Columnaris in Betta - No Meds?


Hi, all,

Is there a way to treat columnaris in bettas without meds? I've been doing salt dips and recently added aquarium salt to my tank for my betta who I let (likely) columnaris go for too long (probably from his filter that I also let go too long without a good clean). Long story short, he's clumsy and a tail biter, so I thought he bumped his mouth on something and I ignore the welt on his lip. I started doing salt baths dips when a white spot showed up on his back a few weeks ago. He started avoiding the net, so I added salt to the tank last weekend and cleaned his filter when I realized this may have been a problem. I've got alder cones (my favorite botanical) on the way in the mail. It's helping, but is working slowly.

It's not an emergency, because his behavior is normal and he can eat just fine in the meantime. I'm trying to avoid meds, if possible, since he's already got a compromised immune system due to his constant need to heal his tail and because of the nerite he has in the tank. Is there anything else you suggest aside from water changes every few days and salt? Any meds I can do a dip of instead of adding to the tank (in the event that I can actually net him again)?



I use a Betta Cup to get bettas out of water, no need to use a net. It makes them panic.

they cannot see the clear cup and they were already de-sensitized to it for shipping, so win/win

in regards to meds/no meds

you can try natural holistic, but Columnaris is everywhere.

I have used Dr Tim's fish vitamins:

First Defense Fish Stress Relief​

First Defense contains a mixture of vitamins and immunostimulants that work together to help fish and other aquatic organisms adapt and cope when introduced to new environments and stress that can occur with poor water quality conditions.
  • Reduces stress
  • Promotes healing
  • Repairs wounds
  • Fights disease

First Defense also neutralizes chlorine and chloramine, buffers against pH changes and detoxifies heavy metals. First Defense should be used when doing partial water changes, during disease treatments and when fish are showing signs of stress.
for Bettas who had issues liek weak tail fins and

I have used Microlift Artemiss :

Provides a chemical-free treatment effective against bacterial diseases including Bacterial dropsy, Fungus, Milky skin, Fin/tail rot, Bulging eyes, Ulcers, .

it may help as a buffer to the infection, boost immune system

re: aquarium salt to my tank

Not a fan of this. it's a crutch - JMO, salt only leaves tank if you remove it and it can build up overtime.

if you are worried, do a 50 % water change and clean the tank - like wash down lids, wipe interior of tank with paper towel , rinse decor, etc.

I keep bottled bacteria on hand because tanks can go sideways fast and you may at times need to clean the filter out. I add it when doing big water changes just as a buffer because I've disturbed their eco system.


Thanks! Is that all safe for inverts?

Rose of Sharon

So sorry about your betta!!!

If you can pick up some methylene blue, you can use it in a bath. It's been around for ages, and has been used for a columnaris treatment. Usually some sort of med that contains nitrofurazone is also recommended.

You can do a 30 minute bath using temp matched tank water - 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons - double the dose, which is safe. If you do decide to use this, you will need a container that can be disposed of, as the methylene blue will stain it blue. You would want to be careful as the product will stain anything that it comes in contact with.

I've used this for my bettas when they have fin issues, but methylene blue has a lot of uses. And fish usually tolerate it pretty well. You can buy it at Wal-Mart, so easy to find and inexpensive, too.

Hope this helps! :)


One of my fellow instagram aquarists helped identify it as lymphocystis. Looks like clean water and time is all it's gonna take for this one. Thanks for your help!


Yay just woke up to my thick lipped gourami in a different tank with a weird white protrusion today now. Do you think this is ALSO lymphocystis or something else?


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Update: Alder cones and low light have worked their magic again. My betta is doing much better. He can almost close his mouth again. After My gourami's lymphocystic flared to the cauliflower-looking appearance, she knocked it off, and it has healed perfectly ever since. I'm so glad this was NOT columnaris and that no meds were needed to remedy this. I'm also glad my fish were just as happy as ever during the recovery process.

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