Fin rot, or tail rot, is one of the most common diseases in fish. In fish, tail rot is seen as a result of a bacterium attacking and infecting the fin rays, killing the tissue.
This disease usually emerges when the aquarium is too crowded, leading to low water quality and, consequently, stress. If the disease progresses too much, the wounds will deepen, leading to loss of the fin (tail) and open wounds, which will, in turn, lead to different infections.
What is Tail Rot Disease?
Tail rot can be caused by a variety of bacteria and fungi, and can be treated with various antibiotics and methods. If left untreated, the affected tail continues to deteriorate day by day. As the disease progresses, the tail will erode down to the tissues, decreasing the likelihood of the fish being cured.
Symptoms of Tail Rot
Tail rot is a disease that can cause fish tails to wear down and even be completely lost. The disease is usually caused by bacteria, but can also occur due to fungal infections.
The first sign is the tail beginning to wear down from the tips and gradually starting to decay. As the disease progresses, the tail begins to split into small pieces, looking like torn paper. The tissues where the disease is observed gradually die off and mix into the water. If left untreated, your fish may die within a few weeks.
Most Common Symptoms in Tail Rot:
- Scaling: The scales of your fish may not look lively, and as the disease progresses, scales may shed.
- Color Change: Your fish’s body color may be much paler than usual and spots can be seen on it.
- Loss of Dead Skin: It can be observed that dead skin and scales are peeling off from the entire body of your fish.
Causes of Tail Rot
The most common cause of tail rot is bacteria. Various different bacteria, especially Aeromonas and Pseudomonas, can also be the cause. As with most diseases, poor water quality, low oxygen levels, and stress caused by overcrowded aquariums are the primary causes. While many fish species are very susceptible to this disease, some resistant species might recover on their own.
Treatment of Tail Rot
Before starting the treatment for tail rot, it should be said that the best treatment is, of course, prevention. The fish’s vulnerability to bacteria and infections usually arises from stress and poor water values. Start the treatment by first checking whether the water quality of your aquarium is poor.
By monitoring the temperature of the water, whether it contains chlorine, levels of ammonia and nitrite, and the pH value, you can understand your water quality. You can obtain simple tests to measure these values from various aquarium shops.
By keeping these values at the required level and correcting the source of stress, it will be much easier for you to treat your fish. Additionally, you will significantly reduce the risk of other fish getting sick in the future.
You can use several methods when treating your fish. While deciding which method to use for treatment, you should diagnose how advanced the disease is. As the disease is largely bacterial and fungal-based, you can use Sera Mycopur for treatment.
Step-by-step tail rot treatment in aquarium fish:
- Move the sick fish or fishes to a quarantine aquarium.
- Use an air pump in the aquarium to keep it oxygen-rich.
- Raise the water temperature to 29-30 degrees Celsius.
- Don’t use lights in the aquarium to reduce stress on the fish and if possible, dim it further with the help of a tulle.
- On day one, apply Sera Mycopur to the water at a rate of 30 drops for every 20 liters. The next day, change 30% of the water and reapply the medication in the same manner. Continue this treatment for 5-7 days.
- Once you observe recovery in the fish, you can return them to the main aquarium (when reintroducing to the main tank, acclimate them as if you’re adding them for the first time).
Preventing Tail Rot
Preventing tail rot essentially involves the methods we initially mentioned in the treatment section. The best preventative measure against this disease is consistent care of your aquarium and fish. Fish diseases are most commonly seen in neglected aquariums.
Don’t skip water changes, obtain simple tests to measure water values before weekly changes, and address any issues accordingly. Use a siphon to clean the substrate you’re using, whether it’s sand or gravel, removing food residues and fish waste from the aquarium.
By applying these methods, you’ll not only prevent diseases but also have an advantage in case of any potential diseases.
If the treatment fails, consider a surgery where the infected area, along with the tail rot, will be surgically removed. For the disease to reach the level requiring this surgery, the treatment would have to be significantly delayed.
If you don’t see improvement with the above treatment, you can continue with antibiotics. The most effective antibiotics for this disease are Maracyn, Tetracycline, and Kanamycin. During antibiotic use, ensure not to overdose. You can dilute the feed in very small amounts to a paste-like consistency and administer it to the fish.