Fish Tb Or Not?

  • #1

This is my first post so please bear with me, also my native language is spanish.

I have had a 25g tank for about a year now, tank is well seasoned and the parameters are pretty stable.
0 ammonia and nitrites and always about 1 or less in nitrates, with bi-weekly water changes, done to keep detritus in control, I bet the tank would keep stable for a month or more if I let it.

The tank is planted mostly with a generous amount of anubias, arcuata, elodea, java moss and some floating duckweed, all plants show clear signs of healthy growth.

There is also some pieces of drift wood that came in since the tank was set up and the substrate is just plain black generic pebbles.

About 15 guppies of varying sizes.
100+ Cherry shrimp
25+ Ramshorm snails
1 pecoltia plecostomus

What is the problem?
Well, I was researching about fish rooms and stumbled upon information of fish TB and some pictures and posts, and my adult female guppies do show what you would call a hunchback, I had attributed this before to old age and pregnancy stress, but now that I'm reading about TB I'm super concerned about my tank being infected.
But I am no expert, I barely got back into the hobby a year ago. So I do not want to jump to conclusions and clean out a healthy colony.

The tank started with 9 adult guppies and so far I have produced around 30-40, out of which 5 had clear bent spines and got culled. Please note I do not separate fry or pregnant females, my input is only feeding, culling and water maintenance. I sell healthy offspring to a local aquarium, so the number of fry I've had are due to natural selection basically.

I've had a single loss in that year which I attribute to a septicemia outbreak, thankfully I was able to treat it and had no further losses nor subsequent outbreaks.

Currently none of my guppies show adverse symptoms, they are pretty active, swim fast, eat, etc, do you think that maybe I am being premature at thinking TB might be there? Could it be just a humpback due to inbreeding and old age?
I can't find how fast TB would decimate a tank, but since I haven't had a real loss in about 10 months either my fish are super tb resistant, or they don't have it.

Although the internet is such a wealth of information, most of it is jumbled up with opinions and ideas that contradict each other, and I can barely answer the simplest of questions.

What do you think? Should I clear the tank?

Extra note: I plan to start a nano fish room by re-purposing an unused bathroom in the house, I can set 3 20 gallon cube tanks in it, and planned to add some of my guppies with new specimens to clear the gene pool a bit, but I don't want TB to start with.

Thanks for your time
  • #2
I've never had a female develop the hunch back due to age, only due to mycobacteria (TB). My experience is that it TB is way more common than people realize, but that good water parameters and culling keep the disease at bay. Females develop the disease more often than males as continual pregnancy and dropping fry (ie., normal life activities as a livebearer) stress them out. I would cull any females that get a hunch back and become gaunt. Wear gloves and generally avoid putting your bare hands in the tank. Make sure the water is as good as possible, and you'll be fine.
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  • #3
Thanks for taking the time to reply.

Now I am freaking out though, should I effectively consider that colony as lost? Including plants, invertebrates, fish?

My biggest female which is the same one that shows the hunchback is easily 6-7cm in length, maybe she is beyond old or very inbred? How come I have no losses? How come I've not been infected? I have been handling the tank for a year with no gloves I should at some point had a cut, or wound.
Also the pleco and a platty I failed to mention have no problem, nor due the male guppies.

Is there a way to test accurately for TB? Just to be sure?

I'm sorry, I'm very sad right now, I have been caring for this tank like a baby, and it is hitting me hard that if TB doesn't really show symptoms until late in the game, how would I ever know? How can you be safe with any source for fish? Quarantine measures won't work unless you quarantine for a year or more. God.
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  • #4

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  • #5
I just culled my two biggest females, had to, even if it's TB or just inbred issues, they showed the hunchback very profusely, not sure what to do now, I don't want the tank to die, but it seems I'll have to isolate it completely unless I can confirm accurately that it is not TB.
I shared some quick photos I just took, please let me know what you think.
It will take me some time to prepare the bathroom for the new tanks, maybe by then I can know if I will need to get new breeding pairs isolated from this original tank. I really hoped this tank would populate a larger room in the future .

Can I move the invertebrates?
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  • #6
I guess no one has an opinion, oh well.

I have decided to let this tank live, however, I will not move anything from it to the new tanks, they will have another breed of guppies and shrimp, if it is TB, which I suspect it isn't it will not be able to infect the other tanks.

Thanks for your help.

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