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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Fresh water low tech planted 29 gallon. Substrate is a mix of fluorite and gravel.

50% water changes every two or three weeks. Water parameters are excellent:
0 ammonia
0 nitrite
5-10 nitrate
7.8 ph

I know the ph is high, but that's my tap water. I have driftwood in there to help lower the ph a bit.

The tank has been set up for over 3 years. In the last year, it seems anything I put in there eventually dies. They become white around the mouth, and then slowly waste away, in some cases in a few weeks, up to several months. This has happened with rosy barbs, pencil fish, otos and cories. I have pencil fish and cories in there now, and a bristle nose pleco that I just got. The cories are also pretty new. I've had them about 3 weeks. I started with eight and now am down to four. Within a couple of days of putting them in, I saw their barbels and mouths become white.

This does not look like a fungus - nothing puffy, furry or hairy. Nothing standing out. It just looks like that part of the flesh lost color. It doesn't appear to affect their eating. No other part of the fish ever appears to be affected, except the ones that hold on longer become more and more wasted looking.

I have been all over the web trying to diagnose this with no luck.

Right now I am dosing with Melafix, but it doesn't appear to be having any effect. Help or suggestions would be appreciated.


Thanks-

Julia
 

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Can you post a pic? It would be very helpful if you can.

Altho you say it doesn't look cottony, it sure does sound like cotton mouth/columnaris. It affects their ability it eat which is why they get thinner and thinner.

I'd get some real antibiotics and treat the entire tank. Melafix, Pimafix, etc have antiseptic properties and are not true antibiotics and just aren't strong enough to treat columnaris. Depending on what you use it could harm your bio filter so keep that in mind when treating. You could treat the sick fish in quarantine but if this is an ongoing problem in your tank then it sounds like you really need to bomb the tank with meds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wendyjo, thanks for your help. It seems methylene blue and salt are the preferred treatments for columnaris. However, with a planted tank, I'm not sure how to perform the treatment.

I can remove the fish to a quarantine tank and treat them there, sparing my plants. But I am sure the tank itself is contaminated. Is there a way to deal with this short of breaking down the whole tank, decontaminating everything, and basically starting up a new tank?

Julia
 

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I've got a 125 gallon tank that has been up and running for 2 years. I have L-133s, angels,lemon yellow tetras and panda corys. They have all been healthy. Last weekend I foolishly introduced hatchet fish. Within hours they started to die and then the lemon yellow tetras started to die. Everyone else was ok, but a week later a L-133 began sitting out in the open and over night I found it dead also. From what I have read all signs point to columnaris. I am now treating with Furan-2 as this is what I have on hand. Just hope no one else dies. This was my own stupidity. I didn't quarantine and I am so kicking myself!
 

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I thought methylene blue was used for parasites and fungus.........I'm pretty sure columnaris is bacterial. I don't think salt will do much good for it either.

Edited: I just read this and see that in this article both of the treatments you mentioned are recommended, as well as some antibiotics.

http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/Columnaris.html

As far as your plants are concerned - maybe that's the reason I've always heard antibiotics should be used as most plants tolerate the treatment quite well. As I said earlier, it can destroy the bio filter tho.

Hopefully someone else with first hand experience will chime in since I've never tried to treat an entire tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Edited: I just read this and see that in this article both of the treatments you mentioned are recommended, as well as some antibiotics.

http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/Columnaris.html
Yes, that's where I got my information. However, I have since read further and encountered information that questions the effectiveness of that treatment and recommends antibiotics that treat gram-negative bacteria, specifically, Marcyn-2 or a combination of kanamycin and nitrfuranizole.

Problem is, here in Florida, those medications are no longer sold over the counter, so I would have to go to a vet. I can't even order online because the companies won't ship it here. http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilies/icon_cry.gif

So now I'm thinking my only recourse is to either drive up to Georgia and see if I can get the meds there, or just euthanize the fish and take down and disinfect the tank.

I have a beautiful planted 55 gallon, and I'm worried about the disease spreading to that tank as well.

Julia
 

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I've never heard of anyone in Florida having problems getting fish meds and a quick search isn't bringing up anything about it. Are you sure? Have you actually tried to place an order from Petsmart or some place? I know that Petco, which is a large chain, has stopped selling antibiotics in ALL their stores in ALL states. Perhaps you are confusing that with it not being available at all in Florida?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've never heard of anyone in Florida having problems getting fish meds and a quick search isn't bringing up anything about it. Are you sure? Have you actually tried to place an order from Petsmart or some place? I know that Petco, which is a large chain, has stopped selling antibiotics in ALL their stores in ALL states. Perhaps you are confusing that with it not being available at all in Florida?
I actually found meds today at Pet Smart, so my information may be wrong. However, PetCo and Pet Supermarket don't carry them anymore, and the gal at Pet Supermarket told me they got a letter from the state about 6 months ago telling them they had pull their stock. FosterSmith's website states they cannot ship these products to Florida. Maybe the seller has to jump through some special hoop to be allowed to sell them here. I'm just glad I found some, and bought extra to keep on hand.

Julia
 

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Furan-2 and Bifuran+ are great treatments for Colomnaris. I usually do a double whammy and treat both Furan-2 and API General Cure at the same tiem as tehy are comaptible to be treated together.

Just finishing a round of this up with some newly imported Altums.

Craig
 

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the best treatment for coumnaris is kanamyacin and bifuran/furan-2. Do 3 treatments of each, dose every 48 hours with a 90% water change before dosing. That will nuke all bacteria good and bad it can also kill plants too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Craig and Lipad. I am going to see if I can find someplace online that will send me this the Furan2 and also Kanaplex which I understand to be effective. Right now I'm using what I could get my hands on in town.

The fish are not super expensive ones, but there are 14 of them, and I'd like to keep them if I can.

Julia
 

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I would perhaps consider quarantine tank for new fishes in the future.
Tanks of mine have run fine for year's, and then the foolish addition of new fish or fishes, without quarantine period of four to six weeks,, resulted in very large (in some cases) hospital tank.
I have in the past,,removed fishes to smaller quarantine tank (easier,cheaper to medicate and perform water changes), and left main tank to run without fish for up to a month.
Many parasites and some bacterial pathogens don't survive long without host fish to infect.
This does not ensure success, and requires feeding the bio-filter or borrowing media from mature tank at the end of a month ,but it has worked for me on a few occasions to rid tank(s) of disease.
This may be something to consider in heavily planted tank where meds may have negative effect on plant's.
Hope things get back on track.
 
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