How To Identify And Treat Common Aquarium Fungal Infections

Posted on: 4 June 2015

Fungal infections can be detrimental to the health of your fish, and once fungus takes hold of one fish it can quickly spread and infect your entire aquarium if you don't spot it and treat it quickly. Injured or diseased fish, poor water quality and not cleaning your tank regularly enough are common causes of fungal infestations in aquariums. Here's how to identify and treat three common fungal infections:

Egg Fungus

If you breed your fish you should inspect the eggs daily and use a pipette to remove any that look damaged as these will attract fungus. Egg fungus has a fluffy white appearance and destroys any eggs it infects. If you have an egg fungus infestation you can add methylene blue dye, which is a powerful antifungal, to your aquarium after removing the infected eggs. This will prevent any further infestation and can also be used as a pre-emptive treatment as soon as eggs start to appear.

Cotton Wool Disease

This is a highly contagious fungal infection that causes a fluffy white growth around the mouth and fins. It can also cause a grey film coating on the skin of aquarium fish. Separate any infected fish from the general population as soon as you notice any symptoms and treat all of your fish with a fungal treatment powder that contains phenoxyethanol, which will both disinfect the tank and tackle the fungus.  The powder is simply added to the tank, but be sure to follow the guidelines on the pack that will explain how much of the powder to use for the size of your aquarium.

Gill Rot

Fish infected with gill rot will appear coated in mucus and their gills will gradually be eaten away by the fungus, leaving the fish unable to breathe. Branchiomyces is the offending fungus in this often fatal infection and it thrives in tanks with high levels of ammonia or nitrate. There are two steps to treating gill rot.

Firstly, tackle the existing fungal outbreak with the same fungal treatment powder you would use for cotton wool disease. Secondly, help the fish afflicted with gill rot to breathe more easily by increasing the oxygen levels in the aquarium. You can do this with an air pump, which has the added benefit of removing harmful gases and improving the water quality of the aquarium.

Your local aquarium shop can give you advice on the best air pumps and antifungal treatments for the size of your aquarium and the type of fish you keep, so use their expertise to keep your fish healthy. To learn more, contact a company like Salt Aquariums.