Illness in Fish

Article from: My Family UK

Sick fish can be harder to diagnose than other animals, but signs to look out for include unusual growths or spots on the fish, problems balancing, sticking to the bottom of the tank, lack of appetite or having trouble breathing.

Preventing illness in fish

Poor water conditions (temperature, pH and so on) will cause ill health in your fish, so do your research on the right tank conditions for particular species and clean the tank regularly.


Stress can also be a big factor in illness, so don’t overcrowd your tank or move fish unnecessarily. Quarantine new fish to make sure they haven’t got infectious diseases or parasites before introducing them to your tank or pond. Certain parasites can also attach to water plants and other tank decor so these need to be quarantined as well.

Below are some common signs of illness in fish, to keep an eye open for.

1) Oxygen starvation

Gulping at the surface of the water could indicate your fish don’t have enough oxygen to breathe. Oxygen level in the water can be improved by cleaning the tank or pond, adding plants, using a water pump and changing the water regularly.



2) Fungal disease

White strands like cotton wool on the body of your fish may indicate fungal disease. Treat with anti-fungus medication that can be added to the water.

3) Constipation

Watch out for a brown thread trailing behind the fish. Prevent or treat the symptoms by varying the fish’s diet. Give them live food and vegetables alongside their usual dried food.

4) White spot disease

Caused by a parasite that penetrates the skin of the host fish. Watch out for white spots on the skin and gills about 1mm in diameter. Treat the whole aquarium with a chemical treatment as well as trying to improve the water quality of your tank.

5) Swim bladder inflammation (SBI)

This viral disease particularly affects carp, although it can affect other fish species. It affects the swim bladder of the fish and can cause a distended abdomen and an inability to balance. Consult a vet if you think your fish may be suffering from SBI.


Further Information

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