Of all of the parasitic infections that can affect goldfish, Costia is one of the hardest to identify. It can only be seen under a microscope and – even then – can be hard to spot.
But despite its small size, Costia can have a serious effect on goldfish if left untreated.
If you are worried that your goldfish may be suffering from this infection, or you want to know the warning signs to look out for, read on to learn more.
What is Costia?
Costia is the name of a small parasite that can live on your goldfish and in your tank water.
The most common time of year for outbreaks is the springtime, though your fish may have been carrying the parasites for some months before showing symptoms.
Symptoms of a Costia infection in goldfish
The symptoms of a Costia infection are quite easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for.
Your goldfish will probably develop slimy-looking patches over their gills and head, and will clamp their fins down close to their bodies.
Goldfish will sometimes go off their food and their condition will usually deteriorate quickly.
You may see your goldfish gasping for air and rubbing against tank furniture in an attempt to ease their irritation.
What causes Costia in goldfish?
Quarantining new fish before adding them to your tank is important. However, Costia may be present for several months before your goldfish show symptoms, so short-term quarantine doesn’t always help.
Costia can also survive out of water for a time. It’s therefore vital to sterilize any tank equipment that you use on multiple tanks. If you don’t, you could transfer Costia parasites from one tank to another.
How can Costia be treated?
Costia is relatively easy to treat by adding salt to your tank water.
Add one tablespoon of aquarium salt per gallon of water every twelve hours for three applications.
This will usually eradicate costia from the water and from your fish.
However, if one tablespoon doesn’t work, increase the dosage to three tablespoons per gallon. Again, perform up to three doses, each twelve hours apart, and you should find that the Costia symptoms start to disappear.