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What Do I Do When My Fish Has Fin Rot?

Updated on March 9, 2014

The fin rot disease can attack the population of a tropical aquarium. It is a bacterial type disease that takes advantage of the weakness of the fish.

This weakness can be due to stress or some other disease in progress that affects to the aquarium. Like any other disease, early detection facilitates early recupercion of the fish.

To know the normal habits of the population of the aquarium is the first tool to address the diseases that we have at hand.

If the fish is sick, the first symptom will be a change in behavior. Some diseases, such as the white spot or velvet, show clear changes in the activity of the fish, scratches against the decorative objects or has difficulties to swim.

The fin rot disease can be a symptom of any of the others mentioned.

In this case a pre-existing disease weakens the fish. The bacteria take advantage of the weakness to attack.

Fin Rot Disease
Fin Rot Disease

The other possible scenario is a stressed fish. This can be due to that the environment in which the fish is living, is not the appropriate one (bad quality of water, low tmperatura of the water, excess of organic matter for bad change of the water).

An overpopulated aquarium or the coexistence of incompatible species also causes stress to the fish. In this case the first symptom of the fin rot disease is the appearance of a whitish border on the fins, beginning in the caudal fin.

As the disease progresses the fin is dissolved, until being reduced to a stump. Not only soft tissues are affected, but also the cartilaginous rays of the fin. If the infection reaches the caudal peduncle, it will affect the bloodstream and can lead to death.

The treatment should begin as soon as possible.

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Being a disease caused by bacteria, it should be treated with antibiotics. The antibiotics also affect the beneficial bacteria of the aquarium, therefore treatment should be performed, if possible in an infirmary tank.

Prevention is the best ally against disease. The first measure of prevention is the hygiene of all that is introduced inside the aquarium (decorative objects, stones, plants).

Always respect a period of quarantine in an isolation tank before introducing new fish to the community tank.

Change the water once a week, taking care to do with water at the same temperature as the aquarium water, low temperatures lower the defenses of the fish.


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