0208 979 1384   moleseyvets@hotmail.co.uk
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How to care for your fish

At Molesey Vets we’re more than happy to see your fish at our veterinary surgery. We provide a variety of fish veterinary services including, consultations and health checks, as well as advice on husbandry and quarantining. A fish vet on our expert team can help you with any questions regarding all aspects of caring for your fish. This includes your consultations and the diagnosing and treatment of any problems.


At Molesey Vets, we have a range of fee schedules and booking availabilities depending on your fish and it’s own situation.

Please call our regular telephone number: 0208 979 1384 during office hours and speak to one of our dedicated receptionists who will be able to book you the most suitable consultation appointment.

As always, please inform our receptionists how many fish you will be bringing. Each fish will need to be have their own consultation, as this gives the vet time to properly examine each fish and discuss its problems.

Here is a guideline to the different types of consultations we normally provide:

  • Regular Consultation. This is our standard 15 minute consultation with the vet for a fish with a new health problem, a problem that has recurred from some time ago, or a recheck of an ongoing problem.
  • Second Opinion Consultation. If your fish has been to see another vet for this problem (within the last year) and you would like our opinion on the problem, then we need to read the previous medical record, blood results and x-rays etc. This lets us learn what medication may have been used previously, and what the original vet found on examination. This gives us all the information we need to provide an informed second opinion. This takes time to arrange, so the consultation must generally be booked at least one day in advance. As this is a more complex and time consuming procedure, we normally schedule for you and your dog to spend 30 minutes with the veterinary surgeon. This does come with a higher fee.
  • Walk in Consultation. If you visit the surgery without a previously booked appointment, we will try our best to fit you in but you may have to wait for an hour or even longer if the the vets are particularly busy. Should your fish’s life is in danger we will assess their condition and may admit them into the hospital whilst we make a vet available. Each Walk in Consultation is generally scheduled for 15 minutes with the veterinary surgeon but is charged at a higher fee than the Regular Consultation.
  • We strongly advise our clients to try and make an appointment as we are often fully booked or very busy. We do not want either you or your fish to become stressed when having to wait for a longer period of time in an unfamiliar environment.
  • Referral Consultation. This is when another vet has asked you to come and consult with us as they feel we have more expertise with fish, or with your fish’s specific problem. In these cases the other vet will directly fax us a ‘Referral Letter’ complete with your fish’s medical records. Once the consultation has been completed, we will inform the previous vet of the outcome. The Referral Consultation also requires the extended 30-minute consultation.

Once you have made the appointment please make sure that you, or whoever is bringing in the pet, has all the information as follow

  1. How long your fish has been poorly, and what symptoms it’s been displaying.
  2. What type of fish you normally feed your pet, including any snacks or supplements.
  3. Any medicines that may have been given to your pet (please bring in the packets or containers).
  4. Where your fish is originally from, and whether it’s come into contact with any other animals.
  5. What are faeces (poop) usually like and what are they presently look like.
  6. That the owner or a decision maker will be available on the telephone if they cannot come in.

Please note that to sign a consent form (for example for an operation or if you pet needs to be admitted into hospital) legally it must be someone over the age of 18 years old to sign.

We require payment for the services provided immediately after a consultation. If your pet does unfortunately need to be admitted to hospital or for surgery you will be required to pay a deposit. To try and make it more convenient for you we do accept payments by cash, cheque, debit and credit cards.


And don’t forget to collect your Molesey Card – our free loyalty card which gives you 1% back on everything you spend with us! The card is free to all clients, and we even give you 500 points (=£5) to get you started! The reception staff can give you more details when you next visit the surgery.

Health Checks

We always recommend bringing your fish in for regular health checks in order to identify and treat conditions early.

Your vet will need to examine both your fish AND the water in the aquarium/pond.

It is important that your fish is brought in a suitable container with an adequate volume of water. As a general rule of thumb, approximately 1 Litre of water per cm length of fish. You also need to address aeration; this can be provided by a powerhead/airstone and (dependent on the species) temperature control.

We would recommend bringing in extra tank water so they can be transported home in a clean water source.

Please bring in one or more of the diseased population of the tank. If any of your fish have died within the last 24 hours, please keep them refrigerated in water (do not freeze) and bring them in too. Your vet will be able to gather more information by performing a post mortem which may well yield information that could save the remaining individuals.

Please bring a separate 500ml sample of the current tank water. If you have the ability to measure tank water temperature and oxygen saturation at home this will help the vet tremendously.

We will use the sample you provide to analyse water quality by testing for ammonia, nitrite and pH levels.

We have facilities to measure oxygen saturation and temperature but these values change very rapidly and may not be representative of conditions at home.




Your vet will ask you a series of questions related to your fish, including:

  • How long has the tank held fish?
  • What species of fish are kept in the same tank?
  • Are all the fish affected or just one?
  • Are the fish displaying abnormal behaviour (rubbing on objects, staying near the aerator)
  • How often are the fish fed, what food?
  • How often is the water changed?
  • What type and size of filter is used?
  • Are any additives used in the water?
  • Have any treatments been used to date?

We will examine the fish looking for colour changes, behaviour changes, and other signs of sickness.

Further testing may be required including taking tissue samples or using x-ray or ultrasound imaging.

In some cases sedation is required to facilitate these diagnostic tests and your fish may need to stay in the hospital for the day.

Nutritional Advice

Fish as a species have a wide range of dietary requirements. Some species can be herbivorous (plant eating), carnivorous (meat eating), insectivorous (insect eating) or omnivorous (will eat plants, meat and insect matter). This means it’s very important to know the species of your fish.

Most freshwater aquarium fish stock a wide range of high quality flakes or pellets. Take note of whether your fish species is surface or bottom feeding (flakes float!). Dry foods DO expire. Try and use them up within 3 months of purchase otherwise their nutritional quality deteriorates fairly rapidly.

You can supplement their dry foods with other food items such as live or frozen products (for example brine shrimp, microworms, water fleas and krill).

You can feed carnivorous fish live food but the food source can often transmit diseases. Frozen items are safer but are often loose their nutritional levels due to the freezing process. Some diseases can also survive the freezing process.

Avoid overfeeding as uneaten food material can severely affect water quality extremely quickly. The frequency of feeding depends on the species of fish you have. Both herbivorous fish and those that are growing need regular feeding. At each feed, only offer amounts that can be consumed within a 15-20 minute period. Remove any uneaten food material using a fine net.  As a rough guide 1-2 times per day with 1 day per week of no feeding is a good rule of thumb.

Husbandry Advice

Husbandry care for fish is basically the aquarium set-up and includes:

  • Tank/aquarium. Most tanks and aquariums are made of glass. The largest tank you can accommodate and afford is the best option to provide a high quality of life. Larger tanks are also easier to clean due to the high volume of water they hold.
  • Substrate. This is the material at the bottom of the tank (e.g. gravel, sand and coral). Chose the material carefully, as there are some that leach substances into the water, affecting water quality parameters such as pH.
  • Filters. These can be small hanging types, under gravel or external canister filters. Filters help to oxygenate the water through circulation, whilst removing nitrogenous waste products via the bacteria that live in the filter. The filter needs to be rated for the tank size you have.
  • Aerators. One example of an aerator would be an air-stone. These help to increase water circulation and thus oxygen levels.
  • Live plants. Live plants help to oxygenate the water, and provide a safe hiding place for your fish.
  • Decorations. These help to make your tank look nice, and also provide another safe hiding place for the fish. They should be approved as aquarium safe.
  • Heaters. These are usually submerged and run on a thermostat helping you to provide the optimum water temperatures.


Quarantine is usually the best time for the vet to examine your new pet fish.

If you already own fish, then it is a good idea to keep your new purchases in an already established quarantine tank. This allows you to monitor them for signs of sickness and disease, thus minimizing  the chances of spreading any disease to your existing population.

A quarantine tank will have a similar set up to your normal – it should be large, fitted with an appropriately sized filter and with appropriate heating. We usually recommend not using substrate as this makes the tank easier to monitor and keep clean. Sand and gravel are the perfect place for diseases and bacteria to collect, so are best avoided.

We usually recommend a 2-week quarantine period, after which the new fish can be carefully introduced to the existing population.

Please contact your vet to discuss specific quarantine procedures.

Dental Services

Learn more about your pet

You can download our PDF documents for more information.

Cushings Syndrome

Guinea Pig – Feeding


Cat – Moving House

Exotic – Critical Care

Cat & Dog – Bereavement

Our expert team is always ready to help you