Disease fish 1

Fish diseasesAs animal owners we are obliged to inform ourselves about the needs and nutrition of an animal before acquiring it and to keep and care for it in a manner appropriate to its species (§2 Animal Protection Act). Optimal husbandry and adherence to quarantine before introducing new animals into a pond or aquarium will prevent many diseases. But despite great care, it is not always possible to prevent fish from becoming ill. In such a case, we as keepers are almost always faced with a problem. While there is a veterinarian in almost every village who knows about mammals and can take care of dogs, cats and even hamsters, there are only a few specialist veterinarians for fish in Germany. In the rarest cases one has such an expert directly in the neighborhood. Therefore, we as pet owners have the task to judge what is wrong with our animals, how serious the disease is and how it has to be treated.

Identify a disease

To recognize a disease in fish correctly is not easy. For example, rapid hectic breathing of the fish may mean that – the animals are stressed or exhausted (z. B. in case of territorial fights or spawning), – there is a lack of oxygen in the water, – the gills have been damaged by a pH drop, – there is nitrite poisoning or – they have ammonia poisoning, – the animals are infested with gill worms or – the gills are slimy due to a bacterial infection. Since only the correct diagnosis allows a targeted, successful treatment, it is indispensable to first identify the actual cause before help can be given.

Getting an overview – diagnostic sheets for fish diseases

As the example with the rapid breathing above has shown, a conspicuous symptom alone is not enough for a reliable diagnosis. Therefore, it is helpful to first fill out a "diagnosis sheet" to work through. Such questionnaires or lists exist in different versions, but they all have the goal to learn as much as possible about the animals and the aquarium or pond. When filling in the form, you will learn what to look out for when observing the animals and you will possibly find the causes of the disease by yourself. Not only the possible symptoms on all body parts of the animals are queried with it, but also the water values, the size of the aquarium or the pond and some more. In marine aquariums, not only the health of the fish, but also that of invertebrates such as corals, anemones, shrimp, worms, sea urchins and starfish must be taken into account.

In case of unusual behavior of the animals it is advisable to do a water analysis first. Poisoning by nitrite or damage by an acid attack can then be detected immediately. A water change is then an effective immediate remedy until the causes can be identified and corrected.

Seek professional advice

Ideally, a veterinarian is available for advice on fish diseases. He or she has the necessary equipment for diagnosis. Can ie appropriate medication according to the current legal regulations. On the website of the Federal Association of practicing veterinarians there is a veterinarian search, where you can search for "ornamental fish" can be filtered.

An important contact point is the Department of Fish Diseases at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover. The institute offers, among other things, veterinary care for fish stocks, which also includes a consultation hour for sick fish from private individuals. In addition, dead fish can be sent in for examination.

Help for aquarists and pond owners is also offered by the Working Group Fish Diseases. The head of the working group is Dieter Untergasser, who published the book "Diseases of aquarium fish: diagnosis and treatment" has written. The telephone consultation is a free service of the Verband Deutscher Vereine fur Aquarien- und Terrarienkunde (VDA). Consultation appointments are always from Monday to Friday from 19 o'clock by Dieter Untergasser.

Already since the 1970s there are books on ornamental fish diseases.

Books as a source of information

The content of books on ornamental fish diseases usually comes from veterinarians, ornamental fish specialists or manufacturers of fish medications and is reviewed by an editorial board prior to publication. The books on fish diseases have been reprinted and expanded for decades whenever new diseases or parasites have appeared. They are therefore a reliable source of information when it comes to the assessment and diagnosis of fish diseases. Older books are well worth reading. Although they often contain only a few pictures or drawings, they are very detailed. "The sick fish" from D. Gunter Schmidt includes for example a tabular diagnostic aid with more than 130 characteristics. In this booklet from 1982 are ca. 140 different pathogens of fish diseases in freshwater aquarium, marine aquarium and pond listed. Among them more than 70 parasites on goldfishes. Newer books show the symptoms and the pathogens in color photos, which makes it easier for us laymen to recognize them. Books about fish diseases are not needed all the time. They also do not invite browsing. That is probably why only a few aquarists or pond owners have books on the subject of. At the members of the aquarium club Zierfischfreunde Warendorf there are several books on the subject, which can be consulted or borrowed. Lack of timeliness, however, can lead to problems with treatment recommendations of all books. It is possible that the recommended active substances against some pathogens are no longer approved or that resistant strains have developed in the meantime. Even if the book is only a few years old. Therefore the medication should always be checked in current sources.

In the hobby literature there are numerous books on the subject of.

The "Picture Atlas" has been published in several editions in German and English.

Also about the diseases of pond fish there are books.

Fish diseases in freshwater aquarium

Reichenbach-Klinke, H.-H., Korting, W. (1993): Diseases of aquarium fishes.- 4. Edition, Ulmer publishing house

Neumann, M. (2010): Diseases of fish in the aquarium.- Dahne publishing house, Ettlingen

Kolle, P. (2011): Fish Diseases: Prevention, Diagnosis, Therapy.- Franckh Kosmos Publishing House

Fish diseases in freshwater aquarium and pond

Bassleer, G. (2002): The new pictorial atlas of fish diseases in tropical ornamental and pond fishes.- Aquarium Munster

Untergasser, D. (2006): Diseases of aquarium fish: diagnosis and treatment. Extra: Diseases of garden pond fish.- Franckh Kosmos publishing house

Bassleer, G. (2011): The practical picture atlas of fish diseases.- Bassleer Biofish

Fish diseases in the pond

Lechleiter, S. (2015): Koi Primer Health.- 1. Edition, Dahne publishing house

Lechleiter, S., Small change D. W., Wedekind H. (2005): Diseases of koi and other garden pond fishes.- 3. Edition, Eigen Ulmer publishing house

Freshwater, seawater and pond

Schmidt, G. (1982): The sick fish.- 2. Edition

TerHofte B., Arend P. (2005): Healthy as the fish in the water?Fish diseases in aquarium and garden pond.- 14. Edition, Tetra-Verlag

Andrews, Chr., Exell, A., Carrington, N. (2015): Fish diseases: Prevention, detection, treatment.- Ulmer-Verlag

Fish diseases in sea water

Bassleer, G. (2000) : Fish diseases in the marine aquarium. Origin, recognition, treatment.- 2. Edition, Bassleer Biofish

These books are partly available from the club members of Zierfischfreunde Warendorf e. V. available and can also be borrowed from us.

Diagnostic aids on the Internet

There are several internet sites which help with the diagnosis. An overview of fish diseases can be found for example in the JBL-Online-Hospital. On the website it is possible to search for possible causes of the disease with the help of pictures or on the basis of descriptions. A list of symptoms and the possible causes is also available at Aqua-Tipps.

It is advisable to consult several websites or even a book to get as much information as possible. Some diseases can only be determined with the help of skin or gill swabs under the microscope.

Help from social media?

In the social media many aquarists are looking for "swarm knowledge". Unfortunately, however, expert knowledge is needed in the case of fish diseases. It is difficult to filter out which social advisor is the most competent one. This is why advice should be taken with a grain of salt. Basically, however, it is also true here that helpful tips can only be given on the basis of detailed information.

To put a fish out of its misery

Occasionally, a fish becomes so seriously ill or injured that it must be released from its suffering. Koi and the ornamental fish in the aquarium are vertebrates and are subject to the protection of the Animal Welfare Act. This means that no avoidable suffering, pain or harm may be inflicted on them and that they may only be killed for good cause and by a veterinarian or other competent person after prior stunning (§4 TierschG and Article 11 in the European Convention for the Protection of Pets of 1987). There are two possible methods for stunning ornamental fish: – blunt blow to the head (for fish from 15 – 20 cm body length) – administration of a substance with stunning effect (z. B. essential oil of cloves from the pharmacy)

The anesthetized animal is then killed with an incision through the neck, severing the spinal cord.

According to scientific studies, this procedure is associated with the least stress and suffering of the animals. The Lower Saxony State Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety has published an article on the "Emergency killing of privately kept ornamental fish – legal basis and its practical implementation" published. This includes a decision tree to help assess whether an animal should be emergency killed. There is also a detailed explanation of how to use anesthetics and how to tell if the fish is sufficiently anesthetized.

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