Aquatic Information Center



IFAS Circular# 921

Introduction to Fish Health Management

Ruth Francis-Floyd

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What Is Fish Health Management? Fish health management is a term used in aquaculture to describe management practices which are designed to prevent fish disease. Once fish get sick it can be difficult to salvage them. Successful fish health management begins with prevention of disease rather than treatment. Prevention of fish disease is accomplished through good water quality management, nutrition, and sanitation. Without this foundation it is impossible to prevent outbreaks of opportunistic diseases. The fish is constantly bathed in potential pathogens, including bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Even use of sterilization technology (i.e., ultraviolet sterilizers, ozonation) does not eliminate all potential pathogens from the environment. Suboptimal water quality, poor nutrition, or immune system suppression generally associated with stressful conditions allow these potential pathogens to cause disease. Medications used to treat these diseases provide a means of buying time for fish and enabling them to overcome opportunistic infections, but are no substitute for proper animal husbandry. 

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