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Finrot

Finrot is a very common fish alignment that very often effects many tropical fish. Old, weakened and fish with long flowing fins are the most prone to fin rot. But luckily, fin rot is a progressive disease and cannot kill immediately however if left untreated, it will lead to death.

First aid Steps to Follow:

1. Do a water change, 100% if uncycled or 50% if cycled
2. Bump temperature to 82F
3. Add 1/2 tsp per gallon of aquarium salt *salt will kill plants
4. Cover the tank with a towel to dim it
5. Switch to a frozen-food only diet
6. Add Indian Almond Leaves *optional

Symptoms

Symptoms may include but not limited to:

- Fraying of fins, the fins turn white/translucent and frayed
- Blacking fins with the darkest part at the edges
- Fins with "dissolving" red edges sometimes accompanied by greying/blacking.
- General illness symptoms such as heavy breathing, clamping fins, lethargy and hiding

Fin damage should be progressive and slow eating away at the fins. If you have fins missing over night or with very clean edges and your fish no not exhibit general illnesss symptoms, you are more likely dealing with tailbiting. The bleeding fins should only be concentrated on the tips and fins, not all over the body, bloody streaks all over the place is septicemia.

Causes

Finrot is a disease of symptom, very often of unclean water or a basic need of your fish not being met. For bacteria to infect your fish, your fish would have been experiencing immune stress which is preventing your fish from properly preventing bacteria from entering its body. Bacteria are ALWAYS in all waters, generally, they cannot harm you fish if your fish is healthy and its immune system is functioning. Here are some common causes:

1. Ammonia poisoning, if you haven't been keeping up with water changes. Nitrogen waste stresses the fish's organs and supresses immunity and destory's the fish's slimecoat which protects it from bacteria and parasites. Is your water ammonia free? Water change on time?

2. Swining or low temperatures, colder and swinging temperature decreases metabolism and cell activity in your fish meaning bacteria and parasites have a better chance of invading your fish. Is your water at least 76F?

3. Open wounds, sometimes fish will cut itself on a piece of decoration or sometimes fish have behaviour faults like tail biting. Open wounds can become infected because it offers a opening for bacteria to enter the fish's body. Generally, these infections can fought off if your fish is healthy and in warm clean water.

4. Stress from moving or event, if your fish is brand new, recently moved tanks, accidently got dropped on the floor, and other major "shocks" will often cause a huge immune suppress, this can also lead to bacteria infections.

Treatment

Start by doing First aid steps listed at the top of the tank. DO NOT OVER MEDICATE OR UNDER MEDICATE, chemicals should be carefully used as they can supress your fish's immune system/organs and worsen the disease. NEVER use "half" doses or add a small amount of medication, this kills off the bacteria that are the most weak to the medication and leaving behind the ones that are resistant. This is how superbugs are born.

Mild Infections

If your fish is generally still pretty healthy such as that it does not exhibit any of the general symptoms like clamping, lethargy, hiding and is still swimming/eating than there is a good chance it can fight the infection by itself. Do the following:

1. Bump temperature to 82F-84F, this supercharges metabolism.
2. Add 3/4 tsp per gallon of aquarium salt (remember to remove your plants!), aquarium salt irritates the fish's scales and increases slime production which is the fish's natural defence against bacteria.
3. Feed frozen foods exclusively, frozen foods are easy to digest, has fresh protein and promote regrowth. Plus they reboot appietate.
4. Make sure the water is extra clean by doing more frequent water changes.

Remove salt after 7 days.

Major Infections

If your fish has lots of fin loss and is showing signs of being very unwell such as hiding, lethargy and refusing to eat than you want to use antibiotics because the fish's own immune system is proabbly overwhelmed. Do the following:

1. Bump temperature to 82F-84F, this supercharges metabolism.
2. Add 1/2 tsp per gallon of aquarium salt (remember to remove your plants!), aquarium salt irritates the fish's scales and increases slime production which is the fish's natural defence against bacteria.
3. Use a broad anti-bacteria, my favorite is API's Triple Sulfa but you can also try Maracyn Plus or even the cheap Tetra's Fungus Guard (which is broad anit-microbe). With any medication, becareful with your cycle if your tank is cycled.
4. If your fish is willing to eat, feed frozen foods exclusively, frozen foods are easy to digest, has fresh protein and promote regrowth.
5. Make sure the water is extra clean by doing more frequent water changes.

Follow the intsruction of your chosen medicine carefully! Sometimes the medication does not tell you how long to treat, in that case, treat for 5 days.

If after your intial round (by round I mean you followed the instruction and treated for the time it tells you to or you treated for 5 days) your fish is still sick than give your fish a 24 hr clean water break and start a second round.

Even if your fish is showing it is feeling better BEFORE you finish a round, DO NOT STOP. Treat until the indicated time on the instructions or 5 days.

Struggling Fish

If your fish is really struggling and having a hard time breathing and is on the edge, than you have to decide if your fish can take medication. Sometimes a struggling fish will die from medication. Medication is chemicals, which has has to be neutralized by the fish's body, it sometimes just overwhelms the fish. Do not partially medicate, it will not help. If your fish is laying on its side, it can no longer swim or floating lifelessly (but breathing) at the top of the water than at this point, turning back is hard, you may simply want to make its passing comfortable. If you decide to medicate, follow whats above for major infection. If you decide its too late, than do the following:

1. Keep temperature at 80F-82F
2. Keep the tank dark as possible
3. Remove current/filteration

Most struggling fish will die within 12Hrs to 48hrs, if your fish still is fighting on, than I suggest you try medication. Sometimes fish can survive near-death experiences.

Prevention

Finrot is extremely preventable because its progressive, occasionally you have really deadly fast acting bacteria but 99% of cases, its quite slow. Also, since the bacteria require a weak fish, if your fish is kept in optimal conditions than its very rare for it to get finrot! Really, the key is just to keep the tank warm and clean, feed good quality food and your fish should be safe.