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FAQs on Goby Disease/Health, Pests

Related Articles: Gobies & their Relatives, Amblygobius Gobies, Genus Gobiodon Gobies, Genus Coryphopterus Neon/Cleaner GobiesShrimp/Watchman Gobies, Sifter/Sleeper Gobies/ValencienneaSleeper Gobies/Eleotridae, Mudskippers,

Related FAQs: Gobies 1, Gobies 2Goby Identification, Goby Behavior, Goby Selection, Goby Compatibility, Goby Feeding, Goby Systems, Goby Reproduction, Amblygobius Gobies, Clown GobiesNeon GobiesGenus Coryphopterus Gobies, Mudskippers, Shrimp Gobies, Sifter Gobies

Strange growth on goby's head      2/1/15
Hello! I really enjoy your site. I have posted this photo to a few forums and no one has been able to identify this growth on the right side of my Greenbanded goby's head. He is a healthy active fish; still hunting and eating. The growth looks like a blood blister you or I would get from a pinch injury. It is solid red, not opaque, & appears somewhat solid. He is about 1.5 inches long and the growth is about the size of an apple seed. He is in an established 40 gallon seahorse tank with various fish and invertebrates and no other creatures appear affected. The only thing I can possibly think of is that a nodule of my string of pearls macroalgae somehow took root on his face?? I apologize for the blurry photo; I don't own a camera other than the iPhone.
Thanks for your thoughts! -peg
<I do think your desc. is apt... this is likely a blister of sorts from a physical injury. May heal itself in time.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Strange growth on goby's head       2/5/15
thank you! let's hope so!
<Cheers! BobF>

Spiral swimming     3/1/13
Hi crew!
 I purchased a Yellow Watchman Goby on Wednesday. I put him in the QT and he seemed to do ok.
<Mmm, most all goby specimens (all species) are best expedited... along w/ blennies and other groups, these fishes take more than a beating, stress, starving being waylaid in quarantine...>
 Of course he didn't eat Wednesday or Thursday.  I did a 2 gallon water change Thursday (20 gallon QT) and checked water parameters. Ammonia and Nitrates were 0. Nitrites were .25.

This morning he was listing on his side and swimming in spirals.  He would then stop, lying on his back. Then swim again in spirals.  I quickly made up a container with water from the display tank, matching pH, salinity and temp, put an air stone in it and moved the fish.  He died within minutes. 
What could this have been?
<In a word, stress... too much threat from capture to handling, to being in too small a volume w/ no sand to hide/burrow in>
I searched WWM and the Internet and came up with no answers.  Was this my fault or did he have something wrong? Thank you! Jennifer
<... as stated. I would have even skipped dip/bathing and place this fish in the main/display. Bob Fenner>
Re: Spiral swimming     3/1/13

Hi Bob,
 Thank you for getting back to so quickly:)  I did have a container with sand from the main tank. I figured if he needed to be treated I could just take the container out.  The LFS had just received him that day...guess I should have let him stay there a while and rest up. 
<Yes; this resting IS the most important aspect, gain to be had from initial "isolation" (quarantine)>
As far as the nitrites I have read that marine fish can withstand much higher concentrations with no ill effects.  Lesson learned.
<Ah yes>
I am extremely wary of placing anything in the main tank.  I had a outbreak of either Ich or velvet and just put fish back into tank on Wednesday after 2 months fallow.  I even have a pair of Banded Coral Shrimp in a QT. That being said would I/they be better off going into the main tank now?
<Yes... Gobioids, Blennioids are generally/by and large bereft of external parasite problems on arrival. Again, if this were a commercial concern (importer: wholesale, transship... to retail) I would be batch processing most all new fishes with dips/baths per the protocols detailed on WWM... to greatly reduce the likelihood of pest, parasite introduction>
  Thank you again Bob! I have learned so much from you:)
<Ahh, a pleasure to share, aid your efforts Jennifer. BobF>
Re: Spiral swimming    3/1/13

I didn't think dips were recommended for Gobioids.
<Dips (or short duration baths) generally w/o any irritating additions (e.g. Formalin) are okay usually... One has to "do triage" on opening bags, to determine the likelihood that such procedures are worth more than not>
 I did quite a few dips an baths while dealing with the disease outbreak in January so I feel pretty prepared to do so going forward.
I'm not sure if your "yes" was to putting the pair of shrimp into the main tank or to putting the Goby into the main tank.  Jennifer
<The shrimp in the main tank AND the Goby. BobF>
Re: Spiral swimming    3/1/13

Understood and great info!! The shrimp will go in main tank today (Goby did not make it). Thank you again and I will let you get back to whatever incredible expedition you are on:) Be chatting soon:) Jennifer
<At home cooking for hash groups! Cheers, B>

quarantine     8/19/12
Hello everyone!
I spent most of my Friday off reading the WWM site about marine fish quarantine and treatment, and though I hate to admit it...I’m more confused than ever! Quarantine 4 weeks, but only 2 for Gobies, don’t quarantine mandarins, Quinine, hyposalinity, no that’s not always effective, go with copper...dipping, not dipping eeeeeeek!  Now having said that, I get it...some things just aren’t black and white, and there are more ways than one, and maybe there just isn’t a single ideal way. Luckily, I have no urgent matters...at the moment....phew!
I do have a cute diagonal barred goby in a 10 gallon quarantine tank for one week now. He looks great, eats voraciously, and sits on top of a rock like a Hawkfish and begs for food like a dog...so all is well. My original intent was a 4 week quarantine with no chemicals unless clearly indicated....but now after reading, I no longer know, do I go another week, or 3 weeks?
<If this fish is eating, the system stable... keep it there as long as you want>

 Do I FW dip before going to the 120 display, or if he continues to look healthy it’s not needed?
<I'd likely skip dipping/bathing most all Gobioids, Blennioids... in apparent good health. More to be lost by further stressing>
 One of the many take home messages from all the reading is to not treat unless there is something CLEARLY TO treat...but then why are the freshwater dips recommended...they are not risk free, right?
<Correct; not risk free>

 Some people have lost fish doing them. I have some PraziPro left over from my African Cichlid days, and I remember it was very easy on the fish...would a 5 day treatment take the place of a freshwater dip? Just looking for some clarification.
<I wouldn't expose such fish/es to Anthelminthics prophylactically as a hobbyist/end user. Institutions, breeding facilities... likely so>

Thanks so much,
love the site,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Goby wound   9/17/11
<Hello John>
I have a mature Bluespotted watchman goby who has previously been in good health in my 75g reef tank with sump and refugium. I (and the tank) moved a couple of months ago, and combined some new coral and fish from another smaller tank. So far all has been fine, except that he hides a lot more now; I often go days without seeing him very well. About 2 weeks ago I noticed a small wound on his left side with what looked like radiating scrape marks around it, reminded me of the marks left by my longspine urchin on coralline algae. Since then, the wound has gotten deeper and wider with a raised whitish edge, please see attached photo. Sorry for the quality of the image, but like I said he hides a lot and is camera shy.
Any idea what might be the cause, and what I should do to treat?
<A trauma as you state in the subject line/tray... perhaps from a "coral" or begun w/ a physical injury. No treatment advised>
Everyone else in the tank is doing fine. I would guess either an infection exacerbated by the stress of moving, or possibly an injury from tankmates.
However, I haven't seen anyone picking on him, if anything I think he is the most aggressive fish in the tank. However, I was hoping maybe you could steer me in a more specific direction since the wait-and-see approach doesn't seem to be doing him any good. If there is any additional info I can provide to help please let me know.
Thanks in advance,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

who killed Toby the goby?  5/30/2010
we use your site all the time for researching and identifying our tank inhabitants -thanks. This is the first time we have written so please let us know if more info required. We have recently lost some 'friends', and hoping you can help us not loose any more. Below are details of our setup, and also some changes we have made (that we hope haven nothing to do with the deaths).
Display Tank 4.5'wide x 2'deep x 1.5'back (circ with Seio 6000Lt/hr, 250WMH 15K, 4' T8 actinic, 5"+ sand bed, Liverock) ; drains into refugium 3'x1.5'x1.5' (3' double 20K T5, circ aqua One 2000Lt/hr power head, Liverock); drains into sump 3'x1.5'1.5' (Live Rock, return pump PJ MaxFlow 3500lt, protein skimmer reef octopus otp-2000).
Total live rock - aprox 80kg.
Livestock - 9 blue green Chromis, 1 yellow tang, 1 scribbled angel fish, 1 yellow tailed blue damsel, 1 ocellaris clown, 1 cinnamon clown, 2 large turbo snails, 2 + whelk type snails, 2 large hermits, approx 6 small hermits, heaps of bristle worms, a few spiny bristle star fish including large spiny black. Should have peppermint shrimp, but haven't seen them for months.
Several purple tipped bta's,
<Not Heteractis crispa...?>
Corals - devils finger, hammer, Corallimorphs, zoanthids,2 Acan frags, unidentified fluffy frag, brain, open brain. We have hitchhiker tunicates, and sponges.
Current tank parameters.
pH 8.2
temp 24-25 degree C
salt 1.024
ammonia 0 (never had an ammonia reading)
nitrate 0 (best we have ever had; usually have trouble getting under 20)
KH 10.9
Recent Changes:-
3 weeks ago added the refugium. PVC piped, joints allowed to set (couldn't get clear cement).
<Colored one/s should be fine once cured>
Started moving some bta's into refugium (difficult to shift).
2 weeks ago - added 5 Chromis, scribbled angel, brown barred goby.
<Processed how? Quarantined?>
3 or 4 days later - Bi-color Blenny (over 12 months in tank), out in tank with other fish, looked "happy", full color, looked 2 hours later, dead, sitting (as per habit, slightly bent) on rock at bottom of tank.
Checked, no outward signs of disease or injury (other than clean up crew chewing on tail).
Couple of days later, big hermit seen out of shell, being chewed on by cleanup crew.
1 week ago added 30kg of well matured Live Rock, to sump and refugium.
2 days ago, Brown Barred Goby, found, sitting bottom of tank, slightly bent, low gill rate, good color, no outward signs of disease or injury, tried target feeding and water flow, but too far gone ,dead soon after.
Also found, same day, dead hitchhiker crab, in refugium.
We have done a couple of 60lt water changes over the last month - water from LFS. Top up every couple of days with RO water.
We have had no deaths in over 12 months, everything seems to be getting along with each other. Feeding spectrum sinking pellets, twice daily, some flakes, supplement with frozen shrimp and Nori.
Seems unlikely coincidence that the Gobioids died so close together, and the crabs?
<Agreed... but from what?>
Local LFS also stumped.
Do you have any suggestions as to possible causes? We are devastated to loose our fish, especially ones with personality.
Thanks for your advice. Adam
Adam buzza
<Well... could be a bizarre coincidence, but am leaning more toward "something" that came in with the new live rock... but what? Some food organism "that didn't agree" with the Gobioids? Bob Fenner>

re: who killed Toby the goby? & Anem. ID   5/30/2010
Thanks Bob for the quick response.
We also though it could be something that was common food to those animals (we though a toxin in the water would have taken out more livestock).
<Likely. Yes>
Is there any poisonous algae that we should watch out for?
<Mmm, not really... as in by the time you'd recognize it as such, it would have debilitated, killed your livestock... best to avoid such likelihoods by the usual methods of algal proliferation control... Avoiding nutrient accumulation, using competitive life forms... Covered on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/avoidingalgaeproblesm.htm
and the linked files where you lead yourself. BobF>
Unfortunately we can't blame the liverock, because the Blenny died a couple days before we put that in.
We had been moving anemones. [here is link of pictures of anemones for
your viewing only, would love your thoughts on ID.
<This is almost assuredly an Entacmaea quadricolor>
] Ocellaris wont host,
Cinnamon will, they have multiplied in our tank readily, they only get to dinner plate size, then pup, and sometimes pup
when smaller. We only see the "bubble tip" once in a blue moon. We originally thought they may have been Ritteri based on others photo's and the magenta/pink foot, but local Aussie marine society forums thinks its just a BTA. We had to move them out as they were shadowing and fighting with our corals - hence new refugium needed to shift anemones off LR.
We did not treat the new fish,
<I would not>
and we did not put the new fish in the refugium (as it was full of waving, angry anemones), maybe poor judgment call that they were better off in large tank. They were not purchased from LFS, they were from an established tank, where we had seen them
very happy, and feeding.
<Appear healthy to me. B>


ICK and my goby  -- 4/30/09
Hey guys I have been reading and searching and just can't figure out what to do. I had an Ick outbreak in my DT. 55g reef. I removed all my fish (2 clowns, watchman goby, and coral beauty). They have all been in my QT for a little more than a week and have no signs of Ick on them anymore.
<The emphasis should be on the terms "no signs"... might very well still be infested>
I freshwater dipped them all twice. They are all healthy and eating well...except for the goby. He is losing weight and looking very very sad.
<Too common in such settings... these small fishes need to eat almost continuously to stay fit>
The QT is glass bottom so he has no sand to sift and isn't eating. I feed Mysis, pellets, flake, fresh food. I can't get him to take anything.
<Mmm... there are other foods... and if you're not going to use a toxic medicine, you could introduce (from a clean system) some healthy live rock...>
Today I took a baseball sized chunk of Chaeto out of my fuge
<Mmm, if this came from the infested system...>
hoping we would go after some of the pods. I haven't seen him eat in my QT. I'm very afraid he is starving without the sand to sift through and eat. What can I do? I have considered putting him back into my DT but its only been fishless a little more than a week and I know that's not long enough to get rid of the Ick.
<Correct... takes usually at least three weeks... can be sped up a bit by raisin temp., lowering Spg.>
I didn't see Ick on the goby but I did see it on the coral beauty, and a clown, so I thought I would play it safe and QT everyone and let the tank sit 4 or 5 weeks. I was considering making some sort of sand bed in a little Tupperware container and stuffing food in the sand hoping he might take it that way?
<Another approach worth trying... or...>
If I use silica sand will the Ick not grow in there?
<Grows on anything wet... resting stages can/will settle on glass, acrylic...>
Or maybe if I change the sand out daily with new store bought sand in the Tupperware?
<Worth trying, or...>
I could put food in the sand everyday and change it out? Or would this just let the Ick possibly multiply in the sand?
It is really hard to tell if he has or had any Ick on him because of his light coloring. Please help me with any sort of suggestions. I am in a bit of a panic and very concerned about my poor goby. He was so happy before and had a little home in the sand bed before this. Thanks for your help.
<You may want to try settling with an infested system... Many are (Crypt resident, non-symptomatic)... Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Black ray shrimp goby...  Hlth... Cnid. influence? 04/07/2008 Good Sunday Morning! <<Hello, Andrew today>> First off, sorry, in advance, for the long email and your site rocks! <<Thanks for the comments>> I am fairly new to the hobby and so far have been learning things a bit the hard way - did not find your site until after I had lost all my fish due to too fast and too much. <<Ahh...a hard lesson to learn>> I have a 34 gallon Red Sea system with about 3" of live sand and a gorgeous piece of live rock (can't find the receipt to know what the weight is). I started the system in July of '07. After losing all my livestock, I found your wonderful site, let the tank go fallow for 8 weeks and bought a 12 gallon QT. Through all, my cleaner shrimp, pistol shrimp, sand sifting starfish <<Would suggest this tank is not suitable for a sifting starfish as these really need a very well established sandbed>> and various 5 hermits, 3 Nassarius, 2 Trochus and 2 Turbos survived. I have a chiller that keeps the temp 78-80 and water tests out great (small amount of nitrate but all other numbers in your recommended parameters). <<Sounds good>> I do have some corals - torch, toadstool leather, Trachyphyllia brain and mushroom polyps - all spaced so that they stay out of each other's way. In retrospect, I would never have started with a Nano set up and would not have the corals. Long story longer...I currently have 2 ocellaris clowns, 1 flasher mutt wrasse, one purple Firefish, and a black ray goby that paired up wonderfully with the pistol shrimp. All fish went through quarantine with the last 2, both gobies, being introduced into the red sea main tank in December - shorter quarantine for them, as per instructions from your site. All have been doing just great - except for the occasional scrapping between the wrasse, Flash, and the gobies, Frankie & Spike. <<Understandable aggression between these fish in a tank of this size>> Spike is my main concern right now. A couple of the mushroom polyps have broken loose from their original home and I just let them float freely until they found a new home. They have found new spots in 2 of the entrances that Spike (black ray) and Pete (pistol shrimp) use to go under the rock. I was not overly concerned about that because they also had 2 other holes that they used in addition to those places and I assumed that Pete would push the polyps out of the way if need be. Spike has always been very aggressive during feeding times and made sure that he got his share (I watch this carefully as the Yashia goby, Obie Wan, that came with Pete originally was very shy and did not make it). We have not seen Spike except for a couple of times since last Sunday - no worries as that seems to be normal behavior. I was going to try to gently move the polyps into a new spot in the tank so that the 2 entrances were freed up. I planned on doing that today along with all the other tank maintenance that I do on Sundays - clean up and water changes. <<Ok>> Unfortunately, late yesterday I noticed Spike swimming around near the surface of the tank and very erratically. Fortunately, I have a 6 gallon Nano cube set up and going as a hospital tank - just in case. I was able to get Spike out of the main tank and into the hospital tank immediately (did not like doing that but was scared that the others would start harassing him or he would go back under the rock and I would not be able to help him at that point). I guess my question is could the polyps have had something to do with this? <<I would not imagine mushrooms having a negative effect on the goby>> Also, could the digging in the sand bed have unearthed some toxins? <<Very possible, yes>> Spike is in the HT and still swimming oddly (it is a bare bottom tank with some PVC for hiding). I tried to feed him some pellets this morning and Mysis shrimp last night - he likes that food and I was able to put it right over his mouth - no luck on the eating. In fact, he even lets me touch him. Honestly, I don't think he is going to make it but I will keep trying. Next step is garlic supplement in the food. <<Indeed, I would add Selcon rather than garlic, as Selcon is a Vit supplement>> I really do not want to get another goby until I am a bit more sure of what happened. I have way too much respect for these gorgeous creatures to get another and risk it but I also am concerned about the pistol shrimp being un-aided. This all assumes the Spike does not pull through this event. <<Careful monitoring, feeding with Vit laden foods is the best way forward, to get the Goby to rebuild strength>> I searched your site for information on this but did not see anything specific to the polyps and the goby - so much information and so little time to help Spike. All other fish in the tank are just fine. I am looking into a bigger tank as the smaller ones are a LOT of work. <<I feel that a larger tank is really needed with you stock. I would expect aggression in the tank due to the size and the fish in there>> I wish that LFS would be more mindful of that before recommending them to new hobbyist's. <<Ahhhhh..the good old fish shop just wants to make money>> I also wish the LFS would promote the use of a QT. I research everything extensively on your site, have "the book" by Dr. Bob and do not make a move without consulting yous. Thanks again and I appreciate any thoughts you may have - <<Angela, I would take my suggestions on board....I.E Really do consider a larger tank at least 50+ gals, start feeding the Goby on Vit laden foods and monitor very closely in the hospital tank>> Angela (Spike's concerned mom) <<Thanks for the questions, good luck, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Re: Black ray shrimp goby 04/09/2008 Andrew - <<Angela>> Thanks so much for the fast response. <<Glad I could help>> I have my husband running out to get the Selcon as we "speak". I have read from others that the starfish should not make it in a tank the size I have. I am very fortunate that it has been doing great given the trials that I have had. I am also fortunate that the aggression in the tank seems to be minimal (more fussing between the hermits and the Nassarius snails when they get too close than the fish). Spike was very good at establishing his territory with the wrasse early on. The wrasse ended up with his mouth in Spike's one day and that settled that argument toot sweet! <<Sounds good>> I sacrificed my 12 gallon QT for a beautiful neon goby that lives in there on his own (no plans to add to that tank or to put him in with the others even if I get a bigger home for the crew). He is fascinating to watch. His tank has about a 1" sand bed with some hermits and snails to act as the clean up crew. He also has some PVC and fake coral to play and hide in. If you have any additional thoughts, I welcome any and all. <<A wise sacrifice indeed, and a good decision>> I may not have room for a bigger tank (wall space is the issue) and might consider another Nano to ease the crowding (at least 20 gallons FOWLR). If I do that, I would not get any additional "children", but would separate what I have. Would you recommend the clowns in one and the Firefish & wrasse in the other? <<That sounds like a nice split to me>> Thanks again for your help and I will keep you apprised of Spike's status. Angela <<Thanks for the follow up Angel, good luck. A Nixon>>

Re: Black ray shrimp goby 04/09/2008 Andrew - <<Angela>> I added some food soaked in Selcon to the HT yesterday. Spike seemed to react positively to the Vit's in the tank - did not eat, was swimming around a bit more normal but not quite all there. I fed some more Selcon soaked pellets this morning into his tank after removing the uneaten pellets from yesterday. I sure do hope that this pulls him out of whatever ails him. Should I be adding Selcon to the food for my other 2 tanks as part of my normal routine? If so, how often would you recommend (daily, twice a week?). I do a 10% water change each week on both tanks, clean out what we refer to as "the spit cup" every day and watch my guys closely. <<A couple of times per week is a good addition>> I feel bad for busting on the LFS as they really do a nice job with their fish and have been helpful. Honestly, I blame myself for all the losses so far. I just think they get caught up in the new hobbyist enthusiasm and hesitate to slow down the process. They know that I heavily research everything before I make a move on anything now and they don't push things on me. I am considering replacing my TV with a larger tank - much more interesting to watch then today's programming. However, this would be in my bedroom and I know that the equipment attached to a larger tank can get noisy. Do people ever put the peripheral equipment outside? I live in So Cal so temperature is not a huge issue and I could build around it. I went to a Marine expo this past weekend and discovered that I have a lot of research to do before I figure out my next tank and supporting equipment. There are so many choices and opinions, it is a bit overwhelming! <<He he he he...yes, it can be like that sometimes. Good luck, and please do keep me informed with progress>> Thanks again for your guidance and for your dedication to the hobby via maintaining this great website! Angela <<Thanks again, A Nixon>>

Black ray shrimp goby... hlth? and FOWLR set-up   04/17/2008 Greetings and salutations - <<Hi Angela, Andrew today>> Just wanted to update you on Spike. Unfortunately, he did not make it through this. <<Awww.. very unfortunate. A good lesson learned perhaps? No matter how time is spent in the hobby, were always learning new lessons, new information. Our quest for knowledge is always thirsty>> I can't help but think it was nutritional or some type of toxin released from the digging in the sand done by his pistol shrimp companion. Anyway, thanks again so much for your help and advise. All others in that tank continue to do well. <<Glad to hear everyone else is just great>> On a different note, I just want to re-iterate what you and the "crew" say over and over again...a quarantine and/or hospital tank is so important to have in this hobby!! People should absolutely take this advise from you guys. I have a 6 gallon Eclipse tank going at all time. This also serves to keep my salt water that I have moving and up to temperature for my weekly water changes, or if I need an emergency change. I will probably go back to making my own salt water eventually, but for now I continue to get it from the LFS and adjust it to fit the tank. <<Ahhhhh yes. A small, but very essential system, which is so many times overlooked, or thought of as " Blah, my fish will be fine, I don't need anything like a quarantine or hospital. And when the times arrives that one is needed, they then start to kick themselves, and the words arise "If only I had listened / accepted that I need one". Again, a lesson for people to learn>> Andrew - No rush on an answer and you don't have to post this unless you feel it is important, but, I really would like to pick your brain a bit on a good set-up for a larger tank. <<Will answer while were together here and will post as always>> If I am interested in getting a 75-90 gallon FOWLR, how would you outfit it (i.e.-how would you set it up for yourself)? <<Well, lets take 75 as an example...For me, I would go with 1 - 1.5lbs of live rock per gallon of tank water, 2 - 3 inch sandbed, a good skimmer like AquaC urchin or Deltec, 30 - 40 gallon sump with refugium, 2 Hydor Koralia #4 powerheads, and lighting would all depend on if corals would be had further down the line, probably a mid-range 200w T5 unit with individual reflectors>> <<That's about the sump of a 75 if I was to put one together>> With all the choices, I really do not know who else to turn to. I assume that part of this answer will depend on the type of fish that I would be interested in stocking in the tank. <<Fish wise, the tank setup does not really make that much difference in my opinion, as its the fish compatibility with each other is the determining factor>> I must say that I really enjoy a peaceful set-up and do not care as much for the higher maintenance fish. Any and all of your sage advise is welcome! Thanks again for all the good work you guys do for us 'aqua heads'! Angela <<Thanks for the nice mail/comments. I hope the above helps to lead you down the path of success, and by all means, if you want to press further down setting a new system up and want more advise, I'm always an email away. Good day and regards, A Nixon>>

Goby in trouble 03/06/2008 hey first time poster in need of emergency help <<Good evening, Andrew here tonight>> We have kept tropical tanks for long time with no problems. With encouragement from LFS have set up marine, really don't know what we are doing but learning all the time. 190 litres with live rock, jewel internal filter and undergravel and two air pumps. all parameters seem fine. <<Specific parameters are always best to send in as there is a lot to known from the tank readings for at least pH, Temp, Ammonia, NitrITE and NitrAte.>> The tank has been set up for four months, no deaths or problems. <<This is good to hear>> Over last few days our goby has been acting strangely. Instead of moving around bottom, he will only hide in a cave and then takes mad turns dashing all over tank bashing into things. Came home tonight and he is swimming at top, upside down, twirling around, breathing very rapidly. His gills look swollen and he is not eating. his tail looks damaged, I suspect from the false Dottyback. <<A list of current stock in this fish tank would help here>> Is there anything anyone can suggest to save him because we are really attached to him, he has been with us from the start. <<I would remove the fish to a quarantine tank, on its own, provide a good staple diet. Hopefully in this tank, the Goby will settle down and, coupled with a good feeding regime, should hopefully regain its composure>> Sorry for lack of knowledge, we know we jumped into things too early, but trusted LFS which we now know was a mistake. don't even know what goby he is. he is white with blue diamonds on his neck. many thanks in advance and would appreciate any help, the faster the better. <<Sorry to hear you received incorrect advice from the fish shop, it does happen though. Plenty of reading available here for you to peruse over and absorb. <<http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobies.htm>> <<http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpgobies.htm>> <<From your description, your goby sounds like a Valenciennea puellaris or maybe a Valenciennea longipinnis. By all means, take a photo and email it too us to get a specific ID on the fish>> Laura <<Thanks for the questions Laura, hope this helps. Please spend time to read through the above linked articles and related FAQ's. A Nixon>>

Parasite, Copepod...   2/10/08 Here are some pics of a nasty looking parasite on a Stonogobiops nematodes. The fish is a juvenile, about an inch long. He is very active. Eating very well, and you would never know he has a problem. <"Successful parasites don't kill their hosts"> The parasite has a blood red abdomen, two curlycue's at the top, <Egg sacs...> and what looks like a mosquito's proboscis entering the fish. Looks like a salt water Mosquito! <Is a copepod> I have been trying hard to research this, but have had no luck with identification. From reading all the threads that I could, the two courses of action seem to be, one, cleaner shrimp. And then if unsuccessful, manual extraction with tweezers, in a net, under water. <Mmm, dangerous> The fish is so small, I am afraid to handle him. But if I did remove it manually, I was unfamiliar with the medication to swab on the wound, and where to get it. Any help with identification, and a plan of action, would be appreciated. Sorry if the pics are not in perfect focus. These are the best I can come up with, I took fifty, to get these four. Thank you! Richard PS I put the smallest cleaner shrimp that I could find in the tank tonight. I will keep my fingers crossed. <This is a very good idea... I would "just wait" at this junction... Likely trying to extricate or selectively poison (organophosphate) this crustacean will result in the goby's death... Perhaps it will "cycle off" in time... and there is a good chance that it cannot reproduce in your setting... see the Net re... I would just be patient... it may take months to change... Bob Fenner>

Black Mark on Sleeper Goby 2-9-08 Yunachin, <Hi there!> Thanks for your reply. <No problem at all.> I have one last question; this time about my sleeper goby. <Okie dokie.> He has developed a black marking where his chin is. It appears to be getting darker everyday (the marking). Could it be a disease? Or stress? <Could be an array of things. Is there any way that you can send a picture for a better identification?> Thanks again, <No prob! --Yunachin> Merlinda

Re: Black Mark on Sleeper Goby  2-11-08 Hello again, <Hi.> Attached are pictures of my goby with the black marking. <I did a pretty extensive search just to make sure of myself and found that this marking is indeed a natural color variation. Here is the link where I got a very nice close-up: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-09/hcs3/index.php; > Thanks,

Seriously Obese Goby  - guidance needed  1/25/08 Greetings WWM, <Charleen> I'm hoping you might be able to assist and/or advise me on what I should do about my seriously obese goby. Everything else I've read on your sight is about sand sifting gobies getting too skinny, not too fat. Additionally, I'm not sure what kind he is. I've checked FishBase and it looks like he may be either a Byno Goby (Amblygobius bynoensis) or Amblygobius stethophthalmus (no common name listed). What do you think? <The latter> Just a little background on the tank, in case any of it matters. I had a 55 gal set up in South Florida. I moved to North Georgia this past May. I moved the tank, all live rock, sand, fish, and all the existing water to a co-workers house to be looked after until I got a house in Georgia. In August, I drove back down and collected everything except the existing water, only enough to keep everything fully submerged on the 700 mile trip to their new home. Several weeks before my planned trip, I special ordered a 155 gal bow front in order to have everything set up and ready to go upon my return. Unfortunately, the stand came in broken twice, and the final stand did not come in until the day after I returned. The live rock, sand, and all the fish sat in 3 large Rubbermaid pails, with powerheads keeping the water circulating for almost a week -- in the middle of my kitchen floor. <Yikes. Trying> Miraculously, everything survived and is now thriving. Fish include 1 yellow tang (3-3.5"), 1 4-stripe damsel (1.5-2"), 1 yellow tail damsel (1.5"), 1 blue/green Chromis (2"), 3 yellow belly blue damsels (1.5") **2nd question about these to follow**, an urchin of unknown type, and my super fat goby (4"). There is also a Kenya Tree coral and a few zoos. I've been into fishkeeping for about 15 years but only into marine for the last 2.5 years. I'm still a bit of a novice it seems as, in my stupidity, I figured my new well water would be far superior to my old Florida chlorinated city water. I know, I know, couldn't be further from the truth. Well, I know that now. Just about every surface in my tank is covered in the ugliest algaes, don't know which, probably all the nuisance kind. I did purchase an RO system about a month ago (after my last correspondence with you), but no change as yet with the algae. <As you state/hint... "takes" a while> In fact it has gotten much worse since I added a heater to the tank to bring it up out of the sixties. With as much volume as I have, it seems like it will be a few years before the phosphates and nitrates come down enough to see a difference in the algae. <Yikes. Let's hope it's not this long... perhaps chemical filtrant use...> I mention the algae problem only because all the fish eat on it from lights on until lights off. As a result, I was only feeding them once per day. <Likely fine... can/will forage on the rock otherwise> Since August (about 5 months now), the goby has doubled in size. I don't mean length, only girth. With his welfare in mind, I have reduced feeding the tank to every other day. I don't want to starve the other tank mates but the goby looks like he could explode at any time. I haven't figured out a way to put only HIM on a diet. <Try Spectrum/New Life, pelleted food> Is there anything that I can / should do for him? Am I truly dealing with an obese fish or is something else the cause? <Could be some sort of gut blockage, sex product storage, tumour...> Since he is a sand sifter, is it possible that he's actually ingested some of the sand, and if so, what then? <Patience really... hopefully will pass, dissolve in time> I have the Seaflor Special Grade Reef Sand which they list to be 1-1.7mm grain size. Now on to the other question about the yellow belly blue damsels. There are three, one of which is definitely a female. She will lay what appears to be thousands of eggs on a fairly regular basis. She did it in the 55 gal in Florida and continues now in the 155. I've never seen anything come from the eggs so I'm assuming that they probably are not being fertilized. Is there any way to differentiate male from female with this kind of damsel? <Mmm, not easy to discern. Some folks claim they can sex Chromis species on the basis of "sheen", "tint" of color. All else being equal, males should be smaller, slimmer.> I thank you in advance. I'm sure you will have great answers for me just like you do for all those other folks out there. Charlie, Athens GA <Here's hoping these are passable. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Cloudy Eye on Watchman Goby - 10/8/07 Hello All! <Hello there, Brian!> Thanks for all of the EXCELLENT info!! <You're very welcome!> I have recently added to my 90g FOWLR (after Q) a blue spot watchman goby <Neat fish> who has developed a cloudy right eye over the last two days. His hidey hole is in close proximity to a pesky Aiptasia, do you think he/she may have been stung by it creating the eye ailment? <It's possible> I have several other fish <Have they shown any signs of aggression towards the goby?> that show no signs of this problem and my water param.s are stable/ideal, can you please help clue me in on what direction to take? <Does sound like some sort of physical trauma rather than a water quality issue (since it's only in the one eye). I would monitor, keep water conditions pristine, and make sure this fish gets plenty of good quality/enriched foods (a vitamin supplement, such as Selcon, would be good here). Hopefully, he'll be better in a couple of days!> Thanks!!! Brian <My pleasure, Brian -Lynn>

Banded goby in trouble... hlth... age?  -- 09/29/07 Dear Bob, <Teresa> Last night our Goby was fine and this afternoon he is lying on his side swimming little and not eating. He has been residing in a stable 24 G nano for almost 2 years and other fish are fine (3 PJ cardinals, <Need more room than this> 1 Chromis, 1 tiny percula).. I moved him to the refugium of our 90 G to be sure of best possible water quality. My husband who runs the tanks is home now and all parameters check fine. Both tanks. I'm wondering if we can do anything else, QT with treatment? <Maybe... at least removal to an area with a higher concentration of probable foodstuffs... A refugium...> He has no other symptoms. I cant see any spots. What could possible make him go downhill so fast? <Maybe "old age"... internal parasites... nutritional deficiency...> We alternate feed Fenner mash and New life Spectrum Marine formula, eating isn't usually a problem. <Agreed> The last 2 years we have noticed a lot of starfish, feather duster worms in the nano..cant think of anything else to tell. <Their presence is a sign of good system health> These are great hardy fish, interesting personalities and friendly. I care for this one so much I'd visit the vet if it would help! Thanks for your time, God bless all of you at WWM, Teresa <Or someone... It may well be senescence... Small gobies only live a year or two... Cumulative replicant/genetic defects... Bob Fenner>
Re: banded goby in trouble  9/30/07
Dear Bob, Thank you for your quick reply. The banded goby improved a bit a few hours after moving to the refugium. as he was resting on the bottom in a more normal position, instead of towards the side. Amidst all the feather dusters and copepods, you could barley see him in there. However as I write this(12 hours later), he has gone upside down and  is breathing rapidly (new symptom). The tail fin looks red to me? I  didn't notice this before and the lower third of his body appears stiff. There's probably not much to do at this point except heed your advice and keep the NanoCube on the understocked side. Though its been fine for two years, the banded goby would fare better with more room, considering the other livestock we have currently. The 3 PJ cardinals have grown a lot in the last year! As far as old age, we aren't sure how old this Brownbarred goby was when we acquired him. We cant change senescence, but we can strive to insure a happy healthy life while we have them. <Yes> Thanks for all your help in that, and as always, God bless. Teresa PS I would consider getting this fish again as it is a great housekeeper, with lots of personality. <Life to you my friend. BobF>

Goby Sick  8/3/07 Hi I have been looking on your pages to find some information about parasites on gobies. I have a yellow watchman goby and my take <Tank> is approximately 6 weeks old. <Quite new... particularly for species as these who rely on a good deal of infauna for food> I looked at my goby this morning and he had his mouth wide open I could see the inside of the fish and it looked like a brown small worm maybe 1/4 in. or smaller was coming out of him on the side of his face by his mouth and it looks like there is another one in him. I got the net to try to get the worm out that had escaped into the sand. I was wondering if you could give me some information about this and if there is anything to help the fish. Thanks <Mmm, could you send along a few well-resolved pix of this? You may be just seeing this animal's gill supports/branchiostegals... Bob Fenner>

Pink watchman goby and ich -- 07/24/07 Hi crew, I think my pink watchman goby may have ich and want to verify how to treat him for it. According to the WWM FAQ concerning gobies: <chelated copper solutions need to be carefully measured at about the near lowest physiological dose (0.15 ppm free cupric in equivalent) The free cupric ion is really the only important measure in both/all cases. Utilizing sequestered compounds only/allows for a more "steady" dosage... The chelated is better for hobbyists and commercial settings in almost all cases. Free copper (sulfate) solutions are of value for raceway, open, culture, some high-tech. settings> I've read copper can severely harm and/or kill gobies so I want to be very diligent in dosing him. <This is so> Based on the above info is it recommended to use chelated copper at .15 ppm on a goby? <One approach> Should I be dosing twice a day? <Re-dose upon measuring, finding too-low, physiological concentration... Test maybe twice a day> He's about 5-6 inches in length and is still eating normal. <ly> I'm not 100% convinced he has ich yet. I had him in a quarantine for 3 weeks but I know he was exposed to ich prior to the quarantine. He never showed signs of ich. I drip acclimated him for 2 1/2 hours, dumping out the water every 30 min. Then I freshwater dipped in Methylene blue. He's been in the main tank for 2 1/2 weeks and now he appears to have a spot on his fin and tail. None of the other fish show signs of ich. I've got a QT ready just in case. Thank you for all your help! Jennifer <Mmm, the spot may be nothing pathogenic... I would just quarantine (and carefully feed) this animal for now. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pink watchman goby and ich -- 07/24/07
Hey Bob! I'm hoping you're right and this is nothing. I noticed the spots that appeared yesterday are gone today, which could be the "marine snow" landing on his fins. I am very ichaphobic. <Heeee!> .that should be a new term in this hobby. I will quarantine him. By "feeding carefully" do you mean light feeding? <In part... frequent, small amounts... Just make sure this fish doesn't get so skinny that it gives up eating period> Because this animal eats like a pig. Also, you mentioned the copper dosing being one option do you have any other suggestions if I need to go that route? Thank you so much for all of your help and vast knowledge! Jennifer <I'd rather not start on "other" alternatives at this point... Too much weight, consideration is given to such, particularly in a/the "western ethic"... "Buying stuff" somehow makes folks feel they're "doing something"... A conditioned reflex for sure... I'd just quarantine. BobF>

Re: Pink watchman goby and ich   7/25/07 OK, got it... light frequent feedings. I don't think he'll mind. Believe me the last thing I want to deal with is copper or any medicine. This stuff scares me and I've had 50/50 results with it. I wish I had better luck with hyposalinity to go that route but I have not in the past. <Me neither... first or other hand> I'll keep an eye on Diggles (goby named after the scientist and I thought the name was funny). Hopefully I'll have good news in the next week or so. Thanks again for the peace of mind, Bob! It's amazing how sick to my stomach I get when I see a little white spot on a fish... what has my life come to!!!!! Jennifer <Compassion and consideration my friend. BobF>

Goby Quarantine -- 06/29/07 Hi Crew! I found this in Quarantine FAQ and had a question (at bottom): Goby Quarantine Period 10/11/05 Bob Fenner suggests a short quarantine for Gobies (maybe a few days), since longer quarantine periods represent a "bad trade-off." I assume he means that after a few days, the additional insurance against disease transmission is outweighed by ill-effects of additional quarantine time for fish like Gobies. <Good interpretation> My question: If my Goby (actually Firefish) has been in quarantine for 5 days, is looking/acting/eating well, and shows no outward evidence of disease, is that a reason to get him into the main tank soon (since he is likely disease free) or is that a reason to leave him in quarantine (since he does not appear to be suffering from being there)? <Not a problem here> I have a pink goby (Cryptocentrus leptocephalus) in a QT for 5 days now. It was in a QT for 1 day with another fish I discovered had ich. I immediately separated them. The goby has shown no signs of ich. That all being said and based on the above FAQ suggestion how long should the goby be in the QT? <<Mmm, no longer quarantine, but treatment... a vastly different situation. I WOULD at least isolate this goby for two weeks for observation... if not proceed with exposure to medicine/s>> Also, I read the Quarantine article...very informative! I did have a question; I have the goby QT in a room that gets absolutely no activity except when I go in to feed him, is that ok or should I move him so he becomes accustomed to activity? Sorry for the long email.. thanks JB <<Better to have/leave in a low-external-activity setting. Bob Fenner>>
Re: Goby Quarantine
Hi Bob Thank you for the great info! He has been in his own tank but I have not put in any meds. I will watch him for at least another week for any signs. so far so good! Would he be a good candidate to dip with Methylene blue prior to introducing to the main tank? <This is a very good idea... in pH adjusted dechloraminated freshwater> I know that some fish do not take to it to well. Also, I will keep him in his room. thank you so much!!! Jennifer <Welcome my friend. BobF>
Re: Goby Quarantine   6/30/07
Bob, thank you for your wonderful advice. As always, you have given me a clear path to follow.. thank you! Jennifer <Clarity (and help!) is/are pleasurable! BobF>

Help! Ich   6/25/07 Hi crew! <Hi Jennifer> I have searched the site for 2 hours and can't find a definitive answer so here's the question. I have a copperband butterflyfish and a pink/blue goby in a QT. It appears the butterflyfish has ich. From what I have found in no way should the goby come in contact with copper and they appear to be relatively disease resistant. Is this accurate? Should I put him in a separate QT to be safe? Also, in a FAQ Bob mentioned keeping gobies (healthy) in a QT for a max of 2 weeks. As far as the butterflyfish, is the best course of treatment formalin dips with frequent water changes and for how long? Thank you for any advice. Jennifer <My advise is a hyposalinity treatment. Check this link for more info...http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and...http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hyposalandcrypt.htm and...http://www.wetwebmedia.com/martrthyposalfaq2.htm> <Rich aka Mr. Firemouth>

Are gobies sensitive to copper... Mmmm, yes   6/25/07 I literally have searched for 4 hours and cannot find anything to answer this....how do you treat a pink and blue goby for ich? I have looked under Goby FAQ, Goby FAQ for diseases, Ich FAQs, etc. I have done a search in every way possible. Are these things sensitive to copper. some places say they are. some say they are not...some places say use Formalin. some say use dips. could someone please help. Thank you. DC <... Depends on the condition, size... but can be treated with a minimal physiological dose of chelated copper... or other... RMF>

Blind banded high fin shrimp goby Hello! Thanks in advance for your help. <Welcome> I have had my shrimp goby for about 8 months now and he has always hidden in the live rock and darted out to eat. <Generally what they do... in the wild and captivity> On several occasions, he darted out and looked as if he had difficulty finding his way back in the hole. He would bump into the rock repeatedly trying to get back in. Now I believe he is completely blind. I did not see him coming out to eat and then I found him just hanging out in the open, not reacting to any of the other inhabitants unless they touched him. Lucky for him, all the other fish are peaceful. I scooped him up with my hand a placed him in a shallow glass bowl on the sand (with sand and live rock rubble inside) to keep track of him and I have been hand feeding him for 3 days now. He eats like a champ if I stick Mysis right in his face. Other than acting blind, he looks perfectly normal. Ever hear of this before? Any ideas on treatment? <Mmm... have heard of these "blindings"... likely nutritional in origin (avitaminoses)... but could be a pathogen at play... perhaps something environmental... A cure not likely> His eyes are perfectly clear and all my other fish are healthy. He was the last fish I added 8 months ago. The tank is a 54 corner reef with a sump and refugium, 50 lbs of live rock, and a 2 inch sand bed. My water  parameters are fine. The other fish are a flame angel, yellow wrasse, black and  white ocellaris, and 3 Chromis. I also have a fire shrimp and a cleaner shrimp. I usually feed Mysis and occasionally Cyclop-eeze, flake, or blood worms. I was wondering if it could be some sort of nutritional deficiency. <Yes, this is most likely... You could/might try reversing this with soaking foods in a vitamin/HUFA mix like Selcon... Please see WWM re.> Thanks so much for your time. I look forward to your answer. Angela Collison <Bob Fenner>

Things on Goby?   5/9/07 I just received a red banded antennae goby from a distributor, and I noticed that the little guy has two red, sausage looking blobs on either side of his body.  They are not on his head or gills, but rather about halfway down his body, right behind his stomach/intestinal area.  One blob is about a millimeter, the other slightly smaller. They are red, but still semi transparent.  When you look closely, you can see something undulating inside of them.  It is a bottom to top motion, no squirming or writhing inside.  Also, the larger of the two sausages has a small yellowish "string" coming from the top of it. I do not have a camera here (I'm at work) so I cannot attach a picture. <Rats!> I was looking through all our fish books and cannot find an external parasite picture that matches these things.  My question is, any idea what it is? <Yes... very likely either a crustacean or worm parasite... Not uncommon> It almost looks like the little guy's organs are on the outside of his body!  Especially as the two are directly across from each other, one on either side of his body. Any help would be appreciated.  I do not want to put the poor thing in any of our tanks until I'm 110% what it is.  Our quarantine tank is way to big for him, I'd never find him or he'd get eaten by the puffer we have in there.  Thank you! -Erica <Mmm, I suggest serial administration of an anthelminthic (my choice? Praziquantel), and an Organophosphate (something like Fluke Tabs)... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobydisfaqs.htm re related, cautionary remarks/matters. Bob Fenner>

Mysterious goby deaths  - 05/01/07 WWM Crew, <Jacob> I have some question about pink spot and diamond gobies, My Setup is a Standard 55 FOWLR Fluval 404 with just a little carbon and phos guard <Proper nouns are capitalized> in it.  A marine land 200 bio-wheel and a 250gph power head on one wall pointing the length of the tank Specific gravity is: 1.020 <Should be higher... see WWM re NSW> ph: 8.0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: >5 Ammonia-0 ~50#'s Live rock ~3 inch sugar fine size live sand bed <A bit more or much less is suggested... See WWM...> Tank inhabitants:  1 Pair Maroon yellow stripe clowns , 2 small engineer gobies >10 dwarf hermit, 8 Nassarius snails, 2 turbo snails, 4 peppermint shrimp, 1 coral banded shrimp, 3 common hermits, 1 plain white urchin, 1 small chocolate chip star I had recently purchased a pink spot from a LFS, had them feed it before I picked it up, <Good> it was eating frozen Mysis shrimp and frozen krill bits quite well.  Then it just ended up dead in my tank after having it 4 days. <Happens at times... too much stress?> LFS replaced it with a diamond goby, no more pink spots left. The diamond goby was doing great, made him a home, was eating krill bits and frozen Mysis shrimp, sifting sand like crazy; then over a night what looked like an abrasion formed near the base of his tail just before his tail fin, then by that night he was being fought over by the Nassarius and hermits. The Diamond Goby was less than a week old.  What do you'll think is killing these gobies? <Cumulative stress likely...> The tank is a year old with great coralline algae coverage (<80%) nuisance algae is never a problem, substrate stays clean and algae free. Everything I have read points me that I am in the right direction for a FOWLR. I have read the conscientious marine aquarist over and over and consult it before adding new inhabitants.  Just looking for some help thanks crew you aquarist rock!    <I would wait a month or more... try another "batch" of such gobies, perhaps from another source/store. Bob Fenner>
Re: Mysterious goby deaths  - 05/01/07
Thanks for the suggestions bob: A bit more or much less is that both LR and LS? <The LS... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm scroll down to the greenish bar...> I found in the Spg/salinity section where it should be around the 1.023-1.025 range <Ah, yes. Cheers, BobF>

Sick/Stressed Goby 4/27/07 <Sorry, hit send by accident, oops.  A complete answer now.> Hi crew, <Hello> I apologize in advance for the lengthy e-mail but I want to be sure to include all information you will need to help me help my fish. <No problem.> A little history first might help.  I have a 14 gallon BioCube that I received for Christmas.  <Small, tough way to start honestly.>    Not knowing that getting advice from the LFS didn't even come close to being responsible hobbyist, I did what they said, bought live rock, live sand and two weeks later a clown fish and a bicolor blenny.  Two months later they sold me a yellow tang (I now know, after learning about your site, that my tank is too small for a tang) which had ich. <Oh boy, need a new LFS I think.> Of course, they never taught me about QT.  <Very few do it seems which never made sense to me, more things to sell and healthier fish and successful hobbyists who return for more products.>  Tang died in two days and the blenny and clown  started showing signs about two weeks later.  The blenny died in the reef tank and I moved my clown into my only other available tank (a 6 gallon Eclipse).  The only animals left in the reef were the corals, hermit crabs, a peppermint shrimp and a long spined urchin that needs a new home since  tripling in size since he hitchhiked in on a piece of rock.  <Neat hitchhiker, but definitely needs a much larger tank.> The only additional things in there now is a bunch of copepods overrunning the tank without fish to eat them. <It's a pod party!> At this point I started scouring the Internet for help.  I luckily found your site, and a local reef club.  The members of the local club gave me great information but it was too late for Marlin.  Another club member lent me her 20 gallon, bare-bottom QT tank so I could get the new fish going while the reef tank went fallow.  <Nice.> There are two pieces of PVC for the fish to hide in but nothing else.  I got a purple Firefish and a yellow watchman goby.   Fast forward three weeks.    The power head in the QT tank stopped working one night but the filter was still running.  When I woke up and saw it I was able to get it going again but I noticed that the goby had two white patches that looked like powder. <Hmmm...>  One was on his back and one directly below on his belly.  He was very pale with dark stripes on his side.  He had always been somewhat pale and the stripes were faintly visible but they were now very obvious.  I watched him that day and the next.  He ate and his breathing seemed fine but the white patches seemed to get larger.  <Eating is always a good sign.>  After checking your site, it looked like marine velvet but the rest of the symptoms didn't fit.  <Kills usually in a few days so most likely not it.>  I also learned that neither the Firefish nor the goby handle copper very well.  <Not really, there are other means if you need to go that route, but I wouldn't unless you can get a definite diagnosis.>  Being a) a newbie and b) a chicken I talked to people in the club and did a water change and tried Melafix for a couple of days in hopes that maybe my water wasn't great and it was bacterial or something else.  I do test the water and all is good except one day when nitrites were .25 ppm.   I did a water change and everything has stayed at 0 since.  It's a week later, he is still alive but he is very pale and the white patches are still there.  <Pale is not a good sign, what are you feeding him?  High quality pellets like New Life Spectrum and a little frozen food such as Mysid would be good here.  Could the white patches be from rubbing against something while hiding, I have seen this in some QTed fish and is not a big deal, the scales do grow back eventually.>  I wouldn't say he is lethargic as much as he is always trying to  stay out of sight (up against the glass, under, behind and inside the  PVC).  <They like their cover, maybe put a blanket or towel around the tank to block out the big scary things moving around (you).>  He goes out in the open but jets into hiding as soon as he sees  me.  Delving farther into your site I found that his appearance (pale with black stripes) is a sign of distress.  <Sounds like it.>  I also read that Bob Fenner suggests shorter QT times for both of these fish due to the stress. <Yep, although if they are eating and otherwise ok I might try to keep to the normal schedule.> That  makes me wonder if the powdery white patches could be stress related as opposed to a parasite.  <If I am getting the picture right it sounds like he has had these for a couple weeks?  By that time most parasitic infections would have probably killed them without treatment.  Would guess its stress related.>  The Firefish has never shown any signs of any problem. <Good> They are very sweet together.  They lay side by side behind the PVC pipe.  <Safety in numbers.>  My reef tank will have been fallow for 6 weeks on Monday.  The fish have been in QT for 27 days.  I went to look in on them this morning and the goby saw me and started jetting around the tank and hit the sides a few times before he settled down in the corner.  <Panic, caught in the open when something big is around, need to move fast anywhere but where they are.>  He seemed very stressed and was breathing heavily.  I counted 65 respirations in a minute which is still lower than the symptoms of velvet.  <Yep, just from "running".> Finally, my questions... 1)  Could the white patches possibly be stress related?  <I would guess related to this.> 2)  Knowing that if these two fish die I will not replace them for at least 8 weeks, should I put them into the reef tank now and chance the ich or velvet getting back into the reef if the goby has one of them?  Another concern is that the reef might still have ich since it has only been 6 weeks since I took the last fish out.  <The longer you can leave the tank fallow the better, but a judgment call at this point.  With the stress indications being shown by the goby at this point I would think that if it had anything currently it would have already infected it, so I would assume it is currently disease free.  The tank is getting close to the point where I would be 99% sure it is ich free, so its back to your judgment of the fish's condition and how much more you think it can take it.> I'm quite sure the goby could not survive copper treatment now and I don't want him to die in the QT tank simply from stress.  I also don't want to put him in the reef tank too early and give him something he doesn't have since his immune system is down from stress.  <A tough decision, I would say see if you can make it to 7 weeks fallow on the main tank.> Thank you so much for taking the time to read the sometimes extremely long e-mails and answer the questions of thousands of hobbyists worldwide.  I am doing my best to educate myself now that I know where to turn for reliable information.  I want to give these animals the best lives I can.  I've  researched until I'm cross-eyed and I think MY immune may be  compromised by stress if I can't figure out how to help this little guy.   You should know that I don't look that good pale with black stripes. <Heehee> Sorry, I couldn't resist.  Thank you again for your help. Carol <You are on the right path here, just trust your judgment.  For what it is worth I would not add any more life to such a small tank, ideally in my world I would only keep 1 fish in that sized tank, but with some work it should be do-able.   I do think that it may be worth trying to upgrade in the near future, more water volume equals more stability which equals an easier time.> <Chris>  

Blue Dot Sleeper Goby Acclimation  03/25/07 Hi All - <Hello Brandon here.> I have a question.   <I will try to have an answer.> I just acquired a Sleeper Blue Dot Goby (Valenciennea sexguttata) from a LFS.  Looks healthy, was eating in the store.   <Good sign.> I just acclimated it and now have it in a 10G quarantine tank.   <Good Job on Quarantining.> The tank has no substrate, just two medium sized pieces of live rock and one piece of large PVC.  I've read in a few places on the site that I should only QT fish that live in burrows for two weeks or so as the stress of no substrate will be bad for him.  Then I read other areas about a minimum of 4 weeks for any fish.   <I would not worry about the stress too much here.  It would be far worse if you were to place the fish in your display only to loose fish due to an outbreak of disease.> I've always done 4 weeks min in the past with success.  What should I do for him?   <I would go with four weeks.> Thanks! <You're welcome.  Brandon.> Mike

Please help - Treatment of Gobies   6/19/06 Dear Mr. Fenner   I am writing to you in great distress, in the hope that you might be able to educate me further in the type of medications that can't be used on Clown Gobies.   With all the best intentions in the world, I put my Citron Goby in to my quarantine tank  to treat for a Whitespot/velvet infection.  I started to treat her with Copper - Seachem Cupramine, to be exact.   I only put the first days dose in.  Everything seemed fine.  Later that day I then went to browse the web for more information on the Green Clown Gobies I was thinking of buying.  I stumbled across your very informative webpage for this breed, and noted, with horror that under the disease section of your Gobies page you write,   "Gobioids for the most part are relatively disease resistant, with the exception of one type of disease, environmental. Though they have cycloid or ctenoid scales, they have about the same intolerance of harsh chemical treatments as "naked" fishes. Many more are bumped off from copper, malachite and formalin- containing medicants than from the infectious diseases they're used against." <Yes>   In sheer panic, I rushed downstairs to see the horrific sight of my clown goby.  Her skin had literally started to dissolve, and there were parts of her fins eroding at the edges, and places where he skin had bubbled up.  Most horrifically, there were two places where the copper had eaten in to her body.  She also had what looked like red blood lines to the rear of her gills ... internal bleeding? Words cannot describe how devastated I am.      I rushed to do a 50% water change, using my main tank water, and started to run a PolyFilter, in order to significantly dilute the copper solution.   <Good moves>   30 hours on, she is still alive, and there has been no further damage to her skin that I can see.  I know that it is unlikely that she will survive this ordeal, but I am desperate to do all I can, and to make her as comfortable as possible.  I am daily testing the water parameters.  The QT is blacked out, and I am starting to lower the salinity, in order to keep and bacterial infections that could arise from the damage, at bay.   Yours is the only website I have found that indicates towards this problem with Gobies. <Mmm... a speculation re the "capacity", utility of the Net at this juncture. I and others have written (magazine articles, books) touching on this topic/issue for many years> I have purchased a copy of your book, and have read there what you have written about this also.   <Oh!>   My very experienced LFS also had not heard of this problem.   I was wondering whether you are able to tell me if this is a normal reaction by my clown goby to this treatment. <It is. Such "toxic" treatments, even with chelated copper solutions need to be carefully measured at about the near lowest physiological dose (0.15 ppm free cupric ion equivalent)> Also, does this happen to all Gobies?   <Nearly all... though smaller individuals, species are more direly and quickly mal-affected> I understand that this reaction is caused by copper, malachite and Formalin-containing medicants.  Does that mean any use of those mentioned substances, even at very low doses? <One can... in actual practice these materia-medica are used by public aquariums, wholesalers... daily>   Would there be any difference in reaction from chelated and non-chelated copper? <Mmm, oh yes... The free cupric ion is really the only important measure in both/all cases. Utilizing sequestered compounds only/allows for a more "steady" dosage... The chelated is better for hobbyists and commercial settings in almost all cases. Free copper (sulfate) solutions are of value for raceway, open, culture, some high-tech. settings>   Why is the Gobiodon reaction not a more widely know fact? <Mmm... ours seems an esoteric field... My next guess is that there are so few aquarists that "make it to" the level of serious keeping of this huge group of fishes that they have little chance/opportunity (as yet) to communicate their observations, findings>   I would be very appreciative of any further information and help that you could give me.   Kind regards   Claire Read-Ball <I do sincerely hope that you remain active in this hobby field... And strongly encourage you to pen an article for sale to the print and electronic media in our interest for your and all's edification. Bob Fenner>

Treatment of Gobies, Copper, Cupramine   7/10/06 Dear Mr. Fenner   Thank you so much for your kind reply a little while ago, when I wrote to you regarding the terrible incident I had with my Clown Goby having a horrific reaction to copper.  I thought that I would let you know that although my subsequent water changes prevented any further damage to her, she never really recovered, and died 5 days later. <Thank you for this update> I had been hoping that as she made it through 48 hours, she might recover, but I think the damage was too severe.   I also wrote to the company who makes the copper treatment, to see what their advice was on treating Gobies with copper.  I thought that you would be interested to see their reply, as they seem to think that copper does not have any ill affects on Gobies.  I would be interested to see what you think, before I reply to them:    "Cupramine works great on most copper sensitive fish like puffers and Angels. You will find that puffers are mush more sensitive to copper than gobies.  We have had many people use Cupramine on gobies and puffers without a problem. I'm sorry for what your goby is going through but I can assure you it is not from the proper use of Cupramine. One dose of Cupramine (1 ml per 10.5 gallons) will result in a copper concentration of 0.25 mg/L.  I suspect that your fishes reaction is a result of disease or possibly you used Cupramine inappropriately. <Possibly> Here are some questions that may help us figure out what occurred: Where did you get the water for the quarantine tank? Was it freshly made salt water?  Did you check to make sure it matched pH, temperature, salinity, and that the ammonia and nitrite were at zero? <Good questions, concerns> Did you add any other chemical with the Cupramine?  Water conditioner, medication, ammonia remover. Did you have a UV sterilizer running? <This will remove the copper...> Did you do anything that could have stressed the Goby prior to being placed in the aquarium? Freshwater dip Are you sure that the fish has ich or velvet?  What you describe sounds like Brooklynella.  (rapid progression, string-like material hanging off the fish) <A valid concern. Copper compounds will not treat this protozoan complaint... but it is rare on Gobiids/oids> Please let me know the answers to these questions and I will help you the best I CAN. <A very nice response indeed> Best Regards, Seachem Tech Support"      Thank you for your time and help once again.   Kind regards   Claire <Thank you for sending this along. There is much to know/relate concerning copper's use... Not a simple, use so much of this, in such and such condition/s. Bob Fenner>

Valenciennea strigata Rescue  - 2/21/2006 A great pleasure to write to you. Your answers and articles have steered and scared me in the right direction many times though foolish (human) mistakes are always abound. <Ah, yes>    I purchased 2 Valenciennea strigata from my LFS today. I've been waiting for these fish for some time and they always come in damaged or not at all. I only paid for one the 2nd seemed to be in Osmotic shock while the healthy one was hovering and protecting him. I looked at them yesterday and said I would take them today if he made it through the night, and he did.      Symptoms are mostly upside down and not swimming much at all, heavy breathing. no other obvious signs of parasites. LFS said he came out of the bag like this. I know its probably a lost cause but a worthy one. any suggestions would be Greatly appreciated.....Chris in Rhode Island <Keep the area around where these are being quarantined quiet, the tank unlit... offer some live foods (crustaceans, worms), live rock... Bob Fenner>

Why are my fish dying in QT?   2/1/06 Well I just had another fish die in QT. A Randall's goby.  It was 4 weeks along.  It died over night. <This is too long to quarantine Amblygobius... or most small gobies, blennies... the stress, starvation is way worse than the small risk of disease introduction after a week or two> My QT setup is a 20G with 2 Aquaclear HOB filters; a 30G and a 20G. So I have lots of filtration. I set the bacteria population with BioSpira. I have used this in the past with good results. Tank has been used for 3 fish now and was bleached out in between fish. Well rinsed out. Other 3 fish lived and are in the display. Temp control through a titanium htr with controller. Separate digital thermometer to keep tabs. I also have a ph probe constantly on to monitor ph. Lighting by a 96W VHO. Couple pieces of PVC for caves. Using Copper Power proactively just for the last 2 fish. <Not always a wise precaution...> I seem to have this issue with fish getting in distress at about the 3-4 week mark. <... opinions vary (to put this euphemistically)... but I am a big fan of two week limits here...> I do WC every week and siphon out every couple days. My problems seem to coincide with algae growth starting. The past 3 fish that lived flasher wrasse, laboutei wrasse and royal Gramma) also seemed to be in some distress about this time. I did 100% WC and they pulled through. The fish start hanging out at the top of the tank near the most water turbulence. This time the goby went back down and seemed to be ok. Not breathing heavily. No visible spots etc. He did stop eating that I could see about a week ago. He's never been a big eater but he could have eaten when I wasn't looking. He did eat earlier in the QT. My theory is oxygen deprivation and the fish are having trouble breathing. I do scrub the algae out but seems if anything to make it worse. I have added an airstone in the past not this time) but doesn't seem to help. Since the fish die overnight I'm thinking this lends more credence to the O2 theory since with lights out the algae won't be contributing O2. But I'm not sure what would be sucking up the O2? The water while not as crystal clear as starting wasn't too bad. I had done a 30% WC day before and cleaned out the filters. I never measured any NH3, temp 78C ph 8.3 SG 1.026. I have done lots of reading on QT and the things that seem to trip up are ph, SG, NH3 due to inadequate biological filter. I have not run across any accounts of the fish having issues breathing without visible signs. Not at the 4 week mark. Any ideas? I'm tired of losing fish. I lost others when my QT was a 10G in similar fashion. This is the first I've lost since moving up but all the fish seemed to have trouble 3-4 wks in. Sorry for the long email. Thanks, Phil <No worries... please see my articles on quarantine... especially for the sorts of fishes you list, two weeks is about the "magical breaking point" for getting more value than damage. Bob Fenner>

Brownbarred goby constipated?    1/25/06 Hi All, This is my first time asking a question so please forgive any mistakes i have or may make! My husband usually takes care of the marine reef tank we have so i am a little unsure on the normal running of it, but i am concerned for what I'm assuming to be a Brownbarred goby Amblygobius phalaena (well it looks the most similar in the book I'm referring to although the back is more silver on our fish). i have noticed in the past couple of days it has been getting a bit a belly on it, almost a pregnant look to it. But now it has been swimming round with its "poo" still attached in a 2" string behind it. So basically what should i do? <I would do two things... add foods with more of a laxative effect (the best: Brine Shrimp, Artemia), and add a level teaspoon of Epsom Salt per ten gallons of system water... for the same> can i help it in any way or i do i let time work it through? Its feed frozen brine shrimp and dried flake food (with seafood and mpax). He just doesn't seem happy. Thanks for any help you are able to give me Emma Lake District, UK <Do cut-out the dried food for now, and add the Epsom. Bob Fenner>

Fin rot goby  11/12/2005 Hello, I have a quick question. I have a sick goby (I am not sure exactly what species) whose fins are decaying. The dorsal fins are partially intact and one side fin is just fine. Also, the bottom darker fin that the fish props himself up on is normal as well. The rest of the fins are partially missing -- what I mean is they have 'spines' but the fins in between the spines are partially gone (fin rot?). <As a descriptive term, okay> Let me describe the goby so that you may be able to identify the species or genus. He is about 4 inches long and has blue spots around his face -- they glow under the actinic lights. He lives on the sand and burrows mounds to prop himself up on. He stays in caves for most of the day. He looks like a large watchman goby -- he is tan and the fins have red streaks in them. He is the largest fish in my aquarium, by far. <Have you delved through the pix, description of these fishes on WWM? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobies.htm> I have a 37 gallon reef aquarium that is about 2 years old. The water quality is excellent and I just did a H2O change. I use PC lights (2 x 65W), have a trickle filter and protein skimmer. I have mostly soft corals with a few LPS corals (all of which are awesome). The other fish in the aquarium are 2 mated clownfish, a royal Gramma, a 6 line wrasse, 2 mated neon gobies, and a small yellow tang. All of the other fish are healthy and active. My question is - what can cause the fins to decay? <... adverse water quality, poor nutrition, outright pathogenic disease, genetic anomalies, predation/stress from other tankmates...> There are a few places on the goby's body that appear to be discolored (whitish). He is eating and active. The symptoms don't seem to be bothering him. I have been feeding him a variety of foods, frozen mostly -- small pieces of silverfish, Mysis shrimp, formula 1 and 2, all soaked in Selcon. He eats like a pig. I guess my question is '¦ what do I do? <Maybe try adding a purposeful cleaner organism... covered on... WWM> Is this something that could affect the rest of my tank? <Depends on cause... yes> Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I have had a healthy tank for quite some time (maybe a year) without any problems. <Mmm, might be time to "do the general cathartic of replacing some of the live rock, substrate"> I added the goby about 3 weeks ago (all other specimens have been in the tank for at least 9 months) and I noticed the fins all at once'¦.  <Oh! As they say, "that's a goby of a totally different color..." It may be "just new"... the trouble coming from the process of collection, shipping, holding... Will likely self-cure> It is as if it happened overnight. I did not quarantine the goby (yes I know that was not wise) and I did not dip him before adding him.   <You'll learn> Could this be from an injury? <Mmm, yes> I saw the tang and one of the clowns snap at him while he was establishing his territory. The tank is peaceful now. Please help. Thanks, Karlo <Not much to do... but keep up your excellent maintenance, and hope. Bob Fenner> 
Re: fin rot goby  12/14/05
Thanks, The goby is fine now. -Karlo <Ah, good. Thank you for the follow-up. BobF>

Why did my new arrival die? Gobies, QT, Dipping... 8/11/05 Hello Crew, <Thomas> I have a question about a Yashia Goby that died about 28 hours after it arrived by FedEx yesterday.  It had been sent FedEx Standard Overnight, and had been in transit approximately 24 hours before it arrived here. I gave the fish a very slow acclimation over about 3 hours using a drip method.  Before putting it into the quarantine tank, I prepared a dip of RO/DI water, dosed with baking soda to a pH of about 8.2 (to match quarantine tank), <And shipping water?> and dosed with 2-3 drops of Methylene blue in perhaps a quart of this water. <Sounds good> When placed in the dip, the fish went ballistic -- darted around, rolled over on it's back -- a terrible scene.  It may have been in that dip for 2 seconds before I removed it to a rinse of water from the quarantine tank.  Then, after a minute or so, I put it into the quarantine tank.  This was last night about 8 PM. Since then, it basically hid in the bottom of the tank behind PVC pipe.  It appeared to be breathing hard, when I could briefly see it.  Other than that, there were no obvious symptoms, except a sunken belly, which is very apparent now that it is dead and I can examine it closely. Quarantine tank parameters are specific gravity: 1.025 pH: 8.1 ammonia: 0 nitrite: 0 nitrate: 20 ppm temp: 78 deg. Question is this: Did my dip kill this fish? <Likely did add stress... but this, most small gobies ship poorly... many do die soon after arrival... from point to point... and if you read through WWM, writings by myself, you will find I am not a fan of dipping many such fish groups, or even quarantining them per se> If not, how should I think about this event.  It is only the second time I've ordered fish by FedEx.  The first time, I ordered tank-raised clown fishes that I acclimated but did not dip -- these fish were fine and are still happy 18 months later. <Much hardier... and accustomed to novel, stressful inputs> Thanks, Tom <Bob Fenner> Sleeper Goby injury/disease? Mr. Fenner, <John>      I have had an orange spotted sleeper goby in my 30 gal. Aquarium for about 9 months now.  He is eating fine and "sleeping" fine every night and comes out as soon as the light comes on in the morning.  I have a 9 watt U.V light as well as a skimmer and 2 penguin filters.  Ammonia-0, Nitrite-0, Nitrate -25 , ph-8.2, salinity is 1.022, temp is 79 F.  In the last few days I have noticed a raised bump in the "meat" part of his tail so I don't think any internal organs are involved.  it is about .5 cm large and appears somewhat red (he has white skin so this is easy to see).  The only thing I can think of is some type of parasite, <Mmm, not necessarily.  Far more likely a "bump" from a physical trauma> but it doesn't fit the description of anything in the disease chart.  I have a bottle of Green-X but don't want to dose my main tank, <Don't> and he wouldn't like it very much in the quarantine tank as there is not much substrate or rocks for him to dig under.  if this is a lymphocyte of some kind is there much chance of it spreading to other fish in the tank? <Highly unlikely> It could just be an injury of some kind <Bingo> but I'm not completely sure. He doesn't even seem to notice that's it's there.  Is there any danger in leaving him alone for a week or so, or will he infest my tank by then? (Assuming it's a parasite) the cleaner shrimp (and I know Greenex is poison for them) may be able to help him but I'm not sure of this either.  can you leave an internal parasite alone forever or will it keep getting larger? you can cut them out right? Any suggestions? THANKS!!! John Fillier <I would leave this fish where it is, not treat it, the tank... rely on good food, time to self-heal this fish. Bob Fenner>

- Watchman Goby Missing Lower Lip! - Hi everyone, This is my first time posting here. I'm quite new to the saltwater hobby and can honestly say I'm obsessed. I've been having a watchman goby for about two weeks now. I've noticed that his bottom lip is deteriorating and his jaw bone is exposed. He seems to be eating from what I can see. This is what my tank consists of: I have a 75 gallon with live rock and live sand. Occupants are: Percula clown, pygmy angel, yellow watchman goby, blood red shrimp, pistol shrimp, seven hermit crabs, ten snails, sand sifting star, cabbage leather coral, elephant ear Shroom, long tentacle plate coral. My tank has been running for over three months now. Water quality and salinity is excellent. I had a mimic yellow tang but it died two days ago from blood spots according to LFS. LFS gave me Erythromycin to put in tank, but I'm not sure if that is a good idea. <It's not... best to administer that stuff in a quarantine tank - will kill your biological filter.> I am running a wet/dry filtration system with an overflow box. A SeaClone protein skimmer and two Maxi-Jet 600 power heads. I introduced goby a month after yellow tang. Could the goby have passed something on to my tang? <Well... spots like you describe are often bacterial, and so yes that can affect other fish in the tank.> Any advice is greatly appreciated. <Consider removing your remaining fish to a bare quarantine tank - you can put in some pieces of PVC for places to hide and treat with the Erythromycin there. W> Thanks, MICHELLE 

Sick Goby? Hi there! <Hi! Scott F. with you tonight> I have a fish health problem. Nine days ago I bought a 1 1/2' Stonogobiops xanthorhinica or nematodes goby. <Wow! One of my favorites!> The fish was recently imported and hadn't been in the fish store for very long. I saw it eat though. It took three days until it did anything else than press itself to the bottom of my tank. After that it started to behave normally. Sometimes bit shy if not brine shrimp was offered, but always eager to come out when fed. Yesterday I noticed some light red markings on the gill covers. Today parts of the black stripes also seems pale. The fish also twitches, sometimes holds it's mouth open and rubs itself towards the rock. It is still interested in food and is curious. I just managed to catch it from the main tank and will put it in a separate tank. <A good idea...I wish you would have quarantined him first, but at least you can observe him now in the separate tank...> Should I take the chance to give it a freshwater dip? <Well, freshwater dips work on lots of parasitic diseases...If it's something other than parasitic, it may be less effective. Worth a shot, though. Observation, clean water, and food is my recommendation at this point. Keep an eye on him before turning to medication.> What kind of medication do you think would be appropriate? When can I consider my main tank disease free? <I'm very conservative...I like the one month "fallow" period. It usually works for most parasitic diseases, but it certainly doesn't hurt if it's bacterial, either, IMO.> Ammonia and nitrite levels are OK, the fish is the only fish in the tank and my shrimp, hermits and various live rock hitchhikers seem OK. Thank you. Thank you also for the quick answer you gave me when I asked you a stocking question a month ago. Anders <I'm really glad that you enjoy the site! Keep a close eye on this little guy, and scour the WWM disease FAQs to try to zero in on the disease that you might be dealing with. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Sick Goby (Pt. 2) Hi <Scott F. with you again!> I just wanted to add a picture to the question I asked yesterday. I tried a freshwater dip today, but the breathing of the fish has become heavier. Can it be Amyloodinium? <Well, difficulty in breathing is a symptom of Amyloodinium...It's very similar to ich in appearance, but tends to be a bit "finer" in size; more like "dust"...and it's a lot more dangerous than ich...It can spread like wildfire and kill with horrifying rapidity. Treatment is very similar to ich- but very rapid action is necessary in order to save the infected fishes lives'> Thanks for everything. Anders <My pleasure, Anders- identify what you're dealing with, and treat appropriately! Take care! Regards, Scott F>

Goby In Trouble? Aloha WWM Crew, <Howzit? Scott F. with you today!> Thank you very much providing the best service on the internet.   I have written a few times before regarding my 55 FOWLR.  Last night I noticed that my neon goby had the dreaded white spots.  I battled ick a few times since I setup the tank.  The neon goby is the only one showing symptoms of ick so I was planning on putting him in a q-tank and treat him with copper. Here are my questions. 1) Will the copper hurt the goby in any way? <Well, you do run the risk of possibly shocking the fish. Remember, the purpose of a FW dip is to cause a form of osmotic shock to attack the parasites. Fish will find the procedure somewhat stressful, but they can handle it a lot better than the parasites can!> 2) Can I treat him freshwater dips? - I think I saw something that said  you shouldn't dip small scaled fish. <Actually, I'd feel better trying the FW dips with these guys for a while before attempting copper...Copper can be a problem for some small scaled fishes> 3) If I can't treat with copper, what type of treatment do you recommend. <I'd try the FW dips first (once a day for about 3-4 days) and see how they go. Also, observe the display tank carefully, because you want to make sure that the parasites are not in that tank...Otherwise, you may need to get everyone out and let that tank go fallow for a month...Keep a close eye here> Mahalo Nui Loa Jeff <A 'hui hou to you! Regards, Scott F>

Goby Quarantine Period Bob: I was at a seminar that you gave in Brooklyn, NY on May 9, 2003. I came across some notes I took from that day, and it seems that you said Gobies do not need a standard quarantine period. I wrote down "a few days". I wanted some clarification, since I just purchased a 1" Yellow Clown Goby (Gobiodon okinawae) and it is currently in my quarantine tank. Thanks, Rich (*bursting* with anticipation on RI). <Thank you for writing. I do stand by the general statement re a foreshortened quarantine period for most (small) gobies and blennies... for what quarantine is worth, any more than a few days presents a "bad trade-off" with loss of weight, overall health> Ps: Did you cut your hair yet? Every time I forget what you look like, I think of Sam Kinison, sans hat! ;) <Ha! Did have some trimmed off, but am adamant to keep my neck warm... and besides, Sam.K is dead! Bob Fenner>

Sleeper Goby - Valenciennea puellaris Eye Problem Hello All, <hey, Howard... what's shaking [a rhetorical question/greeting by the way <G>]> My 160 gallon system is 2 1/2 years old with perfect chemistry, 78 F, ORP 350, 1.024 S.G., all controlled and built in the Fenneresque/wetweb manner including ozone, Ca, and two refugiums. <Sweeeet. And if you want it to be Calfoesque, simply add a garlic or olive fragrance to the room> I have never had a diseased animal in this system. (Lost a blue Naso tang to ich in the quarantine tank once. A flame angel and two small gobies simply disappeared.) Now my beautiful sleeper goby (Valenciennea puellaris) is ailing. He has been hiding most of the time in his cave area and shows up with a sore left eye. (other eye is clear). The eye has a milky film over it and is slightly swollen. <this is almost certainly caused by blunt force trauma... something startled the little bugger into a hard surface. It is not contagious and may not even be infected (time will tell). You can safely add to your reef 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt per five gallons to help that eye heal (search the archives with a Google keyword search of our site for more on "Epsom salt"). If it doesn't recover after 3 days... it may have a bacterial infection and need food meds> There is no way to get him out of the reef tank. I have had this fish for over 2 years with never a problem. The community is peaceful - no other fish bothers the goby. <hmmm... some would say that it is amazing that a sleeper lived even this long in a 160. They need unbelievable tracts of deep fine sand. I had a pair in a 500 gallon reef that went almost 4 years (with 700lbs of live imported sand!)... and they still died of attrition (albeit slowly)> He does sift the sand when he is out and there is lots of pod food for him. He is a big fish, over 6 inches, seems plenty fat as always. <good to hear... but still some concern of dietary deficiency (composition issue... not quantity). It is possible that you are looking at a symptom of a weakening fish. In good tanks, they can hang in for a year or two. Most sleepers should not be kept in captivity, however.> What causes this? What can I do to prevent it in the future? <your system sounds outstanding (with the two refugium ... especially if they are properly fishless and without corals/predators on plankton). Let's hope that this is just a black eye and that your fish will beat the odds> Howard <kindly, Anthony>

- Breathless Pink-spot Watchman Goby - I am sure I shot myself in the foot by telling my wife that my 55 gal FOWLR tank has been running smoothly for months with no dilemmas because as soon as I said that, a dilemma popped up. I have several fish ( a B&W Heniochus, 3 PJ cardinals, a percula clown, a royal Gramma, and a pink spot watchman goby) in my tank with 40 lbs LR which appears very healthy as my water parameters are all where I like (pH=8.2, NH3=0, NO2=0., NO3=<10, Salinity 1.025, temp=79, and ALK=11).  The tank has been established in my house for 14 months after my move and I haven't added anything new to the tank in several months and quarantine all new arrivals in a separate quarantine tank for 3-4 weeks.  My pink spot watchman goby did not eat yesterday (usually sits on top of a piece of LR and waits for dinner at 7:00p.m.) and is breathing very heavy with approximately 70 gill movements a minute which is a drastic change for him as he usually barely moves his gills.  I immediately thought my water chemistry was off but as my testing above indicates, everything is right where I like to see it and all other inhabitants appears very wealthy with active appetites and normal breathing. I have not used any weird chemicals in my house such as cleaners, paints, cooking oils, or solvents that would lead to contamination of the system. Could you provide any guidance as I am stumped?????? <Well... given what you've detailed about your system and your husbandry, I agree that this probably isn't the usual suspects, Cryptocaryon or Oodinium. Honestly though, it's very difficult to be 100% certain what this problem is. It could be an internal parasite - cestode, nematode - that has only recently developed to the stage where it causes problems. It could be a genetic defect or tumor which is just now expressing itself. It could also be old age. As I said, there are many possibilities, but I don't have one silver bullet answer for you.> I don't suspect a parasite as I have not added any new carriers and I have not had any heater failures or other changes in environment that would lead to stress. <Still, would be wise to go through everything a second time to make certain - sanity-checks are just that... it's good to be certain.> Could you reply to all so I get the message at home as well. <Uhh... there was only one email address to respond to.> Thanks again as your continued support as I always feel like I have a source of valuable information through the Crew. Thanks, Ray <Cheers, J -- >
- Breathless Pink-spot Watchman Goby, Follow-up -
I didn't see any guidance.  DO you have any suggestions as to what could be ailing my goby as I don't see any spots that suggest ick? <Very odd... your emailer might have snagged some of my comments as HTML - not sure. Your question and my answer are posted on our Daily FAQs, and here's a cut and paste of my reply: "Well... given what you've detailed about your system and your husbandry, I agree that this probably isn't the usual suspects, Cryptocaryon or Oodinium. Honestly though, it's very difficult to be 100% certain what this problem is. It could be an internal parasite - cestode, nematode - that has only recently developed to the stage where it causes problems. It could be a genetic defect or tumor which is just now expressing itself. It could also be old age. As I said, there are many possibilities, but I don't have one silver bullet answer for you. Still, would be wise to go through everything a second time to make certain - sanity-checks are just that... it's good to be certain." > Thanks. <Cheers, J -- >

The Eye Has It...Or Does It? I recently bought a 4" Bluespotted watchman goby.  I have had it for about 3 weeks, and he has been my favorite fish since I added him.  I went away for the weekend, and came home to find this goby in distress.  He usually hides out in a certain cave under a piece of live rock.  When I came home, he was out of his cave, sitting on another piece of rock.  One of his fins looked like it was ripped, so I took a closer look.  His eye was also injured, it is cloudy looking, and has a small tear apparently from some physical injury.  Should I pull him out and put him in QT, medicate with something? <Well, a physical injury can be healed by simply providing clean water conditions in many cases. If an infection is manifesting, then other procedures may be necessary.> Is the eye likely to heal on its own?  What could have caused these injuries?  The fish appears to have some abrasions on his body, as well as the one ripped fin and the eye injury. <Hard to say- usually happen from handling, abrasions with rocks, etc.> I have him in a 55 gallon with two percula clowns, a coral beauty, a clown goby, and a banded coral shrimp. I once saw him appear to get in a stand-off with the shrimp, but this seems like an unlikely suspect, as he is a shrimp goby (shouldn't they be friends?). <Usually-but anything is possible> I am new to this, and am not happy to see injuries.  I was sick of fighting after having a cichlid tank for years, and am trying to build a peaceful community tank.   When I got the goby, his eyes had a green holographic like tint to them. I thought this was weird, but saw pics on the internet of this fish that looked as if its eyes also had this.  Any advice would be appreciated.   Thanks, -Ken <Well, Ken, at this stage of the game I'd take the easiest approach. I'd simply maintain scrupulously clean water conditions and observe the fish closely. If the condition seems to be worsening, then I'd consider isolating the fish for possible treatment. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>
The Eye Has It- Or Does It? (Cont'd.)
Sorry to send this first message without being fully prepared. I just panicked when I saw the state of this fish.  I did some more looking, and noticed that the white "wound" on his eye was moving around the eye pretty quickly, as if it was something crawling around in there.  Then I noticed that his body had similar lumps on it (though much more subtle). I looked around your site, and think it might be some kind of Gas Bubble Disease.  I have had a micro-bubble problem lately, and have been working to address it. It has gotten a bit better, but I had to run my skimmer hang-on (remora pro) which did still produce micro-bubbles.  I got a new sump on Friday, and moved the skimmer down into the sump tonight.  The micro-bubbles are totally gone now.  Do you think he will just get better on his own?  Is the moving bubble on his eye an indication of GBD, or could a parasite behave like this?  Is there anything I can do?  I have been very careful when buying livestock, and have quarantined everything.  No other fish show signs of any illness.  Thank you very much for your valuable advice. -Ken <Well, Ken- this is a tough call at this point. I'm still thinking that it may be best to simply observe the fish for a while to see if the condition clears up without intervention. If it does not show signs of improvements in a few days, we probably need to look into some possible medical treatment. But, in the interest of keeping the stress level of the fish as low as possible, let's continue to take the "wait and see" approach first. Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

A Glance is a Flash is a Bounce - Et Deux >Thanks so much for the reply.  Your website has been most helpful for many of our fish problems. >>Very welcome, tis truly a team effort! >Would the parasite be transmitted to other tankmates?   >>Parasites of vertebrates, most likely, yes. >They consist of a flame Hawkfish, a yellow tang, a sand-sifter goby (who we are struggling to keep from losing weight), a small yellow goby (non-Sandsifter), and a blue regal tang. >>Ahh.. the Sandsifter will be troublesome, especially for those not well-seasoned in this hobby.  Without a refugium and a very well-established system with LOTS of live rock, I would wager your troubles might continue.  On to the question at hand, it doesn't really matter what species of fish you have, they're all susceptible.  Some are more likely than others to succumb, so I will recommend having hospital quarters set up.  Do search our FAQ section on marine parasites.  Marina Glenda Schill

Gobies MIA -- Did the Brittle Star Get Them? (2/23/04) I have green Brittlestar with arms about 12 inches across. I bought 2 yellow Watchman Gobies, one small one and one pretty good size.  The big one I had for 2 days--now can't find them. Is it possible the brittle ate them? <Indeed, rather likely. This species (Ophiarachna incrassata) can and will eat gobies. The one you have is quite large--shouldn't have much trouble sneaking up and ingesting a "pretty good sized" Yellow Watchman, the maximum length of which is not more than 3 inches. On the other hand, they may simply have burrowed somewhere out of sight. If they don't turn up soon, then I'd write them off as expensive brittle star food. If you want any sort of small or Gobioid fish, I'd give the star to someone who only has nice big fish rather than what this brittle star takes for piscine Little Smokies. Perhaps your LFS will take it.>  thanks for help <You're welcome. Steve Allen>

- Dealing with Jumpers - Hi to everyone at Wet Web Media <Hello to you.> I contacted you last year regarding a problem I was having with my lovely gobies preferring the living room floor to the comfort of their tank!  After loosing two gobies in rapid succession and subsequently reading up about their habits on your website I decided to call it a day as far as goby keeping was concerned! I lasted about 5 months before deciding the tank (or should I say the sand) just wasn't the same without one.  I racked my brains to think of a way to keep the goby in the tank and think I have managed to find a solution.  My current goby has been in the tank for 2 months now and so far (touch wood) is thriving - the sand is sparkling and he is quite happy to swim round all day with the other inhabitants and gobble up brine shrimp. I know you have had many e-mails from people with the problem of jumping gobies so I felt I should contact you with my idea so others may benefit from it! My problem was that I had many different sized cut outs in the back of my hood to allow access for the many tubes and pipes from filters, protein skimmers, heaters etc. and I assume it was these holes through which the gobies made their escape! I purchased some blocks of children's modeling clay, which is soft and pliable and can be molded into any shape, and made sausages and balls of the correct size to block up each of my holes.  I then wrapped each one in black polythene (cut from black dustbin liners/refuse sacks) and then with black electrical/insulation tape.  This ensured they were waterproof so would not dry out and also matched the black hood.  Each little package was then stuffed into the appropriate hole!  as far as I can see there is now absolutely no way for even the smallest fish to get out! So far this is proving successful but it has only been 2 months and my first goby lasted 3 months before making a nocturnal dive onto the floor!  It will just be a case of time will tell, but even then how am I to know if it was my hole blocking that stopped any escape or a very contented goby who made no attempt to escape!  Suppose I will never know but that doesn't really matter - so long as the goby does stay in the tank!! If it doesn't then I really do give up! Thank you very much for listening (reading?!), I hope this suggestion may be of help to any other goby lovers. <And thank you for sharing.> Gemma <Cheers, J -- >

Yellow Head Sleeper gobies - what ails 4/25/04  Hi everyone, haven't need your expert opinion for a while but as everything, some crisis will always arise! Anyway, my sleeper goby's mouth is stuck open. It appears that he was doing one of his huge opened mouth yawn and one side of his mouth appears to have locked in the open position.  <hmmm... rather odd. At least, odd that yawn would cause it. If you did not see it, there are much more likely causes. Really one glaring one: dietary deficiency over time in this notoriously difficult fish to keep alive. Its common misconception that many such delicate fishes do not eat well in captivity, and that once you get one that does, you are home free. The truth of the matter is that most such fishes eat and even eat well... but still die (nutritional deficiency). Lockjaw is a symptom of this and if you've had your fish for more than say 6 months on a diet that includes brine shrimp (or otherwise limited fare)... then you likely have your answer>  He hasn't eaten or sifted in 3 days and I am getting worried. He won't even let me really look at him, every time I try to see he dips into one of his hiding spots (he is not usually so timid). Any suggestions? Watching this is killing me. Thanks for any  advice you can give me and thanks for your site!  Jayne Flynn, Neptune NJ  <frankly, my friend... this is one of the very few fishes that I think should be left in the ocean by most everybody. In all of my years/experience... I simply do not know of a way to keep these fishes alive for anything close than a full natural lifespan. Sure... a few folks can get them going for a couple years... even (rare) 3-ish. But beyond that is extraordinary. I recall hearing Mike Paletta burying Mysids in the sand twice daily to try to keep his alive. I kept some of my earliest pairs in the early 1990's in a display tank with 700lbs of live sand flown up from Florida (!) which had very few other fishes in it (500 gallon reef system)... and I could not get mine past 3 years old. In light of their natural lifespan/potential... I'm hoping you will agree that these fish are best left in the sea. If this is what afflicts yours presently, the prospects are not good. You can try adding Selcon to the water and soaking any foods taken with it. Still... it takes a while of eating a very limited diet to get to this point. I wish I had better news. For our education and future reference/readers... may I ask what the diet is that you are feeding? We'll learn from mistakes and progress alike. kindly, Anthony.>

Update regarding my Hector's Goby. 1/5/05 Adam,  My tank has barely been fallow for 2 weeks after an ich outbreak and the Hector's goby hasn't eaten in days and has started to look worse than the picture on the WWM website showing one that's too thin. So I put him in the display, since he was not going to survive another 6-8 weeks in the QT! Hope I don't regret this too much... <I hope so too.  QT for these fishes is difficult since QT conditions don't provide the security and substrate necessary for normal feeding behavior.> Since technically my tank is infested with ich and there is a potential host in there now, I've decided to not add a second fish. So the 1.5" goby will have a 72Gallon tank all to himself, until he needs to be fished out for some reason and the tank has a chance to go fallow for at least 8 weeks! <The problem with this strategy is that even without obvious signs of infestation, your little goby probably will keep enough parasites alive to cause a new outbreak when more fish are added.  This is especially true since your goby may develop natural immunity which your new additions will not have.> Do fish need to interact with other fish to feel more 'comfortable?'  Narayan <Not this one.  Some shoaling fish are more secure in groups, but most are happy or happier alone.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

- Keeping Twinspot Gobies Alive in Quarantine - Dear Crew, HELP!!! This is DianeV. and I have ick in my 40 gal. semi-reef (inverts but no corals). It has been present for some time now but other than an occasional spot or two on my Royal Gramma there seemed to be no real adverse reactions and the other fish never seemed to be bothered. In the tank I have 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Yellow Watchman, 2 Ocellaris Clowns (largest one 1.5 inches), 2 Twinspot Gobies, and a prize Golden Angel (Centropyge aurantia). Now the confession.  I needed my 10 gal. QT tank for the angel so an Orange Finned Tang went in the 40 early. Well, three days ago when the lights came on and I was doing my first check of the day and saw that the tang was COATED with ick. However, no one else had any spots that I could see and with no time, I went to work.  When I got home the spots were gone. Next morning though it was the same, lots of spots, then nothing when I got home. But yesterday morning I noticed that my babies, the Twinspots, had it bad and it does not go away! I dashed straight out and bought 4 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp but they hang in the back and the gobies hang in the front. Now, what I want to do, (I think?), is move everyone out, freshwater dips for all and then into sterile tanks for at least 4 weeks, preferably 8?, for treatment and to let the 40 remain fallow.  <Four to six weeks should be sufficient - and given your concerns for their feeding, you don't want to go longer than is practical.>  Which brings me to the subject of the title. My Twinspots only sift sand at this point, it is live sand and I feed among other things frozen Cyclop-eeze and small frozen Mysis which has been soaked in Selcon and they do get some of that but it is incidental and I'm worried that they will starve in QT without the live sand.  <Actually, I think they'll do fine with the Cyclop-eeze on a bare bottom. Sand sifting is their primary mode of gathering food, but they should make the adaptation pretty quickly when they realize they don't have any sand. Would still keep your eyes on things though and consider your options if they stop eating all together.>  I have available 3- 10 gal. tanks and 1- 20 gal. so I can give them a tank to themselves but if they don't eat I don't think they can last long,. they're not even 2 inches yet. Any ideas. I do have also a 125 gal tank with a 6 inch sand bed can I take bits from this?  <I wouldn't - if you have to treat the gobies with anything, the sand will interfere with that treatment so better to leave the sand where it is for now.>  Thank you  DianeV. <Cheers, J -- > 

Diamond Goby I have had a fair amount of trouble with Diamond Gobies. At different times I have had one and each lived about 6 to 9 months. During that time each seemed quit content to swim around, dig homes, and ate anything and everything I fed the fish. They sifted the sand happily and continued to swim around. The problem with each was that their skeleton continued to grow while their body did not keep pace. Eventually their head was too big and you could see the skeleton shape and they died. I have since talked to 3 other aquarists that have had the same problem so it seems to be something we are, or aren't, doing in relation to keeping these guys alive. I personally have a 125 gallon with lots of live rock and sand. I run a trickle filter, a mechanical filter, and a protein skimmer. Ammonia and nitrite are negligible and nitrates are also low. I really like the antics of these guys and the way they keep the sand white. Can you provide any information that may help? Thanx. >> Thank you for the input, your query, and caring enough to help others. Am very, painfully familiar with the scenario you relate so well... A type of nutritional deficiency syndrome... The best information I can offer is to reply that I have seen these and other "sifting" species maintained for longer periods, and in better, fuller health and color... only where there was "sufficient" live rock, mud/muck filtration that allowed refugium type growth of mysids, amphipods, Caprellids, likely other small crustacean, and worm life that affected system water quality, and provided habitat for adequate types and amounts of food organisms. Bob Fenner

Catalina Goby Lifespans Just one quick question. Is it true that Catalina Gobies have a short life span? >> Lythrypnus dalli? Historically, in captivity,,, yes... Probably ninety some percent die within a month of collection.... These are cold/cool water animals... can be kept in a biotopic setting (California coast line)... In the wild, they live a few years... Bob Fenner

New Mini Reef Set up. Lost Goby... Bob, boy I must have a problem, I just lost my Goby, and I haven't a clue why.. and I don't believe its due to ick or anything like that. Right now my ammonia is 0, my nitrites are 0 and my nitrates are about 10ppm, the pH is 8.4, I raised the tank temp to 82, and lowered the salinity to 1.019-20 to help get rid of the ick, white spots or what ever, either way, the goby never had a spot on him, he did have a little of what I thought was tail rot, but I had been feeding the fish antibiotic fish food for 10 days to help get rid of the ick, and take care of the fin rot that looked like it was getting better as of yesterday, well, today, he wouldn't come out and when he did, he barely ate and was breathing heavily, then about halfway through the day I notice that his front dorsal fin was always down, and then finally about an hour ago I noticed that his body around the front dorsal fin, about a half inch total had become very pail and almost looked sinking in a little, he basically came out of his hole to die about 15 min.s ago, and well then he did..... it was so quick I've never seen a fish die that quickly, after I've noticed symptoms, the other fish seem to be fine. My only best guess is I notices that one of the two baby anemones in the tank had opened up near one of the places he hangs out, do you think it could have stung him? he did look a little paralyzed and wasn't swimming normally at the end? I got no idea... what do you think it could have been? DAVE <Sorry to hear of your loss. Maybe the Goby was stung sufficiently by the anemone(s), but this sounds like a case of an internal disorder... You don't mention how long you had this fish, but there are parasitic disorders that can rapidly bring about these fishes deaths... I don't suspect that the root cause is "catching" though. Most fish internal parasite problems are pretty species specific. Bob Fenner>
Re: New Mini Reef Set up...Goby Loss
I had the Goby for about 6 weeks, he was real healthy, eating, a lot, doing goby things, my only other guess was that he was choking on a shell.... Ehhh who knows... just, I don't think my fiancé© can take fish deaths, a little emotional. <For me as well> ok well I think I'll give the tank a little before I try to replace him. well I got to go, thanks DAVE <Where's the direct object? Okay to waiting (as in tempus fugit)... and hopefully to the culture of more interstitial life forms for such fishes to forage. Bob Fenner>

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