Ask the WWM Crew
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Clownfish treatment and Quarantine
Quick Question 10/24/14
*Just an fyi I did read the below summary, and that's where I found the discrepancy on freshwater dips, and wanted to know about the Nitrofuracin green. Best,*
*Treatment: Prevention, as usual, is the rule.*
1) Pick out reasonable stock as detailed in the selection of this article.
2) Do a brief freshwater dip to remove some/most external grunge (a scientific term).
3) Quarantine your new stock if at all possible/practical with or without their anemone for a couple of weeks. Using a mild bacterial medication is suggested; Maracyn II (tm) is excellent.
<Erythromycin? Who wrote this? Can you give me the location of this citation?>
4) Introduce them to their new viable, permanent aquarium. After acclimation, add a "slime-coat" water conditioner.
Note: If you can't procure quarantine quarters, ask your retailer to hold your charges for you on deposit.
If you find yourself with clownfish with an apparent infection/infestation that seems to necessitate treatment:
1) Check and adjust your water quality. Most "disease" conditions of captive aquatic systems are a result of poor water or system quality. Do not just start pouring a therapeutic into your tank(s). Often, moving the
clown's to a different system effects a fast "cure".
2) After quickly doing whatever you can to "re-center" your system, consider further treatments in the following order of priority:
A) Biological: Add a symbiotic anemone if you don't have one or move the fish/es to a system with one. Add a cleaner; a suitable Labroides wrasse (if you can secure a "good one" that has survived the rigors of capture, movement, acclimation to captive conditions), or better a cleaner goby, cleaner shrimp; they work.
B) Physical: Lower your specific gravity. Even with most invertebrates, dropping the specific gravity a few thousandths per day to 1.018-1.019 will not do permanent damage and may shift the balance of favorable conditions to your fishes.
C) Chemicals: Last and least. Be careful. Clown fish are like "canaries in a cave". They tend to be sensitive to the same toxins as their host Actinarians (anemones). Copper, other metal salts, organic or metallic
dyes, furan compounds, and organophosphate pesticides all have deleterious to disastrous effects. These substances in various formulations, comprise most of the "medicine treatments" available and used in our aquatics interest. They do have some limited, appropriate applications in bare marine treatment tanks. 'Nuff said?
<Reads like summat (word order, use) I'd write>
These chemical therapeutics are dangerous and unnecessary with Clownfishes.
"Experiment" with them only as a last resort.
Re: Part 2 of clown fish question 10/25/14
LOL you wrote it. Here is the link
<Well; just goes to show. From the ref.s looks like it was penned in the mid 90's. Don't know what I was thinking of re the Mardel product... Thank you. BobF>
Sick? clown? Hello Crew <Hi Ray, MacL here with you tonight.> Seems that I am only asking you questions when something is wrong lately. <Sorry to hear there is something wrong.> I think I may have a sick Percula Clown (Toni). She (she's the dominant one of my two) has not eaten for 2 days. the other one is fine. Usually, Toni practically jumps out of the water into the glass pouring the food into the tank at feeding time. She even will eat out of my hand. <Mine just bite my hand.> That was the last time I saw her eat actually. I was feeding my open brain coral some finely chopped, vitamin-soaked squid and I had a spare piece so I fed it to Toni. It may have been a little large for her, but she ate it anyway (has done same in past). That was the last time I saw her eat. For the last 2 days, she has parked herself in a cave below some rocks at one end of the tank (usually swims over the entire tank all day long). She does not swim very far from the cave and takes little interest in food. She will swim up to it sometimes, but then goes back to her spot. She appears to be breathing fast as well. Her color is as good as it has ever been. Being the big eater of the tank, she looks as plump as ever too (not larger nor smaller than normal). <Its just a guess but have you looked into the cave under the rock, you might have eggs there.> Everyone else in the tank (fish, corals, anemone, shrimps, inverts) are doing spectacular. The only loss lately was a jawfish that I think got stung by my anemone and died after 2 days. Water parameters are pristine. Nothing added for 7+ months without QT first (except a coralline algae swap from a trusted friend several months ago). I am mixing water for my QT/hospital tank just in case. I have on hand rid Ich, copper, Kanamycin and formalin for any necessary treatments. I am wondering if a large piece of squid blocked her up somehow and she is just constipated. Either that or some other disease has somehow come out of hiding (did not QT for my first 3 months.....pre-WWM days). <I really think she's on eggs. She's acting just like mine do when they lay.> Do you have any advice on what is going on? <Take a look and if no eggs let me know. We'll go back to the drawing board.> What should my plan of action be? PLEASE help as she was my first marine fish....and my favorite. Thank you in advance for your help.
Sick Clown follow-up 27 Aug 2004 Thank you soooooo much for the quick response MacL<He again Ray> I was also thinking the same thing but I looked close (the cave is more of a tunnel actually) and nothing that remotely resembles eggs. <K so we go on the assumption that she's hiding cause she's not well> Also, she is just under 2-1/2 inches long (still a little young I think). <Mine was laying eggs at that size.> I was able to get her out of the tank pretty easily (chased her with a net into a clear plastic breeding cage) and gave her the least radical treatment I could think of until my hospital tank is ready (RO system cranking out water as fast as it can). <Fantastic!> She got a 10-minute freshwater dip (temp and pH balanced & aerated of course). She tolerated it well and is back in the main tank. Closely observed her for about 10 minutes afterwards. She appeared to almost cough a couple of times. Still breathing fast and mouth opening wide when she does. Can't really get a good look in her mouth, but it appears all white inside. I don't know if it is swollen (never looked before) but almost looks like it is. <Sound like she might have some parasites going at her in some way. The breathing hard is usually as sign they are in her gills and usually that means you need to get to her quickly.> The other clown (sticking right by her side as always) does not breath nearly as hard or fast and mouth a lot more closed. Any ideas? The problem is that I will be gone from 6am tomorrow to 8am Sunday and won't be able to treat then. <When you get back look at her closely, See if the dip provided her with any relief. I know I had to dip mine several times along the way when she had a parasite of some sort.> Thank you again for your help. I may be able to do a dip first thing tomorrow morning, but won't be around to watch her. I only hope I bought enough time. <Keep getting the hospital tank ready because if she does have some parasites they will go active and shed eventually and attack the other fish. Keep me up to date we will figure this out.>
Sick Clown Follow up 29 Aug 2004 Greetings Crew! <Hi Ray, MacL again here with you.> Thank you again for the quick reply and all the help. You are a true credit to the hobby. <That's kind of you to say> Anyway, the last 36 hours have been very long for me as I have been on-call and away from my beloved fishies. Now that I am back, there has been a change. My clown is behaving more like her usual self. <That's very good to hear.> The rapid, wide mouthed breathing has stopped. She still is hanging out around the same tunnel area though. Color still looks good, but she does not look as plump as before. <Possibly an internal parasite. Really sounds like she wants to lay eggs.> Still nothing that resembles eggs in the tunnel. Still no noticeable growths or markings. When I fed the tank today, she quickly swam up to food, took it in her mouth, and then spit it out. Repeated this behavior multiple times. Looks like she is hungry, but can't eat. Even tried stealing the tidbits that I hand feed my open brain, only to spit them back out again. <Are you using vitamins on the food, its possible she's getting part of the food.> Early this morning, my girlfriend saw what she thought was a "stringy-looking" poop coming from her (the clown, not my girlfriend). <Could be something like a parasite or could be nothing without a good look.> The lights were still off so she did not get a good look. The clown did sleep in it's usual position with the other one up at the top behind the Whisper return. I am now perplexed as to what to do. The hospital tank will be up and running by tonight in case I need it. I have several differentials so let me know what you think. 1. Constipated: really don't know what to do about this. <Id suggest vitamins in the water regardless. Perhaps a more algae based food.> <<RMF considers this the most likely issue here... and would prescribe the use of Epsom Salt in a treatment tank>> 2. Pregnant: Will leave alone in main tank and observe. <Sounds lovely.> 3. Parasitic gill infection: Will attempt another fresh-water dip this afternoon. If this is leading diagnosis, move to hospital tank. <I just have this feeling that if she's not laying eggs she's got some type of internal parasite. The question then becomes does she need to be hospitalized and treated or will the dips do the trick.> 4. Clown just being a weird clown who is growing up. No need to treat. <You are the one viewing her? Do you feel this is the case?> 5. Unknown: Main tank has most stable environment, leave there and observe closely. Any change for worse in condition, move to QT immediately. <Well of the five this is the one I would follow, AFTER I freshwater dipped her again. Please keep me up to date on her progress I know how much you care about her. MacL> Any comments or new ideas would be appreciated. Sorry for the long email, just want to present all the relevant information so we can get my poor Toni back to her usual self. -Ray
Sick Clownfish 30 Aug 2004 MacL, <Hi Again Ray!> Thank you so very much for your replies and attention. I definitely owe you a beer someday! :-) <That sounds nice I'll look forward to it!> Anyway, Toni is still alive and swimming. <Very good to hear.> Behaving more like her normal self.......but still not eating. <Well she has some good weight on her can go a bit without eating.> She made less of an attempt today at eating than yesterday, still grabbing the food (yes, always vitamin soaked) and immediately spitting it out. <Are you trying live brine? that might tempt her enough.> She is thinner today than she was yesterday. She also has abandoned her little cave and is swimming around the entire tank like she usually did (Rudi (other clown) never far from her at all). <That's very good news indeed.> I have personally now seen the stringy, white poop coming from her anus. It seems to stick there and not break off. <I really think its a sign of an internal bacterial infection. I would put her in the hospital tank and use an antibiotic. Most people here recommend Spectrogram.> Constipation? Internal infection/parasite? QT is up and ready if needed. Giving her a third FW dip tonight. 10 minutes, pH & temp matched and aerated. <I'd go on an move her over for a while. Just to make sure and use the antibiotic.> If there is no change in her by tomorrow night, it is QT time. How should I proceed with treatment if it comes to this? I am thinking trying Epsom salts combined with antibiotics (Kanamycin). <Ray I feel like I've come to know this fish. Please tell me how it goes, MacL> Thanks again for all your help. -Ray
Clown Improving. Great News! (9/10/04) Hey MacL & Crew! <Steve Allen tonight. MacL is out to MACNA.> Great News!!! My little Toni (Percula clown) has been eating for 2 days now!!! She is avidly eating formula one, clam chunks, Cyclop-eeze and Mysis (all vitamin soaked of course). She seems to be behaving as normal as clowns behave (still looks ticked at me for putting her in QT) and her color is great. She is breathing normally now (has not breathed fast in a week). <Excellent.> No signs of the white-stringy poop. There is some debris on the bottom of the tank, but I am not sure if it is poop or leftover food (had a fish-sitter over the weekend). Going to clean it up and watch it for a day. <Good idea.> So, here is my plan of action. She has been in antibiotic-treated water for 7 days now. She is eating and, assuming, pooping. No signs of stress. I am going to watch her for 24 more hours and if things are still looking good, put her back into the main tank. Sound good to you? <Might be wiser to remove the antibiotics with a series of water changes and watch for a couple of weeks to be sure. It would be a real bummer to have to return her to QT due to premature return to the main tank.> Everyone in the main tank still looks unaffected by whatever she had. <Good. Keep it that way by being certain she is healthy and non-contagious before returning to display.> Thank you so very much for all your help. I am really happy that my little Toni is finally back on the mend. <Again, glad to hear.> -Ray
Aftermath Of A Parasite? Hi. <Hello! Scott F. with you today!> We have 2 clown fish. We have them in a 10 gal tank, with a live rock & live sand. We have noticed a few orange worms, 2 feather dusters, and little spider looking organisms that live in the live rock. <Interesting diversity!> This morning, my husband noticed a white, shrimp-looking thing attached to one of the clown's fin. When the thing let go of the clown, he saw a red dot by the fin, and now he is not using the fin. <Sounds like some kind of parasitic copepod or other nasty creature. Glad it let go...> He is hanging out behind a rock toward the bottom, and staying pretty stationary. He did swim to the top to eat, which is great, but we want to know if he needs any attention to the fin. We also wonder what it was attached to the clown. Thanks, Kristy <I'm glad that the fish is eating. That's always a great sign. It's certainly a good idea to keep the water quality as high as possible in the tank to avoid a potential infection if there is an open wound. If infection does manifest, or if the fish appears to have other difficulties related to the injury, you may want to remove the fish for some medicated dips, or for closer observation. It's not necessary to move the fish (assuming it is not having further difficulties) to subject it to further stress. Keep a close eye on this fish, and be prepared to take action, just in case. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>
Aftermath of A Parasite? (Follow-up) Scott, <Hello again!> Thank you very much for your help! The clown's fin is doing fine now, without intervention, but it is great knowing that you all are here for us. Thanks again, Kristy <Thanks for the kind words! Glad to be of assistance! Scott F>
Hindsight is 20/20 I just wanted to say, your advice saved my clown! He is alive and well today after I gave him the 15 minute bath (friends thought I was nuts!) In addition, used the same technique for my yellow Hawaiian tang that had black spot disease (parasites). Although he could only tolerate it for 3 minutes, it did the trick! Thanks Very Much! Nadine <Thank you for this mention of what can be "spastic" dipping behavior. Bob Fenner>
Sick O. Clowns, Please Help! I have had my two o. clowns for about 4 weeks now. They had appeared to be doing very well until about the third week when I noticed something on the larger, more dominant fish. Seemed to be "caught" between the edge of the fish's gill and body. It had been described by members of my family as what appeared to be a piece of food caught in the gill. Yesterday I made a trip to Pet Supplies Plus as it is the only place around and they seem to have a knowledgeable staff. The girl there said it sounded like a gill fluke and said in freshwater fish they would usually pull them out with tweezers but that being marine, and clown I probably should not attempt this and recommended treatment, in quarantine with double dose, (2 drops per gallon) of Organi-cure, %1.25% copper and 17% formaldehyde in a tri-chelated liquid form. I took water from my main tank (30 gallons) to fill my ten gallon tank, I also measured water parameters at the time, as follows: NH3/NH+4 .25 mg/dl, NO .3mg/dl, PH 8.0, KH 17.5degrees/dh, CO2 8.0, sg 1.0225. <You might want to investigate that low pH...> I took a piece of live rock with nothing on it but algae and placed it in the tank with a cupful of gravel in the WT. Also a large airstone and I have rigged the ten gallon with a Fluval 104 canister filter rated for 25 gallons. When I pulled the clown from the display tank it was obvious this was not something I could "remove" with tweezers as it appears to be part of the fish! It almost appeared to be just a discoloration of the gill spikes... I finished up around 11:10 PM last night. This morning at 6:00 I turned the lights on. (four hours earlier than usual...) The smaller clown was up and moving very quickly but the other still lingered by th bottom for almost 45 minutes, and while he is moving a bit now, he still seems to be lethargic and staying near the bottom. Both fish now have small white spots. I have never experienced ick but this is what I suspect. Maybe the tank had bacteria in it? <Ich is not bacteria, and it's more likely that the fish already had it. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm > It was used for freshwater a few weeks back, but it has been sitting fry I my garage.... the spots are very small and almost appear to be o the surface of the body. <Freshwater ich and saltwater ich are two different problems, not at all the same protozoan.> I am now afraid my tank is dirty. Also, A fish (which no one can tell me what kind of it is, the front is purple the back is yellow and its long like a tube) <Sounds like a Royal Gramma or a Royal Dottyback - see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/grammas.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudoch.htm > in my display tank also has a few of the spots!! <Not at all a surprise...> Please Help, I'm very worried. My last two clowns were maroon, the dealer sold them to me by mistake and they killed each other. :-( Thanks SO Much. --Jim Smith -OH <Please read up here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/treatmen.htm Cheers, J -- >
- Sick Clownfish, Update - The spots are now gone, only a few hours later, on all three fish... there are maybe 3 spots on each clown... that's all, there were at least 20 on each fish!!! <I would not be surprised at all if it came back.> I did add two drops more of Organi cure and I did forget to mention the addition of 3 drops of Organi cure to my main 30 gallon tank last night. <You really shouldn't treat your main tank, or any tank that has rock and substrate in it... the rock work and gravel will absorb the compounds necessary to treat the fish, and make the treatment ineffective.> thanks again --Jim <Cheers, J -- >
- Sick Ocellaris Clowns, Redux - Ok, no more white spots. Anywhere. I am gradually raising the PH, in both tanks and lowering salinity slightly in the QT, added 3ml hydrogen peroxide to the QT and 400mg erythromycin to the QT, 200mg DT. I contact the distributor and he said to put them back in the display tank but I still see some discoloration so I plan to leave them there and continue Maracyn treatment unless you would advise otherwise. Thanks so much for the quick response, I really am concerned I don't want anything to happen to these clowns... Thanks --Jim <Jim, I get the impression you didn't read any of those links I sent you. The white spots are caused by a parasite that will not be affected by antibiotics. These parasites are like fleas, they get on your dog, they lay eggs, and then your dog has more fleas and then they lay eggs, and then you have fleas. So... do expect to see these white spots again unless you take more evasive action. Please read those links I sent you, much information to be found there... Cheers, J -- >
- Sick Clowns, Update - Thank You, I understand your point
and am investigating it further. <Ah good... many rewards to be
found.> Meanwhile everything seems well quality wise, : ph 8.3 co2
2.4 specific gravity 1.0225 Salinity 31ppt 28C KH15 Nh^3Nh^+4 .25 mg/dl
NO^-2 </3mg/l I will update you when I see a change. Thanks a gain
for your time and wonderful service. Also, is there a place I could
donate to WWM? Possibly through Paypal or something? <Very generous
to offer, there is an Amazon link on the bottom of our many of our
index pages or you can also use this hyperlink: http://s1.amazon.com/exec/varzea/pay/T3P5J4CVWEJER0
> Thanks --Jim