Diseases also exist in fish. Aquarists soon experience this in a sordid way. Faced with the disease they will react in different ways: by emptying a bottle of general disinfectant in the aquarium, by buying goldfish thinking that they are never sick! Or finally by taking the aquarium down to the basement to make a planter…
But you have to hang on and try to understand in order to better adapt the treatment. To detect, identify, treat which is not always easy to do.
It is also important to know that a disease in aquarium never happens by itself, there is always a starting point to it, hygiene of the tank, food hygiene of the fish, water quality and respect of the parameters, stress and acclimatization of the fish…so before any treatment it is better to already solve the cause before treating.
Lymphocystis, this disease is characterized by the appearance of one or more cysts of whitish color. This cyst is quite big, from 2 to 5 mm in diameter depending on the case. The fish is often not very active, even completely apathetic. Some people call this disease “cauliflower”.
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What is lymphocystis?
Lymphocystis is caused by a virus (lymphocytes), of the iridoviridae family. Iridoviridae affect insects, frogs, fish and mollusks. This virus forms nodules, cysts (depending on what you want to call these growths), on the skin of the fish. It is a long-lasting disease, the cysts often grow slowly. At the beginning of the infection the fish does not show any particular signs of fatigue, it can take up to 1 year before the fish becomes weak.
This virus is not highly contagious, but it is better to isolate the patient for treatment. If a nodule breaks through it can spread the virus into the aquarium water.
This disease causes an abnormal growth of skin cells. There may also be several cysts in different places on the body of the fish.
What causes cysts on my goldfish (lymphocystis)?
Lymphocystis is caused by the lymphocyte virus that is carried in the fish’s body. It is usually brought in through an injury, and/or poor quality water contaminated by the virus. An important stress of the fish (acclimatization, transport…) seems also to favor the development of the virus. A new fish, healthy carrier, may also have transmitted it to a weaker fish in the aquarium or pond.
This disease is more frequent in garden ponds because the water is more easily contaminated by rainwater and wild animals.
How to treat cysts on your goldfish (lymphocystis)?
There are two methods to treat this disease, but they are not infallible. Indeed, even after a cure, the fish may relapse several months or years later.
Treat your fish with daily baths in a hospital tank. Leave your fish 6 to 8 hours a day in a hospital tank with a treatment containing acriflavine. Buy one of the medications I recommend below and follow the instructions in the package insert for dosage.
Between baths, return the fish to its aquarium (if it is alone) or to its hospital isolation tank. Do not exceed 1 week of treatment. Normally the ball will transform and change color (green). Then disappear with time.
This disease must be treated as soon as possible. The bigger the cyst, the older it is, the more the disease is well established. A fish that has been affected for a long time will have more difficulty to heal and it might even be too late.
It is also possible to remove the nodules by performing a surgical procedure to remove the cysts. This procedure should be reserved for veterinarians or experienced amateurs. Do not perform the removal if you do not have the proper sterile equipment and experience to do so.
Monitoring your aquarium is essential
The balance of an aquarium is fragile. Diseases occur quite quickly. Constant monitoring is therefore recommended, as well as regular analysis of water quality, temperature, etc.
It is also important :
- Not to overcrowd the aquarium,
- To feed the fish correctly (neither too much nor too little, otherwise they will be weakened and thus more vulnerable to parasites, fungi, viruses and bacteria),
- Avoid stressing the fish (that’s why children are not allowed to tap against the glass),
- To respect the procedure for the introduction of new fish,
- And to maintain effective filtering and good environmental hygiene.