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FAQs on Marine Environmental Disease: Gas Issues; Dissolved Oxygen, CO2, H2S...

Related Articles: Environmental Disease, Establishing Nutrient CyclingMarine Water Quality, Maintenance,

Related FAQs: Environmental Disease 1, Marine Environmental Disease 2, Marine Env. Disease 3, Marine Env. Disease 4, Marine Env. Disease 5, Marine Env. Disease 6, Marine Env. Disease 7, Marine Env. Disease 8, Marine Env. Disease 9, Marine Env. Disease 10, Marine Env. Disease 11, Marine Env. Disease 12, Marine Env. Disease 13, & FAQs on Environmental Disease By Cause/Types: Environmental Deficiencies, Poisoning, Mis-stocking: Psychological Challenges, ( Aggressive Behavior, Territoriality, ), Physiological Challenges (e.g. Metabolites, Allelopathy, Stinging), & Troubleshooting/Fixing

Increase aeration, circulation, lowering specific gravity, lowering temperature, changing water, vacuuming the bottom, removing livestock... 

Boxfish lethargic/dying    11/18/13
Let me start with the tank set up. I have had this tank up and running for 18 months. I have a sail fin tank <Tang> juvenile, a coral beauty angel, an orange spotted goby, a clown, and three Chromis along with a Yellowcube  Boxfish. They live in a 65 gallon
<This is too small a volume for the Tang, Centropyge, Lactoria...>

tank with a 10 gallon sump (20 gal tank half full).  I have live sand, live rock, and  tree of Kenya. The ammonia and nitrite are zero, the Nitrates are .5  Phosphate is .5 and PH are 8.3 I don’t know what happened but my  salinity had been close to 1.030
 I have it back down to 1.023. A month ago I lost a tasseled file fish.
<Misplaced here as well>

3 weeks ago I lost my Turbo Snail. 2 weeks ago I lost my Longnose Hawk. None of the animals had any signs of disease. They all ate fine and were active until the day before they died. The day before they were lurking near the bottom of the tank but NOT breathing heavy.
one week ago today my Box started having trouble swimming he was leaning on his side. I put him in my hospital tank and he seemed better the next day.  I have him in a 10 gallon tank with a small power filter running. I am changing half the water every day. For the past 48 hours he has sat on the bottom of the tank barely moving. You have to look closely to see his fins moving. He hasn't’ eaten in 5 days. I see no signs of disease or damage to his can body can you help me figure out what is wrong and what I can do to save him.  I am so frustrated with the loss of life I lovely fish and feel like a terrible keeper. I read through a lot of your site but can’t find what I’m doing wrong.
<The trouble here may be as simple as too-low dissolved oxygen; in part from the too-high water density... Common this time of year, with it getting cold, folks sealing their homes up tighter... I would "wick off" the surface water, dip a pitcher in... Search WWM re surface films, low DO... If your local shops have an oxygen test kit to lend, borrow it and check. Otherwise, nothing "jumps out" as being wrong here... I would try a unit of Chemipure and Polyfilter in your circulation, filter pathway. Bob Fenner>

Re: Help Needed!! Mysterious SW fish losses, whlse.... now low DO     7/2/12
Hello Mr. Bob, I wish you a good month.
<Thank you Kostas>
So I once Again losing fishes to my tanks (didn't start over the tank that we were talking about so no news about that.)
What I tried. First of all I added some carbon material to my Siporax-bio balls filtration in order to reduce or even remove the toxic parameters in the tanks. After that I tested the O2 levels. Unfortunately we were as low as 0.5 mg/l .
<?! Way too low... you want 7-8 mg/l, ppm at all times, places>

 SO I added air pumps to all the tanks and skimmer to 2 of them. Unfortunately I can not raise it more than 4.0 mg/l , what else should I try??
<Ozone, UV generated perhaps, air-mixing tower/s (Dropping water over plastic substrate, w/ air blown up in the opposite direction)... lowering specific gravity and temperature and adding peroxide in extreme circumstances>

Is anything that could keep the O2 levels low??
<Excessive organics... quickly metabolizing aerobic microbes>
Salinity is at 1021,
<Ahh, I would not lower this much more>
I know that this can affect the O2 levels and also temperature is about 28 C so this can be a fact also ,
 but I can not change the temp. I will reduce salinity to 1.019 but I do not believe that we make a great difference.
Anything else to check??
<The addition of more aeration>
 The only thing is different from our old set up that everything was working perfect to now is that we used to use tropic marine salt and now we are using Seachem aqua vitro. Would this be a matter??
<No; not in my experience; Both these are fine products; consistent>
 Do you know any problems about aqua vitro??
 Any suggestions or thoughts??
<As above>
Thank you in advance
Best regards
<And you. RMF>
Re: Help Needed!!    7/2/12

Hello Mr. Bob
Thank you for your reply.
<Welcome Kostas>
As you can understand only the addition of Ozone can be realized as the cost for UV for 9 x 400 L tanks will be very high. How would you suggest to use ozone?? Should I stop air pumps and add ozone??
<I'd run both... Read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/redoxinst.htm
and the linked files above>
 Should I add ozone and keep air pumps also?? Should the ozone be added with an airstone directly to the tank as the air pump , or should I add the ozone with the air pump at the place where the filtration is been made?? (do you need a picture to understand how our filtration works??)
<All these applications can work... depending on the set-up make up, often it's better/best to introduce O3 in an area of high water mixing (like a fractionator) in the absence of livestock>
How mg/L???
<All covered where I've sent you... Best to use a dosing meter in commercial ap.s>
our machine can go up to 100 mg/L!!
<This isn't much>
 Should I add "Sera O2 plus"??
<Worthwhile in emergencies; not continuous use>
Thank you in advance for once again.
Best regards
Kostas Zacharopoulos
Re: Help Needed!!    7/2/12

The link was about the FAQ's , do you want me to red this or any other article??
<... the FAQs my friend. B>
Please let me know.
I will try what you suggest and let you know for one more.
Best regards
Re: Help Needed!! Low DO      7/3/12

Hello Mr. Bob.
<Msieu Kostas>
I need to let you know that I did added an ozone device into the skimmer and 24 hours later the DO levels are same.
<Mmm, I'd wait a bit... to "burn off" what might be there... and get another device to measure DO... AND start measuring your RedOx... what is the present value? Has it changed? You may need a larger ozonizer, a desiccator for the air feeding it>
Is there any chance that I have added a lot of Siporax for what the tanks can handle??
<Not much... but not hard to measure... the DO, pH and alkalinity of the water AFTER and BEFORE it has passed through the Siporax bed. B>
Best regards

Won't bask     7/1/12
<Hi Lisa, Sue here with you.>
Our family was given a wild RES recently & we pretty much bought him the Mercedes model tank (tank, lights, filter, landing, etc.).
<Sounds great! Just make sure one of the lights is specifically UVB; UVA alone is not enough.>
Problem is he won't stop swimming.  Is this normal?  Shouldn't he get up on the landing to bask under the light?  We are concerned he is getting too tired.  Any help would be most appreciated! 
<It’s very common for them to become anxious when they’re placed in a new environment. He should start to calm down in a few days.  You also want to make sure that there is enough of a temperature gradient between the water and his basking spot so that he’s encouraged to get out of the water to warm up and completely dry off.  Many sites unfortunately recommend too warm of a water temperature. Water temp should only be around 68-70 degrees F; basking temperature in the 88-90 degree F range.>
<You’re welcome, Lisa.  Sounds like you’ve already done your research, but since you’re a new turtle mom, I’m also going to give you a link to our basic care guide so you can make sure you have all the bases covered as far as his care needs.  Read it over and feel free to write us back if you have any more questions!

Bubbly Fish? SW, poss. emphysematosis  12/6/11
Hello Bob,
I have not contacted you in some time and I hope that all is well.  Been a warm New England autumn so far over here, not great for biz, but the service
 end of things is buzzing along!
I have a question for you today in regards to some of the fish in my quarantine system here at the store.  We run a quarantine process on all new arrivals here of about a month or more if needed.  Part of the process is a couple of weeks of hypo.  Last week I began raising the salinity and have noticed over the past few days that a few of the fish in the system have developed some buoyancy issues.
<Mmm, what species vs. not what species are thus affected? At what relative size/s?>
  This has only affected a handful of fish in the system, but I have lost a few and all of which seem to be tank raised.  Various clownfish, a couple of gobies and some harptail blennies.  What I am seeing with all of them is a slightly bubbly appearance to the abdominal area and I just witnessed today one of the clownfish appeared to excrete a couple of bubbles.  All fish appear otherwise healthy.  Other fish in the system are showing no signs of this.  Do you have any thoughts on what I may be dealing with here? 
<Likely "the bends"... Emphysematosis... Your pumping system is entraining air somewhere on the intake side. See here re in pond fish: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/PdBblDisease.htm
and the linked FAQs file above... NEED to find/isolate the (likely) pinhole allowing air to get mixed in under high pressure... and fix>
Could this be some sort of an internal infection that perhaps the T.R. fish are having trouble with that the wild caught ones have a natural immunity to?
<Not likely, no>
  As always any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Best Regards,
Michael P. Gillespie
Aquatic Creations LLC
<Bob Fenner>
Re: Bubbly Fish? Gas bubble dis. poss.   12/8/11

Hello Bob,
Thank you for the information and guidance on this.  Since receiving your e-mail I have redone my intake plumbing on the external return pump for the system.  The fish that were showing signs of stress actually appear better as of today, but I am still seeing small air bubbles in the water.  Can you recommend a good way to check the plumbing on the return grid to see if there is an air leak along the way? 
<Mmm, yes... spray (just water) in a clean bottle for spritzing for detecting bubbles... along and at every joint... Sometimes you can use a short piece of flexible tubing, one end at your ear, the other at these junctions and actually hear the air coming in... Lastly, using silicone grease along the joined areas of plumbing with your finger and watching if the bubbles are still coming out can be useful>
Unfortunately, I do not have a dissolved oxygen kit on hand
<Actually, it's not the DO, but just the small bubbles themselves that are trouble>
 at the store to compare where we would have started from before re-plumbing to now, but I would assume that the issue is still present with the presence of the bubbles in the water.
<Mmm, not necessarily, no>
 I do have a kit on order and will be making this a regular part of the testing schedule on all systems in the store.
<Do also check to see if larger bubbles are somehow getting pulled into the pump/s intake/s... best to discharge water into sumps in such ways (dissipaters, bags, underwater) that such bubbliness is discounted. Cheers,
Michael P. Gillespie
Aquatic Creations LLC
Re: Bubbly Fish?   12/13/11

Hi Bob,
Thank you again for all of the tips.  The quarantine system is 3 MARs systems tied together and they seem to dissipate fairly well in the sump with a nice slow roll of the bio-wheel.  I was not able to hear anything with the hose trick, but will try using some silicone lubricant when I get it in. 
<Do disconnect all  threaded pump fittings on the volute and re-do with new PVC using aquarium Silicone (not pipe dope or Teflon tape)... this is the single most common source of these issues... vibration wearing down the softer threaded fittings, allowing air to be entrained>
Is the lubricant safe to use with the taped threaded fittings?
<Yes it is>
  I would assume so, but want to ask as I have never done it before.  I understand now that the DO is not the problem, but would it be a reasonably reliable indicator of a problem should I see an unusually high reading? 
<Not necessarily, no>
Michael P. Gillespie
<And you. BobF>
Re: Bubbly Fish? Poss. emphysematosis, solved  12/18/11

Hi Bob,
Ah, again many thanks!  Looks like I am back to the plumbing again!  I have never used silicone for threaded connections before.
<A stock trick of the trade>
  How long do I need to wait before running the pump once the silicone is in place and the plumbing is redone? 
 <No waiting>
Since the initial re-do on the plumbing there has been no losses and the remaining fish in the system are showing no signs of problems.
  I have also since purchased a dissolved Oxygen kit, but had tested after the plumbing was done.  I understand that this will not be a reliable indication, but the results of the titration test is 7ppm.
 <About sat... Saturation that is>
Michael P. Gillespie
<And you. B>

Oxygen problem... Mmm, something else      8/30/11
Blonde Hi there Crew,
I just wanted to say thanks for all your info!!! I have a 180 gallon tank full of coral, invertebrates, 150 pounds of live rock and fish. My fish include Emperor Angel,
<Will need more room in time>
Naso tang, 3 green Chromis, 3 fire fish, starry blenny, fairy wrasse, three pygmy angels, yellow and blue hippo tang. I have a few pieces of leather coral, hammer coral, mushrooms, three candy striped shrimp and lots of turbo snails and crabs. I know the tangs and emperor will out grow my system that is why I am planning to buy a 300 gallon tank in a year or two.
<Ah good>
All Tangs and emperor are four inches long. Everybody else are babies. I bought them small so they would grow up together. My tank is over stoked <and stocked> and I know this. I do a 25% water change every Sunday. I test my water quality every Wednesday. I have noticed lately my fish have been breathing hard lately and having Ich break outs from the stress of low oxygen. The invertebrates and coral is <are> doing great. I think because they don't require as much oxygen as the fish do.
<May be>
I have two Rio 1100 power heads. one of black magnetic power heads(not sure of brand, but it moves the water) 50 gallon sump, and skimmer. I took my tops off the tank to help release gases, I pointed the outflow from my sump to the top of the tank to help with the oxygen. I put the magnetic black power head on the upper right side of my tank pointing towards the middle of tank,
<Better to arrange the water movement as a gyre>
I put the two big ugly Rio power heads on the back of tank pointing down towards the bottom of my tank. All this and the fish are still breathing hard!
<There are dissolved oxygen tests... colorimetric, titration, electronic...
Maybe your dealer/s have one of these to lend. I suspect something else is at play here>
I hook up a air flow tube to one of the Rio power heads to help with oxygen and did not help. All it did was stress the fish. I was going to buy two more power heads today and put those at the bottom of my tank. I am about ready to have a Ich breakout myself from the stress of my aquarium.
Please help, Jim from Idaho
<Either some common protozoan complaint... e.g. Crypt or endogenous poisoning... the Sarcophyton fighting w/ the Euphyllias, perhaps Shrooms... I would add a good deal of high quality activated carbon and/or Polyfilter to your filter flow path... And for the size/type system you have, look into RedOx, getting and using an ozonizer... for several reasons/desired benefits, including DO. Please read here re:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Oxygen problem    8/31/11

Hi Bob, The blonde was suppose to be next to the Naso Tang.
You were right about the problem. My Nitrate was 90%!
<... ppm I take it>
My lfs told me to use Salifert all in one, and Micro Bacter 7 Bioculture every time I do water change.
<Mmm, unnecessary>
I think I have overloaded my system with it. I did a 25% water change and put Charcoal back in my system. The Nitrate has gone down 45%. I am going to do another water change today and hopefully everything will be back to normal. I keep getting all this crap to put in my system from my lfs.
<I am of the opposite philosophy/practice... I encourage all to put in the absolute minimum... and ONLY products w/ ingredients labels of chemicals they CAN and WILL test for>
I read I should add Salifert all in one every week is this true? Jim from Idaho
<I wouldn't add whatever product from this fine company period, unless it is necessary. Bob Fenner>
Re: Oxygen problem  9/4/11

Hi Bob, I met a friend of yours today. His name is Kevin Pockwell he owns Aquatic Dreams in Post Falls Idaho. Do you know him?
<Am sorry; but don't recall... but this is one of my drunken moments out in Fiji>
His shop is top notch, and guess what? He does not sell all the unnecessary crap that all the other lfs sell!
My skimmer I think was a lot of my problem. I bought a reef octopus Skimmer. Hoping that takes care of the rest of my nitrite and ammonia problem. I pulled a no no and took all my chemicals back to the other salt guy. I told him "thanks, but no thank you. I will not be adding any more of this crap in my tank and to pass it to someone else." I am still working on pulling most of my fish out of my reef to take care of Ick. Hopefully tomorrow with the new sump everything will balance itself out. Jim from Idaho
<Bob in S. Pac.>
Re: Oxygen problem  9/4/11

Hi Bob, I had a quick question. I removed most of my fish from my reef tank. My fire gobies, Chromis. and Damsel fish show no signs. Can I leave them or do you think I should remove them?
<Mmm, well the family is more resistant to such challenges... You might>
My fairy wrasse is pretty impossible to catch.
<Two nets>
He does have symptoms. My cleaner shrimp keep him clean. I was wondering if I could leave the wrasse in their and the Ich will eventually cycle itself out. I was going to wait a month to return my fish. Thanks, Jim from Idaho
<Up to you. BobF>

Help/Seawater changes in a  29G FOWLR 2/11/10
Hello WWM crew,
<Hello Jacob>
I have had little luck with advice on this matter, so hear goes another try.
I am also fairly new to this hobby.
I currently have a 29G FOWLR system that has been set up for about 3 months.
I have 1 Diamond Goby,
<Not a good choice for this size system.>
2 Green Chromis, 1 Ocellaris clown, and 1 turbo snail.
30 lbs. of LR
<Mmm, substrate for the Diamond Goby?>
SO my issue involves a recent water change.
I did not mix my own water considering I went out of town and the ammonia levels spiked, I had to act fast, so I did some research and found out Petco has a reliable product already made.
Here's where I made my mistake, I took out 5 gallons and instantly filled the pre made water into my aquarium. The salinity, SG, and temps were all even.
Then I noticed my fish would occasionally swim to the top and "pop" an air bubble.
now on another forum I was told I possibly filled the tank with too much water considering I have a Eclipse 3 Hood, and the filter puts oxygen into my tank (unless filled to high) so I then aerated the water with an airline that is optional for my power head.
Everything went back to normal
<As in water parameters?>
but my clown still occasionally rises to the top and takes a gulp of air.
My ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, and pH levels are also in check.
Now on Day 3 (since the water change) I have tested everything again and every things in balance, yet my fish are still gulping for air.
Someone on another forum recommended an airstone, for gas exchange, suggesting the water I added to my tank had little O2.
<A possibility, but your powerhead should have taken care of that, with or without an air stone. Yet I have also heard Air stones are bad for Marine Aquariums.
<The only drawback here is that air stones are not efficient for oxygenating the water. The bubbles do nothing more than bring water to the surface for interaction with air. A powerhead is much, much better for this purpose providing the return water breaks/interacts with the surface.>
Please give me some advice/help
<As to the use of seawater for water changes, you may want to read here.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Help/Seawater 2/11/10
So is there a reason why my fish are still gulping for air? And help?
<Sorry Jacob, I read your statement "Everything went back to normal" and in between wincing in pain from my newly torn rotator cuff, I failed to read in between the lines. Since you state "my" fish are gasping for air, set up
your powerhead (as mentioned earlier) so that it's return breaks the surface of the water. This should help you
get more O2 into the water, the airline feature is not necessary. You didn't state whether your clownfish has any noticeable physical symptoms so I will assume all is well in that respect, and I am also assuming the clownfish is eating since this was not mentioned in your query. Gradually lowering your specific gravity to 1.018 should alleviate the gasping for air symptom you state. Do look closely for any abnormal physical symptoms on the clownfish as it's gasping for air could also be disease related. The ammonia spike you mentioned can have adverse effects on the fishes immunity system which can/could lead to a disease/infection of some sort.
James (Salty Dog)>

Low DO likely, SW prob.   4/19/09
Its my first time around asking a question but I've been a steady user of your wonderful site (so full of information).
Now, I'm posting on behalf of a friend who doesn't speak English.
He has 130G tank over 3 years old, fish, softies, LPS and SPS. AP851 skimmer, Kalk reactor, MH lighting.
He added 3 fish 10 days ago and everything was ok, no QT though.
As usual, he stopped his return pump for the night
<The entire night? I wouldn't do this... Better by far to put on a timer, and turn off temporarily... for tens of minutes at most>
as he fed the SPS (he does this about twice a month). This morning, ALL of his fishes were dead (clowns, royal gramma, Longnose Hawkfish, yellow, purple and powder brown tang and Copperband). The purple and yellow seemed to have scratched on rockwork because the skin was raw on both sides. I suspect a lack of oxygen but he told me that this was his usual procedure for over 3 years now.
<I am in tentative agreement with your guess>
I never heard of any disease this quick killing, but is there?
<Mmm, define disease... A dearth of oxygen is one of many kinds of environmental disease. I do think the lack of pumping, greater bioload from the new fish, feeding is at fault (principally) here>
He was monitoring the fishes closely since the introduction of the last ones and they never showed any signs of diseases whatsoever.
I also asked him about paint or other toxic aerosol products he might have used but he didn't use any of those. He always wears long gloves!
<Good question though...>
I'm at a loss here, can you help?
David Bedard
<Maybe read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
the fourth tray down: Env. Dis.
Bob Fenner>
Thank you very much for your answer Bob.
As of now, we ruled out almost everything except the oxygen issue. yes he does stop the return pump all night, so this means no skimmer and then not much oxygen either. The other pumps are left running but I
don't think its enough.
<I agree>
What I was meaning by disease was more like parasites, infections, something bio related. I don't know of any that could be so deadly with no apparent signs.
<Not pathogenic, no>
Anyway, we're thinking that the oxygen was the problem and you confirmed it, guess it was a bomb ticking for a long time.
Thanks again for your insights
<Thank you for sharing. BobF>

Naso Tang (Second attempt) HELP!! Hlth, temp./sys.   3/8/09 Hi Guys, <Joey> In a bit of a panic and I'm hoping and praying you guys can help. <Will try> 150 US GAL Reef tank(with 50 GAL sump) , inhabitants are as follows: 1 x yellow tang approx 4 inches doing very well, nice and thick eating well good coloring and shape. 1 x powder brown tang doing amazingly. Beautiful specimen, eats well with no abrasions and is just my pride and joy. 1 x one spot fox face rabbit fish. Again doing very well and about 4 to possibly 5 inches in length although not nearly as "massive" as the tangs 4 x blue green chromis. All doing well and between 1 and 1.5 inches 2 x ocellaris clowns hosted in the same sebae again doing very well (1 = 2.5 inches , 1 = 3 .5 inches both very hearty) 1 x blue devil damsel doing well 2 inches 1x lemon (or yellow damsel) doing well but very very small I would say about 1 inch long Various corals of all types, leathers, SPS's , LPS, Softs, etc. About 200 LBS of Live Rock (lots of rock very large structure in the middle of the tank 5 inches or aragonite mixed with crushed coral bed 50 gallon sump with 1/3 as fuge . about 5 inch sand bed down there and about 30 pounds of live rock Above display I have an algae scrubber that is in the process of being established Lighting is : 2x 250W 14000K MH , 2 x 54 Watt T-5 FLO 420 NM , 2 x 54 Watt T-5 FLO 460NM, 9 white 1 w lunars and 9 blue 1 watt lunars. Water parameters are all very good . There is one item that I'm not confident on however which Is water temperature. I have been running my tank at about 83 degrees at night and it peaks at just under 86 (85.8 - 85.9) during the day. <I'd lower this, allow it to be a big lower... a good five degrees F. or so> There seems to be 2 schools of thought on this. The mid to upper 70's crew and the "keep it as NSW temps of where the fish came from" crew. Because these are reef animals mostly from the south pacific or Indonesia I thought it would make sense to run it at this temperature. <Ahh, no... see WWM re... I've written and debated extensively re this topic... much better in almost all cases for temperature to be lower... Don't have the time to hash over again here. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/heatrat.htm and the linked files above> At any rate here is my issue and why I'm so concerned, well call it scared as honestly that's what I am right now. A while back I introduced a very healthy looking Blonde Naso into my tank (no QT and trust me I understand all the reasoning behind doing the Qt I just haven't had an opportunity to set one up yet although I definitely need one and it WILL get done believe me!) <I hear you> The fish was perfect in the store and eating well. I brought him home and initially he was okay (for the first few minutes) but when I tried to feed he did not show interest. Then he began to show "black" coloring. And when I say black I mean it was frightening at first since I had never seen a fish turn completely black like that. Almost like he had donned a ninja outfit. No heavy breathing or other behavior that would lead me to believe he was stressed so I thought maybe those are just his night colors? <Yes.... can be... and patchiness, lighter blotches... But in a word: stress... from?> I did some searching and didn't really find anything leading me to believe that NASO's have "night" colors <Oh, indeed they do. Large Naso lituratus (though I don't condone/suggest this) are collected for ornamental use at night time... sitting/laying on the bottom... Have seen many times> so I began to really be concerned. For the next few days I continued to try without success to get him to eat vigorously. He would eat the occasional passer by seaweed the others would let slip but nothing more than that. I thought maybe he was getting bullied but didn't really see anything to support that. <Often subtle...> Then about the 3rd or 4th day he began to get a white cotton looking crust around his lips. <Oh, might have been damaged in collection, holding shipping... not uncommon> It would almost drift in and out of his mouth occasionally when he breathed. Almost as if he had a fake mustache that wasn't quite staying on? This went on for another 2 days and finally he passed on "I assume" because he never came out of the rocks structure. <Ah no... the question might be... "what caused this fish to go into the rock structure?"> My Cleaners all disappeared for a day or so and all reemerged later on at the same time. It was about a week when I finally gave up all hope that she was alive. I did some research and found that perhaps the stress of the move caused her to get a fungal infection that ended up leading to her demise. I did some asking around at the LFS and it turns out that she had just been brought in that same day when I bought her. A mistake I will NEVER make again. I should have asked but saw her eating which gave me a false sense of security. <You're learning> This time I put a slightly bigger and much thicker specimen in to my tank. Same 2 hour acclimation process. Very healthy and eating although he had been at the LFS for about a week. Eating well as well. I put her in last night and immediately began to see the same type of behavior as the last including the "Black" coloring. I am very very scared now that she will go the same way the other one did and I just can't figure it out. Why the Naso? <Mmm, one important factor that you've mentioned... temperature... and its effect on metabolism AND dissolved oxygen... need to lower...> I have bought all my fish from the same place and all are doing amazingly well? Not to mention the powder browns are supposed to be more difficult to care for than the Naso's ? <... needs more DO>  Or at least that's my understanding. BtW I have tried soaking the food in garlic and also tried Zoecon with Zoë mixture. (have tried brine, pellet, flakes, and seaweed of green, purple, brown and red varieties although I understand they have a preference for the brown) This time no fungus looking white stuff around the mouth (YET!) but I have noticed whitish markings on her skin . She had those from the store and they kind of look like just character marking... just abrasions perhaps. But I'm not sure. I really don't want to lose her . I would be very grateful for any help you can provide. Thank you very much for your time. Very Gratefully, I tried to introduce Joey Freyre <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Micro-bubbles/gas-bubble disease  2/15/08 Hi, <Hello Ryan> I've been breeding marines for a while and I recently set-up a 10 x 55g system to house the majority of my common broodstock (clowns, Dottybacks etc.) and I have been having a bit of a problem with micro-bubbles. I have tried many things to try and rectify this problem and am starting to suspect that I purely have too much flow going through the system. I have 30,000 LPH at 2m head height, coming from a large Onga (aussie brand pool pump) magnetic drive pump. <Mmm... I would use something else... you don't need the pressure this device produces, nor to pay for it> I am going to order another smaller (23,000 LPH) <Again, I'd look into something with a different flow/pressure profile... see an outfit that sells pumps for other purposes than pools> to see if this fixes the problem but in the meantime I am concerned about the broodstock I have already added to this system. How serious is gas-bubble disease for marine fish <Very> and what kind of exposure to micro-bubbles over what kind of period of time causes this? <Just a small exposure in a period of minutes can be deadly> Are can't seem to find a definitive answer. Even on your 'bubble trouble' FAQ's one person is told that micro-bubbles really are anything to be concerned about where another is told that they could kill your fish. <Have seen the latter on a few occasions... There are papers written on the topic, gear devised to out-gas water...> I can't see any obvious physical problems with my fish. The micro-bubbles seem to come out different returns depending on what I fiddle with and while it doesn't seem to bother some fish in others it seems to really disturb the fish, decreasing their appetite and causing them to withdraw into their tanks/decor. Thanks in advance, Ryan. <Do look for "college level" general texts on aquaculture... both the issues of gas embolism/disease and aeration/gas saturation. Bob Fenner>

Oil on top of water maybe from yellow head Jawfish?? Iodine article almost complete. 9/13/07 Bob and or crew. <James> Sorry for the delay on the iodine article. I have had a summer of tank issues as had my associate (mostly temperature fluctuations but also the following question). I have lost some frogspawn colonies and his corals have seen better days with a dramatic temperature shock when the heater burned out attempting to maintain tank temp on a cold night with a fan left on from the hot day. <Yes> Before going away I prepared some frozen food for my mother-in-law to feed the fish. I used the usual thaw and decant the pack liquid method and thought I did a reasonably good job of removing the excess pack juice and oils. Upon return there was a layer of oil on surface of the 24 gallon tank (the 75 gallon tank cleared up much easier). I first blamed the food as one brand of frozen matched the general consistency and odor/color. This was discarded. It has been two plus months and the problem continues to persist. Despite skimming the oil off with a plastic container and letting the top layer drain into the cup the oil continues to return. I parted ways with the Condylactis anemone (to reduce tank load) and have increased the frequency of small water changes. Temperature fluctuations have been a big issue all summer with inconsistent air flow and 5 degree F temperature swings sometimes occurring despite my best efforts and abilities to keep the upstairs air conditioned or windows open when conditions allow. Could the oil on the top of the water be from the Jawfish (stress response perhaps)? <Mmm, no... Could be from another endogenous source but much more likely from an exogenous... Simple cooking oil use, aerosol in closely contained indoor environments very often entail such coatings... Can be an important impediment to gas exchange... I'd keep wicking off with plain, white, non-odorized paper towels...> Bob, please send me an email with some contact information to send the iodine article. <Oh! Can send along here as an attachment or my personal addr.: fennerrobert@hotmail.com> Writing it has been a struggle to keep it both an easy read yet stay true to the science behind the halogen family. <Ahh!> My associate has done the testing and is less than impressed with the test kits thus far. <Heee!> One of his former occupations was water testing in an environmental lab. Again, sorry for the delay. Thank you. James Zimmer <No worries. Bob Fenner>

Power Outage/Oxygen Loss - 10/28/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> Last weekend, a fuse blew in the room where I keep my aquarium.  My girlfriend came home from work to find the temperature at 73 degrees (I keep it at 79) and all the fish gasping near the surface. <<Lack of oxygen...either the power had been of for quite some time or the tank has an excessive bioload>> She turned everything back on and the fish came down from the surface and the temperature gradually rose back to normal (I realize that a slower increase in temperature would have been preferable, but I wasn't available to deal with the situation at the time). <<I see>> I came back after being out of town for 3 days to find that my pygmy angel had been killed by ich (no surprise) and my red general star was pretty much just a pile of goo. <<Hmm...I wouldn't think a temporary drop to 73-degrees to be all that problematic.  I have heard of/experienced lower drops during extended power outages without loss of life>> What I'm concerned about now is that my snowflake eel and my Sargassum frogfish are both still very lethargic and not eating (the temperature drop/rise happened 5 days ago).  The eel barely comes out of the rocks; but when he does, he seems very weak and sluggish--and not at all interested in any food I offer.  The frogfish has been laying around on the bottom--often on his side--gasping regularly and not eating.  Is there anything I can do besides sit and wait at this point?  How long should I expect for it to take for them to return to normal if they're going to recover? <<I think there is something else wrong here.  Have you performed any ammonia/nitrite testing?  The fact your fish were gasping at the surface suggests massive oxygen depletion, I'm betting your biological filter was severely damaged and the fish are being poisoned.  A series of large water changes and the addition of a bacteria culture (either seeded from another healthy system or a commercially available product) should help>> Also, the frogfish looks pretty uncomfortable; is there a point at which I should consider euthanizing him rather than letting him starve to death or suffocate or something? <<Maybe, but hard to say when...do try the water changes/bacteria first...and soon!>> The temp is back to 79, SG is 1.024, alkalinity is about 130, pH about 8.3, nitrates <10. Thanks. <<Regards, EricR>>

Low Oxygen Levels Causing High Stress!  - 07/27/06 Greetings to all the crew at WetWebMedia! (again) <Scott F. here tonight!> I have read your website for approx 2 hours and I cannot find out what is going on in my tank.  Your help would be greatly appreciated... <I'll try my best!> I now have my JBJ 24 gallon Nano reef tank (20 lbs Marshall live rock & CaribSea AragAlive live sand) custom fitted with a CPR Aquafuge (Small  2.5 g w/ Miracle Mud and Chaetomorpha Algae), Maxi-Jet 1200 w/ a Hydor FLO, Ice Probe Chiller & Controller, and an Aqua Medic Niveaumat Auto Top-Off Pump (top off with RO water) up and running for 3 1/2 weeks now. I am still on a reduced lighting schedule: 9 hours per day in the tank and 9 hours per night in the refugium.  Ammonia, Nitrite & Nitrate are 0.00; PH is 8.2; Alkalinity is 2.74; and Calcium is 400.  You can see in the pictures that I have Algae growth on the live rock (I think it is Diatom Algae?) Is the Algae okay? <Algae is not a bad thing, but the aesthetic impact is not always good! Sure, some can be toxic, but most algae are simply a natural component of the aquatic environment. What we need to do is reduce the algae's appearance in our aquaria so that it doesn't ruin the look of your aquarium. Nutrients that accumulate in newer aquaria with immature export mechanisms tend to > I added 6 Caribbean Nerite Snails today and I noticed that most are staying at the top near the waterline, so I tested the water for Oxygen (Salifert) and it is at 2 ppm! <Nerite snails tend to be intertidal creatures, which will often hang out above the water line. I've had them crawl out of their aquarium and travel considerable distance on the floor. Why is the Oxygen level so low? and How can I raise the Oxygen level? Thanks again for your help, Gretchen <Well, the oxygen level is low...should really be around 5.0 ppm. Prolonged exposure to oxygen levels below saturation may die at levels below 3ppm. Ways to increase dissolved oxygen in our aquaria include using good circulation methods (like powerheads and other pumps that agitate the surface), surface-skimming overflows that remove surface films that can impede gas exchange, and aggressive protein skimming (which removes organic compounds that can break down and consume oxygen). Deep sand beds also are great if there is no power interruption! Otherwise, they can consume oxygen. Bottom line- look at some of the aforementioned ideas and see if you can enhance your system to increase performance in these areas. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Low Oxygen Levels-High Stress (Pt. 2)   7/27/06 Thank you Scott for your ideas. <You're quite welcome!> I have the Maxijet 1200 with the Hydor and it produces good flow, and I use the surface skimmer. <Good to hear!> I am not sure if a protein skimmer will work (fit) in my nano tank.  Would the wood airstone used in a protein skimmer placed in the sump area of the nano help with the Oxygen level? <It could, although I'd go for more "coarse" aeration, with larger bubbles. Wooden airstones tend to produce fine airstones.> I am really stumped - any help is appreciated.  By the way, my temperature is at 80 degrees. Thanks again, Gretchen <Well, Gretchen, you could lower the temperature a few degrees; lower water temperatures hold more oxygen. Also, perhaps your should aerate your source water before mixing it with salt. It is possible that substantial C02 is in the water if you used RO/DI. You could help liberate the C02 in the source water with aeration. As far as protein skimming is concerned, there are lots of smaller skimmers out there; do some research and I'm sure that you can find one that fits your aquarium. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

A damsel problem In my marine biology class, we recently got 4 blue damsels, 1 yellow tailed damsel, and 2 4-striped damsels in. They were distributed blue blues to each tank, the yellow in one, and the striped in the other. Within a few days one blue damsel in each tank got the "lockjaw" that I have been investigating. They were each in separate environments for about 2 to 5 days, so I don't think it has to do with the environment, and it hadn't injured itself on anything. Both fish had died by the next day. We dissected one and nothing was stuck inside to prevent the mouth from closing. Today another blue fish has this same lockjaw, and we don't know what to do to cure it, if there is a cure. So unfortunately we assume it will be dead in the morning. Could you email me back with what you think the problem is and the solution, if there is one. Thank You -Paul Hooper <Mmmm, don't know of this ailment "lock jaw" in Pomacentrids. Some do die shortly after arrival (all are wild-collected) with their mouths "stuck open"... perhaps a manifestation of these specimens inability to generate sufficient oxygen, or loss of osmotic integrity... consequent to poor, rough collection, shipping trauma. Fishes have very high (relative to terrestrial Tetrapods) hematocrits (packed cell volumes) and live in a world/environment much less oxygen concentrated (at most about 7,8 ppm of O2)... and can have real troubles if the availability of oxygen drops, other influences to its uptake occur (e.g. drops in pH, elevated ammonia in shipping containers, slime wiped from their bodies...). Much more could be mentioned as possible sources of mortality, but I strongly suspect these anomalous losses are due to environmental stressors. Bob Fenner>

Suffocating fish Hi Please help my fish they seem to be suffocating, gasping and rapid breathing at the surface. <Not good. Time for action, NOW. Look to removing any possible surface film... a floating scum that may have originated from cooking oil, other aerosols... by dipping a pitcher at an angle, wicking off with clean, white paper towels (non-scented and non-printed)... and very possibly a substantial (25%) water change/s> There is lots of surface movement on my 300 liter tank as I have 2 x 1200 liters per hour power heads plus Eheim external filter and an internal  filter all turning water over about 10 times per hour , the oxygen level seems to dip at night when the lights are off. What can I do to increase the level of oxygen in the tank? <Increased mechanical aeration like a long airstone (and pump...) along an inside edge... adding a lighted (photosynthetic) refugium (a sort of live sump), tying it in (with plumbing) to this system...> I have all the power heads and filters with the aerators on the end. The fish have been in the tank or 4 nights now and the problem has just started. <Oh! It may well be that your system is still "cycling"... do you know much re ammonia, nitrite....?> Though the aerators were not on the ends of the power heads to start with. The fish have also lost most of there colour within the last few hours going almost see through. I also have a protein skimmer going constantly. Please help with any suggestions. Thank you very much. Ben <Is your system cycled completely? How long has it been set-up? Do you have a local shop or other pet-fish friends that might come and look at it? Bob Fenner>

Death by anoxia Hi Bob,   <Lynn>    Sorry to bother you again, but I really need to know something and I don't know anyone else that can answer it for me.    Here's the scoop.  I bought a powder brown tang (white face) from the pet store.  They kept him there for 6 weeks for me and he was fine the whole time.  I then brought him home and as usual I put him in a 40 gallon quarantine tank and started hypo. which I did for 4 weeks (all the time this fish had beautiful color and healthy and eating)  When the four weeks were up I started to increase the salinity.  I know about increasing it slowly over a week or more.  I would take 4" out of the tank and add a mix of 1.020 water.  I did this morning and night for two days and then on the morning of the third day I accidentally added mix from another bucket that had salinity of 1.027 (had to catch a airplane and was in a hurry). The same 4" though.  When I returned that night...the fish was dead.  I feel horrible and was sure that it was my fault.  Then I also realized that the hang on AquaClear 300 filter was not running (motor had crashed)  I keep a glass lid on the tank and now I'm wondering if he would have died from lack of oxygen? or from my increase in salinity?  Which do you think was more likely <Much more likely a lack of oxygen> Thank you so much, this is probably stupid as the fish is dead. but I just feel so bad about it and kinda would like to know if it was all my fault or not. thanks so much Lynn <Bob Fenner>

Low oxygen? Hi Bob, How can you tell if there's enough dissolved oxygen in a system? <Hmm, a few ways... the best is to carefully observe your livestock... their breathing and swimming behavior is indicative... There are also meters and test kits for this vital material in solution... And the lack of gas exchange, dissolved oxygen is a very common problem in captive systems... from lack of aeration, too little surface area, films at the air/water interface, too high temperature (increasing metabolic rate, decreasing gaseous solubility).... many more> I've got a 55-gal FOWLR w/ 1 maxi-jet powerhead, Eheim canister filter, and CPR BakPak skimmer. The top of the tank is pretty well covered with glass so I'm concerned that there's not enough opportunity for gas exchange with the air. Do the bubbles in the protein skimmer take care of the aeration?  <They help tremendously, yes> Will improving circulation (with another powerhead) de facto increase the aeration? <Yes... especially if it is oriented to disrupt the surface, entrain air...> I tried using the airline attachment for my powerhead, but it put out too many bubbles. Thanks for your help. Suzanne. <I like your curious mind and attitude. Press on. Bob Fenner>

Questions on new tank Bob, I've set up a new tank (in Mid-may of this year). Its a 75 gal (4 ft long, 18" front to back) with 100 lbs Fiji LR and a red sea Berlin skimmer in the sump - no other filtration. I'm having a couple of problems with it though: 1) I get fine (pin prick sized) bubbles in my tank from my return. Its not the skimmer (I've tried running w/o it). I've tried different water pumps, and nothing seems to get rid of them. Currently, I have a MAG-DRIVE 7 pump (with prefilter sponge) for the return pump. I thought the sponge would eliminate the bubbles, but it doesn't - the sump doesn't appear to have any bubbles when the water gets to my pump. Any suggestions?  <Yes, and a concern... do check the screws around the volute/impeller with a driver... you may have an air intake problem there... at any length you need to find, cure the source of the intake> My corals (polyps, SPS, LPS, leathers) and Lysmata shrimp are all doing well, but I still want to eliminate the fine bubbles. (they can only be seen when close to the tank glass - within 2 ft). I thought the bubbles would hurt my sps the most, but they seem to be thriving (mainly Acropora). <Not problematical with much besides fishes... read over: http://wetwebmedia.com/bbldisease.htm On gas-bubble disease... an account about pond fishes... same principle> 2) I've lost some fish (2 fire gobies, 1 Kole eye tang, 1 bicolor goby) and I don't know why.  <Oh, oh...> They all die within weeks after starting to work their gills rapidly. The day or two before death they become lethargic - lay on bottom - and get very pale around the gills. (ammonia/nitrate/nitrite all at 0). Oxygen is near saturation (6-7). I have a Australian clown that's doing fine and a mandarin goby that is doing ok also, except for the next item. I always dip (freshwater/blue) all my new fish for 5 - 10 min.s. Could this be some parasite?  <Not likely with such a disparate mix of species... I do suspect gas-bubble problems here> Any ideas on the cause or suggestions to cure? <Find that leak... with a water/damp paper towel applied to sections of the plumbing, fittings mainly ahead of the pump, though could be after... to see where the air entraining stops...> 3) The mandarin goby is plump - when I first got him, he was pretty thin/sickly looking (My live rock has so many amphipods/copepods that they keep plugging my prefilters - a nice prob to have I guess), but he has white spots. It doesn't look like ick, rather, it looks like someone took an eraser and rubbed some of his pigmentation off - leaving white marks - mainly centered around the back of the head. Any ideas on what this is, how to treat? <Need to know more about the appearance, cause... Would treat with cleaners at this point.> Lastly, are SPS corals really suppose to be difficult to raise?  <For some people I guess... given decent water quality, strong lighting, they grow like proverbial weeds for the most part> I've only been in the hobby for a year, and was always under the impression that they were difficult, but in in my experience, they seem to be fairly hardy - much hardier than LPSs/fish/leathers. I've got many different Acroporas and a couple Montipora capricornis and the worst luck I've ever had with any of them is if the Alk/ca drops too low, they stop growing until the levels are elevated - then they take off again. LPS corals always seem to be very susceptible to physical or infectious injury, in my experience. <Such are generalizations re SPS... Bob Fenner> Thanks again!

Questions on new tank - GPD Bob, Thanks for your response on GPD (gas bubble disease being the cause of fish death due to many fine bubble in my tank from my return pump) - I never would have focused on that w/o your advice. I read the article at http://wetwebmedia.com/bbldisease.htm as well as a few other web pages I found after searching for GPD, but they ended up raising more questions/confusion (and here I thought that I was getting past the 'ignorant newbie phase' with my 2nd tank) that I hoped you could answer: <Best to be able to call on the aforestated "phase"... to always remember our child-like behavior... it is indeed always with us... and valuable> 1) I'm assuming GPD is caused by rapid changes in super saturation of gases of all types, not just oxygen.  <Yes... changes in saturation/degassing generally associated with thermal and pressure changes> Oxygen saturation just happens to be the most convenient component to measure in order to determine dissolved gas changes- is this correct? <Hmm, okay... and a valuable measure for other purposes> 2) I'm assuming GPD is caused by 'rapid changes' in dissolved gas levels, and not the absolute levels themselves - correct? <Well, actually too much change in "undissolved gasses"... as in air/bubble growth/expansion within living tissue> If so, how much can the gas levels change in a period of time and still be considered safe (i.e. 1PPM O2 per hour?). <Think we may be talking about two different things here... any over saturation of any gas is trouble though... let's say 8 or more ppm of oxygen in a rapidly warming medium...> 2.5) If its the 'change' in gas levels that's the main culprit, is there a max safe level of 02 - regardless of how gradually it is obtained?  <Ah, both... The analogy of a cold coca cola (tm) on a warm day being opened and shaken is useful here... imagine the inside of your fish (or yourself!) consisting of the Coke (tm)... You'd be better off in an equally pressurized environment, a cold one, one of similar total dissolved gas, or not shaken...> (I found a web article on GPD and salmon that indicated detrimental effects start at 105% saturation and fatalities start at 140%). <Yes, this is so> 3) If its rapid changes in dissolved gas that causes GPD, I'm assuming if I have a leak in a return pump, that I don't want to fix it too fast (i.e., it would cause a rapid decline in the dissolved gas resulting in another wave of GPD on my tank - when the saturation levels drop). Is this correct?  <Not correct. You want to fix it ASAP... the fish are in the unpressurized world they have to be in... the extra gas is "the intruder"...> If so, can you recommend a way to slowly eliminate the bubbles instead of all at once? <No need to do this... repair the source of the air entraining immediately.> 4) Your web page article on GPD indicated that algae/photosynthesis could also cause GPD. Is this something to be concerned about if someone adds macroalgae to a 24/7 lit sump to an existing tank? <No... this scenario is mostly a concern in/with ponds... with very fast changes in lighting (the sun), copious amounts of filamentous algae, rapidly increasing/changing temperatures> If so, how do you add macroalgae to a sump to an existing tank in a safe manner (i.e. start out with a 4 hr/day light period, and slowly increase over a month, or start with small amount of plants and let it slowly grow)???? <Not a concern> Does photosynthesis (via lighted sump/macro algae) only cause GPD in extremely rare situations? <Exceedingly rare cause in aquariums> 5) Assuming that a skimmer isn't returning bubbles in its outflow, can high powered downdraft (i.e. ETSS), and needle wheel skimmers that are skimming 4-6 times the tank volume each hour cause GPD? <Yes... in some circumstances... one of the reasons their discharges s/b directed to a sump w/o livestock, or otherwise be fitted with a diffuser/accumulator of bubbles> Can they cause it if they suddenly break down by causing rapid loss of dissolved O2/gas (if so, how long would this take in an average - sorry for the vagueness - stocked tank - hours, days?). <Can be caused in minutes> 6) lastly, can you recommend a good O2 test kit? I'm using the Salifert kit, but its hard to distinguish between the 5/7 PPM levels (very similar shades). <Hach, LaMotte... better to use titration rather than colorimetric assay. Bob Fenner> Thanks again!

Disease Hi Mr. Fenner! I was wondering if you could help me with a problem. Is there a fish disease that takes form of bubbles on their body? <Yes... a few that this is symptomatic of. Some environmental, some infectious, parasitic> I lost some fish about a month ago. I thought they might have ick, but really did not know what it was. The sicker the fish got the more bubbles covered its body. I do not know if the bubbles really have anything to do with it or not. I have searched your web site over and over as well as other web sites and have not found any info. that seems to relate to this. <The "disease" sections are very... way too general. Must need make more complete, full... lead folks to other levels of sophistication... including simple microscopes, micro-technique, staining... There are very good reference materials, though hard to find, overpriced (IMO)... look for the name Edward Noga as an author for instance.> I now have a Huma Huma trigger that I just put in my tank last night and it has some bubbles on its belly and around its mouth. I know this probably sounds pretty stupid. I am paranoid after my other fish dying. Don't want a repeat. My tank has been cycled a couple of months, and my first mistake was that I put too much in my tank too quickly after it cycled.  <Very common> In doing this it caused a big ammonia spike which in return weakened my fish and they got sick. Anyway... after the fish died I did a big water change about 50%) and vacuumed the gravel...a few days later I did it again hoping to get rid of what ever could be in there. My tank went about 2 weeks with out anything in it . Last night I added 2 new fish a Lunare Wrasse and a Huma Huma trigger. The water quality is perfect at this point. Any ideas? I did salt water fish a few years ago and I don't recall ever seeing bubbles stick to the fish. I do have a lot of aeration in the tank. Can you have too much? I have a 45 gallon set up with an under gravel filter, 2 power heads , a 303 Fluval canister filter with the spray bar. Any info would be appreciated. Thank you very much in advance! <Please read through the "Marine Environmental Disease FAQs" posted on the WWM site, and the article on "Emphysematosis": http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bbldisease.htm though it's directed to pond keepers, fishes... Due to the rapid onset of the bubble problem you describe I am concerned that you have a "dissolved gas" anomaly... somewhere air and water are getting mixed together... and the fine bubbles, gas getting into your fish... You should investigate, redress this issue immediately... If not this, we can continue our discussion, search for the root cause/s. Bob Fenner> Jenny Fuller

Re: disease Hello! Thank you for replying so quickly to my problem. I read what you suggested and was wondering if I should turn my power heads down so that they do not produce so many bubbles? I do have them going full force and there are a lot of bubbles in the tank( so many that if the fish were swimming towards the back of the tank they are a little hard to see). Should I adjust them so there is not so much? My thinking was the more air the better, but maybe there is too much with the bubbles and all. Thanks so much for your help! <The bubbles may likely be the root of your problem here... Did you read the reference sent to you? Bob Fenner> Jenny Fuller

Re: disease (Emphysematosis) Hi Mr. Fenner! Hope you are doing well today. Just wanted to drop you a short note in regards to my bubble troubles. I did what you suggested and pulled the lines and tightened things up. especially the intake line. My fish seem to be doing pretty good, although they are doing some scratching which is not good. The bubbles on their bodies do seem to be a good bit less than what it was. My fish have a few bubbles but the bubbles are smaller and not near the amount that was once on them. <Yes... it takes a while (weeks) to flush out these subcutaneous bubbles...> The appearance of the fish are good besides that. Their color is still great and their eyes are still clear. But the scratching may be a problem. Do you think I should leave them alone or take them out and dip them????  <I would definitely leave them alone... very stressed by the environmental disease already... Maybe consider adding a biological cleaner species or two... posted on the WWM site> They are not scratching all the time at this point just a little bit. I have been giving them a bit of garlic in their food too once I noticed the scratching....I know you do not endorse this....please don't yell at me. LOL! <No fight, no blame> Anyway... I just wanted to up date you since you have been helping me and let you know that it looks like your suggestion may have helped because it looks like the bubbles are beginning to go away... Thank you for helping me. <You are welcome my friend. Congratulations on your success. You have very likely saved your livestock's lives and ended their suffering. Bob Fenner> Have a nice day! Jenny Fuller

Re: disease (environmental, gas-bubble, marine) Mr. Fenner, Hello again! I have read your reference and I have been reading up on dissolved gasses from a book that I have here at home. Seems the more I read on it the more confusing it is.  <Keep reading then... at some point all will become, be less confusing> I feel like I understand what gas bubble disease is now, but still a little unsure of how to take care of the problem. <Discover, eliminate the source of the excess dissolved gas> From what I have read it , I understand that part of the problem is caused by poor circulation in sections of the tank as well as the surface bubbles at the top of the tank. <Any place of higher pressure where air and water are mixed together... typically due to a plumbing leak, introduction of air into a volute (housing around a pump impeller> As far as my aquarium goes... I do have one power head that is weaker than the other which is causing less circulation on that side of the tank and there is a lot of bubbles/foam on the surface. Would a better power head and a protein skimmer fix this problem? <No> Don't really have the money for the protein skimmer at this point...would anything else help? <Don't allow air to be pulled into the powerheads period> Or am I on the wrong track altogether????  <Unfortunately so> My Huma <trigger> does have a few more bubbles on him, but otherwise is acting normal and healthy at this point. I do not see any on the wrasse yet. Please help. <Please read the ref. I sent to you.> I am trying to avoid losing the fish. Not much fun to get fish that are this pretty only to watch them die and not know what to do to help them. I really do not understand why I am having this problem. I did not have these problems a few years ago when I first set my aquarium up. It is the same set up, only a better filter now. I had an aqua clear that hung off the back, but now have the Fluval 303 canister. I have checked all of my equipment for air leaks. Everything seems fine from what I can see. <Pull the lines, connections on the intake side of this filter, re-cut them, re-fasten using some silicon lubricant> Thanks a bunch for the help you have given me so far. I have really enjoyed the web site, I have learned so much from it! <Keep studying my friend. Bob Fenner> Jenny Fuller

Bubbles Have a porcupine puffer here that I'm concerned about... I have two power heads and a Venturi type skimmer so as you can imagine I have A LOT of air bubbles in the water. Well his body is covered in what appears to be air bubbles but at first glance it looks like while ick spots. most of them look like air bubbles up close but a few are hard to tell. I have a lion/a damsel/ and a eel that show no signs of stress. I've seen the bubbles on him for several days now. still accepting food and seems happy. if this was truly ick would he begin to stop eating or what would happen first?  lay on the bottom?  <Not necessarily... am leaning toward an environmental "disease": Emphysematosis...> what also concerns me is when he really flaps his fins the bubbles don't fall off of him. does his stretchy skin somehow trap the bubbles on him? <From the inside out> I did observe him at least once about a week ago inflate himself underwater. <Not a good sign> thanks for the help! <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bbldisease.htm and the FAQs beyond... though this piece is principally about pond fishes... the same condition affects all fishes in captivity. Bob Fenner>

Re: bubbles hmm this is interesting because once in a while I'll see my filter releasing some air bubbles like there was a air leak every so often. <And possibly deadly> but I've checked the filter hoses and impeller. I've gone so far as replacing the cover (includes the motor) to the Rena Filstar and it still does it kinda weird. the seals for the filter I think are on this cover and not on the chassis of it. <Time to trade that unit in> how quick would this env. disease take effect? <Hours to days...> the fish is doing very well. <Relatively> very friendly and bubbly, eats well. no other indications of problems other than that inflation a few days after introduction. <Best to check into the "loose gas bubbles", Bob Fenner>

Re: bubbles yah I'm working on the problem. I've tightened the intake plumbing quite a bit <Perhaps some silicone rubber as a makeshift gasket?> I've done some more investigation with a flash light I don't see the bubbles entering the filter. also shaking the unit seems to increase the air intake. hmm maybe sprinkle some water around some of the intake hose attachment to filter to check for leaks? maybe it would bubble if there was a leak kinda like a tire <Very hard to detect these intake leaks... perhaps you could borrow a dissolved oxygen kit, meter? Bob Fenner>

Having more problems then I can figure out... too much life, too little water, oxygen... Hi, I have a 37 gallon salt tank, and I have more problems then I can deal with. I am using an Eclipse 3 as well as a UGF with two powerheads. I have about 11 pounds of Fiji live rock, and I do a five gallon change out every week. Here is the problem: with the exception of a yellow tang, a small snowflake eel, and a crab, every fish that goes in there dies. I have spent close to 500 on fish, everything from triggers and lion fish to boxfish and groupers, and they have all died. Can you think of anything that would cause this sort of problem? Also, as of late the Tang has lost and regrown fins, and now one of his eyes is covered in some sort of crap that is making it bulge.  I wonder if it is the live rock or the Eclipse, or a combination of both. On my last aquarium I had a Fluval and no live rock, and everything worked like gang-busters. No dead fish, nothing. Not even during the cycle. Do you think that the use of a bigger powerhead running the water from the UGF into a UV sterilizer would do the trick here? Ian >> From your list of what lives and what you've lost I can almost assure you of the root cause... and of a/the best route to solve the problem... You have suffered from a lack of gas exchange... not just gaseous solubility of oxygen... but a whole array of conversion and diffusion problems... inherent in your set-up (as you seem to imply... in comparison with your previous set-up). The life in/on your live rock, that becomes situated within the area of your substrate, and the "macro" life (tang, etc.) all are "breathing"... but there's not enough mechanical aeration and extraction of microbes, bio-important-molecules to support more large "gas users"... They've been dying from the ill-effects of poor gaseous exchange and metabolite build-up/concentration. Cutting to the chase, what I would do to solve all this in one piece of gear is to install a protein skimmer (tricky, but it can be done with Eclipse's) over the back... or better into a sump... A UV would help, but would not solve the problem... Bob Fenner Disease question... env. likely Hi Bob, I sent you an email (2) days ago and have not received your reply. Please let me know the answer as soon as possible since the longer I wait, the more chances that my fishes will die. I have a 105G tank with most Tangs and Angels. One of the Tangs (Sailfin), and one of the Angels (Imperator) started to act abnormally. They slow down, breath just a little bit harder (not faster), and have not eaten for 2.5 days. There is no sign of disease that I can see. I did a partial water change (5) days ago and did another one a day ago. I tested the water and everything (PH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Alkalinity) looks OK. I had the same thing happened to my Naso Tang more than a week ago and it died after (2) days of not eating. Please let me know your thoughts on this. Thanks, jt  >> Thank you for writing... and sorry to be a "bit" behind. (am out on Maui, diving, taking pix.... touristing). What you describe so well, is very, very likely a matter of "environmental disease".... a lack of gaseous exchange... a few things can be done, immediately: lower your specific gravity... take out some of the marine water and replace it with just fresh... you can safely drop the spg a few thousandths today... and this will appreciably increase gas solubility...  Going forward, do add a mechanical aerator... an airstone, and/or one or more powerheads.... The big clue here was the order in which the livestock you list were mal-affected... The Naso require/d the highest dissolved oxygen....  The situation may seem confusing in that it "happened all at once".... but there are many "things afoot" in a captive aquatic system... sometimes the microbial make-up in a system will greatly increase their use of gasses.... and much more possible... do the above things NOW. In the meanwhile cut back/don't feed your fishes. Bob Fenner

Algae? I set up a RR 180 gal tank about 6 weeks ago. I have the live rock (250 lbs), two damsels, one tang, and two gobies. I am using a compact fluor lighting system (6 X 95 W) which is on about 14 hrs per day. Small pink-silver bubbles are appearing all over the tops of the rocks nearest the lights, and they are spreading rapidly. They are individual spheres and look almost like air bubbles attached to the rocks. What am I dealing with, and what should I be doing about it? The tank has gone through a brown algae stage and is now primarily green and purple/pink. The ammonia level is very low ("0"), and I am using a wet/dry system with a protein skimmer off the sump. Thanks, Steve >> Hmm, likely this is either "just" a mix of successive algal forms that are photosynthesizing so vigorously their gasses are getting trapped beneath biofilms... Or could be a massive emergence of "Bubble Algae", most called Valonia in our interest... At this point, I would do nothing to these bubbles per se... but would add your "cleaner uppers" who will do a great deal to them (hermit crabs, snails if you'd like, blennies, Tangs, Mithrax crabs.... many other possibilities>  Maybe take a read through my various "Algae" and "Algae Control" materials stored at the URL: www.wetwebmedia.com for more. Bob Fenner

Fish Crisis PLEASE HELP!!!!!! Hi I have a big problem with my fish. For some reason my Naso Tang has stopped eating and is breathing really rapidly. The tank is about 1.5 years old and the Naso has been with me from the start. I checked the tank out for ammonia and there is none. There is really good filtration (skimmer and power) and I did a water change, still no results. this onset was extremely rapid, he ate the night before. It also happened once I added a bursa trigger, but that fish is fine and so are the other 4 in the tank. I don't understand. Have any suggestions?? I would love to hear them since the Naso is the whole reason I have a tank.. Thanks Jamie Sutton >> YES, one immediate suggestion. Do what you can to add more aeration, circulation... Whatever the real/net cause of the situation, increasing the dissolved oxygen content of your water is paramount.... Add airstones, direct powerheads to intake and distribute air bubbles into the water, discharge water from pumps into the air above your tank water.... do it NOW. The reasoning behind all this? Open water fishes like Naso spp. need high oxygen tension.... and their loss is often attributable to hypoxia. Bob Fenner

Re: Fish Crisis PLEASE HELP!!!!!! Also I just noticed that the Naso looks bloated. And my yellow tang doesn't seem interested in the food either, he goes for it but then turns away. However, I think that the yellow tang is eating the Brown Algae that I have in a lettuce clip... Jamie Sutton wrote: <Likely to do with gaseous exchange... and maybe chemical, physical anomalies from...??? But you've done a water change recently... maybe add a unit or two of activated carbon in your filter flow path...> Bob Fenner

Wanted to add... Just wanted to add, that the fish appear to have problems breathing. The first couple hours they seem fine, then appear to breathing heavy (gulping with mouth and fins). They do not lose color. What could this be? I have always been careful that no soap got in the tank, and it is in a bedroom, and nothing is sprayed (haven't dusted since I setup the tank). Please advise! Cory >> <Ah, possibly just anoxia/hypoxia (low, no oxygen), coupled with the livestock "being new" (osmotically challenged), maybe added with other chemical insults I listed...  Bob Fenner>

Clown problem Hello Mr. Fenner, I would like to thank you in advance for any advice you might have for my problem. I have two clowns that are inseparable, one in the tank for 6 months, the other 4 months. The problem that is occurring is that they are staying in one corner of the tank, where they usually sleep. But they have been there for three days now. They stay there all day long, have not eaten hardly at all for three days. The larger one stays very close to the bottom in the corner and is almost defensive of the area. The smaller one hangs above most of the time, nose pointing down. The other fish have been spending a lot of time around that corner. <They do tend to stay in one area... but not eating... not a good sign...> Could she be spawning and they are after the eggs? The lower one has it's mouth open all the time, almost labored. <Ahh, and the other fishes are near this area? Likely you are experiencing a simple, common and all too deadly problem of low dissolved oxygen... your system is under aerated/circulated... I would do a few things here... and quick... add airstone, more powerheads, Take care to not feed until this crisis is over... Do look to see if a film has formed over your tank's water surface (again, an all-too overlooked problem) restricting gaseous exchange... consider lowering temperature a few degrees, even lowering your spg a few thousandths in the short term... to increase gas solubility...> I checked and all the chem.s, pH and salinity are good, Calcium and Phosp. is good also. This started after I did a water change. During that time I added a Chile Corral and some red Caulerpa. I also have an ill elegance corral, which I took out and dipped in Kent Tech-D, rinsed it off in fresh water and replaced. Added my usual supplements, but did start to add iodine (8 drops in a 46 gal). <Perhaps these changes have contributed as well...> If you could give me your opinion as to what might be going on, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Dave Konwinski <Chat with you soon... Please read over the "toxic tank conditions" section of the Marine Index on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Re: clown problem Hello Mr. Fenner, I want to thank you for the quick response and the information. I placed my water change bubblier in the tank and within a half an hour the fish were all over the tank. It's like the whole tank came back to life. <Ah, thank goodness for your quick action> Is this type a problem an on-going thing or does it just happen once and awhile? <Both... properties of water, life... not much gas solubility in seawater... and very common permanent and transient problem in captive systems...> Not too sure how long to leave the bubblier in. I was planning on adding an extra power-head to run a few hours at night to move the water in the back of the tank and change the flows for awhile. Would it be worth adding a power-head with an air inlet to keep additional oxygen in the tank? <Leave in till adding other, and yes... btw, test kits, probes/meters for DO (dissolved Oxygen, pardon me... a bit too much caffeine this AM) are available...> Again, I thank you and so do my clowns. Dave Konwinski <And thank you for the follow up. Bob Fenner>

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