Sadly, whether it was from PH swings due to water changes and IAL, or from the filter in my tank constantly malfunctioning (that's what I get for buying second-hand supplies off Craigslist) a dreaded columnaris outbreak has occurred. I know it wasn't from lack of cleaning, I changed the water at least once a week or more, at least 30 - 50% of it each time. It could be the lack of cover in the tank so I ordered more plants and driftwood to fill more space. Strangely the three Amano shrimp, the snails and all four Corydoras seem totally unaffected by this outbreak...go figure. I see how the bettas could be at more of a risk because they are stressed from each other being chased and nipped at. So far it's been about 2 weeks since the disease has really taken off.
It all started with Prize, my first female betta and my first baby betta. She was known to hate the sorority life and so I was planning on removing her from the tank as soon as I got another tank up and running, but one day I couldn't find her in the tank. I know it's a red flag when I see all the other females greeting me to be fed and just one girl is missing. She was hiding in the bottom, back corner of the tank, which is hard to see because of the tannins in the water. She was lethargic, clamped and didn't want to eat. I kept her in there a few days to see if she would improve, but her fins continued to deteriorate so I removed her and put her in a KK where I treated her for fin rot with AQ salt. She has not been back in the sorority tank since. She has been in her KK recovering well with no other symptoms. She may not have had columnaris at all, actually.
It was a few weeks later (about 2 weeks ago) when I started to see what looked like small, white scales on Cleopatra and Spark. I thought that they were just damaged/healing scales from a fight so I didn't think to worry much more. Then I noticed Halloween, my gorgeous dragonscale fancy, was just sitting at the bottom of the tank. When I saw her finally start to swim she struggled to keep with her back-end up, almost as if her back was broken near the end and her tail was just hanging there. I put her in a cup to QT her and to make it easier for her to get air from the surface. The next day I noticed that Nefi and many others had blotches on them. I noticed Calico had a large bump on her mouth and then the next day, her lip was gone. She didn't eat for about a week before I finally got her to eat some smaller pellets I had. Big Blue started to get clamped and a bit of white mouth, her fins deteriorated up quickly and she sadly died within 2 days of me noticing her ailments. Snow, my platinum white HMPK died mysteriously without showing much and any symptoms. It was very sad. All the while I was treating with Kanaplex, I added salt to the tank but only at 1.5 tsp/gallon for 4 days because I have a planted tank. Almost all the cabomba died off and the Pennywort suffered a little bit, but all the other plants were fine. The Corydoras and snails were fine too. I also found an article about a medicated bath to give infected fishes for 30 minutes daily, but I did it just every other day: 3 teaspoons/gallon AQ salt, double dose kanaplex and/or Furan-2, double dose Methylene Blue (0.20 tsp/gallon or ~1.0mL/gallon). Bathe for no more than 30 minutes. From the article:
"The Bottom line is a Fish Bath and maybe a swab too is a MUST part of any moderate to serious Columnaris infection treatment!
With Methylene Blue or Potassium Permanganate I prepare a double strength bath and place the fish in this solution for 30 minutes).
I strongly recommend this bath as a FIRST course of action.
Furan Two and/or Kanamycin SHOULD be added to this 20-30 minute bath for more serious or stubborn cases, HOWEVER do not combine these medications or any others with Potassium Permanganate, ONLY Methylene Blue can be combined."
The Kanaplex itself did not cure the disease although I believe it did prevent it from spreading any quicker. The same article I read about the medicated baths says to mix Kanaplex with Furan-2
as this is the ONLY way to cure it:
"By using broad-spectrum treatments such as a Furan Two & Kanamycin COMBINATION against diseases with similar symptoms affecting fish, precise identification of specific bacterial or fungal pathogens causing the disease that often display similar symptoms may not be absolutely necessary.
Please note that the combination of BOTH Kanamycin AND Nitrofurazone MUST be used for effect against true flavobacterium columnare infections, otherwise the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of these medications individually is too low."
Here is the article: http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/columnaris.html
The Furan-2 and Kanaplex combination started Saturday, and with 4 total doses of Furan-2, should end tomorrow if everything seems better.
On top of the baths and kanaplex/furan-2 added with 75% water changes every day to every other day, I've also been feeding frozen bloodworms medicated with Kanaplex once per day.
So far, with 2 deaths, the disease seems to be coming under control since I've started combining the Kanaplex with Furan-2. I just wish I had the Furan-2 on hand to start with, and that I didn't have to wait for it to be delivered which took over a week :( And of course they don't sell barely any fish meds in stores anymore because they assume people buy them and abuse them by using them on themselves..at least that's what the fish guy told me at Petco. Like yeah...all these people seeking a high are going to go out and buy ANTIBIOTICS...the hell? It makes no real sense to me.
Halloween is still unable to swim properly, but I am hoping that she will recover, she is still eating like crazy. The white growths on her head and face are disappearing. My yellow girl seems to have no outward symptoms, but Saturday I noticed her starting to pinecone a little bit which got me very scared. That was before I started the Furan-2 treatment, but she still seems a bit pineconed even today. She's definitely bloated but I've isolated her in a cup with some Epsom salt so hopefully nothing too bad has happened internally yet and she can make a turn-around :( Calico is still missing the entire upper portion of her mouth but she is somehow able to eat small pellets. She won't eat any medicated frozen foods (brine shrimp OR blood worms)...she actually panics when she sees the food coming at her and will swim frantically away from it...it's weird. The small pellets she devours though!
So that's whats been happening at my house lately. The other tanks and fish are totally unaffected by this outbreak thankfully.
R.I.P. Big Blue and Snow <3