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Thread: Bacterial Ulcers

  1. #1
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    Bacterial Ulcers

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    Hi all,

    I seem to be having a major problem in my main display tank. I've lost a fair bit of fishes to some odd disease. It causes red marks on the body. I suspect it to be a type of bacterial disease and in all probability, maybe bacterial ulcers.

    Symptoms seen in dead or dying fish, in this case my Corydoras, the red marks are seen directly beneath the scutes/armour of the catfish. What is causing this, what disease is it actually and how should I go about treating it? I really need help ASAP because I don't wish to lose the rest of my precious livestock.

    I've already lost roughly 10 or so corys and a fair number of my Boraras. I knew the tank had a nitrate problem (40 ppm) a few days ago. Did a water change and the fishes were doing OK. However the die-offs are still on-going. I need help, and anyone with an idea or a plan on how I should go about treating the tank as a whole, please don't hesitate to post.

    That said, I'm already contemplating the use of this Japanese "Yellow Powder". It supposedly has some anti-biotics in it.

    Kenny, if you're reading this I need help badly.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Dawkinsia assimilis, Heros efasciatus - Looking for Pelvicachromis taeniatus
    -back to old school fish-

  2. #2
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    What antibiotics are available in Singapore for fish?
    Deborah

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    I think only nifurpirinol and its in a powder form mixed with something else. I don't recall seeing antibiotics available for sale at the LFS.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Dawkinsia assimilis, Heros efasciatus - Looking for Pelvicachromis taeniatus
    -back to old school fish-

  4. #4
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    Jian Yang,
    Have you ever read The Masque of the Red Death By Edgar Allan Poe?
    This must be the piscine variety of the disease Have you talked to
    Kenny about this? Maybe he has something you could use...

    Bill

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    Nope, never read that before.

    Haven't spoken to Kenny yet. I just noticed the symptoms because I was culling some of the fishes and was taking the dead ones out.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Dawkinsia assimilis, Heros efasciatus - Looking for Pelvicachromis taeniatus
    -back to old school fish-

  6. #6
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    Hi Jian Yang,
    I would take a guess at Aeromonas Hydrophila (Bacterial Hemorraghic Septicemia) or one of the similar species. It is probably due to the stress from the water problems the other day.
    You would have to ask kenny what would be the best antibiotics for them, (I must of slept when that part of the lecture was on). Although really there are a lot of bacteria that can cause the same symptoms, i would give the above as my best guess.
    The only problem is that it can be hard to treat as such, the aeromonas are essentially a family of soil bacteria, just this one happens to really like water..
    For your remaining fish I would try a hospital tank with absolutely clean fresh water since all the dead fish will have the bacterial populations very high now in your main tank. Even a tint of Methylene blue or some antiseptic to at least try and keep the water clean in a hospital tank.
    But you should call Kenny he will know better about the doctoring side of things, i just studied micro which is good for figuring out what is what but not the treatment side.
    Hope that helps or at least gives some ideas,
    Scott.
    Thanks again,
    Scott Douglass

  7. #7
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    Oh forgot to mention,
    Be careful and wash your hands etc, those diseases can also infect humans and cause some very nasty ulcers.
    Of course these bacteria are there all the time, but for the fish if they are stressed already combined with high population densities in the water makes it hard for them not to become infected.
    And if you are stressed about your fish and have cuts etc on your hands...
    Well be careful wash your hands after touching the dead fish or water and preferably try not too..

    Scott.
    Thanks again,
    Scott Douglass

  8. #8
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    Well, it won't be any help right now, but I noticed some folks offering international shipping on Aquabid for medications. You may want to keep some antibiotics around -- although unfortunately, they expire.... I hope you get some soon! I find Seachem has some good products -- like Kanaplex (Kanamycin).
    Deborah

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    Hmm.. I'll see what I can find online but I have to be discreet about such things. Anti-biotics are not meant to be procured easily online.

    Scott, here's a shot to illustrate what I mean by the red marks. This is a freshly-dead Corydoras surinamensis that I kept for 2 years. It was a very beautiful specimen and frankly speaking, I'm pretty sad I lost it.

    Just before it died however, the area in the eye socket was totally red, and the red marks on the sides can be seen. I've been hit by this problem before about 2 or so years ago and I thought it was already gone. I must have disturbed the gravel bed and may have caused the re-infection via the fishes ingesting contaminated material.



    The rest of the smaller Boraras and some of my newly purchased tetras died of unseen causes. I believe there must be two on-going infections in the tank. One must have been brought into my tank via the lampeyes (Poropanchax sp.) that I brought back the other day.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Dawkinsia assimilis, Heros efasciatus - Looking for Pelvicachromis taeniatus
    -back to old school fish-

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    Scott's warnings about your hands getting washed should be heeded.

    I also advise surgical gloves for working in your tank if you have any open cuts or scrapes. A horse/cow veterinarian can even sell long ones that go clear to your shoulder. [Don't ask!]

    One very common aquarium bacterium is Mycobacterium marinum aka "Fish TB." Fish develop ulcers like those described, usually when water conditions are wrong. You can often tell fish TB from others by the fact that death is rather slow, compared to Velvet and some other more rapid infections.

    I scratched the back of my finger on a cover glass, and managed to contract the infection. It is fairly easy to avoid with good hand washing, but it managed to get into the fresh open wound. I was careless.

    First, I got a yellow-headed bump, surrounded by reddish skin. I thought I might have been bitten by a Black Widow spider, as the skin started to slough off in a few days. The central pimple became a significant ulceration.

    Unfortunately, our doctors are very unfamiliar with the disease, and I had to fire 2 before I happened upon the local AIDS specialist. He sees it more often because his AIDS patients are more likely to be infected. I called it "Fishkeeper's Finger" but he knew it better as "Swimmer's Granuloma."

    It took 2 Biaxin pills a day (at US$6/each) for a full six months to bring it under enough control that my immune system could finish the job. Unfortunately, all the TB immunities seem to be shared by marinum and there are only three known antibiotics left that usually work. There are some strains even resistant to one or more of those.

    It is miserably painful, with swollen, sore lymph nodes, and sometimes rashes over major areas of the body. Don't catch it if you can avoid it.

    Perhaps this little narration will explain why I am so dead set against irresponsible use of antibiotics in the aquarium.

    Unless you are certain you know the efficacious dosgae, and know how to continue it for a sufficient period for 100% effectiveness, you are likely to just make some of the many bacterial species in any aquarium immune to that antibiotic.

    It may not be the one you are treating for, but it may be the one you wish wasn't immune when you get infected, later on.

    Wright
    01 760 872-3995
    805 Valley West Circle
    Bishop, CA 93514 USA

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    There's no worries on that washing bit. I have no open cuts or sores on my hands or fingers and I wash them thoroughly with soap after I've done my stuff in the tank. I will take the warnings seriously since I've read of these diseases infecting humans previously.

    I'm still unsure of what I should be treating the tank for and am even more unsure of what medication I should use. I may probably just leave things alone and hope that the darned problem buzzes off. It usually does though.

    Scott's guess that its probably Aeromonas-caused is a good one. I'll do checks regarding this problem and hopefully I'll eradicate it.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Dawkinsia assimilis, Heros efasciatus - Looking for Pelvicachromis taeniatus
    -back to old school fish-

  12. #12
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    Did some research and yes, indeed the problem is Aeromonas.

    Some folks use oxolinic acid to deal with this, but I don't know what that is, or what medications off-the-shelf might contain this. Melafix was given as a good medication to help oxolinic acid in dealing with the problem.

    Given that my tank is a 3 footer, I don't think I want to do this on the whole. Maybe I'll just cross my fingers and hope it disappears.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Dawkinsia assimilis, Heros efasciatus - Looking for Pelvicachromis taeniatus
    -back to old school fish-

  13. #13
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    Hi JY,

    As per our discussion, yes, I do agree with Scott that it may be aeromonas that you're dealing with.

    The other differential would be vibrio. Both of them can cause ulcerative streaks in the skin and body of the affected fishes.

    These infections can become an epidemic in tanks where teh tank hygiene may be suboptimal, with overcrowding and too much detritus lying around, and that tank husbandry which may be lacking.

    I do get that once in a while in my Endlers tank, when there's a population bloom and when I was too lazy in water changes and all. The highest casualty I've got is about 50%, and this occurred very fast for me to react, as in within a couple of days.

    In such cases of haemorrhagic/ulcerative bacterial infection, I do find that nifurpurinol or any drug from the nitrofuran class is quite effective.

    However, bearing in mind that nifurpurinol is a broad spectrum antibacterial therapeutic, it can also wipe out your biological filtration. This can be seen as a bacterial bloom after a couple of days upon adminstration. Thus, it is best to monitor the water condition and quality during the treatment period.

    If you find that deaths are of or near epidemic proportion, then it is best you treat the whole tank. Otherwise, just isolate and treat the affected fish in a separate tank.

    Cheers,

    Kenny

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    Kenny, as per your suggestion I dosed the whole tank with the "yellow powder" and am hoping that the problem will go away. I will monitor the water quality over the next few days.

    I bought some new fishes and two small snails. Housing them in a plastic container with aeration and some plants. Dosed the container with a fair amount of nifurpirinol since one of the new guppies had raggedy fins. Fought with another male while it was in the holding container.

    If all goes well the deaths should stop occurring. I've currently stopped feeding the fish with live foods and am sticking to dried foods like Sera Vipachips for the time being. After the treatment phase is over I'll probably resume their diet of live foods coupled with dried foods.

    By the way, should I get those Sera Baktotabs as a medicated food source? It's supposed to clear the fish of internal parasites I think and I thought it might be good to be used in tandem with the nifurpirinol treatment since my fish are used to tablet foods.

    Link below to sera's main website:
    http://www.sera.de/english/ratgeber/...agellaten5.htm



    Image of a Baktotab bottle from http://www.aquarium.arbatzoo.ru
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Dawkinsia assimilis, Heros efasciatus - Looking for Pelvicachromis taeniatus
    -back to old school fish-

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    Quick report, the nifurpirinol treatment was fully successful. The deaths kind of tapered off and there have been no further problems in the tank. The best part is, my fancy guppy females dropped plenty of fry and I have a school of guppy fry in a tank that was previously on the verge of a major bacterial problem.

    All thanks to the folks here who gave me leads on what might have caused the problem and a big thanks to Kenny, who told me to use nifurpirinol to deal with the bacteria.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Dawkinsia assimilis, Heros efasciatus - Looking for Pelvicachromis taeniatus
    -back to old school fish-

  16. #16
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    Hi JY,

    It's great to hear that your problem has been resolved.

    Just watch the bacterial bloom these few days. If it ain't too bad, just leave it alone and it should clear. Otherwise, just perform partial water change to provide some relief, but don;t change too much either. Just change enough to reduce the cloudiness by 20-30%, that'll do.

    Hope you have recovered from your flu yah?

    Cheers,

    Kenny

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    Hi Kenny,

    Sorry for the hiccup the other day. I should be wetting the symoensi this weekend and hopefully I get some fry from the super old peat.

    Back to the bacteria, I've not had any bacterial bloom in the water. Its been 4 days since I dosed the tank with the "yellow powder" and I've yet to encounter the cloudy water effect. The fishes are feeding very well and all of the ramshorns are still running wild in the tank. Greedy fellas. My two newly purchased horned bee snails didn't survive though.

    Apparently nifurpirinol degrades under light because I'm beginning to see my tank water turn clearer by the day. I might just do a slight water change though.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Dawkinsia assimilis, Heros efasciatus - Looking for Pelvicachromis taeniatus
    -back to old school fish-

  18. #18
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    Jian Yang,

    Glad to hear things are going better. It is always horrible to lose any fish let alone ones like your corydoras that you have had for years.

    As I an aside it was only a few weeks ago that i was reading that currently there are only 4500 or so bacteria classified. So it is really a drop in the ocean to what is out there, or in this case swimming around in our tanks.

    And looking at the times i see for yours and Kenny's posts - don't you guys ever sleep??

    Scott.
    Thanks again,
    Scott Douglass

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott_sg
    Jian Yang,

    snip...

    And looking at the times i see for yours and Kenny's posts - don't you guys ever sleep??

    Scott.
    Hey Scott,

    Look at mine some time and you'll see why I'm still POed that you guys don't arrange your sunrise to coincide with mine.

    This time-zone thing is obviously a government conspiracy to keep us up at different times. We should fire the politicians and declare a universal time. We could name it after a famous place, like Greenwich, and we could even give it a TLA, like "GMT."

    Past my bedtime. G'night all.

    Wright
    01 760 872-3995
    805 Valley West Circle
    Bishop, CA 93514 USA

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott_sg
    ...don't you guys ever sleep??
    Truth is, we do, but only when the sun rises in S.E. Asia, so Wright, go ahead and fire the politicians for our 'untimely' world

    Scott, I work permanent graveyard shifts and am a lousy correspondent (guess you found that out already) but drop me a SMS at 92954554, so we can arrange to meet up either later today or tomorrow afternoon.... I have stuffs to dump off ya (since Selena is gutless now. LOL!!)

    Going back on topic, I recently experienced a bacterial infection in my main rack with killies and juvenile corys dropping dead daily. I cannot pinpoint the specific bacteria but I see dropsy-like symptom (scale popping) and red inflamation around the abdomen.

    I treated and re-treated the system with a good dose of metronidazole and the problem was eventually resolved. That, of course, doesn't mean that I can be slack on husbandry which I suspect is the main cause and not from the live feeds.

    In case you're not aware, my main rack is a 4-tier recirculating system and any infection is usually un-nerving. Not very foolproof, even with UV and ionizer going.

    That said, I'm seriously considering re-routing my plumbing manifold so that I run 2 separate systems with dedicated bio and Henri filtration. This ought to cut down on sleepless nights and casualties too.
    I'm back & keeping 'em fingers wet,
    Ronnie Lee

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