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How Does A Fish Get Fin Rot Disease?

Updated on March 9, 2014

The fin rot disease is caused by a family of bacteria, although the true cause should be looked for in the conditions of the environment of the fish. The appearance of this disease is a sign that the fish are not well.

The disease itself is an opportunistic affection, that appears when the fish are suffering from some kind of stress. When the fish are stressed, the defenses weaken being exposed to be affected by the fin rot disease.

The fin rot disease is caused by different types of bacteria, although the most common are Aeromonas and Pseudomonas. The disease takes place if certain environmental factors and an important quantity of microbial agents coincide.

This will lead to the microorganisms present in the environment to become pathogens.

Some environmental factors can weaken the fish, being the most common:

  • Cooling of the fish by changing the water in the aquarium with cold water
  • Permanency of the fish in too old water

Fin Rot Disease Causes
Fin Rot Disease Causes

It is common that the disease appears as secondary infection taking advantage of the weakness of the fish caused by a preexisting disease (such as white spot disease, for example).

At the beginning of infection the bacteria responsible for the initial colonization are Pseudomonas fluorescens and Aeromonas liquefasciens.

It is at this stage when an opaque veil appears on the edge of the affected fin. Subsequently other bacteria like Myxobacteria also attack and quickly prevail.

The Myxobacteria possesses enzymes able to degrade the proteins. The affected area increases in size and becomes opaque and whitish as a result of the immune response of the affected fish.

Additionally, the dead tissue will serve as host for fungi of the genera Saprolegnia and Achyla.

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The process progresses not only destroying the soft tissues, but also the cartilaginous rays of the fin, and the fin is slowly dissolved.

Although the disease is caused by bacterial attack, it is also true that the ideal conditions should be given so that the disease begins and progress.

Keep the fish under good conditions, well fed, in a suitable environment and having in the aquarium compatible species, helps to avoid stress.

Remember that the fish with stress drops its defenses and this will be taken advantage of by any pathogen that is waiting to pounce.


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