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Old 04-14-2004, 06:03 PM   #1
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Murphys Law and Aquarium Meds??

I know I've been pretty quiet on the board for awhile but there's been a lot going on in my tanks.

2 weeks ago I went down to Atlanta to attend the Southern Discus Workshop. It was an awesome event and some of the best known people in the discus community were there. Many of these are among the most respected breeders and importers in the country. On last day (as is typical), an auction was held to help offset some of the costs of the show. I was elated to board the flight home toting some 70 lbs of water and 7 beautiful juvenile discus. I couldn't resist knowing I getting fish from some of the very best stock.

Arrived home at 10:30 PM and placed my new fish in QT. This tank is in another room seperate from my other discus tanks. After 3 days of discus bliss I saw the first signs of trouble. Clamped fins, a dark color and not eating. This was 5 of the 7 discus.

I began to burn the phone lines calling others who bought fish at the show. I learned that most of the fish from Alanta had already died and to make matters worse this unknown disease was spreading to other tanks and rapidly. Many of these people were in a panic and began medicating out of frustration. I was hearing horror stories of people losing more than half of their entire discus.

Since I didn't know what I was facing I started treating with just salt and 50% water changes. I resisted the temptation to start treating with copper as some had suggested, or antibiotics as others had. I wasn't sure if this was the kill or the cure.

This past weekend my other tanks came down with the symptoms. Only these fish were hit even harder. It was gut wrenching to look in these tanks and see my prize fish lying on their sides, black and unable to move.

I came to learn that there were suspitions about a certain donator and the health of his fish. It turns out he had sold fish prior to the show, and what I and the others were experiencing, had already happened to others.

I was one of the few people to have any fish left from the show. In fact, I hadn't lost any. I was advised to send some of these fish (alive) to the aquatics lab and Mississippi State Univ for necropsy. The discus world needs to know what's going and if there's a cure. I sent the fish Monday.

In talking to the fish pathologist there, I've these fish were very sick with flukes and hex but nothing that would be fatal so quickly. They are culturing to isolate bacteria, the prime suspect.

Fortunately I haven't lost a single discus and the Atlanta fish appear to be recovering. I suspect one or more fish of being a carrier, a typhoid Mary. And all these discus being in such close proximity had no resistance to the disease. Some fish survived, others didn't. People throwing the wrong medication at stressed and ill fish hastened the deaths (IMO).

I'll keep you posted on the outcome.
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Old 04-14-2004, 06:33 PM   #2
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Brian,

That's wonderful news that you haven't lost any of your discus. My (agnostic's) prayers are with you...

Thanks, also, for writing about this; it is important for all of us to know about the hazards of such diseases. Sounds like conventions need to be more careful about disease transmission in the future... Not sure how, but it sounds like added precautions should be taken.

What types of discus did you get in Atlanta??

Jon
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Old 04-14-2004, 06:39 PM   #3
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I am glad to hear that you have lost no fish due to this. I would love to hear the out come. good luck on the safe keeping of your fish
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Old 04-14-2004, 07:23 PM   #4
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Brian, I'm glad that you haven't lost any fish.
Your calm response to the developing situation (i.e. - not blindly tossing in medication) and your strict separation of QT tank and show tank paraphernalia are most likely the reason.

I hope the pathologist can identify the bug responsible, but I guess that won't help all the fish that had already succumbed and the survivors probably have already developed resistance.

Speaking for myself, I'd be too nervous to buy any livestock at an out-of-town show.
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Old 04-14-2004, 08:51 PM   #5
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I was wondering Brian; I had known some sort of discus plague of sorts had started making the rounds recently. I am SO sorry you (and your beautiful babies) got hit, although impressed that yours managed to survive; from what I was reading the survival rate was pretty low. I bet your (and your wife's!) water husbandry played a BIG part in keeping those pretty buggers alive and should be held up as an example of the important and proper way to do things when it comes to discus.

I too suspect something bacterial or viral in origin, especially as it seems to be airborne. Folks with strict QT and who share nothing between tanks still had the same experience as you (with the disease traveling between tanks). Keep us updated!
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Old 04-14-2004, 09:23 PM   #6
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im wondering if it was airborne or watever wouldnt brian have like an alergic reaction or can this *disease* not affect humans?? because most of my family is very sensitive to those areas.. my mom made me move the tank to the basement because when i did water changes her eyes got itchy... but thats kinda scary i keep both of my tanks less then 5 ft away.. imo im not a doctor or anything but kinda might sound corny but it may have been a disease from another animal like a cat or dog... okay nvm bout dat guess its kinda unreallistic..

im glad about ur fish. they didnt die... but to me if the disease is made for fish wouldnt it stay in the water?? if it started in the water then it would be heavier then the air because its soaked right??

lol im a fat 13 year old so i have no knowledge of such things so take no notice 8P
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Old 04-14-2004, 10:18 PM   #7
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*LOL* Krap101. Bacteria can travel through the air. A sneeze can inflict someone with a cold. Aquarium water evaporates. nuff said??

Thanks for the well wishes. I'm sure this will all get sorted out in due time. I really feel for the people that have lost lots of fish. They are my friends and I understand their suffering. I guess the point I was trying to make is that as hard as we may try, we can never assure a safe environment.

I'm thinking of starting a quality assurance program for people who keep discus, but it might apply to any fish.
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Old 04-14-2004, 10:34 PM   #8
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hey your post interested me cause discus are a big unowned passion of mine nother story nother time,,,, anyhoo, garage sale ,,used gear,,back issues of trop. fish hobbist, annual cichlid issue aug. 2003volume LI #12 #569 pg 38'ask jack' section, he talks about the discus 'plauge' sounds like what you were discribing hope it helps best of luck what pt. of N.Y.? L.I. my ol' hometown. c-ya
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Old 04-14-2004, 11:06 PM   #9
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Yeah glasstapper...Huntington. And Alli, I don't know about my water husbandry. I think it this point it's been my dumb luck.

Anyone really interested can go over to www.discusasahobby.com and check out the thread I started in the general section. "fish from the Southern Discus Workshop" Warning, it's 19 pages long already!!!!
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Old 04-19-2004, 03:27 PM   #10
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Wow... This is scary stuff. If I lost all of my fish like that I think I would probably quit the hobby. I just don't know. I'm the kind of person that shakes my head at people who use all the anti-bacterial soaps and bleach wipes and all that. I have good hygiene and I keep my house relatively clean, but I don't go gangbusters with that stuff because I never get sick. I think being exposed to germs is a good thing for the immune system... But I forget that fish are not built Ford tough like me, lol.

I have 1 net, 1 python, 1 algae scraper, and 7 tanks set up in my house. Combine my usual thinking concerning being overly cautious, along with being frugal and not wanting to *waste* money on multiples of what I already own, and add in the fact that I'm out of space for storing things as it is... and I suppose I am just awaiting disaster, aren't I? But how many fish keepers have experienced that kind of devastation after 30+ years of keeping fish? I am a fool?
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Old 04-19-2004, 03:40 PM   #11
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I have seperate algae scrubbers, nets, and siphons for each of my tanks. I started doing this when I had an ongoing fungal infection in my small tank and I wanted to make certain it never got to the larger tank. The only thing I share between the tank is the food and the waste bucket I use for water changes.
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Old 04-19-2004, 11:35 PM   #12
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Well that wc bucket can be a transitter od disease. But don't panic just yet. I know you've had all of these fish for a while grimlock.

The thing is certain species have less tolerance to certain bugs. I know that bettas are very susceptable to fungal infections. Rams are very touchy too..
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Old 04-19-2004, 11:47 PM   #13
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OK, here's the update. 2 of the 4 labs reported several different bacteria strains. Aeramonas (which is in all aquariums) seemed to be the most prevelant. Although they have been known to be pathogens, there's no evidence that these are the killers. They usually show up as a secondary illness after a fish has been in a weakened condition from something else. Kind of like somone getting pnuemonia after the flu.

All my fish are still alive. The juveniles that I brought back from Atlanta have rcovered completely. My other tanks, however are quite ill. I'm treating with high salt and 50% daily water changes. Tomorrow I'll begin anit biotics as some have reported improvement, and I can't bear to look this anymore.

Some pics I took yesterday!
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Old 04-20-2004, 12:15 AM   #14
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That top Discus looks terrible, hope everything gets better for you. Is the airborne spreading of illness specific to Discus? I have heard of similar problems a few times, and it always infected Discus in separate tanks. Is this the "Discus Plague"? Has anyone has sucess with air purifiers in keeping this from spreading?

Quote:
Well that wc bucket can be a transitter od disease. But don't panic just yet. I know you've had all of these fish for a while grimlock.
The way I look at it, nothing ever goes from the bucket back into the tank. I always empty the water and let the bucket dry before using it again. Coincidentally, my wife moved my fish stuff around and today I used the wrong algae brush on my tank. I felt pretty stupid because I just posted about how I keep my tank's equipment seperate

Quote:
The thing is certain species have less tolerance to certain bugs. I know that bettas are very susceptible to fungal infections. Rams are very touchy too..
I bought my Betta with a fungal infection that I did not notice until I got it home Even recently, the Betta showed the start of a fungal infection, I bought some Bettamax in case it got bad, and the infection started clearing up before I even had a chance to worry about QTing the Betta. I then proceded to start doing smaller water changes every two or three days, everything has been fine since.
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Old 04-20-2004, 10:52 AM   #15
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That's good question about the discus plague grimlock. I haven't had it confirmed, but I believe there's a new strain of the plague. It has it's origin in Asia but because so many discus are shipped to so many importers and distributors, and because of internet sales, I think we're at the beginning of an epidemic.

I sure wouldn't be a discus buyer right now!!!!
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Old 05-03-2004, 10:22 AM   #16
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Update!!!

Of 22 discus, I have 19 left. 2 were sacrificed to the lab for necropsy and 1 succumbed. 1 discus appears very ill but on it's way to recovery and all the others are now looking at their best.

I began treating with furazone green and high salt 10 days ago. I think that this only staved off secondary bacterial infections (which could be worse than the original), and thus may have saved the lives of my discus. The lab at Mississippi State did the testing for free (very nice of them). No fatal bacteria was cultured so the feelings are that the illness is viral. No cure exists for viral infections in fish.

In adding up the tally from other discus keepers, hundreds of discus have died in the past month, and discus that have survived are now probably carriers of this disease. I won't add any new discus for at least 2 months, and then I will start with only 1 as a test cull.

I'm thinking that this "new plague" had it's origin in asia and has been imported to the US and Canada.
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