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Old 08-13-2022, 04:09 PM   #1
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Betta fish Columnaris?

Hello, this is my first fish and he has been acting strange lately. Staying near the top of the aquarium and barely moving. Iíve also noticed his lips look extremely swollen and almost appear to be detaching. Is this possibly Columnaris?

I did a water change and added some aquarium salt, itís been only 2 days and Iím not seeing much improvement, and not sure what else I should do.

Iím in Canada and I canít find antibiotics, some of the other over the counter medication i keep seeing really conflicting reviews on. Any suggestions?
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Old 08-14-2022, 05:45 AM   #2
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It does look like columnaris. You have similar restrictions on antibiotic medications in canada as we have in the UK, and they won't be readily available without a vets prescription.

As you have discovered through reading reviews non-antibiotic medication that you can get over the counter isnt going to be as effective.

Without true anti-biotics, something with malachite green in it is probably going to the most effective medication you can get hold of. Here in the UK i would look at Waterlife Myxazin, i dont know whats available over there. Malachite green is a dye that has anti-biotic properies, but it will stain everything. I wouldn't put that stuff in a main display tank and would treat in a quarantine tank if you can. Alongside keeping water pristine with plenty of water changes that will give your fish the best chance of recovery. Malachite green can be used alongside aquarium salt if you want to continue with that.

Can you take a read through the "unhealthy fish" sticky and give as much detail as you can. It might provide some more information and give some clue to cause.

https://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums/f17/
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Old 08-14-2022, 07:10 AM   #3
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1~What type of fish is afflicted? In addition, please describe what is wrong with the fish to the best of your ability (i.e. cotton like growth, bloated, etc.).
Betta fish

Noticed 2 days ago his lips looked abnormally large, then it was clear he was being very lethargic. Normally very active but now just stays near the surface barely moving all day. Looking closer there is a white strip on behind upper lip that can be seen in picture from above. Did larger water change, and cleaned decor. Thought it could be a result of over feeding which I now realize I was doing so I have been fasting him since Thursday afternoon, and added about 1.25 tbsps of aquarium salt.


2~What are your tank parameters (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, temp, pH)? Please give exact values.

Ammonia:0-0.25
Gh: 180(could be higher, this is the maximum reading on my test strip)
Kh: 80
Ph:7
No2:0
No3:0
Temp: 82 Fahrenheit



3~ How large is the tank? How long has the tank been set up?

5 gallon, a little over a month

4~What type of filtration are you using? Please give the name and number (i.e. Fluval 304) and amount of gph if known.

Top Fin Silentstream 10 Power Filter with cartridge


5~How many fish are in the tank? What kinds of fish are they and what are their current sizes?
Just the beta, I did however attempt to add some neon tetras but they died very quickly, this was 1 week ago


6~When is the last time you did a water change and vacuum the gravel? How often do you do this? How much water do you remove at a time?
Water change 25% weekly, haven’t vacuumed gravel as there are live plants with root tabs.


7~How long have you had the fish? If the fish is new, how did you acclimate it/them?
Had him about a month, floated his bag for 15m, then added a little bit of tank water and waited 15m more, did this 2 more times then added him to tank

8~Have you added anything new to the tank--decor, new dechlorinator, new substrate, etc.?
Tried adding neon tetras, and a new decor this was a few days before he started being sick

9~What kind of food have you been feeding your fish, have you changed their diet recently?

Aqueon betta food mainly. Recently started some omega one freshwater flakes as well about a week ago
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Old 08-14-2022, 07:31 AM   #4
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You arent cycled. But, with just a betta in there you probably arent going to see any issues due to this if you regularly change water. Your water parameters are currently safe, but the lack of nitrate shows that ammonia isnt being processed into nitrate.

What may have happened here is the addition of neons may have upset things for a couple of reasons.

- As you arent cycled the addition of more bioload would have put a lot more ammonia into the tank and elevated water parameters to harmful levels which in turn lowers fishes immune system and make it more likely they pick up illnesses.

- A 5g tank isnt really big enough for a group of tetras. They will be overcrowded, stressed, and stressed fish will act in unexpected ways. This could be aggression. Maybe your betta didnt tolerate the new fish and killed them. Maybe the tetras harrased your betta stressing him and causing ill health issues.

Any idea what caused the neons to die?

Going forward, stick with a betta in the 5g tank. If you want something else to look at, either stick with a snail or get a bigger tank that has a bit of space for fish to spread out a little.

Good luck with whatever treatment you are able to obtain in Canada. Can you get myxazin?
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Old 08-14-2022, 07:50 AM   #5
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Thank you for the quick reply.

My best guess for the neons is the water just wasn’t compatible, I noticed it was quite hard, the PH at that time was probably closer to 7.5-8(saw this afterwards) The betta seemed curious about them but not aggressive, at least while I was watching.

Learned my lesson about tank sizes and will stick to just the betta in the 5 gallon, looking at 20 gallon now for some tetras.

Can’t find myxazin yet but I’ll keep looking, there are some herbal based things readily available but I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews. From everything else I’ve read the aquarium salt is supposed to work well so I hope that does the trick.

How were you able to tell the tank is not cycled? The lack of nitrates? I thought nitrates, nitrites and ammonia were all supposed to be as close to 0 as possible?

I’m just a beginner at this but trying to learn as quickly as possible!

Thanks again!
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Old 08-14-2022, 08:23 AM   #6
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This water not being compatible is just misinformation. When you look online at what water parameters should be for specific species they are looking at what they live in the wild, not what water people sucessfully keep fish in. It might be an issue if you are buying wild caught fish or possibly trying to breed fish, but unless your water parameters are way out there you shouldnt see an issue. pH below 8 is fine. Most of these commonly kept fish are very adaptable and can be kept in a wide variety of water parameters. If you bought the fish locally, they will likely have been bred and raised locally in similar water conditions to what comes out of your tap.

Medications with malachite green will be in with the herbal remedies and should be available in canada. There is a product called kordon malachite green that im seeing for sale in Canadian dollars. Have a look through the active ingredients on the bottles of what you have available.

Yes. I can tell you arent cycled from your water parameters. You are reporting trace ammonia and zero nitrate. The nitrogen cycle turns ammonia into nitrate, so a cycled tank should have zero ammonia and nitrite with some nitrate. Unless you did your water test after a near 100% water change you will see some nitrate in a cycled tank. A 50% water change only removes half the nitrate, you should still see some.

The goal is to have zero ammonia and nitrite, and to control nitrate through water changes. 40ppm is considered a good upper limit for nitrate. If you change some water weekly, you wont get anywhere near 40ppm nitrate with just 1 betta, but you should see some. In fact, if your tank has live plants they need nitrate as a nutrient. If you arent producing enough nitrate from your fish you need to use a fertiliser that contains a good amount of nitrate.
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Old 08-14-2022, 10:25 AM   #7
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Thank you for all the information, I learned a lot. I see the malachite green available online so I’ll order some now. Hopefully it gets here in time
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