I have posted two other threads about problems with my Mr. P, but there hasn't been too much response. Now that I feel like I have successfully determined what his issue is, I want to know if I am treating correctly.
Today, I noticed Mr. P has long white, stringy looking things hanging off some of his fins, and a similar looking thing attached to one gill. They do not look like parasites. He is also extremely discolored, missing scales, and looks like he has small, open wounds and lesions that I can only describe as "furry" or looking like plaques. His gills are also rapidly moving and look discolored. He frequently surfaces for air, sometimes almost in a panicked manner. However, there has been no loss in appetite and only slightly decreased activity. I am fairly sure I am dealing with Columnaris here, possibly an extremely severe case due to the missing scales and open wounds.
Mr. P is in a half gallon hospital tank with no substrate. He is being treated with combined Maracyn 1 and 2, and aquarium salt.
What else can be done? You have no idea how much I don't want to lose this fish.
I'm still new to betta care but thought I'd throw in some thoughts (I'm hoping for a response to something I posted yesterday). Having looked at the other threads I couldn't tell if you went to 100% daily water changes or not - this may not work with the meds you are using though. Also - can you use salt and your meds at the same time, I've read that salt can interfere with some kinds of treatment.
Thank you for your suggestions, Betty. I am doing 50% water changes daily, right before I put the new medicine in, just because his tank is so small that he does need the water changes. I read on a website that is was ok to do this, as long as you are not taking all the meds out. I'm also siphoning his poop and random-tank junk off the bottom when I see it to try to keep the water clean. I read somewhere else that it was ok to use the salt in conunction with maracyn, especially to help with his pitiful gill situation. I hope all of this is right. I just know there are many extremely experienced people on here with several fish. Maybe some of you have successfully dealt with columnaris in the past?
Tonight, I moved Mr. P from his little hospital tank back into his regular 2.5 gallon. I think the curved shape of the hospital tank was bothering him, he kept running into the walls. I took all the gravel out of the old tank, scrubbed with hot water, filled halfway with clean water, acclimated Mr. P, and treated new tank with Stress Coat, aquarium salt, and Maracyn 1 and 2. Mr. P seems happier in his new tank. He is not quite so panicked when he swims, and he is not coming up as often for air. I hope this is a sign that his medication is working and that his living situation is more to his liking. Keeping my fingers crossed. Your advice is still welcome. I'm a new betta owner and all of this has really been trial and error.
"Flexibacter columnaris is caused by a gram-negative rod bacterium....
... often brought on by poor water conditions including the presence of ammonia, nitrite or elevated nitrate levels....
... decreased dissolved oxygen levels may contribute to the growth of flex. Adding an air stone may help to reduce the risk of these bacteria....
To treat the disease, purchase an aquarium antibiotic that treats gram-negative bacterial infections. I recommend Mardel’s Maracyn-Two. For serious instances, a combination of both Maracyn and Maracyn-Two may be best to cover any secondary infections. The two medications together will treat both gram-positive and gram-negative bacterium. The antibiotic, oxytetracycline, has been regarded as a very effective cure and may be a key ingredient in some medicated fish foods....
Because the bacteria flourishes in warmer water you may find it beneficial to slowly lower your water temperature over the subsequent couple days. Aim for a temperature on the low spectrum of bettas’ comfort zone. Approximately 75˚F – 77˚F [23.8˚C – 25˚C] is recommended..."
"Flexibacter Columnaris can persist in water for up to 32 days when the hardness is 50ppm or more, but a hardness of 10ppm reduces viability considerably. The addition of carbon to the system increases the survival of this disease in hard water, but this is not the case in soft water.
Columnaris is prevelant in systems with high organic loads, crowded conditions, handling and low dissolved oxygen content. Lesions generally develop in 24 to 48 hours following handling, followed by death at 48 to 72 hours if not treated.
Treatment and Control:
Any Sulfa drug combination will work well. TMP Sulfa, Sulfa 4 TMP, or Triple Sulfa."
Thank you for your help. Mr. P's white growth is not so pronounced, but it is there. What I find more disturbing/concerning is his discoloration, lack of scales, and general raw appearance. Surely he is not suffering from ammonia burns, as I cleaned his larger tank four days after purchasing him, and have been doing 50% changes since his symptoms got worse yesterday.
He is still acting and eating normally.
His stomach looked a tad swollen tonight. I hope I am not dealing with dropsy, I won't be able to stomach it.
If he is starting to look bloated, I would stop the aquarium salt. It contains sodium, which causes fluid retention and stresses the kidneys..... If you want to use a salt, consider switching to Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate). It doesn't contain sodium, and it has a laxative effect which can relieve bloating. It has some antimicrobial properties as well.
Since he's not improving with the meds, I suggest contacting someone like Sakura8, Olympia or Callistra. They may be able to offer more advice. Also, I think Aemaki09 recently dealt with Columnaris, and could probably give you advice.