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Tropical Fish Diseases - Treating and Understanding Tumors and Growths

Updated on June 22, 2011

Tropical fish diseases are important for the tropical fish hobbyist to understand if you want to keep your fish alive and thriving. Fish, just like humans or other animals, can get tumors. They are common and a lump on one of your fish is the first sign of a tumor. If you see a lump, what do you do? Let's look at the causes of tumors as well as the symptoms and treatments for two of the most common type of tumors in fish.

Two Common Types of Tumors in Fish

There are two common types of tumors that your fish can get. Lymphocystis is one of the types of tumors your fish can get. This tumor is known as the Cauliflower Disease because of the way the tumor looks. You'll usually notice these tumors along the lateral line or the pedicle where the fin meets the body. Lymphocystis is caused by a viral infection causing it to form clusters of small tumors.

Tropical Fish Diseases
Tropical Fish Diseases | Source

You'll first notice your fish acting lethargic and swimming slowly as if they didn’t have any energy. Next, you'll notice that the fish has trouble swimming and losing his balance. This is caused by the growth of the tumor. As the tumor increases in size, it throws the fishes balance off.

Lymphocystis is treatable to some cases. To treat the fish, you'll need to change the water frequently and lower the amount of ammonia and nitrites in the tank. Reducing ammonia and nitrates reduces stress on the fish giving his immune system a better chance of fighting the viral infection that caused the tumor.

The next common type of tumor is a solid tumor. Solid tumors can be either benign or malignant and the rate of speed at which these tumors grow also varies. Some grow very slowly while others grow quickly. Solid tumors can grow either externally or internally on your fish and many times you don’t notice them until they have become so large that they begin to affect the fish.

Some things that you may notice when your fish has a solid tumor is that your fish may have trouble seeing if it's growing on his head and blocking his vision. When the tumor is internal, many times his eating habits change. Most likely, he'll also begin having trouble swimming as the tumor becomes larger.

Except for cleaning your tank, there isn't any treatment for tumors in fish. It's important to remember that all tumors in fish aren’t malignant. So if the tumor isn't affecting the quality of life for your fish, there's really no need to be worried about it. If the tumor grows to the point that it's affecting his eating habits or you think the fish is suffering, euthanasia is probably the most humane thing to do. 

If you're a tropical fish hobbyist, you enjoy fish and get attached to them. A lot of thought goes into setting up an aquarium, selecting fish, and caring for them. Unfortunately, you'll eventually lose some fish to tropical fish diseases. Because you don’t want this to happen, be sure you keep your tank as clean as possible and buy only healthy fish from a reputable store. By doing this, you'll be able to cut down on the amount of tropical fish diseases your fish get.


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