Columnaris w clean tank?

  • #1

What is the water volume of the tank? 25gallons (accounting for substrate and rocks. 29gallon tank)
How long has the tank been running? 20 years total with fish. 1 year with these fish
Does it have a filter? HOB Penguin 350
Does it have a heater? No
What is the water temperature? 78F
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
3 endlers
2 neon tetras
1 green cory
4 panda cory
1 nerite

How often do you change the water? usually 2 weeks, currently every 4 weeks (see below)
How much of the water do you change? 20-30%
What do you use to treat your water? Prime, stresszyme
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? vacuum, gentle siphoning (so as not to stir up too much and upset the corys)

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? yes.
What do you use to test the water? API Master test kit (liquid)
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 5ppm
pH: 8.0 - 8.2

How often do you feed your fish? once a day at most, sometimes every other day
How much do you feed your fish? 3-4 small sinking pellets for corys, pinch of small pellets for neons/endlers
What brand of food do you feed your fish? API Bottom feeder pellets, New Life Spectrum Thera A 1mm pellets
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? no

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 8 months
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? Maybe a week ago? One fish died last week, current sickest fish displayed symptoms today/yesterday
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Green cory - dark coloration, missing top (dorsal) fin, damage to caudal fin, grey/patchy appearance to midsection, twitchy behavior, rapid breathing. Panda cory - lethargic but no physical damage or visible signs of distress.
Have you started any treatment for the illness? Kanaplex today
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? Darker coloration and above symptoms

Explain your emergency situation in detail.
Basically - fish keep dying and at this point, I don't know why.

Ya'll. I am so stressed out with these fish right now. This is a long post, but I figure the more info the better right? I DEEPLY appreciate whoever has the patience to read this all. I'll try to keep it clear.

Here's the details:

Tank size: 29 gallons
Substrate: Black sand
Plants/decor: mopani wood driftwood, fake (resin) cave, java fern, anacharis
Tank age/cycle: 20 years. I've had fish in it consistently for the 20 years, even across moves.
Filter: HOB Marineland Penguin 350 w/ 2 filter catridges changed monthly
Tank parameters: (consistent)
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 5ppm
pH: 8.0 -8.2 <- I suspect this is the problem
Temp: 78F

Water changes/substrate siphon: 20-30% typically every 2 weeks, but recently every 4(explained)
Because of the sand, and the corys I siphon the sand very gently, mostly just hovering the mouth of the siphon over the top of the sand. I use the python vacuum.

The current situation:

A month ago I lost 2 cherry shrimp, and one snail. I can't find any of the other cherry shrimp at all. The black platy showed some signs of damage or possible pineconing of scales at top. Moved him to hospital tank. Treated with antibiotics for dropsy. Scales get better but not 100% I keep him in the hospital tank by himself.
A week ago I lost one of the green corys. He seemed ok physically, but was very darkly colored, and top fin was clamped.
Today, I have a very lethargic little panda cory (he's VERY small) which I thought was dead (not yet but probably close) and my remaining green cory does not look good.
The green cory is very dark, with patchy looking scales(probably slimecoat), rapid breathing and I THOUGHT clamped top fin. Closer inspection reveals NO top fin and a greatly reduced tail fin.
The panda cory is completely intact and looks physically fine.

All other fish
3 endlers
2 neon tetras
3 panda corys
Look and behave normally, with good appetite and movement.

I'm at a loss here. The best I can figure is this:
We have hard water. I've not tested GH/KH (test kit on the way) but it's high in calcium at least, and pH out of tap is 8.0 To combat this, I've been topping off evap with distilled water, and doing 50% distilled, 50% tap when doing 20-30% water changes. Once we resolved the above mentioned issues, it seemed to work out ok. pH was usually 7.8 but would creep up to 7.9 if I did a water change late. But since March, I haven't been able to get to the store to get distilled water and had to ration out what I did have. As a result
I was topping off evap less frequently to conserve the distilled water, and did water changes less frequently- every 4 weeks. Not optimal, I know, but every time I tested water, my parameters were as above: ammonia 0, N02 0, N03 5ppm. So from a waste/bioload perspective, the tank was ok with 4 weeks. But pH was starting to climb. Where it used to be 7.9/8.0 the day of a water change now it was 8.2.

While the other water parameters are fine, the pH is a problem. I suspect the fact that it's already a bit high for some of the species, along with it's rise is causing stress which in turn is opening up some fish(the green corys and platy) to columnaris or??? I don't know what explains the panda cory.
I do wonder if the endlers(which are all male) are also causing some stress, as they like to chase each other, but they don't usually seem to bother the corys. I do know they would pick on the platy.

I've moved the panda cory to the hospital tank, but I have no idea what to do to treat him. I wanted to move the green cory but he moves surprisingly fast for a fish missing fins and I think right now catching him may be more stressful.

I know that fish keeping is about patience, and I know I made some mistakes, but I am so tired of having fish die.

PS- Note! We just bought a home water distiller, so access to distilled water is now no longer a problem.

PPS- I'm really thinking it's columnaris, esepcially since a neon had it some months ago. I moved the neon to hospital tank at that time and successfully treated him. No one else showed signs until now.
I dosed both the 30gallon and the hospital tank with kanaplex and am waiting for furan2to arrive.
  • Thread Starter
  • #2
Edited post to include template
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
I shorted my post to be a bit more concise. I can include the full tank history if someone feels it may be helpful. I've been trying to a community tank for the past 8 months, with little success after keeping cichlids for decades.
I'm pretty sure it's columnaris but I'd sure love to get some additional perspectives.
  • #4
calamanarus can happen at any time it mostly happens in dirty tanks but can happen in even the cleanest tanks that's why I keep my water temp at 24 and use an indian almond leaf in all my tanks I have had this happen to me befor years ago that's why I now keep my water temps at 24 and use the leaves in my tanks and its never happened again fingers crossed
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Yeah it's columnarius. Treating with kanaplex and furan 2 is working. I've never dealt with it prior it to now so I wasn't 100% sure.
I managed to go 20 years without it.

Similar Aquarium Threads



Top Bottom