Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Box-, Cowfishes Health/Disease, Damage, Pests

Related Articles: Boxfishes, Puffers in General, Puffer Care and Information, Pufferfish Dentistry By Kelly Jedlicki and Anthony Calfo, True Puffers, Freshwater Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Puffer Care and Information by John (Magnus) Champlin, Things That My Puffers Have Told Me by Justin Petrey,

Related FAQs: Boxfishes 1, Boxfishes 2, Boxfish Identification, Boxfish Behavior, Boxfish Compatibility, Boxfish Selection, Boxfish Systems, Boxfish Feeding, Boxfish Reproduction, Puffers in General, Puffer Identification, Puffer Behavior, Puffer Compatibility, Puffer Selection, Puffer Systems, Puffer Feeding, Puffer Disease, Puffer Dentistry, Puffer Reproduction, True Puffers, Freshwater Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Tobies/Sharpnose PuffersMarine Environmental Disease 1,

A-Bay on Hawa'i's Big Island, toward eve. JorieJ

Ornate Trunkfish swallowed air!       10/26/17
I need help! Pauline is scaring me. Her buoyancy seems off. She’s spending a lot of time floating with her back nearly out of the water, and it seems like it’s taking her a lot of energy to swim down from the top of the tank to explore. She seems to be less interested in chasing her food too, and her appetite isn’t good today. It seems like she may have ingested air. She is still swimming symmetrically if that makes sense, but definitely being floated back to the surface. I’ve turned off the power head to conserve her energy. A few moments ago, I gently held her between my fingers underwater and pointed her head toward the top of the tank to see if any air would come out, and it wasn’t successful. I understand “massaging” her, like some do with puffers would not be appropriate because she has a hard, bony body. I have attached a video for reference. Parameters are within normal limits and temperature is around 60 F.
Thanks in advance!
<The holding the fish with its head is what I would have done; along w/ a bit of gentle side to side shaking...
Do try this daily. Bob Fenner>

Cowfish; hlth.      11/15/16
<Took 18 min.s to downld.... you 11 plus megs... Ugh, the Net is slow here!>
Hello! I hope that my movie attaches. We just noticed these large white spots on my Cowfish's fins.
<I see them/these... Likely Lymphocystis (virus; see WWM re); but could be Flukes (Monogenetic Trematodes)... I'd improve diet (soak foods in Vitamin, HUFA mix... add to water... and be patient. A very common issue w/ certain groups of fishes, and stress>
He also seems to be rubbing on the rocks (not constantly - but a few times at least). I can't tell if I can see other tiny spots that might be Ich or I am imagining it.
<The latter. This is not Crypt>
My husband thinks the large spots are too big to be Ich.
<He's correct (this time; but tell him so; we men love to hear this.... it's actually so rare)>
We added a family of Anthias a little over week ago. No one else in the tank looks to have any spots or Ich but I know Cow can be more susceptible.
<Ah yes>
I just need to know how to treat if at all and want to be able to act quickly if I need to. Thanks in advance for any advice. Heather
<Again; the reading, supplementation, and time going by. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cowfish     11/16/16

Thank you so much for your fast response. Cow is my baby and I worry about him!
<Lactoria cornuta is a fave species. Very smart AND comical. Cheers, BobF>

White barred boxfish with oodinium      8/31/16
Hi Crew,
We have 2 white barred boxfish that have been fine for the past few months and last week broke out severely with white spots (more like icing sugar than anything) all over their bodies.
<I see this in your accompanying pic>
We did freshwater dips which helped someone what but not a lot and moved them into a separate quarantine tank where we treated them with Formalin for 24 hours.
<Mmm; very toxic. Better to use this biocide in dips/baths only>
The boxfish live at 67 degrees.
<I'd keep much lower; like the mid-50's F>

Today, although they are better, they are no where near good. This is a photo of them this morning after formalin.
Am looking for advice on next steps:
Here are my questions:
From the appearance in the photos, does this look like oodinium (or related parasite)?
<Almost assuredly Cryptocaryon... can be easily checked w/ sampling, microscope exam. IF Velvet they'd be dead
As you can see the larger one has lost a lot of colour, which started happening about 3 weeks ago. I believe that may have been the onset of the outbreak but the cold water suppressed the advancing parasite.
<Yes; all the more reason to lower it still>
Would hyposalinity be effective for treating these cold water fish?
<Can help; rarely effects a cure>
Should we drop the temperature to change the progress of the disease?
<Ah yes>
We are picking up some Chloroquine Phosphate, but will not have it until Thursday. How do we make it until then?
<IF you lower temp.; likely so>
Should the dosage of the CP be adjusted because of the water temp?

Would you recommend something else? (No, I have no access to a cold water cleaner fish, but wondering if a tropical cleaner fish would acclimate down to 67 degrees)
<Labroides et al. common cleaners; no>
Thanking you in advance,
and will be in your lecture at MACNA in a couple weeks!
<A good. See you then! Bob Fenner>

Re: White barred boxfish with oodinium      8/31/16
Thanks Crew,
<Cher bear>
Totally appreciate the comments. I am getting biopsy on Friday.
In your experience, are these fish beyond recovery?
<Mmm? No; genus Aracana are actually quite tough>
What would help
them in addition to the directions discussed. Vitamins? Omega Fatty Acids?
<In foods, added to water... to some extent? Increasing RedOx, much more so... a myriad of "things" that might improve water quality, stability, boost immunity.... BobF>
UV filter (which we keep on all our tanks). It is turned off
right now for medications.

Re: White barred boxfish with Ich     9/2/16
Follow up question:
Since lowering the temperature will slow down the metabolism of the organism, will it take longer for the Ich cycle to complete? (And thus take longer to get rid off on the fish?)
<Yes; could. OTOH, it may eliminate the Crypt or reduce it to being subclinical>
Of the two Boxfish, the smaller one is responding to the lower temp and has regained his appetite.
<Ah good>
The larger one is very pale, eyes appear sunken and appears to have some blood staining (very slight) on his sides and fins. He is not eating.
Biopsy tomorrow.
Would you treat with copper introduced slowly to allow them time to adjust?
25% twice a day, and only do a half strength dose?
<See the Net re Q10 factor... for every move up down temp. wise metabolism is doubled, halved...>
Would you drop salinity or do freshwater baths into clean tanks? Or both?
<I might lower the spg (see WWM Re opposing viewpoints here); but not do the baths unless I was moving the fish to another non-infested system. Bob Fenner>
Re: White barred boxfish with Ich      9/3/16

Confirmed w biopsy as just crypt.
<Ah yes; see our initial interchange>
Need to do something as big fish is not good. So going hypo and setting up clean system for tt
<I'd be using Copper Power, CopperSafe... Bob Fenner>

Spiny box puffer with sunken stomach       6/27/16
Hello, I have had my puffer for a few months now he is about 3 inches big.
he is eating good and loves food but his stomach has slowly been getting smaller and smaller.
<... What are you feeding this fish? Is the food, water supplemented?>
tonight I noticed a long white string coming from his face. I took him out and the white thing came off Idk what it was.
<Well-resolved photo please>
I put him into a QT with Prazi pro cause I thought he might have an internal parasite that is making him skinny. Any advise is greatly appreciated Idk what else to do for him.
<The usual reading on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/FishInd3.htm
scroll down....
Bob Fenner>

Disabled fish and moral dilemma       6/15/16
Dear Crew,
I’ve got a moral dilemma about the right course of action I should take with my disabled Cow Fish.

I have had an outbreak of Cauliflower or Lymphocystis 1-2 months ago which affected 3 fish of the same kind (2 cow fish and yellow boxfish). All of the others remain unaffected.
<Yes; this virally mediated condition comes/goes... depending on immunity, environmental and nutritional factors mostly. NOT that debilitating>
While one cowfish and yellow boxfish got slightly affected (no loss of fins function just some white residue/nodes) and perhaps slightly improved after several weeks of increased UV sterilisation and ozonising the one fish I am concerned about has lost its ability to swim.
All its fins got affected to some extend but Pectoral fins are mostly eaten away.
<Yeeikes! Something/s else at work here
... B vitamin deficiency/ies? What do you feed?>
The fish can reposition itself in uncoordinated fashion to different parts of the tank but can’t float and remains supported on rocks and sand. It has been like that for approximately last 3 weeks.
There are no bullies in the tank, perhaps the opposite.
Spirit wise it seems fine as far as I can tell from its coloration. Sometimes gets blackish in places when gets stack behind the rock but quickly comes back to its normal bright yellow after help arrives and I manually set it fee from ‘trap’.
That’s the only way I can judge cow fish mood but I am far from telling how it feels, what it thinks, whether it came to terms with disability or in contrary being distressed about it???
<Can't say/don't know>
I don’t know to which extend (if ever) fins are going to regrow to allow it to swim?
<Fins can regenerate.. AS LONG as they're not destroyed beyond their bases>
It’s hard to know whether I should give the nature more time or if I should consider euthanasia out of sheer mercy?
<Your choice/decision. Summat re here by Neale: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm
(That’s assuming fish suffers??)
<I suspect the latter does occur in fishes>
I haven’t seen it eating but I’ve seen it poo white ‘string’ .
I would appreciate your opinion.
I’ve heard about disabled goldfish leading long ‘happy’ life but I am not sure if I am comparing like to like.
The last think to add is that I ordered Aquatic Gentamycin Sulfate 500mg tablets but they didn’t arrive yet. It’s claimed that they have also antiviral properties but internet search doesn’t address this particular type of virus. Is it worth trying this treatment or would it cause more harm than good?
<Again; unfortunately I don't have sufficient personal experience... even Ed Noga (both ed.s) doesn't mention this compound>
Thank you for your help.
Kind Regards
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Disabled fish and moral dilemma       6/15/16

In the event that your fish are malaffected by Thiaminase poisoning; I WOULD add vitamins, HUFAs, pro-biotics to foods and directly to the water (as marines drink their environment. B
re: Disabled fish and moral dilemma       6/15/16

Dear Bob.
Thank you for such quick reply. I am attaching 3 photographs of the cow fish.
<I see these>
2 photographs shows eaten away pectoral fin from different camera angles. Base seems still unaffected but there is not much else left.
<But some; these fins could/might re-grow...>
The third photograph shows the whole fish but focuses on the dorsal fin. It can be somehow seen how the disease is progressing.
Although there is undoubtedly Lymphocystis present in the tank only this fish displays such extreme symptoms.
<.... something else going on here; as prev. stated. The Lymph. did NOT cause this>

As to feeding, the diet is very varied .Dry food(Hikari Marine A), various frozen marine mix(Mysis shrimp, fish and lobster eggs etc),fresh prawn(grey raw , uncooked) and mussels(main diet).
<Need vitamin B12 badly here. See as in READ on WWM re Thiaminase>
Although prawn and mussels are purchased fresh I do tend to freeze them for freshness.
I am usually defrosting them with the addition of some garlic, Tropic Marin immuvit and occasionally some lipid spray.
The system is FOWLR but I am using good quality reef salt .
As long as there is a shade of chance and fish tries to fight(definitely this is the case!!)I am prepared to try all supportive treatment.
I've also added some Easy-life Voogle which suppose to boost immune system but can't see it working miraculously.
<What other livestock is present here? Bob Fenner>
Re: Disabled fish and moral dilemma. Chewed by...         6/15/16

Thank you again.
The other stock present:
2 Puffers( Dogface and Valentini)
<Likely the Toby IS the culprit, though the Arothron is a suspect. THESE are the source of the Boxfish's woes. MOVE the boxfish or these others. They need to be separated. NOW
Banner fish
<Another possibility>

 and few small ones: 1 clown, 1 scarlet hawkish, 1 long nose hawkish, 1 blue cheek goby.
All life stock seem perfect.
The system holds about 600 L of water but the filtration is good( sump, refugium, canister filter, V2 bio pellets reactor).I have to admit that despite all of that nitrate are usually high, I will need to start making larger water changes more often . As to vitamin B12, I am adding vitamin B supplements (in the form of powder)to food but not to water. The cow fish doesn't feed well at the moment . Is there any way I could add it to water effectively to benefit the fish?
<Already stated, and gone over on WWM. Search and READ there. B>
I know about mineral supplements in the liquid form but never came across B vitamin supplement designed for direct water application. I would be grateful for letting me know if I am missing on something present on the market.
Also(just a thought), I am taking standard B vitamin supplements myself. Would it work if I dropped one of my tablet into the water to dissolve?
Kind regards Daria

Coldwater box fish with flukes       3/31/16
I have an Ornate Boxfish that came to me last September in poor shape. He had a very cloudy eye and what looked like a lump on one fin.
He is still in qt almost 8 months later although he now shares qt with a few starfish, some snails and some anemones.
His tank is 75 gallons, kept at 61 degrees and he is well fed and cleaned.
The cloudy eye cleared up within a month, but the lump stayed. After 4 months, the lump was gone, but small spots showed up on all his fins.
These turned into the exact same kind of lump as the original blemish on his pectoral fin, except they were all over all his fins. We treated with Melafix,
<No!!! An at times toxic scam>
Prazi, formalin (twice), neoplex, Ruby reef
<.... see WWM Re>
and vitamins. We even did a freshwater dip on the back half of him, while keeping salt water running over his gills and mouth.
One day, we did a manual inspection on these lumps and I tried to remove one. It came off with just a bit of effort, and upon inspection under a microscope, we found it had a leach type mouth and was actively looking for its host. We removed 15 in total from the fish.
We treated the wounds with polysporin and they appear to be healing. We also ran a double dose of Prazi after we removed the parasites. However it is a month later and we notice there are some very fine white dots and a couple of these dots appear to be growing.
<See (as in actually READ on WWM re other Anthelminthics.... coldwater settings... don't work as well>
How do we break the cycle and get rid of these pests?
<Reading... don't have the time, desire to re-key>
I would like to get the boy into his permanent home eventually and don't want to have him continue to suffer with parasites.
Here is an image of the flukes after we removed them. They were about 10mm diameter, and looked like poplar seeds. They were flat, round and slightly raised in the middle. They appeared to have a small 'tail', no eyes, and a
round sucker mouth on the underside. I froze them, in case someone could give me a better ID.
<Neat! Write back later after reading, trying other Vermifuges. READ before trying misc. "medicines" that are scams. Bob Fenner>

Re: Coldwater box fish with flukes       4/2/16
I appreciate your comments on Melafix, and will keep it in mind for future use.
<Ah good... if only there were statutes for selling such products as there are for human remedies....>
As we had started out 8 months ago dealing with 2 issues on this fish, we were looking for a solution to treat his eye that was not a sledge hammer.
It is quite possible that the Melafix had no impact at all on anything and that it was just good qt protocol that helped the eye clear up. So no more Melafix for us!
<Good... can interrupt nitrification; and who knows what other detrimental effects?>
Based on additional readings as you suggested it appears the parasite is a capsalid monogenean Trematode, except ours are huge compared to sizes I have found in reference material on line (ours measure 10mm easily).
<Yes; can occur this large in cooler water species>
I cannot find any references to how well a coldwater Boxfish will handle freshwater dips, or hyposalinity,
<Are fine w/ both>

so am opting instead for prolonged treatment in Praziquantel over the next couple of months, based on a starting program of 2.5mg/l and increasing over 10 days to 10mg/l and holding for 4 days. Will repeat 3 times. Does
this dosage get too aggressive?
<Mmm; no>
We did not eliminate the parasites at 5mg/l when we did Prazi last time.
<As you prev. stated; yes>
We can also change qt tanks between treatments and disinfect the tank with Virkon to eliminate any chance of detached eggs or free-swimming juveniles from surviving. Is this overkill?
<Likely so>
When we took Prazi to 5mg/l for a week during the last treatment program, we saw no change in the infection, and did see that the Boxfish quit eating. My concern with higher dosages is finding the balance between killing the parasites and not killing the fish.
I cannot find any information on suppression of effectiveness of Prazi at lower temperatures, but will call Hikari today.
<Ah; good>
If the Prazi does not work, then it appears we will have to try formalin again, although the last time we did formalin (both times), it had zero visible impact on the adult parasites.
<Assuredly, formalin WILL kill all external parasites... given dosage, exposure time>

Over the last 8 months I have had the advice of the marine biologist at our zoo and a fish vet, both of whom suggested using formalin. However have also read that formalin can be hard on fish.
<It is a biocide (kills all life... crosslinking peptides....)>

It may be that we have to do a higher concentration bath and then move the fish to a clean qt tank, but unless the parasites detach during the bath (and as adults they are clearly visible) they just come with the fish. Or
we manually remove the adults and focus on killing the juveniles with formalin.
If you think the ID on this parasite is wrong, please let me know. We cannot see any in the gills or in his mouth, but this does not eliminate the possibility that they are there or even internal. He does eat well, but has also lived with this infection for over 8 months.
<Monogenetic Trematodes are VERY common on fishes. VERY>
I have asked the seller if he has ever dealt with this parasite, and he has not. He did however notice what he thought was just a fin ray growth (which was the parasite) before the fish was shipped to me.
Thanks for your comments and help.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Coldwater box fish with flukes      4/15/16
Hi Bob,
We treated our box fish 10 days ago with Prazi (full strength dose,
<20 mg/l? I would use a formalin dip; move the fish elsewhere for two weeks.. to let the monogenes die off w/o a host. Am going to send you an article I just finished ayer re... from another machine here>
75 gallon tank) and he went sideways. Seriously sideways. At 5 days he was swimming sideways. So at 7 days we cleared the Prazi out, did a big water change and added carbon. Today we are at 10 days. He is eating well, but at times he is upside down, some times he is sideways, sometimes he is fine.
<Waiting till the fish is upright... better. Than the dip and exclusion SOP mentioned. Bob Fenner>

Re: Coldwater box fish with flukes   4/16/16
Thanks Bob,
<Welcome Cher>
May I share this?
<The article? Yes>
I have been on the look out for a cold water cleaner fish without a lot of success. But then again, I have had issues just getting fish! I did find reference to a couple of cold water species that are cleaners, but they get to be around 16" long (yeah, slightly too big).
I will check with a supplier in So Cal and see what comes out of the Baja coast. That might be my best bet.
Thanks again,
Cheryl (with the buoyant challenged Ornate box fish)
<W. B>

Long horned cowfish question     3/16/16
I've had my salt water tank for over two years now and my cow fish about the same time. He's done great until I added a very small amount of coral to the tank (about 5 weeks ago).
<Mmm; might be the source, of the pathogen, or enough added stress to elicit... Crypt
Now he has these white specks but that's it, behavior, eating and everything else is fine I'm just concerned with how he looks and my other fish are perfectly fine.
<Won't be for long>

All my levels are "perfect" according to the liquid drop testing (I've noticed the stick strips say my levels are crazy
<These strips are neither accurate nor precise. Try reading on WWM re>
but I've also read a lot about those being inaccurate a lot due to the maintenance required to keep them "good"). He has a very well rounded diet of seaweed, algae tabs, Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, blood worms, dry plankton, and flake food with garlic (not all are at every meal they are separated Morning and night) my tank has a 3 stage filter ( mechanical filtration, chemical with an ammonia reducer, and a bio filter all changed regularly but not on the same days) I also have a protein skimmer 150 gallon. This is my first saltwater tank, however it's my dad's second so he's the more experienced one and claims he's okay but I'd rather have a professional reassure me. We did our routine water change about 3 weeks ago and still no change.
<Trouble.... deaths coming unless you act quickly>

His name is Otis
<My man!>
(after the cow from back at the barnyard) and I'm worried. I do have copper safe
<... See... as in READ on WWM re puffers and copper exposure... NOT a good idea. NEED to READ and act... lowered spg in the short term to buy you time.... CP; other quinine... NOW
on hand if it is Ick but I don't want to give him any chemicals without knowing due to his sensitive skin.
I also notice a few other posts on your page say to lower the salt but I'm concerned about how that will effect the other fish.
<Better by far than the alternative>
Another person said it was "dead" skin
<... no. Dismal>
and to remove it with a cotton swab but he will eat plastic when acclimating other fish, corals, etc. (all of my fish are bought local from the same shop every time and have NEVER had a problem) this is new sense in
the two years I've had the tank nothing has ever happened *knock on wood* the only time a fish has died is when two have jumped out of the tank, but we now have a glass lid to prevent that.
He's very social and still comes to the tank to great me and other people.
His behavior hasn't changed just his skin. I'm also worried cause when I put the coral in he accidentally bite me and there was some blood, but like I said he has a thing for plastic and I had my hand in the bag trying to
get the coral out (which the coral is doing great as well)
My live rock is kind of low but the local shop here doesn't sell much and I don't like buying online during the cold weather and living in upstate New York our weather has been crazy!! Lately
Thank you so much and I really hope my dad is right and I'm just overly worried ( I do the same with my boys too).
<The reading; ASAPractical; formulating a work-able plan and then....
ACTION. Write back (after reading) if your path is not clear
. Bob Fenner>

Re: Long horned cowfish question       3/17/16
I did lower the salt level as suggested. I only lowered it to .0022
<1.022 likely>
(I'm hoping I remembered that number correctly) which is only a few levels lower than my tanks "normal" and will lower more tomorrow.
What level do you recommend?
<... please search, read on WWM ahead of writing us>
I also bought vitamin drops to add to the food and will be adding krill to his diet and live snails.
All other fish and coral are looking/doing fine.
<Not too much lower if you have corals; other invert.s... Perhaps 1.021>
Any other ideas for him?
<YES! The reading re Cryptocaryon and puffers:
Didn't I stress the need for READING then ACTION? Your fishes may soon be all dead
I wasn't sure on some of your abbreviations so I hope I acted correctly.
Also did you get the photos I attached to the last email? There was no comment on if it looked like Ick or anything.
<.... ?~! Re-read below... SW Ich IS Cryptocaryon.... Bob Fenner>

Sick Cowfish        3/6/16
I've had a small and young Cowfish for 4 months and he's got on really well and in the last weeks he keeps getting stuck on the grill of the filter at the back of the tank it's as if he has not got enough strength to
swim away if he gets stuck on it, so I usually give him a little nudge to free him and then he's fine until the next time.
<Not good that this Boxfish is so weak; or that the intake is that strong...>
Today when I got back from work I found him stuck but after I freed him he was bobbing all over the place and it looked like he had lost his buoyancy, so I've put him in a little nursery tank inside the main tank out of the mainstream of the water flow to see if he will recover it looks like he exhausted, it's the first time he won't feed as he usually feeds from my hand. He seems to sit on the bottom of the nursery net and sometimes stops flapping his little fins is there anything I can do to help him I would hate to loose the little guy!!!!
Any ideas??
<A larger intake screen (to lessen, spread out suction); moving the fish elsewhere; keeping it in a floating plastic colander till it is stronger.... Bob Fenner>

Cowfish, hlth.       1/8/16
I've had a Cowfish for about a 1 1/2 years and for the last year or so ( spike ) has had a pretty big bump at the base of the left front horn.
It's seems to have gotten a little bigger over that time and once and awhile smaller bumps seem to grow on the same horn until the horn grows out and it breaks off.
Is this normal for Cowfish or is it something I should be concerned about?
<Mmm; well; can only guess; but this spot and necrosis (apparent) is likely resultant from some kind of previous physical trauma... Naught can be done re practically; other than optimizing and stabilizing the environment.
Keeping up good water quality and nutrition (supplementing by soaking foods in HUFA, Vitamin mixture ahead of offering).
No specific "treatment" likely to modify this Ostraciid's condition. Bob Fenner>

Boxfish Cubicus. Hlth., dipping?    7/9/14
Hi Crew,
I have been waiting for a small yellow Boxfish for about a year and finally the store has one which they are sending to me.
<Are seasonal>
I write as I normally fresh water (pH adjusted) dip all new fish for about six minutes and wondered if this is ok for a Cubicus Boxfish?
<IF this animal is going into isolation/quarantine, yes. Not directly into a main/display system>

Thank you in advance.
Kind regards,
Adam Aarons.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Boxfish lethargic/dying    11/18/13
Let me start with the tank set up. I have had this tank up and running for 18 months. I have a sail fin tank <Tang> juvenile, a coral beauty angel, an orange spotted goby, a clown, and three Chromis along with a Yellowcube  Boxfish. They live in a 65 gallon
<This is too small a volume for the Tang, Centropyge, Lactoria...>

tank with a 10 gallon sump (20 gal tank half full).  I have live sand, live rock, and  tree of Kenya. The ammonia and nitrite are zero, the Nitrates are .5  Phosphate is .5 and PH are 8.3 I don’t know what happened but my  salinity had been close to 1.030
 I have it back down to 1.023. A month ago I lost a tasseled file fish.
<Misplaced here as well>

3 weeks ago I lost my Turbo Snail. 2 weeks ago I lost my Longnose Hawk. None of the animals had any signs of disease. They all ate fine and were active until the day before they died. The day before they were lurking near the bottom of the tank but NOT breathing heavy.
one week ago today my Box started having trouble swimming he was leaning on his side. I put him in my hospital tank and he seemed better the next day.  I have him in a 10 gallon tank with a small power filter running. I am changing half the water every day. For the past 48 hours he has sat on the bottom of the tank barely moving. You have to look closely to see his fins moving. He hasn't’ eaten in 5 days. I see no signs of disease or damage to his can body can you help me figure out what is wrong and what I can do to save him.  I am so frustrated with the loss of life I lovely fish and feel like a terrible keeper. I read through a lot of your site but can’t find what I’m doing wrong.
<The trouble here may be as simple as too-low dissolved oxygen; in part from the too-high water density... Common this time of year, with it getting cold, folks sealing their homes up tighter... I would "wick off" the surface water, dip a pitcher in... Search WWM re surface films, low DO... If your local shops have an oxygen test kit to lend, borrow it and check. Otherwise, nothing "jumps out" as being wrong here... I would try a unit of Chemipure and Polyfilter in your circulation, filter pathway. Bob Fenner>

Re: Boxfish lethargic/dying    11/19/13
Hi Dr. Bob,
Thank you for your quick reply. I planned on going to my LFS today for the oxygen test kit.  I fear my little guy is getting sicker. He is covered in tufts of white. I don't want to treat for the wrong thing. What do you suggest? Attached is a picture. Thank you for this wonderful service.
<Yikes; this fish is very poorly... Not much to do but wait and hope. BobF>

Longhorn Cowfish- help. No data    7/13/13
My fish doesn't have classic ick, which looks like frost (small white dots). It has blotches of pale, white skin (looks smooth) like the hexagon scales are missing. What disease is this?
<Can't tell from the description; actually need to sample (body/mucus scrape) and look under a microscope to be more sure... Likely environmental, social, nutritional issues at origin here... You state nothing re.>
 And what would be the best way to treat. Other fish look fine. Is it fungus, parasite, bacteria or something else?
<Again; no way to say... DO read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfshdisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> 

Re wrote with more info Very sick cow fish need help   9/29/12
Sick Cowfish, 9/28/12

Hello, Let me start out saying that I am a somewhat beginner in the saltwater aquarium hobby. Had a 30 gallon fish only tank with 5 damsels for several years. 4 months ago was given a 90 gallon tank with undergravel system with 2 powerheads, and a Fluval 405 mechanical filter.
<Undergravel filters can make it tough to keep nitrates down and nutrients under control.  They can work but there are better/easier ways to do it.>
 Moved most of gravel to new tank, and cycled it. Then moved fish. I am keeping this tank fish only also. Water parameters were great temp 76 degrees, nitrates and nitrites at 0ppm and 8.0 ph level. Same time that I put my fish in I purchased a powder blue tang.
<Pretty fragile and needs a larger tank, a big time swimmer.>
 Several weeks later I purchased a clown fish. Several weeks later I was sold a long horned cow fish (about 3 inches long) by my local LFS. As I have read on many posts, I fall into the same category of idiot as the rest of the folks that buy fish without doing the research first.
<Gets football sized, definitely will need a larger tank as well.>
 Ok enough of that, I have a sick cow fish. Long story short. The messy eating habits of the cow fish. And my ignorance in buying fish ( and not quarantining them first ) overloaded the bio filter capabilities of my 90 gallon tank and brought God only knows what else into my tank. Water parameters went to hell. Ich set in quickly. Lost several fish first day and one by one until I only have one damsel and the cow fish. This all took place the first week of July. Set up 10 gallon hospital tank. Lowered salinity to 1.009 and raised temp to 82 degrees.
<I'm not a fan of hyposalinity, too tough to keep at proper levels which greatly effects efficiency.>
 Treated with Ich-X.
<A toxic cocktail of chemicals, formaldehyde and malachite green.>
 Noticed fin rot setting in, a small white dot on one eye and small cottony type patch on belly. Treated with Melafix and added API Stress Zyme while continuing with Ich-X. Fin rot cleared up quickly. Ich cleared up. Small white dot on eye still there( not any worse ). Cottony patch on belly is much worse.
<Formaldehyde and malachite green will do that.>
 Turned out to be dead skin. And when wiped it with Q-tip one of the scales (bones) came off, and noticed redness around area. Found product called Bio-bandage gel and started treating with that for a week.
<I think you need to slow down here, too many chemicals here, that alone can kill your fish.>
 Not getting any better. Now three scales (bones) have come off, and several more are loose. The redness goes from one side to the other right about where the fins are. Have started treatment with Furan-2, on 4th day now. Not looking any better. Fish is swimming fine, and eats like a cow. I feed him Omega One Super Veggie three times a day( about a 1" by 1.5" square) and some brine shrimp once in a while. Need Help, love this little guy.  Don't have ability to upload photos now, but will do so ASAP. I thank you in advance for any help you can give me.
   Thank you, P.S. I lowered salinity to 1.009 and raised temp to 82 in main tank as well when I removed the fish. I returned Damsel to main tank after 6 weeks and it is fine.
<You went from stop to ludicrous speed here.  I would stop all treatments and get him back to the main tank, the chemicals and small QT tank are more a threat than the Ich in the main tank.  Long term you are going to have to decide if you can even house this fish.>
Re wrote with more info Very sick cow fish need help    9/30/12

Chris, Thank you for responding.
 I will move the cow fish back to the main tank in the morning. And start raising the salinity back up to normal. How long should I wait to see if this no treatment plan is working?
<You will know probably within a few days to weeks.>
 And if this does not work what would be your next suggestion for treatment? Thank you again, Tim
<Based on the sensitivities of Cowfish, I would use one of the quinine drugs here.>
Re wrote with more info Very sick cow fish need help
Re: Sick Cowfish, 10/4/12

Chris, Here are some pics of my sick cow fish. Sorry, for the pic quality best I could do. Infection is definitely getting worse without any treatment. Really looks bad.
<You could try a broad spectrum antibiotic, but I would not mix it with the other chemicals you have been using.>
 Do you know of any fish Vets in the Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania or even New York area that could help me out. I live in Salisbury, Md but I am willing to take him where is best.
<Sorry I don't, I am in Chicago and don't even know any fish vets out here.
 Better bet might be a local university with a good marine biology program.>
The whitish band across his belly is approx. 1/2" wide and goes all the way across his belly. And that is all dead skin and scales (bones) that are loose and ready to fall off. I appreciate your help. I work 4pm - 12am shift as a Corrections Officer,  so I will not be able to respond during those hours. Thank you, Tim
<Best bet at this point is good water quality and good nutrition and hope the fish can recover on it's own.  A antibiotic might help but hard to predict.>

Re: Blueface angel, damaged? And now Crypt, including Cowfish    12/13/11
Hi Bob, Good to here from you again! He is in a 180. S.G. 1.025, Nitrate, Nitrite, and Ammonia is Zero.
<Mmm, how is NO3 rendered thus?>
Temp stays at 80. I use Marineland carbon. I usually add new carbon every month or so. I do a 10 to 15 gallon water change every week, and a 40 gallon water change once a month. I do add Microbe-lift all in one supplement every water change. I still have mushrooms, and purple gorgonian. I add four cap fulls once a week after a water change. I use Kordon Amquel Plus a water conditioner when I am  mixing salt. O am hoping to purchase a ro-di unit after Christmas. The tank is 3.5 years old. It was a reef, but my blueface changed that. It is now a fowlr. The wounds are healing there getting smaller everyday. I am still in the process of trying to buy a 265, but the guy wants $4500 for it!
I am hoping he will drop the price soon. The Emperor is doing a lot better.
He in my 55 quarantine tank. I gave him a couple prozac's and a couple sessions with Daisy (my cowfish, she lives in the 55) the Psychologist and the depression went away! lol Thanks, Jim
<I'd go w/ these being physical wounds... and get that bovine out of the 55! BobF>
Re: Blueface angel   12/13/11
Hi Bob, The cowfish is got a few more weeks in quarantine and then she will go to my main tank. Unfortunately my lfs seemed to offer a free bonus when you buy there fish. Yep you guessed it, Ick!
I buy most of my fish from Live aquaria. My Mother is starting a salt tank so she wanted to go to all the lfs. The cowfish was cute I could not say no. I do realize they get be about a foot. Thanks again Bob! Jim
<Do take care w/ that Crypt... hard to cure on both the Cowfish and Angel once it gets advanced. BobF>
Re: Blueface angel   12/13/11
Hi Bob, I am doing hyposalinity right now. Can the cow fish handle copper
if it comes to that? Jim
<... not for Ostraciids... see WWM re... the use of Quinine cpd.s>
Re: Blueface angel   12/14/11

Hi Bob, As of right now the cow fish has no ick. I am going to wait out the full thirty day cycle before I remove him from quarantine. So far hypo- salinity is doing the trick. I will keep you updated. Once again, Thanks
for always being there for all of us! Jim
<Life to you! BobF>

Long Horn Cowfish has a broken tail!   7/12/11
Help! We love our Long Horn Cowfish and woke up this morning to find him unable to steer, just being tossed by the current in our 75 gallon, live rock and fish, tank. He has a large white bump about 1/4" from his body encircling his tail and doesn't seem to be able to move his tail about like he normally does.
<Tetraodontiform fishes use their caudals for steerage to extents...>
We have a little net enclosure, I think we had it when our guppies had babies the first time and we wanted to keep some of them from being eaten, so we moved him to that and he's just hanging out on the bottom of it.
We've had Tex about 2 years and he's a real character and generally the first in line at feeding time. I added some krill to his little isolation room and he's ignoring it, so now I'm really worried. In the tank we have a saddleback puffer named Trigger (same size as Tex, about 2 or 3 inches bought at the same time), a clown, rusty angel, Firefish, and a Huma Huma trigger
<Here's the likely (biting) culprit. Best moved elsewhere>
(after being very aggressive for about an hour he has settled right in with the rest of the community, been there about 6 months now). Levels are all normal, all the other fish seem fine. I'm not sure where this bump came from, it wasn't there yesterday.
<Bite from the Balistid almost assuredly. Only partly likely from a physical trauma>
He is breathing ok, all his other fins are flitting about normally, but he is just sitting on the bottom of the little net box and ignoring the krill.
I read on your site that fresh garlic is helpful, I don't think this is Ick, more likely he got his tail stuck between a rock and a hard place. Any suggestions?
<Mmm, yes... As stated above, the Trigger needs to be elsewhere... with animals it can't/won't harm... Not with the rest of what you list... And the Ostraciid needs to be back in the main tank... where it will learn to swim w/ its injury, which should heal in time>
Thanks so much, I love your website and go there frequently for research and help. Martha
<Thank you, Bob Fenner>


boxfish, is it Ich or something else?   5/22/11
I have a HD video of two boxfish posted here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejzKOVhTchc you may want to skip 1st minute.
<Mmm, can't bring up... someone is hogging up the bandwidth here>
Those white spots are on the fish fins for about 2 weeks by now,
<Not pathogenic... would have too likely have killed this Ostraciid by now>
no signs that their number is going up or down. It was suggested and it sounds logical not to treat fish for something unless you're sure what the problem really is. I don't believe it could be micro bubbles from skimmer since the spots number is constant over time.
<I think you may well be right. Puffers are generally quite slimy, compared w/ most other fish groups... Sand particles, small bubbles to adhere to them. A pertinent note: you don't want too many fine bubbles present in captive systems... i.e. there are a few environmental diseases that are resultant from... see WWM re emphysematosis in particular, and look into ways of limiting/coalescing this bubbliness.>
Please advise.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Stuck cowfish 5/15/10
I woke up to a problem my thornback cowfish was wedged between the rocks and the glass. I removed him and he has been sitting on the floor all day. I was wondering if there was anything I could do?
I figure he must be very exhausted. just need your opinion on the matter
thank you,
<Ten big breaths, a walk... You, not the Ostraciid. Bob Fenner>

Damaged Longhorn Horn 4/12/10
Will a broken tip on a longhorn cowfish reheal/regrow to normal?
<Can... if... not too damaged, rotted. Bob Fenner>

Re: Poorly Blue Spotted Puffer fish  3/31/10
Thanks for the speedy response, unfortunately a family emergency has prevented me from acting. The salinity has risen to 1.021
<I'd bright this density up a thousandth or so (0.001) per day... by change-outs with water of higher Spg>
and Mr. Puffer has managed to right himself and swim off the tank floor and onto the rocks whilst we were out but is still breathing heavily as are the other fish (2 clowns, a blenny, a pajama cardinal and a yellow Sailfin tang) although my girlfriend thinks not as heavily as before. Our tank is a 180 L Aqua One 80cm length, 63cm height, 40 cm depth.
<This volume is borderline too small for a Zebrasoma sp.>
In addition to the fishes we have 3 beaded anemones of the kind found along the shores here in the UK.
<!? These are coldwater organisms, and incompatible with your fish life. I would remove them>
Not ideal for a warm water marine tanks I know but we had ordered them before realising what they were. Could they be giving off toxins perhaps and harming the fish?
<Likely stinging them>
They are around 1.5 inches across, is there a possibility they may have stung Mr. Puffer? Should we remove them anyway?
<Yes I would>
The tests I did after the water change gave the following readings - pH 8.3 - Ammonia 0.1mg/L - Nitrite 0.1mg/L - Nitrate 5mg/L and so I don't think any of these are a problem. After the water change I treated the tank with AmQuel+ to remove the chlorine/chloramine and dosed to the tank size rather than guess what tap water was left in the sand. Is this right?
<... please read where you were referred to previously>
I also treated with Nutrafin cycle Biological Aquarium Supplement as advised on the bottle after water changes.
My girlfriend has read tonight that puffer fish can over eat and Mr. Puffer often gets a lot of the food. The fishes regular diet is any 2 of the following - brine shrimp with garlic (although I noticed on your link this is not nutritious and will be reduced or even stopped), krill, muscle and cockle, fed at 2 different times plus a further feeding of a sprinkling of Tetra marine flakes for a 3rd meal. Is this too much?
<... please read on WWM re Ostraciid nutrition>
Is there any of the above that should be withdrawn or anything that should be added? Oh! They also get a bi-weekly treat of green seaweed, the dried kind that you put into a clip and attach to the side of the tank.
Mr. Puffer eats the food from the surface and appears to gulp in air and we have read this could affect his buoyancy, do you think this could be an additional problem?
Also should we have any scavengers for any food not eaten i.e. snails?
PS sorry for not adding 'Regards' on my first mail but was kind of in a hurry and read for spelling and grammar (although the 'infromed' slipped the net) and hit send before I realised what I had done.
<No worries. BobF>
Re: Poorly Blue Spotted Puffer fish  3/31/10
Hi Bob,
Many thanks for the extremely helpful info. Will act upon the salinity and anemones 1st thing in the morning, also read about the nutrition and found that most helpful, going to Google for a supplier of mussels now. Will also
let you know how Mr. Puffer (I have a suspicion that name is going to stick now) gets on.
Thanks again,
<Welcome. B>
Re: Poorly Blue Spotted Puffer fish
Hi Bob,
Just a quick note to let you know Mr. Puffer is fine now along with the rest of the fishes. I have got the salinity back up to a decent level again too. Thanks for all your help.
<Thank you for this update. BobF>

Cow Fish dip malfunction  7/5/09
I hope you can help me with this. I have a longhorn cowfish. I have had him for about 7 months. I recently added a yellow tang, and I think the stress of a larger fish caused an ick outbreak. The cowfish (Tweety) and a domino damsel were the only two fish to show symptoms, I put both of them in the "hospital" tank with 10mg/L of formaldehyde
for 24 hours. It cured the ick outbreak on both fish and the damsel was fine. However, the solution dissolved Tweety's pectoral, ventral, and dorsal fins. the rays look funny and the membrane is missing to about half way down. He seems to be feeling ok now. He is eating and swimming in a normal manner, but his fins look awful. Will they repair themselves, or is he a lost cause? He is my favorite fish and I don't won't to give up on him, but I don't want him to poison my tank, either.
<Mmm, chances are good that if there is no other damage, this Ostraciid will regenerate most all the missing finnage. If it were to poison the system, all would be lost that is in with it way before now. Bob Fenner>
re: Cow Fish dip malfunction
Thank you for your quick response.
Renea Bosley
<Welcome. BobF>

Sick long horn cowfish, Crypt treatment... NOT reading WWM before writing, using sham "trtmt.s"  6/17/09
I purchased about 2 months ago and he's about 5-6" long in a 36 gallon tank
- 2 clowns, 2 shrimp right now.
<Much too small of a tank for this fish, needs a larger tank now. See here and related FAQs for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfishes.htm .>
He got what appeared to be Ich about 4-5weeks ago. Treated with Kick Ich
<5- nitroimidazoles, not an effective treatment.>
without any filters, seemed to get better so put the filters back in, he got it again, so treated for 3 days with
Rally, which seemed to make him really lethargic.
<Are you treating in the main tank? This is rarely a good idea, impossible to maintain therapeutic levels and can wreak havoc on your biofilter.
Rally is Acriflavine, Aminoacridine and formalin, which are antiseptics and formaldehyde, not something I would add to my main tank, and with the exception of the formalin of questionable use here.>
He was head down floating in the bubbles for almost 24 hours and then just laying on the bubbles after
that. I immediately changed out 25% of the water, put filters back in and he seemed to get back to normal as far as moving around within 24 hours.
All during this time he had no problems with his appetite or breathing.
Now the Ich (or whatever) is back all over him, including his eyes, which also look a little cloudy.
<Not surprising, what are your current water parameter. Test and make you are not seeing a ammonia/nitrite spike which is compounding your issues.>
My fish expert that I buy from is on a cruise and cannot get in touch with her. I don't want to lose this fish. She suggested stopping all treatment until this weekend to see how he does.
<Is better that over treating.>
I give him immo?? Vitamins, and medication and algae in his food.
Do you have any suggestions as to why these treatments have not worked?
Thank you,
<To be blunt you are not using effective treatments in my opinion. For a scaleless fish like this I would be treating with either formalin, which is very toxic to both humans and fish but better than copper in this
particular case, or ideally with a Quinine based drug, which while expensive is effective. In either case I would be treating outside the main tank in a dedicated hospital tank. However long term this fish cannot
stay in this sized tank, its just too small. See here for more, and check out the links at the bottom for more excellent articles
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm .>

Boxfish Mouth Injury - 5-20-09
<Evening, Mike here>
I have a 6" male Spotted Boxfish that I have had for about 2 months. He came off of the Diver's Den from liveaquaria.com and has been doing great, is very personable and eats well.
<Excellent! I have a beautiful pair of O. meleagris myself! Fun fish, once they start to eat, but definitely not for the beginner!>
Two days ago I noticed that the corner of his mouth looked swollen and white. Yesterday it was a little more swollen and today his whole mouth seems swollen and white and his nose area seems a little faded. He still eats but is not as active as he usually is. There is a Rabbitfish in the tank so I wondered if he may have been stung by accident while feeding, not sure what it is or what to do. I have attached some pics that are not very good, but that is an expensive hobby on its own.
<So true>
Any help will be greatly appreciated.
<Tough to tell from the picture, but it sounds like a minor injury that may be infected. Watch the fish for another day or so, and if you don't see any signs of the problem becoming worse, it should heal on its own. If you do notice an infection or the swelling gets worse, it's time for a hospital tank; where treatment with antibiotics and Methylene blue would be advised>
Thanks for the wonderful site. <><
<Thanks for visiting!>
<Mike Maddox>

Box/cow fish parasites. Parasitized systems, alternatives... reading   8/24/08 I've had a Blue male, Black female box fish and a Cow fish for several years now. One thing I've noticed is they always have Cryptocaryon, I just have to try and control it. I've tried hospital tanks and the only successful/safe medicine was malachite green. However after using low salt and meds for 2 months and returning them to the 180 gal. tank, they would get "it" <Uhh... the system itself has "it"...> again after a few months. Is it true that they always have/carry ick or Cry.? <Nope> I've found the best long term solution to housing Box and Cow fish is to have only them as tank mates, and to use a low salinity of 1.016-1.018. This has kept them symptom free. My main question is, I will keep the low salt for 2-3 months, then raise to 1.022-1.023 for 1-2 months then back down when the first spot shows up. Is this potentially harmful? <Yep... shortens their lives... due to "stress", kidney damage mostly> How long can I keep 1.016 for? <Months to years> This method seems to be the least stressful to the fish and I don't have to keep a hospital tank as well. What kind of salinity's do you recommend? <Near seawater...> Am I too low and then not going back high enough? I want to give the fish the best long term care as possible, but need to keep the salt low to avoid problems. Thanks. <... There are other means of treating/excluding protozoan complaints with the puffer families... Read on WWM re Quinine cpd., dip/bath (with formalin) procedures... Peruse here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm Bob Fenner>

Longhorn cowfish w/Ich -- 01/21/2008 Hello all, great site you have here! I am just going to dive right in here. I have been trying to fight what I think is Ich since September. I currently have a 1.5" valentini puffer and a 3-4" longhorn cowfish in a 20 gallon. I have tried hypo twice...I will skip to the last time I tried hypo. <Have you consistently kept the salinity below 15 ppt (SG < 1.011) for at least 4-6 weeks? Higher salinities won't work with normal Cryptocaryon isolates. A few will even live in brackish water with a lower salinity and can only be treated with copper (or formalin, which is more difficult and potentially dangerous to apply).> After I brought the salt back up I did not see any spots, and everything seemed ok until the cowfish (bugar) would eat. Every time bugar would eat shrimp or scallops after a few bites he would start darting and flashing around the tank. <Something may be wrong with his nervous system, but that is more a guess than a diagnosis.> He did not do this when eating pellet food only the raw frozen foods. (The puffer has not shown any signs)...for two weeks I carefully watched the longhorn, and all day he would not show any signs of Ich not one single spot in two weeks was seen on his fins or body. I do realize that there are certain stages of Ich that you cannot see, and the gills are one of the commonly attacked places, but to not see a spot in two weeks? <It can take 4-6 weeks until spots occur again. Please get familiar with the life cycle of the parasite here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm . However, darting alone is not enough in my opinion to state this is Ich.> Another site suggested that it probably was Ich, and so I began some other treatments. I first used stop parasite, this did nothing to the problem when the cowfish was eating, next I tried Nox-Ich...The cow did fine, but I lost a dwarf lion...not sure if it was the medicine or not, but it seemed logical. The other site then suggested that I use Cupramine. <If it was Ich, this would be a good medication probably in contrast to the ones mentioned before.> I tried this med a few months ago, and the cowfish did not like it. For the first time since I had bugar he did not eat, so I pulled the med. <It had no chance to work.> The other site said that this is a common side effect and should only last a couple of days. So I thought I would try Cupramine another shot. Currently I just added my second treatment of Cupramine last night. The first treatment that is supposed to take the level to .25 did not bother the cow, but taking it to .5 did. I added it last night, and this morning his color was very dark all over his body, and again he is not eating. <Puffers, boxfish and other sensitive fishes should be treated at lower levels slightly above the minimum level recommended by the manufacturer.> I am currently pulling the copper. At least he eats when I don't have that in there. I did notice today that bugar is darting, though he is not eating so this is not linked. I am at a loss as to what to do? <Darting alone is not enough for a proper diagnosis. Without knowing at least roughly what to treat, I would not treat on suspicion.> Not sure if I should be doing anything? <If spots occur, treat with a copper product as indicated by the articles mentioned above. Aside that feed a vitamin rich varied diet to boost the immune system.> I have tried hypo twice, I have used a battery of meds. I don't see spots on these fish. The valentini still shows no spots does not dart around. I have had them in a qt since Sept. I want to get them back into my dt, but don't want to introduce anything bad back into it. Any suggestion or insight would be greatly appreciated. <See above if your hyposalinity treatment was effective at all. If salinity was too high or duration of the treatment was too short, Cryptocaryon is likely still in the system, even if you do not see spots. In this case or if you see any spots treat with Cupramine as indicated above and in the linked articles. After at least 4-6 weeks without spots the fish can probably go back to the main system, which also was free of fish hosts for at least 4-6 weeks. With regard to the darting: as long as no other symptoms occur, I would not specifically address this issue, only provide superb water quality and a vitamin enriched diet. Good luck, Marco.>

Burp the Puffer.. Ostraciid hlth. 1/14/07 Hello Crew, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I apologize for having to email you, I've been searching and searching but cannot find EXACTLY what I'm needing. About a week ago I noticed my Blue Spotted Puffer acting a little strange (75 gal, fowler, had about a year, two clowns only as his tankmates). He was looking a little bloated, started not eating, hanging out at the bottom, etc. The last two days he's literally done nothing but lay on his side in the sand. We thought he was as good as dead, breathing real heavy, LOOKED AWFUL. <What are the water parameters? ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, SG?> I had been reading and reading trying to figure out what the problem was and then noticed that his back end started raising up like he was full of air or something. Discovered he probably was and I needed to "burp" him. I did, he still appears a little more bloated then he used to, but A LOT better. He hasn't been at the bottom of the tank in about 12 hours now, BUT he's definitely not better. Kinda swimming aimlessly, not using his back tail at all, turning upside down, etc. He's definitely not breathing as hard, but the light current is banging him into rocks, and he's kinda looking around like "oh crap I'm gonna run into it" BANG!! He's appearing to try and stay at the front of the tank and be a normal fish though. Is there any hope for this little guy? After the last couple of days I'm VERY grateful that he's to this point, but was it still too late? Is there anything else I can do? Burp him again? <If burping helped him, then try it again. What have you been feeding him?> I appreciate the help, and also understand that you have A LOT to respond to :) <No problem--please post answers to the above & get back to me. ~PP> Jon
Re: Burp the Puffer.. 1/15/08
<Hi John, Pufferpunk again> Well, he hasn't really been eating the past 5 days now. <They can go quite some time without eating.> Before that I was mixing brine shrimp and squid. <Brine shrimp is not nutritious at all--mostly water, so the only thing he has been eating is the squid & they need a much more varied & crunchy diet than that. See: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/feeding/feeding-your-puffers/ > I fed some other types but he refused to eat them (the other fish would however). <Another helpful article on problems feeding your puffer: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/feeding/problems-feeding-your-puffer/ > All the levels are good, <"Good" Means nothing to me. I believe I requested posting your exact parameters.> the salinity was a little low about a week ago but nothing to write home about. As an update I've been burping him a couple of times a day, he doesn't seem to be doing as good anymore. Sitting at the bottom, he's been upside down at the bottom since this morning. Still breathing though. <Possibly a lack of proper feeding.> I read somewhere that disorientation and the lack of using his tail is a sure sign of death to follow. Is it worth letting him suffer, or should I just put him out of his misery :( ?? <There is always a chance of saving him... We need try to find out the problem though. 1) Your water parameters - pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate and salinity (if appropriate). This is by far the most important information you can provide! Do not answer this with "Fine" "Perfect" "ok", that tells us nothing. We need hard numbers. 2) Tank size and a list of ALL inhabitants. Include snails, shrimp, everything that you have and how big the tank is. 3) Feeding, water change schedule and a list of all products you are using or have added to the tank (examples: Cycle, Amquel, salt, etc) 4) What changes you've made in the tank in the last week or so? Sometimes its the little things that make all the difference. 5) How long the aquarium has been set up, and how did you cycle it? We want to help, and providing this information will go a LONG way to getting a diagnosis and hopeful cure that much faster. ~PP> Thanks again, Jon

Cowfish... disease... treatment/s... reading... no useful data  12/3/07 I found your email through links while trying to find answers! I hope you can help me... if not can you let me know of someone who can. I have a longhorn cowfish and we have been treating him, along with the others, for ICH. <How? With what? Have you read on WWM re medications and Lactoria, other puffers?> Just today we noticed red around his eye and on parts of his body (I don't for sure know the sex). <Not able to be discerned externally, and doubtful whether this fish is mature, nor that this is pertinent> I haven't been able to find any information on this. <... on "the reddening"?> Can you please help! We tried a dip twice and it wasn't successful so we stopped because we didn't want to stress him or the other fish out. Now we have a liquid medicine <... what?> that we have been using for about 1 week and haven't seen any sign of the ICH leaving. We raised the temp and have lots of oxygen in the tank. What else can we do? I don't want to lose the fish. The cow fish is just a baby! Thank you in advance, Tara <... please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/boxfshdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above... to give you some ready background; and write back with answers to my questions above. Bob Fenner>

Need help pertaining to cowfish with cyst like balloon of skin   8/12/07 Hello Crew, I am looking for some help with my longhorn cowfish. I have read through much of your info online but haven't found anything specific to my situation yet. Your site has lots of great information and I'm sure I will be visiting your site for years to come. <That makes two... plus! of us> Now about the cowfish, to start with he is eating just fine, is active (especially at feeding time), and he is swimming just fine. About one week ago he developed a cyst like balloon of skin just in front of his left pectoral fin. <I see this...> I've taken several pictures of this and attached them. I have my quarantine take all setup and ready, but I am hesitant to move the cowfish without understanding more about his condition. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks! -Bryan <Well... appears to be a tumor of some sort... even directly viral... though such rapid onset is unusual... I would try a two-pronged approach of bolstering this fishs nutrition (via supplementation with vitamins, HUFA soaked foods), and a purposeful cleaner that it hopefully won't devour. My first choice/try would be an Elacatinus/Gobiosoma Goby or two... Let's see if these help reduce/eliminate this growth. Bob Fenner>

Boxfish 911 to advanced issue, apparently Crypt Hello All, Please help with the following: Longhorn Cowfish has been picture of health in home tank for 3+ years. He has grown from (body/non horned) 1.5-2" up to nearly 8" body length. In the last 48 hours the fish has taken a rapid change for the worse. Before the 48 hour first observation the critter was eating greedily, swimming normally, etc. Symptoms of slime coat sloughing were observed yesterday then actual skin sloughing(?) today to where it looks like patches of his yellow skin are now gone or translucent white. (see attached pics) <I see this... and a whitening of the cornea> He is usually the color of the area immediately around his pectoral fin. Initially only slime coat was affected but today there are a TON of white spots on the fins/tail. They seem smaller than "ick" size but see for yourself. He is not eating and he normally out eats a puffer on nearly anything. <I see these as well... do appear to be a protozoan infestation> There have been zero introductions or anything coming/going from the tank/household but we did move just under a month ago. All live rock, bioballs, etc was kept wet and only a barely measurable mini cycle occurred. Current water parameters are ~78 degrees F, .020 salinity, <A bit low... see WWM re spg...> zero ammonia, barely traceable nitrite (if any), nitrates under 12.5, ph about 8.1. (Tetra test kit) His current tank is a 75 gallon AGA with 20 gallon sump, about 65 lbs liverock, CoraLife 220 skimmer, gallon of bioballs, and a carbon sock which was removed when disease was first observed. He lives w' a small dogface who is showing signs of white spots but is otherwise the same. These two have lived together for all of the last 3 years and believe it or not the cowfish will stop eating and lay on the bottom for hours/days if the puffer isn't in the tank with him. (???!) <Mmm, something introduced this parasite... I do doubt if it was resident this whole interval... Some live food perhaps... most anything "wet" from a biological setting could be a source> So far we have done low salinity w' quick cure dip about 15 min.s, half strength quick cure in tank yesterday. <And returned the animals to the infested system? This won't help> Today we have done Furazone dip in under .010 salinity for 10 min.s. <A good try...> Any medical suggestions or plans of action would be greatly appreciated. Can you diagnose from pics and info? <Mmm, not determinately... But does appear to be Cryptocaryon superficially> This animal has tolerated/recovered w' flying colors from medicating before so there is a history of successful tolerance to treatments that most boxfish do not tolerate. Is there any further info or advice you can provide? Thanks a million, Lee <Mmm, unfortunately at this point, and in the short term, to urge you to read quickly here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm Scroll down to the royal blue line, tray below... And write back just as soon if you have questions, concerns. I'll be out a good part of the next day. Bob Fenner>

Re: Boxfish 911 to advanced issue  7/7/07 Mr. Fenner, Thank you so much for your time and reply. My fiancé©' (copied above) has almost two decades pet store and wholesaler experience. She has probably seen nearly anything/everything in that time. However this one stumps us. I agree the salinity is a bit low per oceanic norm (i.e. 0.20 vs. .023 to .26) but that is the salinity this cowfish has thrived in for the last 3 years. <These sorts of "chemical challenges" have ways of "catching up", expressing themselves... What I really suspect is Mycobacterium marinum... or possibly Vibriosis... but these are secondary to whatever causative factors here... and need to be addressed> I don't dispute some sort of infestation but I cannot pinpoint a cause. <I can see the infestation, but as you, have no idea of the vector/etiology> There have been zero live or other introductions. We literally set up QT/holding tanks from tanks that have been dry for years, moved the fish to the holding tanks, tore down and set up their old tanks, and reintroduced the fish with a 45 minute bucket ride from start to finish. <Well... my best guess is that the Cryptocaryon (likely) is resultant from a resident sub-symptomatic infestation... That it "was" always present... and that the added stress... triggered a full-blown high-population episode> All my fish (~500+ gallons) eat fresh/organic market mussels, cherrystone clams, shrimp, spectrum pellets, and/or Mysis (MYSIS brand). <These can also be a source...> All of these come from the same sources. Fresh/Organic from the same high end grocery store that has been supplying us for the last few years (and all the other stores who sell "fresh" in the area). <The Protozoans can/do encyst on hard materials...> The Mysis comes frozen from the LFS but is otherwise sealed. <Not likely this if frozen> While possible, one of these introduced a pathogen to no other tank (knocking daggone hard on wood) that has shown signs. This fish in question has always been the picture of greed and social interaction. <Yes... otherwise appeared as a nice, just-sub-adult specimen... always like seeing these in the wild...> Since the Furazone dip his attitude has been much improved but the spots remain. <Need to be treated differently than with an anti-microbial... Unfortunately either with successive dips (formalin likely), and being moved to other non-infested settings, or careful (chelated and tested for) copper...> He is still in a weak quick cure solution <Mmm, please see my notes re this mixture on WWM... I would NOT continuously expose any life to Formalin> for his holding tank but that can be "upped" to full strength or a copper (SeaCure brand) can be added. <This IS what I would do> The Furazone dip seems to not make nearly the difference the antibiotic dip made but the visible symptoms seem protozoan. <No; again, it will not> We did not dip tonight and are letting the fish have some recovery time but are still observing VERY closely. Only other physical symptom is respiration seems to be elevated. In the meantime his spots on fins are still very visible and his color has not changed meaningfully. I do not want to dose with meds to the point of stressing or injuring the fish worse than what his infection might yield. <Well-stated. I agree> The symptoms seem protozoan but the best results seem to come from antibiotic treatments. <The operative word here is "seem"... Do you have access to a microscope? I would be looking for definitive identification here...> Do you think switching to hypo-salinity would be the answer? <No> Please advise... This fish has been a happy/healthy specimen for the last 3 years and is near enough to my best "wet" friend. What should we do from here? Thanks immeasurably, Lee PS Tasida aka "petstorejunkie" above. <I see... There is much, likely too much to relate through this process (emailing daily)... and I want to add my note re being EXTREMELY careful in NOT compounding your troubles by moving any water, anything wet twixt your systems and to be VERY observant re your other fish livestock... Once such an infestation become hyperinfective, it is very virulent... Otherwise, what little I know re such incidents IS archived on WWM. I ask that you use the search tool, indices... and write back with specific questions if there is something that is unclear, insufficiently detailed. Bob Fenner.

Boxfish Troubles  2/16/07 Hello from Alabama,   Thank you for all of the help your website has given me. I have recently purchased two boxfish (male and female, Ostracion meleagris) for a maintenance customer of mine. I tried to talk him out of it but it didn't work. The male is about 6" <Wow, big!> and the female is about 3.5". I got them from LiveAquaria.com's "Diver's Den", so we could see what we were getting. <Nice feature, good company> They haven't eaten since I received them a week ago. The fish are very active but show no interest in food at all. I have tried fresh squid, shrimp, scallops, and even live freshwater ghost shrimp. <Wow...> The male does have a small white bump/pimple on his belly, not sure what this is. <Likely no big deal> If you think they may need some type of medication what would you recommend? <I would NOT treat, or even move these Ostraciids... they can/do go on "hunger strikes" particularly when moved... and won't starve for quite a long while if in initially good condition... I would keep trying... with an opened shellfish... when you call on this account> They are in a 65 gallon quarantine that shares a wet/dry with a 40 gallon quarantine that is holding a Rabbitfish. The customer has ordered a medium Naso tang and a small flasher wrasse that will also go into this quarantine system (in case this has any effect on medication types). Any help would be greatly appreciated.      Thank you,   Jeremy <>< <I encourage you to go ahead and place these fish... Will likely feed in the main/display tank... in time... versus possibly never feeding and perishing from "stress" in quarantine. Bob Fenner>

Lactoria cornuta... hornless or horny?   9/26/06 Hi guys, a quick question if you would. I have a 3" specimen in a 180; he is newly collected and doing well, but spooks now and then when I've had to do maintenance; typically, he tried the flying fish routine and whacked the cover - he is longhorn no more; will the horns regrow in time? Thanks, Steve. <Yes, very likely so. Bob Fenner>

- 'Gentle' Ich treatment for cowfish? (Tetrasomus gibbosus) 6/25/06 - Hello, <Good morning.> Have you ever had one of those frustrating days wherein the more you try to learn, the less you're sure of what you know? <Often.> Dear oh dear. <Bear with it.> I'm having one of them, and I really hope you can help. <I will do my best.> My problem, in brief, is a cowfish (Tetrasomus gibbosus.. common names pretty much too numerous to list!) with what has all the earmarks of a burgeoning Ich infestation.  It started as one dot, vanished, came back as two, vanished.. etc. until he was covered with dots.  Hoping that I "hadn't seen that" was, in hindsight, a mistake. The cowfish is about an inch-and-half long; we've had him for about four months.  He is the sole inhabitant of a four year old 54 gallon (yes, 54.. corner bowfront) tank with around 20 pounds of liverock, about two inches of aragonite sand, and a large clump of cheerful and fast-growing Caulerpa (LFS calls it "sawtooth".. pretty accurate description of its narrow, jagged leaves).  The skimmer is a CPR Bakpak2, and the filter is an Eheim 2213.  My Visitherm heater has given me so little trouble that I cannot remember its wattage, and lighting is provided by aging PC bulbs (1 actinic, 1 daylight, 55w each.)  Salinity is 1.023, Ammonia and Nitrites are at 0, and Nitrates hover around 15-20ish.  Temp. is 78 F.  pH is about 8.2. Current moment finds "Roz" in a five-gallon Q tank, awaiting his fate.  He acts completely normal, and eats well, but the dots persist (I did try turning off the skimmer.. alas, it wasn't bubbles).  I don't know what to do:  half the crowd says that treating Ich with hyposalinity is Great and Good, especially for copper-sensitive cowfish; the other half says that hyposalinity "treatments" are a waste of time, because they aren't curing anything. <I prefer hyposalinity as a dip or bath.> Everyone says "..and for the love of God, be CAREFUL with formalin if you haven't used it before, it is extremely toxic!" <THAT is for certain.> Aaahh, what to do!? <You actually have the answers right there.> I am slowly raising the temp in the empty main tank (had to crack coralline off the Visitherm to do so. haven't changed it since I set it out of the box!), to encourage the Ich to 'cycle' itself and die, but I'm not sure what to do with the cowfish.  Mr. LFS sold me a wee bottle of Cupramine, but I haven't used it.  I also haven't dipped the cowfish, as Mr. LFS said there was no point in doing so (parasites under slime coat, etc.) <Even so, often remarkably effective.> Well, he was wrong about that, it seems. Drat. <Ahh... no worries, live and learn, right? We'll get Roz hooked up.> So.. what treatment course would you recommend, here?  The cowfish is well, hale and happy; but I know he won't stay that way without help. <Or will he? It's been my observation that some of the scaleless fishes are always carrying around something on their skin - not all of this group, but mostly the advanced ones (boxfish, puffers, etc.). In spite of these parasites, they always seem to keep on trucking and behave/eat like they always do with what seem to be no long term ill effects or contamination of tankmates. Could be that Roz is like this...> I've warmed the Q tank up a little, to about 80 F.. already there are fewer visible dots on him.  I did put gravel in the Q tank. a scant double handful of new, freshly washed coral gravel, because the shiny bottom appeared to be upsetting Roz quite badly. <Yes - is my strong belief that while some fish may react to their reflection in the side glass, many more are completely freaked by their reflection in the bottom glass. I paint my quarantine tanks or put contact paper on at least the bottom (outside).> That 'other cowfish' was talking trash, it would seem..  Should I remove it? <Without a doubt.> Would Paraguard/similar Malachite green formulation be a better choice than the Cupramine/copper formulation? <If things seem out of control, then yes, but I'm not sure we're at that point.> At this point, the wisest treatment course seems to be the gentlest, most patient one: if I'm starting with a healthy fish, then perhaps I can afford to expend more time/effort on my part to spare him a harsh, "last ditch" style of treatment... I have the luxury of a Ich-y (haha!) fish who is still in good health... but I'm not sure how to be 'gentle' and still get rid of the Ich. <It seems to me you had the answer all along. This is an otherwise healthy fish in an ideal situation - he has a 54 corner all to himself. I'd leave him be if he eats and behaves normally. If the spots are frequent and increasing, then I'd give it a long, pH/temperature-adjusted freshwater dip and then return to the main tank. If things move beyond that, I'd consider a Quick Cure/Paraguard bath in a bucket of tank water, treated for the amount of water in the bucket, perhaps an hour if the fish seems otherwise fine. But for now, a freshwater dip, return to the tank, and the resultant reduction in stress should work well. Perhaps some more live rock at some point down the line would help, but not right now. Keep on a good water change regimen (10% every 2 weeks) and I think Roz will be fine.> Thank you very, very much in advance! Ramie   <Cheers, J -- >

Blue spotter puffer poor eyesight   6/17/06 Hi, <Hello there> I have a puffer who doesn't seem to see very well. <Not uncommon... sometimes traceable to nutritional deficiency, other times to pathogens...> It  tries to eat but just misses the target.  What gives?  I have started  feeding it by smashing the food on the side of the tank and that seems to help,  but is there anything I could do to better it's eyesight.   Help! <Try the Google search tool on WWM... "Puffer eyesight". Read the cached versions. Bob Fenner>

Sick cowfish   3/16/06 Hello Ladies and Gents, I have a 3 inch long Lactoria cornuta who has what I think is some type of external bacterial infection.  There are several small spots by his rear "horns" that look like the skin has eroded away exposing his "carapace."  He also appears to be breathing fast.  (Still has a good appetite though - eats clam, PE Mysis, silverside chunks, and Omega 3 Superveggies - flakes soaked before feeding so they sink). Water parameters are as follows:  Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, nitrate ~ 30, temp 79F, SG 1.025, pH 8.0, alk 8dkh (trying to raise this with buffers).  Would Furanace or Metronidazole be appropriate treatments? <Mmm, w/o knowing that there is microbial or protozoal involvement, I would not...> I know that it is best to treat in a hospital tank, but would these medications harm the display tank? - negatively impact bacteria, live rock, etc. <Yes> What do you think of Melafix? <A mild cathartic at best. I would not, do not use it> Thank you in advance for your wisdom and help. Sincerely, Eric <I would bolster the animals immune system by soaking the aforementioned foods in a supplement like Selcon, Microvit... and leave it alone otherwise. Bob Fenner>

Puffer Tooth Loss 2/28/2006 I have a blue spotted puffer with a tooth problem.  We have had 'puffet" for about 1 1/2 yrs.  Great eater, one of the best fish we have ever had.  Our problem is that she has lost one of her teeth. <<Aww>> The local fish stores that carry these fish have never heard of this.  They have heard of the teeth chipping away but never falling out.  Before the tooth fell out she had not been eating very much and really not very social.  Now that the tooth fell out she is almost 100% again, the eating is not what it use to be but at least she is eating.  What do you make of this?  We would love to know if anyone else has had this happen! <<I have seen this happen a few times.  So long as feeding is not affected, housing and water quality is up to par, and it is not a result of physical trauma, I would not worry too much.  Keep an eye on her to ensure no infection sets in, and that she is eating.  Also pay close attention to her other teeth, as they may over grow with this tooth missing.  Good luck. Lisa.>>

Boxfish has white film on eyes - 2/28/2006 Help, I have had a yellow cowfish for about a year now and soon after I transferred him over to a new tank with the same fish he got ICH probably from the stress of moving.   <To be clear here: the fish and system already "had, have" the Ich... the added stress just brought it to symptomatic level> Since he is scale less, I have stayed away from copper based meds and LFS recommended Rid ICH + <... look at the ingredients here... Malachite Green and... Formalin... much more toxic> for a full 14 days with 25% daily water changes.  He seemed to be getting better but when I came home from work both of his eyes were cloudy basically within 8 hours. <Could be from many causes... likely the medicine exposure period> I checked pervious posts here and there was some discussion but I don't think its fungus or a scratch from the live rock.  I have several questions, could ICH actually get on the surface of the eye, is he dying, will he go blind even if I can cure him? <Not likely Crypt on the eyes you're seeing... but something akin to chemical burn> He is otherwise very healthy, and was trying to eat but could not see the food.  Could the medication cause this? <Yes> I have been thinking about a fresh water dip but would the added stress kill him?   And finally, do you know if any links that might list vets that specialize in marine fish in Los Angeles area?   <Mmm, I don't... but would contact the LA marine club (put MASLAC in your search tools) and ask them re. Not likely anything other than clean water, rest needed/called for here. The cloudiness will cure on its own and feeding resume with time going by, good care. Bob Fenner>

Cowfish W/Dangling-Broken Horn - 01/10/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> I've looked through your site and the net searching for a situation that was similar to mine.  Unfortunately I couldn't find anything about it. <<Ok>> My cowfish made a quick movement today near the corner of the tank and somehow ended up breaking his rear horn that is below the tail. <<Wow...must have been some "movement.">> It is barely hanging there and I would like to know if I should let it fall off or cut the thread of skin that is keeping it dangling there. <<Unless it is causing a problem/getting in the way of its movement in the tank I would leave it be.  Likely much more stressful/harmful to capture and handle the cowfish.>> Also, will it grow back? <<I really don't know...but am doubtful.>> Should I take any extra precautionary measures in order to keep it from becoming infected? <<Likely will be fine, though iodine/iodide dosed to the system may be of some benefit.>> It seems to have broken about a half-inch away from where it joins the rest of his body.  Please tell me anything I can do to make him happier in this unfortunate situation.  BTW he is still eating like a champ and constantly watering the areas outside the tank as usual (I assume that's a good sign). <<Ha!  Yes...just vying for your attentions.>> Do you think that he can even feel pain from this, b/c he sure isn't acting like he's in pain. <<Is most likely just fine.>> Thanks, Garen Wright <<Regards, EricR>>

Help! Moo is sick   1/7/06 Hello all, <Moooo!> I have a sick 2 inch longhorn scaleless who has what appears to be Ich. (I do know about the feeding requirements and eventual size of this fish.  He's going into a 75 gallon tank for now and then a 220 once he's of decent size). <I take it this is a Lactoria cornutus/a> I know that these fish are scale-less and therefore copper is not a safe treatment.  I've read of several other possibilities and wanted your opinion. <Copper (chelated best) can be used... carefully> The first was a 30-60 minute formalin bath (I'd use Formalin 3 and follow the directions) in a separate container/tank filled with water from the display tank.  The second treatment was hyposalinity (which I am familiar with and have used in the past with mixed results - one fish cured, one fish didn't survive to the treatment's completion).  Currently I do not have a hospital tank with established filtration (the water and filter media are new so there is no beneficial bacteria) for the hyposalinity technique.  Will the Formalin bath help until I'm able to set up the hospital tank? <Mmm, the exposure is toxic to the fish... consecutive treatments are progressively weakening...> If I take a bag of ChemiPure from the display tank (been in the filter for about 3 weeks) would this be sufficient for the hospital tank (along with daily water changes, buffering etc.)?   <Should help demonstrably> Finally, I'm concerned about transferring this fish from display tank to treatment tank.  A net is out of the question.  Going from the display to the bath or hospital tank will be done by "scooping" the fish into a specimen container with water from the tank to avoid exposure to air. What is the best way to get the fish back into the display tank from the formalin bath? <Mmm, overfilling and dumping most of the water out of the scooper with new/clean water...> Thank you for your time and expertise, Eric <Glad to share. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help!  Moo is sick  1/8/06
Thank you for the quick response. <Welcome> The formalin bath did not seem to have any effect whatsoever (Ich parasites clearly visible 24 hours later). <... do you understand the "Ich cycle?"... if treated with formalin, the life cycle on the fish themselves will/could be eliminated... the resting stages are going to cycle back on if you've left the fish in the same system... This is posted on WWM re Crypt/Marine Ich> In your reply you stated that copper COULD be used "carefully."  How arduous a process would this be? <Posted as well... involves testing (at least daily... remoting to a treatment system>   I'd like to use Cupramine and a Salifert test kit to monitor the copper levels in the hospital tank (was planning on using a 29 gallon tank with an Aquaclear 70 for filtration).  Is this a viable solution or am I better off going with the 6 week hyposalinity treatment? <... please see WWM... am not a fan of hyposalinity "treatments">   If you believe copper is the way to go could you please suggest a treatment schedule - amount of copper in solution and for how many days. <Posted on WWM. Bob Fenner> Thank you for your help, Eric

Cowfish with eye trouble  12/21/05 I have an adult Cowfish (Kazoo) who started getting a cloudy eye, which he has had before and recovered.  I treated the 110gal tank with MelaFix and a heavy dose of Novaqua+ and added aquarium salt.  Now after two weeks a huge amount of swelling and ulcerations developing I have put him in a 5 gal hospital tank and am treating with Furacyn.  Is this the best course of treatment?  I am just sick and love Kazoo.  Please advise!  Thanks!!!! <Depends on the root cause of the trouble here... If unilateral (one-sided) likely the trouble is resultant from a mechanical injury (a bump)... Do keep a check on the water quality in the small tank, and try supplementing the fish's foods with a vitamin et al. complex. Bob Fenner>

Hovercraft Boxfish All Stressed Out! - 12/04/05 We have had our Hovercraft Boxfish called 'Ermintrude' now since last March. Everything has been going really well although we find he gets a little stressed with new fish being added. <<Mmm, a "he" eh...maybe just embarrassed <G>, isn't 'Ermintrude' of female origin?>> We are extremely careful in this situation and return new fish back to our shop if he's not happy. <<Hmm...from what I can find this fish (Tetrosomus gibbosus) is considered compatible with a wide variety of species.>> We've noticed since adding a Boxer Shrimp over two weeks ago that when he goes near he goes really black in colour. <<Curious>> We've kept an eye on this and this appeared to calm down however over the last day or two he appears really fat although not eating much. He is also keeping well away from the Boxer Shrimp over the last day or too as well. <<Coincidence, maybe.>> Tonight we found him sucked up against the filter, he appeared lethargic and not himself. <<Tis a real danger with these fish...not strong swimmers. Best to have protected intakes on filters/drain lines.>> His shape has changed enormously and we fear infection but can't find anything on this. Any suggestions ? Kay Bosanko-Sheady <<Hard to say really. Ideally you should remove this fish to a dimly lit hospital tank to reduce stress and watch for/treat any physical injury from the filter incident, if necessary. Do some research on this fish and make sure you are providing a suitable environment...the filter incident aside, it does sound as if your fish is suffering from stress related issues. Regards, EricR>>

Cowfish Buoyancy Issue  12/10/05 I think my cowfish has ingested some air. He is floating tail up. what should I do? <True buoyancy problems are often idiopathic, it's hard to determine the route cause. The problem itself however is often associated with the swim bladder (small sack responsible for fishes level in the water column) This could be dietary, the fish may have an impaction in it's digestive tract so I would use small pieces of easily digestive food (flakes, Mysis shrimp) and see if this helps. Until then I would move him to a hospital tank so that he can avoid becoming a puppet of your current and avoid being picked on by tank mates. Keep water quality and oxygen levels high.> Thanks in advance. Marc <Adam J.>

Cowfish - poorly suited for aquarium life 6/18/05 I have a Long horn Cowfish.   <Ughhh... neat fish, but very poorly suited for aquarium life.> It eats well and swims around.   <the bigger problem here is its adult size at 1.5 feet long! It will surely stunt and die prematurely for being kept in an aquarium unless you get it to a public aquarium sized display sooner rather than later. Its simply not true that fishes "grow to their tanks size." Again... they just stunt and die prematurely. Plus... this fish has toxic skin secretions. If stressed, it can/will exude a substance that will kill every living fish in your display including the cowfish itself. Please(!) research fishes before you buy them my friend. This ill-advised purchase will at least cost this specimen its life, likely.> The problem is he is getting a stringy white growth over his horn and on the top of its head.  I don't know if it is bacteria or fungus.  I have a 40 gallon FOWLR tank with 2 perculas, a neon goby and a blue tang.  Any help with identification and treatment would be great. Thanks <Any treatment of this toxic fish must be done in an isolation tank. If you do not have a QT tank, please read more in our archives and beyond about the critical need for having one to succeed long term in this hobby. Also... read more about your cowfish here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfishes.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfshfaqs.htm and here: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Lactoria&speciesname=cornuta Do remove this fish to a QT tank as soon as you can condition a sponge filter (in the display for several weeks). Use medicated food in the meantime with hopes to buy time on the condition if it seems to be bacteria or fungus (common on these sensitive fishes). Anthony>

- Long-horned Cowfish is Sick - We have a 90 gallon tank.  We have two puffers, a porcupine and not sure what the other is, two tangs a fox faced and unsure of the other and two long-horned cowfish.  We have had the cowfish and the puffers for over a year and they have remained healthy until now.  Last week we added the tangs.  As of yesterday, we noticed the cowfish has rapid respiration, pale blotchy skin and he is laying on the bottom of the tank.  No signs of parasites or wounds.  Any suggestions as to treatment? <You may want to remove it to a quarantine tank and see if mends without pressure from other fish. It's possible that it is the object of aggression from one or more of your other fish.> Thanks for your help. <Cheers, J -- >

Sick boxfish I am worried about my Whitley's boxfish. I have had him for a couple of  months and he seemed to have settled in OK. Recently, he hasn't been eating so well and yesterday, he was lurking at the bottom of the tank. <Wow... a male Whitley's Boxfish... very rare> This morning, I found him lying on his side. I thought he was dead but when I nudged him, he swam away but seemed slow and disoriented, tipping over on to his side. I can't see any external signs of disease and the water parameters are OK. <What is OK?> Other fish in the tank are Green Chromis and a couple of clown fish, who are currently fighting it out (I don't know whether this might be a cause of stress). <Mmm, should be okay... do you see these damsels bugging the Box?> I also added a couple more hermit crabs yesterday.  Please help - any advice welcome. Len <Help with? What about the history of your having this puffer? Your system? What have you done thus far? You did not place chemical treatments in this system I hope... I would at least execute a large (half) water change, add activated carbon to your filter flow path, read on WWM re all Puffer, Ostraciid System and Disease FAQs files. Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfishes.htm  and work through them through the links above. Bob Fenner> 

Boxfish with Marine Velvet I have a juvenile yellow box fish with Marine Velvet. I just noticed it today. I have placed him in a separate tank. <excellent... 4 week minimum please in QT> I am worried about the copper treatment. <rightly so... they are scaleless and will overdose on copper. Rely on closely supervised FW dips and formalin medications instead (without organic dyes mixed in like malachite green)> I have read that the box fish when nervous can secrete a toxin and can be deadly? <correct... they should not be kept with other fishes in small private tanks. I suspect that you have a cubicus (yellow with black spots). Most boxfish get 12" or larger as adults. Cubit's exceed 2 feet long!!! This is a fish for huge public aquariums... I wish they weren't sold to (us) casual aquarists. Most die prematurely for being kept in small aquaria (under 300 gall)> Thank you, Shelby <best regards, Anthony>

Ich? on Yellow Boxfish <Hello! Ananda here tonight> We have had our boxfish in our tank for about a month.  He has been very healthy with no signs of disease until today when we noticed about 30 or more white dots all over his body.  We suspect Ich, but the dots do not seem to be clustered around his fins....yet?  He is still eating, breathing and swimming as usual.   <Those are good signs.> We know not to treat him with copper since he is a scaleless fish, and we know he secretes a toxin, which could kill everything in our tank, when he becomes stressed.   <Yup.> Our concern is will he release this toxin if we try to remove him from the tank to do freshwater dips?  Should we do freshwater dips?   <Yes, it's possible that your cowfish might release toxins if the freshwater dip stresses it sufficiently. You can minimize the stress of a freshwater dip by ensuring that the dip temperature and pH exactly match that of the display tank, and by aerating the dip tank. However, some people prefer to save freshwater dips as a last resort for these fish.> Is there any other way to treat this fish?  We have already started to raise the temperature to 80 degrees and are starting to lower the salinity as well.   <You've already started on the primary treatment: lower salinity and higher temperatures. These would be best carried out in a bare-bottomed hospital tank, along with daily water changes, siphoning from the bottom of the tank to get the greatest number of Ich cysts. I've read that people with cowfish are more likely to use UV sterilizers -- which are good only against the free-swimming stage of the parasite, mind you -- to help combat Ich. Another favorite of the crew on the Cowfish, Puffers, & More discussion group seems to be StopParasite. I have no experience with that particular product, so I suggest you check the Cowfish etc. discussion group for peoples' opinions: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CowfishPuffers_andMore/ > Is it possible that this is something other than Ich?  His tankmates are a Foxface, a damsel, a Kole tang and a couple of snails.  Thanks for any advice you can give. <More on Boxfishes here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfshfaqs.htm ... --Ananda>

Dying Cowfish... 2/15/03 I have a cow fish Puffer, who'd tail is falling apart. It has the look of raw skin, It all started when a hippo tang had a parasite so I purchased some cleaner wrasse they cleaned up the hippo but my cow puffer did not like to be cleaned. I have now started treatment with copper, and MelaFix, any idea what I should do? Thanks Vince <Well Vince, I start by putting the puffer in a Q tank ASAP.  Copper is bad for this type of fish.  What are you feeding your puffer?  Try feeding the fish krill/shrimp dipped in garlic extract.  The MelaFix should help.  You are going to have to wait this one out.  But please stop the copper!  Also is this fish being picked on by other fish??  Hope this helps!  Phil>

- Cowfish Corral - Hullo Crew! <And hello to you, JasonC here...> And a very special but hurried hullo! to whoever is responding today (Bob?  Anthony?)  because we are hoping that you can give us some very good advice very quickly- <I will do my best.> Our juvenile ( about 2") longhorn cowfish got caught in the intake of our powerhead this morning; his head from the eyes up was caught.  We don't know for how long he was in there, except that the tank had been checked about two hours previously, and he was fine then. We immediately turned the powerhead OFF and freed him; he is currently slowly wavering about the tank, fins flicking fairly rapidly.  The only obvious damage is a cloudiness/swelling over and around his eyes, and a somewhat 'bloodied' appearance over the back of his head between his horns.  I'd guess I'd call it a bruise if he was human; there are thin red lines tracing the spaces between his bony skin-plates, he's not actually 'bleeding' from exposed tissues. <Is actually more like a hickey - blood being pulled through the skin.> I'll include a couple of pictures - blurry, but I think you can see what's going on with his swollen eyes; and a 'before' shot for comparison. http://www.deepdarksea.com/pics/trumpybefore.jpg http://www.deepdarksea.com/pics/trumpy1.jpg http://www.deepdarksea.com/pics/trumpy2.jpg http://www.deepdarksea.com/pics/trumpy3.jpg <Ouch...> As of right now, about 20 minutes after we rescued him, the other inhabitants of the tank are acting perfectly normal (no toxin release, thus far), and he is moving up and down the water column a little bit more, and ate a little food. <Ahh good... I've done similar in an attempt to let the fish know, "Everything is cool." Have no clue if it works or not, but good thing that Trumpy ate.> Still mostly hovering in one place, though, and not reacting normally to visual stimuli. <I'm not surprised... could very well lose that eye.> So - what should we do? <Hmmm...> Watch and wait? <Good place to start... you could also add some Epsom salts to help work on the swelling a bit - about one teaspoon per gallon would do.> And if so - what are definite signs that he's going downhill, and should be removed from the tank? <I'd look for it to stop eating for starters.> Add more carbon to the filter? <Yes.> Medicate him? <Not at the moment - might want to do something about that power head so you don't have an instant replay. Peace and quiet would be best at this point.> Any advice here would be helpful - we don't have a quarantine tank, and thus far we've meticulously purchased only healthy fish, so this is our first experience with an invalid. <I think it will be fine in the long haul although things may look worse before they get better. Again, most important to make sure it doesn't get re-injured or hassled by anyone in the tank.> A quick rundown on our tank specs: 29G FOWLR  (YES, we are getting a bigger tank ASAP for the cowfish!  Saving up, saving up.. 8) ) CPR BakPak protein skimmer Eheim canister filter (has a little carbon in right now) 2x55w PC hood Nitrates and Nitrites, 0 Ammonia, 0 SG 1.023 pH 8.1 Thank you thank you, Dustin and Ramie <Cheers, J -- >

Formerly long-horned cowfish? <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I have a long horned cow fish, it seems that one of my fish like to bite off his horns 2 of the horns have been bitten off the cow is fine I'm just wondering if those horns grow back? Can you please help? <No, the horns are not likely to grow back. If another fish in the tank is biting the cowfish's horns, I'm concerned that you're keeping incompatible species together -- with sufficient aggravation, the cowfish may release the ostracitoxin, which could wipe out your tank. Please do read up on these fish, both on the WetWebMedia site, and on http://www.cowfishes.com, and on the Yahoo group "Cowfish, Puffers, and More" at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CowfishPuffers_andMore/ .... --Ananda>

Thanks for the reply. (Boxfish, Ich concerns) Thanks for the quick reply- spent all day reading on the WWM site.   EXCELLENT resource, we are lucky to have you.  Saturday- moved the fish to the LFS.  Separated the YP Box (he is in his own tank at the LFS), the SF tang and 2 Clowns are in another tank, and the Auriga and L. Blenny are in another.  The thing is, the LFS here in town have 1200 gallon system that circulates amongst the entire store-  If the boxfish dies will this contaminate the entire store?<possibly if he is not taken out of the aquarium ASAP>  Not only that- there is no way to up the temp and lower the salinity for an individual tank- they are all linked.  They seemed unconcerned when I pointed out this detail.  They are unable to diagnose specifically (though they seem to think ICH because of the small spots on the percula), but were quick to asses Copper treatment for the tang and clownfish (moderate copper for the auriga and the blenny).  but after reading all day I am kind of freaked out-  These are not quarantine tanks and they have gravel bottoms, so I'm pretty much assured that the copper will be absorbed by the gravel and it will be filtered through (no constant copper) because of the water system set up (so totally ineffective?). <not necessarily> The LFS also said to treat there 3-5 days and back to our tank.  I (now) know 4-6 week minimum to run the course of the parasite- (at home while awaiting fish we can) lower the salinity to 1.021 (says bob) 1.018 (says Steven pro) and raise the temp. (no higher than 84f) since we have 2 cleaner shrimp (already) and 2 emerald crabs and 20 lbs LR (no copper here thank you!!) we are sort of stuck unless we move everyone to the LFS or get 3/4 QT.<agreed> But I am still concerned for our fish at the LFS.<I would be also>  I know now (add another to the list) that I should have had a Quarantine tank all set up and ready to go and I think I need to go back and pick up my fish- like right now.<agreed>  Should I have two QT? One set up for the box fish (and blenny? he is scale-less right?<yeah this sounds like a good idea> maybe they should be separate if the box fish doesn't make it) and one for the tang, auriga?<yea>  (Is the butterfly more sensitive?) <probably so> I would like to set up the QT and treat the Tang, Clowns, Butterfly with Copper. (right?)<yes>   Then does everyone stay in the QT for 4-6 weeks?<yup> I love my fish- I will be very sad if they die (I already feel incredibly guilty- why aren't there laws pet stores selling SWF without a license of some sort???<I honestly cannot answer that one> we bought the tank with fish already from people who were moving and have had to learn everything the hard way- and the LFS has pretty much told us ALL THE WRONG THINGS).<most of them normally do, there are some exceptions but normally they tell you false info to make the quick sale>  So how many QT? <2 of them would be an excellent idea> Should I move them again from the LFS to home?<this may stress them out again, I would wait a while and see if they progress at the LFS, because you are probably going to stress the crap out of them shipping them back and forth, etc>  I called the LFS today- and the owner said they looked fine (moron) and I don't trust them to treat our fish... what do you recommend?<well you pretty much have to trust them right now, because again you don't want to stress them out more than they already are> Thanks for the website- you are all excellent to have this website and answer all of these questions... Thanks again.<your welcome my friend, just wait and see how the fish look at the LFS-with your own eyes might I add!! lol. If they start to look worse I would setup my own QT aquarium and treat the fish there. Hopefully your LFS at least knows the basics of marine fish keeping and treating of parasitic infections/Ich. IanB> -Erin

Cowfish with something odd in its eye <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I could not find a answer in your q/a section. <Well, that happens. That's why we're here...> My cowfish had a attack of ick which I treated in a 25 gal sterile tank. <Okay> It cleared up but a short time later it developed a secondary infection of the eye. The eye became distended, cloudy with what seemed like a thick cream colored glob along the bottom of eye. I have treated it with copper an it soon cleared up except for the glob. I do not wish to continue this treatment if I don't have to, it has been 14 days It may have a adverse effect on the fish although it seems to be doing fine. <Copper is *not* something I would use with a cowfish! Do put a power filter on the tank with  some good carbon and consider using a different treatment regimen. Check out the assorted articles and FAQs on marine Ich (note that's Ich with an H, not ick with a K) for more info about treating Ich in a way that will be much less stressful to your cowfish. Also check out the Yahoo group "Cowfish, Puffers, and More" at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CowfishPuffers_andMore/ ...> Do you know what this is and how I may treat it? ( I have Maracyn 2 but do not know if it is wise to mix with the copper treatment) <It may be "eye fungus", or a bacterial or parasite infestation of the eye. Whichever one it might be, try "Eye Fungex" by Aquatronics. Also keep a close watch on the water quality in the hospital tank. I am not sure the Maracyn 2 would help.> Thank You R.Doughten <You're welcome. I would be interested to hear how the treatment works out. --Ananda>

Please help Mr. Cow! Hello! <Hi there Kara> First off the basics are. 125 gallon tank, all parameters such as salinity, ph, nitrate, nitrite, temp, etc. are good.   In the tank are Mr. Cow (longhorn cowfish - 7 inches w/tail), dog face puffer (4 inches), Picasso trigger (2 inches), flame angel, mandarin and a neon puffer (2 inches).   <sounds like very nice fish.  All fish with quite impressive personalities.  Though you have probably been told this before, but Picassos can be quite nippy to slow moving fish, and sometimes more so with puffer and cowfish.  Also Neon puffer, I'm assuming is a Solandri Sharpnose, very pretty fish> We have had these fish for over a year and they all get along.  At least they do when I am watching them. <glad you realize that many times battles happen with the lights are off, and no one is around to see.  It's a hard thing to drill into some fish keepers.> 5 Days ago Mr. Cow stopped eating!   <defiantly not a good thing.>I believe he is constipated as well. I have tried feeding him peas, corn, spinach and broccoli but he won't eat anything.  He normally ate the basics such as clam, shrimp, and other various frozen varieties. I tried garlic extreme in the hopes of tempting him to eat but it didn't work.  I've held him (he let's us pet/hold him) and tried feeding him but he simply clamps his mouth shut!   <have you changed anything recently in your tank, switched to another salt brand, or done anything different?  Cows can be temperamental at times, and just suddenly turn off of foods due to a slight change in the tank.  I had a friend who's cowfish suddenly turned off of food for over a week and a half after changing his salt mix.> He is the "king" of the tank and would steal the other's food whenever possible.   I would have to trick him to the other side of the tank with food so that the other fish would get some food.  And they say cowfish are slow movers/eaters!  Not Mr. Cow.  That's why I am so concerned.   <I can understand your concern.  Be sure to check out some of our pages on WetWebMedia, you can find some of them here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfishes.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfshfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfishfaq2.htm They cover some good concerns over the care of cowfish> Another thing I've noticed is that he is not as attentive to me.  He used to swim up and greet me all the time and "wag" his fins.  He used to be so happy.  Now he seems to be in a haze and doesn't really notice me.  He looks over but that's about it. < That is a similar trait to puffers and other distant relatives once they turn away from food they seem to not be interested in anything.  It stands to reason cause food is their number one!> What concerns me the most is that he seems to be bumping into things like the glass, heaters and live rock.  Not all of the time but he never did that before.  And he swims very slowly now, that is if he's not "standing still" in the corner. The thing is he still blows bubbles out of the water (for quite long amounts of time) as if he is hungry.  But he eats nothing.  He'll just let the food float by or even hit him on the face. <Do you have a Quarantine tank set up to be able to house this fish?  If not you might want to set seriously consider setting up a tank as soon as possible so you can move this fish away from the others.  He might simply be pestered by the trigger when no one is around and it's starting to take a toll on him.  Beside that, with not eating and these other signs, I think it might be a good idea to move it to a separate tank so he runs less chances of becoming sick in his weakened state.   That said, if he does show signs of sickness, then it's easier to medicate a QT then your display tank.> Now that Mr. Cow is not eating our trigger swims around more. <Makes sense, the King is seemingly de-Crowned for the time being and the trigger in my opinion would be the next aggressive in the tank following the Cowfish> In case he might be the problem (but I doubt it) we are giving our trigger away to our LFS this weekend. <If you set up a Quarantine Tank and move the cow to a new home, then the need to trade in the trigger is not longer there.> I've searched all over the internet, I have inquired on the puffer/cowfish newsgroup, and no one has experienced this. <I've had many folks with cowfish experience some similar.  Many times the cowfish bounces back with no problems other times it needs a bit of TLC.  I suggest you look at some of the mailing lists.  There is an amazing group of people totally dedicated to cowfish on the yahoo E-groups.  My advice to you is check out this group, I have a few friends there that are extremely knowledgeable on the Cowfish.  The link to that mailing group is: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CowfishPuffers_andMore/ I've learned a great deal from the yahoo group lists.  Many experts there.> Some people say that it might be a phase.  I might be inclined to believe that if he weren't also bumping into things. <Agreed, not many "phases" in animals go by, not wanting to eat, becoming lethargic and bumping into things.> By the way - his coloring is normal, his fins look good and his eyes are clear.  We have 2 filters and two UV's running on the tank.  The other fish are all fine. <That is good to hear.  No spots or discolorations, so it might not be a bad health concern.  But, if this persists then the cowfish will become weaker and less able to defend itself from infections and illness. >   If anyone has any solutions I would greatly appreciate it!  I am very worried and don't want to lose Mr. Cow.  And I don't like to see him suffer because it breaks my heart.  Thank you. <Just keep monitoring the little guy, make sure that you offer it fresh and meaty foods now.  Try to spoil him with his favorite "treats".  I think that if you are going to trade in the trigger to the LFS then maybe think about getting some equipment to set up a QT for this cowfish.  It is a good investment, and if you use it once then it has paid for itself.  Be sure to look through our FAQs, and also check out the e-group being offered through yahoo.  Hope that helps.  -Magnus>
Re: Please help Mr. Cow!
Hi Magnus, Thank you for your quick response! <That's what we are here for.  We worry about your fish almost as much as you do!> To answer your question - no changes were made to the tank.  I wish it were something so predictable.  My husband and I did bring our Trigger to our LFS.  Mr. Cow is still behaving oddly.   <Darn I was hoping it could have been something changed, so it could be a possibly quick fix.> And yes I had already joined the newsgroup at yahoo for cowfishes last week before contacting you.  Basically none of the members knew what to make of it.  Some said to wait a few weeks and that it might be a phase. <Well they are very knowledgeable on the subject of cowfish, a few of them there are the ones that taught me.> I also looked at the links you had also sent me at wet web media.  I found nothing and that's why I wrote to you.  (By the way are there more than just 2 pages of FAQ's on cowfishes at wet web media?.  I had seen only 2 pages and when you had sent me the links they were the same pages.  Are there more?  Perhaps I am missing something.) <Hopefully more pages will be added in the near future...> So in conclusion it has been well over a week and Mr. Cow still isn't eating, isn't responsive and is bumping into things?  Do you know what it could be?   <It's that mysterious illness that fish get ever once and awhile.. no visible signs of sickness, no reason for it.  It's times like that when you wish the fish could just tell you what is wrong.  I've lost a few random fish though the years by having similar problems, and have had as many fish suddenly get better with little to no help from me at all.> We wouldn't even know what to treat him with in a quarantine tank.  Oh - his face seems to be getting paler (whiter).  As in humans when we are ill and  our complexions pale.  I guess we will set up a quarantine tank and wait and see what happens.   <I found a really nice article discussing how to set up Quarantine tanks, it gives you a general how to. http://www.reefnut.com/Quarantine%20Article.htm I highly recommend checking out the Forum on Reefnut, there are a couple people who are extremely knowledgeable on medications and will no doubt be able to help.> If you have any ideas what this illness could be please let me know.  I gather once fish start bumping into things they don't generally last. Thanks for all of your help!!!!! <Not sure yet.. but I'm looking around for anything that can help.  Not all fish that bump into things are marked for death, many times medicines do cure this up.  But, check out Reefnut, see if one of them on the forum might help.> Sincerely, Kara <Wish you and Mr. Cow the Best -Magnus>
Re: Please help Mr. Cow!
Hello again! Sorry to bother you AGAIN.   <No problem.  that is what we are here for.> But I just noticed last night that Mr. Cow (by the way - nothing has changed yet.  He's still bumping into things and not eating) has a "bubble" in his left eye.  It's above his pupil in the outer ring of the eye. I hope I am describing this correctly.  It looks like an air bubble if that's even possible.  It is crystal clear - no puss or any signs of infection.  Do you know what this "bubble" could be?  It doesn't protrude from the eye either. It's like it's a part of the eye but of course it doesn't belong there.  This bubble just appeared yesterday.  I am worried that it will grow larger and larger. <Have you tried a freshwater dip yet for your cowfish?  I might try that if you haven't already.  Do a 5 minute dip to see if it helps.  Also, I had a friend who had a similar issues with a porcupine puffer, he ended up having a quarantine tank set up with Hypo-salinity.  He lowered salinity to 1.018-19 and kept the fish in there for a while.  It seemed to have a marked improvement.  The fish can handle it, while the bacteria and parasites could not.  Cowfish/puffer/triggers are often found swimming in to brackish environments to clear themselves of pests.> Once again, thanks for your help.  Have a Happy New Year!! <I do hope that you guy gets better.  -Magnus>

Boxfish died Hi crew, <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I am sad to report that my little yellow spotted boxfish ( and I mean little) died today   :-( <Sorry to hear that.> On waking this morning, I checked the tank, and noticed he was swimming with a fin clamped on one side, and it appeared to have a 'pod' of some sort hooked onto it. <A parasitic arthropod of some sort, I suspect.> I was watching him, and he backed right into my Malu anemone.....Hmmmm didn't like the look of that, so I did my "ER" routine, and did a 10% water change, using the changed out water to immediately fill a hospital tank. <In this case, I would have used non-tank water, from the stuff that you keep ready for a water change.> (I keep filter sponge for my little air powered hospital filter lying inside my canister, so that I can get a little tank running in a few minutes if needs be). <Good plan. Do rinse out the sponge in tap water to kill off anything now, and pop it back in to re-cycle.> An hour later, he/she seemed OK, if a little bewildered.....but The poor little chap unfortunately expired during the course of the day, and is now covered with a whitish coat (don't think it's an infestation, because it was so quick). <There are diseases that can move that quickly, but in this case, I agree.> Anyway, the tankmates......a Yellow tang, a couple of percula clowns, shrimp anemone and a few cleanup crew, seem OK.....but (here's my question) Is there anything I should be doing precaution wise, and is there any way I can test to see if the boxfish released any toxin? <I don't think there's anything you could buy off-the-shelf to test for the toxins. But I would immediately put a goodly amount of quality activated carbon and perhaps a Polyfilter in the canister filter.> Should I just do a succession of water changes? <That will help, too.> Is it possible that the Malu zapped the boxfish when he backed into it, rather than it being an illness? <Both are possible, but the boxfish's reaction after its encounter with the anemone leads me to suspect it's the culprit in this case.> The tank is 240 litres and the boxfish must have been a total of about 1 cubic centimetre in volume (easy one with cubic fishes...huh?) <Good grief, that is tiny.> cheers, and thanks for invaluable help in the past. Bob ( UK) <You're quite welcome. --Ananda> Re: Boxfish died...... Hey Thanks Ananda! <Sure thing.> I've already got the carbon running anyway, and the main canister filter top layer is a double thickness of PolyFilter ( which I run as a usual course of action). <I'd change the carbon if it's more than a week old.> I'll up my water changes for a while, and keep an eye on things. The "box" was very small, and maybe just wasn't really up to life in the tank, but he/she was to cute to miss........ It's funny how taking out 1/24000th of the volume of a tank can leave it so empty.......the little chap seemed to be everywhere, nosing around....... <The size comparison you're mentioning -- 1 cu cm fish in a 240 litre tank -- makes me realize just how much area these fish will cover, given a chance. Should you get another one later, do consider a bigger tank as it gets older! (Your 240 litres is about 63 gallons... not a large tank by any means, for a marine system.)> Thanks for the advice Bob (UK) <You're quiet welcome. --Ananda>

Boxfish acting "funny", but no one's laughing Hi guys, I have an adult yellow boxfish. It has been in my tank for about three weeks and had been eating okay. Yesterday I found it on one side at the bottom of my tank. It shows no sign of ick or any discoloration. It's fins all are clear and still move, but as I said it just lays on it's side. My tank is well established and is a 150 gallon. I have a dwarf angel a Clark clown one anemone and lot's of live rock. Please help!!! Scott <Mmm, it may be that this fish is still "settling in"... and Boxfishes, like all puffers, do occasionally go on "feeding strikes", often with no discernible "reason". I would be patient here (for about a week)... and try offering a myriad of frozen/defrosted meaty foods... particularly a whole cocktail shrimp (sans sauce) and an opened bivalve/clam or mussel. If this animal is still not eating in a week, please write back. Bob Fenner>

Boxfish, in the big aquarium in the sky Yeah he went on a feeding strike. In fact he went on a breathing strike too! It blows!!! Or doesn't, rather. He's gone. <Appreciate the humor, sorry for the loss> I appreciate the help but my fears were realized Wednesday. I found him in the same place on his back and since there were no free weights in my tank I can only assume he had passed. I zip locked him in a bag with some water and froze him. I understand this is still the most humane method, even though he was for sure dead, in removing a fish from your tank. <Wish you were my neighbor, make that the prez!> Anyway thanks for the help. I am just glad I wasn't attached. I really hate to lose any fish but it is so much worse when you've had them for a while. Peace, Scott <And to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Longhorn Cowfish with Ich  (7/25/04) Hi there  <Hi there to you as well Leslie here this evening!> I have a Longhorn Cowfish that has Ich. < Awwwww bummer I'm sorry.  It's  not unusual for these guys to get Ich. They are Ich magnets. > I have tried the kick Ich treatment and it doesn't seem to be working. < I have not had much luck with this product either>  I was wondering if there is anything that I can do for my fish. <  My preferred treatment is hyposalinity I find it quite effective and the fish seem to do very well. The nice part is the fish can be treated in the main tank as long as you have no critters that will be adversely effected by hyposalinity. The following links will tell you all you need to know to do this..... Hyposalinity: http://petsforum.com/personal/trevor-jones/hyposalinity.html and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/martrthyposalfaqs.htm Marine Ich: Fighting The War On Two Fronts:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm Ich: http://petsforum.com/personal/trevor-jones/marineich.html and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm Please also see this article and the associated FAQs The Three Sets of Factors that Determine Livestock Health http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm If you can help me out that would be great. Michelle < I hope this helps, best of luck with your Cowfish, Leslie>

Strange color on Cowfish (5/15/04) Hey you guys! <Hi there, you have Leslie here tonight> I hope you can help me on this one... < I will do my best> I just purchased a Lactoria cornuta from the LFS. He's about 1.25 in and he's spotted in a strange manner. I included a picture. I'm keeping him under quarantine for a month < Excellent plan> and I hope he doesn't have Ich < they are prone to Ich> or some other disease because I only have CopperSafe and can't seem to find any formalin-only med in my area (rid-Ich doesn't qualify I suppose). <No worries, there are several meds available online. Two good sources are .... Dr Foster and Smith http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/NavResults.cfm?Ne=40000&ref=3167&subref=AC&N=2004+113521  and National Fish Pharmaceuticals http://www.fishyfarmacy.com/  It is a good idea to keep some of the common ones on hand. I prefer freshwater dips and hyposalinity for Ich myself.> Can you identify if the spotting is normal or not? and if not what is the recommended remedy - and what is the creative remedy! < It is really hard to tell from that photo but his markings look normal form what I can see. Have a look here and compare your fish to these for a better idea http://www.divegallery.com/cowfish.htm  http://www.divegallery.com/cowfish_pair.htm > I plan to put him in a 29 gal for about 6 months and then transfer him in a 75 gal. The fish in the 29 gal are 2 Amphiprion ocellaris of 1.5 inches (clownfish) - 1 Chromis xanthurus of 1.5 inches (yellowtail damsel) - 1 very mild mannered Diodon nicthemerus of 2 inches (porcupine puffer) - 1 Canthigaster epilamprus of 2 inches (blue dot puffer) - a bunch of hermit crabs and a coral banded shrimp and a Mithrax crab - see the puffers are very mild! <They are still small and young> the only bullying going on is the damsel chasing the fish out of it's live rock caves. I know I might be overstocked a tad <I would say a few tads more than a tad> but so far everyone seems cozy and the 75ver should make it roomier for when they grow. <You are looking at 240 plus gallons for when they grow. A general rule of thumb is 10g per inch of Puffer. Your Cowfish has the potential of reaching 19 inches and that Puffer 24 inches. Here are the specifics: Specific Gravity - 1.020 Ammonia - 0pmm Nitrite - 0ppm Nitrate - < 50ppm < this is a tad high under 20 would be much better for your fish> pH - 8.2 temperature - 80F and the setup is: 1 hang- on filter 125gph 1 Prizm skimmer 20 lb of live rock crushed coral sub thanks in advance for your time! José© <Your welcome, Leslie> 

How Is The Cow Now? (Sick Cowfish)  I have a very gorgeous cowfish. He shares his tank with a yellow Tang, Sailfin, Trigger, Clownfish, Goby and a Valentini Puffer. I've had this tank for almost 2 years with no problems. My Nitrate, ammonia, nitrate and pH is all good. Last couple of weeks, I lost my yellow tang and my goby.  <Yikes! Sorry to hear that...Scott F. with you today>  I checked for ICK and did not find any spots. I'm an not sure what's going on in this tank. No white spots (ick) visible but I'm wondering if this is a parasite issue. My sailfin seems to be scratching on the rock and now my Cowfish is not eating and he looks as to be a little itchy. He also has a slight pink color on him.  <Well, it sounds like you may very well be dealing with a parasitic disease of some sort...The lack of visible spots doesn't mean that it isn't Ich or Amyloodinium. In fact, the pinkish color that you describe could be tissue being liquefied.. signs of the more serious Amyloodinium...The fact that your other fish died quickly after contracting this malady leads me to believe that this one may be a distinct possibility...>  What do I do??? I have a hospital tank all ready to go and I will put him in there. My question is, how can I treat the parasite issue? What medication (If any) do I need? Please help. I want to do all I can to help my babies. Thank you in advance for helping. Frank  <Well, Frank, I'm glad that you have the "hospital tank" ready to go. I'd utilize freshwater dips, followed by a course of treatment with a based-based product for this malady. Follow the manufacturer's instructions exactly. Be sure to observe the fish carefully, and make sure that the fish starts eating again. Frankly, I'd remove all remaining fish from the main tank and use the "fallow tank technique" that we advocate for dealing with parasitic infections...Hang in there. With quick action on your part, you can beat this malady! See the WWM parasitic disease FAQs for more information. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Cuban Yellow Boxfish <Hi Bryan, just want to apologize somehow I overlooked this email. I'm very sorry for the delay in response.>  Hey guys I just got a Cuban yellow boxfish 2 days ago. Everything was fine until I got up from watching the NCAA games to find the boxfish stuck to the side of my filter.  <This happens quite frequently with box fish. They can't swim very quickly and often get caught in the intakes. Place a sponge around the intake and it will take away the risk of it getting stuck on there.>  I turned off and the filter and freed the fish, but I am worried that the stress may have caused him to poison the tank.  <It's a viable concern, but it doesn't happen as frequently as you read about.>  I have taken him out of the tank and put him in a quarantine, but how long will it take before I will know if he poisoned the tank?  <within 12 hours you will see lethargy in the other tankmates. Doing a large water change will help dissipate the toxin should there be any in the water.>  Obviously I'll know if the other fish are dead in the morning, but any there any other signs. I have already done a water change on the main tank and have my carbon running as well.  <That would be the best course of action. Hopefully it all worked out well. Another thing you might want to consider is having a skimmer on hand just in case. If you do feel that he might have spread toxic material in the water, I have read reports of how skimming the water and doing water changes have greatly reduced toxin-kills.>  Sincerely,  Bryan Mortlock  <Best of luck, and like I had said before, sorry for the oversight. I do hope it all turned out okay. Add a sponge cover to the filter and it will take away the danger of that happening again. -Magnus.>

Dip a Cow? >Hi, I have a couple of questions on quarantine and dipping.  I will be purchasing a juvenile tank raised percula clown and a small juvenile long horn cow.  My questions are: will it be okay to quarantine them in the same tank (10 gallon with a 3" PVC elbow for a hiding spot)?   >>I wouldn't unless they're both 1" or less.  I would also provide a few more hiding places, and/or cover the tank sides with black plastic so they feel a bit more secure.  Three of the four sides should help tremendously.  If you can get a 20 gallon, that would be much better (or a Rubbermaid tub). >With the dipping, I have Meth blue I had intended to use with freshwater, but is it safe for the cow?   >>The Methylene blue is safe, but I would be careful dipping the cowfish.  Post dip I would definitely place it separately from the clown.  Cows are one of the few species I've actually made a practice to not dip. >Should I just use freshwater, or use saltwater with the Meth?   >>I think an acclimation in separate vessel (all acclimations should be done in vessel separate from final destination) with the Methylene blue would be fine for the cow. >I don't want to stress the cow out too much, in fear of toxin release.  Also, on another note.  I have a 2 month old 72 gallon tank.  50 lbs of live rock, 25 lbs of base rock.  25 lbs of live sand and 25 lbs of marine sand. Inhabitants are 2 turbo snails, a camel shrimp ( in memory of my peppermint shrimp, the happiest shrimp in the world ), and a handful of dwarf blue and scarlet hermit crabs.   >>Watch the camel, they're not always so amicable as peps. >I have been unable to keep the pH up in this tank for quite some time now.  I have carbon and some phosphate sponge running in the filter.  The pH keeps dropping to about 7.9.   >>That's actually not terribly bad.  If the inhabitants are happy and healthy, then consider these other issues: wintertime in colder climates many folks experience sufficient build up of carbon dioxide as to lower pH.  Faulty/inaccurate test kit. >I have done a 50% water change with fresh salt in hopes that it would balance out the pH, but with no luck.  I had even taken water out of the main tank to fill the quarantine tank, and the main tank is down to 7.9, but the quarantine is at 8.1.  Any ideas on what is draining the pH in the main tank?   >>Not at this time. >When I first filled this tank, the pH was at 8.4, so I figured a large water change would work.   >>Don't fiddle with pH so much, 8.4 was fine, too.  You can QUICKLY kill many animals doing this. >I know sometimes it is hard to keep the pH up in well established or older tanks, but this one is neither.  I plan on buying a buffer for it, but I am wondering on what may be causing this.  Will I need the buffer for the life of this tank?   >>This depends, I would tend to look at these other issues.  It's difficult for anyone to say without knowing much more about the life, etc., to determine what's going on. >I thought today's salt mixes were made to establish a correct pH.   >>Allegedly, I like good old Instant Ocean, but prefer Real Ocean over that. >Please, any suggestions would be wonderful.  Thanks again for the fabulous info.   Cat >>You're welcome, try testing with a different kit, OR, if you can afford it, buy a pH meter instead (be sure to calibrate it carefully).  Marina

Quarantine Query (Pt. 2) Thank you Scott for your advice. <My pleasure!> A follow up question I have is why is it not a good idea to dip a cowfish? I have actually dipped him a few times for up to ten minutes and he did not seem to mind it at all and afterwards I could see that some of the Ich had burst. I don't really need to dip him anymore however as the copper is working nicely. Thanks, Matt <Well, Matt, these fishes can release toxins when stressed or agitated, and this toxin can kill the cowfish or other fishes present in its container or tank. This is why I err on the side of caution with these fish. You're right, many specimens have no problem with such dips, but they can be stress-inducing, so be careful. Glad to hear that the copper is working well! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Boxfish Ostracion Cubicus sick after powerhead injury (8/9/04) Hello All, <Just Leslie here this evening> I have had a tank for almost 3 years now and the boxfish nearly that long. Two days ago he was stuck in the intake to my overflow box. <OH no :(  so sorry to hear that.> His skin injuries are minimal, but he is growing steadily weaker. < I think there is a good chance you are dealing with internal injuries> This morning he was on the bottom of my tank, but I nudged him and he went swimming around. Not very well I must say. He does not seem to have any external parasites, he has always had an Ich spot or two. He also ignored food the last two days. < Oh not good I am afraid. > I am thinking of treating him with antibiotics. < I really do not think antibiotics will help your fish...it sounds like he sustained internal injuries. IMO antibiotics will just add insult to injury and stress him further. > Do you have a suggestion as to what to treat him with or is there something else I can do? . <These fish possess ostracitoxin a positions  substance which they can and do release when stressed.  This toxin has been know to wipe out entire tanks and it's effects are not reversible. I think your best bet would be to isolate him in another tank. > The tank parameters are pristine, the other fish are behaving normally. < Well that is excellent news.  My preference would be to error on the side of caution and remove your boxfish to a nice quiet tank by himself. This would serve 2 purposes.....keep your other fish out of harms way and give your boxfish a nice quiet place to rest and if you decide to medicate him the best place to do it. > Thank you for your time. Michael <You are most welcome, best of luck with your boxfish, Leslie>

Boxfish Ostracion Cubicus sick after powerhead injury Follow up 8/13/04 Thank you for our response. < Your most welcome!!!> I actually did put him in an isolated, slow current tank (no Meds). I had to 'force feed' him, but the results are showing. He is looking stronger and more alert. I will move him back as soon as he can find food and eat on his own. <That's great news Keep up the good work!> Thank you again for the valuable information contained in this website! Michael <Again your most welcome :), Leslie >

Boxfish Tank Nuke Hi, <Hi, Bruce from Oz, Mike D here> A Couple of days a go my boxfish died and did what everyone is warned about, nuked the tank.. well almost. I think I found it very soon after the death. I quickly did a water change and bagged all the fish and took them to my pet store to house them.<ouch> I have lost 4 fish out of 8 including the box.<Was it a Blue Box? That's the only species well known for "nuking" a tank, per se> My question is how to deal with the tank. I have 50 gal (200 litres for us Aussies), anyway I have done about 40% water change.<You'll likely end up doing more, but I'd slow down and do it in more gradual conditions to avoid stress to the corals> The corals are looking a little sick, but I think that is because of the water change and moving all the rock to catch the fish.<You're quite likely correct here> I have a protein skimmer going full bore and you should see the black stuff that it has got out.<THAT'S not from the boxfish, and may be the actual reason for your catastrophe> The worms in the rock are still doing what worms do, the bloody mantis shrimp I know is in there (and suspect cause this mess) didn't die (bastard) and can still be heard (yes, I have so far got rid of 2 but I keep hearing the bastards).<Are you sure it's mantis shrimp and not pistol shrimp? Both are extremely secretive and make the famous "popping noise"> I have cycled the tank for a day and put in a couple of blue/green Chromis to check the water.<I'd suggest doing 5 gal/day and hold off on adding fish. If they break down, they're prime targets for ick or such and you may be breeding more problems for yourself. You don't need fish to "cycle" anything, a even the mantis shrimp will accomplish that for you> One looks ok, but is hiding in the rock (sort of strange for these type of fish) and the other after a couple of hours is panting and scales are slowly turning black. I'd get them back out, if possible, myself> I have been checking around the web on what to do if the toxin is released, all I can find is warnings. Yes I knew about it before I put the guy in. He was happy and feeding and loving life for weeks.<There's a very real problem with boxfish that many people don't understand, being that they have very tiny mouths and stomachs, thus need to eat non-stop. Many that people think are doing well are slowly starving to death, and the smaller the boxfish, the more likely this is to occur, as even more food is required fro growth> The list of fish dead are: Boxfish, Foxface Rabbitfish (he's death was not pleasant to watch)<very few are>, flame hawk, flame dwarf angel Survivors (so far) 2 blue/green Chromis (well they might kick it due to reintroduction too early), goldenheaded sleeper goby, fake clown, coral-banded shrimp, Sixline wrasse The stupid thing about it was the tank was close to being complete, with a little bit more mantis shrimp hunting and a couple more corals.<I'm going to go out on a limb and say I truly don't think the boxfish was the entire problem, with impatience likely being as big a culprit> Any thoughts, suggestions and I guess actively calling me stupid welcome.<Never stupid Bruce, for as hard as it is to deal with, it's sadly all part of the learning process. You didn't say how large the tank is, what the ammonia and nitrite levels were, nor how long the whole thing has been up and running.  I suspect that you'll find you had high nitrite and ammonia levels (as evidenced by your skimmate) and that too much was placed in the tank too soon after it had cycled. You DID let it set for six weeks before adding fish to allow it to cycle, correct?  If not, I'd suggest using our Google and entering cycle or cycling, as well as reading FAQs on same. If I'm wrong, I'll personally apologize, but I suspect the boxfish is being used as the excuse, while it was quite likely just one of the victims> Thanks Bruce Moyle
Re: Boxfish Tank Nuke
Hi Mike, <Hi again, Richard> !Thanks for the reply, I eventually lost 6 fish, but on the better note, all is back to normal in the tank.<That's good to hear!> I am sorry I didn't give you some info, so I will give it now. I cycled the tank for 8 weeks before adding fish (about 12 months ago)<OK, my apologies here. Many people rush to load a tank to capacity as soon as it finishes cycling, not realizing that tanks remain relatively unstable for up to a year>. Slowly adding fish every 2 weeks or so between some corals.<This may have played a part as well, as with their constant grazing Boxfish can occasionally "bite off more than they can chew" and may well "sample" something that could lead to a fast decline>. The nitrate levels were at 0 at time of nuking, the ammonia was up, but I think that was due to fish dying<Very possible, but the large amount of skimmate you were getting indicates a  lot of extra organic matter coming from somewhere>. pH was normal too. I agree with the boxfish starving, just so hard to tell.<And even harder with boxfish. With "normal" fish you can tell when they are getting "hollow" but the rigid shell of the boxfish makes it nearly impossible from visual clues> The boxfish wasn't a blue unless they are different colour before changing. He was a cream base with brown scribbles all over him, and was 4-5 inches long.<These aren't noted for being particularly prone to release toxins, but being stung by an Elegance coral, for example, might well trigger it> I also know that there is mantis shrimp, took me ages to identify it, but it definitely is one.<This could be another causative factor then. A boxfish would quite likely attack it on site as it would any other shrimp, and a mortal blow from the mantis shrimp could DEFINITELY trigger a defensive toxin release> I ran lots of carbon to clean the tank and did one more water change. I have fish back in the tank, and they are doing great.<Excellent!> An article on cleaning out poison would be great.<Not a bad idea. while the odd boxfish/cowfish nuking incident does occur, two even more common causes are 1) household pesticides, many of which can wipe out a 200 gal. tank with just one drop, and 2) deceased puffers and porcupines that are "scavenged" before being found missing.  Any fish that samples even a single bite is usually doomed, and in cases where the tank contains a fish such as a large wrasse, the violent dismemberment of the corpse, much like a dog with a rat, is sometimes capable of creating a very similar condition> Thanks <You're very welcome and the best of luck ahead> Bruce

Cowfish Poisoned Tank Hi Bob, <George>    I have a 120 gallon tank I converted to salt water about 4 months ago and went through the cycle and all my fish were doing fine. About every other day I checked the salinity, nitrite, nitrate, pH and ammonia and they are always perfect.  I had 2 Yellow Tangs and A Powder Blue Tang <Not easily kept> and a few Damsels and about 2 weeks ago I purchased a cowfish. The aquarium store I purchased it at didn't tell me the fish was poisonous and if they had, I wouldn't have bought it. <This is mentioned several times, places on our site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfishes.htm> It seemed to be OK for a day or two and then it kinda started just floating around in the tank, swimming a little every now and then. I told the pet store I purchased it at and they said that it was just stressed because it was in a new tank and that it would be OK in a few days. I believed him and then the next afternoon when I came home from work it was hung behind one of the decorations I have in my tank and it was dead. I carried it back to them and they gave me a different fish to replace it. When I got back home about 3 of my other fish were dead and the others were swimming around with hardly no life at all. Then, the  next afternoon they all were dead. I found out that if the cowfish becomes stressed before it dies it releases a poison that will kill everything in the tank and it did. I went to a "Barnes @ Noble" book store and after looking through all their Aquarium Fish books and reading about the cowfish they all said that it was poisonous and it will release a poison if it becomes stressed and it will die instantly and poison the entire tank, and  it did. Over the past two weeks since this happened I have changed about 50% of the water 3 times and one time I changed about 75% and each time I did a test on the water and it was all perfect. <I would change ALL the water... in fact, if this were an account, I would drain it all, re-fill it with fresh and lightly bleach (acid) wash all... yes, killing all biota, oxidizing the ostracitoxin> I have also replaced the  carbon in my two filters every other day as I was advised by the aquarium store. I have added a few damsels to it and they have all died after being in the tank after about 2 days. Every time they died I purchased 3 more damsels and about 2 days later they died. They all seemed to be doing well and then the next morning when I turned the lights on they were all dead. I am trying everything I can think of. I would appreciate any suggestions you have before I recycle my tank. George <Sorry to hear of the losses here. Please refer to WetWebMedia.com re how to thoroughly clean your system... and start over from "square one". Bob Fenner>

Disease Hi guys, <Hello> I am the proud owner of a camel cowfish. She is very little, only about 2 cm. She has developed one eye larger than the other and has not been able to feed for over a week now. She knows the food is there and tries to eat it, but it would appear to me that she cannot see when close up to the food and misses it by 1/2 cm or so. There is no sign of disease, no cloudy eye, nothing wrong that I can physically see. Just one eye appears to be quite larger. She is starting to show signs of distress at feeding times as she madly swims around trying to get to the food but is unable to. She is so little and I feel so helpless. Any suggestions would help me please.  <I'd put some Maracyn in the tank. James (Salty Dog)>  Thanks <You're welcome> 

Boxfish Hi Bob. I have two boxfish - one a longhorned cow and the other a blue dotted boxfish. The longhorned cow came down with appears to be some kind of  a bacterial infection when in my 180g tank. I isolated him in a quarantine tank(20g) and he has been there since the middle of November, ' 99. The blue  dotted boxfish came out of another reef tank due to cloudy eye and was put in same quarantine tank. The cloudy eye cleared up and the fish inherited the  same problems as the longhorned cow.  The disease appears to be eating away at their insides. First they loose their color from a short distance behind their fins and it spreads across the  bottom of the fish, up through the opposite side and to the front and over the nose. I have treated with Nitrofurazone (Furan-2), Nala-Gram which  contains Naladixic acid and salt, Formalite I and later Formalite II, and currently am using copper safe along with Formalite II.  Believe it or not, they are still alive, eating well, and don't seem to be getting worse. The longhorned cow lost one fin entirely and it is growing  back very slowly. The outside of their bodies in the effected areas now appears to be a very dark, scaly, rough texture.  After three months of treating them I am beginning to feel like no matter what I do, or how much I spend, I cannot cure them. Is there anything you  could recommend to me that would help? Sue >> A few things... on the possibility that this might be a nutritional disorder, do start administering a vitamin and iodine mixture to their food before feeding (you can make this mix up from human consumption sources or from pet-fish outlets). And do consider (this may sound quacky, but it has worked wonders), adding some chopped, fresh garlic to the food mix... This material (Allium sativum) has shown anti-parasitic properties, in particular with puffers...  Bob Fenner, who says "don't give up".

Boxfish Thanks so much for the quick response. I never imagined I would hear from you this soon. The addition of iodine scares me as I have no idea of proportions. I feed the fish a mixture of frozen bloodworms, frozen brine shrimp, Ocean Nutrition Formula 1, Formula 2, and Prime Reef. I thaw the frozen foods, mix in enough dry to make it very thick and add either Selcon or Kent Zoe (which should handle the vitamin recommendation.) I have Lugol's iodine but I am certain that is far too strong to add. Should I use regular iodine like we would put on a cut on our finger? I do have iodine additives that I add to tank when I'm not adding Lugol's. If you can spare the time to just give me a hint of the amount of iodine and should I use Lugol's? Also, can I feed this to all of my tanks. Is it a good practice to feed all fish regularly with this diet? My sincere thanks. (My longhorn and blue dot boxfish thank you also.) Sue  >> Yes to either the dilute Lugol's (make a serial dilution of just a drop of stock solution to a couple of ounces of clean R.O., Distilled water) and a drop of this dilute solution in turn on the food. I would just add the iodine to the tanks for your other livestock... as they drink in quite a bit of seawater continuously... and the dosage is quite small. Do try the garlic... very therapeutic/cathartic. You, and the Boxfishes (family Ostraciidae) are welcome, Bob Fenner

Boxfish I forgot to ask about quantity of chopped garlic added? tks. >> >> The actual dosage is much less important than just getting some into them... Some folks have even force fed their Tetraodontid puffers with apparent success. Bob Fenner

Puffer problem Hello Bob, I have been doing freshwater tanks for several years, but I have recently tried my hand at a marine tank. I have a 75 gallon setup with an Eheim 2226,  <Good product> protein skimmer, and 50 pounds of live rock. Last week I added a blue-spotted puffer to the tank, and he developed a mild case of ick (I hear puffers are notorious for this).  <Yes, Boxfish types> To treat it I have been gradually raising the temperature (up to 82 degrees F today) and lowering SPG (down to 1.0195 today). I also added a cleaner shrimp yesterday. The ick already seems better, but this morning I came in to find him hiding in a crater in the live rock with his color looking very bad.  <Curse that Steven Jobs and his misuse of adverbs, make that "badly".> Thinking it was more ick, I got him out and gave him a 7-minute freshwater dip. While dipping him, I gave him a little "physical" and noticed that his right underside has a large purplish swelling spanning the area between his anal and pectoral fin. I noticed a small discoloration in the region shortly after I put him in the tank, but discounted it as an injury or other blemish, since he was eating well and acting happy, and the spot didn't seem to be changing. <Not good> Now he is swollen and not nearly so happy. I am going to try to coax him to eat some medicated food this afternoon; have you got any ideas as to what might be going on?  <Numerous difficulties and an ailing specimen... best to do as little as possible to/with it at this point.... and hope for a self-cure... this species, Ostracion meleagris, is not all that tough, sturdy for use in captivity... and it sounds like this is/was an impaired specimen from the get-go...> The other fish in the tank all seem healthy. Thanks in advance for any insight you might have! Scott <Don't know that I have anything of real use here... of the Ostraciids, these are not my faves... and hard to (re)stabilize once challenged... Would leave the puffer in the main system, hope it feeds, self-cures... but watch, remove if it starts to die. Bob Fenner>

Injured cowfish Hi Bob - I had the pleasure of meeting you and your wife at MACNA this summer. <Ah, what a great time> I have a baby cowfish (about 1 1/2" now) who was nipped on his belly several times by another fish. The other fish has been removed from the tank. The cow now has swelling in that area with diamond shaped protrusions. <It's (Boxfishes) underlying armor... Please see the pix of this species (likely Lactoria cornuta) posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/boxfishes.htm> There seems to be a little shedding going on, too. I want to put him in a hospital tank and treat him but am not sure what to use. I know cows can be sensitive to some medicines, particularly those containing copper.  <You are correct> I have had this little guy since he was the size of a dime and he has been doing great - sure don't want to lose him now. He is eating but not as much as usual. He is swimming fine and seems alert. I would appreciate any advice you can give me. Thanks - Laurie <There are risks in everything, but I would leave this fish where it is if it were mine... Likely better chance of its recovery in place... and not that much risk of poisoning... as you have had this specimen for such a while, and it is adapted to the system where it is. Perhaps adding some liquid vitamins to its foods, and a teaspoon per thirty gallons of a hexose sugar in addition. This is what I would do. Bob Fenner>

Dying Boxfish Hi, I am new at saltwater aquariums (started about 8 months ago), we have a 55 gal tank with protein skimmer, Fluval 404, one actinic light and one wide spectrum light, 50 lbs live rock (with some waving polyps, brownish/greenish button polyps, anemone mushrooms, & a few other small things I don't know that much about yet but all doing great ;) ), 2 boxer crabs, one horseshoe crab, 10 snails, 2 choc chip starfish, 2 anemones (one about 6 in wide white with bluish/purplish tinges at the ends of his arms and one about 1/4 the size of the first that's mostly lavenderish color), an anemone shrimp and now sadly one yellow boxfish. I love the boxfish and have now bought a total of six at different times but only one has made it and he's not doing so well either. <Six?> The first three mysteriously died within one week of getting them, then a very small one I bought died but at least I had an idea he might be sick since he started jerking a little once in a while during swimming around, one died last night not sure if he was eaten by the large anemone or had hidden and died but anyway he had a dusting of whitish stuff and his fins were deteriorating then I found him this morning **gross details coming be warned** and he was perfectly without any color or spots and had no eyes and was on the bottom of the tank about 3 inches from the anemone. My last surviving boxfish is in a 10 gal quarantine tank and has some whitish dusting on him and a small amount of fin rot starting. At first we thought these last two boxfish had ick but now I don't think so with the tail rot. We gave them both copper treatment in the quarantine tank but took them out last night because the one that died looked extremely bluish and had something (looked like peeling skin?) coming off him. He was wobbly but swam around in the big tank about an hour before he disappeared and I found him this morning, so I put the other back in the quarantine tank after doing a short 2 minute low salt dip and am going to try the hyposalinity method I've read about and bring the quarantine tank to 1.015 ppm for 7 days (good idea??) <Boxfishes are sensitive to copper treatments... Yes to the hyposalinity protocol. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/martrthyposalfaqs.htm> and give him antibiotics I'm off to the store now to buy. Do you have any advice to keep the last one alive? I'm thinking we need to try another kind of fish... Everything else seems to do great. BTW we feed the boxfish frozen brine shrimp mostly, some bloodworms, and a tiny bit of greens but they don't like that too well. Recently tried cut up cuttlefish and they (just "he" now) liked it ok. Thanks in advance. Melinda Parks <I would hold off on placing any other slow moving fishes in with your anemones. Bob Fenner>

Cowfish spots Bob, Andy, Steve, et al :-) <my name is Anthony... you can only call me Andy as long as I don't have to wear that Little Bo Peep outfit again> My cowfish has a few spots on his fins (like three), developed a few days ago, small speckles really on the dorsal fin, tail . <very common with this family of fishes...really should always be quarantined for a full four weeks before putting in any display> Today, there are some very light spots on the top of his head and a few on her body, not very distinct at all (you have to look hard to see them), but you can see the light spots on her head (3 of them about the size of 1/4 of an eraser head) if you look for it. Not sure what it is.  <at that size you can rule out parasites...nothing bigger than identical sized grains of salt in most cases> I've read in all your parasitic, bacteria FAQs, and it talks about them, but not really a treatment recommendation. <because the fish is scaleless (overdoses easily) and also is quite toxic (skin exudes toxin) and can kill everything else and itself in the tank if you try natural methods (temperature, freshwater dips)> I've been recommended by others to use StopParasite and have been told its safe with the live rock in the tank, just remove the carbon. Is this parasitic, marine Ich ?, and would you go about this method of treatment (SP, garlic, Selcon. . . ) <a close-up picture would be nice, but I can tell you that your chances are that it is not a parasite and is most likely bacterial in nature> Also read that the spots may come and go automatically, <whoever told you that was silly or just stupid...heehee> but the subtle body spots trouble me. <yes, my friend...agreed. Treat as follows: remove fish to a bare bottomed quarantine tank. Heed pH in this system without a buffering substrate. Aim for tiny daily water changes from tank bottom for 8-14 days to maintain more sanitary conditions. Fed medicated foods if it will eat dry (Tetra bacterial and parasite for safety from secondaries)... and mix with normal frozen fare if necessary. Consider adding a normal daily "reef dose" of iodine to improve RedOx. Look for stabilization or improvement in 3-5 days or change gears> Conditions are as follows: Temp : 77F PH 8.3 NH3/4 : 0 NO2 : < 0.1 (Salifert shows a very light pink, but its always that way) Nitrates : < 10 Salinity 1.23 (30ppm) Just did a 20% water change with prepared salt water from a few days ago and fed her Mysis soaked with Selcon, holding off on the StopParasite until I hear from you guys. <excellent on both counts> Thanks, Ed <May the Force be with You... and I don't mean that feeling you get after eating Mexican fast food. Anthony Calfo>
Re: cowfish spots
Hey Anthony, sorry about that name thing :-). <heehee...no worries at all, it's one of the nicer names I've been called this week <G>> I'm going to see if the spots on the body become a bit more pronounced in a few days. There are definitely a few speckles in the dorsal and anal fins, I'm just going to confirm that there are definitely spots on his body before undertaking introducing more stress. <agreed> I'm aware that cowfish can release toxins and any of these drastic measures can cause her to do that. <excellent> For all intents and purposes, she is in a quarantine tank. There is a damsel in there and live rock. I prefer not to medicate if possible, but if it won't go away on its own, I'll have no other choice.  <keep in mind that the live rock, like sand/substrate, is a great impediment to medications. The carbonate material is like a sponge... reducing efficacy and contaminating the calcareous media> I dropped a cleaner shrimp in there, and the cow made a beeline to the shrimp - I thought she was going to eat it, but she just was curious, and stayed around the shrimp even while the shrimp was scared and trying to acclimate. Then finally the shrimp came out a bit and felt her with its tentacles and then jumped on and started cleaning. She just stayed there and wouldn't leave until she was cleaned. Hoping that will help some, but we'll see. <likely...quite stimulating and a much better choice than a cleaner wrasse> If I have to get into a hospital-tank and feed medicated foods, is there anything that can be soaked into frozen food ? <sure, most meds...depending on the drug needed for the symptom> She only eats Mysis  <very good whole prey item, but of course not a long term staple standing alone> (and will eat brine, but I try and hold back on feeding brine) <thank you!> right now and won't eat flake foods. <typical unfortunately> She is acting normal and eating normally though. As an aside, is it normal for cows to lose a bit of their color at night and recover that during the day ?  <very common for many fish...some have a deliberate pattern called a "fright" or "night" pattern> I thought I read somewhere that they do, but don't remember. Thanks Ed <best of luck to you and moo-moo, Anthony>
Re: cowfish spots follow-up II
Anthony, Not a problem. So we do believe its some sort of pathogen. . . <indeed> Would you use Aquazole or your earlier recommendation of Furazone/Nitrofurazone ? Not sure what course I should take.  <two different treatments...both compatible and recommended> Also, I presume you want to remove the water from the bottom even if you don't believe its Ich ?  <exactly... a very good habit in general> Water quality is quite high in this QT, since its LR based with a monster filter, rather than a bare bottom.  <although, regarding pathogens, nothing is as good as bare bottom tanks for minimizing nefarious populations of bad bugs> However, if its not Ich, it'll save me from doing water changes /every/ day - or is that schedule still recommended ? <no...agreed. If you can correctly ID it as non-Ich...then daily WCs are not critical> Supposedly this species tops out at 6-8", rather than the normal 12. < referenced the species in several ichthyological references (I could tell the species from the picture) and the range is actually 7-12". They are surely on record larger just the same. But even 6-8 inches is a hefty critter> Either way, I'm working on trying to heal it. I rarely have fish problems as its almost always controlled first before entry into a main tank. I can move this into a 125 gallon if you think that it might be a space issue. . . . Do you think that will help ?  <sounds like a much nicer tank in the long run with smaller tankmates> There is a lion fish in there, and a very small trigger that won't bother the cow (the trigger was in with her in the QT tank before). Not generally a good course of action to put a sick fish into a larger community tank, but if that will improve the situation, I'll try it. <indeed... the lion if is a Volitans will be getting big enough...not a good future home> It's also dependent if it'll infect the other fish. It sounds like you believe this is bacterial rather than parasitic ?? <moving a stressed fish is really dangerous... it is best to put it into a proper quarantine tank the first time and do your best from there. My advice is to treat it where it currently resides> Thanks Ed <regards, Anthony>
Re: cowfish spots follow-up III
Anthony, et al - also, if I administer Aquazole, is it safe with LR, or should this be done with all LR removed ?  <if the main and only ingredient is Metronidazole...it is commonly believed to be reef safe. > Also, Aquazole directions are one measure every two gallons. Is this better administered as a food additive or as a medication into the water of the q-tank ?  <always best in food rather than water> If its for the entire tank, I may need like 5 of these tubes for the 40 gallon tank. . .. <not necessary> Ed <Anthony>
Cowfish spots follow up
Anthony, et al. Ok, you asked for some close up pictures. This was about as good as I could do. What a real pain trying to get exposure settings to capture a moving target. . . <indeed> Anyhow, the spots on the body have gotten a bit larger but faded. Not just a pin prick. I see a few on the body, but not much. She does have a small water bubble on one side (about 2 mm), right above the small gill. No idea what that is. Don't know if its filled with air or water. Nothing seems to be bothering her as she is eating and swimming around ok. Does the picture help in narrowing down a treatment plan ?  <alas... no. Although the spots on the tail look too large to be ick. Quite frankly, this is just one of these fish commonly plagued by captivity in smaller aquaria. Some folks lick out with a tolerant individual...but this most often is the life that the aquarist and captive are forced to live in the confines of such tanks> This is a q-tank that I have her in, so I can remove all the rock in there. Just don't want to increase the stress anymore as she is quite large (50 gal) and moving her to a 20gal might be too cramped. <indeed... by most scientific references...this species reaches a foot in length...so even a six foot long tank is cramped by the time the creature is an adult at 2-3 years captive (assuming it does not stunt and die first)> Current food is Mysis, soaked in Selcon and two drops of Kent Garlic. UV filter post skimmer from sump. two cleaner shrimp in tank. <sounds good...hopefully it will eat other meaty foods for variety> If this is Ich of some sort, I can remove the small healthy fish (have a small damsel, two shrimp and a very small bursa), and start the daily water changes from the bottom, and administer other meds. I have Aquazole coming in today, that I'll start if its the right stuff.  <I do believe that it will be therapeutic> I can do copper after removing rock, but generally that proves too stressful for cowfish if I remember correctly. <absolutely.. please never get copper near this fish. A hard to treat "scaleless fish"> Thanks, Ed <alas, Ed... I'm not sure what more can be said. We just have to make the best of the situation. The QT with the water changes, medicated feed and good water quality are the first course until you can get a positive ID on the pathogen. Do consider a good marine fish disease book to help with this and future diagnosis. Handbook of Fish diseases is a great Book that I often recommend by Dieter Untergasser. Anthony>
Re: cowfish spots III
Hey Anthony, yeah it sounds like it to me as well. Although I usually don't see it in the fins. <gills and fins are the first/most common because they are the easiest for the parasite to "suck blood" so to speak...but your fish is scaleless... much easier for the parasite in this case> It's in a 44 gallon right now that I'm sort of using as a Q-tank before I put them in the 200. 44 is a bit large to administer meds and do other things. However, I'm worried of putting him in a smaller tank. <agreed> He's about 6-7 long, 4" from top to bottom (has a bottom carapace) and 2" thick. Not sure if the stress level would be even larger in a smaller tank as he already looks small in the 44 gallon. . . Any thoughts ? <I totally agree... the 44 is small enough> He was fine for about week, but then developed these about 4-5 days ago. I think it may be from stress after the trip, but also from some rock adjustment about a week ago (I adjusted some rock actually to give him more space in the tank). <temperature changes are most influential> He's not getting any worse right now, so I'm trying some natural stuff first. <very fine> I dropped two cleaner shrimp in there that she's always hovering around (the shrimp actually are a bit afraid and I've only seen them jump on once). Is there anyway to co-erce cleaner shrimp to work more (feed less, etc) ? <paint a bulls-eye on the cowfish<G>> It looks like they are constantly scanning with their feelers, but I don't see them jumping on and actually cleaning (except once). <the cowfish does have toxic flesh... maybe the parasites taste funny to the cleaners...heehee. Like green peppers in the refrigerator> Should I reduce the amount of food for a day or so, and see if they get hungrier ? <alas, should make no difference> I've also put a UV in line right after my mech and skimmer (before the return) to kill any floating parasites that may reduce the spread if anything. . . Now just to see if there is some way to cure the Ich. <good> I presume you mean Aquazole from SeaChem which contains Metronidazole ? I'll acquire a bottle by Monday and try it in the food. How are their other products Cupramine and Paraguard ? <overall a good line of products> Thanks Ed <best regards, Anthony>
Re: cowfish spots
Anthony, another day or so, and the faint white spots are just that - faint white spots. They haven't gotten worse.  <a good sign> a few speckles on each fin are still there, but she's still acting normal. Should I just continue to leave it like it is for a few days and see if it gets better/worse ? I imagine that is the most prudent course of action right now.  <agreed...continue good and stable water quality, just medicated feed if possible (especially if recovery seems slow)> But if it is some sort of bacterial infection, it should have manifested itself a bit more, correct ?  <likely, but not always> Only difference is that there is a cleaner shrimp in there which the cow seems to constantly be in line for. . . <nature taking its beautiful course> Thanks Ed <kindly, Anthony>
Re: cowfish spots II
Anthony, actually just noticed there are some spots on the cowfish on one side (4 spots). The spots are pin head size, but definitely white spots ? Still white salt like spots on the fins though. Ich? parasite? <now that sounds like common marine Ich (Cryptocaryon)> Should I take out the carbon and initiate stop parasite ?  <best treated in a quarantine tank and avoid meds in water with the sensitive cowfish. Meds in food OK (try Metronidazole from SeaChem in food as per instructions). Keep in bare-bottomed quarantine tank...do a daily water change. A daily siphoning of the bottom of the tank (extracting larval tomites) each day for 8 consecutive days can theoretically break the life cycle of marine "Ich" without meds on otherwise healthy fish (not starved, etc)> The spots are not eraser sized but just pin pricks. <likely the primary stressor that incited the secondary parasite... broad spectrum antibiotics like Furazone/Nitrofurazone are likely safe in the QT tank water for treatment (it only stays in effective solution for about six hours, although yellow color remains)> Ed <best of luck to you, Anthony>

Scribbled Box With Ich I have a scribbled boxfish in a 40 gal tank with Ich. He's had it for about 3 weeks. For the duration of that time I've had the salinity lowered to 1.016-1.017, temp raised to 84 deg. The Ich has not gotten any worse. In the mornings he has quite a few spots then its gone by evening, everyday. Is the Ich falling off due to the lowered salinity, is it going thru its life cycle that quickly due to the elevated temp, or is the Boxfishes slime coat sloughing (is this a word) it off as the day progresses? <Most likely just its natural life-cycle.> Just trying to avoid meds. Nothing else in the tank but a few pieces of live rock, and a cleaner shrimp (slacker). All other specs are fine. Can the shrimp handle the lowered salinity for any duration? <Yes, but do not go any lower.> Thanks for any feedback. <You are welcome.> Any of you going to make it to DFW this Sept. for MACNA? -Darren <Very likely we will all be going. I think Anthony, Bob, and I are all committed to being there and more of the crew may come too. -Steven Pro>

Boxfish with a Boo-boo <<JasonC here, filling in for Bob.>> Hello everyone this is my first post here hopefully it will help. I have a reef tank 55 Gallons with a variety of fish and inverts. I have just added a boxfish, which was fine at the store, and now he has a patch of white opaque slime? Sloughing skin, about the size of a thumbnail on his back. Does anyone have any ideas what this may be? <<even though these fish look like they're made from plate-steel, they actually have very sensitive skin. Most likely a scrape or something similar.>> He eats like crazy and he is always active, in all other aspects he seems healthy. <<I've always thought this was a good sign, although these fish and their cousins are fanatic eaters. Sure all is well.>> He has made friends with the Clownfish and they can be seen swimming side by side all day. I need help on this one. <<be patient, wait it out. Do keep an eye out as your new boxfish becomes more familiar with its surroundings, you may find it nipping at your inverts. Cheers, J -- >>

Long-horned cowfish with black splotches Bob: <Anthony Calfo in your service> Purchased a juvenile (2" or so) cowfish from the LFS the other day. <WOW... few people have an aquarium to responsibly house this animal in a few years as an adult. Many push 2 feet in length in less than 5 years> Once I finished acclimating it in the quarantine tank, I noticed some black-ish splotches on its body and a bit around its mouth.  <asymmetrical, not raised grains/dots but rather a pigmented "splotches"? If so... doesn't sound pathogenic. Rather mechanical damage (recovery from a recent parasite infection, those wounds now showing necrosis/"bruising"> The splotches are much larger than, say, so-called "black ick," they don't protrude out from the body, and there's no particular pattern to them. They're mostly on the side of his body, with one on top, then the one around the mouth area. Still something like 95% of his body just looks like that of a juvenile cow-fish; he's bright yellow with those blue spots. I'm not absolutely certain that these black splotches are new, but I thoroughly doubt that I would have failed to notice them at the LFS. Definitely wouldn't have purchased the little guy if I'd seen what I'm seeing now. Any chance that the splotches are part of a juvenile fish's color-changing patterns, <not at all> or is it more likely a disease?  <still may not be... lets observe in QT for stabilization or improvement of this symptom before thinking meds with this sensitive fish (scaleless)> If it's a disease, then what type of disease is it, and how should I go about treating it in the quarantine tank? <going to be tough... no organic dyes or copper. FW dips and formalin (carefully) may be some of the only options> Thanks mucho, Joe <best regards, Anthony>
Re: Long-horned cowfish with black splotches
Bob/Anthony: On closer examination, the splotches do indeed seem to be symmetrical (i.e., the same on either side of the body along the length-wise axis). The fish itself is doing better now and has started eating. Still, what do you think these splotches might be? <Stress markings, coloration... the fish is not "happy"... water chemistry, tankmates, food-wise... but will likely become so with time, your good care. Bob Fenner> Joe

Cubicus boxfish with Ich Hi ~ My question is in regard to my cubicus boxfish which has contracted Ich (small, while dots) over his body. It is in a 55 gallon fish only tank with a yellow tang and tomato clown.  <still... if it survives, the tank is incredibly small for how big this fish gets as an adult. Not to mention the toxin this fish exudes under stress that can kill it and all other fishes in the tank> The other two fish look fine. I sent more information regarding this boxfish (and the status it was in when I got it) on an earlier date in an e-mail question which was answered by Steven Pro (in case a reference for more information not included here is needed). I know that cleaner wrasses harass the scaleless/slow swimming boxfish, but I was wondering if a cleaner shrimp would be of any help/be compatible with the boxfish at all?  <either only treat symptoms and are unlikely to effect a cure alone. Either can even stress the fishes more by the frequent attention of service> Would a freshwater dip (like the type described on the WWM website) be safe for a boxfish?  <yes but supervised very carefully for fear of boxfish exuding toxin> I have raised the temperature in the tank to about 82 degrees and plan on lowering the specific gravity a little today. <helpful> Any tips on what I should do with this boxfish in terms of treatment would be greatly appreciated. <the greatest chance for survival for this fish is in a bare bottomed quarantine tank hands down. Freshwater dips, medicated foods, and/or small daily water changes form the bottom to fight the parasites in a QT tank would be best by far> Thank you, Dillon <best regards, Anthony>

Ostracion cubicus Hi ~ Last week I purchased an Ostracion cubicus boxfish from my local pet store. At first it seemed very pale compared to pictures of other boxfish I have seen and appeared a creamy, pale yellow instead of the usual bright yellow. I think this was just a product of stresses from shipping, moving, etc. <Quite likely and also a reaction to possible treatments along the way; copper, formalin, etc.> It also seemed as though it hadn't eaten in a while. After a few days in my tank (a 55 gallon fish-only tank which it shares with a yellow tang and a tomato clown), I got it to start eating bloodworms, which it now relishes. I also feed the tank flake food, Mysis, Sushi Nori, and some frozen commercial preparations. The boxfish now eats nicely and it's index of fitness has/is improved/improving. Also, I can now see splotches of brighter yellow coloring coming through. Hopefully, his color will continue to improve until completely healthy and settled in. However, I have also noticed random dottings of white spots on the fish. I performed a water change yesterday and the other fish are fine with no white spots. The boxfish still eats well and acts as if nothing is wrong. Do you think that this is just a product of the aforementioned stress? <Not sure. Do make yourself aware of what Marine Ich/Cryptocaryon looks like, just in case. Best description is pieces of salt stuck to the body, but seeing a picture is better.> Should I try to utilize any kind of treatment <Not until a definitive diagnosis is made.> (I know boxfish are scaleless, sensitive to copper-based meds) or just wait it out? Thanks for the great site and any help/advice you can give me, Dillon <Do make use of the vast about of information on WWM, beginning here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm -Steven Pro>

ICK HELP!!!!!!! Boxfish Hi Bob, Anthony, Steve and co. Help, I think my new boxfish has brought ick with it. <this group of fishes is very prone to it... especially from shipping and drops in temperature> I cant give you a scientific name for it as I haven't yet researched it, but it is yellow with black spots <Ostracion cubicus... they can grow to 50 cm as adults...some reports place them bigger!!! A truly inappropriate fish for most every aquarium but still ever so beautiful and fascinating. Alas, they are toxic fleshed as well and are a great danger to all other fishes in the display including themselves. Any treatments including medication may be a sufficient stress to induce release of the toxin> on the top and sides fairly symmetrical, and now it also has small white spots that look like tour descriptions of ick, salt grain size but not protruding. The fish is in a tank with a dot dash blenny and he seems fine, there is only a few white spots but I don't want to let it get any further before I do something. The tank its in is only 20G and like I said only has one room mate, this is only a temp tank until I move to a new house and the fish move to a bigger tank. He is about 1 1/2" at most and otherwise seems healthy, eating etc. I have read your FAQ about Boxfish but can't get into the part of your site that deals with disease because I only have the U.K. equivalent of MSNTV so it is a bit restrictive! <unfortunate my friend, but no matter... we are here to help if we can!> I have got some turbo snails and a hermit crab in the tank and what with the fish being so sensitive I don't want to treat the whole water!  <agreed> I know I should perhaps lower the water and maybe give him some freshwater dips but I'm that new (4 months) that I don't want to do anything that may do more harm than good. <neither please... may elicit the toxic response and kill all> I have bought some anti white spot remedy from the LFS (Interpet no.6) that is marine compatible but in the leaflet it doesn't mention anything about putting it in the food just treating the whole tank. Please HELP.  I'm in a terrible panic, I did do all my research before buying this fish and I don't want to be irresponsible but don't know what to do. <your boxfish is scaleless... topical remedies may overdose it and ingested remedies likely will not help the external parasite. Such fishes really must be held in a quarantine tank for 4 weeks ideally> O.K. I suppose that I had better tell you something of the setup: 20G with just the two fish, Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: Trace (barely pink) PH: 8.2 S.G.: 1.0225 <Oh, my heavens... this is truly an inappropriate situation. The invertebrates and other fish with the boxfish are food for it as an adult and the cubicus cannot fairly even be kept in a tank this small for even 6 months without fear of stunting and killing it prematurely. This animal needs an aquarium in the 200 gallon range in the 2 year picture if it is to have any chance of seeing adulthood. You were ill-advised on this purchase, my friend> Everything is going well apart from this. And like I said I would go through your sight more thoroughly if I could, as what I can get to is BRILLIANT. <thank you kindly> Please please help, I don't want to loose this fish it is so beautiful and precious.  I owe it the best care I can. <Shaun... my strong advice is to put the fish in a larger aquarium and use a natural non-fish cleaner like an eel cleaner shrimp. Medication is likely not an option although Formalin could be used on the fish in isolation if it becomes a last ditch effort. Best regards> Shaun Monkman.

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: