Clown Fish Beard

Discussion in 'Fish Diseases' started by 55gfowlr, Jul 12, 2011.

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  1. 55gfowlr

    55gfowlr Zoanthid

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    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Many Forums I've read through have posted this uncertain appearance of a "Beard" on their clown fish. Although I wasn't the individual who originally found the disease, I did find a site that accurately shows the disease and do's/ don'ts for it.

    FAQs: Fish Diseases, Treatments, Quarantine, Health Info

    Lymphocystis is a chronic viral infection effecting susceptible fish resulting in the cauliflower or ward-like appearance of lesions on the afflicted fish’s fins and even the body. The size of these lesions can range from small irregular shaped spots as see in this hippo tang [not to be confused with ich], to large wart-like growths. Lymphocystis does not have to be a death sentence, however, and, in fact, it usually is not. Many fish with this condition may remain symptom-free; others will suffer significant disfigurement if the condition is not adequately addressed. Most typically, the effected fish will have minor spot symptoms that may come and go depending on adequacy of environment and food.

    Lymphocystis growths
    The growths seen on fish are not the virus itself, but the results of the virus. As the virus affects the connective tissues of the fish, cells are malformed, resulting in the production of skin cells that are grossly enlarged. This is the visible nodules seen on afflicted fish.
    How is lymphocystis transmitted?
    Lymphocystis is transmitted through direct contact of the fish with the virus in the water or by fish picking at the nodules on diseased fish. Water becomes a transmission medium when infected fish are introduced into the aquarium and the virus is released from the growths. The good news, however, is that the virus, while common, is not necessarily highly contagious. While one fish may be severely diseased, others in the aquaria never suffer ill-effects. The reason for this is because the virus affecting one fish may only be able to infect other same-species or closely related species of fish due to the DNA coding of any specific virus.

    Treatment
    Quarantine in a well-established hospital tank while the growths are present is the safest way to avoid contamination of the aquaria. However, if the quarantine is not well-established and minimally appropriate for the fish, then the diseased fish will not do well in quarantine, and may worsen. Infected fish can also be addressed within the display, with [low] risk of infecting other fish and with higher risk of the originally afflicted fish being re-infected. Since the disease, like any virus, is opportunistic with a weakened host, fish that are mishandled, not receiving adequate nutrition or reside in poor living environments are much more susceptible then well-established, highly cared for fish.

    While the virus needs to run its course (approx. 1 month), effective treatment is fairly simple and involves basic husbandry practices that should be in place even without the presence or need to address lymphocystis. Treatment and care entails providing your aquarium and fish with excellent water conditions, a good environment, a tranquil community setting, and quality nutrition that addresses the specific needs of the afflicted fish. The addition of quality supplements such as Zoecon and fresh garlic is likely to enhance the fish’s chances for full-recovery. There is no medicinal treatment and attempting to treat with a product could well worsen the situation, especially if medications are dumped into the display aquaria.

    As with any primary disease, secondary infections by bacteria, fungus or even parasites can result in weakened, sick fish. The hobbyist needs to be mindful of the development of secondary infections, which could be significantly more perilous to the fish than the lymphocystis and will require the removal of the fish to a quarantine for isolation and treatment.
     
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  3. 55gfowlr

    55gfowlr Zoanthid

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    Update.....

    I had to take my little clown toilet surfing, I gave him a fresh water dip, and tried to take a natural approach to it, but to no avail. I think I acted to long, or didn't act soon enough, however you'd like to look at it. But, after a while of darting through the water, and then finding him stuck to my power head, I had to call it quits. I do have to note though that the fresh water dip did have him looking a lot better and swimming better than he had in days. The beard even turned brown and started falling off, but the infection had gene too deep into his organs by seeing his droppings whitish and clear. Hope this helps anybody else that runs into the same problem.

    Good luck
     
  4. Corailline

    Corailline Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It is a dry heat, yeah right !
    Sorry about the fish.

    Interesting read, thanks for putting that together. The secondary bacterial infections seem contribute to the demise of the fish. The fish pictured above was unfortunate enough to have the infection in the mouth region. A fish with only lesions on the fin would probably fair much better.
     
  5. 55gfowlr

    55gfowlr Zoanthid

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    Well, my second of 3 clowns is starting to show a small, red pimple in it's chin. The same spot my other clown got, and soon after developed a "beard" on it's face that ultimately led to it's demise. All my parameters are good. I just went through a recycle though, due to some ignorant reading I came upon and tried turning my HOB Marineland into a fuge. This offset my bacteria more than I ever imagined and set off the cycle. Funny thing is all my inhabitants spared through the 2 week ordeal while I did water change after water change, keeping the levels in check. Now that everything is back to normal, (and the fuge has returned to a nitrate factory again) my clown starts to show tell tale signs of this disease again.

    I'll post pics next, I'm going to attempt dosing the tank and food with garlic, to strengthen the fish, and let the fish stay in the tank since none of the other inhabitants are showing signs of the virus, and most likely have already been exposed. I don't think spooking the clown with a hospital tank would help it's demeanor, and would probably worsen the situation. I've already lost one clown to this "Beard" virus. I plan on staying on top of it this time and not loose this one.

    If anybody has any experience with this and has had success keeping the fish alive through the ordeal, please jump in on this. If anybody has any suggestions on just plain keeping the tank calm, and things to not put in the water, feel free to chime in too.

    Thanks
     
  6. 55gfowlr

    55gfowlr Zoanthid

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    The bump, as spoken of, is on the lower left portion of the chin as viewed from the first photo...

    [​IMG]

    A little clearer on the second picture, seen as a white spec. It's more like a small pimple, with a white head type bump, surrounded by red, irritated skin around the white head.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. barbianj

    barbianj Hammer Head Shark

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    I dunno, Lymphocystis looks different, IME. In the first picture, the clownfish also looks like it has a bulged eye. Lymphocystis generally starts out on the fins, and can spread across the body. It's usually not fatal unless it develops around the mouth and prevents feeding. My guess is that it looks more like a tumor mass. I'm no expert by any means, but the first thing I thought when I saw that picture, was tuberculosis.
     
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  9. 55gfowlr

    55gfowlr Zoanthid

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    Well, the first picture isn't actually mine, it was just a representation of someones that looked exactly like my first fish. Except for the bulging eye, which you're right, that does look like tuberculosis. My first case didn't ever get any bulging extremities, just a chin full of white, stringy fuzz, and it all started out as 3 small pimples.

    I dosed their food last night with garlic, for the most part they ate it all right up. Just have to keep the water clean and wait now.
     
  10. 55gfowlr

    55gfowlr Zoanthid

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    Update for fish #2


    So, I crushed up one clove of garlic, mixed it with 3 cubes of krill and plankton prepackaged, and 20ml of tank water. It came out to about 10 filled cubes in my frozen food container. I gave one of these every other day to my clowns, and after a week, I can no longer see the bump that was forming on the fish's chin. So, from after the last fight I had with my first clown, I would definitely recommend garlic mixed with food.

    It's still pretty unclear what the actual disease is, since I still cant find a decent photo anywhere online, and I wasn't a descent photographer for the first time. All I can say is that it was white, stringy, tightly packed strands growing out from around the lower jaw area. Best I have been able to describe was a "Clown Beard". Now, several months later, on my second clown, I saw the exact same pimples forming in the chin area, and expected the worst, but it seems if I've learned one thing here, it's to give your fish a good diet.

    Best of luck if anyone runs across this on their fish.

    I do have a question about feeding garlic if anyone is interested.....should this be used as a "medicine" for when I can visually see skin problems, or can it be fed as sort of a "multi vitamin" and use it every feeding.