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Could It Be Fish TB (Tuberculosis)?


Sapere_Ceta
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Ph- 7.4

Nitrates- 10 ppm currently (usually lower but cannot do maintenance due to recent surgery)

dKH- 10.0

dGH- 8.4

Nitrite- 0 ppm

Ammonia- 0 ppm

Water Temperature- 79F 


Due to significant issues with health, and problems with the aquarium and the livestock within it I’ve been having for months now, I have debated multiple times taking this aquarium down. But I have missed having an aquarium for many years, and I want to give this another go with possible solutions when I am able to. 

HERE IS A TIMELINE OF WHAT’S BEEN OCCURRING: 
(I’ve gone back and tracked everything up to when I got they shipped to me) 

DISCLAIMER: Not all of this could be connected to the same issue, treatments are severely limited based on what I can get, and this is just a log of everything I have noticed and have done since having them. 
 

JAN 21- Livestock arrived via shipping, 7 ricefish and 1 male betta splendens

- Death of 1 ricefish minutes after acclimation

- Decided to QT with salt for 2 weeks to start and dewormed with Fenbendazole

FEB 1- Noticed a ricefish flash on gills, started API General Cure for 2 weeks

-never observed more flashing after this moment

FEB 11- Had Hydra (completely not an issue) and dosed Fenbendazole at a very low dose 

FEB 12- Second very low dose of Fenbendazole  to eradicate Hydra

FEB 13- Water changed out all medications

FEB 16- Death of 1 ricefish after noticing isolation from other fish and some lethargy in the morning

-started to swim more in the afternoon and died within minutes after

-examined outside of body, possible minor bloating, but nothing else

FEB 24- Eye issue on 1 ricefish, significant inflammation

-also noticed flashing shortly after from 1 other ricefish

-did large volume water change and then dosed API General Cure (decided to treat for parasites first, also got sick and couldn’t do anything to the aquarium at this time)

MARCH 13- all issues from FEB 24 went away, and large volume water change was preformed to remove medications (went back to weekly water changes while I was recovering)

MARCH 26- 1 ricefish excreting white waste (no more were observed)

-did not medicate because no other symptoms were observed, digestive issue was speculated

APRIL 1- surgery and rest of period of time is during recovery (cannot do much of anything  during the rest of this time)

APRIL 7- 1 ricefish euthanized after extreme lethargy, swimming pointed upwards, and escalating struggling was observed

- eye issue in 1 other ricefish, suspected inflammation around the eye, more so the top, eye itself is completely clear

-decided to give salt bath for 45 minutes to ricefish with eye issue (monitored every 15 minutes carefully, and released back into aquarium) 

APRIL 8- all issues from APRIL 7 continue, and 1 other ricefish shows significant reduction in appetite

 

I cannot set up a quarantine tank for fish currently having issues due to my recent surgery. I am not sure what the issue is, but if more issues continue to persist after possible future treatments (based on the advice I get), I likely will speculate that it could Fish Tuberculosis, if the same symptoms persist.

Due to my health issues, future needed invasive surgeries, and current recovery from my recent surgery, I am very limited in what I can do. I am very limited on what I can get, and what I can afford, due to recent medical bills.
Any ideas on what could be going on is highly appreciated. 

 

 

Edited by Sapere_Ceta
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3 hours ago, Colu said:

The looking a the symptoms they could have had a parasitic infection with treatment you given that should have  resolved it  I would suspect an on going bacterial infection I would Treat with maracyn or kanaplex 

I ended up ordering kanaplex. I appreciate it. I think it definitely could be bacterial, though how the ricefish were dying, symptom wise, had me somewhat perplexed. I’m hoping this does the trick. 

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Well, It’s day four of the kanaplex, yesterday I added a second dose of it, tomorrow I will add a third dose. I haven’t seen any improvement, and two of the ricefish are looking worse today. 
 

The one with the eye bulging with inflammation surrounding the skin around the eye (though the eye itself is completely clear) is having worse swelling on the skin surrounding the eye. 
 

Another ricefish, a smaller one who has been looking thinner the past few days now seems to have a dark lump protruding from the inside of their isthmus. They also are now presenting with slightly raised scales and wobbly swimming (early stage of dropsy). 
 

I am worried this could still be fish tuberculosis, especially with how weird the symptoms are now getting, though I know not all diseases are recorded so it could just be something I haven’t come across yet. What do you all think? Has anyone had this happen?

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3 minutes ago, Colu said:

He some pictures of fish with TB they get wasting muscle tissue in the top half of there body become emaciated develop bent spine and lesions I still think you have a nasty bacterial infection and it not tb but I could be wrong

The second picture looks like what the ricefish I euthanized was developing. He started getting slanted near the lower half of his body, underweight, and struggled to swim and was pointed with his head upwards. I thought about waiting before euthanasia, but it looked like it was going to get worse and just cause pain. I haven’t seen an damage to the muscle tissue, but I have noticed a lot of inflammation in some spots (the eye on the one fish and it looks like maybe around the vent starting too). 

I think you definitely could be correct, though in the back of my mind I’m wondering if it might be a chance it’s TB. I was reading back into reports on pop-eye and noticed it can happen from TB when they looked at it in a lab, though that’s rare. But I noticed the common trend of wasting away fish, white stool, the slanted look my one fish was getting, skin issues (though I've only seen inflammation and the lump so far, but I have seen ulcers sometimes form as a lump before rupturing, so I’m wondering if that might be what will occur), dropsy (which is just starting today), and issues with swimming. I’ve tried to read through other types of bacterial infections, but I haven’t found much, however I think it could just be something I haven’t come across yet or is manifesting in a different way. Unfortunately, you can’t know unless the body is examined or tested to know what internally is going on. So it’s a bit of a guessing game. 

So I’m thinking that if I get to a point where no improvement is shown after maybe 7-10 days or more, depending on how bad their symptoms are by then, I might opt for euthanasia and taking the whole tank down. 

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14 minutes ago, Colu said:

It difficult when your fish get sick all you can do is treat the symptoms hope they improve hopefully the treatment will start to have an effect

That’s definitely true. I’m hoping it starts to help. I really love the little guys, and this is the first aquarium I’ve been able to have again in years. I’m hoping they can make a comeback.

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I'm so sorry you're experiencing this. I'm not too familiar with ricefish, so I can't tell you what the issue is for certain, but I agree that it sounds like some chronic issues they came with, probably not TB and probably not to do with any negligence on your part. Your keen observation, quick actions and thorough record keeping make you a stellar aquarist. Sometimes some fish just fail to thrive.

10 ppm nitrates are quite low, and nothing to be ashamed of. Most planted tank keepers let theirs get to 40-50ppm before changing the water. 

My only advice, if the ricefish don't make it, is to try an even easier livebearer who's happy with hard water like endlers, guppies, platies or swordtails. You deserve a win after all your hard work.

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1 hour ago, Kirsten said:

I'm so sorry you're experiencing this. I'm not too familiar with ricefish, so I can't tell you what the issue is for certain, but I agree that it sounds like some chronic issues they came with, probably not TB and probably not to do with any negligence on your part. Your keen observation, quick actions and thorough record keeping make you a stellar aquarist. Sometimes some fish just fail to thrive.

10 ppm nitrates are quite low, and nothing to be ashamed of. Most planted tank keepers let theirs get to 40-50ppm before changing the water. 

My only advice, if the ricefish don't make it, is to try an even easier livebearer who's happy with hard water like endlers, guppies, platies or swordtails. You deserve a win after all your hard work.

I appreciate that. I’ll definitely keep that in mind. That’s definitely something to consider for sure. I tend to hyper-analyze these guys, as I’m always next to them, and it doesn’t help too much when they’ve been having a lot of problems, because I tend to tunnel-vision into the possibilities, scientific reports, what have you lol. It doesn’t help that I have been so eager to have fish, and now that I have them again, I’m extremely attached and always checking to see if I ever need to adjust anything or what have you. 

Yeah, the nitrates are always so low. I usually dose fertilizers to raise them, but haven’t in while because of all of the outside factors that have been occurring. And I didn’t want to add anything besides medication in the tank once they really started presenting symptoms, because I don’t want to possible further any stress. My plants aren’t too happy about it, but they can always hang in there for the time being. So 10 ppm without fertilizers is the highest it’s been haha. 

I think that could be a good idea. I have really been hoping these guys could push through. I had a betta before them that ended up shipping with a serious case of gill flukes, nothing I tried worked and it was too late and he died. I ended up getting these guys long down the road. The betta seems fine, at least asymptomatic. The ricefish have all been having problems, and I’ve been feeling really bad for them. I’m hoping medication will do the trick, but I definitely am accepting that there’s a chance they might not survive, given what’s occurring. 

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Well unfortunately, the fish are looking much worse today.
 

The eye issue on the ricefish is getting worse. The skin around the eye is continuing to swell, and it’s extremely red. It looks like a combination of severe inflammation with more vibrant red speckling. The fish is starting to have impaired swimming ability, like the others were getting. 

The ricefish with the lump looks close to death. The scales are raising more today, and the lump they have has doubled in size. It looks like it’s genuinely about to rupture, whatever it is. They’re looking thinner today, and the wobbling is worsened and they’re pointed with their head at an almost constant upright position. 

The stool of the other fish looks much worse. It’s not whole anymore and still very white. They are becoming pretty lethargic, hiding in the dark a lot more, even though the light is dim. Nobody still will eat anything around the tank (I haven’t been feeding them since medication started, but one by one they stopped wanting food days before adding the medication), though the ones who had an appetite left haven’t been going after the copepods in the tank now, which is extremely unlike them. 

I’m debating euthanizing them sooner, because of this. But I’m not sure. They’re looking really terrible, and I feel extremely bad. Part of me wants to give them more time and see if they can pull around, but I’m not feeling much hope now, with how they’re worsening. 
I’m also extremely worried because whatever it is has been really knocking them out, and I don’t know if it’s going to stay in the tank or not, even if I did have to euthanize the fish.

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I support whatever you decide to do. There’s nothing wrong with deciding to put them out of their misery. It’s really sad and I’ve had to do it for sick fish several times, but sometimes it’s the kindest option we have. Go with your instinct. If your instinct says let them keep fighting, then keep at it. If it says it’s time, then it’s time. ❤️

Is the betta still doing okay?

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Last night the eye of my ricefish ruptured very severely. They worsened quickly after that, spinning around and swimming erratically into the aquarium glass.

The ricefish with the lump and dropsy was still looking really bad, barely swimming well at this point. I decided to pull the two of them out and euthanize them. 

I went to sleep, woke up and the two other ricefish had scales raised, with one that had multiple small lumps now presenting. My betta fish, who had been seemingly asymptomatic up until this point, producing white stool. I decided to take all of the fish out and euthanize them. The tank is now being completely deconstructed. I got rid of the plants, the biological media, and the substrate. 

I have disinfected the aquarium with a combination of things, including 91% isopropyl alcohol. I will disinfect the rocks and driftwood, filter, heater, and anything I ever used for the tank as well. 

I don’t want to risk this happening again, especially since I have no idea what it was, and it freaked me out after seeing my fish’s eye explode, and how they were developing these growing weird internal lumps. I’m considering trying to get a UV Sterilizer in the future to try add to prevention if I ever want to try this again. 

I appreciate all of your comments, everyone. I also did take a look at the API Furan 2, though I didn’t see the message very long ago. I definitely will hang onto that for future reference. Hypothetically if the fish weren’t euthanized, the earliest shipping date I found was late April early May, due to delayed shipping in my area, and I don’t think they could have held out for that long. 

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13 minutes ago, Hobbit said:

I’m so sorry @Sapere_Ceta. This was a weird situation—definitely not due to anything you did. I hope you can get a new tank up and running soon. You deserve some happy, healthy fish buddies.

Yeah, it really was strange, and of course concerning. I appreciate that. I’m hoping to get it up and running again eventually. I didn’t expect it all to go so badly, especially, after I lost my first betta. I was hoping this time around, it would be okay. It’s been a little exhausting and overly stressful, and in turn, it’s been setting off more and more flare ups, in combination with the other things going on.  I’m a little sad I have to redo everything, and I invested so much into it. But, I’m just going to take it at a pace my body and mind is able to handle. 

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6 hours ago, Colu said:

Sorry to hear that there are many type of mycobacterium some respond well to treatment some are are incurable I wouldn't beat yourself up to much you tryed your best sometimes there's a good out come and sometimes there's not 

Thanks, I really appreciate all of the advice. You’re a great help. That’s true, there’s a lot of variables that can impact the outcome, down to even a bacteria’s make-up. and it’s something that you just have to try your best in, seek help from others for at times, and hope the outcome is a positive one. 

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