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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Can you please help me diagnose this fish? I'm trying to see if I need to euthanize if he's contagious. He's eating ok. Celestial pearl danio in school of 8, lightly stocked planted 20 long. Does have high pH. Ideas? Thanks!
 

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Does that fish have a bent spine? From the pic it looks like it may but cant tell for sure. If the fish has a bent spine it may have fish tb and would need to be qt'ed for treatment. Possibly euthanized as it is difficult to treat.
 

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Was it that way when you got it? It looks like fish TB but there is a possibility that it's a congenital defect, in which case it would be harmless. I once had a guppy with "fish scoliosis" who was born with a bent spine...and all his fry were, too. He did not have the emaciated, 'sunken belly' look of a fish infected with TB. If you're not sure, though, it's probably best to euthanize your fish now.
 

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I've had a couple zebra danios with this bent spine (unfortunately they go downhill after they start curving like this). I don't know that it's fish TB or simply general mediocre health/inbreeding of Petsmart fish. I suspect the latter, as I've never seen this in any of my other fish in my 50g (all other fish in the tank came from LFS).
 

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I'd isolate it no matter what . Could be columnaris or fish TB as said before , or , if you've had the fish for a while ( 6 months or more ) could be just age related decline, i.e. the fish is 'wearing out' . See this kind of thing in my killies occasionally when they're a couple of years old .
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It wasn't always this way, and definitely seems to have a sunken belly and be worsening. He swims and is eating, but it sounds like I need to euthanize. Bummer. He's maybe six months at most. Should I expect others in the tank to be infected??? I think the water is darn clean... Thanks for the info.

Bump: Holy sh*T, I just looked this up and people can easily catch it, and it looks darn dangerous, and I shouldn't get my hands wet Werth the water??! I will euthanize today. Now I'm worried for the tank. Anyone have experience to share?
 

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Ive never dealt with this. A friend of mine who doesnt maintain his tank as meticulously as I would a gourami with it. He let it die along with a few other fish, most survived. There are medicines out there but it is months long treatment from what I have read and the spine curvature is permanent if the fish does survive. I read several posts on other forums by users who euthanized the whole tank and did a bleach cleaning of everything, that seems to be a consensus of most writings on fish tb. I'm curious what your maintenance schedule is on this tank?

Edit: If it is fish tb I have read you can try treating the fish with Kanamyacin according to some reading, I'm sure those more experienced with weigh in. So far you are not positive it is fish tb. I think a confirmation would be in order, at least some certainty before you nuke the whole tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It looked like possible fish TB, so I euthanized him (clove oil method). His color and scales looked great, but the sunken belly was noticeable (see pics) plus spine curving. The rest look fine, I dunno... I'll keep a close eye.

It's a well-planted 20long with 8 cpd's, 2 kubotai (I know they need more to be happy) and 3 threadfin rainbows (that I'm trying to rehome). Cherry red shrimp, one nerite, MTS and a few pond snails (never had an outbreak where they're even noticeable) with a 40 gallon sized sponge filter and low flow powerhead. So very understocked and over filtered. I do a 25% water charge once a week including vacuuming up most mulm. The tank is so clean that there are no nitrates unless I fertilize (which I do every couple of weeks at most).

So I think it's too clean, if anything...?! Dunno. Worried. Afraid to do a water change now bc I don't have good gloves. Thinking treat w KanaPlex even though fish appear healthy??
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
"During the initial MB outbreak, I used UV sterilizers and euthanized fish showing distress. After the outbreak I believe that normal competition from ordinary bacteria gradually crowded out the remaining NTM pathogens. My aquariums, which all contain soil, snails, and plants, inevitably provide considerable nutrients and organic debris to support normal bacterial growth. Unlike disinfected, ultra-clean tanks, my tanks do not enrich the NTM population."
Mycobacteriosis, the Stealth Disease | Details | Articles | TFH Magazine®

So I might need a uv sterilizer? How to put one in a 20g w a sponge filter w powerhead?
It is a soil-based tank...
 

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Kens fish:
UV Sterilizers

They have hob uv sterilizers and in tank. Might want to read reviews to see how well they work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok, I'll look into the UV if others develop symptoms, thanks for the links.

Any thoughts on the kind of gloves I should use that are aquarium safe? I've always just rolled up my sleeves and gotten wet, but now I know...
 

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I've never done it, but I've read that sometimes you can take a sick fish to a vet who will euthanized the fish, then diagnose what it has. I have no idea how much it would cost to do something like this, but if you have a lot of money already invested in a well planted tank it might be worth it. Just something to keep in mind if any of the others go down hill. Hopefully this will be the last you see of it.
 

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@TankPlanter

How long have you had the fish? Has the fish always had a slightly curved spine since you got it? Or when did it suddenly develop?
To be honest, the spine barely looks curved, and if the fish were to fatten up, it may look perfectly straight.

Hope I'm not too late.

There are many possible reasons for a deformed spine, all of which are more likely than fish Tuberculosis (Mycobacterium), seeing how cases of fish TB are rare.

Read this article on fish TB
TB in Fish, Mycobacterium Tuberculosis; Bettas & more

Here is a report of a man who was infected with Mycobacterium marinum (fish TB) Note the man was older with already existing health issues and compromised immune system and still infection was not harmful as most would think TB would do (in short fish TB may just cause skin irritation) -scientific report found by benealing- Thanks!
Mycobacterium marinum infection [eScholarship]

I have never seen a case where a whole tank of fish would get infected even if a fish did have confirmed TB. It is contagious, but not as easily as many suggest.

With all that said, just from looking at the picture, I strongly don't believe the fish has TB. Fish can develop deformed spines from lack of nutrition (especially when young). Given that the CPD has a very sunken belly, to me indicates the fish has internal parasites, which steal nutrition the fish takes in, leaving barely any nutrition for the fish. Since he (male) is eating that is a good sign he still has some strength left and still has a good chance to recover if treated with a antiparasitic med. Parasites are contagious as well and so it is best to treat the whole tank.

Praziquantel (found in Hikari PraziPro) and Metronidazole (found in Seachem MetroPlex/Aquazole) are common antiparasitic meds that are pretty gentle on fish, and are safe for plants and inverts, so no need to worry about using them in main tanks.

I have also gotten fish that had "wasting disease" (internal parasites) and it appeared do to their sunken bellies causing an imbalance and being weak from lack of absorbed nutrition, they did appear to sort of swim slightly tail-standing (head slightly aimed up), and it seems they did develop a hunch to compensate or just as a result of that along with poor nutrition. I did treat them and they did fatten back up and lived happy long lives.

To keep the fish lasting longer until deworming meds come, you can overfeed the guy, that way he gets more chances of actually getting nutrition and not it all stolen by parasites.

Again, I highly highly doubt this is fish TB. You can quarantine if you want, but I would hold off on euthanizing. There are many different reasons a fish can have a deformed spine, all of which are of no real harm to any other fish, and even with a deformed spine, the fish can live a good long life. The fish does clearly have a sunken belly, so I would treat the whole tank for parasites (even if you remove the fish).
 

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@WaterLife I made the same suggestion, to qt and treat, but I think he posted he already euthanized the fish.
 

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@thedood Shoot. Thanks for pointing that out. I read the post where he did already euthanize it.


To the OP,

Well anyways, in the first article I linked, it mentions Neomycin (found in Seachem NeoPlex) being a useful treatment for treating Mycobacterium marinum (fish TB). Though it's not a easy treatment.

If you still have the fish body, you could possibly take it to a veterinary clinic or research team at a college and have them identify whether or not the fish has Mycobacterium marinum.
Not sure how to go about preserving the body so that the bacteria is still present to be found. You could call and ask them how to go about doing so. Now idea how much the test might cost, but it may be worth it rather than the cost, time and labor to treat the tanks and equipment (though if it was confirmed TB, treatment would still be necessary). Difficult treatments can be a big headache.

I guess one way to test if it's TB is to rub an exposed flesh area of the fish onto your own skin (an exposed cut/flesh would be quicker) and see if a rash/skin irritation develops. As noted, as long as you are in good health, it should be no real worry. Not that I am recommending doing this, but I do see how it could be done. But I am sure you have already exposed your hands/skin in contact with the possibly infected water already. (hands, particularly around the finger nails practically always have some sort of cut that is vulnerable).

I really do doubt it's fish TB. You could also watch over your fish if they develop TB. Purposely stressing/weakening your fish's immune system would kick the disease progression in overdrive and so you would see signs a lot sooner than in a healthy fish.

Just saying. It is still wise to be cautious though.
 

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@WaterLife I had made the fish tb suggestion as I have seen it before but only once. I had asked the op his tank maintenance schedule because I think myco. is usually found in poorly maintained tanks and where the fish has been injured and in the one case I have seen was in a less than optimally maintained tank where the fish had been injured. Not that I am in a situation where I have access to dozens of different tanks.

Folks at work ask me what I am doing on a weekend and I say working on my aquariums and I have been asked why I spend so much time cleaning them and this is why. It is easier to maintain them than try and fix them when there is a disease outbreak due to poor water quality, a lot cheaper as well. The op said he does regular water changes so it isnt fool proof but may well have kept the issue, be it tb or a parasite, from spreading to other fish. I hate it for the op, cpd are beautiful fish.
 

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This article is a good one on fish TB (Mycobacterium marinum and Mycobacterium triplex)
TB in Fish, Mycobacterium Tuberculosis; Bettas & more
Read from the 6th paragraph.

I don't believe Mycobacterium is always present, developing in every water body, no matter how dirty the tank is. Pretty much only there if brought in from an infected source. I am not sure if or how long this bacteria can remain alive without a host.

Poorly maintained tanks are always more likely to have any number of disease outbreaks due to water quality being low, which in turn weakens the immune system of the fish making them more susceptible to any infection. Also in a poorly maintained tank, there is excess build up of detritus/mulm/debris that can cause tank health to decline, not just nitrogen levels, but they indirectly deplete oxygen (which in itself causes more bacteria species), breeds more bacteria, etc, etc, making the tank unstable. Poorly maintained tanks and the fish within those tanks are more prone to issues (compromised immune system), but some diseases are only there if they are brought in from an infected source.

As pointed out in the article, old and/or weak fish can still show similar symptoms (curved spine) purely from being weak and unhealthy, without having fish TB (Mycobacterium). Just there are a lot of possible causes of deformed spines, and given that actual cases of confirmed fish TB are rare, the other possible causes for deformed spines are much higher. Fish TB is still a real thing, but it's highly unlikely.

But good thing is, it's not highly contagious if fish are healthy (good water quality) and doesn't pose much danger to humans, despite how dangerous fish TB is made out to be by other sources. So even if this really is fish TB, it might not be of much concern.

If you are serious on sorting this out, analyzing for the bacteria is really recommended. You can check if you really have Mycobacterium to begin with. If you do, you can treat (again it is a long and difficult treatment, at least if keeping the fish alive), then get everything tested again after treatment is finished to confirm whether or not the bacteria is no more. If the fish and water are infected, they may remain infected and ultimately contaminated, so they would pose risk to infecting anything they touched, so they would pose a danger if you were to ever rehome any fish or give away any used equipment without first sterilizing everything.

It's a tough call. Whether taking the challenge of treating TB (a long procedure that requires caution spreading the source, often times being unsuccessful), euthanizing all fish and sterilizing everything to be certain or just leaving everything as they be risking that they might be contagious. Guess it wouldn't hurt to call veterinarians or specialized groups/labs what they think and how much it would cause to test. If you get the test done and you find out it's not Mycobacterium, then great, no need to treat for it.

Again, I am not saying it's impossible to be fish TB, just stating that it's unlikely. Only real way to confirm Mycobacterium is to ID it under a scope.
I still would recommend treating for internal parasites. I might edge toward Metronidazole over Praziquantel.
 
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