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FAQs on Butterflyfish Diseases 2

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

Related Articles: Butterflyfishes

Related FAQs: Butterflyfish Disease 1, Angels and Butterflyfishes & Crypt,   Butterflyfish, Butterflyfish Identification, Butterflyfish Systems, Butterflyfish Foods/Feeding/NutritionButterflyfish Compatibility, Butterflyfish Behavior, Butterflyfish Selection, Butterflyfish Reproduction, Hawaiian ButterflyfishesRaccoon B/F's, Double-Saddlebacks, Threadfins

Butterflyfishes for Marine

Diversity, Selection & Care
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Threadfin butterfly; mystery single dot       9/10/18
I have a 130 gallon tank and just added a Sailfin tang and threadfin butterfly to. Both fish came from. The same lfs from the same tank.
The owner did formalin bath/dip and had the fish for almost 4 weeks. Only fish in the tank are those and 2 gold stripe maroon clowns and 2 weird looking Chromis who have been in the tank for at least a month. The female maroon clown is constantly stirring sand up in her end of the tank. I noticed a tiny white spot on my butterfly and panicked thinking Ick. Later that night the spot was gone ( or seemed to be) didn't see anything yesterday but this morning there is another one but in a completely different spot and the first one is still not showing. Could this be sand from the crazy maroon.
<Fish produce a sticky slime coat that protects them against infection and disease, so you may be right, this could be just sand on your butterfly´s body.>
The female clown will fan sand at the front of the tank anytime you walk in the room or pick up a mouth full and spit it at you.
<Oh yes, these guys can be very aggressive guarding their territory>
I am new to the hobby so hoping I am just over reacting.
<Better safe tan sorry>
I have a qt set up ready for the b/f just in case. Water quality ammonia is a little above 0 after adding the 2 fish,
<Your filter will adjust to the new bioload in a few days, so don´t worry about the slight raise of ammonia, just don´t overfeed>
nitrites are at 0 and nitrates are <5. Salinity is 1.024 and pH is 8.0,
<I advise you to add a buffer to maintain ph at 8.3>
all fish are eating normal, no scratching that I have seen (and I watch for hours or until I get a headache).
<Looks like you don´t have to worry, just keep an eye on the butterfly and keep us posted.>
Thank you for any help you can give me. Stacey
<Glad to help. Wilberth>
Re: Threadfin butterfly      9/10/18

Thank you so much for the response. It was all gone later that night then I actually saw the clown spray the b/f with sand. Clean as a whistle all day yesterday.
I am glad I didn't have to stress them out again trying to net them.
Again, thank you for easing my mind. Has no idea the anxiety I would get with this hobby!
< ¡Ah yes, the beauty of aquarium hobby! sometimes stressful but most rewarding.>
<Thanks for sharing, Stacey. Wilberth>

Bacterial lesion on Longnose butterfly?     12/4/17
Hi Crew. Got a bit of a problem on a Longnose butterfly in quarantine.
<Mmm; I see this... inflammation, reddish patch>
I noticed a raised light colored patch on it this morning. Now this evening it looks bigger, and deeper colored, and I am concerned that I need to do something fast. It is in its second week of quarantine, and still eating and pretty active. As always it is sort of hard to photograph, but the first photo is from this morning at around noon, followed by ten this
evening. Any ideas?
<A few... this mark could be resultant from a physical trauma... whacked with a net, bonked during handling, keeping... Might be bacterial involvement... to some degree pathogenic perhaps. Is this Uronema or some other Protozoan involvement? The only way (that I know currently) to tell is by sampling, possibly culturing, and looking under a microscope... What would I do?>
Thanks! And once again, quarantine is the only way to go!
<Mmm; not in all cases, but the vast majority; yes>

<I'd likely do a preventative dip/bath as detailed on WWM :
and move this fish to the main display.
Yes; I'd take the risk of introducing a parasite (small enough chance here), to save this fish by moving it to more stable, ideal conditions. Have made this "triage decision" many thousands of times in handling imported fishes, retail, service accounts.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Bacterial lesion on Longnose butterfly?    12/5/17
Thanks Bob. Unfortunately, when I got home from work, the fish had died.
<Aughh! I should have been more emphatic re moving it NOW. >
I hate killing fish! Assuming that it died from a bacterial infection, is there anything special that I should do with my quarantine tank to make it safe to add new fish?
<Mmm; not the system, or quarantine, but the protocol itself for given species, AND specimens that are better off being "expedited". Not possible, well, practical to try and relate the vast range of decision making here.
"It" would take reading all of WWM, us chatting for a few days re>
There is nothing in there but a filter, a skimmer, and a piece of live rock. I assume emptying it and drying out the equipment should help.
<Again; I don't think the issue here was "biological" (pathogenic), but the species, this individual being "diffed". Bob Fenner>

Copperbanded Butterfly with new spots      11/21/17
Hello. Love your guys site. Was hoping you could help me ID this disease.
<... 9 megs of uncropped pix John!? Looks to me to be Crypt-like. VERY common w/ imported Chelmons... s/b pH adjusted freshwater dipped/bathed enroute to quarantine for a couple weeks...>
Got this Copperbanded 3 weeks ago and he spent a week in QT.
<Need at least two>
Is eating bloodworms very aggressively and looks otherwise healthy.
<Ahh! Good signs>
Overnight he developed so damage to his caudal fin and now it has a single white spot on it.
<Only the one? Might be naught/nothing
... a pinch w/ accumulated mucus. I would NOT treat>
He has no other spots or damage to fins. I’m hoping it’s lymph and plan to leave him be and not stress him by throwing him back in QT. Doing a water Change today as it is that time of month. Info on the tank he is in it is a
75 with a 30 gal sump and has been running for more then a year. All tank mates look healthy (2 O. Clowns and a Flame angel, one first shrimp, one cleaner shrimp). Thanks for any advice.
<Do stay vigilant.. i.e., keep an eye on this fish. Have a read on WWM re Protozoans of marine fishes.
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>

Small brown lesion on new butterfly         11/13/16
Hi WWM Crew, As always, thanks for your great service to the community!
<Welcome Bruce>
I just received three lemon butterfly fish for my 200 gallon Hawaiian biotope aquarium.
<A fave species>
They are in the quarantine tank and all eating very well. On the third day, I noticed on one fish a small, brown lesion at the attachment of the left anal fin. Today is day ten, and it seems to be slowly growing. The fish is somewhat more timid than the other two, but is eating well, and swimming about the tank with the other two.
When the fish arrived I performed a fifteen minute freshwater/Methylene blue dip. At first, I thought the lesion might be a flat worm. Since the fish was swimming about so quickly, I could not get a good view of the sight for long enough to evaluate. I therefore started treating with Prazipro this morning, but now I am not so sure it actually is a flatworm.
<Mmm; no>
I finally was able to get a photograph. It is not as clear as I would like, but I have attached it. I have searched your site and others, but have not been able to identify the lesion with any degree of certainty.
Are you able to tell what this might be, and recommend an appropriate treatment plan?
<Well; this appears to be a sore... resultant from collection likely... got whacked by a hand-net or struggled against the barrier net or such>
As background, the QT is currently running at 1.024 spg, with an on-the-back filter, and an air stone for increased oxygen, as well as a skimmer, with the collection cup removed while I am treating with the Prazipro.
<I'd not continue the Prazi... of no help here and likely debilitating to an extent>
Thanks for any help you can provide.
Bruce Ritter
<Good conditions and time going by will tell here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Quarantine question       9/15/16
I have a Threadfin Butterflyfish that looks like it is hemorrhaging and some of the scales seem to be separating.
<Mmm, I see this>
Attached is a picture. It is especially evident near the dorsal fin and down the side of the fish. Any idea what this might be?
<Yes; this fish is classically "breaking down"... can't tell exactly from what from the pic (need more information re the recent past... system, handling... AND sampling and microscopic exam to be sure re ext. parasitic involvement. HAVE seen Uronema, Cryptocaryon... Mycobacteria almost always.... w/ such fishes. I would tell you that w/o immediate action (I'd lower spg drastically; like to 1.010) this fish will soon perish. I WOULD remove it, or all other fishes from the same system. There are blitzkrieg type treatments... that attempt to treat all likely pathogens... A poor avenue to take.... Do you have time to study, NOW? Bob Fenner>

Re: Quarantine question. Auriga BF      9/16/16
Hi Mr. Fenner,
<Hey Stephen!>
Thank you for the input and analysis. Unfortunately, the fish perished yesterday. All of the other fish appear to be healthy - eating very well, behaving normally.
<Ahh; yes to the early demise of the BF. As prev. stated, DO KEEP AN EYE on your other fish livestock. It may well be that they will be similarly stricken.... and COULD perish in likely soon order>

As you can see from the email string, I have had unbelievable challenges trying to get the last two fish in my main tank. I was trying to get a Yellow Long-nosed Butterfly fish and the Threadfin. Per your advise, we had been bypassing the QT and doing a freshwater dip and placing them in the main tank. I have lost two sets of each of these fish with this Threadfin being the last - having survived for 41 days. I purposely chose these two fish because everything I read said they are the easiest Butterfly fish to keep. I am now ready to throw in the towel on trying to add these two fish to my aquarium.
<I'd look to other families of fishes>
I currently have the following in the 220 gallon tank: 3 orange Ocellaris Clownfish, 2 Black Ocellaris Clownfish, Flame Hawkfish, Tailspot Wrasse, Yellow Tang, Hepatus Tang, Blond Naso Tang, and a Coral Beauty. I would like to add two more fish. Do you think this size tank will accommodate two more?
<Yes I do>
All of the fish I have are small except the Blond Naso Tang which is about 7". If you think I have room, I was thinking about adding a Blue Throat Triggerfish and a Royal Gramma. What are your thoughts?
<These are good choices. >
Thank you as always.
<And you; Bob Fenner>
Re: Quarantine question      9/16/16

Thank you!
Steve DeFilippis
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Mueller Butterflyfish       7/29/16
I'm an experienced reef-keeper attuned to fish disease and am looking for insight into this situation:
I have a 187 gal reef with a Mueller, Tinker, Percula Clown pair,
Bristletooth Tang, Melanurus & Pygmy wrasse. All my fish go through Tank Transfer Method, a freshwater dip and quarantine prior to introduction to the display and all inverts/rock/anything wet is fallow for 12 weeks in a qt.
For the past month, about the time the Melanurus wrasse was introduced (possibly related, although, I haven't witnessed aggression) the Mueller has displayed frayed fins and lethargy during feeding. I've had this fish for years and feed it 3x/day (most days) and am aware of its shy feeding behavior and nutritional needs, but something
is off. I see no evidence of parasites aside from torn fins, the gills are functioning normally, fins/body clear, no clamping, twitching, flashing, shaking etc. What I do see is a raised scale and frayed fins, I also see a section of the bristletooth's tail fin is torn, so I suspect a bully, but haven't narrowed in on any of the inhabitants.
<Could be the Halichoeres>
Is it plausible that ectoparasites are the culprit?
<Mmm; possibly, but what? Trematodes? From where?>
This has been going on for many weeks and no other symptoms have developed that would suggest.
In microscopy, is a skin scrape effective or should I take a gill sample or scale?9
<The skin, near the fins>
My other thought is that something is internally wrong with the Mueller, his body weight is ideal, eyes are clear, diet is proper, but I'm seeing this slow dwindling behavior and perhaps the other fish are picking on him for it and it's not something I can resolve.
<If there was a simple way to catch, keep the Melanurus out for a couple weeks; or float in a plastic colander if you don't have other room; this is what I'd do. Bob Fenner> 

Miliaris #1 & #2        3/6/16
I've been attempting to keep C. miliaris and the first died in qt after 10 weeks from what I thought was an internal bacterial infection - bloat, constipation, stopped eating and died. Attempted to treat
with Kanamycin and used Epsom salts for constipation.
<Mmm; this is a fave B/F; Hawaiian endemic>
I ordered yet another and reduced the overall time spent in qt to 8 weeks, here we are at 9.5 wks and the fish has looked quite good in the display, but now is displaying similar symptoms to the first:
minor bloat, constipation, enlarged anus which looks frayed, still eating, a bit reclusive. I stopped feeding and the constipation improved, but it left his anus large and damaged. I'm thinking of leaving him in the display with hope his own defenses can take care of the perceived infection.
My question is whether this is common for this species and if it is likely tied to the shared qt both used?
<These sorts of losses are (too) common for Chaetodontids period. I am not  a fan of quarantining, isolating any member of the family (and a few others). Better to expedite... dip/bath new specimens, and plunk them into established displays directly>
Are internal bacterial infections contagious?
<Mmm; not really... there is some more issue w/ hyper-infective states, but it is the pre-disposing conditions: stress, starvation, ammonia burn.... a myriad of other factors; that tip the balance between health and disease>
I think I will sanitize the qt, but am concerned for the other fish in the display.
<Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm
and as much of the linked materials at top till you feel you have a good grasp.... Bob Fenner>
Re: Miliaris #1 & #2    3/7/16

Thank you, this was knowledge I needed...I'm assuming you're referring to a formalin dip?
<Mmm; possibly.... please read here: ....
I've used it successfully to treat flukes (2 wks in hospital tank with dosage from bottle), but each fish developed a post treatment condition seemingly related to a suppressed immune system. For ex. the female percula's colors faded and the Butterflyfish and tang continually developed small infections whereas
beforehand they were all long-time seemingly healthy inhabitants, all which died within the next year. Perhaps a dip would not have this side-effect? Or are there other recommended meds such as Acriflavine?
<Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm
and the linked files at top>
Btw, the miliaris is demonstrating improvement with the infection, I'm continuing very small 3x/day feedings and optimal water quality.

Treatment for Internal Bacterial Infection; BFs      12/31/15
<Salutations Sarah>
I'm a seasoned aquarist and had a newly acquired C. miliaris Butterflyfish doing well in quarantine. The water was clean and no ammonia/nitrate/nitrite; fed homemade seafood blend in small amounts multiple times/day. Fish began to display bloat and constipation (no worms present in feces). With no improvement over a week, I added Epsom salts to the water (which appeared to help the fish pass some feces) and Kanamycin to the frozen seafood. After 3 days of treatment the fish continued to decline and died. I don't suspect ectoparasites as there were no behavioral or visible symptoms.
<Mmm; well; for the record and browsers I should mention that Butterflyfishes are notoriously poor shippers; get very stressed in the process of collection, holding, transit...>
My question is, for next time do you recommend a different antibiotic for internal bacterial infections.
<Mmm dos; the best all the way around is likely chloramphenicol (chlormycetin).... most places have to get a doctor or vet's help>
Should I have bumped it up to something like doxycycline or any general advice?
<Not likely of use.... am a fan of dip/bath processing Chaetodontids.... and not quarantining usually. Too many (much higher percentage) are lost to delay, further stress... best to speed along to placement in main displays.
This is my hard-earned opinion borne of handling many thousands of these fishes. I also include Blennioids, gobioids; quite a few other fish groups here.>
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Butterfly fish    10/4/14
My Auriga butterfly has been swimming upright since I woke up..
I dosed Cupramine 2 days ago when he showed some spots on his tail.
Will send a pic later!
<Mmm; likely poisoned, or too far gone from... ? Bob Fenner>
Butterfly fish
He's been like that for around 2hours so far
<Damage to the gas bladder? Need data. See WWM re Chaetodon auriga. BobF>

Re: Butterfly fish    10/5/14
Anything I could do to help?
<... can't say w/o data... Read where you were referred to for examples of what we're looking for. B>

Klein's Butterfly Heavy breathing no appetite; and no data      4/17/14
Hi I have a Klein's Butterfly been in my tank about 2 months. He is usually a ravenous eater of nearly everything but in the last 24 hours he has stopped eating and his breathing is heavy and very fast.
<Mmm... time for a quick partial water change, wicking off any surface film... Possibly just low DO or high CO2 here>
All parameters in tank perfect.
55 gallon, 6 year old tank? Anything I can do to help it?
Thanks for any help offered. John
John McGuire
<... need more info... e.g. what else is in the tank, gear, maintenance...
Bob Fenner>
Re: Klein's Butterfly Heavy breathing no appetite... Poisoned by algicide use     4/17/14
Hi bob,
Tank mates are marine beta, 6 line and fire shrimp. The tank is at my office and professionally maintained. Have an algae problem and the person who looks after it applied API algae fix
<Uhh, a huge mistake... poisoned the system>

about 3 days ago. Plenty of water movement. Other tank mates are fine.
Refugium, large skimmer etc. thanks for any help offered. John
<.... see/SEARCH on WWM re chemical algicides... CHANGE as much of the water as you can/have... and look into the chemical filtrants in your reading. BobF>

Chelmon Muelleri with likely infection     12/16/13
I have a well established 120 gal reef system, in Aug I introduced flukes via snails and had an epidemic.  My Chelmon Muelleri survived and has been the only fish in the tank (was reintroduced Oct 26th) since the others weren't as fortunate.
<I see>
After the fluke infestation was treated I've been battling secondary infections with this fish, all were healed when suddenly he's developed a rather large bump (~3/8") behind and above his eye.  There is slight underlying redness and seems slightly irritated.  My question is does this warrant erythromycin in food for 10 days or would it be wise to simply observe?
<I think so. Unfortunately "what it takes" to actually sample, culture and test for resistance/efficacy in the way of anti-microbials isn't "worth the damage" here (in my perception, experience of course)>
I've attached two pictures from when the lights are out, strangely that's when I get the best pictures-you can see the redness and the bulge.
Sarah Hlavenka
<I would instead seek to boost immunity, recovery via optimized, stable conditions and improved nutrition (HUFA, vitamin soaking of foods). Bob Fenner>

Re: Chelmon Muelleri with likely infection     12/16/13
Basically he said treat with optimal water conditions, fatty acid and immune system supplements.
<Ah yes. BobF>

Fluke surviving Muelleri Butterflyfish in QT with bacterial infections (?)    10/13/13
<Good eve Sarah>
A friend of mine recommended you with the highest regard.  I've attached a cell phone picture (I don't have a regular camera, sorry) of the affected area on my Butterflyfish.  I've had him 15 months, he eats live blackworms and a homemade frozen seafood blend.  Parameters are good in the quarantine.
The photo: Below the glare line in the middle brown stripe the lesion like area is visible. There is some redness, the scales are raised, inflammation is visible from the profile view and there are a couple white apparatus' attached next to the inflammation. The white apparatus will begin small and hard like, very bright white and after a couple days grows larger and more flesh like, hangs off the fish (can visibly see it moving as he swims) and then falls off. Above the glare line is an example of one that can be seen moving in the current as the fish swims. A 5 min fw dip didn't seem to affect the area.
<... have you looked at this material under a 'scope?>
I dosed Kanamycin into the water 2 days ago, also have been feeding in frozen food.  It seems too early to know if it's working.  Currently, the fish is eating, but hiding in his pvc most of the time.
Additionally, he had a lower jaw (inside the mouth) infection that is now reoccurring.
Thank you for your time.
<I suspect the white material is simply "mucus" (body slime)... an exudate... from...? Not curable w/ antibiotics, nor quarantine/isolation.
Do you suspect there is a parasite here? I would move this fish back to the main/display system. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fluke surviving Mueller Butterflyfish in QT with bacterial infections (?)    10/14/13
Thank you, Bob.  I've been actively looking for someone to look under a 'scope, although, I'm concerned about increasing the fish's stress level as he's been in hiding except for feeding time for several days.
<You are wise here... life is indeed "a series of compromises", and you are right to consider the trade-off in handling this (or any) specimen>
This fish has undergone 17 days Praziquantel treatment (unsuccessful) followed by 23 days Formalin, which I believe, effectively eliminated the flukes.
<... am very surprised it didn't eliminate the fish>
 I feel the lesions/mouth infection are some sort of secondary ailment - i have read flukes are like portals for other diseases.
<Can be>
 I do not know if there's some sort of parasite at this time. 
<Highly unlikely... grossly appears to be "sores"...>
The fish's name is Ziggy.
<"Ziggy played guitarrrrrrrr" Bowie>
I appreciate your time.
<And I everyone's. BobF>
Re: Fluke surviving Muelleri Butterflyfish in QT with bacterial infections (?)  10/15/13

Good Day Bob,
Took Ziggy in this morning for a biopsy. The man said there is no mucus by the sores (which is bad), so he pulled a scale via tweezers and looked under the 'scope.

He told me there are no parasites (I assumed) and that the infection seems to be coming from the inside out.
All he could say is that it's bacterial and suggested running a full 5 day course of antibiotics, which I have been (Kanamycin - in food too) with today being the 5th day. Lastly, he said to begin treating tomorrow with a Nitrofuracin product because they are absorbed well.
<Yes; better... though best would be to do a rudimentary sensitivity test/run... >

I have a seeded identical QT and could treat with NFP Nitrofuracin green powder immediately or I could wait out the day with the Kanamycin treatment like the man suggested?
<I'd just stop the one and start t'other if you're adamant re such antibiotic/antimicrobial treatment (I am not... most such treatments are more destructive than useful... microbial issues starting w/ other causes... mostly environmental, social, nutritional... and cured by fixing the same. Moving, isolating specimens... is much more likely to kill them>
  I'm reluctant to wait and "see what happens," yet, very cautious.
He also said the fish looks very healthy aside from the bacterial infection.
<Yes; all the more reason why I'd move it... not treat>

 For the past few days, the fish has been hiding in a pvc and reluctantly, (which is a new development) ate a few live blackworms today.
<Cheers, B>
PS - I am very thankful to have found your site, will donate.

Re: acclimatization; Mmm, sand use in QT sys., BF dis f's    7/1/13
Hello my Mentor. :)
<Hola Tomasz!>
Regarding the sand I was concerned about whether to keep the fish in tanks shop with sand or without it, how is better. Ok invalid.
<With sand is better unless the water, fish is being treated with chemical/s that absorb it too much>
In  Annex I send photo, if you could see and write what kind of disease (bacteria / parasites). Is it contagious? if so, how to treat other fish?
How to prevent.
<Looks like this Klein's Butterfly has been consumed by some sort of flesh eating bacteria. But such infections are almost always secondary; caused by primary challenges of the environment, some lack of nutrition, bullying, luminal worm, external parasite issue/s... The bacteria only jumping in number, pathogenicity due to weakening of the fish/food consequently.
Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm
I installed on my system ozone. At this time, ORP is 270mV, I understand that it would be best as that was 400mV?
<Yes; between 325 and 400 mV>
Thanks again for help Bob.
<Ah welcome. Bob Fenner>

to quarantine or not to quarantine <Chaetodontids>       4/25/13
Hello Crew,
  Rich here.
 Here is my dilemma; I had a 55 gallon FOWLR for seven years. I set up a 29 gallon high as a quarantine tank, Emperor filter, heater, light, air pump, some PVC pipe at bottom for a place to hide. I used water from my 55 to fill it along with some RODI water.
 Temp is 79, salinity 1.023, PH 8.3. ammonia zero, nitrites zero. nitrates 5. I moved my five zebra barred dart fish into the 29 high.
<Mmm, I hope they were all friendly/known to each other before being crowded here>
  I then set up my 180: two overflows into 40 gallon sump, two Tunze pumps moving about 450 GPH each after head and turns in plumbing, two Koralia circulation pumps each rated at 850 GPH, 160 lbs of live aragonite, about 100 -120 lbs of live rock from my 55 gallon, Tunze DOC 9011 skimmer. I filled it with about 30 gallons from my 55 gallon tank and RODI water.
<With you thus far>
For ten days ammonia and nitrites were zero, and nitrates 10. Temp is 79. PH 8.3, salinity 1.022. I took a chance and put my dart fish in the 180. No change. I quarantined six small, about 1", green Chromis
<A touchy species when small>
 for ten days, and moved them into the 180. Everything has remained stable. No change. I quarantined six small, about 1", green Chromis for ten days, and moved them into the 180. Everything has remained stable.
  The 180 has been up and running for a total of about 30 days. I purchased two butterflies, a 3 inch Indian Ocean Double Saddle Back  and a 4" Pearly Scaled. They were in the LFS for over three weeks and looked and acted and ate fine. I put them in my quarantine tank four days ago and they seem OK.
They are fed frozen Mysis shrimp along with frozen Cyclop-eeze and occasional flake. I planned on keeping them there for three weeks so my 180 would have two months to run, but now I am reading that some people think it is better not to quarantine butterflies.
<Yes; depending on their apparent condition, the species; better to expedite, perhaps run through a prophylactic dip/bath enroute from shipping instead>
OK. They are fed frozen Mysis shrimp along with frozen Cyclop-eeze and occasional flake. I planned on keeping them there for three weeks so my 180 would have two months to run, but now I am reading that some people think it is better not to quarantine butterflies.
<Shouldn't be a problem w/ these species to keep in the 55 for a while; even the 29 if they're getting along>

  I fear that my 180 is too new to put them in. Do you recommend taking a chance  keeping them in the 29 gallon or move them into the 180? I feel like I have no easy decision here. Thanks.
<I'd leave them where they are for a while; closely observe. IF they begin to quarrel, move. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Question, and BF hlth. f'       4/16/13
My current tank is a 150 gallon FOWLR that has been running for 18 months now.   No new additions in nearly a year.  
Current residents in the tank are in order of introduction are 2 - 11 year old Amphiprion Ocellaris (Ocellaris Clowns) mated pair and laying eggs about every 4 to 8 weeks
10 - Margarita Snails
10 - Dwarf Yellow Tip Hermits
10 - Turbo Snails
10 - Nassarius Snails
3 - Chromis viridis (Blue/Green Chromis)
1 - Pseudocheilinus hexataenia (Six Line Wrasse)
1 - Coral Banded Shrimp (Stenopus hispidus)
1 - Ecsenius midas (Midas Blenny)
1 - Ctenochaetus strigosus (Kole Tang)
1 - Centropyge eibli (Eibli Angel)
I do a 10% water change weekly and test water conditions each week with a test kit along with monitoring PH and temperature with a Neptune controller.
Controller also controls my top off system.
<Ahh, am familiar. Nice units>
Latest tank conditions are PH 8.20; Ammonia 0.0 PPM; Nitrite 0.0 PPM,
Nitrate 10.0 PPM, dKH 8; Calcium 320 PPM, Phosphate 0.0 PPM.
<All fine; yes, including the "low" calcium>
I am thinking of adding a couple of butterfly fish (2 of the 3 following:
Raccoon BF- Chaetodon lunula; Longnose BF- Forcipiger flavissimus; and/or Auriga Butterflyfish - Chaetodon auriga).  I prefer the Raccoon and Longnose, but based on availability am flexible. I would really like to get a  <http://www.wetwebmedia.com/raccoon.htm > Chaetodon fasciatus over the lunula but that's a pretty big price premium.
<Mmm... any two of these should work here; though I wish your tank was fifty gallons larger and two feet wider>
Considering the circumstances and as a general rule, which is better to quarantine two new (or multiple) fish simultaneously and upset the balance of the whole system at once or quarantine sequentially and stress the whole system twice.
<Good question... as it is complex... Depends on the species involved mostly; next their relative (to established tank-mates principally) size/s; and apparent/real health... In this case, placing whatever of these Chaetodontids at the same time is better... though they will be much better isolated/quarantined separately if more than 2-3 inches in overall length (many BFs "quarrel" as adults unless (until) "paired">
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Sick Spotfin Butterflyfish 06/18/11
Good Evening,
I am hoping you can help me nurse my Spotfin Butterfly back to health. I caught this fish myself off the cost of New Jersey five years ago and raised it since it was the size of a dime.
<Neat, and you are to be commended. This BF is not easily kept>
About a month ago we had a long power outage. The next day the fish developed white film over both of it eyes.
I let the fish be for two weeks and did frequent water changes thinking this would cure the problem.
<A good approach I'd warrant>
The fish than proceeded to get these white attachments that would hang on the tail. I attached a picture and hoping you can see what I am referencing.
When none of these symptoms cleared and the eyes still remained cloudy I decided to treat for a bacterial infection.
I treat with Maracyn which had no effect and most recently with Nitrofurazone. I have not seen any improvement in the fish and am kind of lost on what to do next. Does this look or sound familiar to you?
<Yes... "just" stress, mucus...>
Is there a treatment you can recommend?
<Yes... just time going by and good care. Should clear of its own accord in a month more or so>
I appreciate any advice you can provide.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>


quarantining b/f's and mandarin?   6/8/11
Good morning,
I will be receiving 3 B/F's and a Mandarin Fish mail-order later this week. I have a 30g quarantine tank ready to go but have a couple of questions.
Would it be best to do a PH-adjusted, freshwater dip w/Methylene Blue, on the Mandarin and place him in my established 125g FOWLER tank?
<Yes; this is what I would do; not quarantine this family (Callionymidae) and a few other fish groups, unless there was something apparently "wrong" with them>
After reading most of the FAQ's on these fish, I realize they are not as susceptible to Ich but I am quite paranoid about its (Ich's) re-introduction into my tank as I have battled it on and off for two years (luckily with me winning or more likely in a stalemate with the enemy!) with no loss of fish.
<Mmm, well... up to you>
On to the B/F's! I'm getting a Tear-Drop, Pakistan and Black-Backed. I realize these fish are quite sensitive and will most likely start eating prepared foods and re-build their resistance once placed in the main tank, but would a week or so in quarantine then a freshwater dip w/Methylene Blue or Formalin (safe for B/F's ?)
<Toxic, but if they're in "good shape", likely worth using>
be better for the fish than acclimating them, freshwater dipping them and immediately placing them in the main tank?
<I would likely quarantine these, given your system (the 30)>
I've read about every FAQ's on B/F's and added to them with some of my questions in the past but I am on the fence here on whether to quarantine or not.
<Me too/I as well>
Even though I have run my tank fallow for several 8-week periods over the last two years I know I still have some entrenched Ich. The last time I added 4-week quarantined B/F's I had an outbreak but decided to treat with Selcon soaked Spectrum flakes and Spectrum Thera-A pellets. The fish kept the cleaner shrimps very busy, but all came through and continue to thrive.
My point is, quarantining or not, with my particular tank, probably means a small outbreak of Ich once new fish are added.
Lastly, even though the HOT refugiums are small, about 3-4 gallons, would you recommend one for pod growth for the Mandarin or am I wasting my money?
<Are worthwhile. Even what appear to be small volumes of "live" sand, other substrates, macro-algae, a very considerable amount of life is produced>
Thanks in advance for all your insight and wisdom. I spend most evenings perusing your excellent site and wish you all lived closer so I could buy you a beer or two!
<Oooh! Let's hope we meet! Bob Fenner>

Quarantining Butterflies/Quarantine, Yes, Or No   8/5/10
I have been reading some opposing views on butterfly quarantining.
<Oh, I know where we are going.>
I have read of course, that ALL fish should be quarantined for a period of at least two weeks, and best to QT for four weeks.
<Better for four.>
But I have also read that QT'ing butterflies can be chancy.
<I have to agree somewhat.>
Indeed, my experience has been that my I lost three butterfly fish in QT (one C. miliaris,
<Lemon Butterflyfish for our readers.>
and two Blackback, C. melannotus) <melannotus> These fish did not show any outward signs of illness. They simply died after a few days.
All of my other fish have survived QT (another C. miliaris, Naso lituratus, three Centropyge, and Chromis).
If it is ill advised to QT butterfly fish, then what is a safe alternative?
If QT'ing a butterfly is still recommended, what would be a way to increase their chance of survival?
<I would tend to agree with you, with all things being equal, chances of success are in your favor directly acclimating the fish to the display tank. There is a downfall to that; Should one of these fish noticeably develop a life threatening disease, you risk wiping out your entire fish livestock collection if a large enough QT is not available to house and treat these fish.
There are of course other reasons that can be attributed to your demise.
Butterflyfish are likely one of the worse shippers, they do not handle stress well, and they get fed plenty of that from reef to your tank.
Quarantine just adds another dose of stress to an already stressed out fish. Although I am not recommending that you do not quarantine, the choice will be yours to make. Some guidelines to avoid future deaths is to choose Butterflyfish which are known to be hardy and good acclimaters, there are a handful. The two you mention above, I would put at 5-6 on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of long term survivability with 10 being the better number.
Inspect the fish thoroughly before buying. Ask the LFS to feed the fish, observe it's feeding personality, does it go after the food aggressively, or does it sample and spit.
I personally do not QT Butterflyfish, but then I have a dealer who is willing to hold a fish for me for several weeks providing I pay for it and expect no refund if it dies.
One of the good points about my dealer, other than being meticulous, is that he will rarely bring in fish that are known to be difficult to keep.
I'd like to suggest reading here before making future purchases to help you decrease future losses.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MarLvSel.htm >
Thank you very much for your help!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

26/02/10 Stumped.... Forcipiger hlth., troubleshooting
Hi everyone.
<Hi Jay>
I am quite confused about medicating a Long nose Butterfly.
I recently treated my long nose with Quinine Sulfate for Ich and after about three weeks it's finally gone.
<In Quarantine? Or in-tank? If you did this in tank, then the Crypt will not be gone>
From a previous email one of the representatives from WWM recommended that I treat with a product called PraziPro because my Butterfly was flashing (he said, based on what I told him, he probably has gill flukes).
I started treating with the Prazi and ever since then my BF has increased rapid gill movement and twitches a lot.
If in fact he did have flukes, I thought the Prazi was supposed to help kill them.....why are they getting worse?
<Are they flukes? If you remove the fish and freshwater dip him, you might see one or both of two things that would give you a better idea: If he stops flashing afterwards, then it is probably flukes. If you can see specks on the base of the dip container (usually white, so a dark dip container might be prudent), then they also could be flukes. Removal of these and placed under a cheap microscope will confirm. If neither of these happen, then it is probably not flukes>.
He has been clear of spots for over two weeks
<Could have just cycled off... the fish may still be infested with Crypt.. in the gills, thus the heavy breathing & flashing>
and I proceeded with the full treatment recommended for QS. Please help!
<Another possibility here... medication in the water can/ does irritate fishes, to the point where they exhibit 'flashing' behaviour. You might find that with the removal of the medication and improved water quality this will ease off>.
Thank you folks
<No problem, Simon>
Re: 26/02/10 Stumped.... Forcipiger hlth.    2/28/10

<Hi Jay>
Yes he is in a 40g quarantine tank.
I am going to lose my long nose, this morning I woke up and his gills are moving very fast and he's just in the middle of the tank gliding in the water.
<Mmm, don't give up hope. What are your tests for ammonia/ nitrite? Is the fish feeding?>
I also have an Auriga BF in the same tank which I previously treated for Oodinium and he is fine but my long
nose is not.
<Mmm, you have been treating for three different things? Likely only one was the cause/ problem here.. a pointer to the fact that correct diagnosis is vitally important to do BEFORE any fishes are medicated>
Seems like ever since I dosed with PraziPro a second time, all things got worse. What do you think?
<I think you have been using too many medications, without certain knowledge of what you are treating. I would remove all with some carbon & a skimmer, keep ammonia/ nitrite down and try to get the fish feeding, see if he can recover while you consider your next step>
I also use baking soda to buffer the water and ever since I put it in, there's like a smoke in the water.
<You've used too much, this will not help the fish breathing - can irritate it. This should precipitate out and the water will clear. . maybe a large water change w/ out the baking soda might be appropriate. I never do this in quarantine anyway, because a higher pH means that any ammonia in the water is in it's more toxic form. Just standard salinity will be fine, maybe in this case lowering it a couple of points might help the fish w/ osmosis>
I can see this in the flow from the filter
under the tank light. Is this unusual?
<Posted. Simon>
Re: 27/02/10 Re: Stumped....   2/28/10
<Hi Jay>
Ok. My nitrite and ammonia are zero.
<That is good news, and makes this much easier to manage>
Both of them were feeding but now only the Raccoon is. The Auriga looks at the food and grabs it but doesn't swallow it.
<Mmm, maybe some damage from the medications..>
I am going to do what you said but I just don't understand why they're breathing fast constantly.
<Why do you have these separated from the main system? Are you some way into a 'fallow' period for crypt? If not, if there is no improvement with the removal of the meds from the system I would consider returning the one
at least to the display>
And they both had one gill closed at certain times. I've done everything I could at this point. Hopefully it's
just the baking soda and it's harmless.
<You might find with the removal of the med from the water and a water change things improve>.
Thank you
<No problem, Simon>
Re: 27/02/10 Re: Stumped....  3/1/10
Yes I'm letting my tank be without any life.
<Ok, don't put the fish back yet then>
And I did remove the meds and that's when I noticed both fish only using one gill to breathe.
After a freshwater dip they seem to be full of life for a good day. Then the rapid breathing starts again.
<So the dip provided some relief? This is a clue.. I would dip again,
watch, and see if anything identifiable comes out in the dip container>
The Prazi pro did not work so I am assuming this isn't a fluke.
<Mmmm, maybe>
So the only other possibility this is leaning toward is the start of Ich or Velvet right?
<No, there are others... as posted.. incl. the meds themselves, the baking soda..>
I just dosed another of Quinine yesterday morning. Do you think I should keep this up or just skip on the dosing and leave the water be?
<You have not yet diagnosed the problem, and you state these meds have not yet worked, so I would cease for the moment. Your nitrite & ammonia are zero, so you have some time here...I would cease the medications, do the
water change, try to nurse the fish back to health..get it to feed.
Freshwater dip the fish and watch.. if this provides relief then it is likely not crypt or velvet as these are too far embedded for freshwater to have an effect. You may have already treated the initial cause here with your previous administrations. Simon>.
Re: 01/03/10 Re: Stumped.... Forcipiger hlth.  3/2/10

<Hello Jay>
Ok thanks a lot for getting back, I am going to do this now.
<Please write back with your results, Simon>
02/03/10 Re: Stumped. Multiple medications, no diagnosis, not listening, QT tanks. Forcipiger, other BF hlth.

<Hello Jay..>
My Raccoon is better and swimming around more. <Good> My Auriga will not eat no matter what I do, the tank was left medicine free like you suggested for three days and no change.
<Impossible. I suggested this on the 26th Feb, and again on the 1st of March. You then dose QS on the 1st of March AFTER I suggest you remove it. It is now the 3rd and you posted this yesterday on the 2nd>.
He's wasting away and I just feel it's something more than malnutrition.
<Yes, the fish is stressed out. It is probably your own actions, NOT some unknown and mysterious pathogen causing this. People always want to find some other solution that means it is not their own fault, but invariably there is no other solution. What size is this quarantine tank?>
About five days ago he was eating like a pig then all of a sudden his bones start showing (the time frame in which he went from healthy to unhealthy was unbelievable, I almost felt like I was seeing things). I have tried Mysis, algae sheets, algae tabs, brine shrimp, angel/butterfly formula, Spirulina and omega brine, you name it. He still goes for it but he doesn't swallow it.
<Damage from all the medications you've been chucking in, probably. Keep trying to get it to feed, with just Mysis, and try to keep yourself as small as possible. A giant hovering over a small QT tank is enough to stress anyone out>
And I also can't understand for the life of me why it still looks like there's smoke in my water. I didn't add any baking soda like you suggest and I STILL have water that looks like someone took a drag of a cigarette and exhaled into my tank, lol.
<? Your own actions.. and a clue as to why the fish is not feeding. Perhaps set up another QT tank with clean water and move the filters and fish over, acclimated>
Is this harmful to the fish? What could it be from?
<You have been using multiple medications...>
My ammonia is zero, nitrite is
zero and nitrate is below 30ppm, ph is around 8 and salinity is at about .019. <1.019, ok for the minute> Any ideas?
<Posted, or perhaps moving the fish back to the display>
After seeing how the fish reacted without medicine
<When? Never. They have not been without medication for any length of time>
I realize that there is definitely something going on. <Me too> So I went ahead and treated with PraziPro again because at this point, all symptoms lead to gill flukes.
<?? Did you freshwater dip these like you were advised to try and check? I told you that chucking medications willy-nilly into the tank could easily be your problem here, and what do you do? You chuck some more in, and not just one but two! Problems are not always unseen parasites or bacteria but quite often are the result of aquarists own actions. And you wonder why your water is smoky. Would you have much of an appetite if the air you were breathing was full of chemicals? Right now you have a starving Butterfly and a mixture of Quinine Sulphate and PraziPro in your tank. This is madness, and a pre-cursor for disaster.>
Since PraziPro is considered a very non-stressful medication I figured it would be ok on the fish.
<But your fish are sick, and you don't know why. You are taking a crap shoot approach here, and this approach more often that not kills fishes. I warned you about this>
Before I did this I went ahead and called the specialist at the company listed on the PraziPro bottle and he was also
convinced we are dealing with gill flukes.
<Did you put one under a microscope and send him a photograph? No. Did you tell him that you have already tried treating with this twice before and it has not worked? I doubt it>.
The fish have no spots, they're not flashing and the Quinine Sulfate did not help any with slowing down gill movement.
<Why would it?>
At this point, the only symptoms are rapid breathing and twitching/darting.
<They will do this anyway in a QT tank because of the stress, especially in the presence of chemicals! It is likely there are no parasites in there, especially with the cocktail of drugs you have been administering>
Simon, after two weeks of these symptoms, by this time I would see some spots or body slime if this was Velvet or Crypt. Right?
<Oh, dear. I repeat my previous advice to you and well see where we go. The biggest danger to this fish here (since ammonia/ nitrite are both zero) is the lack of food. This should be your priority. Fishes often will lose their appetite in conditions of stress and in the presence of meds. You need to remove this stress from the fish and get it to feed, otherwise it will die. It is that simple. Do this by stopping the medications, giving it some more space if possible, maybe moving back to the display via a freshwater dip. I repeat, again, the presence of medication in the water can also show these symptoms on fishes. You are your own worst enemy here. Calm down, think clearly, improve the conditions for the fish and get them to feed>
When my fish had velvet before it's almost like they "go nuts" and after about four days of that they die rather fast. This just doesn't seem to be similar to that of Velvet symptoms.....through my experience anyway. I'd like to have your input again.
<Please stop thinking about parasites, YOU are the problem. This fish needs food. Feed it>.
Thanks so much
<No problem, Simon>
Re: 02/03/10 Re: Stumped. Multiple medications, no diagnosis, not listening, ...
Wow, way to go Simon! With all that pessimism in the last email I feel hopeless and all motivation has gone down the tubes. I guess the thin Auriga will just have to die, I refuse to buy another QT tank.
<I have given you a couple of options that do not involve buying a new tank. Shall I repeat them again? Ok, here we go... 1) Remove the med, improve the conditions and get the fish to feed in QT. 2) Move the fish to the display and get it to feed there.>
I didn't pay enough money for the fish to put more money into another tank. I did everything I could do (for me).
<No, you did not. First, your lack of quarantine in the first place has introduced the parasites, followed by your 'shotgun' approach to treating with various meds without a diagnosis, followed lastly by your failure to take the advice you were given>
Thanks for the input, next time be more optimistic with someone whose asking for your advice.
<Jay, I spent a long time giving you advice here, and was happy to, over a period of days. This advice you have ignored. I have to ask myself, and you, what is the point in coming back for advice time and again if you don't bother to follow it? Am I wasting my time?>
Otherwise, like this particular situation, all goes down the tubes with your showering of negativity.
<Negativity, no. I was trying (in a blunt manner, since you had not listened up to then) to get you to see the truth of what is happening, since tip-toeing around the subject is no good for anyone. I/ we are not here to molly-coddle and be nice to you. We are here to help you with your fish problems.>
Have a good one
<Thank you, Simon>

BF dis., Quinine use f' 2/23/2010
Hey Crew.....
I value you each and every one of your opinions but I would like Bob's advice on this one if at all possible. I just recently upgraded from a 10g QT to a 20g long QT. I have a small 2.5 inch Heniochus and a 3" Raccoon
(Chaetodon Lunula).
<I do want to (re)state for browsers, that I'd look for larger (but not too large) specimens of Chaetodontids to start>

I have treated my Heni for ten days with Quinine Sulfate. Then added the Raccoon after the full ten day treatment and a few additional days (for a total of about two weeks later). Bodies and fins are clear of spots and there are no visible symptoms of a parasite (rapid breathing, flashing, etc.). My concern here is that my Heniochus has a very slight cloudy glaze over his eyes and fins.
<Likely "just stress" from the treatment... i.e., not parasitic>
I do want to say that even when he had velvet from the start his fins were never cloudy like this. After two weeks of being treated with QS he has developed this (without any spots or symptoms). Is this normal?
Shall I treat with something else? Or will this go away eventually?
<No and yes>
I have called National Fish Pharm. and when I spoke with the Doctor, he said it could be from the treatment of QS.
<Yes; this is so>
There isn't much info regarding this med in your forums or at all on the WWW. Bob, what do you think, I would like your opinion?
Thanks so much
<Welcome. BobF>

Hello everyone... BF hlth, QT, H2O quality   2/18/10
<Hello Jason>
I have a slight concern here and I wanted some input.
I follow "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and the WWM site faithfully.
I started QT on my Heniochus and Raccoon BF about a week ago. I am battling a small amount of nitrite and ammonia (ammonia only on occasion).
<Yes, common>
I am a month into a two-month fallow period with my 90g display tank so I will have these BF's in QT for another 30 days approx.
Under the profile of Chaetodon Lunula and Chaetodon Fasciatus is states:
"Butterflyfishes as a whole do not appreciate much in the way of nitrite or nitrates. A successful approach to their keeping is to place them in established (six months plus) aquariums...."

My concern is that (based on the verbiage from the fish's profile) this fish will eventually perish from poor water quality.
<It will indeed>
I do everything possible including 25-30% water changes daily, ammonia/nitrite remover, live bacteria, etc. Although the nitrite never exceeds .25ppm and ammonia never exceeds .50ppm
<Both toxic, and the ammonia is high and worrying>
(rarely ever gets this high, only on a day without daily water changes) I am still concerned.
<I would be as well>
Do you feel this is a need for concern or will the fish temporarily be ok for a month in these water conditions?
<No, I don't think so. Something needs to be done here - you say these have been in QT a month like this and you are still getting ammonia? I am guessing that your QT tank is too small>.
I'd appreciate any advice you wish to give and maybe some more ideas of ways to keep ammonia and nitrite at minimal levels.
<Buy a larger QT tank/ vessel for these fishes, even if it is just a large plastic water container (a Rubbermaid or something)>
Thanks a lot
<No problem, Simon> 

SW med. reading, BFs, Velvet, Copper  01/30/10
Hi everyone
Hi again guys lol. Ok, so I am in the middle of a two month fallow period in my 90gal tank due to a velvet outbreak. I currently have my 3..5" Heniochus in a ten gallon
QT tank with a penguin 150 HOB power filter a heater and some sand in a pouch from my main tank to avoid a level spike (or at least help with it). I have medium amount of circulation and an airstone for oxygen. I just made the first dose of Cupramine.
<... I would not expose these, or most other Chaetodontids to copper... Look into/use a Quinine compound instead. Read here:
Now, the label says to dose this for two weeks
<Not w/o testing for free copper daily>
and your good to go (if no signs of spots or symptoms), but do you think this is long enough?
<I suggest you read re Cu use on WWM>

I know for a face there is velvet in the water because it's the same water that was from my display tank. If not two weeks, what amount of time do you feel is safe enough to say the fish is free of velvet and can be placed back into the display? And, how do you feel about the "Prime" product by Seachem just in case I run into problems with ammonia and water changes aren't completely
cutting it?
<Start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
scroll down... Bob Fenner>

Re: Crypto or something else? & BF dis.   11/29/09
Thanks for the quick reply, Bob. The saddleback butterfly, who has been "cleaning" the rock beauty, has a blood-red, swollen mouth now (doom I know for B/F fish!). Wonder if it could be from "cleaning" the rock beauty?
<Mmm, doubtful. Much more likely resultant from dashing around the small system in the dark, banging into things>
Parasite or bacteria that has been transferred, perhaps?
<Mmmm, duet... not really... Most all are omnipresent to extents>
Anyhow, I'll keep an eye on things and treat with Crypto Pro (quinine sulphate) if I feel like the mystery spots are looking like Ich on the rock beauty. Not sure what to do for the poor saddleback.
<Not much can be done unfortunately... Keep some light on outside the system at night. BobF>
Re: Crypto or something else?& BF dis., beh.   11/29/09

Think I have figured out how the saddleback is damaging it's mouth. It seem to "peck" madly at the front glass as it swims up and down on it's side.
Very strange!
<Mmm, actually... not "strange" in the meaning of "uncommon".
Butterflyfishes and many other families display both territorial behavior in detecting their reflections, and "do this" sort of thing in small volumes>
Anyhow, put a fresh oyster in the tank tonight and it went to town on it!
<Ah! Very good>
Continued after feeding to keep going up and down the glass though, which is troubling.
<Do please tape a piece of paper (newspaper will do) on one end and a long side of this tank... Should have a discernible effect immediately>
Thanks again for the insight and quick reply. I won't trouble you any more on this particular subject. Take care.
<Never a trouble Michael. BobF>

Disease Diagnosis   11/14/09
Hello WWM Crew,
I am embarrassed to have to write you under these circumstances but I am looking for help diagnosing the problem I have going on here.
<No need/cause for embarrassment>
First, the background information. I have a 160 gallon tank with 120lbs live rock, a purple tipped anemone, two tank raised clowns and a purple tang. I have had all of this in the tank for about 3 years with zero problems. I felt it was time to add to the tank so I set up a QT tank (not sure if you can call it this, as I put live rock in, fed it with water and some substrate from the main display and let it cycle for over a month now. so really it's just a small 'other tank'). I then went to the LFS and purchased a Saddleback BF and a Raffles BF. After staring at them for almost too long in the tanks at the LFS and talking with an employee (here is where the problem starts), he convinced me that they have had these fish for a few weeks, the water isn't shared with the other thanks, they are eating just fine
<Did you see this?>
and are essentially quarantined right there in the store. So I took them home, fresh water dipped them and plopped them in my 160 gallon tank, totally ignoring the fact that I had a perfectly good QT tank beside it (yes I know. lesson learned.).
Here we are a week later, with the Raffles doing wonderfully - eating happily, swimming around with personality, picking at rocks. even happy to see me when I come around with some food. The Saddleback, however, is doing some things that I am not sure about. Last night, for the first time, I saw him rub on one of the rocks -
<Some rubbing behavior is fine>
he would line up his fin / gill area, press against it and then do a swoop off of the rock. I only saw him do this twice at that moment, and after watching them for hours, he hasn't done it again.
Another thing he did last night was move his mouth open and closed quite a bit, and do some very heavy fast breathing while staying still in the water.
He also once in a while does a body shake / shiver.
<Also natural>
He isn't nearly as active as the Raffles, and doesn't pick at any rocks.
<This is bad... this specimen is very thin... has a low index of fitness as we say in fisheries>
He also won't eat (I have been feeding Mysis). There are no signs of white specs on him, and he looks totally fine, other than maybe his gills look a little red (see attached photos). I'm thinking I am going to move him to the QT tank, treat the tank with copper
<I would not do, use this>
(obviously move the LR out before doing this) and if you think it would be a good idea, do 3 - 5 formalin dips on him.
<Perhaps one enroute to quarantine>
However, I am looking for some sort of confirmation that this is Velvet.
<Is not. If so, all your fishes would have contracted it, and likely be dead by now>
as I am now thinking that even though all the other fish are fine, they are going to eventually come down with it too.
<And your system would be infested>
Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention is that when I decided his gills were slightly red, I couldn't believe it as I can't remember the last time I have had water problems in the big tank, but I figured my ammonia or nitrite levels were high. so I did that check and everything is perfect (0 and 0). Nitrate is even fine at just above zero.
So this once again confused me (if the water was bad the other fish would be complaining too I would assume).
So first things first, based on the pictures and the actions described above, what do you think I am looking at here?
<For one, a "bad" specimen... IF it is not too inconvenient, I would simply return it to the store myself>
Is it a parasite I can be rid of by copper and formalin treatments?
<This regimen will almost certainly kill this fish in its present condition. Even when Chaetodon ephippium, actually all Chaetodontids are in excellent shape, they fare poorly if exposed to copper, formalin>
If so, I assume this means the other fish are infected as well and I should treat everyone and leave the main tank fallow for a month or two?
<Again, I don't read or see in your pix evidence of parasitic infestation>
Or should I just treat the Saddleback and see how the others fair in the meantime? Or, maybe I should see how it plays out, which means I should concentrate on getting the Saddleback to eat?
<If you can't return the B'fly, I'd try interesting it in other foods, soaked in a vitamin & HUFA prep. (liquid stimulant) like Selcon... Try adding some new/er live rock, try frozen/defrosted bloodworms, a small opened shellfish (from the human food store or Gamma brand), try even some live brine shrimp. This "upon the horse": ephippium (which for humans is a saddle) is likely just stressed from capture, handling, transport...
starved from lack of nutrition through the process. In future, I would demand that such potential purchases be fed in my presence. Please read here:
Bob Fenner>
Thank you in advance,
P.S. I apologize for my dirty tank - I haven't cleaned it since the arrival of the BFs as the Mag-float stresses them out and I am trying to avoid any unnecessary stress!

Collare butterfly QT 09/19/09
Hello Wise Ones:
<Mmm, okay>
Thanks for all your great advice.? I've been a reader? for the past year, ever since I began my recent foray into marine aquaria.?
At the end of last year I set up a 125 gallon? FOWLR system.? It houses a 5" annularis angel,
<Will need more room... actually now>
two small Heniochus Bannerfish, and about 165 pounds of very purple live rock with here and there a snail, a stow-away limpet, a bristle worm and some cool red macroalgae.
Two days ago, I received a pair of 3" collare butterflies? Via FedEx.? I did a long gradual acclimation and put them in a bare QT tank where they began, almost immediately, to nibble on Mysis and frozen brine shrimp.? I planned on putting them through a typical two or three week quarantine. Then, gleaning your site, specifically for anything having to do with Collares, the advice given to "Matt" (who, like me, acquired some Collares by mail order), baffled me. In lieu of quarantine, Matt was told to do a pH adjusted freshwater dip and place his BFs in his main system right away so as to avoid inflicting too much stress on them. It was suggested that the threat of disease transmission was low and that, probably, they would succumb to disease were they to endure a typical? quarantine.
Know that I've regarded your words about quarantine as gospel.
<Not an absolute... there are exceptions in other words...>
Early on, my angel had to endure a long separation from the main tank as it lay fallow after an outbreak of some nasty ecto-parasitic combo platter.
<I'll have the Mac and Cheese please>
It took three months after purchase before he was finally home, noshing on lifeline cubes and marine cuisine in the big tank.? I therefore followed your advice to the letter when I added the Henis. Everything went fine.?
The purple peaceful tank gets more beautiful by the day.? The Henis peck at the live rock and steal mouthfuls of food from the spoiled angel.? Needless to say, I? fear placing? the Collares too quickly only to end up yanking the whole crew ten days later as I? frantically hunt for my Cupramine and copper
test kit. Either I'm not much of a gambler,? or these incredibly beautiful creatures have, for me, so much more value than the money they cost.? So, could you elaborate a bit on the relative risks and benefits of how best to proceed?
Thanks again,
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/quarfaqs13.htm
and the linked files above till you understand my position. Bob Fenner>
collare BFs & QT, follow-up   10/1/2009

Dear Robert:
Just wanted to thank you for your attention and advice and, as ever, your excellent web site.? I wrote a couple weeks ago regarding quarantine for two recently acquired collare butterfly fish.? Just wanted to say that they appear to be thriving amid the live rock and are aggressively feeding.? I'm sure they wouldn't have fared as well had I gone with my plan of isolating them in a bare bones tank.?I performed the freshwater dip, then put them into a container of water from the main tank so they would become "sensible" before having to meet? my other fish.?They began acting normally the minute they were released into the main system, searching? for food, as opposed to merely hanging out in one corner of the? quarantine tank.?It's
taken them some time to learn to catch the food as it is swirled about by the Koralia pumps. Maybe eating coral polyps is easier than catching dinner on the fly!? Regardless, it's a pleasure to watch. Thanks again.
<Thank you for this follow-up. BobF>

A question for Bob, please (since he wrote the article), B'fly fish sel., disease   8/20/09
Hi there Bob. I have learned much from your book, the photos are fantastic, as well.
I have a question on the disease resistance nature of two species you place high on the list of suitable aquarium inhabitants. In one write up on Golden Butterflies, and in a few questions from readers, you state they usually come in pretty clean, and would really only recommend a dip before placing directly in the display, skipping the QT for these.
However, I followed a link you posted to a reader that gave an updated version for the care of these butterflies, and in that article you'd stated they are quite susceptible to Ich and velvet.
Perhaps I interpreted your statement incorrectly?
<Sorry for the confusion... this Chaetodontid is "more susceptible" than many fishes/groups used in our interest, but amongst the Butterflyfishes as a family is very sturdy, typically parasitic et al. disease resistant. Does this make (more) sense? Tough as BF's, but BFs themselves are quite susceptible...>
do not point this out to show a contradiction, for I don't believe there is one...only to receive clarification on the disease prone nature of the Golden Butterfly.
Are they as susceptible to Ich and velvet on the level of a Hippo Tang? Or more hardy (disease-wise)
<Much less susceptible than Paracanthurus... which in turn are relatively tough for Acanthurids!>
like a damsel or a Mac Angel?
<Two notches down from a Mac let's say>
Your approval of them had me put a pair on hold at my LFS.
My second choice for my 320 FOWLER display (that currently only houses an 8" Naso Tang) would be a pair of schooling Bannerfish if the Golden Butterfly is not the best choice. I would like to get a pair of either one. It all comes down to which of the two are more susceptible to getting those marine diseases of Ich/velvet.
<Heniochus of all species are about "on par" with Chaetodon larvatus...>
I am aware that even the hardiest of fishes can succumb to such parasites, but I'd love to hear from you which of the two species you'd recommend on just that one factor alone.
Your decades of fish keeping and wholesale importing have certainly yielded some fascinating files of information.
Thank you kindly,
<Happy to share, Bob Fenner>

FW dipping for Butterflies, R. Fenner, please...   7/31/09
Greetings wise one, a person just posted a query today regarding the signs of Ich showing up on his blue stripe Butterfly. Glen said he performed a second FW dip and put it back into QT. You commented at the end that Butterflies were one of those species that you'd recommend not QT'ing....
<The entire family, yes>
just the careful FW dipping regimen.
Glen FW dipped his Butterfly in the beginning, and it still showed signs of getting Ich about 10 days later, causing him to wisely dip again. Here is my fear/question then...
how can I safely introduce the pair of Golden Butterflies I have on order at my LFS to my 300 gallon display tank if they are best added without QT?
<Best to use a simple bath...>
That FW dipping  I'd planned may not dislodge all parasites as in Glen's case, for he had to repeat the dipping less than 2 weeks later. From a past experience with a horrendous velvet outbreak 8 months ago, I cannot imagine having to break that rock work down again, and drain out 250 gallons just to remove the two new Butterflies (if they contract Ich) after only a FW dip that may not work. In reading your input on Hippo Tangs, you also suggested the same...best not to QT, just FW dip with or without chemicals. Due to my hard learned lesson about adding fish all willy-nilly with no QT, I am afraid a dip may not be sufficient. So how can I add these to my 300 tank?
Your articles on QT-ing plus my own experience has really taught me the priceless value of a QT tank. Heck, I worship that QT tank so much now, I've placed candles on each side if it, and bow down as I pass it by! It's services has just been so appreciated.
Thanks in advance for your valuable insight and response.
<Mmm, well... the species in question, Chaetodon semilarvatus itself is, for the family, very tough, and usually quite biological et al. disease "resistant"... Were it me, mine, I would just do the perfunctory dip/bathing and place these fish. Bob Fenner>

thick white patches on butterfly's fins... hlth.    7/30/09
Hi Bob and crew.
Thanks for last weeks help with my Anthias.
New problem different tank. I have a blue stripe butterfly-C. fremblii, it is about 6 inches.
<Wow; this is large for this Hawaiian species>
It was put into a 29 gallon QT, was and continues to be active and eating well (chopped clam, chopped shrimp, Mysis, enriched brine some pellets).It started to show signs of Cryptocaryon after about 10 days. I did a second freshwater dip, the first prior to entering the quarantine tank. It looked good for a day or so and then developed thick white patches on its fins(pectoral) along with three noticeable spots. Some of the patches appear like little mounds. They look like they could be scraped of with your fingernail. I thought maybe this is related to the crypto (embedded organisms?) I do not want to use Cu and I think most of the quick cure meds are more often quick death or quick waste of money, so I did some homework and started treating with quinine sulfate. So far no new spots but the white patches are still there. Also he has darkened a lot, which I am assuming is a reaction to the quinine sulfate in the water.
<Maybe... could be "just stress" in general. This group (Chaetodonts) don't care for small quarters>
Additionally it has slightly elevated respiration rate although not anywhere near panting. The next morning after the second freshwater bath, one eye became cloudy. It cleared a little but now the cloudy patch seems
to stay the same day by day. Any thoughts on the white patches, cloudy eye.
Also how to progress? what mistakes I made or continue to make?
Thank you very much again
<Butterflyfishes are another group of fishes that I don't suggest quarantining... but using (carefully) FW pH adjusted dips/baths with formalin, aeration... Per the S.O.P. posted on WWM. The "stuff" on the fish
one can only determine with a microscope, some staining (see Edward Noga... search with his name on WWM...). BobF>

Pakistani Butterflyfish/Health And No Useful Info 3/18/09
Good Day Crewmember:
I'm hoping you can help me out. I had purchased a beautiful Pakistan Butterfly fish. I had it almost 2 weeks. I was warned that this breed of butterfly are very hard to maintain. Within the last 2 days it has started to twitch and it's acting spastic, but has not been rubbing against the live rock as it would if it was Ick. I have my water checked every week by our salt water vendor. Everything seems to be fine including the copper level.
A week ago it did have a open wound but I treated with Maracyn Plus and the would healed. After treatment I did a water change, treated water with Garlic and fed the fish with food soaked in Zoe. All the other fish are doing well. I've been keeping a close eye out. Is there something I'm missing to check?
<Too little useful info here, size of tank, water parameters, diet, tankmates, etc. What are you implying by "fine including the copper level." Are you treating this fish or is this indicating the absence of copper? James (Salty Dog)>
Re Pakistani Butterflyfish/Health And No Useful Info 3/18/09

In my 55 gal these are the levels: Ammonia=0, Nitrites=0, PH=8.2, Alkalinity=normal, salinity=1.024, Nitrates=0 Temp 76 In my Eclipse 6 gallon Treatment Tank the copper just tested yesterday was 0.020 all other levels same as above except for Temp ranges between 76-78.
I wondering if the copper was giving the fish side effects. Reading from your website I've learn butterfly's are sensitive to copper.
<Yes. Is the above level, "0.020" a typo. Normal treatment levels are .15 to .20 with .20 being too high for Butterflyfish.
A level of .15 is recommended.>
After transferring to main tank after open wound healed the fish started twitching and swimming like crazy and jerking.
Tankmates: 2 large Chromis, <Chromis> 1 Midas Blenny, 1 Coral Beauty, 1 Powder Brown Tang, 1 Dispar Anthias, 1 Spiny Box Puffer, 1 Engineer Goby, 1 Royal Gamma Basslet, 1 Orange Shoulder Tang, and 1 Bicolor Blenny.
<YIKES, in a 55? You've got to be kidding me. Tank is too small for what you have in there by a long shot.
I'm surprised the tangs are surviving let alone the butterfly. Too much environmental stress going on here for sure and trouble lies ahead soon if this bio-load isn't reduced. The puffer can grow to 9 inches and requires at least a 75 gallon tank.
Tangs need somewhere near 120 gallons, better yet, 180+ for long term success.>
Diet: 3 times a week I feed Seaweed in a Veggie Clip, Krill for puffer, alternate between Frozen Emerald Entree for Omnivorous and Rod's Brine Shrimp for the remaining fish. I do pour drops of Zoe on all food.
<You need to stock your tank based on it's size, and a more realistic stocking level would be the Chromis', blennies, Coral Beauty, Royal Gramma, and the Engineer Goby. Even at that, it would be cutting it close. Ohhh Boy. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Pakistani Butterflyfish/Health And No Useful Info 3/18/09

The copper level is .20 in the treatment tank and in the main tank, all of my fish are small. Tangs are small ranging from 1 1/2 to 2 inches, butterfly is 1 1/2 inch,
<<And being poisoned by the Cu++. RMF>>

 orange tang is 1 inch and I know minimum tank size is 125 gallon,
<Glad to hear that.>
powder brown tang is 2 inches and minimum tank is 70
< I wouldn't keep a Powder Brown Tang in anything less than a 125.>
and puffer is 1 1/2inches minimum tank 70. You're correct, the bio load will be an issue in the future, but being in small sizes currently fish have been fine. Except for the butterfly. I have good filtration system and plenty of live rock. Regular water changes. I bought the tangs at even smaller sizes of 3/4 to 1inch, so far so good. But not to worry I'm saving for a bigger tank with all the goodies before they get any bigger.
What is the advise for the butterfly? Jim don't be a (salty dog).
<Don't mean to be, just trying to help you. Remember, I cannot see your tank, I have to try and visualize the best I can. As to the butterfly, if no visible signs of a parasitical disease is noted, I'd just keep a very close eye on the situation and be ready to treat. Really do not want to expose butterflies to copper unless it's necessary. And then, only at a .15 level. James (Salty Dog>

We don't want to lose our new addition! please help! (Butterfly Qs) 11/05/08 Hello, <Hi.> I am writing to you in desperation. My husband and I have purchased a long nosed butterfly over the weekend. He looked happy and healthy at the store though we did notice a few spots when we got home. <It should have been quarantined or even brought back.> The number of spots has increased and we are unsure how to treat him. The spots are small and white (possibly looks like Ich, I have attempted to take pictures but have yet to get one that is not blurry) and are all over his body. <Please see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm  and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm  and get familiar with the disease, symptoms and treatments described. See here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/forcipdisfaqs.htm  for Longnose butterfly disease cases.> He has taken to hanging out behind some live rock in the bottom right corner of the tank but this evening I noticed he was hanging out near the surface in the top right corner. He started floating with his tail towards the surface and head down late this evening (similar to what our clownfish do), and seemed to be moving slower and floating instead of swimming is this normal? <Floating tail up at the surface? Not normal, I would be concerned, too.> Once the lights when out he went back to the bottom corner (to sleep?). <Probably.> We have a 35 gal tank <Too small for the new addition. Please see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/forcipig.htm . There is some good disease information found as well.> with 2 clown fish, 2 damsels, 1 chocolate chip starfish and our recently added long nosed butterfly, along with fair amount of live rock. We are looking to expand but due to financial constraints have post boned the expansion (We started with a 10gal saltwater take 14 months ago <If you still have this one running, it would be a small-but-better-than-nothing quarantine or treatment tank.> and upgraded to 35 early last spring, but are looking to upgrade again). Our readings are consistently normal <What's that?> and other then a slight algae over growth lately we have had no problems in the 14 months we have had our reef tank. We have fallen in love with our butterfly (still working on a name for the colorful little guy) and would hate to lose him. How can we help him? <Read where you have been referred to above and act accordingly. Good luck. I hope the butterfly (and your other fish) get well again.> Desperate in Tennessee <Marco in Heidelberg>

Anorexic Butterflies & QT process--Correction  4/7/08 Hello again, Realized the Second main paragraph might not make sense, It should have  read in part as follows: Sorry for the confusion. ...The QT is monitored for ammonia twice daily, and has registered .25 mg/l at 24 hours, .5 at 48 hours and .75 at 70 hours. <To degrees toxic at all concentrations> The QT is treated with a dose of Prime (according to label to bind ammonia of .6mg/l at 24 hours and 45 hours and a double dose at about 64 hours. <Mmm... okay> The fish are removed with as little extra water as possible (plastic clear container, no net) at under 72 hours... <Good technique. Will have to look for whoever responded previously (did they?)... but in reviewing your prev. email, this looks like a solid protocol/plan. BobF.> Hello, Thank you for your site, it has been a wealth of information for new saltwater fish hobbyists such as myself. I have two questions, one as relates to your comments on my quarantine process, and two as relates to non-eating butterfly fish. I purchased the following from Saltwaterfish.com. They arrived 7 days ago, and were drip acclimated over 2-3 hours and placed into a 17 gal quarantine tank made up of water transferred from my main tank: parameters 1.023, PH 8.15, Temp 78, Ammonia Zero, Nitrates between 0 and 2.5. The quarantine tank (QT) is bare bottomed, has a few colored hard plastic cups for hiding, dark construction paper on three sides and the bottom, and has a hang on filter with ammonia absorbing pad. The new arrivals include a 3.5 inch Pearlscale Butterfly, a 3 inch Punctato Butterfly, a 2.5 inch (was expecting it to be between 3 and 4 inches) Pakistani Butterfly, a 3 inch thin Dragon Goby <I'd summarily move this animal and get it solid, high-protein food-feeding ASAP> and a 1 inch Skunk Cleaner Shrimp. The QT was treated with 500 mg Chloroquine diphosphate fully dissolved before fish placement. The QT is monitored for ammonia twice daily, and has registered .25 mg/l at 24 hours, .5 at 48 hours and .75 at 36 hours. The QT is treated with a dose of Prime (according to label to bind ammonia of .6mg/l at 24 hours and 45 hours and a double dose at about 30 hours. The fish are removed with as little extra water as possible (plastic clear container, no net) at under 36 hours and transferred to a new QT with the same parameters from main tank (new dose of Chloroquine and all). Filter, tanks and reusable objects in the tank are treated in dilute bleach, then rinsed, then soaked in prime treated water and dried before reuse. Overhead light only on for short time before, during and after feeding attempts for observation and feeding. This new QT tank rotation has been repeated three times so far. My thinking on this was to remove with a high degree of confidence any Velvet, White Ich or Black Ich present on the fish before entrance to main tank. (This was used successfully with a pair of Heniochus Butterflies a few months previously, one of which arrived with two white dots on its fins about 0.5 mm size, which disappeared from the fish between day 3 and 5 of QT and has not showed back up after transfer to main tank.) Do you see any weak link in this plan? Second question involves the fish themselves. The Pearlscale arrived with many black dots on its side, as of day 7 in QT3, they are all gone, and it appears to be very healthy -- has been eating everything I offer including Formula Two pellets. It is mildly pushy with the Punctato, but appears to ignore the Pakistani. The Dragon Goby, which arrived thin but with no lesions noted so far, has filled out with good feeding and is doing great also. The Pakistani arrived with one 0.6 mm white dot on its rear fin and pectoral fin and two fuzzy 1 mm white lesions on lower fin edge. As of day 7, only the white fin edge lesions remain. The Pakistani has not been eating. It ate 2 Mysis offered 20 hours or so after arrival, and 2 live brine shrimp offered day 6 in the a.m (in QT2). and 2-3 more offered that p.m. (in QT3) The Punctato arrived with no lesions, is swimming just fine, but has only eaten 1-2 Mysis offered on that first day. I have tried the following so far over the last 7 days: Mysis offered at least every other day, Formula Two pellets, fresh clam on the half shell, fresh mussel in shell (diced up), diced squid, a seafood medley of shrimp/whitefish/Nori/clam all slenderized and lastly live brine shrimp. The Pearlscale and Goby are in heaven and will eat everything offered, but the Pakistani and Punctato are fasting. I have tried a few drops of fresh squeezed garlic water and also Entice by Seachem. (I have been unable to find Selcon, which I see recommended on your site, anywhere locally). The Punctato goes crazy swimming rapidly around the tank with the Entice, but does not eat. Neither Pakistani nor Punctato have any mouth lesions that I can see. The Pakistani frequently goes and sits with its sides near the Cleaner Shrimp, did stare at the clam shell put in the tank, has rubbed its gill/side area intermittently on a few shells added on day 7 and its gill rate is more rapid than the other fish, but does not appear in distress. Unless I see anything else problematic, my plan is to move the Pearlscale, Dragon Goby and Cleaner Shrimp to the main tank at day 9 since they appear healthy and their presence may be affecting the two anorexic ones; and move the Pakistani and Punctato into a new 10 Gal QT treated with 250 mg Metronidazole and not move them to main tank till eating and well. Do you have any other feeding or treatment suggestions? <Mmm, just to move all along expeditiously... through this process and to your main system in a minimum of time... with live rock et al. there> Am I right to think that if they are not eating in the QT, they are unlikely to eat in the main tank? <Mmm, no... much more likely to commence feeding in the main display> Thanks for comments on my QT process and suggestions on feeding anorexic Butterfly fish. Joe <The non-feeding... due to collection, handling stress, isolation in small, bare settings is par for this course... Finish the quarantine and move them. B>

about a weird thing grow on the fish... Crap English, dead plebeius...   3/9/08 hi again today I've noticed 1 of the fish has something grow on the right side of his body. I think it maybe a decease... But every other fishes are ok, and the Singapore angel. let's take a look at the attached pic. He seem to not eating, and almost these 2 days seen him on top of the water, and breathing hard.... Is there any chance to safe him? He's acting normal most of the time when light was on. Peter <... you're joking? This fish is dead... See WWM re BF Disease, Systems... Maybe Pathogenic Marine Diseases... Sheesh, is there a full moon? Bob Fenner!>

Hey dude, you're dead!

Long Nose Butterfly/Acclimation 1/29/08 Good Morning Crew! <Hello Gans> I have had a Long Nose Butterfly in my tank for a 6 days now. He is the only fish in a 60gal/LR 6 month old tank. He was doing great for the first 3 days & ate everything I fed him but since yesterday he is just hiding in the same spot among the live rock and doesn't want to come out. When I feed him Mysis he doesn't seem interested anymore. I gave him a clam this morning and didn't seem interested either. I understand from the material in WWM that these guys take time to adjust etc but I am asking because he was doing great for the first few days but now has become a recluse. I don't see any physical evidence of something going on. I have increased the temp from 75 to 78 and turned off the MaxiJet 1200 inside the tank that I had for extra circulation. <No, no, turn that pump back on, these fish need good circulation.> SG is 1.025 though. I see you recommend 1.020. Anything else I can try to help him adjust? <Since their primary source of food is zooplankton, I'd try feeding some Cyclop-Eeze. I would do a 10% water change with the makeup water adjusted to 1.020. The goal isn't to get down to 1.020 but somewhat lower than 1.025. Keep in mind that these fish require very good water quality. I would suggest using a good chemical media such as Chemi Pure. Do keep a close eye on the fish for signs of parasitical infection and, if present, quarantine and treat immediately. You may want to keep the lights off until this fish hopefully acclimates to it's new surroundings.> Thanks <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Gans

Re: Hyposalinity for Butterflies  11/28/2007 Hi Crew, I had sent this question in a couple of weeks ago and am hopeful for a reply. <Thanks for re-sending. I don't recall ever seeing this> Thanks, Tom Hi Crew, <Tom> I have a follow up question to Roy's reply yesterday titled "QT hospital tank and poor water conditions". Would you recommend this specific QT hypo treatment for a LNB and CBB if they're showing Crypt symptoms? <I myself would not... am decidedly NOT a fan of hyposalinity treatments period. RARELY effect cures, OFTEN ultimately kill by seriously weakening fish livestock. Bob Fenner> I've used copper successfully in the past but don't want to use it for these new fish that I'll be getting soon. I have a 30G QT set up and waiting for the new additions. Here's the text of Roy's reply: <<Art: It sounds like you are using a lot of medication and chemicals in your QT. If you only QT one fish at a time, a 10 gallon should work. In my experience, the best treatment for Ich is to slowly lower the Specific Gravity (SG) in your QT to 1.009 (as measured with a refractometer), leave it there for 6 weeks, and then slowly raise it to your main tank SG. Before I started using this method, I used to have many of the same issues and problems you mentioned. I usually don't like to move the SG more than .002 per day up or down (as measured with a refractometer). The SG 1.009 Ich treatment will work just fine without any meds; however, you can't have any live rock or inverts in your QT because the SG 1.009 is too low for them. When you need to do a water change, make sure the SG is the same as your QT. After the 6 weeks, no Ich should have survived. You then slowly raise the QT from SG 1.009 to where your main tank is. After that, you can introduce your fish to the main tank. While the whole process takes several weeks, you will beat Ich for good and you won't have to use a bunch of medication and chemicals. In the future, never introduce a fish without going through the 6 week QT. It's the way I do it and I have never had Ich in the main tank (though I have had it seen it many times at the start of the QT process). Best of luck, Roy>> Thanks,

Unknown Fish Disease? Chelmon spots   11/12/07Hello there, Love the site it saved my sick sand sifting star fish (he's now in a MUCH MUCH bigger home) not to mention research here prevented me from buying a horse shoe crab my LFS was trying to push on me. Hopefully you can help me with my most recent problem for starters I'll run my tank info at ya. 50 Gallon Tank about 4 months running Remora C Protein hang on Skimmer 2 Hydor Koralia Pumps #3 850gph each 1.5" Dolomite bottom <Mmm, do replace this in time> 2" live sand bed on top of the dolomite would this be considered a plenum of sorts? <Of a sorts... but do you have the defined "gap" water space alone underneath?> probably 40 or 50 lbs of live rock good coralline coverage on pumps and back wall Water parameters: last tested 10/26 at LFS <I'd get your own kits... water chemistry changes with movement, time...> Ph 8.1 Ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 10 (was told this might be due to a 350 magnum canister filter that I have removed from the system) KH 9 Calcium 450 Salinity 1.023 Live Stock: 10 Blue leg hermit Crabs 6 Red Leg hermit crabs 3 zebra striped Astrea snails 1 turbo snail 1 gold ring cowry 1 queen fighting conch 1 Pencil Urchin 1 Cleaner Shrimp 1 long tentacle Anemone 1 anemone crab 2 emerald crabs 1 brittle starfish brown How's the cleaning crew look? light heavy? <A mix... I'd keep your eye on the Mithraculus> 1" colony of star polyps 1" colony of Zoanthids 1" Florida Ricordea Fish: 1 green mandarin (he eats live brine, frozen Mysis, and chilled ArctiPods along with the live pods on my LR) My current worry is my only other fish a Copper band butterfly <Hard to keep in small tanks like this> he has 3 black spots on the very edge of his pectoral fin and one black spot on the farthest back edge of his dorsal fin I've searched your site for black spots but all I can find is black Ich these spots are about the size of #2 pencil lead seemingly MUCH larger than the pictures of black Ich I've found they haven't spread or moved but just hold on. He hasn't shown any signs of rubbing against anything or discomfort he's still eating an lot of Mysis shrimp he never ignores it so I just feed him a few minutes worth and leave it at that. <I would... do nothing overt here... The spots could be "just coloring"... melanism from?...> He won't stay still long enough for my cleaner to go near him I don't think it's a lazy cleaner because it loves to pick at my fingers. I'm nervous that these black spots have the potential to spread to my mandarin I haven't set up a QT tank yet Any ideas what these might be? Please help <Not likely at all to be a spreading problem> I'm also considering in the future a black false percula clown and a flame angel I don't want to overload the system though does it sound ok to you? Thanks, Very nervous <Don't be... Do start planning re where you're going to put the new, larger system... You've got the bug, not the Chelmon. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Unknown Fish Disease? Chelmon spots    11/14/07 Hello again! I didn't properly proof read my E-mail and there was a miscommunication here on the Copper band spots. I'm terribly sorry... They aren't really spots but have the size of small black ants attached to the fins. <I see them...> 3 on the pectoral and one on the tip of the dorsal I've enclosed two pictures hopefully they're high enough quality and yet small enough to meet your standards. <Yes... good images... Don't appear to be "organismal"...> here are some interesting bits of info that might or might not help. The fish seems to have a very minor case of Ich on the fins that do not have these black things on them but no sign of white spots on the pectoral that has them. I can't seem to get a closer shot then the one I'm sending you and they have shown no signs of movement it might be my imagination but it seems like one has actually "fragged itself" with 3 tiny spots next to it that I did not notice before but I might be more paranoid now than before. Please help, Sincerely Confused <Again... I do think these are random bits of melanization... perhaps this specimen was physically whacked, as with a net... even dropped to the ground at some time. They could be from an accidental run-in with the Zoanthids. I would leave it as is... not subject the specimen to medication, moving... the marks will likely fade over a long period of time... though a purposeful cleaner might well remove them post haste... Maybe a Lysmata species. Oh! I see you list a cleaner shrimp below. Hopefully these will partner. Bob Fenner>

Auriga Scratching  9/27/07 Hello Bob & Co, I come to you guys more often than I take my kids to the doctor!! My Auriga which is the only fish in my 60gal/60lbs/skimmer/FBD tank is scratching a lot and shaking her face. She tries to scratch around the area behind her eyes. No sign of white spots and she eats very well. I have a cleaner shrimp in the tank as well. I have a 10 gal QT tank. What should I do? 1. Dip/Bath and then to QT? 2. Lower SG of QT and then let him sit there for a while? 3.Copper etc? 4. Other? As always, thank you for all your help. -Gans <4... just observe for now. Bob Fenner>
Re: Auriga Scratching  9/30/07
Hi Bob, He was still scratching as of yesterday. Today he is acting very lethargic. Just hanging out in one place or the other without swimming much. Not his usual self for sure. Still takes food and eats it all. No spots or anything else in the body that I can see. Should I still stay put and observe? Thanks! Ganz <Yes. RMF>
Re: Auriga Scratching 10/1/07
He didn't make it Bob! Found him dead this morning. I am 2 1/2 months into this hobby and am off to a rough start. Killed 2 Henis by having them in a 10 gal qt tank, now the Auriga . Pretty depressing! Not sure if I should continue. If I do, should I wait a month before I add anything to the tank? <A good idea, yes> I just have snails, crabs and a shrimp in there. Thanks for all your help! Cheers Gans <Convert, re-direct the energy, feeling into progressive activity... READ before buying... BobF>

Need Help with Diagnosis: Copperband Butterfly 09/17/07 I purchased a Copperband Butterfly fish on Friday (9/14) from an online vendor. I noticed some redness on the bottom right and left sides of this fish today (Sunday, 9/16). The eyes and fins are clear. I have pics of this fish located here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7329275@N05 <Bad scrape... likely a thrashing with being roughly netted in the wild...> The fish is not eating yet, prolly still recovering from his trip. Is this a viral or bacterial issue? Is this something that can be treated? If so, with what? <May become bacterial... No "treatment" suggested other than good care...> The other fish in the tank <... this fish was not quarantined? Mistake> are a pair of cinnamon clownfish and a gold spotted Rabbitfish. The clownfish have been in the tank for 2.5 months and the Rabbitfish for one month. they are healthy and are eating vigorously. Salinity- 1.024 Nitrates-0 Ammonia-0 Nitrites-0 Calcium-420 Alk-3.43 Temp 80.6 Any advice and suggestions are appreciated. Thanks
<Read... on WWM re Chelmon care... Bob Fenner>

Bump on my Auriga 9/6/07 Hello WWM Crew! My tank is 7wks old and water param.s are all ok. It's a 60gal/skimmer/FBD/LRock system. I have an Auriga for about 9 days in the tank now. She's eating everything and doing great but I see a small bump with some white icing like thing on top of the bump, in the area where her tail joins the body. I have attached a couple of pics but they are not that clear. <I see this> She gets in and out of the live rock a lot. She is showing no signs of illness at all but the bump is  noticeable. Not sure what to make out of it doc? The water temp has been in the 83-85 range for the last week as its been hot in SD. But the temp has finally come down. Cheers Gans <The water is a bit warm... and this volume is marginal... Does look to me like a sore, perhaps bacterially involved... resulting from a trauma... likely during capture, handling... I would look into antibiotic laden foods if this fish will accept them. Perhaps Thera A. Bob Fenner>

Re: Bump on my Auriga  9/7/07 Hi Bob! Thank you for the quick response. I looked around for Thera-A with antibiotics but they all say they are non-medicated. I am unable to find a medicated version of it with anti-biotics. http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_searchItem.aspx?IdCategory=&SearchText=thera%20a <Sorry re... I would add the antibiotic to this Spectrum product...> Do you want me to try just the Anti-Parasitic Formula? <No my friend... I would just add... per this sort of protocol: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm  Cheers Gans <And to you. BobF, who just got off the phone with friend/manufacturer Pablo Tepoot... we're all hauling out tog. for the CIPshow in Nov... and he mentioned that Thera only has garlic...>

Re: Bump on my Auriga 09/14/07 Bob, You are a fish genius! The spot fell off as you said. Thanks! Gans
<Ah, good. Thank you for the update Gans. BobF>

Re: Bump on my Auriga   9/12/07 Hi Bob& Co, Good evening to you all! <And to you Gans> The bump on my Auriga has healed completely. I did not feed any anti-biotic. However there is a white thing latched to her tail and a smaller white thing on the top of her fin for the past 4 days. Pic attached. The fish itself is acting very normal and eats everything. I am confused if its Ich or something else? Its the only fish in the tank. Do I pull her into QT and start treatment or just wait and see. Thanks Gans <Is very likely simply "residual" material... that can/will fall off... Do you have plans to introduce a purposeful cleaner organism? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnrfaqs.htm and the linked files above. BobF>

Pearlscale Butterfly Problem, induced   8/27/08 Hi there, Just want to say thanks for your assistance! Your website has answered so many of my problems over the last couple of months and what you do for others in need is really saying something about you, so thank you. Anyway.. i currently have: 1 Pearlscale butterfly 2 false Perc clownfish 1 Chromis In a 35 gallon tank. <Mmm, too small a volume for this or any other species of Butterflyfish> My concern is the butterfly fish. I know this species does need a fair bit more room i have heard of alot <... no such word> worse, and as a 16 year old this tank is all i can afford. <Then... return the BF> I have had the butterfly for about a month now and after about a week it started to scratch itself on rocks. I noticed a few spots similar to Ich so i turned the heat up a bit they soon disappeared and the scratching stopped. But it has been 2 weeks since and he/she breathes quite rapidly. <Maybe just/simply the increased metabolic rate from the elevated temp. and lower DO at that temp...> And he never used to breath so fast and it is starting to concern me because i don't know what it could be. He eats alot and swims fine. My ammonia and nitrite is 0 and nitrate is 7ppm. The other fish aren't having any problems with their breathing. Any ideas on cause and solution would be much appreciated, thanks so much. Kind regards, Patrick <Could be a psychological component here as well... the Damsels frightening the BF... Again, I'd return this fish, get something more appropriate to your setting. Bob Fenner>

Butterflyfishes and copper treatment    2/16/07 Hello, <Good morrow to you> I would appreciate any help you could give me on my tank situation. I am really frustrated after losing a couple of fish and would like to figure out what I can do differently and what is the best course of action. <Okay... as in I will try to assist you> I have a 90-gallon quarantine tank that has been running consistently for about a year now. My water chemistry is all within normal range (Ammonia=0, Nitrites=0, PH=8.2, Alkalinity=normal, salinity=1.024); I don't know the nitrate level, and I will have to get a kit to test it. I assume it is pretty low, as I do 20-gallon water changes every two weeks, and I do not overfeed. <I see> Ten days ago, I moved four fish (3 wrasses and a Firefish) from my quarantine tank to my main tank after treating and quarantine them for Ich for about 4 months. They are doing well in my main tank. However, the fish I bought in the last 3-10 days have started to show signs of Ich, and I have lost 2 of them--a yellow head Jawfish and a yellow Longnose Butterflyfish. <Generally very sturdy aquarium species> Within a couple of days of adding them, they started showing signs of hemorrhaging and stopped eating. <Yikes... troubles, challenges ahead of your receiving them...> I found the yellow Longnose Butterflyfish this morning moving around in a 360 degree circular pattern, bumping into things, and it was dead shortly thereafter. My copper sulphate level is slightly below .20ppm. Does the hemorrhaging seem like it is a reaction to the parasites, the copper or both? <Mmm perhaps a combination... no way to tell... w/o knowing the history of these animals ahead of your receiving them... Were they at your dealers a good few days or more before your picking them up?> When I bought them, they were all eating and appeared in good health. All of them, with the exception of the Jawfish, were in tanks with a copper level of .20ppm for at least a few days. Could the hemorrhaging indicate that they were exposed to copper for a few weeks? <Mmm, again... a possibility... but would take more than this exposure to "do them in" as you state> The fish store also was keeping the Butterflyfish in a salinity around 1.018, <Typical...> so I took about 3 hours to acclimate the fish since my salinity is so much higher. <I would do this much more gradually... about a thousandth in density changer per any given day> I'm concerned about treating my Butterflyfish (a Pearlscale butterfly, a raccoon butterfly, a threadfin butterfly, and a Klein's butterfly, all around 2-3" each) with copper since I have done it unsuccessfully in the past (with a Pakistan butterfly, a latticed butterfly and a Pearlscale butterfly), and I understand that Butterflyfish are more sensitive to copper treatments. <Yes> In the past, I treated the Ich early, but the level got a little high, around .25ppm. I appreciate your help. Jenny <I would not use copper of any sort if this is to be simply a Quarantine, and not a treatment tank... and if pressed to use copper, only a chelated variety/brand... and lower on the useful/efficacious concentration... 0.15 ppm free cupric ion. Bob Fenner>
Re: Butterflyfishes and copper treatment    02/17/07
Thank you for your feedback. I have a couple more questions regarding copper and treating Ich. <Okay> My 90-gallon tank has been a quarantine and treatment tank for a year now, and I want to start stocking it as a regular fish tank. Since I've already got the nonchelated copper in my tank, I would imagine that I need to remove it with carbon or a poly filter before adding chelated copper? <Yes, I would> Since I want to add more fish and copper is so effective at treating Ich, I'm thinking my best route would be to treat with copper, although I am concerned about its effects on the Butterflyfish. Are freshwater dips really a good alternative? <Yes... can be... if the Cryptocaryon is not "too advanced"... as in cases where multiple generations are entrenched, embedded deep in the fish hosts integuments> It doesn't seem like it is nearly as effective as the copper treatments. Thanks again for your help. <Is much safer, less toxic... You have read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm scroll down... to dips/baths, the voluminous materials on Crypt, its treatment... the use of Copper... Bob Fenner>

Sick Heniochus butterfly   7/26/06 Hi!  My Heniochus butterfly fish has Popeye.  I put him in a quarantine tank.  I am going to the LFS this evening to buy some medicine.  Would should I buy? <... Likely nothing. If this Exophthalmia is one-sided, maybe I'd add some Epsom Salt... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/popeyefaqs.htm and the linked FAQs2 file above> Also, what should I do about the main tank?  I purchased LF from a dealer online back in January.  He told me to spray it upon arrival. <"Spray it?">   I did not, figuring that my tap water, which is bad, would kill the organisms on the rock.  Instead, I scrubbed it in a plastic tub to get the 'muck' off.  Shortly after, my hands were extremely Ichy.   <Common... there are physical components as well as biological that will do this...> And for the next month or so, I noticed that my hands and arms would itch when I put them in the tank. <Little cuts, abrasions...> I have cleaned LR before and I'd never had a problem. An employee at the LFS told me that the problem was probably bristle worms but they were harmless.  I waited a few months before adding a blue damsel.  He did fine. Plus I noticed that my hands stopped itching when I had to go into the tank.  In June, I moved the damsel to another tank and added the butterfly fish. Could there be something wrong with the LR? <Doubtful> I do not want to get rid of it, but I will if necessary.  I am afraid to return the fish to the main tank, after it is well. <If one-sided, this Pop-eye is likely due to a physical trauma. Bob Fenner>

Swollen Long Nose Butterfly  7/19/06 Hello Ladies and Gentlemen, <Tamara> I have struck a bit of a problem with my long nose butterfly. He has become quite "swollen" (the best way of describing it) around the top and bottom sections of his body. I have searched your site and have found nothing on this, only swelling around the eyes and mouth (which my fish does not have). <Yikes... the condition is/can be termed "Ascites", bloat... dropsical... many causes... some more primary than others... but something causing fluid to leave cells, tissues... and occupy intracellular space, body cavities...> I took the fish, with minimal stress, to my fish shop after they said they have never heard of such thing and would need to see it. Consequently he put me on to your website. They do have an enormous amount of experience but said they have never seen anything like it and will look into it themselves further also. Looking from behind; say the fish is 3mm in width; where it is swollen at the top and bottom, it is more like in excess of 10mm wide - like someone has pumped it full of air! It is still feeding and active - apart from the "swelling" it is behaving fine. Any reply would be greatly appreciated as I am rather concerned. Thank you. Regards Andrew Brown Melbourne Australia. <It may be that there is a "simple" bacterial involvement here (from?) that can be thwarted with the application of one/some form of antimicrobial/antibiotic. If this were a very valuable fish or a bunch of them, I would avail myself of injectable material (Chloramphenicol succinate would be my first choice)... For home/hobbyist purposes, it may be that a water-administered product is best... a Furan compound: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/antibiofaqs.htm and a search on WWM with the name. If this/these are not available locally or easily, do look into what you can get in the way of a gram-negative, broad-spectrum antibiotic... administer at 250 mg. per actual ten gallons of water... change a good part of the water out and replace, re-treat every three days for three treatments... Not in the main/display system... Bob Fenner>
Re: Swollen Long Nose Butterfly   7/22/06
Hi Bob, <Tamara> Thank you so much for your reply. My fish shop said your site, and your staff, would be extremely helpful and he was 100% correct. I will track down a antimicrobial/antibiotic today. Just for my own knowledge, will this, or can this affect the other fish in the tank; or is fish specific (i.e.. is it contagious and should expect more fish to become this way?) <Not able to say, but generally such involvements are "not catching"> Secondly, was there a way of preventing this, or is it just a pure random occurrence? Thanks so much. Tamara <Mostly the latter. One can do their best to provide optimized, stable conditions, good nutrition... and still have such incidents. Bob Fenner>

Copperband/Disease Treatment  7/11/06 I read on your website that Copperbands can be prone to copper medication. <<Prone? RMF>> <Yes.> I have a Copperband in a QT tank with several other fish. Should I use the same does as indicated on the bottle or should I reduce the dose? I am using SeaChem activated copper, if this helps. <No such thing as activated copper.  You are referring to Cupramine, a buffered, active copper. I would isolate the Copperband in another tank.  Copperbands are very sensitive to copper treatment.  Freshwater dips and formalin (Rid-Ich+ by Kordon, formalin and malachite green) would be my choice. > Thank you. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> A

BF spot, Dottyback color loss, Centropyge feeding in QT   7/12/06 Thanks for your prompt reply, <Please include prev. corr...> I have done as you said and given my Copperband with a freshwater dip mixed with M/Green. He has a parasite attached to his front left fin, I hope it will come off after a few more dips. But he is looking much better after the first dip, the itch has receded significantly. And he's eating well as usual. <Mmm, a parasite? Might just be a "spot" from bumping into something... I'd try a purposeful cleaner organism... perhaps a Lysmata sp. shrimp... Gobiosoma goby...> Now onto my Dottyback. He has lost a lot of colour, when I got him he was a bright magenta and yellow, now he's faded to a dull purple and yellow. I have been told this is due to him not being the dominant fish in the aquarium, as the Anthias don't seem to like him too much and chase him sometimes. <Possibly a/the factor here> I feed him Mysid shrimp, brine, algae flakes, angel fish mix, ocean plankton, pretty much whatever I can get my hands on, and he is still showing no signs of his original colour. Any suggestions? <Spectrum pelleted food/s> My final question is about my eibli angel, which is refusing to eat Mysid shrimp, marine algae, brine shrimp and flakes. He is in my QT tank atm, and I'm worried that he hasn't eaten for 2 days. I am not treating the tank with any medication so I am thinking of buying a small piece of live rock for him to nibble on. Would you suggest Nori too? <Do add a good deal of ready-cured live rock with obvious algal growth> I'll just like to add that you guys provide a valuable service and your advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks. Albany <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Heniochus acuminatus with Ich 6/23/06 Hi WWM crew!! <Hi> I have an Heniochus acuminatus that show symptoms of ick. <Uh oh> It has white spots, that look like salt. It doesn't have that much but it still concerns me. <It should> It is still eating well. It doesn't breathe rapidly. All the other fish are healthy. <All other fish are infected with Ich, just not symptomatic.> I don't want to treat the main tank, because I have some invertebrate. <Almost always a bad idea.> I am not able to set up a hospital tank, I don't have the space for it, since I live in an apartment. <Really need one, doesn't need to be always set up, can be taken down when not in use.  Without a QT/hospital tank expect to continue to have problems with communicable diseases.> Yesterday, I have give it a freshwater bath( specific gravity: 1.008) with blue Methylene for 10 minutes. <Provides temporary relief, not a cure.> But, today, it still shows symptoms of ICK. <Most likely will continue until the Ich life cycle is broken.> What should I do to treat my fish? <If you are unable/unwilling to get a hospital/QT tank and remove and treat all fish and allow the tank to run follow there is not much you can do.  Provide good quality water and food and hope the fish's immune system and fight off the Ich.> I have bought a Formaldehyde - green malachite solution to use it in a bath, but I am not sure if it is a good idea and how much should I use and for how long. <Toxic stuff, I'm not a big fan of it.  Baths will help temporarily, but when the fish is returned to the tank they will be reinfected.> Could I use copper in a bath that would last for a long time? <Not effective.> If yes, how much should I use and for how long? Any other treatment I could try? <Not that wouldn't nuke the tank.  Medications are not specific enough to kill the Ich and not destroy the live rock and biofiltration.>    Thank you very very much!!! I hope my fish will be fine, I really like it!! <Hope so.> Steve T. <Chris>
Heniochus acuminatus with Ich Part II 6/30/06
Hi Chris, <Hi> As per your advice, I am actually looking to setup a hospital tank for my fish, to help to get ride of the ick problem... I have 2 clown fish, 2 green Chromis, 1 neon goby, 1 six line wrasse and the Heniochus. What size of hospital should I go with? <Good to hear, at least a 20 for all those fish.  If easier you could go with a couple of smaller tanks and split up the livestock.> Today the Heniochus have stopped to eat... :( <Uh-oh> What is my best bet with it? Should I give it a freshwater bath until I set-up the hospital tank? Any other ideas? <A bath may help, make sure its ph adjusted and the right temperature.  Try adding either Selcon or garlic to the food.  Both seem to stimulate the feeding response.  If it goes too long try some live brine shrimp.> Thank you very much... Steve <Good luck and remember to QT any new additions to avoid these problems in the future.> <Chris>
Heniochus acuminatus with Ich Part III 7/1/06
Hi again Chris, <Hi> Sorry to bother you again, <No bother.> I promise I will quarantine any new addition to my tank in the future. <Good> But, I just have a idea of what I could try to cure my fish from ick and get it out of my main tank. I know that the WWM crew are not big fan of hyposalinity, but could I just buy a tank (the one I would use in the future to quarantine any new addition) and use it to put all my hermit crab. They are the only invert I have in my system. I would put many pieces of live rock with them. So I would not kill all the zooplankton in LR and the crabs would be more safe... Could I lower the SPG in the main tank to kill the ick in it? I would keep the hermit crab apart for 6 weeks. Would it be effective? If yes, at what SPG would it cure the fish without being stressful to the fish? I have read from ATJ (the only name I have found of that guy) that the SPG should be at 1.009 to kill the ick. You can see this article here : '' http://www.petsforum.com/personal/trevor-jones/hyposalinity.html'' What do you think of that? <Well, it will get rid of the Ich if kept at that salinity long enough.  However, it will also kill off most of your live rock, and in the process cause a huge ammonia spike.  If you remove all the LR there will probably not be sufficient biofiltration and cause the same problem.> Thank you very very much for your help. If I found that the better treatment is the copper in a hospital tank, I will do it... Honestly, I don't feel confident about my capacity to keep them all alive in a basic none established system, though. <With lots of water changes should be fine.  Could also use Bio-Spira to jump start the biofiltration.> Steve <Chris>
Heniochus acuminatus with Ich Part IV 7/3/06
Hi again, <Hi> I just wanted to say that I should have listen to you one week ago. I mean I should have treated it as fast as I could. Even if the Heniochus had finally eaten yesterday, I have found it today in my overflow box dead. <Sorry to hear.>  I just feel like crap. The worst thing, it was my girlfriend fish... It was her birthday present. <Yeah, I learned that lesson the hard way too, no fish for gifts.>  I don't think she will like the tank anymore... I feel right now like I would give up too... It is sad that I had to make that fish die just to learn a so simple lesson!! <Been there, done that.  Almost quit after losing my possum wrasse, loved that fish.> So, I know that I will sing the same old song!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TO EVERYONE, don't be damn stupid like me, DO QUARANTINE YOUR FISH!!!!!!!! <A convert, and ready to give others the advice, some good out of a bad situation.> So now that the only really sick fish is dead (the wrasse only had 2-3 spots and it is now gone), should I just wait 1 week or 2 before I start to treat them in a hospital tank? <Start immediately.> I mean that way I could let some sponge in my tank to have some biofiltration ready for the quarantine process. <See if you ca find some Bio-Spira to kick-start the biofiltration.  But do not buy it if it hasn't been kept refrigerated, some stores don't and without it the bacteria will die.> Should I start using the biofiltration right at the beginning or after the copper treatment so, the copper would not kill the biofiltration?  <From the beginning.>  Can I use filter pad that absorb ammonia with a copper treatment? <No, all will also remove the copper as far as I know, just have lots of new salt water ready for water changes.>  If not, would it be better to use hyposalinity, so I could use absorbent resin to help to maintain good quality of water ? <Most of the bacteria cannot survive the salinity change anyway, so copper is probably the better way to go.> Again Thank YOU VERY VERY MUCH for your patience Chris!!! <Anytime> <Chris>

H. acuminatus, sel. dis.    4/14/06 Hi Bob, <Joseph> I have a quick question on my 2 newly acquired H. acuminatus which I bought 2 weeks ago. I picked them up from my LFS as soon as they were delivered from a wholesaler. <Mmm, generally better to leave most all marines at a dealers a week or more... with deposit if you "must have them"...> They are about 3 inches in size and both looked healthy. They have been in quarantine since then and during that time I have noticed that one of them absolutely loves every food I give it: brine shrimp with Spirulina, sea veggies, flakes, tiny pieces of shrimp and squid, and Nori seaweed. This one has maintained a healthy weight. The other fish, however, will only eat the Nori seaweed and spits out everything else. I would like it to start eating some fleshy foods. I have noticed that this fish has slightly lost a bit of weight. Other than this both fish look healthy and very happy. My question is whether I should be concerned about this fish's eating habits ahead of it's release into the display tank next week? <Ummm, a tough one... w/o seeing the actual specimen. But I would very likely risk moving this/these "Heni's" in the hopes of furthering the ones appetite... and not worry re the small risk in disease transmission here> By the way, this is the first time I have used a quarantine tank and I now appreciate the benefits it gives to us in not only preventing disease, but allowing us to observe the new animals in a much more tightly controlled environment. <Ah, bingo!> It makes it so much easier to acclimate the fish to the water chemistry and especially to new foods, which would be a lot trickier in the display tank (i.e. size, competitors etc.). Thanks for the informative articles on this topic! Thanks in advance, Joe <Welcome Joe. Bob Fenner>

Stressed out B/F's... some valuable life lessons in resource limitation  - 03/11/2006 Hello, <Hi there> I'm hoping you can help me out here. I have a 55 gal. with 2 small Perc. Clowns & 2 Butterflies (Pearlscale & threadfin). <Mmm, this sized system for these chaetodonts is problematical...> My husband came home with a new tank mate 2 days ago and my butterflies have gone crazy. He added a Sailfin Tang, very small, still a juv. The Sailfin is doing great, very friendly, but the butterflies & clowns have all crowded into the top corner of the tank. <Sort of like having "Jack the Knife" move into your home here> After the first night, I woke up and both B/F's were covered with spots, on the fins and the body, looked like someone took a salt shaker to them. <Ahh... Cryptocaryon... very likely present in your system in sub-symptomatic level... brought on to hyperinfective state by the added stress...> I called my LFS and they said that was very strange for that to happen overnight and to re-arrange the decor and make new homes. <Mmm, no> They said maybe the sailfin was trying to take over the tank. <Has> What should I do? It is the second day and they look better but still have visual signs of the spots, and are still acting scared for there lives. Thanks, Wendy Thank You, <The Ich/crypt is cycling... going into a soon-to-be much larger stage... Very big trouble likely brewing here... There is a bunch for you to know, and the only expedient way (not knowing what you know...) is to sift through materials on this and related situations: http://wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and the linked files above. You need also to address the root cause of the troubles here: crowding, the mixing of incompatibles in such a system, and the lack of quarantine... I'd separate the Zebrasoma tang, and get ready to do what you will for your Ich infested system... and soon. 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>

Heniochus acuminatus health    3/2/06 Hi Bob, <James with you today.> Just a quick question regarding H. acuminatus. I am expecting to buy two 3" - 4" size specimens within the next week. Is a freshwater dip with a commercial dip mix a safe option for these fish? How long should this dip last? <I wouldn't do a freshwater dip unless I have a valid reason to do so.  Quarantining is your best option.  Plenty of info on this on the Wet Web.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks in advance,<You're welcome.> Joe
Re: Heniochus acuminatus   3/3/06
Thanks James. <You're welcome.> However I am curious as to why there is an acceptance among the marine hobbyist community of dips/baths as a necessary step in quarantining, when you have suggested that it need only be done when there is a reason for it... By this do you mean visible signs of parasite infection? <Yes...I don't take cold medication as a precaution.  Why stress the fish out if it isn't necessary.  My opinion.> In furtherance of my question yesterday on H. Acuminatus, my quarantine tank is only 10gallons. Since these fish require a large amount of space, will the 2-3 weeks in quarantine be more stressful for them and outweigh the benefits of the actual quarantine? <I'd suggest a larger QT.  Putting the fish in the main display without QT just risks possible disease outbreak to the other fish.> Thanks, <Your welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Joe

My Copperband, a new addition, has developed two white patches   2/1/06 on its left side. Please see attachment. Please advise if you can identify what this may be and how to treat. Thanks, Tom <Is trouble... could be protozoal and/or bacterial/pathogenic in nature. This fish is (too) skinny, and this is likely a factor here as well... There are a few "things" you might do to bolster its immune system, indirectly curing the apparent complaint... Soaking foods in vitamin et al. prep.s... offering foods with more caloric content, adding purposeful cleaner/s... Without these changes this animal will perish (sooner). Bob Fenner>

Follow-on from sick Chelmon   2/3/06 Contagious and or a risk to fellow tank inhabitants? <Potentially... yes. Depends on what the root cause/s are, what "it" actually is... Copperbands "break down" much easier... on a sliding scale than other fish groups... the hyperinfectivity this inspires can be trouble, contagious... Bob Fenner>

Right Thinking -- Wrong Timing; CU poisoning...  12/5/05 I recently purchased a med. size Raccoon Butterfly for my 55 gallon fish only tank. I have 2 False Percula Clowns, and 1 medium size Blue Tang. On the 3rd day I noticed the raccoon scratching on my fake coral and not eating. (The only thing he would eat was frozen brine.) I checked my water and copper and all fine. I brought it to the shop I bought it from and they said it was fine, but to add some more copper.  So I did , and it was just above .15 The next morning he stopped scratching, but that night when I got home, he was breathing heavy and sitting on the bottom of the tank, and still wouldn't eat. I noticed as I got him that my tang and him were getting along just fine. So I don't think he was being bullied. I put him in my hospital tank, after a brief FW dip, and he is laying on his side breathing very rapidly. He probably won't make it. I was just wandering if you had any ideas of what might of been the problem. Thanks, Aaron <Well, Aaron, this is a case where all of your intentions were good, but the execution was a bit off. First, you indicated that you have a "hospital tank", which is good! However, you need to use it as a quarantine BEFORE adding new fishes to your display. This will give you the ability to catch and treat illnesses before they get introduced into the display. Also, do think about the long-term implications of your stocking plan.  These fishes need a lot more space than a 55 can provide, so consider this... Next, it is always advisable NOT to treat in the display tank, for a variety of reasons. Use that extra tank. Copper sulphate, although highly effective at treating many diseases, can be hard on many fishes, including Butterflies. <<Butterfly-fishes are one of the few animals the staff at the LBAOP will NOT use copper meds on.  Marina>> Sometimes, the collateral damage caused to the fish in treating the disease is too great. Formalin-based treatment is recommended in the case of more copper-sensitive fishes. Again, you'll have far greater control of the dosage in a separate tank.  Unfortunately, it's hard to say what you're looking at, but it could be a parasitic illness. If your Butterfly is struggling, you may need to reduce the copper level in the treatment tank. Although it may be too late for this fish, if you take this as a valuable lesson, the experience will not have been in vain. Chin up! Don't forget to quarantine before adding fishes to the display! Regards, Scott F.>

Copper treatment and bad reaction - 10/28/2005 Hey guys, another question for you. <Fire away.>  My Pakistani in QT has been in copper for a week now and he has no more Ich left but now he's darting/flashing/twitching. <Uh-Oh.>  Is this another outbreak coming or is it from copper exposure? <It does sound like poisoning.>  Should I take him out or leave him in for the maximum of the two week period (it states in the FAQ'S that a good rule of thumb is 2 weeks of copper exposure for a fish to avoid giving copper poisoning)? <You should do an immediate, large water change. Run some PolyFilter or carbon to remove the rest of the copper.>  I went this long without harming him, I don't want to take on any additional high risk. <I would back off of the copper treatment and watch for improvements. How high is your copper reading?> Thanks, Jay <Thank you for helping me address a weak point. - Josh> 
Re: Copper treatment and bad reaction - 10/28/2005
I'd be cool with doing that, but I don't want to put any parasites in my display tank so I feel like I need to go the full two weeks. <I don't mean that you would be finished with QT, but that you should step back to observation at this point. Further treatment may/may not be necessary.>  I measured the copper very carefully every time I redosed after a water change (if anything, I put less than what I was supposed to). <Does this mean you only measured what was going in, not total concentration? Even with water changes, the existing copper would still be there, at least to some extent (I doubt you are draining all water and cleaning the tank with each). Do this a few times in a row and there's bound to be trouble. Everything added needs to be adjusted for what already exists.>  He's really not breathing fast, is it possible that he's just reacting to the copper exposure sort of like how we react to an antibiotic? <I think you most likely lost control of your copper level by accident. Take care of his basic needs now (water quality, feeding), and be prepared to "start over" if the problem manifests itself again. Oh yeah, sorry if you got another blank response. I think this thing timed out on me when I was ready to send, hence no message showed as sent for you. Good luck Jason. - Josh> 

Re: Lemon Butterfly only using one gill Can't find the exact answer to my question in the faq's, if that's what your trying to tell me  <Strange...I remember typing...Well here goes again.> Yes he's brand new and he's in a 20g QT tank with malachite green. <Ah, good!>  Should I do something else, or is this medicine good? <A good start and possibly all that you will need>  I should be concerned? <Safer than assuming all is well.>  Is this fatal? <Possibly. I don't mean to scare you here, but that is what the QT is for. Now you've noticed something worth monitoring. I would advise you to research all of the possibilities here as you will need a positive ID to know what you need to do. Without this you can mistreat/harm your fish through good intentions. Some things merely start in the gills, then get worse; others stay in the gills and cause suffocation. Check here and the links, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm . Much to review but it should help.> Thanks again <Welcome and sorry for the blank response earlier. - Josh>  <<Editor's note: This does happen from time to time - if you receive a blank reply, do look in the next day's FAQs to see if it's been posted there.  This query and response was posted yesterday, click on the TBPFAQs page and you might find the original response there.  Marina>>
Re: Lemon Butterfly only using one gill
Hey Josh no problem man, I appreciate your competence! <I hope I deserve the kind words, and thank you.>  I have formalin, malachite green, and Cupramine at home. Obviously, I don't have much time as I just read on the FAQ's. <Can't give up. Remember to keep a cool head and not get "too experimental".>  So, which medicine would be most beneficial and work the fastest in killing these parasites?  <I must confess here that I've been beyond lucky in this realm. Despite all of my ignorance starting out, I've never had one sick fish! Hence all I say here now is from my "studies". This is important to get right so I will ask Bob to confirm/correct this.>  Seems B/F's are more sensitive to these gill problems (flukes, parasites, one-gill movement, etc.). Any suggestions on trying new things, I don't want him to die.<People beat this all the time.> If you were me, what would YOU do in this situation? <Here goes... if this fish hasn't worsened then I would probably do a f/w dip/bath. Praziquantel @1ppm is the other popular choice I believe. After these I would just observe and hope that it was over before trying more. Sorry I don't have more hands on experience here but hopefully someone else will chime in.> Josh, thanks again, greatly appreciated!!! <Wish I could do more. - Josh> <Mmm, I encourage you both to peruse the Butterflyfish Disease FAQs... I do agree with Josh's input here. Bob Fenner> 

Threadfin/disease 10/12/05 Hey guys. Can you tell me what to treat my threadfin b/f with, if after two weeks there is no visual signs (white spots) of a parasite and he's constantly twitching and scratching off rocks?  <Doesn't necessarily mean the fish doesn't have it just cause you can't see it.>  I don't want to use copper because of how strong it is. What meds should I use to treat for just "bugs" I guess you could say? Not sure of what else it could be if there are no spots. Water quality is great and plenty of oxygen along with all other parameters being right on point.  <Copper is by far the most effective treatment. As long as you use a test kit to insure a safe and effective dose (0.015-0.020), you shouldn't have a problem using it. A test should be done on a daily basis during treatment, which should last a minimum of 21 days @ 80 degrees. James (Salty Dog)> <<Please read on WWM re copper and test kit use. What has been stated here is too scant to be of use. RMF>>

Possible Disease, missing info  10/6/05 My question is 'what is wrong with my Copperband Butterflyfish?' <Ok.> - The chemistry of the water is fine 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite very little nitrate <How much is a little? Please be specific in the future.> - The Copperband was living alone in a 30 gallon tank <Far to small for this specimen.> - A day ago I added a percula Clownfish <With or without quarantine?> - Since then both fish have been hanging at the top of the tank and the Copperband seems agitated <Understandably so, the tank he is in is to small and you added another fish to its territory.> - So I did a 10 percent water change but both fish are still at the top of the tank and seem agitated. <Gasping at the top of the tank is usually an indication of poor water quality and/or a lack of oxygen.> - Prior to the clownfish the Copperbanded was acting very relaxed swimming at the bottom <Only at the bottom? These fish, when healthy, roam the entire tank, grazing on the liverock.> - The temp fluctuates between 78.8 and 80 degree f <Best to be stable but this fluctuation is not to bad.> - Added some copper blue 2 weeks ago but since then have done several water changes <Did you use a copper test kit to monitor the levels? Along with the water changes I would run some carbon.  Furthermore next time, medication should occur within a quarantine tank you may/could have destroyed the beneficial bacteria on nay live rock/filter media you may have.> What could be causing this problem? <Sounds like lack of oxygen. There are a few other ingredients missing that would help to get to the problem. What type of filtration are you using? Is a protein skimmer being employed? Are/What are the fish eating? Are there any noticeable physical differences on the fish? Without QT it could be a number of things. Please read WWM FAQs re: disease to try to identify your problem.  Adam J.>

Raccoon Butterfly, Copper, Quarantine 9/30/05 My name is Kristen and I just bought a raccoon butterfly for my 70gal tank.  Currently he is in my 25gal QT tank that I am treating with copper.  The last fish in the QT tank had been treated with copper before because of either velvet or angel fish disease (I figured after 4 months of letting the tank sit with no hosts, the parasite would die off). <Although Ick and velvet would die after this amount of time, quarantine tanks should always be drained and allowed to completely dry between uses to be absolutely sure than any pathogens can't survive.> Surely enough, my butterfly started to get white spots and was darting all over the tank.  So I'm assuming he contracted the same thing. <Most likely, it was carrying the disease when you purchased it.> I do notice that he is breathing very fast and heavy at times, other times not.  I have a good-sized air bar in the tank along with good circulation with a bio filter running and heater. <Rapid gill movement is usually a sign of stress and often of parasites damaging gills.  This occurs even when there is plenty of oxygen in the water.> Before I put my butterfly in the tank, the copper treated water had been sitting a good four months w/o any fish in it.  One quarter of the water evaporated, and I sucked out the other 1/4 of the water for a 50% water change (including the water that evaporated).  So 50% of the old water still remained and I put the other 50% full of new water. <Yikes!  If the water was allowed to evaporate 25%, this could cause unpredictable changes in water quality.  Also, if you have not done so, please be sure that the salinity is correct as it would have increased with evaporation.  I would suggest performing a couple of large (25-30%) water changes with water from your display to ensure proper water quality.  Replace the water in your display with new well aerated salt water.> Do you think after all that time there was still copper left (I forgot to test to see)?  As of right now, I only put the first dose of two in the tank.  Im going to hold off on putting the second and final dose in until I hear from you. <It is impossible to predict how much copper might have been left in the water.  Copper treatment must be done according to the package directions and should be tested regularly during treatment (some preparations can't be tested for... just follow the directions to the letter).> Do you think his fast breathing are signs of a copper overdose already, only after 2 days?  I'm concerned even though the fish looks great/very colorful, is eating, and is active.  He just seems a little spazzy. Please help!!  Thanks so much, Kristen :-) <I doubt that this is copper toxicity.  I would guess that it is a water quality/stress issue.  The fish should have plenty of cover to make it feel secure (flower pots or pieces of PVC pipe work well) and water quality should be optimized with water changes and good filtration.  Be sure to add the appropriate amount of copper to make up for water changes.  Hope this all helps.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>
Stop writing, and read  10/5/05
ok thanks.  What is "too long" of a copper treatment for a raccoon butterfly? <Please see WWM re copper treatments, butterfly disease. 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

Strange Spots on Butterfly Fish 7/18/05 I have a Falcula Butterfly in my main tank. He has good color and is very active, eats, etc. He has a large white clump on the top of his tail and about 4 to 5 small white spots on fins & tail. Should I leave him in the tank to see if they go away, or should I move him to a quarantine tank for treatment? I know the water quality in my main tank may be better for him, but should I move him anyway? If I need to move him to another tank, do I add any meds and which if any? Thanks. Mitch <Well, Mitch, with a fish that seems otherwise healthy and active, I'd be inclined to leave him in the display, continue good husbandry, and watch him keenly. Of course, do be prepared to take immediate action if the fish takes a sudden turn for the worse. Hard to be certain what this is without photos, but I'd rather you take the careful approach than to just start some potentially more stressful treatment. Hang in there! Regards, Scott F.>

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>

Klein's butterfly I have a 120gal with two Eheim 2229's, 10watt UV and a MagDrive 320gph pump to move water around. Things have been great for over a year with my 3" Klein's Butterfly, 4" Koran Angel, 3" Maroon Clown, 3" Yellow- eyed Tang, 4" Sweetlips and 8 hermit crabs to help with the cleanup.  It's a fish only tank. Just after my last water change of 25% a week ago, my Klein's Butterfly has lost his ability to swim upright. His fins seem to be stuck in opposite directions making him spiral constantly. Now, here's the kicker, he still has beautiful coloring; is eating well and when other fish investigate he seems to regain control just for those few seconds to get away. Now here is what I think. when I changed the water, my thermometer was registering 79 degrees the whole time. After refilling the tank and placing the rocks back in place, I noticed by touch that the water felt very cool. I immediately grabbed my camping thermometer and it registered 74 degrees. I immediately drained the tank a few inches and reintroduced warmer water slowly. I brought the tank up to 80 degrees and nobody else seemed to mind the accident. However, my Klein's butterfly looks like a Top Gun fighter pilot in the tank and it makes me queasy just watching the poor guy. Any suggestions??? Tank parameters are back to normal. Actually salinity is a little low after I reintroduced the warmer water.  Salinity - 1.018 (I just didn't have anymore salt after the water change a week ago). Nitrates - 0 Nitrites - 0 Ammonia - less than .25 but not quite 0 pH - 8.1 Copper - less than 1ppm. residual from a treatment over a year ago (any way to get rid of this without starting over? I have tried lots of water changes and a copper removal solution that was a crock.)  <Richard, when you say salinity is a little low (1.018), that is more than a little low. I'm wondering what your salinity was before the water change. First thing to do is get the parameters back up to normal. You are going to have to get the SG back up to 1.023/024, and see if any improvement was made. Butterflies are a touchy fish in that regard. James (Salty Dog)> 
Re: ailing butterfly thanks -- 6/31/05
have done so and didn't find anything similar to what I'm seeing.  My biggest concern is that he's gone from being a greedy eater to barely picking at the food.  any thoughts?  I was wondering if perhaps he could have a blockage? <I really can't answer the question on the blockage, I'd be guessing.  Being you've read the info and FAQ's on butterflies, you are aware that they are not the easiest fish to keep to start with.  Pristine water quality and a healthy diet are a must.  Live copepods would be a good start in triggering an eating response.  There are places on the web that do sell them.  James (Salty Dog)>

Gill Irritation: water quality or Disease? 3/2/05 I've tried posting this at WetWebFotos board but no one has answered. Here's the thing: I've had a double saddle butterfly for 2 months and he recently began exhibiting a strange new behavior.  After evening feeding time, he occasionally (not all the time) starts swimming oddly on his side and kind of charging abruptly on and off at the live rock and glass. <this is called "glancing" or "scratching" and is a sign of gill irritation caused by parasites, disease or water quality> Like he's confused or addled. He also develops an instant fright/night coloring, and breathes rapidly. It only happens after feeding (an hour before lights go out). <sounds more like parasites that handicap its higher respiratory (excitement from food, etc) periods> I've been trying to pinpoint the cause but can't determine it. It seems to happen when I feed foods he's not fond of (for variety purposes) and hence maybe he's angry he hasn't gotten enough to eat(?). That sounds nuts I know. He's a pretty aggressive eater when it comes to foods he likes. <parasites are mostly likely... and being expressed not surprisingly after some weeks after import (very stressful). Hence the critical need to understand and apply proper quarantine to all new fishes (4 weeks minimum) to prevent these things from contaminating your tank as well as having a better shot at curing them (in bare bottomed QT)> Just recently he's been breathing rapidly and presenting himself numerous times to the neon goby for cleanings. Should I freshwater dip him or wait until other classic Ich signs emerge? <do dip promptly... and do so once daily for 8 consecutive days for the best chance at breaking the larval cycle> I have just added a coral beauty and yellow watchman goby after a 4 week qt (the cb had Ich in qt and I treated with hyposalinity) <if this BF was in QT for a 4 full weeks... I wonder if it wasn't the addition of some snails, algae or live food (without QT) to the tank that infected this fish?> tank 100 gallons 8.2 pH ammonia, trite and trate 0 salinity 1.024 Thanks kindly, Angela <best of luck! Anthony>
Re: weird butterfly behavior
Thanks for the quick reply Anthony. <Antoine's out till the 7th> The butterfly was in QT for 5 weeks before introducing him into the main tank.  He, like all of my fish, got Ich immediately in the QT and I treated him with hyposalinity (1.009) for 2.5 weeks in a bare-bottomed tank then raised salinity slowly over the next 2 weeks.  <Sounds like the Crypt was in your system...> He was fine up until the weird addled behavior started a month after introduction to main tank (he doesn't scratch on the rocks but looks like he's lost a bit of control over his swimming ability and the change in color is spooky) I will dip him now as I fear he may have gotten Ich from the recent tank additions (even though they were QT'd for 4 weeks). I don't see any spots or scratching yet, just rapid breathing and the constant begging for a cleaning.  <Bob Fenner> 

Butterfly with gill flukes? My double saddle butterfly has been breathing rapidly for a week now. It's not Ich or velvet as I'm familiar with these diseases, and all of my fish have been QT'd for a month before introduction to the main tank. The bf isn't scratching, there are no spots on him, just the heavy breathing. I'm pretty sure he has gill flukes... <Stop! Where would these Trematodes have "come from?"> ...so I've been administering 50 min formalin baths (2 teaspoons Kordon's formalin/gallon) everyday for the past 3 days. Is this a sufficient treatment? <Possibly... there are more efficacious "de-worming" medicines... as you will see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fshwrmdisfaqs.htm> I've read that it's better to treat with formalin as a bath rather than constant exposure in a qt tank. <Yes... please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm> So far, the butterfly is still eating well, not hiding, but still has the rapid breathing. I've also noticed that he has thread-like poops. Could he have internal parasites as well? <Yes... but very much more likely this is just symptomatic of the toxic formalin exposure> All other fish are fine, although I noticed a long stringy poop coming from the coral beauty (I've never seen her poop like this). Are internal parasites contagious? I've attached a photo of the coral beauty poop. Ammonia, ni trite, nitrate, 0 Salinity 1.024 pH 8.2 79º Thanks, Angela <Angela, I would suspend the formalin treatments, look into Praziquantel... what you are doing is too toxic to continue, not likely helpful... the fish do not have monogenetic Trematodes... unless you've observed these under a microscope I strongly suspect there is not a pathogen involved here. Bob Fenner> 
Re: butterfly with gill flukes?
Ok thanks for the reply Bob. I actually went and bought Prazi-pro yesterday and administered an hour long bath as directed. I plan to do another bath 3 days from now. Are the baths ok or should I just treat long term in a qt tank? <I would take the latter route> So far no breathing improvement. <... sometimes these fishes do "just" breathe hard... perhaps environmental influence/s... maybe social... I would not panic re> He's still eating well. As far as the stringy poops, the BF has always had them (I never saw him poop in QT, and was suspicious of that. It's because the thread-like poops are very hard to see) I figured he had gill flukes because of the internal parasite signs...  <I do wish everyone had ready access to a decent microscope (I have a neat, but cheapy QX3 Mattel/Intel unit... that's fabulous) to LOOK before using toxic chemical treatments... as I assure you that orders of magnitude more livestock is "bumped off" by well-meaning aquarists than dies from actual pathogenic infection/infestation> ...but also I'm at a loss as to what other pathogen would cause the rapid breathing (he has no spots or other signs) -a <As stated... there is almost certainly not a pathogen present. BobF>
Re: butterfly with gill flukes?
Again, thanks for the quick reply Bob. I'll let him be for the rest of the week and then QT him on the weekend. I do wish I could help him! He's also constantly begging the neon goby for a gill cleaning (which he never did before), that's another reason I suspected the flukes. -a <Mmm, well "general irritation"... a zillion possible causes... will elicit the same behavior. Bob Fenner> 

- Pearlscale Flashing - I have a 90 gal with a dwarf lion and a Pearlscale butterfly. The Pearlscale has been scratching on the rocks for a few days now.  <Uggh.>  I have only had him for about a week.  <Does this mean you did not quarantine or at least give it a freshwater dip on the way into your tank?>  He does not scratch all the time. <May be ok, but if it happens several times in a five minute period, then you likely have a parasitic problem looming on the horizon.>  My pH is a little low and my alk is low also.  <Wouldn't worry as much about the alkalinity as I would the pH, although they are related. Do work on your water quality... poor water quality is a big source of stress and will lead to other problems, susceptibility to disease.>  I don't see any spots on him what so ever.  <No so easy to see spots inside the gills... keep a very close eye on things.>  He is not eating anything I put in there only the algae on the rocks.  <You may want to try this... find a lumpy piece of live rock or a dead brain coral. Thaw out a Formula One or Two type of food and then press into the spaces in the rock and re-freeze. Once the food has set back up, put the rock in the tank so the fish can employ its natural feeding habits on some real food. This will acclimate it to your various foods and will also [more importantly] get it eating.> So my question is, is this Ich?  <Could be... scratching can often occur before you see spots so I'd keep a close eye on things and get that quarantine tank ready to go.>   TIA <Cheers, J -- >
- Pearlscale Flashing, Follow-up -
Thanks for the fast response.  <My pleasure.>  No I did not do a freshwater dip. I am getting ready to get a QT tank. The main tank is only 1 month old so I thought there was no need for a QT tank yet, but I should have done the fresh water dip.  <There is ALWAYS a need for quarantine.>  Anyway thanks for all the great info and I will try the rock thing you talked about feeding him. <Cheers, J -- > 

- Running on One Gill - So sorry to bother you again but I'm concerned about my Raccoon Butterfly. As I wrote before, he, along with 2 perculas are in a QT with CopperSafe as treatment for Ich. This is day 5.  I haven't seen spots on any of these guys for 4 days now. However, the b/f is only using one gill to breathe today. The clowns are fine. And the information I read about this problem on your site was in regards to smaller fish doing this because of Ich. He is 4" and has been in the with the CopperSafe. Could this still be Ich?  <Or worse, Oodinium... both infest the gills but Oodinium tends to spread very quickly and is fatal if not addressed.>  If not, what else could be going on?  <Well... butterflies are sensitive to copper, and I would have treated with formalin. Likewise, if this is Oodinium, it is not particularly responsive to copper and would have to be treated with formalin.>  He definitely is doing double time with the other gill.  <Is not a good sign... the best I can say is that if the fish is still with you by the time you get this mail, I'd run some activated carbon on the quarantine to remove the copper. Then I'd set up a pH-adjusted, freshwater dip for this fish and a follow-up bath in tank water with a formalin solution. Once the fish is returned to quarantine, I'd begin re-treatment with formalin and work on keeping the water quality as good as possible. Follow the instructions on the formalin bottle to the letter - formalin is bad news when overdosed. Because both copper and formalin are toxic, they will make it impossible to keep a running biological filter so you'll need to have several days worth of water changes ready to perform perhaps 25% every other day, perhaps more. You have a set of compounding problems here that will keep you on your toes... keep the water quality as high as possible... diligence will prevail.> Thanks once again, Christy
<Good luck. Cheers, J -- >

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