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FAQs on Treating Parasitic Disease 1

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Crypt on a very susceptible species, Acanthurus achilles

Marine protozoa; trtmt.       11/10/18
Lots of questions for you!
I have a 55gal QT with a mappa puffer, queen angelfish, and harlequin Tuskfish at the moment, and unfortunately am struggling with some sort of protozoa. The symptoms are very different between them: the puffer seems to be behaving totally fine (eating, swimming about, being social), but is covered in white specs and has cloudy eyes - assuming ich. The angelfish and Tuskfish look fine, but are not behaving well (breathing 115 breaths per minute, lethargic, and won't eat) - marine velvet?.
<Perhaps either, even both>
I'm treating with copper sulfate (0.2 mg/L), but haven't noticed much of a change in 4 days!
Yikes. Considering something more aggressive.
<Yes I would... For one I would definitely (NOW) drop the specific gravity... to about 1.010... yes, drastically. AND do this ASAP. Not only will the lowered density help the fish breath more easily (they may be dead in a short while otherwise), the sudden decrease will impugn the parasite/s....>
Kordon's Rapid-Cure ingredients are listed as: Triethylene Glycol, Polyvinylpyrrolidone K-29, and Malachite Green. There's quite a bit of info online about Malachite Green, but I can't find any on the other two ingredients.
1. What does Triethylene Glycol do? Is it toxic to the fish? Will it kill the bio-filter? Will it kill both marine ich and velvet, and if so, at what part of their life cycles?
<Mostly is a carrier/binder... won't kill the parasites and should not impede nitrification>
2. What does Polyvinylpyrrolidone K-29 do? Is it toxic to the fish?
Will it kill the bio-filter? Will it kill both marine ich and velvet, and if so, at what part of their life cycles?
<Got me... PVP itself is used in quite a few all in one "dechloraminator" products... makes the fishes a bit more slimy. Don't know what the designation K-29 refers to... NOT an IUPAC descriptor; likely some snazzy commercial modifier. I WOULD write, contact Kordon-Novalek (or the Net; you may have to pay) re their MSDS with your concerns>
3. Malachite green: Believe it is toxic to the fish and will kill bio filter alone with all protozoa? What part of the protozoa life cycle does it kill?
<Can be useful in arresting protozoa; and yes, will subtend nitrification; and in strong doses, some conditions more/less toxify fishes>
4. Can this be combined with Methylene blue (to help oxygen transfer in the fish)? What about formalin? Copper sulfate?
<Methylene Blue is the safest... AGAIN, take out about half the seawater and replace it w/ dechloraminated new/freshwater. Formalin is a biocide... useful in some applications; better for dips/baths for hobbyists than direct application. CuSO4 is a fave for several applications. You can read
what I have archived on WWM re.>
My local fish store sold me a bottle of "Copper Sulfate".
1. Is Copper Sulfate (CU 2 I think) chelated?
<Might be; should state on the container... if just CuSO4, not chelated>
2. Is it correct that ammonia reducers convert CU 2 to Cu 1 which is very toxic?
<Mmm; not so much, or often an issue>
If so, will "API Stress Coat", "API Tap Water Conditioner", or "Instant Ocean Marine conditioner" do the same thing with the copper (since they're advertised to neutralizing chlorine and heavy metals)?
<They will do degrees precipitate out copper; more/faster non-chelates>
3. Can this be combined with Methylene blue? what about formalin?
<The former should be fine; I would skip formalin use: TOO dangerous, toxic>
I have four total ammonia testing abilities:
1. API Ammonia Test Kit (drops into 5mL water)
2. Seachem Ammonia Alert color wheel (always in the aquarium)
3. Seachem multi test ammonia free and total (drops and powder mixed in a little tray)
4. Tetra easy test strips (swirl strip in water).
1. How do you test ammonia if you're treating with something that dyes the water (like malachite green or Methylene blue)?
<Can usually see through the dye; there are other test moda, including strips... titration, send away (too slow) electronic methods>
2. Which ammonia test kits work when treating with Formalin? Copper?
<These don't interfere w/ colorimetric assays>
3. Will the dying protozoa add to the ammonia buildup?
<Not appreciably, no. HOWEVER (man that's big), the increased stress on the fish WILL be greatly contributing>
I use seachem marine buffer and in all the water I mix just to make sure the pH is where I want it. Is there a drawback to this other than cost of buying the product?
<Not as far as I'm aware, no>
Will it interact with any of the medications listed above?
<Will if added directly to the tank. BETTER by far to pre-mix synthetic, additives and store new water and use a few days later>
Thanks for the help. There's a lot of info out there, but it's a bit overwhelming.
<I do understand. IF it were me/mine I'd drop spg, READ re the use of quinine/s and use them instead of the med.s you list. AND do all this soon, as in ASAPractical. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Marine protozoa
Thank you so much for the detail and quick response. My fish appreciate it too! :-)
<The initial reaction from the salt/solids dilution will amaze you; and please them Val. Cheers, BobF>

Internal parasite    5/25/12
Can you please tell me some medicines to treat internal parasites?
<Mmm, depends on what (group) species of parasites you're talking about...
Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
scroll down to the trays on marine parasite groups; their treatments>
I am based in India, and I cannot get hold of Paracide-D. Can you please inform me its contents, so I can buy equivalent medicines for humans, and use it for my fish?
Appreciate your help.
<Mmm, this Fishy Pharmacy product is only for helminths... worms... See WWM re Anthelminthics... there are quite a few; and doubtless some of these can be found, procured in your country. Bob Fenner>

Unidentifiable disease **URGENT**, lack of needed data, reading    3/25/10
Hi Crew,
I am really confused and need your expect opinion on this.
Recently all of my fishes were sick, and got some unidentifiable disease from Quarantined new fishes, long story short, I have caught all of my fishes and are now in the QT system (100+ gallon with bacterial filtration, 1.015 sal currently)
<You're likely to lose your bio-filtration at the Spg.>
The QT was treated with CU
<For what parasitic complaint, what species of fishes?>
and hyposalinity
<I am not a fan of this treatment procedure>
at 1.012-1.013 for 30 days and all survived fishes all shown improved health and all are eating and alert, I checked for sign of additional disease symptoms, and only found some fishes have severe Finrot. I put fresh activated carbon in and absorbed all traces of CU, changed approx. 50% of the system's water and slowly raising salinity, now at 1.015.
The fin rots are improving but one of my fish, Vlamingi Tang, have some white dots, roughly 1.5-2.0mm, not well rounded, started to show up. At first it was not contagious to others. The fish show no sign of stress, eating and swimming alertly with normal breathing patterns. The spots multiply gradually and is now starting to show at other fishes. I have tried to re-dose CU for 3-4 days and it did not response to it.
<Nor of exposing Tangs, Acanthuroids to copper>
The infected fishes are not showing sign of stress, like breathing fast, or scratching/dashing. they behave really normal, eating well, swimming and alert. But I start to see redden skin patches on the Vlamingi.
I now cut CU and will lower the salinity once again and waiting for your input.
<... it's posted. Read starting here:
and the linked files in the series above>
My opinion is to try antibacterial medication,
I know I must use something to treat it. The disease is not going away on its own.
What medication would you suggest me to try?
<What are you treating for? What species... Oh, none of this information is/was provided...>
I am really puzzled with what I am encountering and please help ASAP>
<Try perusing here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
and particularly reading re Quinine use... Bob Fenner>

disease help... Retail, whlse, competence    7/23/09
I brought in an Asfur angel, an Imperator, two Copperbanded Butterfly, part of the initial order for our new store from one of the "top" LA wholesalers.
<... Okay...>
They were put into 3 separate 30 gallon quarantine systems. Within 48 hours the two angels and one copper developed Lymphocystis. The Imperator additionally showed what I thought at the time was several spots of Crypto in the same pectoral fin displaying the Lymphocystis.
One butterfly also showed a few spots, as well as the Asfur. Everybody was given copper (Cupramine following manufactures dosage level checked daily with Salifert kit) A week later, no response to copper as far as the spots,
<So... what had you learned?>
and I noticed that after two weeks all the original spots are intact. None seem to rupture. Now yesterday The second butterfly literally from one hour to the next showed a raised patch of scales and heavy breathing.
<Copper poisoning, plus stress, equals...?>
The patch began to show redness and I moved him to a smaller hospital tank with copper and added Kanamycin sulfate, a couple of hours later he was gone. The other fish all behave normally and eat well but with no improvement in the spots. I do not have a microspore available right now or I would sample to
the spots to confirm crypto. Is it possible that it is not crypto? Should I try quinine sulfate?
<Not at all likely Cryptocaryon... and why would you use a Quinine?>
Any Ideas?
<All sorts>
I have been miserable with the fish I have received. Until recently I only used trans shippers and have always been aggressive with treating diseases with tremendous success. Because it is a new store we felt
we could get a more complete cross section of fish by using a good wholesaler and we did our research,
<Mmm, not obvious from this email... I would NOT treat large angels or Chelmons with chelated copper... I WOULD have dipped/bathed all new/incoming fishes... per the protocols listed on WWM>
but now the number of losses and the difficulty in treatment is very upsetting. I even confronted them with
the fact that at least one fish was shipped with visible parasites. No actual response.
<Let's not banter about here. Please name the companies involved>
Any help will certainly be appreciated. We take the survival of the fish very seriously, and although we are a new store, I have been doing aquariums including reefs since the mid 80.s
<Gabe... do state whether you'd like your business, the wholesaler not to be named. Bob Fenner>

Re: disease help... SW, crypt f'?   7/24/09
Hi Bob
Thank you for replying, as for the store we are aquarium encounters, In New York. The fish are from SDC, they are certainly great people and I know Eric is an especially nice guy and very knowledgeable but I also know they are huge and things can get past. I don't want to get into any problems with them but I need to know what to do in the future as far as disease, Quarantine etc. As far as fresh water bath/dip I always do that for every fish these included.
<My input re SOP for fish and invert. groups is posted, has occurred in periodicals and books for decades>
As far as the quinine sulfate that was the suggestion of national Fish Pharmacy. The truth is I had run into crypto like diseases years ago that did not respond to Cu and I was very successful with Quinacrine hydrochloride (ala Dr. Edward Kingsford).
<Yowzah! We do go back a fair piece. I am also a huge fan of Quinine compounds for protozoan complaints>
Right now this whole project (opening the store) has drained me physically and mentally, and Oh yeah monetarily.
<I do understand this... Steady on>
I Have three partners who financed most of it, but I did everything from scratch myself from woodworking to acrylic and all design, engineering you name it. We had several delays and have had to by several month rent without opening , more pressure. We are trying to open within a week and everyone who has come in has loved it. It looks more like a small public aquarium than a typical fish store. I have right now about 120 aquariums running with close to half salt water, we also have a hands on science discovery center which we are finishing up.
I am embarrassed right now to admit that my background is in marine science and my independent research during my undergraduate work was in marine fish parasitology and I teach college Bio.
<... why embarrassed?>
I expected the answers you gave me, so if I know what I am doing, why am I having all these problems and making stupid mistakes?
<Really... does happen>
Maybe I am just plain exhausted from 10 -14 hour days in the store while keeping up with my "real job" I am also under tremendous pressure from my partners and I don't have the luxury of being scientific about things with them breathing on me.
My microscope should be here shortly as well as my other lab stuff and I hope to get back on track.
Why am I telling you this?
<Because we are human... is there more?>
I respect your opinion and advice, and I have no one to vent to, that knows a drop about what I am doing or going through.
Thank you for your time. I let you know what happens with the fish, I hope to have the opportunity to meet you.
<We shall meet. BobF>

Re: disease help, SW, comm., Protozoan  7/26/2009
I have my lab equipment, the fish I first wrote you about definitely have crypto, as well as some other yet unidentified ecto parasite embed in the fins. Slightly larger cysts slightly more translucent than crypto.
In the meanwhile, three more butterfly fish as well as a lemon peel a chevron tang and an arc eyed hawk all have definite crypto. Now that I a whole central system infected, what do you recommend, according to
national fish pharm.
I should treat the whole system with quinine sulfate,
<This or Quinacrine Hydrochloride would be my choice>
I do not want to use any copper if possible, and in truth the copper as I wrote earlier did not work as yet, except to kill the Copperbanded butterfly.
Please any help is greatly appreciated, I refuse to become one of the stores hose goal is to sell fish quick before they die, or just make them someone else's problem
<Do try either Quinine cpd. Gabriel... System-wide... Do you have Ed Noga's book handy? BobF>

Re: disease help some additional info to the email just sent 7/26/2009
Hello again
I forgot to mention all the fish that I found to be infected were given dips, I also have to add a Kole tang and declivis butterfly to the list.
They are all on one central system but in different aquariums Help!
<Could well be that the Protozoans were too far embedded to be excised by dip/baths... Does happen. BobF>

Re: disease help some additional info to the email just sent, Crypt., Quinine  -- 07/28/09
Thank you for the help, I treated the whole system with the quinine sulfate, as I did not want the water in the stock tanks to turn yellow and I also believe that it is less light sensitive. One question, I have a piece of
base or live rock in almost every tank, I removed most but left some pieces to see what would happen, I assumed the quinine would wipe out the rock, so far after 24 hrs the coralline algae is losing its color, but the worms and large amphipods are wriggling and swimming about on and under the rock. I thought they would go first.
<Mmm, no... Quinines mainly affect Protozoans...>
If they should have, could it be the med. is under dosed or otherwise ineffective?
<Other biota will reduce the effectiveness, or put another way, more medicant will have to be added to have physiological effect if there is more biomass/metabolic interaction>
So far all the fish seem to be doing well with exception of a Kole tang who is re-infested 48 hrs after a dip, and 24 hrs after adding the med. I am following the dosage recommended by National Fish Pharm.
<I'd stay with their protocol. BobF>

Immune Plus, 6/18/09
Hello all, hope you are all doing fine.
<Yes thanks.>
I have a product called immune plus made by a company named tropical science. It is supposedly able to help prevent fish diseases in the aquarium. Please tell me if you have ever heard of this product (or any
like it) and if this type of thing can really work.
Thanks, James
<Is a "Probiotic". I personally don't buy into this stuff, in humans or fish, however it is a popular topic in both human and animal treatments.
As far as I know there are no peer-reviewed, replicable studies that show this sort of treatment does anything for any person or animal. And their claims that it will prevent parasitic infections such as ich does not make much sense to me. One of those things where you will have to make up your own mind on. However as with all holistic treatments that claim to be good because they are all natural, it is wise to remember arsenic and cyanide are all natural too.>

Ich? copper not curing it if so - possibly Brooklynellosis?   12/25/08 WWM Team: <James> Like many other users of your fantastic resource / service I am extremely grateful to have such a knowledge base available to me. <We share> I need help diagnosing what type of disease my fish currently have and proper treatment protocol for that disease. I am attaching a few pictures of my clown trigger, as he has the most visually obvious signs of what I assume is some type of parasitic infestation. I scoured your site for hours / days and my fish surely seem to have a classic case of Ich, but I am not sure based on the treatment I have administered to date (explained below). The other fish have also shown these same signs over the past 6-8 weeks, but they wouldn't stay still long enough for me to get a good picture for this email. A very brief history: my MDT is 300 gallon FOWLR. I do QT all incoming fish for 30 days in a 29G bare bottom tank. Apparently, I do not have sufficient skills to make the determination when one of the fish is sick however, since my MDT became infested recently. I did do dips (per WWM procedure with RODI H2O and Meth Blue adjusted for temp and pH) for first 5 or 6 fish ever added, but stopped on fish 7 or so, since the fish died during the dip. I think my pH adjustment reading of dip water was taken too soon after adding pH buffer, and that in fact my pH was actually much lower which killed fish?? <Could be an influence... Did you aerate the water during the bath? If prolonged (in time), too little DO, too much DCO2 might have been a greater influence> I discarded dip water so I could not determine cause for sure, but ever since, I have strictly QT'd the fish but have not dipped them. Anyway, about 6-8 weeks ago I noticed classic Ich spots (so I thought / think) on my Powder Blue tang and on Clown Trigger. <The former is very susceptible as you likely are aware> My MDT parameters are spot on, and I did not recently add new fish or change any other parameter that would have caused significant stress, so I chalked it up as poor visual inspection on my part in that I let an Ich fish out of QT into MDT. <Likely so> I went through the painful process of removing 250 lb of live rock so that I could catch all 9 of the MDT fish and move them to hospital tank for treatment. I bought a new 55G glass tank for hospital purposes (figure I will keep 29G medicine free to continue to serve as QT for incoming stock and the new 55G as hospital tank in the event I ever need it after curing this round of stuff). <Good> I established bio in 55G by filling it entirely from MDT source and also added 1 or 2 lb of live rock rubble and added a couple sponge filters that had been in sump for weeks. I let the 9 fish adapt to this new bare bottom 55G (with tons of PVC hiding locations) for 1 or 2 weeks (primarily because I had to go on a business trip and didn't want wife to have to deal with anything beyond feeding). <Thoughtful> After 2 weeks, the white spots (which actually seem more like cloudy tail / fins with just a few spots) were still there as expected. Salinity of 55G hospital tank same as MDT which is 1.025 and temp 78.3F. I have plenty of circulation in hospital tank as I put a top filter in it (Rena Smart Filter 55) and also 2 Maxijets (a 900 and a 1200 the 1200 has venturi adapter to create lots of air bubbles). Notice in the pictures I attached, the fine air bubbles are plentiful, but hopefully you can distinguish the disease from air bubbles even though my camera / photography skills are not A+. I used Seachem's Cupramine at their recommended dosage which is: add .5ml per 10 gallon (or 2.6 ml in my case) on day 1 and then add same amt 2 days later, bringing final solution to .5ppm. I used their copper test kit and indeed I was at .5ppm after the 2nd dosage. <Good noting> I should note that I removed carbon from Rena filter and also live rock rubble before dosing Cupramine, therefore only glass and PVC (and fish) in tank. I left it at this .5 level for 16 days and the fish still have the same white spots / patches as seen in attached pictures. My Powder Blue started having tail rot (??) issues however so I needed to abandon the copper treatment. His tail started getting huge gaps (aka missing pieces). So I put the carbon filter packs back into filter and added Poly Filter to remove all carbon. After a couple / few days my copper reading was / is 0. However, the parasites (assuming that is what I have) are now back in full swing. Could it be that this is not Ich but instead Brook? And that is why copper treatment did not resolve?? <Mmm, this or a "new" (as in the news and novel) "super ich" (Crypt) that is reported to be going around... that seems to be quite copper-medicine resistant.> I do constant water changes in the 55G hospital (10G or almost 20% every 3 days) I do redose proper amt of Cupramine to maintain .5 level each time I do a water change. I just ordered some Formalin-3 (Kordon) on-line in the event I need to try this. <Mmm, is dangerously harsh...> But that stuff seems to be potentially dangerous so wanted to seek your advise before going this route. And if I do go with Formalin, should I do daily dips or constant in 55G hospital tank? <I would actually do something else entirely... IF you choose to try using formalin, baths should be accompanied by at least vacuuming the bottom of the treatment system entirely (to remove encysted/ing forms) or bleaching, rinsing refilling... IF placed directly in the isolation/treatment system, VERY close watch must be made to assure the fishes are NOT outright poisoned if not killed indirectly by low DO (MUCH aeration needs to be added), nor nitrification (lack thereof) problems. What I would do is below> Any advise you can give would be greatly appreciated! Sincerely, Jim <I want to express my compassion for you, your situation first... I have "been here" many times... never easy. What I would do is try a quinine compound instead. Please review here: http://wetwebmedia.com/quinmedfaqs.htm I don't think this is Brooklynellosis, due to its etiology, appearance... but likely another Protozoan. I do think that "it" slipped through your protocol in changing from the dip/bath procedure... but even with this being strictly adhered to EVEN the best outfits on the planet have occasional troubles. Do please write back if any of this is unclear or incomplete (had too much "nog" last night)... And merry Xmas to you and yours. Bob Fenner>

Parasitic Illness Counterattack! After doing much research, I decided to purchase 2 captive-bred ocellaris. One reason I chose captive-bred was to avoid the many health problems that seem to come with wild-caught. <A good reason, among others> After a 5 minute freshwater/Methylene blue dip, I put my 2 new fishies in my 10 gallon Q tank last Friday. <Awesome.. Glad to hear that you are embracing this procedure!> Both are eating enriched frozen brine shrimp, but one is just not very interested in eating. It eats a few bites, then mostly samples & spits. I've also tried flake, frozen Mysis, and even went and bought a few live brine to try to get them more interested. Anyway, after about a day in quarantine, I noticed they both have stringy feces. Hmm, so much for buying captive-bred to avoid problems. My reading says this is probably internal parasites. <That would be my hunch, too.> I've placed an order for Pipzine and it should be here tomorrow. To complicate matters, one clown is breathing a little more quickly today, with its mouth open. <That is not good...could be a sign of something more problematic...> This is the fish that's less interested in eating. I'm guessing we're going downhill from here, and more reading makes me think Brooklynella. But there aren't any slime coat issues yet. <Good news, but this could be the beginnings of this serious illness. If the water conditions are good (i.e.; no ammonia and nitrite), this parasitic disease is a definite suspect> I went out and bought some formalin, and the 2 are currently in a bath of 1 gallon of water from their Q tank, with 1ml of formalin, and an airstone. They seem to be tolerating it well, and I plan to leave them in for 30 minutes. <Good procedure> Enough background. Now the questions. 1. Am I doing the right thing? <Yes, although some people use formalin in the tank continuously, as you would copper sulphate or other meds.> 2.How often do I need to repeat the dip, and how many times till I'm done? <I'd repeat daily, and do it for about 5 days, or until symptoms subside> 3.When the Pipzine gets here, do I use it? <I'd actually hold off on this for a bit. You really don't want to expose the fish to a potentially stressful "cocktail" of ingredients. Besides, if this is Brooklynella, it is a very serious disease; one which must be licked before you attack the potentially less serious internal parasitic problem> 4.Assuming the Brooklynella parasites are now in the Q tank, do I need to do something after treatment to keep them from being reinfected? (I actually have some biological filtration going that's effectively controlling the ammonia. Do I need to treat the tank for the parasite, thus eliminating my filtration?) <I'd opt to dose the formalin directly into the quarantine tank, myself. I think that a sustained dosage may be more effective than brief dips. If you are dealing with Brooklynella, the quarantine tank must be thoroughly broken down and sterilized when you're done with the treatment process.> Many thanks. Suzanne <My pleasure, Suzanne. Hang in there and follow through with your treatment course. You've done everything right so far...Keep it up! Regards, Scott F.> 

A Risk Worth Taking (Parasitic Disease Treatment Assumption) Hi there, <Hey! Scott F. with you today!> I'm writing from Australia and I just wanted to say what a great site you guys have over there, its a treasure trove of information and thank you for making it as accessible as it is.  <You're quite welcome! We're thrilled to bring this site to our fellow fishy friends all over the world each day!> Anyway, to the reason I am writing: I have a problem with a pair of non-mated black Ocellaris clown fish.  A little over a month ago, I introduced a pair of juvenile Black Ocellaris clowns into my 180 liter FOWLR. Tan Ocellaris, relatively mature (2 odd years old).  These were the first fish to be introduced into this tank apart from 5 Trochus snails and 10 hermit crabs (as its previous occupants had been moved to a recently set up 750 liter a couple of months earlier).  When introduced the water parameters where good (PH-8.4, Alk-200ppm, temp 26deg.C, Ammonia-0, Nitrites-0 & Nitrates-0).  The fish took a while to start eating. The larger of the two (late juvenile stage) took 4 days to eat and the smaller of the two, did not eat at all, and consequently withered away (with no visible signs of any sort of disease).  I found this odd as they where supposedly tank reared. In any case I put the death down to stress (and they where enticed with a whole range of live and fresh seafood). <Very frustrating. Although the tank raised Clowns should be categorically more hardy than wild-collected ones, thee are still some low-quality specimens out there on the market. also, the handling along the chain of custody from breeder to LFS could have resulted in a great deal of stress, as you suspect> The survivor picked up after "she" started eating, and was/is very lively.  5 days ago I added a potential mate for my lonely BOCF, a 2.5cm juvenile (smaller the survivor).  When introduced (and not QT'd (I realize the mistake made here and will in future change my philosophy)), "He" seemed to adapt relatively quickly, taking food within half an hour, and apparently getting along with his tank mate.  Anyway, yesterday he began to act a little lethargic and swam very slowly in an area of little current. <Hmm...not a great sign> When I placed some food in the tank he perked up again and ate.  When I checked them after work today, I noticed that both fish had markings on them; "He" has a pinkish/reddish legion or discoloration that extends unbroken from his rear white stripe to his middle white stripe and is about 2mm thick.  He also has another similarly coloured blotch on his front white stripe (2mm dia).  The marks do not appear to be raised off the skin.  He did not seem too interested in the eating, would only go after bits that floated near him. <Well, the fact that he is still eating is a hopeful sign, but the skin discoloration could be a possible symptom of either Amyloodinium or Brooklynella- bother very deadly diseases which ca kill quickly if not addressed> "She" has a similarly coloured but 1mm thick extending in a similar fashion, from under her pectoral fins to her tail.  The same pectoral fin is also scraggy, it looks kind of frayed and is in parts translucent (unlike her other pectoral fin which is jet black).  She also, where possible not using that fin to swim.  When fed, "she" ate like a pig!! <Well, as stated above- feeding is very good...But I think prompt action may be necessary> As can be seen by the length of this email (which I apologize for), I am deeply concerned for the well being of my charges (and I trust that I have provided enough information). <Yes, you are- and the information provided was very helpful> I have trolled through your FAQ's and have been unable to find a similar question.  I would ask that you help me in identifying the problem and a possible cure??  I do not know if this is a physical scratch, fungus, or disease (I have ruled out ich, as there are no visible white dots). Thank you very much for your help and keep up the good work. Cheers, Eamonn     <Well, Eamonn-it's hard to be absolutely certain without a picture, but some of the symptoms that you are describing (i.e.; lethargy, hanging in the current, blotchy discoloration) are similar symptoms to some of those common to Amyloodinium or Brooklynella. Other signs to look for are difficulty breathing, discharge of thick mucus off of the fish's body, and loss of appetite. I usually don't rush to treat unless I'm 100% certain what I am treating, but I'd err on the side of caution here and assume (gulp) that I might be looking at one of these two illnesses (try a key word search using our Google search feature on the WWM site just to verify), and set up a treatment tank and begin using a copper sulphate or formalin-based medication (exactly per manufacturer's instructions). If this is either of the two aforementioned diseases, hours count. I'd rather lose a fish in an attempt to save it then to watch it die a rapid death without taking the chance at treating it. I think that this is a risk worth taking. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Fluke Problem Hello crew, <Hi Richard> I have two tanks in which a flukes (capsalid monogenean) were introduced.  The specific type is Benedina sp. I have found FW dips or Clout to be very effective on these, however, since these 2 tanks are display aquariums I would rather not treat them with clout. <that is understandable> Do you know how long an aquarium would need to remain fallow to prevent reinfestation once fish are reintroduced?   Thank you, Richard <Without a host fish most flukes and other parasites will die off completely within 4 weeks.  So in theory if given 4 weeks, though preferably 6 weeks then all of the parasites should have run their life cycle.  Magnus >

Ich Hello there.  <Greetings. Steve Allen here> Nice informative sight.  Enjoy doing some light reading every day here. <Me too> If you would indulge me with a few answers to my questions I would appreciate it. <sure> Setup as follow- 110 FOWLR setup. Running for a month 75 lbs. live rock 2 percula clowns 3 green Chromis 1 scooter blenny 3 hermit crabs <That's a lot of life for only a month into things. Patience is a richly rewarded virtue in this hobby> After introducing the clowns to this fairly new setup and thing going fine for a week I notice some white spots/bumps on the clowns (wasn't aware of the possible ich problems with these fish, would of considered not choosing these kind of fish if I had know, damn Nemo Movie)  too late now. <most fish are susceptible to ich.> I don't have nor can set up a Quarantine tank so any suggestions for treating these things in the main tank? <There is no such thing. If it's safe for inverts & your biofilter, it doesn't kill ich; if it kills ich, it kills inverts & biofilter. Why can't you set up a QT? All you need is a Rubbermaid container, a heater and a sponge filter. You will be sorrier than you already are if you do not QT all new fish for a month.> The fish are swimming, eating, breathing fine.  So no visible signs of stress and the Chromis have no signs of anything at all.  This has been going on for about a week or so now.  I guess I dropped the ball on treating this sooner than later but the holidays have screwed up my schedule.  I don't want to add any more fish until I am sure this wont spread or become uncontrollable. <Read the tales of woe on WWM. Best bet is to remove all the fish from your tank to QT and treat there while leaving the tank fishless for 6 weeks. Another alternative that may kill the free-floating ich is UV sterilization. A couple of cleaner shrimp might help too. If you try this I'd say no new fish until your current ones are ich-free for a couple of months.> Also I have read some about doing a dip before adding new fish but am unsure of the correct procedure and chemicals to use for this process. <You have a lot of reading to do. You're up against a tenacious and frustrating foe. Here are some links to get you started. Read the linked FAQs, too. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm Thank you for your time and advise. Have a great holiday.  Andy  <you too, good luck>

Parasite Problem? Howdy, First off--class act of a web site.  You are all doing the hobby a tremendous favor. <Thanks for the kind words! And don't forget that everyone who writes in to WWM is helping his or her fellow hobbyists by sharing experiences! That's what WWM is all about! Scott F. with you today!> My firefish's skin seems to have a problem, or does it?  I have two firefish (magnifica), and they are continually developing small bumps (1 mm wide, 2mm long).  Start off light and look to be under skin, then over a 4-7 day period become dark and disappear (presumably fall off).  I didn't not Q them, since didn't know how they would treat each other; didn't FW bath them either. <I know that you'll embrace quarantine in the future, right?> They do scratch against the DSB once in a while.  Read the marine disease section and couldn't find anything on this.  My two clowns and my two clown gobies don't exhibit any similar symptoms.  NH3/4+   <Whooaa! Is that correct? Ammonia should be undetectable...Do recheck!>   NO3, and NO4 are all zero, 1.025, KH = 7.  Any insight would be greatly appreciated.   Best regards, Jeb, Albuquerque, NM <Well, Jeb, it sounds to me like you're looking at some sort of parasite here. Hard to be sure if these are worms or crustaceans, or simple protozoans...I'd consider removing the fishes to a separate "hospital" tank (you can put in a divider if you're concerned about aggression), and starting some freshwater dips. You could run the tank at an increased temperature to help speed up the life cycle of the parasites. I'd use a copper sulphate medication per manufacturer's instructions, or dips in water with  Formalin...It sounds like this is not ich, but rather a trematode or other, larger parasite. I'd embrace one of the treatment ideas presented here, and see how the fishes react...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Counterattack Against Parasites! Dear piscatorial crew: <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> A few questions about the above medication: 1) Does it hamper the performance of a skimmer like AquaC? <Well, not hamper- but it may cause "collateral damage" to beneficial fauna in the display tank...Don't do it!> 2) How long does this take to "fallout" of saltwater? I ask this because it stains the tank and also clouds the water for at least 3 days. <Not sure what the "half life" is of this stuff, but it can bind with substrate and rocks and leach gradually...It may even be rendered ineffective in this manner. Best administered in a separate treatment tank with no rocks of substrate> 3) Will Poly Bio Marine Filter remove this? <Poly Filter will help, yes> 4) Will this kill/stop the larval cycle of tomites? <It will certainly help...> 5) Anthony Calfo suggests siphoning the bottom of the tank for 8 consecutive days to eradicate the tomites in it's larval stage. I have a 2" aragonite sand bed. Do I have to siphon that to or just hover slightly above it? <The technique that Anthony refers to needs to be executed in a bare bottomed tank. It is very successful, but it cannot be reliably performed in a display tank> On a different note: 6) Ick is ubiquitous in any marine setup. It seem to target fish that are vulnerable e.g. (surgeons, newly introduced fish, stressed fish). In your experience, is this true? <I would agree, to a certain extent. It seems like it's always there- ready to strike when conditions allow. The most successful treatment strategies, IMO- target the life cycle of the "parasites", depriving them of hosts and disrupting their life cycle> I've noticed this for most of my fish and seen them live through it without any medication. When I introduce a new fish, it will have ich for a while and hopefully, it will fight it through once it acclimates to it's new environment. I've had a Zebrasoma F., Rhinecanthus A and Sphaeramia N. that lived through a minor ich infestation [although my Parupeneus barberinoides succumbed] with proper feeding and impeccable water quality. I've also noticed that hawks and damsels are especially resistant to these ciliates. <Good observation- and accurate!> Please advice and thanks in advance.  Best,  BC <My advice- dose with caution- but not in the main tank! Regards, Scott F>

Large Fish in Small Aquarium I have a 75 gallon tank with two porcupine puffers, two lions and one dog face puffer.  <first of all way too many fish for this small aquarium> I have been keeping copper in the tank to treat and prevent ich......at least one month...... today both porcupine puffers developed cloudy eyes... worsening as the day went on... I did a water change, about 1/3 of tank....removed all copper....now reads  "0".  pH at 8.2.... ammonia at 0.25... nitrites .25 and nitrates 0... <the ammonia and nitrites are the problem here only water changes will save your livestock now...if I were you I would bring your fish to a trust worthy aquarium store and have them hold your 5 fish until you get your aquarium under control, then I recommend keeping one lionfish, one porcupine puffer and the dogface... in at least a 125 gallon aquarium>  we love makayla and molly and don't know what to do next..... when doing a freshwater dip, please explain exactly how to do that... tap water with chems. removed then what???? <do not do the FW dip...cloudy eyes are a sign of a bacterial infection and if they are placed in an adequate aquarium with good water quality they this should go away..>  ....should I try this?? will they loose their sight and if so how will they eat? ....the one did not eat today the other did.... please respond ASAP... how often is it safe to do water changes????  <in your case once a day and I would get those fish out of that aquarium post haste>  dog face and lions are showing no signs at this time... thanks... Carolyn  <Good luck, IanB>

Re: Ich v. Air bubbles What a great thing to say. Coming from you it is very flattering. You have saved thousands more organisms than I every will and your site is wonderful. I think my comment was needed since I had never seen that issue discussed before. When I realized I  had air bubbles and not ich on the fish I was shocked that even with all my experience I was almost ready to do copper. <As a keen observer of human nature it seems so likely... and yet you had the further intelligence to see through such a "reflex" reaction> Light plays strange tricks on tiny air bubbles. They look white, they build up on the fish over a few days, and even an experienced aquarist can think it is ick - I did :). Hope you mention this in one of your wonderful articles. Thanks again William J. Unroch, Attorney <Will do. Excelsior! Bob Fenner> Para Guard Info 7/4/05 Dear WWM Crew,     Just was wondering if you had any info on SeaChem's' Para Guard product.   The guy at my LFS said that it is a completely reef-safe treatment for fish and inverts and that it can help control possible ich infestations in your main tank.  Just wanted to get your thoughts on it as the only info I have on it is what's printed on the bottle.  They said that it is a good practice to use this prior to introducing any new inhabitants.  Thanks for your reply.                                                             Jeff K <Please read here: http://www.seachem.com/support/FAQs/ParaGuard_faq.html SeaChem itself does not warrant that this product is "safe" with invertebrates. I would/do rely on quarantine, dips/baths, proper acclimation... Bob Fenner> Saltwater Ick and Oodinium To your knowledge, which is the best medication to treat saltwater Ick and Oodinium in a fish only tank. I appreciate any advice. Thanks, Luis  <Luis, the most effective medication is copper sulphate. James (Salty Dog)>

New tank set up, livestock troubles, moving ich/crypt Hi guys, I checked through your website but could not find anything to help me with my specifications. Anyway, I have a 55 gallon tank the occupants were: 1 flame angel 1 f. percula clown 1 arc eye hawk fish 1 sixline wrasse 2 cleaner shrimp 1 royal Gramma Hawkfish and wrasse newest fish, had the store hold them for three weeks. Anyway, my royal Gramma started hitting himself on the rock, and on the heater [he has always done this but it was becoming more frequent.] The rest of the fish were fine, so I decided not to fly into my usual panic and see what happens, I did freshwater dip the r.g. but returned him to the 55. A couple of days later I noticed some white specks on him on his underside, probably about 4 or 5 spots okay, now I panicked. I removed him, dipped him in a saltwater/QuickCure bath and put him in my 29 gal. with my other misfit fish. [ I did not have my 20 gallon ready.] I vacuumed out the 55 really good and changed about 15 gallons. the next day I thought I saw a single speck on the angel, and being the compulsive person I am I ran out and bought 80 lbs of live sand to replace the crushed coral in my tank. <! Good that you know yourself.> I put the four remaining fish in the 20 gal. filled it with water from the main tank and added a dip dosage of Paraguard [SeaChem product] dipped them for an hour. While I was dipping fish I removed my live rock [couldn't throw out 85 lbs of that] threw out my coral leaving some nasty looking sludge in the tank, refilled with 15 gal. of water from the old tank and the rest new. I returned the fish to the 55gal. tank hoping that I had gotten rid of a lot of the ich [ or whatever] now since I act and then think, I am worried about my tank cycling again. <Yes... and if any of the ich left (it is/was)... it will be back> it has been 2 days my readings are not showing any ammonia or nitrites and I have a little over 20ppm nitrates. do you think it will be okay if not what to do if I do get ammonia and/or nitrates? <BioSpira... product from Marineland... your best shot> on a much happier note I am picking up a 125 gallon tank in a few days [ I am so excited!!] I bought 120lbs of live sand and am going to purchase 20-40 lbs of live rock [ later adding the 85lbs from the 55]. My question is can I take my filters, rock and water from my 55 and add my fish immediately or should I start with new water and wait? <I would definitely be doing the latter... WITH at least a thorough preventative dip of all fish livestock (not moving any non-fish) enroute to the new tank... better for them to be isolated in the 20 for four weeks... before being placed in the new system. Understand... your fishes, old system still are infested with Cryptocaryon...> If I wait would it be okay to get some Chromis in right? I don't want to 'cycle ' the tank with them but with the live sand and rock in there would they be okay? <... should be fine... Do quarantine, or at least dip the new Damsels> I don't want to stress the Chromis, so I can wait if need be. also when I am ready, I want to add 2 or 3 new fish could you suggest some hardy fish to go with mine that are somewhat disease resistant? I have Premium Aquatics getting me a black- back Butterflyfish [I know, not real disease resistant, but I did research your website to find a good hardy choice of this species]. Thanks for your help, as always, I turn to you guys. I appreciate all your help. Kim <Kim... I would slow down here a bit... wait to make sure your present fishes are going to be cured... let the old/er tank (the fifty five) "go fallow", sans fish hosts for a good month... Use the new tank to isolate this problem... You do NOT want to be dragging continuous Crypt problems between/amongst your systems. Slow down my friend... think all this through... Maybe drawing out a plan on paper... of what to do, who is being moved to where, potential new purchases... will help you visualize your plan. Bob Fenner> 

Re: New tank set up, livestock troubles, moving ich/crypt Okay, I need to take a breath I know. I have just recently sent another e-mail with some fish new fish in mind, but I will wait until I get everything under control before adding new. Is there an obsessive compulsive fish disorder anonymous [group] I can join?? Thanks for your help, Kim <Heeee! I want to be president! Now!!! BobF>

Hippo Tang scratching, Kick Ich product SCAM, Good Day <Hello> Well, my Hippo tang is scratching persistently and my yellow tang is   scratching now.  I knew I should have waited about the Kick Ich -- that is  one $31.00 lesson I learned. <This product... how many more times do I have to state this?... is an outright SCAM... there are NO reef safe anti-Cryptocaryon cures... NONE... What leads people to believe there could be? What would select this protozoan and yet leave others be? Arggggh!>   I have a 20 gallon QT tank I am going to set  up today.   Should I use 10 gallons of water from my tank and 10 gallons of  fresh saltwater or should all 20 gallons be fresh saltwater since I do not know  what is going on in my tank? <I would use the current aquarium water... less stress, comes with beneficial microbes... the ich will be killed...> My yellow tangs cloudy eye has healed, but he  still has the large brown spots on him and his lips seem to have a little  brownish color around them today.  With what and how should I treat my fish  once I get them into the QT tank?  All your help is greatly  appreciated. Sherry <... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and the linked files (in blue, above) where you lead yourself... QUICKLY... and act with knowledge. Bob Fenner>

Low-down on hyposalinity, WWM Hey everybody, Jason here again with another question: How effective is hyposalinity in the main display tank, as far as ich, Oodinium, and just general fish lice or parasites go? If I am having a problem with any of these, will this alleviate it? Thank you <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/martrthyposalfaqs.htm  Bob Fenner> 

Copper...Or Hyposalinity (4/2/04) Hello Crew! <Steve Allen today.>   Let me start off by praising your site, it's has been a very knowledgeable experience reading the forums and the articles for beginners like me. <Glad to be of service.>   I have been maintaining a 10 gal start up  FOWLR (due to space constraints) for 2 months now, waited 3 weeks to cycle 5 pounds of rocks and 4 inch sand bed, and until now there's still no fish. <Not much room for any, either.> I set up a QT in a small 5 gal tank for 2 healthy false percs and 1 sebae. <Personally, I would not put 2 clowns and an anemone in a 10G tank that maybe has 5G of water in it.>   I freshwater-dipped them with Methylene blue for 8 min.s (they can't take it anymore) <That's long-enough> after they got stable in the qt. I noticed that after a week they started to get ich (white grainy spots like salt), still they eat flakes and small pieces of shrimp like there's no tomorrow. Sorry about this, there are no tank-bred species of any saltwater fishes here in the Philippines which is also why I would want to start one.  I would like to ask regarding copper treatments, since I read from the site that hyposalinity would cause stress to the fish I removed this from my options. <Read more. There is much support for hyposalinity on this site. Cooper stresses too. All treatments do. I treated a clown with hyposalinity no problems, Just lower and raise the SG slowly.> If I added copper in the QT tank for their treatment, should the water with copper stay for the whole duration of another 2 weeks or until they get healed or would they just be 5 to 10 minute dips in a separate hospital tank. <You need to treat for 2 weeks and keep the copper level safe/effective. Another alternative is FW/Formalin dips. Start here & read all links/FAQs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm  > Thanks! Romel <Hope this helps.>

More Velvet Blues >Hey Bob, >>Wrong Bob, you've got Marina tonight. >Hope the holidays were parasite free for you. >>Indeed. >I myself on the other hand believe I have some nasty parasites in my tank. >>Not good. >Clowns and Damsels appear to be coated with little spots that look like sugar. -rapid breathing -scratching -hanging out near top of tank >>You sure make it sound like velvet - you'll need to act FAST. >I have my 20 QT tank running a cycle ( I cycled with live sand, bacteria, and the old filter pads from main tank) >>Cycling is a moot point when medicating, especially for something such a velvet.  Handle nitrogenous wastes by water changes. >-Ammonia is .5 ppm and nitrates are 15ppm (On way down.  Was at  1 for ammonia and 20 ppm for nitrates).  I am waiting for the levels to go down before I quarantine.  Do not want to take the fish from parasite tank to ammonia tank. >>You wait they die.  The bacteria are going to die during medicating anyway.  Search our site on "velvet" for treatment options - they would include hyposalinity and freshwater dipping, copper and/or formalin treatments. >Anything to speed up this process??? >>Treat your fish ASAP! >Or in theory could I just do a water change from main tank to QT tank.   >>No.  You're re-infecting the q/t with the velvet parasites.  This creature is VIRULENT, and not at all easy to eradicate. >I think this would defeat the process of a QT tank though in this case considering the disease is in the main tank. >>You think correctly. >My plan for you to comment on (Once QT tank is ready) -Remove all fish from main tank >>Check.. -Freshwater bathe fish >>Check.. -Add fish to QT tank >>Check.. -Add copper treatment to QT tank (SeaCure) >>Cupramine is my choice, otherwise, check.. -Continue to perform routine maintenance (water changes) on both tanks >>You left out the hyposalinity for the treatment tank.  Otherwise, check.. -After 60 Days return bathe fish (freshwater) and return to main tank. >>Check. Questions: Background - In main 55 gallon tank I will have -Live Rock -Cleaner, Blood, Coral Shrimp >>If coral banded, do watch these for aggression towards the Lysmata spp. -Emerald Crabs -Sifter Starfish -Arrow Crab -Snails -Colony Polyp, mushroom coral, yellow polyp (Fiji Coral) >>You sure you're comfy with an arrow AND an emerald?  Search on Mithrax/emerald crabs as well as arrows to be sure you want these in a reef system.  Both known troublemakers. 1.  From what I read I can increase temp to say 80 degrees to speed up life cycle of parasites.  Is this bad for main tank inhabitants? >>They should be fine.  Don't use hypo in any system with the inverts.  (Hypo for the fish would be 1.010 - 1.007.) 2.  Do I apply copper just once to QT tank? >>Follow the manufacturer's directions and test to ensure maintenance of proper levels.  You WILL need to correct dosage post water change!  The easiest way to do this for some folks is to add copper to the make up water, test and match levels. >My assumption is my water changes to QT tank will dilute copper treatment >>Yep. >3.  Should I add some AmQuel to QT tank to help control levels?   >>I wouldn't.  I strongly advocate using water changes to eliminate nitrogenous wastes. >Thanks for your help.  Hope this works. Or please stop me if I am making big error in plan.  Cheers -CPN >>See above, and do search our site ASAP to work out your plan of attack, it needs to be quick, my friend.  Marina

Marine Parasites 2 (12/26/2003) Thank you so much for getting back to me Steve.  <my pleasure> I have been worried sick about this.  My husband swore, when I set up this tank, I would not be able to keep a salt tank going.  I had a brown thumb when it came to fresh water fish. I have had my tank for a year now and I lost one damsel, the day after I bought it, and a brown Scopus(?) <Scopas> tang to reasons I don't know.  Fine the night before, dead under his rock in the morning. <Happens sometimes> Salt seems to be much easier. <Well, just remember to be conscientious and always practice good husbandry. Never forget the quarantine. One titanic struggle with ich will change your mind about how "easy" it is right away.>  Everything is doing so well (even the worms). <Glad to hear it.> Thanks again, Patti

Sneak attack? Ich on fishes  I acquired a Blue Line angel about a two months ago and things had been going well until three or four days ago when he started to breath rapidly, the only external signs of anything afoul were ich like spots on his eyes. I promptly gave him a fresh water dip w/Formalin  totaling 5-8min. <a good move IMO> and upon removal his respiration rate easily doubled. <immediately after, yes... but minutes/hours later it should be stable or better if dip was done properly (pH adjusted, water aerated before being used... scary close match with tank temp, etc)> At that point I thought it best to just keep an eye on him which made for a long evening, some 4-5hrs later his breathing slowed down but not to a normal rate. <Ahhh... yes, good. As it should be> The following day I gave him another dip exchanging the Formalin with methylene blue and putting him in a Q-tank with copper and antibiotics. <Yikes... I was with you on the repeat dip (needed) and the methylene blue (increases O2)... but you lost me on the copper. Angels are very (!) copper sensitive.> He had been eating up until two hours before I put him to sleep, he finally started to list over on the bottom. I had to have my wife put him down for me and explain to my little one why we perform euthanasia. It tore my heart out to see him slowly suffocate, today, we'll be burying him per my daughters wishes. My original point of this correspondence, it's been my experience that ich doesn't kill that quickly, does it? <You are very correct. Most folks think takes a few days... but even that is not true. It establishes a week or more in advance (usually 2+weeks) and is expressed very subtly at first as the closing of one operculum or occasional scratches or glances off rock long before any "spots" appear> I forgot to mention that he had a 1/4" bump on his side that didn't break the skin nor raise the scales, its cycle was about five days and went away on its own with no intervention. Do you have any thoughts? <The bump on the side also was not fatal and quite likely secondary. I can't be sure with certainty what the cause of death was... but prolonged siege by the parasites unnoticed contributed... the Os o the display may be depressed and amplified it... the copper treatment may have been the killing blow on an already stressed fish. Formalin is very "safe" on a wide range of fishes... methylene blue is good for most (except scale less fishes) ... and copper has severe limitations IMO (efficacy and range of tolerant species). Formalin and FW dips always get my vote. Sorry for your loss my friend. Best regards, Anthony>

Ongoing Ich Hi Bob, I've got a 125 gallon marine set-up that has some of the tougher inverts (hermits, snails, star polyps, live rock, mushroom anemones) as well as an on-going plague of ich. I've tried garlic, so-called reef-safe medications, anti-parasitic food, raising heat to 82 and dropping salinity to 1.017. <All the above are, at best, moderately effective. There are far more aggressive and effective treatments available.> I removed my portable inverts to a separate tank and lowered the salinity to 1.010 for a week. <Probably just a bit too short of a time. The articles I have seen say 7-10 days.> I've caught the fish and isolated them in a separate tank for a month. <The way I would have gone.> Meanwhile, I emptied the tank, washed the substrate, and ran tap water through the tank for several hours. <Wow! This is not what I would have done. Far more aggressive and destructive than needed.> Needless to say, I lost some coralline from my live rock, and several fish due to a nitrite spike (I was lax) and several fights. The fish don't like going from a 125 gal to a 55. All this went on while my family watched me drip tank water with a look of frustration on my face. They quickly identified my "Dad lost another fish" face. My questions: If I put all my remaining fish in my 55 gallon tank and let the tank "go fallow" for 2 full months, can I be fairly certain of getting rid the ich completely? <There will be no viable parasites in the main tank after that time, but no guarantee that Ich cannot come back due to environmental stresses; temperature fluctuations are a big one.> I've read one article that indicated after a 2 month isolation period, clownfish put into a tank that had lain fallow for 2 months after a marine ich outbreak, developed ich in several weeks. A second group of clownfish from the same source, put in another tank never developed the ich. <The tank way have been the difference, but not because of the original parasites in the one.> I think this was in Germany and the article was from the late 80's. Does lowering the salinity to 1.017 or lower for a month or two ever actually get rid of the ich? <Without a host, no fish, the parasites will die in one month's time.> Thanks for wading through all this with me. I am eagerly waiting your response. Fish Dad <Good luck to you! -Steven Pro (another fish Dad)

Re: Ongoing Ich One question I forgot to ask: Many articles list stress and poor water quality as a probable cause of ich outbreaks. <Yes> Isn't lowering the water salinity below the norm subjecting the fish to poor water quality and stress? ~Fish Dad <Not the water quality part because water quality usually refers to lowered pH, dissolved organics, yellow water, high nitrates, detectable levels of ammonia or nitrite, etc. The is supposed to be no stress from the lowered salinity treatment because it is less work on the fish to regulate there osmotic balance. Saltwater fish must drink water constantly and excrete salt back out. This takes energy. If you lower the salinity, the weaken/sick fish have to work less to remain hydrated. That is the theory anyway and in practice a moderate amount of lowered salinity does indeed seem to be relatively unstressful, but IME, it is not all that effective either. -Steven Pro>

Raising the Temperature to Treat Ick <<Not Bob, JasonC here filling in while Bob goes diving.>> Hi Bob, hope you are doing well. I emailed you previously about the "impending ich" a week ago, thanks for the advice. My six-line "looks" better, in that I can't see any more white dots, but he still scratches a lot and constantly hangs around the heater and the top corners, not moving hardly. <<hmmm...>> He still eats, but his behavior is weird! Since I've raised the temp to 82, the other fish are breathing more rapidly and appear stressed more (darting noticeably more), should I get an airstone? <<yes to the airstone>> I only have a big bio-wheel filter outside and that's it (no protein skimmer or anything else). <<a good protein skimmer might be the next on your list of important tank items>> Water is clear of ammonia, nitrite, and barely any nitrate. I do 15% water changes every two weeks. It seems when the temp drops at night and in the morning, everyone but the six-line is doing much better. As if everyone else likes the lower temps (78) vs. 82. Am I messing the others up just to save the six-line? <<Well, most any fish you can fit in a tank in your home is cold-blooded. This means that when you raise the temp like you have, their metabolism goes up, so everything they do goes faster - breathing, etc. As for the night/day temp. difference, I would try to keep those a little closer together - 82 during the day, no lower than 80/81 at night. Big temperature swings are worse [more stressful] than a constant, higher than normal temperature. I don't have details from your earlier email to Bob, but from you description of the 6-line's behavior, I would guess he is feeling like that is the only safe place to be. Are there lot's of places to hide? Is it being hassled? Cheers, J -->> -Jack

New set- up in the UK with outbreak of whitespot Dear Bob , I have read much on your site about ich , but would still really appreciate some advice about my new tank . After 3 months of careful maturation I finally began stocking my 40g tank with live rock, and a first fish . Perhaps stupidly (?), I was talked into getting a powder blue tang as a first fish .  <Arghh, not a good choice... as you well know now> After two weeks and good water quality I decided to add 2 blennies . One week later I noticed the tang was rapidly covered with lots of small white dots which seemed to disappear and reappear - the fish appeared in no distress , but today I have noticed the spots have spread to the blennies and the tang is beginning to swim on it's side. As I have no quarantine tank ready and no access to copper for 2 days I feel limited in my options . 1) Is it worth doing freshwater dips to keep the parasitic stage at bay until I can treat the fish with copper?( I think I will do this tonight anyway) and setting up a quarantine tank this weekend? <Not really... more stress than benefit... and the obvious reaction sites on the fish are only part of the population... as you know> 2) or am I better off aggressively treating the tank with copper and losing the (modest collection of ) live rock? I am worried about destroying the filter if I do this and having to start all over again. <Better at this point to lower spg, elevate temperature... to knock the ich back a bit, in preparation for moving the hosts/fishes and letting this system go fallow (sans fishes) for a good month...> If I unfortunately lose the fish to this parasite , will the tank recover if I leave it fish free for 8 weeks? <Yes, likely... especially with the environmental changes mentioned> I thought I had read enough before I started , but your site , just discovered ,has made me much more aware of the benefits of quarantine and fresh water dipping . <Yes, sadly...> Thanks for a great site , and any help you can provide, Mat, England <You're welcome my friend. Press on. Bob Fenner>

Some disease Hello Bob, HELP!!! I've got a problem in my 75 gal reef. within the last week, my fish one by one started showing signs of maybe some kind of ich or something. My keyhole angel looks like he's lost all of his slime coating real scaly . kinda like you scratch your arm and see the white residue left on your arm. kinda dry looking their eyes are looking glazed over now , and the angel is showing fin rot .Theirs not any real erratic breathing just some shimmering and scratching and darting ever now and then. My yellow tang did show some spots of ich , but I treated it with Greenex andit's now dropped off. I have since started a 10 gal quarantine tank, (a little late I guess), and have moved all of them into it. I've treated the Q tank with AMPICILLEX for the eyes and fin rot , and was wondering if it's safe to add copper safe to the q-tank along with the Ampicillex already in there, just for good measure on the ich problem .or if you have any suggestions on medication or remedies at all I'm open to just about anything. all the fish are eating very well, I haven't added anything to the tank in the last month at all, as far as livestock. any help at all is greatly appreciated  >> Yikes, does sound like a parasitic problem, and yes to using the copper in the quarantine tank... And do be careful with the Greenex product... very toxic. Please read over the marine index: parasite, ich, medication sections on our site: Home Page for what you need to know. Bob Fenner

I've had a really bad ich problem, I went to LFS told me to use greensafe, since I have 2 cleaner shrimp, 1 fire shrimp, 1 coral banded shrimp, flame angel, clarkii clown, 1 mushroom, and 2 polyps. 100lbs LR, 100gal tank, LR is totally encrusted with green, red, pink, purple and it's been set up for two months now. I raised my temp to 84 F did water change every week, until I put the greensafe, day later I lost my flame, 2 cleaner, and fire shrimp. I've had this problem before and I quit salt water, but now It seems I failed again. Should I get ozonizer along with my Berlin skimmer that I have now, I also thought of getting another skimmer, the needle wheel type, I also have UV sterilizer, thinking of running it along the ozonizer, would that be safe with reef tank, because I know coral thrive in CO2. I'm just totally disappointed right now and your advice is greatly appreciated. >> Yikes... well, once again I find myself shaking my head, and wondering why people in the trade endorse the use of such malachite and formalin products... as safe and effective for reef tanks. They are not. Very sorry to hear of your trials, and do have some sound advice to offer. For one, henceforth, become resolute about dipping/quarantining all incoming livestock... especially new fishes. For your present situation: The only likely way to rid the entrenched ich problem is to: 1) Remove the fishes to a separate system and treat them for two weeks with a copper-based ich treatment, using test kits for free copper levels and ammonia... 2) Lowering the specific gravity in your main system (to about 1.017... till your invertebrates, algae look like they're disimproving), keeping the temperature about where you have it (84F) and letting the whole system go fallow (w/o fishes) for at least a month (two is better). Your present (Berlin) skimmer is likely fine for your system, adding an ozonizer, and/or a UV would be a plus... and not harm your corals. Bob Fenner

Ich Bob, What is your recommended treatment for ich. I just purchased a cleaner shrimp and added that to my tank. Would you do more? >> Depends on your circumstances. Cleaner organisms are a good "first response" to light ich infestations... for many/most types of fishes... and are useful in preventing ich to some extent. But, for obvious "hyper" infective states, removing the affected fishes to a more easily controlled setting (hospital/quarantine tank) and a copper-based medication (used with a test kit for the type of copper) is efficacious... There are a handful of bogus ich remedies on the market now for some reason... the better ones just don't work, the others are toxic... Bob Fenner

Kole tang Hello, I had a Naso Tang which had ich and I treated him with Rid Ich and the spots would go away for a while then soon come back. He began to look kinda sunken in after about 2weeks or so. Then he died a day or two later. Now I have a Kole Tang and it also has ich and I treated him with Kick Ich (a different product) but similar results. He is also starting to look sunken in. Both were eating fine. I am worried my Kole Tang will die too! I was wondering if you know what could be wrong and how I might be able to treat him? Any Info you could give would be great. THANKS. Brian >> Both the products you list are not worthwhile... Get/use a real copper-based remedy (e.g. CopperCure, CopperSafe...) and a test kit for the type of copper you're using (chelated or not)... and treat all your fishes in a separate system with lowered specific gravity (1.018 is safe for most all fishes)... and elevated temperature (82-84 F.) for ten days maximum... The tangs died from the treatment... they have beneficial microbes in their stomachs that can't take extended poisoning. Bob Fenner, who says, read over the articles on copper use, quarantine, acclimation... posted at www.wetwebmedia.com

Thanks-too late Bob thanks for the advice so rapidly. The whole tank must have been infected. The only fish left are 2 yellow tangs, all others died over night before I could even get to the store to get copper. It seemed to start with one fish or 2 that came from the PA store. They looked healthily that day bought, other tanks in the store had sick looking fish, could they have infected the water or the fish of other tanks? This hobby is rapidly growing and fish stores are selling saltwater fish almost as fast as they get them in. They don't even have the fish sometimes long enough long for visual symptoms to show. What can be done to prevent this in the future? My 55 gallon tank is fine, knock on wood, I've had it up for 18 months and only had one fish die, a small angle-he was not eating when I got him and I chalked it up as bad luck. What just happen to my 150 gallon tank and all the fish is more that bad luck, $$$$$. Should I put a UV sterilizer on the 150 or both? What are your suggestion for adding fish? It seems every book, every pet store I've shopped varies or I've been lucky with the 55. Input please, what should I do to cleanse the 150 tank before I reset it up or add new fish to ensure what killed the others is not hiding in shadows for the next victims. Russ < Arrgghhh (as well)... yes... these parasitic diseases (ich/Cryptocaryon, velvet/Amyloodinium) can wipe-out a system overnight... as I had urged your immediate action in the first post. And yes, definitely, the situation most likely has spread to other people's systems... even within a store with an effective filtration/sterilization system... through net/specimen container, casual moving of water twixt tanks... very bad news for all concerned. Not all places have stores popping up, and many stores (and the people who supply them all the way up the chain) do their best and are effective at passing on such problems... You should take the stance however that no one has properly treated your livestock before placing it in your main/display systems... And dip/bath and quarantine all incoming fishes. Don't know a good protocol, what gear is involved for this? Visit the articles archived on the topics at the URL: www.wetwebmedia.com You should wait a good two months before trying to re-introduce fishes to the 150... and in the meanwhile lower the spg to zip (0.0000) for a good handful of hours.. Yes, drain it down, refill with freshwater, let sit, drain back down and refill with low spg marine (about 1.015)... to "pop" most of the parasites... weaken the rest... There are other approaches... this is the one I would take. Bob Fenner>

Ich Hey Bob, I have a 50 Gallon Marine aquarium that has been up and running for two months. I have 65 pounds of live rock, a skimmer, a "SeaStorm" bio-filter, and a power head for current. All water tests were OK so I bought two yellow tangs to complete the cycling of my tank and they both now have ich. I am treating the water with a product called "kick-ich" with the active ingredient 5-nitroimidazoles. I am very skeptical of the effectiveness of this product. I am planning on setting up a quarantine tank and I have a UV Sterilizer on order. I plan to move the fish to the quarantine tank with copper treatment, install the UV Sterilizer in my main tank, and cycle the tank for 21 days before returning the tangs (if they survive) to the main tank. Is this the proper procedure to get things back in order and begin a preventative maintenance program? Thanks, Eric Blanton < I share your skepticism... and agree with much of your plan... but would add some biological cleaners (Gobiosoma gobies, Lysmata shrimp) to the main tank...as the ich will at least partially resurface... and in the intermediate treatment time... do raise the temperature in the main tank to the mid 80's F. and drop the specific gravity to 1.017... this will greatly weaken the pathogens... Bob Fenner, who does not agree with the practice of using Tangs to cycle tanks...>

Still ichy here Hi, I have written recently about the ich problem I have. I also consider you a good reliable source of information which I thank you for. I have an Emperor Angelfish and a Flame Angel the have had the same spots of ich now for two weeks. How long does ich stay on the fish before falling off? Could this be something else other than ich? The fish are not stressed at all and are swimming very happily and going about there business looking for food etc.  The fish are not rubbing on rocks, which is why I wonder if it might be something else. I have had major ich infestations before and the fish are not acting at all like they have ich. I am stumped please help! Michael >> Ich (Cryptocaryon) stays on marine fishes a few days to a few weeks depending mainly on temperature... and there are other causes of "white spots" on marines... and the spots aren't the organism in question but a reaction of the fish to irritation. And fishes can/do have such infestations that are prolonged, chronic... that may become acute in less favorable (to the host) conditions... Cutting to the chase, I would do the usual in the way of environmental manipulation: lower the specific gravity (to 1.017) over the next few days... raise temperature to about 82 F. and place a couple Cleaner organisms like Lysmata shrimp, Gobiosoma gobies... and see if this does the trick... this time. Going forward, I would institute a strict dip and quarantine procedure for all new fish livestock... to prevent these problems from the beginning. Bob Fenner 

Parasites Bob, I have a blue Tang with Ick and a Puffer, Lamarck Angel, three Damsels, a Flame Angel, a Coral Beauty and a Maroon Clown. Some appear to have parasites and or flukes. I received a recommendation from a local pet shop to try Marine/Max followed by Marine/Care both by Topical Science. Have you heard of this treatment? Would you recommend this or another treatment? I am hesitant to dip each of the fish due to the consumption of time and the stress to the fish. I do not have a quarantine tank and I have Live Rock and a Blue Starfish in the tank as well so I cannot use copper medication.  Also, on the subject of tank care, How often should I change the water and when I do how much of the gravel should I suction, a third, a half of the surface area? every water change? Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you, Nikki >> Thank you for writing... and I do know of the folks and products at Tropical Science... but don't know enough re the proposed treatment (first or second hand) to have a valid opinion. What I would do, either in addition or in place of this proposed procedure, is to do my/your best to optimize water quality, manipulate spg, and add some biological cleaners... let me expand on these three. 1) Do gravel vacuum the system, clean your skimmer, do any other deferred clean-up work. 2) Lower the density of your water down to 1.018... over a couple of days... by removing the tank water and just replacing it with treated tap/freshwater... this will bump off many of the parasites, and help your livestock. 3) Get a cleaner shrimp (the best Lysmata amboinensis) and maybe a couple of cleaner gobies (Gobiosoma spp.) ASAP.... these will help remove the parasites, and make the fish livestock "feel" a lot better. Doing all these may turn the balance of health/disease to your livestock's advantage w/o resorting to other treatment... Do These now! Re surface skimming, Yes, do remove just a little (maybe a gallon) or so material from the surface... to eliminate any film that may be there... Going forward, please do get and use a quarantine/hospital set-up for all incoming fish livestock...  Bob Fenner

Ich You answered a few questions for me last week, for which I am very grateful. I have added two tangs to my 75-gallon reef (in addition to one that was already present) and within 48 hours, one is showing signs of Ich. Unfortunately, the spots are on the gills already. I remember reading an article, authored by yourself or Mike Paletta, that discussed new, interesting Ich-fighting methods for reef tanks. If I recall, it was newer than the turn-up-the-heat lower-the-salinity add-freshwater method. Unfortunately, I didn't save it and now I can't remember and can't find it on the Internet. Could you direct me to where I might find this information? Thank you! < Michael Paletta did pen such a piece... or something like it, that is posted on the FFExpress.com website. I have a slightly different opinion... or supplemental information to offer. Such "treatment" will not generally effect an actual "cure"... in any sort of "advanced" cases of ich (let's say ones that are a few days old, or where there are many spots on the host fishes)... And very often it is dangerous to raise the temperature where the fishes are already weakened by disease, and/or where such action will drastically reduce gas saturation (think of a soft drink on a hot versus cool day)... anyway, my further opinions on parasitic disease and their control can be found in a few places. On the net at www.wetwebmedia.com  Bob Fenner>

Help I have a 150 gallon tank which has been set up for approximately 5-6 months. I have an Oceanic Trickle filter and about 15 lbs. of live rock. The fish I have include a 2ft Snowflake eel, dog face puffer, Niger Trigger, Yellow Tang, Tomato Clown, and Clown Tang. Also a few crabs and snails.  It appears that I am now having white spots on the fins. I don't want to diagnose this as something it is not and give them the wrong treatment. I have a quarantine tank ready to go, but would like to know the best cure for this. A fresh water bath? Copper (in quarantine tank only because of the live rock)? Other treatments? Please help! I am somewhat of a novice when it comes to diseases. Would a UV Sterilizer also be a good thing to add real soon?? < Let's take this a step at a time. It's important. Are you sure that what you're seeing is a parasite (at all)? Which fishes appear to have the white spots? Not all of the fishes? From where do you think the ich came into the system? In the short term, start lowering your specific gravity (a couple of thousandths per day) by removing system water and replacing it with freshwater. This will forestall the parasites development and reproduction (if this is what the spots portend), and give us/you time to think and communicate. If you are going to move the fishes, a pH adjusted (just use sodium bicarbonate, baking soda) teaspoon or so per gallon freshwater and do treat them with copper in the quarantine tank (if you move them). Copper use information can be found at my wetwebmedia.com website. Alternatively, and a better idea IF you decide to use copper to treat these symptoms, is to remove the live rock, snails and crabs, manipulate the spg as detailed above and treat the main tank. Yes, an ultraviolet sterilizer would help, but not cure the situation. And I'd encourage you to consider (with or w/o the UV) the addition of biological cleaners in the form of Gobiosoma gobies. Most likely the trigger, eel and puffer will recognize these for what they are and not inhale them Bob Fenner> I have a125 gal. FO tank. With three fish. Currently I have a minor ich problem. I lowered my salinity to 1.018, and am running two Uv sterilizers. Plus I am giving my three fish freshwater dips, dipping them for 2 min. Now is this a good way to battle ich. With out using any medications?? Thanks >> The next best (other than a copper routine) route to try (along with lowering spg which you've already done), are biological cleaners. Lysmata shrimp are great for tropical tanks (if you don't have fishes, other animals that will eat them), and the small Cleaner Gobies of the genus Gobiosoma. Try these out... as the steps you have taken (UV's , lowered spg, dips) will not effect a cure on their own. Bob Fenner

Last Tuesday I received my shipment of fish from Flying Fish. I followed Flying Fish's acclimation procedures, then gave the fish a fresh water dip using Methylene Blue before adding them to my tank. Unfortunately when I added the fish to my tank my UV sterilizer had been returned to the manufacturer for repair. All of the fish are doing well with the exception of my Purple Tang and my Naso Tang, both of which now have little white spots on them. I have removed the two fish to 10 gal. quarantine tank where I am using Cupramine to treat the two fish. I still see little white specks floating in my tank, I'm not sure if they are from Coral Reef Disease (Amyloodinium ocellatum) or Ich (Cryptocaryon irritans). Due to the live rock in the tank I can't use a copper medication in my tank. What would be the best way to treat my tank? I have a 75 gal. tank with a sand base and live rock in the tank and I have a wet/dry filter along with a Berlin protein skimmer and I'm still waiting on my UV sterilizer to be returned. Thank You, Steve Stockton < Hmm, I don't think the white specks in the tank are any sort of infectious or parasitic disease. Do take care with the Cupramine product to follow their directions closely (the first dose at 1ml. per ten gallons (real gallons of system water), raising the ppm of Cu++ (by the Porphyrin test method) to 0.25ppm... the second day addition to a calculated 0.50ppm... this will not measure as much of the copper is "going elsewhere"), and testing for same... I'd also encourage you to lower the spg for these fishes to 1.016 over a couple of days time (and raise it back in a few weeks when the disease is really gone). In the system itself, I'd employ some cleaner organisms (shrimps, gobies) and hope for the best (along with high and steady water quality, and strictly adhered to quarantine and acclimation procedures for all new livestock). Bob Fenner>

Ich / low salinity I recently wrote regarding ich in my 125g (fish only) tank. My LFS recommended "ORGANI-CURE" and I added it as recommended. The ich was the result of a rise in ammonia resulting from a disturbance to the bacteria in my filter. I increased the lighting time to boost algae growth and I performed water changes as recommended. The ammonia is back at "0". Other than the ich, the fish appear to be doing well. The ich is limited to only the blue tang and I have also performed fresh water dips. The ich had not disappeared after nearly a week so I lowered the salinity to 1.018 and raised the temp to 82 degrees as recommended by the FFE website.  9 hours after the change in salinity, I lost two fish. Their eyes were cloudy and somewhat "bugged out". I am preparing myself for losing more fish as their eyes also are cloudy and "bugging out". I am really unsure about the negative effects of lowered salinity on my livestock. Were did I go wrong??? I've enjoyed this hobby but the last week has got me questioning my resolve. I bought your book and I've read it nearly form cover to cover. Thanks for your insight... Scott < Don't I know how you feel. Sometimes, even with the most complete information, efforts and gear, there are still unexplainable losses... To me it sounds like you did everything "right"... maybe with the exception of lowering the specific gravity sooner. Yes, I would have lowered the spg as well. The eye cloudiness and losses may have little to do with the OrganiCure or lowered salinity. It may be that what you are observing in the fishes eyes is a burn from the medication, or a later generation of a parasite, or a latent effect of the ammonia et al. anomaly... or very likely a combination of these and other factors... As always, good health of our livestock rests upon the three sets of factors (covered in some of my books, and on the wetwebmedia.com site): The initial state of health (genetic and developmental), Suitability of the environment (many factors: water quality/stability, foods/feeding, tankmate dynamics...), and Presence and degree of infectiousness of disease-causing organisms... so much to consider, but much to aim for in the way of planning and prevention... and allowing us to avoid "medication". Bob Fenner>

Bob, I hate to have to write to you again, mainly because I feel like I'm taking up a lot of your time, but also because, well, I have to write again. I'm starting to get frustrated. To recap my adventures up to this point: I had some Cryptocaryon, I medicated with Cupramine, the ich went away, my Naso stopped eating, I removed the copper, the Naso started eating again. Everything looked fine for two days, and now I see some ich on a couple of fish, the Naso, and the Purple Tang who we added the medication for in the first place. Yesterday, I added some crabs and snails, and a couple new pieces of live rock, but otherwise, nothing has changed. I guess my question is, is it ever advisable to just let the ich "run it's course?" I don't see how this could be a smart thing to do, but I really don't want to medicate the tank again.  I'm guessing that you might suggest a quarantine period for the fish who show signs of infection, and that's crossed my mind as well. I just got a 20 gal tank for a Q-tank yesterday, but I have no biological established filtration for it yet (in fact, I don't even have any water in it yet). Would you advise quarantining the fish anyway?  You also suggested Lysmata shrimp in one of your previous responses. I added three pacific cleaners with the crabs and snails, and found out very quickly how much my blue-head wrasse loves them. Do you think that some Gobiosoma gobies would survive in my tank? Here's another copy of a list of inhabitants: 1 7-8" Sohal Tang 1 6-7" Naso Tang 1 3" Kole Tang 1 4-5" Purple Tang  1 4-5" Bluehead Wrasse 1 5" Juvenile Imperator Angel 2 Lawnmower blennies 1 Scooter Blenny 1 3" Sergeant Major (wow, they grow fast!) Two medium-large hermit crabs About 40 left-handed and scarlet hermits One arrow crab About 15 assorted small damsels And 30 Trochus snails. Any help you can give will be much appreciated. I'm about at my wits end. Thanks Again (and again, and again...), Randi < Hello again... well, it's a tough call, but you might get by without moving, treating the affected fishes. It really will come down to a black/white situation: either by adding the Gobiosoma (which is a good idea, and that Blue Headed Thalassoma should leave them alone), the scales will tip in your and your fishes favor... or the situation will get much worse, possibly very quickly (a few days)... so do get the gobies and be vigilant... If they really get spotted, start breathing hard, move all the fishes... Bob Fenner>

  Hi Bob,   Thanks a lot for your advice. It turns out that the Naso ate for the first time this evening. Whew...  Cheers,  Randi < "What did I tell you...?" Good news! Bob Fenner>     Hi Again Bob,   You may remember me, we wrote several times last week regarding my sick  purple tang, and the Cupramine medication I was using to treat him. He  seems to have bounced back nicely, and is doing fine. Unfortunately, I have another (related?) problem now. Three days ago, I noticed that my 6" Naso tang was looking kind of skinny. I've been keeping an eye on him, and it looks like he's stopped eating. As soon as I noticed his drawn in stomach area, I replaced my carbon and did a 50% water change to get rid of the copper. Alas, it seems like he hasn't eaten in the three days since I did  this. When I feed, he'll come towards the food, but seems to retreat as  soon  as he sees the other fish taking it. I've tried live and frozen brine, flake, and I've tried to keep some Nori in the tank for most of the day.   His  colors look ok, and he still appears relatively active, though he may be spending a bit more time sitting behind tank decorations than he used to.    There were a couple of other things in the tank that had changed right around  the time that I medicated the tank: I added a power head to circulate water at the end of the tank opposite the sump return, and right before I medicated, I'd added a 7" Sohal tang to the community (the Naso was the largest fish in the tank up until then). The two large tangs don't seem to have any problems with each other, and were both eating a week into the copper treatment (I noticed the problem with the Naso about a week and half   into it).   Do you think his lack of appetite could be due to the copper treatment, or  any of the other environmental changes that I've described? What can you  suggest to get my fish back on track? I hope you can help, I'm really quite fond of this fish. If you need any more information, please don't hesitate to ask.   Thanks in advance for your help.  Randi < Yes, definitely the copper treatments did affect the tangs... And very   likely they will "bounce back" and regain their appetites shortly.    Surgeonfishes and their relatives are noticeably ill-affected by copper   just as you observed. If you can get some there is an algae that is cultured   in  Hawai'i for the "Poke" industry called "Ogo" that is irresistible to Naso/ Lipstick tangs. I have pictures of this species sticking its head out of   the  water at the shoreline to get this stuff! Otherwise please have faith and   keep doing what you're doing... all should be well, better soon.   Bob Fenner>

Marine Fish Question Hello Bob, I've been reading your column recently, and it looks like you have a lot of great advice for people. Hopefully, you'll have some for me. I've had a recurring problem with ich in my 3-4 month old 150g fish only tank. When one of my most recent acquisitions, a purple tang, began showing white spots, I decided to medicate my entire tank, in hopes of eradicating the problem (and to begin doing fresh water baths on my future fish!). Most of the ich seems to be gone from the purple, and it doesn't seem to have spread. However, he now appears to have a dusty looking substance covering his body, and I've now noticed it on his eyes. I don't know how this could be marine velvet, since the tank has been medicated for about a week, but I've never seen velvet, so I can't say for sure. The fish seems to be acting and eating normally. My ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels are very good. Do you have any ideas about what this may be, and how I might treat it, and prevent it in the future? My ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels are very good. On a related note, since I treated the tank with copper, what kind of measures (other than water changes) will I have to go to make the tank suitable for live rock and invertebrates? I've been told that activated carbon will remove the copper, but will this be enough? Thanks in advance for your help! Randi p.s. Love your book! >> Thank you for writing. The condition on your Purple tang may well be Velvet... unfortunately Surgeonfishes are very susceptible to both ich and Amyloodinium... How would I go about treating it? If the fishes don't seem to debilitated (at this point) and only the Purple Tang is showing signs... I'd add some Cleaner Shrimp of the genus Lysmata (if they won't be eaten by other livestock you haven't listed), or Gobiosoma gobies to pick off the parasites...     Preventing these scourges in the future can be done by selecting healthy livestock, AND dipping/treating them AND quarantining them for a good two weeks before introduction into the main/display system     The copper med. will be readily removed (within days) by activated carbon use. And then you can add live rock, invertebrates. Bob Fenner

Natural Itch Fighting & Pygmy Angel Problems Wow! FAST response - thanks so much both for taking the time and sharing your wisdom. I looked in your book first when I had this problem, but there wasn't so much on natural itch fighting. Maybe I need to contact your publisher and encourage him to give you a bigger book for the second edition? ;-) Anyhow, thanks again for writing your Q & A, which I know many many people gain a lot of knowledge from every day! <The original "text" of The Conscientious Marine Aquarist was a more than one thousand page tome... way too much of most everything. And am quite leery of telling "partial stories" on a few counts, including the use of biological cleaners for strict treatment of external parasite diseases. You can appreciate how easily such statements could be misused> You are right about the quarantine - I wish I wasn't so impatient to get them settled in. I kicked myself a lot when the Itch broke out. The wrasses I got were L. dimidiatus. Well, one disappeared within 10 minutes of going into the tank (see question below about the black hole in my tank) and the other hasn't been seen today at all. So, I'm back to the original one, only. Do you think that even one is too many? I do understand the concern about "pestering" the other fish. <IMO, yes, Labroides wrasses are too bothersome in all but the largest (several hundred gallons up) systems> Also, you mentioned something about "writing this up", but I'm not sure if you are (a) serious an (b) which piece and where I would post it. I am new to this hobby - having inherited a 2 1/2 year old tank and bought every book in sight in an attempt to learn what to do ASAP - and am terrified of hurting it somehow. I'm not sure that any of my input would be helpful to others who are as lost as I. <I'd send it to one (at a time) of the national aquarium hobby magazines, not just the net. My first choice is Freshwater And Marine Aquarium, they have a website if you can't find the magazine itself. The relating of your experiences and reflections upon them would indeed be helpful> Here's another weird question set, if you have time: In the past 2 months, I have put 2 cleaner shrimp, 3 L. dimidiatus and 2 H. trispilus/H. chrysus (I'm not sure which they were) into the tank at various times. Both shrimp, one L. dimidiatus and H. chrysus disappeared within minutes of putting them in the tank. The other H. chrysus I found buried in the substrate and assumed he was dead. As soon as I touched him, he shot up and into the rockwork never to be seen again. I have carefully checked every day for Ammonia spikes etc., but have seen neither dead bodies or water parameter troubles. 1) Could I honestly just have such a well balanced tank that it can absorb deaths like this without showing any ill effect? <Yes, it's very possible with live rock... good set-up, maintenance> 2) What happens to the bodies? I do have a number of micro-hermits but they'd explode if they ate all that at one sitting! <They mostly "just dissolve, disappear" many consumers, decomposers help out> 3) Should I tear the rockwork apart when a fish "disappears" in order to find the body or just let the tank do it's "black hole" thing? Aren't they supposed to float to the surface or something? <No to tearing the system down, apart... won't really help; unless it's a big fish in a small system. Some fishes do float, many don't. Like the wrasses, they find themselves under the substrate, rock...> Thanks, again! -Lorraine < You're welcome. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Use of garlic oil to prevent ick Dear Bob, First, and foremost, I would like to commend you on your book The Conscientious Marine Aquarists'. I have been an avid marine aquarists for more than 6 years. During that time, I have read practically every book on our hobby--many of which are both well written and quite informative. However, I have to admit that your work stands well above the others in that 1) it brings a humane and conscientious perspective to our hobby which is frequently, and unfortunately, missed by other authors/hobbyists and 2) the information you provide, particularly in the fish/invertebrate section, include background, habits, disease and eating behavior is an outstanding reference--one that I have always been looking search for. My question is in response to an article that Michael Paletta published on the FFE web site which he discussed managing common diseases in marine fish. Michael discusses using garlic oil both as a treatment and a prophylaxis for ick. Based on his experience and advice, I decided to try this approach since I have add several bouts with Amyloodinium and Cryptocaryon. I have a 180 gallon tank, with a wet/dry filter, protein skimmer, mechanical filter and UV sterilizer. My water parameters are all excellent. PH 8.3, ammonia, nitrates and nitrates all at or near zero and specific gravity of approximately 1.022/3. water temp is maintained at 87.5F. My alkalinity was low at the beginning of the week approximately 1.7meq, but I have increased it to 3.0meq using a Sachem additive (reef builder). I also have a fish only tank which includes approximately 8 fish as well as 160 lbs of live rock. I noticed last Sunday (10/24/99), about the same time that 1) I began the garlic oil treatments (they began on Saturday) and 2) I noticed the alkalinity in my tank was low (1.7meq), that the production in my protein skimmer had fallen off to zero. In other words, there was no thick foam collecting in the collection cup. There are plenty of bubbles in the chamber, but the foam by product does not seem to be forming and collecting. What is going on here? What can I do? Do I need to worry? Should I continue with the garlic oil regimen? Thanks for your advice. < Thank you so much for your kind, encouraging words (just what pet-fish writers hope to hear) and your query. I wish against all wishes the piece by Michael.P had not run on this forum... and yes, the lack of skimming is related to the oil introduced into the system. And yes, I would endeavor to remove the garlic stuff quickly... through water changes, draping a clean/odorless/non-printed paper towel over the surface of your system to "wick" the oil away... Again, I respect and like Michael Paletta, even count him gladly as a friend, but do not endorse garlic or any oil treatment in captive aquatic systems... Bob Fenner, who thanks you once again.>

White Spots I wrote you last Monday about white specks in my tank and on my Purple Tang and the Naso Tang. Since then the Naso Tang has died from what looks like fin rot and today I found one of the Raccoons dead in my 75 gal. tank. I am new at raising salt water fish and would appreciate your help on what to do. I have eleven other fish in my 75 gal. tank and about five or six of them have spots on their fins. The white spots also seem to be all over the live rock in the tank. I only have a 10 gal. quarantine tank where I am using Cupramine to treat the Purple and Naso Tang. Should I remove the live rock from the 75 gal. tank and treat the entire tank system with Cupramine? Will installing a new carbon pack after the treatment remove enough of the copper to allow me to put the live rock back into the tank? Should I leave the tank along and get some cleaners such as Mandarins, Gobies or Shrimps? I have a 75 gal. tank with a sand base and live rock along with a wet/dry filter, a Berlin protein skimmer and a UV sterilizer. The Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate are all at 0 ppm. the pH is @ 8.2 and the gravity is 1.021. Your help on how to proceed with this problem  would be greatly appreciated. Thank You, Steve Stockton < Steve, thank you for writing again. Do remove the live rock and DO treat the fishes with the Cupramine, per their instructions and using a copper test kit. Don't worry about the white spots on the live rock. They are nothing to be concerned re. Yes, after the ich problems are solved (probably three, four weeks) you can run activated carbon and return the live rock and invertebrates. DO NOT place Mandarins (these aren't cleaners, and aren't very hardy), or shrimps (enough active ingredient... copper...) in the Cupramine to effect a cure will kill the Shrimp(s). I'd even leave off with the gobies at this point, as your fishes may be too infected for them to do much good, and they aren't very happy going through all the trauma of transport AND copper treatment...     You'll have to measure and re-add the Cupramine at least twice a day to keep a physiological dose in solution, and read the instructions on the product carefully. They call for turning OFF your UV sterilizer... and you should (turn it off that is). I would also lower your spg to 1.016 over the next two days. You know how to do this, but I'll say something for the sake of continuity and browsers: take out some system water and replace it with fresh/tapwater. If it's any comfort or help, please read over the references and articles posted on marine diseases, treatments, copper use, quarantine, dips/baths posted on the wetwebmedia.com site. Good luck, my thoughts are with you. Bob Fenner>

Natural Ich Fighting & Pygmy Angel Problems I bought an Atlantic Pygmy Angel and a Pseudochromis three weeks ago and kept them for a week in my 10 gal hospital tank with no problems. Then I added them to my 3 yr old very stable - no itch ever - 80 gallon reef tank with 2 Hippo Tangs, 1 Cleaner Wrasse and 1 True Percula. The Tangs attacked the Angel and he hid in the rocks so that I only saw glimpses of him for the next two days. When he finally came out enough so I could see all of him, he had developed a large white spot (presumably Itch) at the base of his tail. Water parameters were fine and the other fish were OK. I tried to catch him, but because of the extensive rockwork and about 30+ corals I didn't want to disturb, I _really_ could not catch him to isolate. The next day I noticed two small spots on one of my Tangs and the beginnings of one on my Pseudochromis. YIKES! Since I couldn't add Copper (reef tank) and figured mostly all the fish were in danger now, I decided to buy two more Cleaner Wrasses and a Cleaner Shrimp from the LFS in hopes that they would naturally fix the problem. In less than a day, the Tang & Ps were fine and the Angel no longer had any spots. (Let's hear it for Mother Nature!) Unfortunately, almost all of the Angel's tail (fin all the way to the base) is also gone and, understandably, he's more shy than ever. Questions: 1) Is it better to disturb your corals/tank to aggressively chase down an ich-affected fish or try the "natural approach" first? < First off let me commend you on your fast and intelligent action in this matter. Next, allow me to suggest extending your quarantine times to a good two weeks, not one. And yes, if the types of fishes are not too susceptible (tangs are notorious) to ich, nor the infestation hyperinfective (lots of spots, fast), nor multigenerational (more than a week old) then a "Cleaner" approach is worth trying in a full-blown reef set-up.> 2) Now itch-less, do I have too much "natural cleaning power" in my tank? < IMO yes, I take it the Cleaner Wrasses you're referring to are members of the genus Labroides (most likely L. dimidiatus, the blue, black, and white banded Indo-Pacific one) there are other species of this genus of course, and other cleaning wrasses). These are almost always obligate in their feeding habits, pretty much living on the parasites and necrotic tissues of other/host fishes. And their incessant "cleaning" will drive your other fishes to distraction. Imagine a beauty salon worker chasing you about all day and night. If it were me, I'd pull them within a week or two and return them to your dealer for credit. I would leave the shrimp in the system however.> 3) Did the itch eat the Angel's tail or did the cleaner wrasses get over-helpful? < Actually, probably neither. I suspect first and foremost a so-called secondary bacterial infection ("tail/fin rot.. "fungus"), set in from the initial trauma from being attacked. With luck, good water quality it should grow back.> 4) Will the Angel's tail ever grow back, or is he a soon-to-be goner? < Oh, see above. Guess it's obvious I'm not reading all the queries before attempting to respond :)!> 5) Are Tangs known to attach Angels? I didn't see that in any of the research I did. < Yes, Tangs will and do attack most anything that looks like it might be encroaching on their territory, including surgeon-look like angels. Maybe you will write this experience up...> Sorry this got so long. If only some of it might be useful to others, feel free to edit as necessary. Thanks! -Lorraine < No worries. Glad to be here to offer my help/opinions. Bob Fenner>

 Sneak attack? Ich on fishes  I acquired a Blue Line angel about a two months ago and things had been going well until three or four days ago when he started to breath rapidly, the only external signs of anything afoul were ich like spots on his eyes. I promptly gave him a fresh water dip w/Formalin  totaling 5-8min. <a good move IMO> and upon removal his respiration rate easily doubled. <immediately after, yes... but minutes/hours later it should be stable or better if dip was done properly (pH adjusted, water aerated before being used... scary close match with tank temp, etc)> At that point I thought it best to just keep an eye on him which made for a long evening, some 4-5hrs later his breathing slowed down but not to a normal rate. <Ahhh... yes, good. As it should be> The following day I gave him another dip exchanging the Formalin with Methylene blue and putting him in a Q-tank with copper and antibiotics. <Yikes... I was with you on the repeat dip (needed) and the Methylene blue (increases O2)... but you lost me on the copper. Angels are very (!) copper sensitive.> He had been eating up until two hours before I put him to sleep, he finally started to list over on the bottom. I had to have my wife put him down for me and explain to my little one why we perform euthanasia. It tore my heart out to see him slowly suffocate, today, we'll be burying him per my daughters wishes. My original point of this correspondence, it's been my experience that ich doesn't kill that quickly, does it? <You are very correct. Most folks think takes a few days... but even that is not true. It establishes a week or more in advance (usually 2+weeks) and is expressed very subtly at first as the closing of one operculum or occasional scratches or glances off rock long before any "spots" appear> I forgot to mention that he had a 1/4" bump on his side that didn't break the skin nor raise the scales, its cycle was about five days and went away on its own with no intervention. Do you have any thoughts? <The bump on the side also was not fatal and quite likely secondary. I can't be sure with certainty what the cause of death was... but prolonged siege by the parasites unnoticed contributed... the Os o the display may be depressed and amplified it... the copper treatment may have been the killing blow on an already stressed fish. Formalin is very "safe" on a wide range of fishes... Methylene blue is good for most (except scale less fishes) ... and copper has severe limitations IMO (efficacy and range of tolerant species). Formalin and FW dips always get my vote. Sorry for your loss my friend. Best regards, Anthony>

Tough Marine Parasite Situation Dear Mr. Fenner, I have recently found your website and bless you! Now for our problem. We started a salt tank about six months ago and learned a great deal the hard way, but learned none the less. <Ahh> What we have now is a white "parasite" in our tank that we cannot get rid of. A month ago, these beasts were colonized on the glass as well as free floating. They are very tiny and wiggle around on the glass. They are truly disgusting. We used copper, MarOxy and Maracyn Two. When that didn't work, we set up a hospital tank, decreased the salinity, increased the temp and did freshwater dips. Sadly we lost all our fish, which really hurt. Out of frustration, my husband took a chunk of chlorine, (for our pool) and let it cycle for two weeks dissolving the suckers. Then tore the tank down got rid of the live sand and started over. <The best route to take considering.> After a few weeks of no fish we added a damsel and an engineer blenny. And today the worm like parasites are back. We have no idea what to do next. Through all your website info I cannot find anything that comes close to what these beasts are. Please help us ASAP as I can't stand to lose any more fish. We have a yellow tang in our hospital tank with copper, she won't go into the tank until we eradicate those bugs. Thank you very much, Maureen. <Going over your message it dawns on me that this "white" mass may be non-biological... that is it may be some sort of evidence of a toxicity... the fish livestock reacting to something in the water... Barring this possibility and checking a bit of it via a microscopic analysis, I would try a formalin/formaldehyde treatment. Look for one of the prepared solutions made for this at your local fish store... Kordon/Novalek's is my choice, but others will do... take care to follow the manufacturer's instructions... and do increase aeration while it is in use. Oh, almost forgot to mention the rationale: the other medication materials don't kill all the common parasites (like Brooklynella). Bob Fenner>

Clown Trigger W/ metacercaria Hi to the WWM crew!! I am completely stumped with this problem I have, need some expert help. I have a clown trigger with, what I believe to be encapsulated metacercaria on both pectoral fins. I have treated in QT with formalin, and Praziquantel, to no effect; <Hard to effect within the fish host> the spots on the fins are still there. I have had "Spot" for over three years and he has always been healthy; even now for the most part he seems healthy. Occasionally he will be listless on the bottom of the tank and become very pale, however, after  the treatment with Praziquantel this happens much less than before the treatment, but the spots are still there. Is this treatable, and if so with what?  <There are a few possible vermifuges... Piperazine, di-n-butyl tin oxide... some newer treatments devised for humans... I might even try (if you find occasion to net-handle the fish) scraping the marks/worms from the outside...> If it is not treatable, should I worry about the other fish in the tank catching it over time?  <No. Generally not very wide in species "catchability"> Also, how long would you expect a fish to live happily with this infection, if that is what he has to do?  <Years under your good care... Not that debilitating> I really hope you have an idea for me, this is one of my most favorite fish, and I am in the process of getting his permanent home, a 240 gallon! Thank you for your time and knowledge, it is truly appreciated :) J. Marshall <As is your humanity, sharing here. Bob Fenner>

Fight the Parasite....... Hi Robert, <Hello> I'm just starting to change my fish only 60 gallon tank to a riff tank. I have already put 50lbs of live rock (Planning on to put more soon). I have 5 damsels, small ocellaris clown, a yellow tang, coral beauty, cleaner shrimp and a couple of snails. <Quite a bit of life> I just have a feeling that I might have parasite in my tank. In the past, it was so easy, I would treat my water with copper and I'll be done. Now I'm barely starting my tank, haven't spent much money yet and I realized that if I get into this kind of problem (parasite), how am I going to treat my water? I'm pretty sure I won't be able to use copper. <You are correct. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm following the links to give yourself a firm grounding in where you are, what your choices are> I see that the yellow tang scratches itself once in a while against the rock. Eats well. The Coral beauty, (which I've had only for a couple of days,) is always hiding and comes out barely. Trying to feed it brine shrimp but not eating yet. The clown fish, has slimy white stuff on it and not eating. The damsels, as usual are doing good and eat good as well. The shrimp is eating good as well. My water chemistry is perfect, nitrite, ammonia etc.... Thanks ahead for your advise. Sam... <You can "do nothing" treatment wise, hoping that optimizing, keeping the system stable, perhaps supplementing the animals diets with vitamins, fatty acids will help all cure itself... to isolating, treating the fish livestock, allowing your main system to go w/o fish hosts for a month or so... For now, study. Bob Fenner>

Big spot won't go away Dear Bob, Thanks for all your advice lately. This is a problem that just won't go away. <The advice?> Our tang has a white spot (ick?) on the top of his back, just under the dorsal fin that has been there for several months. <Not ich... maybe an "internal mark" of some sort... perhaps a lone trematode, cestode...> He had a few white spot outbreaks after introduction (treated with increased temp and reduced salinity) but has been stable for several months. Should we be concerned? Is there any way we can get rid of it? <Only you can answer the former, not easily to the latter... If you had occasion to have the fish netted, you could try "teasing" the spot out with a pin, other sharp implement... I'd leave it as is> It looks like a large grain of sand. I can't tell if it's growing but it's pronounced. We have 2 cleaner shrimps but they seem to have trouble reaching the area since he brushes them off soon after they jump on to clean. They can't seem to get past the stomach area. I was thinking of giving him some kind of dip. I wish I could just brush the thing off. He doesn't seem particularly bothered by it but I worry if it's a parasite then it could be sapping nutrients from him. <All living things (yes, including humans) have these sorts of "hitchhikers"... some are outright parasites, that in number, placement, metabolism may be detrimental... others are more or less "space" parasites of little trouble... some are benign to beneficial to some extent, ways... Bob Fenner> Thanks, Allyson

Disease? I have a hippo tang with small bumps on his body. It looks like small pimples of some sort (best way I can describe it). I have searched online but have only found one disease that seems to fit what he has, and that was called wasting disease. I have had the fish about a year now and never had any problems with him so far and he still eats and it seems to not bother him at all. I would like your opinion as to what it could be and what I should do about it. Should I give him a freshwater dip or just leave it alone and see what happens? It started out as one bump about 5 days ago and has progressed to about 6 to 8 bumps now, mainly on the middle part of body. Any help with this would be appreciated, thank you.   <This is hopefully evidence of a microsporidean infection... a type of protozoan. And not (currently) "treatable". Not uncommon in wild stocks or otherwise healthy Paracanthurus. These "spots" are multiplying too quickly to suit me though. I wouldn't dip or chemically try to medicate this specimen for now, unless the "spots" are white, epidermal (rather than blue, subdermal)... in which case I suspect marine ich... and would read quickly on www.WetWebMedia.com re treatment. Bob Fenner>

Help!!! Brooklynella/velvet/ick Hi, I bought 2 small true Percs a week ago, dipped them in FW and Meth blue for 10 minutes and put them in a 10 gal. QT. Two days ago I noticed that the edge of their fins weren't clear anymore and the black color on their bodies was fading. Yesterday, I gave them an 18 minutes FW and Meth blue dip.  They came out of the dip looking worse than before! Up until this morning, they were eating and acting normal. This morning they are just laying at the bottom of the tank breathing heavily. I have been fighting high nitrites in the QT for the past week and have been doing 30% water changes using MT water.  Yesterday, I did a 50% water change, but the nitrites are still high (0.8).  I suspect the high nitrites could be the cause for their condition. 2 things: 1) Should I replace all 10 gal. with MT water to get rid of the nitrites? <Address the nitrite and surely the ammonia issues immediately with larger and regular water changes.  This is a constant stressor.> 2) How could I be sure if it's velvet or Brooklynella?  If it is Brooklynella, what is the treatment procedure?  I know it calls for formalin, but is there a product name you could give me?  Should it be administered in a dip or in the QT?  What about antibiotics at the same time in case of a secondary infection? Thank you for your responses.  I really don't know what to do! <No matter, the treatment is the same for all. Go here for the complete info: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm Here is the short of it: General Treatment Against Protozoan Parasites: Affected individuals must be isolated and treated ASAP. General procedure calls for dipping/baths, possibly lowering specific gravity, and continuous exposure to 0.10-0.15 ppm copper. Antibiotic feeding is recommended to prevent secondary infection. Make sure you maintain this QT for at least two weeks with treatment and at least two weeks without.  Test copper daily along with amm/nitrites.  Best of luck!  Craig>

Outbreak...(Disease Problems) More fish died, please help. <Yikes! Hope I can! Scott F. with you...> I will try to give you guys the breakdown of events that let to today's second fish death. I have had my 72 gallon up for 2 months already cycled.  Everything was fine, the tank consisted of 1 yellow tang 3 inch 1 clown 2 blue damsels scopas tang and a 3 spot domino.  Last Saturday I purchased 1 flame angel and 1 goby and one small clown (Amphiprion ocellaris).  PH 8.4 Ammonia .25 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 10 salinity 1.025 <Well- there's part of the problem...Ammonia is extremely toxic to marine life, and should be at undetectable levels in the system> Monday it looks like my blue hippo tank has the ich.  Did a freshwater dip and placed in copper solution, he lasted 2 hours <When you say copper solution- do you mean that the copper was administered in a "hospital" tank at an appropriate therapeutic level? That's really important, particularly with tangs and angels...Copper is highly effective against ich, but it must be administered in a controlled manner, and it's concentration verified with a test kit...> Tuesday I come home from work to find my flame angel laying on its side in the tank, I immediately pulled him out did a freshwater dip for 4-5 min and put him in a quarantine tank (10 gal, sponge filter, power head for aeration, 4" PVC elbow). <Good that you have such a set up!. He was fighting but didn't make it till morn. I just swapped out my tank for a new one due to a crack in the glass.  I took all the fish out and place them in the quarantine tank same as above. The new tank has a 20 gal sump which I submerged with old tank water so it keeps the Biorocker wet.  I kept 50% of the water ands added 50% freshwater (no salt) to drop salinity to 1.012 hopefully killing any parasites if any exist. This morning the small clown died.  (PH 8.4, Nitrate 10 Nitrite 0 Ammonia .25 salinity 1.020) <That continuing ammonia reading is of concern...BTW, it sounds like you're dealing with Amyloodinium...Ich rarely kills this quickly. Although, ich in conjunction with the stress brought on by detectible ammonia levels is problematic...> Also notice my yellow tang has some sort of brown spot on it's side and nose.  Any idea what that could be and how to treat it? Time? <Could be anything from disease symptoms to "collateral damage" from the copper...Observe and dip if you feel it's appropriate to do so> Should I freshwater dip them all and put them in a new quarantine tank with lower salinity? <You could...I'm not a big fan of lower specific gravity, but it does work for some people> I have a premixed 10 gallon bucket salt 1.015 temp 78 deg but my ph is 7.2 how should I bring it up. Please help. Tomasz Marszalekfor   <Water changes, with properly buffered water...Slow and steady...Read the WWM disease FAQs and verify exactly what you're dealing with here...Also, do try to track down the source of ammonia within your system...I have no doubt that with a little time and a few adjustments, things will work out just fin! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Throw Another Shrimp On The.. Err- In The- Tank! Hello again. <Hi! Scott F. back with you!> I have heard that scarlet cleaner shrimp can help control Ich in a saltwater aquarium.  Is this true, and if so, wouldn't the Ich still be present somewhere in the tank even if the parasites were picked off the fish? <You hit it right on the head! Yes, cleaner shrimp can help reduce some of the parasite population when they are attached to fishes. However, you are correct in realizing that the parasites can be located throughout the aquarium during various phases of their life cycle. The key to defeating ich is to break the life cycle of the parasites, and this involves removing fishes from the tank, as we discuss frequently on this site...> Do you recommend these shrimp? <Sure, they can always provide a natural, biological cleaning capability> If so, in pairs or groups?  Introduce in tank before or after fish? Thanks again, James <They can be introduced in groups, and can be introduced either before, during, or after the fishes are. You can read up on these animals on the WWM site, as well as in Bob and Anthony's upcoming "Reef Invertebrates" book...Enjoy the research- and enjoy the shrimp! They are interesting animals! Scott F>

Fighting The Good Fight (Parasitic Disease Treatment) Scott, thank you for your input.  Besides the whitish spots I did not notice any other symptoms you outlined in your e-mail.  I first noticed the spots on Saturday evening, started the treatment (Paraguard bath & added to the main system) on Sunday, and now on Tuesday morning I observed that almost all of the spots disappeared and the fish seems to eat well and is pretty active. <Well, sounds more like ich or some other type of parasitic infection...The fact that he is eating is a very good sign- and a good indicator that we're not talking about Brooklynella here. However, be aware that if this is ich, we're looking at a phase in the parasite's life cycle where it drops off to become free swimming, before re-attaching to the fish and continuing it's life cycle...Don't be fooled by this...The parasites will be back- and in greater numbers...Look at some of the FAQs on parasitic diseases on the WWM site for more information on breaking the life cycle of parasites...> I think that Bob mentioned somewhere on your site that clowns don't ship well.  I wonder if the stress from shipping, caused it to come down with this fungus/parasite or whatever else it could be. <Well, I think that that the key is "wild". Wild clowns tend to have problems in the shipping process, and are susceptible to many diseases...Captive bred clowns tend to be much hardier, and adapt better to the rigors of shipping and acclimation.> Also I should mention that I changed about 5gal of water in my 20gal tank on Sunday just before I started the treatment (I used the water from the display tank).  I will keep an eye on the clown, keep the water quality as good as I can, and keep using Paraguard for a few more days. I hope that in a two or three weeks I will be able to move the guy into the display tank. Petr <I'm sure that things will work out well...Just stay the course on the treatment; follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter, be patient- and this guy will be ready to swim in your display tank soon! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

A Single Spot- Multiple Remedies! Hi, I've been reading your web forums for close to four months now and have setup a 55gal tank FOWLR and it's been up and running for six weeks now and the rock is coming along fine.  Thanks for all the info! <Great to hear that things are going well! Scott F. with you today! I also setup a 10gal Q-tank and placed my first fish in it. <Awesome!> A Firefish, and the next day noticed ONE white spot on his side the size of a pin head. I assumed it to be ICH and added Coppersafe per the instructions. <Well, maybe a bit of an over-reaction, but should not be too bad if the manufacturer's instructions are followed carefully> I wasn't running carbon either. Well after two weeks the spot was still there!  Fish is eating fine and I've tested the water and have low Nitrates.  So I posted my question over on Reefcentral, that a friend suggested I do, and they recommended lowering the SG to 14-15ppt vs. using copper. <Lowered specific gravity ("hyposalinity) is touted as a viable method to contend with ich and other parasitic diseases...If done correctly and carefully, it can work...I'm not a huge fan of the process, myself- but it can work well for those who dislike copper> I have lowered the SG to 22ppt, taking it down about 4ppt per day and it's almost three weeks now and that ONE spot is still on the fish.  No new ones have popped up either.  I am continuing to lower and plan on taking the SG down to 15ppt by the weekend. How long before this spot of ICH drops off? <To be honest, it doesn't fit the profile of ich, IMO...Ich generally manifests itself as numerous cysts on the afflicted fish. The affected fish will itch and dash about, with obvious discomfort. After about 7 days, the encysted parasites (called "trophonts") will leave the host fish and enter a "free swimming" phase (BTW- this is where a lot of hobbyists mistakenly believe that they have "cured" the infection- not the case). Obviously, not what' happening here! Sounds to me like you may be dealing with some other type of parasite, or possibly even a Trematode ("fluke") of some sort. These are very common with newly imported fishes.> I've had freshwater fish before and never had ICH hang around for more than a week.  Is this normal for saltwater fish?  Should I do a freshwater dip and hope the spot pops off.  I hesitate on doing this and rather treat in q-tank. <Actually, I was going to recommend a few freshwater dips as a possible therapy. Many of the worms and parasites that we deal with cannot handle the osmotic shock associated with a freshwater dip as well as the fish can, and this can work well. It may not work right off the bat, but if repeated daily, it may do the trick.> I've also read that you recommended using copper as well as Hypo, but the posts I've read on Reefcentral said you shouldn't run copper with Hyposalinity for some reason.  Will this stress the fish and kill it? <I'm not sure what the reason is. Stress is certainly a possibility. But I do agree that you should do one thing at a time. However, I will use copper with regular freshwater dips, and it has always worked well for me. The most important thing with copper is to keep it at a proper therapeutic dose, so that it remains effective. You must test when using copper> They also said that CopperSafe doesn't really work and I should be using Cupramine. <They are both fine products. I have used both with success over the years> I was hoping you can steer me in the right direction, and start me with the next course of action.  I'm getting frustrated and running out of ideas!  I was hoping the fish would be in my main tank by now. I also don't want to add this fish to the main tank till the spot is gone, but not sure how to treat if it isn't ICH.  Sorry to bother you with this long winded email, but this is my first fish and I thought it would go a lot smoother than this. Thanks for any help you can shed on this development. Tom <Well, Tom- I commend you on your patience! It will certainly pay off. Rather than keep bombarding this poor guy with constantly changing treatment regimens, I'd bring back up the specific gravity (gradually, of course), and begin a series of daily freshwater dips, and see if there is any positive result. If this doesn't do the trick, than I'd give this fish "a week off" from other treatments before trying a different approach. BTW, I'd run a PolyFilter pad in the treatment tank to pull out as much copper as possible before you start investigating other medications, such as Formalin, etc....Hang in there, go slow- and this fish should pull through fine! Good luck! Scott F>

Attacking Parasites The Hard (But Effective) Way! Hi, I desperately need your help. I have a 300 gallon fish only tank. I have had many marine tanks before and I have never had as much trouble keeping fish alive as I do now. My filtration is a 50 gallon tank converted to a wet dry with a protein skimmer. I feed the fish once a day and I make sure that there is no leftover food. However the water always has a cloudiness to it and the fish get what I think is ick every couples of weeks. Also, whenever I add a new fish, it never fails, they always get ick. <Well, I'll bet if you employ a quarantine protocol, you'll eliminate the introduction of ich to your system upon the arrival of new specimens. See this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm    > A couple of different people that I know suggested using Quick Cure for a week but that has not worked. Although the ones that don't die still eat like pigs, they scratch themselves on the rocks and coral. Before my imperator died I gave him a freshwater dip and I found what I was hoping not to, those little tear drop shaped flukes. I'm afraid that my whole tank is infested with these. Is there anything else I can do? I will use copper as a last resort but only if it will kill these parasites. Any other suggestions? The fish I have remaining are - lunar wrasse, yellow tang, sohal tang, blue tang, Huma Huma trigger, niger trigger, Mexican hog, Coris wrasse, and a variety of damsels. Can you help me? I hate to see my fish suffering like this. Calvin <Ok, Calvin- this is a dire situation, and calls for immediate, drastic action on your part. Here is what I would do to help eliminate the parasite infestation from your tank: Remove all of the fishes (even those showing no external/visible signs of infection) to a separate aquarium (or a series of aquariums or large Rubbermaid containers) for observation and/or possible treatment with freshwater dips, anti-parasitic medications or copper sulphate. Leave the fishes in their "hospital" tank(s) for at least a month. Meanwhile, your main system will run fallow, without fishes, which will create a serious disruption in the life cycle of the parasites. Remember to perform all regular maintenance tasks (water changes, filter media replacement, etc) during the "fallow period". After a month or so, you should be able to re-introduce your now-healthy fishes into an aquarium with a very reduced parasite count. This is not a fun procedure by any means, but it has been demonstrated again and again to do the job. Never medicate the display tank! There are a number of reasons, not the least of which is that most of the therapeutic elements that you will be using will be "bound up" in the substrate and tank decorations, rendering them less effective. Again- I implore you to quarantine all newly-received fishes for at least three weeks before introducing them into your system! You'll lick this problem, but it will require some rather aggressive actions on your part. You can do it, okay? Hang in there! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Counter-Attacking Parasites I am a new to the saltwater world. <Welcome! Scott F. with you today!> I have a 70 gallon tank which was cycled with 80lbs of live sand, 15 lbs of live rock and 8 damsels. <In the future, you may want to consider methods for cycling the tank without damsels...better for everyone-especially the damsels!> About 2 weeks after confirming the nitrite/nitrate levels were holding at 0, I traded in the damsels for a few new fish. I got a clown, a hippo tang, and a golden-headed goby. All are doing well, but one. I'm sure you can guess its the tang. <That was my guess...Another suggestion: Always, always, always quarantine new fishes before placing them in the display tank...Most disease problems can be eradicated before they reach the display tank through this process> He hasn't eaten for four days (the whole time I've had him).  Physically he looks ok, but his behavior is strange, he stays hidden all the time and rubs on rocks like he's scratching. <Hmm...could be something parasitic> I've tried normal marine flake food and Nori (dried sheets of seaweed). The tank is kept 1t 78-79F and salinity of 1.0225.  I use two 300 GPM powerheads and a over the back bio-wheel Penguin 400. Please advise as to how I should treat the tang. From what I've read it sounds like it could be "ich", but I've read many differing opinions on best method for treatment, please confirm what you feel the problem to be and advise accordingly. <Well, it's hard to be 100% certain without actually seeing the fish, but I will hazard a guess that it may be ich, or possibly another parasitic malady. Do check on the WWM site for more about this illness and how to identify it. Always be sure to confirm what you're dealing with before embarking on any treatment course. Assuming it is ich, you'd be well advised to remove all of the fish from the display tank (even the ones that aren't showing symptoms) and observe them carefully in a separate treatment tank. If necessary, you can utilize a few possible treatment courses, such as freshwater dips, 100% daily water changes and siphonings in the bare treatment tank, or use of chemical preparations, such as copper sulphate or formalin-based products. Meanwhile, the display tank should remain "fallow", without fishes, for about a month. This will result in a seriously decimated parasite population for lack of hosts. Conduct regular tank maintenance during this period (water changes, etc.), and when it's time to repatriate your fishes, they'll face a lot less in the way of challenges to their future health. You can read all about the many options available to you on the WWM site> Your quick response is much appreciated. Thanks a ton !! <My pleasure! Regards, Scott F>

Going To War (Fighting Parasitic Diseases) Hey WWM crew - I was wondering if you could help out with a perplexing situation?  Over the weekend I did some work on my 55 gallon aquarium, including adding about 10 pounds of live sand from another aquarist's tank to my refugium, and also switching the lighting to VHO. Sunday night my golden (semilarvatus) butterfly seemed to have a number of white spots, so he got a 10 minute freshwater bath and then went back in. <A good initial step, if you suspect a parasitic infection> I also have a Percula clown and a sixline wrasse.  All fish are behaving and eating normally for the most part, except the wrasse is somewhat concerned with his newfound friend/competition (reflection in the glass). <That's annoying, I know!> On Monday morning the butterfly seemed fine - I didn't notice the white spots anymore.  Monday night I got home very late and so wasn't able to observe him, but Tuesday morning looked fine once again.  Then Tuesday night he was covered in the little white spots again - I was thinking ich originally but did some more reading on your site and now I think it looks more like Amyloodinium. <Well, what you are describing sounds very similar to Cryptocaryon. After manifesting itself on the fishes, the parasite enters a free swimming phase, where it seems to vanish, only to reappear later- in larger numbers! The key is to attack the illness with  technique that addresses the parasite's life cycle. See this link for more on this approach: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm  > I started feeding garlic soaked food Tuesday night and was planning on a freshwater bath Wednesday morning if he still looked bad, but once again - most all the spots are gone and he looks fine! <I'd be very careful about this...The illness is tenacious! You are at war, and the enemy is relentless- as you must be!> So I'm pretty confused...I don't think from reading that the Amyloodinium life cycle is that fast, and I don't notice any heavy breathing. Any suggestions? Thanks - Keith <Well, Keith, it does not sound like Amyloodinium to me, either. Amyloodinium looks like fine whitish patches (which is actually caused by the parasite liquidating living tissues); the fishes exhibit rapid breathing, complete lack of appetite, and generally die with terrifying rapidity. It's much more fatal than ich. Both, however, require immediate attention and an aggressive, proven treatment protocol, as you'll find in my article referenced above and throughout the WWM site. Don't hesitate- take action immediately- your fishes lives depend on it! Regards, Scott F.>

Waging War! (Attacking Parasitic Infections) Dear Scott, <HELLO, AGAIN!> I need your professional advice on the following. <I'll GIVE IT MY BEST...!> I have a 500 l overflow system tank and recently, my fish had been scratching against objects, chronic fidgeting, showing signs of lethargy & disinterest in food and rapid gill movement. The first sign of what I believe to be marine velvet and white spot were seen about 2 weeks ago and immediately after noticing that, I immediately treated the tank with "Herbal" anti-external parasite and anti-fungus. <Uh-Oh...) I also gave my emperor angel 2 freshwater dips. <Not a bad supplemental treatment> The queer thing about it was that all these symptoms started to appear after I have changed 10 % of the water. I have not added any new fish prior to that, only 2 algae rocks. <Well, it is possible that parasites were brought in on the rocks...They do enter an stage in their life cycles where they attach to a suitable substrate before emerging to do their evil work again...Also, perhaps there was some stress as a result of the H20 change. Perhaps the temperature was off, maybe one of the other parameters of the new water was very different from your tank water, contributing to the stress> The last time my tank had a parasitic outbreak, these 2 medications were effective against the parasites and cured whatever abnormal symptoms my fish were exhibiting. However, since application, I have yet to see an improvement. Instead, it seems that all the fishes in the tank have been affected. I am now at a loss of what to do and hope you are able to assist me in any remedial action to take. <Well, if it were me- and you're certain that it's Amyloodinium ("Velvet") or Cryptocaryon ("Ich") that you're dealing with, then you really want to take some aggressive actions. My recommendation: Set up a separate treatment tank or Rubbermaid container's) of suitable size to hold all of your fishes. The fishes should be treated with a commercial copper sulphate medication (I like Coppersafe, myself- but there are many brands to choose from. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations concerning dosage and duration of treatment to the letter. Meanwhile, the display tank will run "fallow", without fishes, for at least a month. By remaining "fishless", the parasitic population will, for the most part, "crash" for lack of hosts. Perform all regular water changes and other maintenance on the display during the "fallow" period. Upon the return of your now healthy fishes to the display, they will face a very diminished, if not non-existent parasite population that they can easily fend off. This is not the most fun technique, but it is by far the most consistently effective treatment technique that I have used for parasitic illnesses over the years. Check out his article I wrote outlining my approach in more detail: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm > I would like to hear your opinion as what could have caused the a/m. Poor water quality? High Cu / NO3 NO2 concentration? I have used test kits to test but the results were ok. <Well, it is unlikely that nitrate or other environmental lapses "caused" the illness (parasitic organisms did that), but some form of stress probably lowered their resistance to whatever attacked them> Also, I would like to hear your opinion on the u/m: 1. Upon telling the a/m symptoms to my fish dealer, he suggested to me that I should get some Bio balls and some bio med chips to remove the nitrates and the nitrites. How effective are these? <Bioballs are highly efficient filter media in "wet/dry" filters for processing ammonia and nitrite. However, they are so good at doing this that they cannot keep up with the accumulating nitrate..> 2. I suspect that the algae rocks which I bought may have resulted in the parasitic outbreak. As such, pls advise me as to how to treat these rocks since I can't boil them or pour hot water on them as the heat will kill not only the parasites but the algae itself. <Well- I am a huge fan of quarantine of any live materials placed in a tank- be they fish, inverts, and even rock. A minimum 3 week period will usually do the trick. we have a lot of articles and information about quarantine on the WWM site. Check it out!> 3. I have bought a cleaner wrasse with a yellow head. It is not cleaning the other fishes. So is my cleaner shrimp. What is the average lifespan of a cleaner wrasse? <Well- unfortunately- dismally short. Most all "cleaner wrasses" die in captivity in a very short time (weeks or months at best). Please don't support the import of such "obligate" feeders. They really should be left on the reefs. If you are looking for a "biological" cleaner, it's much better to try neon gobies, or so-called "cleaner shrimps", which can adapt better to other food items...> Regards <Hang in there! With quick action and attention- you'll easily defeat these nasty illnesses! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Marine parasite dilemma. To dip and move or no Robert <Ian> Have a question for you. If a fish has a minor case of parasites do you think If a pH adjusted FW dip with Methylene blue was performed and then moved into another aquarium that the fish would still be infected with parasites. Even if I did the dip and then placed him back in his original aquarium...wouldn't the parasites still be in the aquarium.? <Likely so. Particularly if the infested fish/es had been present there a while (days). Some folks have stated success with "vacuuming" the bottom of bare treatment tanks in conjunction with pH-adjusted freshwater dips/baths... but these are best done with enough holding tanks to sterilize between movements> they stay there and breed correct...could the fish build up an immunity to the parasites...from my understanding parasites live in the aquarium. <Often, yes> I was talking to Anthony about my chevron tang coming down with parasites...right before I go on vacation (which sucks. I even qt him for 4 wks) and no one here can treat them, etc...I was wondering If I could do FW dips on all my fish with M.B, chevron tang, Blueface angel, and 2 Vlamingi and then move them to my friends 75gal aquarium 0 nitrates 0 ammonia 0 nitrite. he only has a damsel and a cleaner shrimp I was wondering if one 10 minute dip would kill all the parasites and if they would be ok after I leave on Tuesday the 15th.  <Depends... mostly on what type of parasites you're referring to> Anthony advised me to keep them as is...but I think if I did that, by the time I get home I will have at least one dead fish...the only fish that is showing signs is the chevron...my other fish show no signs...the chevron doesn't even itch or scratch he just goes and gets cleaned. but he still has spots on him. they all eat and act totally normal except (me, the fish nerd watches them very closely and am paranoid that I may loose a fish while I am in LA) <Me too> Please Help ...What would you do in this situation...I want to keep all my fish in my friends aquarium while I am gone...he can take care of them...but has no experience with treating fish.. at least he can feed them etc. I want to keep the aquarium fallow for 3-4 weeks so all the parasites perish. Any suggestions would help...I already talked to Anthony. about 3-4 emails...I don't' want to over inundate him with my problems, I just need help...trying to get tidbits of info from everyone...I just know I can't let them be until the 30th of July or I know there will be losses...he mentioned feeding them medicated foods...I feed the garlic Xtreme by Kent marine. right now. It does very little to help out. what do you recommend <A tough choice, but I would go with your plan of dipping, moving the fishes. Bob Fenner> Thanks A BUNCH

Parasitic, environmental... two, two, two diseased condition influences working at once! Hello Bob, <Jeremy> My name is Jeremy Gosnell, and I have been an aquarium hobbyist for many years. I have kept until now only freshwater fish, mainly African cichlids and discus. Just recently I set up a 30 gallon Saltwater Aquarium I cycled the tank for about 2 weeks <Will likely need more time...> and used Oceanic Sea Salt as the salt mix, crushed coral as a substrate, and currently have about 25 pd.s of live rock in the tank. For filtration I opted for the Aqua Clear 500, undergravel with dual Aqua Clear 301 power heads. For lighting I installed a 65 watt Coral Life compact fluorescent. <Okay> It seems like every new fish that I place in this tank gets some type of parasite. <Mmm, likely to a large degree environmentally induced... your system is small, probably not completely cycled> It begins looking like typical marine ich so I treat them for ich, then they get covered in ich like spots but these are much much smaller than traditional ich. They are white in color and literally coat the entire fish. As if someone had sprinkled a very fine sugar or salt all over the fish. This disease has taken many of my fish including 2 Sebae Clownfish, A pacific blue tang <This tank is too small for this species> and more. The only fish I have that remains healthy and free of this odd condition is my Juvenile Yellow tang. He had a short bout with ich that cleared quickly. <It's still there... in your system> I have used a variety of treatments trying to eradicate this. Malachite Green, PimaFix, MelaFix, Clout, have all been unsuccessful in clearing the condition. I am now trying a product called KickIch - a 14 day treatment that may hopefully help. I know you are the experts expert and wondered what your opinion was on this. I do have invertebrates in the tank several crabs and shrimp and some turbo grazer snails. The parameters are as follows: Temperature - 78 degrees F Ph: 8.3 Nitrite: 0.0 Ammonia - 0.0 I used both Stability by Seachem and Bio Spira by Marineland Labs to cycle this tank. Would that have any effect, its been running for about 1.5 months. Any help would be great Jeremy J. Gosnell <Time to take a few steps backward... I take it you have been trying to cure this parasitic problem in your main tank... contraindicated... you are disrupting the system, hurting your livestock's capacity to ward off further infestation by impugning their environment. There is not a whole lot to study to understand the gist of what you're up to here... Please begin by reading: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm and on to the Related Articles and FAQs (linked, in blue, at top)... especially the FAQs files on infested tanks. Stop poisoning your main system, and instead invest in a separate treatment tank... Study now and save your fishes, money, good nature. Bob Fenner>

From Bad To Worse? (Parasitic Disease Treatment) Hi <Hello there! Scott F. here today!> I have a Powder Blue Tang and a large Emperor Angel that I bought a week ago. I put them into a quarantine tank. Two days later they had white spot. I used SERA COSTAPUR, which contains Malachite green. After the 5 day treatment the fish seem to have "skins" over their eyes and sides of their heads. They also seem to have very fine spots, much smaller than white spot. This does not look the same as the white spot when it started. Please help! What can I do now and what is wrong? I thought of lowering the salinity to 1.010. Would this help? Thanks John Squier <Well, John- you could be looking at a more virulent malady, such as Amyloodinium (Marine "Velvet"). The symptoms that you describe could be part of this disease, a secondary infection (the eyes), or even collateral damage caused by the medication. Are the fish displaying other signs of this disease, such as difficulty breathing, listlessness, lack of appetite? if so, you nay very well be looking at Amyloodinium. After you have confirmed that this is, indeed what you're dealing with, then I'd get the fish into a separate tank for treatment with a copper sulphate or formalin-based remedy (copper may be tough on the tang). Standard treatment protocols for this parasitic disease are outlined here on the WWM site. Follow generally accepted treatment methods, and monitor your fish carefully. With quick action on your part, these fishes can pull through. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

2 Parasitic Diseases- One Big Headache! Hi Crew, <Scott F. your Crew member tonight!> Great site & great contribution by your team. Please keep up the great work. <Thank you so much for the kind words! we're glad to bring it to you every day!> I am confused at how to tell the difference in symptoms between Clownfish  disease & Marine Velvet. Can anyone tell us in clarity what's the major difference between the two? <Well, "Clownfish Disease" (Brooklynella) is a virulent parasitic disease that mainly affects-you guessed it- Clownfishes! It's primary symptoms are a really thick, whitish mucus coat on the fish, lack of appetite, faded color, rapid respiration, and "gasping". Marine Velvet, also known as Amyloodinium, is equally virulent, but is evidenced mainly by blemishes or cloudy areas on the skin, heavy scratching, rapid respiration, and just maybe, some visible very fine spots, visible under magnification> I understand that treatment are NOT the same too. Clownfish Disease requires Formalin baths, whereas Velvet requires Copper based treatment. Is this true? <True, but you can certainly use copper for both, if administered carefully.> Would you recommend JUST hyposalinity & once in 3 days fresh water dip as sufficient treatment for the diseases mentioned without getting involved with chemical treatment? <Gosh...lots of opinions and controversy on the effectiveness of hyposalinity and dips. In fact, we just had a series of emails among Crew members on the relative effectiveness of these techniques, and there are lots of points of view on this. My personal feeling is that these dips can possibly help, but they are not a "cure" in the strict sense. Virulent illnesses like the ones you are describing require medical intervention, IMO> What's minimum duration for fresh water bath to be ABSOLUTELY effective & yet the fish is still "alive" ( your site says 3, 5, 10 min etc) ? How about baby size small fish ? <Tough to generalize. And, as I indicated above, they are more of a supplemental therapy, and will generally not "cure" the disease on their own. I would not dip a fish more than 15 minutes. 10 minutes is about as long as I'd generally want to go, however.> Do you have experience that entice a Regal Angel to feed? I need some  direction/help here. Thanks, SC <Another tough one. I'd consider using a food like Ocean Nutrition's "Angel Formula", which does contain sponges, which are thought to be a principal part of the Regal's diet. HTH! Regards, Scott F.>

Parasitic Disease Follow Up Hi Scott, <Hi there again!> Thank U Big time. You are so helpful.  I have really learnt something.  Appreciate this valuable lesson. Best regards, SC <Glad I could be of assistance, my friend! We are all learning together, each and every day! Best of luck to you in your fishy endeavours! Regards, Scott F>  

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