- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Tumor on my Tiger Pleco

March 7th, 2007, 06:11 PM
Hi - I am usually posting on the dog forum. Never knew there was a fish section - not very observant.

I have a picture here - not the clearest - but it shows some sort of tumor on my Tiger Pleco. This guy must be at least 15 years old so he's been around for awhile. Just wondering if anyone happens to know what this is or what causes it. It seems pretty slow growing and looks pinkish in color - kind of like human flesh.

March 9th, 2007, 06:44 AM
Hi Wanda,
great picture. The disease your pleco has is called Lymphocystitus.
It is a disease that causes large, pink or whitish cauliflower like growths just as in your picture.
It is believed to be a viral disease, or genetically caused. There is no cure for this disease. Some fish can live a long time unaffected by it, other dies because of complications.

You could try treating with a broad spectrum antibiotic to rule out anything bacterial but my bet is on Lymphocystitus.
If you do want to try treating for it, you will need to isolate the fish in a quarantine tank, and treat with both gram positive and gram negative antibiotics. Id recommend a combination of Maracyn and Maracyn 2.
If you want to go one med or cant find those, go with Furan 2 or Triple Sulfa.
If you can only find one Maracyn, go with Maracyn 2.

March 14th, 2007, 06:33 PM
Thank you Sneaky - I couldn't find much information elsewhere about it.

March 17th, 2007, 10:35 AM

There's some more info.

I'm not completely convinced that's what it is, mostly because of the type of fish, but I don't have any better suggestions.
It could, like you originally suggested, be some kind of tumor. It could have also been caused by some kind of irritant.

Either way I can't suggest any type of treatment because I'm not completely sure what it is.

March 20th, 2007, 12:00 AM
Lymphocistitus can affect any kind of fish, and can also affect
tropical freshwater frogs and snails as well.
I think this is why a lot of scientists think it may be a viral issues.
Ive had it 3 times, once in a rainbowfish, once in a tetra, and once in a cory catfish.
Its becoming more common these days, probably due to the overmedication of commercially bred fish.
A fellow in my aquarium club has a Boesmani rainbowfish with this disease, to the extent where it has pretty much taken over the whole head and back of the fish. He is trying to treat it with a variety of meds, and having worked his way through every commercially available treatment, is now moving into
therapeutic and natural treatments. Nothing so far seems to be helping.
It seems very common in rainbowfish and tetras, less in other species,
sometimes it spreads to other fish, sometimes not.

I would always recommend an antiobiotic treatment first, just to rule out infections and anything bacterial, but if it doesnt respond to treatment it usually suggests it is lymphocistitus.

March 20th, 2007, 01:33 PM
I've read that it doesn't affect catfish, and that it rarely affects them, but I've never seen it on a catfish either way. (not saying it doesn't, that's just in my experience)

I guess it's kind of like NTD. Most common in tetras but can kill any fish.

I don't know about overmedication being the culprit, but because of overbreeding a lot of diseases are becoming much more common. Farming is one of the worst things because there's no selective breeding, they're just breeding for sheer number, but even with aquariumbred fish it's a problem.

March 20th, 2007, 07:39 PM
I think it has a lot to do with overmedication.
For example, Camallanus nematodes, a once rare and easily treated parasite in tropical fish, now is almost untreatable period. It is immune now to all common antiparasitics, and is only treated with 2 known medicines, Levamisole and Fenbendazole.

If you have been to a commercial fish farm, its easy to note the HUGE mass amounts of drugs fish are treated with. They are dosed nearly daily with antibiotics, anti parasitics, and a wide range of drugs.
Then, the fish get shipped out to pet stores, where they are exposed to even more drugs. Walmart for example, drops a 1 litre pail of antibiotics, antiparasites, slime coat enhancers, and other drugs in each store tank Daily.
Many of these are know to the state of california to cause cancer.
Its no doubt in my mind that the uninhibited use of drugs in aquarium fish has led to many diseases being extremely difficult to treat due to drug resistance, in the exact same way, overmedication of both our meat as its raised and us as humans with illnesses, has led to the development of super bugs.

Combine that with the poor breeding practices you point out, and its a recipe for disaster.

March 21st, 2007, 12:23 PM
I misread and thought you were referring to hobbyists overtreating.
That's true, the commercial breeders and pet stores do dump all kinds of chemicals in their tanks to "prevent" infections, I can see how that would aid in producing stronger bacterial strains. Along with the poor genetics of the fish they have it probably makes it extremely easy for drug-resisent bacteria and parasites to take hold.
It also allows weak fish, that should have by all means died because they're prone to infection/illness to make it into the aquarium trade. The fish is sitting in heavily drug treated water to prevent it from getting sick, with the fishes genetics should be the main factor in disease resistence.

As an example, my native fish are EXTREMELY resistent to infections that commonly affect aquarium/farm bred fish because the ones that aren't strong don't survive in the wild. Instead, with the farms especially they're working hard to keep a large number of fish alive, weak or not, and these fish make it into the aquarium trade, along with the drug resistent bacteria.
Put the fish in non-drug treated good quality water, and I could see how the bacteria/parasites could easily take hold and multiply.

What do the pet stores and breeders care though, most of the fish are going to go into someones home and die from poor water quality anyway.

March 21st, 2007, 08:36 PM
Totally true.
I think a good solution is when you can, buy fish that are bred locally by conscientous (spelling sorry) breeders who actually care.
Im lucky enough to have an aquarium club locally, and so get lots
of my fish from local people who breed them with the best intentions of the fish (not the buyer) in mind.
It sure makes a huge difference in not just the health of the fish, but the longevity, color and activity of the fish.

Also, SuperWanda, 15 years for a pleco is an AMAZING age for a captive kept fish, and is a testament to the quality of your care for this creature.
Even though its sick now as it enters old age, youve done an amazing job. Keep up the good work!

March 22nd, 2007, 04:27 PM
Good information here! Thanks for the advice!

Yes - this pleco use to be in my Dad's tank for many years and when he was finished with the aquarium hobby, I took his fish and have had this particular guy for the last 8 years. So, I am only 53% responsible for his longevity :)

Do any of you happen to know the life span for this particular species? (Peckoltia sp.)

March 26th, 2007, 07:24 PM
My guess would be probably 20-25 years is the possible longevity
for that fish.