Sick Platy (Columnaris?); Salt Bath?

Daniel Margaritas

I brought four platies home from the pet store yesterday and put them in my quarantine tank (5.5 gallons with a mature sponge filter and some loose plants). They appeared fine and were active and lively, but I noticed today one of them has slowed down and has some white, fuzzy-looking growth around her mouth. I did a 10% water change immediately and, after a quick search, it seems like it's columnaris (pictures at the end, feel free to correct me on this).

I don't have any medications on me at the moment, so I prepared a salt bath for her for the sake of doing something right now (1 tsp salt in 2 cups of tank water). I left her in the bath for 20 minutes before putting her back. She appears to be a bit more active now, though it still looks like someone took a cheese grater to her mouth.

Should I continue with the salt baths? Should I treat the other three fish even though they don't exhibit any symptoms? I'd prefer to stay away from chemical medications if possible.

The tank is heated to 70F. If I unplug the heater, it'll drop to about 66 (I've read columnaris doesn't like cold). I'll have water parameters tomorrow.

Here are some pictures of her before, during, and after the salt bath:
 

Wendigoblue

Columnaris is very contagious and lowering the temperature will slow it down. I found a website about it and it does say salt baths do work. I would treat the whole tank, depending what fish you have. So my questions, 1. What types of fish do you have?
2. Do you have any other tanks?
3. Have you used anything from this tank in other tanks?
4. What fish do you have in the other tanks?
Good luck! I hope your platies make it!
 

Daniel Margaritas

Thank you for the reply.

I was able to isolate the one platy in a 1 gallon container before leaving for work this morning, but by the time I got back, she had passed.
The only fish in the tank now, then, are three platies. I have two other tanks, but nothing has been transferred between them and the quarantine tank since I got the platies. The platies are actually going to my dad, so they won't be going into any of my tanks.
I'll be able to get some melafix tomorrow and I'll start treating the tank with that.

One last question, then: I have a marimo ball in the tank with them that I was quarantining as well. Is there anything special I should do to this to make sure it's safe for my tank after I finish treating with melafix?

EDIT: I also did another 10% water change and I unplugged the heater. I added a teaspoon of salt to the tank, but I'm not planning on going farther with salt treatment at this point. I read that salt might not be effective against columnaris unless it's greater than SG 1.010, and I'm pretty sure I'll end up killing my plants at that point.
 

Wendigoblue

Very sorry to hear that. Another person on this forum just recently had his guppies die of columnaris. I wonder if it's going around in the pet stores... I would think the melafix would kill it all, but I would keep the platies in the quarantine tank longer along with the marimo and don't forget to wash out the tank real good, change out the filter and you may need to restart the cycle. Tetra safe start works pretty good with jump starting a cycle. You can cycle with platies and a marimo, but make sure to regulate the parameters and do water changes. Good luck!
 

Daniel Margaritas

Hey everyone. I just wanted to say that, after a week-long treatment with Melafix, the remaining platies are still happy and healthy. Thank you all for your help.
 

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