So your fish are sick and they’re crying out to you for help. What do you do?
(a) Get onto the internet and get a diagnosis from “Dr Google”, and then treat?
(b) Get onto fish forums to ask for advice and treat?
(c) Get onto pet/fish stores to ask for advice and treat?
(d) Get a fish vet out?
(e) All of the above?
Very commonly, (e) is what most of our first-time clients do. And if a disease event occurs again, all our clients jump straight to (d).
But what do you do, if you can’t get a fish veterinarian to attend to your sick fish immediately?
It is vital that we get to have a full picture of what was happening during the initial phases of treatment. It becomes impossible to work out if it’s a water quality issue if you’ve already done multiple water changes. The toxin/s would have gone. It’s like "shutting the gates after the horse has bolted."
Also, many may have tried multiple treatments. While some may hit luck by choosing the right medication for the condition, many may exacerbate the condition, or make diagnostics difficult. Most commonly, clients would have used Pimafix, Melafix, Multicure and the like. Such medicines may knock back the level of pathogens, but may not be a cure. The reduction of levels of pathogens will make diagnosis more difficult for us. If you want a definitive diagnosis for a treatment that works, we’d need patients that haven’t been interfered with.
But as you know, you can’t just do nothing. Fish may continue to die as a result of inaction. So here are four (4) things you can do in the interim:
- Immediately take ~100ml of water sample to store in the fridge (this can be tested by your fish vet when they arrive).
- Then perform 30-50% partial water changes (this will improve water quality conditions immediately, and dissolve any dissolved toxins).
- If treatment cannot be delayed, before attempting any kind of treatment, take a cohort of 2-3 untreated, affected fish to keep in a separate tank (it is crucial for the veterinarian to examine unmedicated fish).
- The remainder fish in the main tank could be treated, depending on the circumstances.
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Dr Richmond Loh DipProjMgt, BSc, BVMS, MPh (Pathology), MANZCVS (Aquatics & Pathobiology), CertAqV, CMAVA, NATA Signatory.
Aquatic Veterinarian & Veterinary Pathologist
THE FISH VET, AUSTRALIA – PERTH | MELBOURNE | TOWNSVILLE
Mobile Aquatic Veterinary Medical & Diagnostic Services.
Ph: +61 (0)421 822 383
President WAVMA 2014
Adjunct Lecturer Murdoch University