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FAQs on Marine Parasitic Disease 1

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

Related FAQs: 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: Preventing Parasite Problems, 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 CleanersUsing Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease, Parasitic WormsCrustacean Parasitic Disease, Isopods,

Gobiodon citrinus with marine ich, Cryptocaryoniasis.

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>

Sick fish Hi wondering if you could assist me. I have a 55 salt water tank about 11 mo established. all water parameters are great. in tank were 1 yellow tang,1 very small picasso,1 sm clown, a few small hermit crabs. I am in the process of cycling another 55.about 2 weeks ago I purchased a lionfish I couldn't resist now I wish I did) well I decided to put him in with my others until new tank cycled I know my mistake not quarantine him) well within 2 days all of his brilliant pec fins started to wither away. So I quickly set up q-tank and got him in he was eating for a day or 2 then died. Now 2 days later woke up tang was dead with no signs of anything but clown was very whitish not specs but a white sheen to him. next day clown was dead. now Picasso is also showing whitish sheen so he is in q-tank treating with CopperSafe. (he doesn't look well) my questions are 1. if this is a parasite is it still present in main tank even though there are no fish in it. <Yes... likely "velvet"... the algae Amyloodinium. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/velvetfaqs.htm> 2 when and how will it be safe to add new fish. 3. is CopperSafe the proper treatment for Picasso. any advice would be greatly appreciated thanks. PS I will NEVER again add livestock without quarantine 1st!!! <I'll bet... please read over the WetWebMedia.com site re marine parasitic diseases. Bob Fenner>

Help ME !!!!!!!!! (marine parasitic disease) After reading a lot of your already posted articles I was wondering if marine ich can be in the form of white dots?  <Yes. This is most often what the symptoms (the reaction from fish hosts) looks like> I had black ich which I cured buy adding cleaner shrimp to my tank which is a 30 gallon. My question is if this is ich the white dots all over my Banggai Cardinal fish an my Flame Angel seems to be rubbing against rock which I thought was a sure sign of ich.  <No... can be other things... or nothing in the way of a disease> I have liverock an sand, shrimp, starfish, snails etc on cleanup crew. What is the best method of getting this under control I don't want to lose my clown he loves my anemone an my friend has had little luck getting a Percula that gets in his anemones an takes care of it. Thanks for any information you can give me, this is my first dealing with this type of WHITE DOT infection and I want to learn how to get this under control before I go an set up my 135g RR Oceanic. Thks Larry Williams <Time to go back, read over the Marine Parasitic Disease sections, FAQs pages on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich Bob You said conditions favorable to parasites. I assume you mean water conditions and health of fish. But my fish seem to be thriving also. What should be done to give the good guys advantage over bad guys? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm following the linked files where you take yourself. Bob Fenner>

Re: Restocking tank How can we tell if (and when) the parasites are gone. <Time, experience> They are no longer on the Hippo. He looks VERY healthy. We treated tank with Kick Ich and Rally both by Ruby reef. We raised temp to 83 for over a month, we lowered salinity to 1.018 for about 3-4 weeks. We are slowly raising it back up and trying to lower the temperature. We do at least 10 gallon water changes with vacuuming sand once a week. And have done a few 15 gallon changes since all fish died. We used to see these little black dots on the wall, but they too have been gone for almost a month. Everything appears to be great! We are trying to fins tank raised perculas to add (hopefully they won't introduce anything to the tank) and then after a while we want the new tang. Your site says any of the Zebra... tangs are good and the Yellow eye is good. I read your site all the time, I just like to ask you personally to see if anything has changed and some things are situational so I figured I would ask you anyway. Thanks again, your information is a great asset to us... <If you trust the chemicals you used, the protocol you followed, you should be fine. Bob Fenner>

Re: Restocking tank Sorry to bother again, but I am reading your site on parasites (it seems you add new FAQs everyday) <Yes, everyday> and I wanted to mention my fish died of what appeared to be velvet. They all were dusty not like ich) and they started either hovering at the power head or towards the bottom. They never darted or dashed, but I still think it was ich. They also started "shedding" their skin. When we FW dipped them we got these very strange things that looked like Mysis shrimp but with two long straight horn like things coming off one end. All the fish that had those are now dead. We FW dipped the Hippo a few times and got some things off him, but none of these things. So we REALLY believe he is going to be just fine. He eats great!!! Looks perfect and is getting very FAT because he is the only fish in this 50 gal. He picks on the shrimps and crabs a little. But I think he is just bored... Have you ever known a hippo to pick up Hermit crabs by their shells, carry them to the top of the tank and drop them? He does this a few times a week. It is rather funny!!! <Interesting. Bob Fenner>

Ich/Velvet. Bob, I have read your website and followed the advice/guidelines given for treatment of these diseases. As I have learned in my short experience of saltwater, it is always a good idea to quarantine all new arrivals before adding to the main tank.  <Yes... I have tried for decades to convince the trade/industry to do this before sending on the livestock... citing all the obvious reasons... principally not having their ultimate customers leave the hobby...> (Which I now follow to heart). But I first had an Ick outbreak followed by Marine Velvet (white dusting). Based on the information given on treating parasitic diseases I FW dipped (w/spectrogram) my fish and quarantined them for 2 weeks. During that time I increased the water temperature to 83 degrees and dropped the salinity to 1.017 in the main tank. During the course I had Coppersafe in tank at about .15 ppm. After the time was up, I reintroduced the fish back. The next day they showed tiny white spots, smaller than grains of salt. <Mmm, the copper level as measured how? Think this may have been a sub-physiological dose> What should I do now? Should I set-up my q-tank again and let the main tank sit fallow for a month? I plan on dropping the salinity below 1.017 and increase the temp to about 84 degrees. Would that kill off the disease?  <Not kill off likely... but hopefully sufficiently weaken...> (or tune the tank at a lower salinity level?) During this time should I have some level of Coppersafe or should I treat it w/o the CopperSafe and remove it during the treatment process with a PolyFilter and the protein skimmer running? And what about the live rock and sand? I know copper can be harmful. But will the disease survive on the rock and in sand during the treatment? The nitrates, nitrites, ammonia and PH are were they should be. So the copper doesn't seem to have affected the LR and sand yet. What are your suggestions? <They are stated over and over on WWM...> Or is my second option the worse case scenario by breaking down the tank and starting all over again. I hope not. Or is first option to let it run fallow for a month acceptable. <Yes> But how will I keep the bacteria levels good w/o fish in the tank producing the ammonia? Your help is much appreciated and I constantly read your website for advice. <Read it again, maybe using the search feature there. bob Fenner> Finally, if I run the tank fallow for the month and copper was used (if you recommended it) Would the copper be completely out if I used a PolyFilter to remove it. I would like to add cleaner shrimp and cleaner gobies as preventative precautions to parasitic outbreaks. And what other steps should be taken to help control or prevent outbreaks? Keep the salinity levels low, between 1.017 to 1.021? Besides the quarantine and dipping steps recommended. Thanks, Alan Or would I have to start the tank all over again?

Another question. <Hello, JasonC here...>> Thanks for the response. Your website is excellent and have now added it to my favorites. The Flame has been removed because it was showing signs of stress and I don't think he is going to make it. . <<ahh good, it's set as my homepage...>> But now I have another question. I have had problems with Ich or maybe even Marine Velvet. The first Ich infestation was white spots the size of a salt. <<ok>> Most recently the fish have been covered in dusty spots. My Maroon has come down with it and I just set-up my hospital tank and waiting for the levels and temp to match the main tank. To help fight these diseases I have kept Coppersafe in the main tank at all times. <<you mean you've been running this all the time?>> Is this wise to have in a main tank? <<not full time like this, no.>> (I have no inverts) <<even so, it's actually pretty bad for your fish long-term.>> This practice is what I am following based on the advise of local marine pet stores. <<your local fish store does this because of a function of business, and they certainly aren't trying to keep those fish for years and years. The LFS wants to sell the fish to you somewhat healthy, and perhaps parasite free - obviously that didn't work for them though... These parasites come from somewhere - evidently lived through all that copper-safe.>> In all the outbreaks, my Fire Gobies and scooter blenny have not shown signs of Ich. Since I plan on removing the Maroon to the hospital tank, should I also move my Coral Beauty. Of course, I plan to do a FW dip to remove the parasites and then keep the fish in the HT. <<do make sure you match the pH of the freshwater to that of the tank... your fish will thank you.>> Should I increase the temp of the main tank to increase the parasitic life cycle and fully kill the disease. <<increasing the parasite's life cycle may/will also speed up its reproductive cycle. Also wise to reduce salinity to 1.017-ish while you do this.>> Then re-introduce the Maroon and Coral back to the MT. Since I have lost fish to this disease have considered in buying a UV light system. Is that a good idea? <<no, not worth the money. Better to be religious about quarantine protocols.>> I also am planning to quarantine all new arrivals. But for how long? <<minimum of two weeks, perhaps longer if necessary.>> Do fresh water dip and finally add to the main tank. Any advise would greatly be appreciate <<If you haven't already, read up on Bob's dipping article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm >> Javier <<Cheers, J -- >>

New tank, "saltwater ich" Bob, I have read your articles on wetwebmedia.com, and find them very helpful. I have a 50gallon tank, that my fianc? treated with a non-copper treatment two weeks ago when I was on the road, and she noticed the fish had white spots on them. When I got home, they had died. My question is: Should I sanitize my tank completely, or try hyposalinity to kill the parasites in the substrate? <It's up to you... more time, risk in waiting...> I have 30 pounds of live rock, and wanted to know if it would survive either treatment. <Much would survive mild hyposalinity (down to a spg of 1.010> I also have placed my few invertebrates (sea urchin, coral banded shrimp, cleaner shrimp, feather duster, and two starfish) in a 10 gallon hospital tank I set up. Should I lower the salinity there, or are they most likely infested. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you! <I would not lower the spg. much in the ten gallon, but leave these animals there a month w/o fish as potential hosts. Bob Fenner> Craig E. Stahl

Sick fish Hi Robert, It's me again. I have the same hippo tang. I have had the right amount of copper in his tank for over two weeks, I have been feeding him garlic soaked foods, and I have lowered his salinity. He finally stopped scratching after a week of doing this and seemed fine. Today he has started scratching A LOT again. I can't see any spots, although there may be some. I'm pulling my hair out. Can you help me? <Mmm, this fish may be "scratching" due to the medication alone at this point. I would consider removing the copper, leaving the spg low at this point (like 1.016 if other livestock can tolerate this)... feeding vitamin soaked food, using a purposeful cleaner organism... Please read over the WetWebMedia.com site re these "parasite" issues. Bob Fenner>

White and black spots on tangs Please help me quickly!!! We lost 4 fish about a month ago due to marine velvet I think) We ended up saving two- a hippo tang and a true Percula. We left them alone for about a month and both healed fine. We bought a UV sterilizer to try to eliminate any future outbreaks. We recently bought a smaller hippo tang, a gold rim tang, <Not a hardy aquarium species: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm> a smaller true perc. and two Heniochus. They all were fine for about 2 weeks, but my big Hippo started getting these same black spots he had before. I thought it was stress from adding all the new fish(es was chasing the new hippo around) but then he calmed down and started to look somewhat better. Now... Every morning I wake up my two Heniochus have a few white dots in their tails and fins they go away as the day progresses) my gold rim is almost covered in tiny white spots that go away once I Feed him( I have been feeding Tetra anti-bacterial and anti-parasite flakes as well as Mysis shrimp mixed with garlic extract), but the two hippos have LOTS of bigger white and black dots as well as white ulcerated areas, the Heniochus try to clean them and the hippos literally lay in front of the cleaner shrimps, but they are useless. We are using a product from Aquarium Pharm. called Melafix along with medicated food I mentioned. I think problem could have been that my hubby installed the UV Ster. IN THE WATER and it was shocking the fish!!!!  <Yikes!> I removed two days ago, and we installed a new one properly last night. But woke up again this morning and all but my clowns had white or black spots. All of my fish eat very well, but I can't figure out what to do to get rid of the parasites. <Please start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm following the links as they lead, interest you. There are ways to "the light at the end of some tunnel" here... you need knowledge to set your path> Everyone seems to get along well now, the tangs occasionally chase each other out of their respective territories but nothing bad. I am going to add a ground probe today, but is there anything else we can do. We don't want to quarantine as the last time we did that we lost 4 of our 6 fish. We only saved those two cuz we put them back in the main tank. Could this all be due to the improper installation of the UV ster. and if so when should they look better?  <Soon, a few days if so... but there are more factors to this equation of health/disease...> Why do they look good after they eat, but wake up looking horrible? <Stress, lack of movement during the night...> Please help me I really love these fish and do not want to lose them!!!!! <If you do care for your livestock, then study, apply yourself to their cure, careful husbandry> PS. we check water quality a few times a week and everything is fine, Phosphate is rather high, but we have heard that is not a big deal. <Mmm, can be a very big deal... depending on what the cause/s are> Temp is at 83(almost always, occasionally dips at night) <Be studying. Bob Fenner>

Re: White and black spots on tangs Thank You for your response, but I have read your links many times and still cannot figure out what to do, i.e. what is wrong with them. <Your principal problem/disease is ich/Cryptocaryon.> The two hippos do "lay" while they sleep so that could explain why lack of movement would cause this on them. Do you know what is wrong and how to cure it without a quarantine. We have spent over $1OOO ++++ on our fish in the past 2 months trying to fix all of these problems.  <You don't need to spend much here... a copper solution, freshwater, a place to move/keep your non-fish life...> We feed them a variety of food, clean them once a week, given them vitamins, check water quality often and still can't figure out what we are doing wrong. Unless this is all due to the UV sterilizer being installed wrong. I am sorry to seem so dumb in regards to this, but we have tried all we know and still can't determine what parasite, bacterial problem they have and a natural way to cure it and keep it from coming back..... Please help, your links are great, but there are so many things going on in the tank I don't know where to begin. <Read over where you have been sent. Your system has an ich/Cryptocaryon infestation. You must treat the SYSTEM as well as the fish hosts. Bob Fenner>

Re: White and black spots on tangs I am sorry to seem redundant, but is there a way to treat them that is safe for inverts (crabs, shrimps and snails) <This is gone over on the WWM site: no> we have rock crabs that live in rock so it is impossible to treat tank w/out ripping everything apart if we use copper. Plus the last time we used copper, 4 fish dies in 2 days!!!  <Should have quarantined incoming livestock...> Fish we had for over 12 months. Can I mix Kick Ich ruby reef product) with Melafix (aquarium pharmaceuticals Product) <Both these products will not, do not treat your problem...> or do I need to run carbon in tank for a day to get Melafix out and then use kick ich or another reef safe product. It is my husbands tank and he doesn't want to do quarantine or use copper. Can fresh water dips, feeding medicated flakes, adding chopped/fresh garlic, raising temp and using the UV sterilizer get rid of the ich or do we definitely need to use medication? <At this point, it is necessary to treat with a copper-based medication... the above will help, but not at all likely produce a cure. Bob Fenner> I am sorry to keep bothering you!!!!! And thanks again for your help!!!!! Brandy <Not a bother... but try to understand... unless you have a better, bigger "picture" of what is going on, you will be eternally frustrated and confused. Seek to know the underlying science, principles at work in your system... Not simply the "do this/that" of disparate opinions. Bob Fenner>

Got Garlic? Can adding fresh chopped garlic help with the parasite problems I am having and if so how much and how often can I add? <Please read over, use the Google search feature on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com here. Some people claim some success with some species of parasites using garlic prep.s, chopped fresh garlic... Bob Fenner>

Liverock Question Hello Mr. Fenner, I recently setup a 55 gallon predator fish only tank.....I have a 2 inch Niger and a 4 inch Lunare Wrasse. This tank also contains 45 pounds of liverock with lots of Coralline Algae. My concern is; would treating for parasites such as Ich with copper destroy the liverock completely....or just the inverts? Would the Coralline Algae survive? <Will kill a good part of the LR including the Coralline algae, and the invertebrates... Fishes should be treated elsewhere (or reciprocally, all else moved, kept free of fish hosts... Please read through this section: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm> I have not yet purchased a quarantine tank yet.....this purchase may all depend on what I could do to treat the fish if need be? <No... not really... you would do well to consider quarantine, dip/baths as a preventative measure in this "other" system to avoid having to treat anything> I was also wondering if there is a product equally effective for treating parasites like ich that have no detrimental affects? <None exist. The products that claim this are false, misleading.> Thank-you for your time..... <Do read through the www.WetWebMedia.com site re "Quarantine", "Disease".> Rob! <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Brooklynella OR VELVET?? I am fairly new to the saltwater world and I'm having a real hard time diagnosing what my fish have in a fish only tank. My Tang died two days ago from something that looks like snow on its body. He was covered in it overnight. <A tang, overnight? Does sound like Velvet> I have a big tomato clown that has the same powdery look. The clowns fins look frayed and it has a white dusting mostly on its head between the eyes. The Niger Trigger has what look like white cysts on its eye and a light dusting on it. The Hawkfish, blue head wrasse, and lawnmower blenny show no signs at this stage. I have been told ich, Brooklynella, and velvet disease. <Not likely Brooklynella from the rapid onset, indiscriminate use of hosts> I am not comfortable diagnosing this alone. What does this sound like to you and what do I buy to treat it. The clown and Trigger are very lethargic and hanging towards the bottom of the tank. They do come up to feed but that's about it. A swift reply would be much appreciated. I'm panicked. Thank you. Kim <You should be deeply concerned. And you need to act quickly to help save your fish livestock. Please read over the following on Marine Parasitic Disease: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm and onto the links to other articles on ich, velvet... their treatment... including the need to "treat the system". Bob Fenner>

Ich or Something like it? Bob, This is kind of long. I am so sorry to bother you.  <Not a bother. Take your time> I have been reading your site and can't find a problem that is similar to ours. We have a healthy (for the most part or else this email wouldn't be necessary) 75 gallon tank. In our tank we have had a dog-faced puffer for a month now. From day one he has had little white spots on his fins and then they clear up and then the spots look like they are gone and then he has on his body sort of like what a wart would look like on a human in a clump together. <Might actually be viral, viral mediated as well.> Sometimes the white spots are on his eyes and he will close the eye or I will see him trying to scratch himself on the sand or live rock. We have done the RO dips and some days he looks great and some days he just looks terrible! No filmy look to him at all. My heart feels for him. He still eats GOOD, and gets around. Some days he rest a little more than others. But for the most part, our little guy gets around. He also sleeps in the very same cubby hole every time he rests. Do we need to vacuum out his little nest he has?  <No> What is this exactly (these little clumps that look like warts on the body and the white spots on the fins)? <Likely either some sort of protozoan or fluke (trematode) infestation> We have other fish in the tank (lionfish, Huma Huma, wrasse, and eel) none of them appear to have anything. Occasionally the trigger gets white spots on its fins, but is not bothered by it and it goes away the next day. Nothing spreads. We have had this tank set up and complete for five months. Please help. We bought a UV Sterilizer and it should be here in the next couple of days. What do you think about that? Sorry this has been so long. <The UV will help indirectly... and, see below> Thank you for your help. Lord knows we need it! Angie <I would try "boosting" this animals immune system by adding a liquid vitamin and iodide preparation to its food (ten, fifteen minutes ahead of feeding), AND add the same prep. directly to the water once a week, AND sneak in either bits of garlic or one of the prep.s into its foods as well... AND lower the specific gravity of this system down to about 1.017 for a month. All of this should conspire to "tip the scales of health/resistance" in your Puffer (and other fishes) favor. Bob Fenner>

Ick? Parasites? No idea... Hi Bob--- <Howdy> I have a 55 gallon saltwater aquarium with a clown trigger (immature), Heniochus, flame fish, green wrasse, and four damsels (plus a starfish and sea urchin). Everyone peacefully coexists <For now...> , but in the last three days I've noticed very small white spots on both the trigger and the Heniochus. I've seen no scratching, no change in swimming or eating habits, no signs of distress from either. I did a very brief freshwater bath for the trigger (maybe 10-15 seconds...it showed signs of distress almost immediately) which seemed to help a bit, but am concerned since there is still some sign of the spots (they seem to come and go). The spots are probably smaller than a very sharp pencil point and are not significantly raised. <Maybe ich, velvet... perhaps nothing but "stress"> I am running two outside filters as well as an undergravel filter, keep a UV sterilizer running constantly, and occasionally use a protein skimmer. I do regular water changes, and keep a close check on nitrates, etc. Am I better off quarantining the trigger and the Heniochus and treating with copper meds, or am I better off purchasing a cleaner shrimp or two and waiting to see signs of scratching or obvious distress from the affected fish? <The shrimp would likely get eaten. I might try a Gobiosoma Goby: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnrfaqs.htm> This is the first real problem I've encountered since starting my tank about 8 months ago, and would very much appreciate your input. Thank you in advance for your help, and thank you for a wonderful and informative website. <Thank you my friend. Do keep an eye on your livestock, consider beginning environmental manipulation if the cleaner goby doesn't stop the recurring spots. Bob Fenner> All good wishes, Daryl Klopp

Possible ich break out? Hey Bob, Always enjoy reading your website. Got a question for you, I noticed today that there was a small white spot on the dorsal fin of one of my false perculas. It looked almost like a tiny piece of bread crumb, there was a also a similar spot on his right gill side. These spots are fairly tiny, maybe the size of a pencil point or so, but should I immediately remove the fish? Or give him a few days to see if he gets worse. <Hmm, need more info. to give a more substantive response... How long have you had this specimen, what else is in with it, do you have any purposeful cleaner organisms?> He has exhibited no signs of stress and is swimming well, eating... I have for perculas, two fire gobies, a striped damsel, and a cleaner shrimp in the tank (55 gallons). <Ah, here we go.> I have two big powerheads and a prism protein skimmer rated for a 90 gallon tank. All of the other fish seem fine. The only thing I can think of is we had bit a cold snap out here and the temperature dropped about 4 degrees. Is this enough to cause an infection or Ich? Water quality looks good, but I have yet to test PH. <Maybe. I would leave this fish for now... maybe start the environmental changes listed here that others have tried: http://wetwebmedia.com/marparasitcurefaqs.htm If any of this is unclear, incomplete, please do write back. Bob Fenner>

What do next? Part II (ineffective ich treatment) I failed to mention that the "Stop Parasite" product I mentioned previously is to help us get rid of ich in our tank. We introduced it into our tank by buying live rock with it infested all over it. Of course we didn't know until after the fact. Now we can't seem to rid of the problem.  <Have you read over our site re this parasite, it's treatment? WetWebMedia.com> Or should I say the white spots only show up on the fins of our trigger but I noticed last night that our dog faced puffer (my fave) now how two white spots on her eye and couple on her fins. What to do???? Should I did her now or am I paranoid. We have done the r/o dip in the past on the trigger. Sorry this is so long. I do value your opinion. Thanks so much! <Do read through, starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm I would develop a long-term plan for eradicating this pest or striking a balance in your system... using real products to rid the hosts of the ich. Bob Fenner> Angie

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, Jeff

Parasitic crustacean incident? Hi Robert Fenner,  <Salutem dicit> I am writing you because I have a problem of parasites with my yellow and purple Tang, first I saw small sticks in the back part, close to the tail, then I introduced a healthy purple tang, and now the purple tang has the sticks too!!!, all of my other fishes are healthy, only this two tangs have the sticks, the sticks are white, almost transparent, my yellow tang also has small spots in the front part and it is not ich, they do not show any signs of stress, they are colorful and they eat well, my water parameters are acceptable. Any information about this parasites would be great. Thanks. Alejandro Brosig V. <Interesting... the "sticks" do sound like a parasitic copepod... ala the infamous genus Lernaea of pond fishes... can likely be extracted by using tweezers (netting the fishes, holding them gingerly, wet in a net and hand towel) in the direction away from the head... grasping the parasite near its insertion into these fishes... Hopefully this will be the end of the infestation (the sticks are reproductive structures)... if not, the use of the economic poison, DTHP used in ponds may be efficacious (http://wetwebmedia.com/pndparasitcont.htm)... I would remove these adults and hope for the best at this point. Bob Fenner>

Ick/Oodinium/stress question... Have read through the FAQ's... have a Holocanthus puffer who seems to have Oodinium if I go by the diagram in CMA [finally scored a copy - a wonderful read]. <Hmm> Thing is... I've been trying to treat this fish/tank for three weeks with the hypo-salinity/high temp mechanism because I just don't have enough treatment/quarantine space for all the inhabitants. The puffer has also had a good five minute pH adjusted fresh water/Methylene blue dip. If one were to base an opinion strictly on behavior, everyone is happy and healthy... including the puffer; everybody eats, everybody wins. <For now, relatively> But on closer examination of the puffer, the spotting never looks any better. He is well salted as it were, and it covers his entire body and is even visible on his eyes. I do have room to treat this fish individually with some harsh mechanism [copper, et al.] ... perhaps it is now time. <Perhaps> So to the question... with no apparent stress visible, am I the only one stressing? Should I go beyond the prophylactic and not worry so much about stressing the puffer? Given the environmental tweaking for hypo-salinity... is the white spotting a reaction to the altered temp and salinity? If so will the return to more normal conditions help alleviate the problem? TIA. J -- <You have tried biological cleaners? I would likely go the route of moving, treating this puffer if it lost appetite, seemed to dis-improve. Bob Fenner>

Re: ick/Oodinium/stress question... Actually... ready for a funny story? <Almost always> While you were away, I mailed Zo and asked him what he thought my chances would be trying to sneak a Gobiosoma into my FOWLR. Of prime concern were the fish with a glint in their eye for such small fare: the puffer and harlequin tusk. He wished me luck but wasn't overly optimistic. <I'd guess it "made it"> Well, within a day or two of that email the tusk leapt to it's death during feeding time, while I was ogling at my other tank. Dumb mistake, all mine. Anyway, I managed to procure another one, smaller this time and he's been in quarantine ever since - roughly three weeks. Quite healthy and ready to get out of the 20-long. Didn't want to dump him in the FOWLR until I cleared the hurdle mentioned in the previous email. <Okay> Anyway... while I was waiting, I also procured a Gobiosoma, and after dinner[for the fish], I dumped him in with the tusk - you know, to see if this mix would work out - or not. That seemed like an incredible mistake for about ten minutes while the tusk tried to hunt him down - at least the goby didn't cost as much as a cleaner shrimp, which would have easily been toast. So... luckily the goby found the PVC reef-thing in the tank and has been out and about ever since. The tusk is well fed, and now seems to mind the goby not at all. Have no idea if the goby has made any cleaning attempt on the tusk, but... he too [the goby] is happy, healthy, and eating well. Have observed the Gobiosoma swimming about away from cover with no apparent antagonism from the tusk. <Good> This leads me to believe that in fact, the goby will do well in the FOWLR, and additionally it's such an amusing fish, I wouldn't mind two or three. I like to Feng Shui things and right now I have an even number of fish so I need one more to make me feel at peace with the tank. Those neon gobies are quite handsome and more resourceful that I would have thought. I get a big laugh out of this fish every day. <How large a system? Sometimes better solitary> So... the FOWLR is on it's way back from low-salinity-ville and still lowerthan I would like [1.018]. Should I just not worry about it, acclimate these two fish to the lower salinity - their tank is 1.023 - and dump them into the FOWLR or wait until 1.020 or so which will hopefully be this weekend - if all goes according to plan. <That is one approach... I would wait till all can be/is moved back to near seawater conditions> Help [a biological cleaner] is on the way. If things go south before the optimum transfer time, I also have a 10 gal quarantine just waiting for the puffer. <Hmm, where's the funny part? The Choerodon exiting ala a Polaris? I would slow down the stocking recruitment till your systems' are on a more even keel. Bob Fenner> Thanks again. J --

Re: ick/Oodinium/stress question... Ahh so... Ok, so maybe it wasn't funny [ha-ha] just funny [ironic] or perhaps just funny to me. Will do on the wait for NSW in the FOWLR. Won't be all that much trouble. The Polaris tusk wasn't funny at all, but like any other life-lesson, a valuable/tough one. <Like so many. Thanks for the allegory. Bob Fenner> Thanks again. J --

Ich or What? Dear Bob, You and your friend Zo helped me out so much earlier, I thought I'd ask another question. <Okay> I am very new to this "hobby?" (I've learned it's much more than simply a hobby, it's a lifestyle).  <You and I are in agreement... the hobby has many lessons, revelations to grant> I purchased a purple tang and am following your advice on quarantining him before putting him into my 90-gallon reef. He has developed two dots, one on each side, that I am a bit concerned about. The dots look like ich, but they have been on him for over two weeks. I have given him a Methylene blue dip using his tank water and a Methylene blue dip using fresh water. After the fresh water dip I thought I had killed him, but after a day or so, he seemed to be back to some semblance of health. After the treatments, the dots did not go away, but did seem to get smaller (I say seemed because you know how when you're concerned over something like this you may see what you want to see, rather than what's there). I administered the dips 2 days and 5 days after I first saw the dots, but have not had the heart to do another fresh water dip due to the stress on him and me. <I understand> The quarantine tank description is as follows: - 20-gallon All-Glass aquarium with hood and florescent light - Millennium power filter with activated carbon inserted at all times - 8-watt UV sterilizer with a Rio 400 pump - Powerful air pump with air stone - Small amount of aragonite gravel - CPR Backpack II skimmer added within the last few days - Several pieces of live rock added within the last few days - PH: 8.3 - Ammonia: 0.0 - Nitrite: 0.1 - Specific Gravity: 1.017 - Temperature: 75 - Feeding: About three times a day with green, red, and purple algae; Sometimes I add garlic to the food - Water from Poly-Bio-Marine Kold Ster-il system - Salt: Instant Ocean - Main tank light is kept on for about 10 hours a day with other room lights kept on for two hours before and after the main tank light <Sounds very nice... and the two dots are likely not much to be concerned about... likely more stress than parasitic... and will resolve once the fish settles into its permanent quarters> Due to a problem with keeping nitrite down, I have been doing 50% to 75% water changes every several days, but that seems to be ending now. My concern is that he does not show the usual signs of ich. He does not scratch against items in the tank, there are only two dots, he has a great appetite, he seems very vigorous, and his color is very good. However, in the last two days, I have treated the tank with Rid-Ich (I know you are not a fan of these products, but I really want to avoid copper due to the stories I've heard about tangs not being able to handle copper very well). No change after the Rid-Ich. Any thoughts as to what this could be? If it is ich, will Methylene blue dips with his tank water cure this or will I need to do more fresh water dips? Is copper my only hope? <I would do nothing more than what you have already. Do doubt this is a problem/contagion... would place the specimen in the main tank> If it is not ich, what could it be? <"Pimples" of sorts> As always, your advice is greatly appreciated. Best regards, Michael Rivera <Chat with you soon. Bob Fenner>

Maybe you can help (Parasitic Disease Problem, marine) I have a true fish only saltwater aquarium. I want to keep it fish only. It is a 135 gallon with a 2 inch sand bed. 50 pounds of which is live sand. LFS said it would help cycle.  <Yes, this is so> It has a 200 wet/dry and a UV filter. All levels in the aquarium are perfect. It has been cycled since February. This is when the trouble began. I had a yellow tang and five damsels all perfectly healthy. In my own stupidity I bought a Queen Angel and put it into the main tank without quarantining. Big mistake, it infested the aquarium with what I believe to be gill flukes. Within one week the yellow tang and Queen died. LFS told me to use a product called Clout and not to put any fish in for a month or so. I did use the clout as advised. After the treatment I again introduced a yellow tang. It was healthy for about two weeks. After the first week without any problems, I ordered another Queen Angel online (it has not been delivered yet). That's when the disease (gill flukes or flukes) popped up again. The fish is rubbing on the overflow and is dusted (almost looks furry) with white specks on its body. I am 99.9% sure it is not Ich. So now my dilemma, what should I do? Treat the whole aquarium as a medicated quarantine tank. Can I medicate the whole aquarium? I guess my question or statement is HELP!!!!! All fish in the future will be quarantined before entering the show tank. One good note as of today, all fish eat well. But, if I do not do something soon I know that will change. <Very glad to hear of your resolute pledge going forward... the Clout might have cleared the system of flukes... but would have been better used with formalin/formaldehyde for this purpose... Much to say here besides... do read over the "Parasitic Disease" section of our site: www.WetWebMedia.com and if you can't cancel the Queen Angel order, don't place it in this tank... You might try environmental manipulation as detailed on the WWM site... and Cleaners as well... and do this NOW. Bob Fenner> Thank you for your help, Mark

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>

Coral Beauty with... beginnings of... ich Hi Bob, Jaime here again. I have a question for you , I just added a coral beauty to my tank and have noticed very small white spots on it occasionally. I noticed that he picks at the suction cups that hold the heater and Fluval suction line and these have a white silt on them or is this ICK. <Does seem so... perhaps self-curing at this point... with vitamin use... perhaps environmental manipulation...> I am trying my best to describe this and I have checked the web for pictures without luck. Sometimes it he appears clean and other times he has many spots. They seem to be floating on him and it appears heavier after he has been nibbling on the silt covered suction cups. Please help. Thanks for the previous help <Please read over the "Marine Parasitic Disease" sections posted on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com and soon... Bob Fenner>

New Hobbyist Sorry to bother you with what must seem a very mundane sort of question but I have a new outbreak of ich in my new tank 33 gallons - I'm nearing the end of my "new tank cycle" Nitrites are down to below 3 ppm. I have a Valentine Puffer, a Coral Beauty Angel, Blue Damsel, Three Spotted Damsel, and two cleaner wrasses. Initially I only had the two damsels for cycling then my wife who works at the LFS brought home the puffer whilst I was at work - I was quite annoyed at this as we were just past the bad Ammonia stage of the cycle, I told here no more fish till the cycle is done. Unfortunately she did not listen and brought in the angel and wrasses and put them in the tank herself without even letting me do a freshwater bath. <Yikes... a painful lesson in store...> Needless to say I suspect one of the newest additions was responsible for introducing the ich - during this stage of the cycle I was wondering what advise you would give to treat the ich - if it can be avoided I would like to avoid the chemical route - I have raised the temperature to 82.3 F and lowered the salinity to around 1.015 - I have vacuumed the substrate as well as I could. <Please read through the many articles and FAQs sections on "Marine Parasitic Disease", "Ich", "Copper Use"... posted on our website, www.WetWebMedia.com for this oh-too common scenario... and bookmark it for your wife's perusal> Sorry for the long winded prose there. And two tiny little questions - I plan on removing the two damsels once things are better - and I would like to add a trigger - either an assassin or a Huma Huma/Picasso - would this be ok in my tank? <Um, no... this system is too small for a triggerfish> Do you know of any locations online that ship to Canada - or even better a  quality online Canadian retailer - as there are no LFS that carry any good quality Live Rock in any kind of volume in my area - Winnipeg <Please see the "etailers" listed on the Links pages on WWM> Sorry for all the questions. Hope you can help me - BTW - I find all your work here very interesting and very informative Thank you in advance Sincerely, David Taylor <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Ich? Hi Bob, We spoken here in the past, and I feel awkward about taking your time on something that's been talking over again and again, but I'm a new aquarist and I'm feeling confused and unsure even though I read the FAQs several times. Would really appreciate your advise. <Please help me to be more clear, complete> I bought a small Picasso Trigger, per your size recommendations about 3", name is Jerry. Jerry has been in my tank now about a month, eats fine, looks good. About ten days ago I noticed a white salt grain sized speck on his dorsal fin. I thought it was a speck of sand, but several hours later it was still there. A couple days later he had a second white speck on his tail fin. I started reading about Ich and I could be terribly wrong but I thought in one of your Newest Questions and Answers that you had recommended soaking the fish food in regular slices of garlic, and had even given it, the common garlic, a Latin name. I did so with Jerry's Formula One since on three occasions. <There are indications that such practices do indeed help...> Since then I have scoured all the FAQs here at your site, and it seems that you are Not a proponent of garlic at all...am I horribly confused or getting my info sites mixed up or did you change your position on this? <Hmm, don't want to be/sound confusing... there is a difference between relating others experiences and making an outright endorsement oneself... Put another way, I have heard, read of others' successes (of credible people) with administration of fresh garlic, garlic preparations, but I am not a user, promoter of same... Does this make sense? "I've heard it works", but "I don't use it/them myself"...> I thought it might be a good alternative to chemicals or copper. Would appreciate if you would clear up my confusion here. Jerry's two specks have not multiplied in the last 10 days but he still has those two, only. They have not gone away. <Likely this/these are NOT ich, and I would NOT treat them per se... Do consider a "supplement" that I DO ENDORSE (!), that is, Selcon (vitamin mix) added to this fish's foods, and do try to be patient... these "dots" do come and go (though sometimes not for months)...> What's my best recourse? Should I quarantine him and treat with a copper med. Should I fresh water dip him? Or should I lower my SPG and raise my temp slightly? <No... just keep the system optimized, stable...> I have seen No indication of him rubbing on rocks at all and other than these two specks he seems really healthy and not itchy. Could he possibly have something else? <No worries> I don't want to be rash and go overboard, but on the other hand, if this is a prob, I'd like with early detection to nip it at the bud. <I understand.> Your thoughts, as always, are much appreciated by so many, including myself. Thanks, Jennifer <Ah, thank you my friend. Have seen these markings (perhaps a protozoan, but not outright dangerous in any case) come and go on many such specimens... not fatal, not easily "removed"... but do go in time... Bob Fenner>

Ich, Velvet in the wild Hello Robert Hope you are doing well today. As usual I have a few more questions. But first of all I really love your book! I am reading it for the second time starting this evening. <Outstanding... also one of my habits... reading at night before bed that is.> My questions are as follows: As far as ICH or VELVET diseases go do the animals get these only in a captive system, or do they also get them in the wild? <Assuredly, these twin scourges of reef disease are found in the wild as well... have seen infested fishes on several occasions> If they do get them in the wild, how do they overcome them,?  <The "strong survive"... and many agents are "washed out to sea"... and am sure that "biological cleaners" have their roles here... as well as predators to thin the hosts ranks... what more?> The second question is what wrasses (parasite removing) would be of great assistance in the captive reef aquaria? <Some species, in some cases, yes... for most systems however, other cleaner species are more appropriate, applicable. Sections of the www.WetWebMedia.com site (that need spiffing up greatly) begin to address these matters.> that's all for now. thank you and take care. <I will my friend. Thank you. Bob Fenner>

What disease?? Hi Mr. Fenner. I am an enormous fan of your book and thank you very much for all the info in it. <Ah, thank you for your kind, encouraging words> I have a 120 gal tank. Filtration: Amiracle SL-250 wet/dry Aqua-C EV-150 skimmer Emperor aquatics 18W UV 3 tangs (Kole, hippo, and Sailfin) 1 clown (Percula) 1 purple Dottyback 3 damsels (2)3 stripe and 1 yellow tail) 1 urchin and some button and star polyps. I check my tank on a daily basis. Just today I noticed white speckles that were widely spaced apart on my Kole tang and hippo tang. Both of these fish are swimming around fine and eating great. No abnormal behavior what so ever. No scratching, hiding, or strange movements. Some of these fish had ich about 2 years ago but, other than that everything has been fine. I'm not sure of what disease this is. I will be sure to look in my marine books tonight. <Does sound like a "weak", latent ich infestation... would counter it at this point with a cleaner shrimp or two... and adding Selcon to the fishes' diets (soaking this prep. in a dilute solution a few minutes before offering)> Please let me know if you need any more info about my setup.........oh duh! 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, nitrate is somewhere 20-40ppm, slight copper reading, trying to get rid of phosphate with 2 only pads Calcium is about 350-400 started adding it to my tank not too long ago, was after corals were put in. <Set-up sounds okay... but the nitrates a bit high... would try growing macro-algae in the main system and likely a sump/refugium addition... as the Tangs will likely eat most all...> Near future is to replace my wet/dry with a sump and live rock in tank and my first priority is to get a RO/DI for copper and phosphate removal. I currently use well water. <Ah...> PS Can corals get any fish diseases or any for that matter??? <Not fish diseases, but a whole group of their own yes> Thank you in advance and I appreciate your time for my letter Rob <Please read over the algal filtration parts stored on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

PARASITE?  Robert, I was told you could help me in trying to diagnosis what type of parasite my fish has. I have a clown trigger that has a brown line that goes from his body (near his top fin) and extends through the top fin. The unusual thing is that there is a brown or tan ball like thing at the end of it. I don't see any specific parasite that I can identify. Just looks like something is running up his top fin with a ball on the end. Do you what parasite/what that might be? Also about 2 weeks ago when I first noticed the thing on his fin, he also had a cloudy eye. The cloudy eye has cleared up, but still has the thing on his fin. He also seems a little sluggish and doesn't maneuver in the tank as good. Something he seems to bump into the coral. He is eating good, and the first two days of his cloudy eye he spent most of the time hiding. Thank-you, Rick <Actually, along with the collateral damage you mention, this sounds more like an "environmental disease", specifically a trauma, rather than a biological/parasitic problem... Knowing how tough this species is (almost always), I would simply try to keep the system optimized and the specimen feeding... Though this could (unlikely) prove to be some sort of crustacean or worm type parasite, you can easily address this down the line... i.e. it should not become overly deleterious as long as the host (your trigger) stays in good shape... Do take a closer look at your system and water chemistry, husbandry protocols... something slipped if this fish had a cloudy eye... maybe just a "bump in the dark", maybe something more insidious. Bob Fenner>

Help! I've read the FAQs and articles you suggested. I can't say for certain what kind of infestation. There was no speckling as I understand is present in many cases of white or Blackspot, or marine velvet. The fish was, however, scratching its pelvic and dorsal fin areas relentlessly and shimmying in the water, clearly irritated by some sort of parasitic infestation... <or perhaps water quality is/was the net cause...> My LPS suggested I lower the SG to 1.015. This struck me as rather extreme and likely to kill my brittle starfish (as well as anything on my small amount of live rock). While I did lower it somewhat (to 1.018) this did nothing for my tang. I went back to my LPS who suggested Cupramine. <You're making my day! Not the Large Polyp Stonies, but the Livestock store! good advice...> So I normalized the SG, set up a quarantine tank ($$$), and used a maturation fluid, but had only a couple days to do so... the tang was in serious distress. I removed the tang to the quarantine tank and used the Cupramine. <All sounds good... and the quarantine costs are less than constantly replacing livestock...>  Soon after, the tang seems to be doing fine but the quarantine tank is beyond my control; despite frequent water changes, constant siphoning and testing, and it still isn't stable. <Need to practice preparing bio-media.... like sponge material... to make up for disrupted microbes ala the copper> Should I simply place the tang back in the main (55 gal) tank? Thanks again, Robert Duff >> <I definitely would move the Tang back, and in the process through a ten minute freshwater dip... as proscribed on our site:  Bob Fenner>

Possible parasitic problem Hi Bob. I have recently had some issues with my tank. I have lost 2 Gramma loreto's in the past year. The last one got some sort of parasitic infection (dashing against rocks and obvious white spots; looked a lot like Ich) and finally got to the point where I had to put him down. I gave him 2 or 3 freshwater dips, and it appeared as though the spots went away, but they came back very soon thereafter. I did NOT quarantine him (not quite set up for that at this point; and to make matters worse, I'll be going on a 2 week hiatus in another 2 weeks - not sure if I have enough time to treat my current fish and get him back in the main tank before we leave (getting someone to fish-sit is one thing (HARD), but having them attend to the needs of 2 tanks will be next to (if not) impossible for us). <Hmm, the Royal Grammas the last couple of years have not "come in" in any good condition, 'excepting the ones from Brazil...> Anyway, I picked up another one yesterday, dipped him and he seemed to acclimate to the tank rather well. Today, however, he is dashing on the rocks, just as the other did. <Not a good sign... have heard various theories on the species low acclimation, survival rates... poor decompression, use of Quinaldine (real anesthetic, but still enhanced mortality)...> I'm not sure what to think - all my other fish look GREAT. Why would this disease pick on the grammas? <Don't think this is a parasitic or infectious disease... but some subsequent disorder from collection, handling stress...>  Anyway, if you have a down-and-dirty suggestion (given the time problem) I'd really appreciate hearing it. I am prepared to quarantine him in a 10 gallon tank w/ an aqua clear mini and heater if need be. <Please take a read through the marine index pieces on Acclimation, Quarantine, Dips/Baths... stored on our site: Home Page ... may be some input there of use, at least consolation.> Please advise. As always, your feedback is appreciated. Oh, while we're at it, what do you think about those trace mineral blocks? Even with 20% water changes every month, my levels get low (calcium, KH). <They're definitely better than nothing... and way often less toxic than the Kalkwasser route so many folks fall into... I have used them, and we make our own sorts of "delivery mechanisms" out of similar materials for our use (a small, non-commercial coral farm here> TIA, Bruce >> <Be chatting my friend, Bob Fenner>

Re: Possible parasitic problem Bob, Went to the web site, didn't see much on acclimation that applied (Methylene blue in high concentrations (a squirt versus a few drops) has been my weapon of choice...). <Mine too... and a worry/bother that the materials aren't more intuitively accessible.> The Gramma definitely has external parasites of some sort (spots on the forehead, as did my last fish). He is still dashing and I am wondering if a dip/copper treatment would be in order. <Would hold off, lest you can really determine that this is a parasitic problem... the/a treatment might well be worse than the current problem.> The last Gramma I had was in my tank for about 6 months before he developed these symptoms. It was not immediate so I don't think your hypothesis about stocking stresses would apply. <Sounds more like an "environmental disease..." would look to your supplementation, foods/feeding/nutrition practices.... and try the default (for me) practice of vigorous live rock culture... maybe even some starting material from the tropical west Atlantic...> This is really starting to bum me out... Your thoughts? Maybe some parasite that hangs out in the rocks? (I'm reaching here...) ???? Bruce >> <Don't reach, unless it's for a microscope and some help locally by someone who knows more/different about such matters... Do you have exposure to such? Bob Fenner>

Re: Possible parasitic problem The Gramma definitely has external parasites of some sort (spots on the forehead, as did my last fish). He is still dashing and I am wondering if a dip/copper treatment would be in order. <Would hold off, lest you can really determine that this is a parasitic problem... the/a treatment might well be worse than the current problem.> The last Gramma I had was in my tank for about 6 months before he developed these symptoms. It was not immediate so I don't think your hypothesis about stocking stresses would apply. <Sounds more like an "environmental disease..." would look to your  supplementation, foods/feeding/nutrition practices....  I have recently began using Combi-San (about the same time this all started too, maybe?) and Selcon. I've cut back on them both because of algae problems (the long green stringy stuff), although I DO still use them. Also Phytoplankton (Kent) for the inverts. Cut back on that, too (again, algae). Food is NORMALLY OSI marine flakes. Sometimes brine, rinsed and soaked in fresh water for at least 5-10 minutes. This 2-3 times per month (I find my star corals need to be fed with target feedings of brine...). Occasionally frozen foods (formula one). I figure I have at LEAST 100 lbs of rock in my 85. I also have (BTW) a sump with 24X7 lighting with some Caulerpa (no room in the cabinet/power strips for a timer... Still working on it). PH is about 8.3, haven't checked the salinity in a while, but last I checked it was 1.024. Hard to keep constant with all the evaporation brought on by my cooling methods.... Calcium/others are lower than I would like, but still (what I would believe to be, at least) acceptable. Not really any that I can trust farther than I could throw them, no. And now?... I think I'm gonna make an effort to prepare the quarantine tank tonight, maybe catch him tomorrow night and isolate him so I can keep a better eye on him. Any other thoughts? And, oh, thanks for the prompt replies. Very nice when time is an issue... Bruce >> <If you can catch the specimen, would take care to provide shelter (even pvc parts) in quarantine... and look for Grammas out of Brazil for now... Bob Fenner>

Re: Possible parasitic problem I will go with the quarantine route, hopefully he will be in the tank tomorrow night. So you think I should try some treatment method for him? It sounds as if you really aren't too fond of copper, so how would you suggest I proceed? Thanks. >> <Am actually a HUGE fan of copper... pls just take a look at the med. parts of our site... but Grammas, esp. ones in trouble already are easily pushed over the edge with stock Cu++ treatments... would do a smear prep. and look under a scope ahead of any dosing.... in the meanwhile utilize environmental manipulation (lowered spg., elevated temp.) to do about as much good as can be done. Bob Fenner>

Re: Possible parasitic problem Call it denial, but this evening the lesions are almost invisible. I suspect that they were trauma from being nipped by the other fish. <Ah, as I suspect/ed... not really an infectious or parasitic disease, but something environmental...> I had understood that CopperSafe was CuSO4 and required an ionic (free) Cu test kit. <Hmm, perhaps my memory is even faultier than I remember (!), but isn't copper sulfate in CopperSafe a chelated product? Is this the Aq. Systems product? Is it just pentahydrate and citric acid?> The level of 0.15 was the level at which my previous fish died...so I am pretty skittish about the accuracy of the test kit. <Don't blame you.> I have a microscope and slides (I am a Family Practice physician). I'm not quite sure what the procedure would be. Do I net the fish and do a skin scraping with the edge of the slide? If so, would you expect to capture the parasite? For the future, are there any good references for fish microbiology? <Yes, and yes. Edward J. Noga, Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment. 1996. Mosby, the world.> I would risk moving them if you think that this is water condition caused.  But I would hate to introduce a lethal infection into the tank. There are other fish there, I just meant that the water quality was sufficient to support the invertebrates. thanks >> <It is indeed a toss up... and you can get a fuller grasp of what is being "in the balance" of consideration in my "Three Factors... " piece stored on our site: Home Page though I suspect such a detailing of initial states of health, suitability of the env., and presence/pathogenicity of disease causing org.s will be "old hat" to you. Bob Fenner>

Marine Parasitic Disease Article Mr. Fenner: I am writing to ask permission to use an article found on Wet Web Media entitled "Marine Aquarium Fish Parasitic Diseases" in my newsletter. My newsletter, "Aqua Serve News" is used to give updates regarding my small business and to provide informative articles...some I have written and others I find on the web. I will give you full credit for the article and include any link to what ever URL you would like. Please let me know. Thanks so much for your time Duane Clark Aqua Serve Aquarium Publications www.aquaserve.com  <Thank you for your interest and asking. Yes, please do post the piece, and make a link to our site: www.WetWebMedia.com to afford your readers awareness of what else we can offer. I have looked over your site, aquaserve.com, and though it does have commercial elements (for which we generally sell rights to the use of our content), the thrust of your intent is obvious, and confluent with ours: To inspire and educate others. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Parasitic Isopod I have a 90 gallon tank that's about three weeks old and is still going through the cycling process. I have a yellow tailed damsel an a domino damsel in the tank. I added some Fiji live rock that was cured in a LFS for 3-4 weeks. It is covered with coralline algae. Everything has been going well until this morning when I discovered (what I believe to be) a parasitic isopod attached to the domino damsel at the base of the anal fin. The domino also has some white abrasion/patches near his head (Last night when I turned the light off on the tank he looked perfect). The parasite is a yellowish color about 1/8+ of an inch long. I couldn't catch the damsel (they are fast little suckers) this morning before work so I decided that I would remove the rock from the tank and try to catch him this afternoon when I had more time. I called my wife a few hours later and she said that the parasite was no longer attached to the damsel. My questions are as follows: 1. What is this parasite and what do I need to do to get rid of it? <Likely an isopod as you state. Ridding it involves catching the host, and gingerly prying the crustacean off with tweezers... It is likely still in the tank... maybe even... Shades of Silence of the Damsels... in the fish's mouth!... check there... a common spot, attached to the palatine bones... removal, the same> 2. Why did it fall off? Is it because of the light, was it full from eating on the damsel or is it going to multiply and infest my tank? <Maybe any of these... but not reproducing on its own...> 3. What other parasites do I need to look out for from the Fiji live rock? <This is a very long list... but likely not to be the cause... the isopod likely was on the fish... not the rock... > 4. I've always heard that live rock is so good for marine systems, but now Ihave at least one type of parasite and god knows how many others. If I treat the tank with medications I will end up killing most of the beneficial organisms and bacteria along with the parasites. It seems like a waste to even use live rock. I've seen so much enfaces placed on quarantining fish and killing the parasites that come along for the ride on newly acquired livestock but no mention anywhere about the potential problems with live rock other than curing it, bristle worms and mantis shrimps. <The rock is overwhelmingly a good idea... and very unlikely a source of parasitic problems>  5. What do I do? Thanks, Tom Hettleman P.S. I have your book " the Contentious Marine Aquarist". It's one of the best books I've read on the subject. Thanks again! >> Contentious? Conscientious? You're making my day. Do just keep your eye on your livestock, and system, and try not to over worry... All will work out. Bob Fenner

I have a powder brown tang which has picked up a quarter of an inch long light brown crustacean on its anal fin. The bug looks kind of like a terrestrial rolly poly or pill bug. Also this thing seems to be pinching the fin. I already have a cleaner wrasse and shrimp. Do you know what this thing is and if and how I should get rid of it?  I bought your book this weekend and there the bug was right on page 148.  Also I have a white faced tang and I now feel pretty bad about buying that cleaner wrasse. Anyway the copepod disappeared after about 8 hours so I assume the cleaners got it. I am glad I bought your book. It answered a lot of questions and gave me a lot of ideas. Thanks for your time and Ill investigate further before submitting a question. Everett West >> Yes, this is a parasitic isopod... an aquatic type of rolly poly... and it is best to remove it by catching the fish and prising it off with a stout tweezers... Get ready and at the same time, daub a little mercurochrome or Merthiolate on the remaining sore with a "q-tip"... Bob Fenner

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>

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.>

Question: I have (had) a powder blue tang with Ick. He was in near perfect water conditions in a reef tank. In the PM he was covered with cysts, In the AM the cysts would seem to go below the skin. Because of the corals, my course of action was to not medicate at all. I just upped my temp by about 2-3 degrees and increased aeration big time to compensate for increased metabolic rates. The condition seemed to be running its course and did not set up camp in any other fish. Just when I thought he was clearing it, he seemed to not want any flake food whatsoever. He appeared to not want to eat anything at all. After about a week of this, and the Ick looking like it was on its way out, but he went into severe respiratory distress and died. I have a few Questions. - (A) do you think these salt sized cysts were definitely Ick? - (B) can the Ick if it still exists in the tank take up residence in any coral? - (C) Why do you think the fish crashed so abruptly, when the condition, at least outwardly, appeared to have begin subsiding? P.S. I had a torch coral that I lost colony by colony to what I thought was a protozoan infection (brown jelly gook surrounding its rim and eventually smothering the polyps). Without getting into the details of this hopefully separate problem, can the two infections be related? Bob's Answer: Anthony... you start to understand the need for quarantine or at least preventative dips. The problem is probably ich (Cryptocaryoniasis), and you definitely need to be concerned about resting stages of this protozoan "waiting out" the introduction of new fish livestock to infest. But it's not "in the coral" itself. The fish "crashed" no doubt when the "age class" of the parasites cycled "up" in numbers, after going through a reproductive phase off the fish. Next time, and for all browsers, besides quarantine/dipping, do try a/some biological cleaner(s), like tank-bred Gobiosoma, and Lysmata shrimps. Re: the coral, pull this specimen and run it thru a freshwater and iodide dip - quick - and place it in the quarantine/hospital tank you're going to set up and use. The "ich" problem. I'd wait out a good two months before putting any other fish in, and one's that are hardier and more ich resistant.

Question: Hello - first time writing you, excellent column. I had two sea horses the brown ones, and a few months ago one of them appeared to have white discoloration on him almost transparent, (not ich). He had these white markings for a short while, I thought he was changing color, he soon just died. The other seahorse seemed to be not affected by this, however about 4 days ago, I saw a small white patch or something by his pelvic fin, he died yesterday, what's the deal?? Also I am converting to a bigger and better tank, do not want to import bristle worms. Can I fresh water dip my rock to kill them off, and not kill my polyps and tube worms? Traps are lame. Bob's Answer: Seahorses and their kin (like Pipefishes) are exceedingly easy to kill. Yours had a protozoan infection that they have a penchant for. Try other, more historically hardy species till you have the resources (money & time) for a dedicated set-up with culture facilities for growing their food.

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