Does my oto have columnaris?

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Shinyshiny054

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I have 3 oto’s, all from the same place, though one purchased two weeks after the first. The affected fish is the largest of the 3 and had a torn dorsal fin from the start. It has now developed a dreaded white fuzz and a red line has appeared. Also in the tank are a number of chilli and spotted/dwarf and 2 amano shrimp and a couple of bladder snails. Checked the water parameters and these are all fine; soft water with a 6-7 pH, no ammonia, nitrites or nitrates. I’m in the Uk, so if it is columnaris, can you recommend what treatment to use? Also should I keep all fish in situ? I don’t have an empty tank; the other one has guppies
 

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I see nothing that suggests columnaris. Your otto got a broken hard ray on its dorsal fin, probably from having been snagged with a net when catching it at the store. If it survives, it will loose permanently the portion of the dorsal fin that is currently hanging.
Whether it will survive is hard to predict, but it is possible depending on conditions. Ottos need good quality water (with as low nitrate level as possible), a well established tank/filtration (no new tanks), algal films to browse on (as they develop in a established tank), and some flow. They also are quite social.
The main risk at this time is the settling of a secondary infection (bacterial or fungal) on the wound. If the chances of that can be avoided (via water changes and not overfeeding), it may survive. The dorsal fin will not fully regenerate, but it could live fine.
 
There is Saprolegnia fungus on the dorsal fin ray and the red would indicate blood or bacterial infection. Add some salt and see how it looks in a couple of days.

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SALT
You can add rock salt (often sold as aquarium salt), swimming pool salt, or any non iodised salt (sodium chloride) to the aquarium at the dose rate of 1 heaped tablespoon per 20 litres (5 gallons) of water. If there is no improvement after 48 hours you can double that dose rate so there is 2 heaped tablespoons of salt per 20 litres.

Keep the salt level like this for at least 2 weeks but no longer than 4 weeks otherwise kidney damage can occur. Kidney damage is more likely to occur in fish from soft water (tetras, Corydoras, angelfish, Bettas & gouramis, loaches) that are exposed to high levels of salt for an extended period of time, and is not an issue with livebearers, rainbowfish or other salt tolerant species.

The salt will not affect the beneficial filter bacteria, fish, plants, shrimp or snails.

After you use salt and the fish have recovered, you do a 10% water change each day for a week using only fresh water that has been dechlorinated. Then do a 20% water change each day for a week. Then you can do bigger water changes after that. This dilutes the salt out of the tank slowly so it doesn't harm the fish.

If you do water changes while using salt, you need to treat the new water with salt before adding it to the tank. This will keep the salt level stable in the tank and minimise stress on the fish.

When you first add salt, add the salt to a small bucket of tank water and dissolve the salt. Then slowly pour the salt water into the tank near the filter outlet. Add the salt over a couple of minutes.
 
There is Saprolegnia fungus on the dorsal fin ray and the red would indicate blood or bacterial infection. Add some salt and see how it looks in a couple of days.

--------------------

SALT
You can add rock salt (often sold as aquarium salt), swimming pool salt, or any non iodised salt (sodium chloride) to the aquarium at the dose rate of 1 heaped tablespoon per 20 litres (5 gallons) of water. If there is no improvement after 48 hours you can double that dose rate so there is 2 heaped tablespoons of salt per 20 litres.

Keep the salt level like this for at least 2 weeks but no longer than 4 weeks otherwise kidney damage can occur. Kidney damage is more likely to occur in fish from soft water (tetras, Corydoras, angelfish, Bettas & gouramis, loaches) that are exposed to high levels of salt for an extended period of time, and is not an issue with livebearers, rainbowfish or other salt tolerant species.

The salt will not affect the beneficial filter bacteria, fish, plants, shrimp or snails.

After you use salt and the fish have recovered, you do a 10% water change each day for a week using only fresh water that has been dechlorinated. Then do a 20% water change each day for a week. Then you can do bigger water changes after that. This dilutes the salt out of the tank slowly so it doesn't harm the fish.

If you do water changes while using salt, you need to treat the new water with salt before adding it to the tank. This will keep the salt level stable in the tank and minimise stress on the fish.

When you first add salt, add the salt to a small bucket of tank water and dissolve the salt. Then slowly pour the salt water into the tank near the filter outlet. Add the salt over a couple of minutes.
I would not add salt to that tank it will throw the plants out of whack; if you want to treat the otto with salt i would remove it and treat it in a sep hospital container; just be aware that otto need to graze so you need to remove some of the mature hardscape that have decent load of biofilm. I made the mistake of treating a tank once with salt; sure the fishes got better but then i had to spend two years dealing with the issue it created for plants; once things got out of balance it took a *long* time to get them back into balance.
 
What would you recommend as a hospital container and does it need to stay in there? Eg, can I remove it, treat it and pop it back in the main tank or does it need a home until it’s better, in which case I’ll need a heater and filter. There are some small tanks on Gumtree I could pick up, though the other half isn’t going to be delighted with the appearance of yet another tank 😏
 
What would you recommend as a hospital container and does it need to stay in there? Eg, can I remove it, treat it and pop it back in the main tank or does it need a home until it’s better, in which case I’ll need a heater and filter. There are some small tanks on Gumtree I could pick up, though the other half isn’t going to be delighted with the appearance of yet another tank 😏
I would recommend a hospital container; for treatment if you have a live spare sponge filter and if needed heater. If you have a small piece of mature drift wood and some floating plants i'd move them with the otto to keep it company and give it some biofilm to eat. The treatment will take less than a week but it will take more than 24 hours I think though @Colin_T can provide you his recommendation there. I usually keep extra sponge filters in my aquarium so i always have a live spare one somewhere but not sure of your setup. I also keep 5 gallon food safe pails around for treatment if needed (never used with anything but aquairum; in usa they are cheap $3-$5).
 
Good advice there, but you're in Scotland so you can do a course of Protozin in the main tank for fungal issues. In the UK (Europe) we have much milder treatments for most fish diseases than they have in the US.
 

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