Fish Died Of Columnaris. Now What?

Discussion in 'Advanced Freshwater Aquarium Topics' started by pgw2000, Apr 22, 2017.

  1. pgw2000

    pgw2000New MemberMember

    I have had a platys die from columnaris and I did not realize that she was infected until it was too late. Since she died, should I treat the tank with some antibiotic to ensure that I wont have a huge outbreak of this? Or will treating the fish if they are actually healthy hurt them? I did a 25% water change right after the fish died to ensure good water conditions. I have 13 other fish in my 40 gallon tank.
  2. Lindsay83

    Lindsay83Valued MemberMember

    If there are no other fish showing signs of infection, I'd keep the tank in quarantine status for a month or so, just to make sure. That means NO new fish, inverts or plants for a month.

    And quarantine any new fish you do get in a separate tank for at least a month.

    Treating the fish with ABs when there's no clear sign of infection just leads to bacteria strain resistance IMHO.

    Columnaris is usually contagious, so I'm surprised other fish aren't showing signs of disease.
  3. smee82

    smee82Fishlore VIPMember

    If it definitely was columnaris i would treat the whole tank as it is highly contagious and dearly
  4. OP

    pgw2000New MemberMember

    I have something called melafix that is supposed to help with common bacterial fish infections. Would I be able to use this? I have also read that salt helps clear the disease but I dont want to add too much and kill the fish...
  5. smee82

    smee82Fishlore VIPMember

    Im not 100% sure but i dont think melafix works very well for columnaris. Something about being a different type of gram negative bacteria.
  6. Lindsay83

    Lindsay83Valued MemberMember

    That's why I'm not convinced it is Columnaris. You'd expect to see signs of infection in other fish before now.

    Melafix is for topical infection. It's not going to go anywhere near a systemic infection like Columnaris.
  7. AvalancheDave

    AvalancheDaveWell Known MemberMember

    Columanris exists in all freshwater so it's futile to try to get rid of it. It's usually not a problem until a fish is subject to some kind of stress. Shipping fish typically subjects fish to many different stresses so it's not unusual for new fish to develop Columanris and for the existing fish to be fine.

    Some stressors such as poor water quality affect all the fish so multiple fish can develop infections, giving the appearance of contagion.
  8. Redshark1

    Redshark1Fishlore VIPMember

    The problem we have in our hobby is that although this bacterium is always present in the environment there is an Asian strain which is more virulent.

    This comes from the Asian fish farms and is imported along with our fish.

    I'm not a fan of medications and believe they cause more problems than they cure but I am aware that some hobbyists have used Potassium permanganate and also antibiotics to treat their water. These are also used on fish farms.

    However, I suspect that if it is inside the fish already there is little that can be done.

    I am treating my fish by trying to make conditions as favourable as possible.
  9. DoubleDutch

    DoubleDutchFishlore LegendMember

    As mentioned. Taking away stressfactors is more effctive than treating with antibiotics.
    Clean water, no overstocking, good filtrage, vatriaty in food, etc...
  10. OP

    pgw2000New MemberMember

    Heres a picture of the dead fish. The stomach is completely eaten away and the white that is in the stomach also shows in the gills and head area. I did add new fish recently, but this was one of my original ones that I have had for a year now. Any possible suggestions of how I could treat my tank to ensure that the rest of my fish are healthy would be highly appreciated!
  11. DoubleDutch

    DoubleDutchFishlore LegendMember

    Terrible. I don't think columnaris would eat a part of the stomach.
    There could be several other bacteria involved in my opinion.
    As mentioned by the others lot of bacteria are present in tanks and only get nasty when the "right" circumstances occure.
    Preventiontreatment is quite hard and useless cause of that.
    Besides of that : beneficial bacteria will be killed as well.
  12. Redshark1

    Redshark1Fishlore VIPMember

    Yes, although identification of Columnaris only requires a magnification of x400 to x800 there are several difficulties.

    Once Columnaris kills living tissue many other bacteria types jump in and help themselves to the feast. It is difficult to isolate the Columnaris when it is mixed with other bacteria.

    Also, even though Columnaris, once isolated, can be identified under a normal microscope, identification of the strain of Columnaris present is way beyond the hobbyist. This is because it requires the study of enzymes within the bacterial cell.
  13. OP

    pgw2000New MemberMember

    So there is nothing that I can do to help my other fish from catching this disease/dying then?
  14. Redshark1

    Redshark1Fishlore VIPMember

    What you can do is provide perfect conditions for your fish to give their natural immunity the best chance.

    And take the good advice given by Lyndsay83 in the first reply.

    That is what I attempt to do.

    However, small fish can die of many ailments. Any malfunction in such a small animal can lead to death and the body can deteriorate and resemble one of any number of diseases even when this is not the cause of death.

    We don't know for sure what disease you are dealing with but we suspect the Asian Columnaris strain because you mentioned Columnaris and because this has been identified as the main cause of disease reported by retailers in several scientific studies.

    We do not know the exact conditions in which the Asian Columnaris strain becomes lethal and untreatable but Columnaris is normally an opportunistic pathogen, attacking the weak and stressed fish.

    Even the scientists do not understand how Columnaris attacks fish.

    Stressful conditions in fish farms where the disease originated probably include overcrowding, non-removal of infected fish, poor quality food, low oxygen levels, poor water quality and other economic considerations.

    Conditions in retailers tanks where the disease thrives certainly include overcrowding. Fish are also likely to be stressed by transport and by having to face a new set of water parameters different from the fish farms where the fish came from. One independent retailer has reported losing 50 Neon Tetras a day at his shop.

    Because so many things are unknown there is no right and wrong advice only advice based on things that seem reasonable. Therefore the best course of action is arguable. But I have given my approach at the top of this post and hope the discussion is helpful.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017