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FAQs about Lionfish Health/Disease: Parasitic

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, Environmental, Nutritional, Infectious, Social, Trauma, Treatments,
& Lionfishes & their Relatives, Lions 2, Lions 3Lions 4Dwarf Lionfishes, Lionfish Behavior, Lionfish Selection, Lionfish Compatibility, Lionfish Feeding

Moderately susceptible to Crypt, Velvet et al. Medium sensitive to copper exposure. Best to treat w/ Quinine Compounds.

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

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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>
Re: Volitans Lionfish has ich.      6/7/16

Thanks for your help but I'm sad to say that I found the lion fish dead this morning. I'm sad and disappointed that I wasn't able to provide the right amount of care for it :( . What saltwater fish would you suggest for the future that will help me gain more experience?
<? Please... learn to/use WWM for such general questions. There are articles, books archived there on the subject>
I aim at making the water quality better before I start again and to help my live rock grow more. Thanks.
<W. B>

Ich and blindness 9/5/09
Hello, and thanks in advance for considering my problem /question,
I have a beautiful P. Volitans named Vlad the Impaler who is about 8 in. long. He has always been a voracious eater of pre-frozen silversides , lancefish and (dried) baby shrimp. He is in a tank with 90 lbs live
rock, crushed coral substrate, some fake corals for hiding spots and color, a 120 gal rated trickle filter w/ bioballs and (small) sump, large overflow box/ prefilter with 2 bags of 11.4 oz ChemiPure Elite, sandwiched between layers of blue and white filter floss, two porous sponges for bacterial growth, one Koralia 3 and an Aqua C EV120 powered by a Mag 7 w/a ball valve to control flow. The tank has been set up since late January of this year.
He has two roommates, a powder blue tang ~4 in, a porcupine puffer ~ 4 in, and a green brittle sea star.
<How big is this system? What shape?>
About a month and a half ago to two months ago, Vlad the lion accidentally poked a hole in Iggy the puffer's eye. I kept Vlad in a separate partition in the tank whilst Iggy healed and added VitaChem weekly. He was blinded in that eye for a few days but healed up amazingly after a week or two and can see perfectly out of both again. All had been going great until two weeks ago when I bought a 13 lb procured rock to aid filtration and put it directly in the tank without quarantining it.
<Oh oh>
I did not realise this could be a problem, but coupled with a weak immune system from his recent injury, It must have been as Iggy the puffer got ich . I raised temp and lowered salinity slightly to 1.019.
<Mmm, won't "do it">
I freshwater dipped him which he hated but seemed ok afterwards a few days later, it showed up on Tuco , my powder blue tang, then Vlad the lion who had only three cysts-two on one eye, one on the other. I decided to dip them all separately in freshwater 80 degrees and pH @ 8.2 same as display tank. One of the lionfish's eyes burst during his five minute dip,
and the other became completely cloudy. The puffer and the tang did well and were moved to a 29 gal. QT. being treated w/ quinine sulfate for one week.
<Ah good>
I had no other tank to put Vlad the lion in so he stayed in the display after I did a 25 % water change and siphoned of all the substrate in the display tank. Vlad's eyes appeared to heal some after a week, but he has yet to have eaten.
<May take much more time>
He swims a lot and seems to be hunting but I don't think he can see very well if at all. The ich went away on those fishes in the QT but the small tank stressed the puffer so that he got abrasions on his upper lip and top of head, so I moved them back.
I read a lot on your pages and saw the two front approach, thought long and hard about how to handle treating all fish whilst allowing main tank to become fallow and could not come up with a good answer. Vlad being large and venomous, and Iggy the puffer injuring himself, I decided to reverse the process and quarantine the rocks and seastar instead. I emptied out the QT, refilled it and used Chemipure Elite to remove traces of meds perhaps left behind in it, moved the star and all but one of my rocks into both it and the 10 gallon and treated the display tank. It was just the only way I could think of to get them all treated and to allow perhaps the rocks to go fallow for 6 weeks. I am now down to the skimmer, one big rock, bioballs and floss for filtration.
All are now in display tank being treated with quinine sulfate as directed, tang and puffer eating well, the lion swims actively, looks a bit hungry but won't eat anything I normally feed ,even if I drop it on his nose. As a
last ditch effort to see if anything will tempt him, I did a no-no and bought a couple of feeder comets. No response from him still I'm afraid he will die although he is fat and looks great despite the slight clouding of his eyes.
<Not to worry... the Lion can go w/o feeding for a few to several weeks in its present condition>
Fin coloration a bit darker than usual. pH 8.3, Ammonia:0 Nitrite: 0
Specific gravity: 1.019
Any help greatly appreciated.
PS: I plan to upgrade my tank size later
<Likely needed... Your Lion will likely resume feeding once the system is returned to near seawater strength/concentration. Stick with your present plan, offer food every few days. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich and blindness 9/5/09

Hello Bob,
<Hi Jenney>
Thanks so much for prompt response and your help! I can't believe I forgot to mention tank shape and size! Sorry. It is a 90 gal rectangle.
<I see... so you will/should be looking to upgrade in time...>
The powder blue and puffer are eating very well but keep getting reinfected daily.
<These protozoan problems can be "the Dickens" for sure>
However we are only on day two of the quinine sulfate treatment...My lion breathes normally, did shed a few days ago three or four days after his eye injury and never rests. He isn't darting around, just "cruising" endlessly.
I wish I could see him relax for a bit. He's always been an active fish and usually only rests after feeding. His vision is definitely impaired, could its acuity return?
<Yes, could>
Also, should I remove the crushed coral substrate, or just keep vacuuming daily during treatment?
<At least this latter>
I plan to keep the live rock and inverts in the QTs for 6 weeks and I hope this works. Will they be reuse these rocks in the display tank after they have been in fishless tanks for 6 weeks?
<I don't understand the question. Such rock can be reused... carries less a chance of vectoring as time goes by>
Thanks again,
<Welcome. BobF>

Treating Ick on a Volitans Lion  6/27/08 Hello Crew and thanks in advance for your help, <Welcome in time> I recently (yesterday) got back from a trip to Key West for my cousins wedding. <Ah, the Conch Republic... what a place!> (Poor me right! ; )) While I was gone I was lucky enough to have a friend watching my tanks for me who is a fellow hobbyist on a temporary financially imposed hiatus. <I do like this desc.... am going to apply it in talking about myself> Unfortunately my Volitans Lion came down with a nasty case of Ick which I have to admit is probably my fault (stress). Fatty (my lion) was the first of my fish to be transferred to my "new" 75 gallon display. The tank was cycled for 5 weeks with pre established live sand (3-4" deep) from my and my friend (the one watching my tanks) old tanks that were still running that the time. After the tests all came out with zero readings I introduced 20 lbs of "pre-cured" live rock (bought from 2 different trusted LFS) along with 5 lbs of LR from my already established 25 gal., and left tank to cycle/cure for another three weeks (tested again). Equipment is one Fluval 4 plus (seeded filter media), 2 Koralia 1 power heads, and a 200W Jager heater. At this point I added roughly 20 small mixed snails (Cerith, turbo, Nassarius) and 4 or 5 blue legged hermits <Your Lion may swallow any/all of these in time...> along with Fatty (about two weeks before vacation to Key West). During the transfer Fatty scraped him self on some LR while trying to flee the specimen container, but I dosed some vitamin C and he looked fine in a few days. Sorry if I'm being long winded here, but here the question/advice needed part. I have a five gallon bucket, 10 gallon tank, and another 25 gallon tank to use for the FW dip, chemical med dip/HT, and QT while I let the 75 gallon go fallow for the next couple months. My plan of attack was to do a FW dip (adjusted PH, Alk, etc.) in the bucket, then transfer fatty to the 10 gallon hospital tank for a medication period, and then finally to the 25 gallon QT for the remainder of the fallow period. For the medication I have some Quick Cure already from a FW Ick out break a few years ago, but I'm hesitant to use it given that lions are scale-less fish (at least I think they are) <Do have fine scales, but you are right in that they are more than usually sensitive to copper and formalin> and it's a harsher medication. From my research I see that Formalin 3 is highly suggested in the FAQ's, so do you think I should spend the extra $ and get it (or something else) instead of the Quick Cure I already have? Thank you again for your help, and continued dedication to this amazing hobby. Thanks, Darren Cothern <I would first try just adding the Quick Cure (it has formalin as well) to the dip/bath solution... at appropriate strength (see WWM re)... enroute to transferring the Lion, vacuuming the 25 tank bottom daily (to remove tomites)... to see if this "does it"... Should be able to see w/in a week... Bob Fenner>

Lion in QT, Crypt conundrum    8/14//08 Crew, I've had a large lion in a 55-gallon QT for 6 weeks now. He went in appearing completely "clean" but developed white spots on the fins during the third week (hooray for QT!). <I'll say!> I performed a pH and temperature-adjusted freshwater dip (he did NOT enjoy that) and the spots cleared up within a day or two and have not reappeared...yet. I've been performing roughly 30% water changes about once a week, <Mmm... should do daily> paying particular attention to vacuuming every inch of the bare bottom of the tank. Although, at this point, I'm kind of at a loss for how to proceed. I've read every QT\crypt FAQ on WWM and can't seem to glean a solid direction to take with this specimen. Copper treatment is a potential avenue but I get dramatically conflicting recommendations on it's use with this species all over WWM, not to mention hyposalinity. Answers to the following should help me along: 1. What is the definitive answer on copper treatment of this pseudo-scaleless fish? Can lionfish handle copper treatment at the necessary dosage to eradicate crypt from the QT tank? <Lions/Scorpaeniforms don't "like" copper exposure... I'd rate them a 3... or a 7 on a scale of ten, depending on which end is which... in terms of tolerance. In wholesale practice, they're treated the "same as other general fishes"...> 2. Is it possible to produce a crypt-free specimen from a QT tank that has hosted the parasite but has not had any chemical treatments? <Mmm, possible, yes... probable... not w/o treatment> Another way to phrase the question is...Since the fish has already presented with crypt in QT, can the lion be considered "clean" if it lasts six weeks without visible reinfestation and nothing but water changes, good vacuuming, and a periodic freshwater dip have been employed? <Mmm, no... too likely there are embedded trophonts, missed tomonts...> I have a 150-gallon display that has gone fallow for nine months and I really don't want to reintroduce crypt by making the wrong decisions with this lion in QT. Please assist and, as always, thank you for your valued advice. Fred Warren <At the very least, I'd do another FW bath, with aeration, formalin moving this animal enroute to the main tank. Otherwise I might go a "quinine" treatment route/regimen here over copper... Bob Fenner>

Sick Lionfish, incl. Monogenetic Trematodes   03/07/06 Dear Bob, <Chris> Lately my lionfish has suffered from monogenes ( the worms that move around the fish and cause cloudy eyes....looks like ick) <Yes.... Trematodes... direct lifecycle types... can be real trouble...> I didn't know what they were until it was too late because the lionfish was not scratching and it continued to eat like a pig. <For others, and highly unlikely for the last time, a/the simple pH-adjusted FW bath/dips that have been advocated for so dang long, will/would take care of these flatworms... Dang! Okay.> I attempted to feed it medicated food several occasions however it didn't seem to cure whatever was growing on the fish.. I didn't learn what it was until my friend pointed it out and called em monogenes. That night that he came over my lion had stopped eating.. So I gave him a 4 minute freshwater dip and then placed him into a 50gallon breeder tank with no substrate and medicated water with Copper Safe and Formalin 2. I did the formalin 2 for 3 days and I didn't see a whole lot of improvement <Might have been too late by then> and then I followed up with three days of Tetracycline and 3 days of half dose of Maracyn. The fishes eyes cleared up and improved 98% and the monogenes all seemed to fall off. <Oh! Good!> The fish has been in the quarantine tank for roughly 10days.. The tail that had tail rot seemed to stopped rotting and it seem to remain the same size. I saw the same conditions on Saturday. The tail looked like it wasn't getting worse and the eyes looked pretty clear. However the fish hasn't ate for 14 days. So I decided maybe if I move the fish back into the main tank <...? Is this a/the source of the Trematodes?> it would start to eat and heal up. I noticed that when I caught the fish he gave me a hard time catching him and when I placed him in the main tank its tail looked much worse then it looked on Saturday however prior to catching it the tail seemed to be the same as it looked on Saturday. Overall the rest of the body is in great shape. Its a 14 inch lionfish and it has a huge home to live in. The tank he resides in is 240 gallon tank. I know you say the best way to get rid of a bacterial problem is to have stable water. <Generally, yes... Given the animal/s are "strong enough" otherwise> My water in my main tank is testing just fine right now. Was I right for moving him into back into the main tank? <Doesn't read like you had much choice> What is the best way to win over a bacterial infection and to get a fish to start eating again seeing the situation that I am in now? Sincerely, Christopher Faiola <IF the animal can be made to eat, eats, to "sneak" a broad-spectrum gram negative antibiotic into its food would be my choice here. If not, to make a bath of this, in concentration, and soak the fish in it for ten, fifteen minutes (with aeration). Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Lionfish - 03/07/2006
thank you for your response.. I'm going to try to feed him medicated food ASAP...ill stay in touch to let you know how the fish is doing <Thank you for this. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Lionfish - 03/07/2006
how would I go about preparing a bath of gram negative antibiotics. Could you please gave me directions? thanks <Please put this string of words in the WWM Google search tool, read the cached versions. BobF, out of time>

Lionfish In Trouble (Ich Infestation) Hello WWM Crew, <Hey there! Scott F. here today> My Lionfish (Volitans), present more than 6 months in my tank, has become ill. Same like other 5 lionfish I had before, he has symptoms like cloudy eyes and white spots all over the body. He last ate 24 hours ago. He has had these symptoms after the addition of two new angelfish in my tank without any previous quarantine measures. <Huh-oh! A mistake that I'll bet that you won't make again!> Several days later, the two Angelfish were sick ( white spots and small wounds on the body ). Immediately after I put the lionfish in the quarantine, together with application of Sera Costapur and Sera Oodinopur ( cupric sulfate, cupric chloride ). I made also 15 sec. treatment in fresh water.  My other 5 Lionfish were dead inside of first month - having symptoms like cloudy  eyes. I'm having this one more than 6 months and he became really close to my heart so I'm asking for help. Thanks in advance, Mr. Vladimr Jovanovski <Well, Vladimr- the first thing that you'll need to do is to utilize a quarantine procedure in the future. This will prevent diseases (parasitic or otherwise) from getting into your tank in the first place. My recommendation for parasitic disease (and I think that you are describing Marine Ich, Cryptocaryon) is to utilize a copper sulphate preparation, administered in a separate aquarium per manufacturer's directions. Meanwhile, I'd remove all the fish into a separate tank for observation and/or treatment as required. The display tank would be left to run without fishes for at least a month to six weeks. This will disrupt the life cycle of the causative protozoa, interrupting their life cycle by depriving them of their hosts (your fishes), giving you a very good chance of eliminating the majority of the protozoa present in the tank. Conduct all routine maintenance (water changes, etc.) in the empty tank. When your newly-cured fishes are returned to the display tank after the "fallow" period, they'll have a much better chance of avoiding future infestations due to the dramatically reduced protozoan population. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Lionfish With Ich? I have looked all over the internet for information regarding what I see on my lionfish.  I had power-Glo light bulbs in and today I put in marine-Glo bulbs, my lionfish swam awesome and ate a small feeder (gold fish). <Please avoid using goldfish for lionfish food...This fish can and will eat marine-based frozen foods of many types, all of which offer him much better nutrition then goldfish do.> Since then he has been out breaking in little white spots. they are tiny but they are all over is this Ich? Please help me. He's an amazing fish. Thanks so very much. Blake Ashley <Well, Blake, it certainly can be Ich, or Amyloodinium (sounds like Ich, though- if he was eating), or some other possible parasitic illness. Observe this fish carefully, and if you confirm that it is, you need to take action immediately. Consider removing him to a separate aquarium for observation and/or treatment with proper medication. For more on identification and treatment of Ich and other parasitic illnesses, check out the extensive information available on the WWM site. 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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