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The signs of vibriosis are similar to many other bacterial diseases of fish. They usually start with lethargy and a loss of appetite. As the disease progresses, the skin may become discolored, red and necrotic (dead). Boil-like sores may appear on the body, occasionally breaking through the skin surface resulting in large, open sores. Bloody blotches (erythema) are common around the fins and mouth. When the disease becomes systemic, it can cause exophthalmia ("pop-eye"), and the gut and rectum may be bloody and filled with fluid. It should be noted that all of these "signs" can be caused by other bacterial diseases, and are not proof of a Vibrio infection.


The bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Vibrio bacteria are common in the gut of healthy fish, however, stress can give these bacteria a foothold and allow them to spread rapidly. If they are allowed to reproduce unchecked, they can cause the above symptoms in their host. Under certain conditions, the bacteria may be capable of crossing the intestinal wall, resulting in a systemic infection.


Before beginning treatment, ensure that the water quality and your aquarium maintence routines are good. Removal of underlying problems is essential to successful therapy. Often, improving the water quality will be sufficient to control the infection. Notwithstanding, it is strongly recommended that you treat the fish with medicated food containing either Terramycin or Romet. Terramycin contains the antibiotic oxytetracycline and is sold for fish in a sinking feed and should be fed for 10 days. Romet is a potentiated sulfonamide which contains two drugs, sulfadimethoxine and ormetoprim. It is sold for fish in a floating feed and should be fed for 5 days. Either drug will be effective if the strain of Vibrio is sensitive to it and if sick fish ingest enough medication to maintain the drug in the bloodstream throughout the treatment period. Alternatively, these medications could be delivered by injection instead via food.

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