I am sorry to report that Fishnthings.co.uk is now closed. I am leaving these pages here incase this information can help you with your fishes. I suggest if you want to chat to someone or browse more advice you try the forum at KokosGoldfish.com, it specialises in Goldies, but you can get help there for any kind of fish. Try and get as much info as possible together before you post for help and I am sure someone will assist you.

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Disease Information
Visual Aids

Disease Name: LYMPHOCYSTIS (Common Name: Cauliflower Disease)

Disease Type : Viral ( A virus or specifically an iridovirus)

Symptoms: Bumps or growths often along the lateral line, or where the fin meets the body. The tumours often take on the appearance of a cauliflower florret, hence the common name. Also, lethargy, a loss of balance and swimming control if along the lateral line.

Details: This is a virus and as such will affect the cells of the fish. It usually manifests itself as abnormally large white lumps (cauliflower) on the fins or other parts of the body.It causes cells to become megaloblastic, thus forming small tumors It can be infectious, but is usually not fatal. Unfortunately, there is no cure. Fortunately, this is a rare disease

Treatment: There are two suggested treatments. One treatment is to remove and destroy the infected fish as soon as possible. The other treatment is to simply separate the infected fish for several months and hope for remission, which usually does occur. The reduction of Ammonia and Nitrites in the water ( with frequent water changes in the "hospital tank" may reduce stress to help the fish battle the infection and shrink tumours.) I.e. Leave the fish to recuperate in optimal conditions.

Fact: The virus does not effect cyprinids and catfish.

There is a new treatment called Acriflavin which may be promising, but only with mixed results so far.


Disease Name: VIRAL SEPTICEMIA (Common Name: Goldfish Disease)

Disease Type : Viral

Symptoms: Viral Septicemia has been divided into three forms of the disease - acute , chronic, and nervous. Each one can overlap and characteristics of each can be seen in just the one outbreak.

Acute form - body darkens, anaemia, protuding eyes Haemorrhaging in the eyes and/or gills and sometimes at base of the pectoral fin and on the body surface, pale gills, spiralling body movement, fluid accumilation in the abdomen ( ascites).

Chronic form - Lethargy, Fish blackens, Gills lose colour. Eyes protrude ( exophthalmus). Anaemia, and Haemorrhages less common than in Acute form

Nervous form - The body become twisted and the fish swims in circles, or on their sides. ( few other symptoms show.)

Details: The course of the acute disease is brief and mortality is high, whilst in the chronic form mortality rates are usually low. Young fish are most suseptible, and a fluctuating water temperature appears crucial ( between 4-14C). Thus the disease is most dangerous in the spring outdoors as the temperatures rises and falls, and all year round in the tank if similar conditions occur. Mortality rates vary between 20 and 80%.

Treatment: The disease is highly contagious, and survives well in tanks not properly disinfected. ( A suggestion is to use formalin in disinfecting and allow everything to dry out.) Quarantine any infected fish. Currently there is no know cure for this disease.

Fact:Transmission of this virus is believed to be by direct contact with carriers and contaminated water and feed. 



Disease Type : Bacterial

Symptoms: Red pest is so called because of the bloody streaks that can appear on the body, fins and/or tail. This then leads to the streaks ulcerating and could lead to fin and tail rot and in bad cases the fins or tail can fall off.

Details: Red streaks are more commonly caused by ammonia spikes in the water.


This is an internal disease so external medications wont help. If the symptoms are slight, treat the aquarium with acriflavine or monacrin using a .2% solution at the rate of 1 ml per litre. Both disinfectants will colour the water, but the colour eventually dissipates. If the fish seem to become distressed, discontinue medication. Antibiotics can be added to the food but the disinfectants and antibiotics are only available from the vet.



Disease Name:CHONDROCOCCUS COLUMNARIS ( Common Name: Mouth Fungus) also see Columnaris .

Disease Type : Bacterial

Symptoms: grey or white line around the lips and later as short tufts sprouting from the mouth.

Details: This is usually fatal if not caught in the early stages.

Treatment: There are plenty of dedicated medications to treat this, which destroy the bacteria so halting the destruction, but this takes some time to heal. Potassium permanganate (PP) in the water is also recommended for experienced fish keepers as is an injection of antibiotic. Do not use PP if you have a high ph, marine tank or formalin. Always wear a mask whilst handling PP.

An outbreak of columnaris of any kind usually indicates that a parasitic infection is going on and an accumulation of organic debris ( including fecal matter) is occuring in the tank. Thus it is essential to improve water conditions as well as use medications on the fish. Also quarantining new fish can reduce outbreaks.



Disease Name: Mycobacterium Species ( Common Name: Tuberculosis or T.B. or "Wasting Disease")

Disease Type : Bacterial - Gram positive Bacteria. There are more than 70 species of mycobacteria

Symptoms: Fish become hollow bellied, pale, show skin ulcers and frayed fins, and a loss of appetite. Yellowish or dark nodules can appear on the body or eyes. Curvature of the spine can occur, along with a loss of scales and colour.

Details: This disease affects both saltwater and freshwater aquariums Though this isnt the true TB found in humans it is closely related and can still transfer across species through cuts and minor skin problems. If you suspect TB where gloves when cleaning the tank and avoid consumption of water. Siamese Fighters ( bettas) are more likely to be prone to the disease. This is an organism responsible for opportunistic infections. They are relatively common environmental bacteria, so they do not require hosts to live.

Treatment: Once the fish is emaciated, destroying the fish is the only option. With T.B. Prevention is better than cure. ( It is uneffected by temperature change and adding salt.) A healthy immune system is the best defence. stressed fish with a low immune system, open wounds etc are more likely to be infected. Tank equipment must be thoroughly steralized and dried out to prevent the disease taking hold again. Mycobacteriosis can be transmitted through vertical transmission so infected fish must not be bred from.

Fact: The term for a disease than can pass between humans and animals under natural conditions is zoonotic.

Fish particularly suseptible include - Black Mollies, all Gouramis, labyrinth air breathers, Neons & other Tetras, as well as most species of the Carp family.



Disease Name: Acidosis

Disease Type : Environmental

Symptoms: Fish may appear to be hyperactive. They may also appear to be struggling to breathe and be gasping. Their slime coat may appear cloudy and thick.

Details: A rapid drop in pH can lead to a fish dying due to pH shock. When the pH drops below 5.5 acidosis occurs, and even when the pH drops slowly fish gradually begin to exhibit symptoms, heavy slime coats only further limit oxygen exchange via the gills. Gills will appear dark red to almost brownish. Metals become toxic in very low pH water, also effecting the gills.

Pond fish tend to be more tolerant of pH changes. Algae and plants make CO2 during the night, which inturn dissolves in the water forming an acid.Overnight the pH can drop and when in the morning the plants begin to use the CO2, the pH rises again. Ov ernight the plants also use up dissolved oxygen, causing the fish to gasp for air. Always maximise aeration in the pond, and never turn water features off overnight. Rotting vegetation can also ferment and produce acids and toxins that can reduce the pH of the water.

Meanwhile in the tank pH can have a rapid effect on the biological water cycle, killing off nitrobacter causing the nitrites to rise forming nitric acid, which in turn kills the Nitrosomona and ammonia rises. If you do a water test and either reading is high its better to adjust the pH of the fresh water to the old water to prevent further damage from the toxins.

Treatment: Synopsis: slowly bring pH up with water changes, aerate well

Fish that survive acidosis will have poor immune systems and be suseptible to infection. Care must b e taken to maintain water quality especially after a biofilter has been damaged. Substantial aeration should be maintained, and treatment with meds kept to a minimum. Medicated food being the best way to treat any infections. Black marks may appear as the fish begins to heal.

Move the fish into a bucket of tank water and gradually bring up the pH to avoid pH shock. Add aeration. Temp match the new water and if the old water is highly toxic with nitrites or ammonia move the fish into pH and temp matched water from the outset.


In a pond, the fish must be removed and the bottom of the pond cleaned. A sewage pump works well for a heavy build up of rotting leaves. If the water is naturally soft, organic dolomitic lime or crushed limestone will add buffering capacity. Do not use slaked lime as this can cause a rapid pH change that can shock fish. Increasing aeration with foot long air stones and an air pump will turn the water over bringing oxygenated water to the bottom of the pond. This (combined with a good mechanical filter) will allow aerobic breakdown of organics and prevent the buildup of toxic products on the bottom.



Disease Name: Dropsy

Disease Type : Bacterial

Symptoms: Body is bloated, scales appear raised and like a pinecone. Swelling is mainly around the belly region and the fish may also have popeye.

Details: Dropsy is often a bacterial infection in the fishes kidneys. Fluid accumulates or the fish develops renal failure. The build up of fluids cause the fish to bloat and then the scales raise due to the pressure. The unnatural build up of fluid in the body is often due to disease or damage to the kidney or other organs involved in osmoregulation. Dropsy often occurs when a fish is already weakened by other factors, even poor water quality.

Treatment: This needs to be treated internally, antibiotic food is an ideal treatment, using antibiotic meds on fish showing early signs is a good idea.



Disease Name: Scale Protrusion

Disease Type : Bacterial

Symptoms: Scales are raised and Protrude.

Details: This too is a bacterial infection of the scales and/or body. A wide variety of bacterium can cause this as can poor water quality

Treatment: As for Dropsy above.



Disease Name: Tail Rot or Fin Rot ( See also columnaris)

Disease Type : Bacterial

Symptoms: Parts of the fin seem to decay, holes appear and splits form. The invasion spreads inwards towards the body and needs to be treated as soon as possible or it can lead to death.

Details: Finrot is caused by Aeromonas and Pseudomonas ( species of bacteria) found in all aquarium. The bacteria infect the fin or tail often when the fish ia already weakened, has poor water conditions or has been nipped or bullied by other fish. It can be a secondary symptom of diseases such as TB.

Treatment: After finding the initial cause ( check for bullying, water parameters, sharp objects in the tank) treat with an antibacterial remedy, such as Interpets Anti Fungus Bacteria no. 8.



Disease Name: Saprolegnia - Often refered to as Sap

Disease Type : Fungus

Symptoms: Usually attacks after another health problem. It begins as a grey/whitish growth on the skin or fins and if left untreated becomes cottony looking. it eats away at the fish until the fish will finally die. Livebearers are particularly susceptible to fungal problems.

Details: There are many kinds of water mould that affect fish - the most common is Sap. It is a filamentous fungi. It feeds by secreting digestive enzymes onto its food source and the enzymes break down the cells so the fungi can absorb the nutrients.

Treatment: Adding a small amount of salt to your aquarium will greatly reduce attacks from Sap. See the salt section for advice on dosing. Interpets Anti Fungus and Bacteria no. 8 treatments will stop the fungus from spreading and help destroy it. The Medicine remains active for several days to ensure full healing occurs.



Disease Name: Ichthyosporidium

Disease Type : Fungus

Symptoms: Fish may become sluggish, lose balance, show hollow bellies, external cysts and sores.

Details: Caused by an internal fungus ( of which the best known is Ichthyophonus hoferi.) it begins by attacking the kidneys and liver but eventually spreads through the whole body.

Treatment: is very difficult as essentially it is a disease of the internal organs. Stop all feeding and "spring clean" the tank, when respitory rates seem to return to normal other symptoms may have also gone.



Disease Name: Argulus or Fish Louse

Disease Type : Parasite or Crustacean

Symptoms: Restless, Clamped Fins, Inflamed patches where the mite has attached.

Details: Flat Mite like a crustacean about 5mm long the attaches itself to the body of the fish. They are an irritant.

Treatment: If you are dealing with a large fish with a few lice then they can be picked off with tweezers. Or a bath of potassium permanganate can be prepared ( 10mg per litre for 10-30 mins.) To treat the whole tank use 2mg per litre ( tho this can dye the tank.) Also you could use an insecticide such as metriphonate (0.25-0.4 mg / liter, continuous bath for 7-10 days, may need repeated). If fishes sensitive to this medication are present (e.g. piranhas), treat them separately with potassium permanganate.



Disease Name: Anchor Worm or Lernaea

Disease Type : crustacean parasite

Symptoms: They can clearly be seen clinging to the skin.

Details: This is a crustaceans in reality and not a worm. The young free swim and burrow into the skin of the fish and go deep into the muscle where it takes several months for them to show. They release their eggs and then die

Treatment: The are usally bedded in too deeply to be extracted. Treatment is best done with a 10 minute bath of Potassium Permanganate. Or, treat the whole tank at 2 mg per liter but this again is messy and dyes the water alternatively use an Organophosphorus insecticide.



Disease Name: Ergasilus ( Gill worms or maggots.)

Disease Type : Crustacean Parasite.

Symptoms: Usually they are visable on the gill covers, in the gills and in the mouth. Severe affliction can result in gill damage, anemia, emaciation and possibly death.

Details: Very much like the anchor worm, but smaller and it attacks the gills rather than the skin. It is usually a sign of poor tank maintenance and/or over-feeding.

Treatment: Treatment can best be done with a 10 to 30 minute bath in 10 mg per liter of potassium permanganate. Or treat the whole tank with 2 mg per liter, but this method is messy and dyes the water



Disease Name: Flukes

Disease Type : Parasites belonging to the classes Trematoda and Cestoda species

Symptoms: Scratching and flicking, (increased gill movement when fish is near the end), hanging at the bottom of the tank, clamped fins.

Details:These are flatworms around 1mm long, with several symptoms. They infest gills and the skin and can be seen moving with a magnifying glass. Gill flukes will eventually destroy the gill and will kill the fish.

Treatment: Partial water change and treat with Formalin or Sterazin by Waterlife. ( Do not use Sterazin with crustaceans, echinoderms, rays, seawater sharks, pirahna, sturgeon or sterlets and related species - in this case use Paragon.)

Fact: This is extremely contagious so care must be taken not to contaminate other tanks etc.


Disease Name: Nematoda or Thread Worms or Intestinal Worms.

Disease Type : Parasite

Symptoms: Small worms appear from the anus, the fish seems to have a pinched belly.

Details: Infect anywhere in the body but show only when they hang out of the anus. A heavy infestation can cause a hollow belly, lighter infestations often go unnoticed.

Treatment: A Vet can prescribe an anthelmintic treatment such as Praziquantel which can be used via short term baths or with food.



Disease Name: Leeches

Disease Type : Parasite

Symptoms: Rubbing, flashing, focal redness.

Details: External parasite it attaches itself anywhere on the fish. The usually hitch a free ride into you tank with plants, like snails do.

Treatment: Dont pull them off as they burrow deep into the flesh. A Salt bath often gets them to fall off ( 2.5% for 15 mins) or they can be extracted with tweezers after the dip.



Disease Name: Velvet or Rust.

Disease Type : Protozoan parasite - Piscinodinium Pillulare

Symptoms: A brownish or yellowish dust over the fins and body. Glancing off objects in the tank, body rubbing, shortness of breath ( faster gill beats), lethargy and clamping.

Details:Caused by the protozoan parasite called Oodinium and in Marine setups, the parasite called Amyloodinium. Gills are often the first place to be infected. It can affect species in different ways, Danios are often seen as the most susceptible but show no discomfort. It is highly contagious and fatal though.

Treatment: Copper treatments are the most effective way to tackle this problem. Any treatment should be coupled with a period of 7 days of darkness. The parasite obtains its energy through photosythesis so without light it will weaken and die.

Fact; Velvet is common in labyrinth fishes and a particularly with rearing their fry.



Disease Name: Costia (Ichthyobodo)

Disease Type : Parasitic

Symptoms: milky cloudiness to the skin. Heavy and laboured breathing. Lethargy. Fish isolate themselves, stay at the bottom of the tank and have clamped fins.

Details:Often found in small amounts in healthy fish, it becomes a serious threat when it establishes in larger numbers. it can cause tissue damage with skin and gills. As soon as the fishes health deteriorates the parasite numbers explode

Treatment: Copper treatments are the most effective way to tackle this problem. Many proprietary parasite treatments will also work. Malachite and Formalin can be used providing the fish is not suffering from gill damage. If the fish does have gill damage salt is probably the safest treatment - baths.



Disease Name: Hexamita or Hole in the head.

Disease Type : ( little is known about this disease)

Symptoms: Ulcerations in the head and/or lateral Line. Wasting away and loss of appetite.

Details: this is a disease of the digestive tract and Discus and other large cichlids seem most prone to this disease. The tiny parasite "Spironicleus sp." has been implicated for this disease but not conclusively, often is it thought to result from a widespread bacterial infection or poor nutrition. Perhaps inadequate filtration is a factor.

Treatment: An effective treatment is Metronidazole - 1% in any food the fish will eat and in the water ( 12mg per litre) is recommended. Repeat every other day for 3 treatments. A longterm bath at 25mg/litre for 2 days repeated three times. Antibiotics from the vet may also work.

Fact: Improvements in Aquarium Conditions can see this disease halting with no other treatment necessary.


Disease Name: Ichthyphthirious or Ich or White Spot or Ick.

Disease Type : Protozoan

Symptoms: Appearance of small white nodules like grains of salt. Body-rubbing, fin-twitching, swimming on the spot ( shimmying) and fast gill beats.

Details: Common disease in freshwater aquariums. If caught early its easily cured however with a long complex life cycle it is only suseptible to treatment in one phase.

The three stages are Adult phase - Cyst Phase and Free Swimming Phase.

Adult stage sees it embedded in the skin or gills causing irritation and white nodules. After a few days it bores out and falls to the bottom of the aquarium.

Cyst Phase sees it forming a cyst and reproducing.

Free Swimming Phase and 1000 young swim upwards looking for a host, if none is found in 2-3 days the parasite dies.

At 70f these phases take around 4 weeks, but at 80f only takes 5 days to complete the cycle. So for the medication to work at its best the temperature should be raised to 80f for the duration of the disease. If your fish can take it raise the temperature to 85f.



The free swimming phase is the best time to treat with chemicals. Raising the aquarium temperature to 80 F will greatly shorten the time for the free swimming phase to occur.

There are many white spot treatments available. These contain malachite green and some contain copper too.

When using malachite green, it is best to keep the light off and cover the tank with a blanket for the duration of the medication.


Fact: Clown Loaches are particularly susceptible to this.


Disease Name: Neon Tetra Disease

Disease Type : Sporozoa Protozoan - pleistophora hypessobryconis

Symptoms: Just below the skin whitish patches appear and in neons it destroys the blue green strupe. Cysts appear which burst and release spores, which are injested. Other symptoms include restlessness, loss of colour, difficulty swimming, curvature of the spine and secondary infections.

Details: It is named after Neon tetras because that was the first fish type it was recognised on. It can appear on other fish though. It is a spore forming organism that lives on the fishes body invading the muscles and other tissues. Low level infections can often go unnoticed, heavier infections cause the symptoms listed above.

Treatment: Currently there is no effective treatment for the disease. The Veterinary drug "Toltazural" holds promise though. The diseased fish must be isolated and the spores remain viable for several months.

Fact: This disease also effects fish related to the tetra such as glowlights and penguins tho cardinals are not effected. Other fish such as Angelfish, Barbs, Rasboras and Goldfish have been seen to have a very similar manifestation of the disease.



Disease Name: False Neon Disease

Disease Type : Bacterial

Symptoms: Pale "milky" patches appear under the skin and beneath the dorsal fin. Fish becomes thin and may swim erractically.

Details: Bacterial infection caused by the Flavobacterium bacteria. Characins are the main type of fish affected.

Treatment: Mild cases respond well to over the counter anti-bacterial remedies. Also Antibiotics from the vet may help.



Disease Name: Glugea and Henneguya

Disease Type : Sporozoan

Symptoms: Similar to Lymphcystis the fish will have white nodular swellings or cysts on the fins and body. Fish bloat and have tumour like protusions. Often when the damage is done in the gill area the fish may die.

Details: This spore forming Protozoa is in fact very rare.

Treatment: There is no treatment for this problem.



Disease Name: Chilodonella

Disease Type : Parasite

Symptoms: Blue/Whitish cloudiness on the skin (thickened slime coat) and attacks the gills. Skin and Gills may appear to just rot away. Flicking and glancing off objects is common as is clamped fins and difficulty breathing.

Details: Be sure to rule out fluctuation in pH before concluding the cause is Chilodonella. Outbreaks can often occur at a low temperature.

Treatment: 0.3% salt dip, proprietary parasite treatment, malachite and formalin, potassium permanganate, copper solutions, one treatment is normally all that is necessary.

Fact: If you have access to a microscope it can be easily recognized in skin scrapes and gill biopsies from its slow gliding movements and by the way it often turns in circles.


Disease Name: Tumours

Disease Type : Genetic or Virus or Cancer. See further notes.


Details: Hybridization can cause this but often it is just genetic.

Treatment: Operations can be possible but with large amounts of stress caused to the fish. As long as the fish is not in distress they can be left.

Notes: Other info on lumps and tumours:

Pigment cell tumours are an abmormal mutation and proliferation of the pigment cells within the skin. The Tumours colour depends on the pigment in the cell that is affected. Thus you may get a yellow tumour, or a red one. This kind of tumour is most common in tetras. There is no treatment but it is not contagious.

Often people worry about lumpy growths forming on the head of their goldfish. The skin on covering the cranium can continue to grow whilst the skull does not which leaves a raspberry like growth on the head. This has become a feature of fish like " Lionheads" and the genetic code can often appear in other goldfish species and is nothing to worry about.


Disease Name: Wounds and Injuries

Disease Type : n/a

Symptoms: Cuts, scrapes, missing scales.

Details: sometimes injuries are caused by bullying or sharp objects in the tank.

Treatment: If the water is clean things should heal by themselves, a lower ph could also help the the healing process, but fluctuations in ph can cause problems and stress.



Disease Name: Constipation

Disease Type : n/a

Symptoms: Loss of appetite and swelling of the body.

Details: usually caused by diet and a more compressed body shape such as with angelfish.

Treatment: A change of diet can make all teh difference. trying dried foods soaked in Medicinal paraffin oil, glycerol or castor oil could also be used. changing the diet on a regular basis and live food occasionally can also help.



Disease Name: Cloudy Eye

Disease Type : bacterial

Symptoms: A white cloudy patch appearing in the eye.

Details: Result of a bacterial invasion

Treatment: Antibiotics

Fact: Opaqueness can result from poor nutrition or a metacercaria invasion (grubs). Try foods with added vitamins and changing the diet to include variety.


Disease Name: Pop-eye or Exophtalmia

Disease Type : often bacterial can be a result of high ph too.

Symptoms: Protuding eyes.

Details: Can result from rough handling, (damage gained in spawning behaviour), gas embolism, tumours, bacterial infection or vitamin A deficiency.

Treatment: Gas bubbles and bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics. Some salt can be added to the water to help the problem heal if caused by damage from an object or other fish.




Disease Name: Swim bladder disease

Disease Type : Disorder.

Symptoms: Floating to the surface, swimming upside down, barrel rolling, wedging behind ornaments.

Details: Fancy goldfish through a process of selective breeding have led to the sensitive organ of the swim bladder being squeezed by the body shape. The problems with floating are often caused by infection or displacement of the swim bladder and can be hard to rectify when the primary cause is genetic. However often constipation leads to the swim bladder being constricted so often "cures" revolve around food. A poor diet of mainly dry floating foods can cause swim bladder disorder alone.

Treatment: To help remove obstructions from the gut feed earthworms and blanched lettuce. Shallow water may also alleviate symptoms as may antibiotics.



Disease Name: Problems with fish eggs. ***need to add compaction***

Problems with fish eggs generally fall into four main catagories -

Infertitlity - Blank eggs with no sign of the embryo. Eggs eventually turn opaque.

It is perfectly normal for up to 30% of a batch to be infertile. Both physical and genetic defects can cause problems as can water conditions. More often than not it is simply that the eggs werent fertilised by male sperm, ferility may increase as pairs mature and gain experience. Occasionally two females can pair up ( with obvious problems) and spawnings between closely related species often result in infertile eggs.

Treatment for this is to ensure water quality and after several failed attempts it can be worthwhile swapping one of the partners in pairing, with due care shown in aggressive species. In group spawners new stock can be added and the proportion of males increased.

Failure to Hatch. - Eggs seem to develop normally but die before hatching.

Usually this is due to infection via fungus attack or adverse water conditions. It can also happen if you handle eggs roughly when moving them.

Treatment again is to check water quality and pay attention to tank hygiene. Avoid physically handling the eggs.

Fungus Attack - Whitish Grey fluffy or spikey growths appear on the eggs.

The cause for this is generally sap or a related fungus.

Malachite Green is an effective treatment when used as a short bath ( 0.5 mg/l for one hour). Never expose eggs that are close to hatching to Malachite Green as the dye is toxic at that stage. Many use a proprietary meth blue treatment. You can remove the affected eggs to prevent spread of the fungus.

Bacterial Infection - Eggs seem viable but fail to develop, they turn white.

This can be very difficult to spot and can be caused by various bacteria. Water hygiene should be maintained and meth blue can be added to prevent the bacterial and a fungus attack.



Disease Name: False Fungus

Disease Type : Protozoan

Symptoms: White tufts on the fins and gills.

Details: A stalked protozoa normally Epistylis species. Attaches to the fishes bony areas - the top of the fins and on the gill covers. Large colonies then resemble white fungus like tufts.

Treatment: As this is normally a result of dirty water ensuring good aquarium hygiene will benefit the fish.

Fact:Epistylis may often be confused with a fungal infection.


Disease Name: Red Blotch Disease

Disease Type : possibly a bacterial infection or self poisoning.

Symptoms: Red blotch or blotches on the belly. Often fatal.

Details: Often triggered by bad water conditions and it is suspected that fish release stress induced toxins which effectively means they are poisoning themselves.

Treatment: Improve water conditions.

Fact:Widely reported in Corydora catfishes.


Disease Name: Barbel Damage

Disease Type : Injury or Infection

Symptoms: Whiskers become shortened and stubby. They may turn opaque or pinky red in the damaged area. The infection may also spread the mouth.

Details: Usually this is caused by an injury or incorrect habitat.

Treatment: Treat with anti-bacterial remedies and address the causes such as aquarium hygiene and dirty gravel. It can also be caused by sharp gravel so check your substrate.



Disease Name:Bleeding Heart Tetra Disease

Disease Type : Probably a virus

Symptoms: Patches of milky white raised but smooth growths appear on the skin.

Details: This looks very similar to lymphocystis which doesnt effect tetras.

Treatment: Raise the water temperature to help the fishes immune system. There is no known treatment apart from this.



Disease Name: Columnaris or Cotton Wool disease or Saddleback disease

Disease Type : Bacterial Infection caused by a gram negative rod, Flexibacter columnaris.

Symptoms: Erosion of the mouth ( mouth fungus) Erosion of the fins ( tail fin normally). Eroded tissue turns white and infection may advance. More serious widespread infection shows up as one of more white patches on the skin and sometimes ulcers. The fish may shimmy.

Details:Bacterial Infection caused by flavobacterium columnare.

Treatment: Antibacterial medications, herbal treatments work in mild cases, antibiotics from the vet may work best in bad cases.

Fact: Despite seeming like a touch of mould this can be lethal if not caught early on as it spreads very quickly.


Disease Name: Gas bubble disease. There are three general conditions that may be described as gas bubble disease: internal gas bubble disease, external gas bubble disease (and pouch emphysema.)

Disease Type : External gas bubble disease is usually caused by a bacterial infection. ( Co2 produced by the infection becomes trapped underneath the skin.) Internal gas bubble disease is probably caused by the same factors or a super saturation of gas in the tank water - oversaturation of dissolved nitrogen gas.

Symptoms: Air bubbles under the skin - the skin will crackle if you run your finger across it. Floating. Exophthalmia. Extreme difficulty with movement. Damage to internal organs.

Details: This is uncommon and cannot be caused by pouring in water roughly during water changes.

Treatment: Examine equipment: if you have a submersible pump, be sure it's not sucking in air: be sure it's covered sufficiently with water. It can also be caused by cold water being heated up to room temperature. Light should be left off to minimise stress.



Disease Name: Alkalosis

Disease Type :

Symptoms: Darting, gasping at the surface, red streaks, sudden death.

Details: When the pH rises above 8.8 ish fish may develop symptoms similar to acidosis and/or ammonia poisoning. Goldfish are very tolerent of alkaline conditions so this syndrome is more likely to effect other kinds of fish. Alkalosis can occur when there is a problem with cycling, ammonia becomes much more toxic when there is a high pH.

Another time when alkalosis occurs is when concrete ponds have not been properly sealed - lime leaches into the water rapidly killing fish.

Sometimes water treatment plants add a powerful alkali to the water called NaOH, check water straight from the tap if you cannot find any reasons for a change in pH.

Treatment: Water changes are the best treatment for the issue. If gills are dark red avoid using any medications. If caused by concrete remove fish to a new container 0.5 units below the pH of the pond, gradually water change until the pH is at a normal level again.



Disease Name:Nodular disease

Disease Type : various parasites, such as Ichthyosporidium, Nosema, Myxobolus, and Henneguya, and the fungus Dermocystidium.

Symptoms: White/Yellowish cysts ( smooth) anywhere on the body, fins, gills or even internal organs, varying in size from 2mm to 1 cm, they can also be any shape.

Details:Each cyst is filled with thousands of spores.

Treatment: No reliable treatment.



Disease Name: False Hole in the Head??? !!Awaiting Update !!

Disease Type :






Disease Name:Whirling Disease (Myxospora)

Disease Type : Protozoan - Parasitic.

Symptoms: Fish seems to use a shaking of the head to propel themselves forward. Difficulty feeding. Body deformations.Nodules and boils on the body.

Details:Myxobolus cerebralis is a metazoan parasite that penetrates the head and spinal cartilage . Part of the parasites hosting process uses the tubiflex worm. Hence this disease may be passed to your fish via tubiflex foods improperly steralised.

Treatment: The disease is incurable, however administration of Furazolidone via direct injection has been reported to halt the spread of the disease.

Fact: UV filters will kill the spores.


Disease Name:Nitrite Poisoning ( Brown Blood disease)

Disease Type : Environmental

Symptoms: Gasping, hanging near filter outlets, lethargy, brownish gills, rapid gill movement.

Details: High nitrite levels renders the blood incapable of carrying oxygen. The fish literally suffocates.

Treatment: Water change, adding salt to 0.3%, reduce feeding, increase aeration. It is important to take action until your Nitrite level reaches 0 ppm.

Fact: Known as Brown blood disease because blood turns brown from a increase of methemoglobin.


Disease Name: Enteric Red Mouth (ERM)

Disease Type : Yersinia ruckerii - bacterial infection.

Symptoms: Lethargy, lack of appetite, red mouth and hemorrhages.

Details: A very rare disease attacking tropical fish, there are plenty of bacterial diseases with similar symptoms that are more likely.

Treatment: Lowering the water temperature seems to alleviate symptoms though little is known about the disease.

Fact: More commonly seen in wild caught fish.


Disease Name: Dermocystidium

Disease Type : fungal infection or protozoa.

Symptoms: Effecting mostly koi, it causes raised swellings varying in size from 1 cm to large lesions up to 10 cm. The lesions are pinkish to red and vary in shape from circular to long elongated ovals.

Details: Althought the disease is not fatal it makes the fish very suseptible to secondary infections. Not a great deal is currently known about the disease.

Treatment: Surgical removal, no other known treatment.



Disease Name:Trichodina

Disease Type : Protozoan parasite.

Symptoms: When magnified they are easily recognisable like top hat shaped flying saucers. The fish will rub and flash and redden in effected areas, at later stages the fish may be lethargic, stop feeding, clamped fins. While they do not harm the fish only irritate it bacteria may take advantage and cause a secondary infection.

Details: Its not unusual to find a small population of Trichodina on any fish, at those levels it poses no threat they just use the fish as transport. In large numbers however they become extremely irritating, and cause tissue damage via the sucker they attach themselves with. Infestations generally occur as a result of poor water conditions and overcrowding.

Treatment: This parasite is difficult to treat. Proprietary parasite treatments sometimes work as does Mal. green and formalin. Most effective is potassium permanganate for one course, and salt baths.