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Whirling or Wobbling Fish

You’ll need to watch your aquarium or pond for subtle changes to keep it a healthy environment for your fish, including watching your fish for symptoms like whirling or wobbling. These two activities may signal that there are serious problems in your tank or pond.

Whirling disease can take out your entire setup. It is caused by a parasite which immobilizes fish. Symptoms begin when a fish no longer seems powered by his tail and uses his head to swim, thus the name, whirling. Additional things to look for include: the fish’s spine being bent in different directions, darkening of the tail fin, and head deformities. It is spread by the sharing of water that is infected. If water is believed to be infected, it should be microscopically confirmed, although there are other high-tech tests which can also confirm presence of the parasite.

If you notice your fish is wobbling there are a couple of problems that could be causing this. First, look at your heating element. Is it on and in good working order? If not, your fish could be cold. Fish will do anything they can to try to regulate their body temperatures. If you fear your heater will not be able to raise the temperature of the aquarium or pond quickly enough to save your fish, you can fill plastic containers with warm water, seal them up and float them in the water to hasten the heating. The second issue could be that the water is not aerated enough to sustain aquatic life. Look at your pump to make sure that it is working well. If you suspect it is not, act quickly to repair or replace it.

Wobbling is also a symptom fish can exhibit when the water is out of balance. Check your pH balance with a test kit. They are available just about anywhere you can find aquarium and pond supplies. If you don’t have a kit, take a sample to your local pet shop and ask them to test it for you. Many will run tests for regular customers.

Watching and learning from your fish will help you determine when you fish are ill. Whirling and wobbling can both be serious problems that are not to be ignored.

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