Diagnosing Your Fish and Treating with API Fish Remedies

If your fish is exhibiting signs of illness, it’s important to diagnose the type of disease accurately in order to provide effective treatment. There are four categories of infection your fish may contract:

• Bacterial
• Parasitic
• Fungal
• Viral

The first three can be treated with medication, whereas viral infections should be handled differently. Here is a printable guide to help diagnose your fish for disease and to help treat them.

In order to properly treat your fish, you must first determine which of the above infections your fish has, and to do this, you’ll need to watch for certain symptoms. For instance, symptoms of a bacterial infection include body slime, mouth fungus, open lesions and swelling, fin & tail rot, and blood spots (without skin damage). Fungal infections are usually exhibited by cotton mouth, body slime, eye clouding, and fin and tail rot, while symptoms of a parasitic infection include hole-in-the-head, small regular spots or visible flukes hanging off your fish, swollen abdomen, and noticeable weight loss/wasting.

Viral infections cannot be treated with medication, and are best combated with API® STRESS COAT and API® AQUARIUM SALT after quarantining your fish from other healthy fish in your aquarium. All other infections, however, should be treated as soon as possible.

For bacterial infections, we recommend API® MELAFIX, especially for repairing damaged fins and treating ulcers and wounds. API® E.M. ERYTHROMYCIN, and FIN & BODY CURE also target symptoms of bacterial infection, and any of these may be used to effectively fight your fish’s illness until you settle on one that works best for your fish’s disease. As with antibiotics used to treat human disease, there is usually one medication that works best for treating the particular strain of illness, so it may be necessary to try more than one until you notice your fish’s health begin to improve.

For fungal infections, use API® PIMAFIX. This powerful treatment counteracts the harmful effects and symptoms of fungal disease, but it is safe for delicate fish and saltwater species. It can be used not only to treat disease, but to build your fish’s immune system and develop its resistance to future sickness. 

Symptoms of parasitic infections are a bit more specific than symptoms of other types of disease. Two very common parasitic illnesses are Ich and Velvet. Ich is also characterized as white spot disease, and typically appears on the body, fins, and gills in the form of white nodules that look like grains of salt. However, in some cases, Ich disease may not always be visible. You may still detect it, though, if your fish is rubbing or scratching against the gravel or aquarium ornaments. Ich should be treated as soon as possible with API® LIQUID SUPER ICK CURE, which specifically targets Ich by disrupting the lifestyle of the disease.

Velvet is also a visible symptom of a parasitic infection that is usually spread by contaminated tanks, fish, and tools (such as scrapers or nets). Velvet can cause serious harm or death to your fish if left untreated, so it is important to recognize the signs of this parasitic infection. These may include darting around the aquarium, scratching against aquarium items, fin clamping, and lethargy. You will also notice what appears to be a velvety texture covering your fish, which is actually a coating of parasites that range in color from gold to brown to green. The best way to target and treat Velvet is by using API® AQUARIUM SALT in your fish’s water, and by keeping your tank in total darkness for several days since this parasite gets much of its energy from photosynthesis during the “free swimming” phase of its life cycle. Another helpful tactic is to raise the water temperature in your tank a few degrees to quicken the life cycle and death of the parasite while actively treating, but you should make sure this action will be safe for your particular species of fish before implementing.

API® offers a wide range of medications that treat a variety of diseases to get your fish healthy as soon as possible. Keep your fish quarantined if it lives in a community tank, and ensure its environment is conducive to healing. With the proper care, your fish will be feeling well again soon!

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