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As an aquarist who has a pet goldfish, your fish might be suffering some tumors, and you do not know how to go about it. You will always feel disturbed as you look for options that you can use in order to get your fish to normal life and regain their health. However, if this is the difficulty you have been facing with your fish, then this guide is for you.

The first thing you need is to understand what exactly are the tumors in goldfish. They are the cancer rogue cells that multiply out of control, and they end up leading to an abnormal lump. They occur in both people and fish. The growths are different, and they will vary in size, shape, and color. Also, they are capable of growing anywhere in the fish body, including in the internal part of the body.

Tumors and growths are very dangerous to the goldfish, and when they become severe, the swimming ability of the fish becomes impaired. When the tumor occurs in the internal parts of the fish body, it becomes a disaster, and it is likely to kill the fish since it starts to push against internal organs. Therefore, it is advisable that whenever you suspect that your fish might have a tumor in the body, you should immediately seek medication before it gets out of hand.


There are various types of tumors that occur in goldfish, and in this section, we are going to discuss them in detail. They include;


This type of tumor is also known as the pigment cell tumor, and it is derived from the chromatophores that are found in the skin of the goldfish or other fish species, amphibians, and reptiles. The Chromatophores are classified into four groups, and each group contains a different type of pigment;

There are the melanophores which encompass brown or black color. Xanthophores comprise yellow color, iridophores which comprise of pigment that is colorless, and erythrophores which encompass a red pigment. All these four types originate from the neural crest. This type of tumor is very rare among fish. It is very common among the pond fish as compared to the aquarium fish. It mainly occurs around the eyeballs, but it can also happen around the dorsal fins and face sides. This tumor is very hard to treat, and it can also become untreatable. In several conditions, it leads to the removal of the eyeball to save the fish.


Tumors can happen to any fish, but it is common among the goldfishes. The diagnostic fish seems to be just normal from both the outside and inside. This type of tumor develops so fast, and it may lead to pain, harm to the nerves, loss of function, and harm to the spinal cord. This tumor rises under the cell covering.

Those fish that may have this type of tumor may have a texture of a burning sensation. Pain, weakness, numbness, and a mass. Their actual origin is anonymous. This disease may be caused by genetics or schwannomatosis. This tumor usually breeds within the nerve and affects them. It includes schwannomas, neurofibromas, and others.


This type of tumor originates from the gonadal tissues however it is not able to demonstrate with a guarantee of 100 percent. The tissues of the ovaries are mostly not found since they are extremely duplicating tissue. This tumor is mainly found in the female goldfish of age between 8 to 12 years. By the time this disease is discovered, it is usually too late to save the fish. During the reproduction period, the fish grows very big, and therefore it becomes very difficult to differentiate between the fish that has a tumor and one that has eggs inside.


Sometimes, you might find out that your goldfish has a white lump. This does not always mean that it is a tumor, abscess, or an ulcer. This lump will fill up with pus, and with time it bursts. If the lump in your goldfish bursts, ensure that you separate the fish from the aquarium if it lives with other fish in the same tank. When this lump bursts, it turns a bit sore, and at this point, the fish will need extra care. This means you should change the aquarium water more frequently and always keep checking the condition of the tank.

If this tumor goes too severe, your fish will die. Also, it is possible that your fish skin becomes red from the edges and seems sore due to the ulcers.


Tumors can be found in every part of the fish body. However, the location of the lump is not the same for all the fish, but they have been reported in a few places. The tumors in fish can be found in the gills, skinhead, yes, and other internal organs.


Sometimes, like a fish keeper, you might notice a tumor in the gill, which may be hyperplasia. It mainly develops when the fish gills are damaged as a result of bacterial infection, parastials, physical injury, and toxins. After the fish has been treated, it develops a gill tissue over the affected area. This new crust develops some bumps that resembles cancer. With time it enlarges and becomes bigger with skin growth.

If the hyperplasia is in severe condition, your goldfish might develop cancer. However, if it is minor and the fish gets treated, the fish will get back to their normal situation.


The head is another common part where the lump occurs. In some instances, it may be cancer, and in others, it is not. Sometimes the bumps occur in the head as a result of bacterial infection, which is referred to as columnaris. This is an infection that can harm all the fish in the aquarium. Columnaris is also known as wool disease, guppy disease, saddleback disease, and cottonmouth disease.

As an aquarist, you have the responsibility of ensuring that your fish does not have this disease since it is life-threatening, and the moment the fish contracts, it is a death question. However, in some instances, after treatment, you might find it is just a tumor and not columnar.


This is another common place where a tumor develops in the body of a goldfish. If you notice some swelling or a bump on the belly of your fish, this may be a tumor. However, it is not always the tumor. It can also be constipation, swim bladder disease, or bacterial infection. In that case, you will find out that the fish never ate the right amount of food; it is unable to poop. Lethargy and bloating are some of the symptoms of constipation in a fish. This means that if your fish is showing these symptoms, it is not a tumor.


Sometimes, you might find swelling on the goldfish sides, and in this case, it may be a tumor or not. If you find a bump or swelling on the side of the goldfish, it may have been caused by other reasons such as swim bladder disease or dropsy. If it is a result of swim bladder disease, it will display some symptoms such as being unable to stay buoyant, lethargy, do not eat proper food. If the fish has dropsy disease, it will show a curved spine, pinecone scales, and bloating.

 The goldfish can live for a very long period of time when having a tumor, but if it is dropsy, the fish will die within a few days if you notice that the rest of the fish in the tank are also getting sick and having bumps it might be a bacterial infection that has spread to all the fish. You should therefore treat the tank water with anti-bacterial medication.


One of the most common indicators is that your fish might have a tumor as their lump size. The size of the lump can change over time, and it can either increase or decrease in size. It is too hard to detect internal tumors, but the behavior of the fish will change. The eating time of the fish might increase, and the fish might completely stop eating; also, they may have a lot of difficulties when swimming. However, these are possible symptoms that can occur to the fish even when having a different disease, not necessarily tumors. The fish becomes inactive, and it is no longer sharp when having this disease.


Generally, a tumor is an unusual swelling or a bump on the body tissues. These growths can be benign, which implies that they do not spread, but they grow in a single location, or malignant implies that they may spread to other tissues throughout the body of the fish. Cancer is a Latin word that is used in describing malignant tumors which usually spread all over the surrounding tissues, extending into the healthy tissues such as the legs of a crab. All the tumors usually occur when the cells go awry. Instead of the cell’s natural defense mechanism terminating the rogue cell, this abnormal cell is given room to replicate. This replication of cells causes the tumor to form. The rate at which the tumor grows is dependent on the cell type and the access to the nutrients.

The tumors can occur in any tissue type, but the fish are more prone to developing the tumors in their skin and reproductive organs. There are also some viruses that can bring about abnormal growths similar to tumors, and they also need to be considered.


The vet can use different methods in diagnosing in order to determine the origin and the ideal treatment depending on the location of the tumor. For external tumors, a simple biopsy or a cytological sample is used, collecting a few cells of the tumor. These cells will then be processed and sent to a specialized lab for further analysis. The surgical excision is sometimes used to remove the tumor for both diagnostic and treatment.

However, for the suspected internal tumors, the vet may use ultrasound or radiographs to examine the internal structure of your fish. The radiographs are best used in observing bones and swim bladder structure, but when used with contrast media such as barium, the whole of the GI tract will be visualized. The ultrasound is used when observing the soft tissue components such as internal organs. Both the ultrasound and radiographs, as well as the cytology/biopsy, may be applied in determining the effects of the tumor on the health of your goldfish.


There are different types of treatment for tumors, but it depends on the type. There are some traditional cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy which have not been used sometime due to the cost that the owners are likely to incur. And also due to their limited access. External tumors are frequently treated with surgical excision and with typical secondary treatment such as cryotherapy. Within this treatment method, the vet usually anesthetizes your fish and applies a local anesthetic. Surgical cut all the mass and then applied the liquid nitrogen to the spot in order to prevent any more growth of cells.

For the internal tumors, they will need surgery. Just like any other animal, the fish can also undergo surgery, but the process is slightly different; this has been happening along, and there are many species that have undergone successful surgery before. The fish is first anesthetized and then removed from the water, it is then kept wet using a moistened gauze that is placed on its skin. A water pump then flushes the anesthesia solution through the mouth of the fish and across the kit’s gills to keep it oxygenated and anesthetized. Under these conditions, the fish can be removed from the water for a period of about 30 minutes to one hour as the surgery is being performed to remove the tumor. After successfully going through this process, the fish is then returned to the water, and with time the fish is awakened from the anesthesia.


The experts have a suspicion that there is a genetic predisposition to certain types of cancers. It is believed that some fish with certain appearances and features are selected for potential tumors. More so, the fish with larger eyes. However, there are no specific methods that are approved and can prevent your fish from getting the tumor. However, maintaining the quality of water and giving them proper nutrition will go a long way in protecting your fish from tumor growth. Also, ensure that you always evaluate your fish every day and whenever you notice some abnormal behavior or symptoms, ensure that you seek advice from a professional vet. If you follow that, your goldfish will have a long and healthy life.


The tumors are goldfish might vary, and therefore you need to keep evaluating your fish every now and then. They are dangerous diseases and can easily kill your fish if not well taken care of in time. Ensure that you always maintain a good quality of the tank water to evade any possible infection and give them proper nutrition. This will reduce the chances of having to deal with tumors in your fish and guarantee you a long and happy life with your goldfish.

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