What is Fin Rot?
Fin rot is one of the most common diseases in fish tanks, but it is also very easy to prevent.
Technically, fin rot is caused by various types of bacteria, but the root cause usually stems from an unhealthy environment and usually occurs when a fish’s immune system becomes weakened due to stressful factors – such as being moved into another tank where there isn’t enough space for all of its peers, moving away from its natural habitat, or being attacked while trying to swim freely through its realm because some other fish were too aggressive.
Fin rot can affect any type of fish in the aquarium, whether it is freshwater or saltwater. Fish with long, pretty tails are most likely to suffer injuries that may cause them to fin rot due to how delicate they are.
Though it may sound unappealing, fin rot is a very common ailment found in aquariums. The disease affects the fins and tails of fish, turning them yellowish or brownish over time until they lose their fins or even their entire tail.
Luckily, if treated quickly enough with regular care, they can recover from this disfiguring condition.
Symptoms of Fin Rot and its Causes
A clear sign of fin rot is when you notice a dull, murky color starting to form on the edges of your prized fish. This can be so subtle that you may not see it at first – but if you start noticing frayed fins or torn-up tails then it’s probably time to check out some ways to cure this infection before it gets too serious!
If left untreated, pieces of the affected area will continue to decay and turn black before finally dying off together and falling off for good.
- White, black, or brown spots on the fins, tail, or body
- Faded or frayed fins and tail
- Ragged edges towards the fins and tail
- Red, inflamed skin near the tail and fins
- Complete loss of infected fins and tail
- Low energy, lack of movement
- Not eating food
Over time, the fins and tail of an infected fish will grow shorter due to all the dead skin that becomes detached from them. If a fin or tail has started to turn red or develop inflammation near its base, then this could mean that it is becoming progressively worse.
As your fish becomes increasingly sick, it is much more likely to stop eating and lose energy. This will show up as slower movement or floating close to the bottom of its tank.
Sick fish are often prone to secondary bacterial infections. Columnaris is one such disease and is usually caused by bacteria that live in fish tanks. If your fish contracts the columnaris along with the fin rot symptoms – you will see white patches on its fins or body as well as other common signs of fin rot.
Fin rot can be caused by one of two things; infection from bacteria or some form of stress. The indirect cause is usually more prominent than the direct. And many different forms of stress may occur in an aquarium environment – ammonia spikes being just one example.
- Injury: Your aquarium fish’s fins are sensitive and can easily be damaged if they come in contact with rough or sharp tank decorations or plants, or if they’re bitten by other inhabitants of the tank.
- Overcrowding: The rough estimate for stocking a fish tank is 1 inch of fish per gallon of water. For example, there are 20 gallons in a 1-foot deep by 2 feet wide aquarium. A 20-gallon tank can comfortably hold about 4 inches (or 12 inches) worth of fish if they’re all one size. If you try to put too many different sizes of fish together it will cause stress for them and will make them uncomfortable.
- Aggressive fish: There are some species of fish that are naturally more aggressive than others. If you combine aggressive and docile fish in the same tank, the docile ones will most likely become targets for aggression which can cause them to feel stress.
- Poor Diet: Fish need a quality diet of fish food made specifically for them to avoid malnutrition. We recommend you Hikari Goldfish Food.
- Poor Water Quality: Poor water quality has been scientifically proven to cause stress in fish. Many chemical compounds need to be perfectly balanced for a tank to stay healthy and when one, or all of these elements becomes imbalanced it leads to many problems such as slow growth rates and weakened immune systems resulting in sickly fish.
Treatment for Fin Rot
You must address the underlying cause of the stress before your pet heals. First, you must test your aquarium water. Make sure that it is at a healthy pH level and has an appropriate temperature for your fish, but also make sure to eliminate any excess chlorine, ammonia, or nitrates found in the tank so that no harm comes to them.
To restore your tank, do a water change of up to 25% and vacuum the substrate for any leftover food or debris that may be stuck in there. Avoid overfeeding from now on.
Use Bactonil FW with complete measurements.
Carbon Filters should be removed when taking antibiotics. This action ensures that the antibiotic remains potent, which results in a higher chance of recovery and less chance of infection returning after it has been treated.
If you take measures to amend poor water conditions, relieve other sources of stress, and administer your fish with the right antibiotic – they will eventually recover from fin rot. It usually takes about 2 weeks for these antibiotics to heal up their fins for good.
Fin Rot Prevention Tips
Many preventive measures for fin rot are the same as those used to treat ichthyophthiriasis. Good aquarium maintenance is key to preventing fin rot from ever happening; regularly changing water, vacuuming gravel and observing water chemistry can prove a valuable defense against this fatal disease.
Through this activity one can detect changes in their aquarium’s water chemistry at an early stage allowing them to take corrective action before it becomes life-threatening for their pet fish.
Keep the amount of food fed to your aquarium at a very low level. Feed no more than what the fish would eat in about five minutes, twice per day. Overtime, overfeeding will contribute to the poor water quality that fosters bacteria – which is bad for both you and them. Purchase food in containers small enough that it lasts up to two months so you don’t make this mistake again.
Avoid overcrowding the tank and watch out for any sign of fights between fishes, which could cause damage to their fins. When you are picking tankmates, take care if you have fish with long flowing fins because they may nip at other ones’ fins, making them susceptible to fin rot. Lastly, it is important to maintain the right temperature for your tanks’ inhabitants.