Common Goldfish Diseases - Symptoms And Treatment
Early diagnosis of disease is an important part of the overall goldfish care. If you can't readily diagnose a goldfish disease see your local vet, or pet store.
Fish live by absorbing oxygen and they give off carbon dioxide as a waste product. Plants under the influence of daylight do the opposite so that what is poison to one gives life to the other. So adding plants to your aquarium will assist in keeping your goldfish healthy and disease free.
Prevention is always easier than cure, so by keeping your aquarium clean, feeding your fish properly, avoiding wide temperature fluctuations and performing partial water changes as necessary you will go a long way to keeping your fish healthy. However, no matter how well you maintain your tank, from time to time one or more of your goldfish may become stressed or ill.
Some of the more common goldfish diseases are discussed here.
Anchor worms appear as a 1/4 to 3/8 inch piece of string with a forked tail. Large anchor worms can be easily seen. They appear as clear, brownish-red, or greenish-white strings. After the anchor worms have buried themselves into the flesh of the fish open sores may appear on the skin. The anchor worms may be visible in the sores. Frequently this parasite is introduced into the fish tank from aquarium plants – especially those taken from creeks or rivers, or from adding live food to the tank. Anchor worms attach themselves beneath the scales of the fish where they bury their anchor-shaped head under the skin causing ulceration and distress.
Anchor worms are highly contagious and should be treated immediately. Your local pet store can supply an appropriate treatment for anchor worm, usually in the form of a gyrase inhibitor that can be added to the tank water. This should be effective in killing the parasites within three to four days.
Swimbladder disease should be suspected when a fish has difficulty stabilizing itself in the tank. It is not uncommon in goldfish although fancy varieties appear more susceptible to this disease. It can be genetic in origin or caused by a variety of other factors including inadequate or improper diet, bacterial infection or even poor quality aquarium water.
Apart from improving the water condition if that is necessary, some fish keepers suggest feeding your goldfish thawed out frozen peas. It is also worth feeding the fish with sinking food instead of floating food to minimize the intake of air. It may also be worthwhile moving your sick goldfish to a shallow tank while you treat it. This may lessen the stress on the fish. Swimbladder disease often occurs quite suddenly in previously healthy fish.
Dropsy is not a specific goldfish disease, but appears as a condition where the fish's abdomen becomes swollen due to a concentration of fluids in the body tissues or cavities. The abdominal swelling can create a pinecone effect where the fish’s scales protrude from the body. The cause of the swelling could be any of several conditions including cancer, internal parasites or bacterial infection, cancer, internal parasites. Depending on the source of the condition dropsy may be contagious. There are no known successful treatments for dropsy and the condition usually proves fatal.
Torn or frayed fins are usually indications of fin or tail rot if the fish has not been fighting. This is a bacterial infection that first appears as a whitish edge on the fins, before the fins begin to rot away. It is easily treated with antibiotics available from your local pet store. Ensure the medication states that it treats fin or tail rot. In some cases a secondary fungal infection may occur. If this is the case, treat the fin rot before dealing with the fungal problem.
Fungus is usually a secondary infection. A fish with an open wound or sore caused from injury or disease may suffer from a lack of mucous around the area of the wound. This open wound can often attract a secondary fungus infection. Look for patches of grey or white fuzzy puffs attached to the skin. There are several treatments available for fungal infections from the pet store. Fungus responds well to quick treatment.
Perhaps the most common parasitic disease in goldfish is ick. It is frequently present in freshwater fish tanks and will infect fish that have suffered recent infection or those in poor general health. Ick is characterized by small white dots that look like sprinkled salt on the body. The fish may try to scratch the infected areas on the wall of the tank which can cause further damage. Cloudy eyes and rapid breathing can also be signs of ick. See you pet store for ick treatment. Badly infected fish should be moved to a quarantine tank for treatment but it is important to treat the main aquarium as well to ensure that the parasite has been removed.
Goldfish are actually hardy fish but there are many diseases that can cause them stress and discomfort. If you want your goldfish to live a long and healthy life you need to make sure that you treat the aquarium properly.