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I Think My Fish Is Poorly

If you believe your fish is ill and want to seek advice from members on our community forum then please answer the following questions to the best of your knowledge.

1. What fish have you got problems with and when did you first notice something might not be right?

2. Describe as well as you can what the problem is

Various symptoms that may indicate fish illness are:

  • loss of appetite
  • heavy breathing
  • loss of colour
  • body sores
  • frayed fins
  • clamping fins
  • abnormal darting and skittish behaviour
  • fish hiding in corners or other areas of the tank
  • fish swimming backwards
  • swelling or bloating of the body
  • protruding scales
  • listlessness
  • swollen abdomen
  • swollen eyes / cloudy eyes
  • abnormal looking and coloured faeces, i.e. white yellow or green and sometimes stringy
  • scraping against things in the tank
  • foreign bodies attached to the skin, i.e. white spots, parasites

These are just a few symptoms that may show of your fish is not well. Describing the condition in detail can in many cases help diagnose what is wrong with your fish


3. Please give us details about your aquarium

  1. How many gallons/litres of water does your aquarium hold?
  2. How long has the aquarium been set up for?
  3. Is your aquarium in the process of cycling?
  4. What type of filtration is installed on your aquarium? i.e. Canister, HOB, Underwater Internal, Under Gravel, Sump. Other
  5. What temperature do you keep the aquarium water at?


If you don't know how much water your aquarium holds then please use this aquarium size calculator which will tell you approximately how much water your aquarium holds.

4. Have you got any other fish, if so tell us what you have and how big they are

5. Please test your water and give us the results for the following:

  • Ammonia
  • Nitrite
  • Nitrate
  • pH

Your fish store will sell water testing kits. We advise using the liquid test kits rather than strips, liquid test kits tend to be more accurate in our experience. Expect to pay anywhere between £5 and £12 for a single test kit, i.e. nitrate. Alternatively, a reputable fish store should offer free testing of aquarium water. Please make a note of the exact results, a simple "water results okay" will I'm afraid not do.

If you have already tried medication then please tell us which medications you have used and how long you treated your fish for

You would probably be wise to make a note of all the answers to these questions so that you can simply put them in a thread on the forum. Remember that the more information that you are able to give us the quicker we can try and help you. Simply telling us that you think your fish is ill is absolutely no help at all. We are here to help so please try and help us help you.

When you are ready to ask questions then please visit our forum and choose the correct category to post your question in. The categories really speak for themselves, please only post in the "emergency" category if you have a true emergency where your fish is very ill. Click here to visit our community forum