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FAQs on Parasitic Marine Worm Diseases: Identification: Diagnosis/Symptomology  

Related Articles: Marine Parasitic Disease, Parasitic Worms, Roundworms

Related FAQs: Fish Worm Diseases 1, Marine Worm Parasites 2Marine Worm Parasites 3, & FAQs on Marine Worm Parasites: Etiology/Prevention, Cures That Don't Work, Cures That Do Work, Products/Manufacturers... Flukes/Trematodes, Tapeworms/Cestodes, Leeches/Hirudineans, "Other" Worms and Worm-Like Parasites... Paravortex/Black Spot Disease, Anthelminthics/Vermifuges... De-wormers (Piperazine, Praziquantel...) & FAQs, Yellow Tang Disease, Parasitic Disease 2, Parasitic Disease 3, Parasitic Marine Tanks, Parasitic Reef Tanks, Cryptocaryoniasis, Marine Ich, Marine Velvet Disease Biological Cleaners, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease, RoundwormsYellow Tangs, Tang Health/Disease

There are many such parasites... external and internal... "Good ones" don't kill their hosts... but... under conditions of confinement, stress...

Mmmm, unfortunately hobbyists most often only have one or a handful of specimens... and by the time an infestation is spotted it's often too late to effect a cure... Further, such diagnosing often requires a microscope, knowledge of its use, and hard-to-find (and understand) reference works.

In a perfect world, this "job" would be done in processing wild-collected stocks and be totally missing from cultured.

sailfin spots on fin     7/12/12
Hello Bob and crew,
I recently purchased a small/medium sized Desjardin Sailfin tang (~5"). He was fine for a couple of weeks but soon started to show a white spot on his right pectoral fin. It was about the shape and size of a grain of rice, perhaps a little smaller. Over the course of a few weeks this large spot stayed, but many smaller spots started to form on the same fin, some close to the original spot and some far. He now has about 6 spots but the only big one is the original - the rest are tiny like grains of sugar. It has been almost 2 months since addition of the fish and there are still no spots anywhere else on his body. Any ideas what this may be, and what I can do to treat it?
<Can't be certain w/o sampling and microscopic view, but this reads like a trematode infestation. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Thanks for all your help and the great site.

Coral Beauty with HLLE and Worms?? 2/21/12
Hello Again,
I have another question on one of my fish it my 150 gallon FOWLR tank - the coral beauty. I have started to feed NLS pellets around 8 weeks ago (alternate with frozen).
A couple of weeks ago I notice the poop is brown but a string at times.
Then last night, I noticed the string of poop on the coral beauty was white with last bit that came out brown. I read brown can be from too much food but white indicates a parasite.
<Can; not always>
Also, I believe the fish has HLLE.
<I agree>
Since using the NLS pellets, the color has gotten better and the HLLE (if that what it is) is better. What I think is HLLE is like pock marks (or holes in the head) on both sides of the head around the eyes.
Up until using the NLS pellets, the diet was not great. The coral beauty usually got what we left over from frozen mix.
<I see a good deal of highly competitive fish tankmates in your photos>
I do run activated carbon and have a grounding probe in the sump (I do not have a probe in the tank). I have no power heads or anything with electric running inside the display.
<Do see the recent literature linking carbon use and incidence of HLLE...
Maybe start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/HLLESWCauseF.htm
then onto the linked files above>
Attached are some pictures (four of the CB and one of the other fish).
I might try soaking the NLS pellets in Selcon. I rarely use the Selcon, but probably should.
<Yes; I would>
The CB has been in the display tank for around 5 months. The CB was QTed and treated with PraziPro and Quinine Sulfate during QT (I do not recall if I also used QuickCure at the time).
<Hopefully not. Too toxic>
Other fish in the tank were also previously treated with PraziPro.
Snowflake Eel had for 2 years
Porcupine Puffer had for 1 year 8 months
Red Breasted Wrasse in tank for 10.5 months
Coral Beauty Angel in tank for 5 months
Banana Wrasse in tank for 2.5 months
Niger Trigger in tank for 2.5 months
All the above were QTed and treated with Quinine Sulfate and PraziPro except for the puffer and the eel. However, while in the display I previously treated them with Cupramine and also Prazi pro. That treatment was probably 15 to18 months ago.
All fish seem fat and happy. The CB is harassed at times and there have been signs of the tail fin nipped pretty good, but this has grown back quickly.
Is the stringy poop a sign of a parasite?
<Again, not strictly positively correlated... as with ourselves... fecal appearance can be linked to emotional state, foods>
If so, is PraziPro in the display the best option? Looking at my records, I did treat the display with Prazi again around 7/8 months ago. I forget if it was just in case or I saw something. If my records are correct, this was before I put the CB in the display.
<I would not further treat w/ an Anthelminthic... Some live rock addition would help here... as would many aspects of improved water quality... from refugium use, DSB, RDP...>
If treating the display with PraziPro is not the best option, anything else I can do in the display or by moving the CB to a QT (will be a challenge)?
<I would not move the fishes>
Does PraziPro treat internal parasites or only external?
thanks again for the help.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Coral Beauty with HLLE and Worms?? 2/21/12
thank you. I will read through the link provided.
so the current recommendation is to not treat at this point? I just want to confirm.
<... read>
Also, you note some live rock additions. Do you mean for more hiding places?
<... no>
I do have around . I do have around 80 pounds of very porous live rock (Pukani from Bulk Reef Supply) plus 4 liters of Seachem Pond Matrix in my sump (wet/dry sump I took out bio balls). Of the 80 pounds of LR, around 20-30 of it is in the sump.
<I see... this is more than enough, and it's rather new/fresh>
My ammonia and nitrite are zero. nitrate down to 10ppm. Phosphate around zero. Salinity is around 1.0245 to 1.025. A couple of months ago it was lower (around 1.021)
<I'd keep this higher... see WWM re rationale>
and I have raised it over time. Temp ranges from 78 to 79.
I consistently do 20% water changes and do not recall the last time I skipped one.
thanks again,
<Welcome. B>
Re: Coral Beauty with HLLE and Worms?? 2/21/12

Thanks again. Already started reading.
I will not treat with PraziPro for now.
I will stop both my ROX Carbon and GFO for a month or two and see if that helps.
I will also start regularly soaking the NLS pellets and maybe frozen food with Selcon.
<Real good. B>

Re: Coral Beauty with HLLE and Worms??  2/25/12
Attached are some more pictures I took this morning of the stringy poop.
I wanted to run by you guys to see if it changes the opinion if this is a parasite or not.
<Can't tell from other than microscopic examination... feces look like they do for many different reasons>
I have held off on treating the tank with PraziPro per the below emails.
I have stopped the carbon and GFO since Tuesday and treating with Selcon hoping to solve the HLLE, but am concerned there is a parasite with the poop.
thanks again,
<... Welcome. BobF>

Re: Coral Beauty with HLLE and Worms??  2/25/12
ok.  so would you say it is best to hold off on treating for now as long as the fish is still swimming around and eating.
And just feed better with the NLS and Selcon?

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

<Hey Jer>
Wow, you even got my name right! Almost everyone misspells it as "Gerald."
Before I emailed you I checked the FAQs and found a recommendation of "at least four weeks" for a fallow period following a fluke infection. I'd love to think I can get away with just a month, but I'm skeptical since this is the answer I want. I know, of course, that there's no sharp cutoff that identifies the "right" fallow time. Even if one could positively ID the parasite there's just a law of diminishing returns that kicks in after a while. But even without absolute certainty, I have to make a decision to put the fish back in the tank on some particular day. If you can, I'd appreciate it if you could check my logic on what to do next.
First, I assume that this is a metazoan parasite, so doesn't bury itself in the fish's tissues like some protozoa, and therefore at least part of it is exposed to the ambient water. Based on this and what I saw, I conclude that FW dips are very effective and also diagnostic against this parasite. That is, if there are any "flukes," I'll see them puff up when I do a dip.
Therefore, I plan to re-dip the fish after about 2 weeks. I expect that watching the results will tell me whether there are any flukes still on the fish. I'm hoping the first dip was effective, so that the fish will be clean. If this is the case, after two more weeks I plan to replace about 30% of the water in the hospital tank with display tank water, maybe even including some sand from that tank. If there are viable parasites in the display tank, I expect this will re-infect the fish. After another two weeks, I'll do yet another FW dip, and look for parasites. If I don't see any, I'll declare victory and put the fish back in the display tank. If any of these steps don't give the results I want, it's back to the drawing board. Does this plan make sense?
Thanks again!
<Sounds good! BobF>

Stringy/threads in yellow Tang poop? 2/3/11
Hi. I have a 4" yellow Tang who's been in my 145gallon display tank for 2 weeks after just over a week in QT. (I moved him on Bob's advice as he was showing signs of stress). He's been shy in eating Nori, flake, and pellet food (eating some eventually) but quickly eats Mysis shrimp (previously frozen) which I am giving daily. This evening I saw him do a quick swim with a shake and out fell a lump of poop with several stringy/ threads coming from it -worms?
<Do appear so to me; either this or some remnant of "string" algae>
All dark black/brown). Nothing was moving.
<A clue, perhaps>
The flow soon broke it up but I caught a quick picture of it. See below although its a bit blurry. Could this be internal parasites? Not sure if I should be worried/ do something? Thanks for your advice.
<Could be, but I don't think so... color is wrong, immotile... Is there stringy type algae present in the system, foods that you offer? Do you have a low power microscope? Bob Fenner>

Re: Stringy/threads in yellow Tang poop? Add to SW worm dis. f' as well   2/4/11
Thanks Bob. No, don't have a microscope. I don't see any stringy algae in the tank. He does pick at the rocks but there's not much growing on there yet.
There was some banding round the 'strings'
<Mmm... well... not many Annelids/Segmented worm intestinal complaints of fishes... Largely Nematodes/Round and Acanthocephalan/Thorny-headed worms... Again, I would leave off w/ any sort of "medicines" here. Cheers, BobF>

Stringy Feces and Dewormer Meds 12/20/04 I recently added a small Naso tang to my 90 gal reef tank to control Dictyota... worked like a charm. I know the tank is too small in the long run so the Naso is slated to be in a 200 gal in a few months. "Blondie" has been happy, hungry and healthy for 6 weeks now when today I noticed a really long white feces strand. <hmmm...> I also noticed on one of its sided 2 small raised marks for lack of a better description. the Naso is pigging out as usual on Nori and macro from my sump. I'm concerned about the stringy poo, what should I do?? <do play it safe and feed a dewormer. Seek Praziquantel (Prazi-pro at Drs Foster and Smith online). It can be fed in food or given as a long term bath as per the following dosages: bath 2 mg of Prazi per liter of water to make a bath to dip the fish for 1-3 hours, you can repeat after one week... or feeding Prazi inside of food, add 50 mg of Prazi per kilo of fish (your specimen) Anthony>

Queen Angel gill parasites 2/10/05 Hello Guys, <Howdy!> I'll make this short. My Queen Angels color has started fading and she's only using one gill. <Clear sign of gill parasites. Get this fish into a QT tank ASAP and treat with formalin based medication> The only thing that¹s out of order is my nitrates they are at .20ppm. <No biggie> For the past two weeks she has been flashing but no signs of ich on any of the other fish or the Angel. <Could be things much worse than ich, mate... Oodinium, Brooklynella, etc> Also she eats fine but does hide more than normal. What if anything can I watch for or do. I will have a hard time catching her but I will if need be.  <No hard time at all... do some key-word searches for "catching fish" in the Google search tool and see a description at length for the fast drain and fill to catch fish safely and easily. Morning is the best time. Anthony> 

A " Lumpy" Griffiths Angel Hi <Hello> I have a question for you, which I think I know the answer to......But I need to ask. <Okay> In my store, I have many large reef display tanks.  One of these is a 400 Gallon, very well stocked reef.  I only have a few fish in there.  a small yellow tang, medium purple, a combfish, a fourline red sea wrasse, a multicolour angel, medium Black Tang, and a 3.5"  Griffiths. I love the Griffiths, and I got a few with my last shipment from Hawaii. <Mmm, you mean "through" Hawai'i... not found here> I chose one to keep, isolated him for 2 weeks, then put him in the tank....everything went well for a few days, but now he appears to be a bit lumpy....like he has a dozen or so small bumps on each side of him....he eats readily, and I feed Live Brine, and some Tetra marine pellets 3 times a day, but in small quantities.  In fact, he seems to be first to the food. Question....what is it?,  and if I soak a few pellets for a moment in the "yellow-green" water....and almost hand feed him......will these antibiotics kill my reef in such small doses? <Not likely> I know you won't want to put this on your site as it might encourage a lot of people to do the same, with disastrous results. <We post all> My system has a 4 inch DSB,  200kgs of quality Live rock, and a heavy duty H&S skimmer, as well as a trickle filter and a little activated carbon.  I use natural sea water which I  UV, skim and O3 before lab testing and adding to the systems Normally I wouldn't worry too much about the fish, as most seem to heal very quickly in this tank,  but I'm sort of attached to this guy regards JD <I too like this genus of Angels... What yours is exhibiting is very likely some sort of worm infestation... subdermal... nematodes, maybe acanthocephalans... Not treatable, not likely "too" debilitating, not catching. Bob Fenner>

Internal parasites or bacteria infection Hi Guys!! I have a major problem with my supermale lineatus wrasse. He is apparently not a happy camper. He has white feces or shall we call it stringy white poo hanging out of its anal area. <Either one> The tank is a 55 gallon with a UV, all water parameters are normal. When I first got him, he was always swimming around eating like a pig. Now he is hiding in his cave, has no interest in food, he always has his head out looking around except he hasn't swam or ate in 3 days. I am very concerned. Since my tank isn't a reef, I treated my tank with Maracyn and Metronidazole from SeaChem. I noticed his white stringy poop is getting longer, it looks like he is desperately trying to expel the waste from his anus. Am I taking the right approach? <One way, yes> The diet I was feeding him was that  Canadian Mysis shrimp. It has high protein at 60%. Couple times a week I add Selcon to it. He shares a home with a flame wrasse, and a laboutei who are all doing great. Do you have any other suggestions on how I can speed this process along or is he doomed since he isn't eating? <This fish was/is very likely internally parasitized from the wild... and in too small a system, and lacking "reef circumstances", definitely a shortcoming... Do you have another, larger, more "reefy" setting to move it to? I would add the Metronidazole to its food... This is posted on WWM... and treat only for a few days. Bob Fenner> 

Cloudy eye on yellow tang Quick question I hope you can answer for me <Will try> I purchased a yellow tang about 2 weeks ago and after several days he developed a cloudy looking eye with a small bubble on it.  Some of his fins also seemed a little torn.  I first thought it was due to new rocks I added causing him to injure himself <More likely poor, diminished water quality... perhaps related to the new rock> however I asked the man at the store and he told me to dip him in freshwater which I did.  When I dipped him little white "discs" fell off of him. <Good observation>   He looks a little better now but I'm not sure what else I should do.  Your help would be appreciated ! The water has been tested and is perfect in all aspects.  The only other fish are 2 clown fish .  I also have 6 snails and am purchasing a cleaner shrimp today.  I feed them pellet crumbles and occasionally dried seaweed.   Thank You <Wish you had a small power microscope... could look at these discs, maybe send a pic along... Very likely what you observed was flukes of some sort... You can read re these, their avoidance, treatment on WWM... use the search tool there, the indices. Bob Fenner>

My fish are being invaded by worms!!! HELP 8/20/05 My poor fish are dying:( I have a 125 gallon salt water tank that I set up a year and a half ago, and well... everything was fine until a week ago. First of all, one of my fishies was acting funny (breathing rapidly). It died:( Then secondly, I started seeing worms on the bottom of the tank (overnight). These worms are reproducing so rapidly that within a few days there were at least 1000 of them! Now it has been a week I must see at least 5,000 of them, and 3 more of my fish have died:( I am so overwhelmed! I am thinking about just starting over, because my other fish are now breathing heavy. My eel looks and acts ill. I am sickened! My only surviving fish left is a clown fish, and another starter fish. Is it possible to save these fish or are they already contaminated too? Dennis <... it, the worms are very unlikely the root cause of your problem/s here... but are simply eating the fish/es, remains and reproducing opportunistically as a consequence... There is instead something likely amiss with your system, water quality... I would test this, perform large water changes, move the remaining livestock to other quarters... There is much to relate to you re potential troubles, current deficiencies in your knowledge... please take the time to search through WWM re your set-up, maintenance... Bob Fenner>

Anthias with worms? Human influence opportunities... Important!  03/22/07 Hello again guys / gals. I notice my Ventralis Anthias has clear / white feces and am guessing he must have intestinal parasites. <Ahh... so wonderful to be able to influence such young, growing minds/awarenesses...> I was considering different medications to use and would appreciate your input on what would work best for my situation. The medications I am looking into are: Fenbendazole at 7.6 Mg per gallon Metronidazole Praziquantel and Paracide D Any suggestions would be wonderful, the fish has not lost weight, however  he is obviously losing nutrients somewhere. Thank you so much, Brian  Crenshaw <My REAL (why not?) advice is for you instead to invest in a copy of Ed Noga's "Fish Disease, Diagnosis & Treatment" (expensive, I know... and have chatted w/ him re... Maybe get the fish store to buy a copy for your use as well as theirs...) AND a QX-3...4...5? Microscope... and to LOOK here, way before dumping such medicines on your livestock... Much knowledge, discovery awaits you... which I'm sure (very) that you'll be sharing. BobF>

Things on Goby?   5/9/07 I just received a red banded antennae goby from a distributor, and I noticed that the little guy has two red, sausage looking blobs on either side of his body.  They are not on his head or gills, but rather about halfway down his body, right behind his stomach/intestinal area.  One blob is about a millimeter, the other slightly smaller. They are red, but still semi transparent.  When you look closely, you can see something undulating inside of them.  It is a bottom to top motion, no squirming or writhing inside.  Also, the larger of the two sausages has a small yellowish "string" coming from the top of it. I do not have a camera here (I'm at work) so I cannot attach a picture. <Rats!> I was looking through all our fish books and cannot find an external parasite picture that matches these things.  My question is, any idea what it is? <Yes... very likely either a crustacean or worm parasite... Not uncommon> It almost looks like the little guy's organs are on the outside of his body!  Especially as the two are directly across from each other, one on either side of his body. Any help would be appreciated.  I do not want to put the poor thing in any of our tanks until I'm 110% what it is.  Our quarantine tank is way to big for him, I'd never find him or he'd get eaten by the puffer we have in there.  Thank you! -Erica <Mmm, I suggest serial administration of an anthelminthic (my choice? Praziquantel), and an Organophosphate (something like Fluke Tabs)... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobydisfaqs.htm re related, cautionary remarks/matters. Bob Fenner>

Parasitic Worm? Hi guys, got a question for you regarding my adult Imperator Angel.  I noticed some bumps under his skin that have been there for a week or so, small and irregular in shape.  It appears that one of the bumps has broken through the skin and is white in color.  I was thinking worms, but have not been exposed to them before so I am clueless.  Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Sean <Sean... we have yet to complete a parasitic worms section for the WWM archives. Its not something we can briefly describe or ID from the description given either. Do seek some disease reference material like Untergasser's "Handbook of Fish Diseases" for photo references. Else, we'll need more history, description and a close clear photo to fairly ID this for you. If you research it well and decide to write an article on the topic... we'd love to post it here. You'd be doing many aquarists a great favor in sharing what you learn! Best regards, Anthony>

Intestinal Worms? Hi Bob, <Scott F. here with you tonight!> First of all I would like to say thank you on writing such an excellent book! (The Conscientious Marine Aquarist).  My fish store recommended this book above all others and I have learned more from it than anything else. <I read my copy so much it started to fall apart! I agree with you-it's a great book!> I am just setting up my first 55 gallon saltwater aquarium (with the help of the store of course) and I am having the following problem.  I bought two clownfish, one flame Hawkfish and an Orchid Dottyback about 8 days ago.  Everyone seems to be doing fine except for the Dotty.  Over the last two days I have noticed that he has had some discoloration on the lower part of his abdomen and today after watching him for quite a while I come to the conclusion that he has some sort of worm/internal parasite.  The discoloration seems to follow a "wormlike" pattern throughout his lower body and his stomach seems a bit enlarged.  The clincher though was the small white being that poked it's head out the fish's vent for a brief time.  That's a worm, huh? <Hmm, could definitely be some type of intestinal parasite. Treatment is really contingent upon you ascertaining what type of parasite it is. Assuming that it's a tapeworm (Cestodes) or nematode, you can use some of the commercial "anti-worming" fish foods that are out there. On the other hand, sometimes these conditions can improve through maintaining very high quality water conditions. There are a number of commercial products available for this type of parasitic infestation. Often times, however, the chemical "cures" used to treat these problems can cause more damage than the parasite, so do read the WetWebMedia.com disease FAQs to get more information.> What do I do?  I have not bought a quarantine tank yet (don't have the $$$ right now because every last cent has been spent on the main tank) but I don't want to lose my Dotty. <I understand, but I really think that the modest amount that you'll need to spend to acquire a simple quarantine set-up (5- 10 gal tank, heater, sponge filter) will save you potentially hundreds of dollars down the line. You really need to quarantine all new fishes, and you should treat all sick fishes in a separate tank. If you look for used equipment, you can save more money on this stuff> He seems very distressed though and his tail fin is fraying.  What advice can you give?  Will my fish live? <It depends on the type of parasite that you're dealing with, and the apparent severity of the damage it's causing.> Should I remove him? <I would definitely attempt treatment with medications only in a "hospital tank"> Will the other fish acquire this worm as well? <Hard to say, but it seems somewhat unlikely that this will happen> I don't want to lose my little Dotty!!! Help! Christy <Well, Christy, just hang in there, read up on parasitic infestations, and take appropriate action. I think you'll be fine! Good luck! regards, Scott F.>

Re: Tang Scratching Normal? >Thanks for the reply Marina, after much searching I'm coming to the conclusion that these spots were some type of nematode don't know if they were what caused the demise. After looking at it a bit more I can see them causing the scratching but they weren't around the gills or any critical portion of the fish. Just sitting under the skin. >>You're quite welcome, even though I'm sorry I have provided little/no help.  I did forward your email to some others (as noted), and I spent a good 45 minutes this morning doing some searching, but everything I found indicated that one would have some other external symptoms, not just the creatures you observed subcutaneous.  In one of the links I found, they did note, however, that with trematodes (can't recollect which ones right now) copper wouldn't garner results, I believe they did outline what would help, though.  I'd consider q/t'ing the others ASAP and treating.  Good luck!  Marina <Curiosity begs the question: have you any training (biology or medical, perhaps) that has given you access/skills in performing a post-mortem?  The vast majority of hobbyists don't have tools/equipment for such a procedure.> Other than some biology classes years ago in college not really.  I've been an avid fisherman and fish keeper most of my life so kinda know what's supposed to be there and what's not. Post-mortem was done with some Exacto knives and a 30x microscope from Radio Shack that I keep around to check out small life forms in the tank. Thanks Paul
Re: Tang Scratching Normal?
>Hey again, >>Good morning, Paul. As you see above, I'm sending this to some others on "The Crew". >Thanks for the info this is just an update not a very happy one but am on a fact finding mission. Found the hippo this morning dead in his favorite hidey hole.  >>That was a rather quick demise. What a shame. >While performing an autopsy found small black worm like organisms under his skin. There is no visible head or tail just a skinny worm all coiled up. (can't get a picture as they are too small for naked eye) I know this isn't much info for an ID but was just wondering if anyone would care to make a guess on this. (am worried for the other fish in the tank.)  >>I would worry as well. I personally am not familiar at all with this, clearly one would have to guess parasitic infection of some sort. I own one book one fish diseases, not-so-handily stored away. I'm going to kick this to Bob (or anyone else willing) and see what they think. I've never experienced anything like this. Curiosity begs the question: have you any training (biology or medical, perhaps) that has given you access/skills in performing a post-mortem? The vast majority of hobbyists don't have tools/equipment for such a procedure. >There were no external signs (other than scratching) before he expired, eating, breathing, swimming normal. >>Yes, I remember. This is, at this point, quite puzzling. I'm sorry, and am also concerned for the rest of your residents. I'm going to suggest trying some other sites as well, http://www.reefs.org (the archives, library, and forums), http://www.thereeftank.com IIRC there are some folks with scientific backgrounds who frequent these places. One gentleman by the nick of Galleon is one such who comes to mind. (He knows me as Seamaiden should you find him.) I'm in the process of searching via Google, I've found this initial link-->  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FA033 And some others that may (or may not be) helpful. http://www.petlibrary.com/marinetrematodes.htm http://www.wonbrothers.com/product/DrAqua/parasitic_diseases.htm http://www.mysteries-megasite.com/main/bigsearch/parasites.html Best of luck to you! Marina >Thanks again, Paul >P.S. There is a utility out on the web called REEFCON http://www.infinitysoft.net/ReefCon/ that is GREAT for logging and keeping track of your tank. It also has a very nice reference section with pictures and some info on keeping for a ton of critters. Will also control X-10 equip if you have it. I suggest this to all my friends who keep tanks as there is a free version and the pro version ($19.00 for one version or $32 for current and all upgrades) cheap in my book. >>Thank you, we'll pass this on! >>Folks, I am entirely unfamiliar with what this man has described in his post-mortem on his Hippocampus. Anyone who has any ideas, or is familiar. ANYTHING, please weigh in with your opinion. I'm having little luck finding information on anything but the most common maladies one may experience with their specimens. Could we be talking about monogenean trematodes (flukes) of some sort? Thanks, Marina<< <A distinct possibility. Is there someone you can borrow a 30 or higher microscope (dissection type preferably) to give you/us an idea of the gross morphology of these worms? Bob Fenner>

Re: Tang Scratching Normal? I may be able to go to the local Community College and borrow a microscope for an hour or so, if not have some friends that work at a hospital and will see if I can sneak in there with a sample. *grin* Will see about that in the next few days and see if I can get a picture. <Good. If you can, bring a single edged razorblade (or scalpel) to make a cross section near the head end (a tri-radiate esophagus is indicative of nematodes for instance)> (have frozen the fish we'll see how well the samples kept) All other fish in the tank still looking good. Once again the dots look like a black ropey worm all coiled up in a clear membrane. After opening the membrane the animal that comes out is about 1-2mm long and looks kinda like a very skinny black earthworm. Thanks Paul <Likely Cestodes (tapeworms), but we'll see. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tang Scratching Normal? Hello again, Well just got back some info from an instructor at the local CC where I sent the sample with a friend.  Good call Bob he said that it was some kind of tapeworm but didn't know the exact species and that he didn't think that they would have caused the death of my fish. <Maybe a contributor to some extent> So I guess this is one of those that I'm just going to have to chalk up to experience and make sure that the wife doesn't buy me any more fish presents *grin*.  Thanks for the help must say I'd have a lot harder time getting this tank started without your book and the web site. thanks again Paul <Glad to be of assistance> P.S. Just got Anthony's book in the mail and am looking forward to studying it so I can get planning on my coral to add to this tank and am waiting for the new book to arrive. <Know you will enjoy, benefit by them. Bob Fenner>

Black spots on a clownfish >hi, >>Hi, Ben. >I had a quick question.  I've got a percula clownfish that over the last week has developed a bunch (10+) black spots all over it's body (some up to 3 mm).  No particular location - just all over.  Besides these spots, the fish seems quite healthy and has a voracious appetite, swims normally, and hangs out in a colt coral it has hosted to.  The only thing that has been different recently is that I installed 2 new lights about a week ago (2 x 96W PCs, one 6500k and the other an actinic).  Could the fish be 'sunburned'?   >>You know, I've never heard of a fish being sunburned unless it was actually out of the water.  This sounds more like a disease that's much more common on tangs, especially yellow tangs--black spot disease.  It's a parasite, and very easily dealt with via freshwater dipping.  Just be sure the water is matched for temperature and pH, and all should go well.  Minimum dip time would be on the order of 5 minutes, but I always watch the fish (they can often go longer).  Erect fins are a sign it's time to pull them out of the freshwater dip, but they will breath rapidly and "lose their balance", all common with f/w dipping. >Although I had decreased the photoperiod from 12 to 8 hrs, some polyps didn't like the change and they retracted until they were relocated to the bottom of the tank.  Have you seen this before? >>To be expected with the inverts, they do indeed tend to "burn", so reduction of photoperiod OR moving the lights and/or the inverts away (then moving closer/increasing photoperiod as they adjust) until everything has adjusted is the order of the day. >thanks, Ben >>You're quite welcome, and best of luck to you.  Marina <Might be flukes, possibly Paravortex, even Microsporideans... RMF>

Weird Bumps On Yellow Tang I bought a yellow tang which is about 2.5" in size. It's been feeding very well, but I've noticed that the fish has some bumps randomly all over its body. It doesn't look like Ich... the bumps look like some kind of rash... under the skin and are only visible when the fish is at certain angles to the light. Then, they look like the bumps are a bit whitish... the difference between those and Ich is that ich looks like grains of salt outside... these look like tiny mosquito bites under the skin... The fish is also scratching a lot...I was thinking that maybe its body flukes. <Could be...Or some other type of parasitic invasion...> I gave the fish 5min bath in FW today. The bumps are still there, nothing changed... <Not a bad idea...I'd still give it a couple more tries, to see if this will do the trick> What do you think this is? What treatments would you recommend...? <Well, for a parasitic infection, copper or Formalin preparations would work. There are  other commercial products better suited for "flukes", however...Visit a few of our sponsor's web sites for various products and their applications> BTW, for body/gill flukes, what is better: copper (just like the treatment for Ich or velvet) or Formalin/malachite green ? <Do make  positive ID on what you're dealing with there, just to make sure. Check the disease FAQs and see if you can find an example of something that looks like what you're seeing. Or, if you can email a digital photo, we can possibly help make a better ID...> Thank you, Luke <And thank you for stopping by, Luke! Regards, Scott F>

- Wasting Disease - <Hello, JasonC here...> Hi crew, have a problem I haven't been able to find much on. Have a Sebae clown, wild caught, about 4 years old; always been in perfect health. Recently, I moved him to a larger tank, fish with some inverts, no anemones (yet). About 2 weeks later he developed Popeye, one eye, which I successfully treated with Epsom (thanks!). He still has a good appetite, even still has that pearly iridescence around the white bands that fresh-caught clowns have, BUT, he is beginning to lose mass; first, developing the typical pinched forehead, now progressing rearward both above and below the lateral line; no other clowns in the tank, other specimens unaffected. He eats and comes out less but is otherwise still pretty normal. <So you do see the fish eating... it would seem to me with the other occupants, this fish might be getting less that its fill.> His offered diet hasn't changed, if anything is better because I am feeding a large French and Atlantic blue tang, and very wary of HLLE, so they eat better than I do. My past experience is that this guy is headed for checkout, but its been a while, and if there is anything I can do I want to do it, so, suggestions? <Well, isolation might help - make sure the fish is eating well and without competition from the larger fish. Also, because this is a wild fish, it is also more likely that it has an internal parasite (or two) that are competing for the same nutrients, quite possibly nematodes or Cestodes [tapeworms]. Both can be treated - you should be able to obtain Praziquantel [for the Cestodes] and/or Fenbendazole [for the nematodes] from your local veterinarian. I would work with one of these at a time, and administer in baths for 2-3 hours. More information on these treatments can be found in the Edward Noga book, Fish Disease, which while expensive is very complete... and an eye-full.> Thanks, Steve J. <Cheers, J -- >

- Fluke on my Foxface? - Hello WWM Crew!   <Hello.> I love your website and have learned a tremendous lot from it! <Glad to hear.> Thanks so much for helping us 'newbies.'  I have a 120 gallon aquarium that's been up and running for almost 4 months.  I have recently added a Foxface Lo and an algae blenny as my first additions.  I also have a few frags of corals (zoos, a frogspawn and a couple xenia.)  My problem is that I had an outbreak of what I presumed to be ich in my display due to foolishly not quarantining my two new fish.  I now know better and will not repeat this mistake.  When I noticed the signs of ich I immediately removed both fish and treated with hyposalinity for 30 days.  I have returned the fish to the display and there seem to be no signs of ich so far - it's been about 4 days.  However, my Foxface has a 'bump' on his dorsal fin near the base that I would describe as looking like a clear to whitish 'bubble' of maybe 1-2 mm in diameter.  It's round to slightly oval and appears to have a whitish line or segment cutting near the center.  It was most certainly not there yesterday and is there clear as day today.  The fish appears healthy and is eating well.  My research on your site has led me to suspect this may be a parasitic fluke. <Could be.> Any way to know for sure? <Closer examination... magnification.> However, the treatment of this problem is not crystal clear to me.  Is a routine of freshwater dips in order? <Would be a good start.> Formalin? <Only if the dip doesn't affect the cure, but could also try some of the anti-parasitic foods like the New Life Spectrum Thera+.> Thanks for any help you can provide! Cheers,
Steve S.
<Cheers, J -- >

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