Do Fish Shed Their Scales? What Does it Mean

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Written By Fun Fish Tanks

I Love my Fishes 

In an aquarium, there are a lot of things happening around at all times. Even the minutest detail is essential in keeping the ecosystem. In an aquarium, there are certain things your fish can be going through as well.

One of them is you might see a fish with a scale that is hanging out. If you have had an aquarium for some time, you must’ve seen your fish losing a part of their scales. It is something to be alarmed about. 

In this article, we will go through everything regarding fishes losing their scales. 

Do fish shed their scales? 

A fish never sheds scales. It is not natural at all for a fish to shed scales. They never shed their scales. If you see your fish losing a scale, it’s because there is something wrong with the fish.

A fish loses its scale if it is wounded or if the fish has caught a disease. An unhealthy one is the only type of fish that can lose its scale. A healthy fish never does so. So if your fish is losing its scale, it indicates that the fish is unhealthy, and you have to do something about it.

Why do fish lose their scales? 

As you already know, a fish never sheds its scale naturally. A fish that appears to be shedding its scale is not a healthy one. It can lose its scales for several reasons.

All the reasons which a fish can lose its scale round up to your fish being unhealthy. There are a lot of causes by which a fish can lose its scale. The most common reasons are they hurt themselves and if they have caught a disease.

Your fish has hurt itself 

This is the most common by which a fish can lose its scales. If they bump into something in the aquarium-like décors and rocks they can wound themselves. If they hurt themselves they lose some scales, and it appears as if they are shedding scales. So avoid keeping decors and rocks with sharp edges.

If they bump into these, they can easily hurt themselves and lose their scales. A situation where they might stir up and hurt themselves is during breeding. Fishes get active during breeding

Fishes can get hurt by other aggressive fishes as well. If you have placed aggressive fishes with peaceful ones in a tank. The peaceful fishes will get attacked by the aggressive ones, and they will get hurt.

So it is crucial to be wise about getting tankmates for your fish. You might be mixing the wrong ones, and there will be chaos in your aquarium. Do research before adding fish to your aquarium.

They have the Scale Shedding Disease

This is a disease by which your fishes can lose their scales. This disease is caused by a bacteria and is also known as infectious protrusion. If you fish is shedding or losing its scales this might be the reason. If this is the reason then you have to take quick actions for it and treat it immediately. 

Symptoms of the Scale Shedding Disease

The major symptom of this disease is that your fish begins to lose its scale. First, it begins with one or two scales, and then a lot of scales begin to protrude out of the fish’s body. The reason the scales begin to protrude out is small bubbles form under the scales containing fluid. As these bubbles begin to increase in number, the more scales are lost by the fish. 

This disease becomes a nightmare for the younger fishes. When fish are young, they breathe through their skin and with these bubble formations, they won’t be able to breathe.

Treating the Scale Shedding disease 

To treat this disease you can use antibiotics. Some antibiotics can get rid of this disease. You can use Biomycin, Bicillim-5, and Sulfanilamide. These three antibiotics will wonder is fighting this disease.

Also, remember that you have to treat the fish during the early stages of this disease. Treat them as soon as you notice if your fish has this disease. For if you neglect it and the disease has spread, it is unlikely that your fish will survive despite treatments. 

You will also have to disinfect the aquarium as well. Disinfect the area where the disease occurred with 5% of Sulphuric Acid, Hydrochloric acid solution, or Chloramine. You should also disinfect the gravel and the plants.

Can fish grow back their scales? 

Your fishes can grow their lost scales back. No matter how many scales they have lost, they will regain them. If they have lost their scale because of some physical injury, they will regain their scale once they are healed.

If they have lost their scale due to a disease, it might take some time, but the scales will grow back. Once the disease gets treated and they become healthy again, the scales will begin to grow back. 

But don’t get excited that they can grow their scales back. You must not give them a chance to lose their scales. Precaution is better than cure.

How long does it take for the scales to come back? 

It all depends on the species of fish you have. In this scenario, some fish take their time while others are fairly quick. You may have to wait weeks, if not months, for the scales to regrow and the fish to return to normal.

In reality, scale degradation takes time, and this slower process obstructs the growth of the new scale as well. When the old, damaged scales have decomposed, new scales will begin to develop and cover the exposed area of the fish’s body.

If your fish is regrowing its scales, you have to give it extra attention. You must keep the water clean, the parameters right, and give them a nutritious diet.

Why are scales important for fish? 

Scales are crucial for the fish. Although there are exceptions where some fish species don’t have scales, the ones that have scales cannot live properly without them. It serves as a protective layer and maintains the balance of water in the fish’s body.

So fishes don’t shed their scales. If they are shedding their scales, it is not shedding they’re losing their scales due to some causes. They can be injured or are under the effect of the scale-shedding disease.

You can treat this disease as well. Fishes are fully capable of growing back their scales. But it might take them some time. The time it takes for them to grow back their scales differs with the type of fish. You have to have patience.

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