How To Disinfect A Tank With Columnaris?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Kristin919, Mar 17, 2019.

  1. Kristin919New MemberMember

    Hi, my 55 gallon tank just had a saddleback disease outbreak and all the fish died. I want to take the tank down and start from scratch meaning drain it and dry everything out and recycle the whole thing. Will just doing this get rid of the columnaris disease and stop it from coming back if I put fish back in that tank? Or do I need to disinfect it another way like with bleach/vinegar or something. Thank you!

  2. JeffsgloValued MemberMember

    Hello and welcome to Fishlore! with any disease you want to make sure you disinfect your tank and everything in it. You can use bleach, but you need to make sure it dries and evaporates completely. You then can wipe it down with vinegar or just use tap water and let it dry. You can boil the decorations in a pot of water on the stove to sterilize them. Or wipe them down with bleach then boil to make sure. You never can be too careful. :)

  3. Kristin919New MemberMember

    So my tank is a 55gallon and there’s almost no way for me to move it so i don’t know if I could rinse it out entirely since I wouldn’t be able to turn it over. Just letting the bleach dry and wiping it down with water will do the trick? Also should I buy all new sand? Or can I just boil that too?

  4. JeffsgloValued MemberMember

    Yes, you can let the bleach totally evaporate. Then wipe it down and get the residue out. You can rinse the sand in a strainer or bucket. That would be a lot of boiling. LOL. While rinsing you can put a little bleach in the water and put it in a bucket of water and bleach. Then rinse in strainer. I don't think you need new sand. Just make sure you feel comfortable with everything being clean.
  5. Kristin919New MemberMember

    Sounds good thank you! I also have driftwood in this tank, would boiling it disinfect it or is it too absorbant to the point where it will just always hold disease?
  6. JeffsgloValued MemberMember

    Yes, I think you could boil that too. Just boil and soak it. Then maybe boil again. :)
  7. AvalancheDaveWell Known MemberMember

    Columnaris is part of the normal flora of freshwater aquariums and ponds. You might be able to get rid of it in a tank but once you get new fish or plants, Columnaris will be reintroduced.
  8. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    Before you do something as drastic as killing your cycle you may want to wait and get more information on this disease.

    Unfortunately I can't help you there because I've never had to deal with this but I would want to find out if the disease lives in the tank or if it just lives on the fish.

    If you decide that it would be best to go ahead and disinfect the whole tank what I would do is add a strong solution of bleach directly to the tank. If I were doing it I would have no problem adding up to a quart (32 oz.) of bleach to a 55 gallon tank. Run your filter to pull the bleach solution through it. Stir the sand/substrate to make sure the bleach gets to all of it. This strong bleach solution should kill all living things in this tank.

    Just make sure the bleach is nothing but pure bleach. Don't use one that has had fragrances added to it to make it smell better or concentrated to thicken it up to make it spash-less.

    Once the tank has run for a couple of days most of the chlorine will have dissipated from the water but it will still be a good idea to add a very big dose of your water conditioner to the tank to neutralize any chlorine that might still be in there. After that do a couple of big water changes and the tank should be ready to restart the cycle.

    You may want to either leave the lid open if possible or remove the top if you can to allow more open air while allowing the chlorine to dissipate.

    I know a lot of folks are afraid to use bleach but I have actually use it for years and if done correctly it is perfectly safe to use.
  9. JamieLuValued MemberMember

    I just had to disinfect my 75gal which obviously I can't move either. I got advice here to use hydrogen peroxide. I poured a big bottle in a stired everythin up and vacuuming substrate a day later. I guess u don't even have to replace the water cuz it turns into water and oxygen but I drained it cuz Im gonna redecorate. But I'd trust mattgirl cuz she has alot of experience if bleach is the way u want to go!
  10. david1978Fishlore LegendMember

    To me peroxide is the way to. Even hospitals are switching over to peroxide based cleaners from chlorine based ones. Hospitals are finding its more effective against staph and mrsa. How that translates to aquarium bacteria I'm not sure yet since there hasn't been scientific studies done to compare the 2.
  11. IboughtmykidfishWell Known MemberMember

    Hello. I've had columnaris in one of my tanks, so I figured I'd share my experience. Both @AvalancheDave and @mattgirl have touched on it a little.. A little over a year ago, i bought a batch of rasboras for a freshly cycled tank. Didn't QT because there were no other fish in the tank, so i figured it didn't matter. Anyway, by day 3, all 5 were dead, and the general consensus from everyone i asked was columnaris. So after a heck ton of research i decided to let the tank sit for a couple days, and kind of experiment. I changed the water with a good gravel vac every morning, and dosed with ammonia to keep the cycle going. I went to a different store and bought some danios to add in, thinking if they all got it and died, im out like 10 bucks, no big deal. A year later, and they're all swimming around in their 55 happy as little clams. Not one died.

    From what i could gather, the theory is, columnaris does exist in the water column, as do a lot of other fishy diseases, but certain conditions make fish more prone to contracting them. Apparently columnaris prefers harder water and high temp/low oxygen environments. Fish with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to having issues as well. So disinfecting the tank may not be necessary. It wasn't in my situation, at least. I literally put no chemicals in (except the ammonia) and it turned out well for me.

    That being said, if you feel like you must disinfect the tank, by all means, do it. I guess its just a matter if your willing to take a gamble. Im lazy, lol, and didn't feel like a whole tank take down. I would suggest doing your own research on the disease, in general, and going from there. Good luck!
  12. AvalancheDaveWell Known MemberMember

  13. angelcrazeWell Known MemberMember

    Here's some good columnaris info
    It can get pretty complicated. Looks like there is 4 different strains. The bacteria responsible for it lives mostly in the substrate mulm.

    If it was me, I would disinfect with hydrogen peroxide. Just dump in a bottle of peroxide and let the filter run for 1-2 days. Drain and restart. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down into water and pure oxygen, much safer imo. You could boil the filter media.

    I always QT new fish ;)
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice