Successfully Treated Columnaris!

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Aquarium Advice Newbie
Aug 16, 2010
I have kept bettas my entire life. I've gone a couple years without them, but in the past I was lucky and never had a betta get a disease. Unfortunately that was not the case recently. I purchased a 5 gal Chi and a cycled it. I purchased a betta. I tested the water- no ammonia, no nitrates, no nitrite, PH mid 7s, Water hard, temp 77 and acceptable alkalinity. Tank matched betta's store water closely, so I put the betta in, he was a little stressed due to the current.

Fine for a month, then very fast case of columnaris. Over night it grew and in the morning he was suffocating, the columnaris had almost entirely encapsulated him, I treated with antibiotics, but too little too late.

Then I had to disinfect my tank, substrate, etc. I boiled and baked everything.

I purchase betta number 2. Tank is cycled, etc. Put in betta #2 and he is good for two days. I find him hiding, I take him out and look at him under the light. Columnaris AGAIN! I immediately test the water (hardness outrageous) others alright or same except the nitrate was around 5ppm

Columnaris can thrive in water with alot of minerals so I decided to opt out of the tap water. I ran to the store got spring water, drinking water and purified water (12 gals). Took tank water and made a high concentrated bath of antibiotics in a cup, placed betta while I made a mix of water and added some baking soda to bring ph up to a 7.0. Added Maroxy, Marcyn-Two and Marcyn in proper doses. Put Betta back in tank after an hour and observed. Betta was really sick, and columnaris was growing rapidly, so I opted for some dreaded salt dips (3xs) an hour apart. After each salt dip, betta started to behave and move around more. Every day I added the appropriate dosage of Maroxy, Marcyn-Two and Marcyn. (since filtration affects the level of antibiotics/ can filter them out I also added extra sprinkles about 1/12 of a dose of Marcyn and Marcyn-Two per day. I also directly applied salt water with a q-tip to the worse part of his anal fin. Betta is looking GREAT, vibrant, colorful, active. Now I'm just waiting for the tissue to heal from where the columnaris ate it's way through!
I had Columnaris tear through my mbuna tank a few months ago that cost me over half of my stock. I tried Melafix , Pimafix, salt, Maracyn 1/2, and Maroxy and finally a local aftrican breeder told me about Jungles Fungus Clear and that's the only thing that stopped my strain. Remember there are different strains of the disease. But congrats on stopping it.
I don't keep freshwater, but felt compelled to stop and thank you for signing up and sharing this info with the community. Welcome to AA, and thank you!
What worked?

I'm not sure what worked. I really feel it was the combination of everything, not just the Mardel products. If I don't think betta 2 would have survived without the addition of salt dips and direct application to betta's body with cotton swab. Betta 2 is doing great. Fin is starting to heal. But now my Betta 2 has become quite the picky eater. Here is his pics! Pics not great- he sees camera and zips back and forth at the strange thing approaching his tank!:p
I had to replace plants- they did not like the treatment.

I'm no fish expert- but generally I've had great luck with fish. I have gold fish from state fairs that lived forever 7+ years- probably because I made my own indoor pond so they had lots of space, a filter and very natural habitat except they lacked true weather conditions.

And my bettas they've lived 5+ years so I was sad to see one so quickly lost to columnaris. I'm not an expert- just lucky and never a believer in cups or bowls. I think my 5 gal is to small for betta but I can't justify a larger tank for just mr. betta.

betta 001.jpg

betta 002.jpg

betta 008.jpg

betta 007.jpg
I also believe my tap water is the culprit of my columnaris outbreak. People probably should not drink my water- very, very corrosive. Does anyone have suggestions on what water to use? I've been mixing purified, distilled and spring and adding baking soda to get the correct ph, etc.

Any suggestions?- tap is out of the question.
I would stop using the pH adjusters, they cause more harm than good.

Your betta is a beaut! I think 5 gallons is perfect for one betta, anything bigger seems to stress them out. :)

Not sure about the water deal. Can you drive to the next town or something and get water there?
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