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Old 02-14-2009, 05:40 PM   #1
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HELP! Bump on goldfish

I have noticed one of my goldfish hanging out in the back of the tank behind the plants recently. Today while cleaning my tank I noticed that he had a huge bump on one of his sides by the gills. Can anyone tell me what this is, how and if it can be treated, and is it contagious?





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Old 02-15-2009, 09:11 AM   #2
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Multiple possibilities from a simple bruise to protozoa infection. Also, do partial water changes
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Old 02-15-2009, 06:39 PM   #3
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Sorry, I can't really appreciate the bump on the picture.

Do you mean the bump that is a bit discolored at the side or the belly? Or perhaps the dark spot on the operculum itself?

A pic of the other side for comparison might be helpful.

If it is the belly bump (goldfish can have belly bulging like that, but it should be the same on the other side, & not appearing overnight), it might be worthwhile doing a physical.
http://www.avianandexotic.com/csfishes/csf001.pdf

What you want to do is to gently feel the bump & see if it is hard or mushy .... do it gently, and don't persist if the fish won't co-operate, don't stress out or injure the fish. Also look closely at any raised scales, wounds, etc. <If you are used to salt dipping your fish, you may try 0.9% salt bath as a sedative. Goldfish get very docile at such salt level, and they can stand that level for 5 minutes or so ... but you want to finish your exam well before that!>

Such a large bump on the belly is likely internal .... anything from stool impaction to bleeding to parasite or tumor. It is hard to say what.
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Old 02-15-2009, 07:46 PM   #4
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It is the bump right by the gills. Here are some better pics with it circled. The scales are raised on the bump, and it looks alomst like dropsy, except only in that one area. The bump is only on that side of the fish, and it is not the whole belly, but just the part by the gills.

When I felt the bump it was soft and mushy, and it isn't hard.

What is the prognosis for something like this and how do I go about diagnosing it.







Thanks for the replies. This all came on so suddenly.
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Old 02-16-2009, 01:59 PM   #5
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The new pics are much better! But it is difficult to make an exact diagnosis based just on the bump, but I think we can narrow it down a bit.

1. The raised scales would indicate an abnormal & fast growing mass - but we know that already.

2. The location is over the thorax - so it is not likely to be things in the abdomen - so it is prob not stool impaction, ascites or dropsy.

3. Soft & mushy lumps are usually not tumors - they should be firm & fleshy.

4. The lump is likely in the muscles or just under the skin - as there isn't any organs under that area except the heart.

My guess is that it is either an abscess or a parasite. Possibly both - eg. a fluke or worm entry site that got infected. It is more likely an abscess if the lump felt fluctuant (ie feel like a bag of water that is squishy in additional to being mushy ....)

I am not sure what to do with this, without a firm diagnosis. A vet would do skin scrapes to look for microscopic parasites, & perhaps drain the abscess if it indeed is one. My gut feeling is to do nothing (just yet) unless the fish is showing other signs - such a lethargy, flashing, etc - except providing clean water. You might consider isolating the fish in case that is parasitic. <If it is a parasite like a fluke, when that thing bursts, there will be lots of little parasites released.> Give it a few days & see how things pan out.

I hate to dump in meds blindly, but if the fish is also acting sick, I would try a broad spectrum antibiotic and an anti-parasitic med. In goldfish, you are best to use injectable or medicated foods. Pretty much anything you can put in the water is not efffective. The current best choice is kanamycin for antibiotics. <Note that antibiotics are not that effective in an abscess until it drains - and it will usu. do so on its own> For parasites, something with Plaziquantil &/or metronidazole (Flagyl).

This is the info on medicated foods in case you need it:
The Goldfish and Aquarium Board (GAB) Articles - Medicated Food Explained and Explored
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Old 02-16-2009, 04:57 PM   #6
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Well as far as lethargy, he is doing better. Before I first saw the bump, he was hanging out in the back behind the plants and just kind of sitting there. I did some water changes (once when I first noticed it and another today) and he seems to be moving around more. However, I noticed some white bumpy looking spots forming on the bump by the rsied scales. I am going to move him to a quarentine tank for a while, and I will keep you posted on whether things begin to improve or not.


As far as medications, I am going to wait and see whether or not he starts to improve before I get anything. If it is just an abcess will it go away on it's own? What signs should I be looking for that it is an infection or parasites?

Thanks for your help!
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:55 PM   #7
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Most superficial abscesses are just like pimples, they "point" & burst. Once the abscess bursts, healing can begin. Of course, the infection can also spread to deeper tissue, or go systemic. In that case, the fish will get sicker ... time to try some treatment.

The white spots might be pus coming out .. or maybe it is a parasite. Can't really be sure unless you scrape one off & look under a microscope. <Unless you have anchor worm or flukes - those are big enough to see with the naked eye.> Usually, fish with parasite will show some flashing or signs of irritation. Also, if you see more spots elsewhere, that might be another clue.
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