Whiptail catfish had brown fluffy spots
Hey guys, I'm new to the forum but was hoping to get a bit of help. My husband and I purchased a whiptail catfish and several other fish to add to our 55gal dirt planted tank in the living room, but when I went to put the whiptail in the tank I noticed some spots on him. While he was in the net the spots seemed slimy and raised so I freaked and put him in my 20gal tank in the bedroom instead. The spots look fluffy and unlike anything I have encountered before. I'll attach pictures. Any insight would be great. I feel bad about putting my goldfish that live in the 20gal at risk, but there are many more fish in the 55gal then there are in the 20gal so it seemed the logical option. You know, poison the few to save the many?
Hello and welcome to the forum :wave:
The first thing that came to mind for me is a virus called lymphocystis. Please google image it to compare pics. of infected fish. There is no true cure for it unfortunately. This doesn't necessarily mean a death sentence for the fish either.
There are other less common diseases and parasites that can look similar and would be more of a concern. Did you purchase these fish very recently? If so, can you contact the supplier and see if they have other fish showing the same symptoms? Here's a little blurb about treatment for you if you think that is what the fish has.
Can fish with lymphocystis be treated?
Currently, there is no good treatment that will speed up recovery from this disease. Most often, the disease must run its course in an affected fish. Fortunately most cases of lymphocystis in warmwater fish will resolve on their own after a few weeks, as long as husbandry is good (good water quality/chemistry, good nutrition, correct population densities, optimal social groups) and as long as other stressors have been eliminated. Although it is not an ideal solution, at present, the best option is to hold fish for several weeks (longer for cool and cold water fish) until the lesions have cleared.
Because lymphocystis disease tends to develop in parts of tissues that are less exposed to the immune system (e.g., at the periphery, away from blood vessels that carry immune cells) and in tissues with a thick hyaline membrane that may "hide" these cells, an immune response normally does not develop until after cells have burst and released virus. There is some evidence that fish infected with lymphocystis will develop less pronounced lesions if they are re-infected or if lesions recur.
Culling (removing) infected fish from a population may help reduce overall loads of virus in the system as well as infection rate, but it is difficult to cull all affected fish because some infections may not be visible with the naked eye, and many less severely infected fish may remain in the population to potentially infect other fish. Culling, therefore, may not be as effective a measure for aquacultured populations as for hobbyists or display aquaria. Culled fish can be isolated until their lesions resolve, but lesions may recur. If they do, they will most likely be less severe.
I'm not sure that is what this little guy has, but I very much appreciate the suggestion! The viral growths on the fish in the google search I did looked fleshy, and the spots on my catfish are kind of fluffy. The best way I can describe it is when java moss balls die and turn brown they get kinda fluffy and gooey~ this is kinda what his spots look like. Just a mini version. (can you tell I have bad luck with moss balls?)
And yes, I did just purchase this fish saturday night. I should have looked more closely at the fish in the tank before purchasing this one. I turned down some additional pink kissers that night because they were housed with a tetra that obviously had ick. Not going down that road again! I lost one of my dojos that way once. But anyway,
Tell me more about these other diseases that could look like this. Every search I've done for fungus does not look anything like it. And how at risk do you think my goldfish are after spending a whole day and a half with it? I'm setting up a tank to move either them or the infected fish to today.
Yeah it's the fuzzy aspect that's throwing me off a bit. It could be an external parasite but again - that fuzziness has me confuzzled. I suppose it could be a fungal infection but I've never seen them as dark as that.
Did you contact the store where you purchased it from? I would go there with pictures and see if they have an outbreak of whatever that is in their tanks (and if they own up to it). Do you have the option to return
the fish? I'd bring it back if possible.
In the meantime, we'll try to help you figure it out. And yes, if you don't plan on returning it (or can't) I would isolate that fish immediately so that you don't put the other fish at further risk.
Hi brighte and welcome to the forum. I'm sorry about your little guy.
Along with lymphocystis, which is a very real possibility, your whiptail could have any number of external parasites. The clumps of fluff could be dead tissue that the parasites have sloughed off of the body. The tissue gets mixed up with the excess slime coat that the fish produces in an effort to protect itself from infection. I admit I've never seen the fluff that color though. It's usually a clear/white color. That part baffles me.
A third possibility is a columnaris infection. Columnaris is also known for causing fluff on the fish although usually it's on the body , especially the back.
Treating may be a bit tricky since so many catfish are sensitive to meds. I'm not too familiar with whiptails but I think they are also sensitive? In that case, the first thing I would suggest is a methylene blue bath at half strength to see how the fish handles it. If it does okay, bump the bath up to full strength.
Most small tropical fish stores will carry methylene blue. I've never seen it in a big-box store like Petsmart or Petco though. Another option is Seachem ParaGuard, which can also be found in most small tropical fish stores. This has formaldehyde though (highly effective against external parasites) so I'm not as confident the whiptail would tolerate it as well.
Hope this helps!
I have never seen lymph anything other than white. Although I suppose it's possible, I would lean more towards fungal.
Read the part here about fungal infections
fluffy or “cottony” growths on the skin (these strands may have a green appearance due to algae growth on the fungus) and/or fins and raised white, brown, yellow or greenish irregular raised lumps or plaques on the skin and/or fins.
This is about Koi, but fish are fish...
Koi Diseases, Fish Disease Symptoms, Fish Disease Identification
I would look up saprolegniasis as a possible cause. This is generally caused by poor water quality.
Here is an article on some treatment options specifically for catfish with fungal infections
Practical Catfish Farming In Nigeria: Manual/Free Video: Tropical Catfish Diseases and Treatments: Bacterial, Viral and Fungal
Saprolegnia is a definite possibility although I typically only see it around open wounds. Malachite/Victoria Green is supposed to be the treatment of preference but I think the meth blue is still the safest way to go. It's one of the few treatments that scaleless fish can tolerate well and is often used to help treat ich in them.
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