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FAQs on Aquatic Viral Diseases: Cures, Medications

Related Articles: Lymphocystis, Environmental Disease Clownfish Disease,

Related FAQs:  Viral Diseases 1, Viral Diseases 2, Aquatic Virology& FAQs on Aquatic Virus Disease: Identification, Causes/Etiology, Case Histories: Non-Lymphocystis, Lymphocystis,

Some possible antivirals... but still most "cures" involve boosting immunity through nutrition, improved conditions, some surgery/possible "awakening" by excision, use of purposeful cleaner organisms...

French Angel with Fin Rot or nodule disease(?)    2/19/18
I was hoping you could offer some advice. I am treating a French angel with a nasty case of what I first thought was fin rot.
<Mmm; nah>
It has eaten away most of its streamer and there are a few other nodules on his pectoral fins (see pics). When it first appeared I tried treating the fish with a combined Kanaplex and Metroplex mix. After the 5 days I saw no improvement. I did a 20% water change and switched to Maracyn Plus. I have just completed the 3rd treatment (day 1,3 and 5). I am seeing a small improvement - not sure if it's the Maracyn or the fact that I pulled the fish out and dabbed some iodine on the infection two days ago. Should I retreat with Maracyn Plus (after another water change)? If it's a virus (Lymphocystis?)
<Appears to be so; yes>
then I don't know that an antibiotic would do any good. Should I try something else.
I hate to keep throwing drugs at it.
<No antibiotic will help here. Please read the linked files at top here:
There is a Pearlscale butterfly in the same QT tank that shows no infection (they are together because they were purchased at the same time). The Pearlscale eats well. The French eats sparingly from time to time. The goby in the background is in another QT tank.
Mike Spizzirri
<I'd physically trim off the bit here... sharp scissors. Daub with a bit of Mercurochrome, Merthiolate... with a Q-tip. Bob Fenner>

Lymph on Coral Beauty angelfish?     12/27/17
Crew! This fellow came in with a few other fish and he had some cotton on a dorsal ray and some minor damage on a pectoral fin. I did a FW/MB dip on everyone and put them all in QT. The other fish didn't develop any issues
and I moved everyone else to a holding tank. He's been eating and behaving just fine. The cotton went away after the dip and he's been healing. Now, 2 weeks later, the dorsal ray and pectoral fin look fine but this granule on
his caudal fin showed up. I'm thinking this is Lymphocystis and I'm wondering if there's any benefit to keeping him in QT after the 1 month mark (I have a Butterflyfish in my DT with Lymph). Also, do you recommend any immunosupportive treatments while in QT? Thank you!
<I do concur w/ your observation. To me, this looks almost certainly to be Lymphocystis. T'were it me/mine, I'd pinch off (with your finger and thumb, this bit, while enroute moving this fish to the main-display. And do what
you can to optimize nutrition and environment to help the fish fight off viral return. Bob Fenner>

Lymphocystis on six line wrasse   5/17/09
<Greetings, Christine here>
I have a Six Line Wrasse with a cauliflower looking growth between his right eye and snout. It has been there for months, doing more research shows it may be a Lymphocystis. I thought it was a tumor and just kept an eye on it. My water parameters are Ammonia 0, Nitrates 10ppm, Salinity 1.025. Nothing wrong with its tank mates (2 Kent clowns, Niger Trigger, Zebra Moray, Orchid dotty back, Yellow Tank) From what I have read it would typically go away after several weeks but it's been there for months.
I now feel I should quarantine it, what is your take?
<"Cauliflower-like" does sound like lymphocystis, and considering the very slow progression of the growth that or another virus is likely. Cancerous tumors and viral growths are physiologically quite similar in some ways, so
without extensive testing you may never know, but that is ok. In either case, there is no medication you could give to change things, so the treatment path is the same: supportive care in the way of solid nutrition, varied foods, vitamin supplements like Selcon and VitaChem, and good water quality. Beta-glucan as a supplement in the food may be helpful as well. I wouldn't bother taking the fish out into quarantine as it offers no benefit: there's nothing you can do in a hospital tank that you can't do in the display (as long as the other fish are leaving him alone), and
stressing him by moving will be detrimental. Plus, if there is anything contagious about the growth, all of your other fish have already been exposed. Keep an eye on it and continue as usual.

Lymphocystis, Marine 2/11/08 Hello all, <Hi> I currently have three Bartlett's Anthias in my QT. One has Lymphocystis<http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1278266>, while the other two are unaffected. I have been using Maracyn to treat it and it seems to be going away. <Lymphocystis is a viral disease, the Maracyn anti-biotic will not effect it.> All of them have been eating well too. Is this something that can spread to other fish, or is it okay to release them to the display. Thanks. Tyler <As long as you are sure it is lymphocystis then they can be release to the main tank, it is not generally contagious or harmful to the fish. See here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lymphfaqs.htm .> <Chris>

Imperator Angel (Lymphocystis, John Donne's lament) I recently picked up a small Imperator Angel approximately 4" in length. I purchased him with having Lymphocystis at the time, the shop owner was going to flush him, and he was doing well up till 2 days ago. I was feeding him Brine Shrimp soaked in Zoe and occasionally Formula Two. He has quit eating. He is in a 10 Gallon Med tank, with a simple over the back. I can add a sponge filter that has been floating in my sump for a while for just such an occasion. I read at FFExpress that perhaps a water change and live rock would help so I have done that. I am also shopping around to find someone who sells Ocean Nutrition Angel Food, I read it is mostly a sponge base food source. I knowingly picked up the animal ill, but I saved him from a flushing, what can I do to keep him alive? <Place this animal in your main display tank... there is very little chance it will "pass" the lymph on to other fishes... and very good chance it will perish soon otherwise> I have already spent quite a few hours simply staring at him in the tank and trying to talk him into eating, but I have has no such luck. I have a sincere problem about caring to much for Marine Fish.  <Is there such a thing? I refer you to the writings of John Donne... "If a clod be washed from England's shore..."> I am always picking up sick fish and curing them. I am getting better all the time and I know that I am doing some good by saving just a few animals doomed otherwise.  <Perhaps they are in turn saving you> This is my first angel and I must say they are somewhat more difficult than I had expected. I thought a case of Lymphocystis would be a piece of cake to heal from all the information I had read, and I am still sure I can cure him if he would help by eating. All the water parameters are fine. 0's on Nitrate, Nitrite, and Ammonium. Ph is 8.3 and water is 79-80 degrees. Lighting is timed with 2 24" fluorescents. Help me Mr. Fenner. I have a great deal of respect for you and hope to meet you one day to express all you have done for me and my hobby. Your book is my favorite and quite beaten and dog-eared on the pages that the binding still holds. <Do place this animal in larger, more settled quarters... soak foods with a liquid vitamin preparation and iodide... the viral infection it has is an environmental "disorder", imbalance... strengthen it psycho-emotionally by improving its environment, nutrition, and in turn it will cure itself internally. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Joseph M Howell

Blue Tang Bob, Another question - I have a small (2.5 inch) Blue (Regal) Tang. <Wow, this is small> I have had it for about 2 weeks. It has some white fluffy like spots on it's body and fins. Mostly noticeable when the light hits him at an angle. Not too many, and it is eating fine, swimming fine. On a rare occasion will brush against the live rock. Best described as like the dandelion seed fluff that blows in the air. I am feeding the usual flake food, and Graze. I have read your articles in "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" regarding Ick, but also have read your advice on the website about Lymphocystis.  <This is likely the latter.> I am really not sure what this is or whether to treat it or not. <I wouldn't "treat it" as such... simply maintain good water quality, boost immune systems with vitamins, iodide addition to foods, water... perhaps add a cleaner (oh, see you have down below)> All my levels are at zero, PH is good, salinity good. I also have a Yellow Tang, two Clownfish, Royal Gramma, Flame Angel and just got a Cleaner Wrasse (bought it before I read your boycott article in your book - it will be my last one) and two cleaner shrimp. I think it and the Yellow Tang had some of these spots once before but they went away. Any suggestions? <Just the above> I bought your book a week ago and read it in two days  <!> (amazon.com is a great thing). Awesome material, I wish I had it before I even bought the tank. Should be a must read for anyone BEFORE getting into this hobby. Your knowledge seems endless. <Simply many years of accumulation, tests, trying to "make known" what one feels should be...> After reading the book, it gave a whole new perspective on being "conscientious", and changed my whole feeling of responsibility about keeping these animals. Thank-you. <Thank you my friend. Our minds, consciousnesses have met, are confluent. Bob Fenner> John Kummer

Lympho-Maniac? Hi, I have an angel fish with what I think to be is Lymphocystis on his lips and is unable to eat anything. What should I do?  Thanks,  Kerrie <Well, Kerrie, Lymphocystis is not entirely understood. Some people believe that it is an environmental malady, brought on by water conditions, diet, or even stray voltage. It is rarely fatal, and usually goes into spontaneous remission without any intervention on the part of the aquarist. I'd just continue with excellent environmental conditions, good food, and patience. Hopefully, it will clear up with minimal intervention on your part....Hang in there! Don't go too crazy...just maintain common sense husbandry practices and keep the fish as happy as possible. You can read up more on this malady on the WWM site. Regards, Scott F>

Lymphocystis... cause/effect... cures. And FinDig! In my WWM box, there's three pictures from Bill Hess - two that are almost identical, of his Firemouth cichlid, and one of a Severum - this really looks like Lymphocystis to me, will you take a look at them and tell me what you think?  <Have looked, saved... don't think this is really "biological" per se (perhaps secondarily so) but more "environmental" in origin/cause> I don't know of any effective way to treat Lymphocystis - 'Quick Cure' (formalin/malachite green) claims to cure it, but I've not heard of it being effective - is formalin/malachite green a good combination to try to treat it? Pretty harsh, no?  <Sort of like "Planter's Warts" about the only thing that "cures" Lymph is time, improved water quality, nutrition, and perhaps "waking up" the hosts immune system (for instance, by "pulling" clumps off)> Also, on a side note, I really enjoyed FinDig. What an experience - so many great people to meet! I wanted to ask, if you get the opportunity, would you email me a copy of the pic of you and me and Gage? <Oh, had forgotten re. Will get out and send> Thanks a million - and have a good one. -Sabrina <A pleasure to meet, share with you. Bob F>
Queen angel w/ lymph Dear Bob, I have recently gotten a queen angel,  Its been about 2 weeks and he has developed a cottony like substance on his lower left fin at first and then as time went on he has developed flaky stuff on his left main fin and 2 white heads on his tail fin and along the top side of his blue line looks rough from his head to tail.  His mannerisms are fine though, he is eating and is very receptive so I do not believe this is ick related.  From reading your articles it seem to be Lymphocystis. <Agreed> I am pondering using copper but I'll wait to see what you say first.  I am going to send you a pictures but I do not think it is very clear, although it looks as if he is developing a white head on his face also as you can see in picture 3.  Thank you for your help. Rene Brunetti <I would not use copper here... maybe a cleaner organism (like a Lysmata sp. shrimp) would help... improved nutrition (soaking foods in a HUFA, vitamin mix before offering)... improved water quality... Otherwise, time going by... if the growths/clumps get large enough (over months time) they may be "picked off" with your fingers... perhaps awakening the fish's immune system to the eradication of the virus. Bob Fenner>

Mystery Bump... Dear Mr. Fenner, <Scott F. here for Bob today!> Thank you so much for the quick response and for your help, just like you said my Queen Angelfish had Lymphocystis, and has since then recovered fully and looks awesome. <Good to hear! That Fenner guy knows a few things about fish, huh?> Unfortunately, I have a new problem in my 125 gallon tank.  I have a 5 or 6 inch clown trigger, he has been without any problems for the longest time. I have just thrown in 2 new fish in with him, 1 being an Emperor angel, the other an harlequin tusk. <A tricky mix...especially in a 125. This is the same tank with the Queen, right? That's a lot of potentially large and messy fishes in there...May be time to go tank shopping in the near future...> The first night all he would do is chase around the Tusk and try to attack it. He generally would leave the Emperor alone, probably because the Emperor wasn't scared of him. <They are surprisingly tough fishes...> Well I went ahead and put the tusk in quarantine to make sure he doesn't have an ich breakout, because I'm going to go ahead and move him to another tank. <Not a bad long-term plan> And, since I moved the tusk, he has not been terrorizing anything including the Emperor Angel, but he has developed a fleshy colored pebble looking object right on the area where his left side fin begins, its about 3/16 ths of an inch long he has had it for about a couple of days now, I have never seen anything like it and was hoping that you might know what this could be. <Could be anything from a fish louse or other external parasite, or even a tumor. A picture would make it more helpful.>   I cant take a picture at this moment but if a picture is needed just let me know, Thanks for everything. Rene Brunetti <Well, Rene- I'd start by trying to get a positive ID on the bump. Many times, these types of symptoms clear up spontaneously, much like Lympho, with good environmental conditions and consistent maintenance practices. However, there is, of course, the very real possibility that it could be something more serious, so careful assessment and observation is critical. If you can get us a pic, we might be able to get a good ID for you...Hang in there! Regards, Scott F.

Scrape Off Fish Warts?? (4/19/04) My large French angel appears to have warts <lymphocystis> under his mouth and some on his fins, the pet store recommended I scrape them off with a razor blade or it will get worse.  Is this proper treatment, I thought if I left it alone, kept quality water, and fed him well that it would go away on its own.  What do you think? <I agree with you. The risk of injury during the process and the risk of causing a bacterial infection in the wound created by  scraping are too great in this large, beautiful fish. Like human warts, lymphocystis does not appear to be harmful and usually clears on its own eventually. Excellent water quality and optimum nutrition will hasten this. Steve Allen.>

Mainly Clownfish Lymph Dear Robert, I have come for your help again. After some reading and stuff, I must agree that rather than having ick, my clowns are most likely sick with Lymphocystis. All are alive so far and eat like pigs, but I read in several books that Lympowhatever is a viral disease and has no cure.  <Mmm, no "direct cure"... like virally-mediated conditions in humans (like warts) there are steps one can take to effect apparent remission. Please read here on our site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lymphfaqs.htm> I also read, and I quote "The disease is not usually fatal, but it is of course infectious and there is no cure. Depending on circumstances, it is usually best to destroy the infected fish....". What circumstances are they talking about? Isn't it a bit drastic? <Mmm, this is too drastic, too negative... Lymph/ocystis is generally not "that" infectious... Have seen it "cured" on many species of fishes... As you will find by reading the FAQs where I've sent you, by improved water quality, nutrition, prising clumps from fishes...> I've never killed anything intentionally (well, that's not entirely true) do I have to? What are the consequences of having all fish get this thing? I mean if I let them live and add others. None seem to be bothered by it so far. (perhaps the "so far" is the answer to this one) <No need, reason to kill specimens...> Of three clowns that I have all were infected. After I put them together with LTA (Macrodactyla doreensis), one no longer has the growth (he had the smaller clumps), another has gotten worse (got new clumps and some of the old have grown, some have become smaller) and the third one seems to have remained unchanged (actually he just got there, 2 days ago, moved from copper-safe tank with two old and one new growth). Is there a chance that the first dude is cured? <Yes... with improved immunity no less> I did read somewhere that apparently Macrodactyla D. is "the cure" for Lympho.. even if the fish is just placed with the MD without making a clown-anemone bond. <Anything that improves the life of the host will delimit the viral component... an important lesson here... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm> None have actually bonded with MD. The sicker one sometimes comes by and rubs himself against the stem (foot) of the anemone. Do you know anything about the magical powers of Macrodactyla Doreensis or it is just me, reading too much into it? <Mostly the latter... as I state, the "balance equation" is tilted more toward "health" with a more "complete" positive environment... the Anemone is part of the equation> A follow-up: In the 10g (everyone is there temporarily), the anemone seems to be doing OK. It finally got up and is now standing attached with her disk (not foot) to a rock next to it. It also started to feed by itself ( I used to have to stick food directly into her mouth as she dropped it otherwise). We are still waiting for 55 to cycle with rock. Is it normal to have zeros in ammonia and nitrite after only 3 weeks? Could we have finished cycling? <Likely finished> Tests show 8.0-8.2PH, Nitrite=0,amo=0, nitrate<20. (should I test for something else?)  <Perhaps alkalinity, and the biomineral calcium> I did do a massive water change once toxins reached zeros, so that should explain nitrate, which I did not test before the water change. Oh, and is there any reason why my water smells like vinegar, or something very similar to that.  <Results of dying, competition of live rock constituents> I did however go wild (following the dosage) on additives, such as iodine (Kent), calcium (Seachem), strontium & molybdenum (Kent), trace elements (CombiSan and Kent) and Carbonate Alkalinity (Seachem) for the rock. I forgot to add iron.. oops. Are those elements in any way harmful to fish, considering the dosage is correct? <Better to under-dose, be careful about mixing, matching manufacturers products. There are some semi-toxic mixing possibilities> Well, I think I should leave you alone for now... Thanks a bunch Oksana <Study where I've sent you, and the links beyond. Bob Fenner>

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