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Thread: Is discus plague real?

  1. #16
    Administrator jeep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is discus plague real?

    I still think the term is many times used too loosely by people who don't think things out, but here's some good info...

    https://www.discus.com/learning-cent...infection.html

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    Moderator Team Paul Sabucchi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is discus plague real?

    Quote Originally Posted by jeep View Post
    I still think the term is many times used too loosely by people who don't think things out, but here's some good info...

    https://www.discus.com/learning-cent...infection.html
    Totally aggreed! Particularly with herpesvirus, as they are masters at remaining hidden (latent) usually in the nervous system where they are unreachable by antibiotics and most antivirals until immunodepression by some other cause allows them to break out (think shingles). So isolating some herpesvirus particles in the faeces might mean that they are at least in part responsible for the disease but on the other hand it may be the other way round, the disease has weakened the immune defences of the fish allowing the latent herpes to proliferate outside their hiding place.
    This topic has made me wanting to find more about the so called Angelfish AIDS of the 80's and 90's where in only less than 10% of fish submitted to labs a significant number of viral particles were found, some were herpes but only very few were paramyxovirus that showed some capacity to produce the disease in experimental models. In over 90% of cases the cause was identified as the usual range of nasty bacteria and/or parasites.
    Interestingly there was a similar argument on Discus Plague reported a few months ago on Poppa Rhino's website, someone was refering the conclusions of some german researchers that the disease was of bacterial nature and some success had been obtained by antibiotic baths (kanamycin?) while others cited dr Waltzek and the herpesvirus. In neither case though there seemed to be any links to actual published studies. Browsing the few studies about infectious diseases and epidemiology in ornamental fish though it appears that many fish of different species can carry pretty nasty bugs such as Aeromonas, Yersinia (yes the genus of bacteria amongst which is the cause of the original bona-fide Plague), Vibrio and others. Most of them are resistent to sulphonamides and some antibiotics such as Oxytetracycline. It would be nice to be able to tell the exact cause of every disease but as we seem to be in the speculating game my opinion, for what it's worth, is that a discus made very poorly by one of these nasty viruses or bacteria or parasites will look very similar to one clobbered by one of the others: dark, clamped finns, off food, breathing fast, possibly shedding mucus etc. Once one fish gets sick and starts releasing a great number of bugs in the tank these can overwhelm even the other fish that were ok until then. Just my 2C
    Last edited by Paul Sabucchi; 10-12-2018 at 07:01 AM.

  3. #18
    Silver Member Willie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is discus plague real?

    Twice in this hobby, I've run into a disease that wiped out one or more tanks of discus. In both cases, the symptoms were the same. All the discus turned grey and started losing slime. Water in the tank quickly became cloudy with the bioload. The disease comes on suddenly and the tank is wiped out within 2 - 3 days.

    The last time this happened was only three summers ago. This is a barebottom 75 gallon tank with two sponge filters, six adult Red Turquoise and a dozen C. sterbai. The discus had come in October. No other discus had ever shared the tank with them. When I'm home, the fish get daily 100% water changes. So these fish have had 150+ water changes when this happened. Water quality can be ruled out as a causative factor. I feed no live food, only beefheart and freeze dried products.

    I was actually out of town for a week and a friend came in to feed the fish. I got a call over the weekend about it. Since I had been gone for a week plus, introduction of a pathogen can also be discounted.

    When I returned, only one discus and half of the sterbais survived. They were kept alone for another six month until I put a "test" discus into that tank. When nothing happened, I assumed that the disease was over. No other fish ever got the disease, so the whole "carrier" theory can be debunked - at least, in this case.

    Did I get the discus "plague"? The discus plague has not been defined scientifically, so there's no accurate way to say whether there was or was not discus plague. There are a finite number of pathogens. Without scientific study, which will not happen just because the phenomenon is not particularly important to anyone not a discus hobbyist, it's likely to remain undefined. Whether there's a single causative factor or multiple diseases that produce similar symptoms is unknown. It can be bacterial, viral, fungal - heck, it can be prions. However, there is at least one disease that can rapidly wipe out an entire tank of discus. What happened in the 90's was not mass hysteria.

    Willie
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    Platinum Member MostlyDiscus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is discus plague real?

    Yes it was real. I have some pics from the early 90s showing the webbing etc... As Willie has stated the effects and he is correct. Doxycycline salt and popped the temp up to 92. was done in a few days. Lost half my fish.
    "There was no spoon"

  5. #20
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    Default Re: Is discus plague real?

    If a person loses a tank of Discus , and they do not send the fish into the lab and they claim its "plague" that caused it I just shrug and walk away. I put zero faith in that "diagnosis" . People like having something specific to blame. "PLAGUE" works everytime. More times than not the core problem was they didn't use proper quarantine and thats about as much as we can say for sure. You can't identify a pathogen with certainty from a hobbyist's description of whats going on during or in most cases after the fact, . Discus will respond to various pathogens in similar fashion. Depending on how the hobbyist deal with the issue, they can make it worse or better.

    Is there a virus that can affect Discus? Im sure there is..Virus are everywhere. Are there bacterias that do, I know there are.... as well as parasites that open them to these pathogens. Understand this though... A viral outbreak needs a continuous path of infection. An importer generally needs to be involved...buys from an exporter of infected fish and then either knowingly or unknowingly passes them along and the hobbyist buys them and contaminates their tanks. Back then there wasn't as many supply lines... now there are many..That dilutes the chances of a pathogen wiping out many hobbyists now. People can also be more selective in who they buy from.

    If you use good hard quarantine procedures and the sellers did odds are the outbreak would have never happened having been caught somewhere along the line.. The fact is back in days of the various "plagues" people didn't quarantine. Period.
    Thats changed alot but even now. people play russian roulette too much and wind up paying for it... 1,2,3 weeks isn't a quarantine, its an incubation period for many things. I can't tell you how many times I have cringed hearing/reading people that should know better advocate or brag they don't quarantine , never had a problem etc.


    There also wasn't the internet .. If 5 people buy from X seller and they get sick fish it gets known.Thats helps alot I believe.... WE had a case here with a sponsor , fishking, several years ago where several members got sick fish. Was it the plague, I don't know...sure sounded like it by the classic description of what was happening.. but who really knows? I use it to explain how this things happen in this example. These members shared they got sick fish and the seller was stopped from selling them..This outbreak was cut short.


    I don't think we ever will see a wide spread "plague" again, and honestly have no way to assess whether we had ones before with the same pathogen as a cause.To me thats a forensics file cold case that won't be solved. I just personally refuse to label an unknown pathogen with a name because it makes it easier. I prefer "Fish got real Sick, Fish Died. " Its about all you can honestly say without a hard diagnosis at the lab.

    JMO,
    al
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  6. #21
    Administrator brewmaster15's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is discus plague real?

    Quote Originally Posted by LizStreithorst View Post
    What he said is that to do those trials required money. The Koi people had the money, the Discus people do not. Still, you can send a sick fish to them and they will test to see if the virus is present.

    As an aside, I got this disease from some fish from Asia. When it was going hot and heavy even my Angles were affected. The difference was that the Angles had a degree of immunity and recovered with treatment. Immunity must have been passes down through all the generations since the original Angles were almost wiped out by the disease. I don't understand how that can be because fish don't have colostrum. If you have a clue, please enlighten me.
    Liz,
    its possible that antibiodies were passed on in the slime coat, They have been identified in fish slime coat and angel Fry most likely do ingest slimecoat from their parents. I have seen angel fry graze off Discus when I had my discus raise angel fry. hth, al
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  7. #22
    Gold Member LizStreithorst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is discus plague real?

    Although I'm one of those people you don't believe because I never sent a fish to the lab, I'm quite sure that you know where I got these fish.

    I bet you are correct about the slime coat.
    Mama Bear

  8. #23
    Administrator brewmaster15's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is discus plague real?

    Quote Originally Posted by LizStreithorst View Post
    Although I'm one of those people you don't believe because I never sent a fish to the lab, I'm quite sure that you know where I got these fish.

    I bet you are correct about the slime coat.
    Lol.. Liz, don't take it the wrong way, I don't doubt you about having a disease issue, I know you did and I do know where it came from, and it may very well have been plague...it may also have been something else is alls I am saying. They were your fish and you can believe that you went through Plague.I have no proof you didn't and thats not my intent.

    I tend to be rigid to a fault when it comes science, and I apologize if I came across as doubting you or anyone that thinks they had "Plague". I just don't think we can assume that all the cases of people losing fish to plague like symptoms are caused by the same organism without having scientific evidence., Thats just my views.. I have seen too many cases just here on Simply that people call something "Plague" and after treating it with an antibiotic or FMG the fish are fine a few days latter. That wasn't "PLAGUE" though to them it was a plague on their tanks. Thats the problem with labeling a disease outbreak as "PLAGUE".. it muddies the water and interferes with truly figuring out whats going on...Its dangerous in my book to do that. One needs only to use the search feature here on Simply for "Plague" to see how commonly it is used and none sent a fish into a lab to make that diagnosis...

    Do I doubt that everyone that says they have "PLAGUE" has a disease caused by the same organism given that few if none sent the fish to a lab to id the cause of the disease.... Yes I do. I think most people would if they think about it. Its just not likely. Half the time its hard to diagnose a simple bacterial infection from symptoms, yet we want to do that with a virus. I can't accept that.

    al
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  9. #24
    Gold Member LizStreithorst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is discus plague real?

    You're right, Al.
    Mama Bear

  10. #25
    Moderator Team Paul Sabucchi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is discus plague real?

    Just to reanimate a dead horse so it can be flogged a bit more, here is what Andrew Soh just posted on Cen's Discus' (Francis Hu) FB page:


    Endobacteria (cause for Discus Plague)
    Pathology department at Agri-food And Veterinary was my second home. I visited the laboratory practically weekly and provided them samples of sick plus healthy fishes, not for their studies but for my own enrichment program, ha…ha…ha…ha…. Finally, a Trouble-shooter was born (first class).
    Here, we’re not going into which bacterium is responsible for the ‘black disease’ or the infamous ‘discus plague’. ‘Discus plague’ is definitely caused by bacteria. For those reader who like to be well-informed on taxonomy of bacteria or atlas of bacteria, I recommend to read books well-written by famous researchers. I’m too lacking in this area. I’m only good at solving problems….
    Symptoms:
    a) Body colour turning dark to black
    b) Rapid and excessive secretion of slime coat (mucus)
    c) Cluster together in groups near corners of tank (can be top or bottom)
    d) Water mostly turns cloudy as the bacteria proliferation progresses
    e) Loss of appetite
    f) Spreading of this epidemic is systematic. If you fiddle or make water-change from tank no. 10 to tank no. 2, it will spread accordingly from Tank 10 to tank 2 and will not be the other way around nor at random. Also, good to note, if you didn’t handle or make water-change for tank 1, it will never be affected because the issue is not airborne, just contagious or cross-contaminate.
    g) With no contingency plan, most will die off within 5 days (50% to 90%)

    Cause: Multiple infestation and infection
    a) Sudden introduction of new discus.
    b) New discus being stressed with drop in immunity, it might very well your own existing bacteria starting the war.
    c) Existing bacteria finding newly stocked discus an advantage to invade
    d) Introduction of new or similar bacteria with higher resistance and not susceptible to the drug you have been using in your tank or hatchery
    e) Of course, without damages and open wounds (maybe micron sized wounds), it is most daunting for the bacteria to trigger an invasion.
    f) Multiple or collective effort by multiple bacteria to create more damages and penetrate the body.
    g) Gram-negative bacteria is most likely the lethal culprit but we don’t care
    h) Could it be virus? Definitely not!!!! Protozoan? Maybe. Bacteria? Definitely and likely multiple bacterial infection!!!! Darken body is an indicator of Endobacteria infection!!!!

    Can I save my discus and save my investment? YES!!!!
    What is the treatment: Antibiotic(s)
    Method: Steps: Treatment should be done in the day, preferably morning
    A) Disconnect all filters
    �� Make 100% water-change
    C) Fill up new water to 100 litre mark (this you have to measure and gauge in peace time before the war against discus plague strikes)
    D) Give strong aeration
    E) Tie sponge around the air-stone to collect dislodged slime (mucus)
    F) Do a 2.5 hour to 3.0 hours high-dose antibiotic treatment of your choice
    G) Best to be bactericidal.
    H) Example: normal dosage for tetracycline is 1.8gm per 100 litres of water for 7 days (WC in 3 days and redoes to strength). For the 3 hours treatment, use 3.0 to 3.5gm for 100 litres of water. monitor
    I) Example: normal dosage for Furazolidone is 1.2 to 1.5gm per 100 litres od water for 7 days. For 3 hours treatment, use 2.0 to 2.5gm for 100 litres of water.
    J) Example: Kanamycin normal dose is 1.8gm per 100 litres of water. For the 3 hours treatment, it should be 3.0 to 3.5gm for 3 hours
    K) Monitor well and if you find the discus dropping to the bottom during the short bath, immediately WC that tank and re-dose.
    L) Dose is the same across the board regardless whether they are adult or babies. I think I don’t need to explain the logic behind my statement
    M) After the short bath, make 100% water-change and dose with normal dose for 7 days and make WC whenever necessary and re-dose if needed
    N) With this method, discus should start to show sign of recovery in two to 3 days…..but don’t get tempted to feed them and foul the water. Wait for at least full recovery before starting with feed.

    If antibiotics can solve this ‘Discus Plague”, then it’s logical to presume it is not cause by virus. During Aquarama visit to my farm, I lost control of the crowd. Next day I exported discus to France and to Bay Aquarium of Australia. When the discus arrived most of them were dead. Two days later my hatchery of more than 1000 tanks caught the ‘Discus Plague’. Using the above method, all discus started recovering on the 3 day and fully recovered by fifth day. I only had 5 mortalities. In fact, I had saved many of our local breeders’ discus using this method (not to name names, about 4 hatcheries). Those who didn’t seek my advice or those who believed virus is the cause had mortality rate ranging from 60 to 90%. For those who are unable to solve this “Discus Plague” or find the cause for this epidemic, wrongly accused the VIRUSES as the culprit. Poor viruses…..
    In my next topic, I will touch on viruses and how to differential whether it’s viral or whether it is bacterial and also touch on the topic “four week syndrome”, a name I coined for discus fries.
    Thank you for reading, Andrew Soh

  11. #26
    Administrator brewmaster15's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is discus plague real?

    Yes Paul the topic has just been "flogged" more.

    Sigh....
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