Cherry barbs are usually durable fish that don’t experience a ton of health issues. This makes them great candidates for beginners who are just getting into the hobby of keeping aquariums.
You’ll love how pretty cherry barbs are and you won’t have a tough time with them. They can still get sick under certain conditions, though.
It’s good to know about common cherry barb diseases so you can know what to expect. This allows you to know what to look out for so you can do your best to protect the fish.
Read on to learn about various cherry barb diseases. Once you’ve learned everything, it’ll be that much easier to watch out for them.
1 – Fin Rot
Fin rot is a bacterial infection that causes the fins to rot away. It’s a gruesome type of disease that can make your cherry barb look terrible.
When cherry barbs get this disease, you’ll notice that they’ll lose color. Often, the fish will become very lethargic and won’t move around the tank as normal.
Eventually, the fish will lose its appetite, and it might stop eating entirely. The fins will start to look as if they’ve been ripped as the disease progresses.
Luckily, this is a disease that can be treated. Fin rot is treated by giving the fish antibiotics to clear up the infection.
It’s also common for people to use aquarium salt to treat the fish. This can help the fish to heal.
Your fish might wind up permanently disfigured from the fin rot. If you catch things early, things won’t be quite as bad.
This disease is usually caused by extremely poor water quality. You can prevent this disease by keeping the water quality high.
Focus on changing the water often enough and doing consistent tank maintenance. Test the water using pH balance testing kits to see if everything is in the right range.
2 – Dropsy
Dropsy is a strange type of disease that causes cherry barbs to have bloated stomachs. If you see your fish with a bloated stomach, there’s a good chance that it has dropsy.
Often, dropsy is caused by feeding the fish too much food at once. You might have been feeding the fish a bit more than it could handle.
You’re supposed to feed cherry barbs only as much as they can eat in three minutes. This helps them to avoid experiencing issues with constipation and bloating.
Sometimes dropsy is caused by certain microorganisms getting into the internal organs of the fish, though. You might need to use medications to get the fish better.
Salt bath treatments have been used to help fish that have this disease. Medications such as Maracyn-2 can work as well.
3 – Ich
Ich is one of the most common diseases that freshwater aquarium fish have to deal with. It’s also known as white spot disease.
This is a type of parasitic infection that causes white spots to appear all over the body. White spots can appear pretty much anywhere.
If the white spots get on the gills, it’ll make it very hard for the fish to breathe. You might notice labored breathing or rapid breathing when monitoring the fish.
This condition makes the cherry barbs feel lethargic, and they might lose their appetites as well. The fish will try to rub against objects in the tank in an effort to remove the white spots even though that won’t work.
Thankfully, this condition can be treated both with medication and with aquarium salt. Adding aquarium salt to the tank inhibits the parasites and makes it easier to get things back to normal.
Medications such as formalin and copper sulfate are commonly used on fish with this disease. It’s also important to focus on water quality while treating the fish.
You’ll need to get the water very clean and this means doing regular water changes. When fish contract this disease it often happens due to problems with water quality in the tank.
4 – Gold Dust Disease
Gold dust disease is another one that you should look out for. It’s one of the more common diseases that impact cherry barbs.
This one is caused by a parasite that attaches to either the fins or the gills of the fish. When the fish gets infected, you’ll see a velvety layer appear on its skin.
Sick fish will wind up feeling really out of sorts. You’ll notice differences in the behavior of the fish fairly fast once you see signs of sickness.
It’s common for fish to experience labored breathing while dealing with this disease. They’ll also become very lethargic and will stop eating.
Sometimes you might see the fish rub against objects in the tank. This is the same thing that fish do when they contract white spot disease and it’s known as flashing.
When you notice that your fish is sick it’s important to start treatment. The sooner you treat the fish the better it’ll be.
You can get the fish better by treating it with copper sulfate. Aquarium salt is also going to be helpful when treating this condition.
Disease prevention is what you want to focus on. You can keep your fish healthy and happy by keeping the fish tank in good shape.
Remember that fish are more likely to get sick when they become stressed. Do your best to avoid stressing the fish.
This means giving the fish more than enough room in the tank. Ensure that the fish are getting enough to eat and that you’re feeding them high-quality foods.
Focus on the water parameters and keeping the fish tank clean. You should do water changes of at least 25% every two weeks to keep the water quality in the right range.
It’s also wise to use a good filter that won’t produce too much current. Remember that cherry barbs can get stressed by strong currents.
Keep an eye out for diseases when caring for your fish. Cherry barbs are hardy fish that don’t get sick often, but they can get sick under the right circumstances.
You can prevent disease by keeping the water clean and safe. Be sure to test the water often enough, and do your best to do regular tank maintenance.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.