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Acute columnaris infection in channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus (Rafinesque): efficacy of practical treatments for warmwater aquaculture ponds


Dr A E Goodwin, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, 1200 N. University Drive, Mail Slot 4912, Pine Bluff, AR 71601, USA


Columnaris disease was induced in channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus (Rafinesque), by bath exposure to four highly virulent isolates of Flavobacterium columnare. In untreated controls, mortality began 20 h after exposure and reached 100% by 48 h. Mortality in channel catfish given antibiotic treatments with oxytetracycline or a combination of sulphadimethoxine and ormetoprim in feed prior to bacterial challenge was zero with all four strains of F. columnare. Diquat® (Zeneca Agricultural Products, Wilmington, DE, USA) was the most effective bath treatment; mortality with all four strains was zero. With potassium permanganate, chloramine-T, hydrogen peroxide and copper sulphate, bath treatment efficacy varied significantly among strains (P = 0.0346) and among treatments (P = 0.0033). Bath treatments with chloramine-T and potassium permanganate significantly reduced (P < 0.05) mortality from 100 to 75 and 69%, respectively, but copper sulphate and hydrogen peroxide treatments were not effective. Based on our results, oral antibiotics prevented columnaris disease but, of the bath treatments, only Diquat® produced a dramatic reduction in the mortality of acutely infected fish. Diquat® is labelled for aquatic use as an herbicide in the USA but in large ponds it is prohibitively expensive.