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Mandarin Disease FAQs: Parasitic  
(see also: Mandarins/Blennies/Gobies & Crypt,)

FAQs on Mandarin Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Infectious, Trauma, Treatment

Related FAQs: Mandarin Disease/Health 1, Mandarin Disease 2, Mandarin Disease 3, Mandarin Disease 4,
Mandarins/Blennies/Gobies & Crypt, Psychedelic "Gobies"/Dragonets/Mandarins & their Relatives 1, Mandarins , Mandarins 3, Mandarin Identification, Mandarin Behavior, Mandarin Systems, Mandarin Compatibility, Mandarin Selection, Mandarin Feeding, Mandarin Reproduction,

Related Articles: Psychedelic "Gobies"/Dragonets/Mandarins, real Gobies & their Relatives,


Help! 2 New sick mandarins      9/20/15
Sorry about the file size! I linked to YouTube instead..full screen will make it easier to see..
Dear WWM crew,
First of all, thank you for building such an incredible site with such a wealth of reliable information! I would be lost without you! I believe the new pair of mandarin dragonets I just got in 2 days ago (in QT) are infected with Costia (Ichthyobodo) and I can't seem to get rid of it!
<What have you tried thus far?>
I looked at the shipping bag water under a microscope and found lots of  them.
I attached a video I took of them if you don't mind confirming that this is in fact Ichthyobodo.
<From the shape, movement; likely so: Here's a better vid:
Unfortunately, I did not dip the mandarins before putting them in QT- I was nervous about the high ammonia levels of the shipping water (0.50 ppm)
<At times MUCH higher>
and wanted to transfer them quickly.
<For browsers, see my Acclimation protocols on WWM. Once ammonia is diluted out of shipping water and fish/es, not a big deal to dip if they're otherwise in health>
After I discovered the parasites a couple hours later, I took them out of QT to give them both a dilute formalin/Methylene blue dip for 30 minutes and they both seemed like happy fish the whole time. The next day I fed them baby brine shrimp and they both ate. I repeated the dip, but took them out after 20 minutes because they appeared stressed like they were looking for a way out of the dip container.
<Typical behavior; had it been freshwater, formalin containing or seawater>
Today I fed them baby brine again and decided to leave them alone, however now the female looks extra slimy and is breathing heavy.
<Mandarins are naturally very slimy>
I took a look at the tank water under the microscope and the parasites are in the tank too. I don't think another dip would help at this point. Should I treat the whole tank now??
<Yes I would>
What course of action do you think I should take???
<A quinine compound... see WWM Re. Bob Fenner>
parameters look fine- 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, pH 8.2, temp 78F. I greatly appreciate your help!
Re: Help! 2 New sick mandarins, Ichthyobodo and Tea Tree Oil    10/7/15

Hi Bob!
Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly! I just wanted to give you an update, and perhaps offer a theory? I was able to order Crypto-pro (Chloroquine phosphate) which came in two days later. Unfortunately, one of the mandarins didn't make it that long. I began treatment on the surviving mandarin as soon as the medication came in with a single dose at 15mg/l, although by that time his breathing was already labored. He lived for 4 more days, and a post-mortem skin scrape showed he was heavily infected with Ichthyobodo.
So since at that point I had the medication on hand, I figured I'd try again and ordered 2 more mandarins, figuring I could cure any infection if I treated it early. When they arrived I found the parasite in the bag water, again, this time both were breathing heavy from day 1. I immediately dosed CP at 15mg/l, but one of the mandarins died just 2 days later, the other was excessively slimy, breathing heavy, and did not appear to be improving. So I put some carbon in the filter and did a 25% water change to remove the medication. Then as I was combing the internet for ideas on what to do, I read that mandarins are sensitive to medications (like copper) and can cause them to produce so much slime that their gills become congested and they suffocate. I also know that tea tree oil is used on people to dry out wounds like cuts/scrapes/blisters/acne (take a good whiff and it'll clear your sinuses too!), is found in Melafix and is considered safe to use on most fish. Now, I know how you feel "natural" treatments like this are pretty much useless, and I completely agree with you, but I may have actually found a use for it!!! I thought if I could dry up some of the mucus to decongest her gills and help her breathe, then maybe her immune system will be able to fight off the parasite?? So I grabbed some 100% tea tree oil from the pharmacy and put 2 drops in the tank (10 gal) while she was sleeping. By morning she had shed some of the mucus and was able to breathe normal again! She still wasn't eating so I did this for 4 more days, and now she is very active, healthy, and eating like a pig! I finally have a happy mandarin! I'm sure the tea tree oil didn't directly kill the parasite or anything, but maybe it at least helped
her breathe? What do you think??
<Got me.... as all anecdotal accounts go; it's impossible to sort out cause/effect w/ one trial and multiple factors>
I'd love to know your thoughts on this
Thank you for all your help!
<Thank you for your report. Bob Fenner>

Ich - Red Slime - Mandarin Acclimation (sel., fdg.... gen.)– 02/19/14
Thanks in advance for your time.
<<Hiya John…quite welcome>>
I have three questions, which I'm sure have been answered elsewhere so feel free to redirect me.
180 gallon with live rock (no coral yet but hope to), T5HO lights right now but will switch to LED with coral addition, assortment of snails, crabs, two cleaner shrimp and a pistol shrimp, below tank sump, protein skimmer, no refugium, stocked early with about 2000 pods which I still see in the tank and on LR.  Tank was set up around October 2013
1. I had an outbreak of Ich (vacation, pet sitter) that wiped out my tank except for a purple Firefish.  Firefish has been in quarantine (bare bottom tank, sp gravity 1.016)
<<Do consider adding a length of PVC pipe for the fish to hide in
.  A ‘bare’ tank is unnerving for any fish, but especially so for shy, timid species like the Firefish.>>
and the DT has been empty of fish as well.  Adequate for breaking the cycle or at least putting the Ich into a dormant state?
<<Four to six weeks fallow should “break the cycle” as you say…but 3 months will do better towards eliminating any “dormancy” issues.>>

 Is a slow drip acclimatization okay to put Firefish back in, and if so how slow?  Slow drip acclimation is fine (though you could do the tried and true  “float the bag, add small amounts of water” acclimation as well).  One to two drips per second works for me in most cases…but do search the site re ‘drip acclimation’ for a lot more info.>>
2.  After all the fish were removed, developed an outbreak of red slime as well as green slime on LR and substrate.  Coincidence or correlation?
<<Hard to say, but may well indicate a chemical/biological imbalance that was already stressing the fish.>>
<<Check bio-mineral content and get things back in balance.  Keeping Magnesium, Calcium, and Alkalinity in balance…and at the upper limits…helps significantly with controlling nuisance slime algae, in my experience.>>
Thoughts on vodka treatment?
<<I have used this method on-and-off for years (once with disastrous results, if I’m going to be honest), and do see a benefit when used judiciously.  It’s no panacea, but can be a useful adjunct…though I would recommend here that you first address the water chemistry and see if this does the job.>>
3.  Getting ready and excited to restock tank.  Thinking about starting with a pair of Blue/Green Mandarins so there won't be a hold lot of competition and harassment to give these guys a head start.  Thoughts on ORA vs. wild caught?
<<Definitely ORA…these fishes will take prepared foods ( get/use New Life Spectrum pelleted food) and have a much better chance of surviving long term.>>
With the pods not really having a predator would the population be adequate for them?
<<Not likely in the long run…thus the need for animals that will accept prepared foods.>>
Thoughts on a method or need for quarantine?
<<Mandarins/Dragonets, in my opinion, are less risky…and do much better…when acclimated right to the display.>>

Would a UV sterilizer ran every other week or so have an effect on pods?
<<Little if any…and likewise re controlling any nuisance organisms. >>
Do these have a better chance of survival as a pair or singly?
<<They can be kept either way…though if kept together do try to get a true “pair” or at the very least add the male and female to the system “together.”>>
Thanks again,
John A
<<Happy to share…  EricR>>

Mandarin dragonet as a vector    6/27/13
Hi crew!  I know you have probably answered this question but I am unable to find it. Three weeks ago my mandarin dragonet was in the main tank with a flame angel and a watchman goby. The flame angel began showing signs of some disease. I wasn't sure what it was at the time, Ich or Brooklynella. Within 2 days I pulled all the fish out and put them in QTs. The mandarin went into a separate QT. Turns out it was brook.  He has shown no signs of it.
<Very common for Callionymids not to show symptoms of external parasite infestations... they're very slimy... But, the parasites ARE still there>
 I would like to move him into another QT that has already cycled and has live rock/pods but does house another fish. Is it possible this mandarin could be hosting this parasite without showing symptoms and infect the other fish?
<Ah yes>
 At what point does one consider the fish "safe/clean" to house with others?
<Well; more a matter of "degrees of likely safe"... the universe is rarely very discreet. Have I had you read through the parasitic system FAQs on WWM Jen? I would wait at least four weeks... more if the animal/s appear okay, are eating, the treatment/isolation systems not too hard to maintain.>
 Thank you, Jen
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Mandarin dragonet as a vector    6/27/13

I have read through a ton of information but all have to do with removing (or not) a non symptomatic fish from the main.
<Ah, then this will be it (our bit of corr. here)>
This fish was removed immediately and has been in a QT by himself for 3 weeks. I agree that the QT is not hard to maintain, but I have 4 QTs going at one time along with the main. It is becoming very time consuming. 
I do appreciate the answer and left the little guy alone in his tank. I will wait another week or so before contemplating this move. Well I'm off to buy more copepods for him. Thank you again, Jen
<Excelsior! BobF>

Mandarins and External Parasites - 05/22/06 Hey everyone, <<Hello Marc>> Just a question. I read recently on a reef forum that Mandarin fish are not susceptible to white spot due to a heavy mucus layer. Is this correct?? <<Though not immune, they are indeed quite resistant to external parasite infestation...too bad they're not as "immune" to starvation in the average marine tank>> Thanks, Marc <<Regards, EricR>>

Mandarin fish disease I have read that mandarin fish do not catch "Ick". <Not true in my experience> Is this also true of "Velvet"? <They can catch both!> Can they carry/transmit these diseases to other fish? <Yep> Should they be quarantined? <Yes sir, as well as any living thing added to your aquarium for 4+ weeks> Thanks again! <Sure thing - M. Maddox>

Very Sick Mandarin (4/13/04) Hi, my name is Kevin, <Steve Allen here> My last letter asked if I was proceeding in a sensible direction but I didn't get an answer. <Apologies. I don't know what could have happened to your inquiry.> My psychedelic mandarin is in big trouble with ich. PLEASE help. 10 gal. quarantine 2 small fluorescents whisper filter ammonia = 0 nitrates = 0 nitrites = 0 (just added the fish April 3) ph is all over the place, it was great (8.3 Sunday) off the low end last night, added buffer and was 8.3 this morning. <Bad news. Try to find a way to control this as big fluctuations are definitely unhealthy.> 82 degrees salinity = 1.018 <Gradually lower to 1.009-1.011 to be effective against ich. Higher levels are generally not effective.> coarse gravel = 1/2 in. 1 small live rock trying to feed Cyclops with garlic and Zoe vit. supp. He was pecking at it yesterday. Not today. <This is ominous, unfortunately> My mandarin is in his own 10 gal. and was even looking for food until yesterday. This morning he is lying on the bottom covered in ich. I have dosed twice with Ich-Attack (recommended by 2 LFS) but was reluctant to add any Formalite-I. (Has a mix of Formalin, malachite green and copper sulfate.) <I have doubts about the real efficacy that make such broad claims (and do not list their ingredients) as I just read on Kordon's website. OTOH, Kordon is generally a reputable company.> I added a quarter-dose of Formalite hoping it would help yesterday but the ich is worse today. Should I use the Formalin-mix on my mandarin or is there something else more useful than the pepper-sauce they are pushing in the stores? <Copper and Formalin are excellent killers of ich. Unfortunately Mandarins are more sensitive to these than many other fishes, so the treatment may kill it. This is why my LFS keeps his Mandarins in his copper-free system. Our very own Magnus claims success with a product called "Stop Parasites." I am thinking another FW dip but need some good advice on what to use for treatment. <Mandarins also do not tolerate these very well. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. 5 minutes or so may get some of the ich off of him. I'm sorry to have to say that I doubt your Mandarin is going to make it. Drastic action is its only hope, but it has a good chance of dying from the treatment. You could go ahead with more Formalin, maybe a little less than the recommended dose.> Thank You. Kevin <Sorry to hear of your woes. Any idea how this fish contracted ich?>
Mandarin With Ich 2 (4/14/04)
Hi, thank you for your help, this is Kevin again. <Steve Allen again tonight> Yes, I added him and a coral beauty that turned up with ich. Long story short, I did not have, but now have, 2 QT's. A 10 g. and a 20 g. (reproachful comments here>____;) I placed all the LR in a freshwater tub for a few min. and dipped all the fish, as all were infested. Display is now fallow for 2 weeks 4-17. Coral beauty (in the 20 g.) died 4-12, I believe from the treatment and being weak already. We "dipped" the whole 10 g. with two quick water changes, ph/temp adjusted FW, then the same SW. The ich is still there but under control? I hope that low doses over the next week or 2 will work. (plus lots of Cyclops) <I hope he eats this.> I will try another low dose. <As I said before, you are smart to be careful with Formalin and Copper in Mandarins. I hope yours makes it through this illness. Keep us posted.> Thank You. <You're welcome>

- Ich, Quarantine, and a Mandarin Dragonette - Hi, I just found out about this website, thank you for the hope you offer my fish! I have a complicated question, and don't want to overload your system, but I tried to include as much background as I thought might be relevant. And probably forgot to include some too. I have myself and my fish in a corner by simply reacting and not studying up. I thought my fish would be covered with ich and die in 3 days if I didn't get some meds in the tank right away. I went down to the LFS and was given a choice of 3 medications and no idea what they would do. I started the treatment that night with Kick-Ich. The next day I started searching and found your site. On your advice a 20 gal tank for quarantine is set up and running now. (not on your advice) I also bought a 15 w UV sterilizer. When I installed the UV I noticed my skin burning from the display tank water. (Kick-Ich?) After reading your opinion on this I stopped after 2 treatments. Also the snails become unconscious??? in the display lying fully exposed on the sand so I moved them to the QT. <Would expect the snails to react negatively to the Kick-Ich. Would just remove them period... certainly not to quarantine where you might need to treat the tank with something that might just outright kill the snails.> I have a 5 year old 60gal. tank, not sure but 50 or so pounds live rock, 3" sand/gravel bed wet/dry filter and sump (have photos if you want) 2-tube 40 watt light fixture Salinity 1.020; ammonia 0; PH 8.3; Nitrates under 10 (the kit is only in increments of 10) I have an AquaC skimmer but have not used it since the (Grrr) Rio pump quit. The tank has been pretty stable for a year or so. I have a Percula Clown, Yellow Tang, 2 green Chromis Damsels, some snails and BL hermits. A couple of weeks ago I added a coral beauty and a mandarin dragonet (who has been eating well from day one though I am watching him carefully) The coral beauty was not so lucky, she was stressed out from the move and hid for 3 days. When I finally chased her out I could see she was in trouble, one eye cloudy and a clamped fin complete with white spot starting where the black spot was. In addition I could see the white specks on her. The previous inhabitants had some spots for a few days but not now, but both the mandarin and the coral beauty have spots and ALL fish are twitching and chafing. The white patch on the angel is turning black again and the eye is better, but the spots are there the same from the day I first noticed them, more in the morning, less in the evening. I hope the preceding was not too much, but now I need a course to follow. I plan to freshwater dip the fish, mandarin last, and place most in the QT. Mandarin goes to the new 10 gal I will set up for him. I have Formalite 2 to treat the QT, but not the mandarin? I will do a large water change, (aerating a.k.a.) on the display. I think I need a separate QT for the mandarin and have read your answers to this dilemma, or should I leave him in the main tank? <I would quarantine the Mandarin.> I would like to go a month with no fish in the display but I refuse to sacrifice this little guy to starvation. <That may happen no matter what - your tank is too small to support one of these fish long term, even if it were the only fish in the tank.> (working on a refugium solution). Am I on the right track? <Sort of, but I wouldn't let your whole world hinge around a fish that was a poor selection in the first place. I'd go ahead and try isolating all these fish and continue to attempt to keep all the fish eating, including the Mandarin. Go ahead with the pH/temperature-adjusted freshwater dips for all and keep under observation.> Thank you for your time. Kevin. <Cheers, J -- >

Treating Ick On A Touchy Fish Hi Bob and Crew, <Scott F. checking in tonight> I am writing to you because I have a Mandarin dragonette that seems to have fallen victim to a case of Ick that has already claimed the life of a Kole tang in my 72 Gallon Reef tank. I fear that the Ick is preventing "Manny" from foraging for food and he is starting to really feel the effects of this parasitic disease. I am not sure if I should treat him as I would another fish of take exception to the fact that he is extremely delicate and only feeds on a diet of copepods and amphipods. What steps would you take in order to rid him of the Ick parasite? Any help or advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated in this matter. I am thinking of treating him with Methyl-Blue in a small quarantine tank. Is this the best course of action or would this do more harm than good? <Well, Methylene Blue is really better as an anti-bacterial, and would probably have little effect on a parasitic disease such as ick. However, if you're leery (and rightfully so!) about subjecting an otherwise touchy fish to aggressive medications, then you might want to utilize hyposalinity in the treatment tank. I am not a big fan of this technique, but I have utilized it with delicate fishes with some degree of success. Do read up on this technique on the WWM site> I got him as a rescue out of a barren 10 gallon tank from a friend at my LFS. I would do anything I can to save him, as he is a really beautiful fish. Any help is appreciated - thanks. Jason <Well, Jason- I think that you can save him, but it will take pretty quick action on your part...Get that hospital tank up and running, and start treatment ASAP...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

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