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 Diagnosing and Treating Fin Rot in Aquarium Fish

Diagnosing and Treating Fin Rot in Aquarium Fish

Fin Rot, sometimes known as Tail Rot, is one of the most common, bacterial fish diseases where the affected fish may have fins that appear to be torn and ragged. Usually, this disease starts around the edges of the fin and gradually destroys more tissue until it reaches the base of the fin. Although any type of fish can get Fin Rot, Betta fish and goldfish seem to be particularly susceptible.

1. What causes fin rot disease in fish?

Fin Rot is caused by different types of bacteria, including Aeromonas, Pseudomonas fluorescents, and Vibrio. These organisms feed on the membranes of the fish’s fin, leaving them frayed and vulnerable to secondary fungal infections. The biggest cause of Fin Rot is poor environment conditions. Bacteria overgrowth and the spread of disease is more prevalent in environments with poor water quality, overfeeding of fish and overcrowding which can cause stress and a higher risk of the disease. Aggressive fish may damage the fins of other fish, which then becomes vulnerable to a bacterial or even a fungal infection. Test Your Aquarium Water.

2. What are the symptoms of fin rot disease in fish?

• The initial signs of the disease are milky white areas appearing in the fish’s fins or tail, particularly around the edges.

• The fins appear ragged, frayed and torn, as the disease begins to eat the tissue.

• Fins have inflamed patches and edges turn black / brown

• Eventually the disease eats all the fin membranes away, leaving just the fin rays sometimes giving rise to secondary infections with new symptoms.

• At times the entire fin may rot away or fall off in large chunks

• If the fin rot infection has affected the fish’s tail (also called tail rot), it may enter the body of the fish.

• Other behavioural symptoms include lethargy and loss of appetite.

3. Is Fin rot fungal or bacterial? 

Fin rot is most often a bacterial infection, (Pseudomonas fluorescence,) which causes a ragged rotting of the fin. It’s likely that several different bacteria like Flavo bacterium columnare, Aeromonas and Pseudomonas etc cause similar diseases.

It can also be a fungal infection (which rots the fin more evenly). Sometimes, both types of infection are seen together. However the infection takes root only in a weakened fish and manifests itself only in one or two fish at a time and is not particularly contagious. 

4.Do fish fins grow back after fin rot?

Fin tissue can regenerate if it is treated early, before the fins rot down to the body. After that, the fin tissue will not grow back and the disease can enter the body and prove fatal.

5. How do you treat fin rot in fish?

Fin Rot can be cured if it is diagnosed early.

• The first step is to improve the water quality which includes cleaning the tank and its accessories, changing the water and checking the pH level of the replaced water.Test your Aquarium Water

• After all of the fish are added back into the tank, antibiotics or aquarium salt are added to the water to help soothe the fish, treat the infection, and prevent infections in the future.

• (phenoxyethanol, malachite green, methylene blue are the commonly used medications.

Antibiotics is preferred if the rotting is jagged.( (Doxycycline Hyclate), (Amoxicillin), and (Ciprofloxacin) are all effective against gram-negative bacteria.

• Usage of antifungal medication is recommended, if the rot is more evenly spread out and the fin has holes as this may also be a symptom of an external columnaris infection, especially if it progresses rapidly.

• Water temperature should be changed to 24-26 °C. 

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