Columnaris-will I ever be able to have fish again?
I've had an especially virulent strain of columnaris in my 55 gallon tank, and its now come back for the THIRD time. Its been over 2 months since any signs of it, and now, within the last 10 days I've lost 8 fish. Its just vicious, killing some overnight.
Nowhere to put my remaining 13 fish, as all I have is the 10 gallon quarantine tank, so guess I'll have to wait until there are only 5 left, then put them in the 10 gallon and break down the 55 gallon, treat it with bleach and sunshine, and start over.
My question is, will the fish I have left re-infect the tank? Will they be carriers, I guess is what I'm asking. I can't tell you the heartbreak I've been through losing so many of my little friends to this awful disease. A lot of them died without any prior symptoms, so I didn't even have time to treat them. I don't want to break down the tank, recycle it, put the fish back in, just to have the disease come back again.
The first outbreak I used Maracyn and Maracyn II. Lost about half my fish. Second outbreak I used Kanamycin (Kanaplex) and Furan 2. Same for third outbreak. But most of them ended up dying even after being treated. It was just too far gone by the time they showed symptoms. The refusal to eat and listlessness would be an immediate sign to me to treat them, but they always died within 24 hours of the first symptoms.
Should I just give up? I can't stand getting attached, only to lose them!
Hey mate, sorry to hear about the nasty critter running through your tank. I haven't experienced it myself thankfully but some simple research questions were raised when I was looking it up.
1. What was the original fish population? We're you approaching overcrowded?
2. What was your maintenance routine? Did you clean the gravel? Water changes? Feeding routine?
3. Is the tank planted or well airated?
4. Water parameters? Gh Kh Ph and temp.
5. Fish stress levels? Are they getting along.
These were just some of the questions I had as it may indicate a root cause.
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Thank you, Titan. The original fish population when it happened was right around 20, with no fish over 2-3 inches, so no, it wasn't overcrowded. Maintenance was (and is) 30% water change weekly, vac gravel every time, fish are fed daily. Veggie flakes, brine and mysis shrimp, krill, bloodworms, tubifex, algae wafers, shrimp pellets, veggies. So a very varied diet. I only feed what they can clean up in a couple of minutes.
Yes, the tank was and is planted with Java fern, Amazon swords, miniature swords and anubias. I also have a moss pole with Christmas moss and java moss. GH and Kh I don't know. PH stays right around 8, the same as it comes out of the faucet. Ammonia and nitrites have been zero for at least 4 months, nitrate stays around 5-10.
The fish all get along very well. I rarely even have a fish nip at another. At this point, I just don't know what to do...
Sounds like you have a bad case of bad luck. The only info that peaks my interest is the PH. I was reading on FishVet, Inc. - Dedicating to improving aquatic health. that it will spread rapidly under certain conditions. "Factors that have been observed to enhance the pathology are low oxygen levels, HARD Alkaline water"
Do your fish prefer the higher range ph? This may be causing stress that you can't see and help the nasty take a hold. Also temperature can be a contributing factor. Could I suggest lowering the temp slowly until its at the bottom of the safe level for the fish.
The diet you feed sounds amazing. Maybe reduce the feeding by half to take a little bio load out of the tank might help.
I hope this helps mate.
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Thank you--I'll lower the temp a bit more. I researched my fish before I bought them, and from what I've read, all the types I have are alright with my PH. But I know what you mean about hard, alkaline water. I've read that too. Not much I can do about that. I'll cut back some on the feeding too. I hope this nasty thing eventually goes away!
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