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FAQs on Freshwater Viral Complaints, Lymphocystis

Related Articles: Environmental Disease, FW Disease Troubleshooting, Freshwater DiseasesChoose Your Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options by Neale Monks,

Related FAQs: Environmental Disease 1, Environmental Disease 2, Environmental Disease 3, Environmental Disease 4, Cycling Trouble-Fixing, & Toxic Situations, Popeye/Exophthalmia, Nutritional Disease, Aquarium Maintenance, Establishing Nutrient CyclingAfrican Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid Disease

Lymphocystis and Potamotrygon (RMF?)<I totally concur w/ your stmt.s>     9/9/17
I recently found white cauliflower like white tufts on the side of one of my CA cichlids. Upon much research I've 99% concluded its Lympho. Now my whole 340g system is infected.
<Let's be clear about Lymphocystis -- although there is a pathogen involved, it is almost certainly triggered by the environment rather than being contagious. Some type of stress is usually involved. For example, maintaining Scats in freshwater rather than brackish water, or exposing bottom-dwelling fish to a substrate that isn't kept properly clean. In the wild, heavy metals and industrial pollution are believed to be the main reasons Lymphocystis becomes common in some lakes and seas.>
I was going to rearrange some fish, one of the being some Marble stingrays into the 340 and cichlids to another system. My question do I have to break the 340 down and clean it or will the virus disappear upon removal of the infected fish?
<There is no cure for Lymphocystis, and because it isn't contagious, it isn't something that needs to be eliminated. Treatment is really all about optimising living conditions (and probably diet, e.g., with a vitamin supplement and/or fresh green foods) and waiting for the fish to get better by itself. Lymphocystis tumours will take months, even years to subside, though vets will sometimes surgically remove tumours from big, expensive fish such as Koi. I think you'd be surprised how often Koi receive high-end medical care comparable to cats and dogs! For more mundane fish, time is the great healer when it comes to Lymphocystis. Do remember that Lymphocystis is unsightly but usually not life-threatening (unless the tumour obstructs something important like the mouth, gills or vent).>
Can Potamotrygon even catch the virus.
<Exposed to the wrong conditions for a long time, sure, it's possible. But the virus is probably latent in most aquaria, and not something we normally worry about being "catchy". Killing viruses in aquaria is virtually impossible anyway, though again, some treatments do exist for the high value Koi which are subject to viral infections of various types.>
What steps should I do to clean the system after removal of contagious fish and setup?
<Think about what inorganic stress factors (such as heavy metals, like copper) might be present in the system. Think about the cleanliness of the aquarium generally -- the quality of the water, the frequency of water changes, and the turnover rate of the filter. Low oxygen levels can easily stress big fish like Stingrays and South American cichlids. Diet is probably a factor too, especially when you're keeping cichlids -- most are omnivores in the wild, but aquarists frequently neglect the green content of their diet, and fresh greens are probably important sources of vitamins that help support their immune systems.>
Thanks, Don
<Cheers, Neale.>

My fish has a lump type thing on his gill       2/13/15
My fish has a lump type thing on one of his gills it's just a little lighter than he is and I'm worried so I read up on the lymphocytic thing and it said it was a rough lump and the one on my fish is smooth and I was watching it then this lump thing just pop up in really worried
<Without a photo hard to say anything specific. Your analysis is reasonable, though cysts and tumours can develop on the gill covers, and these might not be granular like the typical Lymphocystis. So as always, review water quality, water chemistry, frequency of water changes, diet, and the social behaviour of your fish. Most of these cyst-like problems are gradual responses to environmental stress rather than bad luck, so assume something is amiss, review, and act accordingly.
Cheers, Neale.>

Here I'm sending you two photos to see       2/13/15
<Indeed... 20MB for just two images! Please do reduce images before sending them. Midway through writing this a message popped up telling me our email allowance was used up, so new messages will be bounced back to the sender.
We do ask people to be sensible about sending images -- would you want someone to send you 20MB of images on an email? In any event, it might be Carp Pox, a rare disease of Goldfish and Koi. It's a fish virus related to Herpes in humans. It has a wax-like appearance. But it might also the coldwater version of Whitespot (or Ick, a.k.a Ichthyophthirius multifiliis)
which results in similar looking cysts, and this is rather more common. The Carp Pox can't be cured but gets better (across many months, even years) if fish are provided with good conditions. On the other hand, Coldwater Whitespot can be treated easily, the old heat/salt treatment working extremely well.
I'd do the salt/heat thing first. Note that Coldwater Whitespot seems to be related to water quality, being latent in most Goldfish and Koi populations, but only becoming a problem when the environment isn't good.
Cheers, Neale.>

Platy melanoma     8/9/13
Hi Crew :)
I had obtained a juvenile platy about a year ago.  In the past few months he developed dark pigmented areas that are now growing what appear to be tumors. I believe he has melanoma; it appears similar to images for platy melanoma I found on the web.  Lately dead tissue has started sloughing off of the tumors.  Do you know if this condition is purely genetic, or if there is any viral or infectious component? 
<Could be either or both>
I'm wondering if the dead tissue gets into the environment, or gets ingested by the other platies, if that could cause harm.
<If viral... could affect others>
He seems unaffected by this condition, so I was just going to let him keep going until the tumors got too big, then euthanize him.  But maybe it would be best to separate him from the other fish.
<May be>
Any insight would be appreciated!
<I would separate the one fish if you have another system up and going. Bob Fenner>

My Texas cichlid has a Lump     3/15/13
I have a juvenile Texas cichlid who has been with me for around 6 months now ... Goes along with all the other fish.. Since yesterday I have noticed a small lump on both his sides where the fin starts.. The lump on one side is bigger than the other and looks like it's an open sore.. I am worried..could you pls let me know what this is..
I am attaching a pic for a clearer understanding..
Thank you
<Mmm, well; likely this is a viral (or virally mediated) growth. At any length, not generally deadly, and not treat-able. With your good care (nutrition, water quality...) this growth may well disappear on its own (ala warts in humans). Bob Fenner>

Re: My Texas cichlid has a Lump     3/18/13
Thank you !!!
<Ah, welcome. BobF>

African Cichlid Tumor?    10/8/12
Cichlid Tumor Treatment

Hi Crew! I’m hoping you guys can provide some advice or insight regarding a sick African cichlid- “Bumblebee” (Pseudotropheus crabro) that I have had for almost 4 years now. He is just over 5 inches in length.
Tank Info- 75-gallon freshwater tank; Marineland Emperor 400 HOB filter; 2 airstones powered by Whisper air pump; Tahitian moon gravel/sand which replaced pebble gravel over a year ago. Aquasafe water conditioner used during all water changes.
Tank mates- 1 acei cichlid (approx. 5.5 inches in length) ; 1 electric yellow (3.5 inches in length); all 3 cichlids bought within 2 weeks of each other and were at similar sizes at purchase; no other tank mates ever.
Bumblebee has generally been in the middle hierarchy of the tank as the acei is the most dominant tank inhabitant and the electric yellow as the least dominant with no major incidents- just the usual territorial/chasing behaviors exhibited by all 3 over the years. There are also a number of Anubias plants in this tank that have been in the tank for just over 2 years. The system has been quite stable with no major environmental concerns outside of a submersible heater that went bad early in 2011 and water temps dropped for a few days before I noticed.
Water quality is tested at least monthly with 15-25% water changes completed every 2-3 weeks or more frequently on some occasions. I feed daily Hikari Cichlid Gold medium floating pellets and Omega One Super Color small sinking pellets simultaneously to help with aggression during feeding- no changes over the last couple of years in terms of diet.
In July of 2012 I first noticed 1 then 2 small “pimples” developing on Bumblebee’s nose between the eyes (see first image). No other concerns noted at that time- no changes in activity; appetite still great, etc.. Water quality was tested and was in range of the tank norms (pH 7.6; 0 Ammonia; 0 Nitrites; 5-10ppm Nitrates; 81.5 degrees F). I have always added a low amount of aquarium salt during water changes (1 tbsp per 10 gallons or half the recommended dose due to the plants in the tank) but I increased the salt to the recommended 1 tbsp per 5 gallons at that time hoping that the pimples were just the result of scratching against décor or an aggressive tank mate. No changes observed whatsoever with tank mates to date.
Over the past month the 2 pimples have begun to grow quite rapidly with no other changes noticed in activity except that the bumblebee has been the least dominant tank mate since mid-August. Appetite has been great/no changes in activity levels.
Last Monday (10/1) Bumblebee began flashing against the tank decorations rubbing the large tumor-like growth and removing some of his skin showing the inner pink ulcer/tumor. I immediately removed him to a 20 gallon hospital tank with that change in his behavior. Water quality in the 75-gallon tank was fine upon testing (pH 8.0; Negative for ammonia and nitrites; 5-10 ppm nitrates; 82.2 degrees F)
I have treated him for the past week with API’s T.C. Tetracycline powder- 2 packets per day due to 20 gallon quarantine tank with 25% water changes every 2 days.. I used that treatment for 6 days with no results (see other 2 images attached).
Bumblebee continues to flash against the corners of the tank and has debrided some of the ulcer/tumor- there are no décor or substrate in the hospital tank only a heater, airstone, and AquaClear 50 HOB filter.. I removed the tetracycline and it’s brownish water discoloration by placing activated carbon in the tank and have done significant water changes to the hospital tank.
Many of the FAQ’s on WWM that seem similar to my cichlids issues have suggested the use of Nitrofuranace and Metronidazole. The products in my area containing those ingredients that I could find this weekend are the API products “General Cure” and “Super Ick Cure”. I added today to the clean hospital tank the “General Cure” for a 20 gallon treatment since the active ingredients are 250 mg Metronidazole and 75 mg Praziquantel per packet.
I am attaching a couple images to clarify what this looks like because this seems to perhaps be a tumor issue as opposed to a bacterial, fungal, or parasitic condition.
The ulcer/tumor is quite large now and looks like it might be spreading just below his right eye and my other concern is that it might be growing inside of Bumblebee’s mouth and I can see a slight pink growth near the top of the mouth (but this is difficult as you can imagine to see definitively). There do not appear to be any changes in his breathing at this time.
Appetite during and since the completed Tetracycline treatment has been very minimal but that seems to be the norm with antibiotic use as I understand.
I appreciate your input and perhaps someone has had some experience in this type of concern- if not I will continue to run the current course of treatment and if unsuccessful I will enjoy the time remaining with Bumblebee unless it causes him distress as I’m really concerned about what could be growing inside of his mouth and how that might impact his quality of life.
Sorry for the length here but I wanted to describe everything I could to aid in your input- to clarify my questions now are as follows..
1. Any thoughts as to the epidemiology of this growth?
< I have had this same situation before and was lucky enough to have a fish vet friend of mine do a biopsy and take a look under a microscope. It turned out to be cancerous tumor.>
2. Should I continue the “General Cure” treatment over the next 4-6 days?
< Probably not effective.>
3. Should I simultaneously use the “Super Ick” powder with the “General Cure” to combine 3.6mg malachite green and 60 mg Nitrofurazone per packet along with the Metronidazole?
< I would recommend that you surgically remove it. I have done this before with mixed results. I would place the fish in a wet towel and hold him still. Take a single edged razor blade and trim the tumor flush with the contour of the head. be careful to only cut into the tumor and not into the head tissue. Treat the wound in a hospital tank with a Nitrofuranace type of antibiotic. It may grow back. Watch for secondary infections.-Chuck>
Thank you so much for your time in this regard!
Mark King

Corydoras sterbai issue (Bob, any ideas?)<<>>  12/7/11
Hello team!
It's the first time I write to you and I have read almost every post in your website regarding "infections(?)" of sterbais.
<Fair enough.>
I have 3 sterbais for almost a year now in a 10gal aquarium.
<A trifle small for these, but not the cause of the problem.>
I also have plenty of Java Moss and 3 snails for the algae. Water temperature is steady on 26.5C and I use a sponge/carbon filter with embedded air supply. Water conditions are at very good levels with no ammonia (0ppm), nitrate (.21ppm),
<<Is this Nitrite? If so, toxic>>
 or PH (8) issues.
<<Really too high>>
 I do water changes every 3 days at 20% per time.
<I see.>
However, over the last two months, one of my sterbais is developing something like a tumor between his eyes,
<Yes, I see.>
although he hasn't lost his appetite (I feed them with catfish wafers - Tetra Wafer Mix ) but he lacks of activeness. I have tried an antibacterial medication with Acriflavine because I strongly believe it's bacterial related infection, but no luck.
<I don't. I actually think this is either viral or environmental, and most likely the former, though environmental stress, e.g., from a mineral toxin such as copper, may have allow the infection to get started. My thinking here is that this is something like Fishpox in Koi or Lymphocystis in Perciform fish.>
It seems to recede for a few days but it spreads again.
<Yes, very viral.>
I have attached a few pictures to see what it actually looks like. Can you please give me any hints of what might be the problem and possibly any solutions? I really want him to live for a few more years'¦
<The thing with viral infections is that treatments, even for human viral infections, are pretty minimal. Basically, this fish can recover under its own steam given good conditions and a balanced diet. But viral infections can take an extremely long time to heal, months even, and they can come back years later. You can probably assume all the fish have been exposed to this virus by now, so removing it would be pointless. But do ensure tip-top conditions in the tank, because ultimately, healthy fish will resist infection without any further help from you.>
PS: Apologies for my English but I'm from Greece.
Thank you in advance,
<Hope this helps, Neale.><<I do concur w/ the guess that the issue here is viral (and untreatable directly). I would look into a larger system, more filtration, and rendering the water a lower pH to improve and preserve the health of these Corydoras. RMF>>

Re: More: re: Corydoras Sterbai issue (Bob, any ideas? Not here, no)   12/8/11
Dear Neale and Bob,
Thank you for your prompt reply! I appreciate your advices but mostly I appreciate your disinterested help.
<You're welcome.>
I will consider purchasing a bigger tank (although my finances do not allow it) but I will keep PH levels in lower levels.
<Ah, now, do not change the pH directly. Although Bob is right, Corydoras do prefer soft, slightly acidic water, you shouldn't have any problems at hardness levels of 20 degrees dH, pH 8. If you can, mixing 50/50 with hard tap water and deionised water (or rainwater) will produce excellent Corydoras conditions, around 10 degrees dH, pH 7.5. Don't add "pH down" products directly. If you do, you're likely to create stressful, unstable conditions.>
Also, if I understood well, I will stop Acriflavine treatment, I will improve their diet with a more varied food and I will get a better filtration system (just to sum up your suggestions). I hope they can make it since (as I see it now), they all have (or will have) the viral issue and not just the one you saw.
<Quite so.>
Once again, I really appreciate your help! I wish I could reciprocate (I'm a web designer if you're interested).
<Be careful what you wish for!>
Best regards,
<Best wishes, Neale.>
Re: Corydoras Sterbai issue    12/8/11

Great tip about the rainwater! I think it's time to use those 5-6 basins I have and collect the rain..! Although I have concerns of the polluted air that is dragged by the drops.
<Quite so. Don't collect rainwater if you live in a dusty, dirty area like a city or somewhere close to a factory. But otherwise, rainwater is generally fairly safe if filtered through carbon and left to stand for a
day or two before use (to allow dissolved CO2 to evaporate off, otherwise the pH will be very low). Cheers, Neale.>
Re: More: re: Corydoras Sterbai issue   12/9/11

Hi Neale,
Thank you for your advice!
<My pleasure.>
Unfortunately, I live in Athens, and it's very polluted here.
<Sad but true, at least as far as dusty air goes'¦>
It seemed that I'd solve the PH issue with the rainwater but I'm not going to risk it with all the exhaust emissions.
<I agree.>
So, what I was thinking to do is make a road trip to a nearby mountain and collect snow instead (it's the only way to avoid any chemicals!) and then follow the procedure you suggested. I hope this will solve my problem but I need to find another way of lowering the PH cause weekly trips to mountains is not ideal unless 2-3 times is enough to stabilize the PH to the desired levels!
<And won't be cost effective either. For now, stick with the tap water. You should be okay. But concentrate on ensuring good environmental conditions. A bigger tank and/or a stronger filter may be a much better use of your money. Corydoras aren't too fussy about water chemistry, and London Tap Water is probably just the same as Athenian Tap Water, yet Corydoras can do extremely well here. Make sure ammonia and nitrite are zero, and do regular water changes to freshen things up. Even tap water will be improved by weekly or twice-weekly water changes.>
Once again, thank you very much for your support.
PS: My offer is still on! So, please don't hesitate.
<Very kind.>
Thank you,
<Best of luck, Neale.>

Viral Disease, FW, comm.   3/29/11
My store has a few tanks that appear to have been infected with a viral disease. The infected tanks are losing fish slowly with specific species being wiped succession.
Other species seem to be unaffected.
<Typical w/ viral complaints, and some Protozoans>
The first to go were lemon tetras, followed by a variety of Corydoras but ignored the German rams and pearl gouramis. Most of the Ancistrus in the tank were fine however a couple died. Then it spread to another tank potentially via a net or hand where it killed all of the bronze Corys, all of the Peckoltia L129 Plecos, and a couple emerald dwarf Rasboras, it began to affect the Congo tetras but a single dose of Kanaplex seemed to curb any further deaths.
<Antibiotics don't (directly) effect virus, viroids>
Now its found its way into a third system where its quickly wiping out my silver hatchets, C. sterbai, and Barbus fasciatus. Kanaplex has had little effect. The fish are characterized by some white sores, red bellies, red eyes and sometimes no signs at all.
I'm wondering a couple things. How long should I quarantine these systems (when can I sell fish out of them again)?
<Weeks at least>
How can I control the spread?
<Total isolation... any gear, anything wet can't go elsewhere if it's been in these systems... Unless they're bleached, left to dry for days after>
Our net soak usually just has copper, perhaps you could suggest something else.
<Formaldehyde/formalin... there are other net dips. Use the search tool on WWM re>
Maybe we need a separate net for pulling dead fish out of these tanks?
<Yes, assuredly>
When performing maintenance is there anything we need to do afterwards to our hands and arms?
<Wash them w/ soap and water, rinse, dry>
Will the virus or bacteria die off when it dries on an arm?
<Likely so>
Thanks for the advice,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Viral Disease  3/29/11
Thanks for the reply.
What will eventually kill off the virus?
<Mmm... time, radiation, lack of suitable hosts for reproduction. Viruses "eventually win", are the basis for most modern theories of what "cancers are" for instance...>
What would be a reasonable amount of time (be specific) to wait after deaths have stopped before restocking?
<Again, weeks. I would invest in a copy of the 2d ed. of Ed Noga's "Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment", and a decent 'scope (to a k or two power if poss.), some simple staining gear... and educate yourself a bit more...
as I have, for the sake of your aquatic charges and business. Bob Fenner>
Re: Viral Disease  3/29/11
Sounds like I need to take things to the next level. I've ordered the book and will look into the medical equipment. Thanks for the advice.
<Matt; let's talk/converse further... What State are you/your shop in? Do you have the resources (time off et al.) to make it out to the Fish Health Conference: http://neaquatech.org/uneconference/uneconf.pdf
this August, in Maine? I'll be presenting there again, as will Ed (Noga)... a good deal of solid introduction to "disease", technique... BobF>
Re: Viral Disease, FW  3/29/11

My two stores are in the Portland Oregon greater area.
<Ahh! A very nice town, and marine hobby group there... Even an old friend who moved his wholesale biz w/ his uncle...>
I would love to make it out to the conference and may be able to depending on how the next few months treat us.
<Please do "shoot for this". I assure you, a worthwhile experience>
As a freshwater only store things are so easy that I think we get a little complacent when it comes to knowledge and husbandry. We have a local supplier who has always been exceptional at helping us when we do have issues. One of the main challenges I face when doing research on disease is the wide array of treatment regimes that are recommended on the great information superhighway not to mention influence from sales reps, customers, etc. In general I'd like to use products and practices that are marketable within our stores though I'm realizing at times that may not be the most prudent or ethical course of action.
<I concur completely w/ the direction stated. AND the course of treatments  I advise, practice are entirely "store-hobbyist relate-able/transferable">
Obviously I don't expect every 20 gallon community tank owner to own a microscope for diagnosing disease in their fish, yet I also see the value in executing that practice in our stores to reduce the need for our customers to require one. I've been wanting to invest in one for years anyway as its benefits would be widespread throughout my full line stores.
<It is up to the trade, win or fail, to provide/allow only "gateway" healthy stocks>
There are other economic considerations that are often at odds with what I'd like to do and what is economically feasible and over the years I've learned to navigate a compromise between best practices and growing the business to a point where those best practices are possible.
A couple years ago we discontinued our saltwater department due to those very reasons (lack of space for quarantine, lack of volume required to hire appropriately knowledgeable staff, etc.)
90% of our freshwater problems seem to have been solved through better sourcing, selection (avoiding certain species altogether i.e. Colisa lalia), and frequent (daily) small water changes in our systems.
<I see>
I am young (30 as of a couple days ago, maybe not considered young anymore), with 7 years experience as a pet store owner. I want to be a positive force in the hobby not someone who drifts through the role and becomes old, jaded, and unwilling to change or grow as I've seen happen.
<Do guard against this trend. As a much older person, veteran of the trade and life, I assure you that one only wants to "do" anything of any real time-cost that is "fun"... that you truly feel/sense your reflection in>
It takes significant time and life commitment to obtain the breadth of knowledge you have in such a wide variety of knowledge bases.
<Ah yes... this "part" of life is also a journey... a long, bumpy one at times, with too many diversions/detours to suit me>
The business aspects alone I know will take a lifetime to master let alone the animal sciences involved. At some point I hope to find a business model that allows economic growth while also growing popular pet keeping culture to a level that is...lets just say more inspired.
Thanks for discussing,
<Thank you, BobF>

Convict with bumps 03/11/09
I have a Black Convict Cichlid. He is in a 30 gallon tank with a female that just had eggs hatch. He has these little reddish/white bumps at the base of his pectoral fins.
<I see this in your excellent photo>
It looks a little like the eggs that the female lays.
<Mmm, appears to be viral>
They have been there for at least a week. It looks like it may be getting worse. I have also noticed he has two symmetrical bumps on the front underside, almost in line with his pectoral fins. I have always done frequent water changes. I have API Pro Series Fungus Cure. I just don't know if this is exactly what I need to use in my tank.
<Mmm, nothing... Akin to "warts" on ones hands, this condition is not really "treat-able", nor debilitating...>
I think I may need the Fluke Tabs.
<No... toxic and not useful here>
I really don't have any idea. And it bothers me to know this is on my fishy fish. He eats fine and does not seem to be in any pain. But it just does not look healthy. I also have fry that hatched 2 days ago. So I was wondering if I can treat with Fungus Cure or Fluke Tabs ?
<I would not>
Its not a big concern if I lose the fry. But It would be nice to keep them. But I don't want to lose my adult male.
I would like to know what you think it may be and how best to treat my tank. I have included a picture (the best I could get) of my fish. I have photoshopped 3 white arrows to the areas of concern. Any help would be appreciated. I also would like to say I have looked everywhere on the web.
I have read through many fish forums until I get a headache.
Once I think I have began reading the right symptoms, something differs and makes me think this is not the right diagnosis. I appreciate all of your time and your knowledge.
<Do take a look/see on the net with the string: "Freshwater Lymphocystis"... I would emphasize good water quality (regular water changes) and nutrition, and not be bothered by these growths. Bob Fenner>

Deadly Diseases: Lymphocystis, Glugea, and Henneguya. 02/09/09 Hello All! Just writing this bc I had an important question and maybe something you don't deal with often ... Before I start I have a 60 Gallon FW tank that has been running for about a year. My ammonia/nitrites are always 0 and my nitrates always 40ppm or less ... Anyways, about 1 month ago or so (maybe a little longer) I noticed one of my blue rams which I've had almost a year had white pimple looking bumps on the top of his head ... After researching I came to the conclusion that he had Lymphocystis so I left him in the tank. It would spread around his face, reappearing on a different spot on his head as another healed but never got any worse than when I first noticed it (he is still alive btw). Now, my question is this ... What is the chance that this isn't Lymphocystis and is Glugea or Henneguya? (I never took him out of the tank bc everything I've read said these diseases are even more rare than Lympho.) The reason why I ask is bc over the past 3 - 4 days I have lost 4 or 5 fish for unknown reasons ... And they all exhibit the same signs: Loss of color. They were all eating and active except for the color and it got to the point where I could look in the tank in the morning and know which fish were going to be dead by the time I got home from work based on the color. Glugea and Henneguya is the only reason I could think of bc I have not done anything different to my tank in a long time and I religiously keep my tank clean and maintained. So what is your opinion bc I truly believe that my whole tank will be dead in a month or less at this rate. (Which means I convert my tank into a dart frog tank and forget fish forever lol). Thanks for the insight. -Nick- <Nick, I think these are unrelated issues. Lympho is by far the most common viral disease among cichlids; or at least, the most common one aquarists can recognise. It isn't fatal, and as you've noticed, it comes and goes. It's a nuisance, but doesn't seem to harm the fish any, and eventually goes away. If you're losing a bunch of fish -- of different types -- in a short span of time, it's most probable there's an issue with water quality or chemistry. Also consider reviewing diet, temperature, and even the age of the fish. So: What are the fish? What is the water chemistry? Cheers, Neale.>

Betta sick - can't find information about the illness  3/12/08 Hello, I have attached a photo of our fish. Could you kindly tell me what it is and how to treat it? The fish is in a 2.5 gallon tank with a filter and a 13W aqua lux light. The tank has gravel and plastic plants too. We have had the fish for 8 months and do a complete water change and aquarium cleaning (hot water only) once a month. We noticed the growth (?) few days ago. Also, we add a dechlorinator to the water but no other treatment. Our fish behaves and eats normally. Regarding the temperature, I had placed a 5 gallon water heater in the tank but after a few weeks, I had a hard time keeping it at a set temperature, it kept getting warmer than 80 degrees. I have tried several heaters, thinking that the previous one was malfunctioning. I have read the instructions many times and all of the heaters work well in the beginning but then don't control the temperature very well. Maybe it's the size of the tank or the fact that, because it is such a small tank, heater placement is limited and so it is affected by the nano filter pouring water into the tank. He still has his blue color and is still begging for food every time he sees someone in front of the tank (as usual). We feed the Betta 3 times a day - around 8:30 am, 4:00 pm, and 11:00 pm. We give 3 pellets of Hikari Betta Bio-Gold. I change the water every month (I was told by the aquarium person that this would be fine since he is in a 2.5 gallon tank and has a filter. I did see him brushing against the plastic plant but I do not see him doing it often. The nano filter stream is fast and heavy, he is used to this. It does not create air bubbles in the water unless the water level is low. At this time we add some more water (maybe every 2 weeks). We have not given him any live food, just the pellets. Regarding his growth, it is difficult for me figure out if it is hard or soft, but it is solid, not semi-transparent or transparent. It looks like a cauliflower or an frog egg mass (I know it is not eggs). The growth does not appear to have changed in size since my daughter first noticed it last week. We had placed some aquarium snails in the tank from our outdoor 50 gallon bird bath in late fall before it got too cold for the snails. After a few days, we moved the snails to another tank but during that short time, the snails laid eggs that survived several tank cleanings, and hatched. So we had about 12 baby snails in the tank and I moved them to the snail tank last week. I did not pull them earlier since they were too small to move. Could this be a snail disease? Also, another aquarium person suggested trying the medication Life Guard. Would this help? I did not try it yet since we don't know the disease. Thank you. <Greetings. The growth is from a viral infection known as Lymphocystis. There's more about this diseases on WWM, as well as in any aquarium health book. There's no treatment. It isn't life-threatening and often goes away with time. Causes are unclear, but poor water quality and heavy metal poisoning are two likely triggers. As for the heater, the problem is likely you are using too large a wattage for too small a tank. In my experience, heating tanks less than 10 gallons in size using standard issue heater-thermostats isn't very reliable. Your heating and healthcare problems would be a lot easier with a bigger tank. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Betta sick - can't find information about the illness -- 03/13/08 Hello, Thank you very much for your reply. I will transfer our Betta into a ten gallon tank. I had read about Lymphocystis and looked at several photos but I did not find any photos that looked like what is on my Betta. So I did not think that our fish had Lymphocystis. I will read through the WWM information you suggest. Sincerely, Nimish <Glad to help. If you want to check my diagnosis, Lymphocystis looks like this: a cauliflower-like texture, attached to the body rather than a lump under the skin, in colour ranging from off white through to cafe-au-lait brown. There's no real cure, but it often goes away, admittedly after many months. Cheers, Neale>

Betta question / can fish get cancer?  10/7/06 <<Good morning. Tom with you.>> Can fish get cancer? <<Short answer? Yes.>> I've had my betta since May 2002. <<A long time in Betta-terms...>> He's had a normal appetite and behaviors, but overnight, between his front side fin.. in front of the fin and face (the part they can flare out) there's a huge lump on the one side.   <<I would venture that this is not cancerous in nature but more likely the result of an infection/abscess. Consider that cancer, in overly simple terms, is an irregular/abnormal growth of cells. The host's body develops (ironically) additional blood vessels to feed, and remove waste, from these new cells. (When the "waste" removed from the growth contains cells capable of duplicating similar growths elsewhere in the body, the cancer is categorized as malignant. If not, it's considered benign.) The point here is that such a development is unlikely to occur "overnight" while a pathogenic infection very well might produce the lump you've observed.>> He's swimming upright, and eating, but appetite not as good as yesterday/normal. He's swimming less (but if I didn't feel good, I probably wouldn't either) he moves okay and his color is still vibrant. With a sudden huge lump this got me wondering if a fish can get cancer, or if he has another disorder in light of his age. <<I would recommend treatment with a product such as Maracyn-Two, which is effective against internal infections. Treatment is best-performed in a hospital tank but I would guess that your Betta is kept alone so this isn't as critical as it would be in a community environment. Follow the directions very closely and pay attention to any collateral effects such as cloudy water that might accompany its use. Might answer some questions for you in advance.>> Thanks <<You're welcome and good luck with your pet. Tom>>

Re: Lymphocystis on Angelfish? and other Questions WOW--I'm so amazed you all got back to me already. <We try. :o)> Thank you very much for your detailed help.  We do have a tube, one clear and one red, and the ghost knife hasn't been in either one since the water change. <Interesting. Maybe he'll settle down and start using them again soon.> We'll look into getting a QT.  I have a feeling we'll be needing it for various reasons in the next few years... <Most definitely. I found out early on that a QT tank is a must. Now I just need to convince myself to quit turning the QT tank into a display tank so I then have to buy another QT tank!> And the growth on the angelfish is now deep red--it had been pinkish white, definitely cauliflower-looking for about a month, and now it's red.  Like it's filled with blood :(.  I'll try figuring out which Maracyn.  Besides the color, why do you not think it was Lymphocystis?  It was, as I said, kind of pinkish-white, not straight white.  But now it's red...WHY is it turning red? <OK, it may very well be Lymphocystis. The color was the main reason I thought it wasn't. Your first post didn't mention the cauliflower appearance either. My mistake, sorry about that! One of the Maracyns should still work for you. If one of them doesn't list your problem, try checking out the other products by Mardel, they're great products.> And what an amazing story about the shift of the aquarium across the room. I wonder whether there was different light coming into it and that affected them... <Who knows. Strange things'¦> Oh, and one more question: if this goes on the website, could you please remove my last name and location?  (as well as the stores, I guess)  Thanks very much. <It's already been posted but I'll contact the person that does the posting and see if they can go back and edit it.> best, and I've already sent the link to your site to my local home schooling list and several people have written in appreciation--you're helping more and more people every day :) Carolyn <Thank you for spreading the word! Ronni>  

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