can also be caused by a nutrient imbalance in the tank. If any chemicals are off balance, it can cause harm to the fish over time. Some fish keepers believe that activated carbons may in fact remove some minerals from the water that are actually beneficial to the fish. They also believe that the lack of these minerals in the water can put the fish at risk for FHLE disease.

The most common cause, however, is a parasitic infection referred to as Hexamita. This parasite will attach to its host’s head. As time progresses the effects of this parasite can attack the gall bladder, kidney, and spleen of the fish. Once this takes place, treatment may no longer be effective. In addition, the lesions on the head leave the fish open for all types of bacterial infections that could only make the fish sicker.

Treating Hole in The Head

Since the primary cause of the disease will be unknown, it is recommended to provide multiple treatments to ensure success. The first step is to make sure the water quality of your tank is perfect. Check water temperature, along with all chemical levels and make any necessary adjustments. Change out some of the water to provide fresh, clean water to the tank.

You should also treat the tank with an antibiotic solution. It is important to treat the entire tank because you cannot be sure if the cause for the disease can spread to other fish. You can also improve your fish’s diet during treatment, by using only high quality fish food. You can also give you fish some seaweed or even cooked broccoli, just make sure that it is soft and cooled down before giving it to the fish.

Identifying and treating any fish with hole in the head disease can help to save its life. Once this disease progressive too far along, it is often difficult to cure. Careful observation of your fish on a daily basis is encouraged. This will not only help you detect hole in the head early on, but it may also alert you to other illnesses and injuries your fish has. Quick action will help you save the fish and protect the other fish living in the tank.

Recommended Treatment

Interpet Anti Bacteria Aquarium Fish Treatment, 100 ml
  • Treats systemic bacteria, halts progress of bacterial problems
  • Patented breakthrough formula
  • For use in cold water or tropical freshwater aquariums
  • With all aquarium fish treatments it is important to treat at the first sign of illness
  • It is important to make sure adequate aeration is in place before adding treatment to your aquarium; it is always a good idea to increase aeration when possible

Clamped Fins

clamped finsOne thing you should always be on the lookout for is clamped fins. This can easily be detected because your fish will pull its fins in close to its body, rather than letting them flow freely.

Clamped fin is only a symptom of another problem and not a disease in itself. If your fish is displaying signs of clamped fin, it could indicate several things, including your fish is unhappy with the water quality in the aquarium or that a parasite has attacked the fish. The good news is that this is typically an early symptom in the fish, which gives you plenty of time to treat it.

Your first step is to check the overall water quality of your aquarium, including the temperature and chemical balances, especially the pH balance. If anything is off balance corrective action is required. However, be sure to implement any changes in the tank slowly, as to not over-stress the fish. You should also perform a thorough cleaning of the tank, including cleaning the gravel and any decorations.

You may also want to change about 40% of the water in the tank, to provide your fish with fresh water. Once all these changes have been made, you should continue to observe your fish. You may notice a change within just a few hours. However, if your fish is still displaying sings of clamped fish after 24 hours, more treatments are necessary.

Treating Clamped Fins

Salt treatments are very effective at treating a variety of illnesses in fish. Since, you are not sure what is causing the clamped fish, it is best to treat the entire tank. This will prevent the spread of any type of disease. You should add one tablespoons of salt for every five gallons of water in your tank. In many cases, this treatment will effectively take care of the problem.

However, if your fish is still not better, look closely for other signs of illness in your fish. Recheck all your water conditions and provide your fish with antibiotic fish food for seven to ten days. Be sure to remove any active carbon from the tank prior to adding any type of treatment to the water, including salt treatments.

While clamped fins is usually an early symptom of an illness, it is still important that you take action immediately. Precautionary measures, such as maintaining the proper water temperature and chemical balances, can go a long way in the prevention of clamped fin. You should also make sure that your tank is kept clean at all times. You should avoid overcrowding your tank and overfeeding your fish. This can lead to less the adequate water conditions, which can cause a variety of diseases and infections.

Recommended Treatment

API MELAFIX Freshwater Fish Bacterial Infection Remedy 473 ml Bottle
  • Contains one API Melafix Freshwater Fish Bacterial Infection Remedy, 473 ml bottle
  • Heals bacterial infections and repairs damaged fins, ulcers and open wounds
  • Contains natural, botanical tea tree extract to quickly and rapidly help fish
  • Helps treat newly-introduced fish to reduce risk of disease outbreak in freshwater aquariums
  • Use daily for a week when treating infections and for 3 days as a preventive when adding new fish

Ich Disease

ich disease

What Causes Ich Disease?

Ichthyophthirius (Ich) disease is a parasitic disease that is commonly referred to as the white spot disease. This is because the disease is most recognizable by the white spots that appear on the fish’s body and gills. This is one of the most common illnesses that effects freshwater fish and one that will most likely affect your aquarium at some point

Unfortunately, many fish keepers consider Ich disease nothing more than a nuisance. However, the truth is that numerous fish die every year from Ich disease. This may be due to the fact the many fish owner does not treat this disease as aggressively as they should.

Ich disease occurs when the parasite burrows itself into the skin of the fish. It will live there for several days feeding off the blood and skin of the fish. The fish will be very agitated and may be seen rubbing against the sides of the tank or rocks seeking comfort. After several days, the parasite will leave the host and lay several hundred eggs, which will seek out a host once they hatch.

Most fish develop immunity to the Ich disease over time, but if their immune system is weakened for any reason, this illness can attack. Stress is usually a contributing factor, which can be caused by poor water conditions, a drastic change in the water temperature, an overcrowded tank, or improper diet. Although, removing any of these stressors from the fish tank is a good first step, it may not be enough to cure the fish.

Symptoms of Ich Disease

As stated earlier, the best way to detect Ich disease is by observing the white spots on the body and gills of the fish. You may also notice that the fish has become lethargic and is floating close to the top or the bottom of the tank. As the disease progresses, the fish may become severely agitated, display signs of a respiratory problem, and have a decreased appetite.

Treating Ich Disease

The first step is always to improve the overall conditions of the tank. It should be cleaned thoroughly, including the gravel, rocks, and decorations. You can also change out about 40% of the water. If you have any type of fish other than cold-water fish, like goldfish and Koi fish, you can try elevating the water in the tank to between 70°F and 80°F. This will speed up the lifespan of the parasite and make it easier to eliminate.

Next, you want to add a treatment, such as malachite green or chelated copper, to kill the parasite. This is most likely to kill only the adult form of the parasite and not the eggs. Therefore, treatment will need to be repeated in five days. Your fish should be treated with a parasitic antibiotic for at least 10 to 14 days to heal any infection caused by the lesions. As always, it is recommended to remove any active carbon from your tank and filter prior to introducing any treatment to the tank.

Recommended Treatment

Interpet Anti White Spot Aquarium Fish Treatment, 100 ml
  • Cures white spot disease
  • Eradicates the free-swimming white spot parasite
  • Two dose treatment (repeat the treatment on day 4)
  • Will not affect the biological filter in your aquarium
  • For use in cold-water and tropical aquariums: Do not use in any marine aquarium

Gill Mites

What are Gill Mites?

Gill mites are a common parasite that feed on the blood and skin particles of its hosts. They are less than 1mm in size, but they can wreak havoc on your fish. This type of parasite is very common and can spread throughout the tank very quickly. These mites tend to latch onto the gill area of the fish, causing the fish pain and distress. The good news is that these mites can be treated very effectively if caught in the early stages.

The most common way for gill mites to affect an entire aquarium is when a new fish, which has been infected with mites, is put into the tank. Many fish keeper quarantine all new fish for several days before introducing them into their normal tank. This will give you time to observe the fish for any types of diseases. If gill mites are detected, you should treat the new fish in the quarantine tank until all signs of the disease are gone.

Gill Mite Prevention

Whether living in their natural habitat or a home aquarium, freshwater fish are susceptible to many types of illnesses and parasites. The risk of illness or disease is increased when the fish is under any type of stress, such as poor water conditions or a sudden change in the temperature or chemical balance of the water. This stress will lower the fish’s overall immune system and put them at greater risk for disease.

Symptoms of Gill Mites

As the gill mites attack the fish, you will notice that the gill area of the fish is red and/or infected. The gills will be partially opened due to the effects of the mites. As the disease progresses the fish may experience some respiratory problems and can be seen gasping for breath at the top of the water. You may also notice that the fish is lethargic, because the parasite is depleting its energy. If left untreated, the disease could prove fatal.

Treating Gill Mites

The main treatment for gill mites is a combination of sterazin and octozin. This treatment should be repeated in about five days to kill any new hatchlings that were not eliminated with the first treatment. You can also use antibiotic to treat any infection caused by the lesions the parasite leaves behind.

If you were able to quarantine the fish before adding it to the tank, you will only need to treat the new fish. However, you cannot add the fish to the regular tank until all symptoms are gone. If your aquarium has been exposed to gill mites, you will need to treat the entire tank. These parasites can spread very quickly, so immediate attention is required.

The best way to prevent gill mites is to eliminate the risk of exposing them to your aquarium. While it may take a little longer to add your new fish to your tank, the extra time you took will be worth it. In fact, you may not only save the life of your new fish, but you will also prevent unwanted diseases from attacking the fish already in your aquarium.

Recommended Treatment

Aquarium Treatment For General Parasites- Sterazin 250ml
  • 250ml (5 day course for 500 litres)
  • Suitable for seawater, tropical freshwater and coldwater aquaria.
  • STERAZIN will also aid the control of internal parasites such as Round Worm, Thread Worm, and Intestinal Worm.
  • It may also be used to aid the sterilisation of aquatic plants and is highly biodegradable.

Fish Dropsy

What Causes Dropsy?

Dropsy is a medical condition that causes the belly of a fish to swell. This is not a disease in itself, but rather a condition of another type of illness. The swollen underside is caused by a build-up of fluids in the tissue and body cavity of the fish. Typically, dropsy will not appear until the fish has been infected for quite some time, so immediate treatment is required.

Fish are most prone to illnesses that cause dropsy when they have a lowered immune system. This can be caused by poor water quality in the tank, overcrowding, or a sudden change in the temperature or chemical balance of the water inside the tank.

Is Dropsy Dangerous?

The swelling of the belly of the fish is not only extremely painful and uncomfortable for the fish, but is can also be fatal if not taken care of properly. As the fluid builds-up, it can start to damage the internal organs of the fish and they will slowly start to shut down. Since, it is nearly impossible to determine exactly what disease may have caused dropsy, there is a risk that it could affect the other fish in your tank. This may require you to quarantine the infected fish for several months.

Symptoms of Dropsy

Dropsy is easily detected by the swelling of the belly of the fish. This may also cause its eyes to bulge, its scales to stand out, and it may have a red and/or swollen anus. You may also notice the gills of the fish are paler than normal. As time progresses, your fish will become very lethargic and spend a lot of time on either the bottom or the top of the tank, but less time swimming. You may also notice that your fish stops eating or eats very little.

Treating Dropsy

If one or more of your fish are showing signs of dropsy, it is vital that you quarantine these fish in a separate tank. This will help to prevent the spread of the disease causing dropsy. You should start by giving the affected fish a salt bath, by adding one teaspoon of salt for every gallon of water. You can also give your fish antibiotics or antibiotic fish food for about seven to ten days to help treat the infection. Maracyn Two is also a good treatment because your fish will absorb it through their skin. You should not return your fish to their regular container until all signs of dropsy are gone.

Dropsy is often a condition that occurs in the late stages of certain diseases and bacterial infections. This makes immediate attention necessary if there is any hope to save the fish. There are several preventative measures you can take to prevent the onset of dropsy, including keeping the tank clean, regularly checking all chemical and water levels, and not overcrowding your tank with too many fish. You also want to constantly observe the heath of your fish and treat any potential illness, injury, or disease, as soon as detected.

Recommended Treatment

Waterlife Octozin 200 Tablets Dropsy & Hole In The Head
  • Waterlife Octozin 200 Tablets Dropsy & Hole In The Head

Cotton Wool Disease

Fish Fungus

What Causes Cotton Wool Disease?

Since cotton wool is not the primary condition facing the fish, multiple treatments will be necessary. It is best to quarantine the effected fish in a separate tank until all signs of the infection are gone.

Start by giving the ill fish salt baths for no more than 20 minutes. Use one tablespoon of aquarium salt for every gallon of water.

You should also use an antifungal treatment to get rid of the cotton wool as quickly as possible. This treatment should be continued for seven to ten days for the best results.

Symptoms of Cotton Wool Disease

Cotton wool disease is one of the most common fungal infections found in freshwater fish tanks. This disease is quite easy to detect because it creates a cotton-like growth over the fish’s mouth, fins, and body.

Although it looks like cotton, the growth can be white, gray, or brown. If this covering is detected, appropriate treatment should begin immediately.

Cotton wool is typically a disease that only affects fish that are already ill or injured. This is because healthy fish have a protective mucus layer on their body that protects them from this type of infection. However, if a fish has been injured and some of its mucus has been damaged, or if the fish already has some type of infection, it could be susceptible to cotton wool.

Fish that are under stress are also at risk for cotton wool. The stress could be caused by a sudden change in water temperature, a dangerous change in any chemical level in the tank like the ammonia level, poor tank conditions, an overcrowded tank, or other aggressive fish in the tank. Any of these conditions can reduce your fish’s immune system and make them more at risk for various diseases and infections, including cotton wool disease.

Treating Cotton Wool Disease

You can also take steps to prevent the onset of cotton wool disease in your aquarium. Uneaten food and decaying plants will increase the risk for cotton wool.

It is vital that you keep these things to a minimum in your tank. Simple steps, such as

  1. Maintaining Ideal Tank Conditions
  2. Appropriate Water Temperatures
  3. Healthy Chemical Levels
  4. Cleaning The Tank Regularly

These methods can greatly reduce the risk of cotton wool. If you do not already have a filtration system in place, you may want to consider installing one in your tank. This can help to keep the water clean and purified for your fish.

Since this disease is easy to detect, even at the early stages, it is oftentimes very treatable. However, it is important that you start treatment the first day you notice signs of distress, prolonged effects of this disease could cause death.

You also want to keep a close eye on the other fish, making sure this disease has not spread. This will allow you to stay on top of the disease, so it does not cause major problems throughout your tank.

Recommended Treatment

How To Cure Body & Gill Flukes

What Are Body Flukes?

Body flukes are extremely dangerous parasites that generally attack tropical freshwater fish, but there are also some saltwater varieties. These worm-like parasites average about 1mm in size and survive by eating skin particles off the fish and by sucking their blood. The body flukes attaches to the fish by using its 2 large and 16 smaller hooks.

While body flukes can attack at any time, they typically cause more damage in aquarium that have poor water quality or if any of the chemicals levels, such as the pH, nitrate, or phosphate levels become off balanced. These parasites are extremely dangerous to your fish and can spread rapidly throughout the aquarium if not treated immediately.

Are Body Flukes Dangerous?

As the body fluke attaches to the fish with its hooks and eats away at its skin, small lesions are left on the body of the fish. This can lead to infection and put your fish at greater risk for numerous diseases. As the parasite sucks more blood, your fish will become very lethargic and it will eventually have trouble getting enough oxygen to breath properly. If not treated, the effects of body flukes can cause your fish to die from lack of oxygen, disease, or a bacterial infection.

Symptoms of Body Flukes

There are numerous signs to look for to determine if body flukes have attacked your fish. First, the typically vibrant color of your fish will start to fade and it may clap its fins to the side. You may also notice a layer of mucus on the skin, a reddening of the skin, or small bit missing from its gills. As time progresses, your fish will seem very lethargic.

It will isolate itself from the other fish, spend most of its time either remaining stationary at the bottom of the aquarium or trying to gasp for oxygen on top of the water. You can also use a clean Q-tip and scrap a little skin of the side of the fish. Placing this on a glass slide under the microscope, you will easily be able to see the body flukes.

Treating Body Flukes

Since body flukes can spread very quickly, it is best to treat the entire aquarium; however, you can also choose to quarantine the effected fish in a separate aquarium. There are several treatments on the market that are specifically used to treat body flukes. Unfortunately, these treatments are only effective at killing adult flukes and not the eggs. This means that for best results, you should reapply the treatment within five to seven days.

The best way to prevent an infestation of body flukes is to keep your aquarium clean at all times and to regularly check the water’s chemical levels. Many fish keepers also apply body fluke treatment any time they enter new fish into the tank. This is a preventative measure than can easily prevent an outbreak of body flukes and keep your fish healthy. The most important thing is to constantly check your fish for any changes and to take action immediately.

Recommended Treatment

Interpet Goldfish Disease Aquarium Fish Treatment, 100 ml
  • Rapid treatment of disease-causing bacteria, fungus and parasites
  • All in one dose
  • Will not discolour your aquarium, will not affect the biological filter in your aquarium
  • For use in coldwater or tropical freshwater aquariums
  • Do not use in marine aquariums or with scaleless fish or invertebrates


What Are Gill Flukes?

Gill flukes and body flukes are very similar, but with one very noticeable difference, body flukes attack the entire body of the fish, whereas gill flukes focus solely on the gills of the fish. These dangerous parasites are very tiny, measuring only about 1 mm in length, and are not visible by the human eye. However, over time, you will be able to detect that gill flukes have attacked your fish, by noticing damage done to your fish’s gills.

As a parasite, the gill fluke will need a host in order to survive. It will attach itself to the gill area of your fish with its tiny hooks, which can be painful for the fish. Many experts compare this discomfort to how dogs feel when infected by fleas. The parasite will feed off the fish, by consuming its blood and skin particles from its gills.

Symptoms of Gill Flukes

In addition to missing pieces of its gills, fish affected by gill flukes will display other noticeable symptoms, including discoloration in the gills, lethargy, reddening or swelling of the gills, rapid breathing, gasping for air, and loss of appetite. Once these symptoms appear in your fish, it is important to start treatment immediately.

Treating Gill Flukes

While you can quarantine the affected fish in a separate holding tank, it is also important that you treat the entire tank. Both the regular tank and the quarantine tank should be treated using any type of product that is specifically geared toward killing gill and or body flukes.

It is important to understand that these treatments will only kill the adult flukes in your tank. The eggs of gill flukes are very resistant and will not be killed off with this type of treatment. In order to remove the flukes from your tank permanently, you will need to repeat this treatment in about five days.

Recommended Treatment

Interpet Goldfish Disease Aquarium Fish Treatment, 100 ml
  • Rapid treatment of disease-causing bacteria, fungus and parasites
  • All in one dose
  • Will not discolour your aquarium, will not affect the biological filter in your aquarium
  • For use in coldwater or tropical freshwater aquariums
  • Do not use in marine aquariums or with scaleless fish or invertebrates

Preventing Gill Flukes

While gill flukes can occur under any circumstance, you can greatly reduce the risk of these parasites with a few precautionary measures. The most important thing is to keep the water in your tank clean at all times. A pump and filtering system can greatly help with this process. You should also check the water temperature and chemical levels in your tank on a regular basis and make adjustments as necessary. However, be sure to make these adjustments slowly, so you do not cause the fish stress.

Many people also treat their tank for gill flukes any time they add new fish to the aquarium. This will not just remove any flukes the new fish you just purchased, but it will also prevent the other fish in your tank from getting flukes.

Immediate treatment is key to eliminating gill flukes from your tank. These parasites spread very rapidly, so the longer you wait to begin treatment; the more difficult they will be to eliminate. However, the best course of action is to take all the precautionary measures you can in order to reduce the risk of gill flukes in the first place.

Anchor Worms

What Are Anchor Worms?

Lernaea, commonly referred to anchor worms, are tiny parasites that attach to freshwater fish. The common goldfish and koi fish are at the greatest risk for attracting this type of parasite. Soon after mating, the male anchor worm will die, but the female will search for a host, such as your fish. The parasite will burrow deep enough into the body of the fish to reach the muscles. In many cases, the anchor worm will leave half of its body outside of the fish. The parasite will live off its host blood for several months, at which point it will leave the host, release its eggs, and eventually die.

Are Anchor Worms Dangerous?

There are several dangers anchor worms present to your freshwater fish. First, as the parasite feeds off the fish’s blood, it will drain energy from the fish and leave it in a weakened state. If the anchor worms have burrowed far enough to reach the muscle, it will cause the fish great pain and discomfort. However, the most dangerous effects are when the anchor worms remove itself from the host and leaves behind a gaping wound. This puts the fish at great danger for infection and other diseases, which could be fatal.

Symptoms of Anchor Worms

Many times, it is easy to tell an anchor worm has attacked your fish because they leave a portion of their body on the outside of the fish. This portion is visible to the human eye, and it will look like a thin threads hanging off your fish. These threads are usually green and white in color. Another common symptom you may notice is that your fish will be constantly rubbing against the rocks and decorations you have in your aquarium. They do this to try to remove the anchor worm from their body. This can cause injury to your fish, as well, if it rubs too hard against the rocks.

Treating Anchor Worms

Not only will anchor worms put your fish at greater risk for injury and illness, but your fish will also be in pain and discomfort. This means that immediate action is required. Potassium permanganate is the most common treatment used to fight anchor worms.
You can use this chemical to treat the entire tank or by giving your fish a 20 to 30 minute “dip” bath. When doing a tank treatment, add 2 mg of potassium permanganate for every liter of water in your tank. If you opt for the dip treatment, use 10 mg of potassium permanganate for every liter of water, and be sure not to let your fish in this water mixture for more than 30 minutes.

Another option is to pull the parasite out using a pair of tweezers. However, if you are not careful or the parasite has burrowed too deeply into the fish, you could cause even more damage. Immediate treatment for your fish or the fish tank will safely rid your aquarium of dangerous anchor worms. Since eggs can mature in as little as 14 days, it is recommended to keep checking your tank and repeat the treatment if any additional anchor worms are detected. This will keep your fish healthy and happy.

Recommended Treatment

Waterlife Parazin P Fish Lice & Anchor Worms 80 Tablets 200g
  • Delivery available to UK and International addresses.

Final Thoughts

Treating goldfish diseases is not as difficult as it may seem, thankfully there are a lot of products available to help maintain the health of your fish. Tackling the root of the problem and finding out what caused the disease to occur in the first place will help keep your fish healthy.


Last update on 2024-04-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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