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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I've recently discovered that my fish tend to suffer from mycobacteriosis after reading an article by diana walstad. It sounds like a UV sterilizer helps prevent the disease from spreading.

http://www.bookmasters.com/marktplc/00388mycoarticle.pdf

I lost all my rainbows (2 different species) a couple years ago and other fish as well over time. I would like to prevent this from happening again!

Here's what I have for the tank:
-48g bowfront
-sand/soil/gravel mixture w/ the intention of growing more plants
-eheim 2217 canister filter
-sponge filter
-finnex 36" led fixture (coming soon)

I've been looking at sterilizers and I want one that connects to my canister filter unless the submerged ones are superior in some way.

Can anyone shed some more light on this subject? Or even suggest a specific UV Sterilizer? I don't want to go too cheap with one, but something under $100 would be perfect for a low wattage unit.

Thank you
 

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A inline UV will have too much flow for it to be effective in the ways you want it to be, not to mention most everything else too. It's all about dwell time, the water being exposed to the light. Generally lower the GPH the better.

Here's a pretty good article thats always updated, this being as of yesterday.

http://americanaquariumproducts.com/AquariumUVSterilization.html
 

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I would say go with the aquatop in tank pumps but they have doubled in price over the last couple of months. Whatever you go for make sure it's at the lowest setting though as you want very low flow for the UV to do it's job properly.
 

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Hey snakeman1989-

I have been using the Green Killing Machine 9watt version for about 2 years now and it's still going strong. It has a low flow rate so it does a great job with killing pathogens. It is also rated for up to a 50gallon aquarium. I payed $50.00 for it at Petsmart. I would definitely consider this product for your needs:red_mouth I would run the uv-sterilizer for a week and make sure to keep your aquarium clean. I forgot to mention, giving your fish a well rounded diet helps their immune system significantly.
Best of luck with everything!
 

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Hey snakeman1989-

I have been using the Green Killing Machine 9watt version for about 2 years now and it's still going strong. It has a low flow rate so it does a great job with killing pathogens. It is also rated for up to a 50gallon aquarium. I payed $50.00 for it at Petsmart. I would definitely consider this product for your needs:red_mouth I would run the uv-sterilizer for a week and make sure to keep your aquarium clean. I forgot to mention, giving your fish a well rounded diet helps their immune system significantly.
Best of luck with everything!
Petco has it right now for $40 and looks interesting. Does it have adjustable flow?
 

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I'm not going to get into the full details within this post but offer a guide link. The myco issue you are dealing with and what D.W. has put forward in the linked write up while on topic contain gaps on the full detail of really dealing with it. Fish don't gain immunity as one point researchers at UF will disagree with.

AquaUV 15w units will work great to aid in limiting problems but after months of reading research and with the aid of several doctors working in the field I suggest you clean your system and restart. Otherwise you'll never be clear of the original problem.

Consider reading this:
http://www.angelfish.net/VBulletin/showthread.php?t=30800
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just read some of the info on the angelfish forum... Now I truly do not know what to do. My tank is currently sitting empty in the basement, but sterilizing everything including substrate, already established sponge/canister filters, and plants sounds like a nightmare. Nor does it sound like it would be quick.

I must say that I do feed my fish a varied diet often.
I do know that the UV Sterilizer will only help prevent the bacteria from spreading even in a clean, established tank. That's what I'm going for. I know I cannot treat the fish and completely get rid of the problem.

I am wary of the Green Killing Machine since online reviews tell of it shorting out or being very difficult to clean. I can get one for $40, which might not be a bad start. I plan on having the tank setup for a long time though, so I'd rather have a unit that may be more expensive but cheaper to replace specific parts.

Has anyone had luck with the Turbo Twist sterilizers??
 

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Yeah, i bought the turbo twist right after it came out over a decade ago, and still use it. I use the 9 watt paired with a rio pump at the moment. I also use a aquanetics 18 watt on a 180 gal.
 

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I've used the 9 watt JBJ Submariner UV for several years in my 75 gal, and have been very satisfied with it's operation. Stand-alone unit, compact, easy to clean/change UV bulb. A great piece of equipment.
 

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If you're looking for a UV take Wkndracer's advice and go with an Aqua UV. They're an item where you get what you pay for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So I looked for the JBJ and found a SunSun filter that looks exactly the same.

http://www.amazon.com/SunSun-JUP-01-Sterilizer-Submersible-Filter/dp/B008ADUVWQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1371081283&sr=8-2&keywords=jbj+submariner+uv+sterilizer

Looked at the Aqua UV as well and that might be my first choice.
The turbo twist ones sound like they would work just fine, but I'm not so sure about Coralife products anymore. I've had two t5 fixtures that keep blowing bulbs, which I've replaced and they subsequently burned out within a shorter period of time.
 

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I lost all my rainbows (2 different species) a couple years ago and other fish as well over time. I would like to prevent this from happening again!
Connection problems caused me to lose a detailed reply (hate that :mad:)!
If this system has remained wet even without fish at any point the threat myco is still just that,,, a threat. (not opinion but fact)
If you don’t break the system down and completely (and correctly) disinfect it please respect the hobby by treating it as a closed loop system. A closed loop system in this context meaning that anything that goes into this tank doesn’t come back out to be shared with anyone else. No fish returned to a pet store, traded or sold. No plants or trimmings sold or given to another hobbyist. Even heaters, filters, hose, rocks and nets, anything that’s splashed water in a myco tank needs to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before it can see use anywhere else or it needs to land in a trash can.
Whenever you are done working in the tank wash with hot water and a good soap followed by wetting the exposed skin with greater than 70% rubbing alcohol for roughly 1 minute. Unless your immune system is compromised the risks are extremely low aquatic myco will transfer but it is still considered a risk within the medical profession. Mycobacteriosis is the worst threat to our hobby I’ve encountered to date. AND the most misunderstood. (Ignore 99% of what you read reported on the web)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
At this point, the tank has been taken down and dried twice within the past 2 months. I had to tear it down before due to a leak and before I moved. It's sitting in my basement now dried up.

The gravel has been washed and sits dried already, but I'm going to use mostly new substrate when I set it up again. The existing gravel I use, if at all, I will probably boil it or rinse it with hot water and vinegar possibly.

I've always thoroughly washed my hands after working in my tanks, however I usually work on multiple tanks simultaneously and don't wash my hands in between tanks. That is a problem!

Are there any other good, recent sources I could look at about the Myco problem? I really want to understand fully what's going on, especially if it is very prevalent in tanks.

I will keep in mind the closed-loop system. In theory, does drying any possibly affected items (such as rocks, nets, filters) effectively kill any of the bacteria? I would assume since it is an aquatic bacteria, that drying everything out would destroy any aquatic bacteria unless they go into some sort of dormant stage.
 

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Are there any other good, recent sources I could look at about the Myco problem? I really want to understand fully what's going on, especially if it is very prevalent in tanks.
What we are talking about is "micro", "itty bitty" bacteria and it's tough as nails so no, dried out for a week or a year I wouldn't sleep good at night without further cleaning knowing what I've learned since being confronted with a known exposure last year. Myco is everywhere in many forms but a few are problem makers, those are the focus point.

The reason traditional bleach treatments won't work is because myco has a cell wall that is very resistant to oxidation. Coated with biofilm it can survive dry a very long time. The only points covered in my thread on TAFF II (in my posts) are fact based. I do have more presently and need to update but no time to do it. The links contained in that thread are the most current in public release. How do I know that? I've met and currently receive guidance from the following people regarding anything I post about myco:

Dr. B. D. Petty, DVM. (Primary)
Aquaculture Extension Large Animal Clinical Sciences, CVM
Program in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, SFRC
University of Florida.

Dr. Thomas B. Waltzek
Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathology
College of Veterinary Medicine

Dacelin St. Martin, MD, FAAP
Board Certified In Pediatrics
Board Certified Internal Medicine​
Board Certified in Sleep Medicine
Specially Trained in Anti-Aging

Dr. St Martin published the following:
Mycobacterium Marinum in Connecticut.
Report of four Cases Connecticut Medicine Journal 2003; 67(2): 333-335

Emerging Significance of Mycobacterium Avium-Complex Infection in an Inner City Hospital.
Journal of Connecticut State Medical Society (Connecticut Medicine) June 2002, Volume 66, number 6, Page 323-330

Also presenter on the following:
Trends and Clinical Significance of Acid Fast Bacilli Isolates at a US teaching hospital.
Presented at ACP/ASIM 2000 Spring Session Connecticut Chapter.
Also Presented at Science Symposium 2000 at Bridgeport Hospital.

Mycobacterium Marinum Disease: A Case series Report and Literature Review. Presented at ACP/ASIM 2000 Spring Session Connecticut Chapter.
Also presented At Science Symposium 2000 At Bridgeport Hospital.

I have complete faith in the information I am being provided and posting for reveiw.
 

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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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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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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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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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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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