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How to tell if your fish are healthy


If they're well taken care of during the course of their lives, aquarium fish will not likely get sick. But illnesses may occur, so it's important to be vigilant in managing and containing illnesses and prevent situations from escalating into uncontrollable health issues.

The key is to routinely evaluate their physical appearance on a daily basis and watch for certain tell-tale indicators of their state of health.

Observing and regularly appraising aquarium inhabitants are effective ways of anticipating and controlling health issues further down the road.

Here are a few things to look for:

• Fish fins should be straight, scales intact, and no red spots
• Gills should be red on the inside, not discoloured, distended or swollen
• Eyes should be clear, not cloudy
• Generally, fish should be actively eating and swimming. However, specific breeds are naturally timid and reclusive and may not be sick
• White downy growths, white spots (the size of a grain of salt), holes, ulcerations or protuberances are signs of illnesses
• In species that have a translucent body, there should be no whitish part on the body
• Torn or damaged body parts may indicate fighting and territorial disputes

Early recognition and diagnosis of any observable physical abnormalities will allow timely treatment and improved chances of success. It may also help you quickly identify and isolate the illness before it spreads throughout the fish community.

Also keep these general guidelines in mind when you go out to purchase new fish for your aquarium. Don't buy fish that are in a tank with fish that appear to be already sick. Chances are that the healthy fish will likely get sick too.

Regular use of water conditioners such as Nutrafin Cycle and Aqua Plus can contribute significantly to providing optimal water quality and reducing fish stress.