How to Cure Fungus on Aquarium Fish
If your fish has a white- or gray-colored growth on its mouth or body (often with a fluffy texture like cotton), it could have a fungal infection. Fungal infections can be caused by poor water quality or stress. They can quickly lead to secondary diseases so it is crucial to take action immediately. We will be discussing both the treatment options and ways to prevent fungus from returning in this article.
We recommend that any signs or symptoms of illness are immediately addressed by a professional. We want to make sure the fish’s environment is optimal and free of any stress factors before we start treatment. Scrub the glass so that you can easily see the fish’s condition, clean out the detritus in your filter, and use a siphon to vacuum the substrate and change the water. This article will provide a step-by–step guide for cleaning an aquarium.
Fungus is usually preventable. Therefore, the next step in treating the problem is to identify the cause. It’s not worth treating the fish if the cause of the problem isn’t addressed. Otherwise, the fungus could return in full force.
What causes fungus in fish?
Poor water conditions are a common cause of fungal infections. This is why we see so many betta fish suffering from this disease. They are often kept in small containers that have no heaters or filters. Bettas prefer temperatures between 78 and 80 degrees F. This means that they require a heater in rooms below this temperature. It is important to keep your bettas in an aquarium of at least 5 gallons to stop their waste from quickly fouling the tank. Doing regular partial water changes and adding live plants (especially floating plants) to a fish tank helps to remove toxic waste compounds before they affect your betta’s health.
Fish can also get fungus from nutrient deficiencies. To be healthy, fish, just like humans, require a balanced diet. Feeding fish from the same jar of flakes all the time is like feeding a person only hamburgers every day. Although they may be able to survive, their bodies are likely not in the best of health. You should ensure that your pets have access to a variety of food so they can get all the nutrients they need and that you provide them with high-quality, fresh foods. Yes, the expiration date on the container may say the food is good for another three years, but every time you open the container, more air and moisture get inside, causing the food to become stale in a matter of months. You can freeze the food if you don’t have enough fish for the entire jar. This will preserve the freshness of the food until you are ready to use it. Don’t use wet fingers to remove food from the container. This could cause food to turn moldy and can lead to other diseases.
To ensure that your fish get the essential nutrients they need to improve their immune system, eat a wide variety of high-quality food.
Many livebearers like fancy guppies and mollies often get fungal infections soon after bringing them home from the pet store. This article will explain why aquarium fish that are not as hardy are becoming more common. Therefore, it is more cost-effective to raise them in both fresh and saltwater. When your guppies have been raised in brackish water for their entire lives and then suddenly get dropped into a purely freshwater environment, they’re often left in a very weakened state that makes them susceptible to foreign pathogens like fungus spores.
Bottom line: aim to eliminate as many stress sources as possible. African cichlids should be less likely to be bullied or attacked by other animals. Vacuum the gravel more frequently for bottom dwellers, and keep the water quality high for sensitive species. Avoid keeping shy fish near bright TVs, bright lights, moving shadows, and high-traffic areas of your home. Consider moving older animals that have weaker immune systems into a “retirement tank” with less activity and competition.
How do you get rid of fungus on fish?
If your fish’s mouth shows signs of fungus or rot, we recommend using Maracyn. Certain bacterial infections (such as columnaris) look like cottony growths or grayish-white patches around the mouth and thus should be treated with an antibiotic. Clean the aquarium thoroughly and get rid of any chemical filtration such as activated carbon or Purigen. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions by using 1 packet for every 10 gallons of water, and then repeat every 24 hours for five days. Make sure to complete the full 5-day treatment of medication, even if the symptoms seem to disappear, because the infection could still be present in the fish’s system.
Maracyn and IchX may be used if the fungus has spread to other parts of the fish’s bodies. Ich-X contains formaldehyde, methanol, and malachite green chloride, which are effective against fungal infections. Clean the aquarium thoroughly and get rid of any chemical filtration before you start treatment. For minor fungal infections, you can use 1 packet Maracyn and 1 teaspoon of Ich-X for 10 gallons each. Let it soak for one full week, and make sure the symptoms completely disappear. You can use 1 packet Maracyn with 1 tsp Ich-X for 10 gallons of clean water. Repeat the process every 24 hours for five days.
Salt is a great treatment for both body and mouth fungus. Any form of salt that contains sodium chloride (NaCl), can be used. However, for this article we will use rock salt or aquarium salt.
We have discovered that salt is tolerated by most fish species, including tetras and barbs as well as African cichlids. However, other fish like anchor catfish are very sensitive to it and should never be exposed to salt. To make sure your fish can endure the salt treatment, start with a low concentration of 1 tablespoon of salt per 3 gallons of water. If the fish is healed after one week, gradually remove the salt via a series of weekly 30% water changes. If the fungus is still active you will need to increase the salt content. For detailed instructions on how to do this, please continue reading our full article on salt dosing. For a powerful combination against the fungus, you can use salt with IchX.
Will Other Fungal Medications Work?
Our experience shows that herbal remedies do not work well against fungal infections. Once the disease takes hold of a fish, they need stronger medications for a better chance of saving their lives. After years of managing a fish market and helping hundreds upon hundreds of customers, Maracyn and Ich-X are the only treatments that have proven effective against fish fungus.
Ultimately, fungal spores are always present in our aquariums, but full-blown infections are usually preventable. The key is to boost your fish’s health and give them the clean, stress-free environment and necessary nutrients they need to fight it off.
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