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My fish are starting to develop white patches and whitish eyes and they hang near the surface. What can I treat them with?

In the first place, don't treat these fish with ANYTHING - not at first.

When fish start developing milky patches in the skin, and the fin tips begin to fray, you're usually describing fish living in water with a falling or a 'fallen' pH - so the first thing you do is check that pH!

If the pH is lower than six point five - then this is the culprit! You should raise the pH to at least 7.4 with a commercially available "buffer" - a chemical powder which raises the pH.

Before you raise the PH you should also ascertain the Ammonia accumulation in the facility. The reading should be zero or trace levels. Anything higher than that should be considered a secondary cause of poor-doing fish, with the symptoms described.

ONLY IF the water tests you've run show "normal-healthy" results - should you consider treating with a remedy.

Salt is the best FIRST choice, but it can be superimposed on a couple of other remedies to good effect. For example, if you combine SupaVerm (Sometimes called SuperVerm or SuperFluke by various vendors) WITH salt, you will be able to clear most ciliates AND flukes in one treatment. Note: SupaVerm kills Goldfish DEAD. it is well tolerated by all Koi.

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Another person might choose to treat with other chemicals for parasites but EVERYTHING needs to be known about the respective treatment so as NOT to do damage to the essential and beneficial nitrogen reducing bacteria which populate your filtration system and which remove Ammonia and Nitrite from the water. Without these bacteria, the water quality will further-deteriorate.

If you become convinced that the fin tips are fraying due to a "finrot bacteria" such as Flexobacteria or Columnaris, you should consider either a bath treatment with Furazone Green or the feeding of medicated food while improving the overall cleanliness of the fish tank. Fin rot is rare in ponds because they are usually not overcrowded the way fish tanks can be. If you see fin rot in a pond environment, cleaning the pond is a good first step, feeding a medicated food is a good adjunct, and treating with a series of antibacterial Potassium permanganate treatments on a four day regimen is ideal. Read all PRECAUTIONS on the use of any mentioned medication before it's use.

Buying medications from is a good idea because most items come with clear, step-by-step guides.

Fish disease problems? Need some help? The help pages take you through the basics of the 'fish health work-up' diagnosis method and basic fish disease treatment methods.

90% of all health problems and fish deaths are caused by poor fish keeping! The key pages are essential reading for all beginners and intermediates who are serious about disease prevention.

Expanded Content by Dr. Erik Johnson, and Used with Permission; Frank Prince-Iles ©2009 All Rights Reserved