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FAQs on Marine Diseases 5

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Running out of options - S/W Hi guys. I am so glad for this website, I am on it daily! <Glad you enjoy and learn!> Anyway, I have a yellow tang that will not stop flashing. I have a 55 gallon (I know too small for this adult fish, but the store I purchased her from said when she gets to big to trade her in, but I don't think they would take her in this condition) a Fluval 304, CPR BakPak skimmer, a U.V sterilizer on a powerhead, about 80lbs of live Fiji and Marshall Island rock.  <System sounds fine. How about some test results? In this case, Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate are especially important, but please also list pH, Alkalinity and salinity.> The yellow tang started flashing occasionally, getting worse week by week. She was darting around the tank like something was biting her in the #*!!#. I mean tail fin and breathing heavy.  <Sounds like a combination of general stress and possibly poor water quality.> I purchased a 20 gallon start up kit. First I took the live rock and cleaner shrimp out and dosed the main tank with quick cure (don't cringe, I am still learning). So I read not to treat the main tank so I took water from the main tank, freshwater dipped all the fish and put the yellow tang in the qt tank. I dosed her with CopperSafe for a week (probably not long enough) still itchy. <While I generally am very much against using medications in display tanks, "Quick-Cure" is probably not that bad. (NEVER use copper in a display! A proper FW dip is almost always a safe step to take. I am having a bit of trouble following the steps you took. Did your rock get exposed to copper? If so, this probably rendered the copper ineffective and rendered your rock useless for a future reef tank.> I got out an old 10 gallon and moved her back and forth a couple of times, draining an refilling the receiving tank with main tank water.  <This can be an effective treatment for marine Ick or velvet. Did you see white spots or a white velvety appearance to the fish?> I have done some research and I am guessing gill and/or skin flukes no spots of any kind have ever appeared so I got some info from the info center at the fish store which said clout was good. I dosed her with clout. She seemed okay for awhile.  <I could not find any information on the active ingredients in Clout, but the effectiveness of most such products is dubious. Medications should clearly list the active ingredients, and are rarely effective against more than one class of infections (i.e. Protozoan vs. Bacterial vs. Fluke). If a product claims to treat a very wide variety of problems, consider it suspect.> Meanwhile my clown started twitching and flashing on the glass, my royal gamma flashed some and my flame angel was either hanging by the cleaner shrimp constantly then swam back and forth from the skimmer to the U.V flow she did not eat for two feedings so I panicked and bought a 29 gallon used the Tetra Tek filter I had previously on the 55 I had the heater for it also and put all of the fish in it and dosed them with clout. The angel kept getting weaker and a little over 24 hours, she was dead. I got up and checked on them and she was wrapped around the filter intake, I grabbed the 10 gallon, filled it up from the main tank but it was too late, I watched the poor thing die, I felt helpless. <Although moving the fish from tank to tank can be effective in treating protozoan infections, it is hard on the fish. Please don't move them anymore.> The other fish still going strong but still scratching the worse being the tang so I dosed them again (it said it can be done 4 times) they seemed better, then came the battle with the nitrites doing daily water changes... my clown and Gramma were better not flashing or twitching...the tang on the other hand started again, I did not want to dump anymore harsh meds in the tank so I came across Para guard dosed a couple of times and the tang seemed to get worse and here come the nitrites again [never high but they were there] so another 40% water change [the main tank has all new water now] So now I have decided no more medicine!!  <Whew! Yes. No more meds! Paraguard is virtually the same as Quick-Cure.> I cleaned the bottom of the main tank thoroughly and gave all the fish freshwater dips, placed the clown and gamma back in the main tank. I have decided to just try a week of freshwater dips for the tang, if she doesn't get too stressed. What would you suggest [besides giving it to a sane person] I want her to pull through this but I think I am making her worse.  <The keys to healthy fish are: Good selection to begin with, proper quarantine, good water quality, a stress free environment and good food. Problems will arise, and when they do, all of the above still apply. Treatment should begin with accurate diagnosis of the problem. Dips, medications, etc. should be used in such a way as to maximize the factors listed above. "Shotgun" approaches and unnecessary treatments add stress and delay a cure. Take this painful experience as an opportunity to learn and become a better aquarist!> I had forgot to mention she also has markings on her face, they kinda remind me of acne scares, only small narrow, oblong kinda light brown and scratches or scares on the front of her gills, these appeared shortly after she started flashing. She still breaths heavy and the poor thing is scared to death of me [understandably]. I appreciate any advise you can give me.  <The markings you described could be irritation from glancing against surfaces, but could also be a sign of ammonia toxicity (yellow tangs are well known to display red splotches when ammonia toxic). My best advice is to take what your local pet store tells you with a grain of salt. Some are very good. Some are very poor. Most are mediocre. Do seek out and join a local marine aquarium society. They are made up of knowledgeable, helpful folks.> On another note. I know mail- order fish should be last resort but I am getting very discouraged with the local fish stores, even the small ones. Are there any on-line companies you could recommend to purchase fish from once I get this situation under control? Thanks so much for your help, Kim  <If mail order is your only option, The Marine Center and Premium Aquatics get high marks in my experience. Best Regards. AdamC.> 

Hippo Tang Hello Well I went and had my water checked and they said my calcium was high and the pH and alkalinity were low. He says the scratching on the rock is Ich.  <It "could" be ich... could also be an itch... fish sometime scratch for other reasons. If the scratching is very persistent - several times a minute, then you have something to investigate.>  He told me to buffer the pH and alkalinity for 3 days and has me treating the tank with Kick Ich which he says and the bottle says is reef safe. <Yes... so safe that it rarely kills the parasites... wish this product would just disappear. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm >  I just added the second treatment of Kick Ich and buffered the water for the third day. I also added a cleaner shrimp. I was amazed that within about 10 minutes the yellow tang and then the regal tang both sought out the shrimp and begged them for a cleaning.  <Yes, these shrimp do a brisk business in the wild.>  The yellow tang is looking better and the blue tang does not seem to be scratching as much today.  <Now that you've (hopefully) read that article, you know that ich has a life cycle - the fact that your fish are not scratching today does not mean they will not be scratching next week. Please don't rely on Kick Ich to solve your problems. If you are lucky, the shrimp will be able to keep this at bay for a while, but do be prepared to remove these fish to a hospital/quarantine tank for treatment should the situation take a bad turn.>  I am continuing to check all levels. The pH is at 8.2 and the alkalinity is looking normal according to the color chart on my test kit. I wish there was a better more accurate way to check the levels.  <There are digital pH test pens which are very accurate and much easier that trying to compare different shades of purple... or whatever color it is.>  They are both eating great and swimming.  <Good deal.>  The rock I added was dried. I ordered it and it is Hawaiian rock or so they say.  <Interesting... collection of rock in Hawai'i was illegal last time I checked.>  I washed it with water from my tank when I did a water change. I have learned my lesson about QT tanks and am in the process of setting one up.  <Excellent.>  I am still new at this and every time I think I have read and figured things out I find something new.  <I certainly strive to learn something new every day... is a good thing.> Thank for all your help and any advice you have. <Read on.> Sherry <Cheers, J -- >

HELP!!! LFS (X2) vs. Wet Web Media vs. Wife Hello Crew! <Oh oh> I would like to thank you for all the effort that you have put into this site, give yourselves a round of applause! <Clap clap... what is the sound of one fin clapping?> My subject title may not make any sense at first, but I can assure you it will in time. I have been out of the aquarium hobby (freshwater) scene for several years, but I'm trying to make a comeback by setting up a saltwater FOWLR system and slowly developing a Reef setup. Before plunging into an extremely expensive undertaking I decided to do some research. I found your site and started to read. I read everything that I thought would be pertinent to my quest for a great FOWLR tank. Before making a single purchase I consulted your site and when opinions varied I made the decision myself. <Excellent> The one area I thought I had a handled on was water chemistry. My degree is in Microbiology/General Chemistry and I use both everyday at work (the job relates to human disease not fishies). I think I must have read WWM for 3 months before making my initial investment. Skip forward to 12/10/05.Here are my purchases. 10 Gallon QT Tank with HOB Filter/ Heater/ Pump and Air stone 30 Gallon Refugium 125 G 72" L (Not Reef Ready) 1 Dual Bak Pak Skimmer with BioBale removed 1 Bak Pak 2R Marineland Tidepool 2 Sump with BioWheel 300 Watt Titanium heater (second back up is on the way) 3" Aragonite sand bed (60 lbs Aragalive - not real according to WWM) 6" Plenum in refuge Mag Drive 7 (Main return) Mag Drive 5 (Refuge return) 2 AquaClear 70 Power head with add on wave makers (main tank) 2 AquaClear 50 Power head (main tank) Lights - 65 Watt 50/50 for refuge Lights - 2 96 Watt 420/460 Dual Actinic, 2 96 Watt 10 K daylights, 6 moon lights, 2 cheap 25 watt strip lights Various decorative corals and clam shells (very Large) Timers for Lights (trying dawn to dusk (Display) and reverse photosynthesis on the refugium) Salifert test kits Refractometer 200 GPD DI unit (rechargeable) TDS Tester Electronic Ph Meter (calibrated every week) Oceanic Brand Salt Seachem Reef Advantage Calcium Seachem Reef Buffer Seachem Marine Buffer Seachem Stability Seachem Denitrate <You may well find you need little of the above chemical prep.s> PolyFilter Kent Osmo Prep Current Stock: 2 Clowns (1 = 1", 1 = 2.5") 2 Green Chromis (2 = 0.75 " 1 = 2") 2 Cleaner Shrimp 25 Astrea Snails 3 Turbo Snails 1 Huge Yellow Tang (5 - 6") Planning on above plus: Regal Blue Tang Coral Beauty Mandarin Goby Foxface Lo Royal Gramma On or about 12/15/2005 I set it all up and let run dry for about 1 week. I checked for pump, skimmer, heater, refugium and sump operation. The system worked as planned! My wife already wants to add fish. I told here according to the bible (WWM) it may takes months before we can add fish, she was not happy! Anyway I checked baseline H2O quality: ph = 8.2, S.G. = 1.022 (as not varied more than .001), KH = 10.7, Ca = 450, Amm = 0, NO2 = 0, N03 = 0, Temp = 85 (dropped the temp to 79). So off we go to the LFS just to look. We made a joint decision to just look and not touch. The first LFS had terrible looking fish, live rock, and just plain nasty tanks. We made a huge retreat and swore not to buy anything that swamp or otherwise moved on its own biological power, from that store. The second store had stunning fish and reef tanks. You should have seen my wife, like a kid in a candy shop! I spoke with the owner about my new purchase and told him about my plans. In a nutshell he said the crap I'm reading on the internet is hogwash.  <Mmm, beware of generalizations... wait, wasn't that a generalization?> He showed me a reef tank that he cycled in one week using a product called Stability by Seachem. He said not to cycle using uncured mail ordered live rock; just add Stability, 3 Green Chromis, and his cured live rock. So I did what he recommended. BTW, the live rock was the best I have seen, much better than pictures I have seen on the internet. So I purchased about 60 lbs live rock, 60 lbs of base rock, Stability, and three small Chromis (all 0.5 - 1"). I added the base rock, then the live rock, and added the fish using WWM acclimations procedures. I also started the Stability treatment as instructed. The fish did great and started eating Brine Shrimp immediately.  The fish did not appear to be stressed one bit. BTW, I did soak the shrimp in a vitamin supplement before feeding. I also ordered some Formula 1 and 2.  I did see a small cycle after adding the live stock, just as the LFS guy said would happen. The cycle started almost immediately. The Amm got as high as 0.25, the NO2 as high as 0.50, and the NO3 as high as 15. This is over a 2 week period and during that period we had a small diatom outbreak. When the levels started decreasing I added the following to my Tidepool Filter trays: Tray 1 = filter pad and PolyFilter, Tray 2 Carbon, Tray 3 = Seachem Denitrate. I also added some macro algae to my refugium (starts with a "C" looks like green rice noodles).  <Likely a Caulerpa species, unless you're in California> I put the display lights on a dawn to dusk cycle and the refugium lights on a reverse timer. Man, my NO3 just went straight to zip! Amm = 0, NO2 = <0.10, NO3 = 0, ph = 8.4, Ca = 470 - 390, KH = 9.3 - 12.8. My NO2 took another week to come down, but it finally went to 0. The refugium has bugs in it and the main tank is getting them. The guy at the LFS said not to buy anything until the NO2 got to 0.  <Good> At this point everything is fine, fish are happy, and H2O chemistry looks just like WWM recommends. Next we go to LFS and purchase a pair of mated Clowns (Nemo and Marlon), and 25 Astrea snails to help with the diatoms. The LFS said he quarantined his fish on arrival and uses UV lights and said I could just introduce the Clowns (I raise my eyebrow). <...>  He repeats "Quit reading WWM, it is a bunch of hogwash". <.... the folks "here" have a few centuries collective experience in the trade, science and hobby of aquaristics...> After a week the Clowns are fine, Chromis great, and the snails are eating the diatoms like crazy! Between my wife wanting to add more stock, your suggestions, and the LFS guy, I feel like a one- eyed cat watching two mouse holes! BTW, sorry for the long story but things start to get out of hand. Anyway, I had my wife go pick up 3 Turbo snails while I was sleeping (work nights). She goes to the store that we swear not to use (other store closed)! She gets the snails and a HUGE YELLOW TANG! She wakes me up saying that the skimmers are going nuts and not producing the smelly gunk, so I get up from bed and find 1 Huge Yellow Tang (4 - 5") and 3 Turbo snails in the display tank. At this point I'm freaking out! I thought it would be okay to introduce the Clowns in the display without a QT, if they screwed things up, I would just let the tank go fallow, and stop taking the LFS advice. The next day we noticed 2 small white spots on the fin of the Tang and it is Ich!  <Maybe> I can't get him out of the display tank to dip him and I thought well hell it is too late anyway, the display tank is already compromised. Before I go any further the fish are all doing well, eating good, breathing normal, and look happy. The H2O quality looks good but my KH and Ca seem to be dropping (8.1/350) and the ph is starting to drop (8.0).  <This happens... with time... fish tanks are "reductive" (am sure you realize this intuitively...) they go "acidic" due to overfeeding, driven nitrification> I think the thing to do is to try the natural way of stopping the Ich. I go to the LFS (good tanks, doesn't like WWM) and I tell him my story. He interrupts me and said "You bought your Tang from ABC pet store didn't you?" I reply, "Yep"! They tell me to lower my salinity to 1.016 slowly, and add two cleaner shrimp. <Good advice... but the shrimp would not likely make the drop... oh I see you know this below> I'm sold on the cleaners but not on the hyposalinity. I get the 2 cleaners home and they go to work on the Tang immediately (it was amazing). The next day all the white spots are gone but my daughter notice 3 black specks (Tiny) on the Tang. I'm thinking two things, Black Ich and I'm screwed. <Not to over-react...> The cleaners are still doing a job on the Tang and by the next day I see no black specks! The whole time I'm thinking I should just listen to the WWM crew and cut my losses. <Mmm, best to listen to all, sort out the facts, toss the chaff... make up your own mind... as you started this conversation relating> BTW, the LFS guy tells me once the problem is gone (via hyposalinity), I should raise my KH = 18 - 20 and get my Ca up to 550. He said this would help my coralline grow on the live rock.  <Uhhh, not a good idea> Ok, do you see my problem? I think he is absolutely NUTZ! Is this not NUTZ? As of yesterday my H2O chemistry is Amm = 0, NO2 = 0.25 (yikes), NO3 = 10, Ph = 8.0. I did a 10 G water change and plan on doing another today. After this I am lost! BTW, the fish and inverts still look great, eat great and appear healthy.  So here are my questions: What the hell should I do? Lower my salinity? Keep doing small H2O changes? Shoot the LFS guy? Shoot my Wife? Shoot myself for not doing what I had intended (listen to WWM) from the get go? <Shoot no one... take a series of deep breaths, perhaps a good length walk... consider your possibilities, options here... I would NOT lower the spg at this point, NOT add more livestock... Very possibly there is very little wrong with your livestock, system... the nitrite is likely transient... gone in a few days> Please help me from going fallow.  Thank you, Tony a.k.a "Confused, Frustrated, and Ashamed in Alabama" <Tony, you're doing fine in the big picture... You have good gear, a fine wife (do keep culturing her interest in the hobby) and a well-meaning retailer... they're (and we are) just human... with foibles, prejudices, prerogatives... that vary. Take all with a 50 gallon bag of synthetic salt... when/where in doubt (don't run in circles, scream and shout)... revert back to your science education... sort through the disparate material for what is real, what is speculation... Remember... testable, falsifiable hypotheses? Not all retailers are crooks, issuers of bunk advice, and certainly not all internet sources of information are similarly lacking. Take your time here my friend. Think. You will do fine. Bob Fenner>

Re: HELP!!! LFS (X2) vs. Wet Web Media vs. Wife Dear Bob, <Howdy Tony> Many thanks for all the kind words of wisdom. As per your instructions I took a deep breath, set back and drank a beer (as opposed to walking, hate the sport myself), and thought about my days as a pure microbiologist/chemist. <Mmm, good> BTW, you may clap with both fins! You're absolutely correct; in a panic I forgot one of the most valuable tools of my formal training, develop a hypothesis and prove that bad boy! <Ah ha!> I have gotten used to going by well-defined procedures and letting a computer do a majority of my thinking. <Dangerous my friend... I just saw the "Matrix Revolutions" show last night...> I seemed to have forgotten that a computer or a procedure does not always tell you the why, when, and how of something. Thanks again! <Welcome> As for my problems with the fish, all seems to be going great! Fish look great, Nitrites still up (but going down ever so slowly), and I stopped with the hyposalinity at 1.021 (after getting your email). Very gradually I will bring it back up to 1.023. <Very good> Turns out the macro-algae I had told you about is a Chaetomorpha sp.  I see no evidence of Ich, White or Black. I've got my fingers crossed hoping that I don't have to go to extreme measures to resolve this problem. I remember that nature has a way of correcting itself if conditions are right! <Indeed> As far as all the additives, I log all tank manipulations and additions into a spreadsheet so that it will help me determine what works and what doesn't. <A worthwhile exercise... am sure you will concur that much of what passes as "earnest additives/supplements" for aquariums are unnecessary, quite a bit pure voodoo> After a few months I should have a game plan (procedure) for correct maintenance for my setup. The products that I feel are not beneficial and/or do not produce the expected outcomes will be shelved. I still hold out hopes for the quick cycling products (Stability). <The BioSpira one from Marineland is "real" science... you can reference Tim Hovanec's papers re: aquarium nitrification.> I have access to some great technology for bacterial identification, so I'm pondering a little research on saltwater bacterial strains that support/help the nitrogen cycle. <Or let time go by...> My wife told me to tell you thanks, and said "I guess we should QT our fish..." The fish actually dislike me, for some reason they love her, go figure! <There is little doubt that piscines have latent intelligence...> Thanks again, Tony  <Bob Fenner> 

Dead Moray Affecting Angel Our pygmy moray eel died today of a condition similar to that as described in Cathy's question which was titled sick moray on your question page - though OUR eel had been breathing heavily for the past few days - it was only this morning that we discovered the red patches on her otherwise normal pink skin - we isolated her this morning and following her death an hour later upon examination we found worms coming through her skin in several places as well as thick mucous floating in the isolation tank - we are assuming by what you told Cathy this is a bacterial infection superimposed upon a parasitic infection <Likely so> Our primary concern now is for the ONE other fish in the main tank which is a conspiculatus angel - who at this point shows no signs of distress, eats well, and appears to be in perfect health - water quality is excellent in the 75 gallon tank our question is do you feel we need to take any sort of precautions or interventions to ensure that that angel does not have any parasites or to reduce the likelihood of any subsequent infestation - also is the parasite that affected our eel specific to the eel or can it cause problems with the angel - <Good question and speculations... Very unlikely the problem with the Moray will spread to the Angel, or that predisposing conditions in the same system will mal-affect the Angel>> if interventions are recommended we would appreciate any or all suggestions thank you in advance for your advice and counsel Ken and Steve in Chicago <Glad to render my opinion. Bob Fenner>

Clown Trigger My CT is on its side on the bottom, breathing slowly.  LFS Cleaned the tank 2 days ago.  They use their own rev. os. water.  The rest of my fish seem to be fine.  Any suggestions? <*sigh*  Water parameters, including temperature, pH, salinity, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, tank size, tankmates, filtration?> DNW <M. Maddox>

Zebrasoma Update, Fish Triage! Hi, <Hi! Ryan with you today.> Took me forever to write back, sorry. <We're not going anywhere!  Ryan with you today.> I got pneumonia. Can't seem to get rid of it either. My mom thinks it's some new disease you get from imported coral.  <Ah yes.  Try claiming a new Acropora to your Kaiser!> The tang did not make it which is not very surprising, and the former owner is out of fish, thank goodness. A few of our customers don't care that their fish die and I find this attitude disturbing. <Indeed troubling.>   Some feel that it's normal for them to die, they have gotten accustomed to buying new fish every other month. These people need to wake up and smell the skimmer. Then there are those who feel that fish are disposable specimens slightly more evolved than insects. I hate them more, they can't be reformed. <Quite upsetting that one could rationalize their own ineptitude as an aquarist so easily!> I will try and write as much as I can and see if it is worthy of publication. It would be an honor to write for you guys, really. I hope I am up to it! I have a great resource here who has guided most of the members of the local clubs through their fish's' health issues, his name is Steve Ward. He really should be the one writing, he's good at it and has tons of experience. He tries to save EVERY fish that comes through his store. If customers call to say that they need info about euthanasia he offers to try and save the fish. It's not always successful but he has a background in fisheries and ability to do cultures, stains, biopsies etc that I lack plus a more thorough understanding of medications. Very cool store, looks like a mad fish scientist's lab.  <To my girlfriend's chagrin- As does my living quarters!> I did manage to save a near dead Banggai cardinal and a few coral pieces that came in with the liverock. The Banggai would not eat until I got it going on live white worms and baby Killies (had too many annuals) Hate using fish as feeders but I could not keep all 300 of them! She is now nearly normal in size and in a big tank eating with the others like a normal fish. When I got her home you could see every bone in her side.  <Yikes!> We also managed to save a nearly disemboweled wrasse a customer brought back. It's now got a scar bigger than its head and I have no idea what force kept it alive long enough to heal.  <You, likely.>  Guess you never know and it is always worth trying to save them. Wish I could have done more for that tang, and that I had taken photos of all these fish for articles. Unfortunately these "opportunities" will inevitably return. <As long as you keep the animal's well-being a priority, you'll have an insight that the pet-fish industry desperately needs.> I think most of the people I know around here try really hard to keep their animals properly, there is a lack of access to info  <enter wetwebmedia.com> in some cases and to the amount of cash necessary to complete a top notch system in others.  We are all making a lot of progress with the new technology and foods out there, wish people would spend more on food and less on snake oil though!  <The truth is far less appealing to many than marketing...> Is there not any agency to regulate the claims of companies selling products that do nothing good but cost a lot?  <Only the consumer.  What doesn't sell won't be made.  Sadly, there is no Federal regulation of pet-fish medications to my knowledge.>   <<ed. note... there is regulation of all such meds. Enforcing is another issue. Anthony>> I have heard of the attorney general in one state nailing a bird supplement company for selling bottles of water as herbal tonics. Sure would like to phase out some of the companies wasting peoples' money on instant tank cycle juice, miracle cures and mystery supplements. I have a hard time telling which are good and which are fake, at this point. Also would like to phase out most brands of flake... <I'll forward your message to Scott...And I hope to see an article in the 'zine soon!>

Hole in the head saltwater  bob,  I have a show queen angelfish, that is doing well in my 240 . Water parameters are excellent. Anyhow she has hole in the head. Pin size holes, prob. about 5 or 6 . Anyhow is this a disease, or malnutrition?? Thanks  <Please see WetWebMedia.com under Nutritional Disease, HLLE on the Marine Index or Google search tool. Bob Fenner> Lee 

Rapid Response To A Potential Disease...  Hi there you wonderful people,  I must first thank you for the help you have given me in the past and I still have a million & one questions for you.  <Scott F. here for you today...Thanks for the kind words! Ask away!>I had an outbreak of ich last month and the batfish after catching ich (he is now fully grown at 9 inches tall, had him 7 yrs) was QT'd for 6 weeks due to me (stupidly) putting some live rock with mushrooms in the tank. "All ok" said the LFS. The bat ate half the mushrooms but left half (on one rock untouched presumably because of the smell or taste) In all the bat was the  only fish affected, at this time. Could eating the mushrooms have reduced his immune system to the point whereas he would catch Ich and no other fish would?  <Hard to say... I'd be inclined to doubt it, but you never know. Sometimes, it can be a parasitic disease introduced on the rock that came with the mushrooms!>  Now the Bat is in QT, the Queen Angel in the display tank had a noticeably increased respiration rate, and refused to eat, also hiding away at the BOTTOM of the tank.  <Sounds serious to me. Could even be Amyloodinium, which is far more dangerous than Cryptocaryon. Rapid intervention is mandatory>  I have now moved him to the QT with the bat. There were no outward signs of illness of any kind on the Queen. I have just introduced a Certizon 200 ozonizer on my tank which is as follows  6x2x2 drilled at bottom sump  20g two skimmers  4 powerheads for circulation.   +trickle filtered (these are on the way to the trash can as soon as I can afford enough live rock)  2x canister filters one is bio, one is supposedly nitrate reducing stuff from Kent.  Lifeguard fluidized bed 600g  UV 55Watts  Sander Certizon 200 ozonizer ( can I safely turn this up to full or will this have any detrimental effect on the fish and live rock?)  <Ozone is very helpful if applied and monitored carefully>  I have carbon on the outflow from the skimmer (with the ozone going in) and also carbon above the skimmer to filter excess ozone from going into the air. My local fish shop said if I turn it up it could well wipe out my entire tank!!!  <Excess ozone can be very dangerous. Definitely should monitored carefully while administered>  Although there are some fish left in the tank unaffected by Ich. Should I remove these for a month or six weeks to be on the safe side, to be sure I get rid of the Ich?  <Absolutely, in my opinion. I'd rather be safe than sorry...Can't hurt to be conservative here!>  I do thank each and every one of you for your help .....  I bid you good evening. Simon.  <My pleasure, Simon...Hang in there and beat this illness! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>
Rapid Response to A Potential Disease (Pt.2) 
Thanks Scott Really appreciate your help.  <Glad that it was useful to you!>  The Bat as I said is going to a public display aquarium soon. The Queen Angel died within 30 hours of any outward signs of stress. I was gutted, as I had raised that fish from a mere half inch toddler to a fairly majestic 6".  <Really sorry to hear that>  The other occupants, Yellow Tang, African Fireball Angel, Royal Gramma, Lime Green Wrasse 3" long, two cleaner shrimp, two Percs and a BTA Have now gone 6 weeks without signs of any ills. I can leave them for another two months before I have to strip the tank down for the move. After this time if no disease has shown itself, do you think I will be OK to carry on stocking?  <It's hard to be 100% certain, but you can make that assumption...You know I'm for the "fallow" technique, of course...>  (Will be 31/2 months from the introduction of that Damned rock...(oops can I say Damned?)  <You just did! :) >  and almost three months with no signs of disease in the tank. Again, many thanks to all of you  <My pleasure!>  I guess without sounding callous that does solve one problem about evolving this FO tank to a reef set-up. I was going to have to have two tanks (and will still do so once we have moved house) but I want to do this right from the start, my head hurts with all the input! Sincerely, Simon  <I feel your pain! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Aquarium laser question 4/1/04  Hey guys, I was wandering around at the local PetCo today and saw the "Miracle Beam Aquarium Laser System" it said it was supposed to make fish colors more vibrant and increase fish health while preventing disease and infection.  <heehee, hahah... wooooooooooohoo! Yeah, that's a good one. Man, Oh, man... I love capitalism <G>>  I said if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is...  <bingo... you win the hairy kewpie doll>  I was just wondering if you knew anything about this product or similar products, and if they were for real or not? Thank a lot,  Eric  <there is a "miracle" in that product, I suspect... just not in the performance. Caveat emptor. Anthony>

- Treating Disease - Hello WWM crew great site get most of my answers here, but couldn't seem to find this question, so please respond back quickly before I do something stupid. OK well here goes... This morning I missed the bus so I wanted to check out my new blue hippo tang I had got yesterday (12-10-03) to my surprise he's up eating Spirulina brine shrimp and swims gracefully. I'm thinking man I have to be the luckiest guy in the world having such a healthy tank, till I saw my lawnmower blenny had turned whit and was scratching every now and then.  My six-line wrasse was scratching a little but stopped after a while same case for my percula clown.  I did notice my yellow tang had white spots on his fins last night, but I always excuse it for micro bubbles though he scratched one time last night.  You wouldn't believe how many times I've treated ich, and it turned out to be bubbles. <Oh? Treated with what?> So with all this scratching and no other signs of disease I'm totally confused, but I did see 3 little black dots on my clown though.  I got some stress coat and MelaFix in the tank right now, and would the UV Sterilizer help. <I'm not certain any of that stuff would help.> I'm not sure if its connected right though I have it hooked to the return pipe of my Wet/Dry Filter, horizontally. <Chances are very good that you've got too much water flowing through it in this configuration. Depending on the wattage of your UV, you may need to severely reduce the flow in order to do a decent job killing Protozoans. If I recall, a 25 watt bulb requires about 150 gph max to get an effective kill-ratio.> I have a bubble-tip anemone, yellow polyps, button polyps, a sand starfish, I think that's what its called, and a leather coral. Would any of these medications affect these cool critters. <Yes and no... MelaFix, stress coat - neither of these are really known cures for anything, so I wouldn't classify them as medications, regardless of what it says on the bottle. The UV won't harm your inverts.> And I took out the carbon, but should have I disabled the protein skimmer, because right when I put the MelaFix in the skimmer gone crazy and started to bubble and overflowed, what a mess. <Again... not convinced MelaFix will do anything for you but perhaps overflow your skimmer. If you want to treat with this stuff, maybe you should turn off the skimmer.> Please be patient with me and respond quickly before I lose my mind. <Somehow I doubt the speed of my response is going to change much.> Also tell me if I'm doing everything right or if I need to do something different. <You need to read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/treatmen.htm > I do have a Quarantine up, but its housing my black and white percula and my other percula, they are on their way to recovery. <You may need another quarantine tank.> I diagnosed them with clownfish disease and treated them the same way I'm treating my mystery disease in my main tank (Stress Coat, Melafix). <Again, I'll just say it because you should know - MelaFix hasn't been scientifically proven to cure anything except a fat wallet. Stress coat likewise is of zero use in treating disease. Please read those articles I've included and develop a new treatment system.> Thanks,
<Cheers, J -- >

Orange Shoulder tang You have helped me in the past so I thought I'd give it a try again:<ok> I have had this Orange Shoulder tang for about 6 months. (Pictures by clicking on my user name) Every so often, 3-4 weeks, he would have some kind of worm on his body or fin. The next day it would always be gone minus a small nip of fin. The fin would be back to normal in 1-2 days. This has happened ever since introducing after QT of 3 weeks. Since the introduction, my QT has gone down and so I figured if this thing manifested itself into days of disease, I would immediately get the QT back up. Well, last night there was no sign of anything wrong with him (or her). He was swimming around fine and grazing and eating garlic soaked Mysis. I saw him this afternoon and he is barely clinging to life.<wow he looked awful in the latter two of the pictures that you sent> I had no time to get him to QT because he was gone within minutes of me finding him.<agreed> The pictures of him from 2 days ago are on my user page. I could not believe that overnight this healthy looking fish went from normal looking to dead. I am just stunned because his fins looked perfect yesterday, I saw no signs of his disease and parameters seem to be fine.<hmm...looks like some sort of bacterial infection> pH 8.4 SG 1.022 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 Ammonia 0 As of 12/2/2003 Ammonia again on 12/04/2003 Not only am I sad about his loss, I am concerned about my Blue Cheek Gobi, Mandarin, and the Blue Damsel. His other tank mates are various snails, hermits, emerald green crabs, and a cleaner shrimp. All seem to be fine, but so was he. The Blue cheek had been loosing weight over the last couple of weeks so I bumped up his feeding routine and he seems to be on the rise. Thanks for the advice) He was introduced about 2 months ago. The only change to the tank is feeding garlic soaked Mysis for the last week. Any thoughts? It seems like a worm, parasite or perhaps velvet.<I believe it was a bacterial infection, his gills seem to be very red and his body does also> Doesn't seem like velvet, though. I'll do some more research on the disease pages but I just am having a hard time believing what I am seeing. In my 7 years of Marine and Fresh I have never seen a disease deteriorate a fish this fast.<I have> Perhaps I missed some obvious signs, but what you see in the good pic is what I saw for the last 6 months.<hmm. I honestly do not know what to tell you, if this disease killed your fish this fast...and you saw no signs...I don't know what you could do in the future to correct this. From what you are telling me this happened literally over night...so really there is not much you could have done> Peter<Sorry to hear of the loss...I will send this to BobF, Good luck, IanB>
Tang disease You have helped me in the past so I thought I'd give it a try again: http://claymore.engineer.gvsu.edu/~dewittp/Tang.jpg http://claymore.engineer.gvsu.edu/~dewittp/Tang_Disease1.jpg http://claymore.engineer.gvsu.edu/~dewittp/Tang_Disease2.jpg I have had this Orange Shoulder tang for about 6 months. (Pictures by clicking on my user name) Every so often, 3-4 weeks, he would have some kind of worm on his body or fin. The next day it would always be gone minus a small nip of fin. The fin would be back to normal in 1-2 days. This has happened ever since introducing after QT of 3 weeks. Since the introduction, my QT has gone down and so I figured if this thing manifested itself into days of disease, I would immediately get the QT back up. Well, last night there was no sign of anything wrong with him (or her). He was swimming around fine and grazing and eating garlic soaked Mysis. I saw him this afternoon and he is barely clinging to life. I had no time to get him to QT because he was gone within minutes of me finding him. The pictures of him from 2 days ago are on my user page. I could not believe that overnight this healthy looking fish went from normal looking to dead. I am just stunned because his fins looked perfect yesterday, I saw no signs of his disease and parameters seem to be fine. pH 8.4 SG 1.022 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 Ammonia 0 As of 12/2/2003 Ammonia again on 12/04/2003 Not only am I sad about his loss, I am concerned about my Blue Cheek Gobi, Mandarin, and the Blue Damsel. His other tank mates are various snails, hermits, emerald green crabs, and a cleaner shrimp. All seem to be fine, but so was he. The Blue cheek had been loosing weight over the last couple of weeks so I bumped up his feeding routine and he seems to be on the rise. (Thanks for the advice) He was introduced about 2 months ago. The only change to the tank is feeding garlic soaked Mysis for the last week. Any thoughts? It seems like a worm, parasite or perhaps velvet. Doesn't seem like velvet, though. <You had this juvenile for half a year... your tank water quality measures seem fine, no mention of husbandry that appears amiss, and a defining clue is the presence/health of far more sensitive fish livestock. Am stumped... could be flukes (Trematodes)... or perhaps some sort of "time bomb" internal parasite effect... I would raise the spg in the system to "near natural seawater" strength (1.025) over a week or so time... enlarge/replace the garlic use with a HUFA and vitamin prep. (e.g. Selcon)> I'll do some more research on the disease pages but I just am having a hard time believing what I am seeing. In my 7 years of Marine and Fresh I have never seen a disease deteriorate a fish this fast. Perhaps I missed some obvious signs, but what you see in the good pic is what I saw for the last 6 months. Peter <As stated above. I don't see any thing specific that leads me to believe in a given etiology, OR method of possible "treatment". Bob Fenner>

Can Fish Carry Infection, Yet Not Show Signs? >Hi, Marina. >>Hi Barb. >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? >>This is a very good question, and honestly, I could only venture a guess.  My guess would be that it is certainly possible, as it is with terrestrial creatures.  Their immune systems may be stronger, for a variety of reasons.  What is the likelihood of them continuing to pass on the aforementioned infection?  After the q/t, I would say slim to none, as I don't believe (don't quote me on this, though) that bacteria can continue to reside subclinically in quite the same way viruses can.  I believe that if the Chromis' immune systems have been strong enough to fight the initial infection, that their immune systems have also proven strong enough to kill whatever microbes were still in residence upon introduction.  You experience may be a good argument in favor of separate quarantine housing. >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 >>Which is, after all you went through, certainly understandable.  I can offer no guarantees either way, but from what I've learned of these types of microbes, this is my best guess.  Marina

White Patch: Parasite, Or???? Looks like the picture link got encoded twice. Try this one if you don't mind: http://wetwebfotos.com/Home?actionRequest=userview&userID=2801 I also attached them here: Pict0036 is probably the best of the three. <Well, Garin, it does look to be some sort of parasitic growth. I would not rule out Lymphocystis. At this point, I'd consider more observation and possible freshwater dips of modest duration (like 5-8 minutes). In the absence of other symptoms, avoid more aggressive approaches to treatment. Keep an eye on this guy for a while...We just want to be certain what we're working with here! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Mysterious Fish Deaths... Hi guys!!! <Scott F. your guy today!> My boyfriend emailed you a question concerning our Volitans lion's death about a week or two ago.  The Foxface Rabbitfish we had added the day before is still doing just fine.  However, we decided to add a Coris Wrasse juvenile (from the same LFS as the Rabbitfish) approximately two days ago.  He just died, inexplicably, after swimming around all morning and spending the last two days hiding.  It was kind of a shock, because we have a white Turbo Snail, Green Brittle Star, Emerald Crab, and a Foxface Rabbitfish, all doing fine.  Our water keeps testing just fine and we did a small 5 gallon water change last night (we had the water sitting in a bucket with a powerhead running and the water tested fine before addition). <Well, I see no mention of any quarantine procedure used here...In addition to helping keep diseases out of your display tank, this process helps "harden" newly-received animals by providing them with a quiet, secure place to recover from the rigors of collection, shipping and other stresses. Quarantine is a simple, yet vital process that can really improve your chances of success with fishes. Do read about the process and principles on the WWM site> tank parameters and inhabitants: 125g 2 AquaC remora pro HOT skimmers w/ mag3 pumps 4 1200 MaxiJet powerheads 99 lbs LR with lots of little things living happily (including two largish bristle worms that we find fascinating, a money plant growing insanely fast, and kelp everywhere) 1 Foxface Rabbitfish 1 white turbo snail 1 emerald crab 1 10" green brittle star (who leaves our rabbit alone) We haven't sprayed anything in the room (not even hairspray), nor have we put any metal of any kind in the tank. When our lion died, we thought it was because we were having problems with the temperature of the tank.  We had since resolved that problem so have no clue why the wrasse would have died like that.  Please help!!!! <:( Thanks! Carole <Well, Carole, it sounds to me to be a problem with the selection and/or acclimation process. In addition to embracing quarantine, you should really read up on the WWM site about selecting healthy animals for your system. It's also possible that your LFS is not carrying the highest quality livestock... Perhaps you need to check out the way he handles his livestock...Lots of possibilities. Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

- Rapidly Losing Fish, More Questions - Thanks for all of the advice. <My pleasure.> Here's the current situation, any more help will be greatly appreciated.  I read all of the articles you attached.  I forgot to mention that I don't have a quarantine tank (I live in a relatively small apartment). <Still... one on the kitchen counter would suffice, and is really something you can't do without - ok, you can do without it, but you will not do as well.> I stopped using the cure all and have been using the Cupramine for about 4-5 days.  I have stuck to the recommended dosage, but due to the fact that the tank has 2-4" of substrate and some coral (mostly artificial) would you recommend increasing the dosage? <I would recommend that you get a hold of a copper test kit and make sure the copper levels are consistent that way.> I also started adding Maracyn-two (about 48 hours ago), after the Passer started to show signs of tail rot and developed a blister on her side. <Again... you really shouldn't treat multiple problems with multiple treatments at the same time. Deal with one problem at a time.> The Passer is showing improvement, the blister is much smaller and the tail rot has started to reverse itself.  Also, she was hiding in dark places and not eating for a couple of days, but today she has been in the open more and started to eat again (although not quite as much as usual). <At least it's eating.> Most of the flecks are gone, and her eyes are clear.  I read the velvet looks like "gold dust", and that is how the flecks looked when she had them a couple of days ago.  All of the fish are still alive, and seem to be showing some signs of improvement (I hope I'm not being over optimistic).  The gobies and blenny are in good shape and seem unaffected by all of this.  The trigger has me the most concerned.  He has some flecks (white spots) particularly on his head.  If you look at him at certain angles, in certain light, it looks almost like a person who is getting over sunburn (where the top layer of skin has given way to a new layer, so the skin appears patchy).  He does not have any open wounds.  His breathing does not appear particularly heavy, but I don't know what it was before (it is currently between about 60-80 breaths per minute) He also appears to be "coughing" (more so than usual).  His eyes are cloudy and have some small specks on them, although they are much less cloudy today than they were yesterday.  Sometimes he seems a bit lethargic, and sometimes he is a bit jumpy.  He does have a good appetite. I did two partial water changes (Friday and Sunday) of 10-15% and am planning on doing another tonight or tomorrow morning.  I'm a bit cautious about the water changes b/c I don't want to undo the medication.  I have not dipped the fish yet but am considering giving the trigger a fresh water dip (I tried before but was unable to net him -- which I suppose may be a good sign, since if he were sicker he would not be so vigilant or difficult to catch).  Although I wonder if the stress of the dip might do him more harm than good? <It won't do more harm than good compared to carrying around a load of parasites. Much better off to do the dip.> Anyway, I'm sorry for the length of the letter, but what I'm really trying to figure out is whether there is anything else I can do, and whether all of my efforts are doing any good or just prolonging the agony for these fish. <Well, you're 'down in it' as they say, so you're going to have to see this to the end - whatever that might be. Regardless, you will learn some lessons.> How long should I expect it to take for them to recover (it's not that I'm running out of patients, I'm just trying to understand whether they are actually recovering) and is there anything else you can think of that I should do? <Two weeks and you should be out of the woods - but do make sure you test ammonia and nitrite daily to make sure that while you are dosing copper you aren't also losing your biological filter.> Thanks again for all your help.  Rob <Cheers, J -- >

Mystery Malady Help WWM strange-disease guru: <Ho about "WWM Strange Guru"? Scott F. here today!> I have a Royal Gramma that looks exactly like it was tagged by a porcupine. There are dozens of very fine, clear-ish with a bit-of-white needles about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch long poking out of its left eye, left eye socket, and mouth. The fish seems unchanged behavior wise (normal and healthy.) <Weird...Sounds almost like some kind of external fungal infection> I cannot find anything on your site about what this might be. I did recently introduce a purple Gorgonian that this Gramma likes to swim around and through; perhaps the Gorgonian has something to do with this? Any help is most appreciated, SLC  <Well, before you rush in and administer medications, I'd observe this fish for a while longer. It may be that you'll see this material clear out on its own. On the other hand, if it begins to interfere with the fish's ability to eat, etc., then you may need to take some action. I'd operate on the assumption (and it IS an assumption) that you are dealing with some sort of fungal disease, and treat with appropriate medication in a separate aquarium...Keep an eye on this fish to make sure that things don't progress. Good luck! Regards, ScottF>

Stranger Than Fiction...(Follow-up To Mystery Malady) Scott F: Thanks for the reply. I took your advice and did nothing, just carefully observing my R.G.'s state. The mysterious needles went away completely within a day or so.  Strange.... SLC <Sometimes, doing nothing is better than doing something...Nothing ever surprises me in this hobby any more! Take care! Scott F.>

Killing All the Fishes >I have a 29 gallon fish only tank.  I am successfully keeping a chocolate chip starfish, a coral banded shrimp and snails in there.   >>That makes it officially a fish-only with inverts.. suddenly it's not fish only!   >The tank has been cycled since July.  I have had two clownfish die.  The first two with ich.  Now the third is in the tank dying, it has a white slime to it, and white feces that sticks to it.  It started with ich like spots, but now it doesn't look like ich.  It hasn't ate in two days. >>This sounds very bad, and could be a combination of ich and velvet/other parasitic infection, which leaves them quite susceptible to bacterial invasion.  Bacterial infections can move VERY swiftly. >I was going to remove it to a hospital tank, but the last clown died and when I went after this one with a net it freaked out. >>Yes, they'll do this, quite natural.  Better to start ALL the specimens off in a quarantine tank, than to plunk them into the main display only to have to remove them upon further signs of disease. >My water is fine, nitrate, nitrite, etc.   >>We here at the WWMCrew prefer to know specific readings, along with pH, temperature, and salinity, as well as test kit brands.  I'm sure you understand that there can be as many definitions of "fine" or "normal" as there are aquarists. >I had a red scooter in there and it was scratching around some but was eating fine, it was dead this morning. >>A scooter blenny isn't going to survive long in such a set up, please don't replace it with a similar fish.  They require very well-established reef systems in order to thrive, otherwise they tend to starve to death (though it doesn't appear as though that was the case here). >How can my invertebrates thrive and all my fish die?  Yes I will quarantine them from now on, but how do I kill whatever is in my tank?  Or are these things just sick when I buy them???  I was going to leave the tank fishless for  a month before I try another fish, and I am going to stick with 3 or 4 green Chromis only.  I don't want to lose anymore fish, please help me! >>Ok, the invertebrates live because the pathogens that are killing the fish are "obligate".  This means that they are "obligated" to find a fish (vertebrate) host, they will (and they WILL) die if they don't find one within a suitable period of time.  You now know to quarantine, I will add to your list of "To Do's" hyposalinity (1.010), which will kill ich, but not velvet.  Now, the fish are gone, leave the tank fishless for a minimum of 6 weeks, but 8 are MUCH better.  Better even if you raise the temperature to around 82F (speeds up the life cycle of the parasite, making it even more imperative that it find a host more quickly).  Keep the salinity at proper ocean levels for your invertebrates, or this can kill them.  After this, I wouldn't go with that many Chromis in this size tank, I would go with a single clown (smaller percula or ocellaris), a couple of neon gobies, and maybe a Dottyback or Royal Gramma.  The neon gobies are cleaners, by the way, and stay so small that they present a very low bioload onto the system.  I hope this helps, Amy, and best of luck!  Marina

Nasty Disease... Hello Wonderful Crew! <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I love your advice and hate that I have to write you for my first time with a problem today. I have been delving into your articles lately trying to find what my new clown has infected my Cardinal with. I started with 2 Ocellaris clowns; both showed signs of infection within days after I received them. (I did not have a Qtank set up at that time). At first it started out looking like Ich (white dots). I set up 2 - 5G QTank. I had some Meth Blue and did a dip with that. One fish didn't like it and after about 15 seconds wanted out of the tank so I pulled it out and put it in a separate Qtank with low salinity. The other I think would have stayed in there forever, but I pulled it out after a minute, also placing it in the Qtank. The fish that tried to jump out of the Blue died the next day (Stress?). The other clown did well in the Qtank for a couple of days, with whatever had been infecting it disappeared. Due to limited counter space in my kitchen, I had to move the clown back into the main tank (55G). Well, whatever had infected the clown of course did not get completely eradicated, and now my striped cardinal has this same thing, just now it seems to be infecting his fins only, not his body yet (and no white dots, just the stringy white stuff). Do I need to get some copper? I need help identifying this (pic attached). I apologize if it is exceptionally large, but I wanted you to be able to zoom in on it and get a good look at the fish's body. The clown pic is clear and easier to identify. The Cardinal refused to sit still for his photograph. The clown is reaching his endpoint I fear as he is not eating and laying on the bottom of the tank. <Well, I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that you might be dealing with Brooklynella, which is a nasty parasitic problem that is, unfortunately, common to clownfish in particular. Generally, you'd see thick whitish mucus on the fish's body, loss of appetite, rapid breathing, gasping, and lethargic behavior in the fish (lying on the bottom...). If this appears to be what you're dealing with, I'd take quick action by starting with a 10-15 minute freshwater dip, followed by a course of treatment (in a separate "hospital" tank, of course) with a Formalin-based aquarium remedy, per the manufacturer's recommendation..> The Cardinal is still eating vigorously. This is a 55G tank (all fish except new clowns transferred from a 30G) has been set up about 2 months, with many inverts, 2 large feather dusters, Ricordea and mushrooms, plus 2 blue damsels (m/f) so I can't dose the whole tank. I'm at a complete loss of where to start! Would a UV sterilizer help? I appreciate your help immensely!     Your humble aquarist, Stacy <A UV sterilizer can be a big help in maintaining high water quality, and in fighting off some infections. However, at this stage of the game, other forms of intervention are necessary to get the job done. Make sure what you're dealing with, and then take immediate action to save these fishes lives! You can do it! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

New Fish- Old Disease! Hello <Hi there! Scott F. at the keyboard today...> My name is Eric, I have a 55 gallons reef tank, the problem is that every  new fish I put in my tank gets ich in 3 days. I don't understand why. I already have a pygmy angel, some goby's, etc, and they're still okay, what's happening? <Well, hard to say. Usually, there is a considerable amount of stress associated with acclimating to a new tank for a fish. And, as we are aware, stress is a big factor in disease...You can eliminate a lot of potential disease problems through careful selection of new animals and utilizing a quarantine process religiously. Do a search of the WWM site for lots of information on these topics! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Parasite? 09/04/03 Hi guys, <Hi Bryan, PF answering today> I purchased a Firefish goby a couple of days ago and placed him in a QT tank.  Shortly after getting him (later the same day or early the following day) I noticed something sticking out of an opening behind one of his front fins.  It is thread-like and brown. It makes one continuous twisting and overlapping pattern (sort of like a piece of spaghetti would look if dropped on a plate).  It's sticking out about a quarter of an inch and is parallel with his body.  It appears to be quite ridged (when his fin moves the whole thing moves).  He appears to be healthy otherwise and is eating.  Any idea as to what this is?  If so, what should I do? Thanks very much for your help! Bryan <First off, go here: www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm and read up. Secondly, have you done a FW dip? www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm you might want to try that and see if it helps. Hopefully that will take care of the problem. Let us know how it turns out, PF>

Screen and CopperSafe, etc. Hello Mr. Fenner <Hello Daniel> I apparently wasted my time separating my sand bed into halves (upper and lower) w/ a nylon screen, based on a return email from someone you work with. Comments? <Wasted your time? The screen didn't "work"? Didn't stay in place?> Anyway, on to the copper safe question. I don't want any ick, velvet, or the like in my reef tank. <Good idea> I use a hospital tank and use Kent Marine RxP <This is a waste of time product IMO/E> for a couple of weeks with Maracyn 1/2, and needed other fungal agents as needed, and then follow that up w/ Mardel Copper Safe. It (the copper safe) agrees w/ the fish I get, and the crabs (It will kill snails in a about 2 minutes, though). Will it be okay with shrimp (peppermint, banded, etc.)? <No> Any Ideas on other ways to keep unwanted organisms out of the reef tank (when I get Plants or corals)? <My ideas, steps to completion, action plans for doing this (for the last three plus decades) are detailed in articles, book sections and posted FAQs on wetwebmedia.com Bob Fenner> Thanks, Daniel

- Cloudy Eye on Canary Wrasse - Hi Kevin: Thank you very much for the help. <You're very welcome> I will let them be, and if in the future they go into the anemone, I will let you know. <Cool> I would like to ask you another question, this time regarding the canary wrasse I introduce in the aquarium. It buried itself for about two days, and today it goes outside for the first time. I noticed that it has an eye like cloudy, never happened to me before and I didn't notice anything when I bought it. <Likely due to the stress of transport> It seems to be blind from that eye, because it seems like it should turn to see better the way it goes and keep knocking things with the head. <Could be blind, but more likely just favoring the other eye because he can see better out of it> I have curse coral sand as a bed for aquarium of about 1 inch deep. <They like softer sediments, but that should be fine> What is it? Is this pop-eye? Is it other thing? What can be the problem? Stress? Water conditions? <If everything else is right in the tank and it does not come down with anything else, it should clear up in several days to weeks.> Maybe something with the buried it made for about two days long? <They do this pretty commonly after introduction into a new system> What do you suggest me to do? Is it something that can be cured? <Nope, time should take care of it. Good luck! -Kevin> Thank you a lot, bye by now.

Mystery Illness? Hello again Scott!! <Hi there, Andrew! Howzit?> It seemed all was ok until the other day, I noticed on my lionfish some dots on one of the long frills they have. The dots are only small, they are white with clear in the middle, like they are eating away the frill. There are about 10 small dots in total, and only at the top of one frill. Is this fin rot? I've checked all the levels in the tank and everything looks ok, it's been eating great and acting quite happy. What do you suggest? Regards, Andrew Ickeringill <Well, Andrew- it's tough to judge without a photo...Could be anything from ich to fin rot to tumors....Lots of possibilities. I would look for associated symptoms, such as scratching, difficulty breathing, lack of appetite, etc. to see what we're dealing with. I'm, leaning towards some sort of parasitic problem, but it's just a guess at this point...I'd observe the fish carefully, and be prepared to medicate or FW dip, if the illness warrants it...Keep observing for a few more days...Then take decisive action! If you can get a pic to us, that would really help! Hang in there! Regards, Scott F.>

Problem Solving! Dear Scott, <Hello again!> Thanks for responding. I promise this will be shorter than last message! <Hey- that's why I signed on for this gig! LOL> On the BTA-He has stayed in the same locale and will hopefully move on "foot" from now on. Since he has had that encounter with the strainer, I am concerned about how pale he is (the green is still good and there is a hint of brown). <As long as it appears to be recovering, that's a good thing!> Please talk to me about feeding. I have heard 1/week, 2/week/, 5/week, etc. and about completely different foods. I am confused. <Well, there are tons of different thoughts on this subject. My research seems to indicate that these animals feed daily in the wild, so I can't imagine it being detrimental (except if inadequate nutrient export mechanisms exist in your tank) to feed it daily, or every other day...I'd try a variety of frozen fish foods, and carefully observe which ones the animal "recognizes" as food sources. An anemone will usually "reject" what it does not recognize as a food, so go with what works!> Also, should the feeding be different after the strainer incident? <I would continue a routine feeding regimen. Just observe the animal a bit more closely> A small amount of Brine Shrimp Plus has drifted to him two days in a row and he has pulled it in. I know it doesn't mean he is eating it, but he acts hungry...please advise. <If it appears to be consuming this food, keep using it!> What is the best we can do for him with VHO lighting? We have painted the interior of the cover a glossy white to help reflect the light. <That's fine. If the animal appears to be reacting negatively to the lighting, you may have to augment as required...Again, observation is the key..> The six-foot (white) tubes only say - Aquasun/7 VHO-1. I have no clue what wattage... <Hmm...something the "expert" might be able to tell you. You need to know, especially when it's time to replace them...By the way- how old are the bulbs? Are they ready to be replaced?> I have removed nine molly millers, but not the tomato clown with ich. She was afraid of the net, so I am feeding her from it (that's how I got so many MM - smiling). I may be able to get her out tonight without much fuss (she has been half-way in the net). <Keep trying. It's important to get everyone out for the treatment> My question is, how do I set up a QT? I have a 10 gal tank, no cover, no lights, no heater and no pump, no nothing. I do have a bubbler and a long narrow heating pad. <Well, you almost have everything that you need. Here is an article by yours truly about setting up a QT...Hopefully, it will answer some of your questions, and the same idea works for a "hospital" tank: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm   > Am I nuts to think it wouldn't be wise just to dip and then put her back in with the others? My husband's aquarium pal gave four options: flush her (he had to be kidding), do a dip and put her back, put her in a dif. aquarium, or let the ich run its course.  Let the ich run its course, I'm not nuts. He's nuts! <Well, I'm inclined to agree! "Running its course" means that the life cycle of the causative parasites will go on and on- constantly re-attaching to fishes after dropping off...Until the fish dies. You need to address the life cycle of the parasite - knock it off on the fish with medication, and let the display tank run fallow, without fishes, for a bout a month - this will deprive them of hosts...Lots more bout this on the WWM site..> What about the other fish? My husband is on duty again (Hospital chaplain) and I just feel the other shoe is about to drop. I have ordered a total of four books, but need to correct these current problems before I get them. Help, I am drowning in a sea of misinformation! Crystal <Well, hang in there, Crystal! I'd start with a search under "parasitic diseases" on the WWM site, and you'll find plenty of GOOD information!> P.S. We have an RO/ DI water purifying system (not just RO) whatever that means. <"DI" means "deionization"- another phase of the water purification process...A good thing! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Large Fish in Small Aquarium I have a 75 gallon tank with two porcupine puffers, two lions and one dog face puffer.  <first of all way too many fish for this small aquarium> I have been keeping copper in the tank to treat and prevent ich......at least one month...... today both porcupine puffers developed cloudy eyes... worsening as the day went on... I did a water change, about 1/3 of tank....removed all copper....now reads  "0".  pH at 8.2.... ammonia at 0.25... nitrites .25 and nitrates 0... <the ammonia and nitrites are the problem here only water changes will save your livestock now...if I were you I would bring your fish to a trust worthy aquarium store and have them hold your 5 fish until you get your aquarium under control, then I recommend keeping one lionfish, one porcupine puffer and the dogface... in at least a 125 gallon aquarium>  we love makayla and molly and don't know what to do next..... when doing a freshwater dip, please explain exactly how to do that... tap water with chem.s. removed then what???? <do not do the FW dip...cloudy eyes are a sign of a bacterial infection and if they are placed in an adequate aquarium with good water quality they this should go away..>  ....should I try this?? will they loose their sight and if so how will they eat? ....the one did not eat today the other did.... please respond ASAP... how often is it safe to do water changes????  <in your case once a day and I would get those fish out of that aquarium post haste>  dog face and lions are showing no signs at this time... thanks... Carolyn  <Good luck, IanB>

- My Yellow Tang is Turning Brown - I have noticed on my yellow tang brown streaking I have read is caused by a bacterial infection.  <The origin might be bacterial, but this problem almost always shows itself as a result of water quality issues.>  I would like to no how to treat these brown streaks I appreciate the help.  <Please read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/YellowTang.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm  Cheers, J -- >

Disease, Toxin, or What? Hello Crew, <Scott F. your Crew member today> I have a 55gal FOWLR set up and lately my fish seem like they are having trouble breathing. My tank has a Lunare wrasse, Coral Beauty, Niger trigger, cleaner shrimp, Porcupine puffer and 3 blue fin damsels, with a bunch of clean-up critters, Halloween's, blue legged, Mexican's and turbo snails. <Wow! Way too much load in a tank of this size...I hope that a larger tank is in the near future?> The Wrasse and Damsels seem to have the problem breathing, it is very noticeable and the wrasse fixes itself under a piece of rock and stays there trying to breath. Color and eating are excellent for all the inhabitants, am I missing something? The water is pretty good, NH3 & NO2 are 0, NO3 is about 25ppm, SI PO4 trace amounts, spec grav 1.022 and temp is 72. I have a BakPak II running and an Eheim 2250 canister filter which was repacked about 2 months ago, a Hagen Aqua 200 running carbon periodically and have been doing 5% water changes twice a week. I really like this wrasse and would hate to see him go!  Thanks!  Ciaran <Well, Ciaran, it sounds like you're doing things right in terms of maintaining a stable environment, but I'm wondering if there is some sort of disease or potential toxic event going on here. Rapid breathing and lethargy are often symptoms attributed to parasitic diseases such as Amyloodinium or Brooklynella. You need to check the fish for other visible signs of illness, such as excessive body mucous, white spots, fin damage, lack of appetite, or loss of hydrostatic control (difficulty swimming properly). These are highly lethal, highly contagious illnesses that must be diagnosed and dealt with as soon as possible. There is a lot of information on the WWM site about these illnesses and their treatment, so do some research ASAP. The other thought I have is some sort of poisoning event. You indicated that ammonia is zero, so that's good. However, I would look into the possibility of some toxic substance (like a household cleaner, paint, etc) being released in or near the tank...I'd investigate and consider all possibilities here. Use chemical filtration media, such as activated carbon or Poly Filter, to assist in the removal of possible toxic substances from the water...Keep testing for ammonia and nitrite. Be relentless in your search, and leave no stone unturned...Good luck! Regards. Scott F>

As The Worm Turns? (Fighting Intestinal Worms) Hi Crew, <Hi there! Scott F. your Crew Member today!> I DID IT - I finally caught my sick Naso (180 gal, lots of LR)!!!  Now that I finally have this sick fish in a QT, the information I need is how to treat him/her.  From reading MANY posts on your website, my assessment (best guess) is that my Naso Tang has intestinal worms.  I have not seen any worms but this fish has not eaten in 5-6 days and I can nearly see through it because it is so emaciated.  I do not notice a swollen area near the posterior of the fish, similar to those that had a blockage. <Sounds like it may be just that, but usually, you can't tell 100% unless you dissect the animal... I guess you'll have to go with your best guess here. > I noted that some of the people who discovered this issue with their Naso in time took the fish to a vet who administered an oral de-wormer.  I do not know of any vet in my area that treats fish.  Is there anything I can use to treat my Naso for worms?  I currently have Cu in the QT (3.0 PPM) and I am using Melafix because I have read several positive results from using this "natural" medication and no negative results. <I am skeptical about it...It's supposedly for external problems, too, by the way...I'd remove the copper, is it may be causing more harm than good to the fish, by damaging it's digestive fauna...Not a good thing when a fish is possibly starving. Although it is reported by some people to be successful at treating worms, I'd use Poly Filter or Cupri Sorb to remove the copper, and keep up a lot of regular small water changes. As far as a medication for intestinal worms, I'd steer towards a medication like Praziquantel, or possibly a Formalin based medication.> As I mentioned previously, I did previously notice a single "attachment" to the throat area of this fish that dropped off the day after I noticed it.  I assumed this was some sort of parasite but no others have returned in the approximate 5 days since this "attachment" fell off.  I thought the Melafix would also be good to prevent a secondary infection at the site of this parasite attachment. <Ahh... didn't see your first post. Now I understand your rationale for using Melafix...Good thought> Assuming I am able to cure my Naso of these (assumed) worms in time, would these worms not still be present in my main tank?  If so, how do I prevent a re-occurrence? <Unlikely. Usually, these worms come in with the fish from the wild, so it's hard for me to imagine that they are present in the tank in any numbers that could be a problem. On the other hand, the external parasite that you noted could have reproduced, and could be a potential problem. Observe carefully, and let the tank go fallow if this turns out to be a problem. Parasites don't fare well without hosts! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> ________________________________________ My information contribution: Hopefully this will help some other person who is finding it impossible to catch fish in a large tank with many rocks.  This is how I finally caught my Naso:  Since I have several other Tangs (ich magnets) in my tank, I was very worried about stressing all the fish in the tank and causing an ich outbreak.  To minimize stress (the fishes' and mine), I waited until night and turned off the aquarium lights (leaving only a flashlight pointing at the bottom of the opposite end of the tank from where my fish sleep).  Once all fish has settled into their normal sleeping positions, I slowly removed all live rock that was not directly providing immediate shelter for a sleeping fish (moving the rock to the opposite end of the tank without exposing it to air).  I then used whatever I could find (feeding tongs, plastic cup, etc.) to plug any holes/cracks between rocks that were large enough for this fish to fit through.  Although not necessary, I have a Sony camcorder with infrared night vision, which I used to locate the Naso without disturbing the other fish (just a tip in case you happen to have a similar camera).  I placed one (larger) net at the single opening I had left between the rock and glass on one side of the aquarium.  I then (very gently) moved the other (smaller, more maneuverable) net near the fish from the opposite side of the tank.  To me it seemed that this was just an annoyance to the fish rather than causing fright.  Once the fish got close enough to the large net to realize what was happening and to begin zig-zagging, looking for another quick getaway, I turned the flashlight directly on the fish causing it to become temporarily disoriented.  I then quickly scooped it up with the large net and let it swim into a container in the aquarium, filled with aquarium water.  Leaving the lights out the entire time (other than the small flashlight), I poured the fish into the QT. Maybe this sounds a little extreme (overly-cautious) but I have heard horror stories of ich outbreaks with tangs that led to loss of all the fish.  I do not want that guilt (or loss of $$)!  Like I said, hopefully this will help someone else because I struggled with several attempts before finally finding a way to catch the fish.  I nearly just left it in the tank to "wait and see" - probably a certain death from what I have read. Please advise how I can treat for worms and THANK YOU so much for all the help you are providing with this forum.  Greg

- Dealing with Marine Velvet & RO/DI Clarification - Thank you for your prompt reply to my previous question on Marine velvet.  My Cuban Hog , Flame hawk and Zebra Moray Eel have all survived the attack of Marine Velvet.  The Cuban and Flame hawk are eating well and swimming normally.  I am planning on not adding any other fish to my 200 gallon tank for the next 6-8 weeks to break the cycle of this parasite.  <You won't accomplish much as long as there are fish hosts in the tank.>  My question is can I keep these three in the main tank.  <No, they should be in individual quarantine while you let the tank go fallow, also chance to treat the fish apart from the tank if something were to reoccur.>  I know you've said that the tank has to remain fallow without any fish to break the cycle.  <Heh... I just said it again ;-) >  I'm wondering if the Flame hawk and Cuban Hog have developed some immunity to the Marine Velvet which would allow them to stay in the main tank.  <Fish that are in excellent health can fend it off to some extent, but I'm going to guess that your fish are under some extra stress, given that you used the phrase 'survived the attack' - I would guess you will see the velvet again.>  Would a UV aid in minimizing the outbreak of these and other pathogens.  <Only to a very small extent... I don't really endorse the use of these unless of a hospital system. Can do without UV by careful use of quarantine.> My second question is about Reverse Osmosis.  My LFS is using a two stage system when he is making water for his tank. He does not use the reverse osmosis stage to filter out his water - just the prefilter and carbon filter.  Is this adequate or should I do the reverse osmosis to ensure the water is clear of any contaminants.  <Depends one what those contaminants are - how is the quality of your tap water? Could be particle and carbon filtration are all you need.>  How does this compare to a DI ( which I am assuming is a deionizer).  <Each is a type of filtration so each is particularly good at filtering out certain 'stuff'.>  The only deionizer I've seen in my area is TapPure which makes about 25 gallons before the cartridge is replaced.  <Not very economical.>  What do you suggest?  <Well, in RO/DI, the deionizer is the last stage in the filter so the resins last a little longer, but is the nature of all cartridges. Unless your tap water is bunk, you can probably just use that. Please read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm > Thanking you in advance  Vito <Cheers, J -- >

- New Tank and Unhappy Fish - I am hoping you can help me.  I have recently (about a month or a little more ago) switched my tank from a 55 gallon to 150 gallon, both reef ready.  With the new system I have upgraded the lighting to two 175 watt metal halides and my existing 192 watt power compact, which I have in the rear of the tank canopy.  Other than that, the components were kept the same but I did upgrade the return pump to flow a 960 gallons per hour , Rio 3600? maybe, and I also have a large powerhead placed behind some live rock.  The return is in the form of a vertical spray bar that hangs down one side of the tank, while the overflow sits in the corner of the other.  The tank dimensions are 48"long by 30"high, by 24" wide.  My wet/dry is a tide pool with a large sump that I have a SeaClone skimmer in. <Although not a question, I'd suggest upgrading you skimmer as it is well undersized. I'd go with a Precision Marine bullet 1 or 2 or an AquaC EV-180 for this size of a tank. Later on, I'd remove the wet/dry in favor of ample live rock.> The skimmer has not been running lately because I have been trying for the last few weeks to rid my tank of pesky ich using Greenex.  The local aquarium store told me this is the way to go because Of my live rock and corals.  All levels check out great, maybe a tad low on the ph at 8.0-8.1 range.  I added a little calcium this eve and have not checked the ph since. The problems are all fish with varying degrees of ich.  Coral beauty and powder blue the worst, little on the blue tang, yellow tang and moderate on the Heniochus.  Naso looks great. Colt coral very shriveled, bubble coral looking poor, yellow star polyps very small but open, green buttons completely closed.  I feel like I have tried everything and have searched your website for weeks trying all I can.  Any suggestions?  Could this be an aeration problem?  I never had these problems in my old tank, which was overstocked.  I feel like after upgrading the lights, pump and tank that I would have less problems, but instead the opposite.  HELP ME PLEASE  Carrie <Well, the coral issues are likely due to a combination of dealing with the Greenex and the new, brighter lighting. It takes these guys some time to acclimate to brighter light, and will look cheesy while doing so. The ich was likely a long time coming, especially with four tangs in the tank (were they all crammed into the 55 together as well?). I'd suggest freshwater dips all around, and the possibility of quarantining them separately and treating with more powerful meds if things get worse. Check out the gazillions of faq's and articles on quarantine and disease treatment. Good luck! -Kevin>

Eliminating Medication From Tank Water Hi Scott, <Hi there again!> The marks on my lionfish are now completely gone and he seems fine, acting normally and looks quite happy. <Glad to hear that!> My question is, what should I be looking out for as a result of adding the treatment to my tank? I can't see anything wrong with my eel or the rest of the tank, but I am a beginner and may be overlooking something. Should I do a partial water change just to help the tank recover? Regards, Andrew Ickeringill <Well, Andrew, I'd monitor basic water parameters, such as ammonia and nitrite, just to make sure that the biological filtration process has not been interrupted. In the absence of any measurable problems with water chemistry, I'd conduct some regular small water changes and run Poly Filter and/or activated carbon to help remove what might be left of the medications. All in all, the amount present in your system is probably negligible, but it's worth checking out...Glad to hear that all is moving along well! Regards, Scott F>

Recovery From Infection Hi WWM Crew: <Scott F. with you today!> As always thanks in advance for your kind assistance. The scenario: Had all fish life in q-tank for 6 weeks whilst display tank LR, inverts, aragonite (one step above sugar size particles,1" deep) substrate was fallow to try and reduce ich and or velvet infestation (sometimes we have dots, sometimes overall loss of color and rapid death with fuzzies). Fish received FW dips and standard chemical protocol in q-tank and all seemed healthy when moved back over-not only no visible stuff but breathing and eating well (yellow tang  actually put on weight). <Good procedures! Great to hear that things are working out for you!> Chemistry in display good- no noticeable bad parameters, skimming and ozone running. <Great!> Anyhow we've had another catastrophic outbreak (5 weeks later) - the only fish currently left "standing" are two Chromis and the unkillable blue damsel. I'm looking for your thoughts on the following options: 1. Add UV, replace substrate with new, <Possible, but you may not need to take that step yet> 2. As above and replace LR (this would be bad as I have some nice life forms). 3. Go invert tank only and forget stupid fish who only die - who needs them anyway? <Ohh...I'm a fish nerd - so I'd do whatever I could to keep them...don't give up yet!> 4. Put bullet through tank, then self. <Yikes...not a good one, either!> 5. Other options per WWM. <If it were me, I'd give it a longer fallow period...A two month fallow period should really do the trick. Continue with all regular maintenance, such as water changes, etc., during the "fallow" period. I really believe that an extended fallow period can do the trick, and it's infinitely preferable to "nuking" the tank with medication, throwing away good live rock, or using high-caliber weaponry! Give it a shot first (bad choice of expressions, huh?), and if it still doesn't do the trick, then tank breakdown may become a viable option.> I look forward to your advice-thanks! Charles Shatzkin <A pleasure, Charles. I'm hopeful that the more simple solutions will work, before you have to resort to more drastic actions. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

-LTA and scratching fish- First off I wanted to say thanks for all the VERY useful information you have provided all of us aquarium enthusiast over the years...Very much appreciated! <Hi there, Kevin here> My problem/concern is two fold. I have a 370 gallon tank in which most of the creatures (rock and all) have been in there or another tank for the last 3 years. <Well done!> PH is at about 8.2 as far as I can tell (old test kit) <Chuck it and get new reagents. Test kits are only good for a year.> Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate are all at the very low end of the spectrum ( don't remember the numbers exactly). Salinity is at 1.023 or so. I am in Colorado and have been told that at the higher altitudes I don't need the salinity as high?? <Not sure about that, but 1.023 isn't going to hurt anything.> I can't tell you what alkalinity is but I have been adding the two part B-Ionic solution regularly. <Read this and now you can! http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm If you plan on adding a calcium and alk supplement, you should understand what they do and test for both of them> Lighting is provided by 175 watt Metal Halide lamps. One concern is this: I recently added a large long tentacle anemone and it seems to be doing ok. It moved around at first but now has picked a place and is staying there. I have a tomato clown that has moved in and they seem to be getting along just fine. The problem is that the tentacles on the anemone have pretty much stayed curled since I have had it. <Nothing wrong with that, many display this curved tentacle shape.> I also noticed that at night when the lights are off, the tentacles are completely extended and its disc is more slightly upright and you can see its foot more. <In a better position to capture food and just doing it's nighttime thing.> Whereas in the day it is flattened out but with the curled tentacles. <In a better position to catch light. Pretty much every coral and anemone will display a different form from day to night.> What could be causing this? And how do I fix it? Second concern is this: All my fish inhabitants look great and have a good appetite but they will occasionally rub themselves real fast on the rock or sand. My tangs specifically will turn sideways and rub themselves on the sand. In my research I have found that fish will sometimes do that if the ph is too acidic. As far as I can tell though, it is right on??? <Usually an indicator that the fish may have the beginnings of parasitic infection. Your pH appears to be right on, but since the kit's old, it has no merit.> If you have the time, please let me know what you think. I am always concerned about giving these guys the best life they can have so please help me do that, if you would please. :) <Keep an eye out for any white specs on the fish, cloudy eyes, or a powdery glaze. I'd suggest soaking the food in garlic as an easy "herbal" type of preventative medicine. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks again for all your help!! Kyle

Cloudy/Blotchy Fins >Hey guys >><sigh> And gals, Michael, Marina here today.  ;) >Been through the Google search of your FAQ's but haven't been able to find much of help so far…I have 2 FOWLR's set up: a 55 with just a 4" undulated trigger; and a 180 with an 8" hispidus puffer, juvi Koran angel and Niger trigger, coral beauty, and 2 purple Firefish.  Both tanks show similar problems with fish with cloudy fins.  The cloudiness occurs in patches of varying sizes and is fairly diffuse and irregular, especially at the edges of the patches.  The patches can appear and disappear over the course of a day, or they may persist.  They can be small, or cover most of the fin.  They do not appear to have any "thickness" to them - that is they are not obviously fuzzy or clumpy looking.   >>This would tend to rule out fungus (which is usually NOT wont to "just disappear"), and rule in some sort of low-grade bacterial infection. >The cloudy patches do not appear to be composed of individual smaller spots such as if there were individual parasites.  They occur mostly on the undulated trigger and the puffer, but also sometimes on the Koran.  I've not seen them on any other fish.  The undulated has rarely been without them in the 4 months I have had her.   >>Curious, do you quarantine all fish for 30 days before introduction to display tanks? >When they are persistent there are usually signs of fin degradation at the edges.  This has been happening lately on the Undulateds anal fin.  Also, the Koran has lost ? of one of her pec fins this week to what I think is this problem. >>I would suspect same. >There have thus far been no other symptoms.  No scratching, accelerated respiration, or loss of appetite.  Water parameters are all great on both tanks.  The only environmental issue I know of is some temp swings this summer on the order of 2-3 degrees per day that we are fighting with evaporative cooling (fans).  I feed a wide variety of frozen prepared and whole foods including lots of Nori for the angel, and all fish are growing nicely. >>I'm suspect of statements along the lines of "water param.s normal/great/acceptable".  I, personally, really like to know first what test kit is being used (brand really does make a difference in quality), as well as age of said kit.  The fish wouldn't be experiencing these difficulties in nature, and while we cannot test for everything, what we can test for is usually associated with such persistent problems.  I'm still leaning towards low-grade bacterial infection. >I've not been able to identify this problem anywhere except in general vague references to similar symptoms, sometimes with "bacteria" mentioned somewhere along the line. >>This is because it is usually outside the scope/abilities of the average hobbyist to give more than rough details.  Nailing down the pathogen responsible literally requires a small lab, including Petri dishes and microscopes.  At this point I STRONGLY recommend you get ALL the fish into suitably sized quarantine facilities.  These need not be actual fish tanks, they can be Rubbermaid containers--anything chemically inert, watertight, and suitably strong for the amount of water held within.  I would NOT attempt to treat the animals while in the display.  In quarantine I would begin a regimen of Spectrogram, Melafix, or one of the two Maracyns, all broad spectrum antibiotics.  I prefer Spectrogram myself.  I would continue this course with copious, large water changes, and perform aggressive skimming and large water changes on the display tanks.  I consider a large w/c to be 50% or better. >What do you think it is, and what can I do about it?  The undulated can be freshwater dipped, but not the puffer or angel (the puffer would freak out/blow up, and I can't catch the angel).  I've heard references to medicated foods, but never seen them for sale…what are they?   >>The medicated foods are quite difficult to find, to the best of my knowledge, though some have found suppliers with old stocks.  I wouldn't bother feeding old food for efficacy reasons and more. >Would they be helpful?  I of course would prefer not to treat the entire tanks. >>You are better off not treating the entire tank.  The puffer can be dipped, yes, it will "freak out", but a f/w dip will do nothing in event of bacterial infection.  However, in the q/t you can lower the salinity, I would go with 1.015 to 1.010 (this is hyposalinity, and is also very effective with parasitic infections).  This helps reduce the osmotic pressure differences between the fishes' bodies and surrounding environment.  Steven Pro and Anthony Calfo are FAR better versed in this subject than I, so I'm hoping that if they see other/better/objectionable treatment options they'll speak up.  Do know that if you attempt to change salinity in a tank with inverts they will suffer, and may likely die, also, the antibiotics will kill off ALL bacteria, including beneficial species.  Best of luck, Marina
Re: cloudy/blotchy fins
>Marina Sorry, I use "guys" in the inclusive, unisexual sense!   >>I generally assume that, but love giving folks a ribbing.  I do it myself I think. >But thank you for the detailed response.  You have solidified for me what I thought I had been seeing elsewhere - that it is probably bacterial. >>Glad to have been of help. >The best thing you've done however is the calling into question my testing.  When I said excellent parameters, I meant all nitrogen compounds at zero.  That's what I thought anyway.  I had been using an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Multitest kit that had served well especially for ammonia and nitrite during the cycling of these two tanks.   >>One of the least expensive kits, but also, in my experience, one of the least accurate/consistent, too. >The kit had always registered zero for nitrates.  However when I used a much older LaMotte nitrate test last night I got much different numbers.  The 180 is at about 45ppm, and the 55 is at about 16ppm.  I tested the reef with the LaMotte as well as a control and got zero, as it typically is. >>LaMotte is one of the BEST kits you can use, I will encourage you strongly to purchase a new kit, or at least new components as you can.  You can rest ASSURED that your results are good when you use a quality kit.  Other good quality kits that aren't as expensive are SeaChem and Salifert. >So there are environmental stressors present.  Since none of the fish seem to be in mortal danger at the moment, I am going to focus on reducing those nitrate levels, and see if the fish aren't able to resist the infection better.  This is how I've dealt with disease in the past and it has been largely successful. >>I cannot say this would not be a prudent measure.  It will definitely serve you and your specimens in good stead in the long run.  I'm sure you're aware, and I will reiterate for all newcomers, include nutrition in this regimen.  Variety, and supplementation on a regular basis with a supplement such as Selcon are also of tremendous benefit. >Thank you for your help!  Mike >>Ah!  Very welcome, my friend.  Again, very glad I was of help.  Marina

Disease -- Bluethroat Trigger needs HELP! >I think my Bluethroat Triggerfish has bacteria on his body.  It looks like what my maroon clownfish had on her a couple of years ago.  The whitish spots are on his fins mostly but also a little on his body.  I'm thinking it's definitely not ich because it's been two weeks and it is not spreading to any other fish or seemingly effecting him.  He swims happily and eats very well so it must not be ich.  The water quality is excellent and I perform a 10% water change each week.  I remember having to literally dip the clownfish for days and days but can't remember if I just did a freshwater dip or if I used Formalin.  Last week I dipped the triggerfish in freshwater each day for four days (4 minutes at a time) and saw improvement at first but then I see that it is coming back.  Would you try using Formalin?   >>I would not treat with something quite so toxic to start with.  Pictures, or more detailed description of the appearance of these spots would be helpful.  Are they cottony?  How big are they?  Do they cover a large area?  If so, how big?  Is the skin broken, does the fish show any irritated behavior? >If so, how many drops per gallon would you recommend and how long should I leave him in there each day and for how many days???   >>At this point, I'm hesitant to recommend anything *other* than keeping him in a suitably sized hospital container/tank.  I would lower the salinity if I really suspected parasitic infection, and if I suspect secondary (or primary, even) infection then I would begin a regimen of Spectrogram.  Other's like Melafix and/or Maracyn/Maracyn II.  They're all broad spectrum antibiotics, and there are others on the market.  Do be careful to maintain water changes while medicating the fish, as well as offering him top notch nutrition (but not live at this point), with generous soakings in Selcon or similar quality supplement. >Thank you so much for your suggestions and help.  P.S. - I have hair algae growing in my tank.  I remove most of it weekly but it just keeps coming back!!  It's been this way for about two months now. . . any suggestions on how to get rid of it or will it one day eventually just die off?  It's just on the base rock, very little on the live rock. >>This situation leads me to believe you may have chronic nutrient export issues.  If you have a protein skimmer, crank it up, and do several water changes of 50% or greater.  Do test for phosphates, and even chronic nitrate levels of 10ppm or more may contribute.  Also, this could be an additional factor in your trigger's immune system not being in top notch condition.  Again, several large water changes would be helpful.  Knowing your test readings, as well as the kit used (and *age*) may ultimately be helpful as well.  Do hope this helps!  Marina

Trigger, Shark, ich, and a 300 Gallon home Hello everyone, <Hi! Ryan with you> I've got a problem here and was hoping for some suggestions. <Sure> I've got a 75g tank that has been cycling for 6 months now. Water parameters are excellent. I've got one bamboo shark in there and a black trigger that I recently moved from the 75g to the new 300g. <OK> I also have a new 300g tank (bought specially for Henry the shark) that has been cycling now for roughly 6 or 7 weeks. <Good, he'll need it.> The water parameters there are excellent as well. In this 300g tank I have 1 domino damsel, 3 cleaning shrimp, 5, cowry snails, 1 white moray snake eel, a Snowflake eel and the black trigger that I moved from the 75g. As mentioned above, water parameters are fine, but here's my problem. I think the domino damsel infected my trigger with ICH, so I immediately returned the trigger to his old home with the shark, hoping that he would heal with out medicine, or hypo. <Hmmm, not the best move.  Next time put him in a quarantine.> I understood that ich is like a flu to humans and can heal on their own. <Whoa! No, not at all!  Ich is a parasite- not a virus.  It has a life cycle of its own.  It doesn't cure itself, it kills your fish!>  The trigger has only been in the larger tank for 1 week, so I'm optimistic he'll heal with no problem. <Not without treatment!  Please read up: http://wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm >  However, here are the things I'm worried about and was hoping for suggestions.  The trigger has had ich before (3 months ago) while living with the shark. The shark never caught it. Is there a possibility that the trigger will heal it self with out passing it over to the shark? <Wouldn't count on it.> 300g tank: Could the eels also be exposed to ICH now, and should I allow them to heal with out any treatment? <They're exposed, as well as everything else in the tank.  See the above link.> They look pretty healthy and they are eating. What about the snails and cleaner shrimp? <Won't catch it-The cleaner shrimp will make it a meal> Will they live through it and what should I expect? Thanks so much, MZ <Good luck, and kill this parasite once and for all.>

- Sick Fish - My fish is going to die. <I'm sorry to hear this.> Sparkling water quality from every angle, a prize fish, nothing hazardous, everything is right on target.  I've done everything I can and he just sits upside down on the bottom breathing.  I'm hoping he lives through the night so I can take him to work in the day but it's looking grim.  He's also twisted his back half to the right, stress, what the heck is wrong with my fish...  I'm super bummed he needs to pull through the night to get back to work, what will I do what will I do... ~rob <Rob, I'd love to help but I don't even know what type of fish it is or what type of tank it's being kept in. I can only guess that it's normal abode is in a tank at work... are you certain that the cleaning crew at your office didn't use any cleaners in close proximity to the tank. This is very common for office tanks, and is a real hazard to the livestock within. Likewise, I don't know what 'sparkling water quality' really is so I'm at a loss to explain. Please send us more details - if it's not too late - and we'll do what we can to advise. Cheers, J -- >

Bad decision Dad! I have a 2 ft tank containing about 84 liters of water. The tank was set up abt 1 month ago. There are 2 yellow tailed , 2 four stripe, 2 one stripe damsel and 2 common clown fishes. A week ago, my dad bought a Koran Angel fish and threadfin butterfly (which was against my decision because I feel that the water is not ready yet).<agreed> it develop white spots.<most likely Ich> I managed to catch the Butterflyfish and put it in a q tank but it died soon after.<sorry to hear about that> The q tank was a small plastic tank with just aeration. as for the angelfish, I cannot catch it because I have abt 12 kg of live rock inside. <you need to catch all your fish and put them in say a 10-20 gallon aquarium...would do a 2-3 gallon water change everyday-or every other day and feed very sparingly... siphoning any leftover food out immediately. you need to take a sponge from your aquarium for biomedia and also would purchase a bio-wheel filter... (they will be in qt for about a month ...you need to let your main aquarium go fallow so all the parasites die from lack of a host)> Will the white spot cured by itself ? <no they will kill all of your fish eventually> because when I look at the angelfish every morning, there is no white spots, it only appears in the late afternoon.<yes, normally you see them at night or early in the morning> btw I have 2 shrimp. could the 2 shrimp be curing the angelfish at night?<could be but eventually they will be overwhelmed by the mass reproduction of the parasites-you can keep the shrimp in your main aquarium...ich won't attack inverts... just make sure you remove your fish and put them in quarantine ASAP> I only tested for ph (abt 8.2), nitrite which was almost zero.<needs to be 0> is nitrate test necessary ?<should be checked regularly> isn't nitrite test enough for checking of nitrate and ammonia ?<No because excess amounts of nitrates can be stressful or even deadly to fish> thanks in advance,<IanB>

Sores on a Jaw Fish I have a blue spot Jawfish that has 2 small sores on near the base of his tail fin. Due to the nature of a Jawfish, he spends mush of his time with his head out of his dugout when I am at the front of the tank. Of course, if I back up, he'll hover in the column, but then I can't see the injury well. I'm sure you get the idea. <I think so, yes.> So far this problem has existed about a week, but I do not see the wound healing or getting worse - it seems to be on the balance, in limbo. <These types of things take time - more like a month.> I have a Q-tank that is unoccupied, so I could move the fish BUT, is the difficulty and stress of trying to extricate a Jawfish worth the move? <Probably not unless the spots start to spread.> (tank is 30" deep and the Jaw is well dug in) Is there a greater risk of damage in trying to get the Jaw to the Q-tank than the risk of the sore getting worse? <I'd be concerned about both.> Thanks a lot.  BTW. I got my signed book the other day, "Reef Invertebrates".  It's quite impressive. I'm soaking in every page, and letting my children check out all the pictures!  You did us all a favor with this book! <I'm glad you are enjoying it.> Bill Roh
<Cheers, J -- >

- First Fish Loss - Hi team, I'd like your opinion about this poor fish. I got my first set of marine fish (2 ocellaris clownfish and 1 Green Chromis). They all arrived on Saturday, FW Dip (plain de-chlorinated FW dip 3 min.s) and into the show tank (didn't have a QT at the time). <Some advice to you here... FW Dips should have their pH matched to the tank you intend to place them in. Often times when shipped, the pH of the bag water is pretty low, so the fish going to your dip water and then to pH 8.6 goes through some shock which can be severe enough to be fatal.> These were my very first Marine fish! They all ate and behaved well the first two days, they all three looked good. On the 3rd day the Chromis started to become a little bit shy, but did came out to eat, so I thought it may only be the stress of the trip. . By the fourth day I had to "encourage" the Chromis to come out and eat. Didn't see any signs of Ich or any other color/scale change. The fifth day it was trying to reach the top of the tank but moved very little...heavy breathing and just died. Since I have never seen another Chromis (Aside of the pictures in your book and in this web site) I can't tell if it got something an if there is anything I have to do so my other two Ocellaris don't get infected by whatever killed the Chromis. <Probably just accumulated stress - from the photo the fish looks fine as Chromis look.> All levels looked good (a little in the high side) PH 8.6 (daylight), 16 dKH, 0 Nitrite, 1.023 Salinity. It is a 75 Gal tank, just cycled the week before the fish came in, 40 lbs of LR and 2 in. Aragonite Substrate. <Work on that pH.>  Tunze Skimmer, Eheim canister filter and an 802 powerhead. 10% water change once a week. I think that maybe it got HLLE, but can't tell. <Rarely fatal at this speed... probably not the cause and no signs in the photo.> These are a post-mortem  pictures. Thanks in advance and keep up the good work! <Cheers, J -- >

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