FAQs about Toxic Water Conditions: Venomous,
Poisonous Livestock 2
Related Articles: Marine
Toxic Tank Conditions , General Marine
Related FAQs: (See
the various Organism Groups below "Compatibility" FAQs
files on WWM), Venomous/Poisonous Tankmates 1,
Venomous/Poisonous Tankmates 3,
Venomous/Poisonous Tankmates 4, &
Toxic Situations 1,
Toxic Situations 2, Toxic Situations 3, Toxic Situations 4, Toxic Situations 5, Toxic Situations 6, Toxic Situations 7, Toxic Situations 8, Toxic Situations 9, &
FAQs on Toxic Water Conditions by: Unknown Causes, & Endogenous
(from inside, e.g. Internal, Organic Causes): Foods, Nutrients, Wipe-out Syndromes/New Tanks e.g.,
Exogenous (from outside,
External, Inorganic, e.g. Metals), Marine Algaecide Use/Chemical Control,
Toxic Copper Use
Situations/Troubleshooting, Insecticides, Cleaners, & Troubleshooting/Fixing,
|The list of potentials is very long:
||Most all groups of stinging-celled
life: See Cnidarian Compatibility: On Reducing Negative
Cnidarian Interaction Parts: 1,
Nudibranchs, some Worms, most Blue Green Algae, some Greens (e.g.
Caulerpaceans), Most Nudibranchs, some Cephalopods (Blue ring et
al. octopi, Flamboyant Cuttlefish), some Seastars (e.g. the Crown
of Thorns), some types/species of Sea Cucumbers and Urchins... Some
notable fish groups: Plotosid Catfishes, Lionfishes and their
relatives, Rabbitfishes, Soapfishes, Boxfishes (actually all
puffers if they die/dissolve)...
White Patches on Majestic Angel
Hi again gang. Need your help please. Just got a majestic angel
<... not usually aq. hardy... the ones from Bali a little bit better>
from a local fish store several weeks ago and just today noticed it has
developed white patches on its head and body.
This is not ich, or at least I don't believe it is, as it is not a peppery
covering. Please see the attached picture and advise your thoughts?
<Reading and quick... What sorts of preventative measures have you
taken? Dips, baths, isolation...?>
Fish is currently swimming and eating normally
and other fish in tank or behaving and look normal as well. Possibly
<Can only distinguish Protozoans, other single celled life via sampling
and microscopic examination... SEE/READ on WWM re Euxiphipops species en toto...
this is an environmental issue>
I am personally stumped and unsure how to treat. Thanks!
Some BGA influence now!
Re: White Patches on Majestic Angel
Thanks, appreciate the info. Sending this as a follow up on the current
conditions of the fish.
Did more reading and research after receiving your response. Found some
information on "blanching" of marine Angels as it relates to their overall level
of stress and comfort in their environment.
<Yes... and yours... the BGA... toxified....>
In due process saw a posting mentioning an example with the water being too warm
from a faulty heater. Having already checked the water parameters in my tank and
verified that they were within ideal parameters, I opened my cabinet to find the
thermometer showing 83 degrees. My tank always runs in the 75-76 degree range so
I knew my heater was malfunctioning. That said, I unplugged and removed and have
monitored the fish closely ever since. It has continued to swim and behave
normally, including eating anything and everything I offer....dried Nori, frozen
angelfish food and also mysis shrimp (both soaked in vita chem for several
minutes prior to feeding).
Good news is now, 3 days later, the fish continues to behave and eat normally
AND all of his color is seemingly returning to normal. Good signs and I will
continue to feed and monitor closely.
<So far, so good... DO read at least on WWM re reversing the Cyanobacteria
situation. THIS is likely a major contributor to the environmental stress,
blanching here. Bob Fenner>
Dying Naso tang... Dead Diodontid in sys.
Hi, I had a porcupine puffer fish die on me as he got stuck down
my overflow pipe,
<Should have been screened>
I don't know how he managed to get in the overflow box and sucked into
the pipe but I tried my best he was eating last night when he got stuck
despite having been blown around the tank moments earlier. He had
visible injury signs and I couldn't bring myself to euthanise him in the
hope he may live.
<Likely poisoned the system (as Diodontids can/do); I'd change out most
all the water, add chemical filtrants... you've read on WWM re?>
Anyway, this morning I woke up to find my Naso tang stuck up against a
rock near where the puffer lay dead. I immediately fished the puffer out
(we're talking about 6 hours since he last ate and I went to bed) he
also got stuck to the power head but is swimming about well every now
and then between breaks. I tried to feed seaweed and Spirulina but no
luck. His tail has gone a funny colour at the end.
Can you see how it has gone black as well as yellow?
All the other fish are fine at present,
a similar sized yellow tang is fine as well as the smaller fish. Do you
think maybe the Naso has picked at the puffers corpse and become
<Not picked up... the toxin is in the water. ALL are being
Thanks for your time
<READ, understand, act. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dying Naso tang
Hi Bob thanks for your prompt reply as always. As a small follow up Id
just like to let you know today's progress as it's confusing me.
All the other fish are still fine, no signs of stress and they are
eating well. The Naso was dead this morning but it's whole body was
brown like a bruised banana!
<Tangs are more sensitive than other groups of fishes... to some types
of poisoning, low DO...>
Excuse the coffee cup, it's all I had to hand and I had panicked.
I have added carbon in a filter sock in bags and put them directly under
my return pipes.
I also did a 10% water change, I know it should be more if its
tetrodotoxin but it's all the water I had to hand. I plan to do more
Very confused because one fish died so rapidly and the rest are 100%
Maybe just a one off thing?
Anyway I trust that I took the appropriate action by using carbon and
Thanks for your quick help in these crisis times Bob I appreciate that
<Mmm; we all have about the same amount of time. Am happy to spend mine
as I do. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
I have a 55 gallon bow-front that seems to be crashing.
Nine days ago I added a Brain coral (might be relevant i.e.
allelopathy?), otherwise there is nothing different going on: same
feeding and maintenance regimen.
3 days ago everything looked and measured great.
2 days ago my hammer coral started shriveling,
1 day ago my Acan Lord started shriveling and my Florida Ricordea
started shriveling. I did a 15 gallon water change and changed my
Chemi-pure and Purigen.
Today the three corals mentioned look worse and my Hairy Mushroom has
started shriveling. All other corals and live stock seems fine.
It's been a beautiful aquarium for the better part of a year, can you
<... Do you have other system/s to move these animals to? I would move
The tank is a 55 Gallon, corner, with no skimmer, but I run Purigen and
Chemi-pure changed monthly with 5 gallon WC weekly.
* Ricordea florida,
* Bicolor Hammer (Euphyllia parancora)
* Red Goniopora,
* Torch Coral (Euphyllia glabrescens)
* A few Leaf Plate Montiporas,
* Pagoda Cup Coral (Turbinaria peltata),
* Montipora Digitata
* Purple Tree Gorgonian (Eunicea Sp.)
* Trachyphyllia added 9 days ago
* Acropora millepora
* A Sailfin and a Kole Yellow Eye Tang (I will re-home one and/or
both when they become too large or begin to show aggression or
* Mandarin Goby,
* Yellow & Purple Wrasse (Halichoeres leucoxanthus),
* 2 Ocellaris Clownfish
* Royal Gramma Basslet
Parameters, as measured by Salifert test-kits:
* Ammonia and Nitrites: 0
* Nitrates: 0.2 but I suspect I have higher concentrations that
feed algae which feed the tangs
<I do hope so... the lack of nutrient may have triggered this collapse>
* Ca: 460
* KH: 7.8 - 8.0
* Mg: 1380
* Temp: 78F - 80F, mostly 79F, I have a chiller and heater which
keeps it in a pretty narrow range
<Let's refer you to our collapse archive:
Re: Tank crashing
Thank you as usual for the reply. I do not have access to another tank;
so I shall do 10 gallon water changes every day for 7 days and change
the carbon every 3 days (unless you have a better idea)... And I will
<All sounds good>
I did have a question about my nitrate levels as I would like to rule
out insufficient nutrients as a cause. You point out that .2 ppm is too
low, and I understand that. My question is do you think it's possible
that even though my test measures nitrate as .2, it is actually
(sufficiently) higher but simply being taken out of the water column?
<Mmm; doubtful... but will concede that this is still possible>
I have green algae on all 3 walls ( Kole Tang and snails grazing ground)
- I need to scrape the front daily, I have bubble algae - not much, but
enough to keep me occupied for about 5 minutes every week, I have a hand
full of herbivorous snails that are happy and growing, and up until now
my corals have been growing and splitting / dropping new colonies.
<All good signs.>
I also have 7 fish and no protein skimmer. My reasoning is that the
nitrates are fueling the algae and coral growth with very little left
over in the water column. Am I fooling myself?
<I don't think so. With the added info. here I agree w/ your
observation/guess. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Tank crashing
Hey Bob, something just occurred to me: I accidentally severed a few
tips of my hammer coral, about eight days ago, when I was scraping algae
- the hammer was the first to shrivel . Could this carelessness have
triggered the cascading event I'm experiencing?
<Of a certainty; yes. Euphylliids are very common instigators of such
cascade events. B>
MASSIVE TANK CRASH !!! Typical Xeniid die-off, cascade event
Hello Mr. Fenner,
I have a 210 gallon reef and everything was doing well until last week.
A thriving colony of Xenia (6") suddenly withered and died
Thinking this is typical of Xenia, I did not think of it until I started
to see black spots appearing on all of my finger leather corals the next
<Oh... when Xeniids (do) crash, one needs to be making huge water
change-outs, using chemical and physical filtrants, possibly moving
other livestock elsewhere>
In a matter of two days, they look like they were sprinkled with
charcoal and died. All my zoos closed up and my GSP stopped opening.
<Cascade event... use these two words in the search tool on WWM...>
Both of my cleaner shrimps and Coco worm died. The skimmer is
hyperactive and the water is cloudy. I then had to remove all the rocks
with dying corals out of tank and moved the live corals to my 55 gallon
So far, they are doing OK. At this time, the main tank has no corals
but only mushrooms that I couldn't remove as they were all over.
There are three filters totally rated at 270 gallons running with carbon
right now since two days ago.
Last night, I noticed the mushrooms are recovering and some patches of
GPS start to come out. Nitrate is @ 20.
The rocks that were covered with dying zoos are left in the garage dried
and this weekend, I will scrape them off because I don't want to deal
with their toxins.
<DO WEAR gloves IF touching the water or Zoanthids... TOXIC... Better to
vacuum as much away as you can... to the toilet... leave the windows
open. SEE WWM RE ZOAS>
The fish appear to be unaffected. So these are my questions:
1. What is the cause of my crash?
Xenia poisoning the tank as they died?
<First them, then other Cnidarians in reaction>
2. When can I scrape off the dead
zoos from rocks and place them back into my main tank?
3. Should I a massive water change
like 50%? So far, what is left in the main start to show signs of
<Yes, yes and yes>
4. What will be my next steps?
Thank you so much and I appreciate your input very much! Dai
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
RE: [EXTERNAL] re: MASSIVE TANK CRASH !!!
Hello Mr. Fenner
Thank you for your guidance and to return the favor WWM has done for me,
I will make a donation to your website (I am so guilty... Should have
done it years ago...) . From now on no more Xenias. My LFS is willing to
let me trade in my rocks so I will do that than risking being poisoned.
<Ahh, good, thank you. BobF>
Re: Fish Dying in Reef Tank
Thanks Bob for the quick reply. A few questions if you don't mind.
I was performing 50 Gallon water changes weekly to rid the Nitrates
would this have help reduce the toxicity?
<Yes; but an expensive, short term solution only. I would read, consider
When you talk about biological poisoning do all the other species of
coral in the tank die or just the corals next to the one releasing the
<Not necessarily any dying; but the fishes first>
When you mention aggression, do you mean the corals will grow and over
take the neighboring coral or will it poison the whole tank?
<Please read where you've been referred. These sorts of physical,
chemical, biochemical means of competition go on continuously...
sometimes more vigorously, with dire consequences>
This was quoted from one of the FAQ pages I've read on WWM "Regarding
chemical filtration, I use Purigen in an attempt to keep trace elements
in the system. Do you know how this product compares to activated carbon
in regards to filtering allelopathic compounds?
<I do... neither are really useful>" All I read about on WWM is to
remove the toxicity in the water you have to run activated carbon.
Can you please clarify.
<The compounds involved are mainly terpenoids... a large class of cyclic
hydrocarbons... NOT removed by most of the common chemical filter media
used by hobbyists>
I'm going to perform a 100% water change and continue to run activated
carbon and poly filter (unless you advise a different approach), is this
what you recommend?
<At this point/juncture, yes>
How would I know when the toxins are removed and if it's safe to add
<Unfortunately mainly through "bioassay"; exposing fish, invertebrates
as test subjects>
Could high Nitrate say 30-40ppm in a reef tank cause a toxic warfare?
<It might indicate something that could trigger such an event; though
NO3 by itself is generally not a big issue>
Would SPS and LPS in the same aquarium give off minimal toxins since
their both hard corals?
<No... some "real winners" like Galaxiids, Euphylliids win out over most
all other Scleractinians... >
Thank you for your help and good sense of humor.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Fish Dying in Reef Tank 10/19/13
O forgot to add this. These worms were all over the sand bed after
the incident. Do you know what they are and what causes it.
<Ah yes; coming out because they are either being poisoned as well; or
seeking dead fish as food. BobF>
Tassel file fish... injury? – 09/24/12
Hey guys. Can you please help me with identifying my tassel
filefish problem? This happened in just 2 days. I have him
in a hospital tank and I’m treating him with sulfa.
I have other meds but I was guessing it might be something with his
gill. Can you please let me know what I can do for him?
Thanks in advance!! You've always helped me and I appreciate it
<This looks to be (the reddish area?) a physical trauma... likely in
capture or other in-transit handling this fish got whacked. Not much to
do other than keep the system/area quiet... and hope. Bob Fenner>
|Re Tassel file fish... injury? – 09/24/12
Thanks Bob. I've had this fish for 5 months. I do have a
thinking maybe he got close to him.
<Yikes... yes. Cerianthids are very stinging... trouble in smaller volumes>
The anemone is in the corner of a 155 gallon tank. The
filefish hangs out on the other side all day and night.
If this is from the tube anemone, can I treat him with something else?
<Not really; no. I would not add to the stress here>
The sulfa is triple sulfa from API. Should I take him out of the hospital
tank and put him back in the display tank so he is in his regular
<At this point/juncture, I would leave the fish where it is>
Sorry for the questions I just really don't want to lose him. He has been
eating fine even with the swollen face... forgot to tell you.
Re Tassel file fish... injury? – 09/24/12
Thanks... hopefully he will heal. I'll finish his treatment and put him
back into his regular tank to lower his stress level.
<Sounds good. BobF>
Re Tassel File hlth. – 09/25/12
Update on filefish: last night to no avail he died. So sad... he was a
favorite. I did try something that I've had success with my seahorses but
it didn't help him. I have these insulin needles that I got at the pharmacy
and tried to pull out the infection which I was able to get 70 units (about
45 cc) worth of infection out.
Then I mixed a tiny tiny amount of EM Erythromycin powder from API with 10
cc of salt water and injected this into
the pocket of infection. Made him eat some Nutramar with the syringe and
hoped to see him this morning. I really did try to save him but the
infection was too far along. I just wanted to let you know what I tried as
I'm sure not many would be brave enough... this worked on a female seahorse
with an infection in her neck with great results.
<Have done similar myself>
Oh, I have the tube anemone in a bucket ready to go to a salt water
warehouse. Thanks for all your advice Bob... you're great!
<We all doing what we can Tam. BobF>