Identifying Fish Diseases In The Pond Before It’s Too Late

Many pond owners believe that fish diseases are mainly introduced and passed on by sick fish. Fortunately this is very rarely the case and it’s mostly up to you whether your fish keep well and fit. More than 90 % of the diseases are caused by inappropriate living conditions, such as water values and inadequate nutrition!

Many pond owners believe that fish diseases are mainly introduced and passed on by sick fish. Fortunately this is very rarely the case and it’s mostly up to you whether your fish keep well and fit. More than 90 % of the diseases are caused by inappropriate living conditions, such as water values and inadequate nutrition!

Parasites

White spot disease (Ichthyo)

This is a parasite from the group of the single-celled animals (Ciliates), which can be killed off quickly and safely with JBL MedoPond Plus . This parasite has a life cycle with several stages during which it cannot be killed. Only during the free swimming ”swarm out“ phase is a successful elimination possible. Therefore the treatment needs to be carried out over a time period of two weeks at a water temperature of 25 °C. With cooler temperatures the treatment time is prolonged. After completion of the treatment JBL AccliPond should be applied to aid the regeneration of the mucous membrane.

Product recommendation: JBL MedoPond Plus

Helps effectively with: Fungal infestations, white spot disease (Ichthyophthirius), other single celled skin parasites, such as Costia, Trichodina and others

Fish leech (Hirudinea)

These large leeches ( up to 5cm long) attach themselves to the fish skin, suck blood and afterwards cause bacterial and fungal infections. You can’t combat leeches with over the counter medicines. Not even prescription medicines can kill the leeches’ eggs. A mechanical removal of the leech is possible with pincers. Afterwards you need to add JBL Ektol bac Pond Plus into the pond water to prevent likely secondary bacterial infections.

Alternatively there is the option to bathe the fish for a few minutes in a 2 to 3% sodium chloride (common salt) solution. The bath removes the leeches from the fish. A subsequent prophylaxis against bacterial infections is also advisable here.

Product recommendation: JBL Ektol bac Pond Plus

Helps effectively with: Bacterial infections caused by bacteria of the genera Aeromonas, Pseudomonas, Columnaris and others.

Anchor Worm (Lernaea)

Although this parasite, which can grow to about 20 mm long, is referred to as a ”worm“, it belongs to the group of crustaceans. The juvenile stages of these parasites can survive for about 5 days without a host. With JBL ArguPond Plus a quick and safe treatment is possible. Afterwards we recommend the application of an antibacterial remedy, such as JBL Ektol bac Pond Plus , in order to prevent a bacterial infection of the ”wound“. The infection with Lernaea crustaceans weakens the host fish and harbours the risk of a fungal or bacterial infection.

Product recommendation: JBL ArguPond Plus , JBL Ektol bac Pond Plus

Helps effectively with: Carp louse (Argulus), anchor worm (Lernaea), gill magott (Ergasilus etc.) and further parasitic crustaceans (wood lice) in the garden pond’s ornamental fish and/or bacterial infections caused by bacteria of the genera Aeromonas, Pseudomonas, Columnaris and others.

Carp Lice (Argulus)

The carp louse Argulus is easily recognised on affected fish. It is a parasite, it can grow to more than one centimetre long, and has a round, flattened body. The carp louse belongs to the fish lice (Brachiura) with about 70 crustacean species which live parasitically. They bore into the fish’s flesh to suck blood. Inflammations and infections can occur from the bite. If heavily infested, the fish will also lose weight.

Treatment: JBL ArguPond Plus has been especially developed to combat carp lice and copepodes. Sodium chloride or potassium permanganate baths do not have any noticeable effect. Carp lice can also be removed from the fish using pincers. Afterwards an application of an antibacterial remedy, such as JBL Ektol bac Pond Plus is advised, in order to prevent an bacterial infection of the ”wound“.

Product recommendation: JBL ArguPond Plus , JBL Ektol bac Pond Plus

Helps effectively with: Carp louse (Argulus), anchor worm (Lernaea), gill magott (Ergasilus etc.) and further parasitic crustaceans (wood lice) in the garden pond’s ornamental fish and/or bacterial infections caused by bacteria of the genera Aeromonas, Pseudomonas, Columnaris and others.

Skin and Gill Flukes and Tapeworms (Trematoda, Cestoda)

The pond fish’s most frequent worm diseases can quickly and effectively be combated with JBL Gyrodol Plus 250 . Skin flukes (Gyrodactylus) can be seen by looking closely at the fish skin with the naked eye. Gill flukes (Dactylogyrus) can only be diagnosed reliably by means of a gill smear. For the egg laying gill flukes a second treatment is required. Tapeworms (cestodes) are only visible after the body has been opened.

Product recommendation: JBL GyroPond Plus

Helps effectively with: Gill flukes (Dactylogyrus); skin flukes (Gyrodactylus) as well as tapeworms (Cestoda) in ornamental fish of the categories: carp-like, catfish-like and toothcarp fish.

Fungal Infections (Achlya)

Fungal infections are easily recognisable on fish with their cotton wool-like formations. By adding JBL MedoPond Plus fungal infections can quickly and reliably be combated. It is very important to start the treatment quickly because the fungus deposits poisonous metabolic products into the fish metabolism. This poisoning is the main problem. The fish can easily regenerate the destroyed fish skin and surrounding tissue during the healing process.

The visible fungal infection is often a secondary infection. The primary infection can be of a bacterial nature. In such cases a combined treatment is advised: JBL Ektol bac Pond Plus for the bacterial primary infection, complemented by AccliPond which rebuilds and sustainably protects the destroyed mucous membrane of the fish.

Product recommendation: JBL MedoPond Plus

Helps effectively with: Fungal infestations, white spot disease (Ichthyophthirius), other single celled skin parasites, such as Costia, Trichodina and others

Mouth and Fin Rot (Aeromonas, Pseudomonas)

These two diseases can be recognised by the fraying, rotting off and later by the complete loss of body parts through this unpleasant looking disease. By adding JBL Ektol bac Pond Plus the disease can be stopped quickly and the fish is able to completely regenerate the body parts affected. To build up sufficient energy reserves for the fish we recommend adding JBL Atvitol to the food twice a week.

Mouth or fin rot is caused by water quality problems, even if the pathogen is of a bacterial nature. The causative bacteria of the Aeromonas and Pseudomonas group reproduce in the pond alarmingly quickly if the water quality is not right. To combat the diseases permanently not only the right remedy but also an improvement of the water quality is necessary. The most important values, which need to be checked and if necessary corrected, are: carbonate hardness (KH), pH (pH value), ammonium (NH3) and nitrite (NO2). All you need to know about these water values and how to improve them are to be found in the Laboratorio online per l’analisi dell’acqua .

Product recommendation: JBL Ektol bac Pond Plus

Helps effectively with: Bacterial infections caused by bacteria of the genera Aeromonas, Pseudomonas, Columnaris and others.

Open Wounds, Ulcers etc.

Bacterial Infections

Internal and external bacterial infections can take on a wide variety of appearances, which can quickly and reliably be combated with JBL Ektol bac Pond Plus . Whitish coatings often appear on the fish skin. However, bloodshot spots can also be discerned or completely different symptoms can occur. A clear diagnosis is only practically possible with a microscope. We often assume it is a parasitic infection, choose a suitable medicine, such as JBL MedoPond Plus and if it doesn’t get better we use JBL Ektol bac Pond Plus , which is effective against bacterial infections. This needs to be followed by AccliPond which rebuilds and sustainably protects the destroyed mucous membrane of the fish.

Product recommendation: JBL MedoPond Plus , JBL Ektol bac Pond Plus

Helps effectively with: Fungal infestations, white spot disease (Ichthyophthirius), other single celled skin parasites, such as Costia, Trichodina and others and/or bacterial infections caused by bacteria of the genera Aeromonas, Pseudomonas, Columnaris and others.

Spring Viraemia, SVC / Viraemia / Erythrodermatitis

This is a viral disease in fish (especially in carp-like fish like koi.) The trigger is a virus by the name of Rhabdovirus carpio (RNA virus). This disease usually occurs in the spring in ponds with water temperatures between 10 to 20 °C. The symptoms are: bloodshot spots in the skin (at the edge of the fin), apathetic behaviour, sometimes pop-eyes and swollen abdominal cavities. Fish that survive the disease may remain carriers of the disease without exhibiting symptoms themselves. A direct treatment with medications is not yet possible. It is important to improve the keeping conditions of the fish. The addition of vitamins in the food with JBL Atvitol is very helpful and might be combined with AccliPond which rebuilds and sustainably protects the destroyed mucous membrane of the fish. Raising the temperature to above 20 °C has also been reported as helpful (Dr. Sandra Lechleiter: Krankheiten der Koi, DATZ aquarium books).

Product recommendation: None

Ulcerous Proliferations on the Body, Skin Ulcers

The triggers for ulcers and open wounds on the body of the fish are bacteria, which are always to be found latent in the water or on the body of the fish. In a bad environment they can reproduce at great speed and cause problems. An antibacterial remedy such as JBL Ektol bac Pond Plus is highly effective against the bacteria but not against the cause. It is essential that a cause study is carried out: water load, fish stock, planting, feeding and oxygen concentration need to be checked.

In the garden pond it is noticeable that these problems always occur in spring. Increasing temperatures, combined with increasing fish activity and missing energy resources are the main reasons for the outbreak of the disease. The remedy and even more so the prevention is quite simple: As soon as the fish come out of hibernation and start to feed, they need the right low-temperature food ( JBL ProPond Spring M ). A weekly addition of JBL Atvitol provides the fish with strengthening vitamins to prevent an outbreak of the disease.

Product recommendation: JBL Ektol bac Pond Plus

Helps effectively with: Bacterial infections caused by bacteria of the genera Aeromonas, Pseudomonas, Columnaris and others.

Koi Herpesvirus, KHV, Koi Pox

Often occurs in summer, even in the best fish keeping conditions, and is highly infectious. The pathogen is a virus which only reproduces above 10 and below 30 °C and which can only affects koi. The fish show massive mucous membrane changes and they die within a few days. In the gills you can detect a significant necrosis (fading and decay). The result is often that the fish stay near the water surface to gasp for ”air“. Often you see their eyes are sunken. There is no really effective method of treatment. Surviving fish are carrier of the virus and therefore infectious all their lives.

Product recommendation: None

Popeyes (Exophthalmos)

One or both eyes stand out of the head oddly. The causes of this clearly visible disease can be varied. In most cases the cause is a deterioration of the water quality. An examination of pH, KH, ammonium, nitrite, nitrate is strongly advised. It has also been observed that vitamin deficiency in the nutrition can cause popeyes. Please check if a varied diet is being fed to the fish and whether opened food containers are being used up within 3 months at most. 3 months after opening the food tin there are hardly any vitamins present in the food. A subsequent addition of vitamins with JBL Atvitol is then required. If only a few fish are affected it can possibly be a bacterial infection. In this case the rapid use of JBL Ektol bac Pond Plus is required to combat the disease and to prevent a further spread. But it can also be the incurable fish tuberculosis.

Product recommendation: JBL Ektol bac Pond Plus

Helps effectively with: Bacterial infections caused by bacteria of the genera Aeromonas, Pseudomonas, Columnaris and others.

Poisoning, Water Problems

Nitrite Poisoning (NO2)

It is similar to an oxygen deficiency, which becomes discernible through heavy breathing, agitation of the fins and the fish hanging around under the water surface. A common symptom is also scratching! It is caused by the toxicity of the nitrite (NO2) (to be checked with JBL NO₂ test nitrito ), which leads to an internal suffocation of the fish. It blocks the oxygen transport in the blood. Nitrite values from 0.1 mg/l are already critical and need to be rectified. The reasons for increased nitrite values are: disturbed bacterial balance in the pond due to bactericidal remedies, very low or high pH values (<6 or >8), too high fish stock, too low (biological) filter performance or too heavy feeding.

Remedy: Carry out a 1/3 partial water change immediately and do not clean the filter at the same time, but instead wait one week. Add JBL BactoPond (nitrite degrading bacteria) to the water as soon as you discover the symptoms.

Product recommendation: JBL BactoPond

Oxygen Deficiency

If fish breathe heavily and hang around under the water surface this can be a sign of oxygen deficiency or a poisoning symptom. Many pond owners think by mistake that the fish are only gasping for breath. But this is not quite correct. They are gasping for the thinner water layer, which is directly situated below the water surface, because this water layer has the highest oxygen content! By means of an oxygen test ( JBL O₂ test ossigeno ) you can quickly and easily determine whether there is a problem with oxygen. Only with an oxygen content of below 4 mg/l will you notice a higher breathing activity with most fish. The remedy is quite simple: With the help of an aeration pump and air stones ( JBL PondOxi-Set ) the oxygen content can be significantly raised in just a few hours. The oxygen content can also be increased by means of a water backflow in the filter. Basically the following applies: The mores the water surface is moved, the more oxygen can be absorbed.

At the same time the following also applies: The warmer the water the less oxygen can be absorbed from the water. It is, however, more difficult to determine why the oxygen level is so low. Dying organisms (fish, algae, plants) use up quite a lot of oxygen when they are bacterially broken down. Combating algae especially leads to an extreme decline in oxygen levels and this needs to be counteracted at all costs!

The symptoms of oxygen deficiency can also indicate nitrite poisoning (see nitrite poisoning).

Metal poisoning

As a general rule metals do not belong in the pond water! A lot of metals have the property to release free metal ions (charged particles) to the water, which have toxic effects on invertebrates, fish and microorganisms. The more acidic the water (pH value below 7), the higher the percentage of dissolved metal ions in the water. An extreme situation occurs with (acid) rain, when the rainwater collects in roof gutters and is reused: The low pH value of the rain water dissolves large quantities of copper ions out of the mostly copper-bearing gutters, which then lead to symptoms of poisoning. Titanium zinc is mostly used for rain gutters. This material has a service life of several decades and yet has the merit of being relatively cheap. Roof gutters made of copper are relatively expensive when compared to other materials, but they do provide a very long service life. Care needs to be taken when multiple materials are used on the same building. Aluminium gutters are long lasting but expensive. To be brief: A rainwater drainage system using metal gutters can lead to problems. Either you avoid this kind of water supply or you use a very effective water conditioner.

The water conditioner JBL BiotoPond results in the binding (chelation) of heavy metals. A water change is still necessary if you discern any poisoning symptoms. Be careful when using tap water. Metal pipes mean that lead, copper or zinc may be present in tap water. It is, therefore, absolutely necessary to use a good water conditioner when carrying out a water change!

Product recommendation: JBL BiotoPond

JBL Online Hospital

Do you have ill fish and you don’t know what disease it is and how to treat it? In the Online Hospital you can diagnose diseases using photos or identification keys and you can find out where they come from and how to treat them. By showing you over 500 photos to identify and cure fish diseases, we enable you to find a diagnosis and solution. The data base there is much larger than the outline given in this article and also contains clear palliative steps.

Try out: Ospedale online

© 11.08.2017
Matthias Wiesensee
Matthias Wiesensee
M.Sc. Wirtschaftsinformatik
JBL GmbH & Co. KG

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