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RackinRocky 08-02-2012 11:06 PM

Columnaris and new fish
Well, I haven't had any deaths since July 20, 14 days now. All my fish look great. For those of you who don't know about my first post, I had a virulent form of Columnaris that took 8 of my fish. From the time they showed symptoms (or a white lip) to their death was an average of 12 hours or less. It was just horrible. I never want to go through that again. Sick fish were medicated with Maracyn and Maracyn Two concurrently. Oh, and also salt. Since the second day of meds, I haven't had any more deaths.

Anyway, I followed the advice here, and used vinegar on all my decorations, have been siphoning the gravel with every water change (30%, twice a week) and have changed one of my filter cartridges, leaving the other in so I don't lose my beneficial bacteria, and will be changing the other one in a couple of weeks.

I now have 11 fish left (55 gallon tank). I am finally done grieving and after much thought, have decided to go ahead and replace my lost fish. But. . . I am terrified that it will come back! I will start by getting only 2 or 3 fish at first, of course. I will also keep them in the 10 gallon hospital tank for 3 weeks before putting them in the 55. I figured the middle of the month would be good, as it will have been 4 weeks since the last death.

Is there anything else I should do that I haven't thought of? This is no common Columnaris. With most of the fish, they didn't even have a chance to be medicated before they were dead. Most were even eating eagerly the day before their deaths!

Chesh 08-04-2012 01:24 AM

I've been watching out for you, and I'm SO happy to hear that everything has finally settled down over there. You did so well taking care of your sick babies!

I really don't have any advice to offer you, and am very happy that you'll be giving each new arrival a nice long QT period. I would take the time out to double check your water parameters and compatibility against the fish you're planning to replace. . . it seems that you have some fish that prefer harder water and some that prefer soft. I don't know what type of water you have, or if you're adjusting things depending on the tank they're in, but I DO know that a fish will be it's best and strongest in the proper water conditions - and so be better able to fight off many illnesses. You might also want to consider keeping labyrinth fish in QT for an extended period of time. Dwarf Gourami are notorious for it, but from what I've read ALL labyrinth fish (like Betta) should be kept in QT for longer as they can carry some tricky illnesses.

Any way you can get your new fish from a different store? My theory is that if the fish in one tank had it, the illness may very well may be running through every other tank in the store. . .

Best of luck, and keep me posted on how your tank(s) are growing and thriving!

RackinRocky 08-04-2012 10:53 PM

Thanks, Ches. Yes, I'll be getting the fish at my LFS from now on, and NO MORE from Petsmart! I know that's where it came from, as I got the outbreak within 2 weeks of getting the last two fish from them. And those werer the first fish to show signs, so yeah, it was Petsmart. So its in their central system. There oughta be a law! Makes me so upset when I think of all the people who bought fish and brought that horrible disease home!

I try to keep fish that prefer harder water, since that's what I have. The bettas, Mollies and platies do well in it, and the Bolivian Ram, (I read up on them before buying one) can adjust to a PH of 8, which is what I have. He hasn't colored up yet, so I guess maybe the harder alkaline water is keeping him from it, but then, he doesn't have a girlfriend either! He's been perfectly healthy through this whole mess. And you know me, I would just be devastated if I lost him. You and I love our Bolivians!

Does anyone know if a month is long enough to wait to bring in more fish?

Chesh 08-05-2012 12:06 AM

I am SO happy your little ram came through! I didn't want to ask, specifically. . . just in case it would make you sad *whew* What a little trooper he is! Does he have a name yet?

Don't go TOO hard on PetSmart . . . just because you think the virus came from there doesn't *necessarily* say anything about them, or chain stores as a whole. My local PetSmart gets stock in every Wednesday, and they are fairly fish-free by the Tuesday before delivery. It'd be nice if they held fish in QT for a month or so, but mine doesn't, so it's very likely that they had no idea there was an illness in the system.

I've never faced a terrible illness like you've just dealt with, so take my advice for only what it's worth. . . personally, I would just take things super slowly. *I* would give my tank a month from the time that treatment in all forms stopped before touching ANYTHING. Let the fish rest and recuperate, and allow any bacterial imbalances to even out again. Then get your next additions slowly, leaving enough time for the main tank to recoup after each new arrival, and don't add too many fish at once. . . I'm sure you'll do great, and I'm really happy to hear that you aren't going to let this terrible experience push you away from fish-keeping.

So happy that you've pushed through to the other side *hugs*

RackinRocky 08-05-2012 05:01 PM

Oh, I know its not EVERY Petsmart that is a problem. But I'm going to stay away from my local one, as I'm afraid the Columnaris is still in their central system.

Also, when you see ich sprinkled thick on fish, you KNOW the employees had to see it, yet the fish are still on display and for sale. That upset me when I saw that. So if nothng else, they're not on top of thngs.

The Ram's name is Enchilada! He's quite the character, and one of my very favorites. He's so inquisitive and not at all shy.

Its been close to two weeks since I stopped all treatment. And I was planning on going to look for fish around the middle of the month, so that would come pretty close to a month since meds were stopped.

And yes, I'll only get a few fish at a time. Not more than 2-4. That's how I always do it. And they will be in quarantine for a while, so it'll be quite a while before they go into the main tank anyway.

I really was so in despair that I was seriously thinking of not doing fish anymore. But since I did have 11 survivals, it gave me hope. I had thought I was going to lose every one of them, as fast as it was killing them. I'll let you know when and what I get! Sure appreciate your help and concern! Can't say that enough.

Chesh 08-05-2012 05:18 PM

Enchilada!!! I DID know that, I'm sorry. . . what a sweet name for a sweet fish, I'm so glad that he made it through - that ALL of them made it through. And they wouldn't have, but for you keeping such a close eye on things, and acting immediately when you spotted trouble. You've done an excellent job taking care of those beauties, and I'm very happy to learn that this terrible experience isn't going to sway you from your love of fish-keeping. We need as many GOOD fishy friends as we can get! I'll be looking forward to seeing your future posts as you rebuild your aquarium! :-D

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