Fishkeeping is a popular hobby, and for a good reason – it’s relaxing and can be very rewarding. What’s more, fish make great pets for people allergic to fur or dander. As with any pet, a certain amount of care and responsibility comes with owning a fish. One of the things that can tarnish this pastime is when your pet fish isn’t healthy. Your fish being unhealthy means that you have to deal with sick fish, which is stressful and can be expensive.
To avoid this, here are six things that you should keep an eye out for to ensure your pet fish is healthy:
1. Check the Water Quality Regularly
The water quality of your fish tank is essential for the health of your fish.
Ammonia and nitrite levels should be at 0 ppm, and nitrate levels should be below 20 ppm.
If these levels rise too high, it can lead to health problems for your fish, such as gill damage, stress, and even death.
If you are interested in keeping fish, be ready to take responsibility.
The best way to go about it is by testing the water quality regularly using a testing kit and doing a water change if necessary.
Take care not to overdo it, though, as too much of a change can also be stressful for your fish.
2. Keep an Eye on Their Respiration
The way your fish breathe can tell you a lot about their health.
Typical respiration rates will differ depending on the fish species.
Still, it would help to get a good idea of what is typical for your particular fish by observing them closely.
If you notice that your fish are gasping at the water’s surface or panting, this is a sign that something is wrong, and you should test the water quality immediately.
Fish respiration should also be pretty even if you notice that your fish is breathing faster than usual or in short, erratic bursts.
This could be a sign of stress or illness.
3. Look for Physical Changes
Physical changes in your fish can also indicate that something is wrong.
Healthy fish are usually active and have a good appetite.
If you notice that your fish are listless or not eating, this is a sign that something is amiss.
Another physical change to look out for is when your fish’s body shape changes.
This can be a sign of malnutrition or disease.
For example, if your fish’s belly appears bloated, this could be a sign of constipation or swim bladder disease.
To help your fish digest their food correctly and avoid constipation, feed them a high-quality diet that contains plenty of fiber.
4. Check Their Fins and Scales
The fins and scales of your fish should be smooth and free of any damage or parasites.
If you notice that your fish’s fins are frayed or torn, this could signify fin rot.
Fin rot is a bacterial infection that is relatively common in fish and, if left untreated, can be fatal.
You should also check for white spots on your fish’s body, as this could be a sign of ich – a highly contagious parasitic infection.
5. Look Out for Signs of Stress
Fish also exhibit signs of stress when they are not feeling well.
One of the most common signs is when they become inactive and huddle in the corner of the tank.
Fish that are stressed may also refuse to eat or swim away from the light.
In addition, stress can be a significant cause of illness in fish, so it’s essential to try and keep your fish as stress-free as possible.
Some signs that your fish are stressed include:
- Loss of appetite
- Gasping at the surface of the water
- Erratic swimming
If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to take action to reduce the stressors in your fish’s environment.
This could involve changing the water quality to rearranging the décor in their tank.
6. Be vigilant for Signs of Disease
A fish that is infected with a disease will often show physical symptoms.
Several different diseases can affect fish, and some of them are fatal if left untreated.
Some common diseases that affect fish include:
- Fin rot
- Swim bladder disease
- White spot disease
If you notice any of these symptoms in your fish, it’s essential to take them to a veterinarian for treatment.
Many of these diseases can be treated with antibiotics, but it’s crucial to diagnose the problem correctly and start treatment as soon as possible.
By keeping an eye out for these six things, you can help ensure that your pet fish is healthy and happy.
Regular water quality testing, careful observation, and taking action to reduce stressors in their environment will go a long way in keeping your fish healthy.
If you do notice any signs of illness, don’t hesitate to take them to a vet right away.