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Rapidly spreading infection on a female betta - columnaris?

Joined
7 Jan 2021
Messages
146
Location
Nottingham, England
My beautiful 9 month-old community betta developed white patches on her head and fins after I turned up the tank temperature (it was a bit low at 23*C - turned up to 26*C and a few days later this appeared). It was really subtle at first, looks obvious in the picture below but I could only get it under the right light. Water parameters are all OK and nothing else is sick ( a few recent troubles with otocinclus but they don't appear to be related).

princess.PNG


I removed her to a hospital tank and treated under the assumption it's columnaris, as follows:
  • No heater or filter, 90% water change twice daily (logic being columnaris is an aerobic bacterium with an optimum growth temperature 25-30*C, so this is probably a better way to starve it out? Room temp is 21*C)
  • Added Interpet anti-fungus and finrot which can supposedly treat it, and cover all bases
  • Added chloramine T, which supposedly is used in the trade to reduce the incidence of it
Unfortunately she's gotten worse overnight and it's now spread to her body and gills. She's still behaving and eating normally.

Can I get a second opinion on what this might be, and how best to treat it? Unfortunately fairly stuck with the lack of antibiotics in the UK.

Cheers
 

sparkyweasel

Member
Joined
30 Jun 2011
Messages
2,599
I would keep her at a healthy temperature, she will be more able to fight the infection.
And I wouldn't mix different medications unless they have been shown to interact well with no adverse interactions.
 

spleenharvester

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7 Jan 2021
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146
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Nottingham, England
Hi all,

Increased the temp to 26*C and continued with the existing meds (they don't seem to be interacting adversely) - unfortunately she's no better but also hasn't worsened at all. I've ordered some stronger stuff specifically active against columnaris, so hopefully she can hang on until it gets here.

Cheers
 

spleenharvester

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7 Jan 2021
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Location
Nottingham, England
Last update - I made a decision to change her onto Tetra Lifeguard tablets as there are a few reviews saying they are effective against columnaris. It seems to have done the trick, her scales are still a bit of an odd shape but the white fluffiness has gone.
 

spleenharvester

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7 Jan 2021
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Location
Nottingham, England
The discolouration came back within a week of her being re-introduced - it's been 3 weeks and it doesn't seem to have gotten any worse though, and she is showing no signs of distress. Possibly just scarring or something?

IMG_20220201_205945.jpg
 

spleenharvester

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Nottingham, England
Quick update, it's gotten worse again so I've moved her back into quarantine, this time I've been able to get hold of some NeoPlex. I've finally gotten a good close look at her scales and it does look like there are very small cotton wool-like growths in the grooves, so I'm thinking it is columnaris. I've had a couple of otos die with columnaris-like lesions in the past 6 months so I think it's possible there is something in there.
 

spleenharvester

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7 Jan 2021
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Location
Nottingham, England
This started getting worse again (below left) so I treated with NeoPlex. After less than a week it's already looking a lot better (below right). Would suggest that it's not columnaris as columnaris is inherently neomycin-resistant.

gcu2wmizu1g81.png
IMG_20220211_132005.jpg
 

Bettyblue

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Joined
25 Jul 2022
Messages
2
Location
Nottingham
Hi, we bought a female Betta from a local aquarium shop in February this year who has what looks like exactly the same thing on her head. We've treated her with Myxazin and with Esha2000 and it hasn't got any worse, but not cleared. She seems fine in herself and has an extremely good appetite. Looking at the photos of your fish I'm wondering, a) if she's still okay? and b) since we're both in Nottingham, whether they might both be from the same place? Not wanting to name names on here, but its a local independent supplier selling half moon females. Thanks for your time.
 

xZaiox

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Joined
31 Mar 2022
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201
Location
Maidstone, UK
Hi @Bettyblue - I'm obviously not the person who started this post, but just letting you know that those medications will absolutely not be effective for Columnaris (if that is what you're dealing with). Columnaris is a gram negative bacteria, and unfortunately most over-the-counter antibacterial fish medications in the UK are usually mild antiseptics that target gram positive bacteria. For Columnaris, you really want a potent antibiotic such as Seachem's 'Kanaplex'. If your fish is sharing a tank with any other fish, I would strongly advise separating her if possible, because Columnaris is highly contagious.
since we're both in Nottingham, whether they might both be from the same place? Not wanting to name names on here, but its a local independent supplier selling half moon females.
If this is actually Columnaris that you have, then it's unlikely to be very important where it came from, because the bacteria is present in the majority of home aquariums, it's actually really difficult to fully eradicate, but thankfully the beneficial bacteria in our tanks usually prevents it from becoming a problem.

Hope some of this helps.
 

Bettyblue

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25 Jul 2022
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Nottingham
Hi Ed
I'm not sure it is columnaris, it doesn't seem to fit with the description's I've read and she's had it for maybe a month now and generally seems fine - lively, friendly, good colour, extremely good appetite - just has a sort of weird coarsened patch on one side of her head, only really visible from certain angles She's on her own now, apart from a nerite, after being expelled from the community tank after eating four rasbora (she's now 'my fish' as she's in my study!). I'm reluctant to keep putting in medication while she's well (the nerite has only been back a week after the Esha), but worried in case it does suddenly get worse. We're relatively newbies, set up the first tank in January, second tank had to be cycled a bit quick after she started her rampage, but filter media, some substrate, plants and an ornament came from the first tank and parameters have been fine and she's not been showing stress stripes.
P1190874.JPG
 

xZaiox

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Joined
31 Mar 2022
Messages
201
Location
Maidstone, UK
@Bettyblue do you have any other pictures of the area in question? I'm not really too sure what I'm meant to be looking at in the picture above. Columnaris has a few different strains - some are fast strains that will rapidly take down fish within hours to days, and some are slower strains that take longer to kill. Since you said she's had this patch for a month or so now, we can definitely rule out fast Columnaris strains, and frankly I would find it very unlikely to even be a slow Columnaris strain.

Does she have any other identifiable symptoms? Does she hide much and/or act skittish? Does she ever poop stringy white/clear threads or is she normal there? Does she ever flash/itch herself on the aquarium decor? I'm assuming this tank she's in has 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite right? It's good that her appetite is strong.
She's on her own now, apart from a nerite, after being expelled from the community tank after eating four rasbora
Sorry to hear this, betta fish can certainly be... temperamental 😬
 
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