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FAQs on Basslets/Grammas Disease/Health

Related Articles: Grammas,

Related FAQs: Grammas 1, Grammas 2, Gramma Identification, Gramma Behavior, Gramma Compatibility, Gramma Selection, Gramma Systems, Gramma Feeding, Gramma Reproduction,

Gramma with internal parasites          4/10/19
<Oh! It did download... in a few min.s!>
Howdy, hope you can help me figure out what to try to help save my Royal Gramma. I suspect an internal parasite, seemingly Protozoans. Attaching a microscope shot of the ubiquitous pear-shaped creatures that show up in a stool sample. There are also some smaller paramecium-looking organisms.
<I see the former>
The fish is in QT. I’ve been feeding Mysis and flake food mixed with Seachem Focus and API General Cure for about three days, with no improvement. I also treated the water with General Cure since the fish is not eating well (but is eating *some*), although understand that’s not the best route of administration.
The fish is hanging in. Deteriorating surprisingly slowly, but on its side and very lethargic.
Thanks for any help you can give!
<This does look "Hexamita" like to me. Most folks administer Metronidazole; best via foods/feeding as you mention. DO search, read on WWM re both the causative agent and medication. Bob Fenner>

Re: Gramma with internal parasites      4/14/19
Got it. Thanks for the help on ID and will follow up after research. Also, smaller files.
<Thank you. Please do keep us informed. BobF>
Re: Gramma with internal parasites      4/14/19

Bob, hope you are enjoying Mexico! I read up on WWM’s resources on internal Hexamita, particularly in marine fish, as well as on metronidazole and other treatments for that malady. (Incidentally, it was your urging of others on WWM that led me to break out my 8yo daughter’s microscope to look at fish poo—good family time, honestly).
So I have distilled this, and would appreciate your thoughts on it and whether anything further can be done.
- Metronidazole in food, since the fish eats a little bit. I’ve discontinued putting it in the water for that reason.
- Epsom salt. Added 1 tsp/gallon. Will scrutinize any resultant productions by the fish under the microscope (see family time above).
<Real good>
- Pristine water. I am using a 1 gal container for the QT. Am assuming the small size is ok since the gramma is lethargic. Put a PVC tee fitting in to give it a place to hang out. I replace it every day with water from my DT, so it’s what the fish has always been used to. Aerate and temp control.
<Sounds/reads very good>
- Watching it. A lot. Maybe staring at the fish will cause the Hexamita to die. I don’t know.
<Mmm; not staring...>
Also Bob
<Thank you Bob/Bob>

Re: Gramma with internal parasites        4/30/19
Bob & Crew:
The Royal Gramma below is hanging on but I’ve tried something new. There was zero improvement with the protocol for internal parasites below (posited to be Hexamita), and the fish was looking more lethargic, with slower, weaker breathing, and seemed to have stopped eating entirely. I had seen hex-looking stuff moving in fecal microscope imaging, but I imagine there could be moving things that are either co-morbid or sub-clinical.
<Good review, update>
When I netted the fish to have a look and examine up close, I noticed that it was developing the beginnings of a whitish-gray appearance, especially in the darker/magenta anterior half; couldn’t discern one way or other on the lighter/yellow posterior half. The ease with which it allowed itself to be netted was also a clue that its condition was worse. Additionally, its head was darkening somewhat, and the rest of the body was growing lighter.
It also has for some time had some scattered scales that looked lighter in its head area. Tail fin has started to look slightly ragged, but no fuzz, specks, or streaks. Based on reading WWM, this made me think external parasite.
<May be..... Flukes? Protozoa?>
In addition to the Hexamita treatment, I’ve started using Rid-Ich Plus, mostly because it’s the formalin-containing med I have on hand (also has malachite green). Been doing .5ml/gallon every 24 hours, with significant water changes. Maintaining aeration of course.
The fish seems improved. More active, respiration is less sluggish. It could also be that the fish is breathing faster because of distress from the chemical treatment, but it’s also swimming a bit. Not eating, but upon feeding, the circulating food seems to pique the Gramma’s interest, even if it doesn’t actually go eat it. It “seems” improved, even if still sick.
(1) would it be worth the trauma to the fish to do a skin scrape and examine under the microscope?
<Yes I would>
(2) Formalin+MG ok, or should I go straight formalin? Copper? Quinine?
<Either the combo. or Formalin alone... as a dip/bath>
(3) Any other advice or observation of what i might be missing appreciated.
Thanks again,
Bob M.
<Thank you for sharing. BobF>
Re: Gramma with internal parasites        4/30/19

Sorry, I should add that the formalin+mg dosage I’m giving works out to 15mg/L formalin and .05mgL MG.
<Real good. Both "harsh", toxic... danger Bob Murken. B>
Re: Gramma with internal parasites       5/1/19

Will do the skin scrape and further reading on flukes and external protozoa. As ever, thanks.
<Glad to collaborate w/ you Bob/Bob>

Re: Gramma with internal parasites      5/6/19
My gramma expired this week, but it put up an impressive fight, giving me a lot of time to *try* to cure it. I didn’t have the heart to autopsy it, which fees like a missed opportunity, but what’s done is done. Hopefully it’ll be awhile before I have to do any of this again, but I’ll be a bit more prepared next time. Thank you so much for developing WWM as an amazing resource, and for your expert feedback, Mr. Fenner. —Bob
<Thank you for this follow up BobM. Cheers, BobF>

Royal Gramma Flashing     10/13/18
<Hello Tim>
I am looking for some insight and/or recommendations regarding the recent condition of my royal Gramma and Jawfish. This is my first tank, but I have spent countless hours reading books and reviewing forum posts on the hobby. There is just so much information out there and some of it is conflicting. Any thoughts or suggestions you can provide on my situation would be greatly appreciated.
<Let´s see>
- BioCube 32 LED FOWLR
- 3" of substrate
- Filter floss on top shelf of sump
<Hopefully rinsed VERY frequently>
- Large particle lignite carbon in bag on second shelf of sump
- Heater set to 78
- 1 powerhead w/ variable flow
- 20 lbs mix of live and dry rock (50/50)
- AccuraSea 1 Synthetic Seawater Mix - Two Little Fishies
Current Occupants:

- 2 turban snails
- 2 Astrea snails
- 1 Nassarius snail
- 1 cleaner shrimp
- 1 royal Gramma
- 1 yellow head Jawfish

- pH = 8.0 – 8.2
<Aim for 8.3 using a quality buffer>
- Ammonia = 0 ppm
- Nitrite = 0 ppm
- Nitrate = 10 – 15 ppm
- S.G. = 1.023
<A bit higher would be better,1025/35 ppm (natural sea water salinity>
Daily: Feed fish LRS Reef Frenzy; clean algae as needed; and monitor fish.
<A more varied diet would be better, have you try Spectrum pellets? "Thera +A" helps treating parasites; a vitamin supplement is also needed, either added directly to the tank water or by soaking the food.>
Weekly: Replace filter floss; check water parameters; vacuum substrate and conduct 5 gallon water change.
Monthly: Replace carbon.
<Must be remove when medicating the tank>

I started the tank approximately 5 months ago. The initial cycle completed approximately 3 months ago, (i.e., no ammonia detected for the past 3 months). I purchased the royal Gramma from my LFS about 2 months ago without a quarantine.
<The root of the problem, ALL fish must be quarantine at least for 4 weeks>
The Gramma was initially skittish, but it calmed down after about 48 hours. Gramma has been eating like a horse ever since and appears noticeably larger then when we purchased it. I then added the above CUC (no quarantine) to deal with some algae growth. I lost 2 Nassarius snails within the first week, but the other snails looked fine.
<What about calcium levels?>
I attributed the snail loss to my failure to conduct a drip acclimation on the snails.
The CUC has kept the algae in check. About 2 months ago, I purchased a yellow head Jawfish (no quarantine) from my LFS. The Jawfish was extremely skittish for about 24 hours, but he calmed down.
<Normal behaviour for new fish>
He has built some burrows for himself and has been eating well ever since.
A little over two weeks ago, I noticed the Gramma was flashing. Not much, but if I watched for about 20 minutes, I would see the fish dart around and then swim into the live rock or side of the tank multiple times in a row. The Gramma did not have any small white spots (ich), but I did notice some slight discoloration around the purple head and gill area. The Gramma was also hanging out a little bit more in the back of the tank. However, the Jawfish seemed fine at this time. My LFS examined pictures of the Gramma. They suspected some type of parasite, but they did not think it was ich.
<I agree here with your LFS, not a visible parasite but an internal one, this is why quarantine is a must, even if there is no noticeable illness.>
On the advice of the LFS, I did the following:
- Added cleaner shrimp (no quarantine)
<Not very helpful if parasites are internal>
- Increased thermostat to 81 degrees
- Lowered salinity with 2 gallon exchange of salt water for fresh water
- Dosed PraziPro for potential flukes
- Removed carbon from sump
- Attempted a fresh water dip for the Gramma, but he was too quick for me to catch. I gave up trying to catch him after 3 failed nights of chasing him with nets and bags. He is now terrified of the nets....
<Would be worthy to take out all the rocks so you can catch the Gramma Loreto and treat it with copper on a separate tank>
The above modifications haven been in effect for the past two weeks. While I have observed the cleaner shrimp briefly working on the Gramma (so cool), I have not otherwise observed any improvements with the Gramma's condition. In fact, I think the Gramma's discoloration may be even more pronounced now (see attached pic), and the flashing has continued at about the same rate. He does seem to be back in the front of the tank a little bit more now. In addition, I noticed the Jawfish is now rubbing his head in the sand occasionally, which is a behavior I have not previously observed.
<Disease is spreading>
I have only seen this a few times. The Jawfish otherwise looks and acts normal. Both fish are still eating like champs.
One other note, I think the Gramma and Jawfish may have had a little tussle about 3 weeks ago. I say this because I noticed the Gramma was occupying the main burrow built by the Jawfish. They seemed to have sorted this out now, because the Jawfish moved into a new home burrow. There have been no other signs of aggression (jaws wide open/nipped fins/chasing/etc) between the two fish, but I am not watching them 24/7.
<If aggression is taking place(even out of your sight),it could be an added factor, since stress is a direct access to most diseases>
Plan Forward:
My original thought was to setup a quarantine tank to dose the Jawfish and Gramma with copper and to let the display tank go fallow for 2 months. After researching on this site and others, I think this may not be the best option.
<Not the easiest but certainly a wise option>
The quarantine tank and meds will certainly stress the fish out, and I am not certain I am dealing with a parasite. My new plan was to reset the salinity and temperature to my original points and wait and see. I will still go ahead with purchasing the quarantine equipment for future fish/corals/invertebrates, but I will hold off on adding anything to the tank until this situation is resolved.
<It won´t solve with the current treatment>
Do you have any questions, suggestions or advice regarding the Gramma/Jawfish? Again, I am new to the hobby, and it is quite possible I am missing something basic here.
<Keep Reading...>
Separate/bonus question, would it be an overstock to have a 1 Jawfish, 1 Gramma, and 2 ocellaris clownfish in the BioCube 32?
<Bioload is fine according to your tank´s capacity>
Thank you in advance!
<Welcome Tim.>
<Same to you>

Royal Gramma Scales     5/27/16
<5 megs of uncropped pix? See our requirements in writing us please>
Hi Crew,
So I have a new issue with an old resident (possibly oldest, since tank started so maybe 4-5 years now!). My royal gramma has recently been developing scales that are somewhat more opaque than his other scales.
<.Mmm; wish the pix were better resolved... Do I see you have more than one specimen...? The mal-affected one is likely just getting physically beat>
This seems to have been spreading/growing which leads me to believe it may be an infection of some kind. This has not been noticed in any other fish in the DT thus far, and it has spanned several months (I thought maybe it had been a run in with somebody and just needed time).
His appetite doesn't seem too off, and he spends some of his time swimming and some hunkered down in his giant conch shell. I snapped a few pics to give you an idea of the issue. Water parameters 1.026, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, .10 nitrate, Ca 428ppm, Alk 176 ppm, I dose vinegar 3mL an hour, protein skimmer, filter sock, remote DSB, and grow hair algae in the sump to export. Overall pretty stable but have had twice in the past year times where salinity has fallen and recovered within an hour thanks to my filter sock overflowing. Made me wonder if I absolutely need it, but when I tried
going without a sock the coral didn't like it much. In fact my Duncan and Torch still seem a bit unhappy from it. Other inhabitants include: Powder Brown Tang, Hippo Tang, Coris Wrasse,
<Likeliest beater>

Fairy Wrasse, Blue Throat Trigger, pair of Ocellaris Clowns, Starry Blenny,

Firefish, Orange Spotted Goby w/ Randall's Pistol Shrimp.
I'm hoping you will know what this is and how to treat.
<Move the fish elsewhere>
I have not done anything yet, catching him is a bit of a trick but I think removing the whole shell at night is the way to go. Once separated from the shell I can treat.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Royal Gramma scale issue       10/24/15
Hello, I have owned my Royal Gramma for about 2 years now. About 6 months ago I noticed some of it's scales have turned opaque in color. These opaque scales are scattered randomly across about 15% of it's body, with a couple of larger patches on it's under-belly. There are also areas of skin, around the eyes, nostrils and mouth that are also opaque. Initially I thought it was from it wedging itself into the crevasses of the live rock too aggressively at night, and that it would heal on it's own, but it has not.
The severity of this condition came about quickly and has neither improved nor gotten worst. I have also noticed that when it damages one of it's scales, it doesn't seem to grow back. However, if one of it's fins gets torn, it does heal normally. Non of my other fish are exhibiting this condition and the Gramma is eating, breathing, swimming and otherwise acting completely normal. All water parameters in my tank are at proper levels and I do 10% water changes, religiously, every week with RO water.
I feed frozen mysis and brine shrimp along with veggie flakes daily. Also, being that this fish rules my tank, I know that it's problem is not caused by another fish bullying it. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Art.
<Is this tank large enough, is there sufficient habitat to accommodate another couple of Gramma loreto? This is a social species.... Am thinking you're likely correct in that the opacity, missing scales are due to physical trauma. This fish would feel more "at home" amongst more members of its own species. Bob Fenner>
Re: Royal Gramma scale issue     10/25/15

Thank you for replying Mr. Fenner. It's in a 40 gallon breeder, so I don't think that it would be big enough for 2.
<Ah yes; I agree>
I was always under the impression that you shouldn't keep 2 fish like Gramma loreto together unless you had a large enough tank for each of them to establish their own territory.
<Tis so>
My Gramma's attitude towards my other fish would lead me to believe that there would be definite conflict between it and a new Gramma " invader ".
<Welcome Art. BobF>

Royal Gramma with mouth wide open     6/13/13
Hi wonderful experts.  I hope someone can relieve my mind on the health of my 2-year-old royal gramma.
For the last week or so it has been opening its mouth very, very wide.  It even looks as if it does not shut its mouth entirely.
The mouth is opening and closing in what I think is its normal rhythm, about 3-4 times per second.
Other than the extremely wide open mouth, its behavior is perfectly normal.
It has its usual voracious appetite.  It is swimming normally in its normal location.
It does not appear to have suspicious spots, fin injury, white strands from anus, or any other abnormality that I can see.
But I am positive it has not opened its mouth this wide before.  This is new, continuous, and quite extreme.
Any thoughts?  Thanks!
<Likely either a mechanical injury/trauma, or biting something like a Bristleworm... In either case nothing for you to do. The fact that the fish is behaving, eating normally is good... likely will self cure/heal in time.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Royal Gramma with mouth wide open     6/13/13

Bob - Thanks for the info!  I'm virtually positive that I do not have any Fireworms in the tank, though
<Heeee! All viable systems have/support hundreds of "unknown" species; I assure you>
 I do have many of the presumably harmless pink variety that I bought some time ago and that I see at night.  I'll just keep my eye on the fish.
<Real good; is what I'd do as well. BobF>

Royal Gramma - Possible parasite?    11/29/12
Thank you, Wet Web Media crew, for your dedication to this hobby. I know I appreciate your expertise! I purchased a Royal Gramma last Saturday and after drip acclimating for over two hours, I added him to my main tank, which is 55 gallons, FOWLR, has been up approximately 2.5 years, with two ORA Ocellaris clowns (been in the tank since the start),  10 Astrea snails, and 10 red-legged hermit crabs. The snails and crabs were also purchased on Saturday and added the same day as the gramma. Salinity 1.024-1.024, Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0 Nitrates trace, PH 7.8-8.0. I had read that grammas are relatively "clean",
and many times do not need to be quarantined (I do have a 30 gallon QT with a sponge filter running however). I did not do a freshwater dip, which I normally do, and now I am regretting this. I have attached a photo of what I noticed this evening. Sorry it's not a good photo.
This white protrusion near his gills looks like a small piece of curled white rice to me. He is flashing, but does come out of his "cave",
<Typical behavior; to be expected of a new specimen>
and does eat a few mouthfuls of frozen brine shrimp, and Mysis, morning and evening. I have been soaking some of the feedings in Selcon. I have Spectrum pellets but he won't eat them (yet). Do you feel this is a parasite and if so, should I try to catch him, give him a freshwater dip, and put him in my QT tank? Or let him remain in the main tank and watch him closely?
<I'd wait a few more days... IF this is still present... it's going to take some doing... I'd remove the rock/decor, catch this fish, and use a tweezers to pries off whatever this is... An isopod?>
The clowns look fine at this time but I realize it could be a matter of time. I have never treated for parasites so please forgive my ignorance. Thanks again, Pam
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Royal Gramma - Possible parasite? - 11/30/2012
Thank you, Bob. This morning, there is good news and bad news. Good news, the protrusion is gone. Bad news, the fish is not eating at all now. His color on the top of his head also appears to be fading somewhat. I have read in your book that grammas are like a canary in a coal mine, that they will show when water quality isn't optimal by fading.
I also see what looks like a few raised scales in the same area where the protrusion was. I would like to do a 10% water change over the weekend, and just keep an eye on him for now. Do you feel that patience and time is the best course of action for my early fishy Christmas gift?
<I do>
Regards, Pam (I will be making a small donation on the Wet Web Media site;
my way of thanking all of you for this service.) 
<Ah, we thank you. BobF>
Re: Re: re: Royal Gramma - Possible parasite? - 12/1/2012

Hello Bob (or other dedicated member),Bad news. The gramma was found dead this morning. Two hermit crabs were already on him but I scooped him out and have attached a photo.
<Mmm, can't "tell" anything further... Cause of death-wise>
 Some of the damage may be from the crabs.
<Almost assuredly not the first order... but opportunistic after>
Can anything be determined from this photo as to a cause of death?
<Ah, no>
Should I have freshwater dipped him before placing him in the tank?
<This is one of my S.O.P.'s for most species, specimens of marine fishes... yes>
 I would like to try again, this time performing a dip, but perhaps I should wait and let my tank alone for a few months?
<"Patience is a virtue"...>
The two clowns look fine so far. When I asked the owner at the LFS where I purchased him if I should quarantine him, she replied as you did, that these fish are pretty clean and didn't feel it was necessary.
<Usually not nowayears, UNLESS one is dealing (a bad idea) w/ wild-collected specimens or captive-produced ones mixed in the same system, water>
If I purchased a hippo tang, she would have a different answer. She did say that they run copper through their systems,
<Very common. Our own stores did so as well>
which I assume most businesses would do, to try to keep disease in check?
Does a fish need to be weaned off of copper slowly?
Thank you again for your assistance/advice. I feel badly for this loss, or any loss, of life. Pam
<Thank  you for sharing your observations, sensations Pam. BobF>

flashing royal gramma    6/19/12
Hi Bob,
We've had a rather large royal gramma for a couple of months. He was in quarantine for a while with a coral beauty (which he may have killed) and exhibited such stress in the QT that I moved him into the DT. He always seemed to flash when stressed, but he seems to be flashing more than ever now, if not against the rocks, then a dive bomb against the sand and up again. He does this pretty regularly. I've checked him out as closely as I can, and I don't see any spots on his skin. He's not eating quite as much the last few days as he did before but is eating.
A little more background: He has a cave that is his territory. He shares it with our dragonet. It's amazing how well they get along. I do put Nutramar ova in there twice a day for the dragonet (he knows to go to that spot to wait for it twice a day). I haven't seen the gramma eat any of it but who knows. We put an unaggressive Banggai cardinal in there last week, and gramma has definitely flashed more since then.
I also have gotten in the habit of turning off the two powerheads at feeding time. When I turn them back on, they blow food and detritus around the tank. The gramma will dive into his cave and likes to dive right into a protected area that is right on the substrate with a very low ceiling, so  I don't know if he's getting sand in his gills, if the flying detritus is an issue, if this is just a fish that is easily stressed or whether ick or velvet is coming on.
I saw another post about this. You suggested to the writer not to worry about the gramma flashing but from what I can glean about the other post, our gramma seems to be flashing more consistently.
Any thoughts? Should I pull the gramma and put him back into quarantine? If this is ick or velvet coming on, should I remove the other fish as well (they were all quarantined for weeks and the tank left fallow after a velvet outbreak)?
<I would not move this fish unless I was sure of protozoan trouble. More likely to cause issues than it's worth>
As always, thanks for any advice,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Mystery Fish Illness 9/2/11
Dear Bob & Crew,
<Hey Joe>
Again, thank you so much for you time and expertise! What you provide for the hobby is unsurpassed. WWM has become the foremost online authority for aquatics over the years and is something that you and all involved with should be incredibly proud of!
<Well... am partial...>
I've asked several questions this month but wanted to again humbly ask for your expert opinion on an important matter.
My 54 gallon corner reef has had several bumps in the road over the last 3 months but has begun to rebound very nicely. I'm always amazed with nature and how resourceful it can be! After suffering a serious case of allelopathy, the tank is looking great with some careful coral additions.
I've upgraded my circulation system & lighting, removed serious chemical offenders, added Chemi-pure Elite, and narrowed the specimens down to a much more compatible mix. The result it a much more balanced and stable system. What a joy!
In spite of my success with corals, I've had rather dismal results with fish. I've only had two fish occupy the tank over the last year and lost my Midas Blenny last week. There seems to be fish-specific problem in the water that I cannot identify.
<Have looked at your images... the problem is likely residual from your coral allelopathy issue>
The remaining fish is a Royal Gramma (pic attached). Here are the water parameters and symptoms:
SG 1.023 (running a bit low to hopefully benefit the fish- corals seem ok)
pH 8.2 (p.m. reading- all API test kits)
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate- reads as 0
Calcium 440
Magnesium 1200
Salt- Kent Reef Salt
Supplements- Tropic Marin Bio-calcium
Water changes- 20% (about 10 gallons) weekly with Culligan water
Feeding- corals fed every other day mix of raw frozen salmon, shrimp, whitefish, and New Life Spectrum pellet Fish are fed NLS pellet only
Have witnessed fish scratching several times a day on rocks, glass, sand.
This seems to be much more prevalent in the evening. Scratching has been occurring for well over a year.
Slight loss of color is obvious as well as very slight fin damage.
White spots are occasionally visible (barely) but seem to disappear and re-appear. Spots do not appear to be nearly as obvious as Ick spots.
Protein skimmer has been pouring micro-bubbles in the tank lately and I thought that this may be irritating the skin perhaps.
The tank had a bout of Ick 2 years ago which killed the two previous fish.
tank ran FALLOW for 3 months after-wards. Midas blenny succumbed last week.
Corpse did NOT appear to be affected by Ick- no obvious white spots on it and decent yellow coloration upon death. Royal Gramma is still exhibiting symptoms but has wonderful appetite. Aside from scratching is behaving normally.
In my opinion, this is not Ick. I don't believe that the fish could survive for such a long time if it were. I don't have any experience with any other marine illnesses.
My plan thus far is to trap the remaining Gramma and treat.
<I wouldn't treat>
I'm actually more concerned with the overall water quality. I'm afraid that even after another FALLOW period as well as large water changes, the water will still afflict future additional of fish that I would like to add.
<I'd hold off on any other fishes for a couple months>
Any theories as to what could the problem could be?
<These images are very blurry, but this looks like some sort of "chemical burn"... again, likely resultant from your cnidarians chemically warring.>
Again, thank you so much for your wisdom and time!
<I advise simply patience. Bob Fenner>

Re: Mystery Fish Illness 9/2/11
Thank you Bob!
<Welcome Joe>
It was a great relief to read your reply. I was worried that something viral had arisen in the system and that it would not be inhabitable for fish for quite some time.
I will adjust the SG slowly back to 1.025 unless you see another reason for keeping it lower.
<I do not>
I will also lighten up on the aggressive weekly water changes unless again, you feel they should continue.
<No reason to>
I do agree that this is not Ick- on a side note out of curiosity, is it possible to have a lingering case of Ick that effects fish for over a year?
<Indeed it is... have seen resident, "sub-clinical" cases of Crypt all over the planet that linger for years. Quite a few folks (scientific and earnest aquarist) believe that such Protozoans may well be omni-present in most all settings, wild and captive>
I was under the impression that untreated Ick would (the majority of the time) kill all fish within a couple of weeks.
<Assuredly this is not the case. Most all circumstances have summat of a balance ongoing twixt parasites and their hosts>
I will also go ahead and wait at least 8 weeks before adding any new fish.
<Real good. BobF>
Thanks again and happy belated birthday!
<Ahh, thank you Joe>
Re: Mystery Fish Illness/New Stocking Plan 9/16/11

Dear Bob,
Just wanted to give you a brief update on the Reef:
I wasn't sure that I agreed with you on the diagnosis of the Gramma being a victim of chemical burning but I it turns out that you were spot on! The tank is recovering just as you predicted. Chemical offenders have been removed and the regular smaller water changes have resumed. The Gramma's condition has improved remarkably over the past month!
<Ah good>
I was truly convinced that something viral was afflicting the tank but this problem really had nothing to do with that. Allelopathy is fascinating to me and I now know that it's a complex occurrence. It's not like you can just simple check it with a test kit! To those reading; beware and be careful with mixing species of cnidarians. You may not see afflictions in the short-term but long-term, interactions will occur in the aquarium.
I would like to carefully move forward with a new fish stocking plan for the 54 gallon reef. I've done my research but wanted to check with you before proceeding
Royal Gramma (only fish currently in tank)
Mated Pair of Clark's Clowns
Pair of Purple Firefish
Midas Blenny
Any subtractions or additions?
<I'd likely add something for color, perhaps movement in the upper water column... Maybe a Halichoeres chrysus, a small school of Apogonids...>
Again, thanks so much and I hope that you're enjoying/have enjoyed your time in Fiji. Hope to join you some day!!
<I do hope so as well. Bob Fenner>

Re: confusing clownfish(fighting or mating), now Gramma hlth. 6/28/2011
Hello again Bob,
Thanks for the advice on the clowns. Still giving them time. I recently bought a royal gramma and he seemed to be doing poorly in QT after two weeks. I saw in one of your FAQs (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/grammadisfaqs.htm ) where you advised someone to cut short a quarantine because grammas are typically clean fish.
<Yes; this is so>
I went ahead with that plan and now I am pretty sure it has Ich.
<Mmm, no; not from the pic attached... the spotting is only on the head area? This/these are malaffected neuromasts (HLLE)>
I feel that I should state here that I am not in anyway blaming that advice, but I wanted to explain my rationale for the hasty move from QT. Please do not take offense. It has spots as shown in the attached picture and has been flashing against the rocks. I currently only have 6 fish. They are the two clowns from the previous email, a neon goby(< 2"), a Tailspot blenny(1.5"), bullet goby(4"), and the gramma(3"). They are all still eating well. None of the other fish have shown signs of infection, but I still fear the tank is probably contaminated. I have a few questions before I go forward with treatment(qt and running the tank fallow, most likely until mid-august). I currently only have a ten gallon QT tank. Would a second ten gallon be sufficient if I split the fish up, or should I look for something bigger and separate all of the others from the gramma since it is the only one showing signs of infection?
<I would hold off period... stress, pollution have caused this trouble on your G. loreto. These symptoms will abate with just good care>
Also would this be a good time to consider splitting up the clowns? Thanks for all of your help in the past and the future. Your site has not only helped my fish, it also helped me save my parents' freshwater tank a few weeks ago.
<Ahh! No worries Dave. Bob Fenner>

Re: confusing clownfish(fighting or mating) 6/28/2011
Thanks for reply the Bob,
I should add that there are similar spots on the tail as well, they just aren't very visible in the picture. I have been feeding it Rod's Fish Food soaked in Selcon, which it eats well. I will hold off treatment for Ich for a few days and see if a few water changes don't improve it's condition.
<This is what I'd do as well>
Thanks again.
<Welcome Dave. BobF>

Strange thing happened to my Royal Gramma 1/21/11
<Hello Lisa.>
It's my first time writing. I searched your website for some answers but can't seem to find anything similar to my situation. I have a 29g Biocube, its been up for exactly 142 days. Water parameter's are as follow:
S.G- 0.25, Ammonia, Nitrite, Phosphate at 0, Nitrates -20, Calcium- 420, Ph- 8, Temp-75, KH-12
1- Clown fish, 1- Black and white clown fish, 1- Royal Gramma, 1- Lawnmower Blenny, 1- Purple fire fish, and 1-Yellow tail Damsel.
1- Cleaner Shrimp, 1- Peppermint Shrimp, 1- Fire Shrimp, 1- Pistol Shrimp
15- Turbo Snails, 10- Nassarius Snails, 10- Cerith Snails, 5- Blue Legged Hermit Crabs, 4- Red Scarlets
Corals are as follow:
Mushroom's, 9 different Acros, Birdsnest, Colony of blue Xenia's, Pompom Xenia, pagoda cup, Montipora, Zoas, Toadstool (small), Snowflakes, Purple whip, Chili coral, and 5 different brains.
I know my tank is way over stocked, <Yep> we are setting up a 150g where we will be moving a couple of the fish and a lot of the coral.
My problem is that this morning when I went to feed my fish everything was doing fine, first I put some coral food to get my coal to come out since today is there feeding day. Then fed the fish there normal diet of Brine fish, everything was fine. Then I continued to feed my coral, I hand feed almost all of them, they love it and have grown very fast. While I was feeding them I noticed that Loretta, my Royal Gramma was behind my Zoa rock, when I went to get a closer look she was upside down with her mouth wide open breathing very hard. I know she was fine a while ago when they were feeding. I don't have a quarantine tank so I took her out and placed her in a bag with an air stone and placed her in the tank like I do when I climate them. Her breathing has gone down and she is up right and seems to be responding better but still breathing a little off. I don't know what would of caused this, could she have choked on something?
I don't have anything that could sting her <oh yes you do!> and she is not a normal Royal Gramma she is
very feisty, she picks on everyone, she is like the alpha male of the tank.
<Not abnormal.>
Any suggestions on what could of happened to her and is there anything I could do to make sure she recovers.
<I would just keep this fish in the tank and observe it for the next few days. The fast respiration could have come about for any number of temporary reasons. Is your tank well aerated, either through flow that agitates the surface or a protein skimmer? As for the fish being upside down, this is completely normal for grammas. They will often hang upside down under ledges and in holes or caves.>
Anticipated Thanks,
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Urgent Help Needed, Unknown Lump on Royal Gramma 9/15/10
<... 5 meg pic...>
Hello WWM Crew,
Quick background on tank:
Been set up and completely cycled with perfect water conditions for over 2 months now, Placed fish and livestock in sporadically over the past 6 weeks.
120 gallon display with 20 gallon sump0 ppm nitrites~5 ppm nitrates0 ppm ammonia8.3 pH10 Alkalinity430 Calcium
Livestock (in order of introduction to tank, first being earliest): Royal Gramma, Diamond Goby, Yellow Watchman Goby, Maroon Clownfish, Mystery Wrasse, Green Mandarin Dragonet.
Everything is getting along great within the tank; Mandarin is eating
regularly. The Clownish stays within his BTA for the majority of the day, although the anemone wanders around the tank from time to time. The Wrasse and the Royal Gramma swim regularly around the tank and rarely hide within the live rock.
I have not yet had an outbreak of any disease within my tank (that I know of). I have had a small amount of Asterina Starfish on the walls of my tank I have picked them out from time to time, none of them have been found on my corals yet.
I have noticed a few smaller (1-2 inches) Bristle Worms when I turn out the lights in the tank, but I have also noticed one Godzilla Bristle Worm
which seems to be about 12 inches long. I have had quite a battle with him,
<Okay; we'll address you from now on as Mothra>
one day last week I saw him poking halfway out of the rock, I reached in with some needle-nose pliers and grabbed him, he tried to shoot back into the rock, I still had my grip on him, his strength literally pulled my arm, and hand further into the tank, and he eventually squeezed through the pliers and got away.
The Problem I came home from work yesterday and noticed that the Royal Gramma was not out and about within the tank awaiting his mid-afternoon feeding. He was instead in his sleeping area (a small Royal Gramma-sized wedge in the live rock where he fits perfectly). He was not breathing heavily but I did notice a small lump just below the black dot on his dorsal fin. the dot was about the size of an "o" in this text. The dot was not white or any alarming color, it simply looked like a scab, or just a small lump on his skin.
I only noticed this because of his timidness, had he been swimming around in the tank I would have thought nothing of it and assumed he was fine.
I took a picture as best I could through the glass to try to document the lump, this picture is attached.
I am hoping that the decades (centuries?) worth of knowledge at WWM can help me identify this problem and hopefully suggest a treatment plan.
<Time going by... and possibly removing Godzilla>
Thanks for the help and I look forward to hearing back from you.
P.S. One caveat is that I do not currently have a Quarantine Tank, I should be getting one within the next few weeks (sooner if this is Ich).
<... I'd trap out the large worm. It may be that it or others there "poked" the Gramma. I would not treat this system. Please read here:
Bob Fenner>

Re: Urgent Help Needed, Unknown Lump on Royal Gramma 9/16/10
When we woke up this morning we found the Royal Gramma dead in the back of the tank. The Bristle Worms have yet to be removed but do you have any idea what could have killed him that quickly? Would stress from being attacked be enough to kill him within 2.5 days?
<Can, could be just the stress, damage from this experience. Some "bristle" or "fire" worms notopodial spines are excruciatingly painful to encounter... as I, and others will testify. Sorry for your loss. BobF>

Royal gramma sick?-- 7/4/10
You have the greatest website ever--I too read until my eyes are blurry!
But I've read everything I can about royal gramma disease, and I still can't decide if mine is sick and needs to be treated or not: I have a 90 g. FOWL tank, about 35 lbs. live rock, plus a skunk cleaner shrimp and about 8 turbo snails. Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates-trace, sp 1.023, two power heads in tank, sump and protein skimmer. Other than the shrimp, I have three blue-green Chromis, a raccoon butterfly, orange-spot shrimp goby, 1 fire fish, and the royal gramma. I will probably just add one more fish, when I'm sure all is o.k. (I don't like to crowd fish; better success that way for me.)
<You are wise here>
By the way, the gramma will have nothing to do with being cleaned by the shrimp.
My questions is this: I have had the gramma about 6 months (was in QT at first), eats well, doesn't hide much, isn't being picked on, but acts strangely at times. A couple times a day he dashes wildly about and rubs on the coral or side of tank (there is a rough area incasing the overflow filter). He has such an odd coloration anyway--a few dots on his head and body that I see in photos in books, that I haven't been able to decide if he has Ick or not. Should I quarantine with copper just to be safe?
<I would not do this... after half a year, the likelihood that this fish has something "catching" or treatable with such is very small>
Or is it more than just a precaution at this stage?
<I would agree>
This has been going on for weeks, with no change. Most of the day he acts normal, then there this this wild dashing about (is that what they mean by "flashing"?), and rubbing on objects. Any suggestions would sure be appreciated.
<I suspect this fish is reacting to reflections (internal) in the glass. It will likely settle down in a few more weeks. Bob Fenner>
Re royal gramma sick?-- 7/4/10
Sorry, it's Edie again.
I know you can't diagnose a fish disease when you can't see it and I can't send a photo--I described the coloration on my royal gramma as having "natural" spots in the photos in books. I forgot to tell you I am thinking I see a few, not many, extra white dots on his head and sides. The rest of what I just wrote is accurate enough, as I see it.
Thanks again,
<Again, I would not be overly concerned here. The white dots may be damaged chromatophores from physical damage. BobF>

Royal Gramma Question, hlth, Qt. 6/24/10
I have a royal gramma in a 20 gallon QT. (Thin sand bed, 15# live rock, established with cycled sand and rock, up 2 months) I realize this is not a typical QT, but I thought it would be less stressful for passive QT,
<Agreed... and is fine... there are differences between quarantine/isolation systems and treatment systems>
and I'd treat in a separate tank if needed, or just sacrifice the rock and sand if I had to treat.
I change 10% of water weekly, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate are all zero.
Salinity at 1.023, temp 79, ph 8.2.
The fish had been at the LFS two weeks, in some amount of copper, was eating, but hiding when I bought it. It still hides basically all the time in a cave, a hole in the rock or in a corner where it moved some sand to make a hole. It does eat, although just darts out far enough for food. I rarely see it free swimming, and it darts back in the rocks if it sees me enter the room. Skin appears clean, one patch of slightly different colored pink on one side, only visible with a flashlight. Fish has been in my QT tank for 4 weeks. At what point to I just place the fish in the display...I
know they are a reclusive fish, but does this seem excessively so? I don't really want to treat with anything unless something is "wrong".... Could the patch of a different color indicate a problem? No spots, etc are visible.
<I am much more inclined to encourage you to move this fish to the main/display. Gramma species in general are "quite clean" on arrival, and a summary pH-adjusted freshwater dip is typically all that's warranted enroute to placement. There is much more to be lost (the fish itself) than gained by waiting any longer>
Thanks for any suggestions. I don't want to place too early and risk my other fish (Blue Tang, YT Damsel, 2 Shark nose gobies) DT is a 90 gallon, with 100 pounds live rock, and 4" sand bed. However I don't want to wait too long if maybe the small tank is stressing the fish either.
Pam Speck
<Thank you for sharing, writing so well, completely Pam. Bob Fenner>
Royal Gramma Question, Chris' go 6/24/10
I have a royal gramma in a 20 gallon QT. (Thin sand bed, 15# live rock, established with cycled sand and rock, up 2 months) I realize this is not a typical QT, but I thought it would be less stressful for passive QT, and I'd treat in a separate tank if needed, or just sacrifice the rock and sand if I had to treat.
<The rock and sand would need to be removed before most treatments as it will interact with the medications making proper dosing near impossible.>
I change 10% of water weekly, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate are all zero.
Salinity at 1.023, temp 79, ph 8.2.
The fish had been at the LFS two weeks, in some amount of copper, was eating, but hiding when I bought it. It still hides basically all the time in a cave, a hole in the rock or in a corner where it moved some sand to make a hole. It does eat, although just darts out far enough for food. I rarely see it free swimming, and it darts back in the rocks if it sees me enter the room.
<Sounds typical.>
Skin appears clean, one patch of slightly different colored pink on one side, only visible with a flashlight. Fish has been in my QT tank for 4 weeks. At what point to I just place the fish in the display...I know they are a reclusive fish, but does this seem excessively so?
<Not really, mine never really gets too far from the rocks and runs for cover whenever someone approaches the tank and he has been in there for 7 or 8 years. In the wild they are almost impossible to approach to closely, diving back into the rockwork as a diver approaches.>
I don't really want to treat with anything unless something is "wrong"....
Could the patch of a different color indicate a problem? No spots, etc are visible.
<Could just be from rubbing against rock or other decorations.>
Thanks for any suggestions. I don't want to place too early and risk my other fish (Blue Tang, YT Damsel, 2 Shark nose gobies) DT is a 90 gallon, with 100 pounds live rock, and 4" sand bed. However I don't want to wait too long if maybe the small tank is stressing the fish either.
Pam Speck
<These are pretty hardy fish, I think he could probably go another couple weeks in the QT as long as he is eating.>
Re: Royal Gramma Question 6/24/10
Thanks so much for the advice. I lost the gramma I QT'd before this one (After 5 weeks of QT), and I truly fear it was because I left him in QT too long. I will move the fish after my water change tomorrow...
Thanks again, Pam Speck
<This is what I would do as well Pam. Cheers, BobF>

Sick royal gramma... no data, reading 5/19/10
<Hi there>
I have a royal gramma that is losing weight. It's always hungry, but it has been vomiting all the food back out. I haven't noticed anything on the exterior of the fish, and it's pretty active. Is there an internal parasite that could be causing this?
<Could be>
I feed flakes, marine pellets, and micro crab granules. It eats the flakes and granules.
<Umm... what re the history of care of this animal? The system, tankmates...? Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/grammadisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Seriously ill Royal Gamma, Crypt 12/30/09
Again appreciate your willingness to assist all of us in need. It is a service duplicated by none and I seriously mean that! I apologize for the lengthy dissertation but want to try and give as much info as I possibly can to make your job easier. I did use the ICH search and read a lot but some questions I am not finding a clear answer to.
55 Gallon wide
Small Refugium (made from an HOT AquaClear 70 Power filter) with macroalgae (recently added x7 days ago).
40 lbs. LR (more to be steadily added as budget allows)
Jebo 304 canister with 2 Eheim fine pads, Eheim sponge (course) pad, ceramic Bio-ring and 2 bags of activated charcoal (one under each fine pad)
AquaTech 40-60 HOT Power filters with bio screens. Media is a simple filter media with Activated Charcoal in both.
RedSea Prizm Skimmer
Last H2O change was 23 Dec. 09 and was 20 gallons
Ocellaris Clown (x1)
McCosker's Flasher Wrasse (x2)
Mexican Turbo snail (x1)
Nassarius Snails (x2)
Small Zoanthus colony
Various hitchhikers to include spaghetti worms, feather dusters (x3 that I know of)
Problem: Royal Gramma seriously ill
Possible Diagnosis: Cryptocaryoniasis (numerous tiny white spots (now looking to be almost streaks) over all the body and eyes (not cloudy yet), Not eating at all, very lethargic, labored breathing)
<Sounds like it.>
Being a freshwater veteran and basically knowing little, but learning fast, in the SW side I suspect Ich, if this is what it is as it closely resembles FW Ich in appearance and fish reaction to same. I'm assuming this is not Amyloodinium.
<I would lean towards Crypt as well.>
I being a bit slow on the uptake did noticed the Gramma being a bit lethargic, swimming a bit off kilter (not upright) and eventually scratching against the LR. This little girl has been seriously harassed by one McCosker's Flasher Wrasse to the point that she stopped eating unless food floated by her without the need to move much. Also of note is that her tail fin is almost chewed off -- from being nipped at by Wrasse. (Side note: this one wrasse is very aggressive and feels it owns the entire tank chasing all except the Ocellaris Clown at random times, and even more so during the feeding period.)
<These wrasses generally live in harems, with a single male and multiple females, you may need to add additional females to hopefully control his aggression, or he could just be high on the aggression scale for the species and the behavior may not change.>
This consistent harassment has caused the Royal Gramma to retreat and remain in the LR occasionally making an appearance.
<Not good.>
I eventually caught and removed her from the display tank as I saw her lying on the substrate in front of the tank (by a piece of LR) after lights out and was able to catch her (took about 3 hours for her to offer an opportunity to get her out as I did not want to dismantle the LR aquascaping).
I acclimated her then placed her in a FW bath (nothing added to water) for about 3 minutes until she began showing stress, then placed her in the QT tank (after again acclimating her to that water). QT tank is a 10 gallon
bare bottom tank with a HOT AquaTech 10-20 filter with a BIO screen and standard filter material with activated charcoal. I understand the charcoal is to be removed from the system but being I am a bit cautious of the
Malachite Green I am leaving it in to help dissipate the malachite as quickly as possible.
<I'm not a huge fan of Malachite Green, it works but is pretty toxic and tough on the fish.>
Temp is set at 80° F with a large bubble wand and 2 small Rio 400 power heads. Salinity is at 1.024, pH at 8.3 (no ammonia, nitrites, nitrates).
Simply because I do not have any copper solutions at the moment (this will be soon remedied) I am using at ½ strength, Weco Nox-Ich (Sodium Chloride and Malachite Green).
<I would just wait for copper and not combine medications since you will soon get the copper.>
Instructions call for 1 drop per gallon but I am only using 1 drop per 2 gallons. Instructions state to add drops for three days.
Should this be a bit longer since using only ½ strength?
<I would treat for the recommended length.>
I have read on WWM various times. I have dropped a few Formula One (which she used to eat eagerly) pellets in for her but she ignores them. I suspect she has not eaten for nearly a week now. She is thinning a bit. Gills are not red so she seems to be doing fine there, still breathing a little easier now, it appears (suspect this is due to the reduced stress level due to not being chased).
Now to questions:
How long is it healthy for the Royal Gramma to not eat before it becomes a serious issue?
<A week or so, I would try some other foods to see if you get a response, and live brine if the Gramma does not feed soon.>
The Royal Gramma is moving about very little, mainly lying in the PVC I placed there for her. Is this cause for serious concern?
<Signs that it is not feeling well.>
Breathing still seems a bit labored but not as severely as before.
White spots still there after 2 days in QT - how long will it take for these to drop off.
<Usually 3 days, but can be more.>
As for the main display, all other fish appear to be symptom free of Ich, but watching this VERY closely now. Are the other fish in danger of contracting this to a severe level or will their immune system fight this off?
<There is definitely a possibility that the other fish may become symptomatic, especially if water quality drops or other stress factors manifest themselves.>
Is Ich dangerous to or will it affect any of my inverts?
<It will not infect/effect your inverts.>
Besides making my tank fallow, is there a confirmed way to eliminate this parasite from the main display without medicating the display tank (I absolutely will NOT do that)?
<No, fallow is the only non-chemical means of eliminating the parasite.>
I ask this as I do not have another tank large enough to put all my occupants (including the inverts) into where there
would not be a serious loss of life and/or stress level would skyrocket.
<Only the fish would need to be removed.>
Is it safe and/ or advisable/necessary to do another FW dip and how soon should that be attempted?
<I would not, is of limited use here.>
What copper solution would you recommend or use in YOUR tanks? I do not want to purchase a dangerous or untested solution.
<Any of the name brands (Seachem, Salifert, Mardel to name a few) with the appropriate test kits should be fine.>
Respectfully submitted:
<Good luck>

mysterious death... Not to RMF, you? 12/29/09
Hello and hope you all had a good Christmas,
<Mmm, am glad for the improved sense of folks toward their species during these times>
I woke up this morning to find my royal gramma dead, he has been in a QT tank with a purple Firefish
<Mmm, these fishes (Grammatids and Microdesmids) aren't usually compatible. "Occupy too-similar niches">
for 2 weeks, he has been eating well and never out of sight always swimming about with the Firefish, but yesterday noticed it hiding and fins closed up but still eating and as I said this morning dead, tail shredded as per photo, no other inhabitants and I don't think Firefish would eat it ?
<Something did>
, my first thoughts we Brooklynella, but Firefish seems OK any idea's thanks,
Regards Chris.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/grammacompfaqs.htm
and limit your graphics sizes to hundreds of Kbytes when mailing us. Bob Fenner>

Re Mysterious death, Gramma 12/31/09
Hello Bob,
Thanks for the reply, my apologies for the photo size, anyway have read the article and many others now, the question is now as I am not 100% sure what killed the gramma perhaps Firefish but I did not see it, assuming it was disease if I reset the QT clock and do another 6 weeks, am I going to be OK putting the Firefish in display tank or could it still be a carrier?
<... a carrier of what?>
are Firefish immune to Brooklynella ?
<I have not encountered Microdesmids with this Protozoan... though as you are likely aware, it is not confined to Amphiprionines>
he is eating everything that goes in swimming around and not hiding fins erect looks good, hence the total confusion,
Regards and best wishes for the new year,
<Thanks. Something beat the Gramma do death... BobF>

Royal Gramma: QT\Disease\Possible aggression. 6/27/2009
Hi there.
<Hi David.>
I have read stuff on your site until my eyes are blurry, but I never get tired because your info is always great, and the tips and knowledge is wonderful for those of us that need some help from time to time.
<Thank you for the kind words.>
I really need some help this time
<Well, you've come to the right place.>
I have been into fish (mostly freshwater) for 30 years. Have been doing salt now for about a year. I'll get to the point:
My daughter gave me a Royal Gramma from the LFS for Fathers Day.
<A nice gift.>
Besides the ridiculous price she paid, the fish seemed to be healthy the past few days. I put him in my 5G quarantine tank, as is my usual practice,
<Very good!>
With a really small maroon clown that I just got. They get along fine, and have been eating great (Cyclops & spectrum). The gramma has been getting used to the tank, and is getting more out in the open with the clown the past few days, and is showing a nice personality.
This evening when I checked them, the clown is fine as usual, but the gramma is hiding in the corner, and sort of resting on the bottom sand.
<Uh oh.>
When I touch the glass near him, he moves away and swims back to the corner a few seconds later. I noticed a few small white dots that look like salt on his face. He wouldn't eat tonight, but the clown is voracious and seems fine like always.
<Hmm.....Grammas do have small white dots on their face. It could be marine ich (Crypt) Are they raised bumps, or are they dots? Another distinct possibility is that the Maroon Clown is beating up on the Gramma.>
Does this sound like a parasite such as ich ?
<Possibly. A picture would be helpful.>
My water parameters were fine when I checked them, but I did a 50% water change and new filter cartridge just to give him the best chance to survive. I use Instant Ocean Reef Crystals .
<Actual test numbers are always encouraged. The water change is a good idea though.>
Should I try a freshwater dip ? Please help, my daughter and I am both upset and want to help him !
<To rule out the possibility of aggression, I would separate the two fish, preferably into separate QT tanks and observe. If they start showing signs of Crypt, you can then start treatment. if it is crypt, you will have to
follow different strategies for treatment as Clownfish are very sensitive to copper.>
Thanks so much for any help !
<Do read here for further information about Crypt and its treatment.
Again, for now, I would separate them and observe.>

Abused Royal Gramma 5/28/2009
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hello Scott.>
First off thank you all for your volunteered time to help all the aquarists out there.
<I think we all enjoy helping other aquarists.>
I currently have a 50 gallon FOWLR with 50 lb of live rock and a1 inch sand bed. Water chemistry is ammonia, nitrite at zero, nitrate at 30ppm, pH at 8.4 and SG at 1.025. Water changes are done biweekly at 20% increments. The tank itself is 2 years old and filtration is an AquaC Remora and two MaxiJet 1200 powerheads for circulation. Tank inhabitants are an ORA ocellaris clown (22 months in tank), Royal Gramma (18 months in tank), Flameback (C. acanthops) angel (9 months in tank), and Fourline (P. tetrataenia) wrasse (1.5 months in tank). I feed twice a day with new line spectrum pellets and Spirulina in the morning and a varying mix of frozen formula 1, 2, prime reef, and PE mysis in the evening. Weekly I throw in a sheet of Nori for the fish to munch on. I have 4 red legged hermit crabs and 5 turbo snails as a 'cleanup' crew.
<Scott, excellent summarization of your tank, this is how every query should begin.>
Now for my problem, a week ago I left for a long three day weekend and the fish went without food for 2.5 days. When I got home I found my normally robust gramma looking sickly. Reading through WWM healthy fish should be able to go one week without food and I've gone five days in the past with no problems.
<And you did your research.>
The gramma's stomach appears sunken with some tail missing. It looks like there are scales peeling off the head of the fish. And under pectoral fin on both sides are dark blotches which look like the photos posted on WWM of grammas jumping out of the tank. But due to the symmetry of this condition on both sides and the overall state of the fish I thought it was most likely due to something else. Behavior wise it still acts like a gramma, darts in and out of the rock, eats, and stalls at random angles.
<A great description.>
So it comes down to environment, nutrition, and disease. Aggression wise the gramma is at the bottom in this tank. I've always been apprehensive about adding the Fourline wrasse as they are similar shape and the horror stories posted on WWM. The totem pole appears to go angel, wrasse and clown, then gramma.
<This pecking order is what would be expected with these fish.>
After reading for hours on end the fish should not be psychologically cramped for space and until now have enjoyed a successful tank. But I know things change as fish grow. I thought nutrition wise I was doing alright but would love to be corrected. I don't normally do vitamin soaks but can gladly start. I can't find any articles that match my gramma's condition but have attached photos (really hard to get a good shot of this fish) that can hopefully help. I have a 10 gallon QT ready to go but don't want to stress myself or the gramma trying to catch them from the main tank if unnecessary. Any thoughts? Thanks.
<Alright, based on the time the Royal Gramma has spent in the tank, the pecking order in the tank and the details you left me. My first though is that while a healthy fish should be able to go without food for a week, it doesn't mean they want too. My guess is that without daily feedings which likely curb aggression in your tank, that aggression levels increased in any one or all of your other fish, and the poor Royal Gramma got beat up while you were gone. Keep a close eye on him for worsening of his condition. I imagine that with normal daily feedings with nutritious food he is going to recover just fine, so I would not contribute to it's stress by trying to catch it. If you find the condition is worsening then I might try to remove him to a quarantine tank, and investigate other possibilities.>
<Good Luck. And keep me updated.
Josh Solomon>
Re: Abused Royal Gramma 06/03/09

Hi Josh,
<Hello again Scott>
Attached is my previous email. Unfortunately my gramma didn't make it. He stopped eating and died a day after our previous email exchange. I assume he was stressed too much to recover. He died during the night in his upside down rock cave so by the time I got him out the hermit crabs had done their job, making necropsy difficult. So its time to move on.
<I'm sorry, yes, the necropsy has limited usefulness after decay begins.>
I'd love to get another Basslet but I'm afraid that adding them to my established current inhabitants would doom them to the same abuse. Looking through the WWM articles and the size of my tank (50 gal) I was thinking of adding either a Pseudochromis, a Toby, another ocellaris to make a pair, or some species that is not deemed a threat like a bottom feeding goby. Any thoughts on these or other suggestions? Thanks for all your help.
<Well a Royal Dottyback may allow you to keep that coloration within your tank, while being much more aggressive, could possibly hold his own with these other fish.
Personally I would recommend pursuing the pairing of your ocellaris, likely an addition that would cause less stress for your tank than the Royal Dottyback.>
<Good Luck, and do not forget to quarantine.
Josh Solomon>

Royal Gramma with Lower Jaw Problem: Gramma Health 5/19/2009
Hello Crew,
<Hi Susan>
About a month ago, I noticed that one of my Royal Grammas (I have two) had a much changed appearance. It seemed that he had had a growth spurt
(now about 4 inches long; whereas the other is about 2 inches), the lower jaw was quite protruded so much so that I could see its teeth, and the eyes were sort of googly.
<Sounds like a physical injury.>
It was acting normally, although it was having difficulty feeding as it couldn't keep food in its mouth. However, it was able to consume smaller food particles and larger chewy bits of shrimp or krill, and didn't appear to lose weight.
<A very good sign.>
I have a 180 gallon reef style aquarium. Water parameters are fine. It is stocked with yellow tang, purple tang, two royal grammas, a
gold-banded maroon clownfish in an anemone, a Banggai cardinal, two pyjama cardinals, 8 blue Chromis, a longhorn cowfish, and assorted soft
<A few possible aggressors in the list.>
About two weeks ago I spoke with someone at the LFS. He thought the jaw problem was the result of an injury (another fish grabbed onto its
mouth) and the eyes were the result of the resulting stressed state. He recommended treating with Kanaplex by putting it in food. I did so,
treating three times over \three days. I also stepped up water changes to 20% weekly (rather than bi-weekly).
<Not familiar with Kanaplex, but any medicating should be done in a separate tank Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm >
There has been no change. Other than the distended jaw and slightly pop-eyed appearance, the larger Royal Gramma appears to be a healthy
fish. Any idea what caused the changed appearance?
<I would also suspect physical injury.>
Should I do anything, or just leave well enough alone?
<As long as the fish is eating and doesn't have any signs of infection, I would leave it be.>
Any advice would be greatly appreciated,
<Time will tell.>

Royal Gramma Fin Regeneration 8/18/08 Greetings, <Salutations> How long for a 1" Royal Gramma to regenerate tail after nipped at by aggressive blue damsel, has been relocated, was wondering time for regeneration of fin and will it completely regrow? <May take a few weeks or more... will re-grow if not bitten back too far (the hypurals)... may not be as colorful...> I cant recall but isn't it true that the fin only regrows as far as the last bone part or something to that extent? <Yes> he is still alive and swimming around but 75% of tail has been eaten. and he continues to feed on new life pellets. <Good> Thanks, Matt <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

2 pictures for you, Gramma hlth./handling 10/3/08 First off, I've learned so much from your site. Thank you for providing such a knowledgeable service, it's my first stop when I have a marine aquarium issue or question (and I'm new to marine husbandry, so I stop by a lot!). I picked up the Royal Gramma yesterday, and he looked fine. Acclimation and entry into Quarantine tank went without issue. Today it's got a dark black/grey growth under its dorsal. <Mmm, yes... I see it in your pix> I've tried to ID it through your site but haven't found anything really matching. Any ideas, and if so, how to treat? <Yes... is very likely "simply" a damaged area from this specimen being whacked with a net, or picked up via fingers... Will likely heal on its own> Other fish in the QT have not had any problems. A bi-color Blenny just came out last week. Water is almost perfect Amm-0 Nitrite-0 and Nitrate < 5 sal-1.024 Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 2 pictures attached. <"Just" good care here should see this animal repair. Not an uncommon situation... as grammas are able "leapers", folks aren't careful in their moving. Bob Fenner>

Re: 2 pictures for you, Gramma hlth. f' 10/3/08 Thank you Bob for the reply. It makes sense on your diagnosis, the LFS who caught the Gramma had some problems and was a bit inexperienced. He's eating and active and will get great care. BTW I read and loved but mostly learned from your revised copy of TCA. It sits on my coffee table. ~ Karl <Ahh! Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. BobF>

~Gramma Tail Completely Gone~ 8/8/08 While you must get this all of the time I still have to tell you what an incredible and enjoyable resource you are in the world of marine aquatics! Thank you for your time, expertise and dedication. <Thanks> I have a 55 gallon salt water tank with live rock, a 2' Yellow Tang, 1.5' Regal Tang, 1 False Percula, 1.5' Huma Huma Trigger, 1 Mandarin Goby, and a Royal Gramma (and 4 turbo snails) all of which have been together for over 3 months now with no fighting, etc. <All but the clowns and Gramma will need larger quarters, and soon.> I realize that as some of these fish become larger they will likely become increasingly aggressive and will have to be moved to accommodate their size but for now they seem to make a great community together. <You have a lot of fish with formidable weapons in that tank, between the tangs switchblades and triggers teeth, if it starts to go south it is going to go south fast and bloody.> My water parameters are as follows: Ammonia = 0 , pH = 8.2, Nitrates =10, Nitrites = 0, spg = 1.019 (I am slowly raising it from the 1.017 during the fallow phase). <Ok, but I would not recommend ever running the main tank at anything less than 1.025, too tough on the expensive live rock.> Up until 3 days ago my fish had been quarantined for 6 weeks due to a severe outbreak of ich. While my fish were in QT I kept the display tank at or slightly above 86 degrees and the spg at 1.017 to help eradicate the parasite. <Not low enough to effect the parasite.> I was able to avoid administering the copper treatment in my quarantine tank. After a FW dip and being in QT for a few days all the signs of ich were gone and stayed gone. The fish seemed to be doing okay riding out the wait. <Be aware they are most likely still carrying the ich, hopefully it will remain below symptomatic levels.> 3 days ago we placed them back into the display tank and they seemed happy and were eating and exploring immediately. My pH was a little low yesterday so I did add some Seachem Marine Buffer per the instructions on the container. This has been done in the past with no problems. Other than that, there have been no issues with the tank. This morning I woke up and checked on my fish and at first glance everyone seemed to be doing well (I keep my fingers crossed every time after the ich debacle). I looked again and was amazed when I saw Moses, my Royal Gramma, who just overnight is completely missing his tail and a portion of his right pectoral fin. <Attacked> Where his tail was taken it looks meaty and gnarled. As of late last night he looked all intact. I am familiar with tail rot and also with the fraying caused by other fish nipping and biting of which I have seen none in this case. <My first guess would be the trigger, those teeth are serious. Otherwise perhaps a hiding crab hungry for a meal.> This looks nothing like either of those things. I don't have any crabs or shrimp in my tank that may otherwise seem logical culprits. <That you know of, crabs hide amazingly well, might want to put out a trap and see if you catch anything.> For right now, to my amazement, he is swimming well and none of the other fish are acting aggressively toward him. <If he begins to weaken they will turn on him.> He even ate his breakfast. <Good sign.> He is so fast and small and has so many crevices and caves that he likes to go into where none of the other fish can even get to him so I can't imagine that during the night he would have allowed himself to remain exposed and still long enough for one of his tank mates to literally chew on him until his tail was completely gone. <Once in a bolt hole many fish refuse to leave, even if being attacked, have heard plenty of stories of Firefish eaten alive in their holes by crabs.> He perches in the rock to sleep. <Ok> My two questions are as follows: What do you think could have caused this to happen? <Some other inhabitant, known or unknown.> At night I have seen some 'unidentified' creatures that were somewhat significant in size come out of my live rock and I am wondering if anything living in my rock could have possibly attached itself to Moses while he was perched and sleeping and then ate away at his tail? <Possible> That may sound a little bizarre but in my short time (less than one year) in this hobby there has been nothing normal about it to me so far and I don't think anything would really surprise me at this point! <The timid get pushed out in the reef, so don't underestimate the tenacity of most reef creatures.> Secondly, what should I do for my fish, if anything? He is EXTREMELY difficult to catch and, in fact, when we last had to quarantine our fish I thought Moses wasn't going to make it because it took us days just to get him out of the display tank the first time. <If he is still eating and no signs of infection I would let him be, no sense adding to his trauma.> Anyway, any input/advise you may be able to provide would be extremely appreciated. Have a great day and thanks for your time ~Monica <Welcome> <Chris>

White spot on Gramma 3/9/08 Hi guys, I recently had an outbreak of ich in my system. My royal Gramma (who was the only one visibly affected by ich), 2 false Percs, Firefish, and banner cardinal were placed in QT for 8 weeks while my tank ran fallow. The fish in QT were treated with Cupramine for three weeks. All was good and were returned to the system. About a week ago I noted a large raised white spot on the Gramma (not so clear pictures included). There is only one spot, it is rather large like a white head, and the Gramma is not showing any other behavioral symptoms (flashing, etc.) and is eating well. No other spots are on the fish. The other fish again appear unaffected. I am currently doing 20% water changes twice weekly and am feeding only New Life spectrum TherA A+. <Good product, food> Sorry about the poor quality pictures but it is the best I could do. Tank parameters are 54 gallon with sump, aqua C remora, 60 lbs LR, 40 lbs LS, Ammonia-0, Nitrite-0, Nitrate-0, phos-0.03, dKH-8, Calcium-360, ph 8.0, specific gravity- 1.025. <This spot, raised area is very likely resultant from a physical injury... not pathogenic. I would continue with NOT medicating this animal... in time the spot will go. Bob Fenner> Mike

Royal Gramma help... Crypt, and... 9/5/07 This is the best picture I could get of my royal Gramma. He has that brownish grey area in the middle of his body just on this one side. <I see this... and that this specimen is too thin... and are those discrete "crypt-like" spots on its lower body?> I have not noticed it being there before although it may have been. I'm not quite sure if something is wrong with him or not. I have had him almost two weeks. I did not have a quarantine tank at the time, although I now have a quarantine tank going. <Good... but a bit late here> I have looked all on your site about health problems. I know ich has white spots and I've heard of the other diseases but I'm not quite sure what they look like. <Time to go to the library perhaps> I'm hoping this is nothing. I put in a cleaner shrimp in my 75 gallon reef tank this past weekend, although I have not seen him actually cleaning any of my fish. <Takes a while and won't cure extant infestations...> The greyish area has a whitish filmy area that sort of looks like it's flaking off a little at the bottom. My water conditions have checked good so far. <Oh, that's good...> Could you please give me some advice on what you think it could be and what to do because I don't want my fish to die and I don't want to hurt my other four fish in the tank. I also wanted to say that he has been eating well and swimming ever since I got him. Thank you for any advice you can give me and I have my quarantine tank ready for any more fish I get. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm particularly the royal blue line tray. Bob Fenner>

Parasite, Alien, Unidentified object on Royal Gramma..... 6/18/07 Hey Bob, Michelle, and the rest of the crew! <Hi Brandon, Mich with you tonight!> First of all let me say I hope life is treating you both well since I last had a mixed drink with you both at SWU in Atlanta <Thanks and you as well!> and I hope to see ya both at MACNA 19 here fast approaching. <You will likely see me!> I have a problem I think it is time to call in an extra set of eyes for. <My eyes are here, but I'm not seeing any photos!> We have a member of or reef club that came to me looking for some help on his tank. It is a 210 gal that has basically become a Bryopsis forest with a healthy dose of flatworms at the current moment. <Ho buoy!!!> It does have a few fish (Foxface, Royal, and False Perc Clown) and basic soft corals (leather, Kenya tree, few Shrooms and some yellow polyps) at the current moment. Upon arriving at his house last night I noticed something odd on his Royal that I can not ID and could not I get a picture of. <Photographing fish can be a challenge!> On each side of his upper lip appeared to be a cluster of whiskers. They were only about 1cm long, clear but shinny like fishing line, and about 3-4 per cluster. The appeared to move independently of each other but I assume each cluster was part of the same foreign body. Of course the Royal was scratching so whatever it is not making life fun for the fish. The fish was a bit skittish (In a Royal, I must be kidding!!!), <Heee! Ya think they tend to be a little bold, eh?> so I could not get a good look at what the "whiskers" were attached into. So this is where I turn to ya'll. I need to figure out what these things are and how to treat. I am hoping a simple FW dip <Does sound like some type of parasitic worm. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fshwrmdisfaq2.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fshwrmdisfaqs.htm A look through Ed Noga's "Fish Disease, Diagnosis & Treatment" may help. A FW dip would be a good start, you may need to administer an anthelminthic such as Praziquantel. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/vermifugefaqs.htm > and QT period might cure the problem but I got to say, I am not crazy about dipping a Foxface Lo by any means! <I can't say I blame you there!> Any help you can give on the matter at hand will net you a rum and coke in Pittsburg Bob... ;) <Heee! How 'bout a frothy girly drink for Michelle?> Thanks, <Welcome! Mich> Brandon
Re: Parasite, Alien, Unidentified object on Royal Gramma..... -- 6/19/07
Hey Mich, <Bob here... prompted as it were, from the depths of fish tanks...> Thanks for the response. Ya I have been through all those links and can not find anything that sounds like what is affecting this fish. I think I am going to try the route of FW dip with some Meth blue but I wish I had some sort of idea as to what it could be so that I could know its life cycle and impact on the system. <Need a scope...> As for Noga's book, believe me, it is a book that I NEED to invest into but an investment it sure is!!! Not light reading and at $120 it is a hefty price tag. <Mmm, if it were/is expedient, there may be a copy to borrow at a large college library nearby...> I know Bob has talked to him about lowering the price and if he cuts it in half he would sell a copy to me in a heartbeat!!! <Agreed... or even put on the Net to download at five dollars, ten? A copy to look/see... Sheesh, why am I NOT a bazillionaire? Oh, right, I have little interest in more money> All I need to do is talk the library into ordering it! ;) Anyways, I was hoping Bob would have an idea as well but I guess he is off "working" somewhere. Thanks for the input and I will let you know if/when I can figure out what this thing is! Brandon <I've just re-read the prev. corr. and do concur w/ Mich re this likely being some sort of "worm"... and the prospective use of an Anthelminthic... Is this your intention? BobF>

Sad Gramma... hlth., -- 03/15/07 Hey all, You guys have been very helpful in the past, and I hope that streak can continue. I've had my 60 gallon (regular) reef tank for a year now and the inhabitants are: citron goby ocellaris clown yellow-streak fairy wrasse neon goby 2 one-inch Chromis royal Gramma corals: frogspawn, candy cane (aka trumpet), pom-pom xenia, a few Zoas. My parameters have always been good and stable (nitrate <5ppm, pH 8.2, temp 79F). The Gramma had always been healthy and happy, though he did hide sometimes. Five months ago, he started hiding all the time and would often not even come out to eat. At that point I noticed the white discoloration shown in the picture. <I see this> I traded in my damsel to try to help reduce the possible stress to him, and started target feeding him in his rock crevice (with a baster) frozen Mysis and flakes soaked in Kent Zoe Marine. It didn't seem to help. Finally I decided to catch him and put him in quarantine so I could treat him and take a picture of him. To me, his disease/injury looks like someone took a piece of chalk sideways and drew on both sides of him. > reading other posts and talking to fish stores, it seems like a skin irritation or injury, <Agreed> so I am treating him with something called Rally by Ruby Reef, <Garbage> which says it is for external bacterial infection and external parasites. It's only been two days but the Gramma is still hiding and not eating. Do you think I'm on the right track here? Is it possible that he's just getting old? <Mmm, yes... but far more likely this fish is mal-affected by some metabolite/s from your Cnidarians... most likely the Zoanthids> I got him from someone that had him for at least 2 years, so he's at least 3. I don't know what else to do besides keeping water quality high and trying to feed him the enriched Mysis. I don't want to overdo the treatment and stress him to death, but he's obviously not happy and I feel I have to try something. Many thanks for your help and insight, Scott p.s. I'm happy with my current piscine inhabitants, but would also like to add another fish down the road, either a flame angel or Anthias bass (lyretail or Hawaiian bicolor) or both. Good fit? <Mmm, no... this system is too small> Do flame angels tend to nip on mainly SPS polyps or on all corals (like mine)? <Read on my friend... Re Cnidarian and Zoanthid allelopathy, Centropyge loricula... all posted on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Royal Gramma With Parasite 1/26/07 Hi, <Hello Phil> I have a problem regarding a royal Gramma, I cannot seem to find it in your FAQs. I've had the royal Gramma for 1 week now, The other night I saw it bashing its head hard against the live rocks, so I thought I'd have a look with the magnifying glass, on its right eye there's a tiny white worm looking thing moving round the bottom of its eye, I just wondered if its anything to be concerned about .The fish itself seems fine and eating ok. <Have you search the FAQ section on disease/parasite control? I'd put the Gramma in QT and treat with a parasitic type medication. Copper should do the trick.> <<Mmmm. RMF>> Any help at all would be great. thanks, Phil. <You're welcome. In future queries, please do a grammar check. We just don't have the time to correct/edit queries before placing in the dailies. Thanks, James (Salty Dog)>

Swim Bladder problem with Royal Gramma 11/27/06 Hey Crew, <Hey AJ, JustinN with you today> Two days ago, I noticed telltale signs of ich in my tank, white spots and cloudy eyes on my Royal Gramma, and both it and my purple Firefish were rubbing on the rocks and substrate. I set up a quarantine tank using water from the display, matching temp, etc., based on this site's recommendations, treated the water with copper following the solution's directions, and proceeded to move the two fish into the quarantine tank. <All sounds good here> The Firefish is doing well and after a brief hunger strike is taking frozen brine again. <Do try mysis shrimp as well, if you don't already. Brine shrimp are like potato chips for fish, whereas mysis contains essential nutrients.> However, the Gramma is floating on his side near the top of the tank and seems to be very lethargic. <Mmm, not good> Every once in a while he will swim all over the place, then stop and float to the surface again. Is this indicative of a swim bladder problem, possibly caused by the transfer to the new tank? Or is it more likely just a sign of stress? If it's the former, is there anything I can do for it? He did not have this problem before the move, but as soon as he was in the QT tank it began. Thanks, AJ <AJ, this sounds like a water quality issue in the QT tank. Do you have chemically inert hiding places provided for both fish? Are you performing water changes and testing for ammonia/nitrites/nitrates? Do remember, you are treating with copper which will kill any beneficial bacteria in the tank, thus making water changes crucial. Hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Injured royal Gramma 11/15/06 Greetings, all -- <Hello there!> My 37g tall FOWLR suffered a broken middle support so I got an identical take to move all my water, tomato clown, royal Gramma, and live rock. Everything went perfectly well except for one incident: the royal Gramma was in a rock that we pulled out. A few seconds later we heard her flopping around, and it took us about 15 seconds to identify which rock she was inside and submerge it in aquarium water. Today (about 14 hours later) the clown is swimming about, eating and appears to be perfectly fine, but the Gramma does is not her usual self. She is usually hiding, does not swim around much, I can see some lighter patches on her, perhaps injuries from the rock? My question is basically, what should I do? If it's a physical injury, will it heal, and in how long? Is there anything I can do to help her out? What should I be looking out for? <I'm sure the Gramma is traumatized, if not physically injured. The lighter patches you refer to could well be cuts from the rock, or could just be stress lines. I would usually suggest quarantining the affected fish, but I'm afraid trying to catch her would cause even more stress (we have a Brazilian Gramma, and I know how crafty they can be in avoiding the net!) I would suggest now keeping a very close eye on the Gramma in her usual tank, making sure she is eating (perhaps even soak the food in vitamin supplements or garlic oil) and keeping the tank water *extremely* clean. I suspect the injuries will heal under good husbandry, but keep a close watch to ensure no secondary bacterial infections set in.> Thanks! - Chad <You're welcome. I'm sure your Gramma will recover given proper conditions...give her some time, she's been through a big ordeal!! Good luck, Jorie>

Sick royal Gramma 3/28/06 Hey guys, How are you? I recently added my royal Gramma to my tank after quarantine and it is doing fine but I am noticing its tail is becoming cloudy. I want to nip this in the butt early but I have a 30 gallon filled with LR and established corals. Whenever I go to get him out he darts way back in the tank. <Oh yes> Iv heard of MelaFix and am not ready to use that because Iv read that no one really knows if its really reef safe. <Isn't worth using> My question what can I do to fix this. He eats great and is very healthy except for the tail. Tank parameters are (ammonia-0 ph-8.3 -nitrate-0- nitrite-o -calcium 400 ppm (lighting is 150 HQI with 2 65 watt PC actinics.) <... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/grammadisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

I have a question about my royal Gramma (sick) 3/19/06 Hi- I always come to your site for all my answers.. but this one doesn't seem to be on there (that I know of) Hope you can crack open the case. I bought a royal Gramma about a week ago.. to add to my 55 gal. he's been doing fine the whole time.. and yesterday evening I noticed something funny about him, it wasn't there during the day but at night, his face seems to have some sort of discoloration, on his right side only. there seems to be a 'white film' over it... around his gills and face, but not close to his eyes or mouth. I tried to get some pictures of it, the best 2 are enclosed (it looks darker but its very white, so try to imagine) I don't know what it is.. and I'm worried about him.. also if he's diseased I don't want to get my other fish sick.. any advice? thanks, Taryn <Just good care... perhaps this fish got "whacked" or roughly treated during collection, netting. Bob Fenner>

Is My Royal Gramma Dying? - 03/13/2006 My first fish, a Royal Gramma (I have had him 4 days) has stopped eating and coming out of the rocks. <Do this sometimes...> Friday he was eating and looked okay when he WOULD come out, but he hides in the rocks so much I hardly ever see him. Saturday he never came out except for once to go from one rock hole to the other and never ate anything that I saw. I have been feeding him Mysis Shrimp soaked in garlic. <Maybe fears bad breath...> Friday morning the tank temperature had gone up to 82.5 when I got up so I unplugged one of the heaters and by Saturday the temp had gone back down to 78.4. This morning it is 79.4 so I don't think the temp change would have been that bad. My water tests fine, PH8.2, Ammonia-0, Nitrate-0, Nitrate-0. The SG 1.024. I did have a diatom problem start on Thursday but it really doesn't look that bad and the water is still fine. I am worried that the fish is sick, he doesn't look sick from outward appearance as much as I can tell as he doesn't come out long enough to check now. When he goes into the rock holes though he just lays on the rock. Should I just wait and see if he dies and how long can he not eat before he will die just of starvation if nothing else? Is he lonely in there all by himself? <I would wait this out... likely the changes you mention are at play here... can go w/o apparent feeding for a few weeks. Bob Fenner> Suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I really hate to lose my first fish for no apparent reason and have no idea why I would with the water tests I have. Oh, btw, no he wasn't quarantined by me but had been in the LFS for a week and a half and was eating well even at home for the first couple of days. Thanks

Bizarre Growth, Epsom Salt, and More - 11/29/2005 Bob, <Actually, Sabrina with you, in his stead.> You've helped me before regarding Popeye and Epsom salt. I'm wondering if you can suggest something again. <We'll sure try, Paul!> My Royal Gramma has developed a clear, bulbous tumor inside its mouth over the last two months and while it is still active and eating, the tumor has doubled in size (bigger than a pea and the fish is only 3" long). It now swims with its mouth open at all times and although seems to not be bothered by it, I know if it gets much bigger it won't be able to eat and may even invade its gills. <Clear.... you mean, you can see through this? Like a blister? Or is it in/under the skin?> Will Epsom salt shrink this thing or would something else work? <I would try Epsom salt, yes - but I also am concerned that it may possibly be a "goiter", from an iodine deficiency, which can be treated by supplementing iodine/iodide (I believe Bob usually recommends Lugol's solution) for several weeks, a few months....> Could I possibly suck the tumor away with a syringe? <I don't think I would risk this.> I think that would probably scare the fish to death even if I could hold still long enough to pull that off. <You would need to sedate the animal to do such a thing.... really, I advise against it, unless it becomes a life-or-death situation.> Its color is excellent and as I said, is healthy. <Good signs, to be sure.> I want to try and treat it before it gets to where its energy would make it detrimental to move to a quarantine tank. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! <I would research the iodine issue, were I in your shoes, and try adding Epsom.> Paul <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Dancing and Glancing Gramma 11/13/05 Hi WWB crew, <<WWB? Who are they?>><WetWebBrew? Yay!> <<Hello - Ted here this evening>> First off thanks for the great site and info. <<Thanks. Glad you find it helpful>> My royal Gramma regularly, at least once an hour, makes a quick and what seems to be planned rub up against a few select spots on my live rock. He has done this for well over a year and I have never seen any white spots indicating an Ich infection. He is very fat and healthy in every other regard. Any thoughts on why he would be doing this? Could it be a different type of parasite, an itchy spot, a fun hobby for him? <<It could be some other parasite. It could also be hunting behavior and he may be trying to dislodge crustaceans from the rock. If he is eating and otherwise behaving normally, I wouldn't be concerned.>> My other 4 fishes (3 green Chromis and Lawn mower blenny) all seem to be in great health. I would like to add a purple tang to my tank but I am concerned that ich or a different problem may be present in my main tank based the royal Gramma's behavior. <<Not knowing the size of your tank, it is hard to comment on the advisability of adding a Purple Tang. Bear in mind that Purple Tangs require lots of swimming room and can grow to 10 inches.>> I have considered moving all the fish over to a QT and leaving the display tank empty for 45 days to break the ich cycle, if it exists, but I am hesitant to do so based solely off the weird behavior of the RG. Catching the royal Gramma would probably require me to tear apart the LR structure, disrupting the entire tank. I have not QT'd in the past (yes I am ashamed) <<Yes, but are you suitably ashamed?>> so it is possible that ich could have been imported in to my tank. I am planning on using a QT (per method defined here on WWM) for the new tang, if and when I get it. <<Do the other inhabitants seem healthy? If so, then quarantine any new additions to prevent the introduction of disease to your healthy system. If some fish seem sick, then take the sick fish from the system and treat them in a separate tank and do not add any new fish until all the other inhabitants are healthy.>> Any thoughts on this matter would be appreciated. Thank you for your time and have a great day. Shad Shriver <<You're welcome and good luck. - Ted>>

Royal Gramma's Lip Ripped 10/12/05 Hi, <Hey, Mike G with you tonight.> This morning when I went to feed my fish I noticed my royal Gramma's lip is torn off half way (still attached but floating off) the grammas top teeth are exposed. <Ouch.> It wasn't like this last night. I have had this fish for about 9 years now (I am very attached to him). <Wow!> About two years ago, I added a yellow citron goby <Peaceful harmless (unless you're an Acro). Not suspect.> pair of false clowns <Doubtful they are behind this.> a six line wrasse <Maybe, probably not.> and a brittle starfish (brown with black bands around the legs). <If this guy went for the Gramma, more than his lip would be missing!> I also have a pair of cleaner shrimps <No cause for alarm.> a small emerald crab <Have heard of big emeralds attacking fish in hope of a meal. Not common.> and random hermit crabs <Most are harmless, some are not. "Random Hermits" are hit or miss.> There is also a stowaway pistol shrimp somewhere in the rocks (only seen it once did not purchase been there for about 2 years also). <Have had a tang lose an eye to a pugnacious Alpheus once before. Still, most a re totally harmless.> Everybody has always got along alright. <Until now.> I would first like to know if my Gramma is going to be able to live without its lip or will he grow a new one? <If infection is avoided (MelaFix is good for this), the fish should be able to cope fine. Keep the water quality up, watch for the perpetrator.> Second do you have any idea what could of happened and what I should look out for. <Honestly, the mix you have does not really lend to any lip-rippers. I'm prepared to dismiss it as freak chance or a hitch hiker you never knew about. Do keep an eye out, though.> Thanks for your help, it is greatly appreciated, <Welcome. Best of luck! Mike G>

- Royal Gramma Spots - Hello, Thank you so much for answering so many questions for all of us novices out there. My husband and I have a 26 gallon reef tank that has been in operation for three months. All of our water parameters seem to be fine. Our Royal Gramma has recently started showing small white spots on its head and tail. The spots are not raised and do not look like ich that I have seen on other fish. It does not have these spots in the morning when the lights come on, however, during the course of the day the spots slowly start to appear. By the end of the day the fish shows signs that the spots bother it by repeatedly scratching on the rocks. The fish is not showing any other signs of stress and has been eating fine. We have a cleaner shrimp that the fish goes to at least twice a day. Its only other tank mates are a Sailfin Blenny, turbo snails, 2 scarlet crabs, 2 blue hermits, 4 margarita snails, 2 Astrea snails, 2 zebra snails, and 5 Nassarius snails. We also have assorted zoo's and a frogspawn coral. Are these spots some other sort of parasite that attaches when the lights are on. <In my opinion it is most likely ich.> Should we try a freshwater dip to alleviate the problem. <I think that would be a good course of action at this point. Don't spend too long trying to catch the fish, though - if you can't catch it in five minutes or so, try again tomorrow.> The blenny does not seem to have the spots, however, it is harder to see because of his coloration. I would appreciate any input you could give me. <See how things go after the dip, see if the cleaner shrimp can keep things in check. Prepare a quarantine tank just in case.> Thank you for your time. Beth <Cheers, J -- >

- Royal Gramma Woes - Good Evening and I hope that you might have some ideas after hearing my sordid tale of woe. I have an 80 gal marine tank with the following parameters: Spg 1.25, NH4=0, NO2=0, N03=0, pH=8.0, CA=410, temp=80, PO4=.1, about 80lbs live rock which is well coralline encrusted, deep sand bed, Remora pro skimmer w/Mag 3 and a wet and dry. Running carbon and PolyFilter. In addition to the pumps running the skimmer and wet and dry I have a Seio 640(I think) in the tank for additional flow. Current inhabitants, Pyramidellid snail, two emerald crabs, one cleaner shrimp, one ocellaris clown doing very well and one relatively happy fox face, Halimeda growing in tank along with some red algae. I did have a nice royal Gramma. Tank is up about two years and lighting is NO. Recently lost the Gramma, I think to intimidation by the fox face, not that the fox face had ever shown any interest in the Gramma. Nevertheless from the time the fox face arrived the Gramma starting spending more time in his lair and avoided feeding when the fox face was around, that his he would stay in the lower part of the water column and pick up the scraps. Tried a variety of techniques in timing of feeding to try to get the fox face out of the picture but none were successful. Although the Gramma was eating something it simply was not enough. Eventually color, especially the purple on the top of the head started to fade and he would come out of his burrow in the rock less and less often. He passed about two weeks ago. <Sorry to hear of your loss.> Very sad, helpless feeling. Last Sunday went to local LFS and talked with them re this. They thought it strange and felt that perhaps there was a personality issue. <Yes, would agree... the Gramma just did not adjust well to having a larger fish in the tank.> I decided to try again and bought another Gramma. Fish looked in excellent condition, active, eating, alert etc. Had been in LFS for three weeks and I was previously told that they run copper in their system. Took fish home spent an hour and a half acclimating (Yes I know I should have quarantined), turned off lights, dumped out bag water, placed fish in tank. Three days later found him on the bottom dead as a door nail. Anyone want to venture some thoughts? <Coincidence... did you see the fish eat at the store? Sometimes two weeks at the store is ok, and the third week is the beginning of the end. Also, many fish don't exhibit external signs that they are in fact on the way out. I think you just got a bad one.> that is aside from the quarantine issue. Oh yeah one other thing, I do weekly 10% water changes. Thanks for your input. <I'd encourage you to try again - make sure you see the fish eat before you take it home. I know you skirted the quarantine issue, but let me assure you, this is not just for disease prevention but also for the fish to catch a rest away from kids tapping on the glass and people pointing fingers at them. Going directly into a tank with larger, competitive fish can add stress upon stress, and this can cause a turn for the worse. In a quarantine tank, the fish have time to learn your feeding routine and you have the chance to get them acclimated to the foods you want to feed vs. the foods they are used to eating. Cheers, J -- >

Royal Gramma health Hello, First off, you guys rock! <live rock, that is!> Now to unashamedly take advantage of your brains. <quick... before the recreational drugs take their toll!> I recently purchased a Royal Gramma from my LFS (The Fish Store & More in Atlanta, GA.). I introduced the fish into my tank as the first and only occupant except for a small cleanup crew of snails and hermits which has been doing fine (it is a ten gallon FOWLR and this will be the only fish I keep). The tank had cycled for 1 month with live rock and all water tests were nominal before adding the Gramma. Immediately after introducing the fish into the tank, I noticed that its face had a slight white/glaze looking color covering just part of the face near one eye. I assumed that the fish came with this color variation from the store so I immediately called the fish store and asked if I should bring it back but they said to watch it and make sure it doesn't change and that some of the fish naturally have color variations. <eh... not really white, but onward...> I know that this particular fish store keeps their livestock salinity at something near half of the .025 value, so probably .0125 and that they also copper their water. <fine for some fishes...quite stressful for many others. I favor lower salinity for fish only systems, but no lower than 1.017 without a very good reason. I would strongly discourage you from buying wrasses or dwarf angels from this system for example as they will be very stressed> The fish had been at the store for over two weeks when I purchased it. <very good> This kind of makes me doubt that it was sick coming from the store but I am unsure of the color on its nose. <don't be so sure... a full month is a proper QT and disease can wait to be expressed after two weeks easily. These newly imported fishes are quite stressed> Over the next 3 days in my tank, the fish ate well (twice a day) and moved about normally even when I was near the tank. Yesterday there seemed to be a change in habit. I wasn't able to feed it in the morning since I had to go to work early, but when I got home and fed the fish (mix of many types of small meats including Mysid shrimp, all soaked in Zoe) it didn't come out to eat. I kept the room lights off and watched the fish but it did not come out at all throughout the evening. From what I can tell at this point, the fish hasn't come out for two days now (but I am gone to work for a good 8 hours) and sits under a rock moving only half an inch or so at most to reposition. This seems very abnormal compared to the habits of the fish for the first 3 days. <agreed> I haven't been able to really tell if the white/gloss on its nose has changed because it stays under the rock. From what I can see the color hasn't seemed to spread over the body. I began to wonder if my aragonite substrate was simply rubbing off on the fish's nose as it dug out a home under the live rock. <unlikely> I perform weekly 10% water changes and also have a Prizm skimmer that produces a small amount of dark gunk daily (not a cup but then it is only a 10 gallon). I also have a HOB filter for water circulation and a Microjet mc450 that is moving 117 gph. My real question is, should I be concerned at this point? <tough to say without a better look at the fish but it is still yet another piece of evidence in support of quarantining all new fish in a bare-bottomed QT tank in case meds are needed. 2 weeks in the pet shop were helpful, but who's to say that your fish wasn't caught with a net that just came out of a tank of new or sick fishes? Was the fish alone for 2 weeks too or had new shipments been added to the tank... or worse... was the fish in a central filtration system? That fish had almost no practical QT stay. It is a strict rule that all livestock should be quarantined unless a life threatening emergency negates the need (rare)> Also, at what point is it considered 'not the fish store's problem' with most quality fish shops? <never assume that a LFS livestock is clean. If they QT'ed all fish like we should, then likely you and most people would not want to pay for the expense of them setting up and keeping 5 full weeks of inventory in rotation and separately quarantined. Assume it is your responsibility from go but do play the deposit game with them and hold the fish as long as you can at their shop> I don't know if it is appropriate to bring the fish back since it seemed to come with the odd color on its nose. <good heavens my friend... please don't move it yet or be so willing or whimsical to move any fish or coral so quickly. It may kill such an animal that otherwise just needs some time to settle in. Moving animals is VERY stressful. That's another reason why QT of your own is so important. Put the fish in a good place (QT) the first time and leave it alone (4 weeks). Once acclimated to your husbandry it can be moved to the main display without fear of infecting the whole collection (albeit small/new in this case). > Thank you for your time and information. Andy Weaver <you are quite welcome my friend... do read up in our WetWebMedia archives on diseases and QT protocol for preparedness. Do call again if an unclear symptom manifests. Best regards, Anthony>

Sick Royal Gramma Hi guys, <Sorry for the delay Steve> I would like to ask your advice about something please. Here's the situation: About 6 weeks ago I bought a Royal Gramma which I dipped in FW (buffered, aerated and temp. adjusted) for 7 min.s before putting in a 10 gal. QT. After 2 days, the RG showed signs of velvet so I immediately began a copper treatment. The treatment lasted 19 days at a concentration of 0.25-0.30. The RG responded very well and quickly to the treatment. I left him 13 days in QT after the end of the treatment and it showed no signs of the parasite, so I put him in my MT last Thursday. <Potential problem here. The 4-6 wk QT time starts over AFTER all signs are gone> On Friday, I got a Flame Angel which I also dipped in FW for 8.5 min.s before putting in a 10 gal. QT. The Angel is doing well (also eating well) for now and has been in QT for 5 full days. The problem is the RG in the MT is now showing 4-5 ick spots, I can't understand how this happened? What do you think I should do? Should I: a) Leave the Angel in the QT and give FW dips to the RG putting him back in the MT after each dip and maybe add a cleaner shrimp to help him out? <This would be an option if it does not stress the fish too much to catch it> b) Remove the Angel from the QT (even if it's only 5 days), FW dip him for 10 min.s and put him in the MT, allowing me to remove the RG from the MT to administer a second copper treatment in QT? Maybe I should add a cleaner shrimp in this scenario as well to help prevent an outbreak since the parasite is now in the MT? <I would not advise this. The flame needs QT> c) Any other suggestions? <I would put the Gramma back into QT and keep the water as pristine as you can> Other inhabitants in MT are a small false percula and a small 4-stripe damsel. I feed my fish Formula 1 and 2 and Tetra Marine Flakes, varying their diet to try to boost their immune system. Of the cleaner shrimps, is there one which is more efficient between the white stripe cleaner and the blood/fire shrimp? <I like the white stripe cleaner> Also, it is not clear on your website how much and how often I should be adding iodide to help the shrimp molt? Due to the situation, do you think I could do without a QT for the shrimp (maybe just a rinse in a bucket of system water?)? <No need to QT shrimp. I don't add anything (other than regular weekly water changes) and my shrimp molt every 3 weeks or so> You have to understand that I had a complete tank wipeout due to ick or velvet 4 months ago so I left the tank fallow for 4 weeks and having learned my lesson now follow the QT and dip procedures recommended on your website. I am extremely discouraged and do not want to go through another wipeout and start everything over a third time. Help! <Steve, can you get a thermometer that records hi and low over a period of time? Extreme temperature swings (more than 2-3 degrees F) can cause a stress to allow the ick to get hold. Check it out. Don> Thank you for your response. Frustrated Steve.

Gramma In Distress? I have a 180 gal. reef with about 8 fish, only the Royal Gramma is showing signs of disease. About three weeks ago the Gramma lost it's tail. I initially thought something was picking on it but I never noticed any aggression between the fish. They have all been in this tank for over 1 year. Now the Gramma's tail is growing back and there is a white film covering the front 1/3 and the fish is itching on rocks. I can't remove this fish, I've tried to trap it but it's too shy. What is this and how can I treat it?? Frustrated In GR Tom <Well, Tom- it sounds like some sort of bacterial or fungal problem from the appearance and circumstances involved, but the scratching seems indicative of a parasitic ailment. If it is, indeed Amyloodinium, then you may notice other signs, such as rapid breathing, dashing around the tank, and difficulty swimming. At this point, if trapping the fish is impractical or impossible, you may have to run the risk of letting nature take its course, and hope that maintaining great water conditions and a steady environment will do the job. There is also the huge potential of a total infestation of your aquarium, if the malady does turn out to be Amyloodinium. My best advice- also the most aggravating: Break down the decor and get the fish out for observation and/or treatment in a separate aquarium. This basically sucks, I know- but it seems infinitely preferable to a potential wipe out in your tank. You could observe the for another several days, to see if any other problems manifest, but action is definitely required if this is one of parasitic diseases that we discussed. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Royal Grammas Keep Dying I have a dogface puffer, percula clown, and watchman goby that get along fine. I then added a small royal Gramma that died within 2 days. Water was fine, fish seemed fine at the end of the first day and the second day seemed fine until I saw it deceased. The next week after a water change and check after a couple of days I went to LFS and bought a larger one thinking maybe the small one was too weak (young). Same thing happened only 3 days later. I have several small blue legs living and took my water to LFS for testing several times to be sure my tests kit are accurate. I acclimate them just as suggested and I saw no signs of attack. What do you think? <If all tests are fine and all of the other fish are doing fine, I suspect you are just having bad luck with this fish. Maybe try a different store?> Am I just a murderer? <Ouch! I hope not! Do you quarantine your fish? That would give a little Gramma time to get comfortable with captivity before it gets thrown in with the other established fish> I would like to stock my tank 65 gal-60lbs LR, LS, wet/dry, protein skimmer, and power compact. Please help me I don't want to kill anymore. Jill <Just sounds like you've had bad luck. Keep the faith...David Dowless>

Sudden Fish Death Hi <<Hello, JasonC here...>> Three days ago I bought a royal Gramma and today he hid all day in "his" coral. A short while ago, he emerged from the coral and began thrashing about wildly, eventually chasing his tail all over the tank, splashing around at the surface for a minute, and then he sank, mouth wide open gills motionless, fins frozen wide open. When I netted him, he was already stiff. There were/are no visible signs of a problem until this sudden death today. Do you have any idea as to what may have happened to him? <<Hmm... that is a bit of a mystery. Were you home all day to observe this day of hiding? My first suspect would be some type of environmental contagion - do you smoke cigarettes? Did anyone clean the glass in/near/around the tank? Did you feed this fish before this happened? There are many possibilities of this nature. It's also possible, although less likely that this poor creature had a genetic problem, or was cyanide caught, but these fish are typically pretty durable. I'd look first for household causes as these are the most likely culprit in "sudden" deaths like this - you will need to be the detective on the scene. Sorry to hear of your loss.>> Thanks, Patrick <<Cheers, J -- >>

Sick Basslet Dear Mr. Fenner, <Steven Pro today.> I have a thirty-five gallon tank and up till now have had very healthy fish. I am very upset however because three or four days ago I noticed a white spot on the lower jaw of my fairy Basslet. I called the dealer I buy my fish from and told him about it. He said he didn't think it sounded like ick and for me to just watch it. Well last night, I noticed that the Basslet had little white spots all over his body and he is rubbing himself against the sand. I've never had to treat ick before and I don't know the best medicine to buy. <Quarantine and treat with copper.> Also should I treat him in a hospital tank? <Absolutely!> I know that the medicine would be toxic to my invertebrates, but what about my other fish (two clowns and a Sailfin tang)? Will they end up with ick too? <Possible> Should I sacrifice the invertebrates and treat my whole tank <No, never.> or just isolate my Basslet? <First isolate and treat the Basslet, cross your fingers, but be prepared to quarantine everyone. Do see our extensive writings on www.WetWebMedia.com regarding parasitic infections.> Thank you. Very concerted, Laura <Good luck! -Steven Pro>
Re: sick Basslet
Thanks for the quick reply. <You are welcome.> I'll quarantine the Basslet ASAP! <Good!> Ummm, if the others end up with ick too, can I put all four of them in a five gallon tank for treatment for an extended amount of time? Laura <No, that is too small. You will need at least 20 gallons for your fish. -Steven Pro>

Mystery Malady Help WWM strange-disease guru: <Ho about "WWM Strange Guru"? Scott F. here today!> I have a Royal Gramma that looks exactly like it was tagged by a porcupine. There are dozens of very fine, clear-ish with a bit-of-white needles about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch long poking out of its left eye, left eye socket, and mouth. The fish seems unchanged behavior wise (normal and healthy.) <Weird...Sounds almost like some kind of external fungal infection> I cannot find anything on your site about what this might be. I did recently introduce a purple Gorgonian that this Gramma likes to swim around and through; perhaps the Gorgonian has something to do with this? Any help is most appreciated, SLC <Well, before you rush in and administer medications, I'd observe this fish for a while longer. It may be that you'll see this material clear out on its own. On the other hand, if it begins to interfere with the fish's ability to eat, etc., then you may need to take some action. I'd operate on the assumption (and it IS an assumption) that you are dealing with some sort of fungal disease, and treat with appropriate medication in a separate aquarium...Keep an eye on this fish to make sure that things don't progress. Good luck! Regards, ScottF>

Stranger Than Fiction...(Follow-up To Mystery Malady) Scott F: Thanks for the reply. I took your advice and did nothing, just carefully observing my R.G.'s state. The mysterious needles went away completely within a day or so. Strange.... SLC <Sometimes, doing nothing is better than doing something...Nothing ever surprises me in this hobby any more! Take care! Scott F.>

Royal Gramma with Tan Mark on Mouth >Sorry to bother you but I could not get through on the message board for a follow-up to my original post. >>Lately, not an uncommon problem. Marina to help, and no worries, eh? >I have a Royal Gramma 4 days into its acclimation quarantine. >>Ah, you're warming my heart with those words. >It has remained in the corners or behind the heater the entire time except when feeding. >>Have you provided cover in the form of PVC pieces and elbows? This will go a long way towards reducing its overall stress levels, and they are EASILY sterilized for next time. >It did have one nip out of its tail when I picked him up but that seems to be doing fine. The problem is I noticed some tan mark or small growth right on its mouth tonight. When I went to check later it was twitching in the bottom corner of the tank. >>Puzzling.. >What might be wrong and what should I being doing to help it? >>It's difficult for me to say without seeing the animal. Do try the boards again, but I would definitely recommend reducing the salinity level to around 1.010, just to rule out parasites. If this is something else (bacterial/viral infection), then hypo won't affect it much. At this point, ensure water quality is best, provide the cover for the fish, and observe. Have some Spectrogram on hand in case you decide there's a bacterial infection present, if it's viral we hooman beans have nothing to treat ourselves, let alone fish. Best of luck, Marina

Royal Gramma with tan mark on mouth, II >Marina, Thanks for getting back to me. >>Very welcome. >I will go the hyposalinity route starting tonight. I have had PVC in the tank since it was set up but until today he has not used it. Twitching seems to no longer be an issue. I admit I turned on the light that night to "get another look" just before the twitching occurred. Tan spot also seems smaller but I reduce the salinity in any case. Other than spot, Gramma eats well and seems to be in good health. John >>Your most important indicators. Good luck, I'm sure the animal will be fine. Marina

Royal Gramma In A Royal Mess Hi crew, <Scott F. here today> You have been helpful in the past so I will try again. I have a 10 gallon (too small as you told me before) with a Royal Gramma, a Sixline Wrasse, a Clown Goby and a Rainfordi besides snails and hermits. Water quality good except nitrates about 20. I went on vacation and on the first day my daughter told me that the Gramma was not swimming around as usual but was hiding in his night spot. Eventually she saw a bulging eye and he was not eating. When I got back two weeks later he is alive but not more than that. He was on the bottom this morning barely breathing. There was no eye as far as I can tell. I can not get a view to see his other side and he is back in his night spot. Now that I checked about eye problems I see that Epsom salt may have helped. At this point can anything be done to save him. He does not seem to be eating. <I'm sorry to hear about the sad state of this fish. If you're getting good results with Epsom salts, then there is a good possibility that the fish suffered some sort of injury. As far as the lack of appetite and low respiration are concerned, this could be caused by many different things, ranging from a parasitic illness to environmental conditions. If possible, I'd remove this fish to a separate tank for further observation and possible treatment, if needed. Once of the best things that you can do is to provide a quiet tank and clean water. Keep trying to get him to eat. Perhaps you could administer some aquarium vitamin preparation directly to the water in this tank to help provide some nutrition and stimulate eating. Let us know if other symptoms manifest themselves. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Royal Gramma Vs. Parasite! Just need a quick ID on a disease of a new Royal Gramma in QT. We had white mucous from behind both gill areas. Thought it was Oodinium but now thinking Gill Fluke (too)?. Gave two fresh water dips last w/e with methyl blue. Added copper at 0.25ppm. <Hopefully, in the treatment tank-not the display, right?> Seems like its not stressed: gill movement, feeding, general movement in tank all normal. It will rub on (artificial) rock but often on side not looking diseased. Water 0,0,0, 8.2 (30 gal glass bottom with Eheim Pro II minus carbon filter). Looks like a small white protrusion from gill and either mucous/scar around gill area. (Sorry - photo not perfect!) Thanks for your advice. Jonathan <Well Jonathan, in my opinion, this is definitely some sort of parasitic growth. I would stay the course on the copper treatment (following manufacturer's instructions concerning both concentration and duration of the treatment), and you'll be able to assess rather quickly whether or not this course of action is working...Do stay the course, keep feeding the fish, and maintain good environmental conditions. Best of luck...Keep us posted! Regards, Scott F.>

Injured Gramma >Good evening Crew. >>Good morning, Marina today. >I need some advice, please. >>My pleasure. >I purchased a Royal Gramma on October 16. Put her through a "freshwater" dip, then 21 days of quarantine. >>A note - best qt protocol is 30 days minimum, disease free. >I moved her from the QT to my display tank on Sunday, Nov. 7. She was fine and energetic. I have some Yellow Tail Damsels, they bothered her for a few hours, but she went and hid for the rest of the day/night. Monday afternoon I noticed she had some discoloration or patchy scale like areas near and in front of her dorsal fin. >>Sounds as though the damsels did what dem damsels do and scraped the Gramma up a bit. >She is eating, is out and about, doesn't seem to be bothered by the other fish anymore. Besides the 3 Damsels, I have a Canary Wrasse, and Lawnmower Blenny, various crabs, snails, shrimp. All reside in a 55 gal with filter, skimmer, 2 powerheads, 70 lbs of LR and 30 lbs of live sand/crushed coral. Water Quality is 76.5 degrees, 8.2 pH, No ammonia, no nitrite, about 30 ppm Nitrate, and 1.024 SG. >>That level of nitrate can, over a period of time, be detrimental to the fish. I recommend a few large water changes (on the order of 50% or better), then continue as needed to maintain. Also, macroalgal growth can be helpful, as can the addition of a Tridacnid, T. derasa are hardy, attractive, and don't require huge amounts of light (I grew mine under normal output fluoros matched for best spectrum). >I have included a couple of pictures. >>Yes, very good shots at that, too. >Should I be concerned with this? >>Not overtly, but do have a hospital system and some antibiotic (I recommend Spectrogram) on hand in case. I suggest first that, if you don't already, you begin a regimen of Selcon to the fishes' diet. Nutrition is key to recovery, not just good water quality. >What is it? >>External injury, in my opinion. >Treatment suggestions? >>Let the fish be, feed well, do those water changes. >Thank you. John McKnight >>You're welcome, John. Marina

Royal Gramma scare!! Hello there, I've visited the website plenty of times and I get plenty of great advice but this time. I'm stumped. I recently put up a 12 gallon nano cube marine setup and I have a FOWLR set up. I just got a royal Gramma yesterday and today he was swimming around and eating and we went out for dinner tonight and we came home and I looked in the tank and too my surprise he was sucked up next to the filter and my mother kinda poked him to see if he was awake and sure enough he swam off and fled to his little cave. My question is do royal grammas usually need a babysitter for a while? Even though I've heard plenty that they're very hardy fish and can take care of themselves. I'm just scared that he's going to up and die on me in the next week or so. we've had a string of bad luck with our marine tanks. we've done everything to take care of all of our fish but everything seems to go wrong at the worst possible times. We had a 110 gallon setup and it got ich the first time and wiped out almost everything except the inverts! :( so we sold that tank and moved out of state and we just got this nano cube last month and now it seems the bad luck has followed us. any advice on their behavior and any signs we must look for that this fish is getting sick would surely help. and anything you can think of as to why he got sucked up at the filter and he lived to go back to his home. would help also! Thanks so much for your time! Erin P.S. All levels are good and the tanks been up for a month now if that helps any! >Hello Erin, To start off with, having an ich outbreak that wipes your tank out has more to do with husbandry procedures (or lack of them) than bad luck most of the time. Always quarantine your fish before introducing them into the display. Secondly, about your Gramma - what kind of filter are you speaking of? There isn't always a logical reason of these things. As far as if he's sick or not, is he alert? Is he eating? Is his color good? Any spots or discoloration? Cheers Jim<

Royal Gramma Fin Rot part 2 3/22/05 I checked all water quality parameters including nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia and everything was undetectable. The pH is 8.2 and the water temperature is 77 degrees. The fish did not develop the fin rot until after I did my first water change (9 days after I got the fish) on the quarantine tank. <Your water quality sounds fine, although there are many things that can affect water quality that we don't ever test for. Keep up water changes in the 20% per month range.> It was pretty freaked out when I was doing the water change so I wonder if this stress could have caused it to get the fin rot? My other conclusion is that the fish might have scrapped it's tail on a rock that I have in the tank for it to hide under and with the added stress developed the condition. <Such infections often do start from an injury, but I agree with Bob that some other stress must be present to allow the infection to take hold.> I am feeding it formula one flake food, and it eats very well. Is this Ok nutrition wise for the fish? I have tried some meaty frozen foods, but it doesn't eat them as well. I end up trying to scoop out what it has left at the bottom, and this seems to stress the fish. <This is a good quality food, but variety is the spice of life! Do try Sally's (San Francisco) brand Brine shrimp plus and Piscine Energetics Mysis shrimp as well as bits of squid. All are high in HUFAs and other important nutrients.> The black smudge that is on the side of the fish seems to be fading, do you know what it could be? <Hard to guess, but it is encouraging that it is getting better.> Is there anything else you recommend that I do for the fish? I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my e-mail. Thanks, Theresa. <Good food and good water quality are paramount. If it is getting better (even slowly), simply continue on. If it gets worse, you could try antibiotics, but I would avoid them if at all possible for many reasons, especially the fact that they also kill beneficial bacteria as well as the fact that the disease organism can develop resistance. Best Regards. AdamC.>

Sick Gramma follow up 3/30/05 Thanks for the advice and I will give the fish food that you mentioned a try. What are the other water quality issues that could be causing the problem? I work in a water quality lab so I might be able to test for them. <Potassium, Magnesium, Sulfate, Iodine, etc. are all things that are biologically important but rarely tested for. Also, the presence of just about any chemical (household chemicals, oils, pesticides, etc.) could theoretically cause problems. These are admittedly unlikely possibilities, but regular water changes are a great way to eliminate any of them at one time.> My quarantine tank is a 30 gallon tall tank that was given to me, could this cause the dissolved oxygen to be too low? If so could this be the source of the problem? I keep a live rock in there with the fish, I know it's not good to keep live rock in a quarantine tank, but I had an extra one. <Low DO is a possibility if water movement is inadequate, especially at night when no photosynthesis is occurring. You can use pH as an indicator of gas exchange. Test the pH right before the lights come on in the morning. Take another sample outdoors and aerate it well. If the pH rises more than about .1, CO2 is accumulated (and O2 likely low.).> I really want to resolve the underlying problem, because I plan on quarantining more fish in this tank once the Gramma gets better and is moved to the main tank. Again I really appreciate you taking the time to address my questions. Thanks, Theresa <If the pH test indicates poor gas exchange, the addition of an airstone or more water movement may solve the problem. Otherwise, I would suggest regular water changes along with good general husbandry. Best Regards. AdamC.>

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