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FAQs on Dips/Baths 3

Related Articles: Dips/Baths, Dips/Baths 2, 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 1, Dips/Baths 2, & 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 Formalin/Formaldehyde,

Antennarius commerson pair pic in N. Sulawesi by DianaF.

Macro Algae Quarantine   3/3/20
If you had to throw an overall number out what would say if the overall risk of putting red ogo macro algae in a tank without quarantine and some type of parasite (ick or velvet) getting into the tank.
<Where is the Ogo/Gracilaria from? A few co.s culture this, some in vast quantities, and there is close to zero chance of parasitic, disease introduction from them. From another hobbyist's tank? Maybe some chance... I'd isolate the latter for a couple weeks>
Would washing the algae in a separate bucket of water prior essentially eliminate the risk?
<Washing? Not really useful. Bob Fenner>
Re: Macro Algae Quarantine   3/3/20

Its coming from live Aquaria which I am assuming it would be coming from Quality Marine.
<Likely so; and highly likely cultured and sold by two outfits in Hawaii. I WOULD trust immediate use of this red macrophyte therefore>
I have a scribbled rabbitfish wont graze on Nori even attached to the rock. Its everything and grazes on the ogo. I just cant grow it fast enough to keep up. With how much it eats. It can take down a pound in a little over a week.
<This genus of algae can be tumble cultured to about double its biomass every week... DO consider (look... search and read) re if you'd rather save money on buying it shipped. Bob Fenner>
Re: Macro Algae Quarantine, feeding Nori    3/3/20

Thanks. Will definitely do some reading on better cultivation on the macro. Any tips on how to get the fish to eat Nori other than hopefully time?
<No... some fishes (and humans) just don't find Nori palatable... the above water kind even treated w/ flavourings. BobF>

Dipping Procedure        10/10/19
I couldn't find online but is a 30 minute bath in Methylene blue safe following a fresh water dip?
<... a bath, for marine fishes? Yes, in saltwater w/ Methylene Blue. B>
Re: Dipping Procedure     10/12/19

Thanks. I have a bunch of fish that were scratching at the gill area pretty consistent. Figured it was crypto or possibly flukes. Have the fish in QT and both copper and PraziPro didn't stop the flashing.
<Could be other source/s of irritation>
I was going to transfer the fish to a new QT tank but wanted to FWD them prior to going into the new QT tank. Some of them also look a little raggedy from either the copper or what's ailing them so was going to also give them a bath in Methylene blue.
<DO review Ed Noga et al.s works re sampling, checking under a 'scope. More organisms are lost due to over and mis-medication than any other cause. B>

Re: Dipping Procedure. Crypt on an Assessor?      10/25/19
So after being in therapeutic copper for 14 days I transferred all the fish to a new sterile QT tank. In between the transfer all fish went through a 5 min FWD and 30 minute bath in Methylene Blue. All fish have stopped flashing but one of my assessors developed these white spots. I attached a picture and a link to a video. It looks like marine ick and honestly I am not sure how it is possible.
<Well, whatever this is appears more "discrete" in your video (than the still)... I'd want to sample, look at a bit of slime from the area to ascertain whether this is a pathogen. From the clustering and location it appears to be more of a wound site, mucus to me... from a "bump" into something. Gauging from the activity, behavior of the individual I would NOT further treat this fish. The whatever/mucus should go of its own accord. Placing an erstwhile cleaner organism might well speed this along.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Dipping Procedure     10/31/19
<Hey Eric>
Just wanted to let you know the fish is still doing well. The spots remain still unchanged at 5 days. It actually developed 2 more on the opposite side that look a bit warty.
<Mmm; not protozoan>
I think this may actually be Lymphocystis so I am just going to continue to feed well and keep water quality up. I did notice today that the Rabbitfish started flashing at the gills again so hopefully it was just one of those things and that I am not back to square one.
<Do read over our input by searching for Lymphocystis on WWM; the all-prong approach of improved water quality, reduced stress, augmented nutrition, use of cleaner organism/s is the route to go here, and not medicine administration. Bob Fenner>

Formalin question      2/22/19
Hi bob and crew,
How’s it?
<Fine Bobby; thanks>
Once formalin is mixed up, at 1 ml per gallon for prophylactic bathes, how long is it stable or good for?
<One milliliter,.. about a hundred fishes; or a few hours. WARNING to all: Formalin, Formaldehyde are biocides; they cross-link peptides, KILL all life. NOT safe to breath fumes or expose your skin to.>
For example , if I mix up 5 gallons of saltwater with 5 ml’s of 37% formalin, and I dip 2 fish for 30 minutes, can I remove that fish and immediately place in another fish in that same aerated , heated water?
<Yes you can>
From the time it’s mixed, to the time the second batch of fish is done, the formalin would have been mixed up for less than two hours.
Thank you, bob
<Welcome. BobF>
Formalin question        2/22/19

<Oh; and I'd use pH adjusted freshwater, not salt. B>
Re: Formalin question     2/23/19

Thank you kind sir
<Certainly welcome. You have read the "Guerilla Acclimation" piece on WWM I hope/trust. BobF>
Re: Formalin question     2/23/19

Your trust is correct, I have that Guerrilla acclimation piece bookmarked.
<Ah good>
If I am allowed to be confused for a second, you say to use freshwater as opposed to salt.
<Sure; confusion, interest is the beginning of delving, adventuring into understanding and ultimately (hopefully) clarity.>
If using formalin at that rate, in freshwater, how long can fishes stay in freshwater with the aforementioned formalin?
<Most species, specimens 5, 10 minutes... Oh; see this below. Smaller specimens, ones that are "physiologically challenged", some species (finer to no scales, association w/ invertebrates... ) trend toward more sensitivity; e.g. Clownfishes. These dips/baths should ALWAYS be attended to IN PERSON; never leave the dipping organisms unattended>
Was under the impression freshwater dips can go 5 minutes, 10 minutes max, where the formalin needed more contact time than that?
<Usually not. A useful lesson here re the non-discreteness of the universe... WATCH the fishes in the formalin mixed solution and be ready to remove them given signs of over-stress>
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: Duncan coral flesh damage; plus notes on dips f'       6/23/16
Hi Earl,
You were kind enough to help me with a problem I was have with my Duncan coral and I am happy to say it has fully recovered so thank you for that:)
<Good to hear and you're welcome.>
I have been reading on wet web the last 3 nights about dip/baths because I would like to do a freshwater/Methylene blue dip on some new fish that I got and I feel I completely understand the process other than the type of fresh water to use, I am confused about weather you would use RO/DI or dechlorinated tape water as the fresh water, I know that you should match the PH and temp but which of the two water sources is best.
<Full disclosure: first time I did a freshwater dip back in the day (decade+) I overlooked the pH bit and it was a bad experience, although the fish lived with us for 9 years. My point being, you're on target and have read carefully. I would just use whatever water you normally use. Match temp etc. to the destination environment not the transport/store water. Dechlorinated tapwater is what I use though RO/DI is fine. Oxygenation is also a big *must*...just a plain old "bubbler" airstone or powerhead aimed up top is plenty. Only other tip I can give you is that dips will sometimes freak the fish out and panic ensues, 911 and Homeland Security are called, possibly whoever it is they send to fight off Godzilla. Using a dark-sided container (or just the usual trusty empty salt mix bucket we all have a heap of with a dark towel wrapped around it) will calm things down a bit but sometimes they will try to jump right out so be ready just in case. If you see too much distress, end the process. EZ PZ!>
Thank you so much for your time.
Re: Dip      6/24/16

Thanks again for the quick response and for the tip on using a dark bucket because I over thought the process and specifically purchased clear containers to do the dip in so that I could watch for stress but using the dark color certainly makes sense and you are right I have many empty salt buckets.
Thanks again for your help and thanks for all the great advise that you guys offer on your site, wet wet web is my go to for information and at times entertainment as many if the responses you guys give make me LOL��
< NP, glad to know it's helpful. Having clear containers handy will surely be useful as well (the dark sided containers just have a calming effect and feel "safer", same idea as having cover/shelter in general). Definitely keep close watch but it's a routine process, really. >

Dips/Baths Y/N       5/4/16
hi guys... please help? ...time dependent question.....
Tomorrow I am getting a bunch of shipped fish from saltwaterfish.com. I read the article on freshwater dips. Would you not chance doing one on any of the following fish before I try?
1. Kupang damsels
2. Power Blue tang
3. Blue bar Pseudochromis
4. Melanarus wrasse (I was told to not try on this one)
5. Lyretail Anthias (I'm getting 4 of them so nervous about FW)
<If they all look good (likely so), I'd pH adjusted FW dip all these. Bob Fenner>
If you could let me know ASAP I sure would appreciate it. I love your website and consult it often!
re: hi guys... please help? ...time dependent question.....       5/4/16

Wow really? I wonder why so many people tell me to not do a wrasse or Anthias? maybe because their expense?
<... read on... WWM >

Tick tock... duration of quarantine... Reading? No       5/4/16
Hey Bob,
Today marks 7 weeks of fallow tank. All fish have been in separate tank with Cupramine.
If it were you, would you feel good and place them back in, or does the skeptic side of me go another 2 weeks?
Just looking for your opinion, and a reason to feel good, hold off and wait.
<Read here:

Formalin and prime; miscible? For dip/bath water?          5/1/16
Hey Bob,
No clear cut answer, many similar but nothing black and white.
If using rid ich (4.2 percent formalin), for immersion bath, can it be used along with SeaChem prime (ammonia neutralizer) that I have been using jn tank transfer process to ward off ammonia.
<As far as I'm aware, yes.... but there should be very little ammonia involved>
Articles pertain to that of copper and prime, but nothing with formalin.

Freshwater Dip without Formalin     4/28/15
First, a thanks for all the wealth of knowledge you and your team have provided! I have also read the "Contentious Marine Aquarist" book which was very valuable.
I know that formalin (formaldehyde) and Methylene blue are recommended for FW dips, and that malachite green is not. However, here in Canada I cannot get my hands on any formalin. I can, however, get pure Methylene blue.

There is one product that contains formalin, Rid-Ich+, but it is mixed with malachite green. It claims it "utilizes the less common but also less toxic chloride salt of malachite green", but I'm not sure if that will really make it less harmful. Perhaps its best not to trust it at all?
<The bit of formalin that would come w/ a reasonable amount/concentration of the oxalate-free Malachite... not worth it>
The other product with formalin is a little 2 sided sachet from Blue Life called "Safety Stop". It produces 30 ~ 60 min baths.
<Oh yeah... and that Ariel is a babe; schwing!>
One side is Methylene blue, and the other is formalin. The ingredients say only those two things, but the formalin side has a green colour, so perhaps has malachite green?
<Mmm; nah; think this is Acriflavine>

I'm not sure on that, but perhaps it was just colouring to make the dip clearly visible.
<That too>
Question: how would you proceed to do FW dips? Is Methylene blue plus fresh water sufficient to remove parasites like Brooklynella?
<Usually; yes. The formalin let's say adds another 40-50 percent of surety>
Or should I try the sachet of formalin. It looks like its only a few ml, so would that even be strong enough for a 10 min FW dip, when its meant for 30 ~ 60 min.s of exposure?
<Okay! And do add aeration if using>
I'm asking, because I want to do the transfer-tank-method (TTM) to remove what I suspected was Brooklynella. My two clownfish died, and I have a coral beauty and a blue-green Chromis left that seem totally fine. The plan was to leave the display tank fallow for 2 months, and do this TTM on these two remaining fish before they enter the quarantine tank.
<Sounds good>
Thanks for your help,
P.S. Sorry for the huge wall of text above.
<Summat like the "wall of sound?" Nice. Bob Fenner>
Re: Freshwater Dip without Formalin     4/28/15

Thanks for the quick response. Cheers!
<Welcome! BobF>

Seastar. Not dipping      7/10/14
I know generally you cannot freshwater (pH adjusted) inverts but can you dip Seastars say for 2 or 3 minutes?
Thank you in advance.
<I would not do this... IF you're concerned re transferring (vectoring) pathogenic disease, I would isolate/quarantine the Asteroid/s enroute to the main/display for a few weeks. This almost always "breaks the cycle", lowering virulence.
Bob Fenner>

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

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

Freshwater dipping new corals & coral frags    3/16/14
I have looked through Wet Web Media and have not been able to find a complete answer to why dipping corals and frags in freshwater (RO/DI) is not recommended.
<Too much stress; not worth it in trade-off of what one might get in terms of lessening pests, parasites. Some slightly lower spg (a thousandth or two) with the addition of iodide/ate, and possibly a simple sugar (glucose or such... a hexose or pentose) IS>
 I have seen statements that say to not do it on Wet Web Media, but I would like to know the science behind the why.
<How much? Have you considered the use of a reference librarian... help w/ a computer search bibliography? There's bits and pieces re these on WWM>
Thank you for your time!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

freshwater dip question    3/7/14
Hey Bob,
In general, what types of fishes should not receive a freshwater dip upon arrival?
<Smallish species... and specimens... Gobioids, Blennioids come to mind... Amphiprionines, Gasterosteiform fishes...>
I know Clownfishes should have a shorter dip, but in general, are large angels, tangs, etc , safe to dip for 3-4 minutes or so?
<Usually; yes. B>

Freshwater Dips    12/26/13
Hi there
I have 500ltr display with 100ltr sump.  Recently had Ich and lost Royal Gramma, Yellow Tang and Pair of common Clownfish.
 <No fun for sure>
I have set up a 100 ltr QT and plan to move my remaining fish (sadly just 3 Blue Green Chromis) to The QT, giving them a FW dip with Methylene Blue on the way.  Then going to leave main tank with no fish (just shrimps, hermit crabs and snails plus a couple of soft corals) for 10 weeks to ensure all parasites dead before putting the Chromis back in the main tank
<Let's hope>
I have been reading all your articles and books on FW dips so happy with the process but note that you say not to dip fish "close" to Invertebrates such as Clown Fish.  Some posts indicate that people have dipped Clownfish so I am a little unsure.  What is the deciding factor between "Dip" and "don't dip"?  Should I dip the Chromis?
 <Yes; I would>
Once the above is complete I plan to FW dip (with MB) all new fish purchases then put in QT tank for 4 weeks before moving the main tank 
<Ah good>
Thanks in advance for your help
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Flame getting over flukes... Trematode and dips f's    5/16/13
Hi crew!
 How long after fluke treatment should I wait to put a Flame Angel into the main tank?
<A few days... I'd pH-adjusted freshwater dip the fish enroute to the main/display>
 The last day of the PraziPro treatment was last Saturday. I did a freshwater dip and no flukes came off of him. Thank you!  Jennifer
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Flame getting over flukes   5/16/13

Thank you, Bob! I'll wait a few more days on the Flame before I out him in.
Another question, are there any species of fish that you would not recommend running through a freshwater dip?
<Oh yes... mostly (perhaps not by coincidence) ones that are found in close/r relations w/ invertebrates... E.g. Clownfishes...>
  I have a spotted goby that has also been in a QT.  He was in the same QT as the Flame but he was moved into his own tank 2 weeks ago. I'm wanting to move him into the main but I want to do  a dip on him first. Thank you!
<This should be fine... As long as the fish is in good shape. Bob Fenner>
Re: Flame getting over flukes   5/17/13

Thanks again, Bob!  He seems good (no scratching, flashing, yawning, etc) but he has not eaten in 2 days.
<Congratulations, and not to worry re the non-feeding...>
 I'm thinking it may be the stress of being in a bare bottom QT tank. He doesn't really come out of the PVC. Thank you for your time:) Jennifer
<Move this fish to the main/display. BobF>
Re: Flame getting over flukes    5/17/13

Thank you again, Bob. I'm moving the goby today:). Jennifer
<Real good. B>

Methylene Blue and Freshwater Dip and Refugium    2/9/12
Greetings, the search function does not seem to be working on the website.
<Thank you for this. We are working the last few days to fix a bunch of issues...>
So, I have a couple of questions regarding Dips and 'Fuges.  First, what is the Formula for the Methylene Blue and Freshwater dip, and how do you execute the dip? 
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
the first tray... dips/baths, Methylene Blue...>
Secondly, I now plan on setting up my old ten gallon tank as a refugium with 4" - 6" DSB with some grass planted in there and some worms of some sort.  Can I use that as the QT for before I put the fish in the main tank (I think I've read not to use the fuge as a medicine QT)?
<You can, though it is more accurately going to function as an isolation tank/system; that you can't treat in... and IF there are pests, parasites... they may be transferred thus to the main system. Bob Fenner>

Identifying Parasites from FW Dip  2/14/11
<Hello Gerard>
I have a red firefish in a new 29 gallon FOWLR tank. He's the only fish I've purchased so far, so I didn't do a quarantine, and being new at this I wasn't confident enough to do a FW dip. Over the five days that he was in the tank he was dashing his head against the sand about once every ten minutes...clearly an itchy fish! I thought it might be a gill infection (Ich, velvet, gill flukes...?)
<Mmm, perhaps. Much more likely though "something" disagreeable w/ water quality>
I caught him and did a FW dip. Almost immediately about a dozen white bumps started swelling on his body, and fell off. They were about a millimeter in length, and shaped like slightly elongated disks: flattened
in one dimension, and elliptical in the other two dimensions. Based on the size and shape of these things, can I rule out velvet or Ich?
<Mmm, can't say from the description; but not likely Protozoans... more likely Flukes>
I don't know how big the velvet or Ich parasites are when they fall off of a fish during a FW dip, but I'm guessing they may be smaller than this.
<Yes. If anything, they might be incorporated in w/ body mucus to be this apparently (large) size>
Assuming these are some type of worm or fluke, what do I do now? I have the fish in a hospital tank, of course, and plan to repeat the dip a few more times over the next few weeks. How long should I let the display tank remain fallow to have a good chance of starving out any juvenile parasites that may hatch? Thanks!
<Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm
use the search tool, or the indices. Bob Fenner>

FW Dip, 1/7/11
Hey WetWebMedia,
Got a few questions on FW dipping that I did not resolve reading the posts on your website (I'm sure the info is there).
(1) On a FW dip, what is the best product to raise my dip water (ro/di) up to my tank water PH? (8.1 to 8.4)
<Baking soda or a commercially produced pH adjuster.>
(2) Most posts mentioned skipping the drip acclimation. Instead, just float the bag for temp and then a FW dip. So my question is, if the "bag water" PH is 8.2 and my FW dip (adjusted to my display PH) is 8.5, will this not create PH shock?
<Match the dip's pH to the bag.>
(3) Do you recommend a 3-5 min FW dip and then also an additional "treatment" (separate container with display water/ air stone /blue Methylene / 2 hrs)?
<Generally not, dip and then into the QT. If you are not QTing the fish then it may be beneficial to take extra steps, but they don't offer that much protection.>
(4) No FW dip on invertebrates, but what about mushrooms, soft or hard corals?
(5) Do you use the 2hr to 3hr Methylene treatment (mentioned above) for mushrooms, soft or hard corals?
<Some people will use a dip in an iodine solution, but otherwise no.>
(6) When I quarantine mushrooms and corals (set on platforms) for 21 days, do I treat the water to kill the "bad things". If I don't treat the water what's the purpose of quarantine?
<I would not, and QT needs to be at least 4 weeks, and longer the better.
The purpose of quarantine is to monitor the occupants for illness and allow time to adjust to tank conditions. Preemptive chemotherapy often does more damage than help.>
Thanks for all the help. You guy's provide a immeasurable service to this industry and I would have not made it this far without you. My surviving & thriving fish/corals also thank you.
Les Currey

Quarantine/hospitalization and, ahem, bathing... ala the irrepressible Darrel!    12/30/10
Hi Crew,
<Hiya John - Darrel here. You're going to get a two-fer here. You're going to get MY opinion '¦ because, after all, this is America and everyone is entitled to my opinion '¦>
<THEN '¦ I'm going to leave your question in the general hopper and you'll also get an answer from someone with VASTLY more experience than me, who is right"¢ far more often than I>
<Why, you ask? Well, for one '¦ this is my SIX HUNDRETH LETTER on WWM and I thought I'd celebrate that.>
<SIX HUNDRED letters and responses over the 30 or so months I've been doing this>
<Sounds like a big deal, and then I remember that Neale Monks seems to answer that many every weekend. But hey '¦ I'm helping!!!>
<the OTHER reason I decided to jump in is that my modern exposure to Marine Tropical Fish came from helping MY 11 year old get an exposure to the hobby '¦ so you are going down same road in many ways>
<So without further ado (whatever ado is) '¦ here we go!>
I'm teaching my 11 year-old the basics of marine aquarium keeping...his questions are keeping me on my toes and making me think, and re-think what I do.
<Did the same thing -- THEN at age 14 he entered that phase where Dad was the stupidest hominid to ever walk erect, so we didn't talk much - then he turned 16 and discovered girls and has shown, since that split second, exactly ZERO interest in Marine Tropical Fish, not to mention school work, chores, music, computers or anything else unless that thing had some correlation to girls. So what started out as HIS hobby with my assistance is now MY hobby, with no assistance. As I understand it, it's a large club we belong to>
Here's a couple of questions that I'm sure will help, or heat-up, everyone on the subject of quarantine/hospitalization (QT/HT).
<About TIME I actually got started>
Assume for every situation that pH and temperature can/have been adjusted to system/optimal (pH=8.3-8.4/Temp=78-80F/25-27C), that 21 days, or 14 days asymptomatic (whichever is greater) is QT/HT time, and that system water is the daily new water for QT/HT water changes and that as a result, all water parameters are at or close to system/optimal in QT/HT
<Two things so far. For my experience, Quarantine is SIX weeks, not 14 days. SIX weeks of asymptomatic behavior and observation. I'd tried the following in the past:>
<14 days>
<21 days>
<4 weeks>
<If he'd had an illness I'd have seen it by now>
<LFS has had him for 6 weeks and he's been fine>
<He looks fine to me>
<And every one of those led to one form of disaster or another. I settled on six weeks and, combined with what you also do '¦ the technique has never failed me: At week 3, I start using the main tank's change water AS the replacement water for the QT tank, so by the end of week 6 the water in the QT tank virtually IS the main tank water, so as long as temperature is matched on transfer day '¦ it's almost like letting him swim from one part of the system to another>
<I came to this system out of desperation. My son liked Blue Tangs - The Undisputed King of Cryptocaryon. Many reasoned articles, even here, suggest that Blue Tangs are so prone to Cryptocaryon outbreaks that the stress of QT and a second transfer are more likely to encourage an Cryptocaryon outbreak than just giving them a dip before putting them in the main tank. The problem with THAT is '¦ that once the Cryptocaryon breaks out (and it usually did) I was exposing all the OTHER tank inhabitants to a scourge I'd deliberately introduced.>
<So what I came up with is a variation on what you do: When I buy a fish, I buy 20 gallons of that store's water. The store I normally go to actually sells me (at a discount) 20 gallons of water from their running system '¦ so I'm bringing the fish home in "their" water and then placing them in a 20 gallon tank of "their" water. That makes the transfer from the plastic bag a fairly routine and uneventful process.>
<Now, I have 6 weeks to gradually change that water to be MY water at MY pH, etc.>
<Since I standardized on his system, I haven't lost a single fish in acquisition, quarantine or introduction. I have, sadly, found OTHER ways to kill the fish, but that's another story>
Situation 1) new FISH (FISH=teleost, or bony, ray-finned fish) from LFS, no observable symptoms:
Question 1) freshwater and Methylene blue bath for 5-30 minutes prior to QT transfer? <Read about formalin dips. I don't use them very much, but Bob Fenner does and he is MUCH smarter than I am and he recommends them highly>
<To be fair, I'm taller, better looking and a much better dancer than Bob><<Tis so>>
Question 2) hyposaline QT (12-14ppt)?
<Hyposalinity is a great treatment for Cryptocaryon and a number of other parasites, it's also reported that it is less stressful on the fish, since it requires less metabolic effort to process and excrete the salt. (Anyone but me wonder why the fish don't just live in fresher water??) but the road BACK from 12ppt to 34ppt is a long one. To quote a fellow hobbyist Steven Pro: "I try to limit the specific gravity increase 0.001-0.002 points per day." Which translates to about 17 days of painstaking acclimation>
<I would have to be treating a specific illness to invest that much time and effort>
<'¦. John, I'm leaving the rest of these for Bob - Let's all hope HIS answers are better than mine! '¦.>
Situation 2) new SPS/LPS from LFS, no observable symptoms:
Question 1: Lugol's bath (full-strength seawater) for 10 minutes prior to transfer
to QT?
Question 2: when should full-spectrum/full intensity lighting be added to QT?
Situation 3) As a general rule, for all FISH, SPS, and LPS, should the transfer water's pH dictate the starting pH for bath and QT/HT? For example, if a FISH, SPS, or LPS arrives in water that tests 7.5, should the bath (if agreed upon above, indicate so) and/or the QT/HT start at 7.5 with a gradual (say 24-hour) rise to system/optimal (8.3-8.4)?
I apologize in advance for redundancies with existing forum strands, I just can't seem to find all of this in one place. The goal here is to build a flowchart/diagram with him.
<SIX HUNDRED RESPONSES!!!!! The Law Of Large Numbers suggests that I got at least a few of them right!!!>
Quarantine/hospitalization and, ahem, bathing... /RMF    12/30/10
Hi Crew,
I'm teaching my 11 year-old the basics of marine aquarium keeping...his questions are keeping me on my toes and making me think, and re-think what I do.
Here's a couple of questions that I'm sure will help, or heat-up, everyone on the subject of quarantine/hospitalization (QT/HT).
Assume for every situation that pH and temperature can/have been adjusted to system/optimal (pH=8.3-8.4/Temp=78-80F/25-27C), that 21 days, or 14 days asymptomatic (whichever is greater) is QT/HT time, and that system water is the daily new water for QT/HT water changes and that as a result, all water parameters are at or close to system/optimal in QT/HT
Situation 1) new FISH (FISH=teleost, or bony, ray-finned fish) from LFS, no observable symptoms: Question 1) freshwater and Methylene blue bath for 5-30 minutes prior to QT transfer? Question 2) hyposaline QT (12-14ppt)?
<1, not 2 IMO. Possibly with adding formalin to the pH adjusted freshwater bath. Read here re:
Situation 2) new SPS/LPS from LFS, no observable symptoms: Question 1:
Lugol's bath (full-strength seawater) for 10 minutes prior to transfer to QT?
<Slightly reduced spg... a thousandth or two... to help "soak in" new water, I2>
Question 2: when should full-spectrum/full intensity lighting be added to QT?
<Mmm, really, as soon as the photosynthesizing life can make use of it...
Depends on the recent light-history of specimens>
Situation 3) As a general rule, for all FISH, SPS, and LPS, should the transfer water's pH dictate the starting pH for bath and QT/HT?
For example, if a FISH, SPS, or LPS arrives in water that tests 7.5, should the bath (if agreed upon above, indicate so) and/or the QT/HT start at 7.5 with a gradual (say 24-hour) rise to system/optimal (8.3-8.4)?
I apologize in advance for redundancies with existing forum strands, I just can't seem to find all of this in one place. The goal here is to build a flowchart/diagram with him.
<I salute your efforts, and sharing w/ your son. Bob Fenner>

Please help regarding doing a third bath! 01/10/10
Hello guys and gals,
<Hello Sergey>
I would first like to thank you for having such an informative site. Thank God I found it on one of my Google saltwater aquarium fact finding rendezvous.
<Thank you for the kind words>
I now use nothing else for all of my sw aquarium info.
<Ahh, is always best to have more than one good resource if you can..>
Anyways I am still new to the saltwater aquarium keeping world (about 6 months) and made many of the stupid mistakes that I wish I didn't had I found your site first.
<No doubt due to the common lack of education provided by many LFStores>
Primarily no quarantine tank.
<Yes, essential>
I started with a 10g Clown fish tank that I bought for my son (had 2 Tomato Clowns,
<Unsuitable for this size system>
which were super aggressive toward each other so I traded for 2 False Percs). I had the 10 gallon adding a yellow tail damsel (I know too many fish for a 10g, not sure if there are any sw fish that will do well in a 10g, anyways).
<There are some, yes>
As time went on I fell in love with the hobby (almost regretting it the last few days) and talked my wife into getting me a 75g setup for my birthday.
<Yay! But does she know what she has let herself in for? Wet carpets, plankton next to the beer, lance fish next to the ice cream, etc. etc>
I know this is still somewhat small for my fish and I do hope to upgrade in a few years (I now have 2 false per. clowns (only one of which is the original, the other died in a ammonia spike(those happen way too often in a 10g), 1 Regal Blue Tang,
<this tank is too small for this fish now>
1 Coral Beauty (dwarf angel) and that yellow tail Damsel. I also have a bubble tip anemone, some emerald crabs, turbo snail, fighting conch snail, peppermint shrimp
<please capitalise these names in future Sergey http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wwmadminsubwebindex/question_page.htm>
(which was for the aiptasia war that I think I've finally won (haven't seen any in over a month) and other snails and hermits, as well as 75lbs of live rock.)
I have moved all of my fish to the 10g that I'm using as a hospital tank (I know, way too small)
<? Yikes!>
which is kept as a bare bottom(no sand live rock or carbon filtration) and this is dosed in Coppersafe at the manufacturer recommended level.
<Testing for copper here? Essential>
My display tank is fallow and I plan on keeping it this way for your recommended 5-6 weeks,
<8 weeks is far better for this>
I am keeping all my crustaceans and the anemone there. The dt was running at 79F (changed it to 81 to speed up the life cycle of the parasites) water levels for nitrites and ammonia are at 0, nitrates are at about 10, salinity at 1.025 and ph is 8. I have a hang on tank filter with skimmer and t5 lighting. (Don't have the testing equipment to test for anything else.)
<Ok, this is all fine>
My hospital is also at 1.025 (I decided against hypo-salinity because the treatment that these fish are undergoing is harsh enough.) Nitrates are 0 and I assume ammonia is too
<Why do you assume this? With these fish in a 10gallon, I would assume otherwise. What do you have in place for biological filtration?>
but the Coppersafe is throwing my API ammonia test colours way off...
<you are probably reading ammonia here. This is a salicylate based test, and should work fine>
copper level shows at just under 0.5.
<Too high for the Tang & Angel. This should be 0.25 with a chelated copper test kit http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cryptchelcucures.htm >
ph is also 8, temp is 84F (I know this is somewhat warm but I read that keeping it in this range speeds up the life cycle of crypt and maybe even keeps it from continuing the life cycle.)
<Has value in the display, but does not have much value here re: parasites, as by using the med in QT you are trying to prevent re-infestation of the fish, not trying to speed up the development of the cysts. Higher temps mean lower dissolved O2. Also, you have no margin for error here. In such a small system this is dangerous>
Should I lower this?
<Yes, slowly to about 78>
Hopefully that's enough info you to understand my setup.
<I've a pretty good idea, yes, thank you for being so complete>
I had no clue about fish diseases and my ignorance has lead to my current situation (I now have read a lot about crypt(ich), brook, copper and formalin now to feel like I have get a good grip on what's going on). Except this...My second clown had white "poop" hanging out of it's but <no such word> and my other
clown started forming slime stuff and loosing some white in it's stripes and in the last few days having that white "poop" and eating noticeably less, <I would put all of this down to ammonia/ water quality issues. I do not think that what you have here is sustainable for very long, certainly not 4-8 weeks>
for some reason I didn't register this until yesterday (I thought it was because he was annoyed or stressed out because his friend clown hosted in the anemone and he either didn't want to or perhaps not enough room in the anemone (the crazy things your mind makes up to avoid dealing with the harsh truth), however before that I noticed that my Blue Tang was starting to get cover in white salt looking dots and was doing a considerate amount of flashing my LFS said to give it garlic flavoured foods and see if it can beat it, well a week later my coral beauty, also started having the white spots so I decided to move all my fish to the 10g and start a copper treatment (which I plan on doing for 2 weeks total then slowly remove it with water changes (keeping my fish in qt for 6 weeks if no re-occurrences obviously.)
<I would not have put these fish in a 10 gallon QT tank. Had you read here'¦ this is too small by far>
This whole time I still had not realized that I was probably dealing with Brook as well.
<Likely just one or the other>
Finally yesterday, while I was reading more about ich on your site, I saw a post that someone else had a clown with white "poop" hanging off of it and one your guys said that that was more indicative of Brook.
<'¦ White salt-like specks are a more positive sign of crypt than white faeces is of brook. Brook looks quite different on the fishes skin. You need to make a concerted effort to determine what you are treating for here>
I immediately read all I could and realized that I may have only hours to save my fish, I ran to the LFS and they had/recommended Rid Ich+ formalin/ malachite green. I thought that I read on your site to do a
freshwater dip for 5 minutes (I know too short, now I see that it was actually 10 minutes and the 5 minutes I must have read somewhere else.)
<5 minutes is usually enough>
I was not able to do the bath because I do not have another air pump/thermometer. Anyways I dipped the 2 clowns in the freshwater dip with Formalin about 7 times above manufacturer recommendations (which they tell you to actually put and keep in your qt tank and I saw that you are against formalin in a qt tank) bringing the formalin to about 200ppm.
<this dosage is ok for this>
They seemed to do okay in that and after that I put them back into the qt with the other fish (I know, horrible.) Right after this I jumped back to reading more about formalin and such and quickly realized that unless I dipped all of my fish and for at least 7 minutes that my efforts were in vain. So I put some qt water in a bucket, transferred my fish there and totally took out all of the water from the qt and refilled with clean salt water and added Coppersafe to manufacturer recommendations.
<Copper is ineffective for Brook.. a diagnosis is essential in order to treat fishes appropriately.. you are not certain what you are treating for here, but since you state the salt grains and the fish are feeding (in the main) then my guess here is that you are dealing with crypt and not something more 'sinister' at all>
I dipped the Tang and the Dwarf angel in the freshwater (filtered of course) at half the formalin dose (100ppm) for 7 minutes before putting them back into the bucket and then the now "clean" qt. I then cleaned out the old formalin bucket and remixed the freshwater with 200ppm formalin and did the same thing with my clowns and yellow tail (about two hours between these two dips for the clowns.)
<ok, if treating for Brook http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brooklynellosisart.htm>
Yesterday everyone seemed decent although neither of the clowns was eating my garlic mixture or the crushed flakes(which they usually love) the tang, dwarf and yellow tail were eating decent enough.
Today is where my big concern. I did a 20% water change in the qt, using that 20% for the holding tank and did a 10 minute formalin bath for at 100ppm with the dwarf and the tang and 200ppm also at 10 minutes all in fresh filtered water for the 3 other fish.
<Do you see positive signs of Brook here? If not then I would cease with these dips, very stressful>
Now the only fish that I can call doing great is the Blue Tang (my favourite) he ate like a pig
<fishes with brook will usually lose their appetite>
and swam around just fine although hiding a lot behind the hang on tank filter. I turned off the light and the only light they have now is from the room (I heard that they don't like this much after a bath, and witnessed a changed behaviour when the tank light was on, not sure if it was good or bad.) The coral beauty, the yellow tail and older Clown fish (the one I had since the beginning) are swimming around fine enough although not a bite to eat about two hours after the bath. The older clown actually hasn't eaten anything in the last few days. The baby clown is doing rather horrible I'm afraid. He is sitting at the bottom of the tank not swimming and sometimes even tilting from side to side...both of the clowns are starting to show
frayed fins (especially the older one's back fin) and maybe even some fraying on the yellow tail.
<This is water quality'¦ you need to do daily water changes here>
I am wondering if there is anything I can do save the baby clown? (he's just over an inch long)
<Yes.. place him back to the main system, but you know the outcome if you do this. Alternatively you purchase a larger QT tank, or take him to the LFS. He and some/ most of the others need to be moved from here>
I don't have the means to put him in a 3rd tank for long without the water stone or thermometer and I'm concerned about removing the copper from the qt because of the ich (the dwarf angel actually still has a few of those salt grains left on him even after the 3 days of copper and the two baths.)
<This can take 7 days plus for the parasites to drop off the fish.. are you sure you have researched this parasite? Try here http://www.chucksaddiction.com/ich.html & here http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.php >
I am most concerned about tomorrow's bath. If the baby clown survives the night do I even dare put him
though a third real (4th actual) bath? I am really worried that he might now make it after this back, much less after tomorrow's. Your advice is much appreciated.
<I would not>
On a side issue I am considering completing this tank with a Pink Tail Trigger, I love the fish and I know it can be dangerous to my critters and likely the damsel, (and I'm sure you think he'll get too big for my tank)
but I love the fish and he looks amazing of the less aggressive triggers.
<You are stocked to the Max and beyond with the Paracanthurus>
(I don't like the blue chin for some reason...too drab for my liking.) Any other things I should consider before getting and of course qt this time?
<Yes.. sort out your current issues before even considering purchasing any more fish>
Thank you,
<No problem>
Sergey Sagan
Re: Please help regarding doing a third bath! 10/4/10

Hello Simon,
<Hello Sergey>
Thank you for your reply.
<No problem>
An update on my tank status. The baby Clown did expire last night and now my Yellow Tail Damsel is swimming upside down.
<Loss of equilibrium'¦ very bad.. copper poisoning, water quality>
The fin rot is worse on the other Clown and the Yellow Tail Damsel and I am noticing a tiny bit tail rot on the Coral Beauty Dwarf Angel.
<This situation is untenable>
Still the only fish eating is the Regal Blue Tang. All of my fish are still small, the Tang is only about 3 inches, which I know the 10g is still too small. The reason why I think the CopperSafe is causing a false ammonia reading is because just after I totally refilled my tank with brand new salt water I actually tested my water and it showed 0 ammonia, I added the CopperSafe per manufacturer instructions and waiting 30 minutes to test for copper I also retested the ammonia and the API readings already showed 0.5, there is no
possible reason for this that I can think of...I do two water changes daily (about 20% each) about 30 minutes after a feeding. The ammonia stays about 0.5 even much later (I tested this morning before feeding or doing a water change.) I lowered my thermometer to 79 and letting the water slowly get back to this temperature (it is 82F right now.) I added Doctor Foster and Smith's Stabilize to deal with the ammonia (even though I still think it's a false positive.)
<The 'fin rot' is indicative of poor water quality, particularly ammonia. In a tank like this, small, stocked heavily, no biological filtration you will get ammonia. These factors, plus the positive test are enough. You need to deal with this as if it was ammonia. I would cease all medications and try to get a handle on your water quality>
My concern with using such an additive is its counteractions with the copper.
<Me too. There are no answers to this as far as I know, although some do use the two together with seemingly good results, which you are not getting here.>
How often can I add this stuff? Will it mess with the copper?
<maybe, yes, and/ or the other way around>
At this point I have resigned the likelihood of all of the rest of my fish surviving this horrible treatment (Ohh I soo wish I used a qt from the beginning.)
<You are killing these fish, they need to be moved>
Anything I can do to save the Damsel?
<move it>
Anything I can do to entice my Clown and Dwarf to eat (like I said previously, one of the meals contains garlic to entice their appetite?)
<Move them.. back to the display if nowhere else, until you can re-think your strategy going forward>
Nitrites are 0, PH is 8,
Salinity is 1.025...copper is somewhere between 0.25 and 0.5...
<No problem>
Sergey Sagan

Re: Please help regarding doing a third bath!   10/6/10

Hello Simon,
<Hello Sergey>
Unfortunately by the time I got this email from you I lost my Damsel and the other Clown...
<Sorry for your loss>
my Coral Beauty and Regal Blue Tang are the only ones left...I sense that ammonia and temperature were both factors in their deaths :(
<Ammonia, copper, poisoning in general>
because since those are the only two left my ammonia is now less than .25,
<Too high>
both fish are doing ok (although yesterday was a week since I started copper treatment and the coral beauty still has a spot on her fin that looks like the crypto stuff (a small salt crystal.))
<This is not the concern here. The concern is that you have an Angel and a Tang residing in a toxic soup of ammonia and copper>
Both fish are eating well and seem to be doing fine.
<Trust me, they are not>
My plan is to continue copper treatment for two more weeks (a total of 3) does that sound fine?
<No Sergey, I do not I'm afraid. I have been this/ these routes myself, and know these situations & the fishes here intimately. My view is the same as in the previous two messages I sent. These fishes should not be where they are now.>
My email is actually of a different concern and is two fold. First I need help ID'ing a starfish that hitched a ride on a live rock that came with my bubble tip anemone.
<This is an Asterina Starfish http://www.wetwebmedia.com/asterinafaqs.htm>
I attached the pictures of it...I had a hard time getting a clear pic of him...hopefully these are enough to do the job. He is very small, about half the size of a dime and I would say has a greenish tint to him. I looked at the starfish section on WetWebMedia and even Google images and am still uncertain as to this star...very active mover for such a little dude...Can be found on the opposite side of my tank overnight.
My second question is regarding stocking. I want to plan a setup that will not cause problems down the road. Since I have lost my damsel and two clowns my options have changed a bit, for the sake of this question let's say tank size is not an issue.
<Mmm, the Paracanthurus needs a six foot tank in the long term. You are not providing this, so I would have to disagree>
I have my Regal Blue Tang and the Coral Beauty...I would like to add the Pink Tail Trigger and the Tobacco Basslet.
<Have you read here? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/serranusfaqs.htm>
I also want to add a Clown to host the Anemone...but one that will fare better in this more aggressive environment...could you suggest one? Do you think the Clarkii Clown will be okay?
<With the trigger, yes>
What about a pair of those (obviously introduced together as youngsters?) How does this setup sound? Is the Coral Beauty at risk with either the Basslet or the Trigger?
<No, the Coral Beauty will be fine. But your tank is too small for what you are suggesting>
Thanks for your help,

Re: Please help regarding doing a third bath! -- 10/28/10
Simon thanks for all of your help...you have been great (despite my stubbornness),
<No worries Serj>
Following your advice (finally) I worked out a deal to use my LFS's hospital tank to treat my fish...
<That is very generous of them.. but are they able to keep it completely separate from their other systems?>
I check on them and both the Regal Blue Tang and the
Coral Beauty Dwarf Angel are doing great (my LFS says that they eat like
and although I am not bold enough to ask to check the parameters of the LFS's hospital tank, I would hope that they have them right... it's a 50 gallon.
<This is far better>
I am getting ready to receive these guys back from treatment and need to figure out what to do best...I have been running my display at 81 F both because it's good for the Bubble Tip Anemone (I heard that going closer to 85F is even better?
<No, 81 is as far as I would go.. even a bit too far>
Would this be okay for my fish?) and it speeds up the life cycle of crypt... on to my question...I have been a detective and have finally tracked the source of my ammonia. I couldn't believe it, after the fish were gone, I got rid of the copper, washed out all of my components even breaking down the hang on tank filter as much as possible and except for perhaps the smallest amounts...got rid of the copper. What happened next blew me away because I got the water going in the 10g adding a carbon filter and after 30 minutes, by curiosity, checked ammonia and it was 0.5! This is brand new water, everything is clean as can be!!! I just couldn't believe it...I have finally traced it all the way back to the salt!!!
<Really? Have you checked your source water as well? Are you using RODI?>
I couldn't believe it at first...so I checked my finding again to discover that it was indeed the salt...how can this be? Is it just this type of salt? Should I switch to another? What is going on? Have you head of this before? I use the Instant Ocean salt crystals. How should I proceed?.
I apologize...but in my last email I said that I use Instant Ocean...not sure why....the actual name of the salt product I use is OceanPure sorry for that mix-up...not sure if it helps any...
<I have never heard of this salt mix, bit would be contacting the manufacturer for a refund if nothing else, and switching to another brand and testing that as well, to make sure that you have got this right. Simon>

Parasite protocols - 8/1/10
<And some of the tender gender>
I'm not off to good start....I have a 70g display up and running for about 3 months.
My first stocking was a pair of true Percs that went through a formalin/malachite dip and freshwater/methylene rinse, followed by 4 weeks in quarantine with no complications.
I introduced them to the 70g and about 2 weeks later one showed some ich. I put the pair through another formalin dip and back into the 70g. It has been 2 weeks with no further/new indications.
I am now wondering if I should put them back into QT, treat them more aggressively (quinine or copper) and let the 70g go fallow for 6 weeks before more stocking.
<I would not. More likely to live being left in the main display... And it may be the source of the infestation anyway>
I guess this is the age old quandary of whether one can ever keep a tank totally free of parasites without aggressively treating all fish before introduction.
<Yes... there are specific pathogen free systems, even whole commercial aquaculture facilities... but mixing any "wild collected" wet material (live rock, sand, all invertebrates, fishes...) can be a source of such problems>
I could very easily introduce a parasite in the future without doing so, and find myself in this same situation only with a tank full of fish to pull and treat.
Your thoughts...thank you.
<I would leave all as is currently Ron... prophylactically treat any new biological input, at least with separation for a few weeks. Bob Fenner>

Double-checking on FW dip procedure: Dips\Baths 7/13/2010
Hi Crew, hope you're done well. :)
<Hi Chris, fine thanks.>
I'm preparing to buy a goby tomorrow. After catching and treating ich (successfully, thanks to you guys) in my quarantine tank with my last new batch of fish, I want to do a freshwater dip this time to avoid that long, drawn-out process.
I've read a lot on your site, and my mind is still processing all the information. I just want to confirm that this is the proper procedure - this might be helpful for other people who are trying to figure out the step-by-step process, also.
1) Use R/O water. Add methylene blue and aerate the water for a few hours prior to the beginning of the dip.
<Methylene Blue or Formalin Either will work, but Formalin is a bit more effective in my opinion.>
2) Adjust the temperature to match the quarantine tank.
3) Adjust the pH with baking soda to match the tank's pH.
4) Drip acclimate the fish in his LFS bag to the QT water, like usual.
5) After the SW acclimation process is complete, put the fish into the freshwater dip for 2-10 minutes, or until he starts to show stress.
<2 - 20 minutes - the longer the better, provided the fish does not show stress. My Coral Beauty happily swam in his FW dip tank for 45 minutes>
6) After that, put him right into the QT.
Is all that correct and in the right order? I think I know what I'm doing, but I just want to make sure I do more good than harm!
<That all sounds fine.>
Thanks a bunch! You guys literally saved my fishes' lives last time I talked to you, and I'm very grateful.
<Glad you find all the information helpful.>
PS: Since this will be some species of sand-shifting goby (don't know for sure yet), I also want to put some gravel in with him. Is that advisable?
Should I use sand coated with algae from my DT, or can I just use fresh, washed gravel?
<Adding sand does help calm the fish down, just realize that should you get a case of ich, you need to remove the sand for treatment..>

To Dip or not to Dip... 6/15/10
Dear Bob and Crew,
<Hey Ang>
Again, thanks so much for your valuable time and wisdom! I appreciate the almost religious act of posting the dailies-
<Heeeeee! Tis an experience... at times requiring "the patience of a saint!">
what a treat to read through the legitimate questions, ridiculous rants, and world class hobby advice. You are amazing!
<I'll say!>
I have been reading Bob's thoughts regarding dipping and quarantining specimens and understand that he often asks, "Does the ends justify the means?" meaning, it is important to look at the overall picture of the specimen before simply caring out dipping/quarantining procedures (please correct me if I have misinterpreted).
<You have it spot on>
I will be stocking my established 65 gallon reef with fish soon and wanted to see if you agree with these procedures for these specific fish. I was planning on quarantining (3 weeks) some and dipping some in freshwater, pH adjusted/buffered w/methylene blue based on my research:
Bicolor Blenny- no quarantine, will dip
2 Tank Bred Ocellaris, quarantine and dip
Royal Gramma, quarantine and dip
Sailfin Blenny, no quarantine, will dip
Green Clown Goby (I do have one Acropora), no quarantine, no dip
6 Line wrasse, quarantine and dip
<Looks good dear>
Thank you!!
p.s. My other two reefs are doing very well thanks to your thoughtful advice!
<Ahhh! Thank you again, BobF> 

Re: To Dip or not to Dip...   6/16/10
Thank you! Just a follow up question if you would be so kind: you do agree that it is ok to dip the Blennies?
<Most larger species, specimens, yes... Some smaller/ish ones that are too "beat", thin... I'd skip along>
I wanted to make sure that their scales (or lack of) would not be harmed in the process. Also, as far as dip length, I thought that no longer then 1 minute for each specimen would be safe due to their small size.
<Best to judge by observation... constant monitoring while in the dip/bath.>
I hope that you enjoyed jury duty! Glad that it wasn't me!
<Am on a case now... is interesting. BobF>
Thank you!

Ich/Dips/Baths 5/15/10
Today we did the freshwater dip with our banned <?> butterfly fish. Did for about 2 minutes. My question is do we need to do it again to keep the Ick from coming back. Our 1 was pretty bad. She settled down at the bottom of the pail, I thought we were going to lose her. When we put her back in to the tank it took a few minutes but she can around. Please give us all the help you can for a newbie at this. I'm ok with our freshwater but not at the saltwater.
<Butterflyfish are not a good choice if you are just getting into salt water, depending on specie, can be difficult to keep alive. I suggest reading here and related articles/FAQ's in the header. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm Another recommended read. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BFsBestWrst.htm >
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Dennis and Patty

Methyl Blue Dip With Achilles Tang/Dips/Baths 4/15/10
Hey guys,
I am getting a 4" Achilles Tang tomorrow direct from Hawaii and I have a QT tank all set up for it.
I also have a Methyl Blue R/O dip waiting. How long should I dip him for.
<Five minutes is fine.>
The water is a dark blue color.
I know you say at least 5 minutes, but I also know that the Achilles is very sensitive. Do you still recommend at least 5 min?
<Sensitive to copper and such. Methylene Blue is relatively non-toxic, safe to use, contains no antagonistic properties.>
Also, how many times should I dip him once in the QT?
One more, Should I dip him before going into my 180g reef tank?
<Mmm, isn't this query what you were alluding to? Yes, one dip, five minutes, then to QT.>
Thanks Guys,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Methyl Blue Dip With Achilles Tang/Dips/Baths  4/16/10
No, should I dip him when I place him in my reef tank to my display tank?
<?? Is the fish going to the reef tank first, then to a display tank?
Original thread states going into the 180 reef.>
I have already dipped him before putting him in my QT tank. Should I dip him again before placing him in my 180g display?
<If the fish looks good coming out of QT, it isn't necessary, will just put additional stress on the fish before going into new surroundings.>
Thanks again,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Methyl Blue Dip With Achilles Tang/Dips/Baths 4/15/10 - 4/17/10
Thanks, sorry about the confusion. Have a great weekend.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

R/O water P/H and Temp adjusted dips 12/16/2009
I'm going through an Ick problem in my 200 gal tank.
I have used your info to set up Hospital tank and saved most of the fish Thanks!
All my problem started with a new quean angel added to tank with no Quarantine.
Below is an email to me from the owner of a major marine store that I bought the new fish from.
Who is correct?
<Each for themselves>
I now do a dip in R/O temp and ph adjusted water and then in Methylene Blue then they go into a tank with heater hang on filter canister with no carbon for 21 days. Below is his answer.
{Yeah do NOT freshwater dip inverts and even with fish I will rarely fw dip as it just adds a lot of stress.
Normally with fish I wait till after its acclimated for at least a day before any dips if I do dip at all}
<Often prudent>
Thanks for all your help!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater Dip Baths 2/8/09 Hi guys. <Hi Sam> I am unable to reconcile Fenner's recommendation to FW dip with the acclimation process (both described in his book CMA). I take a fish home. OK. Why spend the time to acclimate to existing tank water only to FW dip? There must be something that I am missing. <I think we are forgetting quarantine here. Is recommended that new arrivals be quarantined to prevent disease to other fish should the new arrival have an unnoticed parasitical infection. It is during/after this period that the dip bath be performed before moving the fish into the main display. Better to read here also, compare writings. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm Personally, I'm not in favor of dip baths unless I see the need for it, and I'm likely wrong thinking this way but I prefer not to stress out an already stressed out fish if I feel it's not needed. I don't know what your experience level is, but I've got 35+ years under my belt and is perhaps the basis for my decision making, right or wrong. Bottom line, the dip bath will do more good than harm.> Thanks, as always, for your advice. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Sam

Seltzer dip... on Zoanthids?   12/8/08 Dear WWM crew, <Dave> Thank you for your valuable advice and web site. <Welcome> I have a 65 gal w/ 20 gal sump, 4PCs (2 actinic, 2 10000) that has hermits, snails, 2 Zoanthid colonies, a small mushroom, a 5" toadstool leather and a hand full of Chaeto. It's about 10 weeks old. The water chemistry seems pretty stable 76F, 1.045 salinity, <Mmmm... do check... am pretty sure you mean/t 1.025> nitrates 10, nitrites 0, Alkalinity 180, pH about 8.0. I'm doing about a 3 gal water changer per week. <Mmm... I'd change out a larger percentage> In my reading (here and elsewhere), I read about the necessity of giving the Zoas a dip. <?> I posted a few places asking for advice on the seltzer dip (which sounded the least stressful) but didn't get answers until after I went ahead and dipped them (I waited a week, but it was the holidays). The Zoas did not like the seltzer at all. <Not surprising... stings, burns... even the routine, exposure to air is harmful> They closed and started producing a layer of mucus. <Dangerous> I put them at the top of the tank in the high flow area to wash the mucus off and left only the actinic lights on. I left them there for 3 days. Now I've moved them to the bottom of the tank and restarted the 10000 lighting. They haven't opened for a week and still have mucus on them. What should I do? Are they OK? Thanks for the help. Dave <I would not "do" anything further... and I do hope they, your Zoanthids are okay... hopefully they will recover. As a point to browsers/others, I would NOT routinely dip or actually handle Zoanthids much at all... they are amongst the most deadly toxic of marine animals aquarists come in contact with... to their livestock and themselves. Dave, please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/zoanthidcompfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Seltzer dip Thanks for the response. <Welcome David> I'm sorry about the salinity. Yes, it was a typo. It's 1.0245 <Ahh!> As for the dip, I never did a QT dip on the way in, so I was rectifying that. <Mmm... really... can't be done... i.e. no way to rectify once animals are placed, mingled with others in display systems...> I did seltzer but should have done the dip in Lugols. <I see... such Iodine related baths/dips are best done "enroute" twixt moving Cnidarians about... not really advisable as a routine once they are permanently placed. Cheers, BobF> But, anyway, thanks for the advice, Bob.

UPDATE: Freshwater dip - items ejecting from gills? Internal damage done? Holding ones breath for nine minutes... RO water sans O2 4/9/08 Crew - <Joel> I know you've not had a chance to even read my first post, <Mmm, perhaps someone else has responded to this now...> but I'm confused and upset. Sadly, the Paracanthurus did not survive. I feel horrible. In analyzing my every step, I cannot figure out where I failed. The only thing I can think of is that I must've handled the freshwater dip incorrectly. At this point I expect the crew to tell me that the apparent paralysis for the first 5 minutes upon entering the water was a bad sign. When it happened, I recalled Bob's comments on WWM that it's harder on the owner than the fish. <... yes, often the case> I've considered that I raised the PH of the water too high, but my Red Sea tests showed Alkalinity and PH were fine. <What were these values?> The only questionable thing I can find in the analysis of my actions is this: the PH stayed yellow (not on color scale), even after adding Red Sea's buffering agent drops to the gallon <Mmm, would just use baking soda... sodium bicarbonate> or so of RO freshwater. <Stop! You did aerate this I hope/trust... RO water has no dissolved gas... no oxygen...> So I added a few more drops. Barely light purple (just at 8.0). A couple more drops and the color went back to yellow. I decided my buffering agent might be bad and did some reading on your site. I found a crew comment that the PH might not be buffering and it might "bounce back" if I try again. So, I added a few more drops. Still yellow. Finally, I added baking soda and the PH immediately registered between 8.2 and 8.4. <Ah, good> Could I have completely overdone the buffer regardless of the reading? What else could explain the (now apparent) gill damage that I must've done after 9 minutes? <... the RO/dip-bath water must need be aerated... even during such procedures... to provide oxygen> I'm afraid of trying this again and killing another beautiful specimen out of my own stupidity. Please give me some hope that I shouldn't give up. Regards, Joel Pippin <You are not the first case of such troubles... Am wondering if I should re-emphasize the aeration, actually all steps of said protocol/s... with the use of sidebars, lists... Aeration I believe here was the real source of trouble. Bob Fenner>

Re: UPDATE: Freshwater dip - items ejecting from gills? Internal damage done? Note: add emphasis on articles re aerating dip water 4/9/08 Thanks for the reply. I'll look up how to provide continual aeration, but I suppose an airstone in the water before and during the entire procedure would do the trick? <Yes... the RO water is very close to being absolutely "flat"... sans gas, w/o aeration> I've never done any aeration; I buy my fresh and saltwater from the LFS, allowing the saltwater to age... but assuming the vigorous mixing in of the salt at the store is enough aeration. I never knew RO was devoid of gases until now, despite all my reading. Yes, please emphasize this step as you do PH adjustment for us who are <1 year in the hobby. <Will do> Is an airstone the best option here or some other small pump? <A mechanical aerator (pump, tubing, "stone") is best here> Regards, Joel <And you, BobF> Freshwater dip - items ejecting from gills? Internal damage done? Hello Crew! <Joel... is this your prev. email? A bit confusing... as it is coming in some time after the latter...> I've just received a beautiful Indian Yellow Bellied Blue Hippo Tang from LiveAquaria's Diver's Den, and after a drip acclimation of about an hour, I gave her a PH/temp adjusted freshwater dip per the reading I've done here, monitoring closely. I've tried to find information about various fish reactions on the site, but could not find any so I'll ask. The instant she hit the freshwater, she arched to one side and froze in this posture until minute 5. I've seen this before, so I wasn't too shocked. However, at minute 9 of my intended 10, puffs of what I can only describe as "smoke" appeared to come out of her gills. <!?> A took this as one of those "signs of stress" I should be monitoring for, and promptly removed her to the tank where she will be housed. I know opinions vary, but I'm working from Bob's comments in regards to this species and the stress of QT. Okay, so now she's in the tank behind a rock breathing heavily. She shooed away the Skunk Cleaner when he came by, but I noticed one or two more of these "puffs" from her gills, and one had a ting of reddish hue to it. I wasn't overly concerned until the Nassarius snails took an interest and had to be moved away. As you know, being masters of "death notification" in a tank (say, if a Cerith dies), I'm in a bit of a panic. Of course I'll keep to actinics only for awhile and give her a chance to adjust, but should I be worried about internal damage from the dip at this point? She's been panting for an hour. Best Regards, Joel Pippin <I've amended the dip/bath article per our earlier email... to include hopefully adequate emphasis on aeration of the water... BobF>

Dwarf angel compatibility and freshwater dip   8/4/07 Hi Crew! Thanks in large part to you and your incredible website, my 55 gallon marine tank is thriving. Can't thank everyone associated with this site enough. It truly is an amazing resource you provide at no cost to the users. My question. As mentioned, I have a 55 gallon FOWLR tank that has been up and running for about 6 months. Ammonia, Nitrite levels are 0, and Nitrate levels hover between 5-10. Our tank is currently stocked with a Midas Blenny, a pair of tank raised Ocellaris Clowns, and a pair of cleaner shrimp. The Blenny went in first about 2.5 months ago, the shrimp followed, and the Clowns went in about 6 weeks ago. All are well and get along without and problems. I am looking to add our final fish to the tank, a Coral Beauty Angelfish. We have waited to place the angelfish last, as my research has led me to believe he will likely be the most aggressive fish in the tank. We also wanted to have some algae growth for him to eat, although we also plan on providing Nori sheets and angel food formula frozen food. My question is this....my Clowns are small. Purchased at just over an inch in length, and only somewhat bigger at this point. Will putting a Coral Beauty in with the smaller clowns be a problem, despite the fact the Clowns have been established in the tank? Would like opinions as I would hate to have conflict in my peaceful tank. Also, despite the fact the Coral Beauty will spend his time in QT before entering the main tank, I would also like to do a freshwater dip with him...something I haven't done with my other fish. I have read for hours on freshwater dipping here on WWM, but just for my own peace of mind would like reassurance on how long to leave the fish in the dip? Basically, how long is too long? Thank you for your prompt response. Your advice is always so appreciated. Jamie >>>Greetings Jamie, Jim here. The only thing that is all the time, is that NOTHING is all the time. :) I can't promise you that your little angel will leave your clowns alone, but most likely things will be fine. As far as freshwater dipping, NOT a good idea with this species unless you have reason to believe your fish is infected with parasites. I recommend proper quarantine procedure, and upon everything looking fine after 6 weeks or so, gentle acclimation to the tank. Best Regards Jim<<<

Dip Confusion on WWM? Formalin  - 7/4/07 Dear Bob, I was perusing WWM to learn what I can about dips. I'm sure you don't remember, but I asked a few weeks ago for some advice about dipping a newly purchased Atrosalarias fuscus rather than quarantining it, and you advised that rather than quarantine it I should dip with pH adjusted FW dosed with formalin. So I finally found my brown Combtooth blenny today (been looking for weeks at my 4 LFS and this is the first time I have seen one) and am sitting here trying to ensure that I do this right while he is acclimating. I have some RidIch+ (11.52% formalin/malachite green) that I intend to use as directed. I know I won't get a response before I dump him in the tank, but . . . What I found confuses and worries me (that I'm not doing the right thing): In the Dips/Baths article of WWM (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm), I see the following admonition: "4) Formalin and formalin/malachite solutions are probably too dangerous and may well be disallowed by law in your area, they are in California. These cross-link peptides indiscriminately, destroying any and all proteins they come in contact with. In a very real sense, you're poisoning the "good guys" as well as the "bad". Hopefully the latter faster than the former. Due to their narrow range of safety, toxicity to livestock and handler, and legal constraints, I would avoid formalin mixtures for pet-fish applications. Malachite green, zinc-free is no longer even used at most government labs and fish hatcheries." However, in the Formalin/Formaldehyde article (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm), I see this: "Hobbyists are encouraged to buy stock Formalin/Malachite solutions (e.g. Aquarium Product's "Quick Cure", Kordon Corp.s "Rid-Ich+"). * * * Cloze: Until there are better, more specific treatment compounds, immunological agents, "nano-tools" that can single out pathogens, undesirable growths, trigger production of beneficial reactants in vivo, we will be left with semi-selectively poisoning our livestock (and ourselves) in the hopes/efforts of "killing off the bad guys, while preserving the good"... The extreme example of the economic use of formalin is a case in point. With careful, metered exposure, this dangerous compound can indeed be useful in the treatment of infectious, protozoan and metazoan undesirables. Its treatment use should be accompanied by careful, continuous observation, added aeration, monitoring of nitrogenous waste accumulation, and ready access to large water changes." Is it me, or is the advice contained in these two articles contradictory? The former seems to say "stay away from formalin!". The latter seems to say "formalin is dangerous, but it's the best we have right now." <Mmm, does appear "too" contradictory, or at least unclear to me as well... The adverb "probably" is problematical in the first citation... I currently agree with the second Bob Fenner.> Thanks and cross your fingers for me. Andy <Can't do this and key! Bob Fenner>

I thought a Quarantine was a place to dig up rocks! Dip procedures as well    5/3/07 Dear WWM Crew: <Darrel> Somewhere in this mess are a few questions -- I hope it's easier to read than it was to write. <Okay> Ahem.  Once I manage to get a fish to my display tank, it lives in a 0/0/0 (Ammonia, Nitrite & Nitrate) world with 10% water changed every week, lots of varied food to eat and few worries (not sure what a fish WOULD worry about, but there are no sharks, eels, groupers to eat them and no taxes to pay).  There is one little Hawkfish that nipped my clownfish but he will be dealt with -- maybe a stern talking to or possibly a notation on his permanent record that will follow him for the rest of his life. But getting TO my main tank is a tougher road than I'd have expected. At the beginning, the wise, knowledgeable, caring experts at BOTH my LFS advised a 4 day 'waiting period' before placing their fish in my main tank. <At least this is some interval...> Since they know best and have years of experience, I followed their recommendations to the letter.    As you all would expect, after most of  the fish in the main tank died of Ick, a REAL quarantine program was instituted starting with a bare 10 gallon tank/hood/heater and HOB Whisper filter. <Mas mejor... Much better> Never wanting to see or hear about Ick ever again, this tank was treated with Copper Power (chelated copper) as per manufacturer's instructions.  But good luck getting a Nitrogen Cycle started in a copper treated tank. <Or sustain such...>   Maybe some people can but I never could. <Me neither>   This meant 3-4 10% water changes every week, which means re-dosing the copper -- <Yes> and with the test kits available to the hobby trade it's like playing Russian Roulette with an automatic pistol.   I've tried all the major brands and their test kits and in my actual surveys 8 out of 10 people can't read the difference between the three shades on their respective color charts that differentiate between  TOO LOW--JUST RIGHT--LETHAL. <Agreed... but there are better, useful kits...> I lost enough fish to copper toxicity that I've decided to swear off Copper until I can obtain research grade tools. (working on that one already!) <See Hach, LaMotte... they have reasonable-cost assays...> MEANWHILE .... I'm committed to an eight minute Freshwater dip upon initial acquisition -- with my only reservation being that all the emphasis on SLOW ACCLIMATION is tossed out the window with this method, isn't it? <Mmm, no> Also, no buts about it … 30 DAYS from the last sign of ANYTHING before they see my main tank.   The thirty days of boredom rule will also be absolute. <Javul!> Which leaves me with two choices: 1) A 'normal' water setup for that 30 days with nothing but observation (other than the dip) 2) Hyposalinity for 30 days in a proactive effort to stave off parasites. If I'm thinking correctly (and no that doesn't happen as often as I'd like) - unlike with copper or any medications,  either of these options would allow a filter with activated carbon, Bio-Chem-Zorb or Chemipure or Purigen or anything I need to keep the water pristine, wouldn't they? <Could> A) Would you recommend a hyposalinity quarantine for us newbies or just regular saltwater? <For most species of fishes, all invertebrates, algae... regular> B) Is there a pretty accurate list of fishes that can't tolerate 1.010 ? <Have never encountered such> C) While we're at it, a list of fishes that can't tolerate a FW dip or maybe a duration/time table for various fishes? Regards as always, Darrel <Mmm, much more than this to it... A need to as smartly apply your observation, judgment re the apparent state of health of said incoming fishes... and to bear close watch on their progress during the (aerated) dip/bath procedure... to remove to the system with full spg if/when too much stress is obvious... if so. Bob Fenner> Dips, Hippos  - 05/01/07 Dear WetWeb, I have been reading on hippo tangs and Am confused. Because I read in you info about hippos that you should fresh water dip them and then place them into the display tank. I thought that this web site strongly believed in the QT. Please help me try to understand why you should not QT a fish that is so prone to illness. Jeff <Read on! Some fishes are better not dipped... for what apparent good it will do them, you... versus the stress and strain, likely induced problems from said procedure... Keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater dips with Methylene Blue 5/1/07 Hi there,  Whomever is polite enough to respond to my question. <Hello> I have been doing some reading, probably not as much as I should, but at least a fair attempt at it anyways, on ick. From what I've read Bob himself is not really an advocate of hyposalinity as a treatment. And I believe I understand his take on it being a result of inconsistency in the results. However freshwater dips seems to be a preferred method of treatment when used with Methylene Blue.  <FW dips are helpful but rarely a treatment in and of themselves.  The problem with hyposalinity is that it needs to be closely monitored.  If the SG gets too high it is ineffective and too low and it get too hard on the fish.  However with some fish that are very sensitive to copper it is a viable option.> There seems to be those who advocate one or the other, but not both. <Some, not me however.>  And those who advocate hypo definitely will not budge towards FW dips, basically because the stress the dips can cause on the fish at hand. <Yes, but some people like to ignore the fact that anything but natural SG is stressful.> However it is my belief that hypo can also be stressful in some fish. And is a long 3 week duration of being in a specific gravity relatively close to freshwater as it is. The stress of the dip is mainly derived from the sudden change in specific gravity, correct? <Yep, and pH and temperature shock if not properly prepared.>   Methylene blue helps this stress out, correct? Wouldn't the dip be a shorter duration of stress? <Yes, but a higher stress level, if a fish is very sick this shock can be fatal, but in reality only in fish that probably not have survived anyways.> This may sound like a crazy idea, and tell me if it is. I am not really wanting to attempt this but just curious about possible methods of providing total elimination of the parasite from an infected fish. Because a single freshwater dip with Methylene blue will not totally eradicate all crypt, what about a series of these dips, say like one a day for a period of time, each time placing the fish in a different QT using aged, matched SW. To prevent reinfection from the Qt the fish was previously in. I don't mean necessarily a whole string of tanks, 2 should do. Sanitizing the tank the fish was previously in, then making it ready for the next dip.  <An very good way to do it, but beyond most people's ability and effort.   Steven Pro's excellent article has a bit on this method.   http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.php .> So if you don't think I'm nuts for this, do you think it's a viable option for a treatment? <Absolutely.> How many dips would it take and for how long for it to be an effective treatment to provide complete eradication? <Probably looking at a couple of weeks, although on your first attempt I would probably go a little longer.>  Would this be more stressful to the fish if done correctly? <Yes, would be stressful, but is all relative.>  Matching all water chemistry, avoiding nets, etc?  <Any time you net a fish it is stressful, and you do it often in this method, so there is one downside.> Thank you so much for your patronage. You do not know how much help you wonderful site is to this aquarist. (and countless others) Charlie <Thanks> <Chris>

Question regarding ph of freshwater for SW dips  - 4/10/07 Bob, I was going to take a pass at this, but not being a (tropical) marine  fish guru, I hesitated. My assumption would be that an approximate pH would do, in which case making up freshwater using Tanganyikan pH 9.0 / Malawi pH 8.0 buffer  would be fine for this purpose. That would get the pH and TDS "close  enough for government work". <Yes, very likely so... in fact... if the Querior had continued to simply aerate the water with either the sodium bicarbonate alone, or the commercial buffer, the pH would settle near 7.8 for the first... 8.4 or so for the latter> So going from 8.4 to 8.0 surely wouldn't  be enough to kill a marine fish. Especially not if we're already  doing the salinity shock treatment here anyway. <We are in agreement> I'm basing this on the logic behind marine dips for freshwater fish,  which is basically add marine mix or (iodine-free) cooking salt to a  bucket of aquarium water. Cheers, Neale <And to you, BobF>

Re: Adjusting Ph of de-ionized water for FW-Dip 4/11/07 Hi, <I'll summarize, since our server just erased the paragraph I typed to you on my lunch-break at work. Drop a line back with the names of the buffering products you are using, and try to familiarize yourself with the differences between de-ionized water and tapwater, specifically lack of buffering capacity.> I have a basic question that has been a major point of frustration for me.   I'm trying to do freshwater dips on marine fish, and am having MAJOR problems controlling PH when I try to adjust the freshwater from 7 to 8-8.4.  I've searched and read many FAQs on WetWeb, but haven't seen any that dealt with my problem - this makes me think I'm doing something obviously wrong, but just can't seem to figure out what.  I've had a coral reef tank for several years, and have never had problems controlling the ph on it, but I would like to be able to do freshwater dips on new fish (currently, I'm only able to quarantine because I can't properly ph-adjust my freshwater).   I start with freshwater obtained from a R/O with Deion canister.      I  aerate my R/O water to get rid of the Co2 and get a ph of right around 7.0.  I also use a TDS meter to ensure that the TDS of my freshwater is below 4 PPM.  (it usually is either 0 or 1 - the TDS from my R/O-Deion seems to be a little lower in PPM than store-bought distilled water).    So, I start with freshwater with a ph of 7.0, and around 0-1 ppm in TDS.   I then try to buffer the water up to around 8.0 - 8.4 and this is where I have my problem.  No mater what buffer I use (baking soda oar marine buffer from multiple manufacturers, or products designed for adjusting the ph up or down) I always WAY overshoot the PH.  Usually, the PH slams from 7.0 to right up to 9.0-11.0.   I've used multiple PH meters/pens to measure the PH, and these have been calibrated repeatedly with calibration solutions, and they seem to read saltwater fine.  I've tried different canisters of the buffers (to eliminate bad batches)    I've tried slowly adding the buffers (i.e., just a few grains at a time) to the freshwater, but I just can't seem to get a ph of 8-8.4.   The ph starts to move off of 7.0, but then it suddenly jumps to 9.0 or higher.  I've tried to lower the ph by adding more freshwater and even bubbling CO2 (from a calcium reactor), but I just can't seem to get the granularity of control on the ph - it seems to jump by 2 or 3 points even when I make small adjustments - targeting the 8-8.4 range seems extremely difficult.  (I think I'd have problems getting my freshwater to the 8-8.4 range if I spent an entire day in the attempt).    The volume of the freshwater I'm working with ranges from 1-5 gallons. However, when I try making adjustments to saltwater - either freshly mixed or from my tank, I seem to have no problems - the buffers seem to work properly and don't give me the large ph swings.  This makes me think I'm doing something wrong with freshwater I'm using, but I have no idea what it is.   Either that or all of my ph meters/pens aren't reading the ph of freshwater correctly (although I doubt this, because they all read the same values for the freshwater when I'm attempting the ph-adjust, and they calibrate correctly). From the FAQs/files on WetWeb, it looks like the freshwater, ph-adjusted dips should be easy and trivial to perform, but the ph-adjusting step has proven to be almost impossible for me to control.   My questions are: 1) Is ph-adjusting freshwater really this difficult?  Shouldn't the buffers just move the ph to the 8-8.4 range and avoid under/overshooting unless greatly under/overdosed? 2) If ph-adjusting IS really this difficult, what am I doing wrong that can be corrected? 3) If ph-adjusting ISN'T supposed to be difficult, any ideas on what's causing my problems? Thanks! -- Tony <Welcome, sorry for the web-trouble! -GrahamT>
Re: Adjusting Ph of de-ionized water for FW-Dip (reprise) 4/11/07
Wet Web Crew, Thanks for the response.   <Welcome. Sorry again for the curt reply. I was at work and the server cut me off mid-reply. That'll learn me to use an external word processor to do my editing.> Here are the products I've tried: - baking soda (sodium bicarbonate - Arm and Hammer) - Reef Buffer (SeaChem) - Marine buffer (SeaChem) - marine aquarium buffer (Kent) - proper PH 8.2 - several others <Mmm-hmm.> I realize that the products I'm using are probably working properly (and I think they are - they seem to work fine in saltwater both fresh mixed and from my tank) and that its something I'm probably doing incorrectly.   You mention that I should familiarize myself with the buffering capacity of deionized - I believe I have (I know that deionized water has almost no buffering capacity).  My problem is even after doing a large amount of web/WetWeb searching and trial/error, I can't figure out why I'm having so much difficulty with the 'ph-adjusting' step of a freshwater dip - if you combine the research and freshwater attempts I've made, I've easily put in weeks of time on this problem.    <I think there is someone here (on WWM) that could explain the chemistry behind this better than I. I won't get into that. The way I go about adjusting de-ionized water for FW-Dips is to use API "Ph Adjuster" and "Electro-right". I originally used these products on a lark because they were packaged with my D.I. filter, but they worked! AS with any Ph adjustment, however, you need to be patient while the water stabilizes. You can't expect to change the Ph of the water (any water) as quickly as the stuff dissolves. It takes time for the water to reach equilibrium. I think I did this a few times when I was first trying the FW-Dip without a stable, Ph-adjusted source of water that had been that way for a few days. I tried to adjust, waited a few minutes for the test results to develop and added more buffer, thus over-dosing.> Your response implies that you know what is causing my problem - can you tell me what you think is causing my problem ph-adjusting the deionized water?   <Sorry, I didn't mean to sound like I knew what was up and didn't feel like sharing. Not the case at all.> Should I be using tap water instead of deionized water - is that the cause of my problem?.   <Could, the Dip doesn't last long enough for any contaminants to do any real harm, but we usually try to make this as stress-less as possible, so I think you are doing the right thing by using treated water. Perhaps you could try skipping the D.I> stage?> Or is the ph-adjusting step of a freshwater dip actually a very complex and extremely difficult thing to complete (I doubt that it is - I think I'm missing something extremely simple)? <I think you already know more about adjusting Ph than me, so you're off to a good start.> Thanks! -- Tony <Good luck! -GrahamT>

Lugol's Solution/Dip 4/7/07 James go Hi Mark here, <James with you today, Mark.> I am trying to disinfect some coral before putting them in QT then on into the main tank. I did a long search on how to perform a Lugol's dip but couldn't find anything. I also went out on the web, and mainly only found information on products with no specific directions, or they were vague as to how to mix and which corals could be dipped and which not, except zoas and Acro's and monti's. Im a total newbie at this so please try to be patient and kind I only have soft corals including shrooms, Kenya Tree, and two photosynthetic gorg.s. So I would like to know how to perform a Lugol's dip 1.) How do you mix? How much Lugol's solution to how much water 2.) What corals can be dipped? I am speaking of all softies Kenya Tree, shrooms and gorg.s. 3.) For how long should the dip be preformed for each coral. 4.) After the dip should I rinse in fresh SW temp, PH matched afterwards or not, or straight to QT? 5.) Will Lugol's solution also disinfect macroalgae? <No.> If there is anything else I am missing in my questions or information which I need to know please feel free to add it in. <Mark, I would get this idea out of your head.  Lugol's is a very concentrated solution and is quite easy to overdose.  You may be causing more harm than good.  The iodine content in seawater averages around 0.064ppm.  As you can see, a very low concentration.  Corals absorb this element and it is known to be beneficial to them.  Higher amounts can have drastic effects to their health. Do read/learn more about corals and their health before attempting anything like this.  Is much better/safer just to quarantine the corals before adding to your display tank.  Most dealers do not keep their corals with fish, so chances of any parasitic disease being introduced into the display are low to non-existent.  I have never quarantined a coral, but again, corals that I buy come from dedicated coral systems.> Thank you <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Mark

Lugol's Solution/Dip 4/7/07 Bobs go Hi crew!  Mark here, I am trying to disinfect some coral before putting them in QT then on into the main tank. I did a long search on how to perform a Lugol's dip but couldn't find anything, I also went out on the web, and mainly only found information on products with no specific directions, or they were vague as to how to mix and which corals could be dipped and which not, except zoas and Acro's and monti's. Im a total newbie at this so please try to be patient and kind <Mmm... I would use a "stock solution" of Lugol's... at a strength of two drops per gallon of dip... lower the specific gravity of the dip water (from your current main display)... by a couple of thousandths from ambient (likely to 1.023) and move these Octocorals IN water into the dip water... and out five minutes later... IN water (don't worry re the Iodine move...) to the new digs> I only have soft corals including shrooms, Kenya tree, and two photosynthetic gorg.s. So I would like to know how to perform a Lugol's dip 1.) How do you mix? How much Lugol's solution to how much water 2.) what corals can be dipped I am speaking of all softies Kenya tree, shrooms and gorg.s. <All of these> 3.) For how long should the dip be preformed for each coral. 4.) After the dip should I rinse in fresh SW temp, PH matched afterwards or not, or straight to QT? <Straight> 5.) Will Lugol's solution also disinfect macroalgae? <Can, yes> 6.) Can a gorgonian be dipped or not? <Can> If there is anything else I am missing in my questions or information which I need to know please feel free to add it in. Thank you kindly Mark <We've (WWM) gots to get some pieces on Iodine/ide/ate use penned, placed... including addending the dip/bath files... Bob Fenner>

Freshwater Dip 3/29/07 Hey WetWeb Media, <Hi> I've got a couple of questions with dips and buffering the fresh water before you top off your tank with fresh water. <Ok> First, tell me if I'm going about this the right way with dips, do you float the fish in QT while they are still in the bag to equal out the temps, then get the freshwater dip ready.  <You want the dip water and bag water to match temperature, floating them in the QT while preparing the dip is a good way to do this.> I was going to use a 5 gallon bucket, next put some buffer (Baking Soda) the water to about 8.0 pH. <Ideally 8.3, but try to match what the bag water is at.>  Next place Methylene Blue in the bucket until the water is a deep blue. <Follow the directions on the packaging, but tough to overdose this stuff.>  While all of this is going on make sure the water is around the same temp as my QT. <Close as possible.>  Does this sound ok so far. <Yep>  Then take fish out of bag and place him in the dip solution. And I was going to keep him there for about 3 min's.  Then I would remove the fish and place them into QT. This then would start my QT process.  <Yep> Please let me know if this is not a sound practice. Next I would like to know if keeping your freshwater you top off with buffered at 8.0 pH while it is in the trashcan I use to keep freshwater in is a sound practice.  <Yep, although you should aim for closer to 8.3.>  Because my water is RO water is at 7.4PH when it comes out of the RO maker. I was going to use baking soda to buffer it to 8.0 pH. Would this be a sound practice or is this just a waist of my time. <Important, not a waste of time, pH stability is very important.>  I have not had a problem with my tank water yet. Just wondering if this would be a good practice. <Yes.>  PS I would not go anywhere else for info this site is  excellent!!!!! <Thanks> Thanks Jeff <Please see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm and associated FAQs for more.> <Chris>

Anthony Question on Hypo and FW Dips  - 3/12/07 Hi Anthony... <Mmm, not here... maybe try him at Marine Depot, or Reading Trees (.coms)> you recently has a conversation with some friends of mine when you appeared in Florida and mentioned that you don't think hyposalinity is a viable option for treating ich. I've also read where you don't feel that Greenex should be used in treatments. Yet, Bob has stated that Greenex actually works to offset some of the negative aspects of Formalin treatment. <What? ...Malachite and Formalin ARE Greenex... The former does nothing to "offset" the latter... both are harsh, toxic... more so together than separately> I've also noticed that Steven Pro highly recommends hyposalinity as a treatment for ich. Wow, so confusing! We met at IMAC last year. I own Sea in the City in Orlando (you encouraged me to frag my red carpet anemone...which I did with great results by the way;) and I've been working to get away from using copper in my fish displays (I have quarantine/hospital setups in use) and have settled on oversized UV, Ozone and lowered salinity (1.20) in the tanks. <Good approaches...> I dip all fish that can tolerate freshwater in a 5 gallon bucket with a heater, bubbler and PH adjustment that contains Formalin and Greenex (1-3 minutes). <Good... though I/we mainly just used Formalin... for decades> I then move them to same setup on the bucket but with salt water, Formalin and Methyl Blue (30+ minutes). <Neat> I'm having excellent success with this (pulled from some of Bob's suggestions in "Conscientious Marine Aquarist") but now have some hesitation after reading some of your WWM replies regarding Greenex. So, can you help me out with some qualifying info? Thanks and hope all is well with you. Marcye <Do please give the URL/s a once-over and write me back re your concerns. Bob Fenner>

Tang and Mandarin in QT Formalin use   2/6/07 Greetings, <Tom> Last Friday I bought a small, 2 1/2", Chevron Tang and a Mandarin Dragonet. Both are active, feeding, and appeared healthy.  I normally buy only one fish at a time, but the LFS is a long drive for me so I went ahead with the purchase since both looked like exceptional specimens.  I put both fish into the only QT tank (10G) that I have, even though I know that their QT and medication needs are different.  Since the Tang had been at the LFS for a couple of weeks I hoped the risk of an outbreak was low.  I put pod-loaded LR and Chaeto from my fuge into the QT for the Mandarin, and he was actively picking at it. Sure enough, after a day in QT the Tang has a major ich breakout, and there are also a few cysts on the Mandarin's head.  I've been able to clear the symptoms with a Quick Cure formalin treatment, <As a dip/bath I hope> and will continue as directed, but  I've gone a little light on the formalin dose since Mandarin's are sensitive.  The concern now is that the Mandarin will either not get enough to eat during the treatment/QT phase, or have a problem with the formalin. <Too likely both> Today is day three of the formalin treatments and the Mandarin's belly is already looking thin. <Bingo> So my question is, what is my best course of action now? <... to not expose them any further to the Formalin... to proffer live foods... to have moved the fishes into a new volume (dumping, sterilizing the infested QT...)> Once the Mandarin is cyst-free for a couple of days, should I dip him and place him in the display tank (135G reef) or fuge (15G) so he can get a meal? <A possibility... your gauging of risk of vectoring> I did place more LR in the fuge, with the intent of putting it in the QT for the Mandarin to feed on but I don't think that will sustain him long. <Not likely, but worthwhile IMO> The Tang is eating fine in QT, and can/will stay for a few weeks. Cheers, Tom <A tough one... up to you to guess/judge... Again, I would NOT have placed Formalin in the actual system itself, but used this product for an extended bath only; moving the fishes to new digs. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tang and Mandarin in QT, more on Formalin, Dips  2/7/07 Hi Bob, <Tom> Thank you for the quick advice...I sure do appreciate this and all the effort put into WWM.  Our fish, corals, and other inverts appreciate it too...nothing like having a healthy, growing reef at home. <A pleasure to assist your efforts> After reading your reply, I cleaned/sterilized the QT and refilled it half and half with fresh SW mix (aged/aerated 2 days) and established SW from the display tank.  I guess the only way crypt can get back into the QT is if it's still on these fish, or if it exists in our display tank. <Exactly> I put the Tang and Mandarin back in the QT after a FW dip. Temp & pH matched but they seemed to be stressing, I hope 3 minutes was enough time in the FW. <Mmm... maybe, hopefully> Also put live rock in to help feed the Mandarin and since the QT sponge filter was sterilized. Both fish appear to be eating again. <A good sign> Anything else you would recommend I do at this point, besides wait and see? <No... just this> I hope I don't need to treat again with formalin, but in case I do, I have related questions. From reading WWM it looks like the recommended formalin strength for dips/baths is around 10x the recommended PPM dose for continuous immersion, but I don't understand how to apply this dose with QuickCure. <Is a bit of a guess... stock solutions of Formalin are 37% or so... you'd have to find out, do the C1/C2 = V1/V2 equation... where C means concentration, V, volume... as in drops, drops per...> Their instructions call for 1 drop per gallon for continuous immersion treatment, but there is no information on the label that says how strong their product is.  So should I simply use that 10x multiplier to make a strong enough dip treatment, meaning 10 drops per gallon? <Likely is a safe bet... along with your constant observation AND aeration during immersion (there is severe lack of respiration issues here...)> I'm hoping you can give me a guideline of how much QuickCure to use for a formalin dip treatment. <Well... I'd rather refer you to WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm and the linked FAQs file above... and encourage you to just get/use a straight Formalin product (see them listed?)> And should I make the formalin dip using SW, or FW? <IMO pH-adjusted FW> And just to make sure I do this right, how many minutes should be an effective dip for these particular fish? Thanks again, Tom <Five or so minutes if they can "stand it". Bob Fenner>

Tang and Mandarin in QT - 02/11/2007 Hi Bob, <Tom> A follow up email to this thread.  Both fish seemed to do well this week in QT, active and feeding.  As of yesterday morning the Mandarin still had visible cysts but the Tang had looked clean for at least five days, checked with a magnifying glass.  The Tang had been very active, bright, and feeding at every opportunity... just a real nice specimen that was fast becoming a new favorite.  Today the Mandarin also looked clean so I thought a second round of sterilizing their QT, along with another a dip, would really help knock out the Crypt infestation these fish came home with. <Good move> I prepped a 2 gallon FW dip, matched the temperature and pH, and added 14 drops of QuickCure... which was less than the 10 drops per gallon I had planned on.  I wanted to be careful.  With the fish holding in an insulated bucket of their QT water, I aerated the dip for 20 minutes while I cleaned their QT.  I then rechecked the temperature and pH of the dip, the bucket, and the QT.  All looked good so I put the fish in the dip. The Mandarin did fine for the full 5 minutes and is back in the QT, picking at fresh live rock from the fuge. Sadly, it didn't go so well with the Tang.  It looked OK in the dip for about 3 1/2 minutes, then suddenly laid over and stopped breathing.  I immediately placed it back in the clean QT but it didn't recover.  What did I do wrong? <... impossible to be sure... You were aerating the dip during this time? Tangs and relatives are sensitive to low DO... and the formalin (and to a lesser extent the MG) make using oxygen much harder... Could be "stress"...> There has to be a lesson here, as I never want to repeat today's experience with the dip. Thanks, -Tom <Sorry for the loss... and/but thank you for sharing... Will accrue/post with others' experience. BobF>

Tang and Mandarin in QT, Cont'd - 02/11/2007 Hi Bob, <Tom> Had an airstone bubbling in the dip container before and during the dip. <I see> It does make it harder to observe the fish through the surface agitation so I used a drinking glass as a sort of viewer. <Good technique> All I can figure is to stay away from formalin dips with a fish sensitive to DO levels, or maybe the QuickCure dip was too strong. <Maybe... again... I have use MANY gallons of 37% (food grade) formaldehyde/formalin) for such dips/baths... But do not encourage folks to use the combination with Malachite Green... you will see this stated and re-stated through the pertinent parts of WWM, articles and books I have penned> The Tang had done well with QuickCure immersion levels, but in the dip it keeled over like it had a heart attack. <... a possibility>   Which was totally unexpected given the apparent health of the fish before the dip.  If anything, I had expected a problem with the Mandarin. Anyhow, I did have one last question about FW/medicated dips.  I read that the Crypt parasite is encysted and protected under layers of fish slime, <Can be to degrees> and is generally not effectively medicated at this life cycle stage.   <This is so> How is it that a FW dip can get to it in the cyst, if medication typically can't be effective until Crypt reaches the free-swimming stage? Thanks,  -Tom <Mmm, mainly a/the issue of more surface organisms (not clinically observable ones... that is, not fish hosts showing actual "spots"... which require treatment elsewhere... But an issue of excluding non-trophonts... in the water associated with the incoming fishes... Yes... more of an osmotic barrier/transition "dip" than a bath. Bob Fenner>

Re: tang parasite? FW dip Q.   2/4/07 after more consideration and a little improvement, I decided on a FW dip.  took my time balancing temp and ph. I only let him go 3 minutes.  WWM is VERY right about the dip being so stressful on the owner, but I wanted to ask:  Is it normal for the fish to stop swimming and just lay down? <Yes, very common> he did that quite a few times and I would just prod him along with my hand, he would swim a little and then stop all tensed up and fall over on his side.  by the time 3 minute came around he wouldn't respond to stimulation from my hand and he was turning colors so I had to stop. <BobF>

Dips   1/7/07 Hello. <'Allo Josh! > I enjoy your site very much. <Very good to hear. Hard work and long hours, etc.> I have been reading dips/baths for a few days now and have came up with some questions... I see that Methylene Blue and freshwater seems to be a good dip for marine fish.. <Right...> I dosed my tank with Quick Cure and my fish all died within a few days. <Hmm, I'm sure you said you READ the info on dips and baths... and assume you must have thought to search for this medication here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/formalinfaqs.htm > would quick cure be better used as a dip then to quarantine or should I just use the methylene blue and freshwater approach ? <Quick cure is not a dip, and will be best utilized in a QT. Yes, stick with the MB/FW dip and QT for 4 weeks prior to addition in display tank. -Graham T.>

Use of Methylene Blue in Freshwater Dip for Dogface Puffer  - 10/28/06 Greetings, <Hi there> I'm involved in recovery from a disaster of my own making.  Having been in the hobby (fresh water and more recently marine) for a number of years and an avid supporter of isolation tanks <A good term> for new livestock, I violated protocol and ended up introducing marine velvet in a 125 G FOWLR.   Why?  Bad judgment.  A mail order specimen of a pink tail trigger shipped larger than I expected, too large (I thought) for the 20L isolation tank I've used for years.  Though he looked completely clear, obviously, he wasn't.  Velvet is a nasty and ruthless disease and it killed all but one of the fish in that tank within a week.  The sole survivor was a Picasso trigger.  I've never had a disease ravage a tank like that, fresh or marine, and I know better than to do what I did.   Took me awhile to recover from what I'd inflicted on those other fish, but I'm going to give this another shot.   The FOWLR tank has been fallow for 2 months now.  Parameters are good.  My first candidate, a dogface puffer, is arriving tomorrow.  His quarantine tank is set up, temp adjusted, proper salinity, etc.  He has a fresh water dip awaiting him as well.  The dip is Ph adjusted, heated properly and equipped with air stone as RO water is used.   In four weeks, he is to be my canary in the 125.  With a bit of luck, a very long lived canary.  Perhaps I should consider a larger quarantine tank at some point.  I hate to give up that 20, though, since you can do a 50% change with just a couple of buckets of water. My question is this.  Many of the threads on this site recommend use of Methylene Blue as an additive to the FW bath for both oxygenation and anti-whatever (parasite, bacteria, etc). <Mmm, yes... and light-reduction as well>   However, I seem to remember that dyes can be rough on scaleless fishes from one thread but darn if I can find it again. <"There are dyes and there are dyes..." Metal dyes by and large should be avoided... Methylene Blue is not one of these>   Should I use the dye, resort to weak formalin or just use the fresh water alone on this specimen? <Let's see... with a nod to remembering that many people will read/use this... If you were in "the trade", and/or handling a bunch of specimens (even Puffers), I would use dilute formalin in the mix here... But for the vast majority of hobbyist circumstances/occasions, Methylene Blue is all I would add... very safe, effective. Formalin... a toxic bio-cide...>   I have not used dipping as part of my protocol in the past and I'd like to get this correct.  Secondly, I'm curious as to whether repeated dips (3 - 5 over 7 days) are advisable during quarantine or should this practice be used only during treatment of a suspected infestation? <Much more of the latter. There are easier considerations one can make re the apparent and real benefits of re-dipping versus the damage, stress...> Many thanks for your time and the information that you've compiled for our use.  Our critters are most rewarding when happy, well fed and disease free and you help keep them that way. <Thank you. We are in full agreement here. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater Dip on Cleaner Wrasse? 9/25/06 As I last reported, a heater gone awry caused the temp in my 75g reef to shoot up to 89F. As I feared, signs of Cryptocaryon appeared within a day or two afterward (probably more from the trip back down than the trip up?). <Either is stressful.> I've now done freshwater dips (which I first read about on WWM a couple of years back) on the 3 tangs and the maroon clown, and all are now in the quarantine tank in Cu solution for the next 2 weeks, to be followed by another 4 weeks in the QT w/o the copper, to allow the main tank to fallow out. <Too many big fish in this tank, part of your problem.> I've had to do this before, (2 of these fish have actually gone through it themselves previously) and know that this course of action generally works. <Yep> Just a pain in the neck. <Yep>(Incidentally, I found over a year ago, after having had a number of fish go into terrible spasms following the dip, that the fish seem to have much less stress from the FW dips (I do 2-5 min, depending on the fish, with 1 drop of Formalin per 10 oz of water added for good measure, with of course the pH and temp of the FW being the same as the SW, and having first aerated the FW for a good while), if upon removal from the FW, I first put them into a low salinity solution (1/2 tank water/ 1/2 FW) for 5 minutes, before returning them to "straight" salt water. They just always seemed to get stressed out more from the return to the salt water than they did from going into the FW. Anyway, since I've been doing it that way, I've never lost a fish, and indeed they usually seem to come out of it fairly calmly afterward, even sometimes begging for food an hour or two after the dip. Sorry. Rambling. My question is, I have a cleaner wrasse, which I've had for over a year. He has something of an identity crisis, in that he's always been much more interested in eating anything and everything rather than parasites. <Fortunate, 90% die within a year from starvation.> He gobbles up whatever I put into the tank, be it flake food, pellets, frozen, or even green algae sheets! (He is, indeed, an actual cleaner wrasse, and has been picking a bit at the ich on 2 of the tangs over the past few days, although he's always refused to service the hippo tang). <Ich is not a natural food for these animals.> At any rate, he's not very effective at his job. <Would be if fish suffered from Isopods, their normal prey.> So now I'm wondering: if I remove him as well, to insure a genuine fallow period, can a cleaner wrasse withstand a freshwater dip?? <Probably, but freshwater dips are not very effective against Ich, so I would probably skip it.>  I've read that some fish, (Mandarins?), can't tolerate the dip. <Most do fine, but there are some exceptions.> Or should I maybe just leave him to remain in the main tank for the 6 week fallow? <Then the tank would not be fallow, self-defeating.> I'm certainly not worrying about him dying of starvation. Once all the fish are out and in quarantine, I plan to follow your  advice and start to work on designing some kind of refugium, as the brown slime AKA snot algae continues to grow (overnight!) like crazy, no matter what I do. <Will help.> Thanks much for your help! RickG <Chris>

Fresh Water Dips 9/13/06 Bob and Staff - <Hi> I'd first like to thank you for such an informative site. <Thanks for using it.>  I recently  ran  into a problem with ick  and according to your web site you advise dipping new fish in fresh water before putting them in quarantine.  I  get my fish from a wholesaler who keeps their salinity at 1.010 (yes I know that  is low) - I keep mine at 1.020. <Low too>  When should I give them the freshwater dip; after I acclimate them to my water settings or should I dip them first? <The FW dip should match you tank water in everything except salinity.  Ph, and temperature should match, so acclimating to the tank is acclimating it to the FW dip.>  Or is it too much stress on them to dip at all?   Thanks for your help. Jim H. <For ich I do not fresh water dip, not really that effective in my opinion.  Better off just going with copper or hyposalinity treatment.  The dip is quite effective for some other illnesses, in these cases dip before QT.> <Chris>

Acclimation  8/28/06 Hi Bob and Crew ! <Greg> After losing several fish over my short stint in marine aquarium keeping due to parasites, bacterial infections etc. (all while in quarantine I might add); I have decided to change my acclimation technique.  In the past I have not utilized any dips or baths.  Simply matched salinity and PH of quarantine tank to bag water, floated bag to equalize temperature while aerating bag and adding a couple of drops of Amquel to detoxify any ammonia in bag.  I would then slowly add QT water to bag, and after about an hour and a half net the specimen and add to the QT.  Like I mentioned, I have lost several fish while in quarantine to ich and other "diseases" I'd say about 50% of my fish never made it to my display tank. <Yikes>   I've always known about freshwater dips, and tried it once, but I think it was one of those intolerant fishes which "freaked out" in the freshwater dip, and ended up dying later in quarantine, so I was always hesitant to try it again.  Now I am determined to give it another try.  I researched the "guerilla " acclimation procedure described by Bob here on the WWM, and have come up with a plan I would like to "run past you," because I have a few uncertainties. <Let's clear them up> I plan to bring future fish home and begin as before by floating the bag in the QT.  I will test the bag water and match my QT and Dip(s) mixtures to it's salinity and PH.  My "guerilla" dip mixture will consist of:  2 1/2 gallons of aerated salt water that matches the salinity of the bag water; (I am assuming this dip can't be freshwater, because in the "guerilla" write-up, it says to leave fish in the mix for 15 minutes to 1 hour+).  To the water I will add: Novaqua (1tsp), Kordon Methylene Blue (1/4 tsp), Mardel Maracide (1/2 tsp.), Mardel Maracyn (1/16 tsp powder from packet which is close to a standard aquarium dose).  I will slowly begin to add this dip mix to the floating bag, and then transfer the fish to the dip after about an hour (without any of the bag water entering the dip.)  I plan to leave the fish in the dip mix for an hour, but will watch carefully for signs of stress.   After the medicated saltwater bath, would it be beneficial (or wise) to remove the fish to a short freshwater dip before placing in quarantine?  (I am thinking maybe up to 10 minutes based on how the fish reacts); or do you thing going from one dip to the next would cause too much stress and be detrimental. <I would, and for almost all species do, run the fishes through a pH adjusted FW bath enroute here.> Thanks much for your help, I love your website! Greg <Thank you for being part of it. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Your Advice Re: Freshwater Dips  8/28/06 Hello, <Hi there!> I am a moderator on the website www.manhattanreefs.com.  A new member is saying that your website is suggesting freshwater dipping of marine fish.   http://www.manhattanreefs.com/forum/general-discussion/15710-fresh-water-dip-bath.html Is this true? <Yes it is true for certain circumstances/conditions.> I look forward for your answer. Shaun Walters, Ph.D. <HTH, Leslie>

Freshwater Dips and Black Spot Disease  - 08/26/06 Hello, <Hi there> I'm looking for help in treating black spot disease in my 90 gallon fish only quarantine tank. It has been running for 6 months now. I'm using a Marineland Emperor 400 for filtration and a couple of powerheads for circulation. The water parameters are at 0 ppm for ammonia and nitrites, 8.2 for Ph and around 10-15ppm for nitrates. The water temperature is kept around 80.5 degrees. For the past 8 weeks, I have kept a white-faced surgeonfish, a black percula clownfish, a lawnmower blenny, a royal Gramma, and a firefish in this tank. Over the last 2 weeks, I have lost a black percula clownfish and a Lubbock's wrasse. Up until the 24 hours before they died, both of them were active and eating well. However, since I purchased the fish, some of them have been breathing slightly heavier than normal, and when the 2 fish died, their breathing was rapid. <Mmm, not usually a symptom of Paravortex parasitization> I haven't been able to see any noticeable signs of disease on any of the fish other than the white-faced surgeonfish, who had visible tiny black spots on his body. For 8 weeks, the fish have been treated with (nonchelated?) copper from the Red Sea test kits. <Oh, is a symptom of copper stress> I've kept it at .15-.20ppm; the last few weeks I've kept it closer to .15ppm. The copper wasn't helping much with the black spots on the surgeonfish, <Mmm, nope... usually doesn't> and I started reading on your web site to do freshwater dips as a treatment. <These do> I decided last night to try dipping the white-faced surgeonfish and the lawnmower blenny since the surgeonfish had the spots and the blenny's breathing has been heavy. Well, I obviously made some fatal mistakes with the freshwater dip because the surgeonfish did not make it. Before I did the dip, I put about a 1/2 teaspoon of buffer to a couple gallons of water, added a powerhead, and waited 15 minutes. The water was about a degree warmer than my tank, and I'm not sure what the Ph was because it was not a color on the test kit chart. The kit I was using was old, and I'm thinking that the Ph of the water was too high since I added too much buffer. <Maybe. I encourage folks to use simply Baking Soda (Sodium bicarbonate) as its kOH) is so low as to make it virtually impossible to drive the pH too high> I mistakenly proceeded to do the dips anyway, and dipped the surgeonfish for three 5 minute dips over 40 or 45 minutes, with one final 10 minute dip. <Usually one immersion will "do it"> I only gave the blenny three five minute dips. The blenny was ok and active when I put him in the tank; however, the surgeonfish's eyes were cloudy, it's breathing was heavy, and it had some white scrape-like spots on its body. Could ammonia have built up in the bucket and caused this or was the ph too high? <Mmm, not likely> The fish were eating a few hours before I did the dip. I would appreciate your help. I don't want to kill any more of my fish. Thanks, Jenny <One dip, pH-adjusted, with Baking Soda... The cause of the loss of the original Cirrhilabrus and Clown... something else. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater Dip/Acclimation    7/20/06 Crew.. <Jeremy> I'm not sure what I did wrong! I purchased a Tomato Clown for my 40 gallon reef tank, and wanted to try a "Freshwater Dip" for the first time. Well, I didn't have any prepared fresh water, so I drained 5 gallons from my Planted FW tank (I use the Estimative Index method for dosing), and put that water in a bucket. The water wasn't perfectly clear due to some algae growth, but I figured I'd still give it a shot. I really wasn't sure what to do, so I just netted him, and put him straight into the FW. That scared me, PH change, temp change, etc.. In retrospect I know I should have let his bag float for some time to at least adjust to temp. Anyway.. After 5 minutes he was looking really bad, floating upside down on his head. I thought I had just killed the little guy, and I realized I had no clue what I was doing. I went to net him, and he sprung to life, and I figured since I had already subjected him to this much craze I'd wait the full 10 minutes. At the 10 minute mark he still looked stressed, but alive. So I put him in the SW QT tank. For the first 5 minutes he looked unhappy, but shortly after he righted himself. He accepted food 10 minutes later, and now, 24 hours later, he seems great. He hasn't shown any signs of stress since, is eating very well, and swimming fine, etc.. So, what did I do wrong with my FW dip? Do you think the Tomato will make it? <Do not know if he will make it, but read here and related links.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm  And here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm> Sincerely and with greatest thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> <<... FW dipping water needs to be pH adjusted, temperature about the same... as detailed. RMF>> -Jeremy

Achilles Tang - Specimen selection and use of FW dip with Meth Blue    7/19/06 Hello, <Hi there.> I have a few questions if you don't mind.<Sure, no problem.> I have a 100g reef system with tons of mushrooms, a torch coral, a frogspawn, two devils hands,  some feather dusters a BTA. For fish I have a yellow tang, purple tang, one powder blue Chromis and a clown goby. Oh, and a bunch of snails and hermit crabs. I want to add another fish to this mix but am wondering what. I just lost my sohal tang <So sorry to hear that> that just disappeared over the weekend, but he was doing very well temperament wise with the other tangs. <There is a good chance he was not getting along as well with the other 2 Tangs as you thought he was.> I would like to add an Achilles tang, but I know this fish has its troubles. <Yes it does and to be honest 100g is really to small to house more than a single Tang. I would suggest you leave well enough alone and choose another species.> How do I know that I have a good specimen? Please have a look at this article. It discusses specimen selection … http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acanthurTngs.htm.> I read the site and you say the best come from Hawaii and are caught at night. How do I request a fish like that at my LFS?   <Hmmm, start by asking. I am pretty sure they will not be able to tell you what time of day the fish was caught, but you may be able to get information about it's source.> Also, what is the best dip to use before putting him in the tank? Methyl? Also, what amount of Methyl do I use with the freshwater and how much water do I use for the dip? Please help if you can. <My personal preference is not to use chemicals or medications prophylactically, so I would not recommend the use of Meth Blue. I would however recommend quarantining new arrivals. Hope this helps,  Leslie>

Lowering pH of Fresh Water for FW and Methylene Blue dip  7/12/06 Hi Bob, <Art> I read on the 'Dips FAQ' page that Baking Soda  (sodium bicarbonate) could be used to raise the pH of fresh water for a FM/methylene blue dip for marine fish, <To a pH of about 7.8 tops, yes> but how do you lower the pH of the fresh water for the dip? My RO fresh water is 8.4 <... something's amiss with your reverse osmosis device...> and the water of the destination tank is between 8.0 and 8.2.  Thanks for your help, Sincerely, Art <Mmm, likely the use of a safe, commercial sodium bi/phosphate based "downer" of aquarium pH here. Do have someone check your RO membrane... it's shot. Bob Fenner>

3 of my fish have ick and I need to find out how to do a freshwater dip.  7/11/06 Hello, <Hi Nancy - Tim answering your question today!> 3 of my fish have ick and I need to find out how to do a freshwater dip. The question I really have is how do I match up the PH level in the freshwater? <Have a look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i4/When_things_go_wrong/Oh_no.htm under the section entitled "Sick Corals" - this gives relevant instructions on adjusting the pH for a freshwater dip, applicable also to fish.> Thanks for your help! Nancy

Thanks for the Education... QTs and FW dip  6/5/06 Bob & the wonderful crew <Adlai> Just wanted to Thank You for saving me from "Mucho" pain by getting me into the habit of using QTs and FW dip. I must admit I am not perfect and really thought it was overkill at first but after my recent episode. I am going to be even more careful. One note - I am leaning towards giving fish that I receive from online vendors a day or 2 in QT BEFORE doing a FW dip- I figured that the fish need to regain their strength before stressing them out again. Do you agree? <Yes> Anyway, my second reason for writing, I had just received a Blue Regal Tang from a fellow hobbyist who has a spectacular tank. He looked great and I was very tempted to do a FW dip, acclimate him and have him immediately join my reef setup but for some reason ( you guys!) decided not to and put him into a QT instead. Guess what? A couple of days later I saw what I believed was ICH -I was so upset and began to panic and then realized the fish was in a QT Tank and my display was safe. I did a FW dip with methylene blue and the spots disappeared. I was so amazed I wrote to you guys ( I think Bob replied), asking whether ICH or at least what I thought was ICH could be resolved in a day. I was warned that it was not possible and that the symptoms would most likely reappear -and  it did!! <Easy to foretell such with experience...> Long story short,  I treated the Regal with Seachem's Paraguard (I did not want to use copper)  and after about 2-3 weeks and several baths (Paraguard and FW) with no signs of Crypto, I finally introduced him to his new tankmates where he is really happy (He was always hiding in the QT). <Outstanding> My only questions after reading other horror stories is a) Should I have waited longer <Not likely> b) the FAQs have different opinions but how safe is hyposalinity and is it recommended and <Usually safe, but I don't recommend it/not effective... others here do> c) since the Regal  is already in the tank is there something I can do to reduce the likelihood of ICH occurring in my display? <Mmm, yes... careful maintenance, good husbandry, the use of purposeful cleaners, bolstered nutrition...> I have never had any disease in my display and the new Regal is my biggest risk. Sorry for the long post. Thanks again <Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater Dip gone wrong  - 04/16/06 Hi Crew, <Hi there, Leslie here with you today!> After much planning and preparation I finally bought my first 2 fish today (a maroon clown and a royal Gramma). My quarantine tank was ready and my plan was to first do a freshwater dip with Methylene Blue before putting them in the quarantine tank. I am sad to say that I think I've killed both fish in the dipping process. <Oh my, what a bummer.  I am so sorry to hear that.> I treated the tap water, adjusted the temperature and added the Methylene Blue, but when I added the fish to the dip, it took about 30 seconds and both fish were lying on their side without moving. I immediately removed them and placed them in the quarantine tank. <Perfect, well done.> It's been a couple of hours now and they both seem a bit better, but I don't know if they are going to survive. Wizards 4 th rule - the greatest harm can be done with the best intentions… I feel like an animal abuser at the moment. <Awwww  I'm so sorry. You had no way of knowing that they would not tolerate the dip. I can certainly empathize.> Afterwards I realized that in all the excitement I never checked the pH of the freshwater before dipping them. I've done a lot of reading on your site and "pH-shock" is the best explanation I could find. <I think you are right on.  pH shock often manifests with that side laying posture.> I don't know how quickly pH-shock can kill a fish, but something went very wrong very quickly. < I have seen fish respond as yours and go on to do very well. If they were in good health to begin with they may just need some time to re adjust. They are both hearty species.> Unless it was something totally different, like a lack of oxygen or something. <I don't think so. pH shock sounds like the most likely culprit.> Any ideas? < No additional ideas.> This was my first attempt at a freshwater dip, so just one question - is buffering a freshwater dip simply a matter of adding some "baking soda" until the pH is at an acceptable level? <Yup> Other than that, (if I for example use RO water), it is simply a case of getting it to the correct temperature and adding the Methylene Blue, right? <Nope. The pH of RO water has to be adjusted as well.> Can't believe I messed this up. Chris <Please do not be to hard on yourself. You are not the first and will not be the last person who has forgotten to adjust the pH of a FW dip.  We have all made our fair share of mistakes. We are human and as such not perfect. Mistakes happen and we hopefully learn from them. Best of luck with your new fish, Leslie> Freshwater Dip gone wrong, continued  - 04/16/06 Hi Leslie, <Hi there again!> Thanks a lot for the reply. I feel better now. <You're welcome. Glad I could help.> I failed miserably on my first attempt at a marine tank a couple of years ago and although I have done tons more planning and research on this new attempt I still can't help feeling a bit paranoid. Promised myself I will never put anything in my tank without proper quarantine and research on the animal.. and there I go buying a Maroon clown on impulse today without knowing anything about it. I hope it wasn't a bad choice (if I haven't killed it already). <There you go beating yourself up again. I had to cut my LFS time down to the bare minimum and for absolute necessity only. I only go in with blinders on now because the temptation is just to great. In my case rescuing seahorses was my great downfall. No worries the Maroon Clown is a fine choice.> I started seeing some brown patches on my live rock in the main tank and worried a bit about a diatom outbreak, but when I looked more closely I noticed that the brown stuff already seems to be giving way to all sorts of green and red stuff, so hopefully that's a good sign for this new setup of mine. That's enough rambling from me for one day. Enjoy the rest of your Easter and thanks for the kind words. Chris. <Enjoy the rest of your Easter as well and you're very welcome, Leslie>

New fish manager, questions re: freshwater dip    4/4/06 Hello. I wanted to thank you guys on a great job, as I visit your site at least once or twice a day. <More than me!> I've recently come to manage the fish department in a full-line pet store, and had some questions. The last guy didn't think much of skimmers and most other forms of filtration, and I can't exactly go crazy with upgrading everything just yet, <Take your time... plan... purchase, install incrementally...> but so far I have managed to hook up a skimmer to our largest of 3 saltwater systems. <Shocking eh?> I've also taken to dripping the fish over the course of about 3-4 hours (in contrast to the previous float and drop technique used by the last manager). I have also begun using a freshwater methylene blue dip. Works absolute wonders (and thanks to you guys here at WWM for that one too!) <Is of tremendous use> This is my first question. I get in marine fish on average 3 times a week. And it really does become a hassle to make up dip water that often. How effective would it be to set up, say, a twenty gallon long aquarium with a small pump, heater, and a good mechanical aerator, and using net breeders to dip several fish at once, leaving this tank setup for extended periods of time? <Best to re-make each shipment... Though a stock solution of dip itself can be made, stored> I can't really seem to find anything on permanent dip tanks. Perhaps because it's generally not a good idea for some reason? <Loss of concentration, possibility of pest, pathogen transfer> I now travel to our wholesaler to hand pick our fish, both fresh and marine, which vastly helps in attaining the best, healthy fish. But, as always, either I miss something on one of them, or one or two develop something after a couple days after transit. So, I've also set up one quarantine tank, with another to follow shortly. <Wowzah! A big step...> But for some reason, the nitrites WILL NOT go down, no matter what I do. Right now, I'm running Paraguard, but am thinking of switching to methylene blue. Is the medication stalling the biological filtration in the filter, <Correct> or am I perhaps not being patient enough. Nitrites have been off the scale for about a week now, and the tank has been set up around a month. Any suggestions other than patience? <Frequent water changes, use of established, clean bio-media...> I'd like to have this tank running as soon as possible. Thanks again, and hopefully I won't have too many other questions!. <Bring them on. No worries... been there, done that. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater dipping Zebrasoma flavescens = bad... RO water, no oxygen, worse by far    3/27/06 PLEASE STOP ADVISING PEOPLE TO FRESHWATER DIP ZEBRASOMA FLAVESCENS FOR ANY REASON!!   These fish are very delicate <Mmm, no... on a relative scale, quite hardy> and I have now lost 2 to this process following the instructions on your website which I have found repeated in several threads to the "T" as I was trying to rid each one of the couple of black spot Turbellarians that they had. <... I have literally done this with hundreds of thousands of this specimens... Am out in HI on the Big Island where the vast majority of Z. flavescens are collected, "talked" many of the trop. collectors over the years into this procedure (pH-adjusted FW dips... with aeration...) to eliminate Crypt, Amyloodinium, Paravortex... it works, is safe...>   Each time the fish was placed into a well established QT tank for a week and each were doing fantastic eating sea veggies like there was no tomorrow.  I was planning on 4 weeks in the QT.  After the 6 min.s in the temp and pH adjusted bath using RO water, <... RO water has no oxygen....> the fish was dead.  This happened to 2 different fish at different times from different dealers and both fish were fantastic specimens.  The only reason I dipped is because your website said to do this to rid the fish of black spot which I did not want to introduce into my main.   <No oxygen> I also don't want to hear that the fish would have died anyways because observing each for a week beforehand in the QT tells me this is absolute rubbish regarding these two specimens.  Each died as a direct result of the bath.  Having wasted weeks of my time and effort and $70 of my money caring for these fish and to have them die in minutes following instructions on this website LEAVES ME EXTREMELY ANGRY!!!  I have found other post regarding this species from people who have had the same experience but the dip is still recommended.  Being such water quality bioassays, advising people to dip willy-nilly is ridiculous and reckless.  I should have stuck with my gut and allowed the fish to rid themselves of the 2 spots each had with quality water and food but I thought I could trust this site. <No oxygen... try holding your breath for six minutes and write me back. Bob Fenner>

Methylene blue  - 1/30/2006 Mr. Bob Fenner I understand that you recommend a freshwater dip with Meth. blue before the qt. You also mention the practice of the use of Meth. blue, with 1/5 of the dip dosage, during 2 or 3 days, in the quarantine. The question is if this a normal/ prophylactic procedure or instead, an exceptional one ? <Mmm, more normal than exceptional. This is to say, it/both are "standard operating procedures" in business, with many hobbyists> I have experienced in the last 2 months a lot of fish losses (5) in qt with just the arrival dip. After 8 or 10 days in the qt they become infected or infested and die. So I think that would be good if the use of a prophylactic product during the quarantine could weak the parasite resistance more than the fish's. Is Meth. Blue the right choice for this? <Is a very safe, useful material> Other product ? Formalin? H2O2 ? <Formalin is too toxic, dangerous, peroxides too transient for most uses> When treating in the qt and performing an water change the new added water must have the same remedy concentration ? <Best to try keep these about the same, yes> Thank you very much for your help Fl?io <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Bobbing for ich... important, interesting methods for avoiding, treating external parasitic (mostly) complaints of marine fishes  - 01/12/2006 Hello, <Hi there> Could you help clear something up.  Will a freshwater bath on a marine fish destroy some of the encysted parasites of ich or velvet? <Often so, yes... this is posted... on WWM...>   I get conflicting information on this.  At the store I work at, we do keep copper in the water for parasite control in our marine section. <Very common practice in the trade> So when the parasite drops off and the swarmers bust out they will shrivel up and die. <That is the hope> But if I could give the fish some relief from the load of parasites it currently has on it, I would like to do that. <You are wise here... my urgings for prophylactic dips in the industry... from collectors forward, have been emphatic and constant going on three decades... Please see WWM re "Guerilla Acclimation"...> Giving the fish a pH adjusted temperature adjusted freshwater bath when it obviously has something, that sounds like good advice. <We are confluent in this opinion> We know a freshwater bath will kill or reduce a lot of other pathogens that could be hitching a ride on the fish, from flukes to Brooklynellosis.  But besides killing all the other stuff that might be in the gills on a fish that's showing spots, Will it actually help to reduce the load of marine ich or velvet? <Oh yes. Done correctly, they are virtually eliminated, excluded with such practice> Or am I only giving a bath to kill whatever else might be on the animal and waiting until the encysted parasites drop off? <If your systems are "specific pathogen free", you will not have such pathogens to reinfect/fest them...> | I had the idea that the freshwater bath might take off some of the fishes slime coat and expose the parasite to the killing freshwater.  Or is that not the case? <Yes... with most fish species, in good initial health, such exposure results in more slime production temporarily> In a related idea of giving a saltwater bath to a fresh water fish.   Sometimes I will see a fish arrive covered so heavily with ich (freshwater) that I go 'man, that's horrible'.  I don't think the animal will survive to where those encysted parasites drop off to be killed by the medication that's in the water.  So how about a salt bath. <Can be utilized with good result with many types/groups of fishes... not all. One must be attentive (there while doing this, closely observing), using aeration... removing the fishes if/when show too much stress> I've read a few authors suggesting a 1% or 3% bath, in that it would take off the fishes slime coat exposing the parasites from their slime coat fortress to be immediately destroyed, and it encourages the fish regenerate a new slime coat more aggressively. <Yes, ideally> The bulk of the question affects how I handle a fish that I see is 'covered'   Can I do something now to help it get some of those nasties off it and medicate.  Or are my hands tied and I medicate, wait, and hope it survives until they fall off. <Can do much... the best, most logical place is in transition, during handling, placement on arrival... during acclimation... next, by way of quarantine procedures... Of consequence, careful species and individual selection/sources, and appropriate, stable environmental, nutritional inputs> In a semi-related note I was browsing through the posts on marine velvet and a reply from a person Anthony from a post called "Oodinium".  He mentioned a preference of formalin over copper, in that copper would not penetrate deeply into the flesh to kill the parasite.  I thought that even the powerful formalin would still run into that same problem.  The parasite is protected by its slime coat fortress, that no medication could penetrate into it. <Mmm, well... metal and formalin containing material does produce such irritation that much of the slime coat of fish hosts is sloughed off, with not-too-deeply embedded parasite fauna going with it...>   You just wait until it falls off divides and kills the free swimming state. <Mmm, better to remove the stages from the host, kill them in the process if possible, and poison them in off-host stages as well. Bob Fenner> Thank you for time, Jonathan

Freshwater dip for inverts 11/16/05 Hi WWM, I have a few questions regarding freshwater dips for prevention. A number of people I have asked think using a freshwater dip for invertebrates is detrimental to their health. What do you think?  <Yikes!!! Not only detrimental, but most likely lethal! Also, the types of parasites that can be effectively removed by FW dips generally don't infect inverts.> Also, I prepared 4 gallons of dip for my first tank additions (some crabs); how long should I keep it for reuse? Thanks for any advice! Jason  <If you use an airstone or a powerhead to prevent the water from stagnating, it should be good for a couple of weeks (just be sure to double check the pH and temp!). Otherwise, I would discard it in a few days. Best Regards, AdamC.>

Need advice please (Restocking after Amyloodinium outbreak) 10-09-05 Hi Bob, <<Hello, TravisM here.>> I hope you can help me as reading through the many entries on the website has not really helped me make a decision(s) I need to make. <<I will do my best.>> I lost half my fish in my FOWLR tank to Amyloodinium many months ago, ( newbie idiot mistake of not quarantining / not recognizing symptoms / using useless med ( Kent RXP, should be called RIP ! ) Remaining fish were hardy and were saved by a malachite green / formalin product called Cuprazin. My main tank has been parasite free now for many months with all fish healthy. My number one priority is to keep it that way. <<Good choice of number one priority.>> I have learned an awful lot. <<That is the key to this hobby, learn from your mistakes and move forward.>> I have my quarantine tank set up and matured, with a sunburst anthias and an orangeback fairy wrasse in there from 2 days ago. Both look very healthy, feeding well, they will be there for a month. Now here come the questions: 1. With the safety of my main tank being the overriding concern, should I preventatively medicate these two fish even though they appear healthy? <<Absolutely not. Never blindly medicate. I would suggest purchasing some medications to have on hand, but only use them when you have a positive ID on the parasite/disease.>> 2. If the answer is yes I read somewhere that this anthias is sensitive to copper (Scott Michael article on them I think?) Would that rule out malachite, or just copper sulphate products? << Answer was a big NO. I would use hyposalinity and many other procedures before copper.>> 3. I know dips/baths are recommended also. I have read that wrasse react badly to freshwater baths. Would a tank water dip with either formalin, or methyl blue, be effective ( I have both ) and if so which would you use? Duration? << I may get flogged for this response, but I suggest you skip the dips. Dips done incorrectly can be very traumatic to you and your new fish. Acclimate them to your QT tank and follow proper QT procedures and you will be much further ahead than you will be by needlessly stressing your new fish friends. Here again proper parasite/disease ID leads to proper medication identification to use during a dip.>> Thanks in advance for your help, <<Happy to help.>> Toby Joyce <<TravisM>> 

Definitive dip/bath for varieties of fish 10/10/05 Salutations, <And you> I am in the process of stocking my 60 liter tank (in actuality, it's closer to 47 liters or 13 gallons) and was wondering what fish do better with dips as opposed to baths. Every fish will spend a luxurious 3-4 weeks in QT before arriving to their final destination, but which fish would get a dip and which would take a bath? Is there a list on the web (or maybe here that I carelessly skipped) that says which fish gets what and for how long? <Mmm, not as far as I'm aware> For example, would you give a bi-color Dottyback a freshwater bath with Methylene blue? What would be the minimum time? <A few minutes> (sources say anything less than 3 minutes is worthless). I understand if they are thrashing about, get them out...but what if they lay down? Thanks again for the wonderful resource! Dana <Smaller fishes, less time, scale-less fishes, less time, fishes that live in close association with invertebrates, less time. There are some notes under the heading "acclimation" by group, per articles by me on WWM, but the real "bottom line" here is watching your livestock while they are dipped/bathed, and hoisting them out if/when they appear overly distressed. Bob Fenner> 

Freshwater Dips with Methylene Blue  9/17/05 I've been able to use Bob Fenner's method of freshwater dips with the addition of Methylene Blue very successfully in my first marine fish only tank of 110 gallons. The only problem I've had is monitoring the progress or lack thereof of the fish I place in the dip. The solution is typically a dark navy blue color and unless the fish starts trashing about near the surface of my gallon bucket I have no idea on how it is tolerating the procedure. Any suggestions on how a fish can be better monitored during the emersion process in this opaque dip so that signs of distress can be rapidly identified? I had tried just leaving the fish in a large net while in the dip bucket but even then I often have to lift it out of the dip solution to check on it's status and I feel that this just adds to the trauma of the process for the animal. I know this most sound like a silly question but any suggestions would be really appreciated. Thank you. John Ragone <Mmm, I would just use somewhat less Methylene Blue... enough to still see the fish/es while dipping/bathing. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Why did my new arrival die? Gobies, QT, Dipping... 8/11/05 Hello Crew, <Thomas> I have a question about a Yashia Goby that died about 28 hours after it arrived by FedEx yesterday.  It had been sent FedEx Standard Overnight, and had been in transit approximately 24 hours before it arrived here. I gave the fish a very slow acclimation over about 3 hours using a drip method.  Before putting it into the quarantine tank, I prepared a dip of RO/DI water, dosed with baking soda to a pH of about 8.2 (to match quarantine tank), <And shipping water?> and dosed with 2-3 drops of Methylene blue in perhaps a quart of this water. <Sounds good> When placed in the dip, the fish went ballistic -- darted around, rolled over on it's back -- a terrible scene.  It may have been in that dip for 2 seconds before I removed it to a rinse of water from the quarantine tank.  Then, after a minute or so, I put it into the quarantine tank.  This was last night about 8 PM. Since then, it basically hid in the bottom of the tank behind PVC pipe.  It appeared to be breathing hard, when I could briefly see it.  Other than that, there were no obvious symptoms, except a sunken belly, which is very apparent now that it is dead and I can examine it closely. Quarantine tank parameters are specific gravity: 1.025 pH: 8.1 ammonia: 0 nitrite: 0 nitrate: 20 ppm temp: 78 deg. Question is this: Did my dip kill this fish? <Likely did add stress... but this, most small gobies ship poorly... many do die soon after arrival... from point to point... and if you read through WWM, writings by myself, you will find I am not a fan of dipping many such fish groups, or even quarantining them per se> If not, how should I think about this event.  It is only the second time I've ordered fish by FedEx.  The first time, I ordered tank-raised clown fishes that I acclimated but did not dip -- these fish were fine and are still happy 18 months later. <Much hardier... and accustomed to novel, stressful inputs> Thanks, Tom <Bob Fenner>

Flipping About Dipping (FW Dip Questions) 8/6/05 After reading over the site for a couple of hours I still have a couple of questions regarding a dip for my Yellow Tang that has recently (within the past 18 hrs or so) been afflicted with Turbellaria. My concern is the water, I have read tap water (de-chlored, ph checked, a degree or two above his current saltwater temp, with the addition of Methylene blue...or do I use RO/DI? I read another issue where all 4 of the guys tangs died using RO/DI. Should I just use tap water? <I have always used buffered RO/DI water for my freshwater dips...Essentially, the same water that I use for mixing my replacement saltwater, minus the salt. There is really no great magic to it, IMO. Freshwater dips are a potentially traumatic experience for marine fishes, no doubt about it. However, if executed carefully and observed keenly, there should be no problems. In all of the years that I have been utilizing FW dips, I have only lost one fish, and that was due to my own carelessness (the fish jumped out of the dip bucket when I wasn't paying attention). A properly executed dip will create no lasting negative effects to otherwise healthy fishes. Many potentially problematic parasites and protozoa don't tolerate the dip process as well as the fishes, hence their effectiveness.> This is the only confusing thing for me. <Just read up on dips in our articles section on the WWM site for all of the details.> I do plan to quarantine him after using water from his "old tank" should I just mix up fresh salt water for the quarantine instead. <Personally, I'd use water from the existing tank. The process is traumatic enough without the unnecessary extra stress caused by brand new water after the dip, IMO> Also, as far as aerating the dipping water??? Is this necessary with tap water w/ Methylene blue. <You could, but I never have. The fish will only be in the dip for a matter of minutes.> Thanks in Advance...your site is sooooo helpful. Amy <My pleasure, Amy! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Quarantine and Dipping of Acropora 7/14/05 Hi, I have read recommendations to dip all new Acroporas in ReefDip, FlatwormExit and  Lugol's (I presume separately?). <...>   We have several frags in quarantine for 4 weeks prior to entry into the tank (for ich as well as other parasites).  During that time, I have examined them every few days with a magnifying glass and don't see any bugs at all (and the color looks very good).  A few of the frags have harmless commensal crabs (smooth shells).  I hate to hurt the crabs by doing a dip and don't want to add unnecessary stress to the corals.  If examined regularly for 4 weeks and nothing looks out of the ordinary, are the dips still necessary or could the corals be pronounced "bug free?"   Thanks in advance! - Doug   <I would not use any of these or other "dips" with quarantined corals unless I observed trouble that warranted such. Bob Fenner>

Re: Quarantine and Dipping of Acropora 7/14/05 That is what I thought.  I just wanted to make sure that Redbugs, etc. didn't have some sort of long cycle where they might lay in wait more than the 4 weeks. <Nah! You'd see them by then> Thank You! <Welcome. Bob Fenner, soon to have a contract on him for debunking chemical products in the trade/hobby>

DTHP use, marine, dips 7/7/05 Hello, Crew, It's me, dum-dum, again. Okay, so I was reading about DTHP for the treatment of various and sundry parasites and other general nastiness. Recalling what I'd read already about QT, freshwater dips, Methylene blue, and so forth, I was wondering if anyone had ever established a protocol of a DTHP dip as a precautionary step prior to introducing species to the main tank. Perhaps during the last four or so days of QT? <Some wholesale outfits have used this, other organophosphates to rid fishes of "worms" and crustacean fauna (parasitic and otherwise) en-route... I would not, do not encourage home-hobbyists to do this. Too much likelihood of damage, toxicity to the livestock and themselves. Bob Fenner> Joe Kraska

Naso et al. not for reef tanks? Merits of dips/baths 6/31/05 Matt from Critter Cabana in Newberg here, We have a customer who was told by another local fish store that his Naso tang and a couple other fish needed to be pulled out of his reef tank because water parameters were very unstable in a reef tank due to the necessary chemical and mineral supplements in a reef system. <Huh?>    This seemed odd to me, but it came from the person who most people in the Portland area consider the local authority on fish health issues, just curious if you knew where he was coming from on this.   <Wacky in my book/s> Another strange recommendation, I know that most if not all of the wet web crew highly recommends dips as preventative disease control and acclimation into the quarantine system, and it has been the only success we have had with ich control here at the store.  Anyway, we won't offer guarantees for customers unless they use our recommended Fw dip acclimation.  Well, the other local stores in the area have caught wind of this policy and are telling our customers basically that we are nuts and that no respectable marine aquarist would ever perform such an activity. <Mmm, I disagree... dips/baths were S.O.P. in our retail stores... are so at the best wholesalers on the planet (Quality Marine in Los Angeles, Tropical Marine Centre in the UK), collectors...>   Are your thoughts pretty strong on this issue as in its hands down the best way to acclimate?  Is the dip some sort of rogue method?  Or is it a professional standard?   <Is posted on WWM... hobbyist to commercial> I'm hoping to share this email with customers to provide a simple authoritative answer on some long standing arguments.   Matt <Glad to share my opinions, experiences... first and other hand. Bob Fenner>

Re: Regal tang acting weird... dipping protocols Hello, <Hi again> Again thanks for the advice, and since you thought my questions were good I thought I would ask a couple more about the freshwater dip for the Blue Regal/Hippo tang coming out of copper QT... hope that's ok!!! <Sure> I have read the article on WWM and the FAQs so I more or less just wanted to confirm I have digested and fully understood the procedure before I go ahead. I would hate to think I might cause her more harm than good in doing something wrong and would appreciate some reassurance I have things right, and if I don't, someone to set me straight: <Will try> Since she is not visibly suffering from Ick now after the treatment, would it make sense not to include medication in the bath such as Methylene Blue? Or would it be advisable to include this in the bath for good measure? <Mmm, well, amongst the stockpile of chemicals that can/could be added to such dips/baths, Methylene Blue is exceedingly non-toxic, non-stressful> If I should use Methylene Blue should I add this to the bath before checking PH parameters or will this not affect the PH? <Will not practically effect pH... though with aeration, can help to sustain high, steady pH> If there's no need to use it am I literally just preparing temp and PH adjusted fresh water to put her in? <Yes> The procedure: Using tap water treated with a water conditioner/de-chlorinator in a bucket, match the temperature and PH (using baking soda to increase) to the water in the QT tank that she's currently in. Use a net to lift her out of the QT tank and then do I release her into the bucket of premixed bath or do I keep her in the actual net for the duration of the 5-10 min.s, monitoring her reaction and pulling her out if she thrashes about or tries to jump out? <Better to release large, active fishes in baths... re-net to remove> Then do I net her out (or simply lift her out if she remains in net) drain, and then transfer her straight to the main system? <Yes> In terms of removing copper and sterilizing QT tank (that has been exposed to Ick), do I do water changes and run Carbon or CupriSorb in filter until copper test kit reads zero, then empty, soak tank and PVC for 1-2 hours in non-scented household bleach, then rinse thoroughly twice with 4 x dose of de chlorinated tap water and allow to air dry? Should I run the bleach solution through the hang on filter and rinse the same as for the tank, then return filter media to main system to prepare it for possible future hospital/QT purposes? <I would add the bleach (will complex any copper as cupric chloride), let circulate for half an hour or so, dump, rinse... re-fill> I won't do anything until I'm sure I have this right. She was a lot calmer last night than she has been so I'm not panicked about taking her out of the QT tank as soon as possible. Many thanks for your advice and patience with me! Hillary. <A pleasure to share, help. Bob Fenner>

Dipped and confused Good morning,  <Good evening, Mark> I'm a bit confused on the dip process. Do I use freshwater or system water? It was my impression that you would need the osmotic difference to help remove potential pathogens therefore no salt added. I will be using Methylene blue as my additive.  <Mark, read here. Somewhere in the middle lies your info. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm James (Salty Dog)> 

Blue Tang and Freshwater Dip Hello all, I just fresh water dipped our small pacific blue after noticing some white spots.  No other signs of Ich in the tank and the fish was in our 29 gal QT for at least 6 weeks.  I didn't want to break out the hospital tank just yet, so I did a freshwater dip for 5 minutes.  After the dip the tang has laid on the bottom of the display tank for over an hour now, breathing hard. I turned the lights out to avoid more stress.  What went wrong?  Is this fish going to make it? Its been eating well with no real signs of trouble other than the white spots this morning and a little scratching to go with it.  I'm really sick about this. Great website Thanks for any input/wisdom you may have. Mark >>>Hello Mark, Sorry to hear of your troubles. While I could type quite a long email about the life cycle of C. irritans, I suggest you do a search on it's life cycle and become familiar with the different stages - Trophont, tomont, tomite, etc. You will then see the folly of doing a freshwater dip once cysts are already present on the fish. In all likelihood, you Ph shocked the fish, although not being there I can't rule out temperature factors as well. Moreover, these fish are very sensitive as it is, one to be avoided to a large degree in my opinion, and certainly one of the last fish that is going to suffer a freshwater dip. Some fish on the other hand don't flinch at a freshwater dip. I even left a Koran angel in a freshwater tank for 20 minutes one time on accident and it was no worse for wear. The fish you have in your possession unfortunately does not fall into this category. Going forward, use hyposalinity or a commercial treatment, and forget freshwater dips, especially on very delicate fish that are already in danger of not making it without this extra trauma. Cheers Jim<<<

Re: A Pacific Blue that didn't appreciate an FW dip Thanks for the reply, unfortunately I murdered an otherwise healthy fish. I read many of the accounts on the site and then also talked with a trusted fellow at the LFS. There are many accounts on the site about FW dipping this species.  All indications were that a Freshwater dip would be the least aggressive course of action. <Generally yes> The dip temp. was within a degree or two and not lower than the tank.  The pH of our tap water (municipal well water) is such that I don't have to raise it, if anything it's on the high side. <... as high as saltwater... in the low 8's?> I keep a pretty close eye on my fish tanks and since a few spots developed literally overnight, and also knowing that they are susceptible I wanted to try to get it under control before I had a full blown outbreak in my main tank.   <Mmm, if the fish/es are in a main tank, and "spots" show up... the tank is infested...> Admittedly I have not FW dipped anything before, I prefer the QT. however, the FAQ's led me to believe I should be dipping as a prophylactic and when the LFS suggested it as treatment, <Mmm, much to state/relate here... preventative dips are useful in receiving, moving livestock... extended baths/dips can be advantageous in some treatment strategies> I thought, what could it hurt, I'll give it a try.  I was very apprehensive about doing it and really talked myself into it.  Now I'm sick about it.  I'll not be doing it again anytime soon. I do at some elementary level understand that the parasite has a cycle and the way to beat it is to interrupt that cycle by; speeding it up with increased temp., vacuuming the substrate to try and catch some of the swimmers, lowering the salinity (hyposalinity). Etc..... <All the above are so... but much better to avoid introduction of such pathogens, their vectors altogether> Since the fish was showing absolutely no signs of distress I didn't want to go into full blown panic mode, rip the tank a part setup the Hospital tank etc..... I don't remember the last time I got Ich in a FW tank and now 6 months into the SW experience all heck is breaking loose.  I've been diligent with my water changes, 20-25% every 2 weeks. No troubles with Ammonia, Nitrite since initial cycle.  I'm testing every two weeks for Nitrate before my water changes and its never been a problem.  I know that most diseases are due to environmental problems, but really I don't know what it would be. <The "other" components. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm> Ironically, I have been using the cheap plastic Hydrometer (I know don't say it) and it showed the s.g. to be in the 1.023 1.024 range.  I just bought a glass tube laboratory type and it measures the s.g at more like 1.018 to 1.019.  I expected the reading to be off a bit, but not that much.  It's odd that my salinity is low and yet I still got what I suspected to be Ich. <Mmm, not that odd... spg/density has to be much lower to exclude most all such problems> No other fish are showing any signs.  There are only 3 fish in the tank, 2 yellow damsels, a coral beauty.  Should I pull them and treat for Ich or let it ride? <I would be treating all in isolation... letting the infested tank go fallow...> Again great web site, I guess I still have much more reading to do. Mark   <Sorry to realize your troubles Mark, and appreciative of your efforts at understanding, having success here. Please do read here as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm and in turn the above/linked files where you lead yourself. You will make it past these "different than freshwater" parasite problems and hopefully be "specific pathogen free" soon. Bob Fenner>
Re: A Pacific Blue that didn't appreciate an FW dip
Thanks again for responding.  I'm learning, bear with me.  FW was much more care-free than this, but the fish are way cooler... Yes the pH of our tap water is in the high 8's, I've tested it periodically over the last 8 years living here and it's always on the order of 8.6 to 8.8.  My Africans loved it. <I'll bet> I don't think I pH or temp shocked the fish.  I just think I left it in too long. (that didn't sound too good) <Happens> I'll setup the Hospital tank and the first sign I see of hiding, scratching, etc I'll move them over, treat them, and let the main tank go fallow.  30 days min. right? <Yes> So far two days later and no other signs of ich have surfaced. <... May not have been ich/crypt> I did raise the temp and I'm slowly getting it up over 80.  I forgot to mention the Star I have.  It's a small Purple "Linckia" or actually I've learned by reading, Tamaria stria. <Yes> Should I do anything special for it.  From what I've read they are not susceptible, can't transmit it, and will be ok in the tank during the fallow period.  Is this correct? <Correct> Thanks again,  I'll keep trying. Mark   <Ah, good. Bob Fenner>

Marine dip & bath and chemical uses therewith, and nitrates Dear Bob, <Howdy> I have been marine fish ( mainly angels and tangs ) hobbyist for almost a year now. <Congrats> Having read your article dips/baths and acclimating livestock; guerilla techniques, plus faq, confusion still arise, thus, question need to be address to clarify. <Okay> You mentioned fresh water dip ( 5 to 10 minutes ) most effective. Thus, one hour bath with extra medication (malachite & erythromycin) only as an alternative? <Mmm, this is a bit long for almost all marine species> Since fresh water dip eventually shock the fish, no need to acclimate the water chemistry, only temperature (warmer preferably). Is PH necessary need to be adjusted? <Yes to pH adjustment... this is mentioned in the articles and FAQs repeatedly... match the bag water... elevate over time... usually simple sodium bicarbonate will do...> You mentioned Methylene blue only act as an oxygenating agent, meaning if I use aerator, I can skip Methylene blue? <You can... but is a safe, worthwhile addition> However, you also mentioned Methylene blue and fresh water eliminate itch, velvet, fungus, flukes, etc., is the fresh water do the part? Or the Methylene blue? Or the combination? <Mostly the freshwater... the Methylene Blue does help however. Have you read this: http://wetwebmedia.com/methblueart.htm> I had many reading saying both itch and velvet cant be eliminate during the hosting and dividing up period.  Only at the time they swim up to find a new host it can be eradicate / kill with most medication.  So, is it the osmotic shock that really kill the itch and velvet even during their hosting period? <Yes... given these are not "too" embedded, too numerous...> I tried fresh water dip often time (without Methylene blue) with duration of minimum 6 minute, a lot of times I saw those parasite still attach (already dead or still alive?) to the fish, and multiple at later time. Is this mean some parasite survive the osmotic shock? Even fungus remain after the fresh dip, why? <The most important factor here... the state of health/disease of the host fishes at that time... they were too challenged> Contaminated from else where ? <Yes! From collection, holding... a lack of feeding, water pollution, too long in the bags, in transit> I think I am careful enough to separate tools, wash the quarantine tank after use, start with new water. <Yes... it reads/sounds like you know what is going on> The one hour bath you mentioned eight drop of Methylene blue can be added to one gallon of the saltwater. You mentioned malachite green and erythromycin can be added as well, but did not mention how many drop? <Please see WWM re the issues of actual treatment concentrations... for Malachite here: http://wetwebmedia.com/malachitegreen.htm> And with all these mix up together I can still bath the livestock for a minimum of one hour? <With attention to aeration, temperature control, yes> Having been almost a year of marine hobbyist I have been able to keep most fish alive nowadays (after so many dying fish at the early stage). There is one thing I still unable to manage, the nitrate level remain quite high 150 level. <This is too high...> I change water every 3 week with 15% water change.   <Mmm, well... you need to change much more, and more frequently> I tried Sera bio denitrator, but has to feed everyday. I skip using it, now trying Seachem denitrator with canister filter running at slow flow, but has not been success so far.  Can I start feeding the nitrate bacteria with sugar? If so, how much  Should I put? <... these anaerobic digestion units rarely work... I would look to other technologies, techniques... am sure you've read this: http://wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm > Or can I use Sera Nitrafluid as it do the same purpose as sugar?  But I read Sera instruction not to pour Nitrafluid direct into the tank. <I would not put either directly into the tank... these need to be drip-fed into the anaerobic chamber (the canister filter) to be of use... you can experiment here... but I would go with a refugium, DSB, more live rock....> Appreciate your attention, Regards, Sumadi <Keep studying my friend. Bob Fenner>

- Methylene Blue FW Dips and Inverts - Dear WWM Crew, There is conflicting information on the Dip and Meth Blue FAQ pages regarding using Meth Blue FW Dips for inverts. Can you clear this up for me?  <I can try.> Fenner says "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...." <I was not aware that Bob had said this, and he's out of town right now so I can't ask him to clarify. I've never used Methylene blue to dip anything other than fish - the bottle does state that it can impact your biological filter so I take that warning to mean the compound is harmful to invertebrates as well. That being said - "non-fishes" doesn't necessarily mean invertebrates.> J- says " do not use Methylene blue on ANY invertebrates, they will perish." <I did say that, yes.> My situation - I'm adding a clean up crew to my inherited fish/mushroom corals tank. My first batch is Turbos, emerald crabs and scarlet and blue-legged hermits. To dip or no?  <No.>  Freshwater dip only or Meth blue or something else?  <Neither... just acclimate very slowly and don't sweat it. And just FYI, the freshwater dip would kill these long before the Methylene blue did.>  Don't want to kill these things before I even get them into the QT. Thanks, Chris <Cheers, J -- > 

Re: Tiny Hippos It is great to know you are there!!! The tiny tangs are here. They are even smaller than I imagined. Acclimating them now (and dripping slowly in the shrimp bags). <Good> Just want to make sure I have this right and you still think the bath is the way to go. 1) Use RO/DI water (put some in small bucket this morning with power head). <Mmm, better to use "just tap water" treated with dechloraminator> 2) Adjust heat and pH to match tank <Yes> 3) Net tang and place in the freshwater bath for 5 minutes?? <Should be plenty of time here> I'm just nervous because they are sooo tiny! Many, Many Thanks! Eve <Welcome. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Tiny Hippos Did the DO (wah) Dip
Hi Bob, Just wanted to let you know the baby tangs are doing great! They are very outgoing for hippos and started eating right away. They are starting to get a little rounded as they should (they were pretty skinny when they first came in). They play together all day and sleep together at night. No signs of ich at all so far (or even any stress)! <Good> We had already done the freshwater dip with RO/DI when we received your e-mail. Luckily, it does not seemed to have hurt anything this time (I stopped just under 3 minutes.. they were just so tiny). I am sure our tap water is loaded with metals/minerals and who knows what else. Would Spring water pH and Temp adjusted work better/be safer? <Really matters very little here... for such short duration/exposure. Bob Fenner> 

F/W Dipping, Double-dipping, and a Bag of Chips Hi Bob, Anthony, & crew... <Hello, JasonC here...> This my first time writing and I have quick question regarding a freshwater dip.  Is it ok to mix malachite green and Methylene blue in a dip solution, or should I just use one??  <Do not mix them.>  And if one, which one would be the better choice?  <Methylene blue.> Thanks much, Kevin P.S.- Just want to clarify one thing, for a freshwater dip, the specimen goes straight from the shipping bag into the dip for 2-10 minutes, then straight to either quarantine (preferably) or display tank... no acclimation process (e.g. drip acclimation or floating bag trick) is used, correct??  <I'd at least float it for a while to make sure all water temperatures are matched, but then yes... from bag to dip to quarantine tank.> P.P.S. - Thanks so much for immeasurable knowledge you've imparted through this website and your books. I own Conscientious Marine Aquarist, Coral Propagation & Husbandry, and Reef Invertebrates Volume 1... and they are all amazing!! Fun to read and full of great information... <Glad you enjoy/benefit from these. Cheers, J -- >

- Using Methylene Blue - Hello - I have read Bob's method of using Methylene blue and freshwater in a dip before you put the fish in a QT.  A Couple of questions for you on this.  <Ok.> 1) How long should you keep the fish in this alone?  <Ideally at least five minutes... longer if the fish will tolerate it.>  Also, if the fish does not seem to mind this dip should I acclimate him to the QT tank while keeping him in this solution?  <Don't bother with acclimation, just dip the fish and then place into the quarantine tank.> 2) What kinds of invertebrates will not tolerate this kind of dip?  <None.> 3) Would this work on corals?  <Not at all.> I just lost 8 fish in my main display to a parasite and do not want this to happen again. Will always QT everything before putting them in main display now. FYI - I am keeping my main display fish free for 6 weeks to make sure the parasite is gone. Will try my best to make sure no others will make there way in there.  <Sounds good.> Thanks for all the help guys.  Tom  <Cheers, J -- > 

- Using Methylene Blue, Follow-up - Thanks J. Just to Clarify. This will work on all invertebrates?  <Good grief... I just re-read your question and my answer, and I must apologize for not reading twice, or perhaps not having that second cup of coffee. I'll try to be more clear - do not use Methylene blue on ANY invertebrates, they will perish.> I also read around and it looks like it is not worth trying to dip the corals.  <There are other dips suitable for corals but I have no experience with that... would suggest you read Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals and Anthony Calfo's Coral Propagation.>  Would you recommend QTing these for 3 weeks as well.  <I know Anthony would say absolutely... I personally have never quarantined corals... you'd have to have a very good and separate quarantine system for corals... very different requirements from fish quarantine. Would still need good light and excellent water quality.>  I have a light that would be good enough for LPS, but not strong enough for SPS. 32 watt 50/50 over a 10 gallon QT tank.  <And perhaps not enough water to insure stability... would be best to have a larger tank for this.> Maybe I am just being too cautious now, but I do not want to unintentionally kill any more critters.  <I can think of few that do, and I'm glad you wrote back... am mortified by my own poor response.>  Life is too short for these guys. Tom <Cheers, J -- > 

- Using Methylene Blue, More Follow-up - Thanks J.  <My pleasure. I'm glad I was able to clarify myself before you did something that I would have regretted.>  I have Bob and Anthony's book "Reef Invertebrates". Great book have read it front to cover and use it to look things up all the time. I will be getting Anthony's "Coral Propagation". <Sounds good. Cheers, J -- > 

Bad Freshwater dip? Hi, <Hello, you have Justin> I had a yellow tang that had black spot. I read on your site that it could be cured with a fresh water dip and Methylene blue. After I managed to catch our tang, I preceded to give him his dip. I made sure that the PH and temp were the same as the main tank.  <Correct> I added the Methylene blue, mixed it up and added my fish. He went straight to the bottom and lay on his side.  <This is a sign of something wrong as all the fish I have dipped swim fairly normally>  I watched his breathing carefully for any signs of change in his breathing pattern. <Good>  At about 5 min.s, his breathing slowed slightly so I scooped him out and back into the main tank. He swam about slowly for about 2 hours and then I didn't see him for awhile. I searched the tank and found him dead.  <Sorry to hear that.> Any ideas on what went wrong? If I replace him should I dip it first? I don't have the luxury of a QT. Your thoughts would be appreciated. <Well I am sorry to hear of the Tang's death. I am going to guess that the black spot was a form of ich called Blackspot since you were not too specific. There are several possible reasons for the death. The first being that the freshwater you used had a vastly different level of something in it, such as phosphates, silicates, or nitrates than your main tank. This can easily kill a fish that is used to one set of levels and cannot acclimate to the new levels fast enough. I would highly recommend checking your tank parameters such as ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, phosphates and if possible get your LFS to test for any heavy metals in the water you were using as well as the freshwater dip water as some can test for that as well. Another explanation is that the tang may have been too weak to take the strain of a freshwater dip for that long. Either way, I would still freshwater dip any fish that you get if you cannot quarantine them. Good luck, Justin (Jager)>
Re: Bad Freshwater dip?
Hi again, <Hello> The fresh water I used was RO water-the same that I use in the main tank. Main tank parameters are Ammon-0, Nitrite-0, Nitrate-10, pH-8.4. <ok><<Mmm, not okay... needs to be aerated ahead of, and possibly during use... No dissolved gas, including oxygen. RMF>> I originally noticed what I believe to be Black Ich about a week ago, I researched what I needed to do, then it took me 2-3 days to catch him. <Yes they are quick> I didn't think I needed to check ammonia and Nitrites on my RO water. I get the RO water from my LFS. <It is possible it may be off but most likely you are correct> With only a 29g tank, I might see if I can't put an Eclipse 6g tank down in the cabinet and use it as a qt to prevent further problems. <Ahh here lies the problem, you have a heavy waste producer that needs at least a 75 gallon tank at the minimum for adequate growth in a very small tank. I would check your phosphates and vacuum your gravel, you may be very surprised at what you find also get the calcium and alkalinity checked they might be off as well. Such a small tank tends to accumulate debris and waste very quick and tangs are ich magnets in poor water quality, I would recommend you look into getting smaller fish that get 4" or less with maybe one 6" clownfish or so or this tank will overload and crash creating the ich problems that happened but I bet it was environmental water quality that caused the death since the freshwater was new.> Thanks for your help. <No Problem please research the fish you buy beforehand to avoid such problems in the future and until you are able to upgrade you should look into the types of fish kept in a nano reef type setup since those kinds of fish are small enough to work in your tank. Justin (Jager)> 

Freshwater dip 21 Feb 2005 I've been reading up on dips & quarantine tanks.  <Hi Mitch, MacL here with you today.>  If I have a quarantine tank, do I need to dip all new fish that I get? Or If they look OK, can I just quarantine them for about 2 weeks?  <Generally it's best to quarantine for at least four weeks. At that point most people usually just add them to the tank. I personally however have started freshwater dipping mine as well. My personal thinking is that an ounce of prevention will save me a lot.>

- Dipping & Garlic - Hey guys, I have a few important questions regarding Amyloodinium and dipping.  First question is:  How long should I keep my saltwater angel in a Methylene blue/freshwater dip for? <Probably not much more than five minutes.> The angel has body and gill parasites and Ich. <Is it Ich or Amyloodinium? These are not the same thing.> I was going with the recommendation Mr. Fenner had in The Conscientious Marine Aquarist book about Meth. blue dip recipe.  But it says nothing about duration. Second question is:  If I continue to feed all my fish in my main tank garlic continuously with every feeding, will that eventually rid me of Amyloodinium and keep the fish healthy? <The garlic "may" keep the fish healthy, but it will most certainly NOT rid your tank of Oodinium or Cryptocaryon (Ich). You need to take drastic action if the parasite you have is Oodinium as it will kill your fish in a matter of days if you do nothing other than use garlic. Dips and quarantine with formalin are what are needed. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm > Thanks a lot, Jason <Cheers, J -- >

I killed a tang. pH adjustment Hi Crew! How do you get fresh water ph to equal your system water ph? It is impossible to do with test kits.   <Pre-mix your tap with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)... a very safe material, as it will not elevate pH too high> I did my best with a couple test kits and fresh water dipped a tang and killed a very healthy beautiful fish. <Not likely with just this error> I had aerated distilled water for 24 hrs,  matched temp and tried to match ph, I dipped for 5 minutes, he made it through the night but when I got home he was dead.  I know it was the ph, I had a feeling I was way off.   I get the feeling that fresh water test kits don't work so well when dealing with pure water. The scale colours don't match at all. I have many different kits and all do this when dealing with distilled water.   <Don't use distilled... other problems here... with osmotic shock principally> Is there an exact amount of baking soda I can add to  1 gal of water that will bring it out to 8.2? <Yes... with the use of an alkalinity test kit and your mind> I am now afraid to dip fish.  My tang had a few black spots..   I know formalin works, does copper? Thanks so much! <Please read on www.WetWebMedia.com re Yellow Tang Disease. Bob Fenner>

Re: I killed a tang Thank you so much Mr.. Fenner,  I will in the future use tap water and prepare it  ahead of time. <Ahh, good. You will find that this preparation is actually quite simple> I  have TCMA and will likely receive your other book for Christmas. You are my reference that I trust  much more than anybody else. Thanks for being there and I sure hope to be able to repay you <You have done so here. Thank you my young friend. Bob Fenner>

Fresh water dips Hi <Hello there> When giving a marine fish a fresh water bath, which is better to use: 1. DI Water 2. Tap water with Tetra Aqua safe Thanks John Squier <Good question... very likely about the same in effect... the DI will be less solute-laden, drawing net water from the dipped fishes... but not likely a decisive difference. Bob Fenner>

What is a Freshwater Bath? >Hey, I was wondering what is a freshwater bath. >>Hey there yourself, Marina here to tell you that it is just what it says, a bath in freshwater (as opposed to saltwater).  

Quarantine tank 11/10/04 hello WWM crew <Howdy!> Gil here I recently made the jump to salt water and I came across this invaluable knowledge base through my LFS. I have read pretty much all the quarantine FAQs but I still have a few questions to fine tune my understanding of this whole practice so here goes and sorry in advance to the barrage of inquiries that's going to go your way here. <Welcome to marines, and no need to apologize. That's what we are here for!> First when placing a fish in the QT should I get in the habit of dipping the fish and then a few days later starting a medication such as copper even though there is no sign of disease a sort of prophylaxis if you will?  <I generally do a prophylactic buffered FW dip before introducing a fish into quarantine.  I don't ever use medications unless I see signs of disease.  One possible exception would be very sensitive tangs (like powder blues).  In this case, I may do a prophylactic one time Chloroquine diphosphate regime as I am not a fan of copper.> Next since I don't have a sump yet I won't have the luxury of keeping a sponge medium collecting bacteria for use in the QT, start new every time or should I clean it with warm tap water and store it dry till needed? <This is one of the vast numbers of great reasons to join a local aquarium society.  Someone who has a sump could provide you with this service.  Alternatively, you could place such a piece of media in your display for a few days while you have your retailer hold a specimen for you.> Wait there's more...I'm planning on buying about 20-30 pounds of live rock in about a week, it is cured rock from the aquatic outlet here in Los Angeles, but should I still place it in the QT for 21 days like the fish (separately of course) and what should I look for in LR in the QT? <If you are adding this to an existing set up, I would suggest conducting your own cycling of this rock (which will double as quarantine).  Be on the look out primarily for pests such as crabs, undesirable anemones, etc.  If you are starting the set up from scratch with this rock, all of this can be done inside the display before any other animals are added.> And should a cleaner shrimp be placed in the QT also or is that OK to be placed in the main tank?  <QT is recommended for any addition, although inverts are safer than fish.  Keep in mind that anything that is in the water that came with the shrimp from the LFS could contain anything.> And last one for now I have brownish algae growing on my glass and on my sand I bought 4 spiral snails with the hopes of them cleaning up the glass but they seem to be infatuated with the live rock instead should I try to "stick" them on the glass myself or should I get on of those magnetic glass scrapper things? <Different snails prefer different habitats.  You may consider adding a couple of a different species.  No number or type of snails will save you from at least occasional scraping.> OK that's it for now I'll let you breathe.  Thank you in advance and I'm sorry for the package. I really want to thank you for this site my good friend and myself have spread the word about this fountain of information to other newbies at pet stores around our area.<Thanks for the kind words, and please feel free to take advantages of all of the resources here!  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Re: What's wrong with my Atlantic Blue Tang? Dips, dipping Bob:  I just noticed...you said here a dip of m. blue and diluted formalin, though the link you sent seemed to indicate some form of antimicrobial like Furacyn (?) ... not sure what that would be for marine specimens.  Is M. blue the rec. for newly purchased fish just because it is milder? <Yes... by and large I would skip using antimicrobials in dips for marines>   And will these have an effect on internal bad things, which I suspect is what did in my Tang? <No real effect on anything other than external parasites, infectious agents. For internal vectors, medicants should be added to foods, possibly injections. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine and Dip? Kind Crew, I'd like to run past my FIRST Quarantine and Dip past you to see if on the correct path. I purchased a 20 gal complete with hood and lights for seven bucks at a yard sale to use as my Quarantine Tank. ( The plan is to pick up a long nose butterfly this weekend and add to my 75 gal after 4 weeks of QT.) I did a water change last weekend (10 gal) and added it to the 20. I'm in the process of mixing up another 10 gal to add to the 20 to make it a 50/50 split. I added a filter "sock" and whisper cartridge to my penguin in the 75 to transfer to QT after 1 week. Is this enough time to accumulate enough bacteria? The QT will consist of a whisper filter, heater and a pvc elbow to be purchased shortly. I read the article on Dips and one section has me confused. Number seven lists the best dip would be Meth blue and FW. Number 1. under "How do you do this stuff" states mixing up the dip with new or system water. I picked up the Meth blue but I'm not sure if I should mix it with fresh or salt water. My guess is. I should have the dip mixed up with fresh water same temp and pH as the QT tank. Net the butterfly, carefully and dip in the solution. After a few minutes the butterfly will let me know when the time is up? Remove the butterfly from the dip and place into the Quarantine tank. As long as the long-nose butterfly remains healthy and water tests acceptable can get away with a 2 gal water change weekly? I should I look to do it more often? Again, thanks for all you help! Dave ***Hey Dave, Forget dips for now. Dipping only happens on an "as needed" basis, and I haven't had to do it in years. Usually the only thing that is accomplished is a stressed fish. Aside from the Whisper, I would add a chunk of live rock form your main tank. This has proven the best method for me, as long as you don't medicate. In fact, my quarantine tanks are set up just like little reefs, and stay running all the time. Hospital tanks are a different story. Your water change plan sounds good. If you run into a problem with ich, use hypo salinity, not copper. Jim***

Dip Q's (9/13/04) Kind Crew, I'd like to run past my FIRST Quarantine and Dip past you to see if I'm on the correct path. I purchased a 20 gal complete with hood and light for seven bucks at a yard sale to use as my Quarantine Tank. <A good way to get an inexpensive set-up.> (The plan is to pick up a long nose butterfly <Nice fish> this weekend and add to my 75 gal after 4 weeks of QT.) <smart> I did a water change a week ago (10 gal) and added it to the 20. I mixed up another 10 gal to add to the 20 to make it a 50/50 split. I added a filter "sock" and whisper cartridge to my penguin in the 75 to transfer to QT after 2 weeks. Is this enough time to accumulate enough bacteria? <Should be if there's some waste for them to consume.> The QT will consist of a whisper filter, heater and a pvc elbow to be purchased shortly. I read the article on Dips and one section has me confused.<These issues are seldom clear-cut.> Number seven lists the best dip would be Meth blue and FW. <Yes, the Meth blue serves mostly to increase oxygenation and calm the fish (mostly by darkening the water) rather than to kill any baddies.> Number 1. under "How do you do this stuff" states mixing up the dip with new or system water. <Hmm> I picked up the Meth blue but I'm not sure if I should mix it with fresh or salt water. My guess is I should have the dip mixed up with fresh water same temp and pH as the QT tank. <Exactly--FW dip with pH & temp-adjusted FW and enough Meth blue to darken the water substantially.> Net the butterfly, carefully and dip in the solution. After a few minutes the butterfly will let me know when the time is up? <If distressed, remove immediately, if not, let him stay for at least 5 and not more than 10 minutes. For an ostensibly healthy fish, I usually go about 7 minutes. Longer for infested ones.> Remove the butterfly from the dip and place into the Quarantine tank. As long as the long-nose butterfly remains healthy and water tests acceptable can get away with a 2 gal water change weekly? <With no meds being added, this may be enough. Monitor ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.> I should I look to do it more often? <Not sure I follow you there. A single dip is enough. If healthy, it is not necessary to dip when moving into the display.> Again, thanks for all you help! <You're welcome. I hope this helps.> Dave

Freshwater dips for marine ich Thanks for the great web/information site.  You are save MANY lives, and making this hobby possible - at least for me.   Lots of Marine Ich stuff to search through - I just can't seam to find this one... Question on Marine Ich on yellow tang in Quarantine tank.  We have been watching her closely and found symptoms of ich last evening - performed w/c and FW dip (adjusted ph, temp, air stone & M. Blue) worked well fish was calmer and returned to normal swim patterns upon QT tank return.  This morning ammonia present performed 2 more 40% w/c over 2 hours. She seems to be begging (swimming up to the front as I approach) & looks like the ich is back. How often should the fresh water dips be administered?  << Not that often.  Once you do the dip, I'd put the fish into a new system, otherwise it will just get infected again.  The freshwater dip works well to kill all the parasites on the fish, but it is also stressful to the fish.  So after doing that, I'd either medicate that hospital tank, or move the tang to a new tank.  Good luck. >> Thanks, Pascal <<  Blundell  >>

Taking His Tang For A Dip! Bob how are you? <Bob is out today...Scott F. here for you!> I just had an important question for you after  reading your article on the web about the Hippo Tang.  I have purchased  your book and bring it everywhere I go when I'm at a store picking out fish. <Awesome!> It's great and it  has helped me out tremendously.  I am going to buy this  tang and wanted to know if it is necessary to acclimate it for a few hours after the freshwater dip/bath before I put the fish in the display tank? Thank you, Jason <Well, Jason, I generally perform the freshwater dip after letting the fish acclimate to your aquarium's temperature. Then, I would release the fish into the quarantine tank immediately following the dip. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

What is a fresh water dip? Hello WWM crew, <Alan> I see in your website you recommend a QT 'freshwater dip' for ailments. What is a freshwater dip? Is it non-salt water? If it is, then how can I make the PH the same as the main tank without the salt? If it is salted water, is freshwater = clean salt water? How does such a dip helps and for how long each dip? <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm and the linked FAQs files (in blue, at top)> I have some clove polyps coral in my tank. When I bought them, they are half green and half brown. 2 days later, I noticed there are more browns than greens. I am using NEC Biolux 15W and the coral blooms when the tube is lighted. How can I get my greens back? Thank you for your attention. Alan Yeo Singapore <Mmm, without knowing the size and depth of your system I am inclined to suggest you don't have sufficient strength of lighting... either move the clove polyp colony higher up in the water column, nearer the current lighting, or seek out more wattage of full-spectrum illumination. Bob Fenner>

The Big Blue Dip (Methylene Blue Dips) 7/29/04 Bob, <Scott F. in today!> I just read your article (The Conscientious Marine Aquarist: Dips/Baths) and had a question about the Methylene Blue dip procedure.  I've read articles instructing FW dips for as long as 7-8 minutes (I've done dips that long w/o any additives). I don't know what concentration your recipe provides.  Kordon says no longer than 10 seconds for a dip using their MB at 50ppm. Assuming the fish is not reacting adversely, how long do you recommend as  a baseline duration using your MB/FW mixture? Thanks, Brian <Well, Brian- I use Kordon's Methylene Blue in my dips (have for years), and my application of it is hardly scientific: I just use enough to get the water a nice deep blue, and I dip my new arrivals about 3 to 5 minutes. I've never lost a fish in a freshwater dip such as this. Now I'm not saying to just dump it in there-well, maybe I am...But seriously, I have not had problems. Yes, it can be a bit scary at first, but if you observe the fish carefully, it's an effective technique. If you're talking about using Methylene Blue in saltwater, then it's really not a problem, either IMO. Hope this helps. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

- Drip vs. Dip - Thanks for a great website and all the help.  I think I am starting to get it!! I have now read the Conscientious Marine Aquarist, and all the posts about acclimation. I understand the drip method, and I understand the benefits of a fresh water, or treated, dip for new arrivals.  But I am having trouble understanding two areas, and my wife is headed out tonight for a new Six Line Wrasse and a cleaner crew, so I better ask. 1) For new fish, when do you do the dip vs. when you do the drip acclimation? <Mmm... good question. I'd say for the most part I dip almost everything that isn't a known dip-unfriendly fish.> Do you do the drip acclimation and then do the dip right before moving the fish to the quarantine tank? <No, they're going to get stressed from the salinity change anyway, so might as well dip them and drop them in the tank.> Or do you do the dip as soon as they arrive and then put them back in the shipping water to do the acclimation? <Nope, once out of the shipping water, that stuff gets tossed.> Does it make a difference which way you do this if they are locally bought versus purchased online? <Nope, both should be dipped whenever possible.> By the way, for the dip I was planning on using a solution of ParaGuard (malachite green) in tank water with an airstone (8-10 minutes)  followed by a short freshwater rinse (5 minutes).  Sound close? <I'd skip the ParaGuard for now and just rely on the hyposalinity to do its job. Six line wrasses are good for a little more than five minutes... I'd go as long as possible. Just don't dip the inverts.> 2) What about dips for the cleaner crew invertebrates such as snails, cleaner shrimp, scallops, etc. <No... about the only thing you could do here is a dip in tank water with iodine added, but I'd hold off on this entirely... and don't buy the scallops.> Since these are so sensitive to osmotic shock, how do I treat these animals for possible parasites? <Quarantine.> Is it safe to just do a malachite green dip on these in tank water, maybe at a weakened concentration? <Heavens no, the malachite green will kill them.> Do you recommend quarantining snails and hermits? <Anthony Calfo suggests quarantining everything, I don't... although it is possible that they could carry in some "undesirables", the actual occurrence is very low.> Most of the posts and books are not very clear on this point. Thanks, Rick <Cheers, J -- >

- Drip vs. Dip - Thanks for the response, but now I am really confused. <My apologies.> So, I thought I had better ask for clarification. <And I thought I had been as clear as possible.> Based on your response below, it sounds like you are saying to forget the drip acclimation altogether. <Correct.> Just do the freshwater dip and then put them into the quarantine tank.  Am I reading this right? <I think that's what I said, yes.>  What about the potential sudden pH change causing problems? <Should be a pH adjusted, freshwater dip - match the freshwater pH to that of your tank. There is stress involved in this process, and there is no helping it. Getting two things over all at once should be no problem.> Or, are you really saying to use the drip method to acclimate them freshwater dip solution (ease the Ph transition), <No... here, let's say this. There's nothing wrong with drip acclimating your fish. Still... time is of the essence, so you don't want to keep them in the bag any longer than they need to be. If they've been in the bag for a long time - more than 12 hours, then you should at the very least test their shipping water and make sure the pH is not too low. If the pH is very low - in the sevens, then go ahead and slowly drip them up to normal - no harm done. If the pH is in the eights, skip the drip and go for the dip.> then move them to the dip for 5 minutes or so and then to the quarantine tank? <Quarantine, yes.> Thanks (again), Rick <Cheers, J -- >

Methylene Blue Dip (Salt Water) 6/14/04 Have no quarantine tank and collect my own specimens from the wild. <Dips or not, you are taking a big risk here.> Have read Methylene blue mixed with fresh water (Is this right for marine systems, can I use rain water with pH and temp same as tank or should I use tank water?) is the next best thing.  Is this so? <Methylene blue is a nice adjunct to a properly conducted FW dip.  I would suggest using filtered tap water pH and temperature adjusted to match the aquarium water.  I generally recommend dips as a prophylactic measure before placing the fish in quarantine, not as an acceptable substitute for quarantine.> What can and cannot be dipped, i.e.. corals, fish, invertebrates? <No inverts or corals should ever be FW dipped.  Some corals can be FW dipped as an extreme last ditch measure.  Some folks advocate full strength sea water with added iodine as a dip for corals, but there is no clear benefit to this.> How long do you dip for, I know to watch the fish for signs of stress but are we talking seconds/minutes/hours/days? <Any FW dip less than five minutes is useless.  Ten minutes should be considered a practical minimum, and fifteen more ideal.  Most healthy fish should tolerate longer.  Scaleless (blennies, eels) fish will only tolerate shorter dips.  Hyposaline quarantine (s.g. 1.014) can be tolerated for weeks with most fish.  Hope this helps.  Adam>

Freshwater Dip Question Hi! <Hello! Ryan with you> I have a question about freshwater dipping. <I do it every morning after a cup of coffee...Oh! You mean with fish ;)  > We have a recently set up 55 gallon marine tank with 100 pounds of LS and 25 pounds of LR.  We have a royal Gramma that we got once the tank was well cycled.  This is in addition to 3 blue/green reef Chromis.  He seemed fine up until a couple of days ago and one of his eyes went cloudy and he's been scratching on a rock.  His side is a bit scratched up from this behavior.  I read through as much of the disease treatment and ID things and we decided to go with a freshwater dip since this seemed safer than any medications and we aren't even 100% sure of what it is so, we had no way of knowing what medication to choose even if we were going to pick one.  So we placed him in a pan of freshwater (acclimated to temp and pH to the best of our ability) and he kind of "passed out" but kept breathing.  He jumped out once....and then after 3 minutes, he appeared to completely stop breathing.  We placed him back into the regular tank right away and he's breathing but he's just laying there acting stunned.  Is this normal? <Hmmm...the word pan is a little scary to me.  Was this a metallic container?  That's not good.  You need an inert material, like plastic.  Otherwise, it sounds like you did your best.> I couldn't really find any info on fish behavior after dipping (sorry if its there and I couldn't find it).  The Chromis appear to be just fine with absolutely no symptoms.  We also have a little 3 gallon hang on the back refugium, I was wondering if it would be helpful for him to be up in there to recover away from the main tank with its rocks.  Or would netting him again just cause too much stress? Thanks!! <I would leave him alone at this point, the added stress may be more harmful at this point.  His condition may be a simple injury- Fish run into the rocks from time to time.  If more symptoms of disease surface, I'd start looking here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm.  Good luck! Ryan> Amy
Freshwater Dipping Part 2
Hi!  Thanks for the response. <No worries!> The "pan" was plastic...so never fear.  :) <So relieved!> The next morning after I emailed you, the Gramma was looking great...in fact better than he ever has since we got him.  He actually ventured out into the tank and was swimming around instead of hanging inside the opening of his cave.  We thought maybe (even though it was stressful) we must have done something to help him.  BUT, he's still scratching on the rocks.  SO....we decided to try to dip again...and this time we were EXTREMELY hypervigilent about the pH and we also added Methylene blue.  <Great- I'm sure that if there is a parasite here the Methylene Blue would bring it out>  He tolerated the dip much better this time, but during the dip we could see what look like little white parasites coming up out of his gills and one up out from underneath the scales on his back near his dorsal fin..<Gotcha- A typical LFS malady> ..so I definitely think we're dealing with some kind of problem.  He's back in the tank now and looking well, his eye is no longer cloudy.  Unfortunately, we don't have a quarantine tank (I know, we should)  I think perhaps we may need to invest in one since we think he definitely has some sort of parasite. <Well, the parasite will soon populate in all your fish.  Freshwater dipping is going to drive them out, but only removing the parasites that are on the fish at that time.  It's going to be a long, nasty battle unless you quarantine.  Let's see- You've spent hundreds or thousands on your display tank- But you want to save 10 bucks on a 10 gallon tank?  This is an economic issue as well! ;)  Good luck, Ryan> Thanks for the help! Amy :)
Freshwater Dipping pt. 3
I just emailed you to let you know that we are getting a quarantine tank. <I knew the money analogy would get ya! Ryan back with you> So sorry to bug you, but can I ask you 1 more question. <Sure> I searched through lots of pages on the web site and couldn't find anything specific to this. Since the Methylene blue seemed to be helpful in drawing out the parasites during the dip...can it be used as a med in the Qtank? <It can, but the correct dosage of Formalin may do the job better.  I'd continue with the freshwater dips, and daily until all symptoms are gone.  Then, give him at minimum 2 weeks before returning him to the display.  Wonderful to see you becoming a better steward for marine life!  Ryan> Thanks! Amy

Methylene Blue Dip question Hello Bob! I have the concentrated Methylene Blue, G.P. powder.   Can you tell me how I can create a dip at 50ppm? Thanks! Pam <... knowing the initial concentration... you should be able to calculate how much water total volume to dilute an aliquot of stock... as in the formula C1/V1 = C2/V2 where C1 is your stock concentration, C2 is what you're looking for (50ppm) and V2 is the volume of final solution you'd like... solving for the dilution (V1)... If you don't know the concentration, you can look up the molecular weight of this compound and calculate the molar concentration from this. Bob Fenner>

-Dips and baths and white spots oh my!-  Hi Bob, <Kevin taking this one today.>  I just set up a 120g FOWLR tank a few weeks ago. I moved my fish one at a time from my 55g tank into the new tank and all is doing well. I have a purple tang, tomato clown and a false eye puffer. The puffer was the last to be removed. I used a good quality net to transfer the fish into an acclimation bowl and then into the tank. <It is much better to handle marine fish with plastic containers instead of nets to reduce the risk of getting the fish entangled or removing scales.> After I put the puffer into the new tank I immediately inspected him and noticed 2 white spots on his fins, 1 on a pectoral fin and another on the dorsal fin. I have been watching these closely and no other spots have appeared and the fish is acting normally. Its been 4 days now and the same spots are still there. Could this be ich or some other parasite or just trauma to the fins from transferring the fish? <It is likely that they are little tufts of fungus from dislodged scales from the netting. This is common with newly imported fish and unless the spots seem to increase in number I wouldn't worry about it.> If it ends up being ich what treatment do you recommend for the puffer and other fish? I have a 29g quarantine tank set up and ready to go. Can I use copper or Methylene blue with the puffer and tang? I've read in FAQ's that these fish are very sensitive to these medications. <I don't see a problem with the fish as of yet, but should a parasitic infection break out, I personally wouldn't hesitate to hit any of those fish with copper sulfate in the quarantine tank.>  I also have a question about fresh water dips for new fish as I will be adding another 3 or 4 more fish to the tank over the next 6 months. I have read your articles and FAQ's on this subject and I am wondering should I dip with Methylene blue with the FW or just do FW dips? <Methylene blue can help calm the fish by darkening its surroundings and increasing the oxygen content of the water.> Are there any other dips that you recommend? Will pygmy angels, butterflies and a hippo tang tolerate the Methylene blue? I am especially concerned about the hippo tang since I know they can be ich magnets. Also will a 1 gallon bowl be adequate for the dip and how much Methylene blue should I use per gallon of water. <To tell you the truth, I never measure. I'd say a 5-10ml in a 1 gallon of water would be about right. It would be highly advisable to quarantine each new addition individually in your hospital tank instead or in addition to the dip. Do a search through our articles for oodles and oodles of quarantine info.>  Bob as a side note, I have just gotten back into marine fish over the past year and also have a 30g reef tank. 30 years ago I had a 55g SW tank that was over stocked with 2 tangs, a lion fish, cleaner wrasse, Picasso trigger and a maroon clown. I used an under gravel filter, and an aqua king power filter. <Would you believe there are stores in my area that still sell this type of setup?!> I lived in New York by the ocean and did my water changes every 6 months with ocean water. In the five years I had the tank I never lost a fish or had an out break of disease. <That's spectacular!> Was probably just lucky! Not a whole lot of info was available on SW fish back then, I'm very grateful for all the great information that the WW Crew has made available to the amateur hobbyist like me. Keep up the good work. <That's great, it's nice to get a reminder on how far the hobby has come! I hope I've been of some assistance. -Kevin>  Larry, defrosting in Minnesota.

Fresh Water Means No Salt (4/2/04) Bob: <Steve Allen this AM> When you say "Fresh Water" Dip you actually mean fresh water (no salt-mix) or do you refer to fresh batch of marine prepared water?? <Number one. Saltless water. The theory is that the fish will be OK for a few minutes while the parasites die of the osmotic shock.> Thanks, Alfonso <You're welcome.>

Deadly Dip? I need your help, bad!! <Scott F. here> I just lost two Ocellaris Clowns over the weekend to some sort of apparent parasitic infection. It's possible that it was Amyloodinium (sp?), but my guess (and others) is that it was probably Brooklynella. I first noticed a white "string" on his lip (see the damage in the attached picture) the night before and the next morning his lips were swollen and white. I have attached a picture of one of the Clowns the day after I did a 6-minute freshwater dip with Seachem Paraguard (malachite green). His lip improved, but his lethargy, wasting away and failure to eat did not. Also, after the dip, he developed the whitish appearance on his skin.  <Could be either one of the diseases that you describe. Sounds a bit more like Brooklynella, to me, though> When this clown's symptoms continued to worsen the next day after the Paraguard dip and the second clown became ill, I did a Formalin bath with 37% Formalin. However, one clown died about 30 seconds into the bath and the other clown died about an hour after the bath. So now I am afraid I did something horribly wrong. My fear at this point is that the parasites are still in the main tank so I need to treat my remaining fish and get them into a hospital tank. <Yes- treat them in a hospital tank and let the display run "fallow" for a month or more> But I am afraid to try the Formalin bath again. So what should I do? <I'd go for a straight freshwater dip (maybe with Methylene blue) for a duration of about 5 minutes, then I'd place the sick fish into the tank for treatment with either Formalin or a copper-based product. If you go with copper, do test for concentration while using it. Either way, follow manufacturer's instructions concerning the administration, concentration, and duration of any medication that you use> To do the Formalin bath, I took one gallon of main tank water and added 2 drops of 37% Foramina, added an airstone for about 15 minutes, then put one fish at a time into the bath. As I said, the first clown died very fast (he was essentially unable to swim against the filter current in the tank before the bath, so he was very sick). <Hard to say what caused this. Could have been the stress of capture and dipping; or the fish could have been so far gone that this procedure put him over the edge. Any dip can be stressful, but I suppose that I'd try the freshwater dip, if you're inclined to use this process again> By the way, this clown was not the one that had the Paraguard dip the day before. I put the second clown into the bath for 50 minutes, then rinsed him in clean saltwater for 5 minutes, and then moved him to the hospital tank. About an hour or so later, he died. <Sorry to hear that> Did I do something wrong?  Reading all I could find on the WetWeb site today about dips and treatments, I saw that Bob Fenner recommended Methylene blue as a safer and effective treatment for both of the suspected infections. Would this be a better product to use on my remaining fish?  <It is very gentle. It won't cure the disease, but it can help with secondary infection. Longer exposure to effective medication is the way to go> I have 2 Yellowtail Damsels, 3 Green Chromis, 1 Yellow Tang, and 1 Yellowhead Sleeper Goby. Are all of these Methylene blue safe? <They should be> Please help me understand how I should treat these fish as I move them to hospital tanks. What so I use and how do I do it? <Same dip procedure as before, but substitute Methylene blue for the Formalin. If you are leery of freshwater, just use straight tank water with Methylene blue> Thanks, Rick <My pleasure, Rick...Stay the course on this treatment. You've got the right approach. Don't give up. Regards, Scott F>

Methylene Blue  Hi Bob,  <James>  Just reading about Methylene blue dip to help with ich. My Regal has re-occurring spots (3 or 4) so I'm going to give him a dip. I know this is a stupid question but when it says fresh water, is this just RO water or should I use tank water?  <This is posted in the S.O.P. on dips/dipping archived on WWM. Dechloraminated fresh/tap water is fine. Bob Fenner>  Many Thanks,  James Barclay.

Fresh water dip question I've been trying to simplify my Fw dip (for marine fish) procedure by changing from baking soda to "Proper PH 8.2" to adjust the PH, however, I'm seeing something bizarre, and I was hoping you could shed some light on what is going on. <I'll try my best>  I use R/O water (and verify its TDS is < 5ppm), and it usually has a ph in the 6 - 7 range (I understand this slightly acidic reading is expected due to carbonic acid - found this in your FAQs). The problem with baking soda, is it requires a lot of trial/error to get a ph of 8.0 or slightly higher. I tried Proper ph 8.2 (and hoped it would 'lock in' on 8.2 w/o overshooting), but it always kicked my freshwater ph up to 9.8-10.2. I verified this with 2 separate ph pens (and recalibrated them with 7/10 solutions to verify their accuracy. Even fractional doses of proper ph 8.2 shot the ph up to 9.8 +. I thought this could be a bad 'batch', but even a separate container of proper ph 8.2 (from a different store) gave the same results (and the pH 8.2 was shaken well before using). I though maybe something was reacting with it in my RO water, but it had only 4.8 ppm, so it seemed 'clean', and I got the same result if I used bottled distilled water (with a ppm of ~1 ppm).  I had always assumed proper ph 8.2 was foolproof - even if overdosed, it would lock in on 8.2. Am I missing something here? any ideas on what could be causing this? <No chemical yet can analyze your water and dissolve the correct amount of ions to make your water 8.2 no matter what the original pH was - we need nanotechnology for that! In the meantime, use your proper pH or another buffer (aquarium systems or SeaChem make quality buffer products) and dose in small amounts until the desired pH is reached>  also, 2 other questions for you:  1) what are the symptoms of ammonia poisoning: I've seen 'gill burn' in the FAQs, but does this basically mean 'rapid gill movements'? Are there other symptoms? <Lethargy, instances of "flicking" or other sporadic and quick movements, followed by lethargy, and red gills are some common signs. Also depends on the species>  2) what are the symptoms of nitrate poisoning? I've seen this discussed on the FAQs, but couldn't find the set of symptoms - looks like the fish can invert, bounce into things, etc - poor motor coordinate/almost tranquilized? <same as ammonia poisoning>  Thanks! <No problems, good luck. M. Maddox>

Dip Recipe...Read The Label! Hi Bob, <Actually, Scott F. in today> I have a yellow tang with a cloudy eye. My guy at the pet shop suggested freshwater dip. I see you also suggest a freshwater dip along with malachite green and Formalin. How much of these ingredients would you use in say one gallon of freshwater? Thanks for your reply. Jim Jesko <Well, Jim- Malachite Green is pretty powerful stuff, as is Formalin, so it's hard for me to safely generalize on a dosage. Different manufacturers utilize different concentrations in their formulations, so I'd have to fall back on the caveat to follow manufacturer's recommendations for dosages. The only Malachite Green that I have personally used is Kordon's, which proffers a recommended dosage of 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons.  Most Formalin preparations are 37%, and 1 teaspoon treats up to 90 gallons! So many variables... Better to be safe than sorry, however- do consult the manufacturer's instructions when using any of these therapeutic agents! Regards, Scott F>

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

Dip Specifics >Greetings Crew! >>Hello! >Quick question about FW dips; I have a QT, so is the sequence, acclimate=>dip=>QT or dip=>acclimate=>QT? in other words, when is the best time to dip? Exactly? Regards, Walter >>I prefer to dip both before introduction to the quarantine (acclimation is always done in a separate vessel), with dip water matched for temperature and pH, and Methylene blue added.  Then, post-quarantine, matching again, freshwater dip before introduction into display.  So, order would be 1: Acclimation (separate vessel) 2: Dip prior to introduction to q/t 3: Quarantine (30 days minimum, must be fully disease-free or counter begins over again) Procedure follows same steps except quarantine intro is substituted with display intro.  Hope this helps!  Marina

- Frequent Dipping - Hi Guys, Thanks for the website!! I was wondering if you can help me out with a sick fish. <I can try.> I have a Sailfin tang in a QT tank.  I've had him about a week.  After the first night I noticed some ick so I dipped him for 12 minutes in FW.  He took it well and seemed to be cured,  I check every morning and night.  Unfortunately this morning I saw that he has ick again and now it's looking fairly widespread (Yikes that was fast).  I took him out and dipped him again.  This time for 6 minutes without any signs of stress (maybe I should have done longer), except some rapid breathing for about 10 minutes.  I then treated the QT tank with Cupramine. <There you go... the parasites would have been in the quarantine tank, hence the reason they reappeared when you put the fish back in. The copper should do the trick.> But I'm not sure if the copper will work fast enough.  Right now he's breathing fast (I do have lots of air going into the tank so I don't think it's oxygen deprivation) and looking a bit stressed. <Probably combined stress... do your best to keep the water quality on the mark.> My questions are can/should I dip the fish more often? <I'd hold off for now, if things don't improve, a once a day dip should help.> Like once or twice a day?? <No more than once.> How many dips are too many dips???. <Two in a day.> Should I go 15 minutes each time? <Ten is fine if the fish will tolerate it.> Other than the ick he's been fairly healthy and strong. <Good.> Likes to eat everything (including the foods soaked in vitamins) so I think once this ick is gone he'll do OK. <A good appetite is a good sign.> Thanks for your help Justin
Ottawa, Ontario
<Cheers, J -- >

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