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FAQs on Bird Wrasses: Health

Related Articles: Bird Wrasses, Sociable to the Point of Exuberance! The Bird Wrasses, Genus Gomphosus by Bob Fenner

FAQs on: Bird Wrasse Identification, Bird Wrasse Behavior, Bird Wrasse Compatibility, Bird Wrasse Stocking/Selection, Bird Wrasse Systems, Bird Wrasse Feeding, Bird Wrasse Reproduction, Related FAQs: Wrasses 1, Wrasse Selection, Wrasse Behavior, Wrasse Compatibility, Wrasse Feeding, Wrasse Diseases,

White spot on Bird Wrasse? 3/24/11
Good Morning Wet Web Crew!!
<Troy, good morrow to you>
Hey I have a Male (Green) Bird Wrasse and I have had him now for a year and half. He has a great appetite and is very active in the tank. All my water parameters test perfect and I have him housed in a 100 gallon fish only system. My question is (and I have searched the FAQ and other web sites) The wrasse has formed small white line below his left eye that shoot down wards.
<I see this>
They almost look like eye lashes. The area is very white (like a white patch). I can't figure out what it is or how to remedy it.
<Is almost certainly a physical injury site... Naught but good care is called for here. Perhaps supplementing foods...>
I have included some pictures but he is very fast and not photogenic. So the pictures are a little tough to make out. After reading a lot of other write ups on Bird Wrasses I see that they can get stressed from other tank mates. I do have a Maroon yellow stripe clown that does chase him and has become much worst on bulling him.
<This will have to be addressed>
He can't catch him because the Wrasse is so fast, but I'm wondering is this what is causing the white eye lash type spot beneath the eye? If so I have other tanks and would probably do both of them better if I removed the Maroon clown. Is this white spot life threatening over time? He has had it for at least 9 months now?
Troy Holdren
<This Gomphosus likely scraped it's head on summat in the tank, or jumped up, hit the top. Bob Fenner>

emergency!!! Gomphosus... hlth, nutr. 7/26/10
Hello, I have a green male bird wrasse(I know all males are green). I have had in my 110 gallon tank for 6 years now with 3 diff puffers, they all eat well
and have gotten along fine for 6 years (got them all within a 3 month period of each other.
Ten days ago when I turned on the light he didn't get up from his place and greet me like usual, and a while later when he finally tried he was swimming funny, like had buoyancy problems or something.
When it was time to eat he never even tried to eat, and he was breathing heavier. I tested the water, and nitrates were a bit high , but I had done a 10 gallon water change 3 days before and don't really test my water much since I know when there is a problem and maybe nitrates are always higher because of my puffers...
<I see>
Anyway's, I fig he was drying of old age since there was nothing else wrong...have done 3 other water changes since then, he still hasn't eaten and is still alive , but I feel horrible and feel like I am just watching him die..he is still alert and notices me and gets excited to see me moves from spot to spot every few hours but has trouble....any suggestions??
<Yes... the issue of foods... many Gomphosus are apparently lost due to insufficiency syndromes>
If I need to medicate I need to do it fast...but wasn't sure nothing I read says what he is doing...please help
<I've recently separated the FAQs for the two species of Bird Wrasses. Read here:
and the linked files above, particularly, Feeding... Bob Fenner>
Re: emergency!!! Gomphosus hlth. 7/26/10

ok well I read all that stuff , but still dont think it is his food, he has eaten well for 6 years..how long do they normally live in an aquarium?
I read usually only 4 years...he is 6. And I know he gets enough I feed him on one side of tank and puffers on the other. I feed frozen krill, frozen silversides, pe Mysis, sometimes,: frozen squid, flake, shrimp pellets, and also greens about every 3 days...And I watch all my fish at feeding time. I m just confused and dont like to watch him suffer.....
<... sorry to state, I know nothing more to relate than where I referred you to. BobF>

Gomphosus Trouble 10/30/08 Hi folks. My fish is stressed and unhappy; therefore, so am I. <We all have those times, sorry to hear.> I received a shipment of 3 fish this morning: a Sargassum trigger, a clown trigger (over which I'm irritated-he's acclimating well, but given his tiny size{had I known how tiny I wouldn't have purchased him}, and the lousy survivability of these small fish, I'm not keeping my hopes up.), and a male bird wrasse (Gomphosus varius). My concern is the wrasse. He was obviously sickly and distressed in the shipping bag, which I expected, but given that they're a tough species, I figured on a quick recovery. For the last~4 hrs. he's lain on the bottom on his left side, gilling heavily and in poor color. The Sargassum and the clown are in the 20 gal. quarantine tank with him, and they seem to be doing fine. The wrasse is ~4.5 in. snout to end of tail. The quarantine tank is bare bottom with a few hunks of rock. No lighting. Ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite are 0.0. pH is 8.4, and salinity is 32.5 ppt. I was almost ready to move him into the main tank wherein the conditions overall are excellent, being that its a well established tank-but given that I have a powder blue tang in there(8 months, and so far, so good!), I just can't run the parasite risk. <Agreed.> I ordered them from PA and they had to come all the way to WA, which I think was a mistake-I should have bought from a closer retailer. <Should not be an issue if properly packed/shipped. Their initial journey to the mainland was undoubtedly much longer.> Still and all, I had expected to have fewer acclimation issues with the wrasse than with the other two. I don't figure he'll hold out much longer, so in a retrospective way I'm asking what I could have done for a wrasse in this condition. Because of his poor condition I did a pretty quick acclimation, slowly pouring cups of water into his shipping bag, rather than the usual drip siphon. I think I will put some sort of shelter over him, but other than that (I also added Polyaqua to the water), I'm not sure there's much else I can do. If you've got any suggestions for now or for future Gomphosus(the once and future Gomphosus?), I'd sure be thankful. <Not really, it sounds like you know what is going on. All we can do as aquarists is acclimate and treat any diseases/disorders that can be identified. We cannot control collection, shipping or holding damage, only hopefully nurse a fish back when possible.> Thanks for any ideas or insights. ?Joe <Welcome, good luck my friend. I apologize for the slower than normal reply. Scott V.>

Blind Bird Wrasse? 8/30/08 Hi Crew I have a 5 inch Green Bird Wrasse that is in a 135 gallon long with a 5 inch Purple tang and 3 inch Maroon Clown. He has not eaten in 2 weeks and I think he's blind? <May be> He will swim from time to time but seems to bump into the glass. <Bad sign> I was in there cleaning today and he lays on the side of a rock for the most part. I also had a lionfish that went blind in the same tank a few months ago and died. <This is telling> The bird wrasses eyes are not white but when I put my finger right by him he doesn't seem to know I'm there? He will take off when I touch him though. My lights are 2 36inch 196 watt compacts. I don't have any corals in tank just live rock so was thinking of downsizing lights but I sure like how the tank looks with the compacts. Is that what is blinding him? <Is one possibility... I think/consider that avitaminoses is a more common cause... and there are parasites that can lead to blindness> I have had him for 8 months and was doing fine till now? I want another fish maybe an angel but want to find out what is blinding them? Not sure if its the type of fish I'm choosing are lights? Are bird wrasses prone to blindness like lionfish? <Mmm, not nearly so> Thanks for any insight are pointers. <What foods? Do you use HUFA, Vitamin et al. supplementation? Take these yourself? You should. Bob Fenner> Re: Blind Bird Wrasse? 8/31/08 Thanks for the reply He is fed Formula 2 flakes along with silver sides and he will eat the algae strips I put in for the Tang. His eyes do look clear and I tried putting a small piece of shrimp on a feeder stick touching his nose and he wouldn't eat it. Interesting about the parasites causing blindness. What kind of parasite causes this and if treated will he regain his sight? <There are various Protozoans, worms...> I have a established 20 gallon long set up as a hospital tank that's ready to go. He's a neat fish and I love his green color in the tank. Thank You Mr. Fenner <Welcome... Do keep trying the HUFA/Vitamin additions... and keep the faith. These episodes do at times reverse themselves. Bob Fenner>

Green bird wrasse... too much rostrum 7/26/08 Hi Crew, Over the past two years, my green bird wrasse has developed a growth on his beak that seems to be getting bigger and bigger. <I see this... in your excellent pic> It is affecting his coordination and eating and he has lost quite a bit of weight. We have been hand feeding him but it does not seem to be sufficient; I'm afraid he's going to starve to death. Is there anything to do in this situation? <Mmmm... have seen this before...> Can the growth be removed by a vet? I found this site where someone removed the growth (http://gtaaquaria.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1164) but, even if done by a vet, it seems a bit cruel to subject a fish to that. What are your thoughts? <I have encountered this situation before... and suggested that folks try excising the extra tissue as well... though I have not done this myself. Please do take a look at the Gomphosus FAQs on WWM over the next week or so... Perhaps someone with more real experience will see your note, chime in. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Thanks,

Possible ich and how to proceed... Not Crypt 11/6/07 Hello, <Hi there> I have a Bird Wrasse that I believe may have ich. I have read Bob Fenner's articles, Marine Ich, Cryptocaryoniasis; Marine Aquarium Fish parasitic Diseases, and Scott Fellman's article Marine Ich: Fighting The War On Two Fronts. I would like some direction before I proceed. <Okay> First, my Wrasse has developed a "bubble" on the top portion of his beak <This is a natural developmental growth... likely> and has had labored breathing for about 2 weeks but was eating and swimming well. His eating and swimming started to slow down and he began to remain in his cave lying on the sand. He is very shy and will hide from everyone but me - until now. He has not eaten in 4 days as of today and only moved yesterday because I was cleaning. Several days ago I saw what looked like sand on him. <Not uncommon...> Today I have been able to see him better and it is definitely not sand. I can see white flecks on his body and fins. I cannot see his head very well as he is facing the back of his cave. <... do you have other fishes present? Are they showing symptoms?> I am certain that the buffeting is causing him stress. I believe at one of the BTA's is also causing him stress and quite possibly may have been stinging him. One of my BTA's moved down toward the opening of the cave. This mean that Mr. Wrasse could not enter or leave without touching the BTA. I have repositioned the rock with the BTA as well as another rock in front in an attempt to keep his tentacles from touching. I am hopeful that the BTA will not move back down. I have 90-gallon tank with two Eclipse hoods modified to fit power compacts and a SeaClone protein skimmer. Yesterday I cleaned the tank and adjusted some rocks around Mr. Wrasse's cave (there is an opening in the front and the back) because my Maroon Clown has been nonstop buffeting, covering Mr. Wrasse with sand, which is partially why I had originally thought it was sand. Moving the rocks a bit did not stop my Clown from buffeting (I didn't expect it to). I was hoping to relieve Mr. Wrasse from the amount of sand being thrown in his face. <The Maroon clown may be a big part of the problem here> As for additional inhabitants, I have a Longnose Hawkfish, a Royal Gramma, a Copperband Butterflyfish, <This last would show Crypt first... or most any protozoan infestation... ahead of the Wrasse> a sand starfish, a tube anemone, and three BTA's, several snails, hermit crabs (several quite large), and various other growing things that look to be some type of sponge (some yellow, some white/clear), and 2 somethings. <?> I don't know what they are. They came attached to a shell some time ago. They do not move. From time to time, their shells open lightly and a clear tube will come out. The are about 1/2 in length. The Copperband was the last to be added, approximately 2-3 months ago, when I has an Aiptasia infestation, which has been completely cleared up. Mr. Wrasse, Mr. Clown, and the starfish are the oldest. I have had them about 2 1/2 years. Here are my most current specs (just tested): Temp. 80; SG, 1.022-1.023; pH, 8.4-8.8; Ammonia, 0; Nitrite, 0; Nitrate, greater than 10 but less than 20; Calcium, 380. I do not know why my calcium is low. I use Instant Ocean Reef Crystals and have not had a problem with low calcium until now. I have a 10-gallon quarantine tank with a sponge filter. This tank was used one time for a sick Angelfish 2 years ago. After reading the articles, it seems to me that I need to remove all of my fish into a quarantine tank. Do I need to move all the living beings with the exception of the live rock/sand or is it sufficient to move only the fish? <I would move Mr. Premnas... elsewhere myself, permanently> Also, my local LFS told me that I should use water from my existing tank to start up the quarantine tank. Is this advisable if I suspect ich? <I would NOT move this fish, nor treat it... IF any of the fish has Crypt, all do... the system does...> How long should the quarantine tank be up and running before I move inhabitants into it? I do not imagine that my 10-gallon tank will suffice, especially if I am looking to keep more than one fish and certainly if they may need to stay a month. What size tank do you suggest and what type of filtration would be advisable? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Felicia <I'd re-read the articles above... and the linked FAQs files above them. Bob Fenner>

Re: Possible ich and how to proceed 11/06/07 Hello, Bob, <Felicia> Thank you very much for your prompt response. Much appreciated. <Welcome my friend> >As for additional inhabitants, I have a Longnose Hawkfish, a Royal Gramma, a >Copperband Butterflyfish, ><This last would show Crypt first... or most any protozoan infestation... ahead of the Wrasse> None of my other fish are showing any signs of ich or any other illness (no rapid breathing, all are eating well and swimming). These symptoms are limited (so far anyway) to Mr. Wrasse. <Is not crypt then, assuredly> This morning I found that Mr. Wrasse had wedged himself between a rock and the back wall of the tank. There appear to be more whitish areas and, of course, the rapid breathing. This will be day number two that he has not swam and day number five for not eating. Last night I dropped some finely chopped krill near him; he did not even attempt to eat. This morning I added rotifers (which he normally loves) and nothing. He is about 7 inches long. How long can a fish of his size last without eating? Any suggestions to perhaps entice him to eat? <You have moved the Maroon?> >Also, my local LFS told me that I should use water from my existing tank to >start up the quarantine tank. Is this advisable if I suspect ich? ><I would NOT move this fish, nor treat it... IF any of the fish has Crypt, all do... the system does...> ><I'd re-read the articles above... and the linked FAQs files above them. You are recommending that I not remove the fish. In "Marine Ich, Cryptocaryoniasis," you state in closing, "Isolation of fish livestock, hyposalinity and elevated temperature, administration of copper medication with testing will cure all but the most entrenched cases." <The root cause of the trouble here is the Premnas... it's likely biting the Gomphosus... the white marks are mucus...> Of course, I will reread the previously mentioned articles as well as read the linked FAQs, but I am a bit confused. Is it your thought that perhaps the Wrasse does not have ich and is simply under stress from the constant buffeting of the Clown or that perhaps he does have ich but is simply too weak and under too much stress to move? Felicia <Let me try to be more clear. The CLOWN must go... It needs to be removed from the system. BobF>

Re: Possible ich and how to proceed... Gomphosus, A. frenatus incomp. 11/06/07 Good evening, Bob, <Felicia> I regret to inform you my beloved Bird Wrasse did not survive the morning. My husband contacted me at work and gave me the bad news. I instructed him to remove the Wrasse immediately. I rinsed him off and closely inspected him. I found no signs of ich -- all white spots disappeared upon rinsing, so it was indeed sand that was upon him. I had guestimated that he was about 7 inches long and was surprised to see that he was actually 8 1/2! <Yes... turning into (likely a magnificent) male> No, I have not removed the Clown as I do not have a tank set up to do so. He is still buffeting and throwing up sand. <Is the alpha fish here. Do you understand this? Anything else of size will be attacked... stressed...> I have been watching him this evening and noticed that he is attempting to chase the other fish away from his BTA's. <Bingo> They do not seem to be impressed and do not leave - for long anyway. I have not seem him actually hit anyone, but I imagine that he may start doing so (or perhaps is and I have yet to see it). I am going to have to get a new tank set up as soon as I can and move him as I do not want the others to be terrorized and fall pray in the same way. I had no idea that my Wrasse was being terrorized to such a degree to cause his demise. Both the Wrasse and the Clown were introduced at the same time (approximately 2 1/2 years ago) and always seemed to "get along." <Ah, yes... does happen> I appreciate all your help! Felicia <Thank you for this follow-up. Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Green bird Wrasse unique "growths" on bill 4/21/07 Hello from Las Vegas, <Backatcha from HI... where your Gomphosus likely hailed from> I have a green bird wrasse who has what looks like fleshy sacs (same colors as the fish) growing on it's bill and I was told it could be a cancerous growth, puberty/mating changes, nothing, etc. basically no one knows what they are. <Mmm, I do... mostly these last two... natural occurrence> He went through a tough period for about a month when they were "growing" on him and now he's eating up a storm again, active and very playful with no symptoms of a problem. Have you seen this in any other green birds? Would appreciate the help..... Thanks, Jeffrey G. Schoor <Not to worry... See WWM, Fishbase.org re this species. Bob Fenner>
Re: Green bird Wrasse unique "growths" on bill 4/21/07
Thanks Bob.....(The reference regarding "no one knows" did not include your expertise lol) <Heeee!> As always, I appreciate you help with this amazing hobby. Jeffrey <Happy to share. BobF>

Bird Wrasse tumor? 1/9/07 Hi Crew, <Michael> Thanks as always for the valuable information. I've tried to find detailed information related to this question but came up empty. I have a male bird wrasse that has been in my 250g fish-only tank for just over 2 years. He has always been healthy, a good eater, and active. <Gomphosus are really neat animals... am out diving with this species currently... in HI> There is a female bird wrasse in the tank also, and they get along well and interact most of the day. <In a system of this good size...> A few months ago, the male bird wrasse started developing a tumor-like growth on his snout. I did some initial research and found passing references that sometimes bird wrasses in captivity will develop such growths on their snouts, but none of the references I found seemed to know what the growth was. <Mmm... is it symmetrical? Colored? Is likely a natural protuberance> The few mentions I found also didn't express much concern that it posed a health risk. I let it go, thinking it was not anything threatening. But, the growth has gotten bigger and bigger, and is to the point now that I'm afraid it will cause real harm, perhaps by eventually blocking the fishes' vision or making its head so heavy it becomes over-stressed. To add to the concern, the female bird wrasse now seems to have the beginnings of the same thing on her snout. <Mmm, not altogether unnatural either... Labrids/wrasses are synchronous protogynous hermaphrodites... change from females into males... with their characteristics...> Are you familiar with these types of growths, and is there anything I can/should try to do about it? <Mmm, am familiar and no, nothing to do about it> I don't have the expertise to do anything surgically, but thought maybe I'm missing something nutrition-wise or otherwise. (The water quality has always been good and I do 15% water changes weekly.) Thanks. Mike <Do take a look at the pix on the Net... perhaps through Fishbase.org of G. varius... note that males do have a growth of sorts with age, size... on their upper snouts... and that females become males... There is likely no problem here. Do send along pix if you can. Bob Fenner>

Green Bird Wrasse 7/12/06 I purchased a green bird wrasse last Saturday (7/1) which I added to my 55 gallon tank. <Will need more room> I already had a Fox Face, <Ditto> a Brown Bird Wrasse and Hawk Flame. Today my Green Bird had no interest in eating and it actually looks like his skin is peeling off. <... no quarantine> He looks like an "old man". My water quality checks out though I am doing a partial water change anyway. <Good move> All other fish are fine. He is still swimming---just not eating. What do you think could be wrong? <Just new to a crowded system mostly> My fish store is closed so I am turning to you for quick advice---HELP!!!! <... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/gomphosus/index.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Green Bird Wrasse 7/12/06
Thank you for your reply. He died overnight =*( The wrasse actually was moved into my tank which was larger than the store tank and with less fish. We are stumped as to what happened. :::shrugging::: He was not a large fish at all. perhaps only 2 to 3 inches in length tops. <This is one of my fave fish species... look forward to seeing, diving with each trip to Hawai'i... Don't ship all that well... and small specimens (and too-large ones) are touchy... I would just count on having your female change into a/the male you're looking for... unless you get a much larger system (at least twice this volume). Bob Fenner>

Male bird wrasse scratching - 2/21/2006 Greeting from down under to the crew at wet web media. I have a question about a male bird wrasse I purchased 2 months ago. He is 7 inches long, eats well, very active swimmer and looks really health. NO external signs of disease. But he has a habit of rubbing or scratching himself on the aquarium glass at the back of the tank. Now I have noticed he does this a lot when I am near the tank and sometimes it is a constant thing just swimming around in a circle and rubbing itself when he passes the glass. but when I walk away from the tank and stand at a distance so that he cannot see me the rubbing or scratching seems to ease. He is the only fish that does this and has done it since I put him in. <Not atypical for the species...> I have a 150 gallon glass aquarium, 8ft long 2ft high and 1.5ft wide. I have two external canister filters, an overflow into a 30 gallon sump, an aqua medic multi sl TurboFlotor skimmer about 140 pounds of live rock and my tank turns over about 23 times an hour. My stock includes 1.Male bird wrasse 7inches 2.sohal tang 3inches 3.powder brown tang 3inches 4.magnificent Rabbitfish 3inches 5.pinktail triggerfish 4inches 6.emperor angel 5inches 7.bannana wrasse 2inches ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 15ppm, ph 8.3 I have no idea what this is so if you could please try to help me that would be greatly appreciated. THANKS.. <I wouldn't over-react here... but just watch and wait... Likely to be some troubles as time goes by with dominance by the Sohal BTW. Bob Fenner>

Sick Bird Wrasse (6/5/05) We have had our male bird wrasse for over 3 months.
<A cool fish for sure.>
We have recently introduced some live rock to the aquarium and noticed an outbreak of ich.
<Did you see it on the fish? Bird and other Wrasses are known to rub on the rock or sand now and then without having ich.>
We took the rock out and washed it very thoroughly. Soaked in one part bleach to 4 parts water and we haven't seen any more scratching.
<Big mistake. You need to read about Cryptocaryon. Bleaching the live rock accomplishes nothing in the treatment of ich. The parasite also has a free-swimming stage in the water and the non-swimming phase gets on sand and gravel as well as on the bottom of a bare-bottom tank. Do read thoroughly about this parasite on WWM.>
The problem is that our very beloved bird wrasse has become lazy and no longer swims around. We noticed a white splotch on his left eye around his cornea. It also seems like there is a film covering his eye. What kind of disease is this and how can we treat?
<The bleaching of the LR would have destroyed any biofiltration capacity of the rock and killed all other life on it. It is now "dead rock" and little, if any, of the cool and beneficial things you expect to grow from live rock ever will now. That which is now dead will release ammonia and the loss of biofilter will impair the removal of ammonia. The first thing I'd do is check the ammonia and nitrite levels in the water. If elevated, start immediate large water changes and consider adding some Bio-Spira Marine. Do you have any other biofiltration in your system? If ammonia is not the problem, then the Wrasse probably has a bacterial infection and needs to be removed to a hospital tank and treated with antibiotic there. You will find plenty of info about how to do this by searching WWM. Good luck to you. Steve Allen.>

Growth on green bird Hi: I hope you can offer a suggestion. We have had the bird pictured in our 120 gal fish only tank for about 4 years. The other tankmates (Naso tang, snowflake eel, spotted puffer and grouper) are all healthy and have been the same for about 3 years. About 6 months ago, a small growth appeared on the wrasse's beak. <Happens... with age, growth... Gomphosus spp. turn into males with this protuberance> The fish behaves normally, eats, etc. In the last month, the growth has grown quite a bit. Our tank has been maintained for a long time by the same guy, who is stumped. He has brought pics to his wholesalers, who are also stumped. Nothing I have found in any books seems to sound like this condition. We have tried various antibiotic treatments, copper, and a freshwater dip but nothing seems to change. The diet is varied but consistent; frozen foods and dry supplemented with vitamins and occasionally green and brown algae. I hope you can help as this guy has been with us a long time. Thanks so much! <No pic attached... but I would not be overly concerned... do take a look on the net, fishbase.org re this species, G. varius... for pix of adult males. Bob Fenner>

Sick bird wrasse Your web site is so helpful and for people like me who need answers it's the best place to go.
<Thanks, Maybe I can help you.>
My problem is with my green bird wrasse (male). For the past six weeks now he's buried under my rocks and has shown no interest in eating at all. I have been able to squirt some brine shrimp by him with a turkey baster and it appears he is getting a little to eat. He used to be a very active swimmer and would be the first one out anytime the lid to my 75 gallon tank opened for feeding time. I'm amazed with how little he's eaten that he's still alive. He shows no external signs of parasites or gapping gills, no marks or scratches or any discoloration. His eyes are fine and his fins are fine, he doesn't look any different, it just looks like he went shy on me. I've tested my water almost every other day and everything appears to be fine except for a steady nitrate reading of 80 in my fish-only tank. It appears my water quality is good. I'm afraid to put him in my quarantine tank, or what I call my "death tank". I'm know you don't have much to go on, but I just wanted to run it by you for some possible causes of his behavior and what I can do to help him. I've been offering frozen brine shrimp, frozen blood works, Formula II, other flakes with krill and shrimp in them and Spirulina pellets. If this is a nutritional deficiency what else can I provide for him, or use to entice him into eating? Thanks for your help, it's always very appreciative. <I think it might be a PH issue. What is your PH at. It should be at 8.2 to 8.3. If it is off it will burn the wrasse. (They don't have scales.) Otherwise, Do some water changes and get the nitrate down to less than 40 PPM. That should make a difference. Good Luck. MikeB.>

Sick bird wrasse Your web site is so helpful and for people like me who need answers it's the best place to go.
<< Glad to help. >> My problem is with my green bird wrasse (male). For the past six weeks now he's buried under my rocks and has shown no interest in eating at all. I have been able to squirt some brine shrimp by him with a turkey baster and it appears he is getting a little to eat. He used to be a very active swimmer and would be the first one out anytime the lid to my 75 gallon tank opened for feeding time. I'm amazed with how little he's eaten that he's still alive. He shows no external signs of parasites or gapping gills, no marks or scratches or any discoloration. His eyes are fine and his fins are fine, he doesn't look any different, it just looks like he went shy on me. I've tested my water almost every other day and everything appears to be fine except for a steady nitrate reading of 80 in my fish-only tank.
<< That is high. >>
It appears my water quality is good. I'm afraid to put him in my quarantine tank, or what I call my "death tank". I know you don't have much to go on, but I just wanted to run it by you for some possible causes of his behavior and what I can do to help him. I've been offering frozen brine shrimp, frozen blood works, Formula II, other flakes with krill and shrimp in them and Spirulina pellets. If this is a nutritional deficiency what else can I provide for him, or use to entice him into eating?
<< Well I love wrasses, and study them often. But this is tough. Thanks for addressing the nutritional area, as that was my very first concern. Sounds like you have a healthy balanced diet for him. So if not that, then maybe a lack of small live foods. Most wrasses thrive on pods. They usually do great in a tank, devour all the pods, then slowly waste away. That is still a concern. If not that, well I'm still taking shots in the dark. I don't think I would remove him for fear of increasing stress, but may just wait it out and hope it has a happy ending. >> Thanks for your help, it's always very appreciative. << Blundell >>

- Bird Wrasse Troubles - Hi, I have a Green Bird Wrasse. He has developed Large bumps all over his nose. It looks like Elephantiasis. It's just awful. Have you guys ever heard of this?
<Well... hard to say - do the bumps have color? Are they individual or in a mass? How long have you had this fish? What size is it? What size system is the fish in? What other fish does it live with?>
Is there a cure?
<Depends on what the problem is - if you wouldn't mind answering my questions, I might have a better chance at answering yours.>
He eats and swims fine.
<That always helps.> Thanks for any help Becky <Cheers, J -- >
- Wrasse Troubles -
Hi thanks for replying. The bumps do not have color. They look like tumors under his skin.
<Unfortunately, this is the most likely explanation.>
They are massed together. It's just on his nose. His nose has doubled in size. I wish I had a digital camera. He's lived with us about a year and made it through the velvet outbreak. I'm desperate to help him.
<Not sure you really can... try to keep it eating and swimming about.> He is about 6 inches long. He lives with a Harlequin Tusk, Assasi Trigger (small), Checker Board Wrasse, Spotted Puffer, Fox Face, Hippo Tang, Coral Beauty, and a Flame Hawk. Our system is a wet dry with a protein skimmer, and a UV sterilizer. It's a 125. Our salt is at 1.020. The tank cycles about 5 times an hour. We do water changes once a month. Everyone else in the tank is fine.. Except Eugene :-( Becky <I'm sorry Becky that I don't have any better news for you - the two most likely explanation are either tumors, or fatty deposits caused by fat-rich foods and not enough exercise. At this point, the odds of reversal are low, but your could try doubling or even tripling your current turnover rate in a effort to get this fish working off the fat. If, on the other hand these are truly tumors, you might want to keep an eye on the fish and when he seems to be doing less well, to ease his passing - perhaps find a nice potted plant for him to start a new journey in. Cheers, J -- >

- Strange Wrasse Affliction? - We have a green bird wrasse that has been in our tank for about 9 months. The wrasse has seemingly thrived up until recently. He is still eating well and actively swimming but has come down with some sought of white, almost washed out look on the sides of its head. Could this be the bird wrasse equivalent of HLLE?
<Doubt that.>
Any possible help and insight would be greatly appreciated.
<Well... provided you haven't added anything new as of late, then I would guess this is probably a nutrition related blanching. Do you feed this fish the same thing for every meal - or is the diet more diverse. This fish should be getting a mix of meaty foods with the occasional green seaweed item thrown in.> Thanks Al <Cheers, J -- >

Green Bird Wrasse With Lumps I have a question that no one seems to have an answer to. <Okay> I have an adult green bird wrasse. I have had this fish for over a year in a 75 gallon tank. Over the past year the fish has developed "lumps" on his snout. The fish seems to be healthy and is eating well. Any ideas to why this fish has developed these lumps? Al Rinaldi <Have seen these "lumps" on both wild and captive Gomphosus species males... I think they're akin to the "humps" on the heads that occur on many other wrasse species (developmental growths that is)... possibly something to do with the continual use (callusing?) of the snout in digging about as well. Bob Fenner>

Green Bird Wrasse We have been noticing lately that sometimes our green bird wrasses tip of his mouth is a red tinged color, after some time, it turns back to his normal beautiful green, but we did not know if this is something to be concerned with? Any ideas? Thank you for your help. Kimberly <Males of this species do show varying color and color loss in the distal end of their "beaks" at times. See fishbase.org pix for Gomphosus varius... No worries unless you find there to be some bloody markings, or actually observe your specimen damaging itself (like on the tank walls or substrate). Bob Fenner>

Blind Bird Wrasse? FOWLR has 6" Volitans Lion, 5"Red Sea Male Bird Wrasse, and about 30" Snowflake EEL was just added today (Sea World leftover, long story) <Long- I should say! An interesting story, I'll bet!> For awhile now the Bird Wrasse has had a hard time feeding. He knows that food has hit the water and he searches for it but can't seem to find it. We've tried live ghost shrimp, flakes, frozen clams, and frozen silversides. We started back up with the SELCON thinking it maybe it was a vitamin deficiency. <Not a bad thought on your part...You could also try a preparation like Vita Chem> He doesn't seem to have any other problems and is a beautiful animal. Our lights are not that bright, a single 40W tube. Any thoughts on this one? <Well, it could be lot's of things...Nutritional problems can lead to a form of blindness in some fishes, and I wouldn't rule out this as a possibility. You may also consider the environment of the aquarium: Recheck all water parameters to make sure that there are no measurable ammonia, nitrite, or other toxins in the water. Check overall water quality: Nitrates and phosphates...Review maintenance procedures, such as water changes, protein skimming, use of chemical filtration media, etc. Keep trying to get this fish to eat, using a variety of foods like you already have. Observe carefully for signs of any disease, etc. In the absence of other symptoms, I'd keep observing and stay the course with this fish. Be patient. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Help with New Bird Wrasse >Hey guys and gals, first off let me just say that your FAQs have been very helpful in the setup of two marine tanks of mine in the last 7 months. >>Thank ye for acknowledging us lady-folk. ;) Marina is the lady of the day for you here. >Now onto my question. I just a few weeks ago put together a small 20 gallon tank (I've decided to challenge myself after my ventures in 80 gallon and 125 gallon marine tanks). It includes a protein skimmer for tanks up to 50 gallons, a 50-watt Visitherm heater, and an Emperor 400 filter. The substrate is an aragonite shell mix with a small bay section of live sand which takes up about 30% of the tank. The pH is at 8.2 and the salinity is a comfortable 1.022-1.023, the water in the tanks at work is at 1.021. My question concerns a small bird wrasse I've acquired for starting off this tank. >>Very small I hope, they're a VERY active fish that really requires MUCH more room to be happy. Why not put him in the 125? A much more suitable size for such an animal. I would rather see something like a group of small gobies (clown, neon, for instance), Pseudochromids or Basslets (though *eventually* they'll get large) for such a Nano. >I brought him home from work two days ago, where I work in the aquatics department at a local Petco. This fish caught my eye because of his great personality. Very active in the small tanks at work, hungry eater, still fairly small (about 5.5 inches, I will have him in my 80 gallon in a few months most likely). >>If I recollect correctly, Petco is still using a centralized filtration system on salt and fresh, yes? I don't recall seeing anything larger than 20-30gals in their salt sections, either. >But he'd been in the tanks there for about 4 months, doing great every day, which is why I chose him. Now since I brought him home, he's just been sitting on the sand or behind coral. >>To be expected. You haven't mentioned live rock or your cycle yet. I'm curious. >But this is day two and he just sits there, very slow to move if at all. Our specialist said this is normal for the first few days, and when I inspect him his breathing is normal, good color (not that it would change so soon but you get the idea), and his eyes are actively watching his surroundings. >>Your specialist is correct. I would also not attempt feeding the first day or two. Or three. >But he hasn't been eating. I've so far tried marine flakes which I assumed wouldn't work but tried anyway. >>If you're working the aquatics department, weren't you feeding him there? Why don't you try what he was eating before? >Then I'm trying the frozen Emerald Entree, the Omnivorous Formula. I've also tried seeding a piece of seaweed salad (which he LOVES eating at work) on a piece of coral right near him, also to no avail. I'm very worried because this fish is awesome, if you have any recommendations for other foods he would more eagerly pursue, I would appreciate it. I know he ate yesterday because I fed him in the morning at work so it's only been overnight but he shows 0% interest in any food, I'm sure you understand why I am worried. Is there anything I can do to help him acclimate to his surroundings, anything to help him really (moving him to my larger tanks is not an option right now, other fish too aggressive and large). But a change in diet perhaps, or any other appropriate steps. Thank you so much in advance, please get back to me, the clock is ticking! >>You need to slow down and leave the fish alone for a while. Keep the lights off or dim for a while, he's a smart one and needs time to adjust to the move. He was comfortable where he was, and now everything's new. Stop trying to feed him, as I said, stay away from the tank, try providing him with more cover--all these things will go a long way towards both making him more comfortable and making him think about his stomach. Then I would start in a day or two (after not offering food at all) with, if you can get them, live Mysis. If not, then some live bloodworms, stuff that wiggles can really get them going. Don't let him get into the habit of live, but do offer him fresh/frozen whenever possible, and VARIETY, especially of meaty foods. He may be fond of seaweed, if so then Nori soaked in Selcon is fantastic. Leave it clipped or weighted down in the tank for him to nibble on. In the meantime, don't worry so much, if he's really having trouble then you can always take him back to his old home and rethink your strategy. I will reiterate that the 20 gallon is wholly inappropriate for such a fish (even if that is what he was being housed in while for sale). Again, I'm quite curious about the cycling of this new tank, test the water, especially for ammonia and nitrite as high readings of these compounds will definitely affect a fish's willingness to feed. Best of luck! Marina

Bird wrasses' mysterious flashing >Hi crew! >>Hello Rich. Marina here. >I've asked a couple questions in the past and gotten great answers. I hope you can help me with this one, as I can't find anything addressing this anywhere. >>I'll do my best. >I seem to have a couple of bird wrasses >>You're not sure? LOL! j/k >(one male, one female) with a strange habit of flashing for no apparent reason. They don't do it constantly, but have been doing it for at least a couple months now. There's nothing wrong with them that I can tell! They eat a ton, are very active, have no external parasites and generally look like beautiful, healthy fish. No other fish in the aquarium are flashing, and the water conditions are perfect as far as my testing goes (79 degrees, 1.022 SG, 8.2 PH, 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites, 0 Nitrates, 13 dKH, and I don't have a phosphate test kit but recently treated the tank with the Kent phosphate sponge) They get a good variety of diet as well as Kent marine Zoe for some vitamins. >>This is a bit perplexing, I would lean towards a subclinical ich infection, though. However, usually once they start "flashing" one would expect to eventually see something externally. >Are these fish just weird? >>Well, I do doubt it, Rich. >I do have a tendency to find strange specimens...I have an eel that swims all around the tank during the day, almost avoiding the 180 lb of live rock, and a banded cat shark that is addicted to 1. laying up against one of the overflows to feel the water running over him and 2. going on a ride across the tank by swimming in front of one of the returns. >>They're just happy fish with their own idiosyncrasies. The odd thing is this: if you have a subclinical infestation of ich, I would expect the shark to show it first. You could isolate the wrasses in a q/t and go ahead and treat them with copper or hyposalinity, but you can't treat the shark, and unless you allow the tank to lie fallow for at least 6 weeks, you will just be treating the wrasses only to put them back into the pickle again. I say that as long as they're not showing any other signs of stress, and as long as no other fish seem to be suffering, it's not something to worry too much about. >Thanks! Rich >>You're welcome, Marina

Bird wrasse injured >Hello! >>Hi there! >How are you? >>Quite well, thank you for asking. >I have a bird wrasse that has been injured on the mouth the lower Jaw (I would say ), he got injured by fighting over a frozen shrimp with a puffer, it seems it has been cut in two, should I do something special or he will cure by itself, doesn't seem to bother him still eating well as before and swimming around should I remove him? to not be attack on the mouth by other fish (also have triggers) or he will be fine !? Thank you very much >>Holy cow! Poor thing. well, let's see here. What I would do is leave him be for now. You see, if he's continuing to eat, then that's not a problem. Also, by moving him you *could* reinjure the jaw, plus cause him just enough stress to push him over the edge. However, I would definitely have a hospital tank set up and waiting for him, along with some Spectrogram or Melafix (I prefer Spectrogram) if an infection sets in. In the meantime, give him as many supplemental feedings you can, even if it means netting the trigger for a bit so the wrasse gets HIS fill. I'd feed the trigger first, fill his belly, then contain him only if he doesn't allow the wrasse to feed. I would also use a supplement such as Selcon to soak the wrasse's food every day. Nutrition will go a long way towards helping him heal and preventing infection. Stay on top of water quality, too. Good luck! Marina

Bird wrasse question Hello Mr. Fenner, I have had a male bird wrasse in my 150 gallon tank for about three years. Recently, he has become very thin. He is still active and goes right to the top of the tank when it is feeding time. When the food is poured into the tank, he stabs at it with his beak. Once the initial food drop is over, he does not eat any of the food floating in the tank. If he misses the food on the initial drop, he doesn't eat. I am feeding frozen Formula Two, frozen Brine Shrimp Plus and frozen Mysis Shrimp (all soaked in vitamins). Do you have any suggestions on how to fatten him up? Could he have internal worms which are causing him to lose weight? Any suggestions you have are greatly appreciated. <My speculations sound like yours... internal parasitic problem, perhaps a genetic expression. I would do as you are doing... offer a mix of meaty foods, flavor and nutrition enhanced by vitamins. Perhaps adding highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs) in a commercial soak like Selcon might stir this animals food-taking. Bob Fenner, who ate at a Filippi's Restaurant in San Diego last night with great gusto!> Stephen W. DeFilippis Wayne, IL

Sick Bird Wrasse Hi, <Cheerio, Anthony Calfo in your service> I am still having problems with my 12" Bird wrasse. Since the last time I mailed you he has stopped eating , totally. It has been 7 days since he has eaten anything. I have tried everything I can think of. I even got him some fresh mussels and pried them open for him. <not even a remotely natural food... no surprise here. This animal eats crustaceans. Have you tried live feeder grass/ghost shrimp?> NO interest at all. He is now in a 55 gallon quarantine tank. He is so big 12" or so that I just put him in that tank because I thought 15 gallons would be way to small for him. His right eye is totally white, the left eye looks OK. He is still a brilliant blue color and if I prod him a little bit he will swim around the tank, the rest of the time he hides under a rock. He was in good flesh before all this started and he still seems fairly round. His belly doesn't seem sunken in. Could all this depression be a sexual hormone thing? <certainly not> I don't see any parasites or wounds on his body. He looks fine but he hides and won't eat. Should I just put back in my main 200 gallon tank and hope for the best?? <please, no... frequent moves alone are extremely stressful and can be fatal. Do leave him in place until good health returns> Or do you think it would be kinder to euthanize him?? <Yikes... I'd hate to be a napping guest in your house! Dirt naps for everybody! Hehe... no, do not give up yet. They can go for quite a while without food> Like I said before he is my favorite fish and I would do what is best for him. I haven't medicated the tank because I didn't see any signs of disease or parasites. <my friend, unless I've missed something from a previous e-mail... the cloudy eye is a conspicuous symptom of a problem. Perhaps bacterial and in need of medication. even if physically imposed, the antibiotic to prevent infection may be appropriate. Do find a medication that has both Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone in it for treatment. And feed the live shrimp ASAP to see if we can jump start the appetite> His diet has always been well balanced A VARIETY OF FROZEN, DRIED AND FRESH FOOD SOAKED IN ZOE <mostly crustaceans, again. Kindly Anthony> Thanks again, Jean

Could it be a worm? (injured Bird Wrasse) Dear Bob, First I want to thank you for helping me when I was trying to get started about a year ago. <You're welcome> Now I feel like I know a good deal about this great hobby and have had a happy and healthy tank for quite some time (with great help from WetWebMedia). A few months back I purchased a Bird Wrasse. He developed a mark on his side that looked like a big scratch or chunk missing from his side. I assumed it was from rocks as my Niger Trigger chased him all around the tank. As time went on the mark began to go away and now there are faint signs of it. During this time, he liked to swim against the rocks and scratch himself. <You are likely correct about the source (injury) of this mark... and the genus Gomphosus Wrasses do scratch, glance quite a bit in captivity and the wild... natural behavior> Even after the spot went away he kept doing it. He resembled a cat scratching against a leg with the motion being a bit more twitchy. The other day he excreted a long worm-looking object. It seemed to be whitish-pink with darker rings around it. Since then he seems to be a much happier fish. Could it have been a worm that has been living in him? <Yes> If it was, is it gone or was that just part of a worm that still lives inside of him? <Only time, investigation can/will tell> Another thing, I thought maybe that the specific gravity affected his behavior. I keep my tank .18-.19 and he seemed to like it better at around .22. Is there any validity to this? <Yes, good observation. Better to keep the Spg nearer to natural seawater conditions.> Thanks a million, Ben
<Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

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