Some Helpful Hints When Posting or Responding to Threads in the Fish Disease Treatment and Diagnosis Section

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Jay Hemdal

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Aquarium Fish Disease Problem Solving

Determining the best course of action for a problem with your aquarium can be a difficult task. Even advanced aquarists will often need to seek the help of others for complicated issues. Our intent here is to offer expert advice for your fish disease issues, using a blend of husbandry knowledge from a public aquarium curator combined with the unique expertise of a variety of home aquarists of different experience levels.

In your first post, give us a synopsis of problem: The more complete information the information you can provide, the better. The information that often proves helpful is listed below:

Aquarium Parameters:
Aquarium type: Reef, Fish-only, Quarantine tank
Aquarium water volume
Filtration type
How long has the aquarium been established?
Digital image of the aquarium under white light

Water quality (be sure to indicate what measurement units you are using)
Salinity / specific gravity

In-depth information:
Have you lost any fish to this problem yet? (see below)
Are any invertebrates affected?
Respiration rate of affected fish (in gill beats per minutes, count for 15 seconds and multiply by 4)
Are the affected fish still feeding?
What remedies have you tried so far?
Digital image of the fish with the health issue, taken under white light
Short video of the fish (linked YouTube videos work well)

Helpful hints:

- If you have already had multiple fish lost to the problem, or if the fish is moribund (unable to swim) it is unlikely that any advice given can work fast enough to be successful.

- If you are reading a post and have a similar problem, please start your own thread. Not all similar problems have the same cause, and it gets confusing to reply to more than the original poster (OP).

- If you are responding to another person’s problem and are even a little unsure of the advice you are providing, please consider waiting to see how the thread develops. It gets very confusing to the OP to be given conflicting advice. If you are confident in the advice and it is counter to what has already been provided, bring it up with the person whose advice is in conflict first.

- Please do not send fish disease questions by private conversation. Reef2Reef is a great community resource, and part of that is allowing all members and guests access to as much information as possible. Many more people can be helped when they read about other people’s fish health issues.

- For critical problems, timing is of course an issue. While immediate responses are obviously the best, please plan on some delay in getting a response. For example, my Reef2Reef schedule is usually as follows: (EST weekdays)

6:30 to 7 am – answer questions from overnight
Noon to 1 pm, - search for new threads and respond to old ones
6:30 to 7 pm – as above
9 pm – 10 pm – final responses for the day


Because we cannot see your aquarium, and since aquarium fish health issues are so complex, please understand that the information we provide, while as accurate as we can make it, may not resolve the issue for you. Judging the fitness of our advice for your specific application is wholly your responsibility.

Any advice provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The use of and access to this web site is not intended to create a veterinarian/patient relationship between you and the author(s).

Medication dosages are given as examples only. Follow all product labeling and keep all medications out of the reach of children.
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Do you keep "Reef Safe with Caution" fish?

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  • Other (please explain)

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