Is this Ich, Columnaris or both??

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by MrsMorocco2010, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. MrsMorocco2010 Valued Member Member

    I have a sick platy that I think may have gotten some other fish sick. A few of the fish have been rubbing themselves against the substrate and decor. I turned up the temp to 86F and have cleaned 1/3 of the rocks and did partial water change (maybe 20%). Also added an air line.I'm trying to follow the natural ick cure.

    Tank is 29G.

    5 Black Skirt Tetras
    6 Guppies (some babies in the breeder net)
    4 Sunset Platys
    3 Clown Loaches
    1 Pleco
    1 Snail

    I'd planned on moving some fish into other aquariums this weekend, but wanted to wait for this problem to be solved before possibly contaminating other tanks.

    The platy that is sick has some fin loss on 1 side, whitish color towards the tail and some white spots (some of which have fallen off). I just noticed the cottonmouth thing yesterday. I'm assuming she has ick because of the spots and other fish rubbing themselves, although I don't see any spots on any other fish or the loaches. Then when I noticed her mouth kinda swollen I thought it might be a side effect of Columnaris. Could this possibly be a secondary infection?

    I'd say half the time her fins are clamped and the other half she's swimming around with them up. She is eating normally and hanging around the top and bottom of the tank. I don't know if I should move this fish to a solitary tank and treat medically or finish the natural ick cure and then see? If it is Columnaris or another disease, could the water temp progress this disease? I'm so confused on what to do.

    fish.jpg fish2.jpg fish3.jpg

    I tested the water today.
    pH: 8.0
    Ammonia: .10ppm
    Nitrite: 0ppm
    Nitrate 40ppm

    Last week I had the water tested at a LFS and the readings were:
    pH: 8.0
    Ammonia: 0ppm
    Nitrite: 0ppm
    Nitrate: 10ppm

    I don't know how the readings could have fluctuated so much within a few days. I don't know what their testing methods were, but I did the API test kit.

  2. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    If it is Ich, it will look like the fish has been sprinled with salt. From your description, it sounds more like a fungus. You might want to try treating with Maracyn I or Maracyn II (I forget which is the correct Maracyn for fungus, but the package will tell you).

    Also, I believe elevated temperatures will actually make a fungus worse. So if the fish do not have Ich, you may want to slowly lower it to it's normal temperature.

    But you are in a bit of a Catch 22. Since you have elevated ammonia, you should be doing water changes, but when medicating a tank, you can't do water changes. But your ammonia is low enough that I would just do a water change before treating then wait out the meds.

    Good luck!

  3. steve_58 Valued Member Member

    I see u have 3 clown loachs listed. I'd be more concerned with those. Loaches can be touchy when it comes to using meds. I had an ick outbreak in my 90 g which has clown loaches and i added air stone ,increased temp to 85 degrees and vacumed gravel and changed a third of water every other day. I also run a magnum 350 filter so i put micron filter in it and and also put an aqua clear power head in tank with the filter attachment on it. Both the micron filter and aquaclear powerhead filter is capable of filtering alot of the ick from the water.

  4. steve_58 Valued Member Member

    Just wanted to add that i also added aquarium salt at the rate of 1 tablespoon for each 10 gallon of water.

  5. Reefdweller Valued Member Member

    I can not tell from the picture if it is ich so I am thinking it is more of a fungus of some sort from your explaination. Ich is a parasite that attaches to the body of the fish and it is true that raised temperature can cause a fungus to get worse. If there is a way to get a closer picture of the fish it would be helpful.

  6. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    One other thing, Clown Loaches get much to large for a 29 Gallon tank. I think they require 75 gallons minimum.
  7. MrsMorocco2010 Valued Member Member

    I'm cycling a 46G for the clown loaches to move to as soon as it's fully cycled. Probably another month until they are there. Then I'm going to buy a huge aquarium for them. The loaches were a surprise as the pet store sold them to us and gave us wrong info so I'm in the process of upgrading everything to fit their needs. I figured it may be ick since some of the other fish are scratching on the rocks.

    Should I quarantine the one fish in a quarantine tank and do meds or give it a few more days with elevated temps to see what happens?
  8. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    I don't know that Ich causes the fish to start flashing (i.e. scrating themselves). But Velvet disease will cause them to flash. Like I said, unless the fish looks like it has salt sprimkled over it's entire body, it isn't Ich. It really sounds more like colomnaris/fungus to me.

    If it is Ich, then there is no use quarentining, since Ich infects the entire tank. But for columnaris/fungus you would be better off quarentining and treating.

    One thing you have going for you with the clown loaches, they are very slow growers, so that buys you some time before you need the huge tank.
  9. JoannaB Well Known Member Member

    If it is Columnaris, that is a bacterial disease, and bacteria thrive more in higher heat. On the other hand Columnaris kills fast, so if your fish are not dying fast, then it likely is not Columnaris.
  10. MrsMorocco2010 Valued Member Member

    The fish isn't having any other signs except the swollen bottom lip. All the white dots have since fallen off. I took a look at the clown loaches today (got them out with a piece of cucumber) and one of them has 4-5 white dots on his tail, but nowhere else. I think I'll finish the quarantine of this tank for possible ick, and if the fish is still infected, I'll move it to a 10g and do treatment with chemicals. All the fish seem to be doing ok with this higher temperature.

    How would I treat velvet with loaches?

    Well, I took a closer look at the fish and saw that it's swollen lip has actually been deteriorating. I moved it to the 10G hospital tank and added Melafix to hopefully get rid of whatever is causing that. I can't tell if it's fungal or bacterial...I'll keep up with the Ick treatment in the other tank just in case.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  11. JoannaB Well Known Member Member

    Melafix is not a strong medication. It is perhaps effective as a preventative or for mild cases, but if you have an acute illness you probably need to use stronger meds. However, since loaches are more sensitive to medication, perhaps you can separate the other fish from them and treat non-sensitive fish. The options include Maroxy (aka Maracyn Oxy) for example if it is fungal. Or a combination of Maracyn and Maracyn 2 if it is bacterial. If it is Velvet, I don't know how to treat that yet, but Velvet is a parasite just like Ich is, but I believe much harder to treat. Hopefully someone more experienced than me will give you even better advice. Good luck! PS: from what I read Velvet may be hard to diagnose, but it is important to treat it early to have a better chance of treating it if it is velvet.
  12. steve_58 Valued Member Member

    Fish will scrape or flash or rub against things if they have ick. Since the ick parasites are so small we really can't see them when they first attach to fish but the fish feels the irritation and i think its like when we get an itch. The ick attaches to fish and grows. Once it attaches and forms the little cysts or salt like spots nothing will kill it.once the little cyst type spots burst open and releases the thousands of newly hatched little parasites meds or salt can kill it. It needs to be killed or illiminated while its free swimming.higher temps help speed the cycle it goes thru. Water changes and vacuming gravel will help rid tank of can also attach in the gills where its not visible on the fish.
  13. MrsMorocco2010 Valued Member Member

    I'm very hesitant to add salt because everything I've read says salt isn't good for clown loaches.

    I've taken a look at some other fish in the tank, and a few others have a FEW white spots on their tails only. One Clown Loach has about 7-10 spots, on 1 fin and mostly tail. All of the fish seem to be swimming around happily at the moment and eating fine. I haven't seen any flashing today so I'll continue with the elevated temperature, water changes and gravel vacuuming.

    I'll definitely be quarantining any new fish from now on.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  14. steve_58 Valued Member Member

    Sure sounds like ick to me. Keep the temp elevated and do water changes and vacuming gravel for at least a week after u no longer see it on fish. I know theres lots of people and posts that say salt is a no-no with loaches but have personally used it in lower amounts with my loaches and bn plecos with no problems. However i won't say whether its ok or not ok. I have personally also used Cure-All with loaches but as with salt i won't say it's ok or not. With meds and salt i think alot has to do with the condition and health of fish when either is used. The weaker the fish the harder they can and will be on them.
  15. MrsMorocco2010 Valued Member Member

    Ok this must be ich. I checked 2 of the loaches again and they have a lot of white spots. It's weird because I didn't see any spots on the other loaches until now. Is it possible that with the elevated heat, the life cycle of the ich is speeding up and therefore visible? I would like to add salt to make sure they heal beacuse I'm on day 3 and it looks like it's getting worse. I've used a copper treatment with the 1 platy in the quarantine tank, but I just can't bring myself to even try copper or salt with the loaches.

    As far as continuing with the natural cure, I've been cleaning the tank more and more around the gravel and really trying to keep clean water conditions.
  16. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    I would not use salt with clown loaches. They are a scaleless fish, and salt will actually burn their skin.
  17. flyinggogo Valued Member Member

    I agree it sounds like ich, i say stay the course with the natural treatment, however i must warn you my info would be second hand or off the interwebs. I have never had to deal with ich, but if i remember right, its when you cant see the white spots that it is contagious to other fish, so even when you think your outta the woods, you might still have contagious fish and should keep on treating as advised.
  18. steve_58 Valued Member Member

    Yep. When u can't see it is when its contagious. Thats also when in can be killed off and removed from tank with vacuming and water changes.think of the litte spots as cacoons. When white spots disappear it means each little spot has opened up and released thousands more of the little creatures into the water.Ick can only be taken care of before it attaches to fish or after it actually starts feeding of fishes slime coat as soon as it attaches to fish.
  19. MrsMorocco2010 Valued Member Member

    I've been changing the water/vacuuming every 3 days. The past 2 water changes I've added 1tbs per 10g. All the fish have been doing well. I lost 1 platy in QT trying a copper med. I had another platy that would keep it's fin down and not school with the other 2 platys in the tank. Since adding the salt and water changes, the platy has made a huge recovery. The loaches are also more lively. They are flashing so I'm hoping the cysts fall off soon and that the salt will kill the ICH in addition to higher temps. I plan on doing the natural cure for as long as possible, but if the spots keep coming back to the loaches, then I'll do Rid-Ich.