FIN ROT-WHAT IS IT? HOW TO CURE IT!
By Jim E. Quarles
This seems to be a problem that beginners encounter far to often
because it is totally preventable. But once it hits your fish action is
needed quickly to end the problem. That is the reason for this short
WHAT IS FIN ROT?
There are a number of bacteria that can cause fin rot, the most common
being one known as the genus, Cytophaga. This disease factor has been
called many names, Chorndococcus, Cytophage, Fexibacter, Myxobacterium,
once even known as Flavobacterium. The most common species is columnaris.
WHAT CAUSE IT TO START?
The cause of this disease is well known, and has been noted by fish
keepers for years. Columnaris organisms are a normal part of the
environment, they have been observed feeding on uneaten fish food, and
most likely feed on organic wastes common to a fish tank that is poorly
maintained. What is important to note is the numbers of bacteria that are
contained in a given volume of water. When these numbers increase, any
stress factors subject the fish to the onset of the disease. It is well
know that stress in fish reduces resistance to many diseases.
The onset of the disease is preventable. Keep a clean tank with
frequent water changes and you will rarely see this disease on the fish.
If the fish show signs of open sores on the body, that rules out the
use of formaldehyde, since that might kill the fish if it enters the
fishes system via direct blood contact. The use of copper sulfate could be
used, but I don't recommend it because the dosage level must be tightly
controlled and this is beyond the skills of most hobbyists.
I RECOMMEND "KISS"
Kiss stands for " keep it simple stupid." Many people will
tell you to use this anti-biotic or that anti-biotic. The use of
antibiotics should be a last ditch resort, not the first.
A very simple and effective way to cure simple fin rot is with the use
of common Rock Salts. The kind you use for making home made ice cream, or
found in water softeners.
The only other item that should be used with it is a dye known as
MALACHITE GREEN. DOSAGE: 1 drop per gallon. With frequent water changes
over three or four days. As you replace the water add back half the
dosage, or one drop to two gallons of water and don't for get to use one
teaspoon of Rock or Sea Salt per gallon. This also should be added back as
water changes are made at ½ the dosage.
I have seen just about every suggested cure and cause named on talk
forums and other sites of information. I would recommend to any hobbyist
that such advice should also be taken with a grain of salt or two. Ha ha..
A good book is your best source of information about most fish problems
not second had rumors or old wives tales.
One other note. If you can cure the disease before it gets to the fin
root of the fish the fins will grow back and should be normal. Once the
disease reaches the fin root and damage occurs it is unlikely that the fin
will ever be replace or normal again.