Fish Health - Milky Skin (Childonella)

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If you do a microscope scrape with a magnification less than 100x and look for a heart shaped space ship moving quite quickly - it will twist and turn sending you scope out of focus. Run your slide just away from the main scrape and if you have Childonella, you will see it clearly as it cannot hide in the main tissue of your scrape.

Don't take all days as this beastie dies quickly with heat from you scope, even if you use a mirror and not the scope light. Adding some scope saline will make diagnosis better.

Once milky skin is seen, do a scrape as childonella can remain on a fish for some time before any symptoms appear.. Symptoms can be scratching, hanging near surface, appearing lazy, and last showing a milky coat. The latter means the infection is full blown and can lead to the fish's death sooner than later.

I find that 80% of milky skin problems is childonella. Once Childonella on a fish gets to the gills then you have real problems.

See also the microscope page.

milky skin on KoiThe reaction shown on this picture, where the body slime seems to drift off the fish, and it looks like it been dipped in clotted milk has several causes.

One is pH shock. If this is the case, then all the fish in the pond should look the same.

If it's a new fish in a quarantine pond, it could still be pH shock, but if the pH is safe - you've CHECKED, then the main other cause the infection will be of either trichodina, costia, or a massive fluke infection (which is salt resistant).

If so, the fish will slowly get worse and spend its last hours swimming near the surface at a temperature below 15oC.

This is also a sign of K.H.V. and the milky appearance would have taken around 7-14 days to developed at a temperature above 20oC and very quickly get worse, to the point where the fish looks very ill within the 14 days.