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Stegastes fasciolatus (Ogilby 1889), the Pacific Gregory. Indo-west Pacific. Not a great beauty and at up to six inches in length, a handful. But an interesting, intelligent addition to a rougher aquarium setting. An older individual in Hawai'i. Kona 2017
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Updated 2/23/2018
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Naso Tang with skin issue      2/23/18
Hello. I have a Naso Tang with some white scratches and areas of what appear to be slightly raised lumps.
<I see this in your photo>
I first thought they could be from scratches from the live rock. She has a great appetite and is behaving normally. Any insight?
Ragan Wilson
<Mmm; yes... likely a nutritional issue here; but could have trauma/physical damage, water quality component/influences as well. This fish is too thin (has a low index of fitness). I'd have you read on WWM re
Naso and Naso lituratus period; esp. nutrition/feeding. Do so. Bob Fenner>

Re: Naso Tang with skin issue      2/23/18
Ok, thanks. I’ve been treating the Naso for Ick with copper and am on the third week of treatment.
<Acanthurids and Cu don't mix. PLEASE read where you've been referred. You're poisoning your fish>
She is eating very well but now I’m concerned that maybe the copper is affecting her nutrition.
<Ah; you are wise here; or at least knowledgeable>
I don’t see any signs of Ick but was told to treat the parasite for 28 days. Do you think I should stop the treatment early? Thanks again.
<Yes I would. BobF>
Ragan Wilson
Re: Naso Tang with skin issue      2/23/18

For future reference, what is your method for treating Ich?
<Haaaaa: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm
and the linked files above. B>
Ragan Wilson

Green Bird Wrasse and Lunar Wrasse Compatibility      2/23/18
Hello Bob -
I am suspecting the answer is, "no, don't do it" for either situation I am contemplating but would greatly appreciate your expert advice.
I have a 265 gallon (excluding sump volume) FOWLR set-up. Among other fish (Annularis Angel, tangs...etc.) I have a gorgeous approximately 7 inch Lunar Wrasse in this 265 set-up. I've had him a few years, where he started off as maybe 4 inches.
I am contemplating adding a 6 inch Green Bird Wrasse to this 265 gallon set-up, however, I am hesitant thinking the Lunar might go after him due to the similar colors. The Lunar (somewhat surprisingly) has not bothered any other new few fish that I've added in the past.
Note that I also have a 220 gallon set-up where I originally thought of placing a Green Bird Wrasse but my fear there is that I have a wonderful 3 inch Molly Miller Blenny, who's done a great job taking care of any Aiptasia, but who might become a meal for a Green Bird wrasse.
Your thoughts?
<I think you'd likely be fine in either tank here w/ a Gomphosus addition.
Am out currently diving in Moorea... seeing G. varius and Thalassoma species in close approximation, including all yellow Lunares. And of course there are blennies galore if you're observant>
Thank you as always,
<I'd go ahead with this fish, male or female in either tank. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Collaboration      2/23/18
Hello, my name is John Landrum.
<Hey John>
I recently looked through your website and was impressed with your content.
Therefore I would like to know whether we could cooperate? Do you accept guest posts?
Look forward to hearing from you.
<We do buy content, if useful, appropriate. Bob Fenner>

Zoanthids problem?     2/22/18
Hi Crew,
Some of my Palythoa have been closed up for a week or so now.
<Mmm; a bad sign; perhaps portending a bad time for all life here/// No data re system, water quality, other livestock, history....>
I have hundreds of different types. The Zoanthids seem fine but the large polyps (Palythoa I’m guessing) seem effected. This doesn’t look like zoapox to me although maybe it is the beginning stages?
<Summat is amiss here.... READ: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zoanthidhlthfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Zoanthids problem?     2/22/18
All other live stock looks great. Sps. Lps. Etc. water chemistry is good. Alk 7. Cal 400. Nitrate 0. Phos .05. Lighting radions.
System is about 4 months old but water was moved from a 2 year old system.
<Ah, good>
I only use marine pure blocks, no live rock really accept what coral is attached. Oversized skimmer.
Hope that helps
<Yes; well, something is bugging this one colony. What is "next door" may be germinal. BobF>
Re: Zoanthids problem?

What do you mean it may be germinal? I have several colonies in this one system with this same issue.
<... please re/read on WWM re Zoa compatibility>
I’m trying to do some research...Could this be some type of hydroid?
<... yes. Do you see such nearby?>

Re: Bandit angels Prazipro quarantine     2/22/18
Hi Bob
Just performed a fw dip. Couldn't see much after the dip,
<Carefully decant the dip liquid... look for translucent small worms at the bottom>
perhaps was the double dosage of Prazi. Fish started eating again less than an hour after dip. It's gobbling down nls pallets. Thank you!!!

<Ah, welcome. B> 

Re Snowflake Eel Emergency     2/22/18
Hello, this is Jinoo Kim. I have talked to one of you guys about this situation before, but it wasn't a big deal.
<I remember.>
Now it is. To recap, my eel has a swollen snout which appears to be mainly around the nostrils. My eel has been a lot more sluggish, losing a lot of yellow coloration, and can't even sense the food in front of him. He even looks smaller in general. I have been dosing a lot of vitamins (thiamin and Vitamin B especially), but I don't know if it is doing anything.
<Vitamin B1=thiamin, which is important, but other vitamins are important, too. Have you been feeding a varied diet with crustaceans, fish and bivalves, maybe cephalopods?>
Hopefully the picture uploads as it hasn't in the previous message, but I do need an answer.
<It did upload, but I could not see the swelling.>
Thank you.
<If the eel is still eating try adding a more complete vitamin mix e.g. Vita-Chem to the food. If the situation gets worse you might be dealing with an infection, which could require a treatment with an antibiotic (Maracyn or comparable) preferably in a hospital tank. Also see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snoflkeeldisfaqs.htm for similar cases.>
​Jinoo Kim
<Good luck. Marco.> 

Question for Neale on phosphate based buffers     2/22/18
Hi Neale!
I have some questions about phosphate based buffers.
<Sure thing.>
I'm setting up a 50 gallon freshwater (low tech, no CO2, lightly planted with low light varieties) aquarium as the bioload of my 20 gallon is on the high side. I have 6 Columbian tetras, 4 Orange laser Corydoras, and 6 zebra Danios and a handful of Nerite snails.
<Sounds nice.>
The parameters are zero ammonia and nitrite, with nitrates running around 5-10 ppm. PH is steady around 6.6 and dGH is 6-7°. I run a Fluval 206 canister filter filled with matrix and API Nitrasorb. I switch out 25% of the water every 5 days. I added the Nitrasorb a few months ago as my nitrates were consistently over 40 ppm even with water changes. Everyone is healthy and active with great colors.
<I would imagine; sounds a great tank, though do watch the Nerites for evidence of 'pitting' in their shell -- this can happen in acidic water.>
I use RO water remineralized with Equilibrium. I use SeaChem's phosphate based buffer Neutral Regulator. My tap water has almost no dGH and is very acidic and unstable. Tests yellow using API test kit.
My fish have done great with the water I've been making up for them. Their tank runs around 6.6 because of all the driftwood.
<Yes. The general hardness will have minimal impact on buffering against pH decline, so to some degree you'll be relying on water changes to offset background acidification.>
Other friends in the hobby have been pressuring me to switch to a carbonate based buffering system on my new tank as it will also be planted.
<Indeed. Carbonate is a good buffer, and some plants, such as Vallisneria and Egeria, rely upon it to some degree as their source of carbon for photosynthesis. On the other hand, it isn't necessarily useful for soft water fish, and those plant species that can't use carbonate ions won't benefit from it.>
My plants in my 20 gallon do struggle with growth and algae issues but I don't think all the blame lies with Neutral Regulator as I have a beautiful planted 5 gallon (low bioload, one Betta) that is almost algae free.
<Can happen, and sometimes it's really difficult to say why algae is the problem in one tank but not another. Ambient lighting, temperature, the type of plants used (and allelopathy between them and the algae) are important factors, as well as the obvious ones like algae-eating fish, nitrate level, etc.>
Their argument, besides algae, is that phosphate blocks absorption of iron and other trace minerals.
<Possibly, but not something I have a deep understanding of. In any case, whatever effect it might have, placing a fertiliser pellet, say, a few cm down in the substrate close to your most iron-hungry plants should surely compensate for that?>
My plants in my 20 gallon are struggling except for my java fern and a small water sprite. I started using iron rich root tabs but to early to tell if they are working.
<Java Ferns get little if anything from their roots, so root tabs are irrelevant to them. Floating water plants such as Water Sprite similarly absorb most if not all of their nutrients through their leaves and fluffy roots rather than from the substrate, so again, root tablets don't make much sense. Put another way, while root tabs will dissolve and release iron and magnesium into the water column, they'll do so far more slowly, and perhaps less effectively, than adding drops to the water. Those iron and magnesium ions in or close to the substrate won't be ignored by those algae that grow on the substrate, such as blue-green algae.>
Should I stick with the Neutral Regulator that is so dependable as far as stable pH and ease of use?
<It is reliable and provides good conditions in terms of stabilising the pH, but it will inevitably raise phosphate levels, which you can measure with a suitable test kit. Within reason, phosphate is a useful fertiliser, but too high and it can trigger algal blooms. Some experimentation might be in order: try a half-dose of the buffer first, see what effect that has on pH vs. algae growth, and vs. plant growth, and act accordingly. Would I use it? No, not if the pH was basically stable without it.>
My fish are my top priority. Are phosphate based buffers really so terrible for a planted tank?
<See above. Pros and cons.>
Thanks again!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Bandit angels Prazipro quarantine    2/21/18
Hi Crew,
<Hey Keith>
I've 2 bandit angels in quarantine tank. One of the bandit show signs of fluke, which I then administer Prazipro through the recommended dosage.
After 4 days there were still showing symptoms of fluke.
<I'd now (and would have done enroute on buying, moving these fish) pH adjusted freshwater dip/bath these Angels, with formalin/formaldehyde and aeration as gone over on WWM>
I then did a major water change and administered the second dosage. (75% of the recommended dosage). Immediately 1 day after the second treatment, One of the bandit ceased to eat, however, still showed interest in the
food. This got me worried and I did another major water change. The other bandit is still eating like a pig. Did the treatment caused one of the bandit to cease eating?
<It's possible, yes>

How Long later should I begin to worry if the bandit continue not to accept prepared food. Both were eating fine prior to treatment. Is it normal for Prazipro to suppress the appetite of the angel fish?
<As stated, can do so... who knows the mechanism here? Killing worms in the lumen? >
What will be my next course of action, if any.
<As stated; the reading on WWM re dips/baths, additions therein>
Thank you
<Welcome. Do write back if your course of action isn't clear. Flukes are VERY common on w/ wild-collected Pomacanthids. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bandit angels Prazipro quarantine    2/21/18

Hi Bob
Thank you for the reply. through observation earlier, the bandit is still yawning/twitching. I'm assuming the 2nd dose of Prazipro would've knocked most of the flukes off and the bandit may just be irritated by it.
<Again; a possibility definitely. A./P. arcuatus is a fave; and know that they do twitch quite a bit naturally>
Given that I've done two dosage of Prazipro, will it be too early to commence the dip now/soon?
<Not too soon if the fish is in good shape)>
The fish seems very interested in food but just wouldn't swallow them down. Also, could it be a possibility that there may be an ulcer/growth inside the mouth (since I've caught him yawning several times)?
If this is the case, will dip still be the way to go or alternatively can I perform Mxyazin treatment for 5 days.
<.... I'd do the dip/bath>
The plus point is there's still some weight on the fish and at least he's responsive to food being thrown into the QT :)
Thank you
<W. BobF>

Re: Receding Chalice Help    2/21/18
Hi Bob,
So some updates on the situation as well as an interesting/bizarre little story.
The chalice appears to have stopped receding or at least has slowed to a point where I can no longer tell. It is struggling to grow over the algae covered skeleton areas but I'm optimistic and some crabs have cleaned it off a tad.
I'd like to think the iodine assisted in the potential recovery but it has yet to cover the remitted areas in entirety, though has reached past the skeleton on some small parts. That said, I'm fairly pleased and some updates regarding the other pieces:
<These issues take time... weeks to months>
The gold torch did not like me moving it and the brown slime took over most of the remaining heads and ultimately the final head. I tried to save it but moving it may have resulted in some of the tissue being opened against
it's skeleton as the water flow in the newer area was not in the same direction. I probably should have been more diligent and shut down the flow entirely before positioning it, lesson learned.
As for the Bryopsis (Caulerpacean?) I'm not sure if this is Caulerpacean or not, but the invasiveness and fact that nobody wants to eat it leads me to lean towards thinking it might be Bryopsis. After mechanically removing it, it likes to grow as one long stalk that eventually branches out and more grow at the base. With this pattern and often growing in my Zoa colonies, it has been a pain in the ass and I'm hoping that I will be able to groom it into remission with nutrient reduction and mechanical removal, but without that I'm seriously considering trying the Fluconazole as an alternative if nothing else works. Are there any creatures I could try that might like the taste?
<Some snails....>
I've had phenomenal success with emerald crabs for bubble algae and bumble bee snails for Vermetidae over the years!
Now for the crazy (at least I think so) story. Amazon, in error, sent me Seachem's "Flourish Excel" instead of the Iodine and being slightly inebriated and admittedly a total idiot about it, I didn't notice until I dosed the tank!!! Yikes!
I do not run carbon and read that it wouldn't be a big deal but I was worried it would increase the algae issue I was already having or affect my inverts/corals. Of course it did, but interesting only two colonies of Montipora.... Now I have 5 colonies in total at different areas of the tank (1 rainbow, 3 sunset, 1 reverse sunset). The two largest
colonies are sunset Montis about 3"x5" and 2"x4" sprawling over uneven rock. The two largest colonies are from the same mother colony and the third smaller colony I attained by mistake from a dishonest LFS. The two larger colonies are in totally separate parts of the tank (elevation, flow, and lighting) and began bleaching the next day. I assumed the bubble tips were stinging one of them (and moved them), but then noticed it's brother bleaching as well! Putting two and two together I eventually found a few posts of people mentioning how activated carbon affected their Monti colonies and am suspecting that it happened here too. It is very perplexing
because none of the others showed any signs of damage what-so ever including the other sunset which has the same coloration (but is from a different mother colony). Within a few days the bleaching and polyp death covered 95% of both colonies with only a few small living patches remaining with a very clear demarcation line between the dead (dying?) portions and healthy tissue. I did some water changes the next few days and am happy to say that I think they are coloring back up (though the polyps are not there)... then again it might just be diatoms and algae setting in, but I'm optimistic. Of course, I also got the actual iodine since and have been dosing that.
Additionally when I attained these sickly Montis they were dying and they recovered in my tank so hoping they can pull through and color back up. I took some pictures of them at near their worst if you're interested and it would be the most remarkable recovery and compelling evidence that there might be a strong link to them and carbon.
<Do please send along>
I also wonder if they are particularly sensitive to it because the hobbyist that gave them to me may have been running carbon and they developed a sensitivity. If you have any thoughts on the situation I'd love to hear them and send another update once I have it.
<Carbon/s are a very big topic, source of issues... there isn't just a one way fits all, causes trouble with C...>
Thanks again,
<Welcome. BobF>

Angelfish egg bound?    2/21/18
I have a 500 litre aquarium running with two external canister filters a UV steriliser and an ocean free internal filter. No water quality problems, I test weekly and change a third of the water weekly. I have four angelfish
and seven comet goldfish, that have been living together for six months.
<Mmm; not really compatible. Like different water quality... hard/alkaline vs. soft/acidic; temperate vs. tropical... OVER eager eaters vs. more shy.
Different temperaments as well.>

The temperature is 24 C. My goldies spawn about once a week throughout the summer and occasionally in the winter. Two of my angels paired up and have spawned for the first time a couple of weeks ago, although they tended the eggs for about four days they didn't hatch.
<Might be two females...>
The problem I have was with my other angel. I am pretty sure she is female as the other female and her bicker, nothing vicious though.
<Shouldn't be too problematical in a system this size>
My other male looked like his breeding tube was down and has been swimming with her. Anyway she got really fat and I thought she was gravid as she has been eating well until she refused the last feed I put in the tank but she seemed fine, swimming normally not hiding, interacting with the others. I went to the other room to feed my discus
<!? You have Symphysodon too?!>
came back and she was on the bottom of the tank on her side and died within minutes, no previous signs of distress only that she looked very fat. What happened?
<Got me. Bizarre>
I was only gone for 20 minutes. Was she egg bound and ruptured or something? Or was she constipated?
<Can't tell from here>
When my fish poop, it normally breaks of straight away and doesn't hang there. I am trying to convince myself to cut her open to check but I don't think I can do it.
<Did you refrigerate the corpse? Time enough to get on down to a large library and check out a book on fish dissection. Look for the name Ed Noga>
If she was egg bound is there anything that can be done if it were to happen again to my other angel?
<More small crustacean food in their diet. Brine Shrimp, Daphnia...>
She had no outward signs of disease or injury, her belly was just very bloated. I felt her stomach and the swelling was softish not hard and I could feel some tiny hard lumps. I feed mostly frozen food, bloodworm,
<I'd delete these; see WWM re>

brine shrimp, krill and an insect based dried food.
I do feed peas once a day but I think the goldies eat most of them and the angels spit them out. Any advice greatly appreciated so that I can take immediate action if my other angels start getting swollen. All other fish are pooping normal, with no obvious signs of internal parasites. I have some Praziquantel to hand if you think I should treat with it but I don't want to medicate for no reason.
Thanks Zoe
<If you have another system, I'd separate the goldfish and angels. Bob Fenner>

Can I add another fish, and if so, what safely?    2/20/18
Hello WWM Crew,
I have an established FOWLR tank that I am wondering if I can safely add one additional fish to the mix, in your collective wise opinions, and if so what would be reasonable?
<Let's see>
I have a Marineland 300DD (6'x3'x27") that has been running for about six and half years now. I have a sand bed that is not ideal, about about 1.5 - 2 inches in depth, but at this point it would probably more trouble to take out sand that to just leave it as it is. Water parameters are nitrates ~10 ppm, no nitrites or ammonia, alkalinity 9 KH. I don't often test pH but it is generally in the 8.1 - 8.2 range (low, I know).
Centerpiece fish is a Platax orbicularis that I have had for six years.
<A neat animal>
The fish is about the size of a luncheon plate and doesn't really care about the existence of any of the other fish in the tank. I have the rockwork arranged in two islands near the opposite ends of the tank so as to leave a lot of swimming space for the bat. A Neoniphon sammara has been in the tank for more than five years but less than the bat, call it 6" in length. Sargocentron diadema (5" - 6") for about three years, then within the last year and a half has been a Pterois radiata (presently about 5" - 6"), a Zebrasoma xanthurum (about silver dollar sized), another Pterois radiata (about 3") and most recently a Siganus virgatus (about 4"). The only invertebrate is a Eucidaris tribuloides -
breaks the biome theme but my maintenance guy at the time needed to relocate it from another customer's tank which it had outgrown. That was about four years ago - the test is about the size of a squash ball, with spines out to close to softball sized.
What I want is something that is likely to be active and add some additional color and motion to the tank. The tang often sticks to the caves that I have set up on one side of the tank where the S. diadema and the S. virgatus often hang out. The N. sammara swims about and the S. virgatus does as well. Of course, the P. orbicularis is out and
about all the time and is quite the active swimmer.
Reading through this site with particular fish in mind, I find that butterflies might not adjust well with the tang already present, dwarf angels might still be too aggressive for the fish already present and something like a Coris gaimard might be a threat to the urchin, though the sand bed that I have would be good for one.
Any thoughts?
<Many... a trio of Heniochus acuminatus would be nice, or Hemitaurichthys species... as you mention Chaetodontids. There are several other possibilities... basses, triggers, puffers...>
Thank you,
David Kelman
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Can I add another fish, and if so, what safely?
Mr. Fenner,
<Mr. K>
Thank you for the quick response.
I've gotten the impression that basses aren't all that active.
<Some more than others>
Puffers and triggers I have always been told are risky at best with lions, though the Xanthichthys triggers are
supposed to be a safer bet. Do the filefishes have the same concerns, given they are closely related?
<The smaller species are pretty safe. BobF>

Re: dinoflagellates swimming    2/20/18
Thank you. The movie is basically just the Dinos swimming around. I wonder if this has come in from natural seawater?
<Easily... could be stained w/ iodine... if you'd read>
I have it an a few aquariums all of the sudden and this is the most common factor. I am wondering if I can use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect the sea water when it is delivered to me.
<... please stop writing and read what is archived on WWM>
Or, I have been told I can use chlorine and then sodium thiosulfate.
<Yes; as stated on WWM, other sources I've penned as protocols>
I would rather not do this. Or would a UV be best? or even ozone? Do you have an opinion on this?
<Almost too late. Read. B>

Snowflake Eel Swollen Snout     2/19/18
my smaller snowflake eel has a swollen snout as you can see from the picture.
<Actually I can't.>
I'm guessing it's like a swollen sinus for something. But I'm not sure. He is still eating great and water quality is pretty much perfect due to it being a macroalgae tank.
<Sounds good.>
Do you have any idea what this is?
<Swelling can be the start of an infection, but as noted above I can't see it.>
Is there a way to treat it? So far I am dosing Seachem Stressguard and vitamins in case it is some sort of infection.
<Yes, dosing vitamins to the food and providing a perfect water quality is what I would do here.>
Thank you. Jinoo Kim
<Good luck. Marco.>

Re: Water softened by potassium chloride safe?    2/19/18
Hi Bob!
<Hey Sus>
My source water from my tap (believe it or not) is basically RO with Chloramine added.
<... where is the hardness coming from?>
That is the purification process our small water treatment plant uses now.
<Wow; nice>
Previously they used another method of purification and the tap water was quite hard and alkaline, thus the RO system in kitchen and whole house water softener system. They switched to RO because our water comes from a
nearby river that is brackish. It connects to the Gulf of Mexico.
<I see>
My house water softener uses potassium chloride, not sodium.
<Much better>
So, sodium is not a concern here.
Too difficult to bypass the water softener and just use tap.
My question is about the safety of the additional or residual potassium chloride in the softened water through my tap. Would it be good or bad for soft water fish? I'm guessing my plants would enjoy it.
<I doubt you'll have a problem here. Not much ion exchange likely going on period>
Thanks again Bob!
<Welcome. BobF>

Photo usage    2/19/18
Hi Bob (or to whom it may concern):
Dr. Tim Wijgerde is publishing a new study titled "Epizoic acoelomorph flatworms inhibit growth and expansion of the soft coral Cladiella sp." that will soon appear in Advanced Aquarist. He came across a photo hosted on WWM that he would like permission to use in his paper. Let me know if it's possible for him to use the following photograph (with
accreditation to wetwebmedia.com):.
<This is my image and I do grant free use of it here.
<Make it known if you want the full size file.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Photo usage    2/19/18
Thank you Bob! I'll credit to you and WWM in the paper.
<Real good Len. Cheers, BobF>


French Angel with Fin Rot or nodule disease(?)    2/19/18
I was hoping you could offer some advice. I am treating a French angel with a nasty case of what I first thought was fin rot.
<Mmm; nah>
It has eaten away most of its streamer and there are a few other nodules on his pectoral fins (see pics). When it first appeared I tried treating the fish with a combined Kanaplex and Metroplex mix. After the 5 days I saw no improvement. I did a 20% water change and switched to Maracyn Plus. I have just completed the 3rd treatment (day 1,3 and 5). I am seeing a small improvement - not sure if it's the Maracyn or the fact that I pulled the fish out and dabbed some iodine on the infection two days ago. Should I retreat with Maracyn Plus (after another water change)? If it's a virus (Lymphocystis?)
<Appears to be so; yes>
then I don't know that an antibiotic would do any good. Should I try something else.
I hate to keep throwing drugs at it.
<No antibiotic will help here. Please read the linked files at top here:
There is a Pearlscale butterfly in the same QT tank that shows no infection (they are together because they were purchased at the same time). The Pearlscale eats well. The French eats sparingly from time to time. The goby in the background is in another QT tank.
Mike Spizzirri
<I'd physically trim off the bit here... sharp scissors. Daub with a bit of Mercurochrome, Merthiolate... with a Q-tip. Bob Fenner>

Re: dinoflagellates swimming    2/19/18
<Uh, Marc; am out in Moorea... can't download 21 meg files>
Hi, under a microscope. I scooped this from the sand along with a piece of thicker algae in the prefilter. These were abundant on the thick piece.
<The chunky bit is some sort of green, possibly brown algae... NOT Dinoflagellates. The 'scope pic does appear to be Dinoflagellate... READ  here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dinoalgcontrmar.htm
Bob Fenner>

Both extremely cropped, spiffed.

Dinoflagellates swimming     2/18/18
This is a video of one of the strangest thing I have seen. I have this aquarium with Dinos. I blacked out the aquarium for 5 days. I added H2O3
<H202? Hydrogen peroxide?>
for 5 days at 10ml per 10 gallons. After I removed the cover the aquarium looked pretty good. There wasn't much algae visible. I turned on the light and in about 1 minute the algae was everywhere. It looks like strings
swimming all over the tank.

Please look at this video I uploaded to YouTube...
<Mmm; I don't think this/these are Dinoflagellates, but... have to see under a microscope>
What do you suggest I can do to get rid of it?
<Well; fine-mechanical filtration would be my primary; with knowing what this is providing predation, depriving nutrient (through chemical filtrant use, favouring other life... in culture in a refugium, DSB...)>
Thank you,
Marc Champion
<Please send along a pic of a sample magnified 2-400 times. Bob Fenner>

Re: More Thorichthys issues     2/18/18
An update: the two affected fish haven't died yet, but no more have shown any symptoms.
<Well, that's promising.>
I treated with two doses of Levamisole. No Praziquantel or Flubendazole to be found. But a local drugstore will carry Prazi in a few days.
I also took the fish out and gave then a bath on Epsom salts, considering that could help them evacuate whatever is causing the issues.
<Not how Epsom salts work; and besides, suddenly exposing fish to changes in water chemistry and temperature isn't a good idea. Assuming you're using the 'safe' dose of Epsom salt described earlier, it'll work slowly in the aquarium, but won't have time to do anything if you're merely dipping fish for a few minutes in such a concentration. What else to say except that 'scattergun' approaches to medicating are rarely effective, and often stressful. Better to do nothing than to mis-use medications.>
Pic related its the biggest aureus affected, can you notice the white bulge coming out of its anus?
<Looks like the ovipositor to me. No more than a few mm long even on big cichlids. Angled backwards and pointed on males, thicker and rounder on females. Often visible all the time on males, but usually only visible immediately (no more than a day or two) before spawning on females.>
Fish affected display it, and right now the condition has worsened on this fellow. He is getting skinny due to not eating and the bulge is getting bigger... Like a shin, it is red around the area right now. He's not moving much, i don't think he's going to make it.
The other affected maculipinnis is still going around the tank, but hasn't eaten, but, he is evacuation ample white, stringy feces.
<Classic symptom of Hexamita, but do understand many anti-Helminthics will cause the bowel to evacuate large quantities of faeces, plus mucous, as part of the way they work.>
The bath consisted of 1 tblsp of Epson salt in a gallon of water.
<So 5 tablespoons per 5 US gallons; to remind you/readers of the correct dosage as a medication, 1 to 3 tablespoons Epsom salt per 5 US gallons/20 litres. Higher dosages, as you're doing, may be tolerated by hard water fishes, but do monitor pH and general hardness to ensure they are within the safe limits.>
Thanks again.
<You're welcome. Neale.>

Re: More Thorichthys issues But, this time, autopsy!     2/18/18
I am sorry for messaging so much (double messaging even) things just seem to be going downhill without much in my power to do...
The biggest aureus, which i showed a picture of in my earlier message, finally succumbed. I quickly scooped him out and tried to find anything i could. Surprise, he also had an eye parasite... these look like and move like worms... like, leeches... i would say they act and move like leeches, white in color with some red dots on the lower body... i have a video, if you would like to see it, i will send it to you bad quality video by the way.
<While that would be interesting, I do think
Then, i performed an autopsy on the swollen belly of the deceased. I found this.. worm, immobile, lying tangled in the organ that is also shown in the picture... warning, graphic.
<Looks like a nematode. Could be a harmless species though: a dead fish will attract them out of the aquarium environment, where they otherwise feed on decaying organic matter.>
Levamisole is ineffective to this. There is another Thorichthys showing symptoms, the one i showed you before with an eye parasite. It doesn't seem to be getting worse, but isnt getting better either, eventually starvation will set in i guess...
<Ah, do think I have mentioned this before. Flubendazole and Fenbendazole are, I believe, the 'best' anti-Helminthics drug aquarists have access to; Piperazine, Levamisole and Praziquantel are good, but by no means 100% effective. These latter are cheaper and more easily obtained though, hence their wide usage in the hobby.>
The remaining three of the Thorichthys (of a total of 10 originally....) seem to be doing completely fine. No eye parasite, no weird behavior, feeding a lot and generally acting like a cichlid.
<Which is nice.>
Main questions are: Are these parasites (eye and intestinal, which seem to be different parasites) contagious at this point?
<Impossible to say. Most 'worm' parasites have intermediate hosts such as snails or small crustaceans that they need to enter before producing the next generation of infective stages that will go after your fish. There are exceptions though, including Camallanus, which is why that genus of worm is so prevalent in fish farms and even home aquaria. Camallanus worms infect healthy fish via organic muck eaten from the substrate, so 'hoovering' the substrate will go some way to removing the baby Camallanus worms. The precautionary approach would be to keep the health fish isolated (i.e., in another tank) from the infected ones, and to ensure the healthy fish do not become exposed to water (buckets, nets, etc.) from the unhealthy fish tank. I would strip down the healthy tank as far as practical, so that it can be kept thoroughly clean.>
i made sure to remove any dead bodies rapidly from the tank.
The planted tank has a collection of characins, Kribensis, and ugh... my precious Plecos.... Is there any risk of infection?
<While many parasites are species-specific, unfortunately the worm-like parasites do tend to be generalists, or at least adaptable. Medicating all fish exposed to the infected fish is certainly wise.>
should i move the remaining affected fish?
<The ideal would be to remove all infected fish to a clean hospital tank; medicate as effectively as possible (i.e., Praziquantel if that's what you have, but Fenbendazole or flubendazole if possible). Leave the healthy fish where they are, but clean the tank as far as practical (to get rid of any parasites in the gravel, etc.) and generally give the tank a good tidy up to ensure excellent water quality, stable water chemistry, and maximum oxygen levels.>
should i also remove the Thorichthys that are healthy? any...measurements?.... im really scared right now.
<Understood. I think you've been unlucky here, but cichlids do travel badly, and there is a problem in the hobby with cichlids picking up various parasites (such as Hexamita and Camallanus) on fish farms, wholesalers, and at retailers. Quarantining expensive cichlids is certainly recommended, and prophylactic treatment for Hexamita, and possibly Camallanus, can make a lot of sense. Good luck, Neale.>

Water softened by potassium chloride safe?     2/18/18
Hi guys!
Is water that has been softened by a water softener system that uses potassium chloride safe for a light to moderately planted freshwater tank?
<Mmm; depends; mostly on how "softened" the water has been, with the exchange, addition of sodium here. What is the make up (GH, KH) of your source/tap water?>
Presently I've been using water from my RO system and remineralizing with SeaChem Equilibrium to bring the gH up to around 7 degrees and buffer it to pH of 6.6. I have Columbian tetras and other softer water fish. It's a
rather tedious process making up water for water changes using my kitchen's RO system which is painfully slow. I have heard conflicting information on safety of using water softened with potassium chloride and was curious
what your thoughts were on the topic. It would make collecting water for water changes so much faster since I could take it from the tap but I'm all about keeping my fish healthy.
<You can either get/use a sodium test kit, have someone else test for... or do the bio-assay bit of just trying/using the softened water. Bob Fenner>

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