UPDATE: IT'S FISH TB. ...Help me diagnose this disease that's killing my fish - Page 6
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:26 PM   #76
FlyingShawn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmccarthy781 View Post
How fast does fish tb kill? I had a betta fish die two days ago and he was only sick for 1 day before that, im trying to rule fish TB out
It seems that most cases are extremely slow, but TB is one of those weird diseases that don't always exhibit the same symptoms. It isn't very common (the bacteria itself is, but fish actually getting sick from it isn't), so I'd probably assume that it isn't TB until you rule everything else out.
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:01 AM   #77
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Do you have ANY idea how hard it is to net Cardinal Tetras in a tank this big?!

Sorry, just had to vent, back to work...
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Old 02-15-2012, 03:54 AM   #78
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lol, I feel your pain!
Sorry, not funny... good luck.
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:14 AM   #79
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At the risk of sounding cold, I guess I have to take what little humor I can find in this situation.

I've caught nearly all the fish I'm going to euthanize today (I'm sure there are more than a few tiny guppy fry who escaped my net, but otherwise I think I got everyone) and I'm now waiting for the first dose of clove oil to take effect. I'm using the clove oil + vodka method outlined here: What Is the Most Humane Way to Euthanize a Fish?

I found one cardinal that was definitely showing the emaciation associated with TB and another who might have been in the earlier stages of it. I haven't been able to look closely at the guppies (too many), but haven't noticed any looking unhealthy.
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:56 AM   #80
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Stage 1 is over: I've now euthanized the bulk of my fish.

I collected them in a 2.5gal and took this picture right before I began to add the clove oil:


The final kill count:
1 Red Flame Dwarf Gourami
2 Ghost Shrimp
2 Black Phantom Tetras
2 Neon Tetras
23 Cardinal Tetras
216 Guppies

I didn't notice any fish with noticeable TB symptoms other than the one Cardinal I mentioned earlier. Just to be safe though, I put them in a ziploc and tossed them in the trash instead of flushing them back into the water supply.

I've decided to keep the three Odessa Barbs and the three Oto Cats until the 20gal Permanent QT is ready and I tear down the main tank. They look healthy at the moment, so I didn't feel the need to put them down just yet. After that, I'll be left with the Betta, three Rainbows, Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami, and the German Blue Ram.

The next step will be the teardown and nuke of the smaller tanks, which I'll have to do progressively over the next few weeks due to time and workspace constraints.

I know the vast majority of the work on this project is still ahead of me, but I think tonight was one of the hardest steps. I have to admit, I think the clove oil and vodka technique did make euthanizing them a little easier, since you add a little clove oil at a time to peacefully put them to sleep and by the time you add the vodka, they don't spasm/twitch/react in any way. In the past I've used the dunk-in-ice-water method to near-instantaneously shock kill their nervous system, but there's still that second or two of violent thrashing right before they go.
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:25 PM   #81
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It sucks you had to do this. I've felt like crap when I had to euthanize fish a couple times before.
You are doing the right thing though. Including all the research that is now consolidated in this thread.
Thank you!
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:45 PM   #82
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I noticed ghost shrimp in the euthanize list. Does TB effect shrimp also?
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:55 PM   #83
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I noticed ghost shrimp in the euthanize list. Does TB effect shrimp also?
I don't know. I strongly doubt it, but I only had two and didn't want to take any risk of them being carriers. Interestingly, they didn't seem to be affected at all by the clove oil and actually were active for a while after I put in the vodka.
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Old 02-15-2012, 08:50 PM   #84
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Yes, there are reports of shrimp granulomas.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:12 AM   #85
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I think it's about time I posted an update. I have some bad news, some good news, and a general strategy/progress report. So, let's get started...

First off, the bad news:

If you'll recall from earlier, the "chemical" side of my cleaning strategy was to be a high-concentration bleach soak, followed by Lysol, and then finished with isopropyl alcohol. I devised that plan according to the information from my vet and the articles I posted earlier. However, I've hit a bit of a snag in the plan. I was having trouble finding a Lysol product with the active ingredient those articles listed ("1% benzyl-4-chlorophenol/phenylphenol"), so I ended up contacting its manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser in order to find the item I needed. After a VERY frustrating series of back-and-forth emails and being directed in circles around the company of people unable or unwilling to put any effort into answering my question (seriously, is incompetency considered a marketable skill now?!), I finally got an answer: in order to unify their product line across all 50 states and their assorted safety regulations, they no longer manufacture any products with the ingredient we're looking for. So, dead end there.

The good news is that I may not need it after all. During my hours of research, I stumbled across this scholarly article:
Efficacy of Common Disinfectants against Mycobacterium marinum in the Journal of Aquatic Animal Health.

The article is paid-access-only for non-subscribers, but I lucked-out in the sense that my brother is a university librarian and has access to it through their system. Based on what I learned reading it, I'm guessing that this article is the primary source used by the other articles I linked to earlier in describing what does and doesn't work against Myco. As a result, there weren't many surprises in what I found, except for one fairly significant one:

Bleach can work, even at less-than crazy concentrations.

There are some caveats however: namely that it requires much longer contact times (at least an hour) and, more importantly, this is not a "real world" experiment, so we have to be careful what we try to apply to our tanks. What do I mean by that? These tests were done against pure laboratory samples of Myco, not against those hiding in the biofilm that you'd find in your tank. I've heard concerns that such biofilm could serve as a protective shield keeping the bleach from ever coming into contact with the Myco, which would explain the generally accepted belief that bleach is ineffective against it.

The article also said that 70% isopropyl alcohol required only a minute contact time to effectively kill Myco (again, in a non-biofilm laboratory setting).

What does this mean for me and my cleaning protocol?

Obviously, Lysol is out. It wouldn't surprise me if the current formulation of it was effective, but at the same time I don't know that to be true, so I'm going to assume that it isn't and skip it altogether.

Here's my current step-by-step protocol for each tank:
1) Drain all water and remove EVERYTHING (decorations, equipment, substrate, etc)
2) Thoroughly scrub the tank with a "Dobie" non-scratch scrubbing pad (they're made by 3M and are amazing) in order to remove as much algae and biofilm as possible.
3) Soak the tank for 1-2 hours in a 1:9 bleach solution to start killing the Myco and kill/break-down the remaining biofilm.
4) Drain about half of the bleach solution and re-scrub the entire tank again with the Dobie pad
5) Remove the rest of the bleach solution and rinse the tank with tap water
6) Set the tank out to dry for a couple of days
7) Spray the entire interior and exterior of the tank with a liberal amount of 70% isopropyl alcohol (with an extra focus on seams and frame edges) in a well-ventilated room and leave it to evaporate completely. I repeat this step at least three times to ensure that every surface has sufficient contact time for the alcohol.
8) Rinse the tank again to remove any potential residue from the alcohol (I don't think there is any, but it can't hurt to be sure).

I'm also applying adapted versions of the above process to the non-tank items that I intend to salvage. For example, I can't realistically scrub the gravel I'm saving from some of the smaller tanks, but instead I'm using much longer bleach contact times and actively stirring it during that soak in order to use the naturally-abrasive nature of the gravel to scrub for me. Also, instead of spraying the gravel with alcohol, I'll be placing it in a bucket and soaking it for an extended period of time instead (probably at least a half hour).

For the things I'm afraid to treat chemically (primarily the driftwood and maybe the lava rocks), I'll likely be using a 3+ hour bake at 450+ to heat-sterilize them. I'm still going back and forth on if that's how I want to proceed with those items, so for the moment I'm just setting them aside while I work on other steps of the project (I continue to welcome your input on this!)

I've decided to not attempt to save the plants. As much as I cringe at the idea of replacing all of them, I simply haven't been able to identify a way to ensure that they wouldn't just act as carriers for the disease. That said, however, I won't be discarding all of them right away. Contrary to my earlier plans, I've decided that the 20gal Permanent QT that will be housing my remaining fish will be a planted tank rather than a bare one, so I'll be using plants from the main tank to set up the QT (with a bleach-dip in the middle) instead of just trashing them all. The original plan was that if one of them got sick, I'd euthanize it and re-nuke that QT to minimize exposure for the others. Instead, the new plan is to still remove/euthanize the sick fish, but I'll rely on the UV unit in the tank and Diana Walstad's idea of "good bacteria out-competing Myco" in a healthy tank. Will this plan increase the risk of the other QT fish getting infected? Yes, however I'm not so sure that that's a bad thing, since we're already assuming they're carriers and I do have to let them die eventually so I can sterilize that tank and finally be rid of this stuff.

So, where am I in this whole process?

Overall, I'd guess that I'm at about 30-35% of the total labor involved (not counting wait-times, like when I'm waiting for the QT to cycle before I move fish and teardown the 52gal). More specifically:

-One of the 10gal tanks and one of the 2.5gal tanks are done with Step 7 of the cleaning protocol.

-The 20gal is almost done with Step 7 (still need to do the final alcohol spray).

-The equipment/decorations/gravel from those tanks are all done with Step 6 and are being prepared for Step 7 (since these chemicals aren't all that cheap on this kind of scale, I'm trying to group things together to get as much mileage out of each bottle as possible)

-The planted 10gal that all those guppies came from is currently in the middle of Step 1 (teardown/basic cleaning).

-The final 2.5gal has not yet been touched. I'm trying to figure out what I did wrong with my dry-start method HC carpet that seems to be failing, so I wanted to give it some more time to "rebound" just to see what would happen before I tore it down.

-My new-and-improved emersed-growth rig is now up and running (using both a larger container and a hybrid of artificial and natural light). I never tore down the original one that I was using to grow HC to start the big tank, so I have some HC, narrow-leaf Ludwigia, and some rather-expensive 'Red' Ludwigia that have never been exposed to the Myco that I can grow out for when I get to the point of restarting my tanks. It's only been set up for about a week, so it's still too early to tell if my hybrid-lighting plan will work. I'd eventually like to shed the artificial light altogether, but I'd like to get it established before I try that.

-I've purchased a larger UV sterilizer of Craigslist to use on the 20gal Permanent QT (the 18w Turbo Twist model), but it's coming from a salt tank and has extensive mineral deposits that I need to clean before I can put it into service.

-I'm not going to do any teardown of the main 52gal until I get the 20gal Permanent QT up and running, so I've done nothing with that so far. The fish inside it are all healthy with extremely strong coloration, so I don't think any of them have active Myco infections at the moment.

Sorry this got so lengthy! I realized it'd been a long time since I did a larger-scale strategy update, so I wanted to be thorough (especially for those who are in this same situation). As always, I welcome any comments/questions/advice you have!
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Old 03-01-2012, 02:34 PM   #86
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Sterilizing temperature for fish TB.

http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_...ycrobact11.pdf
Quote:
The resistance of mycobacteria to heat and freezing may influence its survival in
water systems and in treatment residuals. Certain thermophilic species
(M. chelonae, M. avium or M. xenopi) survive at temperatures above 55 oC;
whereas, under the same conditions, M. kansasii or M. marinum are quickly
destroyed (Merkal & Crawford 1979; Schulze-Röbbecke & Buchholtz 1992).
So heating up the tank to 55 degree celsius (131F) for a few hours might help.

But since there are other species other than M. marinum that cause fith TB.
76 degree celsius is preferred.

http://www.cfsph.iastate.edu/Factshe...um_marinum.pdf
Quote:
If trash fish or dead fish carcasses are used as a source of protein
in the feed for fish, it should be heated at 76oC for 30 minutes to
kill any pathogenic mycobacteria.
But I don't know how high the temperature our tanks could handle...
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Old 03-01-2012, 03:45 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by KH2PO4 View Post
But I don't know how high the temperature our tanks could handle...
The main interest is probably silicone, right?

Well, I find they are OK with very high temp (like 233 degree celsius).
http://www.americansealantsinc.com/a...arium-sealant/

And the "popular" choice like RTV100 series has continuous operating
temperature at 200 degree celsius.
http://www.polymax.co.uk/DataSheets/...100_Series.pdf

Hmmm. So it should not be a problem to slowly rise the temperature of
tank's water to 76c ?
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Old 03-02-2012, 04:06 PM   #88
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FlyingShawn,
I have been following this thread, and I commend you on continuing to post your experiences. It must be really hard to have to go through this. Tearing down the whole system, and the worry about the other tanks.
I appreciate all your research (and the input from others who have posted).

I have a few suggestions about re-stocking.
Sometimes there are aquarium clubs nearby where you might be able to get plants free or cheaper than buying and paying shipping.
I do not know if MB lives inside the plant tissues. Perhaps it does live on the outside, in the biofilm that is on the leaves.
If you get started with some new, young, small plants and grow them out, take cuttings and keep only the cuttings for a few times and keep on growing them in a fish-free environment this might be a way to get plants that are as MB free as possible.
Plants do not stand up well to sanitizing. But the quick dip in chlorine that removes the biofilm might be all that they need. With no fish in the tank to host the MB, and repeatedly taking only the newest growth and growing it on the plants probably grow faster than the MB spreads.

Another thought...
Several years ago I bought a product that was supposed to be a collection of beneficial bacteria (not N-cycle bacteria) that would grow in the tank and establish the colonies faster than any 'bad' bacteria. I do not know if this (or a similar product) is still available, but it might be worth looking into.
The concept is valid: Establish the 'good guys' and maintain conditions for these organisms to thrive, and the 'bad guys' tend to have very low, usually non-threatening populations. Unfortunately UV sterilizer will kill the 'good guys' as well as the 'bad', so you would need to turn off the UV until the colony was established. Still, I think this is a better approach than trying to keep the new set up as sterile as possible.
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Old 03-02-2012, 10:34 PM   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KH2PO4 View Post
The main interest is probably silicone, right?

Well, I find they are OK with very high temp (like 233 degree celsius).
http://www.americansealantsinc.com/a...arium-sealant/

And the "popular" choice like RTV100 series has continuous operating
temperature at 200 degree celsius.
http://www.polymax.co.uk/DataSheets/...100_Series.pdf

Hmmm. So it should not be a problem to slowly rise the temperature of
tank's water to 76c ?
An intriguing idea, to say the least! Also, excellent find on that WHO article; I'd have never thought to look for a source like that.

The main question on my mind: how? While the tank and silicone may be fine at that temp, I can't for the life of me come up with any ideas for how to safely get the water to that temperature and maintain it there.

The other thing that gives me pause is the spore question. Some of my sources seemed to indicate that [I]Myco{/I] could enter a spore-stage that would be resistant to those temperatures, whereas the WHO article (at least the parts I've skimmed so far) made no mention of it.

At the very least, this sort of information will greatly increase my confidence in the viability of using my oven to sterilize rocks and substrate. Thanks again!
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:01 PM   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
FlyingShawn,
I have been following this thread, and I commend you on continuing to post your experiences. It must be really hard to have to go through this. Tearing down the whole system, and the worry about the other tanks.
I appreciate all your research (and the input from others who have posted).
Thanks for the encouragement! And, I can't thank the rest of you who have responded on these threads enough; your input has been totally invaluable as I've tried to wrap my head around these problems!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
I have a few suggestions about re-stocking.
Sometimes there are aquarium clubs nearby where you might be able to get plants free or cheaper than buying and paying shipping.
I do not know if MB lives inside the plant tissues. Perhaps it does live on the outside, in the biofilm that is on the leaves.
If you get started with some new, young, small plants and grow them out, take cuttings and keep only the cuttings for a few times and keep on growing them in a fish-free environment this might be a way to get plants that are as MB free as possible.
Plants do not stand up well to sanitizing. But the quick dip in chlorine that removes the biofilm might be all that they need. With no fish in the tank to host the MB, and repeatedly taking only the newest growth and growing it on the plants probably grow faster than the MB spreads.
Excellent idea regarding using the cuttings! At this point, I'm not sure if I'm willing to accept any cross-contamination risk through the plants, but I think your idea has enough potential that I need to seriously consider it. I'm especially thinking about if I could adapt that idea to a two-stage emersed-growth idea...

Perhaps I could set up a small, "dirty" (no pun intended) emersed rig outside of my main one and plant cuttings from "contaminated" plants in it (post bleach-dip). After giving them time to grow, I'd make new cuttings from the elevated (airborne) portions of new growth (so no physical contact with the now "contaminated" dirt or water) and transfer them to my "clean" emersed rig to grow out again. The core assumption is that any Myco piggy-backing on the original plant would only spread into areas with direct water contact (ie, the dirt) and not onto the "dry" growth sticking up into the air. Thoughts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Another thought...
Several years ago I bought a product that was supposed to be a collection of beneficial bacteria (not N-cycle bacteria) that would grow in the tank and establish the colonies faster than any 'bad' bacteria. I do not know if this (or a similar product) is still available, but it might be worth looking into.
The concept is valid: Establish the 'good guys' and maintain conditions for these organisms to thrive, and the 'bad guys' tend to have very low, usually non-threatening populations. Unfortunately UV sterilizer will kill the 'good guys' as well as the 'bad', so you would need to turn off the UV until the colony was established. Still, I think this is a better approach than trying to keep the new set up as sterile as possible.
Do you by any chance recall what that product was called or how it was marketed (ie, what "purpose" it had)? As best as I can recall, I've only ever seen probiotic products related to the N-Cycle. Then again, I can't say that I've ever really looked for them either, so I'll start keeping my eyes out.

My plan for the Permanent QT was to do a complete fishless/plantless-cycle to build up the good bacteria before transferring any "dirty" material over. That way I'll be able to activate the UV unit as soon as I move the fish and plants over and it should have no adverse effect on the already-established good bacteria in the tank. What do you think?
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