Mycobacteria - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 212 Old 01-16-2013, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
Originally Posted by callistra View Post
First off, I highly doubt you're going to get a thread stickied that is so unobjective.. saying things like people should stop bringing home sick pet store bettas (most are sick due to poor conditions they're kept in and they do NOT all have this condition like you seem to want to imply).

Calling people names like foolish..

Telling people to kill all their sick fish is just.. really? Don't answer that. It was rhetorical.

Second, it is treatable. It's very very hard to treat and sorry you have not had any luck but there are successful cases.

All I'll say in the matter but I really hope people read this thread objectively and not buy into the mass hysteria it seems aimed at creating.
And you know MORE than the research pathologists that work on this disease?? Read the research papers attached to my article in bettasource. I is NOT ME but THEM that say there is no cure. It is what people that are researching the disease tell fish FARMS to do. Don't you think if there WAS a cure they would not tell people whos income depends on fish to KILL EVERYTHING? Where are your credentials or sources that say it IS curable? And they had better be scientist. I discussed AT LENGTH with Dr Whipps the misinformation on the web. You can take to warning and be careful.. or you can just live with the stuff.

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post #12 of 212 Old 01-16-2013, 09:34 PM
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So sorry. This should be a sticky. And your story is why I will never use a recycled water system.
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post #13 of 212 Old 01-16-2013, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
Originally Posted by Sakura8 View Post
This is very important information that needs to be circulated BUT there are a few caveats that I want to add.

First, the majority of people on the forum don't have fish rooms or extensive (and expensive) breeding operations. For these people, the risk of contagion between fish is obviously minimal, especially if they have just the one fish.

Secondly, without the same necropsy/autopsy tests and tissue samples, it is impossible to know what a sick fish at a pet store may have. Saying that is has mycobacterium without these tests is irresponsible.* Many people have purchased sick fish and successfully nursed them back to health, myself included. I think a lot of people would agree that many of the sick fish at a pet store are suffering from poor water conditions, not myco. Therefore, I won't condone discouraging people from buying sick fish if they want to attempt to nurse them back to health. The people who do this do so knowing full-well the fish is sick and knowing full-well it may die. The vast majority of people are not ignorantly buying sick fish. As long as people practice sanitary fishkeeping and avoid contamination, go for it.

Thirdly, this needs to be made clear: mycobacteria is the same bacteria that causes fish tuberculosis. HOWEVER, just because a fish is diagnosed with mycobacteria doesn't mean the fish has fish TB. The fish we have seen on the forum who have been affected do not exhibit the same symptoms as TB.

Now that I've said that, again I want to say the information included is informative and well-put.

* Strictly speaking, yes, every fish has some small amount of mycobacterium, just as every fish has some small amount of every bacteria present. What I'm referring to is a potentially lethal outbreak of myco.
The problem is we CURRENTLY have a strain that is VERY in the betta fish population. I saw it in petco and petsmart in several locations where I live. I watched it move though my fish room. It needs to be destroyed. It is VERY difficult to have it over here and keep it from getting over there.

If you see the lesions you probably have m. triplex. If you have the fuzz and it doe not respond to columnaris type meds.. again.. mycos. You can go blindly down a path that MAY be destructive or you may actually take some precautions.

Again.. if you have it.. it will live on your counters where you set your net, in your drains where you dump water.. in your tanks, gravel, snails.. I had mystery snails that just died for no reason. Cut them open and guess what... mycos granulomas. And if a sick fish in a cup is worth the risk.. knock your socks off. But for some this ACCURATE information will be heeded and they will reduce exposure or get rid of the crap. Even if one fish.. and it has mycos.. they still have it when they get the new fish without proper chemical to kill the stuff. Guess they can just use vinegar. Wonder why the scientist did not think of cleaning with vinegar and just adding some salt to the water.

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post #14 of 212 Old 01-16-2013, 09:39 PM
No matter who writes a paper, that paper still only represents one person's point of view. It's important to read a variety of material on a subject in order to get a balanced perspective.

Let's calm down and stop the hysteria. As I said in a different thread, there's no need to start a panic over an epidemic that may not be occuring. As many of my fish disease books point out, a lot of diseases mimic each other.

The bottom line is, even though I and other members do our best to knowledgeably diagnose other people's ill fish, our diagnoses are still almost always informed guesses. There can be no positive diagnosis for bacterial infections without expensive and complicated tests. Therefore, we can no more concretely say a fish has columnaris than we can say it has myco because we have no proof.

If there continues to be further heated debate, this thread will have to be closed and/or removed. Since it does contain good information, let's try not to have that happen.
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post #15 of 212 Old 01-16-2013, 09:44 PM
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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. (

Mycobacterium marinum (M. 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. (


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Last edited by DiesesMadchen; 01-16-2013 at 10:00 PM.
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post #16 of 212 Old 01-16-2013, 09:46 PM
I did read that article but I have to say, I'm confused. How can you tell if a fish is infected? How long does it stick around for before killing a fish? Since it seems like this mycobacteria causes every symptom under the sun that are common symptoms of other ailments, how do you know how many fish actually have it if they aren't all sent to labs?
It's how common? Sorry, I just don't understand all the scientific words and such.

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post #17 of 212 Old 01-16-2013, 09:46 PM
That is what all of my disease books say, Dieses. Bacteria is ever present in our tanks but it's stressful factors like poor water quality that cause fish to succumb to that bacteria.

EDIT: Ayala, really, the only concrete way to tell if a fish is infected is to cut it open and search for the granulomas inside. Obviously, the fish has to be dead for this. Otherwise, there is no way to positively identify this disease just from looking.
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post #18 of 212 Old 01-16-2013, 09:46 PM
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Callistra, BasementBettas makes a very good point that unless your sources are research scientists, your point is completely invalid. And a fish with uncureable (yes, some strains are completely uncurable. Research scientists, not me.) mycobacterium should be euthanized regardless of what your heart says because one fishes death is well worth preventing a hundreds. and this thread is not aimed at creating mass hysteria, it is aimed at informing people about that disease that destroyed BasementBetta's fish. BasementBetta has scientists and many, many, many years of experience to back her up, you have the Internet and three fish. Well said BasementBettas.
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post #19 of 212 Old 01-16-2013, 09:52 PM
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I don't think it's actually that rare. I know it can a problem with rainbowfish. I think because sometimes the way it presents can differ from fish to fish, people may not be able to make a correct diagnosis. Some fish can be outwardly healthy but still infected.

I think this is probably one of the more knowledgeable posts on a disease I have seen on this forum. Some of the posts on this section of the board have made me cringe with the amount of misinformation in them.

Also I don't believe in fish that TB is treatable. If it was people would not be euthanising tanks full of expensive and rare fish.

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post #20 of 212 Old 01-16-2013, 09:58 PM
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Just as a third party... this thread does seem rather panicked... yes it has good information, but what I worry about are people taking this and freaking out...

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