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Controlling Disease in a Saltwater Aquarium Fish tank

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Recommended Water Specifications *





73º F to 79º F for tropical fish

77º F to 85º


50º F to 68º F for temperate climate fish



8.0 to 8.3


0 ppm

0 ppm


0 ppm

0 ppm


< 100 ppm

< 50 ppm for fish systems


at or near saturation

at or near saturation



400 pm

Hardness / Alkalinity


4 to 6 meq/L


< 0.5 ppm

< 0.2 ppm for fish systems


< 0.1 ppm for reef systems



1.018 to1.025

*Although some fish require special water conditions, the listing is an average for most fish.

Having a good water supply is essential to proper aquarium maintenance, At Premier Aquatics our water features Reverse Osmosis and has been filtered to greater that 96% including phosphates and nitrates to provide a superior base for all aquariums

Just like people, fish get sick too. How do fish in an aquarium get sick? You may have purchased a fish that was already sick but not displaying full blown symptoms, or your may have introduced new healthy fish to your aquarium and it may have picked up a disease that was already present in your aquarium. Also, when a fish is introduced to a new aquarium, the move is very stressful on the fish, which in turn depresses its immune system, further increasing its vulnerability to disease and infection.

There are many important factors when considering a fish’s health. First, one must provide a healthy stress-free environment that includes good water quality and parameters, as well as a balanced diet. Secondly, if a fish should become diseased, proper diagnosis is difficult at best! If there is uncertainty with the diagnosis, treatment can often be a crap shoot. The best cure is prevention by means of stable healthy water parameters and a balanced diet.

A Stress-Free Environment also means that excessive aggression does not occur between the fish in your aquarium. All fish have their own unique personalities, and some may be more aggressive than others. If a fish is overly-aggressive towards other fish, it may be best to remove the problem fish.

A Stress-Free Environment also means providing each fish with a balanced diet. Different fish species have different dietary requirements. In addition, fish typically feed on a variety of foods, thus providing them with all the different necessary nutrients.

Diagnosis and Treatments

Whereas diagnosis of fish disease may be difficult, aquarium professionals have more experience with the more common diseases and illness than most hobbyist. A few diseases and illnesses can be properly diagnosed.

Many treatments are available at your local pet retailers, mail order houses, and the internet. Many of these remedies have been adapted to our industry from others. That being said, many of these medication have limited effectiveness for our hobby. Listed are some of the more common products:

Metronidazole has been found to be an effective food supplement. Metronidazole is the same medication a human would receive if they went camping and drank water contaminated with a protozoan parasite.

Garlic Additives are new to the aquarium industry. Many manufacturers have been selling this as a parasite repellent and food additive.

Copper has, over the years, become the remedy of choice for parasitic infections for both freshwater and saltwater fish.

Diet is just as important to fish as it is to us humans. Varying the fish’s diet provides a well rounded source of nutrients. Attempts should be made to mimic as closely as possible, a fish’s natural diet. Also, vitamin supplements can play an important role in fish nutrition and health. For example, Vitamin B12 is beneficial with disease prevention, recovery, and stress management. On a side note, many of the prevalent “slime coating” products are useful only as de-chlorinators and nothing else. No scientific data supports that aloe-vera, the supposed active ingredient found in Stress-CoatTM serves any useful purpose in the prevention or cure of any disease. It is however, like every other de-chlorinators, good at removing harmful chlorine from tap water.

Ultra Violet Sterilization of water is a very good proactive way to eliminate problems before they become disasters. UV Sterlizers work by passing water through a chamber that contains a fluorescent ultra violet bulb. The UV rays kill free swimming bacteria and parasites. If water passes by the UV bulb to quickly, the bacteria and parasites may not be killed.

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