- Pets and Animals
What Does A Sick Fish Look Like?
Oftentimes we are told to watch out for our fishes health, but many times we don't know until they start 'swimming' belly up that there was anything wrong with them at all. This is particularly common amongst children's pet fish as they may not be as well cared for as more expensive aquarium fish.
Here are a few signs that your fish is sick.
Sick Fish Symptoms
- Listless, does not have much energy.
- Difficulty swimming, tending to swim on one side or the other.
- Swimming nose down or tail down.
- Fins clamped together.
- Scales puffed out like a pine cone.
- Breathing hard when doing little to no swimming
- Swimming near the surface and gulping for air.
- White spots.
- Red spots.
- Sores or lesions on the skin.
- Frayed fins
- White fins
- Inflamed fins.
If your fish displays any of these symptoms, they need your help now. Click here to read about specific diseases and cures, but first, perform some basic first aid.
FIRST AID FOR FISH
Test The Water
The very first thing you need to do when you notice a sick fish is to test the water. Test for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. If any of these are too high, do a 50% water change. Poor water quality is the leading cause of fish deaths. If you don't own a testing kit, buy one. There is absolutely no other way of telling if the water quality in your tank is poisonous or not. You can have crystal clear water and dangerously high ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels.
Most fish diseases can be prevented or at least minimized by having very clean water and healthy conditions. You may inadvertently be overfeeding your fish, which could lead to water quality problems and an environment in which bacteria can flourish. If you experience many problems with sick fish, try doing water changes more often and make sure your tank is cycled.
If your fish are gulping at the surface of the tank, there is not enough oxygen in the water. Low oxygen can be a cause of stress to
your fish and many fish medications will remove oxygen from the
water, making it all the more important for you to increase the
levels of available oxygen. Adding an air stone attached to a pump is
an excellent start.
If your fish is in a tank full of other fish, quarantine it before it has a chance to spread the disease to the others. All new fish should spend a minimum of a week in a quarantine tank before they are released into the main tank.
Remove Carbon Filters
Carbon can soak up medication, rendering it useless. If you use carbon filters, take them out whilst you are medicating your tank.
Need more help? Read more about fish diseases and how to treat them....