Chilodonella is caused by protozoa, a type of parasite, and can be a serious treat to the health of any fish. The disease can be hard to diagnose but is easy to treat if it is discovered before permanent damage has been done to the fish. Chilodonella has like all other parasites to be introduced to your aquarium to be able to infect your fish and preventing the introduction of Chilodonella and other parasites to their aquarium should be a priority for all aquarists. Parasites are usually introduced in one of two ways: with new fish/plants or with live food. You can reduce the risk of introducing parasites and diseases to your aquarium by placing all new fish in a quarantine tank for 2-3 weeks before moving them into you main tank. You can avoid introducing parasites with live food by only feeding live food you cultivated yourself or reduce the risk by not feeding live food caught in waters with fish in them.
The symptoms of Chilodonella includes changed (heavy) breathing, excessive secretion of mucus that makes the skin of the fish look cloudy, clamped fins, loss of appetite and scratching against aquarium decoration. You can also observe a general loss of virility in infected fish causing them to act more lethargically. In severe cases the fish moves away from the rest of the fish and hides somewhere. It should however be said that a fish can seem healthy long after being infected by Chilodonella and the disease can often already have caused serious damage to the fish when the symptoms start to appear.
Chilodonella tolerates a wider variety of different water temperatures than many other parasites and ore often found in colder waters.
The disease is as I said earlier easy to treat once diagnosed and can be cured with a wide variety of treatments ranging from commercial Chilodonella medicine to treating the water with (or bathing the fish in) potassium permanganate, formalin, malachite, copper or salt. It should be said that some fish and other aquarium animals are sensitive to salt and/or copper and those methods should not be used if you keep such fish. Research your fish to find out if it is sensitive to salt or copper. Examples of salt sensitive fish are certain catfish species and freshwater rays.
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