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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #719

Subject: RE:Using antibiotoics on your cyanobacteria

> Date: Fri, 16 May 1997 18:59:44 -0400 (EDT)
> From: Raymond Chan <rchan at husc_harvard.edu>
> Subject: Using antibiotoics on your cyanobacteria
> I have seen posted here that people have been using antibiotics to treat
> their cyanobacteria.  The problem is that if you don't eradicate it, it
> comes back resistant.
> This is bad. Not only does it ruin your fishtank, but it could pose 
> threats to you and your family.  The cyanobacteria can and will 
> pass on any resistance to any antibiotics that it has to other more nasty
> bacteria. So, when your kid gets that ear infection that is resistant to
> erythromycin, kanamycin, and whatever else you use in your tank, you know
> why.
> Continued misuse of antibiotics is a big problem that needs to be
> curtailed immediately.
> Raymond Chan

While I agree that antibiotic resistance is a serious health threat, I 
don't want people to panic and think that by using erythromycin in their 
tanks, they are going to catch some horrible disease such as 
aureus or VRE (Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci) which have received a 
of media attention.   The pathways through which erythromycin resistant 
cyanobacteria could transfer that resistance to other gram-negative 
bacteria are quite complex. Using simple common-sense procedures such as 
simply washing our hands thoroughly after working in and around the tank, 
we can reduce the risk of any type of infection.

I'm not trying to condone irresponsible use of antibiotics; I just don't 
want people thinking that if a family member suddenly develops some kind 
infection which is not helped immediately by the standard antibiotic 
treatment that the fish-tank is to blame.

If anyone wants further resources on antibiotic resistance, let me know.


I agree on this. I posted my message on my misadventures with antibiotics 
as a cautionary tale. The point is-if you are going to use antibiotics 
make sure you use enough to do the job, otherwise disaster lies just 
around the corner. The other point is I was finally successful but only 
making a terrible mess of my tank. Learn from my mistakes. Also-even 
though it was a mess it is amazing how quickly it has recovered since I 
planted it. Live plants rule and plastic plants drool!

Gerry in Ann Arbor

WHere we are convinced we will never see 70 degrees.