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Lake Kutubu Rainbowfish - Keep Dieing

 
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Caswal



Joined: 26 Oct 2017
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:51 am    Post subject: Lake Kutubu Rainbowfish - Keep Dieing Reply with quote

Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate ~10ppm
pH ~8
kH <2
gH(TDS) < 20mg
Temperature: 24 deg celsius
Is the tank heated: Yes
Water change (how much/how often): Automatic Drip change, aimed to keep Nitrate < 20ppm
Tank size: 300L + 100L sump
Filteration/Aeration: Quite a bit of aeration through the overflow to sump. 5000L/hr return pump. Filterfloss, with a few kg of ceramic noodles. UVC Sterilizer.
Water additives/fertilizers: None
Type of substrate: Black Sand, 1 inch deep
How often is the substrate vacuumed? Not massively, the tank has good flow, the substrate is clean.
Livestock: 5x Lake Kutubu Rainbow Fish. 20x Glowlight Tetras, 2x Royal Farlowella Whiptails, 1x Bristlenose, 6x Sterbai Corydoras. Small pest/detritus snails
New additions and recent changes to the tank: 3 months ago
How long has the tank been set up for? ~ 1 Year
How long were the new additions quarantined for: None. LFS is good, and NZ has pretty stringent quarantine at import.
Physical symptoms (please also provide photos): I have had this happen to quite a few of the rainbow I have kept. They go pale, with a bit of a fluffy ~0.25mm slime coat. Fins clamped. Spine slightly bent down. Get stuck pitching up. From first symptoms to death is generally 24-48hrs. No other fish show any similar symptoms. Will generally go a couple of months until another rainbow does the same thing.

Picture: https://photos.app.goo.gl/mVFHDJUqPrSVMm7J2

Behavioral symptoms: Will isolate itself, will be eating fine until symptoms too severe to allow the fish to swim.
What was done so far to deal with the problem: Nothing. I have no idea what it is, and as other fish are fine don't want to induce stress in them.


Any ideas what this is? It is really frustrating, I try to keep the tank water quality pretty impeccable.
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Colin_T



Joined: 18 Feb 2009
Posts: 2777
Location: WA, home of the Salamanderfish

PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi and welcome to the forum Smile

It's unfortunate your first post is about an issue like this.

I have had fish with similar symptoms to what you described. The fish go pale, seem to bloat up a bit, gasp at the surface and then die shortly after these symptoms start. There are several possibilities including a protozoan infection or the dreaded tuberculosis bacteria (TB).

Protozoan infections do not normally cause the fish to develop a slight bend in the body, but they will cause the fish to breath heavily, produce more mucous giving them a white or opaque appearance and have clamped fins.

The fish in the picture appears to have an unusual patch on the side of the body. This looks a bit like a bacterial infection. But the fish does not appear to be bloated.

TB can cause internal organs to rupture. The fish bloats up and breathes heavily (gasps at the surface), stops eating and dies shortly after the signs appear.

TB is a very slow growing bacterium that can live in a fish for years before it eventually ruptures internal organs and kills the fish. Whereas protozoan infections are generally fast acting and will infect and kill fish within a few days to a week. Protozoan infections will normally show up within a few days of new fish or plants being added to a tank.

The fact you have not added any new fish for 3 months, and are only losing one rainbowfish every few months, would suggest TB. However, the only way to confirm this 100% would be to have the fish autospied by a fish vet.

Unfortunately there is no cure for TB and the best you can do is manage the tank with it. Virtually every petshop in Australia has TB in their tanks, so we can assume most petshops in New Zealand and other countries also do. The bacterium comes from fishes imported from Asia and seems to affect rainbowfishes a lot more than most other common aquarium fishes. We assume this is because wild rainbowfish have not been exposed to the bacterium and the species have not developed any resistance to the disease. Whereas the more common aquarium fishes (tetras, barbs, catfish, etc) have been exposed to this disease for generations in the countries where they are commercially bred.

More information can be found in Adrian Tappin's e-book: Rainbowfishes - Their Care & Keeping in Captivity. Found at the link below.
http://rainbow-fish.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1030

NB: as a precaution you should wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy after touching anything in the fish tank. And if you have any cuts or scratches on your skin, do not let the aquarium water touch those parts. If it is TB, the bacterium can get into open wounds that are exposed to the contaminated water.

It is rare for people to develop TB infections in the skin from fish tanks, but it has happened. This normally happens to people with immune deficiency disorders like diabetes, HIV, cancer patients.
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Caswal



Joined: 26 Oct 2017
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the prompt reply Colin_T, from taking the picture to the fish being motionless, breathing heavily on the bottom was about 45 minutes. Was dead by the next morning. (I had moved her into a floating box). So it went from eating at 8pm to motionless by 11:30pm.

I have in fact had a fish TB infection on my hand from this tank. This was over a year ago. It took me a while to work out what it was, as the scratch came from cleaning out the old garage at the same time. So assumed it was something from that.

My better half has noticed that the fish in question has been acting a bit weird for a week or 2, but this has been the fastest so far, from noticeable symptoms to death. I noticed while transferring it to floating box, that it was very concave below the pectoral fins, as compared to other rainbows.

I really want to get my tank up to a level of around 8-10 rainbows. But if they keep dying like this and nothing I can do to stop it. Makes it an expensive proposition. Especially trying to get them out to adult size, rather than the young juveniles you can buy here.

Hopefully the UVC sterilizer is doing its job and keeping pathogens in the water column to a minimum. I believe it is, as I shut down my spare tank and moved plants into the sump and set up a refugium. It brought along some cyano, which has not got into the display tank. The spare tank was stocked with fish from and plants from the display tank. Which I had blacked out to kill off the cyano a several months ago. Gives an interesting way to test the effectiveness of a UVC sterilizer. I assume small mounts of cyano do enter the water column to allow it to spread.
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Colin_T



Joined: 18 Feb 2009
Posts: 2777
Location: WA, home of the Salamanderfish

PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for not responding prior to now, my pc packed up. I love computers when they work, but when they don't, grrrr Sad

I assume the TB infection in your hand has been treated successfully now? And if you don't mind me asking, how long did it take to treat?

As for your fish, you could try breeding the rainbows in another tank or plastic tub/ storage container. Then rear up the young and put the offspring in a clean tank. Rainbowfish are quite easy to breed and rear and collecting eggs can be a way to reduce the risk of transmitting TB in fish tanks.
The reason I mention plastic tubs/ storage containers, is they can be bleached after use to kill any harmful organisms like TB. Whereas the silicon (glue) holding glass aquariums is damaged by bleach.

More info on breeding rainbowfish can be found in the following links, and also in Adrian's e-book.

http://rainbow-fish.org/forums/viewforum.php?f=9

http://rainbow-fish.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=289

http://rainbow-fish.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=321
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Rob M



Joined: 22 Jul 2015
Posts: 1042
Location: Gillett, WI

PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
silicon (glue) holding glass aquariums is damaged by bleach.

Yikes! I often clean tanks with bleach when changing things around Confused
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Colin_T



Joined: 18 Feb 2009
Posts: 2777
Location: WA, home of the Salamanderfish

PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to the silicon manufacturers in Australia (Selleys), silicon is fine if exposed to acidic substances. However, it does not tolerate highly alkaline solutions, and prolonged exposure to straight bleach will cause the silicon to break down.

They considered exposure to straight bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite) for 30minutes to be detrimental to the silicon.

I have tested this and it depends on the silicon. Some cheaper brands of silicon started to break down the first time I used bleach on them, however other brands held up quite well.
eg: I made six small tanks (18inch long x 10inch wide x 12inch high) using different brands of silicon. They were given a week to cure and then they were rinsed out and dried with paper towels. Then straight bleach was applied with a sponge and everything was left for 30minutes before the tank was washed out with soapy water.
The tanks were left for a few days and then bleached again. I did this 6 times for each tank and compared results each time.
I used 4 brands of clear silicon and 2 brands of black silicon.

A couple of cheap no name brands of silicon started to discolour after the first bleaching. The silicon went a creamy white color and became harder. It didn't become hard like a rock but it definitely became harder than the other brands.
Black silicon suffered from this too after the second and third bleaches. And at the end of the test the black silicon had definitely discoloured and was showing a lot of cream/ white.
The more expensive clear silicon held up quite well and whilst they did eventually start to turn cream (after 5th & 6th bleach), it wasn't as bad as the cheaper stuff, and they still remained soft and squishy like good silicon.

The silicon did not come away from the glass but I have seen tanks that were bleached and the silicon did start to separate from the glass.

So basically if you use straight bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite) on an aquarium, do not leave the bleach on it for more than about 15minutes. And wash it off well afterwards. Bleach has surfactants in it and these are usually soap based and help the bleach stick to whatever it is put on. Non perfumed soap should be used to wash the tanks out after bleaching and then rinse well with water.

Calcium Hypochlorite (granulated swimming pool chlorine) was tested as well, with tanks being filled to 1-inch below the top with tap water, and 1/2 cup of granulated chlorine was added to each tank and left for 24 hours. The tanks were examined for any discoloration to the silicon after 30minutes, 1 hour, 12 hours and then rinsed and checked at the end of the 24 hour period.
This process was repeated six times for each tank.

The better brands of silicon showed no discoloration after this but the 2 cheaper brands and both brands of black silicon showed minor cream discoloration after the second time they were treated. This was after a total of 48 hours of fairly high concentration of granulated chlorine. The discoloration increased slightly over the entire test period.
The other two brands of silicon were fine and showed no discoloration after the six treatments.
The top part of the silicon that was not exposed to water, did not discolour at all.

If you do want to bleach your aquariums, then wash them out with soapy water and a scrubbing brush first and try to remove all the algae, slime, gunk, etc from the glass before bleaching. This will leave a cleaner surface with fewer things on it to use the bleach. Thus leaving the bleach to kill off any remaining micro-organisms. The less gunk the bleach has to deal with, the less time it requires to kill disease organisms like TB. And the less time the bleach is in contact with the silicon, the better.

And granulated pool chlorine is a safer alternative for you and the silicon. Adrian's e-book has dose rates for using this, and it is less than what I used for my tests.

If you do use bleach or pool chlorine, try to do it outside so you don't gas yourself or anything in the house/ fish room.
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