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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Over the nearly 3-year life of this aquarium, I have been pretty fortunate in having only minor incidents requiring minor adjustments to resolve. Overall, I have had a pretty stable community of freshwater fish and inverts with pretty stable water parameter (with shifts occuring slowly over time and in controlled fashion such as addition of CO2 use of minor infusions of baking soda and so on).

Unfortunately, I am struggling with a lethal outbreak of disease in the tank following the introduction of several fish from a lps into what has been a stable and health community of fish for several years (yes, the fish were acclimated, I dosed w/stress-ezyme, etc.,). With regard to onset, I believe it was between 24-48 hours after introduction that the first deaths started to occur. Initially, I observed the minnow fish (celestial diano and cardinal tetra) were the first to die and have been the focal point of the disease; however, it has spread and hit one large swordtail, one small tiger hillstream loach, one small flame tetra, and a few sparkling gourami. Interestingly, I have not observed deaths in the dwarf cory, julii cory, ottos, and SAE. It is also significant to note that the plants and inverts appear unaffected prior to and throughout the treatment to date.

After the death of the first three minnow fish, I took pretty standard action including a water change (40-50%) w/prime, dosing with extra stress-zyme, increasing aquarium salt to highest recommended dosing, and use of metafix and pimafix. After 3-days, I have notice symptoms and remove those fish from the tank (no survivors). In addition, I have boosted the minimum temperature to 80 (typically varies from 74-82 depending on weather and whether house is opened-up or AC though temperature is not suddenly changed).

Even so, I have experienced the loss of several fish a day (often over night). Initially, I did not notice any specific symptoms until late in the second day. At this point, several minnow fish had white film-like patches on their bodies and one cardinal tetra had lost color in the connective area between body and tail (though not the body or tail).

Although I have no intention of dosing my aquarium with copper or such poisons (that could ruin the tank), I would appreciate any help. I have considered and am willing to capture all of the remaining fish and treaming them with a chemical bath though have no experience and would benefit from guidance.

Thank-You - In Advance

Current Water Parameters (Morning Readings)

7.4 pH 8.5 KH 6.5 GH 0.0 Ammonia 0.0 Nitrate 0.0 Nittite 0.25 Phos
80-degree temperature

Celestial Diano - White Disease Spot (Image 1)

Celestial Diano - White Disease Spot (Image 2)
 

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Looks like Flavobacteria columnaris.

This Gram negative bacteria thrives:
high Nitrate
high temperature
stressed fish (stressed by handling, or wrong conditions in the tank, social issues... )

Can be slowed by:
Melafix/Pimafix
lowering the NO3
lowering the temperature under 76*F

Can be killed by:
Most aquarium antibiotics, but especially antibiotics that are strongest acting against Gram negative bacteria.
Be sure to do some really thorough tank cleaning, and clean the filter before you start. Many meds act by latching on to organic matter, and can latch onto decomposing leaves, fish waste, fallen food and so on. When there is less of these things in the tank the medicine can latch onto the disease organisms better.
Flex can also be treated with antibiotic fish food. This is a very good way to treat them, if they will eat the food. You can make your own frozen food and incorporate some antibiotics like Kanamycin.

Fish can be helped by:
Keeping them at the proper temperature, not stressing them with too high temperature.
Adding a small amount of salt, like 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons. This is not a dose to kill anything, just help the fish with osmotic regulation while they are fighting this disease.
Keeping the water parameters at the optimum levels for the fish: Lowest possible nitrates, proper GH and TDS for the fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Diana,

I begin with a 'thank-you' for your help.

On the way home, I picked-up a bottle of Rally by Ruby Reef by Ruby Reef given it is listed "not harmful to fish, invertebrates, corals, etc., nor does it affect the symbiotic algae vital to corals or other beneficial bacteria" (i.e., Rally by Ruby Reef). In addition, I picked-up HydroPlex by Ruby Reef for possible dip and initial bare-tank and bucket quarantine process and hospital tank for the future. Moreover, I was advised in a similar fashion on another forum "cooler temps and kanacyn antibiotic" which I assume is similiar to or the same as Kanamycin. Unfortunately, I did not get this information until I was home and will return to the petstore tomorrow to see about purchase.

I was curious what thoughts you might have on Rally and HydroPlex by Ruby Reef. Thank-you, again,

~Tyger (Michael)~

Looks like Flavobacteria columnaris.

This Gram negative bacteria thrives:
high Nitrate
high temperature
stressed fish (stressed by handling, or wrong conditions in the tank, social issues... )

Can be slowed by:
Melafix/Pimafix
lowering the NO3
lowering the temperature under 76*F

Can be killed by:
Most aquarium antibiotics, but especially antibiotics that are strongest acting against Gram negative bacteria.
Be sure to do some really thorough tank cleaning, and clean the filter before you start. Many meds act by latching on to organic matter, and can latch onto decomposing leaves, fish waste, fallen food and so on. When there is less of these things in the tank the medicine can latch onto the disease organisms better.
Flex can also be treated with antibiotic fish food. This is a very good way to treat them, if they will eat the food. You can make your own frozen food and incorporate some antibiotics like Kanamycin.

Fish can be helped by:
Keeping them at the proper temperature, not stressing them with too high temperature.
Adding a small amount of salt, like 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons. This is not a dose to kill anything, just help the fish with osmotic regulation while they are fighting this disease.
Keeping the water parameters at the optimum levels for the fish: Lowest possible nitrates, proper GH and TDS for the fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Update, Status, & Thank-you

Flavobacteria columnaris appears to be the consensus from multiple sources. It was a sad educational experience reading about this bacteria - especially the lethality and speed with which it will devastate a tank. With regard to acclimation to general water conditions, I have been pretty good - clean holding container, slow drip line, and plenty of time 30+ minutes on slow drip. On the other hand, I have no quarantine procedure. I really only took one precaution - making sure that I do not purchase lps fish that are newly arrived (generally wait a week).

In truth, I have kept tanks for years throughout my adolescence (5+ yrs), a few years in college (3+ yrs), and for close to 3-yrs with this set-up (my serious planted tank). So, I guess that I have been super fortunate to never have had more than the rare minor problem here-or-there which have been easily treated. So, I guess I am learning a hard lesson late. It is also a much more expensive lession at this stage since I have the budget for some of the fish I could not afford earlier in life. It really makes no sense not to run a quarantine process in a smaller tank or even heated and filtered bucket and treat with appropriate agents prior to release into main tanks.

One of my big mistakes was not appreciating the degree of lethality in some infectous organisms as I have never encountered something as quick as this bacteria.

With regard to my tank, I did a full-water change (85-90%), dropped temperature, added aquarium salt, and given the advice and diagnosis implimented treatment agent for freshwater fish that focuses on gram-negative bacteria though is listed "not harmful to fish, invertebrates, corals, etc., nor does it affect the symbiotic algae vital to corals or other beneficial bacteria" (i.e., Rally by Ruby Reef). In addition, I picked-up HydroPlex by Ruby Reef for possible dip and initial bare-tank/bucket quarantine process and hospital tank.

Although the death rate among the cardinals and celestials has been brutal and sparkling gourami have suffered a few causalities, I believe that the rest of the fish are holding their own at this point in time. If another of the minnows perishes, I will cull the rest of them as they seem to be particularly vulnerable and treat the rest of the fish.

Thank-you, for your help and your empathy. I love my aquarium and the hobby. So, I look at it as a hard sad lesson though it will make my future tanks better. In the worst case scenerio, I will use it as an opportunity to shift this tank to mineralized topsoil and do some rescaping (though it is always better to do so on your own terms rather than lemonaide from lemons).

If things clear-up, I may take the opportunity to pull the suvivors aside in a quarantine set-up (bare bottom smaller tank) and do a strip-down with the rebuild using mts in any case. Oh well, I guess we'll see.

Again, thanks,

POST-SCRIPT: I did read "cooler temps and kanacyn antibiotic" and I will look into this antibiotic tomorrow as it is too late tonight (stores closed). Thank-YouDiana,
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good news! It appears that I have suffered no additional losses over from last evening through 8:15am with the speed at which the bacteria was moving through the system especially the minnows it appears to be a good sign (the last two tetras and celetisal diano are swimming about without unusual behavior or spottting. I also discovered that several sparkling gourami were hiding and the loss was only a single fish. It is amazing that the Cory habrosus, Cory False Julii, and SAEs seem unaffected by the bacteria. I see snail (spiny trumpet) and amano shrimp are moving about as well. I am going to leave the lights on for bit while feeding them and a few hours tonight for the plants though otherwise lights out and additional treatment.

In terms of treating, I should not that I did a 85-90% water change, added the full dose (for 65-Gallons) of Rally by Ruby Reef, let it sit for 10-minutes (a bath level dosing of sorts), and then slowly filled tank to 70% full (20-minutes) and then let it sit for about 1.5-2 hours prior to filling-up the tank. It was my hope to give a nice concentrated dosing at a bath level followed by a somewhat higher dosing for 1.5-2-hours. I also continued to dose with Melafix and Pimafix (after full). After 70% (water level) which was achieved in late evening, I turned-off lights and the canister filter just adding two microbubble air stones with battery powered pumps that I use in the event of power outage and kept it that way over night.

At this point, I am running the cannister and lights while feeding for an hour and will dose again following the run. I am holding-off on HydroPlex dip with existing fish though will be looking at quarantine tank-bucket options later today. While I got slammed, I have a good number of survivors and the tank appears to be 'rallying back.' I sure hope so.

Well, it's been a pretty expensive and sad lesson. We have groups - fraternity and pimp 'x' - though I think that I have just joined the unofficial "quarantine first" group.

I will update through the next few days so folks know what final results with the hope of continuing to post positive results. Thank-you, again,
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Update: Final report - tank rallied

UPDATE:

I am happy to report that it has been 48-hours without any additional automatic fish or losses. Given the heavily planted nature of the aquarium, I cannot account for all of the amano shrimp though I have seen three at one time which is about half-of-them though I have feeling most or all survived. RCS are fine. Inverts are fine. Although the minnow fish took a serious hit to their schools, I had 3 Celestials Dianos and 2 Cardinal Tetras survive (along with the one ancient long-finned zebra diano). In terms of the other species, I experienced no loss in cory julii, plecos, or SAEs. It is difficult to tell with the otos and habrosus are difficult to count for the same reason as the amano shrimp though I pulled no bodies and their appear to have been no losses. In terms of non-minnow losses, I lost 1 swordtail (ancient, beautiful hi-fin, lyretail) who has been showing age for months (healthy though old), 1 flame tetra, 1 sparkling gourami (not more as I thought), and 1 small tiger hillstream loach. Amazingly, I had babies - swordtails and pure breed endlers in a flow through breeder attached that survived without losses.

In terms of behavior, I have seen a rapid return to full energy and normal behavior for each species - presenting as happy and healthy. In any case, I will dose Rally by Ruby Reef as instructed (3-days) though I believe that the storm has passed.

Incidentally, I will note that I can now highly recommend Rally by Ruby Reef. It stopped rampant infection cold without a single death after it was used. MY USE: As I noted above, I did a full 85-90% water change using cool water, put in the full dosage for aquarium, and let it sit for 10-minutes (creating an intensive bath), added full dose of Prime, filled tank to 70-80% capacity, and again let it sit at a slightly higher concentration than dose for 2-hours, and then filled it to capacity. I shut-off all of the lights (in part as it was late evening though would have no matter what), kept the cannister filter "off" and running two-battery powered micro-aire stones for water movement and oxygen. I continued to half-dose with Metaflix and Pimaflix to slow the progression though neither prevented infection. After 24-hours, I ran the cannister for 1-2 hours in the AM, 1-2 hours in the PM, and off-over night primarily to cycle contaminated water from filter to tank and cycle Rally into filter(continunig to dose Rally). I turned on the filter today and will run without charcoal for the day (3rd day). With regard to Rally, I will say that it stopped this rampant infection cold without a single death after it was used.

Personally, while I intend to quarantine all new comers, I plan to keep a full-bottle of Rally in stock. I have not used the HydroPlex for bath or hospital tank though will do so as a part of the quarantine process when I begin to slowly restock some of the minnow fish in 3-4 weeks (after the baby swordtails and enders are exchanged at the lfs).

Again, I want to thank Diana who offered clinical support and advice. It helps and matters,
 

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I had the same infection strike my tank after introducing fish earlier this summer, although it was a bit more subtle-looking. I didn't know what I was dealing with (was leaning toward neon tetra disease) and tried to fight it for over a week with simply good husbandry... water changes, dim lighting, etc. Man, in hindsight, what a mistake. One day just for kicks I treated the tank with some decade old Maracyn Two and the remaining fish recovered completely in 24 hours. I set up a quarantine tank after that experience.
 
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