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Old 11-22-2011, 04:56 PM   #1 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Columnaris is the DEVIL! Back AGAIN, trying to make sure I cover all bases!

I had a columnaris outbreak in a 10 gallong that I re used some old gravel in. It killed one female who I isolated in a cup within 24 hours. It killed another one before I even saw signs of it. I pulled the third female and have housed her in isolation for a month now. I had a couple clamps holding a sprig of philodendron in the aquarium water to propagate it and without even thinking I stuck it in the bowl of my white crown tail. In about a week he was acting funny, always on bottom or up top, I thought he had swim bladder. I started treating with epsom salt and within 36 hours he was dead. I hadn't even heard of this disease before then but I educated myself QUICK. Sadly I had taken that same sprig of philodendron (now planted LOL) and placed it in my King Betta's jar when I did the isolation for epsom salt treatment When he started getting lethargic, clamped and showed a white tuft I started treatment asap in the form of tetracycline and Jungle Fungus cure (this should cover all gram pos and neg bacteria). I had already mixed this up to treat a female I picked up from Wal Mart who was COVERED in something I'm assuming was columnaris and fin rot.

Fast forward a few weeks and I notice my smallest crown tail female who came from the sorority and has been in her own container for a few weeks now has white tufts. I figure it's just her shedding her slime coat so I swap her into 100% clean water 2 days in a row. The next day I see her slamming her mouth and face into the rocks and 12 hours later she has a massive outbreak of columnaris! This stuff can stay dormant for ages it seems like! She's now in an isolation cup, reduced temp, brand new batch of tetracycline, jungle fungus, and 2 tsp of AQ salt per gallon. She's chubby so she'll be fine with a fast and man she must be tough because this stuff just murdered the other bettas that caught it ... double .

SO now I'm going through every container, they're getting a soak in some oxy clean and water. All of the gravel is being boiled in iodized salt water as we speak. Every aquarium plant is getting soaked as well. I'm considering throwing a couple pots of boiling salt water in the sink with all of the containers/nets/etc. Are there any other things I should be sure to clean/check while I'm at it? I think I have all bases covered but I would like some confirmation.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:12 AM   #2 
Join Date: Nov 2011
I broke out my good camera today and will post some pics tonight. My girl can breathe easier and is trying to eat. The white fuzz is breaking up and falling away. I have a big strainer full of boiled rocks and a sink full of containers/nets/fake plants, even the ones that didn't need cleaned are getting it. I also had a SCARY event, my king betta jumped his divider and had roughed up one of my crown tails! Just because he won't flare doesn't mean he won't fight. I lowered the water level and raised the top bar of the divider, he was really curious to what I changed but he didn't/couldn't jump over any more.
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:11 PM   #3 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
This bacterium (Flexibacter columnaris)-two type-a fast moving that can kill in 12-24h and a slow moving that the fish can recover from...
It is always in the water-no matter how much or what you clean with....its ever present just waiting for the right conditions to infect the fish...its a tough one and can wipe out livestock fast once it gets a foot hold and then along with flex you usually will have Aeromonas since they go hand-in-hand in some respects.....

Once the fish is stressed from an endless list of stressors-like water quality, overstocking, poorly stocked tank, extreme chemistry and/or temp changes, internal/external parasites, other heath issues, poor nutrition, open wounds, over treating...etc.....the biggest cause is the water quality and sudden temp swings...once the fish is stressed this can compromise the immune response and this is when they are most apt to be infected by a host of pathogens and if they have an open wound that the bacteria can enter-along with the right environment conditions......every fish can get sick......

The best treatment I have found for Flex-high dose Sodium chloride 3tsp/gal and low water temp 75-76F-QT in dim lit location to limit outside stimuli....and hope for the best......the main tank if a community setup....start making water changes and lower the temp slowly.....

Also, be careful boiling rocks...some can explode in high heat-either boiling or baking......

Good luck....
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Old 11-23-2011, 03:48 PM   #4 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Here's pics from 6 hours after, 17 hours after, and her in her new water I wish I had taken pics last night, I was afraid I was going to lose her! Her mouth was completely closed and she was in a panic. This happened like lightning! I've read from several places that columnaris can't live in bad water conditions, and actually takes a hold at random times. I am almost positive it took hold in my 10 gallon from the mass of dead snails I found in the old gravel. I think it's all about if there's food present for the bacteria to bloom out. I did notice that this took off again when I changed pellets and she was spilling quite a bit more of the new pellets when she bit into them (they're larger and more air puffed so they float better, less waste for the bigger bettas, more for the girls).
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