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FAQs on Butterflyfish Trauma

FAQs on Butterflyfish Disease: Butterflyfish Disease 1, Butterflyfish Disease 2, Angels and Butterflyfishes &Crypt,  
FAQs on Butterflyfish Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Infectious, Parasitic, Treatments

Related Articles: Butterflyfishes

Related FAQs: Butterflyfish, Butterflyfish Identification, Butterflyfish Systems, Butterflyfish Foods/Feeding/NutritionButterflyfish Compatibility, Butterflyfish Behavior, Butterflyfish Selection, Butterflyfish Reproduction,

The vast majority of BFs are lost due to "incidental" trauma/stress from collection, handling, shipping; including not being fed till received by retailers, etailers


Butterflyfishes for Marine

Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBook on Amazon: Available here
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Ailing Pearlscale Butterflyfish     7/18/17
Thank you in advance for "listening" to my sick fish problem.
<What we're here for!>
Back in May (`24th) I picked up a group of Butterflyfish for my FOWLR tank (2 Pakistani, a Longnose, a Saddleback and a Pearlscale).
<Ohhhh, all faves of mine>
I have been using a three 50gal tank QT system with hyposalinity (1.01 SG) (I have since read your recommendation of skipping the QT and just doing a FW dip). They stayed at that level for 3 weeks. Everyone did well except the Pearlscale - he would not eat. Since the QT tanks were all one system I took 3-4 days to
raise the salinity to 1.021 which is where my display tank is at and moved everyone but the Pearlscale into the display tank. I was tempted to move him to but then I noticed he had a patch of darker scales on his side (pic
1). After a few days I noticed there were a few dark dots near the base of his tale - I thought - black spot disease?
<Mmm; no; not this. Likely simple trauma; damage from collection, handling, shipping>

I didn't see how that could have
survived the hyposalinity but nonetheless I tried a treatment of PraziPro.
After 5 days I remembered I had some Chloroquine Phosphate in the house.
So I did a 20% water change and treated him with that. I spoke to the manufacturer and they suggested giving 2 treatments 3 days apart. If that had no effect to try erythromycin. There was no change - in fact the dark
area on his side was getting larger. I added carbon and a 20% water change.
Then I went to the LFS and he didn't have erythromycin so he have me two treatments worth of CLOUT tablets to try. I tried two treatments.
<Mmm; I wish you would have written sooner. None of these treatments is of use; will help. I'd move this fish into the main/display and not worry re biological disease here>
No improvement (Pic 2). By the way it had now been 6 weeks and I still haven't seen him eat. I added carbon again and did another 20% water change and figured I would let him live out the few days he had left in peace. A few days went by and I found some OLD (probably ineffective) erythromycin (it still has a 'Mail Order Petshop' label -so real old). I figured the worst it could do is hasten the death of a lost fish so I treated him with that.
Still no change. I put carbon back in. Now I am out of options (I probably poisoned him with too many drugs). Unless you have any other suggestions I will just let things lie. But from the pics, do you have any idea what this might be? I would appreciate any insight you can give.
Mike S.
<Move this fish. Bob Fenner>

Sick Longnose BF?   03/07/06 Hi all!  I have another question for you fine folks. I just got my Longnose Butterfly and he has done great so far.  He eats very well, and he loves to swim around like he's strutting his stuff. <Is then> But i noticed today that he has a little red spots , at the base of his beak at both sides.  I attached a picture for you. <Unfortunately these didn't "come through"> I researched other pictures on the net and none of them had his little spots.  Is this something i should be worried about or is something that varies from fish to fish. <Some reddening does occur in Forcipigers... due to? Stress? From? In general this is not a sign to treat their system... unless it is affecting feeding behavior> His skin is clear right there and the red is underneath the skin.  Thanks for the help!! Nick
<I would not "panic" here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Longnose?   03/07/06
Sorry for the picture not going through.  I will try to attach it as a file this time. <No worries. And do see it here> Today it seem to be not as red as it was yesterday so maybe it was a "stress situation, upon arrival, into his new home.  He eats very well so i guess it is not a problem. <I hope not as well> I the picture can help. Or maybe it could help someone else since a popular fish.  Thank you very much for my newfound peace of mind. <Welcome. Do see the "blood mark"... appears to be well-defined... likely from a "bump" into something and likely will heal of its own accord. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Red coloration on a raccoon 8/25/05 Hello again WWM crew. Update. My pacific tang has started eating just about anything I put in his QT tank, and is now also rather hyper. He has another week to go before his trip to the big tank! I purchased a raccoon butterfly yesterday from my local LFS. I looked for all of the bad indicators as described in the article on raccoon Butterflyfish. ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/raccoon.htm) He ate at the store, had no reddening, and was very bright colored. This evening I got home from work and noticed that the top of his mouth/nose area was starting to get slightly red and it looked like he had a small piece of flesh coming off. <Common... from being moved, netted... bumping into things... dangerous if the mouth is too damaged...> I attempted to take a picture, but it is hard to get a close up shot of his nose with any sort of clarity. I didn't notice any red coloration around his fins as of yet. Today he seems less energetic and would eat none of the brine shrimp I dropped in the tank unlike last night. He still has good coloring, but does appear to be breathing slightly quicker. I'm not sure how the reddening nose ties into this next fact, but I have seen him glance off of the pvc couplings I have put in  his QT tank. After researching your site, and searching for just about every combination of red mouth, glancing, and Butterflyfish I could think of I'm now writing to you for help. He is currently in a 10 gallon tank with a whisper 10 gallon power filter, a heater set to 81 degrees, and two 3'' pvc elbows (I have been thinking about putting in an air stone). <I would> The water parameters are 1.0235 specific gravity, ph of 8.2, ammonia and nitrites at zero, and a slightly detectable nitrate of about 2-3(barely registers on test kit). The water from the tank came directly from my main tank which currently has about 75 lbs of live rock and 18 turbo snails. The raccoon was drip acclimated for about 2.5 hours when I initially obtained him. Thanks in advance for any tips on care or diagnosis you can provide. Rick <... very likely just resultant from the move... keep observing, be ready to dip, move the fish to better, larger quarters... Bob Fenner>

Chaetodon decussatus 7/31/05 Hi! <Hello> I am from India and I have been referring to this site for information quite regularly but this is the first time that 'am actually asking a question. <I see> Couple of days back I got myself an Juv. Koran Angel and a Chaetodon decussatus. Today I noticed that the Chaetodon decussatus has some kind of reddish bruise above the right eye, other than that all the fish are doing fine. Could you give me some insight into the situation. Any help appreciated. <Mmm, very likely the butterfly has suffered some sort of physical trauma (a "knock" on the head) in being captured, transported... I do hope it recovers in your good care. Optimized, stable water quality and frequent feedings are what you want to be careful to provide here. Bob Fenner> Regards Rajeev Menon

Heniochus diphreutes maybe in Trouble - Urgent - Please advise Hello WWM Crew - Need some advice. I purchased a 5" Heniochus diphreutes about 3 days ago, which is in my 40 G quarantine tank. My quarantine tank is cycled and I don't usually use copper in it unless I really need to. The water parameters are: Ammonia 0, pH 8.3, Nitrites 0, Nitrates ~ 10, Temp 80. I do about a 5 - 10% water change in the quarantine directly from my 300 Gal reef which has very stable water conditions. o.k. -- Now the problem - The butterfly is eating very well and I feed it vitamin enriched Mysid shrimp fairly frequently in small quantities. It also seems to be swimming around the quarantine, somewhat curious and looking for food all over. However, over the past three days, I have started to see a small white growth/sore on one of the sides of the fish. It started out looking like a small wound, but it is starting to show some white foam like growth on it. The fish does seem to shiver every now and then. I was originally planning on using Melafix to see if I could disinfect the wound, but now I am not so sure that this is not a parasite. <I would not use this tea mixture> I have attached a picture of the fish, and have marked the wound/parasite as well. Could you please help me identify what this may be? Should I start copper sulphate? Or move ahead with my plans for a MelaFix treatment. <Likely either an "owee" from capture, transport... or an expression of stress...> I look forward to your advice. Thank You as always.  -Azim <If it were me, my fish, system, I would subtend the quarantine procedure in this case... dip/bath the Heniochus... place it in your main system... where there are hopefully biological cleaners... This is "worth the risk" (small) of actual biological disease transmission. Bob Fenner>

- Wound on Butterflyfish - Hi brilliant aquarists! Thanks a bunch for your help in the past.  My fish only aquarium is working wonderfully thanks to you lot.  Water is absolutely pristine (no traces of ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, pH = 8.3, specific gravity = 1.023).  The tank is stocked with: 1. one 3.5" yellow tang 2. one 2" maroon clownfish 3. one 3" raccoon butterfly fish (picture included) 4. one 1" damsel (the blue one with a bright yellow tail) The question is the butterfly fish.  I notice on its right side near its fin is an abrasion of some sort (you can kind of see this in the picture attached). <I see.> It does occasionally rub the abrasion against the piece of dead coral I have in the tank.  Is this something I should be concerned about? <Yes.> Is one of the other fish picking on it? <Could be, could also just be an acquired wound... but you need to make sure it doesn't get worse.> Also, the clownfish has been doing great except just a few days ago its dorsal fin looks like its been chomped on. <I'd blame the damsel.> The butterfly fish just came into this tank about two weeks ago (quarantined) - could it be picking on the clownfish? <Could be - is something you really need to sit down at watch for.> Regarding the damsel, lately it looks like it is picking stuff off of the tang's body.  The tang gets close to the damsel, turns slightly to the side and lets the damsel pick at it.  Is this normal?? <It's not abnormal - many juvenile fish act as cleaners.> Lastly, what do you all think about adding a niger trigger? <That would likely work out well in this tank... I wouldn't add much more.> What size would you recommend considering the sizes of the fish I already have. <Smallish - not much larger than anyone else.> The tank is 90gal. Thanks a bunch!
<Cheers, J -- >
Re: Abrasion? Dear WWM Crew: I had the irresistible opportunity to purchase and ostensibly healthy 5" Chelmon rostratus that had been returned to my LFS after well over a year in another customer's tank (he moved). It is a beautiful specimen that eats just about any frozen food.   I've never handled a fish this big before and had some trouble getting him into my 10G QT. Now I see what appears to be a slightly bloody abrasion on it's left side. (see attached photos). <I see> I have been adding Kent Marine Pro-Tech Coat daily since I notice this. Should I treat with an antibiotic? If so, what? Am I mistaking something more ominous for a "simple" abrasion? It continues to behave normally and eat well. <I would place this fish in your main/display system without much worry. It is very likely pathogen free... and will only suffer from being quarantined much longer. Bob Fenner> Your input will be highly valued. Thanks, Steve Allen

Banged-Up Butterfly I have had a Pearlscale butterfly fish for 5 weeks now and I am wondering if it is safe to put it in my large tank yet? I bought it from a local pet store and he was in great shape. I took him home and put him in my quarantine tank with 2 blue/yellow tailed damsels I also bought. A few days later, I noticed he had a lot of scales missing from both sides of his body. I removed the rocks I had in the tank and also the 2 damsels. I could see his pink flesh where the scales were missing. First of all, what could have caused this??? <Could be that he was somehow damaged during handling/introduction, or that there was an "incident" with his quarantine "pals", the damsels. Maybe he even just scraped up against something in the tank...hard to be sure> I have been adding penicillin to keep down any bacteria infection and stress coat. He is always active and hungry. <Good steps on your part, and great to hear that he's always eating! A fish that eats usually recovers well, in my experience!> I can never seem to feed him enough to fill him up. His scales still have not fully returned ? I am wondering if there is any info you can give me as to how this could have happened and if it is safe to put it in my big tank yet? Any info would be great. Diggy <Well, Diggy, I'm not sure if the scales will ever completely re-generate, but I'd make sure that the flesh is in good shape and that there is absolutely no sign of infection before you put him in the main tank. I'd really fatten him up, and then release him into the main tank if he appears otherwise healthy. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Threadfin Butterfly Injury Hi, I have a 3 in. threadfin butterfly. It now has a bad injury on it's side. Its scales are all shredded off, and you can see red on it. He is eating but doesn't seem to be swimming around a lot as before. The wound is like the size of the quarter, it looks real bad. So how do I help him recover, and hope he doesn't get an infection? Thanks! <Well, the fact that he's eating is very good. Do use vitamin preparations to enrich his foods during recovery. As far as injury treatment is concerned, a few things you can do: First, maintain the highest water quality that you can in his treatment tank (do remove him to a quarantine/hospital tank for treatment). You can administer "stress coat" preparations, such as Novaqua, to protect and coat the fish's skin. Lowering the specific gravity in his treatment tank can prevent some infectious diseases from manifesting themselves. If a secondary inspection does manifest itself, do begin treatment with antibiotics. Consult the disease treatment resources on wetwebmedia.com for much more information on wound management. Stay on top of his condition, and he should recover well! Good luck! Scott F.>
Threadfin Injury (Follow-up)
Thanks, currently I am feeding him all of his vitamins, the salt is low. The injury seems to be better, ill keep you updated. Thanks! <Glad that he's doing well. Keep up the good work! Scott F.>

Butterflyfishes for Marine

Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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