Neon Tetra Disease

Common Names: Neon Tetra Disease
Salinity: Freshwater
Description: This disease is sporazoan in origin, caused by the ingestion of material infected by the spores of Pleistophora hyphessobryconis. When these spores are hatched within the fish, they burrow through the intestinal walls, causing cysts within musclar and organ tissue. The tissue dies, resulting in colour changes, weakness, neurological symptoms including whirling, spinal curvature and obvious changes in fish shape.

Early symptoms can include a gradual loss of pigment and failure to shoal with other fish. The spinal curvature and neurological symptoms will not be visible until the final stages of the disease, when death is imminent.

This disease is associated with numerous secondary infections, including oedema (bloating) caused by kidney failure and fin rot. Skin can sometimes be degraded by the spinal curvature and necrosis, and wounds may become evident.

Eventually this necrosis will kill the fish. The corpse may then be eaten by live fish, which will continue the spread of the disease.

NTD can be differentiated from other infections by its failure to respond to antibiotics and other treatments.
Symptoms: Spots
Treatment: There is no effective treatment for Neon Tetra Disease. Antibiotics are ineffective against the spores, though they may appear to effect some temporary relief by minimising secondary infection.

Some success has been reported from the use of Protazin by Waterlife, however no cure has been scientifically documented. As NTD shares so many symptoms with other, more treatable diseases, only a controlled test in laboratory conditions could determine the efficacy of any "cure." So far, no cure has been found under these conditions.

The only effective prevention is rigourous quarantine procedures and a solid euthanasia policy. Due to intensive farming methods, this disease is most prevalent in the most popular aquarium fish - tetras. These should be quarantined for at least three weeks on purchase and should only be purchased from stocks which appear healthy with no dead animals within the tank.

As the spores are transmitted via ingestion, fish should not be permitted to eat any corpses. Any fish suspected of suffering from NTD should be removed and either kept in very strict quarantine or immediately euthanased.

The spores can continue to live within the aquarium environment and some fishkeepers have reported managing an outbreak by disinfecting the aquarium, replacing all gravel and filter media and re-cycling the tank. Whilst extreme, this measure will guarantee that all aquascape-based spores are removed.

Comments: Due to the sporazoan nature of the disease, it is important that infected corpses are not "flushed" or otherwise introduced to native water supplies. It cannot be determined that all spores are killed through the normal sanitation process, and the risk to wild fish stocks should this disease be released is high.

It is recommended that corpses be incinerated if possible.
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Submitted By: tiny_clanger
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