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Suspected Mycobacteria

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Via Facebook Rainbowfish group, many have signaled i most likely have a mycobacteria infection on a couple of my fish - see photos.

These are 2 of the original fish in my 5yo tank, with the most recent additions circa 1yr ago.

I have recently moved my whole collection over to a new bigger environment. 

My old tank I was planning on setting up with some big cichlids. 

The infected fish have been like this for a couple of months. Originally, I suspected damage caused by 2x large SAE - and removed them accordingly. But, with no improvement, I now have these fish in a hospital tank where I have just finished a course of Furan 2, and have some Indian leaves in water to try help healing.

Where do I go from here?

Anything else to try for these fish - or time to euthanise?

What about all my other fish?

What about my old tank? Do I actually need to strip it down and bleach it? Or?

What about my own health?

It seems so rarely discussed in nz so wondering if anyone can point me in some right directions. Should note, the fish are eating well and still have lots of energy despite their damage.

Thank you







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I appreciate your reply and links.

Have done a lot of extensive reading on the subject. Its actually fairly dismal if you focus on it too much as it's not preventable and present in most systems.

Sweden did a case study and found something like 84% of stock in petshops were infected. Most, of course, not showing any visual signs.

For knowledge,  the only thing to kill it, is acetic acid between 6 and 8% strength (apparently vinegar on shelf is about 5).

Incredible to me that chlorine, uv light, even drying out tanks/equipment isn't enough to kill it. 

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My assumption is its just far from our mind.

Every symptom has a more "common", or dare I say it socially acceptable possibility ie skin lesions/ulcers, bent backs etc.

Whereas in the states at least, its a common subject with many (certainly within the rainbow fish keepers).


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I have seen it in goldfish that I imported many years ago. No ulcers but all the other signs were there and confirmed by bacterial cultures. The fish were destroyed.

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There have also been a number of cases in humans working in import facilities and it is the main reason why people are required to wear full length gloves.

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Yes I can only imagine.

Have read about goldfish (and indeed in the Sweden study goldfish were found positive) but is strange in itself as the bacteria is not supposed to like the cold. But, it's a very resilient bacteria I guess.

Thanks for your comments.

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