Fin and Tail Rot
Ardan Huck May 25, 2002

The picture below was used with permission from "Handbook of Fish Diseases" by TFH Publications, Inc.

Photo 1: Fin and tail rot on a Swordtail fish.

At the first sign of fin rot, it appears cloudy or opaque, then it starts to rot away. It may start as fin nipping by other fish and then become infected with bacteria. It can also start from poor water conditions (dirty, or high ammonia/nitrite). Another cause may be by decreasing the pH with acid too rapidly.

  1. Remove the cause--improve water, remove attacking fish, adjust pH slowly

  2. A lower pH may help (5.0 to 6.0)

  3. In mild cases, often times temperatures of 90 F. and salt at 1 to 2 tablespoons/10 gallons are effective

  4. Sometimes Acriflavine helps (Untergasser1989)

  5. Nitrofurazone sometimes helps (Untergasser1989)

  6. Modern antibiotics sometimes help (depends on the type of bacteria, some bacteria have developed resistance to some antibiotics, this changes as new strains of bacteria develop and new antibiotics become available)

  7. Melafix and salt at 5 tablespoons/10 gallons, temperature 90 F. Treat for 10 days.

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