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Probable fish TB & where do I go from here


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I am hoping y’all may be able to help me with a few questions. I was in the process of a complete redo of my 29 gallon freshwater aquarium. I removed my endler colony, my amano shrimp, and my nerite snails and they are all living in a couple smaller well cycled aquariums. They had been in these tanks for weeks and doing ok. I placed a large order of substrate, live plants and rocks and when they came I spent half a day redoing my 29 gallon. I replaced my entire tank substrate with new but I have reused rocks, plants, and filter medium in my filter.

A few days after my complete redo some fish who had been looking a little thin began to die. I think my endlers have fish TB or a mycobacterium infection. One by one they are getting thin, pale, listless, weak, swimming strangely and dying. This wasting illness has happened infrequently in the past year, just one here and there and I'd always assumed they were just getting old and dying. I can now see many of my fish now are exhibiting the same symptoms and I have come to accept the terrible reality that I probably need to euthanize the lot of them and sterilize everything.

I spent a lot of time looking up information about mycobacterium and in retrospect it is probable that my fish had this for a while and the stress of the new tanks (or that massive freeze a month ago here in TX) probably brought it to the surface. I included a pic of one of my endlers wasting away so you can see what I am talking about. This is what they look like when they are a few days to a week away from death.

Here are my questions:

1.            If I have a mycobacterium infection in the tanks where they live now, do I have to throw away all the rocks, plants, substrate and fully sanitize all the equipment in my 29 gallon tank? That is where my fish lived prior to their current tanks but no creature lived in there since a week prior to my big renovation and no creature lives in it now. Is this tank fully infected too? 

2.            Do I need to euthanize my nerite snails and amano shrimps also? It is entirely probable they have predated upon the bodies of the dead endlers.

3.            Is it possible to run the 29 gallon tank with a UV sterilizer for a few months or a year and have that take care of any possible lingering mycobacterium infection? Will the bacteria persist in the environment without a host? This article gave me a little bit of hope, I don't know if that hope is well founded. https://www.tfhmagazine.com/articles/freshwater/mycobacteriosis-the-stealth-disease213231

4.            Is there any way I can save any animals or plants or is everything going to have to die?

5.           I read that clove oil is the most humane way to euthanize aquatic creatures, is that true?

I have this fantasy that perhaps I can save the plants, my amano shrimp and nerite snails by running my newly re-aquascaped 29 gallon tank with a UV sterilizer and no fish for a year and eventually reintroduce fish. That's probably a fantasy, right? Most everything I read about mycobacterium is pretty dire.

Thank you so very much for any time or attention you can give this matter. I am just trying to see who/what I can save in this terrible situation.



pH- 7.0 – 7.5

KH 80

GH 60


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I usually start with, if you research long enough, you can convince yourself fish have any disease. Start with the basics. Have you dewormed your fish with paracleanse? Then after that have you made sure it wasn't camallanus red worms? If I eliminated those, then maybe it would be mycobaterium.  I'd also add some hardness to the water as well.

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Medical students quickly learn the phrase: when you hear the sound of hooves, think horses, not zebras.

Eliminate the more common, more likely culprits first before jumping to worst case scenario. All the same, please be extra careful when handling your tank until you know more about what's going on there, since fish TB can spread to humans.

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