If itís columnaris, you need an antibiotic that treats gram negative bacteria. Kanaplex is one. Although typically its so virulent that your fish will probably die before you can attempt a treatment 😰
I will admit I took his word for it and started dosing with the antibiotic first a couple days ago to hopefully help in case it is columnaris while I wait for the medication I ordered to come in. I didn't plan on using all the meds at once. It looks like saddleback disease to me too, but I don't see any other symptoms. Only one fish is shy, but the others seem relatively healthy. They have a good appetite. I don't see any popeye or mouth fungus either. All the same, I'm incredibly embarrassed to look at the photo of this poor guy. It just... sucks. If it hurts this much to have a sick pet, I don't even want to imagine what it's like to have sick kids.
From what I've seen, columnaris can be extremely quick, but these guys started showing symptoms (not of columnaris necessarily, but redness like a "blush" in the same spot the "saddle" is now) a month ago. Apparently there's a few strains, and some take weeks and weeks to do fish in, but I haven't found much to indicate at what point the disease has reached a terminal stage. Some folks say if you see symptoms, it's game over. I kept an eye on them and the injury didn't progress much. Then I wake up a few days ago and boom
, I see this stuff. @klibs
has some threads and posts about an awful experience with this stuff and the advice to nuke the tank after the disease runs its course or euthanizing fish that are CONFIRMED to have the disease is fairly disheartening.
I'm going to go on and nuke the tank that I have cycling with media from this tank as well and start over. Fortunately, I didn't have anything but equipment in that tank. I was just cycling my filter media while I waited for my substrate and decor to come in. Columnaris can't survive in >1% salt solutions, but bleach is cheaper, on hand, and I don't need to buy 20 pounds of it to create a solution in the 65 gallon tank.
I just added a pair of otocinclus to the tank right before the saddles became apparent. In hindsight this was a bit of an oversight. I didn't mean
to add fish into a tank that might have been compromised. My logic at the time was I could quarantine the two new fish with the others (who appeared healthy except the very mild blemish in front of the dorsal fin at that moment) and not risk compromising my new show tank. And if there was some kind of issue I could (theoretically) treat the tank and be done with it.
At present, I'm draining the 65 gallon and going to wipe down the tank walls, then going to create a 200mg/l available chlorine at a recommendation from @Random_Fish
. All of the equipment not in the compromised tank (and some that is) will go into the big tank to purge the filth. The absolute last thing I want is to transfer this gunk.
It really makes me sad that I might have a serious, serious problem. I got these fish at the start of quarantine as a form of therapy and they've been a great help to me. If I lose them, it's going to break my heart. They've been my whole life for well over a month. I even bought them a big new home with an extra large footprint so they'd have lots of room to poke around in the sand. I just don't know what to do besides treat with medication that I have on hand in the hopes that it slows the infection enough to keep the new fish healthy. The otocinclus don't look like they have any symptoms so with luck I can get them quarantined in my little 10 gallon bare-bottom tank with medication that comes in next week.
As a student I've also got a sizable investment in their home. It just kills me that I came back to the hobby after so many years away and was welcomed with the fish equivalent of the Black Plague. I try so har to keep water parameters up, keep substrate clean, and keep fish healthy. One thing's for sure, I'm going to quarantine everything
always and forever henceforth. It's just not worth it. I've never felt so defeated.
Fortunately the battle isn't over yet. Time will tell what I'm dealing with, exactly. For now I guess it's battling BGA and waiting for more substantial antibiotics to come in.