In this part of the articles library you can find information about freshwater fish diseases. One of the most common fish diseases in freshwater aquariums is White Spot Disease. This disease is also known as Ich or Ick due to the name of the causing parasite - Ichthyophthirius multifilis. Other commonly occurring parasites in freshwater aquariums are Gyrodactylus, Oodinium pillularis, Trichodonella, Trichodinaand Tripartiella. Bacteria, virus and fungus are other micro organisms that can cause severe problems in a freshwater aquarium. The preferred treatment will naturally depend on the specific infection. The best defense against fish disease is however to prevent outbreaks in the first place. Keep your fish in supreme condition by providing them with a suitable living environment and feeding them nutritious food. Also make every effort to avoid the introduction of new malevolent microorganisms to the aquarium when buying new fish, invertebrates, plants etcetera.
Only buy fish from a reputable dealer where all the aquariums look good, not only the aquarium from which you intend to by fish. The fact that the fish store has quarantine tanks with sick fish should however not be viewed as a bad sign, since this shows that the fish keeper actually care enough about the fish to separate healthy fish from diseased fish and try to cure diseases. If you purchase fish online from Internet fish stores or directly from breeders, you will have to use other methods to find out about the general quality of the fish. You can for instance post a question in some fish forums online and ask other aquarists about their experiences with the company or specific breeder. This can also be a good way of finding a suitable website to purchase fish from.
If possible, you should visit the fish store during feeding time, since a lack of appetite is a bad sign in fish. Purchase fish that show a healthy appetite. A fish that is refusing food, or that is taking food into its mouth and then spitting it out, is probably stressed or diseased. Some fish species are naturally pickier than others when it comes to food, but a serious fish dealer should know how to coax even choosy fish species into eating.
One of the most important steps if you want to keep your freshwater aquarium as disease free as possible is to create a quarantine tank. Even if the fish store quarantine all their fish before they are allowed in the common aquariums, a quarantine aquarium in you own home is still advisable. Depending on the fish species, the quarantine aquarium do not have to be larger than 10-25 gallons since it will only house a small amount of fish for a shorter period of time. Keep your new fish in the quarantine aquarium for at least 3-4 days and watch out for any signs of illness. If you suspect some type of illness it will be much easier to treat the fish in the quarantine aquarium and the disease can not infect your main aquarium. All forms of treatments are stressful for the fish, and having to treat only one diseased fish instead of a whole aquarium filled with fish is therefore terrific. Make sure that the water quality in the quarantine aquarium is good and that your new fish have several hiding spaces, since a combination of poor water quality, the stress from being moved and anxiety caused by a lack of hiding space can cause symptoms of illness even in a formerly healthy fish.