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FAQs on Dips/Baths 2

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

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

Dip candidate?

- Formalin Bath - How do I give a Formalin bath on a Flame Angel??? <The typical way is to take some water out of your main tank and put it in a bucket/container - then add an amount of Formalin appropriate for the quantity of water in the bucket - then place the fish in the bucket for a couple of hours, best with an airstone to keep the water well aerated. Once the time is up, the fish goes back into the main tank.> My LFS said to set up a QT tank put him for 3 days and treat with Formalin. <That sounds more like proper quarantine to me rather than a simple bath - quarantine is the better way to deal with parasitic problems - can easily assess the condition of the fish and continue treatment as necessary. You should know that a proper treatment of Formalin should last at least a week.> Then fish him out and intro to my main tank. Is that ok??? <I'd go at least the full week in quarantine - two if the fish looks to be improving and/or in good shape. Cheers, J -- > - Dip Before - Dip After - Hi Crew, I'm sorry but I am confused. I have read the FAQs and articles on freshwater dips/acclimation for marine fish, but I am not clear on the process. Do I dip first and then place in quarantine or quarantine and then dip? <I'd do both - dip on the way into quarantine, and one more dip for good measure on the way into the main tank.> It seems that if I dip when the fish first arrive home that this would further stress them out (how do you acclimate them to fresh water??). <You don't - there is some stress involved, but if the dip is successful, then the end product will likely be an overall reduction in stress, so...> If I put them straight into quarantine then it would possibly introduce pathogens into the quarantine tank. <Correct.> I am planning on using the recommended freshwater/Methylene blue combination. Would I drip acclimate them to my system water, then dip, and then put into quarantine? <No - just match up pH and temperature as close as possible - dip, and then place in quarantine.> Thanks for your assistance. <Cheers, J -- > Marine dips/baths, Zanclus Robert Fenner, I just realized that you're the author of what has been my bible over the past few months. Duh... That was where I found out about the Methylene blue. I have another question for you.  What can I do as far as "decontaminating" a fish that is too large to quarantine in my 10g? <An extended dip/bath... you may benefit from reading through the articles and associated FAQs files here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm the blue items at top are links> (other than setting up another quarantine tank). My local aquarium is breaking down an exhibit that has had a Moorish idol in it happily for over a year and I told them I would take it since I have plenty of room in my tank. But I do not think it would be very happy sitting in my 10 g for 2-3 weeks. <I agree with you. Best to give it a dip/bath and place it in the main/display tank ASAP... slightly reduced spg, matched pH... perhaps a little Formalin and/or copper sulphate> Do you have any ideas? Oh and I treated the other fishes (in quarantine) with malachite green/Formalin and all spots seem to be gone. thank you again, Jessa <You are welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Marine dip/baths cont.  Bob Fenner, Yep, I read that one and came to the conclusion that the Methylene blue/FW dip would be best, but it doesn't seem like something I could do as an extended dip, I just really don't want to mess this up. This is really a magnificent fish.  I what I am asking you is what would you do? I trust your opinion. Jessa <1-2 minute dip/bath... then into the main tank. Bob Fenner>

- Dip and Quarantine Question - My normal procedure for new fish is to set up a 2 gallon bucket of FW with Methylene Blue (same temp and PH as QT).  I take my new fish, pour the fish store water out and net the fish, and put it in the FW Dip for 5 min.s or so. I then net the fish, and carry it to the QT and release the fish into the QT. My fish always seem freaked out following this procedure.  Some seem ok after an hour or two and others don't.   Am I doing something wrong? <No... the procedure is going to cause some stress and really this is unavoidable. In the long haul, the benefits of the freshwater dip out-weigh the potential negative consequences. The common school of thought is that if a fish doesn't make it through the dip, it wasn't going to make it anyway. I say no worries, you're doing the right thing. Cheers, J -- >

Freshwater dip follow up 12/12/03 Hello Crew again, <hello!  Adam with you tonight> Sorry using home address this time so no thread to attach. <No worries.  I don't think any additional info is necessary> Yesterday you replied to me suggesting dips to stem a possible Ich outbreak, since then I've lost one very healthy yellowtail Damsels... and it begins. <Sorry for your loss.  Unfortunately Ich often moves quickly even with healthy fish.  This particularly true if Amyloodinium is also present> I am preparing the dips now but my distilled water source is showing a PH of 9.6 and I'm trying to achieve 8.12ish in prep for the dip. I am surprised or searching the wrong keywords but cannot find a reference on how to reduce the PH. I've only ever had to buffer up! <Highly purified water usually gives odd pH results.  Try adding a couple of teaspoons of aquarium salt mix, aquarium buffer or baking soda per gallon, aerate well and re-test.  Even if your source water is a little off pH wise, the buffers from any of those sources should bring the pH close to your target.  Also, high pH is rarely a problem in marine aquaria, so when we need buffers, it is to raise the pH, but by definition, buffers can work in either direction.> Thanks again, <Always a pleasure!  Adam> Rob Lipic

FW Dip Gone Bad Hi again, <Hello, Ryan with you this time around> I found an LFS that was open and had a product to balance the PH, but alas I lost every fish I dipped. <I'm so sorry to hear> My beautiful prized 8 inch Naso who I bought the tank for in the first place, both damsels and a great Yellow tang. My hippo and coral beauty are the only survivors and aren't showing any signs so far of anything, getting them out of the tank is a major chore and will be hard on them..... Is it worth the risk given the trauma the whole tank is under? <If they are covered in ich cysts, then yes.  It's their best shot at survival.  Have you read this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm?  This is a generally safe, easy treatment.  What product was used for pH balancing?  Did you test the water before performing the dips?  Was the temperature matched?> My first brush with disease and me and my fish lose. <Disease is only successfully prevented...rarely successfully defeated>  I have traced it back to a wrasse I impulse bought a month ago he was alive only one day, almost forgot I had him. His mysterious death (after reading through WWM) I assume was triggered by my higher salinity then the LFS he was in for only a day. The hard lesson learned was its never too hard to quarantine. The one and only time I didn't. I will never make the same mistake again. <You and many others!  We invest too much into these systems to trust foreign specimens> I appreciate the help understanding this problem! <Best of luck with the next step! Ryan> Regards Rob

Adjusting Freshwater pH for Dipping  >I have searched and searched (various search engines, sites, worded a thousand different ways) and the directions for preparing freshwater dips say to adjust the pH, but nobody says how.  >>Ah, quite the conundrum my friend.  >I have been trying Proper pH 8.2, which is supposed to buffer water to 8.2 automatically, but it does not work. It always makes the pH way to high!  >>Well, what's the fresh water's pH BEFORE you try to adjust it? That would make a difference.  >Is this because it's for use on saltwater, not fresh?  >>I'm not familiar with this product, so I couldn't speak to its efficacy in salt vs. fresh water.  >If so, what AM I supposed to use? I've heard of using baking soda, but nobody says what ratio to use.  >>That's because all freshwater is NOT the same.  >What is the best way to buffer regular filtered water up to 8.0?  >>Filtered in what way? If it's RO/DI, then many folks recommend using Aquarium Systems SeaBuffer and Seachem's Reef Builder and Marine Buffer are all good products. However, it's important to test prior to using this. When performing freshwater dips, unless your municipal water is just terrible, I would adjust its pH in small increments (for instance, experiment a teaspoon at a time with about 2 gallons of water), I would go the sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) route--simple, always available, and CHEAP.  >Please help, my fish has ich and I am desperate.  >>As I see, for which I apologize for the lateness of this reply. The person in whose inbox this was is having computer troubles, I've discovered this evening that it hadn't been answered. Marina  thanks. Erin Rodriguez 

Adjusting Freshwater pH for Dipping II >Thanks Marina.  >>You're welcome, Erin.  >The water is RO water, fresh, no salt.  >>Ok.  >pH is 7.4 to start with. I was reading closer in the buffer's instructions and it said to add the salt first then use the buffer, so apparently, it is not for use in fresh water.  >>I'm not sure what buffer you're using, but I'm positive that it's best to buffer your RO water *before* you add salt.. I believe I posted to you a couple of good brands (recommend by Anthony Calfo).  >So I guess I can go the bicarbonate route.  >>Hey, absolutely! It can get expensive using other stuff, especially for a freshwater dip.  >I've heard other people say, don't bother adjusting the pH for a 4 minute freshwater dip.  >>Oh my God, NO! Adjust it, make SURE you adjust it. Most folks don't understand how QUICKLY pH shock can kill, I think in part because it's difficult for us terrestrial creatures to wrap our minds around what it feels like to be immersed in this life-giving liquid. Osmotic pressure differences, due to salinity levels, are another one many folks surprisingly have a hard time getting their minds around as well.  >I've also heard people say that adding too much bicarbonate will pollute the water in some way.  >>Oh bugger that. It's plain wrong, and shows a misunderstanding of water chemistry.  >My other question is, when I am adding top off water, do most people adjust the pH, or do they just dump it in at the current pH?  >>If you're topping off with the RO water, you really MUST buffer it so as to prevent shifts in pH. Once buffered, especially if using a quality product, little pH adjustment is necessary beyond that. A pH of 7.4 from RO isn't very bad at all, should be very easily brought up with a good buffer. Look into the B-Ionic, it's getting RAVE reviews quite often on the net by other hobbyists.  >I have done that in the past and my pH has always stayed stable, I was just wondering if/how most people adjust their top off water's pH.  >>Those who've done research, I would say always do. Of course, there's no way to actually quantitatively figure out actual numbers or percentages. If you've been able to go this route with no changes in pH, well.. on one hand I say "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", but on the other I would be wary. I'm thinking that you probably do enough water changes on a regular basis that you've prevented any dangerous episodes.  >Any help is appreciated, thanks.  >>Well, I hope I've answered you pH adjustment questions, it's really a very simple procedure to adjust with the sodium bicarbonate for a dip of several minutes. The issue with playing with pH with products that can't hold it is that the pH will shift, and as I said before that can kill very quickly. Marina 

Put Your Toe in The Water!  Firsts for All--Dip, QT >Hey Guys\Gals, >>Greetings. >So I have decided to take the plunge this weekend and buy my first "finned" inhabitants for my 55 Gal.  The tank has been established now for about 7 months.   >>Wow, you're PATIENT! >Currently it houses about 75lbs of Gulf LR, a 6 inch DSB with about 1 inch of LS, maybe a dozen and a half snails of different types, a brittle star, a brown hairy crab (in captivity), a piece of LR with about 8-10 fire worms, and whatever else is living on the LR. >>Ooohhh.. watch that crab, and hopefully the brittle isn't an Ophiarachna incrassata (a known fish-eater!).  They're green, and get large. >Water params are good, I think.  Ammonia and Nitrite = 0.  Nitrates at 30-40.   >>Sounds like your DSB hasn't kicked in quite yet, yeah? >pH = 8.4.  Alk = 4.5  calcium right now = 375 (working still on getting that up, dosing about ?-1 tsp of Kalk every night).   >>Your calcium really isn't that low, I wouldn't worry about it myself. >SPG = 1.0225.  Temp is a steady 76-77 deg F.  A 4x65w Corallife CF fixture.  Right now the lights are only on for about 6 hours a day. All seems well and stable.  New things always appearing! >>Great fun, it is. >So I want to acquire my first fishies this weekend and I am terrified!!  This is where things always have gone wrong for me.   >>Hm, interesting statement. >After hanging out with you guys for almost 2 years now I have learned so much, yet so much still to learn.  I feel that you guys have truly drilled into my brain the importance of the proper selection of species as well as proper introduction technique into the display tank.  Picking fish seems so difficult and is scaring the crap out of me! >>WHOLLY SHEET! >After reading some articles on the site....my eyes are killing me these days from reading so much...... I think that I want to start with some Gobies and some Ocellaris and/or true perculas?  Are these a good first choice? >>Yes, though go easy (no more than two) on the clowns. >I understand that the Gobies are pretty short lived.  Should I not bother and consider an alternative?   >>Why?  It's kinda like owning a hamster, or a killifish, you know they're not going to live a long life, but at least you can try to ensure that they live their full span. >Can you also tell me if and how I am predisposing the demeanor of the tank environment with these choices?  What other species of fish and soft corals would compliment the mix, in your opinion?  Like most people, color and visual appeal are important factors. >>Oh my.. this is very subjective, but your choices are going to be limited by tank size.  Gobies, blennies, pygmy angels, the smaller cardinals, of course damsels, so many species from which to choose.  Part of what will help determine what species you may want to keep will be what other inverts you want (corals, other sessile especially).  I would start the tank with something small and timid such as neon or clown gobies (Neons are my favorite).  They're completely non-aggressive and create few, if any, problems for subsequent tankmates. >I have set up a 10 gal quarantine tank with 50/50 water (display tankH2O/New H2O).  It is equipped with a heater and sponge filter (seeding in main for about 5 months now), and a Seaclone skimmer.  How many of the above fish do you think I can quarantine safely in here for three weeks? >>That really depends on the species and size in question.  If it were the Percs or ocellaris, two small.  Neons?  Up to five.  Pygmy angel?  One at a time.  Far better to go slow.  Also, make that q/t 30 days! >I plan on following some of the techniques for dips and baths that are described on the site.  I am petrified of diseases and destroying my tank again, and will do whatever it takes to prevent to the best of my ability.  I plan on dipping in Methylene Blue.  A bunch of questions here, and accept my apologies for the lengthiness it's just that so much of what I read is confusing.   >>Well.. alright, apology accepted. >For the baths/dips am I mixing the M-Blue and then dipping in salt or freshwater?   >>Freshwater, matched for temperature and pH. >How much M-Blue to use?   >>Enough to turn the water a very pretty dark blue. >How often am I dipping during the 3 week quarantine (daily? just initially one time?  weekly?)?   >>Initial intro into quarantine (30 DAYS!), then leave them be (in hyposalinity if you really want to be safe--1.010). >My understanding is to dip up to 10 minutes if the fish seem to be handling it ok, with a minimum of 5-7 minutes.  Is this correct?   >>There are those who argue.  I, personally, have never timed my f/w dips, I've gone entirely by my "read" of the animal in question.  When they lose equilibrium and appear to be gasping is when I pull them.  However, I think it's safe to say that anything less than 3 minutes is fairly useless.  There are those who'd say "Oh my God!  10 minute freshwater dip??", but I've dipped that long on many occasions, again, read of the fish. >Do I not even bother dipping or shall I be neurotic and act prophylactically?   >>Be neurotic, be very neurotic.  Act prophylactically. >Any other suggestions here? >>Other than q/ting in hyposalinity, no.  Oh!  If you're not in the habit yet, soak their food in Selcon a few times a week.   >Thanks as always, Louis Rizzo >>You're welcome, as always, Marina

Put Your Toe in The Water! Firsts for All--Dip, QT II >Marina Thank you so much for the info! >>Most welcome, that's what we're here for. >Below you mention that my DSB hasn't kicked in yet.  Is this because of my nitrates levels?   >>Yes, they are definitely high. >It has been 6-7 months already since things are running.  What can be wrong or is it just time? >>I would give it time, also, try a 50% water change (your goal is to get them to a more acceptable range of <10ppm or so), and see if they come back up.  If so, then you can be fairly assured that denitrification isn't quite up to speed.    >Thanks for the suggestions on other tank mates.  It helps. >>Again, quite welcome.  Marina >Louis >>P.S. Thanks for responding with the previous email attached, it REALLY helps us out when placing emails, as well as jogging aging memories.  ;)

Taking A Dip Without Going Overboard (FW Dip Duration) Hey Crew, sorry to bug you again, but I have a question regarding FW dips. I was reading some threads on Reef Central and came across one with a kid whose Percula Clown had some type of parasite.  One of the responders to the thread said multiple times to do a FW bath for 15 minutes to an hour with Formalin.  That seems awfully long to me. <I've never heard anyone dip a marine fish for an hour! WOW! Yep- that will definitely finish off the parasites, not to mention the fish!> I was under the impression that baths were saltwater with the meds in it. <Well there are times when you simply will keep the fish immersed in saltwater with the selected medication. However, for the majority of times, such as acclimation of new fishes prior to quarantine, a 5-10 minute freshwater dip is appropriate. Optionally, you can add Methylene blue to the freshwater..> Can marine fishes live that long in FW? <I could not imagine anything good coming from a one hour full-strength freshwater dip for a marine fish!> Am I missing something?  If I'm totally wrong, please let me know. <Nope, you are more-or-less on track... Check out this link: http://wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

- Clarification on pH Shock - Hi guys! <Hello.> I've read so much of your site that if I was making minimum wage reading it I'd be rich. I also set up my tank using CMA as the supplementary guide along w/ WWM. Indispensable both, & I could not have done my setup without it. My question is, I cannot find a single thing anywhere about what to DO about pH shock. I see it mentioned occasionally & a few dire hints about it, but not what it exactly is, is caused by, or most important, how to TREAT it. <Hmm... well, without going any further, I can answer those questions - pH shock is simply a drastic change in water conditions [specifically pH] encountered by some living organism to whom the pH is important. So... let's talk about marine fish who are used to a range of pH 8.2 to 8.4. Because pH is a logarithmic scale a change from 7.0 to 8.0 is in fact a change of 10 times greater - moving in tenths of points [0.1 to 0.2] is a doubling of the factor, as moving down in tenths of points [0.2 to 0.1] is a halving of the acid/base quality of the water. Because the ocean is so large, these numbers rarely if ever change so marine fish aren't really equipped to deal with sudden, and potentially large changes in pH. If a fish has been in a bag for shipping for a day or so, the pH of its water typically drops into the high sevens... if you were to move the same fish immediately into traditional holding water of pH 8.2, it would experience pH shock. And no, there's nothing one can 'do' to remedy the problem. There are plenty of things one can do to avoid it. The pH shock becomes a source of stress which will go onto the existing pile of stress - depending on the individual, this can either tip the balance in the wrong direction or the fish will make it through to the other side. It depends a lot on how much the fish has been through up and to that point.> I had a Volitans Lionfish who died just now & I'm 99% sure it's due to pH shock. I say this because he was fine for a week or so in his tank. Water conditions were fine (obsessively measured w/ Salifert tests for pH, ammonia, nitrites & nitrates every day or two). Water had been running a bit hot (sometimes climbing to 83.5 or so but never more than a degree a day change). The temperature thing has been remedied (not enough evaporation/eel-proofed tight glass top). I got a Foxface Rabbitfish & decided as per CMA to dip him prior to introduction. I used RO water from LFS I had matched to the tank's temp, w/ some "AP Quick Cure" (Formalin/Malachite Green dip mix) & buffered the water with Kent Marine Superbuffer dKH (which per the label is for raising & buffering pH & building KH). I mixed this up & let it sit a while then dipped the Foxface, who had been in panic coloration on his way home from the store. He went limp & drifted almost instantly. <Many fish do this in the bath... is sometimes more stressful for the person doing the dipping work than it is for the fish - think you could have skipped the quick cure though - you are not exposing them to the treatment long enough for it to do any good. Better to just run the fish through a pH-adjusted freshwater dip - perhaps with Methylene blue if you'd like, but not necessary.> I spooked & netted him out & put him in the tank after MAYBE 30 seconds (he'd already been slow-drip acclimated). I had planned to dip the Lion as well since he had not been when he was introduced a week & a half ago (my only other fish) & went over the instructions for freshwater dips as per CMA. I convinced myself that it was normal for the fish to freak out a bit & that I had to exercise some "tough love" & that he had to stay in there for the 2-10 minutes. I nabbed him & put him in the dip. He sat on the bottom lazily & was breathing regularly. I set a timer for 2 minutes & watched him the whole time. Put him back in the tank & he seemed ok. Well, he spent the entire afternoon & night on the sand bed, breathing seemingly regularly but listless (which is pretty usual for him anyway minus the being on the sand part). I figured he was aggravated & stressed but nothing unexpected from being dipped in freshwater, etc.. The next afternoon he had not improved, having merely moved to different positions on the bottom two or three times. When I came back an hour later & checked on them, the Foxface seems a-ok, swimming around, nibbling algae, back to his normal coloration. The Lion was floating nose-down dead along the bottom & his fins had already started fraying off! <I'm sorry to hear of this loss.> Sorry for the long email but I'm upset & trying to provide all possible pertinent detail. I can only assume the Kent buffer did not work (or have time to work?) or at least that was my first instinct. <Takes time to work - I usually prepare my freshwater dips before I head to the store so that everything has evened out by the time I make it home with a bag in my hand.> I looked on various forums & came up with the info that "people assume buffering the water then dipping is ok...it's not". Was it pH shock that killed the Lion, & if so how could I have saved him, if at all? <Hard to say for certain - it could have also been the Formalin in the quick cure you put in the bath. This is actually really 'bad' [toxic] stuff and I've had similar results as you - dip one fish and it does fine, dip the next fish and it turns stiff almost instantly.> I feel like I killed a healthy fish through sheer gross idiocy & messing with what would have been ok had I left it alone. <Maybe so, maybe not... there is an old(?) axiom in the trade that if the fish didn't make it through the dip, it wasn't going to make it anyway. I'm sure this is no consolation to you, but it's quite possible that this fish was compromised long before you got a hold of it. Considering the Rabbitfish is still around - and I'd consider it a less hardy fish than a lionfish - I'd say something was already brewing with the lionfish and the dip just accelerated the process.> I now see that a lot of people (mainly reefers?) seem to revile freshwater dips period. <Not me... I think they are quite useful.> I guess my questions is threefold: was it the dip, was it pH shock, & how should pH shock be treated? <Again, hard to be certain it was any of these, and pH shock can only be avoided, not treated but also is rarely the single cause of mortality, but one factor among many that bring around the end of the fish.> I think this info would aid some people greatly & at the least it should be added to the database at WWM to make sure people are aware of this. <Well, we do try to get the word out, and most certainly this will go into the collection.> I consider myself very well informed & research everything before doing it & still I fell face first onto this one somehow. ;( <Don't be too hard on yourself. Cheers, J -- >

-Freshwater dips and stocking ?'s - A few quick questions to explain what I cannot seem to figure out, if you don't mind. Question 1:  I know you recommend a temperature and ph adjusted freshwater dip for tangs and angels upon introduction.  Should I give them a freshwater dip before I even put them in the quarantine tank?  This seems like it would add more stress to the whole acclimation process. <That it would. If there is no visible parasitic infection, skip the bath upon introduction to the quarantine.> If it is to be done before acclimation should I adjust the ph of the freshwater bath to the ph of the shipping water, and then after the dip put them back into the shipping water and acclimate from there?  Or should I just acclimate them to the quarantine tank, and dip them a few days later if a notice any scratching spots or unusual behavior? <Only treat when necessary.>  Also should I give them one last dip enroute to the display tank after a 3 or 4 week quarantine? <If after four weeks nothing has surfaced, it would be safe to skip the dip and avoid that additional stress.> Question 2 Do you think a Sailfin tang would get along in this mix?  4 inch regal tang, 2 perc clowns, 3 inch yellow tang, 3 inch flame angel, and a 2 inch niger trigger (that will only reside in this tank until he is about 4 or 5 inches). Or would a coral beauty perhaps fit in better?  90 gallon bow front, 100 gallon sump, 140 lbs of LR half in tank, half in sump. If neither of these, what tang or angel would suit this mix, if any? <I would skip the tang since you already have 2 in there. I'd also pass on the angel since you have a flame angel (there will likely be fighting). How 'bout a nice Anthias? Good luck! -Kevin> Again, thanks for the expert help.

- Acclimation Dips/Baths - This is exactly where my confusion is. <Oh?> You have replied to me by saying, "No-actually, a freshwater dip is for marine fishes. The thought is that marine parasites cannot survive the osmotic shock brought about by a freshwater dip...It really works!" and My feeling is, that this makes sense after reading some of the FAQ's. but in the article you linked me to is Dips/Baths where it says,"1) Make up the dip mix. Use new or system water, adjusted/conditioned as prescribed." I want to draw your attention to the words "system water". Previous to this statement in the article, under "What: Tools & Materials: Water:" it has this statement. "3) When/where in doubt, use actual "fish tank" water as a starting fluid and add the active ingredients to "it"." <Ahh, you are mixing the two subjects of the article - Dips AND Baths. You have just described a bath - where you want to soak a fish in some therapeutic treatment, Formalin, copper, etc for an hour or two. A dip implies a very short stay - 5 to 15 minutes.> I know I am being extremely picky here and I apologize for this and I don't mean to frustrate you, But I want to really understand this so I don't hurt anything or cause bad things to happen. I guess I need an Acclimation for Dummies book so I can look at the pictures or something to get my head around this. this is what I understand thus far after your last response; 1)tub of fresh tap water, dechlorinate/dechloraminate, same temp and Ph (using baking soda) as QT tank. test to insure, Mix in Meth-Blue. <Or skip the Methylene blue, is not as important if you aerate the water well.> 2)float fish in QT tank, to Acclimate temperature wise approx 15 minutes. <Sure.> 3)Add tank water to shipping water until I have approx. 3 parts my tank water/1 part shipping water. <Actually, I would skip this part - the fish is going into a freshwater solution where everything will be weird - I say just go directly to the dip.> 4)net little Nemo out and place him into bath (for up to approx 1Hr?) <No, no more than ten minutes - would likely be dead after an hour freshwater dip. Five minutes should be fine.> 5)Keep a careful eye on him <Always.> 6)net him out and place him in qt tank. <Yes.> Any challenges here? <To control your own anxieties as the fish bugs-out in the freshwater dip. All will be well.> Last question. what about the use of Maracide and Saltwater Maracyn ingredients for saltwater acclimation. would you suggest I use this? <No.> Thank you, thank you, thank you sooooo much for helping me with this. <Cheers, J -- >

- Acclimation Dips/Baths, Follow-up - You have successfully cured my frustration. <Glad to hear it.> I had a good feeling that it had to be much simpler than I was picturing it. I knew I was the one complicating this issue for myself. I thank you so much. I hope that this may help others in the same boat as I was in. I know that in the forum there are others with the same uneasy feeling that I had. but its all better now, (Dips/Baths s-e-p-a-r-a-t-e things all together....awesome, I only have to be concerned about Acclimation and a short swim in a Dip when bringing home little Nemo) thanks guys you "are" the best. <Cheers, J -- >

Taking A (Freshwater) Dip! Hi guys I hope you can help sort out my confusion am reading both articles on Acclimation and Dips/Baths. <I'll try! Scott F. here today...> My confusion is, when the article talks about "Freshwater dip" am I to interpret that as for Freshwater Fish? and Saltwater dip for Saltwater fish? <No- actually, a freshwater dip is for marine fishes. The thought is that marine parasites cannot survive the osmotic shock brought about by a freshwater dip...It really works!> I am tearing these article apart and I can almost recite them by memory by now, I have read them so many times and it's still a little unclear. From my understanding when I bring a little "Nemo" home I should acclimate the water to the appropriate temperature, net him up, and dip him into a solution of water from my saltwater tank and Meth. Blue for a few to 15 minutes. I know, don't put any of the shipping water in the bath. (I got the really clear). Then net him up again and place him in my QT tank where he stays for 21 days while observing. Is this right? I am missing something? Thank you, I know you'll help me straighten  this out in my head. Cheers. Mike <Well, Mike, there are a few ways to dip fishes. I prefer a freshwater dip with Methylene blue, then place the fish in the quarantine tank. Read this link for more info. on dips/baths: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

- FW Dip Before Introduction - Hi, I have heard that giving a saltwater fish a freshwater dip for 3-5 minutes before introducing it into the tank is a good practice.  Please tell me what you think and if it is in fact beneficial.  <I think it's no substitute for a good long quarantine, but if the fish can handle it, it isn't a bad idea.>  Also, would it be done before or after acclimating the fish to the tank water?   Thank you for your help. James <When you're done acclimating. Before trying one, check out: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm and more importantly, check out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm for quarantine techniques. Good luck! -Kevin> 

Dipping Coral (8-1-03) Just a quick question:<Cody here, sorry for the delayed reply.> I've ordered some Gorgonians and a few soft corals. Should I dip them in fresh water (for how long) before I put them in the main, display tank?<Nope, as this would likely kill them, I would advise quarantine though.  Cody> Thank you, Luke

Dipping Coral (8-2-03) But how does one quarantine corals and why? (Is there any meds to give to corals ? do they get sick? how do you cure them? :-) <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quarinverts.htm for all the info you need. Cody>

- Freshwater Dip Question - I have had many suggestions about the freshwater dip. I have decided to do one before entering both my QT and my MT.  here's my question: If I FWD into QT, then I essentially bypass the acclimation process, right? <Something like that, sure. Wouldn't hurt to at least float the bag to match up temperatures.> Same when going into the MT. <Yes, provided water parameters are the same between tanks.> The acclimation takes place when I adjust the freshwater's pH and temperature, right? <Not exactly... but something close to that.> So there is not dripping into the bag, floating in the aquarium, waiting an hour...... <Again, I would still float the bag until you are ready to perform the dip so that temperatures are as similar as possible, but you don't need to 'do the drip'.> So I understand this correctly or am I missing something? thanks <I think you're all set. Cheers, J -- >

Dip for Tang (7-26-03) How long of a preventative dip should I give a Paracanthurus? Also, should I put anything into the dip? <I would do 8-10 minutes.  Just make sure the PH and temp are good. Cody>

Freshwater dip for new arrivals Hi: Just a quick question if I may. I am receiving 3 new fish tomorrow morning, a Emperor Angel, a Majestic Angel, and a Powder Blue Tang. After a 30 day quarantine in a 70 gal hospital tank and after any necessary treatment. They will be put in their new home, a 300 gal tank. The question I have is should I give them a freshwater dip before I put them in the hospital tank, just as a precautionary measure. Or will the extra stress that the fish will experience during the dip make it not worth it. Regards: Rick <Is worth it. With the exception of very small fishes (most gobies, blennies) or fishes that look like they're "not going to make it" period, a prophylactic pH-adjusted bath is well worth the time, trouble, further stress. Bob Fenner>

Re: Freshwater dip for new arrivals Freshwater dip performed, Fish happy, I'm happy, Thanks. Next concern is diet and lateral line decease. Any recommendations on foods for these beautiful creatures? <Please take a read through the articles and archived FAQs files on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

- Another Follow-up on Freshwater Dips - Would you consider Longnose Hawkfish a fish? <Of course - it's certainly not a bird or a horse.> The ich seems never affected it. <They are just durable and disease resistant.> Would you recommend a cleaner wrasse for the tank since it feeds on external parasites? <No. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/labroide.htm >  I bought one last weekend because I had seen them servicing the fishes, hoping this one would perform the same function.  Yet this new wrasse never approached/touched the fishes w/ ich. <Is probably getting used to the new environment.> Is that strange? <Not really.> I wonder if the ich on the fishes scared the wrasse away. <I doubt it. Cheers, J>

- More on Freshwater Dips - Hi Jason, <Hello.> Thank you for writing back so quickly. <Ah, then you'll forgive me for not being so quick this time, I hope.> I found these 2 products--Probiotic marine formula and marine no ich.  The product description claims that they are safe to use in fish and reef tanks too.  Are they? <I doubt it. Typically any product that makes this claim is either not safe for invertebrates or it is ineffective against ich.> The way I've been doing is adding tap water to a plastic container, making sure the temperature is couple degree C above the temperature in the tank, leaving the fish in the container for 1.5-2 minutes, then putting it back to my only tank. <Actually, you need to dip at least three minutes to be effective, and anything more is a bonus - many fish can stay in the freshwater bath as long as 10-15 minutes.> According to what you said, I should treat the water first by removing chlorine, adding marine buffer to increase the pH to match the tank's and adding Methylene blue to kill parasites. <Actually, the Methylene Blue has only a slight effect against the parasites, it's actually the reduced specific gravity which does all the work. The Methylene Blue oxygenates the water and has a claming effect on the fish.> Can you tell me specifically, step by step, including all little details you can think of, of a proper freshwater dip? <You've pretty much got it all.> I hate to lose more fishes and feel guilty of killing innocent fishes because of my stupidity and ignorance. So pls help me out here. Thanks, Adrian <Cheers, J -- >

- Follow-up on Freshwater Dips - I talked to LFS this weekend and they recommended reducing the salinity to 1.016 too. I tried that by reducing it to 1.018 because I was concerned 1.016 was too low.  Immediately I noticed the colors on the live rocks started to fade. I was worried that the low salinity would negatively affect the health of the invertebrates and LR, so I increased the salinity back to 1.021. <Wise choice - hyposalinity is a useful treatment but only to fish, invertebrates will suffer.> So is lowering the salinity the best and safest way to treat in ich in a tank w/ fishes, invertebrates, corals, and plants? <In my opinion, it should only be part of a system of treatment and not a silver bullet cure. In my experience, hyposalinity used alone has never worked. The preferred way to deal with ich is to isolate the fish/hosts, medicate them in quarantine tanks with copper for 14 days, and simultaneously run the display tank fallow for six weeks. As long as there are fish in the main tank, the life cycle of Cryptocaryon will continue.> Should I lower the salinity to 1.016? <I wouldn't go much lower than 1.018.> If I increased the temp to 82 deg F, would that help in getting rid of ich? <It will speed their life cycle - if you don't treat the problem directly, then you only speed the reappearance of the parasite.> I think I found the source of the problem in my tank. <Oh?> I have been religiously checking the ph, nitrate, nitrite, salinity, and ammonia and changed water frequently and the fishes were kept dieing of ich or other diseases.  I never checked the heater.  I finally found out the heater in the tank was malfunctioned although the thermometer that I adhere to the outside of the tank consistently shows 76-80 deg F and the fire shrimp and longnose Hawkfish have been eating and swimming fine for at least 6 months. <Some are just plain durable.> I confirmed by putting a thermometer inside the tank and it showed 72 deg F.  No wonder the fishes are kept on dieing because their immune system was down due to the cold water. <Well, that and being cold blooded, would effect their metabolism, etc...> I already bought another heater to replace the defective heater.  Hope the livestock be happier and healthier in the warmer water. <Me too...> Thx, Adrian <Cheers, J -- >

- Freshwater Dip Problems - Hi Bob, <Actually, JasonC here today...> I assume that's your name since that's part of your email address.  I apologized if I make a mistake. <No need, no worries.> Anyway, I read some articles on WetWebMedia about ich because the fishes from the recent 3-4 purchases had serious ich infection few days after I purchased them from the store and put them into my tank.  Unfortunately, I don't have a quarantine tank although I know I should have one.  Anyway, I had tried freshwater dip before I put the fishes into the tank and also when the sight of ich on the body.  Yet all fishes last less than a week then died. <I am sorry to hear of your loss.> Strangely, last night I gave a dip to a yellow tang I bought last Sunday.  Right after I put it in the tank, it jerked couple times then died instantly right in front of my eyes.  That never happened to me. <Sadly, it does happen, and has happened to me.> In your articles you mentioned Methylene blue.  Do fish stores sell it? <They should, but not all do.> What's the proper way for freshwater dip to treat new fishes? <Make sure the water is free of chlorine, other contaminants [or use purified water]; make sure the pH is matched to the tank where the fish is coming from and/or going to; match the temperature to the water, same as pH. Add Methylene blue if you want to - is not harmful.> Do I give the fish dip w/ the Methylene blue when I purchased them from the store? <It doesn't hurt at all, and especially because you're not quarantining them... you should dip each one.> How much Methylene blue do I add to the freshwater? <Oh... I forget, if you add what it says on the bottle, the water will be deep blue and it will be hard to see the fish. You can add several drops to a tablespoon or two and should be fine.> Should I repeat the same treatment couple days later to make sure I don't stress the fishes too much yet to make sure the ich is gone? <Well... this is best done in a quarantine tank... parasitic problems like ich are often 'in the tank' and not just on your fish. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/treatmen.htm > Well, the good news is that the longnose Hawkfish and fire shrimp live through all these disastrous loss. <Ahh good... Hawkfish are pretty tough. Also - don't dip the shrimp ;-) > So I think I would wait few weeks to 1 month before I buy fishes or just buy the invertebrates for now. <Good plan. It's wise to stock slowly anyway - gives you quarantine time... no more than one thing a month.> Thank you in advance for your advice.  I appreciate what all of you offering to us. Adrian <Cheers, J -- >

Quarantine & Dips Hi guys, <Welcome Bryan, Don here today> Been doing some reading in F&Q's about quarantine and dips.  Basically I would like to get some feedback as I piece all this info together.  I am starting back in to my aquarium and I am one who did not quarantine b/f.  I am also wanting to dip w/ Methylene blue. Here goes.... I take my newly arrived specimen and acclimate him to the quarantine tank (20 gal. tank w/sponge filter that has been in my main tank sump, water from the main tank...pH, temp adjusted) and put the fish into quarantine first, b/f I do a dip right? <I would go through whatever process you do to add QT water to the bag the fish arrives in. (Setting up a drip over several hours is recommended.) Then do a FW dip with M. Blue on the way into the QT tank.> B/c I don't want to further stress out the fish.  Then after about 4 weeks and b/f I put into main display I can do a Methylene blue dip?   <I would only dip again if the fish shows some type of disease that a FW dip can help with. If it stays healthy during QT then let it be.> Couple questions.  When is the dip performed? b/f or after quarantine?   <As above> And also is the Methylene blue dip with fresh buffered RO/DI water or is system water fine? <Hmmmmm, if you use system water, it wouldn't be fresh water eh? <G> RO/DI is great making sure it is pH and temperature adjusted.> I am sure there will more question.  Thanks for your help. <Keep 'em comin' and your welcome, Don> Bryan

Deadly Dip? Crew: <Scott F. your crew member tonight!> I want to both share a story and ask a question : I purchased a previously owned Coral Beauty that was living at the LFS for just 3 hours since the owner repatriated him (her) back to the store after 3 months (tank tear-down.) I watched this fish for quite a while and it appeared very, very healthy, with a strikingly gorgeous blue tone and an insatiable appetitive for brine shrimp. I did a gradual (45 minute) acclimation procedure mixing the LFS water with small amounts of the destination tank water, vigorously aerating its acclimation bucket, and this guy seemed happy and raring to go the whole time. Then I added Kordon's Methylene Blue, upping the recommended dosage from the bottle's instructions by about two-fold (hearing that it is hard to overdose almost anything on M.B.). I kept her in there about 15 minutes, then transferred her to a pH & temp adjusted fresh water bath (de-chlorinated & pHed with Amquel & Proper pH 8.2.) This lovely creature immediately sunk on its side and never regained any of its vibrancy from that point forward. After about 5 minutes of the fresh water, I transferred its seemingly shocked body to the destination tank, where it floated to the bottom and made a few feeble attempts at gill-breathing before it convulsed into a rigor mortis - like "C" curve, taking its unbearable beauty and energy to the grave with it, a scant 1 hour after leaving the LFS. What did I do wrong? Somewhat shamed, SLC <First of all, SLC- don't blame yourself. It really seems like you did everything right here. The freshwater/Methylene blue technique is successfully used by hobbyists and aquariums around the world, and I have used this technique myself without incident for years. Remember, however, that the purpose of this dip is to induce a certain degree of osmotic shock to potential parasites that might be on the fish's skin. Although this procedure is generally fatal to parasites, which cannot handle the osmotic "stretch" like the fishes can, you will occasionally run into a fish that cannot do well, either. The fish in question was in several different environments in the hours leading up to your tragedy. Perhaps the fish, despite its apparently unaffected behavior, was already stressed seriously...The dip may have "pushed it over the edge". Just a possibility. The bottom line is- you did it right...Don't let this discourage you in the future. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Epilogue: Deadly Dip Thanks Crew (Scott F.) for your words of encouragement. I will not get frustrated at this setback, albeit I was hoping that I did *something* wrong to cause this tragedy. It's much easier to change what I did than to accept that underwater critters simply die sometimes, in a mysterious and unpredictable ways. What's most saddening is not the loss of $30, but of a fellow living creature -in my charge -  from this miniscule and fragile water-logged space rock we call Earth! Again Thanks, SLC <Your attitude is sooo good! Your compassion and love for these animals will bring you continued success for many years to come! Chin up! Regards, Scott F>

Think Blue...(Methylene Blue In FW Dip) Hi <Greetings! Scott F. at your service> I'm looking to do a FW dip. I have read contrary information on your website, and I was hoping you could clear it up. Can I use Formalin in a freshwater dip, or is it dangerous?  Thank you. SAL <Personally, I would only use Formalin-based products as a cure, not as a prophylactic...Any medication can be dangerous if improperly dosed...> Also what is the dosage ( Formalin formaldehyde - 37%). Should I use Methylene blue instead? <As a preventative dip, I'd use Methylene blue. Far more gentle, easier to use, and virtually no chance of causing additional problems due to improper dosing...Do look up "dips" on the WWM site for all of the details...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>                                                 SAL

Don't Be Afraid To Take A Dip (FW Dip Technique) Freshwater dips sound dangerous, and I've read articles where the fish died the next day after getting a Fw dip. <Well, a freshwater dip does induce a certain degree of osmotic shock in fishes. The whole theory behind this technique is that it subjects the less tolerant parasite to osmotic shock. The fish, although subjected to the same shock, is better equipped to handle such stress than the parasites. Freshwater dips are a routine part of treatment and quarantine at public aquariums and other marine livestock facilities around the world, and I have used them for years without a single loss, so I'm not recommending anything that I have not done personally here. If executed properly, they are a highly effective means of  reducing, or even eliminating parasites from the fishes themselves. I would read up on the technique and theory in the extensive resources that we have on this topic on the WWM site...If you are comfortable with the technique after reading about it, I'm sure that it will become a regular part of your quarantine and treatment protocol for years to come...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Freshwater Dip Hi, is 3min FW dip enough to fight marine Ich?<can be, normally works, read more at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm> How effective are Formalin dips at fighting Ich and other parasites? For the Formalin dip, how many drops per gallon (37% solution) and for how long? <would not use FORMALIN-VERY DANGEROUS AND TOXIC FOR THE FISH, instead would use Methylene blue> Would it be more effective to combine the Formalin and FW dips into one dip?<again would use FW but with Methylene blue, do look over WWM, IanB> Thank you, Luke

Freshwater dips Do you think I should freshwater dip him to remove whatever he keeps scratching at?  Will he die if I put him in freshwater sounds dangerous? if it isn't can you tell me how to freshwater dip hi thanks JM <Hey there Jerry, if it is a new fish that you have purchased, proper quarantine and a freshwater dip if necessary are always good.  If this is a fish you have had for a while, observation, proper quarantine and a freshwater dip if necessary would be good.  If you think he may have some parasites, you should consider quarantine so that he does not infect the rest of the population.  There is a good article about dips at the link below. -Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm  >

Freshwater Dip, cont. Hi Ian, I've looked up a few books no where can I find that MB is effective against external parasites? <7) Methylene blue and fresh water! What? Disappointed? Hear me out, this stuff works! And it's very safe. Methylene blue and fresh water is useful for both marine fishes and many invertebrates against ich, skin and gill flukes, funguses, velvet (Amyloodinium) and most other external parasitic and infectious diseases. It has several other added benefits. It's a good oxygenating dye, sort of like our blood's hemoglobin, aiding in keeping oxygen concentration high. It also is helpful in reducing light penetration, soothing frightened livestock. These qualities are what make Methylene blue particularly useful as an "anti-fungal" for transporting stock and rearing eggs. Add to this the low cost, ready availability and lack of restriction on it's use and disposal and we have a winner! Score! Should you have an impecunious situation, or are just a cheapskate (an inexpensive ray?), rather than buying Methylene blue solutions pre-made you can "make your own". Stock solid Methylene blue can be purchased from chemical supply outlets. Check your local "yellow pages". About one gram of dry material can be dissolved in about one hundred milliliters of water and about ten mils of this solution used per approximately one gallon of dip. Actual, keenly accurate measures aren't necessary as this material is safe and effective over a wide range of concentrations.> <Got the above information from our site, Checked some of my own books "The Marine Aquarium Handbook" by Martin A Moe, Jr and found nothing on Methylene blue...will send this email to Robert Fenner, IanB> Luke

Yellow Tang Good Morning and happy memorial weekend,<thank you, IanB on duty tonight> We have a yellow tang (beautiful and healthy).<yes they are> We just added a clown fish. After adding the new friend, the tang showed signs of ich and began scratching on rock and other items.<sure sign of parasites> I could see a little spot or two on him.<good observation> So we fresh water dipped. Ich gone:-)<freshwater dips are very stressful but usually do the trick> but over the last 12 hours he looks like he is having an asthma attack.<very stressful on the fish> He's swimming but not eating yet.<would not expect him to eat for a handful of days> We did the dip just last night around 9pm (Wednesday). How long is the usually recovery time from these treatments until he is breathing normally or does it vary from fish to fish?<varies depending on initial health, also other factors involved such as species of fish, water quality, etc> He looks great, swimming well but breathing very rapidly.<again, as expected> We have the lights off and I have even covered the tank with a sheet to keep stress down.<very good> My water parameters are great.<good> I am planning to test again this afternoon if he is not improved.<I admire your practices, keep up the good work and good luck with the yellow tang. I enclosed a link, hope this helps-   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm IanB>

Tangled! Aloha, <Howzit? Scott F. here today> At our school we have recently finished a huge project, rebuilding our shark pit. We caught about 10 yellow tang to put in this tank as algae-eaters. The project advisor gave half of our yellow tangs a fresh-water bath, as a part of their quarantine. She put them in the fresh water for about 10 minutes (about 8 minutes too long from what I've read) and didn't check any of the water qualities (I've read that the temperature and pH should be the same in the two tanks). <Yikes! I think that you need to advise the "advisor" to be a bit more meticulous in her technique! Don't be afraid to speak up- everyone will benefit!> After the ten minutes she decided the fish "didn't look so good" (I wonder why?!) and returned them to the saltwater tank. They stayed there for about an hour, obviously in shock but still "breathing" (is that the right term?) properly, however they didn't move. After the hour was finished they all died. <Tragic- yet predictable...> This was a great disappointment to us all and I'd like to avoid any future massacres. Could you tell me (or recommend a good source) how to properly quarantine a fish, or at least how to properly bathe them in fresh water? It would be greatly appreciated. (By the way, I'd like to that you VERY much for your website. I have used it to solve several problems we've had and have also used it as verification for information I've been given. Keep up the good work!) Jillian <Well, Jillian- why don't you start off with these links: www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm      www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm Hopefully, these will provide some answers. Don't be discouraged by this disaster. They do happen from time to time, regardless of experience or good intentions. We're all learning every day! Really glad that you're enjoying the site- feel free to contact us again any time. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Formalin question Hello crew, I recently purchased 2 clownfish and after a week in QT, I believe they might have Brooklynella.  Luckily for me, a friend works in a research lab and got me some Formalin.  However, it is a 10% solution.  Since stock solution is normally 37%, would multiplying the dosage by 3 work for Formalin dips? <Mmm, multiplying... as in adding 3.7 times as much as you might will give you about the same concentration as a stock solution...> I was planning on mixing about 3 (maybe 4?) ml/G saltwater for a 40-60 minute bath, repeating in a few days if things don't improve.  Does this sound like a reasonable plan? <Yes. Do aerate the water while the clowns are in the bath, and keep checking on them every few minutes> thanks for the help, as always! ~Jim <Bob Fenner>

Methylene blue and fresh water! quick one, do I understand  you correctly when you say "freshwater" as to mean *no salt*  for a marine creature when doing a dip. Would R/O by ok? <Exactly. Make sure the RO water is pH (you can use small amounts of baking soda to raise) and temperature adjusted. I like to aerate it with a small stone. From my experience you want to cover EVERYTHING in the area with plastic when you use Methylene blue <G>. This stuff ends up EVERYWHERE you don't want it and is pretty tough to get out!  Don><<Mmm, methinks you're thinking of Malachite Green Don... RMF>>

Dip Procedure Scott, Thanks for your reply! <My pleasure! Hope that you found it useful!> I agree with what you said. But I had some more questions on the procedure you mentioned in your last statement. Just to let you know, I did run Hypo at 14ppt the last 4 days with no success, (since I was already at that level). So starting today I will be start raising the SG back to 1.025. over the next week. Then start performing a freshwater dip daily for a 5 days, if the spot doesn't disappear.  Do you recommend Meth Blue with this or can I do without? <Either way is fine. A straight freshwater dip would work okay> Also should I be running copper in the q-tank during this time or is no medication the route I want to take? <Well, I am a big fan of the proper use of copper to combat parasitic diseases>   If the spot drops off in one of the dips, should I still quarantine for an additional 3 weeks to be on the safe side, or can we call this parasite a "fluke" and there isn't any other parasites in the water? <Well, I am rather conservative, when it comes to disease treatment. I'd err on the side of caution and quarantine for 3 weeks.> Thanks again for the help.  Interested on how the dips will go, (never did it before).  I do have "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" book which outlines the procedure. After this experience I'll be able to handle any fish problem. Tom <Yep- the dipping process is really quite simple, and can be quite effective. Once you get some experience with the process, you'll find it an integral part of your acclimation/quarantine process as well. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Dips and Disease Treatment I sent you an mail over the weekend regarding my blue hippo hiding all the time...Well he finally came out and he looks like he has velvet...I am very interested in doing a freshwater dip, however after reading your pages on dips and baths I still don't feel confident that I understand correctly what to do.  I start with "freshwater" meaning tap water or fresh salt water? <Freshwater, meaning dechlorinated, aerated, buffered and heated to proper temperature> Do I start with water from the display tank and dilute it with tap water to specific gravity reading?  Buffer PH with baking soda? or with store bought buffer?  I would probably want the Methylene blue treatment, wouldn't I? I guess I am looking for more specific details on how to actually prepare the dip...I don't want to throw a salt water fish in regular non salted water do I? <Well, yeah- in a nutshell...The idea of a freshwater dip is to expose the parasites to conditions which they cannot tolerate (i.e.; parasites cannot make the osmotic "stretch" as well as the fish can.) Freshwater dips are great. However, if you're dealing with velvet (Amyloodinium), you're going to need to use more "powerful" medication, such as copper sulphate...Copper is very effective against parasitic infections> I'm positive there is more to it than that....Please help  I'd really like to dip them today....I've read that velvet can kill quickly....Also, I will then put them into Qt tank but for how long?   <Yes- Amyloodinium can kill quickly, and is extremely contagious. You need to treat the fish for at least 3 weeks, and then let the main system run "fallow", without fishes, for at least a month. The remaining week in the hospital tank will let the tang recover without medication.> Should I put cleaner shrimp in Qt tank with fish? <I wouldn't...You'll need copper, which is a no-no with inverts> I prefer to not use copper unless absolutely necessary.  Another thing...this is the first time I've witnessed the blue hippo eat since Feb 25 ...does look a bit thin. How can I get him to eat and will this be a problem with the stress of the move into small Qt tank after dip? <Well, I must admit the copper won't help that situation...but if you don't use medication at this point- he can die from the disease first....> Your advice is greatly appreciated...I've been scouring your site for days and your book will be a next purchase for me....Thank you for your help , and I look anxiously for your dip instructions...J.Smith <Bob's book will be a great help...There is lots of good information on dips and baths...The process is relatively simple, and helps. Whichever way you go- take action quickly...Time is of the essence with this disease. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Re: Lemonpeel angel Hello, this is Jodie, <Hi Jodie, Don here today> I noticed my lemon peel angel had a minute amount of ick, so I gave him a freshwater bath and some parasites popped off of him. I only had him in the bath for maybe 2 min.s.  at the most, so I placed him back in the tank and he went straight to the bottom and breathed hard for about 30 min and then died.  would he have stressed out soo bad that he died??? <So sorry to hear. Did you temperature and pH adjust the dip to match the tank? Did you aerate the water well, before/during the dip? If so, then the fish was likely under extreme duress from the parasite. Don>

Dipping, acclimation, quarantine for new fish Good morning: <Good morrow to you> I'm going to be receiving a shipment of stock today from one of the national suppliers. The stock will have been in a FedEx container since yesterday. In reviewing the CM Aquarist I noted that you recommend that fish who have been traveling for a bit should go directly to their quarantine home. Is this in lieu of freshwater dip first as the dip is too much additional stress after a bunch of travel time? <Good question. A subjective evaluation on your part necessary here. If the livestock is apparently beat, simpler acclimation and to quarantine> No invertebrates are coming or in the q-tank so the stock can be medicated there. <Are you familiar with our website? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm and the related FAQs (linked, in blue, above)> Your thoughts as always appreciated. Charles Shatzkin PS: this dealer actually encourages use of a q-tank! <Outstanding. Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

pH in marine dips WWM Crew I want to thank you for your past help you have giving me, and the great service you provide for the hobby. Could you please tell me the best method to use when trying to match the PH for a fresh water dip? Should I buffer with baking soda then test with a freshwater ph test (if so then where do I get one that reads high enough?), <Most all will go to the 7.8 or so that sodium bicarbonate will raise the pH to> or should I test with saltwater ph test, or should I just do as my LFS says, and dump a couple of tsps of Arm & Hammer into a bag of fresh water and go for it? <A seawater assay would work... the amount of baking soda is as you state not likely to be overdosed> I am confused. Thanks for your help. Rick <Keep studying my friend... the KOH of this compound is not high enough to be problematical. Bob Fenner>

Stress Coat 2/15/03 before you fresh water dip your salt water fish should you treat the water with stress coat? t/y Sandy <Sandy I would not treat the water with Stress Coat.  I would treat the water with a dechlorinator though.  Hope this helps!  Phil>

Going For A Little Dip What would be your preferred FW dip additive.  Setting up a QT and Dip station and wanted to know your thought on which one was more effective and or harmful to fish. Thanks, Matt <Well, Matt- I'm a big fan of freshwater with Methylene blue. It's gentle to just about every fish, and is really easy to use. Administer enough MB to color the water a nice deep blue color, and that should do the trick! See this FAQ for more information: www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm  Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F>

Tangled! (Postscript) Hi Scott, <Hello again!> Thanks for your response and encouragement. <Hey- you did your best- and you're learning a lot...gotta love that...> It seems clear the FW dip was unnecessary and probably contributed to its stress. I had heard that FW dips alone were not that stressful to a fish, and that if a fish were to die as a result of one, there was something else wrong with it. Perhaps that's not a very good opinion to have formed. <Well, I still think that they are a useful technique. There is some stress imposed on the fish during the process...The theory is that the fish can better adjust to the osmotic "shock" than parasites can...If a fish is seriously stressed already, the added stress of the FW dip is not going to help it, though. I have never lost a healthy fish following a FW dip, so I am personally confident in its usage when the situation warrants it.> My biggest mistake was probably not asking you folks for advice about the scratching behavior sooner. <really- don't be so hard on yourself...It's awful to lose a fish (particularly after the tremendous effort and attention to correct procedure that you followed), but if you have learned something out of this experience, then the fish's death will not have been entirely in vain. Never forget that fishes are like people, and all react differently in different situations. On the whole, properly executed procedures and diagnostic techniques will work for the majority of fishes...not all! Hang in there, keep learning and growing in your hobby! Good luck! Scott F> thanks again for the help.

Going For A Dip... I don't mean to sound dense but isn't there going to be a temp, pH and salinity shock somewhere?  Either between the parameters of the LFS store water and the FW dip, or the FW dip and the QT?  There is  going to be a difference between the two right? Or am I over thinking this whole matter?  So is it best to dilute the LFS water with the QT water to get the fish acclimated first before dipping? <Your questions are certainly not "dense"! Here's the run-down: Yes, there will be a certain degree of osmotic shock as a result of freshwater dipping the fish. The temperature and pH of the freshwater should be similar to the saltwater. However, the rationale behind freshwater dipping is that parasites and other undesirable organisms cannot make the osmotic "stretch", as fishes can. The fish is netted out of the bag, then placed in the dipping bucket. After the dip, the fish is simply released into the qt. Stressful...yes, to a certain extent. But I can honestly say that I have been using this dip technique for years (as have thousands of other hobbyists), and I have never lost a fish during (or after) this process. Just be careful, and your fishes should do okay> Also is a 20 gallon tank acceptable for a 5-6" angelfish? <For quarantine, may be a bit cramped, but could work with adequate filtration. A 40 would be better...(but of course, more expensive!). This size tank is, of course, completely unacceptable for long-term housing of this sized fish, as I'm sure you've surmised> Greatly appreciate your first response, and thanks for having a place to ask questions. Steve <That's why we are here, Steve! We all learn together! Feel free to contact us any time! Regards, Scott F>

Another dip question Hi everyone.  Well you've sold me on using dips and quarantine tanks.  I have a 240 gallon tank and am expecting to get a queen angel soon.  I would like to be prepared ahead of time.  I have read the www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.com and I have a couple of questions.  First, most of the questions refer to fish bought on the internet.  I'm doing the same thing, except the fish dealer lives about 20 miles away, close enough to go pick the fish up.  The fish will be in the distributors tank when I pick up the fish and I'll be using his water, not the shipping water.  So...Do I >put the fish directly into the quarantine tank, then dip him?  (It would seem that this would introduce organisms into the QT), or do I take the dealer's water and fish, and pour that into a bucket, and dilute with my QT water, then dip him.  Then I put him directly into the QT, right?  Is Methylene blue safe for a queen angelfish?  Also, what is the minimum QT size for a 5-6 inch angelfish?  And, how much of this would you change on a daily/ every other day basis?  I'd like to do it right the first time.   Thanks, Steve <Quarantine is for fish purchased on-line, your local fish store, or anywhere....  You have an advantage in that you can observe your fish for a period of time before purchase.  Bring the fish home, and if you are using a FW dip, prepare your FW dip water to be pH and temperature matched and ready to go. Dip the fish and then put him in a QT tank with a cycled filter and new water. Continue QT for at least two weeks to observe for disease/parasites.  Treat *as needed* according to WWM.com disease/quarantine protocols.   You will need to change enough water regularly to keep ammonia/nitrites under control. Test daily.  No Methylene blue is needed or desired.  Hope this helps.  Craig>

Re: DIP/NO DIP Hey there: So, I get the blue dip stuff, buy my fish (False Percula), acclimate him to my quarantine water using a slow drip, and put him into my quarantine tank.  HELLOOO!  I totally didn't dip him!  Hey, at which step was he supposed to get dipped, anyway?  Thank you. <Umm, before the quarantine tank introduction. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm and the linked files (in blue, at top) beyond. Bob Fenner>

Purple Tang Purple Tang started showing few spots of ich, feed garlic soaked food and gave a FWD with Meth blue, spots disappeared overnight. It came back hard after about a week, still feeding garlic and giving 10-15 min FWD every couple of days but no real improvement. Fish seems okay with the dips, just getting harder to catch. Questions, how often can FWD's be given and should I expect the spots to drop off after the dip? At the start, spots would be gone after the dip but back by morning, now they don't seem to be dropping off at all. <<Re-introducing host fishes to infested tanks does them no good. RMF>> <FWD's are very stressful to all salt fish not to mention the stress of catching it daily. Many of the spots should drop off. However, this fish is getting weaker with each dip and that's making it more susceptible to ich infestation. My friend, do you have a quarantine tank? It would really come in handy. You could administer copper and get rid of the dips. If this interests you, please read about disease treatment at Wetwebmedia.com There is lots of information archived at this site...including directions for FWD's and a copper treatment. Please don't administer copper in your main tank> Thanks Mark <You're welcome. I'm just sorry that your having this problem...David Dowless>

- Freshwater Dips - Hi JasonC <Hello> Its Laura again the fish babysitter - I feel comfortable with the bath - I can't find an article that tells me the time limit - just if it is a longer one you need to add a bubbler to the bath. <To be effective, a bath needs to be at least five minutes. No matter what, you should put a bubbler in the bath to keep the water aerated.> But in the process not only does the tang have the black spots, but now it appears to have a hair cotton ball like - toward the back end of him, but the bony structures, does this mean it is fungal, and if it is - will the bath still help her? <The bath probably won't do much to a fungal problem, but what you describe sounds more like Lymphocystis, which usually goes away on its own.> Thanks so far for all the great advise - I don't know what I would do without the quick responses. Laura <Cheers, J -- >

Dippy Question Just bought dome Methylene Blue. For dipping prior to QT tank do you take water from QT tank and put in bucket then mix the Meth Blue or do you use non salt water IE fresh. Please elaborate on the dips as much as possible. Thanks <You can use either. Please see here re dips/baths: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm and the linked (in blue, at top) FAQs files re. Bob Fenner>

Question about a FW dip How do I increase the PH in the FW dip without adding any salt mixture? <aeration for several hours first (O2 saturation and drives of carbonic acid) then a small amount of baking soda if necessary. Anthony>

Question about a FW dip How do I increase the PH in the FW dip without adding any salt mixture? <You can add baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or a commercial preparation like "pH Up"... This is discussed on WetWebMedia.com under "Marine pH, alkalinity". Bob Fenner>

Treating Marine parasites Anthony, thanks for your thoughts; I agree that FW and Formalin dips can be very effective; what I meant to say was that by "wasting" that first week relying on Kick-Ich, the fish are so weakened that they are past the point of no return. <ahh... my fault. I misunderstood... but do agree that a lost week can be fatal> At least, this is what appears to be the case; I had 4 instances where the fish looked ok, tolerated the dip, but expired a day later; <yes... and it brings up a good point. FW dips are no more sever (less actually) than a long-term medicated bath. A properly conducted FW dip is a safe and effective measure and aquarists can rest assured that any fish that does not survive a single 5 minute FW dip was not likely to survive anyway> others (same species, same tank) pulled and dipped the first day symptoms noted, recovered. I like the FW dips, have little experience with Formalin, but FW still makes me nervous sometimes. <understood... its natural to be nervous about the FW. Little worries with Formalin though. Even small scaled species tolerate Formalin (unlike Copper, Malachite, Methylene blue, etc)> Are there species less  tolerant, with respect to both? Steve. <there are a handful of relatively uncommon fishes sensitive to FW. A few popular ones too. Be careful with very small and small scaled fishes like blennies, gobies, Chromis, Firefish... as well as high hats/drumfish/croakers, many wrasses and Tuskfish (jumpers). Most of the common and hardy species benefit by FW dips though (tangs, damsels and clowns, triggers, groupers, most angels, etc). Best regards, Anthony>

Butterfly With Parasite Hi Scott. <Hello again!> Happy Holidays to you and yours. The rest of the WWM too! <Thank you- and the same to you!> I'm back with the Copperband butterfly you helped me with earlier in the week. It continued the shaking and shimmering so I got some Methylene Blue and dipped it for about 7 minutes yesterday. <Good protocol> My first experience with M blue and WOW is all I can say. I can tell other readers, believe what you read about the messiness of this stuff and get a 10x12 tarp and a biohazard suite to do this with :-). <Yep- I've "tie-dyed" a few te shirts with this stuff> But as you can see, there is still a large cottony tuft on its dorsal. The attached pic is the fish vertical and you can see the stuff on the dorsal in the top/left third of the pic. After the dip yesterday, there were many chunks of white gunk floating in the water and the fish responded in a positive matter almost immediately. Can you help identify the parasite/disease? Or, direct me to an identification site? I was all through the WWM parasite/disease pages under maintenance yesterday and  could not find any pics of this. <Looks to be some kind of copepod or monogenetic trematode (maybe Benedina)...Still cannot be 100% certain with a photo- but I'm betting it's something close to this.> A couple questions about the dip. (freshwater dip, not me, I go to other professionals for that :-)). The white gunk that came off the fish in the dip. Is this bad stuff dead? <Hard to say what that was- infected tissue, excess body slime, mucus...not sure- but if the fish responded favorably, that's a good thing!> If not, how do you reintroduce the fish to qt without these things following along? I poured the water through a net and there had to be some of this gunk in the net. <I'd like to see the fish "clean" for at least two weeks, maybe three-just to be sure...> I followed the instructions on the bottle (Kordon brand) and used a 3 to 5 ration of blue to water. Brought pH and temp equal to tank. The fish really did not act badly during the entire 7 minutes. Would a longer time be better? I have read that when they try to jump out, they are done? <I think that 7 minutes is fine. I'd rather repeat the process a couple of times instead of a longer duration dip. The "jumping" is not a 100% reliable indicator as to when a fish is "done", as I've had a few wrasses that went ballistic after just a couple of minutes! Best way, IMO, is to keep the fish in for the full, "scheduled" dip time, unless obvious signs of extreme distress are noted> I am going to continue the dips for 8 days (a parasite cycle I read). Is this enough time for this disease? <I'd perform the dips at least 3 to 4 days, and continue to 8 if signs of the parasite are still there> I had some live rock and substrate (I know, but I am one of those that sometimes has to learn the hard way :-() in the qt. I took the rock out yesterday and am fallowing it in another tank and am removing the sand a little at a time with each daily water change. Will this (sand and rock) extend the parasite life cycle? <Well, not really- but what can happen is that these materials will often absorb medications, and can provide a substrate which harbors the encysted parasites. Definitely best to get these materials out!> I have a six line wrasse in the same tank under qt. It is not showing any signs. Although yesterday I did dip it as what I thought was preventative measure. It DID NOT like the dip. Went to the bottom of the container and lay there, fins all spread out. Since it was not moving at all, I took it out after 4 minutes and when reintroduced to qt it went to a corner and laid there about 30 minutes. Then moved under some pvc. Today it is out and swimming back and fourth. They both ate about 2hrs after dip and again this AM. Is the wrasse a bad candidate for dipping or is it just a different reaction by a different species/individual? <Good observation. Most wrasses don't seem to take as kindly to the dip process as other fishes, in my experience. But I commend you for dipping him- a very good decision on your part!> Don <Good luck to you, Don. I think that with continued good procedure and observation, you'll beat this thing! Regards, Scott F>

FW Dips and Quarantine Good morning, <Hello! Scott F. here today!> I want to start by thanking you guys for all your help through your website and FAQ's.  It's nice to have sound consistent advice for a change! (Not the case at my different LFS's!) <There are tons of conflicting points of view out there. Do take everyone's opinions with a "grain of salt", including ours. You'll eventually learn what's right for you!> I went through all your dip/baths and QT articles and FAQ's, but I still have some quick questions for you guys if I may: <Certainly> When performing a FW dip after bringing a new fish home from my local LFS, what concentration (or how many drops per gallon) of Methylene blue should I be using and how long should the dip last? <Use enough Methylene blue to get the water to a deep blue color. How much depends on the amount of water that you're using. Ideally, the dip should last a minimum of 2 or 3 minutes, up to about 10 minutes maximum.> I know I should be watching them closely during the dip but if they're doing fine is it 5, 10, 15 min.s? <I'd shoot for the middle ground- around 5-7 minutes. If the fish start totally freaking out, trying to jump, etc., then you'll have to move them sooner. Many fishes (like pygmy angels) seem to just keel over almost instantly when dipped-but they seem to do better the longer they are left in. It's a little unnerving at first, seeing your new prized fish looking like it's gonna croak, but I have never lost a fish to this process. If done correctly and monitored carefully, it's a safe and highly effective procedure.> Can I prepare the FW dip (with Amquel, Methylene blue and baking soda) right before I bring the fish home or do the additions need to be given a longer time to dissolve? How long? <I'd prepare the water ahead of time (i.e.; removing chlorine and buffering, if needed), and add the Methylene blue when you are ready to perform the dip.> If I understand correctly I should acclimatize (is that a word?!!) them in the usual manner with main tank or QT water first and then dip them before entering QT? <I float them in the QT tank first to equalize temperature, but I do not intermingle water from the bag with the QT tank water. Never allow water from the bag to mix in your main system, and keep it out of the QT if at all possible.> Also is a dip recommended after the 4 week QT period before entering the display?  Or will it just unnecessarily stress the fish? <Differing opinions on this. I have done it both ways with equally successful results. If the fish has not displayed any disease symptoms during the QT period, and if there have been no introductions of new fish during that time, I generally do not dip again. It is, however, a valid procedure and is certainly not to be discouraged, IMO> Your articles state that not all fish should be quarantined but in your FAQ's you answer some questions saying that EVERYTHING WET should go into QT??!! <I personally quarantine all new animals, and recommend this procedure to everyone.> For each of the following fish: Hippo Tang, Lemonpeel Angel and Maroon Clown, could you please tell me if: A FW dip is indicated? Methylene blue is OK?  If not, what do you recommend?  (FW only? Formalin?) <All should be fine with a FW/Methylene blue dip, IMO> Copper, if needed during the QT for crypt, is OK? If not, what do you recommend? <I like to use copper only when appropriate for disease treatment. Copper, as you are no doubt aware, needs to be monitored carefully for concentration> In a 10 gal. QT is it better to put these fish in separately or can I purchase and QT more than one?  (Maybe not all three, but two?)  If two is OK, which do you recommend together? < Ideally, with these particular fishes, I'd quarantine them individually. The Maroon Clown can be a bit feisty, particularly in close quarters. The hippo tang needs some good room to swim, and may prefer the extra room that "solo quarantine" provides. I suppose, if you had to, you could quarantine the Lemonpeel and Hippo together, but you'd have to keep an eye on the situation> I will be using main tank water and a sponge from the main tank (for the power filter on the QT) to set up the QT. <Great procedure> Is it OK to set up the QT 4-5 days in advance of putting some fish in it or will all the beneficial bacteria die since the QT will be empty for that period? <You can let it sit for a few days, if needed. If you'd like, you could add a small amount of food to the tank to "feed" the bacteria> How long before putting fish can I set up the QT in that manner? <If you're using main system water and a sponge that has been "precolonized" in your main system, you can add the fish as soon as you get the QT's temperature stabilized.> Off topic:  Is the Maroon clown known to be aggressive in general or just towards other clownfish? <They can be a bit "chippy" to many different fishes- certainly to other clowns> Again, I appreciate all your help.  You guys help make this hobby easier during the frustrating moments!! Have a nice day, Steve <Well, Steve, it's certainly nice to hear that we can reduce your frustration level a bit! Feel free to contact us any time! Regards, Scott F>

FW Dips and QT Questions (Pt. 2) Hi Scott, <Hello again, Steve> Thank you very much for your very helpful response.  I am still confused about three things: How long before should I prepare the water for the dip?  The reason I am asking is that I don't have an additional heater and if I prepare it too much in advance I am scared the temp. will go down too much. <I understand...You could prepare the dip water ahead of time in say, a small specimen container, which can be floated in the QT tank to achieve the same temperature...> I should just float the unopened bag for 15 minutes?  I understand I shouldn't mix the bag water with my system or QT water, but should I slowly add QT water to the bag to equalize the other parameters (i.e. salinity, etc)? <Sorry I was unclear on this. What I'd do is scoop out some water from the QT tank, and slowly replace the bag water with the QT water. This way, no water from the bag actually gets into the QT> If I do need to treat with copper for ick or velvet, is it OK for treatment of a hippo tang, a Lemonpeel angel and a maroon clown?  Or are any of these fish too sensitive? <Should not be a problem, if copper is administered per manufacturer's instructions. With tangs, you should only utilize copper as long is it takes to affect a cure, because they possess digestive fauna which can be damaged by prolonged copper exposure> BTW, will these 3 fish together be OK or too much to handle for a 25 gal.? < I'm assuming you mean for the main tank? I think that this would be too much for a 25gal. Hippos can reach almost a foot in length, and the crowding effects of a small tank could drastically reduce the life span of the fish. Tangs need lots of space, very high water quality, and stable conditions. The maroon clown does reach a size of almost 6 inches. A better choice would be a percula or ocellaris clown. The Lemonpeel is one of the larger of the Centropyge "pygmy angelfishes". I'd recommend a smaller species, such as the "cherub angel" C. argi, or the "Flameback angelfish", C. acanthops. Both of these guys are colorful, offer many of the same "features" of the "larger" pygmy angels, but would do better in the confines of a 25 gal tank. If you're talking about the 25 gal as a QT tank, I'd still quarantine the clown separately from the hippo or the Lemonpeel. If you are talking about small (under 3 inches) specimens, then you could probably quarantine the Lemonpeel and the hippo together...> Thanks again, Steve <My pleasure, Steve. Sorry if I was a bit unclear the first time! Regards, Scott F>

Freshwater Dips For Tangs... Hi there again....thanks for the email that was fast. <We try our best to reply quickly! Thanks!> It's about my blue tang. I have read your website about white spot on tang. Is it true to put the tang in the freshwater for 8-10 minutes? How many times should it be done? <By "white spot", I'll assume that we're talking about marine ich? As far as freshwater dips for treatment are concerned, I'd start out with dips maybe twice a day, 3-5 minute duration. I certainly would not subject a sick fish to a FW dip more than 3 times a day, and only repeat until signs of the disease have started to wane. Dips can be successful, but do keep in mind that there is a certain degree of osmotic shock to the animal that goes with this process. If the dips prove to be unsuccessful, you may need to treat the tang (in a hospital tank, of course) with a medication, such as copper sulphate. Good luck! Scott F.>

Fresh Water Dips Posted this question on the WetWebFotos forum, but taking a suggestion to try you guys. <Okay> Decided on a Regal/Hippo Tang and before placing in my tank want to give a FW dip, no quarantine is planned. <AKA Ich magnet> Also hope to find a neon goby and have it established in the tank before the tang. <This won't stop a breakout of ich> Still not totally clear on the proper procedure for a FW dip that will cause the least stress so: -do I need to acclimatize the fish to my SW tank first (still keeping in the bag, mixing in tank water etc), then place in the fresh water dip (which is ph and temperature match to the tank), then into the SW tank? <Bingo! After fish has been acclimated in the bag (mixing tank water etc. dip it in freshwater with the exact parameters as your display tank.> -do I go directly from the shipping bag to the dip (after temperature acclimatizing only), if so what ph do I match the dip to as probably the LFS's ph will be different from mine? <Ph needs to be your tank. After you do the mixing procedure, the bag water should be the same ph as your main tank. Right?> -what would be the minimum time for a 2-3" tang? <2-10 minutes unless the fish shows obvious stress...like trying to jump out of the bucket. Needs to be around 5 minutes to really be effective. Watch the fish closely. If it becomes stressed, get it out of there and into a more suitable environment.> -not sure if I'll be able to source blue-blue, but if I can, what's the ratio for mixing, or what's a suggested alternate? <A few drops of Methylene blue per liter. Make the water royal blue. This treatment is virtually nontoxic to fish to most aquarium life. Formalin is much stronger. I would follow the directions on the Formalin bottle. All of this info is found in the archives at Wetwebmedia.com> Thanks, <You're welcome! David Dowless> Mark Alberta, Canada

FW dip Hi there guys! Hope you all are well!  <and you as well good buddy> Today was the day I returned the fish to the main tank from quarantine. They were there for crypt. and the yellow tang had some black spots as well. Before re-introducing to the main tank, I Fw dipped the yellow tang. He is not doing well at this point, and I am very worried that he isn't going to make it. Let me tell you what transpired this morning & see if you can shed some light here. I acclimated them from the qt tank to the "home" tank by adding "home tank" water every 15 minutes for an hour.  <an hour is a long time for acclimation... was this vessel heated and aerated? If not there was certainly a drop in temperature... and to a lesser extent dissolved oxygen> Then I adjusted temp & pH in fresh water to match that of the water I had just acclimated them in.  <remember to aerate here too :) Especially if hot water from the tap is used... very low dissolved oxygen in the water from your hot water tank> Here comes the fiasco part... Netting a yellow tang is a terrible thing to do, & although I'm not sure what other methods I can do to get this guy out (if he makes it), I hope I can find something other than netting to do it. All those great spiky things he has get horribly caught up in the net.  <ahhh...yes. No green nets here for spined species. White nylon nets for this (all really). We all learn this one the hard way alas> OK so anyway, back to the FW dip... I scoop him out of the acclimation area and put him over into the Fw area. He is, of course, caught in the net. So I spend most of the time trying to get him untangled from this net, while he's in the Fw. We get that done, & he just seems more stressed than he ought to, so I take him out. Now, although I can't be certain because I was more intent on getting him free from the net than I was on watching the clock, I am CERTAIN that he was in that dip no longer than 5 minutes, and probably only 3. (I understand that 3 minutes isn't really long enough & I'm sorry.)  <no problem... three minutes is a minimum but helpful> So now that he's back in the main tank, he's sort of dog paddling & gilling very rapidly. The cleaner shrimp I've added while the other fish were in QT are THRILLED to see a fish. They're very gung-ho about cleaning and run over to him anytime he gets near the bottom so he keeps trying to stay up, but he's having a really hard time with it. Based on what I've read about FW dips, they should NOT be this traumatic on the fish.  <correct> Aside from not leaving him in long enough, which is not going to help the black spot I know, what else have I done wrong?  <my guess is that the rough netting/entrapment caused most of the duress> Is there a possibility that he'll make it?  <yes... they are quite hardy... but keep the lights off and remove the shrimp if necessary.. they may be causing far more stress at this point> I am just sick to think that I saved him from ich only to kill him upon returning him to his home. Please advise. Thanks! TJ <wishing you the best of luck. Anthony>

Re: Fw dip Anthony, Thank you sooo much for your encouragement! You guys are all so great! I cannot thank you enough for all your help!!!  <it is our great pleasure, my friend> Will be tossing that green net monster TONIGHT! & running to the store in the morning to get white nylon! <yes... you'll find that most aquarists after a some time in the hobby will only use nylon nets. The green nets are "faster" in the water... but much more harsh. Its rather easy to untangle spines from nylon instead> Thank you for that info. I do have an update on the tang. He seems much improved tonight with breathing back to normal (almost) & he ate a bit of food a little while ago.  <very good to hear!> Lights have remained off all day but will come on as normal on the timer tomorrow a.m.  <a good plan> The shrimp seem to have settled down a little bit (actually they seem rather heartbroken that he won't let them clean him). Hopefully he'll come around in a day or two when he starts to feel better. <fair enough> Will keep that in mind about acclimation. There was about a 2 degree temp drop.  <not bad at all... but no more than 2F recommended. 4F plus incites "ich"> I really screwed stuff up right & left today. One question & I'll leave you. The tang has a split (torn) back fin thanks to my great netting technique. Is it OK to put Stress Coat in the tank with the shrimp in there?  <sure... but doubtful it will help much. Vitamins in the food will heal faster> I'm sure his fins will heal rapidly on their own, but if this would help & be OK with the inverts then I figured I'd toss it in. <no harm if it pleases you. Will help the skimmer work better too... watch carefully for overflow> Thank you so much again for all your help/kind words!!! TJ <with kind regards, Anthony>

Stocking densities... (wrasse selection, and Centropyges, dipping, life) Bob, Thanks for the quick reply. I had a few follow-up and unrelated questions. In the smaller tank, I'm thinking of keeping a derasa clam. Which one of the three (Wrasses/dotty) would you recommend for parasitic snail and/or Bristleworm control? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudocheilinus.htm and the FAQs linked beyond, the sections on Tridacnids...> In the larger tank, I was following the capacity outlines of M. Paletta in the new marine aquarium- 2" of fish /gallon of capacity.  <I think this may be way off... Mike may have offered the "rule of thumb" of 1/2" maximum per gallon...> Given that I should easily be able to keep a 12" angel and tankmates. Is it a territory issue or is Paletta wrong with what he is saying? <You are interpreting a generality beyond it's utility... think of two versus three dimensionality... a given length of organism needs more space than its inches subdivided into increments... e.g. 12 one inch fishes are metabolically less than one 12 inch individual...> Also, with a six foot long tank, would I be able to keep 2-3 Centropyge angels?  <Likely so... of most species... they will interact, but given enough nooks, crannies, shouldn't cause any real damage to each other> I know they tend to fight, but I figured with that size tank, and enough rock work it should be O.K. I was thinking of a Hawaiian/Polynesian biotope with a flame and a potter's along with a Centropyge to be named later.  <Sounds like you've been doing your investigating> I would add native tangs, butterflies, a Picasso trigger, and a snowflake moray- any general problems with the design so far? <Not as far as I'm aware> Now for the unrelated questions- Can you recommend a good livestock source in the St. Louis area?  <Mmm, not familiar with the town, but do have a suggestion: post your question on the chatforum: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ under the "Internet/Local Fish Store" category> They all seem to contradict themselves, and I don't know who to believe.  <Only yourself> One of them told me that you cannot use protein skimmer with the miracle mud product. Any truth to this?  <No... no truth... as in "what has been done"... The owner of this company (Leng Sy) and I are friends and discuss this "to be or not to be" issue quite often... mud/muck systems can be run with skimmers... better to under skim, or run in a punctuated fashion (on/off a few hours per day) IMO/E> He also told me that he has never been able to carry out a successful fresh water dip, and that quarantining is a bad idea as you stress the fish out twice. <Some validity to these statements as exceptions... but, by and large, these techniques/practices are of tremendous utility. Put another way, the vast majority of cases, individuals benefit tremendously through their employ> So far, he's somewhat low on the credibility scale. However, another shop told me to always dip my live rock in fresh water to eliminate bristle worms, crabs, and other pests. I would think you would ruin the rock by doing this. As you can see, I'm in a bit of a quandary. <But you're thinking... very exciting. Do consider all these opinions and ours/mine... and look further at the base rationale, factual understanding to all's points in making up your own mind.> Thanks again, and the website is great! Chris <Thank you, Bob Fenner>

Question (freshwater dips, treating ich) Good afternoon, <<Greetings, my apologies for getting back to you so late...>> I have a real quick question about fresh water baths as a treatment. I have a young Sailfin tang who recently got ick. As soon as I saw it I took him out of the main tank and gave him a freshwater bath...then put him in a hospital tank that I put CopperSafe in and I'm keeping the copper level at 2ppm. Is there another treatment that would be better? <<Well... copper is perhaps the most effective at dealing with ich, but there can be problems with prolonged use. Tangs can/will be affected as certain bacteria in their gut will be lost to the copper.>> Well anyway he seemed to be doing better for a couple of days then last night he was covered in the white spots again. To make a long story short, I freaked out and gave him another freshwater bath. After I give a freshwater bath, should some of the white spots disappear or does it take a couple of hours for them to go away? <<The white spots are akin to scabs... irritations caused by the ich, or other parasites. The freshwater dip, provided it went on long enough will is usually quite effective against these parasites. The white spots might continue for a little while.>> I don't want to keep doing this to him, cause I'm scared that he'll get so stressed out that I'll end up killing him. <<Provided it was healthy before this started, and it continues to eat, you can probably do a dip every other day and not cause any significant problems. There will be a little stress, but not really excessive.>> Thanks, Laura <<Cheers, J -- >>

Freshwater Dips Hello, I have been told that eels and dragonets do not tolerate freshwater dips. Is this true? Also are there any other types of fish that will not tolerate freshwater dips? Thanks, Richard <Richard, I recommend shorter freshwater dips for any species that lives in close association with invertebrates. This would include clownfish, mandarin and eels. However, I do not recommend eliminating them altogether. Avoid copper compounds, dye and organophosphate-containing remedies as these are deadly to eels. Mandarins generally do not handle these chemicals well either. Of further note, both of these species do require frequent water changes and are generally not good tank mates. Mandarins should generally be kept only with very peaceful tank mates for a variety of reasons. -Dave Schmottlach>

Fresh water dip Bob: Is it all right to use Methylene blue in a fresh water dip for a Tangaroa Goby before he goes into QT tank? Some where I thought I read its not good? <they are indeed sensitive to organic dyes... uses half strength and time the dip carefully> If not OK should I use just pH and temp. adjusted fresh water? Thank you Pat <FW alone would still be an effective dip. Best regards, Anthony>

Freshwater dip for seahorses? Because seahorses and pipefish are very fragile, would you recommend dipping them before putting into main tank?  <Not the captive-produced ones... but I would/do at least isolate/quarantine all wild-collected syngnathiform fishes (pipes and horses)... and have found a few weeks apart from a display system to be a lifesaver, preventing the spread of parasitic disease> Even if they appear as healthy as a captive seahorse/pipe could be? I would hate to add more stress to the fragile little guys-Since seahorse don't really 'thrash' around, what time frame would the dip need to be?-Danielle <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm and the linked files at the top, their FAQs... Bob Fenner>

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