Fish tuberculosis occurs as a result of the transmission of a bacterium named Mycobacterium spp. Fish tuberculosis, which is quite dangerous, is one of the diseases that can be considered nearly impossible to treat once it enters the body. An infected fish may not show symptoms for a long time. The reason is that the said bacterium can coat itself with a protective layer.
What is Fish Tuberculosis?
Fish tuberculosis arises due to the “Mycobacterium tuberculosis” – the same bacterium that causes tuberculosis disease in humans. Depending on the type of fish, they can cause disease that can be observed regionally or throughout the body. It’s not a commonly observed disease in aquarium fish.
Symptoms of Fish Tuberculosis
The most common symptom of fish tuberculosis is the constant occurrence of unexplained deaths in the aquarium. This situation makes diagnosing the disease extremely challenging. Some species can live with the disease for an extended period.
- Consistent regular deaths in the aquarium
- Granulomas that can only be seen with an autopsy
- Increase in infections
- Causes of Fish Tuberculosis
Main reasons include:
This bacterium is commonly found in our environment. Putting your hands into the aquarium without washing them is one of the primary reasons for the transmission of the bacterium to your fish.
- Newly added fish being carriers already
- Transfer of the bacterium to the aquarium via human hands
- Adding materials or plants that carry the bacteria
Treatment of Fish Tuberculosis
Unfortunately, there’s no specific and definite treatment for fish tuberculosis. The best thing to do is to enhance the fish’s diet to prolong its life. If treatment is attempted, tuberculosis medications can be given to the fish for a while. There is no definite information on whether this treatment is effective.
The use of these medications can be too heavy for the fish and can result in rapid death. This bacterium can attach to any material in the aquarium. It’s essential to completely disinfect the aquarium, along with all equipment.
Using gloves to disinfect the entire aquarium is the right way. If tuberculosis is observed in even one fish in the aquarium, all fish can be considered infected.
Can Fish Tuberculosis Transmit to Humans?
When handling fish like catfish with sharp fins, the bacterium can be transmitted under the skin through punctures. The bacterium doesn’t cause severe diseases in healthy individuals. However, in individuals with poor immunity and health, the likelihood of infection is higher.
The first symptom in humans is regional skin shedding. It can be especially seen in people involved in fishing. One should always use protective gloves when handling fish with sharp fins.
Since the probability of treating fish infected with the bacterium is very low, the best approach is to take precautions against the disease. It’s essential always to use a quarantine aquarium to keep fish under observation. Everything you add to the aquarium must be clean. You should also disinfect plants before adding them. Because if the aquarium from which you bought the plant has the said bacterium, it can also be transmitted to your aquarium via the plant you bought.