There are several ways in which fish can be treated. Unlike other pets, visible changes are not very quick and you can never be sure whether your fish are taking a turn for the better or not. Compared to many other pets, fish are also very delicate. They cannot be taken out, treated and put back into their homes without exposing them to great risks. So, how does one apply medications, feed medicines or help the fish to recuperate?
Giving the fish a bath is a good way to treat some disorders. The fish will be introduced into a bucket containing medicated water. You should use chemicals like formalin or additives like salt in the water you bade the fish in, depending upon what you are treating. The duration of the bath and the concentration of the additive are species-dependent and also depends on the disease. Always follow instructions that are based on the need of your fish species and the disease in question.
Heat therapy is used when it is necessary to kill certain parasites by raising the temperature. One has to be careful while doing this because some fish get too stressed when there is a change in temperature. The temperature of the water should be increased gradually by no more than 1 Degree C per hour until you reach the desired range. The fish should be constantly monitored while the treatment is going on. Any negative reactions call for an immediate cessation of the therapy.
Medicated food products are another effective way of fighting parasites, especially if the disease is inside the body. These medicated foods are not governed or monitored by any governmental agency, so the food concerned may never have been tested for effectiveness or for safety. Therefore, the medicated food that you give your fish may be practically useless or even harmful to some fish. You should purchase only such food that has a detailed list of the ingredients along with their concentration printed on it. Some well known brands can be trusted to deliver quality products, but lesser known brands need to be tested with caution. Awareness of the use and effect of the various medicines is a must before you can start using this kind of treatments.
There are certain steps that should be followed when treating fish. If these steps are followed one after the other, they eliminate not only the symptoms but also the cause of the disease.
The first thing to do when you need to diagnose a fish is to observe it. Observe what signs of disease that are seen and what behavioral patterns have changed, if any. Next, go on to eliminating the possible causes of the signs you se. Check if all environmental conditions are in proper order. The first and the most widespread cause of ailment, disease, stress and death in aquaria is bad water. The ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, pH and oxygen levels have to be checked. If these are within the optimum ranges, the next step is to check whether any toxic substances have dripped into the water by mistake. Paint fumes, cleaning agents, pesticides etc are some things that can get into water quite inadvertently. If the problem is the water quality, changing the water frequently and in smaller quantities will help. If none of these seem to be the cause, then move to the next step.
Now it is time to check the various accessories in the aquarium. Filters, heaters, air pumps etc have to be checked carefully to se that they are working correctly. You should also check if any aggressor has attacked the fish and if that may be the cause behind the symptoms. If you find a problem, fix it immediately.
The fish need to be treated once you have identified the disease. Start by moving the infected fish out of the community aquarium and into the quarantine aquarium. Make sure that your quarantine/hospital aquarium is ready to receive patient/s. The water in the quarantine/hospital aquarium should be changed daily. About 30-50% of the water should preferable be changed each day. While changing water, care must be taken to add more medicine if required. Also remember that some medicines will remove oxygen from water and aeration is therefore a must in a hospital aquarium. After one day, it is time to move the fish to a shallow bowl or aquarium. Closely examine the fish for any parasites or new signs of infection. Treat the water accordingly. Return the fish to the hospital aquarium once the inspection is completed. This process should be repeated if you are unsure of the proper diagnosis, but not more often than once a day since it is very stressful for the fish. The fish should be kept in isolation for about 10 days even if the fish is showing signs of improvement. This will remove all traces of infection and leave the fish germ free by the time it returns to the community aquarium. This ensures that the spread of infection is curtailed.
While medicating the fish, care must be taken to follow the instructions given. Too low a dose will be ineffective, while higher doses could damage the fish further or even kill it. Carbon, and all absorbing filter media, along with UV sterilizers and ozonizers should be removed before using medications since these will render the medicine ineffective. Never mix two medications in the same aquarium unless there are specific instructions to do so. Once the use of medicines is over, make sure that there are no traces of the medicine left in your aquarium.
In spite of the best of care, if your fish still ails, it is perhaps better to put it out of its misery. This is sometimes the most humane thing that can be done. Severing the spinal cord quickly with a very sharp knife is one of the most painless ways to put a large fish out of its misery. Smaller fish can be dropped into boiling water for a quick death.
Many times your fish will recover when you take care of the water chemistry. It is also important to introduce new fish carefully into your aquarium. New fish are sometimes carriers of harmful parasites. That is why the importance of the quarantine aquarium never can be overstressed.
Do not stuff your aquarium with too many fish. Aquarium overload is another factor that can lead to disaster. The risks of infection are high in an overloaded aquarium. The chances of the infection spreading to other fish are also very high.
Keeping an aquarium is very easy if you understand the various principles behind it and approach it scientifically. There are certain procedures that need to be followed at every stage. When you adhere closely to the beaten path and try to give your fish the best possible conditions, your fish will thrive. Once you have gained more experience and gotten to know your particular specimens better, you can work more freely and improvise in order to suit their particular needs.
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