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admin | Prevent Bv | 28.06.2014
A fish has died unexpectedly, does this mean there is a disease in my tank?Even the best kept fish can fall victim to ill health. Researchers at Tufts University School of Engineering have demonstrated for the first time a dissolving electronic implant, made of silk and magnesium, that eliminated bacterial infection in mice by delivering heat to infected tissue when triggered by a remote wireless signalAccording to Tufts, implantable medical devices typically use non-degradable materials that have limited operational lifetimes and must eventually be removed or replaced. Each fully dissolvable wireless heating device is said to have consisted of a serpentine resistor and a power-receiving coil made of magnesium deposited onto a silk protein layer. The researchers also conducted in vitro experiments in which similar remotely controlled devices released the antibiotic ampicillin to kill E. Andy Gordon answers some of the most common questions on diagnosing and treating common aquarium fish diseases. It doesn't necessarily mean that there is anything wrong with the aquarium when this happens and one of the worst things that you could do in this situation is subject a tank full of fishes to a whole battery of inappropriate medications.
If you have a sick fish and are about to treat it why not take a photo of it (on your phone say) and pop along to your local fish shop if its a good one and get a second opinion.
The technique, developed at Tufts University in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, had previously been demonstrated only in vitro. Try and get a clear photo that shows the problem well and you may get a better diagnosis before treating with possibly the wrong medication.
Tissue collected from the mice 24 hours after treatment showed no sign of infection, and surrounding tissues were found to be normal. Devices completely dissolved after 15 days, and magnesium levels at the implant site and surrounding areas were comparable to levels typically found in the body. The wireless activation of the devices was found to enhance antibiotic release without reducing antibiotic activity. Some species don't tolerate medication very well and in some cases its use can be fatal.
Mormyrids (Elephant noses), Orfe, sharks and rays, loaches, corals and other invertebrates are all known for their lack of tolerance of certain medications.
Always read the instructions before dosing, and before purchasing the treatment.Some medications are specific to either freshwater or saltwater. Attacking infections during the early stages is much simpler than trying to tackle a well established infection. What kinds of diseases might I come across?There are lots of organisms waiting for the chance to attack a fish. They can be split into different groups each requiring a slightly different approach to treatment and after care. Normally fungus doesn't attack a healthy fish because the mucus which covers a fish fights off infection.

But if a fish becomes injured through bumping into a sharp object, rough handling or an attack by another fish, or if it has become stressed due to a poor environment, then the fungus could take advantage and gain a hold. It can vary in colour slightly from almost white to grey, it may even appear green if algae gets in amongst it too.
They are microscopic organisms and part of their life cycle is spent on, or even in, a fish. They can be very infectious in the confines of an aquarium where new hosts are easy to find.Most are easy to treat, and if treatment begins early enough the prognosis is generally quite good. This results in a lot of the fish scratching against objects in the aquarium and is one of the first signs to look for when trying to diagnose a protozoa infection, along with rapid breathing and clamped fins. All parts of the fish will be affected, this is important because you may notice some tiny white dots on your goldfish and assume that it has white spot but that might not be the case. Male goldfish develop tubercles at certain times of the year, these show that the goldfish is in breeding condition.
Unlike white spot it is less noticeable because the spots are much smaller and more closely packed together. The velvet parasite uses photosynthesis for part of its nourishment and it contains chlorophyll to achieve this. When a fish is infected with the protozoa which cause slime disease you will see lots of excess mucus being produced.
Unlike some other protozoan infections which remain external the protozoa which causes Neon tetra disease (Pleistophora hyphessobryconis) attacks the muscle and tissue of the host. Some fish appear to develop a natural immunity to this infection after being exposed to it. The features of this disease are very slight to begin with, there may be a small area where there is a loss of colour. This is followed by localised wasting and finally by a kink developing where the wasting was, shortly after this the fish will die. In a fish-only aquarium this is relatively simple to treat, but in an aquarium containing invertebrates it can prove very difficult.
Buy only quarantined fish since prevention is the best option.Are my fish suffering from a bacterial infection?Bacteria are ever present in both ponds and aquaria. These are mostly harmless unless the fish are stressed in some way, as stressed fish fall victim to all kinds of infections more easily than they normally would. Strangely, affected fish seem to be able to carry on as nothing is wrong, but don't assume that this is the case. The bacteria responsible form long strands in large colonies which makes them look very similar to fungus.

If you see a case of fungus which is restricted to the mouth region then it is most probably mouth rot and should be treated as such, and not with a fungicide treatment.
The infected fish can display a whole range of symptoms with wasting, pop-eye and ulcers being the most common signs of infection. This can be a stubborn disease to treat and typically needs professional advice and a course of antibiotics. Veterinary help should be sought if you suspect this condition because under some circumstances it can be passed on to humans. Dramatic as this looks if the cause is fixed the eye will return to normal, often with no treatments being used. It can be caused by a bacterial infection or simply through the fish being kept in a poor environment. Before resorting to an unnecessary course of treatment it is worth checking the fishes environment and correcting any issues there.
You may notice a reddened area or a small area of raised scales or even just a single scale. If the fish is other wise healthy then prompt treatment is usually quite successful.It is worth noting that well established bacterial infections may only respond to proper antibiotics prescribed by a vet.
Early treatment is therefore essential in order to have any chance of a successful outcome.I have some inverts will they be safe if I medicate the tank?In some cases, no.
Marine and freshwater inverts can be harmed by some of the ingredients used in some treatments, particularly copper-based ones.
Some common viral diseases such as Lymphocystis don't require any treatment because after showing some symptoms the fish usually develops a natural immunity and the condition clears. Organ failure, tumours, or internal damage obviously can't be repaired with the addition of a few drops of some aquatic potion.
How do I select the right treatment?Once you have made your diagnosis, you need to treat promptly, ideally after testing the water and correcting any water quality issues.
Selecting the right treatment can be tricky, particularly if your tank houses invertebrates or sensitive fish that may react badly to certain medicines.Where can I get more help?You could post your query, along with a photograph of the fish and some water test results, on the PFK forum, where our members will be happy to help you. Alternatively, you could seek further advice from a specialist retailer, fish health professional or vet with experience in fish.This article was written exclusively for the Practical Fishkeeping magazine website.

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