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FAQs on Parasitic Marine Worm Diseases 1

Related Articles: Marine Parasitic Disease, Parasitic Worms, Roundworms

Related FAQs: Marine Worm Parasites 2Marine Worm Parasites 3, & FAQs on Marine Worm Parasites: Diagnosis/Symptomology, Etiology/Prevention, Cures That Don't Work, Cures That Do Work, Products/Manufacturers... Flukes/Trematodes, Tapeworms/Cestodes, Leeches/Hirudineans, "Other" Worms and Worm-Like Parasites... Paravortex/Black Spot Disease, Anthelminthics/Vermifuges... De-wormers (Piperazine, Praziquantel...) & FAQs, Yellow Tang Disease, Parasitic Disease 2, Parasitic Disease 3, Parasitic Marine Tanks, Parasitic Reef Tanks, Cryptocaryoniasis, Marine Ich, Marine Velvet Disease Biological Cleaners, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease, RoundwormsYellow Tangs, Tang Health/Disease

Yes, there are marine leeches/Cestodes.

- Parasitic Flatworms - Hi all! Thanks for the prompt response on the last email.  On your suggestion I dipped the Purple Firefish (the only one with a visible fluke-worm-thing) however I have a sneaking suspicion that you meant for me to dip ALL my fish.  Is this the case? <Yes, I would dip all the fish, just to be safe.> Just the Firefish took me three days and a minor re-aquascaping to capture and dip.  And the blenny and wrasse will probably be more difficult.  At least the clownfish will be easy.  It was stated in the response that I may end up dipping quite often, is there some other way? <To deal with the parasites, not really. To make fish capture easier, I would partially drain the tank, will make it much easier to catch the fish.> I had intended to add a pair of neon gobies as soon as I could find and quarantine some, would this help? <No, the gobies will likely do nothing to affect this problem, and may even succumb to it themselves.> And will the 6-line I already have be some assistance? <Probably not.> How should this affect my continued stocking? <I would stop adding any new livestock for the moment, procure a quarantine tank or two and be more careful in the future when you add livestock.> Finally, are the "fluke" and "spot" problems one in the same? <Yes.> Thanks in advance for the additional help. Happy New Year Tony PS- Is there any way to know which FAQ this will end up in? <Not sure, perhaps here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fshwrmdisfaqs.htm > I'd like to read up on similar problems if I could.                  <Cheers, J -- >

Black spot disease outbreak? Good Evening WetWebMedia crew members. <Yawnnnnn! Good morrow to you> I have recently traded a blue line trigger for a yellow tang (+ a Kole) since the trigger grew to 8 inches long and started becoming highly aggressive. My system is 157 gallons with mostly soft corals. Problem is that when I was at the LFS, under their normal fluorescent lights, I was unable to see 3 little black dots on the yellow tang that I immediately spotted when I placed him in the main tank (under 450 VHO watts). The LFS guy said not to fresh water dip the fish because it would stress it out, if not kill it. <... which is more stressful? To you, the fish? To have your system infested with Turbellarians? Or a simple dip/bath? Bad call.> I also do not favor this method too much because I lost another yellow tang to an 8 min fresh water dip 3 years ago - as soon as I placed him back in the tank his buoyancy got messed up and sank to the bottom, only to die a few minutes later. <Was the freshwater (presumably) dip water pH adjusted? Aerated?> So, I properly acclimated yellow tang Number 2 and introduced him into my setup, since I had no quarantine tank. Since day 1 (1 month in my tank), the yellow tang has had 2 outbreaks with the black dots. He doesn't scratch, eats well (has devoured all my Caulerpa algae and does not appear to be skittish.) I have attempted several times to catch him, however, it is impossible to lure him with food.. he constantly hides (well, I'd do the same thing If I were him). My question is, is this disease deadly since he eats well, and all behavior seems to be normal? <Not "very" deadly... just persistent, semi-debilitating> Will he ever recover by himself if not treated / left in the tank? <Mmm, not likely... the "tank has the disease" now... a balance can be struck with biological cleaners (Lysmata Shrimp, Gobiosoma gobies...), but Paravortex will live in a tang-free environment for months at times... w/o hosts> I hate to tear off the tank completely to catch him ( I have 25 corals + 120 lbs of LR. I have read this Paravortex flatworm or whatever, does not affect other fish (currently I have 2 other tangs with the yellow one) but it's hard to get rid of.  <Yes, you are correct> If the fish does not deteriorate due to the flatworm, do I still need to remove him from the tank? <Mmm, no> Any advice on what to do would greatly be appreciated. WWM site is simply invaluable. Thanks for your help, Dimitris <I do wish we could go back in time... I could convince you to at least quarantine this Yellow Tang.... if not dip it... I would go the cleaner route here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Black spot disease outbreak?
Hello Bob, <Dimitri> Thanks for writing back. How's the weather in San Diego? <Bunk, overcast... been a very rainy winter...> I live in Largo, FL.. similar weather but very humid most of the time  <Very nice> I did purchase 3 peppermint shrimp to fight this... <Mmm, not Peppermints... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnrfaqs.htm> ...so hopefully they'll do their thing. Yes, I agree with the fresh water dip but I had a bad start with the other yellow tang, so I was naturally afraid (I also listened to the LFS guy ). I just wish the supplier(s) in HI would actually dip the fish before they ship them over to the LFSs (could have saved me a lot of headaches). Dimitris <Yowzah! You're so right... this is a campaign issue I've been waging for going on thirty years in the trade... Really makes not sense not to... to bump off your customers... their livestock... over such a simple procedure... Bob Fenner> 

- Fluke on my Foxface? - Hello WWM Crew!   <Hello.> I love your website and have learned a tremendous lot from it! <Glad to hear.> Thanks so much for helping us 'newbies.'  I have a 120 gallon aquarium that's been up and running for almost 4 months.  I have recently added a Foxface Lo and an algae blenny as my first additions.  I also have a few frags of corals (zoos, a frogspawn and a couple xenia.)  My problem is that I had an outbreak of what I presumed to be ich in my display due to foolishly not quarantining my two new fish.  I now know better and will not repeat this mistake.  When I noticed the signs of ich I immediately removed both fish and treated with hyposalinity for 30 days.  I have returned the fish to the display and there seem to be no signs of ich so far - it's been about 4 days.  However, my Foxface has a 'bump' on his dorsal fin near the base that I would describe as looking like a clear to whitish 'bubble' of maybe 1-2 mm in diameter.  It's round to slightly oval and appears to have a whitish line or segment cutting near the center.  It was most certainly not there yesterday and is there clear as day today.  The fish appears healthy and is eating well.  My research on your site has led me to suspect this may be a parasitic fluke. <Could be.> Any way to know for sure? <Closer examination... magnification.> However, the treatment of this problem is not crystal clear to me.  Is a routine of freshwater dips in order? <Would be a good start.> Formalin? <Only if the dip doesn't affect the cure, but could also try some of the anti-parasitic foods like the New Life Spectrum Thera+.> Thanks for any help you can provide! Cheers, Steve S. <Cheers, J -- >

- Parasite Problems - Hello guys/gals I have a problem with one of my tanks and wanted to see if you guys could help me. I have a 75 gallon tank in the garage with about 80 lbs of live rock with a blue dot puffer, a clown trigger and a Hawkfish that is my holding tank until my 375 gets in. Well everybody was doing fine for the longest time then about a month ago I noticed that my blue dot puffer was getting very skinny but he would still eat a lot therefore I went from feeding every other day like I've always done to feeding every day even though the other 2 guys were very fat. Well even with me feeding every day the puffer kept getting skinnier and skinnier until he died a few days ago and now my Clown Trigger is starting to look skinny. Is there some sort of disease or parasite that could cause this or am I just not feeding them enough. <Yes, I'm afraid so... nematodes and Cestodes are the most common culprit - like tapeworms, they can out-compete for nutrients.> I had the blue dot puffer for over a year and he was a nice size for the longest time. I feed them all sorts of stuff such as Mysis Shrimp, Blood Worms and Squid. Thanks for your help. <Do try to get a hold of some Fenbendazole from your local veterinarian. Your best bet is to put this fish in quarantine for about three weeks and treat the quarantine tank directly with the Fenbendazole for that entire time. The Noga book of Fish Disease recommends 2mg/liter or 7.6mg/gallon of tank water. This should give your fish the upper hand against these parasites. Cheers, J -- >

Naso Tangs Hello Bob, <Hello Sanjay> I'm unsure if you remember, but approx 3 months ago I wrote to you regarding Naso tangs and intestinal worms. My plan was to investigate intestinal worms in Naso tangs as a reason for their decline in captivity. <Interesting possibility> I purchased a healthy six inch Naso and introduced it to my QT system.  It settled in well and after a week or so I began my experiment.   To half a cube of frozen food I added approx 20mg of an anti-thelmic preparation called Mebendazole.  I obtained the liquid form which sticks to frozen food. I fed this twice a day for two days without any ill effects to the Naso.  However I did not see any worms. <Have you taken a look to and through the scientific literature on issues involving such worms and Surgeonfishes?> On the third day, hey presto, hundreds of tiny round worms (confirmed by the local vet) about 1 cm in length.  Nasty looking organisms might I add. <Have any pix?> The QT tank had a little live rock, which proved to be a great mistake.  Many worms sought refuge in this rock.  At the same time the anti-thelmic agent seemed to dislodge the worms, but did not kill them.  I tried to remove as many as I could.   The tang re-ingested the worms and began to decline in the same manner as my previous Naso did in my main system. The Naso became increasingly thin over a few days. Eventually the tang died from what I suspect to be an over load of worms. I decided to discard the live rock, but as I was about to do so, I spotted a very large round worm about half an inch thick and six inches in length. My conclusion from the above may provide a reason for why Naso tangs decline for no apparent reason in captivity. <One hypothesis... how will or might you go about devising experiments to prove, disprove it?> I am not repeating this exercise as I do not want to be responsible for another Naso death. However I believe that importers of these beautiful creatures may find my studies interesting and take on the responsibility of de-worming these fish before they are passed on to retailers, (in an  Ideal world). <... better to have a larger sample size... and more "cures" folks can attempt> I also conclude that those who read this post and decide to de-worm a fish in QT,  must do so with either a more effective anti-thelmic drug or a greater concentration of Mebendazole.  Ensuring the tank is devoid of live rock is also essential. <Okay> Hope this has been of interest to you, thanks in advance for taking an interest. Regards Sanjay Patel <And thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

As The Worm Turns? (Fighting Intestinal Worms) Hi Crew, <Hi there! Scott F. your Crew Member today!> I DID IT - I finally caught my sick Naso (180 gal, lots of LR)!!!  Now that I finally have this sick fish in a QT, the information I need is how to treat him/her.  From reading MANY posts on your website, my assessment (best guess) is that my Naso Tang has intestinal worms.  I have not seen any worms but this fish has not eaten in 5-6 days and I can nearly see through it because it is so emaciated.  I do not notice a swollen area near the posterior of the fish, similar to those that had a blockage. <Sounds like it may be just that, but usually, you can't tell 100% unless you dissect the animal... I guess you'll have to go with your best guess here. > I noted that some of the people who discovered this issue with their Naso in time took the fish to a vet who administered an oral de-wormer.  I do not know of any vet in my area that treats fish.  Is there anything I can use to treat my Naso for worms?  I currently have Cu in the QT (3.0 PPM) and I am using Melafix because I have read several positive results from using this "natural" medication and no negative results. <I am skeptical about it...It's supposedly for external problems, too, by the way...I'd remove the copper, is it may be causing more harm than good to the fish, by damaging it's digestive fauna...Not a good thing when a fish is possibly starving. Although it is reported by some people to be successful at treating worms, I'd use Poly Filter or Cupri Sorb to remove the copper, and keep up a lot of regular small water changes. As far as a medication for intestinal worms, I'd steer towards a medication like Praziquantel, or possibly a Formalin based medication.> As I mentioned previously, I did previously notice a single "attachment" to the throat area of this fish that dropped off the day after I noticed it.  I assumed this was some sort of parasite but no others have returned in the approximate 5 days since this "attachment" fell off.  I thought the Melafix would also be good to prevent a secondary infection at the site of this parasite attachment. <Ahh... didn't see your first post. Now I understand your rationale for using Melafix...Good thought> Assuming I am able to cure my Naso of these (assumed) worms in time, would these worms not still be present in my main tank?  If so, how do I prevent a re-occurrence? <Unlikely. Usually, these worms come in with the fish from the wild, so it's hard for me to imagine that they are present in the tank in any numbers that could be a problem. On the other hand, the external parasite that you noted could have reproduced, and could be a potential problem. Observe carefully, and let the tank go fallow if this turns out to be a problem. Parasites don't fare well without hosts! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> ________________________________________ My information contribution: Hopefully this will help some other person who is finding it impossible to catch fish in a large tank with many rocks.  This is how I finally caught my Naso:  Since I have several other Tangs (ich magnets) in my tank, I was very worried about stressing all the fish in the tank and causing an ich outbreak.  To minimize stress (the fishes' and mine), I waited until night and turned off the aquarium lights (leaving only a flashlight pointing at the bottom of the opposite end of the tank from where my fish sleep).  Once all fish has settled into their normal sleeping positions, I slowly removed all live rock that was not directly providing immediate shelter for a sleeping fish (moving the rock to the opposite end of the tank without exposing it to air).  I then used whatever I could find (feeding tongs, plastic cup, etc.) to plug any holes/cracks between rocks that were large enough for this fish to fit through.  Although not necessary, I have a Sony camcorder with infrared night vision, which I used to locate the Naso without disturbing the other fish (just a tip in case you happen to have a similar camera).  I placed one (larger) net at the single opening I had left between the rock and glass on one side of the aquarium.  I then (very gently) moved the other (smaller, more maneuverable) net near the fish from the opposite side of the tank.  To me it seemed that this was just an annoyance to the fish rather than causing fright.  Once the fish got close enough to the large net to realize what was happening and to begin zig-zagging, looking for another quick getaway, I turned the flashlight directly on the fish causing it to become temporarily disoriented.  I then quickly scooped it up with the large net and let it swim into a container in the aquarium, filled with aquarium water.  Leaving the lights out the entire time (other than the small flashlight), I poured the fish into the QT. Maybe this sounds a little extreme (overly-cautious) but I have heard horror stories of ich outbreaks with tangs that led to loss of all the fish.  I do not want that guilt (or loss of $$)!  Like I said, hopefully this will help someone else because I struggled with several attempts before finally finding a way to catch the fish.  I nearly just left it in the tank to "wait and see" - probably a certain death from what I have read. ____________________________________________ Please advise how I can treat for worms and THANK YOU so much for all the help you are providing with this forum.  Greg

Hitch hiker ID Please? Folks, <Howdy> The attached picture is of a "creature" that I found in my new 75 gallon reef tank. <No file attached>   The tank is cycling with live rock only at this time.  There are a few smallish crabs and snails and whatnot that came in on the live rock; no harm done.  However, I found this "thing" crawling around on the DSB yesterday.  It moves like an inchworm, attaching to surfaces with its mouth and pulling itself into a bell curve before attaching with its tail and so on.  The scary thing is that the oral opening looks A LOT like a lamprey.  Unlike lamprey, it has a suction cup like tail as well. <Ah ha! (imagine best Sherlock Holmes impression). Does sound like a leech> I've posted on many boards and everyone seems stumped.  I was wondering if you could help.  I do have SOME time as the tank is cycling.  However, I don't want to lose track of it, or "let it be" if it is harmful.   <I'd remove this animal> I'd sure be upset if I found it one day attached to and sucking the life out of my clowns or Dottyback! Thank you in advance David PS.  I've read the Reef Invert book from cover to cover and am on round two.  It's a great resource and is extremely entertaining in that "Fenner, Calfo, WWM" way. <Mmm, sometimes predictability is fine. Bob Fenner>

Re: Hitch hiker ID Please? Boy it's been a long week ;) Sorry.  Picture is now attached. <D> <Much more definitely a leech. Again, I'd give it the heave-ho. All Hirudineans are parasitic... Bob Fenner>

Kill them all? WWM Crew - I'm starting to collect a library of strange advice from my LFS. I bought a very nice juvenile Yellow Tang from them, which I did not inspect that well before hand. A few days later it has black-ich (Turbinella worms?) and is in a quarantine tank ready to start the best treatment I can (copper? Formalin? Daily FW dips?) <I'd recommend Formalin and FW dips... see more here (follow FAQ links at top of page too: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm > When I told the LFS about this, the senior reef guy pulled me aside and whispered, "Take it out and kill it. I'm the only one here that will tell you this. Don't put any more tangs in your tank for 6 months." <he is mistaken... Black Spot on tangs is very curable... and limited in infectious rates> Of course I'm not going to do this, I'll either cure the fish in the QT or let the worms kill it. It's strange getting this kind of advice, since it makes no sense from a customer-oriented business standpoint, from an animal husbandry standpoint, and from the have-patience-and-never-give-up-attitude standpoint that is necessary for successful reef/combo tanks. <agreed> Plus, searching the literature leads me to believe that black-ich (black-spot) is not that hard to cure anyways .... ? <quite correct> I've read this page : http://wetwebmedia.com/yellowtf.htm and it seems to confirm that it is not _that_ bad. I'm not sure there's a question here, unless you have any ideas about a.) the best treatment to start it on, and b.) why would I get this kind of advice? Thanks, SLC <I do believe you will be fine with the treatments commonly prescribed for the former on the pages you have seen/researched... as to the latter question, simple misinformation that the clerk carries on and alas... has not challenged himself to reconsider/look higher. Best regards, Anthony>

Wholesale fish to UK and fish gill flukes 6/18/03 Dear Anthony, <cheers, my friend> Just to let you know, I received my fish yesterday. I acclimatized them as I described and yesterday the fish were not looking too good. <common for transshipped specimens... often no worries> This morning however, all the fish are up  and swimming around and most are feeding already, which I am very pleased about. <excellent to hear> 1 was sent a cream angel, which was DOA, <a lovely but fragile fish indeed> the 2 convict tangs were large, one DOA the other was in a bad state but has settled well. The clown/Pyjama tangs are doing well, a tad aggressive but not hurting anything. <heehee... typical... bullies> the powder blue tangs are very good, around 5", very full body and bright in colour. the other fish I received were Scott's fairy wrasse. these are doing very well, lovely little fish. <quite challenging to keep... requires a very high quality diet. And likely a tank with no tangs, clowns, damsels or active/aggressive feeders> I was wondering if I could ask your advice again? <always welcome my friend> in another tank I have an Addis butterfly, gold ring butterfly, Auriga butterfly and a baby epaulette shark. <interesting> I have noticed the butterflies have been flicking their heads against the rock work and shaking a lot. <yes... AKA "glancing". Indicative of gill irritation. Most often caused by water quality or actual parasites on the gills as you would expect> I have treated with various treatments as I am sure that it is a parasite/flukes. <quite commonly> I have used Myxazin (don't know if you have it over there-it is a Waterlife product), removed the fish and tried copper, and now have resulted in MelaFix. <I can assure you that Melafix is a complete waste of time/money if they are flukes. > can you suggest any other treatment other than a freshwater dip (as I am not confident enough to carry this out-I know it is easy and have done it before but I don't like doing it) the main problem is the shark and I don't want this to spread as I want to add some of my stock to the tanks once conditioned. the Addis butterfly (my pride and joy) has scraped against the decor so hard that it has broken the scales and they are reddening. <do consider a Formalin treatment... long bath on the tank or stronger dose in a dip. Methylene blue may be added cautiously/judiciously> this is my favourite fish and was difficult to obtain. other than this there are no other external signs on the fish. Any suggestions would be gratefully received! <the shark really jams things up here... it is sensitive to metals and organic dyes as well as lower salinity which all would help your primary treatment with Formalin. It would be best to remove the shark for a 4 week isolation period... unless this tank is not bare bottomed in which case it should not be medicated at all. Leave the shark and pull all others to QT> thanks again, and I hope you can answer, thank you for giving up your time. Regards, Sam Baker <best of luck, my friend! Anthony>

- Wasting Disease - <Hello, JasonC here...> Hi crew, have a problem I haven't been able to find much on. Have a Sebae clown, wild caught, about 4 years old; always been in perfect health. Recently, I moved him to a larger tank, fish with some inverts, no anemones (yet). About 2 weeks later he developed Popeye, one eye, which I successfully treated with Epsom (thanks!). He still has a good appetite, even still has that pearly iridescence around the white bands that fresh-caught clowns have, BUT, he is beginning to lose mass; first, developing the typical pinched forehead, now progressing rearward both above and below the lateral line; no other clowns in the tank, other specimens unaffected. He eats and comes out less but is otherwise still pretty normal. <So you do see the fish eating... it would seem to me with the other occupants, this fish might be getting less that its fill.> His offered diet hasn't changed, if anything is better because I am feeding a large French and Atlantic blue tang, and very wary of HLLE, so they eat better than I do. My past experience is that this guy is headed for checkout, but its been a while, and if there is anything I can do I want to do it, so, suggestions? <Well, isolation might help - make sure the fish is eating well and without competition from the larger fish. Also, because this is a wild fish, it is also more likely that it has an internal parasite (or two) that are competing for the same nutrients, quite possibly nematodes or Cestodes [tapeworms]. Both can be treated - you should be able to obtain Praziquantel [for the Cestodes] and/or Fenbendazole [for the nematodes] from your local veterinarian. I would work with one of these at a time, and administer in baths for 2-3 hours. More information on these treatments can be found in the Edward Noga book, Fish Disease, which while expensive is very complete... and an eye-full.> Thanks, Steve J. <Cheers, J -- >

Is This Treatment A Fluke? (Use of Praziquantel To Combat Flukes) Is Praziquantel (Droncit) effective for flukes in marine fish? <This stuff has been used by some people to treat flukes effectively. It should be administered carefully, like any medication> How does it affect inverts? What would be the right dosage to get rid of gill and body flukes? <I would not administer this, or any medication in the display tank, regardless of the presence of inverts. The dosage that I have seen used to combat flukes is 1ppm in saltwater. I know a couple of people who swear by the stuff...Have not used it personally, however.> I hope it still works in marine aquarium and is easy on the inverts... It's magical in FW, no stress on fish, ok for bio-filtration etc... Thanks, Luke <Well, Luke- Praziquantel is certainly something that is being used more and more these days to combat flukes in marine fish. You could also use Formalin-based medications, or those containing Malachite Green...It's worth a shot, however, if you're up to trying it...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Grab Bag of Parasites? Please help with the following questions... <Sure thing! Scott F. here again today> - When it says 'will kill invertebrates' on copper medication, does that include shrimp, snails and crabs? <precisely> - Is copper also good for flukes? <I prefer Formalin-based remedies for flukes...> - What are ectoparasites? (Ich? Flukes? Velvet?) <Consult the WWM site for specific forms> - One of the remedies to get rid of parasites is to lower salinity to 15ppm. Will that also kill flukes and velvet? How safe is this on corals, snails, crabs and shrimp? <Hyposalinity treatment can work for some parasitic diseases...I'm not a huge fan of it. It can be harmful to inverts> - Will the banded coral shrimp also 'eat' ich and velvet and flukes from fish? Would this plus UV sterilizer be a good alternative to using medications? <The CBS will pick at some parasites...but it cannot get them all. A UV sterilizer is good at possibly stopping some of the parasites when they are free-swimming...I still use meds...> - Finally, in one of my 20g tanks, I'd like to keep one Banded Coral Shrimp and one Harlequin Shrimp. Will they be ok with each other? Will they be ok with reefs? <They should be fine with corals...But there may be some aggression between the two...Be prepared to move somebody> As always, huge, huge thanks for your help. Luke <A pleasure, Luke! That's why we're here! Regards, Scott F>

No Meds In A Display Tank! > <Sure thing! Scott F. here again today> >  - Is copper also good for flukes? > <I prefer Formalin-based remedies for flukes...> I've heard that Formalin is a big no-no in marine and reef tanks (hard on corals, will kill bio filtration, will kill live rock). No? Thank you, Luke <You are absolutely right Luke.  Under no circumstances would you ever dose this, or any other medication in a display tank.  Formalin should be administered only in a controlled environment such as a "hospital tank."  It is highly effective against flukes, however.  Follow manufacturer's instructions to the letter when you use this stuff.  Good luck!  Scott F.>

Formalin Works-But What About The Display Tank? (Flukes) Right, but flukes lay eggs that get deeply into the gravel sometimes (making them so hard to cure). So even if one does treat the fish in separate tank, you're still going to have flukes in the main tank, no? Thank you. <Well, the approach to many parasitic infestations is to deprive them of their hosts...Thus, the oft-recommended "fallow tank" technique is an efficient, drug free way to help eradicate parasites. No method is 100%, but this is a very effective method. Good luck! Scott F>

Weird Bumps On Yellow Tang I bought a yellow tang which is about 2.5" in size. It's been feeding very well, but I've noticed that the fish has some bumps randomly all over its body. It doesn't look like Ich... the bumps look like some kind of rash... under the skin and are only visible when the fish is at certain angles to the light. Then, they look like the bumps are a bit whitish... the difference between those and Ich is that ich looks like grains of salt outside... these look like tiny mosquito bites under the skin... The fish is also scratching a lot...I was thinking that maybe its body flukes. <Could be...Or some other type of parasitic invasion...> I gave the fish 5min bath in FW today. The bumps are still there, nothing changed... <Not a bad idea...I'd still give it a couple more tries, to see if this will do the trick> What do you think this is? What treatments would you recommend...? <Well, for a parasitic infection, copper or Formalin preparations would work. There are  other commercial products better suited for "flukes", however...Visit a few of our sponsor's web sites for various products and their applications> BTW, for body/gill flukes, what is better: copper (just like the treatment for Ich or velvet) or Formalin/malachite green ? <Do make  positive ID on what you're dealing with there, just to make sure. Check the disease FAQs and see if you can find an example of something that looks like what you're seeing. Or, if you can email a digital photo, we can possibly help make a better ID...> Thank you, Luke <And thank you for stopping by, Luke! Regards, Scott F>

Black spots on a clownfish >hi, >>Hi, Ben. >I had a quick question.  I've got a percula clownfish that over the last week has developed a bunch (10+) black spots all over it's body (some up to 3 mm).  No particular location - just all over.  Besides these spots, the fish seems quite healthy and has a voracious appetite, swims normally, and hangs out in a colt coral it has hosted to.  The only thing that has been different recently is that I installed 2 new lights about a week ago (2 x 96W PCs, one 6500k and the other an actinic).  Could the fish be 'sunburned'?   >>You know, I've never heard of a fish being sunburned unless it was actually out of the water.  This sounds more like a disease that's much more common on tangs, especially yellow tangs--black spot disease.  It's a parasite, and very easily dealt with via freshwater dipping.  Just be sure the water is matched for temperature and pH, and all should go well.  Minimum dip time would be on the order of 5 minutes, but I always watch the fish (they can often go longer).  Erect fins are a sign it's time to pull them out of the freshwater dip, but they will breath rapidly and "lose their balance", all common with f/w dipping. >Although I had decreased the photoperiod from 12 to 8 hrs, some polyps didn't like the change and they retracted until they were relocated to the bottom of the tank.  Have you seen this before? >>To be expected with the inverts, they do indeed tend to "burn", so reduction of photoperiod OR moving the lights and/or the inverts away (then moving closer/increasing photoperiod as they adjust) until everything has adjusted is the order of the day. >thanks, Ben >>You're quite welcome, and best of luck to you.  Marina <Might be flukes, possibly Paravortex, even Microsporideans... RMF>

Go Spot, Go! (Marine "Black Spot" Disease) Can a UV Sterilizer kill black ick? <It may potentially kill some free-swimming parasites, but you really need to treat the affected fishes with medication, such as copper sulphate, in a separate "hospital" tank, along with some freshwater dips> Can black ick kill my yellow tang if left untreated? <Sure, Parasitic diseases can eventually move into the gills and other vital tissues, and cause severe stress for the fish, weakening them. If it doesn't kill the fish, it could leave it open to secondary infections. Should I be concerned for my Jawfish or Bi-color Blenny?, they have shown no signs of it while the tang has. <Well, Tangs are particularly susceptible, but, this being a parasitic malady- it can affect everyone in the tank. I would go for the "fallow" tank route like we so often recommend at WWM. All fishes in this tank are potential victims, and you should take this stance when you are contemplating treatment options here> Can blenny and gobies have freshwater dips? Or is it to stressful? <These fishes can be freshwater dipped (I am a big blenny/goby fan, and I FW dip all of my new arrivals without problems). The dip procedure is certainly a potentially stressful one; that's part of its advantage as a prophylactic/supplemental treatment technique. It induces some osmotic shock, which the parasites can't handle nearly as well as the fish! If performed carefully, freshwater dips are a great technique to use> Thank you Sensitive fish guy. James DeHoff <Finally, some one besides Nadine calls me "sensitive"- Gotta love that! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Parasitic Disease... Black Spot Hi, I am new to the board but not new to reef tanks or fish. I have a question about a chocolate tang that was purchased 2 or 3 months ago. It came from a LFS and looked healthy and happy. Clear eyes, fins and eating well but it was in copper. I have a 4 year old tank with tons of macro algae and I feed Nori daily. No more than a day after the tang was in my tank it had small black spot on its fins. My parameters are perfect other than my salinity was much higher than the LFS but I took time to acclimate the fish. I have used broad spectrum anti biotic (fresh water Maracyn) and the patches disappear leaving a lighter colored skin under it. I also used garlic soaked Nori with almost the same results. As soon as the treatment stops the fish has them again. It can turn its self from a all yellow to a black face in a matter on seconds so I do not know if its gills are supposed to be dark or if there is an infection causing this. Their adult color is much darker and I believe its beginning to change now. The fish is calm eats well does not really ever scratch and comes out even when the net is inches from it. That is why I am leaning to treating in the tank. I do not see a reason to stress it further by trying to catch it and move it to another tank. My questions are has anyone had a similar problem? Should I just try and medicate longer with the Maracyn than I have before because I just followed there instructions and quit when I was told. I have heard tangs can develop spots to make them look less appealing for predators is this true? <Not in this case. Go to http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm and read/follow procedures for worms/black spot disease.> I also have two huge dusky Jawfish that could be grabbing the tang and cutting fins leading to infections. I am mentioning this because I have came home a few times and seen the fins ripped a little and I have seen the tang back up to them and swing its spike. <As long as it isn't too serious....minor pressure is alright, but do not let this escalate to stressful or dangerous conflict.> I am moving to a 180g within a few months so they would not see each other as much but I do not want to transfer the infection if that's what it is. Thanks, Adam <Treat as per parasites page at WWM.  Use a QT now and in the future!  NO main tank intros without QT!!!!!  Good luck!  Craig>

Re: Tang Scratching Normal? >Thanks for the reply Marina, after much searching I'm coming to the conclusion that these spots were some type of nematode don't know if they were what caused the demise. After looking at it a bit more I can see them causing the scratching but they weren't around the gills or any critical portion of the fish. Just sitting under the skin. >>You're quite welcome, even though I'm sorry I have provided little/no help.  I did forward your email to some others (as noted), and I spent a good 45 minutes this morning doing some searching, but everything I found indicated that one would have some other external symptoms, not just the creatures you observed subcutaneous.  In one of the links I found, they did note, however, that with trematodes (can't recollect which ones right now) copper wouldn't garner results, I believe they did outline what would help, though.  I'd consider q/t'ing the others ASAP and treating.  Good luck!  Marina <Curiosity begs the question: have you any training (biology or medical, perhaps) that has given you access/skills in performing a post-mortem?  The vast majority of hobbyists don't have tools/equipment for such a procedure.> Other than some biology classes years ago in college not really.  I've been an avid fisherman and fish keeper most of my life so kinda know what's supposed to be there and what's not. Post-mortem was done with some Exacto knives and a 30x microscope from Radio Shack that I keep around to check out small life forms in the tank. Thanks Paul
Re: Tang Scratching Normal?
>Hey again, >>Good morning, Paul. As you see above, I'm sending this to some others on "The Crew". >Thanks for the info this is just an update not a very happy one but am on a fact finding mission. Found the hippo this morning dead in his favorite hidey hole.  >>That was a rather quick demise. What a shame. >While performing an autopsy found small black worm like organisms under his skin. There is no visible head or tail just a skinny worm all coiled up. (can't get a picture as they are too small for naked eye) I know this isn't much info for an ID but was just wondering if anyone would care to make a guess on this. (am worried for the other fish in the tank.)  >>I would worry as well. I personally am not familiar at all with this, clearly one would have to guess parasitic infection of some sort. I own one book one fish diseases, not-so-handily stored away. I'm going to kick this to Bob (or anyone else willing) and see what they think. I've never experienced anything like this. Curiosity begs the question: have you any training (biology or medical, perhaps) that has given you access/skills in performing a post-mortem? The vast majority of hobbyists don't have tools/equipment for such a procedure. >There were no external signs (other than scratching) before he expired, eating, breathing, swimming normal. >>Yes, I remember. This is, at this point, quite puzzling. I'm sorry, and am also concerned for the rest of your residents. I'm going to suggest trying some other sites as well, http://www.reefs.org (the archives, library, and forums), http://www.thereeftank.com IIRC there are some folks with scientific backgrounds who frequent these places. One gentleman by the nick of Galleon is one such who comes to mind. (He knows me as Seamaiden should you find him.) I'm in the process of searching via Google, I've found this initial link-->  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FA033 And some others that may (or may not be) helpful. http://www.petlibrary.com/marinetrematodes.htm http://www.wonbrothers.com/product/DrAqua/parasitic_diseases.htm http://www.mysteries-megasite.com/main/bigsearch/parasites.html Best of luck to you! Marina >Thanks again, Paul >P.S. There is a utility out on the web called REEFCON http://www.infinitysoft.net/ReefCon/ that is GREAT for logging and keeping track of your tank. It also has a very nice reference section with pictures and some info on keeping for a ton of critters. Will also control X-10 equip if you have it. I suggest this to all my friends who keep tanks as there is a free version and the pro version ($19.00 for one version or $32 for current and all upgrades) cheap in my book. >>Thank you, we'll pass this on! >>Folks, I am entirely unfamiliar with what this man has described in his post-mortem on his Hippocampus. Anyone who has any ideas, or is familiar. ANYTHING, please weigh in with your opinion. I'm having little luck finding information on anything but the most common maladies one may experience with their specimens. Could we be talking about Monogenean trematodes (flukes) of some sort? Thanks, Marina<< <A distinct possibility. Is there someone you can borrow a 30 or higher microscope (dissection type preferably) to give you/us an idea of the gross morphology of these worms? Bob Fenner>

Re: Tang Scratching Normal? I may be able to go to the local Community College and borrow a microscope for an hour or so, if not have some friends that work at a hospital and will see if I can sneak in there with a sample. *grin* Will see about that in the next few days and see if I can get a picture. <Good. If you can, bring a single edged razorblade (or scalpel) to make a cross section near the head end (a tri-radiate esophagus is indicative of nematodes for instance)> (have frozen the fish we'll see how well the samples kept) All other fish in the tank still looking good. Once again the dots look like a black ropey worm all coiled up in a clear membrane. After opening the membrane the animal that comes out is about 1-2mm long and looks kinda like a very skinny black earthworm. Thanks Paul <Likely Cestodes (tapeworms), but we'll see. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tang Scratching Normal? Hello again, Well just got back some info from an instructor at the local CC where I sent the sample with a friend.  Good call Bob he said that it was some kind of tapeworm but didn't know the exact species and that he didn't think that they would have caused the death of my fish. <Maybe a contributor to some extent> So I guess this is one of those that I'm just going to have to chalk up to experience and make sure that the wife doesn't buy me any more fish presents *grin*.  Thanks for the help must say I'd have a lot harder time getting this tank started without your book and the web site. thanks again Paul <Glad to be of assistance> P.S. Just got Anthony's book in the mail and am looking forward to studying it so I can get planning on my coral to add to this tank and am waiting for the new book to arrive. <Know you will enjoy, benefit by them. Bob Fenner>

Tape worms Hello Guys; In the past 1 1/2 weeks, my Purple Tang has passed 2 or 3 (2 1/2") long, clear "worms' that are about the thickness of 1/64". Under magnification, they appear to have a half circle head (like a round head screw). At first I was not concerned, but I noticed that during and after the last one was passed, the tang was not behaving normally. It would repeatedly swim into the flow of a power head then dive to the other end of the tank again and again. I have had the fish for 3 years and it is very healthy, good color, etc. I also noticed that its fins were not fully extended but not clamped either. The two Ocellaris Clowns and the Orchid Dottyback look fine. I was thinking of treating with garlic. Your thoughts please? <Wouldn't hurt... but don't promote its use as a treatment either> I have 3 tanks and like feeding frozen foods. Is there a way I can prevent the spreading of parasites from tank to tank via my hand or the food i.e. will normal washing between tanks work and should I cut the cube food into pieces or just rinse it in cold water between tanks? <Best not to "wet" the feeding gear or ones hands in-between systems> I do not want to transfer ick, worms, etc. Is it safe to dip my hands into either Permanganate or formaldehyde solutions? Thank you, Tim <Not necessary or advisable to use these... one will stain, the other is a biocide (kills all life). All considered, more important to do ones best on all fronts per here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm and learn to not worry about these extreme aspects of vector control. Bob Fenner>

Question on bites Hi, My name is Phillip and I was wondering if you could help me out. I live in Miami Florida and yesterday I went swimming in our community lake with a few friends of mine and about one hour later we got out and were sitting there and we all started getting an overwhelming itching sensation all over our bodies from top to bottom. We then went and all took a shower and washed ourselves from head to toe with soap and water and nothing. We then went to the drug store and got aloe and also anti-itch cream it barely helped but the itching sensation went away very slowly. My four friends and I woke up this morning and we all had approximately 200 bites all over our body. They were red bites that looked similar to an ant bite or sea lice or even a mosquito bite. I was just wondering if you new what happened or if you know what bit us. I would really appreciate it if we new what we were bit by. And if you don't know maybe you can give us an idea as to what it was so I can further research it. Thank you very much. Phillip <Likely "Swimmer's itch", aka schistosomal dermatitis. Put these terms in your search engines. Bob Fenner>

Parasitic worms I need some help!  My Hawaiian Dragon Eel stopped eating.   I notice that he has thin, tan worms all over his body.   The worms are about an inch in size.  The part that doesn't hook into the eel ends in a point.   Please tell me what I can do to treat this.  I know eels are sensitive to many forms of treatment.  He is a full size eel.  Thanks so much for any advice you can give.  Kelly <Mmm, need to have a definitive identification of these worms... to the phylum level. I suspect they're flukes of some sort, and could be treated with an organophosphate. I suggest a pH-adjusted freshwater dip (that will likely result in a bunch "letting go" for microscopic exam.) at this point. Be careful with netting the specimen and keep the dip tank covered and heavily aerated during this procedure. The dip by itself will not effect a cure... as the worms are likely of a type that have direct development and will still be present in various stages in the main tank when/if you return the eel. Bob Fenner>

Re: Parasitic worms Hi Bob, <Hi Kelly> Thanks for your response. I did do the freshwater dip.  It took 18 minutes for the leeches to let go. (not die, just let go).  Yes, I did say leeches.  I took some of the specimens to an aquarium today.  I was told that they were leeches. <Easy to see with some magnification (and specimens!)>   Unfortunately, these leeches like to live in the substrate.  I had 200 pounds of sand and crushed coral in my tank.  Well, with some help, I actually removed all the substrate and bought more live rock.  The substrate is totally infected with these leeches.  Just looking at them makes my skin crawl.  I am treating the substrate with Clout in a separate container. <This should "do it"> There are no more of these leeches visible in the tank.  Although, he does have two of the leeches on him.  Compared to the hundred that were all over him yesterday, I consider this a huge accomplishment. Once the eel settles down and does not appear so stressed, I will try to pick off the two remaining leeches.  This has been a very long project, but is well worth the effort to save this beautiful eel. <Yes> We have a Titan trigger fish with the eel.  She was sick in the past and had to be quarantined.  We now think she was being infected by the leeches as well. Since last night when we gave the eel a freshwater dip, the Titan has been extremely protective of the eel.  She lies right beside him.  If I am working in the tank near to the eel, she goes completely ballistic.  I have to say a full size Titan trigger and full size Hawaiian dragon eel are a nice match.  Although, I would not add anything else with them. Take care Bob. Kelly <Thank you for the progress report. Bob Fenner>

Flukes?  2/25/03 Hi!<Hey Steve!  Phil here!> I think my fish have flukes.<Oh no.. not good.> They get white things on them, Head & sides. I give them a fresh water dip & see these white things stretch out like worms & jump off. I have already lost most fish. they start hiding & breathing hard & die. I think I will lose my last few fish. What I'm wondering is how long I should Leave the tank empty to get rid of them? Will they get on shrimp, crabs or starfish?<These guys are fine.> Thank you! Steve<Well Steve..  I'm glad your dipping your fish in fresh water.  But you can't add them back to the main tank right away!  Then need to be placed in a hospital tank for at least 4 weeks.  The main tank MUST run w/o fish for this amount of time so these fluke-like creatures die off.  Remember to place all new livestock/live rock in a hospital tank for at least 4 weeks also to stop any viruses from entering your main tank!!  Hope this helps and good luck!  Phil>

Danger of disease with too little practical knowledge, bunk advice I have a 55 gallon tank, which has been up and running again for a little while...(4 months?)  Anyway, we have crushed coral on the bottom, and some coral and rocks for decoration/hiding/shelter.  Our water has been checking out fine when we do a test at the store.  (the only test kit we have is the PH one)   <First Dave, take responsibility for knowing your water, get an ammonia/nitrite/nitrate/pH/alkalinity test kit(s) and learn to test your water. Your fish store may or may not be able to really help you.> Our fish are 1 yellow tang, 1 orange tailed blue damsel (don't know his official name, but he is not the yellow-tailed ones), 1 Clarkii clown fish, 1 juvenile Emperor angel and 1 cleaner wrasse.  (Okay, I have only just begun to read about how this is a bad fish to get, but was trying to solve the tang's problems)  Oh, and our filter is an Eheim canister style filter (says 2213 on it?)  and we have a bubbler stone with little pump just for nice bubble look off to the side. Okay, here is the problem.  Our yellow tang looked great when we first got him. (this was after cycling our tank with damsels and then returning all but the orange tailed guy)  Then a few days later developed tiny tiny black dots all over.  Checked it out and talked to our fish guy.  He said it was the Hawaiian black spot parasite and he recommended a fresh water dip.  I did that and they went away.  Then of course they came back, I now am beginning to read and understand about the life cycle of the parasites.  Because they kept coming back the fish store people had me treat the tank with Marine Aquaria NO ICH treatment for 2 weeks. <FIRE your LFS and do not buy this snake oil stuff anymore!!! PLEASE go to the disease pages of WetWebMedia.com and read about *why* you are getting this disease and how to get your system back in order. Also, please read about and obtain a quarantine tank large enough for all your fish. Read about quarantine and marine stocking at WWM too!> Well, all looked well so after the treatment cycle we bought the emperor angel.  I mentioned to them that I thought I saw one or two new dots, and they agreed that a cleaner wrasse would help.   <See my advice above and give me a double. Give them the broom, they are not only rip offs, but they sold you a fish that you now know doesn't have a good survival record AND is endangered.> Sure enough, that day the wrasse ate them off, and I thought we were out of the woods.  Now here we are a week later, and the yellow tang has 4-5 tiny dots again.  and the wrasse is not eating them.  She is eating everything else we feed the fish (we primarily use the frozen formula two food, but to ensure the Emperor would eat, we got some brine shrimp)   <Brine shrimp is fine to get fish eating, but do switch to Mysis shrimp and another form of nutritious food, brine shrimp is the Wonder Bread of fish foods, no, it's more like Twinkies. IOW, it has no nutritive value.> I did another fresh water dip on the tang, for 5-7 minutes.  He looked fine in there the whole time, but is looking definitely stressed now.  His breathing was quite rapid, and he was in his stress darker color mode.  He is fortunately looking a bit better now, but not much. What also worries me is now our Emperor angel is lingering in the bubbles on occasion, and I am afraid he is getting something now. I just did a 15% or so water change today, and put the carbon back in the filter (was out during the treatment)  But things just seem off.  I am afraid we are going to wake up to all our fish dead.  Oh yeah, the wrasse is not looking so good anymore.  Having trouble staying straight in the water, and holding her mouth open a lot. (her name is Alice, by the way, from the Brady Bunch.) So there we have it.  Spare me no details, although I already know some of the major mistakes we have made.  (No quarantine tank being the biggest I think)  Help save our fish! Becky <I would look up black spot disease on WetWebMedia.com and treat as per directed there, in a QT tank, this is common for Yellow Tangs. You may also have another parasite or water condition that you don't see or can't test for, (ick/velvet) and wastes (esp. ammonia/nitrite) and pH/salinity/temp. I would recommend a QT tank along with tests for water parameters as these may be problematic/causative with all fish listless.  Also search on Google search at WetWebMedia.com on ick/velvet treatment as this may be problem with new additions to black spot. I know you won't add any more fish without a proper quarantine, will you?  It may take a month or two to get all straightened out. Make good use of the QT and disease pages of WWM!  Best of luck!  Craig>

Intestinal Worms? Hi Bob, <Scott F. here with you tonight!> First of all I would like to say thank you on writing such an excellent book! (The Conscientious Marine Aquarist).  My fish store recommended this book above all others and I have learned more from it than anything else. <I read my copy so much it started to fall apart! I agree with you-it's a great book!> I am just setting up my first 55 gallon saltwater aquarium (with the help of the store of course) and I am having the following problem.  I bought two clownfish, one flame Hawkfish and an Orchid Dottyback about 8 days ago.  Everyone seems to be doing fine except for the Dotty.  Over the last two days I have noticed that he has had some discoloration on the lower part of his abdomen and today after watching him for quite a while I come to the conclusion that he has some sort of worm/internal parasite.  The discoloration seems to follow a "wormlike" pattern throughout his lower body and his stomach seems a bit enlarged.  The clincher though was the small white being that poked it's head out the fish's vent for a brief time.  That's a worm, huh? <Hmm, could definitely be some type of intestinal parasite. Treatment is really contingent upon you ascertaining what type of parasite it is. Assuming that it's a tapeworm (Cestodes) or nematode, you can use some of the commercial "anti-worming" fish foods that are out there. On the other hand, sometimes these conditions can improve through maintaining very high quality water conditions. There are a number of commercial products available for this type of parasitic infestation. Often times, however, the chemical "cures" used to treat these problems can cause more damage than the parasite, so do read the WetWebMedia.com disease FAQs to get more information.> What do I do?  I have not bought a quarantine tank yet (don't have the $$$ right now because every last cent has been spent on the main tank) but I don't want to lose my Dotty. <I understand, but I really think that the modest amount that you'll need to spend to acquire a simple quarantine set-up (5- 10 gal tank, heater, sponge filter) will save you potentially hundreds of dollars down the line. You really need to quarantine all new fishes, and you should treat all sick fishes in a separate tank. If you look for used equipment, you can save more money on this stuff> He seems very distressed though and his tail fin is fraying.  What advice can you give?  Will my fish live? <It depends on the type of parasite that you're dealing with, and the apparent severity of the damage it's causing.> Should I remove him? <I would definitely attempt treatment with medications only in a "hospital tank"> Will the other fish acquire this worm as well? <Hard to say, but it seems somewhat unlikely that this will happen> I don't want to lose my little Dotty!!! Help! Christy <Well, Christy, just hang in there, read up on parasitic infestations, and take appropriate action. I think you'll be fine! Good luck! regards, Scott F.>

Parasitic Worm? Hi guys, got a question for you regarding my adult Imperator Angel.  I noticed some bumps under his skin that have been there for a week or so, small and irregular in shape.  It appears that one of the bumps has broken through the skin and is white in color.  I was thinking worms, but have not been exposed to them before so I am clueless.  Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Sean <Sean... we have yet to complete a parasitic worms section for the WWM archives. Its not something we can briefly describe or ID from the description given either. Do seek some disease reference material like Untergasser's "Handbook of Fish Diseases" for photo references. Else, we'll need more history, description and a close clear photo to fairly ID this for you. If you research it well and decide to write an article on the topic... we'd love to post it here. You'd be doing many aquarists a great favor in sharing what you learn! Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Digenetic Flukes (Metacercaria)? Steven, I found this info. If this is it should I not put the fish in my main tank and instead take him back to the store? <I would not put him back in your main tank, but I am not sure what is wrong with your fish, yet.> Digenetic Flukes (Metacercaria): Typically seen in newly imported fish and in two forms. Black spot is caught from snails that release the Cercaria. Larval forms penetrate the skin and encyst in the tissue and may be seen as red or black nodules. If eaten by a bird for instance they then develop into adults. Sanguinicola disease passes from fish to snail and then back as minute worms that live in the fishes bloodstream. There they lay eggs that block up the blood vessels which in turn causes Necrosis. As far as I know there is still no cure for this problem. <I am not sure this is your (your fish's) problem. -Steven Pro>

Figure Eight Puffer Parasite Hello Mr. Fenner, I acquired several Figure Eight Puffers for a tank that I recently finished cycling. The Puffers are the only inhabitants. I've had Figure Eights for almost a year now in another tank, so I'm pretty familiar with the usual health problems that crop up with them, since most are wild caught. One of my new Puffers was suffering from fungus, so I was treating the whole tank with MarOxy as well as Maracyn and Maracyn ll for any infection that might be present. Unfortunately, yesterday the sick Puffer took a dramatic turn for the worse and died. I wanted to get a closer look so I examined it under close-up magnification. Photos of what I found are enclosed. The images are magnified approximately 34X. <Good photo work> The parasites that I found aren't easily noticed with the naked eye. One image shows an elongated lump near the tail of the Puffer that is actually a worm living under the skin. Under magnification I could see it moving. It's approximately one inch long and 1/16" in diameter. There were A LOT of these worms under the skin on various areas of the fish. <Yes... nematodes> I was curious to see what might be lurking inside of the Puffer so I sliced the stomach open. More worms rolled out of the body cavity. These were in the body cavity and not in the intestine (I hadn't yet perforated the intestine). The photo shows one of the worms measuring between 1" and 1 1/4" in length and 1/16" diameter. Interestingly, when touched the worm retracts into a coil. <Typical> The other photo enclosed shows a yellow area that I assume is infection or irritation caused by the worms. <Perhaps> I've had no luck identifying this particular parasite. It just doesn't resemble the descriptions I have found of other worm-like parasites of fish. I'm hoping that you might know exactly what it is and also possibly recommend a course of treatment. I'm stumped! Thanks in advance. JoAnn VanDersarl <Hmm, where to start, or how to narrow down a statement here... The infestation you describe and show is likely resultant from an initial exposure from the wild... these roundworm parasites typically have "complex" life cycles that require one or more intermediate hosts... Maybe some lack in diet, environmental challenge hastened the "winning" (and ironically losing) phase of the worm parasites causing the death of their host (and themselves), but perhaps not much... It's very hard to access (unless you sacrifice and examine a significant portion of a good size sample of individuals) how much of what their parasite load is... All vertebrates (yes, including you and I) have something of such a mix of organisms living in and on us... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm and the FAQs beyond for more of a general understanding of the predisposition to these events. Bob Fenner>

Flukes (and success with a Sweetlips!) Hi Bob, Happy new year, sorry to bother you so early, but I have a question. My Red Sea regal angel, for some time now I have noticed that every now and then gets some, splinter like white things from it's body, Sometimes from the head, or body. They stay on for about two days or sometimes as the day progresses they disappear. I didn't worry about it because the fish continues to be the beauty of the display. Normal behavior and eating as usual. Is there a cure for this, how can I treat it and will it eventually kill the fish.  <Mmm, perhaps this is a trematode... I would try a facultative cleaner here... first a Lysmata species of shrimp... not likely to kill the fish outright (the flukes), but debilitating, perhaps disfiguring just the same...> I was on the WWM last night and that how I kind of determined the fish as flukes. Please offer advice this is my most prized fish. Also, can adding copper to a system cause a fish to stop eating or not as much as before. <Absolutely... copper cancels much of "smell, taste" sensations> I added copper to my quarantine tank, which has a Sweetlips and Kole tang for ick. The Kole tang still eats, but the Sweetlips has stopped.  <Yikes... Sweetlips aren't easily kept... as you know from looking over WWM no doubt... not good that yours has ceased feeding... would move it ASAP to a non-coppered, less-stressful setting> He will put food in his mouth but not swallow. The ick has cleared it's been about 7 days now, do you think I should add carbon back to the system or do a water change. I think the copper has curbed his appetite. Thanks for the advice, Bob and hope all is well. Gillian <Much to "judge" in the way of presumed benefits/risks in our hobbies... Bob Fenner>

Re: Flukes So Bob, you're saying there is a possibility that the Sweetlips may not eat again. <Unfortunately, this is the common plight: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/haemulid.htm> I will remove the copper at once. Is there any way to totally get rid of flukes on the regal angel. <Hopefully this is a digenetic species, needing an intermediate host species or two... and will "cycle out" on its own... otherwise the Cleaner may eradicate it> What about good water quality. I have some cleaner shrimp, but they are lazy, they hide when the fish go next to them. I don't think they'll help. To me the flukes appear to be internal, when they pop through the skin of the fish. Are there any other treatment options for flukes. What do you mean when you say the fish will debilitated. I don't want this Bob, help me Thanks <Not likely "popping out, through"... there are some chemical treatments, but I would try another cleaner... maybe a Labropsis wrasse... Bob Fenner>

Re: Flukes Well it was about 3 inches when I got first. A lot of personality, that's what attracted me to it at first. It had been in the store for about 2 weeks before I got it and was eating brine shrimp. I am good friends with the owner of the store and always ask them to hold fish for at least a week before I take it home. <A good practice> Anyway I fed mostly frozen formula one and two, sometimes angel formula for variety. It would eat dried green sea weed. Sometimes live mussels for a treat. Didn't care for flakes or krill.  <Me neither> Liked a whole cube of frozen food and not crushed. Would eat from your hand or nip fingers when doing water changes. This is by far one of the most intelligent fish I have ever had. I would compare it to Oscars (freshwater) which I had for many years. This fish is now well over 7 inches, incredible growth rate and it now has brighter coloration. I really hope I can save this one. I haven't killed a fish in while. That would be tough. Let me know if you any more info. Gillian <My fave source location. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pygoplit.htm Bob Fenner> 

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