Weird gunky white stuff...what is this?

mishykinz

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Weird gunky white stuff...is this ich?

My 55 gallon with 2 bloody parrots is in trouble. All of a sudden last night before I went to bed I noticed weird gunky white stringy/fuzzy stuff covering both of my parrots. It lined their gills and eyes and fins. There's also some on one of the logs in the tank.

Alarmed I did an immediate water change and added Maracyn because it's all I've got on hand. However one of my parrots ended up dying this morning. The other one is still coated in the stuff. I removed the log already. According to my test kits, water parameters are normal other than the ammonia being a bit up from the dead fish.

What is this? I've never seen ich before in real life. What does this sound like and what should I do? This pic I found on google is the closest I can find to what it looks like on my fish:

And if I wind up losing my other parrot...how can I get this stuff out of the tank so it's safe in the future?

Edit: Oh, and I don't know if this helps or anything, but the parrot was hovering near the heater all morning before it died.
 

bass master

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sounds to me like columnaris, a very quick moving disease on so quick treatment may be crucial, Ill post a link in a that gives a bunch of great information on treatment. I would recommend setting up a 5 gallon bucket for a quick salt dip for now though. Maracyn II (I dont think marcyn will treat it because it is gram negative but you can use maracyn and maracyn II together) and other antibiotics are good for treatment as is salt, methelyne blue, and a few others listed in the link.

http:///Columnaris.html
 
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mishykinz

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Thanks a lot...this sounds more like the problem than ich does. And by salt do you mean aquarium salt and not like table salt, right? That's probably a stupid question but I've never done a salt bath before.
 
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mishykinz

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Bad news - my other parrot has passed. RIP Pickle and Pumkin. ;_; I feel so awful. I've only had them for two weeks.

Does columnaris only live on the fish or does it stay in the tank for awhile? How do I make the tank safe for other fish in the future..?
 

bass master

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yep, aquarium salt would work best, I would stay away from table salt, the link says to put in 1 table spoon per 5 gallons to treat the whole tank, keep in mind the salt should only be at this level in the tank while you are treating the bacteria, as for the salt bath I believe the dosage is 1 teaspoon per gallon and leave your fish in the bucket of salty water for 30 minutes. If you decide to add salt to your tank I dont think that the salt bath would be necessary

Im sorry to hear about your fish

Columnaris is a bacteria that is almost always present in the aquarium feeding on waste material in the tank. Often times when a fish has been recently added to the tank its immune system is weakened and the fish will be vulnerable to the disease, the link I gave has some good information on preventing columnaris that goes way beyond the obvious things like keeping clean water, reducing stress etc.

Columnaris is a tough disease and can kill very very quickly.... Im sorry this happened to your fish, I recently lost a betta to columnaris within 24 hours of him showing symptoms.... The best you can do is to make sure you have a plan ready if you ever notice this disease again as quick treatment is the key

Hello, I've merged your posts since they were back to back. Don't forget there is an EDIT key at the bottom of every post that you can use for corrections and additional thoughts. It helps to save a little space on the forum.
Thanks!
Ken
 
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mishykinz

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Thanks. The link is SUPER helpful, I've got it bookmarked. Should I clean the sand and the decorations/pants and change the water and then let the tank cycle for a bit before adding more fish?
 

bass master

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Columnaris is always present in the aquarium, it lives off of fish poo and such and only becomes a problem once it attaches itself to a fish whose immune system is compromised. I believe the link also discusses some super technical stuff about how even decently healthy fish can also get attacked by columnaris but doesnt go into much detail. I dont think you should have too much of a problem adding new fish for now, just be sure that they are somewhat hardy fish and look healthy at the pet store. If you choose to let the tank sit for a few days which might not be a bad idea. As long as you arent planning to stock some very delicate fish like discus fish or such I think you should be ok adding new fish and that way you dont have to worry about any of your beneficial bacteria dying off
 
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mishykinz

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More bad news...I guess I didn't disinfect my equipment well enough, because it has spread to my female betta's tank. Although her and the remaining cory seem to be doing alright, my 55 is still a mess. I tried to put a fish in there and he got sick almost immediately. I'm treating both tanks with API tetracycline, aquarium salt, and Pimafix (EVERY time I go to the store, they're all out of Maracyn II, of course). I'm not getting results though. I'm starting to lose hope.
 

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I am very sorry to hear that... It sounds like you have a very viscous strain of columnaris, when I had columnaris, it went away as soon as the infected fish died. Dont lose hope yet, tetracycline is a gram positive medicine and wont really affect the columnaris, if they dont have maracyn II, look for any medicine containing minocycline, the correct gram negative medication. I know bettas dont do well with constant exposure to salt, I would recommend giving him a salt dip with 5 teaspoons of salt in a 5 gallon bucket of water for 30 minutes then returning him to a tank with no salt in it. If you can find methelene blue, potassium permanganate, or melafix, those will all help although Im not sure about mixing melafix with tetra/minocycline. Melafix is also not considered safe to add to a tank with a betta because it will affect its labyrinth organ but I have heard that you can swab the infected area with a q tip soaked it melafix and it will act as an antiseptic. Lower the temperature of all your tanks as low as you can within reason, lower temperatures slow down the reproduction of the columnaris. Best of luck and I hope someone else who has had more experience with the more resilient strains of columnaris can come in and offer more help
 
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mishykinz

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Okay, I'll try to look for that and check other stores tomorrow...another question, does columnaris typically grow on the things in the tank as well? My decorations are covered in the same fuzzy white stuff.
 
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