Occasionally we hear people comment, with some pride, that their incidences of fish diseases are usually low. Although their intent is commendable, their true goal should be NO diseases at all! Is this be realistic? You bet it is. Accomplished fish keepers do it all the time. But before looking at how to maintain healthy fish it’s important to point out that all fish are infected by at least one and often several species of parasites. These parasites are, in fact, a natural part of their environment. If the fish are in good condition generally, their immune system (the body’s natural means of countering disease) will be active and capable of controlling the infection, ensuring that parasites are present only in very small numbers.
If a fish becomes unhealthy for any reason – for example, due to poor water quality, poor nutrition or stress – the immune system will be suppressed, allowing the parasites to multiply and cause problems.
To help you attain a 0% of illness in your fish we’ve listed a few basic guidelines:
BUY HEALTHY STOCK! We can’t stress this enough. Know your fish dealer and their stocking methods before you buy.
Take care to introduce all fish to their new environments in the least stressful manner possible. Next to poor water quality, stress kills more fish than any other factor.
Invest in and use a test kit. Many problems can be avoided altogether just by checking your water quality first. Never, never, assume just because your existing fish are fine, that your H20 is O.K. Everyday we check customers’ water that is, well let’s just say, not good, but their fish are fine. That’s only because the water value decreased gradually over a period of time and the fish adapted to it. They don’t like it, and usually are on the way to a disease breakout. Any new fish introduced at this time won’t have the opportunity to gradually adapt, and most likely will be the first ones to get sick or die.
If a disease does appear in one of your fish get it into your quarantine tank immediately! Don’t wait until the infection spreads. Doing a water change in your community tank at this time is essential. If it’s a parasite, then you must treat the entire aquarium because all the fish are exposed directly.
Make every attempt to accurately diagnose an illness before medicating. It’s also advisable to use only one medication at a time. Changing the water is probably the most beneficial action you can take. You’d be surprised at how often recovery takes place just by doing that!
It goes without saying that you should try to understand the needs of all your fish and keep together in one tank only those whose water quality requirements and personalities are compatible. We welcome your questions and will help you get the answers you need to be a successful fish keeper.