I Might Give Up...is This Columnaris Help

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by Jenoli42, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. Jenoli42Well Known MemberMember

    Team. Please help.

    Established fantasy bowfront tank. Weekly 25-30% pwcs. parameters:

    (ps: the .05 ammonia reading on 3 june is my way of saying "did I see slight green tinge or is the lighting bad" ... likely lighting as this tank is solid. next day was dead zero but didn't record.)

    Had an EBJD who died mysteriously 10 days ago. can post thread link if you want.

    noticed what i assumed were nipped fins in a few sterbai about 5 weeks ago. assumed it was our EBJD. decided to wait a few weeks to see if I needed to rehome after EBJD died. fins for most seemed to get better. . but now I fear they've had early signs of columnaris not nipped fins?? other theory is the EBJD was picking on the sterbai & that stressed it out & columnaris set in.

    smallest sterbai was acting odd today. I caught it & it's in a breeding net.

    it has cottony fungus like growth on one side of its mouth and the tip of one of its bottom side fins. possibly also fin on its back.

    also noticed another sterbai with pale patch on side of its head but can't get a photo.

    7x sterbai
    15x Odessa Barbs
    1x firemouth
    4x mystery snails
    4x sucker fish

    now I can't tell if *everyone* is exhibiting flashing. they do that to flick up food but i reckon I'm seeing it when i shouldn't.

    but i can say they haven't been eating the jbl novo tabs the last 3 nights. they're eating frozen meat but this is odd behavior. definitely lower appetite but they all look for food and do eat some. some to most are eating normally?

    colour other than patches on 2 sterbai seems fine & normal.

    I would love to know what people think is going on. and then how i should treat and if i should treat the whole tank.

    I don't have an available QT at the moment - they are both full of fish waiting to be stocked into our other tank. because we always do 3-5 week QT periods before adding new fish.

    thank you in advance.

    pps: also. this morning I know for a fact I was rushing and FORGOT TO WASH MY HANDS AFTER FEEDING THIS TANK BEFORE PUTTING MY HANDS INTO OUR QT TO FEED THOSE FISH. #FacePalm *crying emoji*

    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  2. Five 97Well Known MemberMember

    Sorry for your loss! The cottony growth on the Sterbai may indicate that this is one of the slower-moving strains of the disease. This is a great sticky by @CindiL on the treatment of Columnaris: Columnaris Symptoms And Treatment.

    Please don't give up!

  3. bitseriouslyWell Known MemberMember

    Ack. Rotten.
    I'll refrain from any diagnosis theories, it's generally over my head. But following, with fingers crossed.
    I would say that IMO it's not the outcome for this one (first) fish that really matters here, but what happens with the others. If you can, start bumping up your water quality regime. I see your parameters, they look golden, but fresh clean water is king in preventing anything from getting the upper hand. Yup, that means more work. :(

  4. Jenoli42Well Known MemberMember

    thank you. I've ready that sticky several times in the past and quickly realised our water is an ideal candidate for this disease.our water is oxygenated & regularly maintained. that's why we're so careful & why I suspect it.

    I don't want to treat until I'm pretty sure or at least someone else says they're pretty sure because the treatments are harsh.

    if this killed haki, he had no other symptoms other than swimming erratically... which we thought were seizures. hmmmm. ps: here's the link to the haki thread Help - Please, Our Haki (ebjd) Seems To Be Having Seizures! :(


    so the reason I think we've got it is because the top three symptoms match. cottony lesion near mouth. white spot on fin tip. white cottony lesion on fin tip. ragged fins.

    that's on one Cory cat.

    on the other there's a pale spot on the head. again, matches.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  5. Jenoli42Well Known MemberMember

    thank you. with our two daughters' sports and salaried jobs to be quite frank, we cannot increase tank maintenance time. hence we are considering giving up.

    we know our limits. we invested hundreds of hours setting up our two main tanks & 2 x QTs (and our turtle tank). that was on the basis of reasonable but limited time once they were cycled & established to maintain & enjoy.

    more time/work is simply not an option... we both just got promoted at work, too.

    I suspect the source could be our rainwater system which is not a closed or treated system...?
  6. bitseriouslyWell Known MemberMember

    Can I suggest a measured wait and see approach instead of giving up?
    We went thru a lot of the same things together, with sterbais and rummies back in early March. From all those fish in my quarantine tank of death, all that survived are 3 rummies. They won the lottery, if u want to look at it that way. They remain healthy, now they’re in a rather understocked tank that looks nothing like what I envisioned or dreamed when I was setting the tank up. I fought hard against this outcome, but now that it’s what I have... I LOVE IT!! :) Less maintenance, no dying fish, no endless trips to lfs for more or new meds.
    Look for the silver linings, my friend.
  7. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    I am not ignoring this .... I am just at a loss for words :(

    I do agree with @bitseriously though about the just wait and see. It is possible that this is a passing thing. Some may be lost but hopefully the strong will survive.

    No one cold have done more than you have to assure a healthy environment for their fish.

    Not exactly the same thing but a month or so ago I saw what looked to be a bit of fuzz on one of my LF Black skirt tetras tail fin. The second day it seemed to be a bit bigger. By the 3rd day I was getting more concerned. On the 4th day it was gone. I've not seen it since and never saw it on any of the other fish. Sometimes wait and see is the right thing to do.
  8. Jenoli42Well Known MemberMember

    Dear @bitseriously & @mattgirl

    you two are champions. I'm rallying because maybe it's confined to the sterbai??? somehow I doubt that tho. .

    I bought API Furan-2.

    came home tonight. sterbai still alive. within an hour, on its side barely breathing. I just euthanized with Clove oil.

    the barbells under its chin are *gone* ... disintegrated.

    the "cotton" had spread entirely across it's mouth. it's disturbing. sorry for the images...

    this little guy was my fave... look at his poor fins!!!

    team! I need to know if I should treat the whole tank?

    we have another cory showing the first pale patches... otherwise the only symptom of all fish is decreased appetite & maybe flashing?

    Furan 2 can inhibit or kill our cycle & we're going away for a week for work the week after next. furan 2 can also kill fish.

    columnaris can kill fish too.

    do i wait to treat until we're back & risk one by one die offs?


    treat now & hope the parameters don't kill everyone while we're gone for a week?

    ps: other main tank & 2xQT tanks seem fine atm btw

    I will be honest. I may have over feed by 25% & I did occasionally get slack about rising or disinfecting between tanks. so I'm not perfect but i did try really hard. thank you tho. <3
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2018
  9. coralbanditWell Known MemberMember

    That is columnaris 99%.
    Does anyone here use potassium permanganate ?
    It was the only thing I can say might have really worked for me years ago when I had columnaris in a swordtail tank...
    The use of antibiotics is hit and miss IMO since most only offer one dose.
    Can't really think of any application where antibiotics do anything [good] in 5 day treatments?
    If you continue with the furan 2 plan on doing 2 rounds of treatment.
  10. scarfaceFishlore VIPMember

    It sucks that this is happening, as I know you spent a lot of time creating all this. I’m of no help, but others got you. I wish you the best of luck, and try not to quit.
  11. bitseriouslyWell Known MemberMember

    Couple things...
    This poor fish appears to have signs of possible multiple infections (is that vague enough?). The fins look like fin rot, the mouth looks like columnaris (agree with coralbandit on that one, but it's a gestalt opinion, not professional-grade), and the pelvic fin tips look like physical injury with secondary infection.
    These point to one or both of a couple of issues. This particular fish is just not healthy to start, and so got sick with everything under the sun; and/or there's something about your system that is stressing fish, predisposing them to infection. How this progresses (or doesn't) through your tank will clarify which of these is likely.
    Thought: Since this appears to have started around its mouth, have you looked at barbel issues? What's your substrate? Any sharps? ***Check the rest of the cories to see how their barbels look***.
    If you can get kanamycin (kanaplex), when used with Furan-2 it apparently provides a good synergistic treatment effect against columnaris. I know NZ is like canada, where antibiotics are more controlled than US, but once I started looking I was surprised at how much success I had getting various fish meds here, mostly from the mainly-online retailers.
    The planned absence is tough. This might be a case 'que sera, sera', and what livestock you have after you get back will be where you pick up from. It's really harsh-sounding, but think of how much mental anguish and sweat-equity you'll save between now and then.
  12. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    Does anyone here think maybe a salt treatment to the whole tank may be a good idea. Salt has been used in the aquarium trade for longer than I have been around and folks have had good luck with keeping healthy tanks by adding it.

    I know it has been said that it is outdated and no longer necessary but just about every living thing on earth needs some form of salt in their diet. Our fish are no different. I know freshwater fish don't naturally have it in their water but maybe there are other minerals that substitute for it.

    I am wondering if maybe your rainwater is missing some necessary minerals. Most of the tap water in the US has trace minerals in it. I can only assume that the rainwater doesn't and since most of us don't know what those trace minerals are it would be difficult to add them.

    If I were in your shoes before I added medications I would do the salt first. I wouldn't do it as strong as the package recommends because you have cory's but you can add it and then go on your vacation. Let it do its thing while you are gone and as @bitseriously said, you won't be there to stress over them.

    If when you get back you found it has helped or not you can slowly start removing the salt with your weekly water changes and then start the other medications if necessary.
  13. bitseriouslyWell Known MemberMember

    If using a milder dose of salt (quarter or half of recommended?), @mattgirl 's approach is simple, low risk, inexpensive, and sensible. I think the greatest risk is that it might not work.
    I'm also starting to second guess my fin rot comment. Other than the fuzzy tips on the pelvic fins, were the pectoral, dorsal and caudal fins ragged before it died? Or did the fins only get that ragged look after it died (I know the fins are the first to get picked by my shrimps whenever I lose one). This brings me back to substrate. The fuzzy tips on the pelvics AND the infected mouth could both come from substrate sharps. So if you're seeing no other signs of disease, esp in the non-benthics, maybe the mouth and pelvic fin issues are actually secondary.
    Maybe. :(
  14. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    Thank you for confirming that salt shouldn't hurt and could possibly help in this case. You are correct, it might not work but in this case I think it is worth trying before adding medications that also may not work and could possibly even kill the cycle. At least it shouldn't affect the bacteria.
  15. WraithenWell Known MemberMember

    I had a mystery disease battle with sterbai for months. I treated with everything I could think of. The only thing that seemed to help was 90 degree water, and that just slowed it down. I finally got fed up and culled any cory that didnt look pristine. That left me with 1 sterbai so I took him to the lfs after making sure it didnt get sick. Nothing else in my tank got infected. Sterbai seem to be susceptible to cottony growth that easily spreads to other cories but not anything else. Yours looks different from my disease. Good luck either way. I've since given up on cories and changed to kuhlis. Zero problems from those guys other than an occasional injury that heals on its own.
  16. bitseriouslyWell Known MemberMember

    I'm not so much confirming, as agreeing that it's probably okay, based on what I've read, in this situation, and at a reduced dosage. I have zero personal experience with salt, except short-term baths for betta and endlers.
  17. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    Good point. Agree to some points is a better word :) In my humble opinion in certain circumstances salt can be beneficial. It may not help at all here but I feel very sure that it won't hurt and could possibly help. When one thinks about it that is about the same thing we can say about most of the medications available to us except some medications can hurt.
  18. WraithenWell Known MemberMember

    I did a salt dip and a salt treatment on the tank. The dip was normal dosage, the tank got half normal. My plants weren't happy about it but eventually recovered. The sterbai seemed no worse for wear from it.
  19. Jenoli42Well Known MemberMember

    the fins were ragged before it died. at least the top ones were. that's why we suspected the EBJD.

    our substrate is fine silica sand & supert smooth black gravel.

    but our home made insert is fake coral with some sharp edges. the Cories occasionally swim up around it?

    this little guy was the smallest so it's possible it was picked on?

    I was considering kuhlis because we have them in our other tank tbh. 2/6 sterbai left have ragged fins. if they're the only species affected, that may be our next step... thank you for your reply :)

    I've got salt & happy to use it. I use equilibrium to balance the minerals... we made sure our gH was over 5º specifically to avoid columnaris. I keep this tank between 6º-15º and my goal is 7-8º.

    I know you're not an expert on this disease but do you think equilibrium should infuse the tank with the right minerals? that's why i use it but I'm totally guided by experiences of others...

    according to my lfs I can't get anything other than furan-2 without a prescription and I cant get that locally. but I'll look online... although the salt idea is tempting.

    I really hope you're right about secondary infections. .. I know that sounds horrid but i reckon it's better than columnaris
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2018
  20. scarfaceFishlore VIPMember


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