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WITH a microscope, scrapings from a columnaris lesion then placed under a microscope will reveal long, thin, rod shaped motile bacteria.
You have NO idea how long it took me to convince my 76 YEAR OLD WIDOWED MOM that she could at the very least make friends on these kind of sites!Please read both sections/articles in full for a better understanding of these common pathogens.With Columnaris, it is important to learn the effect stress has in outbreaks as well as the importance positive mineral ions and the role these cations play in adhesion of Columnaris by reducing surface potential and repulsive forces.As well, after reading both sections, hopefully the reader will understand how the success of treatment of Saprolegnia, as in the disease, Aeromonas is often improved considerably by improving water quality.Further Reference for Aeromonas: Treatment, Identification, and Prevention of Aeromonas, Septicemia, Furunculosis, Vibrio While success in "beating back" Columnaris is more aided (besides treatment) by removing stressors, such as a bullying fish or lack of electrolytes.This indicates that the fish more likely had Saprolegnia (or even Aeromonas) as you will see from reading the article in full.
Columnaris (often referred to in the past as "cotton wool disease" or "cotton mouth disease") is a warm water, gram negative strictly aerobic and nonhalophilic (meaning they do not live in saltwater conditions) bacterium often appears like a fungus (or more correctly; Saprolegnia) however it is not a fungus, although many treatments for fungus are effective for mild cases of Columnaris (Flexibacteria).
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This is NOT to say that sudden shifts in parameters such as spikes in ammonia (assuming an aerobic environment), can will not trigger Columnaris, as this too is a stressor that can allow for an opportunistic Columnaris infection.
HOWEVER, as I have noted many times in my years in aquarium maintenance and "sick fish" service calls; dirty, foul, under filtered, low oxygen environments, RARELY trigger Columnaris infections.
She wrote them two emails she said and now wants to just forget the whole thing! I am SO PISSED OFF at these HORRIBLE PEOPLE for what they did to my poor mom!