How To Cure Aquarium Fish Skin Disease?

Q: One or several of my fish have a slimy covering on their skin in certain spots.


A: In Freshwater Fish: This is a Protozoan infestation called Chilodonella. This is common in Discus and Angelfish.

Treatment: Treat the fish with Quinine Sulfate or Forma-Green

A: In Saltwater Fish: This is Brooklynella Hostilis

Treatment: Treat the fish with Quinine Sulfate or Forma-Green in a hospital tank for 5-7 days.

Q: The fish’s skin has a hazy white covering over it in patches. It looks like a fungus, but anti-fungal treatments do not work.

A: This is a called Columnaris Disease and is caused by gram-negative bacteria.

Treatment: Use TMP-Sulfa -or- Sulfa 4 TMP -or- Triple Sulfa Powder.

Q: My fish looks like it is covered with a fine white sandy coating.

A: In Freshwater Fish: This is known as Ich (Ichthyophthirius)

Treatment: Use Forma-Green -or- Acriflavine Neutral. If you have tried one of these treatments and it did not work, you have a resistant strain of Ich and need to treat with Quinine Sulfate for 5-7 days.

A: In Saltwater Fish: This is known as Cryptocaryon Irritans (Saltwater Ich).

Treatment: Copper Sulfate is the old standby treatment. Forma-Green may also be used. For stubborn strains, try some Quinine Sulfate.

Q: My fish has white thread-like or cottony puffs on the skin.

A: This sounds like a Saprolegnia Fungus.

Treatment: Treat the fish with Forma-Green for 5-7 days.

Q: My fish has small off-white to yellowish dots on the skin and scale edges.

A: Your fish are affected by Oodinium.

Treatment: Use Acriflavine Neutral -or- Forma-Green -or- Copper Sulfate.

Q: The fish has bloody patches on the skin as if it were sanded or scraped off.

A: Your fish are affected by a Costia infestation. (Ichthyobodo).

Treatment: Treat the fish with Forma-Green -or- Acriflavine Neutral.

Q: My fish has pimples on it’s skin with something white sticking out.

A: This is a parasitic worm (Lernea), or Anchorworm. Common in Goldfish.

Treatment: Treat the fish with De-Los.

Q: The scales on my fish are falling off.

A: Sounds like the fish has Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia.

Treatment: Treat the fish with Oxytetracycline Hydrochloride Powder, for ten days.

Q: My fish had a pimple on the skin, and now it is a large sore. Other fish are covered with large sores and dying in droves.

A: This sounds like a bacterial disorder, either Aeromonas bacteria or Pseudomonas bacteria. This disorder is common in Koi ponds.

Treatment: Use Koi Fix®, or you can use a combination of Oxytetracycline Hydrochloride + Oxolinic Acid Powder on the fish for a two week treatment. These medications can also be used in the feed (suggested). If used in the feed, add Forma-Green to the water. Bumping up the temperature to 80 degrees fahrenheit has shown to speed up this treatment.

There is much controversy when it comes to using antibiotics on tropical fish and Koi. Applications are confusing, and everywhere you go for advice, someone is telling you something different.

To clear a few things up, we have created this section, so treatments with antibiotics are less confusing.

If you have purchased our products here at National Fish Pharmaceuticals, you will notice on the label that we tell you to use the product every 24 hours with a 25% water change before each treatment. Then we instruct you to treat for 10 days.

However, if you have a body of water that is 100 gallons of water or larger, the antibiotics will stay effective much longer, and not dissipate out as quickly as say… a 10 gallon tank. So instead of treating every 24 hours, we suggest treating every 3 days with a 25% water change before each treatment. This will not only save you some water changes, but some money on medications also.

Rules of thumb:

  1. Always use antibiotics for at least 10 days to prevent a resistant strain of bacteria from developing.
  2. Antibiotics may not be used as preventatives, or as a “dip”. You can create problems doing this.
  3. Never mix any antibiotics together without proper consultation. Some antibiotics are not compatible when mixed, and the results can be fatal to your fish.
  4. If you are treating your water with antibiotics, do not feed your fish during the treatment time. This may cause Ammonia levels to become toxic, and besides…fish can go up to 30 days without eating anything and be perfectly fine.

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