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post #16 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-14-2013, 05:51 PM
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It's a very long thread and I haven't had time to update it in a very long time, but about a year and a half ago I went through a Myco outbreak in my 52gal. After confirming that it was Myco with a vet and doing a huge amount of research (much of it with wkndracer's help!), I decided to do a full tear-down and heavy duty sterilization protocol on all my tanks, including euthanizing about 250 fish (mostly guppies that had gone nuts breeding in one of them).

However, there were a few fish that I just couldn't bring myself to kill, so I staggered my tear-down process in order to convert my 20gal into what I call a "permanent quarantine" tank (same thought process of the "closed loop" system mentioned earlier). No new fish go in and no plants or fish come out (except when I discard trimmings), I have dedicated buckets, syphon hoses, etc for that tank, and I always sterilize my hands and arms with 70% isopropyl alcohol after coming into contact with the tank (not just the water, the entire tank) so as not to risk cross-contaminating with my "clean" systems. The tank also has a 18w UV unit (typically rated for up to 100gal tanks) to help minimize their risk. When the fish in there die off, I'll go through the full sterilization protocol on that tank before setting it up again.

It's now been over a year since setting up the 20gal quarantine and the fish inside (including a few Rainbows, who are considered especially susceptible to Myco) are all healthy and show no signs of infection, so I definitely feel it was worth the effort to set up the tank to keep them around.

My 52gal is still sitting dry due to some setbacks in the start-up process (I had previously grown HC emersed before starting it and wanted to do so again, but it hasn't been working for me) and other tasks taking priority from being able to work on it.

As much as it pains me to say this: please consider my experience and others' and consider a full sterilization protocol (Myco can encapsulate itself, so my understanding is your tank could sit dry for years without killing it). Failing that, PLEASE follow the advice above and consider this tank (and any others that could have been cross-contaminated) as closed-loop systems to keep from spreading this to anyone else in the hobby!

Here is the thread about my experience with Myco:
UPDATE: IT'S FISH TB. ...Help me diagnose this disease that's killing my fish
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post #17 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-15-2013, 02:50 AM
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However, there were a few fish that I just couldn't bring myself to kill, so I staggered my tear-down process in order to convert my 20gal into what I call a "permanent quarantine" tank (same thought process of the "closed loop" system mentioned earlier). No new fish go in and no plants or fish come out (except when I discard trimmings), I have dedicated buckets, syphon hoses, etc for that tank, and I always sterilize my hands and arms with 70% isopropyl alcohol after coming into contact with the tank (not just the water, the entire tank) so as not to risk cross-contaminating with my "clean" systems. The tank also has a 18w UV unit (typically rated for up to 100gal tanks) to help minimize their risk.
Diana Walstad mentioned in her article (Mycobacteriosis−--the Stealth Disease) that adding a UV to an existing tank with MB outbreak stopped the fish death and those fish with symptoms actually recovered.

I wonder whether a tear-down is really necessary.
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post #18 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-15-2013, 04:49 AM
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Diana Walstad mentioned in her article (Mycobacteriosis−--the Stealth Disease) that adding a UV to an existing tank with MB outbreak stopped the fish death and those fish with symptoms actually recovered.

I wonder whether a tear-down is really necessary.
The result of my research, which I believe is also consistent with Walstad's conclusions, is that a UV unit has the potential to reduce the levels of Myco enough to help prevent further infections, but cannot actually eliminate it or reduce it to what are considered "normal" background levels because Myco lives predominantly in the biofilm of the tank and UV units are only effective on free-floating material. My choice to put an over-sized UV unit on the "permanent quarantine" tank was a direct result of that article and it seems to have helped my fish stay healthy, but it would be highly irresponsible of me to consider them anything but carriers.

Believe me, the sterilization of my system has cost me a significant amount of money and countless hours of my time (there's a reason some people give up on the hobby altogether after a Myco outbreak!), so I explored every possible option to avoid a tear-down!

Ultimately though, I decided that I had to do the sterilization if for no other reason than to protect my own health; Myco can cause a nasty infection in humans and requires tuberculosis antibiotics to treat. The risk simply isn't worth it (not to mention the loss of enjoyment of the hobby by not being able to sell/trade/ROAK any plants/fish/equipment to the community), so I had to conclude that my options were either a tear-down or to give up altogether.

I'm truly sorry, I really wish I had a less-grim option to give you, but I can only share the results of my experience and offer you the encouragement that hindsight has left me feeling that I did the right thing by tearing everything down.
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post #19 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-15-2013, 05:11 AM
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The result of my research, which I believe is also consistent with Walstad's conclusions, is that a UV unit has the potential to reduce the levels of Myco enough to help prevent further infections, but cannot actually eliminate it or reduce it to what are considered "normal" background levels because Myco lives predominantly in the biofilm of the tank and UV units are only effective on free-floating material. My choice to put an over-sized UV unit on the "permanent quarantine" tank was a direct result of that article and it seems to have helped my fish stay healthy, but it would be highly irresponsible of me to consider them anything but carriers.
Mycobacteria are relatively common environmental bacteria. They have been isolated from drinking water supplies, swimming pools, coastal waters, and aquaculture facilities.

Bettas, gouramis, tetras, brabs, danios, koi, goldfish, and angelfish are more prone to the infection.

Plus the fact that early infection has no sign.

I therefore treat all fish as carriers.
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post #20 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-15-2013, 05:41 AM
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That's exactly what I was referring to by "'normal' background levels:" most aquariums do house small amounts of Myco. Typically it's not a hazard to our fish unless something depresses their immune system enough to become infected (in my case, it was stress from being in a tank that was extremely overcrowded because I had been overeager in buying fish for a larger tank that wasn't yet ready for them). Once that infection happens, the Myco population explodes because the infected fish spreads it to the whole tank.

Since Myco is so hardy and lives in the biofilm of the tank, my understanding is that removing the infected fish and using a UV unit can help limit the potential for infection of the rest of the fish, but the Myco population in the tank will still remain significantly elevated over those "normal" background levels. As a result, anything transferred out of the tank has a much higher likelihood of infecting other tanks (especially those without a sufficiently-powerful UV unit) and thus the tank still needs to be quarantined despite not having any actively infected inhabitants.
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post #21 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-15-2013, 03:38 PM
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This seems to be what happens every time myco surfaces in a string . zdnet's first posted link is from 2002 (older science) and opinion. Not totally without merit but research in the field of myco is a hot button topic for research related to the farming of food fish. The information developed in current studies and trials is constantly updating. It's hard for many to catch the pertinent and screen out the junk information changed and updated by further research.

A national fish medication supplier actually claims in print that Kanamycin Sulfate will cure animals infected with resistant strains of tuberculosis. Laboratory study has PROVEN without question that Kanamycin Sulfate has no effect on infecting myco strains of primary concern. No reduction in existing granulomas or describable reduction in the spread. (Also please note as stated in the opening of the second link scientific opinion is now that fish don't contract tuberculosis (TB)).

The second link (SRAC) that is included in zdnet's post is very pointed in it's accuracy of information. On a note that many will miss reading this, contained within that second linked report by Ruth Francis Floyd is credit contained for the researcher kind enough to accept me as a client, Dr. B. D. Petty, DVM. Aquaculture Extension Large Animal Clinical Sciences, CVM Program in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, SFRC. Doc is currently overseeing the Gainesville extension Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathology Laboratory directed by Dr. Thomas B. Waltzek, that's the information source I trust. The U.S. leading institute in this research field is none other than University of Florida.

It takes a lot of reading to debunk misconceptions about Mycobacteriosis. Yet to meet another hobbyist that bothers to dig deep enough not to be confused on one point or another. Shawn has spent the time I think.

UV use DOES NOT and CAN NOT eliminate myco from a system nor can you cure infected individuals. Granulomas formed within the organs grow and multiply slowly crowding out healthy cells reducing organ function then more often then not secondaries take out the critter. I'm not a fan of dismissing the severity of myco simply by saying it's everywhere and leaving it at that. Mycobacteria is indeed everywhere true enough and every time you take a breath of air you inhale it. Saying that doesn't change the fact that specific strains are problematic and while not easily or cheaply achieved they can be avoided completely with best case probability using the proper protocols. Steve Rybicki proudly maintains a myco free facility. You can have fish that have never been exposed to any virulent pathogens or parasites but they don't come from the LFS. Hobbyists and hobby breeders can screen stock and sample new arrivals. As a hobbyist you can monitor for the presence of myco in a system population. Find a local Vet, not all will examine fish but they are out there in practice. Most will charge around $125.00 to necropsy and examine 3 fish. Establish a relationship with a trained vet and the costs can be even less. It's not much different than the annual exam costs for your family dog.

Learn to necropsy fish and use a microscope.

Current science is still that once a positive is noted the system must become closed loop or the complete depopulation and a complete cleaning protocol executed. I have no doubt based on public attitude that a day not far off is coming when myco will be epidemic within the U.S. ornamental market. (thinking it's closer than most believe already)
Did I get my tank myco from the LFS? No! (certain of the source)
It arrived here from the Northern States not a Florida commercially farmed fish. It came from a well respected up and coming hobby breeder. One who refusing to this day to accept the fact he 'gifted' it to me. Ignores the science and positive test results. He won't even look at his stock, is still producing myco contaminated fish, still sharing and spreading it
It won't leave here is all I can say. My out of pocket is already beyond what most would bother with yet I want more of an answer than what I have now. I breed and tank raise angelfish and ansistrus. Led by my relationship with Dr. Petty my quarantine protocols are growing ever more stringent and my stock is surveyed and sampled. Having 24 tanks currently I take the myco threat seriously.

(sorry for the jack OP)

UV use is part of the formula to avoid it but not a cure.

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post #22 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-15-2013, 03:47 PM
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That's exactly what I was referring to by "'normal' background levels:" most aquariums do house small amounts of Myco. Typically it's not a hazard to our fish unless something depresses their immune system enough to become infected (in my case, it was stress from being in a tank that was extremely overcrowded because I had been overeager in buying fish for a larger tank that wasn't yet ready for them). Once that infection happens, the Myco population explodes because the infected fish spreads it to the whole tank.

Since Myco is so hardy and lives in the biofilm of the tank, my understanding is that removing the infected fish and using a UV unit can help limit the potential for infection of the rest of the fish, but the Myco population in the tank will still remain significantly elevated over those "normal" background levels. As a result, anything transferred out of the tank has a much higher likelihood of infecting other tanks (especially those without a sufficiently-powerful UV unit) and thus the tank still needs to be quarantined despite not having any actively infected inhabitants.
The reading materials provided to me and questions I've asked lead my understanding to be that yes mycobacteria is in all environments but that's not to say the infective strains are present. BIG distinction between those two statements. A key point I think not to get confused on. Whether inhabitants are actively expressing symptom or not after a single positive a population and system is to be considered contaminated and it's a done deal without further debate. Contain and maintain if you choose but don't share.

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post #23 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-15-2013, 09:52 PM
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The reading materials provided to me and questions I've asked lead my understanding to be that yes mycobacteria is in all environments but that's not to say the infective strains are present. BIG distinction between those two statements. A key point I think not to get confused on.
You're likely a lot more up to date on the latest research than I am. My understanding has been that infectious strains are a part of those normal background levels, but that Myco as a whole tends to compete relatively poorly with other organisms for resources in the tank, so it isn't able to grow beyond those background levels unless it's able to obtain a "foothold" situation in a weakened fish.

Then, even if that fish is removed as soon as it starts to display symptoms, it has already served as an incubator and the Myco population is well above background levels. Even then, despite still competing relatively poorly against other organisms, it still does well enough to maintain those higher population levels (which might help explain how UV has been helpful on infected tanks: it's not able to reduce the Myco population or cure anything that has been infected, but may help maintain the higher water quality needed to keep fish healthy enough to not succumb to it).

Like I said, that may just be an outdated theory and your comment about the infectious strains not being present may be the latest information. Regardless, the end result is the same and I completely agree with your conclusion below:

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Whether inhabitants are actively expressing symptom or not after a single positive a population and system is to be considered contaminated and it's a done deal without further debate. Contain and maintain if you choose but don't share.
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post #24 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-15-2013, 10:53 PM
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Hey Shawn,

Probably millions of variations and again it's everywhere so yes all tanks have myco of some form in them and probably lots of it. Identified strains so far all appear to be like any other form of life being uniquely different in some way or another. I'd have to go back and read through all the links in my TAFF II thread or those I added toward the end of yours but at least three studies in the research papers state a developed strain needs a transmission method to enter a new environment so it's not simply waiting in the background for a weak fish. Finding myco in one group of ponds or tanks fish farms restart just those effected and use isolation protocols not to transmit this crap. If it's simply everywhere cross contamination wouldn't hold the same noted concerns. (in the best practice papers)

What landed here was PCR tested as 99.5% for M. marinum and M. ulcerans.

Included in the fish already surveyed from my other tanks were much older fish. A four year old DD angelfish and a second generation in house two year old zebra angelfish from yet another tanking system. All told when the testing was done nothing showed any sign of granulomas except the new introduction group. Those still remaining here are still isolated. For my own information I want to explore the vertical transmission possibility is why I've kept a couple.
Using methods similar to the zebra fish protocols I want to see if fry will be clean starting out.
Just last Monday I took two more fish up to the lab for a third survey. One being a fish placed in with the suspect group late last December. It confirmed horizontal transmission in that six months. The amount of internal damage was staggering to look at it through the scope. The second fish showed damage in the gonads, not a good sign hoping against vertical transmission. Still waiting on the report and PCR testing. If infectious bacterial strains were simply resident everywhere waiting for a host (which Doc says it isn't) there would have been more positives from my other tanks especially in the much older fish tested.


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post #25 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-15-2013, 11:50 PM
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Hey Shawn,

Probably millions of variations and again it's everywhere so yes all tanks have myco of some form in them and probably lots of it. Identified strains so far all appear to be like any other form of life being uniquely different in some way or another. I'd have to go back and read through all the links in my TAFF II thread or those I added toward the end of yours but at least three studies in the research papers state a developed strain needs a transmission method to enter a new environment so it's not simply waiting in the background for a weak fish. Finding myco in one group of ponds or tanks fish farms restart just those effected and use isolation protocols not to transmit this crap. If it's simply everywhere cross contamination wouldn't hold the same noted concerns. (in the best practice papers)

What landed here was PCR tested as 99.5% for M. marinum and M. ulcerans.

Included in the fish already surveyed from my other tanks were much older fish. A four year old DD angelfish and a second generation in house two year old zebra angelfish from yet another tanking system. All told when the testing was done nothing showed any sign of granulomas except the new introduction group. Those still remaining here are still isolated. For my own information I want to explore the vertical transmission possibility is why I've kept a couple.
Using methods similar to the zebra fish protocols I want to see if fry will be clean starting out.
Just last Monday I took two more fish up to the lab for a third survey. One being a fish placed in with the suspect group late last December. It confirmed horizontal transmission in that six months. The amount of internal damage was staggering to look at it through the scope. The second fish showed damage in the gonads, not a good sign hoping against vertical transmission. Still waiting on the report and PCR testing. If infectious bacterial strains were simply resident everywhere waiting for a host (which Doc says it isn't) there would have been more positives from my other tanks especially in the much older fish tested.

Thanks for the update on the latest research and your own experiments!

My apologies to the OP for the thread jack, but hopefully this will at least get you off to a running start on your own research.
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post #26 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-16-2013, 01:15 AM
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zdnet's first posted link is from 2002 (older science) and opinion. Not totally without merit but research in the field of myco is a hot button topic for research related to the farming of food fish.
Are you suggesting that some of what is in the 2002 publication are no longer valid?


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UV use DOES NOT and CAN NOT eliminate myco from a system nor can you cure infected individuals.
As stated in Diana's article, UV did allow her infected fish to recover. It also stopped the spread of the disease. This is a very important consideration for people like the OP who is contemplating having a UV sterilizer.


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You can have fish that have never been exposed to any virulent pathogens or parasites but they don't come from the LFS.
IOW, if you have to get fish from a LFS, you should treat all fish as carriers. Don't let the FALSE sense of security (that comes with sterilizing your tank) fool you into lowering your guard.

Better yet, unless you are dealing with a source that you are absolutely sure that their fish have not been exposed, treat all the fish as carriers.


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Originally Posted by wkndracer View Post
Hobbyists and hobby breeders can screen stock and sample new arrivals. As a hobbyist you can monitor for the presence of myco in a system population. Find a local Vet, not all will examine fish but they are out there in practice. Most will charge around $125.00 to necropsy and examine 3 fish. Establish a relationship with a trained vet and the costs can be even less. It's not much different than the annual exam costs for your family dog.
Let's not forget animal life. Necropsy costs the life of a fish while a family dog comes out alive after the annual exam. Since necropsy requires killing the involved fish, I don't think it is reasonable to expect hobbyists (not breeders) to subject their fish to that kind of treatment, be it by a local vet or not. Most people who keep fish are animal lovers. They do not like to kill a healthy looking animal, let alone doing it just for monitoring.
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post #27 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-16-2013, 02:33 PM
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Are you suggesting that some of what is in the 2002 publication are no longer valid?
I'm stating (not suggesting) that the research data has been expanded and some of the speculation has been removed by that further research. Prefect example from your quote and the links is Gourami disease thought for years to be myco but now research has it as a virus.

From the 2002 linked work in no particular order:
"Mycobacteriosis in fish is a disease caused by certain bacterial species within the genus Mycobacterium."
Not all, certain bacterial species are threat concerns so it's all in how you interpret what you read.

"Many of the organisms in this group occur naturally in the aquatic environment. One report compared the prevalence of selected species"
Not all, again certain micro-bacterial species.

"Three species believed to account for most incidences of mycobacterial disease in fish"
Now expanded to over twenty commonly found pathogenic strains including the crap I received thatís not on the list but is included in later papers.

"When present in a population, infection rates can vary from 10% to 100%."
Infection rates are projected as much higher on the low end in most all the studies now.

While 60-85% alcohol is mentioned as effective against myco whatís needed to achieve any value using in it?
(not mentioned at all) (Itís sixty seconds wet contact time with 70 Ė 91%)

"Little is known about the factors that influence the frequency and distribution of this pathogenic organism."
Greatly refined and expanded data on transmission is now available.
Not to lose sight of what should be important points it's actually not a single pathogenic organism so don't take any one sentence as literal. The topic is about a genus composed of individual bacterial strains that thrive within vastly different temperature and environmental conditions. Temperatures that will kill one form of myco will allow another to thrive. Not all micro bacteria are threats. See the leaf but not the tree? Ignore the snake in the tree? Are all snakes dangerous?
Do you really want to cloud the severity of the issue? You'll not get that from me. If you do bother please make special note every time you pass over the words; can, may, should, might, potential because they all point out speculation or 'best guess' for us layman.

What in specific value, treatments or protocols is gained reading the 2002 Paper?
The information is greatly expanded in detail in the second work and linked with practices of genuine value for dealing with myco. Still covers the basic information but ties it with the practical.
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As stated in Diana's article, UV did allow her infected fish to recover. It also stopped the spread of the disease. This is a very important consideration for people like the OP who is contemplating having a UV sterilizer.
That's not what I read. UV use would improve the water quality but allow infected fish to recover from the infective bacteria? Secondaries and symptoms maybe. But how exactly would it be possible that it has any effect on the already infested? That literally flies in the face of all the science. It's clearly stated in all valid publications once infective myco is within an animal or system there is no cure. (false hope) Using UV might improve redox and reduce bacteria counts in the water column sure. Lacing years of study facts in with speculative statements to infer UV use effects any cure of myco infection on effected animals as you do pulling the statement from the overall information is false. Stating UV use halts transmission is complete crap flying in the face of the proven science.

"Results from the UV sterilizers were unexpected and amazing. Fish deaths stopped. A couple fish with symptoms actually recovered. Whether the UV sterilizers were killing the bacteria responsible for MB or were killing pathogens causing secondary infections was irrelevant to me. My fish were getting better!"


Reading that full report ultimately she reports additional problems and loss on the new fish as 80% overall.
Confusing best management practices, exclusion and control protocols is a mistake. What she wrote and your referring to is mostly speculative. At best a management practice. Threat myco remained within that system, within the fish. It continued at a slower infection rate to be transmitted within the population.
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IOW, if you have to get fish from a LFS, you should treat all fish as carriers. Don't let the FALSE sense of security (that comes with sterilizing your tank) fool you into lowering your guard.
Exactly what is the "FALSE sense of security (that comes with sterilizing your tank)"? Entry quarantine protocols. Myco topic and even aside from it quarantine is still the first line defense. Every tank can be a 'clean' tank until contamination occurs. Yes I indeed have high expectations that my tested tanks are clear of it. That expectation is based on the best practices that are in place here. Based on the current science.
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Originally Posted by zdnet View Post
Better yet, unless you are dealing with a source that you are absolutely sure that their fish have not been exposed, treat all the fish as carriers.
No argument here on having concerns and exercising commonsense. Living should include learning.
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Originally Posted by zdnet View Post
Let's not forget animal life. Necropsy costs the life of a fish while a family dog comes out alive after the annual exam. Since necropsy requires killing the involved fish, I don't think it is reasonable to expect hobbyists (not breeders) to subject their fish to that kind of treatment, be it by a local vet or not. Most people who keep fish are animal lovers. They do not like to kill a healthy looking animal, let alone doing it just for monitoring.
Yes lets not forget the animals.
Enjoying our hobby we are mixing and matching. We create the exposure threats.
We humans are transporting animals globally. Animals that had no means of migrating from one population or geographical location to another to the extent of the modern day. Well beyond anything nature could do in a thousand years. Simply put it in a box and put the box on a plane. Transmitting things along with those animals globally that had no means of migrating from one population or geographical location to another. Again well beyond anything nature could do in a thousand years. Put it in a box and put the box on a plane.

Quarantine protocols.

Be responsible for your choices. Where does responsibility end? When a cute little fish gets to big do you pitch it into the local pond? This thread started with the OP saying he lost fish to what he believes to be myco related, do you want plants or animals from this system or fish from Diana's UV tank? Once infective myco is identified in a system or population the steps taken in maintenance and handling should be changed.

snakeman, I hopes some of this discussion helps further your understanding.

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post #28 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 04:40 PM
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I will not clean this thread up again without issuing suspensions.

GIVE THE CHILDISH BICKERING A REST!

There is NO reason members of our lovely forum cannot have a dialogue without disrespecting others and belittling them.

Remember, this is a family-friendly forum frequented by children. Set a positive, friendly example at all times.
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post #29 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 08:51 PM
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It seems that some of the confusion may stem from differing understandings of the word "recovery" as it pertains to Walstad's UV experiment:
--Wkndracer seems to have been approaching it from an understanding that UV was being alleged to have the potential to "cure" the fish ("cure" being the elimination of Myco from the infected fish and tank so that it is no longer a threat).
--Zdnet seems to have understood it as improving the health of the tank by potentially slowing or stopping the spread of Myco, reducing the symptoms of infected fish, or improving their general health such that secondary infections weren't accelerating the decline of the fish (or any combination of the above).

Friends, I know the above are vastly over-generalized summaries of your positions, but please run with it for the moment since my point is that we're using differing definitions and further nuance isn't really required for the conclusion I'm headed towards. For the purposes of this reply, I'm going to use "cure" to mean my generalization of wkndracer's definition and "recovery" or "improved health" to mean my generalization of zdnet's definition.

With that understanding, let's consider how we should understand Walstad's experiment and results. Walstad's paper represents a non-scientific experiment, since it was neither run with parallel control tests nor repeat-ability studies. Also, to my knowledge, although it was published, it was not "peer reviewed" in the traditional academic sense. This is NOT to say that her results are invalid, incorrect, or uninformative, just that they are not to be viewed as conclusive or authoritative. It would be more correct to understand her conclusions as "informed speculation backed by personal experience." Walstad did do her homework, seems to have had a good grasp of the available data of the time on Myco, and her conclusions are logical given the results she experienced, just so long as we can all agree that those conclusions did not include curing the disease from the infected tank (as evidenced by the return of symptoms and deaths after the UV was removed).

What does this all mean for us? Well, in my case, this is the reason I chose to add an oversized UV unit to the permanent quarantine tank I mentioned earlier. I don't have any illusions that the tank is free of Myco, that the inhabitants are not infected, or that I am not in danger of infection if broken skin comes into contact with the water. I created this tank to allow these fish to live out their lives (whether dying by Myco, other secondary diseases, or best case: old age) rather than being euthanized a year ago with the rest of my stock. Therefore, I added the UV with the hope that it might improve their health and extend their lifespans so I can enjoy them longer.

I believe this is the only light in which we can understand Walstad's article, and even then only with the caveat that using UV only might have these results, since there has not been sufficient scientific experimentation to say whether it will or won't with confidence. I have great respect for her and her work, so I have chosen to believe that this chance has enough potential to justify making the investment in UV for my permanent quarantine tank.

Regardless, let's go back to where I started: by clarifying definitions, we can see that we all agree that UV does NOT "cure" Myco from infected systems.

As a result, considering the hazards that Myco poses to human health and animal life, we must come to the conclusion that anything short of a cure simply isn't good enough. Therefore, when faced with a confirmed Myco infection, the responsible aquarist has only two options: sterilization or "closed loop" status.


Setting aside the ethics of necropsy as a preemptive diagnostic method (since that discussion is related to prevention, not what to do once a tank is known to be infected), it must also be pointed out that sharing anything from an infected tank, even with warnings given, is disrespectful of animal life since it would contribute to the spread of the disease (to say nothing of how it puts other hobbyists at risk!).

To the OP, since your tank has already been torn down, please look at the thread about my experience to learn more about the sterilization protocols I used. The ultra-quick summary is that I used a very-high strength (1:10 or stronger) bleach solution, scrubbing to remove biofilm, followed by a >1min soak in 70% isopropyl alcohol for everything non-porous (basically everything but the substrate) and used very high temperatures (~400 for 4+ hours in small batches to make sure it cooked thoroughly) in the oven for the substrate, lava rocks, and driftwood. Boiling water is not hot enough to kill Myco. I think the post might have been one of those deleted, but wkndracer also had some good information about strengths and contact times for isopropyl alcohol. I strongly suggest you consider adopting these methods (or better ones if you can find them) on the tank and all your equipment.

Also, since there's a risk of cross-contamination from before the tear-down, you have some difficult choices to make about any tanks you still have set up. UV can be a part of the choice to go closed-loop, but only with the knowledge that it isn't a cure or a substitute for using best practices to protect you and your household.
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post #30 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-20-2013, 09:28 AM
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well said

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