Introduction to Saltwater Fish Diseases
Saltwater fish tanks are beautiful to look at, but require careful attention to details to keep fish happy and healthy. Part of the responsibilities of keeping tropical fish and saltwater fish is identifying when fish become ill. The faster you notice and treat a disease the more likely you are to save the fish and prevent infection throughout the tank. Do not overlook other tank conditions that could be making fish ill and are not saltwater fish diseases. Too hot of lights, improperly adjusted heaters, decorative additions polluting the water or unchanged water can make fish act oddly or make them sick. Learn about diagnosing saltwater fish diseases and common treatments.
Diagnosing Saltwater Fish Diseases
To properly deal with saltwater fish diseases it is best to sit down and watch all the fish in the tank for any unusual signs in case there is a general problem with tank conditions. Study the fish that seems to be acting unusual or has growths on its body or fins. Watch for a lack of appetite, floating on the surface or hanging near the bottom of the tank. If you think you have a sick fish, try to determine which saltwater fish diseases could be affecting the fish. Parasitic infestations, fungal diseases, bacterial infections and viral infections are the most common saltwater fish diseases.
Symptoms and Treatments
White spot and marine velvet are the two most common parasitic infestations. Symptoms of white spot include breathing hard, a thick slime coating over the body or large white spots anywhere on the body. Velvet is one of the saltwater fish diseases recognized by a body film that may look like a coating of dust, a white appearance or have a gold cast. These sick fish usually have breathing problems, become paler in color and frequently scrape the bottom of the tank or rocks. Recommended treatment is anti-parasitic medication.
Fish with warts around the fin edges, on the mouth and some portions of the body may have a viral infection. This is another of the many saltwater fish diseases called lymphocystis. Quarantine the fish in another tank and symptoms should disappear within about two months.
Indications of fungal infections show up as white to gray fuzzy areas on sick fish around the mouth or areas on the body. These saltwater fish diseases are common when there has previously been a parasitic infection, immune system problem or an injury. Treat with a fungicidal medicine, malachite green or methylene blue.
Bacterial infections often show up externally on fish as open wounds, rotting fins and tails, body ulcers or a brownish discoloration. A saltwater fish with internal bacterial infections may show a large drop in weight, have red swollen marks and possibly bulging eyes. Internal bacterial infections are saltwater fish diseases which can be the result of an overcrowed fish tank or wasting disease. Both types of infections should be treated with antibiotics and can be fatal.
Tips and comments
When you suspect new saltwater fish diseases, it is a good idea to ask the advice of fish shop owners. They may offer good suggestions for effective medications and treatments. In some instances, it is better to treat the tank rather than placing the sick fish in quarantine.