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FAQs on Formalin/Formaldehyde

Related Articles: Formalin/Formaldehyde, Treating Marine Disease, Dips/Baths, Malachite Green, Medications, Treatment SystemUse of Biological Cleaners, Aquatic Surgery, The Three Sets of Factors That Determine Livestock Health/Disease

Related FAQs: Formalin Containing: (e.g. Quick Cure) and Cryptocaryon, Dips/Baths, Malachite Green, Medications/Treatments 1, Medications/Treatments 2, Medications/Treatments 3Antibiotics/Antimicrobials, Anthelmintics/Vermifuges/Dewormers, Copper FAQs 1, Organophosphates, Epsom/Other Salts, Furan Compounds, Garlic, Homeopathic Remedies (teas, pepper sauce, other shams...), Malachite Green, Mercury Compounds/Topicals, Methylene Blue, Metronidazole, Quinine Compounds, Sulfas, Treating Disease, Treatment Tanks, Medications/Treatments II, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease, Garlic UseAntibiotic Use Marine Disease 1, Puffer Disease

Formalin 3: 3% Formalin Soln. (Kordon Corp.) Paracide F: 37% Formalin (Argent Labs) Formalite: Malachite and Formaldehyde (Aquatronics) QuickCure: Formalin & Malachite (Aquarium Products) Rid-Ich +: Formalin and Malachite Green (Kordon Corp.)

Formalin baths: http://www.petsforum.com/personal/trevor-jones/formalinbaths.html

Formalin question     5/5/20
Hi Bob
<Hey Jas>
I hope you are doing well during this crazy time, your in the West Coast hot spot and I’m up here in the East Coast hot spot. Anyway I have a question about Formalin. It’s hard to keep track of what is still legal.
<Been long since abandoned for injecting dead folks here in CA>
It’s been a while since I have used meds on fish. From my understanding formalin and some of the medications that were formulated with it, such as quick cure, are no longer on the market because they have been ban by the FDA.
<Mmm; not entirely as far as I'm aware>
I know Kordon still sells a medication Rid Ich Plus with malachite green and formalin, but from what I understand the concentration of the formalin is considered to be not that effective.
<I do think it is still effective... but dangerous... to aquatic life and humans. Do see/read what we have on record for its use on WetWebMedia.com>
<Welcome. BobF>

Formalin question      2/22/19
Hi bob and crew,
How’s it?
<Fine Bobby; thanks>
Once formalin is mixed up, at 1 ml per gallon for prophylactic bathes, how long is it stable or good for?
<One milliliter,.. about a hundred fishes; or a few hours. WARNING to all: Formalin, Formaldehyde are biocides; they cross-link peptides, KILL all life. NOT safe to breath fumes or expose your skin to.>
For example , if I mix up 5 gallons of saltwater with 5 ml’s of 37% formalin, and I dip 2 fish for 30 minutes, can I remove that fish and immediately place in another fish in that same aerated , heated water?
<Yes you can>
From the time it’s mixed, to the time the second batch of fish is done, the formalin would have been mixed up for less than two hours.
Thank you, bob
<Welcome. BobF>
Formalin question        2/22/19

<Oh; and I'd use pH adjusted freshwater, not salt. B>
Re: Formalin question     2/23/19

Thank you kind sir
<Certainly welcome. You have read the "Guerilla Acclimation" piece on WWM I hope/trust. BobF>
Re: Formalin question     2/23/19

Your trust is correct, I have that Guerrilla acclimation piece bookmarked.
<Ah good>
If I am allowed to be confused for a second, you say to use freshwater as opposed to salt.
<Sure; confusion, interest is the beginning of delving, adventuring into understanding and ultimately (hopefully) clarity.>
If using formalin at that rate, in freshwater, how long can fishes stay in freshwater with the aforementioned formalin?
<Most species, specimens 5, 10 minutes... Oh; see this below. Smaller specimens, ones that are "physiologically challenged", some species (finer to no scales, association w/ invertebrates... ) trend toward more sensitivity; e.g. Clownfishes. These dips/baths should ALWAYS be attended to IN PERSON; never leave the dipping organisms unattended>
Was under the impression freshwater dips can go 5 minutes, 10 minutes max, where the formalin needed more contact time than that?
<Usually not. A useful lesson here re the non-discreteness of the universe... WATCH the fishes in the formalin mixed solution and be ready to remove them given signs of over-stress>
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Formalin question   2/24/19

Thank you bob, for this and all you do.
<Welcome and well-met>
Moral to the story, rather than use a stop watch and time it, let the signals the fish give dictate the length of the dip.
I feel very confident on my qt protocol I’ve established. Prophetically treating for the known enemies, with the formalin dips, copper for at least two week before being moved into a sterile , clean observation tank, with Praziquantel and Metroplex to cover the plethora of evil enemies.
<Very good>
My fear is, now, when adding pieces of coral. With the majority of the fragments coming from tanks already harboring fish (most likely fish parasites too) placing them in my tank, hoping they do not have fish nasties in them .
<Mmm; I'd run these corals (hard, soft...) through iodide/ate and a thousandth or two reduced spg. for a few min.s ahead of using, moving... This procedure generally removes most all vectored pathogens>
I’m a few months away from that, so my next step in all of this is to research a type of coral dip , one that not only kills Acro pests, such as aefw, red bugs, etc, but also give me some comfort of biking potentiometer fish bugs as well.
Assuming the Bayer insecticide I will be using for aefw doesn’t kill fish parasitic organisms, perhaps using metrostanizole (sp?) , which is supposed to kill brook and Uronema, or maybe hydrogen peroxide, to potentially kill some ich or velvet spores.
<Yes; Metronidazole... but with more time than a bath exposure... I take it you mean adding such to the system water>
Open to suggestions , I know the right way is a quarantine fallow period for corals with no fish, however I even sold the piggy bank in order to put led’s on my main tank, can’t afford a separate system that could properly handle sps.
Lastly, what do you make of the Indo ban?
<This too shall pass. The usual civil service, bureaucratic jockeying, one-up brinkspersonship. No (as usual) scientific, economic or other basis for the stall>
Was this a long time coming, and an accurate barometer on the fish populations in the oceans? Or just political entities flexing their muscles?
<Much more the last>
Thanks again Bob,
Re: Formalin question   2/24/19

Was thinking metro in a bath, the 20-30 minute variety, doesn’t sound long enough.
<Mmm; not likely worthwhile as a bath... DO see Ed Noga re dosage, application. Am out on a dive liveaboard currently or I'd look it up for you. Nelson Herwig's ref. on materia medica may have useful input as well>
Iodine...have never used this before , will have to research the in’s and outs. Hopefully it’s pretty straightforward.
<It is>
Hopefully the Indo mess resolves itself sooner than later. I know of a couple lfs here in NJ who are considering converting their holding/for sale tanks into freshwater. I am sure this has hurt many collectors/exporters.
<Yes it has; and unnecessarily. No one is being served>
Thanks bob
Securing formalin 2/28/19

Hi bob,
Hoping all is well.
<Yes; thank you>
Would you happen to know any places that have 37% formalin?
<Maybe; it's restricted in some States... >
The quick cure I have from Mardel/fritz states it’s 17.5 percent formalin. From everything I’ve read, that’s not enough.
<Meh; tis for all we're interested in>
I suppose if I double the dose, that would yield me the necessary formalin product, but would also double my malachite green percentage (states it has .42 percent malachite green) not sure if doubling the amount would result in too much malachite.
Thank you, bobby.
<Look at the chemical supply places in town... and cemeteries (yikes). BobF>
Re: Securing formalin      3/3/19

Thanks bob. I did call around the area and not one was willing to sell it or have any motivation to tell me where to get it.
<Did you call cemeteries as I mentioned?>
The stuff I have is 18.5 percent formalin, ad .44 percent malachite green.
If I wish to obtain the 37 percent formalin amount, which is normally done at 1 ml per gallon, if I did 2 ml per gallon, by weight that would give me 37 percent (18.5x2) but that would also increase the malachite green (.44x2)
Would this be too much malachite green in your experience?
<It is too much IMO/E>
Thanks, Bobby
Re: Securing formalin      3/3/19

I did call two, the first said they wouldn’t deal chemicals to the public, second one asked why I was needing to obtain it, when I began my rant, she interrupted and said she couldn’t help me . I live in New Jersey, a very regulated state, perhaps they don’t want to take a chance .
You telling me it is too high is all I needed to hear.
I will see where else online it might be had.
Thank you kindly, Bobby
<You know... Kordon/Novalek used to sell 3 % solution... Can it be ordered, shipped there? >

Formalin Usage Marine Fish       12/25/18
Is it true that fish exposed to formalin dips only have a life expectancy of 2 to 3 years.
<Mmm; well; don't think so. Formalin/formaldehyde is a general biocide; may well reduce life span... but not in agreement w/ a specific time frame. Let me further say, I hope not; as personally I've handled MANY formalin preserved specimens, breathed in fumes...>
Looking at some message boards there seems to be people advising that there is anecdotal evidence that this is the case but it just seems to be people throwing stuff out there without any scientific proof.
Just wanted to get your thoughts.
<Think this assertion is mostly the latter. Bob Fenner>
Re: Formalin Usage Marine Fish       12/25/18

Thanks Bob. In your opinion is dosing 1ml per gallon in a bath for 30 minutes or so more dangerous than 2 drops per gallon done in a QT tank three days in row? I have used both effectively.
<Thirty minutes is too long... five is about right, WITH you watching constantly, AND running aeration during immersion... The Formalin makes the fishes slimy, and hard to respire. BobF>

Formalin and prime; miscible? For dip/bath water?          5/1/16
Hey Bob,
No clear cut answer, many similar but nothing black and white.
If using rid ich (4.2 percent formalin), for immersion bath, can it be used along with SeaChem prime (ammonia neutralizer) that I have been using jn tank transfer process to ward off ammonia.
<As far as I'm aware, yes.... but there should be very little ammonia involved>
Articles pertain to that of copper and prime, but nothing with formalin.

Freshwater Dip without Formalin     4/28/15
First, a thanks for all the wealth of knowledge you and your team have provided! I have also read the "Contentious Marine Aquarist" book which was very valuable.
I know that formalin (formaldehyde) and Methylene blue are recommended for FW dips, and that malachite green is not. However, here in Canada I cannot get my hands on any formalin. I can, however, get pure Methylene blue.

There is one product that contains formalin, Rid-Ich+, but it is mixed with malachite green. It claims it "utilizes the less common but also less toxic chloride salt of malachite green", but I'm not sure if that will really make it less harmful. Perhaps its best not to trust it at all?
<The bit of formalin that would come w/ a reasonable amount/concentration of the oxalate-free Malachite... not worth it>
The other product with formalin is a little 2 sided sachet from Blue Life called "Safety Stop". It produces 30 ~ 60 min baths.
<Oh yeah... and that Ariel is a babe; schwing!>
One side is Methylene blue, and the other is formalin. The ingredients say only those two things, but the formalin side has a green colour, so perhaps has malachite green?
<Mmm; nah; think this is Acriflavine>

I'm not sure on that, but perhaps it was just colouring to make the dip clearly visible.
<That too>
Question: how would you proceed to do FW dips? Is Methylene blue plus fresh water sufficient to remove parasites like Brooklynella?
<Usually; yes. The formalin let's say adds another 40-50 percent of surety>
Or should I try the sachet of formalin. It looks like its only a few ml, so would that even be strong enough for a 10 min FW dip, when its meant for 30 ~ 60 min.s of exposure?
<Okay! And do add aeration if using>
I'm asking, because I want to do the transfer-tank-method (TTM) to remove what I suspected was Brooklynella. My two clownfish died, and I have a coral beauty and a blue-green Chromis left that seem totally fine. The plan was to leave the display tank fallow for 2 months, and do this TTM on these two remaining fish before they enter the quarantine tank.
<Sounds good>
Thanks for your help,
P.S. Sorry for the huge wall of text above.
<Summat like the "wall of sound?" Nice. Bob Fenner>
Re: Freshwater Dip without Formalin     4/28/15

Thanks for the quick response. Cheers!
<Welcome! BobF>

Freshwater Dipping Procedures    10/7/14
Dearest Bob & Crew,
<Hey Joe; I say where you goin' w/ that net in your hands?>
Thank you so much for providing such an excellent service to the hobby!
I have been battling marine ich for quite some time. It turns out that the quarantine tank was still infested despite going fallow for 5 weeks and leaving the specific gravity at 1.012.
<Ah yes; as you'll find, I'm not a fan of hypo...>
I have thus torn it down and cleaned with bleach. It's back up and running.
In the meantime, I have stuck with freshwater dipping all in-coming fish with formalin. Some have been tolerating it more then others.
<Yes. MUST be done with you present; aeration... removing sensitive fishes (e.g. small wrasses, Anthiines...) after just a few seconds immersion>
For example, a skunk clown pair tolerated 4 minutes (maybe even longer)
while a Red-headed Salon Wrasse went limp as soon it entered the bath (normal for this species?).
I used common sense and skipped the bath.
I just wanted to see if you would/would not recommend dipping the following species with or without formalin.
Engineer Goby
Starry Blenny
Court Jester Goby
Red Barred Goby
Mandarin Goby
Royal Gramma
Midas Blenny
Yellow Tang
Blue/Green Chromis
<Gobies and Blennioids just a (second) dip; the rest several seconds>
And finally, is freshwater/formalin dipping a general treatment for all marine fish or are there certain species that it should not be performed on?
<Just a matter of less/more duration in a stock solution>
It would be ironic if the fish that we are trying to help are actually being damaged!
<All a matter of degree and trade-offs really. I like to make a comparison w/ the historical (still present in some countries) use of mercuricals and arsenicals to "treat" human afflictions... These poisoned the patient at
the same time as (hopefully) curing them...>
Thanks so much!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Formalin on it's way!! Dips, Baths f'      2/10/14
Hiya Bob --
this is what I finally ordered:
It's in SoCal already, probably in my hot little hands tomorrow night.
The fish store is getting in some transhipped fish this week and they want to try it...  I suspect that I'll ask a big favor and have you on the phone for the 2 minutes before and the 1 minute duration - just for moral support.<Sure: 858 397 XXXX>
While I'll re-read your article again once or twice along with all our correspondence, I've got the general picture that the osmotic differences between salt & fresh are popping the zits --and-- the formalin is then killing the bug inside...
<Near the fish skin surface and in the water>
 but the thing that sticks in my mind is that, just like copper - I'm sticking my fish into poison in the theory that the fish are more resilient than the bugs.   In that case, just like copper, isn't the dose of formalin critical? 
<Not so much (in my experience and study); the comb. of the freshwater (pH adjusted per shipping) AND formalin is fine at even low conc.>
And assuming it is -- I never thought to ask anyone ...  is the 250ppm desired - the dose of Formalin?  Or of the already diluted Formaldehyde?  Or am I over-thinking?
<Mostly the latter; but the ppm calculated is about right>
And, I guess, finally .... if the fish survive the first two hours after the dip then we assume they withstood it and go on a two week watch before sale?  I know that from a commercial standpoint "they" are going to say "if it acts normally and eats for 48 hours ..."
<Whatever amount of time the dealer has... and deems prudent. Some species, larger sizes can be sold w/in days... some... later. B>
What says you?

Formalin effects/use    5/14/12
Greetings,  We had an outbreak of Ich/crypt in a 55 gallon grow out tank. As a result, we ended up attempting to use AP formalin.
<?! Very toxic... a poor idea... A biocide... kills all life>
 The only fish were a juvenile bigeye soldierfish and a juvenile Gymnothorax fimbriatus. Since there is an eel in the tank I ruled out copper treatments, and used the formalin on the tank at less than the recommended dose.
<... see WWM re... and quinine compounds>
The manufacturer stated two drops per gallon, but concern for the eel led me to use only one per gallon.
<Oh... there is likely no effect then. Too little of 37% to be of much...>

There were numerous errors made here by me in administrating the med, such as the fact that the substrate is crushed coral. I only added the initial dose as stated above, but did not add any more formalin. A few days later I changed about 50% of water. This tank had some old Whisper 60 HOB filters, so I added in some carbon into the cartridges in an attempt to remove the formalin.
<Was gone almost immediately anyway>
Anyway, my concern ironically enough is what else do I need to do to remove all the formalin from the system as it is such a toxic chemical.  I'm actually more concerned about effects the formalin might have on my fish even after water change and adding carbon, And whether I should be concerned about health effects for me or anyone else who touches the water during maintenance, etc.
<... as stated; tis gone>
Thanks for the help, and pardon the long message with a dose of hypochondria.
<You're playing w/ fire... smoke on the water. Read, understand, then act.
Bob Fenner>

little question, Formalin toxicity  2/8/11
Hi Bob,
I have a question... maybe you know the answer
I have a customer who want to have an aquarium in her class of Biology but sometime they work with Formol (you know, the product they use to preserve dead animal ) do you know if the vapor of this product can be dangerous for the fishes and invertebrates?
<Oh yes... very toxic to all life. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm
and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formaldehyde
thank you for your help
<Welcome. BobF>

Formalin dosage (for dips/baths)     7/26/10
Good day-
The formalin product I have (37%)
<... stock for food grade>
recommends 20 drops per gallons as a dip solution.
I noticed in the Conscientious Aquarists the recommendation of 1 ounce per 5 gallons. I realize converting drops to ounces is a bit difficult but it seems it are about 20 to 25 drops per ml.
1 ounce is about 30 ml and there are about 25 drops in a ml, therefore about 750 drops per ounce (some sources say upward of a 1000).....that divided by 5 is about 150 drops per gallon.
I also realize viscosity is a factor, but even on a rough order of magnitude this is a huge difference
<Mmm, 3-4>
..........is my math (or research) that bad??
<No... there is a large "fudge factor" built into/intended in my statement... and not "that" much need for accuracy in making such dips/baths. The "compensating" regard is that the formalin is and not be "used up" in processing "many" fishes in succession. Put another way, one doesn't want the formalin bath to become too dilute in actual use, processing (possibly) many fishes in succession... and if/by following procedure... being present, observing... aerating the bath water, the concentration of the formalin is better a bit "high", than low. Bob Fenner>
Best regards  

Re: Cryptocaryon irritans treatment...here we go again! Quinine and Formalin use f' 7/12/10
Greetings Simon,
<Hello Jamie>
Again, thank your for your thoughtful and thought provoking reply.
<no problem>
An update on the tank:
1. Salinity at 15 ppt, I don't know why but I have trouble getting it down to 14! I think it is likely due to me being "chicken" in fear of overshooting. I will try with another 40 gallon water change tomorrow.
<As stated, I would leave as is for the time being>
2. pH 7.94. I just got my pH monitor and wow, it makes things so easy which allows me to be more comfortable adjusting pH with Seachem's Marine Buffer. I'm working on raising it by 0.1 per day. Evaporation will be compensated by my ATO with pH adjusted fresh DI water at pH 8.2.
3. The Powder Blue Tang (what a fighting spirit) is hanging in there. I'm impressed that he can still hang out right in front of the Vortech MP 40 turned on full blast without getting blown around. His spots look frightful, but I try to remind myself that it is the skin's reaction to the crypt <Yes> actually coming OFF the fish
<Mmm, not really>
- which means, as I keep them in hypo, there should not be "new" infections.
<Yes -- this is the premise for ALL crypt treatments - to prevent re-infection of the fish>
I guess I just have to make sure that his gills are not so damaged that he can't breath which would be a really sad
<Can happen>
Here is my question:
Can I do a continuous bath with formalin while they are in hypo?
Why am I thinking about this? I want something that would not only kill the Theronts and Trophonts swimming about the tank but the Trophonts attached to my fish that are feeding "nearer" the surface of the fishes skin. My friend at the LFS (a great fan of formalin) suggested that it could be done as the formalin will evaporate out of solution over a day or two.
<It will also crash your biological filter and won't rid the system of the parasite>
I've read at WWM that formalin can be used in a freshwater dip of 5 minutes, or salt water bath of up to 60 minutes. I don't think that anyone has been "crazy" enough to propose something like this. What are your thoughts?
<I have, and do use formalin on a regular basis for both short and long immersion of fishes in dips/ baths only, but I never add it to a system, hospital or otherwise. It can be used either a short (5 min) dip or prolonged (45 min) bath. Have a look on WWM re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/formalinfaqs.htm>.
If I do this. I will dose at 3/4 the "normal" suggested dose of "1 ml of the 37% stock solution for every 25 gallons of quarantine tank water" so that would be 6 ml for my 200 gallons of water since I'm in hypo. Theoretically speaking, I think I should be able to dose at full strength at 8 ml since my sand and rocks would "absorb" some of the formalin...Maybe?
<I would not even consider this. You could, though, dip the Powder blue for 5 min.s w/ formalin & fresh water to see if this provides some relief for the fish>
I can't tell you how much I appreciate your thoughts!
<No problem>

Chevron Tang Quarantine Question - 5/22/10
Dear WWM,
As always, thanks for a great site.
I run a 150g quarantine system (three 40g tanks with a 30g sump with skimmer and 36 watt UV sterilizer. Parametres are: SG 1.025, PH 8.3, Temp 78, Ammonia 0, Nitrate 0.
I recently purchased a Chevron Tang. A good looking fish, eating well, no mouth damage. I gave him an 8 minute FW bath, which is my SOP. After about a week in QT, he showed some Ich, so I gave him another FW bath. He seems fine now, four days later. But these fish spend a whole lot of their day grazing off liverock,
and the rock in his QT isn't going to give him much more to eat.
He does accept algae pellets and Mysis, so he's not starving, but normally my inclination would be to quarantine a fish for a month from the last time it showed any signs of disease. This would, however, put him in the QT for 6 weeks total, which seems like a lot of stress.
Would you consider a Chevron Tang a candidate for early release into the display, or should I run the full course of quarantine?
<Mmm, I'd add "some" formalin to your pH-adjusted freshwater bath/dip regimen... and do just one enroute to placing this Ctenochaetus>
I don't want to overstress the fish, but neither do I want to introduce Ich into a thus far (7 years) Ich free system (200g display, 100g refugium, 60g seahorse/pipefish tank, 200g sump).
Thanks for any advice you can offer.
Carl Logan
<Always a tough decision... but what I would do w/ this Chevy. Bob Fenner>
Re: Chevron Tang Quarantine Question, Chevy, Formalin/Dip methodology f's  - 5/22/10

Hi Bob,
Thanks for the advice. I hate to be obtuse, but I'm not sure I understand you. Are you suggesting I combine a formalin dip and a freshwater dip? I think that's what you're recommending. So I would add a normal dose of
formalin to the water for the FW dip?
<Ah, yes... please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
the first tray... re Dips/Baths, adjuncts>
I'm a bit confused, because I normally dip formalin (the two times I've done it) for about 50 minutes,
<Wow! This is a long immersion... Please do read the above... I am actually a very olde timer in the trade... have used hundreds of gallons of formalin... given several (from the Middle English meaning "many")
presentations on various topics re pathology of fishes... I would NOT bath fishes for this duration period>
whereas a FW dip I do for 5-10. I just want to be absolutely clear that I'm understanding you here. Normal formalin dose (I use 2tsp/gallon of Formalin 3) in ph/temp adjusted freshwater, airstone, 5-10 minutes?
<About right, yes, w/ 37% "food grade">
Thanks so much.
<Thank you for seeking clarification. BobF>

Treatment Resistant Cryptocaryon irritans... & Formalin use admonition   2/10/10
Greetings to Bob and Crew at WWM!
I hope that all is well with each and every one at WWM.
I recently shared my experience with you regarding a nasty bout of C. irritans and Quinine Sulfate and received much helpful advice - thank you!
Sadly though, my battle continues due to my own stupidity. Now looking back at things, I could only shake my head and ask myself "what in the world were you thinking?"
In order to recap a little and to remind Bob which sorry soul I am, I will quickly give a synopsis of events.
I have a 225 gallon reef tank with Powder blue tang, Kole tang, Atlantic blue tang, Flame angel, three wrasses (Clown Fairy, Exquisite, and Cleaner).
Everyone got ich (all the fishes were 'new' with established live rocks and sand), after several days of "treatment" with garlic, Kick-ich, No-ich and many a witch's brew, I finally took the advice given by Mr. Fenner, caught
all my fish and started quinine sulfate treatment in a 55 gallon hospital tank. I was without C. irritans for two weeks after the 10 day treatment and decided that this would be a wonderful opportunity to try to introduce an Achilles tang which was at the LFS for five weeks and looking absolutely stunning. I introduced him to my fishes while they were all in "quarantine"
<A huge error>
as I was waiting for my reef tank to go fallow for a total of six weeks.
Well, several days later, I noticed ich on the Achilles. I thought - No problem - I still have plenty of quinine sulfate on hand, so I started dosing again just as I had before. This time, it did not work. After seven days of treatment, my Achilles continued to be covered with bumps and white spots and so luckily, I was able to take him back to the LFS for a full refund of store credit. I'm glad to say that was a good move because the Achilles is still alive and well at the LFS today. I continued treatment of my hospital tank and its inhabitants with quinine sulphate for a total of
10 days before introducing them back to the DT which was fallow for FIVE weeks.
I did it one week early because all fishes were starting to show signs of stress from being in a less than adequate environment. Four days later, I noticed bumps on the Powder blue tang. I called my LFS and spoke with my buddy and owner of the LFS who recommended me to do something slightly on the drastic side and this is where I like to share my experience and ask some questions.
I was guessing that the strain of C. irritans I have now is resistant to quinine sulfate as I wrote to National Fish Pharmacy and Dr. Brian Aukes suggested it be so. I was leaving to the Maldives in SIX days when all this was occurring and my pet sitter is limited in her ability to handle copper treatment. So my buddy, John, offered his experience of being in the fish trade and help - Formaldehyde.
I took all my corals, macro algae, most of my snails and hermits out and distributed them in the multitude of tanks I have at the house. He took my corals to the LFS for safe keeping. Now, I have, essentially a FOWLR tank.
We figured with the sump and refugium, there are 250 gallons of water. So we dosed 25 ml of 37% Formaldehyde solution directly into the DT. I thought my heart was going to stop but it didn't. I dosed another 25 ml on day three.
The fishes were actually doing better, showing more color and feeding better. I did a third dose of 30 ml Formalin solution 36 hours before I left and a 40 gallon water change 24 hours after it. At that time, there were still spots of ich on the all the tangs. Three days later, a fourth dose of 25 ml was given, which was followed by TWO 30 ml treatments four days apart.
During that time, according to John, my parameters stayed "acceptable".
When I came home two and a half weeks later, some of the Zoanthids and leather corals were still alive and open! But here is the frightening thing - everyone was still alive and well, and so is the ich on the tangs! I spoke with John some more, and we thought we needed to increase the formalin, so I treated with a 40 ml dose three days ago on Saturday (2/6). The next morning one can see that I've probably killed off a majority of my good bacteria with the water a yellowish tint and the sand littered with dead bristle worms. I've since done 40 gallon water changes each day times two, and am planning another one today before my next 40 ml of formalin treatment tomorrow as the PBT got into some sparring with the KT and got a scratch near the base of his tail (I want to make sure that it heals a bit better before the next treatment). I know from my readings on WWM that this
- Formalin in DT - is something that is not done nor recommended, but at this time, it appears as the only thing I can do to keep the ich in check.
Some interesting points and questions are:
1. At 40 ml to 250 gallons, the concentration greatly exceeds the 1 drop per gallon or 1 ml per 25 gallon recommended by WWM for continuous bath.
I know I'm probably doing damage to my fishes' internal organs like their liver... What can I do to reverse that damage or things I should be watching out for?
<Outright mortality>
2. What type of ich is so resistant to treatment?
<I suspect the Formalin is being rapidly converted... lost here>
These guys have been through so much - fresh water dips of 7 minutes, hypo saline conditions, quinine sulfate, and now continuous formalin! How much formalin can ich stand?
<Not much>
3. I've learned from WWM about the life cycle of C. irritans. Ich on fish is protected against treatment, they drop off of fish in 3-7 days during which they are resistant also?
<Yes; more so in the resting stage>
They divide while attached to my substrate and only when they hatch is when they are susceptible to treatment. I feel like I should be dosing formalin DAILY for 28 days but KNOW THAT I CANNOT DO THIS, so I'm thinking I should be able to catch into the cycle with 5 treatments every third or fourth day? I also know to dose at night as the C. irritans hatch at night and hunt while the fishes are sleeping.
4. I am surprised to see all my fishes alive and active. I just don't know how long they can withstand this.
I'm sure you have many thoughts going through your mind as you read this.
Please share!
<You need to either treat the fishes in the absence of CaCO3 material, or dip them and move them to a clean setting/system enroute>
As always, I really appreciate the help and advise that is given!
Thank you!
Jamie Barclay
<Welcome Jamie. BobF>
Re: Treatment Resistant Cryptocaryon irritans, formalin use  -- 02/12/10

Dear Bob,
Thank you so much for your reply!
It took me two days to ponder what you wrote while staring at my fishes to "comprehend" what you recommend! You are recommending that I move my fishes out of my infected system because as long as one tomont exists and encysts in my tank, I've got 200+ theronts looking for my tangs to attach.
<Yes... much easier to control these infestations, treat and vacuum out intermediaries in bare-bottomed settings>
My system is established by C. irritans that I most likely have fresh theronts everyday, so even treating with formalin every three days will not kill them fast enough.
I see now that this is why formalin works so well in a retail setting where there are minimal things for the tomonts to attach and not work well for the home aquarium where the tank is set up with rocks and sand.
This really has been a learning experience!
Thank you, thank you, thank you,
Best wishes!
Jamie Barclay
<And you Jamie. Keep on "fighting the good fight"... You will ultimately prevail. BobF> 
Re: Treatment Resistant Cryptocaryon irritans   -- 2/23/10

Greetings to Bob and Crew at WWM,
<Jamie... 17 plus megs of pix?!>
I have been battling with ich since November and reading almost daily regarding ich and it's treatments.
I've learned a lot from everyone, especially WWM and Mr. Fenner, and I'm continuing to find new and interesting information daily.
To catch up since the last e-mail.
I did not take the fishes out and put them in quarantine. I decided not to do so for two reasons. One reason is that my quarantine is 55 gallons and is truly small for all my fish who are in a 225 gallon tank for the 6 week they would be for treatment and letting the DT go fallow. Secondly, I really wanted to treat my whole tank too.
After reading Bob's e-mail and about different formalin dosing schedules, I thought I would give a slight increased dose and increased dosing schedule a try for a few days and see what happens as I've pretty much already destroyed my bio-filter in my system.
<Easily done w/ Formalin>
Out of my 11 fishes in the tank, only the three tangs showed signs of C. irritans then and now, I really can't see
it on the Atlantic Blue. I started dosing 37 mL of formalin every 48 hours.
My sixth treatment was last pm. I do 40 gallons of water change prior to every other dosing, so around every four days. So far, all my fishes are alive and eating well and it appears that the ich is subsiding. Not gone by any means but I notice fewer and fewer, smaller and smaller bumps on the tangs. The few surprises are that I spotted the peppermint shrimp in my tank who I've written off as dead for several weeks, my Zoanthids are actually opening, I've seen a few feather duster worms still hanging on, and found one hermit crab that I missed when I removed everyone else.
<Indicative of the formalin being absorbed... taken out of solution. Else these would definitely be dead/killed>
So here are my questions:
1. Is this ich? Why am I asking this question? Well, in my search for information today, I saw a picture of a fish with "severe ich". It looked like a fish that has been salted all over. I've enclosed a few pictures of my tangs and well...it looks like ich (at least what I thought) but much smaller than what I saw in the picture.
<Looks like some sort of Protozoan parasite...>
2. If this round of formalin does work and rid the ich, how long would you continue to treat the DT? Would you really treat it for 28 days AFTER the last bump on the fish to make sure that all theronts are killed?
<... please take your time... re-read the short FAQs file/s on Formalin again... The Crypt or whatever this is IS NOT gone... the Formalin cannot be used safely in this setting. I am sorry if I've not communicated this
clearly, loudly enough>
3. What is the evaporation rate of formalin in salt water at 80 degrees?
<Good question; I don't know... can fathom how to start a search for such a question, but it's irrelevant. The CFO is not evaporating... but "changing" into other molecules with exposure to other materials>
Why I'm asking this question? Well, I figured out the exact treatment dose for my tank of 250 gallons of water is roughly 25 mL every three days (as recommended schedule) but this did not work and that was why I've increased
it by 50% to 37 ML, dosed at every 48 hours appears to have an effect on the frequency of "new" bumps seen on the tangs. I was thinking of increasing the frequency to a lesser dose daily like 25 mL so to kill all the theronts excysted in one 24 hour period but was afraid that I may be dosing too frequently as to have a build up of formalin in my tank. Example day one 25 mL, two 37.5 mL, three 46.5 ML (going along the theories of half lives).
<Dear... you will almost assuredly kill all/everything, yes, including your fishes... continuing with this methodology. What's more, formalin is too toxic for almost all hobbyists use... It is a biocide... kills all life.
PLEASE stop using it here. Look to quinine/s as I've repeatedly suggested>
Thank you so much for your patience with me. I've been trying to figure this out by researching on WWM and on line and have not found much written regarding the half life of formalin.
Thank you and looking forward to your reply,
Jamie Barclay
<Bob Fenner>

Re: Treatment Resistant Cryptocaryon irritans -- 2/24/10
Hello Bob,
Thank you for your quick and thoughtful reply.
Sorry about the large files for the pics...I had to use the Canon to make sure the "bumps" show.
<Hon... please learn to/crop the images to show what you'd like to highlight. I did this and deleted the files... we have limited server space>
I would love to try something else as on many nights I would wake gasping for air thinking I'm the one being embalmed in formalin!
<In a manner of speaking, they are>
I've tried so many different treatments: hyposalinity, fresh water baths lasting 5-8 minutes, and quinine sulfate. The quinine sulfate from National Fish Pharmacy worked for my original ich but not this protozoan parasite as my tang caught this from an Achilles Tang that was being quarantined. This is definitely much smaller and "tighter" than regular ich. What do you think it is?
<Have to look through a scope, but this is likely just Cryptocaryon... that is deeply embedded, not being treated currently. Go with the Chloroquine Phosphate...>
Have you seen anything like it? I know that short of a wet mount under the microscope it will be near impossible to really know what it is, but if you had to guess...
With all your new information, especially now you know what my parasite looks like and is not your normal C. irritans, here are some thoughts of possible treatments: Which one would you do, any or none of them? What other possible treatments am I missing?
1. Metronidazole?
2. Hyposalinity? (my poor peppermint will sure go bye bye)
3. Huge water change, put the carbon, poly floss, Purigen back in it.
Wait a day to make sure that all formalin is "gone" where ever it goes. Get maybe 3 cleaner shrimps and see if they will eat the parasites off the fishes?
4. Increase the dose of quinine sulfate by 50% of recommended?
I will also start looking for any protozoan treatments available, not only for C. irritans.
Thank you!!!
<The CP. BobF>
Re: Treatment Resistant Cryptocaryon irritans
Hi Bob,
Sorry, but I had forgotten to add Chloroquine Phosphate to the list of possibilities. I remember reading it on WWM just now a long time ago.
<Yes. B>

Re: Treatment Resistant Cryptocaryon irritans   2/28/10
Greetings Bob and crew at WWM.
After reading your e-mail and contacting Dr. Aukes from National Fish Pharmacy. I re-thought my past treatment with quinine sulfate and more recently with formalin and realized that I am the reason neither medications worked. This led me to acknowledge the need to share my experience so that others may learn from my mistakes.
<Ah good>
Going back several months ago, after the quinine sulfate did not APPEAR to work in treating the C. irritans infection brought by the Achilles tang.
There were actually three issues at the time that somehow, I lumped into one which was the thought that quinine did not work. In reality there were three very separate issues which led to my failure and poor decision making, not
to mention illogical thinking were:
1) The Achilles was not eating in the quarantine and the only fish showing ich. No good nutrition intake leading to the poor immunity of the fish to begin with.
2) By the 8th week for all my fishes to be in a 55 gallon not previously cycled hospital tank, they were starting to show a lot of stress: flame angel exhibited darkening of facial markings like a red mustache, my wrasses hovering near the surface and loosing their appetite and looking like a film was covering their usually brilliant colors. Stress due to daily fluctuation of ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, and not to mention the daily 20+ gallon water changes. Stress leading to poor immunity.
3) I was pressured for time as I was going on holiday for two and a half weeks. My stress, causing me behave more erratically and making bad decisions. Loosing patience and losing sight of what exactly what I was supposed to be doing.
Now, more recently with all my 37 mL every 48 hours dosing of formalin - this one is easy. Mr. Fenner made several comments that my formalin is somehow being absorbed or being taken out of solution. You must have a
magic ball Mr. Fenner! I stupidly left my protein skimmer ON! I was cleaning it every other day and still not recognizing I should have turned it off.
That was why I was not killing ANYTHING!
So on Wednesday night (three nights ago) I performed a 40 gallon water change and dosed my display tank with six and a half teaspoon of quinine sulfate which is 1/4 tsp per 10 gallon. I've read on WWM some conflicting
information on whether quinine will be absorbed or bound by substrate. Dr. Aukes from NFP said NO.
<To some degree he is wrong, materials associated w/ substrate... do so...>
I've turned off my UV sterilizer and my protein skimmer and I will do as told by Dr. Aukes - Treat once and leave in for 7 days. No parameter testing, water condition will be told by fish behavior.
I did note to Dr. Aukes that all my fishes' appetite have decreased since starting treatment and that they are seem more shy and even a little grumpy.
He advised that this is often observed and will continue as they are in treatment.
<We are in agreement here>
I also asked if I need to re dose every seven days for a total of 28 days for the life cycle of C. irritans and he said no - just one treatment.
<And here>
Three days into quinine sulfate treatment - my Powder blue and Kole tang are finally showing a dramatic decrease in bumps and spots. This is the first time in MONTHS that they are actually looking improved. I know I'm not out
of the woods yet, but I will keep my fingers crossed and keep following the advise of those wiser and more experienced.
Thank you Bob, for putting up with my endless e-mails and also to have the patience to point things out to me, even if I miss the "point" several times in a row.
<Clarity is pleasurable. I am satisfied that you have worked out your situation>
I hope to share good news with you in a few weeks...before I go to the Great Barrier Reef.
Thank YOU!
<And you. BobF>

Cow Fish dip malfunction  7/5/09
I hope you can help me with this. I have a longhorn cowfish. I have had him for about 7 months. I recently added a yellow tang, and I think the stress of a larger fish caused an ick outbreak. The cowfish (Tweety) and a domino damsel were the only two fish to show symptoms, I put both of them in the "hospital" tank with 10mg/L of formaldehyde
for 24 hours. It cured the ick outbreak on both fish and the damsel was fine. However, the solution dissolved Tweety's pectoral, ventral, and dorsal fins. the rays look funny and the membrane is missing to about half way down. He seems to be feeling ok now. He is eating and swimming in a normal manner, but his fins look awful. Will they repair themselves, or is he a lost cause? He is my favorite fish and I don't won't to give up on him, but I don't want him to poison my tank, either.
<Mmm, chances are good that if there is no other damage, this Ostraciid will regenerate most all the missing finnage. If it were to poison the system, all would be lost that is in with it way before now. Bob Fenner>
re: Cow Fish dip malfunction
Thank you for your quick response.
Renea Bosley
<Welcome. BobF>

Formalin 11/10/08 Hi there, <Hello.> According to: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm concentration of formalin to be used for dip/bath is: 2.7 ml of 37% stock solution/gallon, but according to: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshdisart.htm 1 drop of 37% stock solution 1 drop vs. 2.7 ml is a big difference? <It is. The 2.7 ml is meant to be a max dosage for a dip. The one drop per is more inline with a continual immersion, even though the article does state dip. Do realize that the dosage can vary depending on the species of fish. Bottom line, follow the label dosage on the bottle!> Also in: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshdisart.htm Also, I have Aquarium Products Formalin (22ml bottle with dropper). Is this 100% stock formalin or is it diluted? <It is the 37% formaldehyde in solution.> Thanks a bunch!!! <Welcome, Scott V.>

Somewhat urgent question regarding Achilles tang, hlth., formalin dip/bath use     8/20/08 Hey there Crew. I'm receiving an Achilles tang tomorrow, a fish I've never before had the pleasure of having, I'm pretty excited. I'm also receiving a 3" Emperor angel. I typically do a temperature and pH adjusted 5 minute FW dip, with 2.7 oz of 37% formalin per gallon, as recommended on WWM. <Mmm, I'd limit this to one ounce... with good aeration> This has worked great with all my other fish, which include Semilarvatus B/Fs, a Purple tang and a checkerboard wrasse. What do you recommend for acclimating an Achilles tang? I know they are typically a more sensitive than normal fish, should I forgo the bath? <I would still dip/bath this Acanthurus species... take care to not bruise its soft body while netting, handling> Also, do you recommend quarantining this fish? Or just do a FW dip and go ahead and introduce to the display? <IF it's in "good enough shape" I would quarantine, if not, I'd place> My QT tank is a 29g and the fish is a 5" fish rumored to be very active, so I'm not sure how long he should be in there? <A week or three... for observation mostly> If it helps, I'm getting it from Divers Den on Live Aquaria, their fish seem to be very good quality and I haven't ever gotten one with a disease. <A very good co.> And just for your peace of mind, yes, I do plan on quarantining the Emperor angel and doing the FW dip. Hopefully he doesn't have a bad case of flukes! I have two 29g tanks used for quarantine, so even if I quarantine both fish, they wont be crammed into the same tank. Grant <Sounds good. Bob Fenner>

Re: Somewhat urgent question regarding Achilles tang   8/20/08 Quick question, is the 1 oz of Formalin you recommend just for the Achilles? Or is that for all fish? The 2.7 oz per gallon is a number I got from WWM on your acclimation page, or else the dips/baths page. It's what I've used the last three times I've received fish. Thanks Bob! Grant <Mainly for more sensitive fishes... with aeration, close observation (to remove fishes that are in too much distress), either concentration can work. Cheers, BobF>

Re: Red Sea aquarium fish selection... Hyposalinity, WWM, the nature of our "truth"...  7/6/08 Well, I had read on hyposalinity and use of it for curing ich, <... won't work> I haven't asked any questions as of yet that I haven't at least researched quickly first before asking. <Ah, much appreciated for sure... and do know that many folks (including some here at WWM) do advocate hyposalinity as a preventative, cure...> You have no idea how many questions I've wanted to ask <Heeee! Turn about is fair play Grant... I too have MANY questions!> and instead researched for hours to find the answer. To be honest, WWM is kind of contradictory in what it says about quite a few things. <Yes... and "rightly so"... that is to state, there are many areas in our hobby interest here for which there is no one certain "answer", indeed, a good deal of controversy... and as the common progenitor here, my theory/responsibility/decision to encourage all to state their input... WITH as much description, practical background as they deem necessary, have to proffer. Does this seem reasonable to you?> I understand why, it is hard to have a crew of people responding to thousands of questions and have all their answers always be the same. <Ah yes... this and the fact again, that a good deal of what "passes" for fact in peoples lives is so much actual commentary and worse advice... w/o factual presentation first. So outrageous is this view, lack of honesty that the even the press, the garbage which is media "news", the very pres. of the U.S. seems almost totally sans data in his... expectorations.> After all, most of the questions are answered with opinions, <Ahh! Excellent!> and everyone has different ones of those. I researched hyposalinity, quarantine and ich treatment and a lot of the FAQs and articles state that hyposalinity is a good treatment for ich. Some of them say like your reply email that it could just kill the fish. Some say use quinine. Some say use Formalin green, other's say that it is a poison and can kill the fish and hurt the aquarist. It's hard to get a straight answer which is why I was asking you specifically in an email :) But anyway, I'll quit asking questions of you and just jump on in I guess. <Thank you for the above input. Very worthwhile... a great relief to me to find/meet up with critical thinking> Basic plans are just to quarantine for at least 4 weeks, maybe 6 weeks depending on the fish, certainly 4 weeks of no sickness before allowing them into the main tank. <Great! Do please read the "dailies" today on WWM for a sad acct. of someone with a 600 gallon system...> Freshwater dip going into quarantine with meth blue in the FW dip mix. <Please do read re, and consider adding formalin... and aeration...> Basic quarantine tank with just an airstone and some ammonia removing rocks so I don't even have to worry about maintaining a cycled aquarium there, I'll just change out the ammonia removing substance every week and be doing maybe 1g water change daily, which is about 4% of my total quarantine tank volume. All in all, no medications and no special salinity while in quarantine. I'll know that the fish are most likely carrying ich and just not suffering, rather than being proactive and treating it regardless of whether they show it or not. To be honest this doesn't sit well with me as I'd rather have them go into a completely ich free tank and stay ich free, but from what I've read that is almost an impossibility. <Not so... and worth shooting for> Anyway, thanks for all the helpful answers and what not, I'll try not to write in again. <Oh... no... please do... We enjoy sharing with folks who have earnest questions, are seeking to share> I've enjoyed Reef Invertebrates so far, I'm about 150 pages in. I do wish it was formatted a little differently though, it is a lot more "floppy" than CMA (larger pages and not as thick) and it makes it harder to read in the tub while I'm laying down. Oh well, small problem :) Grant <And thank you this input as well. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Red Sea aquarium fish selection... Hypo., dipping...  07/07/08 Well thanks for the encouraging response. My 2nd to last email to you was responded to with basically three different versions of "read WWM" to my three questions, so I figured I should probably stop asking questions ;) <I see> One last set of questions for you... sorry if this is already listed on WWM, but I just want to be really clear on what procedure should be in your opinion. I had planned on just doing a FW dip for 5 minutes or so with Meth Blue, with the intention of minimizing ich in the quarantine and therefore the display tank, even though I see only lukewarm response to a FW dip actually doing much to ich. However, you suggested the use of formalin. I actually have a bottle of it sitting around from about a year ago, it is the 37% stuff. Reading through WWM states that 2.7 ML per gallon is a good amount to use in a hour long saltwater bath before placing into quarantine. <Yes> So here is the question (wow it takes me a long time just to get to my questions!). <At least you finally do!> I'll be receiving 2 Semilarvatus B/F and a Aussie Harlequin tusk on Tuesday. Super sale on LiveAquaria.com on the tusk so I went ahead and made the plunge. If I use a hour or so length formalin saltwater bath, <! This is way too long... better to be present for sure, use aeration, and limit this to 3-5 minutes maximum> can I do away with the freshwater dip I had planned? <Mmm... am a bit lost here... I would/do add the formalin to the pH-adjusted freshwater...> Or do I need to do a short FW dip and then the saltwater bath with formalin? Really, I have researched WWM and I get the feeling that the formalin treatment makes the FW dip unnecessary, but I didn't find that anywhere exactly stated, and I really don't want to screw this up. I've never quarantined fish before, but I've mainly had reef tanks and only a fish or two, so I wasn't really concerned. Moving into a large FOWLR setup, I'm not only investing a lot of money, but some pretty cool fishy lives and I don't want to screw it up. <I understand... Perhaps another quick read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm> Also, my stocking plan includes 2 Sufflamen albicaudatus, male/female pair, one Raccoon B/F, one Purple tang and one Emperor angel, all Red Sea varieties. Are any of those fish more easy poisoned by the formalin dips? <Mmm, the Angel and BF...> I remember reading that triggers seem to be more susceptible to it, however after searching around I couldn't find the info so I'm not sure if I read that on WWM or on another helpful site. And if they are susceptible, do I just do a lesser dose or skip the formalin all together? <... again, and I understand this is hard to understand... compared w/ someone who has done it a bunch just being there to help... I would call around, see if a LFS, service co. locally has someone who can come by...> I really do appreciate the answers and help, I'm sure my fish appreciate it even more. I feel like I should join the WWM crew and give back to the community, heh. Grant <I look forward to your joining us. Bob Fenner>

Re: Red Sea aquarium fish selection 07/07/08 Maybe I'm starting to understand the concept, it only takes 10 emails and a weeks worth of reading to get an idea into my head correctly. <Less than I...> I guess I mistook what you suggested in your last email. We were talking about FW dips and you suggested formalin, so I read up on the formalin FAQs on WWM. It says right there that you should do a 1 hour SW formalin bath to treat ich. "For dips/baths 125-250 ppm per gallon may be used for up to an hour of immersion." <Mmm, perhaps the words "up to" should be modified...> I was assuming then that I should skip the FW dip and just do a 1 hour SW bath with formalin, then put into quarantine. I read the http://wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm page for like the 20th time this week and I think I see where my confusion was. You were simply suggesting adding formalin to the dip, whereas I was thinking I needed to do a long SW bath. Anyway, my mistake. <No worries> So a 5-10 minute max formalin FW dip is more beneficial than you think a 1 hour SW formalin bath would be? <Yes... and far less work> I'd almost be inclined to think the SW would be less hard on the fish than a FW dip, but I'm not experienced in this aspect :) I guess maybe the 1 hour SW bath is a treatment for an already existing case of ich, whereas the FW dip is just a preventative measure but not really a cure? <More so, yes> And as far as being present during the dip/bath, believe me, I will be. I'm more anxious about this than I would think possible. I do have 2 airstones that run off one pump (I'll be using 2 different 5 gallons buckets for the dip) and I'm going to heat the water to 78 degrees or so before the fish are introduced. I'm going to pull the heater right before putting the fish in just so that they have more room in the bucket, but for the 5 or so minutes they are in the dip, the water shouldn't even cool half a degree. <Good protocol> Believe me, I've asked the LFS a couple times now if they would have someone who could help me with trying my first quarantine, I even suggested I'd bring in the fish in the shipping boxes to them, with my own buckets and everything and do it there with their help/supervision and bring them home in some "normal" SW identical to my quarantine tanks. Basically, if I don't buy the fish from them, they don't want to help. And the fish prices here are ridiculous... so while I don't want to kill my fish or have a hard time of doing this, I'm not willing to pay the 2-3 times higher prices offered up here. Damned if I do, damned if I don't, in my opinion. <Understood...> Anyway, my whole thought behind this process is that I'm going to have my 180g being run fallow for 2 months at the least before introducing fish. Hopefully there will be no ich present in the system after that length of time. I really really REALLY want to avoid ever introducing it into the system, so treating for ich before even going into quarantine, even if the fish don't show signs of it (as we all know most times you cant see the small amount of ich present on most fish) really appeals to me. I'd love to never introduce a single ich parasite into my main system. Am I dreaming? I'm starting to feel like so, after all the reading I've done, most of the pages say that there will always be a small amount of ich present in the system. <Ahh, don't I (and you, no doubt) wish the vaccines available for limiting/preventing Cryptocaryon (and more) that are readily available and used in Europe were here... too hard thus far to get through the U.S. F.D.A.> Thanks again Bob. For some reason I'm nervous, heh... like really nervous. I just don't want to mess this up, I'm investing a lot of time and money into the venture and I want it to go good, plus I want these super cool fish to be healthy and live a long happy life. I know how happy I'd be if my parents brought me into the world and said "guess what, we've treated you and your area for the common cold, you'll NEVER be exposed to it in your entire life." I'm trying to give that to the fishes in my care, although whereas the common cold doesn't kill humans for the most part, ich sure does seem to claim a lot of fish. <Well put... Again, thank you for sharing Grant. BobF>

Rabbitfish with velvet...treating with formalin   6/7/08 Hello to you all! Hope your day's been a great one thus far! As everyone always says, thank you so much for the service you provide to those of us with a love of all aquatic living things! <Welcome to all> I am writing you as I am more-than-slightly-obsessed (according to my husband) with ridding our Foxface Rabbitfish (Siganus (Lo) vulpinis) from what we believe is marine velvet (Amyloodinium ocellatum). Thankfully, Foxy was in one QT tank (we have 2 up and running right now) when we observed the disease, so the fishes in our main 125G tank have not been introduced to the disease. <As you say, thank goodness... or more accurately, your preparation and awareness> We took her out of the QT she was in, did a 30 minute formalin bath, and moved her to the other (without fish or invertebrates) QT tank. Here is the current setup: 29G QT tank is set up with a skimmer, lighting, and is bare-bottomed. Temperature in the tank is 82 degrees F, specific gravity is 1.022, and levels of ammonia and nitrate are 0. Symptoms that led us to the velvet diagnosis include: rapid breathing, mottled coloring (though this can happen for many other reasons, we are aware), and very fine white spots that spread VERY rapidly over her body over the course of one day-even over her eyes. We have seen marine ick before and the white spots were finer and spread so much faster than with ick. <Does sound/read as Amyloodinium> Upon making this diagnosis, we knew what our two main options were: copper or formalin. <Really only the two together or formalin> Seeing as we did not have copper, and we knew we needed to act quickly, we opted for the formalin treatment, knowing that it is a biocide and has mixed reviews on the WWM site. We dosed the QT tank with the recommended dosage for continuous immersion according to the manufacturer's directions (Aquarium Product's Formalin-37% Formaldehyde). Because formalin removes oxygen from the water, we added a hang-on filter (carbon removed) and an air stone for extra oxygenation of the water. <Good> This initial dosage was added to the QT tank about 36 hours ago. Observing Foxy throughout the day yesterday was painful, as I was so afraid she would die (either from the velvet or the formalin). She made it through the day, though, ate some New Life Spectrum pellets and algae soaked in Selcon, and looks "better" today. The white spots seem to be gone (leaving behind black marks), her breathing is not quite so rapid, and she is not as mottled; she did shed her mucus layer yesterday. She is still hovering near the bottom and "hiding" under the algae clip. The formalin seems to have chemically burned her eyes. I hope this is enough background information for you! <Appreciated> Now for my questions...According to Aquarium Products' website, additional doses of the formalin should be added to the water every 48 hours "until a cure is achieved." Any ideas about what that means? <Mmm, they're covering their bases/rearsides...> I read about the life cycle of Amyloodinium ocellatum, but I don't know how quickly the formalin will kill all stages of the parasite. <With dipping, moving the fish... the one treatment should be it> With ick, fish can "look" better, but a further round of the parasite can be just around the corner; it's deceptive, I know. Is this velvet disease similar? <Can be, but is generally more "surface" active, removed with formalin exposure> How long must I then treat with the formalin to MAKE AS SURE AS POSSIBLE all stages of the parasite have been killed? I certainly don't want to subject Foxy to formalin unnecessarily and potentially injure her further, or even possibly kill her, without cause. On the other hand, I want to make sure it's GONE, too! <I do understand... due to its toxicity... I would hold off and just observe this fish for now> After the formalin treatment (hopefully you can give me some ideas about WHEN that should be...), here are the options I've thought of, and I'd like to get your opinion on which one is most sound--or maybe you have another idea that is better: 1) Leave Foxy in current QT tank and use water changes and PolyFilter to remove formalin. <This is what I would do> 2) Perform a pH adjusted freshwater/Methyl blue dip and then place Foxy back in the first QT tank (cleaned out...see clean-out steps in the following paragraph) filled with new mixed saltwater/water from our 125G main tank. <Perhaps> 3) IF the formalin has indeed killed off all stages of the parasite during the course of treatment, could we do #1 or #2 above, watch her for signs of the disease, and then put her in the main tank after the initial quarantine period is up, or do we now need to start a new 30-day count-down clock for the quarantine? <I'd do one and start the countdown> Last question: I was reading that the parasite is tough to rid from tanks, equipment, etc. Yesterday, I tore down the QT tank Foxy was initially in. I rinsed all with freshwater, and am now soaking all in a bleach solution. <Good protocol> We would LIKE to use this tank as the one we move her into after the fw dip (following the formalin treatment), before we later move her into the main tank (when that will be is based on your opinion...). Is there anything else I could or should do with the contaminated equipment to eradicate the little nasty parasite? <No> Or should we, to be safe, allow the QT tank to sit dry and for months and buy a NEW QT tank for Foxy, if putting her into the main tank is not your recommendation? I certainly don't want this to resurface while we're gone and our friend is taking care of the fish. <The tank and gear used should be fine to use post bleach-washing and rinsing> Yikes; this is so long. I apologize for that, but I have made it my mission to cure our Foxy of Amyloodinium ocellatum and do the best job with follow-up that I can. I do hope this makes sense, and is not too confusing! I appreciate any advice you have, and look forward to your input. Thanks so much, and have a GREAT day! Beth Norman, in New Mexico <Thank you Beth. Bob Fenner>

Re: Rabbitfish with velvet...treating with formalin - 06/08/2007 Hello, Bob (or whomever reads this)! Thank you for your reply. I'm glad to know we're doing some things correctly to treat the case of velvet on our Rabbitfish; it feels good to have confirmation, as well as some needed advice. There is one thing I would like clarification on, if you don't mind: the second QT tank in which Foxy is currently residing has also had exposure to the Amyloodinium parasite (it's a long story as to why she was in both tanks at various times during her quarantine). As I re-read my post, I realize that I did not explain that part. That is why I was asking about whether or not the continuous formalin immersion would prevent her from being re-infected and/or kill off the other stages of the Amyloodinium. <Continuous exposure to formalin is not suggested... very dangerous. Best to dip/bathe and move to new water... in this case, to amend/change our prev. corr. back to the orig. QT> If it will NOT do this with certainty, we should perhaps then choose the 2nd of the options we discussed in our correspondence: removing her from the QT tank and performing a pH adjusted freshwater dip (with Methyl blue), then placing her in the bleached/rinsed OTHER QT tank, using water from our 125G main tank. What are your thoughts? <Yes... with the new info. presented here, this is best> We will be leaving on a vacation in about a week and we'd like to have Foxy healthy (and velvet-free) in her QT tank by that point, so our friend coming to take care of our marine buddies while we're gone won't be stressing out about sick fish. She is not knowledgeable about medicating fish, and we don't want to burden her with that responsibility! Thank you again for your input! Have a wonderful day! Beth Norman <Thank you Beth. BobF>

Re: Rabbitfish with velvet...treating with formalin - 06/09/2008 Hi, Bob! Thank you a second time for your advice. Foxy was FW dipped yesterday and is now in her new water in the other QT tank, happily eating algae off of her algae clip. I am so relieved that she seems to be healthy after the formalin exposure, though I suppose we're not out of the woods for sure just yet. I cannot believe the rapidness with which she has returned back from the almost-dead (with the velvet); she's a tough cookie! Thanks again, and have a wonderful day! :) WWM is just such a fantastic resource for us all! Beth Norman <Ahh, thank you for your kind words and update Beth. Formalin really can be a lifesaver at "whacking off" external issues... Cheers! BobF>

Question on Formalin baths -- IE is my math right? - 1/24/08 Hey crew -- <Jonathan> Got another question. This time on Formalin baths. Going by this quote: "For dips/baths 125-250 ppm (about .5 to 1 ml. of 100% soln.) per gallon may be used for up to an hour of immersion." I did the math (C1/C2 = V1/V2 -- 100/37 = 1/X) and came up with 2.70mL of 37% stock Formalin solution per a gallon of aerated/temp. adjusted salt water. Now, my math might be off there, but I've done that dip regiment 3 times now due to a case of Crypt and, quite frankly, I think it's worked pretty darn well. The fish were first found infected around the 6th of January and the first dip was performed, I believe, the day after or so. <I do agree with your math... looks like the conversion part of the formula for the stock solution being 37% was not included prior> The main infected fish was my Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum) and I didn't feel like coppering him (besides the fact that I've never had great luck with copper). Well, he's doing fantastic. After 2 dips there were zero traces of Crypt on him or any of his tank mates (though the other tank mates were not infected). It's been roughly 3 weeks since then so I figured I would've seen another outbreak if he was still infested (obviously the QT -- a 20g high tank -- has fresh salt water rather than system water). <Ah, good> I don't think that he's been poisoned (much) and he seems as healthy and active as ever. Is that dose I used a good/healthy dose to administer? <Yes... the "amount" here is rather not an issue... within reason, but simple observation, limiting time/exposure is... along with vigorous aeration> I'm likely going to bathe them in a formalin bath before placing them back into display in a month or so (shooting for the 2nd week of March -- gives me 10 months fallow, I believe) just to make sure there is no chance for a re-infestation of my main system. - Jon <Thank you for this correction. Bob Fenner>

Re: Question on Formalin baths -- IE is my math right? - 1/24/08 Thanks for the quick response, Bob. <Welcome Jon> I used the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals 37% Formalin and it did a great job. <Ahh, this biocide is easily re-packaged by a few companies> I actually bathed the Tang for 80 minutes simply because it showed zero signs of lethargy and it was the only heavily effected fish. It might've helped that I had the power head running and let the water "age" overnight before administering the bath (I actually had a power filter running as well simply because I was trying to disinfect it and figured the water movement/aeration would help the fish in the bath as well). <Good> But thanks a lot for clarifying the issue with the math on the 37%. I THOUGHT that it was correct but I've never been a math whiz. I've always been a bigger fan of biology than chemistry as well (hence my college path thus far). - Jon <More of a math whiz than moi! BobF>

Re: tang quick cure 01/19/2008 Thx Andrew, so I did kill the fish:( <<Hi, Andrew again. We have all done something wrong, its a matter of learning from it that makes us all better aquarists>> Question #2: I'd really like to try again with this fish. IYO, is the Doctorfish a suitable fish for a relative beginner? <<Yes, its an easy to care for fish as long as you understand its diet and environment>> I have 2 other tanks ( a 30G and a high reward-high maintenance 5G saltwater) that have been up and running for 8-9 months, so I have the basics. The Doctorfish is going into a 55G, w/40lbs live rock, (1) False Clown, a Yellowtail Damsel, a 3-Stripe Damsel, Harlequin Serpent Star and misc tank cleaners, with the idea of replacing ALL of the tanks with a single 90G in the next year or so. <<Given the size that the fish can grow too, I would not buy this fish unless you have a 125gallon aquarium ready for it when its finished its quarantine process. These can grow up to around 10 - 12 inches in captivity and require a "lot" of swimming room>> Thx for your thoughts and truly invaluable resources of wetwebmedia.com. <<Thank you again for your follow up and questions, A Nixon>>

Rid Ich... and most everything else...   1/1/08 hi guys, I used rid-ich in a FOWLR tank and now my tank is so cloudy. Did I kill off beneficial bacteria in the live rock? If so will the bacteria come back. thanks guys <See on WWM re the active ingredients here... the short answers are likely so... RMF>

Re: Possible Brooklynellosis, and link for formalin use  -- 11/18/07 No there are only two clownfish. I plan on doing a fresh RO water dip with formalin. <See instructions here for Formalin baths: http://www.petsforum.com/personal/trevor-jones/formalinbaths.html However, this may not be the best course of action. I really need more information that you haven't yet provided.> I don't have a QT tank, so I'm just going to do a dip, and hope that cures it. <You need to be sure this is Brooklynellosis. The Formalin procedure is very stressful on fish. It is possible that this is caused from the frogspawn. Which in that case, a dip may only make the situation worse. There may also be something else going on. Also please send me a complete list of your water parameters.> Do you think this will work? <I can't say. Brenda>

Help baby clown trigger cloudy eyes. Too small a world, poisoned... 7/14/07 Hi, I got my baby clown trigger 6 days ago. From my LFS I had it on hold for two weeks and last Saturday I pick it up. <Okay> It was doing great I saw it eat at the LFS and when I got it at home I feed it a little more brine shrimp and it ate it. <I'd steer away from offering much Artemia... see WWM re> Then 3 days later I saw some white dots on its fins and thought it was ick so I treated the tank <... with?> (30 gallon 36w18h12 wide) <Much too small...> and noticed a day later it had cloudy eyes and kept treating the tank. <Uhh... the "treatment" is likely poisoning your Trigger, causing the eye trouble...> It was eating and then today when I went to feed it was still hiding under a rock and did not eat what should I do I am really worried. The only other fish is a strawberry Dottyback and I am treating the tank with QuickCure please help. Thank You <Formalin and... Please... read on WWM re this material/product... and the article et al. on the species you list... Your problems are of your own making here. Bob Fenner>

Dip Confusion on WWM? Formalin  - 7/4/07 Dear Bob, I was perusing WWM to learn what I can about dips. I'm sure you don't remember, but I asked a few weeks ago for some advice about dipping a newly purchased Atrosalarias fuscus rather than quarantining it, and you advised that rather than quarantine it I should dip with pH adjusted FW dosed with formalin. So I finally found my brown Combtooth blenny today (been looking for weeks at my 4 LFS and this is the first time I have seen one) and am sitting here trying to ensure that I do this right while he is acclimating. I have some RidIch+ (11.52% formalin/malachite green) that I intend to use as directed. I know I won't get a response before I dump him in the tank, but . . . What I found confuses and worries me (that I'm not doing the right thing): In the Dips/Baths article of WWM (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm), I see the following admonition: "4) Formalin and formalin/malachite solutions are probably too dangerous and may well be disallowed by law in your area, they are in California. These cross-link peptides indiscriminately, destroying any and all proteins they come in contact with. In a very real sense, you're poisoning the "good guys" as well as the "bad". Hopefully the latter faster than the former. Due to their narrow range of safety, toxicity to livestock and handler, and legal constraints, I would avoid formalin mixtures for pet-fish applications. Malachite green, zinc-free is no longer even used at most government labs and fish hatcheries." However, in the Formalin/Formaldehyde article (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm), I see this: "Hobbyists are encouraged to buy stock Formalin/Malachite solutions (e.g. Aquarium Product's "Quick Cure", Kordon Corp.s "Rid-Ich+"). * * * Cloze: Until there are better, more specific treatment compounds, immunological agents, "nano-tools" that can single out pathogens, undesirable growths, trigger production of beneficial reactants in vivo, we will be left with semi-selectively poisoning our livestock (and ourselves) in the hopes/efforts of "killing off the bad guys, while preserving the good"... The extreme example of the economic use of formalin is a case in point. With careful, metered exposure, this dangerous compound can indeed be useful in the treatment of infectious, protozoan and metazoan undesirables. Its treatment use should be accompanied by careful, continuous observation, added aeration, monitoring of nitrogenous waste accumulation, and ready access to large water changes." Is it me, or is the advice contained in these two articles contradictory? The former seems to say "stay away from formalin!". The latter seems to say "formalin is dangerous, but it's the best we have right now." <Mmm, does appear "too" contradictory, or at least unclear to me as well... The adverb "probably" is problematical in the first citation... I currently agree with the second Bob Fenner.> Thanks and cross your fingers for me. Andy <Can't do this and key! Bob Fenner>  

Flame Angel Discoloration, hlth., formalin use f's     4/23/07 Introduced a Flame Angel a week ago after formalin dip and quarantine. Looked good for about five days and then started to develop a dirty or sooty-looking discoloration starting just behind the eyes and extending to the dorsal fin above the lateral line on both sides and back. <I see this> Just today, it looks like it is extending below the lateral line behind the gills. Behavior is normal; active, no flashing, eats well gets along with tank mates (Copperband, Sailfin and Chromis are showing no signs of trouble). Can't seem to find pictures or description of the exact same thing anywhere except for comments that, for whatever reason, there have been recent problems with Flame Angels dieing prematurely and darkening is a general symptom of that process. Would like to save new fish, but more importantly, don't want to lose the others that I have had for years. What shall I do? Regards, George <Mmm, keep on doing your best to nutrify this specimen (soak foods in vitamin/HUFA prep. like Microvit...) and maintain water quality... This specimen looks like it was "burned", likely by the formalin exposure... The area affected is likely bilaterally symmetrical... It is displaying evidence of neuromast destruction... part of the Lateralis System... Only time, good care can/will heal this. Bob Fenner>

Tang and Mandarin in QT Formalin use   2/6/07 Greetings, <Tom> Last Friday I bought a small, 2 1/2", Chevron Tang and a Mandarin Dragonet. Both are active, feeding, and appeared healthy.  I normally buy only one fish at a time, but the LFS is a long drive for me so I went ahead with the purchase since both looked like exceptional specimens.  I put both fish into the only QT tank (10G) that I have, even though I know that their QT and medication needs are different.  Since the Tang had been at the LFS for a couple of weeks I hoped the risk of an outbreak was low.  I put pod-loaded LR and Chaeto from my fuge into the QT for the Mandarin, and he was actively picking at it. Sure enough, after a day in QT the Tang has a major ich breakout, and there are also a few cysts on the Mandarin's head.  I've been able to clear the symptoms with a Quick Cure formalin treatment, <As a dip/bath I hope> and will continue as directed, but  I've gone a little light on the formalin dose since Mandarin's are sensitive.  The concern now is that the Mandarin will either not get enough to eat during the treatment/QT phase, or have a problem with the formalin. <Too likely both> Today is day three of the formalin treatments and the Mandarin's belly is already looking thin. <Bingo> So my question is, what is my best course of action now? <... to not expose them any further to the Formalin... to proffer live foods... to have moved the fishes into a new volume (dumping, sterilizing the infested QT...)> Once the Mandarin is cyst-free for a couple of days, should I dip him and place him in the display tank (135G reef) or fuge (15G) so he can get a meal? <A possibility... your gauging of risk of vectoring> I did place more LR in the fuge, with the intent of putting it in the QT for the Mandarin to feed on but I don't think that will sustain him long. <Not likely, but worthwhile IMO> The Tang is eating fine in QT, and can/will stay for a few weeks. Cheers, Tom <A tough one... up to you to guess/judge... Again, I would NOT have placed Formalin in the actual system itself, but used this product for an extended bath only; moving the fishes to new digs. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tang and Mandarin in QT, more on Formalin, Dips  2/7/07 Hi Bob, <Tom> Thank you for the quick advice...I sure do appreciate this and all the effort put into WWM.  Our fish, corals, and other inverts appreciate it too...nothing like having a healthy, growing reef at home. <A pleasure to assist your efforts> After reading your reply, I cleaned/sterilized the QT and refilled it half and half with fresh SW mix (aged/aerated 2 days) and established SW from the display tank.  I guess the only way crypt can get back into the QT is if it's still on these fish, or if it exists in our display tank. <Exactly> I put the Tang and Mandarin back in the QT after a FW dip. Temp & pH matched but they seemed to be stressing, I hope 3 minutes was enough time in the FW. <Mmm... maybe, hopefully> Also put live rock in to help feed the Mandarin and since the QT sponge filter was sterilized. Both fish appear to be eating again. <A good sign> Anything else you would recommend I do at this point, besides wait and see? <No... just this> I hope I don't need to treat again with formalin, but in case I do, I have related questions. From reading WWM it looks like the recommended formalin strength for dips/baths is around 10x the recommended PPM dose for continuous immersion, but I don't understand how to apply this dose with QuickCure. <Is a bit of a guess... stock solutions of Formalin are 37% or so... you'd have to find out, do the C1/C2 = V1/V2 equation... where C means concentration, V, volume... as in drops, drops per...> Their instructions call for 1 drop per gallon for continuous immersion treatment, but there is no information on the label that says how strong their product is.  So should I simply use that 10x multiplier to make a strong enough dip treatment, meaning 10 drops per gallon? <Likely is a safe bet... along with your constant observation AND aeration during immersion (there is severe lack of respiration issues here...)> I'm hoping you can give me a guideline of how much QuickCure to use for a formalin dip treatment. <Well... I'd rather refer you to WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm and the linked FAQs file above... and encourage you to just get/use a straight Formalin product (see them listed?)> And should I make the formalin dip using SW, or FW? <IMO pH-adjusted FW> And just to make sure I do this right, how many minutes should be an effective dip for these particular fish? Thanks again, Tom <Five or so minutes if they can "stand it". Bob Fenner>

Sick fish, FW Ich, formalin poisoning  1/9/07 Hi crew, I have recently had an outbreak of ick in my aquarium and have started to treat it with formalin and malachite green, <Yikes... easily toxic... to both your livestock and beneficial microbe populations that perform critically important biological filtration> as well as frequent water changes and addition of some salt to the water. It seems though that after having added the medication the fish seem to be "drowsy" as they appear to be sleeping most of the day. <Good observation... poisoning> Some just lie down at the bottom of the tank, behind rocks and leaves, but there are also some that seem to prop themselves up against an ornament in the tank and sort of stand on their heads. Is this normal? <For being poisoned, yes> And also, not long after the ick started they seem to now also have fin rot now. <Secondary...> I assume this is because they are stressed and weakened by the ick. <And/or whatever the root cause was/were, and the medication...> Should I be treating for both illnesses, or will the fin rot heal itself as they get better? <You should be using other means period... NOT formalin... and elevated temperature> I've checked the water quality and the only thing that is slightly high is the nitrate level but it is still below 20 (only at about 5 or 10). I read that generally just adding salt and keeping the water quality good is what will help them recover the most from fin rot. I'm really worried about losing all of my fish since one has died already. Thank you for your help. Erika <Please read here, and soon: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above; particularly on Ich and Formalin use. Bob Fenner>

Dips   1/7/07 Hello. <'Allo Josh! > I enjoy your site very much. <Very good to hear. Hard work and long hours, etc.> I have been reading dips/baths for a few days now and have came up with some questions... I see that Methylene Blue and freshwater seems to be a good dip for marine fish.. <Right...> I dosed my tank with Quick Cure and my fish all died within a few days. <Hmm, I'm sure you said you READ the info on dips and baths... and assume you must have thought to search for this medication here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/formalinfaqs.htm > would quick cure be better used as a dip then to quarantine or should I just use the methylene blue and freshwater approach ? <Quick cure is not a dip, and will be best utilized in a QT. Yes, stick with the MB/FW dip and QT for 4 weeks prior to addition in display tank. -Graham T.>

Wrasse with clownfish disease? & Formalin toxicity/use   12/21/06 Hi, <G' morning> How many times can the same fish be treated with formalin ? <A rhetorical question? Until it's dead? Likely only a few times I guess... is harsh, toxic, and being netted, handled by itself is hard on this group of fishes>   I have a dragon wrasse that showed signs of clownfish disease, I treated him and he curled up and laid on the floor for a while, <Typical, general after-reaction> then appeared to get better and was swimming and eating. He still looked a bit wobbly, resting on rocks etc so I treated him again. After this second treatment <... you... did... or didn't return this fish to the same/infested system?> he looks worse than ever. He is on the floor curled over most of the time, although his breathing seems to have slowed. He came out this morning, swam round once, ate some food , then curled up again under a rock upside down. I am not sure if he is recovering or getting worse. I did the second treatment 2 days ago but don't know whether to do another or just leave him to rest ? The clowns had it too, before him, but are now right as rain. I am a novice at this , so all help is much appreciated ! <Mmm, please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/brooklynellosisart.htm and the principal linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Fish with Brooklynella, other protozoan  11/12/06 Hi, Can someone help us out. We have a 180 gallon tank with live rock and sps coral. We seem to be having a problem with Brooklynella. We lost a hog fish, Nemo, copper band, and about to lose more. <This is likely another protozoan here...> We are currently setting up a quarantine tank and will be trying to remove the fish. We will treat with a Formalin dip. Please let us know how many times this must be done or is it a one time dip. Please let me know how much to use also. Thanks, Cindy <Mmm, three times... moving the livestock into all new water/non-infested system after... one ounce of stock (37% solution) to a gallon of water (matched pH, temperature...). Bob Fenner>   

Imperator Angel Regurgitating Food After Ich <treatment> Episode   5/8/06 Hello, <Hi there>             Thank you for the wonderful website.  It is truly my reference of choice. My 150 gallon FOWLR had been running for over a year with no problems or disease outbreaks until a water/electric event occurred that tripped the breaker for several hours while I was at work.  The tank dropped to 70-degrees by the time I got home.  I lost a yellow tang three days later and my large Imperator Angel became infested with Ich. <... the crypt must have been present...>   I treated in QT with freshwater dips, UV sterilization, and Formalin followed by CopperSafe for ten days.  He refused to eat while in QT. <Happens>   I returned him to the display tank and he has generally been free of visible Ich for about ten days now. However, he does not express outward interest in food.  I have to introduce food to him with a feeding stick.  He will generally go for it when it's near his mouth.  However, when he takes it, he seems to "chew" on it for quite some time.  After he swallows it, his breathing becomes very rapid for the next few minutes.  Eventually, he struggles a bit and shoots the food out of his mouth.  Any thoughts on what is happening here? <The lining of this fishs gut was destroyed... mainly by the formalin... will take a while longer to regenerate>   I have tried all varieties of his favorite foods including krill, silversides, and Nori. Again, he accepts them all but has trouble keeping them down. (Incidentally, I have taken measures to prevent future electrical catastrophes.)  Thanks very much for your assistance. Fred Warren <Need to keep trying... perhaps soaking the foods in a vitamin supplement to enhance their palatability. Bob Fenner>

Marine lighting, quarantine, formalin use 10/29/06 Good morning, <Gutmorgen!> Thank you for your wonderful website.  It is an extremely valuable tool for us newcomers to the hobby!   I'll try to keep this concise, while giving you the detail I think you need.   <Okay> 1.)     Set up is a 55 gallon saltwater tank (48 x 13 x 20).  There is 50 lbs of Fiji liverock, and another 15 - 20 lbs of "dead" rock, which we hope will be seeded by the liverock in time.  We have been using the light that came with the tank, which is a useless single 40W fluorescent bulb.  In researching the monstrous amount of information on Wet Web Media to assist us in upgrading the lighting, we have ruled out metal halide, and decided to go with Sunlight Supply's Tek T5 HO lighting.  We feel this will give us some better stocking choices over time, as compared to compact fluorescent lighting.  Would you agree? <Yes, I do> My question is whether to go with a 2 lamp fixture (2 at 54W) or a 4 lamp fixture (4 at 54W).  My concern is whether the 4 lamp will be too strong for this size tank, as 216W is about double that when using T5 HO, correct?   <Not too much, and correct> If too much, is it possible to run just three lamps of the four on the larger fixture? <Mmm... likely these lamps/fixtures are "ganged" and must be run in pairs> The two lamp fixture does not seem to be enough lighting. Our hope is to keep soft corals, and if the lighting permits, some corals that would require a bit more lighting.  (Will NOT make the jump to metal halides.) 2.)     Our intention from the beginning was to get enough live rock over time to enable us to remove the media out of the Eheim Pro II 2026 canister filter and let the liverock do its thing. I am installing an Aqua C Remora protein skimmer tonight. My thought is that once the skimmer is running properly, I would move the media that is in the canister filter.  My question is this:  How do I know when the "right" time to do this is? <Always a bit of a guess... but after a few months... when all seems/appears stable, the canister can be removed> If the tank isn't stable enough (it has been running for three months........liverock about a month), will I run into problems? <A possibility. More remote with time going by>   I'm thinking I'd see the ammonia and nitrate levels rise if the timing is wrong.  Can you give some pointers here?   <Wait another month if in doubt at this point in time> Consistently, ammonia has been zero, PH 8.3, nitrites zero, SG 1.024 and have been battling nitrates, but keeping below 10.   I have been doing 12% weekly water changes.   3.)     Because of lack of experience, we lost all four of our fish in the tank to Ich last month.  Since then, we have committed to quarantining.  We have been allowing our tank to run fallow for three weeks now (and continuing normal maintenance).  There are 8 crabs, 6 snails, one cleaner shrimp and two feather dusters in the main tank that all appear to be doing well. Molting of the shrimp and a couple of crabs has occurred.   Two weeks ago, we put two Ocellaris Clownfish and a Springeri Pseudochromis in quarantine.  (Ten gallon with a simple hang on the back filter and dose of Bio Spira.  Water changes every couple of days. Water is testing fine)   Fish have been doing really well.  Some rubbing behavior appeared last week, but no visible signs of Ich. <Some rubbing is natural> We were advised by our local fish store to never treat for Ich unless you see the white spots on the fish.   <I concur. Much more trouble, losses from "poor" treatments here> Recently, we noticed more than normal "bullying"- type behavior between the clowns.  Yesterday, it seemed to move beyond that.  When the submissive one was bullied, he would go into what looked like a one second electric, convulsive shock.  He would then swim off like it never happened. <Is a sort/type of submissive behavior> Upon extra careful scrutiny as a result of this episode, we spotted what appears to be Ich on the Clowns. <I would not be so fast/sure here. Could be discrete mucus "stress" spotting alone> At that point (last night), we treated the quarantine tank with what the local fish store suggested.  We used Formalin-3 and Malachite Green (had this on hand to be prepared for an Ich incident because of our first experience). <Mmm... careful here. These compounds are quite toxic> Each fish appeared to have no reaction to the medication. When the dog woke us up at 4am to go out (we have WAY too many pets in this house!), we checked on the fish.  The Springeri Pseudochromis appeared to be having trouble.  He was near the surface of the water, and looking lethargic.  We were thinking this medicine is something he cannot handle. <... please see WWM re... Formalin is a biocide... kills all proteinaceous life>   We felt like we had two choices at 4am.......either leave him and take the chance he dies, or put him in the main tank which has been fallow for three weeks.  We decided to move him there and see how it goes.  If he shows signs of Ich, we will set up a separate tank to treat him alone.  A couple of hours in the main tank and the Springeri Pseudochromis is looking back to his old self!  He is lively, and actively tried to get some Mysis shrimp put in the tank this morning.  I guess my question is whether the treatment we are using for the Clowns is sufficient or not.  I'm a bit fearful of using copper, but if it has to be done, I will.  Since the Ich is visible on the Clowns, I'm more concerned for them at the moment. <Allow me to interdict here... if the system was Crypt-infested, the Dottyback has moved it to the main tank... I would move the Clowns there also at this point... sans further chemical treatment>   I don't want to wait too long, or do the wrong thing, in fear of killing yet another fish under my watch!  Also, I'm concerned with the fact that we are dealing with Ich again.  (I tell you, I'm about ready to throw in the towel!)  Could this bout be the result of too many fish in a 10 gallon QT? <More crowding can indeed be a factor... for stress induction, ease of re-infestation of hosts>   The QT tends to have a two degree temp change happening throughout the day. Could this be the cause? <This diurnal temp. range should be fine> I find it very difficult to keep the temp in the 10 gallon at a constant temp.  We have considered adding a UV sterilizer to the main tank, but after researching, it seems like it is more trouble than the possible benefits it provides.  Are we making a mistake here? <Not IMO> As an aside, we are using tap water treated with a dechlorinator.  I don't know if this info is of any use or not, but thought I'd let you know. <No worries> Any advice you have is greatly appreciated.   Thank you so much for your time.   Regards, Kim in Boston <I might consider a pH adjusted FW dip enroute here for your fishes. Bob Fenner, in Chiang Mai>

Formalin and Live Rock 9/10/06 I really enjoy reading your advice. It has helped me as a novice to marine tanks a great deal, but I think I still did something stupid. <We all have at some point.> I had a clownfish with signs of the parasite responsible for clownfish disease. So I did the formalin dip exactly as I was supposed to. He died within a minute of exposure to the dip. ( to be fair he was doing very poorly immediately before the dip) The stupid thing I did was take a piece of live rock from my tank and put it in my QT. I did this because someone told me I it would help to keep stress down with the rock in there since before I just had a stark 10 gallon qt with nothing in it. <For future knowledge, it is much better to use a piece of PVC in QTs, non-reactive with medications and disposable.> Well since the fish appeared to be so distressed I hurried and just grabbed the piece of rock he most liked from my main tank. That piece of rock was exposed to formalin on Wednesday. Is it safe to return it to my main tank? (It is my favorite piece of rock) Have I tainted it by exposing it to the formalin or can I safely add it back to my tank with endangering my other fish or invertebrates? <Would probably be safe after several water changes and using a PolyFilter.  However, I would not use it, the risk of carrying either the formalin or the clownfish disease back to the main tank is too high compared to the cost of a new piece of LR.> <Actually... the formalin "dissipates" or otherwise reacts so quickly with "life" that it is likely long since gone. RMF> <Chris>

Quick Cure... or quick death  8/25/06 I have a very important question. I am using Quick Cure to treat Ick . <Malachite Green and Formalin... very dangerous> I have my fish in a 10 gallon QT and the Quick Cure has been working great. The dose for Quick Cure is 1 drop per gallon for 5 days. Say I do a 100% water change on the 4th day because of high nitrites and because I wanted to move them to a new 10 gallon setup do I put 40 drops in the new tank or is that too much? <Is way too much...> Do I just put in 10? <Never more than one drop per actual gallon> Please help, I do not want the 40 drops to be to concentrated and kill the fish. Another way to put it is if I do a 50% water change on the 3rd day do I just put in 10 for that day or do I have to put in more to compensate the drops I put in for days 1 and 2? Thanks <... one drop per gallon as changed, replaced, time going by... Bob Fenner>
Re: Quick Cure  - 08/26/06
Thanks for reply. Makes me feel much better to get information from such a highly respected source! I know the Quick Cure directions say use for 5 days, but what if all the ick is not gone yet? <Continue for full course of treatment... the parasite can/does "cycle" off the host fishes...> Allot <A lot> of people say they use for 14 days to make sure all the ick is killed. <Too long, toxic> The fish do not looked stressed at all. Also off the current subject do you think I can put 2 Sailfin Tangs together? <In a very large system, likely yes. See WWM re the genus, Compatibility> One from the Red Sea is the new one I might get and smaller, the current one is the Zebrasoma Tang and is bigger and has been in the tank for a few months, Thanks Again <Bob Fenner>
Re: Quick Cure, Crypt, PBT Dis, reading  8/27/06
Thanks Again for your reply. I have one more question. I have a Hippo Tang (Ick Magnet) in the QT. I have been dosing him with the Quick Cure for 6 days today and would like to stop but he still has Ick. He was doing better days 3,4,5 with very little visible Ick but then today he has more on him. I thought it was just about to be all gone. <... I would not treat this fish with formalin and Malachite Green... under most circumstances> I know you said the Quick Cure is toxic so I do not want to dose him too long. What would you do if it was your fish? <Please read.... Here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/paracdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above...> I also have a Sailfin tang and he has shown no signs of Ick since day 2 or 3. I have been doing 30% water changes. Right now the Nitrites are at .25 and the ammonia lower then 1.0 so I am about to do another 40% change. So since the Quick Cure treatment is over and the Hippo Tang still has Ick what are my options now, Thanks <Don't write... read. Bob Fenner>

Angelfish and white spot, spare the formalin   7/7/06 I purchased a Coral Beauty Angelfish 2 weeks ago.  He is in QT.  Yesterday, I saw what looked like a white pimple on the front of his pectoral fin.  This morning the white spot is gone but his fin is frayed.  I thought he might have ich but I am not sure since it was one spot and was gone today.  He is eating normally. Should I treat with Formalin or observe longer? <The latter. Is not likely parasitic/pathogenic... the formalin is far likely a source of trouble than help>   If I treat with Formalin, do I just do a dip or do I also treat the QT?  Or is there something else I need to do?   I have looked through FAQ's but still was not sure what I should do. Thanks much for your help, Jana Gibbs <I would not use the formalin here. Too toxic, too stressful to be catching, manipulating this Centropyge. Bob Fenner>

Formalin 37%, dangerous ignorance    4/12/06     Hello and thanks in advance for the assistance. Great site here much appreciated. My question is whether or not formalin will stay in a tank after treatment. <Not generally for long... particularly if there is much life/protein... gets "used up"... by cross linking peptides...> I have just set up a 30 gallon aquarium with two pieces of fairly bare live rock which i don't mind turning to base rock and a four inch fine sand bed. I have an Atlantic cherub angel with a couple of spots and I want to catch it without using another tank. What do you recommend to remove the formalin after treatment and how long should i wait to put a tester snail and a mushroom in? Thanks again. Ross Cypert <... you're joking I hope. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm Bob Fenner> Help! Moo is sick   1/7/06 Hello all, <Moooo!> I have a sick 2 inch longhorn scaleless who has what appears to be Ich. (I do know about the feeding requirements and eventual size of this fish.  He's going into a 75 gallon tank for now and then a 220 once he's of decent size). <I take it this is a Lactoria cornutus/a> I know that these fish are scale-less and therefore copper is not a safe treatment.  I've read of several other possibilities and wanted your opinion. <Copper (chelated best) can be used... carefully> The first was a 30-60 minute formalin bath (I'd use Formalin 3 and follow the directions) in a separate container/tank filled with water from the display tank.  The second treatment was hyposalinity (which I am familiar with and have used in the past with mixed results - one fish cured, one fish didn't survive to the treatment's completion).  Currently I do not have a hospital tank with established filtration (the water and filter media are new so there is no beneficial bacteria) for the hyposalinity technique.  Will the Formalin bath help until I'm able to set up the hospital tank? <Mmm, the exposure is toxic to the fish... consecutive treatments are progressively weakening...> If I take a bag of ChemiPure from the display tank (been in the filter for about 3 weeks) would this be sufficient for the hospital tank (along with daily water changes, buffering etc.)?   <Should help demonstrably> Finally, I'm concerned about transferring this fish from display tank to treatment tank.  A net is out of the question.  Going from the display to the bath or hospital tank will be done by "scooping" the fish into a specimen container with water from the tank to avoid exposure to air. What is the best way to get the fish back into the display tank from the formalin bath? <Mmm, overfilling and dumping most of the water out of the scooper with new/clean water...> Thank you for your time and expertise, Eric <Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Re: Help!  Moo is sick  1/8/06 Thank you for the quick response. <Welcome> The formalin bath did not seem to have any effect whatsoever (Ich parasites clearly visible 24 hours later). <... do you understand the "ich cycle?"... if treated with formalin, the life cycle on the fish themselves will/could be eliminated... the resting stages are going to cycle back on if you've left the fish in the same system... This is posted on WWM re Crypt/Marine Ich> In your reply you stated that copper COULD be used "carefully."  How arduous a process would this be? <Posted as well... involves testing (at least daily... remoting to a treatment system>   I'd like to use Cupramine and a Salifert test kit to monitor the copper levels in the hospital tank (was planning on using a 29 gallon tank with an Aquaclear 70 for filtration).  Is this a viable solution or am I better off going with the 6 week hyposalinity treatment? <... please see WWM... am not a fan of hyposalinity "treatments">   If you believe copper is the way to go could you please suggest a treatment schedule - amount of copper in solution and for how many days. <Posted on WWM. Bob Fenner> Thank you for your help, Eric

Ick and Formol  12/15/05 Dear Sirs Can I use Formol <A 40% solution of formaldehyde> to treat ick in a Yellow Tang? <Not safely> The dosage, 20 drops for eight litres is ok? This dosage is recommended for Discus and during one hour with good aeration. An alternative will be 3 drops for ten litres during 24 hours. Thanks in advance Best regards Flávio <Do be careful if you proceed... be in constant attendance, ready to remove the fish from this bath. Do also read re formalin/formaldehyde use and other means to treat Cryptocaryon posted on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Re: crypto and hyposalinity: hypo does not work  8/16/05 Bob,     I did quarantine the Emperor before for 1 month but still had the problem with the crypto. <Did you treat (prophylactically) with copper?> Is a 55 gallon quarantine with daily water changes for all the fish in the 180g display enough or am going to have problems ? <Can't tell... you just have to try, monitor and see> This is the only tank that I presently have set up for QT purposes ?  ( Fish = Large Emp Angel, Naso Tang, Majestic Angel, Foxface, Purple tang ) <These two angels together... not a good idea...> All fish are still eating and doing very well i.e. no exterior signs of disease.  Do I need another QT ? <Maybe>     Kordon's Rid Ich+ is said not to disturb nitrification ( this is a 11.5%formalin USP grade  4.25% and a zinc free chloride salt of malachite green .038% ) <... we've been over this? Formalin is a biocide... crosslinks peptides... did you not state you had some bio-medical academic background? Look up the MSDS information on this compound> I guess you would not recommend treating the main display with this? <...> Because ? <... posted on WWM: ...> it would not work ? or I would have trouble getting it out of the system after treatment done? You have been a big help separating wheat from chaff re this issue. And I will be patiently persistent Jimmy <Then read... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm Please learn to/use the indices, search tool on WWM... Bob Fenner>

Annularis in Quarantine Hey Bob. I have been using the site now for a while and it's great. I've been recently searching the FAQ's for my angel but had no luck. I have an Annularis Angel in QT treating with formalin and malachite green for about two weeks now. My nitrites are about .25 and sometimes .50. My angel was doing VERY WELL and all of the sudden appeared these really small white spots all over his body, I mean he's covered in them. There are millions of them sprinkled on his body. This has happened before and then just gone away with the medicine so I thought it was ich or something. <Me too> But, they really don't look like ich or velvet, I've never seen this before. He broke out in these and rapid breathing in less than a 24 hour period. Could this be the formalin or mal green doing this to him?  <Yes> Or is this some kind of disease?  <Not likely... all external parasites should be gone with the first exposure to the formalin... Am given to suggest that you do a pH adjusted freshwater dip and move this fish into the main/display tank... this is what I would do> I need to find out how to treat it and what this is from. This angel went from eating like a pig yesterday and swimming all over the tank and this morning I wake up and he's covered and floating in the middle of the tank not really swimming much. If someone could respond quick because he's on his way out, I'm running out of time........THANK YOU!!! Jesse <Got to ask: Do you have a microscope, some simple gear for doing a skin smear... look/see? This is also what I would do... look into a cheapy QX3... this is what I have... it works fine... I would move this fish. Bob Fenner> 

Formalin, Malachite, Annularis Follow-up Bob, YOU'RE A LIFESAVER!!! I actually already started to acclimate him to my display tank because that was my first intuition. My gut feeling was that it was the water and/or meds bothering him. Glad that worked out well, lol. I thought that it takes a while for any medicine to kill parasites... <Mmm, depends on what types... Formalin kills most all on contact... all external> ...and that was the reason for a minimum 2 week to a month QT period (to make sure no new cysts hatch and more parasites break out)? <If the live stages were present on the fish... they'd be killed... if the fish was new, where would the encysted, other life stages come from?> Would the formalin and mal green kill Oodinium and Brooklynellosis and could it be a possibility that he has either of those? <Would kill them, unlikely it's Brooklynellosis, possibly Amyloodinium, but not at this stage...> I'm only asking because at the end of the email you mentioned a microscope. Are you concerned that there really could be a possibility that this could be a parasite (ich/velvet) and not the medicines? <Am always concerned... the only way I handle toxic chemicals, expose them to livestock is to be sure of their efficacy. Bob Fenner> 

Angel tweaked by malachite/formalin? Hey Bob, just wanted to touch base and let you know the angel is safely acclimated into my display tank. The only thing that's a little weird is that he keeps twitching his head and body (and this was a while (a day) later after the freshwater dip and acclimation). Is this a concern? <Maybe> Could the mal green and formalin have given him permanent gill damage? <Possibly> What do you think could be the cause of this behavior and is this something that will go away with time? This was my last concern, so I won't be bothering you anymore, lol. Thank you <Likely related... hopefully reversible. Bob Fenner>

Medication Concentrations Hello.  <Hi! Scott F. here today!> Hey-I'm making this short and to the point. Sorry for the terrible grammar, but my comp crapped out after I wrote a nice email to you guys. <Okay...But please do try to spell/grammar check, etc. when you can- it makes everyone's job (especially that of Marina, who posts all of the questions!)...> I need to know how much malachite green I can use to treat my two clowns that are in my new QT tank. They've had a Methylene blue freshwater bath already, and are now in my 10 QT tank with carbon and a filter sponge. I just need to know how much malachite green and or formalin I can use to safely treat them (not dip...I don't want to do another dip...I don't think little clownfish will survive more trauma). <Well, if you are using a typical over-the-counter aquarium remedy containing formalin, it's usually a 3% solution, and you use about 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons. In a typical straight formalin product, it's a 37% concentration, and the typical dose is 1 teaspoon per 90 gallons. The typical dose for malachite green is 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons with most of the products that I have seen. Don't take my notes here as the ultimate say on things, though. When using any medication, ALWAYS consult and follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter.> Thanks a million. I think they'll be getting along fine after this. <I hope that they will!> Hail Bob for CMA that book is incredible...I've learned sooooooooooooo much, and I thought I knew plenty. Thanks Chris aka -fishtank- <A pleasure, Chris! I know that Bob is thrilled that his book has had such a solid impact on the hobby!> ps- Sorry about bad grammar, but I'm pretty pissed at my comp and don't feel like going into detail again. <Understood...Take care! Regards, Scott F>

Medication Duration- And Removal One more quick question...how long do I keep the fish in treatment? I'm going with 1 teaspoon for my 10g but how long should I keep them in there?  <Well, I'd follow the manufacturer's directions. Usually, the course of treatment is a week or two> And how should I get the malachite out of there when its all done? Water change and carbon I'm assuming.. <Yep...and Poly Filter, which is great at removing medications> I'll be taking out the carbon during the treatment. Once again, thanks a million. <My pleasure! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> 

The High Cost of "Reef Safe" Medication Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. in tonight> I have a new 55 gallon tank with 46 pounds of live Fiji & Tonga rock. I've had to tank running for 2 weeks with damsels and a trigger. My trigger got ich and my local fish shop gave me OrganiCure and said this product was SAFE for live rock and crabs (as I have both). <Grr...I cringe when I hear that term...No medication is really "reef safe"...Regardless of what medication you choose to use, make it a rule to NEVER treat in the display tank!> Well, the following morning I awake and 10 crabs are dead (1 survived) and all of my feather dusters are all gone/dead. The colors on my rocks are also looking faded and white.  I spoke with my fish shop and they told me OrganiCure is safe and shouldn't of killed my rock and crabs so they are unwilling to help me out at all. ARE they incorrect or being dishonest??? <I don't think that they are being dishonest, but I am almost certain that they are incorrect. Just don't medicate in the display tank! period.> How can this product be sold as "safe for inverts" when it really isn't??? <That's the $40,000,000 question. I don't know why products are marketed this way, and I'm not sure why they are so aggressively sold as a "reef safe" treatment. It's a bad practice that can result in a disaster, as you now know> In order to ever have feather dusters, snails, crabs, starfish, etc do I basically have to trash my tank and start again??? I'm just devastated by the amount of money I spent on live rock just 2 weeks ago to now have to trash it :( <I don't think that you'd have to trash it. What I'd do is execute a series of large water changes, and use some good chemical filtration media, such as Poly Filter (which excels at removing medications and other impurities from tank water) and activated carbon on a continuous basis. After a month or two of this, chances are good that you'll have gotten out the majority of the medication. Some will dissipate on its own, too. You can never be 100% certain, so do check with hardy, inexpensive inverts, like snails or hermits, before adding more delicate animals. I hate to have you "experiment" with these inverts, but that's really gonna be your best guide. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Where to Get Formalin in LA? Any idea where it can be purchased in Los Angeles, California or the surrounding area? Thanks! <What I would do is mail order this medication. It is not always available in CA. You can get formalin-based products from many e-tailers. HTH. Regards, Scott F.>

Angel In Distress? Hi guy!! <Scott F. your guy tonight!> My French Angel had cloudy eyes and some white parasites on his eyes and body that looked like little grains. I gave him a freshwater bath with Formalin-3.It did get rid of the parasites and cloudiness on his eyes. But 2 days later, he doesn't eat and his fins are deteriorating like crazy. <Hmm...sounds/look like it could be "collateral damage" from the Formalin. I've seen similar results with copper sulphate on some fishes. It certainly would be advisable to get this guy out of medication ASAP, if you have not already done so.> Right away, I put him in a quarantine with Maracyn Two. Here is a picture tell me what you think. Thanks. Derik <Well, Derek, I'd keep this guy in the quarantine tank for a while, but I'd remove any medications to give him a "break" for a while. Yes, it is important to keep the water quality high, but I'd avoid the medication unless symptoms get worse here. Hopefully, if this is not a disease, your fish should make a full recovery in a few weeks with good environmental conditions. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Formalin & Orangespot Filefish <Hi, MikeD here> I have a few questions about a couple of subject matters.  The first concerns formalin.<OK>  I live in California and can no longer find formalin for sale.<California's standards are stricter than many, and formalin is a known and proved carcinogen, or cancer causing agent>  I have heard two things.  The first is that it is illegal to sell here, and the other is that the pharmaceutical company that makes it is no longer in business.  What is the truth behind it?<Since there always was more than one company that manufactured it, I seriously doubt that THE company went out of business, unless of course "they" are referring to a California company, which is quite possible>  I depend on this medication to get rid of the various external parasites found on marine angels and butterflyfish before introducing them to my aquarium.  It is part of the reason I'm able to keep the Eight Banded Butterflyfish (Chaetodon octofasciatus) alive and eating well for a long time now.<I seriously doubt it's the formalin enabling you to keep the fish alive, but rather your husbandry and feeding regimens instead.>  How do I get a hold of it, or are there other safe alternatives to ridding fish of their parasites?<There are several other chemicals that are effective against external parasites, the choice of which is often dependent on what type of parasite it is to begin with> The other concerns the Orangespot filefish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris).  I have kept this fish before in a tank filled with thriving Acropora colonies.<That's highly commendable and a much greater length than many are willing to go in the attempt>   One day it mysteriously disappeared.<Which is usually the end met by most in captivity>  All my other fish at the time were healthy and still alive.  I believe I had a couple of Red Margin Fairy Wrasses (Cirrhilabrus rubrimarginatus), a Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus), and a Golden Pygmy Angel (Centropyge aurantius).  I suspect the possibility of parasites killing this fish<No offense, but I think you've got a parasite fixation>, for it pecked at the corals all day long.<Meaning what?>  What's even weirder is that I have been seeing pictures of these fish fat as a pig in nature.  But my fish never got that friggin' big in the aquarium feeding off of Acropora colonies alone.<That's likely because it was never healthy and was lacking in a critical element in its diet it needed to survive.>  This to me seems contrary to what is being written everywhere in books magazines, as well as articles on the internet about them being exclusive corallivores.<OK, I'll agree a little with that statement.>  Is it possible they are just as undemanding in the variety of food they eat as other filefish, but are rather just shy behaviorally and very slow to adapt to rapid changes in diet and environments?<Possible, but that's not likely the entire explanation, with the real answer being that there's something in their wild diet you weren't able to meet, perhaps something as simple as not enough different species of corals. In the wild they're on the move all day long and probably include much in their diet in addition to the coral, which provides the bulk of it.>  I have read accounts from certain aquarists training this fish to regularly accept normal aquarium foods.<Me too and I'm always suspicious of these reports, with many people thinking 6 months or a year is "success" while in actuality it's just slow starvation.>  I've also noticed in pet stores and wholesale warehouses, that these fish peck at the sides of the glass and the bottom of the tank a lot.<Logical. they are starving to death and trying to find ANYTHING to help fill the gap.>  The pecking seems very deliberate.<It probably is, with their vision attuned to things we can't even see.>  What are they doing?<Eating>  Could the possibility of parasites I've seen commonly attached to angels and butterflies affect the health of these fish drastically to the point of no return?<By the hundreds? Not likely. I don't know you but you really do seem obsessed with parasites.>  Would it be proper to assume that if I tried a similar mini-reef Acropora set up in the distant future, to purchase the smallest juvenile filefish possible for the purposes of adaptability, much like butterflyfish?<Not a bad idea, but if I were to try it I'd add more than just Acropora, as nature rarely has anything found singly by species. I wouldn't be surprised to find that small anemones, cnidarians and such are also a vital part of their diet.>  Are these fish also commonly found in groups rather than singly in nature?<Actually, no. Adults have been found to go through a very elaborate pairing ritual, not unlike many of the other filefish.>  They seem to be very peaceful towards specimens of the same species.<Seem is a dangerous word. Indications are that males can be highly territorial and combative, another trait often found in other filefish.>  Could they possibly suffer from severe loneliness as Anthias do if they're kept alone?<Possible, but highly unlikely, as the family as a whole tends to regard each other with antagonism, particularly in the confines of an aquarium.>  Any well informed and current information about them would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.<You have to keep several things in mind. Even with the best equipment available, humans can only spend a few hours underwater at any given time, thus any and all information, even based on wild animals, is at best extremely sketchy and 95% guesswork and assumption. To make matters worse, it's not possible to follow them into areas where they regularly travel as we are simply too large, with the final kicker being that the human eye, as you pointed out, may not be able to discern something that's blatantly visible to them. While I commend your dogged determination and the steps to which you are willing to go to solve the dilemma we currently face with the species, I'm forced to agree with the commonly accepted statement that, for now, a LOT more natural observation needs to be done before they are suitable as candidates for a home tank. With luck, the answer will be found before we wipe them out as a species, either by over collecting, or, more likely, the destruction of the entire reef ecosystem they need to survive. At present, the human race is the greatest single extinction factor since the asteroid/comet that likely eliminated the dinosaurs.> Philip

Formalin & orangespot filefish (continued) <Hi, Mike D again> Thank you for the info.  It was very informative.<You're very welcome, and I try as best I can.>  Although I may seem paranoid about parasite infestations, I assure you from the stores I get some of my fish there definitely is a reason to.<THAT I can believe>  Many of the pygmy angels and a good 98% of the butterflyfish I've ever purchased in any store down here come up with some sort of clear parasitic crustacean that feeds on the host fish.<This sounds like most or all of the local stores are getting their fish from a local "jobber", rather than purchasing from a good importer, not at all unusual.>   The only exception to this rule is usually when I purchase them from excellent and well noted mail order stores from out of state.  What exactly the creature is eating, whether blood or tissue is not clear.  But when they go undetected for some time, (a matter of a few days), the damage they do to their hosts becomes very evident.  Trust me, they're extremely difficult to detect to a novice aquarist.<It sounds like it. I live in Florida and catch my own aquarium fish on a regular basis, so this is not a common parasite.>  I didn't know about this until someone working at a pet store showed them to me.  Weird lesions and raised bumps begin to appear.  Then the fish seem to mysteriously die.  I have treated against these little monstrosities using freshwater baths, but they're too stressful for the fish, hence asking about formalin.<The formalin IS much quicker, although it's likely if your fish live for years, as mine do, that some unexplained deaths may be tumors, as formalin IS a known carcinogen.>  What the heck are they?<Honestly, they sound like some sort of a fluke.>  They're clear.  Round in shape.  Seem to have a very short tail.  And they have tiny round sucker like appendages for mouths, with no readily visible eyes and no antennae.  When they die, they flake off looking like dead fish scales.  On occasion I also see a tiny mottled crustacean on butterflyfish.  It looks like a grain of black pepper at first glance. Could you please try to identify that for me as well?<Both sound extremely difficult and may well be larval stages of an isopod, but without microscopic examination it would be impossible to tell. fish lice look something like a wood louse or "rolly polly" and are often easily removed with tweezers. For what you're describing, I'd suggest keep using the formalin and avoid buying fish from there whenever possible.>  Thank you Philip

Re: QT, Biological filtration Gone? I just e-mailed you earlier about the Clown Trigger scenario. I also asked about the QT. I took my Maroon Clown out. My NO2 is now above 1.6 and my NO3 is above 50. <Way too high! I would dilute the nitrite immediately with a fifty percent water change, or move the livestock from this system> But NH3/4 is still 0.0. I re-vacuumed the inside of the whole tank and a 20% water change. <Not enough. You need to get and keep the nitrite below 1.0 ppm> I also have a spare skimmer that I have on my 55 for helping to get my 125 going when the time comes. I put it on to see if it could help. Did the Formalite kill my Bio? <Yes, very likely> was it the days it ran without anything in it prior to starting the treatments? <Possibly a contributing cause> Why is the NH staying at 0.0? <Perhaps some of those initial nitrifying microbe populations are intact> The Formalite's box and web site said it was not harmful to your Bio system? <Not so> Like I said earlier the tank was a 10gal with water from my 55, a spare filter with one of my bio-wheels from my 55, and bare bottom. After running a few days all parameters were a mirror of the 55. How can it go so bad so fast? <Formalin/Formalite is a general biocide... it kills all life... on contact. Bob Fenner> Formalin with Sensitive Fishes Hello WetWeb crew person who takes this question    : ) <Hello! Ryan with your question today>      I've made it a habit to peruse this most awesome website almost everyday as new challenges arise in my marine animal keeping odyssey. <Phenomenal thing to say!> Thank you all for your much needed knowledge, time and caring for our piscine critters and their sometimes bewildered owners. <Sometimes?  Just joshing>      I am seeking advise on treating a pretty sensitive flasher wrasse (not sure if P. carpenteri or p. filamentosus) for a rather persistent case of crypt..  He is in a 15 gallon bare bottomed, PVC pipe quarantine tank along with 5 Stonogobiops gobies.  PH  has remained at 8.0.     I tried a fresh-water dip on the wrasse with adjusted ph to 8.0  and temp around 78f, and the wrasse went stiff and flared, lost color and dropped to the bottom and lay there within 5 seconds. He didn't move when I scooped him out and put him back in the quarantine where he spent twenty four hours breathing heavy and lying in a corner before he recovered. <Doesn't sound too promising>  In fact, I believe I was more out stressed by how he reacted.  Am not inclined to do that again. <And likely not necessary, if the proper medications are added to the quarantine setup.>      Decided to treat with Kordon Formalin-3 because it seemed this was the better choice for a sensitive fish. <Yes, I was about to suggest it> The biological filter crashed after first treatment. <Predictably> Have been dosing according to directions on bottle for 7 days at the 10ppm.  Temp. is at 80f.  Because of the filter crash I have been doing 30-50% water changes a day while siphoning bottom, and dosing new change water only. <In QT, 30% daily water changes are almost mandatory!  In a perfect world, you shouldn't rely on the bacterial filter in this scenario> Also am adding Seachem Prime to help protect the fishes from the unfortunately present ammonia and high nitrites. <OK> Throughout this, so far, 7day ordeal, the wrasse and gobies having been eating (feeding sparingly) with a ravenous appetite.     On 7th day (AAAAAAARGH!, my back is killing me), about 3 new Ich spots appeared on the wrasse's dorsal fin. <It's time for copper>      My questions come from total lack of experience in treating marine fish....would you recommend I stay with the Formalin-3 at double the recent   dose to 20ppm (which is what I've begun to do as I wait for a response)? and observe if it was simply that the dose was simply not strong enough? Or do you recommend using the heavier duty formalin (staying with the same type of chemical) for ponds from a company like Aquarium Products instead (I have to order off the internet)?  Or  go on to Coppersafe which I worry will maybe pound the wrasse and gobies more than the formalin.  Is switching medications  way too detrimental to the fishes health? <Run carbon, and in two days with water changes, start copper treatment.  Buy a copper test, you'll need it to get the treatment levels correct.>      I am trying to be as conscientious a caretaker as possible and absolutely appreciate the time taken by you to consider and answer my questions. <Yes, and overcoming ICH is the nastiest business in the hobby!  Be patient, you're on your way to curing this ailment!  Feel free to write back if the copper doesn't do the trick.  Cheers, Ryan> Thank you so much, once again,  Esmeralda

Formaldehyde treatment-disaster Hello Jason, <Bob here... the boys are "leaving on a jet plane"> After doing some further studying on this matter (Ok, homework) it seems that Formaldehyde is indeed absorbed by activated carbon. Of course even if I was using carbon, I would have to remove it for the medication (actually I never use carbon in any of my tanks, only after medications). As you said.. <George... am very surprised that you used this biocide... crosslinks peptides as you must know> time will tell. However, I would suppose that 3 days after the toxification, the invertebrates should have died.. instead they continue to graze on the algae as if nothing happened.. I know they have a completely different biology than fishes but still.. (I know - hope dies last). Many thanks to you and Bob for your help.. <Dosage effect/dependency here... the formaldehyde was "used up"... none present now assuredly. Bob Fenner> George

Re: Formaldehyde/Biocide experience Hello Bob and Jason, <<Greetings George, JasonC again.>> Thanks for letting me know. In fact, in have already seen some of my crabs becoming less and less active, although the mollusks seem to go their way. I will try to dilute the chemical with some water changes and see what happens. <<good luck, I do fear the damage is done.>> The only survivor (a "neon" damsel) is swimming in the next tank which was not treated. Do you think it will make it ? <<perhaps, time will tell.>> Isn't formaldehyde absorbed by activated carbon?? <<it will remove some, but probably not all.>> If nothing works, we can always start from the beginning - or go back to our beloved freshwater !! <<sounds good, although I wouldn't give up that quickly.>> George Reclos <<Cheers, J -- >>

- Formalin Bath - How do I give a Formalin bath on a Flame Angel??? <The typical way is to take some water out of your main tank and put it in a bucket/container - then add an amount of Formalin appropriate for the quantity of water in the bucket - then place the fish in the bucket for a couple of hours, best with an airstone to keep the water well aerated. Once the time is up, the fish goes back into the main tank.> My LFS said to set up a QT tank put him for 3 days and treat with Formalin. <That sounds more like proper quarantine to me rather than a simple bath - quarantine is the better way to deal with parasitic problems - can easily assess the condition of the fish and continue treatment as necessary. You should know that a proper treatment of Formalin should last at least a week.> Then fish him out and intro to my main tank. Is that ok??? <I'd go at least the full week in quarantine - two if the fish looks to be improving and/or in good shape. Cheers, J -- >

Live rock and ick questions II Hi Anthony <Cheers, my friend> I really appreciate your time and really didn't expect to get a reply. <that's because you are aiming too high, the rest of us are down here in the gutter...hehe> I think its great what you guys are doing for the hobby.  <thank you kindly for saying so... it is appreciated> Anyways I guess I have a question about using the formalin. Does it matter what brand I use, either Aquarium Products Formalin or Kordon's Formalin 3? <any brand that lists Formalin as the only ingredient... should be clear, colorless> Or is formalin the same regardless who makes it?  <fairly consistent at around a 40% solution> I assume this will effect the nitrification process,  <not as severely as organic dyes (like Methylene blue) or antibiotics> and wonder if you can recommend the best product to combat the ammonia spike likely to follow.  <water changes are best. The ammo neutralizing products are not ideal for a long list of reasons IMO> I have read that the formalin only effective for a few hours, so I'm thinking maybe just sticking one of Eheim canisters and let it circulate in a bucket of tank water to retain the biological activity or will the bacteria just die because it will have no ammonia to consume while circulating in the bucket?  <really not so great of a concern to need to do it at all.. and no, the bio-filter will not die without ammonia within hours> Can you please tell me if this is a stupid idea?  <Really... all medication should be dosed in a QT tank. I rarely, if ever recommend dosing a main display.. too many potential complications> Also, providing the treatment is successful can I still add live rock to my tank provided I run poly filters/carbon, and approximately how long after can I add the rock?  <several days after a good water change and some fresh chemical filtration (carbon and PolyFilters)> I do change 20 gallons every 2 weeks on 125 gal tank and with each water change siphon half the substrate. <sounds very good!> Thanks again, Mike I did read your page where you give tips on responding with a follow up question, I hope this is what you guys meant by replying with the text from the previous question and answer. <exactly, my friend... thank you> I assume you help a lot of people and can't possibly remember every question. Please let me know if this is alright so I know in the future. <you are doing fine... best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Formalin 3 and Methylene blue Hello Anthony! I have been doing the freshwater dips for 3 days and I think that all my fishes are out of danger.  <excellent! FW dips are truly one of the best anti-parasite/protozoan treatments> There are a couple of white spots on the tail of the Angelfish and the Blue Tang, this is why I still do a couple of dips every day. I still treat my aquarium with SeaCure and will keep for 10 more days (totally 20). <yes... very good> Me and my retailer could not get Formalin 3 and Methylene Blue through some representative of the well-known companies (Aquarium Pharm ....). So we are looking for somebody to send us these products front the U.S. Do you know any reliable shop that can sell via the Internet there two products? As a first=rst order we would like to have 12 pieces of each. We would also like to have the Poly-Filter. So, if you could recommend some distributor to me, I would appreciate it. <I will make sure that Bob sees this... I suspect that he can guide us> Question: Formalin is 37% Formaldehyde in solution of distilled water. What is Methylene blue? <an organic dye> Question: In case that some aquarist can not catch his fishes due to many corals and decoration, is it possible to treat his main system with Methylene blue, and how?  <not recommended...stains porous media and lingers (even stains the silicone of the tank). Can harm invertebrates and live rock... even bio-filter to a measurable extent. Best in QT system> Does Methylene Blue remain in the system or is it possible to use Poly-Filter and take it out? <dilution with water changes and PolyFilters will remove it nicely> Question: I have seen today a fabulous Heniochus acuminatus in my retailer's shop. It arrived yesterday and seems to be already in a good shape. It is a relatively big fish, its length should be about 5 inches. I would like to buy it, but still I have two hesitations: - I still treat with SeaCure for Oodinium. Is it good to introduce the Heniochus now that there is a treatment in my aquarium? <definitely not.. a high risk at this point> - I have an aggressive Acanthurus Lineatus (5 inches) and an Apolemichthys Xanthotis Angelfish (4 1/2 inches). Do you think that they could wound him?  <yes... possible> The Heniochus looks twice as big than the above two fishes (because of his body shape). <alas... the other fish are more territorial/aggressive> - My aquarium is 55 gallons. Is it too small for a big Heniochus? (I though that it is not a very kinetic fish, rather a slow one , and for that reason could be o.k. in my small tank). <actually... the tank overall should not house all three fishes to leave room for their growth to adulthood. Better off with a species that reaches a smaller adult size> Regards, Thanassis <kindly, Anthony>
Re: Formalin 3 and Methylene blue
Bob... this needs a little of your input *** Bob... please see if you can help this fellow with the overseas distributor/US shipping question midway in the message. My answered reply to the rest of the body is already in the sent folder. Thank you. <Hotay... will send back to you... but you haven't included his email addy... will look for in your answered, sent response.> Hello Anthony! I have been doing the freshwater dips for 3 days and I think that all my fishes are out of danger. There are a couple of white spots on the tail of the Angelfish and the Blue Tang, this is why I still do a couple of dips every day. I still treat my aquarium with SeaCure and will keep for 10 more days (totally 20). Me and my retailer could not get Formalin 3 and Methylene Blue through some representative of the well-known companies (Aquarium Pharm ....). So we are looking for somebody to send us these products from the U.S. Do you know any reliable shop that can sell via the Internet there two products?  <Most any of the sponsors of WWM should> As a fis=rst order we would like to have 12 pieces of each. We would also like to have the Poly-Filter. So, if you could recommend some distributor to me, I would appreciate it. <Try Custom Aquatic> Question: Formalin is 37% Formaldehyde in solution of distilled water. What is Methylene blue? <An organic dye. You can find the formulation, properties on the Net> Question: In case that some aquarist can not catch his fishes due to many corals and decoration, is it possible to treat his main system with Methylene blue, and how? Does Methylene Blue remain in the system or is it possible to use Poly-Filter and take it out? Question: I have seen today a fabulous Heniochus acuminatus in my retailer's shop. It arrived yesterday and seems to be already in a good shape. It is a relatively big fish, its length should be about 5 inches. I would like to buy it, but still I have two hesitations: - I still treat with SeaCure for Oodinium. Is it good to introduce the Heniochus now that there is a treatment in my aquarium? <No! Please wait> - I have an aggressive Acanthurus Lineatus (5 inches) and an Apolemichthys Xanthotis Angelfish (4 1/2 inches). Do you think that they could wound him? The Heniochus looks twice as big than the above two fishes (because of his body shape). <Again, best to wait for now> - My aquarium is 55 gallons. Is it too small for a big Heniochus? (I though that it is not a very kinetic fish, rather a slow one , and for that reason could be o.k. in my small tank). <Really yes... too small> Regards, Thanassis
Re: Formalin 3 and Methylene blue
Dear Bob, thanks a lot for your answer. One more question: You mention "1-3 mg Methylene blue (one to three ml.s of stock solution) per gallon treated for prolonged immersion). ". What if I use the Methylene blue for freshwater dips of about 4 minutes? Should I use the 3mg per gallon or even more? <Yes, quite safe> I do not know George Reclos, but I will try to find a way to contact him. Do you know his e-mail? <Likely you can contact him through his website: http://www.rddiagnostics.com/auriga.htm> I have read that you have published a new book. Can you tell me its title and if when it will be available to get it from Amazon.co.uk, where I have bought also "The conscientious...." ? <Apparently not sold by the UK part of the company. But is by the parent: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-form/103-1623087-3559848> THANKS AGAIN! Thanassis <You're welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: Formalin 3 and Methylene blue
Dear Anthony, <Anthony is off to hobby and business conferences for the weekend> my retailer has found somebody who told him that he could provide him with Methylene Blue. He did not mean the packaged form, i.e. small bottles produced by the aquatic medicine industry, but he said he can create the right mix. Could you tell me how the solution is made (for example we know that Formalin 3 is made from 37% formaldehyde). I just want to be sure that he does not make the wrong mix (!...). <Tried to find John Farrell Kuhn's "Index Medicos" for fish med's with no luck. There are formulations listed in Edward Noga (Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment, and Nelson Herwig's "Fish Diseases"...). "1.4 g to 380 ml of water (= 3.7 mg/ml)..." adding 1-3 mg Methylene blue (one to three ml.s of stock solution) per gallon treated for prolonged immersion). Do have your pharmacist (Do you know the chemist/aquarist George Reclos (Athens)?) contact me if there are further questions. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Thanassis

Strange illness Hi Anthony, <cheers, my friend> an update with a few comments/questions: first, the longnose has been fully recovered for about 8 days now; a few less spots each day until he was clean; <very cool... after 2 weeks symptom free you can enjoy a big sigh of relief> two days later he started eating; nobody else is the system became infected; go figure; <interesting and good to hear> like I said initially, it was something strange; thankfully so. On another topic, I have had enough experience with Kick-Ich and Greenex to comfortably render an opinion on both: With Kick-Ich, there is something that does seem to suppress the disease; <never to be used as a primary treatment, stimulating at best> the visible spots will  disappear overnight or in 5 to 6 hours, and for 4 or 5 days the fish will appear to be doing better; then, with little warning, they return en-masse, overwhelm the fish despite other measures (FW, CU, formalin dips) and produce fatalities in a day or so. This is true even at the new accelerated dosage  recommendations. <hmmm... not to disagree at face value, but I have studied some aspects of fish pathology at length... took the aquaristic fish pathology course under Gratzek and Blasiola at U. Georgia... you are mistaken about the FW and Formalin. Redundant studies have been done on these treatments regarding their superb efficacy if done correctly. Many/most parasitic infections can be cured by FW dips alone from a bare-bottomed Qt display (siphoning bottom daily as well). The addition of CU or Formalin as a long bath can rid Ich in 8 days. Other pathogens documented just the same> It also does have a negative impact on some hard and soft corals, although after 20 days of treatment all seem to have recovered. <OK> With Greenex, the result is more direct: <Ha!... Greenex has a reputation for cure or kill. And it is sever on invertebrates despite mfg claims. With the effectiveness of FW and Formalin or Methylene blue in QT... I have no need to recommend Greenex IMO> it successfully eliminates all parasites - because it generally eliminates the hosts. <heehee... agreed. Wicked product and easily abused (or hard to use depending on your perspective)> Bad stuff unless you are treating tough fish! <much agreed> Lastly, an unrelated question: among the frozen Mysid brands, which is "cleanest"?   <Hmmm... good question. I personally don't have a brand preference. Been using PE for a while with no complaints though. Heard of another with slightly higher protein> too many eyeballs floating around my tanks.  Thanks for all your past help, best wishes to all the crew for a great holiday and coming year. Steve. <and the same to you, my friend. With kind regards, Anthony>

Chemicals wiping out the beneficial bacteria I'm treating in a bare-bottom tank with a sponge filter from previously established tank. I wonder if any of the following will wipe out the filter and the tank/filter will have to start cycling from the scratch: - formaldehyde? - malachite green? <Formalin and formalin/malachite solutions are probably too dangerous and may well be disallowed by law in your area, they are in California. These cross-link peptides indiscriminately, destroying any and all proteins they come in contact with. In a very real sense, you're poisoning the "good guys" as well as the "bad". Hopefully the latter faster than the former. Due to their narrow range of safety, toxicity to livestock and handler, and legal constraints, I would avoid formalin mixtures for pet-fish applications. Malachite green, zinc-free is no longer even used at most government labs and fish hatcheries. Found this on the site> - chelated copper sulfate? <yes, these chemicals will most likely wipe out the biological filtration and you will have to start cycling over again> Thank you,<your welcome, IanB> Luke
Re: Chemicals for treating fish Should the skimmer be turned off (for how long) when these products are added?<yes, I would turn the skimmer off until the fish that you are treating have been treated> I've noticed that when I added mal. green the skimmer cup was holding all green liquid after only a few minutes...<yes, the skimmer will take the chemicals right out of the water, the best way to get the chemicals out afterwards is to add a PolyFilter or activated carbon> Thank you,<your welcome, IanB> Luke

Quick Cure Medication 6/7/03 Hi I was wondering if I could use A parasite killer called quick cure on my yellow tang it says the ingredients are Formalin and Malachite green? thanks JM <you certainly can... and the combination of ingredients in this product are one of the very best treatments for external parasites on fishes. However, it cannot/should not like most medications ever be dosed in the main tank (efficacy and contamination of/by the sand/gravel/rocks). Please be sure to only dose and treat animals in a proper bare-bottomed hospital tank. Kind regards, Anthony>

Organi-Cure    Hi Bob Fenner,    My name is Skyler Warner, and I live in Southern Oregon.  I was recently reading some of your messages/past emails on the Organi-Cure product.  It seemed that the more I read, the more I heard of disappointment of the product.  However, I may be quoted as a source to say that "Organi-Cure works great."  I had a beautiful Cowfish that had some Ich on its fins and eyes.  When I introduced my second engineer goby (which didn't have Ich), it became "infested" with Ich.  That's when I got concerned.  I asked my boss at Fish World and Exotic Pets in Grants Pass, Oregon what to do and one of his options was the Organi-Cure product.  He gave it to me for free so how could I resist.  The total time that I had to treat the tank (75 gallons) was approximately 1.5 weeks and all fish have survived.  Now that the Ich seems to be gone, I am going to discontinue use. <Good to hear of your success>    I do have some questions, however.  Is it OK to place any type(s) of shrimps into the tank now (Cleaner Shrimp, Banded Coral Shrimp, or Fire Shrimp)? or does the copper level have to be much lower or unreadable? <Should be undetectable... many folks use chemical filters like PolyFilter or activated carbon to remove ongoing residual copper> Can multiples go together? <Can be done in large enough, well decorated quarters... you can find this information on WetWebMedia.com... perhaps the Google search tool or the indices would aid you...> I do have a snowflake eel, juvenile dragon wrasse, 2 engineer gobies, cowfish, Huma Huma triggerfish, and a large hermit crab. <Uhh, in which case forget the shrimps... most of the above will consume them in time if not immediately>    Also, can I keep multiple hermit crabs together?    I'd appreciate your response,    Skyler Warner <Please see WWM. Bob Fenner>

Methylene Blue, Formalin effects dear  Bob! would you please let me know the answer of my following questions: 1- it is mentioned that "Methylene blue" that is a common chemical for disinfection of fish egg, also has another function ,so that increase the animal pole of the egg's this correct? <Yes, a "side-effect"> if is, why the development of animal region of egg is important? <To enhance development> 2- also, in some reference we read about the use of Formalin (for disinfecting the culture media) for example 12 or 24 hours before introducing the fish or rotifer in the culture). what is the reason? <To reduce the likelihood of microbial, protozoal competition, disease> does Formalin loss its effect after these times .doesn't it have any danger for cultured organisms after this time. <Indeed it does. Depending on many circumstances, BOD, temperature... there might well be sufficient residue to kill all. I would rinse the containers thoroughly before using. Bob Fenner> regards Reza

Rid-Ich Overdose? Follow-up (4/2/04) Steve, <Hi again.> Thanks a lot. Here are some answers to your questions... a) The fish were in there for 3 days before the ich epidemic.  <They may well have brought this ich in with them, just not visible yet.> b) The QT was empty for a month+ before the fish were introduced. <I highly doubt any ich was left viable in there.> c) Yes I had 10 lbs of live rock in the QT for the angel to feed on and tried to salvage it after the mess-up and moved it back to the display.  <I would advise against LR in QT. Most angels will eat enough frozen, flake, or pellet food to sustain themselves during that period.> d) QT also had a blue legged hermit crab that wasn't affected. f) The recommended dosing of rid ick is one teaspoon per 10 gallons. And within parentheses it said 5ml. That's how I ended up with 9ml. I did a 50% water change an hour before the dosing.  <Well, then you did not exceed the recommended dose. Hard to day why they died. As previously mentioned, I'd suggest more fallow time and patience in re-stocking. Consider adding only one fish at a time to the QT. I know it will take a lot longer, but it decreases the risks of problems.> Thank You. <You're welcome, and good luck.>

Quarantine torture Hey Bob, thanks for the opportunity to reach help when needed (and GREAT book!!!). Just had a quick question regarding an Emperor angel (6inch) in a 20g QT tank. No matter how hard I try I cannot keep my nitrite levels below 0.25.  <Okay for the duration of quarantine> I have tried water changes every day with vacuuming, bacteria (cycle) and nothing seems to keep nitrites down. I even tested immediately after water change and the level barely even moved a bit. <Your fish is excreting ammonia...about this amount continuously...> Right now I am treating with malachite green and formalin for parasites because the angel is darting and flashing in the tank with no signs of velvet or white spot, is this the right choice of medicine? <Actually... no... Much of the darting and flashing is likely due to the very "medicine" being administered... CAREFULLY hold the open bottle near your nose, face... toxic and unpleasant... I would NOT use formalin in this setting, for any purpose> I refuse to use copper again only as an absolute last resort because I killed a beautiful long nose butterfly from too much copper because of a faulty test kit. And, what can I do to get these nitrates to zero and is 0.25 nitrites ok for a short period of time in QT until I get rid of these parasites? <Yes... if there are parasites... I would dip the fish... move it to all new water... see if it actually develops spots...> Please, I need some help I would appreciate it if you could respond whenever you're able to. The angel is hiding a lot and not swimming much but fins aren't clamped he's eating very well and he's alert looking at me through glass, I'm hoping this is normal. Thanks so much Bob.  Jay  <Jay... from your note here I have little idea of what you're trying to accomplish with this angel... Bob Fenner>

-Cloudy Eyed Angel- Hey guys, <Hello> How are you? <Recovering well>  Can formalin create cloudy eyes on an angel when using it in quarantine?<<Definitely can, will, given enough exposure. RMF>> <Well the actual formalin? Not that I know of. What happens is that the formalin kills off a lot of the beneficial bacteria as well as parasites, so the cloudiness seen in the eyes is because of deteriorating water quality. To help fix this, change out 25% of the water or so and then add some Epsom salt to the water as well using this formula. 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons. This will release the pressure built up behind the eyes and keep them from developing an infection. Hope this helps. Justin (Jager)> 

Quick Cure I've been told my fish have the Ich disease. They have recommended a product  called Quick Cure. Have you ever heard of this product? On the directions  it says to use it for 2 days. After reading the FAQ's section it says the  parasites can come back and to treat up to 5 days after they are gone. Is  this product successful in only 2 days or should I treat them for a longer  period of time?  Thank you for any help or information  >> And thank YOU for caring enough to seek out complete information. The longer time frame for the Quick Cure should be used... And, if you haven't committed to this product I would encourage you instead to use a more stable, less toxic formulation... just a copper sulfate chelated product like CopperSafe... and a copper test kit for same... There is much to say about this topic so may I refer you to my postings of full-length discussion on Parasitic Diseases of marines, Copper Use... stored at www.wetwebmedia.com  If you are unsure on how to proceed or any of this is not clear, please do write back... It is important that you begin treatment... including lowering the salinity of your water (to 1.018) and raising the temperature (to about 82F.) to tip the environmental balance in your fishes favor... assuming you have no invertebrates, or that you are removing the fishes to a treatment tank. Bob Fenner

Question Re QuickCure In today's Q&A, you wrote that QuickCure was "toxic," and you suggested that it's not very effective. I don't quite understand why it's toxic. If I remember correctly, it contains formaldehyde and malachite green.  Aren't these both rather common ingredients in ich remedies? ((The reason that I ask is that I recently had good success with the product, and I don't want to use it again if it's as toxic as you say)). Thanks..... >> Both malachite and formaldehyde (a general biocide, cross-linking peptides...), apart and together are toxic... But, yes, valuable treatments for external parasites of fishes... BUT, if you re-read the entire post, the malady being treated for is NOT susceptible to either/both these compounds... therefore, the person administering them is wasting their time, "just" poisoning their fishes unnecessarily with a "medication" that is not efficacious IN THIS CASE.  Bob Fenner

Question Re QuickCure Bob:  Thanks for your clarification. I don't mean to question your expertise -- just wanted to know why I should avoid  using QuickCure in the future. Sounds as though I should  stick with good ol' copper.... jwl  >> No problemo with questioning, challenging, outright correcting my "expertise"... believe me. And do agree with you about sticking with Cu++... except for some problems (like Uronema, Glugea...) that formaldehyde/malachite really comes in handy for. Bob Fenner

Formalin-3 Hi Robert, I have this 60 gallon tank with a sick negro trigger and 4 common damsels 2 of them are shaking and scratching but no white spots. I have a clown fish starting to act weird, he use to swim a lot today he stays in one corner. I also have some anemones. <Yikes... time to have you read over ALL the parts of our site (www.WetWebMedia.com) on Marine Disease, and Triggers, including the FAQs.... Go there now!> I don't have a second tank so yesterday I place the sick trigger fish in 1 gallon glass jar with 2 teaspoons of Formalin-3 for 50 min then returned it to the main tank. I could see the white stuff that was attached to his eyes was almost gone it was at the bottom of the jar. His eyes are a lot clearer today so I'm not sure if I should treat the main tank (with 1 teaspoon of Formalin-3 per 10 gallon as indicated on the bottle). <NO! Very toxic.... do NOT place this material in your main tank.> I know in your book you recommend to not treat the main tank but I think I have no other choices since the parasite seems to be spreading. can you recommend something better? if I treat the main tank will that stop the Nitrite cycle, will the cycle start over? <It will... but read the site... I will be back home tomorrow. Can chat more then. Bob Fenner> thanks so much for all your help, Marc
Re: formalin-3
Robert, I got your message too late unfortunately and since things were getting worse I treated the whole tank with formalin-3, <Arggghhhh. Sorry to be out of town for a few days...> I though that since the parasite seems to be all over the tank that there was no other option but to treat the whole tank. It didn't help, the trigger was dying before and now he is dead. What can I do to clean up the tank from this parasite? <A few things... all posted on our site... did you read through?> why can't I simply treat the tank with formalin-3 or something like that? <It's a general biocide... you may as well dump bleach into the tank... drain the water, rinse a few times, refill... and completely start over if you're thinking of poisoning the system with formalin> I have a Fluval 404 filter At the very least, allowing the system to "go fallow" without hosts for a month has proven to reduce numbers and disease-causing-strength (aka virulence) sufficiently. what does "go fallow" means?  <Like an agricultural field... to not provide the means of propagating the parasites... i.e. remove their hosts> my filter doesn't work properly when the water level isn't almost all the way up At the worst, you're looking at tearing down, sterilizing and re-assembling the entire system. how do I know how bad it is? <Only by experience, unfortunately... in other words, only by placing new livestock and "seeing what happens"> how do you sterilize the system? do you have an article online about how to do that? <Yes: http://wetwebmedia.com/acidblchpnds.htm and elsewhere on the site> I know I should have a treatment tank but I don't have room for a second tank in my apartment, would you say it's a waste of time and fishes to not have a treatment tank?  <You should at least execute dips/baths:http://wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm> should I give up being an aquarist? <In the final synthesis all must decide for themselves. You don't strike me as a "quitter"... Apply your obvious intelligence here, couple it with your desires for succeeding in this hobby. Don't be discouraged by short-term set-backs. Many rewards my friend. Bob Fenner> thank you, Marc
Re: formalin-3
> <It's a general biocide... you may as well dump bleach into the tank... drain the water, rinse a few times, refill... and completely start over if you're thinking of poisoning the system with formalin> I did a 25% water change Saturday just before adding the formalin and also removed the charcoal for approx 10 hours Saturday. what can I do to repair the damage caused by formalin3, or is it all being removed and degraded by the charcoal. I still have 2 Firefishes that don't seem to be affected by the parasite so maybe it's not as bad I think > <Like an agricultural field... to not provide the means of propagating the > parasites... i.e. remove their hosts> > <Only by experience, unfortunately... in other words, only by placing new > livestock and "seeing what happens"> I still have 2 Firefishes that don't seem to be affected by the parasite so maybe it's not as bad I think. maybe I should just wait and 'see what happens' if they stay alive for a few weeks then I guess I can start adding other fishes, correct? <A good plan to wait at this point... would wait a good month before trying other fishes... and then, place a cleaner organism ahead of time (information on our site). Bob Fenner>
Re: formalin-3
Thanks Robert, one more question... there is so much to read on your site what should I start with http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm <Both, all... only takes a few minutes...> what else do you suggest please? <Peruse the site... it is arranged logically (well, as far as I can make it so far!), and linked internally (several thousand places)... Bob Fenner>

Treating ick using hyposalinity.. first try - II Hello: <Hi there> Sorry I might be stupid. So where should I go and get formalin? <An amazing coincidence... have been gearing up to write a series of articles... called "pathologically speaking"... and my first installment was to be... formalin/formaldehyde... I will add to the topic headings "sources" (as well as chemistry, uses, dangers...). Oh can be purchased in hobbyist quantities from either the LFS or etailers... Kordon/Novalek repackages small volumes for aquarium use for instance> LFS? Can you please tell me some of their name from a brand so I can start somewhere? I am swamped with problems already and if you can help me out by telling me which formalin to get, that will be of great help! <And, not to confuse you, but this dangerous compound is sold for "food purposes" et al. in 37% gallon containers... this is a BUNCH> By the way, the salinity reading was off when I am measuring it using an arm type meter, then I use a refractometer to check again, it is now really 1.010. will salinity higher than 1.010 keep the ick alive and multiply? I guess my question is that is 1.010 the threshold that ick eggs are killed?? <Mmm, how to state this clearly... the low salinity itself will very unlikely result in the outright death of all stages of Cryptocaryon... It may weaken it sufficiently... and along with a lack of ready fish hosts, cause such a loss of vitality that it won't revive unless your fishes are greatly weakened otherwise... but it will NOT kill it> Last, since formalin have so much side effects that I have to take care of, (oxygen, change water all the time, stress to fish etc.) will it better off to use copper + hypo instead? Eric <Good question... A matter of opinion, circumstances... but IMO, most scenarios, the copper, with or w/o lowered spg is better than formalin use. Bob Fenner>

Formalin question Hello crew, I recently purchased 2 clownfish and after a week in QT, I believe they might have Brooklynella.  Luckily for me, a friend works in a research lab and got me some Formalin.  However, it is a 10% solution.  Since stock solution is normally 37%, would multiplying the dosage by 3 work for Formalin dips? <Mmm, multiplying... as in adding 3.7 times as much as you might will give you about the same concentration as a stock solution...> I was planning on mixing about 3 (maybe 4?) ml/G saltwater for a 40-60 minute bath, repeating in a few days if things don't improve.  Does this sound like a reasonable plan? <Yes. Do aerate the water while the clowns are in the bath, and keep checking on them every few minutes> thanks for the help, as always! ~Jim <Bob Fenner>

Treating Marine parasites Anthony, thanks for your thoughts; I agree that FW and Formalin dips can be very effective; what I meant to say was that by "wasting" that first week relying on Kick-Ich, the fish are so weakened that they are past the point of no return. <ahh... my fault. I misunderstood... but do agree that a lost week can be fatal> At least, this is what appears to be the case; I had 4 instances where the fish looked ok, tolerated the dip, but expired a day later; <yes... and it brings up a good point. FW dips are no more sever (less actually) than a long-term medicated bath. A properly conducted FW dip is a safe and effective measure and aquarists can rest assured that any fish that does not survive a single 5 minute FW dip was not likely to survive anyway> others (same species, same tank) pulled and dipped the first day symptoms noted, recovered. I like the FW dips, have little experience with Formalin, but FW still makes me nervous sometimes. <understood... its natural to be nervous about the FW. Little worries with Formalin though. Even small scaled species tolerate Formalin (unlike Copper, Malachite, Methylene blue, etc)> Are there species less  tolerant, with respect to both? Steve. <there are a handful of relatively uncommon fishes sensitive to FW. A few popular ones too. Be careful with very small and small scaled fishes like blennies, gobies, Chromis, Firefish... as well as high hats/drumfish/croakers, many wrasses and Tuskfish (jumpers). Most of the common and hardy species benefit by FW dips though (tangs, damsels and clowns, triggers, groupers, most angels, etc). Best regards, Anthony>  

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