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What is Fluke Disease?

Fluke parasiteFluke is often associated with parasitic infection that can easily kill a large batch of fish especially young fry. If you notice that there is a sudden increase in mortality rate causing large number of death among the fish, you should take steps to identify and check whether it could be due to fluke infestation. Usually fish that are infected with the disease will often show lethargic condition with excessive slime buildup on the body including gills. Sometimes they will even scratch on any aquarium surface in which it might led you to believe that they have contacted ich but in actual fact, this is not the case.

Identifying flukes can usually be confirmed by taking a sample and analyzing it under the microscope. The parasite can be easily distinguished based their tubular appearance and also the presence of a suction cup present at one end and a hook on the other. Based on scientific studies, it has been confirmed that there are actually two different types or species of fluke, one which is a body fluke and another is a gill fluke whereby both are differentiated based on the location on the fish anatomy in which they are commonly found. Whichever cases, both are equally lethal and if no proper treatment is being administered, the condition might even escalate up to the point that body sores will appear everywhere, eventually causing the host to die. Another way of identifying the presence of fluke is by using a magnifying glass with close observation and this seems to be a more viable method for use in home aquarium compared to using a microscope.

Recent studies done by scientist has also confirmed that the fluke parasite is in fact present in different types of fish and the reason why the victim has yet to reach a critical stage and becoming sick has something to do with the body immune system preventing the condition from getting worse. However, with poor water condition, which will cause the fish to be under stress and thus, lower the immune system, this will actually present a chance for the fluke to develop. Another area of infestation is through introduction of new fish to the aquarium tank which haven’t gone through proper quarantine period whereby the immunologically naïve fish will be used as a new host to for the fluke to establish itself.

So far, treatment for the disease is by using potassium permanganate in which common salt bath will prove to be almost ineffective in this case. Be careful on the dosage that you intend to use because usually concentration of 10mg per liter of water might endanger the fish as well especially on smaller sized aquarium species. Based on my experience, usually fluke infestation breakout can almost wipe out the whole population but those that manage to survive eventually will buildup sufficient immunity to sustain another wave of attack. The best approach to prevent another breakout of the disease is by applying good aquarium practice to quarantine or avoid introduction of a new batch of fish to the same tank until you are sure that they will not carry any risk that will jeopardize the whole tank community.

Other threats to aquarium fish health involving parasite:
Fish Lice and Anchor Worm



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Breeding Jack Dempsey in Tank

jack dempsey breeding pairBreeding Jack Dempsey will require a lot of patience because the biggest obstacle towards success is actually having a mature breeding pair and the hardest part is finding a compatible partner. Most of the time, the reason why breeders fail is because most of the identified fish is hand-picked and then selected to be added together usually after their sexual maturity age. For me, the best chance to end up with a breeding pair is to purchase a few juvenile jack dempsey (numbering about 6 to 7) and then put them together in the same tank and then raise them to become adult fish. At the same time, by doing so, you will get the chance to let the natural selection process take place to have a breeding pair later part.

Usually, what you will notice is that, most often the healthiest and dominant opposite sexes will pair up together while those that were rejected will be singled out and bullied upon. After you notice that you have a compatible jack dempsey pair swimming together, you should take the effort to remove the other fish. It is always a mistake made by breeders to presume that a fish, which has the most desirable characteristic such as bright colors and balanced body size should be the best pair and hence put them together in the same tank hoping that the fish would pair up. However, what you will find is that most of the time, the fish will reject one another and fighting will ensue resulting in injury or sometimes death.

It might also be a viable idea if you decided to pair up a larger fish with a smaller sized fish because the larger one is usually the male while the smaller one is the female. There are exceptions of course, which is still possible if you intend to introduce the fish after their maturity age but however, the chances for them to turn into a pair might be lower. The drawback to doing this is that, you will need to find a number of potential jack dempsey fish, guess their sexes, put them in the tank and then later part observe carefully whether they will turn hostile towards each other. In the end, doing all these might probably become a cumbersome and long process and there is no guarantee it will be a success. Find out more about caring for jack dempsey fish and how to prepare and setup a cichlids tank.



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Jack Dempsey Cichlids Care Info

Jack Dempsey CichlidsJack Dempsey is a territorial type of cichlids, which can easily devour all your smaller fish. They are not the kind of community fish, which can get along with other tank mates and selection of different fish to live with them should be done carefully. In fact, this is only possible provided that there are enough rooms for the fish to establish its own territory and the tank mates is large enough to defend against any vicious attack. Often selection of tank mates are done by just trying your luck with careful observation along the way and so far, known compatible species to put and mix with your jack dempsey can either be oscar, firemouth and severum.

Looking after your newly purchased aquarium pet is very much similar just like any other cichlids care and tank setup with water temperature matching the requirement of a tropical species while the best pH should in the range of between 7.2 to 7.8. An adult jack dempsey can grow up to 10 - 12 inches in length and being a carnivorous fish, they require constant feeding of meaty meal such as shrimp and feeder fish. Because of this requirement, the water gets dirty easily which is why a good aquarium filtration system is definitely needed combined with presence of a bristlenose catfish, not to mention regular water changes as well. The minimum tank size for a single jack dempsey fish should be at least 30 gallons and if you have intention to house a pair of male and female fish, you would need 60 gallons and above large tank.

Jack dempsey is usually mature by time they are 6- 8 months old and it’s quite difficult to tell apart between the male and female fish. Sometimes even an expert hobbyist can give wrong information and until both fish start to pair up and lay eggs, there’s no surefire or reliable method to use as a guide. Breeding your pet should be relatively easy because just like any other cichlids fish, the parents will protect and care for the young until they are large enough to be able to fend for themselves. Breeding jack dempsey is a rewarding business because a single pair could produce up to 80 or even more offspring and there’s a huge demand for them for sale in pet shops.

A variation of the fish species known as electric blue jack dempsey is widely sold in aquarium trade and highly sought after because of their bright and unique coloration. However, the fish is known to be short-lived because the genetic makeup resulted from cross-breeding has so far produced a species that is weak, vulnerable to common aquarium disease and they usually die before reaching maturity age. Although nobody exactly knows which species were crossbred with to come up with the species variation, I wouldn’t recommend buying these fish because obviously it will be a waste of money, time and effort.



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Checking Koi Health Problems

Water quality and temperature are two of the most important indicators that will tell whether your Koi will end up healthy or otherwise. A perfect water condition should have ammonia and nitrite levels readings measured to be zero with tolerance for nitrite level at least until 0.5ppm. Do not overlook on this because even slight changes in terms of ppm could have large overall effect that could be life threatening. Contrary to popular belief saying that koi water temperature should be as low as possible, this is actually not true because anything under 65 Fahrenheit for long period of exposure could induce unnecessary stress that will lower the fish immune system.

Koi Gill Observation
Bacteria and viruses are the other common threats that will also compromise the health of your fish. Basically there are few things which you can check. First are the gills of you koi. Watch carefully and determine whether there’s any sign of swelling. Sometimes upon close observation, you could even see growth of white cotton moth on the plate surface and these are mostly associated to fungus infection. A normal healthy color of the gill should be slightly reddish and even appearance of pale pink is not desirable. (Refer to attached photography shown above). Another common routine checkup, which you can perform, is by looking at the fins. Make sure that the fin structures are not frail still intact without presence of white dots. If there’s any, observe whether the koi will show signs of scratching or flashing on the pond surface, if it does, then most probably it could be sign of unhealthy development. See article on treatment of ich/ick or white spot disease to understand how to deal with it.

The health of your koi can also be monitored by just checking the underside of the fish. Usually what you can do is by observing for any stationary fish and then by carefully using a fish net and together with both hands, flip it around in order to observe the underside. This will require some gentle handling because koi can wriggle and flip around splashing up the water and if you are not careful, you might even slip and drop the fish. If this becomes a problem, you can either place it into a transparent plastic bag in order to observe it carefully. Basically what you are looking for are signs of bloated belly which could mean, an early warning towards development of pine-cone disease sometimes referred to as swim bladder disorder. Best treatment approach usually is by using prescribed antibiotic dose best recommended by a qualified veterinarian.

Check out on the list related to basic fish medication.



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Preparing for Breeding Koi Fish

mature breeding koiUnlike their wild carp cousin, which readily breeds when you put together two fish of opposite sex in a pond, however, in the case of Koi, it might be more difficult because they will not spawn under natural conditions unless certain stimulating factors are being introduced. First of all, one of the common methods is to wait for natural season change from cold winter to warm temperature that will automatically induce the fish to begin spawning. Usually before the mating season begins sometime in February, make sure that as the temperature rises, more nutritious natural live foods are being fed to them.

However, before you jump into all these, certain things have to be prepared because basically the breeding pond will actually become the nursing home for the young koi to grow and develop from there. Based on my own experience, usually indoor breeding ponds are more suitable than those placed outdoors because the water temperature are easier to control and not subjected to extreme weather change. In terms of cleanliness, this will also be easier to maintain and in fact the best setup should be an indoor pond with skylight roofing so that the young fry is not void of natural sunlight.

First thing first, make sure that you get the necessary pond supplies for your breeding pond. A polyethylene stock watering tank will make a perfect setup and make sure you get the largest size possible with space availability and budget limitation put into consideration. These specially made show tanks are not necessarily available in pet stores, because I’ve even come across livestock or farm supply stores selling it as well. Moving on to the next step, you will need something that will get the male and female koi to start mating. While most people will prefer breeding mops, somehow for me, I would still go for real live plants instead because what I’ve found is that the koi fry will love grazing on the plant surface pinching out foods from there.

Other than that, make sure that the tank comes along with a pond filter installed and after the fry has hatched, you should consider switching to air pump instead and bring down water turbulence. If you do it right, the process on breeding koi fish should be a routine at your fingertips.

Related topic: Koi Health Problems



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About Me

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My fascination and interest towards aquarium fish has led me to devote my time towards caring and learning about this wonderful pet.

Aquarium fish keeping is a very challenging and exciting hobby. When I first started, I never knew much or have the necessary guidance back then because none of my family members were actually a keen hobbyist. And because of that, I’ve encountered numerous failures and the worst part is having to deal with dead fish every time when you started to grow fond and getting attached to my pets. However, I persevered and took steps to find out and search for information from other hobbyist, apart from the knowledge gained and learned from my own experience and research. The blog that I’ve created here is meant to share useful information and tips about aquarium fish keeping so that new hobbyist will not make the same mistakes that I’ve made in the past."

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