Help!!! possible cottonmouth?
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Old 01-17-2012, 04:57 PM   #1
christian_cowgirlGSR
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Help!!! possible cottonmouth?


I have two white cloud mountain minnows and two leopard danios in a 29 gallon tank, where they've been since it was set up a couple of weeks ago. I instantly cycled the tank using a sponge filter that had been in my 5 gallon tank for months.

Yesterday, I noticed some white fuzz on the lips of the two WCMMs. I did a partial water change yesterday and didn't think anything of it - 'till I started doing some research on it this morning when it was still there. Currently, the only thing I see wrong with them is the white stuff on their lips. They are swimming around normally. Their gills and fins look normal. Could this be columnaris? What do I do about it? I've also got red cherry shrimp in the tank and have found 2-3 dead shrimp in the last 24 hours.

Today, I did a partial water change - about 20%. I've got melafix and pimafix on hand. Should I dose with this? Will it harm the shrimp? I don't have any lfs close by, so I have to do with what I have on hand...
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:13 PM   #2
msharper
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Please post pics so people have a better idea.
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:15 PM   #3
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What temp is the tank? The best treatment for columnaris is to decrease the temperature and increase water flow... that and lots of water changes.

If it's columnaris you'll likely know... the affected fish will not last long. Sorry.
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:31 PM   #4
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The tank's temp is ~75. Should I lower it to 70?
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:35 PM   #5
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Forgot to mention... I took the HOB off of my 10 gallon tank and added it to the 29 gallon, which previously only had a sponge filter. I added a second sponge filter yesterday, not because of this "stuff" but because I didn't think the one was enough. When I added the 2nd sponge filter, I removed a 6" bubble stone.

I'm now gonna add a new sponge filter to the 10 gallon.
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:02 PM   #6
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75*F should be good... I would also put the bubblestone back in to increase surface agitation, as increased O2 levels seem to help in treatment. Do large, daily water changes: clean water helps a lot.

Here is a link for a site that discusses treatment: http://guppyplace.tripod.com/Ailments.html

Here is a (bad) pic of one of my female bettas that died of columnaris:


The pic is fuzzy, but you should be able to see the patterned color loss on the fish. This fish went from looking healthy to this condition (and dead) in less than 2 days. Columnaris is a NASTY disease.

I noticed the following symptoms with my fish:
-heavy breathing ("panting")
-loss of color in patches (saddleback)
-deteriorating/shredded fins, beginning with the caudal fin
-swelled body
-rapid deterioration and death

I was told by a rather knowledgeable person that treating with Furan 2 could help, but II had to order it and wait for it to come in when I had the outbreak in one of my tanks. By the time it arrived, the fish seemed to be responding to the non medicine treatment I listed above (increased aeration and large water changes).

I have also heard to add salt to the tank, but I couldn't because I had corydoras.

I wish you luck, and hope it isn't columnaris. If you aren't seeing the "saddleback" like deterioration, it might be some other kind of fungus.
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:13 PM   #7
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Here's the best pic I could get (they refuse to hold still).

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Old 01-17-2012, 06:37 PM   #8
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Here's another picture. The quality isn't much better, but you can kinda see the white on the lips.

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Old 01-17-2012, 06:38 PM   #9
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One thing odd: Neither danio shows any signs of illness.
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:47 PM   #10
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I had a similar thing that happened to my harlequin rasboras... I don't think it was columnaris... all just developed that odd looking white fuzz and died. They didn't look like they'd been passed through a garbage disposal like my fish did with the columnaris outbreak, and it was limited to the rasboras: none of the corydoras in the tank suffered any ill effects.
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Old 01-18-2012, 02:42 PM   #11
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Good news: My fish are still alive and swimming normally this morning.
Bad news: It's hard to tell since they don't hold still very long, but the danios MIGHT each have a white spot between their eyes. It's very difficult to tell, though, since they don't hold still and, instead, zoom around the tank.

According to this website, there are several strains of columnaris, each of which has a varying degree of lethality to fish and which has varying symptoms. I think my fish have the third strain, out of the 4 types. I have added salt to the tank, lowered the water temperature, increased circulation/air flow in the tank. I don't have any Maracyn to add, but am considering adding melafix.
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Old 01-19-2012, 01:05 PM   #12
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Good news: My fish are all still alive this morning.
Bad news: My danios DEFINITELY have a spot between their eyes.

I have done everything that has been suggested (lower water temp, add salt, daily water changes), and they don't seem to be getting better. Any other suggestions?
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Old 01-19-2012, 02:01 PM   #13
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Did you put the bubblestone back in to increase surface agitation (for more O2)?

Columnaris is nasty nasty bad. Sometimes the only thing you can do is wait it out. Sorry.
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Old 01-19-2012, 03:04 PM   #14
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IF this is columnaris (and from what I understand columnaris is one of the most common infections for an aquarium to get), it will thrive in high oxygen warm water. I had it destroy my betta sorority. Also fish will react differently, I had one male who came down with it, he just acted lethargic and wanted to lay on the bottom. He wasn't clamped or anything and acted fine up until the last day when it bloated him and killed him overnight. He was a GORGEOUS dalmation crown tail. It got my giant betta Otis and he started acting clamped and not eating right. Next the toughest little crown tail female I've ever seen came down with it so bad she was puffing it out of her gills and mouth trying to attack it. It killed a DT and a CT female I had with no symptoms, just fine one day, on the bottom the next.

What I finally did to combat it was to take a bunch of the isolation cups the fish ship in. I prepped in a one gallon container:

*half tab of tetracycline (enough to treat 5 gallons),
*half a JFC tab (5 gallons worth as well)
*double dose of Stress Coat (10 to 14 drops/gal)
*4 tsp of salt

to make a roughly 4X concentration of prepared treatment. I then prepped another gallon jug with just 10 drops (double dose) of stress coat.

I put each fish in one of these cups and left them at room temprature (the giant betta I actually used a pickle jar). I changed the water once a day, you could tell when it was needing changed as the water would go from bright green to a very tannic looking redish brown. After this I have lost NONE of my bettas. I've treated three of them so far and one as a precaution. Make sure to go through the full cycle and clean the tank top to bottom with bleach/peroxide. Good luck with it, there are several strains of columnaris and they will attack one fish completely different from how they attack the next.
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Old 01-19-2012, 04:36 PM   #15
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Yes, I did put the air stone back in.

Brian - you suggest bleaching the tank. What about the plants? I've got a tankful of live plants in there, not to mention the shrimp... I will add more of the Jungle brand "Start Right" stuff that I've got that says it's supposed to promote the slime coat.
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