PDA

View Full Version : I have just (this morning) been diagnosed with aquarium granuloma



ronv
01-03-2017, 10:02 AM
An infection caused by microbacterium marinum. I have heard about this infection but in my 40+ years in the hobby this is my first experience. I don't even think I have known anyone that has had it. I first noticed an infected place on my wrist back in November. My dermatologist sent off a sample for diagnosis which came back today. It is his first experience also. I am doing fine. I have been on two antibiotics since Nov. and it is clearing up. My concern is my aquariums. I have no idea which tank (or All) are infected. I have not been able to learn much about the microbacterum and its life cycle. Does it have a free swimming stage that would respond to UV? All my Dr. can tell me so far is that bleach would kill it. I have a follow up appointment with him tomorrow. Maybe he can find out more by then. I am prepared to bleach all my tanks and destroy everything but I have one tank I would really like to save. Does anyone out there have any knowledge of this? Any advise? I am also worried about this being in our club. I am afraid I might have sold or given away fish to some of yall that could be carriers. Plus I have only one fish that did not come from other club members. Be aware of any sore spots that start turning red and be especially careful about washing hands with soap and water...

likestofish
01-03-2017, 10:34 AM
I'm not to familiar with it but did find this page on the subject matter.
http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-07/sp/feature/

I do know that mycobacterium in general can be UV sterilized so that might be able to done for that last tank you want to save. They are free swimming bacteria and don't produce any endospores, but could stick to a surface in a biofilm.

Igster
01-03-2017, 01:02 PM
I have a friend in Puerto Rico who got it years ago...it took a while for it to completely resolve. I'll ask him what procedures he changed for dealing with his numerous tanks.

heatherbeast
01-03-2017, 02:31 PM
Yikes, sorry to hear this. :(

Mycobacterium marinum is a slow-growing bacteria with a waxy cell wall that responds poorly to antibiotic treatment. This is seen more frequently in /marine/ fishkeeping, since hobbyists will scrape themselves on live rock (surface with mycobacterium plus broken skin!). The initial injury may have happened months ago. They are what are referred to as 'indolent' infections. Not very aggressive, keep a low profile without aggravating the immune system too much, etc. You will need to be on antibiotics for a LONG time -- at least two months! -- because they do grow so slowly.

Generally mycobacteria are NOT free-swimming, and will preferentially stick to surfaces in biofilm. However, water changes and running a UV sterilized AFTER stirring up mycobacteria by scrubbing the tanks and decor means that you lessen the total load of bacteria.

Frankly, I would not tear down the aquariums just yet. M. marinum is likely in all of our water systems -- the southeastern United States has a lot of conditions in its natural waters that encourage the growth of this and other Mycobacterium species. A 3-year study of aquarium fish showed that 90% of all livestock in a few shops had some kind of mycobacterium species present -- but this doesn't differentiate between colonization (just growing on them) and actual illness (infection). 10% of all fish had M. marinum. If your fish are healthy, and you haven't noticed any wasting disease in your livestock, I do not think that you have much to fear about spreading it to other aquariums since they likely already have it, although it is VERY thoughtful of you to warn others.

Off the top of my head, the most useful intervention will be the long term practice of prevention by wearing gloves that cover your hands and forearms while doing water changes or major re-scaping or scrubbing in your tanks.

I'll send you a PM with my work phone # if you want to talk more about mycobacteria ecology and transmission from the environment to people.

byork
01-03-2017, 06:44 PM
I am sorry to hear your sick.

HN1
01-03-2017, 07:31 PM
Oh wow Ron. Sorry to here that. You'll be in my thoughts! Good luck on your unexpected battle!

caricell
01-04-2017, 12:07 AM
Wow, Ron. Please take care. Worry more about yourself than the fish!

cswain123
01-04-2017, 01:18 AM
Ron sorry to hear that. I was just learning about that mycobacteria before Christmas and it has been on my mind. It's slow growing and unless you're immunocompromised you'll only see the skin affected. It can't be transmitted, or at least not known to be transmitted human to human so that's a plus too. This may be a needle in a hay stack but it grows best from 77-90f so maybe in a warmer tank you keep. It also produces yellow pigment under light but I don't know if would grow in a colony to the extent that it would be visible. I keep seeing in med databases that there are two types. One type that can infect humans and is acutely lethal to fish and the other type can't infect humans and is chronically progressive in fish. You've gotta have the type that's really lethal to fish. Average incubation is 25 days so if you had a a tank or species that died off around the same time that might be the infected one. For the tank you don't want to harm if you can dose with antibiotics that would be a for sure way. Would take a couple months dosing to be sure. Clarithromycin if they have it for aquariums. All the stuff I read mentioned stagnant water was common. If you've got any super low flow aquariums they would be a more likely source. I kind of think any affected fish you had would already be dead though. For ease of mind maybe scrub all the exposed aquarium surfaces and then big water changes. Bleach anything you can take out of the tank. All the fish I've ever gotten from you have been in great health so I have zero worries there. Again sorry to hear you're having to deal with that. And to echo Larry take care of yourself before those fish!

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk

Apisto Jim
01-04-2017, 10:05 AM
Very sorry to hear of this Ron. Pretty scary stuff. Hope you recover soon.

Tropical
01-04-2017, 10:07 AM
Wow that is scary! Hope you have a speedy recovery!

I haven't heard of this before, very interesting to read.

Are there any other illnesses that can transfer from fish to humans?

dgamadanis
01-04-2017, 10:31 PM
I had an this infection several years ago which was probably caused by a cut on my finger. My doctor treated with Sulfa drugs and went away in a few weeks. I have had no repercussions. Good luck.

gofish
01-04-2017, 10:38 PM
Oh my, sorry about this. It sounds like you caught it early and are on your way to a full recovery. I wish you all the best with your recovery. Like you, I've heard and read about this type of infection but never knew anyone, until now, who had contracted the infection. This hobby isn't without its risks and I know this could have happened to any of us. I appreciate your willingness to inform your fellow hobbyists about the risks. Diana Walstad wrote an interesting article from a hobbyists perspective for TFH in 2007 that you might want to read. http://www.tfhmagazine.com/details/articles/mycobacteriosis-the-stealth-disease213231.htm
(http://www.tfhmagazine.com/details/articles/mycobacteriosis-the-stealth-disease213231.htm)
hmm... I think I might purchase some of those aquarium arm length gloves and stop sucking on hoses to start a siphon (you know you've done it). Old habits are hard to break.

Brian

Demonfish
01-05-2017, 01:10 AM
Good article. It sucks that this stuff is the first to come back after you bleach a tank. Sounds like dirty tanks may be better because normal bacteria predominate. Without testing, I suspect this stuff is all over the club, nearly impossible to remove. I've only read about it, the usually advice not to put bare hands in the tank when you have any open wounds, even a hangnail.

Ron, If you do start over I can give you some more Coptodon and X. Mayae. But I can't promise they are clean because I've gotten fish from you in the past. I can only state that they are breeding like crazy and I've had no losses.

BobMajor
01-05-2017, 10:38 AM
Ron hope you recover soon If there is anything I can do to help you I would be glad to drive over to Alabama.Bob

ronv
01-05-2017, 12:04 PM
I am fine. The infection is limited to my left forearm. Thanks to all the well wishers. The dilemma is with my fish. It seems as tho this bug is very common and I probably have been in contact with it off and on for the 40+ years I have been in this hobby. It is also likely that some other folks out there have it in their tanks and if I were to bleach all my tanks, I would probable reintroduce it to my fish room sooner or later. I am leaning toward leaving everything as is and just being more careful with sanitation. I really hate the thought of killing all my fish. But on the other hand... I can't stand the thoughts of someone introducing a disease into their aquarium from one of my fish, even if it is possible that they already have it. . So I haven't done anything yet.

heatherbeast
01-05-2017, 12:36 PM
The condensed version: Run UV while scrubbing and doing a big water change to reduce bacterial load, wear gloves, don't put existing wounds in water, examine yourself for any scrapes after doing tank maintenance, be vigilant about normal soap and water cleansing (antibacterial soaps don't do jack against mycobacteria), and have triple antibiotic ointment (with polymyxin B) handy in case of any scrapes.

If there is enough interest, and if Ron is comfortable with it, maybe I can put together a talk about the subject and present it later this year.

ronv
01-05-2017, 01:44 PM
I am very comfortable with it Heather. You have emerged as our in-house expert on this subject. I would like for your talk to be sooner rather than later, even if it is a short talk ahead of another speaker. Breanna is our program chair. Maybe she will jump in here with a suggestion.

Pierre
01-05-2017, 02:29 PM
Sorry to hear about this Ron and this could be a wake-up call for many of us. I haven't used gloves often as they got wet inside, but given your experience and feedback from others, I'll get some very long gloves for now on. Blessings on your prompt recovery.

Maybe this could be a speaker's topic: safety around fish keeper.

HN1
01-05-2017, 06:09 PM
The condensed version: Run UV while scrubbing and doing a big water change to reduce bacterial load, wear gloves, don't put existing wounds in water, examine yourself for any scrapes after doing tank maintenance, be vigilant about normal soap and water cleansing (antibacterial soaps don't do jack against mycobacteria), and have triple antibiotic ointment (with polymyxin B) handy in case of any scrapes.

If there is enough interest, and if Ron is comfortable with it, maybe I can put together a talk about the subject and present it later this year.


I am very comfortable with it Heather. You have emerged as our in-house expert on this subject. I would like for your talk to be sooner rather than later, even if it is a short talk ahead of another speaker. Breanna is our program chair. Maybe she will jump in here with a suggestion.

This is a wonderful idea. I'd love to see a talk on this topic Heather. I'll mention it to Brianna, but I can already tell you that if you are willing we can find a slot for it. It is an important and not well understood topic.

Dasher
01-06-2017, 10:25 AM
Ron hope you recover soon If there is anything I can do to help you I would be glad to drive over to Alabama.Bob

I'll come with Bob - if for nothing else, comedic relief!! Best wishes for a speedy recovery Ron!

Dan

canoe
01-06-2017, 05:07 PM
Wow, our hobby is hazardous. Harbor Freight Tools sells those extra-long gloves. I use them when I put my hands into the tank that has my large, aggressive cichlids, as bare fingers are too vulnerable to attack.

ronv
01-07-2017, 10:44 AM
Does Mag-Float magnetic glass cleaners work. Gosh they are expensive. I'm looking for ways to keep my hands out of the tanks.

mountainman36
01-07-2017, 04:29 PM
they work well if you use them frequently. once the algae gets kinda hard its not going to work anymore. if its glass they do make an attachment with a scraper

Dgreen5569
01-08-2017, 08:21 AM
If you're looking for a good algae magnet, check out the Flipper. It has the blades with it as well for the hard stuff. The magnets are incredibly strong, better than any other I've used.

-Derek

Tangfan
01-29-2017, 06:01 PM
Just came across this DIY sterilizer. Not sure if it would be effective on this or not, but figured I'd share.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jHg4Dx3rPSo

Rahnk
01-31-2017, 08:11 AM
Hey Ron
Sorry you are having to go through this. Thanks for letting everyone know and starting a discussion. I had heard of infections from Aquarium water but not this one specifically.
From what I have now read it sounds as though it is present in our tanks very often and the best preventative is tank and personal hygiene.
Thanks again for bringing this subject to the clubs attention.
Hope to see you at the next meeting.
Ron

ronv
01-31-2017, 04:11 PM
Thanks for everyone's well wishes. I am fine, have been on antibiotics since early October and the infection is slowly going away. Heather (heatherbeast) has advanced knowledge of this subject and has agreed to give a talk. She is going to contact Brianna to get on the schedule at a future date... Ron you are right and the personal hygiene thing is what worries me. I have bleached everything I can reach in the fish room but I know I can't do everything. This stuff doesn't even need water to survive. I have spilt water on the floor and walls. Aquariums have leaked onto the concrete floor of my fishroom... I don't think it is possible to completely eliminate it. I have bought a pair of shoulder length gloves, long scrapers, etc. and I have been trying to be very careful lately but it is difficult. My fishroom is in the basement right next to my office. I am constantly walking by tanks and sticking a finger in to check temp or cleaning a box filter or something. I have about decided "to heck with it". If I am going to enjoy this hobby, I can't be in fear. I'm just going to try to wash hands more. Why did this happen now? I've been doing this for 40 years. This stuff is common. I must have been in contact with it before. And besides, I may have picked it up on one if my fishing trips to the Gulf coast or West Point Lake... Yeah, that's it. It didn't come from my aquariums at all. So everything is good now.

fishfarm
02-04-2017, 09:23 AM
I have only heard of someone getting this a few times in my 50+ years of fish keeping, always because there was a cut or scrape on their hand or arm. I have been in aquariums every day since I was 6 years old, I am also a chronic hand washer, I come in the house from the hatchery, hot water and soap, make it a habit. I am not going to stop keeping fish.

kee12a
03-12-2017, 12:29 AM
Sorry to hear this Ron. I hope you get better. Keep us updated