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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long story short. Some of you followed and helped me in my sick tetras thread but I'll summarize. Bought 11 lemon tetras from a lfs, placed in quarantine, a couple days later I saw 3 more at petco and decided to buy them as well.
They looked fine at 2 weeks end and wanted to use the tank for a new batch of fry so I rushed them ahead of schedule into my 100gal planted display tank.

Big mistake. Within a day or two they showed symptoms of columnaris. I netted them up and rerurned them to quarantine but now I had two possibly infected tanks to deal with.

I treated both tanks with kanaplex and furan 2. Over the course of a week or so, out of the 14 tetras only 6 have survived. At this point the remainer were still visibly sick. I ran carbon for a few days and cleared out the meds.

Now I'm treating them with some polyguard by seachem, broad spectrum treatment, that I had around the house. They are looking a bit better and the deaths have stopped.

Anyways, what are the lessons learned here? I probably used over $40 worth of meds to unsuccessfully treat $30 worth of tetras.

In hindsight. Firstly, I should have purchased my fish from one source and kept them isolated in quarantine for a full month without symptoms. Secondly, I should have removed and euthanized the sick individuals as soon as I identified them. Thirdly, I should have started with a broad spectrum medication first or even just used salt and temperature. I can't afford to waste money on expensive meds to blindly treat inexpensive fish.

Side note: I should resist the temptation to buy fish from petco and petsmart. This seems to happen all to often from there.
 

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Sorry to hear. Hows the 100g doing? Any other fish inhabitants in there showing signs of issues?

I lost several fish to columarnis just putting new fish into an established tank. I ran the tank for over a month dosing pure ammonia to keep filter cycled, no fauna, and did not gut/sanitize the tank (had several hundred $ worth of plants I refused to toss/destroy with meds). I've kept fish in that tank after the 1 month period and not had any more issues.. its been nearly 2years since that happened, tank is still in use.
 

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Sorry to hear. Hows the 100g doing? Any other fish inhabitants in there showing signs of issues?

I lost several fish to columarnis just putting new fish into an established tank. I ran the tank for over a month dosing pure ammonia to keep filter cycled, no fauna, and did not gut/sanitize the tank (had several hundred $ worth of plants I refused to toss/destroy with meds). I've kept fish in that tank after the 1 month period and not had any more issues.. its been nearly 2years since that happened, tank is still in use.
Interesting. I've wondered how one would go about saving plants (decontaminating them, yet not killing them, to be safe placing with new fish). Although from studies I have read, Flavobacterium columnare can go many months without a host or "food"/nutrients, pretty much dormant.

Do you know how much ammonia you were dosing? Were there any surfactants in the bottled ammonia? (unsure if those surfactants would be safe for plants, but harmful to other life, or not).

I have heard that it can sit "dormant", as an opportunistic disease and only infect fish when their immune system has been severely compromised (more than just stress of relocating, more along the lines of drastic sudden temperature change or water parameter change or just deteriorating water quality in general).
 

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Interesting. I've wondered how one would go about saving plants (decontaminating them, yet not killing them, to be safe placing with new fish). Although from studies I have read, Flavobacterium columnare can go many months without a host or "food"/nutrients, pretty much dormant.

Do you know how much ammonia you were dosing? Were there any surfactants in the bottled ammonia? (unsure if those surfactants would be safe for plants, but harmful to other life, or not).

I have heard that it can sit "dormant", as an opportunistic disease and only infect fish when their immune system has been severely compromised (more than just stress of relocating, more along the lines of drastic sudden temperature change or water parameter change or just deteriorating water quality in general).
I guess I was lucky then. No deaths in the tank since the initial columnaris issue.

I was doing 3ppm ammonia using Ace hardware janitor strength ammonia
Ace 1qt Ammonia (10183A) - Industrial Cleaners - Ace Hardware

a needle-less syringe to measure accurately
sadly cannot link-look up on e-bay

and this calculator (converter on lower right, calculator at bottom of page)
Fishkeeping - Fishless Tank Cycling and Avoiding New Tank Syndrome - General Guides - Articles

I've used this ammonia for several tank cycles with live plants, no issues (worst thing is initial algae blooms during cycle if tank is lightly planted).

Likely the new fish already had it and I did not notice until they came home (otos from petsmart-they rarely fair well in those stores..)
I did drip acclimation for over 1.5-2 hours then floated them in a zip lock back of a half hour to make sure they were at temp before releasing.
The other fish in the tank I found pecking at a corpse that had died from columnaris before I could remove it (that was the first I saw o the sickness-the others hid and died where I could not see in the plant mass.
The tank was already cycled and I'd just moved fish from the tank to another, and added some more of lesser bioload (smaller/fewer fish). Tank was planted too so not an ammonia spike.
 

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I dont want to downplay anything you were (or are) dealing with, but chances are that was not columnaris. the horror stories associated with columnaris are usually 100% casualties with no hope of any survivor. That is not only in the infected tank but any other tank you could have cross contaminated with a net, or any other tool. as far as I understand total loss usually occurs within only a day or two of noticing any symptoms.
 

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Yep it takes about 48 hours to kill small fish.
As much as I love spending time in pet shops I only buy fish from one, ironically the one who knows the least about fish, but follows advice she is given.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, in hindsight it probably wasn't columnaris at all but I was so paranoid that I treated both my quarantine and display tanks.

My display tank is looking well. I have some new fry that I'm letting my acaras raise. I have a couple corry cats with white noses, but they have been that way for over 6 months so I feel that it's either a sand abrasion problem or from them rubbing on the glass.

The lenon tetras in quarantine look better but are now not eating.

I usually buy all my fish from local breeders but nobody breeds tetras it seems. Next time I'll mail order or something.
 

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Yeah, in hindsight it probably wasn't columnaris at all but I was so paranoid that I treated both my quarantine and display tanks.

My display tank is looking well. I have some new fry that I'm letting my acaras raise. I have a couple corry cats with white noses, but they have been that way for over 6 months so I feel that it's either a sand abrasion problem or from them rubbing on the glass.

The lenon tetras in quarantine look better but are now not eating.

I usually buy all my fish from local breeders but nobody breeds tetras it seems. Next time I'll mail order or something.
I'd look into the missing barbells issue for corys as someone asked me if black diamond 'sand' would do that. The consensus from many owners is barbells get wrecked more from poor water quality (or just a lot of poop left on substrate) than rough substrate (but I don't know how rough your substrate actually is).
 

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Good post, and good reminders. I wish I knew more about diagnosing disease. I bought two books on the subject and it's still confusing (and the internet is like WedMD).

Sometimes the fish in Petstores work out fine (I have many fish from these places). Their edge over LFS and mail order is a lengthy guarantee. As long as you adhere to a strict quarantine process, they won't threaten the main tanks. With that being said, my neighbor just added 2 cichlids from PetSmart to his 8 year old tank without QT, and that introduced ich and killed the entire tank (sharks, etc). I'm sure this experience has changed his previous opinion of "can't be bothered with that".
QT's are a necessary evil for fish from any source. Even if they are healthy at the store, moving them reduces their immunity and can present disease.

I currently have 3 QT tanks running housing new fish (different sources, different water conditions, etc), so that has me running 5 tanks total (not fun, but with overnight shipping costs, I tend to buy more). I usually give it 3 weeks, but in some cases it goes longer (if there's a death or sickness along the way).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm down to 4 lemon tetras now, not even enough to form a proper school :-(

I'm sort of looking forward to the rest dying at this point so I can bleach the tank and start over
 
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