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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 19635
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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my fish has a lump just above his right gill is there anything

Resolved Question:

my fish has a lump just above his right gill is there anything I can do for him
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Does it look to be arising from the skin or deeper?

Is it pushing scales up or to the side?


Is it smooth, ulcerated, or muti-lobed?

How is the fish otherwise? Eating, swimming normally, etc?

Can you take a photo of this? If you can do so and post them online, I am happy to have a look (since it will let me see what you are seeing). To post them, you can either use the wee paper clip on the tool bar. Or you can post them on a 3rd party site (ie Flickr, Photobucket, Imgr etc) and paste the web address here
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

it looks like its just smooth skin and its not pushing his scales but his gill is always slightly open he didn't move much at my boyfriends house because me didn't clean tank and feed him properly but since been here in a clean tank and plenty off food in him hes not stopped swimming and I don't have a clue how to take pictures

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Hi again Katie,

You should be able to take photos with anything (phone, camera, Ipad, etc). From there you only need to upload it online (at those sites I mentioned, even facebook, or attach it using the little paperclip icon on this page's task bar).


Anyway, if we have a fish that is now acting well in response to good water quality, this lump is not likely to be sinister (ie an abscess, parasitic cyst, etc). Instead, especially if he was under the stress of poor husbandry prior to now, I would be most suspicious that this mass is due to lymphocystis (a herpes virus). This virus causes mass type growths on the fish that will appear as soft tissue masses arising from the epidermal layer of the fish. There doesn't tend to be any irritation, ulceration, redness, or infection with these types of lesions. And really they tend to be more unpleasant for us to look at then being actually harmful the fish in itself.

Lymphocystis is actually becoming a more common finding in the domestic goldfish/koi world, mostly due to the ‘silent carrier’ nature of asymptomatic fish. The virus often infects these fish then lies latent, sometimes causing no disease in the carrier fish. Still we tend to see a problem with this virus when it does recrudesce and causes these viral induced masses to appear in the infected fish. This recrudesce is often linked to a weakness in their immune system (either because of their age, stress, if the fish is immunosuppressed or fighting some kind of infection that takes the attention of the immune system). And it is this time of weakness that triggers the herpes virus causes its mischief.

In regards ***** ***** to do with this lump, there is actually no treatment for this virus, and with time they can grow, become pedunculated and vulnerable to o trauma/infection. Furthmore, even though you have removed it before, we do have to consider that its recurrance in the same spot tells us that some cells were left behind last time (so that the original mass was able to regrow) and that if it is virally induced it can potentially come up again even with full excision (or even choose somewhere different to appear).

Overall, based on your description and history of his care at your boyfriend's house, this would be our top suspicion. Unfortunately, these lump's are not treatable but they often don't cause the fish much bother. Therefore, we would just want to let him live his life in this better environment and hopefully with your care he won't suffer further lump growth or develop other lumps due to the virus.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 19635
Experience: General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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