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Columnaria: symptoms, prevention, and treatment in an aquarium

Hello colleagues! I haven’t had a chance to write an article to my favorite blog for a long time, work takes a lot of time.

But today we will fix it and consider such a fairly common disease of aquarium fish as columnaria. The causative agent of this scourge are rod-shaped bacteria Flexibacter columnaris.

Unfortunately, this sore has such symptoms that are inherent in most fungal diseases, which further leads to confusion and incorrect diagnosis.

The affected parts of the body of the fish are covered with white incomprehensible formations that slightly resemble cotton wool. Just because of this symptom, confusion arises.

But there is one small nuance: in fungal diseases, these formations are white, and cotton formations caused by columnaris have a gray tint, in addition, they have a granular and coarser structure. In addition, columnaria does not develop so quickly, unlike fungal infections, and it can be determined by white fluff at the edges of scales, fins and near the mouth.

Flexibterter columnaris has another negative feature that the aquarist needs to consider. The fact is that the bacterium spreads in fresh water and at sufficiently high temperatures.

For this reason, the disease very often affects aquarium fish. The optimum water temperature for the rapid development of columnariosis is considered to be within 28-30 degrees. But it was noticed that the bacterium does not infect healthy fish, which have a strong immune system.

However, an infected fish turns into a breeding ground for bacteria, which allows the infection to infect other weaker fish.

Sometimes the disease can proceed without any external symptoms, but after a few days the fish suddenly dies. If the aquarist misses and later begins to take steps to identify and eliminate the pathogen, then the mortality rate of fish in the aquarium can reach 100%.

Viviparous (guppies, mollies, patcilia, swordtails) and labyrinths (lyalius, macropods, marble gourami, pearl gourami) are most strongly affected by columnariosis. But this does not mean that other types of fish will not get sick.

The main reasons for which an epidemic of columnariosis can break out in your pond is an overpopulated settlement and an insufficient amount of aquarium for your inhabitants. You probably remember that in the treatment of many diseases of aquarium fish, the main recommendation for an aquarist is to increase the water temperature.

But in our case, this recommendation is not suitable, as the epidemic will only intensify from this. High temperature helps to reduce the concentration of dissolved oxygen, which leads to rapid breathing of fish.

As a result, the infection will spread faster and hit the gills, which will later cause oxygen deficiency. In this case, the death of the fish is already inevitable, whatever you do.

  • the first sign of a disease is apathy and contraction of the fins;
  • infected fish can stand in one place and sway, or they will move around the aquarium in spurts;
  • the sick fish is kept near the surface of the aquarium and with this she has rapid breathing;
  • at the initial stage of the disease, small whitish-gray small formations may appear near the mouth, on the gills, on the head;
  • quite often the infection can spread in the mouth;
  • on the areas affected by bacteria appear like down formations and the edges of the scales turn white;
  • for a short time interval, white downy formations, the size of which can reach 5 mm, gradually cover the whole body of the fish and, at the same time, eat away the skin right up to the muscular
  • dorsal fin has a saddle shape;
  • also on the skin appear bruises with a thin border, which further leads to the corrosion of the skin. Fungi can usually form in open wounds;
  • in extremely rare cases, the body of the fish affected by columnariosis becomes almost black or red, resembling meat;
  • if the disease has spread to the gills, then it often becomes the cause of the destruction of the gill filaments;
  • due to the defeat of the internal organs, fluid accumulates inside the fish, which leads to straigraphy;
  • the last stage of the disease occurs with the collapse of the fins of the fish.

It is necessary to start the treatment of columnaria immediately, as the infection will quickly spread throughout the aquarium and all of your inhabitants may be exposed to infection. If you notice symptoms of sores in at least one fish, it is very important to treat all the fish from this aquarium.

The bacteria Flexibacter columnaris loves water with a hardness of more than 6, so water hardness will have to be reduced. Just do it not abruptly, but gradually, so that the fish do not have osmotic shock, which often leads to death.

Practice has shown that trays with phenoxyethanol bring good results. In addition, be sure to do for their pets bath with either methylene blue or the drug Merbromin. If the disease has penetrated into the internal organs, you will have to treat the fish with antibiotics.

The general aquarium in which the fish were kept must be thoroughly disinfected so that infection does not recur.

If you have bought new inhabitants for your home aquarium, do not rush to put them there, it is better to put them in quarantine. Careful attention should be paid to individuals in which you have noticed a penchant for solitude and fin clamps.

If, when buying a new fish, you saw white bloom or white formations, as well as unhealthy fins in the inhabitants of this aquarium, I would not advise you to take fish from this jar. The fact is that the concentration of columnariosis pathogens in such a reservoir is simply huge and the chance to get a healthy fish out of it is practically zero.

The second tip I would like to give you is to avoid overcrowding in your tank. The fact is that the tightness and overpopulation are excellent prerequisites for the reproduction of bacteria that cause columnaria.

Do not forget to regularly clean the aquarium and disinfect all of its attributes. Make yourself the rule to systematically replace about 80% of the water to fresh and defended.

If you suddenly notice the first symptoms of columnarias in fish, then you will have to do every day changes along with therapeutic measures until the last symptoms of the sore disappear. Such events significantly reduce the concentration of bacteria in the bank and help strengthen the immune system in fish. I would also like to note a couple of factors that are a catalyst for the spread of columnaria in an aquarium: a low oxygen concentration in an aquarium and a huge amount of organic matter.

Among the preventive measures can also be noted the success of adding salt to the aquarium water, taking into account the proportion of 20 liters of water 1 tablespoon of salt.

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