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Fish Health

Pond fish are susceptible to many different illnesses and diseases, early identification and correct treatment of these is most important if any cure is to be successful. Often if one fish is noticed to be ill then the rest of the ponds stock are at major risk because among others the cause may be either a waterborne bacteria or poor pond conditions. Always check chemicals compatibility before usage especially if treating any pond containing orfe or rudd, as these are very sensitive to organophosphate chemicals. Always be sure of the ponds water volume before adding chemicals to ensure correct dosage rates as overdoses can kill fish. Adding salt to a pond can have a detrimental affect on plant life.

Fish Health

Many chemicals will require a UV unit to be turned off during there usage because UV degrades the chemicals quicker than normal. Biological filters will also be degraded by most chemicals especially antibiotics and we recommend adding a live filter start up culture soon after chemicals have run there coarse. It is also very important to ensure adequate extra aeration during treatment as most chemicals use up large quantities of dissolved oxygen.

Always wear protective gloves when handling chemicals. Whenever you suspect that a fish may have a problem always check your ponds water quality.

Split Fins

Fish can often be seen to have split fins this is usually a consequence of rough handling often due to the fins being trapped within the mesh of a net especially if poor quality nets are used. Even with the greatest of care fin damage is always a risk when fish are moved.

Small splits that only affect the tips of a fin will normally heal by themselves providing that no secondary infection presents itself. If a split goes much further towards the muscle then the fin may need to be stitched which involves the use of an anaesthetic and only a very experienced fish keeper or veterinary surgeon should do this.

All fish with split fins (regardless of their split size) should ideally be placed in an isolation tank containing a suitable anti-bacterial solution that will keep the wound disinfected. Painting on a solution such as povidone-iodine or tincture of iodine (available from chemists) can also be used to treat the split and prevent secondary infection.

Fin Rot

Usually a sign that water conditions are far from perfect, Fin rot is caused by various parasitic bacteria and causes the fine flesh membrane between the rays of a fin to become opaque and start to rot away leaving just the bare fin rays which in turn start to rot. If the infection spreads to the body of the fish it will probably die. All fish in the affected pond will need to be checked and water quality needs improving also the use of an antibacterial pond treatment is required. Successful treatment will see transparent tissue growth between fin rays, which takes several months. In severe cases antibiotics may need to be injected into the fish.

Twisted Spines

Sometimes fish can be seen to have bent backs, a twisted or bent spine causes this.

Fish fry often develop in this way due to internal parasites or genetic defects, in adult fish the likely cause is exposure to electricity either from an electrical fault causing a shock or following a thunderstorm. Sometimes the twist in the spine is not easily visible, but the inability of the affected fish to swim properly is noticeable. There is no practical cure and the fish is probably in great pain so putting it out of its misery is the kindest option.


Dropsy can be caused by one of several different internal problems within the fish most of which are not infectious.

This causes the fish to develop a swollen or bloated appearance and its scale will rise proud of the body with a distinct pinecone appearance.

Treatment involves placing the affected fish into a vat raising the temperature. Using pond salt and anti-bacterial medications can be effective but unfortunately there is not much hope unless the symptoms are spotted very early on.

Carp Pox

Carp pox is a very common problem in ornamental carp (such as Goldfish and Koi), it is caused by a viral infection similar to the human herpes virus. It does not seem to cause the fish much distress and the fish will continue to swim and eat readily, but it is definitely unsightly.

Carp pox shows itself as off white waxy lumps predominantly on a fish’s tail and fins, and is often brought on by stress or dropping water temperatures and often reoccurs during winter only to improve when temperatures rise again. A fishes immunity system will normally fight off this infection within a few weeks but can be helped by gently scraping the lumps off and applying tincture of iodine.

Cloudy Eye

Gives the appearance of milky white-coated eyes as in cataracts. Yet again it is a bacterial problem, although sometimes a side affect of a different disorder, treat the pond with an antibacterial solution or add pond salt. As it is also thought to result from poor water conditions check your ponds water.

Anchor Worms

Are larger parasites which are usually visible to the human eye, they look like small whitish strands measuring up to 10mm, which imbed their heads into any part of the fish’s body.

The anchor worm has several different stages in its lifecycle, which includes a free-swimming stage, and as such you should use specific anti-parasite pond treatments, which normally require several days of repeated dosing to be completely effective in destroying all of these stages throughout the entire pond. When rudd or orfe are present other remedies may be required. In severe cases anchor worms can be removed with sterile tweezers followed by a coating of tincture of iodine or other topical anti-bacterial solution.

Fish Lice

Fish lice are circular in shape measuring up to 12mm in diameter, their bodies lie flat on the fish’s surface from where they pierce the fish to feed, spreading infection as they go. Treatments for fish lice are in the form of specific anti-parasite chemicals, which are added to the entire pond, and if orfe or rudd are present other remedies may be required.

White Spot

Also known as Ich and often triggered by chills or stress. Is caused by protozoan parasites, which are free-swimming and must attach themselves to a host fish within around 48hr to survive, where they feed on the bodily fluids of the fish for two or three weeks before falling off the fish to reproduce.

They are seen as tiny white spots scattered all over the fish’s body and are never very larger a small pinhead.

Treatment is to add a specific anti-parasite treatment to the pond and will always require a second follow up treatment several days later.