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Mycobacterium Cleanup

Sea Gull

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Have been keeping fish for just a few years, and this has been a bit overwhelming for my first disease outbreak.

Still don't know what caused it, no new fish had been introduced and there was no nitrogen buildup. One of my fish must've been incubating it for some time. Their were no signs of illness or lethargy, no ulcers, so we were checking for heater malfunctions, pH fluctuations, pretty much everything else. It was only when one of the larger fish got a crooked spine we worked it out, diagnosis was confirmed by professional biopsy.


There's only really cleanup left to do now. Have a fish-less display and hospital tank full of Mycobacterium water. Does anyone know best way to sterilize the tank, and safely dispose of substrate and plants? It's going to be important not to release it into the environment, there is a nearby frog breeding area and would like to protect it from introduced infections.

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I use salt to sterilise tanks. Not sure if it is good enough for what you need to do though.
Our local Recycling Centre has a hazardous waste disposal area where you can take old paint etc so if you have one of those, I would contact them to see if they will take your substrate and plants. Well done for protecting the environment! I wish more would think before disposing of unwanted stuff.

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Thank you livingart, that's perfect.

M. marinum didn't seem to be mentioned in the study, so might need to poke around a bit to figure out what concentrations needed to kill it, but some of the stronger cleaning vinegars should work for any strain.


Thank you as well Caryl, that's a great idea. They should be able to take it, but hopefully even if they can't they'll be able to give me some advice.

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  • 1 month later...

Okay, have made a bit more of a plan.

Also, sorry for grabbing some advice and then vanishing. My dad had a heart scare, and everything is okay now but it threw some things into chaos.


My first plan was to cycle cleaning vinegar through the tank, which should work great. But it is not easy to get 60l of very strong cleaning vinegar without owning a cleaning business. So my new plan is to use vinegar for my quarantine tank, and to disinfect the substrate before throwing it out. Larger surfaces in my tank can be wiped down with ethanol.

Luckily, most rubbish tips already deal with animal waste, so they already have ways to deal with diseases. Still planning to disinfect it first though.


My cories and tetras will be moving into the bigger tank once it's completely disinfected. The lighting is great for plants, which the tetras really like.

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What a week. A 20m tree is currently lying across our/ neighbor's fence, which will be interesting to deal with. At least everyone is safe.

Re; the actual fish tank:


It turns out that it is cheaper to buy bulk ethanol than bulk cleaning vinegar for some reason. We've been wiping down large / delicate materials and soaking all the smaller parts.  (Do not stick your head in the tank while wiping it down. My suggestion would be to use a sponge on  a stick.)

It's still outside after drying off, and luckily was not hit by any parts of the tree.

So now we're just getting replacement filter medium and putting all back together.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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