Treating for ulcers on other fish

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Treating for ulcers on other fish

Postby nikirushka » Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:59 pm

I'm in a bit of a chronic and frustrating situation.

I have a 100g tank with a shoal of 13 gold barbs, 6 odessa barbs, 3 spotted hoplos, a 7" p.pardalis plec and four large (8-10") weather loaches.

The gold barbs have had recurring ulcers almost from the time I got them. Previous to having the loaches, I have treated them with different OTC meds, which took a long time to heal the ulcers but did not stop them. I've gone through 3 or 4 cycles now of these things and each time there are extra symptoms: on the second recurrence, two went down with neurological problems, listing to one side and spinning decreasing circles until they could no longer feed or do anything. The next cycle, one had a fleshy red lump at the base of a pectoral fin. This time, I've got two with ulcers and I've had to euthanase two that went full dropsy, one with what looked like possible fungus on top of its head.

Water parameters are fine, nitrate is a little high at 30-40ppm but I'm working on that.

My main reason for posting here is future treatment. I made the error, last time round, of using full dose of treatment (I did not realise about the loaches until it was too late), and one loach has since been swollen in the body with a lump near his head. I'm not concerned about him now as he's stable, no deterioration at all, but of course, I don't want to damage any of them again!

The theory with the gold barbs is a weakness caused by poor handling during rearing or shipping, or possibly poor conditions during rearing, and that this may be something I will simply have to deal with for the duration of their lives. So future treatments are likely. With that in mind, what is there that I can use with the loaches still in the tank? If absolutely necessary I will move the barbs elsewhere but I'd prefer not to, with them being in a large shoal and space being limited.

If anyone can offer a suggestion as to what I could use to stop this problem altogether I would be grateful - I'd happily move the loaches temporarily if there is something suitable (easier to catch them in the short term).
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Re: Treating for ulcers on other fish

Postby Diana » Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:02 pm

Unfortunately this sounds all too much like Mycobacteriosis. Do more research about this.
Fish can have a low level infection of this, just enough to weaken their immune system, then other diseases can take hold.
Many medicines attack multiple diseases, so almost any treatment can partially cure the problem by knocking back the secondary issue, but the main problem, Mycobacteriosis remains, because it is very difficult to treat.

How to diagnose:
A vet skilled in fish can diagnose it, or you can try if you have access to a certain kind of stain and a microscope. It does not have to be a very powerful 'scope.
If you can find a vet, follow his/her instructions. Pretty much: Bring the fish in alive. The vet will kill it and dissect it, with a stain to show the Mycobacteriosis organisms.

If your fish are positive for MB:
This is a very difficult disease to treat. Some say a long treatment with Kanamycin will do the trick.
Unfortunately this is a zoonotic organism: You can catch it. Usually it shows up as problems under the skin where the organism gained entry, perhaps at the site of a minor cut. Treatment in humans is sort of long, drawn out, too. You may opt to nuke the tank. Kill all fish and dispose of where no possible scavenger will get them. Throw away everything that will not tolerate the following treatment:
Wash everything down with bleach.
Rinse well.
Wash everything down with rubbing alcohol (Also called Isopropyl Alcohol) minimum strength 70%. This is the common strength sold in the USA.
Reason: MB is enclosed in a bio film. Bleach breaks down the bio film, but does not kill the organism. Rubbing alcohol kills the organism, but cannot break down the bio film.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!
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Re: Treating for ulcers on other fish

Postby nikirushka » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:23 am

Thanks Diana. Reading up about it, it does sound like it could be that. What strikes me though is two things: firstly, that in every description I've read so far, the onset of symptoms and fatality is very fast and second, that it is extremely contagious and will affect the other fish.

The symptoms I am seeing are very slow - the current ulcers have remained unchanged for weeks. They appear, they grow a little and then just stay there until i treat or euthanase. Those two with dropsy did develop it quickly though (2 weeks/1 week). The problem as a whole has been going on for around 18 months now, with 3 or 4 cycles of clinical signs in that time.

And no other fish have been affected. The swelling and bump on the loach came immediately after the last treatment I tried (myxazin) and very quickly, and stopped developing once the treatment had lost its effectiveness.

I will try to find a vet, though, or dissect the worst affected fish myself to look for granulomas on the organs if I can't find a knowledgeable vet (as is the likely possibility round here).

If that does turn out to be the problem then I will euthanase all clinically affected fish as they show signs, but I'm not about to destroy all the livestock and tear down the tank when the others remain fit and healthy - I also wouldn't be able to thoroughly rinse a bleached 100g tank! What I will do though is try the UV approach, if I can rig something up or get an inline UV for the external filter.
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Re: Treating for ulcers on other fish

Postby Diana » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:09 am

The UV could help no matter what the diseases are. Do not combine UV + meds at the same time- the UV may break down the meds. But in between medicines you could keep a UV going. Make sure you get the right watts and flow to target bacteria and fungi- not algae.
I believe Diana Walstad had some luck using UV against MB.
http://www.tfhmagazine.com/details/arti ... 213231.htm


As for rinsing a tank that has been bleached- first slosh water all over, then drain this water. Then fill with water and a double or triple dose of dechlorinator. Run this for a day or so, then drain. Allow remaining bleach (if any) to evaporate.
Rubbing alcohol is similar- slosh to rinse, then allow any remaining alcohol to evaporate.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!
Diana
 
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Re: Treating for ulcers on other fish

Postby Bas Pels » Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:25 pm

While I understand, and appreciate, the feeling of not wanting to euthanize healthy fish, please do be carefull with them. This fish TBC is highly contagious, and a healthy fish will not show any symptom of being infected.

The thing is, TBC bacteria are able to enter a living cell, without killing it, hiding from one´s immune system. Doing so, the bosy will not gain any immunity, and the moment the immune system is weak - from hunger, exhoustion of another desease, the TBW will strike too. Fish TBC acts in this similarily to the better known pulmonic TBC we humans hope to never carry.

Therefore, assuming the fishes do have fish TBC you can treat the surviving ones for years ans never know whether they carry fish TBC. The moment you add another fish - this one will be stressed, and thus vunerable to deseases - the TBC can strike again, even gaining a stepstone to inflict the older fishes.

If it was my tank, I would clean the tank out.

With regard to getting rid of bleach, bleach is HOCL-, which recacts with acit to produce Cl2, a toxic gas. not really advisable to use acid where bleach is around, but after a good rinse most of the bleach is gone - and then you could vinigar (undiluted) to help getting rid of the bleach. The large advantage is, HOCl- does not evaporate, Cl2 does
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Re: Treating for ulcers on other fish

Postby nikirushka » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:06 pm

Edited - didn't think it had posted!
Last edited by nikirushka on Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Treating for ulcers on other fish

Postby nikirushka » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:19 pm

I will certainly be careful, but at least until it is confirmed, I will not euthanase everything. If it is confirmed then of course I will have to consider that step.

Thanks for the info re. using bleach, that is most helpful (or will be should it indeed come to that).

Diana - I think it was an article by Walstad that I saw it mentioned in, but I didn't see about using it for bacteria rather than algae, so thank you for the pointer.

If the worst comes to the worst and it does turn out to be TB, once bleaching and alcohol is done, would I then safe to repopulate or would I need to leave the tank a period of time to be on the safe side? I assume I'd need to start again with substrate - I have play sand so not easy to thoroughly clean and rinse - and would the natural wood in there need to be replaced? I wouldn't bleach that, too easy for some to be soaked in and not rinsed out. I can pour boiling water on it but I'm guessing that wouldn't be sufficient with such a porous material.

Hopefully all of this will remain hypothetical though!
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Re: Treating for ulcers on other fish

Postby Bas Pels » Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:39 am

I would not dare reusing the wood and sand. Boiling will certainly not be enough - the bacteria you are facing are among the most tough ones one can find. Compare this to hospitals, where everything is sterilized at 120 C or more.

Bleach is not good for the environment, so I would not try using it on cheap elements such as sand. Those I would replace.

Wood is generally not cheap, but virtually impossible to sterilize. And therefore better replaced too
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Re: Treating for ulcers on other fish

Postby Diana » Tue Jan 24, 2017 10:09 am

Ditto Bas Pels-
Not worth the work and risk of trying to sterilize sand or the wood.

If it was easier to kill organisms there are several ways to approach it, but don't risk it with MB

No need to wait after the alcohol has evaporated you can reassemble the tank. If you do not already have a quarantine tank this would be a really important step in minimizing diseases and parasites in the main tank. If every fish you purchase is housed in the quarantine tank for observation and treatment this gives you a much better chance of catching some problems before they get into the main tank.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!
Diana
 
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Re: Treating for ulcers on other fish

Postby nikirushka » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:12 pm

That's what I thought, that's fine. I've got a big bit that was sat waiting to go in anyway that's never been used, so that can just carry on waiting until I've addressed what's happening one way or the other.

I will certainly be setting up a quarantine tank now although it wouldn't have helped in this instance - the gold barbs for fine for nearly a year before the problems started to creep in (which I understand is typical). I think I'll be avoiding the golds in the future too as much as I love them - I'll stick to the less common barbs.
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Re: Treating for ulcers on other fish

Postby Diana » Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:30 pm

You might find that MB seems to be linked to certain species of fish. I do not know if this is true- AFAIK all fish (or at least pretty much all the fish we keep) can get it.
I would not be surprised if some hatcheries tend to be reserves of diseases or parasites.
A few years ago I read a statistic that over half the fish we buy have been exposed to MB.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!
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Re: Treating for ulcers on other fish

Postby nikirushka » Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:30 am

Yes, I understand it is widespread. It was a comment someone made on another forum about gold barbs that's steering me away from them in the long term - about how easy they are to breed and raise even in very poor conditions, so they can be more susceptible to this sort of thing. It makes perfect sense.

Odessas I understand are easy to breed but not as common from what I've seen so I'm not as concerned about them, but I would like to return to clown barbs which, being more sensitive, shouldn't be put in the same position as the golds with poor qater quality as they'd fall to it too quickly for it to be profitable for the breeders (assuming they aren't wild caught).

I've never had anything like this with the golds before but, when I kept them before, they were not as common as they are now (we're going back 10 years here).

What I'd really love to have - but have given up trying to get - is the wild colouration of them. Very rare because no-one buys them and I just can't get any. But they would be wild caught so theoretically, much healthier. And gorgeous!
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Re: Treating for ulcers on other fish

Postby Bas Pels » Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:37 am

nikirushka wrote:What I'd really love to have - but have given up trying to get - is the wild colouration of them. Very rare because no-one buys them and I just can't get any. But they would be wild caught so theoretically, much healthier. And gorgeous!


Generally speaking, wild-caught fishes are not healthier than captive bred fishes. However, I think one should make a distinction between capive bred and thourough bred

wild caught fishes have had firstly to withstand wild parasited, than thay got caught, resulting in a lot of stress, and a operiod of, often, weeks, without any food. Then they end up in our tanks, where the have to settle with what they find.

Captive bred fishes, however, have had buch better care, and not the long period of stresss, being moved and again adaptation. Generally they have only been moved from the breeder to a wholeseller, the shop and the ultimate owner. And sometimes we buy from the breeder himself

However, if we buy a colormorph, in most cases this is a fish of the tenth or higer generation. Inbreeding is commopnly poractised, especially in producing color morphs resulting in very low genetic diversity in a population, and a very high homozygotism in the fish.

For each gene we have, just as fishes do, a copy from our other parent. If these are the same, this is called homozygotism. The effect of homozygotism is, however, that chances of adaptation, for instance, are lower. And therefore, manyth generation fishes are, generally, more sensitive and thus less healthy

From the above, one can read I would, ideally, prefer to get F1 fisehs. Captive bred, but genetically still rather diverse.

Regarding wild-type or a colormorph - I would always go for wild-type. In fact I don´t keep, or intend to keep, colormorphs or man made variations.
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Re: Treating for ulcers on other fish

Postby nikirushka » Fri Jan 27, 2017 5:33 pm

It was the potential for weakness through inbreeding that I was thinking of. I've been thinking about this and I can recall the shop owner where most of these golds came from having problems with weak fish of various types from one supplier, so I'm going to make the assumption that his golds came from there and it's those fish that keep succumbing to problems (I can't identify which individual fish came from him and which from the other shop, so I can't tell if it's both lots or just from the one source that are suffering the ulcers etc).

I understand though that Maidenhad Aquatics breed their own stocks, does anyone know if that's true? The odessas came from them and have been in excellent health from the moment I got them, very robust and fantastic colour. They get the barbs I would like to get as well so I may just stick with them in the future.
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Re: Treating for ulcers on other fish

Postby Diana » Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:15 pm

When you find a good store, deal with them, support them.
I am not in the UK, so cannot comment about MA from personal knowledge, but from what I have seen here, seems they are good.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!
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