Flowerhorns sickness, diseases and prevention
I wish I had enjoyed my flowerhorns where they would never get sick and died. However, I found out that they do get sick and die and most of you had learned that as well. Iâ€™ve been caring tropical fish since I was 6 years old. And I always felt so bad when my fish died of sickness. Experienced has taught me how to prevent an outbreak, identified and diagnosed the diseases before making some drastic moves. We get so worried right away when suddenly our flowerhorns are not eating, clamped fins, not active and gasping for breath. Hey! Let me ask you these first. When was the last time you changed your water? Whatâ€™s the temperature right now? Have you check your water parameters? (PH, Ammonia, Nitrate). Sometimes these problems are the culprits.
Caring for flowerhorns are not just feeding them 2 to 3 times daily. Maintaining water qualities are also essentials as feeding them daily. Heck, they also have feelings as human do. If we bath everyday, so should your flowerhorns need to have their water change on daily or on weekly basis.
One important thing that flowerhorn hobbyist should pay attention to,
Is the typical sign of disease outbreak. Everyday, when we feed our flowerhorns we always looked and observe them. Overtime our eyes are trained when we detect some strange behavior on our fish appearance and body language.
Listed below are some of diseases, treatment, symptoms and preventions.
*Bacterial Diseases* (gram negative)
DISEASE BACTERIAL - Highly contagious. Caused by Gram-negative bacteria. Most species belong to the Aeromonas genus. It may also caused by poor water quality, over feeding and introducing sick fish to the community.
SYMPTOMS- Body-rot, fin-rot, tail-rot, white patches on body, hemorrhagic discoloration of vent anal area of abdomen, pop eye and abnormally high respiratory rate.
TREATMENT- Improve the water quality by doing a large water change. Treat with positive and negative gram antibacterial agent such as, Furan 2 and Nitrofurazone.
PREVENTION- Always quarantine doubtful looking fish in water treated with an antibacterial agent. Do not over feed. Siphoned all uneaten food. Avoid cross-tank contamination. Wash hand with anti-bacterial soap before or after touching sick or dead fish. Bleach all tanks/accessories after fish died or healed.
*Fin and Tail Rot* (fungus)
DISEASE â€“ Highly Contagious. Caused by various species of aquatic fungi, including Saprolegnia and Achlya
SYMPTOMS- Fish would stop eating and lethargic. Fins and/or tail seem to be getting shorter or falling apart and dissolving. Fins may be clumped, color may be pale.Gray, brown or white cotton-wool-like growths or tufts on the skin. Begins as a small patch but can develop and quickly kill the fish.
TREATMENT- Quarantine sick fish. Do large water change. Use fungus remedy. Treat the whole tank but isolate and treat heavily infected fish separately. Methylene blue, Acriflavine and fungus eliminator by Jungle Fungus can also be used.
PREVENTION - Water change, water change and more water change. Check water parameters. Bad water quality and fish with physical damage usually encourage the onset of the disease. Always quarantine doubtful looking fish. Avoid cross-tank contamination. Washing hand with anti-bacterial soap before or after touching sick or dead fish. Bleach all tanks/accessories after fish died or healed.
DISEASE FLUKES â€“ Highly contagious external parasites belonging to the classes Trematoda and Cestoda species in the family Dactylogyridae parasitise the gills and digestive tract.
SYMPTOMS- Fishes show signs of extreme skin/gill irritability, continually scratching and scraping on rocks etc., and "flicking" the pelvic and dorsal fins against the side of the body. Gill plates are clamped or close tight or not functioning when breathing.
TREATMENT- Do 75% water change and treat the tank with formalin (Quick Cure, Formalite III and Livebearer) Feed sparingly and wash all filtrations. These diseases are extremely contagious.
PREVENTION- Maintain a much higher standard of aquasystem hygiene. Water change, water change and more water change. Always quarantine doubtful looking fish. Avoid cross-tank contamination. Washing hand with anti-bacterial soap before or after touching sick or dead fish. Bleach all tanks/accessories after fish died or healed.
*Ichthyopthirius Multifilis* (ICH, white spot disease)
DISEASE- Highly contagious. Caused by ciliated protozoan. Ichthyophthirius multifilis in freshwater tanks It is a pesky little parasite. It is very contagious. Caused by frozen live food which were contaminated with ich...
SYMPTOMS- Small, pure white, clearly-defined spots. Itâ€™s liked sprinkled with salt all over his body and head, even eyes. May be less active, may have stopped eating, fins may be clumped. Lethargic and they may scratch against rocks and gravel and show increased gill movement Ichtyophthirius has a direct fish-to-fish cycle and thus can build up quickly in the limited space of an aquarium.
TREATMENT- Do a 75% partial water change and treat immediately with appropriate medicine (Aquarisol + 1 tablespoon salt per 10 gallon). Ick is temperature sensitive, raising the water temperature to 85+ degrees for a few hours every 2 or 3 days may be effective. Ick is a parasite and highly contagious and is spread very easily it is recommended to treat the whole tank instead of individual fish.
PREVENTION- Quarantine newly purchased fish from LFS for 3-4 weeks or even from a reputable fish breeder. Water change, water change and more water change. Avoid cross-tank contamination. Washing hand with antibacterial soap before or after touching sick or dead fish. Bleached all tanks/accessories after fish died or healed. Washing newly purchased plants/accessories under running hot water may also protect from contaminations.
*Hexamita* (HITH, hole in the head)
DISEASE - caused by Hexamita Protozoa parasites (Hexamatiasis). It is very common on wild caught species and even in tank-bred specimens. Usually affects cichlids such as discus, angelfish, oscars and gouramis. This are the diseases that I always feared most. Highly contaigious.
SYMPTOMS- Small, whitish/greyish/or creamish "worms" crawl out of head region of Discus family fishes. Hexamita or Hexamatiasis also exists as a low level infection of the intestines. Not eating, lose weight, very dark coloration, white-stingy feces, clamped fins, lethargic and head standing.
TREATMENT- Do 75% water change. Treat it metronidazole. One capusule of 250 mg per 10 gallon. Metronidazole is not absorbed through the gills, therefore in order to be effective the fish must be forced fed thru syringe. If the fish doesnâ€™t improve, euthanasia is recommend to ends fish suffering.
PREVENTION- Water change, water change and more water change. Always quarantine doubtful looking fish. Maintain warm temperature. Do not feed with tubifex worms. Maintain oxygen level. Avoid cross-tank contamination. Washing hand with anti-bacterial soap before or after touching sick or dead fish. Bleach all tanks/accessories after fish died or healed.
DISEASE - MOUTH FUNGUS â€œHighly contagiousâ€ Caused by Chondrococcus columnaris bacteria.
SYMPTOMS- Greyish-white cotton wool like growths around mouth area.
TREATMENT Do 75 to 90% water change. Use a proper antibacterial agent. (Tetracycline and Maracyn II) Increase aeration and filtration to maximum acceptable level.
PREVENTION- Water change, water change and more water change. Check and maintain water parameters (Ammonia and Nitrate level). Never overfeed, do not feed "spoiled" foods. Always quarantine doubtful looking fish. Avoid cross-tank contamination. Washing hand with anti-bacterial soap before or after touching sick or dead fish. Bleach all tanks/accessories after fish died or healed.
*Swim Bladder Disease*
DISEASE- Caused by various factors, over feeding, sudden changes in temperature and feeding with spoiled food.
SYMPTOMS- Fish experiences difficulty in maintaining its position in the water, have difficulty swimming, because their swim bladder (located alongside the spine between the belly and the tail) is either too short (causing them to not be able to swim horizontally) or it is swollen (causing them to float on one side).
TREATMENT- Since there are various causes, specific treatment is difficult to recommend. Isolation of the fish in a tank with shallow water and temperature 5 degrees higher than the stock tank or pond may bring about an improvement. Addition of salt, up to 1 g/Liter may be worthwhile. Addition of a proprietary antibacterial agent may also help.
PREVENTION- Avoid sudden temperature fluctuation. Improve water quality. Do not over feed. Do not turned-off lights at night after feeding, wait 1 to 2 hours after.
These are the common diseases that I dealt with as a fish hobbyist. There are more diseases and illnesses that are not listed here. You can find more by searching the internet for a complete guide on fish diseases and treatments. Use medications only when really needed. Medication should be regarded as the last resort. Identify and diagnose the sick fish before medicating and donâ€™t over react when treating your sick fish. We always used the wrong medications when treating. As I said, medication is should be the last resort. Thereâ€™s an old saying "An once of prevention is better than treatment".
Use Medications SPARINGLY.....