How to Cure Fungus on Aquarium Fish
If your fish has a white- or gray-colored growth on its mouth or body (often with a fluffy texture like cotton), it could have a fungal infection. Stressful or poor water quality can often cause fungal outbreaks. Secondary diseases can quickly develop so it is important to get the problem addressed immediately. This article will discuss both how to treat fungus and how to prevent it from returning.
When you see any symptoms of illness, the first thing we always recommend is a thorough cleaning of the aquarium. We want to make sure the fish’s environment is optimal and free of any stress factors before we start treatment. Clean the glass to see the condition of the fish. Next, use a siphon or vacuum to change the water and vacuum the substrate. (Read this article for a step-by-step guide on how to clean an aquarium.)
Fungus can often be prevented. The next step is to determine the source of the infection. The source of the problem must be addressed before treatment can begin. If the source is not identified, then the fungus might return.
What Causes Fungus in Fish?
Bad water conditions are common causes of fungal infections. We see many betta fish with this disease because they’re often kept in tiny containers with no heater or filter. Bettas thrive at temperatures of 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit, so they will need a heater to keep them warm in rooms that are below this temperature. It is important to keep your bettas in an aquarium of at least 5 gallons to stop their waste from quickly fouling the tank. Doing regular partial water changes and adding live plants (especially floating plants) to a fish tank helps to remove toxic waste compounds before they affect your betta’s health.
Fish can also get fungus from nutrient deficiencies. Fish need to eat a varied diet in order to stay healthy. Fishing from the same jar of flakes every day is like giving a person only hamburgers every single day. Sure, they can survive, but their bodies probably aren’t in tip top condition. They need to be able to choose from a variety of foods in order for them to get all the essential nutrients. Also, ensure they are given high-quality, fresh food. Yes, the expiration date on the container may say the food is good for another three years, but every time you open the container, more air and moisture get inside, causing the food to become stale in a matter of months. You can freeze the food if you don’t have enough fish for the entire jar. This will preserve the freshness of the food until you are ready to use it. Finally, avoid using wet fingers to get food out of the container because this causes the food to become moldy, which can result in fungus or other diseases.
To ensure that your fish get the essential nutrients they need to improve their immune system, eat a wide variety of high-quality food.
Many livebearers, including fancy guppies or mollies, get fungal infections very quickly after being brought home from the pet shop. This article will explain why aquarium fish that are not as hardy are becoming more common. Therefore, it’s cheaper to raise them in a mix of fresh water and salt water. Guppies that have been raised in salt water all their lives are more vulnerable to pathogens than fungus and spores.
The bottom line is to try to eliminate stress as much as possible. African cichlids should be less likely to be bullied or attacked by other animals. For bottom dwellers, vacuum the gravel more often and ensure that the water quality is high for sensitive species. Avoid keeping shy fish around loud TVs, bright lights that create moving shadows, or high traffic areas in your home. If your older animals have weaker immune system, you might consider moving them into a retirement tank with less activity and more competition.
How Do You Get Rid of Fungus on Fish?
Maracyn can be used to treat fungus or rot in the mouth of fish. Certain bacterial infections (such as columnaris) look like cottony growths or grayish-white patches around the mouth and thus should be treated with an antibiotic. Make sure to clean your aquarium before you start treatment. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions by using 1 packet for every 10 gallons of water, and then repeat every 24 hours for five days. The infection may still be present even if symptoms disappear.
If the fungus is located elsewhere on the fish’s body, use a combination of Maracyn and Ich-X. Ich-X contains formaldehyde, methanol, and malachite green chloride, which are effective against fungal infections. Before treatment, clean the aquarium and remove any chemical filtration. If the fungal infection is minor, dose 1 packet of Maracyn and 1 tsp of Ich-X per 10 gallons of water at the same time. Let it soak for one full week, and make sure the symptoms completely disappear. If symptoms persist or the fungal infection is severe, you can take 1 packet Maracyn and 1 teaspoon of Ich-X to 10 gallons each and continue the treatment for 5 days.
Salt is a great treatment for both body and mouth fungus. Any form of salt that contains sodium chloride (NaCl), can be used. However, for this article we will use rock salt or aquarium salt.
Salt has been used for medicinal purposes for many years. We’ve found that most tetras can tolerate salt. However, other fish like anchor catfish are very sensitive to it and should never be exposed to salt. Start with a low salt solution of 1 tablespoon salt per 3 Gallons of water to ensure your fish is able to endure salt treatment. Once the fish has healed, increase the salt concentration by gradually increasing the water change to 30% every week. If the fungus is still active you will need to increase the salt content. For detailed instructions on how to do this, please continue reading our full article on salt dosing. For a powerful combination against the fungus, you can use salt with IchX.
Are there any other fungal remedies that work?
In our experience, herbal remedies are not very effective against fungal infections. Once the disease takes hold of a fish, they need stronger medications for a better chance of saving their lives. After years of working in a fish shop and helping hundreds of customers, we discovered that Maracyn, IchX, and Salt are the best treatments against fish fungus.
Fungal spores can be found in aquariums but they are often preventable. It is important to improve your fish’s health, provide them with the right environment and nutrients to fight off any fungal spores.
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