Need advice quickly - cottonmouth disease. - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 21 Old 03-17-2010, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Need advice quickly - cottonmouth disease.

Hello, I am new here and I am at my wit's end (and also worrying my head off!)

A little history. I had a 30 gallon tank successfully set up with healthy fish for a good six months. I only had 7 fish in there, but all of them suddenly began to die, except for 1 algae eater. I thought there was something wrong with the water, so I cleaned everything and set the tank back up, cycled it, etc, starting with 2 giant Danios, and the remaining algae eater who did well, ate like pigs for a few days before I figured it was okay to bring some fish home, and the guy at the petstore, who seemed quite knowledgeable, said it would be okay to bring home a small amount of fish to start out.

I brought home 2 dalmatian mollies and 2 swordtails last night, and they seemed to be doing great. The mollies seemed lethargic, but I figured they were stressed out. Now tonight, they're showing signs of cottonmouth disease (I can see the whiteish stuff on their fins and around their mouths.) . I'm currently treating them in a bath of aquarium salt, and they seem to be tolerating it well, but my problem is this..

What do I do now? Am I doing enough, or should I use something like Melafix as well? Do I put them back in the tank, or is the tank now "infected", such that it has to be cleaned? Should I also treat the fish who aren't showing signs of the disease?

Need help quickly, thank you..
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post #2 of 21 Old 03-17-2010, 10:27 PM
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Yikes, I hope someone comes along soon who knows what do to. I wish I had some advice for you but I've no experience with this type of illness.
Have you looked at the sticky above this section that outlines (w/ pictures) the various illnesses and how to treat. Welcome to the forum and I'm sorry that you're having problems.

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post #3 of 21 Old 03-17-2010, 10:49 PM
I've never heard of cotton mouth disease. Is it the same as cotton wool disease?
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post #4 of 21 Old 03-17-2010, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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I believe so, dramaqueen. It is also called columnaris. Thank you both for the responses.

I am a bit confused now, because another fish keeping website had a picture and description of cotton mouth/columnaris and it seemed to fit what my fish had exactly. However, the information for columnaris on this website does not quite fit what my fish are experiencing.

I don't know what to do now..

Either way, a little update:

I moved the fish from the salt bath back into the tank after changing about 15% tank water and adding aquarium salt. They seem to have handled the bath ok, but their behavior hasn't changed much. They seem to sit at the top of the tank and not move around much, but they are not gasping for air or swimming strangely. I noticed that any whitish patches I saw on the fins of the mollies are now gone.

Last edited by sailfin molly; 03-17-2010 at 11:07 PM.
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post #5 of 21 Old 03-17-2010, 11:20 PM
I found some info from a book I have on bettas that has a section on fish diseases. It says that "fish with early stage translucent patches should be transferred to clean water with 4 teaspoons of salt to the gallon and potassium chromate or potassiumpermangamate according to package instructions. The salt assists osmotic balance and the permanganate oxidizes and kills the bacteria.Uninfected fish from the outbreak tank should be treated prophylactically with a nitrofuran bath to catch the disease before it is apparent. " I hope this helps.
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post #6 of 21 Old 03-17-2010, 11:59 PM
I read more about it on our diseases page here on the forum. It says you can use a combination of Maracyn 1 and 2.
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post #7 of 21 Old 03-18-2010, 01:11 AM
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I've used Furan 2 to treat columnaris with good results. I've used the Maracyn 1/2 combo but seemed to have a little better results with the Furan 2. Also, my bio-filter was harmed with the Maracyn but not with the Furan 2. Keep the water clean with extra water changes between doses and watch your parameters for any spikes you may have.

150 Gallon - Mostly American Cichlids
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75 Gallon - Odd couple (Polleni/Angelfish)
55 Gallon - African tank
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post #8 of 21 Old 03-18-2010, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone. With the multitude of information on this site, I'm no longer sure that my fish had columnaris (I probably should have came here first!) But this stuff always seems to happen in the middle of the night when i have no access to medicine other than what I have on hand. I tried a salt bath and then put a bit of melafix in their isolation tank, but the sick mollies died anyway. My swordtails are still alive and don't appear sick, but I'm not sure how long that'll last at the rate things have been going.

I think I'm going to give up on this fishkeeping thing, because I don't know what to do anymore and I hate to see them die when it's my fault..It seems like they are having the same problem as when my other fish from a few months ago died..They just inexplicably become sick and die..I've never seen any sign of outward physical problems other than last night where I was sure I saw something on one of my mollies fins. It's obviously something I'm doing, but I don't know what it is and no matter what advice I get, it doesn't seem to save my fish. :( And I don't think it's my water (in general) because I have two betta fish as well and they are happy as clams.

Last edited by sailfin molly; 03-18-2010 at 02:05 PM.
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post #9 of 21 Old 03-18-2010, 02:02 PM
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im sorry to put a downer on this but i had a really nice pink and white female guppy who had cotton mouth......2 days from when i saw it.....R.I.P strawberry :(:(:(

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post #10 of 21 Old 03-18-2010, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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I am sorry to hear that! Guppies are such nice little fish..RIP strawberry :)
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