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FAQs on Marine Infectious Disease (Bacterial, Fungal, Viral) Case Histories: True Fungal

Related Articles: Infectious DiseaseUnderstanding Bacterial Disease in Aquarium Fish; With a gallery of bacterial infections, a discussion of 'Fish TB', and a listing of major antimicrobial medications with examples available to fishkeepers By Myron Roth, Ph.D.,

Related FAQs: Infectious Disease 1, Infectious Disease 2, Infectious Disease 3, Infectious Disease 4, & FAQs on Infectious Disease: Identification, Causes/Etiology, Cures/Medications, Case Histories: Bacterial, & Biological Cleaners, Cryptocaryon

 Most "fungus" infections of aquatic life are really bacterial, but there are a few really pathogenic fungal organisms of marines... Most mycelious activity is borne of actual decomposition... the "host" organisms severely damaged, dying, being digested.

Ich? 8/28/2009
I have been doing a lot of research on ich lately after one of my fish got a white dot on his belly and on one side.
These spots look bigger than ich so I don't know what it could be. my fish hasn't shown any symptoms of ich either.
<Ick (or Whitespot, as its also known) appears as discrete white spots about the size and shape of salt grains. They're fairly distinctive. Velvet tends to be much smaller, more like icing sugar, and has a velvety,
sometimes golden, sheen. In any even, both are generally easily distinguished from things like Fungus (cottony threads) and Finrot (white, sometimes bloody, patches of decaying skin and/or fin membrane). In spring male Goldfish develop white "spawning tubercles" on their faces, and these appear in a symmetrical pattern so should be easy to spot. Treating Ick is relatively easy, and you can either use a commercial medication (in which case don't forget to remove carbon from the filter, if used) or else (assuming a freshwater tank) raise the temperature to 82 degrees F (for coldwater/subtropical fish) or 86 degrees (for tropical fish) and add 2 to 3 teaspoons of non-iodised salt per gallon. Leave running thus for 2-3 weeks, and then do 25% water changes every day for 2-3 days to flush out some of the salt. The salt/heat method is safest and works well with delicate fish, such as loaches and catfish. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Ich? 8/30/2009
Thanks for your help!
<Neale has "marked himself out till Tues.">
- have found out from liveaquaria.com that my problem is a fungus. It is on my regal tang, and I'm using something that starts with an m for my problem sorry I'm not at home so I can't tell you the name of the product because I can't remember it.
<... Maracyn... I or II?... antimicrobials... Actual fungal "diseases" of saltwater fishes are rare. Please see WWM re their use, fungal infections of marine fishes... and Paracanthurus care period. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich? 8/30/2009
O I found out its Melafix
<Worthless... Please, research WWM before writing us. B>

Fungal Infection. 4/23/2009
I have in 2 different tanks a changeling emperor angel and a small about 2 inch juvenile Blueface angel.
<Oooh, small>
They were purchased at the same time, I think imported from Indonesia. The problem they have both developed is a classic cotton wool like creamy coloured lump, only one on each fish, although the emperor did also have some black like "mould" on his dorsal spines which has now gone but left a raw area. Both fish were perfect when I bought them but got the problems about a week later, the Blueface about a month later.
I am reluctant to treat either as one tank with the small Blueface is also full of inverts and both tanks are doing well with a Moorish Idol and a Baronessa butterfly eating well I am worried to disturb the system for what appears as this stage just to be cosmetic.
<I agree>
Any ideas of what will happen or how to sure them safely please?
<Just time going by treatment wise... perhaps bolstering their immune systems with a HUFA and Vitamin supplement... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/vitaminmarfaqs.htm>
<Bob Fenner>

Koran angel fungus?  12/24/07 Hey crew merry Christmas to you and yours <Peace, good will...> Need help ASAP. I have gotten <How long ago?> a Koran angel from a LFS he is eating very well, alert and curious. However, He seems to have this white colored film growing on him. Looks like a fungus. <Mmmm... would be exceedingly rare if this were a true fungus...> It has eroded some of the edges on his pectoral fins and given them a pale white translucent color as opposed to the normal clear transparent color. this does not seem to be ich as it is not raised protrusions this is more a film or a better example would be when you do a fungal assay the white subtly fuzzy film of certain fungi that appears. I realize this could also very well be a bacterial infection. either case this fish is quarantined (of course) in a 55 gallon aquarium with a 30 gallon sump water <Ah, very good> is reef quality 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, < 10 ppm nitrate, calcium 400 ppm, ph 8.3. I have removed carbon and turned off protein skimmer. I have dosed for the last 48 hours in malachite green. I have not seen any real improvement. now I have realize that if it is in fact a fungus that I would probably need to use a sulfur type medication. <Likely you mean Sulfa...> do you have any recommendations? <Yes... just simple observation for now> also if it is bacterial which regimen of antibiotics should I use. <Best not to...> Don't be afraid of giving a complicated answer I am a veterinary technician pursuing a bachelors in marine biology I have access to all chemicals and medications. please be as specific as possible. thank you all so much for what you do. its people like you who helped me to see my goals in this field to fruition. God bless you Regards Daniel Bock <IF you were a wholesale/intermediate facility I would have done a prophylactic dip/bath (see WWM re) going in/out of stages/systems here... IF you think it will help (sans any sensitivity testing) I MIGHT utilize a Furan cpd. (perhaps Nitrofuranace) at 250 mg./ten gallons... as an antimicrobial... If your employer will allow it, I would do a simple "mucus swipe" look/see here (see Ed Noga, "Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment"... Again, I am very dubious that this situation is mycelious... and it is highly likely that actual "treatment" of this Pomacanthus may do more harm than good. Bob Fenner>

Thank you Hi Bob, Thanks for your time taken to reply my e-mail, I appreciated it. Actually I have a question to ask you if a tank is infested with fungus, can it stabilize by itself ? And what causes fungus in the first place ? Hope to hear from you soon. Best Regards, David Teh  >> Hmm, fungus? Really? These forms of life can be readily identified with a simple microscope... their mycelial growth is indicative... and they really only "get going" in "deleterious" conditions... with decaying matter, lack of circulation, light...  I suspect you might mean "algae"... and do take a read re these life forms and their practical control in aquariums... on our site: Home Page  Bob Fenner

Fungus! Thanks in advance for whatever help you can give.  I purchased a royal Gramma two weeks ago.  At the time didn't notice any problems, he started eating right away (flakes and prime reef).  Three days ago, I noticed a whitish-grey fuzz on his side and under his body. <Bummer...> Seems to have decreased movement of the fin on that side too (but it doesn't have the fuzz on it). The spot is probably 3-4 mm long and 2-3 mm wide. It doesn't seem to be growing and his behavior is completely normal (still eating and swimming around). The water conditions in the tank are ideal and the other fish all look and behave normally (Percula clownfish and two green Chromis). From what I've seen on the net, I think its either a fungal infection or bacteria (but thinking it would have progressed faster if it was bacterial). <Probably as a result of poor conditions during capture, transport, or his stay at the LFS...In the future, do employ quarantine for all new fishes-a condition like this could be dealt with a lot easier in the quarantine tank...just a reminder! :) > Any idea what this might be?  I was wondering what you would suggest as a treatment?  Is there anything that would treat both potential problems? Kirra <Well, Kirra, it does sound like some sort of fungus to me, too. Assuming that this is the condition that we're dealing with here, I'd remove him to a separate aquarium for treatment. The treatment that I'd use would be an anti-fungal medication such as Mardel Labs MarOxy. This product has been very effective or me; Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions exactly when using this medication, and you should be successful at eradicating the condition. Keep feeding this little guy and continue to provide excellent water conditions to prevent secondary infections, and he'll live a long and happy life! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Looking for (high-res pix) of fungus among us Bob, We received this e-mail. Maybe you can help her. Thanks, Sue Hello, I am a photo researcher working on a college Microbiology book, and am seeking to obtain a high resolution image of a fish with fish fungus (Saprolegnia or Oomycetes) growing on it. I am wondering if you could recommend a photographer of source for such a photo? Please note our deadline is early next week, if you can help could you please advise ASAP? Or recommend someone who can? I thank you for your help on this project. Maureen Spuhler seelevel@attbi.com <I will post this request on our sites... and folks who shoot whatever they are referring to as "high resolution" (down to showing mycelia?) may respond directly... I principally work with marines that rarely have these genera involved. Bob Fenner>

Treatment of Fungal Problem Hi there, <Hi! Scott F. with you today!> It would really help if I could find that answer for it. I've clown fish for almost three weeks now it has cottony patchy white underneath its fin and hanging big white cottony like. now its growing towards its fin. I'm feeding as much as it consume so to fight with the disease which didn't as I always keep on eye for almost three weeks now. <Sounds like some sort of fungal disease> I'm so much worried if that fish will die and another fish I've. the other fish is fine with it no problem at all. <That really makes me think it's a fungal infection> So I'm trying to setup a quarantine tank ASAP. I need some suggestions how to cure this disease and setting up quarantine ASAP but I don't have any sump. This tank I've is nano 15gal tank running for about six months now. <I'd set up a small container (like a Rubbermaid) to serve as a temporary "hospital" tank. You could use a broad spectrum medication, such as Maracyn> Therefore, if I need to setup a quarantine tank ASAP how would be the fastest way and better way would be great to know. <I'd do as above...> Thanks so much and looking forward to hear soon. Thanks much. Pradeep <Good luck, Pradeep...I'm sure that things will work out fine>   

Fungus Among Us? Thanks in advance for whatever help you can give.  I purchased a royal Gramma two weeks ago.  At the time didn't notice any problems, he started eating right away (flakes and prime reef).  Three days ago, I noticed a whitish-grey fuzz on his side and under his body.  Seems to have decreased movement of the fin on that side too (but it doesn't have the fuzz on it). The spot is probably 3-4 mm long and 2-3 mm wide.  It doesn't seem to be growing and his behavior is completely normal (still eating and swimming around). The water conditions in the tank are ideal and the other fish all look and behave normally (Percula clownfish and two green Chromis). From what I've seen on the net, I think its either a fungal infection or bacteria (but thinking it would have progressed faster if it was bacterial). Any idea what this might be? I was wondering what you would suggest as a treatment?  Is there anything that would treat both potential problems? Kirra <Well, Kirra- I think that I agree with your assessment. I'd venture to say that it is a fungal infection of some sort, possibly brought about as a result of injury or acclimation trauma. I'd remove this fish to a separate tank for treatment. You may want to start with a 5 minute freshwater dip with Methylene blue (as an antibacterial dip), and then treat the fish with a broad spectrum antibiotic, such as Maracyn, in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Do a bit more research to verify that this is, indeed, what you are dealing with. Then, take appropriate action. Be sure to quarantine all new arrivals for a minimum of 21 days before they are placed into the display aquarium. This gives you a chance to eliminate any potential problems before the fish gets into your display tank. Not a bad procedure to adopt, IMO. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Is The Fungus Among Us? (Possible Fungal Infection) Scott, <Scott here, Captain... (I love saying that...LOL)> Sorry!  Two in one day :o( Would not be bothering you, but I might have a disease (actually the fish).   <Never a bother...That's what we do this for!> Bought a Forcipiger flavissimus a few days ago and have him in quarantine.  When I got him under better light (better than the LFS) I noticed what looked like a little blemish/tear in the center of his transparent tail fin.  Thought it was probably a little nip, as he was residing in a tank with several much, much larger Bannerfish.  Tonight I noticed that the little blemish is starting to look a little fungus-like.  Has not spread but the area has gotten thicker, and whiter.  Looks like a little piece of cotton growing on the fin.  Did by searches on the site, but have not come up with a good answer. <Well, it does sound like some kind of fungal malady, possibly caused by a trauma during the collection/shipping/acclimating process. If the fish is otherwise appearing healthy and eating, I'd go for a simple treatment consisting of frequent water changes, and over-the-counter aquarium remedies that include sulfonamides, which are very effective against fungal infections. You can also look for medicated foods to help out, as well.>   The fish seems otherwise very healthy, moving constantly, no heavy breathing, good color, good appetite. <Good! As I am fond of saying. "A fish that eats is a fish that lives!". This bodes well for his recovery. Keep him well fed during the treatment process...> My optimistic side says this is just an injury and this is part of the healing process, but don't want to be dumb about this.  I know this is not a lot to go on.  Any guesses, or any treatments you would recommend?  Glad I learned about quarantine on WWM. Thanks again. Jim <Well, as mentioned above, Jim, maintain very clean conditions, consider medication for a fungal infection (if it seems to be necessary), and observe the fish carefully. You might be surprised at how the passage of time and clean water alone can do the trick, but be prepared to act as needed. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

A Fungus Among Us? (Follow-up) Hi Scott, <Hi there, Jim!> Thanks again! <You're quite welcome!> Re the Forcipiger, took your advice, but got a little carried away.  Bought the fungicide, but the fungus starting spreading to other fins and growing rapidly, so got a little worried and a little overzealous and decided to take him for a dip, freshwater, same ph and temp, with Seachem Paraguard.. Probably did it for a little too long (11 minutes) and probably should have skipped the fungus meds. He seemed fine, very calm in the bath, but when I put him back in the QT he nose-dived straight to the bottom, upside-down, and stayed there!  Thought for sure he was a goner, but only a TKO.  Couple of minutes later he was up and swimming around. <Yep...Sometimes Butterflyfish and some angels just "keel over" during FW dips...It's frightening to see, but they almost always pull through okay if they are in decent shape!> A few hours later he was back eating again.  I guess on the bright side the fungus is completely gone.  He looks fine but watching him closely. <Yep- keep a close eye on him...I'm sure he's been through the worst of it, and should pull through...> My latest adventure, and question - today I added my weekly buffer, Seachem Marine Buffer (alkalinity got a little low, about 8 dKH) and after the smoke cleared I had a burnt-orange-colored fur over several of the live rocks. Curiously it has nearly covered some, and no trace on others, in what looks to be a totally random pattern (nothing to do with lighting anyway, as some under the brightest light unaffected and others not, same with those less well lit).  Tried to find out what it was searching FAQs, but nothing seemed to quite match what it looks like.  Am I hallucinating?  Could this have just popped into view after adding the buffer?  Any guess what it is? <I have no idea...Perhaps some strange precipitate that resulted from the addition of the buffer? I don't know...Could be a random, coincidental event having nothing to do with anything! As long as your water checks out okay, I'd just put this one in the file of "unexplained phenomenon"...> As always,  thanks for all the time, effort and great advice! Best regards, Jim <Glad to be of assistance, Jim! Good luck the rest of the way with the Butterfly! Regards, Scott F>

Scratches or Fungus Patches? Hi Bob, <Scott F. in for Bob today!> I recently purchased a lionfish and it wasn't till I got it home and in the tank that I noticed what looked like little scratches on the side of his body. I inspected him at the store but must have missed these marks somehow'¦ <Not hard to do, as the fish's coloration can make these kinds of marks difficult to distinguish> I've been told it could be some kind of fungal problem. Just the other day I tested my water for nitrate, nitrite, salinity, ph etc. and everything is fine, so will he get better by himself or should I add some treatment to my tank? <Well, I think I'd hold off on medicating the fish (particularly in the display tank, which is an absolute "no-no" in my book) until you have a chance to observe him some more. Is the fish eating and behaving normally? Does it appear to be scratching, or having difficulty breathing? Is there a lot of mucus or slime being exuded from the fish's body? Any other skin problems? It may simply be that the "scratches" are just that- scratches, and they may go away by simply providing excellent environmental conditions. Also, these fishes do go through an occasional "sloughing" of skin, where they exhibit all kinds of weird behaviors, such as "coughing" or "twitching". Keep a close eye on this guy for a few more days to see if things get worse...In the mean time, read up on fungal conditions on the WWM site to see if this is, indeed what you're seeing...> I also have a gold spot eel in the tank with the lionfish, I have no other tank for quarantine purposes. <Well, you really want to avoid medicating in the main tank, if that becomes necessary. Eels can be sensitive to certain medications. If it turns out to be a condition that requires medication, I'd consider temporary quarters for the fish in the form of a plastic garbage can or storage container, equipped with a filter and heater. Ultimately, you should consider investing in the simple items that you need for a quarantine tank. The tank and associated quarantine procedure will more than pay for itself in terms of fish lives saved (and heartache spared for you) in a very short time!> I am new to this, but I made sure all conditions in the tank were perfect before I started adding fish, and now this happens, what a disappointment!! Regards, Andrew Ickeringill <Well, you did all that you could- don't blame yourself! But I would very carefully observe the fish and make good and certain that you are dealing with a medical problem before rushing to "treat" the fish...Improperly medicating a fish can sometimes be more lethal than the "malady" that you're "treating" for! Keep a positive attitude, and hang in there! Let us know if you need further help! Regards, Scott F>

Scratches Or Fungus Patches (Pt.2) Hi Scott, <Hi Andrew!> Thanks for your advice, however I think I have made a mistake... the guy at the pet store told me to just add the treatment to my tank, so I did last night and again this morning. <Uh- Oh..> Should I stop this immediately and just see how the lionfish goes? <Well, at this point, the "damage is done" as they say, but I would still stop and see if the medication has any impact on the "condition". We still were not 100% certain what we were dealing with here, so I'm a bit concerned over the necessity of medicating.> Will adding the treatment to the tank twice affect anything? <Well, it's hard to say- lots of factors, particularly important is-what is the medication that you're using? The potential for damage to biological filtration and other "collateral damage" to desirable life forms in the display is a big part of why I don't recommend treatments in the display tank. However, some medications do become "bound up" in substrate materials, where they become substantially less effective...All in all- I'd still cease dosing any medication until you ascertain exactly what it is you're dealing with...Unfortunately, I'm here and you're there- so it's sort of hard for me to "diagnose" the animal without some good pictures. You may, indeed have to rely on some local help to confirm the malady. Again, however, if it is necessary to medicate the fish, I'd refrain from treating in the display tank if you can! (I will stop adding the treatment until I hear back from you) Thanks Scott. Regards, Andrew Ickeringill <Your welcome! I'd continue to seek some local help in diagnosing this illness before continuing a course of treatment (in a separate container, of course!). Hang in there! Good luck! Scott F>

Body Fungus? Hello to the keepers of knowledge, <Hi, MikeD here> I have searched and searched yet found nothing pertaining to my problem. I noticed the white/grey fluff on the head of my banded watchman goby, so I transferred him from the regular QT tank into his own hospital tank. Treated with Maracyn and then put him to bed for the night.<You did the right thing. The fluff was likely mucous from a bacterial infection.> The next day I noticed the fuzz was gone but so was the some of the flesh that was under the fuzz.<The bacteria had already eaten into the flesh, not your fault> Can barely make out eyes, he is still breathing, but do not want to be inhumane by letting him suffer. Can you tell me what the heck is going on, and if I should ride it out or "take him out",<Without seeing the fish, I'd hate to make the call, but I have seen almost miraculous recoveries on rare occasions> and what should I do with the rest of the livestock in the QT tank (all was going well for 5 weeks)?<It sounds like you're almost good to go. I suspect the goby may have sustained an injury, so I'd not take any other action unless you actually see a problem> Your continued support is greatly appreciated. <as is yours> Thank You Very Much, Dan Sick Polymnus Clownfish 4/17/05 I purchased a mated pair of Saddleback (Polymnus) clownfish about 3 weeks ago. When I first placed them into my 12 gallon QT tank, they seemed very healthy and readily accepted foods including Mysis soaked in vitamins, Cyclop-Eeze and small pellets. However, after two weeks or so, I began to notice some odd behavior in the female (who is about 3x larger than her mate). She seemed very lethargic, mostly swimming near the bottom of the tank without the usual bobbing motion associated with her species. Once in a while, I noticed she would just swim from one end of the tank to the other, sometimes gently bumping into the tank wall before reversing direction. She also stopped eating, but exhibited no signs of parasites or other diseases. The male remains very healthy.  <A. Polymnus aren't the hardiest of clowns and often fail to acclimate to captivity. The black variant seems to do somewhat better. If these are wild caught specimens, I would suggest that you research and rule out Brooklynella (usually indicated by thick cloudy mucous on skin). If it is Brooklynella, both clowns must be moved to a hospital tank and must be treated with Formalin baths.> A couple days ago, I moved the pair into the 60gal reef tank, hoping that a larger tank would perk her up. After several hours, the pair began hosting in my LTA anemone. At first I thought the female had perked up, but it has been two days now and she is still not eating (it's been about a week total since she stopped eating). This morning I discovered that one eye is beginning to bulge out, looks like early stages of Popeye however the eye is not cloudy. There is a small hippo tang in the tank which is perfectly happy and only occasionally hangs around the clownfish and their anemone although I've seen no biting.  <"Pop Eye", especially when only one eye is affected is most often caused by physical injury. However, in her outstanding book on Clownfishes, Joyce Wilkerson describes a very rare fungal disease that often causes pop-eye and the other signs you have described. There is no certain way to diagnose it while the fish is still alive, but she suggests that it can be treated by soaking food in 1% Phenoxyethanol I don't have a brand name to recommend, but it will be marketed as an anti-fungal medication (don't substitute!).> What do you suggest I do? Is her strange behavior just a result of the Popeye she is developing or is there a bigger issue likely involved? Should I move the female (or both) back to the QT tank? Should I treat with Epsom salts or Maracyn as you sometimes suggest? Thanks for your help. You guys perform a wonderful service! Saahil.  <I would not move the fish again. The other fish have already been exposed to the problem and further stress and physical contact with the injured eye could be quite harmful. If the fish is not eating, there is no way to get Phenoxyethanol into the fish (adding to the water is ineffective), so you will have to offer tempting foods and wait it out. Best Regards. AdamC.>

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