In nine years of fishkeeping, a 2 years of breeding, I have never seen a lethal case of myco/TB. IN fact, I have never seen a case at all. Most fish deaths and illnesses can widely be attributed more to poor ownership than a rare bacterial infection.
Mycobacteria are bacteria of the genus Mycobacterium that are widely distributed in nature. Only a few species of mycobacteria are pathogenic. For example, M. tuberculosis causes tuberculosis and M. leprae causes leprosy in humans. Other mycobacteria, such as M. marinum, M. fortuitum, M. chelonae, and the recently discovered M. chesapeakii and M. shotsii, can cause mycobacteriosis in fish. Mycobacteriosis is a chronic wasting disease in fish caused by infection with mycobacteria. Infected fish may be appear thin and sluggish. Other external signs, such as areas of redenning, fin rot, popeye and ulcers, may or may not be present. Internally, mycobacteriosis can cause white to grayish nodules called granulomas, primarily in the spleen, kidney and liver. Mycobacteria are slow growing, so it may take months to years for the disease to become clinical and cause problems to the fish. The immune system of healthy fish can fight off infection from most invading bacteria. However, stress can weaken the immune system and allow bacteria, including mycobacteria, to cause an infection. Stress can be caused by poor water quality, suboptimal nutrition, excessive handling and other disease entities. Bacterial infections can also occur when the immune system is overwhelmed by the number of invading bacteria, such as could occur at the site of an open wound. Infections are associated with persons coming in contact with infected water or fish. Persons most susceptible include those who are immuno-compromised and/or have open skin cuts or sores. Reports in the medical literature usually call these infections ‘swimming pool granuloma’ or ‘fish handler’s disease.’ Mycobacterium marinum is the most common aquatic species of mycobacteria that can be pathogenic to humans. Infection may appear as reddish bumps or nodules on extremities. Generally this infection will not spread throughout the body because the temperature of the trunk of the human body is usually too high for mycobacteria to thrive. The infection can usually be treated with a long duration antibiotic regime. (http://mybay.umd.edu/mycobacteria.html
) Mycobacterium marinum
) is a slow-growing atypical bacteria that is commonly found in bodies of fresh or saltwater in many parts of the world. Skin infections with Mycobacterium marinum
in humans are overall relatively uncommon and are usually acquired from contact with aquariums or fish. Most infections occur following skin exposure to the bacteria through a small cut or skin scrape. The first signs of infection with M. marinum
include a reddish or tan skin bump called a granuloma
. Less commonly, a string or batch of the small reddish bumps crop up on the exposed body area in a classic pattern called sporotrichotic lymphangitis.
It is somewhat rare to acquire this infection from well-maintained swimming
pools because of protection afforded by proper chlorination. Mycobacterium marinum
does not typically grow at normal body temperature. That is why it remains localized to the cooler skin surface. Overall, diagnosis and treatment of this unusual skin infection is often delayed because of a lack of suspicion for this atypical mycobacterial versus more common bacteria like Staphylococcus
SO IN SHORT, IF YOU TREAT YOUR TANK LIKE CARP AND DONT LEAN IT AND HAVE STRESSED FISH, YOU REALLY NEED TO WORRY ABOUT THIS DISEASE.