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jandpgault 03-15-2007 03:26 PM

Treating for columnaris/body fungus - fish began dying
Just when everything is going well, something always seems to happen. Just the other day, one of my lemon tetras up and died. I checked water paramaters and everything was fine. When scooping out my lemon tetra, I noticed one of my dwarf frogs had a slight fuzz look to him on a part of his back. He died later that same day. All of my other fish were acting normal, so I watched all my fish carefully for another day. My white molly had been very lethargic and sitting on the bottom of the tank for the past week, but I have heard this behavoir is normal when fish are pregnant and ready to deliver. She had already delivered 2 fry, but seemed to be having trouble getting the rest out. Another day went by and I saw what appeared to be a tiny speck of fuzz on her lips. I started doing some research and put the fuzz on the dead frog together with the fuzz on the white molly and came up with a diagnosis of columnaris. I immediately got anti-fungal fish medication (API Fungus Cure) and began treating my tank yesterday afternoon. Later yesterday evening, my white molly seemed to have a columnaris explosion on her tail that was not there before I treated the tank with the medication. Last night, another one of my lemon tetras died, and this morning, I found my other dwarf frog dead. I also have a neon tetra that isn't looking so good. Could it be the treatment that is killing them? They did not appear to have columnaris, so I don't think it was that that killed them. I even double checked my water parameters this morning and they were all still fine, so the medication hasn't seemed to effect the water. Also, could the columnaris have been brought on by by the stress caused by my white molly's inability to deliver the rest of her fry? Well, according to the directions for the medication, I have to wait 48 hours and do one final treatment, then wait another 48 hours and do a 25% water change and add the carbon filters back in. I will continue to monitor my water parameners each day. Does anyone have any suggestions/advice in the meantime?
55 gallon freshwater aquarium set up for 7+ months
no live plants
receives small amount of natural sunlight each day
no CO2 unit
uses aqua-tech 30/60 power filter
performed last water change of 25% on 3-9
feed variety (flakes, zucchini, bloodworms, tubifex worms) twice a day
uses flourescent lighting and is kept on 6-8 hours a day

As of this morning - 10 nitrate, 7.2 ph, 0 nitrite, 0 ammonia

I currently have these fish: 4 mollies, 5 neon tetras, 3 black neon tetras, 1 lemon tetra, 1 silver dollar, 1 glass fish, 2 platies, 1 pleco, 3 guppies, 1 molly fry

jandpgault 03-15-2007 03:36 PM

quarantine tank
One more thing to note...

I just purchased a 10 gallon aquarium kit that I plan on using as a quarantine tank. Treating a 55 gallon tank can get pretty pricey, plus I don't like subjecting my healthy fish to medication they don't need. It has been up and running for about a day now. I have no gravel or decorations in it; just a heater, filter, and hood with incandescent lights. Does all this sound ok? Is there anything else I should do to it? I know I need to let it cycle as well. Any suggestions to help this process along?

I'm hoping that in the long run, this will save me a lot of time, trouble, and money by isolating my sick fish and also helping me quarantine any future fish I plan on adding to my 55 gallon tank.

Lupin 03-15-2007 09:29 PM


Sorry to hear your troubles. May I ask for pictures of your fish? I'm a bit baffled by your situation. Pls post all details of API Fungus Cure.

To explain columnaris and fungus, both are different cases. Columnaris is characterized by white lips, white-edged scales or simply white scales, and clamped fins although I am sure there are a lot more signs that are associated with columnaris including gasping to the surface. As far as fungus is concerned, it rarely occurs and as a secondary infection, it will happen only if the fish's wounds were infected or there was failure to immediately to treat it. Bad water quality and stress will, of course, play the major part of being the culprits behind various cases of diseases. I would recommend you simply post the water parameters.:)

Your treatment would have killed your fish if your fish were already stressed and showing signs of struggling from the disease, and even worse, bad water quality which when combined with medications will have adverse effects to the fish.

You haven't stated what is your temperature. I would like to note that the columnaris tends to progress better when the temperature is high. 28 degrees Celsius is favorable to the columnaris I'm sure.

As for your hospital tank, I would simply use only sponge filter and then fluorescent light would be the better option than incandescent to prevent rising temperatures which will only make matters worse especially when you are dealing with columnaris.

As to how you can ensure the hospital tank will be safe for use, try to use the tank water in your main tank and squeeze a lot of filter muck into the hospital tank. That will surely enable your tank to cycle fast allowing your fish to recover in as much as possible.

There is no need to treat your main tank. Any infected fish should immediately be isolated. Any dead fish should be disposed as soon as you detect them.

Good luck.:)

jandpgault 03-15-2007 10:52 PM

According to the box, API Fungus Cure is an anti-fungal medication that is supposed to help with fungus, mouth fungus, body slime and eye cloud, and fin and tail rot. This medication turned my entire tank water green (I had no idea it would do that). There are no warnings on the box as to this medication harming certain fish, but I do know that tetras do not tolerate things as well as other fish. I am supposed to dose the tank with this powdered medication then wait 48 hours and do a 2nd dose. After that, I am supposed to wait an additional 48 hours and do a 25% water change then add the carbon filters back in. I checked the water parameters 1 day after adding the medication and everything seemed fine except of course for the green water.

My temp by the way is 76.

My molly is white, so it was hard to tell that she had anything wrong with her until I saw a white cotton-like tuft on her mouth. Like I said, I attribted her lethargy due to the fact that she was pregnant and ready to deliver. Anyway, after adding the fungus cure to the tank, a few hours later, I saw that white cotton like substance lining her tail and a patch of it on each fin. I don't know if the medication just made it more visible or what. Surely its not ich, is it? I thought ich was more spot like. This is more fuzz or cotton like. Her body is all white, so I can only see what is on her fins and tail.

My white molly has started hiding a lot and shaking pretty bad too. The white cotton stuff is gone from her mouth now and the remaining patches do not seem to be spreading. And she still has not delivered the rest of the babies.

I will try to post some pics I took of her tail. Sorry, but they are extremely hard to see due to the green water background. I've tried posting pics before, but they have never worked. I don't know if my files are too big or what, but I'll try again.

Thanks :D

Lupin 03-15-2007 11:03 PM

It sounds neither columnaris nor ich. It seems to be directed more to fungus with which the treatment can be done in isolation. Maintain good water quality in the main tank.

I would be careful with any medications used. Most of them tend to destroy your biological filtration. It is not surprising that mini-cycles will ever occur due to the situation I stated above.

jandpgault 03-15-2007 11:12 PM

I was not able to load pictures on this site (said my file was too large or corrupted), but I do have a personal photosite and I have loaded the fish pics on there if you would like to take a look. Just click on the thumbnails to see a bigger pic.

The link is:

thanks again :)

jandpgault 03-15-2007 11:14 PM

ok, I'll put water from my main tank into the quarantine tank and continue treatment on the white molly there. I'll also begin working on getting my main tank back to normal.

Thanks so much

Lupin 03-15-2007 11:50 PM

Definitely not ich from the looks of your pictures. Continue your treatment according to instructions and do it in the hospital tank. I have forgotten to comment that your temperature should be fine. It is not a case of columnaris which I would really dread as columnaris most too often can be difficult to get rid of especially when it progresses faster and better in high temperatures. Any medications that treat external bacterial infections will treat columnaris but your case is closer to fungus.

jandpgault 03-16-2007 10:32 AM

hospital tank...
Ok. I have done a 50% water change in my main tank and have started getting that back to normal. The water color is still green, but not as much. Should I continue to do a water change each day or just stay on top of my water parameters and go back to my weekly water changes?

I have also moved the white molly to the hospital tank and will finish out the rest of the fungus treatment there.

My white molly has started exhibiting symptoms similar to my dalmation molly who eventualy lost the battle with whatever was plaguing her. I can still see my white molly's gravid spot through her white skin, but she appears to be losing weight and getting smaller. :?

She also seems to be forming a curve in her tail just as my dalmation molly did. I'll try to describe it as best as I can: There's her head and body and right where her body starts to elongate it is like she is starting to get an indention in her side making her tail curve over to one side. When my dalmation molly had these symptoms, she held on for about 1 month, then in a matter of 2 or so days the indention became more pronounced and she just started looking really emaciated. I had no idea what it was, and neither did anyone I spoke with at 3 different fish stores, so I could not treat it.

I am just wondering if the 2 are related and that illness from the dalmation was somehow passed on to my white molly.

I do feel much better now that I have a hospital tank and can quarantine any sick fish and also not expose the healthy fish to medication they do not need.

musho3210 03-16-2007 04:11 PM

when you are stopping the medication, add some new activated carbon and do some water changes.

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