Myco? Help

  1. TJBender Well Known Member Member

    I've been away from FL for a while, mostly because I've been going through a massive fish die-off with no obvious reason why. I had an issue with nitrates in my tap water for a long time, but that seems to have subsided. For a while now, one tank in particular has been continuing to suffer die-offs as things have stabilized elsewhere. I've long suspected myco but I'm afraid I've got my confirmation in the form of a glowlight tetra with a crooked spine. Pictures and a video below:

    2014-07-25 13.53.27.jpg 2014-07-25 13.53.46.jpg

    If it is myco, how trashed am I? I've managed to make it this far in fishkeeping without a myco outbreak, but that's been my primary grow-out tank for plants. No joke, of my nine tanks, only two are theoretically not infected by virtue of not having any plants or fish moved back and forth, but even those two tanks have used the same siphon that has gone into tanks which definitely did have plants moved into them. My fear is that the myco's been there for an unknown amount of time, but the nitrate issue stressed the fish in that particular tank (and possibly one other where a pair of gouramis died, though they died during a period of extremely high nitrates and little I could do about it) to the point that the myco became active.

    If it is myco, the only humane solution would seem to be euthanizing everything in the 20 that is showing definite symptoms (so basically, 10 glowlights, four surviving flame tetras, one surviving cory and Doomsday, my DG buddy) and effectively quarantining every other tank I own for as long as the fish are alive.

    Poo, check that. My 10g sparkling gourami/pygmy cory tank is infected by way of some water sprite that was moved over from an infected 10. So basically, my 2g RCS tank is probably not infected, and that's it.

    If it is myco, I'm done with fish. Ever since the floods last September, keeping these things alive and healthy has been challenge after challenge, and I'm sick of seeing people do less than the bare minimum for comically-overstocked tanks have no issues while I've spent all kinds of time and money on these fish since those floods, and I'm euthanizing a couple of fish a week as a result.
  2. poeticinjustices Well Known Member Member

    I just wanted to state it publicly.

    I'm sorry :(
    endlercollector has offered a lot of great information on mycos around here lately. Maybe EC can help you out.

  3. endlercollector Fishlore VIP Member

    I am so sorry to say that this is TB, and you are the third person that I have said this to resend the past two days. Many of us have been struggling with the same problems for so long. It is very hard to keep up the energy.
  4. TJBender Well Known Member Member

    Thanks EC, I had figured as much. The symptoms fit, and seeing the bent spine kind of confirmed it for me.

    Given that at least eight of my nine tanks are now infected with myco, is there really anything to be done other than euthanizing the 20 and waiting for the other fish (all of which seem healthy) to start showing signs?

  5. SW5 Well Known Member Member

    Oh no, really sorry about this, I wish there was a cure to it... It would seem that there have been a lot of myco cases lately, across multiple forums. A chain store near me is also infected by something, nobody is sure what it is yet, but it looks like myco to me. I wonder why there have been so many cases... Sorry, didn't mean to hijack the thread.

    I don't really know what to say, except I'm terribly sorry...
  6. endlercollector Fishlore VIP Member

    Sorry to say that you are in the same position that I am in. I have been following the same quarantine procedures as the lab where I got the Endler's from.

    Yes, it would be best to euthanize the fish that are showing symptoms. Keep the water conditions good for your other fish and feed them well. Avoid cross-contamination, do not medicate, and separate or euthanize fish that become sick. You could try using a level one UV sterilizer. I still need to write my post about that; things just keep coming up today.
  7. TJBender Well Known Member Member

    EC, could I trouble you to summarize those prodecures (or link to a post where you've done so)? Myco is completely new ground for me, and as tempting as it is to just hit the power button, euthanize the tank and be done with it, I'm struggling with the idea of euthanizing a bunch of fish that appear to still be in good health--and really not looking forward to the day when I have to euthanize Doomsday. He's going to get a 5g retirement home tonight, free from the fast-moving tetras, myco be darned.

    Edit to add:

    Squelch it all. I just read the Walstad article. Emaciation, dropsy, blackened skin, bloating, and now spinal deformities. All symptoms I've seen in the fish that have died (though not all in the same fish). I've run completely out of possible explanations in my desire to prove that it's not myco; it is. I'm now quite certain that I'll be euthanizing the 20 that most affected (except Doomsday--he gets a 5g hospice tank to himself). Is there any way to sterilize the plants and driftwood, or is there too much risk of something surviving and being transmitted? I'm already planning on disposing the water and gravel and sanitizing the tank itself, filter and the one piece of decor in there. I'm not yet sure if that's in an effort to restart and put a single, hardy fish in there (like a paradise fish) or just to feel good about selling the setup.

  8. endlercollector Fishlore VIP Member

    Sorry for the delay in getting up that post on living with mycobacteria. I Have been going crazy this afternoon trying to use voice recognition software in windows and have finally given up, so I'm back on my cell phone.

    It sounds like saving your favorite guy and keeping him in a permanent quarantine tank is the way to go. As for putting down the other fish, I understand as this has happened to me in the past and will happen again. It is sometimes necessary.

    Euthanizing a lot of fish and even an entire tank is extremely difficult emotionally but can be done with planning. This thing is to avoid panicking the fish and yourself. I recommend turning off all unnecessary lights. Put some tank water or dechlorinated water in a bucket, using only as much as well comfortably fit the fish. Do not give them any extra swimming space. Shake in enough clove oil so that you can see spots of it on the surface of the water. You can cover up the sides of the tank by taping paper bags or draping towels. You can use trays or cookie baking sheets to create different sections in the tank. Dividing the tank in this manner will give you better control of the situation, and that will keep both you and the fish as calm as possible. If you need to, you can put fish one at a time into a dip n pour to study them individually before deciding to put them down or else you can put them one by one straight into the bucket. It is hard, that the faster that you can do this without too much hesitation, the less they will suffer. They will feel your attention through the net and the water. If you find that it is getting to be too stressful, it is actually better for you and for them to simply walk away from the tank and take a break until you are ready to continue in a methodical way.

    As for tearing down and rebuilding, I recommend doing the first and waiting on the second for a while until you have been able to figure out all the logistics of avoiding cross-contamination. I will discuss that in the thread that I am going to get started.
  9. TJBender Well Known Member Member

    Thanks EC. Doomsday gets a retirement home, but I'm not interested in watching 14 tetras slowly die off. Is there a way to sterilize and save plants and driftwood, or do they just get trashed?
  10. endlercollector Fishlore VIP Member

    Plants and Driftwood cannot be saved, unfortunately. You can put them in a compost pile or municipal green waste. Mainly, you do not want them to get into any kind of water supply or a place where the plants may survive and grow wild.

  11. TJBender Well Known Member Member

    Even boiling the wood and letting it air dry for 30 days won't do it?
  12. endlercollector Fishlore VIP Member

    The problem with driftwood is that it is porous. I would not be able to say if you could get the internal temperature consistently high enough for a long enough period of time just by boiling the exterior. Letting it dry out would not be sufficient to kill everything. UV rays in sunlight would kill it but again, only on the surface.
  13. TJBender Well Known Member Member

    Can't argue with that logic. Thanks for talking me through this. I figure I was due for a serious outbreak of something after six years without one, but this is kind of soul-crushing.
  14. endlercollector Fishlore VIP Member

    I know only too well what you mean by "soul crushing." Hang in there.
  15. TJBender Well Known Member Member

    EC, I've tossed everything but the heater (which is being sanitized with alcohol), thoroughly rinsed the tank outside twice with water, scrubbing with paper towels in between. It's now in the bathtub waiting to repeat the procedure with very hot water, then it will be sprayed down with running alcohol (70%) three times, allowed to air dry in between. What more do I need to do to reuse or sell the tank?
  16. endlercollector Fishlore VIP Member

    You are all set to use or so this tank as far as bacterial infections go. If you want to get rid of just about anything else that might be left, you could set it up and run the whole thing with a bleach solution. I did the latter also when I had a TB tank that got Camallanus worms. Sigh. This is what I recommend to people when they buy secondhand tanks and are not sure about what they're getting.