UPDATE: IT'S FISH TB. ...Help me diagnose this disease that's killing my fish
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:21 PM   #1
FlyingShawn
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UPDATE: IT'S FISH TB. ...Help me diagnose this disease that's killing my fish


MAJOR UPDATE:
The fish were euthanized and necropsied: all signs point to Fish TB/Mycobacterium. Full details and microscope slides can be found starting on this post:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fi...ml#post1698370



Original Post:

I have a mysterious disease that's been slowly infecting and killing my fish one-by-one over a long period of time. The characteristic symptoms are a very-slight bloating of the stomach and a collapse/dramatic weight loss of the body aft of the stomach (the front half of the fish seems fine, but wastes away in his back half). Here's the latest infected, a ~2 year old Odessa barb (FYI the white patch on his forehead has been there his entire life, although it does seem to cover a slightly larger area now):


As a point of comparison, here is the sick Odessa next to one of his healthy tank mates so you can see the change in body shape:


I QT all my new fish (in the past it was only for a week, but that's since increased to a month since I got a dedicated QT) and this disease is slow enough that I can't trace it back to any new additions. The first victims were a platy and some neon tetras (hard to diagnose in the tetras, so I'm not sure it's the same thing that did them in).

After they died, I noticed the other platy in the tank was exhibiting symptoms, so I set up a QT specifically for him so I could isolate him and attempt treatment. He ended up living for a full two months in QT before dying. During that time, he exhibited the same symptoms described above, became somewhat skittish, and had a healthy appetite right up until the end. I tried treating with Tetra's Parasite Clear and Jungle's medicated anti-parasite and anti-worm foods (don't know if those would have made a difference since the fish always just spit them out), to no avail.

I've recently upgraded from a heavily stocked 20gal to a lightly-stocked, planted 52gal and moved the Odessa's into the new tank since they all seemed healthy. So far the water parameters have been very good: PH ~6.8-7.4 (I've had to put some baking soda in when I do water changes, I think the tap water has changed and now has near-zero buffer in it), Ammonia 0.0-0.1, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0-5ppm.

Have any of you seen this before? Is there any treatment?

Last edited by FlyingShawn; 01-29-2012 at 07:07 AM.. Reason: Updated with necropsy results
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:24 PM   #2
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Seems like the pics aren't working. Here they are:
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:30 PM   #3
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My best guess would be internal parasite based and Levamisole HCl powder, flubendazole are my 2 choices because fish don't have to eat it.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fi...uarantine.html

good luck OP this stuff when it happens is frustrating
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Old 11-30-2011, 05:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkndracer View Post
My best guess would be internal parasite based and Levamisole HCl powder, flubendazole are my 2 choices because fish don't have to eat it.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fi...uarantine.html

good luck OP this stuff when it happens is frustrating
Thanks wkndracer! I'll order both of those right away.

After the platy in QT died, I was getting scared that it might be Fish TB (based on his symptoms and those other meds not working), so I really hope you're right.
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Old 11-30-2011, 08:01 PM   #5
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that's a tough one. Could be parasite with a secondary bacterial infection or TB. I like metro combined with prazi for parasites but have also used vermisol and panacur. For bacterial I like kanamyacin and furan-2
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Old 12-01-2011, 04:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beardedcharmer View Post
that's a tough one. Could be parasite with a secondary bacterial infection or TB. I like metro combined with prazi for parasites but have also used vermisol and panacur. For bacterial I like kanamyacin and furan-2
Do you have any recommendations for where to get those meds? I'm probably going to try the ones wkndracer recommended first, but it might be smart to get them and keep them in my medkit so I have them in the future.

@Wkndracer:

Reading through your posts in that quarantine thread, I saw you suggested the possible use of an HP treatment for bacteria/parasites. Do you think that'd be worth trying in the meantime while I wait for the meds you recommended to arrive?
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Old 12-01-2011, 04:49 AM   #7
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Is the ONLY symptom bloating? Just bloating seems odd. Really without any obvious symptoms you can't know for sure without some autopsies which require a microscope and some veterinary knowledge. Do you think you could cut one open maybe if one dies? We need to see what's swollen, the swim bladder, intestines, stomach etc. Do they have trouble swimming? When did this start to occur? Add any new fish or plants?

Quote:
The first victims were a platy and some neon tetras
The platy suggests something parasitic. Common livebearers are almost ALWAYS disease ridden animals.

I want to say parasites but I can't be sure. Try feeding some peas to clear any intestinal blockage and see. Observe their poo. Its coloration and texture (extremely thin, pale etc.) can tell you a lot.

I can suggest you get some garlic and mash it up a bit to get lots of good garlic juice and soak the medicated foods in the garlic. It should make them take it a little better. Plus garlic is naturally antiparasitic so there's that bonus as well.
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Old 12-01-2011, 06:06 AM   #8
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Is the ONLY symptom bloating? Just bloating seems odd.
Actually, the bloating is only very slight (no more than you'd see after them having a bigger than normal meal). The primary symptom is the near-anorexic appearance of the body aft of the stomach, where it seems to totally collapse in on itself. Take a look at that first picture again: it's not that the thinness of the aft body just looks that way in proportion to the bloat, it's that the width of the bloat is only slightly more than the normal body shape and the tail has collapsed that much!

Coloration stays near-normal up until death, as does appetite. The infected fish will become somewhat more reclusive and skittish. There are no visible symptoms other than the ones mentioned above that I've been able to identify.

The disease first appeared in a long-established tank that hadn't received any new introductions (plant or fish) for at least a few months. That said, I can't be totally sure that it wasn't introduced by something because of the extremely slow progression of the disease: one fish at a time, dies slowly, then a few weeks later another begins to show the same symptoms.

The first platy infected had been in my tank for 2+ years and the second was actually the ~1.5 year-old offspring of some platies I had at the time, so I think I can safely discount them as the original source.

Thanks for the tip on the garlic!
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Old 12-01-2011, 06:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingShawn View Post
@Wkndracer:
Reading through your posts in that quarantine thread, I saw you suggested the possible use of an HP treatment for bacteria/parasites. Do you think that'd be worth trying in the meantime while I wait for the meds you recommended to arrive?
H2O2 works for external issues only to my knowledge from reading threads on TAFF II and the linked study threads included in Garrett's posts on that site. Safe concentrations / ratio data varies not just by fish species but by users reporting to use it so caution going forward with that. After my desperate acts using it I read all that I could find on the topic. (still will use it again too)
Found that Otto's don't tolerate it well either.

Salt baths are also an external option and can help with gill related parasites.

Kanamyacin is reported (idk) to be about the only thing to help with TB being a strong antibiotic.

Angels Plus sells medicated food that contains it.

also most things are available here (watch price LOL);
http://www.fishyfarmacy.com/products3.html

fyi lots of stuff has a shelf life along with being expensive so research that too stocking a war chest.

good luck OP
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Last edited by wkndracer; 12-02-2011 at 01:22 AM..
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Old 12-01-2011, 08:20 PM   #10
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aquabid has the best price on kanamyacin (mvp), angelsplus has the best prices on the prazi and metro and jehmco is a good source for the panacur (flub)
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Old 12-01-2011, 09:11 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by FlyingShawn View Post
Thanks wkndracer! I'll order both of those right away.
After the platy in QT died, I was getting scared that it might be Fish TB (based on his symptoms and those other meds not working), so I really hope you're right.

Let us know how things go when you get the meds. Pictures if possible.

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Old 12-01-2011, 09:13 PM   #12
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aquabid has the best price on kanamyacin (mvp), angelsplus has the best prices on the prazi and metro and jehmco is a good source for the panacur (flub)
Panacur is Fenbendazole not Flubendazole. Flubendazole is absorbed buy the skin and gills of the fish and does not have to be eaten to be effective.

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Old 12-01-2011, 10:59 PM   #13
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yes my bad its fenb., you can dose fenb in the water column and it is effective against more parasites than flub. you just have to be more careful with the dosing
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Old 12-02-2011, 01:03 AM   #14
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Exclamation Beware of fenbendazole!

Quote:
Originally Posted by beardedcharmer View Post
yes my bad its fenb., you can dose fenb in the water column and it is effective against more parasites than flub. you just have to be more careful with the dosing
I strongly, strongly, strongly (I can't emphasize this enough) recommend against fenbendazole. I killed at least 43 fish using half the dosage recommended by wkndracer. I had mistaken flubendazole for the same as fenbendazole. You can see the damage here (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1342425-post1341.html), how it doesn't disolve and also if you continue reading (back up a few pages for the beginning of the deaths), you'll see that it happened within hours and the deaths didn't stop for days. I lost almost everyone of my fish due to using this.

To the OP, that does look at lot like internal parasites, but the sunken stomach makes me worried that it's TB. Not to be gross, but how is their poop? Is it white and stringy (a good sign of pests) or is it normal looking?
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Last edited by sewingalot; 12-02-2011 at 01:08 AM.. Reason: left out the link and typo
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Old 12-02-2011, 01:07 AM   #15
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I ordered the Leva and Flub from Charlie today. Based on what wkndracer said, I'm not planning on trying the HP while I wait for it to arrive.

If these two don't do the trick, do you have any recommendations for the order to try the others? I don't want to go nuts and order everything listed here (for the shelf life reasons mentioned above), but I need to be thinking of a plan of attack now (both an order of operation and knowing which are safe to combine vs must be dosed individually).

Aside from the Leva and Flub, you guys have suggested Metro, Prazi, Kanamyacin, Panacur, Vermisol, and Furan-2. I'm guessing the Kana should be next (in case it's TB), but I'm wide open to suggestions since I've never used any of them.

Thanks again!
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