Columnaris In Betta: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention & Treatment

Have you noticed any strange white cottony things in your betta? Has your betta been tense lately? If this is the case, your betta is likely to have Columnaris. If left untreated, your betta might be in for a lot of trouble as this is a pretty frequent illness in your betta.

Columnaris in Betta fish has multiple names like cotton wool disease or saddle back disease. Apparently, it looks like a fungal disease but it is a bacterial infection that is contagious for Betta fish. Its symptoms include lethargy, white patches, shedding of scales, lack of appetite, rubbing against the tank, or mouth turning flaky.

As betta owners, we understand your frustration and struggle when your betta becomes ill, so we’ve set out all you need to know about columnar and how to avoid it in this article. However, to have a deeper understanding of it, read the entire tutorial.

What exactly is Columnaris in Betta?

This fungal illness, also known as cotton wool disease or saddleback disease, is extremely frequent in tropical fish in the aquaculture sector. This is caused by germs, and the condition can be deadly if not treated promptly with the appropriate treatment.

What Exactly Is Columnaris In Betta

Where does columnaris illness in Betta come from?

The bacteria flavobacterium columnare is the primary cause of Columnaris illness. This is quite prevalent in freshwater organisms that thrive in water with colder temperatures. They are present when the temperature falls between 53 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit. This bacteria is so widespread in freshwater that it may even enter the tank through the tap. As a result, the only tanks that stay columnar-free are those that have been carefully treated for columnaris. If not treated, they may reintroduce columns into the tank with a freshwater change.

Can Columnaris have an effect on a Sick Betta?

This question has a simple answer: YES. If your betta has a current or prior bacterial infection, the saddleback illness will be simple to develop.

What is the Cause of Columnaris?

Columnar can be caused by a variety of factors, but whether it affects your betta relies on its immune system. If your betta’s immune system is robust, it may not be impacted since the internal system will be able to fight the bacteria, however, if the internal system is weak, your betta is more susceptible to illnesses, including columnar.

1. Clashes With Tank Mates

If you have a lot of betta in your tank, the bioload will be high as well. In this situation, your tank filter will not function effectively since it will not release waste from the tank, resulting in more waste in the tank and worsening the water quality, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria, and therefore columnaris or other illnesses may appear.

2. Overstocking Of Fish In The Tank

If your betta has hostile tank mates and they don’t get along, it’s best to keep them in a different tank since they’ll always be in a bind and may become wounded or stressed which lowers the immune system of the betta and makes it more susceptible to disease.

3. Poor Water Quality

Overstocking is not the only cause of poor water quality; if you do not make frequent water changes, the condition in the tank worsens, allowing bacteria and other germs to thrive in the water and damage your betta. It does not only happen with columnaris, but with any sickness, because poor water conditions weaken the betta’s immune system and make it more susceptible to disease.

4. Shifting/Fluctuating Water And pH Levels

Both of these things put your fish under stress, weakening their immune system and making them more susceptible to illnesses like columnaris. If the water temperature drops below 78 degrees Fahrenheit and the pH level does not remain between 6.8 and 7, the situation might get much worse.

5. Terrible Diet/Low-Quality Food

If you feed your betta poor/low-quality betta pallets, it will be unable to live a healthy lifestyle since its immune system will be impaired, reducing its ability to fight germs and making it more susceptible to sickness.

6. When You Add New Fish Immediately To The Tank Without Quarantining It For A Few Days

The bacteria and parasite eggs connected to the fish may be brought in and make a mess in the tank. This is why it is usually recommended that you isolate your betta for a few days before introducing it to the main tank to limit the possibility of illness transmission.

What are the signs and symptoms of Betta Fish Columnaris?

Because of its cotton-like nature, columnaris is a very visible illness. However, this isn’t always the case because it might occur or not. If you suspect your betta has columnaris, keep an eye out for the following signs and symptoms.

  • The fins of the betta begin to rot away in the early and earliest stages of the columnar. However, you must first determine if the rot is columnar or fin rot ( another disease found in betta).
  • After the fraying of fins, If your betta has columnaris, you will observe ulcers and lesions on its body. This will let you quickly establish whether your betta has columnaris or not, as with fin rot; nothing happens other than the fins decaying.
  • Another step forward, you may find white hazy material developing on your betta’s body. This may be visible around the mouth and gills, but it can appear on any area of the body and resemble a saddle. Some individuals mistake it for an itch or white patches, but this is not the case.
  • Your betta’s gills will become brown in the latter stages. Such a shift in hue indicates that therapy will be impossible and that treating the disease at this stage will be difficult. The skin of your betta dies, and it displays indications of labor or heavy breathing owing to injured gills.

Other Betta Fish Columnaris Symptoms

These are the considerably more severe signs of columnaris in your betta, which makes it much easier to identify.

1. Mucus will begin to coat the gills, mouth, head, and dorsal region. The immune system of your betta is doing all it can to remove the columnar off its skin and out of its system.

2. Your betta’s lips may swell and begin to rot if left untreated for an extended length of time.

3. Because their mouths get contaminated, they lose their appetite and may refuse to eat at all, causing their immune systems to deteriorate.

4. Bettas will also try to brush themselves against ornaments, the tank’s side, and the gravel. This is an attempt to eliminate the illness from their skin since it is bothering them.

5. A more typical indication that you may observe is that they gradually lose their vibrant colors. However, this can happen whenever your betta is sick and isn’t always connected to columnar, so make sure your betta is experiencing additional symptoms before making a diagnosis.

6. In the most extreme circumstances, the illness may cause your betta’s head to be eaten away. If your betta has reached this stage of columnaris infection, the only option is to euthanize him because there is nothing else you can do. You’ll die a long and terrible death if you don’t.

If your betta is not facing any of these symptoms then this means that it might be suffering something else like fin rot or itch.

How to Treat Columnaris in Betta Fish?

If you detect a Columnaris epidemic in your Betta tank, you should isolate your fish as soon as possible. A hospital tank is an excellent addition to have since it allows you to swiftly treat the water. You will have to treat your entire Betta aquarium if you do not have a hospital tank.

1. Get your betta into a quarantine tank before you do anything else to set it.

2. Make sure your quarantine tank is free of anything that might damage your betta. You should also fill the tank with conditioned tap water.

3. Even though a betta’s ideal temperature is 78°F, lower the temperature to 75°F while dealing with columnar. Columnaris thrive at warmer temperatures; hence temperatures below 75°F will make survival and growth difficult for the bacterium.

4. Now that your tank’s temperature is correct, you should begin treating your betta with antibiotics. Furan 2 is a good choice, and you should follow the guidelines on the container or seek professional advice.

5. Aquarium salt should be used in conjunction with Furan 2. This will help to lower his stress levels and enhance his immune system. Before using aquarium salt, read the recommendations carefully, albeit 1 teaspoon every 5 gallons should be enough.

6. If you’re using Furan 2 & Aquarium Salt, make sure you do a complete water change before re-dosing, or your betta might be in much more trouble.

7. When you’re still treating your betta, you really should do a 25% water change every 3 or 4 days in your main tank. This will help you get rid of any lingering columnaris in your tank.

8. Your betta should start to improve in a few days if you follow these steps and catch columnaris early enough. You’ll need to move to a stronger antibiotic like Kanamycin if your betta’s health worsens.

9. You might also try combining Kanaplex with Furan 2, but keep in mind that this could damage your tank’s biological filter, forcing more water changes.

How to Prevent Bettas from developing Columnaris?

As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Preventing a columnaris outbreak in your aquarium is the easiest way to deal with it. Here are some tips for preventing columnaris infections in your betta and tank.

1. Check to see whether your tank is overflowing — An overloaded tank is one of the most prevalent causes of columnaris. Trash and bacteria will gather quicker than you and your filter can remove them if this happens. As a general rule, you should have 1 gallon of every inch of fish in your aquarium. (However, bigger fish will need more space.)

2. Cleaning your tank on a regular basis may seem like a bother when the water appears to be in good condition. Even if the water appears to be clean, it might contain harmful germs. Vacuum the gravel and remove any algae from your tank on a regular basis. Germs have an ideal breeding environment when fish waste settles at the bottom of the tank.

3. Regardless of the size of your tank, replace the water on a regular basis. The smaller the tank, the more water you’ll need to replace, and the more often you’ll need to do it.

4. Disinfect heretofore used equipment — If you’ve previously used any equipment to treat sick fish, disinfect it well before using it again. Your tank will be entirely saturated with bacteria after just one reintroduction.

5. Make sure your fish aren’t being violent – If your betta is attacking other fish, or other fish are attacking your betta, remove the offender as quickly as possible. All other fish’s immune systems will be weakened by aggressive fish. Your betta will be more prone to columnar if she has a compromised immune system.

6. Feed your betta a well-balanced food — Bettas require a lot of meat. They can get malnourished if they don’t eat enough meat. And if they’re underweight, they’re more susceptible to contract columnaris, as well as a variety of other illnesses.

Is the Illness Columnaris Betta Fatal?

Cotton Wool illness may wreak havoc on your pet’s body and rapidly kill them. The length of time it takes to kill your Betta fish depends on the water conditions, age, and stage of sickness.

Columnaris can kill your fish in two or three days if left untreated. It takes one or two days for ulcers or other signs to appear, providing you a tiny window of opportunity to cure and preserve your Betta.

Even with therapy, columnaris can be lethal. It depends on how much harm the betta fish had sustained before you interfered.

Is Columnaris Contagious in Humans?

No. Columnaris, thankfully, is not zoophytic. It cannot move from your Betta fish to a human, like many other fish tank germs.

However, tropical fish, including your pet Betta fish, is very infectious. Older fish stressed fish, and Siamese Fighting fish who are currently infected with germs are more likely to contract Columnaris from their tank mates.

Is it possible for Columnaris to Vanish on its Own?

No, Saddle If left untreated, back illness can be deadly. Many times, your fish will perish before you realize there is a problem. Cotton Wool sickness kills Betta fish within 48 to 72 hours of the first signs appearing.

In the presence of Columnaris, How long can a Fish Survive?

The disease spreads quickly and kills your fish before you realize there is a problem. Columnaris will exhibit signals within one or two days. It is fatal within two to three days, this treatment must be started very away.

How long can Columnaris exist without s Host?

Freshwater bacteria called Flavobacterium column may live for up to 30 days without a host. This implies it might survive for up to a month in your fish tank if you add water.

In older or treated water, bacteria are not present. Without a host, Columnaris may live in water for up to 35 days.

Why does my betta have a fuzzy appearance?

The “Fuzz” on your pet is an indication of a fungal illness. Columnaris might be the culprit. Other pathogens besides Flavobacterium columnare might be causing the problem.

Fortunately, many of these diseases have comparable therapies, allowing you to treat a variety of fungal infections with the same drugs.

The Bottom Line on Columnaris In Betta

Finally, Columnaris is a dangerous bacterial illness that can kill your betta fish. Although this condition may be treated, it’s far preferable to avoid it by keeping your tank clean and well-maintained, quarantining new fish, and avoiding overcrowding and other stressful situations.

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