Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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wake49 02-14-2010 06:41 PM

Lymphocystis treatment
Dawn, just wondering. If it is lymphocystis, how would you treat it?

bettababy 02-15-2010 12:45 AM

Somewhere in this or the other thread about this tank I did explain that for lympho there is no treatment other than to keep the fish's conditions optimal, which keeps the immune system strong so the fish can fight it. Lympho is a virus. Think of a person who has the flu... the meds we might take will treat the symptoms, but they don't actually get rid of the flu... its a virus and once you have it, it has to just run its course. Not everyone exposed to it catches it, and not everyone who catches it shows symptoms in the same amount of time. It works pretty much the same way with lympho and fish.

Lympho by itself is seldom fatal, it just isn't very nice to look at and stresses the fish's immune system to an extreme. Its when something else is present, such as bacteria... with a weak immune system to attack, the fish is a sitting duck. So keeping things clean & stable, feeding healthy foods in wide variety, and watching for symptoms of any new illness setting in are the only ways to "treat" it. Beyond that its just a waiting game until the cysts go away on their own.

Once a fish has had lympho their chances of having it again in the future go way up. Any other fish in a tank with a fish who has lympho has been exposed, thus could show signs of it at any time. There are some species of fish that are more prone to it than others, but once exposed, there's never a guarantee they won't at some point show symptoms/develop the cysts. In larger fish, an aquatic vet can sometimes remove the cysts, but this is expensive and there is no assurance they won't come back or new ones won't deveolp. Removing the cysts should only be done by someone who is trained to do so, it could pose a lot of risk to the fish and/or the person handling it, depending on species. Its a very delicate procedure and would also require very attentive care afterwards to be sure those areas don't develop secondary infections until they heal. Thats not something I will talk someone through via internet. Unless the cysts are big and/or in large enough quantity so as to prevent proper gill movement, or the ability to eat... there is no point in trying to remove them.

I hope that answers your question.

wake49 02-15-2010 08:50 AM

Thanks. After I posted I did some research on the web. It just reaffirmed what you said. I have a Desjardini Sailfin that is exhibiting white cauliflower-like growths. One on his dorsal fin and one near his mouth. He has had them for about two weeks now. I have read that Lymphcystis runs its course in about four weeks, where the virus then ruptures and is released into the water.

My question is, "where does it come from?" I only ask because this came out of the blue. I had not added any fish after the Sailfin, and he was properly quarantined for three weeks with no signs of infection. I had him in the tank for almost a month after the QT and then he started to show signs of cauliflower growths. I keep my water-quality very high, 0ppm Nitrates, Nitrites and Ammonia. Calcium is 400 ppm, and Alkalinity is 8 dKH. Salininty is 1.025 and temp is 78 degrees.

Can Lympho lay dormant for a few weeks before it shows itself?

wake49 02-16-2010 06:49 AM

Dawn, this is the new thread. Just looking for your opinion on the questions above.

bettababy 02-17-2010 01:45 AM

Sorry it took me so long to get here, I have been really busy on this end.

In answer to your questions, first of all, I want to make sure you understand we are talking about a virus here. The cysts don't rupture, they don't fall off... basically they "slough off" or peel away in the water current as the virus runs its course. The tissue of a lympho cyst is mostly comprised of dead/altered skin cells. Just as people shed skin every day, the cysts "shed" in much the same way. It is gradual but to us, appears to shrink like a wart going down.

There is no way to put a time frame on how long the cysts will persist, when the fish can show symptoms, etc. Once the fish has been exposed to the virus they can carry it and/or develop the full blown virus and infection. Think of it along the lines of HIV, which is a virus. Some people are carriers, some get the full blown infection, and some don't get it at all. Some fish are more susceptible to lympho than others.

How do they come into contact with it... its omnipresent. Just as there are algae spores everywhere, in the air, under our fingernails, on our skin, in our hair, etc. so is the lympho virus along with many other virus's and bacterias that are common in aquarium fish. This virus, along with many others, can lay dormant until the conditions are just right for it to actually infect the fish.

How exactly lympho is transported, contracted, and why some fish are more vulnerable to it than others, etc. that is all research that has yet to be done and recorded. What we know about it at present, meaning what the scientific world has discovered and/or shared with the rest of the world where lympho is concerned, is mostly the after effects of a fish exhibiting the cysts, which is the give away that the fish is infected. It would require a micron microscope, among many other things to even begin some of the studies that could be done and lend us more help in dealing with it, identifying it, avoiding it, etc. But, that is expensive and many yrs worth of study by qualified people.

I can offer you some of the things I suspect about it based on my own personal research and study over yrs of dealing with it in freshwater, brackish water, and marine situations, but I cannot offer you the supporting data to back it all up... that data just does not exist yet.

As long as the fish can still function properly, meaning it can still eat, swim, breathe, etc properly... the best thing to do is leave it alone and focus on keeping the fish and its aquarium as healthy as possible. The best way to fight this virus is through strengthening the fish's immune system and lower its stress levels so the immune system can focus attack on the virus.

I have worked with fish that after years in a stable tank situation, no new exposures, suddenly develop the cysts, the cysts last weeks, sometimes longer, then just seem to start shrinking one day and it slowly goes away. Some of those fish never get it again, others will get it repeatedly for no apparent reason. That is why I compared it to the flu in my first post here about it. Trying to pinpoint a given fish's exposure to it would be like a needle in 1000 haystacks. And trying to track exposure time until time the symptoms show up is also not possible because of the many habits of a virus and lack of current study about it.

I'm sorry I can't offer you more exact info to some of your questions. If at some point I learn more I will surely share it with all who need it or desire to learn. I don't think some of these answers will be discovered in my lifetime, if ever.

For your situation, watch your fish closely, be sure its able to eat and function properly, watch for behavior changes as well as physical changes, and focus on that fish's overall health and stress situation. That is the best anyone can do. If the growths become too large or numerous and begin to affect the fish's ability to eat or swim properly, then please let me know and I will refer you to an aquatic vet for the removal of the cysts.

Best of luck to you, let me know if there's anything more I can do to help.

wake49 02-17-2010 06:49 AM

Thanks Dawn. There is one cyst formed on the fish's mouth, but it is not yet obtrusive to his ability to eat. Like I stated earlier, there is also one on his dorsal fin. That one isn't affecting his ability to swim.

I feed the tangs in my tank two halves of an algae sheet (once at noon and once at six) a day, along with garlic enhanced pellets throughout the day. The Sailfin does not take the pellets, but is by no means skinny. He has a plump little belly from the algae sheets that I watch him graze on throughout the day.

I am a firm believer that most medications are more detrimental to a tank than helpful. I have seen fish reject medicated food. I think that the best form of keeping a fish healthy is keeping water parameters pristine and a regular feeding schedule.

I will update the condition of this fish as the lympho progresses/regresses. If I can catch a pic of the Sailfin, I will post it to keep a picture documentary of the virus.

Pasfur 02-17-2010 09:02 AM

To add to Dawn's comments, some years ago there was written material that even questioned if the virus could spread from one water supply to another over great distances. Some studies under controlled conditions were showing that the virus would spread from one tank to another, with no shared equipment or water. Seeing similar results to what Dawn is discussing, I firmly believe that Lymph can enter an aquarium environment without any new livestock additions, similar to the flue.

bettababy 02-17-2010 03:24 PM

While it is always good to deal with illness naturally whenever possible, please don't write off medications so quickly. There are a great many problems that cannot be resolved without medications, in particular some types of parasites and bacterias. Being prepared for this is always important.

I am not a big fan of adding medications unless there is no other appropriate option. I am not perfect, but I try always to error on the side of caution if it has to happen... and that has brought about a very long term track record of success. It is great to be optimistic, but keeping an open mind is equally important, especially in the marine hobby.

I welcome the idea of a photo of your tang, and the whole tank if you would like to post that too. I find its always a treat to see what others are doing and accomplishing on their end. Internet makes some things very difficult, near impossible... but pictures always help.

As for the feedings... its great that they eat so well, but one word of caution before stopping your food selections with what you have going on currently. The wider the variety in diet the more likely the fish are going to have their nutritional needs fully met. Fish will have favorite foods, they are much like kids that way. My kids love pizza, and everything they technically need is in there... but it would not be healthy to feed them only pizza, whether they eat it well or not. A rounded belly is a sign of a fish getting plenty of food, but that does not ensure their nutritional needs are being completely met.

If you do a search online for children of Etheopia you will see lots of kids with plump/fat bellies... please remember that when you look at your fish.

The other thing to be careful of is obesity. Yes, even in fish, this is unhealthy. A fish should be well fed, but not over fed. There are many species of fish, especially in the marine environment, that will eat until they literally explode, if given the chance. This also applies to some inverts, such as brittle starfish. If the food supply is there, they will eat and eat until they rupture the disk... which is potentially fatal.

I hope all of this info is helpful to you, I can't wait to see photos of your fish/tank.

wake49 02-17-2010 07:03 PM

Thanks for the advice Dawn. What other foods would you suggest for tangs? The other fish in my tank eat frozen, pellets and of coursethe live pods in the tank. The clowns and bangaiis have a variety in their diet, and even my hippo will eat anything I throw in the tank. I will try soaking some frozen mysis fortified food in garlic make it more appealing to the sailfin.

I took some pics with my phone. I will upload in the morning.

wake49 02-17-2010 07:04 PM

Thanks for the advice Dawn. What other foods would you suggest for tangs? The other fish in my tank eat frozen, pellets and of course the live pods in the tank. The clowns and bangaiis have a variety in their diet, and even my hippo will eat anything I throw in the tank. I will try soaking some frozen mysis fortified food in garlic make it more appealing to the sailfin.

I took some pics with my phone. I will upload in the morning.

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