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Old 12-09-2012, 01:12 AM   #1 
dashontefishy
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Exclamation Fungus vs. Columnaris?

Hi everyone,

My little betta has developed long, wispy, white strands floating on his tail, his fins, etc. but not on his body. He swims around regularly, but he has been a tad more lethargic lately, sometimes staying close to the surface with clamped fins. Also, he has been hitting the decorations in his tank with his body and darting away very quickly. There have been the same long, wispy, white strands floating around in his tank water (they appear only days after I clean his 2.5 gallon tank) and hanging off of his decorations.

I know that this disease can be one of two things: fungus or columnaris. Right now, I'm treating it for columnaris with Mardels Maracyn-Two for gram-negative bacteria, but I'm also thinking about going to the store tomorrow to get some fungal medication.

How does one tell the difference between fungus and columnaris? It would be very much appreciated if you could PLEASE help me...I'm getting very worried

Last edited by dashontefishy; 12-09-2012 at 01:15 AM.
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:56 AM   #2 
callistra
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That's either parasites or he's shedding his slime coat because their is something very wrong with the water. It doesn't sound like either a fungal infection or a bacterial infection to me.

If you could fill this out it would be helpful: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=49233

But in the meantime make sure you're using dechlorinator in the water like Prime and pick up some Aquarium salt. You're also probably going to need to be able to control the heat in the tank with an adjustable heater if this is parasites.
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Old 12-09-2012, 02:11 AM   #3 
dashontefishy
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Originally Posted by callistra View Post
That's either parasites or he's shedding his slime coat because their is something very wrong with the water. It doesn't sound like either a fungal infection or a bacterial infection to me.

If you could fill this out it would be helpful: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=49233

But in the meantime make sure you're using dechlorinator in the water like Prime and pick up some Aquarium salt. You're also probably going to need to be able to control the heat in the tank with an adjustable heater if this is parasites.
Housing
What size is your tank? 2.5 gal
What temperature is your tank? 78.0 F
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Aqueon Betta Pellets, one freeze-dried bloodworm once a week.
How often do you feed your betta fish? 4 pellets every day: 2 in the morning, 2 at night.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Once a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? TopFin PH Decrease, Kordon water conditioner, 4 rocks of AQ salt, Kordon Ammonia Detoxifier. I used to use Stress Coat+ and double the dosage without the Kordon water conditioner because my betta had been tail-biting, and I used to use Stress Zyme+. However, I don't use either of them anymore because I feared that my betta had an overactive slime coat. This is the first week that I have stopped using Stress Coat+ and Stress Zyme+ completely.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: Not sure the exact number, but it was much too high, so I started using an ammonia detoxifier. I used a test kit with liquid drops.
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Long, white, wispy strands hanging off the tail and fins.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Clamped fins (rarely, but often enough for it to be a concern), more aggressive, darting into aquarium decorations.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 3-4 days ago.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Yes, I put Mardel Maracyn-Two in his tank, beginning the treatment today. However, I did so blindly; I was scared that he had Cotton Wool Disease, so I took precautionary measures.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Yes, he has had fin rot twice already and has been a victim of a nasty tail-biting habit.
How old is your fish (approximately)? Not too sure, but I bought him from PetSmart and have had him for about 4-5 months.
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Old 12-09-2012, 02:16 AM   #4 
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It's good you have him heated up, but with a tank that small you need at least 2 weekly water changes. One 50% mid week and one 100%. Also make sure no food is falling uneaten to the bottom as it will cause ammonia to rise much faster.

Why do you add aquarium salt? Are you using RO water? You shouldn't add AQ unless you are using RO water, and then you're better off with something like Equilibrium by Seachem. AQ should be reserved for treatment, not normal additives. Likewise, it's not a good idea to mess with the ph of the water. What is the natural ph of the water? Unless the PH is way out there like 9+ your betta is better off slowly acclimating to the normal tap water ph. Adding drops like that will cause swings and it can really hurt a betta.. I've seen them shed slime coat like that due to ph issues. You're using NovaAqua Plus conditioner? This is like Prime and is good. The ammonia detoxifier shouldn't be necessary if you're keeping up with your water changes. Are you saying your tap water is testing with ammonia in it before you even add it to the tank?

If he wasn't darting/flashing he may just be shedding his slime coat but add that into it and it sounds like a parasite infection of some sort to me..

I would knock off the ph drops (again assuming the ph is sub 9) and try treating it as if it were a parasite infection with higher heat and aquarium salt. Treat like it says for Ick there: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=73332 If you don't want to raise the temp and add salt I'd look for PraziPro and treat for a minimum or two weeks and one week past when he acts totally normal again. It can take 3-4 weeks for that to work depending on how strong the infection is.

Last edited by callistra; 12-09-2012 at 02:29 AM.
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Old 12-09-2012, 02:24 AM   #5 
dashontefishy
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Originally Posted by callistra View Post
It's good you have him heated up, but with a tank that small you need at least 2 weekly water changes. One 50% mid week and one 100%. Also make sure no food is falling uneaten to the bottom as it will cause ammonia to rise much faster.

Why do you add aquarium salt? Are you using RO water? You shouldn't add AQ unless you are using RO water, and then you're better off with something like Equilibrium by Seachem. AQ should be reserved for treatment, not normal additives. Likewise, it's not a good idea to mess with the ph of the water. What is the natural ph of the water? You're using NovaAqua Plus conditioner? This is like Prime and is good. The ammonia detoxifier shouldn't be necessary if you're keeping up with your water changes. Are you saying your tap water is testing with ammonia in it before you even add it to the tank?
I usually add AQ salt because I thought that it would boost his immune system, as he is extremely susceptible to fin rot. Why do you suggest Equilibrium? I've never heard of the product before (I'm kind of new to the hobby, and this betta is my first!) and am curious to try it.

The pH of the water was a little high. I remember testing it with a liquid drop test kit and it turned out to be around 7.5/8.

I tested the tap water with dechlorinator, pH decrease, and AQ salt added in it, and the ammonia was still way, way too high, so that's when I decided to get an ammonia detoxifier.

Thank you for all of your help, by the way. It's all really appreciated.
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Old 12-09-2012, 02:32 AM   #6 
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Equiblirium is used if you are using RO water and not tap water. Some people add AQ to RO water but Equilibrium is better. You don't need it if you're using tap water. Aquarium salt won't boost his immune system. It's good for short term illness but it can be harmful if he stays in it too long.

7.5/8 is fine. He can adjust to that. A stable ph is much more important that a perfect 7.0 ph. The water swings will wear his immune system down and can kill him but he can adjust to a PH that the water has. Just make sure when you make a water change and stop the drops you acclimate him very very slowly.. like put him in a solo plastic cup floating in the tank and add couple tablespoons of tank water every ten minutes until the cup is full.. then do it again a couple times before you add him to the tank water.

That's odd.. some tap water does have ammonia present but it shouldn't be super high.. What testing kit are you using? And I would try testing straight from the tap before adding anything. If there's still ammonia I would try getting Prime and adding a double dose (4 drops per gallon) and see how that goes. Prime detoxifies ammonia very well and it's a dechlorinator so you don't have to add lots of extra stuff.
Glad to help! :)

Last edited by callistra; 12-09-2012 at 02:35 AM.
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Old 12-09-2012, 02:42 AM   #7 
dashontefishy
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Originally Posted by callistra View Post
Equiblirium is used if you are using RO water and not tap water. Some people add AQ to RO water but Equilibrium is better. You don't need it if you're using tap water. Aquarium salt won't boost his immune system. It's good for short term illness but it can be harmful if he stays in it too long.

7.5/8 is fine. He can adjust to that. A stable ph is much more important that a perfect 7.0 ph. The water swings will wear his immune system down and can kill him but he can adjust to a PH that the water has. Just make sure when you make a water change and stop the drops you acclimate him very very slowly.. like put him in a solo plastic cup and add couple tablespoons every ten minutes until the cup is full.. then do it again a couple times before you add him to the tank water.

That's odd.. some tap water does have ammonia present but it shouldn't be super high.. What testing kit are you using? And I would try testing straight from the tap before adding anything. If there's still ammonia I would try getting Prime and adding a double dose (4 drops per gallon) and see how that goes. Prime detoxifies ammonia very well and it's a dechlorinator so you don't have to add lots of extra stuff.
Glad to help! :)
I see; I'll definitely stop the pH decrease and AQ salt on my next water change.

If he's shedding his slime coat, should I continue to add the Slime Coat+ to his water? This is the first week I've seen signs of "long, white, wispy strands" on his fins/tail, and it's also the first week I've stopped adding Slime Coat+. Perhaps there's a correlation? Not sure.

I've been using the API Ammonia Test Kit: http://aquatichouse.com/image/cache/...00-500x500.png
I'll definitely look into changing my water conditioner to Prime if the next test of the tap water comes out too high.

However, I've usually always had some traces of those long, white, wispy strands floating around in the tank/building up on his decor and heater (especially his heater). Is it really all from his slime coat?

Sorry for all of the questions. The thought of my little betta being defeated by illness really does frighten me.
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:23 PM   #8 
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He could be shedding the excess slime coat. I wouldn't keep using the other additives. That's okay if that's all it is. I have seen that happen and it could be fine. The fact he is flashing/darting is what has me worried. It could be a response to ammonia in the water.. it could also be a sign of parasite infection and the long wispy strands could actually be worms. Can you take photos?

That's the good ammonia test kit, so I guess you must have ammonia coming out of your tap. I would test by filling a gallon jug (or bowl) with water, adding a couple drops of prime, shaking it up then using the test kit to see what amount of ammonia you have. If you are still showing some you can add two more drops (double dose) and see if that's okay then. It should be yellow on the kit. Green equals ammonia. Let us know the results of this.

If it does end up a parasite infection then the treatment for ick here using aquarium salt and high heat is what you'll need: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=73332 You can also treat gently with PraziPo. I would still increase the temps along with it, but use it instead of salt. You can't do more than 2 weeks with the salt. With PraziPro you can go up to a month, and you should ideally go a week past when he seems clear to prevent a relapse.
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Old 12-09-2012, 02:51 PM   #9 
dashontefishy
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Originally Posted by callistra View Post
He could be shedding the excess slime coat. I wouldn't keep using the other additives. That's okay if that's all it is. I have seen that happen and it could be fine. The fact he is flashing/darting is what has me worried. It could be a response to ammonia in the water.. it could also be a sign of parasite infection and the long wispy strands could actually be worms. Can you take photos?

That's the good ammonia test kit, so I guess you must have ammonia coming out of your tap. I would test by filling a gallon jug (or bowl) with water, adding a couple drops of prime, shaking it up then using the test kit to see what amount of ammonia you have. If you are still showing some you can add two more drops (double dose) and see if that's okay then. It should be yellow on the kit. Green equals ammonia. Let us know the results of this.

If it does end up a parasite infection then the treatment for ick here using aquarium salt and high heat is what you'll need: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=73332 You can also treat gently with PraziPo. I would still increase the temps along with it, but use it instead of salt. You can't do more than 2 weeks with the salt. With PraziPro you can go up to a month, and you should ideally go a week past when he seems clear to prevent a relapse.
Lately, I haven't seen him darting into decorations as much, but I will definitely keep you posted. I've taken the decorations out because I didn't want him to scratch himself on the plants or anything, but he could still be darting into his heater.

Here is a video of him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0waJ_Dn7aUg
I figured a video might be easier because I couldn't manage to get a good picture of him. The wispy white strands are on his two pectoral fins and a little bit on his caudal fin (which you probably can't see in the video). They are disappearing and reappearing on different fins of his body, but never on his actual body.

I will definitely take your suggestion for the gallon jug ammonia test and will fill you in on updates!

Quick question: Because I began the Maracyn-Two treatment, I should continue it because it is an antibiotic, right? Just in case. This is what I presume, but please let me know if I'm wrong.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:25 PM   #10 
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I'd go ahead and finish the round of Maracyn II just so you don't accidentally breed something resistant, but I wouldn't start a second round regardless of anything. I don't think that's what he needs.

Your guy is a little clamped but that could just be stress from the meds. The tips of his fins are white but it looks like normal coloring? Or are you seeing something like this: http://www.google.com/imgres?q=ancho...0&tx=117&ty=39 I can't tell but one of the tips towards the bottom almost looks like an anchor worm. but it could just be the camera because the detail is pretty blown out. They'll be white and long with a v.

Otherwise I'm not really seeing anything odd.. unless you're saying his fins never had any of that white on it until 4 days ago.. I'd still venture that he's shedding excess slime coat from all that extra stress coat building chems you put in.

Last edited by callistra; 12-09-2012 at 11:32 PM.
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