You can see a sample of the Lymphocystis Virus in these photos on WetWebMedia.com.
Lymphocystis is a common infectious virus hosted by freshwater and saltwater fishes which causes cells to enlarge many times their normal size. It is usually found on the fish skin and fins. After residing on its host for 4 weeks or more, the Lymphocystis cells rupture or fall off the host, spreading the infected cells in the water. The cells then either lie dormant or reattach to another host via a break in the skin or fins, or in the gills.
The good news is:
- We can identify this disease fairly readily.
- Death from the virus itself is rare.
- Has no cure.
- Appears to be contagious, spreading to other fish of the same or closely related species.
- The virus enters the fish's body through openings (injuries) in the fins, skin and gills.
- Spreads fairly rapidly on the affected fish.
- Death is usually caused by secondary bacterial or fungal infection.
According to the scientists at National Fish Pharmaceuticals:
- These growths may be surgically removed, but this is certainly no cure.
- This virus will become systemic and show up in larger numbers when it comes back again.
- This virus can spread like cancer throughout the fish.
They further say that: "Some people state that Acriflavine will cure this virus. This is false info."
Unfortunately, with no known effective cure/treatment, the outlook for a cure for this virus isn't very rosy at this time. It appears that prevention and quick identification are the best courses of action.
- Closely examine new arrivals for signs of infection.
- Quarantine all new arrivals.
- Don't obtain specimens from known infected sources.
- Isolate all infected fish in a Quarantine Tank.
- Feed a healthy diet, including supplements.
- Treat for secondary infections.
In the end, dealing with Lymphocystis is much the same as with any other contagious disease in a marine aquarium. With proper precautions, care and treatment, the affected fish should survive and the other critters in your tank will not be adversely affected.