Rainbowfish and fish TB

Wills

Moderator
Staff member
Global Moderator
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Jun 15, 2009
Messages
9,890
Reaction score
3,491
Location
East Yorks
In an other thread a few people mentioned how prone Rainbowfish are to TB and all the risks that go with it. Its been playing on my mind for quite some time as I really want a Rainbowfish tank in the future, but reading that thread left me with a question, and I'm keeping it vague to see what people think...

Is it worth keeping Rainbowfish because of the risk of TB?

Wills
 

CaptainBarnicles

Resident Pleco Hater
Pet of the Month!
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
1,664
Reaction score
1,781
Location
Lincs
I had no idea about this when I got my rainbows and its something I'm going to have to do further research on. I'm not breeding so I'm not worried about passing anything on and honestly it hasn't put me off keeping them either. I have mostly Boesemani which from what I've gathered are hardier than others so I'm hopeful that maybe they'll be ok and aren't carrying anything untoward
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
Wills

Wills

Moderator
Staff member
Global Moderator
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Jun 15, 2009
Messages
9,890
Reaction score
3,491
Location
East Yorks
I had no idea about this when I got my rainbows and its something I'm going to have to do further research on. I'm not breeding so I'm not worried about passing anything on and honestly it hasn't put me off keeping them either. I have mostly Boesemani which from what I've gathered are hardier than others so I'm hopeful that maybe they'll be ok and are carrying anything untoward

I'll be honest when I read it in @Colin_T s thread and what he went through I just tried to ignore and forget it but I saw someone on a Rainbow group today get the bad news and not sure I can deal with it. They started as a complimentary species to other fish I wanted to build the tank around but have become a favourite. But not sure I want the risk of mixing them with other species if this is as wide spread as I fear.

Wills
 

GaryE

Fish Herder
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
1,945
Reaction score
2,542
Location
Eastern Canada
There are weird aspects to the question. For example, my core rainbow species are boesemani (maybe 7-8 generations now) and G wanamensis (a bit less, probably 5). Through lots of boesemani, I have lost 1 individual to tb. No wanams. Other species? Carnage.

I love rainbows, but I give up. I will keep those 2 species, and move on.
 
OP
OP
Wills

Wills

Moderator
Staff member
Global Moderator
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Jun 15, 2009
Messages
9,890
Reaction score
3,491
Location
East Yorks
There are weird aspects to the question. For example, my core rainbow species are boesemani (maybe 7-8 generations now) and G wanamensis (a bit less, probably 5). Through lots of boesemani, I have lost 1 individual to tb. No wanams. Other species? Carnage.

I love rainbows, but I give up. I will keep those 2 species, and move on.
Thats interesting! Tough and a bit heartbreaking but interesting...

Do you foresee any issues keeping them with other species? Eg I want to keep some with central american cichlids and synodontis cats - ignoring any other compatibility issues - would the other fish be at risk or is it a case that some species are immune/tolerant of the bacteria?
 

GaryE

Fish Herder
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
1,945
Reaction score
2,542
Location
Eastern Canada
The bacteria is everywhere in tanks, and if exposed, fish get it. The question is how they handle it. It shortens their lifespans, but how much? A full, roaring tb outbreak can wipe out a tank, but usually, the disease is as its human version was with our Victorian ancestors. Literature is full of "consumptives" and "lungers" struggling on for years.

I suspect that the issue isn't fish having it - it's that rainbows fight it poorly. Other fish have it too - lots of livebearers for example.
 

Stan510

Fish Herder
Joined
Dec 10, 2018
Messages
1,895
Reaction score
1,200
I've got 8 large M. boesemani in the 240 and none have ever been sick. I lost a NOID female the other day from that disease where they waste away and she also swam vertically her balance was so far off. Antibiotics didn't do a thing to help.
I do have a female M.lacustris when the other a large male also died of internal disease. A pair of M. parva are also bullet proof so far. Ferocious eaters-ha. You might try them
M. boesemani are a good investment for long term fish keeping. Look better by the year too.
 

Naughts

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Jun 2, 2019
Messages
2,588
Reaction score
2,079
Location
UK
I’ve not had much success with praecox melanotaenia, three batches and they succumb within a few weeks/ months, starts with constant opening and closing of mouth, swimming near top, isolation, maybe swollen stomach or eye and pass away a couple of weeks after onset. I’m not sure what the illness is, their bodies don’t get any sores and no fin rot nor wasting so maybe not TB.
 

Colin_T

Fish Guru
Joined
Jan 26, 2008
Messages
36,203
Reaction score
19,803
Location
Perth, WA
Rainbowfish that have TB will produce the following symptoms before they die.
Stop eating, bloat up overnight, do a stringy white poop, sit up by the surface or at a filter outlet gasping, die within 24-48 hours (usually within 12-24 hours) of producing these symptoms.

If the fish loses weight over a period of time or gasps at the surface for a week, it isn't Fish TB.

If a fish keeps eating after it does a stringy white poop, it isn't TB.

The fish TB destroys one or more internal organs of rainbowfish, causing them to bleed internally and die from internal organ failure.

-------------------
Is there a risk to other fishes?
Yes. Any fish can catch it if they are kept in an aquarium with a contaminated fish. Fish can also catch it from nearby aquariums that are infected if you use the same equipment (nets, gravel cleaners, plants, filters, etc) in other tanks.

Rainbowfish are extremely prone to the disease because they haven't had any previous exposure to it, unlike older types of freshwater fishes that have evolved with the disease over millions of years. The other types of fishes do die from TB, but they can live with it for longer.

-------------------
Are rainbowfish worth keeping?
If you can get disease free stock, yes, they are wonderful fish to keep. But unless you can guarantee they are free of the disease, you could be planting a bomb in your tanks that can wipe out every fish you own. And the only way to get rid of it is to destroy all livestock and disinfect all tanks, gravel, equipment, and everything associated with the fish, including stands, nearby furniture and walls next to the tank.

-------------------
The only way I would keep rainbowfish (or any fish) again is if I had wild caught stock that had not been kept in pet shops, wholesalers/ importers, or in tanks that contained any captive bred fish or plant from a fish farm (doesn't matter where the farm is located).

If I keep rainbowfish again, I will go out and collect my own. I would add them to new tanks that have never had any other fish in. I would keep aquarium plants outside in full sun in summer in Western Australia and grow the plants out of water. I would then take cuttings from new growth and use those cuttings in the tanks. Or I would collect seeds from the new growth and plant the seeds in clean tanks.

Other people will just get fish from pet shops and accept the losses. Some might get fish from breeders and hope they don't get sick fish. You can try getting eggs sent over and moving the newly hatched fry into clean rearing tanks. It's a risk whichever way you do it. The fish you get might be free of TB or they might have it. Unfortunately there's no way to tell until they start dying, which can be a couple of years later. Then it's too late.

The only way to be almost 100% certain they are free of the disease is to go and collect your own from the wild. Even then there is a chance they could catch the disease from other types of fish they are housed with, (eg: cichlids, catfish, barbs, tetras, etc).
 

Stan510

Fish Herder
Joined
Dec 10, 2018
Messages
1,895
Reaction score
1,200
Something gets Rainbows that is not talked about on the net-THIS is a great topic. I've seen them do the loss of appetite,the open mouth..dead. Or,the loss of appetite and swim much like those bass artificial lures meant to look like a very sick fish.
Except for M.boesemani. Its a rock and mine are nothing special..not "Lake Amaru" or some pure gene collected fish.
I've in the past had that same dwarf rainbow die off . They are sensitive.
By the time a fish pathologist found the cause- they would be post mortem. A hobbyist has no chance.
 
OP
OP
Wills

Wills

Moderator
Staff member
Global Moderator
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Jun 15, 2009
Messages
9,890
Reaction score
3,491
Location
East Yorks
The bacteria is everywhere in tanks, and if exposed, fish get it. The question is how they handle it. It shortens their lifespans, but how much? A full, roaring tb outbreak can wipe out a tank, but usually, the disease is as its human version was with our Victorian ancestors. Literature is full of "consumptives" and "lungers" struggling on for years.

I suspect that the issue isn't fish having it - it's that rainbows fight it poorly. Other fish have it too - lots of livebearers for example.

I've only ever seen one or two cases of it - like even if I think back on here I can't think of really any significant infections (apart from Colins) which is why I was shocked to hear how prone the fish are to it.

I’ve not had much success with praecox melanotaenia, three batches and they succumb within a few weeks/ months, starts with constant opening and closing of mouth, swimming near top, isolation, maybe swollen stomach or eye and pass away a couple of weeks after onset. I’m not sure what the illness is, their bodies don’t get any sores and no fin rot nor wasting so maybe not TB.

There is an issue with Praecox at the moment for some reason, I'm suspecting its poor genetics or possibly the same virus as neon tetras and dwarf gourami. It would make sense for them to be susceptible as they have been mass bred if they are so susceptible to things like TB.

Rainbowfish that have TB will produce the following symptoms before they die.
Stop eating, bloat up overnight, do a stringy white poop, sit up by the surface or at a filter outlet gasping, die within 24-48 hours (usually within 12-24 hours) of producing these symptoms.

If the fish loses weight over a period of time or gasps at the surface for a week, it isn't Fish TB.

If a fish keeps eating after it does a stringy white poop, it isn't TB.

The fish TB destroys one or more internal organs of rainbowfish, causing them to bleed internally and die from internal organ failure.

-------------------
Is there a risk to other fishes?
Yes. Any fish can catch it if they are kept in an aquarium with a contaminated fish. Fish can also catch it from nearby aquariums that are infected if you use the same equipment (nets, gravel cleaners, plants, filters, etc) in other tanks.

Rainbowfish are extremely prone to the disease because they haven't had any previous exposure to it, unlike older types of freshwater fishes that have evolved with the disease over millions of years. The other types of fishes do die from TB, but they can live with it for longer.

-------------------
Are rainbowfish worth keeping?
If you can get disease free stock, yes, they are wonderful fish to keep. But unless you can guarantee they are free of the disease, you could be planting a bomb in your tanks that can wipe out every fish you own. And the only way to get rid of it is to destroy all livestock and disinfect all tanks, gravel, equipment, and everything associated with the fish, including stands, nearby furniture and walls next to the tank.

-------------------
The only way I would keep rainbowfish (or any fish) again is if I had wild caught stock that had not been kept in pet shops, wholesalers/ importers, or in tanks that contained any captive bred fish or plant from a fish farm (doesn't matter where the farm is located).

If I keep rainbowfish again, I will go out and collect my own. I would add them to new tanks that have never had any other fish in. I would keep aquarium plants outside in full sun in summer in Western Australia and grow the plants out of water. I would then take cuttings from new growth and use those cuttings in the tanks. Or I would collect seeds from the new growth and plant the seeds in clean tanks.

Other people will just get fish from pet shops and accept the losses. Some might get fish from breeders and hope they don't get sick fish. You can try getting eggs sent over and moving the newly hatched fry into clean rearing tanks. It's a risk whichever way you do it. The fish you get might be free of TB or they might have it. Unfortunately there's no way to tell until they start dying, which can be a couple of years later. Then it's too late.

The only way to be almost 100% certain they are free of the disease is to go and collect your own from the wild. Even then there is a chance they could catch the disease from other types of fish they are housed with, (eg: cichlids, catfish, barbs, tetras, etc).

Thanks Colin, sorry to make you relive some of this but thank you for sharing the info I think its really important as its not talked about much. Infact until your thread the other week I didn't know about it and I've kept Rainbows in the past! I can definitely get good quality Rainbows, I know the stores in the UK to go to - Wharf Aquatics and Wildwoods, both are 40+ year stores and I get a good 80% of my stock from Wharf now.

Whether I can get them from wild I'm really not sure but they would have been through the trade system so will likely have been as at risk as captive bred ones. Not as lucky as you to live near their habitat :) Plus the main focus of the tank I want to do is a Nicaraguan Cichlid so there is going to be a mix, the goal of the tank is to raise a Nicaraguan long term so if the Rainbows are in someways a risk maybe I need to reassess that...

A few people have mentioned that harder water fish are prone to it too and I've seen a few references to running a UV steriliser so I think as a precaution with any hardwater fish I'm going to do that and find a really good one as a key part of kit for the project.

Wills
 

Stan510

Fish Herder
Joined
Dec 10, 2018
Messages
1,895
Reaction score
1,200
A roll of the dice. My M.parva have been going strong. New Guinea followed a pattern of thrive for a year,then die. I give up on them.
 
OP
OP
Wills

Wills

Moderator
Staff member
Global Moderator
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Jun 15, 2009
Messages
9,890
Reaction score
3,491
Location
East Yorks
I wouldn't worry about TB in rainbows, differently not to the point that you wouldn't keep them if you like them.
I know what you are saying and I am definitely 50/50 but some of the species I want are a bit pricey - don't get me wrong love the common species like Bosmani but I really want some Kali Tawa and they are about £25 each so on top of the emotional attachment and the value of life a school of 6 would be £150...
 

Most reactions

trending

Members online

Top