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related article: Koi Fish in a Garden Pond
Fish diseases occur in artificial garden ponds as well as in open waters. There are various causes that can be cured by sometimes easiest precautions. If fish diseases in a garden pond spread excessively, self regulating prevention of your ecosystem cannot take action any longer and your sick pond life has to be treated immediately. We suggest in most cases to separate the sick fish from the others.
Pond owners can prevent freshwater fish diseases in a fishpond in are several ways. Follow natural rules when building your own pond and guarantee high and constant water quality to provide healthy conditions for your pond fish.
Never overfeed your fish and always use high quality fish food, that is rich in vitamins and minerals. At last, avoid stress for your fish and you have already taken most vital precautions to prevent common freshwater fish diseases.
White Spot Disease (Ichthyophtirius)
If gills, fins, and the skin of the whole body are covered with little white spots, your pond fish are infected by the parasite Ichthyophthirius. With the white spot disease your fish look like grains of salt are covering the animal. This disease forces the fish to do rapidly movements with the gills. Infected fish try to scratch at pond plants and other underwater objects to get rid of the "salt grains". This parasite first destroys the skin of aquatic animals, than multiplies and finally spreads the disease over all other pond fish. The white spot disease can be caused by poor water conditions. The sick fish can be cured with malachite green. This medication will be toxic to any invertebrates.
The parasite Saprolegnia uses wounds and injuries in the fish's protecting slime layer and create a white or grey cotton on body and fins. This fungus infection can be cured with a medical treatment of malachite green chloride. In most cases this cure is successful. But it is very important to fight the cause of fish injuries. If pond fish show bite injuries you have to correct the combination of your pond species and to keep water conditions stabile.
Bacterial Fin Rot
Fin rot can be caused by the parasite Saprolegnia, too. But also to many fish in a small pond, by bullying from other fish and fin nipping, or poor water quality are possible reasons for bacterial fin rot. During this fish disease the fins start rotting, often followed by damage or injuries until the fins disappear completely or just an infected stump remains. By increasing water conditions in a garden pond this freshwater fish disease can be cured. Otherwise treatment with antibiotics and pond fish medications from pet shops like tetracycline become necessary.
External Parasites / Leeches
This parasitic infection normally starts in very muddy garden ponds, where anchor worms or leeches rest at pond plants, underwater rocks or at the bottom of the water garden, before they infect fish that swim near by.
This aquatic infection starts at cool temperatures during the early day of spring and increases when the water is warming up accompanied by lack of water circulation towards summer. These leeches hang at skin and fins and suck the fish out, what results in overreactions of the pond fish. This aquatic disease can be treated with mercurochrome.
Dropsy is a bacterial fish disease caused by low quality fish food. Also spores of the fish's excrements can cause this non-parasitic infection and spreading of this illness. Dropsy is one of the more dangerous tropical fish diseases in a pond. Infected fish are bloated with scales and standing out edgewise. Sick fish should be removed from the water garden to avoid infecting all other pond life. If dropsy cannot be stopped from spreading by increasing the food quality, the whole pond has to be cleaned followed by a complete water exchange. The separated, infected fish may may be treated with antibiotic medication.
Pop-Eye and Nitrate Poisoning
A complicated fish infection is the nitrate poisoning and pop-eye. The stomach of ill fish is swollen and the eyes pop out out the fish head. During this virus disease the pond fish are lethargic, listless and rest just below the water surface. They show no appetite. This disease affects Freshwater Fish in a Garden Pond as well as tropical pond fish. Perform periodically controls of pH-factor and water softness. Changes in temperature or in the amount of oxygen support the start of this pond fish disease. High quality food, rich in vitamins and minerals (Fish Feeding in a Pond) and a low density of fish in your garden pond strengthen the immune system against this and most other tropical fish diseases.
Medical treatments and fish medicines against infections in a pond
Malachite green chloride and malachite green oxalate in combination with formalin is an effective cure against parasites and fungus infections.
Antiseptic medicine helps as disinfections for bacterial infections, bite wounds and other skin injuries.
Against parasites and worms sitting deep under the fish' skin you may start a successful treatment with formalin.
For the medical treatment of Koi you will find in pet shops special anaesthetics, antiseptic ointments and antiseptic sprays for efficient healing.
Best precaution against fish diseases in a garden pond: Monitor your water properties: Guarantee periodically pond maintenance and carefully surveillance of pH-factor, water softness, nitrate value and water temperature! Keep the right kind of fish together as well as the right amount of fish in proper relationship to the pond volume. If at last you don't overfeed your fish, you have already created best conditions for a healthy pond life.