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Poorly Rainbowfish
October 18, 2011
8:02 am
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psbresner
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Hi Guys,

I have a Bosemans Rainbow fish that is looking rather sorry for itself. It appears to have scales missing with red/pink patches. I have tried treating with melafix/pimafix and more recently esha2000. Nothing seems to be working.

Water parameters are fine, ph was a bit low for them last month but that has now been rectified.

I have been advised that it may be mycobacteriosis!

Can anyone give advice about this?

Thanks

Paul /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

October 18, 2011
11:43 am
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Jaguar
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The only real way and to be certain it is mycobacteriosis (Fish TB) is to take a swab from the fish and to get it tested by a vet, but this can be expensive. A good sign of Fish TB is a curvature of the spine but not all fish show this symptom, is there any noticeable sign of a spinal deformity?

Do you have a photograph of the fish in question. Pictures make diagnosis a lot easier.

October 18, 2011
1:41 pm
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psbresner
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Some pics as you requested, not very clear sorry.

[Image Can Not Be Found]

[Image Can Not Be Found]

[Image Can Not Be Found]

[Image Can Not Be Found]

Thanks

Paul /biggrin.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":D" border="0" alt="biggrin.gif" />

October 18, 2011
1:50 pm
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Jarcave
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I can't see the pics as I'm at work and I only see a little red x. /sad.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":(" border="0" alt="sad.gif" />

But if there is a serious chance of it being mycobacteriosis you need to get it quarantined immediately. Otherwise you risk it spreading. Make sure you don't come into direct contact with it either as believe it or not, you can catch it you are clumsy and don't exhibit good personal hygiene etc.

October 18, 2011
1:53 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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If you can answer some or all of the questions posed here we'll probably be more easily-able to help you. /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

Cake or death?
October 18, 2011
1:55 pm
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Jarcave
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IF it is Mycobacteriosis and it may not be....

I should have added, you really will need a fish vet to diagnose correctly. There are no 'off the shelf treatments'. There is a bit of usefull info below :-

http://www.theaquariumwiki.com.....acteriosis

Find a fish vet local to you and call them for advice. But again, get it quarantined or even euthanised if it appears in an advanced stage and appears to be stressed. It is a potential risk to all of your other fish.

October 19, 2011
7:52 am
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psbresner
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Morning All,

pH: 7.5
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 5
Temperature: 26c
GH/KH: 4/2
TDS/Conductivity:
Tap Water Parameters:
Test kit used: Api Master Test Kit

Tank Size: 4ft x 45" x 55" 300 litres

Length of time set-up: 6 months
Filtration used: External Aquis 1200, Internal Fluval 4plus
Maintenance Schedule: 30% Weekly water change, Nutrafin Aquaplus

Detailed stock list:
13x Cardinal Tetras, 4x Boseman Rainbows, 1x Gold Spotted Plec
Recent additions to tank:
10x Malaysian Trumpet Snails

What fish are affected: 1x Boseman Rainbow
What are the symptoms: Scales missing, red/pink patches, Bulging eye
Treatment already used: Melafix/pimafix, esha2000

Thanks

Paul /biggrin.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":D" border="0" alt="biggrin.gif" />

October 20, 2011
8:59 am
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Jarcave
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All sounds good. The template is there to try and diagnose any obvious problems, but your water parameters all look fine. Have you taken the fish to a vet? And have you got it in quarantine?

October 20, 2011
9:50 am
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psbresner
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QUOTE (Jarcave @ Oct 20 2011, 09:42 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
All sounds good. The template is there to try and diagnose any obvious problems, but your water parameters all look fine. Have you taken the fish to a vet? And have you got it in quarantine?

PH had been low for a couple of weeks, that was about a month or so ago. Was 6.5 at its lowest.

Haven't contacted a vet as yet, sounds rather costly to get any tests done.

Don't have another tank so can't quarantine him.

Thanks

Paul /biggrin.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":D" border="0" alt="biggrin.gif" />

October 20, 2011
2:46 pm
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Jarcave
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QUOTE (psbresner @ Oct 20 2011, 10:33 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
PH had been low for a couple of weeks, that was about a month or so ago. Was 6.5 at its lowest.

Haven't contacted a vet as yet, sounds rather costly to get any tests done.

Don't have another tank so can't quarantine him.

Thanks

Paul /biggrin.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":D" border="0" alt="biggrin.gif" />

So what's your plan?

October 20, 2011
3:04 pm
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psbresner
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QUOTE (Jarcave @ Oct 20 2011, 03:29 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
So what's your plan?

Well I phoned my lfs which are normally very good, but they didn't seem to think it was TB. They said it sounds like spawning males, but that doesn't account for the bulging eye.

I guess I'll have to phone my vet who I usually take my dogs to and ask their advice.

Thanks

Paul

October 21, 2011
11:26 am
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Dave Argyll
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Hi Paul, i have some experience of this, though i am offering this advice as one hobbiest to another, and you should consult a fish vet close to you who can examine the fish and offer advice in a professional capacity (contact the Fish Vet Society in the UK who can point you in the direction of a local(ish) vet who specializes in fish)

this my tuppence worth, dont sue me if i'm wrong /blush.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":blush:" border="0" alt="blush.gif" />

it certainly looks like Mycobacteriosis to me, though this cant be confirmed without further lab work.

fish with myco usually just present with chronic wasting away (that does not respond to a good diet and deworming)but sometimes as the granulomas (growths containing the mycobacteria) spread they cause deformity (like spinal curvature) or they burst open on the skin (and ooze bugs into the water, not great for the rest of the fish or for you!)

The cheapest way (I guess ~£30) to come to diagnosis from practical point of view is to have the whole fish or a biopsy sent for histology and specifically a ZN stain (ziehl neelsen). The fish can be culled using an overdose of anaesthetic (like clove oil or MS222) and preserved immediately in 10% formaldehyde (before immersing the fish in formaldehyde, the vet may want to keep back some of the tissue for bacterial culture but in my experience this is often fruitless and expensive, though it would give better, largely academic information on exactly which of the many Mycobacteria is involved). The belly should be slit with a scalpel to ensure that the formalin gets deep into the tissues. For larger fish the vet will have to dissect out bits of suspicious looking granulomatous tissues, no larger than 1cm cubes, otherwise preservation is poor. Taking a biopsy from a large live fish under general aneasthetic is also possible but i advise against trying to save sick individuals, see below. Basic histology and ZN staining is offered by Fish Vet Group, a fish vet practice in Inverness. I will declare an interest that i used to work for them years ago, i'm sure other labs can offer a similar service.

i agree that the fish should be isolated and treated even if you dont want to cull it (though in my view culling may be the more humane thing to do). You need to be very careful to prevent transmission of the infection to yourself first and foremost. infection can get into cuts and wounds on your hands for example and cause a localised infection which will need antibiotic treatment. this happened to me 10 years ago when handling a sick cichlid (sicklid? /blush.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":blush:" border="0" alt="blush.gif" /> ), and I was on 6 weeks of antibiotics (minocycline) to clear it up, fortunately it has never recurred, though recurrence many years down the line cant be ruled out. Always wear gloves when handling diseased fish especially tropicals! i learned that the hard way. Google 'fish tank granuloma', not pretty! /sad.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":(" border="0" alt="sad.gif" />

i have spoken to researchers in this field (Sandra Adams' team at Univ of Stirling) and while it is difficult to give exact figures the suggestion is that Myco is common thoughout the global ornamental fish industry.

in my view it is a condition that we need to learn to manage, becuase complete eradiction is virtually impossible. A commercial farm could eradicate it (by culling everything) and starting again but there is little incentive for them to do so unless all their competitors did the same, and even if they did, where would they get guaranteed disease free broodstock from?

From a hobbiest point of view i dont see the point of culling all of your own much loved fish most of which will be perfectly healthy, only to re-stock with new fish that may be carrying the infection with no symptoms,

How should we manage this very challenging condition?
In my view the condition is infectious but not highly contagious. in other words it spreads but not rapidly. If we assume (as we probably should) that many of our ornamental fish populations have some infected individuals then we should limit the spread my removing and culling fish that are clearly failing and wasting away (assuming they dont respond to standard treatments, deworming and a good diet), and never leave dead fish in a tank to rot away and potentially release bacteria into the water as the granulomas decompose.
Choose new fish carefully and always quarantine (though it can can take many months or years for a latent infection to become apparent we should at least not introduce fish that are obviously sick or wasting away during the first 2-4 weeks of quarantine, some advise 6 weeks quarantine but my impatience sometimes gets the better of me /thumbs_down.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbsdn:" border="0" alt="thumbs_down.gif" /> .)
Choose live food carefully! it has been suggested that some live foods carry Myco. Only buy from a reputable source or use gamma radiated frozen food, or culture your own.

Sick individuals are very difficult to treat and most fish vets you speak to will say they have had poor results. If it is a valuable individual you could try a long course of antibiotics (6 weeks or more) and the vet will probably advise a combination of two antibiotics concurrently (e.g enrofloxacin and doxycycline). The problem is that Myco becomes resistant to antibiotics very easily. This bacteria can persist in its dormant form inside granulomas and only a few surviving bacteria can revive themselves later and bring on the next generation of more resistant bacteria. Its also really hard to give a fish antibiotics for 6 weeks, believe me i've tried, water quality is a nightmare to maintain because your biological filtration will be killed off, so it's daily water changing 50% or more to keep on top of ammonia build up. Also sick fish dont eat well so its regular injections (given under general anaesthetic or heavy sedation) and/or baths with the more soluble products some of which are absorbed fairly well.

Hope this helps

/smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

cheers Dave

October 21, 2011
1:52 pm
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psbresner
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October 17, 2011
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QUOTE (Dave Argyll @ Oct 21 2011, 12:09 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi Paul, i have some experience of this, though i am offering this advice as one hobbiest to another, and you should consult a fish vet close to you who can examine the fish and offer advice in a professional capacity (contact the Fish Vet Society in the UK who can point you in the direction of a local(ish) vet who specializes in fish)

this my tuppence worth, dont sue me if i'm wrong /blush.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":blush:" border="0" alt="blush.gif" />

it certainly looks like Mycobacteriosis to me, though this cant be confirmed without further lab work.

fish with myco usually just present with chronic wasting away (that does not respond to a good diet and deworming)but sometimes as the granulomas (growths containing the mycobacteria) spread they cause deformity (like spinal curvature) or they burst open on the skin (and ooze bugs into the water, not great for the rest of the fish or for you!)

The cheapest way (I guess ~£30) to come to diagnosis from practical point of view is to have the whole fish or a biopsy sent for histology and specifically a ZN stain (ziehl neelsen). The fish can be culled using an overdose of anaesthetic (like clove oil or MS222) and preserved immediately in 10% formaldehyde (before immersing the fish in formaldehyde, the vet may want to keep back some of the tissue for bacterial culture but in my experience this is often fruitless and expensive, though it would give better, largely academic information on exactly which of the many Mycobacteria is involved). The belly should be slit with a scalpel to ensure that the formalin gets deep into the tissues. For larger fish the vet will have to dissect out bits of suspicious looking granulomatous tissues, no larger than 1cm cubes, otherwise preservation is poor. Taking a biopsy from a large live fish under general aneasthetic is also possible but i advise against trying to save sick individuals, see below. Basic histology and ZN staining is offered by Fish Vet Group, a fish vet practice in Inverness. I will declare an interest that i used to work for them years ago, i'm sure other labs can offer a similar service.

i agree that the fish should be isolated and treated even if you dont want to cull it (though in my view culling may be the more humane thing to do). You need to be very careful to prevent transmission of the infection to yourself first and foremost. infection can get into cuts and wounds on your hands for example and cause a localised infection which will need antibiotic treatment. this happened to me 10 years ago when handling a sick cichlid (sicklid? /blush.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":blush:" border="0" alt="blush.gif" /> ), and I was on 6 weeks of antibiotics (minocycline) to clear it up, fortunately it has never recurred, though recurrence many years down the line cant be ruled out. Always wear gloves when handling diseased fish especially tropicals! i learned that the hard way. Google 'fish tank granuloma', not pretty! /sad.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":(" border="0" alt="sad.gif" />

i have spoken to researchers in this field (Sandra Adams' team at Univ of Stirling) and while it is difficult to give exact figures the suggestion is that Myco is common thoughout the global ornamental fish industry.

in my view it is a condition that we need to learn to manage, becuase complete eradiction is virtually impossible. A commercial farm could eradicate it (by culling everything) and starting again but there is little incentive for them to do so unless all their competitors did the same, and even if they did, where would they get guaranteed disease free broodstock from?

From a hobbiest point of view i dont see the point of culling all of your own much loved fish most of which will be perfectly healthy, only to re-stock with new fish that may be carrying the infection with no symptoms,

How should we manage this very challenging condition?
In my view the condition is infectious but not highly contagious. in other words it spreads but not rapidly. If we assume (as we probably should) that many of our ornamental fish populations have some infected individuals then we should limit the spread my removing and culling fish that are clearly failing and wasting away (assuming they dont respond to standard treatments, deworming and a good diet), and never leave dead fish in a tank to rot away and potentially release bacteria into the water as the granulomas decompose.
Choose new fish carefully and always quarantine (though it can can take many months or years for a latent infection to become apparent we should at least not introduce fish that are obviously sick or wasting away during the first 2-4 weeks of quarantine, some advise 6 weeks quarantine but my impatience sometimes gets the better of me /thumbs_down.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbsdn:" border="0" alt="thumbs_down.gif" /> .)
Choose live food carefully! it has been suggested that some live foods carry Myco. Only buy from a reputable source or use gamma radiated frozen food, or culture your own.

Sick individuals are very difficult to treat and most fish vets you speak to will say they have had poor results. If it is a valuable individual you could try a long course of antibiotics (6 weeks or more) and the vet will probably advise a combination of two antibiotics concurrently (e.g enrofloxacin and doxycycline). The problem is that Myco becomes resistant to antibiotics very easily. This bacteria can persist in its dormant form inside granulomas and only a few surviving bacteria can revive themselves later and bring on the next generation of more resistant bacteria. Its also really hard to give a fish antibiotics for 6 weeks, believe me i've tried, water quality is a nightmare to maintain because your biological filtration will be killed off, so it's daily water changing 50% or more to keep on top of ammonia build up. Also sick fish dont eat well so its regular injections (given under general anaesthetic or heavy sedation) and/or baths with the more soluble products some of which are absorbed fairly well.

Hope this helps

/smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

cheers Dave

Thanks Dave.

Cheers Paul

November 1, 2011
3:15 pm
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psbresner
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October 17, 2011
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Hi Guys,

The fish has now died /sad.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":(" border="0" alt="sad.gif" />

Thanks

Paul /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

November 3, 2011
9:09 pm
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mikev
NYC
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January 11, 2011
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Sorry for being late to this (and for the fish), only noticed this now. A couple of things:

QUOTE (Jaguar @ Oct 18 2011, 12:26 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
The only real way and to be certain it is mycobacteriosis (Fish TB) is to take a swab from the fish and to get it tested by a vet, but this can be expensive.

Expensive and inconclusive too, unfortunately. Mycobacteria is present in most tanks, and there were studies showing that at least 90% of wild caught fish have some of it *on them*. This does not mean that all fish suffer from Fish TB, and detection of *some* mycobacteria in the tank does not indicate an active disease.

QUOTE
A good sign of Fish TB is a curvature of the spine but not all fish show this symptom, is there any noticeable sign of a spinal deformity?

Diagnostics depends on the type of fish.

This is a good sign indeed, but not for rainbows. This only works well with narrow body smaller fish, like danios, tetras or guppies. In fact, these can be used to detect a high mycobacteria level in a tank.

With rainbows IME spinal deformities almost always mean something else, for example Ca deficiency or genetic defects. At the same time, the sores (just as shown on the photos) are the best diagnostics tool.

Further,

QUOTE
PH had been low for a couple of weeks, that was about a month or so ago. Was 6.5 at its lowest.

PH fluctuations are very bad for specifically rainbowfish immune system...and are a known trigger for TB infections.

One more thing to keep in mind: mycobacteria is an environmental bacteria, it does not require a host. A tank where a disease case occurred has a high load of myco in the tank itself (substrate, filter, even glass). A way to alleviate the level of infection and cut down on future cases would be to nuke the tank, moving the healthy (well, symptomless really) fish into a new one.

November 4, 2011
9:15 am
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psbresner
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Forum Posts: 8
Member Since:
October 17, 2011
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QUOTE (mikev @ Nov 3 2011, 08:52 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sorry for being late to this (and for the fish), only noticed this now. A couple of things:

Expensive and inconclusive too, unfortunately. Mycobacteria is present in most tanks, and there were studies showing that at least 90% of wild caught fish have some of it *on them*. This does not mean that all fish suffer from Fish TB, and detection of *some* mycobacteria in the tank does not indicate an active disease.

Diagnostics depends on the type of fish.

This is a good sign indeed, but not for rainbows. This only works well with narrow body smaller fish, like danios, tetras or guppies. In fact, these can be used to detect a high mycobacteria level in a tank.

With rainbows IME spinal deformities almost always mean something else, for example Ca deficiency or genetic defects. At the same time, the sores (just as shown on the photos) are the best diagnostics tool.

Further,

PH fluctuations are very bad for specifically rainbowfish immune system...and are a known trigger for TB infections.

One more thing to keep in mind: mycobacteria is an environmental bacteria, it does not require a host. A tank where a disease case occurred has a high load of myco in the tank itself (substrate, filter, even glass). A way to alleviate the level of infection and cut down on future cases would be to nuke the tank, moving the healthy (well, symptomless really) fish into a new one.

Wish I had the option of Nuking the tank and starting from scratch but I don't. The remaining fish all seem healthy and I don't intend adding anything new for the time being.

Thanks

Paul /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

November 4, 2011
5:03 pm
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mikev
NYC
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January 11, 2011
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Understand. Three other things that you can do to decrease the chances of another bow coming with it:
1. Up the water changes, say two 30% per week or one 50% (this is the recommendation most serious bow breeders follow).
2. Make sure that the diet of rainbows contains some plant matter, at the very least veggie flakes.
3. Ensure that pH remains stable. Understand the cause of "pH was low" and resolve it. Your 7.5 is good for Boesemanis, but ensure that it is always 7.5.

Good luck!

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