Possible job and a new species of rainbowfish

Colin_T

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I was checking out one of the wholesalers in Australia and seeing what fish they have available. I was distracted when I saw a job advertised there and looked into it. The job add is at the following link about half way down the page on the right hand side under a picture of a Melanotaenia praecox rainbowfish. Anyway, they are/ were looking for a fish farm manager to live on a remote property in Queensland and breed fish (sounds like fun until you see the aerial map of it). It appears Aquarium Industries have bought AusyFish, who were a major supplier of fish and owned by Bruce Sambell. I know Bruce from somewhere (probably ANGFA) but can't remember where and it's bugging the hell out of me :)

Any way, on the AusyFish website they have a new rainbowfish that they are calling the Upper Katherine River Australis. It is located near the bottom of the page at the following link. I don't think the fish is actually Melanotaenia australis because that is only meant to be found in Western Australia, not the Northern Territory. It does look like a Melanotaenia rubrostriata, which are found in New Guinea but they are not black. But it's a pretty cool looking fish regardless of what it is.

Another thing they had is a picture of a dead fish showing the fat build up inside the body cavity. People have asked about fat in fish before and I never had pictures but the following link has a couple of pictures (CAUTION, GROSS CONTENT) of dead fish showing the fat in their body. It's near the bottom of the page under the title "Pond grown fish have large quantities of fat within their body cavity". It's kinda gross so be warned, not for the squeamish, or if you just ate custard.
 
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GaryE

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I have my fingers crossed for this one. But no jinxes. I'm careful.

New rainbows in Australia are new Holy Grails for the rest of us.

Most aquarists don't know that while we tend to carry fat under our skin, overfeeding puts fat into the body cavities of fish and really does damage.
 
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Colin_T

Colin_T

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New rainbows in Australia are new Holy Grails for the rest of us.
New rainbowfish are a holy grail for us too. I'm not sure if Gerald Allen has seen the fish but he needs to get some to identify them properly. It's definitely cool though with the black/ charcoal grey colour. It's new to me and I check the AquaGreen website every now and then because they have some nice rainbows and plants.
 
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Colin_T

Colin_T

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Good luck with the job! Will send out good vibes for you :friends:
I'm not sure the job is still available and I only just saw it today. I sent them an email about it and will have to wait for a response, but all applications were due in at the end of July. It was just interesting that the fish wholesaler is buying or has bought a major fish farm that specialises in rainbowfish, which is what I specialised in for 20 years.

My main concern if I got it would be travelling across the country and living in semi-remote Queensland. But it would be fun collecting fish up there. The chocodiles are an issue but the fish would be nice.
 

GaryE

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@Colin_T - I have a politically charged) in fish terms) question for you, based on your extensive experience with rainbows. I find them a natural sideline to my killie hobby, and I really like my rainbows. But I have a devil of a time getting good stock. Even from really good local breeders, Mycobacter infections seem epidemic. One of my favourite fish is duboulayi, and with great effort I have tracked them down twice. Both times, the fish I bought developed fish tb infections not long after arrival. I have utcheensis now, and it's a race to get a new generation before the old one dies. I'm into generation 3 there, but wondering if it's worth it. I won't distribute the fish since it seems to carry the pathogen.
I've hatched and raised eggs to fry in UV sterilized water to try to break the cycle, but the bacteria gets through.
I don't see Myco with any of my other fish. It's brutal with rainbows, and so far, worse with Australian species than PNG ones. My boesemani and wanamensis don't seem to have a problem with it. Both come from lines that went from capture to hobbyist breeders though, and weren't ever crowded or farmed.

I know - no cure. But is this a problem on the ground (or I guess in the water!) there, or an infection coming along the supply chain?
 

Wills

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Thats great news Colin and would be amazing to see you getting this!

Really interesting site and species too.

Wills
 
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Colin_T

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Yes rainbowfish here are riddled with Mycobacteria (Fish Tuberculosis). I destroyed everything I had in 2006 because most of my fish had it and I spent several years trying to find a cure and eventually gave up.

Adrian Tappin, the guy who wrote the e-book on rainbowfish and made the rainbowfish website I refer people too (see link below), had Fish TB in his system and managed to break the cycle by picking eggs and putting them into clean containers with clean water. As soon as the fry hatched he used a spoon to scoop them out and move them into clean tank where they were reared up. When he had sufficient clean brood stock, he got rid of the old contaminated fish, sterilised the tanks and started again.

The problem with Australian rainbowfish in other countries (and Australia too) is the fish are all captive bred and generally come from the same suppliers who have TB in their tanks and won't kill everything and start again. The shops also have it in their tanks and that infects any rainbowfish that doesn't already have it.

When I had TB in my tanks, I rang and spoke to as many pet shops and fish importers as I could. I contacted places all over the country and asked if they had ever had or suspected having Mycobacteria in their tanks at any time in the last 10 years. Every shop and importer I spoke to, said yes.

A lot of people just accept it is in their tanks and remove the bodies as they die. I tried that for years and couldn't deal with it. Others like myself kill everything and give the tanks away to people that keep reptiles or want the glass for something else.

I know most rainbowfish can live for 8-10 years and mine were dying in 2-3 years, sometimes less. It's totally disheartening for me because I know they can live longer but I just couldn't keep them alive.

The fish from New Guinea that are sold in Australia regularly have Mycobacteria too. But the New Guinea rainbowfish in America and Germany regularly come from wild caught stock brought in by people like Gary Lange (in America) and Heiko Bleher (in Germany). The wild caught fish don't have TB and the fish do really well.

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We had discussions about Fish TB affecting rainbowfish on other forums over the years and the consensus is that rainbowfish have not evolved to deal with Mycobacteria and die within 1-3 years of being infected. Whereas other types of fish like barbs, gouramis, catfish, etc, from Asia, Africa and Europe have all been exposed to Mycobacteria for hundreds of thousands or even millions of years and have developed some resistance to it. Rainbowfish on the other hand have only been around since the last ice age (10,000 years ago) and have never been exposed to Mycobacteria until the last 30 or so years. This is due to the fact Fish TB is not naturally found in New Guinea or Australia but is found in other parts of the world where older species of fish have developed and evolved alongside the Mycobacteria.

If you can get wild caught stock or fish from a reputable breeder (Gary Lange in the USA), there is much less chance of them having TB.

If you can feed the fish lots of plant matter, they last a bit longer. Rainbowfish need at least half their diet to be plant based and develop all sorts of issues, including ulcers, when they don't get enough plant matter in their diet. The ulcers are often associated with Mycobacteria. We think gill tumours in rainbowfish are also associated with Mycobacteria in the fish but this has been based on observation and not full scientific studies. But the evidence would suggest gill tumours are linked to Fish TB.

Cooler water will also slow the growth of the Mycobacteria. I let my tank's water temperature drop to 18C over winter and come up by itself in spring and summer. The cool water in winter slowed the Mycobacteria's growth rate and extended the life of the fish. However, the end result was still the same.

When rainbowfish have Mycobacteria, it infects the internal organs and the fish are fine, swimming around, breeding and acting normally one day. The next day they are bloated up, do a stringy white poop, breath heavily at the surface or near a filter outlet, don't eat anything, and die within 24-48 hours of
showing those symptoms.

These days I will only deal with wild caught fishes and prefer to collect the fish myself. I won't keep fish that have been kept in tanks with any imported commercial aquarium fish (guppies, tetras, etc). And I won't keep fish that have been kept in tanks that had plants from tanks containing imported aquarium fishes. My OCD and killing over 600 fish in one day was too much and the brain can't deal with that anymore.
 
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GaryE

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I hit like, @Colin_T , but not because I like the situation.

I have never used my rainbow tanks for other fish - I keep them apart. But it is frustrating - such wonderful fish but with so few defenses.
I was told by a 'source' in the Indonesian trade that 80% plus of the fish they removed for laboratory testing had signs of Mycobacter. I assume it's everywhere in the hobby, but as you said, that the fish have evolved defenses against it. It shortens their lives for - certain, and the cysts make for some interesting body deformities, if one finds these things interesting.

I recently gave up on Wallace Road rainbows, and I don't expect to breed any more utchees. I keep in touch with Gary Lange, but have been getting his fish after they've passed through the set ups of a few other people. I was hoping to see him recently, but COVID wrecked that.

Onwards and upwards....
 

GaryE

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Are rainbowfish in the UK likely to have this same problem??
My assumption, since the farming is centralized and provides fish all around the world - yes. But it isn't just rainbows. It's most fish. With Myco, a fish that might live 10 years might get 5 to 7. Or less. It's in rainbows and some livebearers that it runs a little wild.

It's much like human forms of tb - it likes crowding and is hard to treat. I have an 87 year old relative who was treated for human tb in her youth - it used to be a big thing in the pre-antibiotic age, and likley will be again.
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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My assumption, since the farming is centralized and provides fish all around the world - yes. But it isn't just rainbows. It's most fish. With Myco, a fish that might live 10 years might get 5 to 7. Or less. It's in rainbows and some livebearers that it runs a little wild.

It's much like human forms of tb - it likes crowding and is hard to treat. I have an 87 year old relative who was treated for human tb in her youth - it used to be a big thing in the pre-antibiotic age, and likley will be again.

Dang, that really sucks :(

I agree that TB is likely to make a comeback due to antibiotic resistance, and that's a terrifying prospect!

Disappointed to hear this as I'd been looking into getting into rainbowfish myself, being in a hard water area and not really a cichlid person. @Wills , you might want to know about this too
 

Wills

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Dang, that really sucks :(

I agree that TB is likely to make a comeback due to antibiotic resistance, and that's a terrifying prospect!

Disappointed to hear this as I'd been looking into getting into rainbowfish myself, being in a hard water area and not really a cichlid person. @Wills , you might want to know about this too
Indeed, I've been reading through here and trying to work out whats possible. From the sounds of it, if rainbows come into contact with any other fish then they are going to come into contact with this bacteria, which kind of knocks my 90 gallon on the head...

But, fish TB is rare in the UK from what I know - like we maybe see a couple of cases a year on this forum right? I know where I want to get my Rainbows from primarily are from a Dutch farm or home bred so perhaps a bit of solace there? I imagine in reality it will just be a risk either way.

With the whole hardwater thing though, I am near the end of my tether with it. This is not the place but...

Wills
 

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