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Could this be columnaris or another disease?

1689 Views 13 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Warbler
Well, as the title suggests, I've been battling some illnesses. I suppose I'll just catalogue everything that happened, it might help...
It seems it all started a few months back when I noticed two of my clown killis with some white fuzz on their lips. I assumed it was fungus and treated like it was, and they seemed pretty good. Fast forward a few months where I had a betta in a divided tank and I needed to move him to a solo tank quickly as the residents in the other side of the tank were somehow getting to his side and getting eaten. :icon_neut I switched his ten gallon out for my 5 gallon killi tank which also had some sundadanio axelrodis (sorry for scientific name, don't know common name) in it.
While transferring, with proper acclimation procedures, I noticed the white fuzz was back on the same killis and had eaten part of their jaw off. Dip a salt dip just as a precaution until I could learn more, and put them back in the tank. Next time I have one of my axelrodi's lying on his side, lower half of his body looking grey and utterly destroyed. Cue quarantine tank, where I put in all of my killis (all showing signs), the half dead axelrodi and another axelrodi with some fuzz on his tail. Some research led to columnaris as my cause.
Started treating with salt dips, methylene blue dips, Nitrofurazone.

The funny thing is that I heard columnaris will kill everybody quickly and efficiently. It took a week to kill the stock in my quarantine tank (only have one solo female that I think I'm just going to go ahead and euthanize), and none of the axelrodi's left in the tank have been affected whatsoever. Did some more research and started suspecting costiasis, and now I'm not sure if I'm treating for the right thing. I will probably end up trying to preserve bacteria off of my female after euthanizing (does anybody know how to scrape off sections for bacteria samples and keep it preserved without a culture medium, or would a bottle of tank water suffice?) and try and identify it on a microscope.

Overall symptoms are:
-paleness of body, some areas not as shiny as others (mainly back, saddle area)
-One female got reddish coloured sores, but not flanked by grey
-Very rapid breathing, especially in last stages
-Erratic behavior, swimming into walls, being very passive when lifted out of water by net in last stages
-Flipping upside down/to the side in very last stages, right before death
-When showing signs of very rapid breathing, death usually followed.
No pictures unfortunately. By the time I caught on that something may be wrong here my last killi was dying and pretty much floating upside down, and her belly didn't offer anything interesting.
Thank you very much, this means a lot.
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Definitely sounds like columnaris.

There's a few different strains with some killing the fish in 24 hours or less and others taking longer to kill a fish.
Shoot...I always assumed by the 2nd group of strains the author and researchers referred to was more of the mouth "fungus" my first group of killis had.
Would anybody happen to know why the second group of axelrodi's weren't affected then, and why the first axelrodi was struck down so suddenly? Do you think it's just the fact that they aren't showing outward signs yet, or that I got infected fish out quickly? But even if it's quickly, doesn't the bacteria stay in the water column?
And I haven't been able to find any good evidence on this, but does anybody believe that this bacteria is ever present and is simply opportunistic? If so then ripping the tank down to bleach it might be a bit overkill...
Sorry for all the questions, first time I had to euthanise a fish via the chop and I'm a little scatterbrained.
That mouth "fungus" was probably either the a white slime caused by the infection or a true fungal infection that was secondary. A true fungus should look fuzzy like the mold you see on spoiled foods or decaying organic material. Any fish that has been in contact with an infected fish is at risk. My suggestion to you is to give your fish a salt and methylene blue bath followed by a combined antibiotic treatment of nitrofuran and kanamycin. You should sterilize your tank and equipment with bleach. Plants, gravel, and hardscape will need to be sterilized or tossed out. You can use bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or potassium permanganate. Hydrogen peroxide and potassium permanganate are gentler on plants, provided you follow some precautions. I've dealt with columnaris before and these were the steps I took to limit the losses.
Thank you very much. Do shrimps need some sort of dip too (I can't imagine there is such a thing for them). Just a bunch of cherries. Or are shrimp unaffected, and would just need quarantining in a separate tank while cleaning and sterilization of net between holding tank and cleaned tank?
I'm not sure if they need a dip. I don't think they'll survive if you tried. You can try quarantining them as you suggested. You should pick up another net to use in uninfected water.
I just recently got over a bout of columnaris and lost most of my fish. Thats not really what my experience was like but if it is columnaris the I agree 100% with MonsterFish as that was the route that I took and saved what I could of my fish. I wish I had learned what it was sooner and maybe I wouldn't have lost so many but live and learn. I also had shrimp in my tank and they were unaffected. They didn't so much mind the kanamycin but the nitrofuran they did not like. I have cherry and malayan shrimp in the affected tank and they all came out and looked like they tried to escape after dosing with nitrofuran but none of them actually died but for me it's to early to say if they'll have any longer term effects. Good luck
Does hydrogen peroxide have the same murderous effect on the bacteria? I've got some lying around already and I've heard that since it's an oxidizer it'll do good on non-porous surfaces.
Well, on the bright side, I've been meaning to get new substrate, this could be a good excuse.
It's a strong oxidizer, so yes it should kill the bacteria. Get a fresh bottle if the one you have has been open for a while now.
Sorry to hear that, my quarantine tank recently had a bout of it that destroyed all the fish in there within 48 hours. I ended up just replacing EVERYTHING for my quarantine tank setup, it was just easier
It does sound like columnaris, which has different strains, effects, and progression rates as previously mentioned.

Just in case your attempts to isolate and sterilize fail and it resurfaces, I'd make sure to have Kanamycin on hand. Either mail order it in advance, or verify you have a readily available local source. Seems to be the treatment of choice, and the fast-moving strains in particular were resistant to everything else in my pharmacopeia.

If possible, store all medications in the fridge to extend shelf life past the normal expiration dates.
I'm with DarkCobra. After this recent bout of columnaris and talking with others and hearing stories there are now a few medications I will be keeping on hand at all times one of them being the Kanamycin. The other two being nitrofuran or bifuran and metronizadole. Nothing worse than seeing your fish are sick and not having anything to help them. Its frustrating especially if you have to order something and watch them get worse and worse as you wait for the medication to arrive.
I used seachem kanaplex (kanamycin) in a tank, it helped but then it came back. I had to dose it 4 times instead of what the instructions said, I did a water change inbetween. It is evil, tank needs to be bombed!
Yeah, I heard that it's the only thing that really works, especially paired with columnaris. Unfortunately the only way I could access it here was to order, and I kept holding off because I figured it was a very fast strain based on the axelrodi death and thought there would be little point, but they ended up lasting a week. Stupid bacteria.
Just frustration with this disease, and it got my beloved killis too. But I've recently gotten the chance to do a huge research paper, so I suppose I'll do an experiment on the best way to kill these suckers. At least I'll know more next time.
Does anybody know the life cycle of these guys so I know the time frame where I should be most vigilant with my fish? I heard it was thirty some odd days.
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