Risk Of Cross Contamination And Still Making Mistakes With My Endler Hybrids

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endlercollector

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Warning: this is long, so stop here if you're in a hurry or just have better things to do

In general, I am over-the-top careful, having had a tank wiped out by fish TB when I was in grade school and several times in the last 12 years by TB together with other mycobacterial infections came with fish from a local university lab. So now, every time I get a new group of fish, they go into their own tank, and quarantine is technically forever instead of the original forty days. I work with the presumption that all fish coming in have led hitherto healthy lives where they were in good enough shape not to succumb to possible infections lurking in their environments. However, the stress of the trip, a new environment with vastly different water could weaken their immune systems leaving them open to infection from germs that they're carrying. And when they do show signs of disease, but some manage to survive, I assume henceforward that the survivors are carriers of the disease rather than not. (As an aside, many of my relatives are in medicine, and my own grandmother turned out to be a carrier of TB, which she did not contract but which did kill her ex :0 )

So last year, I received a shipment of supposed Guppy/Endler hybrids that was mostly dead, with only a few weak survivors. The explanation was that the seller had used some Methylene Blue bought through ebay that turned out to be a toxic knock-off. I put the survivors into a tank and watched them all die except for one female who proceeded to drop a lot of fry. Almost all the fry gradually died off, which was strange, leaving only a handful. I don't generally medicate since my experience is that most of these infections are drug resistant, but I decided to try a couple of basic treatments after the remaining fry grew up as some of them then got wobbly and their fins and tails looked ragged. The fish that were already wobbly died off, but the original female and several grown girls seemed fine except for the mother developing some scoliosis in a side-to-side S shape (not the dreaded C shape of advanced TB). I was hoping that they were pregnant, and I might get a new batch of fry to work with, but no such luck.

Well, I eventually ran out of 10 gallons for QT's, and I need to move some N class Endlers into a larger tank, so I finally separated the males and females from a large group of hybrids that I got saddled with (another story), combining them with the fake Methylene Blue survivors. It was a calculated risk, and I finally decided to take the chance since I didn't really want either group of hybrids for the long term.

At first, it seemed to work out despite the huge number (30-50) of fish in each tank. (Yes, I don't recommend keeping huge numbers of fish in 10 gallons, but I've been able to get away with it as Endlers create less waste than most other fish, I use a lot of plants, and it lowers the fry survival rate). The oldest females who were about 1.5 years old started to die, but it was their time, and they had that haggard look that worn out girls can get toward the end. As some juveniles became recognizably male, I took them from their mothers and stuck them in with the boys. I also threw in the male comma bar throwbacks from my K class chili hybrid tank for want of a cull tank.

Then both filters eventually got choked up with gunk, and I did a deep cleaning. Big mistake. Left and right, females started to wobble with fin and tail damage. Some got deep red marks on their bodies, showing internal damage, even though their gills looked fine. They started keeling over dead, and then a couple of males got sick. The only thing I had on me at this point was Melafix, which I knew wasn't a great choice, but I started dosing both tanks. Well, the girls and juveniles are still going belly up at a rate of 10 a day while the boys have only lost a few. I'm not so surprised as, over the years, I've seen females die more quickly than males when dealing with mycobacterial infections. I'm not sure if that has to do with their higher energy needs for reproducing so quickly. Of course, the survivors of the Methylene Blue disaster had all been female, so that's an exception that tests the rule. Also, it may be that the male comma bar throwbacks are tougher and came from a healthier community.

So for now, I'm planning on finishing the course of Melafix, and I'll see if any females survive in the end. I'm going to have to do some moving of other groups and tanks in order to get a male K class comma bar cull tank as more are popping up in the chili group. It won't be easy, as I'll have to move furniture, set up 2 20's, and get the N class peacocks and Staecks into them to free up their 10's.

And yes, I've learned a hard lesson. I should have moved furniture ahead of time and set up more 20's to accommodate the different hybrids that I didn't want. Just because I didn't really want them didn't justify taking such risks and allowing so many healthy fish get sick.
 

Whitewolf

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Meh, just take some water from all the tanks and mix it together.
The sooner they get use to diffrent bacteria, the better. Its probably alot more convient to have fish that are use to your water and whatever pathogens are in your fishroom then to constantly worry about diseases.
As far as the droopy tail thing, its not TB unless the fish is skinny and red lesions and so forth. There are lots of reasons for bent spines, alot are environmental, alot are nutritional, calcium deffiecncy, vitamin D, ect ect.
Don't always assume a fish has TB.
Keep their tank perfectly clean 0 ammonia 0 nitritite and less than 10 nitrates and seperate sick fish and they should get better. Fish do have immune systems.
If not you can use stress coat and salt, or even purchase an antibiotic flake or anti-parasite flake online.
 
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endlercollector

endlercollector

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Meh, just take some water from all the tanks and mix it together.
The sooner they get use to diffrent bacteria, the better. Its probably alot more convient to have fish that are use to your water and whatever pathogens are in your fishroom then to constantly worry about diseases.
As far as the droopy tail thing, its not TB unless the fish is skinny and red lesions and so forth. There are lots of reasons for bent spines, alot are environmental, alot are nutritional, calcium deffiecncy, vitamin D, ect ect.
Don't always assume a fish has TB.
Keep their tank perfectly clean 0 ammonia 0 nitritite and less than 10 nitrates and seperate sick fish and they should get better. Fish do have immune systems.
If not you can use stress coat and salt, or even purchase an antibiotic flake or anti-parasite flake online.
Yes, I've had friends who take your approach. They've been wiped out, too, at some point.

I don't assume TB--I'm very familiar with it and recognize it easily. There are many other mycobacterial infections that I've also witnessed, and I've had tanks with multiple infections going on. That's the problem with having gotten fish from the quarantine room at the university evolutionary bio lab. They were no longer needed for experiments, and so they spent some years in the quarantine room for lack of space, picking up random diseases while they were there. I dealt with those infections for some years, trying to outbreed the diseases, keeping water as pristine as possible, and continuously culling those with active symptoms. Eventually, I got burned out, ended the breeding program, and let them die off.

I'm from the subtropics with lots of family in the tropics. Tropical and warm water diseases are many and horrendous. My mother nearly died of amoebic dysentery, which she had at the same as blackwater fever. People don't realize that keeping tropical fish means that we have an unseen multiverse of microoganisms hanging out in there. It's wise to respect them.
 

Whitewolf

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I like where your going with this. There are tons of microrganisms in the water at a lake. One feeds on the smaller one that feeds on algae and the biggest ones get eaten by larger fish. Not to mention its crawling with bacteria you can just smell it when you walk up to a lake and fish from the bank like i do.
I have been taking the "easy does it" approach to my fishroom lately. I had at one point almost given up because of the stupid things guppies get sick with. At one point this summer i was going fishing alot and just decided to get back into guppies (i keep catching hornwort by the tons with my lures) To make a long story short, its really not possible to keep a disease free and medicine cabinet free fishroom like people claim. If its an isolated environment, then yes they should be "disease free" provided you dont see anything ovbiously sick.
Bent spines and other hunchback problems are often due to inbreeding and vitamin deficency nutrition vs disease.
All fish have slimecoat and immune systems. There is no fish in the wild living in perfectly clean water free from parasites or bacteria, why should we worry too much about our own? Provided they are alive and swimming and not ovbiously sick, then they are in fact just guppies being guppies, short lived inbred fish
 
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