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Im upset about my fish, should i see a vet?


29 Dec 2008
Yorkshire - Gods own county
You may have seen my post "mystery deaths" on fish forum.
I have been in tears as two of my bristlenose are displaying obvious pre- mating behaviour. I had meant to move them out weeks ago to a breeder but didn't as was going through this mystery deaths thing and it would be wrong to allow them to breed. I am concerned that all my fish might have mycobacterium, dubbed fish TB.

I keep thinking euthanase them all and start again, sterilising the tank. But I cannot bear to. Should I ask the vet to check the fish?
I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this peaches, I had to recently and it was very painful. It is very upsetting and frustrating to treat your fish well and have them still suffer. Please know that it isn't your fault, fishTB can be caught from all over the place, and it usually takes a long time to appear so you can't guard well against it.

The symptoms of fish in my tank were more varied and more obviously fishTB than in yours. I did find it important for my own peace of mind to go to the vet to confirm it, if you can afford it then I think it is worth it. In my case it was about confirmation rather than diagnosing a different illness, which would be a different procedure and would include other tests.

After getting results from the vet that it was fishTB, I made the difficult decision to euthanise as it seemed to me all my fish were too far gone (partly due to their small size), but it is not the only option. You can (I think you already have this?) try to use UV sterilisation, which can in the long term kill the mycobacterium in your tank and stop the spread to future fish (such as fry), and help supress its virulence. If my fish had more promising behaviour, then I would've held on for longer to try the UV and see how it goes. Sadly it comes down to whether you can bear to watch the fish die one by one with the hope it will stop (with UV it very well might, but I don't know how long the deaths stage lasts) or not. Some fish are more robust than others too, and may never get sick.
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I think @shangman has spoken wisely from her own personal experience.
Obtaining a vet diagnosis is really the only way of being absolutely sure what your fish are suffering from, though it doesn't mean there will be any kind of treatment available.
The ultimate decision lies with yourself, you obviously care a great about the fish so watching them become ill is as bad as having to euthanase them.
You know a vet who specializes in tropical fish? Here, I would look for somebody who maintains office aquariums.

I'm truly sorry for your impending loss. Unless NHS covers the cost of the visit, I think shangman has the right idea. Get a good UV. If you save any fish, great. If you don't save any, seriously consider tearing down the tank and starting over.

Amazing how these skinny, scale-covered creatures cast their net and catch us.