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( Originally Published 1938 )
While the problem of a sick fish is not too happy a prospect, it may be of some comfort to know that you probably have most of the remedies for the usual fish ailments right in your home. For the most part, the fish diseases with which you may be chiefly concerned are ones affecting the exteriors of your pets.
To be prepared for treating a disease it is wise to have an extra fish bowl or two so that an ailing fish may be isolated. One of the best precautions against diseases of the skin is to use care in handling your pets. Torn scales are a positive invitation for some fish bug to step right in and make itself at home. Once there, the parasite generally invites the rest of its family and establishes a nice big colony.
Fortunately for you and for the fish, most of the ailments it may experience are ones caused by parasites that don't thrive very well in salt water. The solution to use follows: SALT SOLUTION: One ounce of salt to each gallon of water. Use sea salt preferably-kitchen salt will do. Table salt is not recommended.
TREATMENT: Solution should be at same temperature as the aquarium from which the sick fish was taken (use one of the spare fish bowls for this). Solution should be changed daily for four or five days, or until the fish shows signs of improvement.
The water which you use to make the solution may be tap water-boiled, cooled and aerated by pouring from one pan to another.
Various ailments which will succumb to this treatment, or other treatments, follow:
ICH is the handier name for a disease called Ichtohyophthiriasis. Its characteristic marking gives the fish a pepperand-salt look. The cause is a tiny parasite which invades the skin to raise tiny white spots.
TREATMENT: Put the infected fish in a hospital aquarium with two drops of mercurochrome (2%solution) added to each gallon of water. Temperature of the hospital may be raised to around 80 degrees if you are treating tropicals. Goldfish should be kept at the same temperature prevailing in your regular aquarium. An alternate to this treatment is to put the fish into the salt solution for several days.
Warning: Never combine the salt solution and mercurochrome in the same tank. It's very bad for the fish.
Since practically any aquarium is apt to harbor the spores of this disease, bruises, overfeeding or any condition that is apt to put your fish below normal should be avoided. Healthy fish don't seem to be bothered by it much. The fungus starts its white coating on fins and body and is readily apparent. If much of the fish is covered, recovery is not too certain.
TREATMENT: Salt water solution in a hospital tank as previously recommended. Treatment should be kept up for about a week, with daily changes of the water to insure an effective salt bath.
The tail or fins take on a "chewed look"; this is the signal that the disease is present.
TREATMENT: Salt solution again, or you may remove the ailing fish and paint the infected fins or tail with 27o' mercurochrome. Some fish fanciers prefer to paint with 50% hydrogen peroxide, then return the fish to the original aquarium.
A fish that appears dull, remains near the bottom and has a distended stomach, is usually suffering the ill effects of overfeeding and constipation. This condition must be treated immediately.
TREATMENT: Place the sick fish in the hospital tank, but vary the salt solution to one teaspoon sea salt and one teaspoon Epsom salts for every gallon. Two or three days in the tank are usually sufficient. Do not feed the fish during this period.
If the fish has lost a few scales, or has been bruised in any44M way, it is well to head off possible infection by removing the fish from the tank and painting the sore spots with 2% mercurochrome.
General notes on treating fish ailments: Overfeeding, sudden chills, and rough handling are the most common causes of trouble with fish. In the case of ailing tropicals, the use of water temperatures up to 85° seems to be of considerable assistance in many instances.
It is a good general precaution to place new fish in a hospital tank with salt solution for three or four days before you put them in with the rest of your aquarium fish.
One fairly common cause of trouble in the aquarium is overcrowding. Too many fish in the aquarium may mean that you haven't a single healthy fish in the lot. Waterbugs of several varieties prey on fish, and for this reason any bugs should be immediately removed from the aquarium.