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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Fish Diagnostics

Fish Diagnostics

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Fish Diagnostic

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Virus
 
 

Diagnosis
Lymphocystis
Symptoms/Appearance
white, nodular growths extending from fins or skin
Recommended Treatment
Carefully remove affected area with a razor blade and treat tissue with mercurochrome. Add medication containing formalin to water.
Suggested Remedies*
Rid-Ich, Cure-Ick, Quick Cure, Anti-Bacteria, Formalin

 

Diagnosis
Carp Pox (Herpes virus)
Symptoms/Appearance
raised, smooth bumps on skin or fins of koi
Recommended Treatment
Carefully remove affected area with a razor blade and treat tissue with mercurochrome. Add medication containing formalin to water.
Suggested Remedies*
Rid-Ich, Cure-Ick, Quick Cure, Anti-Bacteria, Formalin

*Refer to product label for specific ingredients. Follow label instructions carefully. Product selection varies per store. Carefully remove affected area with a razor blade and treat tissue with mercurochrome. Add medication containing formalin to water.
 
Fungus

Diagnosis
Saprolegnia (Water mold)
Symptoms/Appearance
long, whitish, cotton-like growths on skin or fins; can also appear on fish eggs, uneaten food in tank or dead fish
Recommended Treatment
Treat water with a medication containing methylene blue or malachite green.
Suggested Remedies*
Rid-Ich, Cure-Ick, Anti-Fungus, Ick Clear, Fungus Clear, Fungus Cure, Maracide, Maroxy

*Refer to product label for specific ingredients. Follow label instructions carefully. Product selection varies per store. Carefully remove affected area with a razor blade and treat tissue with mercurochrome. Add medication containing formalin to water.
 
Bacteria
(Please note: bacterial infections often occur when fish have other problems such as parasites.)

Diagnosis
Aeromonas, Pseudomonas
Symptoms/Appearance
fin and tail rot, skin ulcers, swollen abdomen (dropsy), bulging
eyes (pop-eye), red fins and skin
Recommended Treatment
Isolate fish. Add medication containing antibiotics to the water.
Suggested Remedies*
Melafix, Anti-Bacteria, Fungus Clear, E.M. Tablets, Triple Sulfa, Maracyn, Maracyn-Two, Anti-Bacteria Medicated Fish Food

Diagnosis
Flexibacter columnaris
Symptoms/Appearance
fuzzy skin or lip lesions
Recommended Treatment
Isolate fish. Add medication containing antibiotics to the water.
Suggested Remedies*
Melafix, Anti-Bacteria, Fungus Clear, E.M. Tablets, Triple Sulfa, Maracyn, Maracyn-Two, Anti-Bacteria Medicated Fish Food

*Refer to product label for specific ingredients. Follow label instructions carefully. Product selection varies per store. Carefully remove affected area with a razor blade and treat tissue with mercurochrome. Add medication containing formalin to water.
 
Protozoa

Diagnosis
Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (Ich)
Symptoms/Appearance
white spots on body and fins, scraping body on rocks (flashing)
Recommended Treatment
Isolate fish. Treat with a medication containing formalin and malachite green. Repeat as indicated on product.
Suggested Remedies*
Rid-Ich, Cure-Ick, Quick Cure, Formalin, Ick clear, Parasite Clear, Copper Safe, Maracide

Diagnosis
Costia, Chilodonella, Trichodina, Epistylus
Symptoms/Appearance
increased gill movements, fins clamped to sides, lying on bottom, increased slime coat (white or grayish cast on skin)
Recommended Treatment
Isolate fish. Treat with a medication containing formalin and malachite green. Repeat as indicated on product.
Suggested Remedies*
Rid-Ich, Cure-Ick, Quick Cure, Formalin, Ick clear, Parasite Clear, Copper Safe, Maracide

Diagnosis
Oodinium
Symptoms/Appearance
golden speckled cast on skin (velvet disease)
Recommended Treatment
Isolate fish. Treat with a medication containing formalin and malachite green. Repeat as indicated on product.
Suggested Remedies*
Rid-Ich, Cure-Ick, Quick Cure, Formalin, Ick clear, Parasite Clear, Copper Safe, Maracide

Diagnosis
Hexamita
Symptoms/Appearance
lesions in cichlids along head and lateral line (hole-in-head)
Recommended Treatment
Treat with a medication containing metronidozole. Improve water quality and nutrition for fish.
Suggested Remedies*
Anti-Parasite Medicated Fish Food, General Cure

*Refer to product label for specific ingredients. Follow label instructions carefully. Product selection varies per store. Carefully remove affected area with a razor blade and treat tissue with mercurochrome. Add medication containing formalin to water.
 
Worms

Diagnosis
Camallanus
Symptoms/Appearance
red worms protrude from vent
Recommended Treatment
Treat with a medication containing a dewormer.
Suggested Remedies*
Anti-Parasite Medicated Fish Food, Parasite Guard, Parasite Clear, Dylox, General Cure

 

Diagnosis
Tapeworms
Symptoms/Appearance
poor growth, weight loss
Recommended Treatment
Treat with a medication containing a dewormer.
Suggested Remedies*
Anti-Parasite Medicated Fish Food, Parasite Guard, Parasite Clear, Dylox, General Cure

 

Diagnosis
Skin & gill flukes
Symptoms/Appearance
inflamed gills, excess mucus on skin, scraping body on rocks
Recommended Treatment
Treat with a medication containing a dewormer.
Suggested Remedies*
Anti-Parasite Medicated Fish Food, Parasite Guard, Parasite Clear, Dylox, General Cure

*Refer to product label for specific ingredients. Follow label instructions carefully. Product selection varies per store. Carefully remove affected area with a razor blade and treat tissue with mercurochrome. Add medication containing formalin to water.
 
Crustacea

Diagnosis
Fish lice (Argulus)
Symptoms/Appearance
small discs that move across the skin or through the water
Recommended Treatment
Isolate fish. Remove visible parasites with tweezers. If impossible to remove manually, medicate with a parasite treatment. Repeat as needed.
Suggested Remedies*
Anti-Parasite Medicated Fish Food, Parasite Guard, Parasite Clear, Dylox, General Cure, Dimilin

 

Diagnosis
Anchor worms (Lernaea)
Symptoms/Appearance
gray to white worm-like parasites attached to the skin
Recommended Treatment
Isolate fish. Remove visible parasites with tweezers. If impossible to remove manually, medicate with a parasite treatment. Repeat as needed.
Suggested Remedies*
Anti-Parasite Medicated Fish Food, Parasite Guard, Parasite Clear, Dylox, General Cure, Dimilin

*Refer to product label for specific ingredients. Follow label instructions carefully. Product selection varies per store. Carefully remove affected area with a razor blade and treat tissue with mercurochrome. Add medication containing formalin to water.
 
Water quality
(Please note: poor water quality often causes more severe cases of disease.)

Diagnosis
Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH, Hardness, Alkalinity, Chlorine, Temperature
Symptoms/Appearance
rapid gill movements, inflamed gills, excess mucus on skin, fins clamped to sides, lying on bottom, rapid deaths of multiple fish
Recommended Treatment
Test water and try a 25% water change. If no improvement occurs, try an ammonia remover, aquarium salt or one of the other product remedies.
Suggested Remedies*
Ammonia/Chlorine Removers: AmQuel Plus, ACE, Ammonia Clear, AmmoLock, Ammonia Detoxifier Water Conditioners: NovAqua, AquaPlus, AquaSafe, Stress Coat, Start Right, Water Safe Plus

*Refer to product label for specific ingredients. Follow label instructions carefully. Product selection varies per store. Carefully remove affected area with a razor blade and treat tissue with mercurochrome. Add medication containing formalin to water.
Health
Signs your fish are healthy:
  • Eating vigorously
  • Swimming at the appropriate level of the tank (species-specific)
  • Clear eyes, smooth, clean skin and fins free from any lesions or inconsistent colorations
  • Calm, steady gill movements
Things to watch for:
  • Lying on bottom of tank (except for bottom swimmers)
  • Poor growth or weight loss
  • Inflamed gills, skin or fins
  • Fins clamped to sides
  • Scraping body on rocks
If you notice any of the signs described above, check your aquarium water quality and consult a PetSmart Aquatics Specialist.
 
Things to remember
  • Always carefully read and follow directions on medication labels
  • Know the correct water volume of your aquarium to ensure proper dosing of medication
  • Always wash your hands before and after handling fish or cleaning your aquarium
Infants, young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and the infirm or elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat. Consult your doctor for more information.

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