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FAQs on Marine Infectious Disease (Bacterial, Fungal, Viral) 2

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

Diodon hystrix Linnaeus 1758, the Spotted Burrfish.

Flesh eating bacteria??? 8/9/05 The other day, I noticed what looked like a fin nip on my pyramid angel (didn't pay too much mind but watched to see who the culprit was). I went to work and when I came home, I noticed the area was almost 3x the size of the "nipped" area and the fish was panting heavily. Over the next 4-6 hours, I could literally watch the area become grey and fleshy and disintegrate away right in front of my eyes. I put the fish in quarantine where it died about 1 hour later. What in the world did I witness? <A rapid necrosis caused by...?> Today I noticed the Red Sea Chevron had it too and I immediately removed him but within hours, the area was 3-4 times the size and once again grey and fleshy and I know that within the next few hours he will be gone also. Both fish came from the same store and were purchased together but now I need to know what I'm up against so I do not lose my whole tank. Please help!!! Thanks, Jeffrey <... very frightening... but it reads like a super-aggressive infection of Mycobacterium marinum, or other bacteria... I would definitely not put your hands in the tank w/o using waterproof gloves... and would try weakening the pathogen by lowering your specific gravity (quickly if you only have fish livestock). You might want to save, bring a freshly dead specimen to a veterinarian that specializes in such diseases, fishes... or a college for examination. BobF>

Bacterial problem or something else? Hi guys, I have a new (8 months) saltwater 75 gal aquarium FOWLR.  My 5 inch hippo tang has three raised white blotches less that 1/32 inch each on the top of her head.  None of my other fish have it. <It could be a bacterial problem or it might possibly be the start of lateral line disease.> It is not ick but looks and probably is bacterial. <Bluck bluck bluck sorry.> I have had an algae breakout within the past few weeks, have done the Chemi-clean treatment removed the algae and done a 25% water change.  My algae problem has slowed however these little blotches are still there.  I feed OSI marine flakes, vitamin enriched brine, shaved shrimp, formula one.   Now for my question><Perhaps cutting back on the food might be a good idea.> What I read is to use some type of antibiotic, and it says that depending on what you feed, it may have an antibiotic in it or to get one and soak their food in it. <The thing about using an antibiotic is that it will also affect your bacterial filter. You need to be sure what you have is indeed some type of bacteria before you treat the tank. Have you taken a look at the FAQs to see if you can find something similar.?> Well gee, ok, which one, how much, etc etc etc.  I am lost here for sure. My other fish are, Heniochus, yellow Longnose butterfly, coral beauty, Percula, gold stripe maroon clown, green spotted puffer. Let me know what you think and how to accomplish this. <Once you can identify what it is Jack we can help you treat it.  Please look at the pictures and see if you can find anything similar. If its lateral line that can be treated as well. Good luck, MacL> I sincerely thank you for your help and anxiously await your reply Jack Beckwith

Challenges On The Road To Recovery (Secondary Infection) Dear Bob, <Scott F. here today!> First of all, thank you so much for all the work you have done, particularly the support you have given to everybody using WetWebMedia as a valuable tool-- it is a great gift to the fish-keeping hobby. <We're thrilled to be of assistance!> My trouble: My reef tank came down with Ick about 2.5 weeks ago. I removed all the fish into a 10g quarantine tank which I treated with Cupramine. After a few days the ick had disappeared and the fish looked fine. Unfortunately, because I did not have a copper test kit, I let the levels of copper lower over the course of the first week. At the end of the week, all of the fish had signs of Ick again and my 3 Anthias died. <Sorry to hear that> With only a Flame angel, Hippo tang and Springer's Dottyback remaining, I bought a test kit, redosed with Cupramine, raised the temp to 85 and lowered the spg to 1.015.  The Ick went away again, and has not returned in the last 10 days that I have been dosing properly. Unfortunately though, and here is the crux, my flame angel came down with Popeye 2 days ago, first in his left and now in his right eye. <Possibly caused by a trauma, or maybe a secondary infection if it's in both eyes.> The left one looks torn now, and less swollen than before, as if he popped the bubble to relieve some pressure. My plan was to continue the Cupramine as specified for another 4 days, but maybe its the medication that is causing the Popeye. Have you ever heard of Popeye as a result of copper treatment? <No, but a secondary infection is a common occurrence when treating ich. I would get the fish out of copper at this point, however.> Maybe I should end it prematurely. What would you recommend in my case? <Agreed. Copper is none to be a bit "tough" on Centropyge angles. At this stage, get him out of copper and observe him for a while. Give the condition a chance to clear up on its own before subjecting the fish to more medication. if the condition does not clear up (given time and clean water), then medical intervention (antibiotics) will be necessary.> I was also considering putting the flame angel back in my reef tank because I know the water conditions are pristine, and maybe this will help with the Popeye, but I am afraid Ick is still a risk. <Agreed....Get him into a temporary facility without copper...I would not put a sick fish into the display for any reason.> Any advice would be helpful-- this is my first saltwater tank and also my first major run-un with disease. Thanks so much. - Josh <Josh- you're doing fine! Just stay the course with the ich treatment, and give the angel a little specialized care...Should work out just fine. Good luck, and let us know if we can assist further! Regards, Scott F.>

Fin Rot Hello WWMCrew, <hi Chris, MacL with you today> I have a Orange Diamond Goby and his/her tail has fin rot going on, I think it  might be due to such a high salinity, it is at this point 36ppt due to going off what a book called (Water Chemistry for Marine Aquariums By John H. Tullock) which says optimum level is 34-36ppt. <How are you determining your salinity? What temperature is your water measured at? That makes a huge difference in the determination of salinity. NEVERTHELESS, I do not believe that salinity could cause fin and tail rot. Ammonia will sometimes burn off fins, a huge ph change can cause a problem for the fish. But you need to get a broad spectrum antibiotic in with your fish immediately in a quarantine tank.> I found out today at the LFS that this is why the Goby has tail rot, so I will lower the salinity down to 30ppt with fresh RO water over a few days. Is this true or false. <Really depends on the things I asked you.> As for the next part of this question my Alk and Cal have been dropping over the last week or so I have been using Carbo Hard Generator to get it back up from 150ppm back to 220ppm and the calcium powder back up from 350 to 400-475 the LFS said I should use Magnesium to get the levels back to normal along with the other two <Its a delicate balancing act.  The magnesium acts as a buffer in the tank with the other two. Take a look at this and you'll see a great explanation by Rusty at Seachem that's helped me understand this balance Immensely. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/no3probfaq61.htm> I have tried to find out the how these all work together on your site but with no luck can you give me a basic run down for dummies on how they all work together..  <Good luck and let me know if that helps.> TANK SET-UP   a.. 500lt Tank - 4 holes drilled into back at water level line - runs down to W/D shower head   b.. 1x 2 Sponge power head filter in tank for pushing water   c.. 1x Foam fractionation skimmer   d.. 1x Canister filter - Via Aqua 750 Professional - 3 baskets: Running off W/D sump   a.. 1x Wet & Dry filter 75cm x 45cm x 45cm Green filter material - white filter material - ¾ full of Bio-balls 14cm water level in sump  a.. 1x Jun pump 12,000 L/ph   b.. 2x Heaters   c.. Tank substrate - crushed white coral 2mm   d.. 6x 4ft Fluoros - 4x Super Day -2x Actinic Blue LIVE STOCK   a.. 1x Mandarin Dragonet   b.. 2x Tomato Clown Fish (1 male, 1 female)   c.. 1x Banded Boxing Shrimp (female)   d.. 1x Orange Diamond Goby   e.. 1x Flame hawk   f.. 1x Abalone   g.. 8x Pacific Frilly Mushrooms   h.. 3x Fungia Mushroom Coral   I.. 1x Host Anemone (Heteractis Crispa)   j.. 20x Actinodiscus/Discosoma   k.. 3x Ricordeidae   l.. 5x Warty Corallimorphs   m.. 3x Folded Elephant Ears   n.. 12x Colonial Anemone   o.. 1x Violet Sea Urchin   p.. 3x Sea Squirts   q.. 4x Xenia - Encrusting Corals   r.. 1x Goniopora - Planulata   s.. 1x Large White Tipped Plate Coral   t.. 1x Small  White Tipped Plate Coral   u.. 20x Finger - Torch Corals   v.. 3x Star - Pineapple Corals   w.. 2x Common Sponges   x.. 8x Tree Soft Corals   y.. 3x Branching Hydroids   z.. 2x Grape Caulerpa   aa.. 1x Free Living Bristleworm   ab.. Colony Long Tentacle Zoanthid   ac.. A meadow of Xenia type blue single flowers   ad.. 10kg Premium Live rock covered in Coralline Algae <Very full tank Chris. sounds lovely, I'm thinking you need to get it in a tad better balance. Please take a look at the faq I suggested. MacL> Thanks WWMCrew  Chris   Saltwater fin and tail rot Hi guys, <Hi Peter, MacL with you today.> been great for a while but I stuffed up. Bought a fish from LFS (should have known better they are not knowledgeable nor very helpful, actually a garden centre that sells fish and the only one for 500km) been winter haven't been diving. regretting it now. So tomato clown appeared healthy and active in tank at shop they assured me it had been in tank for at least two weeks (they don't quarantine or dip or anything and wont hold fish for me with or without deposit). <Were you able to dip it when you brought it home?> was good for five days then I started noticing eroding of the fins and tail, hadn't seen any other fish (mostly damsels) bothering it at all so watched and waited. <Fin and tail rot can be treated with variety of different broad spectrum antibiotics. No difference on treatment if fungal or bacterial in origin> Night 5 gasping at surface gave fresh water dip/bath about 1-2min checked water parameters which admittedly had got out a bit, pH low 7.9-8.0, spec grav 1.028ish, nitrates/nitrites 0 and holding. Did some minor adjusting and as a last measure put fish in floating colander over night (don't like searching for dead hiders) it was dead four hours later. <Let me just ask, lots of surface movement to keep the oxygen exchange going?>  Now my wrasse is at surface today fine yesterday he seems to have a little bit of erosion also as do other damsels but they seem ok so far. I'm getting sick of all the dramas with salt water and considering giving up its too much work that I don't have the time or enthusiasm for any more. <You have to do what's right for you Peter but I think with time and patience you will get through this stuff.> Will these fish get it and die also? <It depends on what they had and whether the other fish have been exposed or not.> What can I do to treat it? <Take a look at this and see if it helps. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MarInd3of6.htm take a look and see if the links help with details and protocol on various diseases>  Can I treat in the tank it is fish only with some live rock, starfish, cowry, hermits slugs and snails (it keeps nice and clean!) I cant afford a quarantine tank or much else. Should I just leave it alone if I cant afford to do it properly or persevere the cheap way. <I think you are going to have to tank things very very slow if you are unable to quarantine.> We have caught all our other fish, would release them if I sell up. As for inverts. Will the fish improve with dramatic water changes? Intend on doing 30-60% water change in next two or three days. LFS has some treatments (not copper based) with methyl blue or malachite green I think they are that say you can do them in the tank and I know I used to tank treat my fresh waters what should I do? <They bother corals if you have any of those in your tank.> PS Cant find any articles on fin and tail rot. <good luck Peter, MacL> Sick fish After leaving for 6 days for a vacation. I came back to find that 5 of my 7 fish are dead. <sorry to hear that Sharon, MacL here with you tonight.> They all were in quarantine from an outbreak of ick. The 2 fish left are a Scopas tang, who is in really really bad shape, all his fins have been rotted away very badly. The second fish is a clownfish who is in the best shape I've ever seen him. What can I do about my tang? He can swim fin but he looks awful and I feel really bad. Is there antibiotics I can get for fin rot or do I just buy some vitamins and mix with theIr food? <Definitely antibiotics. Fin and tail rot can be treated with variety of different broad spectrum antibiotics like Nitrofurazone/Furazolidone cocktails. The origin doesn't matter just please get them started in treatment.>  thanks a lot

Crisis In The Hospital Tank! I have a couple of Clownfish and a Blue Tang. They all got the white spots a few days ago. I have treated the fishes with Quick Cure (Formalin & Malachite Green) and E.M Tablets (the Tang was having broken tail fin). It is been treated 3 days till now. The Tang died this morning. The clown fish was trying to breath at the surface water this morning. Now they are at the bottom of the tank breathing rapidly and staying at the bottom. What can I do? I have a 5 gallon tank with some live rock and sand and a cleaner shrimp. Thanks for help! Jesse <Well, Jesse, there are a number of possible problems, ranging from the number of fish in this setup, to possible overdose of medication. My thinking is that you might have been utilizing the medication, or combination of medications in a dosage that is too concentrated. Perhaps the biological filtration in this system was compromised. Hard to tell for certain, but I'd check the ammonia level, just to be on the safe side. Additionally, you might want to execute a series of water changes to help dilute the concentration of the medication. Monitor the water chemistry regularly. As far as the ich is concerned, this may be secondary to correcting the environmental problems at this point. Observe the fish carefully, and utilize a more "conventional" medication, such as Formalin or straight copper sulphate, used with strict adherence to the manufacturer's instructions concerning dosage an duration. Check water for copper concentration throughout the process. Which ever way you go- be sure to get the water conditions corrected first. Hope this points you in the right direction. Good luck! Regards, 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 A Fungus Among Us? (Treating Fungal Disease) Dear WWM Crew <Hi there! Scott F. at the keyboard tonight...> I have a 210 gal tank with mostly angels and everybody is eating and looking good except some of my angels are getting white tufts on their dorsal and rear fins. They were scraping on my overflows so I immediately checked my water quality and everything looked good. The tank has only been set up for 2 months but I used the Bio Wheel and media from my Tidepool II that came from their old home an 80 gal for over a year. I did add another identical filter for 2 on the 210. I am running a 35 watt UV. I did a 25% water change and added CopperSafe in case it was a parasite. <I can understand your caution, but in the future, I'd avoid adding any medication, particularly copper (which some angelfish don't take well to, such as Centropyge species) directly to the system. Better to get an idea of what you're dealing with before medicating.> In the old days, I would take the fish out of the tank and remove the tuft and treat the area with an anti bacterial medication. The stress from catching the fish in a heavily decorated tank was more dangerous to the fish I think. <Well, that is certainly a consideration> Is there anything I can treat the tank with to cure this fungus or whatever it is? I don't want to stress these fish anymore. I haven't had a protein skimmer on the tank since I set it up because Red Sea is mailing me another one. The water change seemed to perk them up a little but the tufts are increasing! <Well, it's hard to say without seeing the fish myself, but I'll hazard a guess and assume that you are dealing with a true fungus of some sort, like Saprolegnia. Typically, these types of fungal infections manifest themselves on open wounds (either caused by some sort of trauma, or bacterial infections), and can be eradicated rather easily with a medication like MarOxy from Mardel. However, Even though catching the fishes is a pain- I am a strong advocate of NOT treating for disease in the main tank. So many potential problems. Really not worth it for the trouble saved, IMO> I did treat the tank with Maracyn for a 5 day cycle! Thanks Kirt Joseph <Well, Maracyn is very effective against gram-positive bacterial infections and some fungal diseases. If it was not effective, then you are almost certainly dealing with a "true" fungus, better addressed with a medication such as MarOxy, as indicated above. Also, do be vigilant about water conditions and the overall environmental parameters of your tank, as these are often influential in bringing on such infections. Good luck! Regards, Scott F> The Chromis Were the Culprits? >Hi, Marina. >>Hello Barb.  I hope everything is going well for you. >I've got another question for you relating to the bacterial infection that ravaged through my Coral Beauty. Since she never showed any effects of the infection until I added the 6 green Chromis to the QT, what are the chances that they are carriers of the infection, even if they themselves don't show any signs of infection (I've had them for over 5 weeks and the owner of the LFS said she had them for 2 months)? Is that possible?  My greatest fear is that, after a 30-day quarantine (post CB death), I transfer these seemingly healthy fish to my main tank only to have my other fish doomed by whatever they might be carrying. Barb >>I thought for sure we'd covered this last week.. either that, or this is a serious case of deja vu!  In any event, at this point, even IF the Chromis were the culprits, I doubt that whatever bacteria that *were* present are still present.  Between their own immune systems and your treatments, the infectious agent(s) wouldn't stand much of a chance.  Marina

Dealing With A Bacterial Infection? If in fact the butterfly died from a bacterial infection, what should I do at this point?  Will it remain in the water and spread to other fish?  Thanks again, James <Well, it's tough to say. It would certainly be prudent to consider all tankmates "exposed" to the infection, and observe them cautiously for potential signs of infection. Unlike some of the more aggressive parasitic diseases, like ich or velvet, you can probably get away with some close observation of the remaining fish, taking action if you deem it necessary, as opposed to removing the fishes and running the tank "fallow"...Action would include feeding medicated foods to the fish, or removing them to a dedicated "hospital" tank for treatment. Either way, the key is observing the fishes closely, and taking decisive action if it is needed. 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>

Bacteria Infection Questions ( possible solution? ) Bob,       Thanks for your reply. I have been using a "Red sea" PH tester and have check my tank once a week, in which it reads at 8.2 - 8.4. I decided to switch to a "tetra" ph tester, and this one would read 8.0. This test was done towards the end of the light cycle, so I expected it to be a bit higher. With this in mind I decided to check the Alk, and it was at or close to nothing. <As I suspected> I then added a small amount of extra buffer to my top-off jug, and let my doser add it over night. The next day my French has came back very well. Swimming & eating well, but still had cloudy eyes just a bit. <This will clear in time>  I am hoping to have this problem now resolved. Do you agree that this brought on the behavior? <Likely so> How long roughly should it take till his eyes clear up? <Probably a few weeks> All and all, I did learn that even with a 32 gal. 1 - 2 week old buffered water change pre-mix , and a change of 8% weekly, you still need to supplement with additional buffer ! Any other thoughts would be appreciated.  Thanks - D. Mack <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>

- Fish TB - Please help <I can try... JasonC here at your service.> I seem to have run out of ideas. My Perc has developed what appears to be a swelling mainly on the left half of his body. He does not use his tail to swim, just his pectorals and there has been a colour change to the rear half of his body (appears grayish under the skin). I thought it may be a swim bladder infection as he swims nose down and spends most of his time vertical with his head buried in a large mushroom polyp. I have checked the water quality in my 70 gal live rock tank and it remains good. <Do you have any venomous tank residents like Rabbitfish?> The only other thing that I have been told is that it could be TB and that it could spread to the other residents, is this true and if so how can I avoid disaster? <Egads...TB would be a severe diagnosis. I had to go research this a bit because I've never encountered it before. The consensus seems to be mycobacteriosis, for which there is no treatment. The data also shows that mycobacteriosis is also contagious so you should at the very least isolate this fish in a quarantine tank to insure the problem isn't transmitted. You may want to consider sterilizing the system that the fish is in now... again, if mycobacteriosis is in fact the culprit.> Tigga is 4 years old, he was always active and always the greedy one, he is the biggest character in my tank, I should hate to loose him. <I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it would seem you knew this would probably be the case. Here is a link I found on the net that should provide some background: http://members.optushome.com.au/chelmon/Myco.htm > Please help. Regards Dean <Again, I'm very sorry about this. At this point, if you want to end things kindly, put the fish in a small container with some water, and freeze it. Cheers, J -- >

Re: some infections thanks, the blue face looks real good today. He is coming out a lot more and the reddish coloration seems to be smaller. Lat night I checked out my tank's parameters everything was perfect but the ph was at 7.8. The day before I bought the Blueface I checked all the water and the ph was good. It really changed quick. Well I added ph buffer, suspecting the ph was helping the red coloration to grow. I will keep testing and adding the buffer until the ph is at 8.2, (I will be dosing what the instructions say of course). The blue ring's eye is looking better as well. I am also going to do a water change as well this weekend so that should help. Thanks for everything! <Thanks for the heads-up. Do keep checking, raising the pH. 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>

Ich and Fuzzy Growths Thank you very much for the advice. I've been using the ich treatment since Wednesday and have been changing the water. She seems to be getting worse, though, and some of the spots are getting a little fuzzy. Any ideas what this is? Megan <your fish may simply be secreting extra mucous from the irritation of the parasite or it may be getting a secondary bacterial infection. It may be best to add an antibiotic to the water. Try a furan-based medication. Best regards, Anthony>

Scott's Fairy Wrasse with infection I have Scott's Fairy Wrasse with a huge swollen blister or growth on the bottom of his lip. His color has dulled and his top yellow fins are darkening. I have been reading about diseases and I think this is a bacteria.  <I would agree that this is likely> Please let me know what you think and what kind of antibiotic could I treat it with. Thanks. <A Furazolidone and Nitrofurazone cocktail (like Jungle brand "Fungus Eliminator" at double strength in a bare bottomed QT tank). Medicate three times in 5 days minimum. Also feeding medicated food if the fish will take it would be nice. You may also do a topical swab of the lip (Q-tip carefully... avoid the eyes and gills) when moving the fish to the QT. Iodine or Mercurochrome will work fine (as with people). dilute slightly. Leave in QT for 2-4 weeks (4 preferably) Best regards, Anthony> Carmina Perez

Bacterial Problems in a Reef? Hi Bob, <Steven Pro in this evening.> I've been throughout the site and, as a person new to marine aquariums, have found it very helpful over the past few months. <Glad to hear it.> I keep a 60 gallon reef tank and 10 gallon quarantine/medicating tank. <Good for you on the quarantine/hospital tank.> Over the past week we've been one-by-one losing our fish to various bacterial-type diseases. Here's the sequence: 1. Existing happily in our 60 gallon reef were a Kole Tang, Royal Dottyback, two False Clowns, a Pajama Cardinal, and various invertebrates. Existing happily after recovery from Ich in our 10 gallon quarantine were three Green Chromis. Two of them were to live there permanently to keep the biological filter alive. It's a simple undergravel filter system with two powerheads running it. <Far better ways to setup a quarantine tank are outline under the FAQ files.> 2. We purchased a Lyretail Anthias and a coral beauty, did a Methylene blue dip, and put them in the quarantine tank. The quarantine tank already had about 0.20mg/L copper running as part of treatment of Ich that the Green Chromis developed shortly after purchase a week prior. That same day, we purchased 1/2 ounce of live brine to feed our fish. <I did want to point out that the minute you put any new fish into your quarantine tank, their quarantine time period starts all over. Also, that is an awful lot of fish to put into a 10 gallon tank.> 3. The live-brine were fed to both tanks. Three days since step #2, the Kole Tang quickly sank to the bottom of the 60 gallon reef and hours later died. <Ok. Not really a symptom of any disease. Possible contamination of some sort, but just a guess.> 4. Three days after that, the Lyretail Anthias in the 10 gallon for quarantine developed Popeye symptoms. <Most often associated with physical damage.> I purchased antibiotic water treatment tablets and started treating the 10 gallon tank. Knowing this would kill the biological filter, <FYI, copper is pretty hard on your biological filter, too.> I needed to relieve the overcrowding in the 10 gallon tank. Since the Coral Beauty was acting and looking healthy and it had been a week, I moved it to the 60 gallon tank. <A bad idea.> 5. A day later, the Royal Dottyback in the 60 gallon tank developed ulcer-looking red spots near its tail and stopped eating. <Sounds bacterial in nature, but caused by what, I do not know.> We moved it to the 10 gallon quarantine tank. 6. A day later (Sunday), the Coral Beauty now in the 60 gallon tank developed Popeye symptoms and we moved it to back to the 10 gallon tank. The seemingly healthy two Green Chromis were moved to the 60 gallon tank to relieve overcrowding. <If this were communicable, you definitely moved it around. Please read up on proper quarantine procedures.> 7. A day later (Monday), the Royal Dottyback died and the Coral Beauty was sideways on the bottom breathing heavily. I euthanize it. 8. Today (Tuesday) the Lyretail Anthias looked so near death that I had to euthanize it. Both False Percula Clownfish died. In the 60 gallon tank, our Pajama Cardinal is showing a little clouding in one eye, but is still eating and the three Green Chromis all seem happy. <I think you have some sort of contamination. I hate to say it as it is usually what you guess once you rule everything else out, but your symptoms are very peculiar.> Water quality in the 60 gallon reef has been fantastic throughout this...0 ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, pH 8.3, S.G. 1.024. Water quality in the 10 gallon has been marginal...0 ammonia, pH 7.9, copper and antibiotics present in the water. Now the questions... 1. Both tanks developed bacteria-like diseases in the fish before any exchanges between the tanks occurred. The only things the tank share is food and new saltwater made for water changes. Is it possible the live brine delivered the lethal bacteria? <Nope> Alternatively, could the membrane in my R.O. system used to make saltwater have developed a lethal bacteria? <No, but a bad membrane or improperly maintained system could have introduced something.> 2. I assume we now have a deadly bacteria in both tanks. I've read that the bacteria will continue to live in both tanks, even if all the fish are removed. <No on both accounts.> Since invertebrates and live rock will be killed by antibiotics, how do I get rid of deadly bacteria in a reef tank? <Highly unlikely you developed some sort of killer bacteria. Much more likely some sort of water quality/husbandry issue or perhaps a parasitic infection went unnoticed.> Thanks for any help. Mark Belding <Several water changes are in order. Also, the use of a PolyFilter may show something. For the future, follow proper quarantine procedures and when you do have troubles they will be contained to the quarantine tank. -Steven Pro>

Angel injury (reddish opercular spine, bacterial involvement?) I have a 7" angel (Goldflake) that appears to have injured itself. I gently caught it and placed it in a 55 gallon for now and am watching it. It looks like on one side, it has injured the 'spine' on the lower side of the cheek. you know, the one that only angels have, but butterflies don't. <Yes, almost all> It appears to have a shade of pink on that side in there. Not that large an area though, so I'm not sure if its from the injury itself, or if there is an infection of some sort. <Very common... likely due to a physical trauma... running/swimming into something in the tank, net damage, collateral shipping if the animal is newer.> I only noticed it when it was no longer eating after two days. Anyhow, after putting it in the 55, its just swimming back and forth (not too fast, not too slow) and that's when I noticed the spine injury. Anyhow, should I just watch it or should I put an anti-biotic in there. Or perhaps a light anti-biotic like Melafix ?  <Not an antibiotic product... I would try to boost the animal's health nutritionally, add a cleaner organism... at this point.> I know that these bacterial infections can work quickly, but not sure if it'll recover without antibiotics or not. Also, how apparent is a bacterial infection ? is it just a vague light pink redness or is it pretty obvious and just red underneath the skin ? I see only a light pink in the area and not sure if its just from the injury or what. Thanks for any help. Jim <Only way to judge is through culture and staining, microscopic observation... Outside the realm of pet-fishing by and large in terms of use/applicability... Sometimes, while already manipulating such animals (not worth re-netting damage, stress), a topical anti-microbial can be applied (like with a Q-tip (tm)) onto the affected area... Bob Fenner>

Tank wipe out. Hi, I hope you can help me with this. I have a 130L setup which had been running fine for 3 months (seeded filter, etc.) All water tests fine over the last couple of months. 3 days after introducing a Dwarf Angel (Eibli) this fish became poorly with depressed appetite, cloudy eyes and ragged fins. It died shortly after despite treatment for bacterial infection. Over the next 3 days all the other fish became sick also with the same symptoms. Dwarf Lionfish, Dragon Wrasse, and P. Clown. The clown was the last to die and the Cleaner shrimp went straight to the body and eagerly appeared to pick at the body and under the gill flaps. As I said all water tests were fine and my inverts, Colonial Anemone and Leather coral, have shown no signs of stress at all. Have you Guys got any ideas what has gone wrong, and will I need to strip and disinfect the tank? <hemorrhagic Septicemia is commonly introduced through dwarf angels and cleans out a system within three days. Simply runs its course. Do search pictures and info on the web on this pathogenic condition if it looks similar. Please also review the need for quarantining all new fish in a QT tank for 4 weeks prior to entry in a display to prevent such losses. In the meantime, do a large water change, add a PolyFilter and leave the tank empty for 2-4 weeks before adding a single test animal. Best regards, Anthony> Thanks for your help. Dave.

Infection of some kind, I think... Mr. Fenner (or one of his cohorts), <<Greetings, JasonC here - a cohort or sorts.>> I was hoping you could help me diagnose a problem I'm having with one of my domino damsels. About two weeks ago, he developed a small white patch very near his eye. My yellow-tailed blue damsel had been picking on him (the domino is a somewhat recent addition to the tank) so I assumed the yellow-tail had bit him. <<is a safe assumption - damsels are some of the most feisty fish for their size.>> As the weeks have progressed, however, this spot has spread into a half-circle around his eye. It is a very raised, whitish area, completely unlike the descriptions of ich and other ailments I've read about. <<likely an infection or fungus as result of the injury.>> He's acting normal, eating fine, not hiding. <<Ahh, good>> Setting up a quarantine tank this weekend using water from the large tank (good idea?). <<I think so, yes.>> Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. <<This all sounds good to me. I think if you isolate the sick fish, he will time away from the hassling of the other damsel, and should heal up fine. Do keep an eye on it though to make sure it doesn't get worse during the quarantine.>> Jodie PS When I thought this infection was ich (at the beginning) I asked the owner of my LFS what to do. He said if it was just one fish, not to worry about it! This seems to go against everything else I've ever heard, anywhere! <<is not the best of advice, you are correct. Cheers, J -->>

Trials and tribulations Dear Bob, Sorry for the length, I have had a FO show tank (6'l x 30"d x 24"w about 200 gals) for over 6 years running a wet/dry, Berlin xl w/ ozone, and a Fluval 404. I had not lost a fish in almost two years though ran high nitrates, <60. The motor in the Fluval burnt out and I stupidly left the lines in while deciding on a new filter. <Yikes...> Fish started acting sick after about 3 weeks, water tested fine. <Anaerobic problems here are very transient... likely not testable.> After losing a puffer, lion, a clown trigger (all over 4 yrs old) and two wimples, (a dragon eel and Naso survived), I started a major over haul and when I drained the lines left from the Fluval, you knew, rotten eggs-hydrogen sulfide! <Yes> I spent a month of weekly 25% water changes, and lots of carbon. I read your articles on LR and added 90lbs, let it cure out for 6 weeks, pulled about 3/4 of my bio-balls over that time, added a "clean up" crew and let it settle another 3 weeks. Last week I added a hippo tang who spent two weeks in quarantine, I did not dip. It has ich now, and I have not been able to catch it to put it back in quarantine to treat. The Naso and eel seem fine. Should I have skipped the LR and cleaners since I only plan on keeping fish and now can't treat the tank. <No, I would have done what you have... and you can still try some of the fish/cleaners... Likely the Eel won't immediately consume a Gobiosoma goby (or two)...> The boss (wife) isn't happy about the tank, which is viewed from both sides, being a large empty water container without fish for the last couple of months, or the $ I have spent to get to where I am. Suggestions? Bill <... keep the Boss happy, use "hidden" funds if need be to purchase some more colorful, outgoing fishes (maybe a couple more Wimples/Heniochus butterflies... though I know they'll be much smaller than the ones you lost... and don't become overly concerned about the apparent ich at this point. It may well clear up on its own here. Do try adding a vitamin and iodide preparation to your fishes foods (actually not the Eels foods, but the Naso, etc... this will help as well. Bob Fenner>

Re: Trials and tribulations Dear Bob, Thank you for the speedy reply. I do soak both shrimp and Nori in Zoë prior to feeding. Clarification ...I should go ahead and add a couple of wimples in a couple of weeks (after quarantine) even though I know there is ick in the tank? And should I add the gobies immediately, skipping the quarantine? Thanks again, Bill <Mmm, I would quarantine the new Butterflyfish, and wait about a month total time to determine the disposition of the ich/tank... otherwise do what was written... Place the gobies sans hesitation, lower spg... Bob Fenner>

Help -- what kind of fish disease is this? Mr. Fenner, Yesterday evening when I came home from work, I found my Threadfin (Auriga) Butterflyfish has something strange -- the 'root' part of both of its pectoral fins (the joint between the fin and the body) is very [b]red[/b]. I've had this fish for about a year. It is swimming and eating as usual. This occurred overnight. What is this? What should I do about it? <Very likely an indication of infectious activity (bacteria) from a physical trauma (if one sided... if both pectoral bases affected would be inclined otherwise). I would do your best to keep the system optimized and stable, and supplement this fish's foods with a vitamin and iodide preparation (such are made/sold for the purpose, or you can make your own). Please read over the "Tank Troubleshooting" and especially "Three Sets of Factors That Determine Livestock Health" sections and beyond on our site starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm Bob Fenner> Thanks, Jason Re: Help -- what kind of fish disease is this? The red is on BOTH sides. uniform around the joint. like you said, it doesn't look like physical injury. What others could this be? <Sorry about the mis-read. Would look into water quality first/foremost here. This and most Butterflyfishes are often the first fish livestock to show the affects of something/s anomalous. Bob Fenner> thanks, Jason

Fungus Amongus? Dear Mr. Fenner, I have a slight problem that I just can't figure out. I have a 50g tank with one each of yellow tang, flame angel, Bennett's puffer, and small cowfish. I began copper treatment (Cupramine) four days ago for small black spots on tang and ich on cowfish. I am usually quite careful about adding undipped animals, but was afraid to dip cowfish because of possible toxin secretion. Anyway, spots are all gone but as of this morning, cowfish has two 1/4 inch areas of white fuzz, looks somewhat like he has been touched with shaving cream; probably secondary "fungal" infection.  <Likely secondary, possibly fungal, bacterial...> His color, attitude, and eating are great, same with all others. I have a bio wheel filter, Remora skimmer, temp at 80, SG at 1.019, Ammonia and Nitrites at 0, Nitrates at 5, pH at 8.1, and not-so live rock now that copper has been added (q tank is not big enough for all the fish, so I took out inverts and am using big tank for TX).  <Okay> I know from reading your book and looking at your site that improving water quality is usually the best mode of treatment, but I do not think that I can do a h2o change or stop the copper TX this early. I do not want to add meds, but think that this might be the only solution to saving the beloved "Moo". I have heard that MarOxy  <Maroxy, Mardel Labs> is not too bad, but LFS does not carry Mardel products. Any other suggestions? <Just time going by... keeping the environment optimized and stable... the animals will heal of secondary effects. Bob Fenner> Thank you very much. Christi

Bacterial diseases Bob, I don't see on your site a section on bacterial diseases. I did a search too. If you have a section, could you give me the exact web address? <Hmm, all lumped under "Infectious Diseases... of Marines" I believe... let's see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/infectio.htm> I finally put a few yellow tail damsels with ick/white spot that would not go away with environmental manipulations (high temp, low salinity, cleaner shrimp) in a hospital tank with Cupramine. The white spots look like they're gone but there look like there are a few tiny scars left.  <You have very good vision... these will be gone soon> We're concerned our copper is not high enough (test kit keeps reading low [approximately .3] no matter how much Cupramine we put in).  <Look to another test kit> We just slowly increasing the dose and watching the fish for signs of copper toxicity (rapid breathing?) and doing tests hoping that it will rise to the therapeutic range. Any hints on what to look for if the treatment is effective? If there are sores, does it take a while for that to heal after the parasites die? <Lack of spots, normal breathing and swimming behavior> One of the damsels has a lot of fin rot (front fins are practically gone) and sores on his body (they aren't red and hemorrhagic like the vibriosis pictures). None of the others have erosion. All the fish have had the white spot and this guy has been like this for several weeks so we're taking things slow--treating first with copper. The one with fin rot appears to be getting slightly worse. This guy is pretty aggressive so I don't think the other damsels are munching on those fins. Dakin has a chart which shows that the only 3 diseases that would cause fin erosion are fin rot, TB/wasting disease or vibriosis--all bacterial. <Yes... if due to biological action... can be lost due to chemical, physical qualities... copper even.> 1.If we use antibacterial treatments, that will kill our biological filter, correct?  <Some will yes... better to not get involved with these here...> How do we keep nitrites down? <Induce nitrification is best... by using "used" filter media, substrate... and second best by way of water changes> The LFS told about a product "TLC" which is a liquid with bacteria in it. Will that help us keep the nitrites down (we change 50% water every other day already--it's a 25 gal tank). <Sometimes these work. Worth trying> 2.Dakin recommends either Furanace or Amoxicillin, or Ciprofoxin. We can't find food of this. <You can "make it yourself"... Please see the "Furunculosis, Hole in the Side" piece on the "Pond Index" on the www.WetWebMedia.com site... same protocol for DIY antibiotic making there> If we feed them rather than treating the water, would that reduce the destruction of the biological filter?  <Yes> Does it really matter which antibacterial treatment we use?  <Ultimately... yes. Even "broad spectrum" antimicrobials are "semi-selective" in what they influence... Do try the Amoxicillin first... if this can't be found or has no discernible effect, and you still want to try another possibility, the Cipro... lastly a furan compound...> We can't even find those in our LFS but could find Furnace water treatments via mail order. <Yes... but, as I say, by and large you really don't want to get involved with these materials... not likely they will do that much good/better than your attentions currently> By the way, we think our Naso tang is OK now. He's fattening up and I'm not sure the discolorations were really black spot. Thanks for all the advice before. He's such a sweet little fish. We're very, very relieved.  <I as well> Our LFS said that you can tell the gender based on the shape of the tail. Is this really true? <This is a common theory... the "streamer" ones are males... Have a dearly departed friend who worked on possibilities of culturing Naso lituratus... the "streamer" ones are males, but some of the "non-streamer" ones are males as well... Bob Fenner> Thanks! Allyson

Re: bacterial infection? Bob, Just to clarify, you recommend against the antibacterial treatments and for us to maintain the copper treatments for the full 2 weeks recommended? If we do the antibacterial, then start with Amoxicillin in the food. <Yes> Man, does it ever end? <Yes> There's a lump on the left side of the body of our cleaner shrimp. Is this normal? <Not unusual> Perhaps and egg sack? Or is it a disease? <Maybe the latter, perhaps a growth anomaly. Nothing I know of to "treat it".> The other shrimp we have doesn't have it. Thanks again, Allyson <Steady on my friend. Bob Fenner>

Red rimmed mouth on a Tang Hey Bob I have a Sailfin Tang with a red rimmed bloody looking) mouth. He also is showing faded color (Like nighttime colors). I assume the color is do too stress.  <Yes... not good all the way around> And assume the red mouth is the cause.  <Hmm, "per accidens" perhaps... that is not the ultimate cause... that would be what resulted in the red mouth condition...> I've looked up every disease reference I can (book and online) and have not found a disease that seems to be what the Sailfin has. I know it could be from fighting or slamming into rocks/tank sides.  <This is the most likely possibility> However with close observation I am not seeing any of these behaviors. There is a 3 week new Asfur Angel in the tank (A 90gal FOWLR) and the tang and the angel tussled on the first day. However they seemed to be getting along fine after the first day. No obvious attacks. The other inhabitants of the tank are smaller and less likely to be the culprit (Tomato clown, algae blenny, Juv shy hamlet, small yellow tail damsels). <Well... the reddening is due to either physical trauma and/or bacterial or other microbial involvement... and "curable" through good husbandry, time going by... hopefully this specimen is still feeding...> My water tests out with no measurable nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, etc. I do have a UV filter and protein skimmer, as well as a canister filled with bio-filter media. I water change 10gals every 2 weeks. No other fish has any sign of disease and all, including the tang, are eating great. I feed a mix of frozen angel food, a homemade frozen "Selcon soaked prime reef with Nori", and a "veggie" frozen commercial fish food. I have grape Caulerpa, hair algae and a small amount of feather Caulerpa growing in the tank. <Sounds fine> So, my question is: what does he possible have, and what do I do about it? Sorry, I wrote you a book! I am going to get one of the fish conditioners that increase slime coat and dose the tank to maybe prevent any secondary infections. Thanks Rich <My take is about all summed up above... something triggered a trauma and infection to the mouth of this fish... no dip/bath, addition to the water, physical manipulation will aid it in recovery... do as you relate here... keeping the environment optimized and stable and hopefully this problem will resolve. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tang Turning Red. Why???? hi, I am new to this hobby, 6 months and unfortunately have not heard of you. but the great people at ReefCentral message board told me to ask you this question. Here is the thread to what has been said I would appreciate it if you can take a look at it and tell me what you think: www.reefcentral.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?threadid=20967 <Hmm, many good suggestions offered here... on the why's of your Yellow Tang being "reddish"... Do agree that this sort of "petecchial" markings are often directly related to poor water quality, nutritional deficiencies, possible bacterial problems internally... and the suggested choices for improvement: pre-mixing and storing your new synthetic seawater, improving diet.... I would do both of these, suggest you soak Nori, other human-intended algae in a vitamin preparation like Selcon... ahead of offering... Possibly add a Cleaner organism as well... Please do read over the "Yellow Tang", "Environmental Disease", "Foods/Feeding/Nutrition" sections and FAQs on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com for background, and hopefully something's there will jog your memory/observations as to primary causes.> thank you very much and I hope to learn about you and info from you thanks again Brian a.k.a. stars360 <Bob Fenner>

Re: Yellow Tang Turning Red. Why???? thank you very much I will look at that section later on today. but what type of cleaner organism do you suggest. as I can not get a cleaner shrimp because my trigger or eel will eat it.  <Too likely, yes. Look into tank bred Gobiosoma spp. readily recognized by most fishes as helpers... not food... Covered on the WWM site> and the only other organism I can think of getting is a cleaner wrasse. but from what I hear they are impossible to keep. so what do you recommend. thanks again Brian <Bob Fenner>

Ich/Bacterial Infection Bob, What is the best way to treat for a bacterial infection on multiple fish in a FOWLR system?  <Hmm, best? If necessary, to add specific antibiotic/s to the animals' feeds... in addition to manipulation of the physical environment... And of course: first checking all aspects of water quality, possibly adjusting... using ozone, UV... to reduce overall microbial populations...> I need to treat them in the tank as the fish (Foxface and regal tang) barely get along in a 75 g tank let alone a 10 g q tank. They both came down with Ich as well but I have that under control with a temp of 84, salinity of 1.017, two 40% water changes a week apart, and a cleaner wrasse who eats VibraGro as well as Ich. Anyway, I cannot seem to get rid of the cloudy eyes that are typical of a bacterial infection.  <This condition is environmental in etiology... not bacterial...> LFS suggested replacing carbon, soaking food with quarter capsule of Furacyn for two weeks, and constantly checking Ammonia levels. What do you think of this approach? <Agree with all but the Furacyn...> Both of these fish look great except for the eyes. These two fish eat like horses and show no signs of rapid breathing or sluggishness. The other fish in the tank (mated Percula clown pair, yellow Coris wrasse, and potter's angel) look great as well. Please let me know you views on suggested treatment and if you can offer a better alternative. <I would not worry about the clouded eyes per se... and would replace these specimens all in the main tank... the eyes will cure on their own over a period of weeks to a couple of months. Bob Fenner> Regards, Tyson

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

Cure I have a few things to ask you, first I would like to know what can be done about a reef tank with a bacterial infection? I can't set up a hospital tank.  Second I would like to know anemone would host a pair of maroon clowns?  Thanks for the help. >> Hmm, don't know if I follow your first query... Most bacterial problems of captive aquatics are generally more of an environmental cause/effect... To "cure" such a menace, improving water quality is de riguer... better filtration, aeration... maybe even sterilization by way of a UV or ozonizer... If your livestock are exhibiting signs of bacterial infection, I'd look to water quality itself as a/the direct cause...  Maroon Clowns (Premnas) are naturally only found in Bubble Tip Anemones, Entacmaea quadricolor (about the hardiest of ten symbiotic/clown anemone species), but can/do learn to associate with some of the other nine in captivity. Bob Fenner

Cryptocaryon Hi, Bob. My girlfriend asked me to write in regards to common marine Ich. She has a 12 gallon micro reef with a few soft corals, a clownfish, and a coral beauty dwarf angel. The problem is the angel. It currently has a mild case of ich. It is otherwise healthy, doesn't scratch, is breathing and eating normally. I know you suggest going the bio-cleaner route. So we put four cleaner shrimp in the tank. Every time the angel goes near one of the shrimp and it approaches, he freaks! SO my question is this: When should we begin to worry? I think that perhaps he is being cleaned while he is asleep, but they'll never be able to eat ALL the cysts that show up on him if he doesn't acquiesce to being cleaned constantly. As I said, he doesn't seem stressed, so is it kind of like a persistent cough for a human? Something that won't go away but doesn't really cause a problem? Or is it a cancer that absolutely must be cured, even if it means removing a very delicate and skittish fish to a hospital tank? We don't want to lose this fish, he's her favorite and has been with us for quite a while. Is there anything else we can do biologically, or must we go the chemical route? Brian Baker P.S. We put a Gobiosoma sp. goby in the tank before the shrimp, and he avoided it as well. >> Hmm, like your wording, and way with words... This disease can be either the "acute" or "chronic" type of problem... and can quickly cross over to the more virulent... given conditions, stress to the disease's favor...  What type of Dwarf Angel is this? Four Cleaner Shrimp are too many for this size tank... but I'd also like to know which species these cleaners are... You might do well to trade them in for another species... Lysmata Debelius even...  I would try to solve the problem the cleaner route still... as the problem is now entrenched in your system itself (intermediate stages of the ich/Cryptocaryon are in/on the gravel...). Hold off till way after this ich condition is solved before introducing any new fish livestock... Bob Fenner

Super Parasite? I had a bad case of marine velvet in one of my reef tanks. I decided to leave the aquarium fishless for six weeks to rid the tank of this parasite. I had been quarantining a Purple Tang I purchased from Flying Fish Express 3 weeks ago in a 10 gallon. I decided to make him the first fish introduced after the six week waiting period since he seemed very healthy. Within 2 hours he showed ick spots on it's body. A day later he had a dusting all over his body. What went wrong here? Is there something I missed? Is it possible he had ick and that by changing environments it caused the breakout? I thought for sure this method would rid my tank of parasites. Thanks >> Hmm, well you mention ich and velvet (a protozoan and a single celled algae) parasites... and/but they are similar in their capacity to remain virulent in an "empty/host-less" system... especially one that has been set-up a good while... Barring other types of actions (emptying, cleaning the tank, refilling it with freshwater... and running it at low/no salt content... to going all the way to nuking it with bleach...) ich and velvet can "wait out" the introduction of fish hosts for months... my present suggestions re the issue are to do the cleaning, freshwater rinses, refill with low spg (1.010) seawater, wait two months, place biological cleaners along with any new fish livestock... and hope for the best...  If ever there were arguments for acclimation/dips-baths/quarantine procedures these twin scourges of reef-disease are it... Wish I could write more that's positive... Bob Fenner

I have a 40 gal reef tank. with 6 different kinds Xenia corals and other polyps. I currently have 3 fish: Lawnmower Benny, Mandarin Goby, and a Pearl Jaw Goby. My question is: My Pearl Jaw Goby last month had a white patch on his right side behind the fin. The Cleaner shrimp came by and started his cleaning routine. Now he has a hole with white ring around the infected area. I can see his bones. I tried catching him but he keeps darting back into his hole. He eats and has no other apparent illnesses. He came from my sick tank after spending 2 months in there With no signs of illness. every morning the cleaner shrimp always cleans him. The other fish are fine. What kind of illness does he have and how to treat the problem? Thanks for the previous help on the red algae problem. Anthony Reed >> This is likely a Vibrio, or other gram negative bacterial infection (in origin)... and besides optimizing water quality and stability... about the only thing that can be done (and by default, about the only thing I would do), would be to offer the animal ( and its tankmates), antibiotic laced foodstuffs. There are a couple of manufacturers of dried-prepared foods that sell these pre-made (Tetra, and HBH I think)... otherwise they can be made at home... some instructions on this process are detailed in an article I have archived under the name "Furunculosis, Hole in the Side Disease" (in this case, about Nishikigoi/koi carp) on the www.wetwebmedia.com site. This may not serve as the "silver bullet" you're looking for... and sometimes, an animal will spontaneous self-cure... Bob Fenner


Bob's Answer: Hey Chris... yes the two tangs you mention are some of the hardest in the family to keep, and do succumb to infectious disease way too easily. First of all, you don't mention any ancillary filtration, and you do need it. Those built in SeaClear filters are feeble to put it kindly. More circulation, skimming, even chemical contacting is called for...

To answer your query directly, I would not use copper in any format nor Quinacrine hydrochloride or actually any purposeful medicant to treat the system. Do you have a suitable "alternate" system to treat the fishes in while the parasitic problem greatly diminishes "on its own"? (over a period of a couple of months). Set one up, freshwater plus dip the livestock on the way over and treat with (IMO) Mardel's CopperSafe per their instructions...

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