Though veterinary science does include aquatic life, vets who treat fish are few and far between. Therefore, diagnosis and treatment of ill health is largely up to the fishkeeper.


The information presented here is meant to serve as a brief guideline. For more detailed information, do not hesitate to vist an online forum and post your questions. These communities welcome new fishkeepers and are an invaluable resource for sharing information, receiving support and solving problems.  Visit our LINKS page to be directed to some of our favourite forums, or feel free to CONTACT US if you have questions.


The first stage in helping a fish that appears unwell is to assess his/her SYMPTOMS and establish a DIAGNOSIS

  • It is very helpful to keep a log of symptoms that you see, making regular, daily notes to track progress
  • You may not be able to come to an exact diagnosis - this is not uncommon, and you should proceed to the next step regardless

Whether or not you are sure what your fish is suffering from, the fact is that he/she is suffering. You should assess his environment and perform FIRST AID promote recovery

  • By this, we mean that the conditions in the fish's environment should be optimized to promote healing
  • Consider critically ill patients in hospitals - they are kept warm, fed nutritious foods
    • If these patients were subjected to harsh conditions such as cold and poor air and food quality, their bodies would be stressed further and recovery would be slowed/halted.



If you are reasonably certain of your fish's diagnosis, and you have ruled out other possible causes, you may need to administer MEDICATION

  • FIRST AID measures should always be carried out, even if medication will be used, to ensure that the fish is able to heal
  • Remember that, as with medications for humans, fish medications can interact with one another.
    • Unless the medications are sold as a combination, or specially state that they can be used together, medications should NOT be combined