Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs on Parasitic Marine Tanks 1

Related Articles: Marine Parasitic Disease, Quarantine, Quarantine of Marine Fishes

Related FAQs: Parasitic Marine Tanks 2, Marine Parasitic Disease, Parasitic Reef Tanks, Cryptocaryoniasis, Marine Ich, Marine Velvet Disease, Brooklynellosis, Biological Cleaners, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease


Ich infested marine system Hello, I have a 110 gal tank that I have had for about 4 months. I just lost several of my fish to ich. 6 clowns 1 lawnmower blenny. I Kole Tank. I only have 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 fire shrimp, and 4 damsels left. The damsels seem to be doing fine. My question is since the damsels seem to be fine should I treat the tank with any chemicals or just leave it and not purchase any fish for the time being? My temp is at 79 degrees. I wanted to raise it so that way I knew the ich would be killed but I didn't want to stress the shrimps that I have. Thanks <Mmm, won't work... if your intention is to rid the actual system of the Cryptocaryon infestation... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm and on to the linked files at top till you understand your options. Bob Fenner>

Parasitic Transference - Or, The Ghost in the Tank Hello, Great site. I am browsing on a daily basis now. My 75G tank has parasites of some sort, I am guessing Ich. I am treating with copper and transferred all my snails, crabs and starfish to my other 300G tank. Should I be worried about transferring the disease to my other tank?  Thanks. <Hello, I would like to say that first of all if you were to have ich in the tank it would show on the fish and not in the tank. But your method of treatment for the parasites using the copper is a right path to take. But transferring the snails into the 300 gallon tank could transfer the parasites along with them. In the future I would place the snails in a clean tank. If the inhabitants in the other tank are healthy and you suspect that it is ich then, their immune system should prevent them from getting sick. Good Luck MikeB.>

Ich keeps coming back Hello, < Hi there. > I have a situation in my 125g FOWLR tank that I was hoping you guys could help me out with. All water parameters are perfect (ammonia 0, nitrate 0, nitrite 0). The inhabitants are: a pair of 2" Percula Clowns, a pair of 2" Scooter Blennies, a 3" Foxface Rabbitfish, a 2" Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish, a 3" Fu Manchu Lion, and finally a 5" Dog-Faced Puffer. After about a week in the main tank the puffer started to show signs of Ich on his fins, so I moved him to a 20g quarantine tank. For a month and a half I treated with hyposalinity (1.014), 82 degree water, Methylene blue baths every 2-3 days, adding Quick Cure to the QT water, performing 25% water change during bath time. During the quarantine period I also moved him to another QT with the same parameters every 2 weeks. All the while the rest of the fish in the main tank showed no signs of the parasite. After 6 weeks of QT fun, I gave the puffer a final bath and reintroduced him to the main tank. That was about 5 days ago, and now he is showing signs of ich again. Is it possible that ich could have remained in the main tank even though the rest of the fish were clear?  < Absolutely. I think ich is basically always going to be in that tank. But having a healthy system (and healthy fish) hopefully he won't show signs of ich either. >  I really don't want to move all of the fish out for a month, but it seems like I am running out of options. I am trying to be patient, but I really need everyone out of quarantine by the time we go to Bonaire in May.  < Wow what a trip. Anyway I think I would leave him in the tank and see what happens. If he is still sick in a few weeks, then I guess I would QT him again. Otherwise, I'd try to keep a healthy tank and hope he fights it off. >  Thanks, Paul < Blundell >

Unknown Parasite in FO Tank Hi there, <<And hello to you... >> I'm relatively new to this hobby and I believe I'm encountering my first problem with parasites. The tank is completely cycled (used 3 damsels and all survived) and all tests are zero (nitrates are 5). <<as a quick aside, and trying very hard to not sound lecturing... you should avoid the trend to say "All tests were zero." They weren't by your own admission.>> I traded in the damsels and started off with a Coral Beauty and a very small six line wrasse. I was very pleased to see the angel cleaning up the algae, which at this point only consists of diatoms! <<You might consider procuring some algae-encrusted live rock to supplement the diatoms... surely those will run out.>> After about six weeks I added a small bird wrasse. About a week later, the Coral Beauty started scratching on the rocks and began to develop a "dusty" coating. I immediately treated the tank (with Oomed by Tetra) because I thought it was probably velvet and I've heard that you have to act very quickly. Unfortunately, the Coral Beauty didn't survive the night after adding the meds. This surprised me because I thought I'd caught it soon enough......he was just as much of a piggy as usual right up to the day I added the medication. <<Yeah... that medication [Tetra Oomed] is raved about by some and shunned by others. It is quite possible the Coral Beauty was done in by the Oomed and not the Oodinium. And in any case, it is always better to remove sick fish to a separate quarantine system for treatment with such medications.>> All the other fish did survive though and appeared to be doing fine until yesterday. <<Well... this is the joy of parasitic infections... gone today, here tomorrow. They have continuing life cycles.>> The other fish have all started scratching and are now breathing heavy on and off. I'm sure there's something there but nothing is visible on any of the fish. All the fish are still eating and acting normally (except for the breathing and scratching). <<Some fish scratch as part of normal behavior. If they are damaging themselves by scratching, that for certain is not normal. How long has this heavy breathing and scratching been going on?>> I really thought after six weeks that if there was something there it would have shown itself...............Apparently not. <<Six weeks after what? The addition of the bird wrasse?>> What do you suggest I do at this point? Copper, garlic soaked food, etc.? Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. <<I'm not too hip on garlic as a curative in a situation like this. Likewise, copper and other harsh medications are best used in a separate tank or quarantine system. PH adjusted, freshwater dips would also be helpful, although quarantine will help you catch and then dip these fish on a regular schedule. You might also want to consider running the tank fallow [without any fish] for five or six weeks to bring the parasites back to a more manageable level. Here is some associated reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm >> Thanks in advance. Leah Meilleur <<You are welcome. Cheers, J -- >>

Marine Ich Hello Robert, we have without a doubt, marine ich. I have read your website and am now beginning the process of letting the tank go fallow for 6 weeks. My question is, I can't find a definition of "fallow" but assumed from reading responses that this means all fish removed, which is one yellow tang. My question is, our tank also consists of cleaner shrimp, 2 snails, flame scallop, Brittlestar, feather duster and about 5 corals and live rock...all of these seem to be non-affected by the ich. Should I remove these as well Mr. Fenner, if yes, I need a larger quarantine tank! Grateful thanks in advance for your advice. <You are correct in the general meaning of "fallow" as w/o hosts present and the invertebrates are not hosts for this protozoan fish parasite. However, I should hasten to mention that the suggested S.O.P. of environmental manipulation (elevated temperature, lowered specific gravity) often precludes leaving these non-fishes in the main/display system. Do take care, observe your livestock closely during this treatment interval. Bob Fenner> Respectfully, Tamara Jorgensen

ICK-HELP Hi Bob, Thanks for the advice you offer and continue to offer to us hobbyist. I am having a problem with salt water ick. I have a 125 gallon set up with about 70lbs live rock and some live sand. Occupants are 1 sohal tang 1 Kole tang 1 personifer angel 1 regal angel pair common clowns pair blue damsels 2 blennies I have read your column and decided the best way to treat my tank was with lowering the salinity which I did for about 7 weeks and had it as low as 1.010 at which all signs of ick were gone. I have increased the salinity slowly over a two week period and it is back up to 1.018, my goal by the end of next week is to have it at 1.021 or so. Everything was going according to plan, I lost no fish and they did not appear stressed because I did gradual changes. However this morning I notice two spots on my sohal tang. It looks like ick but I am not sure. The other fish did not have any spots at all. By time I went home for lunch the spots were gone. Is it possible for fish to have ick only in the morning time.  <Yes... nighttime is more stressful... fish hosts, resting on bottom more susceptible to infestation.> If it was ick, the infection doesn't appear very bad, I am thinking of getting a couple of cleaner shrimp to help. Do you have nay other suggestions.  <Mmm, the addition of the cleaners is what I would do... along with "lacing" your foods with a vitamin preparation.> My water parameters and good and this tank is over a year old. What can I do now to prevent another outbreak?  <Keep the system optimized and stable> Also do you think once I get rid of the ick I can an imperator and queen angel to my setup. <No... the system is already too full... especially with the two large angel species you currently have. Bob Fenner> Will this cause over stocking. Please advice Gillian

Re: ICK-HELP Thanks for your quick response. Do I need to worry about the ick since it's only present in the mornings and not present all day. I feed with Zoecon, once per day ..Thanks again that was helpful. Gillian <I would not "worry", but do keep an eye, count on the spots... Your system is a near balance of disease/health... Please read the FAQs here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm to gain a better understanding of where you're at, going. Bob Fenner>

Ich blues Hi Bob, Sascha again. I am ready to give up on the thought of the ich in my tank going away. I have tried hypersalinity for 4 weeks,  <This rarely works... I don't generally even mention it as a possible cure... Hyposalinity (low spg) is a useful adjunct to helping a cure.> I fed them garlic and selcon, added iodine and still it's not getting better. My puffers freak out when the cleaner wrasses(2) are around them and puff up. I got a yellow tang 3 weeks ago for my algae and he is doing great, no sign of ich or anything else. Let me give you a quick list of my fish in there and my actions I want to take. Banana Wrasse, tiny clown trigger, sixline wrasse, yellow tang, stars and stripes puffer, narrowline puffer, dogface, starry and mappa puffer, and at last 2 orange spotted gobies for my sand cleaning. Since I have tried all the alternative medicine I dosed marine Oomed for 4 days until I realized I should have turned my skimmer off, it removed nice blue water, but I rather leave it on because of all the dirt my fish make. I am ready to sacrifice some live rock but I think my last option is copper, I hate the idea, but what else is there for me to do, since now my puffers scratch every once in a while. How much live would I lose on the rock, which copper (Cupramine??), 2 weeks?? <A lot... ninety some percent. I would just let the mal-affected system go fallow... move the fishes, drop the spg, raise temperature... this will likely rid the tank of the virulence, if not the ich itself in about a month> any other medications since I just assume it's ich, I want to treat the tank once and for all. Is it worth taking some rock out or should I just treat everything?? I can always get a few pounds more and also get a livesand starter kit (saw it on the net). Please help me out here, I was going to put Cupramine tonight, but I'll wait for your response. Right now I'll just dip the ones I can catch. What would you do????????? Thank you , take care SASCHA <What I do is posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Dying Fish I am very new to the marine aquarium hobby but I was successful for years with Freshwater fish. I set up my tank and let it run for about 3 weeks with just live rock. I added some damsels and a Clown. Everything was going great until I purchased a Maroon clown from a local pet store. His fins were all beaten up but i thought it was because he was fighting with other fish and that they would just grow back. So i went on to buy a yellow Tang, blue tang, and a tiny NASO. THEY ARE ALL DEAD NOW. My yellow got a foggy eye and then eventually started losing his color then his fins. HE also had a white film over his body and mouth. The same happened to the rest of the fish. After they all died I figured it was a fungus so i changed 60% of the water. I let it run for 4 days with nothing in it thinking whatever was in there would be gone. I went out and bought another small Naso Tang and he was good for 2 days then he got one slightly cloudy eye, and he started swimming (actually hovering) high where the filter releases its current. Fearful of losing him i ran out and bought some MarOxy, and Maracyn, he died the next day. WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY TANK??? HOW CAN I FIX THIS PROBLEM. I don't know what else to do. Please help Homero E. Tijerina <Yikes, much to say... Very likely the Maroon had an infestation of "velvet" disease, a parasite... that is now entrenched in your system. There are a number of articles and FAQs files I want you to read that are archived on our principal site. Please start with http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm Marine Parasitic Disease... then follow the links posted at the top to the Parasitic Tanks, Velvet FAQs.... Treatments sections. You must set upon a course of either poisoning your system to eradicate the parasites and start over from the beginning, or engage environmental manipulation and let the system "go fallow", w/o fish hosts for a month or more to reduce their pathogenicity. Don't buy anymore livestock for now... If you have specific questions, desire clarification, do write back. More immediate and general help can be gotten on our chatforum: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ Patience, knowledge will direct your success here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dying Fish Ok I've read everything you have told me to read and all i got from it was DISCOURAGED.  It  <It? A parasitic infestation like ich, velvet...> seems like everyone that was even lucky enough to get rid of it got it back a second time weeks later. You have to know a simple way to start over again. DOES A DRAGON GOBY EAT PARASITES?  <No> What can i do to poison the tank or what do i use? <Read through the site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnornart.htm and follow the stated protocol> If i let it sit for a month will it all be gone? <What is "it"? Please read through your mail before sending... don't recall people's circumstances... Keep studying. Bob Fenner> Homero E. Tijerina

Act on impulse, the inspired one... about ich Bob, I took all of my fish out of my 240 gal. Because of a light ich infestation. Now is a weeks time adequate enough to kill all of the ich in my 240?  <No. Please read through the WWM site here> There are no fish in it. Also how come I only see ich on my emperor angel. Not on my large tangs? Nor my majestic angel? Is it that the "strong only survive? Thanks <Perhaps. Bob Fenner>

Question/s re marine ich Hi Bob, (or whoever is filling in for Bob). <Back trying to catch up.... huff huff> Hi, I've had a redlip blenny in my tank for about a month and a half. He frequently rubs his side specifically on a flat algae covered Tonga branch. He's done this ever since I've got had him. Once in a while he will get one or two spots of ich on his fins, but these fall off the next day. Is this natural behavior for him to rub on that one specific rock, does it feel good to him or something? <Both> Or is it the individual invisible ich protozoans trying to infect him, and they itch? Is it time to be worried? <Not time to be worried. Do you have purposeful cleaner organisms? Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnrfaqs.htm> He's done this for a month and a half now. In Bob Fenner's book I read ich is not always present, but I know I have it in my tank. Otherwise he acts fine and has a huge appetite. <I wouldn't be (overly) concerned. Keep the system optimized, stable, look into... maybe a Cleaner Shrimp: http://wetwebmedia.com/cleaner.htm Bob Fenner>

Ich, marines, questions Mr. Fenner, I have not bothered  <Never a bother my friend> you in a while, but I have a question regarding an ICK problem. I have a TMC Vecton 8 Watt UV sterilizer, <My fave consumer line of ultraviolet sterilizers.> protein skimmer, 45 lbs of live rock and a penguin power filter on a 30 gal tank. Water parameters are for the most part perfect, and the temp never fluctuates more than one degrees from 77. I have a 65 gallon tank waiting to be set up, but you told me not to transfer the fish until the ick problem has been solved, and at this time I don't have the resources to set that tank up for a while. Well here is my question, Im debating whether to treat the actual tank. The main concern of the ick is on a yellow tang. This is my second yellow tang, I figured with the TMC unit in that the Ick problem would be greatly reduced. <A few tens of percent. Is that greatly?> Two other fish that had ick since putting in the UV sterilizer no longer show signs of the ick, but the tang for some reason, even with the UV is still getting ick. For the first week I ran the UV for 24 hours a day, but now I have switched to 8 hours of UV sterilization (How long should the UV be running?).  <Continuously... All the time. Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/marphysf.htm> Even when the UV was running 24 hours a day , the tang still contracted ICK. I have done 2 freshwater dips on the little guy, but within 5 days of being put back in the tank, he contracts the ick. <Yes, the ich is in your tank... not just on the fish. Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm> The first time i did the freshwater dip, I put him in a separate tiny little quarantine tank for like 5 days, but once he was back in the main tank the problem returned. The problem is every time I have to get the tang out it is a 2 hour ordeal. What are your thoughts of treating the actual tank, <They are posted on our site (WetWebMedia)> i cannot remove the fish and let the tank go empty for a month or two like you recommend because of time constraints and i have no place to set up a temporary tank. I have two corrals currently in the tank, a small brain and a sunflower, but im worried because every magazine i have ever read says not to treat the main tank. <Keep reading> Majority of the ick medicines say REEF SAFE, but how reliable is that statement, do you know of any ick treatment that would not effect or damage the reef tank if directly treated.  <No, they don't exist... the "newer" ich remedies I know of are simple poisons... proteinaceous precipitants by action... they poison the fish host, making it produce more body (et. al) mucus, coating, sloughing off the external parasites... > What do you recommend, I know it sounds funny, but I really want to save the little tang, contrary to what every one is telling me to forget about him and remove him. The tang is the life of my tank. Well thanks for all your great help, and sorry that the email is so long. <No problem with the bother... do read over all the materials on marine parasitic disease including the many, too many FAQs that give glimpses of others trials/experiences.> Why is it the most colorful and enjoyable fish are the most problematic!!!! Alfredo <A corollary of someone's reductionistic "rules", no doubt. Bob Fenner> Thanks once again for your great advice and guidance.

Ich Tank Problems I have another question for you Mr Fenner. I have an ICK invasion in my tank. My question does not concern the treatment of ICK, rather a question on setting up a UV sterilizer. Right now the filtration I have for my tank is a Red Sea Prizm protein skimmer and a Marineland Power filter hang on.  <On how large a tank? This gear is suitable for maybe a forty gallon system> Can I run a UV sterilizer using a RIO power head or is it better to upgrade and just get a magnum 350 filter system to run the water through the UV ster.  <Depends on the wattage of the UV, effective flow-rate through its contact chamber: read: http://wetwebmedia.com/marphysf.htm> Is there any easier way to run the UV sterilizer?  <Easier? The water needs to slowly, at an appropriate rate, pass by the UV radiation source... please read through the UV FAQs stored on the WWM site> How do you feel about using a UV sterilizer to rid the tank of ICK.  <UV won't do this... helps prevent, slow down... by outright zapping (lysing DNA) and improving water quality... won't outright destroy existing infestations> I read in an issue of Fresh and Marine Aquarium, that if an UV sterilizer is setup right, you don't have any problems with ICK. <Not IMO/E> My Sailfin tang is being taken over quickly by those damn little white ick parasites. Fresh water dips help for like 4 days then they come right back.  <Your system has the problem... not just the fish... read: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm> By the way thanks for all your help, I purchased a 65 gallon tank over the weekend (like you suggested), now im in the process of moving everything over. Im sure the Sailfin tang will appreciate the added swimming room.  <DO CURE the ich problem with your livestock before moving them...!> Thanks once again. Your help is greatly appreciated. <Keep studying my friend. Your ich problems will be solved soon. Bob Fenner> Alfredo Carrion

Ich (y tanks) Hi Bob, I have been doing web searches concerning marine aquariums and was lucky enough to find WetWebMedia.  Tons of great information. <Cool, that's what we like to hear> I have two marine setups: a 30 gallon with a juvenile Sailfin tang and a couple of percula clowns, and a 75 gallon which became infected with ick about three weeks ago.  <The Sailfin will be getting too big for the thirty... am sure you know and are planning for> Unfortunately I noticed way too late. I began and am still treating the tank with copper sulfate (SeaCure), but I lost all but a single domino damsel who has recovered and appears well.  <Hmm, the most valuable animals go first...> Furthermore, since I use all the same equipment for water changes I infected the 30 gallon tank as well. Fortunately I caught it right away and I have not lost any fish and have not seen any spots in more than two weeks since beginning treatment. <Yikes, a lesson learned... and hopefully one we will help others avoid by relating, archiving your experiences> I have several questions. First how long should I continue to treat the tank (some people tell me two weeks others four week)?  <Two weeks> Will the disease be completely eradicated?  <Should be... if the concentration of Cu++ is kept up during this period> Also, when treatment is done how can I effectively remove the copper from the system? <Very easily done with activated carbon> I want to eventually begin adding live rock but I am afraid that copper will continue to be leached from the crushed coral long after I stop treatment killing any live rock that I add?? <No... no problem with removal... small leaching will be readily absorbed by biota...> The 30 gallon has an undergravel filter in addition to a Whisper power filter attached to the back. The 75 gallon has an Eheim canister filter and a protein skimmer. <Hmm, would put a skimmer on the thirty in the long haul> Any information would be much appreciated. I couldn't find answers specific to my question on the web site. <Hmm, will keep adding... Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Thanks for your time, Jeff Johnston P.S. I have since invested in a quarantine tank to avoid this problem in the future.

ick (tank) I know my ick problem has exploded, my two hippos were the only ones two have it. Now my false lemon and coral beauty have started. My question is about the live rock I know for a copper treatment it needs to be taken out along with the shrimp and snails, but does it get infected like the fish and if so what is the best way to treat it. <Through letting the system it's in "go fallow" (w/o fish intermediates), raising temp., lowering specific gravity. Please read about this on our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasitf.htm> I am going to do the copper treatment on the main tank since it looks each fish is coming down with it day by day and a quarantine would be useless. If I do lose my entire tank what would be the best to do with the rock. <Please study our site. Bob Fenner>  Thank You

infected tank!? Hi Rob, I've read a lot of responses you have given to a lot of questions. Everyone seems to be pleased with your advice. So, I was hoping you could help me out with my problem. <I will try> I have a 30 gal marine reef tank, I put in 20 lbs. of live rock, button polyp coral, star polyp coral, 2 feather dusters, a 1" percula clown, and 2" royal gramma. Everything was doing just fine, no problems at all (for about 2 mths), until I let my brother talk me into buying a (beautiful) 1"yellow coris wrasse, (from a pet store I've had bad luck with in the past). <Yikes... a Halichoeres chrysus for our browsers, not really a Coris sp.> I checked the wrasse thoroughly, he swam and acted fine, and had no signs of infestation. So, I added it to my tank. In ONLY 2 days, his right side had a little white on him (under his fin). I didn't have a QT tank put together, but I tried to act quickly to put a 3 gallon QT tank together. The next day, after I came home from work, it was dead, and swollen on his right side. 2 days later, I noticed my royal gramma scratching! I knew that the darn wrasse, from that darn pet store, must have infested my tank.  <Hmm, and you knowingly "let your guard down"...> Knowing I can't put any copper in my host tank, because of the coral, etc., I knew I had to catch that quick, little nimble gramma. I bought a cleaner shrimp right away, hoping he can become my parasite infested savior.  <Good idea> I put some copper safe in the 3 gallon QT tank, and had the salinity at 1.023, temp 77-78(same as host tank). I caught him (the wrasse) <Mmm, the Gramma? The Wrasse is/was dead already...> the next day, and noticed ick spots, and put him in the QT tank, (treated with copper safe). 2 days later, dead!, AND that same day my clown fish was dead!! My clown was doing fine the day before. What could I have done? I read about fresh water dips, but I was to chicken to try it. Everything happened so fast. <This is life> Is my tank ruined?  <Likely not> The Nitrate level was at 50 mg/l, but with a water change got it down to 12.5mg/l. All other parameters (ammonia, ph, etc.) were at optimum levels. The coral and feather duster are flourishing just fine. My cleaner shrimp is still alive (thank goodness). Do I need to buy another shrimp, or maybe a couple small cleaner wrasses to take care of the infestation before I try to add any more fish?  <No...> and how long will it take? or (ugh) tear down my whole tank and start over?:-( <Joe, let your system "go fallow", w/o fish hosts for a month or so (perhaps raise the temperature a few degrees to speed things along... Please read over the "Marine Parasite Sections" starting: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm and including: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm and the associated FAQs files, where you'll find other folks have come into similar circumstances... and successfully out. Do join our Chatforum for solace and further information if you'd like: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ Bob Fenner> HELP!! Thanks, From, Joe (from Stockton, ca)

fish help Hi Bob...it's me in Colorado again...with the sick Maroon clown...and the flame angel with the possible ich. Everything was going great. The clown was completely well...and I put him back in the main tank. There hadn't been any signs of ich on the angel fish for 7 days. Nothing had died...all water levels were perfect. Within 12 hours. the angel had spots not only on his fins, but on his body too. The maroon was covered with white fuzz...velvet? <Maybe> Do you think it was the stress of adding the Maroon back? <Possibly> The angel wasn't happy about it...I kept the lights off...and rearranged the rocks to help ward off the hostility. The 2 neon gobies I ordered, died...along with the cleaner shrimp which was DOA....so much for that plan. What would you say is the normal "loss" percentage when you order?  <Probably ten percent or so... variable> I have ordered from FFE and I think half of my stuff has been DOA. I heard positive things about them. so maybe it's just the norm. Even though none of the fish were scratching or showing signs of distress...they went to the hospital tank including the Banggai cardinal and I am using CopperSafe. I was lowering the sg to 1.017 and temp up to 82. Someone else said I'd kill the inverts with this and the ich survives down to 1.010 anyway. Why if the Ich can only live for a certain time period without a host...is the tank always infected?? <To some degree, yes... please read over the wetwebmedia.com site on marine disease...> Any other suggestions? Is it too much to ask to have one good day with this aquarium? I think I'll REALLY enjoy it...but this is getting very difficult. Thanks again, Sara <As I request, please do follow through with letting the system go w/o fish hosts for a month while doing the environmental manipulation detailed. Bob Fenner>

Ick problem Bob, I have a 45 gallon saltwater tank with a (1)strawberry gamma,(1)yellow tang,(1) blue legged hermit crab,(1)blue Linkia and a red Kona starfish. My yellow tang has developed ick. The equipment I have for the tank is: mechanical filter, biological filter, chemical filter and a protein skimmer. I recently removed the chemical filter carbon). Could that have caused the yellow tang to developed ick? <Very unlikely> Should I put new carbon back? <Not if you're going to treat the tank with a medication> I read the article at Flying Fish Express on curing ick. Should I go try to raise temp. and lower salinity or try a hospital tank approach?  <Please read over the "Marine Disease" areas on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com to realize your options here... the approach of removing the infested fish/es will also require treating the tank they are in now...> I saw a chemical called kick ick but I don't know if that is the best solution I don't want to harm the inverts. And if I try the FFE approach will this affect my growth of coralline algae? <Yes the environmental manipulation will mal-affect your corallines... You might try just using a biological cleaner or two at this point. Read over the WWM site. Bob Fenner> Dave G.

Ongoing Ich, fallow period The tang that I moved to the main tank...after he was cured from ich with copper...has it again. the shrimp are cleaning him except for the side fins. He has small red dots (looks like they are in a row) above and below his eyes. Is that irritation from the shrimp picking off the parasites? <Perhaps... I would leave this fish where it is for now> His top fin also has a little red color. I don't know what it is , or if it is anything to worry about. How long do I need to wait to introduce more fish. All I have now is the tang, a damsel, and two cleaner shrimp. Thanks, Cheryl <A few weeks. Patience my friend. Bob Fenner>

Marine Ich Treatment <Hi Cheryl, still Lorenzo here...> HI,, I'm the one with the tang in the 5 gal. hospital tank. It is almost time for him to go back to the main tank.. The reason I want to move him as soon as possible is because of the ammonia in the small tank.. which I have to change water everyday. . .The clown that got ick in the main tank, still has it.. (the cleaner shrimp didn't clean him) he seems fine, but I can see the ick.  <It's very rare to actually witness the 'cleaning'. If the clown is doing 'fine' -the ich isn't overpowering him-, then he is likely getting tended by the shrimp, in your absence.> When I move the tang back to the main tank. should I move the clown to the hospital tank...or will it be better for the tang just to leave him in there since there is already ick in the system ?  <You've got that right. Do a freshwater dip on the tang, in between the hospital and the main tank.> Should I freshwater dip the clown? <Yes, you can do this, clowns are quite good about it, and definitely benefit from it, when suffering parasites. This will destroy the parasites currently on the clown, and maybe help the shrimp to catch up.> I'm going to add pro-tech coat to the water when I add the tang( hopefully to keep him from getting it again.) <If you're running a skimmer (and you should be) any 'slime-coat' product will cause it to go nuts with foam. Keep an eye on your skimmer catch/overflow.> Any thoughts about moving the tang over and reduce his chance of getting ick again? <Once your main system is infected, there are exactly two ways to rid if to ich. It must either lay 'fallow' (no fish at all) for 8-10 weeks, or it must be completely stripped and sterilized, and all rock and sand discarded. Most aquarists (myself included) try to achieve a cleaner/parasite balance first, go fallow if that doesn't work, and strip down in only the most desperate situation. -regards, Lorenzo>

Looks like parasite Hi Rob, <Actually, Lorenzo here, standing in for Bob, who's in Asia underwater somewhere> need help urgently! Just got a Queen trigger yesterday. On closer inspection, i noticed some white spots on its body. <Ich?> When i view the fish from a side angle, it is not spots at all but look like tiny "spikes". They are white in color, does not seem to be moving, tried a freshwater dip but no effect. is it a skin problem or a parasite?? <Oh. Maybe not ich. External parasites on a tough fish like a trigger are a great candidate for two weeks of copper in a quarantine/sick tank, with freshwater dips during all inter-tank moves.> Regards John

fish disease (entrenched parasitic condition) Dear Robert, Maybe you can help me with a problem with my 90 gal marine tank. All the parameters appear normal. PH 8.2 no nitrates, ammonia, nitrites at least non testable. SG 1.023. I have a skimmer and 2 large aquaclear filters. There are numerous soft corals, algae cleanup invertebrates and a couple of cleaner shrimp that have been doing well for many months I have 3 fish which have been in the tank for over a year. A blue damsel, pigmy angel, and a coral beauty. My problem is this I can't introduce any new fish and keep them alive longer than about 2 weeks. They show signs of parasite infection with scratching and rapid breathing. Sometimes there are some small white "areas" on the fins or around the mouth. I thought maybe it was Oodinium but I have seen that before and this does not look like it or ick either for that matter. I don't understand why if it's some type of parasite the other fish don't get sick. They did have some white and did scratch but always seem to recover. I did treat the tank on more than one occasion with Revive according to the instructions. I was never able to save the sick fish and any new introductions still come up the same fatal symptoms. Any ideas or help would be most appreciated. Bruce Vallett <Hmm, a well-described situation of acquired resistance by your existing fish livestock, and not enough resistance by new fishes... likely to Cryptocaryon/ich... Please read through the "Parasitic Systems", "Parasitic Reefs" FAQs sections on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com and consider what you find there... you could remove the three reservoir hosts (the fishes), let the tank go "fallow" for a few months... perhaps speeding up the cycling, deaths of the intermediate forms of the parasites in the main system... Bob Fenner>

Treating tank for parasite! Hi Bob, My yellow tang developed a white spot on its dorsal and it and the 2 clowns I have were "rubbing" against the bottom and rocks. I went to the LFS and he recommended Kent RxP ( since I have crabs and a shrimp in the tank). I am not sure if it is Amyloodinium or gill parasites or what,  <Perhaps both, perhaps neither...> but I thought I would catch it early. I put in 2 caps for my 75 gallon - about 50 gallons of water 1 cap for 25 gallons - last nite. Today the white spot is gone and they do not appear to be rubbing any longer. The Kent formula is a natural formula - I think it is pepper and it relies on the skimmer ( charcoal to be removed during treatment).  <You are very close> My reason for treating the tank is twofold - I don't have to disrupt everything and hopefully ALL the parasites will be gone. <We hope> I realize that there is a cycle to all of this - but I really hate adding anything to the tank. I could certainly use any suggestions you may have. Thanks again, Russ J. <Please read over my exhausting (though not exhaustive) comments on "Marine Parasitic Disease" and "Parasitic Marine Systems FAQs" posted on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com for much more on this. I would take a wait, look, see approach at this point here... avail my/yourself of cleaner/s... perhaps engage the environmental manipulation detailed on the WWM site... Bob Fenner>

new saltwater tank I need help. I get a different opinion every time I go to the fish store. <Only one?> I got a 40 gal. tank for Christmas. I am determined to succeed. I set up the tank with a Fluval 204 filter, light, heater, crushed coral/shell substrate and dead coral. The first few weeks went fine. I got a few Damsels and as expected, they died as the tank peaked, however before they died they looked dusty. Being the "newbie" I thought that this was the dying process.  <In a manner of speaking... the dying of parasitic disease process...> I waited a couple of weeks then after 8 weeks of set up I got my water tested and all was a go. I got 3 common clown fish. After a couple of weeks, they started looking dusty and I called and found out they had Ick. The fish were on the brink of death but I was very proud to treat the tank and save them. A few weeks after that I got a Lemonpeel Angelfish. I was having problems with excess algae so I then got a Kole Tang and 2 small hermit crabs. During all of this I was doing 10% water changes every week and the water quality was good. I noticed the dust again so I treated the tank again (after removing the hermits) but after a couple of days my Angelfish died so I panicked and stopped the treatment. Things seemed fine for awhile then just recently the fish were not eating much and just were not themselves. The P.H. has dropped to 7.9 and the nitrites and nitrates are up just a tad.  <There should be no nitrites...> I also thought (now becoming paranoid) I noticed dust so I did a 20% water change, took out the carbon and treated the tank with Cupramine ( after testing for copper, which there was none). This was done 5/04. By that night 1 clown was dead. By the next night another was dead and by today, 5/06 the 3rd was dead. The Kole Tang is acting a little better. I should mention that he has a dark spot between his eyes that wasn't there when I got him. What should I do now? <For sure read through the "Marine Parasitic Disease" and "Parasitic Systems" sections/FAQs posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com... your system has the problem... and you will need to remove the fish/hosts, treat them elsewhere and let your main system go fallow (w/o hosts) for a month or two (can be better assured through environmental manipulation as described on our site)> Also do you think I need any other equipment such as a protein skimmer.  <Yes, you definitely need a skimmer... would place some live rock here as well for sure> I feed then frozen brine shrimp, and other meaty and veggie stuff as well as flakes. I use tap water with red sea salt and Kent ammonia Detox. Should I be putting any additives in my tank?  <Probably not... see the "Seawater Use", "Supplements" sections on the WWM site...> When I change the water I mix up the water and salt in the a.m. or the day before the change. I also rinse out the filter stuff( in fish water ) and vacuum the gravel. I have BioMax in the top chamber and carbon in the middle and bottom. I change each carbon alternatively every other month. Am I a lost cause?  <No my friend... you are on a correct path... and have the requisite desire and capacity for learning...> I am trying so hard to learn and understand everything about my system and just when I think I have it, something happens. Should I be using live rock? <Yes, at least some> I hear yes and then no from this source and that. I am new to your articles and you sound very knowledgeable and logical. I know this is very long but please help me. Thanks so much-Nicki <I will gladly help you. Bob Fenner>

Transfer of inverts from ich-y tank to healthy tank Bob, I tell ya, if you had started that 900 advice line I suggested, I would have paid for at least your car note already this month. *Wink* <Hmm> Seriously though, I have yet another question for you. How can I move an eel and inverts (couple of snails, couple of hermits, couple of abalones, several shrimp, and a bubble anemone) out of a tank containing fish with ich that need treatment to a very healthy tank with ich-free fish?  <Only "safe" way is to have an "intermediate" system for isolation/quarantine> I absolutely cannot cross-contaminate into my healthy tank. Although starting yet another tank where I could treat the ich-y fish and leave the inverts in a host-free tank for a month or so would probably be best, it's not a feasible option for me right now ($$$).  <Yikes... a friend? A LFS who will help, lend you a tank, space? Treating all in place with environmental manipulation, vitamins, cleaners instead of moving the med.-sensitive fish/invert.s?> Any ideas, especially where the anemone is concerned? He really needs back into the good lighting of my main, ich-free tank. Muchas gracias mi amigo, Sherri J. <I would go with the last scenario... lowering spg, elevating temp., adding Selcon to the water and foods, adding a Lysmata Shrimp and/or Gobiosoma goby... all detailed in the "Ich FAQs" on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com. Bob Fenner>

Re: Transfer of inverts from ich-y tank to healthy tank Incidentally, it was the 3 neon gobies I bought online that came covered in ich. Got the vitamins, got the cleaner shrimp, got the gobies...and got the ich. <Great... in a sarcastic mode way...> I'll work on assembling a bare-bones intermediate tank as well as manipulating the environment. Thanks, Sherri <Yikes. Best of fortunes to you and your livestock. Bob Fenner>

Ich, Quarantine Tanks Bob, I have a question in regards to my 10gal quarantine tank. As you may recall, you've been helping me get 5 fish (3damsels/2small maroon clowns) out of my 75gal and into treatment after a couple fish died from ich. <Yes> The fish have been in the 10 since Monday evening. The 10 consists of a simple hood and 15watt fluorescent (50/50), heater and 2 power filters. One is a whisper mini and the other is a penguin bio-wheel mini. I chose 2 filters so I could switch out the filter pads at alternate times and not loose all of my biological filtration, and the bio wheel one so the bacteria would hopefully always be on the bio wheel after changing inserts. <Good idea> (of course without carbon in either filter) The tank has been running for about 40-50 days and I had a small (tennis ball sized) piece of live rock in it to keep some bio activity (the rock is out now). I also had been periodically putting small flakes of food in once or twice a week. I would also occasionally put water removed from the display tank in it. <Sounds good> Now that there is a significantly larger bio load with 5 fish in the tank I checked ammonia and nitrite today. Ammonia was at .025 and nitrite at .03 ppm. How much of a risk is there for a significant spike now that the bioload is so much more?  <Always a risk... and incrementally more stress, danger with higher concentrations...> The fish are only getting fed a very small amount once a day while being treated. Other than the quick fix of changing water, what else can be done?  <Addition of bacteria culture, media, old water, gunk siphoned from an ongoing "clean" tank...> I was thinking of taking the foam prefilter out of my canister in my main tank and cutting it and putting it in the two power filters on the quarantine tank. Will that help, or should I just do water changes over the next few days and wait for the 10 to settle out then feed sparingly until the main is ready and the fish are cured. <Keep monitoring... and changing, adding as ammonia, nitrites get to dangerous levels> As a side note, in my other tank I have 2 small false perculas (at least I imagine they are tank bred false percs from LFS-they both have about a 1/16-1/8 inch band of sharp black outlining the white, but not as wide or varied of a band as true Perc's) and was wondering what type of anemone you recommend for these clowns?  <Please read through the "Anemone" and "Clownfishes" sections of our site: www.WetWebMedia.com here... and the links to the Breeder's Registry re which species are best, their selection, husbandry...> I have a bubble tip that is doing fine, but it is host to a porcelain crab that doesn't let anything get near it's anemone. Should I try another bubble tip, some articles say they are hosts to Perc's others say they are not. I have tried Sebaes (H Crispa) in the past, but not with any luck (as you say, they are 'bunk') Of the two I tried, one died in a few days and the other lasted a week and a half and even ate pieces of fish twice, yet never attached to anything and got moved around the aquarium by currents, often landing upside down. It did this despite not showing any signs of damage. Anyway, for a moderately lit tank~2.75 watts per gal of power compact smart lamps, would you have any suggestions? Once again, thank you for your continuing help! Kris <You are continually welcome. Bob Fenner>

Ich Bob, Thank you for your help last week, or at least your advice, since my yellow tang did not survive the infestation of ich. Now I think my whole 75gal with lr soon to be reef tank is headed for disaster! <Hopefully not. Please see the "Parasitic Systems FAQs" and associated pages on the www.WetWebMedia.com site> I received my Selcon and am following mfg's directions with regards to soaking/dosing starting last Thursday. Unfortunately this morning I noticed that a blue damsel is covered in white spots. looks like he rolled in a pile of salt then got back in the tank) and one of my maroon clowns appears to be losing it's slime and has a small (1/16") round black spot near it's tail. It looks like it's on the outside of the scales. I've had 4 marine tanks with varying success over the last 15 years off and on, but this is the first I've ever had Ich, or any parasitic infestation. <You are fortunate to have gone this long... good suppliers, good maintenance... > I went to the LFS and was sold a product called Greenex I know, very bad-read on). Before adding this I read the faq's on your site, and am now going to return the bottle unopened! <Thank goodness...> I should have known if it was a miracle cure that it would be more popular!  <Interesting point...> Anyway, I'm at a loss as to what to do now! My first efforts are going to be to get the fish to a treatment tank. Unfortunately I have 2 problems. First, this will entail probably removing a good portion of the LR to get the fish. Second, my setup for a hospital tank is only 10gallons. The fish I currently have are 3 damsels. One badly infected, one starting to dart and scratch along the side and one aggressive 2 inch "pink damsel" from LFS. I also have 2 small maroons, the one like I said is infected, and the second appears to have lost a layer of scales, but only in a small patch on one side. Interestingly enough this is the side that is usually left exposed when the clown is laying in it's host anemone. Do you think 10gallons is too small for treating these 5 fish?  <Maybe not... with some plastic pipe, other chemically inert decor to keep them less visible to each other... But a few comments... re your other choices... possibly to remove and largely freshwater (at least hypotonic, spg let's say 1.010) treat the live rock... while treating the tank (which as you say, know is now infested as well as the fish hosts) with a copper based medication... and matched test kit... per the protocols spelled out on our WWM site...> The damsel is the biggest, and is only aggressive towards one of the other damsels. What medication would you recommend for the treatment tank? Through reading (faq's and your book) I see that clownfish are more affected by copper based medicines than other fish. Should I dip them and just treat the damsels or vice versa. Or should I do two treatment tanks with different medicines in each? <I would treat them in the main tank sans the live rock, at lowered spg, elevated temperature...> If you don't recommend removing all the fish should I start changing the parameters of the tank and or try to catch and dip the fish?  <No real value in dipping at this point... you have a multiple-generation situation... more stress than benefit...> (by the way, is there any rule of thumb for adding baking soda to freshwater to raise the ph for a dip? i.e 2tsp per gallon etc..?)  <Yes, about 1 tsp. per gallon... almost irrespective of its starting pH, alkalinity... a very safe process/procedure> My salinity is 1.023 and temp is 79 and both are steady. PH is 8.3, no ammonia or nitrite and nitrate below 5ppm. I have ~60lbs of live rock, a cleaner crew of snails, small hermits, one banded serpent star, one cleaner shrimp and a bubble tip anemone.  <All invert.s have to be moved to the ten... unless you do the switch and use it to treat the fishes...> I have a skimmer and ozonizer, and a Fluval canister for particulate filtration. I usually keep two small bags of carbon in the canister at all times and change them every 3-4 weeks. They are 2 weeks old now, should I change them immediately? <For? Of course no carbon with copper use...> I also have several pumps for circulation behind the rocks and powerheads for waves. My main concern is treating two different species of fish. Any help will be greatly appreciated by myself, and since this is an office tank that was a x-mas gift to the boss, all the office staff will cheer if we pull through this! (Plus, I'm sure the fish won't mind!) <You can do this... but will take intelligence, careful observation and time... at least a month of letting the main system (and rock) go "fallow" (sans fish hosts) with env. manipulation to decrease pathogenicity of the parasites...> Sorry this was so long, but the office is requesting I forget about work and fix the fish!! Thanking you in advance, Kris <I understand, and can, will help you. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich Thank you so much! I will try to remove the fish to the 10 tonight and treat them accordingly since I don't really have anywhere to relocate all the LR to. <I understand> I will look up and follow the advice on WWM for the treatment tank. What do you recommend for treating the main tank with the LR and invert's left in it? Should I just lower SG to around 1.017 over a few days and raise temp?(82-84).  <A good plan... and time going by> If I'm successful in getting the fish out and do the above to the main tank, how long after the fish "clear up" in the treatment tank should I wait before I put them back in the main?  <They will clear up/cure in the two week treatment period, but must be left out of the infested system for a month... or more> I am also thinking of adding another cleaner shrimp and a couple of neon cleaner gobies when I begin to re-stock the main tank. Should this help with any future outbreaks? <Yes, a good addition> Thanks again! Kris <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich Just a note to say thank you. I will at the very least keep a record of what happens over the next 3-4 weeks and let you know so that if nothing else you can post it on WWM and others can learn from my success! (or mistakes!) <Ah! A winning attitude. I salute you> One last question in regards to quarantine. If you have a good relationship with a reputable LFS, and they will hold livestock for you for a week or two and they don't show or have any history of disease in that tank, could that be considered quarantine enough?  <Unfortunately... not generally. I do know of a few company's whom I would trust... that have absolutely separate systems, bleach all filter media and refresh, use separate nets, containers... have an entirely alternate set-up in a totally isolated room/space... Most stores (including our old chain, Wet Pets) just don't have what it takes... discipline, investment, personnel-wise to "do the deed"... Thus my standard statement: don't count on anyone than yourself to acclimate, quarantine, what have you to get your livestock ready for placement> Since they are only 5 minutes away I just think of it as my quarantine tanks are down the road instead of in the basement.  <Check their site out carefully... are these "quarantine tanks"/systems on isolated filtration? Do they ABSOLUTELY not mix any other livestock in, add to these systems during quarantine periods/blocks of time? Are their nets, dips, specimen containers ABSOLUTELY separate for this use? You can imagine what I'm getting at here... one "loose" use of gear, water here, and the purpose of quarantine in terms of infectious and parasitic disease control is lost...> I would think that, along with a freshwater dip before placement in my tank would be ok. What are your thoughts? Thanks (AGAIN), Kris <You will soon know. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich Bob, The first step has been taken, and I have one or two last questions, then I promise to write you in a month and tell you everything is back to normal! <Only if it is...> I got the 5 fish out last night after about an hour and a half and after removing all the live rock! Anyone who doesn't' believe in quarantine should go through what I did to get their fish out of a display tank! <I believe! I believe!> The fish (3 damsels, 2 maroon clowns) are now in my 10gal with several pipe elbows and such. I treated the water last night with Coppersafe (I looked it up on wwm and didn't' seem to find anything really negative about it) <A good product> and got the copper to about 1ppm. This is about half the dose that the mfg recommends, but since there are 2 clowns and your book says they are more sensitive to copper I am leery about putting any more Coppersafe in.  <Agreed... a narrow range of efficacy> Should I be ok to do the full dose that the mfg recommends, or will the half dose for a couple of weeks be ok? Is there any thing else medication wise I should be adding? <Just the test kit concentration the manufacturer states... no more, and not much less... should be checked at least twice a day... as it "disappears" through interactions with some parts of the dissolved solids, life in the system...> I also started last night lowering the SG of the main tank with the LR and inv. left in it. I plan to over the next week lower it to 1.017 and raise temp to 82-84. Should my inv. be ok in this tank if I go slow?  <Yes> (Bubble tip anemone, cleaner shrimp, various hermits/snails and banded serpent star) Also, once I get the temp and spg to where I want them should I do a couple of water changes over the next 3-4 weeks with matching water?  <Again, you are correct> What about activated carbon in this tank, should I keep it fresh?  <I would> (less than 2 weeks old) I'm also planning that if the fish are cleared up, in 3-4 weeks I will begin lowering the temp to normal (78-79) and raising the spg over a week in preparation for the return of the fish. <A good general plan> How much should I feed the fish in the treatment tank?  <Very sparingly... to prevent chance of ammonia, nitrite toxicity problems... very common... you must carefully observe the fishes, monitor these aspects of nitrogen cycling... be prepared to switch out water (from a clean, conditioned source), and possibly add more nitrifying microbial involvement (from bottles/like Cycle, old filter media, substrate...> And should I continue with Selcon in their diet while they are being treated.  <Yes> Also, if the infections clear up over the next two weeks should I add some carbon to the system to get the copper out of the treatment tank so that by a week before the fish are ready to return to the main tank they are used to water with 0 copper or should I keep the fish medicated for as long as possible? <Only add the carbon/remove the copper at the very end of the treatment period... if you are sure this is over in less time than the two weeks, so be it> Once again, THANK YOU so much for your help. I think the hardest part was getting the fish out and to the treatment tank and now I just have to carefully monitor things and be patient and I should be ok! (I HOPE) If anything in my plan seems out of whack to you please let me know! Thanks again, Kris <You have a good grasp of what is going on and what needs to be done. Just stick with your plan and all will hopefully be fine. Bob Fenner>

Fish are Dying (parasitic problems...) Bob, I have reviewed you web site and have discovered a lot of useful information. However, I have an immediate dilemma and was hoping you could advise me. <Okay> I established a 75g reef tank in January 2001. I was very careful with the setup and have been managing the water chemistry per accepted guidelines. <Uh, hmm> I started introducing fish after about 4 weeks. I started with a dragon goby, mimic tang, and royal gramma. After a week or so I started noticing white flakes on the fins of the tang and goby. My assumption at the time was "ICH". After a short deliberation I decided to add a cleaner wrasse to see if this could help clean the ICH off the fish. After two weeks I decided to remove the wrasse because the added stress seemed to be making the situation worse. <I'm following you...> About two days after I removed the wrasse, the tang's usual behavior started to change. He had been the king of the tank and all of a sudden he started hiding and was not eating well. Two days after this I found him floating on the bottom (dead). Then the Royal Gramma passed on. Three more days passed and now the goby has died. Except for the white spots he seemed to be fine yesterday - still eating and moving around the tank. <yes....> Any insight or thoughts you have would be appreciated. <You need to study my friend... Your system now has an entrenched parasitic disease problem... which you may be able to thwart by letting it go "fallow" (w/o fish hosts) for a couple of months... along with environmental manipulation (detailed on the www.WetWebMedia.com site)... and the careful conditioning, quarantining, acclimation of all new livestock...> Thanks, Rocky Phillips <Do get and read a couple of the standard marine aquarium books during this waiting time... better money and time not able to be invested by you at this time. Bob Fenner>

RE: Fish are Dying Bob, Thanks for the quick response. I have searched the website for Environmental Manipulation and found numerous occurrences - where is it that you actually spell out what this involves - I am having a difficult time finding it specifically? <In the "Ich" FAQs let's say> Also, with the fact that I have numerous invertebrates and corals, I assume there is no chemical or medicated treatments that would be safe to expose to my tank to assist with ridding the parasites. Your thoughts? <This is so... there are no safe, effective chemical means that aren't outright toxic to non-vertebrates... though there are folks who make/sell ones that purport to be... Vitamin complexes can/do help... indirectly...> I have several types of shrimp - peppermint, coral banded, cleaner; plus numerous types of snails - Mexican turbo, Astrea, Cerith: plus hermit crabs - scarlet, red-legged. Can any on these be host to the parasites and should any of these be removed while I attempt to let the tank go "fallow"? <None that would help... the resting stages don't pass through these animals> One last question, if I set up a quarantine tank for future use - is it safe to add chemicals such as methylene, malachite, formalin, or copper in conjunction with a protein skimmer and biological filter if I have to use it to cure any problems with fish? <Yes... safe enough... though the skimmer will remove the formalin, copper, and the last three will mal-affect biological filtration...> I really appreciate your help and sharing of knowledge.... <Knowledge w/o action is worthless... my efforts here are nothing... to me, others unless they can be/are translated to meaningful works by you...> Thanks, Rocky Phillips <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

ridding a tank of ich Hi bob...great stuff you're doing here! <Very glad to hear/read it> To make a long story short I've ended up with a fish only tank, with live rock, that housed a fish with the Amyloodinium Parasite. My understanding is that these protozoan may stay dormant for long periods of time as cysts.  <Yes... a very long time... every time I look in "the literature" the possible "resting stages" seem to extend their viability... at least several months> This is the second fatality I've had in this tank due to the parasite. I did run the tank empty for two months before introducing the second fish and still he was infected. Outside of throwing away all my expensive live rock would you have any suggestions on how to rid this tank of parasites? The tank, by the way, is now empty. <Please do read over the Amyloodinium, Ich/Cryptocaryon... and related FAQs sections on the www.wetwebmedia.com site... I would go the "extreme" route of lowering the spg (all at once) to 1.010 (yes, a bunch of organisms are going to "pop") and at the same time, raise the tank temperature to the mid eighties F.... And leave it without fishes like this for a month... dump and refill it with NSW (near seawater) conditions... wait a week or more, and "test" it with some "clean damsels" or other fishes you intend to keep. If this protocol doesn't "do it" we will escalate. Bob Fenner>

Re: ridding a tank of ich Thank you for the quick response it is greatly appreciated. A second idea came to me and that is to run the tank with normal S.G with cleaner shrimp for a month or so. I understand that they do eat parasites off the substrate as well as the live rock. What do you think. <Unfortunately I fear this would become a very frustrating "predator-prey" situation for you... "some foxes, some rabbits", but always a mix of both... You want to be totally rid of the parasite problem if you can (you can)...> P.S I bought "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" This past weekend and as I'm sure you've been told in the past...AMAZING. I really like the fact that you are not afraid to give opinions and express your specific ideas. It's hard to come by in this bobby. Sincerely, Joe <Thank you, and indeed amazing to me... how for so many years I was chastised for being "too opinionated"... Glad I stayed stubborn. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

copper and a lionfish I recently E-mailed you about copper and a lionfish. Well I'm sure your advice would have worked, I guess it was to late, all 8 of my fish died. What I guess my question is now is, How do I get my tank to its normal quality. Should I load it with copper and let it run for a couple days and do a water change to bring the copper level down? Or what? Sincerely, Salty geek # 3 <What do you think, consider the loss of your fishes is/was attributable to? If parasitic, infectious disease I might be inclined to lower the specific gravity (to about 1.016) and raise the temperature (to the mid eighties F.) and leave it without fishes for a month or two... If unknown cause of death... I would likely dump it, refill it with fresh, dump it, refill it a few hours later with new seawater, wait a week and try some test organisms... Bob Fenner>

OH NO!... never ending parasite hi bob, my fishes are all dead. <Yikes!> so Saturday i reset the whole system example, i fill my system with fresh water without disturbing the bioballs( my sole biological filtration) and rinse the artificial rock with fresh water hoping to kill and remove parasite and copper compound respectively. the next day my friend gave my four juvenile queen, french, asfur and maculosus angel all 3"inch. is it true that 20 to 24 hours the parasite can't find any host and will perish?  <No, tell me this isn't so... more very likely has to be done to kill all the "resting" (daughter) stages of the parasites!!!> even i believed that surely some parasite is still living attached to the bioballs. i notice that my queen is flickering and rubbing against the rock every 5 minutes. its body is ok. before putting them in the tank i set the ozonizer to 40 mg/h sander 100. the next day i saw them breathing fast and strange, i quickly off the ozone and 4 hrs later the breathe normally. lucky! what will over dosing of ozone cause and what is their behavior ? <You are very very likely just "between" infective states... the generation that was on your fishes is now reproducing off them... and will be back... Please, please read through the marine parasite, ich, quarantine, copper use... sections on the www.wetwebmedia.com site and follow the protocols there... DO THIS NOW! Bob Fenner, whose blood pressure is soaring.>

sick tank hi bob, too late to save my fishes. i am now resetting the last time. i hoped that you could give me your advice. now if i splash fresh water on the bioballs and wash the entire tank and sump with fresh water and fill the with fresh water let it run for 3 days, WILL THIS BE TOTAL KILL THE PARASITE? <No... not likely> 3rd day i will add salt and let it run for 2 weeks and let the beneficial bacterial reproduce do you think this will help? i will try flame angel first to see whether it contact any disease before introduce the rest. what is you comment? and lastly what type of disease is like my friend's queen angel has been keeping for 6 month and it tummy is fat ( not sunken) but after 2 days in my tank is go skinny any die? thanks and i hope to succeed this time . merry xmas and happy new year. <If this were my system I would totally "nuke it" with liquid bleach... and start over... I have referred you to this idea a few times, and encourage you to read over the procedures and cautions of this process posted on the WWM site... You want to make SURE that the parasite is gone... Alternatively, if you have patience... you could try lowering the system's spg and raising the temp. and letting the system "go fallow"... i.e. w/o fish hosts for a good two months. Particulars about this are also posted on the WWM site... Go there. Bob Fenner>

Curing a System of Parasites, and a Clarification of Mind/Heart  Sorry about the first "botched" e-mail. Congratulations on your  fantastic book. When I worked at the LFS I would recommend your book to everyone even though we did not sell it (boss didn't know). It is still my first source of reference material. <Wowzah, wotta stroke and endorsement! Wait till the other titles finally see the light of publication...> Firstly, I have a very successful 55  reef tank and have maintained it for 2 years now. OK, now for the  embarrassing part...9-10 months ago I set up a 55 f/o tank with live rock.  Set-up procedures were followed and fish introduced 5 weeks later. Tank is  maintain at 1.021 spg, 8.2 ph, and I use Instant Ocean, however my  pre-mixing consists of about 15 minutes (never was a problem in reef 55). <Mmmm, you know that this is not the best practice...>  None the less, this tank has apparently harbored a very strong strain  of Ich/Velvet and/or I have never fully treated it. I have lost 2 Queen  Angels (3-4")(attempted separately) in the last 5 months to this scourge. <Yeeikes... you know better... Now you have a very entrenched parasite problem IN THE SYSTEM>  The Picasso Trigger(2")has never displayed the spots and the Regal Tang  (3")  has always had a few rotating spots (do not like chemicals so I let it be).  Please don't disregard this e-mail, but I must admit I did purchase a  Blue streak Wrasse to hopefully curb the problem (trigger eliminated the two  cleaner shrimps). He is still alive. During the last few months I have  treated the tank with Organicure and eventually CopperSafe (pulled  carbon/freshwater dips). I suppose that killed the rock, although I never  recorded any spikes. I now have a Passer Angel and Lunula Butterfly. I also  do not have a quarentine tank ("Bad Aquarist") and perhaps this made the  situation worse. I will definitely keep one up now! <You've stated a mindful!>  The Lunula died quickly, the Regal became increasingly covered and the  Passer likewise. I tried the water change, same copper products, lowered  salinity to 1.017 and dropped temp which yielded only temporary results (I can not locate a copper test kit!) <??? Search the net> that probably only led to more fish stress.  It was during this period that I have come to the belief that the tank is  infested with the quickest reproducing strain of Ich I have ever seen (15 yrs. freshwater/2 saltwater), or it is Velvet, despite not looking "gold" in color. 2 days and they were absolutely covered (fine dust like). <... Likely just multi-generational events at this point... Think deeply about this> Three days ago I set up a 30 hospital tank with new saltwater, a small hang on back filter with sponge-only-particulate media, a powerhead and about a 7 hour light duration. Added CopperSafe only. Used Amquel to treat water. Dipped fish with Kent Marine RXP (pepper based) and added fish to tank. Luckily, Picasso has never had it (treated anyway), Regal looks very good and Passer is looking considerably better. However, he has a cloudy eye and cloudy/frayed fins. He also looks like some (1/5 of body surface) of his scales are shedding in what looks almost like a reptile. Obviously he's not shedding anything and nothing is peeling off, but that is what it looks like. I was advised to add Melafix and did so. 48 hours now and it seems to be helping.  Questions:  1) Do I leave the residual CopperSafe in the main tank, raise the spg  dramatically, raise the temp, and increase light duration to "burn out" the illustrious Black Plague over the period of a month? <Make that two months... or bleach it... and...> Or...tear it all down,  pitch the rock (ouch) and Aragonite substrate and start over? <Not if you bleach it... just place new material on, around it>  2) If so, how do I sterilize the tank, Cyclone skimmer, Magnum H.O.T.,  Penguin Bio Wheel filter, and powerheads? <Freshwater and bleach (best done outside)... see the cleaning/maintenance sections of the www.wetwebmedia.com site>  3) How do I maintain low ammonia/nitrite levels in the hospital for over a month? <See the WWM site re quarantine...> Water is cloudy so I assume it wants to cycle? <Possibly> Your opinion on the product Cycle or StressZyme? <Unnecessary and worthwhile respectively>  4) I figure I'm looking at a month either way. Either the 55 "burns out" while fish are in hospital or "new 55" tank cycles. I would like to give them the space and decor that my 55 is capable of rather than leave them in the sparse 30 for 4 weeks. With little available filtration in hospital (can't use carbon), would it be just as stressful for them to be in a cycling 55.  <Treat the fishes thoroughly for two weeks, run through freshwater dip/bath (see the WWM site re) in transferring to the 55...> Would the addition of Cycle and 20 gallons of water and some  Aragonite from my existing and healthy "reef 55" make the  cycling-transition relatively stress free? <Yes, this and some used filter media from the clean system... should do/be fine>  5) Lastly, can I add StressCoat to the hospital? They would appear to enjoy it but the bottle claims it detoxifies "heavy metals". Does this include copper (I couldn't reach their rep.)? I once stupidly used Novaqua during one of my previous attempts at Copper treatment only to later realize I was detoxifying it with the Novaqua (read the label, dummy). <These products are very similar... so no to adding with copper, other ionic "medicants"...>  If you read all this dribble and actually reply, you will be  considered a saint. Merry Christmas and thank you so very much for continuing to help the little rookies like us. I don't think many professionals would do that. <Hmm, Saint Bob? Am starting to resemble St. Nick... Well, not to worry, though you've been admittedly lax, it's time to redeem yourself like a S&H Greenstamp, and clear/clean this mess up... It's obvious to me that you know what you're doing... Now, do it! Be chatting my recalcitrant friend, Bob Fenner>  John

Parasites in newly set-up tank I had just set-up a 90 gal marine tank about two weeks ago. Just yesterday, I saw a few tens of parasite in the tank. The tank is a overflow system with wet/dry filter, a sump, UV and protein skimmer. I have not put any live stock (both fish or coral) into the tank yet. Please advise what should I do with the tank/parasites. Many thanks in advance <Read over the sections on quarantine, dips/baths, disease, treatment and FAQs associated with them on the www.wetwebmedia.com site's Marine Index... you need to treat the problem now, before those "tens of parasites" become many more... and entrenched... Bob Fenner>

dark spots on my fish Hi Bob, I am have a new aquarium (3 months old) that currently contains one Niger Trigger and one Powder Gray Tang.  <Hmm, not blue?> A previous ich problem caused me add Cupramine. The level has been maintained at .15 for the last 6 days. <This is a bit too low, and short a time to be sure the ich is "all gone".> The ich seems to have disappeared, however, now I have noticed some dark spots develop on the fish. The Trigger has had one spot before the Cupramine was added and I thought nothing of it. He has since developed (after the Cupramine) one other small dark spot and the Tang has now also developed a small dark spot. The fish seem healthy and not stressed, however I am somewhat concerned. I looked through your site, but was unable to locate anything resembling this problem. Is there an area of your site that deals with this condition? I would greatly appreciate any tips. Still Learning, -Steve Lynch >> <We are all "still learning", I'll assure you... and I would not be/come overly concerned re the "dark spots".... suspect they are some sort of reaction to the copper-based medicating... Do keep the dosage up, your specific gravity down, and wait through the entire two week regimen. Bob Fenner>

ick Bob, in your opinion, in a tank that had a total loss from ick, How long  until the ick would die off without a host...I'm think no less than 7 and 14  days on the safe side. What do you think. Thanks. Joe Marshall >> A whole bunch of time... having to do at least with how "dirty" (old, mulmy?) and how virulent the ich was... There's a book by Ed Kingsford from way back that documented how long this might take... some cases... were in the handful of months... and still rather "infective"... I'd give it a good two months to be more or less (90 some %) sure of reduced virulence... with reduced spg (maybe 1.016 if live rock and sand is all that's left, 1.022 if other life present...  And then utilize biological cleaners... and of course dips/baths, and quarantine ahead of introducing the new fishes.... To paraphrase a noble thought "These are the diseases that try man/woman's souls". Bob Fenner

bob, Thanks for your reply. It seems that I've always had ich in my tank. But it seems that the battle ICH VS FISH. Has resulted in a stalemate. Where the ich never seems to get a complete hold of my fish. And the fish seems to always have ich . What do you think about this?? I don't believe in medications. And you've read, about the steps I've taken to battle ich. You think that my fish will be able to keep ich at a stand off ?? thanks < Well, I think entrenched ich problems are bunk! To be avoided or severely selected against. Try the cleaners and keep your water quality optimized and sooner but definitely later the ich problem will lose its virulence. I am of the opinion that unlike the holociliate causative agent of freshwater ich (Ichthyophthirius multifilius) the marine namesake is not omnipresent... has to be brought in... in almost all cases on new fish livestock, and therefore can be prevented... through dips/baths and quarantine. Bob Fenner>

Ick Bob, I want to thank you first for the prompt reply on my other mails. As a young aquarist I have truly run into my share of problems. Rationally, I didn't feel that putting an ocean in a glass bow was easy. My problem is with one of my tanks (55 gal). It is only about 2 months after the nitrogen cycle. When the break-in ended I replaced my damsels with three small clowns (about 1" apiece) and an anemone. Days later I even got bold and added a pulsing xenia. These were all fine....still are. My xenia has even multiplied!! Two weeks after all seemed well I added a Naso tang. In days he developed ick (I think it was ick, no expert here) and soon died. I read that ick spores die if no host is found in 24 hours. I figured maybe it was the fault of my LFS, so I went to another and purchased a Mandarin thinking the spores had died. The Mandy did fine, but what I really wanted was another Tang. A week later I bought a yellow tang (I believe as hardy as a Naso) from same ! shop as Mandarin. In days the yellow tang got ick (again I think its ick, white spots on fins and body) and seems to have passed it to the Mandarin whom did not have it until the tang entered. I am currently trying to save these 2 fish, but wasnt successful with the Naso. Remember, my anemone, 3 clowns, and xenia are still doing great, what can I do to rid the tank or make sure it doesn't happen again other than not buying any tangs? Brad >> I'm kind of surprised that your dealer didn't warn you of ongoing ich problems... did you mention the demise of the Naso to them? The ich spores are far more persistent, more like weeks to a month or more, especially if given the opportunity to become multi-generational, or your system is "dirty" they can really last, wait out for new fish hosts.     Treatment at this point, with the ich advancing, needs to involve either moving the fishes or the LR and invertebrates to separate quarters... This may be your big chance to get going on a quarantine/treatment set-up.     Here comes my big pitch on how to avoid these problems from the get-go: Yes, isolation of all new, incoming livestock in that quarantine tank... and likely a dip/bath between steps.     Now that you have the ich problem, you will need to treat the fishes and if this is to be in another system, to allow the present one to go fallow... for a month or so.     Articles on treatments, dips, ich and organism selection you can find archived on my wetwebmedia.com site. Knowledge is power; be powerful. Bob Fenner    

Secondary infections Ten days ago, I discovered that I had a case of ich on my Tomato Clown. He only had the spots for one day and they disappeared. My retailer suggested that I get a cleaner shrimp and a cleaner wrasse, and I lowered my S.G. to 1.018. Most of the other fish have had a few spots here and there, but they are anxious to be cleaned by the shrimp and are eating and acting well. Yesterday morning, the Tomato Clown had swollen and cloudy eyes. My retailer said to dip him (and the other fish) in some Dip-A-Way for 2 minutes, every day for 4 days. The Clown looks and acts better, but I now have a Toby and a Blenny with puffy cloudy eyes, and a dead Flame Angel that only had one white spot on his tail fin. I followed the directions exactly. Is this secondary infection just too advanced for the dip to help? I've also had them on the dried food/garlic oil diet that Mike Paletta wrote about. Nothing really seems to be changing. How long should I keep up this regimen before I pull my live rock and treat with copper? I can be patient, but if I need to be doing something else, please tell me. < I will try to say exactly what I mean, but I don't think you will like it (at least not initially). Ich (Cryptocaryoniasis) really cannot be "cured" by cleaning organisms... they help to prevent some/many cases of parasitic infestations, but generally cannot effect an ongoing or hyperinfective condition. The "spot" you initially saw probably indicated that a "further" generation had already made it's way to the gravel, and reproduction... whereas the cleaners can only help "after the fact", that is as the fish hosts are already being fed upon...     I do kind of agree with the use of some cleaning organisms (but not the wrasses of the genus Labroides, they're dismal losers survival-wise as well as function), and lowering spg, but I would definitely NOW and before have started treating the system or the fishes in another system with a real, i.e. copper-based medication for the ich... And as much as I like and respect Mike Paletta, I do not believe in the "garlic treatments"... Haven't seen them be efficacious, and oils are problematical in captive marine systems.     Well, I warned you that my opinions might be unwelcome... but I would immediately start treating your fishes, either removing the live rock or the fishes to another treatment system... Not to be returned for a month or more. And if you'd like to see more of my input on these issues (ich, treatment systems, disease, copper...) I have a bunch of published articles on a website: wetwebmedia.com that you can peruse at your leisure.     Sorry to be of a decisively different stance, but I do indeed have my reasons. Bob Fenner>

I have had a tank set up now for about a year. I had a parasite problem with a tang about four months ago and treated it with CHEM-MARIN parasite killer. The problem seemed to go away but returned a few weeks later. I treated it again and has come back again, affecting my inhabitant at the time, a coral beauty. What is the problem? What I'm I doing wrong? < Probably what happened is that you "cured" the feeding phase of the ich, but what you had/have is a multiple-generation infestation; follow along with me here. As you may know the ciliate protozoan which is marine ich (Cryptocaryon irritans mainly), has distinct life forms/stages, resting-phases on the bottom where the organism can encyst and "wait out" poor water conditions, a lack of available hosts, a free-swimming hunting phase where they are out and about looking for fishes, and feeding stages where they are on their host fishes gills and bodies... Now, the medication you utilized is really only effective on the "mid stage" where the parasite is in the water column... so you must treat your tank for the duration of time in which all the infectious stages show themselves; usually a couple of weeks at tropical temperatures... in systems that don't have a lot of mulm in them... but I should mention there are cases of the resting stages lasting months in wait in "dirty" systems that have been allowed (by their keepers) to develop multiple-generations of ich populations. Now, you can appreciate why dip/bath and quarantine procedures are so valuable! At this stage, you could try some cleaner organisms (Gobiosoma gobies, Lysmata Shrimp(s)...), treat the fishes in a separate system, or worst, treat them in the main tank... Depends on how bad they are infected... Don't introduce any more livestock till this problem is completely over. Such a move may well trigger a hyper-infection, resulting in the loss of all fish life. Do you understand? Bob Fenner>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: