Fish have never been famous for their communication skills. They don’t have facial expressiona and they can’t make any noise, so owners have to be constantly vigilant to make sure that their beloved pets don’t go green around the gills.
Ich is to fish what ebola is to humans. It’s contagious, difficult to treat, and extremely deadly. Luckily, it’s also incredibly easy to spot. A fish with ich will grow tiny white spots that look like grains of salt or sugar. These spots are actually parasites that are encased inside of a cyst (yuck).
Don’t expect your fish to just swim it off: ich is pretty much a death sentence if it’s left untreated. You can stop the spread of ich with the right treatment, but don’t count on a bottle of chemicals to save your aquarium. If you don’t catch ich quickly enough and treat your fish with medicine, these disgusting little parasites could transform your beautiful aquascape into a fish graveyard.
Ich gets the most attention because it’s so pervasive, but there are dozens of other parasites that threaten the health of your fish. Just keep an eye on your pets for any irregularities such as black spots, tiny strands, bumps, or a loss of color. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for any odd behavior. Infected fish might be listless, gasp for air at the surface of the water, or attempt to scratch their bodies against rough surfaces.
Nitrate is a compound that causes your fish to get stressed out. That might not seem like a big deal — I mean, when a person gets stressed he can solve it by having a few drinks. Fish, on the other hand, can literally die from too much stress.
The easiest way to handle nitrates is to use the right kind of equipment in your tank. Nitrate filters will purify your water and reduce the need to do water changes.
The only good thing about algae is that it’s incredibly easy to diagnose. How do you know if your aquarium has algae? Well, it’s pretty simple. Does your aquarium look like this:
Then yeah, you’ve definitely got an algae problem. The biggest issue with algae is that it doesn’t like to share. It will suck up all of the resources in the water and as much sunlight as possible. Eventually, the algae will suffocate and starve all other creatures in your tank.
The good news is that it’s fairly easy to treat. Frequent water changes and the right cocktail of algae-fighting chemicals can keep your aquarium crystal clear.
How much ammonia do you want in your aquarium? Zero! Zilch! Nada!
Ammonia is kind of a nice way of saying “fish waste.” There are a couple of different ways that ammonia can enter an aquarium, but fish waste is one of the biggest culprits. I mean, just think about it: when we’re done with our business we get to flush it away and never worry about it again. Fish have to swim around in it.
You can prevent high ammonia levels with water changes, proper filtration, and by monitoring the amount of food that you give to fish.