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Why Your Fish Has Clamped Fins And How To Treat It 🐠 Fish Diseases

Updated: Oct 23, 2020


Clamped fins are not a disease in itself, fish will exhibit clamped fins for a number of reasons, and today we are going to go over the top 4 reasons, your fish may have clamped fins, and what you can do about it.

First, a quick disclaimer, some fish are more sensitive than others when it comes to treatments, and many if not all medications may cause damage to or destroy live plants, so always do your research before treating your tank. When possible, having an extra tank used strictly for quarantining sick fish is always a good idea.

1. Water Temperature

Many species of fish require warm stable tank temperatures. For those who do not live in warm enough climates, or keep their home temperatures low, this may require a heater.

Unfortunately, for those who do keep heaters in their aquariums, these heaters need to be checked regularly to make sure they are functioning properly and are maintaining the correct temperatures in the tank.

If there are large fluctuations in the tank temperatures of more than 1-2 degrees throughout the day, this can cause stress to the fish’s body, which can lower the fish’s immune system, and can cause symptoms such as clamped fins, and leave the fish more susceptible to diseases.

2. Water quality

One of the first things we want to do when our fish is exhibiting any signs of stress or illness is check our water quality. Leaving a fish in poor water conditions can cause a number of problems, so we want to test our water regularly.

One of my favorite products when it comes to water testing is API’s Master Test Kit, but there are many other great water testing kits available out there. Some people prefer test strips, although if you live in a humid area like I do, these strips can easily become ruined as they need to be stored in a dry area.

Once you have an accurate picture of your water quality, you will know if you may need to use a product to alter things such as your pH, or if the solution will be as simple as just doing a water change.


3. Ich

A common early sign that your fish may be infected with ich, Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, also known as white spot disease, is clamped fins. Ich is a small protozoan that is very common, fish infected will often start rubbing themselves on ornaments and against the gravel.

Ich appears as small white spots on the fish, that make the fish appear as if they have been sprinkled with grains of salt all over their body.

There are a number of treatments available for ich, as far as medicinal treatments go, Hikari’s Ich X is often a favorite amongst fish keepers. However, if you are looking for a more natural approach, many hobbyists swear by dosing the tank with aquarium salt and raising the tank temperature.

Others swear by adding garlic to the fish’s food, or by using a fish food that contains garlic. This may be due to garlic being thought to have antiparasitic properties.

4. Velvet

Also known as gold dust disease, fish experiencing this will often have a rust like appearance on their bodies.

Fish will often become lethargic and begin to rub themselves on ornaments and gravel trying to break free of the parasite. You will also sometimes notice clamped fins and labored breathing.

A common treatment for velvet is shutting off the tank lights, raising the temperature in the tank, possibly even covering the tank to help keep light out. Copper based treatments can also be used to treat cases of velvet if used as directed.


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