First Aid For Tropical Fish

Your “obvious” case of Ich may not be so obvious. 70% of all fish health problems are caused by stress, poor nutrition, or most of all: Water Quality. The other 30% of fish health maladies are actually caused by the parasites you think they are.

Tips on stress:

Shy fish need to be kept in schools and given hiding places. Aggressive fish (most cichlids) need to be kept alone, or with others of their own kind. Dusk-feeders (many catfish and knives) need to be fed sinking foods at dusk, or by half-light.

Tips on Nutrition:

The majority of fish do very well on Tetra’s Premium Tropical Flake Food, (in the yellow can with the brown lid). You should supplement this weekly in a basket-feeder with Bloodworms or Brine Shrimp, which are available live or frozen.
Larger fish and Cichlids need small fish to eat. Tiny guppies or larger goldfish can be affordably fed to these perpetually hungry, aggressive piscivores.

Contrary to time-honored tradition, Goldfish do not thrive on conventional “goldfish food”. For Goldfish under 3 inches, the best food is again, Tetra’s Premium Tropical Fish Flake Food. Over 3 inches, Hikari’s Oranda Gold (Mini) Pellets provide superior nutrition.
For best nutrition in virtually any ornamental fish, live or frozen foods should be fed frequently; from a basket feeder.

Tips on Water Quality:

You can easily test for the top two water quality killers, that’s pH and Ammonia. The test kits are cheap, and easy to use. I prefer the liquid reagent tests.
pH should be maintained between 6.6 to 7.0 for tetras and South American fishes.
pH should be kept above 7.2 for livebearers, goldfish barbs, etc.
For best results in most communities, you should buy a good Neutral Regulator.
You should also be aware that
pH can fall to low levels (5.5) very quickly and especially in older systems that are neglected.
Ammonia comes up in new systems or systems that are over-fed or under-filtrated.
Using an undergravel filter with a powerhead driver is a good idea, indeed, a GREAT idea as this mode of filtration is the cheapest, the most effective and carries the largest biological capacity.

What I’m using in my fishroom now are very large sponge filters driven by air pumps (one large airpump with taps) actually.

Ammonia should be removed, as it’s detected, with partial waterchanges, using a simple dechlorinator each time. Ammonia binding agents are not a very good idea because they can be pretty caustic, and they ignore the original problem which is either overfeeding, or under-filtration. BIOSEEDING accelerates the clearance of Ammonia and is strenuously recommended.

Tips on Parasites

If your fish are unhealthy, and you know that you are providing excellent water quality (by testing), good environmental husbandry, and superior nutrition, then you should finally consider a parasite.
If parasites are eventually suspected, you should know about Salt.
Salt is safe for most fish, very effective against alot of parasites, and does not harm your biological filter like Formalin and those caustic compounds do.
Salt (0.3%) clears common baddies including Ich, Chilodinella, Costia and Trichodina. These are the four most common fish killers we see in fish practice.

Use commercially available aquarium salt (or marine salt) and add one teaspoon per gallon daily for three days (total dose, three teaspoons per gallon). Leave it in there for 10 days and then gradually reduce it with water changes. Ich clears within 72 hours after the full application of salt. If fish are dying en masse, then you need to add the salt all at once. Certain live plants may be killed by salt. It’s best to remove these before salting.

Salt in Fish Systems For Parasites

Enter your email address for a free PDF of this article including its images.

Enter your Email Address

My Favorite Amazon Recommendations

Items and content will not show in "Reader View" check your browser.

This is The LCD Screen Scope
We Did The Tutorial With. I did a twenty page tutorial (Here's the tutorial) with video, audio, images and even little parasite movies to show you how to use a microscope. 

This Filter is Good For BIG Dirty Tanks
I've been wrestling with water quality with the turtles. The sponges work GREAT, but in THOSE turtle systems where they eat MICE the poops are bulky. This filter can handle it. In "Tortu's" tank, it's got an 800 gph pump and it rocks. 

PraziPro for Flukes
They nailed it. Figured out the solubility and worked out the dosing. It works. 

Buy Some Good Koi?
No, this isn't really for the 'high end' collector y'all. But for someone who isn't near a decent garden center, here are "good-to-quite-good" Koi you will like at a very good price. I know these guys personally.

Best Food, Ever
It's made for (and I discovered it for) my Blood Parrots but the small size, intense color enhancers and excellent formulation make it superb young-Koi food. Oh, and it's AMAZING on color-cichlids like Flowerhorn and Blood Parrots. 

Pro Air 60 Aerator is a VERY high output air pump pushing my whole fish room (17+ drops), and I have one at home driving everything there, and I have one as a back up. 

Formalin Malachite (Not dilute)
There are formalin malachite preparations at 10%, 22% and 37%. There's economy in the concentrates. Hard to get Prime shipping because air transport is curtailed. This is a good value on 32 ounces. 

Topical For Koi and Pond Fish Ulcers
I like 7% tincture of iodine because it stains but it's hard to hurt anything with it. Used with a WOVEN gauze, this works well to clean and disinfect a wound. Only use ONCE. Do not 'repeatedly' scrub wounds. 

Confectioner's Glaze 
Is the way to bind a medication to fish food. Gone are the days of paste food and oil. The write up is done, it's RIGHT HERE.

Koi Health & Disease
Hopefully this link takes you to the newest edition by PRIME to get it to your house the fastest. 

I have over ten of these Titanium Heaters in my fish room and at home. They're a paradigm shift in aquarium heating. They're titanium and 400W for under $30! Whaaaaaaaaat?

CyroPro by Hikari is safe and easy for Anchor Worms and Fish Lice.

Whatever heaters you use, back yourself up with a temperature controller, it'll turn on, and off your heaters. If your heater seizes "on" at least the thermostat will stop a tragedy. 

LifeGuard by Tetra is a tablet version of a tame 'chloramine-t' or 'halamid' compound that's easy to get and good on bacterial infections, in baths. 

If you're making medicated feed for a larger group of fish, this will come in handy. Dosing is available in the site. 

For me, filtration-of-choice
For aquariums, even small Koi holding facilities or small ponds. These sponge filters are cheap, easy to clean, and they clear hazes very well when used with some Accuclear or similar.

Rubber sided, round, nettable tanks
Make great hospital or quarantine facilities. They SHOULD cost about $200-300 depending on size, but this, lower quality unit (while panned in some reviews) may be good. Don't overfill and make sure it's propped up.

1200 Watt heater, on a thermostat held securely above the waterline, works GREAT as a large tank heater. That's all I'll say because there's risk of electrocution and all that. But then, even in a bucket you could get killed. Sound like fun?
I have several of these ALLIED PRECISION stainless ones that are a couple years old. Working still. 

Potassium Permanganate 
500 grams could be a lifetime supply but it's 50% more than the 100g cost wise, for 500% more amount. Dosing is in the site and the book.

What Does Ajax Eat?
I looked for something well formulated, with meat as the first ingredient. Something UNDER $2/lb and something they could deliver for free. And this was it. He looks and feels great on it.