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FAQs about Lionfish Health/Disease: Environmental

Related Articles: Lionfish & Their RelativesKeeping Lionfishes and their Scorpaeniform Kin Part 1, Part 2, by Anthony Calfo and Robert Fenner, Dwarf Lionfishes,

Related FAQs: Lionfish Disease 2, Lion Disease 3, Lion Disease 4, Lion Disease 5, Lion Disease 6, Lion Disease 7, Lion Disease 8, Lion Disease 9, Lion Disease 10,
FAQs on: Lionfish Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Nutritional, Infectious, Parasitic, Social, Trauma, Treatments,
& Lionfishes & their Relatives, Lions 2, Lions 3Lions 4Dwarf Lionfishes, Lionfish Behavior, Lionfish Selection, Lionfish Compatibility, Lionfish Feeding

Need big, uncrowded spaces; a lack of antagonistic tankmates, clean (20 ppm max. NO3) water, and high dissolved oxygen; frequent partial water changes, oversized skimmers... Places to hide outside bright lighting (caves, overhangs)

Scorpionfishes: Lionfishes & Much More for Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Volitans Lionfish has ich.       6/1/16
Hey guys. I am a newbie in saltwater water aquariums and saltwater fish care. I purchased a 120L tank with two tank sections (above and below) and have a Volitans lionfish that is about 2 years old.
<Needs more room than this
. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lionsysfaqs.htm
He was a gift from a friend who had him for a while before me and was on a mostly white bait diet (which I have learnt is bad for my water) but I started getting him to eat small clams and just recently strips of octopus.
<... not these. See, as in READ on WWM re Lionfish Foods/Feeding/Nutrition... and Thiaminase poisoning
He is the only fish in the tank but for some reason he has been infected with ich.
<... some reason? Env., nutr.>

I’m not sure how this was possible
<This Protozoan is "latent" in most all captive marine systems. Becomes clinical when balance shifts against host/s
as I had him for a few months before it happened but I think it may have occurred because of my high nitrate levels at the time (~40ppm) and I am still struggling to reduce it (I was told by my local aquarium owner that changing too much water too often could shock the fish). Since he has had ich (small white dots on his body with a foggy film over his eyes), he has been progressively losing his appetite. This is stressing me out as he hasn’t eaten for over a week now even when enticed with white bait and live Gambusia (although he did try to eat a Gambusia but then gave up). I have also recently seen him at the bottom of his tank breathing heavily and caught a glimpse of a possible ich infection inside his mouth.
<Mmm; no... just reaction to the poor water quality>

I was told to treat it with a product called Ichonex by Aquasonic
<Uh, no... NEED to fix the environment first and foremost. Treatment w/ such will promptly kill off your livestock>
(A copper sulphate and Malachite green solution). It doesn’t seem to have done much help though but don’t want to overdose. I only want to do a fresh water dip as a last resort as I am not sure how this will affect the fishes stress levels. The outside part of the top of his mouth also has parts which have turned red and I can see the veins on some of the spots. His fins twitch too which I have heard is from stress which may be due to my nitrate levels although all other levels are fine with salinity at 1.021. I don’t run a protein skimmer anymore because it broke but instead use a filter sock to get rid of wastes. If you could please help that would be so relieving because I never realised how much time and money one fish cost. Sorry for the long post but I hope you can give your opinions. Thanks!
<Quite a trial for a new hobbyist... I would trade this fish out pronto... can't live well in this system... There's not much sense referring you to reading re treating for Cryptocaryon... Do the above cited reading, and write back if it's unclear to you what you might do here. Bob Fenner>

sick lionfish... Blinded by the light, poor env., no reading    8/20/08 Just under a year ago my boyfriend got a Red Volitans Lionfish. About two weeks ago he was feeding them, the piece the lionfish was a little to <too> big. At first it look like the top of his jaw was dislocated revealing bone underneath. His jaw looks like it is back to normal now but he is refusing to eat. The food is put in front of him but he shows almost no interest. A few days ago we noticed him swimming in circles constantly with his fins completely spread out. I noticed when he tries to swim he bumps into things (rock and the glass) with his nose. <Mmm... symptomatic of light-caused blindness...> Occasionally he swims upside down also. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated we desperately want to save this fish. He is in a 55 gallon tank. <Way too small> Temperature is at 69.6. <Really too low> My boyfriend says he checked all the other levels and they are fine. The lionfish is in a tank with a Snowflake Eel and Basslet and the other two fish are acting normal. <... This fish needs a better world... and you need to read, follow directions before writing us: http://wetwebmedia.com/liondisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sick lion fish 5/12/08 I have a volitan lionfish I've had for about 3 months now and he has been fine but the other day he just went to the bottom of the tank and sits there with his fins tucked in and won't swim and when he tries to its like his tail won't move. He just sits there and every once in a while he darts really fast then goes back to just sitting. What can it be? All water levels are fine. <Sounds like an environmental problem, please post your water parameter numbers, "fine" does not give us the needed information. Also tank size, feeding habits/foods, tankmates are all helpful.> <Chris>
Re: Sick lion fish 5/12/08
Saline 1.022-1.023, nitrate 0, am .5, <There is your problem, the ammonia needs to be 0, any amount of ammonia is highly toxic.> pH 8.2, water temp is at 77 he is in a 30gallon tank with no other fish and I just noticed one of his eyes are cloudy. <Is this a QT tank? If not this tank is too small for the messy predatory fish.> He has been eating rosy reds only a couple every 4 days he just will not eat anything that is not alive I have tried everything if it does not swim he won't eat I even didn't feed him for a week and still nothing <I would stop using the rosy reds, they tend to be highly diseased and not a great food source. If necessary breed your own live bearer, but you really need to work towards moving away from live food. The cloudy eyes are a classic symptom of ammonia poisoning. Correct your water quality and I would bet his condition will improve.> <Chris>

Lionfish mystery illness   3/20/12
Thank you for running such a wonderful site for marine fish hobbyists. You have been of great help to me in the past.  I have attached a picture of my
lionfish which has developed a strange red line along the top of its body.
The face is also a lot redder than usual. Any idea what this is and how it may be treated?
<Almost assuredly environmental... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/LionDisEnvF.htm
and the linked files above>
I have been performing 30% water changes
<Water quality test results?>
 since I noticed this a few days ago but I have not seen any improvement on the fish. Has stopped eating and just lays along the bottom breathing slowly. Thank you for any help. Picture is attached.
<An order of magnitude too large. Bob Fenner>
Best regards,
Re: Lionfish mystery illness   3/20/12

thank you for the response. I have attached a smaller version of the picture.
<I thank you, BobF>

Re: Lionfish mystery illness   3/21/12
Hi Bob,
Does this look like any specific illness you are aware of? What kind of medication or treatment would you suggest? Thanks
<Environmental issue/s as first stated... perhaps secondarily infectious.
Read where you were referred. B>

Lionfish loss Dear crew, I appear to be having a crisis, and hope you can help.  First, let me say that I have read virtually every word on lionfish that I have been able to find, both here and elsewhere. I'm afraid that I think I know what is going on, but need confirmation. I have a 75 gallon tank, with 105 pounds of live rock.  In it until yesterday were one fuzzy dwarf, a pincushion urchin, a flame scallop, and two anemones, one a long tentacle about 3" across and the other a baseball-sized Condylactis.  Yesterday I introduced four feather duster worms, and two new fish, a dwarf zebra and a juvenile volitans who is about 3" long in the body. My specific gravity is 1.023, temperature is 76F. Ammonia is less than .25, <Should be zero> and nitrate less than 20, nitrite is zero. The pH is 8.4. [all done using a fresh colorimetric strip test kit].  Filtration is mechanical, using a big Emperor with double BioWheels, and a Rio powerhead providing plenty of water movement.   I acclimated both fish over the course of an hour, adding tank water gradually to their transport bags, and both were taking food at the end of the day [ghost shrimp and a few feeder guppies]. Within the last hour, the volitans was found lying in the current, and appeared to be gasping.  He periodically makes a yawning motion with his jaw, and occasionally just snaps at the water as if he were taking in imaginary food.  Most recently, he has rocketed to the surface, where he swims erratically [almost convulsively] just beneath the surface, before drifting to the bottom. It was almost like watching an octopus swim, with rapid propulsion, then a drifting moment, then another convulsive propulsion.  After a few minutes, the cycle repeated, and he is now lying on the back side of the live rock [of course], almost out of sight.  In the reflection, I can see that he appears to be breathing and is still alive, but is still snapping his jaw at the water. <Not good> Given that the water parameters are good, <Mmm, no... the ammonia is real trouble> and the rapid onset, is it reasonable to suspect that one of the other fish might have stuck him? <A possibility... or it might have gotten hung up on one of the anemones... or possibly it was bunk from the store, or injured in the process of capture, shipping> I have been unable to find any information on what symptoms would result from one lion envenomizing another, but I am at a loss to think what else might be going on.  If this is indeed the case, is there anything to be done, or is my new little friend simply doomed? Can you think of anything else that it might be? Fretfully, Rick Walters <Not much you can do at this point other than monitor it, remove if it dies. Bob Fenner>

Whacked-Out Lionfish! S.O.S Can you please help me? <I'll do my best! Scott F. with you today!> Yesterday my Lion fish started acting strange. Every so often he would dart through the water like a mad man. This morning he has jammed himself between a power head and pipe at the top of the tank. When I tried to move him he hardly reacted. He is now in a quarantine tank and I can see no signs of illness, so I don't know what to do to treat him. Can you please help if possible? Colin <Hmm...Usually, sudden "dashing and darting" are signs of a serious environmental lapse, a poisoning event of some sort, or, just possibly, a parasite. I'm assuming that you've had this fish for a while, so improper collection (i.e.; cyanide, decompression trauma, etc.) could be ruled out as a cause? Or, could it? I'd run a complete battery of water tests, particularly for ammonia, nitrite, Ph, and alkalinity. Review recent happenings in and around the tank: Any new fishes introduced (without quarantine?)? Were you painting in the vicinity of the tank, or using any household cleaners that could have contributed to a possible poisoning of the tank? Any possibility of  stray electricity being discharged in the tank, through means like a broken heater tube, damaged powerhead, etc? Did you add anything to the tank, like additives, etc? Review all husbandry procedures and see if there has been anything that could have contributed to environmental decline, or shock to the fish...A recent water change, with water of a dramatically different specific gravity? Look for anything, even seemingly unlikely events or things which could cause such behavior.. Even check the obvious, such as external parasites or traumas which caused the fish discomfort...I can go on all night, but you get the idea...Quarantine was a good move- observe and nurture this fish while you search for a cause! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Scorpionfishes: Lionfishes & Much More for Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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