Common Names: Lymphocystis
Cauliflower Disease
Salinity: Marine
Description: Lymphocystis normally appears as white or pink-colored masses which appear on the body and fins of fish. They are somewhat rounded in shape, and may join together, forming large clumps. An infected fish can feature just one of these lesions, or it may have large numbers of them. Lymphocystis is sometimes mistaken for a parasitic infection in its early stages, but once the masses have grown it is easily identifiable.

Under the electron microscope, the characteristic signs of the disease are the apperance of icosahedral virus particles in the interstices between cells, and the appearance of greatly inflated infected host cells that have undergone enlargement to 300 times normal size (reported and documented visually in Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine in 1977). It is the enlargement of infected cells that results in the characteristic 'cauliflower' growths appearing upon infected fishes.
Symptoms: Spots
Treatment: There are no known medications which treat Lymphocystis. The virus will go away on its own (generally within a month) because infected cells do not multiply. If a lesion is interfering with a fish’s swimming or eating it may be removed (after taking the fish from the water, place it on a flat, clean surface, then use a sterile razor blade to carefully scrape or cut off the infection), but this severely stresses the fish and makes it  e to further viral attack or secondary infection.
Comments: This is by far the most common virus to affect aquarium fish. Though it appears in both fresh and salt water tanks, it is much more common in salt and infects certain types of fish (especially angelfish and butterflyfish) more than others. In freshwater fish, the vast majority of Lympho cases are confined to animals that have been artificially dyed, due to the sharing of needles. Lympho is rarely fatal unless it is transmitted to internal regions, normally via the gills. Because it cannot be treated and since it is often introduced through damaged areas on the host, it is best to disturb afflicted specimens as little as possible outside from quarantining them. The disease will run its course with a much lower chance of spreading to other fish.

Lymphocystis has been reported in assorted species from the following fish Families: Cyprinodontidae and Fundulidae (Killifishes); Cichlidae (Cichlids); Centrarchidae (Sunfishes and allies); Serranidae (Groupers); Ephippidae (Batfishes); Pomacanthidae (Angelfishes); Chaetodontidae (Butterfly Fishes); Mullidae (Goatfishes); Scatophagidae (Scats); Pomacentridae (Damselfishes); Labridae (Wrasses); Eleotridae (Sleepers); Gobiidae (Gobies); Siganidae (Rabbitfishes); Diodontidae (Porcupine Fishes). The disease is considered to be primarily a disease that affects the more evolutionarily advanced fishes by researchers, as thus far no cases have been reported in members of the Characidae and related Families, the Cyprinidae or any of the numerous Catfish Families.

Dr Adrian Lawler, Ph. D., the former supervisor of the Scott Aquarium, has reported and documented the disease in the following species: Dascyllus aruanus, Dascyllus melanurus, Chelmon rostratus, Pomacanthus semicirculatus, Zanclus canescens, Chaetodon capistratus, Platax orbicularis, Holacanthus ciliaris and the freshwater Sunfish Lepomis gulosus. Additionally, Aequidens rivulatus was reported as susceptible by TFH magazine in 1977 (article by Dr Harry W. Huizinga, with illustrations of an infected fish plus electron micrographs of tissue cited above).

Though there are many species of Lymphocystivirus, each one is capable of infecting only certain species of fish and those that are closely related.
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Submitted By: sirbooks
Contributors: sirbooks, Calilasseia, Natalie, longhairedgit
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