Frequently Asked Questions

If you are not sure if your fish is sick or not, we recommend you call and we are happy to guide you. Here are the most common physical and behavioral signs of disease in fish. If you have questions or a sick fish that requires treatment, please call us at (831) 278-1081.

We use a powdered medicated known as Tricaine or Finquel. MS-222 has been used for many decades in ornamental fish health and is very safe and easily reversible. We use a small dose for physical exams and a higher one for surgical treatments.

We understand that there is a lot of conflicting information about what to feed your fish. Here is our best guide on what to feed your fish. Never fast your fish or withhold food entirely without directions from your aquatic veterinarian.

We cover the California Bay Area and surrounding counties.

First off, your fish is not “constipated.” Second, many buoyancy disorders are mistaken for GI disorders. If you have a fancy goldfish, they may be very tricky to achieve correct buoyancy for life. Feeding green peas works by providing your fish with a sinking diet, more vitamins and lower protein to improve your water quality.

Yes, fish do indeed get cancer. Depending on the type of tumor, and if it is external or internal, we offer many different treatment options. Please call to schedule an appointment to receive a complete diagnosis and explore your treatment options.

We work with ALL types of fish, from tiny bettas to enormous koi. Our office is equipped to work on all fish species, even those with sharp teeth and pointy spines!

We service all kinds of fish habitats! Be it a pond or tank, saltwater or freshwater, we have experience working with all kinds of fish and aquatic systems.

At this time, we do not offer externships.

We are able to provide high quality surgical treatment for all of our fish patients pond- or tankside! Our setup is fully mobile and we have wonderful staff ready to assist for more complicated procedures.

Dr. Jessie Sanders has spent years amassing a varied background in aquatic medicine. While pursuing her B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of Rhode Island, Dr. Sanders completed over 2000 hours of volunteer work with Mystic Aquarium’s fish and invertebrate department. In addition, she completed 2 summer internships with the same department, during which she completed her senior honors research project from URI.

Dr. Sanders entered Tufts veterinary school with the intent of becoming an aquatic veterinarian. In addition to the typical veterinary curriculum, Dr. Sanders completed several advanced aquatic medicine courses (AQUAVET I & II, MARVET Grand Cayman) and aquatic externships (Mystic Aquarium, The Marine Mammal Center, SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatic Veterinary Services of Western NY). For more information about Dr. Sanders, see our article on "Why A Fish Vet."

Please see our services page for more information. Estimates are available on request.

13 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions”

  1. Have you ever anesthetized or performed procedures on a mudskipper? I am a veterinary technician student writing a research paper on mudskippers in captivity and am curious to see if it has been done before and if so how. Thank you!!

  2. I have a large black carp in Our Koi pond who has been with us for about 10 years and he was large when we got him. Starting a few years ago it looked like he had a bit of a sunburn patch on the top of his head between his eyes. But now this year it is started to grow and now more looks like a ping-pong ball between his two eyes it is pink and fleshy. I am guessing a tumor? Is there any potential could be contagious? And can something be done with it to extend his life? We live in Marin, California Thank you

  3. Victoria Sansome

    I have some type of bacteria (I think) spreading in my koi pond that causes red bumpy growths.
    I need help.

  4. Victoria Sansome

    There are white bumpy growths on some koi and it has spread to a number of my koi.
    I need help. Do you service Pittsburg? I am desperate and do not want to lose my koi.

  5. Morgan Braudrick

    Hi! I am currently a 2nd year pre-veterinary student at San Diego State and I am super interested in learning more about what you do and about aquatic veterinary medicine. I will be home this summer in Orange County from Mid-May to late August. I was wondering if it was possible to shadow you at all just so I can learn more about your profession?

    My email is if this sounds like something you would be interested in doing.

    Thank you!
    Morgan Braudrick

  6. Anita M Santana

    Im in a betta fish group in which the admins insist that bettas should never be fed peas, that peas are very bad for them and will always make any issue they are having worse because they are carnivores and cant digest plants. Im wondering if this is true. I tried finding some resources online but all I can find are uncertified opinions and all of them in favor of peas in small amounts in moderation.
    Are peas actually dangerous for Bettas?

    Also how often can a goldfish eat live brine shrimp? I dont want to over do it.

    1. Bettas are certainly capable of digesting plants, but do better on an animal-protein diet. ( Bettas are commonly fed peas due to “constipation” which is actually overfeeding. Peas are thought to have more fiber, but they have no more than regular fish food. ( They will do absolutely nothing to correct overfeeding.

      Goldfish can have brine shrimp as a once a week treat. It is best to keep them on a goldfish-specific pelleted diet.

  7. Vivian DeVivo

    Hi there, Our goldfish, Bert, has grown to a mammoth size of about 5 1/2 inches, but he has 2 huge tumors. We live in Big Rapids, MI and cannot find anyone who treats goldfish in our area. Would you happen to know of anything within the state of Michigan that treats goldfish or anything that can be done for him/her? Any help you can offer would be most appreciated.

    Vivian DeVivo

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