Neon Tetra With Cotton Mouth Treatment

Siggygym
  • #1
HI everyone, I fear that one of my tetras has cotton mouth desease. I’ve been treating with Paraguard every day for about 5 days but I’m not seeing any improvement. Can anyone confirm if this is cotton mouth or could be something else? Also heard that methylene blue is a good cure. Can I treat the whole tank or best to do baths? First time I’ve seen this so not sure what to do! Thanks for your help!
IMG_5758.JPG
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Iridium_2256
  • #2
He certainly looks like he has a cottony mouth, but I can't tell if he has a saddle back or any other sores. Any other behavioral symptoms?
 
Siggygym
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Not really, he’s swimming and shoaling as usual...
 
Rtessy
  • #4
Unfortunately it does appear to be cotton mouth aka columnaris. It would be great if you could quarantine, but it may be a bit late for that now. I'm not good for medications, but it's worth looking at alternate medications for columnaris that don't harm plants.... I believe a salt dip works but I have no idea if neons are salt tolerant, so please don't just take my advice for it. I think most of the medications that you may need are copper based unfortunately, but I'm sure there are some options
 
Iridium_2256
  • #5
Furan-2 or maracyn may be good to try. I would not let the infection go much longer, i'm surprised it's lived this long. My angel died within 36 hours of catching columnaris(rip defiant)

Ignore the maracyn, i'm an idiot that would be for a fungal infection.
 
Siggygym
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Thank you everyone... bought some methylene blue and will give him baths of that see if helps... read in another thread that MB baths and Paraguard for the tank should do the trick so will give it a go... does anyone know how they get cotton mouth? Last time I added new fish was over a month ago so not sure if could be the new fish carrying it? I did treat with Paraguard when they arrived....

Unfortunately I don’t have a quarantine tank so I hope it doesn’t spread to the others...
 
DoubleDutch
  • #7
It isn't cottonmouth. There have been hundred and hundred of threads about exact this.

Cause it doesn't seem to be treatable, neon specific, and not directly lethal I expect it to be an iridovirus alike lymphocistis.

Don't be surprised treatment won't work.

Kijd regard Aad
 
Siggygym
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Thank you Aad, how does iridovirus get treated? Never heard of this before so any advice would be greatly appreciated
 
DoubleDutch
  • #9
Thank you Aad, how does iridovirus get treated? Never heard of this before so any advice would be greatly appreciated
It appearing to be incurable / umtreatable points me towards a virus.
 
Redshark1
  • #10
The main study into mortality of Neon Tetra found that in nearly all cases Columnaris was the cause and rarely it was Pleistophora (so called Neon Tetra Disease).



This study didn't talk about virus and I have never heard anybody else talk about a virus so this must be considered extremely unlikely at the moment.

Not that it matters that much to me as we cannot determine the disease with the naked eye and the treatment is what is important.

That fish looks too far gone to me and I would euthanise and concentrate on saving the rest. This is what I have done.

I have 17 of the Neons remaining of the 30 I bought two years ago. I have not used medications but have tried to provide good conditions for my remaining fish which still show some symptoms of Columnaris.

By all means try some meds if you wish.

Otherwise things you could try if you are not doing them already include:

Plants to enable them to feel secure, to hide in if necessary.

Removal of other fish that might compete with and stress them (they seem to be unafraid of Bristlenoses, perhaps as these occupy the bottom).

Keep the temperature at 74F as this is supposed to be the preferred temperature of Neon Tetras which originally came from cool and shady jungle streams.

Increase aeration by allowing the venturI on my filter to bubble air into the returning water.

Keep the aquarium cool in summer by reducing as necessary.

Maintain a gentle current that is not too fast and not too slow.

Find a variety of quality foods for the Neons and feed them twice a day.

Collect rainwater from my outbuilding roof and mix it with my tap water to soften the hard water from my tap.

Change 5% of the aquarium water daily.

Make sure that the filter is cleaned enough (in tank water) so it cannot get blocked and stop working.

Have a low stocking level so water quality can be kept high.
 
DoubleDutch
  • #11
The main study into mortality of Neon Tetra found that in nearly all cases Columnaris was the cause and rarely it was Pleistophora (so called Neon Tetra Disease).



This study didn't talk about virus and I have never heard anybody else talk about a virus so this must be considered extremely unlikely at the moment.

Not that it matters that much to me as we cannot determine the disease with the naked eye and the treatment is what is important.

That fish looks too far gone to me and I would euthanise and concentrate on saving the rest. This is what I have done.

I have 17 of the Neons remaining of the 30 I bought two years ago. I have not used medications but have tried to provide good conditions for my remaining fish which still show some symptoms of Columnaris.

By all means try some meds if you wish.

Otherwise things you could try if you are not doing them already include:

Plants to enable them to feel secure, to hide in if necessary.

Removal of other fish that might compete with and stress them (they seem to be unafraid of Bristlenoses, perhaps as these occupy the bottom).

Keep the temperature at 74F as this is supposed to be the preferred temperature of Neon Tetras which originally came from cool and shady jungle streams.

Increase aeration by allowing the venturI on my filter to bubble air into the returning water.

Keep the aquarium cool in summer by reducing as necessary.

Maintain a gentle current that is not too fast and not too slow.

Find a variety of quality foods for the Neons and feed them twice a day.

Collect rainwater from my outbuilding roof and mix it with my tap water to soften the hard water from my tap.

Change 5% of the aquarium water daily.

Make sure that the filter is cleaned enough (in tank water) so it cannot get blocked and stop working.

Have a low stocking level so water quality can be kept high.
To be honest I think this is thinking from the other side RS ! The article is aboit mortality. The facts are different.

We've neons with white lumps at their mouth. Hundreds of threads about it.

- the lumps are the only symptom.
- treatment doesn't seem to work.
- it isn't lethal (some have it more than year or even longer.
- it is neon-specific.
- cottonmouth looks differently.

NTD and False NTD show other symptoms than this and both are lethal (last withoit treatment).

But as said : it is a suspecion (out of experiences over the last 6 years).
 
Redshark1
  • #12
Yes DD we were at cross-purposes (unintentionally contrary to one another).

I remember the lumps now and talking with you about it on here.

I remember you saying you thought those lumps were something different from Columnaris and were possibly viral and I agreed with you about that because it is a reasonable suspicion.

Do you think Siggygym's Neon has those lumps? I do not think so as to my eyes the lumps were more like bubbles in appearance (but not like the larger bubbles of dermosporidium). I think Siggygym's Neon has Columnaris.

But I have only the photos above to go on. Maybe they are like bubbles but I am not seeing it right.

BTW some of my neons had the "possible virus lumps" and those were different from the Columnaris symptoms to my eyes. All the virus lumps went away over a period of several months without medicating and after I took all possible steps I could think of to improve conditions for my Neons..
 
DoubleDutch
  • #13
Yes DD we were at cross-purposes (unintentionally contrary to one another).

I remember the lumps now and talking with you about it on here.

I remember you saying you thought those lumps were something different from Columnaris and were possibly viral and I agreed with you about that because it is a reasonable suspicion.

Do you think Siggygym's Neon has those lumps? I do not think so as to my eyes the lumps were more like bubbles in appearance (but not like the larger bubbles of dermosporidium). I think Siggygym's Neon has Columnaris.

But I have only the photos above to go on. Maybe they are like bubbles but I am not seeing it right.

BTW some of my neons had the "possible virus lumps" and those were different from the Columnaris symptoms to my eyes. All the virus lumps went away over a period of several months without medicating and after I took all possible steps I could think of to improve conditions for my Neons..
Not to proof these lumbs are viral but only to show viral issues are underestimated and are often mixed up with "common" diseases.


Megalocytivirus Infections in Fish, with Emphasis on Ornamental Species1
PDFagrilife.org › fisheries › files › 2013/09

Mwaaaa link doesn't work I am afraid.
Please google on this.
 
Redshark1
  • #14
Thanks DD I have now read that, not having seen it earlier.

I have been reading about how diseases are springing up in the aquaculture industry and how virulent strains (those that kill the fish rapidly) are encouraged by the farming methods.

Never mind ornamental fish it seems there are challenges to the plans to feed the world with farmed food fish.

We will have to face more of these diseases in the future. Similar things are happening to our trees.

I don't want to predict doom but I can see that Neon Tetras (for example) could cease to be viable. Lets hope that the disease does not spread successfully to wild fish.
 
Siggygym
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
HI everyone, I think it is cotton mouth desease... the Neon tetra is still going, but I’ve lost 2 corys almost overnight... I saw a couple of days ago one had died with no initial symptoms and had another with its head almost covered in this cottony like thing... treated both Cory and tetra with methylene blue baths, 30 mins. But my Cory died today while in the bath, and the neon is now not eating and keeping away hidden from the others... not looking good. Have started on the Paraguard again but I’m not hopeful... I thought methylene blue was reasonably safe to do in baths but I'm wondering if I’ve made things worse by doing that... Neon nearly died whilst in the bath too... he started to go on its side but he seemed to recover while back in the tank... I’m really worried as I can’t seem to be able to get antibiotics in UK. Continuing with Paraguard but I think I’m going to leave the methylene blue out as it seems to just makes matter worst? I really don’t know what to do... anyone has better ideas? Worried this is going to continue to spread... others seems fine for the time being... ‍♀️
 
Rtessy
  • #16
Kanaplex can still help, columnaris is the same as cotton mouth, and since the other option can't be treated for, may as well try and treat the other option if you want.
 
Whitewolf
  • #17
Thank you everyone... bought some methylene blue and will give him baths of that see if helps... read in another thread that MB baths and Paraguard for the tank should do the trick so will give it a go... does anyone know how they get cotton mouth? Last time I added new fish was over a month ago so not sure if could be the new fish carrying it? I did treat with Paraguard when they arrived....

Unfortunately I don’t have a quarantine tank so I hope it doesn’t spread to the others...
Not to sound rude or snarky, but your not getting the point.
Columnaris is bacteria, it lives INSIDE the fish, the gills, the mouth, the flanks.
Methylene blue is for external wounds or tail rot only. Your tetras will need an antibiotic treatment if it is columnaris, as its a very deadly bacterial infection and can spread quickly and be lethal.
 
Redshark1
  • #18
Kanaplex is not in UK (postage from US is £30) but the antibiotics Fishmox etc. can be obtained cheaply from China should you wish to use it.
 
Whitewolf
  • #19
Siggygym
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
I found Maracyn 2 (I believe this is also good) on eBay but again it’s delivered from US so by the time it will get to me (2-3 weeks) I may have everyone dead! I do appreciate I need anti-biotics but there must be something I can find in UK to help in the meantime?

Ahh, then euthanasia may be the best option.

If I euthanise the tetra will that stop the spread? Would Paraguard kill any potential leftover of the disease? Or do I use anything else? How does this desease spread?
 
Whitewolf
  • #21
It is not possible to kill columnaris or any other bacteria in the water. Declorinated water will always have bacteria in it. The only time the bacteria becomes pathogen is thru fish stress. Now that being said, if it is allowed to "live" on fish tissue and or the fish dies in the tank and others nibble on it (which they usually will do) Then it can definitely become a problem. The solution is to euthanize with ice water any fish that is sick at any time in your hobby, keep your tank clean but remember that even in swimming pools, bad bacteria and parasites can live. The solution is stress free climate and removing any sick fish immediately.
 
Siggygym
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
It is not possible to kill columnaris or any other bacteria in the water. Declorinated water will always have bacteria in it. The only time the bacteria becomes pathogen is thru fish stress. Now that being said, if it is allowed to "live" on fish tissue and or the fish dies in the tank and others nibble on it (which they usually will do) Then it can definitely become a problem. The solution is to euthanize with ice water any fish that is sick at any time in your hobby, keep your tank clean but remember that even in swimming pools, bad bacteria and parasites can live. The solution is stress free climate and removing any sick fish immediately.

Thank you, I have clove oil for these cases... I’ll have to deal with him then... very sad though... had him since the beginning of setting up my tank about 18 months ago.. :’(
 
Lemonsqueesy
  • #23
HI Everyone. I have three of three neon tetras that have developed small white nodules up to 2 mm on their upper mouth/face, to one side, identical to the original photo of Siggugym. There is also some nice clear footage of the same thing on
(
) Have read people discussing fungus, Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria and treatments for infections which seem to be more toxic than the disease itself. This information seems to be perpetuated in the forums without any evidence and I have not seen anyone say they have had success - its usually "this may help."

I am actually in a position to investigate this as I am a surgical pathologist. I decided just a few days ago to remove the nodule of one of my fish and processes it for histology. Have a photo but on my desktop and not online - can't see an option to upload.

I was very surprised and a little bit excited to see that instead of an inflammatory mass of fungal spores and hyphae, it was a tumour of immature neoplastic cartilage with early bone formation. The cartilage is quite cellular however the sample is small making the distinction between a chondrosarcoma (malignant cartilage tumour) and chondroma (benign cartilage tumour) difficult, but it appears concerning.

As DoubleDutch/Aad has said, there are lots of people whose fish have identical lesions and they are not fungal/bacterial and hence not treatable. The other point raised is the role of viruses. In humans, tumours caused by viruses are rare but do occur. In animals, it approaches the opposite - virally induced tumours are quite common. This may account for the apparent infectivity of this particular lesion.

The main point of confusion here is the classification of these common diseases in tetras. Is this actually a different entity to classical cotton mouth but is passed down from forum to forum as the same thing? This confusion is leading to a lot of people spending money and exposing their tanks to unnecessary chemicals.

I hope this proves to be helpful information to further the discussion.

TL;DR Many of the white lumps on the upper portion of the mouths of tetras appear to be tumours rather than infections. A distinction needs to be made.
 
Lemonsqueesy
  • #24
Lol. Saw the upload button later at home. Here's the micrograph...just for the record. Histopathology of the "cotton mouth" nodule off the mouth/nose of one of my neon tetras. Cartilage upper right, osteoid/early bone lower left.



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DoubleDutch
  • #25
I still suspect these bumps are caused by a certain (irido)virus like Lymphocystis.

Untreatable, not directly lethal, neonspecific (some other tetras), etc etc...
 
Siggygym
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
Thank you lemonsqueesy, that is very interesting...

I have to say I didn't euthanize my tetras (I now have 2 with that growth in their mouths in the exact same position). I just couldn't bring myself to do it especially not knowing for sure what is wrong with them. They are both still alive and feeding and acting well. I have treated them with Methylene Blue baths (which didn't work and nearly killed them so I stopped), I used Paraguard for 2 weeks and didn't work, and I used Maracyn which again, didn't work. So actually what you are saying makes a lot of sense. However my question is, what to do? do I let it run its course as long as they are happy and eating well? is it lethal? is this going to spread further? and if so do I euthanise for the sake of keeping the others safe? I don't know what to do... but they seem ok and happy so far. And modules not grown further either. Dilema...
 
Redshark1
  • #27
I would keep them stress free in the best conditions possible as I stated earlier. I gave a list of factors you could concentrate on so won't type them out again here.

I believe the organism responsible for the problems in Neon Tetras lives on the fish but only kills it when the immune system is suppressed by stress factors.

Mine have been living with symptoms for over 2 years. Symptoms have disappeared on some fish and on others are still visible.

I don't think it is possible to remove these micro-organisms from the fish or the aquarium.
 
Whitewolf
  • #28
Maracyn 2
Did it arrive yet?
 
Laurencet
  • #29
Are we sure it's a virus spread tumor, what's the chances it will spread to other neon tetras?

Has anyone tried a antibiotic?

Treatment in my tank is a bit of a nightmare as it's heavily planted and has shrimps, which are very intolerant to chemicals
As soon as you go near it with a net everything hides.
 
Lemonsqueesy
  • #30
HI Laurencent,

My impression from sites like this, as somewhat of an outsider trying to look after my own tetras is that "cotton mouth," may encompass more than one disease and thus different aetiologies that may or may not respond to different treatments.

Someone with extensive experience with tetras and access to a network of other enthusiasts would be well placed to at least better describe these lesions around the mouth of tetras with a view to identifying if it may be more than one type of lesion/disease. For my part, the lesions are white nodules just above the mouth, that are firm to touch. Nothing fluffy or "cottony." They appear identical to pictures provided here and on other sites.

As I showed above, the lesion I am referring to is a growth or tumour arising from tissue within the fish. It is not a collection of bacteria, fungus or parasites. Thus it will not respond to antibiotics or chemicals to treat multiple fish ailments. This is why characterisation of the disease is important as it appears a disease, Columnaris, also called cotton mouth, is caused by bacteria which will respond to antibiotics. The growths in this case consist of bacteria and there appears to systemic deterioration of the fish as well.

Regarding these hard lesions, I recommend leaving them alone as others have suggested. I removed one "surgically" as a biopsy and the fish is doing fine. The other tetra, still with the growth, is doing just as well. The third one died way back before all of this when I treated them in a hospital tank with methylene blue - unnecessarily. I also have a shrimp in the tank and the family swoons over him. My life would be not worth living if anything happened! If the growth starts to obstruct the mouth then removal with a blade may be the only option. I am unable to advise on other lesions lumped under the term "cotton mouth" as I have no experience with them.

Diseases such as Columnaris, caused by bacteria, are contagious. The lesion I have described is a tumour and the cause of it is pure speculation. As several fish appear to be affected at the same time, the simplest explanation is that the cause is infectious and presumably viral as seen in many other animal tumours. It does not have any features of lymphocystis which was suggested above; some evidence in that regard would be helpful to the discussion.

This lesion near the mouths of tetras seems to be relatively common and needs to be distinguished from other diseases termed "cotton mouth." With a more scientific approach, effective treatment, including no treatment, will be able to be recommended.
 
Laurencet
  • #31
Thanks Lemon for the detailed reply, as you might have guessed I'm having similar issues.

I've been trying a paraguard dip as before I read your thread I assumed it was fungal bacterial infection.But as you said it doesn't look soft and cotton like. Paraguard doesn't seem to be the magic cute I was hopeing for and now spread to 5 of the 12 neons.

Luckily so far it has spread to any of my embers tetras or ottos.

I read somewhere someone recommending seachem kanaplex someone else furan 2, but if this is a virus it's not going to be touched by a antibiotic.

I'm impressed you manage to trim it off, pretty tiny..


IMG_20180601_201453.jpg


IMG_20180601_201453.jpg
 
Adriifu
  • #32
This thread is very interesting. I’m surprised nobody has gone into depth about parameters and environmental issues, though. I had two harlequin rasboras in a very overstocked ten-gallon tank. Ammonia was very high and I realized it at a very late point. During this time, one of the rasboras had this white nodule on his lip. I tried treating it with Furan-2, which did not affect him in any way. After a couple months, I finally got the tank under control and now have them in a much more suitable environment. The other rasbora passed away, but the one with the nodule is currently thriving in a ten-gallon tank with four other rasboras, one betta fish, and some snails and shrimp. The parameters are great and the tank has many plants for cover. The nodule slowly disappeared after putting him in this new tank. This is what he looks like now. He’s the fish on the top left. Although the water isn’t as soft as they prefer, they’re doing great and I’m proud to say that everybody is back to normal.
 

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DoubleDutch
  • #33
HI Laurencent,

My impression from sites like this, as somewhat of an outsider trying to look after my own tetras is that "cotton mouth," may encompass more than one disease and thus different aetiologies that may or may not respond to different treatments.

Someone with extensive experience with tetras and access to a network of other enthusiasts would be well placed to at least better describe these lesions around the mouth of tetras with a view to identifying if it may be more than one type of lesion/disease. For my part, the lesions are white nodules just above the mouth, that are firm to touch. Nothing fluffy or "cottony." They appear identical to pictures provided here and on other sites.

As I showed above, the lesion I am referring to is a growth or tumour arising from tissue within the fish. It is not a collection of bacteria, fungus or parasites. Thus it will not respond to antibiotics or chemicals to treat multiple fish ailments. This is why characterisation of the disease is important as it appears a disease, Columnaris, also called cotton mouth, is caused by bacteria which will respond to antibiotics. The growths in this case consist of bacteria and there appears to systemic deterioration of the fish as well.

Regarding these hard lesions, I recommend leaving them alone as others have suggested. I removed one "surgically" as a biopsy and the fish is doing fine. The other tetra, still with the growth, is doing just as well. The third one died way back before all of this when I treated them in a hospital tank with methylene blue - unnecessarily. I also have a shrimp in the tank and the family swoons over him. My life would be not worth living if anything happened! If the growth starts to obstruct the mouth then removal with a blade may be the only option. I am unable to advise on other lesions lumped under the term "cotton mouth" as I have no experience with them.

Diseases such as Columnaris, caused by bacteria, are contagious. The lesion I have described is a tumour and the cause of it is pure speculation. As several fish appear to be affected at the same time, the simplest explanation is that the cause is infectious and presumably viral as seen in many other animal tumours. It does not have any features of lymphocystis which was suggested above; some evidence in that regard would be helpful to the discussion.

This lesion near the mouths of tetras seems to be relatively common and needs to be distinguished from other diseases termed "cotton mouth." With a more scientific approach, effective treatment, including no treatment, will be able to be recommended.
I didn't suggest lymphocistis, I suggested an Iridovirus LIKE the one causing lymphocystis (and DGD in gouramis) what it isn't.

These lumps are seen around the world in bred neons. The fact that in hundreds of threads no treatment seemed to work, made me suspect a viral issue.

BTW there are a lot of speciesspecific iridoviruses causing all kind of different. issues in the specific species.
 
Whitewolf
  • #34
Whats the big hoopla, its got to just be some bacteria. Use some kanamycin on them or better yet maracyn-2 (or 2 and 1 combined)
Dont use furan 2, it is a very strong chemical. (and a very bad antibiotic)
 
aquagoddess61
  • #35
I've been all over all threads on these neon tumors, and this is the first one I found where I see an intelligent answer, I'm very impressed that someone actually took the time to seriously investigate this. TY for that. I have 2 neons with the same symptoms, one with a sizeable tumor, with little tumors upon that, and one with a tiny one starting. All are eating and swimming normal. It has been driving me insane trying to figure out how to treat it. I treated first with a fungal tab, and no change, then weeks later, trying melafix, with a small change. I would like to know what the procedure is to cut it out, these fish are small and quick and squirmy. The one with the large tumor now has white fungally looking patches probably from the stress, it is contained within the neon population. TY for any suggestions.
 
Redshark1
  • #36
aquagoddess61 (awesome username!) I was made aware of your post by the fishlore alert system.

So, I've come back to this thread to say that all my Neon Tetras are cured and I no longer have any with white patches (thought to be Columnaris) or bubbles on the mouth (thought to be tumours).

All of these visible signs of disease dissipated when I implemented the measures that I listed in post #10 and I would respectfully suggest that you do the same rather than resort to chemicals or surgery!

I'd say that if you are an experienced fishkeeper with the ability to provide tip top conditions for your Neon Tetras and are unlucky enough to purchase fish with these problems (50% chance) all is not lost, though you may need to wait a while until every sign of disease is gone.

Mine now give me a lot of pleasure. Good luck!

18.11.28 Neon Tetra Cube Aquarium Steve Joul (2) - Copy.jpg
 
aquagoddess61
  • #37
TY, I've lowered the temp to 73,74, and using the lights far less, white patches seem to be getting a little better, just did another water change and rinsed the bio sponge thoroughly, ph is good 6.8- 7, water is clean, everyone is happy including the baby swords, so will keep an eye out. I was hesitant to add more melafix since I just treated, but I did add some bio start, and some aquarium salt with the water change. Am looking for more plants, my swords eat all the plants except for the sword plant.
 
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