Sent: 27 April 2016 02:05
Subject: weatherloach problem
My weatherloach has a problem. I've lost 3 and a 4th has started to develop
this on his mouth. It appears to be a flesh eating nasty starting in white
crystals then leaving a hole in the skin. It devoured the face of one. All
fish were harmlessly euthanized. The local fish stores had no idea what is
causing this. This has only happened over the last 2 weeks in a well
established tank. Do you have any idea what could cause this , have you
seen it before . Tank parameters are ok. 1000 ltr tank. Temp. 24.3C.
<Hard to pin this down precisely, and it may well be viral in origin. It
doesn't look entirely bacterial to me, and more reminiscent of Fish Pox and
Carp Pox, for example. I'm also worried about the substrate though, which
is far too coarse for Weather Loaches, though whether it's the reason the
skin was damaged is hard to say. Water temperature is also a bit high for a
subtropical fish, but again, unlikely to be the immediate cause of the
problem, though conceivably a stress factor that made a viral problems more
likely. I wouldn't rule out heater burns, either, because these fish do
have a tendency to wrap themselves around solid objects at the bottom of
the tank. To be honest, I'd suggest visiting Loaches.com and posting the
photos on their Forum. There might be someone there who has seen this.
Thanks for your response, I also have one that has the same except it has attacked the face destroying the feelers on one side and half the face.
<Glad to offer what help I can... if the folks at Loaches.com come up with
a better diagnosis, let me know! Cheers, Neale.>
Flavobacterium columnare is the current name. Used to be called Flexibacter columnare, so you might find more info using that name.
Columnaris is a Gram negative bacteria that usually attacks fish in tanks that are stressed.
Columnaris thrives in water that is warmer than 76*F (24.4*C)
Columnaris thrives in water with high NO3m high levels of organic matter,
It prefers more alkaline water, but can attack fish in acidic water.
Most antibiotics that treat Gram negative bacteria will work, though some may be better than others.
There are several strains of Columnaris.
The initial attach makes the skin of the fish look white or off white. It often (but not always) attacks around the dorsal fin, giving it one of its common names, Saddle Disease. It can cause fin rot (so can other organisms.
In game fish it often attacks gills. It might also attack aquarium fish here, but it is so difficult to see the gills on smaller fish that this is not often noted as a symptom of aquarium fish.
I would put the fish in a hospital tank that is cooler, and do enough water changes to keep ammonia and nitrite 0 and nitrate under 10 ppm, and lower is better. Share some media from the filter of the tank the fish are in to help with the ammonia and nitrite levels. If the fish is still eating, then medicated food is probably the best way to treat.
All you ever wanted to know about Flavobacterium columnare:
https://veterinaryresearch.biomedcentra ... 9716-44-27
Happy fish keeping!
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