White growths on black neon tetra

  • #1
Hi, so I started my first tank around 6 months ago and I'm slowly learning about proper fish keeping. There's been a lot of "oops I shouldn't have done that" moments, but reading these forums has helped immensely so far. Now I'm hoping to get help identifying the growths/illness I've found on one of my black neon tetras.

My planted 10 gallon tank is stocked with:
3 black neon tetras
1 glowlight tetra (rescued from my parents' house where he lived in alone in a 1 gallon nano tank)
2 harlequin rasboras
1 spotted nerite snail

Water parameters:
pH: 7.8
Ammonia: 0.2 ppm
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0

I'm in the process of setting up a 20 gal long tank because I realize the 10 gal is too small for them, especially if I need to get more fish to keep them in proper schools.

I first noticed the growth near his analfin a little over a week ago, then today I noticed the bump on his tail and under his gill cover. They don't look like ich or worms to me, buy I could be wrong. He seems to be swimming fine and keeping up with the other fish. Eyes are clear and everything else looks healthy, except for the mysterious nubs. No other fish have them, but I'm keeping an eye on them.

  • #2
Welcome to Fishlore

That certainly doesn't look like ICH to me. As for what it might be, someone else may need to advise. However, your water parameters could have played a part in the issue.

A cycled tank should have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and some nitrates. The ammonia reading you have and the lack of nitrates indicate an uncycled tank which contribute to stress in a fish, compromise the immune system and expose it to illnesses and infections.

Do you know about the nitrogen cycle (if not, click on the blue words that will take you to a link)? What testing kit do you use?

Also, are you rinsing your filter media in tap water or replacing it at all? I'm wondering if that's why you have 0 nitrates.
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thanks el337!

I have the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. I've been worried about my water parameters after one of my "oops" episodes 2 months ago. I have read about the nitrogen cycle, and it's possible that I messed it up and compromised my fishes' immune system.

I had a piece of driftwood leeching tannin into the water (which I liked) but thought I'd try putting activated carbon inside the sponge part of my filter to see if it would help clear up the water a bit. Up until then I had been rinsing the filter sponge in cold tap water once a month, but now I just swish it in old tank water during water changes. I've also removed the carbon since then, after reading that I don't really need it. Now it's just the sponge inside my little internal filter.
Around that same time I also noticed more diatoms in my tank and thought I was getting too much plant debris built up in my substrate. So I went on a gravel vacuuming mission and two weeks of 15% water changes every few days, and reduced fish feedings to 1 small pinch a day or a large pinch every other day.

Perhaps either of those things could have messed up the nitrogen cycle in my tank? Or do you have advice about how to get my tank cycle back on track?
  • #4
I would pick up a good water conditioner like Seachem Prime (which has the ability to detox ammonia and nitrite up to 1ppm for 24hrs) and a bacteria supplement called Seachem Stability.

You can dose Prime daily as long as your ammonia and/or nitrite doesn't go over 1ppm until you're cycled. If it does reach 1ppm and above, then you'll want to do at least a 50% water change. You'll want to dose Stability as well which will help you cycle your tank faster (about 2-3 weeks).

When your 20 gallon is ready and set up, move over the fish and the filter w/ sponge from the 10g. This should keep your cycle intact but I would monitor your parameters for the next several days.

Hopefully, the large water changes will also help your fish with whatever is ailing him but if it doesn't improve or if it gets worse, I would look into meds. But again, I'm not very knowledgeable with diseases so let's wait on someone who can identify what that is.
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I'll order some Prime and Stability and see if they help. Thank you!
  • #6
Good luck with your cycling and hope your fish gets better. Keep us posted.
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Quick update and thred bump:

My water parameters are looking better after I added prime and stability. My ammonia test on tuesday only had the tiniest tinge of green and I plan on doing another water test tomorrow after cleaning the glass tubes.

The weird growths on Fishy are still the same. They haven't gotten bigger or smaller, or increased or decreased in number. The last two days I noticed he wasn't schooling with the others and instead hanging out under the leaves of my lower growing plants. He didn't even want breakfast. I worried he was getting worse, but this evening he was right back with the others swimming around.

The tumor thing on his body really reminds me of a pimple or clogged pore. Still no visible inflammation, but it can't be comfortable to have that sticking out of your skin and gills.
  • #8
How are your other numbers looking - nitrite, nitrate?

Ok, so really no improvement on your fish. Maybe you will need to look into meds so hopefully someone can come by that can help you with that.
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Just did another water test:
Ammonia: ~0.1 ppm (looks halfway between the 0 and .25 marker, more on the yellow side)
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 2.5 ppm (somewhere between the 0 and 5 marker)

I have some Maracyn 2 I could start adding once I vacuum the tank tonight.
  • #10
It's looking good! Keep dosing Stability and as long as ammonia and nitrite are <1ppm, you can dose Prime for the full volume of your tank. If >1ppm, I'd do a 50% water change w/ Prime.
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
OK thanks! I just finished vacuuming and removing dead leaves (still a little debris in the tank but I didn't want to change too much water).

Do you think it'll be worth starting Maracyn 2 in the tank?
  • #12
I'm sorry, I really don't know anything about meds. Hopefully someone can come by that might be able to help. DoubleDutch or Sarcasm Included
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
So another quick update. I figure at this point its more like a documentation journal; water parameters are good and fish hasn't changed.

He's a bit antisocial half the time, lurking about by himself, and other times will rejoin the motley school. He doesn't seem to have the same appetite as the others but doesn't look to be wasting away, so he must be eating a little. I noticed he seemed a bit irritable with the other fish during one feeding time; while they chased flakes, he would swim after them and butt them out of the way but not eat the flake. I considered isolating him if he gets nippy at the other fish.

The growths are pretty much the same. I want to say they look the tiniest bit aged, as in less off white and starting to yellow. But that could also just be my water browning a bit from the slow leech of tannins from my driftwood. I started medicating the tank with maracyn 2, following the package's dosing instructions, but see no difference. I might browse for other medications to try on him in a quarantine tank. My 20 gal is almost done cycling, so I'll be able to move the healthy fish soon. Once the other fish are settled in the bigger tank, then I'll experiment with the medications for this guy.

I still have that urge to try removing one of the growths with tweezers. I don't think I could pick at the one under his gill covers or on his tail without hurting him, but the growth near his analfin looks possible.

Anyone have any experience with something like that?
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
So I managed to get catch this guy in a net and got a closer look at the growths. The one on his belly definitely was moving, but I couldn't tell if it was alive (parasite) or if it was moving from the increased anxiety (like maybe blood flow making a tumor move?). I've isolated him from the other fish who continued to be growth free (I moved the healthy ones to my 20g).

It also looks like there's a growth inside/under his jaw now. Unless I work up the courage to perform minI surgery on him, I might just let him live out his life in the 10 gal alone. (But that also seems a bit cruel)

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