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Aquarium Pests and Problems | Home Fish Aquarium Guide

Home Fish Aquarium Guide

Fishkeeping Information and Resources for the Home Aquarium

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My Freshwater Aquarium Secrets

Aquarium Pests and Problems

Keeping fish can be an entertaining hobby, but like many other pursuits there are pitfalls and problems that you will likely run into along the way. One of the best pieces of advice that you will find is to keep the water quality good and the tank filter operating well, avoid having too many fish in too small a place and you shouldn’t run into any trouble. But yet, sometimes you do. The ammonia goes out of whack because you fed too much (or a fish-sitter did). Or, your bio filter was wiped out because you replaced the entire media without a spare (or from a medicine applied to the tank. Or, a new fish brought in some problem that you haven’t seen before.

I think it can be tricky to diagnose many fish ailment because the symptoms of many ailments boil down to some similar traits. Clamped fins, flashing, rapid gill movements, listlessness can be common symptoms for many fish ailments. It takes practice looking after fish to start to get an idea of what the real problem is. This is not to discourage you, but rather prepare you. You will at some point along the way lose a fish. Whether it’s old age, a fish ailment like ich that goes on too far, a tankmate eating one, or other causes. This is not a sign of failure. It is a point to learn from. I know we all grow attached to our pets. I remember moping around for a couple days after the loss of Snoopy (our red wag platy). There were things I thought that perhaps I could have done better and that’s a starting point to grow and learn for next time. She (Snoopy) was a good fish, lived over a year in our tank, had fry and was entertaining for all of us, and I believe enjoyed her home. We try to learn from any mistakes we make and prepare ourselves for the next time there’s a sick fish in the tank.

Not all problems you will run into with your aquarium are going to be diseases related to the fish. It may be plagues of another kind, such as algae, snails or unwanted plants growing out of control. For many, the initial cycle may be a problem, or subsequent mini-cycles when adding new fish, or after tank cleanings.

For many problems there may be multiple solutions. For instance in the case of algae, there are many products that you can buy and add to the tank to help clear up the algae. Of course, the best approach is to try to adjust the things that have brought about an algae bloom (making sure there are enough plants to clean out extra nutrients, or change the water more often. I take all of this as a learning experience and it’s been a fascinating journey. Our first attempt at a tank we resigned as a failure years ago. We made many mistakes though and now have learned how to do better. Whatever I learn, I wind up posting here and I hope these pages can help you as well.

In the following pages we’ll talk about some of the pests and problems you may run into with your home aquarium and some of the steps you might take to overcome them.

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January 12, 2009 - 12:49 AM