Treatments & Diseases for Marine Fish

Marine Fish

Most living organisms can suffer illness at one time or another. The most effective way to deal with this reality is to prevent, rather than wait for a possible problem. The consequences of having to treat a stocked aquarium with a medication can be stressful and damaging in itself. Many plants, fish and helpful bacteria can suffer as a result of using medication.

You need to get to know your fish well if you are going to be able to spot disease or illness before it becomes untreatable, so spend time observing your fish, how they move and interact with their environment.

 
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Marine Whitespot Disease

Other Names:
Saltwater Ich, Cryptocaryon Irritans

Symptoms:
Flicking and scratching against rocks and other surfaces, small white spots resembling sugar covering fins and body.

Comments:
This disease is highly infectious and can spread rapidly to other fish in the tank. Rapid treatment is highly recommended. If treated in a reasonable amount of time it is usually not fatal.

Treatment:
If the infestation is minor, a 5 minute freshwater bath may prove effective. Discontinue the freshwater bath if the fish begins to become overly stressed. For more major infestations, use copper-based medications to kill the cryptocaryon parasites. In a reef tank environment, the infected fish must be moved to a hospital tank for treatment. Never add copper compounds to an aquarium containing invertebrates. Some new treatments have appeared on the market recently which claim to control parasites in the marine aquarium. Consult your local aquarium dealer for more information.

Prevention:
Insure good water quality and temperature parameters to prevent animals from getting stressed. Stress breaks down the protective mucous coating on a fish and allows parasites to gain a foothold. Additionally, any new fishes should be given a short freshwater bath and kept in a quarantine tank for two to three weeks before being introduced into the main aquarium. The use of an ultraviolet sterilizer has also been shown to help prevent outbreaks of this disease.

Marine Fish

MARINE VELVET DESEASE

Other Names:
Saltwater Ich, Coral Fish Disease, Oodinium, Amyloodinium Ocellatum

Symptoms:
Flicking and scratching against rocks and other surfaces, rapid breathing, tiny white spots covering the body that give it a white velvet appearance.

Comments:
This is without a doubt the most infectious and deadly marine fish disease. The tiny parasites multiply quickly and eventually move into the gill plates of the fish causing slow suffocation. It can easily spread to other fish in the tank. If not treated immediately, it can cause death in only a few days. Rapid treatment is mandatory for the survival of the fish.

Treatment:
Use copper-based medications to kill the amyloodinium parasites. In a reef tank environment, the infected fish must be moved to a hospital tank for treatment. Never add copper compounds to an aquarium containing invertebrates. Some new treatments have appeared on the market recently which claim to control parasites in the marine aquarium. Consult your local aquarium dealer for more information.

Prevention:
Insure good water quality and temperature parameters to prevent animals from getting stressed. Stress breaks down the protective mucous coating on a fish and allows parasites to gain a foothold. Additionally, any new fishes should be given a short freshwater bath and kept in a quarantine tank for two to three weeks before being introduced into the main aquarium. The use of an ultraviolet sterilizer has also been shown to help prevent outbreaks of this disease.

Marine Fish

Black Spot Disease

Other Names:
None

Symptoms:
Flicking and scratching against rocks and other surfaces, small black spots on the body.

Comments:
This disease is caused by small parasitic worms. The black spots are usually not as numerous as those in white spot disease. Also, black spot disease is not nearly as deadly.

Treatment:
If the infestation is minor, a 5 minute freshwater bath may prove effective. Discontinue the freshwater bath if the fish begins to become overly stressed. For worse cases, use a copper or trichlorofon based solution. In a reef tank environment, the infected fish must be moved to a hospital tank for treatment. Never add copper compounds to an aquarium containing invertebrates. Some new treatments have appeared on the market recently which claim to control parasites in the marine aquarium. Consult your local aquarium dealer for more information.

Prevention:
Insure good water quality and temperature parameters to prevent animals from getting stressed. Stress breaks down the protective mucous coating on a fish and allows parasites to gain a foothold. Additionally, any new fishes should be given a short freshwater bath and kept in a quarantine tank for two to three weeks before being introduced into the main aquarium. The use of an ultraviolet sterilizer has also been shown to help prevent outbreaks of this disease.

Marine Fish

Gill and Fin Flukes

Other Names:
None

Symptoms:
Flicking and scratching against rocks and other surfaces, rapid breathing, cloudy eyes, white patches on body, worm-like parasites sometimes visible but not always.

Comments:
This is another disease that is highly infectious and can be fatal if not treated quickly. It is caused by small worm-like parasites. They multiply quickly and can clog the gill of the fish causing slow suffocation.

Treatment:
A freshwater bath will provide immediate relief for the fish by killing most of the parasites. A long saltwater bath with methylene blue is also helpful. Some new treatments have recently been introduced. Contact your local aquarium dealer for more information about these.

Prevention:
Insure good water quality and temperature parameters to prevent animals from getting stressed. Stress breaks down the protective mucous coating on a fish and allows parasites to gain a foothold. Additionally, any new fishes should be given a short freshwater bath and kept in a quarantine tank for two to three weeks before being introduced into the main aquarium. The use of an ultraviolet sterilizer has also been shown to help prevent outbreaks of this disease.

Marine Fish

Bacterial Finrot

Other Names:
None

Symptoms:
Erosion of fins and fin rays, reddened areas, lethargy, poor appetite.

Comments:
This disease is usually associated with stress, sometimes brought on by poor water quality. Healthy animals can usually resist infections. Finrot usually begins as a mild external infection causing a reddening of the base of the fins. In severe cases, the animal's body and mouth may be eaten away.

Treatment:
Identify the source of stress and correct the problem. If this does not correct the problem, the animal should be treated with antibiotics in a hospital tank. Adding antibiotics to the main aquarium can kill invertebrates and damage the biological filter.

Prevention:
Insure good water quality and temperature parameters to prevent animals from getting stressed. Stress breaks down the protective mucous coating on a fish and allows bacteria to gain a foothold. The use of an ultraviolet sterilizer may help prevent outbreaks of this disease.

Bacterial Infection

Other Names:
Pseudomonas,Vibrio

Symptoms:
Reddened, frayed fins with open sores, rapid respiration, cloudy eyes, poor appetite, lethargy, weight loss, abdominal swelling.

Comments:
This disease is usually associated with stress, sometimes brought on by poor water quality. Healthy animals can usually resist infections.

Treatment:
Identify the source of stress and correct the problem. If this does not correct the problem, the animal should be treated with antibiotics in a hospital tank. Adding antibiotics to the main aquarium can kill invertebrates and damage the biological filter.

Prevention:
Insure good water quality and temperature parameters to prevent animals from getting stressed. Stress breaks down the protective mucous coating on a fish and allows bacteria to gain a foothold. The use of an ultraviolet sterilizer may help prevent outbreaks of this disease.

Marine Fish

Lymphocystis

Other Names:
Cauliflower Disease

Symptoms:
Small warty clumps on the fins that resemble small cauliflowers.

Comments:
This disease is caused by a virus and often looks worse than it is. It is rarely fatal and will usually clear up on its own if optimum water quality is maintained.

Treatment:
There is no effective treatment for this disease. A short freshwater dip may help. Maintain optimum water quality and symptoms should improve with time. If a secondary bacterial infection should occur, move the animal to a hospital tank and treat with antibiotics.

Prevention:
Insure good water quality and temperature parameters to prevent animals from getting stressed. Stress breaks down the protective mucous coating on a fish and allows the virus to gain a foothold. Additionally, any new fishes should be given a short freshwater bath and kept in a quarantine tank for two to three weeks before being introduced into the main aquarium.

Marine Fish

Marine Fungus

Other Names:
Ichthyophonus, CNS Disease

Symptoms:
Darkening in color, sandpaper appearance of skin, poor appetite, listlessness.

Comments:
This disease is usually associated with stress, sometimes brought on by poor water quality. This is not a very common disease and treatment is very difficult. The fungus is usually introduced into the tank when adding new animals.

Treatment:
Treatment for this disease is difficult. Improve the environment and remove any possible causes of stress. Try a proprietary anti-fungal medication in a hospital tank. Food soaked in phenoxetol can also be effective if the fish is eating.

Prevention:
Insure good water quality and temperature parameters to prevent animals from getting stressed. Stress breaks down the protective mucous coating on a fish and allows the fungus to gain a foothold. Additionally, any new fishes should be given a short freshwater bath and kept in a quarantine tank for two to three weeks before being introduced into the main aquarium.

 
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Starting With Marine Fish

Cascade has grown its Marine fish and Invertibrate section and both branches now offer Quality Marine fish and Invertibrates. We quarantine all our marine fish and only sell healthy feeding marine fish.

Marine Filtration

Cascade stock filters from Hagen, Interpet, Aqua One. We can advise on all aspects of marine filtration. Internal filters, Power Skimmers, External filters and Ultra Violet steralisers to keep your marine system running smoothly.

Red Sea Max Reef System

The Red Sea MAX is a fully featured, plug-and-play reef aquarium designed to make reef keeping easier, more fun and more successful.

Treatments and Diseases

Information about the reasons behind different saltwater fish diseases and how to avoid them, treat them and – if possible – cure them. Some of the most commonly occurring fish diseases in saltwater aquariums are Marine Velvet, Marine White Spot Disease.

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