Columnaris In Guppies: Is It Fatal And How Do You Treat Them?

Columnaris is a bacterial infection that affects guppy fish and other livebearers. The infection spreads through the presence of columnar bacteria present in all fish tanks. It’s also known as saddleback disease, guppy disease, or cottonmouth disease. Though, it’s not to be confused with dropsy.

What Causes Columnaris In Guppy Fish?

Columnaris In Guppies

The bacteria Flavobacterium Columnare causes columnaris. This bacteria is present in all aquatic systems, and in the fish living in those systems. This includes fish tanks, outdoor ponds, and even your fishbowl.

Under normal circumstances, Flavobacterium Columnar does not cause problems for healthy fish. But, stressful factors can lead to an outbreak. Things like overcrowding, poor water conditions, and environmental changes can cause an epidemic.

Is Columnaris Contagious To Other Fish?

Columnaris disease is contagious and often leads to death. It enters through the fish’s gills, mouth, or wounds.

Symptoms of Columnaris

Symptoms of columnaris include frayed or ragged fins. Eventually, the ulcers develop on the body of the fish. After, white or cloudy fungus-looking patches appear.

Columnaris causes the fish’s gills to change in color, often becoming light or dark brown. Labored breathing, lethargy, and a lack of appetite are also common side effects.

How To Treat Columnaris In Guppy Fish?

Antibiotics or chemicals can treat columnaris. For instance, adding copper sulfate, Furan, or Terramycin to the tank water can treat columnaris.

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Terramycin can treat the water or you can mix it in food to get rid of internal infections.

Can Salt Cure Columnaris?

For guppies, adding a bit of salt to the water can help reduce stress on the epithelium. About 1 to 3 teaspoons per gallon of water are enough. Salt treatments can be used to disinfect the water which contains columnaris cells shed by those infected fish and can prevent the transmission of the disease.


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