Tropical Fish Problem Solver Chart

Used with permission from our good friends at JungleŽ Labs



ABOUT CITY WATER

    City water and well water may contain chemicals which are toxic to freshwater aquarium fish.  START RIGHT neutralizes most foreign chemicals found in water, such as bromine, chlorine, fluorine and iodine and will neutralize many harmful heavy metals.  For this reason, it is wise to use START RIGHT with every partial or total water change. 

    Nitrites, which are found in all aquarium water, cause a fish blood condition known as methemoglobinemia.  Methemoglobin (brown blood) cannot carry sufficient amounts of oxygen, and so nitrites slowly rise, depriving the fish of oxygen.  New fish may die in a short time when added to nitrite laden water.  START RIGHT contains special chloride ions which help guard fish against nitrite poisoning at up to twenty times normal levels.

Please Note:  We recommend you remove any activated carbon from your filter(s) when treating fish diseases.

 

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Problem

Appearance

Cause

Proper Action

Notes

ACID WATER Acidic water can irritate gills and shin.  Fish may dart and gasp. Acid from food waste or decayed food. Use pH INCREASER. Check pH with test kit To reduce acid buildup, change 10% of the water by siphoning from bottom of tank once a week.  Add pH STABILIZER to maintain desired pH.
ADDING NEW WATER Fish may act distressed. Chlorine, chloramines, copper or ammonia in the water Use START RIGHT if chlorine is present.  Use ACE if ammonia or chloramines are present. START RIGHT neutralizes chlorine, copper, heavy metals and harmful gases instantly.  Guards against nitrite poisoning.  Stimulates natural slime coat on fish.
ALGAE OUTDOORS (GREEN SLIME) Green mat on bottom or the water is green. Light too strong.  Water too alkaline.

Use POND BLOCK.

 Add pH DECREASER

Shade pool if possible.  Keep pH 7 or better pH 6.5 with pH DECREASER.  Add pH STABILIZER to maintain desired pH.
ALKALINE WATER White water line.  Plants die, fish have frayed fins.  Alkaline water can destroy gill and fin tissues.  Ammonia becomes more toxic. Seashells or limestone in tank or hard water supply. Use pH DECREASER or NATURAL COLORS.  Use a JUNGLE WATER SOFTENER. A JUNGLE WATER SOFTENER will discourage green slime and keep white water line from forming on the glass.  Add pH STABILIZER to maintain desired pH.
AMMONIA IN WATER Fish die.  Water may be cloudy. Product of decaying wastes. Use AMMONIA SORB, AMMONIA SORBER, or ACE. To lower high ammonia levels use ACE AMMONIA CHLORAMINE ELIMINATOR
ANCHOR WORM Threadlike worms hanging from fish.  Base of anchor worm may be red. A parasitic crustacean.  (Lernaea) Use PARASITE GUARD. Use heavy aeration, as dead parasites may otherwise cause water to become cloudy.
ARGULUS Quarter inch bubble like lumps slowly moving on skin and fins. A parasitic crustacean.  Sometimes Ergasilus also. Use PARASITE GUARD. Use heavy aeration, as dead parasites may otherwise cause water to become cloudy.

Problem

Appearance

Cause

Proper Action

Notes

BETTA PINCH FIN Fish floats with fins closed. Gill parasites. Use PARASITE GUARD. Use heavy aeration, as dead parasites may otherwise cause water to become cloudy.
BLACK SPOT Small black specks on skin. Small fish worms.  (Diplostomulum) Use PARASITE GUARD. Use heavy aeration, as dead parasites may otherwise cause water to become cloudy.
BLOODY FINS Red streaks on fins, especially goldfish. Gyrodactylus parasites  (monogenetic trematodes*). Use PARASITE GUARD. Use heavy aeration, as dead parasites may otherwise cause water to become cloudy.

Problem

Appearance

Cause

Proper Action

Notes

CHLORAMINE IN CITY WATER Fish dying within 24 hours due to blood poisoning.  Gills become brown. Water company adding chloramine as a substitute for chlorine. Use ACE- AMMONIA CHLORAMINE ELIMINATOR ACE is a safe and easy way to eliminate chloramine, ammonia and chlorine.  Use with START RIGHT to fully condition the water.
CHLORINE IN WATER SUPPLY Fish darts about.  Gills pump furiously. Chlorine added to water supply to kill bacteria. Use START RIGHT START RIGHT neutralizes chlorine, copper, heavy metals and harmful gases instantly.  Guards against nitrite poisoning.  Stimulates natural slime coat on fish.
CLAMPED FINS Fins held close to body, especially in livebearing fish. Gill or body parasites. Use PARASITE GUARD. Use heavy aeration, as dead parasites may otherwise cause water to become cloudy.
CLOUDY WATER INDOORS Water not crystal clear in established tanks. Wastes, small animal and plant life.  Possibly overfeeding. Use CLEAR WATER. Good filtration improves clarity.  Check for overfeeding or overlighting.  Install JUNGLE MIRACLE UNDERGRAVEL FILTER.
CLOUDY WATER IN NEW TANK Small particles suspended in the water causing a cloudy look. Floating silts from gravel especially a newly setup tank. Use MAGI CLEAR. Use CLEAR WATER in old established tanks to clear odors due to overfeeding.
CLOUDY WATER  OUTDOORS Water not crystal clear. Wastes, small animal and plant life. Use POND BLOCK. Direct sunlight should be avoided if possible.  Shade pools with plantings or awnings.
COLUMNARIS White cotton sprouting from fins or body. A bacteria, Flexobacter (Chondrococcus). Use FUNGUS GUARD or FUNGUS ELIMINATOR. Can enter other aquariums by splashing water or using nets from infected aquarium. Clean nets with NET SOAK.
COSTIASIS Grey film on all or part of body. External protozoan parasite (Costia necatrix) Use FUNGUS ELIMINATOR or BINOX.  Use GOLD FIX on goldfish. Can enter other aquariums by splashing water or using nets from infected aquarium. Clean nets with NET SOAK.

Problem

Appearance

Cause

Proper Action

Notes

DACTYLOGYRUS Gills hang open at all times. Small gill parasites (monogenetic trematodes*) Use FUNGUS ELIMINATOR or PARASITE GUARD.  Use GOLD FIX on goldfish. Can enter other aquariums by splashing water or using nets from infected aquarium. Clean nets with NET SOAK.
DIRTY AQUARIUM SAND Fish stir up waste from bottom and tank looks untidy. Overcrowded tank or overfeeding. Use CLEAR WATER.  Clean aquarium when convenient. Use SERI CLEAN to clean tanks for less work and a better job.  Use LIME OFF on lime deposits.
DISCUS HEAD WORMS Fish darts about wildly and may smash into glass. Parasitic protozoa in sinus canals of head. Use HOLE-N-HEAD GUARD. Watch fish closely during dip and remove when distressed, usually after a few minutes.
DROPSY Fish bloated with scales standing out.  Fish resembles a pine cone. Kidney damage. Use FUNGUS ELIMINATOR. Kidney damage is usually the result of disease or too strong drug use.

Problem

Appearance

Cause

Proper Action

Notes

FIN FUNGUS Fins ragged with jelly at end of ragged part.

Water change.

 This is not a disease.

Use FUNGUS GUARD. Fin fungus is very rare when START RIGHT has been added in setting up the aquarium or during water change.
FIN ROT Fins eaten away with redness at base of bad area. Saprolegnia fungus with Pseudomonas or Aeromonas bacteria. Use FUNGUS ELIMINATOR or BINOX. Can enter other aquariums by splashing water or using nets from infected aquarium. Clean nets with NET SOAK.
FLAVO BACTERIA

Fish swim aimlessly. 

May have spasms.

Internal bacteria Use INTERNAL PARASITE GUARD or BINOX with PEPSO FOOD. Can enter other aquariums by splashing water or using nets from infected aquarium. Clean nets with NET SOAK.
FLESH WORMS Small lumps under skin or on fins. Parasitic worm Use BINOX or FUNGUS ELIMINATOR. Use GOLD FIX on goldfish. Will not spread indoors.
FUNGUS (white) A white cottony growth or patch on any part of the fish. A bacteria, Flexobacter (Chondrococcus) Columnaris Use FUNGUS ELIMINATOR or GUARD.  Use GOLD FIX on goldfish. Can enter other aquariums by splashing water or using nets from infected aquarium. Clean nets with NET SOAK.
FUNGUS (grey) A light grey cottony growth or patch on any part of the fish. A parasitic fungus.  Saprolegnia Use FUNGUS GUARD with ICK GUARD. Can enter other aquariums by splashing water or using nets from infected aquarium. Clean nets with NET SOAK.
FURUNCULOSIS Open sores on Gouramis or other anabantids. Aeromonas salmonicida bacteria. Use FUNGUS ELIMINATOR. Seldom spreads to other anabantids* and then only on direct contact.

Problem

Appearance

Cause

Proper Action

Notes

GLASS DIRTY ON OUTSIDE. Fingerprints or drip marks. Finger grease. Use SERI CLEAN. Use full strength and wipe dry with paper towel for lasting resistance to stains or marks of any type.
GILL FLUKES Gills hang partly open and may pump fast.  Gills may appear red. Small gill parasites  (Gyrodactylus)  monogenetic trematodes*. Use PARASITE GUARD. Use heavy aeration, as dead parasites may otherwise cause water to become cloudy.
GOURAMI DISEASE Fish rocks back and forth while staying in place. Dactylogyrus parasites (monogenetic trematodes*) Use PARASITE GUARD. Use heavy aeration, as dead parasites may otherwise cause water to become cloudy.
GREY SKIN Skin looks grey in patches. Costia necatrix parasites. Use BINOX or FUNGUS ELIMINATOR. Use GOLD FIX on goldfish. Can enter other aquariums by splashing water or using nets from infected aquarium. Clean nets with NET SOAK.
GYRODACTYLUS Fish scrape on objects in tank. Gyrodactylus parasites (monogenetic trematodes*) Use PARASITE GUARD. Use heavy aeration, as dead parasites may otherwise cause water to become cloudy.

Problem

Appearance

Cause

Proper Action

Notes

HEMORRHAGIC SEPTICEMIA Red streaks on fins usually near body with no sign of skin damage. A bacteria, Aeromonas (liquifaciens) hydrophylia Use FUNGUS ELIMINATOR.  Use GOLD FIX on goldfish. Common on goldfish and livebearing tropicals.  Scales may sometimes protrude.
HYDRA Tiny tree-like animals attached to objects in the tank. Carnivorous microanimal. Use  SHIMMY BLOCKS or MOLLY BRIGHT. Harmless to all except newly hatched fry, which may be eaten by hydra.

Problem

Appearance

Cause

Proper Action

Notes

ICK White sugar-like crystals on fins or body of fish. Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, a parasitic protozoan. Use ICK GUARD. Use ICK GUARD II FOR SCALE-LESS FISH on weak, small or scaleless fish. Can enter other aquariums by splashing water or using nets from infected aquarium. Clean nets with NET SOAK.
INTERNAL PARASITES Fish are thin and act listless. Tiny internal parasites. Use INTERNAL PARASITE GUARD or  PEPSO FOOD. Seldom spreads indoors.
INTRODUCING NEW FISH Fish may go to top or bottom or dash about. Change in water from which fish are acclimated. Use START RIGHT. START RIGHT neutralizes chlorine, copper, heavy metals and harmful gases instantly.  Guards against nitrite poisoning.  Stimulates natural slime coat on fish.
IRON IN WATER SUPPLY Stains on glass or ornaments. Dissolved iron in water supply. Use CLEAR WATER.  Use JUNGLE WATER SOFTENER. CLEAR WATER neutralizes iron and JUNGLE WATER SOFTENER removes iron up to 1 1/2 parts per million.
ITCHING (also called FLASHING) Fish scratches on objects in tank. Skin irritation caused by tiny skin parasites. Use PARASITE GUARD, FUNGUS ELIMINATOR or ICK GUARD. Can enter other aquariums by splashing water or using nets from infected aquarium. Clean nets with NET SOAK.

Problem

Appearance

Cause

Proper Action

Notes

LIME DEPOSITS ON GLASS Insoluble white deposit or water line. Caused by lime, a mineral found in water supplies or from slat buildup. Use LIME OFF. Use JUNGLE ALGAE REMOVER or  AQUARIUM CLEANING KIT for glass aquariums.  Use JUNGLE SOFTIE ALGAE REMOVER from acrylic or plastic tanks.
LIVEBEARER DISEASE or MOLLY DISEASE Fish stay in one place and wiggle, wag or shimmy. Water lacks electrolytes needed for normal metabolism. Use START RIGHT with either MOLLY BRIGHT or SHIMMY BLOCKS. Not a disease at all but a reaction to water lacking needed electrolytes.

Problem

Appearance

Cause

Proper Action

Notes

MOUTH FUNGUS White cotton sprouting from mouth sides. A bacteria, Flexobacter (Chondrococcus). Use FUNGUS GUARD or FUNGUS ELIMINATOR. Can enter other aquariums by splashing water or using nets from infected aquarium. Clean nets with NET SOAK.
MOUTH ROT Flesh eaten away around mouth. Saprolegnia fungus with Pseudomonas or Aeromonas bacteria. Use FUNGUS ELIMINATOR or BINOX. Can enter other aquariums by splashing water or using nets from infected aquarium. Clean nets with NET SOAK.

Problem

Appearance

Cause

Proper Action

Notes

NEON AND CARDINAL DISEASE Color fades from red line, line may turn yellow. A parasitic protozoan, Pilistophora hyphesobryconis. Use CLEAR WATER or INTERNAL PARASITE GUARD with NATURAL COLORS. Can enter other aquariums by splashing water or using nets from infected aquarium. Clean nets with NET SOAK.
NETS NEED CLEANING Nets used between multiple aquariums may need to be cleaned between use. Problems can spread from tank to tank. Use NET SOAK to take the guesswork out of cleaning nets. NET SOAK is also effective to clean JUNGLE ALGAE REMOVER SPONGES.
NEW AQUARIUMS Dusty or oily.  Manufacturing residues. Use SERI-CLEAN or JUNGLE AQUARIUM CLEANING KIT (SERI CLEAN with ALGAE REMOVER).  Use JUNGLE SOFTIE ALGAE REMOVER for acrylic or plastic tanks. SERI CLEAN washes much cleaner and easier than plain water.  Install a new JUNGLE MIRACLE UNDERGRAVEL FILTER.
NEW FISH Act uncomfortable or nervous. Different water than the fish is accustomed to living in. Use START RIGHT. Electrolytes vary in water supplies.  Add START RIGHT to lessen shock and add beneficial electrolytes.
NEW GRAVEL Dusty or powdery looking. Residues from manufacturing processes or shipping abrasion. Use JUNGLE GRAVEL WASH. All gravel should be washed thoroughly before placing in an aquarium.
NEW WATER Fish darts about.  Gills pump furiously. Dissolved metals or gases in the water. Use START RIGHT. Chlorine, copper and other heavy metals may often be found in city water.  START RIGHT removes or neutralizes these chemicals at once.

Problem

Appearance

Cause

Proper Action

Notes

ODOR FROM WATER Water may be cloudy. Decaying food or plants. Use CLEAR WATER.  Use AMMONIA SORB. Reduce amount fed per feeding.  Partial water change should be done as soon as convenient.  Install JUNGLE MIRACLE UNDERGRAVEL FILTER.  Ammonia may still be present.
OODINIUM (also called VELVET or RUST) Body skin of fish appears dusty in yellowish or grey patches. A parasitic algae, Oodinium limneticum. Use MOLLY BRIGHT or SHIMMY BLOCKS with VELVET GUARD. Spreads easily.  Keep aquarium as dark as possible, as Oodinium needs light to spread.  Clean nets with NET SOAK.

Problem

Appearance

Cause

Proper Action

Notes

pH BOUNCES BACK UP AFTER BEING LOWERED White water lines.  Plants die, fish have frayed fins. Hard water supply.  Seashells or limestone in the tank. Use pH STABILIZER to maintain desired pH. Natural buffers in hard water interfere with the stability of pH once lowered.
PLANTS DIE Leaves shed, stems rot, roots die. Water unsuited for plants. Use PLANT SAVER. Plants as well as fish require conditions similar to their natural environment.  Needed electrolytes are supplied by PLANT SAVER.
POP EYES Eyes stand out from socket. Infection from fighting. Use FUNGUS GUARD or FUNGUS ELIMINATOR.  Reduce light. Fish often fight when ready to mate.  Remove the pairs seeming to fight and move them to a special spawning aquarium.

Problem

Appearance

Cause

Proper Action

Notes

RASBORA DISEASE Rasboras die off in the aquarium. Water unsuitable for fish. Use NATURAL COLORS. Rasboras and many tetras need the humic acids supplied by NATURAL COLORS.  This is not a disease but a water deficiency.
ROT Fish decays at the mouth or tail. Saprolegnia fungus with Pseudomonas or Aeromonas bacteria. Use FUNGUS ELIMINATOR or BINOX. Extremely easy to spread.  Be careful with nets and splashing to avoid spreading this to other aquariums.  Clean nets with NET SOAK.

Problem

Appearance

Cause

Proper Action

Notes

SAPROLEGNIA Frayed looking fins and moldy looking slime on body. A parasitic fungus. Use FUNGUS GUARD with ICK GUARD. Spreads easily.  Keep tank as dark as possible during treatment as Saprolegnia needs light.  Clean nets with NET SOAK.
SHAKES AND SHIMMIES Fish wags and shakes while standing still. Water lacks electrolytes. Use MOLLY BRIGHT or SHIMMY BLOCKS. This is not a disease but a warning that something is lacking in the water used.  MOLLY BRIGHT and SHIMMY BLOCKS supply the needed electrolytes.
SHIPPING FISH LOSSES Fish act stunned or gasp at top of water. Ammonia and carbon dioxide suffocating fish in container. Use START RIGHT and ACE-AMMONIA CHLORINE ELIMINATOR. Ammonia from fish waste and carbon dioxide from fish breathing are combined and neutralized.
SMALL FISH DEATHS Small fish, especially neons, angels and guppies die without visible symptoms. A true fungus called Saprolegnia invades the gills causing suffocation. Use SMALL FISH SAVER. SMALL FISH SAVER will also help protect fish eggs from fungus.
SMALL TETRA LOSSES Fish won't eat.  Heavy loss of thin specimens. Water unsuitable, as many of these fish are caught wild. Use CLEAR WATER and NATURAL COLORS. Fish raised in the wild need the humic acids supplied by NATURAL COLORS.
SORE EYES White film on eyes. Eye injury.  From handling or breeder fighting. Use FUNGUS ELIMINATOR or BINOX. Check for breeding pairs if there are older fish.  Separate these and place in spawning aquarium.
SOUR WATER Water cloudy and may smell bad. Rotten food or imbalance caused by strong drugs. Use CLEAR WATER.  Install JUNGLE MIRACLE UNDERGRAVEL FILTER. Reduce feeding amounts if overfeeding.  If from strong drugs, the smell comes from losing the useful bacteria that balance the water.
STARTING NEW AQUARIUMS Fish act very uncomfortable. Chlorine, chloramine, copper or manufacturing oils in the water. Use START RIGHT.  Use ACE along with  START RIGHT if chloramine is present. START RIGHT neutralizes chlorine, copper, heavy metals and harmful gases instantly.  Guards against nitrite poisoning.  Stimulates natural slime coat on fish.
STARTING NEW POOLS Fish show blood on fins or die. Strong alkali from new cement. Use pH DECREASER with START RIGHT. Two ounces of pH DECREASER will neutralize the cement alkali of each 200 gallon capacity.  Test with test kit.  Use pH STABILIZER to maintain desired pH.
SWIM BLADDER DISEASE Fish swimming with head down (not level). Bladder infection. Use FUNGUS ELIMINATOR. Does not spread to other fish.

Problem

Appearance

Cause

Proper Action

Notes

TAIL ROT Tail eaten away with red area next to body. Saprolegnia fungus with Pseudomonas or Aeromonas bacteria. Use FUNGUS ELIMINATOR or BINOX. Spreads very easily.  Use caution to avoid splashing or using nets from infected aquarium.  Clean nets with NET SOAK.
THIN FISH Fish thin and weak. Internal or external parasites.  See GYRODACTYLUS. Feed PEPSO FOOD and use INTERNAL PARASITE GUARD. Use care to avoid spreading to other aquariums.  Clean nets with NET SOAK.

Problem

Appearance

Cause

Proper Action

Notes

UNCLEAN GRAVEL Green or brown film coating gravel. Algae buildup, fish waste or uneaten food. Use JUNGLE GRAVEL WASH. Dirty gravel may lead to undesirable conditions.

Problem

Appearance

Cause

Proper Action

Notes

VELVET Body skin of fish appears dusty in yellowish or grey patches. A parasitic algae, Oodinium limneticum. Use MOLLY BRIGHT or SHIMMY BLOCKS with VELVET GUARD. Spreads easily.  Keep aquarium as dark as possible, as Oodinium needs light to spread.  Clean nets with NET SOAK.

Problem

Appearance

Cause

Proper Action

Notes

WHITE SKIN Grey or white film on  body. External protozoan parasite (Costia necatrix) Use FUNGUS ELIMINATOR or BINOX.  Use GOLD FIX on goldfish. Spreads very easily.  Use caution to avoid splashing or using nets from infected aquarium.  Clean nets with NET SOAK.
WHITE SPOT (ICK) White sugar-like crystals on fins or body of fish. Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, a parasitic protozoan. Use ICK GUARD. Use ICK GUARD II FOR SCALE-LESS FISH on weak, small or scaleless fish. Can enter other aquariums by splashing water or using nets from infected aquarium. Clean nets with NET SOAK.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please Note:  We recommend you remove any activated carbon from your filter(s) when treating fish diseases.

*Monogenetic trematodes are Flatworms and Flukes that require no intermediate host to multiply and spread to other fish.

*Anabantid note: Fish such as gouramis and bettas possess an auxiliary breathing apparatus which is comparable to the lungs of air breathing animals, and serves the same purpose.  Anabantids also have ordinary gills.

BACK TO TOP



Events      Members      Join      BAP      Home      Conversion Tables

Links      Contact Us      Classified Ads      Photo Gallery      Articles      Glossary

Disease Chart      Meeting Minutes      Library


Contact the webmaster.