Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs on Marine Diseases 6

Related Articles: The Three Sets of Factors That Determine Livestock Health/Disease, A Livestock Treatment SystemInfectious Disease

Related FAQs: Marine Diseases 1, Marine Diseases 2, Marine Diseases 3, Marine Diseases 4, Marine Diseases 5, Marine Diseases 7, Marine Disease 8,  Diseases 9, Diseases 10, Diseases 11,

Fungus or Ich? (Disease Dilemma) Hi Mr. Fenner, <Scott F. in today!> Thank you for such a fabulous informative site.  I've been reading and reading and am a bit overwhelmed. <It can be a bit intense. Do read and explore at your own enjoyable pace!> I'm new to this hobby (17 months & counting) with no "big" problems until now.  I've noticed a couple of white spots on my Regal Tang, some looking like cotton fluffs!?  Is this ICH?  My other fishes look OK (2 Chromis, 2 ocellaris).  I have a 60 gal reef tank with 100 lbs. LR & 2" of LS. <Well, it's hard to be 100% without a picture. If it is ich, the spots look more like grains of salt...Since you're talking about "tufts", I'm thinking that this might be a fungal disease that you're looking at. Do read up on fungal diseases here on the WWM site to confirm.> One of the postings on your site  stated they had a reef tank with LR & LS and also a light case of Ich and you suggested get some Lysmata shrimp and/or cleaner gobies.  Can I also try this for my tank or would you recommend catching the tang and putting him into a hospital tank with medication?   <I'd certainly try to exhaust "biological" remedies before resorting to meds, so do try this. However, fungal diseases generally require antibiotics and very clean water conditions in order to affect a successful cure. I'd try the cleaners first, but be prepared to intervene medically if this proves to be unsuccessful.> Also which cleaner gobies should I get if there are several? <I'd get the classic "Neon Goby", commonly found at tropical fish stores.> I can't imagine how this tang got ICH, he's been in the tank along with the Chromis & Ocellaris  for approx. 1 1/2 years and no problems.  NO new introductions to the tank in quite a while! Thank you for your help. Marilyn <Well, Marilyn- it really sounds like this may not be ich. Fungal infections can occur regardless of whether or not new fishes are introduced. They can occur as a result of wounds that the fish incurs from abrasions, etc. Good water quality and medical intervention are usually all that is needed to lick them! Good luck in your battle! Regards, Scott F>

Learning From His Mistakes! I have never had a fish tank in my life.  When I started working at a pet store two years ago, I could have cared less about fish.  Of course, the more I was around them, the more I started to think, "I could set up a tank".   <That's how the addiction starts!> I decided to make my first tank a marine tank.  I only chose to do this because the people that I worked with have had marine tanks most of their lives.  I got a 29 gallon tank to start out with.  I put in live sand and about 30 pounds of live rock.  I bought an Emperor 400 knowing that this would cycle the tank plenty.  I put in the water an salt and water conditioners.  I let the tank cycle for at least three weeks.  I finally bought a blue yellow tailed damsel and a domino damsel.  I also soon after bought some turbo snails, a cleaner shrimp, blue legged hermit crabs, and a peppermint shrimp.  The tank was fine for at least a month.  I then went and bought a Percula Clown, a Regal Blue Tang, and a Tan Sailfin. <Wow! A LOT of fish for a 29 gallon tank...A much larger tank should be in the very near future with a stocking list like that!> After about a week, I noticed that some of the fish looked like they had ich. <Uh-Oh...Do remember to quarantine all new fishes for at least 2-3 weeks before placing them in your display tank. this gives you a chance to catch diseases before they get into your display tank...> I went to the store where I work and was told to get some ich guard.  I bought some medicine called QUICK Cure.  I applied the correct dosage daily as instructed and waited to see what happened.  Slowly, every one of my fish died except for the cheapest one, the yellow tailed blue damsel. <Sorry to hear that...> I continued to add the ich guard for a few weeks and just let the tank cycle and hopefully, the ich would go away and the water would go back to normal.  The damsel never showed any spots so I assumed that my water was safe for fish again.  I went out and bought another Percula clown and a saddle back clown.  It has been two days now and the Percula is starting to get white spots and sometimes seems to twitch.  Do I need to completely tear down my tank and start over or do you have any suggestions on how to fix my problem? First Time Trent <Well, Trent, don't get too discouraged about this first time disaster. Yes, it may very well have been avoided with a few procedural changes on your part, but your intentions were good, and you did learn some valuable lessons that will save you more heartache (and fish!) in the future. Tragic though this was, the fishes will not have died in vain if you apply what you learned. First, plan a sensible stocking plan that will work in the size tank that you have. Quarantine all new fishes prior to introduction into the display tank. Next, stock slowly...Give the nitrifying bacteria in your system a chance to adjust to the increasing bioload of your system. There's no need to rush things. If ich or other illness should manifest itself in your tank, you should remember to treat the sick fish in a separate aquarium, which affords you maximum control. Ich can easily be defeated in this manner, and you can leave the display tank running "fallow", without fishes, for at least a month, which will help "crash" the disease's causative protozoa population for lack of host fishes. Meanwhile, conduct normal water changes and other maintenance in the fishless tank. When you repatriate your newly-cured fishes into the display, they'll have a much better chance of resisting any remaining protozoa. Finally, arm yourself with a good basic book on marine aquarium keeping, such as Michael Paletta's "The New Marine Aquarium", and continue to study the vast amount of material we have here on the WWM site regarding marine aquarium husbandry. With a little education and some persistence, you'll join the ranks of successful marine hobbyists sooner than you know! Feel free to contact us again any time! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Urgent: Need help to cure diseases 10/20/04 Dear Mr. Anthony Calfo, sorry this is a long letter, but I need your help. <I have read your query below at length - and I'm not sure where to begin. You clearly have taken the time to read about the necessary parameters of quarantine... but you categorically ignored them :( Your eagerness and impatience has cost considerable lives here. There is no other way to say it, I am sorry to say. It disappoints me and makes me sad to hear so many stories like this by intelligent people that choose to ignore the critical need for QT at the expense of the beautiful living creatures. My advice here is to remove all sick fish to an appropriately sized QT tank, and follow proper QT procedure: 4 weeks minimum, daily water changes, etc. The display tank will run fallow in the meantime. You can read some more current information on Oodinium and QT/disease in recent articles by Steven Pro on reefkeeping.com e-zine. Please do take the time to read and follow basic QT and disease treatment protocol. Best of luck. Anthony> Recently I have a very serious problem. My whole fish are attack by Oodinium. Let me tell you the story : -The system are very stable and all the fish are very healthy until at Sept 21 I buy a new emperor angel, I QT it for few days with copper dip. Then because I receive a new shipment (queen angel) that I ever ask to you, I release the emperor to the main tank (no sign of diseases) and use the QT for the queen. And as I told you the queen wasn't eat until it dead because of starvation (not strike by diseases) in about 10 days in QT tank. - In the meantime, after about few days in the main tank the emperor shown a diseases, but I'm sure it wasn't Oodinium because Oodinium will give a powdery shown if seeing from side of the body, it just like a whitish spot/mark on the entire body of the emperor. For the first time, I don't think it gives bad effect, since the emperor is still eating well and not rub to the rock and not shown a rapid breathing. The rest of the fish are also not shown being infected and still healthy. This condition happen for about a week. - Until about a week the whole tank are infected with disease, but not same with the emperor only my majestic strike with the same diseases like the emperor, the other fish are strike with Oodinium. I let this condition happen for few days, because' I wait until weekend (because workday I don't have time to change the water.) Firstly, I don't pay too much of attention about this diseases since they are sometimes also strike with Oodinium several times before this tragedy, I think it was because of bad quality water when I do a 20-30 water changes, or may be when I introduce live food, etc. But after I heat the water to 32 degree for several days, the disease will just gone. So I think this time will also not do much damage to my fish. - At 9 Oct evening the majestic dead, I do 50% water changes and catch the emperor and gave it to the LFS. At that time, all of the fish are still infected but still shown good performance for ex., still eating well, not rapid breathing, even though they rub but they don't rub very often. - Oct 10, I still shot and that a picture, they still shown good performance. Oct 11 morning, things are start to worse, my precious fish like regal and golden are start to refuse to eat. At this time I already lost 2 of my butterfly, it was a falcula and a copperband which already 1 year in the tank. The copperband is shown an open bloody wound in the body. Oct 11 night, I catch the regal and the golden and put them in the QT and did a copper medication. Even at this time both of this fish is still not a motionless, they still hard to catch and not give a rapid breath, they just refuse to eat. - Oct 12 morning, the regal was dead. The golden is still survive but the condition is getting worse. Oct 12 night, the golden was dead also. - The rest of the fish are also infected : the juve. three spot angelfish are strike with lymphocystis and lost it's fins very badly and also show an open bloody wound in his body. The keyhole & the bicolor are strike with little whitespot and give a very pale color. The cleaner fish & 3 of my clown are not strike with this diseases. The king angel are strike with little whitespot and still eating well. All of this fish is not moving from main tank, since I only focus the regal and golden. - But what makes me confuse, all of the fish that I don't move are still alive today, in fact the three spot are getting better and the fin's are 80 % recover, the keyhole & the bicolor are 100% recover their natural color and not strike by diseases. Why this can happen? Did I do a wrong procedure? What will happen if I'm not move the regal and the golden, will they survive also? - While the condition in the main tank is getting better which prove by the recovery of other fish, my king is shown a degradation condition, start with refuse to eat my DIY food & Mysis shrimp but still eat pellet food greedily, but since yesterday it refuse to eat everything. The fish is look good, no whitespot and Oodinium, no pale color, no rapid breathing, no darting, no rubbing, just NOT EAT. This morning I try to read in WWM, I suspect my king are strike with internal bacteria, this is taken from WWM : "Internal bacteria infections are often identified by symptoms; swelling, a fish that has trouble staying on the bottom, whitish feces that float or trail off behind the fish, or lack of feces entirely (blockage)." My king are shown whitish feces that float or trail off behind the fish, or lack of feces entirely (blockage). Please help me to cure this condition. What should I do? Do I need to move the fish, of let it cure naturally? What is the medication? I don't think antibiotic that put in the food is a way, since the fish is already reject to eat! Please analyze my problem & gives the solution & please save my king!!!! Thank you very much Hengky Wijaya

Rising From The Ashes (Recovering From Disaster) What's up?   <Not too much! Scott F. here tonight!> My fish have become sick, cloudy eyes, slimy, spots and soars. I suspect it is from the feeder fish I have been using lately (I live in FL. and my LFS could not get Ghost Shrimp because the hurricanes broke the supply chain.). <Sounds like a good possibility> I have tried every additive they tried to sell me along with lots of water changes. <Water changes are good...Additives may not be useful...> I'm down to 4 sickly non feeding fish from 12 in a week and a half.  I realize I probably can't save them. So if I decide to start over and restock, what the deal? Are all of the crabs and starfish and snails infected along with the live rock. Should I trash it all? This sucks! Thanks in advance. Josh <It certainly does, Josh...But all is not lost. The symptoms that you describe can be caused by anything from parasitic to bacterial conditions. I suppose that removal of the sick fish to a separate tank for treatment is appropriate here. If you are describing ich symptoms, I am a big fan of the careful application of copper sulphate or formalin-based remedies. Follow manufacturer's instructions to the letter when using any medication, BTW. The main tank can run "fallow", without fishes for a month or two. The crabs and starfish are not thought to be "carriers" of the disease, so they can remain in the tank. The "fallow" period will allow you to deprive the causative parasites of their host fishes, interrupting their life cycle and potentially reducing their population to an insignificant level. Continue all regular maintenance (water changes, etc.) in the tank during the fallow period. Don't give up! You have nowhere to go but up, and the Crew at WWM is here for you the whole way! Do read up on the disease FAQs for much more detail than I can go into here! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Counterattacking A Disease! (If It IS A Disease) I recently set up a 12 gallon Via Aqua reef tank and put in Catalina water, live sand, three live rocks, and a Tongan branch. Before I put all that stuff in, I had the tank running for about a week. I bought a cleaning crew: two shrimp, three hermit crabs, and a blue knuckle crab. Two days later I added a coral, a scooter blenny, a yellow clown goby (this guy is about 1 cm), and one false Percula. <Wow! That's a lot of bioload added really quickly after startup. Did you monitor ammonia and nitrite during the cycling period? Did the tank actually cycle yet?> The false Percula only lasted about a week because it died. His cause of death of very sudden-one day I noticed a long, white stringy matter coming out of his exit hole, and a couple of white opaque spots on his body. The very next day he was lying on the bottom of the sand with a open lesion on the side of his body and I decided to take him out of his misery. ( I found it rather fast that in a matter of hours something could eat away at it so fast.) <Sounds horrible. Could have been caused by any number of things. Selection and reliable source are keys. too. Sounds like it might have been parasitic in nature, but it would be impossible to determine without a pathological exam at this point. The need to quarantine all animals prior to being placed in the display tank cannot be stressed enough here...> The tank is at 77 degrees, and the hydrometer and marine test kit params are in check. <Ammonia and nitrite are undetectable? Do confirm this> So, I decided to go to Petco and buy a pair of tank-raised false perculas thinking that the one that "bit the dust" was already sick when I got him from the LFS. I brought them home and they acclimated well. I had them for a week now but now one of my clowns is rapidly breathing hard while sitting atop the coral. Today he's a the bottom of the tank breathing hard. Since my first clown died of something eating away at him, and now my new clown is sick and breathing hard, what should I do?  I don't want to start all over with new rock, new water, etc. Can I still save him? And with what? Help, and thanks for the advice! Sincerely, Janet <Well, Janet- sounds like it could be two possibilities here. The first thought is that your tank has not "cycled", and excesses of ammonia and nitrite are poisoning your fishes. Do test ammonia and nitrite again so that you can rule out this as a probable cause. If the parameters do check out okay, then the rapid breathing and lethargy displayed by the fish could be one of several virulent parasitic illnesses. My thinking is that you may be looking at Brooklynella, which is common to Clownfishes, and can kill quickly if not attacked. I would remove the affected fishes to a separate tank for treatment, using a commercial copper sulphate remedy. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter, and be sure to test for copper concentration. As far as the display tank is concerned- you may indeed need to remove all of the fishes and let the tank run without them for several weeks to deny the parasites their hosts. Yes, this disease is nasty- and it could become necessary to completely break down the tank in an extreme situation. It's that bad. Let's hope for the best, though- and get those fishes out of the tank for treatment. Time is of the essence. Remember to move slowly when adding new animals, but quickly and decisively when treating diseases or correcting problems. Arm yourself with a good basic primer on marine aquarium keeping, and go for it! Best of luck to you! You can lick this! Regards, Scott F.>

Looking for information about fish pathology dear sir lots of thanks for your mail. I am trying to find out the information , but there is a problem. could you please specify those authors e-mail address or the web address. I would be grateful to you . thanking you ARIF <I do not know these peoples email, and the information you ask for is too vast to relate here... you will have to go to a large library, perhaps make a computer search bibliography by author. Bob Fenner>

Rapid Death of Several Fish (9/15/04) Hey my names Brian. <Steve Allen with you tonight> I have 29 gallon fish only aquarium with a AquaClear 300 and a Via Aqua Skimmer.  There is 15 pounds of live rock. <This tank is far too small for Yellow Tangs, which need a minimum of 75G to grow into. It is also too small for the Maroon Clown, which grows to 5" and gets very aggressive. Guaranteed to slaughter a Percula in this size of tank as it grows. One or a pair of  Perculas is a far better choice.> The tank has been running for about 2 months.  Last month I bought a blue damsel who is doing great. <Also likely to become a killer in this size of tank.> Two weeks a ago I had my water tested and it was perfect.  So I bought a maroon clown and a Percula clown. <And you didn't quarantine them, right? This is why you now have the problem you do. Please study quarantine on WWM to save yourself a repeat of this loss.>  They were great for a few days then the Percula clown turned whitish and started swimming weird. A few hours after he died. <Sounds like Brooklynella or Amyloodinium (marine velvet). Both very bad and very contagious. Read about these to see if this is what you have.> Then the maroon clown who was perfectly healthy stopped eating. <Probably has the same thing.> In the mean time I bought a yellow tang. <Best not to buy a new fish when dealing with the unexpected death and illness.> The tang eats great looked great until 3 days ago. The tang started to look pale and have white spots on his body. <Small ones like salt grains? Bad. marine Ich (Cryptocaryon) or Amyloodinium, which is even worse.>  The paleness comes <with the fish's stress level, though they turn white at night when healthy.> and goes and so do the spots. <Ich comes and goes, but sounds like your tank is contaminated.> I read that if his fins are erect that it is bad. <Hmm, where did you read this?> I this true? <Quite the opposite is true. Erect fins are a sign of vigor and clamped fins are a sign of illness.> His fins are up 60% of the time. <Or clamped 40%, suggesting he is not well.> I have bubbler in the tank, can the spots just be bubbles? <Highly doubtful, especially with one other fish dead and another ill. Bubbles are obviously spherical and are shiny silver-white under the light. They are transient enough that on an active fish, they come off in moments.> I have been putting stress coat and Melafix for the clown and he is looking better. <For now. You have some sort of parasite in your tank, and neither of these will solve your problem.>  I cannot afford a hospital tank <Yes you can. All you need is a $5 plastic Rubbermaid container, a cheap sponge filter, an inexpensive heater of at most 100 watts, and a couple of PVC pipe fittings as hiding places. No rocks, no sand, no decorations. You don't even need an aquarium light--the overhead lights or a lamp will suffice.> and I heard that even if you treat fish separately the parasites will still be in the tank. <If you leave the tank free of fish for 4-8 weeks, virtually all of the parasites will die for want of a host.> This is my first marine set up please help because every store in my area tells me conflicting things. <Yep. And so will the Internet. The bottom line is that Tangs are Ich magnets, any you should not have one in your tank anyway. Too bad somebody sold you this fish. However, the illness probably originated with the Percula, which is why we recommend strict quarantine of all new acquisitions for 4 weeks, which is as close to a guarantee of a parasite-free tank as you can get. Did you know that a 10G tank can be had for as little as $10 at Petco. That's probably less than you paid for the dead Percula. This may sound harsh, but if you can't afford a simple quarantine/hospital set-up, you can't afford to maintain a marine aquarium. Around here, Yellow Tangs and Maroon Clowns both go for around $30. Dying fish get expensive fast. Believe me, I know--I've lost a couple of $100 fish. Quarantine is cheap insurance. Go to www.reefkeeping.com and find Steven Pro's articles about ich and velvet. Learn about their life cycle and prevention and treatment. You can even post your dilemma (or any other) in the newbie forum at www.wetwebfotos.com and get a lot of great advice from experienced aquarists, including Steven Pro. You can succeed, but some fairly drastic action is needed at this point.>

Three Blind Fish- One Big Mystery! Over the last three to four years I have had several fish go blind. One was a Niger Trigger, one was a Heniochus and one was an Emperor Angel. Do you have any idea what could be causing this? In each case the fish was healthy in every other way and just became blind. <You're sure that they are blind? This is a rather unusual phenomenon, and could have its root cause in a number of things. My immediate two possibilities would be environmental or nutritional. The fact that this is occurring on more than one fish may support this theory. My first recommendation would be to review your fishes' diet. Are you feeding them a variety of appropriate, marine-based foods, in sufficient quantities, each and every day? All of the fishes that you mentioned have nutritional requirements that favor marine-based food items. Do make sure that you're using a variety of good quality frozen foods as a major part of their diet. You may also want to enrich them with a vitamin preparation, such as Vita Chem or Selcon. Run some environmental tests, for parameters such as pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, etc. See if you can get a handle on the water quality in your system. Utilize aggressive protein skimming, chemical filtration media (like activated carbon and/or Poly Filter), and regular water changes to keep things up to par...Review those husbandry procedures and make sure to correct any deficiencies in this area.> Also, I have a Yellow Tang which I have had for  about five years. All of a sudden its fins are deteriorating. The caudal and  dorsal fins look like they have been nipped or bitten by another fish but after  close observation, I cannot see that any fish is causing this. Do you know what  could be causing it? Thank you in advance for your assistance. Stephen W. DeFilippis Wayne, IL <Hmm...Again- the dual possibilities of nutrition and environment seem to be the ones you should be checking out. With the tang, do try feeding it some fresh macroalgae (such as my fave, Gracilaria) and see if this helps a bit. Keep trying the possibilities- your fishes will let you know what the problem is. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

The Eye Has It (Follow Up On Eye Injury) Thanks for the suggestion of Epsom salt. It seems slightly better but still has a long way to go. <Glad to hear that it's working. Keep up clean water conditions as well, and the fish should progress nicely!> I was wondering what I can add to this setup. The wrasse will not allow another fish, and besides that, the crew has in the past indicated I am maxed out. So can I add a mushroom that requires medium light, whatever that means. If that is a good addition what type of  fluorescent bulb should I have. The one I have now came with the cover and is over a year old and looks like it needs replacing. Or would live rock be a better addition? <Personally, I'd start with some live rock. You'd be surprised of the many benefits of using good quality cured live rock in your tank. Then you can add some hardy corals, such as Mushrooms. Do consider changing the bulb or even upgrading to PC's, which give you lots of "bang for the buck" in a small tank! Have fun, but go slowly! Regards, Scott F>

Re: communicable diseases hi guru folks <Hello. Steve Allen ith you tonight.> I am so amazed with the service you provide. I did my best to find my question among your archives but could not come to complete resolution so here we go.  I have a 72 gal tank approx. 3 mo.s old. I let it run for a good month with little result in cycling, (I only added live sand) so I put in 5 Turbos 6 little hermits, a big red hermit and one neon goby (over about two weeks) all seemed fine, nitrates came up and went down. all checked out well in re to pH,  temp salinity, N indicators. after a week I added anther neon goby and a perc. All seemed well after 10 days or so I added a Dottyback, which seemed fine for week or so then gone, I found it being gobbled by the red hermit. <Almost certainly died of something else and then scavenged by the hermit.> A little later the perc had sign of fin rot, I added Melafix for salt (I have had great luck with this in fresh water ponds) <Experience would suggest that it is not as effective in saltwater.>  The directions stated to add it straight to the system and let it run for a week or so followed by 25% water change, well shortly after the addition the perc went followed by the gobies. then I found the red hermit munching a turbo (could it have been weakened by something?) <Perhaps the Melafix or some other toxin or change in water conditions.> The LFS later told me that it was their fault the dotty and perc were probably infected on their way to my house. <Which is why we recommend 4 weeks of quarantine for all new acquisitions.> I don't have a second tank, would a FW dip help this kind of fungal thing. <No. FW dips are for ectoparasites, not fungi or bacteria. Hard to say if this was fungal as there is usually cottony matter associated with this. Fin rot can be bacterial or toxic in origin.> Is the tank ok for fish again? <Personally, I would wait 6 weeks to add anything. You should also learn the QT lesson. A cheap 10G tank or an even cheaper Rubbermaid container with a heater and a sponge or HOT power filter will do. Then 4 of the 6 weeks can include the QT of your first new fish. Is the residual Melafix a problem for the inhabitants? <I would recommend several water changes over the fishless period to assure excellent water quality.> Thanks much, Lorin of Colorado <Hope this helps.>

Ornamental Fish Health Newsletter 3:1 Bob, I'm not sure if you've had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Timothy Miller. He's a great guy and he has taken me around his facility in Newport Or. Anyway, check out the Aquarium Congress. Are you going to that? Mike <Thanks for sending this along Mike. Don't know Tim.M and naught re http://www.iac2004.org/ Bob F> Begin forwarded message: Subject: Ornamental Fish Health Newsletter 3:1 I hope all of you are enjoying a pleasant summer. After too long a hiatus, we are here with a new issue. I hope you find it informative. I'm always open to any comments or suggestions for future newsletter content. Don't hesitate to contact me at the numbers below. CONTENTS: 1. Spring Viremia of Carp Virus in Washington State -- Drs. Miller-Morgan, Sanders and Goodwin 2. Fish Health Management in Recirculating Systems -- Download 3. Summer Fish Purchases -- Some Precautions –- Jerry Craig 4. Koi Herpes Virus (KHV) Disease -- Download 5. Update on the OCCC Aquarium Science Program -- Bruce Koike 6. Upcoming Opportunities 7. Recent Donations sg-aquahealth mailing list sg-aquahealth@lists.oregonstate.edu http://lists.oregonstate.edu/mailman/listinfo/sg-aquahealth

Disease Treatment Dilemma! OK-- I am in week 3 now of a quarantine period, following an Ich outbreak in my main tank. It seems I have successfully treated the Ich with copper (10 days), & have since stopped & removed it from the QT (10G). But here's my next dilemma-- <Always another one, huh?> Originally I had the QT partitioned due to some bullisome behavior from my Checkered Goby, with the Goby on one side, & 2 Green Chromis + 1 Ocellaris on the other side. I started noticing, however, that the Ocellaris was pecking at the Chromis (he even pecks at me when I'm siphoning out food/waste). The Chromis are now missing numerous scales each. I have relocated the Ocellaris to be roomies with the Goby. After the first night, there was a noticeable nip taken out of the Ocellaris' tail, but there seem to be no new wounds since then. I think with his little fishitude they have struck a truce. <Let's hope!> But the Chromis are what are concerning me. Its only been a couple days since I moved out the Ocellaris, but the missing scale areas on the Chromis are looking a bit funky. I'm concerned about their developing a fungal or bacterial infection. <A valid concern...> I've been doing 50% water changes daily to combat ammonia & nitrites. I finally have ammonia on the retreat since stopping the copper (ammonia was as high as .5 to 1.0 during treatment, but now .1, if that), but the nitrites are sticking it out (.1 to .25). Yesterday I implemented a home-made above-tank bioballs filter--a 2G paint bucket, with an Eheim 110GPH pump to send water up to a trickle 'plate' (really just the bottom portion of another bucket with numerous 1/8" holes drilled into it, & then a return hose sealed into the bottom of the bucket. It flows nicely. I dosed with Nitromax directly into the bucket to try to kick start the colony (I have also been double-dosing with Nitromax daily after every water change). Hopefully this is animalistically out of proportion to the QT & will become super-efficient at removing toxins. Thoughts? <It certainly is a bit of "hyperfiltration", but if it keep the ammonia level down, then it is certainly a viable option. The last thing that you need here is additional stress for these animals!> So I guess what I'm getting to, is what's the best way to treat the Chromis, now that I have stopped copper? <Personally, I'd rely on very high quality water conditions as opposed to another round of potentially stress-inducing meds...> The Ocellaris & Goby look great. I am reluctant to start re-adding copper or anything until the water quality normalizes. <Agreed...It may not even be necessary to continue to expose the fishes to copper> I am thinking now that after the 4th week of fallow period in the main tank it will be safe enough to re-add the fish, but I don't want the Chromis to bring anything into it, if avoidable. My original plan was for an 8 week fallow period, but I'm wondering if its getting a bit stressful for these fellows being kept in such cramped quarters. <I prefer a 6 week fallow period, if at all possible. A month is good- 6 weeks is better...8 weeks is awesome! It may be a case of weighing the possibilities of re-introducing disease to the display, or possibly losing the fishes in the "hospital tank" do to environmental stresses. If you cannot set up another alternate container (i.e.; a Rubbermaid, etc.), then you may want to re-patriate the other fishes gradually and "roll the dice"! A tough call either way> What I am considering is after the 4th week, I would maybe move the Ocellaris & Goby to the main tank, & then allow the Chromis some additional time to recover from their wounds. <Man- we're on the same wavelength here!> Do you think it would be necessary to add some kind of antibiotic into the QT for this? <If you are dealing with a specific condition that warrants its use- yes. If you're just trying to prevent a problem, then observation, careful husbandry, and excellent water conditions may do the trick> Would copper be effective against a fungal infection? <Not my medication of choice...> Or is there something better for this? <Possibly more appropriate medication would be a product like Maracyn...> How is my bioballs bucket likely to fare once its established & then I add something to treat the fish? <Antibiotics could be problematic...> As always, thanks in advance for any advice you can offer! Bioballs to the wall, Pete Cushnie <Hang in there, Pete- I think that you're on the right track...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Chalk Bass problems Hi there, my name is Rachael and I was hoping you could help me with something.  I have a 50 gallon marine tank, it's 6 months old and has set up nicely.  The water quality is good and we just recently purchased VHOs so we could have some neat corals and an anemone.  My question for you though has to do with my Chalk Bass.  << Keep him, great fish to have. >> He was the first fish that we purchased, we've had him for about 5 months.  Within the first three or four days that he was in our tank, one of his eyes puffed out and was like that for about a week.  It went back to normal and within two days it was all puffed out again, it looked as though there were air bubbles under his scales, it was really big!  But after about a week and a half, it went back to normal.  Then about a week later, it puffed out again, bigger than either of the two times before, and it looked as though it were going to pop; well it didn't then but it took about three weeks for it to go back to normal.  While my husband and I were going through this ordeal with our fish, we couldn't find any sort of disease that matched the symptoms of our fish, so we sort of wrote it off as an injury.  We have about 20 pounds of live rock in our tank and he likes to swim really fast in and out of the rocks, so it seemed plausible.  About a week ago, his eye was all puffed out again, worse than ever, and two days ago, the top of it popped, so it was still kind of puffy at the bottom.  The top 'skin' was hanging over his eye impairing his vision, and then yesterday, the rest of it popped.  I can't tell if he still has his eye or not because the floppy skin surrounding it is blocking my view of it.  I was wondering if you knew if his eye might grow back or if he will possible be blind in one eye? << He is most likely blind in that eye.  It is unfortunate, I would have taken him out of the tank, and into a hospital tank the first time it happened.  In fact, I would still do it now, and treat him with some antibiotics from a LFS. >> Do you know of anything that could have caused the puffiness, besides injury?  Is there anything I can do - take him to a fish doctor or something?   Thanks for your time, I look forward to your reply. << That is tough, good luck with him. >> Rachael Evans <<  Blundell  >>

Should We Freshwater Dip our Sick Fish, or Medicate the Tank? Hi There, I'm new to your website and am getting much valuable info.  We relocated and set up our 90 gallon saltwater tank.   The tank has been conditioned and we had a large Chromis in the tank for three weeks who has done great.  The chemistry is all good and the salinity is at 1.025  We added a 4" Blond Naso; a 3" yellow stripe maroon clown; a 4" Volitans lion and a 4" dogface puffer.  We purchased  all the fish within 3 days of each other from 2 different LFS's. << That is a lot of bio load to be adding to a system.  I would add one fish every other week, or something like that. >> All were eating and looking good at the store.  The dogface puffer has come down with ICH.  One LFS said to add copper to the tank, which we now know is a big NO so we are not taking their advice. << I wouldn't do that either.  I would rather catch the fish, and move him to a hospital tank. >> The other LFS said he wouldn't do anything and definitely do not treat the tank.  They said generally the dogface puffer is very resilient and that all fish have bacteria, etc. but when they are stressed. they can develop ICH. << This is more along my philosophy as well.  I think fish are always vulnerable to disease, but if healthy they just fight it off. >> Our puffer (Scooby Doo) has stopped eating and is staying huddled in the corner most of the time, although he does come out and swim around a bit. Also, sometimes when he starts swimming, his side fin is stuck in his gill, but after swimming around for a while, it comes out. << Not a good sign at all.  I would remove him from the tank, and treat him in a hospital tank. >> He seemed to be looking for food earlier, but when I fed him the krill, he wouldn't go after it.  The other fish seem to be fine, although I am concerned that there might be a spot on the Naso.  We are getting ready to do a FW dip for the puffer.  We've made sure the PH is the same as the tank and we are getting the water the same temp. << I don't think you'll get the pH the same, but that is okay.  After dipping him, I would keep him out of the main tank. >> Please let us know what we need to do to save Scooby and the rest.  Do we need to do dips on the others and should we treat the tank? << Dips is good, but stay away from treating the tank. >> thanks, << Good Luck. >> Carol <<  Blundell  >>

Dropsy, I think... I have a bit of a conundrum. I emailed you a few days ago with a quandary about ich + Cyano, & an isolation tank that is inhospitable at the moment. <Okay> Well, the Chromis I was concerned about now is showing signs of 'pinecone' scales, which along with his bloatedness, sounds like dropsy. I would like to isolate him, but my isolation tank's nitrites are off the scale. I'm water changing it daily & dosing it with NitroMax, but I'm afraid it will be too late before I can use it. <Me too> How contagious is dropsy, <Stop! Actually, dropsy or dropsical conditions are NOT necessarily contagious... the "causes" are not simply resultant from infectious disease, but a combination often of environmental factors. Many times only one fish will be so affected in a group, even of the same species> & what are the odds of successfully treating it when it seems pretty advanced? <Depends on the cause. In the majority of cases (IME) dropsical conditions go unnoticed, undiagnosed, conditions are such that the animal perishes... but particularly with isolating affected fishes, spontaneous cures are often realized> I'm not the kind of guy to flush a fish that isn't dead yet, but I don't want him to wipe out my remaining fish (2 other Chromis, 1 Checkered goby, & 1 Ocellaris) if he dies & I can't remove him soon enough. Thoughts? Pete Cushnie <If you cannot move the fish to separate quarters, simply do your best to make sure it is receiving some food, do add (this will be fine for all your other fishes) a teaspoon of Epsom Salts (yes, the same as humans use) per gallon of water (only once unless you change some water out), and this will help reduce the swelling (which is the root cause... dependent in turn on a few possible inputs) inside the fish. Bob Fenner>
Re Dropsy, I think...
Hi Bob, <Peter> Thanks for your reply, but I regret to let you know this little fellow perished about a week ago. <Is our mail server THAT slow?...> I was able to move him to a 5gal I had sitting idle (equipped with heater & filter), & filled it with water from the tank. He didn't make it the night. His name was Moe. :-( <Goodbye Moe> I would, however, be interested in a little clarification on the adding of Epsom salt. Is it safe to add it directly to the tank? <In most tanks, systems, yes... not a good idea to use prophylactically however> Should it be pre-dissolved into a partial water change perhaps? <A good approach, yes> I am just wondering how similar it is to regular marine salt in regards to causticity upon mixing. <... MgSO4 is a small component (synthetic and real saltwater is a mix of several salts... combinations of metals and non-metals)... once again, I do NOT encourage folks to increase/add the amount of magnesium sulfate in their water regularly> Hoping I never have to address it again, Pete <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Toxic Environment- Or Poor Collection Practices? Help, <Scott F. at your service> Four days ago, I special ordered a Lionfish and a Leaf Fish from a LFS. They arrived in shipping bag, and I immediately brought them home.  The Leaf was belly up when I got him home, but the Lion was fine.  I bypassed acclimation for the leaf since he was barely breathing. <Hmm...a tough call there...> I aerated the system, and the leaf perked up.  The lion would not eat, however.  (The leaf ate two ghost shrimp soon after perking up.) <That's always a good sign> Both fish have had labored breathing, and the Lion finally had trouble swimming.  (Fine day one, Bobbed in corner for 2nd day.)  The lion seemed to come through, and started exploring the tank on day three.  2 hours later, he was dead, with bloated gills. The leaf currently stays under a rock, has no interest in food, and seems to barely breathe. The water tests fine, the aeration has been increased, and the temperature has been 76 deg. <Well, sounds to me like you may be looking at a toxin of some sort. Are you sure that the tank has no detectible ammonia or nitrite? No pesticides or other household chemicals found their way into the tank? Do recheck.> Could all this be a sign of Cyanide?  I've just learned about cyanide catching, and don't know anything about diagnosing.  What are the symptoms? <I doubt that this is cyanide poisoning. Typically, fishes that have been collected with cyanide are unusually colorful, appear "dazed"; not responding quickly to stimuli. They generally refuse food, but if and when they do eat, affected fishes will generally die shortly after eating. I have not heard of either of these types of fishes being collected with cyanide recently, although I suppose it's possible. I'll bet that it may be environmental or a disease of some sort. I'd continue looking at an environmental cause here. The truth is out there; keep searching. Regards, Scott F> Thanks, Tom Phillips

Preventing The Spread of Disease Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I must tell you what a wonderful informing site you have. Most of all, your willingness to share you knowledge with the world. <Well, sharing our experiences and love for this hobby is really what the site is all about! We're all in this together-learning and growing!> I am in the aquarium maintenance business since 1988. Assume that  one of my clients' tanks had the ich parasite in their tank. As I perform my maintenance on their tank, I siphon the crushed coral on the bottom of the tank. When done with this, I wrap up my Python siphon hose, finish my job, on to my next client. The first step is to fill up the garbage can with tap water for make up water for the salt water I'm going to remove to do maintenance on this tank. If there were any parasites in the hose going from the first client to the next do you feel they could be introduced into the next clients tank? <Great question. Quite frankly, I'd have to say that the possibility exists. It may be remote- but it is definitely a consideration> They would be flushed into the garbage can upon the filling but would these critters be able to withstand the fresh chlorinated water and stay alive long enough to be introduced in the second clients tank? Just thoughts I have. <Again- it is a potential problem; one that needs to be considered. You could definitely rinse all equipment with hot water after each use, and that can help> I do all I can to keep tanks separate- like every client has their own scrub pad under there own tank. I never use one pad on all my clients tanks. Stopped that practice years ago. <Excellent practice on your part!> I often wonder about that hose transferring the bugs. I even use a different hand towel at every client's tank so not to pass the bugs from tank to tank. I can't ever remember one tank getting inoculated in this manner. <It is unusual, but not impossible by any stretch! It may be a good idea (although probably not as well received by your clients, who would have to foot the bill!) to provide each tank set up that you install with a set of dedicated maintenance equipment (i.e.; siphon hose, nets, scrapers, scrub pads, etc.)-just factor these items in to the cost of each setup that you install. This would be the ultimate way to eliminate this possibility.> Anytime I've had a tank come down with parasites is when I bring in new fish. <Probably the most common way that disease is introduced to new aquariums. Consistent use of a quarantine procedure is, without question, the best way to prevent disease from getting into your system!> I always copper up the tank for at least a month upon adding new livestock. <Ya know what? Simple quarantine might be a better way to go! Certainly easier than running copper preventatively, IMO> Well it's just a thought I've always had, and since you seem to have all the answers to so many problems with marine fish and the business I thought I'd ask. <Well- we don't have ALL the answers- but as lifetime hobbyists and aquarium industry pros (as is the case with a number of our WWM contributors), we can provide a pretty good depth of information for our readers!> Once again you sure do a wonderful service to us all , whether in the business or just hobbyist. All one needs to do is read and learn.   <Amen- Jim! > Thanks so much for you time and answer,  Jim Jesko Aquatic Designs. <Thanks for your sharing, Jim! Continued success to you and your customers! Keep sharing! Regards, Scott F>

Fish Doc in LA? Hmmm... I'm not familiar with a fish doctor/vet in LA but have cc'ed this to Bob for posting on the daily FAQs (will holler back to you if we get a reply)> The Magnesium sulfate was a good move in my opinion. Id the fish in a bare bottomed QT at this point? Not critical, but helpful for treatment (may be required pending meds). Be generous with the Epsom salts... I dose a heaping Tablespoon per five gallons the first time, and then follow with a half dose 3 days later. If the ailment is simply blockage or a little bit of fluid buildup, this often works. Please do let me know how this works out overall. Best of luck, Anthony <<Don't know of a fish doctor in L.A. per se... would call a few of the larger stores, service companies in the area for a lead here. Bob Fenner>>

String Feces (5/23/04) Hello crew! <Steve Allen today> Thanks for all the wonderful information. <A pleasure to play a small part.> You are truly a public service that has saved a lot of lives, mostly aquatic...but possibly human if those who share you life (read: finances) are not, shall we say involved (read addicted) to the hobby as you are! <Understood. I convinced my wife that SW aquaria are a safer and cheaper male mid-life crisis expenditure that several others we've seen in our neighborhood.> Anyway here's my situation. I had serial ich and Amyloodinium outbreaks back in March. <Ouch> I treated the ich via hyposalinity, only to have the Amyloodinium follow, which I treated with copper. I let my original 15 gallon reef tank go fallow for well over 6 weeks. The fish were in the 10 gallon QT tank for over 6+ weeks as well. 2 weeks ago I set up our new 46 gallon. I moved the 45lbs of live rock from the 15 to the 46. Last weekend I moved the fish (fairy wrasse, YTB damsel, Firefish goby and a royal Gramma) into the 46. <Monitor your water parameters. Even with the old LR, the tank's biofilter might not have been ready for all the fish at once after only a couple of weeks.> I released the wrasse, damsel and goby at night and kept the Gramma in a floating breeder which he has lived in while in QT until the next morning. I wanted to allow everyone else to get established first because I had a problem with aggression with the Gramma. <Can be a problem sometimes.> Since being released he has been hiding, not eating and is producing white stringy feces. <Uh-oh> So I checked WWM. I found white stringy feces associated with both parasitic and bacterial infection. I am unsure how to proceed. How do I tell which it is? <Not really possible, though bacterial infection can have other manifestations as well, including bleeding into the skin.> Is this contagious? <Bacterial infection isn't always passed on. Healthy fish with good immunity can fight it off. Internal parasites lay eggs and can be passed on.> So far everyone else seems OK. Do I need to remove all the fish and treat everyone? <Since you have a QT, I'd suggest you just pull the Gramma.> Could this be a stress reaction? <More than just that.> Might this resolve on its own? <I doubt it.>  If not, do I use antibiotics or an antiparasitic? <Probably both.> If treatment is require, what do you recommend? <Search WM for internal parasite treatments. One option would be food laced with Metronidazole (AKA Flagyl), which may treat both, depending on which bacteria or parasite you are dealing with. This is often available at LFS or can be obtained online.> And just to complicate things, after removing all the fish from QT, we acquired a tiny purple tang who is now in the QT tank. Do I put everyone together, exposing everyone else to a potential new ich or Amyloodinium carried by the tang? <NO. To be quite frank, you should return the Tang unless you are planning on upgrading to a 100G tank within a year. This is an aggressive fish that will grow to as long as 9" and should not be kept in anything smaller that 100G. Some would say 75, but given its personality, that's too tight IMO. Once you get everything settled sown, you can choose a more appropriate fish for your size of tank.> Help! Also the 15 had an eclipse hood, which I moved to the QT tank. Is it possible to put this back on the 15 with inverts, if the BioWheel and filter are replaced or does the copper get into the plastic as well? <That is a potential concern, but I doubt it. A good, thorough cleaning should suffice. Plastic is far less likely to absorb copper than minerals like rock and sand are.> Thanks for all the help this site provides. I don't know what I would do without it. I normally find answers to my questions there, but I was not sure what to do in this situation.  Sincerely, Michelle <Hope this helps.> 

Swim Bladder Problem? Or Something Else? (5/14/04) Hello, <Hi! Steve Allen here.> I've had a couple of saltwater tanks for about 19 months now, and in so short a time have seen many strange things happen. <Not surprising.> I've researched various issues on your site and have found in invaluable in resolving many of those issues, but I have encountered one that has me a little stumped. <Don't you hate that?> Sparing you all the details (unless you require them), the tank has been running for 19 months, all of the other fish, corals and inverts are fine, all levels are optimal, with the exception of nitrate, which runs at about 10 ppm <not too bad>, salinity is 1.024, temp is 77. About 4 months ago, I acquired a juvenile blonde Naso. She spent the first month in quarantine and although she was thin, appeared to be otherwise healthy. In quarantine, she put on weight and continued to gain weight when she moved into the main tank. About a month following that she began constantly eating air bubbles under one of the filters and would spend the majority of the day doing so. <Odd> By the end of each day, her stomach would be terribly bloated and she would seem to be struggling a bit to swim. By morning, her stomach would be back to normal and she would at least start her day swimming normally, but begin to eat the air bubbles all over again. Over the last week or so, after lights out she seemed to be having a more difficult time and would kind of position herself with her nose pointing down toward the substrate and would struggle for many hours after lights out. Yesterday morning, I found her lying on the substrate, kind of propped up against the glass. She would swim a very short distance, then sink like a rock to the bottom, sometimes lying flat on her side, other times, propping herself up in the rock-work. My best guess is that something has happened to her swim bladder. <Hard to say. This behavior is also a symptom of impending death.> I moved her back to quarantine and she was still alive this morning. She is eating and doesn't have any marks on her, but is almost constantly displaying her fright/sleep coloration. So I guess my questions are: does it sound like the swim bladder may have ruptured? <It really sounds more serious to me. The listlessness suggests this.> If so, is there any possibility of recovery? <This is hard to treat. Read more by searching the term on WWM.> Is there anything I can do to help her or (I hate to even think of it) is my best option just to put the poor thing out of her misery? <There is usually hope for a fish that still eats. Start with pristine water conditions and no air bubbles in the QT. Consider treating with antibiotics as well.> Any input you could provide would be most sincerely appreciated. Donna <I hope this helps some. I'm a bit stumped here too, especially by the bubble eating.> 

Mystery Bump Hello Wise ones!!! <Yikes- "wise"- Who needs that kind of pressure? Scott F. here today!> I did not find what I was looking for in the web site, so I need you HELP!!!! Two days ago I found a medium-sized bump on my Banggai Cardinal. He's been eating well so far, and he swims and hangs out in the middle of the tank, like when I first got him a year ago. What do you think this bump is??? Thanks for all you do!!! <Hard to say...Could be anything from an old injury to a possible parasite. If you can supply a picture, we could possibly make a better guess. If the fish is otherwise healthy, eating, and active, I'd just keep an eye on him and only take action if the situation dictates. Keep those fingers crossed! Regards, Scott F.> 

After The Disaster (Re-Populating A Tank After A Wipeout) Hello, After having some butterflies for 3 mths in a 4ft tank, a new one spread White Spot to the rest. Although  I have tried some Marine Cure products, the fishes slowly died. <Not familiar with these products, but I would advise against using any medication in the display tank...> I would like to know if  I need to restart all over again by putting new water 100%  and go thru the nitrogen cycle again or what? Please advise. Thanks. Ramlan <Well, Ramlan, if you lost all of your fishes because of this illness, I'd let the tank run fallow, without fishes, for at least a month or so. Yes, large water changes would be a good idea, too. If you continue to add small amounts of food to the tank while it is empty, you'll be providing the bacteria with a food source, and can hopefully avoid the need to re-cycle the system. However, do test for ammonia and nitrite as you go, just to be sure. Regards, Scott F>

URGENT! Sick Purple Tang NEED HELP ASAP! 5/4/04 Hi, <Hi Lawrence, Leslie here this morning.> I came home from work today and my tang was darting around the tank erratically and would swim around occasionally tilted like he was trying to scratch but not quite. <Sorry to hear that> He also seemed to be breathing a little rapid. <No doubt with all that frantic activity> I observed him for 2 hours and no improvement.  I have had him for 2 years and 10 days ago moved him into the new 120gal FOWLR tank.  SG is1.024, temp 77 nitrites ammonia are 0 and the nitrates are 1ppm or less.  PH is 8.2.  The fish is still eating.    <Water sounds good and eating is an excellent sign> My puffer had 3 white spots on his fins for 10 days and is healthy appearing,  I have also had him for 2 years.  Any way, I tried a fresh water dip with RO water pH and temp adjusted and the tang just laid on his side and looked distressed so I stopped it after 1min. < The right thing to do> ( i know that it will not help for that short of a time) so put him in my hospital tank with copper sulfate.  I am assuming it is ich.    <Hard to say  without the tell tale white salt granule like spots but maybe a possibility. Something was certainly bothering him> Did I do the right thing. <Well to be honest I am not sure I would have medicated so quickly without more obvious symptoms. I am an advocate of water changes to start when the fish appear stressed, regardless of testing that indicates parameters that are within normal limits.  There are some other possibilities for the erratic behavior you described. The first one that comes to mind is stray electrical current. If you do not have a ground probe on your tank I would highly recommend one as well as a GFI  ....Ground Fault Interrupter device for any electrical outlet near water. You may find these 2 articles on Electricity, Marine Aquariums and GFIs helpful. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/elecmar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gfcimarines.htm Since you Puffer also was showing signs of disease 10 days ago it certainly sounds like something is going on. You might want to have a look at this article The Three Sets of Factors That Determine Livestock Health/Disease  here ... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm along with the associated FAQs which begin here... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/disFAQsMar.htm > I don't want to lose the little guy. <Of course you don't> Our fish are part of our family. <Of course they are as they should be> <If the fish seemed  better in the hospital tank  prior to adding the Copper then it may be just getting him into a different tank removed the stimulus for the erratic behavior. If not and the copper seems to be helping I would complete the treatment you started and keep the fish in the Hospital tank for at least 3 to 4 weeks post treatment.> Thanks!  I hope you can reply ASAP <Your welcome! I hope you fish has settled down and is doing better. Leslie >

Nasty Disease? Hi Crew, <Hey there! Scott F. here today!> I am having major problems as I am losing fish left, right and centre, in  the past 3 weeks I have lost the following from 3 different tanks: 5 ft tank 1 Russell's Lionfish 1 Blue Cheek Goby (part of breeding pair) 1 Picasso Trigger quarantine tank: 1 Cleaner Wrasse <Ohh...one of my pet peeves here- a really bad choice...> 1 Cowfish 4 ft reef tank: 1 Flame Angel It seems to be very sudden that these fish die, within a couple of hours, as my Flame was feeding 3 hours ago and seemed fine, and when I went downstairs, is  laying in the bottom of the tank almost dead. Gave quick freshwater bath, and  put in with Cuprazin but died very rapidly. <Not sure what the medicine that you mention is, but I ask you- why use a medication if you are unsure what the "disease" is? If you are operating on the assumption that it is a parasitic illness, then you are on the right track, i suppose.> The only things I could see was on the blue cheek goby, it had a type of  red bloodish color on the usually yellow nose, all seem to have the skin missing between the spines on the pectoral and dorsal fins? As I said, this is a very rapid and sudden demise the nitrites are at 0 the nitrates are a little high at between 25 - 50 ppm ph 8.2 ammonia 0 <Hmm.. to me, it sounds like it might be some type of poisoning. My initial thought would have been "ammonia toxicity", but your water conditions seem to be okay. It could be an extremely virulent parasitic condition, such as Amyloodinium (Marine "Velvet") or Brooklynella, which can kill with remarkable rapidity> I have been using Amquel to reduce the nitrates on advice from my LFS. <This product can help "prep" source water, but you want to look to more established techniques to reduce nitrates. See the WWM site for more on these techniques> Each tank has an external filter. The reef has an air driven protein skimmer and undergravel filter as well as external filter. I have completely stripped and refilled the 5 ft fish only with live  rock and live sand tank which now contains: 1 Dogface Puffer 1 Orbiculate Batfish 1 Panther Grouper 1 Tassled Filefish This has an external filter and venturi skimmer, the 4 reef has live rock and live sand, external filter, undergravel  filter, air driven skimmer live rock and sand I keep losing anemones in this tank such as Bubble Anemones, but everything else seemed fine until tonight, in this tank there is: 2 Common Clowns 1 Torpedo Goby 1 Scooter Blenny 1 Yellow Tang 1 Foxface 1 Blue cheek Goby 1 Cleaner Wrasse Please help as I don't want to lose anymore. Thanks in advance, Crew. J Millar <Well, I'd operate under the assumption that a nasty parasitic infection is  in play here. I'd consider letting the tanks in which the losses are occurring run fallow, without fish, for a few weeks. If this is a parasitic illness, then you need to let the parasite population "crash" for lack of hosts. Continue observing the tank carefully, adjusting environmental parameters if needed, and treating the affected fishes as required...Hang in there! Regards, Scott F.>

Learning The Hard Way... Heya ! <Hi there! Scott F. at your service!> Sorry for the long question but I'm kind of in a bad way and seek your advice! I posted a few threads on WWM in the last 2 weeks and would like your spin on it. My tank is 3 months old and fully cycled , but man, it's the tank of DEATH!. <Sounds like a new movie...> Every fish I put in it dies. I started w/ a pair of tank raised percula clowns and they were great, eating swimming etc... ( No QT tank as of yet ). <Trust me- get a quarantine tank...A huge benefit to your fish-and your sanity!> After 2 weeks, I added a yellow tang that died in just 2 days. Weird, but I guess I just bought a fish that was sick anyways, although he looked healthy to me, he ate and swam fine in the tank.( still no QT yet) <There is a pattern here, huh?> The 2 clowns were still bright colored eating and looking good. I waited another week and bought another yellow tang and put him in the display tank. (still no QT  as of yet). <Dude, you're killing me here! Do you realize that with the money you spent on these fishes, you could have bought a basic 10 gallon tank, sponge filter, and heater? C'mon...first things first!> Then after a week 1 clown started to lose his color and also had rapid breathing, I tried to catch him but all attempts were futile. He had enough strength to avoid capture. He evaded capture for another few days till we found him dead in the tank. <These symptoms sound like you could be dealing with either a virulent parasitic disease (like Amyloodinium), or possible metabolite or other poisoning. Fishes don't usually die this quickly unless something is seriously wrong. I'd read up on the WWM site regarding fish selection. You might be picking some low quality specimens. Do consider other stores, too. Also, do test your basic water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, pH, specific gravity, and temperature, to make sure that all are in line).> Well this prompted me to get a QT , its only 5 gals but its all that would fit my budget atm. <Thank you! 5 gallons is better than nothing! I raise my Thai Iced Tea in a toast to your future success as a result of embracing the quarantine process! Don't get me wrong, however- a quarantine tank will not "cure" sick or low-quality fishes. It will, however, give you a chance to observe, "harden", and treat fishes which may be suffering from the rigors of collection and shipping> A few days passed and the other clown started to decline in the same manner as mentioned above and this one to died after a few days. The QT was up and running so I  dismantled my LR and caught the Yellow tang, who at this point had little white specs all over him and had a cloudy eye. I brought the sal down to 1.018 and took the temp to 80 in the QT. I bought CopperSafe to treat ICH and administered it to the QT and the levels were at .25 ppm for 4 days, I was doing 1 gallon water changes daily to get the copper to 0. Well, during the 3rd day in qt the Yellow Tangs eye burst, he was still eating whatever he could see and the white spots on him turned to brown spots. From the copper? <Possibly. Although copper is a very effective medication for parasitic diseases, some fishes, such as tangs and Centropyge angels, don't always take well to it. Formalin-based products are a good alternative, IMO> I continued water changes and monitored him, well unfortunately when I got home last night the lil guy was dead in the QT. It seems that my efforts to try and save the fish  probably killed him by treating w/CopperSafe ( I found out in the 911 forum that copper is detrimental to tangs ). The levels in my display tank are as follows: Temp -77 PH- 8.2 sal - 1.023 ammonia - 0 Nitrites - 0 Nitrates -5 cal - 450 copper - 0  ( I ran a test on it to make sure ) <Well, your water conditions sound fine. I'd narrow down the problem to poor quality fish; ones that may have been sick, or exposed to illness at the LFS> Here's my question : I know to let the Display remain fallow for 6 weeks to rid it of any Ich parasites. But now that I've used copper in my QT will it leach into the plastic filter etc? <I wouldn't be overly concerned about that. Also, you should break down and sterilize the QT when you're done using it. It's not a permanent feature> I'd hate to buy another fish, put it in quarantine for a month , dip him out and place in my display and inadvertently put copper into my display. <Don't stress over it. You'd only be talking about a few drops of water with copper in it. Not enough to cause problems, IMO> I also used the qt to mix/aerate my water for bi-weekly water changes. <Wooooaaahh! Bad, bad idea! The quarantine tank is just that- a quarantine tank...It's not a water reservoir, storage container, breeding trap, etc. Buy some inexpensive Rubbermaid containers for that, okay?> Is there any way to rid the copper from the filter assembly, etc? <Run some Poly Filter in the water. That should get rid of most of it. Any copper which has leached into the plastic would be of virtually no consequence, IMO> Will it be safe to use to mix water with etc prior to water changes? <As above- get some dedicated containers for this> Any suggestions as to why my tank is the death card for fish? Did the original 2 clowns infect the tank and I'm feeling the ramifications of no qt from the beginning? <Excellent theory. I think that is exactly what may be happening> BTW , all inverts in my display are doing  fine. The snails , crabs, and coral frags are doing well in there. Sorry again for the length , I'm just a little disappointed ATM and am at a loss as to why this is happening. Andy <It's okay, Andy- you are learning- and learning fast! Think about what you've learned from this nightmare already: 1)Use extreme care in selecting quality fishes 2)Quarantine all new arrivals 3)Copper is not acceptable for all fishes...Impressive, huh? Just take it slow, keep learning from your mistakes (that's how we all learned, BTW), and share with others. You're on your way to success! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Injured Chromis? Good morning.  Yesterday afternoon I bought 3 blue-green Chromis, which are to be the first additions to our 75 gallon tank.  After a 6 minute dip in buffered fresh water and Methylene blue, I transferred them to a 10 gallon quarantine tank.  All tolerated the dip well, and by evening were swimming together around their new temporary home.  Although all looked healthy last night, this morning one of them has a bruise-like vertical line through his mid-section.  Only on one side.  He's swimming normally, breathing normally, doesn't appear stressed.  Having no fish experience, my best guess is a bruise - maybe a net injury or something? <Likely so... may develop into a secondary (bacterial) infection>   If it is a bruise, will it heal on its own with good water quality. and how long before I should see improvement? <Should and a week or two>   Please let me know if there are other possibilities I should be aware of, or what I should be watching for/expecting. Thanks. Suzanne <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Another Convert To Quarantine! We just lost a Blue Tang to ich, and now this morning we found our Singapore Queen dead this morning. She was fine yesterday and was an extremely healthy eater. We want to get new ones but are not really sure of the proper quarantine process. Obviously we need another tank, but do we put water in it from our existing tank in it, do we need a second heater, skimmer etc. How long do we need to quarantine them for. Current tank 77 gallons consists of 40% full of base and live rock 2 clowns 20 crab 4 clams 2 shrimp. We are so new to this and hope it is because we jumped into getting fish to quickly. The tank is only 6 weeks old. I have since done more research and it seems it may be due to new tank syndrome. We have lost 2 cleaner wrasse as well. I really do not want the fish to suffer and want to make sure that it is done correctly this time. Not to mention spend the money and then have to replace them. Kelly Aiello <Well, Kelly- quarantine is possibly the single most effective thing you can do to assure long-term success in the hobby! Here's a link to an article I wrote that may give you a helpful introduction to the process: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm Hope it helps! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Beginners mistakes 2/12/04 I've got a bunch of bad advice and need to be set straight.  I bought a Indian Regal and a Queen angel...both @ 5-6 inches.   <the Queen I like (hardy and well suited to captive life if you have a huge aquarium (over 200 gallons)... but the Regal Angel is one of those fishes that most always should be left in the ocean. Very unlikely it will fare well even without that mean queen in the tank> I didn't QT them as I have now read to do.  I added them 6 days ago.  They were fine and both started to eat, pick at the rocks, etc up until yesterday.  Then they started to fight.  I grabbed both fish and took them back to the LFS.  They would only take back one of the fish.  I'm stuck with the Regal.   <not a surprise... the LFS should not have even sold you the Regal without advising you of how (extremely) difficult they are to even keep alive> I'm assuming this is from the fighting, but the Regal has a white patch about 2-3mm behind one of his fins.  The fin now has some of the white stuff on it as well.  I told him about this site and that I wanted to purchase a QT.  I bought a 10 gal tank and set it up with water from my main tank.  They sold me copper power and told me to follow the directions.  I have the Regal in the QT with copper in it.   <holy cow?!?!?! This LFS is in the biz of helping you kill fish. It is long been known (30+ years) how sensitive Angelfishes are to copper. My advice is to do a large water change and add a PolyFilter or some other adsorptive chemical media and get that copper out ASAP> Everything I read it seems that a FW dip would be better.  Should I take him out of the copper QT and dip him?   <yes> What should I dip him in....the LFS store says I'm pretty much an idiot and the Regal will be fine in about 3 days in the copper. <they are not admirable sources of information on aquatic husbandry. Frankly... I hope they are simply ignorant and incompetent, instead of nefarious> Further, I now have noticed my Sweetlips (6 in) scratching his face on the ground.   <oh, my friend... a Sweetlips makes the Regal look easy to keep alive. These are serious beginners mistakes. The odds of the angel or the Sweetlips being alive in 2 months let alone 6 is very small. Please research the species you like before (!) you buy them. The burden really is on you and me to be educated consumers, and not rely on advice wholly from people trying to sell us stuff. Sweetlips need enormous tanks (see fishbase.org for their staggering adult size)... and they need a constant supply of gut-loaded live foods to survive. You need a breeding tank of guppies or grass shrimp (better) here> I can't see anything on him but I'm worried some type of fungus is running through the tank.  Can I treat the whole tank with something?  I only have FOWLR.  I have over 300 lbs of rock and can't catch all the fish without taking all the rock out!  YIKES! <not that bad... get some garbage cans and use a pump to drain the tank... catch the fish in an inch of water... and then refill the tank quickly (15-20 tops)> Should I just leave the main tank and see what happens?   <they will die> What should I have the temp at (it's 77 right now and I can raise or lower it to anything).  SG is 1.020... HELP>>>>SO MANY QUESTIONS! <please consider getting and reading two very good books before you buy another fish: "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Fenner... and "The New Marine Aquarium? by Paletta. You are also encouraged to spend some time reading the wealth of free information we have here on our wetwebmedia.com website. Had you done so first, you would have never bought that angel or Sweetlips. Wishing you the best of luck, Anthony>

Beginners mistakes II 2/12/04 You are so right.  I just got and read the entire book....by Fenner. What an idiot I am!  Now I'm trying to remember everything I read, but it is tough and not every question can ever be covered in one book.   <yes... correct my friend (about the remembering everything you read part... not the idiot part <G>). Just remember to revisit your best references and the Internet, local aquarium clubs, etc. before you buy a new fish. Do resist all impulse purchases and any others before you have a thorough knowledge of what it needs to keep it and if you can meet those needs> Well my Regal Angel is going to die almost for certain.  He won't eat at all.   <I'm truly an optimist... but the statistics don't lie, and your regal is not bucking the trend symptomatically I'm sorry to say. Add to that the LFS selling a less than ideal specimen/locale (Red Sea and Maldives orange throat regal angels are much better suited for captive life)> All the fish have ICH.  I'm positive of that.  I have taken all fish out....yellow tang, Sweetlips, Sailfin tang, Maroon clown, lawnmower blenny and two damsels out of my 250 gallon tank and put everyone in a 35 gallon tank.  (WAY TOO SMALL!)   <yes... but for the short stay and with daily water changes siphoned from the bottom, you can cure Ich in 8 days (even without meds, the siphoning is so effective if done daily to break the parasites life cycle). After 2 weeks of disease free symptoms they can return to the display> I have been doing a 5-7 gallon water change about every other day.  As well as treating the water with Prime to try and keep the ammonia in check.  The ammonia is reading 1ppm at the end of each day. <it would be much better to do daily water changes here and add a cheap sponge filter. Some meds like Formalin plus FW dips when possible would help too> I tried to give fish back but they won't take them.  They have lost my business now. <no worries... any store that would sell a Sweetlips and a regal angel to an uninformed consumer (if anybody but a specialist) needs to learn a lesson or find a new business as far as I'm concerned> I read to leave the tank "fallow" for 6 weeks.  Is this what you recommend?   <yes... 4-6 weeks usually does the trick> Any way to speed this up?  Can I turn the temp up?   <a little, but not too much for fear of hurting far more> I have only live rock in there and 1 cleaner shrimp.  I have been feeding the QT every other day only one cube of Formula 2 and one cube of Mysis shrimp. I want to avoid over feeding so I can keep the ammonia in check.   <yes... correct> Everyone is eating like they are starving, except the Regal of course.   <try a freshwater clam from the pet store... put it in live (or notch the back hinge to open it faster) and let it slowly open up (dying yes) in seawater. Angels usually love this. If yours eats it, refill the clam shell with frozen food. Condition the behavior. Pull the clam after a couple days if it is ignored though> I have only ever seen him pick on the live rock when he was in my main tank.  Will they eat anything?   <your mysids are a good try... some live brine if you must (soak it in vitamins like Selcon) for a temporary fix (do not feed long term)> I saw him eat pellets in the store but he had toss them up in the bag on my way home.  They have been in copper power for a week now.  Will the ich be dead?   <not likely.> I have see only a spot here or there.... but I think it is gone in the QT.   <even without seeing spots there is likely some. Unless you have been dosing copper twice daily and testing to maintain therapeutic levels. Since the angel is still alive (copper sensitive) I don't expect that you have been adding enough copper to kill all Ich> I have a POLY filter... should I use it now?   <I would... to get the copper out while the angel lives> How do I treat for Ich w/o copper?    <Formalin (Aquarium Products makes a hobby dose) and FW dips> I also FW dipped each fish in methyl blue for 6-8 minutes each on 2 separate days.  Should I do this again?   <helpful yes... but again be careful with the angel. Organic dyes are like metals to angles... very sensitive> The Regal infection is cleared up and he is active but won't eat. <heehee... he's poisoned by copper and Meth blue <G>. Give him some time my friend. It may still work out> The LFS tried to sell my Kick-Ich but I said no way after reading your website.   <what a crock! heehee... you may as well hang a clove of garlic from each fishes neck to ward off vampires while you are at it :) > Wow...I truly suck!  Thank God I found your website before I destine some more gorgeous fish for a sure death. <one last recommendation... do seek (mail order with Formalin if you must) some Sweetwater plankton. Its a brand of slurried FW plankton in a jar that is VERY well received by finicky SW fishes. Do give it a try for your angel. Bets of luck! Anthony>

HELP! (Ian's turn) I've got a bunch of bad advice and need to be set straight.  I bought a Indian Regal and a Queen angel...both @ 5-6 inches.  I didn't QT them as I have now read to do.  I added them 6 days ago.  They were fine and both started to eat, pick at the rocks, etc up until yesterday.  Then they started to fight.  I grabbed both fish and took them back to the LFS.  They would only take back one of the fish.  I'm stuck with the Regal. <aquarium stores usually do not accept fish that have been beaten up> I'm assuming this is from the fighting, but the Regal has a white patch about 2-3mm behind one of his fins.  The fin now has some of the white stuff on it as well.  <hmmm> I told him about this site and that I wanted to purchase a QT.  I bought a 10 gal tank and set it up with water from my main tank.  They sold me copper power and told me to follow the directions.  I have the Regal in the QT with copper in it.  <ok, are you sure that its ich, or some type of protozoan?> Everything I read it seems that a FW dip would be better.  Should I take him out of the copper QT and dip him? <well since he is already been introduced to copper you as might as well leave him in their, after all copper power is not as potent as the run of the mill copper medication> What should I dip him in....the LFS store says I'm pretty much an idiot and the Regal will be fine in about 3 days in the copper.<he should be> Further, I now have noticed my Sweetlips (6 in) scratching his face on the ground. <probably a parasite of some sort within his gills> I can't see anything on him but I'm worried some type of fungus is running through the tank.<most likely not fungus...do dump him in the QT aquarium a treat him with copper power, Also make sure you keep those fish out of the aquarium because your aquarium is infested with parasites that can live without a host up to a month or more>  Can I treat the whole tank with something?<I wouldn't...copper compounds of any sort are/can be toxic to the fish and plus you have liverock>  I only have FOWLR.  I have over 300 lbs of rock and can't catch all the fish without taking all the rock out!  YIKES!<Wow...don't waste your money that you spent on the live rock by killing all the organisms with copper...just keep your fish in a QT aquarium for a couple of months...I would suggest purchasing a larger QT aquarium though> Should I just leave the main tank and see what happens?<definitely NOT>  What should I have the temp at (it's 77 right now and I can raise or lower it to anything).  SG is 1.020...<That should be ok> HELP>>>>SO MANY QUESTIONS!<good luck, IanB>

HELP! thanks.  I pulled all fish out and put them in a 35 gal QT tank.  Problem is the ammonia swings.  I have been changing 7 gallons every day or so, but I still get ammonia reading 1-2ppm.  The fish are all eating well (about once every 3 days) except the Regal angel won't eat anything.<those angelfish rarely survive....he is probably becoming another "statistic">  He used to pick on my rocks only.  The spot on him has cleared up and I'm planning on leaving the 250 gallon fallow for 6 weeks.<good thinking>  Any suggestions for what to give the Regal to eat?<A bible, a four leaf clover, a ton of luck...jp Their staple diet in the wild consists mainly of coral polyps unless you have 30 dollars every 2-3 days to spend on some coral frags then I believe your angelfish will be a goner :(>  Can the QT be treated daily with Prime to take out the ammonia?<I would not treat it with anything...just continue to dilute the ammonia with water changes, Good luck with the Regal Angel and everything else, IanB> Thanks...

Treating Ich in QT 2/13/04 OK, I got it.  The main tank has never been dosed with anything.   <great to hear...whew!> Only the QT.  But has sand in it so I'm taking that out now.   <yes, please do... it harbors parasites and it buffers medicants> I will siphon from the bottom every day.  The tank is 35 gallons but the actual water I believe is only 26 when you minus the wasted space with the filter built in the back. How many gallons would you pull out everyday? <as little as it takes to maintain water quality (zero ammonia) and sweep the bottom entirely with a siphon. As little as 5 gallons if the QT filters are conditioned (old filter media used)> Tonight I just noticed my regal has a small white patch on his right side front fin.  What is it?   <Yikes... no way for me to say without a pic or better description than "white patch". Please do take the time to review the pics, articles and FAQs on marine fish diseases we have posted in the wetwebmedia.com archives> It is also on his side directly behind where the white patch is on his fin.... not sure that makes sense.  It is not very big but noticeable. <understood... but could be any of a long list of things> If Ich does not float what is tiny and white and pin size and you can see it on the glass of your tank and floating around the tank?   <microcrustaceans (copepods) and/or microbubbles. Other particles certainly possible. But Ich has no significant free-swimming stage that it can be seen with the naked eye. Ich will not live on or browse the aquarium glass either> I saw it on the fish for 2 days then it disappeared and then came back a few days later. I assumed it was Ich.   <Hmm... do be sure here. Stressed and sick fish often secrete mucus which allows bubbles and sediment to stick to them. Focus on one particle and see if it moves after some hours (ich does not move around)> At any rate, I'm leaving the main tank fallow for 4 weeks with just 300lbs of live sand and 300 lbs of live rock.  As for the QT I'll get rid of the sand.  Should I put Formalin in there and for how long?   <as per the mfg recommendations for the brand/dose you buy> I'm ordering another poly filter, some plankton, Selcon and going to find a FW clam.  Anything else?   Thanks again. <some medicated flake or pelleted foods would be great to use and keep on hand. Also, do read through the articles on Ich/Oodinium by our friend Steven Pro here: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.htm http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-10/sp/feature/index.htm best regards, Anthony>

Unexplained Blindness in Fishes? 2/6/04 Hi <howdy> Sorry about the length of this email just thought I would give you the history. <OK> I have a problem which I can not find a resolution for in either books, internet or local advice. The problem is I am experiencing my marine fish going blind overnight for no apparent reason. I'll give you some background first. <Hmmm... let me say that blindness in fishes is not at all uncommon, particularly with large predators and herbivorous fishes due to improper diet over time. Such deficiencies are well defined and studied. Do consult fisheries data instead of hobby literature> System: 120G tank with crushed coral substrate About 30Kg Live Rock 10G Sump with plenum Skimmer Return Pump Powerhead in main display Compact Fluoro lighting Corallife salt Temp stays at a little high but constant 28.5 degrees C Ammonia: 0 Nitrites: 0 Nitrates: fluctuates between 5-10 Salinity: 1.023 Ph: 8.1 Calcium: about 420 KH: 130 Tank was established Sept 2003 waited for tank to cycle using the live rock for about 8 weeks before adding any livestock Current inhabitants: 1. Female bird wrasse (first fish introduced to tank and doing well) 2. 2x Blue/Green Chromis 3. Harlequin Tusk (the most recent introduction) 4. 2x Red Stars 5. 2x Hermits 6. 2 small urchins (came in on liverock) 7. 2 small crabs (also came in on liverock) 8. 1x Sarcophyton 9. 1x Lobophytum 10. 1x Sinularia 11. 20x assorted size Corallimorph 12. 1x small BTA ( I now know I should not have added this with the corals but they seem to be getting on at the moment) All inverts appear to be doing well. Iodine and vitamin supplements added to water. I avoid other additives. My troubles started 1 month after cycling was complete and the Bird wrasse had been sole occupant. I added a smallish harlequin tusk and keyhole angel (without dip or quarantine - yes I know now!). <yikes... yes> All lived happily and all fish fed very well for about 2.5 weeks then Amyloodinium struck both the Tuskfish and the angel (both were in the same tank at the LFS). I started treatment immediately with Quinine Hydrochloride as I read the tusk were sensitive to copper. <Hmmm... yes. Agreed. Although quinine is not exactly gentle either> I didn't fresh water dip because the LFS told me that was worse for the fish. <they were wrong in my opinion. FW dips are time tested and true. Very effective for the majority of fishes we keep. And not so toxic and medicants> Three days later the tusk died. I FW dipped the angel and it recovered and then succumbed 4 days later. Anyway I removed the Bird Wrasse (it seemed to get no velvet infection) and let the tank go fallow for 4 weeks. I added the hermits and stars and a couple of turbo snails (which have since been eaten by the Bird Wrasse and hermits). After the 4 weeks I reintroduced the wrasse and added the Corallimorph. All is well. Two weeks later I added the Sarcophyton. All still well no sign of disease on the wrasse, so I added 3 blue/green Chromis after dip and 1 week quarantine. About mid January I added the Lobophytum, Sinularia and BTA. After some settling in all the corals and the BTA seemed to be doing fine and still are. About 2 weeks ago I was encouraged by my wife to purchase another harlequin tusk. It was added after dip and a week in quarantine and feed well from day one. The next day one of the Chromis appeared not to be able to find food. It was the smallest and I assumed it was getting bullied by the other fish. It died about 1 week later obviously from starvation. Everything was fine for another couple of days until last week. Thursday afternoon all fish were fine and had a feed. The next morning the Tuskfish and one of the Chromis were displaying the same behaviour as the smaller Chromis had. It seems that they are blind and cannot see to eat. <wow...this is unusual. Blinded commonly occurs from a chemical agent/treatment or prolonged poor diet. Pathological causes are rare. There are worms that burrow in the eye and can cause this, but I have never seen them... only read of them (Untergasser, Post, Noga)> I have been able to force the Tuskfish to eat. The Tuskfish sits on the bottom all the time until the wrasse and good Chromis feed, then it rises to the surface obviously to eat but doesn't and falls back to the bottom of the tank. There are no obvious signs of disease on either fish. Breathing is not rapid, still have normal colour. Fins are widespread like in a state of alarm. Neither fish responds to any movement and bump into objects and the other fish. I have not been able to find anything to indicate what this may be. <I would still highly doubt a pathogen is at hand here, rather that a household toxin got in the water and is wreaking havoc (not 8uncommon for it to effect fishes or invertebrates but not both). You'd be amazed too how many common household dangers there are: aluminum from anti-perspirant from your dipped armpit in the tank, burning a Teflon pan in the house (very dangerous to pets), paint strippers, aerosol/spray air fresheners in the room... the list goes on> I have spoken to one respected LFS here who said HLLE was the only thing they could think of but normally the fish would have been in captivity for a while. <HLLE is not even remotely possible as the cause. The onset takes many months and doesn't cause such/any sudden blindness. I'm worried about your consultant ;) > They also said I was the 5th customer to report such in the last couple of weeks. <all the more reason it is not "group" HLLE... and if true, more support for the theory of a contaminant... in this case, the only likely common thread being your tap water. Do call your authority and ask for an analysis and if they have been adding anything to the water known to be of risk to pet fishes. Some water authorities for example add aluminum to counter lead in big/old city plumbing> The only thing I can come up with is stray voltage. I measured the voltage in my tank and with all pumps running there is 3.2V discharging into the water. <ground it... but doubtful> Do you think this could be the cause or are you aware of any other likely cause. <as per above> I have avoided treating them this fish unnecessarily at this stage. I would appreciate any comments you may have. Regards, Ed Jackson <let me strongly encourage you to begin using buffered, store bought deionized or RO water... do some large water changes and use Polyfilters (Poly Bio Marine) o sop up possible toxins. The blindness may very well not be reversible. Please do keep us posted of developments and progress here. Very interesting. Anthony>

Unexplained Blindness in Marines II 2/16/04 Thanks for your response Anthony <always welcome mate> Before I received your reply, I decided to treat with a general antibiotic/fungicide as I had the water checked for problems and it came up OK. So I pulled the tusk out of the main tank and treated with a double dose of tri-sulfa. I also placed activated carbon in the main filtration system for the display tank. After 2 days in the treatment tank the tusks eyes clouded over which I suspected was the treatment. On the third day his eyes had cleared somewhat. I did a 50% water change on the treatment tank and administered a standard dose. The fish seemed to be responding very slowly but still did not eat and refused any food placed near his mouth. On day 6 his eyes were clear and he was swimming around instead of just remaining on the bottom. However still refused to eat. Because I could not keep the water quality up and he appeared to have no other signs of disease I moved him back to the main tank. When I emptied the treatment tank I found a small (4mm) oval disk about 1mm thick. It appeared to have a crusty covering and looked biological because it was symmetrical in its markings. A small black patch near the centre with three small black lines (0.5mm) radiating outward on either side of this. I considered this to be the "top" while under was a paler colour with just the dark centre. I have not been able to accurately identify this "object" and I don't know if it had/has any effect on the fishes health. <very interesting... alas, without a photo or better description I cannot say either. My guess is that it is unrelated actually> The day after I moved the tusk back to the main tank he appeared to get a small infection of Ich (no evidence on the other 2 fish) and started to produce excess mucous. Eyes clouded over again and fins went cloudy. Geez Louise!! <yes... 6 days in QT was about 24 days too short ;)> Another 3 days passed temp in the tank has been steady at 28c and the fish has not changed behaviour or symptoms and has not eaten for 2 weeks. So I decided to do something completely out of left field and with no real point other than I guess to "do something". I purchased and installed a UV sterilizer. It has been running 2.5 days, <do know for this unit to work properly in the long run the water must always be crystal clear (daily ozone use and/or weekly changes of carbon) and the incoming water to the UV has to be highly polished mechanically. Else the unit will fail to be effective in mere weeks> and this morning the tusk is clear of any spots, fins are clear and he was out looking for food. I was able to get him to take a chunk of marine dinner. The first food now for over 2 weeks. <outstanding!> Although he still seems to partially blind he is responding to movement from one eye and doesn't bump into things or the other fish anymore. I realize the lack of white spot could be the result of the parasitic lifecycle but here's hoping that he continues to improve. The interesting thing in this is that I have been to 2 other LFS in the last 3 days and each time I heard them talking to someone about fish not being able to find food but didn't have any outward signs of disease. In both cases the staff discounted the stories and said they must have Ich or Velvet or some other disease. <I agree with you.. very odd> Water supply or pathogen, wish I knew. Thanks for your help. Regards Ed Jackson <thanks kindly for the update... much appreciated! Wishing a fast recovery for your charges. Anthony>

HLLE or Injury?  Hey guys, thanks for taking time out of your weekend to respond so quickly!  <That's why we're here! Scott F. back with you again today>  Unfortunately, the Orchid Dottyback died in the quarantine tank. Looking at the corpse, it looks like it was due to injury, probably from zipping around during capture at the LFS. :-( Luckily, they were very nice and have ordered me a free replacement which they will keep isolated from the main tanks (the other one they had was too badly injured to survive long).  <That IS nice of them!>  I have another question though... I just got back from work today to find that my Coral Beauty Angel has what looks like a large yellowish-pink scrape down his "forehead". The strange thing is there is a very small yellowish-pink scrape looking mark on his "cheek" too. About a week ago I noticed what seemed to be a whitish loose scale on his side. I kept an eye on it to make sure it didn't turn out to be a parasite of some kind, and it got smaller and went away over the next few days. I thought nothing of it, but with the appearance of these new marks I'm beginning to get suspicious that he may either have a disease of some kind or he may be getting harassed by my Yellowstripe Maroon Clownfishes for some reason and getting injured.  <All valid concerns and well worth checking out. You also may want to consider that this is the beginnings of Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE), which is thought to be a dietary and/or environmental disorder, in which the head of the fish appears to have tissue "eroded" away in a manner similar to what you're describing. The disease does not appear fatal, and indeed may be reversible with positive environmental manipulation and use of vitamin enriched foods of high quality, including fresh seafoods and algae...Do review the material on this condition here on WWM and elsewhere...>  Here's my tank setup:  46-gallon bowfront  65 lbs. live rock  4" deep sand bed (which is working awesomely)  CPR BakPak IIR Skimmer  192w PC Lighting  2 Yellowstripe Maroon Clownfish  1 Coral Beauty Angelfish  1 Tiger Watchman Goby (Valenciennea wardi)  1 6" Bubbletip Anemone  1 Fire Shrimp  1 Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp  Various hermit crabs and snails  SPG 1.025  Temp 80  Nitrites 0  Nitrates 0 (love that DSB)  PH 8.3  Hardness 425  Alk 260  Weekly 10% water changes  I have noticed the female maroon "cleaning" the sand in one spot by fanning it with her tail lately, maybe a sign of mating, but I haven't seen either maroon act in any way aggressive toward the coral beauty. There have never been any problems with him and the BTA either. I just added the goby from quarantine, but it doesn't seem like that should cause any problems. I'm hoping he just got scraped on the live rock, but I wanted to find out if there are any diseases or parasites that look like this. He's very active as  usual, and eats like a horse. Thanks for your help guys!  Jarin  <Well, Jarin, sounds like either an injury or the aforementioned HLLE condition. Look into both, keep up the good work, and take any action that is necessary! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Bloated Beauty (2/2/04)  I'm resending this b/c my images were too large, sorry for that! <No problem.>  Hi all, <Steve Allen tonight.>  You guys and gals have been so helpful in the past now I am calling upon your expertise for a fish I believe is at risk. I have a Coral Beauty that has become excessively fat (bloated) over the past couple of days. <Yikes. Does look very uncomfortable.> He/She is in QT and has been for the last week; in which I have lowered the salinity from 35ppt to 17ppt, I was going to go down to 14ppt  tonight but "alarm" my prize fish is in trouble. <Is he in the QT for this or for something previous?> This coral beauty is ~5 years old and was big before the bloating but now it is enormous and looks like it is having trouble breathing. I have attached some pictures so you can see the girth. Should I add Epsom salt, or do I need something else. Thanks in advance from me and the fish. - Ryan  <Epsom salt is helpful for simple constipation. Lowering salinity is good for external parasites, but not internal. What is the purpose of your hyposalinity treatment? I'd be a bit worried about internal parasites or even a tumor. Consider treating with an antihelminthic. You may even want to consult an exotic animal vet in your area. Is the fish pooping? What is the poop like? I think that saving this fish is going to be an ongoing, intensive-care process. I recommend that you start a thread in the 911 forum at www.wetwebfotos.com to seek input from a number of experienced aquarists. You can more easily maintain an up-to-the-minute dialogue there. A lot of great folks there would love to help. I'll follow along there too. Hope this helps. Steve Allen>

Net pictures of diseases Do you know of any website or maybe yours that have detailed pictures of common diseases in a marine setup?  Not that I currently have a problem with any of them (Knock on wood), but I just want some pictures in case I ever come across any.  Thank you for your time.   Scott <No complete ones/coverage as far as I'm aware. There are some excellent books on the subject. I use Edward Noga... you can look him up on Amazon.com or elsewhere... we have image work of some of the major marine biological diseases on WetWebMedia.com. Bob Fenner>

Mysterious Fish Deaths-The Truth Is Out There... Hello again, <Hi there! Scott F. with you> I have attached a couple of photos taken of my Naso and yellow hours before they died. The suspicious thing about this is the loss of such a healthy Naso and yellow along with three yellow tail damsels and not a hippo tang or coral beauty??? <Hmm...Lots of possible causes, ranging from a toxin in the water, to some other kind of environmental trauma, or even a sudden onset of a parasitic illness> One LFS suggests that it appears to be a mucus deficiency but could not suggest a cause. Your opinion would be greatly valued so I know what to do with the tank from here on. My inverts and tank overall appears to be very healthy, making me discount water conditions for the most part. The only dosing is 1/2 of one teaspoon of Seachem Kalk premixed in 1400ml of water and does in a Kent drip bottle just after lights out every other night. and a couple of drops of Iodine every couple of weeks. If the attachments are a problem please advise how you would prefer to receive them?? <The attachments were fine. It was kind of hard to tell what the problem may have been, based strictly on the pics. Since you indicate that the environment has been stable and acceptable, and since the inverts are doing well, I may be inclined to think that you're looking at a possible virulent disease- perhaps Amyloodinium, which strikes suddenly and kills quickly...On the other hand, your fishes did not seem to have any detectable symptoms, right? This is indeed a mystery. My advice is to do a complete test of all major water factors. If things look fine (as I suspect that they do), then you may want to consider a toxic substance at work, contaminated food, an electric shock, who knows? It's not funny, but it is tricky to sort out. Try looking at the obvious, and then go from there, considering even the bizarre...Hopefully, your search will locate the answer...Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Thanks once again

Re: Sick Tank (follow up) 12/14/03 Thanks Adam for your response. Things are better now, lost only one fish. <Glad losses were minimal> Thanks for the tip on stray voltage I will check that out. <I do recommend that you do.> Still a mystery as to what caused all the trouble. <This is so often the case, even with very seasoned aquarists.> Today some green film was back on glass (absent throughout ordeal) so I think I'm back to normal. <This is probably algae growing in response to the newly available nutrients.  I do urge you to remain aggressive with water changes at least for a couple of more weeks just to be safe.> Again Thank you all for your hard work. Without WWM I'm not sure I would still be in this wonderful hobby.

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: