Gill or Fluke disease make the fish appear to be swimming in a great hurry, but it does not move at all. The fins flap very fast, and the fish gasp for breath at the surface, or lie listless at the bottom. The gills become swollen and discolored. Bacteria, fungi and parasites in water can cause gill disease. Like many parasitic diseases, the fish is not likely to be affected unless it is stressed or sick. They are tiny worm-like parasites that are rarely seen by the naked eye. They attach to the fish with hooks-like structures and whilst attached can actually move around! They affect mainly young fish, older fish seem to be less affected. The parasite spreads quickly in an aquarium, so quick treatment is preferable.
The parasite can kill fish in large numbers, and secondary infections are also a common cause of death.
Make sure the water is of a high quality, check pH and ammonia levels.
Flukes are hard to treat and complete eradication is virtually impossible. For individuals affected with flukes, consecutive salt baths over 2-3 days can be useful. The first step in the treatment is therefore an immediate improvement in water quality. Frequent water changes, conditioning and dechlorinating the water to ensure its quality are steps to take to threat and prevent gill disease. The chlorine in water often irritates the gills of the fish. Adding an anti-bacterial solution to the water may be needed to cure the fish.