Project Kindergarten - Page 10 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #91 of 143 Old 01-16-2013, 02:22 PM
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I hope so too. Try giving him some foods with a good deal of calcium in them for this time as well, so he doesn't get worse if it IS Rickets. Or use one of those calcium sinkers....if you know any good ones, I've never used them before. ^^l
And I have found that even though most of these fish are more vegetarian than omnivorous, feeding them protein foods more often when sick, (the light stuff though, so they don't risk a blockage to top everything else off), has usually helped them recover better and keep colors and body weight up. I like to go with that good old fashioned mix foods, the Emerald Entree is the one I like, it has everything, though I try to pick out the bloodworms. =) Try giving them that with flakes on the side. I use that more often when I have sick fish, and the ones that survive usually recover faster than they used to when I didn't give that. I mean I'm sure this isn't a fact or anything, but I did find it helped them, if not physically then mentally. lol
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post #92 of 143 Old 01-23-2013, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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not much to update...

Well. . . today classes resumed after a 4-day weekend, and little Sunny is still clinging to life - despite all odds. I'm not so sure this is a good thing, as every time I see the little bugger he looks worse. That said, if I didn't know what he was *supposed* to look like, I might be inclined to think he's fine - his colors and eyes are bright, respiration is normal, he's obviously hungry, eating well and swimming with the rest.

He does seem to be working a bit harder these days to swim, possibly because of his hunched back and there must be muscle loss. . and I suppose weakness in general - but it isn't terrible. And still, he refuses to give up. This fish is inspirational.

Two new 'symptoms' developed last week - I'm not sure if I mentioned them yet, and to be honest, I'm 100% sure if they're related, but I have to assume they are. A 'pimple' appeared on his 'chin' and two white specks on either side of his mouth last Wednesday, I believe. The white specks... definitely not fungal, could just be something visible beneath the skin because he is LITERALLY skin and bones at this point. The pimple?! I have never seen anything like it, seems it could be one of the many symptoms of fish TB.

Here are images of him taken last Wednesday (when I said I'd get them, but never posted)

He had just finished a meal of target-fed bloodworm, so . . . yeah, that's Sunny with a fat belly :/ Normally, his stomach arcs in - almost exactly as a thumbnail-mark would. He's gotten even thinner over the weekend, and though he still refuses to die - I can't imagine how he's still living. Today I did a tank water change, and brought him home to live (and die) under my care. He handled the move remarkably well, and settled right into a little 3g QT tank. . . and went directly to work nibbling on plants for algae. He ate well shortly after being released into the tank, and hasn't shown any signs of being stressed or ill - it's really blowing my mind that he is behaving in every way as normal. If he were obviously having trouble swimming or eating, or laying around on the ground, *maybe* I'd be inclined to 'put him out of his misery,' but he. . .seems. . .fine! My perfectly healthy half-dead fish. *scratches head*

Anyway, everything that I can find is really pointing to Mycobacterium marinum, or Fish TB. But that's only because the symptoms don't match anything else, and the symptoms for TB are so varied - pretty much anything you can think of to nothing at all. If that's what this is, well. . . the tank is pretty much doomed, and I'm feeling REALLY nervous for my home-tanks. Even though I've gone to great pains to keep the them all separate (different buckets, siphons, nets, ect), many of these fish QT'd here, and this illness is one that doesn't go away until the entire tank has been broken down and sterilized, if anything I've read about it is true. Tenacious, impossible to kill, and contagious. *sigh* Of course, there is also the possibility that the disease came from the kindy tank itself. . .

Still. What is there to do at this point? I have to keep it going somehow. Until June, for better or worse, that tank will stay afloat (pun intended). And then I can shut it down, sterilize it, and wish it good riddance - at least for another 3 years.

On a positive side, I saved another teacher's Betta today (hopefully) from a cycling tank. She knew to come to me when her fish suddenly started 'acting funny' and refusing to eat. And little Lilly told me today that she was helping her babysitter take better care of her fish by teaching her how to do water changes every week and things to keep an eye out for telltale signs that would let her know if her fish are sick. Hopefully the babysitter isn't writing off these wise words simply because they come from an adorable 5-year old girl!
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Last edited by Chesh; 01-23-2013 at 08:41 PM.
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post #93 of 143 Old 01-24-2013, 04:00 PM
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Zombie fish.
Must be brains in them there pellets!
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post #94 of 143 Old 01-24-2013, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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*nods* I think you're right - except that. . .I've read the ingredient list of the NLS, and brains aren't listed. And he isn't eating the brains of OTHER fish, either. Isn't that the zombie MO? Hrm... baffling. (poor lil' guy...)
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post #95 of 143 Old 01-24-2013, 07:35 PM
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Poor guy :/ He was such a handsome fellow. If it is TB, will it show up quickly in the other fish or will it just sit in wait?
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post #96 of 143 Old 01-24-2013, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Girl, from what I've read. . . and I've been reading a LOT - it's one of those things. A very odd and not very well understood disease with a TON of misinformation and out-of-date info floating around to further complicate things.

Yes. It *could* take out all of the fish one by one. It can move quickly, or very slowly. Some fish may not be affected, and a lot of this may depend on stress and/or age. It's a very difficult bacteria to kill, and once affected, the majority of fish never recover, though they can live with it just fine for a very long time. :/ As far as I can tell the only way to be sure it's gone is to tear apart the tank and sterilize it. To confuse things more the symptoms for this illness can manifest in a million different ways - some seemingly opposite - or just take a fish down with NO symptoms visible whatsoever.

I'm not even sure that my diagnosis is right, only that it's the only thing I can come up with (don't have much experience with illnesses, my home tanks have been remarkably healthy). Some sources say that it's rare in home aquaria, while others say that it's the #1 cause of unexplained fish deaths. The only way to know for sure is to slice the fish open and do labwork - which isn't really an option. Even if it IS TB, I have no idea if this rode in on a fish, or if it was present in the Kindy tank to begin with, so I have no idea if my home QT tank/equipment are compromised. It's just. . .a mess!

But I could be wrong, and I can't tear the tank down until June either way. So I have to wait and see what happens with him and the others. At least it won't affect frogs or snails, so I'm going to forge ahead with the plans I have for this tank, and just cross all fingers (and toes) that it ISN'T what I suspect, and the problem is taken care of. Really hoping so. . .

I feel like poor little Sunny is just waiting to die here, but. . . he's doing amazingly well considering how he looks, a little bit lonely, but otherwise hanging in there. A fighter for sure, but I feel like it MUST be only a matter of time - I can't see how he could recover enough to go back 'home,' but as long as he's swimming, eating, and in general acting okay I have to give him a chance at survival. I'm at a loss on this one, I truly am. . .
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post #97 of 143 Old 01-24-2013, 08:50 PM
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Sorry to hear you are having problems Jes... Will try to sum this up for you...
There are many types of Mycobacterium (from now on shortened to M.). It is the genus of bacteria.
Members of the genus include M. tuberculosis (this is human TB- fish do NOT get this bacteria), M. leprae (leprosy- also NOT possible for a fish to carry). Stopping here, we know that both these diseases are extremely difficult to cure in humans, and the strains in fish share this characteristic..

I am HOPING that you are not dealing with M. marinum. M. marinum, as well as M. triplex, are both the highly dangerous strains, very pathogenic. These will cause your fish to start dropping like flies. You will have to buy a hospital grade product that kills human TB to reuse your supplies (anything that has touched the water, from the tank to the water testing kit tubes-sadly not good for the frogs or snails). If M. triplex/marinum are confirmed, it is best to euthanize all fish in the tanks. The only way to confirm the species however is by sending in a body to a lab.
M. triplex and marinum are also the ones most dangerous to people. You can see some examples of side effects here. Most often these sorts of things occur in people with poor immune systems with open wounds.

I am not trying to scare you. The RARITY of these being the issue is enough to generally dismiss these species unless the whole tank dies off within a week or you see an explosion in the symptoms that fish is having..
I honestly suggest you get ALL of that out of your mind, because he would not be having a slow death with these species affecting him, but just thought I'd explain why it can be so lighting fast.

It is estimated that 70% of ALL fish carry M. There are many species of this, M. avium, triviale, gordonae... The list goes on. Most fish will live with these life long, they are not pathogenic. The data is still sketchy here (as I am not through my research) so I will say that it is most common in livebearers because it is directly passed to the baby, I am not sure but I think it's somewhat different for egg layers. This is why we see this so often in livebearing fish.
The crooked spine is a sign that the bacteria is degenerating the spine, affecting the nervous system and weakening the immune system further. The sores on the face, M. often gathers up in the gill plates so it could be related to that.
As far as I know, this should not spread to the other fish unless they eat the dead body of that guy after he passes, which will mean ingesting a ton of bacteria.
Keeping fish in a healthy, clean, stress free environment GREATLY reduces the chances of M. taking advantage of the fish.

Sunny is probably suffering from one of these, and while it is slow, obviously it would seem that he just wasn't able to handle it for some reason... In this case I don't think sterilization is necessary. . .

ALL of this information I have gathered from reading scientific reports/journals/papers. None of it has come from an aquarist's personal experiences or thoughts, so it is all lab verified. I hope it explains why it seems this disease has so many symptoms (because it is a ton of diseases).
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taking a break from fish-keeping.
3 lovely male betta still keep me company.
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post #98 of 143 Old 01-24-2013, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Olympia! I've read a lot of similar information in my books, as well as over the web - but thanks for clarifying it and putting it into a digestible nutshell for me (and others who will inevitably find this thread) and I'm REALLY hoping you're right - you've eased my fears on it being M. marinum or M. triplex. Though I read about the different types of 'fish TB' nothing put it so plainly and simply. :D

We've had 4 deaths so far, spread out over a few month's time. The first resembled what Sunny is dealing with, but the two in-between. . . were sudden and without symptoms (one could have been an accident, the other happened over winter break). . . now then. If we aren't dealing with one of the more virulent forms of M. - or if it isn't M. at all - what could it be?! Any ideas?

Poor lil' Sunny. . . whatever it is, his spine is obviously curved, and I don't see that righting itself. Hopefully he manages to get through it, put some weight back on, and manage. I've seen goldfish with worse who seem happy enough ;)
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post #99 of 143 Old 01-24-2013, 09:54 PM
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Haha, yes goldfish are experts of messed up backs!
No nothing comes to mind. I am currently hard pressed for time but starting the 29th I have 5 days off with nothing to worry about that I am planning to devote to studying M., possibly something else, and playing video games. My crummy high school level science background has proven incredibly helpful in understanding exactly what these papers are trying to say, so hopefully I can learn some more by analyzing them more thoroughly.

You're right that he will not turn around from this point, but I don't think he's feeling too much either.

Is there any family relation between the livebearers? (or were the other deaths not platies?)
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post #100 of 143 Old 01-24-2013, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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I'll be looking forward to anything you can dig up to help out here - and I really appreciate your backround in 'crummy' highschool science!

No relation that I know of... one was a blue Micky Mouse that came from an entirely different tank in the shop (this shop has each tank separate with it's own filtration) The one with the breeding net accident and Sunny were both Hi-fin Platy, purchased from the same tank in the same shop, and the other (found dead after break) was the ONLY non-Platy member of the tank - the Juvie Molly that was there when I took over. So no relation that I see, except that they all live in the Kindy tank. That being said, with the exception of the little Molly, these all came from the same shop, it's possible that Sunny and the other Hi-fin (a red wag) *could* have had some blood relation, but who knows? Others in the tank came from another shop - and those are all healthy enough so far. It's all grasping at straws. . .

I hope you're right that he isn't feeling anything. He does seem oddly healthy despite his deathly appearance. I wish I knew what was wrong. At least then, even if I couldn't fix HIM, I'd know how to proceed. But. . . that's one of the problems with fishkeeping, neh?
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