Guppy Mouth White Dot Mystery

what is this white dot on my guppies mouth

Mouth fungus, also known as cotton wool disease, is a bacterial infection that affects the head, mouth, face, gills, jaws, body and fins of aquarium fish. It is caused by the Flavobacterium columnare bacterium, and is typically associated with poor water quality, stress, poor diet, or aggressive social behaviour. The infection can be treated with antibiotics such as kanamycin, phenoxyethanol or nifurpirinol, or with antibacterial medications.

Characteristics Values
Disease Mouth Fungus, Columnaris
Cause Flavobacterium columnare, a rod-shaped, gram-negative bacterium species
Symptoms White tufts around the mouth, sores and lesions on the head and body
Treatment Antibiotics, antibacterial medications, tea-tree oil, salt
Prevention Properly set-up, stocked, and maintained tank

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Could it be cotton mouth?

Cotton mouth, also known as dry mouth or xerostomia, is a condition in which the body does not produce enough saliva. It can be caused by various factors, such as stress, medications, nerves, food, and drugs. While it is not directly related to the white dot on your guppy's mouth, cotton mouth can affect fish owners and cause symptoms such as a dry feeling in the throat, constant thirst, and difficulty swallowing.

Now, let's focus on the white dot on your guppy's mouth. From my search, I found that white spots on guppies are commonly associated with a disease called "Ich" or "Ick." It is caused by an ectoparasite (ciliate protozoan Ichthyophthirius multifiliis) and is easily detectable as the fish start rubbing their skin against rocks, plant leaves, or the sides of the aquarium. They may also lose their appetite and exhibit small white spots on their skin and fins.

To cure Ich, you can follow these steps:

  • Slowly raise the water temperature to 80°F (26.7°C).
  • Add the recommended dose of medication, such as Seachem ParaGuard, or aquarium salt at a rate of 1 teaspoon per gallon of water.
  • Maintain this treatment stage for 4-7 days.
  • Slowly decrease the water temperature back to normal.
  • Perform a large partial water change of about 70%, siphoning the substrate as much as possible.
  • Apply the same treatment to the tank where the fish were previously kept, even if they are now in a separate hospital tank.

Additionally, maintaining good water quality and performing regular water changes are crucial to preventing and treating diseases in guppies. It is recommended to keep the water parameters and temperature at the required levels, provide a nutritious diet without overfeeding, and perform weekly partial water changes.

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Or a fungal infection?

Mouth fungus in guppies is actually a bacterial infection, despite its name. It is caused by a rod-shaped, gram-negative bacterium species called Flavobacterium columnare. Mouth fungus is most commonly associated with the head, though not exclusively the mouth. It may affect the face and gills as well as the jaws. Less frequently, it can also affect the body and fins, and as such may be easily confused with finrot. Nonetheless, the short tufts that are typical of mouth fungus infections are distinctive.

True fungal infections are similar, but whereas fungal infections tend to be visible as tufts of long, white, rather fluffy threads similar to cotton wool, mouth fungus infections tend to be off-white to grey in colour. Confusingly, some aquarists refer to mouth fungus as "cotton wool disease," despite the more cottony appearance of true fungal infections.

Advanced cases of mouth fungus can also produce nasty-looking sores and lesions on the head and along the flanks. Mouth fungus is highly contagious and can wipe out an entire fish colony in a tank. It is not usually seen in well-managed aquaria, and is much more typical of aquariums with seriously management and/or stocking problems.

Mouth fungus is caused by the Flavobacterium columnare bacteria, which are present in all aquaria and normally do no harm. In fact, they play a part in the biological filtration process by breaking down organic material (such as fish faeces) into inorganic chemicals that the biological filter bacteria can process. But just as with finrot bacteria, mouth fungus bacteria are opportunistic, and will readily feed on living cells and tissue fluid given the chance.

When fish are injured, for example by fighting or fin-nipping, their skin is broken and bacteria will enter the wound. Ordinarily, the fish's immune system will destroy any invading bacteria, preventing disease, but if the fish's immune system is weakened through stress, poor diet, or most commonly of all, poor environmental conditions, the invading bacteria are able to establish themselves inside the wound. Therefore, whenever mouth fungus appears, the aquarist should check that the fish aren't fighting or nipping each other, that all the fish are being maintained in appropriate social groups, that their diet is balanced and vitamin-rich, and that water quality is satisfactory. Non-zero levels of ammonia and nitrite are particularly strongly associated with mouth fungus, though water chemistry and oxygen concentration issues may also be at issue.

Compared to finrot, mouth fungus tends to develop slowly, but certain strains act very much faster than the standard sort, and these can potentially kill infected fish within a few days. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are therefore critical. Antibiotics that act against gram-negative bacteria, such as kanamycin, should work well against mouth fungus. Antibacterial medications such as phenoxyethanol (at 100 mg/l, for 7 days) and nifurpirinol (also known as furanace or nitrofurazone, 0.2 mg/l, for up to 5 days) have also been used with success.

Because it can be difficult to distinguish mouth fungus from both true fungal infections and bacterial finrot, many proprietary medications formulated to treat mouth fungus also treat finrot and fungus as well.

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What to do if it's contagious?

If the white dot on your guppy's mouth is caused by mouth fungus, it is contagious. Mouth fungus is caused by a rod-shaped, gram-negative bacterium species called Flavobacterium columnare. It is normally present in all aquaria and does no harm, but it can infect fish when they are injured or when their immune system is weakened by stress, poor diet, or poor environmental conditions. Non-zero levels of ammonia and nitrite are particularly strongly associated with mouth fungus, though water chemistry and oxygen concentration issues may also be at issue.

If you suspect that your guppy has mouth fungus, you should quarantine it immediately to prevent the spread of the disease. Check your water parameters and ensure that ammonia and nitrite levels are at 0 ppm. You should also check that your guppy is being fed a balanced and vitamin-rich diet.

To treat mouth fungus, you can use antibiotics that act against gram-negative bacteria, such as kanamycin. Antibacterial medications such as phenoxyethanol and nifurpirinol have also been used successfully to treat mouth fungus. Note that some of these medications can affect the filter bacteria, so you may need to remove the filter while treating your fish.

In addition to medication, you can also try using tea-tree oil from Melaleuca tree species to prevent bacterial infections. However, salt is not effective in treating mouth fungus, although it may have some value in preventing bacterial infections when used at a dose of up to 1 oz per US gallon.

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How to treat the whole tank?

Mouth fungus in guppies is a bacterial infection, despite its name. It is caused by a rod-shaped, gram-negative bacterium species called Flavobacterium columnare. This infection is often mistaken for a fungal infection because of its mold-like lesions.

The first signs of infection are visible in the mouth of the guppy, where a bacteria colony forms a big, cloudy splotch. The mouth will eventually become corroded. The infection will then spread to the rest of the body, causing the guppy to lose its appetite and have difficulty swimming.

To treat the whole tank, you should:

  • Remove any dead fish from the tank. Dead fish can infect the healthy guppies if they feed on them.
  • Quarantine any sick guppies in a separate tank to prevent further infections.
  • Treat the tank with antibiotics that act against gram-negative bacteria, such as kanamycin. You can also use antibacterial medications such as phenoxyethanol (100 mg/l for 7 days) and nifurpirinol (0.2 mg/l for up to 5 days).
  • Maintain good water quality and perform regular water changes. Non-zero levels of ammonia and nitrite are particularly associated with mouth fungus.
  • Ensure the water temperature is stable and optimal for guppies.
  • Feed your guppies a well-rounded and vitamin-rich diet.
  • Reduce stress by providing hiding places and maintaining the correct water temperature.
  • Avoid overstocking the tank.
  • Quarantine new fish before introducing them to the tank.
The Freshwater Habitat of Guppies

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What if it's not fungus?

If the white dot on your guppy's mouth is not fungus, it could be a few other things. One possibility is that it could be a bacterial infection called mouth fungus, which is caused by the bacterium Flavobacterium columnare. This infection is typically treated with antibiotics or antibacterial medications. Mouth fungus usually affects the head, face, gills, or jaws, and can be identified by short tufts that are off-white to grey in colour. It is important to treat mouth fungus promptly as it can be deadly if left untreated.

Another possibility is that the white dot could be a sign of fin rot, which is caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. Fin rot typically affects the fins and tail of the fish, causing them to look stuck together. It can be treated with antibiotics or special medication, depending on the cause.

Additionally, the white dot could be a result of stress or poor water quality. Guppies are sensitive to changes in their environment, and high levels of stress can weaken their immune systems, making them more susceptible to infections. Maintaining optimal water parameters, such as temperature, pH, and ammonia levels, is crucial for preventing diseases in guppies.

If you are unsure of the cause of the white dot, it is recommended to consult with an expert or veterinarian who specialises in fish health. They will be able to provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Frequently asked questions

This could be a sign of mouth fungus, a bacterial infection that requires treatment with antibiotics or antibacterial medication. It is important to act quickly as mouth fungus can be deadly if left untreated.

Mouth fungus can be treated with antibiotics such as kanamycin, phenoxyethanol, or nifurpirinol. It is also recommended to review water quality, water chemistry, diet, and social behaviour to prevent future infections.

Mouth fungus typically affects the head, jaws, face, and gills of guppies, but it can also impact the body and fins. It is characterised by short tufts that look like white or grey cotton wool. Advanced cases may also exhibit sores and lesions on the head and flanks.

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