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Tips on preventing illness in pet fish

   26 May 2017   l   Justin Steyn    l   Views: 240   l   9 months ago  


When acquiring a pet fish, it is sometimes hard to remember that there is a lot of patience and maintenance involved to keep these aquatic animals healthy and safe.

The Post spoke to Twanet van der Linde of the Jedtwa Wildlife Centre about the important things to look out for in keeping fish healthy.

“Owning a fish tank has always been one of the most popular pet fascinations we keep in our homes. There are several benefits from looking at fish swimming and swirling in a tank. However, due to unforeseen deaths in pet fish, people just give up on this hobby and dust it off as a bad experience,” she said.

According to Van der Linde, the first step is to identify the cause of the illness.

She said in most cases poor water quality is the cause of sickness in fish.

“The best thing to do when you establish a new fish tank, is to have a medical tank established as well. Infected fish will contaminate your main tank fast and the illness will spread rapidly if left untreated. The infected fish should be removed immediately and placed in a separate tank for treatment. The medical tank is not only used for ill fish, but can be used as an isolation tank for new fish you would like to introduce to your main tank,” she said.

Van der Linde said gold fish are common household fish, but are often exposed to parasites such as anchor worms and fish leaches. 

“Fish leaches and anchor worms stick to the fish’s body causing irritation which leads to the fish swimming frantically and rubbing against rocks causing damage to the fish’s scales. This parasite should not be removed directly as it leaves an open wound leading to a fungus infection,” Van der Linde said.

She explained that the best way to deal with a parasite is to place the fish in a separate tank and add worm treatment to the water.

The biggest enemy of any tank according to Van der Linde is fungus. 

“Fungus is one of the worst things to have in your tank. It spreads fast, dies hard and returns with a vengeance. The fungus looks like a flaky white substance that destroys the scales of the fish and also harms their organs. Fish that are infected should be removed immediately and water treatment for both your main tank and isolation tank should start as soon as possible. In most cases the fungus is eradicated and the fish seem to be fine, but keep an eye out when you introduce remaining fish back into your main tank as the fungus can return at a rapid pace,” she warned.

Van der Linde added that if fish become ill, owners should test their tank’s water quality.

“Check the PH-balance and make sure the filters are clean. Also, make sure to perform regular water treatments one a month. It is a hard hobby to start but a very rewarding feature in your home once you get the hang of it,” she said 




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