When it comes to pets, especially fish, it is not always easy to tell whether they are in good health. Unlike people, they cannot tell you if they aren’t feeling well and they may not even display any physical signs of illness. If you want to keep your aquarium (and the fish in it) healthy, however, you need to learn to recognize the signs of an unhealthy fish. The sooner you realize your fish is sick, the sooner you can quarantine him and seek treatment. Putting sick fish into quarantine is essential for preventing the spread of the disease – it also makes it easier to treat the sick fish in an environment where he will be able to rest and recover as quickly as possible.
Signs of a Healthy Fish
When observing and examining a fish to determine its condition, there are a number of different things you should look for. First, check the activity level of the fish – it should be swimming effortlessly rather than lolling on the bottom of the tank or swimming in circles. You should also be familiar enough with the normal activity levels of your fish to know if their behavior changes. If, for example, a normally calm fish begins darting around the tank, it could be a sign that something is wrong. Similarly, you can judge a fish’s eating habits to determine whether it is healthy or not. A healthy fish should exhibit a healthy appetite – they should not refuse food nor should they show disinterest in it.
In addition to the fish’s activity level, you should also examine its physical appearance. Many diseases that commonly affect aquarium fish work from the inside of the body out – that makes them difficult to diagnose. If you look closely, however, you may be able to spot abnormalities or changes in your fish’s condition that indicate disease. Start by checking the eyes of the fish – they should be clear and bright, no evidence of discharge or clouding. The fins should be straight and intact, not clamped to the sides of the body or ragged and torn. The scales should be smooth and even with no rough patches or places where they protrude from the body. The color of the fish should be uniform with no redness or discoloration.
Some obvious signs of disease to look for include:
- Red or inflamed gills
- White or grey spots or specks on the body/fins
- Swollen belly
- Gasping for breath
- Bent or abnormally curved spine
- Visible worms or parasites
- Patches of discoloration or bleeding
Keeping your fish and your fish tank healthy requires more than knowledge of how to identify disease. You also need to make sure the aquarium environment is clean and healthy so your fish remain healthy as well. To do so you will need to clean your tank on a regular basis, performing weekly and monthly water changes. You will also need to replace your filter media every three to four weeks and feed your fish a healthy diet. Water quality is incredibly important when it comes to keeping your fish healthy. In addition to performing water changes, you might also want to consider installing an EcoBio-Stone in your tank. EcoBio-Block products are made from volcanic rock and they are infused with beneficial bacteria which live and multiply in the block as well as the nutrients needed to sustain them. Beneficial bacteria play an important role in maintaining the nitrogen cycle in your tank which also has an effect on water quality and EcoBio-Stones keep bacteria levels constantly high. By installing an EcoBio-Stone in your tank you can ensure that your tank water stays clean and clear, making it a much healthier environment for your fish.