Fish Fungus

Tips for Understanding and Dealing With Fish Fungus

Fish fungus is a common disease that affects aquarium fish. Although there are a number of types of fungus infections, one of the most common strains of fungus that infects fish is Saprolegnia. This type of fungus is also referred to as water mold. It will reproduce by releasing spores into the aquarium water. It is impossible to keep water molds out of fish tanks because it feeds off of waste, such as fish feces and discarded fish food. This fungus is often fatal if it isn’t caught early enough and treated.

The Saprolegnia fungus will usually feed off of dead matter, but if your fish are weak or stressed, this fish fungus will infect them, especially if the mucus covering the fish is damaged or if the tank is dirty. The most frequent cause for fish fungus infecting fish is because the fish are damaged due to not handling them gently. Fish may also develop fungus infection if there are problems with other fish nipping at their fins, or if the fish tend to fight. Also, if the fish have another type of disease that causes wounds, it can be infected with fungus.

Fish fungus can be a problem due to environmental stress too. Some conditions to watch out for to prevent this from happening include water that is too cold, bad water quality, and water that has not been treated properly with the right chemicals. 

It is not difficult to see if your fish are infected with fungus, they will appear to have a substance on them that will resemble cotton. If a fish does become infected with fish fungus it is necessary that they be treated as soon as possible. Fish that have fungus on them can also develop other diseases, such as fin rot, but keep in mind that fish fungus can kill the fish, even if there is not another infection.

There are several commercially available treatments for fish fungus and when you follow directions these treatments are safe for most fish, though there are some species that it isn’t safe for. These fish include delicate species, such as the stingray; you also cannot use this treatment in a tank that has invertebrates.

Another option is to remove the fish that is infected with fish fungus; this is recommended due to the fact that the fungus is not contagious and you really do not have to treat the whole tank. Simply put the infected fish into an isolation tank where it can be treated away from the rest of the livestock in the tank.

It isn’t too difficult to prevent fish fungus from becoming a problem to your tank’s occupants. The first thing you must do is try and prevent injury to your fish; to do this you will need to minimize how much you handle your fish, plus you should be careful about putting fish together that might fight.

Check the tank’s water quality on a regular basis, and keep the tank clean and free of organic matter; this includes dead fish and uneaten food. This should be done at least once a week when you do your water changes. Use an aquarium vacuum to clean through the gravel on the bottom of the tank and remove as much of the organic debris as possible. The cleaner your fish tank is, the fewer problems you are likely to have with fish fungus. Though there is no way to completely eliminate the problem of fungus in the fish tank, you can reduce it as much as possible by taking the time to care for your fish properly.