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Columnaris (?) Killing all my fish... and fast.

7914 Views 28 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Jaguar
Probably been asked a million times but what would be the best med for columnaris in cardinal tetras? I bought 15 from Petsmart on thursday and 4 have already died along with 3 of my guppies with white stuff around their mouths. I'm probably going to lose another 2 before I can get meds today. I just can't get a break with these sick fish :mad: I dropped the temp and added salt so hopefully that will slow it down at least a little...
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I had a bad round of columnaris over a year ago in a 55 community tank and lost a lot of fish quickly (2/3 of the tank within a week) - I did the Maracyn 1 & 2, but they didn't seem to have any effect. Then I used Kanaplex & the deaths in the tank stopped almost instantly. I had my lfs order the Kanaplex & it was very inexpensive. I have read some suggestions to use a 1/2 dose daily, vs a full dose every other day. I hope this helps and you can find a way to stop it fast!
kanamycin is one of the better gram negative antibiotics out there.
i couldnt get ahold of it when i fought columnaris, so i used sulfathiozole (at double dose, though the container said up to 4x is usually safe) and it worked.
Triple sulfa.
Yep it's moving FAST. Fish are going from fine and eating to dead in a few hours. 5 cardinals and 3 guppies dead in 3 days. Just found another cardinal stuck to the side of my filter intake. This is AWFUL. I'm starting to feel like I just shouldn't have fish in my tank at all because this has been a nightmare of ongoing sickness in my tanks and throwing away $ that I didn't really have to begin with.

Strangely enough, my harlequin rasboras seem to be unaffected. I swear those guys are bulletproof :/

I'm limited to what my LFS carry since I live in a town that is not very good for this hobby. I will try to find Kanamycin but I've never seen it in stores here before. I'll look for the Sulfa too.
9 left. I'm going to have none left by morning. :(
I'm sorry. It made me feel sick to my stomach too. I didn't have the money to spend on all those meds either - I'm one of those paycheck-to-paycheck people. Since mine was in a 55g tank, I had to buy enough mends to treat the whole volume of the tank. Before I tried the Kanaplex, I went through nearly $100 to try & save $20 of fish. (I had tried Tri Sulfa too) I went through pages & pages here because I posted for help on treating columnaris. You should be able to find it if you enter columnaris in the search box. I got tons of advice from many members here.

The columnaris killed 11 cardinals, 4 black tetras, 2 blue rams, amd 6 celebes rainbows in a week.

Found that from the journal I had on the 55. In the end I tore it down, as all I had live were 9 celebes rainbows (oddly enough the fish that brought the columnaris in) I finally understood the need for a QT tank. They (the surviving celebes) went in a newly set up QT tank for months before I got another tank set up. They are still thriving, with their new tank mates. I worried that they could be carriers, like Typhoid Mary but they are fine over a year later. Many of my fish never showed any signs of being sick. They went from fine to dead so fast, within hours. I only saw the cottony growth on a few fish. There was some discussion about whether there were new, more drug resistant strains, and talk about fast acting acute columnaris vs. more treatable, more drawn out columnaris - which gave you time to treat it since is wasn't so fast acting.

I hate it for you, been there. Prior to my outbreak I didn't have a QT tank. Now my new fish stay in it for 2 months before getting introduced to a tank. Anytime I see what I think might be odd behavior or a strange spot (so far always my imagination) I freak, thinking it's new columnaris. Once I experienced it, I came to fear it all the time. I seriously thought about giving up on fish, but now I have more tanks than ever, and I hope you don't let it stop you from enjoying this wonderful hobby.
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If you need to slow down columnaris so you can get the meds, turn off the heater and do a water change. If you have RO water handy, fill that in the tank. Some of the columnaris bacteria would die in low gh water. Make sure you don't shock your fish in the process.
I don't have RO water but I did the other two. Everyone looks OK for now. One of the cardinals has a big belly so I'm expecting that one won't survive much longer. I'm not even sure this is columnaris but it's my best guess, only 2 of the fish (1 guppy and 1 cardinal) had the white mouth, I think that's 2 enough. Store opens in about an hour and a half :/
I got Maracyn 2. That's all they had. If it doesn't work I'll try something else (if I have any fish left by then)
Recent bout

I cleared my tank of columnaris with lower temps, Salt at water changes and increased the frequency of WCs while lowering the % of each one. 2 days without a sign, and the water is clearer than ever too.

I also shut off my tanks light, which may or may not have contributed.
Yeah I have been doing that aside from the medication. I did a 50% wc yesterday and a 20% today. The tank is bare bottomed so it is very clean. Water params were all great, it had been fully cycled for quite a while before. I moved the bio media out of the tank to do the medication treatment.

Best of luck mate, I lost 80% of my stock in less than 2 days.

Haven't lost one since I started with the low temp and Salt, and water changes.

How often do you change filter media?
there are 2 bacteria that seem to cause what we call columnaris, the one blamed most commonly is flexibacter. according to an article i read ( aeromonas can cause the same symptoms (virtually impossible to tell the difference without sampling the lesions). now flexibacteria, actually NEED good clean water. i read in another article (lost the link) that was a primary source of a researcher sampling and culturing columnaris, and that in low O2 cultures growth was strongly inhibited. this makes sense as flexibacteria are obligatory aerobes and need O2 for respiration. aeromonas, does not. and columnaris cases in dirty, poorly filtered and aerated tank are most likely aeromonas, not flexibacter cases.
so sorry, but just cuz the waters clean, doesnt mean your fish dont have a flexibacter infection. that said, dirtying the water and reducing dissolved O2 will likely kill the fish before the bacteria; so dont do that.

the minocycline should help. its very broad spectrum, unfortunately its not too strong either. if after 48 hours, asymptomatic fish become symptomatic, id consider adding another antibiotic. kanamycin or sulfathiozole, IF they dont interact with minocycline .
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I am currently dealing with columnaris in mt tank and just lost a gourami, heres the link to my post and maybey you can find in one of the replys a good medication to use
Also this site helped me
Good luck
Haven't lost any more fish, fingers crossed it stays that way...
Spoke too soon, one more cardinal dead. Was swimming around the top a little erratically, dead 3 hrs later. No outward signs at all, looked like a perfectly healthy fish. My tank is so cloudy I can't even see the back of it. Doing a WC today when I re-medicate.
50% wc and more meds today. All tank params were good. Fish are OK, only the guppies are really interested in eating. The fat/bloated cardinal isn't looking better or worse. I guess all I can do now is wait.
Fish are OK today. I can tell they don't like the cold water, it took them forever to "wake up" after turning the light on this morning... they were all very pale and floating listlessly around the tank. Colored up and got back in their schools after about 10 mins. Everyone looks OK though, no further losses (so far). They are interested in eating again which is good.

I am surprised how resilient the harlequin rasboras are. I think I might just get more of them, they're pretty and so hardy too.
great to hear. hope they all get well.

all these threads on columnaris made Morpheus (my balog black orchid CT) seem to think it was all the rage, now im treating for it too. lol
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