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FAQs on Marine Diseases 3

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Related FAQs: Marine Diseases 1, Marine Diseases 2, Marine Diseases 4, Marine Diseases 5Marine Diseases 6, Marine Diseases 7, Marine Disease 8, Diseases 9, Diseases 10, Diseases 11,

Preventing A Lion From Dyin'! I have a 29 gallon saltwater tank that has one anemone, one spotted hawk, and one Volitans lionfish. <Wow! I hope that larger quarters are in the future for these guys?> Everything was going well for almost six months when my lionfish (who was growing rapidly and eating great!) seemed to get ich, then a secondary bacterial infection (or vice versa) and died within a few days.  The other fish never got sick. <Sorry to hear that...> After doing a water change and waiting one and one-half weeks to see if the other fish got sick, which they didn't, I added another lionfish.  Within a week, even though he seemed to be doing well, he developed a film over his eyes, much like the first lionfish, and white spots all over his body.  When I approached the store where I got him, they told me to treat with Greenex (malachite green and quinine HCL) which would be safe for everything in the tank.  No improvement. <Well, I am adamantly opposed to using any kind of medication in the display tank...All treatments are best carried out in a separate container or dedicated "hospital tank". Easier to control things, and long term problems are eliminated.> The next time they told me to try Maracyn (erythromycin) for one treatment and he got worse.  For the past three days I have now been giving him freshwater baths for 2 minutes once a day.  His eyes seem better and today he ate some shrimp, but he still has spots all over his body and I am afraid he will worsen. <I would not use an antibiotic for a parasitic infection (sounds like ich). Sure, it may help the eye problem, but I'd concentrate on the bigger picture...I would have used Formalin or copper sulphate (administered in a separate tank, following the manufacturer's instructions to the letter)...> Upon returning to the fish store they gave me Quinsulex (Quinine 250mg) which they told me would definitely kill the anemone, so I could bring that back to the store for the meantime while I treated the tank. <Yikes.....> The problem is: What exactly am I treating?  What about the spotted hawk who is doing fine, even though the tank has been treated a number of times?  If the previous things haven't worked, why will this?  How potent is this product?  What about using something as simple as Quick Cure for Ich?  How do I tell if he has bacteria, fungus, ich, etc, etc etc? <Okay- let's back up for a minute. First, in the future- never ever administer medication in the display tank. It's too hard to maintain a proper therapeutic dosage, and the potential for "collateral damage" is too great. Second- never treat any illness until you know exactly what you are treating! Dumping in a succession of the wrong kinds of medications is worse than useless-it's dangerous! You're subjecting this fish to round after round of medications with all sorts of possible side effects, all the while missing the illness. Best to read up on the FAQs on the WWM site, or in a good book on fish diseases to see exactly what you're dealing with. Then you proceed to take action. It sounds like you're dealing with Cryptocaryon (marine ich) and a possible secondary infection. At this point, I'd give the poor fish a break from medications for a week or so, set up a dedicated treatment container, and consider a copper or formalin based cure. Alternatively (and possibly better at this stage of the game), you could employ hyposalinity in the treatment tank, or even freshwater dips as a supportive "therapy". These techniques can work if administered properly, and they sure beat lots and lots of medication...> Are lionfish that hard to keep?  I was told they were hardy and that was why I got one.  I do water changes every three weeks, and use a good filter.  I have only had my tank up and running for 7-8 months now, if that. HELP! Thanks <Well, Lionfish are not too hard to keep, but you have to provide the right conditions for their care. A 29 gallon tank is okay for a small juvenile- for a few months. After that, the fish will require much larger quarters to grow, and to help dilute the copious amount of waste products generated by this rather messy-eating fish. Much better would be one of the "dwarf" species, and even then- a larger tank and optimum water conditions (coupled with excellent husbandry practices!) is required...My best advise at this stage of the game is to read, read, read...You'll learn a lot from this experience...Don't give up! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: clownfish upside down Oh my God...I just finished typing this email and didn't realize how long it was.   <The task falls to me...David Dowless> Bless whoever has to read this  :-) <Thank you> Here's the scoop...55 gallon reef tank with the usual toys installed. Fish:  1 yellow angel, 1 Naso tang, 1 yellow head jaw fish, 12 percula clownfish Dilemma:  I purchased one tiny true percula from my LFS two weeks ago.  I had JUST broken the glass on my QT tank literally 3 days prior to the fish purchase so had no where to quarantine the fish (stupid me should have got another tank at the store...) <Yep> Anyway, I did the dumb thing of putting the percula in the main tank sans quarantine (I know I know. idiot) 4 days later of course I noticed white dots on the other Perc's so I IMMEDIATELY rushed out to Wal-Mart and bought three quarantine tanks. came home.  I drained the water in main tank down to 1" depth and netted up all the fish...putting 6 clowns in one tank, 6 in another, and the tang, angel and Jawfish in the last (they showed zero sign of white spots).  It was at this time I decided I wanted to ditch my acrylic tank and set up an ALL Glass one with internal overflow, etc etc...so long story short, I did all that days later and all is well with that now.  Anyway, so here I had two tanks full of sick clowns and one tank with the angel, Jawfish and tang in it.  Seeing as how the angel, Jawfish and tang showed no signs of disease, I did nothing but keep them in the tank with a nice amt of live rock and a power head and air stone (they ate and ate for days with no signs of anything). <Okay> The clowns immediately received 3-8 minute long fresh water baths, about 2x/day for the first two days (changing out 40% of their tank water with fresh daily, adjusting the ph and keeping ammonia and nitrites as low as possible,  <Needs zero> dropped salinity to 1.018 "gradually .001 a day"  <That's not very gradual> and raised tank temp gradually to 85 degrees to speed up protozoan lifecycle ..I assumed I was dealing with a protozoan disease, velvet or Oodinium i guessed as both white grain of salt dots AND greyish hue to their skin was witnessed) <Breathing heavy is normally a sign of Amyloodinium (Velvet> On day three or so, two clowns died.  They were losing color and had evidently developed a secondary type bacterial infection. noticed their tails were getting eaten away. <Also could be coming from the extensive medicine regiment that you are using. The fish can only take so much> So on day 3 I started with Greenex in the percula's tanks only (as the other fish showed no signs of illness).  I dosed Greenex for about 3 - 4 days with performing water changes and keeping temp at 85 degrees, oxygenating with air stones, kept tank bare bottomed with PVC fittings for Perc's to hide in, kept salinity at 1.018, etc) <I follow> On day 7 I noticed my Jawfish in the other tank was REAL REAL ill...had been hiding under a rock for days and I couldn't see him so just thought he was re-adjusting to the new environment and wanted to be alone.  I pulled the rock away and there he was. scales missing and his fins were rotting away and he looked lethargic. I immediately pulled him out and soaked him in a methyl blue solution for an hr or so, in salt water of course...all temp, ph, salinity mirrored that of the tank he just came from.  I then put him back in that tank. The next night, he looked terrible. laying on his side gasping for air. <At this point it is difficult to save a fish> I had no other choice but to end the misery.  So in usual fashion (as I have had to do so many times in the past) I took him out front and basically stepped on him real fast. <Yikes!> It was done. None of this "slowly freezing him in the freezer, ice bath of fresh water" nonsense.  One step and it's over.  I loved that fish very much. his personality, etc.  Sorry if the above sounded cruel or unusual, but I'm learning to handle deaths a bit better by getting them over with and moving on. <To each his own...> Anyway, I had run out of Greenex, but had a bottle of QUICK CURE on hand.  Yes, the clowns still showed signs of gasping for air , lethargy, and some white spots even after repetitive fresh water bathing for up to 9 minutes !  I now assumed maybe they had Brooklynella or some such. <I think this was the problem all along> I treated them with the QUICK CURE (formalin & malachite green) for several days, following the label instructions to the letter, and performing daily water changes, etc. <You've done lots of treatments. If you were one of these fishes, could you have survived this many treatments? Did you ever consider a simple 2 week copper treatment?> I came home one night to find my angel fish laying on it's side hardly breathing.  About 5 hrs prior he was king of the remaining roost...eating and swimming normally.  He just flat up died about 2 hrs later.  No signs of anything on his body no white spots or anything, and his eyes were clear as a bell.  I'm thinking that whatever the Jawfish had, spread to the angel.  I'm thinking marine velvet or some such because it killed the angel VERY fast.  I'm assuming the protozoa attached to the gills of both fish, causing them to lay on their side gasping for air??? <In the early stages...progresses quickly to the point of no return> OK...so the angel's dead too now.  I take the tang out of the tank, and he's strong enuf to sustain an 8 minute fresh water bath with no problems whatsoever.  I figured I'd have to get this tang out of the tank>and out of that parasitic water immediately, so I acclimated him into the clownfish tank slowly. took 2 hrs all the while using an air stone and small amts of water added to the bowl the tang was in.  Then I gently scooped the tag out of the bowl (didn't want any cysts or whatever was in that foul water to get into the clown's tank).  I put the tang in the tank and he was fine.  Next morning he was on his side too. doing the same thing the angel did.  I poked him gently and he wouldn't move hardly at all.  I can tell when it's "time".  IT was time.  So I "dittoed" him the way I did the angel...hated it but it was done.  Now all I had left were the clowns in two separate tanks, all doing quite well on the formalin - malachite green dosing.  <More medicine...> One of the clowns was very lethargic and was swimming upside down.  I figured , "okay. he's next to kick the bucket". So, I thought "well. maybe the salinity's too low and it's screwing with his ability to right himself due to an air bladder insufficiency or something". so over the next two days I raised the salinity back to 1.021, discontinued the ORGANI CURE and started using Furan 2 (Nitrofurazone, Furazolidone and Methylene blue) capsule.  I felt that perhaps the upside down fish has an air bladder infection.  The other fish are eating VERY well and are back to their old selves.  <Does sound like swim bladder disease. Unfortunately it is almost impossible to tell what caused the problem therefore specific treatment is difficult. You're already using antibiotics. If the fish begins to eat, it can live for years with this disease. Without eating, I would say the fish is almost at the end of its rope> I'm about 11 days or so into the treatment, and right now all I am doing is putting one capsule of Furan-2 in the tanks (yes both, just incase there's some bacterial infection in the mix) and doing daily water changes.. pH is 8.2, temp 83 degrees, salinity in both tanks is 1.021.  The fish is still upside down, swimming around uncontrollably, and unable to eat or get to the food.  I think he's freaked out because he's upside down and doesn't know why.  I'm PRAYING I am correct that he has an air bladder infection.  What else can this be?  His color is a bit pale and he hasn't eaten in 11-12 days now.  His breathing is rapid yet his will to live is strong.   <Does not sound good> The largest of the clowns (a fish I have had for 11 years now, and has been in 4 different tanks with me) nurses the little upside down fish, nudging it with her mouth as if to try and flip it back over.  And the largest of the clowns also protects the little guy ferociously whenever any other fish gets near it.  This is odd because this upside down fish is a new member to the crew (about 4 weeks old).  Ok.. so what, if anything did I do wrong...and what is the course of treatment for this little guy now? <You're already doing what I would do> I'm using this broad spectrum antibiotic in both bare bottomed tanks, while still siphoning the tanks bottoms daily when changing water, to pick up any remaining ich cysts or whatever, as well as uneaten bits of food.  Both tanks are getting superb oxygenation, and the filters in them are carbonless. just sponges that get cleaned every couple of days. <Okay...my friend...You may not like what I have to say. IMO your selection of fishes isn't very good. The Naso (which grow to 18" in the aquarium) with 12 clowns and an angel is way too much. The Naso was a bad choice for the tank, period. The Jawfish needs a really deep sandbed (much stress without its natural habitat). Probably all of the fish in the main tank were under a lot of stress before the addition of the last fish. The infestation was most likely present but the addition of one more fish was enough to put the tank over the top. This is the reason why we at WWM encourage people to stock carefully and get fish that are right for your size tank and filtration...and under stock! About the treatments: It is my fishy philosophy that fishes are treated best with low stress treatments. IMO you have been too aggressive which frequently aggravates fishy illnesses. Removing the fish to a proper quarantine tank and running a two week copper treatment should have been enough. It's too much of a guessing game to diagnose whether a disease is bacterial or whatever and then start throwing medications in the tank. For sure these guys had Velvet in the beginning and that's where I would have started the copper treatment. I like to provide a quiet resting tank for sick fishes, with optimal water quality, a simple but effective copper based treatment, and freshwater dips only if absolutely necessary>   My main reef is up and running in the other room, with new live rock, a freshly plumbed wet/dry as well as a separate, hand-made, ecosystem-design type refugium in an adjoining cabinet.  So the reef has been fallow for almost two weeks <Wait at least a month...6 weeks is preferable> and I'm going to wait another 10 days or so before putting these clowns back into the tank.  I figure whatever protozoan that caused all this, is dead now as ALL the clowns appear parasite free and are getting BETTER instead of WORSE.  So.. a few more days on these antibiotics and then a few days of nothing but water changes and time. <Need to be parasite free for at least 2 weeks after the treatments have ended. Don't get impatient. I'm sure you don't want an instant replay> I just hope that this upside down clown's problem rectifies itself.  Please advise if there is anything else I can do for this fish. <I think you've done about all that you can do> Sorry for the novel  :-)  Steve <It's okay. I'm just sorry it's a tragedy/drama. David Dowless>

Re: Kent RxP (The backward state of aquarium "medicines") Hi,    Thanks in advance for all your advice.  I was wondering if you'd had any experience with the product Kent RxP for the treatment of saltwater ick?  It claims to be reef safe but I don't like putting anything unknown in the tank.   <It's neither entirely reef safe, nor consistently effective. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/med.htm and beyond. For others input I would consult the hobbyist BB's here>    I have a reef tank with one sick Kole tang (Cryptocaryon irritans).  I can't tear down the tank without destroying quite a bit of coral growth.  I have lowered the salinity to about 1.020 and raised the temperature to 82F and there seems to be no change.  All other tank parameters are at optimal levels.      I have 2 G. oceanops, 2 L. amboinensis, 1 L. wurdemanni and 1 L. debelius for cleaner species.  The tang presented to the L. amboinensis but they just seemed to ignore him.  The tang doesn't seem to notice the gobies and the other shrimp are pretty secretive and don't seem to exhibit much cleaning behavior.    Other than a complete teardown and copper treatment is there anything else I could do to help the fish in this tank? <Mmm, depending on the pathogenicity of this infestation, circumstance of the setting, and your perception of your own tolerance for ongoing problems (as with the introduction of new fish/es), I'd go the removal of hosts route... as detailed on WWM> I've read through the FAQs and garlic seems to be suggested but I can't tell if this is preventative or curative. <At best the former>   Other website have suggested 3-5 ppm vitamin C in the water as an immunostimulant.  Any truth to that? <Some... not much IME>    Incidentally and on a completely different note, where is most marine pharmacology studied?  Is it at academic institutions or do companies such as Aquarium Pharmaceuticals actually do any research on fish disease?  I ask because I'm currently finishing a PhD in medicinal chemistry and since I enjoy aquariums so much was wondering if there is any place a person with my background might fit it. <Some of both. There are noted authors (e.g. Ed Noga), who are engaged continuously in such research, and others more sporadically (there are quarterlies of "fish, aquatic disease" journals... where you could become familiar with the players, locations of this work... But/however, the majority of what passes as pet-fishing index medicus reveals a long-standing "anecdotal" prescription of "this and that" homeopathic sorts of cures, testing (not scientific experimentation)... and a funny/scary large proportion of "medicines" on the market are outright frauds... Amazing to me... but I suspect with the "killing off" of so much of the customer base (the "average" hobbyist stays in the interest less than a year) the pepper sauce, sugar solution sales folks can/do get away with this. Sadly. Perhaps you can/will be a force in reversing this trend. Bob Fenner> Thanks again for the help. Erik Jorvig

Emergency Treatment Facility For Sick Fish Wow! I had no idea you would get back to me so fast!  Thank you soooo much for your advice, although if I knew you guys were this quick I would have delved a bit deeper. <Well, I'm certainly glad we could help!> As today is Xmas Day (Happy Holidays to the crew by the way!!) everything is closed so I am unable to get any kind of medication.  I will go to my fish store tomorrow, but my question is this -I am waiting for my next paycheck to arrive on 01/15/2002 and will then run out and buy a quarantine tank, but until then, how can I best go about treating my Dottyback in the main tank? <Well, if you're gonna try the medicated food route, then just leave the Dottyback where he is. On the other hand, if you are going to use an actual medication, I'd find a large plastic container of known quantity (like 1 gallon size), such as a Tupperware or Rubbermaid refrigerator storage box, and float it in the tank (or secure it to the side somehow). Add an airstone or small box/sponge filter, and voila, instant trauma unit! You won't have to worry about tank temperatures, as it's floating in the tank. You won't have to worry about getting medication in the main tank, either. Since the capacity of the container is known, you will be able to extrapolate the correct dosage of any medication that you're using. Do change water frequently in this small container, of course. It "ain't pretty", but it will work in a pinch!> (I have sooo learned my lesson about quarantine tanks, definitely not an option but a necessity - just didn't think I'd need it so quickly!) <I can relate! The best lesson is something like this, unfortunately! I know that you're going to be successful in your future efforts with this valuable lesson learned!> What can I do to ensure all of the fish remain in the best health and my Dotty gets this worm out of him? Christy <Keep the water quality high- execute regular (2 times a week at 5% would be awesome) water changes, utilize aggressive protein skimming, and clean that skimmer a couple of times a week. Finally, maintain the most stable, high quality water conditions that you can. You'll be fine if you keep doing the basics, reading, and learning from your experiences! Hang in there, I'm sure that with quick action, this Dottyback will be fine! Merry Christmas, and good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Strange illness Hi Anthony, <cheers, my friend> an update with a few comments/questions: first, the Longnose has been fully recovered for about 8 days now; a few less spots each day until he was clean; <very cool... after 2 weeks symptom free you can enjoy a big sigh of relief> two days later he started eating; nobody else is the system became infected; go figure; <interesting and good to hear> like I said initially, it was something strange; thankfully so. On another topic, I have had enough experience with Kick-Ich and Greenex to comfortably render an opinion on both: With Kick-Ich, there is something that does seem to suppress the disease; <never to be used as a primary treatment, stimulating at best> the visible spots will  disappear overnight or in 5 to 6 hours, and for 4 or 5 days the fish will appear to be doing better; then, with little warning, they return en-masse, overwhelm the fish despite other measures (FW, CU, formalin dips) and produce fatalities in a day or so. This is true even at the new accelerated dosage  recommendations. <hmmm... not to disagree at face value, but I have studied some aspects of fish pathology at length... took the aquaristic fish pathology course under Gratzek and Blasiola at U. Georgia... you are mistaken about the FW and Formalin. Redundant studies have been done on these treatments regarding their superb efficacy if done correctly. Many/most parasitic infections can be cured by FW dips alone from a bare-bottomed Qt display (siphoning bottom daily as well). The addition of CU or Formalin as a long bath can rid Ich in 8 days. Other pathogens documented just the same> It also does have a negative impact on some hard and soft corals, although after 20 days of treatment all seem to have recovered. <OK> With Greenex, the result is more direct: <Ha!... Greenex has a reputation for cure or kill. And it is sever on invertebrates despite mfg claims. With the effectiveness of FW and Formalin or Methylene blue in QT... I have no need to recommend Greenex IMO> it successfully eliminates all parasites - because it generally eliminates the hosts. <heehee... agreed. Wicked product and easily abused (or hard to use depending on your perspective)> Bad stuff unless you are treating tough fish! <much agreed> Lastly, an unrelated question: among the frozen Mysid brands, which is "cleanest"?   <Hmmm... good question. I personally don't have a brand preference. Been using PE for a while with no complaints though. Heard of another with slightly higher protein> too many eyeballs floating around my tanks.  Thanks for all your past help, best wishes to all the crew for a great holiday and coming year. Steve. <and the same to you, my friend. With kind regards, Anthony>

Learning From A Tragedy Well, Bob...I have messed up royally. <Scott F. here for you today> I am a newbie that was having wonderful success with a 75-g fish-only tank.  I had accumulated 2 clowns, a Fiji puffer, a lunar wrasse, and a Foxface.  All was going exceptionally well until I added the Foxface.  He must have introduced some horrible disease. <Did you quarantine him before adding him to the tank? Don't forget to do that in the future, okay?> I should tell you that all of my water parameters are great.  I have checked and rechecked.  I am assuming from the symptoms (heavy breathing, lack of appetite, some scratching and flashing) that they had a parasite.  It spread extremely rapidly. <Sounds a lot like Amyloodinium, which is similar to marine ich, but is much more aggressive and quite deadly if not treated quickly> The Fiji went first within 5 days of putting in the fox.  By the time the Fiji went south, the fox was already showing signs of illness and I started treatment (SeaCure).  I know, I know.  Never treat the main tank (I have learned this from reading almost ALL of your info). <Yep- but you're learning!> By the 3rd or 4th day, my fox was lying on the bottom (same symptoms).  During treatment, the fox died, the wrasse died with same symptoms, and the clowns were really sick (same symptoms just several days apart). <Sorry to hear that> The clowns recovered from the "parasite?"  but now show signs of stress from the treatment, I guess.  The female still does not want to eat.  They have both developed some red spots (bacteria?)  that is now covered with white stuff around the mouth (fungus?).  They are breathing normally now. <Sounds a lot like a secondary infection of some sort.> I have cleared the copper to the best of my ability and I have been to the LFS so many times that I'm sure they never want to see me again.  I am also running some Neosulfex upon recommendation of my LFS.  I have learned so much during the course of this disease, but I still have no real answers as to what is killing my fish.  If my clowns die, I may just get out.  This is a very difficult hobby!  Please help!! I love my fish! Thanks! Lisa <First of all, Lisa- please don't be so hard on yourself, ok? You're learning...And, upsetting as it may be to lose your precious pets, they will not have died in vain if you learn from this tragedy. A couple of things here. First- you really need to get the remaining fishes into a separate "hospital" aquarium for observation and treatment. Medicating in the main tank presents a host of problems: First, it is difficult to maintain a therapeutic level of medication in a system where rock and sand can "suck it up". Also, the beneficial bacteria population can be decimated by the treatments that you are using- further stressing the sick fishes. Also- as you will find- it's very difficult to completely remove medication from the main tank- particularly copper-based remedies. Do run some PolyFilter pads in this tank when you're done treating to assist in removal. Also, if you remove all of the fishes from the main tank, many of the parasites associated with the disease that you are facing will perish for lack of hosts. Try letting the tank sit "fallow" without fish for about a month. Keep up the regular maintenance routine that you are using (water changes, etc.) during this time. By the time you return your now-cured fishes to their home, the parasite population will have been reduced to a very negligible level that healthy fishes should be able to fight off. Be patient- study the disease FAQs on the wetwebmedia.com site for more information, and above all- don't quit! Just hang in there...You'll come out of this successfully. Feel free to contact us whenever you have any questions! Take care! Regards, Scott F>

Latest issue of FAMA, page 149, www.fishvet.com "Our new Hobby-Vet software deals with all kinds of tropical fish diseases and is excellent in finding answers to treat freshwater aquarium fish including those hard to treat Beta fish diseases, Angel Fish diseases and about 125 others. The software also answers questions about nutritional disorders, and water quality problems. Hobby-Vet deals with those myriad of problems, found in saltwater aquariums, including an excellent review and suggestions for dealing with the very common Marine fish ick found so frequently on saltwater fish and in a reef aquarium. We also produce a unique REEF SAFE NO-ICK treatment to deal with this problem, see the articles on Marine FISH DISEASE ICK in our articles on Fish Disease. There is no other software program available on the world market that is so comprehensive in dealing with all aquarium fish diseases." Software: "Our Fish-Vet disease diagnosis software is used by professionals from Tasmania to Tokyo, from Wisconsin to Washington D.C. Used by Universities, Veterinarians, Wild Life agencies, Public Aquariums, as well as hundreds of Fish Farmers, and now by ever increasing numbers of Aquarium stores, and Hobbyists with our latest version Hobby-Vet." Aquarium Hobby Vet $149 Fish Vet 1.0 $500.00 Fish Vet 2.0 $1250.00 They've got a guy in the ad with surgical scrubs on...you can beat him by wearing your anemone costume! Barb-- <Har! Did see their full page, color ad in FAMA in the Jan. ish... pricey! I wonder how their sales are going. They allow a "limited time" use for ten or so dollars... We can come up with similar info., software... I have an old (mid-70's) version in five 3 X 5" cards... one for "on arrival", "organisms affected", "causative organisms", "therapeutics", "reference"... need pix, video... and away we go. Bob>

Hope I did not waste my money Hi! I want to thank you guys for your website. It's nice to get some good consistent advice. <Thank you very much!> It seems like every time I listen to my LFS's I end up with more problems. <That is a shame. Perhaps look into another store in your area. Also, try to locate a local marine aquarium society. Here you can find many educated opinions on the local stores, expert advice from seasoned aquarists, and good friends.> And the result being that I have transferred lots of money, from my wallet to theirs without making much progress. <But on the other hand you are helping to keep the economy humming :)> In reading your FAQ's I have noticed that you don't seem to mention the use of the UV sterilizer for the control of the parasites that cause ICH. <Correct. They are too often misapplied when a proper quarantine tank and protocol is much more effective and cheaper, too.> I have recently set up a 300 gallon fish only with lots of live rock. My approach to controlling the parasite problem is: to maintain a SPG of 1.015, <Wow! Pretty low for liverock. I prefer to attempt to replicate an environment closer to nature.> use cleaner shrimp, <I am surprised your shrimp are surviving. I also don't put a lot of faith into the cheap box hydrometers we all use. Your 1.015 reading could be 1.012-1.018 in reality. Calcium deposits, banging them around, and other activities mess up the measurements.> a 1-1/2" French Angel (as a cleaner) and a 120 watt UV sterilizer. I have very good circulation, using a Iwaki MD100RLT. I get about 4 to 5 turns per hour though the UV. <Your UV gets that much water through it! As long as you are following the manufacturer's specifications for effective kill rates of Protozoans, you should be ok.> Did I waste my money going with the UV or did I do a good thing?<I would not say you wasted your money, but do not let the UV lull you into a false sense of security and add unquarantined fish to the display. Also, be sure to keep track of all the maintenance (replacement lamps, cleaning the quartz sleeve, polishing the water to ensure maximum UV penetration through the water, etc.). UV's are very labor intensive.> Thank you, Rick <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Urgent Trouble in my tank Hello- I  have a 50 gal reef setup with 5 small fish, inverts, live rock the whole shebang that is having a parasite problem.  I had a clownfish that died due to what I had believed to be clownfish disease "but I am not sure of my diagnosis" he was treated but it was too late.  :( Now the other fish are starting to show symptoms of a parasitic infection . I have a QT that I am easing them all into for treatment, but how do I treat the main tank without killing all of the non fish species? Also I have been thinking of sizing down my system do to a recent move into a smaller space but can I salvage the sand, live rock and other species for  a new system without worry of this cropping up again? Thanks, Jason <Much to say, and yes to a need for action. You need to hear, understand what your situation is, and a certain course of action. Thankfully, we have written about your sort of circumstances many times... and archived this here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm Please read through this article, and the associated links (in blue) at its head. And do act soon... separating the fishes, leaving the main system "fallow" (w/o hosts), raising temp., lowering spg there... treating your fishes in another system. Bob Fenner>

Possible Tail and Fin Rot I also have another question if you'd be so kind as to help me out.  One of my black and white stripped damsels has what I believe to be tail and fin rot.  Is there any good remedy for it?  I see that there are a lot of anti-biotics to treat it but is there any other method?  Thanks always.  Matt <All of this information is catalogued at Wetwebmedia.com  May I suggest that you search the articles first and then the facts using the search words "fin rot. David Dowless>

No QT... sick fish... big tank Hi, Crew! hope you can help with this one: I have a yellow pacific Longnose (Forcipiger long.), about 4 years in same  system, never any problems.  Tank is a 180, fish only, Atlantic-pacific mixed. Only other butterfly is a C. Rostratus, in the tank as long as the Longnose. Water parameter is good, temp. 75f. Two weeks ago I added a 5 inch French angel who is clean and doing well. <Doh! Why?!?! A magnificent angel indeed... but that's like throwing a pit bull into a crowd of emasculated poodles!> The Longnose developed, literally overnight, a heavy sprinkling of something I've seen before, but never had. <Ahhh... you mean to say that you threw a fish in that wasn't quarantined! Ughhh... silly rabbit. Well... don't worry, if the Ich doesn't kill the butterflies, the Angel will by the time it reaches sexual maturity. That is, of course, assuming that the butterflies don't simply starve to death from being outcompeted by the fast growing, strong swimming aggressive angel. Heehee... I guess what I am trying to say is that the angel is an inappropriate mix. It will behave while small for a while: 1-2 years. Then hell WILL break loose. Full size angels rule reef patches and bite divers. Butterflies don't> (definitely not ich or ood.) Relatively large, 2-3 times the size of ich,  irregularly shaped, white-gray, raised growths, predominantly on body, a very few on fins, estimated count 50-75 per side. I almost want to say Benedenia, but I'm not sure I have ever seen it, <and I cannot say even from a photo let alone a general description. The treatment at any rate is the same. Remove affected fish to QT. FW dip daily for 5-8 days. Use formalin in a long term bath (daily dose QT tank). Avoid copper or organic dyes for angels and butterflies> and the irregular shape stumps me. More like a thick, short line with a bend than a lump. <a mucosal response to the primary parasite> Fish is  alert but anxious; not feeding, respiration normal. Chances of netting him  out for treatment not great, may be possible at night. All other specimens are clean with no signs of anything. <no worries... get three pickle barrels or garbage cans and a fast pump (like a sump pump). Kill all power to the tank, do not disturb the tank at all. Drain the tank fast into the barrels (1200 GPH sump pump drains the tank in less than 10 minutes!). Undisturbed the fishes will follow the draining pools (perhaps make a depression in the sand for a low spot). When the tank is drained dry, you can easily catch the fish with two nets with little or no stress to either of you. The tank can be refilled just as fast: 15 minutes total up and down! Much faster than you chasing the poor bugger in a tank full of water by night or day. Pickle barrels cost $5-10... garbage cans not much more. $30 sounds like a good solution to me plus you keep the barrels for future projects <G>> Any assistance much appreciated. Steve <thanks for tolerating my half-joking comments :)  Best regards, Anthony>

Re: "flashing" I keep hearing references to fishes with ICK "flashing".  What does that mean?  Ana M. Saavedra <When fish scratch or rub on objects or items in the aquarium, like rocks, substrate, heater, etc. from ick irritation.  Craig>

Cut Damsel Hello to You: I have attached 2 photos of my male Blue Devil Damsel (is that right?). <Yes... and I moved this query and pix around a few days back. Sorry, we evidently lost you> He has some stuff on the base of the fin, and now on the edge of the same fin. <Yes, I see the mark. This is what we call "cut marks" in the marine livestock wholesale trade> He seems to be using that fin less than the "healthy" one (kind of swimming in circles - HAHA - just kidding.  I needed a little laugh in this time of grief, as this is my first illness, and maybe death, in these early months of the hobby.).  Any identification? <Likely a "secondary" bacterial infection/infestation from a physical trauma... likely in turn caused by collection> I just moved him to QT and, of course I have a couple of crabs & snails in QT at the moment.  That limits treatment, right? <Yes. But simple isolation, attention to feeding and water quality ought to cure your Damsel> I appreciate your help more than any LFS, because you don't take my money (CMA notwithstanding, but that was a steal anyway!) Thanks, Rich. <Press on my friend. All should be fine. Bob Fenner>

Ich treatment conundrum Hi folks <Greetings!>, I'm new to this fish hobby, my daughter and I. We have a 20 gal. set up and our tank has not cycled yet. We are medicating for ich. My question is, can we do a 20% water change while we are medicating or wait until the med. thing is done. I don't have a tester yet to let you know my water quality.( sorry) I would appreciate any advice, thanks in advance. <David D. answering your question this afternoon. My friend in fish...we need to back up for a moment. In order to tell when the cycling is over you must have a basic saltwater test kit that includes tests for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. You will continue to need these tests as long as you have a marine aquarium for periodic water quality checks. I am assuming that you have chosen to cycle with damsels and the damsels now have ich. Are you sure the problem is ich? What type of meds are you using? Giffer...I suggest that you don't add anything else to this tank until you have taken the time to really learn about what you are doing. In this hobby knowledge equals success. If you don't spend time learning, it will in all probability be a very bad experience for you and your daughter. Check out Wetwebmedia.com for information on tank cycling, disease, water testing, and just about every imaginable aspect of the saltwater hobby. Best of luck to you!>     Giffer ps the ich does seem to be getting a bit better

Sick Fish Setup 100 gal aquarium 2 actinic 40w tubes and 2 175 w 10,000 k metal halide lights 33 gal ecosystem mud sump with 2 13w pc lights grape and feather Caulerpa in sump Mag 9.5 main pump 2 802 Aquaclear powerheads R/O water 60 lbs live rock Livestock: 1 Damsel, 2 Clarkii Clownfish, 1 Yellow eyed Tang 1 pink tip anemone, 1 Red legged Hermit Crab, 1 peppermint Shrimp 8 turbo snails, 1 Anemone Crab Tank has been running for 6 months. Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate all 0. The Caulerpa has not grown very much but after the first 3 months small copepods were crawling in the mud. Green and red algae started to grow in the sump more and more as I cleaned it out each week. <Sign of excess nutrient, retest nitrates....Do you have a protein skimmer? If not you found the problem, along with several other factors.> There was also a lot of pearl like bubbles forming all over the plants. <Bubble algae or gas bubbles...either one requires excess nutrient.> Water changes were about 5 gallons/month. <FAR too little. 20-25% water change monthly = 20-25 gallons.> Last week the fish became very stressed with clamped fins and hiding in the rocks. The Damsel turned from charcoal to almost silver and white. A day later the Tang died with no visible fungus or spots. I did 2 treatments of erythromycin in 2 days then a 10 gal water change followed by another 2 treatments and 10 gal water change. <Why are you indiscriminately dosing antibiotics? Likely this was cause of copepod deaths and who knows what else. The first thing to do is a rather substantial water change and test daily for a few days to monitor any biofiltration die-off and resulting wastes. I'll bet your anemone, crab and shrimp are none too happy about it too.  My bet is your nitrate test was either faulty or improperly used.  Compounded by inadequate water changes, no skimmer?> I could only catch 1 Clownfish and put him in a 10 gal quarantine tank with erythromycin plus a small dose of Cupramine (1 ml per 10 gal). The sump has been foaming up and forcing a lot of sludge up to the top and sides. <Yep, erythromycin....change his water out and give him clean waste free water. Throw that darned erythromycin away!> I removed the foam prefilter on the Mag 9.5 and noticed hundreds of small copepods were dead and stuck in the filter. I left the filter off and cleaned all the sludge out of the sump. There were also many small white dead bugs or copepods stuck to the sides of the overflow chamber. <Yep, all producing nitrates.  Clean sponges weekly or they produce nitrates!> The fish all seem to have improved greatly and look almost back to normal. The algae has stopped growing and the plants look healthier. Did I do the right thing by putting the medication in the main tank (didn't have much choice) or would it be harmful to the ecosystem and system bacteria. <Short term gain to kill algae at the expense of long-term natural balance and you didn't resolve your causative issue, you actually made it worse by using the antibiotic. Antibiotics are "anti" biotic! They kill bacteria. The kind you want to grow in your tank. The cause of your problem was environmental (excess waste from insufficient water changes, no skimmer, dirty sponge filters, dead animals in sponge and sump.) not bacterial. Please read this link carefully: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm> What would have caused the fish to get so sick? <Clamped fins and lethargy aren't necessarily "sickness", they are the first warning signs of water quality problems.> Should I drop in 1 erythromycin tablet each month for prevention? <NO!  Round file them.> How long should I leave the other Clownfish in the quarantine tank (its been 1 week), since he looks like he's back to normal? Should I leave the prefilter off and let some of the copepods get sucked up into the main tank to feed the fish? <The clown can probably go back as soon as you change enough of your water to make it livable. Have a trusted LFS test your water to verify your tests...or not. Clean up his QT water though.> I also put a porous bag of charcoal where the water flows out of chamber 2 in the sump for a few hours last night. Should I leave the charcoal in all the time to clean the medication right out? <Water changes (up to 50% or more) perhaps a PolyFilter, and leave the carbon until then.> How can I get the Caulerpa to grow? <Give it some time, and use a 24 hour photoperiod for your Caulerpa. I know these are a lot of questions but I want to do the right thing. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Richard <Please read the link above and think about adjusting your outlook away from risky curatives and more to preventive husbandry, a far better approach.  Best of luck!  Craig>

Disease? Hello, I am writing and hope that you can help me figure out if I have a problem or not. I have a 110 gallon fish tank with a flame angel, blue tang, 2 neon gobies, 2 damsels, 1 mandarin, 2 cleaner shrimp, and 8 turbo snails. I have 100 pounds of live rock. Recently, I noticed some spots around his eyes and mouth, very localized to his head. <Around whose eyes, mouth, and head.> Even more than spots, it just looks like the scales are gone and there is no color on his head. <Perhaps this is the early symptoms of Head and Lateral Line Erosion, HLLE.> No other fish seen to have any symptoms. The flame angel seems fine, he eats well and is active. I have not seen him scratching on any thing. The flame angel is the only fish that allows the cleaner shrimp and neon gobies to "clean" him. I am worried because I am not sure what is wrong with him and I also know that it will be next to impossible to catch him. It would mean dismantling the tank. It really does not seem like an infectious disease. I have been monitoring it for a couple of weeks and no spread. <No, not likely infectious. Please take a look here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hlle.htm> Thanks for your input, Abby <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Fungal Infection I have a 55 gallon tank with three clown fish, a domino damsel, and a pink Anthias. My Anthias had what looked like a fungal infection on his mouth, it was a light brown cottony looking growth on his bottom lip that seemed to be eating it away. Today I contacted the owner of a local exotic fish store and he told me that it would be okay to use Melafix for the infection. I read many testimonials about it and it sounded like a good product. I added the indicated amount to the tank and almost immediately my poor Anthias began to jerk, swim around frantically, gasp for a breath, and then ultimately, perish. I'm extremely upset about this. I have only had the fish for about three weeks to a month and the domino damsel that I got at the same time is perfectly healthy and active, as are the other fish that have lived in the tank for almost a year. Why do you think my fish got this infection? Are my other fish at risk? And why do you think he died so quickly after this medication was introduced into the tank? Should I not use it? I would appreciated your advise on this matter. A Anderson <Hey boss, sorry about your fish. Usually fungal infections are secondary to the original injury. Probably bumped his face on something or got into an argument with someone else, then the fungal infection took over the wound. As long as you practice good husbandry (maintenance, water quality, and stuff) your other fish should be fine. Not quite sure why he died so quickly after the addition of Melafix, it is possible that the Melafix reduced the O2 levels in the water adding the final straw to the fishes back. I used to use Melafix on my freshwater tanks for preventative maintained, but I noticed it made my water really nasty, so I figured good clean water = happy fish, and stopped using it. A fish with fungus or bacteria needs antibiotics in QT immediately. Best Regards, Gage>

My First Sick Fish! I have a 55 gallon aquarium that's been up for a few months with a BakPak skimmer, wet/dry, powerheads for filtration, and about 40 pounds of live rock. Salinity is 1.023, temp around 78, pH is 8.1, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, etc., all acceptable. Inhabitants include a small Kole Tang, baby Lunare Wrasse, Vagabond Butterfly, and a Coral Beauty Angel. For about month, all have coexisted perfectly, without a hint of disease. The Tang had a little ich when I first placed him in the aquarium, but it quickly went away. <That was a mistake that I'm sure you won't repeat again! Always, always, always quarantine new arrivals for 3 weeks before placing them in your main system! And never, ever put a sick fish into your system. You seem to be a very keen observer of your fish, so I know that you will learn from this experience> They are fed on a cycle of Angel Formula 2, a brand of marine flake my LFS prepares, a frozen marine mix, and Seaweed Selects. A few days ago, I noticed the Butterfly seeming to try to "spit" something out. I've seen this on and off for the past few days, it concerned me a little, but since he showed no other abnormal signs and was eating like a pig I ignored it. Then I woke up this morning. I turned the light on. I noticed ich on the head and fins of the Butterfly, lightly all over the Coral Beauty, and maybe one or two on the bottom fin of the Tang. What concerns me the most is the Butterfly, he seems to have raised areas on his body, which appear sort of a brownish color, and his breathing seems a little faster. An internal parasite? They all still eat very well, though. What do I need to do? I have a 10 gallon quarantine set up and running.<Excellent move!> On hand, I have some Paragon from Aquatronics (containing "Diethyl, Nitrofurazone, NaCl, Ionized, Neomycin, and Kanamycin Sulfate.") <Not familiar with this product> Should I isolate the Butterfly and Coral Beauty, treat them, them look for a LR friendly ich medication for the main tank? If not, what do you recommend? <First of all, treatment should not be performed in the main tank. There are no (None-Zippo!> "live rock safe" or "reef safe" medications! Please believe me on this! You are 100% correct about removing the fish (all of 'em) and placing them in your hospital tank for treatment. I would perform a freshwater dip prior to placing them in the tank (see www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm for more information). Assuming that ich is the illness, treatment with copper sulphate is recommended. Be sure to get a copper test kit to make sure that the level is therapeutic, as per the manufacturer's instructions. meanwhile, the main tank should run without fish for at least a month to assure that the infestation "crashes" for lack of a host. While you may never completely eradicate ich from your system, you can reduce the parasite count to a level that healthy fish should be able to combat> This is my first ever marine disease, I want to do things right. Thanks for your assistance.  <You are on the right track! Keep reading, learning, and you'll be fine! Regards, Scott F.>

Sinking fish I have a fish that acts like he has lead in his rear. He swims around and acts like he cannot reach the top of the tank. It looks like he cannot just float like the others also. <There are some fish that naturally are not neutrally buoyant. They sink like a rock. Gobies, blennies, and Hawkfish are like this.> I don't know what kind of fish he is (it's the wife's tank and she is out of town). He is orange with black gills and a black dorsal fin. Should I do anything? <I am going to assume that this is a change in behavior, or perhaps this is just the first time you noticed it. It could be nothing or it could be a swim bladder problem. Unfortunately, IME there is not too much you can do. A medicated food for bacterial infections maybe helpful, but in the cases I have seen the fish generally do not recover.> Is he sick? Help! Rick <Good luck. -Steven Pro>

Ichy Tank Purchases... Hi, Your advise is greatly appreciated. I wanted to buy the metallic green hairy mushrooms in my local fish shop but there is a problem. There is a powder blue tang in it infected with ich. Is it safe to purchase the mushrooms? Is it ok to say that if I do a fresh water dipping before putting it in my tank will solve the problems? Thanks. Hello! Craig here answering your query. While it is unlikely the mushrooms themselves would carry ick, it is possible, and the rock the mushrooms come on will almost certainly introduce ick or at the very least an increased risk of an ick outbreak. As for all new introductions, it is important to observe good quarantine protocols. A quarantine set-up would be a most wise investment.  Take my word for it my friend, none of us is immune. Better safe than sorry. Take Care, Craig

Please help big problems Hi, I have a 90 gallon tank with 90 lbs of live rock and 90 lbs of live sand. About 3 weeks ago, I added a blue regal tang. In the tank at the time was a yellow tang, 1 blue damsel, and a tank raised clown. There are about a dozen snails, a serpent star and sand sifting star also. About 2 weeks ago, the regal tang broke out with ick. <Very common for this species. That is why quarantine is so necessary.> I immediately moved him to a quarantine tank I setup. About a week after that the yellow tang and clown broke out with it. I moved these 2 fish to the quarantine tank also. I treated the quarantine with Rid-Ich+. I have been doing daily water changes of 50% in the quarantine tank. Despite this, the ammonia is really high, <Please read over our coverage of setting up a proper QT tank on www.WetWebMedia.com. A good, cycled sponge filter hidden in your main system and ready for use would have eliminated the ammonia problem you (and particularly your fish) are now experiencing.> like 0.5 (not sure what units). <Parts Per Million, ppm> Both of the tangs are very good size. I have only been feeding them like 3 flakes each to try and keep the ammonia down. <Somewhat helpful> The yellow tang wouldn't eat anything at all, though. The fish kept looking worse and worse, not with ich but just being stressed I guess. <Likely a combination> The fish were not moving much and looked on the verge of death, but the ick wasn't reappearing. <Ich has a tricky, deceiving lifecycle. It appears to have run its course only to pop back up.> In a panic, I freshwater dipped them and put them back in the main tank this morning. They are all looking much better now but I'm sure they are going to break out with the ick again since the tank only went fallow for about a week. <Agreed> There is only one fish store in the area and they don't have the facilities to quarantine other peoples fish. <Few stores do.> I know this is long. My question is I know if I add copper to the main tank the live rock and invertebrates will suffer. <The will do more than that.> If I was to add the Rid-Ich+ to the main tank what would be the consequences. <Yep> (its formaldehyde and malachite green or so it says on the bottle). Would this kill the live rock? <Yes, the animals and plant on it.> the snails? <Yes> the star fish? <And yes> I don't mind if I have to get rid of the invertebrates and never put them back in keeping the tank fish only. <Ok> I just want the fish to live and be happy. If I shouldn't use the Rid-Ich+ what would be your suggestions. <You are kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. Your quarantine/hospital tank was not setup properly. You do not have a lot of options with the live rock and invertebrates in the system. I would try a lowered salinity (1.018) and garlic foods and see if that makes a difference. In the meantime, get that QT working properly so you can QT all new fish for four weeks and treat these fish if these lesser aggressive treatments do not work for you.> Thanks for the help. Sincerely, Matt <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Marine disease Any idea of a marine parasite characterized by small, white dots on the glass that, when looked at closely, seem to be spirals, like a rope coiled up?  Each spot is about 2-3 mm across. This is accompanied by small specs on the fish and a cloudy eye in one inhabitant. <Yes to the former... not parasites, but tubiculous (tube-building, dwelling) worms, likely Sedentariate Polychaetes (please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bristlewrmfaqs.htm and the FAQs beyond). The cloudy eye may be resultant from a "bump in the night"... particularly if it is one-sided, and other fishes show no signs of disease... Please read through the "Marine Disease" sections posted on WetWebMedia.com for much more useful background. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Patrick

Marine disease I recently brought 2 specimens back from the wild, both four-eyed butterflyfish. My concern is a strange illness they have. I assume it is ick, but the symptoms seem a little strange...In the morning, they are covered with spots. By afternoon, they are clear of visible parasites, but they shake and rub against objects in the tank. The spots reappear about every other day. No other fish in the tank (a sergeant major, 2 black damsels, and a Mono. argenteus) show any signs whatsoever of illness. <There are a few other protozoan parasites of marine fishes this might be... and possibly, though rare, simply a manifestation of "stress"... I do suspect you have the beginnings, transience of an ich infestation, and would proceed accordingly (isolation if possible, environmental manipulation, copper treatment) as proscribed on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner> Thanks, Patrick

Rapid gill movements? REM...er, RGM: rapid gill movements? Hello guys, hope things are well.  <and to you the same with thanks> This is a quick one (I think/hope!). I've seen many warnings against improper gill movements, but a description of what that is is hard to come by.  <each species is different... but 60/min is close for many> I agree that this along with other observations is a very good indicator of health, and I'd like to know where my fishes' breathing should be at. Right now, the fish I'm researching are the ones I own...one of each of Centropyge tibicen (4-inch) Pomacanthus semicirculatus (2 1/2-inch) Zebrasoma flavescens (4-inch) Ctenochaetus strigosus (5-inch) Pseudochromis diadema (2-inch) 2 Amphiprion frenatus (2-inch) Thanks for the input Matt <yes... a lazy and deliberate once per long second is "normal" for many fishes. Labored breath is fairly obvious and indicates impending infections of parasites in gills, low dissolved oxygen, etc. Best regards, Anthony>

Help (big time... with marine fish disease/s) Hello, <<Hello, JasonC here...>> I got your email from the Reef aquarium guide. I was wondering if you can help me out. <<I can try.>> Recently, I got a couple of fish (Flame angel, several clowns) and 2 banded shrimp.  I notice the angle is always swimming by the shrimp and swimming sideways (I am assuming he is trying to get the shrimp for cleaning).  I had 2 of the 4 clowns died with what I don't know ??  the 3rd clown and the Flame angel has some white film on their body for the last 2 days. The clown seem to be okay now but the Flame angel is dying, does any one know what it is ??? <<Could be a number of things, but sounds really like you didn't quarantine these fish before you put them in the tank. Likely some parasite was passed from one of the fish to the others and now all have it... much like the flu going around everyone in the house. Please read the following links and the FAQs beyond... much written there that will help you. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasitf.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm >> my PH is 8.05 0 ammonia 0 nitrite  Thanks Dennis <<Cheers, J -- >>

Naso Tang (spot on eye) I have a blonde Naso Tang and I noticed something odd recently. In the exact center of his left eye he has a very small (pinpoint size) spot -- it looks like it's light blue (to match the light blue stripe at the top of his eye) and the other eye doesn't have it. Is this normal?  <As in "it happens", yes> Have you ever seen it? Do you know what it could be?  <Likely an "owee" from contact, perhaps an injury from duking it out with other fishes...> He acts perfectly normal and is eating well. Just curious about it. Thanks for any help you can provide. <Likely transient, self-curing... I'd do nothing re unless the spot enlarges, shows on other livestock. Bob Fenner> Elizabeth K. Birdwell

Sick fishes Hi Bob; I'll try to make this as short as possible. I have a 6 mth old 180 tank in which my last fish added was a powder blue tang which I didn't (first) quarantine. You know the rest of the story!! <alas...yes... common and tragic. Too many of us learn this way to always employ a QT tank> I choose to leave him in the tank to see if he could overcome the ich parasite. I have a large UV unit <and know that for UV to work the water must be prefiltered through fine mechanical media/floss... and that water clarity must be crystal clear: weekly carbon changes instead of monthly if not ozonized. Also... unit is to be cleaned every 2-4 months (bleached of organics) and bulb changed every 6 months. Strict limits for UV to work... this is why it fails to control disease for many folks> 4 cleaner shrimp 2 cleaner gobies I feed garlic, Zo and Selco soaked foods with a wide variety of veggie matter (your recipe) About half of all the fish came down with the ich. They all had Lots of spots! I set up my 20 gallon and moved the majestic, Rabbitfish and PBT to it. I started the copper treatment. By the second day my ammonia was so high I had to put them back in the big tank or lose them. <for QT tanks... no need to keep the QT running with water... simply run a large sponge filter at all times in your healthy display... then move it to QT when needed to prevent/reduce ammonia on the quick set up> Went and bought a 40 gallon and set it up. By this time the PBT was so sick he was just swimming circles and I literally caught him with my hands in the 180 and placed him in the 40 . He basically swum circles on his side for 48 hours. He wasn't eating...I added for the following 3 days. corn syrup, Melafix, and Nox ich. I lowered the salinity to 1.009. (over 48 hours) On the fifth day the PB started to eat again, The angel stayed eating all along. They still had spots and poor color but were doing ok QT and had the salinity down to 1.009 on the 16th of Sept. On the 26 the angel looked all patchy and blotchy. I added one dose of MarOxy. After 24 hours they didn't look any better. Switched to Maracyn 2 and they have had 3 days worth and still look terrible, plus the PB fins are starting to look frayed???  <yes... secondary infection> The only other thing I have been doing is water changes of 15 - 20 every other day, and I have used a bit of Amquel ammonia Detox. I try to feed them tiny bits of soaked food 3 times per day. What should my next step be??  <we can't keep changing meds... that will stress and weaken the fishes. And antibiotics like Maracyn 2 need to be dosed full term. Unfortunately... that drug is weakly effective. Keep up with water changes and add a Furan based medication> Please help. I don't want to loose these fish. I have your book and its been my bible!!! Love your website too! I know how busy you must be, but I really do appreciate your time and help. Thank you so very much. Lynn Lola (majestic) and Elvis (PB) <best regards, Anthony>

Eye infection Dear WWM, I have a purple Firefish with a gray, slimy covering on one eye. Fresh dipping doesn't seem to be the answer and I have inverts in the tank. Any suggestions? Thank you, Caryn Heffner <add antibiotics to its fish food and if the eye swells add 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt per 5 gallons to reduce swelling. Best regards, Anthony>

Disease Advice and Fish Selection Hello Bob, Steve, and Anthony, <<Hello, I'm not any of them though... JasonC here.>> I wrote to you guys a few months ago and was surprised and delighted by the speed and helpfulness of your response, thank you once again for that. My original question was for advice on starting up a new 75 gallon reef tank (since I had outgrown my 29 gallon). Thank you very much for convincing me to use distilled water instead of treated tap to begin with. I have had no problem with ammonia, nitrite, nor nitrate since I have set it up. Using a fair amount of old and new live rock, live sand, and "cycled" hang on filter cartridges to provide a jump start on the cycling process, I don't believe my tank has actually gone through the process (at least not detectably anyway). <<Not really a surprise, moving established items between tanks usually offsets the need for a 'cycle'.>> I've tested it repeatedly and have had livestock in the tank for awhile now and never had a spike of anything, and nitrate is being kept under control by large amounts of grape and feather Caulerpa, Halimeda, and Gracilaria growing in there to provide cover and the look of reality, not to mention nutrient export and food for my fish. <<Just make sure you so the 'export' part of that by harvesting out some of that algae from time to time.>> The inhabitants now are: 2 - Firefish dartgobies (N. magnifica), 1 - Purple Firefish (N. decora), 1 - Yellow Watchman Goby (C. cinctus), 1 - Ocellaris Clown (A. ocellaris), 6 - Blue-Green Chromis (C. viridis), 1 - Sixline Wrasse (P. hexataenia), 1 - Cleaner Shrimp (L. amboinensis), 1 - Coral-Banded Shrimp (S. hispidus). I am trying to make a reasonably "full" tank of small species that will be happy in a large tank. I'm trying to steer away from rarer and hard to take care of species, but I keep finding myself pulled to the magnificent colors of some species. In time, I would like to try a Mandarin Dragonet (S. splendidus), but will wait until I have a very stable refugium/sump working (I'm setting up my old 29 gallon as I write this). <<I'm not sure this tank would be large enough... typically these need 100g or more to insure they don't deplete their food supply.>> I have also not had any luck within the past month with Potter's Angels (C. potteri). The pattern and color of this species is unbelievably gorgeous and I purchased one from my LFS a month ago on impulse. <<Do try to resist those impulse buys, and definitely in the case of Potter's Angels.>> He quickly took to browsing on the macro and microalgae in the tank, as well as Mysid shrimp and even flake on occasion. I thought everything was going great, when his color began to fade. he became listless and then started swimming erratically. He died a few days later. I have no idea what happened to him and tried again with a replacement from the LFS, but he died within a week. He began to show signs of what looked like Ich. I gave him a 3/4 fresh, 1/4 salt pH adjusted and temp. adjusted water bath for 2 minutes and he died within two hours of that treatment. I've decided that even though that particular species is incredible, it's not worth risking another individual's life. <<I would agree... these fish are very difficult and often pass on for unexplained reasons. They really work in only the larger and very well established reef tanks.>> I'm going to go with a Flame Angel (C. loricula) instead. <<Much better choice.>> The only problem now is that it appears the Ich has been passed to my Purple Firefish. <<Ahh... you did not quarantine.>> He appears healthy and active, but it's worrying me nonetheless. My cleaner shrimp is apparently "on vacation" and hasn't shown any interest in cleaning him. <<Usually, it works the other way around so that the Firefish needs to go to the cleaning station.>> My LFS has been trying to order some cleaner gobies (G. oceanops) for me for the past three weeks, but they're never in stock from their suppliers. <<Do quarantine these too...>> I have some mushrooms (Discosoma), a gorgonian (Rump Ella sp. or Muricea sp.),. and a long-tentacled plate coral (Heliofungia actiniformis) in the tank as well, which makes me feel hesitant to lower the specific gravity too much. <<You are right to be cautious with that, yes.>> I also have too much rock-work in there to catch the lightning fast Dartfish to give him a bath. Any other possible routes of action that may help the little guy? <<You may find yourself draining the tank and putting the rock in a garbage can or something so that catching the fish becomes much easier. Treating the main system really isn't an option so you will have to net this fish sooner or later - if you do, I would not just give the bath but also quarantine it for a month or so before returning it to the main system.>> I definitely would like to figure out some method of control before I plan on putting in the Flame Angel and a Red Sea Sailfin Tang (Z. desjardinii) to complete the fish livestock and start adding some soft corals and maybe some LPS. <<I think you might have enough in there as it is [once you place the Flame Angel]... these fish get as big as a dinner plate, and it will soon outgrow your 75.>> I hope I haven't written too much and bored you guys to death. <<Not at all.>> Thank you so much in advance for your help. Sincerely, Dan Chisenhall Senior Biology major working on options in Biotechnology and Ecology at Virginia Tech. <<Cheers, J -- >>

Bulging Eyes and Belly My fish have been dying and we've noticed a bulging of the eyes and a swelled belly. I've treated for everything.  <try Epsom salt at a dose of one tablespoon per five gallons and repeat after two days> on the web page about Emphysematosis, Gas Bubble Disease could you please tell me what I should do?

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