Columnaris? Ok, now what...
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:10 AM   #1
Sagat
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Columnaris? Ok, now what...


I recently had a weird outbreak of disease hit both of my tanks. At first, I thought it was slime disease, but now I'm starting to wonder if it's Columnaris.

Params on both tanks read 0 NH3, 0 NO2, 0 NO3, pH 7.5, 79-80F

In my 20L, I have a betta, 5 harlequin rasboras, 5 otos and a bunch of inverts.

In my 29G, I have an angelfish, 8 neon tetras and 2 cory cats.
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The chronology of my disease:

2/2: A few days after a QT for aggression, the betta started spending his time laying on the bottom, being lazy and not chasing things, but also not building a bubblenest, which he had been doing previously. Noticed his fins were clamped and then he eventually grew a white patch on his fins, which seemed to be gluing them together. QT'd the betta, gave him 1tsp of AQ salt / gal plus StressCoat+, daily water changes... He recovered

2/3: I notice a neon tetra in the 29G with a faded red stripe, as if it had been erased off. Immediately QTd him, thinking it was NTD

2/6: I notice that one of the harlequin rasboras in had developed white patches on it's side. Two more have had white spots on their chin, but they haven't grown in a week, look like they bumped their chin and act otherwise normal. One rasbora has had a weird blister on his lip that hasn't changed for a few weeks, but rather than take any chances, I QTd all 5 of them.

2/9: Dosed the QT tank with AQ salt, but at a lower concentration since neon tetras and rasboras are susceptible to salt. Bumped the heater up to 80. Noticed that the two neons in the 29G might have been losing their vibrancy and one that looked like it might have a grey slime spot on it.

2/10: rasbora showing symptoms starts to get lethargic and swim strangely. By the afternoon, it's dead. Both neons also end up dead by mid-afternoon. Started a round of Kanaplex in both tanks and my QT tank. As far as I can tell, neither the angelfish or the cats are showing any symptoms.

Assuming it is columnaris, what do I need to do to my tanks? In the 20L, nothing has died in the tank and it's been awhile since any other fish got ill. In the 29G, I've found two dead fish in it.

The 29G is barely 3 weeks old and the 20L is right around the two month mark and I really don't want to have to tear both down and start over from scratch
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:23 PM   #2
Mahlady
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Dealing with this now.

I used maracyn 2 for the fish in a hospital tank. I think the disease progressed faster in the gourami than the meds could work. Sorry for him he didnt make it. I have lost 6 fish out of 9.

Treating the fish since last Wednesday and the tank had to be sanitized. Everything. Filter- heater- decorations- and sand.

For the 55 gallon empty aquarium I used

200mg per 10g of water approximately which is similar to the instructions on the regular marcyn (200mg per 10g) which by the way maracyn does NOT treat columnaris even though it says it does. YOU HAVE TO USE Maracyn 2.

I ended up using 1200mg amox in the tank, dosing once a day for 5 days.
Then I will end up doing a 50% water change, and throw in carbon for 5 days to pull the meds out.

Hopefully then the tank will be pest free and I can do a normal fishless cycle.
Will probably jump start with media from my other 55g planted tank, so that I can get my survivors back home asap.

Moving forward, instead of using left over amoxicillin in the cupboard, I am ordering some Fish Mox. That way I have enough on hand to treat my fish and tank without breaking the bank. The maracyn is not cost effective for the 55g if I would have treated the tank with it. ($60) And another 20 for the fish in the hospital tank. So I spent 20 and tx the tank with human meds.



http://freshaquarium.about.com/cs/disease/p/columnaris.htm

another info page
http://www.aboutfishonline.com/articles/columnaris.html

Mah
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Last edited by Mahlady; 02-11-2013 at 03:28 PM.. Reason: added info
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:41 PM   #3
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minocycline (maracyn 2) is really weak against columnaris. this is a strong, rapidly spreading disease.
use kanamycin (seachem kanaplex) or if you cant get it sulfathiozole (API triple sulfa, or seachem sulfathizole). i have used both against columnaris, and both worked. salt can also help, as this bacteria doesnt like salt.
DO NOT RAISE THE TEMPS. this bacteria preffers high temps, like 78-86. and it will spread much faster. some people actually advocate lowering the temps for this reason, but i just leave it alone.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:55 PM   #4
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That seems consistent with what I saw. I used an AQ salt treatment on my betta (1tsp/gal) and had him in 1G tank heated by our AC ducts and his symptoms disappeared in 3 days.

I used a weak AQ salt treatment on my rasboras and RAISED the heat and had a dieoff. I've since unplugged the heater and left that tank at room temp (70-72F)

My main tanks I dosed with Kanaplex and dropped the heat to about 75F. Would that be enough to avoid having to tear down and sanitize my tanks after the outbreak is over? From all my reading, it sounds like columnaris is everywhere and just lives dormant until it has a vector to take a foothold in a tank.

My 20L hasn't had a fish die of it yet (as far as I can tell, though my betta has been responsible, I think, for some deaths). The 29G has had four deaths, 2 of which were newly introduced otos (I forgot to mention that above) and died within a timeframe consistent with my experience with buying new otos. The other two died were alive when I did a 25% water change and then found dead 2 hrs later.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:31 PM   #5
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i dont bother sterilizing my tanks. there is an infectious dose that if you are below, makes the pathogen essentially harmless. if the antibiotic allows your fish to beat the infection, that is that. just like when you have strep you dont burn your house and autoclave your furniture.
the only time ill bleach is if im taking a tank down anyway, cuz then why not.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:42 PM   #6
Mahlady
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Thanks for the advice, already did the work last week, wish I had posted before I tore the tank apart.

=)
didnt mean to hijack this thread with my own woes, hope the info helps the OP.

Seems like very useful info.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:09 PM   #7
Sagat
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No worries, Mahlady.

That's an excellent point, @marko@. Thanks for the dose of sanity.

I'll pick up a UV sterilizer and then carry on with my life.
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