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General Disease Prevention


  1. Sure-fire Way to Prevent Diseases
    by bh838/ (Mark A. Stone) (1 Apr 1998)
  2. The Correct Method for Treating Any Sick Fish
    by eriko/ (Erik Olson) (1 Apr 1998)

Sure-fire Way to Prevent Diseases

by bh838/ (Mark A. Stone)
Date: 1 Apr 1998
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria.freshwater.cichlids

Previous posts follow.

The key to a disease-free tank is the realization that nothing enters the 
aquarium without our intention or inattention, and that our fish's 
environment is  completely dependent upon us. A healthy fish is very good 
at fighting off disease if we are careful to keep his environment 
stress-free and if we take the time to quarantine live foods and new 
fish. Your friends may think you're crazy, but you neeed to run the 
aquarium room like your would a hospital room. No loud, sudden noises 
that will frighten the fish and increase stress (stereos, slamming doors, 
barking dogs, etc.). No smoking in the fish room -- your air pump will 
bubble that smoke right through his water. Same for painting and staining 
furniture. Plan your tank and it's inhabitants so that stress from 
aggressiveness is minimized. Keep a careful eye on water conditions and 
temperature. When changing water,  try to equalize pH and temperature 
before adding replacement water. Keep one of those green fish nets in the 
tank, leaning against the wall. Your fish will get used to it, and then 
if he needs to be netted it will be much less stressful -- because there 
will be no chase. DO NOT OVERFEED THE TANK. Etc.

I may have been just lucky, but with careful maintenance in place and 
being a stickler with quarantining, it has been probably 5 years since 
the last disease outbreak, other than the fluffy mold that grows on 
injuries occasionally. Of course, having said that, I'll probably walk by 
the aquariums in 5 minutes and see an Ich outbreak starting--

But the point is that their little lives are so completely in our hands, 
that I think diseases are at least 99% avoidable if we keep up our diligence.


Jeff and Amy Davidson ( wrote:
> On 31 Mar 1998 09:12:45 GMT, RIZZI) wrote:

> >
> >  Is there one? I am quite content with the fish I have now. If I don't
> >add any more fish, what are the chances that I won't have anything like
> >ich or flukes or parasites, pop-eye, etc. I doubt that it is 100%, but
> >I would think it would be high if I don't introduce any more fish and
> >don't stress out the ones I have. Anyone have the information? BTW, all
> >my fish right now are getting along "swimmingly". No fighting.
> >I would love to hear personal experiences on this....................O!

> There is no 100% guaranteed way.  I've had popeye show up in a
> community tank that had not been added to, drastically altered, or
> changed in any way I can think of.  Only one fish got it, but I don't
> know how she got it.  I've been told it can be triggered by high
> ammonia levels, but the tank was well established and I don't recall
> any ammonia jumps or the like.

> -----------------------------------------------------------
> Jeff Davidson
> (AntiSpam: remove the ABCDCBA to derive the proper address)
> -----------------------------------------------------------

The OSCAR Study Page is at:
Mark A. Stone
The ".Edu" meens i are smart.

The Correct Method for Treating Any Sick Fish

by eriko/ (Erik Olson)
Date: 1 Apr 1998
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria.freshwater.cichlids RIZZI) writes:

> This is my best guess of what to do with a sick fish or tank:

>  1. Observe the fish closely and take time. If it is struggling but
>not appearing to be in dire distress, I would continue to watch the
>fish for any changes and to watch how other fish are reacting to it.
>  2.  Use testing kits to determine the Nitrite, Ammonia,Nitrate levels
>in the tank

also pH.  Write everything down.  Note any recent changes in other
aspects of the tank (food regimen change? recent new fish added?
recent deaths? shows of agression from the other fish?  last water
change? etc).  When we have a sick one, all this helps us piece
together what's happened.

>  3. Make a 30%-50% water change even if the tests come up normal
>  4. Contact LFS and explain symptoms to get an opinion

One caveat is that LFS isn't always the best help here.  They often
are interested in selling you a cure-all medication such as Clout,
which my fish disease expert friends consider the scariest thing you
could ever put in your tanks.

>  5. I'm not sure what to do my fish book, maybe

* Prepare a hospital tank for isolating the fish; isolate if necessary.

* Try and identify the specific disease by books (two good ones listed
in the FAQ are the Manual of Fish Health (tetra) and Handbook of Fish
Diseases (TFH)).  There are also a few sites that have diagnostics out there
(none of the ones I run, of course!).

* Then go for specific treatments.

* Don't panic!  More damage can often be done by over-medicating or
mis-medicating.  I usually opt for the "make sure their environment is
stress free, but don't medicate", and more often than not they recover
on their own.  My wife, on the other hand, prefers to know exactly
what's wrong (to the point of sacrificing one fish and dissecting it),
so the entire tank can be medicated.

Hope this is useful.  This would make a nice section in the disease
FAQ on "What do I do if I think my fish is sick?".  I'll go bug the
author and see if she's up for it. :)

  - Erik

>         Help!

>In <6fqdr7$>
>RIZZI) writes: 
>>  As usual, I don't know the answer either. However, being a nurse, I
>>have learned that there is a correct way to treat a patient in crisis,
>>every patient, to insure a greater survival rate. Example is: When you
>>have an emergency come in and you look at the patient and one leg is
>>badly broken and  he is bleeding profusely from a stab wound, the
>>thing that you do is approach the patient's head and look and listen
>>see if he is breathing. This is the most important factor. You attend
>>to this FIRST. If he is not breathing, you begin CPR. True, he may
>>bleed to death, but he will most surely die quickly if he is not
>>breathing. Then the blood, then the bones, etc.
>>  What I wish is that someone knowledgeable about fish could make a
>>list of how to go about treating a sick tank. It seems to me that
>>"Checking Nitrates" might be the 1st step. Or, step one might be to
>>carefully examine the sick fish for any visible signs of what is
>>I think everybody would appreciate the "1,2,3's" of tackling the
>>problem if someone would take on the task and give their opinion on
>>what they generally do when they detect a problem. We could even have
>>"fish triage" information to add to the FAQ's.
>>  If no one wants to do this, I will try to put one together, but I am
>>not the best one to do a long shot......................O!

Erik Olson				
eriko at

Up to Fish Diseases <- The Krib This page was last updated 29 October 1998