Swordtail Fish Diseases

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Swordtail fish are tolerant towards a wide range of water quality and are usually the last fishes to die in a polluted tank.

However, swordtail fish can still fall sick when their immunity is weakened from stress. Stress in swordtail fish can be caused by poor diet, overcrowding, and also poor water conditions. The best treatment for swordtail fish diseases is to avoid them altogether by reducing any stress factors in the tank.

Because swordtail fish rarely fall sick and when they do, it means that conditions are fairly serious and the fish can die quickly from condition if left untreated. The best time to observe your swordtail fish is during feeding.

Watch out for fishes that are lying at the bottom of the tank or hiding during feeding. Fishes that are inactive during feeding are likely to be down with bacterial infection. If the swordtail fish is infected with a parasite, the parasite is very likely to be found on the exterior of the skin. The fish will be irritated by the parasite and you can identify them by the rubbing its skin against the tank or decorations in the aquarium.

Here’s a list of common bacterial and parasitic infections found in swordtail fish.

Bacterial Fin Rot

The fish will have damaged fins that are torn or frayed and may have a white colored lining along its edges. Most people mistake this for injuries caused by bites from other fishes, but fin rot can occur with any fights between the fishes.

Body Fungus

This is commonly known as the mouth fungus since the first sign of the disease is usually cotton like growth around the mouth region. This growth can spread to the outer edges of the fins or body of the infected fish.

Gill and Skin Flukes

These flukes are worm-like parasites that attack the gills and skin of the infected fish. The fish will have difficulty breathing and can be seen hanging out at the surface of the water.

White Spot or Ich

The most commonly seen disease infecting swordtail fish after body fungus, Ich appears as tiny white spots on the body of the fish. The infected fish will swim quickly around the tank as if a person has ants crawling on his body. It will also scratch against surfaces inside the aquarium.

These common diseases can be treated by medication available from your local fish store, but you must be able to identify them correctly and from early on to be able to administer the proper treatment.


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