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FAQs on Marine Diseases 2

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Related FAQs: Marine Diseases 1, Marine Diseases 3, Marine Diseases 4, Marine Diseases 5Marine Diseases 6, Marine Diseases 7, Marine Disease 8, Diseases 9, Diseases 10, Diseases 11,


Can improvements be made? On the issues of pet-fish retail, holding systems, a philosophy of care, use  8/30/05 Hello <Jonathan> I'm a hobbyist working part-time in a nameless fish store, and I was wondering if someone with some experience in working in the retail aspect of fish care, could give me a few pointers, or an opinion or two? <Gladly> I wanted to do the most i can, with what i have to work with, while i work there.  It's a learning experience.  I get to see more and do more than i can, with just my own fish.  So a plus, but I'll foremention i don't like the limits i have on how i receive livestock, or limited access to tools. <Life is a series of compromises in one view... don't "take" or make blame for what is not your domain> Briefly the system is 12 80 gallon tanks with in-tank filtration and on a central water supply with a trickle filter.  1 is usually offline the central as a treatment tank.  So 11 tanks, total water volume about 850 - 900 gallons.  Used to have a U.V. Sterilser, but was removed because of cost of replacement bulbs. <... this is false-sensed... the loss of livestock, lack of ability to sell as a consequence of disease, water quality issues, inability to use the selling/display space... is far more expensive> Copper is routinely used to control disease.   (whether we do it the best way or if this is truly effective i question) <Common in the trade... and a useful "stop-gap" measure... i.e., better to quarantine, dip/bath... though more expensive, time-consuming... and copper better than not either> I could use a microscope.  Can you recommend a brand, or at least a range of ability i should look for in a microscope? <Most any used/new dual optic of a couple hundred plus resolution will do... I use a "child's" Intel/Mattel QX3... have had old hospital scopes, hobbyists ones... with light source/s> Probably cost some, but i think it would be an investment. <Is> Do you know of a hobbyist thumbs up for a blender i can make fish food with, Or I suppose it would be a food processor? {rather not have a cheap brand screw up mincing squid) <Mmm, actually, the very-inexpensive (under twenty dollars retail), plastic ones do very well... and are easier to clean...> Sometimes the tank bred clownfish exhibit rapid breathing, trouble swimming, faded color, and die within a few days. <Very common> I suspect marine velvet or Brooklynella, but i can't know for sure without a microscope to examine.   What do you think? <Highly unlikely that tank-bred, reared Clowns have pathogenic problems, unless they are getting them from elsewhere... more likely just "stress", lack of proper acclimation, maintenance at play> I'm considering buying formalin online, and giving them a formalin bath, <Take care here... you mis-spelled this toxic compound's name... know what you're doing...> then putting them into a separate environment.  But I'm open to suggestions. <The separate environment is a good idea... best to actually stock with the invertebrates period... much more likely the water quality is better there> I was going to make a few diy protein skimmers to put in the tanks, help control our dissolved organics, maybe lower incidence of Popeye in angels.    I would turn them off when we use copper, which may be once a week or two. Is this wise or real? <Wise... but don't "make one yourself"... Show the owner this message, our site, and have them buy, install a decent... my choice, a Euro-Reef unit... on the main sump/system>   I know its counterproductive in any real aquarium i would have, but i don't think we maintain a constant copper level anyway.   <Better to not use then... must be monitored, adjusted at least twice daily in a setting like yours> Just put in the system when problems happen, and don't when we don't have to.  A kinda strange logic. <One path> p.s.  Nothing like working in retail fish, to make you appreciate a quarantine tank. <Amen brother> thank you for time <And you for your sharing. Bob Fenner>

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

Sudden Porcupine Death I left for work Thursday morning at 6am, and fed my 3 in. Porcupine Puffer a small amount of Mysis shrimp which he ate. He was swimming around and looked fine.<OK> I came home from work this morning 26 hours later and he looked TERMINAL!!! He had developed a large white "patch" on his back that looked like velvet (I think) only it wasn't fuzzy or anything?, looked like 2 3mm circles, sort of connected?<Question...are there any other fish in the tank? What you are describing is what often happens to porcupine puffers kept with Triggerfish and are bites in most cases> he was disoriented, lethargic, breathing was heavy and labored, swimming backwards then floating vertical, then upside down, bumping into things, etc. What is this?<It sounds exactly like a fish that has been attacked by a tankmate> velvet?<Velvet usually is very similar to Ich, only with the spots much smaller and more compact, thus the name as it appears to be covered with a velvety texture. Often the eyes will be cloudy and the fins milky looking as well> I pulled him from the 90 gallon (no other fish, just 40 pounds of live rock)<The porcupine was the ONLY fish in the tank? If I'm reading this right, then I need to ask one other question...are there any anemones in the tank? Anemone stings can appear similar to fish bites>> I put him in the 20 gallon QT but he looked SO bad. He was gasping (even in the main tank) and looked miserable. I was heartbroken and couldn't stand to see him suffer, and euthanized him by freezing.<Probably a wise decision> I am so saddened by this, I don't understand how this could have happened so fast!? I also don't want my live rock and "good" bacteria in the 90 to go dormant, how do I treat the main tank with no fish in it?<There's no reason to treat your main tank at this stage, with my suggestion being to NEVER treat your main tank> are porc. puffers this sensitive to parasitic infections?<Actually yes. Porcupine puffers are every bit as susceptible to Ich and velvet attacks as tangs> I want to let the main tank stand long enough to make SURE that any/all parasites are long dead, but spent way too much on marine Bio-Spira and live rock to have that die too, what do I do? I tested all the parameters in the main tank Temp=78 SG=1.022 Ammonia=0 Nitrites=0 Nitrates=2.5 PH=8.2 I don't get it?<The parameters indicate it probably wasn't water quality, while the symptoms you described are NOT normal for a parasitic infestation, and are very suggestive of an injury. Since you state there are no other fish in the tank, my next guesses would be either anemone/coral stings (is this a FOWLR tank or a reef tank?) or lastly, a case of getting itself caught in a power head intake (very common with porcupines and also produces circular "wounds") or possibly even just in the LR itself. Porcupines can be little "bulldozers" that will sometimes force themselves into tight areas looking for crabs or shrimp, and then panicking once they become stuck, then inflating and only making the situation worse. Once trapped like this, it's not uncommon to exhaust themselves to the point of death.> I am beside myself!!<I'd try to just relax, take a deep breath and consider the possibilities, with my hunch going to a power head, since there are no triggerfish>

UV sterilizer and flesh eating bacteria 7/24/05 Hello, <Hi there> Could you please tell me whether UV sterilizers will reduce somewhat marine ulcer disease AKA flesh eating bacteria AKA Vibriosis? <Mmm, indirectly... through water quality improvement, increased RedOx, oxygen concentration... sure> I am treating my seahorses with antibiotics in quarantine. However I am considering a UV sterilizer for the main tank (has live rock) to reduce the bacteria. What do you think? Regards Katja <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/UVFAQs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: UV sterilizer and flesh eating bacteria 7/25/05
Dear Bob, <Katja> Thank you. I have been reading your posts and info sites for two years now. Most excellent help!  I have learnt so much. I asked the UV question because I was not sure whether Vibrio is a free swimming bacteria <Mostly not> and thus destroyed via UV. However I hope that the horses (given they recover) will develop 'more' of an immunity to it. The main tank has been (and will again be) brought up to tip top condition. Hopefully with more frequent water changes I will manage to reduce and keep down Vibrio bacteria populations.  From what I have read, UV is more like a bonus / additional help <A good way to put it/this> and more of a luxury which I hopefully will one day try out. You don't have to reply to this letter, I just wanted to thank you :>. Regards Katja <Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Sick Polymnus Clownfish 4/17/05 I purchased a mated pair of Saddleback (Polymnus) clownfish about 3 weeks ago. When I first placed them into my 12 gallon QT tank, they seemed very healthy and readily accepted foods including Mysis soaked in vitamins, Cyclop-Eeze and small pellets. However, after two weeks or so, I began to notice some odd behavior in the female (who is about 3x larger than her mate). She seemed very lethargic, mostly swimming near the bottom of the tank without the usual bobbing motion associated with her species. Once in a while, I noticed she would just swim from one end of the tank to the other, sometimes gently bumping into the tank wall before reversing direction. She also stopped eating, but exhibited no signs of parasites or other diseases. The male remains very healthy.  <A. Polymnus aren't the hardiest of clowns and often fail to acclimate to captivity. The black variant seems to do somewhat better. If these are wild caught specimens, I would suggest that you research and rule out Brooklynella (usually indicated by thick cloudy mucous on skin). If it is Brooklynella, both clowns must be moved to a hospital tank and must be treated with Formalin baths.> A couple days ago, I moved the pair into the 60gal reef tank, hoping that a larger tank would perk her up. After several hours, the pair began hosting in my LTA anemone. At first I thought the female had perked up, but it has been two days now and she is still not eating (it's been about a week total since she stopped eating). This morning I discovered that one eye is beginning to bulge out, looks like early stages of Popeye however the eye is not cloudy. There is a small hippo tang in the tank which is perfectly happy and only occasionally hangs around the clownfish and their anemone although I've seen no biting.  <"Pop Eye", especially when only one eye is affected is most often caused by physical injury. However, in her outstanding book on Clownfishes, Joyce Wilkerson describes a very rare fungal disease that often causes pop-eye and the other signs you have described. There is no certain way to diagnose it while the fish is still alive, but she suggests that it can be treated by soaking food in 1% Phenoxyethanol I don't have a brand name to recommend, but it will be marketed as an anti-fungal medication (don't substitute!).> What do you suggest I do? Is her strange behavior just a result of the Popeye she is developing or is there a bigger issue likely involved? Should I move the female (or both) back to the QT tank? Should I treat with Epsom salts or Maracyn as you sometimes suggest? Thanks for your help. You guys perform a wonderful service! Saahil.  <I would not move the fish again. The other fish have already been exposed to the problem and further stress and physical contact with the injured eye could be quite harmful. If the fish is not eating, there is no way to get Phenoxyethanol into the fish (adding to the water is ineffective), so you will have to offer tempting foods and wait it out. Best Regards. AdamC.>

Vibrio  I have looked all over your site, and cannot find a definition for "Vibrio".  Can you hook me up with a link? Kasey DeVita <Mmm, another "as-yet-to-be-done" (of many) parts of the WWM sites... Here's a link to links on this bacteria genus and aquariums: Vibrio Googled.  Can be a "nasty customer"... but almost always a secondary, tertiary trouble... from other root causes. Bob Fenner> 

Blue tang... WWM Hi there, I have a blue tang, which had black spot, everything was going well until the other day, now her mouth seems to appear to be swollen slightly open, I have had her for a couple of months now. I cant seem to figure it out, don't want her to die, anyone with any information is greatly needed, thank you much. Lisa. <Please go to our home page... www.WetWebMedia.com and put in the terms... "Blue Tang"... see the files listed? Go to them and read on! Bob Fenner>

Foxface with one cloudy eye Good evening all: <Good morrow Keith> This evening I noted that my Foxface has one slightly cloudy eye. It does not appear to be swollen. Tank is an eighty gallon with about 70lbs live rock, remora pro skimmer and two other resident fish. A royal Gramma and an ocellaris clown. They are fine. The Foxface has been in the tank a little over a month. Consumed almost all of my micro (hair algae, Caulerpa, Valonia and lord know what else) Now feeding him Nori and pellet food. Appetite is excellent, is very relaxed swimming about the tank and does get on well with the other two. Tank states are good with ammonia and nitrite 0, very low nitrates. In looking through the FAQs I noted that this is often observed in conjunction with Popeye, <Yes... and likely the same root cause here... for one eye... a physical trauma> ...however as above no swelling observed (yet). I am a bit overdue for a water change but will get that done tomorrow. Some recommendations are wait and see, some recommend Epsom salts. What would you suggest at this point? Thanks for your advice and for being there! <Either, both of these. Bob Fenner>

Sick Koran Angel Anthony, <Seems to have dropped off the planet> I have attached photos of my very unhappy Koran Angel. <Good pix> She has been in my tank for about 3.5 years (Since she was the size of a quarter).  About a week ago, she started to get red behind the gills. She has stopped eating, and now has cloudy eyes.  <Trouble> Prior to getting sick, no fish had been added to this tank in about 9 months.  My Blond Naso tang, now has a nasty red patch from the top side of one of his gills. <Oh oh...> In the past week I have done a 100g water change. I also turned off the ozonizer, so as not to irritate the gills.  <Might be better to leave on... to reduce total bacteria...> I added some cleaner shrimps and cleaner wrasses and they were all over her for the first couple of days and then they disappeared (not unusual with cleaner wrasses).  Any thoughts or ideas ? Thanks, Dave B <Something has gone sideways with your system itself... water quality is the first thing I would check... You might want to add antibiotics to your fishes foods... maybe even an injection for the more valuable... all this is gone over and over on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>


Something strange on my fish!!! Hi Guys, <<Hello, JasonC here. Sorry at my delay in replying... this one made me ponder for quite a while.>> I have a small (2.5 in) Flasher wrasse in quarantine. I lowered the salinity to 1.011 to get rid of incoming Ich (what else is new!!) for two weeks. As I was lowering the salinity over the course of a week from 1.020 to 1.011 the wrasse developed a longish lump (.250) on the top of it's gill cover that opened up with a small lumpy spot of white ??-pus-?? sort of looked like the infection spots lizards get under their skin. I watched it (the lump) for about two-three days and I decided to treat with Maracyn and Maracyn-two but when I got home from work with the medication (I manage a med. size pet store with a large saltwater fish-invert specialty section-my main job/love.) the infection had started to clear up rapidly, so I let the fish be with no meds. <<Exactly what I would have done.>> The wrasse has been clear of all disease for two weeks and I just did a water change in the quarantine tank with diluted water from a water change from my main reef system (water quality near perfect) and it brought the salinity up from 1.012-13 to 1.015 and today I notice another spot-lump developing under the scales about mid-body on the wrasse. <<bugger-all...>> Specs on the quarantine system; 10 gal, the usual requirements for a QT tank, as I have read everybody's books over at wet web media (but I push the most copies of your book Bob, Kiss, Kiss ha, ha),<<Ahh... if only all that money went directly to him.>> plus a small Coralife in tank protein skimmer. The readings are PH 8.3 Ammon .15 NO2-0 NO3-2.5. The QT has been up and running for 3-4 months and I feed my QT fish frozen brine shrimp soaked in Zoe vitamins overnight as well as a Hikari micro pellet food.  So what do you think I should do with this wrasse as far as a treatment and what might this strange infection be?? <<That's a really good question... there are some parasites that are subcutaneous [not sure if that's the correct word] then a pH-adjusted freshwater dip might nip it in the bud, but if it were solely "infectious" in nature one would think you would have nailed it by now. If your observations are leading you more to the infection than the parasite, then it might be time to start up with the Maracyn.>> The wrasse is finishing up his final 2 weeks in QT for a total of 5 weeks. <<Sounds like he might be in there a little longer.>> Thanks again, Bill Walters <<Good luck with this... do let us know how it goes. Cheers, J -- >>

Hobbyist/Fish Troubles hey I just had a question. <<Ok.>> I just got into salt water aquariums about 2 months ago and I have 3 fish Huma trigger blue damsel and a dogface puffer. the problem is the puffer does not seem to be doing good, I've had him for about 3 weeks and now and he was doing fine for the first 2 weeks well now he is getting slimy and the sand sticks to him and he has white dots all over. I thought ick at first so I added treatment but he doesn't seem to be getting any better. and the other fish seem to be doing fine so I don't now what's wrong with him. vie been reading and I see a lot about fresh water dips but if I need to do this I want to do it right and not kill him. <<Then read up on this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm >> so any info would be helpful thanks matt <<Cheers, J -- >>

Disease question Hello, I read through the WetWebMedia page but could not find an answer to my question. There is no doubt that I have had an ick problem but it is how my fish are being effected that confuses me. I have a 90 gallon reef aquarium; set up for 2 years. My corals are doing great - growing, dividing. I have about 150 lbs of live rock, a Fluval 404, several wave powerheads and a whisper 3 filter in case I need to use carbon and a protein skimmer. In the tank right now is a purple tang, swallowtail angel, tomato clown, sixline wrasse and a whitetail pygmy angel. Here is my problem: All of those fish are fine, eating well, fins are full but anytime I add an additional fish the new fish's fins seems to start rotting away within 2 days. Then it looks like they have ick and a bacterial infection. The resident fish never show this even when the new fish is struggling for survival. The new fish will either survive this and thrive or die. This is tough because I never know what will happen and I am reluctant to add any new fish. I had this similar problem a year ago so I took out the surviving fish for one month and quarantined them. When I put them back into the reef tank, it started to happen within days. No one here seems to be able to say anything but "ick" or " I don't know". <The ich is very secondary to the root cause here... This is a semi-classical case of biological "poisoning" and acquired resistance to same by your present fish and non-fish livestock. Put another way, your current livestock have all gotten used to each other... but the chemical and physical make-up developed by some of the occupants is so toxic that new fishes can't readily adapt> Do I have too much filtration? Is the filtration using too much oxygen therefore overloading the system whenever I add a new fish? I have tried everything from lowering salinity to reef safe parasite stuff ( Chem Marin -stop parasites ) they don't work. Again my corals are thriving but any new fish will get sick and it's a 50-50 shot whether or not they will survive more than 2 weeks. Even the sick fish eat like crazy but never seem to get any bulk on them. So far I have introduced and lost a male and female Anthias, Scott's fairy wrasse and my white tail angel's fins look like they are starting to erode. I would appreciate any ideas you may have. thank you, Rob Mancabelli <There are a few modifications you might try that would increase the likelihood of new fish livestock acclimating to the main tanks make-up... One approach would be to slowly (over weeks, months) add some of the main tank water to the quarantine system... gradually conditioning the new fish/es to the "new soup"... another angle is to make the main tank water more "neutral" in its chemistry by making massive water changes, employing carbon, increasing skimming... adding a refugium with constant lighting... The "problem" is not with your filtration (evidenced by the other/mix of fishes you currently have), highly unlikely with your livestock supplier (as the species listed as purchased are not offered by "most shops")... but with a not-uncommon situation that arises over time with a mix of species as you have... without conscious effort to "disrupt" a "our space/water" dynamic. This is part of the unseen/smelled world of reefs, a chemical defense mechanism if you will. You can in turn disrupt this dynamic and/or condition new, sensitive livestock to its toxic properties. Bob Fenner>
Re: Disease question
Thanks again for your replies and suggestions for treatment. I read some articles on WWM and it sounds like this may be some type of fluke?  <sounds quite possible, but we cannot say sight unseen> Is that what I should be treating for and if so, do I need to do the dips and then treat in a QT with say, copper or something?  <dips and QT a definite. Copper only if the fish are not sensitive, scaleless or small scaled. Formalin is my preference instead. Aquarium Products is one brand that sells it>> Done some reading, but am a little confused as to what to do exactly. Sorry to keep bothering you, appreciate your help. <quite welcome... best regards. Anthony>
Re: Disease Question
Thanks for your reply, I am going to do the water change. I can only make up half the water at one time. Is it advisable to do a partial water change and then the rest again a day or two later? <Yes, several 25% water changes everyday or two would be ok, too.> I don't want to upset the system too much. <If you are comfortable with the 25% changes, do them. I, owning an aquarium maintenance business and performing water changes daily on many different systems, am very comfortable doing large water changes. I have even done tens of 100% water changes when extreme circumstances warranted them, but I would never advise hobbyists to do so.> I am going to add a small power head to help with circulation too. The grouper is hanging on (tough fish) but is rather torn up looking and eyes are still cloudy. However, he has been eating. His skin and fins are ragged, I think it is from abuse from tankmates. Should I add any Stress Coat or something to help him heal? <The water changes should spur his immune system well enough without the Stress Coat.> Also, I am wondering what to do about the tunicates. Should I leave them or remove them? <Leave them please. Just know if and when your nutrient levels are under control, they will decrease in number on their own.> Thank you again for your help in this matter. You guys provide a great service here. Tim <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>
Re: disease question
Hello, Thank you for the advice. I'll give it a shot. Is there anyway to test these conditions in my main tank? <Mmm, practically? Only through a "bio-assay"... as you've been doing... adding novel livestock... or alternatively adding the water from the system in varying concentrations to test sub sample tanks... with varying stocking densities... There are some radio- and immuno(fluorescent) assays for "stress" of different kinds... don't know if we want to discuss these> I am going to do the water change tomorrow. something must be ok, I discovered a new leather coral growing on my live rock this morning. <Ahh, a sign... does your water smell like terpene (think of dilute paint VOC's here)? If there are any women about have them whiff the water surface... Bob Fenner> Rob Mancabelli

Disease control, role of environment, danger of generalizations and "what's a refugium"? Bob: Am being told:" Disease in a natural environment is rare, especially when an algae/refugium is used as algae produce a ton of elements that aid in fish disease immunity." <Mmm, not to be too much of a stickler... but diseases occur less frequently and are more mild with such systems employed... but I wouldn't use the term "rare"... in point of fact, many algal scrubbing systems are quite prone to water quality problems...> What is such a refugium and how do you build or acquire if you agree with this opinion as expressed by Euro-Reef Customer support when inquiring about Ich control with one of their skimmers and live rock or sand?  <Mmm, please take the long read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and the linked FAQs (blue files above)> Thanks Again for your considered and knowledgeable advice. Sincerely, Stephen Pace <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Marine Disease <<Greetings...>> I have a 125 gal tank with lifeguard canisters (carbon and paper) filtration, sea clone protein skimmer, custom SeaLife UV sterilizer, custom SeaLife power compacts, and lots of live rock. Exactly 5 days ago I noticed a ich breakout on my puffers and my red emperor snapper was dive bombing the bottom of the tank and rubbing his body on the live sand bottom. I also noticed my clownfish which stays at the bottom of the tank with his long tentacle anemone except when I feed them he comes to the top did not have any white dots on him at all and was acting normal. After noticing this I immediately did a 25% water change and vacuumed the bottom of the tank. I then went to my LFS for any advice I could get. They recommended herbal ich attack. So I used this product and removed the carbon in the carbon filter. <<Turn off the UV too.>> On the fourth day of using this product I noticed the little white bugs all over the front of the glass crawling around (I don't know if this is a good sign or a bad sign). <<This is not a bad sign as is normal for an established system. You cannot see the actually ich parasite with the naked eye - the white spots you see on the fish are an irritation caused by the parasite.>> All my fish are eating well and their is no refusal of food ever since this ich breakout happened. I know it is still early to tell because it has been five days and this stuff is supposed to be at least 7 day treatment but you would think I would see improvement within the 5th day. <<It can take weeks to break the life-cycle of ich... please read this URL and the FAQs beyond: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm >> I know I cant use other medicines with copper because I have a total of 3 anemones. I'm just worried that I am going to start losing my fish. Is there something else to use that you guys have had luck with? <<One item... you need a separate quarantine system so you can remove the sick fish and treat with whatever is necessary without worry of damage to the main system. This same quarantine should be used on any new fish you bring home...>> Is their something I can use to make my fish feel more comfortable? <<Well, I don't want to hammer too much on your equipment, but as a quick augment I would get rid of the sea clone skimmer and seek out something better suited to your tank and bioload.>> I need to do something quick because if we lose our dog face puffer that lets my girlfriend reach in the tank and rub his back she will be upset. (please help) <<Yes, read up on those URLs I posted earlier, and also these: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/treatmen.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm Cheers, J -- >>

Fish trouble-please help Dear Mr. Fenner, <Anthony Calfo in your service> We have a 250 gallon salt water tank which I do not know much about and recently added fish not knowing things can drastically alter the tank conditions. To make a long story short we have lost about fifteen or so fish presently and numerous others have pop eye, red marks, ick and all breathing heavy.  <my goodness! Please, my friend... stop and get some good books on fish selection, health and disease! The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, The Handbook of Fish Diseases and perhaps the Tetra Marine Encyclopedia (in that order)... must have references. > I have been to numerous pet stores to look for the answers for treatment and all have different ideas. Have used Melafix for five days did nothing.  <such homeopathic medicines are usually bunk. And even when effective, they are not strong enough for effecting a cure with sick fishes... just as a preventative for healthy ones> Fish still sick and others who showed no signs now showing signs of sickness. Started Maracyn two b/c someone said bacteria and still more fish dying and no signs of them able to breathe easier.  <Arghhh! More bad advice my friend. I wish we had talked to you sooner!!! Maracyn is simply Erythromycin... a weak and generally ineffective gram-positive antibiotic. What is almost always needed is a gram-negative drug (or broad spectrum)... Furazolidone and Nitrofurazone mixes are best for most fungus and bacteria. Freshwater dips and formalin for most parasites> I put an extra air filter in but most fish linger in rocks or at the top of tank.  <the air filter was good> I have had a very emotional time with this ordeal and have almost given up.  <please do not give up! Aquarium keeping is very rewarding, easy and peaceful! You simply got bad advice... and frankly perhaps let yourself get caught up in the excitement of buying fish without studying how to properly care for your new pets first. Asking the Local fish stores is not good enough... they are not unbiased while trying to sell you things more often than not. Please seek counsel from folks that have nothing to sell you. Here at WetWebMedia.com, the local aquarium society, books... listen to all and make an informed decision based on an intelligent consensus> We do have possibly three fish left that seem unaffected and I would like to at least save three out of thirty.  <wow... before you bought the FIRST fish, someone should have told you to buy and how to use a quarantine tank... it may very well have saved all of these fishes lives. And thirty fish is an unbelievable number... even with small species... you would need a very large tank?!! Perhaps you have overstocked the tank> I had my water tested again today and they said it contained ammonia and nitrites.  <yes... a likely sign of stocking too many fish or perhaps too fast. Thirty fish in any system should take 3-5 months minimum to enter into a system...more likely it should take over six months to let the bio-filter catch up> The man at the store said I need to fix my ammonia and nitrites before I can treat the fish with the antibiotic,  <not true at all... you really are getting terrible advice!!! This system needs weekly if not daily water changes to keep the nitrogenous products near zero. Meds can and should be added daily (when needed) as their life in solution is a matter of hours... and little impact on a system that is getting proper water changes> told me to stop the Maracyn and put in new charcoal and add 8 oz of cycle.  <the Maracyn MUST be treated for a minimum of 5 days... no antibiotic can be stopped early for fear of creating a resistant strain of bacteria in your tank... sheesh, bad advice again> Well I went home and called numerous people to get more advise and everyone said something different.  <my friend... I have more than a decade of experience as an aquarium industry professional/aquarist. Bob has more than 30 years!!! Please... trust us> I did put the cycle in and returned the bag of charcoal we were using b/c the cycle box said if charcoal is more than five days old doesn't matter. However I have still noticed my fish are getting worse and some that showed no signs of sickness are now about to die. So question do I continue treating with the Maracyn two for the last three days or do I put fresh charcoal in and pour more cycle in or just pray for a few survivors? <pull the charcoal, finish the Maracyn, fire these people that were giving you really bad advice, buy some good books and tell me what city you are from so that I can refer you to a good aquarium society for local support> I am currently unemployed and looking for work and cannot spend much more without my husband killing me. Everyone has told me a different story and I am so confused right now. I would like to save my puffer fish and a trigger and one clown that don't seem to affected presently.  <daily water changes will be critical. ID any other disease (Ich?) and treat if necessary. Please read about quarantine tanks and use them. NEVER medicate the main display tank... a sure sign that the advice you are given is inaccurate> But if ammonia in the tank could have caused the stress in the first place and caused all these symptoms then I have caused more harm than good with the medications which I believe elevate my ammonia and nitrites. <correct... water changes needed> Please give any advise as soon as possible. I am due to put in the next dose of Maracyn tomorrow at noon. Or should I just finish treating with this and then leave it alone? <as per above> Please help I can't watch them suffer anymore and need some guidance if possible. Thanks much for reading my long story. Any questions please contact me. <quite frankly... for you to have even 15 fishes... you need a tank of 100 gallons or perhaps much bigger. I suspect you were exploited by some retailers who sold you/let you buy more fish than your tank could hold. That overwhelmed the fishes, spiked the ammonia/filter, caused the stress and subsequent disease, etc. Again... do read more please starting with the books recommended and the links on this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm Sincerely Wendy <with kind regards, Anthony Calfo>

Re: bacteria or parasite? I put a black ribbon eel in my tank, 2 days later my fuzzy and radiata lionfish died. It looked like hey were not getting enough oxygen based on how hard they were breathing. A few days later the eel died.  <bacteria generally do not act that fast. Symptomatically, it could be many things. One possibility is that the eel brought in Oodinium or another parasite that infected the gills. It is really important my friend at any rate that every new fish and invertebrate be quarantined in a proper QT tank for 4 weeks prior to entry into your display. Adding fish right from the store to your tank is like playing Russian roulette with living creatures. Please do read the archives of WWM for guidance on the importance and setup of a proper QT tank> I have 1 Valentini Puffer, 1 Marine Beta, 1 Achilles Tang, 1 Damsel and 1 Picasso trigger in the same tank that were not affected in any way.  <you have mentioned a lot of fish... is this a large tank? Over 100 gallons? I would hope that it is also fairly mature to be able to support all of these fishes (over 1 year old? Else we may be looking at overstocking instead/in addition to a possible pathogenic problem. Too much or too fast on the fishes is a possibility> I have a wet/dry filter system with carbon added. I did appropriate water changes,  <how old is this system my friend?> and about 2 weeks later added another lionfish. Well, 2 days later it died too, the same way.  <Arghh... you definitely need to read about the importance of a quarantine tank. It will save money and fishes lives> A few weeks later, assuming that whatever it was must have been cycled out, I added another lionfish that appeared to begin breathing hard like the others after a day so I took it out and put it in a different tank to save it. A few hours later it looked much better and remains in the other tank but it can't stay there because eventually it will eat all my community fish!  <have you tested water quality parameters? Ammonia, pH, Nitrite, etc> Prior to adding the eel I had my 2 lions for quite a while so I am convinced that it was something the eel brought in.  <possibly, but I doubt it know. Very strange that the other fish showed no symptoms in between additions but the new fish suffered promptly. Sounds like a water quality problem that the established fishes got used to slowly but the new fishes cannot adapt to quickly> I have basically changed enough water in the tank throughout this whole thing that should have gotten rid of it unless it is in the substrate or rocks and requires medication to kill it. The only problem now is what do I treat the tank for so that I can add another lion? I am assuming it is either a bacteria or parasite.  <almost certainly not bacteria> And, the other stated fish are doing fine. I am not sure what to do! Lisa <we need so much more information dear. Tank size, water tests, fish sizes/load, etc. Help us to help you by providing such info. And do explore this page and its links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm kindly, Anthony>

Re: Cross infection from tank to cat?? Hi Anthony, A clarification please. <yep...<smile>> >I got a new kitten (7 months) a couple weeks ago. He was a rescue >and it was checked by a vet, etc. Well being a kitten he did as >kittens will do and went for a "swim" in my tank. The tank has >LR, some snails or slugs of undetermined species and a few hermits. >I don't know how long afterwards but someone just mentioned this >on a cat forum I am on, that Pad foot could have gotten infected >by some creature or some additive (additives are only two parter >and buffer). ><what a crock of crap... Ha!> Two parters and buffer or a cat getting infected by the fish tank? <ahh, yes... the cat getting an infection part is the unlikely one. I do like two part mixes.. actually, I like ESV's two part supplements specifically. Do shake any brand you buy very well before every use though. Please don't add buffer or Kalk separately to such balanced mixes for fear of skewing the balance> ><loose bowels with kittens and puppies are common for so many reasons... not >the least of which is stress on a 7 week old kitten that has had a move>< He's a 7 MONTH old kitten. <Oh... hmmm... indeed, a bit unusual and should be watched closely. Diarrhea for all small mammals can be fatal in days if untreated. Cats do often get it from eating things around the house that they shouldn't, houseplants, potpourri, etc...heehee. Sad but true> >change of diet (?). Many laws and reg.s forbid the transport or transfer>< No diet change. <again... maybe a curious nibble or lick of something it shouldn't have> >What are the chances of a cross species infection? ><better chance of being struck by lightning> Ah good! ><my vet has recommended dilute Kaopectate for my cats before... may b a >simply solution for what I believe is not likely to be pathogenic>. Regards, >Anthony> I'll get him some Kaopectate. Should be fun giving it to him. :-} <excellent... do do so with your vets blessing and dose as well. Not all vets concur> --des/Jane <best regards, Anthony>
Re: Cross infection from tank to cat??
Hey Anthony, <Cheers, Des> Thought I'd find you here. I don't expect you to post this, but did want to thank you. Padfoot does not have some fishy borne disease, it's coccidia-- common parasite in cats housed in groups. <Ahhh, yes. Indeed... diseases shared between fish, cats, people are rare> Would easily be explained as he was in a foster situation with many other cats. Thanks, --des/Jane <as a fellow cat lover, wishes for a speedy recovery for Padfoot <G>. Kindly, Anthony>

Cross Infection from Tank to Cat? Hi whoever will answer this, <heehee... Anthony Calfo in your service> I got a new kitten (7 months) a couple weeks ago. He was a rescue and it was checked by a vet, etc. Well being a kitten he did as kittens will do and went for a "swim" in my tank. The tank has LR, some snails or slugs of undetermined species and a few hermits. I don't know how long afterwards but someone just mentioned this on a cat forum I am on, that Pad foot could have gotten infected by some creature or some additive (additives are only two partner and buffer). <what a crock of crap... Ha!> The cat came out and was smelly but I assumed from being wet and well it is not the cleanest of water perhaps. But later (how much??) he developed the runs but otherwise appears healthy.  <loose bowels with kittens and puppies are common for so many reasons... not the least of which is stress on a 7 week old kitten that has had a move and change of diet (?). Many laws and reg.s forbid the transport or transfer (like on airlines) of kittens under 8 weeks old because of their vulnerability> What are the chances of a cross species infection?  <better chance of being struck by lightning> It must not be too high or I would be dead with all the water I have siphoned.  <cross species is VERY rare in many/most animals> The cat was not doing any siphoning to my knowledge :-) but did lick himself off. <yes... indeed the ingested saltwater could have simply upset the tummy> If there is a chance of this-- what problems could he have? This would at least give the vet something to look for. I don't think it would be common. --des/Jane <my vet has recommended dilute Kaopectate for my cats before... may be a simple solution for what I believe is not likely to be pathogenic>. Regards, Anthony>

Please Help Me, My Queen Angel is Sick! Dear Mr. Fenner, <Steven Pro in this morning.> About one month ago I purchased a Queen Angelfish from a local aquarium store. It is a gorgeous specimen and little over 4" in length. My tank setup is approximately 10 months old and is 46 gallon bow front <Very cramped quarters for this fish. It will easily reach 12" and up to 18" in the long run. Needs a tank at least 180 gallon (2'x2'x6') for proper growth.> with 55 lbs. of Fiji live rock, and a crushed coral substrate. I have a Tetra Tec PF300 power filter on back and a SeaClone Protein Skimmer also mounted on the back. The other inhabitants are a Humu Humu triggerfish and a small Fiji Devil Damsel. I do not currently have anything else like shrimps or invertebrates. My Queen has developed some kind of infection whether it is parasitic, bacterial, or fungal I can not determine, all I can do is describe it. It looks exactly like little tiny white pieces of feta cheese growing on its caudal, anal, dorsal, and pectoral fins. The majority of the "junk" is concentrated to the caudal fin where the material began to appear. <Sounds like a good description of Lymphocystis, a viral infection. You can see a picture of it here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/viraldislymph.htm on another Queen Angelfish. If you follow on to the linked FAQ files, you will find more information on causes and treatment.> The fish also seems to have Ick and/or velvet with small salt granular type bumps on its fins and body. <Could be Marine Ich/Cryptocaryon or small patches of Lymphocystis. More info on Ich can be found here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasitf.htm> In addition to the other aliments it also seems to be developing a case of Popeye in it's left eye. <Wow, this fish is getting hammered. I am guessing some aspect of its environment is off. Popeye info here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/popeyefaqs.htm> I have observed it swimming with its mouth open and its gills pumping quite rapidly. The fish also has erratic swimming patterns that include darting, rapid swimming, and tremors or rapid shaking. I have checked all my levels and my pH is at 8.1, and the others NH3, nitrite, and nitrates are at 0. Specific gravity checked out at 1.023. My Humu Humu Trigger seems to have marine ick but is showing no other signs of the aliments that the Queen is facing. I feed my fish twice a day with a broad diet containing a variety of frozen foods, seaweed selects algae strips, live brine shrimp, and occasionally shrimp from the Giant. I am currently trying to treat my fish with a combination of Maracyn-One and Organi-Cure copper sulfate treatments. <Ugh, in the main tank? A terrible idea. Your liverock is now dead rock and forever contaminated. Same goes for the crushed coral. All meds should be applied in a separate quarantine/hospital tank.> I have removed the carbon from my filter and turned off my protein skimmer. After one and a half weeks of copper-sulfate and 5 days of Maracyn I can see no improvement in the condition of my Queen in fact it seems to be getting worse. <Neither would help the Lymphocystis. Could in fact make it worse.> I tried doing a freshwater dip but it nearly killed the Queen after getting its gill barb stuck in my soft net, and from the shock of the freshwater. Please Mr. Fenner, I am desperate and have the means to fund a strong fight for the fish but I need to know if what I'm doing is right and if you have any suggestions, any at all, to please give them to me as soon as possible. I appreciate you reading my plea and taking the time to help. Thank you for your consideration. -Dan Heffelfinger P.S. I have read the Conscientious Marine Aquarist cover to cover a few times and enjoy it very much. <Do read through the above links to enlighten yourself as to the causes and corrective measures. Good luck. -Steven Pro>

HELP!! Please. (Marine disease, induced or iatrogenic might be better) Hey Mr. Fenner, I am thrilled to have recently learned about you guys and your website, unfortunately under bad circumstance. My marine tank is in trouble. I am basically a renewed enthusiast and have reestablished my hobby after a 6 year hiatus. I have a 55 gallon fish only tank that has only been together now for two months. It took a good 40 days to cycle the tank and when it did I ran out to populate with some new inhabitants. Currently the tank has: 2- blue devil damsels1- small Yellow Tang1 -Humbug (Dascyllus aruanus)1 - Blue Spotted Boxfish (Ostracion tuberculatum) a mistake to purchase I now know. <Yikes, yes> I think I have either been hit by Ich or Coral reef disease and have read all your articles and warnings regarding copper treatment and have opted for the environmental manipulation method lowering salinity to 1.015 ppm and temp maintained to 84 degrees with lots of airstone agitation. I have just started the process 24 hours ago. My most important question at this point is, in all the articles I have read on your site you seem to favor the environment manipulation method, especially for the boxfish and tang, yet when someone says the fish seems to be cured after the 4 week quarantine period, you seem to say that it is highly unlikely that the parasite is gone. <That/this is correct... sort of like a predator prey relationship on a larger scale... some foxes, some rabbits... you achieve a balance, but never get rid of the parasite entirely> Yet you do not offer a solution at that point to ensure the complete eradication of the parasite. <There presently is none. Around the proverbial corner are vaccines, other techniques for generating pathogen free hosts, systems... but not now> So I guess at this point my question is, if after the 4 week period this seems to work on a visual basis, what do I do next to ensure the complete kill off of the parasite?  <Keep the system "optimized and stable"...> Especially for the boxfish and the tang. Also, the same question holds true for the now empty main tank. If I let it sit for the next 4 weeks without any host fish does that guarantee a full kill off? <No, for some known species the time frame is many months in actuality... the four weeks is a good number for many/most cases/scenarios for weakening the causative organism...> If not what do I do as a next step to make sure the main tank is safe again? I could keep going on but have tried to keep this brief. Matter of fact I am not even sure if the white stuff of the fish is Ich or Coral Reef disease. The descriptions of both are so close and even ambiguous.  <Really need a microscopic examination to be sure> The tang seemed to be coated with granules of sugar or salt, and the boxfish now seems to have larger clusters but were once the same. I will say that the fish are still eating some, though the tang looks thin ( I have put dried seaweed/Nori in the tank for him). The infestation is going on at least a week already and their activity is still a pretty high level. The boxfish seems to be infected the worst. He hangs out most of the time in the stream of bubbles from one of the airstones and has the greatest change in his activity level. I also notice him perform this really funky/funny "tilt-a-whirl, spin over, rocking" motion that he did not do when I first got him two weeks ago. What is that all about?  <Natural behavior... especially in small (volume) confines> Please help I don't want to lose these guys. Thanks so much, Louis Rizzo <Thank you for writing so lucidly... To sum up here, the Boxfish is not a good organism choice for captive use... easily stressed and can toxified an aquarium... You likely didn't quarantine or dip/bathe these fishes as part of an acclimation protocol... At this point, I would supplement their food with a vitamin/HUFA mixture and run through the env. manipulation you are engaged in... and hope for the best. Bob Fenner>

Help quick! (understanding the interactive, intercooperative nature of the universe) I have emailed you several times and have been given links to read which I have read and read but can't seem to find any answers to my problem and things are just getting worse. My fish seem to have what I think is a bacterial infection caused by bad water quality while I was on vacation turning the entire tank green (it is still green although now you can see through it at least) and raising the phosphates very high.  <How "high" is high?> I have done water changes and added a air stone but last night the yellow tang died.  <Did you try chemical filtration? Do you have adequate skimming?> His sides were covered with blood spots and swirls of white and it's tail was eaten away. My porcupine puffer, who I fear is next to go, is swimming around aimlessly using his side fins but not his back or tail fins and is bumping into things. He shows no interest in food or me and the tip of his tail is foggy and starting to get ragged but not red yet.  <Not good signs> My snowflake eel seems fine. <Very hardy re certain types of poor environment> I have done water changes, I have carbon in the filter  <Ah, good> The ammonia is 0 the PH is 8.2 the nitrates are 0 the nitrites are up a little from a very large water change, can't remember what they are at though and the phosphates are still up although not as high and I have phosphate sponge in the filter. The SG is 1.024 and the temp is 78 degrees. Should I medicate him? If so with what? And how? <For what? The conditions you list? I wouldn't "treat" the system with anything on the basis of what is described... Do you have another system you can/could move these fishes into? Even just a smaller quarantine/treatment tank? It sounds like there is something toxic going on in your main system... I would move these fishes> I have searched this site up and down and find a lot about not medicating scale less fish but not too much on what you should do instead.  <There are references to environmental manipulation, supplementing of foods, dips... specific medications... What your root problem's here are not clear however... what you have is "stress" from the "green water" incident/causes, and more stress from your efforts to correct same... with likely more stress from the Puffer releasing chemicals into the system... Reduce the stress... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm Do you 'Get it?'> I really don't want to loose this particular fish. To me he is what most people feel about their dog or cat. If you could please give me some kind of step by step directions as to what to do to save him I would be forever grateful and will do what ever you suggest immediately. <Endeavor to understand. The sets of factors that determine the health of your livestock, yourself, the planet... Bob Fenner>

Bicolor blenny - disease id? Hi everyone at WWM, <cheers, my friend. Anthony Calfo in your service> Yesterday I brought home a bicolor blenny. He looked in good shape at the LFS and was very attentive. The guy at the LFS said that he's had him for almost a year. (and to my stupidity thinking that a year in the LFS didn't require a quarantine)  <Ahhh... I understand your logic but it would only had a chance to preclude a QT tank if the fish was in a tank that never saw a new addition (wild fish, rock, coral, etc) for that same past year. Even then, a LFS store has nets, fingers, hands, etc that dip in tanks with new fish and then dip into the blennies display tank as well. Many chances for a disease to be transmitted. And I suspect that this blennies tank had new coral or fish added monthly if not weekly> tonight while I was watching my aquarium, I noticed that he had some white spots.  <common Ich?> upon further observation, the corners of his mouth, his antennas, as well as some spots on his body are white. looks like discolouration of his skin, no lumps or roughness.  <may just be a fright/stress pattern as new to the tank. Especially if it looks only like a change in pigmentation... not mucous> he is very alert and poked his head out of his hole all day long. I've never heard of a bicolour blenny changing colours,  <they have tremendous color change as they age and even day to night with night/fright patterns> or have his antennae change colour. I haven't seen him eat yet, but he is just new to the system so I didn't think much of this. <agreed... but do try Mysis shrimp in addition to greens. Actually, Sweetwater Plankton might be even better> I'm very concerned. is this ich or do they change color like the midas blenny or something else altogether?? <if those spots are not raised like grains of salt, or the fish does not get mucous (from mucus <G>), and you see know rapid gilling, scratching or glancing... then just continue to observe> Thanks Barry <best regards, Anthony>

Help for a poor Ozi amateur Bob <crew member Anthony Calfo in your service> Can you help an Ozi who has a problem? <absolutely, my friend... but you are so much closer to the GBR that I cannot see how anything could be too bad <smile>> I have recently joined the other keen (or foolish) people who have ventured into the pleasures of a marine aquarium.  <yes... we are a wacky and lovable lot> After what I though was much reading and preparation, the tank was set up 7 weeks ago. The size is 160 litres (not sure what that is for you guys at the bottom of the world but think it approx 40 gallon tank) with live rock. <yes... very fine> After religiously checking the water conditions and watching the N cycle all appeared well so after 4 weeks introduced a single yellow angel fish.  <hmmm... dwarf angels are not exactly the most hardy species to start a tank off with. Do know that they are VERY sensitive to copper medications and organic dyes. Nonetheless, if you have the true Lemonpeel angel, Centropyge flavissima , then you have a reasonably hardy fish. If instead your fish is all yellow (no blue eye/cheek marks) and you have C. heraldi, then you may have a fish that is doomed from the start. Herald's Centropyge is very difficult to keep in captivity> All was well so this week introduced 2 Chromis. Going well for 5 days until overnight a large lesion appeared on side of one of the Chromis body. The scales have gone clear and red blood cells are visible. It looks very similar to the image on your site of 'Furuncular' but no mention of its prevalence in marine fish.  <hmmm... because of the dwarf angel and they sensitivity to it... hemorrhagic septicemia may also be suspected... very bad if so> I can se lots of replies on the dreaded ich but nothing that resembles this.  <not ich in your case. Ich simply looks like a sprinkling of salt. Equal and identical white raised dots. It is unlikely that your fish have a parasite as the primary pathogen... more likely virus or bacteria> I can't see how it could have sustained a physical injury (heater in separate section and nothing to cause it grief). It is still eating well but does appear to have breathing problems. <simply stress/shipping induced. May or may not be contagious... do separate this fish to a QT tank ASAP, please> Of course, my previous readings have not mentioned Q. Tank, nor did the shop where my main tank and fish were purchased so now searching the web and finding your site all I see is QT, QT, QT. I have learned my lesson in the future and this will be my next purchase  <very good, my friend... alas, too many of us learn the hard way at the expense of some fishes lives> but for now what problem could I be faced with? <as above> I am not sure if it my eyes, and reading the 100 or so FAQ on ich, but now that I have a close look there also appears to be 4 or 5 minute white dots on its fin. I hope this is not the dreaded 'ich' I have been reading about!!! <a secondary infection is also possible on such a stressed fish. But focus on one dot and see if it moves or stays over some hours. May be moving air bubbles stuck in the extra mucus of this stressed fish> So what is it and is there hope?? Any help would keep me sane James <maintain good water quality right now... without a QT tank, try to find some medicated food (only minor but helpful). If it is septicemia, it will run its course within mere days like wildfire. Else, a bacterial infection is likely to be slower and less contagious. You should know within 3-5 days how bad is bad. Do get a QT as soon as possible. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Great need: sick fish Hi Bob <WWM crew member Anthony Calfo in your service> Over the last week I've lost 2 fish, some of them appeared to have white spot and others some fungus. I have been treating them with Melafix  <a mildly effective tonic if at all. I like the idea of homeopathic treatment, but more as prevention. Doubtful or dangerous to depend on such unproven treatments when a full blown infection occurs. Few if any medicants can treat such physiologically and pathogenically different organisms such as fungus, parasites and bacteria equally.>  but it didn't work,  <a common experience and tribute to good marketing... again... I like such products for prevention at best. Have used this product before and rather liked it (with newly imported fishes)> couldn't treat them with copper as I had coral in my tank and had no hospital tank. <for the investment in money and lives in your tank, please make the $100 or less investment in a QT tank a priority: a simple 10 gall, glass canopy, sponge filter and heater. That's it, short and sweet. At a garage sale, it might cost $20> I've tested for signs to help me find the problem as my PH is 86 and my No2 is on yellow <the pH is not a problem at 8.6 by day and not sure what yellow is on your test kit for No2... ppm needed> I've been using Myxazin (Maracyn?) for 2 days , increased the water temp to 38 degrees as advised by my local marine fish store and now the rest of my fish seem also sick and not well. <wow...way to warm, especially if there is a bacterial condition involved. The inverts don't mind?> I took the 2 of my fish to a friend who has a hospital tank treating them wit copper but what can I do now with the rest of the fish who are now starting to show symptoms. <resume normal aquarium conditions (temp, salinity, etc) slowly and continue to maintain good water quality (water changes, aggressive protein skimming... you do have a stable temp too don't you? Temperature fluctuations are VERY bad. No more and 1c change> Should I continue with Myxazin or go back to Melafix? <not Melafix.. and I'm not sure if you need "Myxazin" either. Please refer to a good book on fish diseases like Noga or Untergasser and get a correct identification of the pathogen(s). Then we can see about which medications to use. Also review the articles, pictures and FAQs in our disease archives here on WWM at: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm look down the page for appropriate links> and if I do change, how long should I wait before administering the other? Also how could I get all these diseases out of my tank before putting the healthy ones back? <by running the tank without a new fish for 4 or more weeks and then only bring in fish that have been properly quarantined for four weeks themselves in separate hospital tanks> I don't know what else to look for and what to do Please help me????? David <please do read through the archives my friend... much direction in wisdom on those pages. Best regards, Anthony>

Sick dogface puffer and Bob the smuggler To whom it may concern: <I'm concerned... for many things. Especially for Bob who was arrested by customs agent just coming back from Mexico while wearing Speedos: they thought he was smuggling plums. I have all faith though that all will be "revealed" soon and he will be exonerated> Hi, I have a 55 gallon saltwater fish only aquarium that just finished its cycle on Friday 6/7/02.  <hmmm... don't put much faith in such exact cycle dates... other spikes may follow... proceed judiciously> My filtration system includes emperor 400 with two bio wheels and carbon cartridges as well as carbon filters and a vortex DIATOM Model "D-1" Filter. My temperature is around 78-80 F. The fish dealer told me all my water levels were perfect!  <a bad start already... heehee. Lets continue...> I cycled my tank with a snowflake moray eel and a Miniatus grouper.  <WOW... slap the person in the face with a dead snowflake eel that suggested those two fish so irresponsibly. Never use a scaleless fish to cycle a tank, my friend. Wow... really weak advice given to you> The snowflake died halfway through the cycle. he developed a swelling inferior to his neck and on his under side which started to peel, did not eat, and was very lethargic with rapid breathing and mouth wide open. he died after three days of symptoms, still don't know why?  <scaleless and poisoned by nitrogen by-products from cycle likely> Well, on Friday I purchased a dogface puffer, and a Huma Huma trigger. the first two days the fish were getting accustomed to the new environment .  <Ughhhh! As hardy as dogfaces are... they are scaleless and Ich prone!!! You need to do better research my friend. Please take advantage of our extensive archives on site here. Also, I would recommend Bob's book, "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist". The trigger by the way was the first good recommendation you got, although you are picking fish that will all outgrow this tank in just a couple of years> Today, The puffer is acting strange.  <not too surprised in such a young tank> He is laying on the bottom of the tank with what look like a piece of hair or very thin string around his mouth with about 2-3 white dots on it. he also has two scattered white dots on his body, one on his back and the other on one side maybe 1/2 inch behind his gill.  <yes.. they are extremely Ich prone, but hardy. You need a quarantine tank ASAP for this fish and you need to use it for all new fish you ever buy. All fish are to be put through a quarantine period for 4 weeks... never put a fish right in your display> he is eating well. I also noticed that his breathing is very rapid at times and this is isolated to one gill which alternates. ( one gill breaths rapid and heavy with the other fine, then the other breaths rapidly and heavy with the other fine--this process repeats). I am very concerned that this is something not good?  <you have made very keen observations my friend. You puffer does indeed have a parasite infection. Do review QT procedures in our archives. Also, remember that this fish is scaleless and should not get organic dyes (colored meds) or copper (all toxic to scaleless fishes). Review protocol for freshwater dips too (Minimum of 5 minutes here)> I just got the fish and don't wanna see him die already! Any info you have to help me would be greatly appreciated!  <yes... much to learn my friend, but you will be fine! Browse the FAQs and articles waiting for you on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/martrthyposalfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm  and beyond...> thank you for your time, Sincerely, Jason <best regards, Anthony>
Re: sick puffer
I have tried live brine.. still nothing the tank temp(78), and ph(8.3) are always the same it seems my tank is just infested with parasites how can I rid them?  <I still don't see how you feel your tank is "infested" without any mentioned symptoms, my friend?> should I copper the whole tank with just my clown in it? <nope...cannot/should not copper outside of a quarantine tank. Especially not in a tank with rock, coral, sand or gravel. Tempers copper efficacy and ruins the calcareous media> would that rid the parasites that got my puffer (internal)? <internal? how do you figure? stringy white feces produced?> how long should I leave the copper in (if I do) should I get a new fish? <copper only for Cryptocaryon IMO> I think there are parasites in the tank, so quarantining a new fish before I put him in my main tank won't help he will just get infected anyway.  <not correct my friend... QT will spare the display and biological filter the assault of copper since it will run fallow for the four week medication period your fish stays in QT. Please do study/read more about the benefits of Quarantine tanks in the WWM archives> I know all tanks have parasites in them but I seem to have a lot.  <do review the disease sections in the archives as well to ID the parasites more accurately and discover their treatment... so much written on this topic> I soak my food in vitamins and it still doesn't help.  <nice... but minor. Temperature stability and QT are much better at screening or preventing outbreaks> any help would be great thanks again. Bryan <best regards, Anthony>

Where to go from here? (marine disease, parasitic) Hi Bob, <Steven Pro in this evening.> I just want to thank you and your colleagues for dedicating your time and energy into this wonderful website. Also, hats off to the tech. people who manage this bear of a website, probably for little remuneration. <Thank you very much from the entire crew.> As I made the mistake so commonly referred to on this website of setting up a tank and adding fish with no quarantine. I was plagued with in 48 hours with Ich or Velvet on 5 green Chromis (very small tank raised .5 -.75 in) In a panic I scoured the web and found the Wet Web Media website and I sat there reading FAQs, breaking out into a cold nervous sweat. I took out 30lbs of live rock caught the 5 Chromis and two tank raised Clownfish and put them in a quarantine tank (yes I know, it wasn't fully cycled yet) cleaned out the substrate into buckets and added that wonderful Killer NJ tap water to the buckets, changing water and stirring every three days for two weeks. I have let the tank fallow for 5 weeks at SG 1.019 79-80 deg. with just snails and 3 Queen Conch. <Ok> Well, the next day the Chromis were getting eaten alive by the disease, so I had to put them out of their misery. I dropped the salinity of the QT tank to 1.016. The Clownfish did not show any signs of disease for 3.5 weeks, then the plague hit! I understood that Clownfish do not tolerate copper well and I could just imagine with them being that small (same size as the Chromis). I immediately started to dip them (I had made a trip to the LFS and stocked up just in case) twice a day in fresh water with Methylene Blue, 1-1.5 min. in the dip (it was all they could seem to tolerate), <An awfully short amount of time for dipping. Probably of little benefit.> a 10 min rest in another bucket of tank water and another dip in the MB. I lowered the tank Salinity to 1.011 over three days and stopped dipping, as the Clownfish were starting to act a little odd. <Odd from the dip or the low salinity, more likely the later.> I also changed and soaked my filter media and filter parts in very hot tap water for an hour in case any cysts or tomites were resting there. <Has this given you ammonia and nitrite problems?> I have been changing 10% of the tank water twice a week. <Good> So, after a week the Clownfish are acting fine, very active, eating and no signs of the plague. So to my question-were do I go from here? <Are they still in quarantine or in display tank? If in quarantine, leave them there for at least one month of perfect health. After that you can move them back to the display. From then on, quarantine everything for one month prior to tank addition.> As penance for my committing of a major aquarist's sin, I can give back the solution to a PH water problem I was having; I could not get my tank water PH above 8.0 -8.1 until I checked my saltwater mix and found, despite manufacturers claim, it was at 7.9-8.0. I checked my under sink filtered tap water and found it to be neutral 7.0. Now I add 3/4 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate to 4 gal. of sweet water, aerate overnight, add my salt mix, aerate overnight and I have a stable PH of 8.4. Thanks in advance for your time, Bill Walters <Have a nice night, Steven Pro>

Various Treatments wow what an awesome site you have. I got caught up in everything trying to increase my knowledge about marine fish. I have a puffer, Naso tang, clown, in a 55 gal tank. <The Naso is going to require something much larger in the not too distant future.> my water quality is always top notch. its a fish only tank. these are my first three fish in this tank. I got an antennata lion which died 3 days later, and a clown trigger who died a week after I got him. my puffer and tang always seem to have some kind of symptom of sickness. the first time this happened I treated the whole tank Maracyn, then Maracyn II 2, then Melafix, copper as well. <Did the lionfish die not long after the addition of the copper? Copper is very bad for scaleless fish. I am surprised the Puffer lived through it.> I now know this was stupid as it probably messed up my whole tank. they finally started to look alright. just recently I put them in a hospital tank for a week with Melafix. my Naso tang now has a re-occurring problem. he has a slight haze to both his eyes. when he first had this it was one eye that got Popeye. I think that eye is permanently scared. anyway he eats fine and seems normal. should I worry? or treat him? <Let us try to discover what is the underlying problem and why you need or feel you need to medicate your tank with such frequency. Whenever something goes wrong or looks bad, a quick look at overall water quality and a water change are always in order.> my puffer also has a re-occurring problem with a loss of color (it turns white) between his eyes on his forehead. in this same area some lumps are back (bumps under the skin) should I worry ? treat? <Could be from exposure to copper> AND just today I noticed some white specks on my clowns eyes and forehead. IM not really worried about that but I might try the garlic treatment (keep my eye on it to see if it spreads) also my puffer seems to have a sunken stomach. besides that and the bumps he is as good as ever , swimming , eating well. should I worry about the sunken stomach if he's still eating? treat? <There is much you are leaving out; equipment, water quality, water change schedule, etc.> thanks for any help you could offer. -Bryan <Not much more I can offer you at this point. -Steven Pro>

Tank Wipeout Bob, we have a fairly new salt water reef tank. Live rock, live sand, a few corals, snails and crabs. Recently all of our fish died. They seemed to be breathing heavily, some of them had rotting tails. Our corals and anemones appear unaffected. Our numbers all seemed to be within the range required for salt water fish. What could be wrong? <Many things. The breathing could be a sign of Amyloodinium (very common) or gill flukes. The best thing I can tell you now is to begin again and follow a strict quarantine regimen (4 weeks).> Thanks, Sherry <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Tank Wipeout Follow-up We can quarantine any new fish, but will the disease still be in the tank? <Allow your tank to go fallow (no fish) for one month and you will be ok to begin adding new fish.> How can we make sure there are no diseases in our tank? <Without a host, any fish diseases will die out in one month's time.> Why were our corals and invertebrates not affected? <Because fish and corals have different, non-transmittable diseases.> Also where can we buy your book? <You can find Bob' book at Di's Aquatics, one of the WWM sponsors.> It was recommended to us by Flying Fish Express. Thanking you in advance, Sherry <Have a nice night. -Steven Pro>

New Setup Hi Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob sits catatonic trying to find a happy place after a bizarre golf course accident with an amorous, stray Red Kangaroo while on holiday in Australia> I will be setting up a new 200 gallon 'fish only' salt water aquarium. I plan to keep a few tangs, a lrg. maroon clown, a Queen angel and a few Chromis. Previously I had a 72 Gallon tank with lots of live rock, both in the tank and in the sump, and usually about 5 medium sized fish.  <sounds quite nice> Over the course of 9 months I experienced many problems with the health of the fish, mostly ich, and suffered many losses from it. I tried everything, UV sterilizers, Protein skimmers, Reverse Osmosis Units, ich treatments, (M. green) and many water changes but ick would always come back even after many treatments.  <too bad we didn't speak earlier... you could have saved money, time and lives with an inexpensive quarantine tank that all new fish are run through and treated/screened for one full month before making it to the display> Aside from temperature fluctuations, (which I suspect may have been my biggest problem)  <with all due respect my friend... I agree: temperature fluctuations are an extraordinary catalyst for Ich. Why not better heaters or a chiller rather than all of the other money spent to treat the symptoms?> I was told that I should not use live rock in this new system since it is fish only system. Live rock can introduce many types of pathogens (which even lie dormant for a while in transport) and increase the risk in fish getting diseases.  <that is a gross misstatement and almost entirely fiction. Live rock is used by many merchants in fish holding systems to actually consume parasites with the microfauna of the live rock. Live rock is an incredible attribute to any marine system> It is also very difficult to treat the tank... cant use the more effective treatments like copper.  <true... but you shouldn't treat a display without live rock either... any calcareous media (sand, gravel, rocks, coral skeletons) will suck up copper like a hypoglycemic child in a candy store. All medication is to be done in a hospital tank which should rarely be necessary if the fishes are properly screened with a one month quarantine before entering the tank on arrival> I was using a lot of live rock for the filtration since I thought it was the best form of filter media, (better that Bioball media) .  <totally agreed!> If not live rock, can I at least use live sand? Does live sand carry pathogens?  <same story as live rock... also very good but better at denitrification (nitrate reduction)> I was also told to upgrade to a much larger system where fish can better adjust to any environmental change, (ph, salinity, temperature). <sounds like a good piece of advice> Before I set up this new system I would like your real honest advise. I really love the hobby and I really want to succeed in it but I am very afraid of experiencing these same problems again as so many others do too. In the past, I have received lots of bad advise from too many inexperienced people which meant lots of frustration and lots of lost money. Do you have any tips for me before setting up this new system? What are the 'most important' things to consider in order to avoid fish disease?  <if one person had mentioned that one little thing: Quarantine tank to you long ago, your history in aquariology would have had a much better start. It is the single best thing that you can do to prevent contagious disease> For example, I was told to do 10 gallon water change once every 2 weeks then was told by someone else to do 20% once a month, <depends on the bio-load, but both are light. I'd do more> then I was told by another to NOT do so many water changes since it is a major change in the water chemistry... only once every 6 months <that has to be advice from the same turnip that told you live rock is pathogenic...heheh. That is bad advice, dude!> if you can keep the nitrates down with the use of a good protein skimmer.  <I strongly advise the use of a skimmer or two on a tank as big as yours> If maintaining excellent water quality is really the key to success, what is the best advise you can give me?  <Quarantine and water changes: Dilution is the solution to pollution> Thanks. <very welcome... Anthony>

Treatment stress versus illness First, as with so many before me, I'd like to express my heartfelt thanks for all the conscientious advice you've (all) given on the subtle art of salt critter care. _The Conscientious Marine Aquarist_ has been my unfailing guide for the several years I've been in the hobby, and I've found no other printed source that compares favorably to it. Likewise, this site is extremely helpful. However, having read the FAQs and many letters and responses on parasitic diseases and troubleshooting, I remain in a quandary and hope you can help. <We'll try> The set up: I am transitioning from a 3 year old 30 gallon small peaceful fish and live rock tank to a 60 gallon fish and hardy invert/tolerant corals tank with a plenum, deep (over 4") aragonite/live sand bed with a separator at 1 1/2 " depth to protect the plenum from diggers, more intense lighting (240 watts of pc lighting, 50% white and 50% actinic), approximately 100 lbs of live rock, brisk (20x/hour) circulation divided between several pumps, and air-driven skimming (which seems to kick the tar out of our finicky Venturi skimmer in terms of skimmate production).  <The usefulness of various skimmers labeled as "Venturi" type is huge in variance> The new tank has been cycled for a few months and is maintaining good, stable conditions (zero ammonia and nitrite, falling nitrate as the plenum comes into effect -- it seems to have a longer maturation time -- pH 8.2, salinity 1.0235 at 78 F, dKH 8.  <Yes... a general "rule", the larger the system, the longer to establish> The tank went through a diatom bloom and a little red slime production, both of which were eaten by the cleanup critters (a variety of snails and small hermits) or passed away naturally as conditions matured. Once everything looked good, we started moving stock. Sadly, we had little old stock to move as the switch was catalyzed by the fact that the lighting on our 3 year old Eclipse hood had been shocking our old system, quietly killing our fish. We put a stop to that when we noticed frayed fins, heavy breathing, and some slight lateral line erosion on our pair of true Percula clowns and psychedelic mandarin goby, all of which have been with us for the whole three years (yes, we bought the dragonet before we bought the book that told us not to, but with 60 lbs of live rock in a 30 gallon system and lots of live brine enriched with Selcon and VitaChem he was thriving until the electrocution began. The dragonet was the first to move, as the critter-rich waters of the newer system seemed to offer his best chance of recovery. He has been feasting there for several weeks and is very active and slowly fattening again, but has a bald (colorless) patch on top of his head which neither recovers nor worsens.  <This will hopefully improve with time> It is not as "dimensional" as the hole in the head pictures I've seen, but I assume it's a combination of nutritional issues and electrocution. Nonetheless, he's doing well and really pigging out on enriched brine and all the life in the new tank. Next we added a store bought royal Gramma. We dipped him but our treatment tank was already occupied by the Percula clowns, as their electrocution damage evolved into a very deep-seated and stubborn fungal infection of the mouths, which we are still treating. The Gramma was bright and beautiful for almost a week, then developed a heavy whitish slime and -- since we were totally unable to catch him -- died in two days. We waited in terror to see if the dragonet would show signs of infection, but none developed. So we bought two Banggai cardinals, dipped and quarantined them with the clowns for a week and a half and then added them to the tank. All was well, and still is with the dragonet and cardinals. Here comes the dilemma. After a month of looking, my reef retailer was able to acquire a blue-spotted Jawfish -- my long-time dream fish -- for me. He suggested that the fish would undergo less stress if dipped and placed immediately in the system he was destined for. Since the hospital tank does not have a sand bed for him, I agreed and so after a long dip and acclimation I placed him in the tank. After a scary while of sitting in stun on the floor, he set up a deep little burrow for himself and moved in. On the second day he started eating hungrily (flakes, strangely enough, ignoring all live food offerings). But he is extremely noctophobic, leaping out of his burrow and cowering when the lights go out, so we've had to give him a "night light" to keep him from freaking out. <Good idea> Anyway, morning of day three (today) he is sick, with clumps of very dimensional (over a millimeter high and wide and somewhat uneven) white clumps and a few "strings" of white body slime as well, which I presume is a reaction to whatever's eating him. He's still eating, and given how stressed he is I'm afraid to stress him more by moving him to a treatment tank or dipping him. However if we're looking at Oodinium or Brooklynella it seems from reading your site that he has little chance of recovery, none without treatment, and has probably already infected the whole system. So, what do you think the disease is, and what would you do were you in this situation (given, yes, that you would never have put an unquarantined fish into your tank in the first place). Sorry for the length of the inquiry, but I feel that detailed information is crucial to looking at things in a whole-systems approach, as you advocate. Thank you in advance for your help! Ananda

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