Even if your aquarium water looks pristine, it could be harboring a multitude of disease-causing bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Your fish's skin and fins are her first line of defense against these invaders, so they tend to exhibit the first signs of disease.
Consider these common skin and fin abnormalities and their potential causes:
The risk of fatal disease increases any time an infection or parasite infiltrates your fish's skin. When you discover a skin or fin abnormality, treat it as an emergency and investigate the cause promptly.
Your first step is to test the water for ammonia, nitrite, and pH imbalances to rule out environmental causes. Your local aquarium store or fish veterinarian can perform the tests if you don't own a test kit. Also check your heater and air pump to make sure they're working properly.
Next, perform a 25-50 percent water change. Make sure you dechlorinate the fresh water and match its temperature and pH to the tank water. This process will dilute any pollutants or disease-causing organisms in the tank.When to Call A Specialist
If your water analysis doesn't reveal the problem, consult a fish veterinarian or an aquatics specialist right away. These people can l examine your fish, recheck your water parameters, and take a medical history. They may take impression smears of the sores or culture them for bacterial contaminants.
If your fish dies, don't dispose of her body too hastily. You may be flushing away evidence that could save the rest of your fish. A fish veterinarian can perform a necropsy using tissue samples from your deceased fish.
If you can't find a fish veterinarian in your area, consult with your local aquatics specialist at PETCO.
Your aquarium paradise harbors more dangers than you think. But the good news is, skin and fin abnormalities can tip you off to disease before it takes your pet's life.