Iridovirus crossover

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by junebug, Aug 3, 2015.

  1. junebugFishlore LegendMember

    Hi all, just wanted to let everyone have a warning. Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with Iridovirus (Dwarf Gourami disease).

    I just heard from a friend on facebook that Iridovirus is now crossing over to South American species. Previously the virus was only found in Asian species. Most of them had natural immunities to it. South American species do not have any antibodies for the virus, as they haven't been exposed to it before.

    The virus has been found in south american species sold at the big box stores all over the US, indicating that it likely originates at the farms they buy from. Guppies appear particularly susceptible, as well as the more sensitive corydoras species. The virus takes several months to manifest visible symptoms, so it can get past the standard QT.

    Initial symptoms are red, swollen gills, loss of appetite, and erratic swimming. There isn't a cure, but apparently Iridovirus is a retrovirus. My buddy once worked in healthcare and had some old HIV meds lying around from earlier days. Apparently he had success using some of the antiretrovirals to treat one of his tanks. But, there's no treatment commonly available yet.

    Anyway, I'm gonna see if he can send me any documentation on the issue, but just wanted to get the warning out there.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015
  2. ToniaWell Known MemberMember

    Oh that is terrible. Thanks for the warning, JB

  3. JsigmoWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks for the heads up.

    Things constantly evolve. And the whole business of supplying fish for the aquarium trade obviously can contribute to this sort of thing.

  4. junebugFishlore LegendMember

    I think it's more an issue of the husbandry (or lack thereof) practices at both the wholesalers and stores causing the issue. Iridovirus was not found in South American species at all until very recently. I mean up until last year, never having encountered it myself, I honestly just assumed it only affected DGs. Now I know it *can* affect all fish, but usually is only found in DGs because of the high level of inbreeding in aquarium specimens.

    Now, however, it's made the jump to guppies (another highly inbred fish) and some species of Cory. To my understanding, it's only the most sensitive species of Cory that have been affected thus far. Skunk Cories are susceptible for certain. I know a guy who's discovered it in his skunk cories.

    I would assume that mollies, swordtails and platies are all at the same risk as guppies, as they're all bred basically the same way, to the same extent, at the fish farms. However, any fish that eats a fish who's died of iridovirus is likely to contract it, since just about all of the fish at those farms/stores also have mycobacteria, or are carriers, which means their immune systems are already weak.

    My friend is trying to get some documentation from the farms near him, and from some friends he knows in the business. But the petstores (that I'm not allowed to name, apparently) appear to want to keep this hush hush. Their biologists wouldn't really address the issue when asked about it (that's right, those scary stores with the scary health issues and scary fishkeeping practices all have biologists working for their corporate masters, one for each type of animal they sell).

    I guess the one good thing is, as far as I know, humans can't contract Iridovirus. So with any luck, no more 19year old employees will be having pieces of their hand chopped off to prevent diseases spreading to the rest of their body.

  5. RivieraneoModeratorModerator Member

    June, first I've heard of this, but sounds rather gossipy versus factual. I've read of disease outbreaks at farms that have affected stock availability until controlled, but feel this may be an issue where a larger then normal amount of fish exhibiting symptoms similar to irido have died versus being an outbreak. We're any of the fishes who exhibited symptoms tested at a lab?
  6. junebugFishlore LegendMember

    We're still waiting to hear back from the biologists at the big box stores, wholesalers, and the disease specialist at the food fish farm a buddy of mine knows. Not surprisingly, the big box store biologists aren't being very forthcoming with information.

    I wouldn't call it gossipy, really. There's documentation out there of numerous cases of Iridovirus crossing into other species than DGs. Not to mention the success had in treating it with antiretrovirals.

    The warning I got was from one of the "big guys" in hobbyist medication development (most of the fish meds we use today were developed by hobbyists with a background in medicine, like this particular buddy of mine). He's actually sent off his information and test results to a lab to be analyzed to see if an effective medication can be synthesized.

    And apparently the fish at the big box's wholesalers were confirmed as having the virus in their labs... which means a widespread issue, which has been building up for a while. Months ago, just here on FL we had a bunch of people reporting a "mysterious illness" with their petstore guppies. I can't say for sure obviously without lab tests, but I personally suspect this is the culprit behind all that.
  7. DoubleDutchFishlore LegendMember

    Last edited: Aug 19, 2015
  8. DoubleDutchFishlore LegendMember

    Mmm not as Guppy-specific as I thought.
    Though it is commonly known als Guppy-killer.
    Same issue with Neon Tetra Disease (affecting all species) !!
  9. RivieraneoModeratorModerator Member

    Without an absolute diagnosis through a lab, it can very easy to speculate death by any disease by which similar cross symptoms to others disease are exhibited. For some time, many unexplained fish deaths were blamed on fish TB when in fact, the deaths were in result of other issues. I like to wait until an absolute diagnosis. junebug, I know you have a local fish doctor, any chance she will examine a fish for you?
  10. junebugFishlore LegendMember

    My vet has examined fish for me, but I don't have any fish with suspected Iridovirus, likely because I either buy from private breeders, or wild caught fish. None of mine are sick :p

    This was just a warning post about a known issue. Hopefully there will be a response from one of the folks we contacted, but I wouldn't count on it. They seemed pretty intent on not making it any more public than it already is.
  11. DoubleDutchFishlore LegendMember

    junebug are vets equipped to find viruses ?
    I always thought there was more to that.
    I agree lot of diseases will be viral (btw lymphocystis also is an iridovirus).
    Not all virusspecies and not all fishspecies will show the same symptoms.
    DG's were thought to be prone to TB, Boesemani Rainbows still are, CPD's showing "strange" symptoms, neons have specific issues (mouthgrowths) etc etc..
    Think the trade (and maybe us humans) may be destroying our hobby for a big part.
  12. junebugFishlore LegendMember

    My vet examined fish for me that had parasites, not viruses. He sends out samples to a lab for severe bacterial issues and viral infections, particularly when the symptoms could potentially mean many different things.
  13. DoubleDutchFishlore LegendMember

    Ahhh okay!! I got it !

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