Diseases Diseases

What Are Some Aquarium Diseases?


Aquariums are popular throughout the world for a number of reasons. Whether it's a small aquarium that houses pet fish or a large aquarium that is home to marine mammals, these enclosed spaces provide us with entertainment, ambiance, food, knowledge and much more. Unfortunately, they can often become a breeding ground for aquarium diseases. Most of the time, this happens when the fish or other plants and animals living inside the aquarium become ill or when a sick animal is introduced to the environment. Let's take a look at some common types of aquarium diseases and what aquarium caretakers can do to prevent them.

Common Aquarium Diseases

Cryptocaryon, or "marine ich" as it is more commonly known, is one of the most common aquarium diseases. The close quarters of the aquarium make it easy for this parasite to become a problem. It buries itself within the fish's skin and if not treated can become deadly. A fish that has been subjected to marine ich may have white cysts on its skin, gills, fins or eyes, and it may try to scratch itself against rocks or other aquarium decorations. The fish will also begin to have trouble breathing. Cryptocaryon can be treated through various methods.


Marine Velvet is another common disease, though you may know it by a different name, such as amyloodiniosis, marine oodinium disease, oodiniosis or gold dust disease. It can be very deadly. It is also caused by a parasite. The fish's gills will become inflamed or start bleeding and the tissue starts to die. Eventually, if not treated, your fish will suffocate to death. Most of the time, small gold spots will appear on the fish's skin, but by the time these are visible to the naked eye, it's probably too late to save your fish. Using copper is almost always the only way to treat this disease.


Ammonia poisoning is one of the most deadly aquarium diseases, and unfortunately, it's also very common. It can be caused by a number of issues, including a poorly working filter, introduction of a new aquarium or the addition of too many fish to an aquarium at one time. Eventually, the fish will be exposed to too much ammonia. They will most likely become lethargic, lose their appetite and have difficulty breathing.


Avoding Aquarium Diseases

Treating aquarium diseases can be expensive and time consuming and sometimes the treatment will not work. The best way to avoid these diseases all together is to prevent them from happening. Some ways to do this include keeping a clean enviornment, adding only a few new fish at a time, changing the water often and testing the water for any problems that might arise. Aquarium owners will also want to be sure they have a good filtration system and that is always working properly. Lighting can also play a role in keeping your aquarium healthy. Finally, make sure your fish have proper nutrition. Over or underfeeding can make them more susceptible to becoming ill. When your fish's health is bad, you increase the chances of attracting diseases. 

Tips and comments

If you suspect your aquarium may be hosting a disease or parasite, have it tested and keep an eye out for any strange behavior amongst your fish. If you do find out your aquarium is diseased, take the proper steps to treat it immediately so that you might prevent further damage.

By Sarah Anderson, published at 03/12/2012
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