Name of disease: Columnaris

Other names: Cotton mouth disease.

Type of disease: Bacterial.

Occurrence: Very uncommon, affects all types of freshwater fish.

Symptoms include: Cottony growth or white threads blowing out of mouth, lethargy, clamped fins, thick heavy slime coat, dry skin.

Caused by:

Although Columnaris might look at first like a fungus, it is not. It is a type of bacterial infection and must be treated as such. Actual fungus growth can be, however, an indication that bacterial problems exist. Fungus feeds on dead tissue created by bacterial infection. You can treat for the fungus and still miss the culprit.A bacterial infection can be an indicator, that some sort of parasite is in the tank system. Columnaris, like a lot of other bacterial diseases, can be prevented by quarantining new fish, improving water quality, reducing organic debris in the tank

Treatment: Feed medicated food like Medigold or Romet-B, treat with Pottasium Permanganate (see description in the medicine section), injection of antibacterial medication if available. Melafix will also work well in aiding the infection.

Very clean water and maracyn 1-2, used together, was a very effective treatment for columnaris. within 3-4 days the telltale "threads" blowing in and out of my comets mouth had disappeared. meanwhile, his fins perked up and he started eating regularly again. salt dips at a solution of 1.5% for 5-10 minutes (or until the fish stops swimming, even after a nudge or two) really helps to clear up the heavy slime coat that is most likely prevalent. the dips can safely be used for up to three days at a time (before, during or after treatment). if the slimecoat still persists, let it rest for a few days and continue with another round of dips.

Precautions: As long as water conditions are not improved, Columnaris is always a possibility. With most diseases, the quality and conditions of the water is a primary risk factor in keeping goldfish happy and healthy. Since a lot of medications, like PP, can wipe out beneficial bactria, it is important to remove or bypass the biological filtration during treatment..

Medications: Potassium Permaganate (pp), Tetracycline, and Maracyn