Lumps and bumps: there are a number of diseases that begin this way. (1) tumors or lymphocystis which are viral in origin and not treatable, (2) fish pox which is also viral and not treatable (3) various forms of ulcer disease which are caused by Pseudomonas or Aeromonas and are treatable, (4) HITH or LLE which has varied causes and treatments, (5) Costia – a parasite that nearly always causes little red hemorrhages, especially under the chin, (6) various bacterial diseases caused by such as Columnaris, (7) Neoplasm formations.
Lumps and bumps that suddenly appear are usually bacterial infections. If the disease process is due to bacteria, it usually resolves by rupture (like a boil) pretty quickly. The white liquid that oozes out is pus that is formed when the white blood cells (immune cells) die while killing bacteria (in general). NEVER TRY TO POP OR SQUEEZE THE LUMP. Like a boil in humans, squeezing can cause regurgitation of the pus into the blood stream of the fish with deadly results. It is also not a good idea to seal a draining wound unless it is bleeding. The most common bacteria which causes such lumps is Columnaris or Aeromonas.
Wounds that are white on the edges and red in the center are most typically Aeromonas. Those that are red on the edges and white in the center are generally Columnaris. Both are gram negative bacteria. The best treatment for this is any sulfa antibiotic with trimetheprim. This can be put in the water and mixed with food — if you can find Romet B use it.
Some research indicates that certain carbon filter materials may predispose fish to this disease though the mechanism has not been determined. Better nutrition (provide calcium/phosphorus/vitamin D supplement), less crowding, more water changes may help. Change brands (marineland is good) or don’t use filter carbon at all.
Treatment for any other ‘bumps’ and ‘lumps’ may be treated by a bath of potassium permanganate. You can often obtain this at your local pharmacy.
Notes on the use of potassium permanganate. 1 drop of stock PP per gallon is equal to 2 ppm. This is the concentration used for continuous treatment. PP is usually used for 3 days, or every other day for 4 treatments. If water is not clear in 24 hours (looks yellow), change 25-30% of the water before adding another dose. Light inactivates PP. After adding the PP, watch for a minimum of 15 minutes to make sure there are no adverse reaction. Then turn off lights or cover the tank.
Some water seems to inactivate PP rapidly. It should be pink when you put it in, and stay pink for at least 4 hours to be effective.
Stock PP can be used on a swab on small wounds or patches of white “crud” on fins. It results in a chemical burn and turns the area dark. Do not use near the eyes, mouth or gills. Use as a one time application, followed by Neosporin creme or Panalog (by vet prescription).
Cautionary notes: Some water conditioners can inactivate some medication. NovAqua and PolyAqua will inactivating metals and quickly inactivates potassium permanganate.
If you pursue combined RALLY/Kanamycin treatment, use it according to package label instructions, and add one dose of RALLY every 3 – 5 days. The active ingredients in RALLY are biodegradable; however, you should run carbon or a Polyfilter for a few hours (and then remove it) before adding a repeat dose.
Hydrogen peroxide is preferred for topical application near the mouth or gills.
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