Conventional belief suggests that goldfish are great starter fish because they are perceived as a low-maintenance pet. However, the reality is that taking care of goldfish can be very challenging because they are among the most demanding freshwater fish around. Without knowledge of proper fish care, your goldfish may become susceptible to different diseases. Know the different types of goldfish diseases and their corresponding treatment and preventive measures.
Three main causes of goldfish diseases
Goldfish disease prevention starts by identifying the potential causes of diseases. The three main reasons why goldfish get sick are the following:
- Environmental pathogens
Fish, in general, are susceptible to bacterial pathogens which lead to various illnesses. Bacteria turn to pathogens when fish show signs of being unhealthy or stressed.
- Low resistance of fish stock
Increased exposure of bacterial pathogens weakens the natural resistance of the fish stock.
- Poor or unsatisfactory water quality
Changes in the quality of water often lead to health complications, including infection.
How to tell if fish are sick
How do you know if a goldfish is dying? It is important to find time to observe your goldfish regularly. Early detection of signs and symptoms can help save your fish from dying. Before feeding time is the appropriate time to check on your goldfish.
“Why is my goldfish swimming erratically?” Watch out for the following signs of the common health conditions in pet fish:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Low activity level
- Inflammation or discolouration of the skin
- Rapid or difficulty in breathing
- Usually stays at the bottom of the tank
- Noticeable gasping for air
- Bumps or lumps
- Pale gills
- Protruding eyes
- Unhealthy fins (such as folded or torn)
Swim bladder disease/Improper feeding:
- Erratically swims upside down
- Bumping against the aquarium
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
Below are a few of the many goldfish diseases:
Goldfish ich (read as ‘ick’) also known as ‘white spot disease’ occurs as a parasite that can be accumulated from the water. Affected goldfish appear with white spots, hence the name. These visible white spots are not the ich or parasites but the stretched skin of the goldfish.
What to do:
- Raise the temperature to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to do this gradually. High temperatures get rid of it by speeding up the life cycle of the ich.
- Dissolve salt in the tank. Prepare at least 3 teaspoons of aquarium salt for each gallon. Make sure to remove all live plants before putting in salt.
Keep in mind that during the process, it may appear as a worsening case. However, this is due to speeding up the life cycle of the ich. This is necessary as the only way to kill the pathogen is when it is swimming freely in the water tank and not on the skin of your goldfish.
Anchor worm usually occurs during changes in season, typically in the fall. This is a very contagious condition that can infect other fish rapidly. Unfortunately, the salt alone will not serve as an effective treatment.
What to do:
- Use tweezers to manually remove any visible worms.
- Clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide to prevent infection.
Fin rot is a bacterial infection commonly observed in goldfish. It usually affects stressed-out fish. It begins to appear as cloudiness on the fins and when left untreated, the fin may be permanently damaged.
What to do:
- Swab hydrogen peroxide in the affected areas of the fin. Apply the same amount every 24 hours.
- For severe cases, you may also need antibiotics such as SulfaPlex.
All medications should be given with the prescription of your vet.
Goldfish fungus appears in white, cottony spots around the body or fins. Immediate attention is necessary as it can spread fast when left untreated for too long.
What to do:
- Make sure that the water is not too cold.
- Ensure that you are keeping the water clean at all times.
- To address the fungus, it requires antifungal medications that should be prescribed by your vet.
Do you have goldfish with growing lumps on the body? Are the lumps white, pink, or black? These small lumps could be goldfish tumour. Other symptoms include loss of appetite and signs of depression.
What to do:
- Seek your vet for immediate and appropriate treatment for goldfish tumour.
- Keep the water clean at all times as a preventive measure.
- Do not to feed your pet fish with food rich in preservatives.
General prevention of goldfish diseases
- Avoid contamination by not overfeeding. Follow the recommended serving.
- Choose the right size of aquarium tank based on the size of the fish and the number of fish you have.
- Be quick to remove fish carcasses in the tank or pond.
- Avoid too crowded fish stocks on the tank or pond.
- Be sure to keep a regular schedule for disinfecting the environment of the fish.
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