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FAQs on Dips/Baths 1

Related Articles: Dips/Baths, Methylene Blue, Formalin/Formaldehyde, Quarantine, Tank Troubleshooting, Toxic Tank Conditions, Environmental Disease (incl. Lymphocystis), Nutritional Disease, Infectious Diseases, Parasitic Diseases, Wound Management (/aquarists), A Livestock Treatment System

Related FAQs: Dips/Baths 2, Dips/Baths 3, & FAQs on Dip/Bath: Rationale/Use, Methods, Tools, Adjusting pH, Additives, Iodine/ide/ate, Lugol's Use, Methylene Blue, Formalin/Formaldehyde, Dangers Will Robinson, Products, & Best Quarantine FAQs, Quarantine Acclimation 1, Acclimating Invertebrates, Acclimation of Livestock in the Business

Paravortex, the causative organism of "Yellow Tang Black-Spot Disease. Easily thwarted with simple dips/baths. Here H&E stained, mounted, magnified.

Annularis in Quarantine Hey Bob. I have been using the site now for a while and it's great. I've been recently searching the FAQ's for my angel but had no luck. I have an Annularis Angel in QT treating with formalin and malachite green for about two weeks now. My nitrites are about .25 and sometimes .50. My angel was doing VERY WELL and all of the sudden appeared these really small white spots all over his body, I mean he's covered in them. There are millions of them sprinkled on his body. This has happened before and then just gone away with the medicine so I thought it was ich or something. <Me too> But, they really don't look like ich or velvet, I've never seen this before. He broke out in these and rapid breathing in less than a 24 hour period. Could this be the formalin or mal green doing this to him?  <Yes> Or is this some kind of disease?  <Not likely... all external parasites should be gone with the first exposure to the formalin... Am given to suggest that you do a pH adjusted freshwater dip and move this fish into the main/display tank... this is what I would do> I need to find out how to treat it and what this is from. This angel went from eating like a pig yesterday and swimming all over the tank and this morning I wake up and he's covered and floating in the middle of the tank not really swimming much. If someone could respond quick because he's on his way out, I'm running out of time........THANK YOU!!! Jesse <Got to ask: Do you have a microscope, some simple gear for doing a skin smear... look/see? This is also what I would do... look into a cheapy QX3... this is what I have... it works fine... I would move this fish. Bob Fenner> 

Formalin, Malachite, Annularis Follow-up Bob, YOU'RE A LIFESAVER!!! I actually already started to acclimate him to my display tank because that was my first intuition. My gut feeling was that it was the water and/or meds bothering him. Glad that worked out well, lol. I thought that it takes a while for any medicine to kill parasites... <Mmm, depends on what types... Formalin kills most all on contact... all external> ...and that was the reason for a minimum 2 week to a month QT period (to make sure no new cysts hatch and more parasites break out)? <If the live stages were present on the fish... they'd be killed... if the fish was new, where would the encysted, other life stages come from?> Would the formalin and mal green kill Oodinium and Brooklynellosis and could it be a possibility that he has either of those? <Would kill them, unlikely it's Brooklynellosis, possibly Amyloodinium, but not at this stage...> I'm only asking because at the end of the email you mentioned a microscope. Are you concerned that there really could be a possibility that this could be a parasite (ich/velvet) and not the medicines? <Am always concerned... the only way I handle toxic chemicals, expose them to livestock is to be sure of their efficacy. Bob Fenner> 

Sterilization & Freshwater Dips Bob, <Steven Pro in this evening.> I have a few more questions on sterilizations and dips: 1) How much sodium thiosulfate is needed to neutralize bleach that is in a tap water solution ( 1 cup of bleach ( the bleach is a 6% sodium hypochlorite solution - 'Ultra Clorox regular bleach') per gallon of tapwater). (I would like to use the bleach to 'sterilize' quarantine tanks after they've been used.) <First drain out the bleach and water solution. Then add tapwater and four times the recommended amount of De-Chlor should do it.> 2) Can a fresh water dip be made less 'shocking' to the fish by making it slightly saline (say 1.008 SG?) while still retaining the beneficial parasite killing effect of the dip? <Not really. Freshwater dips are not that shocking if performed properly. They are just shocking to the owners.> If so, what is the highest SG that can be used - and how long should the dip be? Are there other things that can be done to the FW dip to make it less shocking to the fish while retaining its beneficial qualities (other than adjusting ph and temp)? <For the above questions, see the previous answer.> Do you know of any aquaculture research into the effective kill rate of varying SG's/durations against the common saltwater fish disease/pathogens? <I have several excellent works on marine fish diseases, but they have conflicting times listed. Andrews, Dr. Chris, Adrian Exell, and Dr. Neville Carrington. 1988. The Manual of Fish Health. Blacksburg, VA: Tetra Press. Bassleer, Gerald. 1996. Diseases in Marine Aquarium Fish: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment. Westmeerbeek, Belgium: Bassleer Biofish. Gratzek, Dr. John B., Dr. Richard E. Wolke, Dr. Emmett B. Shotts Jr., Dr. Donald Dawe, and George C. Blasiola. 1992. Aquariology: Fish Diseases & Water Chemistry. Blacksburg, VA: Tetra Press. Untergasser, Dieter. 1989. Handbook of Fish Diseases. Neptune, NJ: TFH Publications. The above are all good books.> 3) When receiving fish from a mail-order company that does NOT use an ammonia neutralizer in its shipping water, should a person add some to the shipping water immediately after opening the bag, or would this be harder on the fish than NOT adding ammonia neutralizer. (I'm using an ammonia neutralizer that does NOT affect the pH). I'm assuming that opening the bag raises the PH in the water, making any ammonia in it much more toxic. <Read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm> 4) same question as #3, except in this case, its for invertebrates. <Same as above with this added reading http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm> 5) where can I find a definitive list of maximum recommended FW dip durations for the general species of marine fish sold in the trade? <I do not know of one source complying them all.> (I know some species can't tolerate a 10 minute dip, but other than a few warnings in your FAQs on specific species, I've never seen a definitive list). <No set number will or could be your guide. You must observe the fish closely to signs of problems regardless of species.> 6) Lastly, when receiving mail order fish, is it beneficial to fish get the fish to recover from the shipping process prior to doing the Fw dip (i.e., temp acclimate them, then slowly adjust their PH/salinity to their quarantine parameters over 30 minutes, and then put them in the quarantine tank for several days to allow them to stabilize before giving them a FW dip. Then put them in the FW dip and move them to a new quarantine tank)? <Put them in the quarantine tank first then dip upon transfer.> If so, how many days should the fish be given before giving them the FW dip. (This 'recovery period' seems reasonable to me, but I've never seen anyone mention it). <Standard to wait at least two weeks before moving the fish with four being better. You can dip as part of a treatment program the next day.> I realize I'm hitting you with a lot of questions on dips, but I'm trying to come up with the best acclimation/receiving process possible. Thanks! <One final thought. Any fish that does not make it through a FW dip was probably not going to make it anyhow. -Steven Pro>

Dips help bob, I've read your article on fresh water dips and maybe I'm such a novice because it seemed way over my head. <Mmm, as you are obviously a reader/writer of English, and intelligent, this is a failing on my part. The work/s are intended for general audiences of a wide reading and understanding level. Let's see where the lack is> I have a 30 gallon tank with a small gold stripe Maroon clown and small coral beauty. <Yikes... this system is a bit small for these fishes... the Maroon may prove too much for the Dwarf Angel here> I also had a royal Gramma for about 6 months that died last week, kind of out of the blue, and about a week after I added the angel and two hermits. Upon review of the Gramma before burial I could not see any physical oddities. <Okay> could the angel or crabs have brought an unwanted present? <Possibly. Perhaps just "stress" proved too much... too much disparate, negatively interacting life in too small a space> also, two weeks before his demise I raised the ph via buffer from 8.0 to 8.3 following the directions on the product. salinity was about 1018 - 1019 temp around 75 <Mmm, I would raise your spg to more like natural seawater (1.025) over time> subsequently I added 15lbs of live rock a couple attached a protein skimmer, and done 2 -15% water changes <The skimmer and live rock will help, definitely> now the clown is acting weird, not really eating the last two days or as perky as in the past. he was the first fish and had him since September. Though there are no white spots anywhere, I think I notice some "velvety" substance on his body - but I could be hallucinating too. Hence, I thought just for prevention I would investigate dipping the clown. I have no quarantine tank and never dipped a fish before. <I see> if I read your procedure correctly, can I simply put the clown in a bucket of fresh dechlorinated tap water at or slightly above the tank temp for a couple minutes. with careful observation? how can I make sure the ph is the same? <Use baking soda to elevate the pH, make the dip/bath longer, several minutes if possible> I was contemplating copper, but after reading your materials, understand it kill the rock is just purchased. thanks for anything. <Let's keep discussing your situation, studying until you are comfortable with your course of actions. Bob Fenner>

Re: dips help thanks for responding so soon, > <Yikes... this system is a bit small for these fishes... the Maroon may prove too much for the Dwarf Angel here> though he did nose the angel around a bit at the beginning the clown is really quite little and docile. also I've tried to create enuf hiding places and swim throughs for the angel. > <Mmm, I would raise your spg to more like natural seawater (1.025) over > time> I've never had the salinity that high, I was worried it was even too high. <Let's keep discussing your situation, studying until you are comfortable with your course of actions. Bob Fenner> Do you see any problem with waiting a couple days to see if anything changes, or should I just try a dip. (don't worry no liability to you). <A good idea. Best to be patient> Maybe he's just bored with the food - flakes and angel veggie formula cubes. In the meantime I'll try to bring up the salinity a bit. I also have an external charcoal filter and airstone going all the time. I could add a power head if you think that would help. <And do read here re others experiences with vitamins and other nutritive supplements: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrdisf.htm Bob Fenner>

Update: Dips Help have now done 2, 20% water changes, as water tests revealed slightly elevated ammonia. last night the little guy looked better a little more active and had some dinner, this morning he ate again but did reveal some white spots on his body. (2d change). local pet shop who did the water tests suggested 2 hour bath for clown and tang with mix of quick cure and Furacyn. my reading of your comments including clown articles is that you dislike chemicals. what do you think ? stay with water changes? salinity 1018 temp 78 <Worth trying, doing both. Bob Fenner>

Dipping New Arrivals Good morning, I have a fish and some Macroalgae arriving this morning from FFE and I have a couple of quick questions. Should I FW dip the fish upon arrival or just put him in the QT right away since he's been stressed and traveling all night? <Quarantine> Also, is it possible to FW dip Macroalgae for a few minutes? <Not sure if it can be done, but I wouldn't. Little to no threat of pathogens.> Will FW harm the algae or is it better to just swish it a little in saltwater? <I would do neither. Just acclimate and then place Caulerpa into your system while discarding the bag water.> Thank you, Chip <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Wow, dips over copper huh ?  <categorically more effective over a wider range... copper is really best for Crypt... not a whole lot else. The problem with the other/deeper parasites/protozoans is that they bury so deep into the flesh that you will poison the fish with copper before the copper penetrates deep enough to kill the pathogen. Osmosis from FW however can penetrate far deeper and more safely in the big picture> Not sure I'm willing to remove the copper at times over dipping.  <experience is a great teacher... try and you'll believe too> I know FW is effective against gill flukes and crypto, but does it have any effect against Amyloodinium/velvet or Brooklynella. I was under the impression that one required copper and the other formalin. <I'll agree that Brooklynella will "require" formalin as part of the treatment (with FW dips, meds, etc)> 0.4 would normally be quite bad for copper sulfate, but with Cupramine, you really need at least 0.25-0.3.0 minimum for any effectiveness against crypto as its a bit weaker that a copper citrate/sulfate, but it appears to be better taken by more species than other copper solutions.  <there is just so much debate on this topic> They actually recommend 0.5, but I usually have good luck with it at 0.4. Ed <For what its worth, bud... I'm basing my advice not only on a decade of handling sick and stressed (shipped) animals commercially... but early on I took an intensive Fish Pathology course under Gratzek and Blasiola (two of the worlds leading authorities on piscine pathology). My/their recommendations are certainly not written in stone... but they are very well founded on handling many thousands of fishes over many accumulated decades between us. Best regards, Anthony>

Puffer problems Thanks so much, Anthony! How long should I leave my puffer in the Formalin dip?  <simply for the duration of your normal FW dip... 10-15 minutes is long but recommended in this case (I agree with your decision)> Also, can you tell me why Bob's book recommends copper for puffers? <indeed... as aquarists we all have different perspectives and often a recommendation must be made at times on a case by case basis. I would agree that puffers are VERY hardy among scaleless fishes and for a common white spot infection (Crypt) copper may be short and sweet and tolerable. However, since you have not mentioned clear white spots and have informed us that you are seeing blotches and resistance to long FW baths... that tells me that the possible parasite is deep enough in the flesh (to resist FW alone) that to get enough copper in the system to kill the fish might very well kill the puffer first.> Karen <Ultimately, my best advice dear is to put the puffer in a bare bottomed QT tank for 4 weeks with more FW dips and short and long Formalin baths. Best regards, Anthony>

FW Dips, Getting around WWM Hello, I have read all over the site (and will continue to search for the information late into the night) and still could not find out exactly how to go about performing a fresh water dip. My trigger is displaying signs of ich (scratching, darting, and a few white spots above his eye). I have had my QT tank (40 gallon) set up for a couple of days and all of the levels are about the same as in my main tank. Is the dip just fresh water at the same temp as the QT tank? Do I need to do anything else to the fresh water? How long should he remain in the dip? I will continue searching the site. Thanks again! <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm And do try out the Google search tool (on each "Index" and at the bottom of the Homepage: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ with key terms like "Dip", "Bath", "Freshwater Dips"... or any idea, item you're interested in. Bob Fenner> Jeff

Re: Questions on dips Bob, I'm confused. In the attached note, you indicated that all of the following types of fish are NOT tolerant of Methylene blue? If so, then why do you recommend it as an additive to a freshwater dip when receiving fish? <Mmm, you're not confused... I was! Did re-read the message below... and one of those occasions when you could swear you read the exact opposite... These and most all fishes, even non-fishes are extremely Methylene blue tolerant... This material has been used in place of blood in (human) babies where real blood is contraindicated...> 3) Which of the above (Banggai Cardinals, Firefish gobies, Mandarin Dragonet, dwarf angels, tangs?) are not tolerant of Methylene blue? <All> Thanks again! <Sorry for the confusion... Need to go back over questions, responses... before sending out. Bob Fenner> 3) Which of the above are not <<probably thought this word was not here?>> tolerant of Methylene blue? <All><<As in ALL are tolerant, sheesh>>

Re: Questions on dips Bob, Thanks for the reply - you are unbelievably responsive! However, now that I'm clear on the fact that methyl-blue is fairly benign, I have another question. I have been having problems with freshwater dips - the fish do VERY well during the dip, but the problem is AFTER the dip when I return them to the salt water quarantine tank (I've been using methyl-blue with the FW dip). When I return the fish to the SW q-tank, they show signs of oxygen-starvation (panting - sink to bottom, fall to side, etc). I've also had some fish appear to show small lesions on their body within a day of the dip - about the size of a pinhead - as if the flesh beneath the scale had 'popped'. The FW I use is RO/DI water, and the SW comes from my existing reef tanks. I've documented my receiving protocol below - could you take a look at give me suggestions on why I'm having prob.s with step#5? Thanks! PROTOCOL: I use baking soda and a ph pen and seem to have success with freshwater dips, but have problems AFTER the dip. Here's my protocol: 1) Set up quarantine tank (has water from main display tank): temp-77F, PH-8.0-8.2, Alk 9.8, 2) set up freshwater dip: temp 77F, PH 8.0, airstone in 1 gal dip tank runs for 2 hours to oxygenate and continues to run in corner of dip while fish are treated. I use Methyl-blue (a 5% mix. I add several drops to the 1 gal dip container until the solution is deep blue). 3) When I get the fish, I do the following before dipping: A) - float bag in container of salt water (not same container as dip or q-tank) for 15 min.s to adjust temp to 77F. B) open bag and pour contents into a hard plastic container. C) I add salt water (ph=8.0-8.2, alk=9.8, temp=77F) to the plastic container with shipping water gradually, over 30 min.s, until I've tripled the original shipping volume (this is an attempt to slowly adjust the shipping water's PH to 2/3 of the way to PH of 8.0. <I take it these are "local" purchases... some longer time/hauls might call for not mixing the shipping water... due to nitrogenous wastes concentration, lowered pH in this water... and consequent burns with adding the new to it> 4) I begin the dip: I use a small plastic container to scoop the fish out of the container in step#3 instead of a net (minimize stress) and attempt to drain most of the water from container used to scoop the fish before adding the fish to the dip mix. The fish seem to tolerate the dip well - they may exhibit some rapid movement initially, but continue to swim around throughout the dip - no jumping. I run the dip for up to 20 min.s (to eliminate Brooklynella, which I've heard requires a 15 min dip). 5) I move the fish from the dip to the quarantine tank. Here's where the problem begins: The fish sink to bottom, with rapid gill movement, but lethargic fish activity. I had a cinnamon clown that died 1 day later (never recovered from the lethargy) and it had several pinhead sized sores on its body (looked like the flesh had 'popped' under the scales). There were NO sores on the fins. Another angel (keyhole), died within 1 hour of being placed in the q-tank (no visible sores, but it had rapid gill movement/lethargy). Another Lemonpeel angel died within 4 days - after it recovered from its lethargy, it appeared to have problems with its swim bladder - it always pointed almost straight up toward the surface. It also have very rapid gill movement. <Mmm, strange... all of your protocol, procedure looks very sharp... I might well lower the spg in your quarantine system initially (to the upper "teens"... add extra aeration there, limit light intensity, and possibly add a hexose simple sugar (about a teaspoon per five gallons)... the last an old-timer, now "Vital" treatment. Otherwise, I'd be looking for better suppliers of your livestock. Bob Fenner>

Questions on dips Bob/Crew, I have a few questions for you on dips for new livestock: 1) How long should one dip (freshwater, ph & temp adjusted) the following fish before putting them into quarantine: Banggai Cardinals, Firefish gobies, Mandarin Dragonet, dwarf angels, tangs? Is 10 minutes too long if they aren't showing signs of stress? If not, could I risk a 15 min dip? (I'd really like to stretch it out past 15 min.s if this isn't too risky to eliminate as many parasites as possible). <10-15 minutes with aeration of the dip/bath material for these species should be fine. The real "bottom line" for any given specimen is actual observation on your part... you will be able to tell if the animal is overly stressed> 2) I've read a book on marine fish medications/disease where they recommend giving fish a 5-10 freshwater dip daily, for 2-5 days. Is this a good thing to do - better than a single dip?  <Most circumstances, specimens, fewer, longer dips for whatever reasons are best... it is more stressful and damaging to keep netting, manipulating livestock> If so, would you return them to a new quarantine tank after each dip (rather than returning them to the q-tank that they came from for fear of reinfection)? <Depends on the reason for dipping. In practical terms, they generally must be placed to the "just removed from" quarantine set-up... For folks with more than one such rig, a freshly made-up setting can be used, with the old one dumped, bleached between uses.> 3) Which of the above are not tolerant of Methylene blue?  <All> On a prior email, you indicated that dwarf angels can't tolerate methyl blue and suggested that I research other species for methyl blue tolerance.  <Mmm, not me> Where can I find a systematic list of recommended freshwater dip durations per species, and info regarding medication toxicity on a per species basis? <Cursory reading of Nelson Herwig, Fish Diseases... Edward Noga's work is worthwhile as well...> I've search several websites and have not found anything (or found conflicting statements). I haven't had much luck with finding good definitive/detailed info in published books either. I've even gone to the websites of medication manufacturers w/o much luck. <The names mentioned above are not easily found... perhaps a college library, book finding service, or large public aquarium with a book buyer...> Thanks. Sorry for questions who's answers are probably obvious to most, but these details drive me nuts and your website answers seem to be the most trustworthy. <Thank you... The Net will become something more, better with time... Bob Fenner>

Re: ich freaking me out hello again.<Anthony Calfo back in the seahorse saddle of WWM> can I use Betadine in a dip? or is it toxic. <can be toxic is abused like most meds, but in this case it would only be effective (or mostly so) in treating/preventing secondary infections from the wounds caused by the parasites... not the little suckers themselves> also...what is the best value skimmer for a 100 gal fish/invert tank, hate air stones. have 200 bucks... brand and model please. <Aqua C or Turboflotor easily would fit your budget. Do look hard at the EuroReef and see it you want to make the stretch. Even easier and more consistent skimming IMO. Model will depend on your preference and space limitations> you guys are fantastic. even if my fish are croaking like crazy. 7percula left of 11, 1 red fire clown of 10 <alas.. another hard lesson chalked up to import without a strict 4 week quarantine> all my inverts alive and well in my Pseudo rescue 10 gal. all 40 of them. man is that tank packed. I have 2 Fluval 402 and a backpack skimmer, 2 hanging filters and 2 heaters. also the whole 4 foot pc light fixture right on top. my carpet never looked so good. same with the purple tentacle. <good news indeed> tight quarters. 4 gal water change every other day. <yes... please keep up with the daily wc's... necessary> save the clowns.\ I finally set up 2 quarantine tanks in the basement, caught all fish like you guys taught me. so easy...5 min after emptying tank to one inch. <yes!!! the best and only way... low stress to you and the fish... and really doesn't take long to drain and refill with a large bore siphon and a pump/powerhead> my Rubbermaid leaked while doing so, the cleanup took 4 hours.  <Ughhhhh!> carpet smells now. not anemone, family room. <hehe...> now my copper/formaldehyde erythromycin tank (75gal) is sans fish. I wonder if my bioballs died. <not touching that comment... er, well... OK. Yes, I think some of the biological activity died (Erythromycin is hostile to nitrifiers). And the longer you go without fish the more the filter dies back... but all will be recovered in time.> now what. <2-4 weeks of disease free looking fish before their return to the main display. Move over the seeded (dirty) filters from the QT when you do... watch water quality very closely in the display for some weeks after and do water changes as necessary... then sit back with a shot and a beer and enjoy the tank <smile>. Best regards, Anthony>

Too late for a FW dip? Hi there, <Hello> I recently sent an email about a Rusty Dwarf angel that wouldn't eat. I took him back to the LFS until my ammonia level came down (which I think shot up because I added LR and LS on the same day I added the Rusty). I did pick up a CPR BakPak II skimmer at the same time. (according to this site - a must have!). He wasn't eating and I was afraid of ammonia poisoning since my level shot up to 1.0. Did water changes everyday. Well, I got him back when everything was normal. The LFS said that he was eating live brine. I picked that up too but I have yet to see him eat. His swimming is normal and he comes out a lot to look at me (very friendly little guy). But I notice that his mouth is swollen, as if he can't close it. This is what I am suspecting is the reason he is not eating (perhaps it would hurt him).  <Good observations> Anyway, I do not have a QT as this is my first attempt. I have a 20 gallon tank.  <Small for this species> I have been reading about FW dips and was wondering if this could help him. I have a cleaner shrimp that he does go to, but the cleaner shrimp always seems interested in checking his gills. Anytime the cleaner shrimp goes to his mouth, he jumps away. This is my first fish, and as I said, such a friendly little guy. Can I do a FW dip at this point - will it help?  <Not in my opinion. I would leave this specimen to the care of the Cleaner Shrimp, self-cure. Do keep offering a mix of foods... perhaps with vitamin, HUFA supplementation/soaking> If the answer is yes, please clarify one thing for me - is FW actual freshwater or diluted saltwater? <No... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm and the FAQs, linked files beyond> Also, what are the steps ( I'm looking for a 1. 2. 3. which I really can't seem to find on this site).  <There are such approaches detailed here and there... on the area cited> Again, thanks for all the help. And I promise that as soon as I know what I'm doing, a QT will definitely be part of my program. <Real good> My deep gratitude. Debra <You are welcome my friend. Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: ich Hi again as I was fresh water dipping my Sweetlips I decided to inspect him it looks like the ick is gone except for one part on his fin he has these little tiny sacks look a little like blisters but they were hard I was unable to scrape it off is that another stage of ick or something else.  <not another stage... be prepared with broad spectrum antibiotics to prevent secondary infection> Should I keep up with the same treatment the powder blue is showing no signs off ick or anything. <my apologies... so many e-mails, not sure where the powder blue is at this point. If in QT and the water is medicated, then I would say it would be fine to pause on the FW dips for him as long as you see stabilization or improvement. Continue to do water changes from the bottom of the bare bottom QT to control parasite cysts. Anthony>

Sterilizing tanks/tools Bob and associates, <Anthony Calfo in your service> How do I effectively sterilize quarantine tanks, nets, etc?  <many ways> My goal is to perform steps that would effectively eliminate all disease causing sources: bacteria, virus's, protozoa, parasites, etc. My specific questions are below - I'm assuming bleach is the way to go, but if you have another suggestion(s), please let me know: 1) Can I use common bleach - for example, Clorox Bleach for laundry? If so, are scented bleaches to be avoided? If swimming pool chlorine can be used, can you indicate the specific type of pool chlorine? <yes if pure bleach, colorless, without fragrance, etc> 2) What is the proper dose of bleach and how long do the items need to be in contact with it? <no hard rule.. one cup in five gallons of water for 2 hours surefire> 3) How do I ensure that all bleach is removed after sterilizing the items? (Soak in tap water for ?? hrs, then soak in tap water using chlorine neutralizer for ?? hrs?) <nope...simple rinse and then application of sodium thiosulfate (dirt cheap) available as simple bulk "Dechlor". After just a couple of hours you will not smell any chlorine. Really... aeration in water or air drying is enough to dissipate chlorine very easy> 4) How are fluidized bed filters/powerheads sterilized? Just run them in the same bleach solution used for tanks/nets for the same amount of time, and then run them in chlorine neutralizer for the same amount of time? <ehhh... I prefer to use an unstable medication/chemical for this like potassium permanganate or an overdose of Formalin. A good rinse and then some carbon and call it a day> Also, I had a few other questions: 1) Do the German bulbs last longer than the Panasonic bulbs? I had heard that German bulbs last up to 3 years (with correct photosynthetic spectrum) vs. 1 year for Panasonic - is this true? <do check the work of Sanjay Joshi on the Web. Iwasaki and Aqualine Buschke can indeed run toward three years. perhaps a little longer. They have amazing performance> 2) Are German 'actinic' bulbs a true actinic, vs. the 7100K blue Panasonic bulbs? I had heard that German 'actinic' bulbs were almost comparable to URI 'actinic' fluorescents. <no experience/knowledge here> 3) I've read that ozone can convert ammonia/nitrite to nitrate (beneficial), but that you also have the risk of the ozone turning 'nitrate' back to the toxic ammonia. Is this true? If so, does monitoring the tank with an ORP controller and keeping ORP below 350 eliminate this nitrate->ammonia risk?  <not a practical risk at all... relax, my friend. 350=425 mv would be a fine range of Redox> If not, how does one deal with this risk? <the risk is moot> Thanks! <best regards, Anthony>

Sterilizing Tanks/Tools II Bob, <Your previous reply was really from Anthony. Tonight, you get the opinion of Steven Pro.> Sorry for coming back to you on this, but I'm still not certain on one point: <No problem, will try to clarify.> 3) How do I ensure that all bleach is removed after sterilizing the items? (Soak in tap water for ?? hrs, then soak in tap water using chlorine neutralizer for ?? hrs?) <nope...simple rinse and then application of sodium thiosulfate (dirt cheap) available as simple bulk "Dechlor". After just a couple of hours you will not smell any chlorine. Really... aeration in water or air drying is enough to dissipate chlorine. very easy> Does this mean that after using bleach for sterilizing items, I can neutralize the remaining bleach (chlorine) by doing one of the following: use sodium thiosulfate (for a few hrs). or put items in tap water and allow to aerate (for a day?) or just air dry for a day. Will any of these 3 approaches work, or do they have to be done in combination. <Any of the three procedures.> Thanks - sorry for beating the question to death. <Do not worry about it. If you had questions, perhaps others that read the Q&A on the daily page had them too. -Steven Pro>

Ich Its me again I know I am being a real pain but I am very attached to my fish. I performed my first ever fresh water dip first I dipped the powder blue for 2 minutes and that went good then I dipped my Sweetlips about a minute 20 seconds into it he went belly up and I panicked and quickly removed him from the fresh water dip and back into the QT tank is that normal. <it has been demonstrated that FW dips less than 3 minutes are nearly ineffective for most targeted pathogens. And a good rule is that a fish that cannot make it through a properly conducted five minute dip is not likely to survive any other treatment either (numbered days). SW fish are not necessarily going to act normal in FW... they are stressed indeed. Some will swim casually and even eat food if offered (not recommended ever!). Most act sluggish and a bit stunned and may even lay down on the bottom of the dip bucket (quite normal and OK). Severe reactions are generally attempts to leap out of the water or spit streams of water up out of the bucket... this is a case for removal. If your Sweetlips simply sunk like a rock... sounds normal to me. Pulling both fish under three minutes honestly did more harm than good. I wish we could go into very specific detail for everybody, but time just doesn't allow it on subjects like this that have been written at great length here on WWM (articles, FAQ's and or Forum) and elsewhere on the net... not to mention many books too. We do appreciate you caring enough about your fish to ask questions and especially of us. At this point, you really need to do the research, my friend, and make an informed decision based on an intelligent consensus and commit to it. I personally dip for 5 minutes minimum. Some large scaled and hardy fishes can actually take quite a bit more. Best regards>

Is a dip still worth it if I have a UV Sterilizer? <Yes, a properly conducted freshwater dip is a highly effective means at parasite treatment. UV's are notorious for not being maintained and installed properly; too small of a unit, too fast of a flow rate through it, water not prefiltered sufficiently, lamps not replaced often enough, quartz sleeve not cleaned routinely, etc. Even better than both is a quarantine tank, though. -Steven Pro>

What to Try Next? (After a freshwater dip) <<JasonC here standing in for Bob who is away diving.>> We had to freshwater dip two fish yesterday. And we got these little black featherduster things off of them. We have no idea what they were, but 4 came off my true Percula and 3 or 4 came off my baby tang. Now those two won't eat. Probably scared from being dipped. <<let us hope so - did you pH adjust the fresh water to match the tank? Have dipped many a fish but have never encountered/experienced what you describe, the feather-duster critter - you're going to make me have to hit the books.>> My big blue tang is eating, but he has these small thin black lines all over him. Could that be from the shrimps cleaner him( they clean him all day) <<that is a possibility - if he is being cleaned by the shrimp, that is a good thing>> He also had pop eye in both eyes last week. One eye is now normal and the other is no longer swollen, but still a bit cloudy. Could he go blind in that eye? <<there is always that possibility, but if things are calm in the tank, odds are it will heal up just fine.>> We are currently using Kick ich to try to kill the free swimming parasites and rally to prevent any secondary infections, as well as prevent them from getting Velvet as three fish died earlier this week from Oodinium (they were very dusty). if these meds are working when should we see some results? <<it sounds like you have already seen some results/side-effects.>> Should we FW dip them again? <<probably not right away - these things take time, should probably sit back for a bit and observe.>> Can you run a UV sterilizer while medicating? <<You "can" run a UV, but "should" you? UV seems like one of those gadgets that would really help, but is probably best suited to situations where other more natural mechanisms aren't appropriate - fish stores, tanks that are hostile to cleaner shrimp and neon gobies [yours truly, although I am trying to lose it], or perhaps a quarantine system. You should read up on Bob's thoughts on UV: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphysf.htm >> Our salinity is 1.019-.018 and temp is about 82. All water tests were done and is optimal. What else can we do if anything NO Hosp. tank, had VERY bad results with them) <<how so? sounds like you are having bad results without them too... perhaps need to slow down a bit, stop adding things so quickly when it looks like the last thing isn't working.>> And when should they be getting better if what we are doing IS working? <<if any of the fish are going to get better, it will likely take some time - a week or two, perhaps more. The fact that you've got cleaner shrimp in there doing its thing is helpful... You should probably also stop the kick-ick. The best way to treat your tank - no chemicals need be applied - cleaner shrimp are happy to work for you and their tank mates.>>  Thanks again, <<Cheers, J -- >>

Freshwater Dips - Problems Bob, Need your help diagnosing what I am doing wrong with my freshwater dip protocol for new fish. In the past, I was using a 'pH right 8.2' type product to adjust the pH but had problems - the fish went nuts (airborne, erratic movements for first 15-30 sec.s, with the fish then falling to the bottom in a motionless state - at which point I would take them out). I started using a pH pen (instead of litmus paper tests)  <"litmus" means "garbage" in certain native Indian tongues...hehe> to check the ph and found that I was overshooting the ph with the 8.2 product (I was getting a ph of 9 - 10, which I suspect caused the problem). <Doh!!!! That will do it, yes> Anyway, now I use baking soda and a pH pen and seem to have success with freshwater dips, but have problems AFTER the dip. Here's my protocol: 1) Set up quarantine tank (has water from main display tank) temp-77F, PH-8.0-8.2, Alk 9.8, <OK... although a bit low for future reference on pH and ALK (target 12dKH and 8.3 night to 8.6 day)> 2) set up freshwater dip: temp 77F, PH 8.0, airstone in 1 gal dip tank runs for 2 hours to oxygenate and continues to run in corner of dip while fish are treated.  <excellent> I use Methyl-blue (a 5% mix. I add several drops to the 1 gal dip container until the solution is deep blue). <fine for most fishes, but do be careful with scale-less and sensitive species... organic dyes are very toxic to some> 3) When I get the fish, I do the following before dipping: A) - float bag in container of salt water (not same container as dip or q-tank) for 15 min.s to adjust temp to 77F. <very wise... outside of bag may have contaminants from where it has sat> B) open bag and pour contents into a hard plastic container. C) I add salt water (ph=8.0-8.2, alk=9.8, temp=77F) to the plastic container with shipping water gradually, over 30 min.s, until I've tripled the original shipping volume (this is an attempt to slowly adjust the shipping water's PH to 2/3 of the way to PH of 8.0. <excellent... and you can shorten this for nervous fishes toward 15 minutes> 4) I begin the dip: I use a small plastic container to scoop the fish out of the container in step#3 instead of a net (minimize stress)  <agreed> and attempt to drain most of the water from container used to scoop the fish before adding the fish to the dip mix. The fish seem to tolerate the dip well -  <as they should... very good protocol thus far> they may exhibit some rapid movement initially, but continue to swim around throughout the dip - no jumping.  <agreed...even lethargy is acceptable and common (lying down even on their side "resting" is normal and OK for most> I run the dip for up to 20 min.s (to eliminate Brooklynella, which I've heard requires a 15 min dip). <to many peoples surprise I agree with you... Dips less than 3 minutes are a waste of time. Most all fish need a minimum of 5 minutes. I run 5 to 10 minutes. Although going to 15 or even 20 requires close observation and is not recommended with more than a few species (high hats, jacknives, some wrasses, etc)> 5) I move the fish from the dip to the quarantine tank. Here's where the problem begins: The fish sink to bottom, with rapid gill movement, but lethargic fish activity. I had a cinnamon clown that died 1 day later (never recovered from the lethargy) and it had several pinhead sized sores on its body (looked like the flesh had 'popped' under the scales). There were NO sores on the fins. Another angel (keyhole), died within 1 hour of being placed in the q-tank (no visible sores, but it had rapid gill movement/lethargy). <for starters, Brooklynella is seasonal and uncommon (commonly seen in clowns and Hawaiian species). I think your dip may be longer than needed for most if you do not suspect a virulent pathogen. 5-7 minutes is fine for most pathogens> What am I doing wrong in step 5? I suspect the fish might become acclimated to the Methyl-blue in the dip, and then suffer oxy starvation when they go to the saltwater q-tank (no Methyl-b).  <the angel is very sensitive to the organic dye. No dyes or copper for dwarf angels, scaleless fish and more> Or, I might have too rapidly moved then from freshwater to saltwater and caused a reverse shock (fluid rapid goes out of their body - explaining the pinhead sores in step 5, and possibly damaging gills). <a brackish acclimation might be nice but is not routine or necessary for most... I think this has mostly to do with the excessive dip time... rarely need that long. Although I'm very glad to see an aquarists with faith who is not shy about dips. Most aquarists fret and dip too short and ineffectively then blame the FW dip for not working> A few other questions: A) should I slowly drop the salinity in the freshwater dip (i.e., take them from 1.023 to 1.0 over a two hour period, to reduce stress.  <more harm than good due to temp issues and extended stress of confinement> Would this reduce the effectiveness of the dip on parasites)? <definitely IMO> B) should I slowly raise the salinity from 1.0 to 1.023 (i.e., over an hour or two) when moving the fish from the FW-dip to the q-tank? <10 minutes if at all> C) should I slowly dilute the level of methyl-b (i.e. over an hour or two) when moving the fish from the FW-dip to the QTank - or eliminate it from by FW dip steps?  <research the appropriateness of M blue by species> Could the fish become 'acclimated' to the high oxygen environment in the FW caused by the methyl-B, and then be suffocating when I move them to the saltwater <not in such a short period of time> Lastly, are FW dips supposed to be this difficult?  <not at all... short and sweet and very effective. You have almost got it right> What should I expect the survival rate (up to 5 days after the dip) to be for fish that go thru it - I was expecting it to be in the high 90%. <agreed. It is more successful and less stress than a drawn out and noxious chemo treatment with medications (as with 21 day copper)> Thanks! <best regards, Anthony>

Lemonpeel Angel and dipping Hello Guys, <Salute, goombah! Anthony Calfo in your service> Just one question on giving a Lemonpeel Angel a Methylene Blue/Fresh Water dip. Is it safe to give a Lemonpeel a 5 to 10 minute dip? Read the FAQ's and your page on Centropyge but didn't find my answer. I am planning to purchase this fish and just not sure if I should dip the Lemonpeel. Thanks very much! <a properly conducted freshwater dip of at least five minutes (aerated, buffered, temperature adjusted, etc) is fine for the angel... towards ten minutes with discretion. The problem is the Methylene blue. Centropyge angels are sensitive to metals (like copper) and organic dyes (like Methylene blue). Do consider Formalin instead for the medicated bath and follow mfg dose. Freshwater alone is fine too if you believe the fish to be in good health for starters before going into quarantine (you are putting him in quarantine right?!?) Kindly, Anthony> Ron

Re: Lemonpeel Angel Anthony, you are a good Dude.  <yes. thank you... when I'm not being a strict marine Nazi (remember the soup Nazi episode on Seinfeld?), hehe...> Definitely going into the Q-tank. Thanks Again, Ron <excellent! Best of luck to you, Anthony>

Freshwater dip Dear Bob, <Steven Pro at your service tonight.> Thanks for your previous replies, always a great help! Can one give inverts, in particular hermit crabs, snails, soft & hard corals, freshwater bath/dip? <No to all above except some corals.> If so, for how long? <Again, only for some corals and generally less than one minute.> Will this eliminate any parasites like Oodinium? <Inverts have their own set of parasites. Their is little risk of infecting fish with a coral. The real risk, more than likely, is in the water from the store.> Thanks again, Patrik Fredrikson, London <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Yellow Tang and Fresh Dips Hey! <What!?!> I'm looking everywhere for some info on some red velvet like spots on my yellow tang and can't seem to get anywhere. The Paravortex you mentioned which causes black-spot, well are they really black (maybe that's a stupid quest. but I'm desperate).  <yes, indeed they are> What are the symptoms for it if you know what the red spots are b/c now it looks as though the insertion point of his right fin is affected. <common black spot on tangs is distinct and raised (identical sized) spots like black grains of salt. A fine powdery "rust" colored spot (rather like talc powder) could be another parasite altogether.> The freshwater dip how long do I do that for and by freshwater do you mean distilled or R.O.. water.  <never use raw RO/DI water unbuffered for anything! in marine aquaria (including evaporation top off...wastes buffers in salt mix/alkalinity pool in tank). It could actually be fatal to marine fishes in a bath. Buffered RO/DI water or tap water is to be adjusted to match the pH and the temperature of the sick fishes tank, and it should also be aerated for several hours ahead of time (dechlorinate if necessary). Catch the fish quickly and gently (never put an exhausted/stressed fish in a fresh bath). Put in the fresh dip for 3-5 minutes minimum. Catatonic swimming or laying on the bottom of the bucket is normal... erratic swimming or spitting water at surface is not... return fish to main display. Any fish that dies in a properly conducted freshwater bath was not destined to survive anyway. It is a great and natural treatment for external parasites. Kindly, Anthony> If any suggestions please help. Thanks Corina

METHYLENE DIPS Mr. Fenner, I was just reading about dips on WWM and was wondering a few things? What is the mix parameters how much fresh water, system water and Methylene blue) How long is a good time to dip? Though I know I need to keep an eye on the fish and after the dip should I treat my system with anything as a precaution? We are not going to quarantine don't ask me why, we have lost enough fish due to no QT, but hubby doesn't want QT) so we figure your dipping method id the best. Are there any marine fish that cannot handle the dip or should be watched more closely than others. We still have not decided on what fish to get to add with our Hippo. THANK YOU again. I REALLY appreciate all your advice and value it dearly. You have no idea how much you have helped us in the past. We refer your site to all our friends involved in keeping marine fish. <Please read through the dip, acclimation and quarantine sections (articles and FAQs) a bit more. These issues are addressed there. Bob Fenner>

Ich/FW dips Bob Do you recommend a freshwater dip for a new arriving fish before putting him in quarantine, or waiting a couple of days? <Not all fish species, specimens routinely... some arrive too weak to dip, others are historically worse off for the operation, unless they are judged parasitized...> I am talking about an overnight delivery instead of a fish from LFS. How long of dip is best? I am watching fish closely. If 5 minutes is effective on killing parasites I obviously don't want to leave fish in dip for ten minutes. I understand that some fish will react differently. But I guess I am asking what is optimal. <Please read my dip/bath articles starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm and the FAQs files beyond> By the way, my current butterflies seem to be fighting off parasites. I believe you can judge a lot about a fish by closely watching him eat. <Yes! This is so> If there is any change, something is probably up. These fish would peck at my finger if I let them. Saw two of three pecking at algae. Time will tell. What is best, in your opinion, vitamin, for supplement with my concerns?  <A liquid complex...> What do you think about garlic? and garlic and vitamin supplements on the market?  <Both, all of these have their place... my opinions, related background information are posted on the WWM site... there is a search feature there if you don't want to avail yourself of the Marine Index/Site Map> Fish don't seem to crazy about it, but if it is important they can be trained to eat it. D Stanley <Not altogether unlike human food preferences, eh? Bob Fenner>

Freshwater dip effectiveness Dear Bob, Since I have rapidly spreading bubble algae in my tank, I had been trying to decide on whether to go with a Mithrax crab or a Red Sea Sailfin Tang. <Perhaps both> My LFS had the most beautiful 5 inch Red Sea Sailfin tang, and because I've heard that some Mithrax crabs don't actually eat the stuff anyway, I decided to spend the extra $ and go with the Sailfin tang. He had been in their tank for a couple of months, and I visited him often. He was eating well and looked good in the store. <Ok> However, I apparently have much better lighting than the LFS, because as I was floating the bag in my tank, I noticed a couple dozen ich spots which were not noticeable in the store!! <Perhaps became more noticeable during transit/stress> I continued acclimating him, but immediately mixed up a batch of Methylene blue dip for him. The dip was pretty blue, so I could not see exactly how he was doing in it. But when he appeared to stop thrashing and just lie on his side after about 30 seconds, I took him out, gave a quick dip in another bucket of clear water, and put him into the tank. He was scared at first and breathing heavily, but later came around and began dutifully picking at all of the bubble algae. (YES! This guy is awesome!!) <Good> But I am now worried whether everything will be ok, because even after the dip I still see white spots on him. Should these come off in the dip, or do they just stay on and die?  <The spots aren't actually "living", but marks of/from the fish> I would really hate to have to quarantine him and stress him out any further. I have a cleaner shrimp who appeared to be beckoning him, but I haven't seen him actually perform any cleaning yet. Your expert advice is greatly appreciated! Thank you, Laura <Just wait for now... likely all will be fine. Bob Fenner>

Medicated Dips Thanks for all the information you have given me. I still have more questions though: I read the link you gave me about iodine dips and was wondering which solution you recommended for preventative coral dips. Do you recommend the iodine solution (2% iodine, 2.4% KI), the strong iodine (5% iodine, 10% KI), or another solution? <Either will do... as you will/would be diluting either... about a "drop per gallon" of the 2% or 2 drops per five gallons of the 5%, for five, ten minutes... some species of real (scleractinian) corals I double the dosage on (Euphylliids, Veron 2000, or Caryophyllids in previous taxonomies), Trachyphyllia, others if they're obviously damaged) with lowered spg... a few thousandths.> I?m not completely sure how to calculate the amount of Copper (II) sulfate pentahydrate to add to my solution. <What? No memory of stoichiometry? Look up the atomic weights of copper, Sulphur, oxygen... and hydrogen (for the five waters)... Come on.> I think the problem is that I don?t know the safe copper level for fish. What is this level (in a freshwater dip/bath not extended treatment)? <Resting concentrations of 0.20 ppm, dip levels of twice that> On a side note, I have a mixture of snails in my aquarium but the snails seem to prefer to spend more time on the rocks than on the glass. Is this normal? (Is it because my rocks must have ?better? algae on them than the glass?) That?s all for now (more will certainly come later), Kevin <Study my friend. When you get to St. Peter's Gate, there's no easy internet access to query what to do... Bob Fenner>

Dip Hello Bob! How long should a typical dip/bath be for a newly acquired fish or an attempt to slough off ich for small fishes, such as a clownfish or a young Naso? Or should it be based on fishes behaviour while undergoing?  <Yes. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm> I introduced a false Percula into my system after a 1 minute or so dip and the little trooper is exhibiting signs of ich.  <Too short a dip time> The stages seem rather advanced considering I purchased him on Saturday so I assume I received one that was stressed/infested from the store. The next day a Lysmata Shrimp was alsopurchased to help curb the infestation in the fish's favor and am now raising temp and lowering SPG to also favor host. A territorial damselfish chases the little Perc around so I have isolated the Percula in a large, clear, plastic cylinder with holes and an airstone within the main system to stop the damsel from further stressing the false Perc. Hindsight is 20/20 <I'm quoting you!> with a quarantine tank; luckily I only have hearty damsels, LR, and some inverts, in the tank other than the Percula so I think I can beat this little outbreak.  <I'm rootin' for you> I'll let you know how it turns out have read most of your articles/FAQ regarding ich/parasites so I feel equipped). Thanks. MLS Michael L. Stewart <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Ill fish -- Define a "dip" please Hi Rob, I wrote about cycling a large volume of rock a couple months ago, and your suggestions helped. The tank-water stabilized (in my 55gal lighted with a 175W MH pendant, 25gal sump, large Venturi skimmer), and I gradually added a bunch of invertebrates (snails, hermits, starfish, cleaner shrimp, yellow polyps and a piece of candy coral) and now I think I may have done something rash... I picked up a pair of Yellow Coral Gobies (about 1" long) from at a LFS that I don't usually frequent. They seemed fine in the store, and the owner claimed that they had been in stock for some time, so I took them home and put them into my new tank. They were fine for the first 24 hours, and then this morning (<36hrs after purchase) one has several poppy-seed sized white spots stuck to its body and the other has only two smaller ones. What could this be? Ick? Another parasite?  <Likely ich, could be another parasite> I acclimated them slowly in the store bag by gradually adding 3 cups of my tank's water over the course of an hour, and then I poured the water and fish into my net and transferred them directly to the tank. I've heard about "dipping" before introducing a specimen to a display tank, but nowhere have I found a clear set of directions on what that is, or a consistent method for doing it. <Posted on our site here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm> Could you please enlighten me about "dipping" and suggest a possible course of action with my new fish?  <Please read over the many articles and FAQs on "Marine Parasitic Disease", "Marine Parasitic Tanks..." posted on WWM, perhaps starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm> I'm thinking I may just take them back to the store and negotiate a return. :-( <No sense... Your system now has the disease... and this movement will/would likely kill these fish. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance, TJ

Re: Ill fish Thanks very much Bob. I had already begun reading the WWM disease pages when I wrote you -- I hadn't noticed many pictures of the various diseases that could aid in diagnosis. <Need to keep trying to make same...> I'm sorry there wasn't any good news to be had. I'm now planning on dipping these fish and setting up a quarantine tank in which to perform further prophylactic care. I have a follow up question: "Ich" is characterized as a disease of fish; does that mean that crustaceans and other invertebrates are immune, or even if they are, can they act as "carriers" of such disease? <Carriers, yes... even just water can move the non-Trophont phases about... wet nets, specimen containers, hands...> I'm asking since I'm wondering if leaving a tank "fallow" pertains to all locomotive specimens or only to actual fish. <Pertinent to anything, everything "wet"... Bob Fenner> Thanks again, TJ

Ich Problem Remember me? My email is screwed up so I can't just press the "reply" button. Thanks for the reply on my blenny's ich problem. I did buy a cleaner shrimp on Friday (actually 2, one killed the other in the bag), <Should always be separately bagged.> and the blenny seems very interested in it (has been cleaned a few times). Regardless, I am thinking about sending both my fish (a Foxface and blenny), back to my LFS and trading them for liverock as I am interested in starting a reef. I also want to let the tank go "dormant" without fish to kill all the saltwater ich.  <A workable plan> The blenny is also very aggressive, and the Foxface is feeling cramped by my 38 gallon even though he is only 3 inches. Although I have not dipped my fish before putting them in, I'll be sure to freshwater dip with Methylene blue all my new livestock after I kill all the ich. How long would you dip them, by the way? <My input is archived on our site here: http://wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm> Thanks for your time (again) <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Aeration/Methylene Blue Concentration Hi Bob, I have a 60 gallon, 29 inch tall octagonal salt water tank with Fluval 440 filter and an airstone producing very fine bubbles powered by a small pump (x1). The top of the tank is covered except for a small opening 2inch x 15inch which I always leave open. does this sound like enough aeration?? <Enough aeration for? Likely for very few fishes of more sedentary habits, low feeding... I do worry about the gap on the top...> I could also open a larger part of the cover 5 inch x 15 inch, should I also open this larger opening for aeration or would make no difference? <No real difference... enough "new air" is being supplied by the air introduced by the air pump... saturation in the water is near 7 ppm compared with 210,000 ppm from the atmosphere... not all of the "air bubbles" go into solution as you know.> I don't know how to tell if there is enough. <There are test kits, meters... but the best "measure" is simple close observation of your "breathing" livestock> I'm planning on adding 2 fishes I now have 2 Firefish, 1 cleaner goby and 1 damsel. When I prepare the dip bath you say add a few drops of Methylene blue and later you say water must be deep royal blue. I find that I need a lot more than a few drops to make it deep royal blue. Should I use half a teaspoon per gallon, one teaspoon per gallon, more, less?? <Yes, sorry for the confusion here. Of course, the amount one must add depends on the strength/concentration of the stock solution... This material is very safe... and you are encouraged to add as much as it takes to make the water deeper blue> BTW when I dipped the cleaner goby it drop to the bottom no movement so I took it out right away. <Good to keep your eye on the fishes during these procedures... though many will just "sink to the bottom", I would likely have done as you did> thanks for all your help happy labor day! Marc <Ah, am laboring as always! Bob Fenner>

Dippety Dip dip... Bob, <Bob, Lorenzo Gonzalez, standing in for Bob-in-Asia>
Well, I spoke too soon. After being in the q-tank for 1 week, one Tomato Clown came down with a fungus. Located right below the dorsal fin, it appears as a "white fuzz". I take this is the dreaded clownfish disease? <Hmmm. The clownfish disease (Brooklynella parasite) usually looks more like a bunch of soft, translucent, dead skin or mucus peeling/flaking off the fish. Gross. This sounds more like a fungus.> So I went tooling through WWM and found some answers to my questions. I will begin treating all three fish (2 Tomato Clowns/1 Six Line Wrasse) with a freshwater dip in Methyl blue. The Wrasse also appears to have a little white fuzz. There is one question that I could not find an answer. What is the duration of the dip (1 week, 2 weeks, etc.)? <The duration of the dip is 5 minutes max for the wrasse, around 10 for the clowns.> Then what is the frequency of the dip (every day, every other, etc.)? <Don't haul those fish out and dump them in a bucket more than once every 48 hours. It's really not fun for them at all.> I am also planning to do a partial water change every day or at least every other. <Very, very good idea. You can also treat the entire quarantine tank with the Blue.> Now here is my big question, how much longer do they need to stay in q-tank? <Until you haven't seen any trace of the disease for 14 days straight.> Thanks as always for your help. I think my brown bottle tab just went up again. <I don't drink, but I'm sure Bob will be happy to collect! -Lorenzo> Bob Wrigley

Re: Question on QT tanks for larger fish <Eugene, it's Lorenzo, replying for Globetrotter Bob> What do you think about having the LFS freshwater dip the fish at the LFS, then placing the fish into a large bag of water that I brought to the LFS from my main tank? Then I could just place the fish, water and all into my main tank, after acclimating temperature. <I think that if you have an LFS that is this accommodating, you're pretty lucky... but you'll have to be sure the freshwater has been adjusted in pH and temperature to match the water you bring in, which should hopefully be similar to the pH and temperature of the water in the LFS's tanks... not a very easy task, IMHO, to get all those to match so well. I personally would probably prefer to dip and net at home. Another factor to note is that most fish will pollute the living daylights out of their transit water, and even if you got it from your quarantine tank, you don't want it going back after it's been used to carry a REALLY SCARED fish...> I appreciate your thoughts. < Well those aren't Bob's thoughts, but I think he might feel similarly... :-) -Lorenzo >

Dips/bath Dear Bob...Preparing to set-up first tank and a 10g quarantine tank. Have read all articles concerning set-up but still have a few very basic ?'s. I bring the fish home, float in hospital tank, slowly adding quarantine system water to the bag over a 30 minute or so period, I net the poor thing out and put into bucket of system water rinse), then into bucket with Methylene blue for as many minutes the fish and I can stand ! then into another bucket of just tank water then into the hospital tank. Is this the gist of it as I am sweating at the mere thought of the stress levels this will invoke in both the fish and me! (I'm sure it's only first time jitters.) Thank you so much and looking forward to a time when I will have a really profound, thought-invoking inquiry! <Not that stressful (at least to the fishes!)... No worries... and I would use the dechloraminated freshwater, pH adjusted as stated in the FAQ on "Dips/Baths" on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com rather than system water, or quarantine water for the bath... take a read, or better still, print out and make a step to step plan from the articles... Not hard on the fishes, but tough on their external parasites and microbes associated with their exteriors, the shipping water. Bob Fenner>

Dip/Acclimation Procedures Hey Bob, Been trying to sift through all the differing opinions on acclimation procedures. Floating the bag seems generally agreed upon. Adding water from the tank to the bag about every six minutes -- seems to make sense, yes?  <Not always... my detailed opinions on "Acclimation" of marines and rationale for same are posted by the same name on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com> What about the airstone? Some say it will raise ammonia levels in the bag (making existing ammonia in the bag more toxic)? Hogwash?  <Not "raise" ammonia, but make the existing ammonia potentially much more toxic by elevating pH... see "Ammonia" FAQs on the WWM site> I'm also confused about the freshwater dip -- you seem to imply this needs to include some types of medication. Will plain (r/o) water be suitable?  <A good idea to adjust the pH with at least some baking soda... Methylene blue helps (to darken water, raise dissolved oxygen, soothe fishes skin... and is very safe> Finally, is the procedure the same for inverts like starfish? Is the dip appropriate/necessary for them? <Most all invertebrates should not be dipped... Quarantine sometimes is a good idea... to assure vitality... prevent pollution from loss. Bob Fenner> Cheers, Javier

FAQ Bob--a question about one of the FAQs today. (I see mine made it up there--lessons to be learned there. . .) On the last question, regarding the Heliofungia sp. coral dip. I thought the proper procedure for a malachite green dip for a coral called for lowered SG (1.018) for the dip (not freshwater). At least that's what I remember reading, but I can't remember if I read it in CMA or WWM or both. Am I remembering incorrectly here? <Curse my lazy mind James! I "casually" read the message as "freshly made-up seawater" with RO... You're absolutely correct.... Hope I can find the original sender's e-address or he writes back after viewing your input here... Yes to using dilute seawater, not freshwater...> I went home with the Magnum at lunch, and the water had already cleared up significantly from where it was this morning on its own. I hung the filter on the sump. (What did I ever do before I had a sump. . . LOL) Once it's cleared a little more and I can see what I'm doing in there, I'll do a water change to vacuum all the "snow" off the LR to get as much of it as I can out of the tank. <You might try hooking up your gravel vacuum to the Magnum... sure to need a few cleanings, but a very handy way to more quickly remove the "dust"> Hopefully no more crises this week! Chat soon. --jd <Indeed. Bob Fenner> James A. Deets

Re: FAQ My guess is that he mistakenly used the procedure outlined for fishes on the coral. At any rate, good luck tracking down his original message/email. And thanks for the gravel vacuum suggestion--it will definitely save me loads of time! <Right-O James. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Fungia Plate (dip procedure) The malachite dip I prepared killed the Fungia. As soon as I put it back in the tank it started completely disintegrating. The skin floated away from it's skeleton in the current. I am aghast. I followed the instructions in your faq as follows: 1 gallon of fresh (RO) water <A NOTE: I mis-read this: Please re-contact me here/WWM... this is NOT freshwater? But freshly made up and spg adjusted synthetic seawater? Please tell me the latter...> 1 teaspoon of baking soda 4 drops of Nox-ich which is (1% malachite green and sodium chloride) <Very strange... this amount of malachite, the prepared water should not have "caused" the observed result... I suspect the animal was dead, decomposing (to an extent) ahead of the protocol> 10 minutes in this solution and then back to the tank. What I am afraid of here is that this same process will hurt the hammer in the same way as the Fungia. I hate to think that my efforts to save them have ended up making matters worse and killing them. <I share your concern, but will assure you that I have used the same procedure on thousands of specimens and know of companies that do the same. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tang Dip? Hi Bob, I hope you can help me out off list. I recently moved my reef to larger quarters and now the yellow tang seems to have marine velvet. It is in a 120 reef with a small damsel and a Percula clown. No new fish in the last 3 years, but have changed rock etc. The fish get along very well. The tang is heavily infested with rapid gill movements and erratic behavior. Still quite fat and will feed, has been eating Nori as the staple diet. I am contemplating alternatives: <Hmm, does sound like a gill fluke problem... or...> 1. fresh water dip 2. formalin bath ( I have some in my lab) 3. hospital tank with copper (difficult to manage on short notice, but doable if it is really the best). assuming I can catch the fish... Any advice? If so, can you briefly outline a procedure? Thanks. <Would try a freshwater AND formalin dip... and method/protocol posted on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com under the Marine Index, "Dips/Baths"... Please read through and get back to me at the by Bob Fenner addr. if anything is unclear, incomplete. Bob Fenner> warren

Re: formalin dip Bob, I looked through your website as you suggested but I didn't find a concentration for the formalin bath or the time. Can you help me with these details. I have the facilities to safely use formalin. The fish is covered with a white fuzz. <Yes, about ten standard drops to one gallon water (37 percent food grade formalin.)... > Thanks. Warren Heideman <Bob Fenner>

Freshwater dip vs. copper Hello, Bob Maybe this logic is a bit simple or flawed in some way.  <Hmm> Why would not a freshwater dip, or a series of same be as effective as a full blown copper treatment in curing ich or velvet for marine fish?  <The parasites themselves (a protozoan and algae here) exist in a few "states" and conditions in most cases... the ones that can be "exploded" by freshwater dipping are handily eliminated this way... but there are other stages, imbedded in the fishes dermis, gill epithelia... in multiple generation cases (this happens mainly through "waiting", late detection of infestations...) "resting" encased in/on the substrate, other surfaces in the system...> It is stated many places that a fresh water dip kills such parasites and virtually rids the host of them. I'm sure there must be a reason, but was wondering, is it that one is treating the system water and not just the fish. If this is so maybe the best way to think of copper is as an environmental treatment as opposed to a treatment of the host itself. <Actually treats both... and continuously...> If that is the case why remove the host and treat with copper as opposed to removing the host, treating with a dip and then using copper in the tank or letting it go fallow for an extended period. <All useful tact's to treating/killing the parasites... on the fish hosts, the system.... Take a read through the life cycles of these organisms and all will become clear. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater dip for these fish? Hi Bob, I am about to buy a pearly Jawfish, (followed by a four or six line wrasse, a Coral Beauty, maybe a long nose hawk or some Chalk Bass) for my 65 gallon, 9 months matured tank with live rock, and some inverts and stars. I want to be careful because the fish ultimately are going into a tank with live rock and a few inverts, so I cant treat the main tank for parasites. I am wondering if any of the fish listed above should not be dipped before placing in the quarantine tank. You mention several different places that some fish may not need it if they appear healthy. In your book you state that the pearly Jawfish is a very healthy disease resistant fish -- should I still do a freshwater dip? <I would dip all these species... in a standard pH adjusted freshwater... as stated in a few places, including the www.WetWebMedia.com site... and quarantine them if I was really concerned, for two weeks.> I have been reading all of the FAQ's and articles I could find here and in your book, on Q tanks, acclimation, and dips. <Good to hear... are they of help?> I have never done a dip, and the thought makes me nervous! I would really appreciate your checking my understanding of the correct steps for a basic freshwater dip before quarantining new fish: <Okay> 1. use a clean safe bucket 2. freshwater temp & pH should be adjusted correctly to match new tanks parameter, and the water should be treated for chlorine and chloramine, 3. possibly some aeration, 4. net the fish and place it into the freshwater dip (keeping it in the net?) <If it fits the livestock... allowing them some movement, total immersion> watch the fish carefully for signs of discomfort, otherwise keep fish in dip for 2 - 10 minutes. 5. Place directly into quarantine tank (or main tank if not quarantining) -- in other words do not acclimate in the traditional way. <Hmm, should be acclimated... that is, close to the system's conditions prior to the dip... Put another way perhaps... acclimate/stabilize to your system conditions, and then do the dip procedure before placing> Thanks very much. Katherine Steichen Rosing <Thank you for helping to make myself clearer. Bob Fenner>

Re: freshwater dip for these fish?> Bob, Thanks so much, I kept rereading, and I have been reading about freshwater dips for a couple of months always confused--now I am ready. <Ahh, good> You have been so generous with your time in answering my questions and with the amount of information on the website. It is a wonderful resource to supplement your beautiful and informative book. I am glad I finally found your website, it is the best one I have come across in the last six months since I have been studying this stuff online. <You've much brightened my day, we (the folks who put WWM together) thank you. Bob Fenner>

Dip question Hi Bob, In reading over the Saltwater acclimation (the dips/baths portion) here on WWM, I see that you recommend using Methylene blue, Maracide and Saltwater Maracyn in the dip/bath water. Is this still accurate? I just wanted to be sure that the procedure discussed was still your preferred method of doing a dip/bath. Thanks once again for you ever helpful insights. - Ken <Thanks for asking... because as you know... time marches on... but archives always lag... Yes to these being the most appropriate, best available technologies currently... You bring up other good points. I look forward (not static!) to the times when sites like WWM's offerings can be "updated" by the general readership. Bob Fenner>

Dip/Quarantine question Bob, Thanks for your help. I do seem to be having prob.s with dipping fish (corals always go just fine) and I think I'm doing something wrong. Basically, I use methyl-blue fresh dip, and try to minimize shock to the fish as much as possible (ph is ~8.2, temp matches bag water temp, dim lights, etc), but I've never been able to dip a fish for more than 2 min.s (actually, I usually end the dip in slightly less than 60 seconds) because they all exhibit the same behavior - sink to the bottom and have difficultly maintaining their balance they seem to lean to one side or fall over. Do you have any ideas of what would cause this? Thanks! <Actually, there might be a lack of aeration to blame here (best to add an airstone...), but the behavior you mention is to be expected, and tolerated... Yes, stressful to the fishes, but less than dying from infectious, parasitic diseases... Bob Fenner>

Methylene Blue Dear Bob, I have been reading your articles for some time now and really appreciate the advice you provide. <Gratifying to read> Got a quick question. You discuss Methylene blue and freshwater as an excellent dip for marine fish. I followed through and purchased Kordon Methylene Blue. They recommend 5 teaspoons per 3 gallons of water. Their product is 2.303% solution. <Yes, and a good stock solution> I followed these directions and the water was completely deep blue. So much so I could not see the fish. I had to feel around for him with the net. I only kept him in there for three minutes since I could not see how he was doing. Did I do this right? Did I panic needlessly? I know you believe this product to be very safe. Please share your thoughts. <Do realize how blue these solutions are at full strength, and no need to worry. This procedure, product is very safe. Hmm, perhaps I should add a cautionary note whenever discussing the use of Methylene Blue so folks will realize just how dark they'll be... And encourage the use of largish nets where maybe the organisms can be dipped/removed without leaving the net itself... or do as we generally do... use a "pickle bucket" and a large enough net to "swoop around" the edge assuring the catch...> Sincerely, Carlos Machin <Be chatting my friend in fish. Bob Fenner>

Dips Dear Mr. Fenner, After spending days reading all the information on your WWM pages, I would like to ask for your advice. (Being in North Dakota, we have very few "knowledgeable" marine fish keepers, which usually causes more trouble then good.) <Agreed.> I would like to start dipping my new arrivals before quarantine. What advice would you give to a person who has NEVER tried it before? I am very picky about the quality of livestock I get, and don't want to do them more harm then good. I do, however, quarantine a minimum of two weeks now. Thank you very much for your time, Sincerely, Josh Hewson >> <Hmm, well, do read through the general pieces we've stored on the WWM site re dips/baths and quarantine, acclimation... and also, importantly, the individual stocking group survey articles and FAQ's for more specific information... for instance, not exposing sea urchins (among other echinoderms) to the air... or my exceptions to dipping/quarantine std. operating procedures... e.g. not starving small blennies and gobies... And any more pointed input you'd like from me, please send your queries along. Bob Fenner>

Dips Hi Bob. Will fresh water dipping actually kills off all external and internal parasites? Secondly, will the daily of fresh water dipping causes stress to the fish?( I mean for those fishes with parasites) >> Many external types weakened to destroyed by such procedures. No internal... any manipulation is stressful... the question is whether the "trade-off" is "worth it"... as time goes by the universe appears less didactic. Bob Fenner

In his book, Bob Fenner recommends that wrasses be quarantined "quickly." Mine arrived a week ago from FFExpress, and he's doing fine in the quarantine tank. Should I move him to the display tank or wait the standard two weeks? Just wondering. >> If the animal(s) seem to be external disease free, and perhaps growing skinnier from the quarantine procedure, I might well go ahead and run them through a buffered freshwater dip on their way, and just place them in the main tank.  Besides many of the wrasses (family Labridae), other groups of fishes that often benefit from a "fast tracking" through quarantine are gobies, blennies, dragonets/scooters/mandarins... basically any organism that might starve, or suffer more psychological damage from the process than the risk of parasitic infestation warrants, I would dip, keep in quarantine for a minimum of days (to let it rest, assure it won't "just" die) and move it on, with another dip on the way. Bob Fenner

Baths. Which is better, a full quarantine or a freshwater bath? >> >> Quarantine in general, but BOTH are BEST. Bob Fenner Dear Mr. Fenner, Thanks for the reply! What chemical dip mixture and what duration would be safe to use on macro algae? Would a freshwater-Methylene blue mix be okay? Regards, Alec >> I would just use a pH adjusted (baking soda to 7.8 would be fine) freshwater (chloramine removed) mix. Bob Fenner

QUARANTINE Love your book, the articles you have written and especially the Q&A feature at FFExpress and thanks for your earlier answer re your preferred approach to quarantine fish. Could you please clarify some specifics? The new fish arrives and you float the bag in the fresh water/ methyl blue dip solution to equalize temperatures. Should the dip solution be at the approximately 82 degrees temperature that you will maintain for the quarantine period (assuming a low SG, high temp approach to fish quarantine), or should the dip solution be at a "near bag temperature" (most likely to be in the mid 70s)? Once the dip process is complete do you put the fish directly into the high temp, low salinity environment or into a normal environment and then gradually work your way to a high temp / low salinity environment with small adjustments? Maybe I'm sweating the details too much, but since you've convinced me of the merits of quarantining fish, I'd like to be sure I'm maximizing the potential for fish survival. >> The dip solution should be near the ambient/bag temperature, then to the quarantine conditions (intermediate... to the main system)... somewhere "in-between"... Bob Fenner... who agrees with your apparent philosophy

Dip/Quarantine I'm a bit confused regarding how to go about dipping and quarantining fish. I would like to dip my fish in freshwater for about 2-10 minutes and then move them to a quarantine tank for about two weeks. At times you have recommended Methylene blue (sorry I don't know the spelling). If I use the Methylene blue do I net the fish out and put it directly into the quarantine tank or do I give it another dip in saltwater comparable to my primary and quarantine tank?  <No extra dip necessary... nor the Methylene blue if the livestock is not overly stressed> Do I do the same for inverts such as cleaner shrimp, snails, LR, hermit crabs? <Wouldn't necessarily dip these as a "end user" (different situation for intermediaries in the chain of supply... and for other species/groups of invertebrates)... acclimate them and place these species directly... pieces on acclimation procedures posted at www.wetwebmedia.com> Thanks for your help.  >> <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Dips You have put together a great page (WetWebMedia) , its chock full of info and it covers many good subjects . Just thought you might like to hear that . Now that you are all buttered up , I have another question (you didn't think I was saying all that stuff just because its true ,,,lol) On your page you recommend freshwater dips in Methylene blue for all new arrivals , fish and inverts, but the manufacturers of said product say not to use it on inverts . Am I misunderstanding you ? Are they saying not to use it as a prolonged (days) treatment and not thinking about using it as a dip ? Your help ,as always , is greatly appreciated and you do have a GREAT page .  thanks, Jim Bell >> Thanks for pumping me and my WWM friends up! Yes to your suspicion re the warning label use of Methylene blue on invertebrates... this mild disinfectant is more important as a light shading agent, and oxygen carrying dye than anything... in the dip procedure... relatively very non toxic to both fishes and non-fishes at proscribed doses....  Bob Fenner

Re: freshwater dip - I have been quarantining new arrivals for 2 to 3 weeks before introducing them into my main tank, but I have not, to date, been applying a freshwater dip - largely out of concern of process I generally take great care in following in transitioning the fish from the store's water to my quarantine tanks? Do you skip the acclimation process entirely - or acclimate to quarantine water, then dip, then introduce to the quarantine? Also, I do not (have not had to date) medicate my quarantine tank, I just use it as a place for the new arrivals to get acclimated and regroup. Do you recommend adding copper based medication to the quarantine as a protective measure. Similarly, what is your preferred approach to the freshwater dip - just fresh water (Ph adjusted and dechlorinated) or water treated with Formalin or another copper based medicine. Many thanks in advance for your insights. >> The stress of freshwater exposure is minimal... with most fish species, negligible. I dip/bath the new fish livestock on the way into quarantine. And good for you re the lack of using "poisons" (cause that's what they are) in your quarantine or dip/bath protocols... if the livestock is healthy to start with... using copper, formalin et al. is unnecessary... commercially (like in collecting and wholesale situations) I do utilize such expedients... personally, no. Bob Fenner

I've been reading your column daily over the past few months, and I'd like to  tell you how much I enjoy it. I'm new to the marine fish hobby, though I have a lot of experience with freshwater setups, and I've gleaned quite a bit of useful stuff from your Q&A's. My question is about the fresh water dip that some folks recommend for new additions to a marine tank. From reading your column, I understand that you advocate this practice, but the guys at my local fish store seem to frown upon it. They claim that it unnecessarily stresses the fish, and can actually kill them. Can you tell me what risks are involved in fresh water dipping? I've just gotten my 150 gallon fish-only tank cycled, and have added some fish who's health I'd really like to protect. On a related note, if I'm going to be doing fresh water dips, would it be a really bad idea to do it in one of my tropical fish tanks (complete with tropical fish)?  One more thing: I have the following setup: 150 gal tank, over flow filtration with one return. Wet/dry system which uses a commercial sized bio-wheel for biological filtration, a Lifeguard AF-94-19 mechanical filter, Lifeguard AF-93-19 chemical filter, Lifeguard QL-40 UV sterilizer, and a Top Fathom TF 110A protein skimmer. Can you think of anything else I should add to this setup to provide for a cleaner and healthier tank? Thanks for your help! Dan >> There are few risks or real added stress (compared with being caught, hauled out of the ocean, thrashed about being brought to a facility, kept w/o food, heavily medicated, being housed with species that you don't associate with in tiny cubicles, boxed and air freighted in absolute darkness and then pretty much the last few items through wholesalers then retail... Give me a break, the freshwater dip is a breeze by comparison. And, this is the best way of knocking off external parasites like Ich and velvet... I've just come back (well, not quite, now I'm in Hawaii) from helping friends develop receiving protocols for wild imported (from the Solomon's, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu) fishes... all of which we run through freshwater dips. Anyhow, there are few risks. And my expanded, though less emphatic views on the topic and means can be found in articles on my wetwebmedia.com website, including references. No, don't do the dips in a freshwater tank. As you will find, it's best to make the dip water from new tap (Dechlor/am/inated) and buffered (we just use baking soda, sodium bicarbonate)... with or w/o other additives. Re your system, do keep your eye on that sterilizer (real problems with these over the years)... and do investigate what you might do to modify that wet-dry... to a Berlin system at the least, to a continuously lit Caulerpa and mud filter at best... Many roads, same destination: clean consistent water quality. Bob Fenner

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