Mycobacteriosis support group

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by endlercollector, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. endlercollectorFishlore VIPMember

    I'm beginning to think that there is a need a mycobacteriosis support group (along with a 12-step group for animal rescuers such as yours truly). It is both funny and sad at how much my sick yet sweetly happy Endler's have affected my family's whole life in a good way. So I no longer think of myself as the queen of mycobacteria but rather as the guru :0

    Yes, it is possible to stay calm and even live with mycobacteria. It's just another word for imperfection or the terminal disease called life ;)
    poeticinjustices junebug TJBender millca Crissandra331

    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
  2. TJBenderWell Known MemberMember

    Hi, my name is TJ, and I have fish tanks infected with mycobacterium marinum.

    Seriously, though, my myco tank is back in service as of today, with a paradise fish named Blue acclimating. This is after disinfecting it to heck and back with alcohol and letting it air-dry for a week, then spending a week infuriated because the play sand I used as a base still kicked up a cloud of doom that still, today, has not fully settled, despite multiple PWCs to lower the concentration of sand in the water. It's close enough, though, and if I don't put a fish in there today, I'm liable to run out of time before leaving town to do so, and my wife is not comfortable acclimating them. It's been an ordeal, and if Blue gets TB I am done with fish, but I'm optimistic about fishkeeping for the first time in a while.

    The reality remains in the back of my mind that every tank I own is now effectively locked in place as-is forever, as all except for Blue's tank have been exposed to myco. It's a sobering reality, knowing that I'll probably have to euthanize my other 20g in its entirety at some point.

  3. millcaValued MemberMember

    Great idea, endlercollector. I too figure that all four of my tropical tanks have been exposed. I won't be adding any fish to any of the tanks. I'll be keeping an eye on all of them and the first sign of curved spine or shrinking in size, I'll be euthanizing the little guy. I hate that things have come to this point. It sure puts a damper on having multiple tanks.

    And I must admit, I thought all of those suggestions of having separate python hoses for putting water in and separate one for taking water out FOR EACH TANK was complete overkill and could never understand why people were so paranoid. Well, now I have my answer. Had I known and understood all of that from the beginning, I would never had allowed my very quick developing case of MTS to develop quite so quickly (or ever). I feel sorry for my fish in these tanks but I will try my hardest to give them the best life I can until the inevitable.

    Fortunately, my ranchu fry have been kept completely separate from all my other tanks and equipment. I will be keeping it that way.

  4. Crissandra331Valued MemberMember

    Good Idea!:) I had euthanize my first on Aug 6th. So happy I had the people of Fishlore AND endlercollector not sure I could have done it alone.

  5. TeishokueWell Known MemberMember

    im not sure if people understand that myco can affect humans.
  6. TJBenderWell Known MemberMember

    My wife has eczema, and she is not allowed to put ungloved hands into tanks anymore, period. Too much risk of exposure to the pathogens that cause fish TB, and she doesn't want purple welts all over her arms any more than I want a colonoscopy.
  7. junebugFishlore LegendMember

    Lol. I know how you feel. Now every time one of my fish gets sick, there's a moment of panic. Trying not to see mycos everywhere you look is hard once you've had it in your tank.

    Mycobacteria can live for approximately 30 days on dry surfaces, in case anyone was wondering. I haven't seen that little factoid mentioned here much.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2014
  8. TJBenderWell Known MemberMember

    I should add that Doomsday, my survivor from the 20g who has his own retirement tank now, clearly has a bent spine. It's very subtle, but it's clear. He seems to be swimming around perfectly normally and doesn't look or act sick, so I'm content to let him get whatever good days he can in his retirement home and then be done with myco unless/until it surfaces in another tank.

    Honestly, the hardest part for me is knowing that I have to dispose of hundreds of dollars worth of filters, plants, gravel and driftwood, even some decor when tank occupants die off. Don't get me wrong, euthanizing fish is hard, but I'm almost numb to it at this point after putting down 14 fish at once a couple of weeks ago. It's the concept of this largely driving me out of the hobby for monetary reasons that has me most bummed.

    Also, Blue is getting a new name. He entered his new tank and promptly massacred the MTS that were in there to help keep the sand aerated. He's a team-killer.
  9. junebugFishlore LegendMember

    You don't have to throw your stuff away. Filters can be sanitizer at the very least. Driftwood can be left dry for several months and then boiled.
  10. millcaValued MemberMember

    Here's a good article to read and it discusses how to sterilize things after a bout of myco:


    I've read on several different sites that Calcium Hypochlorite (HTH) is needed to sterilize after myco because normal bleach (sodium hypochlorite) isn't enough to kill it off completely. HTH is also the stuff my ranchu breeder (ECR) uses whenever she cleans a tank and she recommended I have it on hand. You can find it online but I would recommend calling a local pool store and buying a 1 lb. bag from them. It goes by the brand name of Pool Shock, Jungle Net Soak, or Virkon S Disinfectant. It is powder so you just make up what you need when you need it. Be sure the HTH level is at least 65%.

    Here's the measurements for dilution:


    Basically use 1/4 teaspoon of HTH with a gallon of water and the key is to soak it for an hour. Do this outside or in a very well ventilated area and use gloves. Then rinse it like crazy until all chlorine smell is gone. Then my breeder's recommendation is to let it air dry for at least a week.
  11. TJBenderWell Known MemberMember

    JB, my issue with filters is that there are so many little gears in there that, even several months out, there's no way to be sure that they've all dried thoroughly and been that way for 30 days. Given how cheap most of my filters are (Tetra Whispers and the such), I'm inclined to throw them away rather than risk re-infection. Driftwood is so porous that I wouldn't ever trust it to fully dry out, let alone that I could warm the very center of it up to the boiling point. These were conclusions reached after days of talking with endlercollector and poeticinjustices, certainly not something I took lightly. The thought of reinfecting is, to me, more of a loss than the thought of throwing away entire tanks. The last thing I'd want to do is restock, get new driftwood, new plants, etc., then have a wet gear on a filter reinfect the whole thing.
  12. Crissandra331Valued MemberMember

    I found this link helpful with information regarding mycobacterium and humans being effected, has your wife been checked to make sure she hasn't contracted it?
  13. junebugFishlore LegendMember

    Honestly the boiling is just to weight the wood down again after it sitting dry for so long.

    If working with bettas has taught me anything, it's not to be too paranoid. There arewways to sanitize your equipment and kill the bacteria. Follow the procedure and you should be fine. Most of what I know about the lifespan and tolerance of mycobacteria I learned from the top betta breeders in the us. They learned from the top researchers working with aquatic mycobacteria strains.

    Also it should be noted that while technically contagious to humans, aquatic mycobacteria is not so easy for a human to catch, as our immune systems usually wipe it out. That said, one should always take precautions to protect their health when mycobacteria is suspected.
  14. endlercollectorFishlore VIPMember

    As we are all learning now, there are various ways to sterilize after mycobacterial infections, and people can choose to use different ones, depending on what fits a particular situation.

    To destroy the cell walls of mycobacteria on non-porous surfaces: spraying lab grade ethanol for 15 seconds is the norm at the University biology department here. 70% isopropyl alcohol (Rubbing alcohol) for 10 minutes also works well. I like these two methods because they're very easy, and I can also spray it all over my hands.

    Bleach solutions also work, but I don't like them because of the smell and the possibility of getting my skin burned.

    If it's a question of a bathroom and fixtures, good old Lysol works. People don't realize that it is a mainstay of hospitals because it kills the bacteria that causes human TB.

    As for whether or not it is hard for people to get fish TB, it is useful to remember it is actually just unusual in regards to bathing and swimming in clean water. Therefore, fish TB in humans in the industrialized countries is usually restricted to fish keepers who happened to have open wounds when reaching into tanks that have mycobacteria floating freely in the water.

    Remember that just because a fish in the tank has a mycobacterial infections does not mean that there are mycobacteria free-floating, And just because there are some free-floating does not mean that the fish keeper will happen to get it into his or her wounds. These mycobacteria are minute, and much of the difficulty is simply not knowing when they are present.

    Basically, first world fish keepers have to remember that the third world is in their tanks. Having grown up in a medical missionary family, I am all too aware of the reality of tropical diseases. My mother survived simultaneous bouts of amoebic dysentery and malaria that reached the black water stage. Remember that not drinking the tank water also means don't swim in it no matter how tempting your fish make it look ;)
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2014
  15. FlowingfinsFishlore VIPMember

    Hello, I recently discovered all of my tanks have been exposes to mycobacteriosis except for one of my fry tanks. I am sure I will be able to cope with this thanks to the wonderful, supportive people of fishlore. If anybody has any advice for me it will be greatly appreciated.

    I also have eczema, what should I do about this?
  16. TJBenderWell Known MemberMember

    Shoulder length aquarium gloves are your best friends.
  17. FlowingfinsFishlore VIPMember

    Thanks, where should I get them?
  18. TJBenderWell Known MemberMember

    Most LFSs have them.
  19. FlowingfinsFishlore VIPMember

    I will have to check next time I go.
  20. millcaValued MemberMember


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