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Without a microscope, Columnaris can look like Saprolegnia and is often treated as fungus, sometimes with poor results.
The best way to tell with the naked eye (using a magnifying glass) is the hair like growth structures of Saprolegnia/Fungus.
It also might be your kid's attempt at humor, which can be appropriately juvenile.
Possibilities might include: Certain types of fish are known for their appearance or behaviors.
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Please read both sections/articles in full for a better understanding of these common pathogens.
The picture above left is of fingerling Rainbow Trout displaying a characteristic white saddleback lesion caused by Columnaris bacterium & of a Rift Lake (Malawi) Cichlid displaying classic Columnaris symptoms after stress and injury often caused by an over-crowded cichlid tank However do not confuse Columnaris with the spores of Saprolegnia the cotton wool ball with hair like growth structures seen on damaged fish.
Also the progression of Columnaris is often simply aided by weak genetics (a VERY common cause with Bettas) which unfortunately there is little that can be done here other than culling weak fish, which sadly in many instances should be done to stop the spread/progression.
This is also where I find incorrect confusion between Saprolegnia and Columnaris since both look outwardly similar; persons and websites often state that they aided the cure of Columnaris by cleaning a dirty aquarium.
As well weak genetics from in-bred fish (as with many Guppies and Bettas) or fish such as "feeder" or "carnival" goldfish that are often permanently damaged for early life crowding are also often at risk for Columnaris infections.
Unfortunately the above point is missed by many who often cite dirty, stagnant, or otherwise poor water conditions as cause of Columnaris, but since Columnaris is aerobic, it simply cannot thrive in poor water conditions that are low in oxygen as can Aeromonas or Saprolegnia.If your fish is not one of the common types listed above, you may still find a name that appeals to you on this list.To come up with your own name, consider factors like the reputation of the type of fish, unique markings, or behavior.WITH a microscope, scrapings from a columnaris lesion then placed under a microscope will reveal long, thin, rod shaped motile bacteria.