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FAQs on the Combtooth Blenny Disease/Health, Pests

Related Articles: True or Combtooth Blennies, Ecsenius Blennies, Sabretooth Blennies, Family Blenniidae/Tribe Nemophini, Tube/Pike/Flag Blennies/Chaenopsidae,

Related FAQs: Combtooth Blennies 1, Combtooth Blennies 2, Blenny Identification, Blenny Behavior, Blenny Compatibility, Blenny Selection, Blenny Systems, Blenny Feeding, Blenny Reproduction, Ecsenius Blennies, Saber-Tooth Blennies, Blennioids & their Relatives, Tube/Pike/Flag Blennies/Chaenopsidae,

How can I help my 4 year old flame tail blenny recover?     1/10/16
See story below and before and after photos.
Our current tank:
75 gallon with a flametail blenny, a pajama cardinal, a fire fish, a royal gramma, 2 scarlet skunk shrimp, one fire shrimp, one pencil sea urchin, 3 small zebra crabs, and various snails.
Our flame tail, Blaze, gained weight over the past 4 years and developed a belly rather than maintaining the slim profile he had when we got him.
<I see this>
THEN he outgrew his house entrance and was unable to get out of his ceramic house and we didn't know that he couldn't get out for a few days!! It wasn't unusual to see him in his house, and sometimes we feed on the way out the door
<What... are you feeding?>

and don't watch to see everyone swimming and eating. I doubt that he was trapped more than 4 days because I usually try to see everyone eating but I was not the one feeding the fish for 4-5 days, my husband was.
I noticed that Blaze's breathing was labored and a water change on Sunday night, which was not overdue, didn't help. He still seemed stressed. He wasn't coming out to eat and then, on Monday, Jan. 4, I realized he couldn't get out!!
I couldn't encourage him out or pour him out. I contacted 3 vets for suggestions on getting him out without hurting him and we ended up using pliers underwater to break pieces of ceramic off around the entrance. We practiced on an identical ceramic piece first. (He lives in a ceramic "Gone fishin'" tree stump sign turned on its side so that the hole on the bottom is the entrance. We have several of them and our fish really like them.) He was freed on Monday afternoon, Jan. 4.
When he came out his belly was bigger than I'd ever seen, and he clearly had needed intervention to be free.
<.... data>
He swam around and then rested on a rock, still with labored breathing, after being freed. He ate a little flake and rested more. We used pliers and sandpaper to enlarge the entrances of all ceramic houses and make the edges smooth. He moved right back in.
I saw him out a few times the next day, but he isn't eating anymore and isn't coming out and swimming around anymore. I can easily get him to come out now but he goes right back in.
<Less drama; more data>
Is there anything more I can do at this point?
<Epsom... reading re Thiaminase poisoning... information of use>
I have attached photos from when he was stuck and after. Zoom in to see his belly. Dark fish on dark rock is harder to see.
Joanne Rhodes
<.... what are you feeding? What supplements do you use? Iodide-ate? Bob Fenner>

Re: How can I help my 4 year old flame tail blenny recover?     1/10/16
See story below and before and after photos.
Here is the food we use:
(1) Mixture of Flake in the early afternoon
(2) mixture of thawed frozen food at night.
<Ahh; very good choices. Bob Fenner>

Re: How can I help my 4 year old flame tail blenny recover?     1/10/16
See story below and before and after photos.
I forgot to say that we don't give any supplements.
We can try whatever you recommend.
<If this were my set up, fish, I would try soaking the frozen foods you use in a Vitamin/HUFA prep. There are several on the market, but I'm partial to SeaChem's Reef Plus. Additionally, I would add a "dose" of iodide-ate with
each water change (likely weekly). Do search/read re on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Re: How can I help my 4 year old flame tail blenny recover?       1/11/16
See story below and before and after photos.
Hi Bob,
Thanks for the feedback!
<Glad to assist your efforts Kelly>
We have read about your suggested topics, and we are adding SeaChem Reef plus as suggested by soaking the frozen food in it. However, our fish is still not eating or swimming around, so we are adding the Reef Plus to the
water tonight.
<Good... as you know, marine organisms do drink their environment... and this addition will improve the environment as well>
We do not yet have the iodide-ate but will add that weekly with water change.
<Also good>
Since our frozen food and flake looked like good choices, are we correct that our fish is unlikely to have thiaminase poisoning?
I read something about a fish with enlarged belly possibly being constipated, and Epsom may be helpful for that.
<This is so... I would start conservatively here... a teaspoon of MgSO4 per five gallons of system water>
Do you think I should try Epsom for this fish, and, if so, what is involved?
<Yes; and simply measuring out w/ a spoon; readily mixes/dissolves in water. Blend in a container outside the system and pour in>
Do I need to get a hospital aquarium for Epsom treatment or is the treatment for a few min.
<Not necessary or advised. Just add it to the display system>
Per day so I could put treat my fish in a gallon travel tank of aquarium water in another tank? How much Epsom would I add to a gallon travel tank?
Is there special Epsom for aquariums that I would need to get at an aquarium store? Or do I just get regular Epsom at a drug store?
<Just the "regular" is fine; pure enough>
Is there anything else that might be wrong that is treatable?
<Mmm; yes... there are various types of gut blockages that are tumorous...>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: How can I help my 4 year old flame tail blenny recover?        1/13/16
Hi Bob,
This morning we added Epsom to the whole tank in the way and at the concentration you suggested
If our fish, Blaze, has no change by tonight would a few minutes in the travel tank with a higher concentration of Epsom be helpful then?
<Mmm; I would be patient for a few days>
You mentioned other blockages, like tumors. Are there vets that can actually treat those?
<Not as far as I'm aware; no>
Or are those just other possible explanations for Blaze's status?
<Possibilities... but not great potential. More likely something is in this fish's alimentary system that isn't passing.... very common actually.
Things like Polychaete worms that grow, reproduce in captive systems.... get ingested by fishes..
. >
Also, at what point would you euthanize and how?
<I would not give up.... rarely do. Again; don't despair or panic; worrying will not change the future. B>
Re: How can I help my 4 year old flame tail blenny recover?         1/13/16

Thanks again for all of the help and quick response!

Re: How can I help my 4 year old flame tail blenny recover?        1/14/16
Hi Bob,
Blaze moved from one house to another and then another the day I put Epsom in the tank at the concentration you suggested.
He isn't moving around today and I wondered when or if to add more, or whether to give him an Epsom bath for a few hours in my gallon travel aquarium.
If I get the water tested first is there a good reading I should look for?
<?.... there are ranges; all gone over....>
He is still not eating. That's at least 10 days,
<Not to worry Re. B>

Re: How can I help my 4 year old flame tail blenny recover?     1/15/16
This was on or in Blaze's house.
Is it a parasite? It is about 1.5 cm long. If it might be the problem is there a treatment?
<Is an Errantiate Polychaete.... annelid. A Bristleworm; that I've mentioned earlier is a prime candidate for gut "blockage" here... your blenny having eaten podial spines. Hence the use of Epsom, time going by... to allow digestion, passing. See/READ on WWM re such worms... very common, and generally not a problem. Can be baited/trapped out... Bob Fenner>

Re: How can I help my 4 year old flame tail blenny recover?        1/16/16
Thank you!!
<Welcome. B>

Re: How can I help my 4 year old flame tail blenny recover?         1/24/16
Hi Bob,
It has been over a week and we have not seen Blaze eat at all this year.
We have been giving Epsom baths and today added a peeled pea because we thought it would be easier to see if he ate while isolated.
The gallon bath tank held Blaze, his ceramic house, and a the peeled pea.
After a couple of hours we saw him laying next to his house and he would not go back in even when I reached inside. The pea was squashed, probably by the house shifting when we lifted the jug. I don't know if he ate any.
We put him back in the main tank and he went into the house.
After a few min. He started swimming around much more but with quite labored breathing and rests often on the sand. When swimming he jerks his tail around, like he is trying to poop.
We have seen no poop and have been watching him since we put him in the big regular tank - about 30 to 40 min. He swims for about 30 Sec and rests for about 5 min.
Can you look at the video and tell us whether you think he is better or distressed. He looks distressed to us, but you have seen many more fish than we have.
More time? More Epsom? What do you think?
<Time going by... B>
Joanne and Kelly
Re: How can I help my 4 year old flame tail blenny recover? Mortuus est

Blaze died overnight, so no need to advise us. Thanks for your help.
Joanne and Kelly
<Rats! Cheers, BobF>

Re: How can I help my 4 year old flame tail blenny recover?       1/25/16
FYI, we had an exotic animals vet see if he could tell whether a tumor or blockage killed Blaze.
He said "Necropsy showed ....a rather necrotic intracoelomic mass, " but could not tell if it was cancer or something his body made around a foreign object.
<If he still has it; or did take pix, please have him send them along.

Re: Cupramine leeching... Poss. fluke on Blenny, trtmt.        9/9/15
Hello again. It has been about 6 weeks since we discussed my crypt-turned-flukes problem and all is (mostly) well in my little piece of the ocean. Here's the thing....my bicolor blenny, who seemed ok for the first 5 weeks after his Cupramine (misdiagnosis) then freshwater dip, is flashing a bit.
<Mmm; some flashing is natural>

Over the last week, I have been looking for signs of ich, and it appears to me that he may have a fluke issue again. He has an irregular, small spot on his dorsal fin, in the same place as last time. Maybe he never fully eradicated the original flukes, or they could be in my system. I am a bit reluctant to freshwater dip again, as he didn't like it last time, but I have the formalin you recommended and will likely do this. I have some conflicting info regarding dipping blennies. I have read that they should
not be dipped, and you recommended me to dip them in previous conversations.
<Though small (unless very small specimens), blennies, blennioid fishes are slimy (again; unless quite sick) and capable of withstanding dipping procedures. Better this than extended periods of isolation/quarantine and the stress and starvation there that all too often leads to their loss>

Of course, I could hospitalize and treat with PraziPro. Being human, I would prefer the shorter course of action...i.e......dipping. I do love this little guy, named Sam I Am, and don't want to lose him, especially to my impatience. I got him as a little guy, maybe less than an inch, and he is over three inches now, gorgeous coloring, delightfully peaceful benevolent dictator of my tank. By the way....returning him to my display from the hospital tank a couple of weeks before the Royal gramma totally established a serene pecking order, even better than before treatment! The two used to
tolerate each other, now they swim together. So.....to dip or not to dip?
<Up to you; I would... oh, and look to see if the "spot" releases, and gently pinch it off with your fingers if not>
Thanks for your enduring patience and advice. Alyson R.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Blenny ate some super glue         5/16/15
Good news, the Blenny coughed it up and is doing well.
<Ah, thank you for this follow-up. BobF>

Was lawn mower blenny "really" dead?
Dear Web Crew Media.
I had a lawn mower blenny (Benny the Blenny) for 3 years. He was loved.
He jumped out of the tank, I hear the splash, found him and put him back in the tank. Two days later he did it again. 
<Uhh, cover the top>
This time no one was around, but I had seen him swimming around the day before. So he was out of the water somewhere between 15 hours and 15 minutes. He was lifeless cold and a little stiff, but not completely dried out and still had some color. 
My daughter's cried, I cried, and we buried him in the garden, including flower ceremony. I then went on-line to try to figure out why he might have jumped as this was not an issue for 3 years.
To my horror, I read that blennies have been found out of the water for hours, look dead, only to be put back in the tank and recover.
<Mmm; not for hours>
I went to the garden, dug him up and put him in the tank, but he did not recover so I buried him again... and cried again. If I had put him back in the water before I buried him, might he had been alright? Did I bury the poor thing while he was still alive, and in fact kill him?
Is what I read about a lawn mower blennies ability to be out of water for hours, look dead, only to be put back in water and come back to life true? I don't know how to think about this...
Thank you.
Regards, Michelle
<There are some fish species... with a good deal of cartilage in their branchiostegals (gill supports) like carps... that can live out of the water a good time depending on temperature and humidity. Not Blennies. Bob Fenner>

Harptail Blenny Sick... bloated; feeding, repro.?      10/27/13
<Six megs of pix; am surprised our server allowed this mail in>
Hope all is well.  About 3 days I noticed my female harptail blenny acting strange.  She wasn't coming out, acting sluggish, and stopped eating.
This morning I was able to get a look at her as she was out when they lights were out.  Her belly is severely swollen.  Not sure why or what I can do here.  My male appears to be ok.  Still eating and cruising the tank.
Any ideas here?
<Plenty... likely this fish ate something that didn't agree with it... Hydrozoans or such. Search, read on WWM re the use of Epsom Salt. Nada else to do. Bob Fenner> 


Discoloration in my fish.     5/1/13
I have a flame tail blenny  that has lost a lot of its color.
<I see this in the pic of its head you've sent along>
The whole fish looks like the bottom part of the head.
What's up with that. It happened in hours.
<Mmm; either very frightened, or possibly stung by something>

It had a slight discoloration several days ago but it was over by the next day.
<Ah yes; behavioral changes in coloration can change very rapidly>
Do I need to do a big water change?
<Is anything else mal-affected in the system?>
Or is it a sickness?
<Not likely>
 I have not been able to find anything wrong with the water quality. But maybe I'm not checking for the right thing.
<I'd just remain vigilant/observant. Bob Fenner>

Re: Discoloration in my fish.     5/1/13
> Can hammer oral cause that?
<Oh yes>
It went back to almost normal already.
Sometimes the food gets stuck under the hammer I got sitting on the sand.
It usually does not go near the anemones.
<... best not>
Some of the fish taken to scratching on the sand. Out of the coral the polyp zoos look worst for wear and the algae is growing where it can get stuck to something. I was told that's normal for a coral tank because of the strong lights. I test ph ammonia phosphate and nitrite nitrate. Being a color deficient person I can't read the  exact readings. But I take a sample to the lfs. And they tell me that everything other than ammonia is at 0 and ammonia is between .25ppm an 0
<So? You might want to invest in a "meter" approach to these tests, testing. B>

My bicolor blenny grew...a beard? 2/10/12
Hello Bob and Team at WWM!
Hope all is well with you and yours!
I noticed that my bicolor blenny has something stuck on his face...upon closer observation, it is as though he has grown a beard! I know that my Halichoeres melanurus had just turned from a "she" to a "he", and for Ranma 1/2 fans...maybe, he wanted to look more macho in the tank. Anyway, the bicolor blenny appears a little distraught by this, is trying to eat, but seems that he has "sticky mouth" pellets will stick to his lips. I've tried looking on line and reading through different faqs but can't seem to find anything. Most things are about blennies keeping their mouths open, or if there is some obvious damage. This bristle-ly beard growth..."Fu-man Chu" like is very strange. Please advise!
Enclosed is a picture. I've shrank it down some. hope you can see it!
Jamie Barclay
<These spines are from notopodia, parapodia of a Bristleworm (Errantiate Polychaete) of some sort, species... yes, Yowch! Will work themselves on their own in time (akin to cactus in our hands). BobF>

Re: My bicolor blenny grew...a beard? 2/10/12
Thank you, Bob!
It is so nice to hear from you!
<Nice to be heard from!>
I was thinking he looked like he got stuck by porcupines, but knowing there are no porcupines in the tank...
I wonder how this little fellow did this?
<Looking a bit too close...>
I adore this little guy as I've had him for 4+ years now. My husband and I are leaving to the Maldives this Sunday,
<Ahh! Have been there, the Ari Atoll... I do hope the current political issues there will not be a bother>
and it seems that every time something pops up it is when we are on our way somewhere!
I've fed him some of his usual food stuff just now and he is eating with vigor.
As always, it is so nice to "chat" with you and to learn from you!
Best wishes,
<Cheers, BobF>
Re: My bicolor blenny grew...a beard? 2/11/12

We are going to two resorts at Ari Atoll this time. We were told that political situation will not affect tourism...but we will see!
<Mmm, I do hope so as well. Do see the piece today on the cover of WSJ re the situation there. Though the country appears to be "going Islamist", I too think there will be no troubles for tourists. The people themselves there are very gentle and kind.>
Best wishes to you, Bob!
<And you, B>

Starry Blenny mouth/lips 1/16/12
I just purchased a starry blenny 3 days ago and it hid for awhile. It now rests on rock edges as I read it is supposed to. But now I can see it's lips and it appears like something has been eating at the lips. They are white, non-symmetrical, thick and the mouth is always opened wide. Have not seen it eat yet. I have nothing in the tank that would eat at its lips. Any ideas or does this sound crazy?
Jeff Gauthier
<Not crazy; rather common injury from capture, handling, shipping... fishes in the wild do often "rub their faces raw" in cubicles, on nets, plastic bags... This almost always rapidly heals on its own. Not to worry. Bob Fenner>
Re: Starry Blenny mouth/lips 1/16/12

Thank you
<Welcome. BobF>

Bloated Blenny who Died 1/21/11
<Hello there>
I belong to another fish forum and I was told to send this email to you guys to see if you could provide me with some answers.
I purchased this blenny 4 years ago and he died 2 years ago; I am questioning his death now because my new bi-colour blenny has started to develop a small stomach pooch similar to the blenny that passed away.
<I see>
The dead blenny looked perfectly normal when I purchased him but after I had him for a year he started to look bloated and he was the size in the picture for about 5-6 months before he died.
He ate normal and swam normal<ly>, he just had to find a different rock hole to live in because he couldn't fit into his original one once he got so big.
Any ideas what caused this and if so what I could do to prevent it from possibly happening to my current blenny?
<Mmm, likely something this fish ate... and this most probably from something in the tank... organisms that "didn't agree w/ it" or it couldn't digest>
Next to a Canadian Quarter
He was not left in the tank dead for more than 4 hours so the bloat is not related to him dying, he looked like that for 5-6 months!
<A nice Ecsenius otherwise>
Thanks for any help.
Jenna Forsyth
<Not much one can do if "such organisms" occur on/w live rock, and your fishes ingest them. Bob Fenner>

Re: Reef Problem: pH Control in a Reef Aquarium. The Frustration of Chasing Numbers. 11/29/2010
Re: Reef Problem (Thanks + One more question)
<Hi John, no problem.>
I had assumed I was over concerned, but not really sure.
<Stability is always best.>
Now for my next question.
<Fire away!>
My starry (or snowflake) Blenny appears thin. Is it normal for this fish to have a slightly (very slightly) sunken in appearance directly below the head?
<A little.>
The Blenny cleans the rocks and glass. He also consumes just about everything I feed (Cyclops, Mysis, frozen prepared omnivore, and frozen prepared herbivore...etc). So, I find the "sunken" appearance to be very odd.
<As long as it is not being bullied and is getting his fare share of food, I would not worry. You can try adding some Nori and see if he eats that.>
Should I consider giving him some form of anti-parasite preparation?
<Not without other evidence..
If so, what brand would you recommend? Would it be reef safe?
<No medication is reef safe., always treat in a hospital tank.>
Also, I attached an image of the blenny (very poor quality, likely will not be able to see anything).
<Looks like a normal blenny to me....:) >
I also attached an image of the Toadstool I fragged.
(Wasn't looking so great). Luckily it is starting to stick out its "tentacles,"
<A good sign.>
Just looking for your input.
<Getting over the shock of getting fragged. Keep an eye out for the next week or so and see if it improves.>

Very Bloated Bicolor Blenny - 6/11/10
Hello Bob & Crew!
I'll let the pictures speak for themselves! From what I've read constipated seems to be in order, however, I want the experts opinion and Epsom Salt won't damage my mixed reef?
<Not in moderate concentration, no>
LPS dominant with SPS, softies and shrimps etc.
please advise and thanks!
Best Regards,
Mike Snyder
Custom Aquaria llc.
<I'd still move this Ecsenius elsewhere for such treatment. Bob Fenner>

Cirripectes stigmaticus - QT Hunger Strike 1/27/10
Dear Crew -
I acquired last Saturday what appears to be a Cirripectes stigmaticus (Ember Blenny). It has been in a 20 gal. QT since, preparatory to a planned permanent home in a 90-gallon reef tank (fish inhabitants: Chevron Tang; Midas Blenny; Royal Gramma; Dragon Goby; Pearly Jawfish).
The Ember Blenny seems comfortable in the QT (usually perched inside the PVC) but has yet to eat, having been offered Mysid shrimp and small Ocean Nutrition Formula 2 pellets. (The QT is barren, as recommended; there is
no algal growth to speak of.) So I'm torn: keep the Ember Blenny in the QT for the usual two-week period, perhaps causing it to starve? Or place it in the established reef tank, where it is likely to be able to pick at the live rock and substrate to feed, hopefully then learning to take other foods?
<I strongly endorse the second course of action>
(I note that, when I acquired the Midas Blenny, Bob F. suggested a 5-day QT stay would be sufficient, and that worked out fine.)
Any advice?
<Move it!>
Also, since I have your attention, do you see any compatibility problems with the Ember Blenny and the existing group?
<Mmm, in a ninety... with plenty of open space along its four foot long base, there should be enough room for the other bottom dwellers (the Jaw, Goby, to get along>
Thanks very much for any help you can provide, and please accept my appreciation for your terrific website!
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Blenny Question, hlth. 3/16/2009
<Hi there>
My name is Nathan. I have 3 saltwater tanks including a seahorse tank. In one of my tanks which is 25 gallon I have a Combtooth blenny.
<Mmm, what species? Some of the commonly offered ones need more space than this>
Along with the blenny is a yellow clown goby,
<Usually need SPS to survive... a Gobiodon sp?>
royal Gramma, peppermint shrimp and mushroom corals. The tank is 9 months old and water quality is good. Temp. is 78-80 and SG is 1.024. I do an 15% water change every 2 weeks. I recently noticed that the blenny is starting to look boated or pregnant. I have had the fish 5 months now so I don't think it is. I have been researching and trying to figure out what is wrong. I am wondering if it is constipation? I feed that tank with Omega flakes mixed with Spirulina flakes once or twice a day small portions at a time. Sometimes thawed freshwater copepods. He also helps by eating a lot of the algae. He is the "hog" of the tank when it comes to feeding. Is their a way to help him with the constipation?
<Can be... foods that act as laxatives (e.g. Artemia)... the careful use of Epsom Salt...>
The swelling seemed to happen over a course of 2 days. Should I fast the tank for a few days?
<A good idea>
I have heard about using Epsom salt but wasn't sure if it is safe.
<Can be... see WWM re>
Thank you for your time and help. You have such a helpful website.
Best Regards,
<Just short of time today. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Red-Lipped Blenny Follow Up 5/2/08 Just to let you know, I've had the Red-Lipped Blenny in a treatment tank with CopperSafe for the past week and today I noticed his breathing had returned to normal (along with his appetite). I will continue treatment for 3 more weeks and then change all the water and leave him in the QT for 2 more weeks before returning him to the tank. Thanks for all the help. Cory, Miami <Okay... please do include prev. corr. with your mail... BobF>

Spines In Bicolor Blenny's Mouth/Nose -- 03/30/08 Hi crew, <<Hello, Erin>> Thank you in advance for your time taken answering my question. <<Quite welcome>> I'm not sure if tank parameters are really necessary for this question but just in case: 92 gal w/29 gal sump temp: 78-80, Nitrite=0, Nitrate=2, Calcium=380ppm, Ammonia=0, pH=8.3. During feeding this evening, I looked at my bicolor blenny and it had very small clear spines in it's nose/mouth area. <<Mmm, yes, I see these>> The spines are clear and maybe .5-1mm long all radiating out from the top of the mouth area. I had not looked at the blenny up close previous to this moment all day so, who knows when they arrived there. The food I fed tonight was nothing new- a mix of prawn roe (Nutra Mar Ova brand), and a homemade frozen mixture consisting of raw: squid, octopus, mussel, Ogo algae, krill, and shrimp... all soaked in Selcon. <<Excellent>> The blenny did appear to be breathing heavier right when I noticed the spines but the breathing appears more normal now 30 minutes later. Other tank mates and organisms include: royal Gramma, yellow clown goby, yellow watchman goby, peppermint shrimp, 2 mandarin dragonets (I have a refugium with a very abundant copepod culture and about 130lb of live rock in the tank- they're plump and spawning weekly+), <<Neat!>> Pacific cleaner shrimp, 12 blue-legged hermits, 20ish snails, green bubble tip anemone, <<Mmm'¦and a danger to the dragonets/other sessile inverts>> Kenya tree, pom pom xenia, leather coral, zoos, orange Montipora, Pocillopora, green star polyps, Halimeda and a Chaeto ball that is cycled between refugium and display as a copepod buffet for the mandarins. <<Ah'¦cool idea>> My first thought were spicules of some sort from one of the small ball sponges around the tank (that have showed up on the live rock). <<Doubtful>> Although, just a second ago it occurred to me that I just put the Chaeto ball in the display tank from the refugium and it probably had a few Bristleworms in it. <<Bingo! This is my guess as to what these are/has happened>> I'm wondering if my very curious Bicolored blenny decided to pick at the Bristleworm and now has the tiny glass-like spines in its nose?? <<Seems very likely, yes>> Also, is the maze-like clear area on it's gills normal (see pic)? <<Not sure 'is possibly a stress reaction to the spines in its face>> Is there anything that I can/should do for the little guy? <<Best to leave it be>> Will these spines eventually fall out? <<Won't 'fall out''¦but should dissolve away. Just as they would do if they were in 'your' flesh>> I'm afraid that they will affect his eating as they are right at the mouth. <<Maybe, briefly 'but the issue should resolve itself within a couple days. The Blenny will likely be fine>> Thanks again for any advice you give. --Erin <<Happy to share. EricR>>

A bit of a concern about a blenny... Nemophini beh. -- 10/18/07 Dear WWM crew, <Jon> I just acquired a Yellowtail Fang blenny (*Meiacanthus atrodorsalis) and I have him in quarantine along with two fairy wrasses and two tomato clowns. <Mmm, better to not have so much jammed together during these processes> The problem is that he is continuously just laying around. He'll swim around for a bit at food time and maybe take a flake or a pellet or two (or sometimes a Mysid shrimp) but then he just goes back to hiding or just laying in the corner. Now, if I touch him, he'll dart out and swim a bit (and he doesn't look stressed or faded or anything). <Is stressed... and this behavior is to be expected under the circumstances... Will "brighten up" behaviorally when moved to the main display> Nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia are all 0. SPG is 1.025 and I use water from my established (and now crypt free) tank that is already temperature and PH adjusted to match the quarantine tank. <Good> I've noticed no signs of crypt on the atrodorsalis or on any of the other fish in the tank (the tomato clowns were in the quarantine for 2 weeks prior and showed no signs of crypt). Granted, it's only been 2 days, but I've read that most blennies and fairy wrasses are fairly crypt resistant and that the fairy wrasses should usually just be dipped and placed in the main tank since they are a bit fragile in quarantine. <Agreed> Just a bit unsure of what to do since the atrodorsalis was swimming readily in his tank (The Hidden Reef in PA) but seems so lethargic since he's been placed into my tank. I'm just wondering if I should either give him his own quarantine tank would even be a better option than leaving him in his (admittedly) crowded quarantine tank. - Jon <I would wait, move the fish in time... to the main display. Bob Fenner>

Re: A bit of a concern about a blenny 10/19/07 Bob, quick recap: Both fairy wrasses and the blenny looked really mediocre to bad today. <Yikes...> I made a temp/pH adjusted dip and quickly dipped each. <Good> The blenny lasted around 6 minutes before he had to be removed. <Something going very sideways...> Each fairy wrasse only lasted about 3 minutes before they looked bent and bad before I had to remove them. Now all 3 fish are in the main tank along with a Kole Tang who was already quarantined for 3 weeks with no ill effect. <Good> I would've much rather left the wrasses and blenny in quarantine, but as I've said (and you've agreed with) is that the wrasses are pretty fragile and they just did not do well in quarantine. I've always heard they are fairly crypt resistant in the first place, but I do hope that my dip would've taken off anything that I didn't notice in the tank yet. - Jon <You made the right moves... at least... what I would have done as well. BobF>

Re: A bit of a concern about a blenny, the pet-fish store experience/mass merchandisers included 10/20/07 Bob, <Jon> I think my problem with the dip is that I set it up very... quickly. Usually, when I've dipped, I've set it up about 4 nights before -- aerated, heated, multiple pH testings (and I usually use a package of the 8.0 pH adjuster + some baking soda to perfectly match my tank pH). <Good to be thorough, meticulous here> But yeah, everyone looks good today. The one fairy wrasse, a Lubbock's Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus lubbocki), is one of the shiest fish I've ever seen! He was shy in the store, but besides that he looked great. Same in my tank. He's got tons of personality and pops out quick to eat food. Just likes to scuttle back to cover quickly. I don't know what species the other is and I'm going to try and get an up close shot of him to send to you guys. He's a fairly drab purple color with a little bit of light green around his fin area. <Cirrhilabrus spp. live in large shoals by and large in the wild... and are quite active as such... in captivity, in small numbers, little volumes, quite different> This is also way off topic, but I just started a job at Petco (Howell, NJ). I know that you guys generally hate the way fish are kept there and all, <Mmm, for the record, I worked at/for Petco in the early nineties, as a consultant, then a buyer... helped with arranging the co.s early entry into livestock... It is my qualified opinion that each store, indeed experience is largely a measure of the individuals involved. Much of the gear that the personnel are charged with is deficient IMO, and the system for livestock ordering... Is NOT sustainable... but the very gist of what one "gets" from involvement with mass merchandiser LFSs is identical with that of independents... Id est, "it" all comes down to the knowledge, ability, personal skills and desires of the INDIVIDUALS involved... Hotay, off da soap box... for now> and I agree for the most part, but I've noticed that it's better than I expected. And at least I've been trying to persuade salt and fresh customers alike to quarantine and use salt/fresh dips before placement as well. <Excellent! Good for you... us... the planet> I like to think that I'm making a bit of difference. I think I've given out Wet Web's address about 30 times to various customers (and a few have come back and mentioned just how great of a site it really is). <Ahhh... the pleasure> Thanks again for the help! - Jon <Welcome my/our friend. Life to you. Bob Fenner>

Re: Blenny Death -- 07/19/07 Thank you for your response. We set up the tank in March 2006 and started adding fish 3 months after. Here is the list of fish we had in the tank and also we have some mushrooms and polyps and about 150 pounds of live rock. The sump below is filled with live rock as well with 2 Detritivore kits. In addition to the pump we have two maxi jet 1200 powerheads on each corner of the tank, protein skimmer and we top off the water 1 gallon per day with RODI water. We have not introduced new fish to the tank in about 8 months. The tank was doing great until about 2 weeks ago when we noticed the Blenny gone. The Mushrooms and Polyps are doing fine still but we lost the following fish: Blenny Flame Angel 4 Damsels Survivors so far (I'm not sure about the 2 peppermint shrimp?) Foxface Large Tang Small Clown 1 very small Damsel 2 Scarlet Shrimp I feed the fish 1 cube of frozen brine or marine cuisine every other day and some flake food the other days, also some pellets and was told I may be feeding them too many pellets because they were found in the sump and were not eaten by the fish. We recently did add a small fan 3 months ago which is controlled when the lights go on as to make sure the lighting during summer did not heat the tank too much. The temperature stays stable due to the air conditioning in the office set at a certain degree and I would think if the tank overheated the corals would have suffered. I know it could be a number of things and it's sometimes impossible to figure out what went wrong but any thing you can think of would be helpful. Thanks for your help! >>>Hello again Nancy, One thing really jumps out at me, and that is that your tank, before your fish deaths, was WAY overstocked. About 5 fish the size of your flame angel is the most you should be thinking about for a tank this size. That is, if you want stability and a reasonable margin for error. Under the circumstances, I'm not surprised you're having some issues quite frankly. There are many things that can kill a fish, and so many in such tight quarters will quickly exacerbate any small problem that rears it's head. Assuming the "large tang" and Foxface remain, that really only leaves room for maybe two other small fish. Remember all that water that is displaced by that rock! After all is said and done, you have maybe 65 gallons of water in your tank. I have a feeling that you've had a low-level C. irritans infestation in your tan for quite some time, probably due to improper quarantine procedure, or complete lack thereof. Organic wastes have built up in the tank, and your fish began to succumb to the parasite. Course of action at this point, do NOT add any fish for at least 4 months. Let things settle down, and do some large water changes. Frankly, if nothing else dies, you'll have a fully stocked tank. Feel free to ask more questions. Jim<<<

Quarantine? 3/10/07 Dear WWM Crew, <Jan> As always, thanks for all of your help!! It is a great comfort to be able to reach out to you folks and get such great advice and help! <Yes> We have a 72G reef tank with about 80 lbs. of LR. Our water parameters are (Temp=77deg F, Sg=1.025, pH=8.3, Ca=380ppm, Mg=1290ppm, dKH=6.75, Ammonia & Nitrite=0ppm, NO3= 5ppm). The tank was set up and cycled last May. For about the last six months our live stock has consisted of a pair of clowns (A. ocellaris), a fat mandarin (S. splendidus), and a school of 9 Chromis viridis. 15 various corals, 2 tube worms (Protula magnifica) 2 turbo snails and some (+/- 8) blue legged hermit crabs. In addition to this we have 3 peppermint shrimp (L. wurdemanni) & 2 fire shrimp (L. debelius) and 2 common cleaner shrimp (L. amboinensis). We have 3 questions. 1. Our LFS has been holding a Hawaiian Yellow Tang (Z. flavescens) for us for the last 2 weeks in their "quarantine" tank with water dosed with copper. However, while the Tang has been alone in this tank, the tank is connected to other tanks running on the same water. Should we quarantine this fish? If so, for the full month or just two weeks? <I would quarantine this fish, or at the very least run it through a prophylactic FW dip/bath... detailed on... WWM> 2. We are also thinking of adding a Lawnmower Blenny (S. fasciatus) as our tank has plenty of algae on the LR. Given this fishes need to graze algae, should it be quarantined? If so, for how long? <I would quarantine this species for two weeks... some smaller, likely-to-starve Blennioids for a shorter duration> 3. Also, concerning the Blenny & Tang, given the size of our tank and the current livestock listed above, do you see any potential problems with adding either or both of these fish? <Mmm, no... not really... The fifteen species of corals here (in a 72 nominal gallon volume) should not be added to though... as they are likely "used" to each other... will/would react to new Cnidarian life adversely> Thanks!! Jan & Ellen <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Blenny Quarantine? - 5/25/2006 Today I received an Orange Spotted Blenny (Istiblennius chrysospilos) from an online retailer. After a two hour acclimation period I currently have him in quarantine. He is the first fish I have purchased for my new 90 gallon FOWLR tank that has been fishless for four months now, only a dozen snails, two cleaner shrimp and two porcelain crabs. <<OK.>> Everything seems to be going great, I have thousands of pods, about a dozen peanut worms, small pink Bristleworms and numerous other life forms including probably 6 or 7 different kinds of macroalgae. I have 60 lbs. of live rock, a 20 gallon sump with AquaC Urchin Pro protein skimmer, a 10 gallon refugium and at least 18X turnover rate through a closed loop system plus the sump return. <<Sounds good so far.>> Anyway, I was prepared to keep him quarantined for what I have read is a three week standard baring any difficulties. But after reading one of the earlier FAQ's on blenny selection, Bob states blennies need a "brief quarantine." I was wondering what brief meant. <<At least a week in my opinion.>> The blenny seems healthy; small, but not skinny. He doesn't appear sick, just scared and trying to cope with his new environment. I have only tried once to feed him some frozen herbivore medley which he didn't seem interested in (I have about ten different offerings prepared for him waiting to try out). Should I continue with the three week quarantine whether he eats or not or should I move him in a couple of days to the plentiful display tank if he doesn't appear interested in what I am offering? <<If he eats nothing, move him sooner, but if he accepts some of your offerings, push it longer than a few days.>> Thanks again.....y'all are wonderful with your insightful advice. Jonathan <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Very Stressed Midas Blenny 4/1/06 Hi, <Hi there, Leslie here with you this morning.> I asked this on WetWebFotos and got no responses. I got a Midas Blenny from what I think is a reliable source (lots of reviews), also when everything arrived it was beautifully packed. Everything else is fine and in good condition (all inverts). However, the Blenny is not so ok. I don't think it is sick, but it is hiding constantly. I put the Blenny in QT. It is not a stripped down QT, has some rock and sand. Anyway, the Blenny has been hiding and has been seen a couple times, not moving much and very mottled in color. <These fish spend quite a bit of time perched between rocks usually with their heads peeking out, seeming quite alert and interested in their environment.>I understand that is a stress signal. <It can be a sign of stress but that is also how they look when they settle in for the night. It is a form of camouflage. He probably is not feeling safe in his new environment just yet.> (Actually if I didn't know what they really look like I would say it is quite pretty. Oh well.) Anyway, I want to know what I can do (if anything) to help my fish. I added a few more hiding places. Am planning on a water change tomorrow (1-2 gals) and changing the carbon. Also lowering the water level a little-- I am using a power filter so a little lower water level will cause a bit more water movement (I think). <Yes it should, even better would be a small power head placed at the surface so that the return flows horizontally across the water surface causing a nice ripple effect.> Anything else I could do for the fish? <I think you came up with a great plan. If possible limiting the activity around the tank for a while until your fish settles in may help. Your new fish probably just needs little time to adjust to it's new home.> Should I not do any of the above? <No. It all sounds just fine.> My main tank is looking much better btw!! <That's great news!!> Thanks, des <You're most welcome, best of luck with your new blenny. Leslie>

Blenny on The Decline? 12/15/05 Hello Mr. Fenner, <Scott F. in today!> Huge fan of the site and I wasted lots of time and money before learning so much on WetWeb. My issue involves my Sailfin Blenny who appears to be struggling for survival now. Very fast respirations (with mouth open) and not moving too much, but active enough to move fast when approaching it. He has a big belly but that's not anything new. I do 10% water changes weekly - the tank is a 29 gallon. The other fish appear happy and are eating well. I have to honestly say, I've rarely seen the Blenny eat but I've had him for 8 months. I have roughly 35 lbs of Walt Smith Fiji Live Rock which will never allow me to catch this fish for quarantine/treatment. Would you have any recommendations here? Is he on his way out? He's been like this for about 3-5 days. PH 8.2 SPG 1.024. Thanks, Phil <Well, Phil- it's awful hard to be certain what the problem could be. You could be looking at anything from a parasitic illness (such as the dreaded Amyloodinium-"Marine Velvet") to some type of poisoning. Blennies are a bit sensitive to water quality, and can be the proverbial "Canary in the coalmine", as far as water quality issues are concerned, often being among the first fishes in a community tank to display distress. On the other hand, if it is a disease, you could be looking at a situation where you may have to dismantle the tank for treatment. I'd continue to observe the fish carefully, monitor water quality (particularly ammonia and nitrite) carefully, and take action as needed. Attempt to get him to eat food, if possible. I cannot give you any more detailed advice than that without actually seeing the fish. If nothing else, just consider the possibilities and proceed carefully. By all means, don't treat in the display tank, if ti comes to that! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Stringy blenny 9/19.5/05 I'm writing about my 46 gallon bow...FOWLR Had a little Cyano, so I did water changes 10 percent every 5 days (looking better). tank parameters 0 - nitrite, ammonia, ph - 8.2, nitrates - 20 (ongoing tank para) tank inhabitants: bi-color blenny, black-line blenny, molly miller blenny, 2 percula clowns, yellow goby, pygmy angel, 2 cleaner shrimp. Same fish stock for a while....all fish QT'd going in.... Here's my problem, for the past 2 weeks, my molly miller blenny has kind of "stringy" material on him, comes and goes...doesn't look like Ick....is eating like a pig - (vitamin enriched pellet and frozen w/garlic) (as usual). It has been suggested to me (by my LFS) that he may be shedding his slime coat and getting debris stuck to him (he's around the rocks) but I've had him a while and never noticed this before. All my blenny's scratch now and then...but I know this is normal behavior... <Yes> I've got a qt set up....a fresh dip going....just in case....but just keeping an eye on it for now... BUT....have you ever seen a "stringy" blenny? <Yes... sometimes these "strings" are copepod parasites... can be treated with Clout, other compounds with anti-arthropod activity. Bob Fenner>
Re: Stringy blenny 9/20/05
Bob, <Lisa> Appreciate your extensive knowledge... but I've had him a while...several months... starting to think it is Ich... <... Crypt doesn't look "stringy"> he looked pretty bad the other morning... fed him well (and he ate like a pig), FW dipped, put in 10 gallon qt...looks much better (still feeding well). Color looks good but still may not be 100%..may fw dip again tomorrow if needed. Is there any chance that some blennies sleep and secrete a mucus like some other fish? <Yes... all fish are slimy... blennies more than most> My black line looks a bit "salted" around his head... Ich I've seen, looks bigger than that (yet velvet takes it's course much quicker.. <... environmental...> speaking from experience). He's a bit strange, anyhow, when he sleeps it is in the tank corners or against the rocks and ALWAYS loses color. Incredibly interesting fish looks dead when sleeping but it is in his nature...I wonder if all black-line blennies do this? <I do think so... helps them evade predators to "blend in"> Had mine for about 6 months and he always has..... If it is Ich, <Not Ich...> it is a far less aggressive case than I've dealt with in the past. This has been going on for 2 weeks....no losses.... Here's the question of the day: Do cleaner shrimp not service certain fish? Seems some do not have that "relationship".... <Yes... both parties must be willing> What concerns me, is the black-line is sleeping in a different place.... tomorrow, I will buy another AquaClear filter put it on my 30g (filled with tank water from my other "Ich free" tank and a powerhead for now) yet use one of my sponges from existing tank. <... would move parasites...> I will then fw dip all the fish. Put the black line in with the molly miller in the 10g qt, and the rest ( 2 percula clowns, pygmy angel, yellow clown goby, bi-color blenny) in the 30g with the cleaner shrimp (too many to qt in a small tank, and the molly miller doesn't care for the cleaners) and do continuous water changes from my Ich free tank to vacuum up any potential spores.... and fresh dip as needed....I will not medicate, since all fish involved are sensitive.. except the clowns that seem fine (unless it gets worst.. everyone is feeding well) yet put my 2 cleaners in the 30g. Good plan? Or am I over-reacting? Would you wait and observe longer? <I'd be looking for root cause/s... making large water changes, using chemical filtrants... looking into a larger system, better filtration. Bob Fenner>
Re: Stringy blenny 9/24/05
Bob, <Lisa> I am now going to quote from your fantastic book, "Sometimes the treatment is worst than the disease itself...." (Or that which we think is a disease) because I have done nothing but observe my main tank and do water changes daily. <Wish I had insisted on the word "often", "more often" in place of "Sometimes"> I forgot to mention, I do have a Knop skimmer, <... wish Daniel, their previous distributor would not have allowed the name to be applied to these... they're bunk, not made by the Germans (but by a U.S....)> aqua clear 300, and powerhead (which I increased the circulation). As tempted as I was to pull them all (because the bi-color blenny was scratching the bottom more than usual and sleeping in the corner by the heater) I did not. I now think he is happily out more because he doesn't compete with the molly miller and sleeps by the heater against his reflection and to keep an eye out for more food during feeding time.... All have continued to eat...no losses at all. <Good> My molly miller is looking great in qt (after 2 fw dips and I vacuum the bottom twice daily) going to add him to my other tank in a few weeks...I think it was just too many blennies in the tank he was in - too stressful for them all. <Agreed> I am still running my 30g empty tank in tandem, in the event this does turn out to be something....vacuuming the bottom and filling with water from my other tank. Doesn't hurt to have it going... <Good planning> I'm going to make another donation to your site, as I hope all do who get such expert advice. <Oooh, we do put the money (from sponsors, donors, book sales...) to good use... Mainly paying our content providers, editors of our online zine, getting folks scuba certified, paying for occasional computer upgrades, travel to conferences, speakers reimbursements to clubs...> As much as I love the hobby, I am starting to wonder if it is just too stressful.... <Heeee! It is relaxing... to folks who don't own them!> Regards, Bob, you are the best! <Don't know about this... but thank you. Bob Fenner>

Sick Lawnmower blenny Hi every one. I have a blenny that is starting scratching quite often over the past two days and is starting to have his tail fin rot a bit on the outer edges. He has a fantastic appetite and eats more than his fair share. I feed him Nori, TetraMin flakes, Formula one and often parts of my finger if it happens to hit the water. The blenny is in a 55 gal tank with a few other fish. The only other fish to show signs is a purple backed Pseudochromis (scratching). I have had this tank for about two weeks now but have no test kits other than salinity and pH, 1.024 and PH 8.2. Getting this tank was not planned but a last moment thing when and friends co-worker had to leave town, as such I can not afford everything I need at once. The tank was cycled when I got it, though the move was very hard on the fish and the existing bio filtration is not very good at all. The condition of the fish when I got them was more than horrible; they were all under fed and seemingly bleached of all color. The fish all seemed like they would do fine and then the blenny started acting up. I'm going to buy a full test kit soon but it will take days to get to my house. What should I do in the mean time? Thank you. <Perhaps lower your specific gravity a few thousandths... this will arrest, stall proliferation of microbes that may be involved here, stir your fishes to produce a bit more body mucus... In the meanwhile, please take the time to read on WWM re marine parasitic disease. Bob Fenner>

Mysterious Death Hello, I have one question: Why my SALARIAS FASCIATUS died? Everything was ok, but for few days his stomach was VERY BIG.<Could have been bloat> I thought that he just ate too much but today I saw him behind the rocks... What cause that?<Also could be a hitchhiker in the LR that killed him> My water par, are great. In tank there was only him and Foxface. Please tell me why he died...<I can not give you a definite answer here all I can do is give you possibilities.> BTW: I can't take him out of the tank, will my cleaner shrimps ate him?
<Probably not...you need to take this fish out post haste. It will pollute your water.> BTW2: I'm going to put Zebrasoma flavescens to the tank. Will be any problems with my Foxface (it's 55 gal, but will be 195).Will they fight? <I Have seen people do this before...normally it works but sometimes it doesn't. If it were me I would purchase a purple tang or a red sea Sailfin tang because of the color difference.> THX guys <No prob, IanB>

Sick Lawnmower Blenny 8/1/04 I need your assistance. My (female) lawnmower blenny seems ill to me. She seems less active then normal and she is eating but not at the same rate she used to. I had the manager of the fish store stop by to take a look at her and he said she was losing some color on her back but should be ok. <hmmm... based on these symptoms, there's not much to go on here (and it does not sound like much/any problem> I am really concerned. I checked my water parameters yesterday and they were fine, I also took a sample into the fish store to have them test and they said the parameters were fine also. I really would like some suggestions on how to help her. I absolutely adore this little creature. Thanks in advance, Karen <the best way to stimulate fishes is a series of hearty water changes and improving the diet. Let me suggest that you do at least three 25% water changes in the next 2-3 week and add some Dick Boyd's Vita-Chem (for vitamins of course) and Selcon (for HUFAs) to the diet (usually soaking the thawed frozen foods... thaw and drain first, then add the supplements before feeding to fishes). No worries :) Anthony>

Sick Lawnmower Blenny III 8/2/04 Thank you for your response. I added some "Kent Garlic Supreme" to the food yesterday and did a partial water change today. <very good> I have also purchased and added to the food "Kent Zoe Marine". <I have little regard for Kent products personally... but this may be helpful indeed> She, the lawnmower blenny, seems to be doing better today. <the water change gets the credit I assure you> We were also wondering if the moon light could be disturbing her at night , could it be affecting her rest? <no more than the moon on a reef <G>> We turned the moon light off when we went to bed last night and she seemed to do better this morning.. Thanks again. Karen <you fuss/worry too much Karen... and I say that affably. Relax my friend... it is a relaxing hobby. Fussing with your tank and fishes in the long run makes things worse. Allow the system to find a groove and run a more natural course without frequent knee-jerk reactions. kindly, Anthony>

Sick blenny Mr. Fenner, What would we do without you? <I fear that some people would lose livestock, perhaps give up on this wonderful hobby altogether... and then who would I have to share with?> My red lipped blenny is sick. He is in a 20 gallon quarantine tank and has been in there since we got him at the end of Feb. Cannot put him into the main because we are keeping that fallow due to Ich. There is also a blue damsel in the 20. We haven't put anything different or new into the tank The blenny started to look dirty a couple of days ago, yesterday he looked worse and was acting very shy which is unusual, today he is even worse. He doesn't raise his fins or open his back fin and now instead of dirty he looks dark from his head down to his middle. Oh, and he flicks. Yesterday the water read: Ammonia-0-.25, Alk-3.6, Nitrite-0, ph-8.6. For the Nitrates I did both tests one read 20(with the powder reagent) and the other 0. Then I changed out about 3 gallons of water. What is it and what can I do? Thank you, Mercedes <Since February? I would move it/them to your main tank... add a biological cleaner, and hope for the best. Bob Fenner>
Re: sick blenny
Mr. Fenner, I am so grateful for your quick response! Thank you. A couple of weeks ago, we figured we should be done with the Ich so we put our coral beauty in the main and he got Ich in two days and died shortly thereafter, so we have quite awhile to go before we can add anything. Now what? Is there anything I can do for him? <About the best would be a clean, cured live rock system to place it in... barring this, if you can find cured live rock to put in the quarantine tank... this might save the day.> I tested the water and all the readings are the same as before I changed the water out. I am a little confused about the Nitrates reading. Thanks again, Mercedes <It may be that some of your reagents are old/damaged... I would do a third test if two are not in close agreement and then assume the worst and believe the two highest. Bob Fenner>

Pregnant Blenny??? Hi bob quick question for you, <Anthony Calfo here... Bob is outside trying to hitchhike his way to Honolulu for the Pro Bowl... someone really should tell him that you can't get there by car> I have a bicolor blenny that I just noticed has a somewhat distended belly with visible lumps. Now I've had the fish for over 2 months, so I don't think its about to lay eggs or have babies, <agreed> but I was curious if it may be infected with some disease. I noticed him looking full yesterday after feeding it some Mysis shrimp, but today its bigger and lumpy. any idea what it might be? Thanks! David <David...fast the creature/tank for several days to see if the distension subsides (we want to see if the "plumbing" is working). You might even add a TBN of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) per 10 gall of tank water as a laxative (it is invert safe and in your food and sea salt as well) in case blockage/constipation were a concern. This occurs with greedy fish that gulp food to much too fast (particularly dry foods). Let us know if this helps. Kindly, Anthony> David Schaer
Re: Pregnant Blenny???
yea, greedy constipated fish is what I think it was, the blockage seems to have cleared by today, it just look really weird yesterday <not at all uncommon> now I just have to keep an eye on my rusty angel who is developing pop-eye. <one eye on one fish is usually mechanical damage (a bump from a startle/spook into the glass or rocks). The Epsom salt ironically will help purge the fluid from behind the swelling eye (Magnesium Sulfate at 1 TBN per 10 gallons one time)> A question on that, my LFS which much to my chagrin happens to be PetCo, gets their fish from a rather reputable wholesaler in NJ, so I order fish from them and try to get it in my tank before they can put them in theirs. <wise> Unfortunately the Rusty I picked up last week, spent a few hours in their tanks before I picked it up and its developing pop-eye, <not contagious really unless overall conditions are so unsanitary> even though my tank conditions are very optimal, no nitrites, or nitrates. <again...likely mechanical damage but if both eyes swell...may be pathogenic and to be treated like bacterial infection> Now I read most of the pop-eye FAQs last night, and my question is this, they had an angel in their set up with pop-eye so I was wondering what the chances are that is a contagious pop eye and not a injury, if it is one that the fish caught in their tanks, do I treat it the same way, just let it go away on its own, and is there any additives, vitamin wise, that I should add to the tank to help it cure up? Thanks!! David <Epsom salt and optimum diet for starters...if you don't see stabilization or improvement in 3 days, begin meds in quarantine. Anthony>

Ailing Lawnmower Blenny Good morning one and all. I have a quick question regarding my Lawnmower Blenny. He started off looking good and fat and is now slowly becoming more thin. There is still a predominance of hair algae in the tank that he takes no notice off but instead tries to eat the glass of the tank. What supplements can I give him in order to get him fat and healthy again? He ignores the Nori and the Dulse that I use to feed the tang. <Very bad sign> All tank parameters are great and everyone else is healthy, the corals are flourishing. Now I just need to get him back up to speed. Any suggestions would be great. Cheers. Julian Hunt <Of the major categories of probable cause here I'd discount bullying, environmental pollution effects... and suggest that "something" internal is at play... gut blockage from swallowing "something", perhaps a developmental/genetic anomaly, more likely an internal parasite of some sort. You can either "wait this out" hoping the animal may spontaneously cure of its own (they get thin quite quickly, and can perish in days to weeks w/o food), or try force-feeding the Blenny with an anti-parasitic compound or mix (I suggest food laced with Metronidazole)... in a quarantine system. Bob Fenner>

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