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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a major problem! I have NEVER seen anything like this. It is a white slime that consumes a fish in 8 hours. 8 HOURS! Last night one fish looked a little stressed so I took her out and put her in her own tank and treated with Maroxy. This morning the tank that she had come from was looking fine. I dosed it with Maroxy anyway and a touch of salt (1 teaspoon to 10 gallons), it's a 20 long tank. I went to work. I got home one female betta is dead and fuzzy, two others are covered in this white fuzz on the body and fins with scales bloody, one is a bit of ratty fins, the imbellis has nothing, and another is covered.

I have never seen anything this fast. The tank is new-ish, ammonia, none, nitrates, none, nitrites none, pH 7.2, temp 76.


Pictres":

This fish was healthy,eating and clean eight hours ago:



Dead for 8 hours or less, see the fuzz and the blood?




Even if I can't save the fish I need to know what this is and how to stop it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have slightly hard water. Fish came from Thailand, but so did the males and all the males (in their own containers) are very healthy. It is definatly Columnaris, I am treating with tri-sulfa.

I have suddenly had a TERRIABLE time! I don't really understand. I have clean water, good filtration, good temp.

I think it all started with the wild caught mac and I believe that each tank got cross contaminated through live plant exchange (never thought the plants would be carriying disease).

I've learned a lot in the past week (I've never in all my years of fish keeping ever dealt with a serious outbreak), it cost me hundreds of dollars, but now I think I have a good handle on what is going on. The same thing that killed the others is killing these ones...apparently this bacteria can hang in the water for 32 days.

I just didn't realize that it could break out like this so fast! I didn't see any reason for these new fish to be overly stresses. They were in transport for a while, but they had acclimation and good food for the past few days. They went from healthy to dead or dying within 8 hours!
 

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I lost three tanks to cross contamination. What I now do is have one designated net per tank and no switcharoos ever. Everything can carry pathogens: nets, cleaning magnets, plants, filter/heaters, hands, etc. I would be really careful.
 

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I also just had an outbreak of columnaris and I'm not too sure where it came from. I had added 4 kuhli loaches about a month before the outbreak. They had been quarantined for two weeks before that, and have never shown any symptoms of columnaris.

I also added a number of plants, snails, and some shrimp I got from AZ Gardens. They also had been quarantined, but only for about 4 days (I mostly just wanted to make sure no ich hitched a ride.

The only other cause I could think of was recently doing a gravel vac of my Aquasoil. The outbreak started within a week of doing this. It had never been cleaned at all (even skimming over) for the year I've had the tank. Maybe this stirred something up. I read somewhere that columnaris is actually in most tanks, living on dead matter. Perhaps my cleaning the tank suddenly put a lot of it in the water column, and it was more than the immune system of some fish could handle.

Fortunately it has not been all that virulent. I have a least a dozen mollies and about 10 other occupants (5 other unrelated species), and only 3 mollies and one angel ever got sick.

It took a while before I figured out what it was even going on. I thought it was just a fungus on two mollies. I moved them to a 5g bucket and added Jungle Fungus clear. This seemed to clear things up (it actually is a recommend treatment for columnaris). During this time the angel sometimes had a small white pimple or blotch, but it came and went, and I figured if it was just fungus, and would go away with clean water.

A few days after I put the two treated mollies back in the main tank they were sick again, and now the angel was acting a bit funny (hiding during the day unless it was feeding time). He probably had had columnaris well over a week by then, but still not showing much more than a small white blotch on his side. However, symptoms on the mollies were more clear this time, one being completely covered in white tufts or gray blotches. At this time I finally realized it was columnaris.

I moved the 2 sick mollies, a 3rd molly that got sick, and the angel to a 10g tank to treat them. This time I used Furan-2 (as is often recommended), and only afterwords found out it has the same ingredients as Jungle Fungus Clear. I also added melafix, although I think pimafix is suppose to be a better choice for columnaris (should arrive in the mail tomorrow). I also decided to treat the main tank, since I figured at least one of the mollies probably had it, and some may have it without showing symptoms.

It's been 5 days since this last round of treatment. No new cases in the main tank. The angel still has the white blotch, although it is very small now. He acts pretty normal. The mollies are clear of while blotches, but show a bit of fin damage, and tend to hide near or behind the HOB filter most of the time. They were also treated with a Potassium Permangenate bath twice a day for the 1st 3 days (but not the angel, he's too big). All are eating well.

I have my doubts that Furan-2 is going to lick this, since my Fungus Clear treatment (same ingredients) may not have completely cleared it up in the treated fish, so I may now have a more resistant strain. I'll continue the current treatment for the full 8 days and then see what happens. If it comes back, I may go the Triple Sulfate route next time.
 

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I had this same thing happen about a year ago and wiping out half my tank in a week's time. I feared it was TB at first but I'm pretty sure it's just an extremely fast and virulent columnaris. Columnaris still rears it's ugly head from time to time and I've found that daily 20% water changes until all visible symptoms are gone (usually within 5-7 days) has been the cheapest and most effective way of dealing with it. I have not had very much success with various medications since all require several days of treatment and it seems that constant clean water is a better solution. The meds just waste my money and gives the disease more time to spread.
 

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I believe keeping your fish happy and healthy (stress free) is the best way to avoid it. So clean water, proper temp, good water flow, good diet, and good tank mates. I think the problem is that once one stressed fish gets sick, then columnaris is so prevalent in the tank that even otherwise healthy fish are susceptible. Makes me think the keeping old somewhat infirm fish is a bad idea.

BTW, lower your temp to about 75. Supposedly below 76 really slows the spread of columnaris. The colder the better, but you don't want to lower to a point that the fish starts to feel stress. So you can go lower than 75 if your fish doesn't mind.
 

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BTW, lower your temp to about 75. Supposedly below 76 really slows the spread of columnaris. The colder the better, but you don't want to lower to a point that the fish starts to feel stress. So you can go lower than 75 if your fish doesn't mind.
Yes, lower temps slow the spread of bacterial diseases, but then you end up in the danger zone for ich and other parasites.
 

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I could not for the life of me figure out how I got columnaris in one of my tanks (no new fish for over a year) until I realized that I had used a net somewhere else. Now I'm paranoid and disinfect everything.
 

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I could not for the life of me figure out how I got columnaris in one of my tanks (no new fish for over a year) until I realized that I had used a net somewhere else. Now I'm paranoid and disinfect everything.
Somewhere else meaning you used it in a tank that was not one of your own?

Also keep in mind that I believe columnaris can lurk in a tank indefinitely. I've seen this mentioned more than once, but I'm not sure if it is true. I've also seen statements saying that most tank of columnaris. However, I've also seen these same statement said of ich, which is definitely not true.
 

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Potassium permanganate is good also for making net dips.
..and makes a good fish dip (bath) to help cure columaris. The recommend concetration is twice the recommend tank dosing amount, for 30 minutes (in a separate container, not the tank).

Nets are just part of the problem. You also have: aquascaping tools, gravel vacs, buckets, cups, test kit droppers, and your hands! I've pretty much decided not to worry much about it unless I know I have an illness to deal with. I do at least give things a quick rinse in hot water when going between tanks, but that's about it.
 

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Potassium permanganate is good also for making net dips.
I second this, though I'll note that it has dyed some of my nets and sponges brown or black.

..and makes a good fish dip (bath) to help cure columaris. The recommend concetration is twice the recommend tank dosing amount, for 30 minutes (in a separate container, not the tank).
I successfully cured a silver molly of columaris using this dip method. It was surprisingly effective (I had pretty much written off the infected fish). It got rid of the columaris very quickly.
 

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The dreaded flex. Did you recently kick up the heater in the tank or house? Aquamaniacs had a boom in flex cases in the spring and summer of 2005 when temps shot up, you can read about it in their disease ezine. From that article, "A Flexibacter infection will be more severe if it is due to a sudden rise in temperature and if your fish are in hard, alkaline water."

Poor water quality is usually the culprit, but in times like these, good chance for temp swings. You do not have to wait for another fish to bring it in like a parasite, it is bacterial, always waiting for it's time to shine.

If the stuff you're using doesn't work, use Kanamycin (Kanaplex) or Erythromycin (Maracyn) [correction, maracyn 2. Thnx cjp] in the water column, preferably the former. Feed living, infected fish antibiotic food (preferably treated with Kana) in a hospital tank.
 

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it seems that constant clean water is a better solution. The meds just waste my money and gives the disease more time to spread.
True about water quality. Meds can be tricky with strong, resistant bugs like this. That's why it's safer to start with a strong, proven med that hasn't been around for ages. Also, treat the full dose for the recommended time frame, no half way attempts or you can create a bigger monster. If you're going to war, bring out the big guns and have no mercy.
 

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The dreaded flex. Did you recently kick up the heater in the tank or house? Aquamaniacs had a boom in flex cases in the spring and summer of 2005 when temps shot up, you can read about it in their disease ezine. From that article, "A Flexibacter infection will be more severe if it is due to a sudden rise in temperature and if your fish are in hard, alkaline water."

Poor water quality is usually the culprit, but in times like these, good chance for temp swings. You do not have to wait for another fish to bring it in like a parasite, it is bacterial, always waiting for it's time to shine.

If the stuff you're using doesn't work, use Kanamycin (Kanaplex) or Erythromycin (Maracyn) in the water column, preferably the former. Feed living, infected fish antibiotic food (preferably treated with Kana) in a hospital tank.
From what I read, the "poor water quality" reason is somewhat misleading. Poor water quality, like many other things (including the sudden temp rise you mentioned), stresses the fish, leaving it susceptible to infection, so the reason for the onset of columnaris can be more generally described as anything that causes the fish stress or weakens it's immune system.

I was planning on using the Kanamycin / Triple Sulfa combo next if Furan-2 doesn't eliminate it. As for Maracyn, although I often seen it recommended, I also read that this may be incorrect advise. Flexibacter is gram-negative while Maracyn fights gram-positive bacteria. See the following:

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

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Yes, sorry, Maracyn 2 for gram -. I don't use them much, when I did I used both together.

When mentioning water quality and temp, it's not an all around cause description, just common factors. Yes, you can probably stress a fish into it in many ways but it's very common to happen in a few ways.
 
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