Neon Disease (Pleistophora’s disease): A Quick Guide

neon disease

Neon disease in tetra fish is caused by a parasite. Below is a quick overview of the fish disease.

What is the Neon disease?

Neon tetra disease refers to a degenerative condition caused by a Microsporidian parasite. The neon disease, sometimes called Pleistophora’s disease, is caused cysts containing spores.

Neon disease is communicable in fish. It is caused by a parasitic organism known as Pleistophora Hyphessobryconis. Infection occurs when the fish ingest spore from the parasitic fungi.

The disease infects the organs and causes wasting of the muscles along the spine and spinal curvature causing lumps and cysts and weakens the fish.

The pathogen is Pleistophora hyphessobryconis : these are unicellular parasites belonging to the eukaryotes that produce infectious sporocysts or oocysts . They can be found in the muscle tissue of almost all animal species.

Mainly neon fish such as the blue neon, the neon tetra and other tetra species such as the red-headed tetra and also danios such as the zebrafish or the ruby barb are infested.

The red neon (Paracheirodon axelrodi) is usually not affected by this disease.

Fish affected by this disease can carry these parasites for a long time before symptoms such as discoloration (e.g. light or dark coloration) of body parts become visible. In extreme cases, the entire body can become twisted and lead to a loss of balance.

Neon Disease

Neon Disease Symptoms

With neon disease, milky whitish spots or spots form on the trunk or back. In infected neon tetras , these spots show up in the red-colored areas or in the shiny blue band. The affected fish appear more and more colorless as the disease progresses.

In the further course of the disease, the backbone can bend and the behavior of the fish changes: they become increasingly restless, they separate from other species, their balance seems to be disturbed and they usually lose weight. Also, fin rot occur.

When diadnosing the disease, you should also look out for the following symptoms:

  • Restlessness
  • The fish’s body becomes lumpy as cysts develop
  • Bloating
  • Caudal fin Rot

Neon Disease Causes

The pathogen is Pleistophora hyphessobryconis : these are unicellular parasites belonging to the eukaryotes that produce infectious sporocysts or oocysts . Fish can sometimes carry this pathogen for a long time before the neon disease breaks out.

The pathogen spreads without an intermediate host. If fish infected by this parasite are eaten, the pathogen’s spores are also ingested. These spores then form amoeba-like cells in the intestine, which finally reach suitable muscle cells through the intestinal wall and via the blood and lymph vessels. Cysts then form in these muscle cells, which in turn form thousands of new spores. This destroys muscle fibers, dies and turns white.

It is believed that cysts can also form in the kidneys and that fish that are still alive release spores into the water with their urine. The pathogen can also attack the eggs (spawn) of fish

neon disease
Neon disease

Neon Disease Preventive measures

  • correct water values, regular partial water changes, sufficiently large pool
  • the stocking density should be low, and new arrivals should first be observed in a quarantine tank
  • slowly accustom new fish to the new water
  • good water filtration and ventilation
  • species-appropriate, varied diet for the fish
  • Avoid stress for the fish
  • Infested fish should be removed from the aquarium IMMEDIATELY and isolated

Neon Disease Treatment options

There currently no known effective treatment options for neon disease.

You could try using anti-bacterial treatment such as:

  • Penicillin
  • Chloromycetin
  • Kanacyn
  • Maracyn
  • Medicated foods such as those with Terramycin
Neon disease

Can you prevent Neon disease?

You can prevent neon disease and other disease by:

  • Making sure you pay attention to what you feed the fish
  • Maintaining a healthy aquarium with optimal conditions

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