Tropical fish diseases

Your fish can suffer from tropical fish disease and parasites. If a fish actually has parasites, it’s highly recommended to separate the fish in question from every other aquatic life in your fish tank. Taking the fish out of the aquarium into a portable container is probably the best way to do so. Otherwise the parasites will most likely spread through the whole fish tank until all fish are infected. Here is a list of parasites that are common among tropical fish:

Fish Lice

This parasite is tricky: it is hard to spot, since it will hide itself by taking on the same color as its host. The host fish will try to get rid of the lice by rubbing its body against stones or plants.

The Anchor Worm

The worm pushes its head into the flesh of its prey. The parasite infection looks like a small white worm that comes out of your fish and looks like a tiny tentacle. It is hard to remove due to its anchor-shaped head. If the parasite is pulled out by force the fish will suffer a bleeding wound.

The Leech

Leeches feed on blood and should be removed as soon as possible. Although the leech leaves the fish as soon as it is full, the blood loss might be lethal for delicate tropical fish.
Pulling off the parasite by grasping it can cause regurgitation and leave parts of the leech’s jaw attached to the wound, increasing the risk of infection. A better method is to use a fingernail to break the seal of the oral sucker at both ends of the leech. Start off with the small end and then continue with the larger end. The leech will detach its jaws as soon as the sucker’s seal is broken.


There are two common types: While skin flukes attaches to the skin of your tropical fish and cause swelling, gill flukes will make it hard for the fish to breath. The gills will turn pink and the fish will probably stay at the water surface where it can breath easier.

Ichthyophthirius multifiliis

The so called ‘ich’ or ‘white spot’ is the most common tropical fish disease, caused by probably the most common freshwater parasite. The typical behavior of an infected fish includes loss of appetite, rubbing itself against objects, flashing and hiding abnormally. Once a fish in your fish tank is infected, a quarantine is necessary to prevent the fish from spreading the tropical fish disease.


The microscopic parasite causes the ‘gold lust disease’, named after the golden patterns that will appear on the scales of your fish. Once your fish are infected, the tropical fish disease can be treated with copper salts, which destroys the parasites in your water.

In order to prevent any form of parasites and fish disease, take good care of your fish and the fish tank. Since nearly every parasite can be spotted, make sure to take a good look at your aquatic friends every day. Fighting the parasite before it develops can prevent the outbreak of a tropical fish disease.

Learn special techniques and tips from a real professional. Check out my review of a complete guide to tropical fish care on my blog. Here’s the link:

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