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Lump / Boil On Head

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Hi there

sadly again i'm having to post about my comet marmalady, who has been ill for some time.

she is currently residing in a 25L tank alone with a fluval 1 and a fake plant, and sadly nothing else for her - she has been in there for 11 days now.

i have been treating her with waterlife's 'sterazin' for suspected flukes. the final dosage |(10th day) is due tomorrow.

her symptoms were scratching (while back) flicking her head quite aggressively from side to side / flashing her dorsal & ventral fins. she was also suffering with finrot - mainly due to tank mates constantly nipping them. before i began the treatment she had two salt dips over two days at around 1.5%.

yesterday i noticed that she had what looked like a lump on the top of her head / body.

it is still there today but more pronounced.

it looks more like a boil, as its under the skin - it looks very much like a pimple - as you can see what looks like a whitish colour inside.

despite treatment she is still flicking her head - though no way near as frequently and severely as before. i haven't seen her flash her fins in the last week at all.

so obviously now my concern is what can this spot be?

i've read in a book that it could be a sign of 'hole-in-the-body' disease it says

"often caused by a systematic bacterial infection. this spreads through the body of the fish and manifests itself as ulcers (no) reddened areas of skin (yes) raised boils (yes) and reddening at the fin bases and the vent (yes) other symptoms are listless behaviour (yes) lethargy (yes) and loss of appetite (never!!)

this disease may be bought on by incorrect care - OMG!!!

fish should be isolated and treated by feeding with an antibiotic flaked food or by adding antibiotics to the water.

ok, so does it sound like my poor comet may have this also??? :o

her fins are quite blood streaked (have been for awhile now)

what on earth should i do??


although her last treatment is tomorrow - i dont think for a second that she is 'ok' something is still bothering her, and i'm quite certain that if she was returned to the main tank she would soon be picked on.

as i've had to do a 10day treatment, i obviously haven't been able to do a partial water change - so she's been in the same water for nearly 10 days - she does have a fluval in there though, so the water cant be too bad - theres been no gasping or anything like that.

so please, anybody with any thoughts or ideas on where i go from here with her would be great

although i think she needs a med free week after this last one!!

plus if anyone knows anything about the lump / boil thing - i have never experienced anything like this at all.

thanks in advance



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Hi pumpkin,

Any chance you can post a pic of the lump? That would help as this might be hole-in-the-head disease - or other bacterial infection - or could just be normal wen growth (which often does look exactly like a pimple!). :)

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I've just realised you said she's a comet... in which case she doesn't have a wen - duh!!! :rolleyes:

Hm, that does sound like a bacterial infection then, which might explain why she hasn't really recovered yet despite the flukes treatment.

I would finish the course of sterazin first (incidentally a 10 day wait between water changes won't hurt as long as the params are OK) then use activated carbon to clear it from the water; just add one of the carbon sponges to the fluval for at least 24 hours, ideally 36. Do a large-ish water change just to freshen the tank. Then start an antibiotic treatment. Yes, she could do with a rest from meds, but a bacterial infection can get serious very quickly, so don't wait for long. This is best treated with medicated food so it gets right inside at the source of the infection. Want me to send you some Medigold? :)

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Most commonly redness in the areas you mentioned are a result of ammonia or nitrite poisoning. Im guessing that the meds may have wiped out all your good-guy bacteria if this was a cycled tank. If it was uncycled to begin with and you havent done any water changes then that is most likely the case.

The bump worries me. Usually they are bacterial. Is there a red spot in it, or anything? I had one fish develop somthing like this while he was in quarantine. It was very weird after being in there by himself, but he got it and I treated with a Maracyn/Maracyn 2 combo and fed Medigold. It worked very well for him.

The flashing could have been flukes. Sometimes fish do get little itches though. All of my fish flash occasionally and dont have any parasites. The twitching or flashing that remains could be a reaction to her environment or the meds. Sometimes a pH change can bring it about. If you havent done a water change in 10 days the pH is probably getting low, so that could cause it too.

I would recommend a good water change and try to get your comet back to ideal water conditions. That is the best thing I have found to do for my fish. They will be so much healthier and much more able to fight things off when their water is good. I realize you had to treat and couldnt change the water (it just kills me to do that!!) but now that it is over you can safely do water changes again. I think they should help her out. Good luck. :)

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Hey guys, thanks for ya help!

I will do exactly as you prescribe emmahj - it was what i was thinking of doing in the back of my mins, just needed a confirmation :)

the offer of sending me some medigold is much appreciated - i will definately say yes please to that :D how do we go about that??

in terms of meds after this treatment over and done and removed. what would you recommend?

i have:

waterlife 'myxazin' - treatement for body-rot, fin-rot, ulcers and other bacterial infections - plus reduces stress when introducing new fish. says it should be used daily until symptoms disappear - which sounds a it heavy going, what you think?? med will not affect any of the natural nitrifying or denytrifying baceria in filtration system.

or i have interpet anti internal bacteria.

or are neither of the above ok?

incidently her shaking and judderin has got more frequent again, its like she's trying to spit something out at times, which makes her go backwards - its so hard to try and describe!!

incidently sterazin, which is what she is currently under treatment with is also not harmful to beneficial nitrifying bacteria and denitrifying bacteria - so i'm fairly confident that the water params are ok - but i'm gonna check them now to be sure!! will post results.

emmahj let me know about medigold - and perhaps your thoughts on which med to use.

many thanks to both of you


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Hi Pumpkin,

Just PM or email me your address today and I'll rush those pellets over to you. :) You should have them by Wednesday.

You could try the interpet anti-internal bacteria as well as the Medigold if you like, but I'm not too keen on interpet treatments; never had much luck with them personally, though I know other people swear by them. It might be better not to though because your comet has probably had enough of meds in the water by now.

The Medigold alone will probably be enough, to be honest. It's very good for internal bacterial infections. :)

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Hey Pumpkin,

The meds are on their way so hopefully you'll get them tomorrow. How's Marmalady doing today? Is the jerking any better? How's the bump looking?

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Hi Emma

thanks for sending the meds!!

she's no different to be fair - head still shaking, still doing her swimming backwards to escape invisible entity trick!! in fact, having just observed her cnstantly for just a few mins - her head shaking ay have gotten worse again - a bit like how it was a few weeks ago :(

the lump hasn't grown from what i can see - but has gone white - no sign of any fungus though.

what is nice to see is that as she's alone she's not being harrassed by other fish, so her tail fin is growing back nicely - although i'm not sure how happy she is alone with such an empty tank.

i haven't done a water change yet, as params were goood - and i figured there was no point in dosing for the 10th day then removing it the next.

i'll probably put some carbon in tonight, and do a partial change tomorrow evening.

do you think i should use any of the above meds??

do you have any thoughts on the waterlife one?? i thought that as it can be used to reduce stress also, that maybe it would be good to use in a week or so?? what you think?

plus, i'm trying to get this straight - if she is perhaps suffering from something bacterial - could this be due to a previous water quality problem that she's never fully recovered from?

do you think it would be ok to perhaps put a bit of furniture in her isolation tank, to prevent her from feeling so, erm, isolated?? :P i'm thinking perhaps an archway and couple of fake plants - something to remove the mundane barron home she is currently residing in.

when i start giving her medigold (again, leaps in air in excitement at prospect!!) is it best to add nothing else to the tank - even a bit of salt??

i'm finding it hard as i haven't a clue as to whats really wrong with her.

but she still has her appetite, so she still up for fighting whatever it is.

yep, head shaking definately more frequent than a few days ago - does this have any connection with a bacterial infection??

i haven't managed to find much info on bacterial infections - othe than popeye, swim bladder and finrot. the latter being the only ailment she has suffered with at any time.

thanks for your help emma!!


ooh, and i wanted to ask about the carbon. i'm not a big user of the stuff, so wanted to check to be sure. i am running an old fluval one on her little tank. i could add a carbon square from a fluval 3 which i could cut to fit - or a carbon square from my juwel filter, again cut to size.

my only concern is that these carbon squares are made for bigger filters, and therefore larger volumes of water - could this be dangerous?? i'm not sure with carbon. dont want to do any damage!!

Edited by pumpkin

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Oh dear, it does sound like the flukes are coming back. A bacterial infection *shouldn't* make her flash and jerk like that; that's got to be parasite irritation. Probably the bacterial prblem is a secondary infection following the flukes. I'm not sure what's best to treat those... if we were in the US I'd say Praziquantel, but I don't know about UK fluke treatments. What does Sterazin list as its active ingredients?

I'd definitely put some furniture in her tank - she'll feel better with something to hide behind and explore. A couple of plastic plants and an arch sound ideal. :)

As for the carbon, it would be fine to cut a larger sqaure down to size - won't hurt at all. Remember to remove it when you start any new meds though or it'll deactivate them. :)

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Hi emma

inevitably it doesn't say anywhere on the product what the active ingredients are????

why is this the case with most uk meds???

i feel at a loss that she is so plagued with illness - strange tho that the other fish that were with her showed no sign of illness - and now, having been seperated from her for 2 weeks have still shown nothin.

is there any other parasite that could survive thru fluke med, that it could be??

the way she's acting is as though she's covered in whatever it is - but obviously i can see nothing!

its horrible watching her shaking her head all the time - i just want to give her a good scratch or something, its as though thats what she needs - like an animal with fleas!!

it must be so stressful for her.

lets hope that the marvel of medigold will help her!!



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