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Inflamed Scale? Growth? Never Seen Anything Like It!


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  • Regular Member

Hello all,

I am really new here in the forum, but I hope someone can help me out. : )

Tank Facts:

I haven't taken readings on my tank in roughly a year and no longer have the supplies.

Although I do have an ammonia reader that says "low/no ammonia."

My Ph is a little high. My water is hard.

55 Gallon Tank, year and a half running.

Filter: Eheim Canister (not a professional model)

Water changes: weekly, 30%

Fish: Two, roughly 5or6 inches (1.5 years old, this is the infected one) and 7or8 inches long (4 years old)

Additives: Easy Balance sometimes...

Medications: None

No new fish (3rd fish died 6 months ago)

Foods: Pond goldfish pellets, tubifex cubes, oranges, seaweed, frozen fish foods

Appearance: Normal, aside from growth and possibly broken blood vessels in the tail fin (only one vein, fish were infected/"cured" 6 months ago)

Behavior completely normal (no scratching, no flashing, no floating, no laying on the gravel - lots of eating and begging, active)

Additional wordiness:

Originally it just looked like one scale exactly was puffed up (about two weeks ago). But now it is getting bigger (longer, not really wider, and like a "flap" not connected to the body except at the base where it started). It is definitely a bubble of some sort, filled with fluid or air. It is translucent! And did not develop any redness until recently at the base of the growth (when it got bigger). I googled "goldfish tumor" and after viewing the photos, felt that this might be something different. You can see in the picture the original shape of the puffed up scale and where the growth/infection/whatever-it-is got bigger.

It should be noted that the two goldfish are female, they used to live with an enormous male that bumped them a lot regardless of spawning season. After he died these two still "rough house" with each other like the male did. Originally I thought this "puffed up scale" was a result of rough play. The before mentioned male died of Hemorrhagic Septicemia and did infect the girls. However, they never showed any sign of sickness aside from redness in the tail. I thought I got rid of it but in the picture I took of the growth I see that maybe I didn't!

Anyway, I don't know how to treat this. I have been raising goldfish for 9 years and I have never seen anything like it.

Between starting to freak out and not being able to find info on the internets, I thought it best to ask for help.

Fish can't back up and dogs can't look up:


The redness on the growth-thing looks like broken blood vessels in person and not a solid mass like it does in this picture.

Thank you.

And Happy Holidays!

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  • Regular Member

Hello Mince and welcome to kokos!

I see what you mean about the unusual lifting up of the scale.But this lstill ooks to me like a bacterial skin infection which may or may not be caused by residual bacteria inside the fish from the previous bout of septicemia. There are several layers to the fishes skin, and each layer contains living cells, unlike people- which means that bacteria have quite a deep area to feed off and burrow into-eventually arriving right inside the fish=systemic. When the bacteria get deep rooted they can produce a gas that predisposes to this kind of bubble inflammation. It can also be a result of trauma and or parasites. Given the fact that your fish seems otherwise normal -in behavior- and that there are slight red streaks on the tail and the bubble lesion itself, I would think this is a bacterial colony setting up right there deep under the skin.

As an experienced fishkeeper with a lightly stocked tank and a good established cycel, I suggest you start with simply a topical application of either a PP paste, iodine, or hp to try and eliminate surface bacteria. Topical treatment applied right can leach down several layers of epithelium and catch this before it goes deeper if it hasnt. With luck it may be all thats needed.

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  • Regular Member

Hello, and thank you Trinket.

This forum has great info, I am really glad I found it. Unfortunately I don't have much to give back... as of yet.

Anyway, I definitely agree that it is a bacterial infection... I found a bacteria-nest inside one of the fake plants, I am kind of embarrassed. Had I been testing the water I would have caught this sooner. I guess I know what my fish are getting as a New Year's gift. Water Tests.

Also, I never even thought of a topical application... that's genius.

Thank you very much! I really appreciate the information.

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  • Regular Member

Water test kits sound an excellent plan :D

If you dont like the idea of straight iodine/hp/pp etc there is a fairly new product out there called bio-bandage. If you can get it. I am trying to get some for myself/my fish. Its a simple topical ointment for fish ulcers like these or bacterial sores.You can lift the fish very gently just above water level, holding him always above the tank in case he fidgets- to apply- and then you can put the fish straight back in the tank. Its marketed by Ponds Solutions and contains neomycin and meth blue in a waterproof solution. Magic!

Hope you stick around and share your fish keeping stories with us in the other forums. Good luck with all :)

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Regular Member

I hope it is OK if I revive this.

The bubble is much bigger, like a tiny balloon. The base is still small and never changed in size.

All of the redness (and broken blood vessels) is now gone, so in that way it looks so much better.

Should I open and drain this thing or will that lead to another infection? Should I just be patient and keep on cleaning the bubble?

I am pretty sure that I saw the bubble flaccid yesterday, so it might just be filled with tank water now.

Maybe some Melafix or something?

I checked out "bio-bandage" on line, it is pretty cool... I might have to pick some of that up.

Thanks so much! (again)

(P.S. Does this forum not allow any kind of post editing?)

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  • Regular Member

It does allow editing -but I am not sure if that requires a higher post count or not.....

As far as the infection, yes - I HAVE seen something similar. A few years back, I bought a froghead that was horribly wounded. He was such a fighter that, when the dealer grabbed him, he accidentally shoved his thumb nail into the fish - a huge open wound. It flared up much this same way - with a large fungus/bacterial outgrowth in the wound.

I treated with various products, but the best results I got were with a combination of topical PP swabbed on the wound - just until the original flareup started retreating and the proud flesh underneath stopped looking so red and infected. I treated the entire tank with a newer treatment - Maracyn Plus. Supposedly it has small, microencapsolated spheres of medication that attach to the areas of infection and treat them.

What ever the reaction, the Maracyn Plus worked marvelously - far better than the medicated foods and tank treatments I had tried before. As the wound healed, the white infection fell out, multiple scales fell off on the surrounding area - leaving the injured area even more exposed. I ran a total of three full rounds with the Maracyn Plus - and the wound healed amazingly well. I took the fish to show within 5 weeks of the beginning of the Maracyn Plus treatment and took a blue with him. He is with me today - growing and great.

For such infections/fungus and even some parasitical problems, you really cannot beat the topical swab of a disinfectant - as stated above. There are no organisms that can become resistant to them - they are mostly oxidizers - and kill nasties really nicely. Sometimes you need more - and with an obvious open wound, I feel that the Maracyn Plus is a great tool.

I hope your fish does better soon. He looks like a strong healthy fellow, otherwise. :)

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  • Regular Member

Thank you so much Daryl!

I will persist will the swabbing and add some Maracyn Plus, it is just so "ew," you know?

(Especially when above the water level. Eek.)

But I want my fishy to keep on going strong.

She rarely gets sick - - which is probably why her behavior hasn't changed. I am very lucky!

So that brings me to the question... how much do I owe you? : )

I am hoping $4.00, obviously. Only time will tell?

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