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FAQs about the Damselfish Disease 1

Related Articles: Damselfishes, Clownfishes, Jumbo Damselfishes

Related FAQs: Damsel Disease 2, Damsels 1Damsel Identification, Damsel Systems, Damsel Selection, Damsel Compatibility, Damsel Behavior, Damsel Feeding, Damsel Reproduction

Talbot's Damsel Disease ID w/Pics   11/5/06 Hi, I'm really new... just started Mid August.   I do a ton of research on the web and your site has been extremely helpful with solving problems and feeding me with much needed info.  I just bought this little Talbot Damsel on Saturday, 10/28. <One of my fave Pomacentrid species... stays small, peaceful, and a real-looker> I didn't notice this until I guess Tuesday where she/he has a small white spot just behind the gill and right above the pectoral fin.  I hope the pictures are helpful. <Yes... appears to be a sort of protozoan infestation (likely a microsporidean)> It seems too large for Ich, it does protrude a bit. I sit in front of the tank with a magnifying glass (she's gotten used to me doing it) and even though I can get a good look, I'm still pretty clueless.   I thought to treat with Pimafix alone or with Melafix. <Mmm, no... these leaf extracts are not efficacious here, or most anywhere>   I have Cerith snail eggs everywhere and clear little baby snails all over as well.  I put in some Pimafix last night and almost immediately ended up with I estimate about 15-25 small clear snails floating belly up. I netted what I could and did an immediate 50% water change. I saw some small snails on the glass later so I guess the immediate water change helped.  Those seemed to be the only things affected. Copepods still on the glass, sandbed & rock, a small mollusk of some sort attached under a rock seems fine and so do the synoid sponges.   So now I'm thinking should I start a hospital tank... but think cycling would be another issue to have to deal with. Should I just watch this spot see if it gets bigger... spreads? Or treat before it does.  If I was able to set up a tank using rubble, small rocks from my 20 gal and water from there as well and treat her there... would the fungus or bacteria still be in the main tank and just reinfect the fish when it's moved back?   <Mmm...> It's a 5.5 gal with live sand & live rock. Started it about 2 1/2 -3 months ago. Had some baby pupfish in there for a few weeks and moved them to a small breeder tank inside my 20 gallon with the other bigger pupfish. So it's pretty much just been maturing with only a few snails and one hermit crab. I have an AC70 converted to hold some rubble and Chaeto and there's a mini 404 for additional water circulation.  After reading about digging damsels on another part of your site, I'm planning to pull all the rock and put an eggcrate into the sand as she has one crater she's dug but I'm concerned the rocks may get unbalanced and topple. I could move her then... she'll be much easier to catch.   She's pretty active... runs around picking copepods off the glass, sand & rock. On occasion nips at the hermit crab, just gives her something to pick on.  Appetite is good, seems picky about which copepods she'll eat.  I work from home, the tank is 2 feet to my left and I sit by it all day long as I do my transcription work. So I have plenty of opps for observation.  Any advice is extremely appreciated. Thanks, Debbie <Well, this system is pretty small... but I would go the purposeful cleaner organism route here... Either a Gobiosoma species or Lysmata shrimp species. You can read on WWM re these. Bob Fenner>

Calcareous tube worms.. LOTS!!! 1/1/04 I have several problems, possibly related, possibly not. <Happy New Year, Pat!  Let's see what we can figure out.> First, I have an infestation of what I think (from your FAQ's) are calcareous tube type worms. Unfortunately, none of the descriptions quite match what I have. For me, each tube is about 1/8" in dia and pretty long (embedded in the sand) the "worm" though is 1 (occasionally 2) long things. The worms are translucent and only the dia of a human hair. (But very mobile. they extend roughly 1" from the tube. They appear featureless. I do not have a camera good enough for sharp photos so. tubes.jpg is a shot of the tubes. The problem is not so much the mere existence of the critters but the sheer number of them. When I blow the sand away from a section of the tank, there are around 10 tubes per square inch (!) All the tentacles wriggling on the bed look like intertwined spaghetti <No pic is even necessary.  These worms are highly beneficial scavengers.  They can reproduce to surprisingly high densities in the absence of predators.  Enjoy them!> I used to have a sand sifter (starfish) the worms appeared shortly after the demise of the star. Would replacing it solve the problem? (Or, did the worms kill the star) <Your sand sifting star was eating the worms.  The stars are very efficient predators of beneficial sand bed critters.  I would strongly recommend not replacing the star.  The worm population will probably rise and fall on it's own, and will be dependant on feeding.  If you want to control the worms, the best way is to limit their food.> Second, about a month ago The damsel, shown in damselindistress.jpg, showed up in the morning with a "hole" about the size of a dime in its side. The scales and skin looked like they had been sheared off. All that was left was the raw flesh of the fish. We decided to wait a few days to see what happened (chasing him around my coral tank with a net was NOT on my list of things to do for fun...) amazingly, he got. better. The skin/scales reappeared, although they're pretty misshapen. You can see the affected area in this shot. (This is background.) <My guess is that this was from physical trauma, probably being scraped on a rock.  If it has healed, I wouldn't worry about it.> I had a Yellow Tang. It was happy. I saw it swimming happily a few weeks ago. A few minutes later, my son called me into the room. The tang was inverted & jerking. Then it stopped breathing. just like that. Dead. (This too is background) <This is a bit odd.  If you had only had the fish for a short period of time, it probably was shipping stress.> The next problem is (poorly) shown in the 2 images, clown 1 and clown 2 this fish got sick the day after the tang died. One of its eyes bulged out of its socket (WAY out) and spots appeared on its tail. We waited, hoping it would last thru Christmas (my son is quite attached to this particular clown, due, in part, to her. unusual. incomplete banding.) <When both eyes "pop out", it is usually an infection and can sometimes lead to loss of one or both eyes.  When only one pops out, it is usually because of injury and heals with no problem.  The spots look like Cryptocaryon (ich).> It did. After sitting on the bottom (among the worms) for a few days, the bulging eye receded. It began to eat. Its breathing no longer appeared. labored.  But the spots on the tail spread all over her. They're pretty big.  Some appear to be under the skin (like bubbles) and others look like tiny domes. <I would remove the clown to quarantine until it recovers.  Please read up and/or send a better pic to verify that it is ich (the "like bubbles" leaves a question).  In any case, a proper freshwater dip followed by a couple of weeks of hyposalinity are indicated.> Before all this, I had a very stable 55 gallon reef tank for 2 years! It was good enough to allow me to cultivate and sell a LOT of xenia. The chemistry has always been great. <It sounds like something is stressing your fish.  I would look for a fish that may be bullying the others.> In short: 1. How do I reduce the amount of worms? <As said, a booming population may be an indication of overfeeding.  Cutting back on the food a bit should reduce the population, but they are harmless.> 2. How do I save the clown? <See above.> Thanks, Pat
<Always a pleasure!  Adam>

Remove the Damsel or the corals? Hello to all (and especially a warm greeting to Anthony, who has been so helpful in the past!), <cheers my friend> I have an 80g reef tank, with LR and 6 corals (1 Torch, 1 Bubble, 3 mushroom colonies, and Green Star polyps), 1 Hippo, 1 Coral Beauty, 1 Neon Damsel, and 2 Perculas, along with assorted shrimp and crabs.  I do 10g water changes weekly, and 20g once a month with IO.  Everything has been fine: coral growth is good, parameters have stayed in the green zone, fish are robust etc. EXCEPT today I have noticed that the CB and the Damsel have Popeye bilaterally...you really have to look hard to notice, not like the pictures of Popeye that I've seen on your website.  They are eating and swimming as usual.  The only behavior change I see is a slight jerkiness, very minute, very sporadic.  Resps aren't increased, nor are fins clamped, and I don't see any open areas on their bodies.  From what I've read so far, one eye is trauma, both eyes are infection.   <agreed... more than one eye or more than one fish implies a pathogenic cause> So, my question is, how in the world am I going to catch the Damsel to hospital-tank him?   <the answer may surprise you... but it is fast and easy. Take a clean plastic garbage can or two, kill the power to the tank... and use a power head and tubing to pump the tank dry fast (minutes with any large powerhead). When the water gets down to just a few inches, you can catch any fish easily and gently without a stressful chase in the full tank. Always use two nets to catch fish... one to chase and one to sit waiting to catch. When the fish are caught... simply pump the tank full again. I have seen folks do this in 15 minutes or less for a tank your size. Less stress on you and the fish <G>> (He secretly wishes to kill us, if he can figure out how to get out of the tank.)  Is it better to remove the corals and inverts to a hospital tank, and treat the main (the LR and 1" aragonite also) or would the medicine stay in the tank like copper and make it unsuitable to return the corals?   <the fish must be removed... the meds would harm much in the system even without the corals> To get the Damsel out I will have to break down the entire tank. <not needed... draining the display will spare the need to move rock/sand> Should I treat first with Epsom salts as the Popeye seems to be mild (so far!).   <I suspect you will need a broad spectrum antibiotic from the start> And last question:  I have recently started feeding a homemade food made of 3 shell-on shrimp and tilapia, ground up with Selcon and vit C, then frozen...could this be the source of the infection?   <not likely at all... especially with frozen foods> Bought from the grocery store, "previously frozen", no smell or slimy parts when I processed it, and frozen immediately.  I plan on a 20g water change today, though last change was Saturday. <no worries> Thanks for your time! Allison <kind regards, Anthony>

-Blue Chromis massacre!- Hi Again, I thank you for your time and web site, it helps me so much. I have a maintenance company in Bakersfield, Ca. In my home I have  a  80 gal, 40 gal and a 10 gal tank used as a holding tank for new fish for my customers. Three weeks ago I bought 10 blue Chromis and within one day all had died with red blotches on them and some with Popeye. <Ouch, was the system tested before fish addition and once the problem started?> So I started moving the rest of the fish away from them and treated the tanks with MelaFix, to no avail. Within  three days all fish were dead. since them I have done a 80 % water change, and put each tank on my LifeGuard mechanical system for about 45 minutes each, it also has a U.V. in it. <This won't accomplish much> I waited three more days and entered 3 two striped damsels, in each tank. day two the 10 gal tank as no fish left, the 40 as 1 fish left and the 80 as two fish left.. In each tank has little live rock in them and the tanks have cycled two month ago. <For them to still be cycled, they had to have a constant ammonia source (like fish) in there ever since the cycle. If there was no detectable ammonia or nitrite, the pH was fine, and there was no blatant horrible shipping stressor or other catastrophe, you got bad fish.> All levels were normal and still are. <Well, if this is the case, then the fish you bought were likely doomed from the get-go. Again, you may want to test your salinity, temp, pH, ammonia, nitrite and make sure that no possible contaminants could have entered the water.> what is one to do ? <Large water change, PolyFilter (in case of chemical contamination), and potentially letting it go fallow (no fish) for a month to eliminate the chance of reoccurring disease. I hope this helps! -Kevin> Le Roy @ Advanced Aquascaping

- Blue/Green Chromis - We recently restarted our 65 gallon tank (after some much needed repairs) and decided on 4 blue/green Chromis as our starter fish. All 4 were bought at the same time at the same store. Within a day, the smallest fish developed a red bruise like spot just in front of his tail. At first we thought it was a small bite but within hours it turned into what looked like some sort of internal rupture. We tested for water quality and everything looked good. He was next to dead the next morning so we scooped him out. We replaced him with another b/g Chromis and the next couple of weeks went along without incident until this past Tuesday the next smallest fish developed the same spot. We have been testing regularly and doing all the necessary water changes and everything is fine. <If you are cycling the tank with these fish, then you shouldn't be changing water until the nitrogen cycle is complete. Changing the water will only delay the completion of the cycle.> He lasted a couple of days but we scooped him out this morning. These fish show no other signs of distress and eat and swim around normally until the very end when they have increased respiration and go into 'hiding' mode. <Hopefully they have many places to hide, yes?> Any ideas as to what this may be? <Low man on the totem pole perhaps... live stock compromised before you got a hold of it... toxic water conditions... there are many possibilities.> We are reluctant to start thinking of buying any other fish until this can be resolved. <Considering that you are using these fish as 'starters' you've got to expect some attrition. Do keep an eye on ammonia and nitrite as these are toxic to the fish.> Cathy <Cheers, J -- >

- Is This Bad? - I have a question regarding my three-striped Damsel who has been swimming vertical for the past 4 days. <Ok.> I think it has something to do with his air bladder. <I don't... fish do this sometimes, but as to the reason why there's just no telling.> Just recently the male and female Damsel had laid eggs and after that time the male Damsel has been swimming vertically. <Well... could explain a few things, but I don't think it's a swim bladder problem.> His gill covers look like they have shrunk. <Hmm...> He is eating okay but I am concerned that something may be wrong. <I'd keep up the observation a little while longer... doesn't sound like anything specific at the moment that you could do anything about, but it will pay to keep an eye out. Very neat about the spawning, though.> I also did a water change but nothing seems to be working. <Patience.> Do you have any suggestions? <Unless things take a rapid downward turn... fish stops eating, etc. I wouldn't be too concerned.> Thanks <Cheers, J -- >

A Little Story About Jack and Lilly... I'm new to the hobby and I'm just starting to get me feet wet. <Ahh- easy solution to that one- make sure that the siphon hose is in the bucket and your feet will stay dry! (I couldn't resist that one!) Scott F. with you today> I have a 55 gallon tank and finally got it started 14 days ago. I purchased two Damsel fish, (Jack and Lilly), in order to help with my Nitrogen cycle. Jack and Lilly have been living happily in their new home for the past 10 days. When I replaced the air driven gravel filter with two power heads, two days ago, Jack and Lilly have changed. Both fish are purple and refuse to leave the rock they call home. They just hang out by the lift tube and just sit on the gravel refusing to eat or swim. I have checked all levels of Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, pH, Salinity and several other water test in an attempt to find the culprit. All water tests were in acceptable range. My temperature did rise after the addition of the power heads from 76-78 to 78-80. Do you think they are spooked by the power heads after living with the air system? <Well, in the absence of other possible causes of potential distress, such as illness, it may simply be that Jack and Lilly need to adjust to the greater current that the powerheads are putting out. One could speculate about more exotic stuff, like stray electrical current, excessive vibrations, and all kinds of stuff is possible! It could even be coincidental that the strange behavior started when the powerheads were installed.> Do you have any advise to what I can do in order to help Jack and Lilly. I have grown very fond of the pair and enjoy having them as part of the family. <I'm sure that Jack and Lilly will settle in just fine! I would simply keep an eye on the fish and be prepared to intervene should disease or other problems manifest themselves at a later time. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

- Quarantine Issues - <Good morning, JasonC here...> I'm not sure what happened to this Green Chromis. He has been in the QT for two weeks and I noticed yesterday that he was swimming slightly off kilter. The QT is 10 gal with a bio wheel filter. The water specs are: Temp 26C (in the past two days it has ranged from 28 to 25) Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 Sp G 1.023 (was up to 1.027 a couple of days ago but I've been adding freshwater to bring it down) I do 20% water changes every other day with water from my main tank (same water specs but 27C). I thought he might have had HLLE because I could make out a black line from his head along his side to the tail. I noticed the line two days ago. He had not been eating as well as the other Chromis in the tank. The LFS told me that is such a small QT I should only feed them once every three days and only so much as they could eat in 3 minutes. <There is some truth to this - 10 gallons is a small system, and the salinity and temperature fluctuations will be more drastic in a tank of this size. Always be very careful to minimize the impact of such changes.> These are/were my first fish and I would sure like to keep this last one alive. <At this point it's probably safe to put the remaining fish in the main tank. The loss of this one Chromis was probably incidental, in other words not your fault, and now you know why quarantine can be useful.> I did notice that they looked a little blotchy but after I turned the canopy light on their colour came back so I figured it was nothing. This is the post mortem picture not sure if it helps. Jim <Sorry about your loss, but you are certainly on the right road... onward. Cheers, J -- >

Give me a damsel with Hair! Hey guys, here's one that you may not have heard of before.  Somehow, a long piece of my girlfriend's hair got into my tank and my Damsel swallowed it. Now I have about four inches of blond hair hanging out of his mouth.  I have no idea how much the damsel swallowed but I have been waiting for about three days for it dissolve, pull out, or whatever.  Still no luck.  Do you think I need to remove all the live rock, etc so I can catch the little bugger and try and pull it out?  Or should I just let some more time pass? I have no idea if a fish's digestive system will dissolve the hair or not so any help is appreciated! Craig <Mmm, I would wait a few more days... hopefully the hair will break off by then. Bob Fenner>

Re: black spots on my electric damsel hello when i woke up yesterday i was shocked to see one of my electric damsel with some strange black spots at the beginning i thought it went to a fight but then i noticed than it wasn't injured their for i called my local dealer and he said that it's not a fatal disease , it's called black spots and it's not curable so i need some information about it and is this right i 've attached a pictures of the fish a strange thing happened today that  the spots were almost gone so i would like to know what should i do  ant I'm thankful .. <The markings you show so well are indeed not a "disease" in the sense of infection or parasitism, but more overall "stress"... something, maybe water quality, perhaps a bully produces this blackening. Bob Fenner>

Sick Chromis I have a green Chromis that is having some trouble swimming/breathing. As per Scott F.'s advise I have moved him to a qt tank.  I now have some additional questions.  First of all since he is having trouble swimming should I leave the powerhead off to give him a break? or would the reduced flow rate be worse? <I'd keep the powerhead on, maybe at reduced flow, to keep some circulation going in this tank. In fact, if the powerhead offers an aeration feature, I'd utilize it.> He hasn't developed any white spots, but I wanted to do something.  I went to the LFS, and got a pH so that I could match the pH for a freshwater + Methylene blue dip (I also bought the Methylene blue), but upon returning home I realized that I had bought another saltwater pH kit and therefore had no way to test the freshwater's pH. I felt stupid, but wanted to do something so I did a saltwater + Methylene blue dip. I know this won't be as effective as freshwater + Methylene blue, but it's better than nothing, right? <Sure- the antibacterial properties of Methylene blue will still work in saltwater.> After the dip (which went well at 15 min.s with no signs of stress, for him or me; not bad for my first dip) I could see tiny particles laying on the bottom of the bucket.  Could these possibly be the parasites that have infested my little buddy? Or would they be too small to see with the naked eye? <Well, hard to say...If it is Cryptocaryon, it's unlikely that you'd see the actual parasites...but you never know. The material could have been body slime or mucus, or some type of precipitate. But you never know!> Oh, also the LFS was out of copper and doesn't sell copper tests, I was informed by the owner that he doesn't believe in testing (too bad he's the only one reasonably close to me) <YIKES!! With "friends" like this...yuck...> So, I am looking online, could you recommend a good test kit brand? Also are there better brands of copper? Or is copper just copper? <I like Cupramine by Sea Chem, and CopperSafe by Mardel. Both are good quality, IMO. As far as a test kit for copper, most of the ones that I have seen on the market are pretty good, IMO. Now- I like copper, but I wouldn't rush to use it unless you are certain that you're dealing with a parasitic infection. Some fishes do not do well with copper, such as pygmy angelfishes. Anyways- with your fish- be sure to keep up good water quality during his quarantine, supply high quality food, and observe closely. With time, and a little TLC, this guy can make it! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>> Thank you for your time -Luke

Chromis Lost His Zip? I just noticed that one of my green Chromis seems to be stuck on the bottom of the tank.  He is tucked away in the back corner of the tank swimming feverishly, but is barely staying off of the bottom. His breathing is also labored.  I tried chasing him around with a net to see if he could swim, but he couldn't seem to stay suspended at all. His color has paled, and I don't know what to do. Luke <Well, Luke- the fact that the fish is having difficulty breathing and swimming is definitely a sign that something may be wrong. I would highly recommend removing this fish to a separate aquarium for observation and possible treatment. Look for outward signs of infections, such as excess body mucus, whitish film or spots (I'm thinking about Amyloodinium or Cryptocaryon here). If he does show signs of either of these illnesses, it is necessary to take quick action to save this fish's life! You could try some freshwater dips initially, and then utilize a commercial copper sulphate treatment if you are indeed dealing with either one of these diseases. Do read up on the disease FAQs on the wetwebmedia.com site for more information on these illnesses. You can help this little guy with quick, decisive action! Good luck! Scott F>

Damsels In Distress? I have some blue damselfish with yellow tails.  Sometimes they get faded spots on their sides?  Is this a sign something is wrong, or is this normal?  Thanks for the input. Ondrej Havrda <Well, Ondrej- it's hard to say from here. If the fish are experiencing these spots continuously, without other symptoms, it could be some minor external abrasions or something. On the other hand, you could be observing some type of fungal infection, or maybe even the onset of something more serious. I'd take a look in the disease FAQs on the Wetwebmedia.com site to see if any of the diseases described fit the description of what you're looking at. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Re: sick Chromis thanks once again for your help.  i had 3 green Chromis in my qt, and all was fine for over a week.  then one day i noticed one wasn't schooling or eating and breathing rapidly in the corner.  then next day it was dead. <Sounds like Amyloodinium. AKA velvet> the other 2 were ok for a day more.  then the same thing happened to another one.  now its been 3 days since the 2nd died and the last one seems to be fine.  eating a lot and swimming fine.  no white dots or fuzzy stuff <Definitely velvet> and no visible isopods, the fish looked perfectly normal,  just rapid breathing and sitting in the corner.  i dissected the 2nd one and didn't see anything that looked like a parasite (with my crappy magnifying glass). any idea what this is?   <Definitely and obviously (from your description), velvet> could it have been something they had or did my qt tank have something?  i have a bi-color blenny that lives there full time and he seems fine through the whole event. <He's a really tough critter> or could they have had something all along that just got the best of them after a few weeks.  they were eating and very social for the 1st week.  my water parameters in qt check out fine too.  if you do have an idea what it is, can you recommend a dip / medication?  my thoughts were flukes, but since the 3rd seems ok, i didn't know how contagious they were? thanks again, Neil <This is just as contagious as ich. Please sterilize your tank before adding more fish. Check our disease files at Wetwebmedia.com There is detailed information about treating this and other diseases. David Dowless> <P.S. I'm a former North Carolinian from Fayetteville! UNCP graduate!> Neil A. Jacobs Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences North Carolina State University

Damsel Scale Hello, <Hi!> I should have known better, but when I brought my Chrysiptera cyanea (blue damsel) home from the local fish store, it had a brown spot on it's side. <Never buy fish that acts or look strange> I was too excited about the purchase of this quick swimming fish to notice it.  The parasite is a brownish gray, and about the size of the entire scale it has invaded.  I can see the fish's side is not smooth at the point of infestation, unlike the other side.  He is the only fish in my 10 gallon reef tank, I did buy a cleaner shrimp to help, but the damsel was just too fast a swimmer to allow the shrimp to help. <Are you sure this isn't simply a damaged or dying scale?> Now the shrimp has died (from something stupid I did) and the damsel still has the problem.  Do damsels ever allow cleaners to help?   <Their choice. Nothing you can do to help or hurt> Will the parasite slough off or will it spread? <I'm not convinced that it's a parasite. The scale may simply fall off. I've seen this happen several times in my own tanks> Do you recommend freshwater dips? <Not at this point but you can if you feel it's warranted. Can you send a picture of the fish/scale?> Maybe I should take a tweezers to my dear pet. <Really? Egads!> Any suggestion would be appreciated. <From now on, use a quarantine tank. I would keep the water quality high and stable and watch the progression or regression of this spot. Don't freak out! Based on your description, I don't think this will be a major problem. David Dowless> Pete

Damaged damsel Hi, I have a question regarding my striped damsel. I have been doing research and I can't find out what's wrong with it. It has like a tissue or something coming out of its gill it almost looks like its lung but its to hard to tell. I can't give it any medication because I don't know what's wrong with it. So to summarize what I see is just a red tissue like thing coming out of one of its gills. Please help me this has been goin on for a while and I want to help it.   Thanks, Eric   <Sounds like some part of the fish's gill protruding beyond its operculum (gill cover) or damage to the cover, showing the gill underneath. No need, use for medication. Keep up your husbandry and hopefully the fish will stay alive, re-grow the damaged part/s. Bob Fenner>

Damsels In Distress! Hi! <Good evening! Scott F. here tonight!> I had setup a salt tank about 6 month's ago...They said to start with damsels....And I did....Then I added a few fish (some more damsels) there shortly after & some inverts (4 peppermint shrimp, 5 red legged hermits & 2 emerald crabs) I noticed on the domino damsels in the morning they would be covered with white dots and then after a few hours in the morning would pass these white dots would disappear....then it started happening to all the fish a couple at a time.....Then all of a sudden the dots (salt like specks) didn't fall off & within a short time all my fish started dying off a couple at a time...Before  they had started dying I called the place I bought them & they told me when they sleep at night some times salt particles will lay on them & after moving a bit they fall off. <After the aliens that snatched them off in the middle of the night for experiments returned them to your tank, no doubt> ......Of course I believed them.....Until they started to die.....I still had my inverts....Month's have now passed all water readings are right on the money.....So, I went out & bought a few more damsels to start again & here it is 4 days later & now it is starting all over again....The domino damsels have a lot of white spots in the morning & gone a few hours later.....Please help I can't handle going thru the lose of any more fish...Why is this happening? They are not rubbing up against anything or showing signs of distress....Please help me before I lose these fish...Kim <Well, Kim- it sounds to me to be ich. Yes, with an ich outbreak the fishes will often exhibit some type of "scratching" behavior...but not always. If ich is the culprit (and I'll bet that it is), what you need to do is work on breaking the life cycle of the parasite. I'd catch all of the fishes (a bummer, I know) and put them into a "hospital" tank for observation and treatment (with a commercial copper sulphate-based medication). Meanwhile, you should let the tank run without fishes for about a month, which will help dramatically reduce the population of parasites in your tank, as many will die for lack of a host in the absence of the fishes. Keep performing routine maintenance on the tank (i.e; water changes, filter cleaning, etc) during this "fallow" period. At the end of the 30 day "fallow" period, you can return your now healthy fishes to a tank that has a much lower parasite count. Remember, in the future, you really should quarantine all new arrivals a minimum of 3 weeks. This will really help prevent the introduction of disease into your system. Do read up on the wetwebmedia.com site about ich treatment and quarantine for more information. You'll be fine- just learn from the experience and hang in there! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Fish Disease Hello to You: <Greetings to you!> I have attached 2 photos of my male Blue Devil Damsel (is that right?).   <I'm going out on a limb and saying that I think it's a female Chrysiptera cyanea (blue devil> He has some stuff on the base of the fin, and now on the edge of the same fin. He seems to be using that fin less than the "healthy" one kind of swimming in circles - HAHA - just kidding. <The two items mentioned above are what's concerning me. If he isn't using the fin something is wrong. Ich (Cryptocaryon) is spots that look like salt. Not likely in this case. Marine velvet (Amyloodinium) looks more like tufts of cotton or a covering of cotton. IMO this is what I think I see on your fish. I can't be positive from this distance. If she's been scratching or glancing against objects, this will give a clue that it may be a parasite> I needed a little laugh in this time of grief, as this is my first illness, and maybe death, <She isn't dead yet!> in these early months of the hobby. Any identification?   <I don't get too freaked out about small places on fins because they can have accidents from time to time that will make the fins have small places that become less than translucent. These places sometimes come from other fish taking a bite or normal damage while swimming around the tank. Having written this, frequently fins are the first place that parasites will attach and become visible: especially ich> I just moved him to QT: of course I have a couple of crabs & snails in QT at the moment.   <If he is infected, you are increasing the chances that the snails and crabs (while immune to the effects of ich or velvet) can be carriers of a disease> That limits treatment, right? <No copper with snails and crabs> I appreciate your help more than any LFS, because you don't take my money (CMA notwithstanding, but that was a steal anyway!) Thanks, Rich. <Check your CMA book for directions on giving treatments for Amyloodinium. Then check the website for the same. At least do a freshwater bath with formalin or Methylene blue (see CMA or WWM for directions) and possibly start a copper treatment. If you do copper you won't be able to put invertebrates in the QT any longer. Read and decide for yourself what will work best. Good luck! David Dowless>

Damsel Emergency - Please help Hi, My tank has been cycled for about 2 weeks - in it is the Fiji devil damsel that cycled it and a clownfish - everything has been fine - I was just looking at them and one of the damsels eyes looks like it is popping out of it's head!  <Its called exopthalmia or "Popeye"... usually not a big deal. Occurs most often from blunt force (bump/startle into rocks or glass).> It is sticking out very far from it's head - he is acting normal but I don't know what to do - it doesn't seem to bother him at all and he is swimming around like he usually does!  <yep... no worries yet. But please know that you need a quarantine tank for future fishes so that such issues can be addressed. And all new fishes run through QT first. Read more about setting up a QT tank here on WetWebMedia. Also, do a keyword search on our site to find articles and FAQs on "Popeye". In the meantime, you may try Epsom Salt (from the pharmacy)... add one tablespoon per five gallons and then add a half dose on the third day. If you do not see stabilization or improvement in 3-5 days please treat the fish in a QT tank only with antibiotics> PLEASE HELP!!! Jacob <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Marine Ick (on damsels...) I thought territoriality was only an issue with damsels of the same species? <Not so. Some species more than others re between or within group aggression... but territoriality is established amongst all species with such a small volume> Also, this evening all of the fish have skin and fins clear of spots. What is going on here?  <Spontaneous recovery... or more likely cycling of parasite life stages...> I know I'm not crazy because someone visiting remarked on the spots this morning :) Any ideas? <Lots. Read where you referred to... promptly. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tailed Damsels Dear Bob,  How are you this afternoon?? Great I hope. I would to thank you on your detailed book.  <Fine, and thank you> It was an interesting book, and I use it a lot to reference for asking questions. This is my first Saltwater Tank, and hope to get great results. I have a 65 G with a UGF, an Emperor 280 Power Filter, and two Rio 600 pumps. I have added some Bacterial starter Packets (4 days ago, Monday), and I added 3 Yellow Tailed Damsels on Weds. afternoon. Well, 1 died, I believe according to your book, to internal bladder disease.  <Or just general stress and trauma... It's hard being a small young fish captured in the wild, and whisked about in strange, dangerous settings... traveling the world, placed in small volumes with odd tankmates...> The fish kept to the bottom, then last night I saw him swim sideways to the top for air, as if he was suffocating. He appeared to stress the other two out, so I pulled him out and he passed away. I have heard that it is best to put Damsels in odd numbers, so as they have an pecking order, and keep to themselves rather than bother other fish, and that Odd numbers are best. <Yes, in general> My question is, should I replace him with another Yellow Tail quickly, or should I let the tank finish its cycle and go on with my planned outline of fish to put in, in chronological order:  3 Yellow Tailed Damsels (? 2 Now or still add the third)  1 Maroon Clown  1 Flame Hawk  1 Midnight Pygmy Angel  1 Yellow Tang  or could I let the tank finish the cycle, then add the third damsel along with my Maroon at the same time. What other recommendations could you give.....  Thank You very much, Junior  <I would definitely just wait in your case, and likely leave the number of damsels as it is (two in a four foot long tank should be able to set up opposing territories, leave each other be... Do read over the enlarged selection pieces, FAQs and organism survey works posted on my site: www.wetwebmedia.com for much more on what with, how you might proceed. Bob Fenner>

Damsel Death Bob,  I am cycling my 72 gallon tank. It has been about a month and I finally got  my ammonia to hit zero about 3 days ago. The nitrite level has been slow to rise, and has been at .4 for the past 4 days. I started with 12 damsels, which I now realize may have been too many, as of this morning I am down to 4. This seems such a waste of marine life, and as I have educated myself on this further I would not use live fish to cycle another tank. Do you see this type of damsel loss a lot? It seems like 75% loss is too  high. Should I be concerned something else is wrong? The only abnormality I have noticed in a few of the Humbug Damsels was a 2"-3" string like substance  hanging from them. My dealer told me it was a fungus and not to worry about  it. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I have attached my spreadsheet re: my cycle (didn't know if it would help). PH has been a consistent 8.0-8.1. << Do see this sort of Damsel mortality... though highly variable... probably a Gaussian distribution with a strong slanted peak toward 100% losses... And all unnecessary... folks can use live rock, sand... even microbial cultures and exogenous sources of ammonia... to start their tanks off.... I generally utilize old filter material, substrate, "sludge" from existing systems to get wholesale to individual systems cycling... Live and learn. Bob Fenner>>

Damsel in distress Good morning/evening crew, <It is the morning here/now.> I have a small (15 gallon) marine tank with live rock and two Chromis viridis. Water is good with 0 nitrite, ammonia and 10 to 20 ppm nitrate. pH tends to hang around 8.2 and temperature is 26 degrees C and stable. I am running a fairly weak trickle filter but using a 400 gph into a 100 gph power head to keep strong circulation. My problem is that one of the Damsels has it's tail largely "eaten" away. This happened about a month after introduction and has not got any better, and not got any worse. It has been this way for about eight weeks. The other fish is fine and appears healthy. Both eat like mad but do spend most of the day hiding. <Typical> I cannot see the other one nipping or see any other apparent cause for this fin rot. Any clues? <Most likely a previous infection ate away the tissue beyond the point of return. It the tail is destroyed to the base (either by infection or attack) it is unlikely to ever fully heal. Do keep an eye on it, but if it has been eight weeks, it is not likely to get worse or better.> Best regards, Michael Peters <Have a nice day! -Steven Pro>

(Dead Damsels Question) Hello, I just lost 3 Damsel fish. Please help, I cannot understand why. I have a 46 gallon, fish only saltwater tank. I have had it set up and running for about 5 days. I added Fritzyme Turbo Start 900 as directed, and 5 damsels. When I woke up this morning 3 were dead. Below are my results from my tests.  PH- 8.0 NH- 0.25 Ammonia NO2- 0.1 Nitrate NO3- 2.5 Nitrate  Specific Gravity- 1.022 Temp- 79 F Using a CPR BakPak Bio Filter/Skimmer, Fluval 304, and a powerhead.  Please help!!! Thanks, I hope to hear from you soon! Cory  << Likely the actual "bacterial" adjunct was to blame in large... I would stop using it, not add other livestock/stop feeding till the ammonia, nitrite went to zero... and next time utilize other techniques for instigating cycling, posted at: Home Page. Bob Fenner>>

Chromis viridis - blindness Hi Bob, Thank you for your prompt and informative reply. I will take your advice and begin adding vitamin/iodide supplements to their food starting tomorrow.  <Many folks have been astounded at the positive results of such application...> I have recently altered how I feed them, so I imagine that the cause is indeed due to a nutritional deficiency. This is unfortunate, and certainly unintentional, as I was following someone else's advice to wean them down from the 3-5 feedings per day to only a single feeding. Their argument, which still makes perfect sense to me, was that because the Chromis are in a reef tank which has a very healthy population of copepods/amphipods that they should be able to find quite enough to eat. Perhaps I was trying to wean them too quickly? <Very possible. Many fishes are apparently much larger "creatures of habit" than folks presume.> Again, thank you for your assistance! You'll be the proverbial "first-to-know" if the treatment works. <Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner> Best, Steve

Dying Dominos Hi guys, hope this email find all of you well! Here is my question today: I've had 3 Dominos for a year. They are turning white and 2 of them have suddenly died. What happened? Thanks for your time. <the paling color is not symptomatic of a given condition or pathogen... just stress. Were there any other symptoms? Rapid gilling, erratic swimming, scratching or glancing, etc? Do look through WWM disease archives and FAQ's for illumination, please> Pamela Mary
<kindly, Anthony>

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