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How To Spot Early Signs of Tropical Fish Disease


Wallpaper of fish
Guest contributor -
 Georgina Rayner (of Swell UK)

We all love our tropical aquarium fish, but sadly they will always be just as subject to illness as any other lifeform, and knowing just what signs to look for to spot a tropical fish disease can make a huge difference to your tank mortality rate.

Some tropical fish disease spread and work very quickly, so close monitoring (especially after new additions) is essential to give you the lifesaving ability to identify sickness early and prevent it taking hold in your tank.

Common tropical fish disease symptoms

A great fish keeper is always vigilant for signs of disease, and will seek advice and treatment ASAP. Here are a few to look out for:

Anchor Worms:

  • Scratching against objects in order to relieve pain and itching
  • Green/white threads coming from your fish’s skin
  • Inflammation around these points of contact

Gill Flukes:

  • Signs of infection around gills and skin.
  • Eye spots
  • General degradation of the gills, inhibiting the fish from breathing.


  • Bloating and inflammation of the body
  • Scales are raised off the skin due to the swelling


  • Listless and jerked behaviour as the fish tried to get rid of them kinetically
  • Rubbing on random objects to remove lice
  • Can see 8 legged lice on the body (may need magnifying glass)


  • White fur like growth on the body
  • Ressembles white mould (eg, left of a can of baked beans after a few days)


  • Stands for Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus
  • Bruises and blood from the skin around the entire body
  • Bulging eyes


  • White spots over body
  • Clamped fins
  • Scratching on objects
  • Gasping for air at the surface

Ragged Tail fin:

  • As it sounds – caused by bacterial infection

Fish 2

What to do if you spot any of these symptoms

The pathology of many of these disease works quickly, especially on smaller fish. Quarantine your fish immediately to help prevent the spread of the disease, and test your water chemistry using a reliable test kit.

You should contact your local stockist, a vet, or our team here at Swell UK, specialists in tropical fish tanks and supplies.  They can help you to find out the most likely cause, as well as possible treatments.

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Dog kisses fish(These are not tropical fish but just had to share their photo from Facebook) 




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If you like saltwater and freshwater fish check out

Thank you for the lovely article,I faced a similar problem few weeks ago where my fish developed fungus in its eyes,at that time, I used API Melafix ,which I ordered from aquaristic online and it really helped my fish.

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