4. Fish has a cottony growth on one fin or body part.

Lymphocystis is a viral infection generally effecting one or two fish in an aquarium.  The picture to the left is an extreme case and is obviously interfering with the fish's ability to eat.  It occurs in both fresh and salt-water animals.  It appears as a small white tuft of cotton ball like growths on a fin or body part.  As it matures it resembles bloody cauliflower and can be quite offensive.  There are many thoughts on just how bad this infection is.  Personally I have never seen it cause drastic loses in any aquarium.  I have found that if the water quality and food supply is good, lymphocystis tends to clear up on its own.  If the lymph is growing on the mouth or gills of the fish other measures must be taken.

Lymphocystis growing on the mouth or gills will eventually obstruct the fish's ability to feed or breath and should be dealt with immediately.  Remove the fish, cut off as much of the "cotton ball" as possible then swab the area with Mercurochrome.  Repeat this process as needed until the infections is cured by the fish's own immune system.  As with most problems, good water quality, proper feeding, and aquarium management will do wonders.  Maintain your tanks!

Note: Lymphocystis closely resembles fungal, bacterial, and tuberculosis infections.  Before you diagnose this problem continue to the next symptom.

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