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Hello Everyone, I think that my one Boesmani Rainbows has fish TB. I have been getting real into the hobby over these past few years but I’ve been getting very very bad luck, especially being in Canada I don’t have much access to fish meds. This specific tank (75 gallons, pH: 7.5, Temp: 77 Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: 0.5 Rainbowfish, Archerfish, Fancy L Plecos) has been running just fine for just under 2 years now. Before I got Rainbowfish I had Angels and Colombian Tetras which all got this random disease which caused these black growths under the scales/skin of my tetras and ended up imploding or popping their eyes, after that my angelfish got Camallanus worms which even after going to a vet couldn’t get any type of meds for, so after cleaning and sterilizing the tank it was setup with Rainbows and plecos in mind but now it seems I am faced with yet again a whole new problem that could possibly affect me aswell if I’m not careful. My fish are all fine eating not skinny not showing any unhealthy signs etc other than this one Rainbow who is still eating perfectly fine nothing much physically wrong but he has developed 2 ulcers one on each side of his body, the smaller of the 2 has not changed but the bigger one seems to have mostly healed over but also expanded a bit which was over the course of a month. I started treatment with a bit of salt and this API med which did absolutely nothing but being useless! But because it is advancing so slowly could this be TB? OR am I just dealing with a possible fungal/bacterial infection? I’m working on trying to get Nitrofurazone or Tetracycline I’ve been trying to find as much information as possible about this and it’s very conflicting so I’m wondering if anyone here ever experienced fish TB and how fast ulcers grew or if this even is TB? I’ll also be investing in a UV sterilizer to help clear things up hopefully aswell as starting methelyne blue dips. (First 3 images are when I first noticed it and last 3 are after a month)
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Water Organism Fin Fish Underwater
Water Fin Underwater Organism Fish
Water Fin Organism Underwater Fish
Hand Finger Fish Green sunfish Tail
Finger Fish Ray-finned fish Nail Electric blue
Fish Underwater Fin Sweet corn Tints and shades
 

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Let me preface this by saying that I am just about to get back into the hobby after being out for six years, so I’ve forgotten a lot. I’m also not a vet. However, yes, that could be fish TB. According to a new article in Practical Fish Keeping the bacteria (I think that’s right) that causes TB is extremely common in fish and likely about half the fish we have all owned at one time or another have carried it.* However, it usually doesn’t present so long as the fish is healthy and it’s immune system isn’t compromised. Once it is compromised the TB can take hold.

All of that said, there are some other things that sort of sore could be. I’ll see if I can dig up my disease guide but hopefully someone more knowledgeable can help. In the meantime, isolate that fish!! It sounds like you’ve already done this, so that’s great, but if not please separate this little guy. Unless he gets better he should never be placed back in the community.

From what I have read the UV sterilizer probably won’t help very much with TB. It won’t hurt, of course, but if money is tight then don’t feel so awful about putting this off if need be. I’m just about to head to bed but tomorrow I will dig out that article on fish TB and see if I can offer something more useful. You’ve already tried some of the treatments I might’ve suggested, so maybe I can find something. Best of luck, Aaron

*- I can find the citation if you’re interested in the article.
 

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I was reading up on fish TB the other day because i had a fish with dropsy and someone claimed it was TB (it is not in this fish); pretty much every article i read said two things - first it is not treatable (uv is useless for filtering out tb) and it takes a vet to determine 100% if it is tb (well basically lab tests have to be run on the tissue)).
 

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Before you go to TB diagnoses there are a lot more common ailments in the aquarium. I know that there are claims that TB is more "common" in the aquarium than once believed- ( and Im sure it is)- however, it is not near as common in the scheme of things as bacterial infections. Think columnaris, aeromonas, and pseudomonas first before TB. Not to say that TB cannot happen- but, it would not be the first pathogen I would think of when I see the pictures of your fish. To me it looks like aeromonus bacteria. A common bacteria that can take over in weakened fish.

Have you had sparring among Rainbowfish males? These could be scale injuries/scrapes that have become infected. The fish looks otherwise very healthy.
 

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Until you rule it in or out, DON'T put your unprotected hands in the tank, or touch the fish ...oops; too late. You can catch it, usually through openings in your skin. It's not the same as the TB you are accustomed to hearing about, but it can cause problems in humans, especially if you are immune compromised. Wear protective gloves and wash thoroughly after putting your hands in the tank.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Before you go to TB diagnoses there are a lot more common ailments in the aquarium. I know that there are claims that TB is more "common" in the aquarium than once believed- ( and Im sure it is)- however, it is not near as common in the scheme of things as bacterial infections. Think columnaris, aeromonas, and pseudomonas first before TB. Not to say that TB cannot happen- but, it would not be the first pathogen I would think of when I see the pictures of your fish. To me it looks like aeromonus bacteria. A common bacteria that can take over in weakened fish.

Have you had sparring among Rainbowfish males? These could be scale injuries/scrapes that have become infected. The fish looks otherwise very healthy.
Yea there is a lot of sparring especially with this guy he goes the hardest and most aggressive of all my males that’s why I didn’t think it was an injury because he’s usually the one pushing everyone around I’m thinking that your right that it’s not TB or scale damage and that it’s a bacterial infection because it’s slowly spreading to the other scales and other than that he still eats fine and seems perfectly healthy. Would Tetracycline take care of an Aeromonus infection? I’m currently in the process of trying to acquire a prescription for it.
Until you rule it in or out, DON'T put your unprotected hands in the tank, or touch the fish ...oops; too late. You can catch it, usually through openings in your skin. It's not the same as the TB you are accustomed to hearing about, but it can cause problems in humans, especially if you are immune compromised. Wear protective gloves and wash thoroughly after putting your hands in the tank.
Yea ive heard that if infected it’s a very long and costly road to recovery, from the people that I could find on other forms that were infected they usually say that it was because they had some big cuts/scrapes, I have no cuts or anything on my hands but I do always wash my hands before and especially after putting my hands in any of my aquariums.

Also if you compare the first 3 images to the last 3 (taken a month after the first 3) you can see that it kind of healed and is not as open but is starting to spread up, that’s mainly why I was wondering how fast TB possibly spreads among a host if it takes days or months.
 

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Until you rule it in or out, DON'T put your unprotected hands in the tank, or touch the fish ...oops; too late. You can catch it, usually through openings in your skin. It's not the same as the TB you are accustomed to hearing about, but it can cause problems in humans, especially if you are immune compromised. Wear protective gloves and wash thoroughly after putting your hands in the tank.
I am thoroughly annoyed at myself for not having said this earlier. My bad. However, Deanna is right: Fish TB is one of the few fish sicknesses of which I am aware that can transfer to humans.

Also, is that fish exhibiting pop eye? My apologies if this has been explored elsewhere in the thread, but if you look at the pictures (especially 4 and 10) you can see something odd with his right eye from certain angles.

I didn’t have a chance today to get my article on TB out. I will see what I can find tomorrow. As someone else noted, there are a great many other sicknesses that could be at play here as well and the fish’s eye might be important in diagnosing this problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I am thoroughly annoyed at myself for not having said this earlier. My bad. However, Deanna is right: Fish TB is one of the few fish sicknesses of which I am aware that can transfer to humans.

Also, is that fish exhibiting pop eye? My apologies if this has been explored elsewhere in the thread, but if you look at the pictures (especially 4 and 10) you can see something odd with his right eye from certain angles.

I didn’t have a chance today to get my article on TB out. I will see what I can find tomorrow. As someone else noted, there are a great many other sicknesses that could be at play here as well and the fish’s eye might be important in diagnosing this problem.
It’s all good, The way I was holding him made his eye turn/look down a bit when I took the picture, so there not anything wrong with his eye.
 

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Let me preface this by saying that I am just about to get back into the hobby after being out for six years, so I’ve forgotten a lot. I’m also not a vet. However, yes, that could be fish TB. According to a new article in Practical Fish Keeping the bacteria (I think that’s right) that causes TB is extremely common in fish and likely about half the fish we have all owned at one time or another have carried it.* However, it usually doesn’t present so long as the fish is healthy and it’s immune system isn’t compromised. Once it is compromised the TB can take hold.

All of that said, there are some other things that sort of sore could be. I’ll see if I can dig up my disease guide but hopefully someone more knowledgeable can help. In the meantime, isolate that fish!! It sounds like you’ve already done this, so that’s great, but if not please separate this little guy. Unless he gets better he should never be placed back in the community.

From what I have read the UV sterilizer probably won’t help very much with TB. It won’t hurt, of course, but if money is tight then don’t feel so awful about putting this off if need be. I’m just about to head to bed but tomorrow I will dig out that article on fish TB and see if I can offer something more useful. You’ve already tried some of the treatments I might’ve suggested, so maybe I can find something. Best of luck, Aaron

*- I can find the citation if you’re interested in the article.
Do you have a link to this article, the name, or able to quote where it is stated that "half of all fish we have owned at one time or another have been infected with TB". I would like to see where the author got that information. In other words, the peer -reviewed data that this author used to make this assessment.
 

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Do you have a link to this article, the name, or able to quote where it is stated that "half of all fish we have owned at one time or another have been infected with TB". I would like to see where the author got that information. In other words, the peer -reviewed data that this author used to make this assessment.
Yes, and thanks for reminding me. It is in:
Practical Fish Keeping, Spring 2020*
”Dealing with Fish Tuberculosis” by
Gerald Bassleer

His bio says he is biologist and fish pathologist, but I can’t say I know him, though I don’t exactly have a lot of fish pathologists in my contacts. I feel pretty certain i have zero actually.

The article itself doesn‘t have citations, but this isn’t odd for a non-academic publication. It’d be surprising if it did. However, writing to the publisher should lead to the information you’re looking for. In the article Basslear mentions a few studies, such as one from the Czech Republic showing a 58% prevalence of TB in the fish checked. This particular study, according to Basslear, was 322 freshwater aquarium fish across 36 species.

While this isn’t my academic area but I have to admit that what he is writing is compelling. I wouldn’t know enough to challenge him at least. There are some other studies mentioned, but I don’t have the time at the moment to provide more. Let me know if you can find the article, okay? If not I will see if I can provide some more.

I am curious about your feedback though. I am always eager to hear what people who know the field have to say.

FYI, I will be on the road for the next 2-3 days, so I probably won’t get back immediately.

*- the period of COVID is so funky. I picked this magazine up about two weeks ago. It has sat on the shelves for about a year and a quarter, probably with many others, as the stores sat closed. Now that they’re open it is like digging up a time capsule from a year ago.
 
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Yes, and thanks for reminding me. It is in:
Practical Fish Keeping, Spring 2020*
”Dealing with Fish Tuberculosis” by
Gerald Bassleer

His bio says he is biologist and fish pathologist, but I can’t say I know him, though I don’t exactly have a lot of fish pathologists in my contacts. I feel pretty certain i have zero actually.

The article itself doesn‘t have citations, but this isn’t odd for a non-academic publication. It’d be surprising if it did. However, writing to the publisher should lead to the information you’re looking for. In the article Basslear mentions a few studies, such as one from the Czech Republic showing a 58% prevalence of TB in the fish checked. This particular study, according to Basslear, was 322 freshwater aquarium fish across 36 species.

While this isn’t my academic area but I have to admit that what he is writing is compelling. I wouldn’t know enough to challenge him at least. There are some other studies mentioned, but I don’t have the time at the moment to provide more. Let me know if you can find the article, okay? If not I will see if I can provide some more.

I am curious about your feedback though. I am always eager to hear what people who know the field have to say.

FYI, I will be on the road for the next 2-3 days, so I probably won’t get back immediately.

*- the period of COVID is so funky. I picked this magazine up about two weeks ago. It has sat on the shelves for about a year and a quarter, probably with many others, as the stores sat closed. Now that they’re open it is like digging up a time capsule from a year ago.
Thanks for the name of the article--Ill read it. I am really interested in the studies behind the claim of 1/2 of aquarium fish having been exposed to TB. The methods used to determine these findings. The scope of the experiments/results.
I think I'm mainly dubious about such studies because they are often very limited in scope. Unfortunately, not a lot of academic/peer-reviewed studies out there being done to validate or replicate the findings of a given study in aquarium fish.

But, Im also interested in what researchers state are the implications of this. What does this mean for 98% of aquarists who have no knowledge of fish diseases, what they look like, how they act. Ive never-- in 33 years of keeping aquarium fish ( 3-6 aquariums continuously) seen anything that looked like TB in any of my fish. I have never had TB from my fish. I have never known anyone that has ever caught it --and I am in a large circle of friends at my aquarium society, online aquarium forums, Facebook pages, etc..
not saying that it doesn't happen. We have proof that it does, But, I find the worry about its transmission to hobbyists by exposure to sick fish in the freshwater aquarium is a bit hysterical.
 

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I think that this is one of those things that, not being particularly harmful and being transitory, most of us would ignore. I’ve had sores on my hands that I’ve wondered about and assigned to various activities having nothing to do with my aquariums. Perhaps fish TB was the cause. Who knows? We do know that it is possible.

There were many people (they say millions) that had the sniffles during COVID (I knew many, myself), but never sought testing or treatment, yet they had it. It simply didn’t rise to a level that they felt a need to address it.

I’ve also had more than one LFS owner claim that they’ve caught TB from their activities and have warned me to be careful. I doubt that there will ever be any studies, that are deemed worth doing, to determine the prevalence of fish TB in humans, let alone any corroborating studies. Like so much of this hobby, it will all likely remain anecdotal.

I’m not going to read the nominal studies, but if any of you happen to see any comments about whether or not immunity is imparted by having contracted it, I would be interested in your report.
 
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