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FAQs on Marine Parasitic Disease: Prevention

Related Articles: Marine Parasitic Disease Marine Ich: Fighting The War On Two Fronts Crustacean Parasitic Disease, Quarantine, Quarantine of Marine Fishes

Related FAQs: Marine Parasitic Disease 1, Parasitic Disease 2, Parasitic Disease 3Parasitic Disease 4, Parasitic Disease 5, Parasitic Disease 6, Parasitic Disease 7, Parasitic Disease 8, Parasitic Disease 9, Parasitic Disease 10, Parasitic Disease 11, & FAQs on: Parasite-infested Systems: Parasitic Marine Tanks, Parasitic Marine Tanks 2, Parasitic Reef TanksParasitic Reef Tanks 2, & FAQs on: Diagnosing Parasitic Diseases, References on Parasitic Diseases, Index Materia Medici for Parasitic Diseases (medicines), Treating Marine Parasitic Diseases, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Marine Parasitic Diseases, Hyposalinity Treatments 2, Fallow Tanks, & Best Crypt FAQs, Cryptocaryoniasis, Marine Ich, Marine Velvet Disease Biological Cleaners, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease, Parasitic WormsCrustacean Parasitic Disease, Isopods,

Do you dip/bathe, quarantine incoming livestock? You should develop and stick to an acclimation protocol... to avoid much of the world of infectious/parasitic disease.

  Quarantine:   Quarantine by Bob Fenner, Quarantine Marine Fishes, To Quarantine or Not To Quarantine-That's a Good Question! by Bob Goemans, Quarantine of Corals and Invertebrates, by Scott Fellman & FAQs on: Quarantining Invertebrates, & FAQs on: Best FAQs on Quarantine, Quarantine 1, Quarantine 2, Quarantine 3, Quarantine 4, Quarantine 5Quarantine 6Quarantine 7Quarantine 8Quarantine 9Quarantine 10Quarantine 11, Quarantine 12, Quarantine 13, & FAQs on: Rationale/Use, Methods, Quarantine Tanks & FAQs on Quarantine Tanks, Quarantine Filtration & FAQs on: Quarantine Filtration, Quarantine Maintenance & FAQs on: Quarantine Maintenance/Operation, Quarantine Feeding & FAQs on: Quarantine Feeding,  Quarantine Protocol FAQs,   

  Dips/Baths:    Dips/Baths by Bob Fenner & FAQs on: Dips/Baths, Dips/Baths 2Dips/Baths 3, & FAQs on Dip/Bath: Rationale/Use, Methods, Tools, Adjusting pH, Additives, Iodine/ide/ate, Lugol's Use, Methylene Blue, Formalin/Formaldehyde, Dangers Will Robinson, Products,

        Methylene Blue & FAQs on: Methylene Blue,

        Formalin, Formaldehyde Use & FAQs on: Formalin,  

The More Common Protozoans: (Yes, there are several others):

  Cryptocaryon/White Spot: Prevention, "Causes",

  Amyloodinium/Velvet: Prevention,

  Brooklynellosis/"Clownfish Disease": Etiology/Prevention,

Larger Zoonoses:

  Parasitic Marine Worm Diseases: Etiology/Prevention,

  Black Spot, "Black Ich", Paravortex... Turbellaria... Etiology/Prevention,  

Feeding and Nutrition                        ‏            11/9/14
I hope all is well. I have been reading quite a bit of literature on freezing temperatures required to kill parasites. Most sites say that -20 or -31 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 hours is sufficient. I am still feeding Hikari brand frozen mysis, Rods food, and PE mysis, as well as tilapia. However, I'd like to make my own saltwater blend using ingredients from the grocery store. It sounds fun and healthy! However, I don't want to jeopardize my fish... I don't have a deep freeze freezer that can reach temperatures of -31 F, so I thought of another idea. Do you think setting the food in dry ice (-110 F) for a day would be sufficient to kill single-celled Protozoans, like Cryptocaryon? Bacteria are not quite as much of a concern, but I have avoided any outbreaks of ich in this tank and want to continue that trend! I'm finding that Hikari has not revealed what their "3 step sterilization" process is. This makes me a bit suspicious that Protozoans might survive it.
It’s all about probabilities. Is a temperature that kills 95% of parasites as useful as a lower temperature that kills 99% of the parasites? And is either of them “safe” enough for tropical fish use? Sub-zero Celsius temperatures usually kill multicellular organisms quickly enough if used for sufficient time, but eggs are often much more resistant, and as you seem to understand, bacteria even more resistant. So far as human food handling is concerned, freezing is deemed sufficient for neutralising seafood parasites but not sufficient for killing bacteria. Hence, we don’t sterilise food by freezing it.
Provided you’re using foods sold for either human use or animal use, they should be safe enough. If you worried too much about the (say) 0.05% risk, neither you nor your tropical fish would eat anything that hadn’t been cooked above temperature X for Y minutes. (X and Y vary for the type of food being used, but it’s invariably high enough to denature proteins and so render bacteria inoperable. Unfortunately even in really hot conditions some bacteria can survive if not heated for long enough, most notoriously perhaps the bacteria in rice, which makes reheating cooked rice one of the classic risky foods.)
I think you’re looking for an absolute answer. But when it comes to cold, there isn’t a set protocol known to kill all pathogens in all foods with 100% safety; at least, not a practical one you can do at home. Hence freezing food keeps it safe for weeks or a few months, but doesn’t keep it safe for years or indefinitely. Contrast that with canning food, which uses heat, and which does indeed keep food safe for a very, very long time.
Brielle, one last thing. While I’m happy to answer questions, it’s really helpful if you send them via WetWebMedia. New content is what helps to pay the bills there!
Cheers, Neale>
Feeding and Nutrition                  ‏            11/9/14

Hello Bob and Crew!
I was talking to Neale Monks more about the possible safety concerns of preparing my own fish food recipes. Here is what he said! Feel free to add your own input. I would love to read what you think:)
-Lil Bri
<Ah yes; thank you. He (Neale) sent this note to my personal email; and I concur with what he has stated.
Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Feeding and Nutrition                  ‏            11/9/14

> Of course, yes, Bob. Thought more useful on/in WWM than sitting o my hard drive.
> Cheers, Neale
<Ah good. Thank you, BobF>

How long for a disease to show up?   3/10/14
Hi crew,
 I have a question as to how long does it take for a disease such as brook of velvet to show up on a fish.
<How long from when? What? Oh, I think I understand from your writing below... These and many other pathogenic diseases can be non-clinically resident indefinitely>

 The reason I ask is I purchased a Cherub Angel and a Tailspot Blenny in January. They had both been in the LFS for 3 months and 3 weeks, respectively. I did freshwater dips on both of them when I brought them home. They were both clean (no flukes). I then commenced the tank transfer method in the event of ich. I did 4 transfers every 3 days which equated to
16 days. On the 16th day I moved them into a permanent QT that I've had set up and is fully cycled. They stayed in that QT for 30 days. I moved them into the main last night and today the Cherub sort of looks like he has a sheen to him. His fins are also torn up but I think that is from fighting with the royal gramma. So my question is Is it possible for velvet or brook
to lie dormant during the 6 weeks of quarantine or is this just me being extremely paranoid?  Thank you!
<Is possible either the fish/es are/were carriers, or more likely, that the system itself is infested. Bob Fenner>

Ich and Velvet QT extremes... moving toward wisdom  – 09/9/13
Hi all,
I've been reading up on setting up a strict QT tank/s and process but the more I read, the more I am unsure about how to 100% ensure that Ich and Velvet, among other diseases, are not transferred into my DT from an infected fish.
<Ahh; well, Cryptocaryon is often entrenched; constantly living in "sub clinical" settings; coming out in force if/when the fish stock is weakened, the environment more favouring them>
I have read many accounts of reefers keeping the DT fallow for the appropriate number of weeks(72 days I believe), keeping a new fish in copper(~4 weeks) or hypo, then observation(~2-4 more weeks) for the appropriate number of weeks only to have Ich resurface at a later date.
<Yes; my long-experience first and second hand concurs w/ your statements>
 I know there are many ways to incorrectly complete the above process but several accounts are from reefers who really seem to know what they are doing. Anyways, I am wondering about other methods of importing these parasites into the tank.
<Indeed there are>

I know these parasites will drop to the substrate and can probably settle and spawn in the LR also. So any new coral, with attached LR or skeleton, should really be kept in a fallow tank long enough to break the life cycle correct?
<Yes; or (really) to at least weaken it>

Also, what about anemones? Since they inflate with water and do not usually have LR attached to them when sold, can the parasites make it into the anemone as it inflates only to be released into a new tank as it acclimates and deflates?
<Let me just skip ahead here and state that "anything wet" can transfer this and other parasites>

I believe that inverts such as shrimp, stars, etc.. are not affected but can they be carriers for Ich and velvet?
<More the former than latter; but yes>
Should these be kept in a fallow tank for 72 days prior to introducing to the DT also?
<Not this long... a week or two is about optimal; longer is of diminishing advantage>
Thank you, as always, for your professional insight
<Glad to share. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich and Velvet QT extremes – 09/9/13

Hi Bob,
Thank you for the quick response!
<Ah, welcome>
So although strict QT practices make a lot of sense and can work in a lot of instances, we should also have a disease management strategy in place such as UV or Ozone (can help diminish numbers of free swimming parasites), low stress environment, highly nutritious diet and hope for the best?
<Ah yes; a "pitch"/presentation I've given over and over... the third time a few weeks back for the UNE Fish Hlth. Conf. is here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm
Mirrors what you've stated. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Ich and Velvet QT extremes – 09/9/13

Thank you again, Bob. I will have a look at the link. It gives me some comfort knowing that many have kept reefs and fish for long periods of time even though these parasites can be so difficult to completely avoid.
<Yes; unfortunately so many folks have such difficulties that attrition (of hobbyists AND fish livestock) is a very big deal in our interest. I've campaigned endlessly for the trade itself to improve practices (esp. prophylactic dips/baths) that would greatly lessen (though not eradicate) these parasitic issues...>
Thanks again!
<Ah, welcome. B>

Which quarantine procedure do you recommend for a Halichoeres melanurus?    9/19/10
Hello everyone at Wet Web Media (aka: my favorite site on the web!).
First of all, I just wanted to thank Bob and everyone at WWM for providing this wonderful forum to educate people regarding the precious creatures that we bring into our homes.
<Welcome Jamie>
I've done a search on the quarantining of wrasses, especially Halichoeres species and specifically Halichoeres melanurus on WWM and the Internet and I've got lots and lots of conflicting information. As I read another's query on WWM, Bob suggested that "<A pH adjusted dechlorinated freshwater with
half the usual dose of formalin, heavy aeration... done in your presence...>" as the Halichoeres melanurus tend not to fair well in quarantine. I understand that it is stated clearly...
Here is my question. Since I've learned the dangers of not quarantining fishes - I have a 55 gallon quarantine tank. I was planning on using it bare bottom with PVC condo for this wrasse, but after reading the above. I was thinking that since I need to get more sand and live rock for my DT and I do want to quarantine "anything wet", can I do the dip on the melanurus and then keep him by himself in the tank with the live sand/rock for eight weeks to 12 weeks watching for illness?
It will definitely be more comfortable for him and if he shows illness, I have a 20 gallon that I can immediately make into a hospital tank to treat for illness. What are your thoughts on this?
<Should work... do keep the top covered to prevent jumping>
Another question is more general regarding "quarantine"...
Does keeping a fish in a tank that is established with live rock and sand by itself for a long time equate to "quarantine"?
<Of a sort, yes... Isolation might be a better term>
I've read on WWM that part of the process with quarantine is to stress the fish somewhat so that any
illness will show itself (I'm not sure I read that right but it seems that way).
<Some folks endorse this idea, practice>
So, if I have a fish for three years and it is happy, healthy and growing, showing no signs of illness can I accurately say that this fish is disease free?
<Likely so>
The reason I ask this is that after the battle with C. irritans, I NEVER NEVER want to risk introducing it into any of my tanks. I have several tanks and I was wondering that if I moved my fishes from one established tank to another, am I running any risk (if I've never seen crypt infection for the past two years)?
<There is always some risk... This, other Protozoans, can reside on/in hosts unexpressed... for years>
Thank your for your patience with me and taking the time and energy to answer my questions!
You do not know how much I respect your expertise and guidance!
Best wishes,
Jamie Barclay
<And you, BobF>

Re: Goldrim Tang  -4/6/10
I have no quarantine tank so I left fish for a week after buying in LFS.
<A risky proposition... Unless the store has entirely separate facilities... NO mixing of water, use of wet-gear... very easy for contamination/vectoring to occur>
I know I have made a mistake just wondering on best course of action.
<Okay... so, what will you do now?>
I thought the infestation had exited last night as fish had a few marks on body.
<... cycle... Do you understand the life history of this Protozoan? Is posted on WWM, elsewhere>
Today he has colour one minute then paler ...back and forth. Also much livelier and eating better , But is full of white spots again (re-infestation so soon ?).
<Apparently so. You may well have a mix of cyclicities going on here>
Maybe just showing up again as colour returns.
Only tank I have is a 5 gallon tank,
<Too small for most anything>
could I move a clarkii, Goldrim ,blue damsel and antennae goby there temporarily or far too small.
<This last>
Fish still eating and no visible problems with others.
Still running uv and on second treatment of Oodinex.
<Not likely at all to be effective in a "main"/"display" tank... for reasons gone over and over on WWM>
Everything else in tank thriving.
Any advice please as I am lost.
<Let's have you start reading here:
and the linked files above... We'll be chatting re your choices... soon. BobF>

Question concerning Live Rock, Protozoan Dis. harboring  09/14/09
There is absolutely no doubt that you guys are the best in business. The more I appreciate your service, the less it is. Anyways, enough polishing, lets get to business now.
<Well, all right!>
My SW tank was setup and things were going fine until ich and/or velvet showed up and many fish died as usually happens. My question concerns live rock. I tore apart the entire aquarium had removed all the LR I had and placed in a bucket with an air stone to oxygenate and cause water movement.
Since, then I have reset the aquarium once again and have a settled tank with few fish. And today is the 36th day (5 weeks plus) since I have the LR in quarantine bucket.
Q) Is it safe to put the LR back in my tank now after 5 weeks?
<The longer the better... but likely yes>
If yes, any special procedure or steps I need to accomplish before adding it to my tank.
Note: I don't get any foul smell in the bucket. Plus the bucket was under a table, so its relatively dark even during day time. And having learnt my lesson, I QT all fish now and am the latest supporter of FW dips for fish.
Thanks once again.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/fallowtkfaqs.htm
and peruse the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: worm, Naso QT, Protozoan fecal presence  2/1/09 Thanks for the compliments! Coincidentally, I have a Naso tang in quarantine (for the past 4 weeks) that stopped eating today. I noticed white hard fecal matter and decided to look at that under a microscope. Well I saw (pics attached) of something, possibly parasitic. Could you help identify? <Mmm, other than appears Protistan/Protozoan, no... but could be a commensal...> The Naso appears to be behaving otherwise normally. The various pics are all pics of the same thing. Thanks again! <I would not be overly concerned re this... I would go ahead and place this Tang... as it is likely to decline in the present small QT, and unlikely to infest the DT. Bob Fenner>

Ciliates at 400 X
Re: worm 2/1/09 I'm a bit hesitant to put him in the DT b/c he did have Amyloodinium (verified microscopically). <Mmm... okay> Treated with Chloroquine diphosphate for 10 days. He's been doing well 4th day into treatment and been doing well for the last 8 day post treatment (so he's been doing well for 12 days) up until yesterday. Is it too soon to put him into DT? thanks <Given this further data/input, it is too soon. BobF>

Sanitizing equipment? 1/22/09 Hi Crew, <Hello> I have been an avid cruiser of your site for some time. I sometimes surf for fun but I usually come here to find the answers to specific questions. Of course I am writing because I have a few questions. <Fire away.> I am currently treating my fish in hyposalinity, after an ich outbreak (lesson learned, ALWAYS QT!). <Yep> So my fish are currently living in a 30 gallon tank with two sponge filters and a heater, while my 125 reef sits without fish. The specific gravity is 1.010 in the treatment tank, and of course unaffected in the display tank. The tank has not had any fish since 12/1/08, but I have added some inverts and corals, the last of which went in the tank on 1/15/08. My plan is to raise begin raising the salinity in the quarantine tank slowly starting now, and put the fish back in the display sometime around 2/15/09. <I like to see them go 4 weeks without symptoms after treatment to help make sure they are pathogen free.> I am waiting so long because of the possible contamination from the newer livestock additions in the DT. Does this sound like a good timeline? <A little quick for my tastes.> I think I know the answer, but I thought I would throw it your way since I had your attention. The real questions I have are about sanitizing my equipment after it has been used in the QT. I think the QT is parasite free because it has had hyposaline for 7 weeks now, but I still get concerned about accidentally transferring parasites from the QT to the DT, and would like to avoid it. <Is a very real concern.> Normally I rinse my pumps, hoses, and water containers in hot water, and then I let them dry out before I use them again. Do we know if there is any temperature that will kill things like tomonts (not in the tank but in my sink)? Will 120F kill them? <Most likely but not a guarantee, I often throw nets and such into the dishwasher to help clean them.> Or is it just safe to assume that when everything dries, it is okay to use in the DT? <A dip in a mild bleach solution, followed by a good rinse, and then allowing them to COMPLETELY dry is my method,> I also ask because on the WWM site there is mention of keeping a sponge filter in the sump of the DT, so it is ready to go with bacteria when you want to set up a QT for a new arrival. After using the sponge filter in the QT, how do we make it safe to put back into the DT? What is the protocol? <I just throw them out, they are cheap enough to just go get another. This is one of the main reasons sponge filters are recommended over other filtration methods.> Thanks so much for your time and help, Alex <Welcome> <Chris>

Can apparently uninfected fish be carriers? Preventing The Spread of Parasitic Illness.. 5/6/08 Hi Crew, <Hey there! Scott F. here today!> On March 30 I had a sudden die off of 3 fish in my 90 gallon. I had quarantined a little Tang I bought for about 3-4 weeks. <Excellent practice!> He was only about 1.5 inches so I thought he would be fine in my old nano which was well cycled. I was pretty sure the Eunicid worm that used to reside in the rock had met his demise since I hadn't seen it for a while. Well, one day I went up and I couldn't find my little Blue Tang. I picked up the rock and turned it over a few times and no fish. I went downstairs and when I came back up he was back in his favorite hiding place behind the heater. I was rather worried that the worm was still alive. Not thinking logically, I decided to move it to the main tank. <Uh oh...have a hunch where this is going.> Within a day or 2 he started showing signs of ich or velvet but he was still eating. The Coral beauty was little aggressive toward him which didn't help. Any way about 2 days later I woke up and all 3 algae eaters were dead. They were eating fine the night before. I think if it disease maybe it was velvet because of the speed it took. <A very good hypothesis. This illness attacks and kills with astounding rapidity.> We put Advantage on our cats that day also. May be possible some got on the Nori? <It is possible if you didn't wash your hands after administering this medication. Although the symptoms that you are describing seem indicative of a disease rather than a poisoning event of some sort.> Anyway my 2 Perculas, my corals, snails and my cleaner shrimp are fine. I immediately removed the Clowns and initially put the recommended dose of Cupramine in the quarantine. I removed the live rock from the quarantine to an un cycled tank in the garage. I dosed them for a couple days and had a hard time keeping the level up without getting too much. Anyway I quit dosing them because they are obviously not sick. My question is should I dose them for a period of time in case they are carriers before I put them back in the main tank? I'm looking at a 10 week fallow period which would be June 8. <Good questions. However, I would not dose copper prophylactically in the future, because of potential "collateral damage" issues/ In your situation, a two month fallow period makes sense. You simply cannot be too careful with a disease like Marine Velvet. By removing all fishes from the display, and by allowing the Clowns a period of time for observation, you're sort of covering all the bases. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.> What are the Ingredients for Disaster? Ich, Tang Minus Quarantine, & Overcrowding - 29/11/05 Greetings Crew, My 55 gal FOWLR was cruising along just fine until I added a small Blue Tang the other day. Then more trouble, he began scratching on the rocks, but he does not have any noticeable parasites on him. I did see white specks near the bottom of the tank on the glass, just above the live sand. They are moving although my clown fish, trigger fish, and 2 yellow tail damsels seem fine. <Unfortunately your tank is not large enough to support a trigger or this tang. Additionally, to save yourself from fish losses and the resultant heartache, it is important that you quarantine any new livestock in a separate tank or container for at least four weeks before adding them to your system.> The water seems to have these white specks floating all over it too. The population of the white specks is growing fast. HELP.... Is copper my tanks savior? <To rectify the situation, I would remove the tang ASAP to a filtered hospital tank or container, and observe for any parasitic outbreak. Read through the disease and cure sections on WWM (starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm) and be prepared to take action. I would strongly urge you not to medicate your display tank with copper. It's unlikely that you are seeing a cloud of free-living parasites in your water. It would also be a good idea to return your trigger to the fish store as soon as possible (and indeed the tang, if they can isolate it from their other livestock), and read up on marine tank water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate) and livestock choices.> Thanks, MIKE IN S.F. <Good luck, and I hope you manage to get the situation under control. Best regards, John> 

Parasite Theories (7/26/05) Hi gang, it's me again Anthony with another question also related to QT for new fish. <Hi. Steve Allen with you this evening.> I've read from your site and from LFS folks that tanks and fish will always have parasites (just like the ocean). <There are many who assert that you can have a parasite-free tank. Since we aren't about to examine every square inch of fish skin and substrate surface in a bunch of tanks under a microscope, there will not likely ever be definitive proof one way or the other.> That It all depends on the hardiness and immune system of the fish (also cleaner fish and shrimp). <Important factors indeed.> The new fish could be fine after QT but when it gets stressed out in a "parasite free??" display tank, the ich could come out. Is this true? Can a fish be a carrier even if it never gets sick? <In medicine, we use the term "subclinical infection" to describe infections that have little or no symptoms in a given individual. Many of the symptoms you experience when ill are your body's reactions to the infection, rather than actual physical damage being done. The white spots of ich are the visible manifestation of infestation, not the actual microscopic protozoans. Many people who "never had" Chicken Pox have antibodies. So they really did "have" Chicken Pox, but did not develop itchy blisters, fever, etc. They had a subclinical infection. Ich doesn't come from nowhere and does not go "dormant" for months years. They are either in the tank at a low level in conditions that allow the fishes' immunity (and biological cleaners, if present) to keep them in check to the degree that the aquarist sees no apparent symptoms or manifestations, or they are brought in with new fish or infested tank water from the LFS. If a fish gets a spot or two, but no more, you may never notice. Steven Pro wrote an excellent series on ich for Reefkeeping that starts here: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/ > It was also suggested that new fish after a 4-6 week QT without signs of ich doesn't mean it's parasite free. <But very likely is if you have seen no spots at all during that time, for the live cycle of the parasites in question means that there should have been some. Of course, I haven't really touched on internal parasites here, but am guessing you are primarily concerned with Cryptocaryon and Amyloodinium.> So the suggestion was to mildly medicate during QT as well. Is this true? <That's a matter of opinion and disagreement. I don't like to give medicine prophylactically. There are too many potential side effects from any of them that work. Also, where's the evidence that "mildly" medicating works? If you take half of the recommended dose of an antibiotic, it probably won't work. Same goes for anti-parasitic meds--you have to use enough to get the job done. Medicating a QT for new fish would be done on the presumption that parasites are present, thus requiring full-strength treatment.> If yes what is the best medication to use (something that would not totally destroy the good bacteria in the QT/holding tank which would have live rock and obviously not stress the fish).  Would those "reef safe" parasite meds work (i.e. Ruby Reef Kick Ich)? <I do not consider this or any other "reef safe" medication useful. There is no evidence that they are either safe or effective. My general belief is that "reef safe" medications are not effective and effective medicines are not reef safe. That is a WWM consensus.> Remember, this is a question about new NOT sick fish. <Understood. Read Steve's articles. They are excellent.> One last theoretical question. If I have a tank with parasite infected fish (no other fish in tank) that recovers and shows no signs of illness after 6 weeks, does this mean that the tank and or fish are parasite free (same an infected running a tank empty of fish for 4-6 weeks)? <No. It could be the fish merely has the situation under control. Parasites may still be present. The only way to rid a tank of the parasite is to leave it free of hosts long enough for all the parasites to die off for lack of a host to allow them to go through their entire life cycle. That's probably 6-8 weeks, perhaps even longer.> Thanks for everything and regards to everybody. <You're welcome. Thanks for the interesting questions. I hope you find my musings on the subject helpful. Again, do read the articles. He also recently wrote an excellent article about Amyloodinium for the same webzine.>

More Theoretical Discussion of Parasites (7/27/05) Hi gang, and Steve thanks for your insight full answers. <Happy to help. Back with you again this evening, Steve Allen.> Your response and Steve Pro's article on ich had endowed me with more knowledge than all the reading I've done in the past month. I guess it put everything in proper perspective There's something in Steve Pro's article about a fish getting better only to be infested a month later by new parasite babies of the guys that infected him originally where the fish sleeps - is this what is commonly referred to as a secondary infection? (excuse my non-scientific terminology). <I suppose you could use that term, but "secondary infection" is used in medicine to refer to bacterial infections that occur on top of some other (often viral) infection that weakens local or systemic defenses to allow the "secondary" infection to occur when/where it normally would not. An example is developing "secondary" bacterial pneumonia while ill with "primary" influenza. In the case of Cryptocaryon, the fish shed the parasites which then go through their substrate and free-swimming stages before searching for an new host which then ends up being the original fish. As you read, these non-infesting stages last a couple of weeks.>  Furthermore, these parasites hatch in the dark. I have a 60g tank where a 5" blue tang and 5" Auriga Butterflyfish were infected and recovered - thanks to my hard working red fire cleaner shrimp. <A really beautiful, interesting, and helpful creature indeed--love mine.> They were taking turns with the shrimps' cleaning station for almost 2 weeks. <Yummy for the shrimp. The striped ones <much bolder than the reds> will clean under your fingernails too. It really creeps my daughter out.> It's been a week that I've hardly seen the two fish with the shrimp. Now, the shrimp is starting to stroll beyond its cave - I think for food. <No more delivery. It has to go out for dinner now.> So now I have to drop sinking food for bottom dwellers and the shrimp grabs it in a split second. <yes, very fast and aggressive at eating pellets, flakes, frozen food, chopped sea food--pretty much anything remotely edible.> Sorry for ranting. My new question is, what can I do to cope with the soon to come parasite babies. <Keep your fingers crossed--perhaps the cleaner ate enough of them off of the fish that you will see few if any offspring. How big is your tank? Lysmata shrimp, which are hermaphrodites can be kept in pairs or groups if there is enough space. I have two amboinensis and two debelius in my 80g.> And I thought my 60g tank will be fine from now on since I have no plans in adding new fish. <It may yet. Definitely consider adding a second Lysmata debelius. They should pair up, mate and provide live food (eggs/larvae) for your tank.> Another thing I wanted to verify - Are snails and shrimps (my only inverts) immune to parasites. <To fish parasites. But not to whatever parasites naturally can infest them. Most parasites host in/on only one type of organism. There are certainly many exceptions to this "rule," but neither Cryptocaryon nor Amyloodinium involve other aquarium inhabitants in their lifecycles--just fish. You seem to find parasites interesting (the actually are fascinating), so you might want to take a look at this book: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/074320011X/qid=1122528358/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-7727427-9304642 My other tank 55g, recently wiped out by disease is running with no fish but still has my inverts. So is the guideline of not adding fish within 6-8 weeks still hold true? <Yes. In my mind, the longer the better. If you are the patient type, you might want to go to three or four months. I've heard from a lot of people for whom 6-8 weeks did not suffice for some reason. Just imagine all the cool things that will thrive in your tank without fish to eat them.> I already have September to quarantine new pets and October to hopefully move them to the 55g display tank, marked on my calendar.   One last thing. What's your opinion about a quarantine and hospital tank being the same setup bare). Steven Pro said that the holding/quarantine tank for new fish should be bare (no rock nor sand). The logic is to make the fish not too comfy (stress it a bit) - so it can be infected by dormant deceases it or it's companions may have. <I like having just PVC fitting or two for the fish to hide in when scared. the nice thing about a bare bottom is that you can vacuum it to remove parasite cysts that fall to the bottom after dropping off of the fish. They have no rock or sand to hide in. The most important reason to not have rock or sand in a hospital tank is that they absorb the medications (most especially copper) and make it difficult to maintain a safe and therapeutic level in the water.> Thanks Again, Anthony <You're welcome.>

Parasite Theories, Part 3 -- Mostly About Shrimp Today (7/28/05) Hi Crew and Steve, <Back with you again, Steve Allen.> Thanks again for your comprehensive answers to my never ending questions. The tank which I'm concerned about a second ich infestation is 60g. I added a Lysmata amboinensis a few days after the debelius because I thought the latter was overworked with the 2 fish taking turns. As you said I like the amboinensis because it's bolder and not as shy as the debelius. It was doing it's job but I found it dead in 2 days. <Sorry to hear.> I still wonder why - could it be that the stronger looking debelius killed it or is it one of those sudden death syndromes for shrimps (if there's such a thing). My Auriga Butterflyfish loves nipping on my snails and tube worms - so he's one of my suspects. <I'd say it is unlikely that a debelius would kill an amboinensis, especially in a tank of that size--plenty of room to avoid one another. As I mentioned, I've had two of each thriving in 80 gallons for two years now. It could have been some sort of illness, weakness, or failure to adjust to the new tank. There's really no way of knowing. I do strongly recommend taking a couple of hours to acclimate as shrimp can be delicate, L. Debelius in particular per my experience.> The debelius is nicer looking <and more expensive> and I'm tempted to take on your advice to get it a partner. Would they eventually show themselves, otherwise what good are their good looks if you hardly see them. <Purely utilitarian when not visible.> Reason why I added an amboinensis instead. Also I read in LiveAquaria that the debelius is aggressive to it's own kind unless mated. So should I pick the same size or smaller for the second debelius. <Interesting, I have not seen this or heard of it from others. Stenopus shrimps are notorious for this and are best put in mated ahead of time, but I am not aware of this being so for L. debelius. I'd bet you can add one and they would pair up--they are hermaphroditic. I'd go with about the same size. Consider moving the rocks around a bit to confuse the one that's already in there. You may even find that a pair are more likely to come out than a single one. Although mine are not out and about all the time like my L. amboinensis are, they come scurrying forth in a frenzy of eating activity the minute any food hits the water.> Getting back to my empty 55g I'm running "a fowl". It has a 4" DSB so more places for left over parasites to hide. I have a small amboinensis in it. Will this guy eat parasites in the substrate even when they're not attached to any fish? <I doubt it. They are microscopic there, not part of a clump of inflammatory tissue for the shrimp to dig out and put in its mouth.> If yes, maybe I should add another one to facilitate ridding this tank of parasites???? <I'd say you best remedy is what we docs call "tincture of time." Let the tank go fish free long enough for the parasites to die off for lack of a piscine host.> Thanks again, Anthony <My pleasure.>

Pestering Parasites! Thanks Scott. <You're quite welcome!> Quick follow-up. I have read or have been told somewhere along the line that parasites are often present on most fish ­ even healthy fish - and are merely latent. <Many parasites are continuously present on fish, but Cryptocaryon (the causative protozoan of Marine Ich) is not always present, based on much of the research that I have done.> I suppose in the case of Ich, they don¹t get through the slime coat on a healthy fish or are not present in sufficient numbers to cause stress. Is this true? <Yes to the first part, but the second part is controversial!> If so, going back to my case, I¹d like to be assured that they¹re dead before adding a fish to the main system. If no meds, what would you think about 1) no substrate in the hospital thank (there is none currently), 2) running a small UV sterilizer or I¹ve also read where people have used germicidal lamps instead of the regular light bulbs, and 3) with frequent (daily or every couple of days) water changes from the main tank to try to capture the Ick while they¹re in their non-swimming phase? <Well, that's very similar to a technique that has been proven to do the job every time:  A bare tank, with 100% daily water changes, will do the trick. This way, you're destined to get any free-swimming parasites if you keep it up or 3 weeks...> Thanks! <Give the 100% changes a try...Good luck! Regards, Scott F> J.D.  

Fresh water dipping stresses Hi Bob, This time I really am writing ONLY to say thanks for your response to my last question :) I just re-read your article on Acclimating Livestock. I see your point on adjusting the pH of the water that is added to the acclimation vessel to match that of the shipping water. I feel kind of silly in not figuring that out for myself, since I work as a chemist...  Anyway, thanks again for your help, I think I'm on top of this now. Dan <Outstanding. Clarity is pleasurable, and acid-base reactions are of course very important in biological phenomena. Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Re: Fresh water dipping stresses  Hello Again Bob,  Just wanted to say thanks for answering my question re: "fresh water  dipping stresses." Also, thanks a lot for pointing me to your WetWebMedia  site, it looks like a wealth of information is there to be had.   I actually have a follow-up question regarding fresh water dipping  technique. I've read your articles on acclimation at the WetWebMedia site,  but I just want to be extra careful, since my next purchases will be the  first that I'll be dipping. I like to drip acclimate my new arrivals by  transferring them to 5 gallon bucket, then dripping my water into the  shipping water at a slow rate, over the course of about 45 minutes (emptying  the acclimation bucket half way several times). When this is complete, I  plan on doing the fresh water dip in water that is at the same temperature,  buffered to 8.2, and dechlorinated. To me, it seems that the instantaneous  transition from salt water to fresh would be quite shocking to the fish. Is  there any kind of acclimation to the fresh water that I should be including  here?   Thanks again. Sorry if I'm asking a simple question whose answer I missed  at the website. Hope you're enjoying Hawaii! Dan <Thank you for your uplifting message. I think I understand where you're  coming from and to. The pertinent comments: I'm leery about not responding to  your statements re your current acclimation procedure. If the shipping water  has little metabolite content, such "drip" methodology should be fine. If  there is any detectable ammonia and a depressed pH, the addition of higher pH  water can have deadly effects... actually this is how most livestock is  probably killed, all the way from the collectors through to end users... You  will know the relationship between any ammonia and high pH (much more deadly  than low pH situations).  And the issue of rapid freshwater introductions? Not a problem with fish  livestock that is otherwise healthy. Sometimes I'd like you to dream of  diving in the tropics and drifting past a river inlet (to the sea) or being a  small tropical fish yourself, caught in a TidePool and a big rainstorm...   This happens, and no problem with the fishes...  Bob Fenner who has just been in a similar situation (not as a tropical) at  Two-Step on the Big (Hawaiian) Island's dry side.>

I recently had a few fish pass that showed the same initial symptoms The fish looked healthy and had been feeding quite nicely. They would aggressively go to food but then hesitate. If they did eat it, they would often shutter after eating the food. They became more lifeless; clamped fins, lack of color, hiding in corners, sometimes a fungus in the mouth, until they passed. I removed one sebae clown that was headed down this same road. I thought I had seen something white in his mouth, so I opened his mouth and noticed what looked like a parasite. I removed it with tweezers from what I will call the "tongue" of the fish. This caused this fish to bleed and eventually die. Also due to my rough handling.  The parasite was about 6 cm in length, white with small eye in the front, and had a arched back that was fairly hard. My guess is that this guy and his friends are what caused the demise of my fish. Any idea on what it might be, and how to rid that tank of the creature? I am worried about buying new fish until the parasite is removed from the tank and don't want to loose any other fish. One other quick question, I have little white swirls on the back tank glass that are about 1 to 2 cm in diameter. A friend said these are snail eggs. Is he correct? Thanks for all the help. What did we do before the Internet and e-mail? <And it was gray in color... Well, the animal you describe is probably a parasitic isopod crustacean (sort of like a terrestrial Rollie-Pollie, pill-bug... but not near as fun)... and I doubt if it was responsible for infesting your other fishes... (they tend to be rather species, size specific). I would definitely start with a search of your water quality as a prime cause of the losses... Don't know what the small swirls are in the back of your tank... more likely a type of encrusting worm than snails... but I wouldn't be overly concerned with them. Do you dip/bathe, quarantine incoming livestock? You should develop and stick to an acclimation protocol... to avoid much of the world of infectious/parasitic disease. Bob Fenner>

Re: lots of questions <Avoiding parasitic problems> Hi Bob, First, I would like to thank you for the help you have given me in the past. Its greatly appreciated! Next I have a lot of questions many of which are unrelated. I apologize in advance if its too much. <Never too much my friend. Service to you> I have two marine systems: a 30 gallon that I have had running on and offfor about 5 years with out a problem and a 75 gallon that I have had for about 3 months. After a month the 75 got ich which also got transferred to the 30 gallon tank. I lost all but a single fish in the 75 but saved all the fish in the 30 with copper treatment. I have been keeping both tanks coppered for a little over three weeks now. Here's my dilemma! I want to remove the copper and begin adding live rock to both systems, but I am now paranoid of getting ich again and with live rock in the system I can't use copper if ich resurfaces. Right?  <Yes... this is so... the LR will readily accumulate the copper, and it will kill much of the life that is the "live" rock> I usually read the daily questions on your web sight every other day or so and one thing I have noticed is that every day there are several people who have ich. Am I doomed to get it again or can it be easily prevented? If so, how? <You are not doomed... Oh, I do wish the "trade" would adopt better, consistent practices in preventing these simple to stop epizootics... I can imagine (as well as you...) simple pH-adjusted dips to just exclude ich, velvet (and a few other pests)... Well, back to reality... though I will post an old "letter to the industry" that I drum up every decade or so decrying the lack of such prophylaxis and what it could do for the entire interest... Oh, found it: http://wetwebmedia.com/ltrquartrdbiz.htm Along the same lines, I have purchased a 20 gallon tank to use as a quarantine tank. I read info on your web site and elsewhere on how to set it up, but I still have a few questions. First, do I have to cycle the quarantine tank?  <Hmm, not really... if you can/do use "cycled water"... like from one of your "clean" systems...> Can I just add water from my main tanks and consider it cycled or would that not work (I am going to run an AquaClear power filter on it. is that enough?). <Oh! Yes... do monitor aspects of cycling, be ready for water changes, feed sparingly...> Second, because I already have the living room with two tanks there is really no where for me to put the quarantine tank except in the basement. Do I need a light for the tank or will the 100w bulb in the basement left on during the day be ok. Do I need light at all?  <Some, but not much... on a timer... and/or some outside lighting so there won't be too much light/dark transition> Finally, should I keep the tank running even when I don't have fish to quarantine or medicate? <Mmm, probably not... unless you're quite regularly moving livestock... it's probably better to store the gear in-between uses> Next, the 30 gallon has an undergravel filtration system with a couple of Percula clowns and a scooter blenny. I am considering changing to an Eheim canister filter instead. Can I just hook up the Eheim and turn off the undergravel and remove a lot of the crushed coral from the tank floor or will this cause the system to recycle or crash??  <Should be fine as long as there is "not too much gunk" under the plates, within the substrate... I would encourage you to "break the tank down" rinse the gravel... and rebuild it (with the plates back in, minus risers)... to remove chance of there being "too much gunk".> I wanted to change because there is so much waste that gets stuck in the gravel even after regular gravel vacuums. I don't have this problem with the 75 which has an Eheim and a protein skimmer. Should I just leave well enough alone?? <I would make the change, but do the clean out... we'll both feel better> Also the 75, as I said has an Eheim and a protein skimmer. I was also going to add an AquaClear power filter to this system as well. Is this a good or bad idea, or does it even matter? <Redundancy in life support systems is a good idea/thing/practice> Finally, Could I put a flame angel and a juvenile (about 2 inches) emperor angel in the 75 together or would they fight?  <They would likely get along...> I realize that the emperor would eventually get too large for this small system, but could it be kept in there for a little while? How long would it take to outgrow the tank? <A year or so> Thanks so much for your help! I don't know how you find time to answer all these emails, but I am glad that you do! <A passion for me... to provide assistance, ideas, attitudes to aid people in their quests for understanding, improving their captive systems, and by way of these involvements, their lives. Bob Fenner> Sincerely,

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