11. Fish Disease Symptoms

One caution about diagnosing fish diseases. Even with a microscopic examination fish diseases are not easy to diagnose. Most hobbyists have only what their eyes tell them to go on as to what any fish disease is. This means that diagnosis of any fish disease is simply a “best guess”. And these “best guesses” are frequently wrong. So keep this in mind in ALL the following symptom articles.

Unfortunately, diseases of fish do not come with signs saying things like “I have hexamita”. Therefore one must look at the symptoms. And one symptom can have several different “causes”. This is known as “multifactorial aetiology” by scientists. These symptoms are oftentimes termed “syndromes”.  Each of these sections looks at the most likely candidates for any given symptom:

11.1. Hole-in-the-head Syndrome (links to aquariumscience.org)

11.2. Stringy White Poop (links to aquariumscience.org)

11.3. Malawi Bloat (links to aquariumscience.org)

11.4. Dropsy (links to aquariumscience.org)

11.5. Hollow Belly (links to aquariumscience.org)

11.6. Swim Bladder Disease (links to aquariumscience.org)

11.7. Shimmying (links to aquariumscience.org)

Tropheops Red Cheek Chizumulu
Tropheops Red Cheek Chizumulu

11.8. Twirling (links to aquariumscience.org)

11.9. Spinal Deformities (links to aquariumscience.org)

11.10. White Skin Blotches (links to aquariumscience.org)

11.11. Red Skin Blotches (links to aquariumscience.org)

11.12. Neon Tetra Disease (links to aquariumscience.org)

11.13. Slime Coat Disease (links to aquariumscience.org)

11.14. Scaly Skin (links to aquariumscience.org)

11.15. Fish Not Eating (links to aquariumscience.org)

11.16. Aggression (links to aquariumscience.org)

11.17. Black Death (links to aquariumscience.org)

11.18. Black Head Syndrome (links to aquariumscience.org)

11.19. Gas Bubble Disease (links to aquariumscience.org)

Note that there is one “symptom” which isn’t a “symptom”. Fish very commonly “flash” and “scratch” against the substrate and rocks. This is especially common after a water change. Unless they are doing this 100% of the time it probably is just an ich they had to scratch. It is nothing serious. If it is constant and really bad it can indicate chlorine poisoning, organics in the water, ick or flukes.

Sciaenochromis fryeri OB
Sciaenochromis fryeri OB

In addition here are some general articles which will be useful when treating any fish disease:

12.1. Basics of Treatment (links to aquariumscience.org)

12.2. Various Treatments Summarized (links to aquariumscience.org)

12.3. Quarantine Tanks (links to aquariumscience.org)

12.4. Ineffective Medications (links to aquariumscience.org)

12.5. Fish Don’t Drink (links to aquariumscience.org)

12.6. Sterilization (links to aquariumscience.org)

12.7. Making Medicated Food (links to aquariumscience.org)

12.8. Euthanizing a Fish (links to aquariumscience.org)

12.9. Avoiding Fish Diseases (links to aquariumscience.org)

12.10. The “Shotgun” Approach (links to aquariumscience.org)

Tropheus moorii cf. Ikola
Tropheus moorii cf. Ikola

These articles in turn are in addition to all the articles on specific diseases:

10.1. Diseases in General (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.2. External Protozoans (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.2.2. Ich (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.2.3. Velvet (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.2.4. Epistylis (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.2.5. Chilodonella and Costia (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.2.6. Tetrahymena (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.2.7. Cryptobia (links to aquariumscience.org)

Synodontis flavitaeniatus
Synodontis flavitaeniatus

10.3. Bacterial Diseases (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.3.1. Skin Ulcers (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.3.2. Mouth Rot (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.3.3. Duck Lips (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.3.4. Fin Rot (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.3.5. Saddleback (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.3.6. Red Blotches (links to aquariumscience.org)

Pseudocrenilabrus nicholsi
Pseudocrenilabrus nicholsi

10.3.7. White Eyes (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.3.8. Pop Eyes (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.3.9. Red Gills (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.4. Tuberculosis (Fish TB) (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.5. Hexamita (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.6. Flukes (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.7. Fish Saprolegnia or “Fungus” (links to aquariumscience.org)

Synodontis eupterus Featherfin Squeeker Catfish
Synodontis eupterus Featherfin Squeaker Catfish

10.8. Lymphocystis (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.9. Anchor Worms (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.10. Black Spot (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.11. Tapeworms (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.12. Nematodes (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.12.1. Camallanus (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.12.2. Capillaria (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.13. Pests in the Aquarium (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.14. Fish Lice (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.15. Dwarf Gourami Disease (links to aquariumscience.org)

10.16. Graphite Disease in Bettas (links to aquariumscience.org)

Pseudeotropheus perspicax Puulu Red Top
Pseudeotropheus perspicax Puulu Red Top

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Translated in dutch by : Joost Abrahams
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