Why does this happen and how do I prevent it?
Slime and velvet are caused by a variety of parasites which will be naturally present in small numbers on aquarium fish. In a healthy tank the fish’s immune system will cope with these parasites however fish stress (mostly caused by bad water quality) can lead to major outbreaks of parasites.
Limiting stress factors is the main way of preventing outbreaks and will also benefit the fish’s recovery during treatment.
Parasites use the fish as hosts for feeding and will then reproduce, releasing large numbers of new parasites into the aquarium water. These young will then find their own feeding host to begin the cycle again. Due to the cycle parasites will spread rapidly in the right conditions so fast action and treatment is recommended. Some parasites have stages during their life cycle when they are resistant to treatment so may require a second treatment.
Key areas to consider and regularly monitor to prevent future outbreaks and aid recovery:
- complete regular maintenance
- regularly test water for abnormalities
- feed regularly (removing any waste after allowing them to feed for 1-2 minutes)
- consider a quarantine before introducing new fish to an established tank
What treatment should I use?