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FAQs on Marine Environmental Disease 4

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 5, Marine Env. Disease 6, Marine Env. Disease 7, Marine Env. Disease 8, Marine Env. Disease 9, Marine Env. Disease 10, 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

Unilateral "Pop-eye" is often resultant from mechanical injury; a "bump in the night" more often than not.

- New Tank Frustrations - AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've been scouring the web for the past 5 hours trying to make sure I know what's wrong with my fish before I treat it. My tank's been in storage for 3 years and I've pulled it out of retirement, cycled it with live rock, added a clean up crew (2 brittle stars and a handful of snails and hermit crabs), let it stabilize after that, and then last Saturday decided it was ready for a fish.  The tank is a 30 gallon wannabe reef tank, with nothing in it but the above and a 1/2 inch unidentified anemone that came in on a rock. I added a gold striped maroon clown Saturday evening.  I saw him (okay he's probably a she, but I'm gonna call him a he cuz I want to) eat a couple flakes of food at the fish store (though he spat out the red flakes, I'm pretty sure I saw him eat some green).  He hasn't really eaten anything since.  He hides most of the time, but comes to the front some which I thought might mean he's hungry but he still doesn't eat the flakes I have.  He has pecked at food pellets I've dropped in the tank (they're sinking pellets that my previous clown used to like - he'd steal them from my shrimp) but doesn't touch them after they hit bottom. (It's Tuesday night now.)  But more importantly, now he has wounds on either side of his body.  Small pits (one on each side) in the middle of his middle stripe.  Each pit is almost but not quite the width of the stripe.  his breathing seems a little fast but his color is good.  The only thing that looks out of the ordinary are the pits on his sides... which is of course my biggest concern. (Photos attached - not the best) <Not good.> I tested the water immediately and low and behold it was ATROCIOUS!  The pH and ammonia were too high: My pH kit only tests up to 8.4, but I could tell it must have been higher. Ammonia was high (without an accurate pH I can't be sure of the level but it was at least .07ppm) Nitrite levels were nearly non-detectable. Nitrate levels were about 20ppm. <Hmm... doesn't make much sense. The presence of 20 ppm of nitrates pretty much means there should be little to no ammonia. I'd suggest you haul a water sample down to the local fish store and get a second opinion.> So I've done a 10% water change and now I'm at about pH 8.2, Ammonia .028ppm, Nitrate: 10ppm I ran out and got some medications but want to make sure I have a proper diagnosis before I move forward - especially if water changes end up being the recommended course of action in and of themselves. <Water changes is where I would start although the bottom line is that you've likely added this fish too soon - quite possible given the timeline you describe that your tank is not yet fully cycled. Any 'treatments' at this point would complicate your life even more.> I bought some "BioZyme" ("dried heterotrophic bacteria and enzymes) that I thought might help with the tank quality. <There's a chance but I wouldn't bank on it.> (I also have Amquel plus).  As far as medicating the fish goes, I have Metronidazole and Kanamycin sulfate based medications. The fella at the store recommended the Metronidazole, but after reading FAQs it sounds to me like the Kanamycin might be right? <An antibiotic would be the route to go to make sure those wounds don't become infected but the addition of such compounds to your tank will kill the nitrifying bacteria... best to treat the fish in a separate tank.> Since he's the only fish in there can I medicate the tank (I have carbon in there now which I know I need to take out before adding medications) or should I come up with a makeshift hospital tank (I have a 2.5 gallon bucket I can use), or...? <Mmm... out of the tank in some other tank would be best - not sure a 2.5g bucket is good for a prolonged stay.> Can you also recommend a good pH test kit? <Hach and LaMotte are about the best you can buy, but a little pricey. Other good options include Salifert, SeaTest, and Sera.> I'm using Wardley "Master" at the moment.  I also have nothing to test alkalinity, calcium or phosphate levels. Tiffany <Please read these articles for a little background: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm Cheers, J -- >

- Sudden Fish Losses - Bob, <Actually, JasonC here this morning...> I must say, your writings have been a Bible for my husband and I when it comes to our 185 gallon reef tank. I wanted to ask you a question as we value your opinion.  Over the last 3 weeks we've lost a massive amount of fish.  Our water conditions are Perfect!  We do our water changes, test the chemicals etc... our tank is well established and has been up and running for about 6 months. We noticed some symptoms of what we believed to be Ich.  The fish had white patches (some had small white spots), were flicking themselves on rocks (scratching), BUGGING our cleaner shrimp way more than normal and they would completely lose their appetite.  Once we noticed the symptoms, we would remove the fish from the tank and freshwater dip them.  We would also put them in our quarantine tank (a 55 gallon) with medication if necessary.  We were using the Mardel-Two.  A few died in the medicine tank, I am assuming because of the stress of moving them (two tangs and a blue Angel).  Slowly though, all of our fish died:  Emperor Angel, Coral Beauty, 2 Clown Fish, 2 Zebra Damsels, a Hippo Tang, a Brown Tang, a Black Velvet Angel, a Lemon Peel Angel (of which we still have not found the bodies of the Black Velvet or the Lemon Peel).  The only survivors were 3 Blue Damsels. Now though, we are getting VERY worried as it is happening really fast with the NEW fish we just got!  I know that when you move fish from your quarantine tank to the "Final" tank that it will cause stress and could cause fish to possibly die (although we are extremely careful). <Uhh... I don't agree with that. The fish have already been through their original capture and transport which is very stressful. Transfer from quarantine to the main tank might be stressful but not nearly as much as some other things - like overcrowding.> But, we are seeing fish healthy, happy, eating, not scratching.... dying within a few hours!  Just tonight, I fed the fish and our Blue Spotted Angel, came out and ate.  Just 15 min.s. ago, I saw him being pushed around the tank in the current, then falling to the bottom, barely breathing.  I immediately removed him, put him in a 5 gallon bucket with an air pump and covered the bucket with a clothe to make sure he wasn't disturbed by any light.  When I put him in, he flipped out, tried jumping out of the bucket a couple of times (scared the death out of me because I don't know where the "spurt" of energy came from). He died a few minutes later. <It sounds to me like some contaminant has gotten into your tank - perhaps a household cleaner... does anyone in your house smoke cigarettes? Or as another example of cross contamination, if you put flea and tick medication on your dog, then scratch/pet the dog and then place your hands in the tank... bad news. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm > We have a Tube anemone that yesterday was trying to eat a Yellow Striped Maroon Clown.  The fish was dead but he had about 1/2 of him in his tube.  This worried us because, we don't know if the Tube Anemone maybe stinging our fish and maybe this is a cause of the deaths.  We have other corals.  We have a Frogspawn (2 of them), a Torch, an Elegance, Xenia and a yellow polyp.  They are all doing great, fully expanding etc.... <As backwards as it might seem, many invertebrates are actually more tolerant to environmental pollution than are fish - mostly because they can't move, they've developed a tolerance, whereas fish who can usually 'run away' in this circumstance cannot, so... you need to look for things around your house that may have got this problem started.> Again, we just don't know what is going on or what we should do! <I'd start by running activated carbon inline with your filter system.> Have you ever heard of a Tube Anemone doing something like this? <Sure.> Or do you think our tank is diseased?  Either way, what would you suggest doing? <Some large water changes along with careful investigations as to the source of the problem. Do you have a protein skimmer on this tank? Has the skimmate changed or is there more 'stuff' coming out of it?> Thank you so much for your time.  We have consulted all of our books etc... and we have tried the freshwater baths, the medicines, we practice quarantine our new fish etc.... and we just have no idea what is going on or what to do. I am so worried about the fish that we have in there now. Again, thank you for your time, Danielle <Cheers, J -- >

- Sudden Fish Losses, Follow-up - Thank you very much for your response! <My pleasure.> Our skimmer isn't producing more than they normal amount of waste but, obviously that doesn't mean that it is not contaminated.  We are going to do our water changes and put some fresh carbon etc... to clean this things up.  We have the Protein Skimmer and an External Filter.  We are going to do the water change in just an hour or so. Do you think that the fish we have in there now should be removed and placed into our other tank? <I'd actually hold off... as long as they aren't expensive fish, I'd leave them in there for the canary in the coal mine factor, if you know what I mean.> Also, with the Tube Anemone, fish obviously swim by him and I am assuming that maybe that's when they are getting stung. <Most likely at night, when they can't see the anemone so well... you would think they would know better.> Can you tell me what the signs/symptoms are when a fish gets stung by a Tube Anemone? <Outright death... have not ever seen a fish survive this.> Again, thank you so much for your help! <Cheers, J -- >

- Worm Caused Tank Crash, News at 11 - Guys, I have asked you a few questions in the past.  Your answers have not only helped me but the LFS with whom I do a lot of business and have passed on your advice.    I am writing this email on behalf of the LFS.  Something very strange happened that caused a tank crash in a 125g reef.  He started noticing a small (pin head sized) white worms eating a plate coral.  Within 1 day, there were hundreds of these that ate the flesh and killed the plate, a nearby Fungia, a brain and numerous other corals.  There are skeletons left at this point (3 days later).  This tank is used to sell corals, so it has high turnover of stock.     I haven't seen a worm caused crash in any of your FAQs.  What could this be? <Probably not what it looks like - in my experience, most worms are harmless but still opportunistic meaning they won't pass up an easy meal. Typically they are lured out into the open by dead or dying organisms and arrive en masse to consume the necrotic flesh. I've often heard reports from folks who say, "Bristle worms have killed my coral." When in fact, the coral was already dying and the worms were just doing what they do. There are predatory worms, but they are typically larger and most often singular in occurrence in the aquarium... the folks at the LFS would have lost other corals before this.> Have you heard of this before? He would like to know, if possible, where these worms come from so he won't order corals that originate from that area for a while. <Impossible to say 'where' they came from.> This infestation occurred quickly and spread throughout the tank within a very short period of time. <Again, my thought here is that the death of the coral and the appearance of the worms is somewhat coincidental - likely the worms have always been there but perhaps this is the first Fungia that began to die before it was sold.> This is somewhat scary. <Perhaps for the easily scared - I personally really wouldn't worry about this too much.> Would peppermints/arrow crabs/6-line wrasse help? <Wouldn't hurt - would certainly keep such a population under control.> What other creatures would help? <I think just about any of the Pseudocheilinus wrasses would work... probably any of the small wrasses would work.> The water chemistry is perfect.  The tank isn't fed, so there isn't nutrient problem.   Thanks very much.   <Cheers, J -- >

pH shock symptoms Mr. Fenner, <J> Can you list for me the possible symptoms of pH shock in fish? I have one purple Firefish who, for 2 days now, spends all its time resting on the substrate, and seems to be bumping, head first, into the rocks quite frequently. He is able to remain upright and swim somewhat, but mostly remains perched on the bottom. I also lost my flame angel 3 days ago quite suddenly (I had only had it for about one month). I have had the Firefish since the beginning, around February 2003. The other fish (2 true percula, another purple Firefish, 7 blue-green Chromis, orange-spotted goby, 2 cleaner shrimp, 2 peppermint shrimp, hermit crabs and snails) all seem fine. My tank is 65 gallons, with a wet-dry filter and protein skimmer. I also have about 75 lbs. of live rock and one purple-tip anemone. Yesterday I measured the water quality: pH 8.0-8.1, nitrate 10, ammonia 0.0, nitrite <2, specific gravity 1.0235, and the temperature holds between 76-80*F . I buffered the water to 8.2 yesterday, and plan to bring it to 8.3 over the next few days. I will admit I had not been keeping as close an eye on the water quality as I should have been. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. <Something, though I doubt it is pH related seems awry in your system... based on your account of livestock loss. pH instability is often evidenced by aquarists in terms of behavioral anomalies... slow or rapid breathing, hiding, resting/listless posturing... You should have no discernible nitrite... has this tank been up long? What filtration, aeration, circulation do you have? Any live rock use? I would not be overly concerned/focused on buffering your pH here... 8.1 is fine... Bob Fenner> Thank you, J. Laurion P.S. "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" has been a huge help! Great book for a beginner!! <Thank you for your kind words>

DOH! I Broke the Thermometer, Now What?  >Hi Bob and team.  >>Hello, Marina tonight.  >I'm afraid I've had a disaster in my 200 gallon reef aquarium. While recently double checking my chiller reading, I stupidly left a thermometer in my sump. I found it this morning, broken at the pump intake.  >>Oh my, thusly the term "disaster". It's not as disastrous as you think, though.  >The lead balls have been sucked into the pump and the mercury is gone.  >>Not mercury anymore, my friend, usually alcohol (with a dye) is used in modern thermometers.  >Everything in the tank looks OK so far (corals and fish), but I can't imagine that'll last. What should I do? I'm sure water changes, carbon and PolyFilters will help but I can't imagine I'm ever going to find the lead balls?  >>No, I don't imagine you will, either. But I wouldn't expect such a small amount to be a very big problem in the short or long run anyway. If you're very concerned about the contents, contact the manufacturer, but to the best of my knowledge the potential for mercury would be the biggest issue and as far as I know it hasn't been used for quite a few years. You're correct, water changes, carbon, and PolyFilters will help, though I don't know at all how readily lead actually dissolves in water (thinking of wrecks of Spanish galleons and all the lead shot/balls they find, all encrusted with stuff).  >Any advice you can give would be great. I hate the thought of tearing down my tank and starting again. Dave.  >>No, no, no, I really don't think you'll need to go so far. Between the water changes and the chemical filtration you should be able to deal with the small amount of dye released. For "next time", get a bit of clear plastic tubing, the kind used for undergravel filter lift tubes, along with caps. The caps can be the same clear plastic, or PVC that fits. Glue one end (I'd use Superglue-cyanoacrylate) on permanently, leave the other so you can slip it on and off. Drill some holes in the tube, and it will protect the future thermometer from such terrible mishaps. Marina 

- Fish Loss Mystery - Hey WWM crew, I have a 75 FO system with two 802 powerheads, Fluval 404, Prizm pro deluxe skimmer and decided to add a wet/dry yesterday. When setting up the wet/dry the skimmer started to overflow so I had to turn the flow down to null so that it wouldn't happen anymore all the mean while it pumped micro bubbles into the tank all night long. This morning my clown trigger seemed discombobulated and by a few hours later he was dead along with the Sailfin tang that had respiratory problems at the same time but didn't cash out until this evening. <Sorry to hear of your loss.> Later in afternoon I moved the skim box of wet/dry to the end of the tank vs. the middle and the skimmer stopped spewing bubbles, a little late but interesting. Could those bubbles have killed my fish, and can you recommend a protein skimmer around 150 to 200 bucks that you don't have to baby sit and yields more waste than a little bit. <Well... I'm not sure the bubbles were the direct cause of your fish loss. I'm wondering if you didn't leave out a detail or two... did you leave the Fluval inline when you added this wet/dry filter? Did you rinse the new filter before you added it to the tank? I'd do a couple of water tests to make sure you didn't affect your biological filtration - run tests for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate as well as pH. As for the skimmer, I'm really fond of the AquaC line, and in your case I recommend a Remora.> Thanks p.s. love your book Bob <Cheers, J -- >

Dying Fish Problem I have a very interesting problem I want to relay to you.  I have a 150G tank with a miracle mud refugium under the tank.  I have 9 green Chromis, a flame angel and a decorator rabbit fish.  I am able to keep and grow Xenia and green star polyp.  I also have a 9 inch tall colt coral, some torch coral and a few nice leathers.  Every piece of coral I put in the tank is doing great.  The fish have been in the tank for over 3 months and the tank is about 5 months old.  My problem is that every new fish I introduce dies.   Here is a list of what has died over the last month: 2 true Perculas, 2 Banggai, 2 Lyretail Anthias, 2 Naso tangs, a green carpet anemone and lemon peel angel.  The original fish are doing great but the others have died within 72 hours of bringing them home.  What in the world is going on? < I would first Look at  where the fish are coming from, Is this a reliable dealer? Did you make sure the fish were aggressively eating before buying (#1 thing to always see) if So what are your acclimation techniques, You should slowly be acclimating the fish until the pH & Salinity are the same. Try these few things, and try not to buy fish on impulse, good specimens are sometimes hard to find, be patient.> Thank a million in advance! Adam

Coral Reef Aquarium I have a 59 gal. coral reef aquarium.  I had ten corals and nine fish.  I have had the set up for about three months and it was time for a water change.  I mixed up my water with the salt< how  much H20> and primer<explain Primer>, but I added Kalkwasser.  Since I am a beginner, I am also stupid.  I did not read the entire directions and I added all of the new water at once instead of gradually.  Well, all of my fish have died but two and most of my corals have died.  Is there anyway to counteract the Kalkwasser as I am sure this is what I did wrong?  Do I need to make another water change?  I am very depressed about this since I lost about $500 worth of stock.  Thanks. <I would entertain the idea of a reference manual, check out the WWM library of books any books by Robert Fenner, Martin Moe, would be of great help. Try to stick with the beginner versions of their books. Good luck & try not to get to discouraged, reading about this hobby is your best bet for success.> Terry Holden

- Losing Fish - Hi, This weekend my husband and I set up a new tank (180 liter). We bought 4 new fish and our two juvenile common clownfish joined this tank. We used 50% of the water of our old tank. Besides fish we had put 1 live rock from Indonesia in it and some other rocks. After two days all the new fish past away. We cleaned the tank and put our little two clownfish in the hospital tank. In this tank we already had another fish and a shrimp. My husband also changed the filter system in the hospital tank with the one of our new tank. The filter system is 1400 l/H. Our hospital tank is only 30 liters. The next day the other fish in the hospital tank died but the two clownfish and the shrimp are still happily swimming in the tank. The level of ammonia was zero, Ph was 8 and the NO3 was high. The next day I changed the filter with the old one again.   Can you tell me what happened. Because I can't believe that the fish got toxified, because the smallest fish survived. I do think that there was something with the live rock, because they told me that it was cleaned but some kind of black worm came out of it. I threw it away when I cleaned the tank. <Most likely the fish were already on the downward slope when you got them. To say any more specifically than that would take either clairvoyance or dissection under a microscope, so I'm sorry I don't have a better answer for you. What type of fish were they?> Thanks Julie. <Cheers, J -- >

- Losing Fish, Follow-up - Hi But I thought with Chemipure I would not need to replace the saltwater for up to five year? <I should hope not... I've never trusted anything that promises 'no water changes' and there's no filter media I am aware of that would last five years. To keep your fish healthy, you simply must do regular small water changes, otherwise your fish end up living in their own filth. Five percent a week or 10% every two weeks is a good interval for water changes, but it's not wise to wait much more than that.> By the way, I have check my pH level, it is at 8, so it is at a healthy level. <Uhh... pH should be in the range of 8.2-8.4 so 8.0 is actually lower than it should be.> I mentioned my tank as 2ft tank not 2ft long apologize if I mislead you. <I still not sure I follow - what are the dimensions of your tank?> Cheers, Terence <Cheers, J -- >

- Losing Livestock - Hi Me again....I do not know what is happening but every day I have a fish dying....I have check the salt level it is ok and I am using a cooling fan to bring down the temperature to 27 degree Celsius max, so what else am I missing? To recap my set up again 1. Top filter with Chemipure and ceramic rings 2. Cooling fan 3. Live Rocks 4. Coral Rocks ? - dead already ...I assume 5. Hydrometer 6. Protein Skimmer - my slug went into the skimmer and never came out already or don't want to come out? 7. Surface Skimmer Live Stock 1. 6 clowns left with 1 2. 4 Damsels left with 2 3. Oriole Angel 4. Doctor Fish 5. Bi colour Blenny 6. Cleaner Shrimp Please help me.. I feel so sad when they die for reason that I do not know. thanks, Terence <If I recall, you weren't sure how much water your tank held - you mentioned "at least 50 litres" which is not a suitable amount of water for all these fish. I'm guessing you have more water than that because you also mention the tank is about 2 feet long - but still, your system is/was grossly overstocked. I'm sure the problems you've had were due to stress caused by overcrowding... perhaps now that things are trimmed back a bit, the tank and occupants will stabilize. In the meanwhile, you should be doing weekly water changes to make sure water quality is tip-top - roughly 5%. Cheers, J -- >

- Rapidly Losing Fish - I have a 180 gal fish only marine tank.  The tank is about 10 months old, but before that I had a small tank for 6 years, and many of the fish in the tank are from the old tank. Until today, the tank had the following: 1 Clown Trigger (4 yrs old); 3 Angels (a Koran (4yrs +/1 and a Passer (2yr) each about 3-4" and a small 6 month old Emperor), two tangs (a 6 yr old blue tang and a 4 month old chevron -- which was the most recent addition to the tank), a couple of gobies and a blenny (all of which are bout 6 months old).  I have not added any fish in 4 months, and they all got along and were healthy. On Wednesday I did my monthly partial water change (20%). <Hmm... this is a little less than I'd recommend. Much better to be more frequent with smaller changes - say 5% a week, 10% every two weeks. Waiting a month is an invitation to trouble.> Yesterday, I noticed that all of the fish looked lethargic and the chevron tang had some white flecks and some cotton like growths. <Sounds like Lymphocystis - will go away on its own.> I treated the tank with Cupramine, which had worked in the past (I used it in the spring, there has not been any medication in the tank since then). <I really don't recommend treating the main tank with copper - it is absorbed by the substrate and will stall your biological filter. Additionally, Lymphocystis typically doesn't respond to copper.> By later in the night the cotton like growths had disappeared, but the fish still looked lethargic. <I'd really be looking into what was up with your water change water. Copper/Cupramine is not a cure-all but rather a toxic substance that shouldn't be added to a system ad-hoc when the fish look ill... you can easily make them more ill by doing this.> The same story this morning.  They also ate a little, but not nearly as much as normal.  This afternoon, the chevron tang died. <I'm sorry to hear of your loss.> This evening the Koran and Emperor Angels died. <Again, very sorry about this.> The Koran's edges fins appeared very frayed. <Very likely something wrong with the water quality.> I have not added any more Cupramine, but did add one dose of quick cure (which was the only other medication I have) a little while ago. <You're not doing yourself any favors by using one medication after another, especially when there is no evidence of a parasite present. Problem solving by trial and error will quickly lead to an empty tank. Quick-cure is formalin based and is potentially more toxic than the copper - can kill fish outright. Lethargy in fish is not indicative of any particular parasite, which is what I would recommend formalin or copper for. Rather, my leaning is towards water quality issues which are only made worse by the addition of these compounds.> The other fish are sleeping, so I can't really say what there behavior is.  I noticed the Passer angel appears like its mouth is a bit swollen and somewhat white around the lips.  Otherwise it looks relatively normal. I've tested the PH (8.0) the Salinity (.21) and the nitrites and ammonia are nil. <That pH could be a little higher.> I have no idea what the problem is.  I'm guessing something probably got into the water when I did the partial change, but I have no idea what to do or what the problem really is. <My guess too... now you've treated the tank with copper and formalin which is only compounding the problems. Run activated carbon to remove these compounds and prepare some more water for another large change.> At this point I'm not sure if doing another partial change (which would make 40% in 48 hours) would do any good -- especially since I'm not sure that condition of the other fish are. <I think this would be in your best interest, although you don't want a repeat of the previous change. Look very carefully into potential environmental contaminants - perhaps window or household cleaner was sprayed in proximity to the change water or the tank. Likewise, IF you are a smoker then make sure your hands are very clean [I'd wash them three or four times] before putting your hands anywhere near your tank or the mix water... Again, I think your problem here is entirely environmental.> I kept the Koran and the Emperor and will bring them to my LFS which doesn't open until noon tomorrow. Any ideas????? <Stop adding Cupramine and quick-cure and only dose these chemicals in a quarantine tank.> Thanks. <Cheers, J -- >

- Rapidly Losing Fish, More Information - Sorry, but there were a couple of details that I left out of my last message.   Before and After I did the water change I notice that a few of the fishes eyes, especially the trigger were cloudy and had some white spots. <Definitely sounds like a reaction to the water change - water quality trouble.> Last time I checked his eyes appeared to be clearing up a bit (he's asleep now, so I can't check them). Also, I notice that the Passer (who is the only fish that is sleeping where I can get a good view of him) has small white spots on his fins and body. <Likely ich, but more likely a reaction to stress from water quality issues. Please address the water issues first... if the spots on the fish persist, you should remove it to a quarantine tank and treat with light-dose of copper there for 14 days.> You cannot really see them when you look at him from the side, but you can notice them if you look closely either head on, or from the tail). <Cheers, J -- >

- Rapidly Losing Fish, Follow-up Redux - Sorry to keep bugging you, but I have one more update...  <No worries.> I just observed that the trigger's feces are white and stringy.  This could be because the only thing he had to eat today was a piece of squid (which it what it resembled), but I thought it might help with a diagnosis. <Probably just due to the medications you've been using. I wouldn't worry about this too much unless this fish is a very recent addition. Sometimes a sign of cyanide poisoning from capture. Cheers, J -- >

- Rapidly Losing Fish, Follow-up - Thanks for the advice. Here's an update, any thoughts? <Let's get to the updates.> First, all of the remaining fish were still alive this morning.  Now that the trigger is out in the open and the lights are on, I can see that he has some white specks on his skin & near the outer edges of his fins.  His eyes are somewhat cloudy and have some white specks also. The blenny is also out and about although has been scratching himself on the substrate. The gobies are not out as much as usual, but they look generally o.k.   The tang and the passer have been hiding behind a big rock (in relative darkness all day).   When I put some food in (squid for the trigger and  pellets for the others) the passer wasn't interested.  The trigger ate pretty aggressively and the other fish nibbled. Second, I went to the LFS, they looked at the dead fish and listened to what I had to say.  They think it is probably ick or, worse yet, marine velvet. <Unless they looked at the dead fish under a microscope, there's no way to be certain whether it was ich or Oodinium - I'd rely on observation of the remaining fish to make this determination.>  They did all of the tests on the water sample, and said they don't think it's a water quality issue, but they did recommend doing partial (~10%) changes over the next couple of days and lowering the salinity a bit (from 1.021 to about 1.018) for a little while to increase the oxygen. <Well... there are many 'water quality' issues that aren't easily tested for, and I doubt seriously that your LFS ran any of these tests, so it's odd that they should rule this out. I do agree that more water changes are in order, but keep in mind that a drop in salinity should be affected very slowly, no more than 0.001 per day - this will alter the osmotic balance in the parasites and will have some affect, but potentially not as much as you will need to kick this problem.> They also recommended continuing the quick cure -- as they thought the was the best hope if it is marine velvet, and possibly also continuing the Cupramine? <I would use one or the other, but not both, and I most certainly wouldn't use them in the main tank - either/both will be absorbed by the substrate and rock work, making the effective dose lower than is useful. Please read these articles: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/treatmen.htm > Given your comments, I'm not sure what to do about the conflicting advice. <If I were you, I'd do some more research and make a determination.> Also, I don't smoke, and am very very careful to keep Windex & cleaners away from the fish tank. The buckets that I use to change the water I only use for the fish tank & I make sure that I rinse them well (with water only) before using them just incase any dirt dust etc gets in them, so I can't figure out where a contaminant may have come from. <Perhaps the salt? Did you change brands? Did you use unfiltered tap water? Examine your methods carefully for anything that might have changed this last time around.> The temperature in the tank has fluctuated a bit over the past week, but not out of the ordinary (max 3-4 degree change over about 24-48 hours). <That's not terrible, and certainly not enough to elicit the response you describe. Again, please read those articles... should give you some good background on how to proceed. Cheers, J -- >

Trouble with Chaetodon semilarvatus Dear Mr. Fenner, I have some troubles with a group of 7 Chaetodon semilarvatus that I have in my 1000 liters tank in which they are with a Pomacanthus imperator. During the last 5 days I lost 2 Chaetodons. The symptoms occurs suddenly, the fish seems to be in good condition and suddenly they begin to breath very quickly and seems to be nervous. They died within 2 days loosing their equilibrium and with this very rapid breath rhythm. I have observed that the gills are white at the time of the death. The pH is about 8.2, nitrates <50mg. They are fed with a mix of mussel, clams, shrimps and squid. Did you ever observed this king of disease and do you have an idea of the origin of it? Thank you very much, and sorry for my poor English (I'm French) Pascal. <Worrisome. Does sound like a "general" sort of environmental degradation at play here. I would rapidly change a good portion of the water (perhaps as much as half over the next couple days) and employ some activated carbon in the filter flow path. Oh, and lastly, do remove some of the water from the very surface of the system. Perhaps an aerosol, or oil has settled on the surface and is impeding gas exchange. You can dip a pitcher at the surface or wick up some water with a clean, plain paper towel to do this. Good luck, life my friend. Bob Fenner>

Noise and fish health Hello,     My apologies if this is a stupid question: Could the presence of powerheads in a tank--specifically the noise they make--be harmful to fish health? <Good question. Have wondered re for many years, seen others speculations re same> Just wondering if anyone has perhaps compared survival rates--especially for newly caught fish from the wild--between tanks with powerheads and other equipment within the tank, and tanks with outside equipment. Seems to me my powerhead and in-tank skimmer could be quite loud and stressful for a fish used to a seemingly quieter ocean. <Should state that most of the reefs of the world are quite noisy... naturally as well as from ships, engines, motors passing... but not as consistently loud as many tanks> Wouldn't a gravity overflow to a sump/refugium where the skimmer and powerhead are (to send water back to tank) create a quieter tank, and be a factor in fish health? <I would think so>      I have searched the site and only find references to noise being a problem for tank owners and not livestock. I realize this could be because this is a lame idea...but thought I see what the gurus think.     Thanks for reading.     As always, you (plural) and your site are invaluable. Lance Austin, TX <Thank you for contributing to the discussion. Bob Fenner>

Don't know the cause Hi Bob, We have a serious situation here in Minnesota, ALL of my tanks(5) and all of my friends tanks are losing fish overnight. We all have different water sources (different city water supply) and most of us use RO/DI units. In the past three days I personally have lost 22 fish. <Contact the water districts immediately... sounds like they are "pulsing" chloramine. Overdose and if you have chloramine test-kit/s do test for, quick> I have a 525 gal fish only, a 300 gal fish only, (2)240 reefs-separate systems, and a 155 FOWLER. Each tank has had a serious outbreak of Amyloodinium. The fish are laboring heavily in the breathing for 5-6 hours and then perish. I have friends that have exactly the same symptoms in Chicago, Milwaukee, and all through the Twin Cities. We are loosing fish that have been "rock solid" for years. I spoke with a person at the local zoo (they keep fish) and they claimed that they too have had a large volume of inquiries. I am loosing fish in one day. I have started a tetracycline dip for 30-40 minutes, each fish through all the tanks. THIS IS A SERIOUS UNDERTAKING. Please help us shed light on what the heck is going on.  I just received a call from a friend of mine that is on well water, 45 miles away from me, he got home today and lost 7 fish in his reef. All others are down on the bottom breathing hard and have cloudy eyes. <Something is rotten in Denmark... courtesy of your water supplier. Bob Fenner, who has unfortunately "seen" this before> Re: fish in dire need Hi folks, I just sent Bob an e-mail, I think he must be traveling the world again this week. <Just out in HI. Did you get my previous response?> I have a serious problem that I cannot figure out. I live in the Twin Cities (Minnesota for those who are geographically challenged) I have 5 large systems that do not share water. I have friends that are all over the Twin Cities, Chicago and Milwaukee. ALL of us are having the same issue, in the past week we have all lost "rock solid" healthy fish in large numbers. I have done autopsies on 7 large fish and a Hybrid Clownfish I have had for 3 years. We all have some sort of Amyloodinium. My friend in Chicago has a very very high end set up, He has not lost a fish in 2 years- he lost 7 overnight. I lost angels, tangs, butterflies, clowns, Anthias, a Moorish Idol I had for 2 years, blue spot Jawfish, a red sea wrasse. Different tanks with very different systems throughout my house. We are desperately searching for answers. The symptoms are extremely heavy breathing for 5-6 hours, slightly clouded eyes, and within 24 hours the fish are dead. I started a Tetracycline dip for all the remaining fish, I have very large tanks so this is no small undertaking. I have kept fish for 20 + years and have never seen this happen. ANY SUGGESTIONS?????? <Sounds like something... like chloramine, alum... being "pulsed" (over-added) into the potable supply to counter a deficit in the concentration of sanitizer or in an attempt to whack a high TBC or even coliform bacteria count... I would enquire of your water co. (their number is on your bill) immediately and ALSO acquire a chloramine test kit pronto... and see how much stock dechloraminator it takes to knock the titer out. In the meanwhile, DO NOT change water in your systems if you can avoid it, and store any water to be used for a good week before any change. Bob Fenner>

Re: fish in dire need Hi Bob, Ananda here with a request for clarification and more questions on this. >> We all have some sort of Amyloodinium. My friend in Chicago has a very very >> high end set up, He has not lost a fish in 2 years- he lost 7 overnight.   Ack! Even in the far western 'burbs, my source water is from Lake Michigan.... I wonder if this person was using an RO/DI setup. > <Sounds like something... like chloramine, alum... being "pulsed" (over-added) into the > potable supply to counter a deficit in the concentration of sanitizer or in an attempt to > whack a high TBC or even coliform bacteria count...   TBC = total bacteria count? <<Yes>> Is this something that might survive a poorly-maintained grocery store type of RO unit? <<No. Reverse osmosis units will exclude all bacteria> They supposedly have UV sterilizers on them, but I doubt their effectiveness: I think the water flows by them too fast. Would one of those tap water purifiers help? A full-blown RO/DI system is not in the budget right now.... > In the meanwhile, DO NOT change water in your systems if you can avoid it, How long is this sort of problem likely to last? <<A few days. Bob F>> Thanks, Ananda

Aquarium Weirdness 07/15/03 Hi Crew, <Hi Tim, PF with you tonight> I have a 55 gallon reef tank which I started 6 years ago.  Its been through 2 moves with no losses.  Right now I have 2 clarkii clown fishes a purple Pseudochromis, a flame angel fish, fire shrimp, coral banded shrimp, 2 brittle stars, and a ton of coral.  Part of my coral collection is 2 devil hand coral, 45 rose anemones <Wow!>, a slipper coral, and a bunch of  button polyps.  Starting 2 days ago, all of a sudden none of my corals are opening.  I haven't done anything different in 6 years.  I do a 20% water change a month.  I saw some slime coming off my slipper coral and I thought maybe its either reproducing or having some kind of defense mechanism situation.  It was about the time for a water change anyway so I did a water change without any good results.  Nothing is opening.  So I was thinking that my slipper coral was polluting my water so I took him out during another water change.  When I took him out, I noticed that one of my brittle stars had cuts in its body on two sides, so I took him out also.  A little background on my equipment.  I have sump with no chemical or biological filtration.  I have a protein skimmer that works off and on.  It hasn't worked for the past year.  My lights are 2 40 watt triton bulbs that haven't burned out in 4 years. Today, I ordered 2 new lights and a new protein skimmer thinking that my lights or my protein skimmer is to blame.  I have no clue what is wrong or what to do.  My fish and my invertebrates, minus the one brittle star, are fine and are perfectly happy.  Do you have any suggestions?  I appreciate your help.  I also want to know what is happening to my brittle star which is slowly pulling itself apart but is still alive. Go figure. Thanks, Tim Wiant <Well Tim, I'm surprised your tank is doing so well, those lights are about 3+ years overdue for a change. I really can't answer your question about the brittle star, it sounds like aggression to me, maybe your Pseudochromid or your coral banded shrimp. As for the not opening, you may have reached a "critical mass" in the number of cnidarians in your tank, and the allelopathic warfare may be getting out of hand. Try using some activated carbon in your sump, and/or a PolyFilter (I lean towards the "and" side). Hopefully that'll clean up whatever is giving you fits. Have a good night, PF>

Tank overheated, everything dying! >Hello All, >>Greetings, Andrea, Marina here. >I live in Northern California and we had a heat wave that lasted about 4 days last week.   >>Indeed, I have a sister in Pleasanton, it can be most Unpleasant. >I have a 100 gal tank that got up to the high 90's a few days ago, stayed there for about 2 1/2 - 3 days despite everything I could do (while freaking out) and then dropped back down to its normal temp of around 80 degrees.   >>Even setting up fans to blow across the water's surface?  That can usually keep it relatively under control, unless you're in a terribly humid place. >Enough water evaporated to bring the salinity off the charts, even with constant water changes with ro/di fresh water.   >>I am unclear here, did you top off with the RO/DI, or did you perform water changes with fresh saltwater *made up* with RO/DI?  If you did the former, the salinity should NOT have swung like that.  If you did the latter, you have learned from your mistake (and so will many others). >I flushed my colt yesterday after moving it to a 5 gal nursery tank (it was sloughing off large amounts of purple ooze before it died) and I flushed my scissor tail.  I can't find any of the other fish except the clown because he won't leave his anemone (which doesn't look that good either).  Is there any chance any of the following fish will re-surface alive: coral beauty angel, mandarin goby, scooter blenny, red and purple fire gobies?   >>I would begin moving things about, as well as performing tests to deterring how much of an ammonia/nitrite spike you have.  This can tell you quite a bit as to how much die-off you've experienced.  FYI--many of the invertebrates you've listed *should* have been able to survive the temp spike, but few will survive large swings in specific gravity. >Also, can a devil's hand survive that kind of water and salinity fluctuation?  How about a sea whip (gorgonian) or a Montipora capricornis that is starting to bleach?   >>Truthfully, your own observations would answer this better than I.  I could say, "No, they won't", but I've known many who have suffered similar and survived.  I could say, "Yes", but have known many that didn't survive.  WATCH.   >Some of my mushrooms seemed to have partially melted.  Is there any chance they will come back?   >>Not the "melted" ones. >How about the star polyps that have retracted? >>The stars would be most likely to survive, but you really do need to ensure you've got proper salinity, not just temp, and do HUGE, frequent water changes this week.   >I appreciate any advice you can give.  I am off to tear apart the tank now to try and find the lost fish and discard anything dead.  Maybe I should take the tank down and just stick to diving, I am so heartbroken.   >>Well, we don't want that, and, if I recollect correctly, a dive computer's cost just about equals that of a good chiller.  I do hope this helps, try to get everything that's dead OUT--ASAP.  Remove the rock, frags, gently flush with saltwater to remove dead, dying, and debris before replacing into the tank.  Large trays (like cat litter trays) are helpful to have around during this process, just for holding while you're cleaning up.  Also, do join your local club, you wouldn't BELIEVE how many people will step up to the plate to help out with cleaning out, restocking, donating frags and the like.  Same thing goes with many of the internet boards, such as our own at http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk .  Best of luck to you, Andrea!  Marina

Nitrate problems...:/     I have a 80 gal bowfront system with under system sump wet dry with the biologic type ball (spiked plastic),  The setup is 2-3yrs old and I have only 3 inhabitants (fish only system) a Purple Tang, a Emperor angel and a clown trigger. <You will need a larger aquarium ASAP, I don't recommend housing large angels in anything less than a 6 foot aquarium> Generally all fish do fairly well although purple Tang with episodic hole in head type problems off and on over 2 yrs now, but otherwise eats well etc.<Could be that the nitrates are too high, You need to keep them under 20ppm. I also would add vitamins to his food> I feed lightly (I think) twice a day with prime reef, formula one and two, type products and a small piece of seaweed selects green marine algae in a clip.<sounds ok>     I cannot seem to get the nitrate levels down no matter how much water I change.  Often 20 to even 30% every to every other week.  I use a Euro reef skimmer, good salt and R/O water and run a magnum outboard into the sump with a Boyd Chemipure medium bag.  I have been very tempted by the NatuReef denitrification and phosphate removal system, but have noted that you don't hold them in high regard.<agreed>  My setup is in my professional office and so the idea of a refugium etc are not likely that practical. <maybe one of the hang on the back ones?? Check LiveAquaria.com for more details.> Caulerpa (sp?) would likely get eaten by the fish and not sure would have room in the sump secondary to the submerged Euro reef skimmer?  I also don't like turbo snails and the like,<why, very helpful creatures> in this fish only tank and have the usual micro algal problems     1)  Can I safely add live rock to this setup? <Definitely> Doesn't this in some way make for more work in maintaining?<No, actually it helps your tank a great deal>     2)  Can the biological strata balls add to the nitrates (think I read this somewhere)? <Can, many people take the bio-balls out and replace them with live rock> If so how do you clean them without loosing the denitrifying bacteria.<It is a slow process, you take small quantities out and replace them with liverock. Maybe a handful a week, etc>     3)  My major concern is the hole in the head as it relates to "generally poor water quality" and the micro algae problem<Yes, I also would be concerned. Could be that the nitrates are too high. As stated above I would keep the nitrates under 20 ppm, and would add vitamins to his food. These fish grow quite large so this small aquarium might also be the problem-(too much waste, not enough swimming room, etc)> Help!! Thanks in advance<your welcome, IanB> Mitch O'Hara

Emergency In The Reef Tank... Hello,  And thanks for taking my question. <That's why we're here! Scott F. at the helm tonight> A few days ago, after doing my normal weekly 10% water change I had a problem with salinity (.030) in my reef aquarium due to a faulty Hydrometer. <Yikes...been there before!> My salinity is now down to .023, where it should be? <Personally, I shoot for 1.025, but 1.021- 1.026 is acceptable> But my tank has taken a turn for the worse. I had to replace about 7 gallons of saltwater with fresh over 3 days. My water is now very cloudy and my fish appear to be struggling for oxygen. My PH level is low (7.6) but I'm using additives daily to correct that. Will this cloudiness eventually go away? Or did I replace too much water for my bio filter to handle? <Depends on the size of your tank...If you did damage your biofilter, you would want to avoid and more large water changes for a while, unless ammonia and/or nitrite levels are registering> Will I lose any livestock through this process? <Well, it depends on the levels of ammonia and nitrite, if present. Just take careful corrective actions as needed...nothing too radical. You could utilize chemical filtration media, such as activated carbon and/or PolyFilter, both of which excel at removing organics and potentially toxic substances from the water> Do you recommend using bacteria (Nitromax, cycle) in my case? <Well, if you're getting ammonia readings- it couldn't hurt to "re-energize" your system with some additional bacteria...Be decisive, but be level-headed, when taking corrective measures...Hopefully, things will work out okay with your tank! Good luck! Scott F> Charles Tizano

Bubbles is in eye My sweet lips has pockets of gas inside his eye which has not gone away. What could this be from and how should I treat it. I have tried Epsom salt but it didn't seem to help. <Sounds like (rather than infection or parasitic) an environmental problem (likely gas deposition from fine bubbles, super-saturated gas in your system. These cases sort themselves out one way or another. Best to look for the direct cause and solve it (discharge fine bubble source into a sump or other device to disperse/coalesce bubbles...). Time will likely clear the gas from your fish's eye. Bob Fenner>

Bacteria Infection Questions ( possible solution? ) Bob,       Thanks for your reply. I have been using a "Red sea" PH tester and have check my tank once a week, in which it reads at 8.2 - 8.4. I decided to switch to a "tetra" ph tester, and this one would read 8.0. This test was done towards the end of the light cycle, so I expected it to be a bit higher. With this in mind I decided to check the Alk, and it was at or close to nothing. <As I suspected> I then added a small amount of extra buffer to my top-off jug, and let my doser add it over night. The next day my French has came back very well. Swimming & eating well, but still had cloudy eyes just a bit. <This will clear in time>  I am hoping to have this problem now resolved. Do you agree that this brought on the behavior? <Likely so> How long roughly should it take till his eyes clear up? <Probably a few weeks> All and all, I did learn that even with a 32 gal. 1 - 2 week old buffered water change pre-mix , and a change of 8% weekly, you still need to supplement with additional buffer ! Any other thoughts would be appreciated.  Thanks - D. Mack <Bob Fenner>

My fish died... what happened... I woke up today and most of my fish (Flame angel and yellow tang) in the 20 gallon tank were dead. Well almost... They were laying flat on the side and grasping for air... lots of spots discoloration (white spots). I quickly added carbon, checked the pH, temperature etc.. etc.. but couldn't find anything wrong. The fish occasionally came up to surface and raced across the water almost jumping out, while swimming on the side, then laid motionless on the side again...The ammonia, nitrite, pH, salinity, temperature were all good! Yet it looked like nitrite poisoning to me... I added a few drops of Methylene Blue to help them breathe, but no luck... I quickly dissolved some salt, removed chlorine, aerated water while setting the pH and temperature (took me about half hour), then moved the fish to this new water... but they still lied there on the side, motionless, gasping for air...and died after about 30-45mins. Both of the fish were approaching the cleaner shrimp letting it examine the gills a night before. They were also scratching their gills on objects... I'm puzzled... all the water parameters were ok.. it couldn't have been the water ...Now, what happened before?  I had ich for about a week on the fish... I started treatment with Kent's PxR and on the off days I used Ruby Reef Kick-Ich and ran the skimmer at full speed (after 2 treatments, the skimmer was making almost no foam... even with very heavy aeration). So the night before was 4th day (off day) of PxR treatment... in the afternoon that day, I've added 3 drops of Kent's Poly-Ox (at half a dose, since the tank was only 3 weeks old) and also added Kick-Ich... the question remains... what happened? Was it the Poly-Ox? Or was it the Kick-Ich mixed with RxP?  Surprisingly, I also had 2 little clownfish in that tank and they survived, but are showing signs of stress: they are not at the surface, but motionlessly (not on the side though) on the bottom. As to cleaner shrimp, blue-legged crabs and turbo snails, the all seem fine... What went wrong then? Thank you for your help. Luke <Hi Luke, sorry to hear of your losses.  I was not positive what could have caused this situation so I checked with Anthony, his comments are below:  "Poisoning is likely when the fish die but the inverts don't at first...  but the two small clowns surviving a little better is also indicative. When the larger fish die (especially overnight) but smaller ones live... it is often a sign of anoxia (low oxygen). [common with green water in FW ponds from algae respiration at night] Perhaps a film formed on the surface from an aerosol in the house (cooking oily foods, spraying air freshener, etc). Ask him to look for a film on the surface (never should be) and also to get an Oxygen test kit (Tetra has a good and cheap one).  If not the above... I'm wondering if the tank lacks aeration? Skimmer turned off or failed just before event?"  Best Regards, Gage

Mystery Growth... I hope this day finds all of you well. <It does! And, I hope your day is going well, too! Scott F. with you> I noticed  my Blue Stripe/Line Angel (Chaetodonoplus  septentrionalis) has a small 1/4-1/2inch raised area about a half inch below the dorsal behind the head. Its not like a pimple and definitely not ich, its being raised from behind the skin and the scales aren't raised. I couldn't find anything in the files, any thoughts? Steve Suniga <Well, Steve, I've seen this kind of thing before on a number of different fishes over the years. Without a super clear photo, I'll have to assume (gulp) that it's a similar thing that you're experiencing. My thought is that it is some sort of encysted parasite, or maybe an "anchor worm". These things are, in my experience, not all that easy to remove. I've tried the freshwater dip technique, and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Surgically removing the growth is not an option, IMO. Fortunately, these things have not resulted in a death in any of the instances that I have encountered them (which is not to say that you should take this lightly, but you shouldn't panic, either.) If it were me, I'd start with the obligatory FW dips, and see if that has any effect. If it's really bothering the fish, it may be necessary to try treating the fish with an anti-parasitic medication (assuming it's a parasite, of course!) in a separate tank. There are some anti-parasitic foods, but they are usually for internal parasites. I have found that, in time, the parasite, or whatever it is, seems to go away, almost amazingly. This is one of those instances where careful observation, high water quality, and minimal intervention can sometimes work as good, if not better, than aggressive treatment. Keep a close eye on this fish and be prepared to take more drastic measures if required. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Mystery Growth (Pt. 2) Thank you Scott, you're thoughts and experience proved to be right on. As I write back to you today the "bump" is almost gone! <Excellent! Glad to hear that!> I took the road of not adding any undue stress so I didn't FWD him and decided to watch him closely. It seemed to occur for a five day period peaking on day three, today, day five it is almost gone. The only intervention was keeping the water impeccable, an added note is he didn't seem to be bothered by the growth, appetite or swimming behavior were not affected. <Yep- I'm glad you did the right thing and didn't panic, putting the fish under unnecessary stress to affect a "cure"! In a number of cases, observation, excellent food and good water quality is simply the best "cure"! Do keep an eye out to make sure that this growth does not appear again. Sounds like your fish is doing fine, though! Keep up the good work! Regards, Scott F>

- Re: Snails and Hermit Crabs Dying - Hi Jason: <Hello again...> Thanks for getting back to me. I checked my Ca level last night and it's down to 200, Could this be causing the dye off. <I doubt it.> Also my ALK is really high about 800 mg/l. <Egads, that is high, and would explain the low calcium.> I add 2 teaspoons of KENT Super Buffer once a week to maintain my PH, could this be a problem also. <Potentially... could be your water is already pretty 'hard' and doesn't need supplementation - stop adding the Kent product and test your source water.> Thanks, Aram <Cheers, J -- >

- Re: Snails and Hermit Crabs Dying - Hi Jason: <Hello again...> Thanks for getting back to me. I checked my Ca level last night and it's down to 200, Could this be causing the dye off. <I doubt it.> Also my ALK is really high about 800 mg/l. <Egads, that is high, and would explain the low calcium.> I add 2 teaspoons of KENT Super Buffer once a week to maintain my PH, could this be a problem also. <Potentially... could be your water is already pretty 'hard' and doesn't need supplementation - stop adding the Kent product and test your source water.> Thanks, Aram <Cheers, J -- >

Tang in trouble I have a yellow tang in a 30 gallon fish only tank.  I also have 2 damsels, a coral beauty, and cleaner shrimp.  Yesterday, I added 6 turbo snails and did a 30 % water change.  Sometime today, the tang has gotten a very bloated belly and has trouble swimming.  I am very afraid that he is dying.  Is there anything that I can do for him?  I had noticed that he had been spending a lot of time floating in the bubbles from my bubble wall.  All of the other fish seem to be healthy.  The tang has been eating mysis shrimp and dried algae. Temp:  76 F pH: 8.2 Ammonia: < 0.25 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: < 30 Specific Gravity:  1.025 Please help!!! Thanks. Julie Grubb <Did you aerate your new water for 12-24 hours before use? If not, you may have introduced dissolved gasses in the new water leading to a problem with your Tang.  I'm also concerned that you have measurable ammonia, this should be zero in a cycled tank. Is this tank new?  Is the Tang new? I recommend surfing over to WetWebMedia.com and searching on swim bladder disease and it's treatment. Bubble walls aren't great either....  Craig>   

Tiny Bubbles- Large Headache Hello to all <Hi there! Scott F. here!> I have finally gotten my 55 gal corner bow and 20 gal sump up and running. It was a long irritating struggle, but I think I have won. The Iwaki md30rxlt is in the basement and after a lot of experimenting the noise from the 2 - 1" overflows is down to a mere trickle.  You hardly notice the noise at all. <Sweet! That's a great accomplishment!> The last issue that I have been dealing with is bubbles. After I got it running there were tiny bubbles everywhere. You could hardly see through the water.  I changed the design of the sump slightly and now most of them are gone.  How many of these micro bubbles would it take to be harmful to my future inhabitants.  Do I need to do some more experimenting before ordering my live rock?  I can actually live with it the way it is now.  I just would like someone else's opinion on whether or not it is harmful to the fish.  The water is clear, but you can still see these micro bubbles all through the tank. <Well, excessive microbubbles in the water can potentially be a problem to sessile inverts and corals, by settling on them and interfering with their feeding and elimination processes. I would not be overly concerned about the potential for problems with the live rock, per se, but I'd look for the source of the bubbles to try to isolate them and eliminate that source. Often, microbubbles can be reduced or eliminated by re-checking all plumbing connections, creating a baffle to reduce the spread of the bubbles, and re-evaluating the circulation within the tank.> Thank you and good night Bryan Flanigan <Good luck, Bryan! Keep at it! Regards, Scott F>

Thread in Fish's Mouth To My Favorite Crew: I currently have a Goldbelly Damsel, about 1.5", with a Hair-like thread protruding from his mouth.  It seems like a common household strand of lint or fabric, part of which he has ingested.  It has been a couple of days since I noticed this, and he does not seem bothered by it.  What should I do?  Regards, Rich. <Shades of Art Linkletter's "Fishes do the Darnedest Things". Just wait... this too shall pass. Bob Fenner>

Gill Burn Hi, to the WWM crew!!  I am anxiously awaiting your new book, recently received an e-mail that it may be another month or two (I'm sure it will be worth the wait)! <I hope so> I recently received a Golden Puffer, as with all of my new fish I ALWAYS test the shipping water as a precautionary.  The Golden Puffer had extremely low PH, which was expected, however the ammonia was off the scales, pretty much as high as it could go. <Not atypical>   I acclimated the fish rather quickly, to get him out of the ammonia. <Umm, not a good idea... Please read through the marine acclimation pieces stored here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm necessary to adjust pH slowly (possibly over hours) while the ammonia and its analogs are present in the water AND in the fish... to keep pH suppressed till no detectable ammonia in either> However since then he has had trouble with his gills, occasionally he will close one gill, and just breathe out of the other gill.   I have also noticed some occasional scratching, and it appears that he is trying to scratch the gill area.  I believe he has some damage to the gills from the exposure to the high ammonia. <Maybe> The puffer is currently in a 55 gallon QT with extra stress coat (don't know if this is going to help).  He appears to have good color, his eyes are clear,  I do not see any signs of parasite (aside from the scratching).  He has not eaten as of yet. <The single gill movement may be nothing (this happens) and the fish may well not feed for days> Is there anything I can do to help reverse the burning damage done to the gills?  Is it at all reversible? <Time, good conditions... very likely this specimen will self-cure> Can you please explain what happens when the "gills are burned" and how do I help him? <The epithelium is chemically challenged, generally by high or low pH... possibly by concentration of noxious chemicals otherwise. In the worst cases there is hemolysis (splitting of blood cells) leading to dire physiological stress> He has a beautiful 240 gallon tank waiting for him. Thank you for your time and your knowledge, it is greatly appreciated.  Jen Marshall <Patience here my friend. Bob Fenner>

All Tangled Up! I have 125 gal with 3 regal tangs.  For the past couple of weeks two have them will stay hidden, the third comes out but it is very skittish.  I have added nothing new to my tank.  Any reasons for this change in behavior?  I have recently experienced a drop in pH.  They don't look sick.  Could this be breeding behavior? <Bingo! pH drops are stressful events. Anthony gives the analogy that a pH drop of several points is something like being transported instantly from a tropical beach to the Arctic (while naked!). It is a good one, too! You may survive, but the stress would be amazing! So, my best advice to you is to find the cause of the pH drop, and take corrective actions to stabilize it, and, more important-to prevent it from happening again. These kinds of drops are usually caused by a lapse in maintenance, possible overcrowding, or other, quite "correctable" things. I'll bet if you correct the problem, you'll see those tangs perk up nicely. Look for the cause, then affect the "cure". Let us know if you have any additional questions! Regards, Scott F>

Yellow Tang with Pectoral Fin Problem >Hi. I have a 55 gallon tank with 65lbs live rock.  Ecosystem filtration method. No PS. >>Fair enough, but I'd really like to see you get a skimmer.   >I have some Cyanobacteria that has been around for a couple of weeks.  I added some PhosGuard in a filter bag in the sump, and now the Cyano seems to be going away (or not coming back as quickly after I remove it).  The tank is about 7 weeks old. >>It's still a young tank. >The temp varies from 77.2 - 79.9, SG is always 1.023 plus or minus .001, PH is consistently 8.2, Amm and Nitrites have been zero for weeks, and nitrates <10 for weeks. >>The low nitrate readings can also contribute to a Cyano-bacterial bloom.  Have you also tested the tank and source water for phosphorous? >I have a maroon clown and a yellow tang.  I also have 6 turbo snails and 3 reef hermit crabs.  I feed flake food (a mix of OSI marine and Spirulina flakes) twice a day. I have had the clown for 3 weeks and the tang for 2 weeks. I am just now setting up a quarantine tank (I now realize the cart is ahead of the horse, no more additions without proper quarantine). >>Indeed.  At least you've sorted it and you're preparing to do things more properly.  No worries, just remember proper q/t is 30 days (in my opinion, at least, and I think you'll few arguments among professionals).   >Yesterday, I noticed white "clumps" on the tangs right pectoral fin.  Today, a large part of the fin is gone. >>Offhand, that sounds like Lymphocystis.  If I recollect correctly it's a viral infection that rarely seems to need treatment, which is a good thing, because the only treatment I'm currently aware of is trimming the affected fins.   >The tang is eating and active. No other problems noted. >>Very good. >The clown seems fine?  Any ideas? Is this fin rot? >>No, sure doesn't sound like fin rot to me.  The fish would have a more "raggedy" look, and you might even see areas of redness where the fin has broken away. >All research I have done on fin rot shows pictures much different than what I am seeing.  This fish has about 1/2 of the fin missing, literally overnight, and from the bottom and back. Like this (forgive the crude drawing). >>You need an ASCII proggie!  Here--> http://ascii.zelab.net/ >The other pectoral fin is just fine.  Thanks for your help. >>Glad I can help.  Now, I want you to also go to--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com and go to the aquatic sciences link, there you'll be able to read up on some common diseases.  You may also want to find yourself a book on fish diseases, though in my opinion, if you make good use of the q/t and basic purchasing rules you should have relatively few troubles.  Marina

Environmental Malady? I have a tank that is less than a week old. 125 gal.  55 gal sum/refugium G2 protein skimmer. 130 lbs (approx) live rock 130lbs(approx) sand 5lbs live sand for seed.  Although that I know it is way to early for livestock, I had a yellow tang, a green Chromis, half dozen turbo snails and 10-12 hermit crabs in my old swim tank that I move into the new tank after 5 days. Nitrates are extremely high 100ppm so I did a 40 gal water change Phosphates are 0.03 ppm, Alkalinity 4.00 mEq/l, calcium 3.4 ppm (added 3 calcium block to raise), Salinity 1.023.  The old swim tank was the LFS basic florescent lamp that comes with a 55 gal tank. New reef tanks has 2 daylight and 2 blue 96 wt JBJ compact fluorescents on it.  There is no mechanical filtration at all. Now I will get the actual question.  The tang's nose is all reddish brown and pealing.  It looks like a really bad sunburn. It's lips are all pealed and pink and he is very thin.  The Chromis looks fine although much darker than he used to be.  Do you think that the change in lights from the basic LFS fluorescents to the Compact Fluorescents could have caused a sunburn on the tang or does it sound like something else. <I seriously doubt that it's caused by light! Most likely caused by water chemistry parameters. I'm curious if there is any measurable nitrite or ammonia? I'd definitely execute water changes on a regular basis, and re-visit husbandry procedures...That much nitrate in a closed system is indicative of husbandry habits that need attention.> It's looked like this for about three days and I am really trying to avoid medications but I don't want to loose the tang.  BTW he appears to be eating well. Thanks in Advance, Learning more each day. <Well, in the absence of other disease signs, I'd say that this condition is likely a result of environmental problems. Medication is probably not the answer to this problem...I'll bet that with improved water conditions, this condition will begin to clear up quickly. Strive for higher water quality...Read up on water quality on the WetWebMedia FAQs, and you'll be on your way! Good Luck! Regards, Scott F>

Little Tank of Terror!?!?!  3/14/03 Hi <Hey Phil here!> am 16 years old <I'm 15, nearly 16...> and ever since I was in 7th grade am now in tenth I have always wanted an aquarium finally I got one las summer I had great luck in the beginning only 2 fish die since June till Dec. of 2002 2003 has been a BIG different story I did and order from flying fish express I added a starcki damsel Naso tang mandarin dragonet six line wrasse Acropora  Linckia orange star fish and 2 green Chromis  I added them Saturday on Tues. evening my   false percula died he looked perfectly healthy he even had an anemone to hide in.<What kind of lights do you have for the anemone??> today a starcki damsel died which is unusual because those are usually very hardy fish. He was not skinny neither was the percula but not fat the colors were bright and they looked perfectly healthy. !1 1/2 week before my the order my other Naso died he was very healthy.<what a minutes.. how big is this tank..?> we also have a purple tang and  hippo tang very healthy I hope he will stay that way 2 more green Chromis Linckia star fish 1 cleaner shrimp and 1 peppermint shrimp .but one thing I have noticed is before they die like 1-2 days the will hide a lot and stay in one spot hidden. my purple tang is sick to I've had him for a year he's 4 inches his top fin has some white  stuff on his fin the bottom of his eyes are white and his mouth is shrunken in.<He probably has ich, needs to be treated in an outside aquarium, not the main tank.  I hope your tank is 200 plus gallons, because your going to need one that big with all those fish.> I love this hobby but I don't no if I will continue if this keeps happening. we do a 5 gallon a week water change with ro water. are salinity is at 1.026 "2 days ago before the water change it was at 1.028<Too high> ammonia 0 ph 8.1<Kinda low>  "it was 7.7  seven days ago"<Way Way too low!> nitrite 0 nitrate about 20<Needs to be zero> but has never affected anything  55 gallon tank<OMG... this tank is overstocked...  Please pickup a copy of Bob Fenner's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist".> the skimmer is pickup a lot of stuff filter is picking up a lot 260 power compact thank you very much I don't know what to do you can email my dad at XXX@carolina.rr.com your help would be very much appreciated thank you very much.<Please get some books, your tank is way overstocked.  The water quality levels are off the wall, please read over www.wetwebmedia.com for more info.  Hope this helps!  Phil>

- New Tank Location near Subwoofer - Hello again, <And hello to you, JasonC here...> Quick question, I have a new 100 gal tank arriving shortly to replace my 75 & was throwing around the idea of moving the tank from the living room to the family room to enjoy the tank more often while I watch TV etc. I have a surround sound system which includes a high end subwoofer (5' from tank). Will the sub create a problem for the tank environment, if so, any ideas as to a cure, or just leave it as is? <I don't think there have been any studies on this, and I can say from my own limited experience that the ocean is a pretty noisy place. That being said, placement next to a loudspeaker would be at the very least a source of stress for the fish - I would imagine that sound outside the tank would be accentuated in the tank - and because fish don't watch movies, they won't know that loud part is coming up... so, I think really there is no 'cure' except to leave the tank in in the room where it is now.> Thanks for your time, as always I appreciate it ! D. Mack <Cheers, J -- >

Mysterious Fish Deaths and High Nitrate Levels Dear WWM, <You have Scott F. here today!> I have a 150gal marine tank that is fish only (no live rock).  I am experiencing a lot of my livestock dying these past two weeks and don't understand what is going on.  The fish look fine, then act out of character for a very brief period prior to dying.  There is no discoloration in them or visible disease. The fish that died are a flame angel, two clowns, banner fish, two royal grammas, Hawkfish, and blue devil damsels. The system deploys a good protein skimmer, canister filters, carbon and UV.  Water changes are about 12% per week.  My water chemistry is 8.2 pH, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrate and 80ppm nitrate, 79-80 degrees F, and 1.022 salinity. The tank is about four months old.  The brown algae has subsided significantly.  My nitrate was hovering around 15ppm (that is what comes out of my faucet), but now its over 80ppm.  Could this be the problem?  Are canister filters causing this? <Well, nitrate in and of itself is not deadly. And yes, it is possible, in fact likely- that the canister filters are accumulating organic materials that are not helping these high nitrate levels. You need to change or clean all mechanical media at least once a week, or more often, or they can certainly degrade water quality. Again, the nitrate itself is probably not the culprit. However, the potential effects of the accompanying lower water quality could, over time, cause stress on the fishes, which could lead to their eventual death. The water chemistry parameters that you noted seem fine. Although the nitrate level in your tank is very high, I do not believe that this directly was responsible for the deaths of your fish. Rather, I suspect some type of disease or toxin at work here. There are a number of diseases, such as Amyloodinium (a nasty parasitic disease) and others that can kill with frightening rapidity and few visual clues as to their presence! Remember to quarantine all new fishes at least 3 weeks before introduction to your tank. Other possibilities include too much carbon dioxide in the water, caused by either overcrowding or too little aeration/gas exchange, as well as sudden environmental changes (i.e.; dramatic temperature, specific gravity, or pH fluctuations). Your water change schedule seems okay. I suggest a review of all basic husbandry technique (i.e.; maintenance, stocking levels, feeding procedures, etc.) and your equipment and setup itself. Verify if an event or events took place that put any toxic materials into the water (anything- paint fumes, household cleaners, copper, etc.)...Look at the obvious, then look beyond that, as well.>   I also noticed a white film on part of the water that is not turbulent. Searching the forums, I concluded this might be a breakdown of waste excrement.  I am now skimming the surface water to help alleviate this film. Is the film a contributing factor? <Hmm.. a surface film is indicative of two things, IMO. 1)The need to feed water to filters and/or the protein skimmer from the surface, where most organics tend to collect, and 2)That there may be some interference with the air/water interchange (i.e.; gas exchange is insufficient/inadequate circulation). These warrant investigation and manipulation of your system to increase this interplay between the air/water, and efficiency of your skimmer.> Any suggestions on the cause of my die-out?  Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks...Jeff <Well, Jeff, as mentioned above- I'd check out all possibilities here. You really need to get the nitrate level down in the interest of providing long-term water quality and stability for your animals...Check out this article I wrote and the related FAQs for some tips on nutrient control and export that may help you: www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm   . Also, don't get discouraged by this setback. Frustrating though it may be, you can learn a lot from this awful experience, and you'll come out of it all the better for having went through it...Think good thoughts here- chin up! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Really worried Hi there, <Hello> I'm a first time "fish owner" I set up my tank around 50cm x 1m I purchased a filter and air pump 'in one' the sponge type I had my tank running for a day and put my first fish in (the black moor I think - one with the big eyes and fan tail??) anyway I dechlorinated the water before and everything was going fine, this fish in particular was moving around all the time.  I then put in the next day, same size (same kind of fish I think) except gold along with another very small black moor and normal gold fish. <You've overstocked your tank long before it had a chance to cycle. Your ammonia and nitrite levels are probably sky high.> Firstly the big normal color gold fish starting 'resting at the bottom' and then yesterday and today the black moor is resting he doesn't seem to be moving or breathing properly but when I walk past the tank he normally "wakes up" I think my tank was not running long enough but I have checked the nitrate levels which are 0 my ph (on a color scale) was a little blue apparently it must be more aqua green in color.  I also put in an ammonia fizz tablet. <These can be symptoms f the ammonia and nitrites that I mentioned above. Nitrates aren't a huge concern at this point, it's nitrites that you need to watch along with the ammonia. Don't put too much faith in chemical ammonia treatments, the best way to get and keep them under control is water changes. You need to test your water immediately and then do water changes to get the levels down and keep them down. You're probably going to have to start with a large one, 50% of your tank volume at least. And then probably 20-25% every day or two until the tank is cycled. With this many fish in it this is going to be the only safe way.> I have noticed a tiny piece of "white stuff" under his tail fin - not quiet by is anus it almost resembles a piece of cotton wool?   <Probably a fungus. This fish should be isolated into a quarantine tank and medicated accordingly.> I then treated the tank with a broad spectrum fungicide.  Am I way off here? <You're probably using the right medication but it's not a good idea to treat the main tank because you are then treating all of the fish, even the ones that don't need it. Also, if there is carbon in your filter, it will remove the medication before it's had a chance to do any good.> My temperature is between 24 - 25 Degree Celsius. <Not too bad but it could probably be a bit cooler for goldfish, maybe 21-23 degrees Celsius.> The color of the water is a little bit brownish from all the water conditioner and medicine I put in.  If they are in shock what can I do?  I have got an air stone so there is enough oxygen. I'm also feeding once a day 'a pinch' of 'tetra gold fish food' <Water changes and isolation of that fish are the best things to do. You can also cut back on the feeding to one pinch every other day and don't feed more than the fish will consume in 3 minutes.> Sorry about the lengthy story please help!!! <Not a problem. Do read the articles and FAQ's at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm Especially the ones pertaining to new tanks, cycling, and goldfish.> The people at my local fish shop said I must let "it settle for a few days" <While it's true that the tank has to go thru this stage, just letting it sit without water changes is going to prolong it and cause your fish horrible stress (providing it doesn't kill them!). Ronni> Thanks, PAULA - SOUTH AFRICA

Here's The "Hole" Problem... Hello Wet Web Media Crew, <Hey There! Scott F. with you!> I am very worried about my watchman goby.  About ten days ago, I noticed a large hole on his left side, between the dorsal fin and the gill.  It's about the size of a pea, pretty big for this fish. I went to my local fish store and they recommended MelaFix.  I've had him on this for four days now and no change.  The fish is acting normally, good appetite and good energy.  It doesn't seem to be bothering the fish's behavior.  Please let me know of anything else that I could do for this fish. I don't want to lose him. The tank is a ten gallon nano reef, with two true Perculas, a pistol shrimp, a bubble tip anemone, and a cleaner shrimp.  Thank you very much for your help. Sincerely, Scott <Well, Scott- I think that you are doing a lot by just maintaining high quality water conditions. If the hole suddenly appeared, it could have been a traumatic injury, which, if not too severe, can possibly heal with minimal intervention on your part. For all we know, the hole may even be a pre-existing thing, that you didn't notice before you bought him? I remember seeing a strain of angelfish many years ago that actually had a hole the size of a coin in the middle of the body! It was bizarre (not to mention, just kinda gross)- but apparently the breeder actually fixed this trait over time (well- there's also people who like peach fuzz and artichoke hearts, too- so no accounting for taste). What I'm getting at through this digression is- this may not be a problem for this fish...Most likely, it is a trauma, and some degree of healing will occur. Take care of this little guy. The fact that he is eating is a good thing! Regards, Scott F>

- After the Disaster - I've sent this message a couple of times, but have not gotten a response, so although this is addressed to Anthony, I welcome and appreciate any advice from any of your skilled crew members. Thanks. <Sorry that someone didn't get back to you sooner. JasonC here at your service.> Anthony, OK, I am beside myself right now. I went away on business for 5 days. The knucklehead I had feeding my reef critters managed to kill roughly 100 or so animals. I am absolutely crushed. <I am very sorry to hear of your loss.> In a nutshell, what he did was as follows... He noticed that 2 days after I left, the building ran out of heating fuel, and the apartment dropped to around 45 degrees. This is not a huge problem, as the tank has its own heat, though it did drop from 75 to about 65. He did not know the tank had it's own heat, so in a sad and well meaning but disastrous effort of misguided heroism... he plugged a small (1500w) space heater into the strip that feeds the tank. Probably about an hour (or less) later, the small 15amp strip breaker tripped, shutting down all filtration and heat. When he discovered this 36 HOURS LATER,,,,the tank had dropped into to 40's and all that had flourished for the last year (NOTHING has died in the last year) was dead. When I got the phone call, I instructed him on how to restart everything and get it back up to temp. <Just a quick comment on all this really for the other people who will read this post... I'm sure you know your friend had only the best of intentions. When going out of town, you really need to plan for the worst of problems, perhaps by leaving out extra extension cords, the list is long and varied, but needs to be a form of disaster planning. This really wasn't anyone's fault.> Now, I am back. It seems that the only animal survivors were 3 peppermint shrimp, about a dozen various snails, a couple of dozen blue leg hermits, and of course......all of the Aiptasia. The big question.............the rock. There is about 150lbs of live (?) rock which is obviously the most costly to replace, and I am wondering about it's resilience. <Hard to predict, but worth trying to bring it along.> While it looks live, how exactly can I tell? <By monitoring the chemical balance in the tank - if you see a rise in ammonia, it's probably a safe bet that some of the fauna on the rock was lost. I think you can bring the rock back to at lest 90% of where it was before by adding some new rock - doesn't have to be a lot - and recurring the tank as a whole.> And, more importantly, What do I do now? <Well... examine your resolve to stick with it. I'm sure this feels like an incredible set back, but personally, I would keep going. I've experienced some large tank losses of my own, and really it's best to learn the lessons and apply them to future experiences.> Please answer back quickly, as I am absolutely sick over this. <Again... very sorry to hear of your loss.> Thank you. -Your friend, Pat. <Cheers, J -- >

Heavy Breathing... 2/9/03 Hi, one of my boys just doesn't' t seem himself.  He is breathing heavily and seems to lose strength and float to the bottom of his tank.  Any ideas? <lack of oxygen from poor water quality or parasitic attack. If this is the only/first fish of a group of the same species... that strongly suggests that nature could be pathogenic. You do not mention if the fish is salt or freshwater. Do a dip of the opposite salinity for a quick fix. But first, test water quality to rule it out. Do a large water change and replace chemical media. Then consider if a disease is likely here (read through the archives at wetwebmedia.com to discover further symptoms/clues). If necessary, medicate the fish in a separate and proper QT vessel as per protocol also described in our archives> Thanks, Sandra <best regards, Anthony>

2/05/03 - Quest for fire! Greetings Bob and crew. <Hello and sorry for the delay. These are busy times!!!!!! Paulo at your service>  I've got a couple of quick questions for you if you will. <No worries> I set up my 45 gallon marine aquarium about 5 months ago and noticed after a couple of days that I had a few unexpected hitchhiker anemones on my live rock. <Heheheheh - did the salesperson tell you that they are an added plus that is why their rock is "Premium" live rock?????> At first I was thrilled with my "score" until my searches for an ID lead me to the dreaded Aiptasia. <Oh yeah, baby!!!!!>  Well, I haven't taken any steps to remove them as of yet (3) and thankfully they have not reproduced. <Usually reproduce with excess nutrients left in the tank from overfeeding and poor water changes etc. etc. blahblah......=) >  I did however read the Q&A's about eradication of these bad boys, and had an idea for a new technique.  So, if you'll humor me I would like to get your thoughts before I attempt anything detrimental to my system. <Uh oh> You see, I have this blow torch :)<Holy Smokes!!!!! What are you up to????.....> and I thought I might blast him with some fire. I then thought about not wanting to overheat my rock, thus killing all the desired life <Good choice in my opinion> so as a solution I could place the rock in a Rubbermaid container or the like with some system water, only exposing my little friend while I lit his fire. Crazy? < Yeah, I wouldn't deem that as a necessary practice. In fact a bit overkill (no pun intended) but there are much more interesting, environmental and down right cooler things you could do to eradicate these pests anemones. Please check here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/aiptasia/aiptasia.htm and see if there is not some sort of solution that will do far less potential collateral damage to yourself if not the rest of your animals> Next question:  We all try to minimize the noise our tanks emit, but inevitably have some moderate humming with all the equipment running.  Well if you put your ear to the glass that noise is significantly amplified.  Now, I'm no scientist but I am a diver and I did learn that water is a terrific conductor of sound waves.  So my question is whether or not this drives our marine friends crazy. <I am also an avid diver with about 100 dives a year round the world as time allows for various marine biology related experiments and vacations et al. I know what you mean about sound amplification. Do you notice any adverse behavior with your fishy friends? All tanks fresh or salt will, of course, have some sort of electro hum or some noise regardless. Imagine a stereo or TV a bit too loud would easily be carried through the glass/acrylic quite easily. More can be said here of course, but in all, I wouldn't worry much about the hum unless it is driving you crazy or if you are noticing strange behavior in you animals.>  I can't imagine living in an environment with what must be a constant deafening noise blaring all around me. <Seems like more and more these days things are louder and louder. (So I say as a souped up Harley goes by outside.......**What**....***huh?** **Can't think.** **Can't....**concentrate**)>   Lastly, I came downstairs a couple of mornings ago to notice my yellow tang had a parasitic isopod attached to his anal fin.  This little beast was nearly half an inch in length.  I was able to snap a couple of photos with my digital cam but my tang is a bit camera shy, so they are not the best angles. <Understood>  I can however, forward them to you if you have an interest. <Definitely. Pictures always seem to help narrow the playing field> About an hour later the isopod was gone.  How worried should I be about this creature reaping havoc on my livestock? <Reaping havoc? How so? Is there a spot left over or scale(s) missing? Isopods aren't all bad. Very important piece of the ecological pie. What symptoms are there for such havoc? Curious.........Definitely depends on how the animal is reacting> Should I make every possible attempt to fish him out ASAP? <Couldn't hurt but should ID first. There is some info on isopods etc to be found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/isopoda.htm> Thank you for this wonderful web-site and all the contributions you have made to this fascinating hobby. <Yes. Bob is great. He has done all he can to insure that fellow hobbyists have a place to come for that one question or for reassurance. Can't say enough about this site either. The pleasure was/is all mine. Thanks for your question. Hope I was of help. Let me know how things turn out, Jesse. Peace my friend......and sorry for the delay> Best Regards, Jesse Canizio Boca Raton, FL  

Skimmer, Algae and bioload Hello! I hope I am not going to be the classic annoying guy who ask the same question that 1000 people asked before. I have reviewed your website and I found it very interesting thank you for your time. I have a 400 G FO two years old, moved an change the sand bed to avg 3.5 in sugar sand bed, and I have 1 volitans, 1 purple tang, 1 Clark's clown, 1 grouper miniata, I Pinktail triggerfish, 1 tusk, 1 coral beauty, 1 snowflake eel, 1 yellow spotted puffer and 1 juvenile Koran, I had also a Naso but he died last week, no idea why? I have a bloom of hair algae so I scrubbed LR and put them back I have a junk skimmer and I am ordering a ev-400 aqua c, but in the mean time I checked my PH and is 7.8 constant day night, added buffer, change water (25%) added baking soda, aerated a sample, there is no way I can raise it, I am assuming my waste and bioload is too high and I am hoping to lowering with the skimmer, but in the mean time now my lion is not eating well anymore and I am afraid to loose more fish, I cut the food to every other day, what can I do ? and do you think the skimmer will be the solution? Filiberto Valero <You don't mention test results for amm/nitrite/nitrate, or method for "scrubbing" live rock, but if you disrupted your live rock bio-capacity this would account for a nutrient spike with this fish load, esp. the lions. I would advise testing water for nitrates, and perform good sized water changes to lower wastes/acidity/correct pH. The hair algae is a sign of excess nutrient, insufficient skimming, filtration, maintenance, and water changes. Also, use a balanced marine buffer, not baking soda, this could also account for your improper ionic balance and depressed pH overall, along with wastes. Better get busy Filiberto! Craig>

Lack of Water changes I have a 380 gallon reef tank, 51" x 51" x 34".  Above it I have two 400 Watt Metal Halide bulbs, 10000? K about 18" above the tank.  I have a 3/8 inch thick acrylic lid which I keep closed and use a chiller to keep the temperature at 76?.   <all good> I use all Kent Marine additives.   <sorry to hear it> I seldom do water changes as I have a very good denitrator.   <wow.. flawed logic bud. Nitrates are one tiny component of water quality. Your DOC levels are accumulating while your fish and coral are forced to live in their own dissolved and concentrating feces. With the investment that you already have in the system, water changes are inexpensive and necessary> My nitrates are 5 ppm or less and everything else is excellent.  I have two cup corals which grew rapidly for a 2-3 of years but for the last year have stagnated and are showing tissue loss.   <Many possibly reasons... including poisoning from other cnidarians or even themselves due to amplified allelopathy from the lack of water changes> The polyps open for the first half of the day and then close up for the second half.  I don't have a UV filter between my lamps and the water <no biggie... the least of your troubles> and I'm wondering if I'm burning them.   <nope... Turbinaria are very adaptable> Or perhaps they require a different spectrum.  Any ideas? <water quality no doubt. Check for clarity too. Without water changes, ozone or weekly carbon, yellowing agents accumulate and reduce light penetration> Thanks. Gene <best regards, Anthony>

Late night emergency I hope that I am not to late to get an answer.   <we work almost round the clock here... 4AM and all's well> I did a water change in our tank today.  The ph on our 75 gal saltwater tank was 7.7 which is a little low.   <actually... for a daytime reading that is extremely low and indicative of a serious problem IMO. Assuming that your test kit is accurate, the night-time pH will be .2-.4 lower typically which means you could perhaps fall to 7.3 at night! That is way scary. A safe pH range for marines is 8.2-8.4. With reef invertebrates it is actually higher still. You do not want to drop below 8.2 at night> But with the water change it boosted up to 8.0.  The salt level is with in normal.  I kept the temp at 78.  But tonight before I turned the tank light off I noticed that every fish in my tank was breathing hard.   <please put fresh carbon in ASAP fearing a contaminant> I have seen fish breath like that when they are put in water with chlorine. <many possible reasons for it> To double check my water, I used our pool chemical test for chlorine to see if there was any chlorine traces. it came back with not a trace.  What could be causing the heavy breathing of the fish?   <water chemistry... a pending disease outbreak (have you added any new fish lately without a proper quarantine period, etc). Many possibilities here without us knowing more information, symptoms and history> You have always given us great advice on our tank.  I just hope they won't all be floating upside down in the morning.   <that makes two of us!> Thanks.  Vickie Sorensen <be prepared to do another water change in case a contaminant is the problem. Look for other symptoms too. Best regards, Anthony>

Death by anoxia Hi Bob,   <Lynn>    Sorry to bother you again, but I really need to know something and I don't know anyone else that can answer it for me.    Here's the scoop.  I bought a powder brown tang (white face) from the pet store.  They kept him there for 6 weeks for me and he was fine the whole time.  I then brought him home and as usual I put him in a 40 gallon quarantine tank and started hypo. which I did for 4 weeks (all the time this fish had beautiful color and healthy and eating)  When the four weeks were up I started to increase the salinity.  I know about increasing it slowly over a week or more.  I would take 4" out of the tank and add a mix of 1.020 water.  I did this morning and night for two days and then on the morning of the third day I accidentally added mix from another bucket that had salinity of 1.027 (had to catch a airplane and was in a hurry). The same 4" though.  When I returned that night...the fish was dead.  I feel horrible and was sure that it was my fault.  Then I also realized that the hang on AquaClear 300 filter was not running (motor had crashed)  I keep a glass lid on the tank and now I'm wondering if he would have died from lack of oxygen? or from my increase in salinity?  Which do you think was more likely <Much more likely a lack of oxygen> Thank you so much, this is probably stupid as the fish is dead. but I just feel so bad about it and kinda would like to know if it was all my fault or not. thanks so much Lynn <Bob Fenner>

Re: Bannerfish with Velvet I am writing with another follow up to my Bannerfish trouble. The last time I wrote I had purchased a Bannerfish for my main tank and placed him in quarantine when he developed white spots and a cloudy eye and would shake like crazy while stating in one spot of the tank.  We thought it was marine velvet so we did 10 minutes freshwater dips and put Coppersafe in the quarantine tank.  We freshwater dipped the fish for ten consecutive days and left him in the 20 gallon quarantine tank with Coppersafe for over three weeks.  A few days into the above treatment his eye cleared up but he kept making the shivering motion in the water.  I sent an e-mail to The Crew and someone said his was more than likely due to the irritation from the copper and not the parasite that was probably gone by this point. <Agreed>   I thought he was better but left him in the CopperSafe for a total of 25 days to kill any parasites in the resting stage.  Well about a week into the above mention quarantine, I realized the growths I was seeing on the fishes fins were Cauliflower disease and then I read through the archives about this in your web site and found this is not uncommon for different types of Butterfly fish.  I also read many articles where Bob described it as an environmental disease and he stated the water conditions must be improved for the fish to be able to fight this virus. <Yes, this is so>    In a few archives Bob even recommended placing the fish back into the main tank for stability. <Yes> This is the route I chose as the water conditions in my 55 gallon sparsely populated tank with live rock were much better than the 20 gallon bare bottom quarantine tank with no live rock or carbon due to the copper necessary for treatment.  I thought I was in the clear as the Coppersafe would have wiped out the Velvet over the three weeks of treatment and the move of the fish to a copper free tank would stop the irritation to the fishes skin and stop him from shivering.  Well to my surprise, I added the Bannerfish to my main tank and six days later, he shivers worst than ever and has a cloudy eye again. My main tank had been stable for a long time now and the three fish living there have been very healthy.   As of now, they seem to not have caught anything from this mysterious Bannerfish but do you think I should move the Bannerfish back to quarantine or allow him to beat the cauliflower in the main tank? <I would leave it in the main tank... which is too small for this species. Do you have a much larger system you can move it to?>   Does the shivering and the cloudy eye mean he has another form of problem other than cauliflower? <No... all tied together with environment> Please tell me what to do as I thought I was going to be able to sit back and enjoy my new fish finally but now only sit around and worry!. Thanks, Amy <No sense worrying. Re-direct your energies, concerns to positive action. Bob Fenner>

Kole On The Decline? (Pt. 2) Thanks for your response, I examined the Kole Tang again most of the night and she seems really slow and unresponsive. Not like when she was purchased. At this point it looks like her mouth rarely closes if at all. She did come out to eat, although not with the same vigor as last week. <The fact that this fish is eating is a good sign!> Do you know of any successful treatment if this is mouth trauma? <Well, if the mouth is damaged, it's unlikely that a medication could help. However, if the fish is "gaping" due to a bacterial infection, then a medication could perhaps work. Impossible for me to diagnose here, so you'll have to really take a look at this fish and review the disease FAQs on the wetwebmedia.com to try to verify exactly what you're dealing with. Try to verify if the mouth is actually "injured", versus swollen.> Some type of antibiotic, or, medication to help her through this? <Well, I'd go for a broad-spectrum antibiotic, such as Maracyn 2. The administration of the medication should really take place in a separate aquarium. At the very least, freshwater dips may help if you're hesitant to try a medication. This is a more manageable, but possibly less effective treatment, if a "hospital" tank is not available.>   At this point I do not have a quarantine tank set up. But after this experience I will in the future. Peter <Certainly a great idea! You'll definitely reap the rewards of this practice down the line! Good luck! regards, Scott F.>

Coral Beauty--Strange Spots Hi there experts! <Hello, I am hardly an expert but am happy to help whenever I can. JasonC here...> I have had a salt water 65gallon tank for about 18 months, and although I try to ask all the right questions at the store where I purchase my fish, I am really learning about my new hobby the hard way. <Is not all that uncommon... I think many life-lessons are learned this way, yes?> My immediate problem is a Coral Beauty who has strange spots that look like sores on each side of his head.  He is still eating, but stays away from the other fish in a corner. <Could be the precursor of Head and Lateral Line Erosion, mostly a nutrition-related condition.> Brief history:  Approximately 3 months ago, my entire tank was wiped out, and I'm still not sure why.  I kept the tank running with live rock, doing water changes and testing ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels, until it appeared healthy enough to start again.  Three weeks ago, at the recommendation of my local salt water retailer, I purchased a Percula Clown, a Milky Way Cardinal, a Coral Beauty and a Lineatus Tang.  Everything appeared happy and healthy in the store (all fish were living in the same tank ) and remained so for two weeks in my tank. <Oh my... you really added too much, too quickly here. Best to add one "thing" per month, go slowly.> Then the Lineatus Tang developed grayish black large spots on his body, and died three days later. I attempted to treat him with Melafix, both in the main tank and in a hospital tank on the second day, but it appeared to make no difference. <Sorry to say that Melafix really isn't good for much, I personally don't have any faith in it - the tea tree oil that is.> Last night the Coral Beauty began developing what looks like sores, and I don't want to lose him too. <I can appreciate that.> I would be grateful for your advice on how to handle this situation. <Hmm... much to say. You didn't reveal much about your husbandry - how often you change the water, what you feed, etc. If I were to guess [and this is a guess], I'd say there is something amiss either with the biological filter or other parameter out of whack - drastic temperature fluctuation, or similar. All of the fish you list are susceptible to the affects of stress which come in a variety of flavors. Despite the fact that these fish lived together, they were thrown en masse into an unfamiliar system - that's one type of stress. Likewise, without knowing what caused the previous wipeout, you have no way of knowing that the problem was truly gone before you added these fish; another potential for stress. The effects of these stresses are cumulative, just like in people, but these fish typically don't fare as well as a result. I would strongly recommend that you spend some time reading through the livestock section of our website as there is no 'one' answer to your questions/problems. -> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MarInd3of6.htm Feel free to write back with any questions that come to mind, or perhaps with some more information about how you feed, etc.> Thank you, Angela
<Cheers, J -- >

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