FAQs on Tank Troubleshooting 15
Related Articles: Tank Troubleshooting Pt 1, Part 2, The Three
Sets of Factors That Determine Livestock Health/Disease,
A Livestock Treatment System,
Related FAQs: Troubleshooting 1, Troubleshooting 2, Troubleshooting 3, Troubleshooting 4, Troubleshooting 5, Troubleshooting 6,
Troubleshooting 7, Troubleshooting 8, Troubleshooting 9, Troubleshooting 10, Troubleshooting 11,
Fish injury? 8/20/17
<12 megs of blurry pix?>
This morning, I had to move rocks in my reef tank. Before moving anything, I
took some time to peruse the tank and plan out what I wanted to do. I know I
looked over my fish and didn't see anything noteworthy.
As I was removing rocks, inside a rock was one of my lyretails. As the Rick
broke the water surface, she gave a wiggle and dropped out of the rock and into
After I finished everything, the fish began exploring their surroundings when I
noticed several large, white clumps on the side of a lyretail. I can't say for
certain it was the one in the rock.
The white spots appear to be pieces of my white substrate stuck to her side.
<Might well be>
I'm not sure if this is an injury, gravel or if I should do anything about it.
<Does look odd. I would do nothing treatment wise here. Bob
Fish injury, continued 8/20/17
My last message was sent before I was through, sorry.
I wanted to add, the white marks seemed to be raised from the skin and run along
just one side of the fish.
Thank you for any help you can give me.
<As you state/d; likely substrate. B>
re: Fish injury? 8/20/17
I think it was gravel some of its off already.
<Ah, good. B>
Fwd: pictures of strange ailment.
No..... am in Mexico. Can't download ten megs of pix. SEE and HEED our
requirements.... hundreds of kilobytes... and please RESEND. BobF
Re: Fwd: pictures of strange ailment.
My Guy emailed these to me today. I see now that the files are about one
megabyte each. Hopefully that'll be ok!
<Yeah; just took a shower while downloading. En futura, please crop. B>
Re: Fwd: pictures of strange ailment.
<Por (Ralph) nada (Nader)>
Ahoy Bob and friends,
I've got myself a head scratcher with a raccoon butterfly and a Flagfin
angelfish. As you may be able to see from photos, first raccoon showed skin
irritation, followed by protruding white growths around rostrum.
Weeks later the Flagfin angelfish is showing same.
<See this.... whitish growths>
Living peacefully in a community of largish fish. No Visible aggression.
And still eating well.
They are Living in a fish only 250 gallon @1.011,
<Know of other folks in the trade who maintaining FO systems at such low spg's...
not a fan: TOO stressful>
pH of 8.1. daily vinegar dosing to remedy nitrate. Some Kalkwasser mixed
into top off water for
Bi weekly 60 gallon water changes. Fed large blend of flake pellet and frozen
Any ideas? Fungal maybe?
<Environmental I'd list as principal cause... like Lymphocystis. I'd
move the mal-affected fishes to a higher specific gravity setting sans NO3
issue. Bob Fenner>
Re: Fwd: pictures of strange ailment. 10/26/16
Thanks for the comeback Bob.
So ideally, yes I'd raise their salinity. However three weeks ago I pushed above
1.0013 and got a Cryptocaryon outbreak immediately. Tank had been at 1.008 for 3
months to attempt to remedy deadly outbreak caused by unquarantined fish
(against my recommendation).
<Time for CP...>
Nitrate has lowered from above 100 to currently 25 as per Salifert.
I'm considering capture and treatment of affected fish in quarantine tank.
<This issue will best resolve/solve itself over time in a large, established
main/display system. REDUCE stress, add vitamins, HUFAs, probiotics to foods,
and be patient. BobF>
Re: Fwd: pictures of strange ailment. 10/26/16
Little further discussion-
I'm going to have to disagree with regards to hypo and CP. After three years
experience using hypo, and about 9 Months using CP, I dropped CP from my
arsenal. Too unreliable without effective accurate testing for therapeutic vs.
lethal vs. ineffective.
My assistant and myself combined found that it killed 6 out of 6 hippo tangs.
However hypo has been a miracle symptom eraser.
<Symptom; not cause>
We recognize that its more of a stall than a cure, but it has worked every time
at preventing mortalities, and seems to make reef fishes less stressed rather
<A fave approach as mentioned earlier; esp. for Lance Ichinotsubo. Bob Fenner>
Help with Anemone and Algae. Moved sm. sys., cascade event
<Eight megs... is there a full moon? Why are folks sending such huge
Hi there. I need help...About 1.5 months ago I moved to from San
Francisco to Monterey for a job, and moved my 24 gallon reef tank for
the second time in 2 years. My tank has been established since Oct.
2013, and has been thriving up until this move.
During move I followed the same protocols I used when moving two years
ago (which was successful), which were the following: Placed biggest
piece of live rock in bucket with airstone and heater along with all
non-coral animals. Placed all other live rock and corals in a Styrofoam
cooler in water. Emptied tank nearly all of the way, leaving 1/4" of
water above the live-sand. I was able to plug heater and airstone into
electricity with adapter in my truck. Drive 2 hrs, set up tank, all
seemed fine until 2 weeks later...
Fast forward two weeks and I started to get brown slimy/hairy
algae on sand, rocks, back walls etc.
<I see this... likely a release of nutrient/s... loss of RedOx/ORP...
alkaline reserve in your substrate>
I would siphon out as much as I could during water changes, revealing
nice white sand under the brown scum, but it
comes back after a few days. At the time of my move I also switched to
Reef Crystals from Instant Ocean for salt mix, and also purchased an
under-sink RO system. Where it got weird is when my normally super-happy
bubble tip anemone spawned, probably 1 month into the move. A big blob
of eggs were released from her (I guess it is a she) mouth. I netted as
many of them as I could. Ever since that spawn-night, the anemone has
been small, deflated and wandering. It slides from one spot to another
night after night, and never inflates to its previous 8-10" size. I
realize that I might have
stirred up gunk in my 2-3 year old live sand during move,
but wouldn't I see a noticeable uptick in nitrates? The tap water here
smells very chlorine-y also, but shouldn't my RO system be filtering bad
<It should... and you likely have a carbon contactor pre-filter. You
could test for free chlorine...>
My underlying question is; what could be simultaneously causing this
algae outbreak and also stressing the anemone?
<The gunk stirred up in your old substrate; subsequent allelopathy with
your other Cnidarians...>
Are there additional tests I can run to find out?
<Sure; HPO4, NO3, K....>
Here are some details about my tank: As mentioned 24 gallons, all-in-one
setup with Tunze 9002 protein skimmer, heater, power head, and bag of
MarineLand activated carbon dropped in back chamber every couple months.
Livestock: percula clown, royal gramma, Longnose Hawkfish, Banggai
cardinal. A couple hermits, a couple turban snails, 1 fighting conch, 1
tuxedo urchin, 1 skunk cleaner shrimp. Soft corals (Christmas tree,
various mushrooms, Zoas, leather), a few LPS (plate coral, hammer,
torch, war coral).
Levels: Nitrates, ammonia, nitrites all "0"
<Really? NO NO3? I'd check with another kit>
, pH 8.1, temp 78. I can measure for calcium and dKH but generally
don't. I used to dose iron but don't anymore.
<I would, and iodide-ate... I might skip ahead and dump the entire
existing substrate and replace first>
I have attached pictures of the algae (I think it is either
dinoflagellates or cyanobacteria),
<Likely... need a 'scope look and see>
and am desperate for a concrete way to put a stop to it.
I have also attached a picture of the anemone spawn, and anem pics
before and after move. Let me know if you need additional info to assess
Thanks in advance for your attention on this.
<Try searching, reading on WWM re these algae groups control.
Re: Help with Anemone and Algae
Apologies. I thought the pics were small enough, thanks for responding
anyway. I will replace my sandbed...are you able to make a
recommendation on live sand?
the linked files at top>
And yes, I have tested "0" Nitrate for the past year and a half...I just
figured my bioload was low enough or that I had a super effective bio
filter. I will get a new kit.
can you identify this disease please? ... Large reef,
poisoned via Cnidarian allelopathy 4/28/16
ok the situation is this.
The tank is a 1700 gallon system with loads of fish in it a few
All parameters are good with NItrates just showing a bit high at 40
<This is more than a bit high... by about twice. See/READ on WWM re NO3
but should be no issue looking at whats in the tank I believe.
The tank has been doing very well for about a year now (for detailed
fish list you can check out the build thread of this tank here in RC)
<Don't do bb's. Worse than a waste of time almost always>
So all fish doing really well and eat like crazy look fat and all.
Friday I have a batch of dwarf angels for another tank and see I have
one in overtall
for that tank so add 1 yellow angel
<What species is this... a Centropyge? flavissimus?>
to the large tank. on Saturday we add 1 leather finger coral and
one leather mushroom to the tank
<.... how were these acclimated? Have you read my SOP re on WWM? Need to
be introduced over weeks time...>
and all is still good. Now Monday morning with feeding we see
fish are not feeding as normal and we see one of our powder blues stuck
on the overflow ready to die so at further inspection we see
many more fish struggle.
<Allelopathy... a cascade reaction... likely drop in ORP, DO...
change water, add GAC, Chemipure, PolyFilter... IF necessary move all
the fishes elsewhere>
Tuesday we remove 2 death butterflies, 2 death Anthias Wednesday we see
most tangs start to feed again though still reluctant and much more
skittish as they used to be hiding in the rock all the time only 1 death
clownfish seen. No today Thursday we film the clip of a clownfish
struggling and have 1 more Anthias lying on the floor as death though
when caught it was still alive though we removed it anyway as it is
On non of the fish any sign of Ick or any other skin lesions I think.
The clown in the clip as maybe not really view able the skin looks like
dry and rimpled and seem to have melted skin on his back fin?? in the
clip which is filmed on the side (so top of tank is actually left side
of the view) the clown goes up to the surface to let himself sink back
down over and over again. All other fish seem to be behaving the same as
last few days feeding reluctant and still hiding all the time??
and the linked files above, NOW>
what could be wrong
and what disease did I clearly introduce into this system though the
Yellow Angel (can a disease from 1 dwarf angel small size even spread
or through the rocks of the coral though they came from my own system
and have been doing in an ok tank for over 3 years now.
anyone can help so we know what to treat tank with if treatable? large
size of the tank does not help the situation here for sure I think
<Keep reading... and act accordingly. Bob Fenner>
Re: can you identify this disease please? Not reading...
Hi Bob, Thank you for the quick reply
so your thinking that one of the leather poisoned my tank?
<That and/or the Shroom>
Rather than the fish introducing some parasite?
<Not a fish parasite... the etiology is all wrong>
The fish introduced was a Centropyge heraldi. Both leather come from a
system I have at home and have been in that tank there for over a year and
have been doing well.
<Not with new... DO THE READING>
By the way both leathers look still ok. Should I take them out? Can 2 small
(each about 5-6" in diameter) colonies poison an entire system this large?
<Don't write: READ!>
Re: can you identify this disease please? Still not reading....
Hi Bob, also to my previous reply we made a picture of one of the
butterflies who showed the behavior most fishes show just before they die
just sitting on a rock with lack of movement the red spots on the picture we
were not able to see on any of the other fish previous (though they were
colored and much smaller) maybe this picture helps diagnosing?
<Can't tell anything definitively... Same answer. B>
Re: can you identify this disease please? Not able to read?
Hi Rob, some more pictures this time from a suffering Butterfly we have in
<... mate; IF you won't read I/we can't help you. Your fishes are
almost certainly suffering from Cnidarian allelopathy; secondarily from?
This latter cannot be ascertained w/o sampling and microscopic examination.
STOP WRITING AND READ>
seem to not swim around though when trying to catch him he is still very
lively but will be a goner for sure tomorrow. He seem to come as close to
the glass as possible as he was saying take picture and get this diagnosed
hope they are more clear and can help you better to help me. Wonder what all
the red spots are all around his skin. Again here skin looks dry and
Chaos in my tank. Mysterious Anthias losses 4/22/16
Hi. I have a 90 gallon reef tank with a 30 gallon sump and roughly
110lbs of live rock plus more in the sump. Livestock includes two young
black clarkii clownfish approximately 1 inch each, A small 2.5 inch Bluejaw
trigger, a lawnmower blenny, a diamond goby, misc. snails, three emerald crabs,
and a sea hare.
<What species is this Aplysiid? Most are NOT compatible for hobbyist, reef use.
A mixture of corals like birds nest, frogspawns, Zoanthids, and a few Acans.
<And READING re Zoanthids>
I was at the LFS and told the woman that works there that I don't have any
swimmers in my tank. The Clarkiis never go far from the rock they are hosting.
The Bluejaw trigger just chases his reflection in the glass on the left side of
the tank all day. The diamond goby moves sand like he's building a skyscraper
all day long. The lawnmower blenny picks at my glass or just sits on a rock and
looks at me. None of my fish swim in the water. When people see my tank they
think it's just corals and rarely see any fish unless they stare at it for a
while. So I asked her for suggestions on a swimmer, someone who will be active
in the tank. I told her I'm not a fan of tangs. She suggested a foxface
Rabbitfish and a few Anthias. I usually take her word for things. (She's one of
the most respected LFS owners in the area). So I picked up 4 square Anthias
(1male and 3 females) and a foxface. I realized the next day while doing
research that they require a larger tank in general, or at least the square
Anthias do. I drip acclimated the fish (separately)
<I would definitely have run all through a SOP dip/bath; as gone over on WWM...
to exclude external parasites>
and quarantined them for about a week. After the week was up a I drip acclimated
them to the display tank. I put them in with the lights out. The foxface
appeared to take the transition quite well. The four square Anthias were another
story. Three of them did great and one just laid down in the bottom of the tank.
I figured she just needed some time. This is how the tank stayed for the next
two weeks. Everybody doing great except for the female Anthias was always laying
in the bottom of the tank. She had no sign of illness and I had read that it can
take them a while to feel comfortable so I gave her time since she looked
healthy. I had an automatic feeder with NLS pellets feeding three times a day
and I gave frozen Mysis shrimp every night. Everybody was getting food. The
female laying in the bottom would never even try to get up and get food. I came
home one day and the Anthias were nowhere to be found, any of them. The foxface
was black and in the corner. I put some food in the tank to see if anyone would
come out and everyone came out to eat except the Anthias. The foxface even
turned back to yellow and came out to eat. I started looking through the tank
and found the male square Anthias dead under a rock, then found two other
Anthias laying in the bottom alive but seemed scared. The fourth one I have yet
to find. I'm thinking the cleanup crew already disposed of it. Not knowing
what's going on, I didn't know what to do next. The next day another Anthias
died, and then... the last Anthias died. I spoke with the lady at the LFS and
she said I have a bully.
I know Clarkii clownfish can be super aggressive but these guys are really young
and small. The blue jaw has never messed with anyone and is scared of just about
everything. She said it sounds unethical but by <buy> some cheap peaceful fish
and see who is doing the bullying. I thought it was a bad idea but didn't know
what else to do. So I bought five Blue Chromis.
<Not a hardy species>
I put them in two days ago. Two died the first night the other three died the
second night. Then the foxface swam around the corner covered in what looks like
ich. The foxface is now in the hospital tank in hypo salinity with ParaGuard and
the heater set to 80°F. Everyone else is doing fine. All my water parameters are
good Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate <10, PH 8.2. I'm thinking someone is being
aggressive but I was keeping a close eye on the tank and never saw anyone not
getting along. Clearly I have an issue. Any suggestions as to who my bully is or
what step I should take next. Other than the Foxface, no one has shown any signs
of illness and this foxface is the first time I've ever had ich in my tank and
it's been running for 2 years with no issues. I quarantine everything before
putting it in my tank and I reef dip my corals. This is the first time I've ever
really had an issue and it's frustrating. Please help.
<My guesses, probabilities lie w/ the Anthias being weak to start with, further
weakened by the quarantine process (this species is NOT "open water", but more
inclined to hide); AND poisoning via the Aplysiid and/or Zoas. Please do the
suggested searching, reading ON WWM; and write back w/ your further input. Bob
Re: Chaos in my tank 4/23/16
The Sea Hare appears to be a Aplysia dactylomela after reviewing WWM
article on sea hare identification. I Have someone lined up to take the sea hare
off my hands.
<Good; I would>
I've been planning on rehoming it for a while. I don’t have much algae for it to
thrive on and he seems to be growing tired of eating New life spectrum algae
pellets. I've never seen him release ink in the tank and nobody messes with it.
Is this type of sea hare a bad thing to have in my tank?
Is it toxic in a manner other than releasing ink?
<There is some speculation. A fave ref.:
I'd really feel bad if I rehomed him and he causes issues in someone else's
The Zoanthids have never been an issue before. They were the first frags I ever
purchased a long time ago. I'm just curious if they need to be removed. the
Foxface Rabbitfish (Siganus vulpinus) That is currently in the quarantine tank.
Should I just treat it for ich for a few weeks and try to reintroduce it to the
<Please read what is archived on WWM re Acanthuroids and Crypt>
How can I be sure it is in fact Ich. It has misc. white spots that look like
little pimples scattered throughout both sides of his body and a few on its
fins. I know this fish changes colors when stressed but can some of that color
change include white pimples, roughly a dozen or more on each side?
I also recently after the death of the Anthias had to remove some rocks from my
reef tank. They had an unidentifiable (to me and the LFS owner)algae growing on
them. It was solid green and not loose or soft by any means of the words. It
appeared to be a green staining that appeared overnight and got darker and
darker every day. The woman at the LFS said she had seen that one other time and
it was due to the rocks leeching copper.
<?! VERY unusual>
I removed them immediately and replaced it with a piece of dry rock I picked up
at a different LFS. I took my water the next day to have a copper test performed
and it had a very minimal amount of copper in the water, Just barely any color
to the reading at all and nothing I should be super concerned about but I'm
running CupriSorb anyway. Could any of these recent events be caused by
this mystery algae?
<Possibly. There are definitely many toxins associated w/ a great deal of algal
Or the copper?
<.... would have to be a "chain reaction" here... a cascade effect. "Some"
copper is essential... as a micronutrient...>
The algae was very, very green, no hair or filament nature to it, it wasn't
removable. I scrubbed these rocks with a stiff tooth brush for about thirty
minutes to no avail. The sun is the only thing killing it. It didn't look like
any type of coralline I've ever seen and it only grew on three rocks I picked up
from a local reefer who had had them out of a tank and dry for close to three
years. The algae literally showed up overnight covering the entirety of the
rocks. It progressed to a darker color at an almost hourly rate. I do not have
pictures of it while it was in the tank but I'm including pictures of them
outside of the tank. I'm using an led lighting fixture and only running the day
lights for about 8.5 hours a day and running the blues for an additional hour.
The LED's are only turned up to approximately 45% power.
Lastly what Potential tank mates might you recommend to add a little activity to
my system if any?
<Please peruse the several "stocking reef" FAQs files on WWM. We have some 30k
users per day...>
Ideally I would like a peaceful tank where everyone gets along.
Thank you again
RE: Chaos in my tank 4/23/16
<6 megs of pix; why? SEE, as in READ on WWM re algal ID. B>
RE: Chaos in my tank 4/23/16
It should have only been two small pictures of two rocks. sorry
<? Poisoned by BGA?>
I have a quarantine tank setup and have had terrible luck so far.
We have added fish in groups of 4
<What species? Some are not easily quarantined alone, let with incompatible
others in small volumes>
and by the time the six week quarantine period is up we are averaging
one survivor per group.
<Six weeks is a very long time. DO PLEASE READ on WWM re my/our stated preferred
S.O.P. here. Usually two weeks is about the zenith of benefit; turning point of
more damage than worth>
We are dosing with .5 Cupramine at the start of the quarantine period as
<.... this might well be too toxic; also killing off, forestalling
Should we wait to administer the Cupramine until a few days after introducing
the new fish?
<Depends on why you're adding the Cu>
Should we stop using Cupramine as a prophylactic?
<Unless there's a specific reason for its use, yes>
Any advise you have is very welcome.
Thank you in advance.
<Please do the reading and send along the data requested. Bob Fenner>
Re: Quarantine question
Thank you for your prompt response. I have read the quarantine articles on your
website and came away unclear about the use of copper as a prophylactic.
<Its use IS promoted and condemned by various parties... for varied reasons>
I believe some of the threads indicated that it was a good idea.
<Can be; but really.... should be done by folks "above" (as in before) the end
user (hobbyist/consumers)... Better for folks in the trade (collectors,
wholesalers, retailers) to employ simple dips/baths.... to "knock off" external
complaints (and not copper immersion)...>
The fish involved are: Longnose butterfly,
<Very touchy to Cu exposure>
yellow tang, flame Hawkfish, royal gramma, raccoon butterfly,
<Don't "like" quarantine>
hepatus tang, and Naso tang.
<REALLY don't like>
I hope to also acquire Heniochus but so far they have not been part of
<I'd just dip and place Heni's, actually all Chaetodontids>
After having the copper in the tank for 2 weeks we then do a complete water
change for the remainder of the quarantine period.
<Ammonia, nitrite need to be monitored... once, twice daily.... new water made
up, available for change out>
The first time we did the quarantine we did not add the copper and none of the
fish survived. That's why I decided to try using the copper as a prophylactic
<Please re-read my articles on Acclimation....>
Thank you again.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Quarantine question 4/2/15
Thank you again for such a prompt reply. I will follow your instructions and let
you know how things proceed.
<And you, B>
Re: Quarantine question
4/3/15 The QT tank was completely emptied and refilled with water from the main
tank and no further copper treatments will be administered. A Raccoon Butterfly
and Yellow Tang were added to the QT tank after a freshwater dip (BTW, I hire a
service to maintain my tanks and they supply the livestock).
Everything seemed fine. As of 4/7/15 both are eating well although the Raccoon
is exhibiting a little bit of scratching against the coral.
4/9/15 the Yellow Tang looks listless and the Raccoon is still eating well and
behaving the same. 4/10/15 the Yellow Tang is dead.
4/11/15 the raccoon Butterfly is dead.
They are using water from the main tank when they do water changes on the QT
<A good practice>
The main tank has 6 Ocellaris Clowns and one Coral Beauty and they are all
thriving in the main tank. The Coral Beauty is the only fish that has made it
through quarantine into the main tank since we setup the QT tank on 12/30/14.
Since then we have lost the following fish in the QT tank: 3 Raccoon
Butterfly fish, 2 Royal Grammas, 1 Yellow Tang, 3 Long-Nosed Butterfly fish, and
1 Flame Hawkfish
<How large is this tank? It is monitored for ammonia; the copper daily?>
. I am really out of answers right now and feel terribly about how many fish I
have lost. I have had salt water tanks
since the 1970s and have never encountered anything like this. Any input,
comments, guidance you can provide is extremely welcome. Thank you.
<Something/s are wrong here.... very. I'd likely just use
preventative dips/baths and skip whatever routine you're presently using. Bob
Re: Quarantine question
The QT tank is 55 gallons
<A good size, shape>
and is monitored for copper, nitrate, nitrate, salinity, ph and ammonia. Are you
recommending that I bypass the QT completely?
<I would if I had the results history you describe; with the species involved;
particularly Chaetodontids. See my writings re BFs, their health, handling on
Would it be advisable for me to get the fish directly from the service's
wholesaler before they put them into their tanks (prior to bringing them to my
<Possibly... do you know much re their procedures? May be that there adding to
morbidity here. BobF>
Thank you again.
Re: Quarantine question
Thank you again for your prompt response. I will keep you updated on further
<And you Steve. BobF>
Re: Quarantine question 5/9/15
Finally some success!
Last week my service provider brought me a royal gramma, flame Hawkfish, long
nosed butterfly fish and yellow tang directly from the wholesaler before they
were put into the system at their shop. We quarantined them for one day ( we
didn't want to over stress them since they had just been shipped from the
wholesaler) and then did the freshwater dip and put them
in the main tank. Here we are eight days later and all four fish seem to be
I'm hoping to add three small Heniochus, a blonde Naso tang, raccoon or
threadfin butterfly and hepatus tang to finish stocking the tank. We will repeat
the same process and hopefully be as successful as we were the first time. I
will keep you posted. Thank you again for all of your help.
<Thank you for the update. Bob Fenner>
Re: Quarantine question 5/29/15
Unfortunately, things have taken a turn for the worse. My service provider
brought three Heniochus acuminatus direct from the wholesaler on May 20. He did
a freshwater dip on all of them and then released them into the main
tank. He also brought a Hepatus tang which he place in the QT tank. On May 22,
he freshwater dipped the Hepatus tang and placed it into the main tank.
All of the fish were eating well. The Yellow Tang went after one of the
Heniochus but I figured he was asserting himself and after a while this behavior
would diminish. This Heniochus developed a bruise on its side.
On May 24 I noticed some white spots on the edges of the dorsal fins on the
Heniochus and their caudal fins. On May 25, the bruise on the one Heniochus
became an open sore (it looked like a red blotch and you could see where the
scales had separated.) I removed this Heniochus and put it in the QT tank.
Meanwhile, the Long Nosed Butterfly now had white spots on its caudal and
pectoral fins and the Hepatus tang had some on it's sides. All of these fish
were still acting normally and eating voraciously.
Today I found the Long Nosed Butterfly and the Heniochus in the QT tank dead.
One of the black Ocellaris Clowns now has some white spots on its sides.
All of the fish are behaving normally (no scratching) and eating voraciously. So
far, the following fish do not have any white spots on them: three orange
Ocellaris Clowns, Royal Gramma, Yellow Tang, two black Ocellaris Clowns, Flame
Hawkfish, and a Coral Beauty angelfish.
I phoned my service provider and he is coming out tomorrow to try to catch the
affected fish and give them a freshwater dip. Do you have any other (or
<Widely reading... on WWM, re all species here>
I am so frustrated. We seemed to have finally turned the corner and now this.
Any advice you have is greatly appreciated.
Re: Quarantine question; Heniochus esp. 6/13/15
Well, things are still spiraling downward. We removed the Yellow Tang and put it
in the QT as it was badgering the Heniochus (which ultimately died anyway) and
it is still in the QT doing well and showing no signs of Crypto. Meanwhile, we
treated the display tank with MetroPlex. I also starting soaking the food in
Garlic Guard. Since then, the three Heniochus are dead as well as the Royal
Gramma, the Hepatus Tang and one of the black Ocellaris Clownfish. Here are the
surviving fish today: two black Ocellaris Clownfish, three orange Ocellaris
Clownfish, Coral Beauty, Flame Hawkfish and Cleaner Wrasse (I know you recommend
against the Cleaner Wrasses but my service tech insisted the Cleaner Wrasse
would help with the Crypto even though everything I read said it wouldn't). The
Coral Beauty has one spot on its lip, the Flame Hawkfish has no visible spots,
each of the orange Ocellaris Clowns has around 5-6 spots and the black Ocellaris
Clowns seem to be spot-free.
All of these fish are eating very well and behaving normally (no flashing,
scratching or fast breathing). Today my service tech is putting carbon back in
the filter and turning back on the skimmer and UV. Is it possible that these
fish will just fight off the remaining Crypto and go back to normal?
<Yes; it is possible>
If so, how will I know when it would be safe to put the Yellow Tang back in
the DT and then add any new fish?
<Safe? As in completely? Never>
The other option would be to take them all out and put them in the QT with the
Yellow Tang and let the DT go fallow but that might cause more stress (and would
the QT be too crowded - it's a
55 gallon tank)? Any advice you can give is deeply appreciated.
<It's all posted/archived on WWM; over and over>
I have spent hours reading on WWM but sometimes the amount of information is
overwhelming and it is difficult to determine the correct course of action.
<Ahh! I have always hoped that having so much would lead folks to make their own
Lastly, I have had nothing but bad experiences with Heniochus. Twice introducing
them has caused a serious problem in my tank resulting in massive casualties.
<Perhaps time to give them a pass. The two principal Heni species ARE
problematical at times. Look to others>
I know that your books and others describe them as hardy but my experience is
contrary to that. Needless to say, I have taken them off my list for restocking
in the future.
<Thank you for your update. Bob Fenner>
Re: Quarantine question 6/21/15
The eight surviving fish from my last post are still alive. They are eating well
and the white spots seem to be gone. My plan is to observe these fish over the
next 6 weeks and if the white spots do not recur begin adding fish at that time.
Is this reasonable?
I plan to add the following fish: Long-nosed Butterfly fish, Yellow Tang, Royal
Gramma, Hepatus Blue Tang, Raccoon Butterfly fish and a Tail-spot Wrasse. I
intend to add two at a time obtaining them directly from the wholesaler before
they go into the LFS system, quarantine them one day in my QT, freshwater dip
<I'd add formalin and aeration to the dip/bath; per the S.O.P on WWM>
the next day and place them in the main tank. Is this a reasonable plan?
Any comments, suggestions and/or criticisms are extremely welcome.
Thank you as always.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Quarantine question; Now: Many mysterious SW fish losses
Update since my last post on 8/12/15:
We moved the Hepatus Tang, Longnosed Butterfly, Royal Gramma and Naso Tang into
the main tank after one day in QT. They were each dipped in freshwater before
being placed in the main tank. The Hepatus died after 9 days, the Naso died
after 18 days and the Longnosed Butterfly died after 41 days.
There were no signs of disease on any of them. They were all eating either until
they died or up to one day before they died. My water quality is
impeccable. The Royal Gramma survived. I have had a Coral Beauty in the tank for
7 months, 5 Ocellaris Clownfish for 9 months and a Flame Hawkfish for 7 months.
To review, all of these fish have been brought to me straight from the
distributor (they never went into the system at the LFS), put into QT for one
day and then freshwater dipped and placed into the main tank.
This past Wednesday, my service brought me a Blonde Naso Tang, Hepatus Tang and
Tail-spot Wrasse. They were placed into QT and the Hepatus died after one day in
the QT. After two days in the QT, the Naso and Wrasse were freshwater dipped
<pH adjusted... per the/my SOP on WWM; NOT using RO or RO/DI water that's
(the Wrasse got very stressed after only 15 seconds in the dip) and placed in
the main tank (this was yesterday). This morning I found the Wrasse dead.
I am at my wits end. I have had marine fish on and off for over 40 years and
have never experience anything like this. This is a 220 gallon tank, FOWLR and
the water quality has consistently tested out at excellent levels for
everything. The only alteration my service is recommends is lowering the
salinity to the 1.0017-1.0019 range.
<Some folks do>
I feed a combination of New Life Spectrum and Omega One pellet food in an
automatic feeder supplemented several
times a week with Formula One, Formula Two and San Francisco Bay Brand's
Saltwater Multi Pack (I alternate these throughout the week). I soak the frozen
food in Selcon and Zoe (I alternate every other feeding).
I had fish that lived 10-14 years in my last tank. This tank was setup
6/13/14 and since then I have lost 50 fish.
<?! Something very wrong here.... highly likely environmentally. Search, READ on
WWM Re such losses>
I am aghast that I am responsible for so many mortalities. I am seriously
considering getting out of the hobby. Most of the fish have died within 2-3
weeks. My service has a new fish manager and he said he isn't happy with their
current supplier (Sea Dwelling Creatures) and will be changing to a new supplier
with which he has had good results. I have also considered changing to a new
service but I really like the person I have now and he is very honest and I know
he is trying his best for me. They are guaranteeing the fish for 30 days (since
I am only buying fish from them and they are in control of everything) so they
are taking a huge financial hit. Do you have any comments/suggestions based on
what I have described?
<Need more data... as in real water quality tests. Do send along images
(resized) of the system, mechanicals; dead/dying organisms... and we'll begin a
conversation. Bob Fenner>
Grazie in advance.
Re: Quarantine question 9/29/15
Here are all of the chemical readings from my tank:
Nitrite - 0; Nitrate - 20; Ammonia - 0; pH - 8.2; phosphate - under .25; calcium
- 460; specific gravity - 1.024 (we are trying to lower this to 1.020).
<.... remove about a fifth of the water, refill w/ fresh>
What other information do you need?
<Mmm; a pic of the fish involved (dead) might help; any input re smell of the
water.... Do you folks use ozone/UV? Have RedOx/ORP measures?>
Do you have any experience with/comments on using Sea Dwelling Creatures as a
<Oh, yes.... know the Cohen bro.s (friends), and their father, Robert, before
they popped out. They have a good, to sometimes badly mentioned (by others)
reputation. IF you have concerns; I'd be calling, speaking w/ them>
Thank you again.
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Quarantine question 9/29/15
Tonight I will get you pictures of the last two fish that died (those are the
only fish I have at this time). We use a UV sterilizer, a skimmer, a sump with
socks and my service mixes the salt water on site using RO water (we have our
own RO unit, we use Kent Marine salt). I will also get you some pictures of the
filtration systems. Thank you again.
<We WILL solve this mystery. Please send along a list of the dead fishes, in the
order in which they perished (good clues to be had). B>
Re: Quarantine question 9/29/15
I wasn't sure what you meant by "Do send along images (resized)" so I am only
attaching one with this email. Please let me know if it is the correct size and
I will send the rest.
<Fine, and sorry for the confusion. Yes to sending the pix along>
Regarding the fishes that have died, in October 2014 I lost a bunch due to
Brooklynella and in May 2015 I lost a bunch due to Crypto. Do you want me to
include these or only the fish that died without exhibiting an obvious disease?
Thank you again.
<My friend. B>
Re: Quarantine question 10/13/15
Attached is a picture of the Poly Pad. Can you discern anything from it?
<Mmm; either organic or you have a good deal of ferrous material presents (Fe
+2, 3?) I'd be checking this last... Too much iron presence can be toxic. Bob
Fast Moving Disease? Again; env. anomaly
I have a bit of a situation on my hands here that I have not seen before and
could use some advice. Fortunately, our quarantine system here in the
store consists of multiple tanks and I am hopeful that we have this
situation contained to just 2 or now 1 tank.
A couple of weeks ago one of our quarantine tanks that was just about finished
with our 3 week process and had finished coming up out of hypo just days prior,
suffered a complete wipe out overnight.
<... out of one of the QT systems or are these all tied/plumbed together?>
I was not working over that weekend and was told that the fish appeared stressed
on that Saturday. The following day the fish had all died. There was 4 fish in
this 40 gallon qt tank. A juv. Queen Angel, a Valentini Puffer, a Christmas
Wrasse and a small Clownfish. We performed a couple of 50% water changes
on the tank, but did not disinfect the tank.
<I would change out all the water>
Later in that week we received a livestock shipment and spread out the order to
the available qt tanks in our system. The next day I noticed that the
fish in the tank that had the previous wipe out were breathing very rapidly and
hovering slightly diagonally facing the surface.
<MOVE THEM ELSEWHERE, NOW>
I tested the water for ammonia, nitrite and pH and found there to be no
detectable readings of ammonia or nitrite based on my test kits and the pH read
<There are MANY other chemical, physical qualities. Dissolved oxygen is coming
I performed a 50% water change and moved a couple of the fish from this tank to
another qt tank that was more lightly stocked. That evening we had lost most of
the fish in the tank and the following day started to see the same heavy
breathing and diagonal or lying on their side behavior. The fish in the tank
that the others from the problem tank were moved to had
been just fine for days prior and all started to slowly succumb to the disease.
As a side note, we initially had thought there to be a poisoning or perhaps a
mistake made by having too many fish in the bucket during acclimation, so we
pulled the remaining fish from the first tank and treated them in a bucket with
methylene blue. This actually seemed to have some benefit, but the fish still
died the following day.
So at this point the fish in the first tank and the second tank have all expired
except for three that are lying on the bottom breathing rapidly and I would
imagine will not make it to the end of the day. We have tried treating the fish
with prazipro, chloroquine phosphate, but have seen no change.
<I'd kick up aeration, skip adding any med.s, review your acclimation
procedure/protocol.... These fishes sound ammonia burned to me.... READ HERE:
Other than the above mentioned heavy breathing and swimming behavior we are
seeing no other symptoms. The speed at which this has moved once we added the
fish from the first tank to the second is striking to me. So far none of the
fish in our other tanks within the quarantine system have show any symptoms
including the ones that came with this weeks shipment.
We have since drained and disinfected the first qt tank with bleach and plan to
do the same with the second tank if/when the remaining fish are lost.
Any advice on what this could have been would be greatly appreciated.
<The reading, stat.... and a review of your receiving procedure/s....
Something is wrong here that is fundamental.
Re: Fast Moving Disease? 9/28/15
Thank you very much for the quick reply as always. The tanks are individual
tanks and are all air driven. We have switched over to this system about 2 years
ago after having a central system as our quarantine for the shop.
<Ahh; then I would dump, bleach, rinse this one tank>
So far it has been working out well for us and especially now that the problem
seems to have been contained to just the 2 tanks.
Admittedly, I did not test for DO in the tanks, but we have never had an issue
with this in the current qt set up that we have and there was nothing out of the
ordinary for us with this shipment or the acclimation process.
The ammonia levels are checked daily in these tanks and had no detectable
reading during this time. Also, during the time of the addition of new
livestock to our qt tanks we add SeaChem stability and prime to the tanks that
are receiving new fish.
My first though was certainly that this must be an environmental issue causing
the problem, but I had moved a couple of the fish from the first qt tank where
all of the fish were showing symptoms to another qt tank that had fish that
showed no signs of a problem and were eating fine. The fish that were moved
never showed any sign of relief and the existing fish that
were previously doing just fine started to show the same symptoms within 24
hours of the new fish being moved in. This is the point at which I had believed
that we were dealing with some sort of fast moving disease.
<There is nothing pathogenic that can/does act on disparate fishes so quickly.
The issue here is either environmental or acute toxicity from some source>
We have been running our quarantine and acclimation process here in the store
with much success here for the past 2 years, but I will be sure to follow the
link and do some reading to see what we can do to improve our process.
Talk to you soon,
Re: Fast Moving Disease? 9/28/15
Yes, we had drained and bleached the first tank immediately after the last fish
in that tank expired. Was planning to do the same with the second tank that had
suffered losses after moving the fish into it. I did not expect the remaining
fish to make it to the end of the day after emailing you yesterday, but there
seems to be some positive response (perhaps just coincidental?) to a freshwater
dip and Chloroquine treatment in the water.
The remaining fish are still alive and their breathing has slowed down to a more
normal pace. Thank you very much for your information. I will continue
to go over the events of the past week here in these tanks and try to find what
I may have missed environmentally that could have caused this to start.
<Easily done... Review the several instances here:
and the linked files in the series above.>
adding fish issues 9/20/15
Good Morning Sir (in Thailand it is at least)I seem to have an issue adding new
fish to my tank and can not figure out what is wrong. The tank is 1200gallon
L118xW39xH63 has been set up 3 months ago and has gone through a cycle. It is
set up using fresh ocean water and started with death rock. My parameters are
all good with only Nitrates a bit elevated but at 20 not
bad. Ph swings between 8.0 and 8.4 night and day. temperature is set at 78.8Now
after 1.5 months as it looked the cycle was completed (small ammonia spike only
shown) I added some Blue green Chromis. after another 2 weeks I added some
Anthias and some yellow tangs, a large Copperband, a small blue tang and 2 large
Naso which seem all doing fine even till now.
Now since 3 or 4 weeks I am trying to add more fish including some Angels
(emperor, regal, Queen) and some other fish like powder blues etc also 2 more
larger blue tangs had been added and all those new additions seem to die after
about 4 to 5 days in the tank? Weird thing is that on day 2to 5 they all seem
doing fin swimming around eating etc and each and every time the new batch I add
seem to die on the same night so morning when checking all new fish I
added about 5 days earlier are death with all fish added original still doing
fine? What could cause this?
<Most likely something environmental that the first fishes "acquired" some
immunity to somehow...>
if it would be a water issue wouldn't all the original fish die too?
<Not necessarily, no>
Also a question is that the Nitrates still seem low with all the deaths this
system has encountered so far though most fish could been removed though some
(one large Angel got into the rocks and still might be there in parts) Ammonia
and Nitrites still at 0 so presume my bacteria population is working overtime.
I am currently also experiencing a heavy Cyano outbreak though doubt
this would have an effect would it?
<Ah yes; THIS is likely the root cause, or a good part of it. You NEED to
address the BGA issue first and foremost. There are a few approaches to
controlling Cyanobacteria and I would take a multiple attack. READ here:
and as much of the linked Cyano Control FAQs files as you deem necessary.
Help! My fish keep dying! No useful data
Hello. I have a 29 gallon tank, started with 10 pounds of live sand, and
varying amounts of lace rock. I started the tank on 8/4/15, and my PH is 8, sg
<Why so low?>
ammonia 0, nitrites usually 0, but sometimes 0.25, nitrates 5-10.
My fish keep dying, and I feel awful! I’ve lost at different times this month: 2
<a.... 29 gal. only large enough for one Toby>
a lawnmower blenny,
<See WWM re... not a large enough world>
a Horseface blenny, and tonight a pygmy angelfish. I bought algae-covered coral
and rocks from my LFS for the blennies. One died of starvation -- he was so
<... the reading.>
The Horseface blenny was fine and then one morning, dead. The pygmy angelfish
never adapted to the tank -- I only had him 2 days. I bought a clownfish baby
with him, and the clownfish is now sticking to the top of the tank in the corner
not eating. Other fish in the tank are now a Tiger Goby and 3 bumblebee gobies.
There were 2 damsels as well, but I took them out to the QT because they were
picking on everybody. The gobies seem happy. What am I doing wrong?
<Can't tell from the information provided>
I don’t want to hurt any more fish. Thanks so much -- Carol
<Ummm; would you read on WWM? Bob Fenner>
Re: Help! My fish keep dying! Still.... and no rdg.
Hello again --
Thank you for the speedy response.
Why is the SG so low? My LFS keeps the marine fish at 1.020 - 1.021.
<See WWM Re.... i.e. actually READ on the site>
So I should raise the salinity gradually? Could the algae-covered coral and rock
have brought something into my tank?
As to the Tobies -- I had one at a time -- I have been reading your forum, and
even re-homed some fish that I started with after reading here that my tank was
not large enough for them. The blennies I had one at a time as well. I take the
water parameters daily, but I am new to saltwater. The only fish that seem well
suited to the tank are the blue damsels, the
bumblebee gobies, and now the Tiger goby has lasted almost a week looking well.
I used to have a GSP in with the damsels and BB gobies -- they got along
well.(Puffer tried to squeeze between the filter and glass, and I lost him-- had
him a month). Does my tank sound like it is done cycling?
<Something is awry here environmentally. Again; can't discern
from the info. provided. Where/when in doubt, water changes; perhaps the
assiduous use of GAC, Polyfilter...>
I had spikes in ammonia, then nitrItes, then a rise in nitrates. I am debating
whether to go with the more aggressive fish again, as at least they lived.
But the peaceful fish seem to never adjust, I will continue to read WWM, and
learn. I am just at a loss as to what to do.
Thank you for your time
<When still in doubt, do nothing stocking-wise.... Bob Fenner>
Advice needed. Anomalous marine losses.... not a reader
I. was away for the week, and came home to find my hamlet dead. No big.
Deal, losses happen. Next my stoplight parrot is near the top of the tank,
breaking the surface, the following morning dead.
<Parrots aren't aquarium hardy>
Wake up today, porcupine puffer has no appetite and two cloudy eyes.
Also. my emperor angel has one cloudy eye, almost looks to be peeling.
These fish have been with me at least 6 months, quarantine with copper and
Prazi, and fine until this week.
It is a Fowlr, and the only thing that appears to have changed is temp, from 81
to 85 . (tank in basement, heat wave outside,)
I have puffer in hospital tank with maracyn antibiotics. Doesn't look good.
Can that temp cause bacterial issues, or is could it be I was lucky till this
<Something amiss w/ this world>
I don't believe it is. Flukes, they have all been thru Prazi, I suppose it.
Wouldn't hurt to run prophetically.
<When, where in doubt? Water changes, chem. filtrants use... Reading.
re: Advice needed.
Understood. I always look for a causation, such as a new addition to. Livestock,
cross contamination, bad food, or chemical in water that doesn't belong.
I ruled all those out, and I. can't say for. sure, but upon further looks, I
can see "capsules" within the eyes of the emperor angel. I am
running Prazi and will freshwater dip them all.
<.... look up emphysematosis>
If things don't clear up in 48 hours (In my experience, flukes die within the
first day) I will run carbon and chalk it. up to. mother nature disapproving of
my 6x2 ocean not being a viable substitute for her kin.
As time goes on, I am starting to feel these organisms are best kept for view of
snorkelers and divers. I can't be the only one.
re: Advice needed. SW dis.
Good morning Bob,
I did indeed read your play on the ent. Word.
Differences I see here are only 4 of my 12 fish show symptoms.
And some new developments occurred upon waking this morning.
The emperor appears to be coated in what looks like ich, white marks scattered
abroad. However I am certain it is not ich.
<Microscope, sampling, reading
Also, both of his eyes look as if someone drew white circles on his corneas. He
is swimming into objects, so it appears his vision has been compromised.
As for the puffer, no improvement, still alive.
I scoured the books I have, wwm, reef central and called a few, and I am truly
I have put a fan near sump, and temp has been constant 82, down from 85.
Re: Advice needed. SW dis. 7/23/15
Have an update for. you.
I used Prazi pro in the tankz and within 24 hrs, the.emperor angel has clear
eyes, full appetite and has vision back.
The puffer in hospital tank is not doing well. I've tried Prazi, maracyn 2, as
well as primafix.
Not eating. I would venture to say if he doesn't come.around today, my next step
would be clovr oil.
<Read on WWM re Puffer Diseases>
Cannot stabilize my reef tank 4/1/15
Hi Bob and Crew,
I’m just going to get right to it. I have a 300 gallon display mixed
reef tank with a 60 gallon refugium growing macro algae and a 40 gallon sump.
About 6 months ago, I noticed that many of my corals, SPS, LPS, and
leathers, started to show signs of tissue damage, bleaching, and death. The ones
that have not either died or begun to die have lost the pop in their color.
<What re N, P, K?>
Still, some others, both leathers and SPS, seem to be totally fine.
<Mmm; a red flag just popped up given this last sentence: Allelopathy via the
I have considered many causes. The problems seemed to begin around the time that
I increased the rate of my Kalkwasser drip in the tank, so I thought that a
spike in pH might be the cause.
<Mmm; indirectly.... again, I suspect the change ticked off the Leathers; they
in turn are responding, poisoning the system>
I corrected this change, and the problems persisted. Next, I started doing more
frequent water changes.
The water changes seem to help for a few days, but then randomly the leathers
will show signs of white spots or tissue loss and the SPS will start to bleach
and die from the base up. Usually the parts of the sps that are first to go are
the ones that are shaded from light, whether that be at the base or elsewhere.
What’s interesting, especially with the leathers, is that they seem to be
growing and flourishing right next to small patches where the tissue is clearly
receding. The next thing I realized was that even though it was winter my tank
was getting up to 84 or 85 degrees some days,
<Mmm; too warm>
so thinking that this might be the problem i cranked up my chiller and have had
it set at a constant 77 for two months now…still no improvement. Next I noticed
my magnesium was running a bit low even though I put Mag chips directly into my
calcium reactor, so I dosed magnesium and increased the chip count in my calcium
reactor. This seemed to help my deresa clam but not much else.
<Again, what re Potassium?>
My salinity is 1.026, alk 8, cal 400, Mag 1400, nitrate high, phosphate .05. The
reason I say “high” for nitrate is that my test only goes up to 4ppm and I am
clearly above that range. I started dosing vodka about a month ago to help
control my bioload, but I’m only up to 5ml per day and from what I’ve read I
still have a long ways to go to get to a level that will impact the
nitrates/phosphates in a tank of my size. The vodka has had no effect on
nitrates so far. I have some hair algae in the tank and diatoms on the sand bed,
but this has been the case since before I had these problems develop and it
didn’t seem to correlate with a decline in my livestock in the past. One “red
flag” I can think of is the high nitrates, and in fact I have a heavily stocked
tank. I have 5 tangs, 2 Rabbitfish, an emperor angel, saddleback butterfly,
gramma Basslet, 2 Chromis, 1 Anthias, 3 dwarf angels, and a mandarin goby. All
of the fish are honestly doing amazing, maybe the best I’ve seen them in color
and activity, which is even more perplexing.
At this point I can only think of four possible causes….1) I’m getting random
ammonia spikes from the heavy bioload that my tank cannot handle.
To address this I’ve reduced the amount I feed to two pinches of flakes and 1/4
sheet of Nori every day….sometimes some pellets and frozen shrimp to mix it up.
But I’ve certainly fed way more than this in the past on a daily basis without
problems. So can the fish alone create more bioload independent of the amount
I’m feeding them?
I wouldn’t think so, which is why I’m skeptical that this is the cause of the
problems. 2) Another possible cause is that one of my leather corals is getting
big and aggressively releasing allelopathic compounds that are nuking other
I run carbon 24/7 and I also run poly filters 24/7 and have a strong skimmer. I
was running GFO as well, but cut that out because I want the bacteria to have
fuel to grow with the vodka dosing. The leathers have behaved in the past and
thrived alongside my SPS corals, so I’m also skeptical of this as the root cause
3) Another cause that I can think of is that when I went away on vacation and
let our pet sitter feed the fish she used like half a container of pellets in a
single week. I came home and the tank was in chaos, but I can’t imagine that I
am still fighting the residual effects of this blunder, could I be?
<Perhaps a (co) factor>
I have a big cleanup crew and have done tons of water changes since then. That
was over 6 months ago. 4) My last and possibly biggest fear is that someone
dropped something into my tank like a quarter or piece of metal that is slowly
When I do water changes perhaps the toxins are diluted enough to let things
rebound, and then in a few days things take another turn for the worse? There’s
no way for me to know if this were truly the cause, is there?
<Yes; t'were it copper, it would show up as a discernible aqua blue stain on the
I would think that things would decline more steadily and be unable to rebound
if this were the case, but again, I don’t know.
It seems like just when I think I’ve turned a corner and the corals are
improving that I wake up one morning to find these burn spots on my leathers,
bleaching/tissue necrosis on my sps, and even sometimes my LPS corals as well. I
run a strong skimmer and even grow mangroves to help with the bioload. The
leather corals are as follows, toadstool, Capnella, snowflake finger leather,
green finger leather, blue Sinularia, green star polyps, orange clove polyps
(they have taken over my tank!), pink anthelia. The lights are EcoTech Radions,
I have 5 units running. I have a deep sand bed, 300 lbs of live rock, and run UV
sterilizer. The tank has been running for 4 years, and the introduction of the
second Rabbitfish and the emperor angel somewhat correlates with the decline of
I think that’s everything but please let me know if you need additional
information. What is going on here!?
Thanks and Best,
<To sum up: I would get/use a Potassium test kit.... see that this level
is about 1:1 ratio w/ [Ca] here; and a plug for a new product: Nualgi.... I
would try this here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cannot stabilize my reef tank
Thanks, Bob, that is a helpful perspective. I’ll be in touch if the problems
persist after I’ve taken the suggested actions.
<Ah; please do keep us in the loop. BobF>
Re: Specification of pH from Nestle Water. SW fish dis.
I am at a loss so thought I would seek your view. Although the param.s
were showing as normal I decided to change 80% of the water with
fresh tropical Indian Ocean water as the system was due for a change.
<... do you store new (real) seawater for a time? Have you read the SOP
on WWM re? I strongly suggest keeping to-be-used water in the dark for a
couple weeks ahead...>
This seems to have had no effect except for tiring me out. Clowns, Regal
Tang are fine but the Blueface still looks terrible and now so does the
<Something else may be "at work">
There has been some electrical discharge maybe this has got worse but
has been like it without symptoms for along time.
<Some what? I'd have this corrected... at the source... and ground the
Surely if it was flukes, bacterial or fungal the Regal would be blotchy
<Mmm; no... Am reading an article in an olde (1995) freshwater
Elasmobranch symposium collection... where the investigator is using the
diversity of helminth gonad parasites as an indicator of divergence of
potamotrygonine rays... My point is that there is at times high
specificity in such parasite fauna. WHAT is malaffecting one species MAY
NOT have much or any effect on other hosts>
Something is making the fish produce more mucus and tanks do not have
much but clowns do, confusing. Luckily they are still feeding and their
eyes are ok and so is their gill rate but they look terrible the
Blueface I would say is 50% colour and more lethargic than normal. Do
you think it could be the electricity?
<It could be; yes; but... I'd keep investigating all possibilities. See
Scroll down to "Troubleshooting".... and read and read...>
As you know I am a long way from a LFS and it would take time to get a
proper probe so if I buy a copper wire and place it in the tank and
earth it will the copper poison the fish?
<Don't do this... there are real probes, IF this is an issue as
determined by testing, LOOK for the root cause... the lighting? Heating,
Pumping? ISOLATE the cause and FIX IT... check polarity and
connections... IF YOU don't know how to do this, have a qualified
electrician do it for you>
No inverts in the tank I am at a loss as normally pathogens kill much
<... not a factual statement. Not necessarily, no>
so I still think it is something else?
<.... My young friend; how could I tell from here?>
One other point I did buy a new LED light with no manufacturers name
which does not appear to shine too bright but could it be burning them?
<The reading... it will/would take too long to write, re-write all. By
the time we were done going back and forth, all could be dead>
A very concerned Adam I have had the Blueface and Emperor for about 6
months and the Emperor was the tiniest I have seen.
Completely confused. SW fish loss unknowns
R.J. here. I'm at a loss what to do.
Here's a brief countdown of the last month, to this morning which left
me with no fish left alive in my 2-1/2 year old 50 gal saltwater tank.
I should probably mention that about 3 months ago I had a heater
on me. It malfunctioned and heated the water a Lot.
<Ahh; better to have two heaters in such a size, type system.... Both of
too little wattage that should one "stick on" it won't overheat the
system disastrously... and that you'd notice that the "pilot light" was
on continuously should it do so. Understanzee?>
I lost my fire shrimp, cleaner shrimp and diamond goby. I watched the
rest of my fish for ich - which miraculously did not develop. I was
relieved, since the tank had been ticking along beautifully since setup
with no problems. I still had my two clownfish, misc. crabs and snails
and my Kenya tree was doing great. After a month of watching and no
I added another diamond goby. The little guy settled in and all seemed
well.... for about a month and 1/2.
My son gave me a rainbow butterfly
<Ahh; don't know this common name for a Chaetodontid>
for Christmas. He seemed to settle in well. But, about a week or so
after adding him, I noticed my clownfish were acting strange. It looked
like they were looking for another sleeping spot, after sleeping in the
same place for 2-1/2 years, and acting sluggish. I thought it was
because the butterfly seemed to like their old spot. I was probably
wrong, seeing as I got up about 2 weeks ago to two dead clowns. :(
Within two days, the butterfly was gone too. I consulted with my son and
he said he'd lost his tang. Clownfish disease introduced by adding the
butterfly - which probably had it already?
No spots or fin damage on anyone. No color loss... ( Until they were
dead..of course)...and no "growths" anywhere on the fish. However, I had
noticed the butterfly listing to one side ever so slightly on occasion.
I asked my son and he said, " He's a flat bodied fish...so...they sort
of do that sometimes." I get the feeling that's when I should consulted
my saltwater fish store guy. :P
<Need to (have) sampled the dead fishes, looked under a microscope...
with references, help in identifying IF there was a pathogen/parasite at
It's a week later and my goby went this morning. Again, no spots or fin
damage, but he had been lethargic for a few days. I was hoping it was
because he was alone in the tank. I guess not.
Through this whole thing my water levels had been reading spot on. My
Kenya tree is still doing great.
<Mmm; may be allelopathogenicity from this soft coral at fault here>
I've done my water changes ( about 1/3 tank at a time) right along too.
The last one was the day after I lost my clowns.
I decided to run the tank without fish for a while and raise the
temperature a bit...in case there Was ich present. I was hoping to speed
up the life cycle. If I'm not wrong....which I very well could be...that
would be about a 6 to 8 week cycle. Right?
<Even sooner; esp. at elevated temp.>
This morning, when I got up and did my "flashlight check" ( which I do
on occasion) I saw some very small
( about less than 1/4 ") grey, multi-legged swimmers/crawlers on my live
<"Pods" of some sort; highly unlikely culprits>
They have a segmented looking body with a longer tentacle/feeler in
front and 6 to 8 "legs" on the back third of it's body. I often see a
revival of critters on the live rock, after a water change, but I don't
remember seeing these particular ones before. I'm at a loss. Should I
tear the tank down, rather than risk putting good fish into a
<A massive water change or two might be in order; and/or the use of
chemical filtrants... Am asking that you read here:
and the linked files you lead yourself too; particularly Cnidarian
Can I treat the water without harming the Kenya? If so....for what?
<.... depends on what you mean by treating. I would do the water change
outs, add activated carbon, perhaps PolyFilter in your filter/flow path
and not add other chemicals>
Again, my water levels have not been off, even with all the dead fish. I
expected to see, at least the nitrate levels rise. Yet....Nothing.
I don't know what to do. I should probably mentioned I'm disabled, so if
I can salvage the tank, that'd be great. I spend a lot of time just
watching it. ( or rather...I used to).
Any suggestions? Please!
<The reading, and cogitating furiously for now... act only with
Perception is reality, all that people are concerned about is their
perception about things not the truth or underlying reality of the real
<Mmm; I disagree... perception is limited sensorial experience... to the
extent one is able and willing to perceive their universe, along w/
their value system (feelings), their universe is only a successive
approximation of reality... E.g.; whether you perceive the tide is
coming in, going out... it is. Bob Fenner>
Help to identify and treat disease
I was wondering if you know what this disease is, nobody seems to want
<On the Paracanthurus here I take it... Have you sampled
any of these... looked under a 'scope? Either something surface like
monogenetic Trematodes (flukes), or Microsporidean>
I took these pictures today a week later, his forehead is now expanding, I
have done extensive freshwater dips and am dosing Cupramine but no reaction
<Not treatable w/ copper>
I'd really like some help with this and don't know what
Thanks in advance,
<See WWM re the above... the former are easily treated w/ prophylactic
dips/baths and Anthelminthics, the latter... not treatable as yet as far as
I'm aware. Only improving the environment, nutrition... optimizing and
stabilizing the fishs health will it be able to improve if Microsproridean
(internal) involvement. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help to identify and treat disease
Thank you for the quick reply, the bulging band across the forehead has
receded somewhat as four white parasites now hang out of it whereas it was a
smooth bulge before. I will have a go at the dips with some trematode
medication and ease off with the Cupramine.
<Good; I'd give up on the copper... see WWM re this and Tangs; a poor match>
I see hypo is ineffective for flukes too and the main tank has been in hypo
for many weeks so by process of elimination it may well be flukes. Thanks
<Easily identified w/ sampling, microscopic exam... and just as easily
eliminated. READ on WWM re.
Re: Help to identify and treat disease
Hi Guys unfortunately not looking good at present. Video update here
<Mmm; Paracanthurus looks like it's developing HLLE, the Y. Tang breathing
hard... rest of fish look fine; but a Clown Trigger (dangerous; will kill
other fishes in time), and a hamlet/sweetlips?! Not easily kept>
Have dosed with
<I see; a product of Praziquantel>
3 days ago as recommended in case is Trematodes but now yellow tang looks
like is bleeding from lateral line and heavily infected with growths causing
Blue tang continues to be disfigured as the 'parasite' erodes deeper,
especially in the face, and dotted sweetlips also affected
with holes appearing in his head over the top and underneath gills. The
purple lips Flagfin has a single dot on the forehead that has been there
about a week but the join of his pelvic fins is blood red. Bannerfish eats a
few bits off the yellow tang on cleaning service and clown trigger seems
largely unaffected. The setup is about 2 years old but never had such a
difficult issue. It is about 3.5 weeks into the infection. Is fish only
setup with uv, protein skimmer (both off for 3 days on meds) and sump filter
tank below so any meds can go in the display tank. Anything else I might
try? I don't have a scope unfortunately. Thanks Ed
<The scope; as originally stressed. There's very little sense in
"treating" for something you don't know. Perhaps a download and
reading of the second ed. of Ed Noga's "Fish Disease; Diagnosis &
Treatment"... you can get from Amazon.com for a nominal charge for the
e-version. Call around; some fish stores, colleges w/ bio. depts. will have
microscopes, folks to help.
Re: Unable to keep certain fish in my reef aquarium
<Do read on WWM re NO3 and wet-dry filtration. You may well want to
modify yours. B>
Mysterious Fish Deaths, Please Help
<Amber.... you know there is a Centropyge angel named after a spelling of your
I would like to start by saying, as many others have, that your advice is beyond
appreciated and absolutely priceless. I have spent several hundred hours on this
and have always found the answer I was looking for, until now. I will try to
keep this simple.
I have a 300 gallon salt water tank. It is roughly a year and a half old.
This is my 5th tank, and I have been in the hobby for 4 years. Fish have been
added every 2 months or so, and with the exception of an occasional Ich
outbreak, I have had fairly good luck, knock on wood.
The inhabitants were as follows:
1 Blue Hippo Tang
4 Percula Clowns
1 Yellow Eye'd Kole
1 Achilles Tang
1 Powder Brown Tang
1 Juvi Imperator
1 Cream Angel
1 Bi-color Foxface
1 Goldflake Angel
All are between 1.5 to 3 inches in length, and will be relocated to a bigger
tank when the time comes.
My water parameters are as follows:
Temperature is a constant 78F.
I'm operating a 100 gallon wet dry sump, with 3 UV filters and a protein
I do not run carbon, for fear of HLLE.
<I see... though its use is implicated, I am still a fan of GAC use on a
punctuated basis (every month or so...)>
Herein lies the problem:
One week ago, I noticed the Kole laying on her side on the bottom, breathing
normally with zero visible markings on her. I caught her easily
in a net, and moved her into quarantine. She was dead by morning. I figured it
was an issue with her swim bladder, as it came on so suddenly and again, she had
nothing visibly wrong with her, was eating the night before, etc.
Two days after the Kole, the Achilles displayed the same issue. Laying on her
side, body curved in a 'C' shape, breathing normally but unable to swim. Threw
her into quarantine and she was dead within 6 hours.
3 days ago, the Powder Brown met the exact same fate, and just yesterday so did
the Bi-Color Foxface.
To say I am at a complete loss would be an understatement. I have a grounding
wire in the sump, there is zero current getting into the tank. My water is
absolutely pristine, as I have tested it myself almost hourly at this point, and
have brought in samples to three different LFS's in the area. I have been doing
20-30% water changes daily, since the loss of the Kole. No one shows any sign of
duress whatsoever and then all of a sudden they are on the bottom of the tank,
when just mere hours before they were up swimming, eating, and behaving
normally. There is zero aggression or bullying to speak of, and again, zero
markings of any sort were on all 4 that died.
<Strange... and frightening... is this some sort of parasite peculiar to
Acanthuroids? My bet, guess is on something they are encountering,
ingesting in this system (on the rock, substrate).... The list is very large...
"just" BGA of various kinds... hydrozoans... But, how to remove
it? Perhaps supplant it with other foods? Oh, IF you have occasion to
save/preserve the specimens... one could profit from necropsying their
It is an absolute conundrum, and no one else in the hobby that I know
personally, nor any of the LFS's have any sort of solution.
If anyone could weigh in, and help me to figure out what in the world I could
possibly be missing here, I would be ever so grateful.
Thank you again for all you do for those of us in the hobby!
<Ahh; my guess is predicated on the relatedness of these fishes; their feeding
modes. There might be merit in changing some parameter in the system; to favor
other life forms... allowing NO3, HPO4 to accumulate for instance, increasing or
decreasing lighting... to "get rid" of the presumed noxious material. Do please
report back your further observations, findings. Bob Fenner>
Copper Alkano-amine Complex In Marine Tanks.
I was at a loss of why my fish were dying as it
was sudden death (less than 24 hours) with no visible spots.
<Mmm; something environmental highly likely. IF you'll list the order in
which they're dying, and their relative sizes, this information may
The signs were very fast breathing with blotchy skin.
<... too little oxygen, and/or too much carbon dioxide? Some other
source (common) of poisoning... PLEASE READ HERE:
the third tray: Toxic Water Conditions
for background: Could be abiological (e.g. metal), toxic tankmate/s,
I am in a remote location and the only copper I have is described as
Copper Alkano-amine complex.
<Is a class of "chelated" copper/cupric ion>
Is this effective in killing most single cell parasites, deadly to
<Some are; some are not... some formulations made for swimming pools can
work with ornamental aquatics. IF there's time, it's BEST to try a
sample out on some less-valuable fishes>
The blotchy skin has gone but the fish (only survivor) is still
breathing fast, I hope just an after effect of gill infestation.
I am surprised he made it this far.
I have added a large amount of this but after a few hours it shows zero
copper on an API test kit.
<... the test kit MUST be one FOR chelated solutions (i.e. NOT free
copper; e.g. copper sulfate products)>
It will take me a few days to get Cupramine which I have had best
<A very good product indeed. I have used many hundreds of gallons of
this over the decades in the trade>
My question is should I keep adding this as I have
already added 100's of drops until I get the required level of around
0.5 or wait until the Cupramine arrives?
<Can't and won't say without knowing exactly what it is that
you're treating here. IT MIGHT WELL BE that you're just poisoning your
fishes (further). Do you have a microscope and know how to use it? You
should sample and examine... to determine that there's something worth
treating with copper here; rather than just blindly pouring it in>
I have read there are many different types of ICH and perhaps this is a
strain that the spots are no visible perhaps because it is a small
<I'd also strongly encourage your reading re the use of quinine
Broader application, and not as toxic when used appropriately>
I was amazed how quickly this came on as the day before there were no
symptoms. I changed 80% of the water which did not help so I
thought it must be an infection.
<Again; I really doubt it. The root issue here is environmental. READ>
Naso Tang; gone disappeared 6/7/14
My name James, my Naso tang developed ick, I treated the ick maybe to
<too> late. The next morning I could not find the tang at all. I moved
everything out of the way.
I still cannot find any sign of the Naso Tang.
Where did it go?
Thank you for your response, love the web site
<Either jumped out and turned into carpet jerky, carried away and eaten
by a companion animal... taken out by someone else,
is hidden therein, or died,
dissolved/decomposed quickly. Happens. Bob Fenner>
re: Naso Tang 6/7/14
I found underneath a rock, do you recommend another type of tank for a
90 gallon tank?
<Tang? Yes... See WWM... re Tang Selection/Stocking.... Do you know how
to use the search tool and indices?
scroll down.... BobF>
My friend's fish are sick
First I'd like to apologize for my
spelling mistakes, English is not my
mother language but I'll do my
<I understand you perfectly; thank you>
So I contact you because all the fish in
my friend's tank are getting sick.
He has a 200 gallons reef tank.
Here are some pictures of the tank :
<Ah; very nice>
People already told him to move all the
fish or the rocks but
unfortunately my friend has no
other aquarium to stock the rocks
<Looks fine as is... are you concerned
w/ a/the lack of circulation through the
rock pile? I would not be>
So everything started 3 months ago his
Acanthurus leucosternon started to
have grey/black spot (like black Ich or
Here is a picture of him
<Mmm; I see some white spots... likely
indicative of Crypt... but not too
He tried garlic, grapefruit and vitamin
on him but nothing seems to work,
the fish keeps the black/grey
little dot and he's rubbing himself on
<Some such scratching, glancing is
natural; particularly with some of the
very problematic "catching" tang
species... Best to "treat" indirectly as
he's been doing. Do read here:
and the linked files above>
Everyone accords to say that if it was
Ich he'd have died already.
<Mmm; no; not necessarily... BEST to
have a go at sampling and looking under
a microscope... Easy to do>
4 days ago the others fishes started to
get also sick but it seems that
there are different sickness.
<May be more than one>
Here are some pics :
Synchiropus splendidus getting
<Mmm, could be the treatments alone...
the grapefruit et al. added; triggering
a cascade event amongst the corals,
poisoning the fishes... stressing them,
making them more susceptible to the
Crypt. See here re:
and as much of the files above till you
understand the potential situation.
... I would hold off/stop with the
Anthias doing the same
<This fish looks burned
chemically... and more Crypt on the
He tested the parameters and they're all
fine, the nitrate are a just a
little bit high but nothing bad
<Not problematical of/by itself>
I guess he bought some contaminated fish
at the LFS but usually the LFS
treat them before selling them I
guess some parasite and bad others
survived(stress probably did not help
<ALL MUST do their own
isolation/acclimation/quarantine of new
a sad and expensive lesson here>
I just went back from his house and it's
getting worst so I come here in
hope that you can help me
identifying what's wrong with the fish
and if there's
<... I'd be reading on WWM re
Cryptocaryon cures.... Starting here:
He almost tried everything reef safe,
<... not useful. There are NO such "reef
safe" treatments that are efficacious...
that is, that actually work>
he's thinking of using UV fertilizer
<Sterilizer... again... will NOT cure an
entrenched Protozoan infestation>
for 10 weeks. Do you think it will help
or do you have any other advice ?
<READ, and QUICKLY. Formulate a plan...
EITHER in-tank, or moving all fishes
Thanks in advance for your reply,
<Thank you for the care, preparation,
image-work you've sent along. PLEASE do
write back if any part of this message
is incomplete or unclear. Bob Fenner>
Re: My friend's fish are
Thank you a lot for your reply I'll tell
my friend what to do and hope his
tank will do fine.
Have a great week-end and again thank
Best regards from Belgium,
<Oh! And you... a friend just came back
from a "bier tour" there... Said of all
things that folks were making IPAs (!?)
more... less of your fab "white" biers.
common ailments... SW, fishes
Hello Bob. I have 2 strange cases going on in my tank, and have
spent a few days searching and reading on possible causes. I have found
very similar threads on WWB, that seem indicative on what is going on. I
would like to state them and ask if my analysis seems right.
1. Miniatus grouper, (3 inches) has a very large eye on one side. It is
not cloudy, suggesting it is a physical injury, and not an infection. My
hypothesis here is either another fish, or a rock, caused this swelling.
He still eats very good, Mysis, krill, clam etc, but the larger eye is
very much noticeable. Treatment: good water quality and nutrition.
2. Indian Trigger (5 inches) Has white spots or patches on only one side
of his body. Have developed there a few days ago, and have not spread or
reduced any. Certainly do not believe it is parasitic in nature, ich
Again, physical injury/repair. Still eats anything I put in there, and
doesn't any abnormal. Same scenario here as the aforementioned, good
parameters and food.
I do have a .3 copper (Cupramine) in the tank. It has been in there about
3 weeks now, I was thinking this could be irritating/itchy the fish. On
Monday, I will start to use poly pads to remove it.
What do you think of my diagnosis?
<As stated. B>