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FAQs on Marine Environmental Disease/Losses 10

Related Articles: Environmental Disease, Establishing Nutrient CyclingMarine Water Quality, Maintenance,

Related FAQs: Marine Environmental Disease 1, Marine Env. Disease 2, Marine Env. Disease 3, Marine Env. Disease 4, Marine Env. Disease 5, Marine Env. Disease 6, Marine Env. Disease 7, Marine Env. Disease 8, Marine Env. Disease 9, Marine Env. Disease 11, Marine Env. Disease 12, Marine Env. Disease 13, & FAQs on Environmental Disease By Cause/Types: Environmental Deficiencies, Oxygen/Gas Problems, Poisoning, Mis-stocking: Psychological Challenges, ( Aggressive Behavior, Territoriality, ), Physiological Challenges (e.g. Metabolites, Allelopathy, Stinging), & Troubleshooting/Fixing

Observe your livestock closely... what are they "telling" you?   Amplexidiscus fenestrafer

Sick Clownfish, New System Stocking Problem - 2/13/07 Hi Guys <Hi Darren, Brenda here> I have a 50 gal (US) corner tank, 35-40 lbs live rock, water turn of 900 gal/hr via 3 p/heads and filters, canister filter (Fluval 404) with coral gravel as filter media all running for 6 weeks or so, 1 Mertensii Butterfly 3", 3 blue/green Chromis all 1", 1 Midas Blenny 3" and a very sick looking Common Clown 1" (plus a cleaner and a peppermint shrimp, 6 hermits and 3 Turbos).  I recently introduced a 3 inch Bubble tip anemone also. <Your tank is overstocked for a 6 week old setup.  It is also recommended to wait a minimum of 6 months before adding an anemone.> Temp constant around 77, SG around 1.24, <1.024??> pH 7.7-7.9, no ammonia or nitrite and nitrate around 13-14 mg/l. <Temperature should be 79-81 and salinity should be 1.026 for an anemone with pH at 8.2-8.5.  Nitrates, they need to be at zero.> Now to the Clown which I have had for about 3 weeks, in which he has been very bright, alert and eating well.  He has been in hiding for a day or so, I thought it was because I had to make some adjustments to the live rock and he was startled.  He came out for a swim last night and looked in good health, then this morning I came in and he was lying on the bottom, breathing heavily and trying to swim but struggling.  Since then he has tried to swim into a secluded area beneath the rock and continues to breathe heavily.  I can't see any slime or white coloration that would indicate Brooklynella.  I did recently lose a Regal Tang to some unknown disease (rapid weight loss and loss of appetite, stomach swelling and some accompanying white spot).   <Did you quarantine for 30 days before adding to your tank?> Could the clown have something similar or has he maybe tried to inhabit the anemone and it stung him badly, or is it something else perhaps.  Please help, I really don't want to lose another fish in quick succession. <Bubble Tip Anemones do not sting clownfish.  The Regal Tang's unknown disease could have infected the clownfish.  However, your high nitrates and overstocked new setup alone could cause this also.  I do suggest placing the clownfish in quarantine and water changes to get your nitrates down to zero.  Please read here for more information on clownfish diseases.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clndisfaqs.htm > Kind regards and thanks in advance. Darren <Your welcome!   Brenda>

Yellow angel in a bad way. Heat Stroke...   2/11/07 Hi guys, <Hello.> firstly I would like to say that your website is great. <Thanks.> My name is Janet and I am a novice aquarist. <My name is Adam and I'm an alcoholic....woops wrong place and time (kidding).> I have a 200litre tank about 3 months old. Levels are ammonia 0 Nitrites 1ppm and nitrates 10ppm at present. <Mmm any present nitrites are no good...could be just a test kit issue though.> Just introduced a yellow angelfish 4 days ago and today my chiller has stuffed up and temps rose to 28celcius. <Uh-oh.> Didn't realize there was a problem until i saw the fish lying on the bottom of the tank on his side. Have cooled it down using frozen bottles of water but he is not looking good. Other fish in the tank are 2 tomato clowns, 1blue tang, 1 coral beauty, 1 reef butterfly and 1 blue wrasse.  Is there anything I can do to help him? <I would move the specimen into a stable isolation and keep it there he exhibits normal behavior...especially dietary wise...and do find a way to keep the display temp. stable.> Thanks heaps, Janet. <Adam J.>

Velvet Clown... Mmm, no... env.   2/4/07 I'm writing in sort of an emergency. I'm new to marine aquariums, and two of my fish have recently died and I'm trying to save the last one. The three fish, a damsel and two clowns, were both in a dirty, 20-gallon tank. I switched them to a fresh 10-gallon tank about a week ago, <Too small...> following all the instructions about acclimating them to the new system (although I did not dip them between tanks, I've never done that before). The damsel immediately developed a pop-eye, lost interest in food, and died within the week. The smaller clown began swimming erratically two days ago, and now is lying on the gravel, breathing very hard and I assume he is not going to make it. The third clown has lost interest in eating as well, and he's developed a sort of yellow powder on him that, after reading your site, seems to be a symptom of velvet. <Mmm... environment> I installed an appropriate size-heater on the tank, and have been fishing through with a small net to remove any excess food, so I don't understand what I've done wrong to make water conditions so bad. <... nitrogenous waste bottlenecking> I did transfer a handful of gravel from the old tank to the new one; my teacher recommended it to establish good bacteria in the new tank, <This and time... likely 4-6 weeks...> so I don't know if that gravel may have been the trigger. The new tank also has a heater (the old one did not) set to about 70 degrees. I read on your site that a freshwater dip could help treat the velvet, but I've never done a dip before and I'm scared to try something that could overstress an already stressed fish. <Good> Could you give me some specific instructions on how to do a freshwater dip, or tell me about a more effective remedy for my problem? <Test kits...> (Note that I also have three small marine snails in the tank) I'd really also like your opinion on what's going on in my tank to make my fish so sick; if I ever get new ones I want to make sure they don't have to go through this. Is there a cleaner organism I could add to help water quality? The tank's specific gravity is about 1.017 <Too low> (if the plastic hydrometer is accurate) and I don't know the pH. Thanks for your help. ~KC Wade <First comes love? Nope... First comes knowledge... how to go about educating yourself? Are you inclined to learn from reading? If so, start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/biological/biofiltr.htm then the linked files above... not all... just enough till you understand. Bob Fenner>

Cloudy <Asfur> eye problem   1/16/07 Hello Crew: <Eric> Happy 2007! I would like to ask for your expert diagnosis of this particular case... hope you all can help me a little bit. please see the attachment. <See it> I have an Asfur Angel fish, QTed it for 20 days and was put into my FOWLR 5 days ago. 3 days later it developed cloudy eye, so I first dipped it with FW and formalin+paraguard. <Didn't I respond to this recently? This problem is unilateral correct? One-sided?> During dipping, I noticed 15-20 tiny little circular "stuffs" appeared on both eyes, and also behind the fins next to the gills, these "stuffs" are circular, about3-3.5mm across, like hanging onto the fish. I scrub most of them off the fish gently <You're joking... please tell me> with a  toothbrush in the dips, but the cloudy eye was pretty severe. I could see 3-4 of them attached onto that eye. for the next couple of days I have dipped it once a day with formalin+paraguard in FW. all other "stuffs" have gone from the fish's body but the cloudy eye still remain, although it is getting a "little bit" better, I would like to know a couple things: 1. what are those circular stuff? and is it contagious? <Is highly likely the fishes cornea... please stop scraping, dipping> 2. what would be the best remedy to treat the cloudy eye? I am currently dipping it once a day and lowering salinity in QT... is there additional things I should be doing? <To do your best at providing an optimized, stable setting... nutrition> 3. for ID-ing disease, can you please suggest me some readings/books and a place for me to purchase a microscope? <A QX5... see the Net... and Ed Noga's Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment to start with> thank you very much! Eric <No more scraping, dipping... or I'll hope you're reincarnated as a pet-fish! Bob Fenner>

Koran Angelfish melting like the wicked-witch 1/13/07 Hello: <Hi Beth, Graham T. with you tonight> I have about a 2.5 years old Koran Angelfish that over the past year has slowly been losing it's color and fins. It has lost most of its fins but is still able to swim around and eats well. <Sad story so far...> I have had the water checked and is fine. <Mmmm... fine. I read that a lot here on WWM. Usually closely followed by, "Fine is a relative term. Can you be more specific?" You need to include some numbers here, and invest in some kits for more accurate/frequent testing.> It is a 55 gallon tank with only a Clownfish in with it. What could be causing this and is it treatable? Attached is a picture. <Oh my GOD! That poor fish... what a shame. A whole year he has been rotting away like that? Let me start with what I see in the background, and speculate with what I don't see. Plastic plants and the large shell are actually poor choices for decor in a mini-reef. (Big shells are known to cause more problems than their attractiveness is worth.) Was this setup based on a freshwater-to-saltwater conversion? If so, you may not know that there are many freshwater substrates and decorations that are totally unsuitable for marine use, due to saltwater's corrosive nature. To maintain a successful marine aquarium, you need to have some basic test-kits to allow for frequent and reliable testing of water quality, mainly ammonia, nitrite, nitrate Ph and specific gravity. Many are discouraged from the hobby by the impression that you need a doctorate in chemistry to achieve this success. While the degree certainly gives you a clean grasp of the fundamentals (and more) of what's going on in you tank, the basics are all you need to know. Remember where these animals come from: clear pure waters. Please reply with any specifics you are able to provide about your system including filtration, skimming, presence/amount of liverock/live sand, frequency and composition of water changes, and ANY test results you have, including but not limited to salinity (specific gravity), ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and Ph for starters. I want you to get the fastest turn-around on your replies from WWM, so I grabbed this email as soon as I saw it. *BUT* I am not the best qualified crewer to answer questions about treatment of pathogens, so I may hand this off on it's return if I suspect something other than environmental by your reply. I apologize for my shocked response to your poor angel, but it seems that a year of this wasting away is just bit long and, frankly, awful. -Graham T.>

If Adding Salt, One Must Also Add Knowledge...   1/11/07 Hi <Hello John, Mich here.> after owning and maintaining a freshwater tank for three years, I decided to try a marine tank. <Welcome to the briny world.> I set it up, and did what I think was doing everything right. <How did you know what to do?> But about a week later, every living thing in the tank died at the same time. <Sorry for your loss.> Six creatures died. <That's a big loss.> I was wondering if you could tell me what happened. <Well, more information would be helpful, but with what you provided, my assumption is that you did not cycle your tank and your animals died because of this.  Unfortunately, their death may have been caused by your ignorance.  The concentration of toxic ammonia would be peaking after about a week, which would fall into you time frame.  Nitrite, which is also toxic to livestock would soon follow.  Generally it takes at least a month to go through this process.  How much reading have you done?  There are many differences between freshwater and saltwater aquarium keeping.  If you want to venture in the marine world, you will need to make a big commitment to educating yourself to the system requirements and the livestock in your care.  My first recommendation to you would be to read a book called "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert M. Fenner.  If you only buy one book this is the one to buy.  There is also a tremendous amount of useful information on this website. Here is a list of some suggested readings.  When you've finished the list, please realize that this is merely drops in a bucket and that you must continue to educate yourself to the complexities of this hobby. http://wetwebmedia.com/fw2mar.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/marineSetUp.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupii.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/marsetupho.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/biological/biofiltr.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i5/Filtration/Filtration.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i4/quarantine/Quarantine.htm <Good luck to you, Mich> John Heelyer

Maroon Clown Fish's Face is Rotting Off!?! Env. dis.   12/19/06 Hello- Looked through questions on your site and couldn't find one that mentioned this particular problem. I have a pretty large (4-5 inch) maroon clown. He was healthy as could be in my 55 gallon with only one other resident (a porcupine puffer). <Incompatible... and not enough space for a Diodontid...> Tank parameters are fine, feeding and breathing habits, all fine. I noticed what looked like a gill infection about 2 months ago. It seemed to be spreading from the inside out in sporadic bumps. They open up into cauliflower like growths, and then he loses skin around the area. He is now literally missing skin and the rest is shredded and torn up. <Environmental in cause/cure> In the beginning, I took him to where I got him and asked their advice. They said it was an infection and to treat him in a hospital tank. <... dismal> Which I did, for a week. NO improvement. I treated him with an anti-bacterial. Then gave it a rest and treated him with an anti-parasitic. <Why?> A freshwater dip merely stressed him out, and didn't change anything, either. Putting him back in the main tank seemed to help him out for a couple days, but alas, he is now worse than ever. He is swimming around and eating and breathing fine. No lethargy or any other signs of sickness. I am thinking this is just a chronic viral infection. <...> Could it be that he got this from eating a bad clam that I had unknowingly put in the tank? How can I help him out? I don't know what else to try?? <What re your set-up, maintenance, water quality tests, testing? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marenvdi.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Power Outage/Oxygen Loss - 10/28/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> Last weekend, a fuse blew in the room where I keep my aquarium.  My girlfriend came home from work to find the temperature at 73 degrees (I keep it at 79) and all the fish gasping near the surface. <<Lack of oxygen...either the power had been of for quite some time or the tank has an excessive bioload>> She turned everything back on and the fish came down from the surface and the temperature gradually rose back to normal (I realize that a slower increase in temperature would have been preferable, but I wasn't available to deal with the situation at the time). <<I see>> I came back after being out of town for 3 days to find that my pygmy angel had been killed by ich (no surprise) and my red general star was pretty much just a pile of goo. <<Hmm...I wouldn't think a temporary drop to 73-degrees to be all that problematic.  I have heard of/experienced lower drops during extended power outages without loss of life>> What I'm concerned about now is that my snowflake eel and my Sargassum frogfish are both still very lethargic and not eating (the temperature drop/rise happened 5 days ago).  The eel barely comes out of the rocks; but when he does, he seems very weak and sluggish--and not at all interested in any food I offer.  The frogfish has been laying around on the bottom--often on his side--gasping regularly and not eating.  Is there anything I can do besides sit and wait at this point?  How long should I expect for it to take for them to return to normal if they're going to recover? <<I think there is something else wrong here.  Have you performed any ammonia/nitrite testing?  The fact your fish were gasping at the surface suggests massive oxygen depletion, I'm betting your biological filter was severely damaged and the fish are being poisoned.  A series of large water changes and the addition of a bacteria culture (either seeded from another healthy system or a commercially available product) should help>> Also, the frogfish looks pretty uncomfortable; is there a point at which I should consider euthanizing him rather than letting him starve to death or suffocate or something? <<Maybe, but hard to say when...do try the water changes/bacteria first...and soon!>> The temp is back to 79, SG is 1.024, alkalinity is about 130, pH about 8.3, nitrates <10. Thanks. <<Regards, EricR>> Nano Reef Emergency   10/27/06 Dear Mr. Fenner,          The heater in our 20 gallon  nano reef tank malfunctioned three days ago.  The temperature went from 82  degrees to 95 degrees.  We noticed this in the morning.  As soon as we  did, we took steps to correct it.  We replaced the heater and floated a bag  filled with ice in the tank, as instructed by my LFS.   <Mmm... better (unless organisms were obviously dying...) to let the temp. return slowly...> I had to leave  immediately afterwards, on a previously scheduled 3 day vacation with my  parents.  The tank was left in the care of a person who is knowledgeable  about salt water aquariums.  Upon my return, I found almost everything dead  or dying, except for my two ocellaris clown fish and a yellow tail blue damsel  fish.  I have yet to see the Firefish. <These are inappropriately placed here> My question is, is there  anything I can do to save any of the corals?  Here is a list of corals that  I have.              1  pagoda cup coral              1  Lobophyllia              1  hairy mushroom              1  xenia              several  small colonies of star polyps              several  small mushrooms Most of the corals look beyond  hope.         As a warning to anyone who has or  is thinking about buying a heater. DO NOT GET AN AQUATIC GARDENS  BRAND!!!!!!! I will everything I can to save any of the  corals, considering the combined value of them exceeded  $400.   I appreciate any help or information that you can give me. Thanks for the help, Michael <Mmm, thank you for the warning. Do search WWM re temperature/thermal stress... Heat/Heating Marine Systems... read the FAQs files. Ideally, moving all the life to larger, new circumstances... Bob Fenner> Query Yellow Wrasse & Cleaner Wrasse... mis-stocked reef on its way to the big ex-hobbyist garage in the sky    10/3/06 Hello WWM Team, I am Hitesh from Mumbai India. I got a 48\"x15\"x24\"  with 55kgs Live Rocks cleaned by Venturi type skimmer....2 power heads for circulation (3000L/Hr) Lighting - 1 no Metal Halide (Blue Radium) 75W 20000K, 2 NOs 36W PL 10000KInverts - Boxer Shrimp / Candy Shrimp / Whine Shrimp (2 NOs) / <Wonder what this is> Anemone Shrimps 2 pairs / 3 Anemones / <Trouble...> 1 no Mushroom rock / 4 polyp rocks / 4 leather corals / 2 daisy corals / 1 cauliflower coral / 1 brain coral / 1 sea fan / 6 feather dusters S - 2 NOs Regals / 1 Maroon Gold Band / 2 Skunks / 1 Pseudochromis / 1 blue devil / 2 yellow goby\'s / 1 three striped damsel / 1 cleaner wrasse / 1 yellow wrasse. Coming to my question - I have recently added 1 yellow wrasse , i was acclimatizing it in a container above my tank , when i returned i saw the container empty!! <Jumped!> i searched in vain that whole evening in the nooks and crevices of the tank ... i was just praying that the yellow wrasse may have jumped in the tank while acclimatizing and survived... The following morning the yellow wrasse appeared and i was glad ..it was eating too! it was swimming the whole day until it disappeared again by evening (even though the 2 NOs PL lights were on) it didn't appear in early morning today during my feed time....am worried...am in office now and hoping to see it swimming when am back home late evening. Question 2 - I had also purchased a cleaner wrasse which was also introduced simultaneously, <Labroides sp.? Poor choice> it never took into hiding and kept swimming the whole day till it vanished in the evening 30 minutes after the yellow wrasse vanished. It hasn't appeared today morn whilst feeding... Is this normal? <To die mysteriously? Yes> In case they hide in evening how do they get to know its evening considering the lights still on! Lights MH and 1 PL on from 7 am morn to 7 pm evening and post 7 pm 2 Pls on till 10pm then no lights till morn. feeding time 7 am and 7 pm <Where to start...? You have an incompatible mix of Anemones and other Cnidarian species... and too much period for such a small volume of water. Please take a read re the species listed on WWM (use the indices, search tool)... re their Compatibility, Systems... Is there a full moon out or what? Bob Fenner>

Twitching clowns... Lots of cute names... for incompatible, over-stocked, soon-to-be-dead marines. Ho-buoy! Almost past-time to read    10/3/06 Hello Bob I'm a new comer with a query.  I have a small tank of 38 litres, 2.5 kilos of live rock, 1 anemone about 3inches circumference (called Fats), 1 bubble anemone  1 1/2 inches circumference (called Mr. Willys) <Anemones are largely incompatible cross-species... no matter what they're named> 1 star fish (called Miss Movie Star) 1 ocellaris clown (Snoopy 2.5cms long) for this time. but only 2 months ago added  Fats because he never went in to the Mr. Willys). Once I got Fats he seemed happy and complete so after a couple of weeks I added one tiny domino damsel (Spots 1cm long), <Let's call him Mr. Biggee, the Terminator> which he constantly chased around the tank. Snoopy was getting more and more aggressive so I purchased another ocellaris yesterday (Tony - 2.5cm long). <Too much...> Now Tony is the boss of the tank chasing snoopy away from Fats, they locked jaws fighting for the first few hours on off yesterday.  Today doesn't seem as bad but Tony chases Snoopy constantly and they both do this twitching movement on there side (Snoopy does it more)  Tony is forcing Snoopy behind the rock and then returns to Fats only for a few seconds then hangs around Snoopy and back and forth it goes.  Snoopy is a bit ragged today and doesn't look happy. Snoopy tries to return to Fats but Tony is on to him and doesn't let him stay for long and then with the twitching again.  Is Tony going to get him or what's going on. Thanks Terri-Anne <You have too much and incompatible life here... Please read re Anemone Compatibility: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anemcompfaqs.htm Clownfish Compatibility, Dascyllus Comp.... look these up for yourself. You need to either have a much larger system (tens of times what you have), more systems... or to return some of this livestock. BobF> Help Required ... Env. dis. No useful info.   9/4/06 Recently i have been having eye problems with some of my fish. What's happening is some of them develop a plastic film over there eye. <Environmental...> Not sure if this problem can spread to the other fish. Tank is in good shape, also have Deltec skimmer, with ozone, <What's your RedOx potential measure?> and running Chemi-Pure through a small canister. Any help most welcome. Regards Alan <... Other water tests? A list of species involved... the order of their having troubles... Insufficient info. presented... other than to tell you that this issue is highly likely iatrogenic. Bob Fenner>

Star Polyp Color Loss... Allelopathy in a crowded, small, mis-stocked nano   9/2/06 Hello Crew: <Richard> I am writing to you concerning a very odd star polyp issue. First, my tank: 10Gal Nano - 2 inch sand bed, 17lbs live rock - 8 months old 55 Gal Power Filter (set 1/4 on) - run one side with carbon constantly 1 20 Gal Power Head Heat at 78 - fluctuates 77-79 96Watt Aqualight 50/50 PC Weekly - Biweekly 1 gallon water change C-Balance every 2-3 days <With testing...> Liquid Calcium every 2-3 days (alternate from C-Balance) PH Buffer 2 times/week <Dittos> Ammonia - 0 Nitrite - 0 Nitrate ~0 PH 8.2-8.3 Calcium - 300-350 (a bit low but it just seems that this tank stays low) Phosphate - 0 Mates: -Percula Clown Fish -Linckia Star Fish (Didn't realize at the time that 10 gal is too small - I think he is hungry and appears to be shrinking, but I'm cycling a 37 that he can move into soon). <Still too small...> -Blue Maxima Clam 2" -Teardrop Clam 2" <... these Tridacnids are misplaced here> -3 Blue Hermits -4 Astrea Snails -Xenia - 2 types -Button Polyps - many colors -Ricordea - 3 heads -Mushrooms -Toadstool Coral )Getting big now! -Star Polyps I feed the clown flakes - he will eat out of my hands which is cool. I feed DTs twice per week for the clams, and feed frozen Cyclop-eeze to the star polyps 2 times/week. Absolutely everything is the tank is growing at a great rate (except the starfish). Now to my question: The star polyps were given to me by one of the guys at my LFS (just tore off a piece growing on the sand!). The polyps have white centers with long green tentacles. The underling color is brown. Ever since I've had them, they have grown at an amazing rate. <... dangerous in such a small volume> They have never had any problems opening fully and continue to grow like crazy. However, over the past 3 months, the green color has been disappearing from the tentacles (leaving them brown). Now the green color is nearly completely gone. I read one forum article where a respondent stated that it may be that if the animal isn't being fed enough that the symbiotic algae was taking over the feeding chore - providing energy for the coral and as a result, changing the pigment through sheer reproductive growth. This seemed to make since and I increased feedings of Cyclop-eeze to no avail. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks for the great articles and FAQs. Rich in Holly Springs NC. <You need to invest in a much larger system... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypcompfaqs.htm and the linked files above. You have a classic case of allelopathy going on here... will result in a crash... soon. Bob Fenner> Not Very Successful, no apostrophes? Small reef, mis- and over-stocked, about to crash  8/29/06 Hello. I read your web page frequently. I've had a 20 gallon saltwater aquarium for approx 10 months. I've had many things occur that I wasn't prepared for. After battling everything thus far the tank has zero nitrates, zero ammonia, zero nitrites, low phosphates, never tested silicas, 350-400 calcium, 12 dKH, 8.2 ph, salinity 32, and temp stays at 78F. I change the water weekly with 20 percent DI water and Red Sea salt mix and Prime. It has 65 watts of total light from two 20K with one actinic T5s and is of the shallow variety. <?> The lights are on for 10 hrs a day. I think I made a mistake in buying the SeaClone150 Skimmer. <Fine for this small system> Of course I only discovered that reading your web page AFTER I bought the thing. It doesn't really skim anything. Its better at making a protein layer on the surface that must be broken down! Which I do. Also an AquaClear hang on the back filter that has mechanical filter, carbon (in two weeks out 2 weeks), and poly fiber. Two 600 powerheads provide the current. It has: toadstool, mushrooms, sun polyps, yellow polyps, brown polyps, frogspawn, <A bunch of Cnidarian species for such a small tank> feather duster, royal urchin, peppermint shrimp, brittle sea star, hermit crabs, snails, and amphipods. I've had flatworms, eradicating them with FWE.  Unfortunately I found your site after I had set up the tank, so I made another  mistake of using crushed coral as the substrate, although it isn't deep. I have 21lbs of live rock. I have a red slime issue. Mostly accumulates on the substrate in high current. I've used the medication and followed the directions with no luck. Slows it down, but it builds back up. Also hair algae. It doesn't grow tall on my live rock even though I can see a green hue on the rocks. <These algae issues are thoroughly gone over on WWM> It also mostly grows tall on the substrate and some small rocks. It looks like the toadstool is synching its stem and receding from the bottom. <Allelopathy...> Its polyps go in and out and it changes shapes frequently. The frogspawn recently started dropping arms and I noticed the skin around the branch was receded in slightly but still hanging on. That was a few days ago and it has ceased dropping arms and doesn't expand too much except for a big stinger from the middle. Im currently setting up a hospital tank. <Not what's needed... see below> I turned down the current around the frogspawn to none. The snails are dying, they just stop moving. I put 8 in along with 4 hermit crabs to help with the algae. All the other creatures are fine. <Mmm, not for long> The mushrooms even multiply frequently, I see molts. The feather duster has also lost and regrown his feather twice, is that good or bad? <Indicative> I feed DTs every other day by using a baster and squirting the corals directly with no flow. Also using  Reef Plus and Reef complete. What am I doing wrong here? Thanks! -reefjunkee <... Your too-small system is "aging", the incompatible life therein poisoning each other... You could/can do a few things... the route is up to you... Get a much larger system, add a refugium... take out some of the more noxious organisms... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompfaqs.htm and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/smmarsysstkgfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Water Parameters and New Lights (Please reply) ... Dangerous Cnid. mix, troubles ahead... RMF feeling the need... the need to READ!  8/29/06 Hi Guys, <And ladies here...> I want to thank you all for sharing your wisdom and willingness to assist us via the web and emails. <Welcome> I use this service every time I have a question about my system and it never fails to address my concerns! On with my diatribe. Tank Specs 55 gallon system (standard 48x18x12) <Mmm, used to be 13 inches outside...> 2x65watt 50/50 Current USA Satellite (Upgrading this week to 4x96watt 6000K/10000k <> Dual actinic 420/460) 40lbs. Live Rock 30 lbs. Live Sand Fluval 304 (Carbon, Kent Phosphate Sponge, Bio-Max, Pre-filter) SeaClone Skimmer 200 watt Submersible Heater 600gph Maxi-jet (Top Left corner blowing Low Right) 400gph Maxi-jet (Top Right corner blowing Low Left) Corals (Common Names) Red Mushrooms Blue Mushrooms 10 Ricordeas Orange Zoos Green Zoos Dark Green Zoos Green Brain Red Brain Yellow Corky Finger Gorgonian Blastomussa merleti Orange Sponge <Not easily kept> Candy Cane Coco Worm Green Feather Worm Golden Polyps Sun Coral Torch Coral Hammer Coral Waiving Xenia Purple Tube Anemone <A Cerianthus? Not compatible...> Pink Carnation <Really? Quite a mix of cnidarians> Fish and Inverts: (Common Names. Assumes 1 of each unless otherwise specified) 6-Line Japanese Wrasse Green Coris Wrasse Yellow Coris Wrasse Carpenter Wrasse Seabay Clown Tomato Clown Domino Damsel Sailfin Tang Rusty Angel Cleaner Shrimp Blood Shrimp Sandsifter Starfish Serpent Star 20 Blue Legged Hermits 10 Red Legged Hermits 10 Astrea Snails 3 Mexican Snails Sally foot Crab 4 Emerald Crabs Last Water Test (August 27th 2006) Salinity: 1.024 Ammonia: 0.25 ppm Nitrite: 0.25 ppm <These last two... should be zip> Nitrate: 10 ppm Calcium: 340 mg/L ppm Alkalinity: 5 mEq/L Maintenance Schedule Calcium: Daily Iodine: Daily <Mmm... would only add about once a week... or measure often> Strontium: Every 4 days <Likely unnecessary> Essential Elements: Bi-Weekly Reef Buffer: Weekly Water Changes: Weekly on Saturdays (5 Gallons) Siphoning: Weekly Media Rinse: Weekly in old saltwater Skimmer: All the time unless feeding Water Tests: Twice Weekly (Once while illuminated and once while dark on separate days) Media Exchange (Carbon-Monthly, Bio-Max-Quarterly, Pre-filter-Quarterly, Kent Phosphate Sponge-Weekly) Feeding Schedule Formula One Marine Pellet: Daily Seafood Cocktail: Every other day (I make this using the following ingredients and target feed corals) Mysis Shrimp Brine Shrimp Cyclop-Eeze Zooplex Microvert ChromaPlex PhytoPlex I have had this tank up and running for almost one year and have had a pretty good deal of success with very minimal deaths. All of which were early on! The Coralline Algae growth is beautiful and not overbearing as I've read it can be in some systems. I don't have many of the issues that I read about such as nasty hitchhikers, temperature spikes/drops, Cyano (Red Slime) but I do get the occasional brownish/orange algae on the sand bed. What algae is this and what will reduce it? <Very likely mostly BGA/Cyanobacteria... see WWM re> As good as things have been I still have a few issues that sprang up out of nowhere. Wouldn't you know it. the winds of change are upon me and recently I have been experiencing the fact that I cannot keep the water quality where I want it! Although the parameters NEVER exceed what you see listed above, they tend to hover around that same mark. I thought it may have been overstocking <Is mostly... that/this and insufficient filtration> issue but that was never an issue before and I have had these fish for over 6 months. <They've grown... and your hard substrates have lost surface area and solubility> My maintenance schedule is very regimented and I've always follow what was working for so long but I think that I need to add or remove some steps and/or additives because the parameters are just not quite right and may be contributing to some other issues. Can you please add some tips about what I written that may or may not be working for me based upon the specs I've listed above or below? <Mmm, what you really need is a much larger system... with a sump/refugium... much more live rock...> I recently read on your site that keeping Yellow Finger Gorgonian is not recommended. I was shocked to read this given the number of these that are being sold everywhere here in South Florida. <Easy to collect nearby> How sad that we are raping the sea of these beautiful creatures to put them to death this way. I was reluctant to buy this coral <Mmm, not really a coral... a Sea Fan> to begin with after my experience with a Purple Frilly Gorgonian dying but after I lost the first one and now am worried about losing the second, it is fair to say that again, you were definitely correct. These are not very easy to keep and I fear that may be impacting my water trying to feed this guy.  Reading that they are doomed to death was good to know but between him and the Carnation Coral (also struggling, I have spent a lot of time feeding recently and still cannot get positive results from these two. Are there any specific foods you would suggest and/or feeding schedule they should be on that are not already being fed? <Mmm, you are doing very well to have kept these this long... likely in part due to the "insufficient filtration" along with your diligent efforts at feeding. Again... a refugium is the single best chance for improvement... along with larger quarters> Additionally, I have some polyps (considered in the hobby as "easy to keep") that are starting to wither away also. Is this some sort of cyclical occurrence being that they are the oldest ones in the tank? <To some extent... but more/mostly "succession"... with "winners" winning out over "losers" allelopathogenically> I cannot pinpoint what the issue is but I am losing Brown Buttons Polyps and Star Polyps and cannot revive them either. My water parameters are not that "off" the desirable levels so it is even more difficult to pinpoint. The Torch, Mushrooms (still spreading like crazy), other newer Polyps, Brains, Blasto Merleti, and Sponge are doing really well and opening up quite nicely. Do you have any suggestions about what the issues may be? <Yes. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompfaqs.htm> Is it water related in your opinion or could lack of adequate lighting be an issue? <Mmm, a few things... read the linked files above the above referent> The lights in the current fixture are 50/50's and produce 130 watts but are about 11 months old. Could they have lost their effectiveness? <To some extent> Could it be lack of proper flow seeing that I use 600gph and 400gph Maxi-jet's only? <Not nearly as important a factor as the size/volume, mix of organisms...> I was thinking about increasing my flow by ditching the two lesser flow Maxi-Jet's and getting 3-1200gph Maxi Jet's instead with those rotating flow tips that simulate tidal changes...any suggestions about this? <Mmm, I would not do this... too likely to have no discernible improvement...> Note: I recently started using water from Glacier (you know, the Clear Blue 5 gallon drinking canisters) bought at a vending machine in my local grocery store to do water changes and mixing in the Instant Ocean salts. I did this instead of using my home water (home water was found it to be loaded with undesirables). Although the sign on the machine states that it is filtered RO/DI water, not kept in copper vats, UV sterilized, etc. coupled with the fact that all of the tests I ran on it came back favorably, I'm wondering if this water is a problem somehow. I am now considering using seawater collected from a local reef (about 10 miles off shore) and then sold at a very reputable dealer here in Florida even though the cost is considerably higher per gallon and they are located (as Shrek would say) "Far Far Away, Donkey!" <... see WWM re this issue as well. Not suggested> Do you have any suggestions about using seawater or any experience regarding the Glacier water? There is also an "oil" slick collecting at the top of the water and I don't have anything to break the surface and Maxi-jet's just aren't good for this. Should I employ a surface skimmer or some other agitator to better the gas exchange and could this be a contributing factor? <All covered on WWM... the search tool, indices...> Lastly, I just ordered 4x96 Orbit Power Compacts and am going to get rid of the 2x65 Satellite's. The new lights have been well reviewed by what I've read and I anticipate that they will be much better than the old lights. <I predict they will likely bring about a crash in your system... You need to READ my friend... you have an extremely incompatible mix of life (the Cnidarians mostly)... and changing the light make up will shift too much too soon the metabolism of some over others... resulting in their poisoning the less favored...> Those were good at keeping everything healthy and alive but nothing seemed to grow. By the same token, most of my corals have done fairly well with them so I'm a little scared to change. I don't have heat problems generally associated with hotter, higher wattage lighting units and have not needed a chiller as a result. Do you think that I may have heat issues now with the new lights? <Almost assuredly> How about the algae. will it be harder to control with stronger lights? Oh yeah, can I grow any SPS or clams so long as they are high in the tank? <...> I do realize that there will be an acclimation period for the corals to adjust to the new lighting but am not sure how to go about acclimation due to the fact that the tank is very meticulously "aquascaped" and corals have started growing on rocks that I cannot move without ruining the design. I absolutely care more about the fish and corals thank I do the rock formation but it was a PITA to do it this way and I really don't want to take it down if at all possible in fear that I can never get it back this way. Are there any other methods to acclimate the tank to the new lighting without having to move too many corals or depriving them of the amount of light they need in a given day? Will reducing the number of hours per day the lights are on for a period of time allow the corals adjust and if so, will you  please offer any tips about how long I should run my new lamps and in what intervals. Also, please note which corals should be moved or shaded. I don't want to shock my critters or corals by almost quadrupling their lighting overnight. Do you have any recommendations about how to proceed with this upgrade? Thank you so much for your assistance!!! Regards, Gerald V. Catalano <Have just skipped down... Please... read... Bob Fenner>

Something truly Horrible is going on in my tank. Please advise. Terrible mis-mix, too-soon/overcrowding...  - 09/14/06 Hello, Thanks for reading, I'll start with the long description (sorry so long): Tank and "landscape": *55gal (standard dimensions) *~60+ lbs of LR *~3-4 inch live sand bed Filtration: *10% water changes every week. *Rena XP3 canister filter (not my favorite, but I was in desperate need of an upgrade with short notice... would love to upgrade to a sump system with a refugium, but my tank's stand is separated down the middle underneath) <Mmm, might consider placing somewhere else...> (rated at 350 gph) *MarineLand Emperor 400 hang on filter (my original filter during initial LR cycle... still installed in addition to the Rena) (rated to 400gph... yeah right...) *400gph power head (forgot the brand) *NOTE - lack of a skimmer... will soon be getting a Aqua C Remora hang-on skimmer. I've heard good things. <Good> Lighting: *Coralife AqualightPro - 2x 150W HQI + 2x 96W Actinic + Moonlight LEDs *HQI's are on for ~10 hours per day *Actinics are on for ~1.5 hours before and after the 10k's *Moonlights on all night (is this correct???) <Is fine... I would leave on for the hours you're about mostly... if there's some other minimum light otherwise present in the room> Test Results (chemistry): Temp - 76 F Ammonia - 0ppm Nitrate - 10ppm Nitrite - 0ppm Spec.Grav - 1.023 Calcium - 450ppm + (added with Kalk mixture by slow drip) pH - 8.3 I also add iodine, Stront. and mal., and trace elements Motile Inhabitants: (NEW means added within the last 3-4 months) *Snowflake Moray Eel (under 1.5 feet long... guess would be 13 inches) <Will be too large for this volume> *Green Brittle Star (huge... he'd be easily over a foot diameter at the arm tips if you stretched him out) <Predaceous> *Two Barred Rabbitfish, (Siganus Virgatus) (*NEW*) <... will need more room... if not now> *Six Lined Wrasse (*NEW*) *Condy (Haitian Pink-Tip Anemone) (*NEW*) <Misplaced with the eel> *Lawnmower Blenny *Diamond Watchman Goby *15 or so hermit crabs *8 big Turbo Snails *5 Bumble Bee Snails *3 Sand Sifting Starfish *Purple Spiny Urchin (he's lazy and hides almost all the time... never goes on the substrate) (would gladly bring him back to the LFS if incompatible though) Sessile Inhabitants: *Tridacna Squamosa Clam (5 inches) *Galaxea Coral (*NEW*) *Button polyp (literally one... it's a frag) (*NEW*) *oyster with striped mushrooms all over it (*NEW*) *green finger leather (*NEW*) *frogspawn (*NEW*) *Ricordea mushroom (*NEW*) <Future troubles with allelopathy with this mix> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Ok, sorry for the long intro, but I wanted to make sure you had ALL the info I could possibly give you. Thank you for looking at my e-mail, I am in dire need of advice. I discovered recently (4 days ago) that my snowflake moray had some terrible wounds. <Ah, yes... likely from scratches, stings from all the hard invertebrates, cnidarians> I don't see him that often as he usually hides under a large piece of liverock so it is hard to say when they first presented. There is one massive laceration midway down his back followed by two smaller ones into his dorsal fin. All are evenly spaced about 1.5 inches apart. The main wound has since caused the skin to turn white in a band reaching around his body to his stomach on his right side. My first thoughts were that he had gotten "stuck" in my Squamosa clam... but the wounds were on his back... and the spacing isn't right for the scutes of the clam. Secondary thoughts included that he tried to burrow under a rock and caused the wounds himself (he is quite a burrower), or that the new Rabbitfish "got" him with his spines. Last night I spotted my green brittle star climbing for the top of the tank (unusual for him, he usually never moves from "his" rock) after the halides had turned off and saw that he too had horrible looking open wounds (you could see right through his body). <Trouble... in this tank en toto> The only *known* option I can see that could cause both wounds would be the Rabbitfish. <Mmm, no... much more likely the entire system is in mis-arrears> I knew Rabbitfish stings were horribly painful, but I am unaware if they cause flesh decay or recession. Could this be the case or do I have some horrible parasite or something. It would seem odd that a parasite would attack both an eel and an echinoderm though, yes? <Agreed> These injuries are truly terrible looking and I need to isolate the cause and eliminate it ASAP. I can't stand seeing my pets in this condition, I was sick to my stomach all night. Thank you again, Eric <... read quickly on WWM re the Compatibility of each species/genus listed above, separate these animals just as quickly... you need two tanks for what you list, or one very large one (hundreds of gallons). Bob Fenner>

Re: Something truly Horrible is going on in my tank. Please advise.  9/15/06 Thanks for the response Bob! <Welcome Eric> I pulled the snowflake out and put him into QT the other day. <A good start> He'll likely be going back to the LFS if/when he gets better. I'm trying to move more toward a reef tank instead of focusing on vertebrates and motile inverts... and he is most likely going to get himself killed or kill other things. <Yes... very likely> Unfortunately I had to euthanize the brittle star in the freezer. <This is/was best I assure you> His disk was nearly completely gone last night when I got home and he wasn't moving at all. I will remove the Condy as soon as I can get at him easily since he has already decided to climb on top of the Galaxea and nearly died from the stings. <Yes... Oculinids are the big/gest "winners" in such encounters> I added the skimmer (Aqua C Remora w./ Maxi-Jet 1200) about two months ago. (sorry, I copied the list of equipment from an earlier e-mail because I was in a hurry and worried about my inhabitants. The occupants list is 100% up to date though). <I see> Am I interpreting properly that the skimmer should *help* cut down on the allelopathy issues by removing a good amount of the contaminants? <Yes, but not sufficient to "turn the tide here"... need more room... chemical filtration, the use of live macro-algae (best in a tied-in refugium...> I use a good bit of carbon (about four cups worth in one filter, two cups worth in the other). <Wow! Of high quality? This is a bunch!> Should I add PolyFilters to help remove contaminants as well? Do they really DO anything? <Yes and yes> Upon more thoroughly reading the compatibility sections related to these corals I have determined that the Green Finger Leather is the most noxious, <Correct> but that, the Corallimorphs are right up there with it, <Close seconds> and that the Galaxea, polyps and the Zoa's are also very toxic... <Bingo> I've been looking around, is there a chart or a scale for this sort of thing? <I do wish there was. Not as far as I'm aware... Would be great (hint, hint) if someone were to assemble one... sell as an article...> I'd like to have happy inhabitants, but I can't figure out who is more toxic than who, who threatens who more, or who to remove from the system. <Ahh!> Everything I read seems to suggest that they are all a danger to each other. <This is fairly accurate... there are only some general approaches one can take... start with small specimens, less "stingy" ones first, not add much more up to a point...> Could you make some quick suggestions? <Mmm, a boat load... they are part and parcel WWM> One thing I noticed while reading through the FAQ's today is that starting all corals as small colonies and allowing them to "grow up" together can help dull chemical sensitivity issues. <Yes, this is so> None of my coral inhabitants are of significant size except for the Galaxea (about 3 inch diameter) and there is easily 8 inches between each specimen. Any chance they could grow up happy together? <Always a chance, chances> Thanks again. I'm going to continue reading now. I gotta' figure all this out. -Eric <Thank you for your earnest, intelligent participation/sharing. Bob Fenner>  

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