The neon tetra disease is a disease that infects neon tetras and for which there is no known cure. The disease is caused by a sporozoan named Pleistophora hyphessobryconis and is usually fatal. The disease is sometimes called “Pleistophora”.
The neon tetra becomes infected when spores enter the fish and the two main symptoms are dull coloration and restlessness in the fish. Fish are often infected by eating on dead fish and it is therefore very important to remove dead and sick fish as soon as possible. As the disease progresses, cysts start to develop and this will often cause the body of the fish to become bumpy. At this stage the Neon tetras will usual have hard a time swimming. The spine of the fish often becomes curved in the final stages of the disease before death.
There is as earlier mentioned no cure for this disease and preventing the parasite from ever entering you aquarium is therefore very important. The most common ways of introducing this disease to your aquarium are with live food and new fish. Avoiding the use of live food or cultivating your own live food dramatically decreases the risk of introducing Pleistophora hyphessobryconis to your aquarium. Brine shrimp is for example an excellent live food that can be hatched at home. Put new fish into a quarantine aquarium before releasing them into the main aquarium to avoid introducing neon tetra disease this way. There are reports that using diatom filters decrease the risk of this disease but it is not enough to eliminate the risk of the disease on its own.
There is another disease that gives similar symptoms that is often called “false Neon Tetra disease” and that disease is caused by bacteria. It is all but impossible to tell the difference between the two diseases without access to a laboratory.
Read our articles about neon tetras for more info about neon tetra disease.
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