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 This stress could be caused by a variety of factors, such as poor water quality, an overcrowded fish tank, eating outdated fish food, moving to a new tank, or in a tank with aggressive fish.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.
Detecting 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.
Immediate Treatment Required
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.