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Old 01-20-2018, 04:00 AM   #1
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Fish keep dying (all same symptoms)

Hello everybody! I'm new here and in desperate need of some advice. I'll try not to make an epic tale out of this but I have a feeling it will become so anyways as I try to be as detailed as I possibly can.

I have a 16g freshwater aquarium (Coralife BioCube to be exact - complete with filter, biorings and carbon and also have an airstone.) The aquarium has been cycled for nearly 8 months. I have an API testmaster kit and all of my water parameters are measuring as they always have and in good condition.

I keep losing fish and absolutely every single loss has been a result of the same thing. All of the fish I have lost show the exact same symptoms - one right after another and I just lost my latest fish today who was absolutely, POSITIVELY acting fine last night when I left for work. When I came home today I couldn't find her and you absolutely cannot miss her because she was a bright yellow glofish tetra. I finally found her after frantically searching and she was nose down in a fake plant decor and I put her in a breeder net and she passed away (and she would not eat a pea).

The symptoms I'm referring to are sudden loss of motor skills after previously being (or seeming) completely and totally fine. They'll be fine and then suddenly begin swimming on their side, doing nose dives and basically a loss of control of what they're doing. The fish that I just lost (her name was Pierre) I've literally had for the entire duration of having what I hoped was a healthy, thriving tank (so 7 or 8 or so months). She's been the "Queen", so to speak, and hasn't shown a single sign of illness or falter so I'm at a total loss for why she was fine last night and today she's gone and this has gone for all of my previous losses.

I do a 30-35% water change every single week using the exact same chemicals in exact same amounts and siphon the gravel. Every two weeks I ring out the sponge that carries the filter media and rinse the filter media as well. I also DO NOT OVERFEED MY FISH. I have a remainder of four fish now (two guppies, two glofish tetras) and my research shows that under good care guppies and tetras should live AT LEAST a year OR MORE. So what can I do? If all of my fish keep dying and dying in the exact same manner as the previous fish and I can't find the root cause then I feel I'm just murdering them if I can't even keep them alive or figure out the exact cause.
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Old 01-20-2018, 06:11 AM   #2
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Death in a day with no previous symptoms says columnaris to me .
Read this link and see if one of strains match up..
https://r.search.aol.com/_ylt=AwrBTz...PGXuplrHjzKfA-
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Old 01-20-2018, 07:26 AM   #3
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Can you tell me more and give advice on it?! I’m doing my research as best as I can and even though I know situations vary, Columnaris usually has physical signs according to my reading so far. None of my fish have shown a single physical sign after death. I’ve taken a pretty decent look at them after they’re deceased and they literally just look like a dead fish. So I’m confused.

I want this hobby to work. ☹️ I actually had a few good 3 or so months where not a single death occurred and now I’m left with am emptying tank.

Edit: Sorry, I didn’t see the link you posted at first. It’s so very hard to make a determination since no physical signs show up - before or after death. I just know I need to do something before I lose my remaining fish. 3 of the 4 I’ve had from the get-go and I’ve already felt like I’ve failed.
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Old 01-20-2018, 07:40 AM   #4
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This is my next go to link for columnaris.
http://r.search.aol.com/_ylt=A0LEVxT...sqXY7FYfL9YN4-
I will add that recommended treatment [kanamycin and furan 2 used together ] cure many bacterial issues so the exact diagnosis is not always needed..
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Old 01-20-2018, 08:23 AM   #5
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Thank you. Do you think a proper aquarium salt solution will be enough or should I invest in an actual medicated treatment?
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Old 01-20-2018, 08:30 AM   #6
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Go with medicine . I am all against salt [use NONE ] and consider columnaris the fish equivalent of our flu.. It unlike the flu is usually a death sentence for most fish. If any fish show the signs [separation ,hovering in one unlikely place ] I would euthanize them as part of treatment..
Many consider columnaris the worst 'commonly occurring issue ' they have ever dealt with, and success is highly unlikely for an individual fishes recovery.
IMO you are not trying to save individual fish but more so the tank now...
If this pathogen is allowed to exist you will never be able to keep fish in the tank for any period of time that is appreciated..
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Old 01-20-2018, 12:05 PM   #7
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Sounds like shock.how do you rinse the filter and media? Every 2 wks is too soon. Imo.. And if your completed cleaning it, might be putting them into shock.
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Old 01-20-2018, 05:33 PM   #8
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I was about to ask about the filter media as well. Never rinse in tap water as you'll kill all the good bacteria. Simply rinse it out in a bucket of tank water. You might be starting the cycle over every time if you are rinsing it in tap.
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Old 01-20-2018, 06:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carrie1 View Post
I was about to ask about the filter media as well. Never rinse in tap water as you'll kill all the good bacteria. Simply rinse it out in a bucket of tank water. You might be starting the cycle over every time if you are rinsing it in tap.
Exactly
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Old 01-21-2018, 02:19 AM   #10
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I never rinse my filter media in tap water,. I rinse it in used aquarium water. I’m hope I’m not that stupid, lol. I also never rinse my aquarium decor in tap water either.

Coralbandit, would you mind providing a link to good and legitimate medication? Thank you.
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Old 01-21-2018, 02:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nocturna View Post
I never rinse my filter media in tap water, nor did I specify. I rinse it in used aquarium water. Iím not that stupid, lol. I also never rinse my aquarium decor in tap water either.

Coralbandit, would you mind providing a link to good and legitimate medication? Thank you.
Holly crap! So sorry. You never know.
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:32 AM   #12
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From the second link I provided ;
Treatment Information:
STEP ONE:
The obvious first step is lowering stressors and improving water quality as outlined in these sections:
* "What is Columnaris",
* "Identification & Causes",
* Prevention"
* Parameters to Consider for Prevention and Treatment of Columnaris
This also includes lowering water temperature to 75F (24C).
Failure to follow step one and just treating with medications is akin to asking someone for burn relief medications while still standing in a fire!
STEP TWO:
Additional salt is helpful at a dose of 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons OR HIGHER.
In fact a study at the Alabama Agricultural Experimental Station, Auburn University has shown increasing salt concentrations used with Channel catfish (along with heat reduction to 75 F) can treat Columnaris (Flexibacter) infections. This study flies in the face of anecdotal advice about not using salt with catfish.
See the chart to the above/left for the mortality rate of Catfish with Edwardsiella ictaluri (which is a similar gram negative rod bacteria to Columnaris) treated with salt at different levels, please click to enlarge.
References:
*Edwardsiella ictaluri
*Alabama Agricultural Experimental Station, Auburn University
You can see from the diagram that the best results were achieved at a dose of 3000 milligrams per liter; based on the weight of salt this converts .67 teaspoons per liter or 2.54 teaspoons per gallon. This is Much more salt than many aquarists commonly believe a Catfish can tolerate.
Please keep in mind that this amount of salt is NOT meant for long term use, rather just the duration of time it takes to reach a cure for the Columnaris infection.
This amount of salt is most simply used in a 30 minute bath, however as per this study it can be used in the main display aquarium/tank. If added to the main aquarium, I recommend building up to high level suggested by this study over a 2 day period.
STEP THREE:
A Fish bath or swab in Merbromin, Methylene Blue (not to be confused with malachite green), or Potassium Permanganate has also helped speed cure in most instances for my clients fish (or my personal fish) and SHOULD BE part of most Columnaris Treatment regimens!
IN FACT a direct swab of Merbromin has been very helpful from my experience for Columnaris external lesions of all kinds, except for those within the gills. The effectiveness of Merbromin lies in the fact Merbromin is an organomercuric disodium salt compound and a fluorescein that is effective on external infections because of its permanence, and lethality to bacteria, IN PARTICULAR COLUMNARIS!
Reference: Aquarium Fish Merbromin External Columnaris-Bacterial Treatment
Caution, do not use Potassium Permanganate with open sores present or directly on gills.
Product References:
*Merbromin; from AAP
*Potassium Permanganate; from AAP
*Kordon Methylene Blue 4 oz, from AAP
In fact with many instances of Columnaris the Methylene Blue Bath (or the even more strong, but more carefully administered Potassium Permanganate bath) was the main factor of treatment that affected a cure as per many tests.

See the picture above/left for a Betta also displaying secondary Fin Rot that literally was on "deaths door" (laying on the bottom with little response) that recovered with a treatment regimen of Kanamycin & Salt as well as regular fish baths which included Methylene Blue, Salt, and Kanamycin.
Please click to enlarge.

The Bottom line is a Fish Bath and maybe a swab too is a MUST part of any moderate to serious Columnaris infection treatment!
With Methylene Blue or Potassium Permanganate I prepare a double strength bath and place the fish in this solution for 30 minutes).
I strongly recommend this bath as a FIRST course of action.
Furan Two AND Kanamycin SHOULD be added to this 20-30 minute bath for more serious or stubborn cases, HOWEVER do not combine these medications or any others with Potassium Permanganate, ONLY Methylene Blue can be combined.
Product Resources:
*Furan 2, Nitrofurazone; from AAP
*Kanamycin,; Kanaplex from AAP
Please see this article for more about Baths:
ďFish Baths, Dips, Direct Treatment ApplicationsĒ
As well as the above noted baths, direct applications (swabs) of Methylene Blue for mild cases of Columnaris applied to external areas of infection can help with recovery.
Methylene Blue can be improved as a swab by adding sulfa drugs or more simply by mixing equal parts of Maracyn Plus (Sulfamethazine and Trimethoprim) & MB and applying this swab. A similar combination using a now discontinued "Aquatronics" product worked well to check infection spread directly on some fish.
For more serious cases, Hydrogen Peroxide or Diluted Potassium Permanganate applied as a swab may be your only chance to check the spread of a more serious infection of Columnaris.
Make sure NO Potassium Permanganate gets into the gills, if this happens, a 2-3 normal dose of SeaChem Prime or similar product added to a fish bath and used immediately for this fish is suggested.
Product Resources:
*Maracyn Plus from AAP
Reference for use of Hydrogen Peroxide: Aquarium Medications 3, Hydrogen Peroxide
STEP FOUR:
Many fish diseases, it should be noted, are caused by different bacterial or fungal pathogens that often exhibit similar symptoms, so identification of a specific bacterial or fungal pathogen is not often possible from mere visual inspection of the symptoms on the fish.
By using broad-spectrum treatments such as a Furan Two & Kanamycin COMBINATION against diseases with similar symptoms affecting fish, precise identification of specific bacterial or fungal pathogens causing the disease that often display similar symptoms may not be absolutely necessary.
Please note that the combination of BOTH Kanamycin AND Nitrofurazone MUST be used for effect against true flavobacterium columnare infections, otherwise the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of these medications individually is too low.
I have also noted reports that while I have enjoyed good success with the above treatment method, assuming water parameters were spot on (including Redox and water temperature), that the failure rate is increasing.
This can be and likely has a lot to do with over breeding of certain fish such as many Bettas, resulting in weak genetics.
However antibiotic resistance is also likely on the increase, which is why this antibiotic combination should not be used on a regular basis every time your fish "burps".
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